As the commercialism of Thanksgiving fades into the commercialism of Christmas (or whatever one is allowed to call it these days), several thoughts have occurred to me that will impact you as a person, as a salesperson and your business.
People try so hard to express good cheer in these holiday seasons that they often miss the mark. “Don’t eat too much turkey!” or “Don’t drink too much eggnog!” are your way of saying, "I have nothing new to say."
My bet is that your “thank you” is somewhat like your mission statement — it’s there, but relatively meaningless and no one can recite it. (Most employees, even executives, cannot recite their own mission statement, even under penalty of death.)
• Why is this only the season that we give 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 customers?
• If you’re thanking people, what are you offering besides words to show them that you value them and that you care about them?
• Why do you have a shiny card with a printed message and foil-stamped company signature — and NOTHING personal? Here’s my 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, that’s an indicator that things aren’t going very well. And 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 a holiday. The bad news is, it’s so full of retail shopping incentives, mobs of people and “today-only deals” that the festivity of Thanksgiving is somewhat lost in the shuffle.
Black Friday, and Cyber Monday or is it Cyber Tuesday, or is it Small Business Saturday, or is it 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 that the hype of it has become more dominant than the giving of thanks.
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 dinner table one day during the holidays and have each person at the table make a statement as to what they are grateful for and who they are grateful to. Then have them say one thing about themselves that they are thankful for.
This simple action will create a sense of reality around your table that will be both revealing, and educational. It also wipes away all the superficialness often associated with family holidays.
Why not ask people to recall their best holiday ever, or the person they miss the most, or what’s the most important thing that they’ve learned as a family member and to be thankful for them or that.
Back to you: Make a list of your best qualities, your personal assets — not your money or your property — those 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 intensions and focus (not goals and resolutions) will be more about building assets, and building capabilities you can be thankful for and grateful for.
And 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 is easy to become the best you can be for others and present yourself in a way that others will buy.
It’s the holidays, baby. Go out and celebrate yourself.
It’s the holidays, baby. Go out and thank yourself.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 best-selling books, including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude.
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