Robert Terson just published his new book, Selling Fearlessly: A Master Salesman’s Secrets for the One-Call-Close Salesperson. The book offers wisdom, insight, and a remarkably fresh look from a master salesman who spent more than 40 years in the field.
His message is applicable to everyone who sells: which basically means all of us looking to commercialize research, deliver our start-up or entrepreneurial vision into the marketplace, and earn major market traction for our already established company.
I had the honor of interviewing Bob last month about his new book. Here’s what he had to say:
Babette: Bob, you have “been there and done that” quite a number of times. Why write a book when you could just go off to some desert island someplace?
Bob: When I retired in January 2010, I knew I wasn’t the kind of man to just sit around, play golf, etc.; I knew I needed to be challenged, remain in the arena, contribute, give back to others. I wanted to write, do some speaking, live my retirement years on my own terms. You can sum it all up with one of my favorite quotes, from an unknown source: “If you don’t have a dream that is so outrageous that you couldn’t possibly succeed unless God Himself puts in a personal appearance, you’re not alive.” I need to be fully alive until my last breath.
Babette: It could be said that your approach to the sales formula comes from a different era of selling. Yet what you bring to the table is timeless. In this era of Sales 2.0, what’s your secret?
Bob: I have no “secret,” Babette; but at the ripe old age of 68 I’ve had enough experience to realize that the more things change, the more they remain the same. I believe in the basics–they still work. They’re still the “secret” to success.
Babette: What are the three key points you want to make in your book?
Bob: There aren’t just three key points I want to make in Selling Fearlessly; it’s a book that is comprehensive, in that it covers all the elements of selling. However, if you’re looking for three points to emphasize, that would be the last three parts of the book: Mental Attitude, Work Habits, and Salesmanship–what I call the Sales Triangle. The first part is the Bridge to the Triangle.
Babette: Why are these three key points so important to you?
Bob: The Sales Triangle is the lever and fulcrum of successful selling. Archimedes said, “Give me a lever long enough, and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” If your Triangle is sturdy enough, you’ll move the world. Everything you need to know, all the answers, fall under the purview of one of its three sides.
Babette: In your opinion, what is the biggest disconnect in today’s selling environment? What’s your solution?
Bob: The biggest disconnect in today’s selling environment? My God, there are so many it’s difficult to pick out just one. If I had to pick just one it would be this: salespeople think they’re working; they’re not! One of my father’s favorite lines–which became the framework for my own personal work habits–goes like this: “When you work, you work; when you play, you play.” When it was time for me to work, that’s what I did; that’s all I did! I had a set number of presentations I had to give every week–I never settled for less!
Babette: What advice would you give to today’s entrepreneurs and young people studying a trade, for a college degree, etc..
Bob: My best advice would be to study what you love; plan your entire work life around what you love; your success will be a byproduct of doing what you love. You’ll be excited to go to work for the rest of your life!
Babette Ten Haken blogs about business development, entrepreneurship, and manufacturing. She teaches techies how to speak business, sales people how to use the left sides of their brains, and works with manufacturing companies looking to gain traction at the next level.