• February 2014

The Art of the Deal: What's Your Higher Purpose?

Each February, our cover story focuses on a different aspect of love as it relates to business. This year we tackle a topic that’s near and dear to the hearts of most entrepreneurs—closing those big deals.

Doing this well, however, requires passion and purpose, insists our Entrepreneur of the Month, Lisa Earle McLeod, author of “Selling With Noble Purpose”: “Show up with the true purpose of improving lives for others,” she says. “You’re going to make more money, and you’re going to be happier. And so will everyone around you.” Scroll down for our Q&A.

Also in this issue:

  • Sales expert David Mattson knows purpose matters. The CEO and president of Sandler Training also knows most sales people have a bad reputation. Learn why this reluctant salesman changed his tune, and how you can use his insights to ratchet up your bottom line in our Sales column.
  • Fine artist Felipe Galindo (aka “Feggo”) proves why there’s no reason to be a starving artist. He gives us the inside scoop into his highly successful career as a top NYC cartoonist. And take a tip from this month’s “Networking wisely” column, because the reason we met Feggo was through his business-savvy wife and fellow NYC artist, Andrea Arroyo, who is also featured in this month’s Inkandescent Radio column. You just never know whom you are going to meet when you network well!

We leave you this month with two parting thoughts on the truth about sales.

The first comes from Sandler Training’s David Mattson: A big reason people often don’t like doing sales is that salespeople earned some unfortunate adjectives, like slimy and pushy. The best way to regain confidence is to reverse the stereotypes by not pushing your message or product, but viewing your role as a problem-solver.

Ad exec Roy Spence adds: To grow your business, look to your organization’s heritage and the reasons why it was founded. Ask yourself: Why you do what you do? Why does your organization matter? What are you passionate about? What can you be best at in the world—something that your competitors can’t? Then talk to your employees, your customers, and your heart. If you listen carefully, you will find your organization’s purpose—and close those important deals.

Here’s to listening well, finding our purpose, and growing our businesses in exponential ways in 2014. — Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, Be Inkandescent • Illustrations by Michael Gibbs

Are You Ready to Drive Revenue — and Do Work That Makes You Proud?

ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH: FEBRUARY 2014

LISA EARLE McLEOD, ON SELLING WITH NOBLE PURPOSE

By Hope Katz Gibbs, Publisher and founder
Be Inkandescent mag.
and Inkandescent PR

What does it mean to sell with noble purpose? That’s the question that author Lisa Earle McLeod answers in her book by the same title, which encourages business leaders to drive revenue by doing work that makes them proud.

“Most people believe that money is the primary motivator for top salespeople, and that doing good by the world runs a distant second. That belief is wrong.”

McLeod got the idea for her book in 2006, when she was part of a consulting team that was conducting a six-months-long, double-blind study of the sales force of a large biotech firm.

“We were asked to determine which behaviors separated the top salespeople from the average ones,” McLeod explains. “In the end, our research revealed something no one expected—the top performers all had a far more pronounced sense of purpose than their average counterparts did. The salespeople who sold with noble purpose—who truly wanted to make a difference to customers—consistently outsold the salespeople who were focused just on meeting sales goals.”

Does your sales team have noble purpose? Scroll down to learn more in our Q&A with Lisa Earle McLeod.

Be Inkandescent: You explain in the book that you had your “aha! moment” about selling with noble purpose during a random curbside conversation at the Phoenix airport.

Lisa Earle McLeod: I did, and it was startling. As I said, we had just conducted a double-blind study, meaning my team and I didn’t know who the top performers were, or who the average performers were. Near the end of the study, I was finishing a two-day ride along with a sales rep. As she dropped me off at the airport, I asked her a question I hadn’t asked the other reps: “What do you think about when you go on sales calls? What’s going on in your head?”

“I don’t tell this to many people,” she confessed, looking around the car as though someone was going to hear her secret. “When I go on sales calls, I always think about this particular patient who came up to me one day during a call on a doctor’s office. I was standing in the hallway talking to one of the doctors. I was wearing my company name badge, so I stood out. All of a sudden, this elderly woman taps me on the shoulder.

“‘Excuse me, Miss,’ she said. ‘Are you from the company that makes drug X?’

“‘Yes, ma’am,’ I answered.

“‘I just want to thank you,’ she said. ‘Before my doctor prescribed your drug, I barely had enough energy to leave the house. But now I can visit my grandkids; I can get down on the floor to play with them. I can travel. So thank you. You gave me back my life.’”

The sales rep told me, “I think about that woman every day. If it’s 4:30 on a rainy Friday afternoon, other sales reps go home. I don’t. I make the extra sales call because I know I’m not just pitching a product. I’m saving people’s lives. That grandmother is my higher purpose.”

Sitting in that blistering Phoenix heat, I realized she had said something incredibly important. I thought about that conversation during the entire flight back to Atlanta. Our consulting team had spent months shadowing salespeople all over the country. We’d conducted in-depth interviews and analyzed every aspect of the sales calls. But this was the first time anyone had spoken so openly and dramatically about their mindset.

