David Oman is Sales Director at Twist-Ease Inc. He has been in sales almost all of his adult life, and is passionate about helping others meet their professional goals.
Why did you choose a career in sales?
I needed a job after The Air Force and the first job available was selling cars. Then I did really well at it and made a lot more money than my friends graduating college, so it was kind of by accident. I fell into it and I never got out of it because it’s been too good.
What was your greatest fear on your very first sales call?
I was petrified almost to the point of feeling like I had to throw up. Even though I’ve become succesful and I think I got okay at sales, it was really bad [at the beginning]. But people helped me. Ill never forget—I loved what I was doing and helping people—and when a couple salespeople taught me how to sell cars I did really well and I became the number two sales guy.
Then some people I worked with told me if i wanted to succeed in life, I should get the heck out of the car business. And I started to believe them and my sales plummeted. Attitude is everything. Ever since then I don’t talk to people that complain because there are some at every company. I walk away and I don’t befriend them. I look for people who are happy and who are succesful.
Who was a mentor or someone you looked up to when starting your career?
I was lucky because my mentor was like a dad to me. I was poor, my dad was an alcoholic, and I was kicked out of the house when I was 16, so another family took me in. He taught me how to sell. He was the top Lincoln Mercury dealer in California and he taught me how to deal with people and to never think about what I get out of something. If I can’t help someone solve a problem, dont talk to them. And I still live by that. If you can’t get a need don’t ever present a product.
What does it take to be succesful in sales?
A genuine desire to help someone solve a need. Genuine desire is number one. Number two is the ability to not take rejection personally. Rejection has killed so many sales people with stars in their eyes because you’re gonna get it more than any other field.
I handle it by first off realizing that I don’t know what the other person’s backstory was. They might have had a bad morning, who knows. You can’t take it personally. If you do those two things, a lot of people can learn to become good sales people. One guy told me once, “some will, some won’t, who cares, who’s next?”
What is the most overrated talent or quality you don’t need to be succesful in sales?
Experience. Its overrated. I’ve hired a lot of sales people and I hired a girl once who was inexperienced but had such a desire that she didn’t give up ended up being my number three salesperson out of 43 people. It helps to have experience, but its overrated. Anyone can get into sales if you just learn about your product, learn to listen twice as much as you talk and learn how to ask questions because that’s what sells, not talking.
What is your motto at work?
The power of positive thinking. If something negative happens, I try to think of five or six positive things. People ask me how I’m always happy no matter what and it’s because I choose to be. I choose to be happy.
What’s your go-to ice breaker on a cold call?
You always have to have one. It depends on everything but you always want an “interest creating” remark. It starts when you make the appointment. within 5-15 seconds give them a reason to talk to you for another 30 seconds. When I go see somebody, I quickly see every picture, trophy, model in their office and make a remark. They might be angry that they gave me time but it works. It’s only a couple minutes, just want to let them know you’re a human being, you live, you have kids like he or she does, and thats it. They’ll even know you’re doing it but it’ll still make them comfortable.
What is your go-to line or phrase to close a deal?
I say something like, “your time is valuable, and as I promised you im gonna show how…” See I made a promise so I promised I’d do something. There’s a personal reason they’re talking to you and a business reason. The difference between the 80th percentile and 99% and up is going from step one to step two. Going from there’s a business reason you want products to sell more and theres a personal reason. And you have to listen for it.
What quality do you like the most in a team member?
A good attitude and willingness to help. If I’m looking for a manger, I’m looking for someone who really wants to build their people and be succesful cause of what they do, not take what their team does to make themselves look good. There’s a difference and you can tell. A true leader will give credit to his or her team.
What advice would you give your younger self on your first day in sales?
People want you to give them a reason to buy. I didnt know that. He wants you to confirm with him why he wants to buy. An objection is a request for more information. And to ask questions because I didn’t know how to do that.
What words do you overuse on sales calls or in face-to-face meetings?
“Awesome.” I’ve been told that and I still use it. “Me,” or “I” too many times. If a sales person isn’t always honing their craft, just like a doctor has to relearn and keep up or a pilot has to be trained, you’re regressing in sales. I’ll practice and I’ll even do cold calling and give brokers leads. Anytime I travelI I redo talking points.
What has been your proudest moment in your career?
Being picked to go to Australia when I worked for Yellow Pages. People all over the country wanted that job and I was one of six people selected to go there. It was unbelievable. We turned that company around and did a 20% swing in one year, so I was very proud of that.
Favorite sales movie?
Tin Men. It’s hysterical. It shows every aspect of sales, crooked ones, good ones, everything.
What do you dislike the most about selling?
Paperwork, all sales people hate paperwork. The very nature of a sales person that gets the sell is because they understand and know people so it’s so counterintuitive to sit down and do paperwork.
What is your most valuable characteristic?
Being positive. That covers everything. I remember a time where after I spent so many years on top I had a bad year and to see my name on the bottom was terrible. I just wanted to quit, but I had a little girl and I thought, “I’m her hero. I have to do it for her. I’m gonna stay her hero.”
What are 3 books that have helped you as a salesperson?
Anything from Zig Zidler, Tom Hopkins, Chet Wells.