Introduction to Hardcore Sales

Hello and Welcome,

I’m Brett Alegre-Wood and I’ve been running teams of salespeople, my experience ranges from big corporate consulting, telemarketing and door to door sales, I have sold mobile phones, discounted holidays, lawn mowing, tree lopping, printing, earth moving equipment, massage, long-haul trucks,  insurance and pension products, mortgages, hamburgers, and of course properties. I have in fact had the chance to develop and run sales team for many of these products and services.

Over my time in sales I have developed a foolproof process for developing a simple sales system that allows both yourself and your team to perform in a consistent and highly effective manner.

I am not going to lie and say its easy, simple yes, easy no, a true salespeople takes years of practice, making call after call, honing skills, test new scripts, telling stories, develop your ability to build rapport.

I have never believed that anyone is a natural sales person, sure people arrive on my sales floor never having sold before and are immediately successful and these people you could b e forgven for thinking they were natural. But in ever single case you go back into their history and find that they have sold they just never realised it. An example of this was the guy who had been a school captain, rugby captain, debater at school. He had ‘never sold before’ yet actually in all these things he’d sold people on his ideas thoughts and vision. He had sold, he’d just never realised he’d doing it. In fact he was a master storyteller.

There is also no stereotypical salesperson, I have hired everytype of personality and I still cannot tell you who make the best salespeople, I can tell you the traits that make a great salesperson – discipline, organsation, persistence, committed, passionate, and the list goes on. Don’t worry we’ll cover each as we work our way through the book.

Many people question my use of the word ‘Hardcore’ they feel it cheapens or in some way raises the dark side of sales. Well stuff them, hardcore sales is the ingredient that is missing right now in most sales people. Hardcore is the element that distinguishes a superstar performer from the ‘I’m a salesperson because I couldn’t get a real job’ we’ll call these people ‘Phone-Warmers’ because that’s about all they do. So many salespeople fit in this phone-warmer category its appauling and costs companies millions in lost opportunities.

I make no apologies for putting Hardcore in the title, I have found that over the past 20 years I have been in sales that salespeople have gotten softer. Sure I hear people say the market has changed, pushy sales are out and relationship sales is in but it seems the pendulum has swung too far.

Anyway, I use the term hardcore to symbolise all that is good about professional, ethical and systematic sales, I use the word hardcore more as a metphor for passion, passionate sales you might say. Hardcore is a good word because it boils the blood of many folk in the customer is always right crowd, and scares the crap out of the phone-warmer crowd. To a superstar it brings the hair up in their necks, their hearts begin to beat a little faster, they begin to salivate at the mouth. Ok so that may be a bit of creative licence but hopefully you know what I mean.

If the word hardcore does scare you or you think this is going to be some ego journey into how great I am and why you should do as I do the bear with me, I think you’ll find that I like every sales person was once crap, pathetic, I was even asked to leave because I was so bad. Asked to leave is the poilite way of saying ‘sacked’ so there is hope. You’ll also see that whilst I may have manner different views of how you should sell, I will back these up with thje phycological explanations and evidence that you’ll need to understand.

Hardcore sales makes perfect sense, its simple and it gets results. So stick with it, the contents have taken over 20 years for me to bring together but the effort was well worth it and once you apply the contents you to will see a dramtic improvement in your sales performance.

Set your goals high now because in time and with a lot of effort you too will be the superstar performer.

Your first test…

I ask all my sales position interviewee’s to write the answer to the following question.

List all of the closing techniques you know?

All too often I get a blank look, a distant stare. Occasionally I get one or two attempts to answer but most of the time its blank.

How anyone can call themselves a professional experienced salesperson and they cannot rattle off at least 20 or 30, even a measly 10 would have me jumping around the room but not once have I actually ever had more than 3-5 closes.

Alternates of choice close, summary close, criteria for ordering close, sales manager close, subject to close, direct close, holiday close, balance sheet close, trial close, slice of cake close, delivery van close, order form close, initial here close, the list goes on and on and on.

If you couldn’t list all of these and that includes being able to use them in a normal sales pitch with the kind of ease you speak to your best mate over coffee or a cold beer then this book is for you.

You see I was trained in a time when sales were hard, customers didn’t have the huge range of choices and the internet didn’t exist to check everything, uncover user reviews and compare prices.  For the most part, no mobile phones existed, no email, fax was unreliable at best. You had the phone (rotary phone, you know the one where you enter each number by rotating the dial), mail (and I mean the kind with a stamp on it not an @ sign) and an address to go and see them. You had very limited options and very limited chances to make an impression.  You also didn’t have the chance to keep trying to close them, I remember selling vaccum cleaners door to door where you had one shot to get in the door otherwise you blew it.

For me this was a golden time in sales, if you were good, you knew that it was a numbers game and you played the numbers and honed your skills at closing, objection handling and never giving up. If they had an objection you already had the rebuttal and you’d practised it a hundred times so it rolled off the tongue without so much as a twitch.

I have watched things get worse and worse over the past twenty years as salespeople struggled to redefine their position in society. Sure some made the change look easy but many newcomers, well they continued to struggle and unless they found an old schooler, what I call Hardcore Salesperson. Even many of the old hardcores failed to adapt to the new model for relationship sales.

If you do nothing in the book except open your mind to what is possible when you intimately understand sales, then the book is a success, but you don’t want to stop just there, see the book as going so much further than this.

I want to introduce you to a whole new world where incomes of well and truly over a hundred thousand is possible every year and it doesn’t matter what the product or service, your new found skills and attitude are totally transferable, so even if your present position doesn’t allow huge incomes you will move towards the positions that do.

Great salespeople, superstars are of value to every business, they live outside the usual rules of the average salesperson because no business wants to lose a superstar. Many times a superstar will earn two or three, even 10 times as much as his phone-warmer counterparts.

You will have mastered this book when you can firstly understand the laws applicable to sales (this book will cover this), secondly can freely apply the laws in any given situation with any given prospect (this will require practice and more practice, a book cannot acheive this you have to get off your arse and do something; luckily the workbook that accompanies this book will provide the format to acheive this.)  Finally you are able to pass these same laws onto a team to be able to leverage your own time, this is when you will reach true mastery (This is the subject of my next book – How to be a Hardcore Sales Director and manage a team of Hardcore Sales People.)

This book sets out to give you a clear and definite direction on how to identify unique selling points, understand the laws that influence every sale, how to structure your sales calls and create scripts for everything, how to qualify, and finally how to close everything!

I own over a dozen businesses, call me a serial entrepreneur but really I am a serial salesperson. Each of these businesses require salespeople, some are face to face, others telemarketing and some are solely internet based and aren’t even human, they are sales copy that serves exactly the same purpose and uses the same laws as real salespeople.

Sales is a way of life for me, it flows through my blood and even though now I have teams of sales people to doing most of the work, I still love nothing more than to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty in selling.

Whilst I believe you are made a sales person rather than born one, I also believe that once the sales adrenaline flows through your blood you never lose it.

Here’s to passionate (hardcore) selling.

Live with passion,

Brett Alegre-Wood