What does it take to become a (sales) success?

What does it take to become a (sales) success?

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.


What do great salespeople do that’s different from mediocre ones? Good question. Zillions of answers so I decided to ask a very successful salesperson that very question.

Andy Jacobson, regional vice president for Guarantee Life Insurance Company, sells employee benefits (things like disability, life and dental insurance for employees given to them as a benefit by their employers). Jacobson’s customers are insurance brokers.

Insurance, in any form, is arguably America’s toughest sale. I mean who wants to spend an evening with an insurance salesman unless you’re married to one and even then it’s probably only half the time.

But Jacobson is a different kind of insurance salesman. When you meet him, you like him right away. He’s relaxed and self assured but beyond that he is genuine, and straight forward with that intangible sales factor of charisma.

“‘Andy, how did you do it?’ That’s the biggest question I get asked about how I have become the number one salesman for my company.”

“Over the past eight years, I have developed a NON-SECRET routine which has allowed me to achieve success.” Jacobson continues, “Someone told me a long time ago, success is a lot easier to attain, than it is to maintain. The following ten non-secret principles have allowed me to maintain my success.”

1. Visualize your success before you make a move. Picture yourself achieving your dreams and desires. The Porsche in the driveway or financial security for life. A vision of success.

2. Set goals that others think are crazy. What is it specifically you want to accomplish? How long will it take you to achieve? When achieved, you must reset your goals for the next (bigger) challenge. You are always climbing (ahead of others).

3. Create your own Road Map to Success. When I travel, I take a map. Same in sales. Where do you want to go? What path do you have to take to get there? When do you want to arrive? How often? Each individual step? The road map will always get you where you want to go.

4. Plan to win. Plan and organize your day, week, month, and year, so that you have a clear focus of what you are doing and when. You need to allow for 25% reshuffling. Rule of success: always do the closest thing to closing the sale.

5. Strategize with yourself. Go over in your mind what it will take, what is the customer looking for, what is their motivation, and press their “Hot Button”.

6. Get religion. Your plan and strategy: religiously do the things that you have determined as necessary to achieve your goals.

7. Commitment to the plan. Stay the course, the harder things get, the harder you work. You have your road map to follow with little room to deviate.

8. Keep coming back to the customer and to yourself. Persistence. Keep evaluating and reevaluating what does the customer want, need. I have a saying I use with my sales reps, “We’re coming in, it is either going to be through the door or the window, but we’re coming in.”

9. Develop the habit of repetition. Repeat the things that have worked in the past. Soon you will realize your desired results every time. Commit your successful actions to memory and habit.

10. Put aside the things that will take you off the path. Discipline: Keep yourself committed and focused to continually do the things you need to. Do not allow yourself to go astray.

“One of the most important things you can do to be successful, and the one that most people really do not do, is to THINK. Allow yourself quiet time away from phones and meetings. Time which you can clear your mind, and focus in on what it is you are doing.” Jacobson says. “A big picture view helps capture small successes. I think about marketplace demands, and what my customers want? Then write my thoughts down as fuel to fill my success pipeline. If you learn to think before you act, you will always know the consequence of your actions before they happen.

“A lot of people are afraid of sales. I’m scared to sit behind a desk.” says Jacobson, “I think it would be frightening to know how much you’re going to make every week. I’d rather have the opportunity to earn all I can earn.”

“To be successful selling to insurance brokers, you must first seek to make them successful. I go out on sales calls with and on behalf of my brokers.

Yes, I often make sales for others. It’s the most personally rewarding aspect of my career. Many of my peers think I’m nuts making sales calls for my brokers, but to me it’s the best way I know to build relationships that last.” With Jacobson’s number one ranking, obviously there’s merit to his philosophy of helping others succeed.

“Nine years ago I heard a statement that has stuck with me. ‘The difference between successful people, and unsuccessful people is that successful people do the things that unsuccessful people do not want to do.’ I have spent the last decade investing my time building others. It’s been my most successful and profitable investment.”

Success is a wonderful thing, but you pay a price to get it. Andy Jacobson was willing to invest his time and money to achieve it. How much are you willing to invest in your success?


FREE GitBit… Want two more success formulas? My sales philosophy and the success challenges of the Great Jim Rohn are yours for the faxing Just go to www.gitomer.com click Access GitBit register and enter the words PHILOSOPHY in the search box.