Notes on The Secret of Selling Anything

Following are my highlights and notes on the jawdropping book, The Secret of Selling Anything by Harry Browne. I simply cannot imagine that there exists a better book on sales. It’s a must read. Hat tip to positioning guru Philip Morgan for turning me on to this gem.

Success does not come from putting your trust in an idea that has not been proven to you. It comes instead from proving to yourself that only one course of action could possibly be the right way. In short, I am asking you to think. I am not asking you to let me do your thinking for you. I am asking you to use your own mind.

this is our first law of human nature: All individuals seek happiness

this is our second law of human nature, a very important one: Happiness is relative.

our third law of human nature: Resources are limited.

One thing is of greater value than another because the individual believes he will obtain more happiness from the one than the other.

He automatically values some things more than others – because he can’t have all of them.

This, then, is the story of life: each individual seeks happiness. His concept of what will bring him happiness will differ from that of every other human being; happiness will be relative to him. His resources (time, energy, knowledge and property) are limited; so he must choose constantly between the many alternative courses of action he sees. And he does this by placing values on everything he sees. These values lead him to prefer one thing more than another.

NOTE: Happiness equals value.

The first thing to do is to recognize the concept of profit. What is profit? Profit is the increase in happiness by replacing one situation with another. This identifies the nature of profit – the giving up of one thing for something that provides greater happiness.

NOTE: Increased happiness equals profit.

The essential nature of profit is the increase or the surplus. One value is given up in exchange for a greater value. We see this clearly in a business. The businessman pays out expenses in exchange for the sales revenue he receives. If he takes in more than he paid out, we say he has made a profit – an increase in what will bring him happiness.

When a car salesman exchanges a new car for $3,000 he profits – because he values the $3,000 more than the car. He would rather have the $3,000 than the car, so he willingly makes the exchange. But at the same time, when a car buyer exchanges $3,000 for a new car, he profits too – because he values the car more than the $3,000. He would rather have the car than the $3,000; so he willingly gives up the money for the car. Of course, he’d probably prefer to have both the $3,000 and the car. But his resources are limited, he can only have one or the other. So he chooses in accordance with his values. And he decides he will obtain more happiness from having the car than from keeping the $3,000 in the bank or spending it on anything else. He profits by using his limited resources to increase his happiness.

NOTE: Same point as The Red Balloon email.

profit can come in many different ways: through money, knowledge, contentment, spiritual understanding, leisure, etc.. In each case, it is what increases the individual’s happiness.

Everyone has different values. This means that as long as two individuals voluntarily enter an exchange together, both can profit.

NOTE: Related to win-win point about mutual profit in Red Balloon.

there is one basic misconception at the root of all mistakes made in analyzing human nature. And that is to believe that an individual is not doing what he wants to do. This is vitally important to keep in mind. This is the “universal fallacy” – which means the misconception that is always at the root of every mistake. The universal fallacy is the belief that an individual would willingly accept something unprofitable to himself. No individual will give up some of his own resources for something he values less. When you think he will, you’re headed for failure. He may very well make an exchange that you would never make – but he will not willingly make an exchange that will lower his values.

NOTE: I would argue that the work “willingly” is unnecessary here. It implies to me coercion, which still presents the “buyer” with a choice between lesser or greater happiness, albeit an unfair one. e.g., confess to a crime you didn't commit or be killed. Here, the “buyer“ will still always make the choice that results in the great happiness. State of mind is a factor here, though. If the person is essentially driven insane (e.g., forced to endure an extended period of cruel treatment), their value system will likely be completely out of whack, so, okay... Browne probably has good reason to use "willingly" here, after all.

You can never abolish the profit-seeking nature of human beings. It always exists. Each individual wants to live his own life according to his values (whatever they may be), not someone else’s. Even if you physically block his way, you do not stop him from seeking happiness; you only make it more difficult for him.

how would you go about getting someone you like to spend some of his time with you? Obviously, you’ll have to make the idea of spending time with you more attractive to that person than any of the other alternatives he’ll have to give up.

To get something, you have to give up something in exchange that is wanted or needed by the other person. It has to be of greater value to him than the object you are asking him to give up.

Profit is a reward for satisfying the desire of someone else.

