Sales Tip

Sales Tip

Jack Welch knows how to sell and win. He led General Electric to sales success around the globe in multiple markets year after year.

Every salesperson can benefit from his framework for success.

His principle for winning involve the following 4-Es, 1-P and 1-R.

The first E is positive energy

It means the ability to go go go – to thrive on action and relish change. Salespeople with positive energy are generally extroverted and optimistic.

They start the day with enthusiasm and usually end it that way too, rarely seeming to tire in the middle.

They don’t complain about working hard; they love to work. They make conversation and friends easily. Salespeople with positive energy love life.

The second E is the ability to energize others

This positive energy is the ability to get other people revved up. Salespeople who energize can motivate their customers, prospects, and other members of their sales team to take on the impossible and enjoy doing it.

Energizing others is not just about giving persuasive presentations. It takes a deep knowledge of the customer’s business and strong presentation skills to make a case that will galvanize customers and prospects. It means being a great communicator who can clearly define objectives. It means being dead serious about the work, but not taking themselves too seriously.

Salespeople who energize customers and prospects have a good sense of humor and share credit readily. Their attitude is always upbeat, no matter how hard the job.

The third E is edge – the courage to make tough yes-or-no decisions

The world of selling is filled with gray. Any salesperson can look at an issue from every angle. Some salespeople can – and will – analyze those angles indefinitely.

Effective salespeople know when to stop assessing and make a tough call, even without total information.

Little is worse than a salesperson who can’t make a decision, within the framework of authority.

Salespeople who can’t make decisions usually see too many options that keep them from acting decisively. That indecisiveness may keep their customers in limbo.

Salespeople who tell customers they’ll have to get back to them on issues they have the ability and authority to resolve are missing the critical edge.

After the E’s, the P is for passion

This means a heartfelt, deep and authentic excitement about work. Salespeople with passion care – really care – about customers, prospects, coworkers and friends.

They love to learn and grow and they get a huge kick when their customers, coworkers and friends do the same.

Their passion isn’t restricted to work. They tend to be passionate about everything. They’re sports trivia nuts or they’re fanatical supporters of their alma maters or they’re just political junkies. They just have juice for life in their veins.

The final characteristic is R, for heavy duty resilience

Every salesperson makes mistakes, stumble and falls. The test is whether he or she learns from their mistakes, regroups, and then gets going again with renewed speed, conviction and confidence.

The name for this trait is resilience, and it is so important that a salesperson must have it going into a job or develop it quickly.

Salespeople who have had one or two tough experiences usually have resilience. They have had the wind knocked out of them but proved they will run even harder in the next race.

The global business world today is going to knock salespeople off their horses more than once. They must know how to get back in the saddle again.


Adapted from Winning by Jack and Suzy Welch ( Harper Business). Jack Welch led General Electric during a forty- year career at General Electric. Suzy Welch is the former editor of the Harvard Business Review. She is the author of numerous articles about leadership, creativity, change and organized behavior.