For the last thirteen years of my corporate career, I worked in sales originating loans for private aircraft. My manager at the company I worked for was one of my best mentors. He taught me that sales was either the easiest high paying job or the hardest low paying job, and the difference was up to us. Successful salesmanship is a way of being that enables you to help people who trust you to get what they need. Unsuccessful salesmanship, on the other hand, involves trying to persuade people to buy products, whether they need them or not, so that you can meet your sales quota. You can see that you can work very hard to achieve mediocre results, or you can have results just flowing to you. Which would you rather do?
The Key to Successful Sales is Manifesting Abundance
I was first introduced to the concept of manifestation and abundance through the Abraham Hicks Vortex Meditations that a friend referred me to on Christmas Eve 2011. I realize now what I did not know then, and that is that the key to Sales Success is abundant thinking. In a world of abundance everything we need naturally flows to us with little effort. There is enough in the world for everyone to be satisfied, and success comes easily. From this frame of reference, a good sales person needs only to help others to get what they want, and success flows naturally.
In a world of scarcity, on the other hand, we compete for limited resources. There is a fixed amount of stuff in the world, and this stuff is not enough to satisfy everyone, and so it’s up to us to get as much as we can get. It is a world of competition, poverty and stress. When we go into sales from this perspective, the very difficult job of a sales person is to somehow convince potential customers to do what the sales person wants. This scarcity vibration permeates our being, and other people pick up on it.
As a Sales Person Remember that Others Feel the Same Way
Are you familiar with the polarity of magnets? Have you ever noticed that when you line them up correctly, north pole to south, they stick together automatically, but when you line them up in the opposite orientation, they repel each other. I remember being so mesmerized by this force. It’s the same force we feel with sales people.
Have you ever walked into a store to take a quick look at something that caught your eye, and then had a sales person send you right back onto the street? It feels like a misaligned magnet. As soon as they approach, I feel their energy and I am either attracted to them or repelled. I have literally seen over eager sales people chase customers right back onto the street. Have you ever had this experience of just wanting to have a look around, and then feeling chased off by a sales person?
It is understandable. Sales people working on commission can come to see each customer as a stepping stone to their quota, like fish or something. The language of typical sales instruction and management reflects this. I have heard sales people celebrate that they “sold the whole boat” to someone, like it’s some kind of victory. A little star goes on the board in the sales office and there is some chest thumping. I remember each year our company had a “President’s Club” for sales people who reached a stretch quota. There was tremendous pressure to meet this objective, and those who made it went on a trip with the head of our division. Those who did not stayed behind. Nobody wants to miss that trip.
How does a good sales person reconcile these competing forces? How do you make sales both easy and high paying? There really is only one true secret. You have to, in your heart, truly desire to help people get what they need or desire with your product offering. Success can only come from true commitment to being of service to your clients.
I remember when I was financing corporate aircraft, our “price” was the interest rate and the origination fee for the loans we would advance. The first question out of everyone’s mouth was “what’s the interest rate.” If you have ever financed a home with a mortgage, you may have experienced that a lender can offer a super low variable interest rate with a short term interest only period. They can structure the transaction to get the rate almost down to zero for the first year. That’s what created the housing bubble of 2008 right? The rate on a qualifying 30 year fixed rate mortgage would be significantly higher, but also a much better deal for the borrower, because they actually have terms that will let them stay in their home until they own it. The bank takes the risk of interest rates going up in the future and commits to leaving their money out for 30 years. As a sales person I had to really gain someone’s trust to lead them to a better deal with the higher price.
And the key to this was knowing who I could actually help. In the world of aircraft owners, we were often dealing with extremely high net worth clients. Many of them had large investments in corporate or municipal bonds, like tens of millions of dollars in a bond portfolio. After the financial shock of 2009, when the federal funds rates dropped to almost zero, the yields on these bonds also went down dramatically.
