The Reward of Pure Unsolicited Praise

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I recently was introduced to Jeffrey Gitomer’s books, videos, and web site by someone that I interviewed with (and although I did not get the job I now have a new member in my personal network). I purchased Gitomer’s Little Red Book of Selling in order to learn more about the science of sales and the art of selling, because I have been looking into various sales engineer and other customer facing roles. To be more precise, I purchased both the digital and the audio versions so that I can hear and read the words. It cost me a whopping $16 total.

It was the best $16 that I ever spent!

I am reading the Little Red Book of Selling now for the second time. I listen to it and read it while I workout each morning on my treadmill. I plan to read it a third time at my PC so that I can access all of the free online materials that compliment the book. I am reading the book multiple times because:

  1. It is fascinating stuff! I am engrossed in the methodology that Gitomer shares with his readers. For me the book is a fun and intriguing read.
  2. I want to fully absorb the material and make it a part of my lifestyle. Even if I am never employed as a sales person as my profession I believe that knowing how to sell your ideas, skills and talents is critical to success in all fields.
  3. The book was written by a sales person for other sales people. The content is applicable to anyone in any line of work though, and Gitomer’s style is inviting to any reader regardless of their background.

I feel that Gitomer is doing great work. I have already purchased the audio version of Gitomer’s The Sales Bible for another $15 to listen to it in my car as I drive to interviews and networking events. I have signed up for his free Sales Caffeine ezine as well and I read each issue from digital front to back.

I have spent $31 total on Jeffrey Gitomer’s products to date. I spent $31 and one email that is.

See I was so happy with my purchase of the Little Red Book of Selling that I wrote an email addressed to Jeffrey Gitomer praising the book. I wrote this email with no intention other than to say thanks for a great book.

In response the Gitomer crew requested my address in order to send me a free gift. I was also sent a link to a free pre-recorded webinar on personal branding. I sent a reply with my address not knowing what the gift was, and then I watched the webinar.

Notice how my site has a new theme and look? That is because I learned a lot from that free webinar. I have not even implemented 10% of what I learned from that webinar, and already I think that my site has improved by a factor of ten.

But here is where the best part of the story begins:

A few days later a box was delivered to my home with this excellent high quality insulated porcelain coffee mug with two “COFFEE IS FOR CLOSERS!/SALES CAFFEINE” sleeves and a BPA free rubber lid. This mug rocks! I love using it for my morning coffee, my commute coffee, my… okay, I use it for coffee all freaking day long because it is so damn awesome. The coffee stays nice and hot, the sleeves keep my hands from getting burned, and the lid does not leak. Plus I am a huge fan of Glengarry Glen Ross, so reading “COFFEE IS FOR CLOSERS!” always brings a smile to my face.

See that DVD? That is the video version of Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Red Book of Sales Answers. That DVD is even more awesome than the coffee mug! I have converted it into an ISO file that I mount to a virtual drive to watch it on my laptop and to load videos onto other mobile devices from. Now I have another great Gitomer resource to learn from, and this time it is in video format! I have every form of media that a person can learn from except for an in-person training session.

Yes, I have signed up for announcements for when Jeffrey Gitomer will be in town speaking. Damn right I am going to attend one of his seminars!

But back to the best part of this story, and the whole point for this article. You see that coffee mug sells for $20, and that DVD sells for $99. I spent $31 on Gitomer products and sent one email full of sincere praise for those products. I got back $119 worth of merchandise, free access to a webinar, and an abundance of knowledge with which to grow and expand my skills.

Think about that. In just products alone I am $88 ahead of my initial investment if I were keeping score (and I am not). That email cost me nothing! I just wanted to tell someone else “Great job!” and got back a huge “Thank you!” in response.

What do you think would have happened if I wrote a criticism instead? I will never know for certain, but unless my criticism revolutionized sales I doubt that my email would have been noticed at all.

Thus I conclude with the following bit of advice for all of you IT professionals out there: Praise people openly, and criticize only yourself. If you act upon your own critique of your abilities you will improve. If you praise another with sincere gratitude you may profit in a way that you never expected. If you criticize, which you might refer to as “giving advice”, you will probably just piss someone off and get nothing for it.

Do you not believe me? Try it for a week. Do not criticize a single coworker, vendor, or product. Praise anyone and anything that truly deserves it. I am sure that you will discover that if nothing else your attitude will improve, and that alone will make it worth the effort.

Now excuse me while I watch some more Gitomer videos. I love this stuff!

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