Great leaders possess an ability to connect with each person they manage and it all starts with how they communicate. Master the new language of leadership.
Leadership is, in fact a language. It is a dialogue and a way of relating to people that makes the difference between a mediocre leader and a powerful one. The greatest leaders possess an ability to connect with each person they manage and it all starts with how they communicate. The Art of Enrollment is a powerful and compelling communication strategy that is utilized by the greatest leaders of our time. Let’s begin with a comprehensive definition of the word enrollment, that’s taken from my book, Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions.
Enrollment: An authentic, powerful way of communicating that grabs people’s attention, stimulates interest, and empowers others to embrace, support, and believe in your position, idea, or philosophy. This motivates people to want to become part of your cause (a cause that may be bigger than you and them), take ownership of it, and then act in their best interest to create the possibility that you have introduced to them and/or have taken a stand for. (For example: Creating a certain corporate culture, selling or making a purchasing decision, trying something new that hasn’t been done before, or advocating for a positive, yet difficult change, etc.)
What do you do to be different, to be unique, to be eternal in the mind of a salesperson? True sales coaches leave not only a lasting impression but they also create one.
The New Language of Leadership
Like traditional management, traditional selling is dead. Unfortunately, many salespeople today are still using antiquated selling strategies. They no longer offer a competitive edge that separates them from every other company and promotes a healthy, winning relationship with their customers. Rather than change their approach, salespeople work harder and longer as they continually react to the changes in the marketplace, only to produce the same results as before.
Motivating employees is often exhausting and time-consuming work. Trying to get people to change or do things differently is even more of a challenge. Managers struggle to get their staff to become internally driven, self-motivated, and perform at their potential. Businesses are closing their doors not due to a lack of effort but because they are still attempting to sell, manage, or run their businesses the old way, not the way it needs to be done today.
The next evolution in communication and in the way we coach our salespeople is using the art and discipline of enrollment. Think about some of the great leaders of our time. Think of the leaders who you respect, admire and who have made a difference or an impact in our lives today and yesterday. What do these leaders have in common? Each had a cause that ignited them to act from a global perspective. It was their innate ability that enabled them to enroll millions of people to follow, not them, but what was bigger than them—their cause. They used the art of enrollment to achieve historical, unprecedented results. They inspired people to want to be a part of their cause because they made it very clear what was in it for them.
What has been initially perceived as an inherent, genetic ability is now a documented process that allows each of us to tap into this hidden power we all possess. The dormant desire to want to express more of who we are, what we want, how we feel, and what could be possible can now be achieved through enrollment. Each of us can do so in a natural, conversational way that honors our personal strengths, talents, goals, values, passion, and style of communicating while remaining open to co-creating greater possibilities.
Enrollment is a way to unleash each person’s purest form of open, honest, and authentic communication, using thought-provoking, curiosity-based questions that generate worthwhile results in any setting. When you uncover what you are passionate about, what you believe in, and then take a strong, unwavering stand for whatever it may be, while respecting the mutual differences of one another, only then can you start to communicate and achieve more through the enrollment process: the highest form of communicating and self-expression.
Enrollment Is a Universal Phenomenon
When top salespeople want to be better at their jobs while maintaining their focus and desire to deliver rich value and serve their clients’ best interests, they stop selling and start enrolling. When an accountant, a coach, a doctor, contractor, financial planner, attorney, mortgage broker, or salesperson wants to build their practice or their sales, they enroll. When universities want to attract more students, they enroll. When parents want their kids to change or do something, they enroll them. When managers hire someone, they enroll that person in the position.
To make this more relevant, think about it in terms of your position. When handling internal conflicts or sharing a policy change that affects every salesperson’s commission, managers must enroll people toward a positive, mutual mindshare. If you need your team to make radical changes in their behavior or in their thinking, you enroll them in that change. Here are some situations that would warrant an opportunity to use the art of enrollment.
1. Needing to get salespeople to relocate.
2. Developing an incentive program.
3. Defusing hostility and finding a common ground.
4. Making changes in company policy or procedure, such as a price increase, a change in commission, or a change in a person’s job function.
5. Changing how salespeople will be developed and trained, such as taking part in a coaching program.
6. Recruiting and hiring a new salesperson.
7. Firing a team member and reducing collateral damage as well as toxic gossip.
8. Requesting a change in people’s behavior or activity.
9. Getting people to own a certain problem which they have been avoiding.
10. Holding people more accountable around their performance goals as well as any administrative responsibilities.
11. Requesting someone to take on a task or do something they may normally be reluctant to do.
12. Dealing with an under-performer.
13. Creating buy in around being observed.
14. Creating buy in around coaching!
15. Peer to peer enrollment.
16. Working with cross functional teams.
17. Creating alignment with stakeholders.
18. Creating alignment with customers.
19. Yesterday you were your new team’s peer. Today you’re now their boss.
In practically any scenario where it requires opening up someone’s thinking, modifying behavior, or taking action around something, the art of enrollment will become your primary communication strategy to bring about the changes you want without pushback, prodding, or resistance.
Creating the Possibility for Change
Coaching is the art of creating new possibilities. Enrollment allows you to communicate those possibilities in a way that people will be receptive to and motivates them to change. At its core, enrollment is all about facilitating positive, long-term change.
Whether you’re selling a product, service, idea, or philosophy, no one likes to be sold. Everyone loves to feel as if they are making the decision themselves. If your salespeople perceive you as someone who is focused solely on helping them make their own decisions, they are going to want to be enrolled by you and will enjoy the process.
Take any situation or conversation in which there is a group of people who have conflicting interests, a conflict that needs resolution, an idea that needs to be communicated and embraced, a change initiative that needs to be launched, or a mutual goal that needs to be attained. Whether each person possesses a separate agenda or information that needs to be communicated, has a misunderstanding of each other’s goals or has no business talking to each other in the first place, mastering the Art of Enrollment will unlock the door to full self-expression for all. It will enable you to communicate more powerfully, more authentically, and more confidently with everyone.
People don’t want to be sold. They want to be enrolled.
Photo Credit: Centurion Studio (on Shutterstock)