Summary of Stop Selling and Start Leading

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  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


Business-to-business (B2B) selling can be an uphill fight. Many buyers automatically assume that all salespeople will fulfill a negative stereotype of being high-pressure, manipulative know-it-alls. Buyers are wary of hucksters. The solution? B2B salespeople must stop acting like sellers and start acting like leaders. Moreover, they must actually become leaders. Authors and sales experts James Kouzes, Barry Posner and Deb Calvert base their guidance on research they conducted with B2B buyers. The primary finding is that these decision makers prefer to buy from salespeople who exhibit leadership characteristics and behaviors. Salespeople confirm they do best when they perform as leaders. Kouzes, Posner and Calvert’s instructive, original and well-documented manual shows all B2B salespeople – with any level of experience – how to make that crucial, career-transforming transition.

About the Authors

James Kouzes is the Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership for the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University, where leadership professor Barry Posner holds the Accolti Chair. Deb Calvert is the president and founder of People First Productivity Solutions.



B2B Buyers Want to Buy from Leaders

All business-to-business salespeople need to act like leaders. This shouldn’t be a difficult transition. Salespeople – in fact, anyone – can readily develop leadership skills. When B2B salespeople act like leaders, they elevate all aspects of selling and transform stressful sales transactions into enjoyable purchasing experiences for everyone.

When B2B salespeople consistently behave like leaders, buyers eventually – usually sooner rather than later – shelve their natural suspicions and cynicism about someone who is trying to sell to them. As B2B buyers adjust their thinking, they grow ready for salespeople-leaders to guide them to make smart purchase decisions. B2B salespeople who are leaders can become the buyers’ trusted guides and external partners.

Changing buyers’ attitudes – helping them see you as a leader and not as a deal-seeking salesperson – doesn’t have to be a grim exercise. If buyers trust you and believe you are credible, they’ll want you to lead. It’s you – and not the buyer – who has the necessary expertise in your ...

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