This is the 20th anniversary of my first column.
Sales Moves first appeared in the Charlotte Business Journal on March 23, 1992. The column was an instant success. It soon found its way to Dallas, Atlanta, Denver, Philadelphia, and a bunch of other cities. My column has appeared in more than 250 publications.
Mark Ethridge, then-publisher of the Charlotte Business Journal, novelist, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, and my good friend and supporter, said that publishing Sales Moves was his most impactful marketing decision of 1992.
It was the turning point in my career.
As a result of the column’s publication, people began to call from all over the country, and still do every day. Newspapers called wanting to publish the column. Readers called to thank me for helping them make sales. I found out that salespeople were hanging my weekly article on the wall in their offices. They were copying the column and passing it around. They were mailing it to friends and coworkers in other cities. They were using the column to lead sales meetings.
All of that occurred before the Internet. Times, and publishing strategies, have changed. Drastically. So have lots of sales strategies. This writing is strategic for you to understand what is NOW, and what you have to do to be prepared for NEXT.
Think about the early days of URL registration. What kind of fortune could you have made if you had jumped on it. Did you? Many people waited. Too long. How long did you wait? I was astute enough to get my family name, “Gitomer.com” You?
I have been writing for 20 years. For that same amount of time, I have asked you to write with me. I know what writing does because I live the essence of it. In 1992 you had to rely on print media. Now, you’re your own publishing house. There’s no reason for your voice to be muted, and (through search engines and social media) every opportunity to be found.
If you’re old enough to have been in the working world 20 years ago, you have seen many evolutions: cell phone, computer, laptop, software, internet, email, wireless connection, the rise and fall of CompuServe and AOL, car phones (remember them?) and the rise of China to name a few.
The list below is not a “to do” list. It’s a “to understand” first and to make a (flexible) plan of action second list. To take consistent, deliberate actions to create your own success. These are imperatives for “the now” and the near future. Imperatives are not optional.
Here are the imperatives of success for 2012 — and the next 20 years:
- THINK. Set aside time to understand and see the big picture, and how you fit into it. Alongside of your “to do” list, create a longer list of “to become.” That’s where thinking comes from. KEY POINT OF UNDERSTANDING: Document as you think. Don’t let thoughts and ideas escape. Ever.
- ALLOCATE TIME. Time management is pass. Allocate productive use for each hour of the day. Time management is a waste of time, has no finite measurement, and is confusing. Time allocation says: there are 24 hours in the day. And asks: how will you invest each one of them? Once you realize you need an hour to make follow-ups, an hour to answer emails, an hour to do business social media, and so on — you now understand where your day goes. There is flexibility to go on appointments, attend meetings, and be with your family — but “allocation” is a word that resonates and a concept you can control.
- ATTRACT. Getting customers to call you is the real key to convert selling to buying. Writing with valuable messages creates attraction (not sitting on a couch manifesting). NOTE WELL: Please don’t confuse this with “prospecting” or “cold calling” — those elements of selling are over. You repel with cold call sales messages that interrupt others. You attract with consistent value messages.
- ENGAGE. The step after attract is engage. I got you here. Can I keep you here? Why would I want to read, or get involved, or buy? Those answers will lead you to sales. Maybe you need to ask the last ten people that bought.
- CONNECT. I may buy, but it may be transactional. Is there any reason to stay connected with you? I don’t know your reasons, but I know mine. My customers (like you) want more now and next knowledge. My customers want stuff about them and their success. Yours?
Yikes! I’m out of space. To be continued with the rest of the now and soon imperatives. This full two-part article will be prominently displayed on my website after the second part appears next week. Stay tuned — and thank you for your loyalty.