It’s Not About You

Not_About_You“The greatest untapped source of motivation is a sense of service to others; focusing on the contribution of our work to other peoples’ lives has the potential to make us more productive than thinking about helping ourselves.”

This quote came from Adam Grant. At 31, Grant is the youngest-tenured and highest-rated professor at Wharton Business School. He is one of the most prolific academics in organizational psychology and recently released the book “Give & Take.”

In one of his studies, he cited an under performing university fund-raising call center. Obscenities, abrupt phone hang-ups, and constant rejection are just some of the on-the-job perks that come with the territory of cold-calling. I would also venture to say that at some point in your professional career, you’ve experienced some of the same things as well.

At the start of the study, the call center had a rejection rate of nearly 93 percent. Cash prizes, contests, and other performance incentives had all been tried but failed to produce the desired results – more yes’s and more revenue.

Grant’s solution: Grant invited a student who had directly benefited from the call center’s fund-raising to visit with the employees. During a 10 minute work-break, the employees listened as the student shared how the scholarship changed his life and how excited he was to be doing what he loved.

A month later, the employees were spending 142 percent more time on the phone and bringing in 171 percent more revenue, even though they were using the same “sales” script. In a subsequent study using live testimonials and written letters of gratitude, the revenues grew by more than 400 percent.

So what does this have to do with you and your business? How about this: What you do isn’t about you. It’s about those who you serve – the products and services you provide that help your customer, solving their problems.
I suggest to you that you can never build a sustainable business on a foundation of “How can I sell this person something?”

Business is about helping others. It’s about putting what other people need ahead of what we want – to provide real value to those we serve.

When you have genuine interest and care, a real desire to help and make life better for your prospect, for your customer, you’ll learn about their problems — and then you’ll look for ways to help solve those problems; all-the-while building trust, loyalty, brand mindshare and revenue!

To see if you’re a “Giver”, “Taker” or “Matcher”, evaluate yourself and see how you compare to others in your industry. You might be surprised at what you learn about yourself!

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