Lisa McLeod is the author of “Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud”. It’s an important book and should be required readying for all sellers and sales leaders. On today’s episode Lisa and I discuss what it means to sell with purpose.
Lisa McLeod 846
Andy Paul: Lisa. Welcome to the show.
Lisa McLeod: It’s great to be here.
Andy Paul: And you’re joining us from where.
Lisa McLeod: I live outside Atlanta, Georgia. I live in a town called Greensboro, Georgia overlooking lovely Lake Coney.
Andy Paul: Okay. And like how far away from Atlanta is that?
Lisa McLeod: It’s been an hour outside of Atlanta.
Andy Paul: Okay, so it’s not really even a suburb you’re out of
Lisa McLeod: No, I’m out. I’m out there. I’m out there. What can I say? After my kids left high school, I wanted to get on the water. I told myself I was going to water ski every day. I’m lucky if I do it 10 times a year.
Andy Paul: Okay, what keeps you from doing it every day?
Lisa McLeod: So just saying things that keep us from doing everything, it sounds like a good idea. Then you gotta get out the boat and you got to do this and you got to do that. I’m the queen of good intentions. We all are.
Andy Paul: so is there something there that can drive the boat for you every day?
Lisa McLeod: That’s the sad part. Yes. My husband will drive the boat, whatever. And then I’ll see, I came on the show to talk, to try and be a business expert. And now I’m revealing all of my personal failings.
We’re a minute in.
Andy Paul: this is all of them. If this is all of your personal feelings, you are in fantastic shape.
Lisa McLeod: Oh, we’re just getting started.
Andy Paul: I was going to say, we could spend a week talking about mine and that’s just from my perspective, they don’t have to ask my wife mean it’d be a longer show, so yeah. All right. so resolution is ski more
Lisa McLeod: Resolution is Skidmore.
Andy Paul: ski, more, less, all right, we’ll put that down.
We’ll come back. We’ll check on you. See if you’re doing that. during the pandemic, I would think. There was more time or do you like everybody else? You find yourself busier.
Lisa McLeod: Okay. I’m finding myself busier. We work with a lot of sales organizations. And so when they had to pivot, because despite the fact that there’s a pandemic for a lot of people, it made business. More challenging. And I’m talking about the people who still had business that they needed to work on.
And so I found myself spending a lot more time with sales teams on strategy and coaching and on zoom calls all day long, which was great because I felt like I was helpful, but like a lot of people you do start to get some fatigue.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Yeah. That’s our, we’re not doing this on zoom. I want too much to be fatigued from doing it. Let me ask you a question. So what do you think is the biggest lesson that you’ve learned about yourself during the pandemic?
Lisa McLeod: I would say for me, the biggest lesson I learned about myself was I thought that I was a raging extrovert who really depended on other people for my energy. And I found myself and I want to, there’s a tricky dance about the way I want to say this, because I am acutely aware of the real suffering, both physical and economic being experienced by people.
Having said that as someone who was not experienced in a dramatic way, what I found was that I really benefited from a level of introspection. And being alone and reading more. And even though I was busy all day, I found that I was really drawn to some existential questions that I had asked myself at various other turning points in my life, but really about who am I and why am I here?
and I don’t think I’m alone in that. I think a lot of people experience that. But I was surprised how quickly I went there and how much I enjoyed being, having a less frantic life. I was surprised by that.
Andy Paul: So who are you?
Lisa McLeod: what I decided was as I went in. probably the thing I’m best known for in business is this whole idea of noble purpose and helping leadership teams and sales organizations. When I really went inside myself, what I realized is the reason I get so excited about that is I do seeing companies succeed.
But the thing that excites me the most is people waking up and loving their jobs. and I realized that is the heartbeat and the essence of who I am, that it absolutely breaks my heart when people wake up and they just phoned it in and they don’t care. And we all have bad days. I’m not talking about that.
I’m talking about people who have no sense of purpose or meaning in their life.
Andy Paul: right. Which is basically how we structure a lot of work. right? this is, we’re when Lisa’s talking about noble purpose, we’re one of her books, which we’re gonna talk about today is called selling with no title selling with noble purpose, how to drive revenue and do work that makes you proud and a very good book, by the way, on my list of recommended books is, yeah, this whole idea.
I think of phoning it in. To me it’s this is, especially in sales, let’s just start with sales. That’s a direct result of the way we structure and train people to do that job.
