Building a Sales Base, One Steaming Cup at a Time

By Jeffrey Gitomer

How is a cup of coffee like a sale? When it’s with a customer! And the more you take in, the more it could pay out.

I like coffee. Dark, black coffee. Espresso. No cream.
No sugar. Just dark, black coffee. You?
But I look at coffee differently than you do. I don’t “wake up and drink it.” I venture out to a coffee shop and an early morning meeting, and oh, by the way, I have coffee.
My goal each day is to have an early morning cup of coffee with someone who can help me enhance relationships,
make connections, build value, and make sales. As a traveler, I can’t do this every day. But I try my best to do it as often as
I am able.
A meeting is a brand new way to look at the value of a cup of coffee. You may look at coffee as a cost or an expense. To
me, coffee is an investment of time. It’s not “how I drink it.” Rather, it’s “who I drink it with.”
Here’s One Key Point of Understanding: Whenever I meetsomeone for coffee in the morning, I find the meeting is relaxed and fun. It’s a genuine exchange of information. Always informal and humorous. And it’s usually with someone I do business with or could do business with.
I try to have these meetings early. Very early. Between seven and eight in the morning. Sometimes I have two breakfasts. One at seven and one at
Often times my appointments meet each other, so it becomes an additional networking opportunity. Many of my customers, prospects, and connections have done business with my other customers, prospects, and connections.

Building Momentum
Personal Note: When I’m done my with coffee and my meeting is over, I get back home as fast as I can so I can take our young daughter to school by nine. And no, I can’t do it every day, but that is the goal every day.
Think about the impact of that. A sales call BEFORE the day starts.
Here’s how that idea applies to you: If you have one cup of coffee a day with a customer or prospect, that’s equal to
250 sales calls THIS YEAR that will help you build relationships, make sales, gain referrals, and create business opportunities. Coffee and sales—not just coffee.
What could you do with an additional 250 meetings, appointments, or actual sales calls? How much extra income would that convert to? How much quicker could you advance your sales cycle? My wallet is pulsating just thinking about it.
“But Jeffrey,” you whine, “My customers are all over the country.”
So quit whining and start thinking: Drink coffee at your desk with a connection via Skype or Send Starbucks gift cards via It’s so unusual that customers will set the meeting, and then talk about how innovative it was.  
“But Jeffrey,” you whine, “What do I talk about during the meeting?” Answer: anything but business at
the start of the meeting—family, kids, hobbies, sports, vacation, travel, fashion, books, movies, culture, passion, ideas, social media.

The Power of Questions
Ask questions that allow you to ask more questions. No news, no weather, no politics, no religion, or anything negative
about people or things.
“But Jeffrey,” you whine, “What tone should I set inside the meeting?” Easy: Talk positive. Tell the truth. Be relaxed. Talk about things in common. Be humorous.
“But Jeffrey,” you whine, “What sales tools should I bring?” Also easy: Bring a referral, a book, an idea, influential friend, your Instagram on an iPad.
Just remember to:
• Take notes, take a photo, ask for his or her favorite quote, book, movie, team, player.
• Make another appointment at the end of the meeting.
• Keep the tab under five bucks.
• Don’t let the meeting interfere with your workday.
“But Jeffrey,” you whine, “When do I start talking business?” This is key. Do it when the customer brings it up. Talk business when they start. 

About the author

Jeffrey Gitomer is author of The Little Red Book of Selling and The Little Red Book of Sales Answers.
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