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Hi guys. It’s Dennis again. How would you like to learn a sales hack? Yes, a sales hack that’s easy to use, easy to learn, and can double sales almost instantly. Too good to be true, right? Well, maybe not. Let me introduce someone to you. Maybe you know him, maybe you don’t. I have gotten to know him through his writings, his speeches, and his teachings. His name is Dr. Adam Grant, and Adam hangs out at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and he is a renowned TED Talk speaker.

He is a prolific author of too many books to mention. And a renowned social and organizational psychologist, and a lot of his research is done on changing behavior. How does one approach changing a behavior? Well, Grant and colleagues, in this particular case, a guy named David Hoffman, they’ve done some major research about behavioral change.

One example, a major hospital called them in to address a major problem. One out of every 20 hospital patients actually contracts an infection while they’re in the hospital, separate from the whole reason they were in the hospital. It causes 100,000 deaths a year in this country. Can you believe it? And the cost is 40 billion. I would say, on many levels, that’s a problem worth solving.

Well, Adam knows this. Everybody knows this. If you lived through the pandemic, you know this. The best and most effective way to stop infections is to wash your hands frequently. Now you would think that doctors and nurses and hospitals would get that. I mean, I know they preach it, but guess what? When they did an initial study, the frequency of handwashing in a hospital situation was surprisingly lower than expected and efforts to improve it hadn’t worked very well.

So in comes Adam Grant and David Hoffman. So their scheme was to post signs in one hospital next to 66 washing stations, and they had that gel that you use to wash your hands next to it in the dispensers. So they put the signs up for two weeks and they had three different types of signs.

The number one sign says hand hygiene prevents you from catching disease. Sign number one, one-third of the 66 got that. Number two, hand hygiene helps prevent patients from catching disease. That was on another third. And the final third was just a simple sign, Gel in, wash out. Gel in, wash out.

So at the end of the two weeks, they went back and weighed the bags of gel soap. And that would be their way to determine usage. So what are the findings? The amount of gel used at the number one signs and the number three signs was pretty much the same as it had been before this experiment. But the amount of gel used when the number two sign was used was significantly greater than the other two signs. The sign that said hand hygiene prevents patients from catching diseases.

Wow, shocking. They were shocked. They repeated the experiment the next time, and they only had two signs this time. Hand hygiene prevents you from catching disease and hand hygiene prevents patients from catching diseases. Just to double check their findings to see what happened. Well, guess what? The purpose-based sign, i.e. benefits the patients, increased hand washing by 10%. They paid some spies to look into this and make sure that it was getting done. And they found a 10 percent increase, but way more than that for the doctors, for the physicians.

So what’s the conclusion? Raising the salience of purpose. Purpose is one of the most potent and most overlooked methods of moving others, of changing. We often believe that we’re all motivated by our own self-interest. Well, we are. That’s not untrue. But there’s now a whole stack of research that proves that we all do things for pro-social, self-transcendent reasons that have a purpose. Okay, so what does all this have to do with sales? Wonderful. Adam Grant made a fortune on the experiment, probably. He writes about it. But what does that have to do with sales?

Well, guess what? Grant said, let’s take this one step further. Let’s see if this research applies in other areas other than in the hospital. So in 2008, he conducted research at a call center. You know, one of those call-in centers at a major United States university. Each night, the employees made a ton of outbound calls, and they were calling the university alumni to raise money for the school. Very common, happens, you know, you have an alma mater, I’ll bet you get those calls.

So, the fundraisers for this experiment were divided into three, they always have three. Group one actually read stories from previous employees explaining what the job of being a hall center person taught them. So it was an informed educational group to read stories from university students who had actually received scholarships from this fund of money that they were raising and how that scholarship helped them that they probably wouldn’t have been able to go to school without that scholarship.

Group three just read articles. They weren’t related to the university. They weren’t related to fundraising. Just random articles. So they began their shifts for about a two-week period and read these stories for about five minutes before their shift. They weren’t allowed to tell anybody that they had read these articles. Okay, so a couple of weeks later, Dr. Grant, checked sales results.

Well, group one and group three raised the same amount they had been raising as before. Group two, the purpose group, the group that read stories about alumni who had received scholarships and how it benefited them. They went crazy — double in that two-week period. They doubled the number of pledges and they doubled the amount of money raised based on the baseline they had established before that.

So how does that happen? What are the lessons learned? What can we sales managers and salespeople learn from them? A five-minute reading exercise doubled sales production. The stories made the work personal. It’s meaningful and purposeful when they had a, why, a purpose behind their fundraising. All of a sudden they did a better job. They had more conviction, more belief.

So how do we make our sales more purposeful? How does the use of our product and service improve somebody’s life or improve a business? You know, that’s that’s a key question, isn’t it? How often do we think about that? How often do we start our day by reviewing testimonials or success stories how much money we save a business or how many obstacles we help overcome our purpose?

So here’s my proposal. I proposed all of this as a daily sales accelerator, but here’s what it is. Let’s start every day with a purpose refresher. What’s a purpose refresher? Why is our business here? Why am I here as a salesperson, a sales manager, or a business owner? Who have we helped pick out maybe a half dozen people we’ve helped in the last couple of weeks?

And specifically, how did we help them? What metrics, what measurable results that they have because able to help them solve a problem and what difference have we made for them? How did it make them feel? Let’s put the emotional part in too, because that’s important. The daily sales accelerator starts every day. If Adam Grant’s research holds out. Your sales should soar. Tell me about it next time in our next episode.