Lisa McLeod: It absolutely is. And there’s a concept in writing called the red thread. And the red thread is the through line, the storyline, the things you always keep coming back to, for example, in writing of the show friends, the red thread is the friends. There’s all these different people come and go, but they always come back to their friends and the red thread is a concept.
In writing that came from Chinese mythology that said that you were destined to be, you were drunk, you were tied by a red thread to your future destined partner and that wherever you went in your life, you would always come back to them. And so the reason I bring up this, ancient Chinese storytelling and the red thread of TV shows is because in business we have a red thread and the red thread is money.
And everything is organized and comes back to that central story of how much money we’re making. but it is completely the wrong red thread because when you’re, when your primary organizing principle is how much money are we making, you are looking inward. When you’re looking inward, you never create competitive differentiation.
You don’t have any great innovation. And you also don’t have emotional engagement because people can’t stay engaged that long when the only answer to money is more.
And so the thing that we’ve come to recognize is the thing that a lot of us knew in our hearts, all along, people are hardwired to want to make a difference to other people. And when you work for a company and you don’t have to change a world or provide life-saving vaccines, although if you do, that would be really nice right now, but really nice. but even if your company, like we work with an IT company, whose purpose is to help make small businesses more successful, whenever you dial in to see how you are affecting other people.
You come alive. And, but as you said, so much of business is about stripping the emotion out, making it just about the numbers as if they’re these anonymous sort of leavers that you can move up and down and it’s quite to humanizing and it’s no coincidence in the years that we’ve gotten better and better at that employee engagement has tanked.
Andy Paul: Yeah, and I think that you want the role fallacies and sales is this idea that separates. People are most starting points, separate. Some are the skills. and I think that I’m a believer that yeah, basically once people train, they all pretty much have the same skills and it’s not really the skills that make the differences.
You talked about it, but there was nothing to do. and I don’t like to use the word top performers and work because to your point, I think it’s a little dehumanizing for everybody else. Yeah. Between maybe the average and the above average sellers is I find it’s always been this sort of unambiguous focus on the right things.
Lisa McLeod: It
Andy Paul: And one of one of which is understanding what your job is and sales, which is this perspective of what purpose is a perspective. I think most sellers, the vast majority of sellers, really don’t understand what their job is.
Lisa McLeod: if you ask most salespeople, what their job is, they’ll tell you it’s to hit my number. But we actually had done a good bit of research on this. And when you talk about skills, so the difference between a poor performer, someone who can’t do the job and someone who can, that difference is skills and self-discipline and all the things that we know to be true, that you can train people for.
But the difference between the good performers and, The exceptional performers in terms of sales numbers. That’s the thing about sales is it’s pretty easy to quantify because they’re there every week, every month, every year. But the difference between the people who are merely good at their job versus the people who were exceptionally defined as made more sales, sold, higher margin deals, and also sold stickier deals to get better customer retention.
Those people were actually. Driven by this sense of what we call noble purpose. So when you ask them, what’s the purpose of your job? They have an entirely different answer. They say the purpose of my job is to improve life for customers and those, that group of people. we’re the top performers. There’s been a number of studies on this.
My firm did some, there was a recent study from dr. Valerie, good at the university of Michigan or Michigan state, rather who did a study about this? And what’s interesting is that individual performance or people that have this sense of purpose are better salespeople. also translates into organizational performance organizations where the whole Salesforce has coalesced around this thing that we call a noble purpose, which is we’re here to improve, like our customers.
Those become the top performing sales teams and they beat the competition because you think about it. Who would you rather have calling on you? If you’re a customer, someone who comes in and says, my purpose is to close this deal, or someone who comes in and says, my purpose is to create value for you.
Andy Paul: Yeah, no. And that’s, that is the fundamental,
Lisa McLeod: difference. Yeah.
Andy Paul: Difference in perspective. And again, I think for, yeah, I wouldn’t even know how to estimate the percentage, but I would say certainly three quarters of sellers it’s yeah. My job is to sell this product.
Lisa McLeod: Oh, we can estimate the percentage is only 5% at the top. I think that way.
Andy Paul: Yeah. it’s interesting. It’s like this whole idea of how we categorize people in sales is one that. That bothers me because I think it contributes to this dehumanization. I started referring to that a bit earlier as is yeah. Managers say, Oh, we’ve got a player, B player, C players. And it’s yeah.
implicit in that is this idea that somehow being good at what you do is no longer good. You’re their top performer, this mythical top performer, which there are very few, or you’re below, sub-par and it’s that’s not the way it works at all. you look at the way the distribution you’ve got, like I say, I would say you got below average above average, and then you got a real thin layer people that are exceptional, but generally,
Lisa McLeod: them the rainmakers themselves.
