When Larry Kendall helped found The Group, Inc.in 1976, he began with a simple question, “How will they be selling real estate 25 years from now, in the year 2000, and how can we start selling it that way now?”
This “vision question” undergirds the foundation of The Group and, more specifically, the Ninja Selling System. Using his company, The Group, as a laboratory, Kendall began his search for the system that would bring Real Estate into the next century. Inspired by Lou Tice, Marshall Thurber, Tony Robbins, and the philosophies underpinning aikido, the team at The Group began building a selling system for the future. Ninja Selling emerged as a system “based on a philosophy of building relationships, listening to the customer, and helping them achieve their goals.”
Kendall launched his Real Estate Masters Course in the 1980s. In October of 1994, he led the first official Ninja Selling course at a Real Estate conference, guiding 430 people through the system’s philosophies and tools.
Despite Ninja Selling’s marshal arts roots, the system earned its name in a slightly more roundabout way. Jim Dunlap, an early Group Partner, modeled the high productivity, customer satisfaction, and work-life balance that epitomized the company’s vision. Universally respected for his ability to take care of himself, his family, and his business, Dunlap became known around The Group, Inc. offices as “the ninja,” and the inspiration for the Ninja Selling system and its goals.
Kendall explains that, while Ninja Selling is a system that aims to help Realtors sell more effectively, it’s really about much more. It’s meant to be life changing, and to help graduates strike that elusive balance between a satisfying career and a fulfilling home life.
The mission of Ninja Selling is threefold:
1. Increase your income per hour.
2. Increase your customer satisfaction.
3. Improve the quality of your life.
To do this, the Ninja Selling trainings are immersive experiences during which students learn to shift their mindsets, develop important skills, and engage in daily action. One ninja seller, Maria Vitale, later called Kendall to share her successes from training. “Well, I owe it to your course” she gushed. “I went from zero to nine closings in 60 days.” Vitale credited the morning ritual of the gratitude journal for her improved emotional energy, business successes, and personal growth.
How is Ninja Selling different from traditional sales strategies?
Ninja Selling is built around four principles:
Stop selling and start creating value. The Ninja Selling system provides tools for stimulating genuine engagement by learning what customers want and are willing to pay for. Ninjas reposition themselves from unwanted salespeople to trusted advisors. Rather than developing a pitch, Ninjas help their customers solve a problem or feel good.
The flow system. Based on findings that most of us prefer buying from people we know, like, and trust, Ninja Selling encourages a business strategy built around establishing a network of known people rather than strangers. It’s about building relationships.
Customer centric. Rather than telling customers what they have to offer, Ninjas learn to ask questions, listen to customers, and only then offer solutions based on customer-specific wants and needs.
Personal mastery. By managing their own energy states in ways that foster focus and facilitate connection with others, Ninjas improve their business productivity and quality of life.
Kendall loves hearing from Ninjas about their business successes, but the personal transformations are the most satisfying. “My favorite letters” he says, “are the ones that say, ‘I came to improve my business and it changed my life.’”
Gina Theriault sent Kendall a Thanksgiving card to share how Ninja Selling changed her life. A wife and mother of five children, the youngest of whom has special needs, Gina had nearly lost her business in 2013, and her family was struggling with debt. Six months after completing the Ninja Selling training, Gina had grossed $147,000 and her life was once again manageable. Working part-time and giving her youngest son the extra care he needs, Gina has found the work-life balance and success that she was looking for.
Ninja Selling offers a variety of educational formats, both in person and online, including webinars, four-day intensive installations, two- to three-day retreats, and numerous specialized classes. Eight Ninja instructors are certified to teach the classes throughout the country. In Fort Collins, approximately eight courses are hosted annually with a capacity of 96 people per class. Today, over 50,000 Ninja Selling graduates grace the U.S., Canada, and Spain and three universities are teaching the system in their business classes. Kendall says of the growth: “Ninja’s not about one person. It’s about all of us. And we have critical mass now. And we have momentum. And we’re making a difference in the world.”