The Salesman's Search For Meaning

'Start With Why' is becoming almost cliché at this point, and there's a reason—purpose is a very powerful sentiment. When you know the reason why you do or feel something, it can become a real driver for you. When you have it, you need to heed it. When you don't, you need to seek it. It's the thing that drives you when you don't feel like driving anymore. In sales, it's absolutely necessary for success because there will be a lot of times when you're just not going to want to press on. Doors will be closed in your face. Phones will audibly (and sometimes quite loudly) click in your ear. Emails will be insidiously lost in the ether and go unreturned. Failure is everywhere, and that’s when you're good at this stuff...

 In order to be good, you need to first be willing to be terrible.

Ever thought about that? How many people have the fortitude to put their career on the line and enter a job where they're going to do most things wrong and not even realize it? Then you have to learn what you did wrong so you can learn how to do it better. On top of it all, the pressure cooker never seems to have a release valve. 


When the odds are stacked so high against you, there has to be a reason you keep coming back. Don't tell me it's the commission check, because there are a lot of ways to earn better money (at least in the early stages) than to get metaphorically punched in the face 2 out of 3, or even 4 out of 5 times. That's not fun, and most people are not gluttons for that kind of punishment. 

The ones who soldier on are those who understand the meaning behind why they do it—their  purpose. They help people. They solve problems. They create and provide solutions in order to advance progress in the industries they serve. There's a greater good to what they do and the people they serve.

Purpose helps you to be curious instead of frustrated. It encourages you to press on when you haven't gotten responses or have heard flat-out objections. That purpose causes pragmatic thinking and creative problem solving instead of meathead tactics and dial until you drop rallying cries.

I don't believe that selling is about overwhelming force. I believe it's about thoughtful approaches and meaningful connections, and it's hard to do that in 1000 dials a day.

Purpose encourages pragmatism, and pragmatism is dependent on your ability to listen--especially to people you don't agree with. I've written and spoken about the completely ridiculous debates about cold calling and social selling. The time wasted arguing that would have been 1000% better spent connecting. But it's easier to argue than it is to listen.

Inside and outside the sales world, people would rather plant a flag in the ground and plug their ears than seek the truth that lies at the other side of the story. The thing about empathy is that if you can try to understand where the argument is coming from, you can understand and rationalize why they're so fervent about their position. When you put yourself in their shoes, you can understand why they make the decisions they make. With that level of understanding, you can come to a conclusion that feels reasonable to everybody involved. That's how progress and sales are made.

Unfortunately, it's easier to yell through a megaphone while wearing noise-canceling headphones than it is to settle down, listen, and move forward. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, because they understand their purpose.