Is Talking the Best Way to Boost Business?


Recently I met a sales person who is earning over a $million a year in commissions. I’ve never been shy so I just came out and asked them what I’m sure you would want to ask – exactly what do you do to make a $million a year?

I was primed and ready, listening with all my attention to grab the pearls of wisdom that were going to flow out of his mouth. I had my pen and paper ready to take notes and I was determined to not miss anything.

Would you like to know what he said?  Well, his answer was only 5 words but that sentence hit me round the head like a ton of bricks. He simply said:

I phone ten people everyday.

In this fast paced, digital world I am often really confused about what I should be doing with my time to try and generate more business:

  • Should I be spending more time on LinkedIn?
  • Do I post enough on Facebook or Twitter?
  • Should I be texting people?
  • Should I do more email marketing?

These are the questions I am trying to answer for myself most days, but this top sales person made me take a step back and look at what I was trying to achieve. Life these days has become super fast and impersonal. Some days I can have heaps of communication but never actually speak to someone. All the fun, personal side of communication gets lost with all this wonderful technology we have today.

I can put smiley faces on my emails but does that really have the same effect as someone being able to hear the smile in my voice when I’m chatting with them?

Email and text are quick and efficient, but they don’t allow for the chit chat or an immediate response always.  Yes, technology might speed things up but are we sometimes losing a level of humanity by using it?  Nothing beats personal contact, a voice on the other end of the phone.  Someone who says “Hi how you doing? I was thinking about you and thought I’d just call to see how you were.”

And how about going back to traditional ‘snail mail’ sometimes? Isn’t it great to receive something in the post that isn’t a bill? Would your clients appreciate a thank you card or a hand written note to turn up on their desk, instead of in their in-box?

We all have such email overload these days that the opportunity to open an envelope and have a surprise is one few are going to pass over, and they will remember you much more fondly for it!

Perhaps we should qualify this ‘call 10 people’ statement a little bit. After a short conversation with my million dollar salesman I realised that he was a spectacular rapport builder, brilliant at making people feel relaxed, comfortable and important. But we can all be great rapport builders too – having friendly conversations in which we show a genuine interest in the other person isn’t difficult is it?

So ask yourself some questions:

  • If you had called (and actually spoken to) 10 people every day over the last year then how well would your business be doing right now?
  • 10 people a day is 2500 a year. Even if you weren’t a great sales person at the beginning of the year do you think you might have improved a little after 2500 practice phone calls?
  • When you speak to someone on the phone, even if you don’t talk about business, wouldn't you stay ‘top of their mind’ for a week or two? Isn’t that exactly what you are looking for?

So here’s my challenge to you. Now you know the secret of making a $million a year as a sales person - what are you going to do about it?


John Shackleton CSP


John Shackleton CSP is an ex swimming coach, performance expert and is passionate about helping businesses raise their game.

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