The Overlooked Power that May be Your Sales Kryptonite.

The Overlooked Power that May be Your Sales Kryptonite.

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

I see, therefore I learn.
I see, therefore I think.
I learn and I think, therefore I reason and respond.
THE POWER: That is the power of observation.

  • How are you taking advantage of that power?
  • How would you rate your power of observation?
  • What are you looking at?
  • How does what you see impact your world, your education, your sales, your career, your success, your family, and your life?

HISTORICAL OBSERVATION: In 1939, when Napoleon Hill completed the best sales book ever written, How to Sell Your Way Through Life, he included “The habit of observation,” as one of the 28 qualities all master salespeople must possess. Here are his exact words: Habit of observation. The super-salesman is a close observer of small details. Every word uttered by the prospective buyer, every change of facial expression, every movement is observed and its significance weighted accurately. The super-salesman not only observes and analyzes accurately all that his prospective buyer does and says, but he also makes deductions from that which he does not do or say. Nothing escapes the super-salesman’s attention!

HISTORICAL OBSERVATION: Ten years ago people looked around and used what they saw to both learn and reason; to think and create experiences; to learn lessons and grow. Life lessons.

PRESENT OBSERVATION: Today everyone has a smartphone and a tablet, and the power of observation is fading into the lure of the electronic siren.

Yes, I look at my iPhone too, but I’m consciously trying my best to limit my “stare time.” I’m only interrupted when my phone rings or if I get a text.

Yes, I use apps as a necessary means to wake me up or help me find my way, and I use my phone as a camera, documenting what I observe and occasionally posting my observations on Instagram (@jeffreygitomer). I get no social media notifications, no email notifications, and none of the other dings, bells, or whistles that are offered on the electronic siren.

REASON: Interruption of thought is where focus is lost.
REASON: Interruption of thought is where ideas get lost.

IF you are focused, observation can trigger a number of powerful mental responses:

  • An idea
  • A past experience
  • A fact you want to convey
  • A developing strategy
  • The capture of a thought (voice to text please)
  • It enables you to deepen the conversation
  • It helps you make a point
  • It solidifies your thinking
  • You can uncover a motive
  • You can find common ground
  • You can build rapport
  • You may even get an AHA! from unfinished thoughts or projects.

Observation is both seeing what’s around you and
thinking what’s about you.

When you’re thinking and staring off into space, you may not be looking at anything in particular but your mental observation is being called into play.

REALITY OBSERVATION: I see people get off a plane and walk into a wall while reading or texting, and they think nothing of it.

Smartphone or no smartphone, in my experience I have observed that most people are not observant, let alone paying attention to their surroundings. The smartphone has merely increased that lack of observation, not created it.

Whatever the outcome is from your observations, they have added to your wealth of knowledge.

The reality is I’m writing this article that will get millions of views, be made into a YouTube video, appear in my weekly email magazine, become a power lesson on, and later appear in one of my books. All that will occur while most people are staring at their phones. And while I realize that’s a general observation, there is no doubt the world has become much less observant in the last five years. Especially the sales world. How observant are you?

The reason I’m writing this is because I just returned from eight days in Paris. Arguably, the most beautiful city in the world and most people there were NOT looking.

“Dude, look at your phone later. YOU’RE IN PARIS!”

No matter what I recommend, each of you reading this will justify your own situation and circumstance: whether it’s speed of response, need to communicate with customers, need for immediate information, or the simple desire to be “in the know” and “in the now.” You will remain with your head buried in your phone, not paying attention to the world around you (with the things around you) and cheating yourself out of your competitive advantage. But, that’s just my opinion.


  • Access your phone when you’re home or in your office ONLY.
  • Access information when you want to, not when you hear a beep.
  • Turn off social media notifications during the day.

NOTE WELL: Yes, speed of response is important, but if you must ding, use it as a choice rather than a must.

MENTOR LESSON: “Antennas up!” my mentor and friend, the late, great Earl Pertnoy used to say with a smile. It was one of his early pieces of advice to me. He said, “Pay attention to every detail around you. People and things.” So, I always did. And, I still do today.

That simple, but powerful piece of advice has helped me earn a fortune. And it can do the same for you.


Earlier this year I wrote more on the power of observation. If you want more on the value of paying attention to your surroundings, go to and enter the word OBSERVE in the GitBit box.