The Ultimate Sales Pro: What the Best Salespeople Do Differently

The Ultimate Sales Pro: What the Best Salespeople Do Differently

by Paul Cherry


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Forget the rest. Learn to sell like the best. Better leads, solid presentations, and a more versatile closing strategy are all great for boosting B2B sales. But truly successful salespeople-the ones who seem invincible when everyone else is struggling-possess more than foundational skills. They are proactive, entrepreneurial, and find solutions for their clients. They highlight their personal value and actively manage their careers. They're hyperfocused on cultivating relationships with customers and colleagues. The Ultimate Sales Pro shows everyone how to elevate their game. Drawing on the author's vast experience training salespeople for top organizations, the book explains how to: Be your own mentor * Problem-solve with peers * Manage any boss * Identify your ideal clients * Research industry trends * Share knowledge to foster trust * Craft a powerful Unique Value Statement * Script emails and voicemails that earn attention * Uncover customer needs * Position yourself as an expert * Create customized solutions * Motivate customers to commit * Set goals * And more Whether you're new to sales or seeking to escape a career plateau, The Ultimate Sales Pro helps you finesse skills, build expertise, and create a personal brand that will set you apart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814438954
Publisher: AMACOM
Publication date: 08/14/2018
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Paul Cherry is founder and president of Performance Based Results, an international sales training organization. An in-demand speaker and sales expert, he has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, Selling Power, Inc., Kiplinger’s, and other leading publications.

Read an Excerpt



How high should you aim in your sales career?

Nobody but you can answer that question. But the critical thing is to ask it.

In my many years working with salespeople, I've encountered several who are happy with where they are. I applaud them. But I've also encountered many who haven't really given the issue serious thought. Their goals don't extend much beyond the end of the quarter or the end of the year. "I'm too busy with the here-and-now to worry much about the future," they tell themselves. "I'll deal with it when it gets here."

The problem with that approach is that short-term goals become a stand-in for long-term goals. And short-term goals are small goals.

I believe that most people can achieve far more than they think possible. And I'm not just talking about money. I'm talking about a career that allows you to live the kind of life you want, do the work you want to do, and make the most of your skills.

So dream big. Right now, take fifteen minutes. Silence your phone. Find a quiet place. And write down your dreams. The dream you keep hidden. The one that people would laugh at if they knew. The one you've told yourself is out of reach.

It's hard, isn't it? The gap between where we are and where we want to be is not a comfortable place to be. It's tough enough to keep up with our day-to-day responsibilities. Admitting that we want more can feel overwhelming. We think of a million reasons why we can't get there. We're not in the right job. We don't have the right skills. We didn't go to the right school. We don't have the right connections. We need to put food on the table. And if we're really honest with ourselves, we'll admit that we don't want to try and fail.

I know. I've aimed high, too. And I've failed more times than I can count.

But, I've learned, there are two ways to fail. One sets you back. Another moves you forward. And the only way you can fail forward is to know what you're aiming for.

As I approached my thirty-fourth birthday, I had a lot to feel good about. I'd been in sales for ten years. Like most salespeople, I'd had some big successes and some rough patches. But overall, I was doing well. I knew how to earn a good living, and my future looked solid.

But solid was not a word that filled me with excitement. As I looked forward to the next thirty years or so, was this the path I wanted to follow? Or would it simply be a path I happened to follow?

I'd always been intrigued and inspired by great motivational speakers — people like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins. At the time, I was selling things. These people were selling ideas — ideas that made a difference in people's lives.

What a great way to make a living, I thought.

It's easy to talk about pursuing your dreams, but the reality is that there's considerable risk involved. The speaking and personal-development industry was huge. But I had no experience or credentials, apart from one public-speaking course in college and a few speeches I made when I belonged to Toastmasters. Was I really willing to move away from my comfortable sales career into uncharted territory? Wasn't I taking an awful risk?

Yes, I was willing. But I did want to minimize my risk.


So I took four steps, which I recommend to anyone who's contemplating a big change in their career or in their life.

