Shifting into the millennium — what business gear are you in?

Shifting into the millennium — what business gear are you in?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at



Shifting into the millennium what business gear are you in?

Some people are waiting for the turn of the century others are preparing for it. Which are you?

How are you preparing to blast into the 21st century? How are you developing and keeping the winning edge? How will you stay one step ahead of the competition? Well, if you’ve ever heard someone say “Shift into high gear” you’re close. Shift is the operative word. Transitioning from one way of doing things to another. Transitioning and shifting are very close.

Just shift (transition) from one method of operation or philosophy to a better one. Not all at once just identify what needs to be shifted, and go for it little by little day by day. Gear by gear. Shift is easier than change. Shift is more understandable than paradigm. And shift is a prerequisite for success in the next century (maybe the next year).

There are the fundamental business, sales, customer service, and personal shifts to adopt in order to receive your passport to the new millennium. All areas must be dealt with or there will be no balance. Presented here are the Business Shifts.

21st Century Business Shifts:

1. Shift from narrow vision to wide vision. From CEO to front line people, get everyone to see and buy the big picture. The big picture must be clear and bright in order for the (daily) little pictures to be in focus..

2. Shift from complacent to urgent. Take it for granted and lose it. Create a renewed sense of urgency from the CEO to the front line. The CEO sets the trend but if you want your company to have a sense of urgency show your own.

3. Shift from doing too many things halffast to a doing a few things at full speed. The more you put on your plate, the more likely you are to spill something. Be the best at what you do and not the master of everything. Stick to your plan.

4. Shift from empowerment first to empowerment second Benchmark first. The average company has empowerment failure. In fact most business bigwigs couldn’t define empowerment if you threatened

them with their job. Empowerment doesn’t work because there is no clear guideline as to what employees are empowered to do. The easy answer is empower best practices. Benchmark your best practices first Then tell employees what they are empowered to do second.

5. Shift from complicated to simple. Use real world language to describe everything simplistic communication (contracts, manuals, policies, laws) will breed fewer errors, fewer lawyers, and 1000% better understanding.

6. Shift from not on the internet to everyone in your company on the internet. The internet is the communication device of tomorrow to the people who master it today. The internet is five years old. Look at TV, radio, and telephone when they were five years old. Now get online as fast as you can get a modem and an internet site.

7. Shift from “orientation training” and “periodic training” to “Daily training and personal education.” Train everyone, everyday. Create a corporate “learning byte” of the day. A sales tip of the day. Have every employee to 15minutes of learning every day. Brainups (mental pushups) are as important to beginning a business day, as warmups are to athletes before a game. Make a commitment to personal development. Develop everyone personally in the areas they never taught in school attitude, goals, listening, communicating, pride, responsibility, change, serving others and team building. Make training the last thing to be cut from the budget not the first.

8. Shift employees from satisfied (or dissatisfied) to loyal. Create a real team not a cast team. Get the big boys to work sidebyside with the little boys. Have more parties and less meetings. Have an awards lunch once a month, and recognize the heroes of your business. Encourage, don’t reprimand. Read your mission statement if it sounds hokey trash it. Let your employees write your mission statement, not your ad agency. That way employees take ownership of and buy into the mission, not laugh at it. Convert your employee manual from threatening, warlike, and negative to positive, encouraging and happy. Create an atmosphere where people WANT to come to work, not HAVE to come to work.

8.5 Shift from 95 mentality to 24 hour focus. Be prepared and WILLING to do business when the opportunity arises. Make it easy (through friendly technology) to do business with your company 7days a week, 24hours a day. “Sorry we’re closed!” is not what a cash spending customer wants to hear it’s what your competition hopes you’ll say.

Now, I’m not telling you you gotta employ all these shifts. I am saying others are. Your choice.

Next week: Sales Shifts stay tuned…

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Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlottebased Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/3331112 or email to

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permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer 704/3331112