NOTE: Brilliant.

since there are things you desire, but can’t produce, you are in the position of having to satisfy others in order to obtain what you want.

NOTE: Reminds me of Matt Ridely’s TED talk

Notice how many people around you overlook this simple fact. Most people are indifferent to the needs and desires of others – failing to recognize that those desires are their own stepping-stones to success.

NOTE: IMHO, the root cause of this fantasy is money. It creates the illusion there's an objective external value. If we were still operating on a trade basis, people who had virtually nothing of value to anyone would be painfully aware of this fact.

The extent of your own profit depends upon your ability to satisfy the needs and desires of others.

The more efficient you are in satisfying those desires, the bigger your own profits will be. This standard of measurement applies to your life – no matter what the nature of the profit you seek – whether or not you choose to recognize it. You are continually in the position of having to satisfy others in order to get what you want – whether you are buying or selling, employer or employee, lender or borrower, parent or child, lover or friend.

There is nothing greater in this world than the individual. For only individuals can think and act. Groups are only a number of individuals who exchange with one another. Therefore, we must never confuse ourselves by thinking in terms of group actions when we really mean the actions of the individuals within that group.

You develop a routine for yourself – which includes your daily activity and your plans for the future. We call this routine your profit motive – the method by which you intend to obtain your happiness.

NOTE: Wow.

You are continually choosing – making value judgments – choosing between the alternatives available to you. And, of course, the object is always to make your life as happy as possible – to satisfy your own values.

It is not how long you work at some task that determines what you’ll receive for it in exchange. It is the value someone else places upon the product or service that determines what it is worth in exchange.

No matter how long the production line, there is a consumer down at the end of it who is the object of the whole process. He is the one being asked to pay for all of the production. So it is his approval that counts.

It is not how much time, energy or talent you put into your service, it is the value the consumer places upon it that matters.

How do you measure the degree of desire? The individual expresses the degree of desire for an object in the price he is willing to pay.

NOTE: Hence, value pricing.

each individual expresses the degree of desire for an object in the price he is willing to pay in time, energy and devotion. So an individual tells you what pleases him most when he shows you how much of his resources he is willing to give up in order to get various things.

NOTE: It's important to remember that "the price paid" is not measured in money, but in "how much of his resources he is willing to give up"

So when you approach any individual, make sure you realize that he will do what he wants to do. Don’t laugh at his choices; investigate them to better understand what he’s trying to accomplish.

NOTE: Your client always has a good reason for a seemingly idiotic decision.

If you wish to trade, you will have to offer the person something he wants more than what he has already. It’s his resources you are seeking. He will control their use. You will have to be in tune with his desires or there will be no exchange.

And, too, there is the entrepreneur. He is the man who starts an enterprise – and often manages it, too. He receives part of the purchase price. He is being paid for his service in bringing together all of the other human services in a unique way for the purpose of providing a specific service to you.

Every time you write a check – or pay cash – for anything, the money you pay will eventually be split up among human beings. All we ever exchange between us are human services and products created by human services.

NOTE: Money is an illusion (or more charitably, an abstraction that has become distractingly real). It's perverse. Like loving a picture of your kids more than you love your actual kids.

So the price of your service is going to depend upon one factor alone – the value others place upon it. There’s no way to avoid this. Just as every payment you make goes eventually to a human being, it is also true that every payment you receive comes from a human being. And that human being, whoever he may be, is seeking happiness – his happiness – and will look at you only in terms of the happiness you may help him obtain.

NOTE: "the price of your service is going to depend upon one factor alone – the value others place upon it." <-- value pricing.

If you decide that your services are worth more than others are willing to pay for them, the others will find a way to get along without you.


Your success depends upon the value others place upon your services.

NOTE: Brilliant.

People only pay for what they want – so you will succeed only if you are providing people with what they want. It is surprising how few people have ever stopped to realize that. Many people say they realize it. But look at them. Do their actions indicate that they even care what other people want?

Unless you can demonstrate to others that your service is in their self-interest, they are not going to give up their resources to you.

NOTE: Tweet worthy.

So here is half of the secret of success: You will succeed if you are providing people with what they want.

NOTE: Reminds me of that recurring motif in Game of Thrones where everyone is always asking, "What do you want?"

