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Jeffrey Gitomer: What I Know




Jeffrey Gitomer has never been known for fence-sitting … on any subject. Here, he offers some clear-cut advice about building a successful business — 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.

Enthusiasm is contagious. The energy of the salesperson must always be at its highest level so that the perspective customer can feel most comfortable about moving forward.

My first rule has always been: Treat your employees better than you treat your customers. By doing this, you provide an internal atmosphere that can easily be transferred to customer service.

Marketing must focus on existing customers as much as it does new customers in order for loyalty to become part of anyone’s business fabric.

I realized that sales was for me when I discovered I could be the master of it and still crave to be the student of it.

My mentors are people with wisdom — either alive or dead. I read from mentors like Napoleon Hill, Orison Swett Marden and Dale Carnegie. I learn from and look up to wise and close friends who have my best interests at heart.


My real education came from my entrepreneurial family, my environmental surroundings as a youth, my entrepreneurial experiences, my personal study of selling and personal development for the past 35 years, and, of course, my years as a salesperson.

Many companies measure customer satisfaction. This is an incomplete measurement, because many satisfied customers will leave if they get a lower price.

When philosophy and attitude meet skill and passion, then the atmosphere to buy will be at its highest.

The customer’s perception is your reality.

The customer does not want to know about you until you know about them.

I often wonder how many times salespeople give up just before the customer is willing to say, “Yes.” I think the answer is: too many times.


In my experience, I have found that it’s much harder to stay No. 1 than it is to get to No. 1.

If you don’t love what you do, you will never achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself, let alone the arbitrary ones your company sets for you (also known as quotas). If you’re in sales for the money, get out now and become a lawyer or a politician.

Most failures are based on poor communication rather than poor execution.

From my perspective, a sales interview (erroneously known as a sales presentation) should consist of 75 percent questions.

When I use the word “motivation,” I put the word “self” in front of it. Salespeople have a responsibility to be self-inspired, self-determined, and self-starting.

When salespeople join a company, an intense course in product knowledge is mandatory.


The sophistication of the Internet and its users has brought about more sales change in the last 10 years than in the previous 1,000. Today’s customer is not only more educated and more prepared — he also has alternatives.

Most people take jobs and hate them. If I didn’t do what I currently do, then I would take a job in a bookstore or a sports memorabilia store, or I would become a cook. I would take a job where I could learn and do something fun.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

Downsizing? Wilkerson Is Here to Help

Orin Mazzoni, Jr., the owner of Orin Jewelers in Garden City and Northville, Michigan, decided it was time to downsize. With two locations and an eye on the future, Mazzoni asked Wilkerson to take the lead on closing the Garden City store. Mazzoni met Wilkerson’s Rick Hayes some years back, he says, and once he made up his mind to consolidate, he and Hayes “set up a timeline” for the sale. Despite the pandemic, Mazzoni says the everything went smoothly. “Many days, we had lines of people waiting to get in,” he says, adding that Wilkerson’s professionalism made it all worthwhile. “Whenever you do an event like this, you think, ‘I’ve been doing this my whole life. Do I really need to pay someone to do it for me?’ But then I realized, these guys are the pros and we need to move forward with them.”

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