The best salespeople know that these terms are one and the same. In this episode, Doug C. Brown speaks with Harry Spaight, author of Selling with Dignity. Doug and Harry discuss the ethics of selling, streamlining your vision, how to understand shifts in motivation, and much more.
Harry Spaight is a Keynote Speaker, Sales Coach, and Author. After serving as a missionary in the Dominican Republic, Harry brought the principles he learned from that experience about serving others to corporate sales, where he successfully sold and led sales teams for a Fortune 500 company. Harry is the author of “Selling with Dignity” and hosts the podcast, “Sales Made Easy” which highlights that selling – when it’s done right – is easier, more profitable, and actually enjoyable. He works with people who want to grow their sales and gain raving fans with long-lasting relationships, doing sales the right way, with dignity.
Visit his website: www.sellingwithdignity.com
Harry is offering listeners a free preview of his book, Selling With Dignity. Learn more here: https://sellingwithdignity.com/the-book/
I’m bringing you another great episode with an amazing guest, Mr. Harry Spaight. Harry has a company called Selling With Dignity. We’re doing this episode on Selling with Dignity, Building Your Company with Humanity. We’re talking a lot about intrinsically motivated people and extrinsically motivated people. We’re talking about how to build a sustainable process of sales and business in doing this with selling with dignity and building with humanity.
Why is it important to understand where people are motivated from? The reason behind that is that when you understand where their motivation comes from and, let’s say, they work for you, you’ll understand how to motivate them. If you try to take somebody who is externally motivated, extrinsically motivated, money motivated, and you’re trying to impart, say, donations and gifts and things like that, but they’re not what they’re looking for, it won’t motivate them.
In reverse, if they’re internally motivated or intrinsically motivated and you’re trying to give them high cash bonuses, for example, they might appreciate it, but it’s not motivating them like something like personal recognition or being nice as a person who stands above their peers or stands with their peers, but is a leader in that capacity and is recognized for certain traits.
We’re going to talk a lot about why this matters and how it is a revenue-generating activity or a revenue-generating activity that can trickle, or it could be a detractor from revenue if you don’t understand how to motivate your people. Why would it be a detractor? You lose these people. They lose these people. It is very clear in the data that people do not normally leave because of money. They will leave a job more for other factors than money.
Don’t get me wrong. They want to make money. They want to live a life. Most people don’t want to live a life that’s only a little above their expectations. These expectations change over time. Sometimes people are extrinsically motivated when they’re younger and they’re more intrinsically motivated as they get older because they want to give back. Pay attention to the clues. Harry and I are going to talk about this. Let’s go to the interview, and let’s talk with Harry right now. Here we go.
Harry, welcome to the show. Thanks so much for being here, and let’s bring your A-game because I know you will. We’ve talked about this before.
The pressure’s on. I’m happy to be here. Doug, what’s the good word?
We’re going to talk about salespeople, how they’re intrinsically and extrinsically motivated and how using that profile, because of your expertise and using that expert profile, can help build revenue or detract revenue out of a company depending on how they play that. When I do these, I never let any stone be unturned. Why don’t we define what an intrinsically motivated or extrinsically motivated salesperson would be? Could you give us those definitions, please?
We would want to look at is that people who are motivated because they’re going to do the right thing. If you think about sales and maybe a company’s objectives, some people are going to buy into that and do things the way that the company wants because that’s the way they’re made. For others, they’re going to have to find ways to motivate the people with maybe more of the awards, the prizes, money.
Surprisingly, not everyone is money-motivated in sales. Some businesses think that we’re all the same. Put money in front of a salesperson and they’re going to go for it. Sometimes people are driven by culture or driven by doing the right thing. They’re driven by having a sense of team. There are a lot of different things that are going on that are inside a salesperson’s mind. We’re not all the same. What do you think? Do you agree with that?
I firmly agree with that. The data supports it too. When I look at the data, it’s more like the 80/20 rule, but it’s more like the 90/10 rule. The top 10% are more extrinsically motivated, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t be in the top 10% being intrinsically motivated as well. It’s just that people are motivated at different levels. If we understand how they’re motivated as managers or owners of companies, we can also understand how to get the most productivity out of these people as well. Depending on whether they’re intrinsically or extrinsically motivated, it also depends on what position they should be in, should they not be in?