STEP 1: I finally got honest with myself about what I wanted. I had to think long and hard about whether this was a goal I really wanted to achieve. It was going to be hard, no doubt. Was the dream worth it? My gut told me it was. Nothing else I could imagine measured up to the idea of running my own business, selling what I believed in, and working with customers of my own choosing.

STEP 2: I had to silence that critical voice in my head. You know, the one that says, "Who do you think you are?" This is not the voice of caution and reason. It's the voice we hear, starting when we were kids, from parents, teachers, friends, family, ourselves. It has nothing to do with your actual abilities or the odds of succeeding. It's the voice that says wait your turn, don't stick your neck out, and don't get too big for your britches.

STEP 3: I made an honest inventory of the skills and knowledge I currently possessed and considered how I could apply them to my big goal. In other words, I recognized that I wasn't starting from zero.

Selling skills? Check. They would certainly give me a leg up when it came to finding and closing speaking opportunities. Presentation skills? Check. My experience with customers had taught me how to distill complex ideas and information into a compelling message, and how to connect them to the needs and wants of an audience. Subject-matter expertise? Check. I'd been selling for a decade, and I could speak credibly to the challenges that other salespeople faced.

STEP 4: I next made an inventory of what else I would need to succeed in this new career. For example, I needed a body of knowledge, something more substantial than war stories and lessons learned from my own experience. And I needed a brand behind me. Eventually my goal was to be my own brand, but at that point, nobody knew who Paul Cherry was. I needed a credential to give people confidence.

Here's what this exercise allows you to do: It allows you to paint a clear picture of where you want to be and chart a clear path for getting there. And that allows you to evaluate opportunities not only in terms of what they offer in the near term, but whether they move you forward to your ultimate goal.

Let me offer an example to demonstrate the principle. As I was thinking about how to reach my own big dream, I learned that Dale Carnegie was hiring salespeople.

If I hadn't gone through the exercise of setting a big goal and identifying what would help me get there, that probably wasn't an opportunity I would have pursued. It might have seemed to be an intriguing sales job and not much more. And if I were only thinking about the short term, it looked like a step backward. It was 100 percent commission. It offered no preexisting customer base. No flow of prequalified leads.

In fact, I did go backward at first. I made $19,000 my first year — not much for a sales job, even back then, and a serious pay cut from what I'd been making.

I gave up my comfortable sales job because the inventory I'd done helped me see it was actually a step toward my goal. They put me through intensive training (body of knowledge, check). I became certified as a Dale Carnegie instructor (powerful brand, check). I was given an exclusive territory and the opportunity to learn how to sell to the market.

Over the next few years, with a lot of hard work, I helped build a successful franchise for my boss. I was moving in the right direction. But now it was time to take stock once again.

Selling public workshops — thirty seats at $1,200 each — took most of my time and energy. There wasn't much repeat business, so I was continually refilling the bucket from scratch. And there were only so many hours in a day. Realistically, I was nearly maxed out.

I could continue to do what I was doing, and stay stuck where I was, or try to move forward.

Again, it was a risk. But my experience at Dale Carnegie, for which I'll always be grateful, equipped me with the knowledge and skills I needed to take the next step.

I thought hard about what that step would involve. What I really wanted was what had attracted me to the industry in the first place. I went through my goal-setting exercise again. It was the same dream, but now I could bring it into sharper focus. I wanted to sell six-figure contracts. I wanted to sell to businesses, not individuals. I wanted repeat business. I didn't want to be confined to a territory with a 120-mile radius. I wanted to do business wherever I wanted, across the globe.

Most of all, I wanted to carve out my own niche, to be a recognized authority in my own right.

In my sales career, I'd become deeply interested in the dynamics of questions. I'd learned that there really wasn't much I could tell customers to persuade them to buy. Customers have to sell themselves. And I'd noticed how askingjust the right question, at just the right time, had a powerful effect on buyers. Socrates had discovered that secret thousands of years ago: A question is the world's most powerful tool to open someone's mind.

