The 30 Billion Dollar Man


If you’re in sales of any kind, you will love this article. An interview with one of the top airplane salesmen of all time – with over $30 billion in sales to his credits – will blow your mind and has fantastic principles for everyone who plays the game at any level.


THE CONTRACT HAD BEEN NEGOTIATED DOWN to the last comma. It covered the sale of 18 Boeing 767s—“A big deal,” as Seddik Belyamani, Boeing’s legendary salesman, puts it, talking quietly on a recent Saturday in the comfortable Bellevue Club in a Seattle suburb.

“We were staying across the street from the airline. At noon we walk over, saying that we’ll sign and be back for lunch at one o’clock.” In the airline’s boardroom, all appeared to be going swimmingly: “I pick up my pen—it’s a nice Boeing pen, the guy from contracts makes sure that the ink works—and I say, ‘Shall we go?’ The chairman says yes, so I sign, and I move the contract to him to sign.”

That was when the chief financial officer said: “Just a minute, Mr. Chairman.” The chairman put his pen down.

“That pen was down for eight hours,” Belyamani says.

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