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Op-Ed: Learn to sell like a Magician, says CEO of Provident Loan Society

You can learn a lot about selling from a magician — at least that’s what the CEO of one of the country’s oldest lending institutions will tell you.

Isaac Rodriguez knows how to sell. He’s been a VP with seven regional banks and is now CEO of Provident Loan — a lending organization founded by JP Morgan in 1894.

But Rodriguez credits another title — past president of the Society of American Magicians — for helping him rise up the corporate ladder.

On October 15th, Rodriguez led a SPEAKeasy Speaker Series in Manhattan where he told the audience made up of entrepreneurs, sales people, realtors and small business owners, how he uses magic to help him sell his business.

Not magic — like tricking people into believing something that isn’t true. Instead, he says a good magician knows how to effectively use his “tricks of the trade” to sell. Or in more practical terms, a great seller knows the magic from his industry and applies it.

“When you’re selling, you bring the magic by positioning yourself as the person who can make the impossible possible, “ said Mr. Rodriguez. “Most people may not realize it, but we sell everyday at work, home and in social situations. And if you’re a business owner, you have to constantly sell not only your product or service, but also yourself.”

Here are some of the fundamental magic tricks Mr. Rodriguez highlighted from his SPEAKeasy seminar, which was held at the headquarters of Provident Loan Society.

-Resist the urge to offer a solution. Mr. Rodriguez pointed out how our initial instinct is to offer an immediate solution to a problem we are presented. He said most people don’t take the time to gain a full understanding of the problem before suggesting a solution. But a great salesperson, like a magician, lures in the potential client by resisting the urge to quickly offer a solution.

-Listen more than you speak. Make sure you probe and listen for sensitive areas. Listening allows you to gather more information about the client and gain a sense of what is most important to them and a clear understanding of what they want to accomplish. Mr. Rodriguez encouraged his audience to use the phrase, “tell me more” which will combat the desire to talk over clients.

-Present a tailored solution to address their needs. The information you gain from listening allows you to form a targeted solution that addresses all the needs of prospect. He specifically discourages anyone from giving a sales pitch because it is usually not tailored to address the potential client in front of you.

-Understand your value. A great salesperson knows what separates him from his competitors and clearly communicates this to all prospects. A salesperson is also like a magician because he must make people believe in him and explain why and how he is the person who can make the impossible, possible.

You can watch a condensed version of his SPEAKeasy Series, Consultative Selling: Using dialog to effectively close sales, n the above video.

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