Salesmanship It’s the same as it was, only different.

Salesmanship It’s the same as it was, only different.

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

#106 Salesmanship

#106 Salesmanship. It’s the same as it was, only different.

If you think that selling in the 90’s is a brand new thing think again. I bought a small booklet in a used book store in Milwaukee entitled “100 Checking Points for Salesmen” written in 1928 by M.L Wilson. As I began to read, I began to smile.

Same stuff different era. Different words less sophistication same concepts. Check out a few points to get the drift…

{1} The interests of the house and the interests of the sales force are one. Placing the immediate apparent interests of the house before the interests of the individual has marked the starting point to success of many a salesman. (NOTE: The word house means company.)

{4} “Poking fun” at the house or “joshing” the customer can reach the point of out and out disloyalty to the house or an unforgivable offense to the customer.

{5} It is not a sign of weakness when you draw lavishly upon knowledge superior to your own.

{6} There is usually one outstanding figure in a firm. Find him, analyze his success and the motives behind his accomplishments, and use the result of your analysis. Don’t try to be him. You can’t. Apply in your own way what you learn from him.

Wow! Pretty neat, huh? Do you like them? Or is it me who’s nuts? Or both? Here are a few more (with my comments in italics).

{31} Technique in selling is just as important as technique in music. Faulty technique in music is improved only by constant practice. The same holds true in selling. (Selling is a science. It takes experimentation and practice)

{32} Enthusiasm is the mainspring of productiveness. It stands by the salesman in adversity and sweeps him on to victory. (The root of enthusiasm is entheos a Greek word meaning “the god within.”)

{33} “Ich Dien” is the motto of the Prince of Wales. it’s a good motto for the salesman. It means, “I serve.” (Selling without service is like a car without gasoline useless.)

{38} Time is valuable. Especially your time. Be sure you are talking to the right man before you start. (qualify the buyer)

{39} A highpressure artist may make a man buy whether he will or no; a persuader or adviser gets the order because the merchant wants to give it. The first will not stick the other will. (Sell for relationships not for commissions)

{41} Buyers are notorious for seeking the lines of least resistance. Are you sure that you did not accept as final a “no” purposely used to get rid of you? (It takes 710 impressions to get a yes be persistent)

{42} The obvious to you is not necessarily the obvious to the man to whom you are talking. Simple language, naturally spoken, is more convincing that a “spiel” however highfallutin’. Be sure you have all your selling equipment with you all the time. (Be prepared Don’t talk down to the buyer)

{44} The customer always has problems and troubles of his own. When he hears nothing but your troubles you must not blame him for not being much interested. Learn to look at things from his angle. (The customer is only interested in himself, and how you can help him)

{46} One test of a selling talk or an appeal to buyers is this Is it truthful, is it interesting, do I believe it? Without the last, it amounts to nothing but empty words. (The way you believe in yourself and your product is evident to the buyer.)

{47} A highpressure salesman is often temporarily successful, but it is the plugger with the “never say die” “keeping everlastingly at it” spirit who wins out in the long run. (Sell to build relationships, not for commissions.)

{51} It is almost a bromide to say that pounding the table and coercion have given way to advice in successful selling, but it is 100 per cent true none the less. (Consultative selling is the strongest sale be a resource, not a salesman.)

{52} A sales story properly told anticipates many questions and objections which are thus automatically kept out of the discussion. A flood of questions and objections is usually indicative of a weak presentation. (The best presentation anticipates objections, and answers them before they arise.)

The words are different but the message is the same more than 60 years later. Why do you suppose that is? Because these truths have proven effective by the test of time. Why are they repeated? Because sales is a daily discipline that requires constant attention (and discipline) to fundamental concepts.

It’s no different than an allstar professional baseball player practicing his fielding. He’s paid millions of dollars a year, he has proven himself to be among the worlds best. But he still practices fielding ground balls every day to maintain his skills, and keep his competitive edge. Do you?

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlottebased Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/3331112 or email to

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permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/3331112