My father started teaching me how to sell when I was 12 years old. He owned and operated a small residential-remodeling company, and, after sixth grade, I began working with him during summers and on weekends – including going with Dad on sales calls.
The most powerful lesson Dad taught me was that it’s easier to row downstream than it is to row up. “Everything in life has a natural flow,” Dad said. “So to get something done, you must look for the flow and match it as best you can.”
I owe my success as a salesman and a business owner to this lesson, and the man who taught it to me, because it has given me a guide for going around the obstacles I’ve encountered – instead of attempting to go through them. Whenever I hit a roadblock, I simply step back, look for the natural flow that will take me around the roadblock, and point my boat downstream.
From creating my own system of selling honestly and ethically, to winning the hand of the woman I love, looking for the natural flow in life has been the key to my success.
Speaking of the woman I love, if there’s any single thing that will forever amaze me it’s that Cindy is still putting up with me after all these years of trial and error and risk-taking. I seriously doubt she understood what she was in for when she said, “I do,” so I remain eternally grateful for her steadfast support and encouragement. In fact, if it wasn’t for her constant encouragement to get this book written, and her extraordinary copyediting skills, the following text would be neither written nor polished.
Next, because I’m about to bash sales experts for what I believe is a colossal mistake with most of what they recommend, I feel compelled to mention that, without the many sales trainers I’ve had over the years, I wouldn’t be half the salesman I am. Yes, I’ve “tossed in the trash” about 80 percent of what I’ve learned, because it was either manipulative or didn’t fit my behavioral traits and personality, but the other 20 percent has been gold.
While many sales trainers have positively influenced my sales success, special thanks go to the following five whom I both respect and admire:
- Alan Weiss, Ph.D., president of Summit Consulting Group, Inc., and author of several great business-development books
- Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D., author of “INFLUENCE: Science And Practice”
- Jacques Werth, author of “High Probability Selling”
- Anthony Parinello, author of “Selling To VITO – The Very Important Top Officer”
- Michael A. Boylan, author of “The Power To Get In”
Thank you all for your insights and ideas.
Finally, I must thank the collective group of people who have made the largest long-term impact on my sales success – those who never returned my phone calls, who made commitments to me then broke them, who accepted my proposals then used the ideas themselves and those who generally gave me a really hard time.
You treated me as though I were a typical salesperson, because in your experience, all salespeople are the same. Had it not been for that mistake, I would never have looked for the natural flow of the sales process and would never have discovered Honest Selling.
Table Of Contents
- What’s New In Sales – Nothing!
Nothing has been new in sales since the first nomad traded a fish for a night by a warm fire, so quit looking for the silver-bullet concept.
- Gain Control By Giving Up Control
Gain control over the buy-sell process by leveraging what your prospects want, and how your prospects think and react, instead of trying to control how they think and react.
- Understand By Listening Closely
Interview anyone, anytime, anywhere, for any reason, and thereby position yourself for the win.
- Influence By Communicating Clearly
Learn how to communicate with clarity – six keys to influencing others without using manipulation.
- Raw Material – The Human Factor
Until you fully understand the raw material, how can you hope to build a system that works?
- [Your Name Here]
To reach the highest levels of sales success, you must create a sales system that is built to leverage your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses.
- Getting Organized
Organization is the secret to getting in – learn how to organize, integrate and leverage every marketing activity to its fullest.
Learn two proven methods for using the phone to get appointments with decision-makers.
Using snail-mail to open doors.
- Speaking In Public
Overcome your fear of speaking and leverage the stage for success.
- The Power Of Groups
From trade associations to members-only lead-sharing clubs, learn to leverage the power of the group to generate wins for everyone.
- The Sales Cycle – From Handshake To Close
So you’ve landed the appointment – now what?
- Putting Agreements On Paper
Learn how to translate your sales conversations directly to paper and write your proposals, letters of understanding and contracts so they’ll always get signed.
- Final Revision Thoughts
Ask a question. Get an answer.
Cover designed by
Giger Graphic Design
Janis Giger Kleck
526 S. Lewis Ave.
Lombard, IL 60148
Phone: (630) 620-8117
Copyright © 2004, Revisions 2018, by
Gill E. Wagner
4866 Theiss Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63128
Phone: (314) 416-1440
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of Gill E. Wagner, 4866 Theiss Rd., St. Louis, MO 63128, (314) 416-1440.