Here is a little excerpt from my new Sales Blueprint e-book.
I love sales, it’s in my blood. I tried to fight it for a long time and go the traditional educational route with engineering but in the end I came back to it. I’ve sold everything- car parts, jewelry, food, travel, telecommunications, even solar panels. Whether it is in a retail setting, over the phone, on the internet, or door to door, I’ve done it. I’ve worked with huge companies and small ones and if I had to make a training manual for my employees with everything I have learned, this would be it.
Sales gets a bad wrap. When most people think of a salesman they think sleazy, con artist, liars. That fact is that while yes there have been a few unethical salespeople that tainted the profession’s reputation, there are unethical people in every profession. Show me an honest politician.
The truth is that salespeople are some of the most driven and ambitious people I know, in a world that every day people tend to give up at the first sign of resistance, the salespeople are the ones who never give up, who get knocked down again and again, but always get back up. We are the ones who are constantly improving ourselves. We face rejection every day and believe me some days you get beaten into the ground- but we always come back.
In order to understand and love sales like I do, it’s crucial that you first understand the proper mindsets that will help you succeed. While it is true that sales can be the highest paid profession, it can also be the lowest. Everything starts inside your mind. A carpenter has a hammer, a mechanic has a wrench, but what do salespeople have? The answer is their brain.
Here are three common questions I’ve heard when it comes to learning sales:
Is it true that you have to be born with the “ gift of gab”?
Can you only be successful if you’re a pushy fast talking extroverted person?
Is the only way to make money at sales to lie to people and pressure them into buying something they don’t want?
The answer to all these questions is 100% NO.
Everyone is Selling Something
Anyone can sell, in fact we do it every day. You just may not think that you’re selling when you’re doing it. Have you ever convinced your friends to go to a movie you want to see? Have you ever gotten someone to go on a date with you? Have you ever motivated yourself to do something you didn’t want to do, like go to the gym perhaps. Have you ever had an interview, or asked your boss for a raise?
All of these everyday occurrences are examples of us selling something, in other words any time you are either motivating, influencing, communicating, negotiating, persuading, leading, compelling, suggesting, or questioning you undoubtedly are selling.
Why You Need to Learn Sales - NOW
So let’s get down to why it’s important for you to learn the art and science of selling. Statistically the majority of self made billionaires have cut their teeth in sales. Learning how to persuade people to see your way and getting them to take a certain action is vitally important in your business and life. All businesses run on sales, where there are no transactions, there are no businesses. Everyone has their own values and needs, dreams and desires- the first thing you should know is your why. When the going gets tough, you must always remember why you started in the first place. Here are my whys- selling requires you to grow, it can make you rich, it gives you freedom and there’s no limit to how far it can take you. Anything that helps you develop personally is great in my books, and there is not much better than sales.
Sales will give you many life lessons that you would never learn in school. You will become confident, you will become financially free, you will learn valuable social skills and come to deeply understand psychology. It toughens you up mentally and teaches you how to hustle. I’ve heard that commission salespeople have the lowest rate of suicide. Do you know why that is? I’ll tell you- everyday we face the unknown when we start prospecting, and part of that includes rejection- again and again and again. We learn how to motivate ourselves and constantly improve ourselves. This is why learning sales is such a crucial skill to starting your own business. When you have the ability to go out at anytime and create revenue for your company, and when you don’t panic when you fail a few times or when the money isn’t coming in- that is what it takes to build a strong business foundation.Just like how some countries require their citizens to join the military, I believe everyone should be required to do commissioned sales at some point in their life, either door to door or over the phone.
Why You’re Losing Sales
If you’re currently in sales but you aren’t where you want to be there’s usually two reasons and they come down to your competence and commitment. Competence is all of your skills from planning, prospecting, qualifying and questioning, presenting, objection handling, closing, getting referrals, and follow up. Commitment is your work ethic, enthusiasm, motivation, attitude, drive, belief, and your “X factor”. In my opinion an X factor is mix of a few things that have nothing to do with work. You need to have a balanced life which is usually very difficult to maintain with the long hours you spend on the job. You can be the most skilled sales person ever but if your home life is miserable, if you’re not healthy and happy- you are doomed for failure. Be sure to take the time to be with friends and family. You should also constantly be learning about new developments in your industry, new sales techniques and strategies- in general just become a learning machine.
One of the best descriptions I’ve heard of sales is “Transferring your belief of your product to the prospect”. Selling really comes down to belief in three things: your product, company, and most importantly, yourself. A great eye opener in sales for me was that in order to sell anything, the first person you have to sell is YOU.
The degree to which you are sold yourself is the degree to which you will succeed in sales. You need to become unreasonable if you want to make it in this profession. When you fully believe in your product or service and can speak with 100% conviction, it is very hard to take no for an answer. With that said you must be ethical, you should never push someone to buy your product if you know that it isn’t right for them or that they cannot afford it.
Persuasion is all about empowering people to take action by helping them remove barriers in their mind. Most people lack certainty and they need a strong leader to help them overcome that.
Aristotle said that in order to persuade someone you need three things: Pathos, Logos, and Ethos.
In English those three translate to emotion, logic, and ethics. Perhaps the most important is your ethics, if people feel that you are untrustworthy you will never be able to persuade them.We humans buy primarily on emotion, and then we rationalize it with logic. This is human nature and it is not going to change anytime soon.
As a salesperson the very first emotions you want your prospect to feel for you are Trust and Liking. Nobody wants to feel sold or talked into something that they will didn't want. Most of all nobody wants to feel regret for purchasing something from you. We all have preconditioned responses to salespeople, just think of the last time someone knocked on your door trying to sell you something or a telemarketer called you, in both cases your reaction was most likely “ Who are you and how can I never talk to you again as soon as possible?
Your first goal when approaching a new prospect then is to replace their fears, suspicion, and doubts with confidence and belief in you, your product, and your company. Here’s a little side note on belief from Seth Godin. People will not believe what you tell them, they rarely believe what you show them, they usually believe what their friends tell them, and they always believe what they tell themselves. That’s why it is important to bring sales materials for them to look at, it helps to build trust beyond simply telling them about the product. As sales professionals and leaders it is our job to give people stories they can tell themselves and believe in.
The Mindset: Offer Value and Be of Service
Now one of the reasons you may not be a fan of selling yet is because you have the wrong mentality for sales. You need to hit the field with the mindset that you are helping people, and that it is the best thing for them. When you talk to people, you aren’t approaching them with the idea of taking something from them, on the contrary, you really must think that you are offering value to their lives. If you don’t think you are helping people with your product or service, you need to either change that belief now, or find a new product or service.
With that said you need to love your prospect. What that means is that you need to take a genuine interest in them and listen to all their concerns and desires. Give them 100% of your attention because anything less will kill the deal. While you may be thinking that learning sales means learning to be a fast talker and have all the answers to their objections, it’s actually more about learning how to listen to them and ask the right questions.
Let me be clear: Sales is NOT about manipulation. It needs to be a win/win scenario. If you approach your prospect with the intent of making money by selling them instead of helping them, you will fail. You need to find a “common enemy” with your prospects. That’s how you can create a better connection. You need them to know that you’re on the same team, and you have their best interests in mind.
The skill in sales is getting the prospect to sell themselves. You are just a messenger delivering information to them, they listen, and take action. That’s what it looks like to see a master salesmen in action. We are agents of decision and our role is to overcome what I call human inertia.
So ask them what they want. What are you struggling with? What do you really want to achieve?
Find out what their number 1 problem is. Listen to them and speak to them in their own language.
How to Overcome the Fear of Rejection
Before you start prospecting and making sales, you should understand fear and how to overcome it. The sooner you master your own fear of rejection and failure, the faster you can excel. I always keep this one quote in mind “ Do what you fear most, and you control fear”.
The first rule for overcoming fear is that action cures all. You must eliminate time from the equation by acting before fear can paralyze you. The second thing to keep in mind is that your repetition is your reputation. What I mean by this is that you are only as good as how much you have prepared. This is going to require you to constantly practice, drill, and rehearse and in that order. You practice until your script becomes 2nd nature, you drill until you can deliver it with absolute clarity and conviction, and finally you rehearse it in lifelike situations. If you are afraid of rejection, take the time to write out every single objection that you can encounter and write out how you will handle them. I would suggest writing out three different rebuttals to each objection and memorizing them, so that you can instantly know what to say when you are speaking with different types of people. For example you might write one out using slang terms, one in plain English, and one sounding very professional.
My final thought on overcoming your fear of rejection is to focus on increasing your skills until you are prepared for every possible scenario. A fact of life I have learned is that if you aren’t having success in any area and you don’t like that thing, it’s because you just don’t know how to do it yet.