Andy Paul: yeah, I’ve not really loved that term.
Lisa McLeod: the thing about it is, so I think there’s two points on that. One is that it is dehumanizing because what we have to do is decouple, A moment in time of work performance from your inherent worth and dignity as a human being. And we do a very poor job of that in our society. That if you’re the top performer or we give you all these, we attribute all these things to you that may or may not be true.
Andy Paul: mythical qualities.
Lisa McLeod: If you have an off year. And so part of what we have to do, and it’s not just a company’s job or leadership’s job, it’s your job as a human being is to decouple. Your performance at any given task from your inherent worth and dignity as a human being, you’ve got to be able to do that. But then the second thing that we know to be true is if you do have this greater sense of purpose at your, in your work, what we know is that we can actually train an entire sales team to have that.
So those people in that are what you would call average performers, good performers. Once they have that. They not only experience higher quantitative performance as we measure it, but they also have more resilience and have more meaning in their job. So the month when they don’t make it, if you were supposed to sell a hundred this month and you’ve defined yourself by your ability to sell a hundred and this month you, don’t what you’re screwed, your confidence is shot.
Your self esteem is shot. If you’ve defined yourself as a person who makes a difference to customers and you didn’t sell a hundred, you sold 80. It’s not great, but at least you can say I still did my job.
Andy Paul: I still made a difference
Lisa McLeod: I still made a
Andy Paul: these companies. Yeah. And it’s yeah, one of the topics that. We’re going to explore more on the show. And I know it was getting more visibility out there for mental health in sales and yeah, just reading something this morning from some stories and articles and had some stories from individual sellers that yeah.
To your point precisely we’re unable to decouple ourselves because they’ve been trained this way now enabling a couple of themselves from. Who I am as a person and hitting my number.
Lisa McLeod: That’s right. And we, everything in a sales organization leads you that way. And one of the things that we saw is we have implemented this methodology with close to a hundred firms. And one of the things that we saw was in some of them were in industries that were really hard, hit, like travel. Others weren’t software that weren’t hard hit.
Others were in the kitchen cabinet business and believe it or not during a pandemic after people settled down and they all wanted new kitchen cabinets. So it was all across the map. But what we saw was those teams, when they had this sense of noble purpose, they had something to tether themselves to other than a number.
Because if the only thing you are tethered to as an individual, as a sales team, as an organization, if all, everything, the essence of who you are is tethered to a number you’re going to be in for a really bad time. Even if we didn’t have a pandemic because it’s fleeting. It’s that dopamine hit that.
So many sales teams are living on you this month. Okay. It’s next month. Okay. Let’s go. And there’s an energy there. But it’s generally not sustainable. And what we know is when you have this sense of purpose, instead of living off dopamine, which is like crack, you always want more, you actually live off of serotonin, which is more long lasting, which creates more steadfast effort over time.
That means that the study at Michigan state showed that salespeople that had this sense of purpose. Not only did they outperform their peers, but they had a more sustained effort over time. Because they weren’t as blown off course when things didn’t go their way.
Andy Paul: all right. Let’s take a step back and say, okay, so what is this purpose? So how do you as an organization, how do you identify what your purposes are and is it a, both an organizational purpose as well as an individual purpose or what they separate together? What do you know about that?
Lisa McLeod: They’re together, but let me tell you as an organization, you can do this as an organization. What I’m about to tell you. Or you can do it as an individual or somewhere in between as a team to find what we call your noble purpose. You want to be able to answer three questions. How do we make a difference to our customers?
How do we do it differently than our competition and on your best day, what do you love about your job? If you answer those questions deeply, authentically, thoughtfully. Inside of those is your noble purpose. And so I’ll give you some examples from what I mentioned earlier. They decided their noble purpose was to help make small businesses more successful.
it’s hardly the most breakthrough, sexy thing in the world, but. Everything they did. You’re going to go out there and it ‘s firm. You’re going to go out and call on a small business, find out what they’re doing now and how you can make it more successful. It became the driving force and they drove 10 X growth over this thing.
and so once you decide what your noble purpose is, we have a bank and their noble purposes, we fuel prosperity, but your noble purpose is about the impact that you want to have on your customers. And it shifts that red thread of the business, it moves from we’re here to make money. And sure, our mission statement says, make money, serve all our stakeholders.
Be nice people, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Instead you say we’re here to improve the lives of our customers, you want to do it in a concrete and specific way.
