While many people like to say that one of their goals in life is to leave the world a better place, the thought of improving the world may show lofty ambition but also hints at arrogance. Good salespeople don't aim to improve the world; instead they work at improving themselves. If self-improvement is the first step to improving society, what would be the next logical step?
We bring to the business of selling more than just the knowledge of the product, the skills of dealing with people, and the motivation to win. We also bring our own set of personal and ethical values to our customers –values that communicate who we are and what we stand for. Good salespeople know that real champions are not measured by how much money they can collect, but by how much meaning they can contribute. Real champions know that laughing all the way to the bank loses its appeal when they realize on a gloomy day that a fat checkbook won't hug them back. Zig Ziglar once said that “money can buy you the best mattress in the world, but it can’t buy you a good night’s sleep.”
During the past decade, value-added selling became key in generating more business. Given the increased complexity of our changing world, I believe that the next wave of progress will be value-added meaning. Sure, business will always demand that we produce profits, yet our minds always demand that we find meaning. Sensible business leaders help their sales teams understand the basic human need to create both.
For example, Marc Benioff, cofounder, chairman, and CEO of salesforce.com has sparked an international movement with his Salesforce Foundation. He first described his feel-good formula in his book Compassionate Capitalism: How Corporations Can Make Doing Good an Integral Part of Doing Well (Amazon).
Here is a four-minute video that shows how Benioff’s feel-good idea has grown around the globe:
While value-added selling creates dollars that we can take to the bank, value-added meaning creates a different currency, one we might call "feel-good dollars." While it takes a long time to become a millionaire in real dollars, we all can become overnight millionaires by earning feel-good dollars. How? You can add meaning to your customers' lives, contribute to your community, or simply engage your heart in random acts of kindness.
We build our net worth by what we collect; we increase our feel-good worth by how much we contribute. Good salespeople ask themselves, “What can I do today that will help my customers feel good about doing business with me and my company? How can I bring more meaning to my customers and my community at large? How can I add value to the profession of selling?” In 2011, replenish your treasure chest of human values by getting better at doing good. It doesn’t take a lot of time to feel like a million dollars. Become a feel-good millionaire starting today.