Those who know I invest in real estate may not realize – I got my start in computer sales. Now, before you say to yourself – “computer sales and real estate investing have nothing in common!” I suggest you take a moment to listen to my story.
(As you read, look for the early-developed habit that led my closing hundreds of deals in real estate – a habit that you can apply in your real estate investing business.)
I remember one fall day, after a few months in computer sales, I was called into the owner's office. My direct supervisor, the vice president of sales, was criticizing my work. He was telling me (and the owner) that I was throwing away leads and not making the most of them.
Truth was, I didn't care much for sales, and I didn't like to push hard to turn “don't-wanters” into prospects and, eventually, buyers. Perhaps you can relate. I hated trying to talk people into something they don't want to do. So, I didn't bother.
I was selling computer systems, the kind that ran a whole business, to customers such as lumberyards and hardware stores. I never tried to sell my prospects on the benefits of a computer system. Instead I only wanted to deal with people who already knew the benefits of having a complete accounting and inventory system in place.
So when the owner of the company asked to speak to me – I remember telling him, “I'm not a good salesman.” To my surprise, the owner of the company fired back at me, “Steve, you are the best salesman I have ever seen!”
I was shocked, because I had never considered myself to be a good salesman, but the numbers I was putting up were very impressive. (For example, I was selling more than the vice president of sales who criticized me.)
Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised. Previous to this sales position I had two other sales positions. My sales techniques were always criticized at both places, but in both cases I was the number one producer in the company.
A Lesson In “Sales!” – Part I
My technique for selling was simple:
Like I said, I wanted to deal with someone who already knew the benefits of having a complete computer system in place. So I figured that there was no better prospect for me than someone my competitors had already spent the last 3-6 months educating.
When I cold called, I had one goal in mind, to find someone who was already considering the purchase of my competitor's system. If I spent a ton of time trying to convince someone who wasn't really interested in buying a computer system to buy my product, I would have missed out on many others who were ready to buy now.
Metaphorically speaking, I never bothered to pull out a ladder to climb the tree for fruit on top of the tree. I grabbed all the low-hanging fruit, and moved to the next tree. As I saw it, while my competitors were climbing one tree to get the high-up “fruit” they were missing out on all the other trees!
Can you see the application to real estate, or your own business? Are you focusing on getting the low-hanging fruit, or running to get your ladder to climb to the top of the tree? I will take the path of least resistance, because, like I said, “I'm not a good salesman.” Of course, my results speak for themselves.
If your results aren't where you want them to be – take a close look at which choice you're making. And stay tuned for next month's article, where I'll tell you how I used the principle of low hanging fruit in my real estate investing business.