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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Creativity in Sales Webinar hosted by Fred Diamond, Host of the Sales Game Changers Podcast, on May 29, 2020. It featured author of Selling with Noble Purpose and Leading with Noble Purpose author Lisa Earle McLeod.]
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EPISODE 243: Leading with Noble Purpose Author Lisa Earle McLeod Says Sales Leaders Should Do This to Succeed as Re-Opening Accelerates
LISA’S TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “The beauty of being in sales is you make a difference to customers every single day and you’re part of the economic engine that the country needs very desperately right now. Right now, decouple your self-esteem from your ability to hit a target. Targets matter, money matters but they can’t be the only source of your self-esteem right now. We owe it to the world to put forward right now the most emotionally engaging higher purpose, compassionate, empathetic, assertive sales teams that the world has ever seen.”
Fred Diamond: Lisa, it’s great to have you today on the Creativity in Sales webcast. You have a lot of fans here at the Institute for Excellence in Sales.
Lisa McLeod: I’m a fan, too.
Fred Diamond: [Laughs] but we’re more of a fan of you. People always ask me, “When are you bringing Lisa McLeod back and here she is right now virtually. We’ll also get her back on the big stage because you have a book launch coming up which I’m sure you’ll talk about. We’re based here in Virginia, you’re down in Georgia, thank you so much again for sharing some of your wisdom with our audience today.
Lisa McLeod: It is a pleasure to be with you as always, Fred. I want to focus my comments on two things that are of crucial importance to sales teams right now, and that is how you can be relevant to your buyers and also, there’s something underneath this that we haven’t talked about which is how you can be resilient. As salespeople, we thrive off of being in front of buyers, helping them, winning business, a lot of salespeople too are extroverts so they thrive off of that communal environment if you work on a sales floor or something like that.
Now what’s happening is it’s harder to get in front of buyers, if you do get in front of buyers you’re on a Zoom call, if you have something go badly you have to walk into your kitchen and get a cup of coffee where you’re either by yourself or your kids are going, “We don’t understand our homework” so it is a very challenging environment. Having said that, there is a subset of salespeople who are thriving in this time and that’s what I want to share with you, the things that they are doing. If you think about these two things, we want to be relevant to buyers and we want to be resilient.
I will tell you something that’s happening that is really interesting in the sales world right now and that is the COVID crisis has laid bare which salespeople and which sales teams are in it just for themselves and which ones have this true sense of noble purpose, as I call it. I’m going to ask a couple questions as we go through, the first question that I want to ask is what percent of buyers are you just getting shut down from now? What percent of buyers are you trying to outreach to and are just shutting you down?
Fred Diamond: Go to the questions panel, answer Lisa’s questions. Again, we’ll take questions throughout as well but repeat the question again, Lisa and if you have an answer just submit it via the question panel.
Lisa McLeod: I want to talk to you about this concept of noble purpose but I want to do it in the context of how to make yourself more relevant and compelling to buyers and how to improve your own resilience. I want to take you back to how I discovered this concept and it’s something that is true for the ages, but in my study of salespeople I was able to name it and it’s a concept that will enable you to be more relevant and also enjoy your job. Several years ago I was hired by a major biotech company and they wanted my firm and I to identify what was the difference in the top performers, because we all know the difference between a good salesperson and a poor salesperson. You’ve got to know your product, you’ve got to have the sales discipline, all of those things but what they wanted to identify was what is the difference in the very top performers because that’s a little harder to put your finger on. I was out, did a study and we looked at how many calls they made, all these other things, we looked across their sales team and near the end of the study I had a conversation with one representative. I didn’t know that this single conversation would wind up changing the trajectory of my life and ending up having such a big impact on the sales profession. In this conversation she described me – this was a biotech company – that the reason she did her job, her purpose was she had this image of this one particular patient, this one grandmother that she’d helped.
I told this story on your stage a couple years ago, now I’m going to tell you what happened afterwards. I had this compelling conversation with this sales rep and she says, “That’s my higher purpose, that’s why I do my job.” I’ve been in the sales business for a long time, I’ve been a sales consultant for a long time and that was the first time – this was 10 years ago – someone had shared this vivid picture of the customer as their internal driver. I go back to the other interviews, I’m looking for this and I determined at the end of this study that this vivid picture of the customer, this vivid picture of who you could help is the key to top performance. The study we did was a blind study, the company at the end said, “Who do you think our top performers are?”
