Sales books are hugely popular, and for good reason. After all they cover a topic near and dear to everyone’s heart, namely making more money.
Because of this there is a glut of books about entrepreneurship, sales, and wannabe How to Win Friends and Influence People. And the majority of them suck. They’re the same old rehashed stuff that has been done a hundred times over. These new ones often copy the older books, using new terminology and a section on the internet added in to make it seem original. Often to find something of value you have to look to the classics. So that’s what I did.
The book I picked up was How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger. Frank was a life insurance salesman who never completed grade school and spent his early years playing professional baseball. This was back in the early 1900’s so his paychecks while nice weren’t Earth shattering. Frank was a crappy salesmen for a good portion of his career, but was able to turn all of that around and eventually became the best salesman in his field.
The first chapters starts out strong and talks about the power of enthusiasm. We’ve likely all heard about how enthusiasm can help before, but this goes more in depth. Frank talks about how enthusiasm for his job was what made him begin to excel at it. It was something that began making a difference. But it was not something that came easy for Frank it was something he had to force himself to do. Frank soon found out that feelings follow action. He states “Force yourself to act enthusiastic and you will become enthusiastic”.
Enthusiasm bleeds over into what you do whether it is coaching, writing, or speaking. People can tell when someone has enthusiasm for something and when they are just going through the motions. This is easy to tell in face to face interactions but also comes through in writing. I know personally I’ve read blog posts where I knew that the author did not care much about the subject but was just doing it for another reason. Then I’ve also read posts where I could tell the author was fired up about their subject. Not because they used caps, underlines, or exclamation points but simple because how the message of the post was expressed. If anything the ones that seemed uninspired used more caps, underlining, bolded print, and exclamation points. You can’t fake enthusiasm, like confidence it bleeds out in your actions and words.
Basic Principles of Making Sales
Frank highlights eleven principles that netted him a $250,000 sale (and remember this is in pre-1950 money):
- Make Appointments – It never helps to interrupt someone or come in unannounced.
- Be Prepared – Know your subject and the subject of human nature.
- What is the Key Issue? – What is the major point of interest?
- Key Word Notes – Know what you want to say and how you want to say it.
- Ask Questions – Learn about your customer, let him tell you what he needs.
- Explode Dynamite – Don’t be afraid to do something out of the ordinary, just don’t be forgotten.
- Arouse Fear – There are two things that arouse men to action. They are desire for gain and fear of loss. And the fear of loss is the stronger of the two.
- Create Confidence – If you are sincere and real, you should never have a problem acquiring a prospects confidence.
- Express Honest Appreciation of Your Listener’s Ability – Meaning people are starving for honest appreciation, don’t hold it back from them. If someone does something well, let them know.
- Assume a Close – Have a winning attitude, never expect failure.
- Put You In the Interview – Use the word “you”. As Frank says “See things from the other person’s point of view and talk in terms of his wants, needs, and desires”.
So most of these were developed doing face to face interviews but the principles transfer to online selling and cold calling as well. People are people regardless of the means you use to interact with them.
Looks Matter In Business
Do looks matter?
Absolutely, at least in business. During Frank’s early career he didn’t focus on his looks only on his skills. While skills are paramount he was fighting an uphill battle. It wasn’t until an older gentleman that worked with Frank flat old told him he looked like crap that Frank took an interest in how he looked. Frank went out and bought new clothes and always made sure he was clean shaven and had a fresh haircut.
Without skills looking good isn’t going to get you anywhere however looking bad will hold you back in the long run. It’s sort of like game. If you’re a pussy you could look like Brad Pitt and you’re not going to get much action, however, combine skills with looks and you got yourself a winning combination. As Frank says “Look your best. Put yourself in the hands of an expert.” Figure out what looks good and professional and be sure to always look your best.
What I covered in this review is just the tip of the iceberg. This book has many more tips and principles of becoming a great salesman. It is one of those books that I will be reading again and again much like How to Win Friends and Influence People. There is a reason that this book has been around as long as it has. We are all salesman in some way, shape, or form. Become the most effective salesman you can be and pick up a copy of How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling today.