Jeffrey Gitomer is an American author, professional speaker, and business trainer, who writes and lectures internationally on sales, customer loyalty, and personal development.
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I want to welcome everybody for this extraordinary guest. This is the guest that everybody wants on their show but you can’t get him because he’s in too much demand. I can also tell you that this gentleman is not only a mentor to me and a good friend. He is also somebody that actually started the show with me. I went there and he said, “Glenn, you need a show and I’m going to show you how to do it.” Even though we’re on the booster number seven, this was recorded in Jeffrey Gitomer studio.
It may look a little different. I may not be as good but the guest, there’s just nobody better. I hope you sit back and enjoy this legend, this sales icon, this nine-time New York Times bestselling author. He sold over five million books. Guys, gals, grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy the great, Jeffrey Gitomer.
We’re here with the self-proclaimed king of sales, my personal mentor, author of fifteen New York Times bestselling books, including the number one bestselling book on sales on the planet, The Little Red Book of Selling. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, you must be dead but let me tell you, this guy, his name is Jeffrey Gitomer. Welcome to the show.
Thank you, Glenn.
It’s Global Attitude Awareness Month. We are kicking off our show that you helped me build actually. I just want to thank you for the couple of days we spent doing this. What we’re going to do on this show, at least for our first season, is focus on what we call the Ten Attitude Boosters.
You have chosen because you’re my special guest and my mentor, to take the attitude booster called Grow or Die. Your podcast is Sell or Die. What we wanted to do was bring you in and talk about Sell or Die. We want to really talk to you about Grow or Die. What I’d like to know is can you recollect a time when you said, “I need to grow through this.”?
I can remember 25 times where I needed to grow through this but you can get personal. When my mom or my dad died, you have to grow through that. When you fail at business, your car gets repossessed, you have to grow through that. There are things that happen in your life that you need to grow through.
Maybe you have a personal illness of some kind, a family or close to a loved one has a personal illness of some kind. Those are things to grow through. There’s also the positive side of that, that when your business starts to flourish and you only have 5 people but you need 10, you need to grow through that. Don’t look at growth through something as though it’s like an obstacle or a brick wall rather it’s cornfield or Ivy.
It’s a big opportunity.
It’s an opportunity when anything happens. When my father died, rest his soul, I wrote an article about him. I said goodbye to my dad, not goodbye like the final goodbye. I’m writing it on the airplane. I’m crying my eyes out. The flight attendant comes to me like, “Are you okay?” “I’m fine.” I published it in the Business Journal and I have hundreds of letters from people that start out, “You don’t know me but…” Cards and letters and stuff.You never know what the opportunities are when you talk about what your obstacles are. Click To Tweet
I have them all memorialized. I kept every single one of them because some of it was, “My dad died, too. I had to get through this, too.” People will talk about their situation or they want to thank me for all the articles that I’ve written. They’d been a fan but a silent one. They wanted to reach out and say, “I’m sorry,” that kind of thing. You never know what the opportunities are when you talk about what your obstacles are.
When we talk about growth and it’s evident, there’s growth in business challenges and personal life challenges. As this being a personal development show, when we talk about the death of a family member especially a father or a child, what sources did you use? What gave you the education or what tool did you use to grow through that?
My dad and my mom did the same thing. I went back in their life and the togetherness of it, there’s in mind. I wrote down every cool thing I could think of, every funny thing, story, everything. I then talked about their personal expertise or what they specialized in. My dad was a salesman. My mom was a cook but ended up being a business person. I looked for all the good in that. When a friend of mine has the same thing happen, I tell them that. I send them the articles that I wrote about my dad and mom and I say, “Do this. It’ll help you heal.”
That transfers immediately over to business. The people that are reading this that are trying to get attitude, change their perspective, alter their focus, why not just write down everything that’s great? You got a business that’s failing. Your sales are off, “I didn’t meet the quota. My sales manager’s a dick.” Instead of focusing on why you hate your sales manager and how he de-motivates you, find the good in him, educate him, lift him up and create the attitude that you want in him.
Meanwhile, you might want to put your resume on Monster.com under an assumed name, just in case. Some people need to be successful someplace else.
When you think about growth, what does growth mean to you?