I said, “I think it’s these five that have this sense of higher purpose” and I was right. Now I’ve got to set the scene for you and why this is so important for resilience and sales performance today. I go back to this biotech company and I say, “I think these five people are the top people.” They say, “You didn’t even have our sales numbers, those are the top people.” I’m sitting in this big conference room, who runs the biotech company? Scientists and MBA’s so I’m sitting in this big room with them, what do they want to know next? “How did you know?” So what do I say to a bunch of scientists and MBA’s? This is where the story goes sideways and we’ve all had this one where words are coming out of your mouth and they’re just sliding across the table. I said, “I think what it was is they had a different story in their hearts.”
Now the scientists and the MBA’s lean a little bit [laughs] and say, “Okay, she got the top five so we’re going to give her a little room here.” This is where it goes really badly. “It’s this thing, it’s about this grandmother and it’s about having the story and the picture of the patient” and blah, blah, blah. The whole thing goes south and they’re like, “There’s something there but she’s certainly not explaining it.” What I came to realize – and it took a decade of study to figure it out – is that the top performers actually do carry a different story in their heart but that there is an art and science to getting the story there and keeping the story there. What I’ve seen during this COVID crisis is prior to COVID we knew that our research showed that the top performers had this greater sense of purpose.
What we’ve seen in COVID is it’s become a lifeline to your customers and it’s a great source of resilience because those are the people that rise. What we came to notice was that it was the story and it wasn’t just this sense of ‘I make a difference’, it was very specific, this noble purpose that folks had. It was a very specific picture of the customer so the first tip that I want to give you is some of you are saying that customers are receptive and some of you are saying that they’re not. The first mental hack that I want to give you is as you think about the customers that you want to get in front of, think about them viscerally, think about their faces and think about how you could help them in a very specific way and picture the response you would get from them.
That’s your noble purpose. What that’s going to do is that’s going to unlock some really powerful endorphins and all kinds of brain chemicals are going to start to flow in your head and you are going to be able to get more creative. It’s also going to make you more resilient and this idea of, “Are we in it for the money, are we in it for the meaning?” To be honest with you, that’s been the quagmire of my own life, that’s been the thing that I struggle with. Someone once said, “If you ever want to know the issue an author struggles with, look at the title of their book and that will tell you that’s the lifelong problem that they had to solve.”
Fred Diamond: You may go into this later on but they’re asking for a couple other examples of what noble purpose might be. I don’t know if you’re going to do that later on but maybe have like one or two examples now to help them put it in context.
Lisa McLeod: You see this picture of me, I’m going to describe how 1989 Lisa figured this out. I will tell you, a lot of times people think that noble purpose is just for the people that sell life-saving drugs or people that sell face masks. What I will tell you is we’ve had customers in the concrete business, in the information systems business and in the banking business so try living your life without concrete and see how well it goes, it doesn’t. I’m going to give you some specific examples, I’m going to tell you a story and then I’m going to give you some specific examples. You don’t have to be saving people’s lives. If you are, go you, but customers have bought from you in the past. What that tells you is you’re offering made a difference. As I go through this story, I want you to think about what you sell and how it does make a difference to your customers. It may be something as simple as you help them get their work done more efficiently, that matters.
I want to tell you a little bit about this quagmire that I have between the money and the meaning. This is a picture of 1989 or 1990 Lisa. When I was in college, I worked for my college newspaper and I was in sales, I sold advertising, I worked for an independent college newspaper so we had to generate our own income with ads. At the time, the paper did about a quarter million dollars of business a year and this is in 1989 dollars. I got this job, I loved this college paper. The University of Georgia, the red and black, I loved this paper, I read it every day. For those of you on the call who are a bit younger, there were these things called newspapers, they were in these stands all over campus, you picked them up and you read them and that’s how you knew what was going on because at that point in time this hadn’t been invented.
I loved this paper and when I got a job at the paper selling ads, I was on fire because I knew if you run a pizza place, if you run an automotive shop, you’ve got to be in this paper. I was what we now refer to as a TB, a True Believer. I’m so excited, I’m out selling ads, I’m two weeks on the job and I’m like, “I have found my calling.” I didn’t even know you could go around and tell people about something you loved and get paid for it so I’m so excited. I come back to the office one day – and this is pre-CRM – and I see our boss is tracking our sales and I see this poster that you see right here. I see that they’re tracking us and if you can see, I’m not at the top. There is Scott Spencer, his bobble head mocking me telling me, “I’m better than you” and in that moment what happened to me was I went from, “I’m so excited about this and I can’t wait to share this” to a person who said, “I need to beat Scott Spencer.”
The reason I’m sharing that now is I went from, “I’m all about my customers” to, “Now I’m about me and I’m about what I need to do” and what I observed in myself – and I can see it with more clarity now that I’m older – is that when I shifted to that internal focus not only did I coarsen myself somewhat, I wasn’t as effective.
For me, it’s been this back and forth my whole life so Selling with Noble Purpose is bringing those together and I bring that up now because in a time of fear and anxiety, that’s what happens. We go to self-protection and we go to ourselves and it’s not going to make you very effective. I want to share with you some things that you can do to connect the head and the heart because if you’re in sales and you’ve been in it any length of time, your heart knows that you want to make a difference to customers. What your head is telling you right now is, “Go out and sell something, you’re going to be broke, you’re not going to be able to afford to feed your family” and you’ve got to quiet that fear monster. I talked about two things, relevant and resilient, you’ve got to set your north star to something besides money or, this one guy I talked to last week said, “You’re going to breathe quota breath all over your customers and it doesn’t smell very good” [laughs].
One of the things that we’ve seen in recent years is we have seen this shift towards a more purposeful way of doing business. The business round table last summer issued a statement that the purpose of business was not just shareholder profits but it was for customers and employees and who knew that less than a year later that would be put to the test? The question that I’m going to ask folks now is if you could rate on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being your company is very purpose-driven, you’re out there for customers – and I’m asking that at your company, not you – and 1 being what you’re hearing from your leadership is, “Close it, close it, close it, more transaction.” I want to ask that question.
Fred Diamond: Take a second and submit your rating in the question panel. We saw two quick comments, one is, “I was the Editor in Chief of my college newspaper”. We’ve got a couple 5’s coming in. Here’s the thing, we’re about 9 weeks into this pandemic situation, areas are beginning to open up. If you’re spending Friday morning at 11:00 o’clock Eastern time learning about Noble Purpose from best-selling author Lisa McLeod, you’re probably working for a company that has some degree of purpose-driven.
The other answer I have here is I do the Sales Game Changers podcast where I interview sales leaders on their career journey. We’ve done over 250 shows, Lisa, and a number of the people that I’ve interviewed are Senior VPs or General Managers of public sector markets. Again, we’re based here in Northern Virginia right outside of D.C. and frequently I’ll ask them, “Why the public sector market? Why have you devoted your career…?” typically the last 20, 30, 40 years and they all say the same thing. The men and women who have reached the highest level of companies like Red Hat, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, etc., they all say it’s because they believe in the customer’s mission. They’re committed to helping the customer no matter what department, Department of Defense, army, military, maybe they have a father, an uncle or a grandfather who was in the military or it could be the health and human services side.
Maybe they had a family member with a medical issue when they were growing up or something, but I always ask that question when someone’s the Director or VP of public sector and I know what the answer is going to be. To have gotten to that level, a 30 year journey, you had to have had the passion and the commitment and I would say, noble purpose, to serve that customer.
Lisa McLeod: You do. We’ve always been hard-wired into motive, we assess other people’s motives, we do it instinctively when we ourselves are motivated for a cause bigger than ourselves we go the extra mile. What this crisis has laid bare is motive and intent because what’s happening is for example the difference between making an in-person sales call where you have the niceties and you’ll shake hands and we sit down and we do all those things. Those social things camouflage intent if your intent is not good, the social things will camouflage it. I had a client tell me, the head of HR, when salespeople call on her selling various things and she said what was acceptable in an in-person call is intolerable in a Zoom call because what happens is all the niceties are stripped away.
We are leaning into one topic and if the topic is, “Let me tell you all about me as a salesperson” you don’t have time for it. One of the things that we’re seeing is the salespeople who are successful in this environment are spending time in advance of their sales calls thinking, “What is the most pressing urgent problem facing this client?” It’s not hard to figure out, what is the most pressing urgent client facing this problem right now? And then run your sales call from there. The reason I have these companies up here, these are some of our clients but what I’ll tell you is everyone thinks, “Purpose is for the big sexy companies” and these companies are all a little bit sexy, Dave and Busters isn’t huge but they are kind of sexy. What I’ll tell you is all of these companies have also moved into the purpose space and they’ve done it in a really authentic way. I want to talk about some of the less sexy companies and why at this moment doubling down on purpose can be challenging.
The reason it’s challenging for us is the lizard brain. As well-intended as you may be – and I’ll just be full transparency here, we are a noble purpose company, we are clear about how we help our clients, and as this pandemic started and all of my events got canceled and we were used to doing stuff on site, my lizard brain comes up and your lizard brain is your amygdala, it’s back here, it’s your fight or flight. It doesn’t care about anybody else but you, maybe it cares about your kids, it is super primal. When that lizard brain starts to ignite, you can go from, “We’re not going to have a very good quarter” to, “We may have to change our business model, what we’re doing might not work” to, “I might not have any money” to, “I’m going to be homeless, I’m going to have to go live in my parent’s basement”, “My dad’s dead, I don’t have parents anymore, my life is over.” Your lizard brain can take you there in a nanosecond so as sellers, one of the things that we need to do is we’ve got to quiet the lizard brain.
One of the ways that you do that is with story, so I’m going to teach you a technique right now that you can use that was used by the least glamorous company in the world around story. This is a company called Supportworks, if you’ve ever had your basement flood and the walls bow in, they fix that, they will tell you they not only fix it, they fix it forever. This is a company based in Omaha, Nebraska and they’ve got dealers all over the country and if you’ve ever called a contractor to come work in your home, sometimes they’re good, sometimes they’re not.
Sometimes they show up, sometimes they finish, sometimes they don’t. This is a blue collar company and they’re in that space and they said, “We are not okay with this reputation that contractors have, so we want to redefine the industry in terms of being on time, being reliable, we’re going to set a new standard.” I want to give you an example and as I describe this I want you to think about how you talk about the impact that you have, and I’m going to give you two examples.
The first example is there’s one way they could talk about what they do and they could say, “We have patented products, they are excellent, we will not only fix it, we will fix it forever, we have these customer testimonials, our Yelp scores are this.” Those are all great ways to talk about it and if you’ve got something that you sell, you probably got a similar way where you talk about the features of it, the benefit the client gets and you’ve got client testimonials, that’s a fine way to sell. That way to sell will not ignite emotional engagement nor will it quiet your lizard brain so now I’m going to tell you another way that they sell.
This happened at one of their big meetings, we worked with them on, “‘How do you tell a customer impact story?” I’m going to tell you the story. They said, “Imagine you have twins, imagine your twins are six weeks old and you wake up one morning and your basement is flooded with water. That is what happened to the Jones’ family, they had six weeks old twins, they were just getting a handle on life and their basement was flooded with water so what did they do? They called us. Mrs. Jones was off the deep end because she’s worried, obviously she’s not sleeping at night and she’s worried about mold so what did we do? We came in, we knew it was a tough job, we had to get it done. They went and stayed in her mother’s basement, we got our whole team in there, we got the water mucked out, we got the wall fixed, we got it done, we worked double time, we got the products there, we got that whole basement waterproofed, we got it cleaned. The crew was so on fire that when we finished the whole crew took a selfie, took a great shot and said, “Your basement’s ready, come on back.”
When they came back the whole crew was waiting for them cheering saying, ‘Welcome back with the babies.’ That’s what we do at Supportworks.” Imagine telling that story to your team, imagine telling that story to a customer. The difference between that story and the usual thing that we do is it describes the human impact on the real live people so what happens is if you want to build this team that is differentiated, that is resilient, that can go in and be relevant to customers right now, one of the ways that you do it is through story. What that story taps into is it taps into two human needs that we all have, belonging and significance. We want to be part of something bigger than ourselves and we want to know that we mattered. What happened in a very transactional world and I see it happening now, even salespeople who believe in what they’re doing often times we don’t make time in the cadence of daily business for story.
What happens is the spreadsheets get forwarded, the numbers, the pipeline, the CRM, all that is present but when we’re stripped away from working in physical proximity to each other, the story gets lost. We’ve got to make a proactive effort to restore it because the story, as I told you that story, can you imagine being at the sales meeting and you’re the new guy and they say, “You want to know what we do? Let me tell you” and you’re like, “This is awesome.” What that story did was that was part of changing the narrative of the business. That company has had exponential sales growth, they’ve been voted a ‘best place to work’, they have dealers from all around the country who want to do work with them because what they’ve said is, “You belong, we’re doing something special here and you can be part of it.” So, if you’re an individual seller you can do that for yourself.
Fred Diamond: Lisa, we have a question or two here. One of our listeners here I know is with a company called JK Moving and they’re a local company based in the Washington D.C. area and sounds very similar to your client there. By the way, I had a basement once that was constantly flooding and it was absolutely horrible, I lived in Detroit, but that’s a separate story. JK Moving does a similar thing, they’re an IES premier sales employer and someone asked the question here. We talked about story before, someone says, “I’m new, I don’t know the stories, what should I do?” Maybe you’ll be going into this but what’s your advice? Does the company have like three patented stories that everybody tells? Give us a little bit of advice on how do you know these stories and how do you effectively tell them.
Lisa McLeod: It’s a great point. Every company should have stories, they don’t all. A couple places that you want to do to look for stories, where you want to look is ask some of the old times or your boss and there’s a question that you can ask and you’ll get more than a story from this, something very powerful will happen. Ask, “How do we make a difference? What impact do we have on the lives of our customers?” You can get somebody to answer that, you will have one of the best conversations you’ll ever have about work. Fred, you said if I was new at Supportworks and I didn’t know that much and they weren’t this big noble purpose company that tells stories all the time just say, “Have you ever had your basement flood? What was that like?” This is a moving company?
Fred Diamond: Yes.
Lisa McLeod: Okay, I’ve moved and I’ll tell you, Fred [laughs] the worst parts of moving is you have to make all these decisions and it’s so stressful and there’s usually a lot of money involved and there’s usually a big change. The last thing you want is for the movers to be a problematic part of it. The day that our movers showed up with a team of strong guys, 8 people and they showed up early and they had on their gloves and they were standing ready to go. 8 weeks of stress up until then trying to pack up this stupid house and all this other stuff, my house that I loved became stupid as I had to pack it up but when those guys showed up I went, “The bros are here, this part is going to be awesome.”
That is the kind of thing that you want to understand so you’ll find stories when you ask some of the folks in your business, “How do we make a difference?” The other place that you’ll find stories is just ask anybody who’s moved or had a flooded basement or had to use software before. Ask them what the burning problem is, the burning problem with moving is everything that surrounds it is absolutely terrible [laughs] so if you can be the part that’s not terrible… I want to tell you what this does for people, this is one of the dealers at Supportworks. They have dealers all across the country that sell their patented products and they took this mantra called ‘redefine’ and this is a picture from one of our LinkedIn Learning classes.
We have a lot of sessions on LinkedIn Learning and we did one on work on purpose and we interviewed this guy, Corey Metcher. He actually had ‘redefine’ tattooed on his arm because what he did was he took that when they said, “Contracting doesn’t have to be terrible, hiring a contractor can be a really amazing experience and we’re going to redefine that” he thought, “What if I redefined other things? What if I redefined my assumptions about myself and the way I run my life? What if I redefined what kind of father I am?” and he said, “I’m going to have this tattooed on my arm to remind myself that the way this industry is run is not the way I have to do it, the way my family has been run in the past, not the way I have to do it. I share that with you because it’s such a powerful story.
If you’re a mover, you decide moving doesn’t have to be stressful. Is there a way moving could fuel people with confidence, that moving could be the day when you feel like you’re starting a new exciting chapter in your life? Could that happen and what could I do to make that part of it? What could I do to make people feel like today is going to be a good day? Once you do that, once you feel this sense of purpose in your life, work is a great place to start, it has a ripple effect on everything else. It ripples over onto every other aspect because once you feel it, you want to have it.
Fred Diamond: I think you’re going to answer the next question in this slide but someone asks here, “How do I discover my noble purpose?” I’m sure you get that question all the time and this is probably a nice point for explaining that.
Lisa McLeod: There are three questions you want to ask: how do I make a difference? How do I do it differently than the competition? And on your best day, what do you love about your job? I want to point you to why the questions are asked this way, we spend a lot of time on this and these are questions that we use with the executive leadership team. We’re doing a company’s noble purpose and these are questions you can use for yourself. The reason the questions are worded this way is there are three things that companies generally talk about. They talk about their value proposition, they talk about their differentiation and they talk about employee engagement but those tend to be talked about in a really sanitized way. We get all these side by side. “Employee engagement, we’re at 36%” or whatever it is, that’s not an interesting conversation. It may be a needed conversation but it’s not going to move hearts and minds and what these questions are designed to get you to do is to reflect a little bit differently.
Instead of what’s your value profit, how do you make a difference to your customers? I want you to go beyond better, faster, and I’ll give you an example. In our company, the noble purpose we came up with for ourselves is we help leaders drive revenue and do work that makes them proud because again, this is my life quest. The money and the meaning, trying to get them together, so we thought about we help companies make more money and we do, we’ve helped some people double their revenue but then I have to think, what does that do? They can hire all these more people, they can steer themselves through a time like this because they have cash reserved, they become great members of the community.
I need to really think through how does helping people make more money help them and then when I start thinking of, “What else do we do?” our purpose came out of this process. I thought, “What do we do differently than other sales consultants? I thought we’re really about not just the technique but the pride and the heart behind it and how people emotionally engage and what’s the story they’re going to tell their kids about their job. Once they’re getting into that, it takes you to a much deeper, more human level.
Fred Diamond: Lisa, I wonder if we could try something here. You’re the expert on this, again you wrote Selling with Noble Purpose, Leading with Noble Purpose. If you’re watching today’s webcast, we have a lot of people here from all over the world, actually. If you want to submit in the question panel, how do you make a difference? Quickly send something, Lisa will look at it and she’ll give you some guidance. She’s helped hundreds if not thousands of companies and individual sales professionals figure out their specific noble purpose. If you’re interested, take a second and you could do it generically. How do you make a difference? Submit it via the question panel and Lisa will interact with your answer and give you some ideas.
Lisa McLeod: I’d be happy to. I’ll tell you one reason why this often doesn’t make it to the front page of a company’s marketing materials and it’s because we’re reluctant to talk about the ripple effect of what we do. I’ll give you an example, we work with a bank and they’re very public about it, Atlantic Capital Bank, their noble purpose is ‘We fuel prosperity’. In the conversations they’ve been so gracious, they’ve allowed us to share this, their noble purpose reversed a challenging situation for them. The CEO was on the cover of American Bankers, a result of this year-long turnaround that we did but when we were first talking about this idea, “What do we do for clients?” we were saying, “Do we fuel prosperity?” and there’s the finance guys, it’s a bank so there’s lots of them and they’re saying, “We can’t guarantee that everyone will be more prosperous if they work with us because somebody’s businesses don’t work out.”
One of the reasons why this aspiration often doesn’t make it to the front of your marketing materials is because people may say things like, “We can’t do it 100% of the time” or, “That’s too fluffy, we need something more concrete.” I want to be clear that noble purpose is what you’re trying to do for your customers. ‘We fuel prosperity’ is theirs and they’ve got a great video that’s on the homepage of our website if you just Google ‘Noble Purpose’ you’ll find us and the CEO talks about this, he talks very specifically about how they reoriented around it. Every company that works with them is not automatically going to become more prosperous but what happens is if I’m a banker and my job is to fuel your prosperity instead of just showing you my rate sheet, I’m going to start asking questions like, “Where are you trying to go with your business? What are you trying to do? How do you want to interact with your community? How can we help you with that?” We’re going to have a better conversation.
Fred Diamond: We have a number of people here who are in the marketing space, direct marketing and promotion and someone just submitted, thank you, Denise, “Creating effective messaging to drive revenue.” I know that you’ve worked with a lot of marketing companies over the years and a I’ve worked in corporate marketing for companies like Apple and Compaq, and there was a competition to create the best marketing. It wasn’t always about helping the customer, it’s why we’re better like you mentioned before, “Why we’re better than Dell or IBM” or whoever it might be. What might be some of your advice here? “Creating effective messaging to drive revenue” for people who are in the marketing and advertising space.
Lisa McLeod: What you’re doing is creating effective messaging so you’re pretty clear on that. What I want you to think about is the impact it has on customers so #1 you’re saying it’s to drive revenue. I would suggest that you’re doing even more than that, I would suggest that you are helping your customers win the hearts and minds of the market, that you are helping your customers differentiate themselves in a way that’s meaningful and lasting. There’s probably some other things that you are doing and helping them make money is important so the money and the meaning are right together. If you think about some of the best work that you’ve done or even if you’re new to the space, the best work you’ve seen other people do, what did that do for that company? What did that do for their customers?
Let’s look at Peloton, they’ve got a great product but the way that they’re marketing, aside from the ad slip-up that they had and that was interesting, they had that ad slip-up where the guy gave his wife a Peloton for Christmas and people were like, “That’s like giving her a vacuum.” But what’s interesting is their people are so dialed into them that they stood up for them, they had customer advocates who stood up for them because they’ve done more than just sell bikes, they’ve given people a whole new way to think about their fitness, their marketing, I don’t even own a Peloton and I’m inspired by their marketing to be more fit. That is magnificent marketing, when the marketing moves your hearts and minds so much that you take action in your own life and people are changed just as the result of seeing it.
One of the things that Noble Purpose will help you do is if you’re a marketing company, you probably have companies coming to you or you’re going to them and they’re saying, “How will your marketing help us make more money?” and then they’re asking the next marketing firm, “How will your marketing help us make more money?” and so, if you want to differentiate yourself and you’re clear in your purpose then you can be the marketing firm that says something like, “I’ll help you make more money but I’ll help you do more than that. I’ll help you reach into the hearts and minds of your customers and grab onto them in a way that will make them love you forever. That’s what noble purpose is but you’ve got to be really clear on what you’re doing. Answering these three questions and going deep with them and really thinking about these three, it’s about how are you really impacting them, how are you different than your competition and it may be you’ve got some better bells and whistles.
In our case, one of the things that we say is different between us and other consulting firms is we care very deeply, that is one of our differentiators. We care deeply about the worker experience in your company and helping them be dialed in. When you think about this on your best day, what do you love about your job, what that’s getting you to is the essence of you because your soul knows when it’s awake. When you are doing your best work, your whole body comes into it so think about those moments and think about what you were doing in those moments, and that’s where you find your purpose. That’s when your brain is fully alive, your amygdala is quiet, you’re differentiated, that’s the you that’s compelling to customers, that’s the you that people will go, “I think I will take that meeting.”
Fred Diamond: Lisa, why don’t you bring us home here? We’ve got about another minute or two and this has been fascinating information.
Lisa McLeod: Thank you. The last thing I want to say is we’re in a time of uncertainty, for many people it’s a very challenging time. The thing that I want people to know as a seller is you are more than a number, the numbers are going to wax and wane and you need to de-couple your self-esteem from your ability to hit a target. Targets matter, money matters but they can’t be the only source of your self-esteem.
As a person in sales or if you are a sales leader, we stand in a moment in time where business is being redefined. Who we are, how we do business, how we sell, why we sell, we owe it to the world to put forward right now the most emotionally engaging higher purpose, compassionate, empathetic, assertive sales teams that the world has ever seen. As you think about yourself and you think about what you do, the beauty of being in sales is you make a difference to customers every single day and you’re part of the economic engine that the country needs very desperately right now.
That would be my final counsel, de-couple your self-esteem from your number, ground yourself in how you make a difference and that will give you the resilience to weight through whatever you have to do and it will also be the very thing that helps you.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo