This reluctant football supporter has become just a little fascinated by the leadership phenomenon that is Jürgen Klopp. Surrounded by Liverpool FC supporters at home, I’ve begun to embrace the emotions of the club’s unbelievable fans and their seemingly impossible journey to the Champions League final. Klopp’s post-match interview after LFC’s amazing comeback in the second leg semi-final against Barcelona really brought to life some of the leadership theory that informs my work practice. Here are some musings:
Research shows that the ability to accurately diagnose what the other party is ‘thinking’ in a negotiation can lead to better outcomes for both sides. Having done so, the successful salesperson adapts their own behaviour to suit the environment that they find themselves in. In a complex sale there are likely to be more people involved on both sides of the negotiation each with unique needs and drivers.
Research shows that a salesperson must be ‘market-sensing’ in order to identify key opportunities and threats and to use that knowledge to position themselves as a ‘trusted advisor’ by helping the other party to see situations from different perspectives. By preempting objections they are able to develop advocates on the client side who will help them to take control of the negotiation and enable them to establish clear next steps in order to create momentum.
There is no doubt that Theresa May has a very difficult job on her hands when the country appears so divided. A lot has been written about her leadership style and whether she is sufficiently flexible to broker a deal that is acceptable to all sides. But what if the issue is not her ability to lead but is more to do with her ability to sell? In fact, the whole Brexit process certainly fits our definition of a ‘strategic’ sale i.e. it is a complex negotiation that takes place over an extended timeframe and involves multiple stakeholders.