Do you think you can? Or do you think you can’t? Part 2

Do you think you can? Or do you think you can’t? Part 2

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

Do you think you can? Or do you think you can’t?
Last week (don’t you hate that if you missed last weeks column), I introduced the concept of The Little Salesman that Could. It stemmed from the combination of my birthday and the book, The Little Engine that Could. An unlikely pair I assure you. OK, OK. Just go to and enter the words LITTLE ENGINE in the GitBit box to get part one. Here is the continuation of what you need to “think you can” (and then actually DO) in order to make it to the top of the sales mountain.
6. Take a course in writing. Learning how to write will help you put words you are thinking about into clear, concise, written thoughts and ideas. Personally I have found the more I write, the more ideas I get, and the clearer they become. Most people think, “I can’t write” or “I am not a good writer.” Easy answer. Study writing. Read someone whose writing you like. Write your thoughts down. Take a course in writing. And then begin to refine your technique or style. When I first began writing I thought I was a pretty good writer. I just re-read my first ten columns. They pretty much sucked. But, I thought I could, I did, I learned, and then I refined.

NOTE WELL: I wish there was a way I could explain the power of the written word. The only thing I can say is to re-enforce my early statement that every piece of business good fortune for the last thirteen years has in some way or another come from writing.

7. Take a course in something you love. By learning more about what you love to do, it will create a positive atmosphere and a positive mind set about learning and achieving. The things you love to do, you do with passion. The combination of learning, achieving, and passion can make for world-class expertise in anything you think you can.

8. Get so Internet savvy that you can teach a 14-year old rather than vice-versa. Many adult business people are functional computer illiterates. If you don’t have your own website, and you don’t have your own e-mail address, and you don’t access the Internet everyday, and you think you are in the business world, think again. People who did not grow up in the computer age may have let it pass them by. It’s OK, it’s OK. Not everyone thought automobiles would make it either. Some people thought radios were stupid. And someone in their infinite wisdom thought there would only be a market for two dozen laptops (this statement was made after extensive research). I believe that person is now a waiter at Shoney’s. If you are at the crossroads of Internet entry and computer literacy, I implore you to think you can. Computers are cheap, Internet access is cheaper, and both are 21st century tools that are the gateway to your fame, fortune, financial freedom, fulfillment, and fun.

9. Begin clarifying your ideas in public — and get known as a person of value at the same time. After I began writing, people began to call and ask if I would speak at their civic organization (Rotary, Kiwanis). It gave me a chance to speak and listen to my written thoughts. Speaking, like writing, is a barrier to entry in the world of success. Rather than taking a course in speaking, you only have to join Toastmasters. Live speaking opportunities from the first meeting ( Speaking strikes fear in the heart of the unprepared. But, speaking will position you as a leader and a thinker in your community or your industry. NOTE WELL: If you write your thoughts down, speaking becomes infinitely simpler. Once you get past a little bit of fear, it’s not only fun, it’s profitable. It’s also an open door (and an open wallet) to anyone in your audience. If they like you, it’s likely that they will pay to see you again.

10. Publish something. This column is my words of advice published by someone else. Being published has an authenticity about it. The written word is very authoritative and is often tantamount to believability (‘Dewey wins!’ not withstanding). Being published also means that someone believes your thoughts are worthy enough or sound enough for others to read. It’s an affirmation that your thinking is clear and your direction is sound. It is one of the ultimate “I think I can-I thought I could” achievements.

10.5. Give value first. This is a philosophy and a strategy that I learned on accident, that has become the key differentiator between how others “sell” while I create the atmosphere to “buy”. Here is the marketing strategy (another accident) that arose from that philosophy: “I put myself in front of people who can say yes to me, and I deliver value first.” The overused and baseless expression “added-value” or its brother “value-added,” means you have to buy first in order to receive any value. It’s referred to as an incentive. My take on it is its somewhere between silly, non-existent, self-serving, or begging. My strategy (and soon to be a book) is to put valuable information in the hands of my most probable purchasers so that they may benefit, get to know me, come to respect me, and then call me wanting to purchase. This is not a theory, it’s a strategy that has been working for thirteen years. It is important to note that this strategy was not, “I think I can,” it just happened as a result of all the other “I think I can’s.” It’s an “I thought I could.” It was the classic case of cause and effect rather than preconceived notion. Well, there’s the formula. Think you can? Or do you think it sounds like too much work? Why don’t you not pre-judge what is hard or easy and begin by purchasing (or going to your kids bedroom and getting) a copy of The Little Engine That Could. That’s an easy way to start your thinking process. I know, it sounds simplistic, almost hokey, but so does every other self-help book ever written. Hokey but accurate. I have just given you a birthday present on my birthday. I am going to add a wish. I wish you would take this information and read it three or four times. And I wish you would take action in some way that might begin to put you on a better path to achievement, success, and fulfillment. If you know me, you know that I very rarely wish for anything. Maybe because I believe wishing is a poor substitute for hard work. I can wish all I want, but the hard work is up to you. And my feeling about it is, of course, I think you can. I think you can.
FREE GitBit.. I have a bunch more Think-I-Can quotes — two pages spoken by Orison Swett Marden, from his immortal “He Who Thinks He Can” published in 1908. Go to, register if you’re a first time user, then enter MARDEN in the GitBit box. BOTH PARTS OF THIS COLUMN: For a limited time both parts of this column will be available for free. Go to and enter the words LITTLE ENGINE in the GitBit box. Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service at He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to