This video is about 3 sales lessons that I have learnt running 5 businesses over the last 15 years as an entrepreneur and chief salesman. I thought I was good at sales when I first set up my own company. I was not. I had a lot to learn.

Sales is about getting in front of the right people, regularly engaging with people and keeping yourself in a positive, curious, interested mental state.

The 3 Keys to Effective Sales

In this video I share 3 keys:

  1. Is the M.A.N. in the room?  (MAN=Money + Authority + Need).
  2. Focus on Rhythym, not outcomes;
  3. Get into the right mental state.

Have a great week 😉

PS Here are 3 gems of wisdom from Rich Mulholland’s Sales tip video:

  • “If the audience isn’t listening, it’s your fault… not theirs.”
  • “Don’t change how loud you yell, change the story you tell.”
  • “Pick carefully who you are telling your story to.”

There is a classic sales interview question where the interview pushes a pen towards the interviewee and says “sell me this pen.”  You might have seen the question in the movie The Wolf of Wall Street.

How do you Sell a Pen?

Don’t start with the pen.

Start with the person in front of you.

  1. Do they need a pen?  “Are you in the market for a pen?”  If not: go find someone else who needs a pen.
  2. Can they afford the pen?  “What’s your price range?”  If not: go find someone else who needs a pen and can afford one.
  3. Can they make the decision now?  “Are you looking to leave today with a pen?”  If not: go find someone else who needs a pen, can afford one and has the authority to make the purchase.

Don’t push pens at people.  “This is a great pen”, “This lasts longer than other pens”, “This is a better colour than our competition”…  all nonsense if the person in front of you is not interested in a new pen.

How to sell a Pen

Find people who need pens, can afford them and can decide today.

Advanced Pen Selling – AKA “Rainmaking”

There are times when you need to “make a market” for your product or service. You cannot just address existing demand, perhaps because your product is new or the marketplace is uneducated.

There was once a famous sales person, let us call her Anna, who was invited in to speak to one of the most senior politicians in the UK government. The Lord said “I hear you are an expert in sales. Sell me this glass of water.”

Anna, our sales expert, smiles. She takes the trash can that is in the room and slowly starts filling it with paper. When it is stuffed full of paper, she sits back down.

She takes out a match. She lights the match.

She looks directly at the Lord as she drops the match into the paper-filled trash can.

She waits a few seconds for the paper to catch fire.

As the face of the Lord starts to show panic, she now asks “How much do you want this glass of water now?”

Establishing the Context of the Decision

An advanced sales person is able to shift the perspective of the decision maker.

However, the focus remains on the person, not on the pen nor on the glass of water.

Sales is always about the person you are engaging with. What are their joys and what are their struggles? What is quality of life for them? What pains have they just accepted as normal and you can show them that they don’t have to just continue to suffer?

P.S. If you liked this post you might also like Fish where the Fish are and The 3 biggest Objections to overcome when Selling.

…not where you would like them to be.

I spent over 10 years building entrepreneurial ventures that had a lot of selling involved (insurance, business services, restaurant franchises, aeroplanes).

Fish Where the Fish Are

I met a young entrepreneur last week at Startupbootcamp.  He told me “I am not good at sales”.  I said “What do you mean?”.  He said that he can’t seem to keep prospects interested.  I asked him how he selected his target prospects.  He returned a blank stare.

I said “do you try to sell to everyone you meet?”

He didn’t say anything but the body language was saying “well, yes of course”

This is how to die young as a salesperson.  

My daughter loves fishing.  To be honest, she loves the idea that she has of fishing, rather than the reality of fishing.  We have a small cottage by the beach in Costa Brava and often we will go and spend some time “fishing”.  I don’t really want to catch anything, I just want to chill out with her while we watch the sea and the sun setting and the changes of nature.  She wants to catch fish.

If I want to catch fish I go to one place.  If I don’t fancy cleaning and gutting a fish, I go to other places.

The place where I go to fish is the place where the fish are.

The place where I go to not fish, is any place that the fish are not.

Fishing Well, Selling Well

Fish wisely:  “Fish where the fish are” – not randomly, or where you would like to be.

Selling to a person who is not the M.A.N. is a waste of breath.  M is money, A is authority and N is need.  If the MAN is not in the room, be polite and leave.

Find People who Want to Change

Who are your best clients?  Where can you find more?  Target well. 

In my aviation business we discovered that the people that were most happy to regularly meet were often competitors interested in learning about our business (and copying our brochures, contracts and process). We learnt to be very careful and take time to bring prospects through a long (2-4 months) process before we would actually pitch the deal and put a contract in front of them.  It made a real difference – not only in more effective sales, but in a major improvement in my personal motivation and enjoyment of the sales process.

Photo Credit: Nicolas Valentin