My first foray into the world of kiosk sales was a complete disaster. I barely sold anything, hated my life, and even cried like a little baby once at work.
But two good things came out of my first month on the job: Lauren and Power Phrases.
She was like me – an American who had moved to Israel, gained citizenship, and somehow found her way to working in kiosk sales with Israelis.
I hated that first job – unless I was working with Lauren.
One day when we were at work, she took me aside and showed me something.
“When you get to work, take a little piece of paper and write yourself a motivating message. The idea is that if you’re having a bad day, looking at what you’ve written down will motivate you to keep working.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: sales is a war fought on an emotional battlefield. And if you have weak emotions, you’re going to lose the war.
But the reality of the situation is that no matter how experienced you are, you’re going to have days where you want to throw your customers out the window – literally.
Sales is the only profession where I’ve experienced such violent shifts from one side of the happiness spectrum to the other.
One minute you’re on top of the world – the next you’re ready to punch the wall.
Power Phrases: the secret to managing your emotions
The fact is that no matter who you are, how much experience you have, or how skilled you are, you’re still going to experience these shifts.
That’s just how the game is played.
I started using this little trick that Lauren taught me but to be honest with you, I thought it was pretty stupid at the time.
I mean intellectually I understood why we were doing it. I understood the purpose of it. It made logical sense to me.
But when you’re in the trenches getting your elbows dirty, a little message on a scrap of receipt paper isn’t going to do anything to improve your mood.
You need something more substantial. But we’ll get to that in a second.
However, one of the things that this little practice taught me was extremely valuable. Two things, actually.
The first one was the usefulness of what I call Power Phrases.
A Power Phrase is a metaphor, phrase, or sentence that frames your action in an empowering way.
The most effective Power Phrase that I’ve encountered to date is this: work all day no matter what.
This is one of the reasons why I think Israelis are so good at sales – Hebrew is full of Power Phrases.
Modern Hebrew the way it’s spoken today is essentially a dead language that was revived less than a century ago. As a result, it’s very primitive when compared to a more flowery language like English.
In English, you can get much more detailed in how you want to say something. You have a lot of room to maneuver and say things in a beautiful, comprehensive way.
Hebrew, by comparison, is very blunt and direct. Structurally, Hebrew is a verb-heavy language.
In other words, Hebrew an extremely action-based language.
(Verbs are actions, remember?)
A perfect example of this is the way Israelis talk to each other in simple conversation which may seem “rude” to an American who is listening to them.
As an American, if I wanted someone to pass me a bottle of Coke, I would say something like this: “Excuse me, could you please pass me the Coke?”
The Israeli version would be this: “Give me Coke.”
If I had said that in English, it would be considered impolite at best, and downright insulting at worst.
But that’s just the language is structured. It’s not rude, it’s just verb-heavy.
Raise your power level with Power Phrases
Like I mentioned earlier, a verb-heavy language generates massive amounts of Power Phrases.
When these Power Phrases are spoken back and forth between people – or in one’s own head – they create an empowering, action-oriented effect on the speaker/listener’s mind.
When I first started writing down my little messages, I would do it like an American.
- I’d sit there and write a paragraph of what I thought would motivate me.
- I’d talk about how I wanted money for this, that or the other thing.
- I’d talk about why it was important and yammer on incessantly about why I needed to achieve my goal for the day.
Though I eventually became an excellent salesperson, I don’t think this method of motivation was the source of it.
But as time progressed, I began limiting myself to one single Power Phrase:
Work all day no matter what.
That’s it. That right there is the key to being a successful salesperson.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: sales is a game of emotion – and if you let your emotions get the better of you, then you’re going to hamstring yourself in the long run.
ESPECIALLY in kiosk sales.
If you let a customer ruin your day because they gave you the runaround, then I hope you enjoy watching your bank account go down instead of up.
This is why the concept of “Work all day no matter what” is so important.
- Customer pissed you off?
- You can’t sell your favorite product or service?
- Having trouble growing your business?
- Got into a car accident on the way to work?
- A cop pulled you over and wrote you a ticket?
- Getting sued by your ex-wife?
- Your kid got in trouble for biting his teacher?
- Dog ate your favorite shoes?
None of that matters in the arena of sales.
If you’re committed to rising to the top in this profession, then you need to work all day no matter what.
“Work all day no matter what” – The King of Power Phrases
Over time, the ONLY phrase that I would write to myself on a scrap of receipt paper was this: Work all day no matter what.
Sure, it was a bit redundant to write the same thing over and over. But reinforcing good information is never a waste of time.
The second good habit that this lead to was keeping track of my closing ratio.
Or more specifically, how many demonstrations I had done and how many sales I had made in the process.
It wasn’t sophisticated by any means. This wasn’t Salesforce.
I was just keeping a tally of how many demos I had done vs how many sales I had made.
- Every time I did a demo, I’d mark a line.
- Every sale, I’d mark a line with a circle around it.
- At the end of the day, I’d have a bunch of lines interspersed with a bunch of lines with circles around them.
I don’t care who you are or what you’re selling, but you need to keep track of how many demos you’re doing and how many sales you’re doing.
But probably not for the reason that you think.
While I do think it’s important to iterate along the way and change things up to find the perfect pitch, I don’t think that’s the benefit of keeping track of your demos/sales.
The main benefit is to show you that what you considered to be a TERRIBLE DAY (oh no!), was really you just doing 5 demos in a row without a customer buying something.
The emotional wear and tear we experience from pouring our heart and soul into selling, only to be met with a crushing rejection, can drive our spirits into the dirt.
And like I said before, we ALL experience this – REGARDLESS of our experience level.
But when you have hundreds if not thousands of scraps of paper with a combination of lines and circled lines on them, you start to realize a few things:
- If you work all day, you’ll make sales
- Your closing ratio will probably stay around 1/4 or 1/5
- No matter how bad the day feels to you, you’re still going to sell if you keep at it
- Your emotions are making you feel worse than reality implies that you should
- Most of your sales are probably made at a certain time in the day
If you have a bad morning, get yourself down, and quit on the rest of the day, then you’d never know that most of the sales in your industry are made in the afternoon and evening.
Why you MUST use Power Phrases
I would see this happen over and over again to my coworkers and competitors in the kiosk business.
Full of enthusiasm in the morning, they’d end up wearing themselves out by the early afternoon if they hadn’t made any sales.
This was made even worse if someone around them (me) WAS making sales.
Salespeople don’t like to talk about it – but when someone else is selling and you’re not, it kills you a little inside.
It takes a little wind out of your sales. Or is it sails?
- But again, the solution to this is simple: work all day no matter what.
- The solution to everything is the same: work all day no matter what.
Regardless of what you’re doing – whether it’s sales or something else – set your watch for a certain amount of time and commit to doing the activity.
Even if you’re the worst salesperson, exerciser, cook, or <insert activity here>, you will 100% get results if you work at it long enough over a given time period.
And while 99% of the importance is on working all day no matter what, the other 1% is still very important as well.
And that is to work in a cheerful, happy mood.
It’s not just enough to work – you have to do it with positive emotions as well.
But I’ll save that for another article.