Jeffrey Gitomer

Are your sales historical or hysterical?

Summer’s over. Back to school.

Boy, there are some memories. High school. College. Subjects you loved, subjects you hated. Teachers you loved, teachers you hated.

THE QUESTION IS: What did you learn in school? What lessons are you still using?

I have 2.5 major, early and later school-learned lessons I am grateful for:
1. Grammar from 9th and 10th grade. It’s the basis of my writing and communication. In today’s world, misuse of the words they’re, their, their, your, and you’re create lasting (bad) first impressions.
2. In college (Temple University in 1964), my modern European history professor said, “It’s not the date of what happened that matters. It’s what happened in response to the date (events, outcomes) that creates history.”
2.5 Later in life I came to the realization that algebra was not about math, it was about learning how to solve problems logically. I wish my algebra teacher could have put it that way when I started.

And how about sales and business? What lessons have you learned? What lessons are you still using?

I have 2.5 major, early sales lessons I am grateful for:
1. Questions control conversations. The person that’s asking is in control.
2. Relax, find common ground, and be friendly with the prospect BEFORE you start the sales conversation.
2.5 Find out why they want to buy BEFORE you start to sell.

Here are 11.5 lessons you can use to start this school year off with a bang – and a bunch of sales:
1. Study your (or your company’s) last 100 sales. The history of where your last 100 sales came from will predict and help you complete your next 100 sales.
2. Videotape the buying motives of your top ten customers. Call your top ten customers and meet with them for a short, casual conversation about WHY they buy from you. Video the conversation.
3. Meet one customer a day for morning coffee. Just talk personally. In a year this will give you the personal insight of 250 customers.
4. Study service issues. Find out what issues customers have. Study how (and how fast) they were resolved.
5. Study backorders. Why did the back order occur? How was it dealt with? How was it resolved?
6. Talk to users, not just buyers. Go to your customers and talk to the people that USE your product or service. Find out what they love and what’s missing. Video the interviews. SECRET: Get purchasing people to be at the meeting with the people that USE your product, so they can understand the difference between price, productivity, value, and profit.
7. Talk to your loyal customers that don’t buy price. Find out the true non-price buying motive(s) for dealing with you.
8. Get involved on a deeper, hands-on level. Make a few deliveries yourself. Take a few service calls yourself. Work in accounting for a day. Find out what’s really happening with and to your customers.
9. Get short meetings with executives. Talk about the issues they value the most – loyalty, productivity, morale, and profit. Maybe ask a question or two about their vision or leadership philosophy, and leave. DO NOT ASK FOR BUSINESS. Just make an impression. IDEA: create a blog around executive leadership philosophies.
10. Start your own value messaging in social media. Post your ideas and thoughts on all social media outlets. Then email the links to all your customers and prospects so they can follow you.
11. Post customer testimonials on YouTube. Then email and tweet the links to all your customers and prospects.
11.5 Create a customer “reasons” book. List all the reasons why they buy, say no, stay loyal, or leave you. As you write, answers and actions will become evident.

KEY POINT OF UNDERSTANDING: The lessons you have learned from your history of doing business with customers is very valuable, BUT not as valuable as your customer’s history of doing business with you. A subtle but powerful difference. Both are valuable, but your customer’s input from their perspective can teach you how to achieve and maintain loyalty.

KEY TO IMPLEMENTATION: Re-construct your sales presentation around customer’s responses and perceived values.

WINNING NEW BUSINESS: Where is your new business coming from? The best way to find new business is to talk to old business, learn the lessons, and refine your practices and presentation to be in harmony with their needs and expectations.

Those are lessons you can learn from and earn from.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.

About the Author

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website,, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

The Emerging Strategy of Innovative Service

The world of the customer has dramatically changed. The tough economy has made customers more value conscious, demonstrating far more caution in how they spend their hard-earned dollar. The proliferation of self-service (while a blessing when it works) has made customers more frustrated when they feel trapped in a process with no live person to help. And the Internet, with its social media reach, has empowered customers with strong influence over other customers and the reputation of companies.

Such a plethora of challenges has required all organizations to rethink their strategy. Since revenue from customers and the power of their advocacy dramatically impacts organizational growth and profits, assuming “we know what’s best for our customers” is akin to a death knell.

But, the largest challenge today is not the changing expectations of the new, normal picky, fickle, vocal and wired customer. It is their requirement for an experience that heightens their emotional connection and ramps up their affinity. Customers are bored and want their hearts to race and their spirits to soar. And, here is the backstory.

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About the Author

Chip R. Bell is a customer loyalty consultant and the author of several national best-selling books. His last three books include The 9 ½ Principles of Innovative Service, Managers as Mentors (with Marshall Goldsmith) and Wired and Dangerous (with John Patterson). He can be reached at

Jeffrey Gitomer

Help! My main contact left, and I’m panicked!

Letter from a fan:

Dear Jeffrey, I sell copiers in NYC, and this year I finished as the number one rep in the nation. I truly believe that would not have been possible had it not been for your Little Red Book of Selling. I do have a question and would greatly appreciate your advice. Recently I have been noticing a high turnover of people (including executives) at my accounts. When this happens it’s almost like the reset button has been pressed and the replacements have no allegiance to me or my service and are usually unaware as to how hard I’ve worked to earn their company’s business. How should I conduct myself when I know there is a new person in a company I have to work with? Is there a specific process I should follow? Thank you in advance. Dan

Common problem. Uncommon answer to follow.

Loss of key contact (the person that buys from you) happens often in business, and most salespeople (not you of course) are totally unprepared for it.

