The moment I saw her, I knew she was the one for me. Call it love at first sight, call it whatever you want, I just knew, she was the one. Unfortunately for me, she didn’t have that same reaction during our first encounter… or the second… or the third… or even after 13 months of follow–up… with not even a return phone call. But I didn’t give up because I knew so strongly that this was it for me and for her. However, without my sales skills, it would’ve never happened at all.
Valentine’s Day is this weekend and I want to share with you today that my wife Elena was the toughest sale I’ve ever made. I have been in deals as large as $80 million, but it didn’t even compare to getting this girl to first pay attention to me and then agree to go out with me, and later being able to propose to her and know she would say yes.
I will tell you that the most important sale of my life was this sale and also that if it were not for my view of selling as a needed skill in life and an understanding of it technically, I would not have been able to get this worthy close. Your ability to persuade others determines by itself how well you will do in all areas of your life, including relationships.
I knew the first moment I saw Elena that I’d found the girl I was going to marry. I was absolutely and completely sold from the first moment I saw her. It was also apparent that she, like many customers I have had, wasn’t going to make this sale very easy for me. I was taken aback by her beauty even to the point of being insecure about my qualifications to have her and my ability to get her attention. I pushed through my fears and introduced myself to her as my heart skipped and my pulse raced.
She responded to me with complete disinterest as though she couldn’t even see me. I was devastated, certain by her response that this sale would be almost impossible. The whole encounter lasted maybe a minute before she continued on with what she was doing and left me to be by myself.
I went to a friend and found out everything he knew about her and got him to give me her phone number. He was reluctant to do so, but he could see I was never going to leave without getting a way to contact her (hard sell). I called her the following day with enthusiasm and my great attitude, convincing myself that I could get her interested in me (attitude is senior to product). Again, it didn’t go the way I was hoping: she still was uninterested in my product (me) and was a bit annoyed that I’d called her. I knew I was missing the mark, but I was totally convinced that she was the one (completely sold on the product).
If someone was to be sold it was up to me, not to Elena. If I waited for her to make it happen it never would, so I had to get creative. Buyers don’t buy until someone sells! And it doesn’t take two, it only takes one. I decided at that moment that I would be the one to take complete responsibility for selling myself to her and closing the deal. What to do first: get sold on the product again (me). So I sat down and wrote all the things that I had to offer and all the quality points that I would bring to the relationship.
I then came up with an action plan. I started calling anyone who might know her and put it out there that I was interested in her and wanted to make it known (massive action). Then I decided to call her every few weeks until I was able to finally break through to her and really get into communication, with her giving me the chance to get to know her and her to get to know me. I called her monthly for an entire year, leaving nice little positive messages.
She didn’t take any of my calls and never returned a single message.
But that didn’t stop me, as no real salesperson will stop because of a little rejection. I just stayed interested and kept letting my interest be known. I was unreasonable and disregarded any logic. Since the phone calls were not getting any traction, I continued, when necessary, to remind myself that my product was good and my mission was great!
I went back to working my power base. I discovered, through persistence, that a friend of mine had a friend who was actually a girlfriend of Elena’s. I then started by getting to know the girlfriend and I told her that I was interested in Elena and updated her on my efforts and my lack of success (power base). I asked her to put in a good word for me and to find out what the deal was with Elena and why she wasn’t responding to me.
The girlfriend said that she told Elena I was a really good guy and that she should go out with me. As the girlfriend told me this, I got so excited, thinking, I’m going to pull this off, at which point the girlfriend tried to let me down gently, saying that Elena had stated that I just wasn’t her type.
Is that a complaint or an objection? I wondered. What is the objection? I had to pull it out of the girlfriend, because I had to know what I was dealing with. I got Elena’s girlfriend to tell me because I had to know (be committed). She finally told me that Elena had said that I was too short, that she didn’t like businessmen, and that I just wasn’t her type.
But those aren’t real reasons not to go out with me—they’re just complaints. The number one rule in selling is to agree, so I called her and left another message on her recorder, probably my thirteenth by now. “Hey, Elena, this is Grant. As you probably know, I’ve been bugging Erica about you. Look, I don’t want you to think I’m a stalker or anything. I’m just a guy that’s really interested in you and I have no intention of giving up until you give me a chance. By the way, just as an update—I’m growing.” I kept the messages positive and never made her feel wrong.
One day I was asking a buddy of mine about Elena—who had also been trying to date her. He told me she wasn’t really interested in a relationship, but was more into shooting guns and her career as an actress. I then pursued this information regarding shooting and found out that Elena was one of the top ten women clay shooters in the state of California.
I called the L.A. Gun Club, rented the shooting range, and hired the best coach in Los Angeles for the following Saturday. I then called her again and left another message on her recorder telling her that I had booked the club and the trainers and was asking her out for a day of shooting. Sixty seconds later she called me back for the first time! We had our first real encounter that Saturday and we were married less than a year later.
I created Cardone University to help people learn how to sell. I promise you they don’t teach this material at Harvard, Yale, or MIT. Selling is used every day by every person on this planet. Selling is not just a job or a career. Your ability to do well in life depends on your ability to sell others on the things in which you believe!
Your friend in business, life & sales,