The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy

Book Notes and Takeaways via Duncan Kelm

    Success is not an accident. Failure is not an accident either.  In fact, success is predictable. It leaves tracks

    Analogy for winning:

    • If a horse runs a race and wins by a nose, it wins 10X the prize money of the horse that loses by a nose.  Is the horse that wins, 10X faster? Is it 10% faster? No, it is only a nose faster, but that translates into a 1,000 percent difference
    • Same idea works for sales

    Analogy for forecasting:

    • If you want to know how tall a building is going to be, you look at the foundation. The deeper the foundation the taller the building. In the same way, the deeper knowledge and skill level , the greater life you will be able to build

    Your self-concept is the “master program” of your subconscious computer.  It is like an operating system that determines everything you this, say, feel, and do


    To increase income, you must achieve your financial goals in your mind before you can ever achieve them in your reality. Your aim should be to increase your self-concept level of income bit by bit until you this- see and feel yourself as higher-income earner

    Goals that are vastly beyond anything you have ever achieved before are generally ignored by your self-concept. Instead of motivating it discourages you

    Seven key result areas

    • Prospecting
    • Building rapport
    • Identifying needs
    • Presenting
    • Answering objections
    • Closing the sale
    • Getting resales and referrals

    Change your self-limiting beliefs

    • Your self-limiting beliefs are usually based on erroneous information. They are not based on fact or reality. They are very often illusions in your own mind. Because they are unreal, you can get rid of them by replacing them with new positive beliefs of confidence and competence in any area
    • The most important concept is POSITIVE SELF-ESTEEM
    • Successful people control their inner dialogues

    Success breeds success

    • After you make a sale, immediately call another prospect.  You will be on a high from the closed sale, and it will come through in your voice
    • Give yourself positive reinforcement before any major customer interaction
      • “You are capable”
      • “You are trustworthy”
      • “You are a good husband, father, and friend”
      • “You are successful”

    There are two major obstacles to making and closing any sale. They are:

    • Fear of failure
    • Fear of rejection

    The two fundamental qualities of successful people are:

    • Boldness
    • Persistence

    Self-esteem eliminates fear

    • Imagine two escalators that go in different directions.  One is the up escalator to high self-esteem, and the other is the down escalator to the fears of failure and rejection that hold you back. The more you like yourself the higher your self-esteem, the faster you go up the escalator to courage and confidence.  The more you think about failure or rejection, the more you ride the down escalator towards fear and failure

    Build your self-esteem, Increase your income

    • Everything you do to raise your own self-esteem, including positive self-talk, affirmative visualization, personal motivation, enthusiasm, and individual training improves your personality and increases your effectiveness
    • There is a direct relationship to your self-esteem and how much money you earn

    You can only begin selling after you have convinced the prospect you are his pal

    • When people feel that someone genuinely likes them, they are more open to listening to that person and to buying what he is selling
    • Self-esteem correlates directly to how much money you earn. The best salespeople have a natural capacity to make friends easily with prospective customers

    The primary emotion in sales success is enthusiasm. Enthusiasm accounts for 50% or more of all the sales ability. The best definition of sales is “transference of enthusiasm”

    • Enthusiasm must be heartfelt and genuine

    Back your sales efforts with willpower and determination

    • When you continue to persist no matter how difficult the situation, you will eventually succeed

    Talk to yourself positively

    • Say things like: “I can do it”

    Daily exercises at Morgan Stanley

    • Decide today to become totally confident, high self-esteem salesperson; say over and over, “I like myself”
    • Visualize yourself continually as the very best in your business; the person you see is the person you will be
    • Resolve in advance, no matter what happens, you will never give up; failure is not an option
    • Refuse to take rejection personally; accept it as a normal natural part of selling, very much like the weather
    • Follow the leaders in your field; pattern yourself after the highest-paid and most successful people
    • Make a decision today to join the top 20% of people in the business; remember no one is smarter, and no one is better than you
    • Take action on every new idea that you think can help you in any way. Give it a try. The more things you try, the more likely it is that you will eventually triumph

    To be effective, your goals must be in writing, the very act of writing plants it into the subconscious mind. Once you program a goal into your subconscious mind, it takes on a power of its own

    • How much am I going to sell this year to achieve my personal income, write down an answer to this
    • Once you have an annual goal, break it down into monthly goals
    • Once you have monthly goals, break it down into weekly goals
    • Finally determine your daily goals

    Identify specific activities in which you must engage to achieve your desired sales level

    It is important to also have personal and family goals

    • What would you do with your family if you could quadruple your income
    • If you have 10 or 15 family reasons to be successful you will be more motivated
      • The more reasons you have, the greater will be the intensity of your desire; like a roaring furnace

    Commitment to goal setting is the number one reason for success

    Visualization of a goal is one of the most powerful skills you can develop

    • Envision yourself as successful, confident, powerful and influential
    • Two ways to use visualization
      • Direct, whereby you “see” the customer and sales process through your own eyes.  You see the customer smiling and responding to you in a  positive way
      • Indirect, whereby you stand outside of yourself and see the customer and sale as if you were a third party

    The very best for all-purpose affirmation

    • “I like myself,” “I like myself,” “I like myself”

    The difference between the 10X and the average is the inner dialogue they have with themselves

    • They imagine they will always be recreating the excellent experiences of the past in the future

    Your subconscious mind is neutral like clay, you can shape it any way you want.

