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What contributed to you becoming a great salesperson?

I've been lurking for a while, even made a few posts. There are a ton of incredible salespeople here and I would like to know, what contributed to them becoming so great? What books/resources were the most helpful? This year I plan to become the best in my dealership. I plan to outsell everyone here. So, I'm looking to load up my brain with as much information as possible. - by wesbound
I've been lurking for a while, even made a few posts. There are a ton of incredible salespeople here and I would like to know, what contributed to them becoming so great? What books/resources were the most helpful? This year I plan to become the best in my dealership. I plan to outsell everyone here. So, I'm looking to load up my brain with as much information as possible.
What has made others great in selling might not make you great and vice versa. We all work with what we have. That said, I'll share briefly.
First, I had a VERY early age exposure to selling from my father. That gave me a head start.

Second--luck of the draw. Actually I was blessed with people who came into my life who were phenomenal mentors, believed in me, and helped me. I am forever thankful to them and I have tried to give back by helping others.

Third, although everybody has their own gifts mentalyl, mine were very adaptive to sales. My mind is such as I rarely stray contextually. My focus is usually spot on. I also can grasp concepts faster than the norm, particularly in the areas of strategy and human behavour.

Although I educated myself with most of the available sales "education", I also learned more from non-sales sources. Jungian psychology, Sun Tzu, Marcus Aurelius...even Dashiell Hammett. Favorite sales authors: Frank Bettger, David Cowper...others. - by Ace Coldiron
First, I had a VERY early age exposure to selling from my father. That gave me a head start.
Like Ace, I had a sales dad. Mine was a trainer and I still talk sales with him everyday.

It is my understanding through talking with Jeff Blackwell, the owner of this forum, that he too had a "sales dad" ... !

In my case, I have done what nearly no one else has done and I have talked about it in this forum. In three separate decades, I researched all the top sales schools, looking for any sales secret I could find. Since I have spoken of this before several times I will not bore any reader by repeating a well known story.

Here is how I would sum up what I would call the second reason for my success in mastering sales;

A willingness to do what others will not do.

A road least traveled.

If you study the greats, such as Peter Burke on Prospecting (the book is coming out, this training has only ever been done live in 40 years!), J. Douglas Edwards on Closing (now only available from Tom Hopkins' company; Back to the future in sales), Huthwaite's research (lot's of this is online at their site) and others, then APPLY what you learn right away and consistently, you will begin the process of sales mastery.

In 30 years, of all the sales people I have worked with, only two have gone all the way. They were the only people who were willing to pay the price to become masters!

If you are willing to do what others will not do, your results will eventually increase to a point where you simply cannot believe it ... you will be nothing like you once were.

Give you an example;

In this very forum in another thread, while discussing conversion rates of cold calls to actual appointments, one of the other posters stated that a major worldwide sales training company teaches that one in 10 "phone pitches" turns into an appointment ... well ... can I say this;

If only one in ten of my suspected prospects went ahead with an appointment (becoming qualified prospects) from my phone prospecting, I would have quit sales 25 years ago!

I have worked sharp angling approaches to seven conversions in a row. I once booed 11 appointment in one day (and I do not call on middle managment - top down only!)!

Now, clearly, no one in the world can maintain such results for extended periods but, if it were possible to learn how to convert one in four, would you think twice about whether telephone prospecting was really worth doing?

Today, this very morning, I was at a market buying veggies and eggs with a man who converts between one in two and one in three (cold calls to appointments) ... and he calls COLD at the very highest level there is in sales (medium to super large businesses - C-Level to EVP/SVP only).

How did he become so good? Guts, effort, blood sweat and tears ... yes ... but also by listening to the greats until he could literally do their sales training word for word - how many both research training and apply it immediately (let alone learn to do it) and diligently - consistently?

The examples given here do not intend to suggest that phone prospecting is the one and only skill you need to master sales, nor that leaning to do sales training for rote is the key to mastery. They are just examples. Just what came to mind because of what I am reviewing right now.

This last example might blow you away;

I have been on the cover of a North America newsstand magazine, featured inside another, earned over a million a year (not once but twice), written a tremendous number of sales training articles, blogs, forum posts and conducted hundreds of sales training sessions live and yet, this very day, I reviewed two articles on sales.

Why?

I could have written both of them. Why did I read two articles on aspects of sales that I could easily have written … trust me, the answer is not “I like wasting my time!”

I do more research on selling than almost anyone alive because I believe that it keeps me sharp. Because being sharp allows me to perform at a higher level. And, ultimately my family benefits from this unprecedented effort.

If you spent 5 hours a week reviewing sales training (in the evening) and applied it immediately, imagine where you would be three months from now on the learning curve? You would have learned from other's mastery and more importantly from application – from yourself. You literally become a different person as a result.

There is only one danger in my suggestion. Today, more than ever, the sales information that is out there (because of the Internet) … well, a great deal of it is misinformation.

Consider the source and Good luck. - by Gold Calling
Great answers...

The learning and study must be endless and perpetual--such a good point.

Here are 3 milestones in MY learning, that propelled me to a much higher level, when I discovered them.

1. When I made the switch from setting SALES GOALS to setting SALES ACTIVITY GOALS, the stress went down and the sales went up. What I mean by this is, instead of saying I want to make X sales this month, I gave myself new requirements: I must make X calls and set X appointments, this week--with no self judgments on how many sales I made. This is especially important early on, when your presentation skills are still developing. Sales activity brings sales--not setting arbitrary numbers that put unrealistic closing pressure on you.

2. When I fully understoond and honored the fact that selling is a PROCESS, I became better at each individual step in the process and realized that closing is less about "closing skills" and more of a natural "next step" when the sales process was executed properly. For example, when making calls, the goal is not to make a sale, but to set an appointment. If I got the appointment, I succeeded in that step, and didn't worry about anything else. Even if the appointment was very weak. Sales come from sitting across from people and the step of making calls is about creating opportunities to sit.

3. When I began to live the philosophy: "Serve first and the compensation will take care of itself," sales and client relationships moved to the next level--as well as referrals.

As Ace said, I don't know if these will be important to you, but for me, these were 3 things that moved me forward exponentially. When I first started, I thought "closing" was the defining moment in sales, but I've learned that closing is the easiest part. ALL the work to get you to that point is what makes you successful...and that's why so many don't make it. That is the work that molds a great salesperson.

Good luck to you. - by Rainmaker
In some respects, I feel into the role: The Branch Manager at 3M (in Ottawa), "saw something" in me and invited me out for dinner and drinks. The next day he promoted me into sales. Thank God my father had a suit ... because I certainly didn't own one at the time!

Everthing from that point in time came from diligent effort:
1. throughout I was an avid listener with strong business skills (two key tools for long term success in sales); and,
2. I worked for companies with superb product/service (never the lowest price); and,
3. these companies ALL believed that "sales leads"; and,
4. I took EVERY training course the company offered and implemented the methodology instantly; and,
5. I resisted reading sales training books (seeking only to sell their books, too many are written in a vacuum with little meaningful content);

This is by no means a "formula for success" but there is logic for the B2B arena. Wesbound, I see from your profile that you're in the automotive sector in the US: VERY trying times indeed.

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat - by OUTSource Sales
In some respects, I feel into the role: The Branch Manager at 3M (in Ottawa), "saw something" in me and invited me out for dinner and drinks. The next day he promoted me into sales. Thank God my father had a suit ... because I certainly didn't own one at the time!

Everthing from that point in time came from diligent effort:
1. throughout I was an avid listener with strong business skills (two key tools for long term success in sales); and,
2. I worked for companies with superb product/service (never the lowest price); and,
3. these companies ALL believed that "sales leads"; and,
4. I took EVERY training course the company offered and implemented the methodology instantly; and,
5. I resisted reading sales training books (seeking only to sell their books, too many are written in a vacuum with little meaningful content);

This is by no means a "formula for success" but there is logic for the B2B arena. Wesbound, I see from your profile that you're in the automotive sector in the US: VERY trying times indeed.

