The Razor's Edge - Hosted by Barbara Giamanco


All things sales, social selling, marketing and doing business in a digitally disrupted world.


The Razor's Edge - Hosted by Barbara Giamanco navigateright Episode

Stop Selling & Start Leading with Jim Kouzes, Barry Posner and Deb Calvert

Much has changed in the world of sales, and perhaps nothing has done more to affect sales effectiveness than changed buyer behavior and expectations. Stop Selling & Start Leading, a new book from authors Jim Kouzes, Barry Posner and Deb Calvert, combines proven buyer research with time-tested leadership strategies to help salespeople make extraordinary sales.

You might be thinking that there are thousands of books on sales and selling, so how is this book different? Good question. The answer is that unlike so many sales books that are based on either theory or focused on the tactics related to specific elements of selling (think prospecting), Stop Selling & Start Leading is a buyer-based behavioral blueprint of actionable steps that sellers can take to be far more successful throughout the entire sales process.

As you’ll learn from the buyer research we discuss during the interview, buyers have no interest in working with sellers who continue to pitch product features and insist on doing demos. Faced with increasing challenges to help their organizations remain relevant, competitive and innovative, buyers want to work with salespeople who can lead them to the right solution to their biggest problems.

When sellers stop pushing people to buy before they’re ready, and they start guiding buyers by transforming “values into actions, visions into realities, obstacles into innovations, separateness into solidarity and risks into rewards”, everybody wins.

As the title suggests, Stop Selling & Start Leading is a book about sales but it is also a book about leadership, which the authors say is not a “formal” position and is accessible to anyone. In the interview, you’ll hear why leading is so important in how we sell today.

As the authors conducted the buyer research for the book, they identified 5 preferences that confirmed that sellers would be far more successful if they dropped traditional selling behaviors (think stereotypical pushy, aggressive, pitchy, focused on themselves) and replaced those behaviors with the behaviors of top leaders. Learn what those preferences are.

Buyers were asked to name the one characteristic they felt was overwhelmingly lacking in sellers. In the interview, Deb talked about two of them. One of them was brought up frequently, and though it may be more well known to sellers, it continues to be a problem none the less. Buyers, frankly, are fed up with sellers who do not follow up or follow through on their commitments. This lack of follow-through leads to the inability to build the kind of trusting relationship necessary for success when selling products and services. Listen to the interview to hear about the second characteristic that buyers felt was lacking. What they said may surprise you.

Barry and Jim have conducted well known, highly respected leadership research in every industry and discipline, which resulted in the framework they call The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®. During the interview, learn more about the research behind these Five Practices.

To be more effective in working with buyers, learn how applying these Five Practices is the key.

In the final chapter, Jim, Barry, and Deb say that leadership is everyone’s business and that to be a leader is a choice. I asked each of them to tell me why it was important for them to close the book with this message.

Learn more about the book. Enjoy the interview!

About the Authors:

Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner have been working together for more than thirty years, studying leaders, researching leadership, conducting leadership development seminars, and serving as leaders themselves in various capacities. Their book, The Leadership Challenge, now in its sixth edition, has won numerous awards and sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide and is available in twenty-two languages. Jim and Barry have also co-authored many other best-selling and award-winning leadership books.

Deb Calvert is the president and founder of People First Productivity Solutions, a consulting and training firm that builds organizational strength by putting people first. Deb's work includes leadership program design and facilitation, strategic planning with executive teams, team effectiveness work, and sales productivity solutions. Deb is a Certified Master of The Leadership Challenge® and is certified as an Executive Coach by the Center for Executive Coaching and the International Coaching Federation. Deb's first book, also based on buyer research, was the bestseller DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected, named by HubSpot as one of the "Top 20 Most Highly-Rated Sales Books of All Time."

Connect with Deb on LinkedIn