B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 1771 · 2 months ago

Mental Selling: The Purpose-Driven Salesperson, with Lisa McLeod

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this cross-over episode, we’re sharing an episode from Mental Selling. This show is produced by Sweet Fish Media.

Sales is one of the only professions where we allow it to be defined by the people who do it badly. Top salespeople are ones who earnestly want to improve life for their customers. When purpose driven sales becomes part of the culture and bigger than the transaction- and your ‘true north’ is improving life for customers- you’ll actually wind up making more money.

Successful salespeople want to know that what they’re doing counts for something- that their work matters. If what you are selling is being bought by customers, you’re improving their lives.

Hear our conversation with Lisa Earle McLeod, Founder at McLeod & More, Inc. and author of the bestseller Selling with Noble Purpose.

We discuss:

  1. 3 questions to ask that every salesperson should be able to answer
  2. The real reasons salespeople leave their jobs
  3. How the noble seller differs from the transactional seller
  4. The difference between customer-centricity and purpose-driven sales
  5. Overcoming the negative external perceptions of sales with confidence- and how your customers will feel it
  6. The “it” that customers really want you to get to…
  7. What mistaking profit for their purpose signals to your salespeople and employees
  8. Why sales numbers are a lagging indicator and sales leaders need to coach to mindsets vs. outcomes
  9. Why the people that have bought from you before are the key to understanding how your products make a difference
  10. Sales managers as the “front-line belief builders” 

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Conversations from the front lines of marketing. This is B two, B growth. Welcome in today I am here with will Milano. He is the vice president of marketing over at integrity solutions and he's the host of mental selling, the sales performance podcast. WILL WELCOME TO B to be growth. Thanks, Benji. Thanks very much. Great to join you. Yeah, so we're gonna do a crossover episode here in a few minutes and we're gonna highlight one of the best episodes from from your show, mental selling, but I wanted to just get inside your mind as the host and talk a little bit about your show before we feature an episode. So tell us a little bit, maybe the elevator pitch of sorts behind mental selling the sales performance podcast. Will. So mental selling is really getting to the heart of what are those mental and emotional and motivational things that drive sales success. So we talked to leaders from across a lot of different industries and get their input on those things and also from the customer perspective, what does the customer want and expect today from the modern seller? And then we also get into the aspect of the sales leader and what his or her mindset needs to be as they especially as a newly promoted sales leader, shifts from an individual contributor to somebody that's leading and trying to motivate their own sales team. And what? What's the tremendous mindset shift that has to happen there for them to succeed as a sales leader? Yeah, I'm all about mindset shifts. We talked about that from a marketing perspective often here on B two B growth actually, because I think podcasting is a great platform for having something shift internally and the way you think about your job versus maybe you know you're you could be on a run, you could be doing the dishes when you're listening to this podcast. So it's harder to like take all these super detailed notes, but you could have a mental shift or you're like, oh, yeah, I should think about it this way. So I love I love offering those up through the podcast medium and the platform. You know, there's there's so much that goes into it from the standpoint of how a salesperson views their role and what are they actually doing for and with customers versus two customers, uh, their view of just what selling is itself. A lot of people end up in a sales career and sales roles sort of accidentally, for lack of a better term. People don't major in sales in college, that sort of thing, Um, and a lot of people have baggage around the idea of just being a salesperson, and so those things along with just there. Are Their values aligned with the organization that they work for and, Um, do they again believe in in their core and the products and services that they're representing? If they don't have a line men around those things, all of this sort of how to us and product information and things like that will ultimately be for not. Yeah, I wonder, as you are working in creating this show, are you just thinking of salespeople broadly? Is there a specific type of person that this show is meant to serve and in the type of person you hope tunes in? Well, ideally we're talking speaking to the salesperson that already is values driven and believes that their role is to make their customers lives better and to help them solve for needs that that maybe or even needs that the customer doesn't even realize that that they have. So we're speaking to both those individual sales people again, as well as the sales leaders, you know. So we're we're focused on those people that are relationship minded, trying to get more relationship minded. Their their values driven, Um, and they're really committed to making their stomers lives better and and creating amazing customer experiences for those that they serve. Fantastic. Well, let's talk about the episode we're about to highlight the purpose driven salesperson. Tell me a little bit about why you would choose to highlight this episode and the value were about to to get out of it. Yeah, so this this conversation Um, the noble purpose driven salesperson. It's with someone I've known for for several years now. Her name is Lisa Earl McLeod Um. She authored a book called selling with noble purpose and I heard her speak at a conference years ago and when I started hosting this podcast, she was one of the very first people I thought about because I believe that her, her point of view around selling is just the most closely aligned to what we're talking about about what makes a salesperson successful. And so she talks a lot in this episode about, you know, those critical emotional and psychological drivers and and how you know she's done research through this book that she wrote that you this is...

