You probably get this question many times. What do you do? Maybe you reply by your job title. You are missing an opportunity to sell more.
Why you should sell a higher purpose.
In a recent Harvard Business Review Article: How an Accounting Firm Convinced Its Employees They Could Change the World, Bruce N. Pfau, Ph.D. KPMG’s Vice Chair of Human Resources and Communications writes about how his company improved employee morale and company performance. What KPMG did was to look at their work from a different perspective. They started by asking the question, “What do you do at KPMG?” They uncovered some valuable information.
They learned the difference their people make on behalf of clients, communities, and society. Employees didn’t simply consult by executing audits. KPMG employees learned that as members of a profession they helped millions of American families make better-informed decisions about investing their life savings.
How powerful is that?
What happens when you sell?
They asked all employees to share their stories about how their work is making a difference. What they learned is what happens as a result of their work. They found emotional examples of their work’s impact. Management asked the employees to make posters about their work. Some of the poster titles were: We champion democracy. I combat terrorism. I help farms grow.
There was a startling demonstration of how powerful the need is to express the meaning in one’s work. Management asked partners and employees in June to set a target of 10,000 stories by Thanksgiving. They achieved their goal by July 4. By Thanksgiving, they had gathered 42,000 stories.
Do you use stories when you sell?
When was the last time you thoughtfully examined what you sell? Do you say you’re a travel agent if you’re in the travel business? Why not instead say, “You know how people look forward to their vacation? I make sure that my clients create wonderful memories on their vacations instead of remembering the disasters they might have avoided.”
What does the work you do create? How do you help your customers create their dreams? Unless you can connect on an emotional level with your customers, you are missing an opportunity to sell. Learn to connect with what they feel.
Just remember what happened to the Apollo 13 astronauts. An electrical short severely damaged their service module forcing them to abort their lunar mission. It also forced them to return to earth. They couldn’t even determine the extent of the damage to their command module. It was the lunar module that allowed them to return to their families. But, it had to be adapted with components from the command module. The astronauts with the help of NASA engineers built a device out of plastic bags, cardboard, parts from a lunar suit and a lot of tape.
Now imagine you sold the tape. You now know that you sold a lifeboat for those astronauts and so much more for the proud men and women of NASA and all Americans.
So what do you sell?
Are you looking for sales tools to help you sell more?