The one rule that sums up the job to be done – the one formula that is fully in harmony with the real world – the secret of success is: Find out what people want and help them get it!

NOTE: Brilliant.

This is the way you separate yourself from the mass of people who just “get by”. This is how you make sure that your services are always in demand. This is how you command a high price in the marketplace – by making sure that what you’re offering is what people really want. You do it by taking the trouble to find out what people want before you determine what you will offer. You calculate in advance; but you recognize the difference between true calculation and blind guessing. Because guessing means you just transfer your own values mentally to others.

Everyone is already motivated. The only question is “By what?” Your job is to find out what it is that motivates your prospect. And then show him how he can get what he wants through your product or service. Only then will he buy.

Here we can see the secret of successful salesmanship. If there is one rule, one key, one basic law that tells us what you have to do to make a sale, then this must be it: Find this prospect’s motivation and appeal to it. That’s all there is to it. Find this prospect’s motivation and appeal to it. The emphasis is on the word this. The individual is different from all other human beings in the world. He has his own life, his own outlook, his own nature, his own personality, his own ideas, his own goals, his own plans. You cannot treat him as a carbon copy of every prospect you’ve ever faced. He isn’t.

NOTE: Amen.

When the prospect has come to you, the basic question you’re asking is, “What is it you want to accomplish through the purchase of this product?”

For example, suppose you sell a bookkeeping service to businessmen. You can open the conversation with “Mr. Jones, I’m anxious to find out if our bookkeeping service could be profitable to you. It has saved a lot of time and out-of-pocket expense for other businessmen. But I don’t know anything about your business – so I don’t know how it might help you solve any present problems. Would you mind taking a few minutes to tell me how you handle your accounting now?”

NOTE: Reminds me of Blair’s Armor Piercing Intro

All of this permits him to let his guard down. He knows he’s not dealing with an aggressive, “you-have-to-buy-this” type of salesman. Rather, he’s dealing with a man who’s anxious to find out if there’s some way to improve the prospect’s business.

Assuming he does have the time, it’s very rare when a man won’t talk about his own business. If you think about it for a moment, you can understand how lonely he is. He has a great many problems on his mind and there’s no one interested in listening to him talk about them. When he sat down to breakfast this morning, he tried to tell his wife what was on his mind. But she quickly interrupted him by asking when he could get their son’s teeth straightened.

The trick is to always be alert to anything that might be an unsatisfied desire that you could satisfy.

To get started, make a list of questions that apply to your business. You should have at least ten – even if you don’t always use them all. They don’t have to be memorized – but a least two or three should be mentally handy at all times.

When your list includes several dozen benefits, organize them into groups. You can use headings such as safety, appearance, prestige, value, cost, performance, etc.

You should also create an opening statement that comfortably gets the conversation going in the fact-finding direction.

NOTE: ala The Why Conversation.

The first step of any sales interview should be to discover the prospect’s motivation.

NOTE: "Why bother doing this project at all? Why not just leave things they way they are? Why not research this for a while and maybe do it next year?"

You could also call the second step defining the problem. For that is, in effect, what you’re doing. And any solution you have to offer will be meaningless until that problem has been properly defined.

You are rendering a useful service to the prospect when you define the problem for him. As a matter of fact, you may put your finger on the key element of a problem that has plagued him for years. It may be one that’s never been solved because it’s never been seen in its proper light.

NOTE: The diagnosis.

There is nothing as exciting to an individual (a businessman, particularly) as the discovery that someone else truly understands what he’s up against.

There’s no such thing as a “captive audience.” The first time you stray from what’s important to him, he’ll start thinking about his plans for the evening, how much work he has left to finish, or any one of dozens of other things that are more important than listening to a salesman’s pitch.

If you think you may have lost his attention, ask him a question of the kind you used in step one. Use his answer as the basis of your next statement. This will bring his attention back to you. And then make sure you don’t wander from the point again.

Talk about the things he’s always wanted and can now have. Talk to him in his language in terms of his interest about the things he’s told you are important. Forget everything else.

NOTE: This one is especially relevant to designers.

When you use the principles offered in this book, you are no longer a tiresome salesman. You are now a friend. You may even be a hero to some of your customers. For you’re helping them to get what they want.

