Endress was the only salesman left standing at the end of NCR's "experiment." He was the only one who completed the task. Since he had no sales experience prior to that job, Endress stayed at NCR for three years, soaking up the principles and keys to success he would carry with him forever.
While at NCR, Endress learned many lessons from veteran salesman John Kettering. He was assigned to watch Kettering in order to learn about the selling process. One day, Endress was watching Kettering try to persuade a resistant buyer. All of the sudden, Kettering fell to his knees, looked to the heavens, and cried out, "God told me that you should buy this cash register." And shockingly enough, the guy bought it.
"He [Kettering] did what he needed to do to get the sale. He knew people, he could read people, and he did what he had to do," said Endress.
This was when Endress really began to develop as a salesman. One of the greatest lessons that Endress has carried with him throughout his career has been to listen to the customer; too many young salespeople fail to shut their mouths when talking to buyers. Persistence is another key element. Many salespeople give up on customers too early in the game when they really should continue despite the two or three nos they have gotten. Endress' favorite sales-persuasion book is Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham. Enough said.
Next, Endress took a different route when he went to work in sales at Reynolds Tobacco Company. His job was to go out to different stores where cigarettes were sold to "capture" the prime counter-space spot for Reynolds, which would encourage impulse buyers to choose Reynolds' cigarettes. "We would literally throw each other's stuff in the trash can—pay the owner for it, throw it out, and take the space," he said. "It was very, very aggressive sales."
When the personal-computer craze broke out in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Endress decided to combine his love for technology with his sales background and start a few computer stores. The endeavor did not, however, turn out the way he had hoped, and he sold the stores within a couple of months. "My personality is not to sit inside behind a retail desk. If I'm going to sell something, I want the freedom to go out and find somebody, not just sit there and wait for someone to stumble into the store," Endress said.
"All startups are sales," he said. "I once heard a venture capitalist speak, and he said that he thought the key determinant of a startup was the ability of the owner to sell—whether it's selling his or her ideas or the product." The term "persuasion," not "sales," is the key to selling. All sales are matters of persuasion.
Still steaming from his entrepreneurial experiences, Endress, who is a huge fan of personal and sales development books and seminars, decided that he wanted to teach business communication and development techniques. He started doing so in January 2005.
Currently, as President and CEO of Maximum Advantage International, Endress travels throughout the country teaching and coaching various salespeople and companies on the applications of psychology to business in the areas of communication, hiring, and retention. The company also sells assessments for hiring divisions of companies to use when selecting employees.
The seminars Endress presents are mix-and-match compilations of all of the lessons he has either learned or developed through his experiences. Endress believes that the main selling component is finding out the values and beliefs of an audience or buyer. In order to be effective at persuasion, a communicator must take the time to find out what is important to his or her audience and then apply it to the pitch or selling technique.
Endress also teaches a package of key points called the "Seven Laws of Maximum Communication," which are listed below:
1) The result of the communication is the responsibility of the communicator.
You will never get successful communication results if you blame the audience for not "getting it." The speaker is responsible for tailoring the message so that the audience will get and fully understand what is being conveyed.
2) The unconscious mind is the most important ally.
If you look at the structure of successful communication, words are 7% effective, the voice is 38% effective, and body language is 55% effective.
3) You have got to know where you are headed before you start.
You cannot start a conversation and think, "I'll just see what happens." You need to have a plan, or the time and energy will just be wasted.
4) If you are not getting what you want, do something different.
Based on the response you get from an audience or buyer, you may need to try different tactics to get your desired end result. Keep doing that until something finally works.
5) It is not about you.
People's natural impulse is to present messages through their own perspectives and values. The only way that successful communication or persuasion can be achieved is by finding out how the other person or the audience views the world and using that as a reference.
6) Communication reflects reality.
If you listen to people, they will tell you everything you need to know. Most people are too busy talking, so they do not listen.
7) Model the best, and do what they do.
Learn from experiences—either yours or somebody else's.