...a very data driven thing. Um, that sales people that are committed to making their customers lives better and that's the attitude that they bring to their job every day, that they're simply more successful, way more successful, Um, than those that don't have that point of view and are just there to sort of win, and maybe even win at the expense of the customer. MM. Well, I'm excited to listen to this episode. Get our listeners engaged here and if people want to stay connected with mental selling with you, what are the best ways for for people to do that? Yeah, so we are. Mental selling is on on all the major podcast players. On our website, which is integrity solutions dot com, you'll see all of our episodes as well under the resources section of the site. You'll find us on linkedin. We're very active on Linkedin and we'll post a lot about our new episodes as they come out every other week. On twitter, you'll find us at Um sell underscore integrity and you'll also find this on on facebook and you'll find uh episode clips on our Youtube Channel. I love it. Well, thanks for jumping on here, will and telling us a little bit about the show and for all the marketers listening to this right now, go ahead and just pause the episode real quick. There's probably a share button somewhere on your screen right now. Share it with someone on your sales team who could benefit from a new podcast, and I think mental selling is something that we as marketers can also tune in and learn something right that's how alignment happens, is when you know about other roles in the organization, but also there's someone on your team who could benefit from this podcast, and so I just want to give this as a suggestion before we jump in. All right, well, thanks so much for being here today, man. Thank you. Thanks, Benji. Take care. You're listening to mental selling, the sales performance podcast, a show from integrity solutions. This is a podcast for passionate leaders in sales and kind summer service who are driven by purpose, not just a paycheck, people who want to create broader and deeper connections with customers and their teams by building trust and mastering the critical mental and emotional sides of sales. You're about to hear a conversation from sales leaders and industry experts about what it takes to translate sales knowledge into sales performance. How to change the sales conversation by putting the focus on building relationships and adding value, removing the blockers that keep salespeople from reaching their potential, creating an inspiring learning environment and culturing culture and ultimately increasing sales achievement and improving customer loyalty. Ready to rise up to the top of your game? Let's get right into the show. Welcome everyone to mental selling. Thanks for joining us today. From wherever you are and whenever you might be listening to this, I'm very excited about today's episode. Today's guest is Lisa mcloud. Lisa is a global expert on her is driven business and the best selling author of five books, including selling with noble purpose, how to drive revenue and do work that makes you proud. She has worked with clients like Linkedin Support Works, Roche and salesforce, and is a regular contributor to both the Harvard Business Review and in Fortune and Forbes. So, Lisa, welcome to mental selling. Thanks for being with us today. It is such a pleasure to be with you today and I love the title mental selling. Oh my gosh, I can't wait to dive in thank you. So I first heard you speak at a sales and marketing conference about three and a half years ago now, and ever since we rebooted this podcast you've been a guest that I really have been eager to have on the show, because your points of view about selling perhaps map closest to what this podcast is all about more than just about anyone I can think of. So let's get right into it by talking about purpose and in the context of selling, and you know, in simple terms, how do you define it and why does it matter? So first I'm going to tell you what it's not. Purpose has become part of the business vernacular. Ten years ago, if you ask someone what's the purpose of a sales team, they would have said, well, duck hit the target, bringing the revenue. But what we now know is that when you have what we call a noble purpose, bigger than money, when you're true north is improving life for customers, you wind up making more money. And so one of the things that's happened. I'm delighted that you know I wrote the original version of selling with noble purpose. You and I were talking about this in two thousand twelve and since then purpose has become part of the business vernacular. But what's happened is words only mean what we think they mean, and a lot of times people think the purpose of a company one is to return to shareholders. You know that all freedman model. Oh,...

...that's not the purpose of the company. The purpose of a company is to improve life for customers. And people get a look confused about purpose and they think, well, is it about a give back? Is it about all these E S G metrics? And the answer is no. Good companies give to their communities, good companies don't pollute the world. But the true purpose of a company is to improve life for customers, plain and simple. Your Noble salespers purpose is a clear and succinct statement about how you're making life better for customers. End of story. So if a salesperson, I don't want to say if they don't buy into purpose, but if they can't put his or her finger on what their's is, specifically, what's the risk or potential cost there? I mean does every does every salesperson need to feel, you know, if you're selling plumbing fixtures or life fixtures? Does every salesperson need to feel like they're making a you know, a deep difference in customers lives. Well, I think it comes down to do we define deep difference? So you mentioned plumbing fixtures and light fixtures and I will tell you that those you try and live your life without plumbing and lighting and you see how well it goes. A lot of times people think you know because I use the language noble purpose. They think, oh well, that's for the people curing cancer or saving lives or teachers or whatever. Now, if you if what you are selling is being bought by customers, you're improving their lives. So what we suggest is you ask three questions. They're in selling with noble purpose, and I'll give them to you now. We call the three discovery questions. As a seller, you want to be able to answer how do you make a difference to customers? How do you do it differently than your competition? And on your best day, what do you love about your job? And if you can get clear on those, you will become a more compelling salesperson than that transactional salesperson who's just there to close the deal, and that can also you know, we we talk a lot about on this podcast about how there are a lot of ups and downs in selling right. It's not a linear every day is the same. You have some real highs and you have some real lows and I think what you're talking about is a way to sustain people through some of those inevitable ebbs and flows. So related question, I think. But so we all read today about their huge amounts of turnover in the labor market and resignations and people changing jobs, etcetera. Why do you think salespeople today leave their jobs? So there's two answers. They'll tell you they're leaving their job for more money. What prompted them to be open to looking was they didn't feel an emotional connection to their work. Now, if you're out there and you're working for a toxic boss in a terrible company and you're being underpaid, like let's get you need to leave. You got options. You do not need to do this. But what we find people are complex and we have lots of motivations and there's nothing wrong with being money motivated. When I talk about noble purpose, people think, Oh, you don't care about money. I care deeply about money. I have a former review sales and so the money matters, the money without the meaning. If you're just out there making money and you don't feel like your work makes a difference, your life is going to become very transactional, and so what we find is they both matter. What sales people want is they want to be able to do both. They want to be able to make money and to know that my work counts for something. You know, I'm going to go back to plumbing fixtures. We had a concrete company. It's one of our most successful clients. Again, you might not think concrete is very sexy, you might not think it matters, but try living your life without concrete. You can't. It holds up half the world legitimately, and so what you want is you just want to have a sightline to how your work matters, because you see human beings. Once we get beyond food and shelter, we have two fundamental needs, belonging and significance. Belonging is I'm part of something bigger than myself, and significance is my individual contribution matters, and we all need that in our jobs. Yeah, absolutely, that's universal. I've read part of your book which is one of the more interesting parts to me because it's a lot of what we talk about integrity solutions, but you talk about. You discuss the nobility of the sales profession and how it's so often, we all know it's so often misperceived. As you know, people's need jerk reaction to selling is that they're being tricked or coerced into something. How does...

...purpose affect a salesperson's motivation to succeed? How does their view of what selling is as a profession motivate them? You talk about, you know, the economics of self interest or or not sustainable. Son, can you talk about that, just sort of that view of of the sales profession and why that matters? Well, I'M gonna start with a story because I remember a million years ago I was just graduating from college and I was going to a party at my then boyfriend, later became my husband, but at his boss's house. So He's a couple of years older than me, so he was already a grown up, you know, had a grown up job and Um, I go to this party at his boss's house. So I'm like really nervous. You know, I'm the youngest one there going to this party and I'm a college senior. What is everybody asked, a college senior. So what are you gonna do have you found a job? The week before I go to this party, I get my dream job. I'm going to be a sales rep for procter and gamble and I'm so excited I can't stand it. I'm super excited about the job and I'm also super excited that I'm gonna be able to say at this party that I had this job. So the boss's wife comes up to me. Oh, hello, dear. She's like what I call a fancy lady. You know where? It's really Nice House. She's like Soa dear, you know, I hear you're graduating from college. What are you going to be doing? And I say well, I'm going to be a sales rep for proger and gamble. I'm so excited and she goes, Oh sales, oh my, I don't know if I could ever do that. And I am so naive and excited about my job that I do not understand when she is saying to me. When she says I don't think I could never do that, I think she's saying it like you'd say to like a fighter pilot or a brain surgeon. Wow, I don't know if I could ever do that. I'm like yeah, it's pretty Badass and then, yeah, that's what I'm doing. What I did not understand in that meant was what she meant was it's Leazy, is icky and I could never lower myself to do that, Miss Fancy Lady. But what I've come to realize is sales is one of the only professions that we allow it to be defined by the people who do it badly. It's a great point. We all know there's terrible ministers, there's terrible teachers, they're terrible doctors. Every profession has a share of terrible people, and what the data tells us is those pushy, aggressive people who try to talk people into things they don't want to buy. They don't need manipulative people. They're not the high performers by any stretch of the imagination. So there's two things I want people to take away from this. Number One, the data is fundamentally clear. The top sales people are the people who factually and earnestly want to improve life for their customers. That's who we need to allow to define our profession. And the other thing that I want people to take in is you don't get to be in commerce or in a capitalistic society and have a disdain for the very thing that makes the whole engine run. So like this disdain that people have for sales is insane, because nobody wants to quit buying things that are not talking about excessive consumerism, but no one wants to run their business without computers or without software. And so the idea that somehow the people selling all the things that make our lives and businesses better are itchy, it's just crazy. So it says. Those are the two things I really want people to take away. The people who are the best in our profession are actually the people who truly care about their customers and this whole economy. We got to go in kines of people buying and selling things that people act really need. So, like, let go of that disdain for this profession. Do you think a lot of sales people are are held back by that, though, by that that view maybe, either, whether it's consciously or subconsciously, not the best ones, because the best ones have come, as you and I both have, around to this deep understanding. What I would like to put out to all the younger salespeople, the less tinured salespeople, the people struggling with it and to all the parents whose child just tells them they're going into sales is sales is a noble profession. It makes the economy hum and even if you're not selling, you know, even if you get out of the world of of you know capitalism, somebody has to go sell all that x ray equipment. Somebody has to sell those teachers there, you know, their materials and their supplies and selling, and it's hard. Is Not about talking people...

...into something they don't want. That's terrible. Selling at its heart is about finding the people who can benefit from what you have and making it easy for them. If you if you are selling something and people are paying money for it, you have a noble purpose because they wouldn't be buying it if it wasn't helping them. What you need to do is lean into how again, those three questions. How do I make a difference? That is what I sell. Make a difference. How do we do it differently? And on my best day, what do I love about my job, and usually what you love, is those magic moments when the customer says this is exactly what I needed. Now, related to that and another thing that can happen, though, with some salespeople it's one thing to sort of have a positive view of the of selling itself as the profession, but what about if their view of what they're selling, the product and services can their viewpoint about those and sort of their their confidence and real belief in those, cannot have the same effect, positively or negatively? It absolutely does, and so I'll tell you two things on this. If you're not feeling excited about what you're selling, the first thing you need to do before you give it up. The first thing you need to do is go back and find some people that bought from you and, if you're new, dig into your experience salespeople and find out how did this make a difference? And so, like our concrete company, went back and found that their delivery systems, the strength of their concrete, the working with their team made the whole project thing. So go back and find out how does this make a difference? Don't minimize it. If you're selling accounting systems, if you're selling software, again, you don't have to be changing the all, just helping people in some way. So go back and find out how it made a difference. If you're selling something that's commoditized, really dig into how did my company's delivery of this make a difference, because what you're looking for is that feeling of significance, that this actually mattered. If you can't find it and what you're selling. This is the second point, and what you're selling is truly crap, you need to leave because because you're not gonna be that good at it. But again that those instances are so rare. I think what happens is we just get so used to what we're selling that we don't lean into it and we tend to ask questions of our customers like where you satisfied? Yes, that's not the question that you want to ask. You want to ask what impact did it have on you? Because there's been this talk, and you know this, in the last years about customers central city. Selling with noble purpose takes customer centricity one step further. Customer centricity is often about pleasing customers. Selling with noble purpose is about improving customers, and so anybody out there who's got kids know there's if you're a parent, there's a big difference between pleasing your children and improving your children. That's a good analogy. Yes, that's very true. The same thing as a teacher and so what you're trying to do is you are really trying to have an impact on your customer and that's what you're always looking for. So, instead of going back and saying are you happy? That's fine and that's a baseline question. But if I were to say, were you happy with our concrete? Were you happy with our software? Yeah, what's good at work? Yeah, saying you're satisfied is sort of like meeting the least common denominator. That's right. You're not going to get a fire in your belly because customers are telling you or satisfying yeah. And you also touched on something else, which is especially for people that are selling, and, let's be honest, most companies do things that are at least relatively commoditized, is, go beyond the product and talk about why they bought from you, because they're also buying the experience. The experience, entire customer experience, can be what the difference is and what your impact is. The service, the confidence. We had a big piece of business that we just want and we went back and we wanted against quite a formidable, much larger company than us, and we went back and said, why did you choose us, and they said, we could tell that you cared about us more. Yeah, that that shouldn't be underestimated. Okay, well, good, because we did. It's a it's a huge factor. That just gets back to your brand and your brand promise. Yeah, and that's that's all about how you make customers feel. So now that's a really good point. Well, and you bring up I want to pause on one thing. You bring up brand promise. When you think about people listening to this. If your company is doing this work at the top and your rand promise and the way they're communicating...

