Simple Steps to Help You Become a Terrible Salesperson
If you’re like most people, you’re reading this newsletter in the hope of finding a few ideas that will make you better at your job. But has it ever occurred to you that maybe you shouldn’t try to get any better? There are other jobs, you know. You could be a florist, or a watermelon farmer, or a delivery driver. I was a delivery driver back in college, and it wasn’t a bad gig.
So to help you transition into the glorious new world of guitar tech or bail bondsman or whatever you end up doing, we first need to transition you out of selling things. And the best way to do that is to help you develop a healthy fear of rejection. So remember this key piece of information:
If every one of your calls doesn’t turn into a sale, you are a crappy salesperson.
You need to expect a 100% conversion rate, because you should know that a 100% conversion rate is categorically impossible.
For example, I have a friend who works as a wealth management analyst for Citigroup. He told me that when he started to build his book of business he made 400-500 calls a week and that his conversion rate was 2%. In his words, ‘For every 100 calls I made, 10 of them wouldn’t immediately hang up on me. Of those 10, five would listen, three would agree to meet with me, and two would sign.’ He is still with Citigroup and now manages about 60 other wealth managers. His diamond-hard belief in the promise of his 2% conversion rate has helped him become an extremely successful salesperson. He owns a home whose annual property taxes cost more than most boats.
And I know you don’t want that. Affluence is overrated – and seriously, who wants the responsibility of authority? Not me. I’d much rather scrape together a meager living and live in constant fear of potential rejection.
However, developing that fear is going to take some work. Fortunately for you, I know what you need to do.
Try once, then give up! It typically takes five to seven ‘touches’ before a potential customer will consider buying whatever you’re selling. Successful salespeople know this and consequently don’t stop after a single phone call or email. You, however, should. That way, when your career goes up in smoke, at least you can say you tried.
Better yet, don’t try at all! Trying is hard, and spending the afternoon playing golf sounds way more fun. Remember, you can’t get rejected if you never make an effort.
Always remember – they’re rejecting YOU: It’s critically important for you to understand this. If you call a potential customer and fail to make a sale, it’s not because they’re on a budget freeze. It’s not because you caught them at the wrong time or in the wrong mood; it’s not because they can’t see an immediate need for what you’re offering; and it’s not because they need time to consider your offer or consult their business partners. It’s because they hate you. If anyone else in the world had called, they’d have bought. They’re probably calling one of your competitors right now just so they can place a multi-million dollar order with anybody but you. I could go on, but that should be enough to make sure you cry yourself to sleep tonight.
There are other techniques to help your sales career stagnate and ultimately crumble, but I’ve run out of space. So I’ll leave you with the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the man who led America through the darkness of World War II and who knew a few things about fear. I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before:
I adore your weekly articles. I wouldn’t want to miss any, as they are always very enlightening, real life, straight to the point, practical and immediately applicable to about any business anywhere in the world.
I have referred you to many others and I can’t understand why some don’t take advantage of all that very high quality material you generously put out there every week for free!
This being said, I really like this last one, because it hit at the place where 99,9999…% of all of us hurt most, even the best, from time to time.
I’d like to add something that I know you know already. But just as a reminder to those who want to call it quit: It doesn’t matter what else you do, you still have to sell yourself to be able to eat at lunch time. If not and you wait until someone buys you, expect your quality of life to become much worst than to have to make 100 calls to get one sale! Also, money matters set aside, you will never again get that tremendous kick and boost one gets every time you make a sale!
Glad you enjoy the post Louis and thanks for the comment!
Even if you aren’t making sales calls, you are always selling yourself! And if you don’t sell yourself, who will?
I love this article! Fun!
Humor is best with a high level of truth in it. As unrealistic as it seems, I’ve said those words and had those feelings from time to time. I thoroughly enjoyed this!
This is great stuff Jeff. Thank you!
I was going to reply with a witty response, but I was afraid you might not like it. I’ll just hide in my email file.
Great article. I’m working on a post about overcoming the fear of the phone so this really resonated with me. I especially enjoyed the sarcasm of reversing the truth. Makes one really think deeply on it all.
The article was enlightening.
Simply put, when making sales calls…make a friend on the other line. People want to feel comfortable with who they are buying from. It’s always good to do research if possible on who or where you are calling. This gives you a baseline when conversing.
Even if you don’t grab the sale, because you made a friend, they will go the extra mile for you, possibly even provide a referral or forward your message off to someone they know who’s interested.
“Making friends” instead of “making calls” is a great way to look at it.
It’s worked for me and I’m in telecommunication sales!
This is a joke, right?
Hey Rob – actually yes! I’m a keynote speaker who teaches people about business by telling them how to do things the wrong way. I think it’s more fun that way!
I usually enjoy reading your articles, but this one actually made me laugh out loud. You exposed the innate fear of rejection that we all must face at some point not just as damaging, which I’ve heard a million times before, but as laughably absurd. It was new, and turned an old adage quite on its head.
Next time I’m on a call and it doesn’t go the way I’ve planned I’ll take a look at that line… “They’re probably calling one of your competitors right now just so they can place a multi-million dollar order with anybody but you. …Run and hide, people, run and hide”
…and all the way to the bank a few hundred calls later.
Great article, I have been a Realtor for 10 years and I still battle with the phone. Face to face is what I most prefer, high touch over high tech for me, however I still gotta make the calls. Have fun??? The harder I work the luckier I get!!
I’ve seen Jeff speak. He’s a riot!