Business owners who work 9 to 5 and go home to work for their own 5 to 9 are admirable. To make this time worthwhile, study and learn something. Put this learning into practice and keep doing it until you become a master of your market. This is how the king of sales Jeffrey Gitomer made a lot of money. And then he went one up and developed “write to share.” When writing has value it is worth sharing, and when you share this valuable knowledge there is not only wealth in it, but also a way of paying it forward. This is the best form of content marketing that is valuable, usable and implementable. Learn the tips of going from understanding to proficiency to mastering and then finally to teaching.
Content Marketing: Write to Share with Jeffrey Gitomer
I want to introduce you to literally the king of sales. He’s authored twelve books on selling. He writes for national publications and his YouTube channel has over four million views, but who’s counting, really? Welcome, Jeff Gitomer, to the show.
Thank you very much, Mitch. Glad to be here.
Let’s go to the beginning, Jeff, because what I want to know is in all of our lives, there’s that moment where something happens, something changes usually, not voluntarily and our new life begins. Let’s go back to that time for you.
I was always in business for myself. My mom and dad were both entrepreneurial, although they didn’t call them entrepreneurs in those days. My dad and my grandfather and my mother were business people. My mom had a travel agency and a little school. My dad manufactured kitchen cabinets and countertops. I knew I was going to be in business for myself. I had the gift of gab but I didn’t ever understand the science of selling. I sold my first business and I took up with a bunch of guys and they were selling this multilevel marketing stuff and it was all about positive attitude and you’re going to make a lot of money and go, go, go. I started to read Think and Grow Rich and I started to take my New Jersey negative attitude and turn it into a positive attitude. This is pretty interesting, Mitch. Every day for one year, we went around the room and did a book report on one chapter of Think and Grow Rich. There are only fifteen chapters in the book so literally, every three weeks we read the book once and ten times that year. In the middle of the year, I actually was walking down the steps from the little living room to my basement where I had a pool table and a bunch of other stuff and I said, “I have a positive attitude now.”It came upon me. The realization that my attitude had changed from negative to positive and it was not going to go away, that was one beginning point.
Then when I started to learn how to sell, I realized that I loved it and a word popped in. The word was ‘best’. I decided that anything that I really loved, I wanted to be the best at. It wasn’t something that I was willing to say, “I think I can make a lot of money.” That’s a bunch of crap. What I wanted to be was best. If you’re out there and you think of yourself as, “I really want to make a lot of money at this,” the only way to do that is to be best at it. If you’re the third best guy in your sales team, two other people are better than you are. What’s that about? I dedicated myself to becoming best at anything I loved to do and it started with selling. I don’t know how you started out in your career as a salesperson or what you thought about, but if you think back to it, you’ll think about, “I loved it or I didn’t love it. I loved my boss or I didn’t love my boss.” I’m not going to be a great employee. I’m just not. I wanted to be the boss. If I didn’t pay myself enough, that was really my fault. I think the bottom line there is that I studied the science of selling until I could really get good at it.
You started with a book, Jeff. For me, I started by going to the best salesman in my entire field and I asked if I could buy him lunch. I sat down with the guy and I said, “How did you learn to sell?” His name is Kevin Hunt. He was a professional NFL player for many years. He said to me, “I didn’t know anything about selling so I went to the Dale Carnegie class.” I said, “What’s that address?” He said, “It’s in Waltham. Just drive over there.” I drove over there that afternoon after lunch and I signed up for the course. That was the way I found my path to becoming really, really good at sales.
I think everyone was taking the Dale Carnegie course. I took it back in the ‘70s. Let me go one step further. We not only did Think and Grow Rich in those sales meetings. We had a four-hour sales meeting every morning. From 8:00 until 12:00, everyday for one year. Everyone else would go to lunch except me. I scheduled an appointment for 12:01 because I was so on fire that anyone I talked to, they were already sold and they had to talk their way out of it. Cassettes at that time were the brand new technology. I listened to every cassette that I possibly could from Bill Grove and Herb True and Jay Douglas Edwards, Zig Ziglar and Earl Nightingale, anybody that had a cassette. I listened to everything. Here I am getting this full dose every morning of the University of Sales and I started to get pretty damn good at it. I started another company. I quit those guys. I didn’t really like their ultimate ethics or their outcomes, so I quit to start my own company. I manufactured and printed sportswear. I went to New York City and sold. I found that I could sell better than anybody because I knew how to. I could sit with a New York City buyer who wanted a bribe and talk him out of the bribe and into my product. It was amazing. I’m going to tell you, if you cold called in New York City, “up yours” is a greeting. I literally made million-dollar sales in New York City using my newfound sales skills. That put me from great at attitude and great at selling.
