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Author Interview: Mark Rodgers

MPN columnist and sales Guru Mark Rodgers’ new book Accelerate the Sale hit #12 on Inc.’s business book bestseller list in June 2011. The concept is simple: sell more … faster. Mark answers questions about some of his secrets here.

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MPN columnist and sales guru Mark Rodgers’ new book Accelerate the Sale hit #12 on Inc.’s business book bestseller list in June 2011. The concept is simple: sell more … faster. Mark answers questions about some of his secrets here. If you want all of his secrets, click here to order Accelerate the Sale today!

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Q: How can dealers sell more faster?

A: Sales acceleration lies at the intersection of three dominant skill sets:
• Offering expertise: having unmatched understanding of what it is you are bringing to the table;
• Language skills: being able to communicate in a compelling yet conversational manner;
• Process proficiency: knowing what is the next “yes” in your sales sequence and how to get there.

The more adept you become in these three areas, the faster you can close more sales. And that’s exactly what this book shows you how to do. It will help you bridge your sales strategy and your tactics and provide real, pragmatic guidance on how to improve your sales potential … fast.

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Q: Why does the world need another sales book,  hasn’t this topic been covered?

A: Sales as a topic has been covered by some enormously talented people. With good reason; if you want to improve your sales performance to a level of unconscious competency – being able to execute effectively and automatically in moments of sales exchanges – you have to continuously feed your mind with high-quality sales information. It’s like nutrition. You regularly need a variety of nutrient-rich food to be physically and mentally healthy; so too, do you need to continually feed your mind with high-horsepower sales nutrition. And that’s exactly what  this book provides.

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Q: Can you give us a sense for what’s in this book that isn’t in any other sales book?

A: Of course there are new and unique approaches to selling. For example, we’ll show you how to quickly and dramatically reduce buyer defensiveness, create and communicate your inimitable market-place superiority, and how to qualify a prospect and differentiate yourself from other salespeople with just  two words. What are those two words? You’ll find out in chapter seven!  
 
In addition to new and unique perspectives on the time honored topic of sales, there are three unique aspects to this book you won’t find elsewhere. First we’ve included a series of “Street Smarts” sidebars which glean great insights from successful sales practitioners from a wide variety of industries. From motorcycles to marketing, forensics to firearms, computer technologists to consultants par excellence, from giants of academia to a
giant of an alcoholic recovery mentor; these insights will give you a fresh and re-energized perspective on what it takes to be successful today.  
Second, we’ve blended what we feel is the most unique mix of perspectives ever in a sales book. With reflections from prominent thought leaders, such as Alan Weiss, Daniel
Yankelovich, Martin Seligman, and Robert Cialdini, as well as references to Rush drummer Neil Peart, and my favorite Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin
(you don’t often see that combination in a sales book!). I blend this wisdom in new and unique ways sure to keep your attention and potentially transform your thinking about sales.

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And third, we want readers to be able to improve as quickly as possible. So we’ve included accelerators at the end of each chapter to speed readers’ development. These are key success components crystallized into a sentence or two.
Readers can reinforce their development by perusing after reading the chapter. They can go back to them for a quick reference and refresher. You could just read the accelerators and dramatically improve your sales ability. Now, that’s fast.   


When you package all of that and add the enhanced content on the website (www.acceleratethesale.com) which includes recorded interviews with sales professionals, how-to videos, and loads of additional information, it makes a compelling self-development investment.   

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Q: Why did you write this book?  

A: Years ago, when I was really just a kid starting out in sales, I read a book by Joe Girard, called It switched the “reading light” on for me. There was a section in the book that talked about physical stamina and sales success.

One section suggested: if you truly want to be successful in selling, you’ll do twenty pushups right now. Otherwise, you’re all talk and no action.


You guessed it. Not wanting to be a “big talker,” I got down and knocked out twenty pushups. In the moments immediately afterwards, breathing heavy and feeling positive rush from exercise, I had an epiphany. I thought, “Wow, if this guy could get me to do twenty pushups through his book, what else might books be able to do?”
And so began my love of reading, which has had a tremendously positive impact on my life, career, and success. Now, I want to help others take action. And if you want to knock out a few pushups, that would be okay, too!

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Q: What messages do you hope readers will take away?

A: There are three key underlying themes that I’d like readers
to take away:  
•  Selling is a noble profession. You can be proud of what you do.
•  It can enable you to live the life want. That’s a liberating notion.  
•  No matter where you are in your life and your career, you can always improve. And that, gives hope for a better tomorrow.  

Q: What is the most important thing you’ve learned during your career in sales?

A: Tenacity.


Q: What does it take to succeed in the competitive sales world today?

A: Tenacity squared.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who has just started out in sales?
Two things. First, remember that everyone you interact with is a potential client or customer and every exchange is a sales call. How you perform, communicate and comport yourself, at all times, in every situation, goes into their memory bank. The person you are interacting with today could be a vice president down the road; and they’ll remember you. Second — and this is one thing I wish I would have done differently — is to be absolutely diligent in keeping your contacts, all encompassing and as filled with personal detail as possible.

Q:
You’ve done a lot of work in the Harley- Davidson industry, don’t Harley-Davidson motorcycles sell themselves?

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A: There’s no question that there is a phenomenological draw to the product and the brand. In my opinion, most people who are looking at purchasing a Harley-Davidson motorcycle aren’t trying to decide between it and another brand. Harley-Davidson customers are really shopping for is the right dealership and the right salesperson.
In actuality, that makes selling Harley-Davidson motorcycles — if you’re not relying on price incentives — harder. You have to know your inimitable marketplace superiority and how to communicate that effectively. Far too many salespeople today, in many industries, don’t.

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Q: You have a chapter entitled “Beyond Redline.” Have you ever gone beyond “redline” and lost your cool during a sale? If so, how did you recover?

A: I was young, maybe 21, working for a small ad agency; we landed a meeting with a huge, global electronics manufacturer. At the end of our meeting it seemed obvious
(to me) that we weren’t going to get any work. During the meeting wrap-up while we were shaking hands, one of the marketing directors smiled and said, “We’ll be in touch.”
Really just something you say in polite company. I responded sarcastically, “You will.” That comment made certain they wouldn’t.

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What did I learn from that exchange? Well, there are many ideas in the chapter entitled “Beyond Redline” (in fact, the chapter starts with a sales exchange that ends so badly and so unexpectedly it’s almost unbelievable; but it’s absolutely true; I know the guy), but here are some quick tips.  


First, you have to understand that whatever happens in the exchange it more than likely will not change the course of human events, so you need some perspective. Then, I would say your demeanor and ability to remain calm are proportional to the number of high quality options you have available to you. So then, work to ensure you have options. On those rare occasions that you might lose your cool, own up to it quickly and honestly.
Oh, and one more thing: work out. I’m more convivial basking in the endorphin afterglow of a big workout.

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Q: What are the two words you should use to get someone to comply with your requests?

A: Easy. I learned this from Dr. Robert Cialidini’s work, “Will you?” “ Will you promise to call if we need to cancel?” Pause and wait for answer. “Will you send me your report by the close of business Thursday?” Pause and wait for answer. If someone states something publicly they’re now much more willing to keep that commitment.

Q: Can you talk a little about goals that are SMART and FAST?

A: If you’re reading this book, you’re more than likely experienced enough to be familiar with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goals.

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For truly great goal-setting, I believe your goals should be both SMART and FAST, my acronym for Factorial, Audacious, Sacrosanct, and Tenable. Factorial, meaning your goals must pay off in numerous ways; audacious, meaning your goals should be bold; sacrosanct, it’s so important you won’t take your eyes off the road, and finally tenable, meaning you need to be able to justify why it’s important for you to do and you can defend it morally and ethically. In the book we give you six steps to do just that.

Q: Which is better repeat business or new client acquisition?  

A: That depends. Repeat business is typically lower in terms of acquisition costs (the effort to win the business); however, there are some occasions when tabula rasa is required.

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Q: What’s next for you?

A: We’re going to continue working with organizations to dramatically accelerate their sales, management and marketing initiatives to create astonishing results. As we detail somewhat more scientifically in the book, sales success can be positively addictive and I’m happy to say, I’m hooked!

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