There are two variations to this scenario:
1. Someone is promoted from within. If you’ve done your homework, built multiple relationships within your customer’s company, and you know the replacement,then you should be fine. If you don’t know him, you have to scramble and start over.
2. Someone was hired from the outside. This is basically a start over situation and all the answers you need are stated below.

There are 5.5 specific things you can do to prevent a total tragedy. NONE OF THEM are options.
1. Start with prevention. This is a major point of understanding: You have to ask yourself, “What would happen, what would I do, if all my prime contacts left tomorrow?” Begin to plan and act from there.
2. Then ask yourself…

How is the purchase made? Discover the chain of purchase, and know everyone who impacts purchase. Add them to your CRM notes.
Who’s the boss? Get to know the boss and make sure they know your value.
Who are the users? Talk to and meet with the people that USE your product or service. They are not the ones who purchase, but they can play a major role in the decision to purchase. And they tell the real story of quality and service response.
Who else is influenced by or involved with your product? When you meet, add others from the inside. Get to know co-workers.

3. Meet the key decision-maker outside the office AT LEAST monthly. Coffee at 7:30 AM will build the personal relationship.
4. Get known and recognized. Your weekly email about office productivity, communication, and morale will get passed around if it’s valuable – even forwarded to other professionals in other companies. And when you visit the customer, they’ll recognize you as “you’re the guy who…” smiling as they say it!
5. Build reputation across the company. Know everyone, but more important, have everyone know you – not just know you as a person, but as a person of value.
5.5 Gather video comments after every service call and delivery. Post them where anyone can view them. Your blog, YouTube channel, Facebook business page and weekly e-zine are a great start.

If all of this seems like hard work, it pales by comparison to the work you’ll have to do if you’re unprepared after the fact.

Okay, so the new person starts. Did the departing person tell you or was it a surprise? If the old person told you in advance, that’s a sign your relationship was strong. If the relationship was really strong, the departing person will put you on a preferred list of recommended vendors. If you’re blind-sided by the news, that’s a report card, too.

Let’s take worst-case scenario – new person, no history with you, bringing HIS or HER contacts, connections, and vendors:
1. Introduce yourself and offer help acclimating. Gain access.
2. Have coffee with them ASAP – get the personal relationship in gear. Share the history. Ask for their wisdom, their experience, and their goals.
3. Print your CRM history and present it to the new person so they can see your relationship and your value. (All of a sudden, CRM diligence can have an impact.)
4. Enlist others to speak on your behalf.
5. Follow ALL the ideas above.
5.5 Find the person who left. They represent the best possible NEW customer.

The key to having a new person in charge of your future sales is to be ready. It’s a simple rule of ‘the more the more.’

The more mature and solid a value-based relationship has been built with the key contact AND the rest of the company, the more likely it will be that the new person will continue doing business with you.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.

About the Author

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website,, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

Recommended Resources – The Welcomer Edge

The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business
by Richard Shapiro

About the Book

The Welcomer Edge by Richard Shapiro explores the customer experience that converts first time customers into repeat buyers. Richard characterizes four types of sales persons; highlighting the advantage ‘welcomers’ have over others not so personally engaging.

  • Welcomers draw new customers to a business and keep them by establishing a relationship with their clients.
  • Robots go through the motions in their client interactions and do not create a personal connection.
  • Indifferent employees overtly communicate a lack of caring to their customers; rarely saying ‘hello’ and ‘thank you.’
  • Hostiles do not want to be at work and make this sentiment obvious to their customers.

Robert goes on to reveal how those who are not currently welcomers can work to develop the key mindsets and approaches to embody this approach; thereby increasing customer satisfaction and sales.

Benefits of Using this Book

StrategyDriven Contributors like The Welcomers Edge for its highly insightful, example filled examination of the various degrees of one-on-one customer relationship management. We appreciate the detailed personality descriptions that enable managers to identify the approach type of their front-line employees as well as the prescription for developing individual’s welcomer abilities.

If we had one criticism of the book it would be that Richard uses too many examples; going a bit beyond what is needed to effectively make a point. But then again, can one really have too many examples?

The Welcomer Edge provides business leaders with the crucial insight needed to ensure they have the best client facing people, individuals who will convert and retain potential customers. For its actionable, example rich insights driving organizational goal achievement, The Welcomer Edge is a StrategyDriven recommended read.

Recommended Resources – Little Black Book of Connections

Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets for Networking Your Way to Rich Relationships
by Jeffrey Gitomer

About the Book

Little Black Book of Connections by Jeffrey Gitomer provides practical, step-by-step methods for connecting with others in a wide variety of different roles including:

  • Superiors
  • Mentors
  • Co-workers
  • Customers
  • Vendors
  • Family and friends

As with his other books and numerous articles, Jeffrey addresses each communication challenge with a concise list of immediately implementable actions augmented by insightful tips for further improving individual performance.

Benefits of Using this Book

Connecting with others is the foundation of individual success. Without personal connections, we are unable to positively engage and influence those around us in a way that propels us to the achievement of our personal and professional goals.

StrategyDriven Contributors like the Little Black Book of Connections for its immediately actionable advice for creating meaningful relationships with others in a way that positively engages them to support the communicator. We’ve implemented many of the recommendations Jeffrey presents in his book to great success.

Jeffrey’s principles for connecting with others promote respectful engagement. Recommendations contained within the Little Black Book of Connections focus on positive relationship building through the offering of open, honest communications and meaningful value provision by the communicator.

Little Black Book of Connections provides immediately actionable methods for effectively engaging others in a positive, respectful manner making it a StrategyDriven recommended read.