Sell Like John Lennon


John Lennon is my real estate agent in South Beach, Miami. Seriously, that is his real name.

John sells exclusively on a single street called South Pointe Drive, located in an exclusive area called SoFi (South of Fifth). His sales territory consists of six über-luxury high-rises along the cruise ship waterway and Miami Beach front.

In the past 15 years, John has sold more than $3 billion in real estate on this street (do the math on 3 percent commission—that’s almost as much as the other John Lennon made!).

John took Georgia and me to lunch a couple days ago to give us an update on our property and the market. I took the opportunity to try and pry out the secret to his extraordinary success.

I found it! And now I will pass it along to you too…

I asked, “John, there are hundreds of agents who (attempt to) sell in this market, how do you sell 100-times more than most everyone else?”

John explained, “When I started out I was in an office of four other agents. We all took turns handling incoming foot traffic. We all had the same number of prospects to work with. Each of them would close a deal once every three to four months; I was closing 31 per month. The difference was I wasn’t selling what they were selling. Sure, the same building and same apartment units, but I was selling something different for every different person.

“One time, the building developer called me to ask what I had sold that day. I said, ‘I sold a $4 million parking space, a $2.8 million gym and spa access pass and a $6 million closet. And each came with an apartment included. The developer was perplexed, ‘What do you mean you sold a $4 million parking space?’ I explained that I had discovered that was what was most important to that person. He had vintage cars and had a bad experience in a previous building. I spent an hour explaining the security, safety and cleanliness of our underground parking and he couldn’t write the check fast enough.”

John went on to explain to me, “Most salespeople try to sell everything to every person every time. Huge mistake. A realtor will show all the units available in someone’s price range pointing out all the features and everything they like about each place. Even if a client points out something they like, they continue on showing more units (selling), ‘Oh, you also need to see this unit, the view is spectacular.’ All the options create a blur of complexity extinguishing their desire to make a decision and buy. All the while it was simply the parking space they would have been most interested in anyway.

“I don’t sell at all (of sorts); I ask questions, listen and observe. I find out what’s really most important to them and focus my education on those features. That way they discover what they were really looking for…  and they buy it.”

How you too can sell like John Lennon:

1. See everyone as unique. What you assume people are most interested in is mostly incorrect. Start with that assumption.

2. Ask questions. You’ve heard this a hundred times, but you are still making more statements than you are asking questions. Stop it.

3. Watch and listen. If/when you finally do ask questions, listen closely and continue to probe until you discover their real hearts’ desires.

4. Restrain yourself. This is the hardest step—to stop selling. Insecure sellers make a sale and then ‘buy it back’ because they keep talking, showing presenting or selling. Once you discover their core motivation, connect it with your solution then stop and ask them to buy.

5. Serve, don’t sell. There are countless times when John was servicing my unit, performing functions well below his pay grade. The result? Well, I am writing about him now. No wonder he doesn’t have to sell! There is a clue in that.

And lastly, as the other John Lennon would say, “Only people just know how to talk to people. Only people know just how to change the world. Only people realize the power of people. A million heads are better than one, so come on, get it on!”

Do you have a sales secret to share? Please share it with us in the comments section below.



115 responses to “Sell Like John Lennon”

  1. You comprehend as a result drastically when it comes to this condition, taught me to be on their own imagine the idea via a number of a variety of angles. It’s including individuals are not needed except for it is one thing to accomplish together with Girl gaga! Your very own products nice. Usually manage it up!

  2. I’m really inspired together with your writing abilities as well as with the layout for your blog. Is that this a paid subject or did you modify it yourself? Either way keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one today..

  3. Great tactic but who wouldn’t buy from a guy named John Lennon? We’re not selling anything, we’re just matching hunger with the need for food. Selling implies that someone got sold. People don’t like to buy or get sold. They like to own. It’s hard to overcome old school sales tactics. It’s like cold calling but who’s heard of warm calling?