Be Inkandescent: Did you really find that the differentiator between top and average performers was their sense of purpose?

Lisa Earle McLeod: Believe it or not, we did. It just makes sense. To confirm my instincts, I went back to the transcripts of the interviews looking for purpose, and I actually didn’t see it at first. But then I looked closer—and there it was, in the rep who said, “My dad was a doctor. Doctors have an even harder job than most people realize. I want to make it easier for them.” At the end of project, the client asked us to look across all the reps and identify who we thought were the top performers. It was a double-blind study, so the other consultants and I didn’t know who was at the top and who was just average when reviewing the interviews. I found seven reps who had that sense of purpose when reviewing the interviews. I told the client, “I think these seven are top-performing salespeople.” I was 100 percent right.

Be Inkandescent: You cite a study revealing that those who center on improving people’s lives have a growth rate triple that of competitors. Why?

Lisa Earle McLeod: When you have a strong sense of purpose, beyond making money, it changes the way you approach customers. Instead of customers being just a target, your job is to help them. Many companies say that they do this, but in reality it’s often just lip service. When you look at the way organizations talk about customers, they’re viewed as just number and targets. The primary purpose of the business is to make money. Customers can tell the difference between someone who wants “to close them” versus someone who truly wants to help them. It all starts with the purpose.

Be Inkandescent: When it comes to being noble, does that mean creating world peace—or can it be something slightly less revolutionary?

Lisa Earle McLeod: I believe that making a living for your family and improving life for your customers is a noble endeavor. In both cases, it’s about doing something outside of yourself. It’s been said that small-business owners are the backbone of our economy, but they’re also the backbone of our communities. My father once told me that when you become someone’s boss, you become the second most important person in their life. After your spouse, your boss has the most power to make your life miserable or to make it wonderful. Being a good boss is a noble endeavor. Likewise, if you show up every day as the person who is there to squeeze your customers and employees for all they’re worth, your business is going to suffer, and you’ll find yourself lonely and unhappy. But show up with the true purpose of improving lives for others—you’re going to make more money, and you’re going to be happier. And so will everyone around you.

What can a lack of purpose cost your sales force? Click here.

What Can Lack of Purpose Cost a Sales Force? Lisa Earle McLeod Explains

“Lack of purpose erodes employee morale and customer trust,” explains entrepreneur and sales expert Lisa Earle McLeod, our February 2014 Entrepreneur of the Month.

“When the customer becomes nothing more than a number to you, you become nothing more than a number to the customer—and your entire organization suffers,” adds the author of “Selling With Noble Purpose,” noting that the problem doesn’t stop there.

It has a ripple effect on salespeople, who:

  • Start thinking only about the short-term.
  • Fail to understand the customer’s environment.
  • Cannot connect the dots between their products and the customers’ goals.

Then the problem escalates, McLeod observes:

  • Customers view you as a commodity.
  • You have little or no collaboration with them.
  • Customers place undue emphasis on minor problems.
  • Customer “churn” increases.
  • Contracts are constantly in jeopardy over small dollar amounts.
  • Salespeople’s default response is to lower the price.
  • The rest of the organization perceives the sales force negatively.
  • There is little or no product innovation.
  • Sales force turnover increases.
  • Salespeople try to game the comp plan.
  • Top performers become mid-level performers.
  • Salespeople view their fellow salespeople as competitors.
  • Sales force morale declines.

What is the solution?

To combat those possibilities, McLeod encourages organizations to understand, embrace, and leverage their purpose because:

  • It works. The data clearly demonstrate that organizations with a noble purpose make more money.
  • It helps. This is the key to attracting and retaining higher-performing employees.
  • It matters. People want their lives and their work to count for something.

Scroll down for more information about how you can start “Selling With Noble Purpose,” from Lisa Earle McLeod.

Be Inkandescent: In your book, you talk about the dirty little secret of sales training. Explain that idea.

Lisa Earle McLeod: Most sales training is a waste of money. Companies spend millions teaching their salespeople how to better connect with customers, but then every single day, leaders only talk about sales targets. The internal conversation becomes the external conversation. If you treat your customers like a number, they’ll return the favor.

Be Inkandescent: The back of your book is filled with brass-tacks advice, which is incredibly useful. Can you give us some insights?

Lisa Earle McLeod: Most companies start their proposals with benefits, or worse, product features. We train our clients to start proposals with the client objectives, and then demonstrate how you’re going to help meet them. Not in a generic way, but in a very specific way at the front of the proposal or presentation. In terms of prep, the number one thing you should be thinking about—whether it’s 10 hours, 10 minutes, or 10 seconds before the sales call—is, “How will this customer be different as a result of doing business with us.”

Be Inkandescent: How can you use your noble sales purpose in negotiations?

