You Don’t Want to Sell? Too Bad.

Everything is sales.

That’s right, even if you’re reading this blog to eventually obtain a job on the buyside, at a top tier hedge fund… you must learn how to sell. Why? You need to sell your PM on the position you want to take. You need to sell your value to the firm. You need to sell your firm on your ability to take on more responsibility. You need to sell yourself to be hired in the first place. So if you’re reading this blog solely to position yourself for entrance on the buyside… This post still applies.

Proof that Everything is Sales

College Essays are Sales: Make no mistake you’ve been selling since you were 16-17 years old. You sold yourself to a top tier school in order to be given the chance at a good education in the first place. Yes you need to have the credentials (high grades, top marks on standardized testing) but as soon as you wrote those essays… You started selling.

Your marks and grades are your marketing tools, a product demonstration so to speak. The essay is the presentation. If you can’t convey your potential you’ll never gain admission. Congratulations, your first college acceptance letter was your first meaningful sale.

Interviewing is Selling: Lets call investment banking interviews what they really are… a sale. You are the product again. You obtained the interview which means your product is in the running.

This is similar to a bake off for an IPO. You’re one of the people chosen to be part of the process and your job is to sell yourself as a package to the firm. Lets make no mistake about it, you are selling as soon as you begin a phone interview.

In fact you are selling any time you pick up the phone, otherwise you shouldn’t be on the phone in the first place.

Dating is Selling: Don’t believe that dating is selling. Lets play a game, tell me why someone should date you in the first place? You’re selling now.

You’re the product once again, do you come with well groomed hair? Do you have perfect fitting clothing? Are your shoes shinier than the gold watch on your wrist? You’re allowed to walk on stage to make your presentation now.

Are you making her laugh and have fun? Are you presenting yourself as the best option to her? Are you clearly showing you have high value? If you’re doing all of these things without coming off as insecure, you’re not good at “game”… You’re a great at salesman.

Negotiating is Selling: So you’ve got a crystal clear resume with an impeccable track record. Selling is getting easier, but guess what… You’re still going to sell. Why? Negotiating is selling as well.

For anyone who has worked for two months on Wall Street they will realize job markets are not efficient. Many guys get paid more than they are worth or less than they are worth without even realizing it. Which bucket do you want to part of? The higher paid bucket.

Are you anchoring the job offer to the highest market rate possible? This works in lock step with dating, the more offers you have (girls who want to date you) the more the firm must pay up and match your other options. If you’re a great negotiator, you’re a great salesman.

Having Friends is Sales: Yep. Even this is sales. Why should people want to hang out with you? Do you make people happy? Are you an interesting person? Can you improve the room when you walk in?

If you answered yes to all four of those simple questions, you’ve got a lot of friends. No need to check your work, you’re selling yourself as a friend appropriately.

This Blog Post is Sales. Are you becoming more convinced that everything is sales? (it is). Then this post is doing a great job in selling you on the truth. If you’re sold, then it is time to move onto the most important step…

How Do I Sell?

Selling is a life long commitment, you’re going to learn additional tactics to improve your sales presentation… Every single day. With that said there is a simple question that will become a building block for your sales career.

 

What feeling am I attempting to transfer?

 

One of the best sales books on the market, Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale states that sales is simply the transfer of feeling.

If you only take away two things from this post it is that 1) everything is sales and 2) sales is the transference of feeling.

Lets look at clear examples of the transference of feelings:

Interviewing: you are transferring the feeling of trust, intelligence, reliability and consistency

  • Trust: This will show up on your resume. If you have high marks, great previous performance reviews and stellar recommendations… The trust is already partially built.
  • Intelligence: This is sales. Can you convey your resume appropriately in an interview setting without coming across as a boorish?
  • Accountability: Can you dispel the interviewers fears that you will be unreliable? This is another part of the sales presentation.
  • Consistency:Is your track record several years long with glowing recommendations and references to call upon? How else can they know you are going to be consistent?

Dating: you are transferring the feeling of excitement, security, popularity, confidence and sex

  • Excitement: Can someone logically predict what you are going to do with 90% accuracy? You’re a boring person who will struggle in the dating market.
  • Security: Are you in shape? If a fight broke out, would you at least be able to hold your own? If not you better get into the gym to increase your perceived value of security. It goes without saying, money is the biggest security asset of them all.
  • Popularity: You’re moving up or moving down, life is about momentum… If you’re passing excitement and security you likely have many people contacting you to hang out. If not… It’s time to get to work
  • Confidence: Do you ask for permission before every single choice? If the answer is no you’re building the assets of a solid leader.
  • Sex: Do you make your intentions clear and dress appropriately? If not you’ve got some wardrobe reshaping to do.

