Sell or be sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life – Grant Cardone

What better way to start off a book review than a quote from the author, Grant Cardone, “I believe Sell to Survive to be the most important book written on selling in the last fifty years and vital to every person who is interested in making their dreams a reality. We have taken that book and reworked it, added material, updated it, and retitled it: Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life.”

So, let’s get this straight, you take the best book written in its genre in 50 years, make it better and add more to it, and you can read it. Wow. I will do my best to keep this informative and brief, I believe the chapter titles are self-explanatory for the most part, but I will try to clear up any ambiguity and include some important quotes from the text.

Chapter 1: Selling—A Way of Life

In this chapter Mr. Cardone explains how selling is part of our everyday lives from negotiating to getting others to like you, work with you, anything having to do with convincing, persuading or getting your way in life. Regarding people saying they could never work as a salesman and work on commission his answer is “Your entire life is a commission. There’s no salary guaranteed in life. The whole world is on commission and the whole world is required to sell!”

Chapter 2: Salespeople Make the World Go Round

“Selling is the last great truly free-enterprise opportunity available today; in sales, an individual can work for himself, be accountable to himself, and make his dreams come true.” If that doesn’t get your heart fluttering I don’t know what will! We all have dreams of some sort of freedom maybe its not being tied down to that 9-5 dead end job, maybe its becoming and entrepreneur, starting your own business etc. this opportunity rings toward that goal. It is solely up to you to work and make your money with no cap on your financial compensation, the more you sell the more you make! The economy relies on getting products in consumers hands, salespeople are responsible for this, which drives the behind the scenes action such as shipping, handling, production, storage, retailing etc.

Chapter 3: Professional or Amateur?

“I you want to get rich, learn how to sell.” This reverts to the first chapter regarding how everything in life is selling, this includes but is not limited to getting that promotion, girlfriend, job, negotiation, contract, opportunity etc. you will have to sell yourself to get all those things and you can become rich in whatever manner you want to define it. There are two mental barriers you must overcome to become a professional at selling. “1.) Selling is critical to your survival regardless of your career, and 2.) you must decide to become a professional and give up any idea that its something for others and not for you.” “The difference between mediocrity and greatness lies in being committed to the profession and being consumed by the desire to be great and the dedication to learn the trade.”

Chapter 4: The Greats

If you are familiar with Grant Cardone his books are not always directly about the subject at hand like sales for instance, he often incorporates life and career advice that is broad enough to encompass all professions. In this chapter he describes how to become one of the greats in your profession and the first step is to commit all the way. “Committing is when you make a firm decision, you quit wondering, and then you follow through on your commitment with actions.” “A burn the ship kind of mentality is what it takes to get you to a place where you’ll doo things that will ensure results.” So, you commit and put in 10X amounts of action and thought. How do you know when you become a professional or one of the Greats? Grant Cardone says that “the ability to predict is the first thing that happens when you become a professional,” this happens when you have experience nearly all the scenarios that arise and observe them objectively without emotion and assume responsibility for the faults and acting to correct them. Mr. Cardone did this by recording his phone calls and sales pitches, making note of his body language, and gestures, tone of voice and how he responded to objections.

Chapter 5: The Most Important Sale

Chapter 5 goes into the mental state required to be an excellent salesperson. Grant Cardone states that “In order to become a great salesperson, you have to sell yourself on what you’re selling.” and “the conviction that you have regarding your product is more important than the conviction that others have about their facts and figures.” This whole idea on becoming sold on your product or solution is what keeps you motivated and driven as well, this also requires a go all in attitude.

Chapter 6: The Price Myth

               This chapter proofs that price is not the ultimate deciding factor like most think it is. “Getting the sale isn’t about money; its ultimately about the buyer having confidence that the product is the right one.” Price also represents value in your product, if the price is too low the product is perceived to lose value or is not useful. “The buyer would rather pay more and make the right decision than pay less and make a mistake.” This emphasizes the move up not down paragraph explain that a price issue is often resolved with a more expensive product. The customer often may think that there is not enough value in a cheaper product and the reason price is the issue is because the option is too expensive for the results it will give. Also “salespeople, not the prospect, are the ultimate barriers to every sale”.

Chapter 7: Your Buyer’s Money

               The first section of this chapter explains how there is no shortage of money on this earth. The problem is your way of thinking of money and “If others have a difficult time getting money from you, you’ll never find it easy to get money from others.” On the note of repeat sales Mr. Cardone says, “second money is easier to get than first money”, once that trust gets established you will find it much easier to make repeat sales.

Chapter 8: You are in the People Business

               Salespeople must remember that they are selling products to customers, “that’s why its vital that salespeople know about people first and products second.” Grant Cardone says selling is 80% people and 20% product, so what do you think you should allocate your time to? Learning about the product or learning about the customers? The answer is clear, “learn to think like customers think” put on their shoes and your sales will increase. “True communication requires finding out what is important to people so you can identify what they actually want and then deliver it.”

