Why Do Salespeople Fail – Because They Think They Will!

by Jeffrey Gitomer

Do you have a positive attitude?

Everyone will say yes, But less than one in one hundred actually do! One percent!

Are you really in the one percentile? All you have to do is pass this simple test.

No Yes

___ ___ I watch the news for about 1 hour per day.
___ ___ I read the paper every day.
___ ___ I read a news magazine every week.
___ ___ I sometimes have a bad day, all day.
___ ___ I get angry for an hour or more.
___ ___ I look to blame others when something goes wrong.
___ ___ When something goes wrong or bad, I tell others.
___ ___ I get angry at my spouse and don’t talk for more than 4 hours.
___ ___ I bring and discuss problems to work from home.
___ ___ I plan for the worst.
___ ___ I’m affected by bad weather (too cold, too hot, rain) enough to talk about it frequently.

What’s your score?

  • 0-2 answers of “yes” – you have a positive attitude.
  • 3-6 answers of “yes” – you have a negative attitude.
  • 7 or more answers of “yes” – you have a problem attitude. Serious problem.

More than 4 “yes” answers? Go out and invest in the books, tapes and courses of Dale Carnegie, Norman Vincent Peale, Ken Blanchard, W. Clement Stone, Napolean Hill, Earl Nightengale, Wayne Dyer and Denis Waitley. People who write about how you can, not why you can’t.

The plot thickens. Several national tests have revealed the following startling statistics about why salespeople fail.

  • 15% – Improper training – both product and sales skills.
  • 20% – Poor verbal and written communication skills.
  • 15% – Poor or problematic boss or management.
  • 50% – Attitude.

Sounds almost impossible, doesn’t it? Salespeople (or anyone else) could succeed 50% more if they just change the way they think. Earl Nightengale, in his legendary tape “The Strangest Secret,” reveals the secret of a positive attitude. We become what we think about. But, it’s a dedicated discipline that must be practiced.

Want to begin to change your attitude to change your success (and income)? Try adding and living these thoughts and exercises.

  1. When something goes wrong, remember it’s no one’s fault but yours.
  2. You always have (and have had) a choice.
  3. If you think it’s OK, it is . . . if you think it’s not OK, it’s not.
  4. Ignore the local junk news – do a project, make a plan, or do something to enhance your life.
  5. For one year, read only positive books and material.
  6. When you face an obstacle, or something goes wrong, look for the opportunity.
  7. Listen to attitude audio tapes, attend seminars, take courses.
  8. Ignore people who tell you, “You can’t,” or try to discourage you.
  9. Check your language – is it half full or half empty, partly cloudy or partly sunny? Avoid why, can’t, won’t.
  10. Say why you like things, people, job, and family. Not why you don’t.
  11. Help others without expectation or measuring.
  12. – If you say, “I’m not ’cause he’s not,” who loses?
  13. – If you say, “Why should I when he . . . ,” who loses?
  14. Visit a children’s hospital or find a guy in a wheelchair.


© 2006 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Little Red Book of Selling and The Little Red Book of Sales Answers. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on sales and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to [email protected].