Which came first, the bad economy or the bad CEO?

Which came first, the bad economy or the bad CEO?

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 gitomer.me.

Which came first, the bad economy or the bad CEO?

“That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more!” Popeye the sailor.
“I’m sick of salespeople taking the heat for poor executive ethics!” Jeffrey the salesman.

We are living in deteriorating times. Coming off the excessive 1990’s we have finally reached a point in time where we are beginning to pay for our abuses. I say “we” because it is you and I as salespeople who will bare the responsibility of picking up the pieces of corrupted corporate leaders who were more concerned with showing a profit (even though it was falsified) than they were in providing value and service to their customers.

And how those “C-level” executives respond over the next year will determine our fate for the next ten years.

That’s where you and I come in. We’re the salespeople that allow the CEO to stay in power and the CFO to count the money. You see, if salespeople didn’t sell anything then there would be no reason for the CFO to come to work There would be nothing to count, and the CEO would have nothing to go on Lou Dobbs and talk about.

In an economic downturn people still do business, just less of it. And the businesses that survive will be the ones with the shrewdest marketing strategies, the most creative approaches to customers, the highest perceived value, the greatest service during and after the sale, coupled with the fiercest sales force. And all these elements are driven both philosophically and realistically by the Chief Executive Officer. A role that currently has the respect level of somewhere between dog catcher and bank robber.

It is now time for corporate America to look adding to the value and the service that they’re going to provide, rather than cut back to save their hides. And it’s time to arm their sales teams with tools to communicate and give the necessary support to succeed.

It’s game time.

Enter the word “ethics.” Have you seen any of the Senate hearings where they’re dragging corporate executives over a bed of hot coals? They must be hot coals because all these guys keep wiping their brows. Thank God for the Fifth Amendment or they might actually have to begin to tell the truth. Have you ever seen a more pathetic looking group of leaders? Take deeper note, that the reality of this situation will not hit any of us in the face until they begin to march a few of these scumbags off to prison. And mark my words, to prison they will go.

It’s almost funny to me that no one ever mentions the fact that America’s salespeople are at the fulcrum point of any company’s success. When the scandals broke about (insert the name of your favorite dying company here), their death was hastened because their salespeople lost the faith and belief to sell. Customers didn’t cancel contracts. Oh no. Salespeople came in and sold them a better alternative. Somehow that escaped the news. Salespeople rarely make the news.

Back to ethics. It is now time for every salesperson (every business person in America) to rededicate themselves to a more honorable way of conducting themselves in the free enterprise system.

This can be done BY YOU in 3.5 ways:
1. Lead from the bottom up. Set the example by doing things the BEST WAY POSSIBLE. A way that will make your customers love you, your Mother proud of you, and a way that will make your boss see that there is profit in doing things the right way. A way that generates positive word of mouth advertising and referrals.
2. Up your standards and enhance your service. Cutbacks are stupid. Southwest isn’t cutting back, they’re hiring… and they’re making a profit. Large corporation C-idiots still covering their assess, will do ANYTHING to salvage profit by cutting services. This will drive customers away, and further exacerbate their problem.
3. Lose money or break even. Now is the time to invest every dime in value propositions and incredible service. What’s needed are new and exciting services coupled with an intensive PR campaign so that present customers will stay and new customers will be attracted.
3.5 Stay a student. It’s time to learn, not just time to earn. If you want to build wealth, first build a wealth of knowledge.

What will America’s corporate giants do? I’m laughing at their strategy, I’m crying at their results. I’m hoping for new leaders to emerge that have an agenda of ethics, value, and service, rather than greed, corruption, and power (both business and political).

You know the expression, “nothing happens until someone sells something.” Let me paraphrase that by saying, “Nothing good will happen if we don’t change the way we do business, and create a new atmosphere where people want to buy.”

Want to pledge allegiance to the business flag? Pledge an allegiance of ethics to your customers, your vendors, your fellow employees, your families, and yourself.

Free GitBit…Personal philosophy drives ethics. Want to see mine to help mold yours? Go to www.gitomer.com – register if you’re a first time user, and enter the word PHILOSOPHY 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. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to salesman@gitomer.com