The weather is changing. Where is your umbrella?

The weather is changing. Where is your umbrella?

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 weather is changing. Where’s your umbrella?

The economic weather report is cloudy. For some, gloomy.

Layoffs. Mergers. Reorganizations. Cutbacks. Cost cutting. Budget cutting. Americas new corporate scourge. And new fear.

People are panicked when change occurs in their organization. Worried that they will lose their position, their authority, even their job.

And they talk and they talk, and they fret and they fret, and they complain and they complain, and they posture and they posture, and they cover their ass and they really cover their ass.

They want to protect their job, their career, their income, feed their kids, and pay their bills. It’s instinctive. If it’s happening to you (and odds are it is), you’re doing many of these same things.

HERE’S THE RUB: In all this corporate scurry, you leave one thing unprotected and vulnerable: your customers.

What are you thinking? The one thing that might prove your salvation is the least cared about part of the change equation.

THINK: If revenues are low, the only person who can raise them is your customer. If your sales are down, the only thing that can raise them is more customers. If your job is between you and someone just like you, they’re going to pick the person who they feel can make the greatest contribution (sell and maintain customers).

Change in business isn’t all about you, it’s all about the customer.

OK, the economy could be better. What’s your whiney point? Your company just merged. What’s your whiney point? Your company just announced cost cutting. What’s your whiney point?

Or better stated, what is your plan of action to become the best you can be, to preserve what you have, and build your sales or your business rather than whine about it. AND, what is your plan to protect your customers?

When change of any kind occurs, the first thing you think about is, “How will this affect me?” and/or “Is my job safe?”

Let me give you the real-world answer: If you’re no good, you’re in trouble.

And Sparky, your customers are vulnerable — to your competition –because you’re busy whining or covering your ass, or both.

HERE’S THE FIRST ANSWER: Look at the situation as an opportunity rather than a danger or a threat. This will give you the success mindset.

Here are a few more answers that will help you beat the situation:
Guard your customers with your life. Eliminate your vulnerabilities. Create value for them. Make them feel like you’re on their team, not just their supplier or vendor.
Get with the winners on your team. Meet weekly to create ideas that will help your company and your customer.Talk to your customers about their issues. Find out how you can help them. Find out what their biggest needs are (they may be in trouble, too). Then take action.
Add service, don’t cut it. Make your customer WANT to stay with you and keep doing business with you. Communicate more often. Provide more value. Add incentives. Create customer excitement. Renew customer commitments. THE ONLY WAY YOU WILL WIN IS IF YOU KEEP YOUR PRESENT CUSTOMERS AND ADD NEW ONES. Cost cutting is acceptable. Service cutting is not (I hope someone forwards this message to all airlines).
Become known as the best. This is for you AND your company. In troubled times, your reputation will carry you through, or weigh you down. Your (ethical and moral) actions are in full view of everyone.
Re-dedicate yourself to “student.” The best way to survive is keep studying. Keep learning. Keep trying to understand. Your understanding will lead to your decisions, and you will make better ones by studying than by watching TV reruns.

Now don’t go sending me the doom and gloom stories about how you were a victim of a cutback or a layoff. The same word: OPPORTUNITY applies.

What are you doing when change occurs?
What are your opportunities to win?
What are you doing to take advantage of it?
Why are you not doing your BEST?

The object in the game of business is: No matter who drops you or from what position… land on your feet. Need an expert? Get a cat.

Change is in the air.
You can feel it like a crisp fall day.
You can almost smell it.

The question is: How will you react to that change?
The bigger question is: Do you understand that your customers are vulnerable and that change is opportunity?
The biggest question is: How will you take advantage of that opportunity?

Free GitBit: Want to have a few more insights on change? I have a list of 10.5 more ways to cope and conquer. Go to (register if you’re a first timer) and enter CHANGE in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service. Subscribe to his free weekly sales ezine at He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to

2003 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without writtenpermission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer o 704/333-1112