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Sell or Be Sold - critical summary review

Sell or Be Sold Critical summary review
Marketing & Sales

This microbook is a summary/original review based on the book: 

Available for: Read online, read in our mobile apps for iPhone/Android and send in PDF/EPUB/MOBI to Amazon Kindle.

ISBN: 9781608322565

Publisher:  Greenleaf Book Group

Also available in audiobook, download now:


Critical summary review

Despite what the title of this book suggests, "Sell or Be Sold" is not a sales guide. To be correct, not solely a sales guide, but also a guide to better living. After hearing this, you might wonder how selling and living are connected. Well, get ready to find out in the following sections!

Selling is a way of life

There is not a single person on this planet whose life selling does not impact. When Cardone says "selling,"" he does not only refer to a job or career, but anything that has to do with convincing, persuading, negotiating, or just getting your way. For him, debating, getting along with others, exchanging goods or services, convincing a girl to go out with you, buying or selling a home, convincing the bank to give you a loan, starting your own business, persuading others to support your ideas, or getting a customer to buy a product from you are all forms of selling. Think about it—no matter who you are or what you do, you are occasionally selling something—that is, you are trying to influence the outcome of a certain situation. Say you are a golfer. You put the ball on the ground and do everything to get it into the hole. You talk to it, plead with it, make motions with your hands. Perhaps you even whisper a little prayer to increase your chances of scoring. 

You probably are not aware of it, but getting commissions is also part of your everyday life. Every time you get your way, you are rewarded with a commission. Of course, not all rewards are monetary. Take true love as an example. It is earned by those who find the right partner, take care of them, continue to create the relationship, and keep it growing. If you take care of your physical and mental state, the commission that you get is good health. "The point is," Cardone writes, "selling is about life, and every area of life involves selling. The more consistently you can win at selling, the more commissions you’ll get rewarded in life!"

So, everyone on this planet is in sales. If you find this idea repulsive, it is only because you associate selling with confrontational, high-pressure salespeople. Nonetheless, true salespeople never carry these attributes. They are passionate, persistent, and always manage to get their way.

Selling is more than "a real job"

Not only is selling crucial to our lives, but it is also vital to the dynamics of any economy. Imagine what would happen if products were not sold—factories, production, and distribution would stop. Moreover, there would be no need for storage, shipping, or advertising. In short, without salespeople, every industry on the planet would stop. As Cardone writes, "Salespeople are to the economy what writers are to Hollywood."

If you choose a career in sales, you will never be without a job. "Learn how to control the entire cycle of selling from start to finish," Cardone writes, "and you’ll have the confidence to go where you want, do what you want, sell whatever product, you want, and know with complete conviction that you can have whatever you can dream." Many people avoid a career in sales out of the belief that it is not "a real job." However, they do not realize that you can not even get "a real job" unless they know how to sell themselves to the employer. 

Unfortunately, even though your overall success in life is utterly dependent on your ability to sell, there are generally many negative preconceptions about selling. For this reason, perhaps, schools do not teach students anything about persuading, negotiating, or meeting an employer’s needs. "The schools, for whatever reason, are just not set up to teach the things that may make the biggest difference," Cardone comments. 

Although schools do not recognize that sales skills are crucial for a successful life, the most successful people, regardless of their profession, will tell you they wouldn't have gotten to the top if they hadn’t built their careers around selling first. Many of them told Cardone they had studied books on negotiating and persuading because they believed they could not succeed unless they possessed these skills. "Selling never ends," Cardone concludes, "and it includes everyone. Those who can sell, persuade, and close are the ones who survive the best, regardless of the line of work."

Sell yourself on what you are selling

If you want to become great in sales, you have to "sell yourself on what you’re selling." Some salespeople are generally good at what they do but are not consistent producers because they are not completely sold on their products or service. Top salespeople, on the other hand, believe their products are superior to others on the market. In fact, they never even consider that anyone or anything else could even compete with what they are selling. Cardone says this is critical for greatness. "You have to be utterly convinced and believe in what you’re selling so strongly that you become unreasonable. That’s right: Unreasonable, even fanatical!" he adds.

Cardone says the absolute conviction that his products are the best available often enabled him to get more money than his direct competitors. For instance, one time, he put a house up for sale at $8.9 million, although the best realtor in town told him it was worth only around $6 million. Since the location of the house was irreplaceable, he believed it was worth that much. "I was 100% convinced that the house was worth that price because I could have actually made sense of paying that price myself." Two months later, he sold the house almost for the price he asked.