Even if your product does seem right for him, don’t stretch the benefits further than the truth. Be honest about the things you don’t know. If he asks, “Will this take care of the __________ problem we discussed?,” don’t be afraid to say, “I can’t promise it will. It’s possible it will help, but I can’t guarantee it.” Never promise more than you can deliver. If you’re a stock broker, you don’t have to guarantee a stock will go up in price. Why should you? Any intelligent investor ought to be afraid of the broker who does. Instead, make a simple statement like this: “We live in an uncertain world. There are literally millions of factors affecting the price of a stock. No one can be positive about that which he doesn’t control and it’s wise to minimize uncertainty. But this stock appears to be the most likely to go up. I would feel safer with your money in this stock than in any other.” And if you’re in real estate, don’t promise an increase in land values. If you think the property will increase in value, tell the prospect this is what you think and give him all the reasons that have led to your opinion. There is nothing more he could gain from someone else.

Don’t be afraid to bring up the drawbacks of your product to him. They exist and he’ll recognize them sooner or later. Let him know that you’re aware of them. In that way, he won’t be afraid there are others that you’re hiding from him.

NOTE: "Why hire an expensive resource like me? Couldn't you do this internally? Or hire an intern to do it? Or outsource to India? Or find someone on Fiverr?"

Don’t ever be afraid to discuss anything honestly and openly with your prospect.

The first thing you must do is to listen – hear him out. Let him tell you everything he has to say, even if you’re sure you know what’s coming. Only if you’ve heard him out can he be sure you understand what’s bothering him.

NOTE: Yes! Exactly what I advocate in the “brain dump” section of The Why Conversation.

This is the three-part technique for handling objections: listen – agree –  suggest. Try it. See how much more relaxed the conversation is. All that sticky tension disappears. There’s no longer a battle between buyer and seller. You no longer find yourself getting into arguments.

Always make sure that you aren’t contradicting your prospect. Instead, you should be adding to his range of alternatives or ideas. If you approach it on that basis, the prospect’s problems will never be a problem to you. You’ll be able to handle them comfortably and effectively. The prospect’s objections are an opportunity to eliminate all remaining negative considerations and solidify the sale.

Why the difference? Because no one ever objects to being encouraged to do the very thing he wants most to do. Sometimes he needs encouragement; but he doesn’t resent it, he welcomes it. The essence of high pressure is not the number of times you ask for the order or the tone of urgency in your voice. It is trying to sell someone something he doesn’t see yet as profitable to himself.

It’s an old fallacy to think of the seller as the one who profits most in a transaction. Most people seem to have the vague notion that it’s always better to receive money than to spend it. But that isn’t true. Money is only a means to an end. You can’t eat it, you can’t drive it to work, you can’t make love to it, you can’t even hold a civil conversation with it. It’s true that money can often buy some of those things. But it requires a further transaction to bring that about. The buyer is ready to enjoy the fruits of the exchange now; but the seller must make an additional exchange before he gets what he wants. So which one profits more from the transaction? It’s the buyer who actually has the greatest incentive to see an exchange take place. If he’s reluctant, it’s either that he has no real desire for what’s being offered him – or that he hasn’t been shown clearly how the proposal will help him get what he wants.

If he says, “I’ll think it over and let you know,” and you believe he just isn’t convinced, go back to steps one and two again. You can do it easily, without being awkward. Just say something like, “I have the feeling that I haven’t really understood your situation properly. Could we take a couple of minutes more to go back and fill me in on some earlier points? Now, as I understood it, . . .” (re summarize as in step two).

Often the prospect is thoroughly confused by the time he has seen a half-dozen alternatives. Without an efficient salesman to help him identify his own standards, he finds himself comparing apples and oranges with no basis for comparison. Invariably, he winds up searching for the so-called “best buy” – not for the thing he personally wants the most.

NOTE: Confusion leads to price shopping because everyone understands a price.

Why, then, do buyers insist on “shopping around?” Why don’t they buy at the first store they visit? Because they aren’t being offered what they want.

By ignoring the prospect’s motivations, the salesman will invariably introduce irrelevancies into the presentation.

If the salesman would just shut up and let the prospect tell him what he has to do to make a sale, he’d eliminate over half of the problems commonly associated with selling.

NOTE: Amen.

