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.