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For Your Salespeople, Purpose and Success Are Directly Linked

Why do you do what you do? Why do you sell what you sell? What is the why of your life? What is your purpose?

Salespeople might not consciously be asking themselves these questions on a daily basis. But the fact is, their purpose—the motivating force behind what they do—is influencing their results every day.

Of course, when you think about salespeople and their motivations, your mind might immediately go to one place: money. But for most, the driving purpose typically falls somewhere between two extremes — their own financial or emotional survival and their ability to create high value for customers. In our work, we’ve seen a direct correlation between a salesperson’s success and where their conscious or unconscious purpose lies within these two extremes. The more they’re driven by serving their customers instead of focusing on their personal survival, the more successful they’ll be.

The survival focus is understandable, though. There are times when you might be so concerned about paying bills and feeding your family that you can’t see beyond that to consider a higher reason for doing what you’re doing. The problem is, all too often this survival focus becomes an emotional prison cell that turns into the salesperson’s undoing. Self-focus leads to loneliness, isolation, frustration, selfishness and neurosis. It also kills creativity and innovation. It will never take someone to the highest levels of sales success that they’re capable of reaching.

How a Strong Purpose Fuels High Sales Achievement

Most of us crave a life filled with more meaning, and that doesn’t come from an inward-focused purpose. Instead, the more we serve and fill the needs of others, the more meaning we enjoy. This is also one of the reasons salespeople who are driven by a strong desire to make a difference and create high value for their customers tend to perform better than others. They not only find the work more rewarding, that clear sense of purpose gives them the inspiration to keep at it even when they hit a rough patch or face a new challenge.

And that’s the reality of sales: Rejection, uncertainty and disappointment are all part of the job. But when you mix them with the thrill of the sale, of helping people and of enjoying their appreciation and respect, the question becomes: Which do you give attention to and remember?

Strength of purpose is what equips high achievers to face risks, overcome obstacles and increase the degree of their success. It gives them a reason to grow, while so many others will settle for playing it safe, resisting change and never pushing the boundaries on what they can achieve. High achievers view problems and struggles as temporary hurdles to jump over instead of impenetrable barriers that are too high to scale.

Put simply, how someone handle the highs and lows of selling—their actions and emotional responses—will determine their success level. And that’s why definiteness of purpose is so important. When a salesperson’s goals are to identify needs and create high value for clients, they transcend the need to sell something. They develop stronger trust and rapport with customers while increasing their own self-respect and confidence. Every action they take reveals their purpose.

Selling with Purpose

If you’re a salesperson or you’re managing and coaching salespeople, regardless of where they are in their career, the activity of writing out a statement of career purpose is a great mind-conditioning process. It’s an exercise that can be done every day and will help them move past the “survival level.” If they’re already on a very high level of success, it will help them go even further.

Here’s a sample to get them started:

  1. My career purpose is to create as much value for as many customers as I can.
  2. Here are specific ways I can help them:
  3. End each day by writing down the names of customers you will contact the next day:
  • Write down the specific value you can create for them.
  • Write down how they’ll feel when you do
  • Reflect and articulate how you’ll feel when you do.
  1. I’ll read this at the close of each day so that my creative, unconscious “I Am” will work on it while I’m asleep.

Energy, the will to achieve, the courage to try, fail and succeed—these are all fueled and given motivation by purpose. And when salespeople bring sufficient definiteness to purpose, they’ll feel directed and more sure of what they’re doing. Work will have more meaning. Doors will mysteriously open. And people, events and forces will give way to their strong resolve.

With a strong why, they’ll discover they can always find the how.

About the Author
Mike Esterday
Mike Fisher

Master Facilitator

Mike Fisher began his 30 year career in sales as a college student, selling books door-to-door in the summers. He...
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