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The Psychology of SellingHOW TO SELL MORE, EASIER, AND FASTER THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE
By BRIAN TRACY
Nelson BusinessCopyright © 2007 Brian Tracy
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE INNER GAME OF SELLING
Visualize this thing that you want. See it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint, and begin to build. -Robert Collier
Nothing happens until a sale takes place. Salespeople are some of the most important people in our society. Without sales, our entire society would come to a grinding halt.
The only real creators of wealth in our society are businesses. Businesses produce all products and services. Businesses create all profits and wealth. Businesses pay all salaries and benefits. The health of the business community in any city, state, or nation is the key determinant of the quality of life and standard of living of the people in that geographical area.
You Are Important
Salespeople are the most vital people in any business. Without sales, the biggest and most sophisticated companies shut down. Sales are the spark plug in the engine of free enterprise. There is a direct relationship between the success of the sales community and the success of the entire country. The more vibrant the level of sales, the more successful and profitable is that industry or area.
Salespeople pay for all the schools, hospitals, private and public charities, libraries, parks, and all good things that are vital to our standard of living. Salespeople-through their sales and the profits and taxes created by successful companies-pay for government at all levels, for all welfare, unemployment insurance, social security, Medicare, and other benefits. Salespeople are essential to our way of life.
Salespeople Are the Movers and Shakers
President Calvin Coolidge once said, "The business of America is business." If you strip down the major newspapers, like the Wall Street Journal and Investor's Business Daily, and the major business magazines, such as Forbes, Fortune, Business Week, Inc., Business 2.0, Wired, and Fast Company, almost everything they write about has something to do with sales. All of our financial markets, including the prices of stocks, bonds, and commodities, as well as current interest rates, have to do with sales. As a professional salesperson, you are a "mover and shaker" in our society. The only question is, how well do you sell?
For many years, sales was considered to be a second-rate occupation. Many people were embarrassed to tell others that they were in sales. There was a general bias against salespeople. Recently, the president of a Fortune 500 company told a journalist, "Around here, we consider sales to be the sleazy side of our business."
The Best Companies
This attitude is changing quickly. Today, the very best companies have the very best salespeople. The second-best companies have the second-best salespeople. The third-best companies are on their way out of business. The most successful organizations in the world are all superb selling organizations.
Hundreds of universities now offer courses in professional selling, a great change from a few years ago. Many young people are coming out of college and immediately seeking positions in sales with large companies. More CEOs of Fortune 500 companies have come up through the ranks from sales than from any other part of the company.
The most powerful businesswoman in America today is Carly Fiorena, president and CEO of Hewlett Packard. After obtaining a degree in medieval history from Stanford, she went to work at AT&T in sales and worked her way up. Pat Mulcahy, the president of Xerox, also worked her way up from sales. Many of the top companies in the world are headed by former salespeople.
High Income and Job Security
You can be proud to be a sales professional. Your ability to sell can give you a high income and lifelong job security. No matter how many changes take place in the economy, there will always be a need for top salespeople. Regardless of how many companies and industries become obsolete or just go out of business, good salespeople will always be in high demand. By becoming excellent in sales, you can accomplish any financial goal you set for yourself.
Seventy-four percent of self-made millionaires in America are entrepreneurs, people who start and build their own businesses. They get an idea for a product or service that no one else is offering, or which they feel they can offer better than the competition, and they start their own businesses. And among entrepreneurs, the single most important skill for success is the ability to sell. Every other skill can be hired away from someone else. But the ability to sell is the key factor determining a company's success or failure.
Five percent of self-made millionaires in America are salespeople who have worked for other companies all their lives. Salespeople today are some of the highest-paid people in America, often earning more than doctors, lawyers, architects, and persons with extensive academic degrees.
Sales is a gainful profession. In sales, there is no ceiling on your income. If you are properly trained, are skilled, and are selling the right product in the right market, there is no limit to the amount of money you can make. Selling is the only field in our society where you can start with little skill or training, come from any background, and be making a great living in a matter of three to twelve months.
