You and I know plenty of business owners who see themselves as models of Figurehead Leadership. You know the type: they bark orders and expect everyone to understand their meaning and execute to perfection.
That’s the model the person at the top learned. It’s going to be extremely hard for them to retool and recalibrate. Chances are you work for one at a family-owned business. This is the way, and the management style, in which it’s always been done.
There’s no vision in figurehead leadership. It’s not necessarily an age- or gender- related phenomenon, either. It’s just the status quo that was imprinted on that particular business. It’s inflexible.
Do you do sell to a business that’s run via a Figurehead Leadership model? It’s an uphill battle, isn’t it?
One thing is crystal clear: employees are fearful of losing their jobs. No one speaks up regarding process shortfalls. Staff members compare notes and realize no one is on the same page. The business is run in crisis mode. All solutions ultimately come from the figurehead at the top.
It’s always a hard sell for you. There’s no vision in that status quo business model. There may not be longevity, either.
Then there are today’s visionary leaders. They are all-in and hands-on. They, too, man the helm of today’s small and mid-sized businesses. These figurehead leaders aren’t content with being hands-off. They see the small details as well as the strategic goals. They serve their customers as well as their employees. They are collaborative.
Do you actively prospect these types of accounts? Did you know there was a difference?
The value you bring to the business table may be most appreciated, and best demonstrated, by selling to businesses with leaders who follow a visionary leadership, rather than figurehead leadership, model.
- Take the time to research this information when prospecting.
- Become more of a business anthropologist in your prospecting efforts.
- Stop assuming all leads you get will yield productive selling opportunities.
All small businesses aren’t the same. Just like your selling process shouldn’t have that rote feel to it, either.
Today’s globally competitive marketplace is calling for businesses that are nimble and responsive to marketplace and economic trends. These solid, and sustainable businesses, may be run by those visionary leaders with whom you want collaborate. They will appreciate the value you bring to their collaborative, hands-on, tables.
- How will you incorporate this information into your customer discovery process in the coming weeks?
- How many companies in your account base are run via a figurehead leadership model?
- Perhaps it’s time for you to become more visionary in your own prospecting efforts.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She is resolved to creating revenue-producing collaboration strategies with and for non-traditional sellers, engineers, manufacturers, and technical startups.