EP Award Promo

Every great salesperson was once a beginner


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“That’s easy for you to say! You’re already a great salesman and a successful author and speaker,” someone yelled from the audience as I was answering a question about how to brand yourself and position yourself to create the law of attraction.

Now the audience was waiting for my answer. It wasn’t a time for humor. Every person was looking for the bridge between where I am and where they are.

I began by telling them of a book I had just purchased: “Every Great Chess Player Was Once a Beginner.” The title rocked my entire thought process. It’s hard to imagine A-Rod playing Little League, or Brett Favre playing Pop Warner football. Hard to imagine Bill Gates in his dorm room cooking mac and cheese on a hot plate as he struggled with his 128K computer to create the future of software. But they all did.

Then I gave them a glimpse of my beginning and my renaissance.

REALITY: No, it’s not easy for me to say anything or do anything.

Yes, I’m somewhat successful now, BUT I didn’t start with nine best-selling books. I made sales for 35 years. I had no idea I would write. I just loved sales and wanted to be the best salesman in the world. When the opportunity to write about sales appeared, I jumped on it.

When I moved to Charlotte, N.C., in 1988, I was starting over. Beginning again. I knew no one, and had limited capital (definition: broke).

I joined the Charlotte chamber. I subscribed to the local business journal. I networked my butt off. And I tried to get business for others. I connected and made connections. I became known as a person of value. I took a leadership position at the chamber.

Here are the insights that drove me:

As a beginner, you have to trust your instincts, and you have to “BE”:

• Be willing to risk.

• Be a constant student.

• Be a consistent performer, even in a losing cause.

• Be a value provider.

• Be friendly and likable.

• Be passionate about your product or service.

• Be willing to dedicate the time it takes to become great.

And you must BELIEVE you can do it. Your mental strength is more important than your skill and your product knowledge. Mental strength stems from your attitude, your enthusiasm and your willingness to work hard. Struggle is part of greatness. TV is not.

GREAT NEWS: Your earnings in sales and business are limited only by your ability to persuade others to buy.

REALITY: You have to read, study and practice.

EXAMPLE OF PRACTICE: Cold calls are a lousy place to make a sale, but they’re a great place to learn how to sell.

REALITY: Rejection is part of the game – all sports have winners and losers. If you can win 30 percent of the time, you’ll win awards, make president’s club and earn a fortune.

That means you’ll get rejected seven out of 10 times. Get used to it and get over it.

Yes, it’s nice to have natural ability – to be gregarious, humorous, honest, hard-working, reliable and trustworthy, and to have the knack for picking up concepts quickly.

But these characteristics are not “musts” for greatness.

If you’re trying to grab the brass ring, it comes from within. Energy, desire, dedication and passion are integral to making the grade, or should I say the GREAT.

In just 20 years, I have become an overnight success.

I wish the same for you.

Jeffrey Gitomer can be reached by phone at (704) 333-1112 or by e-mail at salesman@gitomer.com. © 2009 Jeffrey H. Gitomer

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