...to you, that's great. You have a competitive advantage. But if they're not, you can do this. We do this. All this rest one D in control of the individual sales person, of the individual sales manager around. We are not just going to focus on closing, we're going to focus on improving life for customers, and our closed rate is a measure of how well we are doing that. That's a really good point. You want this to be happening systemically and organizationally, but if it's not, it's still is. Like you just said, it's up to the individual and they can deliver on that themselves. Right. Well, back to the title. Of this podcast. Mental selling is your if your true north is hit my number, hit my number, hit my number, you are going to be a frantic, untethered, up and down person. But if your true north is in your mind, how am I going to improve life for customers? Number One, the data tells us you will be more compelling, you will be more engaging, your win weight will go up and you will ultimately close more deals. But the other thing is you'll be more grounded because, no matter what the circumstances, I can always improve life for customers. Yes, that's that's a really good point. And so building on that, you know, we're talking about sales people developing their own their true north and their view of selling as a profession and their belief, you know, core belief in the products that they're selling. Do you think can customers feel it either way if somebody has that or no, meaning that? Can a sales rep sort of fake it or hide it or bury it? You know, so how do how do customers tell whether somebody has that or not? Doesn't matter. So it's happening on a conscious level and an unconscious level, depending on the customers. And so I would like, in this too, dating it's been a million years since I dated, but I've watched shows about dating. You can tell if someone is genuinely interested in you and you don't go through a little mental checklist where you go, oh, they leaned in, oh they made eye contact. Oh, that question was a little more insightful. You're not doing that. When you said can customers feel it? They absolutely can feel it. And one of the things that's happened in this post pandemic world, or whether we're still in or not, but whatever, is if you've ever been through a traumatic experience, death of a parent, health scare, a divorce, a bankruptcy, something that really stops you in your tracks, you have a deep conversation with yourself. Who Am I? Why am I here? How am I spending my precious time on this earth? So what's happened over the last two years is everyone's done that, everyone's done that at the same time, and what that does. This is super important for settlers, because what that does is it gives you a heightened awareness of how you are spending your time, and you only want to spend time with people that you enjoy, that care about you, that you care about and so what you have to understand is that customers are now reading your intent and it's super important and we can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. So what a friend of mine, WHO's the vice president hr for a large bank, told me, because she has lots of salespeople call on her to sell, are all kinds of things. And she said what was annoying in person, which is the salesperson that goes on and on about themselves, she said, is intolerable on a zoom. So nobody has is terrible. No customer has time for you to go down your laundry list of features and all this. They're gonna they want you to get to it, but the it that they want you to get to is them. Yeah, they don't want to see your slide with all your customer logos or talk about how many offices you have in the world, that sort of thing. You Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. They don't care. Yeah, and it's really good news for sellers who want to lean into an important word here is customer impact. Not just lean into customers generically, but lean into customer impact, and that's what selling with noble purpose is all about, is improving life for customers in both quantifiable ways, but also qualitative ways. The act of doing business with you should be fun. Yeah, yeah, it should be. So. When I first read your book, which was over three years ago because I got a copy of it at the conference that you spoke at, and then I reread a lot of it ahead of our discussion today, one of the things you talk about is you divide sales people into two camps. There's transactional sellers and...

...then noble purpose sellers. Can you talk a bit about each and with the differences and and what you think customers want more most from a salesperson in that context? So, as I described this, I invite folks to think about when they've been at their best and what we saw. We started a number of sales teams and that's the what the research bore out was that there were definitely there were actually three camps of sellers. There were these noble purpose sellers, there were good performing transactional sellers and then there were terrible people that did not know what they were doing. So we don't need to talk about those. But the transactional sellers. Not a bad person, just trying to make a living and do a good job. But I'll give you a couple of compare and contrast. So a noble purpose seller starts to call thinking how can I make a difference to this customer? A transactional seller starts to call thinking how can I close this deal? Questioning shows up in a bunch of different ways discovery. A noble purpose seller thinks I want to understand what this customer is trying to accomplish within the scope of their business. A transactional seller thinks I need to understand the purchase requirements. When you go into presenting, a noble purpose seller thinks I need to connect the dots and show the customer how what I have can help them achieve their goals. A transactional seller thinks I need to show the customer how my product works. Transactional sellers make sales, but they leave it to the customer to connect all those dots. And so what we found was those noble purpose sellers one they produced much more revenue, their win rate was higher. But the other thing is they close bigger deals and they close stickier deals. And it's because, instead of asking about purchase requirements, they ask about customer strategic goals. Instead of talking about product features, they talk about customers success and how the customers life and business will be better. And so there was a distinct difference in orientation, but where it came from back to mental it came from a mindset of why am I here, and those transactional sellers again good people trying to do a job make a living. I am here to close business and those noble purpose sellers I am here to improve life for customers, and everything flowed out from that. That's really good. That's a that's such an important sort of again, way to keep people centered, centered. That's a really good phrasing in every customer conversation that they're having. I don't know if this is more like a story I wanted to share to get your reaction to more than a question, but something that resonated for me in the book. I went through it and there was a chapter titled Why profit is not a purpose and it immediately took me back to earlier in my career, quite a while ago. I had a job years ago, where I worked for the CEO, who was a great guy. He had been with the company for many years. He had been the CEO for out of a nine ten years, highly respected, very well liked he was a catalyst for the company's positive culture and on very good terms. He just had found something else he wanted to do and he was leaving the company. And when he left, and the company was owned by a parent company, when he left, on again on good terms, the interim CEO came in to an all company meeting and stood up in front of the room and very forcefully opened the meeting by saying, let me be really I still remember standing there watching this. Let me be really clear. Your mission, looking around to everybody in the room, your mission is to deliver profit to parent company X. and that juxtaposition of what people's experience had been in the company from a leadership standpoint, you could see in the moment, you could see the energy and feel it drain from the room and I remember looking around and literally looking at people's faces and thinking she's going to leave, he's going to leave, she's out of here. And in the months ahead, and many of them were, they left. And so what what's your reaction to that? When when companies sort of drive down that like we're here to make profit as your as your purpose, trying to make that their purpose. So here's what I would say. Here's what that CEO said, and it might have been a very well intended person that has a lot of pressure from their board, from whoever. So I'm not making a moral judgment here. But when a leader says your purpose is to make a profit, your purpose is to hit the target, what the person heres is you are a cog in a money machine. You are a meaningless cog in a money machine that exists for other people, not for you. And so when leaders say that they are creating a ty transactional relationship with their employees, a transactional relationship with your...

