The sale of a lifetime: Selling my sales secrets
By Harvey Mackay
Selling a book has many parallels to selling an envelope, which is the business I’ve been in my entire professional life.
When I call on customers to show them our product line and discuss their needs, I’m not just selling paper and glue. I’m selling service first, then product. I’m helping them run their businesses more efficiently. I get to know them, developing relationships to build trust. My customers know that I will bend over backwards to keep their business. Whether they need four-color envelopes for a hot direct mailing or creative return envelopes for their customers to use, we understand our products represent their company as well as ours. The right paper, color, printing and size are critically important elements of presenting a positive image. In short, we help them look their best.
A sales book, particularly “The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World,” is designed to help readers look and perform their best. I’ve built a reputation of offering sound, practical, transferable advice in my previous books. I call this take-home value.
In this new book, I’ve included lessons learned over five decades of selling. During that career, I’ve not only sold billions of envelopes, I’ve also sold the state of Minnesota on a domed football/baseball stadium, successfully pitched a Super Bowl committee on bringing football’s biggest event to the frozen north, raised millions for a variety of charities, and recruited coaches and athletes to college and professional sports. All were tests of my selling skills, and I am pleased to report that success was mine more often than not.
Successful selling in any field starts with one cardinal rule: Know your Customer. A good salesperson isn’t selling a product – he or she is helping customers get what they need. Consider the transaction: there are almost no unique products in the world, so differentiating yourself from the competition usually boils down to the relationships you have built. The most effective sales techniques in the world will never replace a personal relationship and stellar service. You can put a price on a product – you can’t put a price on service.
The central theme to “The Mackay MBA of Selling” is this: The relationships you develop will determine the success you achieve. That’s the kind of information my readers have come to expect from me, and I aim to deliver more than I promise in every endeavor.
I write for an audience of “hungry fighters,” which I consider the most important trait of truly successful salespeople. A hungry fighter never gives up. A hungry fighter is driven, has a strong work ethic and high energy level, and works longer and harder than their peers. They never give up. And they are always on a quest for self-improvement.
My advice is a mix of technique and motivation. Creativity is key in sales. Memorable presentations, unexpected services, and a commitment to deliver more than you promise produce results. Different customers require different approaches. Making a sale doesn’t have to be boring – just the opposite. Your customers should remember you for more than your product.
Take your product seriously, sure, but don’t take yourself seriously. I try to do the same in my books. I want my readers to have as much fun enhancing their skills as I have sharing my experiences. I think lessons are more effectively learned when they are presented in a creative way that encourages and excites readers about the possibilities.
As I have said so often, do what you love, love what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life. I love selling, and I love teaching others how to sell. To know that my books and weekly columns instill a love of selling in my readers is like making the sale of a lifetime.
Mackay’s Moral: A salesperson tells. A good salesperson explains. And a great salesperson demonstrates.
Article published with permission from nationally syndicated columnist Harvey Mackay, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller “Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive.”