Principles For Successful Living

By Tom Goetschius

What could be more appropriate for the start of a new year than a roadmap pointing the way to a life well-lived? Resort Trades is proud to present a summation of Tom Goetschius’ three-part series, “Principle Based Training.” (See the August and September 2018 issues of Resort Trades to read Parts One and Two.)

Parts One and Two of “Principle Based Training” (Communication Principles and Sales Principles) helped sales people understand that there are fundamental truths that serve as the foundation for a system of behavior that they call “sales techniques”. Let me add “Principles For Successful Living” as the third set of principles. One might question the relevance. What does advice on how to live a good life have to do with training salespeople? I would submit that it has everything to do with training salespeople. Where is the validity in whatever behaviors proposed in Parts One and Two if those sales practices are at odds with the most universal of all principles? Indeed, maybe this section should be the first set of principles presented in an effective sales training program.

There is no lack of advice on how to get the most out of life from Napoleon Hill’s Life’s Lessons, to Tony Robbins’ Unleash The Power Within, Dr. Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People, and a host of others. In a March, 2018 study Business Wire, a Berkshire Hathaway Company, reports that motivational self-improvement is a $9.9 billion a year industry.

What follows are three of the most basic of universal laws that guide us to a life well-lived. They are chosen to be included here because of their relevance to the behaviors of salespeople.


“As a social construct, reciprocity means that in response to friendly actions, people are frequently much nicer and much more cooperative than predicted by the self-interest model; conversely, in response to hostile actions they are frequently much more nasty and even brutal. Reciprocity makes it possible to build continuing relationships and exchanges.”

(Fehr and Gächter, “Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity,” Journal of Economic Perspectives)

In terms of predictive behavior in a sales situation, reciprocity means that the behavior that you desire in others you must first model. What do you want from your customer?

  • If you want your customer to be friendly and congenial, then you project a friendly and congenial attitude.
  • If you want your customer to be open minded to the possibility of buying something, then the salesperson must be open minded to the notion that what they are selling may not be suited to what the customer wants or needs. Self-serving sales advice like, “Your money is in their pocket” is ill advised and contrary to developing a good relationship.
  • If you want your customer to be understanding of your point of view, then you must be willing to understand theirs. Take the advice from Dr. Stephen Covey in his book, The 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People, “Seek First To Understand…..Then To Be Understood.”

Whatever behavior you want from your customer, be willing to give it. Be aware, however, of the negative aspect of this powerful principle. If you give arrogance, you will get arrogance in return. Whatever negative behavior you give will earn you the same in response.

The Investment/Return Principle:

This simply means you must put something in, in order to get something out. One does not get something from nothing. There is no free lunch. The larger the investment, the larger the return. Whatever you want in life is equal to the amount of work, effort, dedication and sacrifice you are willing to put into it.

Advice for salespeople:

  • There are no shortcuts to success. Study your craft. Read books. Listen to tapes or CD’s
  • Put in the time. Know your product. Know the competition or alternatives.
  • Learn from those who have come before you.
  • Practice, practice, practice.

The Law Of Attraction:

Simply put, the Law of Attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. It is believed that regardless of age, nationality or religious belief, we are all susceptible to the laws which govern the Universe, including the Law of Attraction. It is the Law of Attraction which uses the power of the mind to translate whatever is in our thoughts and materialize them into reality. In basic terms, all thoughts turn into things eventually. If you focus on negative doom and gloom you will remain under that cloud. If you focus on positive thoughts and have goals that you aim to achieve you will find a way to achieve them with massive action. This is why the universe is such an infinitely beautiful place. The Law of Attraction dictates that whatever can be imagined and held in the mind’s eye is achievable if you take action on a plan to get to where you want to be”. (Catherine Hurst, The Secret Law Of Attraction, Greater Minds LTD, London, UK, 2016)

The ‘Law Of Attraction’ is as old as the universe itself.  Everything in The Universe is energy; your thoughts, emotions and even actions are energy that affect other energy. Therefore, what you decide to focus on will attract other energies that are vibrating at the same frequency. Like energies can only attract like energies”. (“The Ancient Origins Of The Law Of Attraction”, Josh Gwatkin, posted on “Unveiling Knowledge” website, 2015)

Buddha said “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”

As A Man Thinketh, by James Allen was first published in 1903 and reprinted a number of times, most recently in 2018. The best seller talks about the power of thought in shaping what happens to us, whether positive or negative. It drew its inspiration from Proverbs 23.7, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

The ‘Law Of Attraction’ may be the most profound of any natural law. It affects us knowingly or unknowingly, and when understood and applied in a positive fashion can give a life of success, fulfillment and happiness.

“You become what you think about all day long.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Your life moves in the direction of your most dominant thoughts.” — Earl Nightingale

Advice for salespeople:

  1. Of course, have a positive attitude. But it goes beyond just that. Don’t entertain negative thoughts because… “The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” — Job 3:25 King James Version
  2. Be careful with whom you associate. “The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An. important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative. thinking and negative acting people.” — Colin Powell
  3. Engage in Positive Affirmations: “The power of affirmations lies in their ability to transform your external world by first changing your internal one. In addition, you can use affirmations for all sorts of goals, from self-confidence to career success, love, and abundance. Their only limitations are the ones you place on them (Catherine Hurst, The Secret Law Of Attraction, Greater Minds LTD, London, UK, 2016)

The power in Principle Based Training is the confidence that salespeople develop knowing that there are fundamental truths that form the foundation for the methodology they employ. Salespeople should strive to always be in alignment with these principles and practice the behaviors they demand. They make evident the power and effectiveness of whatever sales technique that is taught and, moreover, according to Emerson, enable salespeople “to develop their own techniques and be successful in any environment.”

Tom Goetschius spent 35 years in the resort industry as a salesperson, manager, director of sales, trainer, and project director. He started Tom Goetschius Associates, a training and consulting company, in 1994. Currently, Goetschius is Adjunct Professor of Speech, at Valencia College, Kissimmee, Florida. (