Benjamin Franklin came from a modest home and had little formal education. However, he knew that with practice he could master what he considered 13 important virtues and live a better life. To this end, he devised a plan. Here is an example of his chart of 13 virtues.
Franklin believed that by focusing on one virtue each week he could become a better person. As a matter of fact, he was sure that it was the way to a happy, more successful life.
How did Ben Franklin use the Chart of 13 Virtues?
The chart of 13 virtues was a simple and effective method that helped to make the lifestyle changes permanent.
- First, on a small card, he’d put the name of the virtue he was to concentrate on for the week. In addition, there was written something about its meaning and how to implement it.
- Next, referring to the card periodically would remind him of its importance.
- Finally, at the end of the day, the chart helped him track the 13 virtues he had accomplished. By doing this, he gained insight as to what to work on in the future.
- At the end of 13 weeks, he started over so that the series would be repeated 4 times per year.
Ben Franklin, meet Frank Bettger
In 1949, a book was published that sought to help and inspire people around the world. This book, How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger, astounded readers by creating a formula for achievement in sales. Similar to the chart of 13 virtues, Mr. Bettger’s 13 secrets were designed to help create better salespeople.
Here is his list of 13 secrets and the order in which he used them.
Always demonstrate a lively interest with an intense passion and eager energy. If you don’t feel it, then fake it. Soon it’ll be automatic and success will come much easier.
#2 Order and Self-organization
Let all your things have their place. Furthermore, let each part of your business have its time. In other words, plan your work and work your plan.
#3 Think in terms of other’s interests
Don’t waste time trying to sell something that your prospect doesn’t want. Instead, find out what he wants and show him how you’ll deliver it. This is a powerful sales secret.
Get used to asking two questions in your search for the key issue. 1) Why? and 2) In addition to that, isn’t there something else?
Read some more sales tips at this Dance Safari post, “Become a Better Closer by Using These Listening Skills“.
#5 Key issue
The following excerpt is from the book, How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling.
“I was about to buy a home in Detroit. I called in a real estate man. He was one of the smartest salespeople I have ever met. He listened as I talked, and after a while found out that, all my life, I had wanted to own a tree. Later, he drove me about twelve miles from Detroit and into the backyard of a house in a nicely wooded section. He said, ‘Look at those gorgeous trees, eighteen of them!’
“I looked at those trees; I admired them, and asked him the price of the house. He said, ‘X dollars.’
“I said, ‘Get out your pencil and sharpen it.’ He wouldn’t shade the price a nickel. ‘What are you talking about?’ I said. ‘I can buy a house just like that for less money.’
“He said: ‘If you can, more power to you, but look at those trees — one . . . two . . . three . . . four. . .’
“Each time I talked price, he counted those trees. He sold me the eighteen trees — and threw in the house!
“That is salesmanship. He listened until he found out what I wanted, and then sold it to me.”
Talk about finding the key issue!
Here’s your secret weapon. Don’t be afraid of silence. Rather, use it to listen and really hear what people are saying. Avoid speaking just to hear yourself talk or to fill the silence. Say the things that will benefit others or yourself. People will think that you’re a terrific conversationalist when you give them the gift of your attention.
Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly. That means don’t lie. Even if they don’t know you’re not being completely truthful, you’ll know. So, be trustworthy. That, along with #8 will make you stand out from the crowd.
Here’s what the Black Eyed Peas sing about lying.
#8 Knowledge of My Business
There is much to be said for the confidence that comes from having complete and up-to-date knowledge of your business. This requires an eagerness to stay on top of progress and changes being made in your industry. Some ways to do this are by taking courses (online or otherwise), seminars, and attending conferences. Speaking with knowledge and authority lets your contact know that they’re making the right decision when they choose to work with you.
#9 Appreciation and Praise
Expressing gratitude to anyone who helps you is a great way to show your appreciation. For example, it could be to thank someone for an appointment, a referral, or a sale. Additionally, be sure to praise not only your customer but your competition, too. It goes without saying that you need to know all about others in your industry so you can praise them appropriately. Remember, there’s plenty of business for everyone. For that reason, tearing someone else down will reflect poorly on you.
#10 Smile and Exude Happiness
Make a habit of smiling before any contact with potential customers, including phone calls. Indeed, studies show that people are more open to a voice that is accompanied by a happy smile. Think about what the other person hears and feels when you speak. Above all, project happiness to become a winner in personal and business relationships.
#11 Remember Names and Faces
Frank Bettger’s secret to remembering was to 1) focus and concentrate as you’re being introduced, 2) repeat the name a few times, “Nice to meet you, Larry” or “Larry, this is Jennifer”, and 3) connect their name to an event, an action, or something it sounds like. For example, I was once introduced to someone like this, “This is John Staley, you know the opposite of Freshie”. I never forgot his name.
#12 Service and Prospecting
Customer service must be more helpful than your prospect could ever imagine. It certainly needs to be better than others who are competing for the same business. Also, always pay attention to any sources of new customers. Be sure to thank your contacts for referrals.
#13 Closing the Sale by Taking Action
Follow your sales procedure and ask for the business. It will not close itself. Always request payment by offering two payment arrangements.
How to make this work for you.
This can be as simple or as fancy as you like. For instance, get some index cards and write each weekly secret and description on them. Boom! Done. As an alternative, you can save the weekly assignment on your phone. I used Samsung Notes for mine.
Create a chart on Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or any app you want. From there you could either print them out or keep it on your phone and access it there. I recommend you use Mr. Franklin’s chart as an example. After all, if it worked for him, it’ll surely work for you!