Elephants Give Birth To Pineapples. And They Have Six Legs. 

Selling an idea, a product, or a service is a tall order for most people. The skills required to make a sale are not unique but the result of practice and commitment, according to Ryan Serhant. I read his 2018 edition of “Sell it like Serhant” to learn more about his approach to sales.

Ryan Serhant accumulated a pretty substantial following on his social media accounts. Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York might be the reason for his numbers, but as I learn more about Ryan’s approach to everything makes me wonder if his Bravo deal simply accelerated the inevitable. 

The writing style is average self-aggrandizing with little to no surprising nuances. At times, it seems to be ghostwritten based on dictated bullet points. And, there is nothing wrong with that. Many writers do that. Some are better than others. This book levels on the latter end of that scale. 

Nevertheless, I found practical lessons in this book that are easily applicable to everyday life. While none of Ryan’s ideas or habits are really out of the ordinary, it is his passion and dedication that set him apart. In fact, if I learned one thing from his book, then it is this: work for your career, not your job. Too often, we find ourselves focused on the next step, the next chapter, the move that will make a difference. This makes us miss out on seeing the bigger picture. Ryan’s approach is centered around four principles. These “tenets” as he calls them are his anchor, guide, and fuel no matter the situation. 

  1. Your Why = Why do you do what you do? 
  2. Your Work = What do you do every day to expand your business?
  3. Your Wall = What are you running from? 
  4. Your Win = What are you doing this for? 

Now, I’m not going to deliberate each principle. You can read the book to get more details on them. But I found “Your Wall” intimately intriguing. Ryan’s Wall is a fear that he would waste his potential. He “runs” from wasting away so to speak. What’s interesting about this view is the conscious reflection on previous decisions and situations. It’s something I noticed that sets apart good from great leaders. These leaders draw a line and will not allow to ever cross it again. It’s a form of integrity that I deeply respect. Ryan makes it clear that in order to move forward you need to know what are moving from away.  

Attention to detail, especially communication, is another wonderful character trait that stands out in the book. Ryan writes: 

“As salespeople, we must be careful listeners, because clients are always sending messages about what they need and how they want to conduct business. […] Never forget that while you’re a salesperson, you are also in the service business—and sometimes that means being flexible and playing by someone else’s rules.”

Knowing your why, work, wall, and win is amazing, but being overly focused on them to the detriment of mindful presence during client conversations renders your effort null. Accepting that while you can have goals, passion, and a focus on your success – when the chips are down someone else dictates if your bet was good. Since this one involves ego, I’d argue it’s hardest to stomach. Most of us will reach a point where pride clouds our judgment. Leaders like Ryan push through and allow the other side to cry havoc. 

“The secret to your success will be revealed in hindsight. You won’t recognize it until you’ve already lived it.”

It’s a line that reminded me of Steve Jobs Stanford speech: “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” 

The takeaway from Ryan Serhant’s “Sell it like Serhant” is this: work hard to connect with people. Build authentic relationships. And the rest will come as you go.