The Wisdom of Shari Levitin

Curated from
by Resort Trades

“You can probably
count on the fingers of one hand the number of
Influencers you’ve managed to run across; that is,
people who make a mark by introducing constructive change in the thinking of
others. I count Shari Levitin as one. I’ve admired her ability to build a
training company – a training platform, actually – that is readily understood
and embraced by her constituents. But I also recognize that she has a genuine
respect and appreciation for others and approaches her work as a
humanitarian…someone who wants to make a positive contribution to the world
around her. We, at The Trades, are delighted to feature two of her articles
curated from
As you read them you will find they are universal in their applicability to
everyone, whether or not they have the word ‘sales’ in their job title.”

–Sharon Scott
Wilson, Publisher, The Trades Publishing Company


People often ask me; “What are the
attributes of top salespeople?” Many traits are critical to selling like
empathy, resilience, strategic thinking, and practiced optimism, to name a few.
But the one trait that supercedes them all is, discipline.

And yes,
discipline can and must be cultivated.

“Culture,” as
Eric Gretains writes in his book “Resilience,” was originally a word for the
tilling and tending of the land. Later people made an analogy and suggested
that you could cultivate yourself.

So culture also
came to mean the things you could see, listen to, learn, sample and mostly
practice to live a more fulfilled and meaningful life. Cultivating discipline
tops the list.

You need
discipline to…….

Make the tough

Do the hard work
early in the morning

Say no

Say yes when you
think the answer is no and learn why you may have been mistaken

Stay with your
goals when you feel the inevitable pain of change set in

Break bad habits

Abort outdated

Strengthen your

Flex your mind

One of the things
that is disheartening to me, is when salespeople are told they don’t have what
it takes. They’re made to feel dumb, less than or somehow inadequate. I was
told that once. I would need to stay a greeter, the happy face at the front

We can do better.
Everyone can learn to cultivate their discipline and their sales talent.

The very word
Discipline comes from discipulus, the Latin word for pupil, which also provided
the source of the word disciple.

You weren’t born
with discipline any more than you were born with the ability to sail a boat,
build a bridge or play an instrument. Discipline is a quality we build. We can
practice it in the choices we make and in the habits we break.

Watch this week’s
video, Three Outdated Sales Tactics that Simply Won’t Work in the New Year

If you want the
wisdom, the success, the clarity and the rewards that come from discipline, the
price is clear and this is a great place to start.


And you may find
yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

And you may find
yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife

And you may ask
yourself, “Well… how did I get here?”

– Talking Heads,
Once in a Lifetime

For as long as
humans have inhabited earth, we have struggled with the tension between how we
want our lives to be and how they really are. Where I want to be versus where I
ended up. After studying top performers for over 30 years, I can assure you,
top performers resolve this tension in entirely different ways from those they

In short, they
are energized and tantalized by the possibility of doing better instead of
defeated by it.

Follow these
three strategies:


As the saying
goes, “If you think you’re the smartest one in the room, find a new room.”

As I write this
blog, I’m on my way to Dreamforce, the largest sales conference on the planet.
I’m speaking about artificial intelligence and the future of sales alongside
Marco Casalaina, the developer of Salesforce Einstein AI for Business. Truth?
I’m worried when I arrive I’ll bring the IQ of the entire room down by 20

When we’re
children, we don’t get to choose what kind of relationships we are exposed to
or which of those voices we will replay in our heads. But as we mature, and
recognize our limits, we have the ability to choose who we associate with and
what kind of relationships will push us to grow and improve.

The bottom line:
Successful people fail more, but they also fail faster. Moreover, they surround
themselves with role models.

The best
self-improvement starts outside us. The capacity to grow and perform at your
peak comes first and foremost from those with whom we surround ourselves.
That’s why I encourage sales teams and sales leaders to thrust themselves in
uncomfortable situations: where they’re nervous, pushed and even intimidated.
When the people around us are better, we get better.


Stop taking
“no’s” personally, and you’ll take more chances and reap greater rewards.

Research shows
rejection can manifest as physical pain. But, when you stop taking no
personally, your goals and dreams will outweigh your fears. Haven’t you said no
to someone you like and admire? Sometimes the timing was wrong. Sometimes the
offer wasn’t right. You had to say no. If you can say it, you can hear it.

The best thing
you can do when you’re afraid is to take a chance. Be bold, and tell a friend
or mentor exactly what your biggest fears are. Better yet, shout them to the

Here are mine
that I divulge in my book Heart and Sell (These don’t include my personal fears
like losing my family, getting old, and living in an apartment with a poodle in
the Fairfax district.)

I’ll never be as
good as (fill in the blanks—my mother, my brother, my colleagues, my

I really don’t
know what I’m doing—I’m in over my head. (Imposter syndrome-this is not my
beautiful house, this is not my beautiful wife).

I won’t have
anything new to say.

I’m a has-been.

People will laugh
at me.

My life won’t
make a difference.

Take a moment and
write down your biggest fears. You can send them to me here: shari @
sharilevitin dot com.


Go after the
low-hanging fruit, and you’ll be competing against lots of cherry pickers. Take
the more difficult path, and you will reap greater rewards. Or, as my friend
David Atkins, a sales manager, put it: “Get out on the skinny branches.”

David likened
sales success to climbing out on the skinny branches of a tree. “The most
important sales virtue is courage,” he said. Top performers take chances. They
create strategies to face rejection, and they accept that failure is an
inevitable and necessary stop on the road to success. I try to get out on the
skinny branches every day. I ask myself:

“What’s the one
thing that I could do today, or the one person I could call who I know could
reject me, BUT…………….. If they didn’t, it would change my business and my life.”

Try it… Right
now, make a list of the ten people that you are most afraid or embarrassed to
contact. The big accounts, the ones you’re not ready to call, the scary ones.

Great! That’s the
easy part.

The hard part—but
the most satisfying part—comes next. Pick up the phone, knock on the door,
enter the scary room, reach out to those people, and go for the sale!

Want to learn
more? Get my free eBook 7 Keys to Beating

About Shari Levitin

Shari Levitin helps sales teams bridge the gap between beating
quota and selling with an authentic heartfelt approach. As the founder of the
Shari Levitin Group, Shari has helped create over 1 billion dollars in
increased revenue for companies in over 40 countries. Shari is the bestselling
author of Heart and Sell: 10 Universal
Truths Every Salesperson Needs to Know
, a contributor to Forbes, CEO Magazine, and the Huffington Post.