...employees creates a transactional relationship with your customers. That's a great way to put it and you've got to really understand that if you want customer loyalty, if you want to be differentiated in the marketplace, if you want your customers to stick with you and not put it up for bid every year, that starts with the conversation that you're having with your employees. And so but leaders will say, but my board, how I ended up working with boards and C E O s was because I started working with salespeople and they all said, but my manager, my manager, she's here, she says it's all about the money. So I started working with sales managers. They go but the chief revenue officers chief Revezer. So I started laddering this back up. And so what I will tell you is, as a leader, you are required to hit your number. Your numbers are a lagging indicator. Your numbers are the result of the mindset and behavior of your employees. So if you are leading with you gotta hit the number. You've got to hit the number. You are just like a teacher that is sitting in the classroom saying you've got to improve the test course. You've got to improve the test course. You've got to improve the test course, or a coach that's telling a runner you've got to improve your time. You've got to improve your time. You you can't coach to an outcome. You have to coach and create culture around a behavior and a mindset. And so, if I am a leader, what I want to be saying is here's how we improve life for customers, here's the story of our company, because it's going to be a lot more emotionally engaging. Here's some examples of customers. And, oh by the way, the numbers are a measure of that. I think that's a really good point. I've always believe that revenue is a lagging indicator for so much that's going on. Of course it is in sales and your the teaching analogy is good because my wife is a teacher and it's the same sort of thing that that sort of state tests that students have to go through. Those are a lacking indicator of what's been going on for the previous six nine months. Right, right. And so imagine the difference, because we've all been in school, even if we don't have kids. Imagine the difference between a teacher who is told by his or her administration your goal is sat the test scores, your goal to say at the test course, versus a teacher, or let's call it a history teacher, who's been told you are creating future citizens. We want well informed citizens who understand the history of our country, who can think for themselves. That's your goal. The test scores will show us if we got there, but your true north is a well informed citizen. Rate whose class would you rather be in? Oh, absolutely, yeah, and that and that's what leaders have to understand. In selling the noble purpose, we use an example of monster dot com and this is all public record, the exact same thing happened there that happened to you. They had leaders who said we're going to help people find better jobs. Woo, we have a purpose, and they shifted to a leadership that said we're going to be about the numbers. And what happened was, for the first six months they had better numbers. Well, what happened in a couple of years that followed? It basically became irrelevant. Irrelevant, they were out innovated by Linkedin. And so if you're there and you're that leader saying your purpose is to hit the number, you might as well put a sign on the door that says innovation dies here. Yeah, because it also it emphasizes that short term, the short term, short term thinking. This week, this month and nobody. You compare two teams. One team is saying how can we make a difference to customers? The other team is saying how can we hit our quarterly targets? That first team is going to be the more innovative team, pivoting a bit. One of the and you touched on this a little bit before, when you're talking about the customer experience when they're on zoom calls. What do you in your opinion? What's the impact been of for most sales people being fully remote the past couple of years? And it could because in some cases that wasn't much of a change for some people, but in a lot of industries, a lot of roles, it was a drastic shift. That happened overnight. What's the impact been of that? So a couple of things. First thing is a lot of extroverted sales people realized they didn't actually have that many friends. Their lives have been filled up with going out with customers, entertating customers, being the customers offices. So there was a little bit of a reckoning on that. I've just seen some new data about salesperson loneliness and I'm going to do a piece on this and it basically says women salespeople became lonely, they became more awkward and they started overspending on customers just to get a social connection. But what's happened now? A lot of people who were in...

...person salespeople have gone remote, and one of the things that you've got to understand is for a lot of industries it's going to stay that way and it's not the seller's choice. It's the customer's choice. Yeah, the example we talked a lot about theirs and like medical device and pharmaceuticals, right. They those sales people were used to that drop in culture of just showing up at the doctor's offices. And not only did that end on a dime two years ago, but it's not coming back. No, I was in the doctor's office the other day and I looked around. I was like where are all this getting good looking people? All right, the farmer reps are near anymore. Oh, this is just all the patients, all the normal people. But one of the things that you have to understand as a seller, if you were in this virtual environment, is, well, a couple of things. Number one, of your customer's journey has been online. So they and it's without you, and that's not a bad thing. They have looked at your product, they've looked at you. In most cases they've looked at everything in advance, and so when they've decided to give you their time, Litmus test this. But in most cases they're already up to feed on your company and when they're giving you their time it's really precious. And the good news is that they're giving you their time. They're probably really serious. So if you're getting on a zoom call with somebody, this is a good prospect. You need to understand that. But the other thing that you have to understand. Just as they have done their homework, you better do yours. And by your homework what I mean. There is no excuse. I don't care what you sell, especially if you're B two B. You need to know what this company's goals are, what are they trying to accomplish over the next year? Who is their senior leadership team? Who is this person you're calling on? What is their role? You should know all that before you jump on the call. YEA, what if they've been saying in the news? That sort of thing right? There's no excuses. You need to know all that. And so if you are booking back to back to back calls with no time in between, you're doing yourself and your customers a disservice. If you do nothing else, cut your calls from thirty minutes to twenty five or an hour to forty five and give yourself that time. And and then the other thing that you need to understand about this zoom situation is your intent became more apparent. And here's why. You walk into somebody's office, we're gonna shake hands and you want some coffee. I'm gonna see some pictures of their kids or whatever. All those social niceties that we just sort of do automatically, they're wiped out undo. They're absolutely wiped out. And so what happens is if you're just like, how much money have you got? When can I close this deal, that's gonna show up really or right. It's amplified. Right. Yeah, and so one thing that we sellers to do is, if you're in a first call or an early call, make sure you've done your homework and make sure you have some questions to ask that customer. And you all teach this. That have to do with their strategic intent you know, I see you all are going into three new markets that year. How's that going to affect you in your room? Like you have got to start that call off where the focus is on the customer, because a lot of customers are coming to the call going so what do you got? They'll they'll prompt you to a show and tell just because they don't know what else to do. So you've got to be really planful so that you can make that call about them instead of just about you, and that that homework has to go beyond asking the sort of what I think is cliche that like what's keeping you up at night questions. You should already know that, right. I was gonna say one of the previous episodes of this podcast I was talking to somebody and he talked about you have to instead come into those conversations saying here's three things that should be keeping up at night, because I know that's what other people in your role or your industry are doing. and which which of these resonates with you sort of thing, and go that way. It's you have to flip it around. If I could go back in my own early career and one thing we've done for a lot of clients is I wish I had better business intelligence, and what I mean by that is you should know if you've got three typical buyers, if your buyers are CMO, head of HR sales, enablement strategy, whoever your buvirus, you should know the compelling hot issues for a person typically in that role. Yeah, like you should know that so that you can say you know, you and I have probably both dealt with chief revenue officers. So challenge for chief revenue officers now is the economy's opened up very high targets that they have to get and they have to keep their people in acually engaged in not quitting. So, like...