Never leave a sales interview without one of three things: (1) an order, (2) a definite “no” because you can’t give the prospect what he wants, or (3) an understanding of when the prospect intends to make his decision and on what basis.

I’m amazed that so many salesmen are willing to make so many calls with so little understanding of what’s in their prospects’ minds. There’s nothing worse than being in the dark about a prospect’s thinking. And it’s so easy to turn on the light. Just ask him!

So if the prospect asks for a cooling off period, react with a three-part plan: (1) find out when and how he will make the decision; (2) plan to call him half-way before the intended time; and (3) call him again if still necessary, at the appointed time.

For example, a prospect says, “Yes, this looks good to me. I think I’d like to institute such a program next month.” The salesman leaves, happy to know he has a sale next month. But next month may never come because the salesman hasn’t tied it down. He should have replied, “Fine, I’ll be glad to make up the order – and specify that the program is to begin next month.” Or, if that isn’t appropriate, the salesman should send a letter to the prospect, immediately after the interview, confirming the conversation. In it, he can say, “We are planning to go ahead with the program next month if we don’t hear otherwise from you in the meantime.”

Sometimes you take an order on the telephone. When you do, you should never leave anything to chance, to the possibility of a misunderstanding. So always confirm the conversation with a letter, sent the same day, if possible. Here’s a sample format for such a letter: Dear Mr. Jones: Thank you for your time on the telephone Wednesday. I’m writing this letter to summarize our conversation, and to be sure I haven’t misunderstood you in any way. We will deliver 379½ widgets to you next Tuesday. The color will be blue and they’ll be the super-deluxe models. The price for these is $1.17 per widget. As discussed, payment will be expected by the 15th of next month. If any of the above is not in accordance with your understanding of our conversation, please call me right away. Thank you again for your time and for the order. In some way, you must tie down the fact that a sale has taken place – that the burden is now on the prospect to say “no” if he doesn’t want the order. No salesman ever became rich on vague promises and “maybes.”

This isn’t difficult to see when money is being exchanged for a product. But these same principles apply no matter what kind of sale you’re trying to make. For instance, suppose you’re trying to sell your boss a new idea you think would improve company conditions. If he says, “Yes, that sounds all right to me,” don’t walk out of his office, thinking your job is done. Instead, ask for permission to do something that will confirm the fact that the idea has been accepted. For example, you could ask, “Will it be all right then if I prepare a memo for distribution to everyone in the office, informing them of this change?” Or you can ask, “Shall we make next Monday the first day of the new policy?” In any event, you must tie down the fact that the policy has been accepted. Nothing has been accomplished by a vague approval. Turn it into concrete action – or else no sale has taken place.

Sometimes you may feel bullied into presenting your product in a hurry. For example, the prospect opens the interview by saying, “I don’t have a great deal of time. But show me what you have.” This isn’t difficult to handle. Just point out that your product is designed to do many different jobs. You don’t want to waste his time talking about a lot of things that may not be of any importance to him. Instead, you’d prefer to know a little about that phase of his business that pertains to your product. Go right ahead with one of your key “discovery” questions, as suggested in chapter four. Say, “For example, does your company . . . ?”

If the prospect begins the conversation by asking you a question about your product, answer it – briefly but sincerely. Then say, “But before I go any further with my product, I’d like to get a better idea of how you’re handling this job now. I have no way of knowing whether or not our service would be profitable to you. For example, do you . . . ?”

If the prospect makes it clear that he’s in a big hurry, don’t fight it. You’re just throwing away the sale by trying to make a quick presentation of your product without any knowledge of his motivation. Instead, tell him that it wouldn’t be fair to either of you to try to discuss in a few minutes a question of substantial importance to him. “When would be a better time for me to see you and learn more about your situation? I think we should probably allow 30 minutes. Would you have that time available tomorrow afternoon?”

NOTE: Reminds me of a polite version of Oren Klaff’s frame control as described in Pitch Anything.

If this interview seems too easy, if you feel I was lucky to find someone who wanted exactly what I was offering, you have a pleasant surprise coming.

NOTE: Note that he didn't say the reader was wrong, instead he said the reader has a pleasant surprise coming. Pure genius!

Ten minutes later, John and I were at a nearby coffee shop, discussing the interview. “What’s your impression?” I asked. “That was great. You let him hang himself.” I knew then that John wasn’t for me.


