I am flattered that Brandon Bornancin wants to interview me for his upcoming book on the secrets to selling. I fear that I may be a little disappointing.
When Brandon and his team first asked, my response was, “The real secret is there are no secrets. You have to do the work!” I’ve been saying this in this blog, in keynotes, on LinkedIn—wherever I have the opportunity.
Somehow, that’s not what people want to hear. Somehow they want to believe there is just one thing, properly executed, causes the customer to immediately succumb, granting a meeting, issuing a PO, doing something.
And of course there are 100’s of gurus who cater to this wishful thinking. They proclaim to have discovered the secret, usually stating, “If you just do this……” That’s usually followed by a “Buy my book, enroll in my seminar, sign up for my video series….”
Of course, they’ve discovered the secret to their sales, a quote attributed to PT Barnum states, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”
There are no secrets to effective selling, we’ve known what drives sales success for decades, if not centuries. Sadly, too few people are committed to doing those things that drive success.
It’s those people who do those things day after day, week after week, month after month that achieve success. It’s those people that do those things in every customer encounter, every time that create differentiated value causing customers to want to buy from those people.
Perhaps, in my darker moments, I wonder if all of this is a sham, maybe people don’t really want to be successful. There’s some evidence to this, both at a managerial and sales person level. It’s the commitment to continuing to do the things that don’t work. Why would people who want to be successful be so committed to continuing to do the things that don’t work? Even worse, why are they so committed to doing these things that don’t work at ever escalating volume and velocity?
All one has to do is open email, look at (please don’t answer) incoming calls, look at LinkedIn or other social channels. We are pummeled with people committed to doing what doesn’t work. Whether by choice or because their managers are telling them to do. All we have to do is agree to one sales call. 90% of all the calls I see are about them and their product. They just want to pitch, it becomes my job to figure out whether I want to buy. Very few actually try to help me buy. They think they are, but all they are doing is regurgitating facts about their solutions and talking about how wonderful it will be.
Happily, there are some sales people and managers that want to excel. There are some who want to be the best, to have an impact on their customers, and to be successful. There are those that recognize the shortcut to success is doing the work. And they execute that work daily. And in the excellence they bring to that execution, people wonder, “what’s their secret to success,” when that secret is in front of them.