Both of these famous billionaires have something in common – they started out selling door-to-door. And they learned some vital sales secrets during these formative stages of their careers.
How often do you think about door-to-door sales? In the modern online world, it does seem as though the door-to-door salesperson is a thing of the past. After all, customers can find whatever they need on your website, right?
That may be true, but the decline of door-to-door sales means that many people can’t use it to improve sales technique.
Why is this relevant? Well, many of the world’s most successful people started out in door-to-door sales, learning the secrets of a salesman in the process. Sara Blakely and John Paul DeJoria learned some crucial sales secrets while selling door-to-door.
Here’s some of the door-to-door sales tips and tricks that they picked up along the way.
Sara Blakely – Expect to Hear the Word “No”
While still a struggling entrepreneur, Sara Blakely learned early on that “no” is one of the most popular words in the English language. At least that’s how it must have seemed given the amount of people who rejected her sales efforts.
“Most doors were slammed in my face. I saw my business card ripped up at least once a week, and I even had a few police escorts out of buildings,” she says. “It wasn’t long before I grew immune to the word ‘no.’”
Every salesperson has horror stories of complete client rejection. You may even beat yourself up about your failure to land the sale. But Blakely’s story teaches us that moving on from rejection is one of the most important sales secrets.
Jeff Koons – Patience is a Virtue
One of the most famous American artists of the modern era, Jeff Koons’ works of art command multi-million dollar prices. Just look at Balloon Dog (Orange), which is his most expensive piece. It sold for over $58 million, which is the highest price ever for a piece of art from a living artist.
Creativity and sales may not seem to go hand-in-hand. However, Koons got his start in door-to-door sales.
“Selling is kind of like fishing” he says. “To be successful, you have to be persistent and patient.”
Koons obviously applied this to his later career as an artist. But the lesson is equally pertinent to today’s salespeople. Patience is a virtue when it comes to sales. You may have to spend a lot of time bringing customers around to your way of thinking. But, with enough persistence, you can discover what people are really looking for.
John Paul DeJoria – Maintain Your Enthusiasm
The co-founder of Patrón Spirits Company, John Paul DeJoria is worth an estimated $3.2 billion. Like everybody else on our list, he got his start as a door-to-door salesperson. In fact, he spent three years of his life selling Collier’s Encyclopedia before striking out on his own.
DeJoria encountered the same sort of rejection as everybody else, but he learned a crucial lesson in the process. You must approach your last client of the day with the same enthusiasm you had when speaking to your first.
He says: “You need to be as enthusiastic at door number 16 as you were at the first door, if you want to make a sale.”
It’s a simple lesson about the damaging effects of demoralization. Repeated rejection doesn’t mean you’re a bad salesperson. You just haven’t found the right customer yet. Keep your spirits high and approach every sales opportunity with confidence.