Heartfelt Leadership: The Genuine Path to Client Retention and Revenue Growth.Nov 13, 2023
A heart-centered leadership approach helps you build better connections with your salespeople and your clients. This approach is also a fantastic way to take on the unique challenges of today’s social and business climate.
To quote Mac Anderson,
"Great leadership usually starts with a willing heart, a positive attitude, and a desire to make a difference."
"CEOs of the future lead with heart" as quoted in a recent Korn Ferry study.
They interviewed more than 100 board directors and CEOs about leadership characteristics necessary for success.
They said: “The CEO of the future must be radically human, focusing on leading with authenticity, humanity and heart.”
I believe heartfelt leadership is good for business. This has a monumental impact to client retention which directly ties to revenue growth.
According to a Catalyst research study, "The Power of Empathy in Times of Crisis and Beyond",
"Leaders who practice empathy have been shown to have a more engaged and higher-performing team, as well as a more profitable business overall."
Heartfelt leadership creates a positive ripple effect extending from the internal workings of a company to its external relationships with clients.
This style of leadership establishes a foundation for trust, loyalty, and collaboration, all of which are key components for sustained revenue growth.
Leaders who are values-driven, transparent, compassionate, human, and who recognize people as unique individuals, have a team that simply performs better.
They are more engaged, less likely to leave, and more loyal.
Companies that are run by these leaders benefit from higher client satisfaction, a better bottom line, more profits, and create long term sales sustainability.
My question to CEOs, Presidents, and leaders out there...
What type of a relationship do you have with your salespeople?
I ask because your salespeople are the revenue generating arm of your company.
Your relationship with them has a dramatic impact to your client retention, profitability and long-term sales sustainability.
They way in which senior leadership interacts with their sales teams' will have an adverse and direct effect on the relationships they foster with their clients.
Healthy relationships involve trust, honesty, respect and open communication.
Reflect upon the words, trust, honesty, respect and open communication, now ask yourself... would my salespeople use those words about me when describing our relationship?
According to global management consulting firm Bain & Company,
"A 5% increase in customer retention can produce more than a 25% increase in profits."
Let's rephrase this quote a bit and tie it directly into your business...
Could a 5% increase in the relational health with your salespeople, produce a 25% increase in your profits?
If you want to build a long-lasting and sustainable business, you must focus on building authentic and meaningful relationships with your salespeople.
HEARTFELT LEADERS DO THE WORK
I love this quote by Jesse Metcalfe,
"There's no perfect relationship. All relationships are work. If you put in the work, you'll reap the rewards."
For your client relationships to succeed, you must be prepared and willing to do the work.
Relationships require work, attention, patience (tons of it) and open mindedness.
Are you willing to do the work?
Here are a few areas you can work on to build upon, strengthen and sustain your client relationships.
- Authenticity & Transparency - These two things put your clients at ease. A quote from Selling from the Heart, "When you're your authentic self you have no competition." Does your walk match the talk with your client relationships? The same can be said for how you interact with your salespeople. Are you being congruent?
- Inspiration - Great leaders inspire and influence. Are you creating inspirational experiences for your clients? How are you showing up for your clients? How are you showing up for your salespeople?
- Value - You've all heard the age old saying, "Value is in the eye of the beholder" Do you understand what your clients value? What about what your salespeople value? What you know is a critical component of healthy relationships. Are you consistently, proactively and routinely educating your salespeople to help them do better business? Why? Because this has a direct tie in to how they interact, inspire an influence client growth.
If you're looking to increase your sales and create long-term relational sustainability, then I encourage you to capture the hearts and minds of your salespeople.
"People don’t care what you know until they know that you care."
HEARTFELT LEADERS CARE
In a sales world which is sorely lacking trust and credibility, I would like for all of you to think about your clients and yes, your salespeople, what could be running through their minds, "Can I trust you?", "Are you trustworthy?" or "Can I open up to you?"
Hear me out on this one... lack of trust no repeatable sales. Lack of trust and you have a dysfunctional and broken sales department.
Deliver on the promises you've made, not only to your clients but your salespeople. No excuses and no lip service... just care. Do what you say you're going to do.
How do you feel when someone breaks a promise to you? Now go ahead and place yourself in your client's shoes, now in your sales teams' shoes... How do you think they feel?
What do you think starts to happen to the relationship?
Keep your word. Don't ever waiver from it. Care enough about yourself and commit to doing what you say you're going to do.
Mean What You Say, Do What You Say.
HEARTFELT LEADERS ARE INTENTIONAL
When it comes to being intentional, Douglas MacArthur once said,
"A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent."
Year after year, the nursing profession ranks at the top of the trust meter.
Why is this? They lead with empathy, and they truly care about their patients.
Digging a bit into the Nursing profession, I came across the concept Intentional Caring.
Intentional caring was coined by Jean Watson. She is an American nurse theorist and nursing professor who is best known for her theory of human caring. She is also the founder of the Watson Caring Science Institute.
The nursing profession has embraced the theory of Jean Watson’s Caring Science. Caring Science is about embracing the positive energy that flows from an integrated mind, body and spirit and is mutually rewarding to both the patient and the nurse.
She believes nurses are optimally positioned to be the heart of healing. By actively engaging in caring through authentic presence and intentionality, nurses are equipped to be able to optimize their patient’s ability to heal from within.
Could intentional caring be the difference in building or not building genuine client relationships?
Could intentional caring be the essence of leadership and sales?
Could this create the healthy foundation for long term sales sustainability?
Imagine for a moment how intentional caring could play out with your clients and your salespeople...
- Become interested in their ideas and pursuits.
- Become an advocate for them, promote and champion their direction of growth and interests.
- Become cooperative and flexible with your interactions.
- Become willing to let them know when they are heading in a direction that is potentially harmful to their business or themselves.
Caring is a day-to-day and moment-by-moment opportunity to create a long-lasting joy filled relationship with your clients and your salespeople.
HEARTFELT LEADERS BUILD GARDENS OF TRUST
I see a direct correlation between what it takes to grow a beautiful garden and what it takes to build trusting, sustainable relationships with your clients and your salespeople.
Growing a relationship garden involves the commitment of a shared vision, deep respect, ongoing mutual effort, and patience.
The loyalty and trust you build will continue to reward you in unexpected ways, if you fertilize your relationship garden.
“A garden requires patient labor attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.”
Liberty Hyde Bailey
Heartfelt leaders have a presence, are present and show concern, not only for their clients but for their team.
Those executives who invest in cultivating personal human connections will experience differentiated business success.
When you connect to the hearts and minds of your clients and your people, watch what starts to happen to retention, referrals and revenue.
Originally published on Larry Levine's LinkedIn.
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