Andy Paul: Yeah. the thing that struck me as I was reading your book is that, and this is you. I think for some people, when they hear purpose, their mind goes one direction. And you alluded to this just before. This is not, your purpose doesn’t have to be profound, it doesn’t have to be earth shattering.
It doesn’t have to be lifesaving. You can all have purpose, but it’s finding that. What that purpose is what that focuses, as you said, how the customer’s lives be different as a result of doing business
Lisa McLeod: this is where that is the driving question. That’s what selling and leading with noble purpose are about, is answering that fundamental question. And the reason I asked those three discovery questions and I’ll repeat them for people because they are crucially important. How do we make a difference?
How do we do it differently in the competition and on your best day, what do you love about your job? What we’re trying to get to there is a higher impact answer than the standard boring value proposition, because usually we have the value proposition. Is this where our points of competitive differentiation or employee engagement scores are this, none of those make people’s hearts speed faster.
What does make people’s hearts speak faster is like the bank I told you when they say we feel prosperity and they show this is the guy we loaned money for to expand his dry cleaning chain. This is how many jobs he created. This is what he did for his community. That’s something that people go to, okay.
I want to be part of that. That’s exciting. And you asked the question about personal purpose. You need to be bought into it yourself. But the way that you may buy into it might be different for each person. So for example, in our company, our purpose is we help leaders drive revenue and do work that makes them proud.
And the reason that is important to me is we want to help people find the money and the meaning, and why that matters to me personally, is because I have worked for a company that was going broke and it sucks. It absolutely sucks. Lying awake at night, worrying about how to make payroll. You don’t make good decisions. It is terrible.
So I want people to be financially prosperous and the meeting is important. I’ve always found meaning in my job, but I was raised in a family where one of my parents did not, and I saw how bad it was to have a parent come home every night who hated their
Andy Paul: Right.
Lisa McLeod: And so that’s an example of how, the, we fuel prosperity folks.
There are people who are like, I believe in small business, some other people are like, I believe in controlling your own destiny. just all kinds of different reasons, but you want to have some organizational understanding of why you’re here and it has to be more specific than just we want to help customers.
Do you notice helping small businesses be more successful? We feel prosperity. They’ve got a little more specificity to them. And when you have clarity about that, you can think deeply about what matters to you. It changes the whole way you go to work.
Andy Paul: of course. I think it’s one of the things that, again, you see this all the time and I see it all the time in sales organizations is that the sellers don’t have this. Unambiguous understanding of what their job is.
And so as a result, they flounder, right? Yeah. I’ll follow the steps. I know I have these activity metrics.
Like I make so many calls and so on, but there’s no animating purpose to it and yeah, without that, to your point, what are you doing? And this, you think this doesn’t get communicated, to the prospect. When you pick up the phone and call them Parsa, do.
Lisa McLeod: Of course it does. And your phrasing is really accurate there. When you say there’s no animating purpose. Cause they go through the steps, they know their sales process, but it’s just if one of the examples I often use is I don’t tell you sports analogies very often, but I think I
Andy Paul: I do I make up for you? So go
Lisa McLeod: okay, great.
I never used them, but I have a good one. Now this is a good one. Figure skating.
Andy Paul: Oh, I’ve never heard one for that. Okay. Figure second scales. Perfect.
Lisa McLeod: Figure skating scales. Because in figure skating, if you’ve ever watched this figure skating Olympics, there’s two scores, there’s technical merit, and there’s artistic impression. Nobody wins on technical merit. You can lose it on technical merit.
If you don’t do all the jumps and turns, but it’s the artistic impression, how engaged were you in your own performance? How did the audience respond? It’s more qualitative, but everybody knows it. When they see it. I’m not a figure skater, but I can watch the Olympics and I can go, Oh yeah, that one’s going to win.
You can pick it. And so where I liken it to sales is the sales process and all those things. You’re learning. That’s the technical merit. You’re not in the game without those.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Table stakes.
Lisa McLeod: Table-stakes but the purpose, the sense of purpose, the feeling that you have for your customer, that’s the differentiator.
and what’s ironic in sales is it’s almost like we’ve trained sales managers to beat it out of people, because I know I’m a former VP of sales. And when we coach salespeople and do pipeline reviews, we ask, what are you going to close it? How much is it going to be? Who are the decision makers?
Who’s the competition.
Andy Paul: blah, blah, blah,
Lisa McLeod: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But what we found in selling the noble purpose was there’s one question that changes that, and you already said it. When you ask a seller, how will the customer be different as a result of doing business with us, it totally changes their approach. It’s completely different.
