Achieve Big Dreams

In his classic book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill spells out the specific formula for achieving great things in your career as well as in life.  He writes:Napoleon-Hill

  1. Be definite about what you desire.
  2. Determine exactly what you intend to give in exchange for what you desire.  What is it you are willing to do?  What actions are you prepared to take?
  3. Determine a definite date you intend to achieve your desire.
  4. Create a definitive plan for achieving your desires and begin immediately, whether you are ready or not.
  5. Write out a clear and concise statement that states what you want, what you are prepared to do to earn it, when you plan on achieving it and your specific plan for making it happen.
  6. Read your written statement aloud twice a day.  Read it when you wake and again just before you go to bed.
  7. As you read, see, hear and feel your achievement in your mind.  Pretend you’ve already achieved it.

Napoleon Hill learned these steps from Andrew Carnegie, the great steel magnate at the turn of the 20th century.  Over the decades since, others have utilized Hill’s teaching to acquire great sums of money, positions of prestige and power, and achieve great successes.  This is a plan that works if you allow it to.

There are a couple caveats, however.

You must have a burning desire to truly make your dreams a reality.  Without a burning desire, you will abandon all hope when difficulties arise.  When challenged and you are only borderline in your commitment to your goal, you will abandon your pursuit faster than you created it.

Lastly, you must have abiding faith.  Faith is the ability to believe without seeing.  It requires only that you believe you have achieved something before you actually do.  It requires that you see your end in your mind before it actually happens and it is through your faith all things become possible.

If you aspire for greatness, follow in the tradition of Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Napoleon Hill and thousands of others who have applied this process.  If you do, there is not a thing you won’t be able to do.

Roar Like You Mean It!

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

If we are honest with ourselves, we live and work at a time where real authenticity and accountability are painfully absent.  Regardless of the profession, the ability to commit and sustain a high level of work performance has been on a constant and consistent decline for years.  Far too many individuals are unwilling to accept their share of responsibility when deadlines or quotas are missed, instead blaming the economy, their customers and poor territories for their insufficient performance.

In many ways, the financial meltdown of 2008 is a direct reflection of this bad behavior.  In every sector of our nation’s economy, fingers pointed elsewhere rather than where they deserved to be pointed.  Rather than accept responsibility for taking advantage of the tax code, financial institutions pointed the finger at Congress and past Presidents for crafting the laws that empowered them to make shady financial decisions.  Political parties threw each other under the proverbial bus for the disaster.  Individuals looked to mortgage brokers and banks for “allowing” them to buy far more of a house than they really could afford.  And real estate agents angrily looked at buyers and said, “Hey, you’re the one who signed off on it.”  No one truly wants to accept their portion of the responsibility for their irresponsible behavior.

In the office, employees and employers alike point fingers at each other for the lack of acceptable performance.  Employees rant about the extra work they’re expected to do with little to no increase in pay because of the decreased work force.  Employers are frustrated with the productivity of their employees and their attitude.  But they provide little incentive to their employees excel and fail to provide praise for good behavior.  Neither is prepared to make the hard decision to make a career change because, for the employee, the job market is weak, and, for the employer, the labor market is weak.  Is it any wonder that productivity suffers and the national confidence in the state of our economy is so poor?

It’s Time for Lions to Step Up

This brings me to the opening quote by Theodore Roosevelt.  Life is intended to be lived inside the arena, but that comes with inherent risk.  To step into the arena, you risk being bloodied and bruised.  While you may not risk your life, you do risk failure.  You risk humiliation.  You risk embarrassment.

This is why the world needs lions.  For, in the words of President Roosevelt, a real warrior, a real lion “spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Ever since I was a young boy, I have always been transfixed on the image of a lion.  I’ve always found the lion to be a transcendent figure.  There are no animals in the jungle that rival the majesty of the lion.  From how the lion carries itself to the marvelous mane he wears to the lack of any fear, the lion is an amazing animal.

Over the past thirty plus years of my sales career, I’ve found the lion to be a perfect analogy for the true sales champion.  For those who truly succeed and dominate, there are many traits of the lion that apply to how we, as sales professionals, should behave in the market space in which we operate.