Lisa Earle McLeod: Most negotiations start from the place of what you want. This is actually a terrible starting place, because it puts you and the other side on the defensive. A better starting place is what you want to accomplish. A sales person might be tempted to say, “I want to close this deal,” but again, that’s about you, not the customer. Instead, start with your noble sales purpose. With pricing issues, you can say, “If we cut the price, we are going to have to compromise safety, or potential reliability, and we’ve agreed that those are our primary goals.” A noble sales purpose doesn’t make pricing issues go away, it provides a framework for you to see pricing in the context of value.

Be Inkandescent: Once you embrace these ideas, how can you keep your noble sales purpose from being just a tagline?

Lisa Earle McLeod: It’s tempting to turn it into something that marketing talks about. But a noble sales purpose is supposed to be something that the sales force does.

For example, the noble sales purpose of one of our client is, “We bring health and hope into the lives of patients.” It would be easy just to put that on the sales collaterals and a signature line, and forget it. But then they’d be like every other company.

Instead, they ask themselves before each sales call, “How can we bring health and hope today into the lives of the patients at this practice?” They also ask the question in strategy meetings, or when facing important decisions, such as, “What will help us bring more health and hope into the lives of more patients?” A tagline is something you say; a noble sales purpose is something you do.

Learn more at www.lisaearlemcleod.com.

Persist and persevere, and you will find most things that are attainable, possible.”

– Lord Chesterfield

The best reason to start an organization is to create a product or service to make the world a better place.”

– Guy Kawasaki

Never never never never give up.”

– Winston Churchill

No matter how difficult and painful it may be, nothing sounds as good to the soul as the truth.”

– Martha Beck, from "Leaving the Saints"

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

– Charles Darwin

Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together.”

– Woodrow Wilson

If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is compromise.”

– Robert Fritz

Do not say, ‘why were the former days better than these,’ for it is not from wisdom that you ask this.”

– Ecclesiastes, 7:10

Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.”

– Albert Einstein

The quality of your life is directly related to the amount of uncertainty you can comfortably live with.”

– Tony Robbins

If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it, I know I can achieve it.”

– Jesse Jackson

You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing.”

– Maya Angelou

Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Remove those ‘I want you to like me’ stickers from your forehead
and, instead, place them where they truly will do the most good—on your mirror.”

– Susan Jeffers

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.”

– Leo Jozef Suenens

‎Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”

– Booker T. Washington

The awakening to the mystery of life is a revolutionary event; in it an old world is destroyed so that a new and better one may take its place.”

– J.J. Van Der Leeuw, The Conquest of Illusion

Letting go of expectations is a ticket to peace. It allows us to ride over every crisis—small or large—like a beach ball on water.”

– Martha Beck

‎No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.”

– Charles Dickens

We are all of us born with a letter inside us, and that only if we are true to ourselves, may we be allowed to read it before we die.”

– Douglas Coupland

No longer talk at all about the kind of man a good man ought to be, but be such.”

– Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

Think of yourself as on the threshold of unparalleled success. A whole, clear, glorious life lies before you. Achieve! Achieve!”

– Andrew Carnegie

If people like you they’ll listen to you; if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.”

– Zig Ziglar

There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

– JFK

Look at everything as though you were
seeing it either for the first or last time.
Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.”

– Betty Smith

By your stumbling the world is perfected.”

– Sri Aurobindo

You take your life in your own hands, and what happens?
 A terrible thing: no one to blame.”

– Erica Jong

A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges.”

– Carlos Castaneda

That which grows fast withers as rapidly; that which grows slowly endures.”

– J.G. Holland, novelist

There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…”

– John Lennon

The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. The greatest failure is to not try.”

– Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies

I don’t do very well without fear. There needs to be a part of me saying, ‘That’s going to fail,’ so I can prove myself wrong.”

– Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe

They who give have all things. They who withhold have nothing.”

– Hindu Proverb

A person who learns to juggle six balls will be more skilled than the person who never tries to juggle more than three.”

– Marilyn vos Savant

Find somebody to be successful for. Raise their hopes. Think of their needs.”

– Barack Obama

Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.”

– Corita Kent

Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask, and that’s what separates the people who do things from the people who just dream about them.”

– Steve Jobs

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Women once had the goal of being Superwoman; I think most of us now simply strive to have a super day.”

– Author, Activist Lee Woodruff

The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.”

– Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., U.S. Supreme Court justice

Don’t wait for someone else to lead you to your right life; that privilege—and responsibility—is yours alone.”

– Martha Beck

Inspiration and genius — one and the same.”

– Victor Hugo

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

What is the point of having free will if one cannot occasionally spit in the eye of destiny?”

– Jim Butcher, White Night

I have spent a good part of my life convincing people that a blank sheet of paper is the greatest opportunity in the world, and not frightening at all.”

– Marty Skler, executive vp, Walt Disney Imagineering

A man without a smiling face
 should not open a shop.”

– Chinese Proverb

You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough.”

– Mae West

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

– Leonard Cohen

The only way to compel men to speak good of us is to do it.”

– Voltaire

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

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