Tuesday, 13 February 2007

The Art of Selling


They say a salesperson is born, not made. I have heard that said lots of times. I have seen it on the walls of various boiler rooms and sales offices around the globe. This is known as ‘Deja Moo’. As in, ‘I have heard that bull before’. I think, in fact I know, that it is the biggest load of rubbish anyone can say or believe. It's almost as bad as being told, ‘when someone tells you they want to think about it, you should ask them “what is it you want to think about”’. Any sales trainer telling you to say that rubbish should be shot.

Let’s say that you have to sell to get your business off the ground, or so that you and your family can eat. If all you have is you, and you believe that statement about salespeople being born and not made, then you are in deep trouble if you aren't a born salesperson. I know a woman who used to be a man. She was born a man but she is now a woman. Some people say that's going against nature. Nature decreed that this is a man but he decided, no, and is now a woman. If you can take on nature then a little sign in an office is nothing. It's as simple as that. There are thousands of people around who have learnt skills and techniques to sell. They were not born with that ability; they learnt it, just like a language or playing the piano.
Selling is the oldest profession there is. Some say prostitution’s the oldest but even that is someone selling themselves to someone else. Over the years there have been lots of self-help books telling you how to sell. I have read most of them. Some with good ideas, some with great ideas. Many of them are rubbish and don’t deliver. Most of them written by people who have heard a few stories, spoken to a few people and become an expert. They haven't been in the trenches. They haven't been door to door, nose to nose, phone to phone like my team. The bottom line is that many of them are good but lots of them are a rehash of the same old hackneyed ideas. A self-help book is a contradiction in terms. It's not a self-help book. If you could help yourself you wouldn’t need the book. Self-help is like self-abuse; you have to do it, no one else. Those books should be called ‘I could help you if you could be bothered to read past page nineteen’ books. This is not a self-help blog. This blog tells you what you need to know and I expect you to go out and do it yourself. The blog and I will be here for you to pop back to and read up on but ultimately, it's down to you.

So you want to sell, you want to sell more than you are doing now and you want to be the best salesperson you know? Well, it’s possible of course. In fact it's a probability that you will sell more, and sell more easily, if you read and take on board what I lay out in this blog and then use it. Watching gangster films will not turn you into a gangster. Nor will a violent film make you a murderer. Nor will the books that deal with those subjects. There are a lot of people looking for an easy answer and they will say that reading or watching those things has a tendency to turn you into those kinds of people. They can never answer this question though. What was in Jack the Rippers DVD collection? See? It isn't what you read or watch. You need to have it in you first otherwise it doesn’t happen. You need the desire, the desire to take action on what you read, learn, see and hear because the blog or the seminars on their own will not do it for you; you need to take part. In other words, you must take action.

I will make you a personal guarantee here and now, (trust me, I’m a salesman):
If you do absolutely nothing with the information
in here,it will definitely not work.
Think about it.

I am good at what I do. I train and teach, motivate and inspire. I also sell. When I say I sell lots and make a lot of money, I mean it...lots. If that makes me sound conceited so what; it’s the truth. No point in beating around the bush...it’s a numbers game and if you haven’t done the numbers you don’t get paid. Haven't sold much? You don’t get paid. Haven't hit target? You don’t get paid. This is a tough racket and I thank God for that otherwise, every Joe and his wife would be doing it.

The fact is, there are lots of products out there. Lots of opportunities and lots of sales rooms. It’s a minefield and many a good Salesperson has come unstuck by climbing the corporate ladder only to find, when it was too late, that it was against the wrong wall. I made that mistake once, and I don’t think you should get stung by the same bee twice. It makes me mad when people devote so much of their life into a company, they live and breathe the job, only to find that the people above them don’t care a toss. That’s why the salesperson, even though they are focused on their own objectives, must keep the big picture in mind.

I spend my days with my nose to the grindstone, one ear to the ground and one eye over my shoulder. It isn’t a great look, I admit, but it hasn’t let me down yet.

In this day and age it is very rare to find anyone that’s been at a company for so long they get a gold watch. A long time ago when a young man or woman started at a company they had security, financial and business longevity. They knew that they could go out and get married, buy a house, have kids and look forward to the future. The company was always there and they would always be at the company. Those days are over! These days, the future is unclear, your financial and business longevity is down to one person; you.

There are a lot of strings to my bow. I teach people NLP, and how to walk on fire, on broken glass, Hypnosis, I train people in how to sell, close a sale and to manipulate people. I hold training sessions for up to three thousand people at a time in how to sell and I meet people from all walks of life. I also teach people about using embedded commands, language patterns and state management. So, you can imagine that life is not dull. Even though I keep busy I never stop watching my back. I never, ever, stop looking for the next opportunity or opening.

