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Although Ralph is a Sales Genius, he’s not infallible, so he encourages his key people to give him feedback ‘They have to be able to tell truth for your success to be long lasting,’ he explains. ‘You can’t hire people to give you advice and then ignore it.’ He admits that some of feedback occasionally wounds his ego and that his initial response is often ‘I can’t believe I said that!’ but after initial sting he considers what has been said and makes changes if he feels they are justified.
One such situation involved changing Ralph’s strict policy that business attire should be worn at all times. One of his managers suggested establishing a casual day to help office morale. Ralph finally gave in after agreeing a dress code he was comfortable with, and everybody was happy.
Being truthful has helped Ralph’s business succeed, he says ‘There’s no shame in making an honest error of judgment, but dishonesty will hurt you in long run. The only way to be successful is to tell it to people like it really is: here’s problem and here’s solution and only suggest solutions in their best interest, even if it means you makes less money or none at all.’
Ralph set himself high standards in being an expert: ‘I make sure that I know more than anyone else. This starts by surrounding myself with knowledgeable people, going to professional meetings and reading all time.’ Ralph scans newspapers and magazines for articles of interest, highlights salient points, rips them out and reads or rereads them later. He considers himself to be a ‘speed scanner’. Recently, before being interviewed about foreclosure – a topic he knows extremely well – he nevertheless had an assistant research subject for latest information. Being less than very best simply won’t do in Ralph’s book!
Another source of information for Ralph is his advisory board. Four times a year he meets with six friends and acquaintances from different lines of work. He tells them what he has done and what he plans to do and they give him feedback. One valuable outcome was persuading Ralph to put a monetary value on his time so he could use it more wisely. He also gets together twice a year with a group of agents who all make a $1 million year or more in commission to discuss same sort of topics.
Because he only sleeps three or four hours a night Ralph has mastered ‘power-napping’. He closes his eyes for 15-20 minutes, visualizing whatever situation he is involved in and his brain works on problems and ideas, such as going to high school football games and throwing his business cards up in air first time crowd jumps out of their seats. ‘I don’t have brainstorming days, I have a brainstorming life’, he says.
Adapted from: Tony Buzan & Richard Israel, Sales Genius, (2000), pp. 3-9.
Richard Israel: President of Inner Modeling Inc, sales training consultants to corporations on four continents. Visit http://www.Richardisrael.net