Since I released my first book, Roar Like You Mean It!, I’ve received a considerable number of compliments and congratulations on my accomplishment. Trust me; it’s a great feeling to have a book officially published with my name on it.
What follows, however, is something I want to discuss in this post. I most often hear, “Wow! How did you do it? I’ve always wanted to do that but…” Or I hear, “How did you have the time? I just don’t have time to write something like a book, let alone much of anything else!” Trust me, I understand. I was just like these people for over twenty years. I wanted to write a book but it wasn’t anything more than a dream. It was a ghost that haunted me and one I chased but never captured.
It wasn’t until I came face-to-face with my own mortality that the direction — the trajectory — of my life radically changed. I know; I’ve shared that story adnauseum. But it’s true. It doesn’t have to work that way for something to get your attention, but in my case, it was this experience that got my attention. More than that; it got me to take action.
So what do you do? What can anyone of us start to take committed action towards making our dreams a reality? It begins, first and foremost, with commitment. You must commit to taking action, to putting flesh and bone on your dream.
Second, I have found that writing my commitments to myself down every day. Every one of my commitments – the dreams I intend to make a reality — are written down every day. There’s something about daily recommiting to the outcome. That’s why I write each one as if I’ve already accomplished it. Each are written in the present tense.
Third, I try to incorporate action steps towards each into my battle plan for the day. What can I do to begin to make each commitment a reality? Tony Robbins says it best:
“Never leave the site of a goal without first taking some form of positive action towards its attainment. Right now, take a moment to define the first steps you must take to achieve some goal. What can you do today to move forward?”
This is one of the greatest tragedies for most dreams. We write them down on a piece of paper. We feel good. Then we set the paper in a drawer somewhere. Months, maybe years, later, we stumble across the paper and wonder the great “What if…” questions.
Stop thinking about doing it and simply do it! Your dreams were given to you by God to do something with them. It is in our inaction that we tend to let the ultimate Authority down the most. We take the life purposes He’s implanted within us and we allow them to stagnate, whither and die. And that’s when He moves on. If not you, who?
Here are two more quotes from Tony Robbins to consider:
“People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them.”
“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”
Stop dabbling and take action on the God-given dreams that have been idly waiting for you.
Go big or go home!
I’m writing today from Emerald Bay in Great Exuma, Bahamas. My wife and I are celebrating another President’s Club after a highly successful 2014. We are having a great time!
In sales we are regularly afforded the opportunity to address customer concerns and identify ways to improve. Sometimes it is us who needs to grow and improve or it’s a part of our organization. I provided Sandals an opportunity this week and they swung and missed.
When someone calls your sales department intending to spend money – hard cold cash – answering the phone is a top priority. My experience with Sandals’ sales department missed this part — badly. The second part, where you get to address customer concerns and grow your organization, was woefully missed. Instead the manager contended that I need to adjust my expectations.
She sounded much like a poorly equipped former rep of mine. I had just taken over a sales branch on the coast of North Carolina and when meeting the sales team for the first time, he informed me, “Tom, we’re on the coast. Here we simply coast.” Point taken. However I was there specifically because this branch had been coasting. The company should have closed the branch due to its anemic sales performance. I helped this rep clearly understand the situation and he soon made an important career change.
In sales, we need to own our poor performance and deal with it if we want to win customers. Glossing over mistakes or shifting the blame won’t win you business nor will it help your organization grow.
I know this isn’t an example of what Butch Stewart intended when he created the Sandals empire. Let’s learn from this, own it, deal with it, and win!
Go big or go home!
“My wife’s jealousy is getting ridiculous. The other day she looked at my calendar and wanted to know who May was.” –Rodney Dangerfield
If you want to identify who is serious about dominating their market, simply ask to see their calendar for the next two weeks. The calendar is like the life signs of someone in the hospital; either you’re improving and getting healthy or you’re on life support. A white, empty calendar is the equivalent of someone on life support – assuming their career is still alive at all.
White space on your calendar is chief among contributors to a sales professional’s ability to dominate, let alone succeed at any level. Too many sales people have far too much white space meaning that their time is open, flexible and unaccounted for. This unaccounted-for time is costly. It’s time not scheduled in front of a client or a potential client. It’s time that, left unplanned, will disappear and will never be seen again.
In every work week, there are forty hours typically available to the average person. In a study done by Pace Productivity, here is how the average sales person spends their day:
- Selling: 22%
- Order Processing: 12%
- Service: 10%
- Administration: 23%
- Travel: 13%
- Lunch/Breaks: 6%
- Miscellaneous: 4%
- Planning: 10%
The primary reason a sales person has a job is to sell and yet only 22% of their day is spent actually selling. On the other hand, 78% of their day is spent doing the work that doesn’t get them paid including 23% of time spent on administrative tasks, 12% on order processing, and 10% each on service and planning.
