Welcome to yet another episode for the Best Sellers in History series. For this episode, we are featuring one of the most influential individuals in our century. She isn’t only known among the African-American community. Her fame reaches worldwide and this individual is now worth over $3.5 billion. She started from nothing but didn’t let that stop her as she overcame obstacles all the way to success and influence. She is Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey was born on January 29th, 1954 and her parents are Vernita Lee and Vernon Winfrey. She grew up in a humble community where she was raised by her grandmother on a farm. Oprah entertained herself by playing and acting in front of an imaginary audience. She had her first speaking gig in front of the congregation at church, where she spoke about Jesus and how he rose up from the dead on Easter Sunday. It was the beginning of her knowledge that this was something she could do.
She’d listen when sisters in the congregation would tell her grandmother how talented and gifted Oprah was. Oprah heard it over and over again and she eventually believed it. Her grandmother was strict and forced her to learn how to read by the time she was three. When she was in kindergarten, she wrote a letter to her teacher telling her why she deserved to be in the first grade. She eventually skipped another grade in third grade when she had to move to Milwaukee with her mother.
It was difficult as they lived in some poor and dangerous circumstances; however, being Oprah, she didn’t focus on the negative things. She kept moving, living, and enjoying life. When she turned 12, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee to live with her father. She began writing speeches for social gatherings and churches. At one point, she earned $500 for a speech! It was then Oprah knew that she wanted to become an orator and get paid for speaking. Unfortunately, she had to go back to her mother’s home and the dire circumstances strained the mind of young Oprah. She became disobedient and problematic.
At 9, Oprah was being sexually assaulted by men she knew, even family. This eventually led to early pregnancy and losing a baby. She was around 14 years of age when she was sent back home to her father.
Oprah’s father was very different from her mom. With her father, Oprah was given structure and the expectation that she would not perform below what she was capable of. She became an excellent student and participated in several school activities. Her track record helped her get a scholarship to Tennessee State University. She was invited to the White House the following year for a youth conference.
Oprah would also be crowned Miss Fire Prevention by a local Nashville radio station, WVOL. She didn’t think she’d win because there were other girls that looked more like “typical” pageant girls. At one point, they were asked a question about what they would do if they received $1 million. Oprah’s answer was authentic and from the heart and the judges took notice.
Oprah then went on to study journalism and worked for some radio stations. People liked her so she was then brought over to do television and eventually had her own talk show. Through all these experiences, Oprah Winfrey is the woman she is today.
Oprah Winfrey was successful because of five key elements:
When Oprah first got into the industry, she wanted to be like Barbara Walters. Oprah would imitate Barbara and wanted to be as great at her job. It would take practice. In one situation, she was reporting a story and reading from a script. Oprah was reading the names of places and read Canada as “kah-nay-da.”. On air, she acknowledged her mistake and corrected herself. Oprah was told not to talk about her mistakes on air but Oprah did the opposite. She made fun of herself and made herself vulnerable. Oprah knew that she couldn’t be perfect and there was no point in trying to pretend she was. She wanted to be real with her audience.
Oprah was also empathetic to the people she was asked to interview and chose not to pressure people who were going through a difficult time. Producers were upset because she wasn’t interviewing people like other reporters. She would see them in their humanity, grieving over the loss of a family member or how they’d their homes in a fire.
Oprah also didn’t have a fear of embarrassment. Because she didn’t have that fear, she was able to do what she needed to do. She was comfortable with being vulnerable and it made her easy to connect to. People could relate to her and that encouraged people to listen to her and to talk to her.
When her story of abuse was released by a family member, Oprah used it. Instead of being embarrassed, Oprah leaned into the story, and it made Oprah even more human. People felt like they knew her on a personal level. She wasn’t just a TV host, she was Oprah, a person like them, and she had troubles too.
As a sales rep, it’s impossible to be perfect in everything you say and do. Making mistakes is part of the process and when you do, some buyers may not want to work with you anymore. Or, it may be the very thing that draws them to you. Being honest about a mistake is going to be infinitely better than trying to fake an answer. Your buyers will know you don’t have their best interest at heart. You’ll lose their trust and their confidence that they are safe in your hands. Be honest and be vulnerable. Be okay saying you don’t know the answer and then be quick to do the research. People need to see that you are a human being but still ready to work hard. Connect with them on a personal level.
Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. People will never forget how you made them feel.”
At one point in her career, Oprah was demoted. She was removed from her position of being in the main anchor position and was given a five-minute slot during the early morning show at 5:30, not a popular time for their viewers. Instead of resigning herself to a tough situation, Oprah took the position and dove in headfirst. The segment was a cooking show and while she didn’t have a particular interest in cooking, she was creative. She brought in awesome guests and made something amazing out of a slot that had been previously considered a dead end.
Oprah didn’t sit back and complain. Instead, she took action and turned things around. This can be used in B2B applications. You may be in a position where you need to sell in a difficult territory and it’s not as fruitful as the top territories in your organization. Maybe you’ve inherited a team that doesn’t perform well. You may have been given a situation that has been historically difficult but this is a situation that can present some great opportunities for creative thinking!
The current situation may not be difficult in its own right. It could just be that previous employees or managers didn’t have the imagination to make it work. You could break that trend! Just like Oprah, you need to take action and be proactive.
Oprah worked hard but she wasn’t an overnight success. She didn’t start speaking in her teenage years or her college years, she started speaking when she was two. Oprah started speaking at a very early age with farm animals as her audience. She read books, memorized poems, and started to share them. Oprah worked and she hustled.
She exemplified hustle when she went to all the churches in Nashville and offered to give sermons she’d memorized. This served her when she was working on a set and could pick up a script and read it right away without having the need to study it.
Sales representatives need to have the same mentality. You need to master speaking and articulating your message. There’s no need to be flawless and perfect but you need to be able to speak with confidence. Master the principles beforehand, know how to ask effective questions, master how to listen, do the research, polish your look, and more. Anything to keep you at the top of your game, do it.
As a kid, Oprah wanted to become an actress but she ended up in journalism. When Oprah talked to someone close to her and shared she wanted to be an actress, that if she’d really wanted to be an actress, she’d already been an actress. She had become a journalist. Oprah was told to have a vision for being an actress and start doing things that would lead her towards her goal of becoming an actress.
Oprah eventually became an actress and debuted in the film, The Color Purple. She’d previously read the book and started to share it with everyone. Oprah related to the story and became her character in the book, long before she got the part. She already felt like it was hers before she was asked. Eventually, she was asked to be in the film and won Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Oprah began her own TV show, bought the rights, and created her own production company. Still, that wasn’t enough. Oprah thought bigger and said she wanted to create her own brand, start a book club, and more. When she wanted to retire from doing TV shows she created her own network. It started rough but eventually pulled it off. Because she was willing to push herself and didn’t become complacent, she’s now valued at $3.5 billion.
As a sales representative, you need to speak and act. Some say they want to be the top sales rep but they aren’t doing the things to close the big deals. These are the complacent sellers. If you want to play bigger, start with a morning routine, have a vision, and act accordingly.
Sales representatives need to have big dreams, push themselves, and get outside their comfort zone.
Oprah is famous for being selfless. She’s helped a lot of people and has given away millions of dollars. She even founded a school and organization for young girls in South Africa who have lived in very difficult situations.
Last year, Oprah went to Tyler Perry’s studio celebration and stopped by Morehouse College to donate $13 million for the Oprah Winfrey scholarship program she helped create back in 1989. There have been about 600 students helped by the program.
Sales representatives may sometimes feel the need to give things, with strings attached, in order to get ahead. You can also choose to act selflessly and do things without asking for anything in return. When you do, you’ll notice doors start to open you didn’t know were there. You could even see your referrals increasing and your customer base start to widen.
Bob Burg has a book that discusses the concept of an endless giving mentality called Go-Giver. The book talks about giving and being selfless. Be like Bob Burg and look for ways to be a Go-Giver.
Oprah Winfrey became a successful woman because of these five things: she’s relatable, creative and willing to act in difficult circumstances, she works hard, she thinks big and pushes herself, and she is selfless.
