Have Some Cheese with that W(h)ine

The world has changed. Information is at everyone’s fingertips—anywhere and at any time. Clients are well informed. They use smartphones, google product features, compare prices. Let’s face it, sometimes we’re surprised how much they know about our business. The global recession has led to budget cuts everywhere. That’s the climate we need to deal with in sales.

I keep hearing things like, “There’s no more low-hanging fruit, no more easy pickin’s. We’re not king of the road anymore.” You know what I tell them? Have some cheese with that w(h)ine. Whining doesn’t bring us back in the fast lane. Whining is for victims, not for winners. As Dale Earnhardt said, “The winner isn’t the one with the fastest car, it’s the one who refuses to lose.”

It’s our choice. Refusing to lose and winning means we must think as top sales professionals. We must sell. Nobody else will do that for us. In my sales seminars, people sometimes tell me, “I’m not good at selling myself. I’m not a born salesperson.” Nonsense! I believe that selling is in our nature. Kids are the best salespeople you’ve ever seen. Kids always want something. And when they come to ask us, they know exactly what to say in order to get what they want.
My son Chris, who’s 19 now, is an excellent example of that. When he was just three years old, we were walking down the street, when he suddenly proclaimed, “Daddy, I think it’s time for an ice-cream.”
A little surprised, I said, “We’re having dinner soon, maybe next time.”
At the next street corner he asked again, this time in a kinder, softer voice, “Daddy, maybe just one scoop? We’re not having dinner that soon.”
“It will spoil your appetite and you won’t finish your dinner.” I realized he wasn’t going to give up, and I was curious to find out where this was leading.
“Daaaddy, maybe just a teeny-weeny little scoop? I think they have your favorite, too. It will be our secret.”
And would you believe it? We had ice cream together, he made a huge mess, and we were both happy. Talk about handling objections—my son was a natural, and he’s even better today.

Here’s another example: I made my first sales pitch when I decided that I needed to go to America. In Germany, where I grew up, I was not a good student in school. I learned English as a foreign language, and my English was very poor. But my English teacher, Mrs. Weber, was very supportive. She said, “Martin, let’s face it, your English needs serious help. If you want to be successful in this day and age, you need to go to America for a year.”
That made total sense to me and I was excited, because I had set my mind on going to America. I was on a mission. I went straight to my parents and my dad said, “That’s a great idea! … But who’s going to pay for that?”
At the time, I had nothing in my tool chest to help me deal with that objection. So I went straight to my grandmother and asked her for the money I needed to go to high school in America for a year. It was a lot of money for her, about 8,000 US dollars at the time, but she said, “OK, Martin, I love you.”
Little did I know, but that’s how I sealed my first deal. Not only was that my first deal, but it was also one of the most important ones, because it paved the way for my career and shaped who I am today.

In this economy we must think and act as top sales professionals. We must sell. Everybody can sell. You have it within you. All you need is a few tips and techniques and, above all, the right attitude. Trust yourself and refuse to lose.