During a typical day, this means a sales person spends less than two hours in front of a client or future client. Two hours? Less than ten hours a week doing what they get paid to do while over 30 hours a week is spent doing “busy” work.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand that there are a lot of demands on the time and for the attention of every sales professional. But what concerns me the most is that if a sales professional truly wants to dominate he or her market, why are they spending 78% of their time doing what someone else could be doing for them?
The reason the majority of sales professionals have white space on their calendar is because of this focus on the 78% of unproductive, non-revenue producing activities. What would happen if they shifted to 50%? What if you personally shifted your focus so that 70% or more of your calendar was focused on revenue production? A shift from 22% to 70% isn’t just a 48% improvement in your results; instead it can have a 500% or more improvement in your actual results.
Reassign Non-Revenue Tasks
While your company may not hire a personal assistant to help you with your busy work, there isn’t anything to prevent you from hiring a virtual assistant – from your own country or from abroad – to help you accomplish more.
What can you assign to a virtual assistant? Here are a few ideas:
- Online Research
- Database entries
- Data presentations
- Managing email
- Social tasks
- Travel Research
- Chasing business
- Industry knowledge prep
What about the cost of hiring a virtual assistant? It depends on where they are based.
- In the United States: $15 to $65 per hour depending on the work
- In India: $6.98 per hour
Just like hiring anyone live, you can interview and select the viritual assistant you want. Just because they are virtual doesn’t mean you just get stuck with any schlep that sits at the desk.
Best of all, while this is a cost of doing business, it also means there are tax incentives available to you as a result as long as you follow a few rules:
- No benefits are provided other than pay (no insurance or retirement benefits);
- An independent contractor (virtual assistant) typically works on a project basis, whereas an employee works under a long-term contract;
- An independent contractor (virtual assistant) typically sets their own schedule, uses their own tools and equipment and does the job with minimal supervision.
- You provide them with a form 1099 by January 31 to every independent contractor you paid at least $600 to in the previous calendar year.
I’m not an accountant nor do I play one on TV, so I recommend that you discuss this with a certified professional to see what the tax advantages would be as they pertain directly to you. But, in the end, I think you’ll be pleased with the outcome.
Consider what will happen if you can eliminate most, if not all, of the white space on your calendar. Instead of white space, imagine having lots of scheduled appointments and personal visits set up with existing clients and future clients.
If you fall into the category of “average sales professional” and face-to-face sales calls only account for 22% or less of your time (be honest with yourself!), then you really need to explore what the outcome would look like if you maximized your available time. What will happen if you truly devoted yourself, 70% to 80% of the time, to real selling opportunities?
I think we both know the answer to this.
Now stop imagining and make it happen!
Go big or go home!
In his timeless classic, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill addresses the importance of persistence. He shares a list of weaknesses shared, in whole or in part, by those suffering from a lack of persistence:
Failure to recognize and to clearly define exactly what one wants.
Procrastination, with or without cause. (Usually backed up with a formidable array of alibis and excuses).
Lack of interest in acquiring specialized knowledge.
Indecision, the habit of ‘passing the buck’ on all occasions, instead of facing issues squarely.
The habit of relying upon alibis instead of creating definite plans for the solution of problems.
Self-satisfaction. There is but little remedy for this affliction, and no hope for those who suffer from it.
Indifference, usually reflected in one’s readiness to compromise on all occasions, rather than meet opposition and fight it.
The habit of blaming others for one’s mistakes, and accepting unfavorable circumstances as being unavoidable.
Weakness of desire, due to neglect in the choice of motives that impel action.
Willingness, even eagerness, to quit at the first sign of defeat.
Lack of organized plans, placed in writing where they may be analyzed.
The habit of neglecting to move on ideas, or to grasp opportunity when it presents itself.
Wishing instead of willing.
The habit of compromising with poverty instead of aiming at riches. General absence of ambition to be, to do, and to own.
Searching for all the short-cuts to riches, trying to get without giving a fair equivalent, usually reflected in the habit of gambling, endeavoring to drive ‘sharp’ bargains.
Fear of criticism, failure to create plans and to put them into action, because of what other people will think, do, or say.
As you reviewed this list, did any of these items hit a bit too close to home? My intent is not to intentionally step on toes but instead highlight where we all struggle at times – in one way or another – with persistency. This list helps me identify areas for improvement in my own life, so I hope it does the same for you.
Of all the things that I do to stay persistently committed to my success, I find the following the most important:
- Have big, hairy, audacious goals. I have created a list of goals that are well beyond anything I ever dreamed possible. Best of all, I’m on track to make them happen.
- Write your goals down on paper every single day. Every morning, the first thing I do is write out every single one of my goals and I write them in the present tense — as if I’ve already achieved each one.
- Create an action plan for each day. I write my goals down in a leather journal on the left side and on the right hand page I write up my daily Battle Plan. This includes the items on my calendar as well as the specific actions I need to take that day to accomplish movement towards my goals.
- Create a daily power schedule. I’ve created a Power Schedule that keeps me on track with all the key things that I need to be focused on each and every day that will drive more business. If you would like to receive a sample, please email me at email@example.com
Persistence is the key to achieving a successful career as well as a successful life. Give careful consideration to ways you can improve in your persistence and you will reap great rewards!
Go big or go home!
“You can dominate a game if you dominate on the line…We’re just going to have to go out there and work hard and blow people off the ball, and let our runners do what they do best.” –Miles Davis
“Identify your niche and dominate it. And when I say dominate, I just mean work harder than anyone else could possibly work at it.” –Nate Parker
Up to this point, you likely have been competing. You’ve been competing for market share, for customers, for sales and revenue. It’s a traditional concept that competition is good. But I ask you, who is competition really good for?
It is argued that competition is good for consumers because, in theory, it provides them choices. Theoretically, it keeps the costs down. In reality, the consumer suffers because the businesses that are competing have to sacrifice profits to reinvest into the company and/or quality suffers in order to keep costs down. Jobs are reduced in order to manage the cost of operation. And, as a result, the quality of customer service is far less than it should be.
Competition certainly is not good for individual businesses. In the business world, when we choose to compete rather than completely dominate, we give other businesses hope. Hope is what is given when other companies think they are on the same playing field as you. When just a glimmer of hope is provided, it enables others to believe they can beat you.
In short, every time you view someone else as your competitor, you…
- Make them credible
- Allow them to see themselves as a suitable alternative
- Give them space IN your space
- You subconsciously agree to play fair and play by the “agreed upon” rules of engagement
It is just like athletics. A sports team’s desire and ultimate goal is to dominate their opponent. They watch film. They practice every conceivable situation that might occur in the game. They prepare for every potential option and prepare so their actions become second nature. Sports teams that take this approach are those we refer to as “dynasties.” Whether it’s the Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Miami Heat, the New England Patriots or the Crimson Tide of Alabama, a dynasty occurs when there is a complete commitment to viewing victory and success as the only option.
In sports, competition is necessary. There must be two opponents and a scoreboard in order to understand who wins and who loses. Without competition, fans refuse to watch and the value of professional sports is eliminated. There must be a winner and a loser.
At the same time, as the late Al Davis of the Oakland Raiders says, “You don’t adjust. You just dominate.” Even though these teams need competitors, their goal is complete domination and be the team everyone else wants to become.
What it Takes to Dominate
To dominate requires unwavering commitment from you to:
- Commit to taking massive action. Taking massive action means you will establish a pace and put forth an effort that is unmatched by anyone else in your market space. This is why domination is not for the faint of heart. If you’re not prepared to take massive action consistently, don’t pretend to want to dominate.
- Commit to doing what everyone else won’t do. There are specific things your competitors won’t do or aren’t doing to drive business growth. To dominate, you must be prepared to do what they won’t do.
- A complete commitment to dominate your space. Every time someone wins and you lose, it takes money out of your pocket and away from your company. Every time you lose, your family loses and your company loses. Most of all, your customer loses. They miss out on the quality service and great products you provide and they miss out on having you as part of the package.
“Number one, cash is king… number two, communicate…number three, buy or bury the competition.” –Jack Welch
Examples of Domination
In the ‘60s and ‘70s, Xerox was THE company when it came to copying documents. Not only did they own the patents for xerography, but they were everywhere. For nearly three decades, no one asked to get something copied; instead they’d ask, “Would you Xerox that for me?” While today there are many competitors in the same industry, Xerox is still considered by many to be the go-to-brand for printing and they do so while spending a much higher price.
In the ‘90s, at the height of the dot.com bubble, search engines were fighting for awareness. They each wanted to become the “go-to” source for finding information of any kind on the internet. Today, Google completely dominates this market. With a 64.1% market share, it overshadows the other two “competitors” by a large gap. In second is Yahoo with 18% and Microsoft’s Bing at 13.6%. Together, all three control 98.5% of the search engine market. But Google comes to win when it pertains to the search engine market.
