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


If the prospect says NO, it’s most likely that you failed to establish buyer confidence.

Did you lose the sale or just fail to make it? You’re sure that prospect should have bought. As you head back to the car, licking your wounds, you try to justify or figure out why the prospect turned you down. Once you’ve answered the fundamental questions of self-doubt: was I enthusiastic, friendly, and professional looking? you may have to probe a bit deeper for the true answers. Even though the truth hurts, the realization of what you failed to do is a big step in making the sale next time. Let me save you some anguish. YOU FAILED TO ESTABLISH BUYER CONFIDENCE, Sparky.

You say, “Hey, Jeffrey, you’re dead wrong – that guy really liked me. “Maybe. But likeability is only a part of the sales equation.

Take the Jeffrey Gitomer Establish Confidence Test and rate your ability.
If you’re willing to be objective about yourself and your abilities, ask yourself the following 14.5 revealing questions and rate yourself from 1 to 10 on each question.
(1 = lowest to 10 = highest)

  1. Was I on time? Did I show up five minutes early (good) or five minutes late (real bad)?
  2. Was I prepared? Did I walk into my appointment with everything I needed to make the sale?
  3. Was I organized? Did I have everything at my fingertips or was I fumbling?
  4. Could I answer all product questions? Do I really have command of my product, or am I constantly “having to get back to you on that one”?
  5. Did I make excuses or blame others about anything? The sample wasn’t shipped on time; the company didn’t send the right information, etc.
  6. Was I apologizing? “Sorry I’m late, unprepared, don’t know the answer, didn’t bring the correct information, quoted the wrong price (ad nauseum).
  7. Did the prospect probe personal issues about my company? “If I buy,” says Mr. Johnson, “how do I know you’ll be here to service me in six months?”
  8. Did the prospect ask doubting questions about my product? What happens if it breaks down after the warranty? or Who else buys this product?
  9. Did the prospect ask doubting questions about me? How long have I been with the company? or How much experience do I have?
  10. Did I name-drop other happy, loyal customers effectively? Did I fail to use the name of a happy customer to answer a pointed question?
  11. Did I feel as though I were on the defensive? Was I constantly answering questions dealing in subject matter other than my product/service? Could I prove my points?
  12. Could I overcome all objections in a confident manner? Did I find myself unable to respond confidently about price, quality, and other issues blocking the sale when asked by the prospect? Did I try to fake it?
  13. Did I down the competition? Did I berate my competitor(possibly the prospect’s supplier)? Did I make disparaging remarksabout the competition to try to make me/my product look better?
  14. Was my prospect uninvolved in the sales presentation? Did the prospect just sit there, or worse, do other things while I was talking?

14.5 Was I too anxious to make the sale? Was I too pushy? Was it obvious to the prospect that there was a commission involved?

Tough questions – but I ask them because confidence is elusive, tough to establish, and easily lost at the beginning of any relationship. These questions are designed for you to evaluate your sales performance and reveal your ability (or inability) to create prospect confidencefrom someone who just said no. The answers will lead you to the next sale better prepared to make it through with confidence rather than manipulation.

One of the primary lessons of sales is:

If they like you,believe you, trust you, and have confidence in you,
then they MAY buy from you.

If any of those four elements is missing, the answer changes from sale to no sale. When the prospect says “NO,” it’s most likely a vote of “no confidence.” These questions are designed for you to evaluate your sales performance and reveal your ability (or inability) to create buyer confidence from a customer who said no or would not buy today. In order for this exercise to work, you’ve got to be real with yourself.