Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"All You Need is Love...da da da da da"

When you are really in love, there's no limit to what you won't do for, or give to, your love object. Isn't that true? "...do for...or give to..." In other words, devoted service to others is a clear symptom of respect and even love. For many years I have proselytized that loving one's work allows him to work tirelessly and accomplish so much more than if one spends his day begging the time God to move the clock along until five P.M. Bosses, customers, co-workers and employees alike, can't help but be impressed by, and responsive to the energy, good will and preparedness exhibited by sellers in love with their work.

As a seller, loving your work implies a belief based upon experience that the product or service you offer is of meaningful value to a number of thoughtfully targeted customers. You have something important to give; something that can change for the better the course of the buyer's day, week, month or year. You exalt in the "OK, I'll try it," not because you've made another sale, but rather because yet again you have helped (served) another.

Accordingly a second core value that uncommonly effective sales people and their mentors share is "Serve, Don't Sell." John Hope Bryant, the founder of Operation Hope, and advisor to the past two U.S.presidents, in his book "Love Leadership" makes the case that the best way to get ahead is to figure out what you have to give to a world seemingly obsessed with: "What's in it for me?"

As you grow your career, I would suggest this book is a must read. There are a handful of very successful top executives whose leadership styles are fear based. But only a handful. The great preponderance of high performing O level folk are supportive, encouraging and yes, loving. The comfort they provide creates an atmosphere and culture in which people are encouraged to and can learn; in which they are not terrified to take reasonable risks and in which they are encouraged to spend their days looking for ways to serve others. I promise you, that a seller who goes out to make ten sales tomorrow will make far fewer that one who goes out to help ten people.

John Hope Bryant suggests, and he couldn't be more on the money, that "Love makes money: The expression of love in business--creating long term relationships with customers and employees based on caring for others and doing good--makes everyone wealthy."

Fisherman and salesman have war stories. I am both so here goes. Today at lunch I was catching up with a friend I met through business when I was head of sales at AOL and he was a top e-commerce executive at one of our clients. We had two business meetings during the course of our respective stays at those companies, and that was eight years ago. We've done no business since then but have probably talked fifty times over the years, perhaps twenty-five of them at lunches or dinners. I've advised him when asked about his career pathing and helped his brother think through an opportunity. And I did all this frankly because David is my friend. There's little I wouldn't do to help him. Among the companies I consult, and with which I have a stake, is one that his professional experiences and contacts can all but ensure the success of the company. I suggested at lunch today that he permit me to suggest to the "board" that he join in an advisory role, for which I was sure I could arrange an economic incentive. He responded, "for you, my friend, I'd do it for nothing." I won't take him up on that but I believe him because I would do the same for him. From the first meeting, David and I have only looked to do what we could to make life better for each other. Business aside, it's a nice way to live.

Great Selling!

Communicate Honestly and Fearlessly
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  1. An inspirational and valuable insight which i am eager to pass along.


  2. I second Dave Nelson. And I'd bet "paying it forward" is a natural by-product of such generous experience.