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Harry Friedman: This I Know




In his years training top salespeople at big-name businesses across the globe, you can bet Harry Friedman has learned a thing or two. Here, he shares some of those lessons — in his own words. (First published in The SMART Show supplement that shipped with the January edition of INSTORE.)

First published in The SMART Show supplement that shipped with the January edition of INSTORE.

You’ve really gotta know your stuff. Period. If we’re talking about jewelry stores, you’ve gotta go beyond your inventory and know the industry. It’s paramount.

If I’m going to spend my money with somebody, I’m looking and testing for competence. Have a high degree of product knowledge, a hypersensitivity to my needs and don’t appear to have some sort of agenda that’s not pro-customer.

Customers have a ticket, you put on a show. Period. Doesn’t matter if you feel like it or not, or if you’re having a bad day or not. In 30 years, I’ve never put on a presentation with less than an A-plus effort.

Not unlike a lot of other entertainers — which salespeople are whether they like it or not — I’m a little more reserved and shy than people think.


You can’t make up enthusiasm.

I took a Max Sacks International professional selling course when I was 19 or 20. It changed my life.

I’m a wee bit of a Renaissance guy who loves doing lots of things. I have a small vineyard and winery on my property, I just rode my bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles. And I’m a pilot, scuba diver and magician. Maybe I get bored too easily.

In most cases, I turn off sales movies. I love the sales game and most of the movies are somehow a put-down of salesmanship.

It’s never a good time to take a few days off. You have to find out why you wanted to take the days off and fix that problem.

I play very well with others, but I’m singularly focused.


What is the goal of a basketball player on offense? Everybody thinks it’s to score. Not true: The goal of a basketball player on offense is to get the ball to the person most likely to score.

Teamwork is the result of individuals doing their jobs. Period. It does not exist in its own universe as a standalone.

We live in a world where you’re absolutely free to fail, and you’re also free to succeed. Pick one — you’re going to get there.

It’s tough right now. Real tough. It doesn’t matter. Ultimately, you still have to make a choice of what you’re going to do. I say, go down in flames being great.

Salesmanship has always been a choice business. Every time a customer comes in, you choose how you’re going to serve him. It’s a choice. And to quote a beer commercial, “Choose wisely, my friend.”



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