$0.00 For a Course In Killer Sales
Here’s all any manager of salesman needs to know: If you want your soldiers to win the beach assault, burn the boats.
I was nineteen. I had exhausted all my resources. I had NOTHING but my wits and a body that was near the breaking point. A man came up to me and told me he knew me but I had never seen him before — this was Southern California and I’m a Canadian. He possibly had dementia. I said to him, “Yeah, I remember you now — do you have that quarter you owe me?” I didn’t want to try for more. Sure enough, he coughed up a quarter that bought me some tootsie rolls and some time without hunger pains to get a ride out of town.
I don’t recommend hitch-hiking to anyone. It’s dangerous, difficult. In Canada, there is a highway known as The Highway of Tears because so many young indigenous women go missing. The saddest part of that story is that if you go past reserves you often see young girls hitch-hiking. What I want to say is that hitch-hiking when my life depended on it taught me so much about sales.
So there I was, in Hemet, California. I had to get from there to my home plate in British Columbia where I was going to flight school and had some connections and friends. Hitch-hiking was my only option.
I did get out of Hemet. I got a ride up the road to a truck stop. There I was to live for the next five days, unable to sleep, unaware that I could convince truckers who didn’t need their shower tickets they got with gas to clean myself up.
Five days without rest or proper food can really wear a person down. I remember being so tired if I sat down and closed my eyes for a second I would go right into dreaming. I really wanted to get home to a safe place and a cosy bed. I wanted it desperately. With the way things were going, my life probably did depend on me getting North.
What I had to do was to sell myself. I had to go into the trucker’s lounge and restaurant areas and try and find any indication that they might be headed North. A hat that said Washington on it or a Canadian t-shirt. Then, when I saw an opening, I would try and strike up a conversation and tell them jokes — you had to be entertaining to these people or you would never get a ride. I think I averaged approaching 100 people for each ride I got.
I won’t bore you with the details. If you really want to hear the story, head on over to Amazon and read my book, “Through the Withering Storm” about my teenage battle with mental illness. If you want to learn about sales, read on.
The first thing you need to learn about sales is that you have to negotiate. If you can add $10 to the price of something, which is easy and takes seconds, think of how effective those seconds were. I buy stuff from private sellers all the time and all the negotiating I have to do is say, “Is this your best price?” or “Is this price firm?” while looking like I would be eager to buy if only the price went in half. Serious. We all pay too much for everything, we all are missing out on raises we could have gotten and so much more.
If you want to learn negotiating, I may be a student of it, but the best teacher out there has to be Roger Dawson. Check him out on Youtube, or in your local library. Heck, buy his book or audiobook, you will thank yourself and you can likely write it off.
After you learn negotiating what you need to understand is that it is all a numbers game. 80% of sales are accomplished by 20% of the sales force out there. Interestingly enough, 80% of sales are made after the customer’s fifth objection. Get to know your product. Believe in your product. If you don’t, find a product you believe in. And remember, if you want to succeed, you are going to come across as a little pushy to some. Who cares? The rewards of success are many.
For a while I sold burglar alarms. I did well with it, but it wasn’t me. Out of sheer necessity, because I have written a lot of books and they are self-published, I now sell my books at craft fairs and conferences and other events. I sell my own product and I know that what I have to offer can change a person’s life. Remember you are selling yourself too, especially if you are a freelancer. Think what 50% more discounts on things you buy added to 50% more sales of your work will do to change your life. Watch a Rocky movie or two, never give up and stay tuned.