THE NEW REALITIES
WELCOME TO THE new world of selling! More people are going
to make more money and enjoy greater financial success in the
months and years ahead in the profession of selling than ever
before. Fully 5 percent of self-made millionaires are salespeople
who started at the bottom, became very good in their field,
earned high incomes and became wealthy. And what hundreds
of thousands, even millions, of other people have done, you can
do as well. You just need to learn how.
My son Michael and I have condensed into this book everything
we have learned from our experience selling millions of dollars of
products and services. Everything on these pages is
time-tested proven, and practical, and designed to help you make
faster and easier sales in any market.
When I began my sales career, I knew nothing of the skills and
techniques you are about to learn. I did not graduate from high
school. I worked at laboring jobs for several years. When I could
no longer find a laboring job, in desperation, I got into straight
commission sales, cold-calling one office after another in the
daytime and houses and apartments in the evenings.
I got the three-part sales training program that is common
worldwide: “Here are your cards, here are your brochures,
there’s the door.”
If I didn’t sell, I didn’t eat. I got up every morning at six and
was waiting in the parking lot when people came to work at eight
o’clock. My sales results were terrible. I was making just enough
sales to eat and to pay for a small room in a boardinghouse. I had
holes in my shoes, empty pockets, and no future.
A Life-Changing Event
Then I did something that changed my life. I went to the top
salesman in our office, a man a few years older than me who was selling
ten times as much as anyone else. And he wasn’t even working very
hard! He always had a pocketful of money.
He went to nice restaurants and nightclubs.
He drove a new car and lived in a beautiful apartment.
I took a deep breath and went up to him and asked him outright,
“What are you doing differently? How is it that you are
making so many more sales than me, or anyone else?”
He looked at me with surprise and then said, “Well, if you
want some help, show me your sales presentation and
I will critique it for you.”
Now, I admitted that I had heard there was such a thing as a “sales
presentation.” But it was like the far side of the moon, something
I had never actually seen it in reality. I told the top salesman that
when I called on customers, I simply said whatever fell out of my mouth.
He said, “No. No. No. Selling is a profession.
It is both a science and an art. It follows a logical,
the orderly process from the first step through to the closing
of the sale and the satisfied customer.
Let me give you an example of a sales presentation.”
He then sat me down and asked me questions, commenting as
he went along, exactly as if I were a prospective customer for our
product. Instead of talking continually, as I did when I got in front
of a prospect, he asked questions in a logical sequence, leading
from the general to the particular, from qualifying me as a prospect
through to closing the sale. It was different from anything I had
From that day forward, instead of talking continually, I asked
better questions of my potential customers and listened closely
to their answers. And my customers reacted to me differently.
And I started to make sales, and then more and more sales. I
began reading books on selling and listening to audio programs.
I began attending every sales seminar I could find. And each
time I learned and applied something new, my sales went up, and
up, and up. Within a year, I was earning ten times as much
income. My whole life changed forever.
What I discovered was the oldest of laws: the Law of Cause
and Effect. This law says that for every effect in your life, there
is a cause or a series of causes. If there is any effect that you
would like to have in your life, find others who have already
achieved that outcome and then do the same things that they did
to get there.
In my sales seminars, I often start off by asking, “How many
people here would like to double their income in the next year
Every hand in the room goes up. I then explain that if you
want to double your income, it is not that difficult. You simply
identify some people who are earning twice as much as you—
and who, by definition, at one time were earning half as much
as you are today—and then you find out what they did to get
from where they were to where they are today. Then, if you do
the same things that other successful people do, you soon get
the same results. It is not a miracle. It is not a matter of luck. It
is simply a matter of law—the Law of Cause and Effect.
