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  • Robert Farago

How to Sell Anyone Anything: Attitude!

Welcome to Moonbase Alpha

When I was a young man selling cars, my colleagues would regale me with tales of difficult, stupid or crazy customers. Oh how we laughed! If I knew back then what I know now, I’d have asked them a simple question: who gives a fuck? “Bad customers” are outliers. A distraction. A waste of time. A successful salesman focuses on success, not failure. Attitude ladies and gentlemen!

Yes, well, it’s not all about attitude. Just as there are three parts to the sales process (qualify, present, close) the sales process exists within a three-part framework. A great salesman must master all three: technique, product knowledge and attitude. Let’s do it!

1. Technique

A team member assists a customer at the Apple Watch display.

Apple has a book charting every step of Cupertino’s approved sales methodology. A store manager told me less than 20 percent of the sales staff (formerly known as geniuses) implement their training.

Yes, Apple still sells stuff. Lots of stuff. But salesfolk who consistently apply the “Apple way” outperform those who think they know better or “wing it.”

Ask Apple: a sales technique isn’t an attitude. It’s a repeatable, quantifiable method for getting the highest possible percentage of customers from first contact to a sales. I’ve laid out the immodestly named Farago Method here for your dining and dancing please. Use it or lose it. Either way, have a technique. Stick to it like glue.

2. Product Knowledge

Customers expect a salesman to be an expert. True that. A salesman should know their product or service inside and out, backwards and forwards. They should know the competition’s product or service like the back of their hand. They should know industry trends – what’s old, what’s new, what’s coming. EVERYTHING.

In The Farago Method, you preset the products or service based on the customer’s three likes (what they like about their previous product or service). How can you present to a car buyer who likes acceleration if you don’t know acceleration stats, the competition’s stats and how the car achieves its thrust? Same goes for any part of any product or service.

With or without the Internet as a resource, there’s no excuse for ignorance. None. Bone-up boys! Hint: if you’re not “into” the product or service, you’re selling the wrong product or service. That brings us to…

3. Attitude

A bad attitude kills sales. What does that look like? Desperate. Frustrated. Ill-informed (see: above). Hangry. Sloppy. Stupid. Lazy. Low energy. Too high energy. Unfriendly. Too friendly. Lazy. You get the picture.

A professional salesperson is healthy, relaxed, confident, patient, knowledgeable, dominant (in a good way) and understanding. Anything less is a fail. And I do mean anything. If you lack any one of those characteristics you are not a proper sales professional. You are your own worst enemy.

How do you achieve all that? Return to GO! Technique. Know where you are in the sales process, where you’re going and why the sale did or didn’t didn’t happen. Next, focus on dominance. Not assholery. A dominant salesman isn’t a bully. He/she/they guides the customer through the sales process with… wait for it… love.

That’s why you have to love your product or service. Think of the best teacher you ever had. A teacher who loved their subject and genuinely cared about you, while maintaining control of the learning process. That’s you! Well it should be.

You’re the alpha. You’re in charge. If you’re not, the customers is. Nine times out of ten that does not end well. When you make the sale despite the customer bullying you, you’re being an order taker, not a salesman. Have pride in what you do. Don’t let the customer – make that “a” customer – divert you from your sales process.

Never let a customer take control of the sales process. “I don’t know what my three likes are. I’m a busy man. Show me the product/tell me about the service” should elicit “I’m happy to do so sir, but I want to make sure you get the right product/service. I need a few seconds of your time to figure that out. Can we try again?”

If the customer won’t play ball, or wants to play their game not yours, put your foot down. Remember that bit about outliers? Most customers are happy to let a salesman guide them to the right product/service. Those that don’t – usually because previous salesman were assholes and/or they got stiffed – must be mollified.

If you take away one tip it’s this: fuck rapport. Don’t try to be the customer’s friend. Have you ever bought something from a friend? How did that work out? Think about what could have gone wrong.

Don’t discuss your kids, their kids, the local sports team, the weather, their hobby or anything that has nothing to do with your product or service. You’re a sales professional there to do a job.

Health – and the appearance of health – is the final and major concern. You can’t do a proper sales job when you’re hungover, overweight, sugar or nicotine addicted, stressed or generally a mess. People respect people who look respectable.

By the same token, dress like a slob and you’ll be treated like a slob. If you need to address your health through diet, exercise, meditation or whatever, do it. If you need to upgrade your wardrobe, do it.

And there you have it. The next installment in this series will address tone of voice and body language. For now, take the time to write down your sales process and list any needed attitude adjustments. Role play with friends and family. Get their feedback.

Being a great salesman is a lifelong pursuit. Easy money! Once you know how...

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