The Greatest Salesman In The World by Og Mandino

In The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino tells us how to become a successful sales person in the form of a parable.

Although it was written in 1968, all of the advice in it is timeless. In fact, if you’ve spent some time reading books in the personal development realm over the past 10 years, you’ll notice a lot of the themes Mandino touches on being re-introduced in a scientific manner.

What’s old is new again, as they say.

So let’s dig into this parable, which starts over 2,000 years ago.

The Story

Around the time of Jesus there is this guy named Pathros, who is widely recognized as the Greatest Salesman in the World. He has a employee named Hafid, who takes care of his camels. He also happens to be his adopted son. Like most people who take care of camels, I suspect, he longs for more.

Specifically, he has a young woman named Lesha that he wants to start a family with and take care of. Camel boy wages just won’t cut it.

So he asks Pathros if he can become one of his salesmen instead. Reluctantly, Pathros agrees and gives Hafid a test. He is to go to sell a fancy robe in a city where no salesman has been successful in a very long time. Sell the robe, the challenge goes, and I will give you more responsibility when you come back.

Hafid fails spectacularly. Not only does he fail to sell the robe, he gives it away to a family in need. But something peculiar happens on the way back home – a bright star follows his path the entire way. A star so bright that Pathros, waiting patiently at home, feels like this is a sign that he’s to turn over his secret scrolls to Hafid.

(We won’t ruin the rest of the parable here for you – you’ll have to buy the book if you want the details)

The scrolls come with 3 conditions. The first condition is that he has to follow the instructions contained in the scrolls. The second condition is that Hafid has to give half of his earnings to the poor. And the third condition is that he can’t share what he learns in the scrolls with anybody, until he receives a sign that he is to pass them on to a “chosen” person.

So, today, you are that chosen person and you about to learn what it takes to become the Greatest Salesman in the World.

The Scroll Marked I – Today I Begin A New Life

Failure, in almost any circumstance, can be defined as our inability to reach our goals in life.

Scroll I tells us that there’s a method to overcoming this common problem, and that you must follow it.

Specifically, you’ll leave behind your old ways of being and habits, and adopt newer and better ones. Because let’s face it, the old ones weren’t working.

The new habit, which you will begin today, consists of reading each scroll (or, in our case, applying each principle you learn) for thirty days.

The scroll instructs us to read it silently when we wake up, in silence after the midday meal, and out loud just before going to bed.

The goal is to repeat the words daily so that they become part of your conscious thought, and through repetition that they will also become part of your unconscious thought.

There are 10 scrolls, so you’ll do this over and over for 10 months.

In a world that demands daily, weekly and quarterly results, that seems like a lifetime. But one of the secrets of becoming the Greatest Salesman of All-Time is patience.

The Scroll Marked II – I Will Greet This Day With Love In My Heart

Great my day with love in my heart? Aren’t we supposed to “swim with the sharks”? Aren’t we supposed to “sell or be sold”? Aren’t we supposed to “dominate the market”?


But Scroll II has us pause and consider something critically important – that if we don’t wake up every single day with love in your heart, what will you fill it with?

The world is a hard place. You’ve made it even harder on yourself by getting into sales. You face, and will continue to face, rejection on a daily basis. You’ll fail much more than you succeed. If you aren’t careful, pretty soon your heart will be filled with bitterness and despair.

So the question you need to ask yourself is, what approach is going to help me make more sales? With a heart full of love, or a heart full of bitterness? Do people want to buy from salespeople who brighten their day, or darken it?

To me, the choice seems easy.

The Scroll Marked III – I Will Persist Until I Succeed

We’ve all heard this advice before – keep trying and eventually you’ll succeed.

But good news – we’ve recently learned that there’s scientific proof to back this up. Angela Duckworth’s Grit tells us that the world’s most successful people have a much higher level of what she calls, unsurprisingly, “grit.”

What we need to understand is that success takes time. That even a small child can chop down an oak tree if they stay at it long enough.

Success doesn’t come to the smartest, the most talented, or the best looking (unless you are in modelling, in which case success goes to the best looking).

Success in sales comes to those who can stick with it the longest. Who can fight through the failures the longest. Who can deal with the most pain, and wake up the next day ready for more.