I better be really fluid and how to do both of those things before I jump on a call. Yeah, what's the link you think between purpose and because a lot of these things were you know, we talked about it's making a difference in customers lives and customer impact and, you know, improving everything related to the customer. That's got a link directly to sort of the importance of an ethical approach to selling. And obviously that's that's what we preach, you know, it's it's in our name. But what? So, what do you think is the link between having a your noble purpose and maintaining a truly ethical approach to selling? Your noble purpose is about how you improve life for customers and it should lead you down the path of ethical selling. And, having said that, I believe that most people are ethical and most people want to do the right thing and when we think of all the example of people who haven't done the right thing, we tend to pluck them out as if they are individuals. I'll use wells fargo as an example, where it was just a few bad apples, when actually those people are acting in accordance with the culture, and even the people at the top of the culture might not have been bad people. They didn't say go. And then a bunch of accounts and and doing the customers for all this. But when you think about ethical selling, when you're true north is hit the numbers at all costs, you open up the door for even people who normally might be ethical to cut corners and and I'm sure there's some awful people in the world, we know that, but what I see is the majority of people are just trying to do a good job make a living. And when you create a climate that says hitting the numbers is everything, you might take a normally ethical person who doesn't want to lose their job, hop because they want to provide for themselves and their family, and they might start going on that side. And so the real ownness is on every leader to say we're here to improve life for customers in ways that are ethical and every illness is on the individual to say that. I remember I worked with someone who's one of the best customer service people I've ever worked with, and she told us about this other company that she worked for where they would tell people they had this lie that they would say. They would say they had a fire in the factory when orders relate, and she said you had to write down who you said that too, so you didn't use the story more than once. And it was interesting because I had two years of experiences being the best customer support person I'd ever had. But when she told me that story and I realized she was part of it, and she's only twenty years old when she was part of it, I kind of changed how I thought about her and and and she was super nice and she was very young and doing it at the direction of her leadership. But what I what I gleaned from them, I wasn't much older myself, is, whether you know it or not, people are watching how you conduct yourself and most people give others the benefit of the doubt. Most people assume people are honest, most people assume that people are have good intent but when you reveal something different than that, people will not take it as an isolated incident. It will become what they think of you. That's a really good point. Yeah, that they're they're not going to just dismiss it. They're going to take that as a one off right. Even if it wasn't one off, they'll say, oh, I must not have really known him or her. And so what we find is, and most of our clients, that most people that cause when I work with senior teams, they already have a purpose. It's either implicit or explicit. We're trying to help them elevate it and bring it to life with a sales team. But having said that, I have worked with a couple of places, three in fact, where things have gone sideways in a really bad way and a leader either had to fix it or a new leader came in and said we have got to fix this. And what a noble purpose does for you is it gets everyone in your organization focused on aligned around the same true north and it tends to inoculate you against those individual bad behaviors. And if you have them, they are in fact outliers. They're not a product of your culture. Now you started talking about sales managers and the role of sales leaders and I want to get into that, but but as a sort of bridge to that a lot of the things that we're talking about. What's your perspective on whether companies can train for the things that we're discussing? And I guess a related question is what do you think companies get wrong about training their their sales teams? It seems like you know a lot of companies they view training as jamming product...

...information into reps heads and giving the market marketing messages to memorize and demoscripts and here's the nuts and bolts of how you use the crm and other sort of tactical things which are important, important for them to know, but they put their training all around those things. But all the things that we've been talking about, can you train for those things? And and again, what do you think companies get wrong about their development? Absolutely can train for those things. So I will use a parenting example. It is one thing if I were to do a parenting class and tell everyone you're trying to raise future citizens, you're trying to raise ethical people, you're trying to raise people that can create their own happiness. I mean everyone's gonna go well, Duh, yeah, but it's completely another thing if I say here are common scenarios with five year olds. Let's play out how you handle this. Here are common scenarios with fifteen year olds. Let's lay out how you handle this. Here's this conversation you might want to have with your kids. Let's play out how you started. Backgroup of parents is going to be so much better in the moment because they've practiced these things. And so as leaders, when you train yourself, people like, yeah, you gotta train them how to use the crn. Yeah, you gotta train them how to you know what your products are. But so much of the mistake people make is they think if I can just load their lips with the perfect language and give them this great message, the customer will agree. And that's not what you want to do. What you want to do is you want to have done so many practices with your people and have their knowledge be so deep and baked in that they are conversationally fluid in the things that you want them to do. So, just like that parenting class, you can give me the perfect script but like if my kids says it differently, I'm gonna go, AH, what am I gonna do? But if we've done practice after practice after practice, in the second that comes up I go I know what to do here, and so you absolutely can for train for this. And what you're trained for it. You're trained for two things. You're training for a mental model that they can carry with them from call to call to call to call, good or bad, and then you're also training for some skills because we already know the scenarios that they're most likely an encounter and we're not trying to script them. But it's just like an actor or an actress. You can tell when they're sort of reaching for the line because they're trying to get the script, versus you can tell when it's so deep within them that they are connecting with the audience. That's how we want our sellers on that third level. Yeah, like we say, it's you've got to develop sales people from the standpoint of skill and will, because if you develop the skill doesn't mean that they're actually going to do it if they don't have that true north, that purpose. They don't. And I'll tell you how I develop selling one noble purpose. There's a big story in the book about the research, but the reason I came to it was I had been a sales trainer for a lot of different companies. I was a contract sales trainer for a solid decade when my kids were young, and what I came to realize that there were so many good sales trainings out there that talked about putting the customer first, but the reason it fell apart in the field is because, when it came to the field, the true north was always the number and so I had to find a way to make the true north the customer impact, because then the skills stick because they are in the service of that. That's really good. So let's talk about because it's directly related to training rights, is again the role of the sales manager, and you write in the book about sales managers as the quote, frontline belief builders. Can you talk about what you think the role of the sales leader should be today, whether it's, you know, Reinforcing Training, coaching, reducing people's anxieties, their self doubts, all those sorts of things like what what do you think their role is? And and our companies adequately preparing people that are promoted into sales leadership roles to actually leading, leading coach? So let's take the first question. Our Company is adequately preparing? In most cases the answer is no. We promote the best seller and then we go congratulation at your sales manager. At least that's what happened to me. But managers are the frontline belief builders, and what I mean by that is a seller is going to hear from the C r o the CEO on occasion, but the manager is the primary voice in their ear. And so we tend to train managers on is. Here's how you do your pipeline calls, here's how you do it is, but we don't train them on this important thing called belief. And so I'm gonna give you a shortcut, a super simple, very powerful thing that sales managers can do, and it's what we call the game changing questions. So everybody knows. I'll give you an example. Everybody knows manager does the pipeline review and we sit down and I say, well, so I see God, Opportunity, x, Y Z. What are the questions? I asked. How much is it gonna BE?...

