- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
I got started in selling real estate right out of high school. I probably would have been successful more quickly if I had gone to college, but at that time I was eager to get started and make money. I took $900 in graduation gift money and bought my first home. I was just 18. I'd rent out rooms to friends for $30 or $40 a week. If they didn't have the cash to pay me, I'd have them use their Penney's charge card to buy me a TV set. I remember I had a waterbed upstairs, and it was so heavy that the house sagged to one side.
Getting started was the toughest part of my career, no question. I was fired from two sales jobs because the managers said I had no future in sales. I had one of my first homes foreclosed because I got overextended on all my payments. I was working virtually around the clock, not always productively. I know now that I could have worked more efficiently and reached my level of success even sooner. In this chapter I'd like to give a few tips so you can learn from some of my mistakes.
First, if you're a novice salesperson, it may help to realize certain things. Understand that this is the toughest part of your career. You have no past clients to turn to, no referrals from satisfied customers. You feel all alone, and you probably doubt your ability and your future. A lot of talented people get out of sales at this point. Their careers are over before they really begin.
That's a shame. There are ways to get beyond this break-in period. I was a green kid myself once, handing out my business cards to strangers and not really knowing why, but I went on to heights of successI probably couldn't even dream about them. You can, too.
So, first, I always advise novices to tell everyone they know about their job--everybody from grandparents to old friends from high school. Develop a list and mail out something, then give them a quick call. Maybe you're a travel agent or you're selling cars or computers or home furnishings or stocks and bonds--things that everyone needs and everyone buys sooner or later. Family and friends become the first customers for many such salespeople and you build up from there.
But even if you're selling jet airplanes or complex software, let everyone know what you do. just because you're selling something your friends and family know nothing about or have no direct connection to, doesn't mean they don't know people you want to be linked to.
Also, stay away from negative people. They have no value in your life. With customers you should always be positive. If someone asks how your business is going, say it is unbelievable. You could be just steps away from bankruptcy, but you have to present a positive outlook. This anti-negative attitude extends to your competition. Never badmouth your rivals. Mudslinging will never help you win your customer. It will probably only backfire.
Get as much training as you can early on. As I said, I did it the other way, postponing my formal training for years while I beat my head against the wall. Now I firmly believe that you can learn from others. There are experts out there willing to help you learn. Take advantage of them. It'll be time and money well spent.
Most of all, remember that if you work hard, things will get better. My friend John Vigi is one of the nation's top stockbrokers. He handles all my accounts and has made me lots of money. But when he started out about 15 years ago, he had no clients and no commissions. John remembers cold-calling as many as 300 people in a row without a single sale. It was discouraging!
It reminds me of when I got my first real estate job. There were these two brothers, Noel and Tony Fox. They owned Fox Brothers Real Estate next to my dad's construction office. The Boss built houses, and they would sell them for him. I remember they were sharp dressers; they always had nice cars and nice suits, and they were mentors and got me started in real estate. They taught me something pretty valuable, which was going door to door to meet people. And that's a hard thing to do. Even before I went door to door, they took me to a grocery store, and they said, "You go in there and meet everybody, give everyone your card, and when you're done giving everyone your card, come back to the office and we'll get started on the next project." Well, I went there in the morning, but new people keep coming in all day long, so basically I never got done. When I got to the office later that night, I said how am I supposed to get done meeting everyone when new people keep coming in? And they said, "Well, that's the idea. You have to meet everybody. Everyone has to know what you do so you can help them." It was great advice, even if I didn't see the wisdom of it at the time.
It's important to remember that all this hard work pays off John Vigi probably hasn't made cold calls in a long time. He doesn't have to. His portfolio of clients keeps him busy enough to be among Merrill Lynch's top 10 or 15 percent of brokers nationwide. For me it's the same. I don't have to work nearly as hard at selling as I once did. I've established my customer base and hired good assistants, and this frees me not to work so many long hours.52 Weeks of Sales Success. Copyright © by Ralph Roberts. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
|Week 1||Getting Started||1|
|Week 2||Your Yearly Review||5|
|Week 3||Take Care of Your Customers||8|
|Week 4||Learn from Your Mistakes||11|
|Week 5||From Bartender to Marketer||15|
|Week 6||Disabilities Can't Stop You||19|
|Week 7||Know Your Product||24|
|Week 8||The Art of Self-Promotion||27|
|Week 9||More Thoughts on the Art of Self-Promotion||33|
|Week 10||Seeing Business Where It Isn't||37|
|Week 11||Problem Solving with Your Staff||41|
|Week 12||Train Your Assistants Properly||45|
|Week 13||Meet "Little Ralph"||50|
|Week 14||Six Ways to Write Better Notes to Your Customers||53|
|Week 15||The Importance of Mentors||57|
|Week 16||Work Your Priorities||61|
|Week 17||Keeping Your Past Customers||65|
|Week 18||Do I Use a Soft Sell or a Hard Sell?||69|
|Week 19||My Top 10 Tips for Better Networking||74|
|Week 20||Use Those Idle Moments||78|
|Week 21||Marketing a Home-Based Business||81|
|Week 22||My Five Strategies for Getting the Most out of Technology||85|
|Week 23||Using the Internet||89|
|Week 24||Reward Yourself Before a Sale, Not After||93|
|Week 25||Six Things to Do When You Lose a Deal||96|
|Week 26||Where Should You Meet Your Customers?||100|
|Week 27||Staying Put||104|
|Week 28||How to Ask and Answer Questions||107|
|Week 29||Telephone Sales||111|
|Week 30||A Sale a Day||116|
|Week 31||Don't Let a Week Go By ...||122|
|Week 32||Your Monthly Checklist||125|
|Week 33||Do the Obvious||128|
|Week 34||Dealing with Disappointment||132|
|Week 35||Exceed Your Customer's Expectations||135|
|Week 36||Highs and Lows||139|
|Week 37||My "Idea of the Week" Book||142|
|Week 38||Flexibility Is Key||145|
|Week 39||The Wrong and Right Ways to Manage Salespeople||149|
|Week 40||My Presentation Folder||153|
|Week 41||When to Fire a Customer||158|
|Week 42||Don't Add It Up!||162|
|Week 43||Why Size Doesn't Matter||165|
|Week 44||Building Wealth Through Investing||169|
|Week 45||Problem Solving for Your Customers||173|
|Week 46||Dealing with the Competition||176|
|Week 47||Positive Talking||179|
|Week 48||Just Do It!||182|
|Week 49||Breaking the Sales Slump||187|
|Week 50||My Worst Day Ever||191|
|Week 51||Are You Locked in a Box?||194|
|Week 52||Final Thoughts||199|
|Note to the Reader||202|