The stereotype of the salesman… We all know this guy. We don’t trust him. We run the other way. We don’t want to hear his spiel about why this used car is such a great deal or why we need the bigger TV set than we originally came in here to buy. It doesn’t matter what he says because we’re not going to believe it anyways.
Yet this guy and you have something in common. Although your motives and methods are different (and you probably dress better), there is something that he is trying to do that you do every day. And if you don’t realize that you do it or try to get better at it, there could be significant financial consequences.
Lessons from Rich Dad, Poor Dad:
One of my favorite takeaways from the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki is a somewhat-obscure story in Chapter 7 where he talks about giving some advice to a young woman.
After completing her Masters Degree, Kiyoskai recommends that she now concentrate on learning the arts of selling and marketing. The woman was offended at this suggestion! She did not work so hard to earn this degree so that she could be a “salesperson”! Her reaction clearly indicated that felt “sales” were beneath her.
However, she was missing the point to Kiyosaki’s advice …
Unfortunately, this reaction is all too common. The image above is one obvious example. There are also the images of the “fast-talker” or the “snake-oil salesmen”. All of these are our gross exaggerations of people trying to swindle us out of money. But becoming one of these stereotypes was not what he was suggesting.
Selling Yourself is the Key to Riches:
What does it mean to “sell”? Is it always about forcing someone to buy something? Absolutely not!
• Selling is about developing an influence upon others and winning them over to your way of thinking.
If you think about, aren’t you doing this all the time? It doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor, teacher, engineer, stock-boy, husband, father, etc. There are literally thousands of situations where you need to “sell” someone on your idea. Consider how many times you:
• Get your co-workers to agree with you.
• Steer the team for the project to go with your idea.
• Convince your boss to not go ahead with his terrible idea.
• Win over a potential client.
• Defend yourself when you’re “in trouble” at work.
• Deflect against others who aggressively are trying to force a sale upon you. (Have you ever been to a Time-Share presentation?)
• Argue with your spouse.
• Motivate your kids to do what they’re supposed to.
• Charm someone we’ve never met before and making a new friend.
Whether you believe you are or not, in each of these situations you’re selling yourself! You’re trying to use your powers of reasoning and persuasion to tilt the balances as you feel they should be.
What Does This Have to Do With Money?
Suppose you didn’t sell yourself in these situations, or argue your point effectively. Do you think that will cost you? You bet! Your inability to exert yourself can cause you to:
• Be passed up for promotions, raises, bonuses, etc.
• To not receive the recognition you deserve for your hard work.
• To get backed into decisions that have significant financial consequences.
• To be walked all over in ways that foster unhealthy relationships.
• To go virtually unnoticed and unable to have access to valuable opportunities.
Make no mistake – Your skills in communication and the ability to win people over will go far in your pursuit of financial freedom.
Lessons from a Classic:
If you want to know more, the 1936 self-improvement classic “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie is a great place to start learning the fundamentals of sales and persuasion. The lessons he teaches are not high-pressure sales tactics. Rather, they are simple, easy to use principles that we can practice in both sales as well as everyday conversation.
Readers: Are you a salesman (either directly or indirectly)? How do you exert your influence over others and get them to go with your ideas? Do you find that this has unexpected (or perhaps expected) benefits for you financially?