Published April 2006

Your best year ever
is a mission, not a goal

I’m challenging you to have your BEST year ever. Beating your goals and achieving your own expectation of excellence. Here are some elements to help you make it happen:

Give one speech. Most people are afraid of speaking in public. The reason is simple: fear of looking foolish. The basis for this fear is lack of skill and lack of preparedness. Many people are afraid to give a speech because they fear someone will ask a question that they cannot answer, and will be made to look foolish.

If you wanna have your best year ever, join Toastmasters, become a certified Toastmaster (which means give 10 speeches to your own club members), and then get yourself booked at a Rotary club or Kiwanis club and give a 15-minute speech. The self-confidence you will gain cannot be measured, but it can be felt. Felt in pride of accomplishment, felt in self-assurance and felt in the sense of overcoming a personal fear. And if you give the speech to the right group — it will be felt in the thickening of your own wallet from the leads and sales.

Write one article. I challenge you to write one article that will appear in a magazine or newsletter that your prospective customers or your existing customers might read.

When you appear in print, it changes your customers’ entire perception of you. You go from salesperson to industry expert — you go from community member to community leader. Not only in the eyes of your customers, but also in the eyes of your co-workers and your family.

I don’t write books. I write articles. Articles lead to books. My next book is “The Little Red Book of Sales Answers.” Launching on April 4, it also will be available on your iPod. Once you start to write, the opportunities are limitless.

Make sales at breakfast. Instead of trying to get to work “on time,” make a $5 appointment, and buy a customer or prospective customer breakfast. Seven a.m., 7:30 a.m., 8 a.m. — early baby. Make money while other people are driving in the traffic.

I start my day so early that my mantra for the last 15 years has been “I make money while other people are sleeping.” And, if you wanna have your best year ever, you better decide that your workday starts earlier than it currently does.

I don’t mean what time you get up in the morning; I mean what time you get into productivity mode. Breakfast is the easiest and most productive time to make a sales call and build a relationship. I try to have at least 100 breakfast appointments a year — at a total cost of under $500 dollars — and a total ROI of — well, let’s just say, priceless.

Keep your present customers loyal to you and your company. In order to grow your business organically (the best, strongest and most economical way), you must FIRST preserve the customers you have. You do this with on-time delivery, excellent service, giving value and superior communication (not with lowest price). This will breed referrals and testimonials. Two key ingredients for having your best year ever.

Now you have four of the 20.5 elements to having your best year ever. For the other 16.5, go online to

I’d love to know what you are doing to have your best year ever. Send an e-mail to, and all ideas will be posted on my site.

Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling,” is president of Charlotte, N.C.-based Buy Gitomer. He can be reached at 704-333-1112 or by e-mail to

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© 2006 The Daily Herald Co., Everett, WA