Four Words: Winner. Whiner. Smart. Dumb. Pick Two!

“Everyone is in business for himself, for he is selling his services, labor or ideas. Until one realizes that this is true he will not take conscious charge of his life and will always be looking outside himself for guidance.”

~ Sidney Madwed

Four Words: Winner. Whiner. Smart. Dumb. Pick Two!

By Jeffrey Gitomer

QUESTIONS: Who’s going to win the next Super Bowl? Who’s going to win the next World Series? Who’s going to win the next Masters Tournament?

ANSWER: The team or the player that’s best prepared. The team or the player that makes the fewest mistakes. The team or the player that stays steady and keeps its cool. The team or the player that creates breaks and takes advantage of them. The team or the player that prepares one razzle-dazzle play, takes the risk at the opportune time, and pulls it off. The team with the most dedicated players. The team or the player with the best coach.

Same in sales.

In last year’s Super Bowl, both teams were capable of winning. But victory does not always go to who’s the best. It more often goes to who’s the SMARTEST. Smartest coach. Smartest players. And, of course, whomever got the breaks, and took advantage of them.

Same in sales. The smartest will win, especially if they get the breaks. (Or do smart people create breaks?)

BIG QUESTION: What does smart selling mean to you?

MY ANSWER: It doesn’t take as much brains as it does take understanding. So, I have created the perfect acronym to help you:

A – Have the ATTITUDE of a WINNER.

Pretty simple. No memorization required. No “find the pain” manipulation. Just an easy to understand formula that will guide you to more business.

Let me deepen the SMART SELLING definitions:

S – SMILE. This defines your warmth, approachability, and overall feeling. It’s a greeting beyond a handshake that sends a welcome, open message. It’s both peaceful and reassuring.

M – MAKE FRIENDS. This is not as easy as it seems. Some prospects want to keep it “all business.” Your responsibility is to create friendly dialog that might result in finding some common ground. Look for their smile. That’s a sign you’re breaking the ice. And note my mantra: All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being NOT QUITE so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends.

A – Have the ATTITUDE of a WINNER. This is not just a positive or a YES! Attitude. This is a winning attitude that combines your will to win, your preparation, and your self-belief. It’s a positive, internal confidence based on previous wins. Not cocky, more like self-assured in a way that passes your confidence on to the customer.

R – Take RELATIONSHIP ACTIONS. This means you take long-term oriented actions. Actions that will stand the test of time. Actions that give your customer the feeling you represent their best interest, not just your own. You speak the truth, have high ethical standards, and are known for service. You’re taking service actions, and value actions beyond the sale. Not sell and run (the 1970’s definition of “hunter”), rather stay and help. Earn the relationship to a point where it becomes referral based, and testimonial possible.

T – TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Taking responsibility starts with who you are as a person, and transcends to who you are as a salesperson. As a smart salesperson, you have to know the responsibility is yours if you lose a sale – the same as if you win a sale. The good news is when you become responsible for both success and failure, you also become a student of sales and life. Blaming others (the opposite of responsibility) allows you a hall pass from self-education. It’s forgotten or passed-on rather than studied.

MAJOR AHA! I just tweeted: “When it’s raining outside, and you blame the rain, keep in mind it’s raining on everybody. Take responsibility. #gitomer” – RESULT: 42 re-tweets and 14 favorites within 1 hour – on a Sunday morning!

Here are a few more critical elements of Smart Selling: Product smart. Customer smart. Value smart. Preparation smart. Follow-up smart. Service smart.

BIGGER QUESTION: How smart of a salesperson are you? Now that you have my definition, the reality is you may think you’re smarter than you actually are.

* Smart salespeople don’t sell on price.
* Smart salespeople don’t reduce price.
* Smart salespeople don’t match price.
BIGGEST QUESTION: Now that you have read this, are you still as smart as you thought you were a few minutes ago? Probably not, but that’s a good thing. Now that you’re aware of what “smart-selling” consists of, you can begin to take advantage of it.

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



How smart of a salesperson are you? What action will you take this week to become an even smarter salesperson? Share with us in the comment area below.