WSIR 002 | How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success

Why should someone read a book on sales? I asked myself this question when this book was recommended to me the first time. I didn’t feel that anyone outside of the profession of sales should have to pick up a book entitled, How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling. I realized later, and as the title of this post points out that the title could easily have been, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success” and still been entirely accurate. The principles in successful salesmanship are directly tied to the principles of human interaction

Most people think sales is something like this:

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This book, first released in 1947, covers topics all the way from arguing for keeping detailed records to Benjamin Franklin’s program of personal improvement to even how to talk to your barber to look your best.

Three topics addressed in the video are enthusiasm, overtalking, and a correct view of failure. There are certainly more key topics in this book, especially the section on asking questions to effectively listen and on handling objections but you’ll need to go read the book to get those broken down.

1. Enthusiasm!

If there were a single thing in your life that you could change and by changing that one thing you were able to double your results, would you do it?

That switch is called enthusiasm, look at anyone who is successful and in some capacity they have used enthusiasm to help them. Without getting too political, Dr. Ben Carson has been widely criticized for lacking enthusiasm in his campaigning and it has damaged his bid for the White House in 2016.

Bettger recollects to his mindset of nervousness and how he (understandably, I’ve done this too) let nervousness translate into laziness or lack of enthusiasm. This actually got him fired from a minor league baseball team. He discovered however that he could force himself to be enthusiastic regardless of his feelings and he tried this tactic out at his next team.

Three things were a direct result.

  • His enthusiasm overcame his fear, his nervousness began to work for him!
  • Other players noticed his electric manner, and began to match his enthusiasm.
  • Rather than being tired from the heat, he was exhilarated at the end of the game.

Another thing was an indirect result, Bettger gained a reputation of enthusiasm and Frank “Pep” Bettger used that reputation all the way to becoming the third-baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals.

I urge you… to make a high and holy resolve that you will double the amount of enthusiasm that you have been putting into your work and into your life. If you carry out that resolve, you will probably double your income and double your happiness. – Dale Carnegie

2. Overtalking

We’ll keep this section short 🙂

Bettger was convinced that the biggest reason salesman lose business was their tendency to overtalk.

I work as the Director of Development for a non-profit so I have meetings with donors quite often. One of my mentors has suggested a 70/30 split on how much the other person should talk in conversation compared to how much the person presenting should talk. This is based on the idea that the more the other person talks the more they like you. You pay them a subtle compliment by listening to their ideas.

Abraham Lincoln had a knack for cutting to the core of an issue in his communication with others. Most people are familiar with the Gettysburg Address. In 272 words, our 16th president started with the founding of the country, reminded those present of the tragedy that took place before them, and cast vision for the future.

Edward Everett, who spoke for 2 hours before Lincoln that day, is quoted as saying,

I should be glad if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the center of the idea of the occasion in two hours as you did in two minutes.

Remember, “We quickly resent the person who is abrupt; but we admire the person who is brief and to the point.”

3. Failure

“Your greatest asset is is the number of strike outs you have had since your last hit.”

Most people, if asked, “what is the opposite of success?” Would immediately respond with the idea of failure. However, this mindset that failure is where someone should stop is far from what should happen in that situation.

When someone fails, the opportunity for learning is present. If you quit because of failure, you’ve in effect said, “This issue will always beat me, and I won’t attempt to win here again.”

Babe Ruth, the baseball star not the candy bar, in his day was known widely for being a man who could hit. His home runs are legendary. Most people don’t know this though but he also led the league in another area, strike outs.

That’s right, the man who is immortalized with 714 home runs, struck out at that very same home plate 1330 times!

Ruth is quoted as saying,

“I just keep going up there and swingin’ at ’em. I know the old law of averages will hold good for me the same as it does for anybody else, if I keep havin’ my healthy swings.”

We need to adopt some of that same attitude, whether in sales, customer service, or engineering. The law of averages is real, and if you have built the correct skills and implement them regularly, your efforts will pay off.

