In 1972, when I was studying sales and positive attitude, I watched a movie called “Challenge to America” almost every day.
In it was a story told by the great Glenn W. Turner where he wrote a letter to Santa Claus every year that matched his wealthy cousins.
Glenn was a poor farmer’s son who never got anything but apples and oranges, even though he asked Santa for exactly the same thing his wealthy cousins got. And every year, Glenn would go out behind the barn and cry.
One year, when his cousin wanted a brand new bicycle and Glenn wanted a brand new bicycle — and, as usual, the cousin got it and Glenn didn’t — he went out behind the barn and said, “OK, Santa, if that’s the way you want to play.”
He went on to complete the story by saying, “And on that day, I decided to become my own Santa Claus.” He challenged the viewer to be their own Santa Claus.
You know, the first 10 or 20 times I watched that movie I didn’t think too much about it. I thought it was a story. I thought he made a good point. And I went on. That was November of 1972.
Two weeks later, I made a shopping list for Christmas. Like everyone, there were the obligatory “Why do I do this every year?” people on my list. So I was in the department store, in the men’s section, when for some reason the message “Be your own Santa Claus” popped into my mind. And so the first gift I bought was for me. I bought myself something nice and expensive, because I deserved it.
“What the heck?” I said to myself. “I’m Santa Claus.” And from that day, I have continued to be my own Santa Claus. All kinds of cool things have resulted from it.
No. 1: Christmas for me is no longer just Dec. 25. It’s any day I choose. What the heck, I’m Santa Claus.
No. 2: I can change any mood I’m in by buying myself a present. That’s one of the privileges of being Santa Claus.
No. 2.5: I’m celebrating!
In the spirit of the holiday season, in the spirit of passing down messages that can affect others forever and, of course, in the spirit of making more sales, I’m challenging you to become your own Santa Claus.
Note: For those of you fortunate enough to be parents, there’s not much of a transition involved, because for your children, young and old, you already are Santa Claus.
It sounds kinda selfish, I know, but let me assure you that the real Santa Claus — although I have never met him personally — surrounds himself with all kinds of fun stuff way before he gives it away to all the good little girls and boys.
Let me be a little more specific. Let me help you in your transition.
Here, in no particular order, are some gifts I would like you to give yourself this year. Some of them cost money. Some of them are free. (As usual, the best ones are free.)
1. Give yourself the gift of learning. Something new every day. Resolve that you will buy and read, study and put into practice, one book each month.
2. Give yourself the gift of making an achievable game plan to become a better person, not just a better salesperson. Shape your philosophy and your attitude, Santa, so that your actions will have purpose.
3. Give yourself more sales by providing business gifts for others that help them build their business, not expand their waistline. People don’t want food as much as they want new business.
4. Give yourself the gift of something fun. I buy art that’s fun and funny. I hang it where I can see it every day. It keeps me smiling all the time. And others smile when they see it. By giving yourself fun, you are also creating an atmosphere of fun that rubs off on others. That’s the spirit of fun that Santa himself would endorse.
4.5 Count your blessings. Not just on holidays. Count them every day. Naughty or nice, everyone has blessings. Far fewer count them. Far fewer even recognize that they are the key to personal success and fulfillment.
OK, Santa, I’ve given you the challenge. Your job is put the suit on and live the part. And now is the best time to try it. No one will know.
Here’s the best part: You will develop the passion that will make you more sales, while your competition gets what they deserve for Christmas: coal. Ho, Ho, Ho!
If you would like a list of questions to ask yourself that will help you understand your present belief system, go to www.gitomer.com and enter the words “build belief” in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling.” President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs sales meetings and conducts Internet training on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com.