Posts Tagged ‘successful selling

03
Jul
14

book girl

A tribute to Charlie "Tremendous" Jones from the sales force at Southwestern.

A tribute to Charlie “Tremendous” Jones from the sales force at Southwestern.

Ever since I got my first work release at the tender age of 14 I have worked. I worked in fast food, retail, at a summer resort in housekeeping; you name it, I did it. One of the jobs I had in between college years was selling books door to door with a company called Southwestern Book Company, now known as Southwestern Advantage. My father was a true believer in the role of sales in developing a person as well as being a book lover of extreme conviction.

He highly recommended that I consider working for a summer with this group. After all, he told me, if I could knock on a door cold and make a sale I would have successfully completed one of the hardest things I’d ever do in life. Sign me up!! I was all for getting the hard stuff out of the way early so I could move on to greater experiences. He also told me that when a prospect opened their door to put my head in first instead of my foot. That way if they slammed the door on me I could keep talking.

I found out quickly that selling books with Southwestern was unlike any other previous summer job. You are completely on your own to get up, get out, and get results. No one is making you punch a time clock or allowing you to sit behind a computer and surf for 7 hours and 50 minutes a day. And although there were no cell phones in my day, the company still requires cell phones to be left in the student’s home or vehicle.

It truly was a crash course in self motivation, grace under fire, thinking on your feet, and handling rejection. The goal was to knock on as many doors as possible so as to hit the law of averages and get several sales in a day. I had a difficult time with that much rejection so I modified it a bit.

I sold in the coal-mining hills of Bluefield, West Virginia my first summer. Rather than knock on 20 doors and sell 2, I would knock on 2 doors and sell two. By taking time, I was able to develop lasting relationship with these people. Some I even remained pen pals with for years to come. They cooked me meals, shared their family photos, and yes, bought my books. People who had houses with dirt floors saw the value in my $60 two-volume condensed encyclopedia set. Sometimes, if money was short, I would barter with them. I even ended up with a kitten and some moonshine (but obviously didn’t drink it since I still have my eyesight).

The next summer I sold in Blacksburg, Virginia, a much more affluent area. Guess what? They didn’t buy my books. They thought they were too good for my books. And there I learned that the people with the most resources at their disposal are often the ones who lack the most. I couldn’t even get a word in edgewise. So back to my country roots I went, where folks knew a good deal when they saw it and recognized books to be the transformative tool that they are.

You can’t scare me. I’ve sold books door to door. The military was a cakewalk after this experience. I also learned that when someone said “No” what they meant was that I hadn’t done my job in showing them the true value of my product. That was a pretty big lesson to learn so early in life.

So if a book salesperson knocks on your door, please take the time to hear them out. They are doing a job few others would even attempt. And I can guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised by their tremendous products and will be proud to add them to your library.

08
Jul
13

Death of a Sale

Death of a SaleLike many business owners, I get approached by individuals trying to sell me their services or products. You’d think in this day and age that certain approaches would have died decades ago, and yet I still hear them, repeatedly.

To sell successfully, you first have to sell yourself. If you don’t have a pleasing approach or reputation, you aren’t going to be signing many clients. You want to be able to say you nailed it, not you killed it. In life, I may have to suffer fools gladly, but that doesn’t include foolish salespeople. Here are the top three ways to guarantee within the first thirty seconds that I will never do business with you.

  1. The “No One Knows You Exist” Approach. I find this used most often by groups selling SEO (search engine optimization) services. If I had a nickel for every time a salesperson called me or sent me an email stating that I was “unfindable” on the web I would be a rich woman. Telling someone that they are invisible will never persuade them they need your services, especially when coming from a complete stranger. Just who do you think you are? Leading with a negative will guarantee a quick end to the phone call or a one-way trip to my spam folder.
  2. The “You’re Nothing Without My Product” Approach. This person will compliment your product offerings then explain how it has a glaring hole because you do not carry their product. After all, you would be so much more successful if you did! I’m not sure how telling a business owner they are incomplete without you will get you any purchase orders either. I steer clear of people who think it’s all about them. This goes double for salespeople with this egotistical approach. There is no room for arrogance in sales.
  3. The “Your Reputation Precedes You” Approach. Before I engage in business with anyone, I check them out. You can find out anything about any person or business these days. I once had a now-defunct management consulting firm hand me a business card with a Better Business Bureau credential on it. When I looked them up online, they were under investigation and had a BBB rating of “F”. You can also find lawsuits, unpaid bills, and unfavorable reviews online. Sales people need to remember that their personal reputation and the reputation of their company precedes them. I don’t care about how much money you can make me; if I can’t trust you, I ain’t buyin’.

Always remember that sales is about getting people to like you, trust you, and feel that you are going to offer them value. So avoid these poisonous behaviors lest you kill any chance of a deal with the first words out of your mouth.

Death of a Sale




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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