    I can only “Imagine” the kind of money John has made. You can say that I’m dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

  4. Interesting article

    I know how profitable gold investing can be. My brother made really good money doing just that, and myself I am making good money investing in gold.

    I recommend to anyone who’s thinking of starting to invest in gold to read a book or two on this topic, as there so many mistakes and blunders that are possible to make when you first start in this industry.

    Thanks for sharing this with your us.

  5. Whoa, found your web site on Ask.Pleased I finally tested it out. Uncertain if its my Opera internet browser,but sometimes when I pay a visit to your site, the fonts are very tiny? Nevertheless, enjoy your blog and will check back.Bye

  6. Great advice that apply to occupations other than sales! To be a change agent with people in industry, you have to find the real triggers that motivate them and be of service, helping them to discover the need to change. Listening and asking real questions is the key!

  7. This is a winner Darren – thanks so much for sharing.

    One of my biggest struggles with the idea of building a business has been that we have always been told you have to sell. (The “old school” method).

    When I read posts, articles and books like this one it really changes my perspective, and business becomes so much more attractive.

    When you can be a real human being who cares for others and succeed in business, then business takes on a whole new meaning (the real meaning – service to others). I love it!

  8. I recently became an intern with PGA TOUR. The ONLY way I was able to do it was positioning. I worked every TOUR event in the state of Georgia. I was persistent and sold them on Austin.

    Also, I got a copy of your CD early in the year with the Jim Rohn on it. Both of them, one in March and the other in April I believe. I can quote a good five or six minutes of Mr. Rohn.

    Positioning and Jim Rohn’s idea of changing me helped me sell the PGA TOUR HR department that I was going to be one of their interns. Thank you for your help. I know I could not have done it without those CD’s. “I wished for the wisdom to set a better sail. Utilized whatever winds will blow to take you wherever you want to go.”- Jim Rohn

    Thanks again.

  9. Hi Harriet,
    it is certainly possible to be e-mailed. Are you interested in having it in your em-mail inbox? If yes, send me an email and I will reply with ‘J. Douglas Edwards’ Questions are the Answer seminar as an attachment as a gift. btw, the offer is extended to everyone who may have an interest.
    Thank You!

  10. Darren, thanks for the article. I plan on using it tomorrow in my sales meeting. I have seen too often where my salespeople talk their way into a car deal and completely out of it. Great advise from John. A salesperson must CARE and try to fulfill their client’s needs before their own. I advise my staff constantly to first take care of their client, and when you do right, the money will always follow.

  11. Yes Mike Hahn, I still have my copy. I also have it available as a mp3 file. I would love to share it with you. Just let me know if you’re still interested.

  12. Thank you Darren, for consolidating John’s best practices for all of us.

    To add to this, self-less service is such that you may not have what the customer is looking for wants, you may have something else to sell…..but you will still not sell but provide help (pointers, tips, references,….etc) to the customer in getting what he wants.

    Many times it also happens that the customer doesn’t know what he wants…helping him find what he wants is a sure shot success to you.

  13. Thanks for joining our community, Marie! Your experience coming back after a fractured knee and through physio with such a positive outlook are an inspiration to us as well. Kudos, thanks and keep the comments flowing!!! :)

  14. What an inspiration all of these comments are after hearing the story of John and being challenged. I am just getting weaned off crutches by physio after a fractured knee, and getting my physical balance, strength, and bending the knee again is like learning to walk. The comments on this blog are like physio to me, helping me to balance my sales, strengthen my listening skills, and focus on the other person’s needs. I have learned so much this afternoon by reading this blog, and listening to you all out there. Thanks.

  15. Hi Darren, as you know, I’ve known John Lennon for many years and am so pleased to see him being recognized for the man he is as well as the SUPER STAR SALESMAN he has proved himself to be. Nobody devoured more POSITIVE THINKING material than John, other than possibly you. I’d make a book suggestion to John in the morning. He’d track the book down and stay up all night to read it.