When it comes to soft drinks, everyone has their preference but when asked, it’s far easier to say, “I’ll have a Coke.” It’s at the tip of the tongue for good reason unless you’re in the Carolinas of the United States. In the soft drink market, Coca-Cola owns the lion’s share at 41.2% while PepsiCo is just behind with 33.6%. While this appears to be a slender difference, when compared in dollars, the gap is considerably wider.
Consider the world of tire manufacturing. In this arena, there are a number of manufacturers world-wide, but one stands out. Goodyear owns the market with 39% of the market share followed by Michelin at 28.2%. Goodyear not only leads the pack but they dominate as well.
Lastly, let’s look at the major household appliance manufacturers. In this competitive industry, it would be easy to assume that there are a number of key players in the mix, but instead, four manufacturers together own 90% of the market.
- Whirlpool 8%
- AB Electrolux 7%
- General Electric 1%
- LG Electronics 2%
Whirlpool, at 43.8%, has almost as much market share as the next three combined. According to IBISWorld, Inc., “The industry is expected to become even more concentrated in the next five years. Firms such as Whirlpool and Electrolux are expected to acquire more companies, further reducing the number of enterprises. These acquisitions will add to the companies’ economies of scale, lowering production costs and enabling firms to broaden their product ranges. The industry is expected to grow 2.2% in 2012 to $17.6 billion.”
In each of these examples, these industry leaders have chosen to dominate their space. While they are not alone in their market space, they clearly have a distinct advantage in terms of market awareness and in market valuation. A company like Whirlpool isn’t content with just being the dominant player. Instead they are consistently looking for additional partners to grow their business and increase their effectiveness in the market.
Just like each of these, you must seek to be the dominant player in your industry. Anything less is settling to be a competitor. And competitors get left in the dust.
Go big or go home!
By the way, my latest book – Roar Like You Mean It! Dominate Your Market Like the King of the Jungle just became available on Amazon. You can find the Kindle version here: http://tinyurl.com/roarlikeyoumeanit
If you’d prefer a hard copy edition, I am selling introductory copies at a reduced price. The price on Amazon is $26.95 however you can purchase them through my site directly for just $15. Here’s the link:http://www.thomashackelman.com/services.html
Let me ask you a personal question: Are you average or extraordinary?
Before you answer my question, think through a few things first. Determine whether you can answer “Yes” or “No” to each of these:
- I write down my long term goals every day – at least once.
- I have big, hairy, audacious goals.
- I create a daily action plan first thing in the morning (or the night before).
- I consistently take massive action to achieve my goals.
- Others talk about my level of performance and action behind my back calling me, “Lucky.”
- People suggest that I’m sending the wrong message – that others are intimidated by me; that I need to tone it down a bit.
- I’m considered successful because I have the best territory.
How did you do? If you answered “No” to one or more of these points, you’re someone that I would consider average.
“But, Tom, that’s harsh.” Or maybe you’re saying, “You’re out of your freakin’ mind!”
Argue with me…and then show me your results. By results, I mean your last six months, your last twelve months. Show me a consistent pattern of above average level of success and then, maybe, I’ll agree with you.
The problem is we’ve settled for average. When it boils right down to it, we look at everyone else’s expectations – our boss’, our company’s — as the standard to meet. Folks, that’s just enough to keep your job. And, in reality, it’s a sign that your goals aren’t big enough.
The worse part about average? It lulls you into thinking you’re doing okay. Everything is copacetic. Everything is just fine with the world. And then, like the frog in the kettle, you boil to death.
Here’s another way of looking at average — lukewarm.
“So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
–Revelation 3:16 NIV
Yeah, I know, that’s below the belt. Or is it? When was the last time you were really thirsty and you requested a glass of tepid, lukewarm water? Even if you did, it was awful. It’s like drinking pool water in the middle of summer (not that I would know :-) )
My point is this: Stop settling for average. You owe a duty to you employer, your clients, your family and yourself to be ultra-successful. You should settle for nothing less that over-the-top excellence. Anything less is a disgrace!
Start by setting big, hairy, audacious goals for yourself. Set them big and bold and then write them down at least once a day – every day. Set your daily battle plan in accordance with the type and quantity of activities that position you to achieve your goals. Become the butt of the jokes at the office and make them consider you “lucky.” Who cares? They won’t be working there much longer. And you? You just might own the joint when it’s all said and done!
Go big or go home!