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What have you memorised? By Jim Aitkins

Jim Aitkins believes that we can create results by learning from the success of experts


Some 30 years ago, my first ‘real’ job was in sales. I was hired by a life & health insurance brokerage firm to sell its insurance products to people who had requested information. It was 100 per cent commission based. 
If I closed sales, I got paid. If I did not… I did not.

To me, all commission (no salary) was exciting because it meant there was no ceiling on how much I could earn… as long as I closed sales.

I moved to a neighbouring state to follow up on leads coming from the area. Consequently, the home office of the company I was representing was a six-hour drive away. That meant that if I wanted to avail myself of sales training in order to close as many sales as possible, I had to either drive all the way to the home office or figure something else out.

It did not take me long to realise I needed to figure something else out. The more time I was on the road back and forth to the home office, the less time I was able to be out in the field following up on leads and selling insurance. I was told that Tom Hopkins was the biggest name in sales training, so I found his book at the local store: How to Master the Art of Selling. I read that book like my life depended upon it because, in a very real way, it did!


But I didn’t just read the book; I actually memorised the important parts. I made scripts that related to exactly what I was selling and I memorised the ‘closes’ that Hopkins taught. His book provides sales closes for all types of situation and all kinds of ways to overcome every kind of objection you can imagine. I memorised all of it.


This I accomplished while going through the several-weeks-long process of studying to obtain my license in that state. So, by the time I passed the state exams to get my insurance sales license, I had also memorised a good amount of applicable sales closing know-how.

I will never forget the result of all that memorisation: my first day in sales – now mind you I was a 19-year-old kid – I made approximately $1,200, which is a very good day in today’s dollars, a figure that represented significantly more buying power back in 1986.

I share this story with you for one important reason. 


We go around every day reacting the way we do, relating the way we do, and getting the responses we are getting from the world around us quite literally based upon what we have memorised.


Whether you consciously know it or not, you have come to the belief that there is some form of ‘payoff’ for responding to certain situations in a certain predictable way. You treat others the way you treat them because there are scripts you have memorised that tell you how to relate with others. This is true whether you treat others very well or… not.

If you find that you are not getting the results you want, do what I did some three decades ago. Whether you want to improve in your ability to successfully sell a product or service, or you want to improve your life in some other way, find what an expert on that topic has written. Then literally commit to memory the key concepts, ideas and principles that promises to make the biggest impact. Do not just read it. Memorise it!

What worked for me, way back then, will work for you now.

The Best You

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