A Book Review: How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling by Frank Bettger


The book How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success in Selling was written by Frank Bettger in 1947. It is considered a business classic. I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed the book and found that I read it quickly and with pleasure. It was filled with fabulous stories that inspired me. The chapter and section summaries were helpful to solidify the ideas and are a handy reference for future review. Although Frank Bettger was a life insurance salesman, the information applies to all areas of sales.

Here is a brief overview of some of the key points that Bettger discussed. Begin with enthusiasm. It is said he went from failure to success in his life because he discovered the power of enthusiasm. Bettger suggests forcing yourself to act enthusiastic, and you will eventually actually be enthusiastic.

Write your sales talk out word for word and practice it over and over. Join an organization where you must speak so that you may practice and improve your public speaking ability.

Bettger recommends taking a day each week for organizing and planning the week ahead. Do what is most importance first.

In sales, you must see people and set up interviews or appointments. He recommends sharing your story with at least 4 or 5 people each day. Sell the interview not your product at first. Stop swinging for a home run and instead try to get on first base by getting an appointment.

Bettger stated, “I no longer worry about being a brilliant conversationalist. I simply try to be a good listener. I notice that people who do that are usually welcome wherever they go.”

Cultivate the art of asking questions. Be brief and don’t talk too much. Look for and find the key issue and stick to it. Ask the question “why” and “In addition to that… ?” Find out what the other person wants and help him or her find the best way to get it.

There is only one way to get someone to do something and that is to make him or her want to do it. There are generally two reasons for doing something-one reason that sounds good and the real reason. Welcome objections and find the hidden objection.

Bettger has a chapter that discusses the close of sales. There are four steps to the average close: attention, interest, desire, and close.

Know your business, and praise your competitors. Never exaggerate!

New customers are the best source of new business-referrals. Follow up on leads immediately and report back results good or bad.

Look your best, dress for success. Be a sincere friend and give everyone a genuine smile. Remember names and faces! Get a good understanding and pronunciation of the name, repeat the name often in conversation, and associate the name with an action picture if possible.

Lastly Bettger suggested deciding on thirteen personal qualities or traits to work on each week. You could also choose a part of the sales process. Put these points of focus on notecards and give your full attention to one each week and then repeat.

This summary is simply a highlight of topics that Bettger dives into with his outstanding book. I highly recommend it for anyone in sales! The book has been a testimony to the quality of Frank Bettger’s life and success in sales. He was one of the highest paid salesmen in America. Many years after his death and the era of his writing, the advice is sound and timeless. Frank Bettger died in 1988 at the age of 93.


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