Roar

The Roar                              

The roar of a lion is unmistakable.  Even from a distance, the roar of a lion strikes fear into the hearts of men and animals alike.  Whether the roar is one of warning or an announcement of his presence really doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that you respond accordingly.

Like a lion, a true sales champion’s presence in the market space sends a certain message to all others that a champion is present.  While it isn’t intended as a warning, others tend to understand that the presence of sales champion means deals will be lost and less suitable sales professionals need to spruce up their resumes for another career in another area.

The Unmistakable Look

The lion is the only member of the large cat family that possesses a large mane.  Matched only by the severity of the sound of his roar, the mane provides an intimidating aura to the look of a lion.  Setting his face in what appears to be a crown, the lion has earned his reputation as “the king of the jungle” for as much of how he looks as for how he rules his kingdom.Lion

In days past, a true sales champion was recognizable.  He wore his or her suit in such a way that their look distinguishes them from the rest of the market place as a true professional.  Today, the look of a true sales champion – a lion – is once again needed.  The marketplace needs leaders who look like leaders, not individuals who are so concerned with fitting in that they dress down to dress the part.

The Courage

A lion is fearless in his mission.  Regardless the size of the other animal, a lion will attack.  Lions have been known to kill other animals weighing as much as 1,000 pounds making them very dangerous to their surroundings.

Like a lion, true sales champions see anyone who seeks to compete as a threat to their survival.  Every deal closed where the champion was not the victor is seen for what it really is – it’s food off their family’s table, it is lost recognition, it is a lost customer, it is representative of a war wound that the champion would rather never experience again.  To combat this, the champion fights on.  In spite of the company size or reputation of the competitive company, the champion takes them on in such a way that the competition feels like they’re not in a fair fight.  In spite of their size and financial wherewithal, the competitor limps away feeling weak and lost.  In fact, the true sign of a champion is when the competition sells out to him or leaves the market altogether.

Roar like You Mean It!

The book I am completing is intended to provide a clarion call to all real leaders.  If you are in sales, this book is specifically intended for you because our profession needs the real lions to return.  We need individuals who proudly wear the lion’s mane and profess their ownership of their territory.  The sales profession is in desperate need of men and women who are prepared to tenaciously fight for the business in an ethical and moral way, but in a way that demoralizes the competition.  Most of all, real sales lions bring such a sense of integrity to the profession that the pride of being called “salesman” or “saleswoman” is a badge of honor, not a disgrace.

This book is also intended for everyone not in the “sales profession” as well.  If we’re honest with each other, we all are in sales in some capacity.  Whether you are selling your boss on a raise or interviewing for a new job; that is selling.  If you are working with a team of people to achieve a common outcome, any encouragement and motivation you provide is, in fact, selling.  Even parents, when we are challenging our children to achieve good grades at school as well as to take the trash outside, we’re selling.

In the jungle, the lion understand that if you’re not conquering, you’re being conquered.  In sales, if you’re not selling, you’re being sold.  Live or die; the choice is yours.  Whether we’re discussing this metaphorically or as a practical purpose, we all must choose to live or die, move forward or slide backwards.  But to stay in the middle is not an option.  Frankly it’s never been an option and yet, here we are, struggling with mediocrity and average behavior, average performance.  It’s time to put a massive paw print down in the ground, dig in, and roar like we’ve never roared before.

It’s time to roar like we really mean it!

Reading Recommendations for 2015

Over the past year, I’ve read and/or listened to a large number of books.  One thing I’ll share specifically is that every book that I read and every Audible book I listen to, I do so with the simple intent of identifying and using at least one idea that I come across in each.  Over the years I have found this to be incredibly useful for myself personally as well as for my career.

So here’s the list:

  • The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone
  • If You’re not First, You’re Last by Grant Cardone
  • Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone
  • Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions by Keith Rosen
  • The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
  • Cracking the Sales Management Code by Jason Jordan
  • Do It! Marketing by David Newman
  • Mastering the Rockefeller Habits by Verne Harnish
  • Turbo Strategy by Brian Tracy
  • Topgrading for Sales by Dr. Bradford Smart
  • Own It! by Tabatha Coffey
  • Dying Every Day by James Romm
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
  • Selling to Big Companies by Jill Konrath
  • New Sales. Simplified by Mike Weinberg
  • Agile Selling by Jill Konrath
  • Traction:  Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman
  • Born to Win by Zig Ziglar
  • Selling to the C-Suite by Dr. Stephen Bistritz and Nicholas A. C. Read
  • The Official Guide to Success by Tom Hopkins
  • One Call Closing by Claude Whitacre
  • Master the Art of Selling by Tom Hopkins
  • The Closer’s Survival Guide by Grant Cardone
  • Hyper Sales Growth by Jack Daly
  • When Buyers Say No – by Tom Hopkins and Ben Katt
  • Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday
  • The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard
  • You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
  • Secrets of Selling – Audiobook by Grant Cardone
  • Sell Like a Pro by the Dale Carnegie Training Company
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
  • Moral Letters to Lucillius – Letters from a Stoic by Seneca
  • The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni
  • The Magic of Thinking Big b David Schwartz
  • Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life by Brian Tracy
  • The Challenger Sale by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon
  • The Maverick Selling Method by Brian Burns
  • The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy

That’s 39 books over a twelve month period.  And these are just the books I’ve chosen to share. All told, there are over 50 books that I’ve read or listened to – even re-read several times — that have been incredibly important to my life.

How?  I recommend using your car as a literal “university on wheels,” as Brian Tracy calls it.  We all have time in our car, driving to and from work, to and from sales calls, etc., to listen to audio books.  As a confession, I find myself buying both the book as well as the audio book (you’re welcome, authors!) so I can refer back to the book when there is a specific point I want to review again.

Regardless how you do it, get in the habit of reading and listening to audio books.  Your life and your career will thank you for it!

Don’t Hang with the Hyenas

The following is from my latest book, Roar Like You Mean It!  Dominate Your Market Like the King of the Junglewhich I am finishing up.  As we head into the New Year, I thought I’d share this as a way of protecting yourself from certain challenges that will undermine your success in 2015.  Enjoy!

Hyena

Hyenas are an interesting breed of animal.  While hyenas are actually skilled hunters, they tend to be scavengers typically feasting on the remains left behind by other animals.  In fact, they are known for eating most anything including aluminum pots and pans.  Notably the sounds they make, especially the spotted hyena, include wailing, howling and the infamous laughter.  But most importantly, when they come across a lion, the lion will kill them.

Lions don’t respect hyenas.  Hyenas most often rely on the kills made by others, so when a lioness has killed an animal for her cubs, the hyenas are often not far behind to steal the kill.  When this happens, the lioness must start over in order to feed her cubs.  Rather than continue to let the hyenas steal from their young, lions don’t put up with the aggravation and simply destroy them.

In every profession there are hyenas, but especially in the sales profession.  They are most commonly found in the bullpen, talking about anything and everything except what they should be focused on.  They show up late, leave early and they are most often gossiping about others rather than giving attention to their real work.  Sales hyenas are a disruptive and hazardous group and must be avoided at all costs.

How to Spot the Sales Hyenas

The sales hyena, much like its animal version, is a scavenger.  They are often hanging around at the office, doing a lot of busy work, waiting on leads to come in.  They will often point out how busy they are, but when the month ends, they barely meet the minimal quota expectations.

Sales hyenas are usually focused on others within their own organization.  If there’s a story to be told, they are the ones typically telling it.  In fact, if you want to know anything that is happening in your organization, whether real or fictional, the sales hyenas are your best source of company gossip and are very eager to share.

Sales hyenas can sometimes be difficult to spot, however.  They work hard to blend into the group, not wanting to be identified, but they’re there.  Their busyness makes them feel a sense of belonging, but in reality, they’re staying just busy enough to get by.  As soon as they sniff blood in the air, whether it’s a sales professional who happens to lose a deal or the scent of fresh gossip to hunt down, the sales hyena come howling into the open.

Every sales team has at least one sales hyena on it.  It’s an unfortunate fact of life.  When they arrive, they don’t start out this way, but eventually their nature bursts through and it’s almost as if they can’t help themselves.  It usually happens after they have their first successful sales month or two.  They get distracted by their own success and begin to hang around the office more.  And this leads them to pick up the scent of gossip.  They naturally gravitate to those in the office who like to share gossip and then, like the taste of fresh blood, they begin to feast on the stories.

