Leadership vs. Salesmanship

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Most of the elite business schools see themselves as training the leaders of tomorrow how to be better leaders.

Many business school grads seek out careers in consulting, investment banking, or technology. The goal of the first two career paths is to become a partner or managing director. The goal of the latter is often to run one's own startup.

If you analyze the course catalogs of the elite business schools, fewer than 1% of the classes offered have to do with teaching you how to sell.

The cultural bias is that sales is kind of a blue-collar white-collar job — meaning you don’t really need an MBA to be “just” a salesperson — and that if we go to business school, it’s to be a consultant, banker or startup founder.

This bias of many elite business school cultures has so much irony.

If you join McKinsey, work hard and get promoted to partner, guess what job you now have?

You’re a salesperson.

If you do the same at Goldman Sachs and become a managing director, sure you’re an elite investment banker... but guess what? You’re also now a salesperson.

If you go down the technology path and become a startup CEO, guess what role you’re in now? You’re now your company's #1 salesperson. You sell to raise capital. You sell others on joining your team. You sell customers on buying your app. You’re selling all day long, every day.

My point is this: All roads lead to salesmanship (or saleswomanship) in one form or another.

Do you aspire to be the director of your own department? Guess what? You’re the department’s #1 salesperson.

Want to increase your staffing budget to hire two more people? Guess what? You’re “selling” the CEO and CFO on the merits of a budget increase.

Want to convince a great candidate to work in your department? Guess what? You’re “selling” her on why she should work for you instead of for someone else.

If you ever want someone to do something that benefits you — give you a raise, return a phone call, help out on a project, marry you, put the toilet seat down -- guess what?

You’re SELLING.

You’re selling far more often and in far more situations than you realize.

Given you’re selling so much, you might as well become good at it.

If formal selling has not been the focus of your career, or if you lack experience in this area, you'll be interested in learning about my recent class, How to Sell Your Ideas in Everyday Life (Without Feeling "Sales-y"). I will be releasing all my teaching from this comprehensive class as a program later this month.

You can join the notification list for this limited release, and have the opportunity to learn my techniques for selling before the program is released to the public. Just complete the form below to be notified about the limited release.

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