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Guerrilla Sales Development

Great ideas are all around you. Steal them and make them your own.

Steal Ideas from Sales Letters and Emails

Don’t throw away the sales letters or delete the sales emails that are delivered to your inbox. Read every one of them before you hit the delete key or toss them in the garbage. When you find great sales language in a letter or an email, write it down and modify to fit your needs.

Steal Language from Other People’s Sales Call

When you go on a sales call with another sales person (or your sales manager), listen to the words they use and the ideas they share. While you are taking notes, shamelessly steal any good language they use so you can add it to your repertoire.

When a salesperson calls on you, notice what they do that works for you and what doesn’t work. Ask yourself why whatever they’re doing is effective or ineffective. Then apply that thinking to your own sales game, looking for some small, valuable way you might improve by copping what was effective.

Read with the Intention of Appropriating Ideas

You have countless opportunities to read. There are great business books and magazine everywhere. And the Internet is a fire hose of ideas, including some excellent ideas ready-made for your appropriation.

Most of the time when we read, we think an idea is good, we nod in agreement, and we browse on. Instead read with the intention of finding a good idea that you can use in your sales practice. Appropriate that idea by writing it down, along with how and when you intend to use it. (I keep an Evernote notebook of ideas worth stealing and implementing).

You are literally surrounded by great ideas. They come into your life daily. But most of the time you fail to take notice or ignore these ideas. Capture the great ideas that you come across and use them to develop your own sales game. In sales, things are either effective or ineffective (not right or wrong). Take what works.


Where do you find good ideas?

Where are there good ideas you might be overlooking?

Do you seek out ideas you can appropriate for you own use? Or do you just nod and forget all about them?

When you read, do you read to capture and act on the ideas that might work for you?

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  • Kyle Porter

    I’ve gotten a ton of value reading old biographies of amazing entrepreneurs like Carnegie, Schwab, Rockefeller…and seeing how they got things done. Amazing orators are another great source. Watch Ted Talks or go watch old famous speeches like MLK’s I Have a Dream.

    I use Simplenote on my iPhone, iPad & web to record the things I love & I use Siri all the time to record my thoughts.

    Anthony: me & @jonnybird were hoping to run into you at Dreamforce last week. Sorry we missed you. Were you able to make it out?

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      I’ll try to make it out to Dreamforce next year, Kyle. I am en Evernote guy. You like Simplenote better?

  • David

    Hi Anthony,

    Just want to say – great blog. I’ve been following for many months now, first time I’ve ever followed a blog for this long (other than my NBA addiction!).

    I’d like to add two points here –
    1: don’t just stop at stealing language – focus on other aspects. For example speed, volume, timing – there are many smaller, tactical techniques which can be copied. A personal example is a previos mentor of mine, a Nigerian guy who had a huge booming voice. He combined his volume with a slow pace of speaking to portray himself as an expert in many different fields.

    2: look to other examples of language (or other points) from other walks of life that are not connected to sales. Analysing the great speeches (or not so great ones) of politicians past and present is a great source of inspiration for me. Having studied languages, I am also very interested in cultural differences in communication – for example how open and active South American nations are, and the comparatively reserved and respectful East Asian approach. Even studies on teaching can give ideas, especially for presenting complicated ideas to non-exprts. For some situations in sales these things can give you an edge or a different approach.

    Your post focuses on ideas rather than just sales ideas, but I wanted to elaborate a little further. I think this also ties in with a post you made some time ago on business acumen and trying new things to expand your language and knowledge – by getting involved in as many different kinds of conversation as possible you can learn how to sell better, as ultimately a good salesperson is a good communicator.


    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Good additions here, DJ. Thanks! You are right that examples go way beyond just language. My favorite example of yours is teaching, making something complex easy to learn. Darn helpful.