Chapter 9: The Magic of Agreement

               “Always agree with the customer” even if they are wrong, even if they are full of shit, “agree as you write the deal; don’t disagree and fight the deal!” This is the number one rule and it is also the most violated by salespeople, you’re leaving sales on the table by not agreeing with the customer. “Agreement is senior to closing the deal”, Grant Cardone says this and to him the close is sacred!

Chapter 10: Establishing Trust

               First paragraph of this chapter explains the show don’t tell phenomenon, people believe what they see not what they hear, show them the facts and figures or how well the product works don’t just talk their ear off about it. Grant mentions how he used to keep an evidence manual with him to show his facts of what other customers had said about him because of doing business with him. This helps build trust with your buyer which is crucial in making the sale.

Chapter 11: Give, Give, Give

               It was mentioned in an earlier chapter that you are selling to people, not just selling your product to people. Part of the human experience with sales is the customer service and this chapter covers all that you need to know to service your customer. “Give all of you to your prospect, not just a part of you. Give all of your attention, all of your energy, all of your suggestions, all of your information, and then find some more of you to give! Exceed expectations and go all the way with him and then a bit further.” “Human beings are much more valuable than money. Treat them like that and you’ll be rewarded” Problems are also opportunities for future sales, service your customer when they have complaints or problems and you’ll probably be able to sell them later just with your customer service you showed them.

Chapter 12:  Hard Sell

               This chapter can be summed up with this one paragraph, “if you don’t truly believe that your product will somehow bring the buyer more enjoyment, benefit, or security than the numbers he has in the bank, then you’ll never be a great salesperson and you’ll never fully understand the concept of ‘hard sell.’ If you really believe and learn how to close, you’ll know someday what it means to hard sell. This is an art form!”

Chapter 13: Massive Action

               Refer to Mr. Cardone’s book, The 10X Rule, Link to the review can be found here:

Chapter 14: The Power Base

               This chapter is an obvious but overlooked solution to first starting off in sales. The power base refers to the people around you that you are familiar with, your friends, family, etc. and with those people in mind “the easiest sale you’ll ever make in your life is the one to those people who already know you, trust you, and want to help you.” Again obvious but overlooked, but you need to put in work to build your power base and rekindle those connections, face to face is the best way to get back in contact. Work hard on your power base and they will work hard for you and it has the ability to naturally grow wide and strong.

Chapter 15: Time

               The critical take away from this chapter is the lunch out. A mentor of Mr. Cardone when he was just starting out asked him why he went to lunch with his co-worker every day.  Grant answered they were friends and just naturally thought that was something normal to do. His mentor told him “he will never buy anything from you. Never!” from that moment on Mr. Cardone realized that he had to use that precious lunch break hour to make sales. Go out, be seen, know where your buyers go to lunch, today Mr. Cardone invests breakfast, lunch, and dinner to buyers and prospects and even long shots. Use every possible moment to sell.

Chapter 16: Attitude

               “People will pay more for an agreeable, positive and enjoyable experience than they will for a great product.” This chapter goes right in line with the Give, Give, Give chapter as well as the people business chapter. Mr. Cardone ends the chapter with seven tips for having a great attitude.

Chapter 17: The Biggest Sale of My Life

               As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Cardone includes life lessons as well as real life examples in his books, this chapter describes using the previously mentioned lessons and tactics how he made the biggest sale of his life, his wife, Elena.

Chapter 18: The Perfect Sales Process

               “The best salespeople I know are straight shooters. They don’t play games, they tell it like it is, and they know how to get the hob done without manipulations and tricks.”

  1. Greet
  2. Determine Wants and Needs
  3. Select Product and Present/Build Value
  4. Make Proposal
  5. Close the Transaction or Buyer Exits

Chapter 19: Success in Selling

               In order to demand consistent sales success, you have to:

  1. Decide you are ultimately responsible for the sale.
  2. Make it your duty, obligation, and responsibility to make the sale.
  3. Take massive amounts of action, followed by more action until the sale is made!
  4. Accept no excuses, reasons, or logic, and figure out how to make it work!
  5. Prepare yourself daily to handle all obstacles, stalls, reasons and barriers you will encounter with a client.

Chapter 20: Sales-Training Tips

               How sales training is supposed to be laid out and what creates a good sales training program.

Chapter 21: Create a Social Media Presence

               This book was written in 2012 and this chapter was in it. I think we can all see the power of social media today and its everyday presence in our lives. Now more than ever it is vital to have a social media presence, perhaps on multiple platforms to reach out to potential customers and other influencers.

Chapter 22: Quick Tips to Conquer the Biggest Challenges in Selling

               Lots of tips regarding the challenges you’ll face selling. Pretty self-explanatory check out the book for details.

There you have it, Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone! As always, the link to the book can be found below, I highly recommend reading it to anyone trying to increase their ability to sell or persuade in life. I think this can apply across all industries and careers. This book has had me consider taking a more sales-oriented internship this summer rather than an engineering-oriented internship as my major would suggest. We’ll see though and let you all know how it goes!

Until next time,