Linda Richardson interviews Chief Executive Salesman Jeffrey Gitomer.
Jeffrey Gitomer has been an unwavering voice in sales for several decades. He continues to enrich the field with his bold and honest perspective. For most of us he needs no introduction. Nevertheless, he is the founder of multiple businesses, a business consultant, one of the top keynote speakers, and prolific author of sales books including record breaking Wall Street Journal and New York Time’s The Little Red Book of Selling and The Sales Bible. His official title is Chief Executive Salesman, which gives insight into the directness of his message and his pride and passion for selling.
I was thrilled to learn about Jeffrey’s new book, The New Sale. The e-book version will be available in June and it is the first stage of his vision for a ten book series that will stretch his current focus from sales/business to a more personal business/life. The New Sale as he describes it seems encyclopedic. It covers how sales has evolved and lays the foundation for not only what has happened but what will happen in the future of selling. Never known to pull a punch, Jeffrey says the book “takes the old world of sales and sales training and throws a pie in its face.”
Jeffery emphasized that the rules of selling have changed forever. He describes the changes as happening over the past decade but that too many salespeople and sales trainers still operate in the past. His new book will dispel 50 old world sales realities and provide a way to traverse the old world of sales to the new. In short, he says the old way of selling is dead.
Here is a just a small sample of changing from the old to the new:
- The era of the sales pitch is over: I have always rejected the “find the pain” school of selling. So I was delighted to hear Jeffrey say, “Don’t find the pain. Find the pleasure.” In finding the pleasure salespeople may find they have something in common with the customer, a point of connection, genuine rapport, and a way to create a closer bond.
- Aggressive selling is a thing of the past: The aggressive salesperson has given way to the assertive one. Aggressive salespeople tell. Assertive salespeople ask. Aggressive salespeople go for the sale. Assertive salespeople go for the customer.
- Customer satisfaction is no longer the goal: Instead of customer satisfaction, the prize is customer loyalty. Jeffrey is unapologetic in describing J.D. Power’s measure of customer satisfaction “as the most bogus measurement in the history of business.” He holds that customer satisfaction is meaningless. It is a customer’s willingness to buy again and make a referral, both of which define loyalty, that matters.
- Sales is the now the pawn: “The salesperson,” Jeffrey notes, “used to be the king but now is the pawn.” The world of qualifying the buyer belongs to yesterday. The buyer is already qualified and is qualifying the salesperson. Salespeople must enter the sale on an equal footing with the customer. Customers are “LinkedIn-ing, Facebook-ing, and Twitter-ing” salespeople. But because salespeople are under-socialized they miss the chance to position themselves as value creators.
The New Sale will give salespeople guidance in what they can “easily” do to make sales for themselves and their customers more fun and more profitable. Jeffrey’s core message is “Be called rather than call.” He used himself as an example having given 2500 presentation over the past 25 years and never having made a sales call—for every single seminar booked customers called him first. How did he manage to be in the business of sales and never make sales calls? Through word of mouth and promotion which without the Internet (when he started in 1992) was much more difficult.
To my thinking much of selling today is about social media. In The New Sale, Jeffrey’s objective is to help salespeople understand “how to maximize social media to position and brand themselves rather than self-promote themselves”.
He questioned why any salesperson would cold call today when they could use LinkedIn. The good news is that in the new sales environment salespeople are not alone in this process—if they use their informal network (friendships and contacts they have made over their careers who know, respect, and sometimes love them) to facilitate introductions and gain customer respect. Jeffrey underscored that “Respect happens by reputation and introduction.” He noted that in the book Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, Harvey Mackay raises the question of whom a person can call at 2:00 in the morning. While that list is understandably short, it underscores that building a solid informal network is critical.
In the world of The New Sale, social reputation and social selling is paramount. Jeffery holds that a salesperson who leverages the Internet, a blog, an ezine, and a YouTube channel, can become “more popular than the New York Times in a year or two” if he or she offers the right information.
Salespeople must establish a reputation. They cannot hide any more. When customers Google them customers must find more than a name. Without visibility and a reputation as value creators, many salespeople will be (and have been) replaced. He emphasized that questions such as “Have you heard about us?” or “Tell me about your business.” have no place in the new selling. To win today, salespeople and sales trainers must “create a buying atmosphere, and not an atmosphere of bidding on a job”.
Jeffrey is bold, generous, and creative. He is outspoken and out there. He brings a practical, solid, and clear message that cuts through theory to help all in sales win and have fun doing so.
Advice from Jeffrey Gitomer: “Regardless where you are in your career, a beginner or a seasoned salesperson, deepen your belief in your product, your company, and yourself. Differentiate yourself from the competition; don’t compare yourself to the them. Differentiation is about value, comparison is about price. Believe in your heart, not your head, that the customer is better off purchasing from you. Have an unshakable attitude so that no matter what happens to you, you display resilience to rejection and go to the next customer feeling great. If you do these things you will win!” This to me is great advice from a “ Chief Executive Salesman” of the first order.