The World Is Full of Talented Poor People

Today's sales process is more casual than the old high-pressure approach.

May 31, 2003


Mike Gorman

Best-selling author Robert Kiyosaki tells a story about being interviewed by a book-review columnist. After months on the best-seller list, Kiyosaki's book Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money — That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! had attracted lots of attention.

After an appropriate amount of questioning, the interviewer asked a personal question. "You've seen my columns in the newspaper regularly, but I've written books and magazine columns and can't seem to get them published. I wondered if you might have some tips about how I could get published outside of the newspaper here?"

Kiyosaki replied, "I think you should take sales training classes."

The columnist said, "Why would I want to take sales training classes?"

Kiyosaki: "Tell me what you wrote under my name at the top of your notes."

The columnist glanced at his notes and answered, "I wrote the words best-selling author."

"You didn't write best-writing author, did you?" Kiyosaki said. He offered more advice: "The world is full of talented poor people. I think that perhaps you are just one skill away from wealth. You appear to be a very talented writer. Perhaps you just lack the ability to promote yourself and get paid what you deserve."

The columnist's reaction to Kiyosaki's advice was not unlike the response I get when I suggest to contractors that they take sales training classes. In fact, not many of us who acknowledge that we are salespeople in this industry actually put the word salesperson on our business cards. Instead we use words such as estimator, designer, consultant, representative.

The word salesperson is what I call a negative anchor. When you hear salesperson, you likely recall some unsavory character from an experience as a consumer. By not using that word on your business cards, you might be right on target. I don't use that word on my cards, either.

Today's sales process is more casual than the old high-pressure approach. White-collar professionals avoid high-pressure salespeople. They buy from sales consultants who educate prospects about everything they need to know to make a wise choice. The contractor who does the best job of educating often makes the sale. Prospects put less weight on price as the deciding factor when other information can be considered.

An excited remodeler recently shared with me his experiences in applying the consultative sales process. He put a financing program in place and got a laptop computer with a computerized estimating system to make it easier for his prospects to do business with him.

Using a presentation book as his "storyboard," he talks about his company and how it manages remodeling projects. He mentions the experience and expertise of various members of the production crew and then displays and explains each piece of paper related to a typical remodeling job: specifications and plans, the agreement, right to cancel, credit application, license, insurance policies and so on. Of course, he shares photographs of his work and letters from past clients.

Prospects see themselves progressing through the entire remodeling process as if they had created a mental movie.

This remodeler recently responded to an inquiry for a bathroom repair. Using his new process, he educated the customers about how to make a wise choice in contractors and helped them create a solution to their needs. After about 21/2 hours, he had a $24,000 contract to remodel the bathroom and the kitchen. With a deposit check in his pocket (after just one visit to the house, he stressed), this contractor saw new possibilities ahead as he left the house.

Mike Gorman delivers seminars and provides coaching. He is the author of If I Sell You I Have a Job, If I Serve You I Create a Career!

Contact Mike at, 800/218-5149 or

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