Every great salesperson was once a beginner.

Every great salesperson was once a beginner.

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 gitomer.me.

“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. And not just an answer — a path to get there.

I began by telling them of a book I had just purchased called, Every Great Chess Player Was Once A Beginner. The title rocked my entire thought process. Although it was obvious that everyone starts someplace, it’s hard to imagine A-Rod playing little league, or Bret Favre playing Pop Warner football. Hard to imagine Bill Gates in his dorm room cooking mac and cheese on a hotplate as he struggles 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 started by writing one 750-word column. Actually I started studying sales in 1972. And 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. Now I write about my personal experiences, observations, and thoughts.

When I moved to Charlotte 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 likeable.
  • 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. It’s a struggle, what’s your point? Struggle is part of greatness. So is hard work. TV is not.

GREAT NEWS: Your earnings in sales and business are only limited by your ability to convince 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% of the time, you’ll win awards, make president’s club, and earn a fortune – that means you’ll get rejected seven out of ten times. Get used to it and get over it.

Think of it this way: Every “no” gets you closer to a “yes.” There, that feels better now, doesn’t it?

Where do you “begin” becoming great?
What is your beginning?
Maybe you have already begun.

There are guidelines to consider:

  • The first is dedication. To yourself, to your excellence, and to your desire to become the best at whatever you do.
  • Become a product of the product.
  • Live your outcome and results.
  • Study the history of your product.
  • Visit customers often. Work at their place of business for a day, for free.
  • Learn about your product from your customers. Uncover their motives for buying.

Be your own YES:

  • 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.
  • Yes it’s nice to have a past history of success.
  • Yes it’s nice to have a great reputation.
  • Yes it’s nice to have a great home environment.
  • Yes it’s great to have supportive people in your life.
  • And yes it’s nice to have a solid financial foundation.

But these situations and 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 30 years I have become an overnight success.
I wish the same for you.


If you want more beginners’ wisdom, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enter BEGIN in the GitBit box.