The truth in this environment was that it usually was not sensible for an ultra high net worth individual to pay a rate on a fixed rate loan that was higher than the rate they earned on a bond portfolio, because a loan is exactly the opposite of a bond. If a potential client owned $10,000,000 of bonds with a ten year maturity and a fixed yield of say 1.5%, why would they want to take out a loan with a ten year term and a fixed rate of 3%? They would earn $150,000 per year of interest on the bond, and then pay $300,000 of interest on the loan. In this case, it often made more sense for the client to sell the bonds and pay cash for their jet.
So here’s the tricky part in the sales process. The question a good sales person who truly wants to help their client would ask is “Why would you want to finance your plane with us, if you could sell a bond and pay for it, and then save yourself $150,000 in interest?” Most sales people in our industry were terrified to ask questions like this, because the answer might be “good point, I’ll pay cash.”
People who own their own jets tend to be very good negotiators. They tend to be very smart people. They tend to know how money works. To earn their respect and trust, “NO” has to be the right answer when a financing deal does not serve them. So discovering a big reason why they would not want to do a deal saves everyone a bunch of time and creates great trust. And things do change.
Sometimes they would surprise me. They might say they would sell the bonds, but they don’t want to because they were collateral for a portfolio loan account, or they did not want to use their available capital on an asset like the aircraft which can support its own financing. Other times they would say, yeah, that’s the truth. We don’t really like to finance anything because the rates we earn on our bonds are so low right now.
Do you feel the energetics of this? By being willing to ask these difficult questions, they would see that I would accept “no” for an answer if the deal was not in their best interest. I would not try to talk them into doing something that they did not want to do. The flood gates of information would open once that tumbler clicked. They trusted me because I was actually trustworthy.
I would say to them, yeah your right, it does not make sense for you to finance your plane right now. But here is the market analysis I prepared for you, and this is what the market for your jet looks like, and please let me know if I can give you any helpful information on the aircraft. And then I would take my leave.
And then I would send them a thank you note for their time. Then the next time I financed a jet like theirs, I would call them up and say “hey we just did a deal on a plane like yours. Would you like to see the market analysis?” Then they would start to call me whenever they had a question. And sometimes, they would say, “the plane we bought really does not have the range we need to get to all of our business locations, so we were going to trade up to a larger aircraft.” And presto, I would be given the opportunity to look at the next deal.
The Same Energetics Apply to Short Term Sales Cycles
Sales in jet financing thus often had a two to five year cycle. I would start with initial contact, then develop rapport and trust, and then a few years later when they got ready to trade up their aircraft, I would be in position to help them. But the same energy works in very short term sales like retail.
Imagine you work in a store with crystals and candles and buddha statues and a potential customer walks in looking for a gift for their sister. Greet them by saying in a friendly way “hi, welcome to our store. Please feel free to look around, and let me know if you have any questions” And then give them space so they feel comfortable, but not abandoned. Let them look for a while and notice what they are looking at. Eventually their body language will let you know when you can approach them. Say they keep fidgeting with crystals and glance around looking for you, then you can ask “can I help you find something?” Then the whole story about the gift for the sister will come pouring out. The key energetic is that they sense your willingness to let them leave without buying anything. This has to be sincere. Once they sense that you only want to help them, that you have plenty of customers, and a successful store, they will want to buy from you. But if you hover over them and get all pushy before they are ready, they will run right out the door.
Can you see how this abundant thinking makes all the difference? If clients are scarce and if sales are a zero sum game, then sales people are predators, and potential customers are prey. If the world is abundant and abundance flows freely for everyone, then sales people are helpful allies that help others make good decisions and increase the flow of abundance in their own lives.
And so it is that if you have this abundant attitude, you spend your days with people who trust and respect you, you get referrals, you get call backs, you get deals done, and you don’t waste time with people who really shouldn’t be in your pipeline. If your attitude is scarcity, then you throw everything on the wall and take whatever sticks. You have lots of maybes that drag you on forever because they feel guilty saying no to you. Your customers dodge your calls, and your phone never rings. One way is hard, one way is easy. One is abundantly compensated, and the other pays very little.
Sales is a wonderful career for those who have the right attitude, and a short one for those who do not. Happy selling!