I wonder about it sometimes, and realize many people may not even recognize one. To illustrate, let me ask you if you have seen the movie or read the book “The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy” by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi. In it, you may have noticed a marvelous relationship between a commoner, Lionel Logue and King Albert Frederick Arthur George. It makes for a fascinating story, and would be a helpful guide to recognize a great salesperson.
At first glance, you might see the story as a King with a speech problem, and Lionel is a speech coach, but he’s much more than that. He demonstrates what a great salesperson does. He cuts through the baloney.
In it, Lionel serves the stammering monarch as his speech counselor. You will notice the hallmarks of a great salesperson, reflected in the following examples.
Be A Trusted Advisor
Lionel proves himself the trusted advisor. In a poignant scene, his wife is dumbfounded, meeting the king and queen in her dining room. King Albert had been a speech coaching client of his for some time and he did not reveal even to his wife that the monarch was a client.
Be An Expert In Something
Lionel establishes himself as an expert with practical knowledge in the field of speech therapy, valuable to the King and Country. He easily could have been an actor, but chose to give up that profession, positioning himself for great impact on friends, family, and clients who rely on him.
Lionel learns from personal experience. He commits to never ending self improvement, shown when you hear his fiery response in Westminster Abby to King Albert about his credentials and experience. His personal relationship trumps an officially credentialed referral from the Arch Bishop.
Ask For The Business
Lionel closed the sale, setting up terms of engagement from the very first meeting. We see evidence of the closed sale, when the King drops a schilling with him for an earlier promise made.
Have A Backbone
Lionel remains steadfast in his belief in the face of challenges. During all the times the King quits, he stands ready and even comes back to try and revive the faltered progress.
Be A Friend First
Lionel makes a friend first, demonstrates respect, positions himself as a peer in the relationship, shown with his requests to use first names. And when the King accomplishes a major speech milestone, he recognizes the King’s royal status.
Lionel uses a systematic and tested approach. Even when challenged on the location to hold the therapy training sessions, he maintains a resolve to host the meetings in his studio.
Lionel forms strong partnerships, based on a referral in his well-connected network. The queen finds him after other royal family sanctioned speech therapists failed. He nurtures the success of his client, the King with full support and teamwork from the queen.
Lionel provides value, preparing the King to publicly lead England against the forces of Nazi Germany. His client and friend the King successfully and confidently addresses the public at a crucial time in England’s history, stemming doubts among the population about his leadership, winning the favor of the royal family, getting hugs from his children. His client’s self esteem soars, resulting from the success of their preparations.
Lionel is authentic, never insincere in all his communications with others. You see him brimming full of humble pride and confidence at the film’s climax, but he’s not boastful at the conclusion of the speech.
I became engrossed in the characters of “The King’s Speech”, and made it a subject in a mini-study of professional sales and coaching. It serves as a model to me to strive to internalize these characteristics. I’m curious, do you have figures in your life who impact you in a similar manner as Lionel Logue does for me? How do you see this story? Did you have a similar or different experience?