Do you think sales is a learnable skill?

by newbie_ken 47 replies
Do you think every one has the potential to sell? or some people will never be able to sell.
#offline marketing #learnable #sales #skill
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  • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
    Well...it really varies..

    I guess everyone can sell "something" at some time....will it be a career they enjoy, prosper at or one that they dread, squeak by?

    Some keys are - to know and be passionate about what you sell. Become an expert....know what you are talking about....if you are into real estate, follow it ,know your market, follow the news, trends, stats, so that "rolls off you tongue"

    All the "sales reports" can't tell you what to do - you learn by doing, don't beat yourself up if you don't sell, try to learn from it, but don't nitpick or keep going over it

    Do use what "sales process" your company has in place if you are working for a company - utilize what worked for others. If possible watch and learn from others

    On phone - smile and dial - have list of objections up = know what to say and when

    In person - be prepared...have your sales material there....a good powerpoint is great but have it loaded and ready to go - I saw one guy put up a powerpoint but it went to his personal fb page with drunken stupid selfies LOL....be prepared

    I don't know if you can learn it but - in person a good memory really helps. I was blessed or cursed with a photographic, "uber" , super -"recognizer" memory which means I meet a person and 2 years later recall their name, face etc when we meet again
    Good memory or try to improve it - people love when you remember them
    They love it even more when you remember to ask how their cruise went, how their daughter did at her dance recital, how the "new item on the menu" is working out etc

    Keep plowing through - but know when to stop. Consider everyone a buyer but at some point you do get realistic - Know when to hold em and know when to fold em

    Now...the so called "IM" people? It has become a joke IMHO - a world of talentless clueless people following rote "formula" to sell more useless "gimme muny" pdf's, tee shirts and "trials' of dubious weight loss products that lock unsuspecting customers into a credit card mess to "unsubscribe"
    Not to mention the new Ponzi schemes...haha

    at least "offline" mostly requires something of some value - real estate is always a crowded field but people do succeed at it so good luck to you
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  • Profile picture of the author eccj
    Some people just can't sell at a professional level no matter what. Few that try are ever successful at the professional level. Something like 1 and 10 insurance licenses ever get renewed.
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    • Profile picture of the author iAmNameLess
      Originally Posted by eccj View Post

      Some people just can't sell at a professional level no matter what. Few that try are ever successful at the professional level. Something like 1 and 10 insurance licenses ever get renewed.
      I don't think that is an issue of people being unable to sell, but not being motivated to actually do it.

      I think of selling in a much simpler way than a lot of people. I DO think everyone can sell. Some are just better than others.

      I think it comes down to awareness, awareness in your life, awareness in yourself and in others. The more aware you are, the more likely you will be able to sell.

      The things people have even said in this thread, listening to your prospect or lead, being able to press the right points, using the right rebuttals. Being able to do that, of course comes with knowledge that anyone can have, but more importantly having a high enough level of awareness to be able to do it.

      Can it be learned? Yes.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jonwebb
      Originally Posted by eccj View Post

      Some people just can't sell at a professional level no matter what. Few that try are ever successful at the professional level. Something like 1 and 10 insurance licenses ever get renewed.
      I think people can learn to sell.

      maybe everyone can't convice someone to buy something like a 700 dollar cell phone they don't need ( I think they can) but I think everyone can walk into a appointment, give a presentation, ask/answer some questions and close a deal.

      Growing up I was stupidly shy, bordeline disorder. I didn't have many friends, I played sports but i would get so nervous I'd end up in the bath room stressing the freak out.

      fast forward a few years in my small market, I was the dominant t-mobile contract salesman for every month that I was with the company.

      be who you are, find a group of people who need what you have to offer, and give them a chance to buy from you. Is it always that simple? No but it most of the time it is.
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      • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
        If one will only cleanse the crap they have in their head
        about sales first before replacing it with the right message
        they tell themselves before they start talking to a prospective client.

        Last week I helped a client get a job as a salesperson at a leading business paper
        to sell advertising.

        I knew nobody inside the company.

        He got to the interview stage himself.

        This was his first job and secondly as a salesperson.

        Came from a background of owning his own business, has some real marketing smarts.

        However not only the job interview seem daunting,
        so was his role.

        Here's what he said...

        " So before the interview I first of all didn't have much confidence in my ability to really see myself crush it as an advertising salesman. And second of all, I was a bit nervous about a few type of questions I imagined getting.

        I nailed that interview and got the job. And I really walked in with confidence, even though it was pretty high stakes. Was the only job I actually wanted so didn't have any other alternatives (so before talking with Ewen I had some neediness I needed to eradicate as well.)

        We mostly talked about what strategy and message to use for advertising sales.

        I was completely in the wrong direction with my thinking.

        1. First of all who I thought I should target as ideal clients, was the total opposite from who I first thought. But as soon as Ewen gave me that insight, I immediately realized it.

        2. The message I thought would work, was also the complete opposite lol. What I thought was influenced by my world view as a marketing consultant, which I would have been trying to force on them.

        I just thought about the time, stress and frustration I would face with going in my original direction. How important it is with having an outside perspective challenging your reality.

        From my insecurity in how to handle these types of sales, and what process to get good at it - I thought I had to read 100 books. Which just felt very stressful and hard.

        The message/strategy that Ewen crafted made so much more sense. And gave me the kind of insights I would never have gotten from a book. I would probably end up more lost with filling my head with all kinds of strategies, methods etc. And I would end up with a message/strategy that would feel very conflicting with the potential clients.

        The strategy and message I have now is so logical, effortless and I can just see how it makes it relevant, comfortable and easy for both me and the prospect."

        End///

        He just needed 4 things, or Principles, to deepen his existing understanding.

        That's it.

        Huge burden offloaded.

        Those key Principals can be different in each individual situation
        the salesman finds himself in.

        Just gotta have a guide to diagnose and prescribe what they are.

        That's the fastrack for the beginner.

        Best,
        Doctor E. Vile
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      • Profile picture of the author dreamer123
        Originally Posted by Jonwebb View Post

        I think people can learn to sell.

        maybe everyone can't convice someone to buy something like a 700 dollar cell phone they don't need ( I think they can) but I think everyone can walk into a appointment, give a presentation, ask/answer some questions and close a deal.

