How good at sales are you? Look at your report card!

How good at sales are you? Look at your report card!

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


How good at sales are you?
Look at your report card!

Every salesperson, you included, gets a report card — every day.

Most salespeople, you included, ignore it.

Every time a customer gives you an order, they’re grading you for your quality, your value, and how you compare against what else is out there in the market. You get an “A” — or should I say, you get an “O” for outstanding job, and order.

The rest of the report card you get from customers and prospects requires listening and understanding, thinking and observing — discerning is the word. It means to perceive or recognize something barely visible to others.

You don’t jump for joy because you got an order. Well, maybe you do. But you should celebrate that you were chosen above all others, because of perceived value, and perceived quality.

Grading yourself on a sale is an easy grade.

What about your other grades?

No one actually gives you a card with grades on it — prospects and customers will tell you how you’re doing by their words and actions.

For example, when a prospective customer says, “Great question! No one ever asked me that before,” that is an EXCELLENT grade. Try to get at least one of those per day.

Or, an existing customer says, “WOW!” when proactively responding to a service call they placed an hour ago to comment on what happened. That is an EXCELLENT grade. Try to get at least one of those per week.

Then there are the subtle grades. Grades that prove you’re making progress, and you have the customer’s attention. When the customer or the prospect says, “I didn’t know that,” or they say, “I’m glad you told me that,” or better, they say, “I wish we had more suppliers like you.” That is high praise. A great grade.

Music to your ears should be when a customer says, “I wish all salespeople I talk to were as good as you.” That’s not praise. That’s a blessing.

Here are some other positive grades based on your customer’s actions:

They think of more ways to use your business or your products BEFORE you suggest them.

They call YOU to say thanks.

They smile when they talk to you.

They call you to praise an individual in your company.

You get a testimonial letter — unsolicited.

You are invited to join an inside supplier group (asked to participate or speak).

They ask you out for lunch.

They offer you tickets, or ask you to an event.

All good marks — some great marks. Some of these marks may indicate that loyalty is emerging. And more important, that bidding on the next order may not be necessary. The above marks (and remarks) are reserved for value providers.

But there are also REALITY MARKS on your report card. I gave you all the pretty ones, all the nice ones. Now it’s time for the bad ones:

No return phone call.

They told you your price was too high.

They stood you up for an appointment.

You got hung up on.

The prospect refused a meeting or an appointment.

You got underbid.

You got outsold.

There are lots of others, but I think you get the idea.

NOTE WELL: You don’t get a “B” for a bad mark — you get a ZERO. Unless you BLAME. Not only is there no mark for blaming, there is no reason for blaming. If you blame, you get a SUB-zero rating for not taking responsibility.

Back to the good marks. You never get the bad ones anyway, right?

There are three TOP marks. Here are the biggest three marks and most profitable marks you can get on your sales AND profit report card:

MARK ONE: You get an unsolicited re-order. What a profitable and rewarding surprise. You got it because you earned it. TOP MARK.

MARK TWO: You get an unsolicited referral. One of your customers has urged a potential customer to call you with a desire to do business. This is a REAL high mark. It means your customer is willing to risk a business relationship with someone else, in favor of the trust they have for you. TOP MARK.

MARK THREE: You become a trusted advisor to your customer. I have a few ways to determine this status. Go to, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enter the words MARK THREE in the GitBit box.