What Is Selling with Noble Purpose?

Hearts are the strongest when they beat in response to noble ideals.

—Ralph Bunche

Winner of the 1950 Nobel Peace Prize

The words selling and noble are rarely seen together. Most people believe that money is the primary motivator for top salespeople and that doing good by the world runs a distant second. That belief is wrong.

Six years ago, I was part of a consulting team that was asked by a major biotech firm to conduct a six-month-long double-blind study of its sales force. The purpose of the study was to determine what behaviors separated top salespeople from the average ones. The study revealed something no one expected: the top performers all had far more pronounced sense of purpose than their average counterparts.

The salespeople who sold with noble purpose—who truly wanted to make a difference to customers—consistently outsold the salespeople who were focused on sales goals and money.

It was a startling discovery that I might have missed had it not been for a curbside conversation at the Phoenix airport.

I was finishing a two-day ride along with a sales rep. As she dropped me off at the airport, I asked her a question I hadn’t asked the other reps: “What do you think about when you go on sales calls? What’s going on in your head?”

“I don’t tell this to many people,” she confessed, looking around the car as though someone was going to hear her secret. “When I go on sales calls, I always think about this particular patient who ...

Get Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.