        Growing up I was stupidly shy, bordeline disorder. I didn't have many friends, I played sports but i would get so nervous I'd end up in the bath room stressing the freak out.

        fast forward a few years in my small market, I was the dominant t-mobile contract salesman for every month that I was with the company.

        be who you are, find a group of people who need what you have to offer, and give them a chance to buy from you. Is it always that simple? No but it most of the time it is.
        Wow your such an inspiration! If you don't mind me asking, how did you get over your social anxiety? Was their any specific techniques you used?
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        • Profile picture of the author Jonwebb
          Originally Posted by dreamer123 View Post

          Wow your such an inspiration! If you don't mind me asking, how did you get over your social anxiety? Was their any specific techniques you used?
          sports honestly. Having a bunch of people relying on me, to preform to get over what ever was holding me back.

          I went from being a bench warmer to high school all American and team captain.

          I still get nervous when all eyes are on me, it never goes away but I have proven to myself many times that I can do what I need to do.
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          • Profile picture of the author dreamer123
            Originally Posted by Jonwebb View Post

            sports honestly. Having a bunch of people relying on me, to preform to get over what ever was holding me back.

            I went from being a bench warmer to high school all American and team captain.

            I still get nervous when all eyes are on me, it never goes away but I have proven to myself many times that I can do what I need to do.
            So basically what you are saying is that you had people who depended on you which forced you to overcome your anxiety?

            Am I correct?
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  • If you really want to be good in sales despite all the fears, trials and tribulations.

    You need to learn the "skills" and honestly they are not difficult (grab some 5 star rated amazon books).

    Many sales trainers deliberately make selling so convoluted and complicated (maybe to "justify" the cost of their courses).

    But selling is all about "easy communication" - it's just talking.


    Find out what the person wants or what their problem is.

    And show them you have a really good answer.

    And tell them about it.

    Be able to deal (without any tricks or gimmicks) with any questions or objections.

    And do what most salespeople never do -

    Take a short breathe and ask for the order.


    That's it in a nutshell.

    It may be it's just not for you - which is perfectly OK.

    But you'll never know until you try.


    Steve


    P.S. There is something you DO need to cope with - and it's what kippers 99.999% of salespeople.

    You have to deal with endless rejections "No, No, No…"

    Most salespeople get "rejected" more often in month that others are in a lifetime.

    It can be tough and it does take resilience.

    But you can't be successful in sales without the rejections - mathematically it's impossible (don't let anybody tell you differently).

    It's all about numbers.

    Again to keep it simple...

    Lets say it takes 10 calls to get a sale and you earn $100.00.

    But you are NOT really earning $100.00 for the sale.

    Because it took 10 calls.

    So every call earned you $10.00.
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Here is what selling is not;
      Being glib and funny.
      Being able to tell jokes.
      Lying.
      Conning people.


      Selling is clear communication, and work. In my experience, most people are unsuccessful at selling. And one of the main reasons is that they are conditioned to behave in a certain way, and selling is counter intuitive.

      Here's what I mean. Calling a stranger to ask for an appointment is not something most people are comfortable doing.

      Asking people to buy, or asking for money is way out of most people's comfort zones.

      I honestly don't think selling is a natural talent. I certainly am not a natural. Out of a few thousand reps I've hired over the decades, I've met one that took to it so easily, that I would consider a Natural.

      There are skills involved. And they take effort to learn....and while you are learning, you will fail more often than you succeed. Most people aren't able to take that hit to their self image.

      And selling well enough to make a good living is relatively easy to learn. Selling at high levels is about as easy to learn as brain surgery.

      How easy is it to learn copywriting, stand up comedy, karate, playing the violin?

      You can learn a lot in a few years. But it takes real effort, and dedication.... to be Great.

      And no, you don't need to invest in expensive sales training courses. And, out of the 2,000 sales books I've read and own, maybe 10 are really useful. All the top salespeople here know which ones they are.
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      • Profile picture of the author lolCashlol
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Here is what selling is not;
        Being glib and funny.
        Being able to tell jokes.
        Lying.
        Conning people.


        Selling is clear communication, and work. In my experience, most people are unsuccessful at selling. And one of the main reasons is that they are conditioned to behave in a certain way, and selling is counter intuitive.

        Here's what I mean. Calling a stranger to ask for an appointment is not something most people are comfortable doing.

        Asking people to buy, or asking for money is way out of most people's comfort zones.

        I honestly don't think selling is a natural talent. I certainly am not a natural. Out of a few thousand reps I've hired over the decades, I've met one that took to it so easily, that I would consider a Natural.

        There are skills involved. And they take effort to learn....and while you are learning, you will fail more often than you succeed. Most people aren't able to take that hit to their self image.

        And selling well enough to make a good living is relatively easy to learn. Selling at high levels is about as easy to learn as brain surgery.

        How easy is it to learn copywriting, stand up comedy, karate, playing the violin?

        You can learn a lot in a few years. But it takes real effort, and dedication.... to be Great.

        And no, you don't need to invest in expensive sales training courses. And, out of the 2,000 sales books I've read and own, maybe 10 are really useful. All the top salespeople here know which ones they are.

        One of the hardest things I am trying to learn - as a new salesperson, is seperating my self-image from selling.

        It is very easy for me to take things personal, because why wouldn't I take it personal when someone becomes confrontational and totally rejects what I spent so hard trying to prepare.

        It doesn't make it any easier that it takes sometimes 80-100 doors in typical b2b before anyone is willing to do business with you... and on some days you can be prepared to sell nothing, and get flack from your sales manager(why you shouldn't work for a sales organization)

        Sometimes I just want to cry.
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        • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
          Originally Posted by lolCashlol View Post

          One of the hardest things I am trying to learn - as a new salesperson, is seperating my self-image from selling.

          It is very easy for me to take things personal, because why wouldn't I take it personal when someone becomes confrontational and totally rejects what I spent so hard trying to prepare.
          Maybe you should start thinking about confrontation and rejection as fuel for your success.

          Love and Hate are two sides of the same coin.