Overcome Your Fear of Commission Sales by Understanding Sales Funnels
You may be thinking that when you get involved in sales you will go broke because sales is very unreliable. The truth is that if you understand your Law of Averages, ratios, and most importantly your sales funnel, you will see that selling is actually very predictable.
For most sales positions, you generally will close about 1 in 10 unqualified prospects that you talk to. As you grow your skills you can increase this number and you can also increase the amount of sales you close by pitching qualified buyers ( you typically get them through referrals). Let’s say your law of averages is 1 in 15, this is a common number for door to door sales.
Here is how it breaks down in your sales funnel: For every 60 doors you knock on, your goal is to talk to 30 decision makers, make 10 presentations, and ultimately close 2 sales. You can see here that sales is actually very predictable, the great part about understanding your sales funnel and your numbers is that you will be able to pinpoint exactly where in your pitch that you need to focus on.
You should always focus on your ratios, here are a few of them I learned from Brian Tracy:
The ratio between the number of cold calls or doors knocked to the number of prospective customers you talk to.
The ratio of prospective customers you talk to and the number of prospects you will follow up with.
The ratio of prospects you follow up with presentations or proposals and the number of sales you close.
Here is the true beauty of the sales funnel: You use it to reverse engineer exactly how much money you want to make, depending what your goals are. It lets you know exactly what you need to do. Let’s say you want to make 100,000$ a year and your commission is 500$. That means you need to make 200 sales a year. Say you work 50 weeks that’s only 4 sales a week. In order to get to 4 sales a week you will have to make at least 20 presentations, which means that you will have to talk to 60 decision makers, and you will have to call or knock on a minimum of 120 doors. Bear in mind that this is a law of averages, not exacts- You will experience times when you don’t sell anything for a few days, but then later on you will have streaks where you make more sales in one day than you did all week. Keep in mind the only thing you can control is how much you prepare, and how many people you talk to.
Learn to Love No
As salespeople the word we always hate to hear is -NO-. The fact is that no matter how good you are, you will never be able to close 100% of the people you talk to. If it were that easy, we wouldn’t have a job in the first place, would we? When you inevitably get the doors slammed in your face, hung up on, commissions clawed back ( which is probably the worst feeling), always remember what no stands for- Next Opportunity. It helps to assign a monetary value to your rejections, for example if you know that for every commission you make 150 dollars, and that 1 out of 15 people will buy, then that means that for every rejection you just made 15 dollars. This will greatly help you forget the pain of rejection, you will happily be on your way, collecting 15 dollar shit tickets from each person until you finally meet your buyer.
This leads me to the next topic
Types of Customers
In Jordan Belfort’s straight line persuasion system, he mentions the 4 types of customers, you have: Buyers, Shopping, Tire kickers and curious, and people who were dragged there. The first two can be sold to, the last two are time wasters. For simplicities sake I break it down into A, B, or C customers.
We love to find A customers- these are the people who are motivated to purchase whatever you are selling, they are the “lay downs”. Unfortunately these people make up about 5% of the total number of people you will talk to in a given day. If you rely on A customers for your sales, you are going to go broke.
Your B customers are the ones who are curious but they require coaxing. They usually have a few objections but if you can learn how to close them you are on the right track. The majority of your sales will usually be B customers.
C customers are your time wasters, sometimes it is difficult to differentiate a C customer from a B. My suggestion is to try to close them as soon as possible, if they are just unreasonable it’s usually time to politely move on. C customers can be closed, but they are usually the ones who will cancel on you later. They make up about 80-90% of the people you talk to.
Here is an important acronym for you to remember: QTQP: Quality Time, Quality People.
As commissioned salespeople we are only working when we are talking to qualified customers, and we are only making money when we are closing deals. Therefore you must become a master at using your time wisely and making sure you are getting in front of the right people.
If you want to read the rest of my e-book, Click here
Thanks for reading
Here is an awesome list of books and courses that have helped my sales career tremendously
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion- Robert Cialdini
Straight Line Persuasion - Jordan Belfort
Awaken the Giant Within- Anthony Robbins
Door-to-Door Millionaire-Lenny Gray
How to Master the Art of Selling -Tom Hopkins
Little Red Book of Selling- Jeffrey Gitomer
The Greatest Salesman in the World- Og Mandino
The 67 Steps- Tai Lopez
Pitch Anything- Oren Klaff
SPIN Selling- Neil Rackham
Words that Sell -Richard Bayan
DotCom Secrets Russell Brunson