Your Best, and Most Costly Lessons Are Right in Front of You

Coach Andrea’s Intro

Amazing!  Just when you think your new offering is foolproof, you find out it isn’t.  Earlier this year I offered 90 minutes of coaching in celebration of International Coaching Week to all of you.  The call in number I gave you had one wrong digit.  ARGH!  Had I followed Jeffrey’s advice and tested my offer, I would have discovered the error.  How might you be turning off your customers?

Quote of the Week

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
~ Bill Gates

Your Best, and Most Costly Lessons are Right in Front of  You

by Jeffrey Gitomer

How good are you, really?
Be your own customer, and find out, really.

Yesterday I got the shock of my life: I tried to buy something on my own website and couldn’t.

Funny, I buy all kinds of things on other people’s websites. I’m a one-click buyer on Amazon. I’m a Paypal customer. And I have my credit card registered and saved on every site that will allow it. In short, I trust the Internet.

In short, short – if I decide that I want to buy something online, I want to buy it fast. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not crazy about filling out an online order form (where all the boxes say it’s “mandatory” to enter my information.)

Many of you subscribe to my weekly email magazine and have taken advantage of the “deal of the week,” a special offer on a bundle of my books and CDs. Last week we decided to present something for the first time – a $20.00 discount off any of my upcoming public seminar tickets. Fair enough…

So I went to my own site to test the offer. I put in a request to buy five tickets. The website (my website) promised a fast and easy purchase. And that promise was ANYTHING BUT the truth. It was a pain in the butt. I clicked off of my own site in frustration and disgust.

I immediately pulled the offer and we went through an e-commerce exercise that brought me back to reality. We revamped the purchasing process to where it IS fast and easy. And easy to understand. It’s now fixed for the short term, and we have a long-term plan in place (actually in motion) to make it even faster and easier.

MAJOR CLUE: Had I not tried to buy something from my own website, I would have never known. I would have danced along actually believing my own words, never realizing that customers were frustrated – and worse – not purchasing. Clicking off – abandoning the next step in the buying process because it was slow, cumbersome, and uninformative.

How’s yours? Think your e-commerce is great? Ever try to buy something from yourself, or are you just taking “IT’s” word for it. Or worse, believing your own instructions?

CHALLENGE: Be your own customer at least once a month.

In these “trying” times, many customers (yours and mine) are struggling to maintain volume, profit, and productivity. Somehow the stimulus package and bailout have not yet reached them – me either. You?

REALITY: Each of us is responsible to stimulate and bail out ourselves, in spite of what you may be hearing.

If and when your customer calls or goes online, they expect instant answers, instant service, and instant delivery of whatever they need – or they will seek a competitor.

And they expect multiple options to connect with you, any time of the day or night, to get the help they need, or purchase the product they need.

REALITY: Their need is your opportunity. Your challenge is to turn them into a happy, LOYAL customer who is willing to repeat purchase, tell others, and refer others to you.

Not “satisfy” them.

Here’s what to do to self-insure your own success: 1. Call your business five minutes before you open, and try to place an order, or get service. 2. Call your business five minutes after you close, and try to place an order, or get service. (That should be enough to make you angry – but wait there’s more!) 3. Go online and try to buy something. How long does it take (how many clicks?) compared to Amazon’s one? 4. Call your business during the day and complain to someone. Then ask for the person’s boss – or even your CEO. Make certain you have plenty of Pepto-Bismol on hand – because I promise your stomach will be turning upside-down. 5. Now call yourself and listen to your pathetic voicemail that tells me everything I DO NOT want to hear, and DOES NOT tell me the one thing I want to hear – where the heck are you?

REALITY: Whatever your experience is when you call yourself or buy from yourself online, that’s the same thing your customers, your life-blood, and your money-line is experiencing. OUCH!

Fix it fast. Your customers need you.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Little Red Book of Selling. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on selling and customer service at He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to

© 2010 All Rights Reserved – May be reproduced with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer · 704/333-1112.

Coaching Call to Action

Be your own customer at least once a month.  Give your business a test drive, kick the tires, call yourself.  See what you find out about what’s working (and celebrate this) and what’s not (and fix this)!