Cliff Roberts was the number one champion salesman in America during the 90’s. In this new book he explains how sales occur and how those relationships make deals go smoothly. If you want to know how to sell… This is the book for you.
How would you describe “Is There Something I Should Know” in two sentences?
This book is important if you want to learn how to be a better salesman, and you’re willing to put in the effort to make the changes you need to succeed.
How long did it take to write “Is There Something I Should Know?”
It took me about six weeks to write “Is There Something I Should Know?” But it took the better part of thirty years to finally figure out I had something to say–thirty years of struggling to learn it all on my own.
What purpose did you have in mind when you wrote “Is There Something I Should Know?”
It seems funny now, but when I first got into sales, I spent a good deal of time trying to convince myself it was okay to be salesperson. That just because I was selling for a living, I wasn’t a bad guy. That salespeople could be nice and honest because I was one.
If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a lot of people—what would that message be?
We can all be successful and achieve our goals–legitimate goals–by helping each other. Success is not predicated on taking advantage of anyone as society tends to teach us by villianizing those who have become successful.
Do you ask yourself questions or do you settle for what you know?
I am always asking questions. I can’t help but think that there is more information revolving around our lives than that which we can easily take advantage of. I believe if we understood that Information, it would help make our lives better. My book is about helping to answer some of those questions I’ve asked over the years and at the same time, answer the questions I’ve heard others ask in sales meetings only to be told either to ignore those kind of thoughts or lie to the customer if it gets them to buy. I never could do that and never will. I’ve shown the reader how to avoid that and how to take situations where you’ve been put on the spot and work through it to a sale.
When it’s all said and done—will you have said more or done more?
I think I will have said more since I am a salesman at heart; but I am also hopeful that my actions will have shouted ten thousand times louder than any words I’ve had to say. It’s easy to talk about it and hard to do it. I have been a doer, even if I failed at first. I kept doing, I kept trying. I hope that when people look at me they will see a man who, when he was met by one life’s challenges, may have gotten off to a slow start sometimes, but it was never in doubt that I would overcome the challenge or die trying.
Which activities make you lose track of time?
Whenever I write I lose all track of time. I stop worrying when I should do this or that, and I just write. It’s an act of creation, it’s an act sharing yourself with the world, and I just can’t see me setting a stopwatch and trying to hurry through it. I also lose track of time when I am with my grandchildren. I can’t help but feel that I can make an impression upon them. To teach them what is truly important in life and balance their conscientiousness so that they don’t suffer from ‘total garbage in’ syndrome. That’s where the world (and those people desperate for power) are trying everything to influence our children, and it’s my job with my grandchildren to stop it. To teach them think rationally and to recognize and use their common sense.
What’s your single greatest moment of personal failure? Looking back on it now, did it make you weaker or stronger? What did you learn?
I’m not sure I have a great moment of personal failure. Oh, sure, I’ve not gotten jobs I’ve wanted, and I’ve failed to make the sale that would have won the contest. But those are not failures as some people would say. I have for many years thought of them as opportunities to learn how to do things differently. But I do have a regret in life and that is that I accepted other people’s opinion of me as if it had value. It doesn’t. For years I was mired in the shadows because I believed my father when he said I was stupid and not capable of succeeding. It wasn’t until I was having a conversation with my oldest brother one day that I realized my father was lashing out at me because he felt he had failed in own life. It wasn’t easy as a child, and it held me back for years until my wise older brother shared that insight. My two older brothers were off traveling most of my life and Father was not going to allow me to come to him for encouragement, and so for years I thought he was right.
Then I had the great opportunity to see Zig Ziglar in person twice. The second time I actually got the chance to ask him a question. I don’t remember what the question was, but I remember what he replied. It was his stock answer, and for a while I thought he had blown me off. He said, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” It was his trademark statement. It took two years before the statement started making sense to me. I realized at that moment all the hurtful things my father had said meant nothing because I knew he was wrong. I was a manager at the company I was working for, and I was only twenty-five years old. I was capable, just not so much when I was under the constant belittlement I endured as my father’s son. I can’t help but wonder what might have been if I had realized at that point that what other people think doesn’t matter. It’s what you believe and how strongly you believe it. Where there is a will, there is a way. One of my favorite sayings I’ve coined is, “Many a talented individual never succeeds. Many a mediocre talent garners success simply because they desire it so.”
Joy is found with simple awareness. What does your joy look like today?
As I have aged, my pleasures have become more cerebral. I take joy in the mountain scenery around me. I enjoy my grandchildren, friends, a bit of travel and completing another book. I also enjoy passing along what know and seeing those who accept it begin to flourish. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to have made a difference.
If your life was a novel, what would be the title and how would your story end?
Checking my vanity are we? Well, I do have goals and challenges I’m working to and through. I suppose if there were to be a novel written about my life it would be titled “Perseverance.” Now, the ending of the story is tricky because one doesn’t want to be considered too vain or egotistical. But when the story is about perseverance and one man’s struggle to overcome the challenges that life places in his path, I think it would end well at a large public function. A roast of the main character. The other characters all get their turn to poke fun at the man, while listing the accomplishments he had achieved. Finally, it’s his turn. He thanks everyone for coming and then thanks them again for the inspiration they have been to him. He ends his time at the podium by quoting himself from one of his own books: “You are the only person on earth who can decide the limits of your abilities.” He then bows and walks past his friends, shaking hands as he goes until he’s reaches the side of the stage and walks off behind the curtain—The End