If someone is going to do you a favor by giving you his business, the very least you can do is allow them to see your smiling face so that you can tell them thank you to his face. Let them know how much you appreciate the fact that they have enough trust in you to select you to help them. This is just old fashion common courtesy.
I had the pleasure to interview Markus Horner. Markus grew up in Southeast Dallas, Texas. Unbeknownst to him at the time he was born with Tourette’s Syndrome ( TS ), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder ( OCD ), and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ( ADHD ). During the mid-1990’s he coined the phrase Tourettes Trifecta to describe his situation which is still being used by other mental health care professionals.
Markus was an Op-ed columnist for The Dallas Morning News for about a year, and has written three books, and more articles than he can even remember. His complete autobiography is currently for sale on Amazon. It is titled “Consistently Persistent, Living with the Tourette Trifecta.” You can also want to check out his website about bullying at https://bullyingdosanddonts.com.
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?
Well, I was born with Tourettes, OCD, and ADHD. My father was a violent alcoholic, my mother was an addict, and my brother was both. Since I was not diagnosed until I was 43 I spent 38 years not having a clue why I was never accepted by anyone. Later in life I was told by a psychiatrist that I had developed PTSD before I was 16. I dropped out of high school my second time through the 11th grade. It’s really ironic that I am now a professional writer considering that I failed high school English. I bet my English teacher would sure be surprised. I spent the next 42 years going from job to job and from one relationship to the next. The only jobs that I had that ever lasted more than a month were my sales jobs. Mainly because I was the top producer in every one of them. I worked for myself for 27 years as a handyman. Mainly because I could never fit in anywhere else. I recently started a new business called The Tourettic Bully-Proofer. I was recently referred to as a national expert on bullying. I have written two books and I am working on a third one about self-confidence, esteem, and efficacy. My autobiography titled “Consistently Persistent, Living with the Tourette Trifecta” is in print right now. The website that I recently setup now has a Google Site rating of 100. https://bullyingdosanddonts.com. I will be doing this the rest of my life since it is such a passion for me.
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?
The most interesting one I probably cannot tell you. It would probably be the time that I helped people completely clear their apt when it was on fire. I was southbound on a major expressway here in Dallas, Texas. I looked upu to see a lot of smoke off in the distance. Like everyone else I pulled over to watch. I then noticed that no one was doing anything to help the residents save their belongings. So I turned around and pointed at four guys. I said “You, you, you and you. Come with me.” We ran into the apt closest to us and I started shouting to get papers, books and clothes first. Then get everything else. After about two minutes a fireman came in and told us to get out because the fire was right above us. So we ran to the next apt. About four other people joined us. We kept going until we had emptied all five apts. By the time w got to the last two apts there must have been twenty five or thirty people helping. When we got to the end and there was nothing else that I could do to help. I went over, got into my pickup and drove away without telling anyone who I was. I did not do it for the recognition. I did it because some people needed help and I could help. End of story. But I have done stuff like this my entire life.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Right now I am working on a new book about True self-Confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. In my research I have discovered that both men, and women, both girls and boys all deal with those four issues in completely different ways. So the book will have four separate sections. Each section will deal with all three issues.
I have another project to do after I finish this one. It will be a series of children’s books. Each book will deal with two primary issues. They will be written to teach boys and girls things about some particular country that they do not already know about. Each book will also be written to teach a separate characteristic like honesty, courtesy, manners, respect, responsibility and so on and so on.
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?
Unfortunately, no there isn’t I have had to depend upon myself my whole life. My father was either too drunk or my mother was too stoned and I did not get along with my brother. I am the only one of the bunch that is till alive. I don’t smoke or drink or do drugs or chase…… Ok, how about three out of four.
For the benefit of our readers, can you tell us a bit why you are an authority on the topic of sales?
During my 30 years in commercial sales I set five national sales records for RCA Corp. I broke my own sales record for the total number of sales in a month 9 times. I was designated as the sales Trainer for all new hires. I was named the number one sales rep in the country by General Power Corp. Finally, I received three straight “Salesman of the Quarter “ awards by Southern Fastener and Tool.
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?