That goes into sales leadership too. I don’t know if you want to touch on that. It’s just that you have someone who is a top performer, and historically, I was one of those too. You get promoted because of your performance. I’ve done it. I’ve promoted people based on their performance. I remember a situation where this person, a young man, came out of healthcare. He is a gym membership guy and he did everything the right way.
He listened to me and I gave him guidance. He put everything into practice. He wasn’t a top performer, but he was a steady Eddie guy, a lunch pail guy who performed every month, but he was not necessarily near the top. I thought it’d be a great idea to promote him to sales leadership because he was doing the right thing. People were saying, “He’s not a top performer. What about this guy?”
That other person was promoted. I didn’t promote the person, but they put them on another team to lead a team. Within three months, that person was back working for me because he felt like everybody should just be doing their job. Whereas this other person that I described earlier, the intrinsically motivated one, was doing the right thing and building a team and became much more successful.
One of the biggest mistakes I see repetitively, and it doesn’t mean 100%, but when I look at companies and they take their top performers and they try to throw them into management because, “Doug is great at sales. Let’s make them a manager.” There’s a very different profile for a sales manager than there is for a top-producing salesperson. I always tell people, “Be careful about wrecking two jobs at one time.” That’s what you described. The person went in and they bailed out in three months. How much lost revenue is there in that company from those three months’ worth of not stellar performance?
Tons and tons of turnover. He went through his entire team because he said they all sucked, for lack of a better word, because they weren’t of his caliber. He had a right in his mind to say that when you have massive turnover, so now you lose his performance and what you could have gained by hiring the right person and the loss from the team that left. Millions of dollars are impacted by that.
This concept of intrinsic extrinsic is so important. I’m dating myself, but there’s an old saying that says, “It’s easier to pull a string uphill than push it.”
It's easier to pull a string uphill than push it. Click To Tweet
A wet piece of spaghetti is the one I worked on. Trying to push a wet noodle versus pulling it is a big difference. It’s a similar concept.
You and I are showing our senior age. I can imagine Millennials or Gen Zers reading this going, “What are they talking about?”
Let’s talk about the horseback riding we did between sales calls.
We didn’t have cars. We had a tin can and a string. Let’s say we have a personal relationship. We got a spouse and our spouse or our significant other is intrinsically motivated and we’re trying to extrinsically motivate that person. That’s going to create a lot of stress in the relationship and vice versa. When we’re utilizing employees or people who are independent in our organization, it’s important for us to know how they’re motivated.
Clearly, studies show that money motivates salespeople to some degree. As you said, recognition can motivate in a higher manner than cash. In one of the jobs that I had where I was selling, I was winning these awards because I was one of the top producers in the company, and they ran this auction, I remember, at the end of the year. They would give points for the amount of sales. I had bazillions of points.
Studies show that money motivates salespeople to some degree, but recognition can motivate them even more. Click To Tweet
People were like, “I’ll take this television for 30,000 or 40,000.” I’m like, “I’ll give you 200,000.” I had so many points. I knew I could buy everything there. I would take these gifts and I would take the gift down. One of them was a 35-inch or 40-inch television, whatever it was. I would take these to the people who would give me the most referrals. I would come in and say, “Happy holidays. Merry Christmas,” or whatever.
I would bring the television, wield the television in, and say, “Whoever wants this in your organization, please dole this out on my behalf.” You could say that that was extrinsically motivated, but intrinsically, the owners of those companies were able now to create some type of value within the organization and recognize employees with the gifts that I gave them.
What happened to me? I started getting far more referrals from these companies. We can intrinsically motivate. When we’re selling to people, if we know if they’re intrinsically motivated and extrinsically motivated, we can change our language patterns in order to match up this. You wrote a book Selling With Dignity. I love the title of the book. What is it all about? I should say the title’s probably saying it all.
The easiest way to sum it up is that it’s selling coming from a place of serving. So many times in sales, it’s all about what you get and how much money you can make, the Rolex, the nice cars, the big homes, and so forth. When I got into sales, I was coming out of the missionary field. I was living in a third-world country with little electricity and little running water every day for a few hours.
