The Attributes of a Titan: Working With Purpose An Interview with Ron Karr
Published on June 10, 2009
Ron Karr is a professional speaker, consultant, trainer and author who specializes in helping organizations dominate their marketplace while helping individuals get closer to the people they serve. Ron’s secret is his ability to create Titans: those super-salespeople who can build lasting alliances by instantly creating highly perceived value for their customers.
In his book, The Titan Principle®: The #1 Key to Sales Success, Ron reveals 13 Attributes which represent core behaviors and attitudes of Titans. We spoke to him recently about Attribute #1: A Sense of Purpose.
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Ron, why is a sense of purpose so important for salespeople who want to dominate their marketplace?
I believe that there are two ways you can attack your job. One is from the task-oriented viewpoint, focused solely on performing certain activities. The other is from the purpose-oriented viewpoint, which has to do with the outcome, what you want to achieve.
For example, being task-oriented in sales would be making ten cold calls a day. But a purpose-oriented salesperson would focus instead on making the amount of qualified calls necessary to accomplish the revenue objective, and then spending the time in those calls to maximize the return on their investment of time—meaning they’re going to get as much revenue as they can in that sale.
Some people say, “I’m going to concentrate on making ten calls,” because they think that sales is a numbers game. Sales is a numbers game, but if you’re going to concentrate on just getting through the calls you’re likely to come across as nothing more than a commodity vendor. Whereas if you’re concentrating on your purpose—which hopefully is to be an invaluable resource to your customer and help them get to where they want to be—you probably would spend more time qualifying and uncovering greater opportunities to present your products and services. the good news is, when you spend more time positioning yourself as a resource, you may not have to make ten calls. You may get the same or greater return on your investment in eight calls or less.
So you’re going for quality, not quantity.
Absolutely. It’s all about purpose versus task. And that leads to two basic questions we have to ask ourselves. First, what is my purpose? What do I want to represent to the community that I’m servicing? And the second question is, do my actions support that purpose?
I was in computer sales in the early 1980’s and I covered the Manhattan territory. I was having trouble just getting enough done by the time I left for home. Then I got promoted and wound up covering the whole East Coast. Believe me, it gave me a whole new emphasis on time management! But it really helped me clarify exactly what was important and what wasn’t, and anything that wasn’t I had to get out of my way and move on.
That’s where purpose is so helpful. I think we have to clearly understand what our purpose is and make sure that what we’re doing is going to help it. As salespeople we have to take the same approach as we prioritize our days. The first step is always to put your purpose in mind. Then take the various parts of that day—whether it’s returning phone calls, prospecting for new accounts, following up on existing orders, whatever—and identify what’s pressing and then plan those, as well as planning for your own spiritual and physical well-being, and time with your family.
Working from a sense of purpose is not about working hard, it’s about working smart. For instance, with each new year we all want to increase our sales. So how would you to increase your sales by twenty percent, say, in the next year? You can go after the kind of accounts that produced the same rate of return you got last year. Or you can say, “My revenue stream needs to increase by twenty percent. I can either find twenty percent more customers—or maybe I can find higher level customers.” Because it takes about the same amount of time to sell someone who’s going to invest $20,000 in your product as it does to sell someone who’s going to invest $100,000. The process is the same; the only difference is the economies of scale.
How do customers respond when you’re working from a purpose?
It depends upon whose purpose you’re working for! If you’re working from a purpose that’s centered totally on yourself, customers are going to feel like you’re not there for them. But if your purpose is for you and your customer to be aligned and move to a higher level together, that’s the most powerful purpose you can have. What ties your customers to you is when they feel you want to help them get to where they want to be.
We just worked with some brokers in St. Louis who’d been knocking on doors and talking about their financial products. They averaged about five sales calls to crack a deal and X amount of dollars per sale. I told their company if these brokers used my Titan Principle method, they would reduce the sales calls to get a deal from five to three and increase their revenues—which they did.
How? We had the brokers change the questions they were asking. Instead of talking about stocks and bonds (which is how you’re going to help somebody) we had them start with what the customer wants. They asked, “What are the three things you want your money to provide for you in the future?” When customers start talking about all they ways they can use some help, you can discover exactly how to position yourself to be an invaluable resource to help them achieve their dreams. Even though you may spend more time in the actual sales call, you’ll probably spend less time closing the sale, because you’re finding out what they need at a deeper level.
And the beauty of it is that you usually get more of their money! Because when you take the time to uncover everything the customer wants and needs, you come up with a lot more solutions that are tied to your whole range of products and services, and you have a much larger possible sale.
It sounds like having a sense of purpose about your work helps you become more successful and more fulfilled.
Titans, as we call them, work smart instead of working hard. They are incredibly disciplined and focused, and they know how to make the most of the working day. They put huge amounts of energy into their customers not because they have to but because they love doing what they’re doing, which is helping that customer to get where they want to be. And because they work from a sense of purpose, they are in control of their own destiny.