The Little Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer: Summary and Key Takeaways

The Little Red Book of Selling Summary

Are you a business owner?

Have you tried everything to boost your sales and still come up short?

We’ve got the answer to your dilemma, straight from the mouth of sales expert, Jeffrey Gitomer.

The Little Red Book of Selling will give you all the tips you need to transform your sales, and it will teach you how to focus on selling the most important thing: yourself.

To really reap from this book, Jeffrey encourages reading the book repeatedly, as frequently as possible.

Luckily, we’ve made it easier for you by summarising all the major teachings as well as giving you key takeaways!

1. Who is Jeffrey Gitomer?

Self-proclaimed ‘King of Sales’, Jeffrey Gitomer is a trainer, author, sales coach, and international speaker.

As a sales veteran of 40 years, he’s consulted with big names such as Apple, Coca-Cola ,and Microsoft, on top of writing and publishing 15 other books.

His book The Little Red Book of Selling demonstrates why sales happen, helping you to make informed choices about your business.

This body of work will dive into his 12.5 principles of “sales greatness” that teach you how to optimize your potential and more importantly, drive your sales!

So, without wasting any more time, let’s dive in.

2. The 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness

2.1. Principle #1: Kick your own ass


Achieving success in sales is a product of your motivation as a salesperson.

It all begins and ends with you.

To be prosperous in the field of sales requires consistent determination, passion, and diligence.

Key Takeaways

  • Expect more from yourself than any manager ever would
  • If you’re not motivated enough to succeed, get out as fast as you can
  • Surround yourself with successful, positive people
  • Get to work an hour before everyone else, and be the last to leave

2.2. Principle #2: Prepare to win, or lose to someone who is


To become a great salesperson, research and preparation is vital, especially when working with new clients.

You want to make sure you research everything about your client.

This will help you understand what you need to do to really convince them to consider your offer.

You want to read the company's annual report, talk to employees, competitors, and consumers, and check out their websites and sales pages.

Key Takeaways

  • Before you even make a call, do your homework
  • Time is precious. If you’re spending your time watching TV, you’re going to fail

2.3. Principle #3: Personal branding is sales: It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you

 compelling personal image

First impressions are imperative

Before you even meet a potential client in person, you must already make a great first impression.

If your name is searched on Google, what will come up? 

Establish a compelling personal image as an expert — in terms of the service you offer and the industry in which you work.

Key Takeaways

2.4. Principle #4: It’s all about value, it’s all about relationship, it’s not all about price


When selling a product or service, you want to make the value of the product stand out more than the price you’re asking. 

Clients will overlook steep prices if they’re presented with a great value proposition.

Develop a relationship with clients that goes beyond the order of business.

Clients need to feel appreciated for more than just their financial contribution.

Key Takeaways

  • People want to do business with their friends — make friends first
  • Demonstrate how your product will help your client

2.5. Principle #5: It’s NOT work, it’s NETwork


Networking is one of the best ways to increase your fortune!

You want to attend events run by your local chamber of commerce as frequently as you can. 

You also might want to consider joining high-profile charities & organizations like Entrepreneurs’ Organization that offer mentorship, online networks, and global networking opportunities.

Here are some additional ways to get networking.

Key Takeaways

  • Go where your customers go!
  • Spend 75% of your time with people you don’t know

2.6. Principle #6: If you can’t get in front of the real decision-maker, you suck


Prioritize. Whatever client you’re dealing with, determine who the decision-maker is and make sure you make an appointment with them.

Also make sure you do this before you pitch any ideas or create any presentations.

This further applies to phone calls –– don’t waste time talking about your product. 

Talk about that when you can meet!

Key Takeaways

  • You can’t sell anything if you’re not selling it face to face
  • Get past gatekeepers. Don’t let them speak to the superior for you — this is how you lose a sale

2.7. Principle #7: Engage me and you can make me convince myself


How are you going to convince your client that what you can offer is the best compared to the rest of the offers out there?

Ask the right questions that give you an idea of what is important to the client and what they need most.

These questions must make the interested party stop and think.

Key Takeaways

  • All the questions you ask must be stimulating
  • Take notes and really listen when the person speaks
  • Read the person’s body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions to know whether they are engaged in your sales conversation

2.8. Principle #8: If you can make them laugh, you can make them buy!

Humor is a great tool to use to get your client to move from being interested, to someone who actually likes you.

Through something as simple as laughter, you can get people to drop their defenses and engage with you in a truthful, trustful way.

It’s a great way of gaining their full attention and making them want more from you and your sales conversation.

Key Takeaways

  • Tell personal stories that are funny and that make you relatable
  • If you’re not good at making people laugh, study it!

2.9. Principle #9: Use CREATIVITY to differentiate and dominate


According to Jeffrey, there are 3 major ways to use creativity to distinguish yourself from the competition:

  • Asking powerful opening questions when consulting with clients
  • Impressive personal branding –– business cards, voicemail, etc.
  • By making public appearances

Key Takeaways

2.10. Principle #10: Reduce their risk and you’ll convert selling to buying

convert selling to buying

Clients are naturally going to be apprehensive about spending money due to the risks that come with it.

Eliminate these obstacles to avoid (and determine) which risks may stand in your way of making the sale.

Put your client’s mind at ease by having them evaluate the risk vs. the reward that they gain by buying into your product.

Key Takeaways

  • Social proof is a great way of making sure that customers are more comfortable in working with you. These are things like reviews, testimonials, and social shares

2.11. Principle #11: When you say it about yourself, it’s bragging. When someone else says it about you, it’s proof.


Referrals are the most important tool to consider when you want to start generating leads. 

Gitomer emphasizes the idea of getting your clients to help you gain more clients.

Seems pretty simple, but how do you do this?

Recording video testimonials of satisfied customers and then presenting those to potential customers is one way of doing it — they sometimes even work better than written testimonials!

Key Takeaways

  • Testimonials must include specific facts that point to your product/service capabilities
  • Once you have established a good relationship, ask your clients to give their reasons for buying from you

2.12. Principle #12: Antennas up!

Successful Entrepreneur

Source: Entrepreneur

To be successful as a salesperson it’s important to be ‘tuned in’ ––  to be aware of new opportunities to promote your business.

Be conscious of your environment and always engage with whoever comes across your business path — this will help you to generate new prospective clients.

The best salespeople are always selling no matter where they find themselves!

Key Takeaways

2.13. Principle #12.5: Resign your position as general manager of the universe

Learn to focus

The majority of people get too involved in others’ drama. Most of the time, it’s easier to give advice and solve each other’s problems than it is to address our own.

The problem with this is that you end up spending more time trying to solve external problems than you do tending to your business — this results in sales inefficiency and that is the last thing you want.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn to focus on your own world.

3. Conclusion

For anyone looking for a career in sales, this book is a gateway to knowledge and experience through the application of these principles.

The Little Red Book of Selling is a perfect reminder of the kind of attitude, discipline, and creativity that is needed to not only establish a career as a sales person, but to truly succeed at it.

Will it dramatically change your sales results?

Well, just like the book says — that’s entirely up to you and how much you want it.

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