          If you are eliciting a negative response at least you are getting a response and that is better than someone who does't engage emotionally with you.

          Somehow you've got to redirect that rejection and try to get to the real reason for the confrontation.

          Have you tried saying something like "Wow...I must have hit a nerve!" "Why do you feel so strongly about XXXX?" "have you had a bad experience before or are you just doing it tough at the moment?"

          Once you get someone to start sharing why they are so negative you can start to understand their situation and potentially help them.
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by lolCashlol View Post

          One of the hardest things I am trying to learn - as a new salesperson, is seperating my self-image from selling.

          It is very easy for me to take things personal, because why wouldn't I take it personal when someone becomes confrontational and totally rejects what I spent so hard trying to prepare.

          It doesn't make it any easier that it takes sometimes 80-100 doors in typical b2b before anyone is willing to do business with you... and on some days you can be prepared to sell nothing, and get flack from your sales manager(why you shouldn't work for a sales organization)

          Sometimes I just want to cry.
          It's not just that you shouldn't take it personally, it's that it isn't meant personally.

          In my seminars, I'll pretend we are asking people if they like butterscotch. I take the first row, and tell them all to say "No", to "Do you like butterscotch?"

          Maybe 3 people. Then after they all say "No", I ask the volunteer how he felt. Is he depressed? They always say "No". I ask "Why not? 30 people just told you No"....and they say, "Because it isn't about me. it's just about butterscotch" (or something to that effect.)

          It isn't about you. It isn't about your product. Are you there at a good time? Did you catch them in a good mood? Is it raining out? What's on TV right now? Did they just eat dinner? Are they hungry? Those things affect their reaction to you, far more than anything you say.

          And you know what happens? The more people you talk to, the easier it gets...and the more they will feel at ease with you. Every repetition lessens the pain, makes you stronger, makes selling easier. Every time.

          What is the very worst that can happen? They won't buy. Well, you had that before you started. Talking to strangers (while prospecting) gives you power. Could they do what you do? No.

          And no experience helps you as much in life as selling, by cold calling. Nearly every CEO I know has done it, and didn't quit. With repetition, you become immune to criticism. Your self image becomes bulletproof.

          I've been through what you are going through right now. I swear to God. But I promise you, every day, it gets easier. Every day. If you've been doing it for more than a week, you've already survived the worst part.

          Don't quit. The hardest part is over. And every day, read something about selling. Don't buy an expensive course, not even mine. But reading a great book on selling will strengthen your determination, I promise.

          Imagine you traveled 5 years into the future, and saw yourself; You have money, a real skill set, and the envy of your fellow salespeople. If you miss a sale, you don't even care. Why? Because you made two sales the day before, and you have money in the bank. Your appointment book is full of referrals, and past customers waiting to buy again. You're telling a new salesman to not quit, that you had to go through the same thing, when you were new.

          Now.......you travel back to today. You're shaking from the experience of seeing yourself 5 years in the future. It's real. You know it So, the question you ask yourself is, "How did I get from here to there?"

          I promise you, it wasn't sitting on your ass. Learn the skills, get the experience. The steepest part of the climb is already over.
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        • Profile picture of the author newbie_ken
          Originally Posted by lolCashlol View Post

          One of the hardest things I am trying to learn - as a new salesperson, is seperating my self-image from selling.

          It is very easy for me to take things personal, because why wouldn't I take it personal when someone becomes confrontational and totally rejects what I spent so hard trying to prepare.

          It doesn't make it any easier that it takes sometimes 80-100 doors in typical b2b before anyone is willing to do business with you... and on some days you can be prepared to sell nothing, and get flack from your sales manager(why you shouldn't work for a sales organization)

          Sometimes I just want to cry.
          This is why I created this post. I feel exactly the same way, as my pain was too much and I also took it personally. I got to a stage where I was wounded in all my previous 2 sales jobs. I was paid basic and couldn't hit the ground running and later sacked for both. I learnt a lot and did make a couple of sales but didn't hit my expected targets. I got a lot of verbal abuse from my first sales job and still feel the effects to this day and was told I was worthless. The 2nd sales job was a lot better and felt like a human being and was too effected by the first job.

          I have switched to a commission only. I just sold a smart meter today and will get paid for it . There is no pressure any more to hit targets and feel really good about it.

          I got a part time Real Estate Career and it is not really taking off. I also got myself a part time door to door job and made a sale today. It not much but extremely happy. I hope the momentum continues. I'm hoping to do 5 smart meters a day.

          This thread has really inspired me. I hope I don't throw in the towel. I really want to get good at selling. It's a shame I still feel wounded to this day and still trying to shake it off.

          I hope one day myself image improves over time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
    I agree with all ....

    You do need to listen to the potential customer, hear them out. You need to answer their objections honestly but you must pick the right rebuttal

    Asking for the sale, close the deal is the hardest thing for some to master. You have to ask for it.
    I have seen people who were pretty good at presentation waffle around at the end and leave "escape" routes - just like the old "check is in the mail" joke.
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  • Profile picture of the author chriswilliams45
    For the most part, yes. I mean, there are some people out there who are hopeless and will only ever work for the government. However, most sales people who say it's not learnable, are just trying to make themselves sound unique. It's quite pathetic.
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  • Profile picture of the author animal44
    Originally Posted by newbie_ken View Post

    Do you think every one has the potential to sell? or some people will never be able to sell.
    IMHO selling is a natural trait.

    Ever applied for a job? - you're selling yourself, your skills.

    Ever made a friend? - you're selling yourself, your friendship.

    Ever got a date? - you're selling yourself, your potential as a mate.

    Selling is really no different. Just get a clear value proposition and be yourself...
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    Then it dawned on me...
    What I do for a living

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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      [QUOTE=animal44;10089171Just get a clear value proposition and be yourself...[/QUOTE]

      Need another ingredient to make that work.

      Best,
      Doctor E. Vile
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      • Profile picture of the author animal44
        Oh yes, I forgot the One Thing...


        Of course, you have to buy an amazon book, a WSO or your consultation to find that out...

