Friday, February 12, 2010

Alvin the Vacuum Cleaner Salesman

Alvin the Vacuum Cleaner Salesman

I want to tell you about my friend Alvin who used one of the best wealth secrets ever to double his income in his field. He worked selling vacuum cleaners door to door, but you can apply this to whatever field you're in.

He wasn't doing as well as the good salespeople in his local office. In fact, he was one of the worst vacuum salesperson on his whole crew!

The only thing that separated him from all the ones who came in and stayed for a week or two was his tenacity, that and his ingenuity.

So he went and interviewed his boss about what made the best and the worst sales people. He asked what qualities the best salespeople all had in common. He asked what habits they all shared in common. Best of all, he got it all on video.

Then he went and talked to the three best sales people on his crew. He asked what habits they had, what they did to get themselves psyched up in the morning. He asked how they handled common objections, and asked how they knew when they'd make the sale.

He got their permission to tape them-they were all happy to oblige. Generally speaking, successful people are happy to share the secrets to their success.

It's usually the under-successful that have a scarcity mentality, with their work methods and everything else.

(There is also the matter of pride here-who doesn't want to be acknowledged for how well they do things, get listened to, and seen as an expert or authority?)

Then, he went to the district manager and found out the best salespeople in the district. He interviewed them and got many of the same answers.

But he didn't stop there. He wanted to find out what the worst sales people had in common, too. Neither his local nor his district manager wanted to be rude and name the worst sales people by name. He was disappointed but not daunted.

Alvin knew where to find some of the people who didn't last very long. Several of them hung out at th e same bar. So he went there with camera in hand and told them he was making a video covering the vacuum sales experience. He said he was interviewing the people who'd been around the longest and the people who decided it just wasn't for them.

A couple of rounds later, he had four interviews from some of the worst salespeople his local office had seen. (Some traits they all shared, if you're wondering, was a lack of confidence in their abilities, negative thinking, and the unwillingness to keep trying--at least when it came to that specific job.)

He went and talked to the few people he'd made sales to. He asked them what their favorite things about the vacuums were. There were three common answers and he integrated those into his sales pitch.

He also asked when it was they decided to buy. He was a little surprised at the answer. None of the answers involved a feature or even a benefit of the vacuum. Every answer started with something like, "You really h ad me sold when you..."

Something clicked and Alvin learned what is perhaps one of the most important parts of salesmanship: nobody will ever buy from you if they don't like you. You can rarely if ever sell someone on your product or service, if you don't sell them on you first.

Alvin then rolled up his sleeves and went to the people that DIDN'T buy from him. Some were pretty vague and non-committal (he figured maybe he just hadn't made a good connection with those prospects.)

A handful of people, however, told him something they didn't like about the vacuum or his sales pitch. He came up with answers to objects about the vacuums and also modified his sales pitch. He even sold a vacuum to one of the people he'd missed selling the first time!

Alvin more than doubled his sales income. And then he doubled THAT income by selling the videos and teaching seminars on how to double your income! Most importantly, this is a strategy that can work in any fie ld--not just vacuum sales.

In fact, you don't have to be in sales to use this strategy. Just learn your field from every angle possible and apply the knowledge and you can double your income just like my friend Alvin.

Raymond Aaron

Raymond Aaron is an author, speaker and personal coach.
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