Qualities a Master Salesman Must Develop – 1930’s Style

Qualities a Master Salesman Must Develop – 1930’s Style

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.


Napoleon Hill author of the legendary Think and Grow Rich, has a rare book titled, How to Sell Your Way Through Life (1939). This is the second of a four-part series that will present the 28 Qualities the Master Salesman Must Develop. (The original language and syntax are intact.)

Your challenge is not just to read them and say “Yep, I know that.” Salespeople already know everything. The problem is they don’t DO it. To get the maximum value from this list don’t just read it. Rate yourself from 1 – 10 on your present level of competence or excellence for each quality. I dare you.

Hill says, “The next (sales) qualities play off the others, and are not possible to master if the first five principles are not in place.” (Gitomer says Bummer.)

  1. Knowledge of the merchandise he sells. The super-salesman analyzes carefully the merchandise or service which he sells and understands thoroughly every advantage that it embraces because he knows that no salesman can sell successfully that which he, himself, does not understand and believe.
  2. Belief in the merchandise or service. The super-salesman never tries to sell anything in which he does not have implicit confidence because he knows that his mind will “broadcast” his lack of confidence to the mind of the prospective buyer, regardless of what he may say about his wares.
  3. Appropriateness of merchandise. The super-salesman analyzes both his prospective buyer and his needs and offers him only that which is appropriate to both. He never tries to sell a Rolls Royce to a man who ought to purchase a Ford, even if the prospective buyer is financially able to buy the more expensive car. He knows a bad bargain for the buyer is a worse bargain for the seller!
  4. Value Given. The super-salesman never tries to get more for his wares than they are actually worth, realizing that the sustained confidence and goodwill of his prospective buyer is worth more than a “long profit” on a single sale.
  5. Knowledge of the prospective buyer. The super-salesman is a character analyst. He has the ability to ascertain, from his prospective buyer which of the nine basic motives he will respond to most freely, and he builds his sales presentation around those motives. Moreover, if his prospective buyer has no outstanding motive for buying, the super-salesman creates one for him, knowing that a motive is essential in “closing” a sale.
  6. Qualifying the prospective buyer. The super-salesman never tries to make a sale until he has properly “qualified” the prospective buyer, thereby informing himself, in advance of his efforts to close a sale, on the following points:
    1. The prospective buyer’s financial capacity to purchase
    2. His need for that which is being offered for sale
    3. His motive in making the purchase

    Endeavoring to make sales without first qualifying the prospective buyer is a mistake which stands at the head of the list of cause of “no sale.”

  7. Ability to “neutralize” the mind of the buyer. The super-salesman knows that no sale can be made until the mind of the prospective buyer has been neutralized, or made receptive. Because he knows this, he will not endeavor to “close” a sale until he has “opened” the mind of the buyer and prepared it as a background or base upon which he may put together the word mosaic of his story. This is the point where many salesmen fail.
  8. Ability to close a sale. The super-salesman is an artist at reaching and successfully passing the closing point in selling. He trains himself to sense the psychological moment when terminal facilities may be reached successfully. He rarely, if ever, asks the prospective buyer if he is ready to purchase. Instead, he goes on the assumption that the buyer is ready and conducts himself in conversation and general demeanor accordingly. Here he uses the power of suggestion most effectively. The super-salesman avoids trying to close a sale until he knows in his own mind that he can close successfully. He so conducts his sales presentation that his prospective buyer believes he has done the buying.

Well there are the eight sales mechanical qualities. The word “value” (#9) has taken on new and more dynamic meaning in the 21st century but it’s interesting to note that “value given” is at least a 60 year old sales philosophy. (Are you giving it yet?)

Isn’t #12 The ability to neutralize the mind of the buyer, cool? What an interesting thought. Since doubt and mistrust usually exist in the mind of the buyer I interpret this as the ability to establish rapport, confidence and trust thereby neutralizing the mind. Don’t you love it?

Thirteen qualities down, thirteen to go. Next week we’ll look at the personal and organizational qualities of Napoleon Hill’s 28 Qualities the Master Salesman Must Develop.