Here are the 20.5 elements of having your best year ever:
1. Define yourself. In order to be able to have your best year ever, the first person you have to come to know, on as deep a level as humanly possible, is yourself. Personally, I define myself as a father, a grandfather, a writer, a speaker, an idea person, a thinker, a traveler with endless wanderlust, a student, and a lover of fun and fine things. Contrary to what you might think, I’m not a people-person. I’m a one-on-one person. I get loyalty by giving loyalty. And I seek new knowledge every day.
Have you ever defined yourself? Have you ever thought about who you are? Have you ever written it down? Start here.
Your first challenge is to book an hour with yourself. Find a comfortable chair, and put your battery-powered laptop on Microsoft word. Define who you think you are. Or even better, who you think you are at the moment, and who you would like to become. One of the thinkers I respect most in the world, Dr. Paul Homily, taught me to make all decisions based on the person I want to become. Like any eye-opening, thought-provoking statement, it was also a life-changing statement. Once you define yourself, you’ll ascertain both where you are and where you want to go.
I’ll share one other personal insight with you: I also define myself as the “best salesman in the world.” It’s a personal feeling, and a sense of self-confidence that I carry with me wherever I go. When you define yourself, make certain that you include everything that you are “best” at. In order to have your best year ever, you have to think of yourself as best. Even if it’s “best salesperson in the company,” or “best water skier in the city.” Whatever it is, to be the best — or to have the best — you have to think the best.
2. Develop a sales mission statement. Every company has a mission statement, and none of you can recite it to me, or even come close. The reason? Because it’s a bunch of corporate marketing drivel that you don’t believe in, let alone memorize. What you need is a sales mission — a reason to walk in the door with information the customer can use, be memorable about it, and walk out the door with a signed contract and a check. The mission that you can all embrace and live by is: “Get the customer to buy from me, and make the experience so memorable that they buy again, and tell other people how great I am.” That’s an easy mission for you to live by. Mission statements are not meant to be memorized. Mission statements are meant to be incorporated into your philosophy as something that you carry with you as a statement of action. It’s the MISSION.
3. Have a deep belief in the three critical areas of selling. In order to make your message transferable, in order to engage your prospective buyer in a way that they want to do business with you, and before you develop your sales skills and your presentation skills, you must deepen your belief in your company, your product or service, and yourself.
If you’re going to have your best year ever, you have to believe that you work for the greatest company in the world. You have to believe that you offer the greatest product or service(s) in the world, and you have to believe you’re the greatest salesperson in the world.
I have often said in my live seminars that “mediocrity stems from lack of belief more than lack of skill.” I say it all the time, because it’s true. Most people blame their own inability, and their lack of belief, on a variety of external circumstances: pricing, the marketplace, the Internet, the competition, bidding, the economy, and a bunch of other conjured up excuses that prevent a belief system from anchoring in success.
If you believe — all the excuses fade away. If you wanna have your best year ever, you have to BELIEVE that you’re going to have your best year ever.
4. Develop greater pride in accomplishment. Personal pride is easily defined when you think about your child playing the piano, dancing in a recital, scoring a soccer goal, or hitting a home run for their little-league team. “That’s daddy’s little girl!” “That’s mommy’s boy!” “That’s my son!” That’s pride. Personal pride.
I’m going to ask you to redefine pride as TAKING OWNERSHIP. When you buy a new car, and you take ownership, you ride around the neighborhood showing it off. Would you do the same thing if you rented a car? Would you drive around the neighborhood and say, “Hey everybody, look at my new rental!” Take it even further, if your kid spills a bag of potato chips in the back of a rental car, what do you do? Nothing, it’s a rental! Who cares? But if your kid spills a bag of potato chips in the back of your new BMW, you make them lick them up off the back seat. You have to take pride in your achievements and your accomplishments. That pride, that ownership, and that responsibility, will lead you to the next achievement.
