As my sales career has evolved over the years, and I have emerged as a leader (maybe THE leader) in the sales industry, I’m often asked if I have any secrets for success or what’s been my path to personal success.
The answer is pretty simple. There are no secrets. There’s nothing I do that I consider out of the ordinary. It’s what I do on a consistent basis that makes me extraordinary.
I READ. I wake up every morning, and I read. I read two pages from some kind of personal success book that’s more than 50 years old. If you want to know the best ones that I read, it’s anything by Napoleon Hill, most often his earliest writings from The Law of Success, or the Magic Ladder to Success – just a couple pages. It’s anything by Dale Carnegie. His public speaking book. His How to Win Friends & Influence Peoplebook. His How to Stop Worrying & Start Living book. Now, I’ve only been doing that for 39 years, so I don’t know if it works yet. I’m going to do it for another 39 years, and that’s it – I’m going to quit. That consistency leads me to new ideas. Every time I read something old, I come up with a new idea, which leads me to my second non-secret:
I CAPTURE AND COLLECT THOUGHTS AND IDEAS. When I think of things or things occur to me, or I read something that inspires me, the first thing I do is go to my computer. I write this column every week on selling skills, but I don’t just write the column, I collect ideas so I can always be ahead. I’ve written more than 950 columns to date, but I’ve got 500 more ideas waiting to be evolved. That leads me to my next step of success:
I WRITE. When I write everything down, it clarifies my own ideas, it generates new ideas, and it creates content for my speeches, and for my books. My challenge to you is: If you want to be a success, you can’t just read, you have to write.
I SPEAK. The next thing you have to learn how to do is present – give a speech in public. The best way to learn how to present is to join Toastmasters. If you go to Toastmasters, and give 10 speeches, you can get your Competent Toastmaster Award (CTM) – it will give you a little more self-confidence, and the understanding of what makes a talk a good talk. Most people only talk one on one, but if you ever present to a group, that’s the ultimate. Can you sell the entire group? When you learn to present to a group, selling one on one becomes a piece of cake.
I POSITION TO WIN WITH “VALUE FIRST.” The same goes for marketing (attracting people who are interested to buy). I position myself to be seen and read as a person of value. My marketing mission is as follows: I put myself in front of people who can say yes to me, and I deliver value first. I promise you will never see that in a marketing textbook, nor hear it from a marketing professor.
I STRIVE TO MASTER. There are models you can use to make sales, and there are all kinds of processes and strategies that you can use. But if you don’t have those fundamental elements at your fingertips – you have to be the master of these things – not just the Mr. of them, not just the Mrs. of them – you have to be the MASTER of them. In order to be that master, you have to study. In order to be that master, you have to practice them daily. In order to be that master, you have to have deep focus, and take that internal daily dose, so that you can, day by day, become great.
I LOVE IT. I wake up in the morning, and I can’t wait to do whatever it is that I have scheduled that day. Sometimes it’s give a speech, sometimes it’s write more for my books, sometimes it’s interview people, sometimes it’s meetings, and sometimes it’s making sales to big corporate CEOs. I love making sales, and I try to do two or three sales calls every week, so I can stay at the top of my game. I don’t just teach sales, I make sales.
IT’S NOT ONE ELEMENT. But, if you only read, or you only write, or you only speak, that’s not quite enough. You have to love what you do, and you have to believe in what you sell, and you have to have the right attitude and enthusiasm to carry you forward. These are the principle pieces that will lead you to some kind of success. You see, once you believe in it, once you love it, it’s not work anymore – it’s the most fun thing you can do.
I WORK HARD. People ask me, “How’d you get great at sales?” And I tell them, “Well, I just worked my rear end off for 20 years, and then, all of the sudden, I was great.”
The same thing can happen to you, but you have to love it. If you don’t love what you do, it’s tough to get beyond the next plateau. I’m challenging you to go back, and re-read to this formula – there’s no magic to it, but add passion, and the results will be incredibly magical.