How to Deal with Sales Hyenas

Dealing with sales hyenas is easier said than done.  Because they often don’t even realize the carnage they are creating, it’s challenging to address it with them.  They think they’re being helpful, warning others about individuals within the organization and providing advice about what to do and what not to do.  In fact, they often see themselves as future leaders of the organization because of all the “good work” they are doing.  But there are some specific steps you can and should take to minimize the impact of the sales hyena.

  • Focus on your commitment to the Pride.  As we discussed in Chapter Two, you have a commitment to the Pride that must be honored.  Your commitment takes precedent over any internal company gossip that others might want to share with you.  You have future customers who are counting on you to help them.  Your company is expecting you to meet and exceed your obligation to them.  And your family is counting on you to provide for them.  You cannot do any of this if you find yourself in the grip of a sales hyena.
  • Stay away from the sales bullpen.  The bullpen is aptly named due to the bullshit that is often shared there.  It’s just too easy when you get a bunch of lions in there at the same time and everyone is eager to share the story about their latest win.  But when the stories die down and everyone is grabbing that last cup of coffee, this is when the sales hyena strikes.  Inspired by the BS fest, the sales hyena starts the process with, “Hey, have you heard about…”  This is when you know it’s time to make your exit.
  • Protect sales cubs from the sales hyenas.  If you are a sales cub, relatively new to sales and to your company, you are considered fresh meat to a sales hyena.  It usually starts with good intentions as they are eager to provide advice about how to get your career started.  They have great ideas about how to get started and what to do.  And when you aren’t suspecting, they start to share stories about each and every one of the members of the sales organization as well as others in the company to be wary of.  New sales professionals are easy prey for the sales hyena.  It all sounds good at first.  The sales hyena has very noble intentions…at first.  And, in their minds, even the gossip they share is well intentioned.  But it’s still gossip, some true and most severely out of touch with reality.  Ask yourself, “Why does this person seem to always be in the office?”  This should tell you all you really need to know.  In spite of their performance, which has is usually right at quota, occasionally with a huge month thrown in the mix; they tend to do far less than they are capable of.  The time they invest into sharing gossip is time not spent prospecting and building their sales pipeline.  And it’s time used to distract others from their commitment.  As a sales champion, you need to not only avoid the sales hyena, but you need to challenge the sales cubs to focus on growing their business.  Encourage them to commit to their new role and set goals that inspire them and drive them to achieve.  More importantly, continue to be a role model the sales cubs seek to emulate.  When you continuously focus on your success and create results, the sales cubs will recognize the true lions within the organization and, if they are worthy, they will become a real part of the Pride.
  • Let the sales hyenas starve.  Sales hyenas feast on the stories shared by others, especially if the stories include mistakes or problems of others in the organization.  The easiest way to starve a sales hyena is to stop being a source of the stories.  As soon as you begin to recognize the sales hyena in your organization, remember the sign from the zoo:  “Don’t feed the animals.”  The reason for the signs at the zoo is because, in our own good intentions, we think it’s okay to help feed the animals the popcorn and sugary snacks we have in our hands.  After all, one little bite surely can’t hurt can it?  This is how it starts for the sales hyena.  Once you start feeding him, he begins looking for handouts from others.  It starts a feeding frenzy.  And once they start, it’s almost impossible to get them to stop.  So you need to identify this pattern and not start in the first place.  As you and others stop “feeding the animals,” the sales hyena will start scavenging for information.  “There must be more somewhere,” they say to themselves.  But as the well of information begins to dry up, the sales hyena will either move on or begin to transform into the type of sales professional they should be.  But it all starts with stopping the insanity!
  • Don’t text and feed.  One of the biggest challenges we have today is the ease by which information can be shared.  With texting and various social media resources, the ability to share information quickly and almost anonymously is too easy.  Your challenge is to recognize these tools for what they are.  When the first text comes across your phone asking, “Have you heard about Tom?”, recognize the signal.  It’s a cry for help.  It’s your opportunity to obey the zoo signs and not feed the animals. The moment you reply, you open Pandora’s Box and shutting the lid is going to be very difficult.  When you don’t respond or begin to cut off the communication as a way of shutting the lid to the box, the next text you’re going to get will sound something like, “Are you mad at me?” or “Why are you avoiding me?”  Recognize these cries for help and do what needs to be done:  Starve the sales hyena.  In much the same way, social media platforms tend to be used in much the same way.  Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are ways for others to connect with you and become a voyeur into your personal life.  While I don’t want to sound like I’m encouraging you to not “friend” or connect with your co-workers, I am encouraging you to recognize the signals.  If you begin to sense that a sales hyena in your organization is now part of your personal life via Twitter or Facebook, take the necessary steps to block or, at a minimum, minimize the amount of information they can collect as well as share with you.  Starving a sales hyena sounds harsh on the surface.  I understand and empathize with you.  But remember that a sales hyena will always find the information, the gossip they are seeking.  There’s always a source in your organization; just don’t be one of the sources.  If you do, you’ll eventually become part of the meal as well.