When are you going to close it? Do you have all the decision makers in the room? WHO's the competition? What's the likelihood? To all those very important questions. And a lot of sales leaders think that asking those questions is coaching right, he is coaching. It is not coaching. You're asking a seller to report on something and half the time when they tell it to you, you ask them to change it. Are you sure it's thinking said? I think it's a Dy. Yeah, it's, but anyhow, that's not coaching. It is information reporting. It is just like asking your kid when do you have to be there? What do you need for practice? Like it's important, but it's not. It's not parenting. So here is the question you ask. We've gone through all your stuff. Will, you told me about this one single question, will, how will this customer be different as a result of doing business with us? Now, I am the manager and I asked that question, and thank you for playing along and being my sales rep will, I'm the manager. Will's brain has just gone from all the internal stuff he needs to know about himself and his deal and all that. Now he's thinking about the customer. That's where I want his brain before he goes into that call. So he's either gonna tell me. Well, Miss Manager, here's how the customer will be different. Their strategy will change, they will be more efficient, they will do this and I'll go. Well, will is really ready for this call. Focus on that or he'll go well, I don't know, they'll have our solution, in which case, Ding, Ding, Ding. My sales rep is not ready, because if he can't answer to me, he can't answer to the customer. And so when you ask what role do sales managers play? If you can start asking this question, how will the customer be different and you can lift it up. So say will gives me a great answer, then when I'm talking to Susie and she gives me a terrible answer, I can say, well, you know, I heard from will. Or if the sales mean I can say will was talking about how his customer would be different and Susie had an example of the impact she had on customers. When I start telling those stories I'm building what I call the tribe of true believers, because in every culture it's the storytelling. America we got a bunch of stories that we tell ourselves. Now we know M are Dru but every religion has a big book of stories. Every family reunion you come to tell the stories because the stories you tell reveal the mindset, in the ethos of the culture. So if you want to build belief in your sellers, may be asking how the customer is different as results of doing business with you, and you need to be telling stories about when it actually happened. That's the manager as a belief building and I love that that question. I remember reading that in the book because it's not only a sort of a litmus test for the salesperson and whether they're prepared, but it can also be a rallying cry for the rest of the organization. If you share that people that are even in nuts, they might be in customer support, customer service, operational marketing roles, whatever it might be. It's really helpful for them to understand that too. And I think the other thing is that it helps you understand how to engage with the customer before you win the deal and after. Yes, right, because the relationship goes further than just that win. And so how will the customer be different? Not only creates a compelling story for your seller to talk with the customer about, but to your point customer success, it should be in your marketing. The whole ethos of your company should be lined up around that and what we say, in an ideal world the company has a shared noble purpose that everyone knows and understands, which is about how you make a difference to customers. Each person can draw a direct line from their job to how they make a difference to customers. So it's the company and the job and then the third pieces. Each team member has a personal connection to that, that it means something to them. And when you get those three, imagine a ven diagram with company job in person. When you get those three lined up, man that is how you create magic as a company. That's when you win the market, that's when you become the best place to work, that's when you become an innovative company. So we believe strongly, and we talked about it on other episodes of this podcast, that a salesperson's ability to ask good questions really makes or breaks an opportunity right, especially early on, building that credibility and trust, not walking in with your power point showing you know all your locations and customer logos and not asking them what's keeping them up at night, that sort of thing. But so what are you from your perspective? What are some questions that sales people should be asking customers more of, like what do customers want to be asked? And just important, just as importantly, how do you get salespeople to actually to actually listen to the answers and engage in dialogue instead of just thinking about what the next question is? So you've asked two questions. I'll answer from both. So, in terms of what should you be asking about, if you should be asking one broad...

