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Step by step: moving up personal development ladder

I’m at part three of answering this question from a reader: “I have a personal question for you that may help other subscribers deal with the ups and downs of being in the sales profession. Honestly, how long did it take you to become a “good” salesman?”

“All my life” is the answer. But that doesn’t help you understand what it takes. After I began learning the science of selling, I never wanted to become “good.” I always wanted to become “great.” With this goal, I passed the “good” level pretty quickly.

I also passed all the people who got into sales “for the money.”

You may have missed the first two parts. RECAP: In part one I discussed genetic, environmental and family situations. Part two was the evolution of my selling skills. It’s interesting that as my skills as a salesman got better, my need to use them diminished. Once I began building relationships, and delivering value, people bought.

“Get Great” part three and four have the philosophical, long-term actions and personal side of growth. All the elements below need time to mature, and take a consistent dedication and never-ending desire to be “best.” I have become “the best at what I do” by reading, observing, thinking, speaking and writing. So can you.

Realizing that I was better at sales than anybody else I knew. After a year of intensive sales training, I realized I had superior (but unproven) ability. After a few years of selling garments in New York City, I realized my skill level was high, not only in selling skills, but in presentation skills, and especially in creativity skills. I was able to combine all three.

Loving what I sell. It’s hard to get passionate about something you don’t love. Selling is no exception. Every success in sales that I have ever had has been because I loved what I sold. And that holds true to this very day.

Believing in what I sell. Everything I have ever sold came from a deep belief that I was selling the best of what I had to offer. In my business evolution there were several products and services that helped me grow. That growth was spawned by the deep belief in each one of them. My belief, my love and my passion were so great that it became transferable to the buyer. They caught my emotion, and they bought my emotion.

Giving free speeches at trade shows and organizations I belonged to. As my expertise grew, people wanted to know how I did what I did. I would often get asked to speak at annual trade shows in my industry. I always looked at it as fun. I prepared well, had handouts for everyone, and due to my knowledge of the industry and of what I did, I was never nervous giving a speech. And it seemed as though every time I spoke it led me to more business.

Writing leads to wealth. On March 22, 1992, my first column appeared in the Charlotte Business Journal. It was not a life-changing event. It was the life-changing event. Every penny that I have earned since March 22, 1992, I can trace back to something that I wrote.

NOTE WELL: I never wrote to make money. I wrote to clarify thinking and help others. But it seems as if you do it well and people accept your thought process and can adopt it, it somehow turns into money.

Discovering that writing leads to paid speaking engagements. Once my column became more widely known, more and more speaking requests came in. I’ve averaged more than 100 speeches a year for the last 15 years, without ever making a sales call.

As you read each of these elements, think about how you can incorporate them into your personal success model. One word of caution: none of these elements are easy to master. The words “best” and “easy” have nothing to do with one another. I recommend that you make an assessment of each element, and determine how it fits into your life, so you can fit more money into your pocket.

Stay tuned, the final secrets are next week.

GitBit: This is part three of a four-part column. You may have missed parts one and two. But you’re in luck! All four parts will be posted online at www.gitomer.com for 30 days following publication of the fourth part. Or, to view the column in full, you can enter the words GITGOOD in the GitBit box on my Web site.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail


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