Often times in my seminars, I like to ask the crowd how many of them are in the business of sales. Usually, I get 10%-20% of the audience raising their hands. It is at this point of time, that I tell them, ” many of you may not realize this…but ALL OF YOU are in the business of sales”. This is because if we want to achieve anything in our life, we must be a master at SELLING’. At this point, sound people would give me a rather dumbfounded look.

If You Want to Succeed in Anything, You Have to Learn How to Sell
I go on to explain. Think about it. Isn’t it true that to achieve anything in life, you have to be good at selling? You have to be good at selling yourself, your ideas and the products/services of your company. For example, if you want to land a job in a top company, having a great resume and top grades is not enough. Ultimately, it is all about the interview! What’s an interview? An interview is a sales pitch. You have usually less than 20 minutes to sell yourself and your ideas to your employer. You have to convince the interviewer why YOU are the best choice compared to the many others who will be competing for the position. If you don’t have the ability to do so, the best written resume and all the years of experience will not get you the opportunity you have been looking for.

The same thing goes if you want to climb up the corporate ladder. In the corporate world, it is not always the most loyal, most hardworking and the most deserving who get the promotions and the increments. Again, those who get promoted the fastest and get paid the highest are the ones who know how to sell their ideas and sell themselves to their bosses. They are able to convince their bosses that they deserve to be paid more and are the best people for the top job. I have seen so many hardworking and loyal people get passed up for promotions simply because they lacked the skill to stand up and sell themselves.

Am I saying that as long as you can sell and talk big, you can get away with anything? OF COURSE NOT! You have to be good at your work and deliver what you say you can deliver, If not, great selling will only get you temporary success and eventual, permanent failure. What I am saying is that you have to be able to do great work and offer great value to your customers. However, if you do not have the skills to sell what is good, then you will never get the results you want.

If you want to succeed in business, you have to be great in sales as well. In fact, the boss of a company has got to be great at selling his vision to his employees, selling his company to investors and selling his products to customers. Whenever I ask people whether McDonald’s or Burger King has the best tasting burgers, I usually get the majority agreeing that Burger King has better tasting burgers.

So, why is it that McDonald’s in 100 times more successful than Burger King? The reason is because the founder and first CEO of McDonald’s (Ray Kroc) was a great salesman and the founder of Burger King was not. Before Ray Kroc created the McDonald’s franchise, he was a top salesperson, selling milkshake makers to restaurants all over the US. It is this sales culture that all McDonald’s employees are trained in that has made McDonald’s the most successful franchise in the world.

Have you ever realized that whenever you order to cheeseburger from McDonald’s, they don’t reply by saying, ‘okay. That will be $x.’ Instead, they follow up with the question, ‘would you like to have a meal with that?’ Then comes the question, ‘Upsize? How about dessert? Toy for just $1?’ They artfully sell and sell until they maximize their profits and the customers gets the maximum value. Its a win win.

The same thing goes in politics. You don’t have to be the smartest, most experienced nor most intelligent person to become elected President of the United States. You have to be the country’s greatest salesperson! Barack Obama is not the most intelligent guy in the US with the highest credentials. They are millions of Americans who have superior IQs with multiple PhDs. He is certainly not the most experienced. His vice-president, Joe Biden and his contenders, John McCain and Hillary Clinton have decades more experience than him. So, why is Obama the President? Again, it’s because he is the much better salesman! He was able to sell his dream to the American people and sell himself as the best person for the job.

If you want to attract the man/woman of our dreams, don’t you have to be great at selling as well? When you went out on dates, those were all sales pitches weren’t they? If you succeeded in selling yourself as their life partner, then you closed the sale! Some people unfortunately never seem to be able to close the sale. Then there are those that close the sale and are asked for a refund later (this is my feeble attempt at humour).

Why Most People Are Lousy At Selling
I have to admit that in the past, I felt very uncomfortable with selling. I did not have a good impression of ‘salespeople’ and felt uneasy asking people to buy things and to hand over their money. I also felt ‘pai seh’ (embarrassed) telling people my strengths. I find this very common among fellow Asians. Our Asian upbringing has programmed us to feel uncomfortable with standing out and selling ourselves. When we are young, we are told not to be ‘hao lian’ (show off) and to geh khiang (act smart).

At the same time, the education system we goes through teaches us almost everything expect the skill of selling. In fact, I have found that the more academically educated that people get, the more self conscious they get, the more they fear rejection (and feel they have something to lose) and the less they are able to sell.

Then, I came to realize that as long as I was uncomfortable with selling and could not sell well, I could never be successful and wealthy. I had a top honours degree from NUS, brilliant ideas and a well written book (‘I Am Gifted, So Are You!’-the first book I wrote on how to be a top student). I also knew all the strategies of how to become an ‘A’ student. However, as long as I could not stand in front of people and sell them my ideas and products well, nobody would ever be convinced to buy my book or sign up for my I Am Gifted!™ school holiday programme.

I read of many brilliant academics/creators who developed fantastic ideas and products but never got the success they deserved, simply because they could not sell it well. For example, many people know of the world famous Anthony Robbins who has made millions by teaching millions of people to change their mindset and their lives using life changing techniques like NLP which Tony started with). However, do you know that Tony Robbins DID NOT invent NLP. Tony does not even have a degree (he was a high school dropout). NLP was actually invented by Dr. Richard Bandler, the true genius of human change technologies. So how come very few people have heard of Dr. Bandler and almost everyone knows Tony Robbins? Again, it is because Tony Robbins is a master salesman who was able to convince millions to buy his best study program’s ideas so well.

To cite even another example, McDonald’s was a restaurant that was actually created by the McDonald’s brothers. The brothers were great cooks who developed the famous french fries and Big Mac. Yet, they never become rich or successful. They did not know how to sell their great idea to the world. It was Ray Kroc (a 45 year old salesmen) who saw the potential, bought the rights from the brothers and through his selling skills, turned this little restaurant in California into a billion dollar business with restaurants all over the world. The lesson? You can have all the talent, all the knowledge, all the education. If you cannot sell it, you cannot make anything of it.

Realizing this, I decided to master the skill of selling! Before that, I had to change the negative perceptions I had towards selling. Like I mentioned, I used to feel uncomfortable asking people to buy something and to pay money for it. Then, I came to realize that when you sell something that will truly add value and benefit a person, you are actually doing that person a favour. There is NOTHING to feel uncomfortable about. In fact, you should feel really proud.

I came to realize that when someone pays $3,500 to attend my Wealth Academy program, the knowledge and skills they will attain will help them make 100 times that about, for the rest of their lives! By studying and mastering NLP techniques, reading sales books and attending many sales programmes, I honed my selling skills and used it to turn my ideas into a $20 million-dollar a year business today with 11 best-selling books under my belt!

Selling is such an important skill that I commissioned one of my top NLP trainers (and top salesperson) Leroy Ratnam to head our SALES ACADEMY programme in Singapore. Leroy is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP and a co-trainer in my Patterns of Excellence Programme (based on NLP). To find out more about our SALES ACADEMY programme, call 65-62740105 (speak to Daniel or Aaron) or email: leroy@akltg.com.