Are you leader? Does a business owner need to be leader?
If you Google that term “leaders-followers concept” you will find that there's a hell of a lot of research on this topic. When it comes to leadership, there's a huge mountain of information and experts. Trying to chunk it down for business owners from a sales point of view it is all about leadership.
What I'm talking is not new and yet when I came across the “leader-follower concept” an amazing number of the missing pieces of marketing puzzle fell into place for me. Yet, it is often missed by many people in business.
As a business owner, your job is to understand your customers. And it is a fact that customers and their emotions are complicated and building relationships can be a very scary the thing to do. When I started to observe people and started to look at why people do what they do, the observation came back to me in a way that I never really suspected.
I often say that your marketing is a reflection of what's going on in your mind. As a business owner, your marketing is what you see, say, and do and in the world of marketing. If your vision as a business owner is not clear, the marketing message will never be clear. We need to be conscious of that.
See the leader-follower concept in action:
Today is when you're out walking along the streets. Now, the first scenario is just to have a smile on your face and somebody will walk past and they'll say hello. In that context who is the leader? It's the smile. That's the concept of the leader. Now, if you go the next time and just hold a neutral tone on your face, wait for the person to say hello. I find it interesting when you start to do these two examples, the person who's got the smile will get more hellos than if you hold the neutral element. In the case of the neutral face person, who says hello in that context or situation is the leader. Where I'm going with this is that the leader is not necessarily the person who speaks, you lead through both your verbal and your nonverbal actions and that's what I want you to start to understand.
When you break this down, it's not about what you say, it is about what you say and with what you do and how you come across and all that comes into that element of leadership and confidence.
I want to really point out to people that if you take the concept of the leader as the better person or the top person, that's a false analogy. Just the same as you ranking the follower as more important than the leader, that is also not correct. The follower is not equal to the leader nor is the leader more important than the follower because when we try to have a leader-follower relationship with that notion, it fails because the transaction requires them coming together to act as one and that's what I want you to sort of understand. It is not about one being better than the other, it is about the two coming together and they act as one.
I really just wanted to get that cleared up before I break into the elements you need to have to be a good leader. There are four core elements.
Because I am a business owner does not automatically make me a leader. In order for me to be a leader I have to have at least one follower, nothing in business starts until the first sale.
The elements include;
Vision – There has to be a reason for you starting up a business. That's where our desires our passions come into play. That can point us to what the vision of your business really is.
Purpose – The purpose is presenting your benefits as the leader to the follower so the benefits are what you are providing. The purpose of my business is to help my customers with their marketing lead generation. When you go to a hairdresser, their purpose is to make you look and feel beautiful. Now that's their purpose. A good purpose is one that has a win-win benefit. If your purpose is just to help the customer solve their problem for no profit you don't benefit.
Belief – Belief in oneself, belief in one's vision, and now belief comes from your knowing of yourself, your skills and your experience. And as you have that experience, you elevate your leader status.
A leader needs to invite the follower and I want you to understand that. In advertising, we need to invite the customers. Now, inviting does not need to be a verbal invitation it can be with nonverbal actions.
The follower must have:
- a need or a want. If they don't have a need/a want they're not going to need to follow a leader.
- to pay a price. A follower will always pay a price either money or time. They are agreeing to the vision of the leader so it's just understanding as a customer
- the power to choose. The leader only has the power to invite. The real power in the relationship is in the hands of the customer because the customer chooses to be led by your business to solve their problems. At any point in time the customers can choose not to follow anymore. So, the true power in the relationship of business and customer lies with the customers.
I'm just giving you your four checklists of what a good business should have as a leader and what your customer needs to be in order for them to be a good customer.
When it comes to leaders, we've all been leaders in some situations and we've all been followers. I would like to invite you to start with playing the game of observing people. Do this using the leader- follower concept and break it down into the different little interactions that you see people doing. I say observe, that does not mean you should glare or stare at people. I definitely do not want you to get arrested :) As you observe others, you will start to see certain behaviors in yourself and that is the start of the change.