Good luck & Good selling!
Pat
Maybe I'm naive, or a cocky S.O.B., but I don't even worry about that. I just believe that I'm going to be the best, everything I'm doing is leading to me being the best, and that will make me money over the other guys. - by wesbound
I just believe that I'm going to be the best ...

I think that you would find that this comment would apply equally to a very high percentage of A Type personality sales people globally. So, if we all have this 'high-er self esteem', why do some still do better than others? - by Gold Calling
I think that you would find that this comment would apply equally to a very high percentage of A Type personality sales people globally. So, if we all have this 'high-er self esteem', why do some still do better than others?
I think I know the answer. The "some" that do better do more than believe. They SUSPEND their disbelief.

And, Gold Calling...you know it. - by Ace Coldiron
Having two ears and one mouth and using them in that order. - by ged1mcguirk
Don't consider myself "great," but do feel strongly that the one thing that can make you unstoppable is genuinely believing in the product/service you sell. You can be a company man and know the product inside and out. You can counter every close, but if you can't genuinely share an excitement, a passion for what you sell, there will be prospects out there that will pick up your insincerity immediately.

For me, the catalyst was finding something in which I am deeply passionate about selling. Since then, I am always "on" and it's not work at all. I engage my audience as peers and have seen everything grow in the process. Do I make eleventy-billion dollars a year? Not yet, but I'm happy with what I do every day. - by D.M055
At first being an expert/guru in the subject area and solution I was selling, so it was easy. After that, a new company and solution life took a turn so I had to really learn how to sell. I will admit, it took time, but education, experience, training all helped. NLP helps, so does coaching, various sales methodology training helps, but I can't say that about sales directors that managed me.

If I summed it all up, become an expert in what you sell, know everthing about the solution and the market sector you work in. Become an expert at sales methodologies, and buying methods of your clients. Advance your personality in it's ability to be social, adaptable and determination to succeed.

Having a great product at the right time with the right target market and a little luck also goes down well. - by goddarj2
Practice, Practice, Practice.

Favorite authors include:
Robert Bly
Jo Ellen Dimitrus
Miller-Heiman
Stanley Leo Fidel
Rackman
Hopkins


just to name a very few.

Finest regards,

Ron - by accelerated-sales
What books/resources were the most helpful?
01. The Speed of Trust by Stephen R. Covey
02. Silver Bullet Selling by G. A. Bartick
03. Sales Scripts That Close Every Deal by Gerhard Gschwandtner
04. Customer centered selling by Robert J. Jolles
05. Selling to VITO by Anthony Parinello
06. Let's get real or let's not play by Mahan Khalsa
07. The SPIN selling fieldbook by Neil Rackham
08. You can't teach a kid to ride a bike... by David H. Sandler
09. Bare Knuckle Selling by Simon Hazeldine
10. Meerkat Selling by Nick Drake-Knight
11. Unlimited Selling Power by Donald Moine

These are IMO the most important books in the English language, roughly in order of importance.

Good luck. - by Alexander
I believe in myself but I do not believe that I am a great sales person. I think I'm "pretty good" and I keep working daily to get better and better. My best attribute is that I am totally honest....I would never lie to someone just to get their business. I have goals and motivation and keep reading motivational books so that I can become more and more successful. - by sidneann
I think just taking the time to make yourself look good is very important. I'm not talking about becoming a metro-sexual or something, but at least look decent. If you don't feel confident or comfortable you are just shooting yourself in the foot.

You can pull off the jeans and button up shirt if you feel like that is you, but you can never pull off looking disheveled or un-kept when dealing in face to face sales.

I always look presentable when I go out and I always try to act like myself. And always check your teeth before you meet a client!!

Simple advice, but effective. - by Thufir
I think just taking the time to make yourself look good is very important. I'm not talking about becoming a metro-sexual or something, but at least look decent. If you don't feel confident or comfortable you are just shooting yourself in the foot.

You can pull off the jeans and button up shirt if you feel like that is you, but you can never pull off looking disheveled or un-kept when dealing in face to face sales.

I always look presentable when I go out and I always try to act like myself. And always check your teeth before you meet a client!!

Simple advice, but effective.
Back to basics and all good advice. - by Ace Coldiron
Very simple - notwithstanding genes, natual talent and up bringing, the two most important things to my success continues to be:

1. motivation to become the best I can and continually out do myself for the joy of it

2. being a serious serious serious meaning dedicated and joyfull student - dozens and dozens of mentors have contrubuted to my growth in skills and confidence.

MitchM - by MitchM
My turnaround came when I finally realized and believed that this is not personal. We all tell ourselves the client not making a decision is not personal. I also felt the reason they did not buy was me. However we also keep hearing from people in management we need to work harder to be successful.

When I started to believe that my realization of this not being personal allowed me to use that as strength to reach out and try different approaches.

I stopped feeling sorry for me that I was dealing with cheap people who could not make a decision.Instead I started asking myself what could I do better.How can I turn this person and convince them to own from me.

What came next when it no longer involved a personal defeat was the knowledge that objections were not a no but in fact a request for more information to base another decision. I now became unstopable. I now close over 98% of my contacts up from 75% for many many years.

I found out we all work hard. This does not mean success. J Paul Getty was once asked how he did it. He replied. work hard ,get up early and inherit an oil company. Work smarter.

Listen to all sales gurus.Even the horrible ones throw out a good idea or two. The worst that can happen you increase your listening skills. Read read read and then read more.Make this yourn hobby and your life. - by rich34232
Having two ears and one mouth and using them in that order.
thmbp2;

'Speak less, say more'..........

Something we sales people could use on this forum stcktng; - by PiJiL
thmbp2;

'Speak less, say more'..........

Something we sales people could use on this forum stcktng;
Hi PiJil,

SalesPractice has been improving, largely due to the intention and hard work that the creator of the site has put into it.

Many members here are coming forward and sharing where they have been, and where they want to go. Many members are also digging down and expressing what they really believe instead of what they think might gain them some type of approval.

A thread like this certainly encourages those things.

Your "deposit" of a flippant remark about members of the forum on THIS thread above all is uncalled for and counterproductive to the worthwhile intent of the site. - by Ace Coldiron
Many members here are coming forward and sharing where they have been, and where they want to go. Many members are also digging down and expressing what they really believe instead of what they think might gain them some type of approval.
Its the best part of reading each post. Something that most forum users dont do msnwnk;

Your "deposit" of a flippant remark about members of the forum on THIS thread above all is uncalled for and counterproductive to the worthwhile intent of the site.
Only if you talk too much, and say little thmbp2; - by PiJiL
Thank you to everyone who has shared -- having a "sales dad." Something I never thought about before.


What has contributed to my becoming excellent in selling is talking with top top salespeople. Today I spoke with a prospering executive recruiter -- yes, in this economy he's doing great. He was trained by Xerox. He told me how he turns an "opportunity" into a "need" and how to tell the difference. Most salespeople jump at an opportunity and do not discover the need before they start selling. So I am all ears when it comes to learning from people who are truly the best! (And they love to share their expertise!) - by Connie Kadansky
I've been lurking for a while, even made a few posts. There are a ton of incredible salespeople here and I would like to know, what contributed to them becoming so great? What books/resources were the most helpful? This year I plan to become the best in my dealership. I plan to outsell everyone here. So, I'm looking to load up my brain with as much information as possible.
I can contribute my success to these four rules;

1. always be honest even if it I loose the sale.
2. always be myself because people know when I'm not.
3. always do what is best for the client even if it hurts me.
4. always work hard and set high goals for myself.

MP - by MPrince
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