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The Why Behind Your Sales

Wisdom often teaches that what lies just under the surface of successful sales executives are complicated layers of identity and mission. Regardless of your role within the financial services industry, some level of sales is involved (arguably the case in any field). It’s often natural to gravitate toward the external factors contributing to sales success, but could our focus be off? In a recent article, Why do you do what you do?, sales consultant, Alen Mayer, makes the case that our internal motivators are often the primary drivers of our success– or failure in some cases.


According to Mayer, here are a few of the most common factors behind our sales activity:

  • To help your customers by providing them with a solution to a problem
  • To make as much money as you can
  • To prove something to yourself
  • To beat your fellow sales colleagues
  • To help other people to achieve their goals
  • To improve the profitability of your customer’s business
  • To keep your manager or family happy
  • To beat your previous sales record

Can you relate with any of these?

The emphasis on Why was also discussed in the famous TED talk, Start with Why, by Simon Sinek, author, speaker, and consultant. Within the talk, Sinek talks about The Golden Circle, which inwardly starts with Why, then moves out to How and then to What. He makes the case that most leaders have it backwards by beginning with What. 

Begin asking yourself why certain individuals or companies are so innovative and successful. More often than not, it’s because they believe in thinking differently. They lead with the why and everything else is secondary. For example, Sinek makes the point that Apple doesn’t say, “we make great computers that are beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. Want to buy one?” Instead Apple says, “everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it (Sinek).”

The motivating Why is different among sales professionals, but discovering the answer is key to making sure your value structures focus on the right outward manifestations of success. For example, if your overall mission is to improve your client’s situation, you will likely focus on your role as a facilitator who is doing their best to find the best solution for your client. The value structures you focus on would likely be much different if you were motivated by something else, such as winning.

While discovering your personal Why is important for knowing and communicating your mission, helping each member on your sales team discover it can also be highly valuable… “When you tackle the underlying reasons for behavior: state of mind, convictions, values, mission and self-esteem, the external manifestations of these strongly held belief systems will improve, leading to more effective activities – and an increase in closed deals” (Mayer).

So, why do you do what you do? Why does your organization exist? The answers you come to could have a significant impact on your bottom line.

Sources: Why Do You Do What You Do by Alan Mayer and Simon Sinek’s Start with the Why





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