Selling is easy. It’s always easy if you think of the prospect as someone you’re trying to help. It becomes difficult when you think of your prospect as an adversary who must be out-maneuvered.

NOTE: I believe that this is the key mind shift that every freelancer, consultant, and firm owner needs to make.

Selling is not a con game; it’s a profession. And you can size up the merits of a salesman by the stories he tells. Ask a man what his greatest sale was. His answer will reveal his ability. If he tells you about a “fast one” he put over on someone, he’s not really a salesman. But if he tells you about the hidden profit motive he was able to uncover in a buyer, you’re listening to the real thing.

No one ever buys anything he doesn’t want. If it appears that someone has bought something he doesn’t want, it’s only that we – as outsiders – don’t fully understand what the individual wanted.

A salesman doesn’t win by aggression and flamboyance; he succeeds by finding out what people want and helping them get it.

NOTE: So simple.

Selling is easy and profitable and noble.

Of course, he had no trouble getting agreement upon that point. And so he was ready to move into step three – the presentation of his product, which was not a set of encyclopedia; it was a supplementary education for their son.

The second fallacy to be discussed comes from the same poisoned well.

The “positive thinkers” are saying, in effect, that your mind controls the minds of others – that everyone else in this world can be a slave to your mental attitude. That’s dangerous. Not dangerous to your prospects – they could care less. They won’t be affected by your thoughts, whether or not you realize it. But it’s dangerous to you. For it leads you to concentrate on things that are totally irrelevant to the sale.

Positive thinking is nothing more than wishing. It’s a futile attempt to change reality by wishing it were different from what it is. It’s an effort to get something for nothing – to be able to make sales without having to go to the trouble of satisfying your customers.

The positive thinkers attribute every setback to a loss of confidence. They work harder and harder to develop the “right” mental attitude – thinking that success will come as soon as they can imagine it correctly.

Sales are always sweeter when you haven’t already spent the commission.

Yes, it’s true that occasionally someone makes a sale by scaring a prospect – or by shaming him – or by appealing to his sympathy for the salesman – or by lying to the prospect – or by some other scheme. But such sales are few and far between – and very difficult to make. Why bother trying? Selling is easy – if you go about it the easy way. Find out what your prospect wants and show him how to get it. You’ll save hours of time, pints of perspiration, and 3 ½ ulcers by doing it that way.

The telephone can be used for two different purposes: getting an appointment or making a sale.

“Mr. Jones, I’m with the Red Ink Bookkeeping Service. We’ve developed some pretty interesting new ideas to help clients save time and money; but I have no way of knowing if these ideas would be profitable in your business. Would it be possible for me to come by and have you fill me in on your present situation? That way, if there’s anything available to improve your situation, I can offer it to you.”

Don’t ever be afraid to be honest or realistic or humble. Those qualities get appointments for you; they don’t lose them.

In using step one on the phone, your approach should be the same as it would be if you were talking to him in person: “Mr. Jones, I’m anxious to see if our service can be profitable to you. But I know very little about your business. I wonder if you’d fill me in on some things. Would it be convenient for you if I ask some questions right now? Then, if it appears I have something profitable for you, we could set up an appointment.”

As a matter of fact, this is a very important rule to remember when telephoning anyone: Never start the conversation until you’ve asked if he has time to talk to you. There’s nothing more aggravating than being in a hurry to do something while a salesman takes his time with your time. Don’t ever be guilty of that. “Mr. Jones, this is Harry Browne. I’d like to ask you a couple of questions. Do you have a minute right now?” or “Have I caught you in the middle of something?” or “Is there a more convenient time for me to reach you?” or “Is this a bad time for you?”

Monopolizing his time at the wrong time or being rude or disregarding his other obligations – these things will simply make it harder for him to see that you’re interested in helping him.

Never allow yourself to be someone who is tolerated. If you respect the time and interests of your friends, associates, and prospects, they will usually respect you a lot more. And one important reason is that so few other people will show them that kind of respect.

What’s the answer to all this? It’s simple. Just be honest and straightforward with the secretary and you’ll be a breath of fresh air to her. “Hi. I’m Harry Browne, an investment counselor. I have some ideas about Mr. Wilson’s investment program. Is this a good time to reach him?” Or “Good morning. This is Harry Browne of the Bad Debt Collection Service. We have a new service that might prove very profitable for Mr. Wilson – but I need to know more about his situation. Is he in now?” If he’s not available right now, enlist her help. “Perhaps you can give me some of the information I need. Do you have a minute right now?” Then ask some of the opening questions of your list. Almost invariably, you’ll come to a question she can’t answer – and often she’ll say, “You’d better talk to Mr. Wilson about that.” Ask her for any help you need. Instead of fighting her, let her know she’s important to you. Don’t say it, but let her know by your words and actions.

Remember, the prospect has just as much reason as you do to want to close the sale without another appointment. He may welcome the opportunity to get the deal taken care of right now.

The honest salesman finds his job to be so much easier than the salesman who always says what he thinks will sound best.

The salesman who is honest and valuable to his customers will not have to engage in the normal entertainment practices to get business and to hold onto his customers. Those are only substitutes for the salesman’s real job – to provide the client with what he wants. You’ll quickly become a friend to your customer. Not because you attempt to make friends with him away from the office, but because you’re a source of aid to him. You’re one of the rare individuals who truly understands an important facet of his life.

Everything said in this book points to the single word relax.

NOTE: Yes!

Don’t ever be discouraged when you make mistakes. Observe yourself. Are you getting all the information you need to make a proper presentation? If not, don’t despair. You’ll improve. Keep at it. If you suddenly realize you forgot to get some important answers, stop and go back for them. Relax with your prospect. Try not to think of him as the power over your economic future. Think of the interview as a conversation.

Treat your prospects as social equals. Don’t look up to them – except in any special ways in which they merit that kind of respect. And don’t ever look down on them – no matter how much of your “knowledge” and “insight” they lack. Try to think of them as friends. But don’t allow that to encourage you to digress into non-essential conversation. Keep the conversation always on the prospect’s interests.

Relax and tell the truth.

NOTE: Tweet worthy.

Recognize the individuality of your prospect. He’s a sovereign human being – with his own world, his own rules, his own ideas. He has just as much right to his own ideas as anyone else does. As you listen to him, try not to judge him. Your job is to discover him. Understand what it is he’s trying to do – don’t become preoccupied with whether he’s smart or dumb, good or evil, attractive or unattractive.

Everything a man does is a reflection of his motivations. Don’t make the mistake of trying to judge his acts. Instead, concentrate on discovering what they mean. When he speaks, listen. When he acts, pay attention.

NOTE: This is solid gold.

If price were everything, no one would ever part with any of his money. But money is only a means to an end. An individual spends it because there’s something he wants more than the money. Your job is to find out what that is. When you find out, you can arrange to have him spend some of that money with you. And you find out by listening to him, by paying attention to what he says and does, by respecting his attitude enough to try to determine what it is. Listen to your prospect. He’s telling you how to sell him something. When he raises an element of the proposition that seems to be complicating it further, don’t ignore it. Don’t try to tell him it’s unimportant. It is important to him – or he wouldn’t have brought it up. Listen to your prospect. Listen to him! Don’t be afraid of problems. Every problem is an opportunity to be of service to someone – to sell him a solution.

Next time you see a problem of some kind, let your imagination run away with it. Imagine yourself solving it. How will you do it? Who suffers most from the problem the way it is now? How much do you suppose it’s worth to him? What could you do to solve it within that budget?

Listen – listen – listen to your prospect. He’s telling you how to sell him something!

Always find out what the other person wants. Maybe you won’t be able to grant it – but you’ll never know until you find out. There’s no point in ignoring it; it isn’t going to go away.

Get in the habit of asking what you want to know. Anytime you catch yourself thinking, “I wish I knew what he intends to do,” make it a point to go ask him what he intends to do.

You must recognize that every individual is already motivated. Every prospect has a multitude of hopes, aspirations, dreams, plans, goals and ideas . Don’t try to motivate him. Instead, discover his present motivation.

NOTE: Similar to: don't tell them about problems that they don't know they have.

The good listener will always outsell the big talker.

He knows he isn’t going to sell everyone, because not everyone will want what he has to offer. But before he terminates the interview, he’ll check every possible way that his product might match up with a motivation of the prospect.