Og Mandino, the Greatest (non) salesman in the world.

Og Mandino, the Greatest (non) salesman in the world.

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.

Og Mandino wrote, “The Greatest Salesman in The World,” the best selling book on sales ever written. It’s parable about a little camel boy in the time of Christ. Og Mandino claims he is not a salesman, or is he?

He has written 16 books that have been translated into 20 languages and sold more 33 million copies. The Greatest Salesman in the World has sold 12 million by itself. WOW. I don’t know about you, but I’d be happy with those sales numbers.

I had the privilege of talking with Og Mandino about his seminar with Brian Tracy. Here are some excerpts from that conversation. (I’m JG, he’s OM)

JG: As a platform speaker you must have superior knowledge of the topic. You have to be a better salesperson and motivator than everybody in the room, don’t you?.

OM: You’ve got to realize one thing about me. I don’t consider myself a salesman. I happen to write a book in 1967 called, “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” but it’s not just aimed towards salespeople. I don’t consider myself an expert salesman, and I don’t walk out there and tell you how to make a sale. I’m a motivational speaker. I show people how to get on a path to success and stay there.

JG: Over the course of the last few years how has your audience changed?

OM: Most of the audience has probably read at least one Mandino book. So they are sitting out there as fans, they’re cheering before I even open my mouth, because they have already been touched by something I was fortunate enough to write.

JG: What specific recommendations do you have for the audience to take maximum advantage of your talk?

OM: Take notes. I learned through the years, especially after spending all this time with W. Clement Stone, (Mandino was the original editor of Stone’s Success Unlimited Magazine) that taking notes is one of the most important things you can do when listening to something or someone important. Some early expert said years ago that we forget about 90% of what we hear 10 minutes after we hear it unless we write it down.

JG: Is there one “big” obstacle to success among people that you keep running into?

OM: Yes. Most of us hide behind our busy work. Most of us spend too much time doing things we think are important because they are disguised as urgent. Most people don’t really do what’s important for their own success. They always seem to be “too busy” to succeed.

JG: Would you say that you have sold as many books as Burger King has sold hamburgers?

OM: (Chuckle) I think Burger King has stopped keeping count. I don’t think so, but I think 32 or 33 million has passed Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone. My new book, which will be out in January of 1995 is called The Spellbinder’s Gift, I’ll tell you two things about it. The hero is a speaker and you better have some Kleenex handy when you read it.

JG: When you are speaking motivationally to an audience, is the preponderance of what you talk about from your own personal experience?

OM: Yes. I am working on a new speech called Target Success from my days as a fighter pilot flying bombing missions over Germany. I will stand up and brief you for one hour on how to reach your mission of success in life what to avoid, and what to look for. I teach you like a briefing officer. I am going to take you to the target and safely back home.

Whenever I’m in front of an audience, what I am sharing are some secrets of success that really aren’t secrets at all. They have become secrets to us, because we are so blinded to things that work because we are all still looking for fast answers. My audience is mostly a group of people who are trying to find out how to handle this tough life we live in.

JG: Og, I think everybody is your audience.

OM: I am my own audience. I have to listen. I have to remember what I am telling everyone else to do. I don’t tell you how to close a deal, or how to make eye contact or all the things we learned as salespeople. I am teaching you how to deal with tomorrow. Tomorrow is tough enough.

Authors note: Og Mandino passed away in 1998, just after he was given the National Speakers Association’s “lifetime achievement” award. He was loved by all who knew him, and has helped thousands to find a better path to success. Me included.

I am my own audience. I have to listen.
I have to remember what I am telling everyone else to do. ~Og Mandino