Review: Unlimited Sales Success

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review by Richard Pachter

Unlimited Sales Success by Brian Tracy. Amacom Books. 272 pages.

If you wanted to learn how to ride a bicycle, could you do so by reading a book? How about watching a video or listening to an audio program?
Of course not, yet sales books always seem to be popular, with new ones appearing with startling regularity.
One of my longtime favorites is Soft Selling In A Hard World by Jerry Vass.
I read it upon my boss’ recommendation several lifetimes ago. Its consultative approach immediately appealed to me. But as many times as I studied and performed the recommended exercises, it wasn’t until I started making actual sales calls that it became real for me.
Fortunately, this is implicit in most sales books; far from providing a rote formulas or recipes, the best of them offer a strong framework and rich toolbox of tactics to apply to a variety sales strategies. But until you’re actually trying to apply the lessons in a real and usually unpredictable setting, it’s just a lot of dreams and theory.

This book is no different in that respect. But it distinguishes itself from the pack by Tracy (abetted by his son). Their writing is sharp and clear, and very relatable. The style is personal and the persona is quite personable.
Brian Tracy’s written tons of books on sales, marketing, presentation and more. He occasionally recycles stories (like the one recalled herein about finding an effective sales close, and then refusing to do callbacks), but he’s an authoritative and experienced guy, and this book is a superb summary of his ideas and principles.
Is it a substitute for experience? Of course not. But before you get on your bicycle — or shortly after you begin peddling — it’s valuable to know how to navigate down this difficult path.

Here’s an excerpt: “When I began my sales career, I knew nothing of the skills and techniques you are about to learn. I did not graduate from high school. I worked at laboring jobs for several years. When I could no longer find a laboring job, in desperation, I got into straight commission sales, cold-calling one office after another in the daytime and houses and apartments in the evenings.
I got the three-part sales training program that is common worldwide: ‘Here are your cards, here are your brochures, there’s the door.’
If I didn’t sell, I didn’t eat. I got up every morning at six and was waiting in the parking lot when people came to work at eight o’clock. My sales results were terrible. I was making just enough sales to eat and to pay for a small room in a boardinghouse. I had holes in my shoes, empty pockets, and no future.
A Life-Changing Event
Then I did something that changed my life. I went to the top salesman in our office, a man a few years older than me who was selling ten times as much as anyone else. And he wasn’t even working very hard! He always had a pocketful of money. He went to nice restaurants and nightclubs. He drove a new car and lived in a beautiful apartment.
I took a deep breath and went up to him and asked him outright, “What are you doing differently? How is it that you are making so many more sales than me, or anyone else?” He looked at me with surprise and then said, ‘Well, if you want some help, show me your sales presentation and I will critique it for you.’
Now, I admitted that I had heard there was such a thing as a ‘sales presentation.’ But it was like the far side of the moon, something I had never actually seen in reality. I told the top salesman that when I called on customers, I simply said whatever fell out of my mouth.
He said, ‘No. No. No. Selling is a profession. It is both a science and an art. It follows a logical, orderly process from the first step through to the closing of the sale and the satisfied customer. Let me give you an example of a sales presentation.’
He then sat me down and asked me questions, commenting as he went along, exactly as if I were a prospective customer for our product. Instead of talking continually, as I did when I got in front of a prospect, he asked questions in a logical sequence, leading from the general to the particular, from qualifying me as a prospect through to closing the sale. It was different from anything I had ever experienced.
From that day forward, instead of talking continually, I asked better questions of my potential customers and listened closely to their answers. And my customers reacted to me differently. And I started to make sales, and then more and more sales. I began reading books on selling and listening to audio programs. I began attending every sales seminar I could find. And each time I learned and applied something new, my sales went up, and up, and up. Within a year, I was earning ten times as much income. My whole life changed forever.“


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