Sales Tips from Steve Jobs – one of the Best Sales People
What made Steve Jobs the Selling Genius he was?
Steve Job was a quantum thinker and a man living outside the box of ordinary thinking. I was always curious about the impact and sheer size of his creation. Apple, a company that came to permeate every aspect of our lives, in such a dramatic way, in just a few decades. Jobs was famous for saying “I want to put a ding in the universe.” To me, he was a selling genius and the creative engine behind the growth of the company. He is one of my sales heroes.
In learning from people who excel in any field, I want to know how do they think? Where does their focus need to be, to create outstanding results? I have read his biography, watched his documentaries and interviews, the products launches and the movies about his life. I hoped to get an insight into what made the Apple business model so successful, aside from the obvious: elegant product design, software engineering, quality products and great marketing. It became an adventure of understanding into who made it successful and how did he do it? I hope that the sales people who are looking to “think different” might take a few ideas from here and have a different day tomorrow. They should look at their products and business model in way they never did before and out-create their own thinking and those of their competitors, by using Jobs as a great role model.
Firstly, what does a Quantum thinker do different? Well, the definition of Quantum-thinking “is the ability of the mind to function at a higher level of creativity and innovation. This level of thinking allows one to accurately envision the next generation products, services, and modes of business operation. It involves a shift from linear thinking to higher-order holistic thinking”. Using quantum thinking gives you more ways to approach a problem, sell a product and design a business model. The conventional approach or ideas will not help you out-create your market position today; nor will selling it the way you always have. Thinking about your market from a quantum perspective, is taking the helicopter view and exploring the landscape.
Apple never made price a driver of their business model. They never sell on discounts and they sell billions of dollars in products every year to the Apple tribe of loyal customers. Why is that?
Asking the unasked questions
Jobs asked questions others didn’t ask, in ways they didn’t ask. He was amongst software developers who were not yet aware of the market potential. All they wanted to do was build computers as a hobby. I am guessing that he was a great coach to himself when it came to generating new ideas, and envisioning the “ding” he wanted to put in the universe. He was the “what if “ and “how can we” entrepreneur, rather “here’s what we do” and “this is why we are doing it” thinker.
The Dream you didn’t know you had
Steve Jobs, to me, is a great example of creativity in action; he sold the world a dream we didn’t know we had, and created a way of life we didn’t know we wanted. Quantum thinking, again! Steve Jobs appeared to introduce the perfect creation of “ease and convenience” into life through Apple technology. In the higher view and holistic-thinking, he brought connectivity, ease and convenience to the world in a hand-held device. Life will never be the same because of the “experience” he sold to us in a box.
The Crazy Ones
This brilliant advert The Crazy Ones, narrated by Steve, says so much about his thinking. This guy was never going to be like others. He aligned Apple’s brand with those that did “think different”. Perhaps he saw himself like the people who dared to go beyond the conventional thinking of their time. The words are inspiring. You can’t ignore them and he made people pay attention differently.
Here is the script of the advert. How can you not be inspired?
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Is it possible to shake up your own selling game? I think so! Here’s what I loved about his creativity and how he sold Apple on the road to creating history. What if you took a leaf out of his book?
Jobs fixated on the possibilities of tomorrow, rather than what couldn’t be done today
Jobs’ startup development team were exhausted by his constant demands to go further and out-think their limitations. Hard to work with, but they often describe working with him as the most rewarding times in their lives. They called it Steve’s reality distortion field (RDF), coined by Bud Little in 1981, to describe the effect his creativity had on people. He made a few enemies along the way, but overall, he created ground-breaking technology by suspending reality to dream the impossible.
As salespeople, getting more creative and looking at the dream the customer doesn’t know they have yet, might just lead to a new opportunity or new business model. A question you might ask is:
Has our business model outgrown its usefulness? What have we not explored that would expand the opportunities to diversify and grow our customer base? What dreams are the customers waiting to realise and how can we help them get there?
