Sales Moves

Thanking customers: Why not start by thanking yourself?

December 6, 2013
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As the commercialism of Thanksgiving fades into the commercialism of Christmas (or whatever name you’re allowed to call it these days), several thoughts have occurred to me that will impact you as a person and as a salesperson, and your business.

People try so hard to express good cheer in the holiday season that they often miss the mark. “Don’t eat too much turkey!” or “Don’t drink too much eggnog!” is your way of saying, “I have nothing new to say.”

My bet is your “thank you” is somewhat like your mission statement. It’s there, but it’s relatively meaningless and no one can recite it. (Most employees, even executives, can’t recite their own mission statement, even under penalty of death.)

Hard questions:

  • Why is this the only season we say thanks?
  • How sincere is your message, really?
  • Why do you find it necessary to thank your customers at the same time everyone else is thanking their customer?
  • If you’re thanking people, what are you offering besides words to show them you value and care about them?
  • Why do you send a shiny card with a printed message and foil stamped company signature — andnothing personal?

Here’s an idea: Why not start by thanking yourself? Thank yourself for your success, your good fortune, your health, your family, your library, your attitude, your fun times, your friends and all the cool things you do that make you a happy person.

If you’re having trouble thanking yourself, it may be an indicator that things aren’t going as well as they could be. In that situation, any thanks you give to others will be perceived somewhere between “less than whole” and “totally insincere.”

I don’t think you can become sincerely thankful to others until you have become fully thankful to yourself and for yourself. And once you realize who you are, your message of thanks will become much more real — and passionate — to others.

News reality: The good news is this is the holiday season. The bad news is it’s so full of retail shopping incentives, mobs of people and “today only” deals that the festivity is somewhat lost in the shuffle.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday — or wait, is it Cyber Tuesday, or Small Business Saturday, or Throwback Thursday? Whatever it is, it’s a strategy for advertising and promoting. And I’m OK with it — totally OK with the free enterprise system. I just think the hype of it has become more dominant than saying thanks and the meaning of the season.

Call me old-fashioned or call me traditional, but I don’t think you can call me “wrong.” I want our economy to be strong but not at the expense of celebration, family time and personal time to thank yourself for who you have become and who you are becoming.

Try this: Sit around your holiday table and have each person make a statement as to what they are grateful for and who they are grateful to. Why not ask people to recall the person they miss the most, or the most important thing they’ve learned as a family member — and to be thankful for them or that. Then have them say one thing about themselves for which they are thankful.

This simple action will create a sense of reality that will be both revealing and educational. It also wipes away all the superficial undertones often associated with family holidays.

Back to you: Sit down and make a list of your best qualities: your personal assets, not your money or your property. The assets you possess that you believe have created the person you are. Your humor, your friendliness, your helpfulness, your approachability, your trustworthiness, your honesty, your ethics and maybe even your morality. (Tough list, eh?)

And as you head deeper into this holiday season, perhaps next year’s intentions and focus (not goals and resolutions) will be more about building personal assets and building capabilities for which you can be thankful and grateful.

For those of you wondering “Where’s the sales tip?” — wake up and smell the leftovers! I’m trying to help you sell you on yourself.

Once you make that sale, once you become the best you can be for yourself, then it’s easy to become the best you can be for others, and present yourself in a way that others will buy.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 books, including his newest, “21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling.” For book tour dates and information about training and seminars, visit www.gitomer.com or email Jeffrey personally at salesman@gitomer.com.

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