When we talk with clients about new business, the conversation is implicitly about generating revenue. We discuss building well-rounded sales pipelines and how a steady stream of new relationships leads to more consistent sales and referrals.
Again, the unstated goal is to create profit, but in our minds, the focus should actually be on wealth, not revenue.
Wealth encompasses more than the figures on your profit and loss statements. In fact, two Princeton University researchers found that the return on happiness from what you earn starts to level out at about $75,000. As your yearly income extends beyond that mark, the personal satisfaction derived from income diminishes exponentially.
Wealth is actually about people, and for many of us, that’s why we got into the industry in the first place. Income is only one dimension of wealth, and it is all too easy to fixate on this dimension at the expense of others. The people that surround you — your family, your partners, your staff, and your clients — are critical aspects of your wealth and, by extension, your happiness.
As you reach the top tiers of your industry or market, you have more freedom to pursue wealth as well as revenue. You can be selective about who you work for and who you work with, making your business both enjoyable and profitable.
To be blunt: You can work with the people you want to work with. You can skip over the idiots and the “Negative “Nancys.” You can build the work life that you always dreamed about.
In our business, we apply this outlook in everything that we do, from the people we hire to the clients with which we partner. For example, we look to hire mature, grounded callers to set appointments for producers.
We look for a calm, collected demeanor that will reflect positively on us as well as our clients as we conduct outbound marketing. As we have grown, we have given our callers more and more say in who works alongside them.
We give our current employees veto power over new hires because we are not willing to sacrifice our workplace dynamic or our employees’ happiness to fill a position in the short-term. Our business is powered by people. The happier they are, the happier we are, and the more successful we as a company become as a result.
This philosophy applies to sales as well.
Have you ever wanted to fire a client? If you have fired a client, you understand wealth already. At a certain point, the profit you get from a client is no longer worth the emotional turmoil of keeping a problem client as a customer. When you are first starting out, sure, you grin and bear it for the sake of your future, but once your pipeline for sales and referrals is well-established, you have the luxury of waiting for the clients that match your style and personality.
In a profit-focused view of wealth, a sale is a one-way street. A producer sits across from a prospect, and the prospect decides whether or not to invest in the product or service on the table. In actuality, a sale is a two-way street, a mutual interview where the producer is deciding whether or not that business is worthwhile. The economics of the encounter are important, but the truly remarkable clients are worth waiting for and worth investing in.
As you grow your business, you have more and more opportunities to choose who you work with. You can give more attention to the work that you enjoy doing and pare away the work that either does not interest you or sours your enjoyment of owning a business. In this way, revenue is freedom. It provides the flexibility that you probably didn’t have when you first began. As you evolve, so should your thinking.
Use your new business efforts to grow your business into a venture that is both profitable and enjoyable. Seek out the clients that you want to serve. Chase down the challenges that excite and motivate you. Shake hands with people that you respect and enjoy working alongside.
You can have wealth, but know that wealth is more about people and less about revenue. With the right outlook, though, you can have both.