How to multiply. Success math for the 20th century still works.

How to multiply. Success math for the 20th century still works.

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 to multiply. Success math for the 20th century still works.

In search of more sales?In search of a break?Looking for more success?Want a great idea?

The answer is the same to all these questions. Make them happen yourself.

When I read, it’s usually an old book. Last week it was How I Multiplied My Income and Happiness In Selling by Frank Bettger, originally published in 1954. Bettger was a world class insurance salesman turned trainer author.

In these economic times, everyone is trying to “get their share” of what’s available in the marketplace. Problem is, that’s a ME thought. Your customers and prospects don’t care about you.

“But Jeffrey, what’s the answer?” You ask in half-panic.
I found it in this book. And I want to share the “aha!”

Below is an EXACT excerpt (not politically corrected). You don’t have to look deep for the answer. You only have to figure out how the lesson applies to your sales and your customers.

The One Big Secret of Success

During the worst period of a nationwide depression, a young man just graduating from a large eastern university applied for a position in a big department store located in the same city. He carried with him a letter of introduction from his father to the president, an old classmate of his at college.

The president read the letter then said to the young man: “I wish I could give you a position. Your father was one of my best friends in college, and every year I look forward to seeing him again at our class reunion. But, unfortunately, you have come to me at the worst possible time. Our business has been losing money so, we have been compelled to lay off every employee except the most important people in our organization.” Many other graduating students from the college applied to the same store for a position. And they were all told the same story.

So, when still another student remarked one day that he was going there for a job, they laughed and told him he would be wasting his time. But that didn’t discourage this young fellow. He had an idea! When he walked into that big department store, he had no letter of introduction. He went directly to the president’s office, but he didn’t ask for a job. In fact, he didn’t say anything about what he wanted. He sent a note in to the president about something the president wanted! The note read: I’ve got an idea that will help your store get out of the depression. May I tell you about it?” “Send him in!” ordered the head of the store.

Coming immediately to the point, the young man said: “I want to help you open a College Department. We would handle nothing but clothes for college men! There are 16,000 students in our college, their number is increasing every year. I don’t know anything about buying clothes, but I do know what those boys like. Let me have one of your good buyers, and I’ll help you set up the kind of department the students will like. Then I’ll sell them the idea and get them coming in here.”

In a short time, that store had a brand new kind of department which quickly became the liveliest and one of the most profitable the store ever had! Back in the days when I was groping around in the dark, desperately trying to learn how to sell, I unknowingly used this same principle and it resulted in one of the biggest individual sales ever made in my company.

Later, I was congratulated by one of the country’s foremost salesmen who told me something that I soon learned was the most profound secret of dealing with people! Said he: “I still doubt whether you understand exactly why you were able to make that sale.” I asked him what he meant.

He then uttered the most vital truth I have ever heard about selling. He said: “The most important secret of salesmanship is to find out what the other fellow wants, then help him find the best way to get it. That man you sold didn’t want life insurance. Nobody wants life insurance! In the first minute of your interview, you took a blind stab, and accidentally found what he did want. Then you showed him how he could get it. You kept on talking more about it, and asking more questions about it, never letting him get away from the thing he wanted. If you will always remember this one rule, selling will be easy.”

What this great salesman said made such a profound impression on me I could think of little else for days. I soon realized with full force how valuable a lesson I had learned. I resolved to dedicate the rest of my selling career to this principle: Finding out what people want, and helping them get it!

I can’t begin to tell you the new kind of courage and enthusiasm this gave me. Here was something more than a sales technique. It was a philosophy to live by.

Pretty simple, eh? There are two HUGE lessons here. The first is Bettger’s classic, “Finding out what people want, and helping them get it!” And the second is that bringing an idea rather than asking for a favor will not only win favor, but will also net success at a ten to one greater rate.

As you pursue your success in leaner times, it’s more important than ever to bring your ideas in a bushel basket, rather than your hat in your hand.

Free GitBit… Want some more old “new ideas”? I have a ten more ideas from another of book. It may be just the NEW formula you’re looking for. Just go to, register if you’re a first time user, and enter the words OLD IDEAS in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the 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