For just over two decades I have been privy to many problems inside organisations of all types. Invariably, the solution has been leadership. To fully grasp what I mean, it’s important to broaden the popular view of leadership beyond ‘leader as supervisor’ and ‘leader as strategist’.

Each and every connection is an opportunity to lead. In small business we need to think about leading our team, leading our clients and being a leader in our market niche.

In this post I am going to briefly examine these three leadership platforms.

Leading Your Team
The concept of team leadership is almost as old as management science itself. Despite this, managers and business owners still struggle with team engagement and performance. The leadership style that most managers and business owners ‘grew up with’ in business no longer works. Competition and globalisation have meant that in order to thrive, organisations need their people fully engaged. This means both minds and bodies engaged to out think and out deliver the competition.

The ability to engage teams and deliver superior performance, morale and retention is now internationally recognised as the most valuable leadership capabilities.

Leading Your Clients
Traditionally, the focus of selling has been skewed towards pushy methods of ‘convincing’ clients to buy. We need to swing this self-focused approach back towards the client. To achieve sustainable results, sales people need to lead, not push. Leading clients is a powerful approach to selling that eliminates pressure and rejection. By understanding the client’s pain and their vision for a better situation, the sales leader can better educate and influence of the client. The result is that the client ‘follows the sales person willingly’ to make a positive buying for them. The sales person needs to focus on leading the client from their current position of dissatisfaction to a position of delight. This approach requires sales people to identify with their role as a leader and to master advanced communication skills.

Leading Your Niche
Generating a constant flow of ready-to-buy prospects is a huge challenge for many businesses. Consequently, businesses are always on the lookout for the latest marketing approach to set them apart and bring in the enquiries. Understandably, businesses are looking for people who are ready to buy now. Prospects who are ready to buy now constitute only 3% of your target market. Everybody is trying to get to this 3%.

There is another slice of your target market, 7% in fact, who recognise that they have a need and will be ready to buy in the near future. So as well and trying to convert the 3%, businesses also need to build a positive relationship with the 7%. After all they will become ready-to-buy prospects soon enough…

The key to engaging the 7% is to become The Local Thought Leader in your niche. This means showcasing your knowledge and expertise in removing the pain your clients experience. Doing so separates you from the pack and makes you appear to be the authority in your area. By attracting prospects in their research phase and building a positive connection with them, you will create a constant flow of ready-to-buy prospects as they move into the 3% category. Moreover, when these prospects are ready to buy, they are more likely to see you as the obvious choice.