Advanced Selling For Dummies

By Ralph R. Roberts Joe Kraynak

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2007 Ralph R. Roberts
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-470-17467-8

Chapter One

Boosting Sales with Advanced Selling

In This Chapter

* Defining success on your own terms

* Fueling success with people power

* Believing in and then selling yourself

* Generating ideas, leads, and opportunities

* Building a culture of success

Advanced selling is the full-court press approach to achieving success. It requires clear vision, careful planning, shameless self-promotion, a discerning vigilance, the ability and willingness to take calculated risks, and a dogged determination that I like to refer to as sticktoitism.

Advanced selling is about more than boosting sales and profits, although that's certainly a part of it and is probably the biggest reason you're reading this book. The strategies and tips you master as an advanced seller can also be applied to other aspects of your life to achieve both your professional and personal goals.

In this chapter, I reveal what goes into making a top-producing salesperson and assist you in discovering what you need to accomplish to achieve your goals, whatever they may be.

Defining and Achieving Your Own Destiny

Selling is like life itself - you're free to define "success" in your own terms and then plot your own course to get there. For one salesperson, success may be measured in status, and being the top salesperson in the company would be the ultimate achievement. For someone else, success may mean lots of money to afford a certain lifestyle. Others may want more time to spend with friends and family or an early retirement. You may have some other goal in mind.


Your destiny is yours to define and achieve. Don't let anyone else define what "happiness" should mean for you. Even if you were to achieve your goals, your happiness and satisfaction would always elude you, because you would be achieving someone else's dream.

In the following sections, I guide you through the process of establishing a positive mindset, setting goals, and plotting your course. For additional details, check out Chapters 2 and 3.


As motivational speaker Art Fettig told me, "It's hard to be healthy, wealthy, and happy at the same time." However, striving to achieve a balanced life that leads to health, wealth, and happiness is certainly a noble pursuit.

Establishing a positive mindset

Success stands at the end of many different journeys, but it always begins with the right attitude - a positive mindset. If you've been around negative people all your life, your mindset may be holding you back.

Just as buggy software can bog down a computer and cause it to crash, negative thoughts can slow you down and derail your efforts to succeed. You may have to reboot your mind and fill it with positive affirmations and a strong belief that you are perfectly capable of achieving your dreams. Here are some suggestions on how to give yourself a positive attitude adjustment:

  •   Find a sales hero - a role model to inspire you.

  •   Shadow a successful salesperson to find out how they achieve success.

  •   Read inspirational books or listen to motivational tapes.

  •   Fill your mind with positive affirmations.

  •   Hang out with positive people and avoid naysayers.

    Surround yourself with positive thoughts, people, and experiences, so negativity has no space to take root and grow. If negative thoughts begin to creep in, visit my friend Mr. Positive, Dave Boufford, at He can get you pumped up in a hurry.


    You would be surprised at the number of top salespeople or speakers who would welcome the opportunity to meet with you, share a cultural event, or join you for dinner when they're passing through your town. If you know that one of your sales heroes is going to be in town, try to contact the person and arrange a meeting. This can be the perfect opportunity to meet your hero in person and begin a relationship that may develop into a mentoring situation.

    Setting stimulating goals

    Most sales coaches stress that goals should be realistic, which is somewhat true, but realistic goals that don't make you stretch are of little use. I prefer to encourage the salespeople I coach to set stimulating goals. A goal should always make you reach outside your comfort zone. It should always include some level of risk. A good goal should include the following:

  •   Statement of the goal

  •   Starting date

  •   Completion date

  •   Statement of how success is going to be measured


    Sales quotas can do more harm than good, particularly if they are pinned to a deadline. A sales quota can often make you so motivated to close a sale that you're powerless to negotiate with the buyer. Buyers are often well aware of sales quotas and can use them to negotiate a more attractive price and terms. Try to think of different goals, such as acquiring a certain number of new customers or increasing the number of cold calls you make by a certain percentage.

    Plotting your course

    The best laid plans of mice and men may often fail, but trying to achieve a goal without having a solid plan in place is pure folly. Plot your course from point A to point B, so you know where you are, where you're going, and how you're going to get there before you even take that first step:

    1. Determine where you are first. By logging your point of departure you can more effectively measure your progress later.

