Understand the difference between noble purpose sellers and quota sellers
- What makes the top tier successful? It's the question every sales executive wants to know. What differentiates those top performing salespeople? And if you're a salesperson, it's probably what you want to know. What can I do to become one of those top performers? Well, I want to tell you a story about when I first discovered the role that purpose plays in driving sales performance. As a consultant, one of my clients hired me many years ago to assess their sales team.
Now, this was a big bio-tech company, and they wanted my team and I to work with their salespeople and figure out what makes the top performers better than everyone else. And so we went out in the field, and we worked with all their people. Now, this was a science based company, so this was a blind study. What that means is we didn't know who the top performers were and who the merely good performers were. We were near the end of the study and I was with the representative in Phoenix, Arizona. I was about to get out of her car.
We'd spent two days working together, and I was still trying to get to the bottom of what is that thing that makes the top performers so special. What makes them so different? And I was with this one sales representative about to get out of her car, and I realized I had about a minute left. So, I asked her a question that I hadn't asked anyone else. I said, "What do you think about when you go on sales calls?", and I will never forget her answer. She looked around the car, and she said, "Well, I don't tell this to many people." I thought, "Oh my goodness, this is going to be very good," and she said, "I always think about this one patient." She said, "One day, I was out of my territory.
"I was standing in one of the doctor's offices "waiting to speak to the doctor. "I was wearing my suit and a name badge, "and this little old lady came up to me, "tapped me on the shoulder, "and said, 'Excuse me miss, are you the representative "for this drug?'." She said, "I looked at her and said, 'Yes ma'am, I am.'" She said, "The little old lady looked up at me and said, "'Well, I want to thank you. "I want to thank you for giving me my life back "because prior to taking this, I couldn't go anywhere "and I couldn't do anything. "Now, I can get on a plane. "I can fly across the country.
"I can visit my grandkids and get down on the floor "and play with them.'" And, as the sales representative is telling me this story, she's getting emotional, and she said, "That's my purpose. "That's why I do that job. "I think about that grandmother every single day. "Say it's a rainy Friday afternoon. "Other sales reps go home. "I don't. "I think about her." So, I went back to my interviews, I looked across everyone I'd talked to, and I found five representatives who had alluded to this greater sense of purpose.
The pharmaceutical company asked us, "Who do you think our top people are?" I said, "I think it's these five,". I was 100 percent right, and that one representative who had spoken in such emotionally engaging terms about the grandmother was the number one representative in the country for three years in a row. Well, since that time, I've studied this across multiple industries, and including multiple countries. The data could not be more clear. Salespeople who focus on their customer, who think about customer impact, who want to make a difference in their customer's lives, outperform the salespeople who are just focused on quotas.
But, there's a couple obstacles to being that kind of salesperson. Most businesses are numbers driven. Most bosses are numbers driven. Now, numbers matter. I'm a salesperson true and true, and so I know how much numbers matter. You need to measure yourself against numbers and assess yourself against them. You need to go for big numbers, but you always have to understand that those numbers are your report card. They are a reflection of how much value you are providing your customers.
Numbers are the narrative of business, but the customer is who you need to carry in your heart. You know, when you start in sales, there's a lot of information coming at you really fast, and a lot of companies tend to focus on product knowledge. It is absolutely critical that you have good product knowledge. Product knowledge will make you an average salesperson. If you have disciplined sales practices around pre-call planning and territory management, that will make you a good salesperson. But it's that laser-like focus, that higher purpose, that inner drive to improve the lives of your customers, that will actually make you great.
And so there are three things, if you wanna have that noble purpose, there are three things that you need to know about every customer you call on. You need to have an in depth knowledge about their organizational goals. What is this organization trying to accomplish? If it's a business, if it's a doctor's practice, if it's a restaurant, what are their goals? Then, you need to know the job goals of your individual buyer, and you also need to know their personal aspirations. Are they trying to get promoted? Do they want to fly under the radar? You know, sometimes people ask me, "Well, what do I do if my boss is just a numbers person "and they don't focus on this higher purpose?" Well, the thing I'll tell you is don't be too judgmental.
Numbers and noble purpose, they go together. And if your boss is the kind of person who talks mostly about numbers, he or she didn't get to where they are because they ignored customers. You see, numbers are the traditional narrative of business, but that leads me to the second thing I'll tell you. Is that because you're the one who talks to customers every day, you can be the one who brings customer impact into the conversation. So, the next times your boss talks about sales numbers and you're looking at some spreadsheet, here's what you can say.
"Wow, it is so exciting to look at these numbers. "They represent 45 customers, "and let me tell you a story about one of mine."
In this course, Lisa outlines key techniques to find and leverage your "noble purpose" and connect with customers on a deeper level. Learn the three key elements of a great call opening, when and when not to use a pitch deck, and the secrets to creating a sales process that can flex with different customer types. Last, she provides advice to develop yourself professionally, such as how to talk to senior leaders and position yourself as a strategy partner instead of a pitchman, when and how to take your boss on a sales call, and how to network effectively. Use these tips to close bigger, close faster, and make your work more meaningful.
- Selling with noble purpose
- Sales as a fast track to leadership
- Making the first call
- Avoiding sounding scripted
- Recovering from a bad call
- Working with your bosses and senior leaders
- Networking and being coachable