        OP try this: Approach someone on the committees of your local C of C or even any business person you know personally. Tell them that you're new to selling and you'd like a critique of your sales pitch. You'll get some pretty valuable feedback - for free - Dragons Den in miniature.

        And maybe even make a sale (it has happened! ).
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

      IMHO selling is a natural trait.

      Ever applied for a job? - you're selling yourself, your skills.

      Ever made a friend? - you're selling yourself, your friendship.

      Ever got a date? - you're selling yourself, your potential as a mate.

      Selling is really no different. Just get a clear value proposition and be yourself...
      These activities are anticipated and expected in our society. Asking a stranger to give you money for a product/service is not. The kind of selling that is accepted is called clerking.


      For example;

      Ever applied for a job? ...and while you were there, asked him to buy life insurance?

      Ever made a friend? ...and then asked her to buy a car from you?

      Ever got a date? .....and then asked her to marry you on that date?

      See the leap? The activities you mentioned are selling. But they are selling at the simplest, easiest level.

      You see.....
      Everyone has asked for a job and got one.
      Everyone has a friend.
      Everyone has been on a date.

      Very few make a great living as a professional salesman.

      And I think it's interesting. Let's take your "Ever ask for a date?". Perhaps that could be called selling.

      Now, here is more information about the person you are asking out on a date....

      She is already happily married. And going out with you would likely cause a divorce. And...you are asking her to pay for the date. You have an hour. Start.

      OK, now that's selling.


      I give the same speech as you, about how easy selling is, and how we do it in every day life. But, if you expect to sell at any level besides the beginner level, you need to know what you are doing. I'm not saying that you don't.

      I admit that there are levels of difficulty selling.

      Being a rep where they call in to buy, is about as easy as it gets.
      Selling to businesses that already use what you are selling is pretty easy.
      Selling at retail, even at high levels, is far easier than selling in someone's home.
      Selling to large corporations in repeated interviews...may be harder yet, I don't know.

      And even the best sales training program won't take a dullard from beginner to advanced. In the same way, no matter how much coaching I would get..I would never be a professional basketball player.

      When I see a salesperson sell at a high level, the person is rarer than one out of a thousand. And it's a beautiful thing to behold.
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        Is sales learnable... From the day you are born you have the ability to communicate what you need. A mother can tell the difference between the Im hungry cry and the im wet cry. In of itself this is not "Selling" but it is putting in motion the desired action.

        Selling is action. Simply put, the action of getting a "Yes" You look at it this way.. we do this all day every day. a simple question.. Q: Whats for dinner? A: I don't know. Q how bout this? A: no. Q how bout this? A: no. How bout this? A; yes. A very simple objection objection sell scenario. Again, we do this all day every day.

        Selling is - I don't know what else to call it - Human nature.

        Kids... They will rationalize and plead to get what ever it is they want until you simply break down and say yes. Kids are great at selling. ( the little buggers! )

        So what happens when we go out in the world and try to sell ourselves.. our services.. our products? We fumble stumble and fail.

        Think about this for a moment or 2. When we prepare to sell.. what do we do? We develop a process. we write a script. We set appointments. We do all of these things... Is this process closer to human nature or being mechanical? If selling is human nature.. how is mechanical going to be effective? The truth is its not.

        But to have that script.. that process.. become what many call "2nd nature" is when sales start to occur. I would say that its not 2nd nature.. its Human nature that takes over.

        We start to listen. we start to answer objections. we start to connect with the prospect on a human level, and not some mechanical pre scripted level.

        If anyone has ever watch any Cardone videos or even watched the movie Wolf of wall street is there ever a script being read? Is the script ever played out exactly the same each and every time? I think we all know the answer is no.

        Scripts don't work except in the case of a fall down. being human on the other hand... Im not going to say it works every time ( we can only wish ) but the percentage goes up quick.

        Just my 2 cents
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        • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
          Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post


          Scripts don't work except in the case of a fall down. being human on the other hand... Im not going to say it works every time ( we can only wish ) but the percentage goes up quick.

          Just my 2 cents
          Ever say something a lot - because it works? Guess what .. that is a script.
          Some people script every aspect, others just a few sections of a conversation.

          Smallest script in the word ... that every single person on the planet with a phone uses ...

          "Hello"

          Why? Because it works...
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          Selling Ain't for Sissies
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      • Profile picture of the author eccj
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        These activities are anticipated and expected in our society. Asking a stranger to give you money for a product/service is not. The kind of selling that is accepted is called clerking.


        For example;

        Ever applied for a job? ...and while you were there, asked him to buy life insurance?

        Ever made a friend? ...and then asked her to buy a car from you?

        Ever got a date? .....and then asked her to marry you on that date?

        See the leap? The activities you mentioned are selling. But they are selling at the simplest, easiest level.

        You see.....
        Everyone has asked for a job and got one.
        Everyone has a friend.
        Everyone has been on a date.

        Very few make a great living as a professional salesman.

        And I think it's interesting. Let's take your "Ever ask for a date?". Perhaps that could be called selling.

        Now, here is more information about the person you are asking out on a date....

        She is already happily married. And going out with you would likely cause a divorce. And...you are asking her to pay for the date. You have an hour. Start.

        OK, now that's selling.


        I give the same speech as you, about how easy selling is, and how we do it in every day life. But, if you expect to sell at any level besides the beginner level, you need to know what you are doing. I'm not saying that you don't.

        I admit that there are levels of difficulty selling.

        Being a rep where they call in to buy, is about as easy as it gets.
        Selling to businesses that already use what you are selling is pretty easy.
        Selling at retail, even at high levels, is far easier than selling in someone's home.
        Selling to large corporations in repeated interviews...may be harder yet, I don't know.

        And even the best sales training program won't take a dullard from beginner to advanced. In the same way, no matter how much coaching I would get..I would never be a professional basketball player.

        When I see a salesperson sell at a high level, the person is rarer than one out of a thousand. And it's a beautiful thing to behold.
        Unless you are walking out with a check you aren't in sales. If they are not handing you money, you are not in sales.

        For instance, pharma reps are not salespeople. They don't walk out with checks.
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by eccj View Post

          Unless you are walking out with a check you aren't in sales. If they are not handing you money, you are not in sales.