    2. Set your goal or destination, as described in the previous section.

    3. Include a timeframe to keep yourself on track.

    4. Identify your objectives. Objectives are like milestone markers, rewarding you when you complete each leg of the journey.

    5. Plan an overall strategy for achieving success. What sort of tactical plan can ensure success with the least amount of effort?

    6. Identify tasks. Break the process down into individual tasks to make the plan feel less overwhelming and more manageable.

    7. Identify the resources you have on hand, including personnel and equipment.


    Don't get hung up thinking that you have to do everything yourself. Identify the tasks you are well-qualified to perform and then delegate the remaining tasks to more capable people who have more time. A good rule of thumb for hiring people is this: If you earn more than enough per hour to cover the cost of hiring someone else to do the work, hire someone. Also, if you can do more and sell more with an assistant than you can without one, hire the assistant. At least try it. See Chapter 13 for more about hiring the right people to fill the gaps.

    Implementing your plan

    Sales and business consultants often discover that clients are more than willing to pay them $300 or more per hour for advice and then rarely put that advice into practice. They know what they have to do to achieve success, but they're unwilling to take that essential next step - implementing the plan.


    After setting your goal and drawing up a solid plan, put your plan into action. If it doesn't quite work, make the necessary adjustments and try again. Successful businesspeople rarely succeed on their first attempt. They fail, learn, make adjustments, and persist. Unsuccessful people fail and give up or never even get started. I've known salespeople who have stuck with a prospect for 14 months and then given up only to discover that the customer decided to buy in the 15th month. If it were easy, everyone would do it.

    Weaving Advanced Selling into Your Life

    Watch the top performers in any profession and you observe a quality that they all share - almost every single one of them loves what they do. Even if they weren't getting paid to do what they do, they'd probably still be doing it.

    My co-author, Joe, spent some time with the folks at Incredible Technologies, creators of the most popular coin-op video game on the planet - Golden Tee Golf. He interviewed the game testers - the quality control people who tested the video games 8-12 hours a day. One of the questions he asked was, "What do you guys do when you get home at night?" Their answer, "We play video games."

    To become a top salesperson, you have to love selling, and then you have to live it, as I explain in the following sections.


    Don't let success drive you to failure. If you're a top salesperson, you will eventually be asked to be the sales manager. I highly recommend that you pass on this "promotion." Managing salespeople is no job for a top salesperson. It's downright toxic. Not only would you find it frustrating, but you would probably end up driving the other salespeople right out the door. If you own your own business, avoid promoting your top salesperson to manager for the same reasons.

    Envisioning your success

    What does sales success look like to you? Are you sitting in an office all day making cold calls? Driving around from one disinterested client to another trying to drum up business? Or do you have people calling you to place orders? Do you have to hire an assistant to handle the extra business? Do you have more opportunities than you can possibly pursue?

    Your first step in achieving success is to envision it. Most people can't get past this first step, because they don't even know what they would love to do. Dream, and then jot down a detailed description of that dream, so you can close your eyes and see it playing out in your mind.


    Prior to May 6, 1954, the date on which Roger Bannister ran a mile in under 4 minutes, people thought that running a 4-minute mile was physically impossible. As soon as Bannister did it, other runners were miraculously able to run 4-minute miles. Why could they do it now when they couldn't before? Because now they could see themselves doing it.

    Walking the walk

    You can talk the talk. You know what you should be doing to achieve the success you desire. The next step is to walk the walk. For salespeople, walking the walk consists of doing the following:

  •   Practicing your craft. Practice selling at work, at home, at the airport, in the taxi, at the grocery store, and wherever else you happen to be in contact with other people. The key to selling is being able to establish personal relationships with your clients. Practice by making meaningful connections with everyone you meet.

  •   Taking risks to stretch your limits. The people who make the most money take the biggest risks, and that applies to sales as much as it applies to anything in the world of business. You have to be willing to invest money and take some chances. Otherwise, you're little more than an hourly employee hired to take orders.

  •   Embracing change as a growth strategy. The Internet, new technologies, and the global economy have combined forces to accelerate change to a dizzying pace. The only way to survive and thrive in this environment is to embrace rather than resist change.

