We use a term in the car business for new salespeople called "Load your lips." Because negotiating and overcoming objections has so many different variations, it would be impossible for me to teach it all in a classroom before setting them loose as a salesperson.
So instead, we do in-the-moment training. Because the salesperson is new, they don't fully know how to overcome an objection or negotiate, so when their customer says something unfamiliar, they'll come back to me and I'll load their lips.
As a sales manager, I can load 24 years of knowledge and experience onto the lips of the salesperson I am working with.
For instance, a salesperson will come to me and say, "This is what the customer is telling me," and I'll load their lips on how to not only overcome the objection but also give them multiple scenarios in which to steer the sale.
What's good about loading the lips is it gives the salesperson confidence because instead of me doing it for them, I equipped them to handle it themselves and it gives them the ability also to index it for future cases.
Just like a manager loads the lips of salespeople, so too does a leader load the lips of the people who follow him.
Seth Godin writes,
"People don't believe what you tell them. They barely believe what you show them. They often believe what their friends tell them and they always believe what they tell themselves. Leaders give them stories they can tell themselves about future and change."
As a leader, you have to constantly load their lips about change and a better future, so that when things go off-kilter and their narrative changes to lack and defeat, you load their lips again with change and a better lot.
There may not be a customer in front of them, but the one they're negotiating with is LIFE.
When their narrative changes to "I can't," you load them up with, "Yes, you can. You can do this."
When the narrative changes to, "It's not fair," you load their lips to, "New game, new strategy. It's not always going to be fair. The ball is not always going to bounce your way. Keep going anyway."
When the narrative changes to "It's too hard, " load their lips to, "It's supposed to be hard. Anything worthwhile is hard. Hard times are rich with opportunities. Most people couldn't handle it and bailed out, but you're still standing in the tension and moving forward despite what gets thrown at you. Look at how far you've come and where you are heading."
You've got to keep the lips of your people full because they're not always going to be with you. When they're not, make sure their lips are so full that when things get complicated, when it seems unfair, and it looks like they can't go any further, their lips are dripping with change, and they keep soldiering on.
This is how future leaders are created. Initially, you loaded their lips. Then they learned how to load their own lips, and eventually, they began to teach it to others.
I'm pulling for you.
Remember, the greatest sale you'll ever make is selling you on you.
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