Don’t think convincing yourself is equal to lying yourself. Think of it this way: champions decide to win the game with what they have at their disposal at the moment. They don’t give up on the game or change teams. They don’t lie, but convince themselves their only option is winning. Here is another example. When you want to save your marriage, you convince yourself that your spouse is the best in the world. You think about what sets them apart from others and what sold you on them in the first place.

Remember the story about David and Goliath? David beat Goliath, not because he was stronger, but because he sold himself on the idea that he had to. If you want to be a winner, you need to do the same—get sold and committed to the fact that no product or service can beat the one you are selling.

Always agree with the customer

According to Cardone, agreeing with the customer is "the most important, and the most commonly violated rule in all of selling." Many salespeople believe once disagreement exists, their task is to persuade customers to change their opinions. Nevertheless, if you want an agreement, you need to agree with your customers—plain and simple.

Think about it. You can not expect someone to agree with you if you disagree with them. Similarities attract, not opposites. People fond of each other agree with each other—those who don’t move apart. Therefore, if you want to sell your product, agree with a buyer, even if they exaggerate or make ridiculous claims. That way, they will be attracted to you. Then, you can bring them up to another way of thinking. 

Say you want to bring another dog into your house, but your spouse is against it. The first thing you can do is express your agreement by saying: ‘“You’re right, honey. The last thing we need is another dog.” When they see you are on the same page, they will be willing to consider your idea. Perhaps they won’t accept it, but at least they will go for the compromise.

Imagine a client disagrees with you by saying your product is too expensive for them. In that case, you can tell them: "I agree, it’s a lot of money. Everyone who invests in this product agrees that this system is a big investment when they’re buying it. That’s why you should get it installed so it can start making you money right away." 

Some people will probably say that pretending to agree when you actually disagree is manipulation. However, Cardone says while he agrees that it is a manipulation, he also sees agreeing as an attempt to get along. When you agree, you only want to acknowledge that another person has a different point of view.

So, the bottom line is: always start the sale by agreeing with the customer and then present what you have to offer. If you let them know you disapprove of their opinion, "all you’ve done is put their focus on the disagreement rather than on your product," Cardone says.

Five steps to the perfect sale 

    "The perfect sales process then would have to be fast and easy for the buyer; easy and effective for the salesperson; provide credible information as easily as the buyer can access it himself; treat the buyer as an informed person, knowing he has access to knowledge; and ultimately satisfy the customer and the company by consummating a sale," Cardone says. To ensure your sales are successful, make sure you always go through the following five steps:

  1. Greet. The greeting part allows you to introduce yourself, make a good impression and put the buyer at ease. Some examples of greetings are: "​​Great to see you today and thanks for your time. What information can I provide you with to make the best use of your time?” Or: “Welcome. Thank you for coming here. What can I get you information on?”
  2. Determine wants and needs. The fastest way to do this is to find out your customer’s previous purchases of similar products. That way you will know which product to show them and how to present it.
  3. Select product and present/build value. Rather than allowing clients to choose by themselves, select and present the product to them. Base your selection on what the client told you in the previous step, and focus on the things that are most important to them.
  4. Make a proposal. People need information to make decisions. Therefore, always make an offer, even when people don’t seem ready for it. Without it, you can never come to an agreement.
  5. Close the deal or exit. Although we are born to sell, Cardone says we need to learn how to close. Of course, this comes with experience. Only after more than 100 deals can you become a pro at closing. Moreover, with experience comes confidence in your ability to handle objections, stalls, and problems. If you don’t learn how to close, you will start avoiding all the other vital necessities of selling, such as prospecting, following up, and even having a positive attitude.

Final Notes

If it is true that quality books can change your perspectives, "Sell or Be Sold" is unquestionably one of them. Not only does it broaden our perspective on sales, but also on the way we live our lives. We will remember it as brilliant, mind-opening, and insightful.

12min Tip

"The ability to get others to like you, work with you, and want to please you determines how well you will survive," Cardone says. "Selling is not just a job—selling is a way of life!"

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Who wrote the book?

Grant Cardone is an American writer and motivational speaker. Graduated in Accounting from McNeese State University, he received the Featured Student Award in 2010. Cardone is the author of 5 books: Sell To Survive (2008), The C... (Read more)