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salesperson influence



Whether he or she works as a CEO, a coach, or any job that requires motivating others, a great leader is at heart a good salesperson.


Because, if an organization’s leadership isn’t constantly persuading the rest of the team to buy into an idea or a philosophy, the team is likely to splinter, which means everyone starts moving in his or her own direction.

Selling and persuading is much more than simply barking orders, which, regardless of the circumstances, rarely gets the job done.

Leaders don’t always have formal authority or positional power to compel people to do what they want done. So, in many situations, they need to persuade, convince, and sell people on their ideas.

If a leader is to be a successful salesperson and influence others, he or she must first understand what their people are thinking. Then, the leader taps into whatever the person’s strongest emotion is at that time.

Ultimately, being an effective leader who can persuade and influence others is a matter of appealing to people’s heads, hearts, and hands.


Appealing to their head, heart, and hands


Here’s how a leader who’s a salesperson makes persuasion and influence work:

  • The Head – This is an appeal to the intellect.

Leaders can persuade people through rational arguments that include market research, customer surveys, and case studies. They also should highlight the business benefits of ideas and how they will help employees. In some situations, it helps to explain the consequences of not changing. Explain what’s at stake and what they will lose out on if they don’t change.

  • The Heart – This is an appeal to emotions.

People only change their behavior when doing so makes them feel better. The leader needs to connect to people’s need for status, order, honor, security, and purpose. Engage their hearts by making employees feel they are part of something big and special.

  • The Hands – This is persuasion through direct involvement.

Give employees something to experience viscerally, like the way salespeople let someone take a car for a test drive or how new restaurants offer a taste test. Demonstrations help people experience the value and benefits of a particular idea or innovation. Direct experience can alter how a person thinks and feels about a new initiative.


Leader as salesperson


Having the right mix of facts, emotional appeals, and involvement helps sell ideas and proposals. Once that’s done, the leader needs to close the deal by asking for people’s commitment to whatever is proposed.

Commitment is an act, not a word. ~Jean-Paul Sartre

In some cases, you may need to start small. Get people to commit first to taking baby steps. That’s progress.



Today’s contributor, Paul Thornton, is an author, trainer, speaker, and professor of Business Administration at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, Massachusetts.


Image credit before quote added: Pixabay