W. Clement Stone was a successful entrepreneur and a great salesperson. Starting with $100 in 1920, he built Combined Insurance into a billion-dollar company by the late 1970s. Stone believed that sales were determined by the attitude of the salesperson, not the prospect.
What do you think – do you agree or disagree?
I have to admit, for several years, I struggled with that question.
Before you decide, think about this. There was a teacher that Stone knew who decided to go into the insurance sales.
The teacher asked Stone if he could give him the names of 10 or 15 prospects to call on and use Stone's name. Stone told him to come down to his office in the morning, and he would have his secretary put names on cards for him.
He went down to Stone's office and picked up the cards. The new agent asked Stone, "Is it alright if I use your name?" Stone said, "Tell them you are calling at my request."
He came back at the end of the week, excited. He sold 8 out of the ten and had appointments schedule with the other 2.
He asked Stone for ten more names. Stone said, "You caught me at a bad time. I'm really busy. Here's the phone book. You can copy the names out of there. That's where I got them."
All Stone did was take one name from the A's, one from the B's, one from the C's, and so on.
The new agent made up ten cards. He was only able to get two interviews and no sales out of the 10.
Was it the fault of the prospects that he didn't make any sales?
The fault was in the man's head. He didn't believe he could take a name from the phone book, cold call them and make a sale.
The difference with the first ten names was that the new agent told the prospect Stone suggested he call, and the agent believed that Stone had influence with the prospect. In reality, the prospects probably never heard of W. Clement Stone.
No one ever makes a sale of anything to anyone without first making the sale to themselves.
I believe that if you look at great sales and leaders, they sold themselves first and believed they would solve a problem for the prospect and make a sale.
Your attitude makes a difference.
As a salesperson, how can you apply this principle to increase your sales? If you are not a salesperson, how can you apply this to improve your life quality?