Sell or Be Sold

"Selling is the last great truly free enterprise opportunity available today; in sales an individual can work for himself, be accountable to himself, and make his dreams come true."

- Sell or Be Sold page 13

Grant Cardone is a top performing sales coach, author and television host. His book, Sell or Be Sold is one of four books that serve to arm the sales professional with the right attitude and actions needed to excel in their field.

Sell or Be Sold is based on the premise that every day we are selling: the child who wants a piece of candy and needs to convince his/her parents to comply, the teacher to the student on why learning trigonometry is important and the sales professional who closes the deal with a prospect. With this in mind, the ability to communicate, persuade, negotiate and close a deal is important regardless of your profession. Grant takes you from amateur to professional by explaining the key differences at each stage, how to make the transition from average to great and provides perspectives needed to help you be successful at “selling” in your chosen endeavor.  With each paragraph I read I felt like I was learning something new and unlearning less effective habits. No person, whether they are a sales professional or not should miss out on this book.

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

You are responsible for everything that happens to you

"Price is not your problem—you are your problem! … Salespeople, not the prospect, are the ultimate barriers to every sale."
- Sell or Be Sold, page 66

Throughout the book Grant makes it clear that it is important to take complete and total responsibility for the sale and all results you are getting in your life. Once you accept that you are solely responsible, you are in a position to change the results you are getting. It is the job of the salesperson to find out what the need is, find out how important this need is to the customer and then give the buyer confidence that their product will give them the cure to their problem. If everything is done right then price will not be an issue. Grant provides this example: “[What] if a buyer found out that he had a disease and was going to die, but your product would save his life. What would he do? He’d find the money to buy your product, and save his life. Why? Because he’s completely sold on the need.”  Relating this to my own job where I work on a team that sells one of the most expensive CRM products on the market, I utilized what Grant suggests in his book which made the prospect realize not buying the product could cost them their job. When you get to this level of personal significance you are able to position your product as the most viable solution and the cost seems like a small price to pay for the benefits.

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Always agree with the customer

"Three of the most powerful words in the English language are ‘YOU ARE RIGHT.’"
- Sell or Be Sold, page 99

Agreeing with the customer means control for the sales person, happier customers and quicker decisions. Grant notes that it is hard to make a sale when you begin with a disagreement as it’s hard to get to the level of personal importance described above when you not in agreement with the customer. This is why Grant says it is critical to agree before making a suggestion no matter how outrageous the objection is or how wrong the prospect may be. Here is an example when the concern is around money:

Objection: It’s too much money.

Response: I agree, it’s a lot of money. Everyone who invests in this product agrees that this system is a big investment when they are buying it. That is why you should get it installed, so it can start making you money right away.

Can you think of a time when you had an objection around price, but ended up buying the product or service anyway? What about a time you had an objection to price and did not purchase a product or service? How did the salesperson involved make you feel in both situations?

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life


"You must give first before you receive."
- Sell or Be Sold, page 117

In order to get the most out of the The Big Idea and insight #1, it is necessary to give all of yourself to a prospect, not just part of you. Give all of your attention, all of your energy, all of your suggestions, all of your information (third party studies and competitive information) and then some more. This mindset is often the opposite of what you will find in many businesses, but Grant says this is necessary. Most businesses try to conceal such things fearing that too much information in the hands of customers reduces their power in the sales cycle. But by giving more information you will create a favorable situation for you and your business, and allow them to make a decision and make one much sooner because they don’t need to search for it themselves. The goal is to make the client feel serviced, not sold.

I love a particular example Grant uses in the book: “If someone asks me for a drink, I get it for them, open the bottle and bring them a glass, ice and a napkin.” Notice how he did not ask if the client wanted a glass and ice – he provided it anyway and left it to them as to whether they wanted it in a bottle or to pour it over ice. This is service!

There is so many vital pieces of information in Sell or Be Sold that would easily allow me to think of over 10 Insights that would be of at least equal value to the two I already mentioned above. If you are looking to start your career off on the right foot or you are already an experienced professional wanting to take your game to the next level, this book is for you. Sell or Be Sold is the most important book on sales I have read thus far. I was impressed by how many topics Grant uncovered that made me reconsider everything I have been told about how to be successful in sales. I also appreciated the fact that Grant gave real examples to give me the visual of what he was talking about and explained what matters most to people: the end result. I don’t simply suggest reading this book. Rather treat it as a bible, a reference that you can refer to in order to find the information to help you be successful on a daily basis.

What are some of the greatest challenges you experience when trying to close a sale? What are the top three strategies that if implemented immediately would create a solution to the challenges you identified?

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Marc Gaudett

ABOUT Marc Gaudett

Marc was born and raised in Scarborough, ON. He completed a Physical Education and Health degree with a minor in Psychology from The University of Toronto...
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