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

Shifting into the millennium — what sales 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 sales 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 Sales Shifts:

1. Shift from getting business first to giving business first. It’s much easier to sell if you GET business for your prospects before you ask for theirs. Capitalize on opportunities to build impenetrable relationships by getting your customers business opportunities, getting them leads, and providing networking opportunities.

2. Shift from price selling to value creating. Sell on price lose on price. If you add value in a way that your customer perceives as real value, you will have the foundation for a relationship. (NOTE: Everyone tells you to add value no one tells you what to add.) Value is something that benefits the customer’s business, not your sales presentation.

3. Shift from a selling atmosphere to a buying atmosphere. To create an atmosphere where the customer buys, you must ask questions, not make statements. This will mean shifting from telling to asking and listening.

4. Shift from traditional to creative. The only way you win the sale is if the customer perceives a value difference between you and your competition. Creativity is the key. Traditional business practices are as “over” as the typewriter. Ask any banker, ask any accountant people who used to hate salespeople, now they are salespeople. Creative messages, literature, approaches, and presentations set the image and tone for the sale. It’s the WOW factor not the drab factor.

5. Shift from telling about your product or service to asking the prospect how he uses what you sell. Before a sale can be made, you must know how the prospect uses your product or service. The only way to find out is ask. When you know “use” you can determine a winning approach.

6. Shift from telling facts and figures to telling stories. Facts and figures are forgotten, stories are retold. Tell about successful use, not how it works.

7. Shift from advertising to advertising AND promotion. Advertising builds image and makes claims. Promotion supports the ad, and proves it to be true. Solid promotion creates an automatic shift to attraction. Advertising is essential but if you’re a small business, remember these three words seek professional help. Advertising generates prospects promotion makes them eager to buy.

8. Shift from competing to positioning. Your reputation is your position in the market. Your promotion builds your reputation. The more you promote, the farther you distance yourself from the competition and the easier it is to make sales.

9. Shift from technique driven sales to philosophically and relationship driven sales. The days of highpressure, hoodwinking sales practices are over. The best example of this is automobile dealerships. The trend is to fire the entire sales staff and post prices on car windows. They call them “no haggle” prices, but they really mean “no hassle” from old fashioned “pressure” salespeople. Don’t use highpressure use highperformance. Don’t make the sale earn the sale.

9.5 Shift from sales to resource! Transition from making sales to becoming a valuable resource. The more time you spend serving, the less time you’ll spend selling. “I need to sell more,” is wrong. “I need to learn how to sell (the science of selling) so I can use it if I need it,” is right. And “I really need to learn to serve in a memorable way, and become a resource that’s so valuable to my customer, that he will call ME when he has a question about my product, or needs answers. My customers must consider me a resource.” When customers realize you to be a valuable resource, they would not even dream of calling or entertaining a call from the competition.

There’s the shifts in sales. Where are you? Now, I’m not telling you you gotta employ all these shifts. I am saying others are. Your choice.

Next week: Customer Service 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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