Brian Tracy’s story inspired me before I started my first business, and will continue to inspire me. After dropping out of school, working at so many menial jobs, travelling round America, and enduring being broke, the sales guru emerged successful. His story is that of going from grass to grace through sales.
Definitely it was not an easy ride, but he came out victorious. He finally got a sales job after his romance with being broke, and fast forward 2 years, he was made Sales Manager. Few years down the line, he became Vice President of the company (technically the man in charge).
Tracy has gone on to found numerous companies. He presently consults for many of the billionaire companies, and speaks to hundreds of thousands of people each year.
He is is undoubtedly a household name in the Sales Industry, and in this article, I’m going to be sharing six sales lessons I learnt from Brian Tracy that has helped to improve my sales career.
“Successful people are simply those with successful habits.” – Brian Tracy.
In the introductory part of his book, Eat that Frog, Brian spoke of how he moved up the corporate ladder in sales by asking people who were ahead of him what they did to get there.
He said to himself, “Why are people doing better than I am?” Then he went on to ask the successful salespersons in the firm. They told him their trade secrets, he applied them, and his sales went up. He kept asking questions until he got to the Vice President position.
Back when I was in the insurance industry, I applied the same strategy and it worked for me. I walked up to the best performing sales manager in my company and started asking him questions. I got close to him and even started following him as he went to close some of his deals. He didn’t mind.
Fast forward to a few weeks later, I started closing my own deals too.
2. Have a Vision
One of my favorite statements whenever I am called to speak on business growth, business success, or personal success is that, “You cannot get to a future you haven’t seen, nor will you arrive at a destination you have not defined”.
Brian Tracy said, “All successful people are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, goal or purpose.”
You have to decide how much you want to earn (how many deals you want to close) by a particular time. In his book Goals, he laid a lot of emphasis on how to visualize the future, set concrete goals and work towards its fulfillment. It’s simple. Get yourself in the future, see yourself already in that place, get your emotions fired up, and then work hard to get there.
3. Do Your Homework Before You Contact the Lead
You do not want to contact your prospect, and start speaking gibberish, or asking irrelevant questions. Do your homework. Do some research and find out all you can about your prospect before going to meet them.This way, it will be easy to get his attention because you can then talk authoritatively about how your product solves his/her problem.
4. Be Dogged
This does not mean you should be cocky and all. It is just saying you should never give up. Never take No as a final answer! It only means what you presented is not good enough at that moment. When you hear NO, interpret it as the prospect’s way of saying, “go back and bring a better proposition.”
In Psychology of Selling, Brian made it clear that rejection doesn’t necessarily mean this sales will never take place. I learned rather, that when a prospective customer tells you no, it doesn’t mean a personal rejection. Instead, you should smile, look him/her in the eye and try to find out why.
Most times, rejections precede sales. So don’t take it personal. Rejections are a normal part of a selling process. Overcoming them, and doing so effortlessly determines to a large extent the level of sales success you will experience.
There is no path with no resistance. If you believe there is, you are believing a lie. As a matter of fact, resistance is a necessary force for motion. How far you can push determines how far you can go.
Remember high school physics? An object remains at rest or in motion until it is acted upon by a force. Be the force. Keep Moving forward!
Being dogged also means that you should not be afraid to ask more questions. But note! They MUST be within the ambits of the prospect’s “problem”. People generally will talk when they have a problem, particularly when they perceive that you have a solution to it.
5. Do Not Be In a Hurry to Close the Deal
Brian Tracy has this to say about the first contact with the prospect, “Focus on information gathering. Unless you are selling something inexpensive that requires little thought, you want to interview the prospect by asking questions. Take notes and tell them you will come back to them”.
Nobody likes being sold. So don’t make it obvious that you have come to make a sale.
One of the worst sales pitches you can make while making a cold call is, “Hello, my name is Toby. I have one of the best Xerox photocopiers in the market. My company produces the best and I want you to buy this. You will see how good it is.”
That kind of pitch will almost never land you a sale. Why? You came over to talk about what you want. Who cares about what you want? Definitely not me, and I’m sure the young man you met in his office who is busy trying to solve a case at work isn’t either.
Meeting your prospect should involve a lot of talking that revolves around you asking questions to determine what they need. Because the easiest way to make a sale is to identify a need, and then find a way to solve it.
This means you will have to ask a lot of questions. Find out the challenges your prospect may be facing. Then, proffer a solution using what you are selling.
For instance, just like in the example above, I should have just opened a normal conversation with the prospect. And the next thing would be to find out if he/she uses photocopiers at work. If they do, then it’s time to talk about how the toner works or how regularly the paper jams. If the prospect uses photocopiers in the first place I would have captured his attention and he will be willing to share his own challenges. Then I could throw in one or two stories myself and get the conversation flowing.
At this point, it will be easy for me to recommend my company’s machine as a solution.
This way, the prospect doesn’t see me as a sales man, but as a consultant.
So do not be in a hurry to land the deal, you will make the prospect tensed. Keep him/her relaxed, and ride him/her to your destination (sales) without hassles.
6. Work On Yourself
You are the sole proprietor of your sales career. You are more or less the ONLY permanent staff in your career. You need to be in the best state of mind, body, and spirit; to ensure your peace and balance.
You cannot achieve much when you are battered, or somewhat disturbed inside. Like you know, Brian Tracy is a self help guru too, with dozens of books to his credit.
First thing you should work on is your health. Optimum health is very cheap to get; Diet, Exercise, and Rest does the magic. Rest well everyday, exercise everyday, cut off junk and do not eat late at night.
Another thing to work on is motivation. Always speak positive to yourself, read it out loud from a book, let it be ingested by your whole system.
Also, you need to work on your mentality. People will buy when they see the need to. Your job then is to make them see the need. Do not think a sales/marketing job means you are like a corporate beggar. No! We all sell one thing or the other as we go about our daily lives.
Another thing to work on is managing resources, time inclusive. Do not allow time pass by, use it productively!
And of course, your disposition matters a lot too. You can’t be looking like a battered and beat-up failure and expect to succeed at anything, including making sales. Success is magnetic. So when you look successful, people tend to get attracted to you.
This means you should walk tall, raise your shoulders, smile confidently, look people in the eye as you speak, give firm handshakes and wear clothes that fit you. This helps you present a good image to your prospective clients. When they look at you, they size you up, and so many times they would have decided if they want to do business with you or not even before you make your presentation.
We use negotiation and persuasion skills in how everyday communications. If landing sales were not possible, then there will be no salesperson on earth.
I’ll end with this quote; it sums up all the lessons so far:
“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’” – Brian Tracy