Be a commitment-make, not an order-taker

Are you fearful for the future? Are you confident about the future? How is the current political/economic climate affecting your industry? Your own business? Your executive team? Your employees? Your customers and clients?

Yes, “the times they are a-changing” (Bob Dylan) — indeed they are. The national narrative is all about a whiplash shift occurring between administrations; how our economy changes when national leadership changes; how business changes when the economy changes. Our economy always changes when national political leadership changes.

However, here’s what we, as business leaders, should be talking about. We should be talking about how we affect change, not just how we are affected by change. We should be talking about how we, in the business community, create change, not how we suffer from it – what we are committed to do to create positive change and how we can get better at creating that change. That’s the kind of conversation that makes us leaders: commitment-based communication, commitment-driven conversations at all levels.

We ask, “How can we help you?” We say, “Yes, we can help you with that.” We mean we will help them. And we do.

Yes, there is uncertainty in the world. Our customers and clients – our neighbors and friends – wonder about the commitment of those with the power to shape the narrative of our country’s future. Should we save more? Buy less? Hold off on that oil change? Conserve on groceries? Keep the old car for another year?

Are businesses wondering about the same things? Should we pull back too? Should we downsize? Reduce inventory? Lay off employees?

What you do depends on commitment. Some companies flounder as things change. Others expand and grow. What is the difference — their level of commitment to serve and the language they use with their clients.

Business leaders are the change agents of America and the world. We are the leaders of this nation. We are committed to service, positive change and to help. By being proactive rather than reactive, we set the mood of progress, set the economic stage, and keep America great.

All business owners are not business leaders. There is a marked difference. Leaders show up as leaders in the way we communicate – not just in what we say but in how we listen, learn, love. That’s how we lead.

The way we communicate with teams, clients, customers, neighbors, this guides the political, personal, business conversations on a personal level and ultimately on a national level. The way we set business goals with teams; the way we help them better communicate with customers and clients every day and help them deal with change every day creates commitment-based communication.

That kind of productive, proactive, decisive and determined communication – and the action it produces – is what makes long-term differences in businesses, and in the national and world economy. Those kinds of commitment-based conversations – the ones we have, the ones we guide, are what makes us leaders.

When customers and clients come to us, they are trying to solve problems and enhance their situations for themselves and their families. They are trying to survive – and succeed. When the pressures of an uncertain political climate and national economy blare at them from the morning news broadcast, it affects them.

They may think they need lawn supplies, groceries or a tank of gas, but underlying their quest for some “simple” purchase may well be concern, anxiety, even fear, for what is happening on a global scale (the price at the pump, for example, is a stark reminder that all may not be right with the world).

It is our job, as business leaders to make things right – at least better – for everyone. We listen to conversations around us. We listen to, and actually hear, what customers are really saying to us when they come to us for help.

And we help them. That is why we are in business. That kind of commitment forms the basis for all effective conversations.

“Can I help you?” is not just some trite phrase intoned by a bored clerk. In successful business and sales conversations, “Can I help you” becomes “How can I help you.” That quickly evolves into “Yes, I can help you with that.” Then we do it. We help them with whatever they need help with. That kind of commitment based communication is what sets us apart from other businesses.

We don’t just sell people what they ask for; we find out what is needed and help them buy the right things at the right time for the right reason at the right price.

We pay attention to the conversations of regular folks as well as our elected leaders, make an assessment about what they are committed to, and communicate our commitment to help them.

Computer scientist Alan Kay said “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” It is the conversations we have today that literally invent the future we are heading toward. Big changes are in the wind and we, business leaders, who speak the language of commitment, are the ones who will shape those changes.

Every sales call will take on a new significance. B2B Sales Boost is a change agent. Our language of leadership is that of committed communication. We are prepared to not only face challenge and change, but make changes and help our clients succeed.

Roger Bostdorff is the President of B2B Sales Boost. He spent over 30 years with IBM in sales, sales management, and general management. B2B Sales Boost is a consulting company helping organizations improve both their topline revenue and bottom line profits. This may include the following areas: sales improvement, personnel, conflict resolution, profit enhancement, succession planning, strategic planning and overall business processes. Find more about B2B Sales Boost on the web at www.b2bsalesboost.com or calling 419-351-4347. To receive the B2B Sales Boost Newsletter send an email to [email protected]