And it’s not, what’s our value prop, because then you can still just talk about yourself, but how will the customer be different as a result of doing business, as you can watch the seller’s mind leave. Their CRM and their pipeline review and all their worries about whether they’re going to close it. You can watch it, leave them on a very animated track right now.
If I can’t tell you, watch it, leave their situation. And their mind literally moves to the customer situation says, how will they be different? And they start an entirely different thought process. And when you insert that question into a pipeline review, when you insert that question into product development, how will the customers like it be different when you insert that question into strategy, it changes everything for an organization.
Those become the breakthrough organizations.
Andy Paul: Yeah, that’s right. I agree. And I use different words around it. And is that you? I think one of the big problems, so we don’t have sales is not new. The Spiro forever is that I call it sort of the difference between persuasion and influence. Yeah, we are all about persuasion, right? We’re going to teach you that here’s a product that, we’re gonna teach you that the logic behind why somebody needs to buy that and your job is to persuade somebody to buy that logic. As opposed to saying, we’re here to help you make an informed purchase decision. How can we help you do that? How can we help you make a decision to achieve your desired outcomes? you start from those two different points. You can get two different outcomes.
Lisa McLeod: And it, you really nailed it there because the first one, the quote persuasion, persuades you into my side. My logic,
Andy Paul: And into what I think is the right thing
Lisa McLeod: what I think is the best. And the other one is find out what you’re trying to accomplish and see if there’s a way that I could help you. And I may need to. Illustrate for you, why I am uniquely qualified or the best qualified person to help you.
But the North star is very different and that’s what, that’s how I ended up getting into this. I had a long time background as a sales trainer. I was a sales trainer and then I was a VP of sales for a sales training company. And what I saw was all of these skills and techniques, none of them were particularly bad, but when they were deployed in the service of the clothes, They became manipulative,
Andy Paul: Yeah.
Lisa McLeod: deployed in the service of helping the customer improve, they feel totally different.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Jonah Berger, who’s a professor at Wharton has written a book called catalyst. How to change people’s minds, a new book. That’s that?
Lisa McLeod: that book.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Belinda, thank you. Things he talks about and he’s gotta be on the show here shortly is, what do you call it? Persuasion resistance. Yeah, it’s a site called a cognitive bias that we have as people is that we hate being persuaded.
And yet the one thing that our buyers hate most of all is exactly what we train our salespeople to do.
Lisa McLeod: it’s interesting because people hate being quote sold too. But I actually think sales is one of the few professions where we let the people who do it badly define the profession. So we all know that there are some
Andy Paul: Cause they’re in the majority.
Lisa McLeod: right? There’s bad teachers out there. There’s bad ministers. There’s bad parents, but we don’t say, Oh, abolish all those fields.
But in sales, this sort of. Push energy, this push, it’s as if I could be more aggressive and create more urgency in you. And I just want to say, have you ever watched that same behavior in a bar? If we’re going to be allowed to go to bars again, it never works. It never worked. And one of the things that we’re seeing that’s really interesting is as buyers get skew younger and more female, It’s even worse because they’re not having anything to do with that kind of behavior.
And I, and one of the things we saw after COVID one of our VPs of sales said to us, and they have a big tech company, big numbers. He said, I want my people to be seen as helpful and not scary.
Andy Paul: Oh, scavengers. Good word.
Lisa McLeod: good word.
Andy Paul: But I think that this is something that I’ve been talking about more and more recently. And I think we need to come to grips with the fact that so much of the behavior that we universally decry about salespeople is. Motivated by fear. So it’s a profession that operates almost entirely out of the basis of fear, right?
Salesforce, and you’re afraid you’re not going to make your number because you’re being pressured by your manager. Who’s afraid he’s not going to make his number is being pressured by the director, and so on all the way up the chain. And it’s one of the reasons that we’ve got these, I believe, as a result, why we’re so in certain parts of certain businesses, software being, one of them being so driven by metrics.
Yeah. People put the patina of science on it, but it’s not science. It’s about compliance and control.
Lisa McLeod: Yeah, and it is fear based and it, and I want those listening. I want you to compare two conversations. The, what has been the traditional sales conversation is you’ve got to hit your number. If we don’t hit these numbers as a company, we’re going to be out of business. I need you to go out there and I need you to close it.
The one of you that hits the biggest number is going to get this much money. The rest you are losers, whatever.
