Do you know the rest of the quote? Well, here it is… “you just help enough other people get what they want.” So, who said this? Perhaps you might think this came from the leader of a social services organization, or perhaps from clergy or some Eastern philosopher. But that’s not where this quote came from. It actually came from a long time, well known motivational speaker in the sales arena. That’s right, some of you know it was the venerable Zig Ziglar who said that. Pretty heady words from a guy who got his start selling pots and pans door-to-door, eh?
In my years of selling and consulting I’ve always thought that this statement did a better job of explaining what professional sales ought to be. But, how many salespeople truly conceptualize their role as helping other people get what they want in their jobs… or in their lives? (Hint: The BEST ones do.)
Our business is too often focused on what products we need to move off the shelf, and in what quantity, and by what period of time. Of course, we all have goals to meet, but obsession with pushing product to meet those numbers tragically overshadows the real purpose of what professional selling should be. Great salespeople people do things for people, not to people.
Here’s an exercise. Write down the questions below and jot a few notes to yourself. If your purpose in life truly was to help other people get what they need in order to make their lives better and their job performance much more effective how would that change:
- How you select prospects?
- The language you use to secure an appointment?
- How you prepare for a needs analysis conversation?
- The ideas and solutions that you actually build for them?
- Your discussions about how to measure the results you deliver?
- Your follow-up to make sure that your solution is fulfilling on the performance you and the customer outlined together?
Do you believe you can really get anything you want in life you want as long as you help enough other people get what they want? At its essence, it’s pretty easy to accept. So, what can you do to establish this as your purpose and to make sure it carries through every interaction you have with your prospects and customers? It’s simply a different filter. Try making that your principal focus. I think you’ll be happy (and, your boss will be too when the results are in.)
In case you were wondering, Zig wasn’t so altruistic on every topic. He also said, “Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale.”