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The Art of Closing the SaleThe Key to Making More Money Faster in the World of Professional Selling
By Brian Tracy
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2007 Brian Tracy
All right reserved.
Chapter OneDeveloping a Powerful Sales Personality
To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only real end of life. -Robert Louis Stevenson
Becoming excellent in closing sales is an inside job. It begins within you. In sales, your personality is more important than your product knowledge. It is more important than your sales skills. It is more important than the product or service that you are selling. In fact, your personality determines fully 80 percent of your sales success.
This is easily proven by the fact that there are salespeople who can still achieve high sales volumes even with a highly competitive, expensive product in a depressed market. At the same time, there are people with exclusive products in buoyant markets who are selling poorly.
Becoming Mentally Fit
Mental fitness is very similar to physical fitness in several ways. Physical fitness requires proper diet and exercise. Mental fitness requires a proper mental diet and regular practice. Become more mentally fit, and your happiness and sales volume will rise accordingly.
Top salespeople have high levels of self-confidence and self-esteem.Self-confidence is the natural growth of liking and respecting yourself. The better you feel about yourself, the more confidence you will have in prospecting, presenting, and closing sales.
Without self-confidence, it is almost impossible to be successful in selling. If you lack confidence, you will come up with every excuse to avoid talking to prospects or taking any action where there is a possibility for failure or rejection.
Remember, the more you like yourself, the more you like others. You like other people; they will have confidence in you. The more confidence they have in you, the more likely that they will buy what you are selling.
We always feel better accepting the recommendation of someone whom we feel likes us than someone we are not sure about. We prefer to buy from people whom we feel care about us. Like and care about yourself, and you will genuinely like others and be more successful with them.
Take Charge of Your Life
Sometimes I ask my sales audiences, "How many people here are self-employed?"
About 10 or 15 percent of the audience raises their hands. Then I ask again, "How many people are really self-employed?"
One by one the audience realizes what I am getting at. One at a time they raise their hands. They suddenly realize that they are all self-employed.
The biggest mistake you can make is to ever think that you work for anyone but yourself. From the time you take your first job until the day you retire, you are self-employed. You are the president of your own entrepreneurial corporation, selling your services into the marketplace at the highest price possible. You have only one employee-yourself. Your job is to sell the highest quality and quantity of your services throughout your working life.
Top salespeople accept 100 percent responsibility for themselves and everything they do. They take full responsibility for their activities and for their results. They refuse to make excuses or blame others. They say no to criticizing and complaining. Top salespeople say, "If it's to be, it's up to me!"
View Yourself as Self-Employed
In a study done in New York some years ago, researchers found that the top 3 percent of people in every field looked upon themselves as self-employed. They treated the company as if it belonged to them personally. They saw themselves as being in charge of every aspect of their lives. They took everything that happened to their company personally, exactly as if they owned 100 percent of the stock.
The sales manager of a Fortune 500 company once told me an interesting story. He said that he was with his top salesman, negotiating the final terms and conditions of a $200 million contract with a major client. During a break, the client pulled him aside and asked, referring to the salesman, "That man owns your company, doesn't he?"
The sales manager, knowing the salesman, was a bit surprised. He said, "What makes you say that?"
"Well," the client said, "in all my meetings with him, he constantly refers to the company as 'my company' and 'my people,' 'my contract' and so on. He sounds like he actually owns the whole company. Is that true?"
My friend, the sales manager, smiled and said, "Yes, in a way he does."
You Are the Boss
As the president of your own personal services corporation, you are 100 percent in charge of everything that happens to your business. You are in command of training and development, and of continually upgrading your skills. You are in control of sales and marketing, production and quality control, and personal organization and efficiency. You are the boss.
It is absolutely amazing how many people see themselves passively rather than actively. Instead of taking charge of their lives and changing things they don't like, they wait passively for the company to come along and do it for them. The great majority of adults do not invest in their own personal and professional development. They do not read, listen to audio programs, or attend courses. They expect the company to do this for them, not only to pay for it, but also to give them the time off to upgrade their skills so they can earn more money. Go figure.
Be Aggressive About Learning
Take all the training you can get. Use every job you have as an opportunity to learn more skills that you can use for the rest of your life. Be aggressive about upgrading your knowledge. If your company offers any training opportunities, accept them immediately. Don't delay. Every new skill you learn is an investment in your own future.
Everything you have in your life today is a result of your own choices up to now. Your current situation is a result of both your actions and your inactions in the past. The amount you earn today is due to both what you have done and what you have failed to do. Sometimes the things you fail to do, like completing your education or improving your skills once you start work, have a greater impact on your future than the things that you actually do.