Ownership and pride are closely related. CAUTION: Be careful of pride’s evil twins cockiness and arrogance. Your ability to display pride will be contagious. You’ve all heard the expression, “pride of accomplishment.” In sales, oftentimes you have to pat yourself on the back because others don’t give you enough praise. Part of having your best year ever is building your own sense of pride, without others having to reinforce it.
5. You are what you eat. Every person I know, including me, has ten pounds of weight on them that they wish they didn’t have. Wait! (weight!) There’s one exception. His name is Eric Taylor. Eric has tied physical fitness to mental fitness. Eric eats right, exercises right, and earns right. He’s certain there’s a connection, and so am I. Look around at the people you work with. Discover for yourself the correlation between fit and successful. Personally, this is my weakest area. I write about it, I pledge to do something about it, but progress is slow. Through the encouragement of my partner, I’m taking at least one brisk walk a day. Sometimes two. If you want to have your best year ever, you have to start someplace. And you have to work at it every day.
6. Get rid of one time-waster. I’m asked one question more than any other: “Jeffrey, how can I better manage my time?” Let me give you the answer to that question: You already know what to do with your time — what the hell are you asking me for? I’m going to write a book on time management entitled, You Already Know What to Do, You’re Just Not Doing It. You don’t need a course in time management (which by the way I consider the biggest waste of time). What you need is a lesson in how not to procrastinate. It’s not a matter of managing your time, it’s a matter of doing what you know you have to do — but are just not doing it. The easiest way for me to describe this procrastination situation is to offer you a tip — a time management tip. Here it is: Get rid of one thing that is currently wasting your time. The example I most often give is watching TV news programs, or watching television dramas. If you spent as much time studying how to get your voicemail messages returned, as you did watching some stupid television show, in a year you could be a world-class expert, giving seminars for high fees on how to get your voicemail returned. You don’t need to manage your time, you need to allocate your time. You need to invest your time in things that matter, in things that will build your success, and in things that will allow you to have your best year ever.
7. Read a book every two months. My friend, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, says, “The only difference between where you are now, and where you will be this time next year, are the people you meet and the books you read.” If you’re going to read a book, make it a book that you can learn from, and make it a book that will help you have your best year ever. I have a list of suggested reading on my website. Go there and find it. And while we’re on the subject of quotes, let me give you another one. Jim Rohn, America’s business philosopher says, “All the information you need to succeed already exists. The problem is, you’re not exposing yourself to it.” If you wanna have you best year ever, expose yourself to the best information possible. This might also include getting to know people that are having their best year ever, and forming a mastermind group so you can build off of each other’s strengths.
8. Get your pipeline full. Most salespeople wait until the end of the month, in panic mode, to try to close THE ONE DEAL that they absolutely need in order to make their goal or quota. My question to you is: why are you only focusing on one deal — why don’t you have 20 deals you’re working so that three or four of them pop-in? I’ll give you two guarantees: 1. The one deal you’re praying for will never come about. 2. If you have 20 deals you’re working, three or four will always come about. Why would you put yourself in a losing position? When, with just a little bit more hard work — you can have your best year ever. The secret lies in the word pipeline. Your sale has a cycle to it, and a timeline. If it takes 90 days for you to complete a sale, you need 10 sales a month, and it takes you four appointments to make one sale, then 40 appointments a month is the minimum. 60 appointments a month will guarantee your numbers. 80 appointments a month will blow your numbers away. And by the way, to define pipeline a little further, if it takes you four calls to make one appointment, you need to make 320 calls to make 80 appointments. Some of you listening to me are thinking the numbers I have given you are unrealistic. There’s a reason for that — you’re a small thinker. Smart salespeople figure out a way to get their company to hire sales support people. Or in many cases — hire them themselves. If you’re going to make a lot of money, the first rule is: you can’t keep all of it. The government teaches you that. There are college fraternities who specialize in future salespeople, interns who would be willing to work like dogs — eager hungry dogs — to help you set appointments. But let me get back to your pipeline: it is the single indicator of what kind of month, and what kind of success you are going to enjoy, or lament. The simple truth is, if you’re not closing enough deals, it’s because you don’t have enough deals pending. Fill your pipeline, and you’ll fill your wallet.
9. Get your monthly sales quota met by the second week of the month. If your pipeline is full, then the arbitrary quota, or sales goal, or sales plan that your company has set for you, will be blown away. Reason: sales goals and sales plans and sales quotas are set so that mediocre salespeople can achieve them. You’ll know you’re on your way to your best year ever if you can begin to meet your sales quota by the second week — instead of begging for it on the last day.
10. Start branding yourself. My name is my brand. My companies name is Buy Gitomer, and if you’ll notice, everything that I do has my name attached to it. It’s not The Little Red Book of Selling, it’s Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Red Book of Selling. In anything that I do on my website, you’ll see my name or my picture. In my e-mail magazine, you’ll see my brand all over the place. But you’ll also notice in my email magazine that I am helping other salespeople — like you — make more sales. I do this so that when I ask you to invest in a teleseminar, you’re happy to do so, because you believe in your heart that I can help you. Here’s the good news: I believe in my heart that I can help you, too. If somebody mentions your name, what words follow? What are people saying about your brand or your reputation in your marketplace? Some people have nicknames that define who they are, and define their brand. Athletes are the easiest ones to identify. Gordy Howe — Mr. Hockey, Reggie Jackson — Mr. October, Ernie Banks — Mr. Cub, Wanye Gretzkey — The Great One. How do they brand you? What do they call you? “The bragging one?” “The whiney one?” “The underachieving one?” Let me give you two words that you might want others to speak about you behind your back. The words are: FIRST CLASS. If you’re known as first class, everything else will just fall into place. Slowly begin to build your brand. You do this by becoming known for something good. By being known as a person of value. By becoming a resource to your customers, not merely a salesperson. The more you build your brand, the more you’ll build your success — and the more you will create what is known as the law of attraction (people calling you for advice).
11. Get up earlier. I hate sleeping. I think it’s a waste of time. At some point in the next 30 or 40 years, I will be asleep permanently. Until then, I consider every waking moment an opportunity to accomplish or have a blast. And just so I define myself as having a blast — I mean being stimulated by anything other than drugs or alcohol. I’m no prude, but I can always remember what happened. That’s part of the fun. I spend every waking moment in one of my definitions of myself.
12. Write down your thoughts. Begin capturing your thoughts and ideas in writing. I have been writing for 15 years. Every penny that I have earned since March 22, 1992, I can trace back to something that I wrote. Capturing your thoughts in writing not only helps clarify them to yourself — it helps clarify them to others. Writing does not just lead to success, writing leads to wealth. If you’re looking to have your best year ever, begin writing down how that’s going to happen, and what things you have to do to make that happen. Begin to write a game plan. And begin to list the people that can help you, and the ways that they can help you. In order to get in the groove of writing, I recommend that you begin by writing down things at the end of the day that are on your mind. It might be an idea. It might be a task. It might be points you want to cover in a sales presentation. But the more you write down, the less you will have on your mind, and the easier it will be for you to create new ideas. In order to have your best year ever, you have to have your best ideas ever. And in order to come up with ideas, you mind has to be both clear and positive.
13. Give one speech. Most people are afraid of speaking in public. The reason is simple: fear of looking foolish. The basis for this fear is lack of skill and lack of preparedness. Many people are afraid to give a speech because they fear someone will ask a question that they cannot answer, and will be made to look foolish. If you wanna have your best year ever, join Toastmasters, become a certified Toastmaster (which means give 10 speeches to your own club members), and then get yourself booked at a Rotary club or Kiwanis club, and give a 15 minute speech. The self-confidence you will gain cannot be measured, but it can be felt. Felt in pride of accomplishment, felt in self-assurance, and felt in the sense of overcoming a personal fear. And if you give the speech to the right group — it will be felt in the thickening of your own wallet from the leads and sales.
14. Write one article. After you have spent a few months writing things down, I challenge you to write one article that will appear in a magazine or newsletter that your prospective customers, or your existing customers, might read. When you appear in print, it changes your customer’s entire perception of you. You go from salesperson, to industry expert — you go from community member to community leader. Not only in the eyes of your customers, but also in the eyes of your co-workers and your family. I don’t write books. I write ‘articles. Articles lead to books. My next book is The Little Red Book of Sales Answers.
Launching on April fourth, will also be a
ailable on your iPod. Once you start to write, the opportunities are limitless.
15. Make sales at breakfast. Instead of trying to get to work “on time,” make a five-dollar appointment, and buy a customer or prospective customer breakfast. 7AM, 7:30AM, 8AM — early baby. Make money while other people are driving in the traffic. I start my day so early that my mantra for the last 15 years has been “I make money while other people are sleeping.” And, if you wanna have your best year ever, you better decide that your work day starts earlier than it currently does. I don’t mean what time you get up in the morning, I mean what time you get into productivity mode. Breakfast is the easiest and most productive time to make a sales call, and build a relationship. I try to have at least 100 breakfast appointments a year — at a total cost of under $500 dollars.- and a total ROI of – well, let’s just say, priceless.
16. Keep your present customers loyal to you and your company. In order to grow your business organically (the best, strongest, and most economical way), you must FIRST preserve the customers you have. You do this with on-time delivery, excellent service, giving value, and superior communication (not with lowest price). This will breed referrals and testimonials. Two key ingredients for having your best year ever.
17. Double your testimonials. Testimonials make sales when salespeople (you included) cannot. Your customers can sell for you way better than you can. If you’re not employing video testimonials in every aspect of your sales process, you will not have your best year ever. And worse, you’ll continue to fight the silly “price wars” against your dirtball competitors. Testimonials make sales when salespeople cannot.
18. Double your referrals. Most people ask for referrals. Big mistake. The better way to get a referral is to earn a referral. The best way to get a referral is to give a referral. If you wanna have your best year ever, try to give every major customer one referral a month. When you ask for a referral and don’t get one, that’s a report card. Your best source for referrals are those people who were willing to give you a testimonial. Referrals are the easiest sale to make. One quick rule: NEVER call a referral on your own. Always ask the person who gave you the referral to call the referral. Have them call in advance so that your call won’t be a surprise.
19. Record your sales presentation. If you want to hear the funniest thing you’ve ever heard in your life, record yourself making a sales presentation. This will give you a combination of hindsight and insight. The hindsight will tell you how you just screwed up the last sale. The insight will tell you what skills you need to improve in order to make the next sale. If you wanna have your best year ever, you must record your sales presentation once a week — and listen to it the minute you get back in the car or hang up the phone. Not only will it be revealing, it will be painful. Once you get into the habit of doing it, you will also be in the habit of improving. This improvement will guarantee you to have your best year ever. Think of it this way: every recorded talk will put you on the path to a higher percentage of completed sales. At first it’s painful, but in the end it’s profitable. No pain — No gain.
20. Start every morning with attitude. Wake up tomorrow morning and grab an attitude book off your bookshelf. Napoleon Hill, W. Clement Stone, Dale Carnegie. Any past master who can give you continued insight into the way you dedicate yourself to the way you think. The late great Earl Nightingale said, “You become what you think about all day long.” The best way for you to have your best year ever is to begin to think and believe that you’re going to have your best year ever.
And finally, 20.5 You’re not alone. Create a mastermind. All salespeople are in the same boat. The Good Ship Lollypop. Unlimited income, rough (often uncharted) waters. The good news is: You’re not alone. Create a mastermind of non-competing salespeople and leaders to talk about problems-in-common. If you live or die by the numbers, why not have a support team to give you a transfusion once in a while?
Having your best year ever is not a matter of doing one thing right — or even making one thing better — it’s a matter or making everything better, so that you can get to BEST.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and The Little Red Book of Selling. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
c 2006 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written
permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer . 704/333-1112