Friends: you are transferring the feeling of loyalty, fun, happiness and positivity

  • Loyalty: Do you have at least 3 friends you have known for over 10 years? You’re passing the loyalty test and are clearly a good judge of character.
  • Fun: Be honest with yourself, if someone had to ask an acquaintance about your personality would “happy go lucky” be the answer or “gloomy”. If the answer is gloomy you’ve already lost the battle.
  • Happiness: Just like laughter, a happy person is contagious. Are you happy for the vast majority of the day? If you’re spending more than 10% of your time unhappy, something has to change immediately.
  • Positivity: Do you spin all events in a positive way. Do you have control of your mind? If so you’re moving in the right direction.

Product Sales: you are transferring the feeling of value, trust and many others (product dependent)

  • Value: Do you believe in the product yourself? Don’t be mistaken you can be the product as well. When you approach a woman do you truly believe you’re the best person for her to meet (belief in product)? If so your game is likely good. Similarly, you should never sell a product you do not believe in.
  • Trust: If you are only selling products that work and that you believe in, you’re building trust. Would your friends and family trust your opinion on a product? If so you’re building a solid sales foundation.
  • Product Dependent: Before the sales presentation, ask yourself “what is my customer’s problem”. You do not attempt to sell Justin Beiber concert tickets to Marilyn Manson do you? Adjust your product to be sold to your audience.

With the examples out of the way, you should have a clear understanding of how an intelligent salesman will think. He will always think, “what is the other person looking for” what you are looking for comes secondary, which will immediately result in improved results.

But Sales is Dirty and Dangerous!

If there was a single lie you’ve been told that is false… This one is certainly it.

Sales is not dirty or dangerous

In fact it is the exact opposite. It is clean and safe. A poor salesman will sell bad products, a poor salesman will not service his client appropriately and a poor salesman will constantly fear job loss creating the idea that sales is dangerous.

As always, “What is everyone else doing? It’s the wrong move”. In this case your average person believes sales is a poor career, so he avoids it. Bad move.

Again, sales is the cleanest and safest profession you can have assuming you do it properly. If you’re selling a product you believe in, your job becomes easier. If your product is legitimate, the customer is happy and receives more value than he paid for. If your customer is happy he will refer you to new customers making your job even easier. Finally, if you have a lot of happy customers loyal to your opinions, you’ll always have a Company waiting to hire you. Even if there is a recession (something the doom and gloomers have been predicting for the last 2 years in this incredible bull market), the salesman is first in-line to be hired since no company in the history of mankind will turn down recurring and clean profits. Not a single one.

What Are You Waiting for?

Are you going to wait for your next career opportunity to show up or are you going to go and make a sale?

Are you going to wait for a friend to set you up on a date or are you going to walk up and make a sale?

Are you going to make improvements to your product or yourself to make it easier to make a sale?

If you decide to wait? Time never stops and you’re simply getting older. Better make that sale.

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Updated for 2016 and beyond.

Comments

  1. Shy Guy says

    Do you have tips for improving sales techniques for shy people? I’m not really an extroverted person so it doesn’t come naturally to me?

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Similar to any improvements in “game” or people skills you start with extremely small steps and work up.

      If you really want to improve you should get a job in cold calling sales (ideally you’re still in college). It is awful work but if you try and learn it for at least a year, you’ll improve dramatically.

    • says

      You can stop by using the name shy guy on your posts.

      Sell something online, pick up the phone, work your way toward your goal of selling face to face.

  2. sales says

    In terms of sales careers – are they any fields/routes you recommend for junior levels to get into? This is besides Wall St. of course.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Hundreds of options, the long story short is to sell the biggest ticket item possible or a recurring revenue stream.

      1) managed services products
      2) technology – software/data center
      3) pharmaceutical (usually women in this field)
      4) real estate (tough business but high fees)
      5) medical products

      Simply look up any industry you like and find the high ticket items, that’s where you want to sell. You could even sell something as simple as cars and household appliances. The key is finding the best footing (region) and simply being good

      • James Strikes Again says

        Agreed completely, big margins and residual income is absolutely crucial in any sales. I will also say the I have found B2B sales to be better than B2C. Larger budgets is the main reason. B2C is good when you are targeting the wealthy. When selling don’t ever forget the 80/20 rule. 20% of clients will provide you with 80% of your income. 20% of the girls you date give you 80% of your great sex life. It applies to virtually everything. Don’t waste your time with the ones that don’t give you 80%. The best way to do this is 1) target the 1% in everything in your sales, dating, persuasion, etc. The richest client, the wealthiest company, the hottest girl. The one that will give you the most satisfaction. And then go down from there. 2%, then the top 3%. Don’t start at the bottom. Waste of f***** time.

