Fredrik Eklund is the quirky, high-kicking and outrageously successful star of Bravo’s hit television show, Million Dollar Listing New York.
In a few short years, this Swedish transplant grew from dirt-poor to holding the prestigious and lucrative honor as the #1 real estate agent in the most competitive sales market in the world – New York City. If anyone can sell, it’s Fredrik Eklund.
And let’s face it – leadership is sales. It is the ability to influence people to follow you and buy into your vision.
In his new book, The Sell: Secrets of Selling Anything to Anyone, Eklund dishes on his sales secrets but maybe more importantly, he also has a great deal to say about being a leader.
People Want To Work For Someone They Like
Leadership is not just about telling people what to do. Business is all about people. If people like you and respect you, they will follow. And if they don’t, you’re going to have an almost insurmountable obstacle to overcome. Your job is to make your staff like and respect you.
Cut the Negativity
Eklund thanks his grandmother for the best advice he’s ever heard,
It’s hard to translate into English, but she told me, “If you want to fly like a bird you have to cut off the poop that weighs you down.” That means you cannot be around negativity. You cannot let the naysayers win. You have to cut them from your life and soar up into the sky.
Part of being a leader is making the hard choices to cut all negativity out of your life and the life of your teammates.
Embrace Your Brand
Whether you are leading a platoon of Marines or a gaggle of Girl Scouts, you are your brand and your product. Don’t be afraid to be you. Nobody likes a boring and timid you. Be outrageously competent, but allow your personality, and yes, quirkiness to shine through.
Have your own trademark. Fredrik has his high-kick and “wheee!” Donald Trump has the bad hair. Tim Tebow has the kneel. People like to follow a brand. What will you do to reflect the inner you and make yourself memorable? What will you do to make sure your team reflects your brand?
Dress the Part
It is a fact of life – appearances matter. If you look amazing and put together, people will be more likely to believe you are skilled, intelligent and capable. And if you don’t, well, they will wonder what else you let slip. Eklund recommends all his new brokers set aside 10% of their paycheck to buy clothing. He says you do not need a $43,000 Brioni suit, just buy good clothing and find a great tailor. Also, don’t be boring – choose clothing that will make a splash.
Train Like a Prize Fighter
Eklund says he reached a point where his excessive work and lifestyle caused him to be sick and overweight. He realized that if he didn’t make health and vitality a priority he could never be the best. Today, he works out daily and lives on protein shakes, green tea matcha and Monster Sushi on 23rd Street. Leaders realize they have to be at the top of their game physically in order to lead and influence.
Make Work Fun and Exciting
This is the old leadership question, “Should I be nice or strict?”
Eklund says when he first started leading people he thought he needed to act strict, old and boring. He assumed if he was too much fun he wouldn’t be taken seriously. Now, he firmly believes leaders make the workplace fun and always use the carrot:
- Be the team mascot. Let your actions show your work is fun.
- Consider your team-members as a happy family based on love.
- Treat people like people, not just cogs in a wheel.
- Go out for drinks at least once a month.
- Set up prizes, bonuses, commissions and trips.
- Surprise with unsuspected prizes and treats.
- Notice and appreciate each and every team-member.
- Have office treats.
- Create a shared dream (Be clear where you are going and what is to be accomplished).
- Find out what it takes to get your team-members emotionally invested.
- Recognize and promote your employee’s greatest gifts.
Delegate: Let Your Employees Be Headhunters
Rather than spend hours looking for and interviewing potential employees, Eklund gives a finder’s fee to his people. He tells his current employees to find the perfect hire and he will give 10% of the newly hired person’s salary as a finder’s fee. Since the bonus depends upon how much the new person hired produces, you get automatic training from your employees. This also causes your employees to brag on you and a new-hire will be much more likely to believe in your greatness if the rumor is started by someone other than you.
Michelle Glover is the founder and CEO of BusinessWomenExperts.com.
Originally published HERE on LinkedIn.com.