          For instance, pharma reps are not salespeople. They don't walk out with checks.
          I know nothing about pharma reps, or how that works. Perhaps a great pharma rep is a great salesperson, I don't know.

          Maybe it's how we define selling. To some, anyone in a conversation is selling, or anyone promoting is selling.
          When I'm talking about selling, I mean a conversation where, at the end of that conversation, they write you a check, or sign an agreement.

          But I'm sure there are lots of other ways to further business, that isn't directly selling.
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          • Profile picture of the author eccj
            Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

            I know nothing about pharma reps, or how that works. Perhaps a great pharma rep is a great salesperson, I don't know.

            Maybe it's how we define selling. To some, anyone in a conversation is selling, or anyone promoting is selling.
            When I'm talking about selling, I mean a conversation where, at the end of that conversation, they write you a check, or sign an agreement.

            But I'm sure there are lots of other ways to further business, that isn't directly selling.
            I believe you have made a good distinction: professional sales people and business developers (not the best term but it was what came to mind).

            Pharma reps and booth girls are not in sales. They are worth far less than professional sales people; revenue and profit trumps good vibes that the developers give.

            Also, I have heard the whole "selling is in everything we do" line like the poster gave above. That, socializing, may be something but it is not sales and it is not helpful to the would be salesman. Those things do not require a decision or money. I can "sell" someone on my idea all day long but to get the same person to make a decision and perform an action are too totally different things.

            Sales is about trade. We have to trade because we have limited resources and others have what we want or need. In order to get what I want I must give up something that I have that is limited to me and the person I wish to trade......money.

            Getting your friends to see the movie that you want to see instead of something else does not fit the parameters of trade or sales. The people involved have plenty of time and they can watch the other movie another night. Asking a girl out? She probably didn't have anything to do that night and your buying her dinner anyways.

            If talking to your friend is sales, if getting a friend is sales then how come everybody has at least one friend but almost everybody sucks at sales? Easy, because the whole "everybody sells everyday" is a bunch of rubbish right up there with the "it takes 10 times before someone buys" myth.

            Sales is a proper profession and should be treated as such.
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      • Profile picture of the author savidge4
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Now, here is more information about the person you are asking out on a date....

        She is already happily married. And going out with you would likely cause a divorce. And...you are asking her to pay for the date. You have an hour. Start.

        OK, now that's selling.

        That's not selling.. that's a bet! LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Originally Posted by newbie_ken View Post

    Do you think every one has the potential to sell? or some people will never be able to sell.
    A consistent sales PROCESS can be learned and applied.

    Many good responses in this thread.

    Selling is not some magic talent. The awareness, as said above, is the individual difference that makes the difference. Making it "not about you" is critical. Someone mentioned separating self-esteem or self-image from the results--that is important, too. Failure to sell today is not personality failure. Screw up baking a cake and you don't go glum for a week.

    Learn and apply a consistent sales process and you will always know where you are in the sale. You'll know why you didn't make the sale (and that's OK). You'll know why you DID make the sale. Then you can improve. But flying by the seat of your pants, trying to figure it out brand new every time, will result in confusion and frustration. Get the certainty of knowing what's going to happen...and then you can get out in front of, and if you're good invisibly lead, your prospect. People want to be lead.
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  • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
    I have personally witnessed people that were dumber then dirt sell.
    Others with speech impediments, wheelchair bound and others
    so obese they might as well be classified as crippled.

    All of them sold well enough to make a decent living.

    Watching that happen over and over through the years tells me
    Yes, anyone can be taught how to do automated, robot like sales.

    It all boils down to the sales system itself, script, rebuttals and continuous training.

    Now - with that said ... these people make sales - but in my opinion, they are not salespeople.

    Some of them do eventually become sales people. But most don't and truthfully
    most don't want to ever do more then what they already do.

    You can a train monkey's to sell, but you can't train monkeys to become salespeople.

    Real salespeople are all about learning, 24/7, about anything and everything ...
    and just about everything we learn, can and does get applied to sales ... in one way
    or another.
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    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      Banned
      Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

      I have personally witnessed people that were dumber then dirt sell.
      That's because they're not smart enough to bring their preconceived misconceptions with them. Give them a plan and a process, tell them not to deviate and you'll be surprised but what they are capable of delivering.

      When I used to hire for my telemarketing rooms I never hired what I perceived as the smartest applicants. Those with average intelligence with a need for quick and steady income were usually my most successful hires. I would tell them that I was hired to be the brains and that it was their job to follow the smart guy's lead. They loved that as it put all the pressure on me, to their way of thinking.

      The smarter they got, the more they would deviate from our success formula and the worse they would do. If they were really smart they would take my advice and forget what they think they now knew better and get back to what I taught them, originally. That usually worked and once again showed them who the smartest guy in the room actually was. lol

      Unless someone is just flat out socially awkward, I feel that I can teach almost anyone how to sell. Will they all be top producers. Of course not, but they'll make a decent living and I'll be happy to accept the overrides.

      Cheers. - Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
    Oh I agree with Frank.....having owned and run phone rooms, hired and "let go"....
    there comes a point when a telemarketer gets "good", gets "comfortable"...and they decide to change or add or subtract and put their own spin on it

    sales go down and they need to be put back on track - listen to their calls, guide them

    as for the script - well that is one reason I often suggest that people afraid to sell work part time in a phone room and/or get an outside sales job - that has good training.

    Not work for some goofball with not idea how to market his webdesigns - no...work in a structured sales environment, one with scripts, role playing, sales meetings, "pump u up" meetings,
    the more salesy the better...bells ringing, balloons popping, cause then you can have good sales managers, teachers, you can also listen into the best ones in the room or go out in the field with the best ones. You will learn

    If you want to "do it yourself" you need to develop a process.
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    • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
      Originally Posted by Freebiequeen1999 View Post

      Oh I agree with Frank.....having owned and run phone rooms, hired and "let go"....
      there comes a point when a telemarketer gets "good", gets "comfortable"...and they decide to change or add or subtract and put their own spin on it

      sales go down and they need to be put back on track - listen to their calls, guide them


      as for the script - well that is one reason I often suggest that people afraid to sell work part time in a phone room and/or get an outside sales job - that has good training.

