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In Sell or Be Sold, sales expert Grant Cardone starts from the premise that everything in life is a sale. Understanding the principles of selling is therefore vital for success in life, whether at work or in personal relationships. Cardone asserts that the primary reason that businesses fail is an inability to sell enough, whether that means selling ideas, products, or services. Combining the theory of a motivational book with the practical steps found in a how-to manual, the book lays out the steps needed to master the art of selling. This includes recognizing that selling is a way of life; that a successful sale is almost never about price; and that the customer is always right. The overarching theme throughout the book is that it is essential to take responsibility for the sale and for your own success in life. Ultimately, it is the job of the salesperson to identify the customer's needs and to determine how best to fulfill that need.


Selling is a way of life

To succeed, a person must be able to sell. Every person needs to be able to sell others on their ideas to advance their goals and their own life. Salespeople make the world go round and drive entire economies. Indeed, all professions rely to some extent on sales.

"...the only people that are getting promoted in life are those that are able to most successfully sell their ideas to others."

Sell yourself

The greatest sale of all is to sell yourself. Conviction is the make-or-break point in any transaction. Without conviction, the sale will not happen.

"Customers do not stop sales. It is salespeople who stop sales from happening. You, not the customer, are the barrier to the closed deal."

Commitment is essential to making a firm decision; it allows the salesperson to stop wondering and to follow through with actions.

The price myth

Price is almost never the stumbling block to a sale. If a buyer hesitates over the price, they are not saying "this is too much money for me to spend," they are saying "this is too much money for this particular product." If the customer really wants the product, then money will be no object. In this situation, it is better to try to sell a more expensive product and judge the customer's response. In other words, always move up, rather than move down. Once a customer discovers a product that s/he loves, the price will not be a barrier.

"When I can't close a sale, I'll always try to move the buyer up to a bigger or more expensive product as the first solution to price objection."

It is also important to bear in mind that Second Money is easier than First Money. In other words, once a customer has already committed to spending something, they are more likely to return to spend again on further products. It is likely, too, that at the end of the day the more they spend, the better they will feel.

Always agree with the customer

A salesperson is really in the people business, not the 'selling' business. As a result, it is essential to start any sale from a position of agreement. Disagreeing with the customer's viewpoint creates an adversarial relationship that is unlikely to lead to success. If a customer says "this product will not work for us," instead of responding "Yes, it will!" take a step back and try to find common ground. "I can see why you might think that, but here is some additional information."

To put it simply, the customer is always right! Similarly, never criticize the customer by bringing up unreturned phone calls or something they should have done differently. It is up to the salesperson to make the process work.

The importance of trust

In any sale, it is important to establish trust. An essential part of this is to show, rather than tell. People tend to trust and believe what they see, rather than what they hear. It is always better to show how the product will benefit the customer, rather than demand that they take your word for it.

"When you're documenting facts for your customer, it's preferable to use third-party materials that support what you're saying. Remember, people believe what they see, not what they hear."

Give, give, give

Always make the customer feel serviced, rather than sold.

"People will pay more for an agreeable, positive, and enjoyable experience than they will for a great product."

For the salesperson, this means giving energy, attention, and suggestions to the customer. It is also important to give the customer full information so that they feel in control of the process and the purchase. At the end of the day, providing a sense of service is more important than the act of selling.

"If someone asks me for a drink, I get it for them, open the bottle and bring them a glass, ice and a napkin."


Whatever the product or situation, the perfect sales process has five steps.

  • Step one: greet and welcome.
  • Step two: determine wants and needs.
  • Step three: present the product as a solution to a need.
  • Step four: make the proposal.
  • Step five: close the deal or exit.

"More often than not, salespeople launch into their pitch without knowing anything about the customer [or their need], which is a surefire way to miss the sale. What is important to the buyers? What do they need? What is the ideal scene for them? What is it they are actually trying to accomplish with a purchase? What is it that really makes them feel good? If they could get everything they wanted, what would that be? These are the questions that will let you know how to sell them."

Extra: not in audio

Selling is a way of life in the people business

To view the art of selling as a way of life to achieve success is the core of Cardone's sales philosophy. The natural give and take process depicted in sales transactions of all kinds across continents and cultures drives and enriches the lives of people on Earth. Business professionals, entrepreneurs, and individuals face situations every day that requires a sale or an act of persuasion, whether hard or soft. Selling is fundamental and necessary to survive and thrive in modern times, whether or not one is effective at it. Salespeople make the world go round by influencing how the masses buy products and services, and those transactions mobilize every economy on the planet.

The truth is that every business transaction is fundamentally an exchange between people. Working in any industry requires dealing with people on some level. For this reason, the first and most important sale is to sell oneself to others with confidence and skill. Doing so creates a foundation and sets the tone for all exchanges that require persuasion.

One's ability to relate to others convincingly, and get others to believe him is the essence of sales. Developing charismatic traits places one in a powerful position to use sales tactics to succeed in many endeavors. Cardone insists that most active salespersons in the game are in fact amateurs, and the reason why many customers hold a negative view of sellers is that so many lack sales aptitude, experience, and finesse.

Sales excellence comes from practicing sound strategies and developing persuasive skills over time to learn to flow in any environment. Those who strive to become more professionally trained, socially adept, and persistent are the ones who win at sales, and in life.

Once a sales relationship begins in the mind of the consumer, the salesperson must work on establishing trust and providing a useful product or service solution for the client. All preparations and presentations serve to warm up the client. Excellent salespeople are skilled at executing the sales process, relentless in closing, and believe in what they are promoting to score. Persuasive sellers know that customers buy to gain something or solve a problem, and those who truly want it will pay any amount to get it.

Learn the 10 commandments of sales

In Chapter 21 of the book, Cardone shares the top 10 rules of making sales happen. The 10 Commandments of Sales are:

  1. Be Proud and Be Positive — One must be proud of what is being sold, understand the benefits and features to promote it, and generate positive feelings in others toward the offer to sell it. An uneasy sales pitch is a nightmare to listen to and poor on converting prospects into believers, but eagerness closes deals.
  2. Dress for Sales Success — Not only does dressing for success aid in building personal branding and company reputation, but it is essential to provide a professional presence for clients to respect, trust, and engage in the sales process with.
  3. See the Sale — Salespeople who can perceive the customer owning the product pitch a mental image to the client that makes them "see" themselves owning the product. Know what the end result and ideal terms of the sale are, visualize the outcome, and focus on achieving it.
  4. Be Sold on Your Offer — A true seller believes that the product or service offered can fulfill or exceed both claims and client expectations. This stance gives an undeniable advantage to any salesperson looking to persuade buyers.
  5. Know Your Value Proposition — Understanding what the customer values the most, the emotions that drive them, and ideal solutions empower the seller to be persuasive on a deeper level.
  6. Always Agree With Your Client — Agreeing with the customer encourages the unity, trust, and balance needed to create fertile ground for every sale. Customers are to be treated as prized assets and the life force of any business because they are. Effective salespeople understand the power of using agreement to close more sales. Acknowledge the client, then guide the way to closing the sale by emphasizing value and what the customer may experience if they don't follow through.
  7. Double Dollar Demonstration — Cardone affirms that giving customers far more in value than what they pay for is key, and every epic salesman uses the strategy. To initiate a close, offering twice as much in value or more encourages customers to be happy about accepting the offer.
  8. Be Time Efficient — Sell as much as possible, in the quickest amount of time. Customers actually become weary and second-guess their decisions during lengthy sales cycles. Shortening the sales process and going in for the close is best.
  9. Assume the Close — A smart salesperson continues to pitch the sale as if it will result in a "yes" without consent to avoid a "no" response later.
  10. Always Persist in the Close — Persistence in sales is rewarded with a close. Cardone suggests that consumers must consider an offer multiple times before consenting to a sale, so cultivate a determined attitude.

Use brilliant sales strategies to forge ahead

Without a doubt, enthusiasm coupled with strategy sells. Learn to work systematically toward the sale. By following The Perfect Sales Process Cardone shares, one can nurture the sale, from beginning to end.

Step One is to greet the customer. Give a socially warm introduction with confidence and class to start building a good relationship with the client. Step Two is to determine the wants and needs of the prospect. A salesperson who understands what the prospect seeks in a product or service can predict what the customer wants. Step Three is to select the right product and present or build value in the prospect's eyes. Determining which goods or solutions are most beneficial or desired drives the sale. Step Four is to make a mouthwatering proposal to the prospect that they would hate to refuse. The final step is to close the deal, by using product and client knowledge, and every sales skill in one's arsenal. If negotiations extend beyond a normal sales cycle, consider seeking a new prospect to conserve time, energy, and resources.

Cardone states that thinking massive and being bold is necessary for sales success. One has to be willing to improve and go the distance to close sales. Price is a myth, but understanding value and what drives others to buy opens a portal of thrilling, profitable opportunities. Realizing that clients will pay any price for a convincing solution or niche product is crucial to operate from the abundance mindset that lends one greater selling power. Erase objections to price by convincing them why it is worth every cent, and consider increasing price to raise value in the prospect's eyes.

Consider that any person who is not out selling himself is being sold to every moment. By adopting selling as a way of Life as Cardone suggests, one's persuasive ability can grow and enhance success. In any situation that requires persuasion, the best salesman will win.

Internalize wise sales advice to gain an edge in any industry. Educating oneself through sales conferences and programs, studying current consumer information and trends, and working closely with mentors and passionate salespeople works. Take the art of selling to heart, and build supreme persuasive skills to use for a lifetime.