Selling is a learned skill and an art. For professionals, entrepreneurs, small business owners - for all smart hustlers - selling is essential. Whether we're selling a product or service to a prospective customer, or selling an idea to our team - we all sell something, every day, to someone.
In Robert Herjavec's (Shark Tank) latest book, You Don't Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success, he shares advice on what it takes to sell effectively. More importantly, he stresses the value of hard work, the principle that we are not OWED anything from anyone, and the importance of being a good person overall.
Sales Is the Art of Persuasion
Recalling his days working at a debt collection agency, Robert shares a very important aspect of selling. Robert learned that 20 percent of the people in debt would never pay their debts, so he spent very little time with these people, either making quick calls or not calling at all. Instead, he turned his focus to the 80 percent of people who WOULD pay their debt. And instead of hounding them, he got to know them as people.
He turned a debt collections call into a mutually-beneficial call where two people could discuss how to solve a problem.
This is what sales is all about.
Robert writes "Selling is not only about making a sale to a customer or a client. At heart, it’s also about persuading someone to see your side of things and reach an outcome that ideally benefits both of you."
Another important concept Robert writes about is knowing the difference between "want" and "need." For example, the price point and how you sell will be different for someone who “needs” a car compared to someone who “wants” a nice car. For the former, you may stress practicality, reliability, and affordable price; for the former, you may take a more emotional approach.
Want to learn more from Robert?
- Check out Ramon's exclusive interview with Robert Herjavec on the power of "smart hustle" here.
- Watch our interview with Robert about hiring, scaling and more here.
The 4 Most Important Traits of Salespeople
Robert's family, in particular, his father, is an important influence on who Robert is today. Robert new very little English and was teased at school, but seeing his immigrant father work so hard gave Robert the grit and determination to succeed. Robert wanted to prove to himself and to others that he would be a success in life.
He writes, "The deprivations in my years as the only child in an immigrant family did not make me an extrovert. They made me persistent. I grew determined to succeed in ways that the bullies could never understand and could never match."
His own story, and his experience with other business owners and sales people, has led Robert to identify the four of the most important traits of a salesperson:
- They believe in what they do.
- They enjoy the company of people.
- They spend more time listening than talking.
- They make the connection between selling skills and life.
On Becoming Great
You Don't Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success is about more than "sales;" it's also Robert's heartfelt views on how to succeed in the "game" of life. How can you become great at something? Here's Robert's sage advice:
Begin by identifying something you are good at. It should be a talent or an ability that comes naturally to you, and that you enjoy doing. If you enjoy doing it enough—if, in a moment of total honesty, you can say that you would do it whether you were paid to or not—you have probably found your passion. Next, work until you become good at it. Then, when you are good, keep working until you become great at it. And when you achieve greatness, never stop trying to get even better.
Robert gives lessons on how to be great as an entrepreneur, but he doesn’t leave out those who aren’t entrepreneurs. He also shares advice on how you can succeed at your job, as well as resume and job hunting tips.
The most important nugget in You Don't Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success is the aspect of understanding the sacrifices you might have to make to become an entrepreneur. While it's tough enough being married and in a healthy relationship, it's even more difficult when you're a small business owner. Never lose sight of the most important people in your life - your children, your spouse, and your community.