The most important lesson I learned from a sales master


I’ve spent a big chunk of my life in formal schooling. School followed by diplomas, followed by university, then work and back to university.

And, on the whole, this has not been too much of a disadvantage.

Being good at school has little to do with how much you achieve or how well you do in life. Robert Kiyosaki joked that A students worked for C students, and B students worked for the government.

There’s some painful truth in that.

But – my studies were always for a purpose. I saw a degree as the cost of entry to work – the basic thing that was needed before anyone would hire me for anything.

It was only after ten years in work, when I went back and did an MBA, that I studied because I really wanted to. I wanted to learn about business, and I devoured everything I could find.

The great thing was that all the theory I was learning made sense – it explained a lot of the experiences I had so far.

But, not everything.

I understood more about why I felt the way I did as I worked in an organisation that changed size and character.

I had words that could explain what I had seen and felt – and that was amazingly freeing. I wasn’t imprisoned by those experiences – I could learn from them.

And, more importantly, I could see and learn from others. But, in addition to seeing, I could also describe what they were doing. Theory AND action. Something sorely lacking in the world of business now.

And one of the things I experienced was working with a master of sales – a master of working the phones and getting to people.

The first thing he could do was get through to someone on the phone. He had been taught by the Wolf of Wall Street – Jordan Belfort – and knew all the ways to pick up the phone and get through to someone at the top.

That was incredible to watch.

But… it wasn’t enough.

He’d draw the picture in the animation above. In a phone conversation, for example, there are a number of things you need to say. Think of them as points between the start and finish.

You need to move from point to point to get from the start all the way to the finish.

If you start running up and then fail at one of the points, you crash and die.

There’s no coming back… if everything isn’t connected, you won’t get to the finish line.

For example, let’s say you start with an intro, then a brief presentation, followed by qualification and then a close.

If you miss any of the steps, it won’t work.

Going wider, let’s say you speak to someone and they ask for a proposal – if you haven’t got one to send, then you’re going to fail.

If you send a proposal, without a clear place they can sign and accept, you’re going to fail.

The whole point is that everything needs to work for your process to work. You can’t just focus on one end or one bit and expect everything else to fall into place.

It’s a simple lesson – but one that makes all the difference, especially when it comes to theory and practice.

In theory, you may know what you should do.

In practice, you need to follow a series of steps, things that you need to do that you can do again and again.

And, if you do them, you’ll get from the start to the end – and build a successful process in your business.

Since you’ve read this far….

I hope you’re finding the stuff in this blog useful – and it’s stuffed full of models for getting better at management and business. I write it as much to learn myself as share with you.

Please post a comment and let me know what you think, how you’re finding it, and whether there is anything you would like to read more about.

Or – drop me a line at and let me know what you think.

Thanks in advance.

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