The first thing that I think about, is when I was a sophomore in high school. I was 5’2” tall. Literally a year later I was 6 feet tall. My bones hurt. That’s the first growth that you think about in terms of that. Let’s go back to my dad. When I started to receive all these letters from people, I recognize that my responsibility as a writer was significant. I challenged myself to become a better writer and grew that day as well or grew that month as long as I received things. You have to look at it from the perspective of what are you looking to grow.
If you’re reading this story, ask yourself, “What are you willing to grow to? How much of a risk are you willing to take in order to make that happen?” Some people are risk-averse and they won’t change their job because they’re safe or whatever. Some people are risk-averse because they won’t ask for the sale because they don’t want to get rejected. It’s all in your mind.
What you just said is the whole reason that somebody needs to read this blog, it’s, “I need to create an awareness of where I am. I need to be aware of my surroundings. I need to create a vision. I need to understand where I want to go and who I want to become.” This is what you experienced. When we talk about this thing called growth, do you believe growth is an attitude? Is it a skill?
I believe that it starts as an attitude and ends up as a skill. If you’re looking to become better at sales, you’re looking to become a manager or CEO, the first thing you have to do is study it. If you don’t study, you’re not going to do very well. I would like to have a quarter for every good sales guy that they made a manager and he failed.
There are tons of them because they don’t give you a management course or a leadership course. I’m looking at it from the perspective of if I want to grow someplace, the first thing I’m going to do is study everything about it and then I’m going to take the risk.
Now, it’s power. The seven skills of sales, number one, product knowledge. If you want to sell yourself, you better get to know yourself personally.
It’s personal product knowledge.
Also, personal development. When I talk to our audiences and I say, “Attitude Booster. Grow or Die?” A guy raised his hand. He said, “Are those the only two options?”
There’s mediocrity. If you choose not to grow then you pretty much stick where you are and you have the same amount of income on a pretty much an annual basis. Maybe you make a few commission dollars but the bottom line is you’re not going to ever get to where you really want to grow.
When we look at your podcast, which is ungodly successful and can’t even tell you how many people are signing in to listen to you, die is in your podcast. Sell or Die? You talk a lot about selling and nobody wants to talk about dying or death but because we have an attitude of openness, we’re going to talk about death. I’d love to know what’s your definition of death or what is your context of death. I’m guessing nobody’s ever really asked you this before.
I’ve been more than happy to tell you. I didn’t really have a firm belief about death. What happens afterward? Do you turn into a pumpkin? Do you come back as a cow? Maybe a nut. Here’s the deal. I’ve read a book called Many Lives, Many Masters by a psychiatrist named Brian Weiss. He had this woman that he couldn’t figure out what her problem was. He was against it but he tried hypnosis.
This woman talked about all of her past lives and how interconnected some of the people were. I bought 50 copies of the book. Sent them to people that I knew and told them, “I don’t know if it’s true or not but I sure hope it is right.” I’m coming back as something else connected somehow with the people that I knew.
I always imagine when new life comes into our family, I wonder, “Is that great-grandpa coming back or great-grandma?
On the day that my dad died, we’re all going to come to the funeral but my daughter Stacey, in her eighth month of pregnancy, went into labor. Stacy and her twin, Erika, went to the hospital to have the baby and Rebecca stayed with me. I gave the eulogy to my dad. You drive to the cemetery. With Jews, they have a ceremony at the gravesite and you take a handful of dirt and throw it in. I take my handful of dirt and I throw it in. The second that I threw it in, my pager goes off and says, “It’s a girl.” This was April 15th. Its birth, death, taxes on the same day. It gave me faith that, “Julia’s dad. There’s no doubt about it.”Learn how to be independent. Be away from your parents. Learn how to fight for yourself and how to play on a team. Click To Tweet
I’m a big karma guy. I’m big things are crazy. When you said it, you left out one very important day on April 15th. It is Global Attitude Awareness month but April 15th, isn’t that weird that it would come up? It’s the Global Attitude Awareness Day. It’s the day that we celebrate attitude throughout the world. Your father must be blessing us or something. It was a girl. What was her name?
How many grandkids do you have?
There are four.
How are their attitudes?
Why do you think people fear talking about death? Do you think that death and fear are the same things?
Fear could be walking into a closet, losing a sale, going broke, not being able to make your payments. Death is final. We have faith but we don’t know what’s going to happen afterward. I envisioned something cool. You die, you have the funeral and then people walk out and you’re there thanking them. “Thanks for coming to my funeral. I really appreciate it. Thanks.” You can’t do that. You want it to be something memorable. You want it to be something that they go home and feel good about themselves. That’s why they have wakes instead of funerals in some places of the world.
With death comes this thing called legacy. I don’t want to get morbid in here but it was Grow or Die. We have to understand and think about if you’re going to sell or you’re going to die. If you’re going to grow or you’re going to die. The real question for the people reading this is, “What do I want my legacy to be?” There’s a vision in the earthly life but your legacy is what really hits you when you leave this Earth.
It’s what you want your kids to say about you at your funeral, “My dad watches the hell a lot of TV.” Think about what you’re doing and the legacy that you’re passing on. In my leadership book, I talk about leaving a leadership legacy and I talk about, Glenn Warner, a tough guard at Cornell in 1912. He was invited with a bunch of other coaches to a meeting in Philadelphia to form a Kids League for football players. Glenn had already won a National Championship at Pittsburgh.
He coached Jim Thorpe among other athletes. They invited 7 coaches and only 1 of them showed up wow. Pop Warner. That’s how that football league started. Think about the legacy of that because he would have gone down as one of the greatest coaches of all time but now about 400,000 kids a year played Pop Warner football. That’s a legacy.
You look at it from that perspective. You can look at the legacy of other coaches, Knute Rockne or Bobby Knight or people that have made a mark in the world, Doug Pederson, for example. The challenge that you have in your life is, what do you want your kids or your spouse to say at your funeral? That’s the legacy. To me, that’s what you work for. You’ve worked for money but it’s only money.
One way to create a legacy is this awesome podcast that you call the Sell or Die Podcast. The other legacy that you are creating is Sell or Die Podcast Network. Where you help guys like me start our show, develop our legacies under your legacy.
Once you recorded this, it’s pretty much there now, forever. It might not have been in the 40s or 50s. It started to be in the 60s and 70s. With the internet, everything is so out there that you can google about anything and come up with a dozen resources or 50,000 resources in one second.
I’d like to know how you named your podcast, the Sell or Die Podcast? What did you think about? What was the switch where you said, “That’s it?”
There’s no second place in sales. You don’t get a ribbon or a little trophy for participating. You either sell or you have fucking nothing. I look at it from the perspective of, “How do you convey that to somebody?” There’s the second-place prize in the Olympics. There’s the second-place prize in many things, 2nd or 3rd place prize in horse racing or whatever they get paid for it.
In the end, as the person who came in second, would they have rather come in first and they’ll always say, “Yes.” I draw the analogy in my seminars that Michael Phelps in the Australian Olympics won eight gold medals. We won the seventh gold medal by one, the 100th of a second. Who did he beat? No one ever care who he beat. The guy, it was 1/100th of a second.
That makes all the difference between being remembered or not.
It’s all in preparation.
I always like to say to our salespeople, “You eat what you kill.” The commission salesperson, undervalued and underappreciated that some of my favorite people in America and those are the people that are reading this story. If you know somebody that would fit in well with the show, somebody that squeezes the juice out of life, somebody that can help people get from where they are to who they want to become that’s willing to eat that pasm to make it happen. We have a fun thing that we like to do with our guests called the Decade Advice Challenge.Think about who you want to become rather than what you want to do this weekend. Click To Tweet
What I want you to do, Jeffrey, is to go back in your mind to when you were these certain ages. If you can, in a word or a sentence, tell us the best advice you would give the world from when you were ten. What it really means is you’re going to remanufacture maybe the greatest lesson. What I want you to do, which you have no recollection of, as a baby, give me your best advice as a baby coming right out of the womb.
The best advice I can have is have hair.
How about when you were ten years old, best advice?
Have everybody go to summer camp for eight weeks. Be away from your parents. Learn how to fight for yourself and learn how to play on a team.
How about twenty years old?
Don’t do drugs. Think about who you want to become rather than what you want to do this weekend. Drop out of college.
How about 30-year advice?
You have to measure where you are at this moment in time at 30. I was selling, cold calling in New York City. I had my own companies. It was a struggle because my marriage was not the greatest and that was probably my fault as much as anything else. You get caught up in life. You try to struggle through the moment rather than taking a longer view and had I taken a longer view, it might’ve been a different outcome.
Give me your best advice at 40.
Be very careful who you establish long-term relationships with because they could crumble. When they do, they cost a lot of money and it’s not just a matter of the money that it costs you. It’s the momentum and the circumstances that happen as a result of it
I believe in something called emotional expense. When I’m in the sale, I talked to people, they go, “It costs too much whatever.” I said, “Yes.” Here’s the thing, what is the emotional expense you’re going through?
It’s harder to go through the emotional expense than the dollar expense times ten.
We’re up to 50.
At 50, I would say if you collect your life’s experiences and then you write about them. You wake up in the morning, you read, write, prepare, think, create. Emphasis on writing because writing leads to wealth. Not money, you capture all of your good things. From 50 to 60 to 70, you keep on writing. You write every day. It’s not like, “I’m 50 now.” You write every freaking day every day. I have fifteen books so far only because I write every day. I don’t sit down and write a book. I just sit down and write. That turns into a book after a period of time.
How about 60?
Don’t fuck it up. I had the experience in that time where the economy was tanking. My attitude got in the way of the reality of it. I stayed in it longer than I should have because my optimism was, “Next month it’s got to be better,” and it was not. I saved myself by doing economic planning for what I wanted to do for the next ten years. I cut my staff from 36 to 7. I could stay where I was. Luckily, people wanted content and they kept hiring me to do things. That kept the business thriving.
We are to your big 70. What advice do you have?
Find the best person on the planet to be with every day and I have found her. Make certain that your kids know that you love them and that you’re going to take care of them no matter what. Have a fucking blast every day because you never know when the bus is coming down the road and you’re going down the other road.
Jeffrey, that’s fantastic decades of advice and your ass better be here for 80 because I want to hear it. Thank you for that and congratulations on finding that unbelievable person. We are going to be interviewing Jen in the New York Minute on our next episode on Grow or Die. Your lessons and mentorship to me have been great. I love you as a friend and a brother.
If this episode boosted your attitude, please share it with a friend. Join us on social media. Go hit us on our Facebook Page @TheAttitudeMovement where we were trying to get a million people. Also, hit us on our Facebook Page at the @UniversityOfAttitude for Jeffrey Gitomer, the king of sales, king of attitude. This is Glenn Bill singing off on the show.
- Jeffrey Gitomer
- Little Red Book of Selling
- Sell or Die
- Many Lives, Many Masters
- @TheAttitudeMovement – Facebook
- @UniversityOfAttitude – Facebook
About Jeffrey Gitomer
In 1988 Jeffrey Gitomer founded Business Marketing Services, a consulting and training firm. As a trainer, seminar leader, and writer, Gitomer is emerging as a leading authority in the field of sales and customer service. Drawing from his own experience as the president and founder of three manufacturing and marketing businesses, he works with clients to improve their sales strategies, sales performance, personal development, and memorable service. He gives over 150 training programs and annual sales meetings for companies like Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Deloitte & Touche, Milliken, Time Warner, Siemens, Sony, Federal Express, NationsBank, and Sprint.
Gitomer began writing and publishing Sales Moves, a weekly column on the science of selling, in the Charlotte Business Journal in 1992. The article met with instant success and is now in syndication. With current weekly readership of more than 1,500,000, Sales Moves appears in 70 business newspapers throughout the United States and internationally. Gitomer has written 24 feature columns for Entrepreneur Magazine on selling. His book, The Sales Bible, complete with flash cards and interactive computer disk, is now in it 7th printing and has sold more than 150,000 copies.
In 2000, Gitomer’s second book, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless was published to rave reviews. That same year, Buy Gitomer was formed to explode into the 21st century in a leadership position. Combining writing and event training with web based desktop learning by using internet and intranet as a delivery system, Gitomer is positioned to help sales and customer service professionals improve on a daily basis. His innovative and trademarked “Brain-up” will be the benchmark for daily on-the-job learning for the millennium