      Not work for some goofball with not idea how to market his webdesigns - no...work in a structured sales environment, one with scripts, role playing, sales meetings, "pump u up" meetings,
      the more salesy the better...bells ringing, balloons popping, cause then you can have good sales managers, teachers, you can also listen into the best ones in the room or go out in the field with the best ones. You will learn

      If you want to "do it yourself" you need to develop a process.
      We call that diarrhea of the mouth and the fastest way to fix it ... is make them go back to reading the script - verbatim

      Fixes the problem 100% of the time.
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    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Freebiequeen1999 View Post

      there comes a point when a telemarketer gets "good", gets "comfortable"...and they decide to change or add or subtract and put their own spin on it
      Well, there seems to be a lot of debate in the sales world about the pros and cons of working from a script, whether or not it should ever be appended to and if so, when?

      Most of my telemarketing managing and training experience was in doing membership development for Chambers of Commerce and Better Business Bureaus. While we had a bit more leeway with the C of C scripts, the ones that I wrote for BBB membership development and member retention had to be approved by the bureau's board of directors and once approved, were written in stone. Any deviation from the prepared script could and usually did result in termination, if the board got wind of it. I even wrote and taught the response to any objection that could ever arise - word for word and never let the troops freelance. The main reason for that was the company had spent years fine-tuning these scripts and they were the primary reason for our success.

      If you're a baker and you are given a recipe that will produce the best chocolate cake you have ever tasted and you bake those cakes day after day, year after year and the masses are gobbling them up - you've got a killer recipe. When I hire you, I give you a copy of my recipe and I tell you that you are not to deviate so much as to add or remove a pinch of anything in this recipe or the cake will fall. You go for weeks baking the world's best chocolate cakes and then one day you decide that you're a wee-bit bored with plain chocolate cake and you want a hint of cherry in your chocolate cake, so you add it in. Soon you realize that your cake sales are going down. How can that be? You took a great cake recipe and through your own improvement, you made it even better. Really? Then how come sales of chocolate cake are down? That's easy - you can't improve on perfection and yes - if you spend years tweaking a script you can create a perfect one for your market. It's not as if we created that recipe over a few days. We spent many years honing it, testing it, even just changing the order of a few sentences until we had a recipe that ANYONE could follow and themselves create the world's best chocolate cake. No cherry flavor needed.
      sales go down and they need to be put back on track - listen to their calls, guide them
      Never! Not in my job description. Just read the script we gave you, word for word, with enthusiasm and confidence and make me some chocolate cakes. I was able to prove to anyone that walked through the door that if they had an IQ hovering around room temperature, would dial the phone just 100 times per day, would read my script without deviation - that I could guarantee them that even if they were unsuccessful 98% of the time they would bring home $1500 to $2000 a week (adjusted for inflation). We built the single largest membership development company in the US on that promise and at our height were under contact to over 100 offices, including the largest cities in the US. We took 78% of every dollar that came through the door with the Chamber or BBB getting 22% and they were thrilled to get it. That's because the 22% of what we brought in was much better than 100% of what they were bringing in by utilizing office staff and volunteers. See - 100% of almost nothing is almost nothing.

      Keep in mind that what we were selling was an intangible. People would write us a check for an average of $400 and some up to $2000 just to feel good about themselves for writing it and for the joy of putting the $5 plaque we gave them on their wall and a $1 decal on their door. Oh, and a firm handshake and a heartfelt thank you, also. :-)
      If you want to "do it yourself" you need to develop a process.
      No. More like, "If you want to do it yourself, go start your own company."

      Never, ever knock the power and viability of a script that you are forced to read, verbatim. It could be the smartest and most lucrative way of making money that you will even encounter.

      BTW - I cut my teeth being trained by Bill Ziff of Ziff-Davis Publishing to sell his World Aviation Directory by phone to travel agents with a script that he personally wrote. So I was fortunate to learn early what a script could do. This was hard for me to adapt to as I was doing this as a 'survival' job while pursuing a professional acting career in NYC and I have always excelled at knowing instantly what to say and how to say it. Mr. Ziff recognized that talent in me, hired me, told me to put that skill-set aside and just read his script while projecting my personality. I have never been so humbled. The man's script was pure gold and I have used what he taught me, ever since.

      Man, I really miss doing and teaching telemarketing. Getting old, sucks! lol

      Cheers. - Frank
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      • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
        Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

        Well, there seems to be a lot of debate in the sales world about the pros and cons of working from a script, whether or not it should ever be appended to and if so, when?

        >>> No cherry flavor needed. <<<

        Never! Not in my job description. Just read the script we gave you, word for word,

        Never, ever knock the power and viability of a script that you are forced to read, verbatim. It could be the smartest and most lucrative way of making money that you will even encounter.

        Mr. Ziff recognized that talent in me, hired me, told me to put that skill-set aside and just read his script while projecting my personality. I have never been so humbled. The man's script was pure gold and I have used what he taught me, ever since.

        Man, I really miss doing and teaching telemarketing. Getting old, sucks! lol

        Cheers. - Frank
        Hear! Hear!

        Thanks Frank for telling it like it is.

        It is reassuring to read about systems that work and the people that make those systems work.

        My best sales person ever was someone who got indoctrinated from 17 years old and didn't know any better other than to learn and apply what was tested and working.

        Other staff over the years thought they had a "big head" because they would walk around "ringing the bell" when they made another great sale.

        I miss that "receptive" type of person who perhaps at the time of joining my business was at a time of weakness in their life and they totally wanted to learn and succeed.

        Even though you can find people who "SAY" they want to learn..what often happens is the deviation without experience.

        I'm not against individual personality or progress but I am against laziness when it comes to following a tested process.

        Frank....although your your experience is in telemarketing your insights are invaluable for anyone thinking about improving results in other areas.

        Sincerely, thank you.
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          To be fair, not all scripts are equal. I've read part of Frank's old script, and was blown away.

          But in some companies, the owner's son or engineer writes the script. And some offers aren't conducive to a script, like if you sell a dozen services. Maybe an outline would be better.


