Robert Terson's Selling Fearlessly

Selling Fearlessly: A Master Salesman's Secrets For the One-Call-Close Salesperson is actually a book for all of us. It is a guide to well-grounded business and influence, from a master salesman's perspective.

I've had the pleasure of talking with Robert Terson, given an introduction by Howard Lewinter of Talk Business with Howard (link to my interview on his radio show). Robert Terson, like Howard Lewinter, is someone we can all learn from.

Before the call I'd been interested in his book; during the call I bought the book; after the call I kept sneaking time to read, rather than doing some other scheduled work.

 

Chapter 2, We're All Salespeople, gives hints as to why I was hooked:

My younger son, Jake, would tell you that, unlike his father, he could never be a salesman; he would tell you this with the same conviction he has that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. He sees it as an unyielding Absolute, so sure is he. And, of course, he’s not alone—millions share this belief with Jake. Have your livelihood depend on standing in front of an endless succession of total strangers, some downright hostile, to persuade them to buy something? Are you kidding! Uh-uh, no thank you! They would rather swim from Cuba to Haiti in shark-infested waters, even the ones who can’t swim. Just the thought of having to make a living selling makes them tremble and sweat like a condemned black-hooded prisoner atop the gallows.

Never mind that, one way or another, they’re all selling every day of their lives: to get their point across, to get what they want from their fellow man, and in some cases, just to survive. That they do not, cannot, sell is a myth, which they have (that’s right…) sold to themselves. (p.30)

Selling Fearlessly will give you insights for goal setting, how to use imagery to make a point, how to understand a negotiating partner's needs, and how to learn from your own experiences and the experts in your field -- all told from the life-long experience of a person who sold ad space for local businesses on add-on covers for telephone books.

That context, likely to be very far afield from the experience of most of the readers, helped to crystalize the issues for me. I won't be copying his approaches, but I will be thinking about the concepts and how they apply in my own settings.

Negotiation

For example, I have a negotiation class. Key to the class are strategies about how to understand the needs of the other parties in the negotiation. First question that arises is, "but why should they tell you what their needs are?" I have a list of techniques to help get people to share their needs, but Terson's approach is better.

In this dialog from the book, he's describing how to better understand the needs of a business owner who says he can't afford to advertise:

"I can't afford it." "Why do you think so, Joe?" ... "In addition to that, Joe, isn't there something else in the back of your mind, another reason you're hesitant, something you haven't mentioned?" (he gives credit for this one to Frank Bettger.)

Terson's way to understanding other people's needs is to be open for clues, willing to ask questions, and able to be quiet and let silence work its magic.

Read this book for the insights, the stories, and the sincerity.

 

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