You've heard it: "I could never be in sales."
Monitor your conversations for a day. How often are your really trying to convince someone to see things your way? For some reason it's OK to persuade but icky to sell. (You might change your mind about the sales thing if you looked into the financial compensation of successful sales people).
We use proprietary assessments to help people clarify speficic talents. One of the things we've discovered is that there are three distinct ways people can be gifted at persuasion:
1. Negotiating. This is an above-average ability to discern the needs and desires of two people--or groups--and orchestrate agreement between them. If this is a talent of yours, people will see you actively seeking to assist people in conflict. Those with this talent can quickly garner the credibility needed to help resolve issues. Do you inherently "jump in" when you see the need for resolution? Are you successful more often than not?
2. Selling. This is just what it implies. People with this specific talent excel at introducing a product or concept and then going for "the close," whether it's money or a commitment. Are you always thinking about better ways to get a commitment. . .now?!
3. Promoting. Think about someone whose enthusiasm and excitement is infectious. As a result, with multiple exposures and relationship, other people are willing to try out a new idea and look at new ways of seeing things. The "close" is a fait accompli. There's no reason to say "will that be cash or charge?" The organic nature of the process leads to implementation or closure. Do people accept your ideas because of your genuine enthusiasm and willingness to spread your enthusiasm over a period of time? Do you view yourself as an educator who brings about change?
One of the above is your gift. Acknowledge it, learn more about it, use it often, and don't let anyone talk you into doing it differently. The world and the workplace need to be influenced by people with sound ideas and positive motives. How will you exercise your persuasive talent today?
My colleague Ed Ryan and I are headed to Pittsburgh to work with a group of experienced steel industry sales folks to add advanced influence & persuasion skills to their behavior repertoire. Looking forward to it.
In the meantime, a quick reminder that @kevineikenberry continues to tally the votes for Best Leadership Blog of 2010. Be sure to weigh in and if you enjoy All Things Workplace, we appreciate your vote. All of the blogs are first-class and are "must adds" to your leadership reading list.
photo attribution: www.potential2success.com