    My income goal in the FAA program will be $1,000,000 after taxes within three years

    People value freedom above all other benefits in our society

    • Money creates a certain degree of freedom

    Psychic or emotional values, are invisible intangible values that attach to a product or service

    • In our industry it is financial security

    Professional selling begins with a needs analysis

    • You are not really in a position to sell until you have asked enough questions and listened closely to the answers

    Your prospect only cares about what the service will do for him

    Example Question for Prospect “Do you feel responsible for providing for your family if something were to happen to you?”

    Customer need quick list

    • Money
    • Security
    • Being liked
    • Status and prestige
    • Health and fitness
    • Praise and recognition
    • Power, influence, and popularity
    • Leading the field
    • Love and companionship
    • Personal growth
    • Personal transformation


    The only way to overcome a negative fear of loss that will block a sale is by increasing the positive emotion of desire for gain that will trigger that sale

    In the process of value selling, you put all your emphasis on repeating and explaining the values and benefits that the prospect will receive if he buys what you are selling

    The most valuable benefit that a product or service can offer a retail business customer is an increase in net profits

    Approach Example: “Hello, my name is Duncan Kelm and I am a managing partner at Arrow Point Wealth Management. We’ve developed an investing process that will save you time you can reallocate towards your business.”

    You must always talk about the service in terms of what the customer wants, not in terms of what you are selling

    The key to conducting a basic needs analysis is to question skillfully and listen carefully. The very best salespeople dominate the listening and let the customer dominate the talking

    The best questions are open ended questions that open up a conversation

    • These are questions that begin with a pronoun or adverb, words such as “what”, “where,” “when,” “why,” “who,” “how,” and “which”

    As a rule the person who asks the question has the control

    KEY RESPONSE*** If a customer asks you a question, rather than answer automatically, pause, take a breath, and say “That is a good question. May I ask you something first?”

    Position yourself as a friend rather than a salesperson, an advisor rather than someone who wants to make a sale

    • When you approach every sales situation as an advisor you will dramatically lower the stress involved in competitive selling

    The only time you can use quality as an argument is when you are comparing your product at a higher price to another product at a lower price

    All customers ask the question, “SO WHAT?”

    Whatever you say to a prospect about your product or service, imagine that he is looking at you and saying, “SO WHAT?”


    • Imagine you are in a darkened room with the customer. There is a single spotlight on a swivel above the desk. The spotlight is voice activated. Whoever is speaking causes the spotlight to swivel around to focus on them exclusively. The customer should be in the spotlight the vast majority of the time

    Focus all your attention on the customer, ask questions like:

    • “What are you doing now in this area?”
    • “How is that working for you?”
    • “What are your plans for the future in this area?”
    • “If you could wave a magic wand and have the perfect situation in this area, how would it be different from what you are currently doing?”
    • “What would convince you to go ahead with our service?”

    Find the hot button

    • As the result of asking questions and listening carefully to the answers, you finally ascertain the “hot button,” the leading benefit that his customer seeks in your product or service
    • Simply ask, especially when the prospect is hesitating or holding back, “Mr. prospect, if ever you were to buy this product, at any time in the future, what would cause you to do it at that time?” then remain completely silent 

    Make a list of your last 10 customers, phone each of them and say this: “Mr. Customer, I just wanted to call and tell you how much I appreciate your buying this product from us. How is everything going? Is there any way that we can help you?”

    • USE THIS: Then ask: “Mr. Customer, may I ask you a question? You could have purchased this service from another company, but you bought it from us. Could you tell me exactly why you decided to buy from us rather than from someone else?”

    Spend more time with better prospects

    • This is the recipe for high income in every market

    Plan and analyze your services

    • What specific needs of your prospect customer does your product satisfy
    • What does your company offer that other companies do not

    What are the five most attractive features of your service

    • Why should somebody buy our service at all? 
    • Why should somebody buy our service from our company?