The 80/20 Rule in Selling
When I started selling, someone told me about the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule. He said, "The top 20 percent of salespeople make 80 percent of the money, and the bottom 80 percent only make 20 percent of the money."
Wow! I was young, and this was a real eye-opener for me. I made a decision, right then, that I was going to be in the top 20 percent. Later I learned that this was one of the most momentous decisions and turning points of my life.
Again, the top 20 percent of salespeople make 80 percent of the sales and 80 percent of the money. The bottom 80 percent of salespeople only make 20 percent. Your mission is to decide to join the top 20 percent, and then to learn how to get there.
The Pareto principle also applies to the top 20 percent of salespeople. It says that the top 20 percent of the top 20 percent, which equals the top 4 percent, earn 80 percent of the money in the top 20 percent of salespeople. Wow! In every large sales force, four or five people out of one hundred make as many sales and earn as much money as all the rest put together.
Never Worry About Money
There is a very good reason to get into the top 20 percent, and then later, into the top 4 percent: you will never have to worry about money again or fret about job security. You'll never lose sleep over employment. The people in the top 20 percent or better are some of the happiest people in our society.
On the other hand, the people in the bottom 80 percent are worried about money. One of the great tragedies of our society, the most affluent in human history, is that the majority of people worry about money most of the time. They get up in the morning thinking about their money problems. They think about how little money they have all day long. When they come home at night, they talk and often argue about money and how much everything costs. This is not a good way to live.
Top People Earn Vastly More
The people in the top 20 percent, on average, earn sixteen times the average income of the people in the bottom 80 percent. Those in the top 4 percent earn on average sixteen times that of the folks in the bottom 20 percent. This is astonishing!
A large American insurance company tested this 80/20 rule some years ago with their several thousand agents nationwide. They discovered that they had individual agents throughout the country who alone were selling and earning more than twenty to thirty other full-time, trained, professional agents, even though they were all selling the same products to the same people, at the same prices out of the same offices, under the same competitive conditions.
In the same year, I addressed two elite groups in two different industries. The people in these industries had all started off on the street, dialing for dollars out of the newspaper or the Yellow Pages. They all worked on straight commission, one sale at a time. But the average yearly income of the salespeople in these elite groups was $833,000 and $850,000. Some of the top people in these groups earned several million dollars a year on straight commission!
Your goal must therefore be to get into the top 20 percent, and then the top 10 percent, the top 5 percent, the top 4 percent, and so on. The purpose of this book is to get you there. It is to take you from wherever you are today to wherever you want to go in the future. It is to make you one of the highest-paid people in your industry.
The Winning Edge
If the top 20 percent of salespeople in an industry earn 80 percent of the money, and the top 20 percent of companies in an industry earn 80 percent of the profits, what are the distinguishing factors of these individuals and organizations that make such an incredible difference possible? The conclusion is that they have developed the winning edge in their fields.
This winning edge concept is one of the most important management and sales ideas of the twenty-first century. This principle says, "Small differences in ability can lead to enormous differences in results." The difference between the top performers and the average or mediocre performers is not a huge difference in talent or ability. Often, it is just a few small things done consistently and well, over and over again.
Win by a Nose
For example, if a horse runs in a race and wins by a nose, it wins ten times the prize money of the horse that loses by a nose. Here's the question: Is the horse that wins by a nose ten times faster than the horse that loses by a nose? Is it 10 percent faster? No. It is only a nose faster, but that translates into a 1,000 percent difference in prize money.
If a salesperson gets the sale in a competitive market, does it mean that he or she is ten times better than the salesperson who lost the sale? Of course not! Sometimes it is only a small technicality that causes a customer to buy from one person rather than another. The fact is, the salesperson who wins the sale may be only a "nose" better than the one who loses it.
Salespeople have a disadvantage over horses. There are no consolation prizes. If a horse comes in second or third, he still comes in "in the money." But in selling it is a "winner take all" transaction. The salesperson who loses the sale gets nothing, no matter how many hours he or she has invested in developing the sale.