When I got into sales, I was hearing all these things about money, and I said, “I just want to earn a living.” I want to be part of something. I want to help people. That’s who I am. As I built my career, I didn’t realize this going in. You look back and say, “That’s what I was doing,” when all the conversations about being the top rep did not appeal to me at all. I’m making tons of money. Once I made more than I ever dreamt of making, I didn’t feel like I needed to keep making more because it was a quality-of-life things.
As I went through the COVID time period, the downtime, I started reflecting on my career and business. I always thought about writing a book, tying in the mission background with sales, but I felt like now is a time because there are people like me in business and sales that think the way I do, and they don’t have a voice. They’re the outsiders. They’re the quiet ones that do their job every day and occasionally get a pat on the back. They’re not necessarily getting all the awards, but companies love them because they’re loyal and they’re producing. I wanted to build a community for those types of people and give them something of value.
They are the majority of people working in organizations. We all like to do this. It’s like Rocky, the movie. Rocky was the underdog and Rocky won and all this stuff. We all celebrate Rocky. If you go to Philadelphia, you’ll see people now still running up and down the steps of that library on the top as Rocky did. We all like to highlight that because it’s like a great thing.
If I take this analogous to sales, we all like the person who’s whacking it out of the park every single time and we all go, “That’s great.” It’s now magnified that the majority of people are more like, “I want to make a better quality of life that’s a little bit better than I need it to be, and I’m happy.” You can be wealthy and still do that. Here’s my question. From a manager’s standpoint or an owner’s standpoint, are there any downsides to having all these people who are hitting quota every single month and are happy as can be?
I was talking to an owner a couple of years ago about this and he was thinking about growth. He was 2nd or 3rd generation and he didn’t have that fire that some entrepreneurs have. His thing was, “I want to have a solid company where people enjoy coming to work. Everybody prospers that way.” There’s some money set aside. They’re multi-generations in the business. If they have a good year, everybody gets a nice check. You look at that, there’s no turnover. People don’t leave a company like that.
Their clients are getting consistency. I don’t argue with that. When we have the discussions about you’ve got to have some growth, they buy in over time that you have to have growth or you’re going backward, but it doesn’t have to be where you’re risking jobs. You turn into a task manager and micromanager of people. You push people out because that culture works for the clients. People love stability and it works. The company keeps making money. It’s like what Simon Sinek says. Simon Sinek is not about laying off people because your company is not having a great year, and you’ve got to make the shareholders happy by cutting staff. Maybe everyone takes a little bit of the bite. I lean in that direction.
I’m glad we’re having this conversation because so many business owners don’t know their own measuring stick. I talk to them and they’re like, “I want to grow.” “How much?” “I want to double, triple my sales this year.” “Let’s talk about what it takes to do that.” That’s a lot of work. No kidding. There’s entrepreneurial thought, and there’s entrepreneurial action, and there’s entrepreneurial commitment.
When you go to the commitment side of the thing and I start talking to them, what they want to do is have that steady-running company with lower stress and decent profitability. For some reason, worldwide, in some cases, people look at that and go, “That’s not enough. You can’t grow by 2% or 5% every single year. You’ve got to double or triple up. You got to push.”
What I found with the pandemic is that a shift happened where people are like, “I got people who are dying around me. I’ve got this happening. I’m looking at my life a little differently.” I’ve found that sales has now shifted to the point where even long discovery sessions, which used to be the key, get to know this and get to know that and ask a million questions. That’s shifted to a shorter timeframe where people will tolerate that because they’re looking at, “My son or daughter has a soccer game and I need to get out to live more of a quality of life.”
What I got out of Selling with Dignity was that it’s about having a life of dignity and looking back and saying, “As I get older and I’m in the little rocking chair thinking about my life, did I, as Dave Thomas of Wendy’s said, ‘build the worst thing I ever could have built, which destroyed my whole life?’” It took his whole life. That’s what he said.
He’s like, “I had no time for my family. I had no time for this.” In the interview, I heard him say, “but I can pass this on to my generations and I’m taken care of, too.” Everybody has a good time. As you said, multi-generations. The grandkids are here. The kids are here. I bought a couple of pellet stoves for the home because the oil is so high right now, it’s crazy. Plus, I wanted to get off that dependency.
You’re in New England. You need oil. I forgot. Big tanks in the basement.
They’re telling me my oil bill alone would be $12,000 to $15,000 this year for the house. It’s not like I can’t do it. It’s just against my nature to want to do something like that. I bought these pellet stoves and it was a family business, and the family was wonderful to work with. They’re all called All Basics Stove Shop, but they’re multi-generation. You go in there and you feel like family when you’re in there. This is a point I wanted to ask you. When we’re building our organization, to me, it makes sense, but should we build the organization based on the clientele we want to attract and then hire people to match that?
It starts with having a vision as to what you want from your business. A lot of people miss out on those early steps and say, “I’ll do business with anybody because all business is good business.” Money is green and they go everywhere. They’re too diversified, and they’re chasing and going after a lot of different directions.
They have problems. They realize that not all business is good business. When you’re trying to collect money from people that don’t pay, that’s not good business. That’s one example. You have the squeaky wheels where you are giving way too much time to a client. Someone who is bigger, better, and more financially stable is not going to be dragging you down with all kinds of requests.
There are a lot of different reasons, but starting out with the vision as to what you want and the quality of the product. If you’re creating products like wood stoves, there’s still tons of value. Even though a lot of companies will say, “I’ve got to keep a competitive edge and outsource everything overseas,” there are a lot of people. There may not be as many, but there will always be people that want to buy local or U.S.-made.
I went into a shoe store and the shoe store culture was from the 1970s. You had a family-run shoe store with all kinds of different shoes. They were not cheap. I said, “This may be a crazy request. I’m looking for something that’s American-made,” and they brought me over to the wall of American-made shoes. The price was higher. You look at how long the shoes are going to last, like how long is the wood stove going to last. It’s like your cost per year. It’s minimal. It doesn’t matter.
That place was packed. They had three people on the cash registers. The money’s flying around. I’m like, “What a gold mine.” You go to Payless shoe stores and all these places now that are franchised or not even franchised, and everything’s made outside of America. Nobody knows the shoe business. But the people at the shoe store I was in are passionate, serving, and doing great business, and the place has been around forever. That’s the place I would want.
What’s interesting to me about this conversation area is certainly how you feel about it is our generation, but Gen Zers are now starting to think in that capacity. I hear them talking. My children are 22 and 23 themselves. They and their friends, they look for things that are “vintage”, which is funny. They are gravitating back toward that. It’s finding clothing that was made in the ‘70s, ‘80s, or older. It’s one of these things I see a shift happening. I wanted to bring up something for people on this who are reading. By the way, we’re with Mr. Harry Spaight and he has a company called Selling with Dignity and wrote a book called Selling With Dignity. Harry, how can people get ahold of you if they want to?
SellingWithDignity.com works. That’s the easiest.
I wanted to let people know that people, over time, also shift from intrinsic to extrinsic or extrinsic to intrinsic. What I find is that when we’re younger, many of us are extrinsically motivated far more. As we start to grow a little older and we start to accumulate some wealth and some things like that, we start shifting from extrinsically motivated to intrinsically motivated type activities and thoughts.
The mistake I see companies make is that they’re not treating people as individuals. Let’s say they’ve been there for 30 years. When they first got there, they might have been having children and they were far more extrinsically motivated, but now their home is paid off and things are easier. Now they’re looking to take care of their children or grandchildren. That might extrinsically motivate them. A lot of times, they’re looking also now at their own lives going, “We’re empty nesters. We want to downsize the house.”
It shifts from intrinsically to extrinsically or extrinsically to intrinsically over time for people. As somebody who’s owning a company and managing a company who want to grow a company, we have to treat people as individuals in the organization versus blanket management across the board. We will have, as you said earlier on with that other person, turnover. Turnover is extremely costly to a company. The average is between 150% and 250% of their annual base salary.
Usually, on a sales channel, it’s 150%. Sales managers are 250%. When you were talking about that company that lost the sales manager and they lost X amount of salespeople, let’s say they were all making $100,000 a year for the company and they lost five of them, there’s $750,000 plus the manager, there’s $1 million right there. As you said, millions of dollars were lost in the process.
Let’s say somebody is interested, Harry, and they’re going, “You guys caught my attention. I want to figure out how to do this.” Any advice for them, whether they’re intrinsically or extrinsically motivated?
The number one thing is to have conversations with your people. I’m going to think about the same company that I talked about that was not about huge growth. They have an older salesperson and that person is not driven like you were years ago. You could look at that and say, “That person needs to move on. We’ve got to fill his shoes for whatever reason. He doesn’t fit in with the rules.”
If you can be flexible enough and say, “Here’s a person that brought us millions and millions of dollars over the years. What can we do for that person? Is it working twenty hours a week? Is it helping that person bring on a new rep that works as a junior rep? Maybe that person goes into more customer support and some sales?” In my opinion, you find roles for people that are good for the company and maybe things have changed.
Having an open mind instead of saying, “You’re not doing what you did years ago. You got to either shape up or ship out.” That is one mentality and I don’t think that’s the right mentality. Having conversations and taking the fear away that the person can say the wrong answer. When you’re having these conversations. I’m curious, how do you feel? There’s no judgment here. This is a safe tree. But if you go back and, let’s say, you said something that’s not safe, that’s a whole other challenge.
If you’ve built up a reputation where you said, “I can trust you. You can trust me. I want to know how you feel. We’re going to make this work one way or another, and I’m always going to look out for your best interest,” that to me is the conversation. You keep having those conversations with people maybe once a year. It doesn’t have to be every month, but periodically you want to know where people are and do the gut check and see if they’re thinking the same way as you are.
You wrote a book called Selling with Dignity and the message is to sell with dignity and build with humanity. We all love going to a place to buy something with that person who is so invested in the process of us buying something without manipulation. They’re genuinely there. There are restaurants. There are hundreds of restaurants in most areas, but people generally will go back to the top 3 to 5 restaurants that they feel connected to the most.
When you trace that back, it’s usually the server. I know I do this. I go in and I go, “Is Michelle working? Is Joe working?” I want to be in their section because they make me feel great because, naturally, they love what they do. Now, are they intrinsically or extrinsically motivated? I think everybody’s a little bit of both, but in that type of position, they’re more intrinsically motivated usually.
Even going to an airline, we will bond with the airline that treats us in the way that we want to be treated. We will bond and go back to buy an automobile. We will buy from a manufacturer’s representative over another manufacturer’s representative. Why? It’s because we’re human beings. We want to have humanity and we want to be sold to with dignity. It’s that simple.
Many people make so much out of selling that it’s like they convolute this whole process to understand that, yeah, they have a title, a person, but they’re a person, and they want to feel good. That’s why they’re buying something. They want to get out of pain or they have an opportunity they want to capitalize on to feel better than they are.
I got a question for you. How often do you hear the word love in sales?
The first sales book I read was The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. He’s got ten scrolls. The second scroll is the Scroll with Love. He says, “I’ll greet each day with love in my heart.” I read that book and I read it again when I got started in sales. Nobody was talking about love. It was about you hitting your number, closing hard, and holding on to profit. It wasn’t about loving your client. What you described is love. When you love people and you want to serve them and it’s such a mindset, but if you look at the person across from you and say, “I love this person” you send that vibration. I know that may sound weird to some people, but I’ve done it for years.
I’m going to put this on the table myself. I’m not saying to the person I love them. I’m going to say, “I love the person across from me and I’m going to treat the person the best way I possibly can.” I’m telling you, it is a world where you’re going to do the right thing. Do I always do it? Absolutely not. Sometimes you get frustrated and you lose sight of that, which has happened. But by and large, if you have that mindset, you know your business is going to thrive.
If you have that mindset, you’ll always stay in rapport. We won’t position a different way in the selling entity. Most of the time, rapport is broken by the seller, not the sellee.
Whatever it is, they’re raising a concern. The seller may take an offense at that. They may feel like they need to overcome. The common thing is overcoming objections. To me, it is. They have a concern. You don’t overcome concerns. You help people leave concerns.
