THE MORE I FOCUSED ON SELLING – THE MORE IT CHANGED MY LIFE
As a teenager I picked up a “motivational” book for the very first time. I was told this one book, “Think and Grow Rich”, by Napoleon Hill, would change my life in the same way it had focused “millions before me”. But, in my opinion, on the first reading it had little or no impact on me or my life. At that time my sole inspiration came from those peers I revered and idolised. They were the sellers that would leave the showroom with four or five black and white television sets early afternoon, and return the next day with a fist-full of orders, deposits and cash. Then the next day they would top up with televisions again, sell a few more, and again return with more orders, deposits and cash. To me at least, what they were achieving was a lot more relevant than any of the words I had read penned by Napoleon Hill.
But is wasn’t till years later, when I had read, “The Five Great Rules of Selling”, by Percy H. Whiting (first published in 1947) that I began to realise that both my perception and fundamental foundation of selling and professional selling techniques had been modelled by those I looked up the most. And more than a half of what I had learned definitely did not align with what this book, and other subsequent books by the superseller’s of the time, had suggested was a necessary course of action for specific situations. What’s more, the more I studied their techniques, the more my own figures increased. I later realised that I was achieving my results “by association” because I simply read and trialled what I was reading.
My endeavour is that this book will help you the same may today that those books shaped my selling ability way back then. It’s now almost 44 years since my selling career began, and almost 47 years since I was first influenced by the very average and financially challenged retail salesman who rented a small wooden bungalow at the rear of my parents home in the 1950’s, who a year later risked everything to sell black and white televisions, and within a year after that bought a brand new brick veneer home for CASH. George Gault was my inspiration to start my selling career at 17 yet he neither mentored me nor advised me. Just being able to witness what he achieved was enough to start me on my personal journey.
Other classic books I read around that time, were “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling”, “How I Multiplied my Income and Happiness in selling” and “How I Learned the Secrets of Success in Selling” by Frank Bettger. In fact, they changed my life. And I still the motivational masterpieces of the time in my library, including “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie. In fact, they had such a profound influence upon my life I still read today from time to time.
But the biggest lesson I learned in the earliest years of my selling was this one thing. I am so grateful today that it didn’t take too long then for me to realise that many of those that I looked up to and admired as my personal sales mentors and advisors, didn’t really pass on very much of what they knew. Just like a mother purposefully leaves out one or two final (but critical ingredients) in a recipe she passes onto her daughter-in-law in order to maintain her superiority as cook in her sons eyes, so do so many of today’s average sellers. Now take note here, I purposely referred to them as above average sellers, and not those at the top of their profession.
Years later, other classics like the “Power of Positive Thinking” by Dr Norman Vincent Peale, became a constant companion to me. I would also highly recommend this book to my friends, my staff and my peers, with a word of caution however – that they overlook, or even take out the “religious” overtones that seem to dominate the book. The fact that Dr Norman Vincent Peale was preacher had not entered my mind. Yet today, I realise that without that “religious” content, Dr Norman’s best seller could not have been written. It was simply a book dealing with the power of self-motivation based upon his personal faith in God and purposeful reliance on the truth contained within the pages of the Holy Bible.
At the time however, I have to admit, I was both pleased I had read these works, and at the same time a little a little frustrated and bewildered – because I had read them – and many of them, over and over again. For some strange reason with all the reading I had done, I got the impression that I had to either believe in myself totally or fail. I also became aware that some of the very successful people I had met at the time did not seem to possess many of the success traits, love for humanity and other “essential” factors for success detailed in those books. And I also became aware that the prevailing success factors necessary to ensure success in one field of endeavour may not necessarily translate in the same way to another.
Experience has also taught me that a “positive mental attitude” on its own, was not the universal criterion for success. Far from it. Instead I learned that in the main, success was caused by a number of factors, somehow intertwined, yet all working together in harmony with each other. The pressures of life and the performance levels we are required to adhere to, rely more on a “right mental attitude” rather than a “positive mental attitude” more than on any other factor. A point brought out by Earl Nightingale in his film narration of “the Strangest Secret”. A film I can honestly say changed my life and helped me rise above the threshold of merely achieving above-average results, to levels of accomplishment, I could have only dreamed of previously.
Since then, I have had the privilege of meeting (and/or working) with some of Australia’s elite salesmen. Those in the top 1% of money earners. The best part was many of them introduced themselves and went out of their way do develop a friendship with me. It was like experiencing the Chinese Proverb that says, “When the Student is ready, the Master turns up.” I have since learned the power associated with that type of relationship, and the reasoning behind it. Through a developed like-mindedness, the sharing of ideas and the ability to have regular brainstorming sessions, each individual grows exponentially and develops individual strengths that may otherwise lay dormant.
The irony of all of this is that around the same time I was developing these close relationships with high ranking salespeople, I was also being approached by average to above average salespeople attending my seminars suggesting that the professional secrets of the top salespeople are hard to get hold of. Then despite being advised that what I was teaching them during the seminar was the same foundation that the elite applied throughout their selling careers. Yet no matter how hard I tried, I could see they thought I too was holding back. For some reason U could not convince them I personally had not found this to be the case.
Every PROFESSIONAL SUPERSELLER I have met (and/or worked with) has been more than willing to help, advise and answer any question I had put to them. That’s a fact. I also understand, and can tell you from personal experience, that have approached me, and I would suggest have also approached a number of other professional elite salespeople and in so many cases disagreed with their suggestions, these supersellers can be selective as to who they are prepared to divulge their “secrets” to. I do the same the minute I get resistance from anyone that is pressing me for free advice but won’t listen to what I have to say.
On one occasion I was told, “Why should I help them, when all they want to do is to gather information and in most cases never even try it out, How will they ever know it will work for them?” Another stated that, “At best, some people will show off that new information to their peers, but never get around to using it themselves.” These statements are sad, but true. I only pray that the contents of this book are not dealt with in the same manner.
The entire contents of this book have been designed to give every individual salesperson who takes the trouble to read and/or study this book, an insight into how the SUPERSELLER thinks, acts and responds to many of the daily tasks and demands experienced by every salesperson, no matter what their rank or standing in either their own personal or corporate sales ladder.
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This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 53 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and of the 133 books he has written over the past 49 years, Peter has 68 Business Books to his credit, (but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale). Peter also has written 23 Christian books. One of Peter’s books, sold almost 2 million copies in the late 1970’s and is still selling well through second hand online marketers worldwide. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
© Copyright Peter Collins, Profit Maker Sales, Sydney, Australia, 1997, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017, all rights reserved.