I want to ask you a question here because Think and Grow Rich is not about sales, it’s about mindset.
The year after Think and Grow Rich came out, Napoleon Hill actually wrote a book that’s just as good called How To Sell Your Way Through Life. The Little Red Book of Selling is the best book ever written on selling skills but besides that, Napoleon Hill’s book, How To Sell Your Way Through Life is just as good. It’s an unknown book. You can still get it in paperback someplace. The challenge is to understand that Napoleon Hill was first a salesperson. His first writings were all about selling advertising but he also wrote about how to live life and that was twenty years before Think and Grow Rich came out.
You’re in New York City, you’re selling schmattes, you’re selling clothes to vendors and you’re closing deals and life is good. What happened next?
My two partners and I didn’t really see eye-to-eye. I sold my portion of the business to them and I went around the country and I started to do consulting. Because I was in textile screen printing and I was an expert at it, I was teaching people how to be better at textile screen printing but I talked to people and they’d go, “These people don’t know how to sell.”I started to teach sales and that led me to a whole bunch of stuff. Serendipity-wise, I went to the textile screen printing show at the end of ‘82 and we were at the brand new airport in Dallas. I see some guy fighting with his credit card at the machine. I recognized him from the show and I said, “What’s going on?” He goes, “I just put my credit card here and I lost it.” I said, “What do you need?” He goes, “I just need some money.” I said, “Here’s $100. Here’s my card. Send me the money.” The guy was flabbergasted. The very next day, I get my $100 back and I get a phone call from him. He says, “You textile screen print, right?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Do you do it by contract?” I said, “Sure.” He said, “I just got the contract for the 1984 Olympics. You want to print the shirts?” I printed 1.6 million shirts by giving the guy $100 at an airport on a whim. Serendipity, by the way, is God’s way of remaining anonymous. It’s about being gregarious, being outward, being trusting and being able to network.
Also following your gut. Clearly, you followed your gut on that one.
He was wearing a suit. I’m not going to give it to some guy that limps and is dragging his feet. This guy looked pretty good and I thought, “I’ll take a shot.” Growing up in college, I owned two race horses. I was willing to pay $500 to watch a horse come in second. This is the challenge. I made all these sales and I realized that wasn’t really what I wanted to do. I’m good at textile screen printing but it’s a real small industry. I’m bigger and better than that. I began to do consulting more seriously and I would go into other places to do consulting. Just as an example, I consulted with Sprint to combine sales and marketing when they had that Fridays are Free Program. Kids wanted to go in and say, “It’s a 20% discount.” I said, “No. Friday is the least profitable day of the week and you can turn it into the most profitable day of the week by making your phone calls and sending your appointments for the following week. It made the program exceptionally successful just because of one small idea.
Fast-forward just a few years later and I began to write pretty much on accident. If you buy The Sales Bible, you can read the story in the front of it. I began to write and when I realized it, I said, “This is really cool. I want to be the best.” Best at sales, best at writing. Then one day, somebody called me up and asked me if I wanted to speak at their show. I go, “Sure, I do.” The guy said, “What’s your fee for a full day.” Mitch, I had no idea. I said, “$5,000” and the guy said, “That’s fair enough.” I said, “Did you need any references?” He goes, “No. I read your column in the Charlotte Business Journal.” At that time, my column was in the Charlotte Business Journal but they put me in a bunch of other papers as well. I get off the plane. I told the guy, “Hold the check in the back of the room in between your two forefingers.” I said, “If I’m no good, rip it in half. If I’m good, give me the check.” I get off the plane and the guy meets me at the gate because in the early ‘90s, you could still meet people at the gate, and he hands me a check for $5,000. I go, “I better be the best at this.”
Now, I’m wanting to be the best at selling, wanting to be the best at writing, wanting to be the best at speaking. Those are my three pieces. I should tell you and I should tell everyone, March 23, 1992 was the day that my first column appeared in the Charlotte Business Journal. No internet yet, just printed on paper. Every penny that I have earned since March 23, 1992, I can trace back to something that I wrote. Writing leads to wealth. Not selling, not speaking, writing leads to wealth. If l give a speech on Tuesday, I have nothing to do on Wednesday. If I write something on Tuesday, it goes on the internet and it stays there forever. That’s how you get 5 million views on your YouTube channel. You go in your studio and you record and that stays. You can look on my YouTube channel, Buy Gitomer, and you’ll see some of them have hundreds of thousands of views.
