While I was perusing the business section in a bookstore recently, I was immediately attracted to one with "shark" in the title. I am referring to Robert Herjavec's new book, "You Don't Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success." Robert is one of the stars of the popular TV show "Shark Tank."
As the author of the book "Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," I take great delight in anyone who reintroduces sharks back into our lexicon. I originally wrote "Swim With the Sharks" back in 1988, and then updated it with new material in 2005.
Robert has wonderful advice in his book. I rather enjoyed reading it because I couldn't help but notice some of the similarities in our ways of thinking. I highly recommend it for folks from all walks of life.
Robert has said, "A goal without a timeline is just a dream." I phrase it a little differently: "A goal is a dream with a deadline." Goals must be measurable, identifiable, attainable, specific and in writing. Winners set and achieve goals; losers make excuses. Goals give you more than a reason to get up in the morning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day.
Robert also notes: "Sales are the beginning of everything that business strives to achieve." I am firm in my belief that there are no jobs unless someone brings the business through the front door. Many people think "sales" is a negative word, but we have no jobs without sales. Sales provide the lifeblood of any business.
The second chapter of Robert's book is titled "Everyone Is Selling Somebody Something." My version: "Everyone is in sales." Why? Because from the moment we get up in the morning until we go to bed, what are we doing all day? We are selling ideas, communicating, negotiating, persuading and influencing.
The fourth chapter is all about the art of selling. Robert makes the point that the "story does not end with a sale." The way I put it is "The sale begins when the customer says yes." In other words, you have to service the account and make sure that you get the reorder. There are plenty of sharks out there working to take your business.
Robert is absolutely correct when he observes, "Salespeople enjoy the company of people." I like to say, "You must be a people person," because people buy from other people because of likability, chemistry and people skills.
And this piece of his advice is solid gold: "Salespeople spend more time listening than talking." I constantly remind people "Many people hear, but very few actually listen." You don't learn anything if you are doing all the talking. When you talk, you repeat what you already know. When you listen, you often learn something. Being a good listener can make or break a career.
Robert makes the following point: "Good salespeople learn everything possible about buyers and their interests ... And good salespeople work at building relationships." The most important lesson in "Swim With the Sharks" is "People don't care how much you know about them, once they realize how much you care about them." This describes my Mackay 66 Customer Profile, which is the cornerstone of all my speeches. You can find a copy of the Mackay 66 on my website, harveymackay.com.
You have to learn as much about your customers and suppliers as you possibly can, because you can't talk about business all the time. You have to build those relationships and take it from a business level to a personal level. Knowing something about your customer is just as important as knowing everything about your product.
Salespeople, Robert writes, "visualize their success." This is so true. I believe that visualization is one of the most powerful means of achieving personal goals. The ability to project is a common trait among all great athletes and business people. Such high achievers have future vision. Success is no surprise to visionary people. They know what they want, determine a plan to achieve it and expect positive results.
Visualization allows you to see your ideal tomorrow. It gives you a real idea of what is possible, if only you want it bad enough.
Take it from one who has spent a career swimming with sharks: Robert Herjavec's advice will keep you from becoming shark bait.
Mackay's Moral: You'd better be a great "sale-r" to get through shark-infested waters.