Life lessons from a believe-in-yourself super salesman who knows that attitude is everything

 Andrew A. Altman, Sr., has a never-give-up, always-believe-in-yourself attitude that he calls “it’s all between the ears.” In short, he believes that you can do it, and it will happen, no matter how high the odds are stacked against you. He has validated the efficacy of this philosophy by practicing it every day in a successful career that spans over three decades.

It is this “you can do it” attitude that has taken him to success in life and business that no one believed he could ever accomplish. For over 30 years, in seminars across the country from New Jersey to Connecticut to Virginia, Mr. Altman has helped thousands of people adopt that same winning attitude in sales and in life.

How to beat the odds and win

Mr. Altman’s “all between the ears” attitude developed in him at a very young age. An asthmatic since birth, he missed 75 days a year each year of elementary school. Instead of giving in to his ailment, young Altman was determined to excel – to beat the doctor’s prognosis of a less than average lifestyle. So, he started running in high school. At first, he couldn’t even run a mile. However, he persevered, and despite everyone saying it couldn’t be done, he trained and successfully ran a marathon.

After his successful first marathon, he decided to explore other challenges. However, when his father passed away in 1999 after living the last 10 years of his life with a spinal cord injury, he was inspired to run in the Marine Corps marathon, dedicating it to his dad. Page two of Runners World ran a picture of Andrew at the marathon, wearing his shirt that read, “In loving memory to the world’s greatest dad – this one’s for you.”

Jumping feet first into the deep end of the sales pool

After college where he was majoring in business, Mr. Altman jumped into sales feet first as a novice, selling in the highly competitive home improvement industry. He hit the ground running and with his “can do” attitude, successfully grew the business from $1 million to $5 million in just 18 months.

How did he achieve this level of success so early in his career? “No matter what your position, act like you’re the boss, talk to customers like you’re the owner, like you run the business. If you have an Owner Mentality – you then make it happen!” Mr. Altman says.

Highlighting Altman’s career was a successful, 25-year run in sales for the largest waterproofing company in the world. As General Manager in charge of all operations, he took the company from $3 million to $10 million a year in sales.

The payoffs of a positive attitude

Since then, Andrew has run 58 marathons to date – and with limited training. He ran the JFK 50-mile marathon – through mountains. Skeptics told him that he would never finish unless he trained harder. He quieted all the critics by finishing the marathon in 13 hours, 56 minutes. In the Cambridge triathlon, unable to continue after separating his shoulder when his bike flipped, he still managed 30 more miles and finished the event.

Mr. Altman has stood at the front line of marathons with Lance Armstrong, Doug Flutie, Tedy Bruschi, the NFL linebacker who returned to football after recovering from a stroke, and Dick Hoyt, the man who has pushed his son Rick, who suffers from cerebral palsy, in a wheelchair in more than 1000 races. He ran with Dick, then 75 years old, in his last (35th) Boston Marathon.

Does all this winning with limited or no training make Mr. Altman a superhuman? No. For Andrew, it’s all about focusing the mind and believing in yourself. As he advises everyone he trains, “it’s all between the ears.” He sets his mind to a task, stands at the starting line, tells himself that he has trained for this and that he will accomplish it. And he does.

Although he’s not a superhuman, he thinks as if he is superman. In the many leadership programs that he conducts at elementary schools, he illustrates this to the kids by wearing a superman outfit under his suit!

Learn to sell effectively in hours instead of days

Mr. Altman is the consummate showman, enthusiastic about selling his attitude to everyone he meets. When he presents his 2-to-3-hour seminars on sales and leadership to executives, he covers more than most seminars usually cover in 2 or 3 days. He communicates quickly, effectively and efficiently all the essentials of mastering salesmanship that he has learned and developed in a lifetime of experience. He summarizes most of his message into memorable phrases and acronyms. For example, he helps his students discover the advantages of becoming a WIT member (Whatever It Takes), a CEO (Chief Example Officer), and focusing on ABC (Always Be Closing). He gives out “MIH University Graduate” wrist bands, urging everyone to Make It Happen.

The “It’s All Between The Ears” program shows people the value of persistence and believing in themselves. Students learn to be fearless, to listen to the customer to discover what they really want. With Mr. Altman’s sales techniques, customers will tell you how they want to be sold, to then make the sale themselves! It’s all between the ears!

All you need to do is listen and believe! It’s time to get out of your comfort zone and discover the power of a positive attitude. Keep the competitive spirit alive within you, and it will take you as far as you want to go!