Bottom Line, If you are looking for a book that gives rock solid principles for successful every-day interaction with others, look directly at Frank Bettger’s How I Raised Myself From Failure to Success in Selling.

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WSIR 001: Magic of Thinking Big

Welcome to the Why Should I Read series. This is the companion site to the YouTube channel Why Should I Read That.

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I’m Jon DeLange and I’ll be breaking down a concept or two from a series of books in order to answer questions I believe, most of us are asking.

Today we are going to be looking into a book entitled The Magic of Thinking Big, by Dr David J. Schwartz. This book was first published in 1959 and the things that Dr Schwartz talks about in that book are as true today as they were then. I’ll point out a couple things that I learned reading this book, but believe me there are thousands more lessons and applications to get from reading this classic.

Define success… Why?

This step is key in many personal development literature, one of the original works in the genre, Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, lays out a process of writing down stated goals and creating a mental picture of oneself achieving that goal. This method was pulled from Hill’s interviews of 500 early 1900’s millionaires.

Dr. Schwartz also recommends this process so that by having stated goals, you automatically decide based on your end-game. If I’m driving down the freeway, any exit is the best exit until I know where my destination is. If I drive from Detroit to Chicago, unless I know I’m driving to Chicago, I won’t follow the clearly marked signs that say Chicago.

As you go through this process of defining what your goals are, a great framework can be used, I found it in Launching a Leadership Revolution by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady. They state that material goals, recognition goals, and missional goals are the three levels of motivation. Each person is motivated differently by items in these categories. For example, I am highly motivated by recognition from those that I have respect for. If a mentor of mine tells me that I have done a good job, I generally respond more strongly to that than the thought of being rewarded with a material bonus of some kind.

Action Cures Fear

This is probably one of the biggest things I learned reading this book. Chapter 3 is entitled Build Confidence & Destroy Fear.

On Pg. 48 of Magic of Thinking Big, Dr. Schwartz states, “The traditional ‘It’s only in your mind’ treatment of fear assumes that fear doesn’t exist. But it does. Fear is real. Fear is success enemy number one.”

In the rest of the chapter, Schwartz goes on to state that there is always some sort of action to take in response to a fear reaction. This conscious exercise of the muscle of courage in the face of fear builds a habit of overcoming that one can use to conquer increasingly larger fears in life.

  • If you fear making a certain phone call, make it! And the fear dissipates.
  • If you fear being out of shape, go to the gym or do exercise and over time your fear disintegrates.
  • If you fear something totally out of your control, pray, and then put it out of your mind by taking a positive action in some other area.

 

In a personal example, when I have told some people that I am starting a youtube channel based on my book-a-week reading list, some have responded by saying “That’s a lot of work to choose to do.” I don’t know if they were trying to put fear into my thoughts of starting, but at some point I had to start this series despite never, repeat: never, filming or editing video.

Eventually, later, some point, those are all failure words. The only acceptable way to not do something now is to have a definite point by which you will do so! If I have a great idea for a blog post or video, but never post it, was it really a great idea??

Thinking Big.

If for no other reason, read this book to expand what you believe to be your potential.

If you have a goal for yourself that doesn’t stretch you or scare you, what kind of thinking are you teaching yourself? Have you ever accomplished far more than you set out to do? I’m not always about cheesy motivational quotes, but it bears repeating, “If you aim for the moon and miss, at least you’ll be among the stars.”

I see people every day that are uninspired or of my generation that give up on the dreams that they have.

If you read this book, define success for yourself, consistently take action towards that goal, check and adjust as you go, there’s no reason you cannot accomplish what you set out to do, regardless of how far it may seem at the present time.

Thank you for your attention, time is the only resource we don’t have the opportunity to reclaim and as such it is the most precious commodity… but that’s a post for another time.

If you haven’t seen the youtube video, click this line!

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