If you ask very successful sales reps, or business owners in the sales industry, its amazing how many of them started with residential sales. Some people are surprised when I tell them how much we have grown in the residential business. As tons of people don’t even know that that work still exists.

Granted its rare, but it is by far the best sales education one can receive. This industry breads successful sales minded entrepreneurs and teaches you invaluable lessons that apply to all types of sales. There are no questions that this background helped us (and many others) start and run major companies in North America.

Here are 3 tips, I learned the hard way, that really make a major impact in your results:

1. Don’t try to convince.

It may seem counterintuitive, or even backwards, but this principle is incredibly important to get big, long term results. If you go into sales thinking you need to “Convince people to buy” you will fail, 100% of the time, unless your a cute child selling lemonade in the street for a quarter, pressuring people isn’t going to work. People can feel what your doing, see through it, and it makes them not trust you and not believe what you are telling them.

Instead, get to know people. Your mission is to understand them. What are they going through? What are their ambitions and needs? Focus on them, first and foremost. The product comes second.

Once you understand their story, you can connect the dots for them. You can show them how what you’re selling can genuinely help solve their problems, or help them feel good about helping solve other peoples problems. There is one major statement you always need to remember:


You need to transfer positive, excited emotions. You need to portray how excited you are to help, and how excited they should be to help. To be nervous, non confident, unsure or even worried will not only harm your sales ability, but it will hurt the image of the company you represent. Be very cognizant of the emotions you are transferring and mold a presentation that transfers the right ones.

Also, the more you get to know individual prospects, the clearer sense you’ll get of the types of customer who are more likely to buy your product – and the kind of pitch they each need.

2. Get to “No” faster.

You will be rejected. Often. There’s no way around that. No one has a 100% close ratio. When I was knocking on doors, one person called the police on me. Others told me to “get the [expletive] out.” A colleague once had a guy come to the door with a gun. 

But most people are too polite. They let you make your pitch even if they have no interest in buying. And that’s a problem of its own. Time is your most important resource. But at first, you tend to waste it by staying too long with people who aren’t going to buy. I made this mistake.

Then I learned to set a rule for myself: No more than 2 minutes at any house. 

The best way to accomplish this is to groom your presentation. By really having your presentation down, you can really get effective and efficient with what you are trying to accomplish. Confidence comes from being comfortable what you are doing, and not being scared of getting asked questions you don’t know the answer to. This is why practicing is so important.

Being straightforward with what you are trying to accomplish and being direct with you client, will allow you to not only save your own time, but also create a situation where the potential client gives a more honest look at what you are trying to sell.

3. Get out of your own way so you can read the signs.

To get a sense of whether someone is a serious prospective buyer, you need to learn the subtle cues they’re giving you. To do that, you have to first get out of your head. I couldn’t read the signs when I was nervous or un-confident. At first, I was so focused on what to say next that I missed what was right in front of me. When I let go of that nervousness, everything changed.

The key is to know your craft and your pitch so well that you don’t have to think about it. It’s almost like pressing “play” on a tape player in your mind. While offering your spiel, you’re studying the prospect. You see their facial expressions. Are they looking at you? Do they seem comfortable? You read their body language. Are they looking for a chance to close the door politely? Are they nodding along to what you’re saying but not really focused on it?

These things become much easier to accomplish when you really have your pitch down. Compare this to a professional athlete. Working in the field is the game, and at home or with colleagues are the practices. How far would a major athlete get if they never went to practice?

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