Mastering Sales with Mitch Harris

    Mitch Harris on Becoming a Samurai of Sales and Applying These Skills to Direct Selling

    By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

    "Make communication mastery an overall life discipline, something that feeds through your entire life, even in your downtime."

    Though many think of a samurai as an expert, sword-wielding warrior, the Japanese word really refers to a civil servant. Mitch Harris coined the phrase "samurai of sales" ( to convey the idea of one who masters the art of sales by thinking of himself as helping the customer

    Mitch Harris, the "Samurai of Sales"


    Home Business Magazine® recently spoke with Harris about what it takes to become a samurai of sales and how these skills relate to direct sales businesses.

    Home Business Magazine® (HBM): What are three steps in becoming a samurai of selling that people don't expect?

    Mitch Harris (MH): It isn’t glamorous and cutting edge, but it is the truth: Make communication mastery an overall life discipline, something that feeds through your entire life, even in your downtime and how you take care of yourself. These different components merge together and form your true self. This can have a huge impact in how you deal with potential clients, networking, and people they deal with in work.

    Top performers in any discipline like to enjoy themselves but they’re usually not the ones going out and getting blasted. They take care of themselves.

    What are you feeding into your mind? What do you read? Are you going to seminars? Do you mediate or pray or focus on attracting what you most desire? Look at any true sales master. They surround themselves with people who are at the same level or are higher.

    HBM: What are top mistakes entrepreneurs make in their verbal communication?

    MH: They're in love with the sounds of their own voices. It feels counterintuitive. As children, we’re made to assert ourselves, but often in the world of business, to develop a loyal client base, it’s about listening to what the clients have to say.

    Remember that while dealing with people, you want to befriend people and have these individuals as allies, but these individuals are prospects first and your friends second. Not to say they’re either/or. But often people want so much to be liked that they develop rapport and shy away from developing what they came for there in the first place.

    HBM: What are top mistakes entrepreneurs make in their written communication?

    MH: It’s almost stream of consciousness writing as opposed to writing in a way that’s direct, concise, and what the reader is looking for. Remember the letters WIIFN: What’s In It for Me? Most people at any given time are looking at things as to what they can gain from it. Another reason they tend to run on when they write is that they feel so passionate it. They assume everyone else reading it will come from the same place.

    When one creates promotional or marketing materials, they don’t keep that in mind, and the paragraphs are much too long. Readers subconsciously already are intimidated.

    HBM: How does one use good selling techniques to develop a successful direct sales business?

    MH: Appeal to the ego of the other individual. Many times, a direct seller just can tell people about how great this opportunity is and that he has all this great information on how great this is. Very often, it comes from a place of commitment and passion, but it can be heavy-handed and not connect to the other person. Instead of saying, "Listen I’ve got this tremendous opportunity that I think you’ll love" I’d recommend coming from the standpoint of "I want you to know I truly respect your opinion, I know you’ve accomplished blank and I’ve always trusted you and you’ve given me honest feedback. I want your feedback. I’ve started a new business, and I’m excited about it but I’d like to get your thoughts about it." If you come from that perspective, the overwhelming number of people in your life will be open to it.

    HBM: What are a few examples of low-cost start-ups, and do the selling techniques stay the same or adjust for each?

    MH: Direct selling, to connect to the infrastructure, technology, and resources to build a business. They don’t have to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, obtain staff, or go through all the steps of starting a business.

    Or work as a one-on-one consultant in an area where you truly have expertise. You'll need to market and promote yourself. Some of the particulars may change from other businesses, but the fundamentals apply across the board. If your level of commitment isn’t there, you’ll have a really tough time with it. If you're dedicated, you can make it work. HBM

    Harris has been a keynote speaker for Century 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA Realty, Northwestern Mutual, Met Life, AT&T, MCI Worldcom, Cablevision, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, and Oppenheimer & Co. He lives in New York City.

    Deborah Jeanne Sergeant writes web copy, promotional materials, and magazine articles from her home office in Clyde, N.Y. Visit her online at

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