The Rules of the game. Are you a follower or breaker?

The Rules of the game. Are you a follower or breaker?

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

The second sale is dependent on what took place after the first sale. Those afterthesale “servicedeeds,” good or bad, will determine the customer’s reorder actions. (BIG CLUE: They’re going to buy again, the only question is: from whom?)

Everyone will tell you they focus on delivering great customer service. Very few do.

Ask anyone what their core principles or rules for customer service are and they will either pull out the company POLICY (a book that tells you what you CAN’T do) or answer: DUH.

The reason that customer service sucks (and is getting worse) is that there are no “core principles” behind the training and the policy. For service to succeed, there must be an understanding of “why” by the service provider, or the “what” doesn’t matter.

At the fulcrum point are core business principles, personal principles and service strategies that must be learned and understood BEFORE you can even think of taking on the corporate teachings about rules and policies.

Here is part one of the 33.5 Core Principles of Customer Service. The first 16 presented this week are “the big picture” basic business understandings:

  1. Most companies think it’s their “people” that set them apart almost. It’s their FRIENDLY people. How friendly are your people?
  2. All things being equal people want to do business with their friends. All things being not quite so equal, people still want to do business with their friends. How many business friends do you have?
  3. Customers call, contact or visit for one reason they need HELP. They need answers, orders, service and information. The question is What do they get?
  4. When you’re done speaking with a customer that’s when they START talking. And they will say one of three things about you and your company something good nothing or something bad and the cool part is that you choose. What do your customers say after a typical transaction with you?
  5. Memorable service leads to positive word of mouth advertising and repeat business. What’s so memorable about doing business with you? Are you creating actions, moments and stories good enough to be retold? What’s the word out on you?
  6. Word of mouth advertising is 50 times more powerful than advertising. Word of mouth advertising is the most powerful form of advertising known to mankind. Are your customers telling your prospective customers how wonderful you are? What’s the word out on you?
  7. Memorable service strategies and techniques can be learned the same way you learned to add and subtract. The difference is that math is based on logical solutions and serving people is based on emotional solutions. You must selfstudy what you never learned in school. How many extra personal development courses are you taking? How many personal development books have you read in the past year?
  8. There is a logical and emotional side of serving the customer. Fixing the problem is the logical side. The emotional side is fixing the issues that surround the problem. Issues like hurt feelings, anger and disappointment. These emotions must be as masterfully delivered as the rules, procedures and policies. Do your solutions include the logical and emotional needs of your customers?
  9. Customer problems and service needs may have an emotional ripple effect as a result of the chaos caused on the people side. Rescheduling appointments, or production, office stress, employee tension, interruptions of service to THEIR customers, people in urgent need, angry people, upset staff are all ripple effects that may come as a result the service they need from you. Do you understand the TOTAL problem, or just your part of it?
  10. The customer may never be satisfied but may be loyal. Knowing the difference between satisfied and loyal will give you the direction you need to act accordingly. Are you measuring customer satisfaction or customer loyalty?
  11. Satisfied does NOT mean loyal and loyal is all that matters. Satisfied customers will buy anywhere. Loyal customers will stay with you, fight before they switch, and tell others to do business with you. Which would you rather have 1,000 satisfied customers or 1,000 loyal customers?
  12. Customers will need your product or service AGAIN. A customer ready to repeat his purchase is a powerful business advantage. The only question is will they buy from you?
  13. Customers vote. And they have choices. They elect how to spend their dollars based on past performance. They vote with their dollars. How many will vote for you more than once?
  14. The easier it is to do business with you the more likely they are to come back. One of the most amazing phenomena’s I have found is how tough it is to place an order. Automated attendant, short working hours, long “onhold” periods, transfers to voicemail, slow response. All those actions spell one word: competition. How easy is it to do business with you?
  15. The quality of a relationship determines its length. You can build the relationship all the way to LOYAL by your words, actions and deeds. What kinds of “customer actions” do you take?
  16. The customers PERCEPTION of good or bad service is the measure of your success or failure. How do your customers perceive you?

Whew! That’s a lot to think about when an angry customer is on the other end of the line screaming his head off. The secret is if you get the big picture, and understand and master the core principles, the irate call is much more under control. Your control.


The above principles are all about the company and the customer. Next week the second half of the list: The personal part. The core principles about YOU, and the strategies to take to make service happened. Stay tuned…


What do customers want? I’d love to send you a list to solve the mystery and put you on the service path to success Just go to, register if you’re a first-time user and enter the word CUSTOMERS WANT in the GitBit box.