Selling in the Markets of Today and Tomorrow
Since that day in my early twenties, when I first learned how to
make more sales, I have started, built, managed, or turned around
twenty-two companies. I have recruited, trained, managed, and
personally motivated hundreds of salespeople in different sales
organizations. I have personally trained more than 2 million
salespeople in sixty-one countries around the world. Many thousands
of my graduates have gone from rags to riches, from the
bottom to the top. Many have become millionaires and
multimillionaires, actually ending up owning the companies that they
were working for when they started using the ideas that you will
learn in this book.
The good news is that sales success is quite predictable. When
you do what other successful people do, you will soon get the
same results that they do.
The first step is to understand the most important factors that
determine sales success or failure in today’s market. It seems that
in every market, selling every product and service, in every industry,
there are salespeople who continue to grow and prosper in
sales, earning a wonderful living for themselves and providing well
for their families.
How do they do it? They know that change is taking place
faster today in every industry than ever before. Because of ever greater
competition, the need to please ever-more-demanding
customers, increasing-price sensitivity to products and services,
and incredible uncertainty in national and international markets,
the companies and individuals who survive and thrive are those
that is fast and flexible in rapidly changing conditions
Charles Darwin wrote that “survival goes not to the strongest
or most intelligent, but to the one who is most adaptable to
change.” The marketplace has changed dramatically and
continues to change, and you must change with it.
The Seven New Realities
Specifically, there are seven new realities, or facts, that you must
incorporate into your thinking and your actions to achieve the
kind of sales results and income that is truly possible for you.
Today, more than ever before:
- There are more sellers than buyers in every field.
- Selling is more complex.
- Selling requires greater focus and clarity.
- Selling requires greater preparation.
- Customers are more demanding.
- Sales success requires multiple calls.
- Closing the sale is harder
THERE ARE MORE SELLERS THAN BUYERS IN EVERY FIELD
The first new reality is that, in every field today, there are more
sellers than buyers. The competition is more fierce and determined
than ever before. There are fewer customer dollars available for an
ever-expanding and desirable assortment of products and services.
And whatever got you to where you are today is not enough to
keep you there—or to get you any farther.
SELLING IS MORE COMPLEX
Second, selling is more complex than it was in the past. Product
and service offerings, prices, and company capabilities are more
complex than ever. Customer needs, wants, desires, and problems
are more complex. Multiple customer contacts and meetings are
required to make a sale today. And if anything, selling is going to
become even more complex and demanding in the future. You are
going to have to run faster just to stay in the same place.
CLARITY IS ESSENTIAL
The third new reality is that selling requires greater focus and
clarity than ever before. You must develop absolute clarity
about your ideal customer—that is, the person who can and will buy your
product or service in the shortest period of time. You cannot afford
to spend time speaking to people who cannot or will not buy what
you are selling.
Once you have thought through and identified your ideal customer,
you must then ask, “Why would your ideal customer buy
from you rather than from your competitors?” What is your competitive advantage?
In 2012 alone, large and small companies spent more than $8
billion on market research in a variety of attempts to answer these
questions. The greater clarity you have about the perfect customer
for you and your product or service, the more of these
perfect customers you will find, and the faster you will recognize them when
you come across them. Focus and concentration on your very best
potential customer is the key to your getting into the top 20
percent of money earners and moving up from there.
CREDIBILITY MEANS BEING PREPARED
Fourth, it’s a fact that selling today requires greater preparation.
It is absolutely essential that you do your homework on customers
before you call on them for the first time. Fortunately, with
Google and other online search engines, you can do better and
faster research on people and corporations than ever before in
human history. With a few mouse clicks, you can have access to
information that used to require hours of research at the local
library to uncover.
Sometimes I ask my audiences, “What is the single most
important factor in selling today? What is the one factor that
determines how much you sell, how fast you sell it, how much you
earn, the size of your bank account, the home you live in,
the quality of your life, and everything that happens to you
personally and financially? What is the one factor?”
And the answer is, “Credibility!” Your credibility with the customer
is more important than any other factor. The more the customer
trusts you and believes you, the lower the customer’s fear
of making a buying mistake. The more the customer trusts you,
the easier it is for that customer to buy from you. In fact, when
your credibility level is high enough, the customer will buy from
you and not even ask the price.
And the better prepared you are, the greater is your credibility
from the first meeting. Do some “pre-call preparation.” Find out
everything you possibly can about your customers before you meet
with them for the first time. When you meet with prospects and
you explain how impressed you are with their accomplishments,
and you can mention some background detail on the individual and
the organization, your credibility will soar. The customer will be
more open and interested in talking to you because you
have obviously done your homework.
Also, before the call, think through and plan exactly what you
are going to do and what you want to accomplish in the sales call.
The better prepared you are in setting your pre-call objectives,
the more focused and clear you will be when it comes to asking
questions and having a conversation, and the more impressive you
will look and sound to your prospective customer.
Finally, quickly write down everything that was discussed in the
call immediately after you get out of the presence of the prospect.
When you walk into a second or third meeting fully prepared
because you have carefully reviewed your notes from the previous
meetings, you look and sound like a professional. Your credibility
goes straight up.
The final benefit to preparation, aside from building your
credibility quickly from the first call, is that it gives you a tremendous
sense of self-confidence. And self-confidence is a vital psychological
ingredient in successful selling
CUSTOMERS ARE MORE DEMANDING
A fifth reality is that customers are more demanding nowadays.
Why? Because they can be! And if anything, they are going to be
more demanding in the weeks and months ahead.
Customers today are more skeptical and suspicious because
of their previous buying experiences. They are afraid of buying
the wrong product, paying too much, receiving too little, and
being left in the lurch after the sale, as has happened to them in
Customers also receive multiple offers of products and services.
Your competitors are calling on them continuously. In their spare
moments, your customers can go onto the Internet and find every
variation of your product or service that is available in the world
today, and at the lowest possible prices.
It used to be that the salesperson was the expert when he called
on a prospect. He knew more about his product or service, and the
competitors in the market than the customer. Today, the roles are
reversed. Customers know as much or more than the salesperson,
and what they don’t know, they can find out in a few seconds.
Finally, customers are more demanding because they have limited
resources. They do not have the kind of money that makes it possible for
them to make a buying mistake. As a result, they proceed more slowly.
They question every claim you make. They compare your offer with those
of your competitors. They procrastinate and delay making any buying decision.
The sixth new reality is that it takes multiple calls to make a sale.
When I started off, calling from door to door, it was a single-call
selling process. I would meet a prospect, ask qualifying questions,
make my sales pitch, and ask for a buying decision. The size of my
product was small and the risk of making a poor decision was low.
Today, however, because of the incredible complexity of the
modern market and the level of competition in the marketplace,
you have to make an average of four or five calls on a qualified
prospect to actually make a sale and at each one of these meetings,
the sales process can stop because of a new piece of information.
Your first call maybe just to start a relationship, and to
discover if a need for your product or service actually exists. The
purpose of the first call is to separate prospects from suspects.
The second and third calls may be to get more information, to
make a presentation, or to present a proposal. The fourth and
fifth meetings with the prospect may be to negotiate, finalize the
purchase agreement, and close the sale.
The best sales organizations and salespeople use what is called
the “milestone method” of selling. They carefully note the stage
to which the sale has developed, knowing that for a certain
number of prospects who begin the process, a specific percentage
will actually become customers at the end of the process.
The question is, Where are you in the sales process? Is this your
first meeting? Is this your second or third meeting? How far along
are you toward actually making the sale and collecting payment?
CLOSING THE SALE
Closing the sale is harder today than it used to be, which is the
seventh new reality of sales. Customers have fewer resources and are
reluctant to change or try something new. Even if your product or
service is attractive, the customer has to move out of her comfort
zone and “stretch” before she is willing to begin using something
new or different. In addition, there are “switching costs,” which
can be mental, physical, and financial. Sometimes, from the customer’s
point of view, it is just too much trouble to purchase your product or service.