Sales reps like you can be successful too by imitating the good example set by Oprah Winfrey.
This episode is brought to you in part by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077.
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Imagine a world where you don’t have to spend any money on marketing. You have leads pouring in, deals close, and referrals pour in. Imagine being able to grow your sales without spending a dime on marketing.
On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, Jon Ferrara shares the method he recommends to grow your sales without spending a dime on marketing.
Jon founded GoldMine CRM in 1989 and then sold it in 1999, and he has devoted his time since then to help other people improve their relationships. He also created a social CRM called Nimble.
No matter what industry you’re in, you have to find a way to get new leads into your funnel without spending so much money.
Jon was looking for a way to automate the process of building relationships because he struggled with it as a salesperson and as a businessperson. He wanted to be able to connect more effectively with the humans around him.
The result was GoldMine, and it became exactly that for everyone it touched.
As an example, consider Jesus. Do you think Jesus spent any money on marketing?
He didn’t spend money. He shared words that empowered people and then those people became his teachers and preachers. Jesus created a movement.
If you’ll focus on helping other people grow and set yourself up as a trusted advisor, you’ll stay top of mind with your prospect. You’ll grow your sales without spending a dime on marketing.
Advertising doesn’t work.
You won’t stay top-of-mind with your prospects by telling them how great you or your products are. Nobody cares about that.
Instead, teach others how to become better, smarter, faster, and set yourself up as that trusted advisor. Give knowledge away.
If you teach people to fish, they’ll figure out you sell fishing poles.
Your goal should be to:
If you do that for your customers and your prospects, and for their influencers as well on a daily basis, you’ll establish your brand, grow your network and create a sustainable garden around your business that will help it grow.
That’s what Jon did with GoldMine. He figured out how to reach his prospects’ trusted advisor, in this case, Novell. Jon convinced Novell to use GoldMine, and then they started recommending it.
He started GoldMine with $5,000, without ever taking a dime of venture capital.
And that was only the first time he grew sales without spending money on marketing.
Jon used the one-to-many approach to reach his prospects.
If you could find a way to tell your great stories and get other people to tell your great stories around the clock globally, you could build a gold mine.
Most people focus solely on their customers and their prospects and they forget about the influencers who interact with those customers and prospects.
The secret to success is identifying the influencers of your core constituency.
If I was a business technology reseller, I could try to call businesses but they’d probably hang up on me.
Imagine, instead, if I built relationships with the trusted advisors of that small business person: maybe their accountant, their marketing consultant, or any one of their advisors.
If you can build those relationships, those trusted advisors will help you reach all those people on a daily basis.
We built a tool that helped the influencer grow, and they sold it as a solution and not only helped their customer grow but also grew themselves. It became a recursive cycle.
Once you’ve built an army of evangelists, you have to amplify that message.
What does that mean?
Once you convince those influencers to sell to that base of trusted customers, they’ll likely ask you for leads.
If you don’t have money to advertise, how will you give people leads?
Jon went after the places where his prospects would be consuming information about how to be better and smarter and faster. He went after the business and technology publications and asked the editors and the writers how he could help them write more stories.
They needed stories about how businesses were using technology to grow, so he shared those stories. The term CRM didn’t exist then, but he helped define it.
He credits a combination of influencer marketing and guerilla PR that put GoldMine on the map.
Your network is your net worth: your personal brand plus your professional network will help you achieve your dreams in life.
The more people you help grow, the more you will grow. To do that, you must set yourself up as a trusted advisor to your prospects, customers, and their influencers.
The simplest way to do that is to establish identity across all the brands where these people have conversations: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare, Google Plus, Crunchbase, and Snapchat.
Share content on a daily basis that inspires and educates others about your areas of products and services. No more than 25 percent of what you share should be about you or your product. It should mostly be inspirational and educational.
You’ve likely forgotten more about your products and services than your customers will ever know in their lifetime. Since you’re likely consuming content every day about your area, just share it with the prospects around you.
Identify the influencers, share content, and hashtag it appropriately, (#sales, #marketing, #social) and then @name. It’s like dropping lures outside your boat into the digital social river surrounding your business.
People bite on that.
