This is the story of how I changed the culture of a worldwide company, got promoted, became financially solvent, and was a hero to the company’s CEO.

At the beginning of my professional career, way before I became a recruiter, I was in sales. I worked for a very well-respected health club chain with locations worldwide. Without any prior experience or formal sales training to speak of, I became the number-one sales representative of all the locations in the world.

My philosophy: “No” just means they need more information

Most people who shop health clubs are just tire-kickers, and there are no “lay-downs” when it comes to selling gym memberships. “Lay-down” meaning they just lay their credit card on the desk and say “sign me up”. It was an uphill battle with every single customer, especially because the market is so completely over-saturated with other health clubs and alternatives to a gym.

My philosophy was simple: If they were saying “no” but they hadn’t got up and left, then it wasn’t a real “no” – they just needed more information. Sometimes I spent an hour or more with them.

In my case, I think having no prior experience or training actually helped me because I didn’t know what “couldn’t be done.” In fact, I was ridiculed by the other “producers” who laughed at me.

Reinventing the wheel at my company

In the end, the broad answer to how I achieved such great success is that I “went the extra mile” for the customer and my coworkers. I was willing to do what nobody else would do (which is put in the extra time and effort). But, more specifically, here are the details in no particular order of importance:

  • I treated each potential client like royalty. When I had an appointment with a potential member, I waited at the front desk to greet the “client” (they weren’t “customers,” they were clients). Even if they didn’t join (and I knew they never would), I thanked them for coming in and many of them sent me friends (called “buddy referrals”).
  • I didn’t wait for the “walk-ins” to come to me; I generated my own leads through helping others in the gym. I walked around the health club and helped members who weren’t even my clients. Those members, by the way, that had been forgotten about by the other sales staff who signed them up. Most sales reps just take the money and run.
  • I was, by far, the most excited person at work. I never just walked around the gym; I was always in a hurry. I would say it was more of a face-paced power walk – almost jogging. Also, I was always clapping my hands together and yelling like a Marine to get the members and other sales reps excited (there were 10 people on the sales team). Yes, that’s right, I was HELPING and inspiring my competitors.
  • I helped when other departments were busy (i.e. babysitting, front desk, pro shop, juice bar, etc.). I would help out even though it “wasn’t my job” and I certainly wasn’t being paid to do so. In fact, it cost me money to help them because I had to stop selling memberships or assisting my clients.
  • I created my own questionnaire for potential members so I could learn what their goals were. The first rule of sales is to find the “hot button,” so I didn’t waste time telling them about features of the gym that they weren’t interested in (my company later adopted my questionnaire to use it as their own).
  • I was ALWAYS on the phone. I made hundreds of calls a day. I was always very polite and NEVER engaged in “high pressure sales”. Also, I didn’t sit at my desk when calling; I was always standing to keep my energy up.
  • My product knowledge was outstanding. I studied all of the lines of equipment and learned why they were designed the way they were. That way I could customize my presentation for each customer (based on their goals and body type).
  • I didn’t “sell” at my desk. My office was inside the health club, that way the client didn’t feel they were being “sold”.
  • I remembered the members’ names so when they came into the gym I would greet them personally.
  • I didn’t ask for the sale. I never asked them, “Do you want to join?” That’s the worst question in sales because they can either say “no” or “I want to think about it.” I asked them when they wanted to book their first appointment with the trainer. After they gave me a date, then I asked which credit card they’d like to pay with. I just “assumed” they were going to join.
  • I never worried about “buying signs” or any other techniques they teach in sales school.
  • I shopped all of the competitors and knew all of the gyms within a 20-mile radius (not a single other sales rep in the company had ever done that before). Armed with that information, I could overcome any objections they had if the customer still wanted to shop the competition before making a decision. I would even show them the brochure to the competitor’s gym if they insisted on seeing it first.
  • I looked the part. I created my own sporty outfit and wore a measuring tape around my neck (inspired by how doctors wear stethoscopes around their necks).

This isn’t the whole list, but the long and short of it is that I started crushing all sales records. I absolutely annihilated and destroyed the competition. I reached legendary status in my company.

Reaping the rewards

Here’s what I got in return for my hard work:

  • A phenomenal paycheck
  • Awards in every category that existed (and some new ones were even created for me)
  • Monthly, quarterly and annual bonuses (people in second place never had a chance because I was so far ahead)
  • Paid vacations to exotic destinations around the world
  • The CEO of the company flew in from another state to personally congratulate me – and he promoted me to General Manager (others had been waiting in line for years before me)
  • An all-expense paid trip around the world to teach managers and sales teams in other countries how I became so successful

The take away

Even if you’re not in a “sales” position, you can still be “sold” on the company’s culture and mission statement. Give it a try and be the most positive person in your office. Here’s hoping you become number-one in your company!

Brian Daniel is a recruiter, career coach and entrepreneur. He founded The Celebrity Personal Assistant Network in 2007, which is the world’s only employment agency dedicated specifically to top-tier personal assistant jobs that serve the one-percent.


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