Want Success? Love to Sell
The most successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople share a single, essential characteristic: they're good at selling. No idea, expertise, product or service ever became successful without somebody selling it to investors, peers, employees and customers.
I can, and have, published hundreds of posts explaining how to improve your ability to sell, but up until now, I've held back a secret. It's a secret so powerful and so essential that it will seem painfully obvious when I reveal it in this post.
The Big Secret of Success
The secret is this: the way to become a great salesperson (and therefore successful in whatever you do) is to enjoy selling.
Take Steve Jobs. By all accounts, Jobs was often miserable and frustrated when working with other people and creating new products. But on the stage, selling those new products to the waiting world... the joy in his face was marvelous to behold.
I've seen the same phenomenon in many industries. The CEOs who are the most successful are those who get a bigger kick from meeting with customers than from handling day-to-day operations.
The secret certainly holds true in sales and marketing. I can tell within seconds of meeting a salesperson or a marketer whether or not they love their job. And, not surprisingly, I've watched the ones who do love selling make the most money.
If you truly want to be successful at whatever you do, you should now be asking yourself: "How can I learn to really love part of my job that involves selling what I have to offer?" If that's what you want to know, read on.
How to Love Selling
In my experience, people who truly love selling see themselves in service to a higher purpose. For CEOs like Steve Jobs, that higher purpose is "changing the world," which was the tone of every sales pitch Jobs ever gave.
That idea--"change the world--is deeper than it seems at first glance. The reason successful people want to "change the world" is that they want to make it a better place, where people are happier, safer and where there's less pain and suffering.
However, it's impossible to change the world if nobody knows or understand what you're selling. Selling, in other words, is the vehicle through which you change the world. Without selling, every idea falls on dry and barren ground.
Selling, therefore, is nothing more nor less than a way to be of service to others and that's where the enjoyment comes in. When you're selling, you're creating a better world for yourself and for others. How can you not enjoy that?
This concept runs contrary to the popular notion of the slick salesperson who cares only about making the deal. Nevertheless, it's the way that truly successful people feel when they're selling something they believe in.
The Bliss of Selling
This true nature of selling and how to enjoy it was recently made clear to me when I reconnected with an old friend, a guy whom I consider to be among the most successful people I've ever met.
His name is David Rotman, and when I originally met him, he was a "mover and shaker" in Hollywood, the executive producer of the classic fantasy movie Dragonheart and co-producer of the action film Cliffhanger, among other projects.
Make no mistake about it, producing movies is a sales job par excellence, which involves getting multiple people to buy into your vision of what's possible and then keeping them motivated to make that vision a reality.
Since then David has enjoyed success in other areas, like writing and selling screenplays, and promoting special events like the Agape Lovefest. He recent left Hollywood to help out at his family business, one of the largest furniture stores in the world: the famous Rotmans in Worcester, MA.
Talking to David is like taking a bath in positive energy. When he talks about selling (in all the many forms that he's been successful at it), he uses the word "BLISS" which he defines as an acronym: "Beaming Love In Sacred Service."
Right now, David is applying that concept to selling furniture while he learns the business from the bottom up, but I believe that the concept of BLISS has been the core of the many successes that he's had in his life.
How to Make it Real
Here's how to create, foster and expand the love of selling that will, in turn, help achieve success:
1. Have a Mental Touchstone
Decide why you do what you do and how it helps people and then use that deeper understanding as a way to keep yourself on track. In David's case, it's the concept of BLISS. Whenever he's dealing with people, he internally reviews his motivations and actions to make certain that they're coming from that core idea.
2. Focus on Real People
Rather than abstract "markets" or "customer bases," think about real people who you're really helping. David, for instance, takes photographs of himself with other people he meets, famous and not famous alike. One wall of his office in Hollywood was covered with these photos, a constant reminder of the emotional connections that he'd made.
3. Learn the Craft of Selling
It's easier to love doing something if you're good at it, so the time and energy that you put into learning how to sell, is time and energy that will help you love selling. The idea is to create a self-reinforcing system where your ability and your love for the craft proceed in lockstep and apace.
4. Consider Connecting with David
David is creating a network of people who believe that business in general and selling in particular is meant to be a blissful experience. If you're interested, consider connecting with him via his LinkedIn profile.
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GEOFFREY JAMES | Columnist
Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for Inc.com, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed over a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.