Become a Little Bit Better
In selling, you only have to be a little bit better and different in each of the key result areas of selling for it to accumulate into an extraordinary difference in income. A small increment of skill or ability, just 3 or 4 percent, can give you the winning edge. It can put you in the top 20 percent, and then the top 10 percent.
Once you develop this small lead, like compound interest, it continues to grow. At first, you move slightly ahead of the crowd. As you use your additional skills, you get better and better at them. The better you become, the better results you get. You soon begin to pull ahead of the crowd by a larger and larger margin. In a few years, or even a few months, you can be earning five or ten times as much as others who are still performing at average levels.
Characteristics of Top Salespeople
There are certain characteristics that separate successful salespeople from average salespeople. These qualities have been identified over the years through interviews, surveys, and exhaustive research. We also know two things: First, no one is born with these qualities. Second, all of these qualities are learnable through practice. You can develop the characteristics that will virtually guarantee an extraordinary quality of life for yourself.
It was once believed that people were successful because they came from the right families, had the right educations, developed the right contacts, got good grades in school, and other measurable factors. But then researchers discovered that there were people who started with none of these advantages, yet ended up at the top of their professions.
Starting from Nothing
One of the best proofs of this is the number of new immigrants who arrive in this country with little money, no contacts, no school or university background, limited English skills, and every other conceivable disadvantage. But somehow, in a few years, they have overcome every single difficulty and have become leaders in their field.
In my seminars, I continually meet men and women from all over the world who came to this country with nothing and who are now top salespeople, highly paid, and even self-made millionaires. In every case, the reasons have more to do with what is going on inside of them than with what is going on outside.
Success Is Mental
It is what goes on inside the mind of the salesperson that makes all the difference. Some years ago, Harvard University did a study of sixteen thousand salespeople and found that the basic qualities that determine success or failure in selling were all mental. If a person had certain qualities, he or she would succeed, holding constant for everything else. If you develop these psychological qualities, they then form the foundation for your own personal sales success.
If you want to know how tall a building is going to be, you look at how deep they dig the foundation for that building. The deeper the foundation, the taller the building. In the same way, the deeper your foundation of knowledge and skill, the greater the life that you will be able to build.
Once you have built your foundation and have become absolutely excellent at selling, you can go anywhere and write your own ticket. And you can always build your foundation deeper.
Use More of Your Potential
The average salesperson uses only a small percentage of his potential for effectiveness in selling. It is estimated that the average person in general never uses more than about 10 percent of his potential. What this means is that each person has at least 90 percent or more potential left untapped. It is when you learn how to unlock this additional 90 percent of your own potential that you move yourself into the income categories of the highest earners.
Follow the Leaders
If your goal is to be in the top 10 percent of salespeople in your field, the first thing you do is find out who is already in the top 10 percent. Instead of following the followers, the average performers in your business, follow the leaders. Compare yourself to the top people. Remember, no one is better than you, and no one is smarter than you. If someone is doing better than you, it just means that he or she has discovered the cause-and-effect relationships in selling success before you have.
British philosopher Bertrand Russell once said, "The very best proof that something can be done is that someone else has already done it." This means that if someone else is earning five or ten times as much as you, this is evidence that you can earn the same amount if you simply learn how. Remember, everyone starts at the bottom and works his way up. If someone is doing better than you, find out how he got from the bottom to where he is today. Sometimes the very best way to find this out is to go and ask him. He will probably tell you. Top people are usually willing to help other people who want to succeed.
Your Master Program
The most noteworthy breakthrough in psychology and human performance in the twentieth century was the discovery of the self-concept. Your self-concept is the bundle of beliefs that you have about yourself. It is the way you see yourself and think about yourself in every area of your life. Your self-concept is the "master program" of your subconscious computer. It is like an operating system that determines everything you say, think, feel, and do.
There is a direct relationship between your self-concept, on the one hand, and your performance and effectiveness, on the other. You always perform on the outside in the manner consistent with your self-concept. All change/improvement in your life begins when you alter and improve your self-concept, your inner programming.
Excerpted from The Psychology of Selling by BRIAN TRACY Copyright © 2007 by Brian Tracy. Excerpted by permission.
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