    The rule of selling is always fish for whales, not minnows

    Define your ideal customer

    • Make a list of all the qualities and characteristics that your ideal customer would have
      • Age
      • Education
      • Occupation
      • Income level
      • Experience
      • Attitude
    • The greater clarity you have in identifying your ideal customer, the easier it will be for you to find more of these customers to talk to

    You have to find out what your prospective customers are considering and the position yourself in such a way that your customers conclude that your offering is superior to anything else available

    In creative selling, you always lead with the most important benefit that your product can offer your customer in comparison with your competitors

    • At Arrow Point Wealth Management we offer customized solutions for complex problems

    The simplest way to approach the prospective market is to identify a specific benefit that the non customer values and desires enough to want to own your product or service

    Good questions to ask the hesitant prospect

    • What would have to happen before you went ahead with this offer?
    • What would you have to be convinced of to buy this product or service?
      • The answers you get to these questions will give you the key to the sale

    Customer retention

    • Before we begin let me show you some customer compliments of which I am particularly proud

    Eighty-five percent of all sales take place only after someone has said that the service is “good”

    The 20 idea method

    • Take a sheet of paper and write your biggest goal or your most pressing problem at the top of the page in the form of a question
    • Write our future actions in the present tense that will help you move closer to your goal
    • Make them personal, positive and present

    Most important rule of selling, is SPEND MORE TIME WITH BETTER PROSPECTS

    Example of a call:

    • I need about two minutes of your time. Is this a good time to talk? Only when the prospect has confirmed that he has a couple of minutes to listen to you do you ask a question aimed at the result or benefit of what you are selling

    Choose words carefully

    • Your first words should be the equivalent of throwing a brick through a plate glass window. Develop an opening statement or question that gets his complete attention. This sentence should always be aimed at the result or benefit that the prospect will receive from your product or service, but does not mention the product or service itself

    A good opening

    • A good opening with a strong question aimed at the result or benefit of your product, can get you almost to the close of the sale. A strong opening breaks the prospect’s preoccupation, makes him fully alert, and gets you his complete attention. He is immediately willing to listen you
    • Opening words should trigger a “Really? How do you do that?” response

    The first 15-20 words out of your mouth set the tone for the rest of the conversation

    • You have to work at your opening statement until you consistently get the “Really?” response

    When dealing with rejection

    • “That is all right. Most of my current clients felt the same way when we first had conversations, but now they’ve become our best customers, and they recommend us to their friends, like you.”

    Do not sell on the phone

    • “I would love to tell you about it on the phone, but I have something I have to show you”
      • Immediately offer two time periods to meet, “either or” closing technique
      • Always call to reconfirm, this is a mark of a top professional
    • Refuse to discuss your product or price on the phone

    The prospect never wants to be placed under any OBLIGATION

    • This is why you say, “I have something to show you, and you can judge for yourself.”

    When you finally meet with a prospect face to face

    • Shake hands, sit down, and begin with a well-structured question
    • This is often an interesting or unusual question aimed at the benefit of what you are selling

    The essential point you must convey is “you be the judge”

    When you meet or speak to prospect 

    • Always stand up to greet them
    • Smile into the phone

    Mental preparation prior to a meeting

    • Stop for a few seconds and create a clear mental picture of yourself as completely relaxed, calm, positive, smiling, and in complete control of the interview
    • Inhale deeply, filling up your lungs and putting pressure on your diaphragm
      • Hold this breath for a count of seven and exhale for a count of seven
      • While you are breathing deeply, continue to hold a picture of yourself as the very best salesperson you could possibly be
    • Create a picture of the prospect responding positively to you

    Successful actions

    • Determine exactly how many prospects you must call on each day and each week to achieve your sales and income goals
    • Spend 80% of your time prospecting until you have so many people to see that you do not have time to call anyone else
    • Write out your script for telephone prospecting, memorize it, and practice continually until it sounds natural and relaxed
    • Ignore initial sales resistance when you prospect; focus on the result or benefit of what you sell, and refer to other happy customers who already use it
    • Refuse to talk about the service or price on the phone
    • Prepare thoroughly for every sales meeting; do your homework, on the Internet if possible

    People are highly visual, they are most affected by the predominant message that you convey, and this is usually communicated by the way you hold an use your body

    When you walk, imagine your head is on a string, holding your entire body erect. Breathe deeply with your shoulders back and your spine straight. Raise your chin and look straight ahead

    A proper greeting

    • “How do you do?”
    • “Pleased to meet you”

    People are 100% emotional

    Five key points to listening

    • Listen attentively
      • Face the prospect directly. Lean forward, nod and smile. Be agreeable
      • Imagine that your eyes are sun lamps and you want to give the prospect’s face a tan
    • Pause before responding
      • Pause and wait three to five seconds before you answer. This makes the prospect recognize you are considering what was said
      • Salespeople must become VERY comfortable with silence
    • Question for clarification
      • “How do you mean?”
      • The person who asks questions has control
    • Paraphrase in your own words
    • Use open ended questions

    Once you have spoken three sentences in a row without asking a question, showing a picture, or giving an illustration, the prospect becomes lost in his own world

    Plan every sales presentation in advance, design it so that it moves from the general to the particular, from the known to the unknown starting with the most attractive benefit

    “It is not how far you fall, but how high you bounce, that counts”

    “You can’t fly with the Eagles if you keep scratching with the Turkeys” – Zig Ziglar

    Guard your integrity as a sacred thing

    The financial consultants at Arrow Point Wealth Management are registered representatives with and securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC

    This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended as specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.