Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Secret of Selling Anything

I am reading Harry Browne's book The Secret of Selling Anything. Actually, it's an old book that he wrote years ago and after his death in 2006, his widow Pamela Wolfe Browne, found two manuscripts and made them available at the Harry Browne website. Harry Browne, if you remember, was the libertarian presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000. I was always a big fan of his, voted for him and read several of his books, including my favorites How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World and Why Government Doesn't Work.

The book on selling is described as "A road map to success for the salesman...who is not aggressive, who is not a smooth 'talker' and who is not an extrovert." Browne uses his libertarian principles in the first chapters of the book to help the reader understand his own nature and that of others. His first law of human nature is "all individuals seek happiness." Browne says that the second law is that happiness is relative, each individual will look for happiness in different ways. Throughout the book, Browne teaches that succeeding at selling means finding out what people want and helping them to get it. A good salesman finds out what will make a person happy enough to part with his or her money. Browne's discussion of libertarian principles and how it applies to selling is worth the read.

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9 Comments:

Blogger J. Bowen said...

Here's a road map to success for the salesman...who is not aggressive, who is not a smooth talker' nd who is not an extrovert: find a different line of work.

People who don't have the basic personality attributes that are almost a requirement to be a good salesman should no more be a salesman than an old, short, fat guy should be an NBA basketball player. I don't understand people's desire to do things that they're clearly not qualified to do.

11:02 AM, October 07, 2011  
Blogger fred said...

I had worked for a super salesman years ago, the head of a big dept. He said: there are two types of salesmen:
1. Those that love the product they sell and would not, could not, sell anything else.
2. Those who love to sell. Doesn't matter what the product.

1:12 PM, October 07, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

there are two types of salesman; those who will lie to close a deal, and there are those who won't.

like fred said.

2:35 PM, October 07, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

My brother is not aggressive or a smooth talker. He is out going. He's made a very good living for 30 or more years selling furniture. He lovers the products he sells, he likes to sell and he won't lie.

If you live in the Knoxville area and need a good deal on furniture, top of the line if you want it, let me know.

7:32 PM, October 07, 2011  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

I'm a salesman, a realtor in fact. And all I know is this. The house sells itself.

There is nothing I can say or do to make the house more attractive to the buyer. It's all about what the buyer wants. Is the house in the right location, neighborhood? Does it have enough square footage, bedrooms and baths?

If not, there's nothing I can say or do about it. So, on to the next house.

People say, the customer is always right. Well, yes, but the real question is, what does the customer want?

Identify that, and you can make a sale.

By the way, I listed and sold 121 houses last year, and pocketed over $200,000 in commissions.

I didn't do that by force selling. I did that by identifying what the buyer was interested in and showing it to him or her, or them.

It's very simple really. People want a fair deal. They want what they want, so provide it for them.

Only then will you make money.

8:47 PM, October 07, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

well done gawain. i was a realtor for nearly 5 years until 1990 and in my last year i made just over $80,000 in 1990 dollars. the housing market market in ontario was crazy those days, with bidding wars not uncommon.

the prevailing maxim in those days was; buyers are liars, and sellers don't tell the truth.

one thing i will say though gawain, the realtor has a vast influence on the buyers decision in many cases, from the houses you choose to show the client, to the order in which you show them, to the financing options and the suggestions you make while showing.

and i found mostly that the woman buys the home while standing in the kitchen, while the man prods around in the basement, garage and attic.

8:46 AM, October 08, 2011  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

Well, Dr. Alistair, I agree that a realtor does have influence over a buyer's decision. But that's not how I work.

I'm primarily a listing agent, mainly for repossessed homes. So my clients are Fannie, Freddie, AHMSI, etc. I do the research, find the house, perform an inspection, write a market analysis, and submit a price opinion. Of course, I have to defer to my client, because the seller sets the price. (Then lowers it when no offers come in. I'm usually right to within +/- 5% of the actual sales price in my price opinion.)

However, when I act as a buyer's agent, I first determine what the buyer wants. Usually it's a young couple looking for their first home, sometimes an older couple looking to upgrade, so I sit down with them and ask a series of questions. I counsel them on financing, then ask what price range they want to shop in. What neighborhood they want to live in, what school district, how many square feet, how many bedrooms and baths, garage space, fence, and so on.

Then I basically do the same thing I do as a seller's agent, research. I print out the houses that match the buyer's specifications, perform a market anaylsis, with comparable listings and sales, and recommend a price offer. I meet with the buyer again and say, these are the houses on the market that meet your criteria and this is what each one will reasonably sell for. Which ones would you like to see?

As an agent, I'm a facilitator. It's my job to make it easy for the seller and the buyer. Naturally, I have a fiduciary responsibility to my client, to get the seller the highest price possible for his property and to get the buyer the house he wants at the price he is willing to pay.

It's all about negotiation. If you treat people fairly and honestly, you will make a sale. And those people will come back to you when they're ready to buy or sell again.

I don't know any other way to do business. And my family has been in the real estate business for 39 years; we own the company. So I grew up learning what works and what does not. Force selling, selective selling do not.

You provide the client and the customer with service that benefits them. It's as simple as that.

But you're right, if she doesn't like the house, it won't get sold.

11:02 AM, October 08, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

I am in industrial sales / applications engineering. I believe Dr. D and GG are right. Basically, I get what I want by helping other people get what they want. I love what I do, and I am sincere. Deceive a fortune 500 company, and you'll be riding on the back of a garbage truck in no time.

And yeah, there are two types of salesmen for the most part. We've all heard the joke about a salesman's lips moving. The funny thing about it, I read from Brian Tracy or Zig Ziglar, is that the average sales person gets lied to about 95 times a day.

7:34 AM, October 09, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Deceive a fortune 500 company, and you'll be riding on the back of a garbage truck in no time.

Yup. My company caught an account executive preparing to lie to a client. The lie never got to the client but the guy was out the door so fast I was amazed. When you build a reputation on quality and trust, you don't tolerate lies.

1:01 PM, October 09, 2011  

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