To Win in Sales: Be Greedy

Posted On: August 5

This is an excerpt from a new book I am working on about how to generate more high quality referrals.

Several years ago I was brought in to help a computer training company increase their sales. The sales team were missing their numbers badly and the business was in serious trouble. When I got there I found out that many of the salespeople were uncomfortable because the price for their training program was nearly $40,000, which was a very high price point for the potential customers they were talking to. Each of the salespeople had a quota and there was a large white board in the sales office tracking exactly how much money each person had brought in. The sales were basically being managed as a numbers game.

To understand the situation better I asked a few questions.

What was the graduation rate for people who entered the course? Which I found out was above 90%. What was the placement rate for students who had graduated from their computer training? I found out was above 90%. What was the average salary of someone who graduated and got one of these jobs? About $80,000 a year. For the people they were talking to, what was their current average salary? Which I found out was about $30-$40,000, hence the reason a $40,000 training program was extremely expensive for them.

I brought the sales team together to talk with them. I explained to them that when someone bought one of these programs and invested $40,000, there was a 90% chance they would graduate and be a certified computer technician and a 90% chance that they would get an awesome job at a very high salary that would completely change their lives and the lives of their families. They would finally have a good paying job in a growing industry where they could build a solid career and continue to improve their income. I told the sales team to stop worrying about the quota and start worrying about how many people they could help, how many lives they could change. I told them not to be greedy about money, but to be incredibly greedy about how many people they could help. Once they were able to make the mental shift from making sales – to changing people’s lives – the sales numbers went through the roof.

It is the exact same thing for asking for referrals. It is not about new clients, new revenue, more profits for you and your business – it’s about how many more people can you help. There’s an old saying from Zig Ziglar that I love: “If you just help enough other people get what they need you’ll get everything you need.” This is the heart of generating lots and lots of quality referrals – be fanatic about getting as many referrals as you possibly can, so that you can help as many people as you possibly can. Look at it that way and you will do very well.


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  1. It is ALL about value. People will always find the money IF they see the value and ROI for themselves.

    The sales professional has to be able to clearly articulate what their value is to the prospect -that’s where sales coaching & training helps greatly.

  2. I was still a bit put off by the “Get Greedy” title, but for me, my transformation in sales came from realizing that I really care about and really love the people I’m calling.

    And, also, I really believe in my product.

    1. Stephanie, I was hoping the title would be provocative – and it was!! Like you, once I realized that my products/services were truly helping people, and helping their businesses be more successful, I wanted to try to help as many people as possible. Yes, I make money doing that, but it’s only exchange of value. I don’t focus on the money – focus on helping people – and if I do it really really well – they are happy to give me some of their money. So I am very greedy to help people, but not all about money.

  3. Really like the story, and the heading could also read, “stop obsessing on your price and understand the value of what you deliver,” that speaks to your prospects “burning platform” which defines for them a good perceived reason to jump!
    Good one John.

  4. Good Share, John.
    When this makes it into the finished book, will it include the “results” of the team’s new efforts? What percentage did sales increase by? How long did it take? Did the 80 and 90% stats remain once (exponentially) more students finished their course?

    1. This story is from five years ago. They tripled their sales within four months and the graduation/job placement numbers remained in the 90% range. The demand in the field far outstrips their ability to produce qualified technicians. When I got there the company was virtually on the edge of bankruptcy, now they have opened three more stores. It was one of the better outcomes I’ve ever had working with a client.

  5. Great story John I like good stories, good luck with your new book. One of my best books is The Go – Giver, try and throw a bit of that into it. – Barry.

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