Managers & Leaders

I’m biased when it comes to the kind of customers I want to work with. I prefer leaders to managers.

There’s nothing wrong with managers. Many of my clients are. But as I get older, and I’m almost grown up, it’s becoming more important to me “how” I work with customers. And I prefer working with leaders.

For sales purposes, it’s helpful to recognize which trait is stronger within each customer. Helps us understand and present our solution more persuasively.

Think about the types of questions you’d ask of a manager versus a leader. Talk to their dominant trait and you’ll get their attention faster and get more valuable information in return.

Gazillions of books have been written about managers and leaders. I’ve even read a few. But I can’t keep all that in my head while I’m working. So here’s a brief list I’ve come up with to identify customers by:


  • Minimize costs & risk
  • Puts results first
  • Seek command & control of employees & customers
  • Knows the rules & colors within the lines
  • Focuses on present fiscal month/quarter/year
  • Oriented towards tactics
  • Holds people accountable & delivers consequences on failure
  • Follow organization’s culture & values


  • Put people first, knows results follow
  • Articulates meaningful vision that employees & customers willingly contribute to
  • Knows the rules and gets things done inside & outside the system
  • Faces the future, empowering groups to deliver in the present
  • Willing to take educated gambles
  • Invests in higher returns (willing to spend for multiples in return)
  • Leads others to generate numbers (revenues, profits, retention, loyalty)
  • Holds people accountable & uses failure as part of learning
  • Are true to strong guiding principles all the time, especially when running against the organization’s beliefs

Can you spot the Leaders from Managers?

Technorati tags: sales, managers, leaders

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