    John was always kind to his fellow workers and made it possible for them to make sales that he would CLOSE for them. John, always had a kind word for the little people who worked around his tornado and always generous to all particularly his family. John Lennon is deserving of all the wonderful comments people are making about him. I’m happy to say I was there in the beginning and watched it all unfold…

    I hardly ever give a training session that I don’t comment about John Lennon.
    CONGRATULATIONS JOHN!!! Jack Studnicky

  16. !!Excellent person to interview and he reads like a great example of a modern day business person. Thank you for sharing the info.. YoLo (you only live once)

  17. Thanks Darren for the article, the advice that you can’t put a price on. Thanks for the following me on Twitter which led me to this article and wonderful opportunity to read what John Lennon had to say. Thanks John Lennon for caring enough to share your talent.
    Thanks to both of you.


  18. People do love to talk about themselves, Sylvia! The buyer may not answer all of your questions right away, but they will tell you what they want if you give them the chance!!! Thanks for adding your thoughts! :)

  19. Wow ! Thanks for this article. My heart is really on excellent customer service and as I am starting as a real estate agent next month (feeling a bit terrified but very excited) I feel like I´m starving for articles like this. I will tell about you to the other agents in the office as well. I feel very grateful for all the success stories you have given us and thanks for sending the SUCCESS magazine even to Finland ! :) It is packed with inspirational stories and you can learn so much from each story – and the CD´s are wonderful to listen to while driving. It is so important to focus on the right attitude and reading articles and listening to CD´s like that help me do that. I need that daily !

    All the best,

  20. Hi Darren,

    I am new to Success but have become a complete convert. I have three issues now and have listened to the CD’s so many times I have nearly memorized them. This story is especially prescient to me as I have been trying to live this in my own career. It frustrates me to no end that the majority of people think you have to be some back slapping, schmoozing, “gift o’ the gab” type to succeed in sales. That could not be more untrue!! Since I stopped “selling” and started “listening” I have closed more deals and increased my sales dramatically.

    I hope more people in the profession take this advice as it will make their jobs so much easier.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. Your work has such an impact on those who chose to listen, and I listen. You’ve got a reader for life.

    Thank’s again,




  22. Good evening, Darren!

    I love hearing about success stories like John Lennon, the Realtor. Obviously, John has learned that the Realtor must ask the buyer questions. What type of home is the buyer interested in? How many bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc? What part of the city do they prefer to live in? What features of the home are most important? I, too, ask these questions. But the best thing that I do when at an appointment, I give the Buyers an opportunity to speak! Just like everyone else, Buyers love to talk about themselves. This is a sharing moment. The Realtor may gather very valuable information in which to find their client the home of their dreams!

    Thanks for your wonderful articles!

    Sylvia Metos

  23. Wow! dynamic indeed I am new in Sales and this is just what i needed to give a go. Thank U so much .

  24. Darren,
    What an honor to read such kind words about me, especially coming from you.
    As all your followers know when a guy like you speaks- EVERYONE LISTENS.
    I am so glad to have had the opportunity to serve you as you Real Esate Broker in SOBE.
    PS I’m getting a tremendous response from everyone that I’ve recommended your book THE COMPOUND EFFECT. This book will transform and create such positive changes in peoples lives for decades to come.

  25. I am obligated to comment on this singular, outstanding real estate professional, John Lennon.
    I am a real estate investor, and have been a client of John Lennon since early 2000’s, and WOULD NOT CONSIDER ANYONE ELSE EVER in that market.
    I don’t know much about sales; John obviously does.
    But I do know about something that I believe is even more important to the success of John Lennon, the secret of his success, which he is too modest to say.
    I have never met a professional with more integrity and ethics, and complete devotion to his clients’ concerns and needs. John Lennon is one of the most incredible, kind, compassionate, generous human beings I have ever known.
    If I have a problem, John treats it as if it is HIS problem, and helps resolve it, with unbelievable results.
    John does not work for himself, he doesn’t concern himself with HIS interests; he is totally devoted to his CLIENT’S interests and needs; that works out in the end for him, as his client is the winner, which makes John a winner.
    John would literally give you the shirt off his back; I know that for a fact, as he has done it for me.
    I would do ANYTHING for this guy. I am privileged to have him as a broker, but far more important, as a valued friend.
    I cannnot recommend anyone with more zeal than John Lennon.

  26. I believe the world is transitioning. We are all independent people and technology is allowing us to have customized options for everything ( We are no longer required to buy shoes in half sizes, we can have shoes designed to fit our feet (even if both feet are not the same size) and we can have the same with cars. I can consume my favorite TV and radio shows on my time. If sales people want to keep doing well they need to realize that the population is getting more used to having it their way.

    Josh Bulloc
    Kansas City, MO

  27. Hi Darren,

    I love living with the philosophy that I learned from the CEO of Southwest he said “Lead with your ears” sounds like your friend is a great example of that. Thanks for sharing this story. It was different and brought value to me today. Have an awesome month Darren! :)))

  28. I am local south florida architect, I have used john lennon for many of my projects and he is one of the most outstanding person to work with. this article really is the deep of who he is .

  29. I love this “selling a 100 times more” concept- it is taking the limits off our thinking.
    Thanks Darren.

    If someone else can do it you can do it too!

    Mark Matejik
    Chief Evangelist

  30. Great perspective here. Really causes you to pause and reevaluate things. Simple yet effective–focus on the prospect’s desires and tailor your approach to fit just that.

  31. As always, great advice! You’re exactly right about “buying it back”. I’ve found myself doing that on occasion. I just so excited about our products that I want to tell them everything, and end up confusing them beyond belief. Not anymore!

  32. Great article and advice on selling, will put it to good use. Just finished reading The Compound Effect, Great read and full of information and advice. Also just finished reading this months Success magazine and as usual many great articles, very motivating.Thank You.

  33. All in your article is accurate about how John Lennon works. He is a friend and close colleague of mine and the consumate professional; a pleasure to do deals with.

  34. This was gold you shared Darren and that which John shared with you. Wonderful insight. And I’ll add that the guidance this article offers can be used to not only to make salespeople superior in what they do but help people have better relationships.

    What do I mean?

    Asking questions, listening, finding out what’s really important to those whom we care for and then showing them we listened and care by delivering on those core desires. You don’t have to be all things to that person but you can connect deeper by doing what John Lennon does, on a personal level.

    Thank you again for sharing Darren.

  35. In my business my success is directly proportionate to how well my clients ‘feel’ that I have ‘served’ them. Of course they will receive the floral arrangement they ordered, but in the end, it is truly the ‘value’ added service which is paramount. I continually strive to understand, listen and act on that which my client is communicating to me.

    Your article was excellent! It seems when the economic climate takes a downward shift that is when an article such as yours becomes most relevant.

    Kudos for a timely article! Looking forward to the next.

    My best to you!

    Isabelle Alpert

  36. Namaste Darren,
    Great post as usual. The Golden Rule works great in life but in the business world it is important not only to treat the other person the way you want to be treated but the way they want to be treated. John Lennon not only discovered that secret but also… strived to rise above mediocrity and became the ‘and-then-some’ person.
    Thank you Darren for sharing your insights with us.

  37. Darren,
    I launched a company this past year as a calling. I am one year in, fighting the fight every day to stay inspired, and I finally pulled out the last two CD’s from Success about a week ago. While I read the hard copy like the Bible, I had never listened to the CD’s. I have listened to your interview with Brian Tracy over and over again. I sit here tonight with three business books on my desk, and it is so liberating to finally feel like I am taking control instead of getting knocked around. Your web site has also been a tremendous resource, and I highly recommend it to those who haven’t found that gem to complete all of the other great offerings you have. Oh, and one more thing – I live in Nashville and I emailed Cordelia the Bun Lady yesterday and told her I saw her in Success. She emailed right back and we are having lunch on Tuesday. I asked her to mentor me. You, my friend, are a rock star….