Andy Paul: Yeah,
Lisa McLeod: And so what happens is that person’s a McDilla that sales persons and make doula is ignited. They’ve now dropped about 30 IQ points. Strategic thinking has gone out the window.
All they can think about is close it. And the manager thinks great. That’s all I want her to think about. Unfortunately, that’s very off-putting to the customer. Compare that to someone that says there’s a number of our clients said when the pandemic hits our customers need us now more than ever, we have some tools that will make them really, more successful in this environment.
So what we need to do is we need to get out there with a lot of energy and find out what’s going on with our customers right now. What are the things? Biggest challenges. What are their biggest goals right now? And we need to help them solve those. The urgency comes because they need us. And the, and it’s really interesting because there are two different types of urgency when you have urgency, because you are afraid you become frantic.
You don’t think strategically when you have urgency, because someone else needs you to become focused and you show up as your best self. They’re two totally different ways of thinking. One is about improving life for others. That’s when you’re focused, when you’re frantic to just try and hit your own number, you make bad decisions.
Hello, Wells Fargo.
Andy Paul: yeah. Hello, Wells Fargo. yeah, I think, sorry. Example of what. In a way that maybe people aren’t thinking about, there’s been so much written in the immediate aftermath of the shutdown and so on that you can hardly open your eyes on LinkedIn or some other place. So that’s somebody saying, now we need to lead with empathy and I’m like, don’t you always need to lead with empathy.
Lisa McLeod: Yeah, this is
Andy Paul: Now we need to lead with empathy. But yeah, but before, and it’s just like that revealed people’s true colors in ways they didn’t really, I think. Think about it, which is yeah, now we are. But as soon as this changes, we’re not going to be again.
Lisa McLeod: I’m going to push back on you with that. I agree with the first half that people went, Oh, apparent empathy. Apparently it’s a thing. What do you do? I had people call me. Could you do a class on empathy? Yes, I can. But the thing that I will tell you is that I’m going to push back on is I think once you experienced that and you experienced the benefits of it and you step into it, I’m hoping that for a lot of people that will stay
Andy Paul: Yeah, I’m hoping, but I’m not hopeful.
Lisa McLeod: I am more, we’re hopeful that it will stick because the other thing that’s going to happen right now, everybody really needs their job. If you’ve got a job and your boss is leaning on you in a fear-based way and your company is just pounding the metrics, you may stay because you need your job.
But. This is going to come out. We’re going to come out of this in some form or fashion. And top talent is going to have choices and the way that companies treat their employees and their customers right now is going to define their brand for at least a decade. And so what’s going to happen is if you were that company that just was scavengers and tried to close everything you could from customers, if you were that boss that just pounded on your people, You might do a little bit better right now, but it will be marginal at best and you’re going to lose your customers and you’re going to lose your people.
and I want to make it really clear. It doesn’t mean that you need to be soft on people. It doesn’t mean that you don’t need to close sales. There is a better way to close sales than trying to light up the lizard brain of your entire Salesforce.
Andy Paul: I think one of the things that, that comes out of the book and other people forget about the swell like Adam Grant and give and take is that, he talks about you can be a giver, which I’ll say is somewhat analogous to selling with purpose and still have an agenda.
Lisa McLeod: Yeah.
Andy Paul: that’s okay. It’s not what people think.
Yeah, misinterpret what you’re saying about purpose, somehow, all this is really soft and we’ve got to go out and get business and then, we can’t afford to be that way. It’s no, that’s not. What’s being said, here is, yeah, you can still have the agenda. You want to make money.
That’s fine. But it’s an outcome of what you’re doing. It’s not the driving purpose. And you have to have that confidence that you’ll be able to achieve that.
Lisa McLeod: That’s exactly what it is. The money is a lagging indicator. And what happens is if we manage to lagging indicators, we are looking, the money you’re making today is a direct result of the thoughts, the thoughts, beliefs, and actions of your people months, maybe even years ago. And so what we know is sellers with this noble purpose.
Outsell sellers focused on targets and quotas companies with a purpose bigger than money outperformed the market by 350% employees that have this sense of purpose are more likely to save the company and more likely to be fully engaged. And so people create a false dichotomy and you’ve probably seen this in your life and other places where someone will say have you ever had a low performing employee?
And you say, I need you to be on time and they say, it took a long time to get everything prepared and get all the slides together. So do you want me to be on time or do you want me to be prepared and you just want to smack them upside your head because you go, it’s a false dichotomy, dude. I think you can manage both.
