Jason Harriman: How To Be Great At Sales Without Seeming Salesey

Social media is an amazing tool that I use everyday and I consider it one of the most important inventions in history. But it has taken away our human feel. The sound of someone’s voice or their laugh. One of the best things I think we can all do is call people we love and […]

Thrive invites voices from many spheres to share their perspectives on our Community platform. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and opinions expressed by Community contributors do not reflect the opinions of Thrive or its employees. More information on our Community guidelines is available here.

Social media is an amazing tool that I use everyday and I consider it one of the most important inventions in history. But it has taken away our human feel. The sound of someone’s voice or their laugh. One of the best things I think we can all do is call people we love and tell them that. Nothing can replace that. An actual call, not a text of DM. There is nothing that scares a virus more than fully loved, happy and unified people.

As a part of my series about how to be great at closing sales without seeming pushy, obnoxious, or salesy, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jason Harriman

Jason has more than 20 years experience in sales and leading sales team. During his career, Jason and his sales team have sold more than $1 billion dollars in total volume in a variety of industries like telecom, technology, healthcare and real estate. Currently Jason leads a real estate sales team which has some more than $100 million dollars and ranks within the top 1% of real estate agents in the country. Jason has founded several others businesses in the short-term rental, apparel and service industries.

Thank you for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this career path?

Igrew up in a single-parent household where money was always tight and the temptation to doing bad was around every corner. I moved out when I was 13 years old and started to stay with a friend. Although we had a home, due to circumstances we had to “fend for ourselves” in food, clothes, and everything else teenage boys need. To do this, we did a variety of jobs like cutting grass, recycling cans, and door-to-door sales (buy candy and mark up prices door to door). The first time I made $50 in a day, I was the richest I ever (and still) have felt. This is what ignited my entrepreneurial spirit. The challenge was I had no one to learn from. There was no internet and I knew no one to look to for inspiration. Until I was 16 and got my first “real” job. It was at a call center that was the corporate office for the business. Every day I saw people in nice cars, wearing suits and looking like they had it all so I made that my focus. There have been a lot of steps in between but I learned early on how important sales are and I always find inspiration to excel

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

When I was just getting started at the ripe old age of 17, I was making outbound sales calls. Well, as with most 17-year-old men, my voice was changing (getting deeper) and I had little control over it. One day my voice was especially deep while I was making sales calls and I started it hot. As the day went on, I received several compliments about how nice my voice sounded, and I ended the day with the most sales I had ever had. I tried to duplicate it several other times, but it never really worked. But thank God for nature!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Yes! After coaching real estate agents and a variety of other sales people, I am finally taking my coaching online! For the longest time I didn’t feel it would translate but I’ve had some clarity that helped me understand a path. I think it will help because I will get the opportunity to help more people. My clients and team typically 50% or more growth after our coaching.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have had massive help from mentors and people that I have learned from. There is one person, a former VP at my first company. He was a real slick New York salesperson and everything he did was great. He gave me one very simple sales tip that I continue to follow today: “Make it logical to say yes and illogical to say no”. I don’t know how that is ground breaking but it resonated with me for a long time and I still follow it today.

For the benefit of our readers, can you tell us a bit why you are an authority on the topic of sales?

I built my career in tough sales. I helped sell some of the original internet plans and smart home tech when it wasn’t cool and it was very expensive. I used to lead a sales team (in the internet age) that would sell digital phone books (the same as the white pages) for $1600 per city. Again, we did this DURING THE INTERNET AGE.

Through all of the tough sales, every team and group I coached saw an overwhelming improvement in sales results. So while I think they were exceptional students, there may be some tactics I picked up along the way that work.

Let’s shift a bit to what is happening today in the broader world. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the COVID-19 pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty and loneliness. From your experience, what are a few ideas that we can use to effectively offer support to our families and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Social media is an amazing tool that I use everyday and I consider it one of the most important inventions in history. But it has taken away our human feel. The sound of someone’s voice or their laugh. One of the best things I think we can all do is call people we love and tell them that. Nothing can replace that. An actual call, not a text of DM. There is nothing that scares a virus more than fully loved, happy and unified people.

Ok. Thanks for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. As you know, nearly any business a person will enter, will involve some form of sales. At the same time, most people have never received any formal education about how to be effective at selling. Why do you think our education system teaches nearly every other arcane subject, but sales, one of the most useful and versatile topics, is totally ignored?

I hate the answer but it is simply because “that is the way we have always done it.” Open a book, read the pages and get tested. It takes away the personality that is so critical for all job skills. This is why I encourage people to not let it discourage them. We are in a period where everything we want is available at our finger tips. Literally, if I wanted to build a rocket, I could Google it and see the blueprints from NASA. So don’t let formal education be the reason or excuse why sales “aren’t your thing”

This discussion, entitled, “How To Be Great At Sales Without Seeming Salesey”, is making an assumption that seeming salesy or pushy is something to be avoided. Do you agree with this assumption? Whether yes, or no, can you articulate why you feel the way you do?

It also assumes that “salesey” is a bad thing. It’s not! People like someone to shoot it straight (respectful) and not waste their time. So, something you have to be clear that this is a sales. But you have to bring value.