So I decided to make myself an authority on question-based selling. I sought out experts in the field. I talked to countless salespeople about the questions they asked. I thought about how I'd used questions in my own selling efforts and tried out new approaches to see how my customers would respond.


At the same time, I sought out a sales training company that would allow me to develop and apply these concepts. I found one that was excited about offering a fresh approach to selling.

In my first year with the new company, I won six-figure contracts with three major pharmaceutical and chemical companies. With a major brand behind me and a fresh approach to training, doors were opening up. We sold a major contract to a Fortune 100 company. We had professional trainers in the company, but my boss said: "You sold the training. You should deliver it." I had only two weeks to prepare, but I threw myself into it.

The big day came — and I bombed.

People weren't even nice about it. (There's one thing salespeople will not forgive you for: wasting their time. In sales, time is money.) They were laughing during the training, and not because I was trying to be funny. I actually heard the word "loser." I was not invited back.

That hurt bad. I was humiliated. I'd let down my client. I'd let down my boss. Did I want to give up? You bet.

Here's the only thing that got me through: dreaming big. I reflected on how far I'd come and how much I'd learned since my product-selling days. Yes, I'd pushed myself too fast and too far beyond the limits of my knowledge and expertise, and I'd fallen flat. I couldn't go back now, even if I'd wanted to.

That's an example of failing forward. By failing, I learned exactly what I needed to do to succeed. It showed me where my gaps were.

The dream was still there. Even more, I'd learned that the opportunity was real. Companies had shown they were willing to buy into the ideas I'd been selling them. Now I needed to learn how to deliver.

So, what about you?

What's your big dream? How can you leverage your knowledge and skills to get you closer to it? What else do you need to reach it? How will you acquire those skills, knowledge, and access? Are you willing to risk failure and learn from it? Or are you content to stay in your comfort zone, even if means trading away your dreams?

It's your decision.



Salespeople often focus on the how: "How do I get a customer to say yes?" "How do I counter an objection?" "How do I cultivate deeper relationships with buyers?" "How do I increase my sales?"

Take time to consider a different question: "Why?"

Sales is not an easy profession, so why pursue it?

According to common stereotypes, the answer is a no-brainer: to make a buck. In popular culture, salespeople are seen as simple creatures motivated only by the almighty dollar.

I'm not buying it. Yes, you can earn a good living in sales. But there are easier ways to make money.

I believe that the best salespeople find a deeper meaning in what they do. They enjoy the thrill of the hunt. They like to solve problems. They're energized by the idea of making things happen for their customers, their companies, and themselves.

I challenge you to have a conversation with yourself and discover what truly motivates you to do what you do.

To help facilitate that conversation, here's a look at how my own thinking about sales evolved:

As a young man, I never saw myself having a career in sales. I explored a variety of careers: I was accepted into flight school for both the Air Force and the Navy (but declined). I earned a master's degree in public policy and served in government for a short time. I had some jobs I hated. I even worked as a gravedigger (a job I actually liked). In this chapter, I will show my journey — including successes and failures — and why sales was the one thing I kept coming back to.

So what is it about sales that attracts me and keeps me motivated every day?

I have two answers:

1. It's a profession that always challenges you to do your best. We all know the old adage, "There's no second place in sales." Even when I win, I'm always looking for ways to be a little better next time. There's always something higher to aim for.

2. It's one of the few professions where you are ultimately accountable to yourself. Whether you work for yourself (as I do now) or for a larger organization (as I have in the past), sales comes with an objective scorecard. Either you're winning or you aren't. If you can sell — if you can put those wins on the board — you are rewarded not only financially, but also with autonomy and personal power. More than in any other profession, I believe, selling gives people the opportunity to take charge of their destiny and create the life they want.

