All salespeople must play three completely different roles to succeed. First, they must be generals who create a strategy to win their wars long before the first battle begins. The successful military leader painstakingly plans how and where he will attack in accordance with the troops and weapons at his disposal. When the fighting starts, the victorious commander achieves his objective through battlefield maneuvers to gain the advantage and countertactics to neutralize his enemy’s advance.
Second, all salespeople must be professional persuaders. In essence, salespeople are paid to persuade. They must gain the willing obedience of others and convince complete strangers to follow their advice. However, the most product-knowledgeable salesperson is not necessarily the most persuasive one. Persuasive salespeople naturally connect with customers, instill customer confidence, and establish trust.
Finally, successful salespeople must be oracles who predict their chances of winning based upon their common-sense judgment. As common sense accumulates over the years through interactions with customers, it becomes a salesperson’s lifesaving device. It prevents salespeople from repeating past mistakes and guides their intuition to maximize their most precious resource: time.
When a salesperson has mastered these three roles–strategist, persuader, and common-sense sage–he has attained sales wisdom and become a Heavy Hitter. Heavy Hitters are truly great salespeople who have acquired prominence through their accomplishments, expertise, and judgment. They continually exceed quotas, close big deals, and enjoy themselves in the process.
Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom takes the concept of becoming a Heavy Hitter to the next level. This book has been written for senior salespeople, those who have been in the field for five, ten, and fifteen years or more. While it will expose the novice salesperson to entirely new aspects of selling, the ultimate goal of Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom is to help experienced salespeople expand their influence within their local office, region, sales organization, and company. This requires not only winning more business but also having a methodology to explain to others how and why you win.
An Introduction to Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom
Part I - Sales Warfare Strategies
Scientists believe that one of the major differences that separates human beings from the rest of the animal world was the fact that we wage war. Because war isn’t instinctual, it is thought to be a uniquely human trait. It’s something people choose to do.
If you are in sales, you are perpetually in a state of war. All salespeople are warriors who must fight the relentless march of time and enemies who are trying to defeat them daily. Sales is an intense hand-to-hand battle fought between two people or two groups of people who are each trying to win over the customer. The victor outsmarts, outmaneuvers, and overwhelms his enemies.
In sales, just as in war, there can be only one winner, and today’s conqueror can quickly become tomorrow’s vanquished. The deciding difference is strategy. Strategy is the most critical component of sales wisdom. Without the right sales strategy, persuasion and common sense are inconsequential. In this part we will study the grand strategy of war and three of the greatest war strategists of all time--Sun Tzu, Napoleon Bonaparte, and George Patton--to understand how they won and what the ages have to teach us about defeating our enemies on the battlefield of business sales.
Part II - Secrets of Persuasion
After salespeople have formulated their winning strategy, they use the second element of sales wisdom, persuasion, to turn skeptics into believers. Salespeople are paid to persuade. But what makes them persuasive? Is it their command of the facts and their ability to recite a litany of reasons why customers should buy? Could it be their charismatic presence and their natural ability to say the right words at the right time?
It takes more than logic and reason to change buyers’ opinions. A personal connection must be established. Only through intense one-on-one conversations will skeptical prospects understand your point of view, appreciate your differences, and believe in you to the point where they become customers.
How can you get skeptics to come around to your way of thinking? Not only must you influence the customers’ rational intellect with your business reasons, but you must project yourself into their subconscious. The hard and soft skills of persuasion can be learned by emulating successful practitioners, so in this part we will study three of the most persuasive communicators of all time.
Part III - Common-Sense Tips
Plato, the father of Western philosophy, was the originator of the term “common sense.” One of his five branches of philosophy was epistemology, how we gain knowledge about the world around us. Since ancient times, storytelling has been a traditional way of passing knowledge and common sense from generation to generation. In fact, the Greek roots of epistemology are episteme (knowledge) and logos (speech).
All salespeople love to tell stories. We are eager to recount the brilliance of our victories, lament our losses out loud, and share funny tales about our misadventures. The stories we tell provide valuable lessons and tips that can help other salespeople close more business and anticipate trouble. The practical advice these stories provide serves as the foundation for common sense. Like a parent’s warning to a child to stay away from a hot stove, guidance from senior salespeople helps the less experienced avoid needless pain and unwanted misery.
The stories and advice in this part cover a broad range of sales-related topics and come from a surprising array of sources--from scientific journals to personal ads. The stories are grouped into lessons about sales and the life of a salesperson. Perhaps the most interesting anecdotes in this part come from the salespeople I have met over the years. So sit back, relax, and pretend you are listening to your colleagues talk about winning and losing and the life of a salesperson.
Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom is based upon the study of prominent Heavy Hitters throughout the ages. The Heavy Hitters included in this book are people of great influence who had a tremendous impact on our world. We will seek to understand how they rose to prominence, won their battles, and persuaded people to follow them. We want to learn from their successes and failures in order to become wiser ourselves.
While Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom includes comments from a diverse group of history’s greatest Heavy Hitters, we will study six leaders in greater detail to understand the skills they used to change the course of human history. What can salespeople learn from Sun Tzu, Napoleon Bonaparte, and George Patton? Why would studying the words of Buddha, Jesus Christ, and Ronald Reagan be important? Since learning by example is the most effective way to learn, we want to study role models that provide the best examples of strategy, persuasion, and common sense.