Life is a hard surface. Corporations and businesses really don’t care because they know that there are so many people out there looking for jobs that if you leave they can replace you with someone else before you hit the ground floor in the lift. They will replace you with a total android, eighteen years old, covered in spots and hair gel, mobile clamped to his ear talking to his skinny feral bird about the Beckhams, chavs and Designer labels. He couldn’t find his own ass with a funnel but they will throw him in at the deep end, train him and if he doesn’t cut the mustard, so what? There are hundreds behind him. Companies throw money at this. It's cheap labour. We have all seen it. Roll on roll off sales forces. But if you know what you are doing, and you have a bit more vision, you can make a very lucrative career in selling.

In the sales environment, especially face to face like double glazing, insurance or utilities, and selling by phone in advertising and media, it is likely that the majority of the sales people hitting and exceeding target can bank on making £130,000 a year. If you look in any Sunday Newspaper at the vacancies you will see a very different picture. Companies that place advertisements like this:
‘You are a graduate, with excellent communication and computer skills. You have achieved all of your goals up to now and are looking for a new challenge. You are fluent German and Chinese. You will oversee a sales team of 35 and you will motivate, coach and target your team to meet company projections. You must be able to work to a deadline and negotiate at corporate or boardroom level. You can expect to earn £18,000PA’
Eight-teen-thou? Per Annum? Tell me that’s supposed to be eighty? No? Yikes!!

I bet you are glad that you spent that time taking those exams now aren’t you? Think about it, if you want another thousand a year all you need to do is be willing to stand there all day and keep asking people, ‘Do you want fries with that?’ for a year and then you will get promoted and you’ll get your own chip fryer. The world has gone nuts. When I was in Cable, I was the national sales trainer, and I used to use those advertisements for effect at the sales meetings. I would have them on OHP and put them up on screen and cover the payoff. It really hits home to your people how lucky they are to be able to sell. When you put targets up, when you want more business written, when you want more from your salespeople, show them that the grass isn't always greener.

The people who write these ads have no idea that they are being used at sales meetings to drive home the fact that there are a lot of slave labour companies out there. What's all this crap about Graduates, anyway? Why do you want a graduate? There’s no guarantee they can do the job. I did a firewalk at Oxford. I ran the training session for 80 of the so-called highly educated people there. I always ask, at the start of the training, how people think firewalking is possible. One guy put his hand up and said that he thought that by having bare feet you built up condensation under your soles and you didn’t touch the fire but you...
"...Hover?" I asked.
“Yeah that’s right”.
I looked around the room and was amazed that quite a lot of them thought that this was a good possibility.
“Do you mean Ledenfrost?” I asked.
“No, just hover.”
“As in steam?” I asked. He nodded.
“Well, the guy that walks over it before all of you, is one of the fire team that built it. He weighs 18 stone. That’s a shedload of steam!”
Everyone, including him laughed. Stupid, idiotic but it made him think. I hope he doesn’t end up with his finger on the button one day. The graduate.

The reason for this blog is that I wanted something to read when I started out on the rocky road of selling that was written in my language, with experience, stories and above all proof. Evidence that the ideas worked. Something written from an angle of ‘I have been there and this happens’ and ‘I have seen this and this is what you should do’. In here you will find all the techniques, tools and ideas that not only worked for me, but the hundreds of people who worked for me. Things that took us from zero to hero. The scripts for door to door selling and selling over the phone (which is different to telesales, and I will tell you why another time) are in here. Team meeting exercises, how to break down a target, how to plan a territory management campaign; it's going to be in here. How to get around a gatekeeper or PA who think they are in charge of a Company. How to get a signature on a dotted line, how to get the fax back with the signature on it. How to steer a conversation in the direction you want it to go and how to get people to open up and give you all the information you need. How to get someone to tell you everything you need to know without opening your mouth. Words to use in a presentation and words to avoid. Involvement and social interaction techniques and how to get people to sit in the right positions to assist you in the sale. How to put people at ease within fifteen seconds of meeting them and how to get people you don’t know to invite you into their house.

Even with all of the above there is a stark fact. No one can do anything to you or for you without your consent. I can’t motivate you if you don’t want to be. I can give you the tips, the techniques and tools to make you motivated but if you don’t want to be motivated, it won’t happen. Likewise I can’t make you go out and use the ideas and strategies you have in this blog. You can only do that if you want to. Again, I go back to my guarantee, ‘If you do absolutely nothing with the information in here, it will definitely not work’.

I am only interested in a result. I don’t need you to like me as a person, I don’t need to validate what I tell you, I don’t need to be told that I am mad or sane, clever or stupid, or right or wrong. I am only interested in a result. I have mine, I know it works. When you get your results, write to me at the address on my website or email me and tell me about your success.

My advice to you is to read the blog, and then use it. However you decide to read it, one thing is for certain...your life and your bank balance will never be the same again.
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