Winners Versus Losers
The difference between winners and losers in this area is quite clear. Winners always accept responsibility themselves for the consequences of their actions. Losers never do but instead always have some kind of explanation for why they are doing poorly.
Losers have a disease called excuse-itis, which we define as "an inflammation of the excuse-making gland." It is invariably fatal to success. Once a person is infected with excuse-itis, instead of making progress, he makes excuses for every difficulty in his life.
Winners are different. Winners are solution oriented. They are always looking for ways to solve the problems and deal with the challenges they face each day. They continually try new things. If one thing doesn't work, they try something else. They never consider the possibility of failure.
Be Prepared to Work Hard
A major difference between successful salespeople and average salespeople is that successful salespeople work much harder than the average. In author Thomas Stanley's research for his book The Millionaire Next Door, 85 percent of the self-made millionaires he interviewed attributed their success to "hard, hard work."
Over and over, when successful people are questioned, in any area of life, they say things like, "I was no smarter than other people, but I was willing to work harder than they were."
Average people want to work hard. They intend to work hard. They are planning to work hard-sometime in the future. They even claim that they work hard and complain about how diligently they work, but they don't really work very hard at all.
Don't Waste Time
The average salesperson today wastes a full 50 percent of his or her working time. According to the research, he comes in a little later, works a little slower, and leaves a little earlier. He spends most of his working time in idle chitchat with coworkers, personal business, reading the paper, drinking coffee, and surfing the Internet.
Winners are different. They arrive a little earlier, work a little harder, and stay a little later. They work through their lunch hours and coffee breaks. They work in the evenings and prepare in the mornings. They make every minute count.
Pay the Price in Advance
H. L. Hunt, owner of more than two hundred companies and at one time the richest man in the world, was once asked on a radio interview for his "secret of success." He replied,
I have started and built hundreds of companies. In 50 years of experience, I have found that there are only two things necessary for success.
First, decide exactly what you want. Most people never do this. Second, determine the price that you are going to have to pay to get what you want, and then resolve to pay that price.
Top salespeople are absolutely determined to succeed, and they are willing to pay the price, in advance.
Ambition and Desire
Ambition and desire are the foundation qualities of all great achievement. As it turns out, top salespeople have above-average ambition and desire to sell.
Top salespeople have a burning commitment and an intense desire to be successful. They will not let anything stop them. To put it another way, they are "hungry."
Average salespeople think in terms of making just enough money to pay their bills. They think about getting one more sale so they can get through one more month. They don't believe in putting in the extra efforts that are essential for great success.
Make the Extra Effort
Some time ago, a large insurance company had a sales competition each year in November. Everyone who hit the target, which was about 35 percent above their monthly average for the year, received two weeks' vacation in the Caribbean as a bonus.
Each November, during the contest period, the sales force came alive. They worked day and night to qualify for those two weeks in the sun. Salespeople who had average sales throughout the year became superstars for that thirty-day period.
One year, the insurance company went back and reviewed the sales of each person who qualified every November. They made a startling discovery: the average salesperson was selling three policies a week during the year. But in the contest period, they increased their sales to an average of four policies a week. By starting a little earlier and working a little harder, those who qualified for the Caribbean vacation were selling one extra policy during the forty- to fifty-hour week.
The managers sat down with their salespeople and pointed out that if they put in a little extra effort throughout the year, they could be in that prizewinning, high-income category all year long, instead of just once a year. They showed how this would translate into income over a forty-year career.
If a person started selling when she was twenty-five and sold until she was sixty-five, and if the average salesperson made four sales per week rather than three, this would translate into ten extra years of income. In other words, a salesperson could achieve the same amount of income in thirty years that she would in forty years. And she would have the money ten years earlier.
No Ambition, No Hope
Sometimes people approach me at my seminars and tell me that they have no ambition. They say they are quite content at their level of income. They make enough to pay their bills and stay out of debt. They ask me what I can do for them if they lack an all-consuming desire to accomplish more than they are already achieving.
Reluctantly, I tell them that there is really no hope for them if they have no ambition. If they don't have the desire themselves to be more and do better than they are today, there is nothing that anyone else can do for them. I tell them, "Some people are born to be followers, and some people are born to be leaders, and I have to assume that you were born to be a follower." I have never met anyone who particularly likes this response. Too bad. Ambition is essential for great success.
Excerpted from The Art of Closing the Sale by Brian Tracy Copyright © 2007 by Brian Tracy. Excerpted by permission.
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