I had a client call. I was listening to it and this guy literally came in. The salesperson was on the line and this was the conversation. The man joined and goes, “Your company sucks.” They were calling upon him, “Hi, I’m checking in with you.” “Your company sucks. I don’t like you. I don’t like your company. I don’t like you now. I don’t like anything about anything. I never want to do business with you again.”
I stepped in and I said, “I appreciate you telling me all this. I’m so curious. What happened?” We got talking and then the other sales rep joined back in. It turned out it was a minor thing and this person was having a hard time in life. This minor thing that the company did set this person off in a blaze, and they were looking to vent. I was looking at the other salesperson, smiling. I knew if we played with humanity and sold with dignity, there was a good possibility that this person would stay as a client. Do you know what happened? They ended up buying another thing from this company.
From, “You guys suck,” they’re telling other people about the company. This is intrinsically motivated for those of you who are wondering why Harry and I are talking about this. You want to be intrinsically motivated and be empathetic to people and then you can be extrinsically motivated with the people who are high Ds on the DISC scale of testing. I’m sure that person, as I have, was like, “What’s the bottom line?” Harry, I appreciate you being here on the show. Any final closing thoughts that you want to leave with people?
First of all, I’m super grateful that you had me on the show. I enjoyed the conversation. A couple of like minds. When you’re looking at your business right now, look at the people that are working with you and ask, “When was the last time I had a great conversation, a heart-to-heart with the person that I’m working with that’s part of the team? Let’s see where they are and make sure I’m serving them and doing the right thing to help them thrive so my business can thrive.” That’s all I got. This has been a blast. I didn’t realize where the conversation was going. Not that I didn’t know where it was, you were directing, but I love where it kept going. Great stuff.
We don’t have anything scripted here, as you can tell. Thanks for being here, Harry and come back again, please.
What’d you learn? Did you learn that you can’t treat everyone the same way and expect to hold onto people long-term? It doesn’t work because people are people. People have feelings. People have things that they’re thinking through. If you want to build a sustainable company, try building it with humanity. What does that mean? Show your people you care about them. Keep things in motivation and land on a consistent basis. You’ve got a lot to do and it’s a lot of extra work, but the reality is, if you do this right, your people will go above and beyond to help out your clientele.
To build a sustainable company, try building it with humanity. Click To Tweet
I remember a conversation that I was listening to between two people, and one was about the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas and an employee at the Wynn Hotel. Somebody came to stay at the Wynn Hotel, but they forgot their heart medication. An employee got in a vehicle and drove two hours one way to pick up their heart medication and come back on their own time.
Think about this. If you were ever going to go back to Las Vegas and somebody was doing that for your mother or your grandmother, would you stay anywhere but the Wynn Hotel or at least give it primary consideration? This is a person who was intrinsically motivated. People who are intrinsically motivated love what they do when they’re in the right position, and they will bring more clientele to you. They will expand your circle of influence and they will get you more referrals. That’s how it works.
Harry and I talked about taking your favorite person that you go to a restaurant. If you go to a favorite airline or hotel or whatever it might be, it applies to B2B as much as it applies to B2C. You would prefer to buy from your representative of a company that is treating you with humanity and treating you and selling with dignity, and motivating you in the way you want to be motivated.
If you loved this episode, please, as always, I ask, go give it a great review. A five-star review would be appreciated. If you have an episode that you think you would be a great expert on, reach out to us at YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com and let us know your idea or if you have somebody you want to recommend, let us know what their idea is as well. We review everything and get back to you.
If you want to get yourself or someone you know in the top 1% of sales in your industry, reach out to me and Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com. In the future, I’m going to be running an Acceleration Academy for people who want to be in the top 1% of sales. I have decided to go in and take some people on and help them get there in a training environment.
I do this for companies and I do this for entrepreneurs. What I’m going to do this for is in a group setting and make this affordable for anyone who wants to be in that type of place. If you’re interested in that, again, reach out to us at YouMatter@CEOSalesstrategies.com or Doug@CEOSalesStrategies.com. If you want to check me out on LinkedIn at DougBrown123 and that is my LinkedIn handle. Until next time, please go out and sell something. Sell a lot of it. Sell it profitably. Do it win so that you win, they win. Sell with humanity, sell with dignity. Go make someone happy. It’ll make you happy now as well. Until next time. To your success.