The number one thing that I see is that we are panicking when it is not necessary. I attribute this to a lack of experience and knowledge with high pressure situations. Modern day American society has also been coddled. They have had everything pretty much handed to them on a silver platter. With the situation we have right now you need a clear head so that you can make clear, rational, common sense decisions. When you panic you stop thinking. You are running on pure instinct. There is nothing wrong with getting excited. But you cannot allow it to rule your decisions. You have to be in charge at all times.
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 versalite topics, is totally ignored?
American society has been run for so long by Academics and politicians that the subject of sales is never an important subject to them. If they need help to try to get their message out they hire PR agency’s to do everything for them. I also attribute this to a lack of common sense. Common sense is a very important trait for a salesman. We now have order takers instead of sales people. The lawyers have also hurt the sales profession. You are constantly being bombarded with all kinds of legal mumbo jumbo that people are afraid that they might say something wrong and then get sued for it.
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?
Yes, I absolutely agree with this. There really aren’t any truly good sales people anymore. You have a few really good ones. But the majority of sales people now are just order takers. They know very little about the product or service they are selling. How can you sell something if you don’t know anything about it or the competition?
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?
This one is difficult for me since I think I am good at all of them. But, if I have to choose It would probably be the presentation and handling objections. I learned a long time ago that if you present your product or service sufficiently you will eliminate most of the objections right up front. I guess my secret sauce is that I always asked questions and then listened to what the customer said. Because if you do that they will tell you whether they are ready to buy right then or if you need to back off and give them some time and room to think about what they just heard. This is part of listening to what they did not say. I would always pay close attention to any object or picture in their office. It would give me something to break the ice with. It always helped me to ease into the pitch.
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?
I would attend all kinds of trade shows, Tech shows or Chamber of Commerce pressers. I would even find leads at PTA and PTO meetings. I would attend large Toastmaster get togethers. I could find leads almost everywhere. But I always had some business cards in my pocket. When I was single I even got a few leads at health clubs. Anywhere you find large groups of people.
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’?
The people that find this situation difficult are the people that are not well prepared. They do not know their product or service as well as they need to. Confusion in this type situation comes from ignorance. The type of ignorance that comes from not being well prepared. This never happened to me even once because of how well prepared I was. Most of the time I even knew my competitors product better than he knew it himself. True, this takes a lot of studying and preparation. But it also leads to an image of being an expert, and everybody wants to deal with the experts.
‘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.
When I worked for Southern Fastener and Tool my boss called me one Monday morning to ask me to come to the office. Of course I said, “What have I done this time?” He said ”Nothing, I want to ride with you today to see if I can pickup on what you are doing that these other guys are not doing. Maybe I can teach them something that will help them to raise their sales figures.” I said “OK.” ( Note: I was averaging $21,000 per month in gross sales. Nobody else was averaging more than $15,000 per month. ) My first stop that day was a small cabinet shop in a nearby small town. He had ordered a box of 1 inch drywall screws worth about $40.00. When we got there I walked in carrying the screws, called the owner by name and told him that I had his screws. They use them to assemble cabinets. An hour later when we got back into the truck I had additional orders for about $846.00. My boss was sitting on the passengers side in the truck staring out the windshield with a deer in the head light look. So I said, “Barry, are you OK?” Without even turning to look at me he said, “Mark, I stood there and listened and watched everything you said and did, and I still don’t know how you did it. You might as well take me back to the office because I don’t know what to tell them.” He then said “But there has to be a certain part of your anatomy that is solid brass.” He never asked to ride with me again.
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?
If I were the business owner I would keep a copy of every lead that my sales people would get. I would tell them that I expected an update in writing ever week. I would then gom over them to see if there was something that needed to be addressed. If it looked like they were having trouble with any one particular lead I might set up a followup with the salesman and myself over the phone or possibly an in person visit to see if the salesman was missing on some particular issue. I would keep notes for myself as to what I might want to do to help him close the sale.
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?
Without a doubt it would be emails and texts. If someone is going to do you a favor by giving you his business. The very least you can do is allow them to see your smiling face so that you can tell them thank you to his face. Let them know how much you appreciate the fact that they have enough trust in you to select you to help them. This is just old fashion common courtesy.
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. 🙂
How can our readers follow you online?
I only have my website. It is https://bullyingdosanddonts.com
Thank you for the interview. We wish you only continued success!