The Power of Selfless Service (feat. Jonathan Keyser)
When it comes to sales, most executives and entrepreneurs want instant gratification.
You don’t want the needle to move five or ten years from now, you want that ROI today. But what if slow progress leads to more growth in the long run?
What if being selfless, not ruthless, is the key to long-term success?
Jonathan Keyser is a conscious leader and entrepreneur. He’s the founder of Keyser, one of the most innovative commercial real estate firms in the country, named Top 50 most trustworthy companies by Silicon Valley Review. He’s also the bestselling author of You Don’t Have to be Ruthless to Win.
In the latest episode of The Enlightened Executive podcast, Jonathan describes his process for building trust and provides tools for practicing selfless leadership.
Selfless Service vs. Selling
Whether you’re talking to a prospective client or a new connection, on some level, there’s usually one question in the back of your mind: “How can this person help me or my business?”
Jonathan says the key to conscious leadership is to take the focus off of yourself. Instead of thinking about what you want to get out of any given situation, try to focus on how you can help the person in front of you.
Selfless service is doing everything in your power to help as many people in front of you as you can. Without worrying about how it will benefit you or your business in the long term.
At some level it sounds counterintuitive, but selfless service should come before selling. “I spend zero time selling,” Jonathan shared, “I spend that same amount of time trying to help people. And those same people then become advocates for our firm and our cause.”
“If you want to build trust with clients and create a community of advocates for your business, be a resource to others first.”
When you’re talking to clients, ask yourself:
- Who in my network can I connect this person with?
- How can I empower this person with information?
- What education or encouragement can I provide to help them on their journey?
Selfless service is a powerful way to drive trust and brand loyalty, even if it means you’re not getting an immediate return on your time investment. “It’s a relationship, not a transaction. It’s the long game, not the short game,” Jonathan shared. “I would much rather make less today—and more over the long term—and do what’s right for the client.”
How to be a Selfless Leader
As a leader, one of your biggest assets is your word. But what do you do when your actions don’t align with your word?
According to Jonathan, selfless leadership takes a willingness to be vulnerable and authentic.
“Every conversation is a chance to build trust.”
One way to build trust is by acknowledging when you drop the ball. If you forget to email or call someone after you promised you would (and we have all had that happen) your best bet is to apologize immediately to them. Let them know you care about sticking with your word and acknowledge when you drop the ball. By having awareness about your shortcomings and communicating your awareness, you’ll show your employees they can trust you to be honest and transparent.
Beyond admitting when things go wrong, make sure you are open and curious about feedback. Encourage your team members to address your blind spots.
“For me, if even 1% of that feedback is true, I want to learn from it. I want to get better at it,” Jonathan said. Being curious and open to feedback shows your team that you genuinely care about improvement. It also models a positive response to feedback, encouraging your team not to be defensive. “When you have these authentic conversations with your team, there’s less defensiveness because they know that if the situation was reversed, I’d be sitting there going, ‘Oh, interesting. Tell me more. How can I improve?’”
“When people see their leaders do certain actions that are consistent with what they tell others to do, that’s what creates trust. That’s what creates alignment. That’s what creates this desire to go all in.”
Jonathan also shares…
- Why he spends zero time selling
- His perspective on handling employee mistakes (hint: coach, don’t punish)
- Why you need a defined, actionable set of principles
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