CSS 17 Jeffrey Gitomer | Great Sales Leader

If you want sales success, then you need a great sales leader. You can’t depend on sales formulas or advertisements all the time. Sometimes, it all boils down to leadership. On today’s show, Doug C. Brown talks to the King of Sales himself, Jeffrey Gitomer. Jeffrey explains why building relationships with customers is an important driver for sales and why strong sales leaders equal better sales. This episode is an eye-opening interview that is a must for any sales-focused business. 

Listen to the podcast here:

Finding Great Sales Leaders: A Recipe For Success With Jeffrey Gitomer 

Ive got an illustrious guest. His name is Mr. Jeffrey Gitomer. A lot of people know Jeffrey as one of the foremost sales trainers or training companies in the world. Hes been all over the globe. We had a very interesting conversation on and around identification and leadership. That is going to help you farewell and your pursuit of growing your revenues. A little disclaimer, there is a small amount of profanity there in the interview. If that would be something that would offend you, please donread the interview. It’s not bad words. Something thats important that we talked about is to be yourself. On this show, I dont regulate how people want to speak or what they necessarily want to speak about as long as its helpful to you, people. 

That is that. Jeffreys books are worldwide famous. The Little Red Book of Sales is probably one of his forerunners of recognition. We talk about positioning and how to sell on value and how do you position that value because not a lot of companies are great at doing that. Without further ado, I could tell you all the companies, go to his website, Gitomer.com. Youll see all the companies. Hes got a very impressive resume of people that he served. Hes done probably hundreds of thousands to millions of books over time. Well-known guy. Lets go to the interview. 

Jeffrey, it’s nice to have you here on the show. 

We put it off enough. This is the day. 

For those of you who dont know what Jeffreys talking about, weve been trying to connect now for a couple of months and between health issues for both of us. It delayed our interview but were here and we have a great topic to talk about. Jeffrey, do you want to introduce the topic? 

Yes, I do. I’m asked why CEOs universally, “Please improve my sales. Please grow my sales.” You show me a CEO, a CFO, chief sales officer, chief revenue officer and they all want the same thing. More sales. How do you do that? It is not more Facebook Ads that I can promise you, but it is, in my opinion, better salespeople with deeper relationships. 

Better salespeoplebeing people who are more rapportbuilding type salespeople. Would that be the better type of salesperson? 

CEOs universally want the same thing – better salespeople with deeper relationships. Share on X

Relationship building salespeople, because if you sell me something and its the lowest price and somebody comes in for a nickel less, you lose that business. You have no loyalty other than loyalty to a nickel. This is what I discovered over the COVID. 

The thing is that relationship selling has always been important but I dont think people have placed the importance on it as they are or shouldnt right now. The old adage, its always easier to resell somebody you already have a good relationship with and far less costly to do so, always was the truth before and even nowIm dealing with a very similar audience. I found a lot of companies that come to me and say the same thing, I want to increase my sales. I don’t know how. We used to do this all face-to-faceI was a whatever type of company, but now were a virtual company. How do we build that relationship virtually? 

The first answer is, look at yourself. Look at me. Im virtual. Im in Wild Dunes, South CarolinaThere are palm trees in the background. My hands dont disappear when I go up and down. I have background if I need one called Anyvoo.com. I presented myself in a way thats not tacky. If I talk to an audience of 200 people, half of them look like shit. 

When youre talking about relationships, its everything that touches the census of the other individual. Thats how I view it. 

You make a value judgment and it is yes or no. It’s not even a maybeIm going to do whats comfortable for me. Im going to do what feels good for me. Heres the secret, go to any company that you have a relationship with. I only want half your fee if you do this successfully. I dont want any more than anybody else. I dont want any less than anybody else. Give me your top five sales guys and identify their top ten characteristics of what makes them successful. They may not know what makes them successful. They may think, Im a good people person. I get up early in the morning.” That has nothing to do with what makes them sell. Maybe what drives them but its not what makes them sell.  

Its what they do in the heat of the battle when theres an issue, to deliver when nobody else can deliverto follow through when nobody else is following through, to communicate in advance, to fight for their customer, to earn that friendship. Beyond relationship, friendship, all things being equal. People want to do business with their friends. All things being not quite so equal, people still want to do business with their friends. Thats the challenge that salespeople dont get. They think its transactional. “This guy only takes the lowest price. Screw that guy. Why are you selling that guy? Let your competitor go there and make no money over there. Let them go broke selling a cheap bastard. 

It’s difficult to sell on value if were selling into a commoditized scenario. Itprice or whatever figure. 

CSS 17 Jeffrey Gitomer | Great Sales Leader
Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness

What would you call commoditized? 

Anything that somebody sees another person and sees the other competition there as completely equal or equalized. Theyre going to revert most of the time to either price or convenience because theres an absence of perceived value or service that theyre looking for. 

Keyword, perceived. If Im selling home siding, theres a shortage of home siding and I can get you product and the other guy cannot. Idoesnt matter what my price is. Ill sell it for another $1 a foot because I can get it. It’s a matter of, “Do you trust me to be your vendor, supplier, supply chain? If you do, put your faith in me and Ill find the product even if I have to buy it from a competitor. Im your guy. If you got to shop me, I am not your guy. Im your price guy. 

The statement you made was very interesting for a lot of people who are selling. They don’t think about it this way but you and I always have. “Put your faith in me. 

Im your guy. They dont buy aluminum siding. They buy Doug F. BrownDoug F. Brown happens to convey it but Im putting my faith in you because youre my guy.” 

Is it fair to say from your perspective that they have to put their faith in us, were going to ask that but we also have to put our faith in them that were building a win-win buying relationship? 

Were helping them. We have to help them build their business. If we only dumped products on their lawn, we havent helped them at all. My feeling is, if you dont help your customer make a profit, youve got a big problem. That separates and differentiates you from everybody else but thats a characteristic of a leading salesperson. A leading salesperson will help and fight for their customerIf the sales VP says, “Grow my sales, thats the wrong silo. Thats the wrong stack. Identify my strengths and build on those within the framework of my organization and Ill grow sales like crazy.” If you’re trying to do the same thing and upping my quota by 11% because you pulled the number out of your ass, its not going to happen. Whered you get that 11.4% growth? We sat around a room and pulled it out of our ass. 

How meaningful is it to the company and the salesperson? How important is it to the end consumer that might purchase that? Companies are pulling out of the air for whatever reason, Im going to grow my sales by X.” Wheres the plan around this? How is it affects the customer’s journey all the way around? I talk with so many companies. I want to double my sales. The questions that come down are“Are they set up operationally? Are they set up customer servicewise? All the other facets in order, if they have rapid growth, a doubling of the company. Are they able to deliver on that? 

Do your salespeople believe in their hearts that each one of them can double their sales? If they dont, theres no sense in going on the journey. 

What are you doing in that situation? Lets say they dont have the belief in that. Do you train them? Do you replace them? How do you handle it? 

The answer is very delicate. The first thing I would do is replace the senior officer. That will light a fire under anybody without having to go through a bunch of shit, like, “Bob is a great guy but all he did was demand of you. Were going to coach you to become better. “It sounds brutal but how can I best double my sales? Probably the answer is to fire you, Bob. That’s probably the best answer I can give you. Its cheaper. I can put new leadership in. Itll inspire all of your people to get better. Im going to identify who your great guys are. Im going to build a program around them and were going to march to success. Am I going to double my sales the first year? No. Am I going to double them the second year? You bet your butt. 

Its interesting because you and I were talking about hockey and different sports before. Pro sports teams do that a lot. When something’s not going and they want to grow 

Manager out. 

If you don’t help your customer make a profit, you’ve got a big problem. Share on X

Whether the manager is the real cause or not but it starts to drive some shockwave momentum through the organization, through the players, that wakes people up.  

The people, I dont want to mention any cities like Dallas that keep their leadership even though it sucks. They wonder why they struggle from year to year and cant make any headway. The answer is because the team doesnt believe in leadership. 

If we have a team that wont believe in the leadership, the team is either A, going to make it up on their own or Bavoid the confrontation thats going to come out of that lack of belief. 

Theyll take their $9 million a year and play mediocre. 

This is an important lesson for all CEOs running a company. You want to feed the strong, not the weak. If we dont feed the strong in sales, nothing kicks off a salesperson more. I know Ive had this happen when Ive been the number one guy in the company. They get a couple of leads to come in and who do they pass them to? The weakest guys. It’s like, “I’m four times over quota every single month consistently and youre not rewarding me at all. That to me, is a lack of leadership in a salesdriven organization because its not about propping the week up. Its about feeding the strong. 

You can tell the weak guy, sayWere identifying the characteristics of our strong guys and expect you to emulate them. If you cant, youre going to need to be weak someplace else.”  

That in itself, a lot of times, is a great motivating factor to get people in or out.  

Youre not doing something thats off the chart. You’re saying, Im going to identify the strengths of our best guys and ask me to match them. Theres no rocket science program here thats going to catapult me to a brand new height. Im simply going to maximize my internal down. Im going to do it in a way where anybody can get it but if you dont want to hustle, please tell me now because its going to save you and me a lot of heartaches. 

One of the questions that CEOs often ask when Im speaking with them is like, “Im frustrated with my sales team. What do I do with them? Can you come in and train them? My first question out of the gate is, “Are they open to be trained? Are they trainable? 

I have a standard answer, “Counting them all by dues and shoot the warrants. Youll have a lot of motivated dues. Your payroll will be touching half. It goes deeper than that. The first thing Id look at is leadershipI looked to see if these guys are willing to go to the mat for the leader. 

Readers, if you are not remembering who were talking with, speaking with Mr. Jeffrey Gitomer, he is a worldrenowned author. You can find him at Gitomer.com. Pick up his books for sure. Probably one of his most famous ones that people identify with is the Little Red Book of SalesJeffrey, I remember you telling me an interesting story about that particular cover at one time because you write a lot of books, so you used to go to France. That cover came out of inspiration from somewhere. Do you find a different book? 

went to Writers Weekend there. I teach people how to finish their books. This was given to me in 1996 by my friend Mitchell Kearney. Its called Paris Out oHand. I knew what this book was going to look like the minute I saw this book. 

I love this topic about leadership and identification, getting very clear on this. When it comes to leadership, usually a lack of leadership, does it come from usually a skillset that they dont possess or do you find that mostly 80% is between the years and they have their own personal challenges going on thats affecting their ability to lead? 

They get bogged down in the minutia of bullshit and they lose their vision of what its like to be a leader. The leader is the visionary, not the floor mopperNot that the leaders shouldnt mop the floors every once in a while, but its not your daily job. 

It’s to show the people the endpoint of the vision and constantly be navigating the ship toward that particular endpoint. 

There’s a secret. If the sales leader cannot go out on a sales call with your best guy and make the sale where your best sales guy cannot, your leader is worthless. 

Not to toot my own horn too much but in any team Ive ever led, Ive always been the number one producer regardless. What Ive learned from doing that which I teach my clients to do as well is, “You drive it,” because what they want to do is knock the guy off the top of the hill. If its the owner, be out there selling because theyre looking. Complaints dont exist. They may be there but they dont exist like they would in the absence of that because as the owner, as the leader of that company, that leader can look at that sales team and go, Im doing it.” 

CSS 17 Jeffrey Gitomer | Great Sales Leader
Great Sales Leader: If the sales leader cannot go out on a sales call with their best guy and make the sale where their best sales guy cannot, that leader is worthless.

The leader has to be in a meeting and looks at your beat as shit sales guy and go, “Whats the issue?” “I cant get people on the phone. “Can you give me the name and number of one guy? Can I talk to Bob? Its a business matter of a personal nature. Bob, Hang on. Hand the guy on the phone. I need to shut that guy up forever. It’ll be a story that everyone will retell forever but you got to get your balls. If you have no sales balls, no business being in sales leadership. 

If the leader allows that type of thought process to infiltrate through the organization, then what ends up happening is it lowers the overall performance of the whole team. 

Energy and belief. 

Conversely, if you have somebody who is a top performer on the team but theyre so disruptive to that particular team. 

Get rid of them. 

A lot of people running companies, they dont do that because theyre afraid that they let this top guy go that theyre not going to be able to replace them. What I have found is moving the top guy to a different venue. Moving she or he out of there improves the performance of the overall organizationDoes it come back to weekly leadership and identification? 

I’m going to identify the strengths of my best guys and the leader is going to put all that into a game plan and deliver it to the rest of my people. It is not complicated. I dont need the challenger sale and the new strategic selling. I need to identify the qualities of my best guys and teach the other guys the same qualities and done. Everything else is bullshit. 

For owners out there, Ive always found that struggle is inevitable but success is not guaranteed. Its what we do with that struggle. If we have those challenges within the organization, what we do whether or not we become successful or not in our endeavors to grow our revenues? 

If you quantify the situation, you have a chance at winning. If you dont, you never will and youll wonder why. Youre not going to increase sales by raising the quota. 

Quantification is a huge part of this. Im so grateful you brought that up because a lot of people dont look at their numbers like theyre supposed toTheyre being honest but not being truthful. Truthful being objectiveLets measure whats going on. Every time we measure, it shows a story. It reveals a story. A lot of times, measuring by the numbers itself will improve sales in a company because they havent been holding accountability. People arent respecting whats not being inspected. Quantification is a key element for growing sales and consistently growing sales. If people want to get a hold of you or get a hold of something of yours, I know you had something like the InsiderClub. 

Go to Gitomer.com. Youll find all my stuff is thereI do a live show on Facebook or on my InsiderClub. Ive been doing it since March of 2020, giving free advice and being there for salespeople around the worldMonday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Im on for everybodyTuesday, Thursday, Sunday, only for the InsiderClub but if you snoop around my website, youll find all kinds of stuff. 

Salespeople don’t peddle; they solve problems while making others laugh. Share on X

There is a lot on that website. Ive been through it several times. There’s a lot of great stuff on the website as well. Weve talked several times in the past. Youre the type of guy that likes to debunk thingsWhats one area that we havent talked about that our profession, professional selling, growing revenue for companies, one myth that youd like to debunk? 

Cold calling works.  

How so? 

99 out of 100 people were either hanging their phone up on you or worse. Why would you take those numbers when if you went out and earned 1 or 2 referrals, youd have a 50% to 100% closing ratio instead of a 1% begging ratio? 

The positioning is different. 

You take your best customers and win them to a point where theyre willing to refer you to somebody else. Thats how you grow your business. 

If you have dormant or past clients and if youre like many companies who dont pay attention to them, you could go back and garner referrals from those people as well. If you knew what you knew now, what would you have wished that you would have known right now that would have made you more successful in selling or the career that people choose in the world of sales or growing their revenues? 

I would have started writing and posting earlier because everything I write turns into some kind of money or wealth. It makes my phone ring. Keep in mind, I love you. Didnt call you. Dont call anybody.” Two thousand five hundred speeches in the last several years, no sales calls because Im a value provider in a marketplace thats hungry for value. I put myself out there and in front of people that can say yes to meI deliver value first. Thats not understood in any marketing, anything for formulaits advertising in Facebook, its none of that. You give me something as a salesperson that I believe I can run with and succeed with and Ill go back to who you are and tell all my friends to come look at you. Plain and simple. 

It was about creating that value perception and the positioning around that, which is what a lot of people dont seem to do. They do it poorly. Some people do it well. PeopleI want to urge you to go to Gitomer.com. Check it all out. You will learn a lot. If you could go back in time and become anyone back in time and you could take those skill sets forward and into the world now, who would that person be? What would you do to better out the world even more than youre doing already? 

Id have to look at my heroes. My heroes are the personal development guys that I hang my hat on, Earl Nightingale, Jim Rohn, Charlie Tremendous Jones or earlier people than that, Samuel Smiles or Orison Swett Marden. I would have written more. I would have also bet the farm more often. Steve Jobs bet the farm on the iPad and the iPhone. Howd that work out 

Pretty good. 

He was willing to risk everything to win, not like, Im going to put half of it up and see what happens. He didnt ask anybody. He didnt talk to anybody. He said, I got this idea. Its a winner. Everybody else is full of soup. Im going to show it to the world. If they buy it, cool. He built the largest company in the history of mankind with no market research.” 

CSS 17 Jeffrey Gitomer | Great Sales Leader
Great Sales Leader: Taking your best customers and winning them to a point where they’re willing to refer you to somebody else is how you grow your business.

That in itself is a great feat. Betting the farm is the old analogy of, “Burn the boats and take the beach. A lot of people get afraid of doing that but what I have found is its a lack of commitment or lack of faith within the individual. If they go and explore that and push forward then theyll start building the confidence level. That itself will increase sales. Jeffrey Gitomer, thank you for being here. I appreciate you being here on the show. People, go to Gitomer.com. Pick up resources there, join the classes, learn something new and take your sales to the next level. 

It’s my pleasure, Doug. 

That was a pretty cool interview with Mr. Jeffrey Gitomer. Remember to go to Gitomer.com and go to some of his classes. The gentleman is smart. He has practical information. I remember there was a quote in Atlanta Times. It was called years ago. It said, “Salespeople dont peddle. They solve problems while making others laugh.” That was a quote that they did from Mr. Jeffrey Gitomer. He’s a smart guy. Hes been on the street a long time, selling. Hes been in companies helping people be on the street, whether its physically or virtually, to improve their sales. I liked the part about identification. Identifying who in your company is either constraining factors, who is the people that can take you to the next level, and identifying the leadership strengths that are required and removing those impediments within the organization or within your sales team. 

A lot of times, especially when the companies are smaller and theyre reliant on their sales team, they have these topperforming salespeople but theyre disrupting the organization like crazy. As a leader owning the company or a leader driving the sales division, those people have to be dealt with accordingly. Otherwise, they start poisoning the abilities of others. Especially if theyre that type of grumpy or gruff person that insults people throughout the day, this interview here, when we focus it on the leadership aspect, on the position, on the identification, are three key components in growing your sales. There’s a lot of other tidbits in there as well. Iyou liked this episode, please go up and give it a fivestar review. Tell your friends and let me know what youd like me to talk about on future episodes by commenting and/or sending direct messages to myself or my teams that will answer your questions. Go out, sell something, make it a great day and to your success. 

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About Jeffrey Gitomer

CSS 17 Jeffrey Gitomer | Great Sales Leader

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 15 best-selling books. He’s a creative, on-the-edge, writer and speaker whose expertise in sales, customer loyalty, and personal development is world-renowned. Known for presentations, seminars, and keynote addresses that are funny, insightful, in your face, real-world, off the wall, and on the money.

Given exclusive access to the archives of the Napoleon Hill Foundation, his most recent book is called Truthful Living: The First Writings of Napoleon Hill. It is the very foundation of Napoleon Hill’s self-help legacy: his long-lost original notes, letters, and lectures—now compiled, edited, and annotated for the modern reader.

Jeffrey gives his audience information they can take out in the street one minute after the seminar is over and turn it into money.

His podcast Sell or Die, with co-host Jennifer Gluckow, gets over 100,000 downloads a month.

Jeffrey was inducted into the National Speaker Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame.