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3 Strategies to Shatter Sales Barriers

Denis Linehan Arnold Schwarzenegger

How many 250 pound bodybuilders do you know that practice ballet?

Not a lot, right? At 15 I didn’t either.

Yet it was around this age when I was first introduced to bodybuilding by an uncle of mine, a guy by the name of Martin Humphries.

I remember him lending me a copy of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s first book, ‘The Education of a Bodybuilder’ and I remember being swept away by this feeling of awe and inspiration on reading how this little kid from an obscure part of Austria went from nothing to becoming the greatest bodybuilder and action film star of all time.

Of course, I immediately joined a gym and pretty soon after that I managed to get my hands on a copy of ‘Pumping Iron’, one of Arnold’s first films.

Back in 1999 in pre ‘Celtic Tiger’ Ireland, long before the days of digital TV, this would have been on video cassette.

I clearly remember the feeling of excitement as I impatiently took the cassette out of its plastic box and inserted it into the video recorder and pressed play.

What greeted me on the screen was not what I was expecting.

Two absolute monsters of men being trained in ballet by this petite lady dressed in a leotard and tights.


The two monsters were of course Arnold Schwarzenegger and his training partner and friend Franco Columbu.


A Unique Point of Difference

Were they practicing ballet to appear more graceful on stage during competition to give them the edge? Or was it simply another opportunity for Arnold to appear different to everybody else?

Whatever the true reasoning was, it doesn’t matter because the strategy clearly worked. In fact I would go so far as to say that Arnold’s unique point of difference and the reason for his massive success was his willingness to continually be different and to do things everybody else wasn’t doing. What is your point of difference?

 Make Sure Your Message is Clear and Impactful 

Here is the harsh truth about today’s world: everybody wants your attention and your money. What is the strategy to get it? It’s quite simple, bombard you relentlessly with messages. So, if you want a piece of the pie you better make sure that your message is as unique, clear and memorable as possible.

You do that by making sure you are as different from the competition as you possibly can. There are many ways to do this and not all of them involve a trip to your nearest ballet studio.

Usable Expert Knowledge

For me the strategy was simple. I would spend my days off shopping the competition, finding out what they were or weren’t doing, usually they weren’t doing a lot, and then I would put systems and processes in place in my sales office to make sure the service I was providing to my clients was 1,000 times better.

That was it. Essentially what I found out was that most sales people are average, they are lazy, they are forgettable and most importantly they lack expert knowledge.

I defined myself with many points of difference along the way but most notable was my expert knowledge and my ability to convey that knowledge to my clients in a way that was easy to understand.

I studied like hell, I read copious amounts of books and consumed massive quantities of audio programs (at least 3 hours per day). I embroiled myself with subjects ranging from sales training and customer service to building materials and project development.

As I earned my certificates, diplomas and degrees along the way I would frame them and strategically place them behind my desk until eventually I ran out of room and I had to put them on the wall to the side of my desk alongside all my framed testimonials from all my previous clients. Pretty soon my office space became almost like a sales temple where people would come, sit down in front of me, gaze around in awe and just want to buy from me. I barely had to say a word. It was the ultimate example of how to use social proof and authority status to make large volumes of sales.

The easiest way to find your point of difference is to become the expert, the authority figure. Trust me, even with this knowledge the other 95% will still be too lazy to even attempt it.

Break The Rules

This is actually Schwarzenegger’s second rule for success.  (To discover all of Arnie’s rules for success click here).

Now just like Arnold, I’m not for a second advocating breaking the law here. Ethics, ethics, ethics.

But you can be extremely ethical and honest and still break some rules to get ahead in your sales career. In fact to get ahead, you absolutely must. Here is a reframe for all of you who may not be entirely sure where we are going with this:

There is very little glory to be found in playing small and if you live your life amongst the herd you’ll never discover the world of possibilities that surround you.

If you live your life like I once lived for many years in my twenties, you inevitably begin to slowly conform and be constrained by what you perceive to be society’s expectations of you.

Yes, those “rules”!

Worse still you start to worry about what people think of you. Your boss, your co-workers and your so-called friends. It is your responsibility to get on with your own life, you are responsible for your own successes and failures.

When I decided I had enough of my career in the police I remember the time when my old superintendent had the brass balls to come into my house to try and coax me back to work.

When he saw his weak pitch was failing to have any effect he of course couldn’t help but reveal the true measure of himself by telling me that I’d never amount to anything outside of the police. Needless to say that was the moment I finally quit my old life and began afresh. To this day I owe a great deal of gratitude to that man and many others like him.

Here is how you too can break some rules to get ahead and begin your new sales career:

Ignore the Critics

Learn to ignore the voices of those who criticise you and try to belittle you.

Whatever you are doing that draws that type of attention, multiply your efforts by a hundred and then a thousand. If the herd doesn’t like your actions then you are surely on the right path. Envy and jealousy only raise their heads when they see somebody rising faster than their little minds can comprehend.

Work Outside Your Comfort Zone

Get comfortable working outside of your comfort zone. Once you’ve mastered the previous point you are going to want to really hammer home with your efforts. Whatever amount of dials, door knocks, follow ups or insane hours you are putting in, keep going until the uncomfortable becomes the norm. Then double your efforts again. Watch the sales roll in.

Educate Yourself

Education. All that extra effort is fantastic.

The new mindset is amazing. But you must learn how to replace the pickaxe with a laser as you tunnel through mountains. Continual education and upskilling is what will truly set you apart and bring about massive quantities of unchallenged successes. Books, if you don’t like books then audio programs, YouTube videos, blogs, articles, posts, industry events, classes, seminars, the list is endless. You have no excuse in 2017 for not getting ahead. All the information you need can be found at the press of a button and consumed simply by looking in the direction of the palm of your hand.


It is impossible to be a maverick or a true original if you are too well behaved and don’t want to break the rules.”

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger


 Align Yourself With Only Quality Experts

Tony Robbins calls this strategy “Modelling”. You find somebody that is doing what it is you want to do at the highest possible level in the game, you seek them out and you copy them. That’s it in a nutshell. Why? Because as brilliant and unique as you might be, you are going to have a difficult time reinventing the wheel.

I was at a 3 day Glenn Twiddle conference in Sydney recently and one of the speakers, a real estate guy by the name of Michael Spillane summed it up perfectly when he said, “Success doesn’t leave clues, it leaves the whole plan”.

Why prolong the learning period when you don’t have to?

Learn the strategies, the systems, the language patterns, the body language, the rationale, the thinking, the apparel, the habits, just hoover up and learn everything you can about the people whose success you wish to replicate. After all, imitation is best form of flattery.

Schwarzenegger read everything he could on bodybuilding starting out. He studied his idol Reg Park and many more like him. He saw how Reg Park used bodybuilding to transition him into Hollywood and guess what, Arnold did the exact same. He simply followed the blueprint for success that was already laid out in front of him.

Since moving to Sydney I’ve had the good fortune to learn from the very best people here in Australia. Cora Ryan, a sales expert who was recognised year after year after year in the 1990’s as Australia’s no.1 project home sales person by A.V. Jennings, the largest building company in Australia.

Mariette Rups-Donnelly, one of Australia’s leading presentation experts and coaches. Peter Spann, one of Australia’s leading wealth creation and seminar experts who presented with the likes of Tony Robbins.

If I were to attribute any of my successes to date to any one particular strategy It would absolutely be ‘aligning myself with Only Quality Experts’.


And as if to reiterate my previous point, here is what I credit each of these mentors most with and here is what you need to begin getting prepared for if you truly want to be the best; each of my mentors took me far outside of my comfort zone. And not just a little but out beyond the outermost reaches of the Milky Way. Because that is where true growth exists and that is where success awaits you.

It also teaches you probably the most important lesson that you can learn in sales and certainly in life. One my mother kept telling me growing up but one I never quite got: you can have everything you want in life if you are just willing to go out there and chase your dreams.

If you are genuine about creating massive wealth and success through professional sales then this is definitely not to be missed.


Written by Denis Linehan

Denis Linehan is a master sales professional and sales trainer who in his first 3 years of selling generated almost $100million in new home sales and is now teaching others to do the same.

Sales Professional | Sales Training | Sales Coaching |Sales Skills | Sales Seminars

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