More than twenty-five hundred years ago, Chinese general Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War, the most important book on war philosophy ever published. The premise of The Art of War is that successful warfare is based upon having better information than the enemy by using spies, possessing the knowledge of when to fight, and attacking the enemy where he is weakest and least expects it. Each of these mantras is equally applicable to sales.
Both U.S. Army General George C. Patton and former emperor of France Napoleon Bonaparte were lifelong students of war. Both were devotees of the psychology of warfare. Each was a voracious reader of military history and had an encyclopedic knowledge of warfare. At the age of sixteen, Napoleon commanded a French army artillery garrison. By the age of twenty-seven he commanded an entire army, and a few years later he had conquered Europe.
Nearly 125 years after Napoleon’s death, General Patton would fight his way across France during World War II. Patton was described by Russian leader Joseph Stalin as the United States’ best general. When a German senior officer was captured, he said, “General Patton is the most feared general on all fronts. The tactics of the general are daring and unpredictable. General Patton is always the main topic of conversation. Where is he? When will he attack? Where? How? With what?”
I’d like to forewarn you that the sales strategy section includes detailed analysis of battles from a cross section of mankind’s worst wars. These battlefield descriptions are more than just interesting anecdotes about military history. It’s important to review the specific circumstances--who had the advantage, how the attack was planned, and when and where they fought--in order to understand who won and why. As you read them, pay particular attention to who was the underdog, why they were at a disadvantage, and how the momentum of the battle was changed because all of the facets of warfare that determine the victor and vanquished are directly applicable to salespeople who must invade new accounts or fend off competitors’ attacks.
Unlike in a real war, salespeople fight with words, and in part II we will study three of the world’s most persuasive people of all time: Buddha, Ronald Reagan, and Jesus Christ. At the age of twenty-nine in 594 BC, Siddhartha Gautama gave up his life of luxury to become a monk known as Buddha. He would spend the rest of his life learning the path to enlightenment by understanding the nature of reality and the importance of mental orientation through liberating one’s spirit. Buddha’s teachings were passed down from generation to generation in over five thousand volumes. Today, these teachings influence the daily lives of more than half a billion practicing Buddhists.
Another prominent persuader who impacted the world as we know it today was Ronald Reagan. In 2004, Ronald Reagan was named by an independent pollster as the third greatest American president of all time, behind Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy. It’s not surprising that he was ranked behind these two national heroes. However, what made this president truly unique was his ability to communicate and persuade. In fact, Reagan is known in the annals of history as “the Great Communicator.” Not only was he able to convince ordinary Americans that he was one of them, but equally important, the eloquent orator was able to influence adversarial lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
The fact that one-third of the six billion people on the planet follow the teachings of Jesus Christ is profound proof of the impact of his words. Obviously, his legacy continues to affect people all around the world daily. In addition, six billion copies of the Bible have been printed, making it the best-selling book of all time.
Since the premise of this book is modeling the most influential people of all time, we want mentors who have experienced a wide range of communication challenges, dealt with very skeptical audiences, and changed people’s opinions under the most difficult circumstances. Jesus Christ clearly fits these requirements.
The communication methods of Buddha, Reagan, and Christ are well worth studying today by those who must speak for a living and persuade others to believe in them. While thousands of books have been written from a theological and political perspective about these men, we are more interested in how and why they said something, rather than what they actually said. Therefore, we want to study and understand the purpose, content, and structure of their language to help us learn how to become more persuasive.
What Sales Leaders Say About Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom
Hitter Sales Wisdom goes beyond the traditional description of sales cycles to the ‘heart’ of selling. It's about the emotional connection with the customer but also the attack and destruction of the competition.”
Olivier Helleboid, Vice President Software Operations, Hewlett-Packard
“Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom provides field sales generals and sales soldiers with tons of strategy, persuasion techniques, and common-sense approaches to winning the hearts and minds of prospects. This book will add new weapons to your arsenal.”
Tim Kelliher, Senior Vice President Sales, DHL GlobalMail
“It’s difficult to find published sales strategies that go beyond simply reminding you of what you already know. Conversely, Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom forces readers to reevaluate their own strategy, tactics, persuasion, and sales common sense.”
Bob Hughes, Executive Vice President, Global Sales, Services & Marketing, Akamai Technologies, Inc.
“Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom is a practical solution selling guide, loaded with real-world analogies, personal experiences, and modern proof points sure to enhance the success rate of anybody selling large complex solutions.”
James Lewandowski, Executive Vice President of the Americas, McAfee
“Heavy Hitter Sales Wisdom provides innovative insight and inspiration for anyone who practices the art and science of sales.”
Scott Raskin, Chief Executive Officer, Mindjet
“Steve Martin takes a much needed look at how successful executives read verbal and nonverbal messages, which allows them to quickly understand the subtext of their customers' minds. The best part is that the author shares effective strategies that put more fun into selling and more money into salespeople's pockets.”
Gerhard Gschwandtner, Founder and Publisher, Selling Power Magazine
“Steve Martin’s interesting examination of great leaders in history and the parallels he draws between waging a war and waging a sales campaign should be required reading for enterprise salespeople.”
Jay Fulcher, Chief Executive Officer, Agile Software
“This powerful book provides real-world strategies you can use to increase sales immediately!”
Brian Tracy, President, Brian Tracy International