Making sense about why you sell, and why you can’t

Making sense about why you sell, and why you can’t

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

The sense of selling, or sales sense, comes from mastering a series of internal senses. These senses are both subtle and blatant. They are both simple to understand and complex to master, and they hold the key to your sales success.

Last week I described the first four:

  1. Sense of self.
  2. Sense of others.
  3. Sense of surroundings.
  4. Sense of situation.

For your “think” pleasure, here are the rest of the senses. As you read them, try to relate your feelings when you are in a sales situation. And think about how these senses can affect your success once you understand them.

  1. Sense of reason. As you present your ideas and ask questions that engage the customer or the prospect, each of you must establish a balance of agreement, value, and desire to own. This comes about when you have an equal conversation, not a one-sided sales pitch. Reason is when each party is asking reasonable questions and making reasonable statements, the preponderance of which are positive. The key here is the word “fair.” Do your value statements seem fair enough, or reasonable enough, for the customer to want to buy? If you get “price” rejections, this is a symptom of lack of acceptable reason on the part of the buyer.
  2. Sense of opportunity. When the customer is ready to buy, he or she will tell you in every other way than the phrase, “I am ready to buy now.” In other words, you must interpret the customer’s words, the customer’s questions, the customer’s tone, the customer’s mood, and uncover the customer’s motives in order to determine both where your opportunity is, and when that opportunity has surfaced. In the selling/buying process, this is a very subtle, strategic, and delicate moment. It is the moment when you, the salesperson, need to stop talking, solidify the sale, confirm the next step of delivery, and leave. Many salespeople, not you of course, talk right past the moment of opportunity.
    The secret of this sense is to pay attention to any question a buyer asks. Questions don’t just call for answers, they demand that you sense why the question is being asked.
    Often, the question is asked to reassure their thinking and their desire to own. If you can sense this desire, you can capture the opportunity.
  3. Sense of risk. If you can’t seem to make any headway in your selling process, or in your ability to engage the customer, it’s because their sense of risk is greater than your sense of reason. If the customer perceives risk is too high, it is predominantly because they feel the value you offer is too low, or that something is wrong with the company, the product, or the salesperson. Yet customers will never tell you this. What they’ll say is something like, “We’re not interested,” or “We’re satisfied with who we’ve got,” or “Your price is too high,” or some other masked message. The single biggest barrier to a sale is the unspoken risk that a buyer perceives. As a salesperson, you must risk uncovering the truth. When you do, your path to the sale will be evident.
  4. Sense of confidence. Throughout the entire selling process, your prospective customer is judging the power and the value of your message. The good news is you create both. Your power and your value manifest themselves in your self-confidence. The strength of that self-confidence is not only visible to the customer, but it’s oftentimes the basis for their ability to accept your message, and ultimately buy your product or service. Self-confidence stems from self-belief. The deeper you believe in what you’re selling, and believe in your ability to help others, the more your confidence in presence will be transferred to a confidence to buy.

8.5 Sense of desire to have for yourself and win for others. Too often the salesperson will “need” the sale, and push way too hard to make it. When in fact, if they would push equally as hard to win for their customer, they could earn the sale instead of trying to make the sale. It never ceases to amaze me how many salespeople lose sales because they fail to understand or convey how the customer wins. If you understand my mantra, “people don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy,” you will be at the beginning of a new era of your sales success.

The key to uncovering, understanding, and mastering these senses is your internal thought process and self-awareness. Converting these senses to your advantage does not take superior abilities or knowledge. It does, however, take the full use of your most powerful sense – common sense.

Come to your senses. Master your senses. When you do, you’ll convert money-earning possibilities, into money-earning probabilities.


If you missed part one, or just want both parts of this article together, go to, register if you’re a first time user and enter REALITY SENSE in the GitBit box.