  •   Investing in your own success. As an entrepreneurial salesperson, you have to act like a business, and that means investing in your own growth and development, the latest gadgets to boost sales and productivity, and support personnel, so you have more time to spend on what you do best and what earns your company the biggest profits. Besides, walking around with the latest gadgets is cool. Sometimes, I forget to pack one of my gadgets just so I have an excuse to buy the latest version.

  •   Playing with new technologies. Tech savvy customers are relying more on the Internet for their information and are using a variety of communications technologies to keep in touch, including cell phones, e-mail, text messaging, VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol or Internet phones), and blogs. To stay in touch with the latest generation of shoppers, you'd better be tech savvy, too.

  •   Hiring an assistant. Hire or be hired is what I say. Hire people to take on tasks that they can perform better, faster, and cheaper than you can, and then treat them well. The more work you can outsource to others, the more time and energy you can spend on dollar-intensive activities. See the following section, "Recruiting People Power to Fuel Your Success," for details.

  •   Achieving a balanced lifestyle. Being a successful human being means much more than achieving career success. It means remaining healthy, building rewarding relationships, supporting your community, and perhaps even raising children. Failing in one area of your life can lead to failures in other areas.

  •   Giving without expectations. Sales coaches often recommend that you "give to get." I'm telling you to "give to give." If you're expecting something in return, you're not really giving - you're bartering. Give for the sheer pleasure of giving.


    Work on being successful in all areas of your life. Without the strong relationship I have with my wife and children, I would not have achieved the same level of success in my career. Success feeds on success, and, unfortunately, failure feeds on failure. Encourage everyone around you to set goals and pursue their dreams.

    Recruiting People Power to Fuel Your Success

    Overachievers are often self-reliant types who refuse to ask for any assistance. They like to achieve everything on their own, so they can take full credit. When you're in sales, that approach is nonsense. The fact is that you can do more and do it better by harnessing the power of people.

    If you need proof, just look around at the major corporations. Do you think they could be major corporations without hiring people? Think of yourself as a mini-corporation, You, Inc. When you want to grow your business, you'd better hang out the Help Wanted sign and start interviewing some qualified candidates. Here are some tips for harnessing people power to fuel your success:

  •   Identify the missing links to your success. What do you want to do that you can't do because you are lacking the time or expertise? As soon as you know what you need and don't have in terms of talent, skill, and time, you have a pretty good idea of the people you need to hire or partner with - people who have what you need.

  •   Outsource time-consuming chores. Figure out how much you earn per hour. If you earn $50 an hour selling and you're cleaning your house over the weekend when you can hire someone for $10 an hour to do it, that's borderline insane ... unless, of course, cleaning your house is therapeutic or something you enjoy doing. Hire someone so you have more time to implement the strategies I present throughout this book.

  •   Get yourself an intern. Colleges and even some high schools have internships or coop programs in which students are willing to work for free or for a pittance in exchange for job experience. Look into these programs for some cheap and often highly qualified workers.

  •   Hire the talent you're missing. Salespeople rarely hesitate to invest in a gadget or service they think they need, but when I recommend that they hire an assistant, they immediately find all sorts of excuses. The fact is that hiring an assistant has never been easier. You can even hire a virtual assistant, as explained in Chapter 13, so you don't have to deal with messy payroll issues and benefits. A virtual assistant works as a freelancer for however long you need the assistant's skills.

  •   Cash in on R-Commerce (Relationship-Commerce). On its surface, the economy is driven by the exchange of goods and services, but beneath this surface economy is the real economy, driven by relationships. By focusing on your relationships with customers, colleagues, and even your competitors, you can grow your sales infinitely more than by focusing simply on the exchange of goods and services. See Chapter 14 for details.

  •   Team up with a personal partner. It's far too easy to skip out on your responsibilities when you're accountable only to yourself. By teaming up with a personal partner to set goals and keep one another on track, you can achieve much higher levels of success than by acting alone. In Chapter 7, I show you how to choose a personal partner and work together to ensure mutual success.


    Excerpted from Advanced Selling For Dummies by Ralph R. Roberts Joe Kraynak Copyright © 2007 by Ralph R. Roberts. Excerpted by permission.
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