Jeff, I have to ask you a question here. A lot of us write, people write books, people write blog posts and they would say, “Gitomer, I don’t agree with you. I’m not making any money. How come I’m not making money with my blog?”
You’re a shitty writer.
That might be the case.
People misuse the word content marketing. It has to be readable content. It has to be valuable content. It has to be usable content, implementable content. It has to be content that someone wants to read and then share. It’s shareable content. If they would put that in there, that would make them write something that was actually shareable. When I write something I want to say, “Is this going to be shared or not? Who’s going to read this? Who’s going to like this?” Two years ago, I revealed the true identity of Santa Claus. Santa Claus is Google. Google knows when you’re sleeping. They know when you’re awake. They know if you’re bad. They know if you’re good and they read all your letters. I got thousands of comments on that, thousands of reads, thousands of likes on one little column. I just thought up the idea and wrote something that was both humorous and poignant, wishing everybody a happy holiday and the whole nine yards.
Who would argue with that? It’s funny and it’s cute. Basically, the thing that you did is you wrote something entertaining that brought the point home and then simply made you more popular because people now read what you wrote. I love your perspective. I think you’re right. Writing leads to wealth if it is shared. If you’re not writing to share, then you’re not writing.
Most people write something self-aggrandizing and they want someone to respond and “Click here to buy now.” I get plenty of that but I would tell you that if you don’t have value to back it up, then people will just think you’re a promoter. You can’t just promote all day long. You have to have a mix of value in with your promotion. Is there a formula for that? No, but I would say four values and one promotion are about the right mix.
The idea is that the better your stuff is, the better quality and the more shareable things that you write, you can increase the frequency of promotion.
The more people you will attract, and that’s the whole key and you have to attract high and low. I’m of an age where the saying is you can do ten years plus or minus but I have thousands of millennials that follow me and they love my character, they love my frankness. I would say I’m a borderline between frank and crass but I’m New Jersey. I grew up selling in New York City.
You’re more crass than frank, let’s be honest. Jeff, I love your story but what I want is I want people to learn something. Where do we start? How about a guy or a gal who is basically building a company, they’re working their 9 to 5 and then they come home and they’re working their 5 to 9. Based on listening to you, how can they improve their sales?
Let me give you a self-aggrandizing one and then I’ll give you an open one. My stuff is available on my website. It’s called Freesources. You can read columns. You can read all kinds of stuff. If you want to go crazy, you can go to the GitomerLearningAcademy.com and you can register. For $99 a month, you can own it. The bottom line is that you have to begin to study how to become better. You have to turn your television off. You have to turn the news off, it’s all bullshit anyway. You have to put yourself in a situation where you’ve decided to remain a student. Listen to Jim Rohn. He says, “If you want to be good at something, study it.” If you want to be a great doctor, study medicine. If you want to be a great salesperson, study sales. For example, if you’re going to go into something like the sign business or the insurance business, then you study your business and you know the history of it. If you don’t know the history of sales, what the hell good are you?
In the earlier part of your show you said, “Nothing happens until a sale is made.” That was said by Red Motley in 1946. Red Motley the founder of Parade Magazine on your Sunday paper, and still exists. He was a guy like us who paraded around the country and did sales seminars and wrote a book, Nothing Happens Until Somebody Sells and that expression has caught on and everybody uses it. Somebody originally said it and when you know the history of it, it becomes a lot more intriguing and engaging, and certainly intellectual. The bottom line is, I’m a student. I’m a student father, I’m a student grandfather, I’m a student speaker, I’m a student writer, and I’m a student salesperson. You’ve been to my library, I own the history of sales and I read it or I write about. That has been a secret for me that if you’re working your 5 to 9, then you have to do it where you are studying something and learning something and then from 9 to 5, put it into practice. If you don’t do that, you’re missing the opportunity to build, to take your foundational wealth of knowledge and put it into practice.
What I’m hearing, and it’s the same thing that I’ve heard many successful people say over and over again is, “You need to read. You need to study. If you’re not reading a book a week, then you’re falling behind.”
Now, at least you can listen to a book, you can read a book, you can take the book on the airplane on your iPad and have the Kindle app. I sat next to Riggio one night because I did a seminar for all the Barnes & Noble stores and I said, “Tell me what you wish you didn’t do.”He said, “Thinking Amazon.com was a joke.” Prime is now a verb. Nook is now a dead product. You drive around your own neighborhood, where is your Amazon warehouse? The answer is it’s a 200,000-square foot, five-storey building someplace and it’s in almost every major city now. 500,000people and it isn’t going to stop him. All their competitors are dying, literally. They control the marketplace and retail stores. Thousands are closing not just because of Amazon but because of online buying. Online buying has taken over that marketplace. You don’t have to deal with a crappy salesperson.
