We don’t need another hero?
Actually, we do! We need lots of heroes. Because heroes get s**t done, and we all see flies swarming over the pile of that which is not done.
In a recent presentation I gave in Anchorage (and no, I’m not a hero for going to Alaska in the winter – it’s is simply lovely there anytime), I spoke of hero positioning within Business Development messaging, and an audience member raised a great question.
In the presentation, called The 7 Reasons Your People Aren’t Selling, I suggested that, as a business development leader, you need to make heroes out of the people you want to motivate to sell.
Heroes do what saves the day. And heroes do what needs to be done. In business development (BD), the day-saving activity is stepping up to sell. It’s networking, building relationships deeper, and knowing how to differentiate your firm from your competitors.
In business, heroics don’t require big muscles (although I can’t see how that would hurt), or spandex costumes, or capes. And you definitely don’t need super-powers. In business, heroics live in meaningful communication, an activity that naturally triggers feelings of vulnerability.
You’ve seen the introversion, the fear of presenting, and the way your staff gets flipped on their backs like a bug when challenged by a hot-under-the-collar driver personality.
High-pressure interactions make people sweat. It doesn’t matter what they are, if there’s a sense of stakes and multiple personalities in the mix, your team is going to feel that pressure.
But in my presentation, I argued that more members of your team than you expect are actually capable of stepping out of their comfort zones to actively represent your firm. The way to make your introverted staff members into heroes is by building a story where the company is in need of help and needs to get to achieve a better situation, so that whoever steps up to make the difference is a hero.
Hero positioning motivates people by focusing on who needs help, and by appealing to our human desire to help those in need.
At the end of my presentation, a man asked, “Is the audience always the hero?”
I realized that in every example I shared in that presentation, the audience was consistently the hero. I wasn’t really trying to make a point that your audience is always the hero, so I promised to blog a more complete answer.
The rule of thumb is:
When you are selling, you are the hero by saving your customer’s day.
When you are leading, the people you are leading into action are the heroes.
In Selling, You Are The Hero: Some folks think of salespeople as pushy jerks. But when sales is done right, there is no push.
Here’s an example of heroic sales positioning:
“Dude, you’ve got a problem. And you’re trying to get to a goal. I’ve got a solution to help you get there.”
What could be more heroic than helping a prospect get to a goal? Well, nothing, unless there’s a fire, but that’s not the hero I’m writing about. A hero saves the day, so if somebody’s got a problem and your team member positions your firm to save their day and take them toward their goal, your team member has become a hero. And if they help your company improve its bottom line by participating in business development, they’ve become a a hero to their team as well.
In Leadership, Your Team Members Are The Heroes: Leaders make heroes out of their team members by inspiring them into action. Business development leaders are essentially “cape salespeople,” focused on the target market of “could-be heroes.” By and large, leaders don’t sell. They get teams to sell.
Heroic positioning in leadership communication sounds like this:
“Our clients have problems. And they’re trying to achieve a goal. We can help them, but only if they hire us. So we’ve got to get out there and make that happen.”
Selling is Heroic.
The bottom line is, our companies do need heroes. In order to grow, we need our team members to find and land work. But more fundamentally, our clients need our team members to be their heroes.
What do you think? Share your thoughts below!