Living Your Purpose and Being a Commercial Enterprise
Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity. This is probably one of the most important things to think about as a value creator. You can go out and do a lot of value creating for people who don't recognize that value or won't pay you for it and revenue is a vanity metric, we're this big, but there are companies in this city that I'm aware of who do billions of dollars in revenue and can't keep one dollar at the end. They make zero profit but if you're a business, your job is to make a profit so that you can continue to expand what you do and create greater value because at some point when you bring on a lot of debt, you end up with a problem. So we get the starving artist here with a lobster and I don't know if this is supposed to mean that if you do all of these things, you'll have lobster instead of ramen noodles, maybe that's what it is. So we'll use that for this particular thing but here's the thing, you don't have to be a starving artist and there is no great reward for being a starving...
artist. You don't have to do that. You can go out and create value for other people and capture some of that value yourself and you're entitled to it. You're entitled when you create value to other people to be able to capture some of that value to sustain what you do, whether it's in business and you're an entrepreneur, whether you're a salesperson and you're out creating value for your clients, or whether you're an artist, because all of us at some level have to create value and capture some of that value to do what we do. The major difference between a starving artist and an artist that's doing well is salesmanship and I know this because I played rock and roll and I went and I saw bands that made it that were horrible. They were terrible and then I saw bands that were much better that were not good salespeople and didn't work hard to get a deal or anything like that and they did terrible over time and I would tell you today that if Bob Dylan were to show up on The Voice, he wouldn't make it through the first round because that kind of art would not resonate now at all, would it? He wouldn't do well and Bruce Springsteen wouldn't do well either, they wouldn't. They wouldn't do well in that. It's salesmanship, it's how convinced are you and so you see people with a little bit of talent that over-index because they're so good at selling their message and what they do. I'm not making a commentary on Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber unless you think I am, in which case I may be. (audience laughing) I had AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, our kids have Bieber and Miley Cyrus and One Direction, and I know I shake my head too. Every time I go to London, I'm like, you gave us Led Zeppelin, you gave us Deep Purple, you gave us White Snake, Def Leppard, and then One Direction, what happened to you? (audience laughing) Creating art is creating value for the world. No matter what that art is, whether it's salesmanship, whether whatever it is, if you're a creator at any level, you are creating value and that means that what you are is a commercial enterprise. When you create value that you can exchange for other value, you are a commercial enterprise, even if you don't think that that's true about you and so for the creators that are watching this, I would tell you: When you create art, what you're doing and we pour our hearts and soul into business in the business world but you truly pour your soul into your work and when you pour your soul into your work and you create value, you're allowed to capture some of that. But you have the right to exchange that value and you do too in B to B, when we create value for people, we're allowed to capture some of that value in way of profit so we can deliver those results and expand the business and create greater value. That's the way that it works. It is a business. If you're an artist, it is a business that you've created and a business exists for one reason only. This isn't me, this is Peter Drucker, the greatest management guru of all time. A business exists to create a customer. That's why a business exists. So you create this art so that you can go into the world and create that customer who's gonna experience that value and be willing to trade for it. That's what you're doing. So the difference between a starving artist and a non-starving artist, a successful artist, is selling. You have to be able to turn this into a commercial enterprise. You have to be able to have a series of conversations that allow you to create value and capture some of that and I've got a couple more slides. I just have a few more things as we go through this. I wanna talk about what all of us do, in B to B or B to C. What we're doing matters. It matters a great deal. You have a chance to make a difference in the world. You have a chance to do meaningful work. You have a chance to help other people who don't know how to help themselves or who need your help. That's really what we're charged to do and I don't pretend that it's easy but if you wanna have meaningful work and a meaningful life and you wanna look back and say, what I did made a difference, you have to just start with that premise that I'm here to make a difference for other people and I know when you say that the salespeople like your bosses, maybe, in that case. They're like, no just collect the money. The money comes through the caring and the creating value for other people. It doesn't work the other way. So my favorite words to hate and to talk about is shareholder value. So people get up in the morning and they're like, hey there's a bunch of rich guys that have stock and you need to work really hard to make them richer and people are like, I'm so motivated by that. (audience laughing) I'm so motivated, thank you so much for the meaningful work. How do I make rich investors richer? No one wants to do that, you wanna go out and make a difference in the world that people recognize and say, my life is better because I engaged with this person. My business is growing because these people brought me the resources to be able to take it to another level. This person brought me the insight that I needed to break through the challenge that I was having. That's what we're doing when we're at our very best and you have a choice just to see your work as punching a clock and making widgets or going out and just embracing the fact that you're a value creator and doing everything you can to do it and it'll freak some people out at first. Like, what happened to you? Why are you on fire over this? You're like, I caught myself on fire. I'm gonna go out and do something better than what I was doing before. That's a choice, it's a personal decision and it's motivating. Whatever's motivating you is what's motivating you. You just have a choice. You can transact or you can be super relational. You can develop the insight or you can try to believe that your product or your pricing is gonna do something different for you and I'll tell you that this is hard. I had Bob draw Thich Nhat Hanh, the Zen Buddhist monk from Vietnam. Thich has this story that he told that I picked up on, so I'll share it with you. There were two monks that were washing their bowls by a river and the first monk had a scorpion in his bowl and he picked it up and the scorpion stung him and he dropped the scorpion right back into the bowl, and so he reached in to get the scorpion again. He picked the scorpion up and the scorpion, being a scorpion, stung him again because that's what scorpions do. So he dropped the scorpion back into the bowl again and the other monk looked at him and said, what are you doing? And he said, I'm trying to save the scorpion and he said, it's in the scorpion's nature to sting you, don't you know every time you pick up that scorpion, it's gonna sting you again? And he said, yeah but it's in my nature to save the scorpion. And that's what selling's like, you're gonna pick up the scorpion and you're gonna get stung, right? Like, what are you doing trying to create value. I'm not gonna go along with this. I don't need anybody else to make this decision. Why are you bothering me about bringing other people into this process? And you're like, stings a little. Not that much though, I can keep going, right? I can keep picking it up. But you have to do this, you have to enter into this knowing that people aren't gonna go quietly into this. They've never been told that they're making ten commitments. They've never been told that this process exists. None of our peers have sold that way. They've gone in and short circuited the whole process by giving a proposal and now you show up, all weird like you are, asking for things that nobody asked for and they're like, what are you bothering me for, why are we doing this? They don't know this yet and until enough of us start doing it, people will realize, wait a second. There's a better process. We should probably follow this. It's not gonna happen. But in the meantime you're gonna have a lot of difficult conversations with some people who don't understand why you're trying to do what you do. But if you wanna do meaningful work and you wanna make a difference, this is how you enter into this and I believe that that's why I do what I do and I will tell you that when people see this kinda thing, what they do is try to feed you their fears. You can't do this, too transactional. Say, those people are gonna be dis-intermediated. Everybody's gonna buy everything on Amazon.com in the future, no reason for you. Okay, eat your donuts, I got it but while we're doing that, they're having this conversation. We're over here being super relational, winning like the devil and they're like, how are they winning like the devil? Because we don't believe any of the nonsense that other people feed us, that's why. So my closing remark here to you and we'll do a few questions, is that you just have a choice and if you're grateful for the life that you've been given and the time you've been giving here, and if you're an artist, if you're grateful for that gift, you're gonna do meaningful work that makes a difference in other people's lives because that's what we're here for. And that's it.
A little round of applause. (audience clapping)
So we will get to a few questions, here just in the audience.
I was just gonna make a comment. When I was creating, I made a choice to leave corporate before the recession, which was probably bad timing but I had some extra cash and decided to invest in an idea, which was designing and creating jewelry and I came out as an artist and I had, like, the Labyrinth was my logo. It was quite funny because, fashion world, we're like, (grumbling) yeah okay, there's really no place for you because your story of exactly what your why is, why you do what you do and how you're unique. I remember sitting in front of a woman in Saks and I brought my suitcase, I had no idea like how to present to a big buyer like this, and I brought my suitcase and it was filled with all these great things and she had this little, tiny table, like the one in front of you and she just looked at me and I said, no, I've got some really good stuff I wanna share with you and when I shared it with her, she was like, this is great but what's your story? And I was like, I just really love what I do and she's like, that's not a story. So I actually took two weeks off and I went back to my studio and I said, what is it, what is my story? And then I came up with some beautiful sketches and then I brought the sketches to life and then I went back, well actually I didn't go back right away but I went to someone who got me on New York Fashion Week because I believed in what I was doing and my soul was in it and then I also knew my story and from there I got into Saks but it was because, you know, I just know what you're talking about and that's why I wanted to bring that up. It is really about creating what you love and then knowing why you do it.
And being a little pigheaded too, right? I know you, we've chatted. A little pigheaded, in a good way, right? I love that story.
I love the rejection part. That's the part where you get the test, right? Do you really want this or not? The rejection is do you really want this? And if you really want it you go back and you win because all obstacles yield eventually. Even a pregnant man, at some point. Even though I don't know that he's gonna live long enough for that but we'll see. Great story, thank you.
Where can people find more information about you if they want to sign up for your blog, or if they want to get your weekly newsletter, or find more information about your books?
TheSalesBlog.com. Best place. Second best place, YouTube.com/Iannarino. On Amazon.com you can find both books there. Book number three, pre-order already. So that's where you find me.