In all honesty, Amazon has basically intermediated the entire retail community and it continues to do so. More importantly, let’s get back to the lessons here, Jeff, because I’m a guy and I’m selling something. My first lesson is, “Sit down and read a book, will you? Understand sales.”
Sit down and read Think and Grow Rich or something about positive attitude so that as you approach this and something goes wrong, you won’t feel like you’ve been beaten. If I can’t teach somebody attitude to start out with, there’s no sense of me teaching them sales. They’re going to fail and feel like they’re a failure and quit.
I have a book recommendation that I’ve made many times on the show. It’s called You, Too, Can Be Prosperous by Robert A. Russell. To me, that book has gold inside and it’s $9.For $9, you could buy this book and you can read it seven times. Every time you read it, you’ll derive another beautiful gem that you can integrate into your life and into your world. The simple element of this is very simple. It’s so simple that it belies understanding it first. The simplicity of it is you simply have to listen to the positive that’s around you and pay no attention to the negative while focusing on the life you want, not on the mistakes you’ve made. It’s that simple.
I’ve read this book four times and I’m in the middle of reading it again. I love this book. I read it every morning with my Bulletproof Coffee. I sit down, I read this book and I have a notepad open and every day I take notes from this book. I won’t be done reading this book until the comments start repeating themselves, and so far they haven’t. For me, this book has brought me so much joy and has helped me shift my own mindset in so many wonderful ways. We all need this. It’s not like I reached some point or the great Jeff Gitomer reached the point where he doesn’t need to learn anymore. That’s not true. We all need to learn. We must be improving our lives every single day. It’s your responsibility to be improving your life every single day. I love what you said Jeff, “Turn off the TV for heaven’s sakes.” I think Netflix has destroyed more minds. I love Netflix, but I just can’t sit there. I have to do something and that’s why I love to read like that.
I have a pretty extensive library. I’m very blessed with it. Actually, I’m turning it into a business, Mitch. People marvel at my library. I think of my library like it’s a cool place but I don’t want people to look at it and I keep people the hell out of it. However, I’m going to start to scan some of the books like You, Too, Can Be Prosperous because in 1950 when it was written, it’s over now, it’s in the public domain. All the books that I have that are in the public domain, I’m going to scan and you can subscribe to my library virtually. I’m going to put up about ten books a month. Once I reach 100 books, you can subscribe. It will be $10 a month or $100 a year or $250 for a lifetime subscription. I know I will sell tens of thousands of subscriptions. Books that nobody has. Books that nobody has ever seen before for the most part.
We got the learning part down; I think we’ve made that clear. What’s the next step?
The next step beyond learning is actually doing. What I did when I first started to sell is I would go out and try the thing out that I just learned to put it in my mind a little bit deeper. I’d learned a philosophy or a strategy or a technique, and the first thing I would do is try it. You can see how I could put it into practice somehow or the other just to make it work. That put it into my head. It put me into a situation where I was not only reading about these strategies, but I was actually mastering them. What happens is you do something a couple of times and you understand it and then you become proficient at it. If you do it 10 times or 50 times, you become a master of it. I go from understanding to proficiency to mastery, and that’s how you get what you get. I gave the example on my own podcast. I ask a question of people and it’s the same question every time and it’s an absolute killer question. I ask, “Where did you grow up?”I don’t say, “Where are you from?” I say, “Where did you grow up?”I take you back to your home where you grew up with siblings or your parents, whether alive or passed on. It’s a memory maker. Where did you grow up, Mitch?
Brooklyn, New York.
You may not be a trusting person because people in Brooklyn steal from their neighbors all the time just for the hell of it. If somebody grew up in Ames, Iowa, I know that they’d never even lock their house. I want to be in a situation where I know whether that person is going to be trusting or not. I want to emotionally engage them. That one single question, “Where did you grow up?” creates both of those things for me. I understand them and I’ve created a bit of emotion. Those are the kinds of things, they’re simple things but once you understand them and you use them a bunch of times, it’s like part of your fabric. It’s not fake. It’s real and it’s wonderful because you can create all kinds of situations where you can find things in common.
I want to go back to the thing that you said, which is really important. We have learning first and then we have practice which leads to mastery. I know that there’s a third step here and I know that you know this because you do it all the time. The third step in truly mastering something is to teach it.
There’s a step in between. There’s learning, there’s mastery, and there’s winning. When you start to win, you get this whole feeling. It’s a momentum on your side. It’s self-confidence on your side and then you can start to teach it with a verb because you know that it works. When I sold in New York City and I won contracts, it gave me the moxie to do anything I wanted to do. Had I gone to New York City and been turned down a million times, I might not have had the same moxie.
When you said mastery, I assumed you meant winning as well because how can you master something if you’re not good at it. The point here is that, we all have companies, or are starting companies or growing companies, and we all have people that work with us. When I first started my software company many years ago, I was the only salesperson. I mastered selling what we created. It made me cringe when another person came into the organization and lost sales because they weren’t as good as me. I had to go through a painful period of watching people lose sales and then train them on what it took to make sales. It hurt.
I think once you start to train people, you cringe when they don’t do what you’ve told them is obvious. Like, “This is obvious. Why aren’t you doing this? I don’t understand. I’ve just told you what works and you go back to your old stupid way.” The reason is they’re comfortable. People are afraid literally to get out of their comfort zone.
What we did at BBI, Business Breakthroughs International which is the company I ran with Chet Holmes and Tony Robbins, is that when we brought a new salesperson on and we had over 80 salespeople, we basically made them study a script and made them study a list of over 60 objections. We didn’t make them memorize it but we made them track where they were in the script no matter what. Here’s what we found. I think you’ll see the magic of this, Jeff. We found that those who follow the script verbatim, those who were able to internalize the script, make it their own, and then go through the script exactly the way it was written, closed faster and closed more often than those creative types who felt it was boring to just read a script. Imagine that.
For me, I avoid scripts. I’m not crazy about them. You sound phony. You can hear somebody reading from a script.
That’s why I said internalize it. You don’t want people reading from a script.
I make it conversational. That’s the whole deal. If you can make it conversational, you can guarantee you can win.
There are key elements of every selling process that as you take someone through it and you know because you’ve done it 100,000 times, you know exactly what’s going to happen and you know exactly what the objections are going to be. After a month on the phones, do you think you’re going to hear an objection you’ve never heard before?
No. There are a dozen objections, maximum. I did a thing for Time Warner Cable one time where they were selling HBO. I said to the manager, I said, “How many objections are there?” He goes, “There are thousands.” I said, “Really? Let’s bet $100 right now there’s not more than twelve.” There are nine and I won the $100.
One of the elements that you’ve discussed which is so important is learning. You touched on it briefly but I’d like to dive a little bit deeper into this. You’ve built a learning library. You’re not the only one, there are other people out there that have these types of libraries. What is it that yours does that makes it different and more valuable than others?
What I try to do is from my library standpoint, I collect ideas. I’ve written about 1,200 columns that are about 750 words. I’ve written over a million words and I use those columns to compile into books. I’ve written thirteen of them. The bottom line is, I’m always looking for something new. I’m always looking for a new idea or something that I’m thinking about or something that I want to write about. Whether it’s seasonal or something about a place that I visited, whether it’s Europe or Australia or someplace in Wyoming, I want to make sure that I’m timely and I’m on the money. I get an idea and I immediately text it to myself so that I don’t lose an idea or I write it down someplace in a Word file or something. I capture the idea the second that I get it and then I start to elaborate on it and I start to write about it. That’s a critical element that most people overlook. They go, “I don’t really have any good ideas.” Yes, you do, but you don’t capture them. You have all kinds of ideas but you don’t capture them. Until you start to do that, you’re going to lose. Throw some things at people right now just in terms of ideas. You can talk about productivity. You can talk about concentration. You can talk about content marketing. You can talk about gender. You can talk about on fire versus being burnt out. There’s only been one new objection in sales in the last 100 years.
That I can get it cheaper online.
Other than that, your price is too high. I’m doing business with somebody else. I’m satisfied with who I’ve got. I’ve spent my whole budget. All bullshit lines that you’ve heard all your life, and now online is a real competitor. I’ll throw something at you so you can recognize the evolution in your own business. When online first came about, no one did it and all the companies went broke. It was the big dot-com bust. Then all of a sudden, people said, “Let me try it.” They would buy something but they wouldn’t put their credit card online. Then Amazon came out with one-click buying and people said, “I’ll put my credit card online.” Then other people got involved and said, “Let me make it easy to return things.” The second that happened, people started to trust it a little bit more. Now, online buying is mature. So mature in fact that Black Friday is like Gray Friday because they don’t do the volume that they did once before because every online marketer comes out on Thursday and says, “What are you going there for? Just buy it right now.” Click, buy, bag.
Do you know the origin of the term Black Friday?
I think I do but I’ve forgotten it.
Let me share it with you, at least the way I understand it. Black Friday goes back basically to brick and mortar retail. Black Friday was the day that if sales were good, would make your company profitable for the year. You went into the black after that particular Friday. That’s why it was called Black Friday. Just like anything else, it’s translated now to the web and now people hear about it for the first time and they go, “Black Friday.”It had nothing to do with the color black, except on ledgers.
I think though that there’s an opportunity for anybody to play in the Black Friday marketplace. That’s the cool part. The internet has leveled the playing field. If I want to go up against Walmart, I can do it. If I have any kind of distribution, if I have any kind of ability to ship, I can use Amazon as my shipper and my warehouse. They’ll do everything for me for a piece of my pie and if I sell a lot of them, they’ll kiss my butt.
Let’s pivot and let’s talk about competition. We have people out there who are doing a service. Let’s say they’re a business consultant and that service is a commodity as you probably realize at this point. How does a business consultant compete? Where do they find that edge and how would you help them describe it in a selling process?
A business consultant has to create what’s known as a transferable message. The customer or the prospect has to say, “I get it. I agree with it. I think I can do this or I have confidence in this person. I’m willing to try it.”If the consultant or the coach doesn’t have a transferable message, all is dead or lost or both. They tend to start with this wee-wee thing. “I’ve been doing this for 72 years and I’m one of the greatest guys that ever lived.” All BS. I don’t care about you. I don’t care if you drop dead right in my office. What I care about is how will this help me win? How will this help me prosper? How will this help me succeed? How will this help me earn more money or create safety for my family or whatever the deal is? If you can’t create that transferable message, then you’re going to fall into the pool of everyone else. Not only do you have to create the transferable message when you’re face to face with someone, you have to write about it first so that somebody gets it and is willing to contact with you. I’ll give a brag but it’s true. If it’s true, it’s not bragging. I’ve given about 2,500 corporate talks over the course of the last 25 years. I’ve never made a sales call. Everybody who has hired me to do their annual event or speak on one of their things has called me because of something that they’ve read from something that I wrote. Do you get it now?
Yeah. Like you said, “Writing leads to wealth.”
I got a lead yesterday from Brazil and a lead now from Portugal and three leads at the end of last week from America to come and speak to their people. That’s how it works. If you post enough information up and people read it and relate to it, they go, “Let’s get that Gitomer guy in here,” and they call. If you’re sitting at home and you’re listening to a podcast and you’re thinking, “I don’t think I could ever do that,” that’s bullshit. I started with one column in the paper. No internet, no nothing. It took another four years before the internet even showed up on a radar screen. The only smart thing I did on the internet at the very beginning was register my last name dot-com so that no one else in my family could get it. ImGitomer.com or BuyGitomer.com, I own the family name. I own Jeffrey Gitomer. Mitch, I even bought the misspellings of my name. Anything will lead you to my website. Understand that once I started to go online and publish a weekly newsletter, I now out-circulate the papers that I started out with.
The point that you made and the point that I really like is having what you call the “transferable message.” The idea of having someone hear your message and say, “I get it. I understand how this will help me.” That’s the most important thing I heard from what you said. The other element of this, in my opinion Jeff, is to make sure that that message communicates not what you do but the transformation that takes place when you are working with the client which is in fact the content of that transferable message.
I can create an example of it very easily. You do not go to the gym to work out. You hate working out. Most people do. It’s a pain in the ass. I don’t want to be on a treadmill. I don’t want to lift weights. I just want the outcome. I want to be healthier. People are looking for what is the outcome. If you’re going into a consultancy situation, Mitch, and you’re talking to the prospect about how you help, you’ll also have to paint a picture of what’s going to happen when it’s done. How is everyone going to feel? How is everyone going to promote? How is everyone going to produce? How’s everyone going to profit from what it is that you’re saying? If you can get that baby, you can win.
What this comes from is thinking not from your perspective but from their perspective. That is the key to understanding what really is important to your client. Let’s go even deeper on that. Let’s talk about avatars and creating the avatar for a market. What guidance would you provide along those lines?
It’s your image. How do people perceive you? I will ask a question of a prospect of mine and I’ll say, “When people see your product, what do you want them to think? What are they thinking now? When people see your product, what do you want them to say? What are they saying now? When people see your product, what do you want them to do? What are they doing now?” Those three questions, what do they think, what do they say, what do they do, that creates incredible provocation in the mind of the other person. They probably don’t know. If I go into a CMO, I say, “How much does a sales lead cost you?” If they know the answer, I immediately have some respect for them. If they don’t, what the hell are they doing in marketing? You should sleep with that number under your pillow. The bottom line is you have to ask something about the other person that makes them stop and think, consider new information and respond in terms of you. That’s a question that I refer to as an engagement question. The bottom line is it’s a thought question. What are they thinking about? What am I asking them that they’ve never been asked before and get a response from them that they had to think about and give a response that they’ve never given before? Now I have immediately gone up an image of the other person because I’m like, “This guy is pretty smart. I better pay attention.” I better pay attention.
You’ve got to ask the right person the question. That goes back to the idea of avatar. When you spend money on marketing, you’re not marketing to housewives. I know that. You’re marketing to CMOs, you’re marketing to sales executives, to VPs of sales. Your avatar is a person who is obviously involved and cares a lot and maybe even depends on the entire sales process to have a life. How would you advise people to go about finding the avatar for their business?
It comes under the heading of Search Engine Optimization on the internet where you want to start to write about things that have keywords that other people are interested in so that when they go searching for sales training or they go searching for great salespeople, they’re going to find you and they’re going to stumble on you. To me, I want to write something that creates attraction in my marketplace. I have a marketing mantra. I’ll give it to you. I created it. It doesn’t appear in any marketing book because when I was in college, I didn’t do well in marketing. It’s funny, my dad and I took a marketing course at Temple University and we went to college together. He just went for the hell of it and I went because I needed a few more credits. It was the dumbest class I’d ever been to in my whole life. It didn’t have anything to do with getting a sales leader or making a deal. This is my marketing mantra now fast-forward 45 years. “I put myself in front of people that can say yes to me and I deliver value first.”My avatar, if anything, is value. Then I know what my customers are looking for in terms of a keyword and I want to put that into my tweets and I want to put that into my writing, the things that I post on LinkedIn. I want to put those into the titles that I put up on my YouTube video. I want to make sure that my customers are engaged with words that can relate to me and them. If we can hook up, I’m the happiest guy on the planet.
For everyone wondering, “How do I find those keywords?” there are some very cool tools out there that are basically free. Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Google that. Type in your profession and then watch what happens next. By the way, if you are looking to create your next product, the product that you think should follow the one you have right now, use Google AdWords Keyword Planner to see what other people that you know buy your product are looking for. Here’s an interesting fact, Jeff. 25% of the terms typed into Google every single month are brand new terms that Google has never seen before. Now, here you are typing in your avatar, your ideal client and you’re typing in exactly what it is that you think that they’re looking for and guess what, here’s 100 other things they’re looking for. If you ever wanted an idea on what to do next or how to salt your writing with keywords, Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Here’s another one, SEMrush. Another great tool. I think it’s $9 a month or something like that. SEMrush is another place to start understanding how you could use keywords and how you can build markets around bases of interest that you don’t currently do.
There’s just so much information and Google makes it available for free. If you don’t use this, you’re shortchanging yourself. Have you ever heard the term ‘stacking S-curves’ before? I listened to a podcast by Ken Courtright, who’s amazing, and he talks about that in his very first episode. Stacking S-curves goes on the idea that everything you’re doing today absolutely will fail at some point in the future. Nobody has ever done anything that has continued to be successful forever without either pivoting or adding something new. That’s what we call stacking S-curves. How do you get your next S-curve? You could buy it. You could go up and buy Grant Cardone’s whole operation, Jeff, if you wanted to but better is to understand your market and then get to the next level. That’s what all these great tools are all about. Everyone, whatever you are, whatever you’re selling, whatever profession you are in, use these tools and then apply what Jeff Gitomer, the king of sales, has taught us.
Thank you, Mitch. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you. I secretly look at your photographs. For those of you who don’t know, Mitch Russo is an amazing, amazing photographer.
Thank you, Jeff. I’ve got a couple of questions for you before I let you run out of here. The first question is the type of question that I think helps really honor and also anchor my guests into the space that they’re in now. This could be anyone, everywhere, anytime. Who, in all of space and time, would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch, or an intense conversation with?
That’s a really good question because most of the guys that I would really want are dead. I would want an hour with Jobs and I would want an hour with Earl Nightingale.
I’m going to work on that for you. Tell me why.
Jobs, because he didn’t put a dent in the world. He created a crater and he reinvented the laptop. He invented our music as resoldHe invented the market for the tablet that nobody even knew there was a market for. He reinvented a phone company, put BlackBerry out of business because they were sitting on their ass. This is a guy who was a thinker. Somebody for my birthday a couple of years ago sent me one of his business cards from the ‘80s as a gift. He’s on my desk every day. If you’ve ever read the Walter Isaacson book, the Steve Jobs biography, it’s absolutely compelling. That’s an iconic person who had the shit beat out of him and still managed to create the biggest company in the world. Earl Nightingale, because of The Strangest Secrets that I listened to at least 500 times in which he says, “We become what we think about all day long, but it’s really you become what you think about all day long.” That one single message has maintained my thought process. Every once in a while, I listen to that and the John F. Kennedy Inauguration Address and the Martin Luther King I Have a Dream speech. If you don’t listen to the three of those things at least once a year, something’s wrong with your soul. When I listen to Martin Luther King’s speech, I always cry.
Both of those guys would be amazing to spend time with. If possible, I’m going to try and set that up for you but I’m going to come along too, if you don’t mind.
That’s quite all right. As long as we’re doing a trailer, let’s go for Oscar Wilde as well.
Here’s my last question for you, Jeff. It’s the change the world question. What is it that you are doing or would like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?
I have a lifelong relationship with the Napoleon Hill Foundation. I’ve been doing their newsletter, Napoleon Hill Yesterday and Today, for about twelve years and I’ve never charged them a nickel for it. I do it for free because I got my positive attitude from him and that’s how I pay it back or pay it forward. Two years ago, they offered me the newsletters that Napoleon Hill wrote when he was teaching the course Truthful Advertising in 1919. Think and Grow Rich came out in 1937, 1938 and this is twenty years before because this was all written in 1917 but copy written in 1919. They gave me the right to publish the book and annotate it for the 21st Century. It’s life-changing because it’s his first thoughts, his first thinking and my editor who’s my partner Jennifer, as she is editing the book, she’s texting me stuff like, “This is the greatest thing I’ve ever read in my life,” and she’d text me quotes from the thing. Mitch, it’s unbelievable. Amazon is publishing it. It’ll probably come out in the spring of next year or maybe the summer of next year. It’s finished. Now, it just has to be edited and cover. We’re arguing about the title and we’re arguing about all kinds of things. We’ll come up with something that’s absolutely mind-boggling. It will go international from day one and it will literally change people’s lives and thinking. What I did with this stuff is I wrote a preamble to each one of the chapters to explain what’s inside of it. Then once you read it, I take the end of the chapter and say, “Here’s how you implement this.” It’s not the writings of this guy, but it’s the how-to in the 21st Century.
How can people dive deep into all your incredible assets?
I want them to go to GitomerLearningAcademy.com. I want them to listen to my podcast, SellorDiepodcast.com. You can find it anywhere, Stitcher, iTunes, wherever but Overcast is more of a business channel. You can only have an iPhone to get it but you get it and you subscribe to it and you rate it. It’s a phenomenal podcast. Then just go to my regular web site or go to Amazon and look for me. I’m pretty much everywhere. The Little Gold Book of Yes Attitude is now in its tenth year. I’ve revised it. It’s now a new addition. That will probably be in bookstores just after the first of the year. It’s sold to 250,000copies and it had never been touched in ten years. I updated it, added twenty pages to it, did a couple hundred revisions. It is a killer book that will help anybody. My nine-year-old granddaughter, I gave her a copy. Three days after I gave it to her, she goes, “I’m just about finished the book, pop-pop.” I said, “Did you like it?” She goes, “No, I didn’t like it. I loved it.”
I really enjoyed our time together. I really hope everyone who’s on the show can take something from what we discussed and make your life better. That’s my goal. Jeffrey, thank you.
It’s a doggone pleasure, Mitch.
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Jeff Gitomer’s YouTube channel
- Jeff Gitomer
- Think and Grow Rich
- How To Sell Your Way Through Life
- Little Red Book of Selling
- The Sales Bible
- Jim Rohn
- Parade Magazine
- Nothing Happens Until Somebody Sells
- You, Too, Can Be Prosperous
- Google AdWords Keyword Planner
- Ken Courtright
- Steve Jobs
- The Strangest Secrets
- Napoleon Hill Foundation
- Napoleon Hill Yesterday and Today
- Sell or Die podcast
- Sell or Die Stitcher
- Sell or Die iTunes
- Jeffrey Gitomer’s Amazon page
- Little Gold Book of Yes Attitude
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