Why Do We Sell?
Some may be wondering about the “existential” nature of this title. Some may be thinking, “Well, that’s stupid Dave, it’s our job.” Others might say, “I’m money motivated and it’s a way I can make a lot of money!”
We choose to become sales people for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s the only job we could get coming out of college. For some it is a path to getting rich, though I can think of a lot of other paths to get richer, faster.
This week, I had an amazing experience. I observed two days of training of one of the best performing sales organizations I have ever encountered. These people are not only the top performers in their industry, by virtually every other metric, they are one of the top performing sales organizations in the world.
On the first day, they spent a lot of time discussing, “Why do we sell?” This group sells because they want to have an impact, they want to change the world, they want to make a difference.
Sure, they want to make their numbers, they absolutely want to make a lot of money, but those are by products of their success. Individually, and organizationally, they want to change the world! They do it one customer and one deal at a time.
They focus on what the customer is trying to achieve and how they can help accelerate their customers’ success. They walk away from deals where the customer doesn’t care about their ability to do these things, where all the customer values is price. Just as they invest in their customers’ successes, they expect the customer to invest in their success by enabling profitable deals. Without this, they can no longer afford to provide value.
Everything this sales team talked about was the customer. Yes they loved their products, but their focus was how their products enable the customer achieve their goals. While most sales people focus on their products, forcing the customer to figure it out, these sales people focused on the customer.
Some of you might be wondering, “Well this is a nice story, but that’s not how things really work.” They like every other successful business are intensely goal and revenue oriented. But they realize the secret to doing this is through changing the world. Their record indicates it works–they are one of the top performing companies in their industry, they’ve had over 25 years of profitable growth, leading their industry–few others can make that claim.
So this mission is not some theoretical or idealist goal. It produces hard business results.
I contrast this with many other sales people. Those that are purely driven by making money. Sure, one could do that, but they burn through a lot of customers doing so. They can’t keep going back to the same customers helping them buy more. There are those only focused on the numbers, but somehow, more often failing to achieve the numbers.
Most are too short sighted or self centered to understand the real secret to sustained sales success.
We sell to change the world. We sell to have an impact on the success of our customers, individually and organizationally. We sell to make a difference in each one.
There is nothing incompatible with being viciously focused on these goals, while always making our numbers, helping our company make money and making money ourselves. Those are all outcomes of helping our customers achieve success.
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