Sales Maxims For Life

by Jacob Wright

1. The minute you start worrying about whether or not you are going to succeed, you’ve already cut your chances in half.

2. The end result of worry and doubt is more doubt and more worry.

3. Make yourself lucky by thinking “I’ll see it when I believe it!.” . . not, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

4. Be careful what you wish for. In the end, you ordinarily will end up with what you expect . . . and will accept.

5. A true salesman is not simply a passive order-taker. If you’re not aggressively interested in making the sale, it won’t be there for you.

6. All things being equal, people would rather buy from their friends.

Corollary: All things not being equal, people would still rather buy from their friends.

7. If you don’t believe in yourself or your product . . . why should anyone else?

8. If selling is not fun for you, it won’t be fun for the customer. Don’t let the economic whip become your only motivation for selling.

9. Advertising and marketing may provide the ingredients but someone still has to make the stew.

10. Sales is a contact sport.

Corollary: You can’t sell to someone you’re not in contact with.

11. If you are only thinking about spending your commission, the prospect will often come up with financial concerns that make sure you don’t.

12. Attention follows attention. Keep your attention on providing service to the customer and they’ll follow you.

13. Listen at least twice as much as you talk.

14. Play to your strengths and you’ll get the most out of the cards you’re dealt.

15. Remember, the one thing that sets you apart from the rest is that you’re unique . . . just like everyone else.

16. Setting unreal expectations for the client is a recipe for disaster.

Corollary: Nobody really expects you to work for nothing. Charge a fair amount and then deliver a bit more than expected. You’ll both be happier.

17. Follow up to make sure the customer actually gets what you have promised them.

Corollary: Don’t promise them something you know can’t be delivered.

18. Motion creates emotion. A motionless salesman creates nothing.

19. Emotion is the “secret weapon” all successful salespeople understand and use.

20. People buy emotionally and then justify it logically.

Corollary: Logic makes people think. Emotion makes people act! Which would you prefer?

21. If you can’t identify with and understand the clients’ feelings or difficulties, neither of you will be happy with the sales process.

22. Intelligent questioning and active listening is the way to discover what the prospect really wants.

Corollary: If you’re doing all the talking, you’ll end up knowing nothing more than you started with.

23. When the prospect is “sold” it’s time to stop selling. Know when to shut up or you can talk yourself out of the sale after it was made.

24. If the client doesn’t see you as the solution . . . you’re a problem!

25. Any prospect can be made to become “resistive” when pushed too hard.

Corollary: Percussive maintenance (whacking something to get it to work) is rarely effective on clients.

26. Clients may not know exactly what they want . . . but they are usually very certain about what they don’t.

27. Any hidden flaw in your sales knowledge or skills never remains hidden for long.

Corollary: Do your homework before the presentation. Your weakest areas will inevitably become exposed under the stress of a live selling situation.

28. Formula for avoiding criticism

a. Say nothing.
b. Do nothing.
c. Be nothing.

25. Any expressed objection is a selling opportunity.

Corollary: Prospects express objections only if they’re interested.

26. When an indifferent customer starts coming up with objections, they’re starting to consider buying. Don’t give up too quickly, you’re almost there.

27. Unless you can get the prospect to see a personal benefit for themselves in what you’re selling, you won’t make the sale.

28. Anything is considered valuable to the degree someone wants it. Your task is to nurture the desire created by marketing and advertising and turn it into a sale.

29. Success may be possible when preparation meets opportunity . . . but only when you have the guts to jump in and take advantage of it.

30. You’ll never get the order you don’t ask for.

31. The customer’s motivation for buying is rarely because you’re broke and need the money.

32. In sales, “conventional wisdom” is usually neither.

33. Proper use of hot buttons will get you more results for less effort.

34. Don’t forget: if you say it, it’s doubtful. If they say it, it’s true!

35. Success has many fathers. Failure is an orphan.

Corollary: The three hardest words to say in the English language are, “I did it.” Don’t keep repeating a mistake just to try to prove that you didn’t. Face up to it and move on.

36. Understanding the “purchasing process” of the prospect and their organization is often more important than understanding the “sales process” of your company.

37. You’ll become more interesting to the client when you are more interested in them than you are in yourself.

Corollary: The prospect will begin to think you’re important when you recognize that they are.

38. Don’t tell them you can solve their problems before they have acknowledged that there is a one.

Corollary: Don’t just tell them about your experience. Ask pertinent questions relevant to their problems.

39. If you have to resort to a “money-back guarantee” technique to close the deal, you haven’t done your job. Never guarantee results for areas you don’t directly control.

40. Don’t explain how to build a watch when they only want to know what time it is.

41. Contact to connect.

42. Engage to persuade.

43. Illustrate to illuminate.

44. Simplify to clarify.

45. Demonstrate to penetrate.

46. Any maxim contains just enough truth to justify its existence.

Copyright ©1998-2002 by Jacob Wright, Ph.D.

Jacob Wright is the president of Growth Management Consulting, a sales consulting group; author of The Sales Executive, a manual of common sense articles on the complete sales process; and a book to be released in 2002 entitled The Romance of Salesmanship.

You can contact Mr. Wright at:
Growth Management Consulting
Phone: 800.900.6660