Today, Jeffrey Gitomer is a prolific social media maven—maintaining a huge presence on Facebook, Twitter and You Tube while also writing his own blog—but you
might be surprised to learn that there was a time, in the not too distant past, when
social media was something Gitomer had absolutely no interest in.
“I fought it the whole way,” he jokes.
But the marketplace eventually convinced Gitomer to jump into social media full-force.
And once he did, he was fully committed to doing the right way: leading with value.
“If speakers hope to be successful today, they need to be active on these social media
platforms, interacting with their clients and fans, and offering them a value-based reason to
keep coming back,” Gitomer says.
“You have to be on social media the right way. You have to be on it daily. You have to be
responsive, and you have to be valuable. There has to be something engaging about you.
There has to be some reason for someone to want to connect with you. Otherwise, you’re
on it, but invisible.”
DO IT RIGHT. OR LOSE TO SOMEONE WHO DOES.
mean success is impossible. Success can
be achieved, he says. Maybe more to his
point, it has to be achieved.
Getting his clients to believe that—
and getting them to achieve the success
they so desperately seek—remains
Gitomer’s passion, not to mention the
single reason why he spends so much
time and energy crafting his columns,
blog posts, tweets and, of course, his
speeches, which are not just intended to
entertain or motivate. They are about
providing new information, new ideas,
and inspiring results.
“Salespeople today don’t want to
hear a sob story or a joy story,” he says.
“Corporations today that have $20,000
or $30,000 to spend on a speaker want
to hear something that will help them
LIVING IN THE REAL WORLD
Being “real world” is especially valuable
today, says Gitomer.
The economy, of course, is the
The economic downturn that began
back in 2008 has been crushing for
many in the speaking business, and
Gitomer is open about the reality that
it’s been fairly crushing for him, too.
Nobody, it seems—not even a speaking superstar like Gitomer—has been
immune to this economic malaise.
“The meetings are still there, just
not as many of them,” Gitomer says.
“There are lower budgets for all of
them. People aren’t eating steak [at
corporate events] any more. They’re
“Chicken is only half of the equa-
tion,” Gitomer says. “There’s also a
sense that many companies, afraid of
how their events might be perceived
by the public (or by politicians), don’t
want to be seen celebrating their
success.” It’s been a strange time,
and only now is Gitomer starting to
see signs that things may actually be
“From the bailouts until now, the
economy has been somewhere between
tentative and under water,” he says.
“The meeting industry was immedi-
ately cut in half. Since then, it is slowly,
slowly, slowly coming back.”
The middling economy certainly
hasn’t been a good thing. But Gitomer
says the slight lull in bookings allowed
him time to do precisely what he
needed to do at the time: Re-think his
message, re-think his actions, and re-
think his content, to make it completely
relevant to the scary new world order.
The philosophy at the very core
of Gitomer’s presentations hasn’t
changed—he’s still a sales consultant
and a thought leader who wants to
help his clients move more product
more easily—but the context cer-
tainly has. At a time when many
are depressed or even despondent
over the state of their businesses,
Gitomer talks about “hope,”
while also remaining grounded
entirely in “reality.”
Yes, times are tough and
making sales is harder than it
used to be. But that doesn’t
Tim Hyland’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including Fast Company, Philadelphia City Paper and Philadelphia Life.
Hyland lives in Flourtown, Pa., and can be
reached at email@example.com. @g o
September 2011 SPEAKER | 17