          But, when I was training new people, to sell in the home...we used a script. Invariably, one of the new people (usually one of the brightest), would say something like "I wouldn't talk like this" or "I'm not going to memorize this".

          And I would be patient, because I probably said the same thing 40 years ago....

          "Let me explain why we have a script.

          There are perhaps 40 features that we have to explain. The script makes sure we cover everything the customer needs to know in order to buy. Also, there is a most efficient and effective order to talk about these features, so we can give the most information, in the shortest time.

          There are short demonstrations in the script, that demonstrate value to the buyer. These demonstrations are proven to help the sale.

          Now, about the phraseology. Every point that needs to be made can be said about a thousand different ways. 990 of these ways are not going to advance the sale. Ten of these ways are going to help paint a picture, and move the sale forward. And there is no way for a new person to know, which is one of the most effective ways, and which is not. So, we provide you with one of the most effective ways to describe a feature, or explain a benefit, or ask a question.

          This script is based on years of seeing what works best. And you are going to benefit from that experience. This script is a summary of the best things to say, and the best order to say them.

          So, I want you to use the script that I know will work for you...until you see that it works, and understand why it works. Then, if you want to say the same thing in a slightly different way, be my guest.

          But, with this script, 80% of the people I talk to, buy. If you go with me on an appointment, you'll see me use this exact script, word for word. You'll see how the customers responds. You'll see sales made. If you want to find a vein of gold, you can stumble around, on your own, until you give up...or you can stick to the map. This script is the map.

          And, if you follow the script, and nobody buys from you...you can blame me. If you do not follow the script, and nobody buys....the fault will be yours."


          Another reason I insist that they follow my script, is that if they wing it, they start to become creative with promises to the buyer. My scripts showed the product clearly, in the best light. But it doesn't take much of a change, before it's misrepresentation.

          I used to go with reps, and see them forget to mention half of the benefits, and they added claims that simply weren't true. Another reason to follow a script.

          Of course, at a certain level, you know the difference between a difference in style...and a mistake. But beginners don't have that awareness.
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  • Profile picture of the author animal44
    The Dunning–Kruger effect is alive and well on this forum.

    OP: I'm not selling anything on this forum. I came here to offer my advice based on nearly 40 years of running my own business. If what is being pushed by the majority on this forum was correct, I would've gone bust back in 1977!

    One of my earliest mentors told me that the crowd is nearly always wrong. I suggest you bear that in mind in whatever you listen to.

    Back in 2012, I spend 26 hours on a flight sitting next to a total stranger. I didn't try to sell. I didn't even want to talk to him. But he wouldn't stop talking. So I humoured him. I've often joked that by the end of the flight he grabbed my leg and wouldn't let me go until I agreed to do some work for him. While that's not quite true, it's not far off.

    If sales is so hard and must be learned, how come I can "sell" without selling and without even wanting to sell...?
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

      If sales is so hard and must be learned, how come I can "sell" without selling and without even wanting to sell...?
      Because once in a blue moon, you just run into someone who wants what you have, without any attempting to sell on your part. And the fact that you were together for 26 hours helped. By the end of a 26 hour flight, he's either going to love you, or hate you.

      I have stories like that too. People demanded to buy from me, when I made no attempt to sell to them. And after the fact, I would think about what happened. And what happened was that the demand was there already. And my "not caring" created a position of authority, which meant that my advice was valued.

      Those "sales" are pure luck. Every salesperson gets them once in a while. But I could never make a living from them.
      I've probably "fallen into" 20-30 sales like that over my lifetime. But I'm made thousands of sales by knowing what I was doing. (I'm talking about going out and getting sales. In retail, we make a sale a day or so, from someone just wanting to buy from us...and one or two from actually selling))

      You can become very successful, without ever learning anything about how to sell. But it's very difficult to be a successful salesperson, without knowing how to sell.

      Are you a salesperson? It's a serious question.
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      • Profile picture of the author animal44
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Because once in a blue moon, you just run into someone who wants what you have, without any attempting to sell on your part. And the fact that you were together for 26 hours helped. By the end of a 26 hour flight, he's either going to love you, or hate you.
        Doesn't explain the five minute meeting at the post office that resulted in a sale. I was grumpy and I didn't want to talk then. I think your first answer (now edited) was better...

        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Those "sales" are pure luck.
        "Luck is where opportunity meets preparation".

        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        You can become very successful, without ever learning anything about how to sell.
        How can you be successful without selling...? If you don't sell something, then you go out of business. If you don't sell well in excess of your basic needs, then you struggle. Can't see how that can ever be described as successful...!
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        Are you a salesperson? It's a serious question.
        I've always called myself the world's worst salesman... until a friend pointed out my close rate.

        I don't consider myself a salesman. I'm a business owner who happens to sell.

        I no longer have a job title, but my past titles have always ended in "consultant".

        Now my business card doesn't have a job title. When you start saying "I'm a [job title]", people put you into a slot based on their past experience. I prefer to keep them guessing

        I'm about a third the way through re-reading your "one call closing" and we seem to agree on so many things. I wonder why we're in so much conflict on this forum...?
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by animal44 View Post

          I'm about a third the way through re-reading your "one call closing" and we seem to agree on so many things. I wonder why we're in so much conflict on this forum...?
          I think because here, we have been talking about sales techniques. And the most advanced, and important parts of selling are positioning, genuinely trying to help the prospect, using clear language, managing expectations......that sort of thing.

          And here, we have been talking about sales reps, and how they are the most effective (especially when new), and in the book, I talk about selling at a higher level.

          And you are an entrepreneur. What I had to learn intellectually, over a long period of time, you have internalized through your experience.

          I was discussing sales technique, and you are using sales principles. In the book, I discuss both.

          It's faster to train a new rep on technique, and the principles may emerge later. That's the thrust of this thread.

          Another way is to learn sales principles, and the techniques tend to emerge naturally. This takes much longer, and is the more advanced way to learn. I strongly suspect, this is how you learned how to sell. Learning principles can be unconscious, although I had to learn them intellectually.