  38. Darren great info. Just received my first issue of Success and I realy enjoyed The Compound Effect CD’s. I have listened to them several times and now am in the process of reading the book. This is GREAT material and will recommend it with Design Your Best Year Ever. Looking forward to more material to come.

  39. Darren, John is doing what Professional Sales Agents do, that is, ask questions and listen to what the prospect wants and his or her reasons for wanting it. Then provide it with professionalism, clas and style. That is what I teach in my seminars and sales training program. Stop Selling!!! Start Wooing…wooing is simply winning others over. Yes, “build the relationship on trust, win – win solutions and sales $$$ will follow.”

    Leroy Reshard

  40. I bought everything Jim Rohn ( ever produced – many times over since I gave it way, lost it or simply wore it out. I consumed most everything Brian Tracy has (although that is tough, the guy is a content machine!)… and various others over time.

    I treat the feeding of my mind like a race – who can feed their mind the best information, the fastest, more abundantly wins. Then I am also a believer in hiring the very best in any discipline to work for me, coach me or consult for me. I’ve paid a lot of people a lot of money that is a small fraction of what they made for me.

    Great question – hope it encourages you to do the same.

  41. Well done is better than well said! thank you John & Darren. My philosophy is… “To Serve is to Rule.” One of the most important things that I have learned and mastered, and that has served me well in my success with my clients throughout my real estate career is… “Quality is the first thing seen, service is “always” the first and last thing felt, and price is the first thing forgotten.” No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required, that determines the greatness of our ultimate distinction. Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten. It’s all about having fun with your customers, and they’ll love you for it. we seem to have an uncanny ability to anticipate what affluent real estate consumers will want before they want it.

    To Your Continued Success!

    George Mato,
    Founder I Partner

  42. Well done is better than well said! thank you John & Darren. My philosophy is… “To Serve is to Rule.” One of the most important things that I have learned and mastered, and that has served me well in my success with my clients throughout my real estate career is… “Quality is the first thing seen, service is “always” the first and last thing felt, and price is the first thing forgotten.” No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required, that determines the greatness of our ultimate distinction. Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten. It’s all about having fun with your customers, and they’ll love you for it. “We seem to have an uncanny ability to anticipate what affluent real estate consumers will want before they want it.”

    To Your Continued Success!

    George Mato
    Founder I Partner

  43. Hi Darren,

    There’s so much information that you put out, it can make one’s head spin. Amazing! This post was cool because your focus was what can I learn/share from John. Even on a personal trip, you’re learning and teaching. Very cool!

    I really try to listen to key words when you or your guests speak. You mentioned the other day about the IMPORTANCE of investing 10% of your yearly income into your own personal development. Can you give a list of things you have invested in or that you would suggest we invest in?

    Keep teaching… we’ll keep learning!


    Tim H.

  44. 30 years ago, I stumbled on a casette tape called Questions are the Answer. The speaker was a fellow named J. Douglas Edwards. He taught me professional selling was more about asking the right questions and listening, than telling. I wish I still had his speach. It was a gold mine to me personally. Have anyone ever heard of it and is it still available?

  45. When I was selling cars back in the 90’s, the car sales industry was just getting the news that different car buyers had different priorities (duh!). I sold a lot of cars back then, but I bet I would have sold a lot more if I’d gone about it like John did. Great advice, Darren.

  46. Darren,

    Excellent message on serving versus selling.

    We’re in the site construction business and I measure our success by actual client face time each week for business retention & development. I do not count phone time. When I’m with any new prospects or existing clients, I always look for opportunities to bring good their lives (how I can help the person) and then go the extra mile. I find most people try to make a sale and are thinking about themselves. I work hard not to do that. I find that when I deliver good to a person’s life, then its good for all, including myself. I train our team by leading by example. This becomes a habit when you get good at it consistently.

    John Lennon’s story is a great affirmation & learning for all of us. As Jim Rohn would say, this is one of the half dozen things to do well.

    Looking forward to seeing you next month in Carlsbad.

