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The Street-Smart Salesman: How Growing Up Poor Helped Make Me Rich

The Street-Smart Salesman: How Growing Up Poor Helped Make Me Rich

Anthony Belli

ISBN: 978-1-118-38899-0 May 2012 240 Pages




GROWING UP IN POVERTY, every day is a battle with fear, stress, and anxiety. Mistakes, misreads, misplays, miscalculations: all can end in missed opportunities that may never come again. The struggles of the poor demand courage, stamina, constant re-ordering of priorities, and the need for winning strategies. Salespeople—from entry-level cold callers to wily veterans—suffer much the same anxieties but lack the street-smart skills that a deeply deprived childhood demands: adapt or die,while still having fun!

Author Anthony Belli is a millionaire high-performance salesman and sales force manager who grew up dirt poor in East Harlem, New York. Often hungry and without a cent in his pocket, as a child, Belli became expert in the highly creative art of person-to-person negotiation using a variety of risk- managed, cash-producing techniques to underwrite his next slice of pizza, tactics he describes as "eating without stealing." The Street-Smart Salesman imparts Belli's hard-earned wisdom and advice to the lasting benefit of a salesperson's bottom line and ability to sleep at night.

Populated with real-life characters from Belli's old neighborhood—deadbeat landlord, hooker with a heart, mobbed-up candy store owner, countless junkies, winos, and wiseguys—this unflinching memoir teaches how the survival skills of the honest poor can be used to maximize success in sales. Belli's wholly unconventional, ghetto-tested strategies include:

  • Minimize cold-calling: Using customers' networks to supply your pipeline
  • Recognition that sales are driven by emotions—not logic, and not price
  • Playing dumb: When to talk and when to shut up
  • Why hope is your enemy—and reality your friend
  • Ways to play a last-minute balky customer
  • Prioritizing for profit
  • And more!

Belli's hard-earned insights defy conventional sales training wisdom by valuing humility, creativity, attention, and improvisation over the vaunted one-two punch of ceaseless script recitation accompanied by free samples. Take his advice to heart, and watch your anxiety recede as your fortunes grow.

Foreword Joe Mandato, D.M. v

Introduction xi

Part I Eating without Stealing 1

Chapter 1 Birth of a Salesman 3

Chapter 2 The Million-Dollar Accident 23

Chapter 3 Why Not Me? 36

Chapter 4 Your Advantage Is That No One Takes You Seriously 43

Part II Street-Smart Selling 59

Chapter 5 Game-Changers 61

Chapter 6 Shut Up! 80

Chapter 7 Nothing Is as It Appears 90

Chapter 8 Managing First Impressions 95

Chapter 9 A Sense of Urgency: Setting Priorities 106

Chapter 10 The Role of Emotion 112

Chapter 11 Abandon Hope! 120

Chapter 12 Charming Strangers: Prospecting 128

Chapter 13 A Minute to Live: Cold Calling 137

Chapter 14 What’s Fair Is Fair 145

Chapter 15 Ready, Set, Improvise: Using Visualization 151

Chapter 16 Defy Expectations 158

Chapter 17 Getting to the Truth: Asking Effective Questions 168

Chapter 18 TheWill to Walk: Negotiating 174

Chapter 19 Flag on the Play! Reading a Customer 183

Chapter 20 Closing, or The Gentle Kill 192

Chapter 21 Teaching Instincts 209

Notes 219