That's my why. But what about you? Do you truly understand why you found your way to a career in sales? And why you're now reading a book to help you get even better? It's true that people often get started on a path through a certain amount of serendipity: A certain job opened up at a certain time; experience in one industry leads to other opportunities in the same industry, and so on. But there's also a purpose. Some jobs don't fit, and people bounce out of them fairly quickly. We all know plenty of people who worked in sales and ultimately moved on to some other career path. (I don't consider these people failures, by the way; they had the courage to know what wasn't working for them and to find something better.) But if you've stuck with sales this long, there must be a reason why.

It's critically important to know what that why is. You don't have to tell anyone else, but get real with yourself. Your "why" is your compass. It keeps you moving in the right direction, especially when the path isn't clear. If you know that your why is the thrill of the hunt, for example, you won't make the mistake of taking a "farming" job servicing large accounts. It may be a great opportunity — for someone. But if it doesn't feed your why, you'll end up regretting it.

Knowing your why isn't as easy as it sounds. It requires deep reflection and honesty. So take some time — sit alone in a dark room if you must — to truly consider the question. And revisit the question regularly, because your why can change as your career evolves.



Here's a situation I've encountered over and over again: A young salesperson who's enjoyed some success has an opportunity to move to a different company or even a different industry. The potential upside is high and the risks seem low. After all, the salesperson has already demonstrated that he or she knows how to sell. Sure, there will be a learning curve because there's a different product and different customers, but at the end of the day, sales is sales.

If you've ever seen someone make this leap, or done so yourself, you know how the story usually ends. The salesperson fails at the new job, or at the very least struggles more than he or she expected.

What's surprising is that the problem is almost never the product or the customers. It's the organization — specifically, the fit between the salesperson and the organization.

Sales is a social enterprise. Most salespeople are part of an organization. Even those who work for themselves are part of a larger ecosystem, defined by the industry they serve, the niche they occupy, the territory they cover, and so on. Solo entrepreneurs and independents belong to tribes, too: industries and markets. They are webs of relationships, with hierarchies and rules you must master.

Your success as a salesperson depends on belonging to the right "tribe." In many cases, the right tribe depends on where you are in your career. Imagine, for example, that you have a few years of experience in software sales, and you have a customer who's about to join a hot new startup company. She's got funding, a great product concept, and crackerjack developers. She thinks you're awesome and wants you to come on board as their first salesperson. She's talking stock options, double-digit growth, perhaps the chance to be a millionaire in a few years. Hard to say no, right?

But here's the question you need to ask yourself: "Is this a tribe that can help me grow and succeed?" Are you at a point in your career where you need to tap into the wisdom and experience of veteran salespeople and sales managers? Do you have the skills, knowledge, and confidence to hold your own with prospects who are Silicon Valley superstars? Will the venture capitalists who are funding the startup give you the space to try, fail, learn, and try again, or will they need to see immediate results? And are you at a place in your career where you can afford to fail? In the long run, your best opportunity may be to spend more time with a larger and more stable organization, where you can master your craft. The startup company, on the other hand, may be the perfect tribe for someone else with the right combination of personality, experience, and tolerance for risk. It's all about the fit.


Excerpted from "The Ultimate Sales Pro"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Paul Cherry.
Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

1 Dream Big Goals 1

2 Know Your Why 9

3 Find the Right Tribe 13

4 Be the Toughest Boss You Ever Had 19

5 Just Make the Call 25

6 The Power of Profiling 29

7 Sales First, Relationships Second 41

8 Don't Go Native 49

9 Don't Call Me-I'll Call You 53

10 Sell Slower 59

11 Mastering the Value Equation 65

12 Cut Through the Cr*p 77

13 Sell Where the Buck Stops 85

14 Embrace the Moment of Truth 93

15 Giving and Getting 103

16 Change Lives 115

17 It's Not Who You Know-It's Who Knows You 121

18 Take Care of Your Internal Customers 127

19 Toot Your Horn 133

20 Build a Referral Business 143

21 Be Paranoid 151

22 Hire a Coach 157

23 Do the Thing You Don't Want to Do 167

24 Stepping Off the Edge 175

25 Stand by Your Values 183

Index 189

About the Author 193

Customer Reviews