...rush example, about how the company's strategy and goals, and you can find this on the Internet, whatever they're CEO said, if you're not calling on the CEO, how those are going to play out with your buyer. And by that I mean so your company is trying to do x y z. what's your role in that? Will how will that affect you in your department? Will what impact will that have on you? You? That's the kinds of questions that you want to be asking, which are not those who keeps you up at night, like salespeople figure that out twenty five years ago. Buy Or don't want to hear it. You're getting to that, but you're getting to that in a much more skilled way, because what you're doing with a question like that you've got this initiative to do X Y Z as a company. Or I know your market has suddenly become very competitive you're revealing of my homework and then you're asking the customer to think deeply about how the larger issues are affecting them in their job. And Oh, if they don't know, you might need to try and wratch it yourself up a notch or two inside the company. And so that's the kinds of questions that you want to be asking of your buyer. And then I said there were two parts and I forgot the second part because I got so into the first part. How do salespeople actually listen to the answers to the questions that they're asking? So here I'm going to use a marriage counselor example. Imagine we go to a marriage counselor and I'm married. I've been married for a million years and I'm mayor, I'm a woman and I'm married to a man. Okay, so you need to know that importantly and tell here. If the marriage counselor says you'll need to ask each other more questions, you need to be more interested in each other. You need to really listen to the answers. Both of us will go yes, we do, we're gonna do that, yes we are. But then in day to day life we might forget. So imagine instead if the marriage counselor says, next time you come back here, I'm going to ask you what was your partner's week like? What are they worried about most right now? What are the most important things going on with them? I'm going Oh, ship, I don't want to look battened for the marriage council. I better get the answers. So how do you get sellers to listen more? Is You the leader, and we've got five problems that we use. You, the leader, consistently ask what's going on in this customer's environment? What are their biggest challenges? What are they trying to accomplish within the scope of their job? What does success look like for them? What does lack of success look like them? You, the leader, are always asking your seller those questions about that deep customer intelligence. If your boss is not doing this, you need to ask them of yourself. And one thing that really helps sellers is if you have a thirty minute call, forty five mint call, just make a mental note whatever time you started, what's the halfway mark, and say I'm gonna talk about myself after the halfway mark's super simple. That will give you the space to relax and say, in the first half of this call, I'm gonna find out as much about them and what's going on with them and their goals and initiatives as I possibly can, and you need to have some confidence that whatever they reveal, you'll be able to connect to it, because you probably will if you're talking to the right fire and again, it's all it all goes back to the question you talked about earlier of focusing on how will this customer be different as a result of doing business with us? Right, right, so I want to spend at least half my time, especially in those early calls, maybe more leaning in saying I want to figure out where this customer, this buyer, this company, where they're going, what they're trying to accomplish the larger scope of things, what the compelling issues are, because they wouldn't be talking to me if they didn't already think that in some way I could help them. So just give yourself that space and don't be so worried about trying to bring up you like if you it's it's almost like speed dating, which used to be popular, where you have like fifteen minutes or seven minutes. You spend the whole time talking about yourself, you're probably not going to get another date. Well, and and and the last point I'd make on that as it goes back to what you talked about before, which is, and this is around the importance of your brand and and marketing leading up to the call, because all that stuff is available to the customer and they wouldn't be on the they wouldn't be on the phone with you to begin with, around a zoom call to begin with, if they didn't find all that stuff about you and find you credible. Yeah, and so you can. It doesn't have to be awkward. They'll go. So, what have you got for me? I'm really interested in your X Y Z saying. Well, I am delighted to hear that. If we could spend a couple of minutes, I've done some homework and know a little bit about you, but if we could spend just a couple of minute, so I got a couple of questions for you,...

...that would help me direct my comments. So, I mean, you pivot just like that and you say so. You guys are trying to do x y Z. strikes me that someone in your role is probably worried about Baba, if I was talking to a chief revenue officer, I'd say, I see you guys have some really aggressive sales goals. Someone in your role has probably got a lot of pressure on them to deal with that, but they also need to keep their sales team happy and emotionally engaged. How are you dealing with that? We're gonna have a good conversation from that point on, much more substantive, right and and the truth is I really want to know. It's not some question that I'm asking to hope that they say this. I really want to know. And if they go, Oh, shoot, I've never thought of that, or Oh, let me tell you about either way, I can deal with the answer because I can probably help them. Yeah, so we're just about at the end of our time. I wanted to wrap with one last question for you to get, you know, something practical addition to everything you've already given that people can take away as people listen to this and they think about like all right, what's my what's my purpose? What's my true not right, what are some questions that sales people should ask themselves to help them create their own, I think, as you call it, their own purpose statement? Yeah, noble purpose statements, and it's noble because it's in the service of others. So the first thing I would say is don't put too much pressure on yourself. Don't feel like it's forever, and I mean if you want to go off and, you know, hike in the Wilderness for two weeks and do some soul searching, have at it. Now's a good time to do that. But if you want to make better sales calls this afternoon, here's what you can do, and it's in the book. You ask yourself the question, how does what we sell make a difference? And keep pushing yourself. What if we didn't do it? What if they didn't have it? What happens when it works really well? Really Search and say what's the ripple effect? How does what we sell, how do I, make a difference? Then ask yourself that second question. How do we do it differently? And you may have some innovation that's completely different, or it may just be we care more. And then really reflect on your best day. What do you love about your job? And I guarantee you may go back to some of those days when you score the big sale and got the big commission. I will also guarantee you that part of that was knowing that you made a difference this. Once we get beyond food and shelter, people want belonging and significance, and so it doesn't matter who you work for at this moment in time, doesn't matter what your leadership is doing, when you can create a narrative for yourself that you reset against how you make a difference and how you do it differently and what you love about your job. The data tells us that you will close more sales, you will force stronger connections with your customers. Your win right, we'll go up, your customer retention will go up and here's the other thing, you'll be happy because you're going to show up for work every day no matter what. You deserve to enjoy it, and it's the difference between being that exhausted kind of tired at the end of the day where it was just a rat race, versus what I called the good tired, when you're tired at the end of the day, which you know you did something that mattered, you know you accomplished something. Yeah, so this has been excellent. As I said at the at the outset, Lisa, I was eager to have you on this show because I really felt like your point of view about selling maps closest to what this, this podcast, is all about, and I think that's Um that's proven out over the last hours. So I hope everybody that has listened to this enjoys it and takes some some really practical and important things to heart that they can they can do around this. You can find Lisa and connect with her on Linkedin, on twitter. Her twitter handle is Lisa Earl McLeod. That's Lisa E A R L E McLeod, M C L E O D and Her website is McLeod and more dot Com. That's McLeod and more M O R E dot Com. Again, you can connect with her on on Linkedin and, of course, the book selling with noble purpose you can get wherever you get your books from. Lisa, thank you so much again for being with us today. It's been such a pleasure. I have long admired your company and what you've done. You are early, early, early on sales as integrity and a noble profession. So it was I was really delighted to get the invite. Now I'll tell folks I appreciate you sharing where you can find me if you follow me on Linkedin. We post tons of video content and it's free. Oh so, follow me on Linkedin and get the work on purpose newsletter. They're both free and it's super crazy excellent. Well, thank you again, Lisa. Thanks to every one for...

...listening to us today. I'm will Milano with integrity solutions. We look forward to having you join us for our next episode a couple of weeks from now and of course, on mental selling. If there are any other previous episodes you haven't listened to, please do and also, when you can, give us a like or or subscribe, give us a review. We love to get feedback on how we can make the show better and until next time, thanks everyone for joining us. Holley, you've been listening to mental selling and integrity solutions podcast. Stay in touch with us by subscribing to the show in your favorite podcast player and following us on Linkedin and twitter. Please give us a rating, leave a comment and share episodes you love. That helps us keep empowering sales and service leaders to master the mental side of selling. Until next time, let's go out and create amazing customer experiences.

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