Then you listen and engage. You educate with enchanting content with the intent to engage, embrace, and empower the people that you connect to.
When you connect with someone, you don’t start selling. You listen and learn. Prepare them before the engagement ideally by Nimbling them.
You ask questions and then listen and learn to find ways to add value. And if you do that for another person, they’ll naturally ask how they can return the favor. And you repeat that process at scale for the rest of your life.
You’ll build a sustainable garden of prospects, customers, and influencers that will help you achieve what you want to in life.
The biggest problem with this whole cycle is if you do what I tell you to do, you’re going to get so overconnected and overcommunicated wit this audience that you’ll need a platform to manage it.
We’ve got all these tools in all these places like Facebook, Gmail, MailChimp, and dozens of other places, and contact management is broken.
You can only manage about 200 people in your head at a given time, and most people have 1,000 or 10,000 contacts. They need a golden Rolodex, a personal CRM.
Instead of Googling people, you Nimble them. and automatically sync every interaction you have so that you have a history of every contact and every followup.
If you’re listening to this today and you don’t have a personal golden Rolodex, go find one. If you try Nimble and you like it, I’m going to give you three months at 40 percent off if you use the code Jon40.
Most people who are in sales are people people; they are relationship people, not detail people.
If you’re in sales, you need a tool to organize yourself. You might want to find another human being who is detail-oriented and become a team.
Jon believes that if you do what you’re good at in life and then surround yourself with people that are good at the things you aren’t good at, you can be much more successful.
Establish a brand across all the places that are straightforward. People buy from people they like, know, and trust. Going to my LinkedIn profile is like going to my business lobby; you won’t find out much about me personally.
Instagram is where you’ll find out more about me personally, and you can connect based on that. People don’t connect because they both love sales. They connect because they value the same things.
Don’t just share business stuff. Open yourself up on your social media.
You can connect with Jon via email or Google his name to find him on a variety of platforms. Connect with him on the ones that feel most comfortable.
Find Vala Afshar on Twitter to see an example of sharing content that educates and inspires at scale.
Listen to episode 005 of The Sales Evangelist to hear Judy Garmaise talk about the importance of followup for salespeople.
When it’s time to follow up with your leads, Prospect.io can make your followup that much better. It has literally changed the way I prospect, and I love it.
This episode is also brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.
If you aren’t sure you have the right CRM, Maximizer CRMis a personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. Get rid of the boring CRMs and customize to your team’s selling abilities.
Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. It integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM.
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During this episode I interview the founder and CEO of Triberr, Dino Dogan. For those of you who don’t know about Triberr, it is a social network for bloggers that sends over 2 million monthly visits (and growing) to its members. It is a powerful avenue for anyone selling or desiring to grown an audience. With his years of experience building a powerful startup, Dino also offers great practical insights you can take and apply. You can learn how to grow your influence, gain loyal advocates and become a better seller. We had a great discussion and a lot of information was shared by Dino, so much that I had to break up the interview into two parts. During part 2 of this interview, Dino and I discuss rejection and the inverted funnel.
We are all going to get rejected at one point or another. One of the most important things to recognize out of the gate is the fact that you ARE GOING TO GET REJECETD! One of the most powerful keys in handling rejections is to just accept it confidently and move on. People will see you in a better light when you move away confidently.
Dino also shared the idea of the inverted funnel. This is a concept he uses to describe the means where by organizations and individuals can offer value for free and in turn grow their audience. Out of this larger audience, a small portion will eventually become paying customers.
Book recommendation by Dino
Stay connected with Dino:
During this episode I interview the founder and CEO of Triberr, Dino Dogan. For those of you who don’t know about Triberr, it is a social network for bloggers that sends over 2 million monthly visits (and growing) to its members. It is a powerful avenue for anyone selling or desiring to grow an audience. With his years of experience building a powerful startup, Dino also offers great practical insights you can take and apply. With his knowledge you can learn how to grow your influence, gain loyal advocates and become a better seller. We had a great discussion and a lot of information was shared by Dino, so much that I had to break up the interview into two parts.
Some of the key take aways are:
Book recommendation by Dino
Stay connected with Dino: