13/10/2015 - 13:25

Famous last words – ‘I’m indispensible’

13/10/2015 - 13:25


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No-one is indispensible, and those who do best are those who take responsibility and work hard to educate and rededicate themselves.

WORK IT OUT: No-one’s going to do the hard work for you, so on that respect, you’re on your own. Photo: iStockphoto/Sergey Nivens

No-one is indispensible, and those who do best are those who take responsibility and work hard to educate and rededicate themselves.

When I was 19, my dad made me production manager of his 75-employee manufacturing factory, which made kitchen cabinets. Before I officially took the job I worked on the floor and set production standards based on what I believed each station could produce.

On my first official day as boss, Ozzie, our superstar cabinet assembler (main guy in the most important position), came to me and asked for a 25 cents per hour raise. I went to my dad for advice and he said, ‘Give it to him, son’. So I did.

A week later Ozzie returned and demanded another 25-cent raise, and he said he would quit if he didn’t get it. I went back to my dad for advice and he said, ‘Fire him, son’. I went nuclear, ‘You can’t fire Ozzie,’ I pleaded, ‘the place will fall apart’. ‘Fire him, son,’ he repeated. So I did.

I dreaded the next day. But to my everlasting surprise, four guys came forward to claim Ozzie’s position. We had a contest to see who would get it. Production was up 25 per cent and ‘Mr. Irreplaceable’ was replaced in less than 24 hours – and was never missed.

How irreplaceable do you think you are, Ozzie?

I have heard salespeople boast on hundreds of occasions:

• if it wasn’t for me this place would fold;

• if it wasn’t for me we’d be out of business;

• this place couldn’t survive without me;

• I do all the selling so this place can operate; and

• my sales built this place.

Those are warning chants that the end is near.

Here are 9.5 early warning signals that your sales brain has stopped functioning.

1. You think sales reports are a waste of time.

2. Everyone else makes mistakes except you.

3. You get blamed for things you’re certain are someone else’s fault.

4. You think your sales production could be better – if you just got a few breaks.

5. You don’t listen to sales information in the car, or do anything to further your sales education.

6. You’re way too cocky, cynical, and critical.

7. At night you socialise or watch TV instead of read and plan your next day.

8. You go to sales calls unprepared (no personalised ideas for the prospect or information about the prospect).9. You think most prospects and customers are dumb (or at least not as smart as you).

9.5 You think your boss is stupid.

Many salespeople are failing or doing poorly and claim they don’t know why, or blame everyone and their dog. Many more salespeople get fired and claim or blame the same way. Truth is they can’t or won’t face themselves. They blame others and things instead of taking personal responsibility.

If you’re doing poorly and you blame ‘circumstances’ – take a look in the bathroom mirror.

If you get fired  and you leave thinking it’s someone else’s fault – you’ll likely repeat the process at your next job.

If you get blamed and you think it’s someone else’s fault – think again.

It may only take one fall into the gutter to wake you up; but it’s a whole lot easier (and less costly) to catch yourself before you fall.

Here are a few positive steps that will lead to better personal and team responsibility.

• Look at your belief system

To succeed at sales you must believe that you’re the best, your company is the best, and that your product is the best. All three are needed to succeed.

• Rededicate yourself to be more customer focused – not me focused

Customer dedication eliminates a lot of the ego problems. When you’re busy helping customers, your time to brag and complain diminishes.

• Rededicate yourself to get more educated

Listen to attitude and sales information an hour a day.

• Work longer hours

Get there an hour before everyone else. People who struggle to get to work ‘on-time’ never seem to make it.

• Get more ‘help’ oriented

Help others get sales. Help others succeed. Help customers get what they want and need.

• Transition from cocky to self-confident

Show it with deeds, not words.

• Take responsibility

Most of the time when things go wrong, you could have done something to prevent it. Admit fault. Take the hit without a bunch of defensive whining.

• Admit the truth to yourself; admit fault

Document what you could have done to have prevented the problem or made things better. Then make a daily (morning) plan to make a change for the better.

In order for the things and circumstances of your life to change, you must change first. Not much will happen without a change in your thought process, your attitude, and maybe eating a piece of humble pie. Admit it – it starts with you.


Jeffrey Gitomer is an American author, professional speaker and business trainer, who writes and lectures internationally on sales, customer loyalty and personal development.

© 2015 All rights reserved. Don’t reproduce this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.



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