• 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.

Success is the necessary misfortune of life, but it is only to the very unfortunate that it comes early.”

– Anthony Trollope

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

– Jimi Hendrix

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

– Carl Rogers

Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’”

– Brian Tracy

Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them!”

– Madam C.J. Walker

Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.”

– Basil King

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

– J.G. Holland, novelist

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

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

You often meet your fate on the road you take to avoid it.”

– Goldie Hawn

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”

– Thomas Carlyle

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

If you were independently wealthy and never had to work a day in your life, would you still choose to spend your time attempting to become a successful entrepreneur?”

– Steven Schussler

That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

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

– Debbi Fields, Mrs. Fields Cookies

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”

– Henry Miller

Traveling is one way of lengthening life, at least in appearance.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

– Nelson Mandela

My job is my hobby. I come to work to play.”

– Uli Becker, president, Reebok International

To find what you seek in the road of life, leave no stone unturned.”

– Edward Bulwer Lytton

Our deepest wishes are whispers of our authentic selves. We must learn to respect them. We must learn to listen.”

– Sarah Ban Breathnach

He who knows he has enough is rich.”

– Tao Te Ching

A man who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out.”

– Chinese Proverb

Never never never never give up.”

– Winston Churchill

It is possible to fail in many ways…while to succeed is possible only in one way.”

– Aristotle

That man is richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.”

– Henry David Thoreau

The fixity of a habit is generally in direct proportion to its absurdity.”

– Marcel Proust

We are perfectionists. We are hungry to work all the time. We are entertained by every aspect of business and we never want to stop working.”

– Suzy Welch

If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.”

– Joseph Addison

Tolerance and patience should not be read as signs of weakness. They are signs of strength.”

– The Dalai Lama

Success is about finding a livelihood that brings joy, self-sufficiency, and a sense of contributing.”

– Anita Roddick

If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

– Thomas Edison

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes.”

– Marcel Proust

You must learn to be still in the midst of activity 
and to be vibrantly alive in repose.”

– Indira Ghandi

The good ideas are all hammered out in agony by individuals, not spewed out by groups.”

– Charles Brower, Advertising Hall of Fame

We are not meant to resolve all contradictions, but to live with them and rise above them.”

– William Blake

Are you willing to help other people succeed even when it’s not a requirement of your job to be of assistance?”

– Steven Schussler

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

– Seneca

Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now.”

– Jack Kerouac

He who wants to tear down a house must be prepared to rebuild it.”

– African Proverb

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

– Booker T. Washington

You may ask me for anything you like except time.”

– Napoleon

The biggest flaw in our existing theory of capitalism lies in its misrepresentation of human nature.”

– Muhammad Yunus

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

– Magical

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

– Charles Dickens

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

– Andrew Carnegie

When I was younger I thought success was being a star, driving nice cars, having groupies. But today I think the most important thing is to live your life with integrity.

– Ellen DeGeneres

Do not be afraid of mistakes, providing you do not make the same one twice.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt

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"

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

– Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

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