EP14 – How To Sell Without Being Fake – Part 2 – The Transformational Business

This is the second episode in a new series about selling without being fake. In this episode, we talk about how to go beyond a transactional business into a transformational business.

Podcast Transcript:

Joshua MacLeod:
Making money is so dangerous. It’s fundamentally dangerous for your soul. Greed is like something that you have to really, really protect yourself against and cutting corners with people, cutting corners with your product, cutting corners just because you can, or cutting corners so that you can just squeeze out a little more greed will end up in such incredible emptiness.

Podcast Announcer:
Welcome to the Growability Podcast, teaching business and nonprofit leaders a more excellent way to run a business. Visit growability.com for your leadership coaching consultation and business collaboration needs. This is the second episode in a new series about selling without being fake. In this episode, we talk about how to go beyond a transactional business into a transformational business. Here are your hosts, Joshua MacLeod and Bernie Anderson.

Bernie Anderson:
Okay. I want to turn a corner here now Joshua. We also work with clients who want to build a transformational culture. How do we do that?

Joshua MacLeod:
So how do you transcend the transactional nature of business into a transformational business?

Bernie Anderson:
That is correct.

Joshua MacLeod:
That’s a great question. A good example of a transformational business, I think would be Starbucks. Starbucks has their transactional function. They offer coffee and expensive cake pops and stuff like that. But what Starbucks did is they started thinking past the transaction of the coffee and they started thinking, how do we add value in a community? What they ended up doing is saying, hey, let’s create really comfortable space for business meetings. So Starbucks kind of pioneered this third space idea. If I want to have a business meeting at my house with kids running around, that’s not professional, it might be more cozy, but it’s not cool. If I want to have a business meeting at the office, it’s a little stuffy, it’s not very relational. But hey, you go have a business meeting at Starbucks. I’ve got my transactional coffee here, but then I also have a really good meeting space, I can develop a relationship more comfortably than either at my house or at the office.

Joshua MacLeod:
If you want to move past a transactional business and really be a part of a transformational business, we really have to think about not just reaching people’s bodies, but actually reaching their soul. So when I think about transformational businesses, one tool that we like to point people to at Growability is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. So Abraham Maslow was this psychologist who instead of studying what went wrong and what’s broken with people, let’s actually study and look at what works and what’s really good with really good leaders. So on Maslow’s hierarchy, I think there’s like seven layers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And what we do at Growability is we simplify it down to three.

Bernie Anderson:
Maslow, turning in his grave as we speak. But yes, it’s just …

Joshua MacLeod:
Yeah. So the Growability Maslow hack. At the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I need to make sure that the individual that I’m meeting with has health and safety. If I am trying to give someone education or empowerment, and they’re afraid that they’re going to get beat up or attacked by the rival gang, or I’m trying to teach somebody how to read, and they’re just hungry because they didn’t eat. There’s no health and safety there. Is my product adding health and safety, or does my customer already have health and safety?

Joshua MacLeod:
Above the health and safety need on Maslow’s hierarchy, you have belonging and confidence. How can I improve the life of my customers so that they have more belonging and more confidence. It transcends health and safety. It’s now like, hey, you belong, you’re confident. Seth Godin has the book Tribes, where this kind of idea, and this concept is really sent out, where it’s like, it’s not just, how do I create a customer, but how do I create a tribe member? Like if you’re a part of our club, people like us do this. You belong here, you’re good enough, you’re strong enough, you can go do this.

Joshua MacLeod:
And then the final level of Maslow’s hierarchy, on the very top, achievement, altruism, inspiration, kind of reaching this apex of human capacity.

Bernie Anderson:
Purpose, right. [crosstalk 00:04:38].

Joshua MacLeod:
And I think we’ve talked before in our podcasts about how ultimately purpose really should be connected with how do you empower and serve others? If your purpose at the end of the day is I’m going to have a Ferrari and I’m going to look down on all the other people, your purpose is empty. There’s no joy in that. But if your purpose is, hey, I want to lift up as many people as I can, I want to empower others, I want to serve. Your purpose is purpose. It’s actually going to make you feel good.

Joshua MacLeod:
To transcend the transactional approach and really move into a transformational approach. Looking at Maslow’s hierarchy is helpful to any organization. So think about Nike. So with Nike, you have health and safety, that’s the bottom. They’re going to have good ankle support, they’re going to be designed well, they’re going to last, they’re going to be durable. If I’m running, they’re designed for running. If I need cleats for sports, they’re going to be designed to give me safety in my sport. They’re healthy for my arches. Any pair of Nike shoes has got the bottom rung of Maslow’s hierarchy taken care of.

Joshua MacLeod:
But then they also transcend that. So now not only do I have the health and safety covered. Now, they’re also working on belonging and confidence. So what Nike has done is they’ve said, hey, we want make runners and people who work out a club, like we want people that if you put a Nike swoosh on your shirt, it says, people like us do this. We’re healthy people, we work out, we run, we do all of these different things. So Nike transcended the bottom level of health and safety. Now they’re on belonging and confidence. And Nike has always had ridiculously great advertising. They’re like, hey, let’s leverage Michael Jordan for basketball and any kind of Olympiad. It’s like, hey, if you’re going to achieve, you’re going to achieve with Nike. Nike is going to help you achieve your goals. So I think those are some keys as you’re moving out of just a transactional business into a transformational business.

Bernie Anderson:
It’s actually an interesting thing because Nike changed their, I don’t have the actual purpose statements right in front of me, but I did a study on purpose statements at one point and Nike actually changed theirs. Initially Nike’s purpose statement was to be the best brand shoe or best sporting brand out there. But they changed that like several years ago to, and again, I forget what the exact statement is, but it has to do with the transformational piece that we’re talking about here. That we actually want to empower people to do, to achieve. Let’s back up on that. I think this is a super interesting piece because what we’re saying here is that being transactional is okay and is important. If you’re selling headphones or whatever, you need to have a quality headphone that you sell and that works. They’re reliable, they’re doing all of those things we talked about earlier.

Joshua MacLeod:
If you can’t nail the transaction, you can’t have a business. You’ve got to figure out the transaction. What’s the value add? How do I sell that? How do I promote that? You can’t ever get into a transformational business without first nailing the transactional business.

Bernie Anderson:
Yeah. And that I think is super important. So how do we move up the hierarchy? How do we move from body to soul, to spirit?

Joshua MacLeod:
I think one of the best ways to know that you’re maturing is when you start thinking about yourself a lot less.

Bernie Anderson:
I love that.

Joshua MacLeod:
And I like the definition of selfless. It’s not that I’m like Mother Teresa. It’s just, I’m not thinking about myself so much. I think about myself less, I’m not as addicted to myself. There’s two fundamental ingredients to growing in any organization. One is to stay humble and realize that you don’t know what you don’t know.

Joshua MacLeod:
The second ingredient is never give up. Growing a business is really hard. If you never stop learning and never give up, your organization eventually will transition from transaction to transformation. I think the longer you stay in the game, you sell all the widgets, you make all the money. You’re like, wow, this is so great. And then you’re like, this is really empty. Success that doesn’t scratch the itch, I think gets people on the track for, okay, I want to do the next thing. I want to move this forward into something that’s a little bit more valuable.

Bernie Anderson:
Being generous with everything that you are learning, everything that you’ve been given. It is not about I’m going to start this business so I can make all kinds of money and actually buy seven Ferraris and do all of the things that rich people do. But what we do want is there to be an attitude of I’m here to serve my customer. And if we start going back right to where we started this whole show at the beginning, Joshua is I’m here to serve my customer. And I want to add value to my customer, to her life, to her existence, to whatever it is, and whether it’s through this widget or this service or whatever, I’m going to add value here. And if we start there, when you become the next Amazon, there’s going to be already a place where, hey, my customers are not people that I use. My customers are people that I actually serve.

Joshua MacLeod:
Yeah. I think Bernie, making money is so dangerous. It’s fundamentally dangerous for your soul. Greed is like something that you have to really, really protect yourself against. And cutting corners with people, cutting corners with your product, cutting corners just because you can, or cutting corners so that you can just squeeze out a little more greed will end up in such incredible emptiness. One of the key factors of maturing in an organization is staying customer focused.

Joshua MacLeod:
Another really important function is staying generous, figuring out how to give some overkill love to people through whether it’s just going the extra mile with your product or service. It’s like some coffee shops you go in and they’re like, here’s your coffee. The other ones, there’s like, hey, I spent 60 hours making this little flower things show up on your coffee. And when I present it, it’s like, I’m trying to give you as much love as I can. I love that kind of stuff. That’s really, really cool. And I think we need to stay in that vein, in that mindset when we’re serving or else, the default is not make lots of money and become such a better person. That’s not the default. If there’s no intentionality in how am I going to give as I grow, then don’t fool yourself into thinking like, oh, well, once I make tons of money, then I’m going to be really customer centric and really good. It doesn’t work that way.

Bernie Anderson:
That’s right. Exactly.

Joshua MacLeod:
If you can’t do it today, you won’t be able to do it later. The best practice is do it today, always keep learning and stay really humble. Customer service, and selling, and selling without being fake. Step number one, don’t be fake.

Bernie Anderson:
Don’t be fake.

Podcast Announcer:
Thank you for listening to the Growability Podcast. The mission of Growability is to equip leaders to flourish in their and work by developing vision, rhythm, and community. To discover if there is a more excellent way to run your business, visit growability.com and speak with a certified Growability coach. Bernie and Joshua are also available for speaking engagements, workshops and conferences. Subscribing to this podcast helps Growability equipped leaders throughout the world, and we appreciate your support.