If you could get the greatest salespeople of all time to sit around a table and share their secrets with you, I’ll bet you’d be a changed man or woman by the end of that conversation.
We can learn a lot from the people who’ve been there, done that.
After all, the greatest salespeople of all time weren’t just lucky — they learned faster, worked harder, and used smarter strategies than their counterparts. What business owner wouldn’t be keen to learn those same lessons without taking years to do so?
In that spirit, here are 10 quotes from the greatest salespeople of all time — remember these words the next time you’re on the phone with a prospect. They might just help you close the deal.
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1. John Patterson
“Before you try to convince anyone else, be sure you are convinced. And if you cannot convince yourself, drop the subject.”
Ever had a salesperson who was desperately trying to talk you into buying something… but they didn’t even seem convinced of the value of the product?
Maybe you could see the discrepancy in their hand gestures, or their tone of voice, or their eye contact.
Whatever the case, it quickly became clear that they wanted to sell the product not because it’s valuable but because they make money.
Now compare that with a salesperson who has true conviction about the product or service they’re selling — big difference, huh?
2. David Ogilvy
“Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine.”
I’d never read this quote before until putting this article together, but I really like the spirit of it.
Be ethical about your sales strategy — would you show that advertisement or sales copy to your family? Would you try to sell that product or service to your wife?
If you would, then you’ll probably have no trouble at all selling it to other people’s families.
3. Mary Kay Ash
“Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important.’ Never forget this message when working with people.”
Man — this is powerful.
I remember once, I walked into a clothing shop planning to buy my wife a dress. But the salesperson was so nice and engaging that when he said, “You must try on one of these shirts while your wife is in the dressing room — they are our best shirts and I think you’ll love them,” I couldn’t resist. Long story short, I ended up spending about $1,500 on shirts and dresses when I originally planned to spend about $100… all because the salesperson made me feel important.
4. Dale Carnegie
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
At Call Porter, where we answer the phone for hundreds of top investors around the U.S., our sales methodology is based upon the book by Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends and Influence People. And one of the irreplaceable principles he mentions in that book is that you must always be more interested in others than you are in yourself.
The logic of that is pretty simple: people want to talk about themselves. When you allow them to do that, they automatically like you and want to buy from you.
5. Joe Girard
“Selling yourself does not mean boasting about your accomplishments but rather demonstrating security in your goals and your lifestyle so your ‘customers’ feel success and want to emulate it.”
The most successful salespeople in the world are perfectly confident. They don’t need to brag, boast, or barter. They know who they are, they know what they want, and they know that what they’re selling is valuable, regardless of the prospect’s opinion.
That confidence alone can make millions of dollars worth of sales.
6. Larry Ellison
“The most important aspect of my personality as far as determining my success goes has been my questioning conventional wisdom, doubting experts and questioning authority. While that can be painful in your relationships with your parents and teachers, it’s enormously useful in life.”
Don’t be afraid to question people who claim to be experts.
Find your own way, clear your own path, blaze your own trail… you’ll be far more effective at building your business or selling your service when you’re being true to yourself rather than someone else’s principles.
7. Zig Ziglar
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Everyone needs a little motivation.
There are a lot of entrepreneurial messages which revolve around hustling and working until your brain explodes (not really, but you know what I’m sayin’). But it’s okay to use daily motivation to increase productivity and excitement for life — read a good book, paste some sticky-note quotes on your desk, or call a friend who inspires you. The motivation won’t last forever, of course, but it might help get you through the day.
8. Grant Cardone
“You don’t get burnout — you lose purpose! You lose your meaning. When I’m tired, I look at my purpose.”
It’s true. Burnout doesn’t happen when you’re working too much, it happens when you’re working on things that don’t excite you, things that kill your energy. If you’re feeling tired and unmotivated, find your “why?” again — that will help ground you and remind you of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
9. Frank Bettger
“Failures mean nothing at all if success comes eventually. And that’s a thought that should cheer you up and help you keep on keeping on when the going seems hard. Keep going! Each week, each month, you are improving. One day soon, you will find a way to do the thing that today looks impossible.”
Once you succeed — once your business is generating leads and closing deals at a predictable and financially stable rate, none of your past failures matter.
It was all a part of the process, a part of your story, your journey. So don’t give those failures too much power — they’ll soon be nothing but dust.
10. Ron Popeil
“My philosophy is, When you snooze, you lose. If you have a great idea, at least take the chance and put your best foot forward”
Have a new, unpopular idea? You think it might work but no one else does?
Well, why not give it a try! The biggest winners are the ones who remain flexible, adapt strategies as needed, and aren’t afraid to try something that no ones ever done before.