by Jeffrey Gitomer
Published: September 13,2004
For years I have looked for the best way to impart sales knowledge. I found it. Small bites. Chunks. Bits.
Sales is learned one thing at a time, layered in over years. If I give you one bite today, and you understand it, believe it will work, try it, try it again, and you see the positive results, you’ll keep it and use it again.
And if you repeat the process tomorrow, and the day after that — at the end of the year you will have 250 new ideas and strategies that you have begun to master, and still have weekends off.
So, I created a tool to help you become a master salesperson — “The Little Red Book of Selling, 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness.”
It’s full of those bits and bites. It’s “Red” because red is the color of passion, fire and heart. If those characteristics aren’t present, you will never rise above the rest, no matter how good you think you are at sales.
Each of the 12.5 principles is broken down into small bites you can use at once. Here are a few from Principle 3: Personal Branding IS Sales. In sales it’s not who you know. In sales it’s who knows you.
CAUTION: This principle is about how I position and brand myself. I’m not bragging; I’m giving you a real world example of brand evolution —slowly over time. It’s a lesson for you, not a story about me. Below are a few of the “Red Bites” from that chapter.
Build your personal brand and customers will call you. Build your personal brand and customers will be loyal. The law of attraction is created by your brand.
Let me use myself as an example.
My brand gets me in your door. Every week I write a column, “Sales Moves,” that appears in 90 papers. I have a weekly e-mail magazine, “Sales Caffeine,” that delivers valuable sales information to more than 100,000 people each week. From those two extensions of my brand, I receive at least 1,000 Web hits or inquiries each week. And if you look at the way I’ve established the brand over the years, you’ll see that I fight for the brand’s integrity.
I didn’t say, “I’m pristine.” I didn’t say, “I’m politically correct.” I didn’t say, “I’m not on the edge (sometimes over the edge).”
“If you brand yourself as a person of value, prospects will call you.”
Position more, compete less
My weekly article appears in more than 90 cities around the country. Am I the best salesperson in cities like Charlotte, Dallas, St. Louis or Atlanta? Doesn’t matter. I’m the best positioned salesperson in those cities.
My picture is in the paper. My competition reads my column every week and hates my guts.
I’m better positioned in their city than they are. They live there, I don’t. My position gives me a competitive selling edge, people already know me.
The rule of sales that applies in this situation: “In sales, it’s not who you know. In sales, it’s who knows you.” Positioning helps you get known.
Who knows you?
Who sees you? Who appoints you? It depends on who knows you!
One other aspect of positioning is how high up the ladder you can get when you actually make an appointment. Because of the status I have, or better stated — the market positioning I have, I’m always able to meet with a company’s leader. Sometimes it’s the CEO; sometimes it’s the owner. But it’s always the person who “runs the place.” This gives me an incredible competitive advantage. Why? Because they already know me so I don’t have to build credibility when I walk in the door, and they are always the decision maker.
If you’re meeting with a CEO that already knows and respects you, I can promise you one thing: a lot of “yeses” will come your way.
Remember: it takes hard work
Who values you and your knowledge? Most salespeople stop at the end of the selling process. They go through the same old routine of prospect, appoint, present, close, follow-up. That sales strategy will lead you to another sales job.
If you want to build a relationship, if you want to get referrals — you have to become known as an expert or the expert in whatever you do. This requires hard work and study on your part.
If you’re not willing to do that, my immediate recommendation is to run down to the post office and get a nice safe job down there selling stamps at the counter.
If your customers value the knowledge and the expertise that you delivered, they will think long and hard before they entertain the dregs of humanity who also sell your product. (You may know them as your competitors.)
In sales, it’s not who you know. In sales, it’s who knows you.
Creating the law of attraction
The integrity of my brand is the consistency and the value of the message. I have become known as “the sales guy,” because I brand myself with information that others can use to make more sales and build their business.
It’s important to note that in the 12 years I’ve been writing my column, I have never made a sales call to book a seminar. They call me because they know I have given them value.
Every branding book talks about getting customers to remember your name at the time they are ready to purchase. And while that’s correct, it speaks nothing of the critical aspect; “Will they buy from you?” And, “Will they buy from you?” is all about their perception of the value of your brand. That is what creates the law of attraction.
Get it? Now try it. Make a plan to start it. Act on it, don’t just read it.
Free Red Bit: Want a few more steps to personal branding success? Go to www.gitomer.com, register if you are a first time user, and enter BRAND ME in the RedBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible,” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” is president of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer. He gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail
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