This is the exact same thing with the money and the meaning. It’s a false dichotomy. The money follows the meaning. The more highly engaged people are in the more sense of meaning they have in their organization. We can look at organizations like some of the hallmark organizations that we know, I already talked about Apple and Google.
I can tell you, we have a company. We have a couple of companies on our website. If you Google noble purposes, you’ll find them. We’ve got a bank. We’ve got a concrete company. And when these people implemented this noble purpose and they activated it with all their people, they started winning the best place to work award.
The bank was on the cover of the American bankers, the best bang. So
Andy Paul: the book, right?
Lisa McLeod: this dichotomy, we got to be tough. We got to make the money is complete bullshit. it’s a false dichotomy.
Andy Paul: again, it comes from the perspective of fear. So yeah, we’ve got to maintain the pressure because if I don’t maintain the pressure, I’m afraid we’re not going to hit the number. there’s, it has to be a point at some point where even to implement. Selling with purpose is where someone has to say no, We’re not going to do it that way.
We’re going to change. We’ll say no to the same old way of doing things. Same. Say no to the, fear-based say no to the, being as consumed by the metrics as you’ve talked about in the book with your strategy, subrogation is like, or surrogation it’s yeah, it’s just no,
Lisa McLeod: Yeah, you
Andy Paul: that’s happened to Wells Fargo.
No one said no.
Lisa McLeod: No one said no. And that Wells Fargo is a good example of strategy surrogation, which is when the metric takes the place of the strategy. So Wells Fargo strategy was to cross sell and D and the then CEO said, it’s a result of us serving our customers. they want to give us more of their business.
But what happened was the metric became what kind of share of wallet. Of the customers to do that. And then the metrics surrogate it for the strategy. And so you’re right. Someone has to be able to say no, but what I will tell you is someone always says no to that kind of management to just the numbers.
And one of two people will say, no, either a leader in the company will say no and say, we can do better. Or eventually your customers will say, no, And we have lots of examples of that. When you look at companies that were once giants in their space, blockbusters, Sears, Blackberry at a certain point, what happened in all of those companies?
People say they got out innovative. They did. But the reason they got out innovated, instead of looking out at customers and saying, how can we make a difference to customers? All of those companies were looking inward and saying, how can we make more money? And so blockbuster puts overpriced candy at the checkout.
Meanwhile, Netflix understands, Oh, we’re not in the video business. We’re in the business of providing people great entertainment at home. How can we do that? Blockbuster decided we’re the money-making business. So we’re going to put candy at the checkouts. We know how that turned out. And so there’s hundreds of examples.
And one of the things that we know to be true is managing your business to the numbers is better than not managing your business at all. If you’re just sloppy about everything, you’re not going to have a business, but managing your business to the numbers will create an undifferentiated transactional business.
Your customers will treat you like a transaction. And so will your employees.
Andy Paul: Yeah. And then you get the turnover and everything that churn on both fronts. What’s your sort of, to some degree you’re projecting will happen, perhaps when things start coming back to normal, when employees have more choice.
Lisa McLeod: Yeah. When employees have more choice in what’s going to happen in the meantime, people, when people feel this sense of meaning and purpose, they lean in and they’re resilient. When they don’t feel it, they don’t always quit. They do something worse. They quit and stay. So they keep showing up for work and collecting a paycheck, their hearts aren’t in it.
And that’s, what’s starting to happen
Andy Paul: Yeah. Gallup has talked about that in polls that the majority of employees show up and are unengaged. Okay.
Lisa McLeod: And so what happened when everyone went home? Was all the periphery. If you worked in that cool office with the ping pong table and the free lattes and all these peripheries that might’ve made your work, same fun. And believe me, I love a lot of Hayes as much as anybody, but when all those were stripped away, what you were left with was just your work. And if you felt like that work was meaningless, it became, excruciatingly difficult for people to motivate themselves to do it
Andy Paul: Yeah. Especially at this period where everything’s being conducted on zoom, you’re working more hours or you’re not necessarily doing more. Probably not doing more, but feeling like you’re working more. Yeah. Yeah. If you felt it felt alienated from the workplace at that point before then now you really do.
Lisa McLeod: You really do. And then the thing that makes me sad about that though, to be honest with you, is I’m sure some people are doing meaningless work. Having said that most of the time, when we go into a company. We find that there is meaning in the work, the employees are just removed from it. And so it’s probably not a coincidence that my favorite movie that I watch every year at Christmas time is a wonderful life, which is that old corny movie about how he goes back and sees, Oh my gosh, I was a banker.
