Street smart sales pros are the people who make things happen. They are the achievers and winners in the world of sales. They make the big bucks; they are successful! Street smart sales pros are confident, cocky, and tough. Nobody is going to take business away from their turf, nobody! Their biggest decision for the year is what color Mercedes they are going to get. Street smart sales pros are heads and shoulders above other salespeople.
Who are these other salespeople? Do these underachievers all sell, look, and talk the same way? Is the world of sales comprised only of super- and underachievers? No, that would be far too simplistic. As a sales trainer for the better part of twenty years, I have found that salespeople fall into four distinct categories. I will give you a description of each. I challenge you to put your ego in your back pocket and give some thought to the kind of salesperson you are, and, more important, to the kind of salesperson you want to be. It isn’t always easy, but it's street smart.
In addition, I will tell you about the first street smart sales pro I ever met. It was the most exciting and important day of my life. This allowed me to understand that I had the chance to become part of the greatest business in the world of sales. Once you gain the savvy, your opportunities are unlimited.
This book is based on my experiences as an extremely successful money-making street smart sales pro. Let me do for you what that first street smart sales pro did for me thirty-five years ago, make you successful. If you want to earn big commission checks, read this book.
The essence of street smart sales pros is that they hustle and use every skill that they can develop in order to close the sale. If we as sales pros do not write the order during the opportunity that we have with our prospect, you can bet that somebody else will surely follow and take what once was almost ours.
The Four Types Of Salespeople
As a sales trainer as well as a consumer, I have been around literally thousands of salespeople and, as a result, have found that they fall into four different classifications.
First, there are the sales pros that I call the order fakers. These types of sellers will be able to sell only one out of ten prospects that they talk to. They wear shiny polyester clothing that enables you to see your own reflection as you reject their pleas to purchase. Their product knowledge is poor, their follow-up is nonexistent, and they find the need to talk incessantly about things in which you have absolutely no interest. After being subjected to them for ten or fifteen minutes, you find yourself contemplating a crime that could put you in jail for a very long time! By the way, you can spot these order fakers driving home in Dodge Darts with depressed expressions on their faces. Woody Allen once said, "80 percent of success is showing up." In a sense, even when these order fakers show up, they aren't really there.
I call the second category of sales pros order takers. Out of ten potential prospects, they will be able to convert two into actual sales. These people still gravitate to wearing polyester, but at least it’s ironed. Scientifically, I don't believe there is a reason for their feet to appear abnormally large. They wear thin-ribbed socks that barely reach their ankles. A dirty brown tint shows on shoes, a result of their never having been polished--a nice touch if they were in construction.
The order takers have reasonably good product knowledge, and as a result should be able to bore you to death with meaningless facts within a fairly short period of time. As in the case of the order fakers, the order takers have to rely on customers who want their product so badly that they overlook their poor sales skills.
The order fakers as well as the order takers rely heavily on sell low prices in order to close their sales.
Order takers drive Chevys and Fords, and seem to prefer colors such as putrid green and washed out yellow!
Order makers compose my third classification of sellers. These people sell three out of ten clients. They are reasonably polished and have good product knowledge. They fall short of being charismatic, but to their credit they are not too offensive. They rely heavily on the "once-in-a-lifetime" close. This means that if you as a customer decide not to purchase at that very moment, you will never again be able to take advantage of that "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity that they are proposing.
Their appearance is neat, colors of their clothes generally do not clash, and for the most part they look fairly professional. When they are feeling good about themselves, they have a tendency to wear every piece of jewelry that they own. Some develop "aurous syndrome," which is curvature of the neck caused by the excessive weight of their gold chains. They try to engage clients in conversation in order to discover customer needs; unfortunately, their approach is about as subtle as that of Vince Vaughn in any of his movie roles.
A showy red Chrysler 300 appears to be their preference in cars; probably because it looks like a Bentley—a car they know they will never be able to afford. They order all sorts of extra gizmos that not only inform them of who is in the car next to them, but, in addition, the number of times their kids are going to ask, "Are we there yet?" The car seats are covered in velour. Order makers rationalize that velour is superior to leather since it does not get hot in the summer. Deep down they know this is sour grapes, especially when they have the arduous task of cleaning up after one of their kids becomes car sick!
Order shakers round out our last category of salespeople. These shakers are the cream of the crop; they are street smart sales pros. They use their savvy to make big bucks. The street smart shakers are selfish; they do not like to share their customers with anybody. They want it all, and, for the most part, get it. Fakers, takers, and makers, like vultures scavenging through a carcass devoured by a hungry lion, pick up only bits and pieces of business left behind by the street smart sales pros. They buy the cars they set their sights on, and like the dream cars they drive, these shakers are sleek, silky smooth, fast on their feet; and they understand that people buy for their own reasons, not the seller’s; thus, they are able to maximize every sales situation that they encounter. Most superstar sales pros fall into this classification. I say most because there are situations in which a faker, taker, or maker happens to be in the right place at the right time, enabling him to get that one contract that affords him success far beyond his abilities. It’s like knowing that eventually someone will win the lottery. The thing is, it most likely will not be you--so hoping for lightning to strike is not a substitute for preparation.
The shakers can be extremely charming, and are able to present themselves in a fascinating and electrifying manner. They are not afraid to be different or outrageous. They are constantly searching for new ways to improve themselves. They do not fear competition; they welcome it. They do not sell prices; they sell themselves. They are confident that they will survive and achieve greatness; they are street smart!
There is no question that I used a stretch of the imagination to embellish the negative characteristics of the faker, taker, and maker. What I did not exaggerate is the startling fact that most sellers engaged in selling cannot sell. Neither did I exaggerate that the street smart sales pros are the achievers of the world.
Who Are You?
I ask you at this point: what kind of salesperson do you want to be? Only you can answer this question. Fakers, takers, and makers have sold only one person well--themselves! They have sold themselves on the fact that they have done their very best to be where they are. Some might say that they could have done better if they had just gotten a few breaks; but they didn't, and this is the way it has to be. Shakers, who are street smart sales pros, also sold themselves well--the difference being that they sold themselves on the fact that success is within their reach and that they control their own destiny. They know that being rich is definitely a whole lot better than being poor.
Years ago, I decided not to settle for mediocrity. Settling is for losers, and I wanted no part of that. I was determined to be a winner. Let me tell you a little about myself and how I was persuaded never to accept second place.
Before I started my career in selling, a friend convinced me to attend a recruiting seminar for a company called United States Properties. They were looking for salespeople, and as part of their program they retained the services of Larry Wilson, future author of One Minute Salesperson, to speak on the advantages of entering the profession of sales. At the time, I was an elementary school teacher, clinging to the security of the position with rather low aspirations for myself. As Wilson strutted across the stage, I was immediately impressed with the confidence that emanated from him. Within seconds, he had all the people in the audience listening to his words as if he were a prophet—and in my case he was, for at that moment I was about to become a convert. I wanted more, and Larry Wilson convinced me that I could achieve it through the sales profession. I became a believer!
What impressed me most about Wilson's speech that day was his description of a salesman. Before I heard him speak, I thought all salesmen were like Willy Loman, the title character of Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman—some poor soul carrying a large beat-up sample case, desperately trying to convince someone to purchase his wares in order to make ends meet for the week. This was far from an accurate description, according to Larry Wilson. For Wilson, a professional salesperson was an individual who had the opportunity to earn literally as much as he wanted. In addition, if he acquired the skills needed to become a professional salesperson, he would not only gain riches, but also have more security in his job than in any other occupation, since, as he put it, companies could not exist unless they employed salespeople who were able to sell their products or services. Though I had never thought of selling in that vein, I knew it had to be true. Logically, no matter how well a company manufactured a product or performed a service, if that company could not get the word out and get someone to say, "Yes, I would like one," the company could not survive.
Three hours or so later, I was determined to give up my teaching position and enter the sales training program offered by United States Properties. After filling out the application, I practically ran home to tell my wife, Sally, about my good fortune. The moment I arrived and began informing my wife about my career decision, my selling profession began. You see, my wife had not heard Larry Wilson speak. She did not believe I would have more security working as a commission salesman than an elementary school teacher, even though I was then making only enough to pay our essential bills. To make matters worse, just as I was about to convince my wife of the merits of my new venture, my parents dropped by our apartment. Upon hearing about my new career, my mother spoke to me as if I were about to commit the most heinous of acts, killing the two of them. My mother cried that if her college-educated son left teaching, he would surely be murdering his father and her. My father took a more rational approach. He hoped that I had temporary insanity, and was sure I would regain my senses in the morning, especially after I realized how much money and sacrifice it had taken them to send me to college. I knew at that moment that if I were able to overcome the objections of the three of them, I had the makings to be the world's greatest salesman.
To be perfectly honest, I was able to convince only my wife that this was the right thing for me to do. My parents would not listen to anything I said, and again threatened to put their heads in the oven if I indeed left teaching. In addition, they informed me that if they survived the oven and I came to them for any sort of financial support, it would not be available. With all this encouragement, I resigned from my teaching position that very week.
Looking back, it was the best decision I ever made. I became a salesman for United States Properties, rising from an entry-level position to that of vice president of marketing for their Eastern Marine Division in four years. My life was never the same. Within two years, I became their top in-home sales rep, earning enough money to buy a magnificent home on the north shore of Long Island, thirty miles outside of New York City. Three year later I made their prestigious "Million Dollar Club" and, as a result, the company held a dinner in my honor for 300-plus guests. I got to invite my mom and dad as well—to prove to them that the money wasn’t coming from my secret career as a bank robber.
I left United States Properties three years later in order to start my own real estate development company. Six highly successful years later I sold my interests so that I could concentrate on my first love, teaching. Not teaching elementary school, but teaching salespeople who wanted to become successful in the greatest of all professions, sales. And for fifteen years, that’s exactly what I did. I instructed salespeople on how to take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that are out there in sales. I have accomplished this by developing my own sales consulting firm. Over the years, I worked with all types of industries, big and small, corporations or independently owned. What they have in common is a need to maximize their sales opportunities, and that is exactly what my programs and seminars provided—a way to turn their average salespeople into street smart sales pros.
What this boils down to is that these street smart sales pros have taken the principles of sales to a level much higher than most people engaged in selling are aware of. I have studied these principles for decades and, more important, have put them into practical use, enabling me to close many an important deal.
This book is specifically designed to give you both the understanding and the skills it takes to become street smart. I've divided this book into two parts: first, elements of the street smart sales pro, such as motivation, discipline, and creativity; and second, the meat-and-potato sales tactics used by street smart sales pros.
Whether you come from the Back Bay of Boston, the foothills of Tennessee, or the desert towns of New Mexico is not important. All I know is that businesses are always looking for sales reps who stand out—salespeople who can help them grow and prosper, and who in turn can reap the rewards of their companies’ prosperity. Knowledge is power, and I have put the knowledge I have accumulated over many years in this book to help you become a street smart sales pro. A winner! All you have to do is read—practice what you read—and then go for it! You’ll find it's definitely worth the effort.