    All my best, Barry Schlouch

  47. Nice article. Darren, I so appreciate your hard work in bringing the best of the best to us at Success Subscribers. I’m a total fan..!

  48. I have been in some sort of sales since 1975. The one most important thing I learned early on is to “shut up” and listen to the client. The client usually is telling you what they want to buy… let them buy it.

  49. Hey Darren,

    Thank you very much for the info and all the insight you share.
    The blogs your share and success magazine have become
    a fuel to stay motivated, hopeful knowing that it is possible to
    achieve one’s goals. Reading all those stories give me the strenght
    to persevere.

    Thanks a lot Darren…!

  50. So true!! Hubby and I have moved a lot…and the agents that we remember most are ones just like John….they asked questions and didn’t waste time showing us property that didn’t fit our needs (or desires!). I need to apply this more to my own business, too….ask, ask, ask…then listen!! Thanks as always for sharing!!

  51. Darren- thank you! that’s great news. It was a concern!! :) BTW I spread the word everywhere I go. Call me a Success Evangalist … Best,

  52. Hey Darren,

    Great stuff, thanks a lot for the info.
    Is it possible to get a list of example questions
    John Lennon uses to know his client better.


  53. Well spoken, I am going to print the words off and have them in front of me, hopefully it will sink in.
    Love Success!!!

  54. Darren,
    I live in Miami and this is a great example of how sales has everything to do with THEM (i.e. the customer), and very little to do with US and our “products”…thanks for sharing!
    Nick Garcia, MBA

  55. Darren, Terrific post and sage advice. From twenty years of teaching sales people I have an easy way for your readers to remember steps 1 through 4. “prescription before diagnosis is malpractice”. Best success to you and your readers.

  56. Excellent stuff – we could use that in all areas of life not just business. If we LISTEN to what the people in our lives want and need then we can give that to them. Not just want WE think or want them to need.

  57. Hey Darren ~ what great eye-opener lessons are in this story. Thanks for sharing it my friend. I shall now apply this to the Accelerator for Success system. ~Bill

  58. Thanks for the reminder. All to often we are seeking our agenda when if we help others with their agenda, we will likely get what we need too.

  59. Thank you so much for all the sharing of knowledge and information and the openess of heart with which you do this…Your words never fail to inspire and inform me, (and everyone in my family and friends that I pass it on to;^)you are very gifted indeed…Jim Rohn and your Father will be proud of you and the legacy you perpetuate with this…I live in Wellington New Zealand if you are ever down this way, let me know and we will show you some Kiwi hospitality ;^))

  60. Great post and great advise Daren. I get so hung up on me and what I’m trying to do than seeing what the other person wants and needs. Makes you see the need to be more in the other persons shoes. Good advise for me as I’m steping out on doing some sales for a renewable energy company here in my state. Learning from others saves me so much time and work. Its great to be following along.

  61. Hi Jordan

    Yes it is available in the UK, great publication, a must for any type of business. Just apply on-line in the UK.

    Good luck with relocation.

    Ross Craig

  62. To paraphrase the other John Lennon, “…And in the end, the sales you derive are equal to the service you provide”.

  63. WOW, Darren! I enjoy reading all your posts but this one is definitely one of the best ones. Thanks!

  64. Its very true that sales people just don’t try to understand the requirement. They keep going with explaining all their products and the result.. people stop receiving their calls.

    the 5th Point is amazing.. not everyone can do this… do the job which is well below his pay grade..

    awesome post!!

  65. Darrin,

    I always look forward to your emails and motivation. I appreciate your continued association with professional and successful people, then sharing both your stories with your readers. I don’t always respond to what you read, just know, I do read it. This doesn’t sound too crazy; selling (showing) people what they want to buy. Great job John!

  66. Sage advice, Darren. So many times I’ve thought I knew why prospects were interested in my services, only to discover their particular reasons during the sales process.

  67. Hey Darren!

    Great story, amazing…thanks a lot.

    Off topic question, is it possible to get Success Magazine in the UK?? (we are relocating)

    Hope youre well!


Leave a Reply