I helped all these people in such a big deal. There’s a play, our town where the people are dead and they look and they say, Oh, life is so beautiful. We didn’t know it in my experience. Most jobs do have an impact on the others, but we tend to remove ourselves from that and just focus on the KPIs and that is a recipe for disengagement.
Andy Paul: Yeah. it does engage on two fronts as you point out both on the sellers and the buyers.
Lisa McLeod: Yeah, I have yet to meet a company that had passionate customers that did not also have passionate people. If you can’t get your people to get excited about your offering, it is highly unlikely that your customers are going to be excited either. And that’s where we see when BPS the sales come to us and what help they say, Oh, we have this bad customer churn.
Oh, our margins are down. Deals always come down to price. And often they’ll say we need better customer service, or we need to be better negotiators maybe, but more likely it’s something a little bit further upstream. So the way the deals were sold and the understanding of the customer’s goals, that’s usually what’s lacking.
Andy Paul: Yeah, no, I have to abs absolutely. Yeah. Speaking of upstream, I was reading a Dan Heath sport called upstream about problem solving and so on. And a great quote in there from Edward Demings about every system is perfectly designed to achieve the results it gets. That’s exactly what happens.
Lisa McLeod: Yeah. And the sales ecosystem is something in this new edition of selling with noble purpose. One of the things that we did, this is the second edition. And one of the things that we did was we had a lot of experience with clients and we were able to identify. What are the things in the ecosystem that are turning your sellers away from customers and what turns them towards customers.
And some really simple things like the daily coaching, the salespeople are getting the way your CRM is set up the way you do a product role. Roll-outs tweaks to those. When you move from it’s all about us to here’s how it makes a difference to the customers. Is a game changer because that is the system in which your salespeople are operating.
And if you are telling salespeople, focus on the customer, but all you talk about internally is hit the number. It’s going to be only a very small percentage of people. Salespeople are going to be able to overcome that. But when you change that internal ecosystem, the majority of salespeople can step into that.
Andy Paul: but really, that seems like the big challenge is really at the management layer.
Lisa McLeod: It is the big challenge, but I will tell you it’s not that difficult. And w you know what, that’s not true. It was really difficult over the last 10 years to figure out exactly what to do, but we identified a punch list of 12 things that if you do them, it’s, it changes everything.
Andy Paul: Such
Lisa McLeod: it can be done, such as when you do deal reviews.
If the managers ask every single time, how will the customer be different as a result of doing visits with us, number two, require the seller, have that in the CRM and they can’t go forward and get pricing approval until they have it. And it’s not meant to be punitive. Those two things managers ask sellers have to put it in the CRM.
Those two things are game changers. Third thing. Start every meeting with a customer impact story. Instead of starting with the numbers, every time you describe sales numbers, describe one sale and how it made a difference to customers. So change the narrative of the organization. When you do product roll-outs, we’ve got a format for that.
That shows how you tell the story of how it’s going to affect the customer. So things are not the normal way of doing business. But if you implement them and we spend a long time figuring out which things had the highest impact, if you implement these things, what we’ve seen is within people ask us how long it takes.
We say it takes a day and a year. What we’ve seen is if you do them the very first day you do them, people are like, Oh wow, that’s different. I love this. This is really cool. And what we’ve seen with our clients is about a year within a year, you’re experiencing exponential sales results.
Andy Paul: Cool. All right, Lisa, thank you. We’ve
Lisa McLeod: It was such a pleasure to talk to you.
Andy Paul: but pleasure to have you on the show and we’ll do it again.
Lisa McLeod: And thanks for reading the book. I love the host who reads the book. That’s awesome.
Andy Paul: always read the book.
Lisa McLeod: Me too. I interviewed people. Do I always read the book, but everyone does not. So thank you.
Andy Paul: my pleasure. I really enjoyed it and, doing that, I recommend that people buy it and read it. If people want to learn more about what you’re doing, how can they do that?
Lisa McLeod: What they can do is just Google noble purpose, and you will find our website. And if you’d like to follow me on LinkedIn, I do a LinkedIn live every Friday. We send out a newsletter every week on LinkedIn. So find me on LinkedIn, Lisa McLeod, MCLEOD. But if you, if you Google noble purpose, one of the things you’ll find on our website, look at those customer videos and ask yourself, is that the kind of thing that you want for your team? it’s not rocket science, you can do this.
Andy Paul: Yeah, things rarely are rocket science except for rocket science. Yeah. Okay. Lisa, thank you very
Lisa McLeod: Oh, such a pleasure. Thanks.