        Pharm is a joke compared to medical products; virtually all medical device companies will avoid hiring pharm reps. (usually salary capped out at $150,000 Tops in pharm). Yes TNA are important in this.

        Medical Device is different than pharm. But they are going through a major change with Obama Care. Used to be you sell to a doc and the hospital/medicare pics up the bill. Hospitals are starting to tell docs no. Still a good 5 years left of milking that cow though before Med Reps are going to feel it fiscally. Top reps make well over 7 figures. Usually in ortho implants (hip and knee) or Pacemakers. (Big ticket and residual)

        Real Estate crashed in 08 and has taken 5 years to begin to rebound, which leaves a lot of people including fresh college graduates out of the business. Huge opportunity in the coming years to learn the ropes now and time the next bubble in real estate.

        -the fastest way to improve your life is through sales

  3. Jordan says

    I have a career fair today at my university (Iowa State University). Any tips before I go? I’m looking for my first intership.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Read our posts on recruiting beyond that it is he same format.

      “Hello I am name… Interested in xxx because of xxxx, xxx and xxx. I have experience in xxx which I think would be transferable because of xxx and experience in major xxx”

      Then keep 3-4 bullets of why the company and why you in your back pocket. Wash rinse repeat.

  4. References says

    Thank you for the book recommendation! You guys don’t usually vouch for much and loved the 2014 book ideas post. You guys have an ability to cut to the chase quickly.

    • Wall Street Playboys says

      Always cut to the point my man. If people can’t deal with the truth… Life is significantly harder than words on a computer screen.

  5. Anon1 says

    >sales is simply the transfer of feeling.

    this puts a lot of things in perspective. you work on a person’s emotions and emotional validation rather than logic. very interesting

  6. a says

    If you want a sales job cold call companies via yelp and sell websites. There are a ton of people out there that you can contract to and keep a cut.

    Great college job.

  7. Rob says

    Hey guys

    Just want to tell you that I loved the timing of this post. I used the information in the FAQ and on the website together with this to get an internship at a top advertisement agency and I got the job!

    I used a combination of:
    – quick introduction,
    – How have I found them and what do I want to learn/achieve,
    – What have I done already (examples of work)
    – What value can I provide. (Skills, but most of them are related to my examples)

    I even forget to enter my resume but they didn’t need it and the interview went really smooth. They were absolutely sure to take me as an intern.

    Thanks for the information and keep writing! I will donate to this blog for sure 😉

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        Congrats rob!

        You’ll find that most people would rather keep “searching for the perfect answers” when good enough is usually the ideal set up. Also, the structure never changes but people waste time asking the same question over and over again wasting their own valuable time.

        Your 4 bullet points is exactly what we wrote to Jordan above. Again 90% of people are goung to search for a magic bullet when in reality it is all about the 4 bullets and then working on ways to improve yourself which then improves the bullets.

      • Rob says

        True, as soon as I wrote the e-mail I was thinking about the last two bullet points: If I never even tried the things I just said, I could have never wrote it down here. The coolest thing about it? You can improve them all the time whenever you want: That’s why I love it so much.

        Do you guys have any tips for the internship itself? I’m going to be active in almost all sectors of the agency (from the creative part to the executing part) and I know I will have to start studying a lot about creative projects, about time management and project management and about pitching the idea to the client.

        Anyway I can’t wait for the next article! I hope you guys will ever release a book.

      • Wall Street Playboys says

        Unfortunately no. Don’t have experience in that arena.

        Book is off the table for now, too many time constraints.

  8. noteven says

    This was good, quite enlightening.
    If the spirit moves you, could you talk some more about working on the buy-side, and the implications of this? (I’m not a banker, but I’m in procurement)

  9. practice says

    Want to practice sales as well as make extra money. What are some ways you might recommend a young IB analyst to build sales skills (and cash-flow) on the side, maybe on the weekends?

    As you know most of the job is grinding at a computer, with little to no sales practice.

  10. weekend says

    Are there any industries/positions that do a lot of sales on the weekends? This is barring auto sales/cell phone sales.

    Purpose of the ask is to try and pick up a weekend gig and learn while grinding entry level IB.

  11. says

    Sales, like a giant comfort stage of pick up. Ask her about her problems. Then let her know u understand her problems. Ask how BIG they could become if not solved. Then offer her a BIG attractive solution.

  12. says

    Yes for sure!
    You are 110% right!!
    Everything is for sale!
    I’ve always seen myself as a product.

    If you doesn’t score or attract people to your dating site profile. It is because the product isn’t attractive. Everything is a question of marketing. With proper marketing even the most shitty product can sell. That’s the reason why you sometimes see ugly, fat and penniless people with attractive soulmates.

    Whether you like it or not.
    You are a product.

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