          Sales is also language. And the language that conveys the most meaning, and clearest image......doesn't come naturally to most. For example, I had to learn it all. But for some people, usually with strong social skills, it comes much easier and naturally. Some teachers have that ability, although they would never think of themselves as salespeople.

          Added later; I just read a few of your posts in another thread. In my selling, I tend to use much more marketing than most salespeople. And I suspect your understanding of marketing and advertising is doing all the heavy lifting.

          I think we are really a lot closer than this thread would let on.
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  • Hello newbie_ken

    Some are born with the talent of the seller, but fortunately you can 'become over time and with the right training.
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  • Profile picture of the author mark healy
    Yes it is but it takes time like any other skill. Its all a mindset shift. I would advise you to find someone who is great at selling and do what they do, this will make you much more effective. However you need to use your natural personality when selling to people.
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    • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
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      Originally Posted by mark healy View Post

      Yes it is but it takes time like any other skill. Its all a mindset shift. I would advise you to find someone who is great at selling and do what they do, this will make you much more effective. However you need to use your natural personality when selling to people.
      Apparently you've never met Claude Whitacre. If he used his natural personality when selling, his family would be living in a dumpster behind Taco Bell.

      Cheers. - Frank
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      • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
        Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

        Apparently you've never met Claude Whitacre. If he used his natural personality when selling, his family would be living in a dumpster behind Taco Bell.

        Cheers. - Frank

        You're not far off.

        Sales was a real struggle for me. The first three months I was selling vacuums, I didn't make a single sale. My natural thinking process is like an engineer, not a salesperson.

        Every concept took forever to get. Every technique, I had to analyze. I had to learn how to sell intellectually. None of it came naturally.

        We hear stories of kids that were picked on, as a child, because they were so clumsy, and scrawny....and the grow up to be champions at some sport.

        I was like that with selling. Everything was an uphill climb.

        I still don't enjoy social events. To me, it's all work.
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        • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

          You're not far off.
          Am I ever? :-)
          Sales was a real struggle for me. The first three months I was selling vacuums, I didn't make a single sale. My natural thinking process is like an engineer, not a salesperson.
          I can relate to that in reverse fashion. I have always thought that the only 'natural' ability that I possessed is the ability to sell. I have zero technical skills, barely any artistic ones. Selling has always been something that I do automatically whenever I meet someone. Not trying to sell them a product, but getting them to buy into me. I have no idea what the psychological impetus for that behavior is, but it has served me well. People rarely believe me when I tell them that I started in sales when I was 8 years old selling Cloverine Black Salve, door to door after school and on the weekends. You could probably count the number of people who know what that is on one hand, and have a finger or two left over. lol
          Every concept took forever to get. Every technique, I had to analyze. I had to learn how to sell intellectually. None of it came naturally.
          Well, I truly admire that you stuck with it. I'm sure that if it did not come naturally to me, I would have never found something else in life that I was good at and I'd be in a biker gang, today. This is not easy stuff to learn.
          We hear stories of kids that were picked on, as a child, because they were so clumsy, and scrawny....and the grow up to be champions at some sport.
          Well, I was both of those things as a child. I think I learned to instantly sell myself as someone likeable in an instant to keep from getting my ass kicked. Getting people to laugh always ensures against that, also.
          I was like that with selling. Everything was an uphill climb.
          Well, at least you have managed to reach the summit with what you have had to work with. No small accomplishment.
          I still don't enjoy social events. To me, it's all work.
          My PTSD renders me a total recluse. That's why I got into telemarketing. A perfect avocation for socially challenged individuals. When I'm on the phone, I am at my most impressive. I project an image of power, confidence and authority. If they only knew what was actually on the other end of the line. lol

          Cheers. - Frank
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          • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
            Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

            I started in sales when I was 8 years old selling Cloverine Black Salve, door to door after school and on the weekends. You could probably count the number of people who know what that is on one hand, and have a finger or two left over. lol
            Similar. When I was a kid, I was always selling something. I sold several things door to door, had a paper route, and sold several things through the mail. I had no sales skills, but I also didn't see rejection as anything bad.



            Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

            When I'm on the phone, I am at my most impressive. I project an image of power, confidence and authority. If they only knew what was actually on the other end of the line. lol

            Cheers. - Frank
            And when I sold in people homes, I was more impressive than in real life. For a couple of hours, I can fake interest, be funny, hold their attention. But once I left, I didn't give them another thought. To me, it was always just work.

            It's the same with speaking to groups. The speech itself isn't hard, it's the whole day of engaging with people, and trying to seem interested in them.
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            • Profile picture of the author savidge4
              Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

              But once I left, I didn't give them another thought.
              I did a quick run through early in the day, and this line caught my attention. My personal "translation" if you will... you are in the moment. What happened happened and what's coming up next is the main focus.

              Anyone thatplays golf understands the more you think about the flubbed shot on the last hole the worse your game gets moving forward. you have to let it go, and move forward with a clear head.

              The same for cold calling. the last one said no, you have to start in knowing the one on the line now is going to say yes, until proven otherwise. The moment you look back and go gee I have had 100 no's today, that's terrible. Think of... Claude you ready? The Colonel himself, Colonel Sanders... door after door after door. Seriously.. you want to read about a guy that kept getting the shaft, and picking right up and starting a new... No wonder Claude eats it religiously.. its his GOGO juice!
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    It is interesting that I read people have started young as I also started at 10 years of age and was thrown in the deep end by a pop who was old school and said you need to start learning. Seems like a lifetime ago now, but now in relation to this topic we are currently hiring new sales people and the challenge of passing all of those years of wisdom on ( can you teach sales ) comes full circle.

    That whole topic then becomes interesting in that if people truly want to learn and they have some smarts then yes but often these days most kids do my head in, just the other day the service person in a hardware store was to busy chatting to her mate to even look at me while she shoved my receipt into my hand, and these kids think that's service ? Or you get the people who are just passing through in life kicking time and treating things in a non plus who cares way, so finding that real needle in the haystack the person who wants to become top of the hill, is very hard.

    So on the long on odds that someone reading this now lives in Adelaide and wants to come and take a job in sales working in the home market selling higher end items and to learn from a few old timers shoot me a PM and we can put you into an interview and if successful put this this topic to the test.
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