“Everyone lives by selling something.” Robert Louis Stevenson
Everybody is in the business of selling something. Everybody. You may be a full-time salesperson selling a product or service. You may be a manager selling her team members on the need for a change in procedures. Or you may be a father selling his kid on the wisdom of following your curfew. But you are a salesperson nonetheless.
Of course, you may not be the most effective salesperson. And that’s sad — because there are few skills in life more important than your sales skills.
So let me give you a few tips on how you can sell yourself, your ideas, your products and services more effectively. Used appropriately, they will help you get more of what you want out of life.
=> 1. You’ve Got To Understand The Person You Are Trying To Sell.
You’ve heard the old expression, “Different strokes for different folks.” It’s true. That’s why I teach the five love languages and the five work languages at my Peak Performance Boot Camp. When you learn the preferred “language” of your spouse or coworker, and when you speak their “language,” connections and cooperation are almost instantaneous.
Kristin Clayton said her son learned that lesson very quickly when he went away to college. When she called him and got his answering machine, she heard, “Hi, this is Rick. If you are someone from the phone company, I’ve already sent the money. If this is one of my parents, please send money. If it’s my financial institution, you didn’t lend me enough money. If you’re a friend, you owe me money. If you’re a female, I have plenty of money.”
In a silly kind of way, Rick was right in line with Dr. Willard Harley’s research. According to Dr. Harley, men and women each have five key needs, and their lists are completely different. He says one of the top five needs for women is financial security, and when a man can offer that, feelings of love and respect are easier to develop. Rick seemed to understand the young woman he was trying to sell.
Effective salespeople understand their clients — what makes them tick and what ticks them off. It’s like the salesman who told his customer, “I’d like you to accept this fine hunting knife as a gift for carrying my product in your store.”
The merchant said, “Ah, my conscience wouldn’t let me take a gift.”
“Okay,” the salesman said. “What if I sell it to you for a dime?”
“In that case,” the merchant replied. “I’ll take two.”
Quite simply you can’t try to sell everyone the same way. You’ve got to understand the person you are trying to sell and adapt your message.
=> 2. You’ve Got To Ask For What You Want.
You can’t expect people to magically read your mind and just give you what you want. And you can’t tell someone else, “If you really loved me, you’d know what I wanted.” That’s sheer lunacy.
You’ve got to ask. It’s like the patient who said, “Doctor, every time I eat fruit I get this strange urge to give people all my money.” To which the doctor replied, “Would you like an apple or a banana?”
Of course that’s a silly example, but let’s get serious and extremely practical about how asking can work for you.
Ted Nicholas talks about that in his book, “Magic Words That Bring You Riches.” He gives an example of how you can rent a luxury vehicle for the price of an economy model — if you know how to ask.
The next time you arrive at the auto rental desk, ask, “Do you have a Mercedes (or whatever luxury car you want) in your fleet?” Most likely they will say they do.
Then ask, “Is it possible to rent one of your Mercedes for the same price as what I would pay for the Ford?” Incredibly, Nicholas has found that about 80% of the time they say “Yes.” So he drives out with a Mercedes for the price of a Ford.
And what’s the worst that could happen if you do ask? The agent could say, “No.” Are you any worse off? Of course not. You’ll just drive off with the car you reserved.
Another possibility is that they may reply, “Sir, we don’t have a Mercedes, but would you settle for a Lincoln?” And once again you drive away in a luxury car.
Or let me give you some practical asking tools for when it comes to getting discounts on hotel stays. I know about this one because I’ve stayed in hotels at least 100 nights every year for 21 years as I speak around the world.
Find a hotel that you like; call them up, and ask to reserve a room that meets your requirements. The clerk will then give you the rate for the time you wish to stay, say $150 a night.
Then ask, “What is your best corporate rate?” As Mr. Nicholas would say, these are magic words because almost always the clerk will quote you a lower price. If you don’t ask this question, you’re stuck with the higher rate.
After he/she quotes you the corporate rate — perhaps $110 a night — ask, “Is that the very best you can do?”
How does the hotel respond to this? Sometimes they’ll tell you that’s the best they can do. But other times, they may say something like, “Well, how about $99?”
I’m telling you it’s worth it to ask these simple, no-risk questions. And believe me, most people don’t ask — especially Americans. We’re terrible negotiators compared to other people in the world. Americans are taught to accept whatever price someone quotes them — and that’s a big mistake.
The Bible says we must ask before we can expect to receive. It’s good advice spiritually as well as practically.
Action: Practice asking for what you want at least 10 times this week. After all, if you want to G-E-T, you have to A-S-K.