I Suck At Sales!


When I was 20 years old I got my first sales job selling gym memberships. At the ripe age of 20 I realized this fact. I, was not a good salesman. You see after making numerous cold calls I finally reached a gentleman that was interested in buying four gym memberships. One for him, one for his wife and two for his children. All I had to do was bring the contracts over to his office.

Hungry for my biggest sale ever, I drove those contracts to what happened to be a school for bartenders. After giving me a tour of his facilities we sat down in his office for a bit and then I left. Now guess how many contracts I got signed during our meeting? One, I got one contract signed. Not entirely bad, one out of four right?

Actually, the only contract that was signed that day, was a contract that I signed for me to attend his bartending school. Funny, huh!

I look back at that moment in my life and laugh and I realized one of the biggest secrets to sales. You see the only reason why he sold me instead of me selling him was that I came in to that meeting to make a transaction. My only goal was to walk in and have him buy gym memberships.

He on the other hand took a relational approach and took the time to get to know me. By asking questions he realized that I was almost at the legal age to drink and that I had watched the Tom Cruise movie,Cocktail, at least 5 times. After getting to know me he didn't try to sell me bartending school, instead he tried to sell me a dream and I bought it. I mean what 20 year old guy didn't contemplate working at a bar?

MLMs (Multi-Level Marketing Companies) do a great job of using the exact same strategy. Most MLM meetings weather its being done one on one or in front of a large group start with a speaker or video asking if you are living the life you expected? Are you making enough money or are you just living paycheck to paycheck? Do you have the flexibility to travel or are you shackled to your work?  Do you want more? If your answer is yes than we have a vehicle to give you more.

It's only after the prospect acknowledges that they want want more do they offer you the vehicle to get more. Weather its vitamins, long distance or beauty products. The goal isn't to sell them on the product as much as selling them on the dream of a better life. Their strategy is to sell them hope and who doesn't want hope.

Al Lindsey once said, "Man can live 40 days without food, about 3 days without water, about 8 minutes without air, but only for 1 second without hope."

Knowing this information today I now approach selling differently. By trade, I am a bookkeeper. Instead of trying to sell bookkeeping services, I sell my prospective client’s a dream, the dream of having more sleep; a dream of having peace of mind knowing their books are in order; a dream of having more time to spend with their loved ones by having me handle their books.

With this strategy I close more sales than I would have if I just tried to just sell bookkeeping services.

If you are having a hard time closing sales than try a different approach to selling. Instead of focusing on the transaction, focus on building a relationship. Then once the relationship is formed focus your attention on what your product or service can do for them. Look for a dream that you could fulfill or a problem you could solve. Sell that and not the product and watch how many more sales you can make.

In hindsight I look back at my days at the gym and believe if I took the time to get to know my prospective clients I would know if they were trying to get fit before a high school reunion or want to rehabilitate knee. Had I gotten to know them as a person rather than just a number I could have been able to help them and in turn help myself.

The late Zig Ziglar said it best, "You can have every thing in life you want, if you are will just help other people get what they want."