Jobs filled a vacuum, nobody else noticed
Physics tells us that nature abhors a vacuum. If there is space to fill, some force will come along to fill it. It’s the law of nature. Every industry has examples of where this happens. We call it a niche market, niche product, a nice service. Someone saw it and occupied the market space. Apple did it like no other company by translating Jobs thinking into a marketing and sales strategy.
The vacuum in your industry could be a new message, a new customer experience, a different customer-acquisition strategy, a new language to describe your company and use in your company or a new focus on your mission for your customers.
You might ask…
What is nobody doing that would change the market that is buying what you offer? What could a brain storming session in your sales team uncover about the reasons for buying what you offer? While you are focussed on your sales targets and profits, what are you not creating for your customers? What if you transformed your customer experience so much, that it grew your profits as a positive indirect effect?
Jobs sold customers their dreams, not his own
I am surmising that Jobs didn’t just do this all to become a billionaire! And he didn’t do it by himself. The money was the reward, not the motivation. He did seem to have a lot fun creating and building a company from nothing and expanding beyond what he first imagined. I personally love his first mission statement.
“To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind.”
It’s simple, encapsulates creativity and contribution to something beyond himself. He never mentions himself, the company or the shareholders in this mission statement. He wanted to put a song list in someone’s pocket with the iPod; the internet in a booksize product with the Ipad and an office on-the-go with the iPhone. Could you imagine how constricting life would be now without all of this? He gave us all a dream, we never knew we wanted. He added value to our lives!
If you had your own sales mission statement, what would it be? What dreams or goals do your customers have that you can help realise?
Jobs kept his eye on creating an experience, the customer didn’t know they wanted
Jobs learned from his father that everything you build has to be quality, inside and out. He was a stickler for quality, even on parts of the technology a user would never see. Everything was designed to create an experience; holding the product, launching the product, the on-line experience and the Apple shop experience.
Jobs cared deeply about the customer experience and it helped create the Apple tribe and generations of loyal customers. Jobs instinctively knew that people buy the experience that is wrapped around and infused in the product. As salespeople, we are creating an experience wrapped up in the solution we offer. If you have never visited an Apple shop, it’s a lesson in how sales people create the buying experience elegantly.
How are you creating the customer experience? What is your unique customer experience you could bring to your market that has not yet been launched?
Jobs focused on the big picture and the longer view, rather than the immediate today
He left the detail to others after he dreamed up the possibilities. He sold the dream, and then figured it out with his team. He used his difference to out-create and out-think those he worked with. It helped the company occupy the space that is now the Apple brand and market. He was comfortable being the outlier, because he knew that innovation and selling never happens in the ordinary thinking or being.
Jobs was true to his vision and mission. I am sure there are things he could have done differently in his dealings with people, but one cannot but acknowledge the “ding” he put in the universe. He stretched the bounds of imagination and creativity of his employees, his customers and the world.
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish
When we are all doing the same as everybody else, nobody shakes up the status quo, nothing changes. The creativity of Steve Jobs is a great inspiration that can be taken into any field. Salespeople can take so much from his genius. Think Different about your selling by taking a leaf of Steve Jobs book. “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” was his motto. It kept inertia, complacency at bay and it kept Apple untouchable as it grew.
You cannot bring “new” to your business model by using the thinking that got you where you are today. To go into the quantum thinking space, see what comes of these quantum questions:
What will happen if we keep doing what we are doing? What won’t happen if we keep doing what we are doing? Who is missing out because we keep doing what we are doing? What customer is not growing their business because we keep doing what you are doing?
Can you draw on your creativity to change how customers experience your company? Can you step outside the box that isn’t there? Can you have a different kind of conversation with your company, sales teams and customers? Can you put a “ding” in the universe?
You may also be interested in: The E-book Downloadable – The Sales Outliers – What Top Salespeople do to Power Ahead in their Selling Game