The seven stages of a sales cycle are usually broken down to versions of Prospecting, Preparation, Approach, Presentation, handling objections, Closing, and Follow-up. Which stage do you feel that you are best at? What is your unique approach, your “secret sauce”, to that particular skill? Can you explain or give a story?

I am absolutely the king of prospecting. But more specifically I would call it a “1a” rank because within the prospecting, I mean the follow up. We spent time, money, energy and emotion to reach a lead through prospecting but then I see too many people never follow up or follow up incorrectly. Follow up to the approach and presentation when and how they want you to!

Lead generation, or prospecting, is one of the basic steps of the sales cycle. Obviously, every industry will be different, but can you share some of the fundamental strategies you use to generate good, qualified leads?

In every sales business I have been in, prospecting was the foundation of my house. In order for me to call it a qualified lead, I need 4 key things:

-Motivation to buy/sell — Not just “I want to” but a true reason to participate. Those people convert higher.

-Timeline — Depending on what you are selling, this usually needs to be within the first 12 months. If not, those first 3–4 months are a waste of time.

-Ability to buy/sell — This doesn’t need to be a hard qualification but pay attention to the questions they ask, and it will give you an idea if they have a clue on how it works

-Agreement to follow up — You are not going to close someone the first time. Make them commit to you as much as you commit to them.

In my experience, I think the final stages of Handling Objections, Closing, and Follow-up, are the most difficult parts for many people. Why do you think ‘Handling Objections’ is so hard for people? What would you recommend for one to do, to be better at ‘Handling Objections’?

It is so hard because people do not want to be pushy or have empathy for why they just heard “no.” The best defense is a good offense. Meaning ask questions throughout that takeaway objections. Specifically need and price. If you do this — you have made it “logical to say yes, illogical to say no”

‘Closing’ is of course the proverbial Holy Grail. Can you suggest 5 things one can do to successfully close a sale without being perceived as pushy? If you can, please share a story or example, ideally from your experience, for each.

Don’t overcomplicate it. Just ask and do it assumptively. It is not as scary as people make it out to be. If you have done the other parts like tying them down or taking away objections, then it will be logical to accept the close.

That means you must make sure you:

1.) Find the motivation — If they need it enough they will accept it. When I sell a $1600 phonebook to a business, it was because I knew that they wanted to get a specific promotion out. So, they had a strong motivation to use the product.

2.) Ask questions — If you have asked enough questions, they will have sold themselves. In sales you should do 20% of the talking and they do 80%

3.) Don’t get offended — It doesn’t matter if you had the most amazing sales pitch in the world, sometimes it is just not a good fit, or this person still have questions. Don’t react to the objection, just pivot and respond

4.) Have solutions — A sale is ultimate a solution to a problem. Their car is old and broken down, you sell them a new one. They are spending too much money on insurance; you find a plan they can afford. Be prepared to provide a solution. You may have to get creative, but one exists or they wouldn’t have talked to you

5.) Close, okay? — “okay” is the most overlooked word in sales. Sometimes we want to ease into it or try to pile on benefits. When it is time to close, just ask “okay?” …okay!?

Finally, what are your thoughts about ‘Follow up’? Many businesses get leads who might be interested but things never seem to close. What are some good tips for a business leader to successfully follow up and bring things to a conclusion, without appearing overly pushy or overeager?

Follow up is the key to sales and there are two simple tactics I have found in thousands of follow ups.

  1. Do it on their time. This doesn’t mean you can’t be assumptive or suggestive. Just make sure they commit to it. Otherwise you won’t get them, or they will have a million reasons not to meet.
  2. Keep your word — more often then not, we get busy, we assume, or we just choose not to follow up. We can avoid all of it. That doesn’t mean to the minute but if you told your lead you would call Friday around 3 — call them.

As you know there are so many modes of communication today. For example, In-person, phone calls, video calls, emails, and text messages. In your opinion, which of these communication methods should be avoided when attempting to close a sale or follow up? Which are the best ones? Can you explain or give a story?

Text messaging! I love texting but it is terrible to try to close that way. It’s impossible to read with the appropriate body language or tone and far too easy to forget about. You want conclusion then.

I don’t have many stories because I don’t do it! I have had some clients tell me they do it and I try to stop them in their tracks. You can text and confirm you can call and do it for 2 minutes. It will result in more sales and will make you a better salesperson.

Ok, we are nearly done. Here is our final “meaty” question. You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

It would be to help someone with zero expectations of getting it back. Years ago, I started a non-profit called “Give Not Get” that was built on that. Without trying to monetize it, opportunities came. I feel that was the universe was giving back to me.

How can our readers follow you online?

I am most active on Instagram @jasonharriman and Facebook @mrjasonharriman

Thank you for the interview. We wish you only continued success!

You might also like...


Jason Davis On How We Need To Adjust To The Future Of Work

by Karen Mangia

“Understand your client’s motivations.” With Jason Chan

by Tyler Gallagher

Sam Underwood On How We Need To Adjust To The Future Of Work

by Karen Mangia
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.