Sales hyenas can be a dangerous part of any sales organization.  They breed distrust and disharmony within the organization.  Anyone who is not part of providing food for the feeding frenzy becomes part of the frenzy themselves.  It’s just part of the natural process.

The faster you can identify the sales hyena, the better.  This way you can be part of the solution and take steps to neutralize the threat to your organization.  In the wild, hyenas will turn on the Pride when the Pride isn’t providing carcasses for the hyena to feed on.  This puts the cubs at risk.  So the lion, when sensing a hyena within earshot of the Pride, will hunt down and kill the hyena to protect the Pride from disaster.  In much the same way, as a sales lion in your own Pride, you must identify the internal threat and take steps to eliminate the threat.

Don’t let sales hyenas challenge the future of your Pride.  They just aren’t worth it!

Your Gift

“Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift.”

–Eleanor Roosevelt

As of the time of this writing, there are 9 days, 16 hours, 10 minutes and a descending number of seconds remaining before Christmas.  Hopefully you are unlike me and have all of your gifts purchased and you’re ready for Christmas.  If not, I truly feel your pain.  In spite of the fact that Christmas comes on the same date every year, I find myself under self-induced pressure to get my holiday shopping completed.

This brings me to your gift.  No, I don’t have an official gift to give to you, but I want to use this opportunity to remind you of the great gift you must give yourself.  This gift is the understanding of what you hold in your possession.

Without getting too spiritual or too far off the beaten path, let me simply share this thought that will lead to my challenge to you as well as me.  In the Judeo-Christian tradition, when God created man, He breathed into man causing him to come to life.  In much the same way, it is my sincere belief that you and I contain the very breath of God within us.  Our souls are connected to a Higher Purpose, a Higher Identity.  We contain within ourselves the very essence of God Almighty.

With that premise in mind, what are you doing today that provides evidence of the Creator in your life?  What are you doing today that represents all of the purpose and meaning of God in your existence?

If you embrace the idea that you contain the breath of God within you, then you must also embrace the simple fact that you have been designed to be so much greater than the sum of what and who you are at this very moment.  You are designed to elevate yourself to a greater level than you currently reside at.

So here is my challenge – to both you and me…

  • Live Each Day with Purpose — Time is one of the elements we are a steward of and yet it is also one of the key things we abuse and take so lightly.  Each day is a day we get but never get back.  Every minute of today is full of purpose and the ability to make the most of it resides in our hands.  Commit to living today to the maximum.  Commit to making the most of every minute, every second of the day.
  • Commit to Excellence — The seeds of greatness reside within you and me, so it is imperative that we commit to excellence in every way possible.  Anything less than excellence falls far short of what you and I were designed for.
  • Commit to Investing into the Lives of Others — In my profession, I am blessed with the unique opportunity to daily invest into those I’ve hired.  My intent is to challenge each and every one of them to become greater than they were before me.  My desire is that they will be much greater, more whole as a result of my investment into each and every one of them.
  • Decide — Each day you fail to make decisions that will move you forward is a day someone else decides for you.  When we fail to make decisions, we leave our fate, our future, in the hands of others.  This is a misguided approach and indeed very dangerous.  Decide, commit, move forward.
  • Dream – Goals are simply dreams on paper.  What are your dreams?  What do you dream of doing?  Of becoming?  Of experiencing?  Live your dreams!

Today is your gift.  Your life is your gift.  What you do with your gift is up to you, but I hope and I pray that you will embrace your gift and enjoy it fully.

Enjoy!

Are You Serious?

“Generally speaking, investing in yourself is the best thing you can do. Anything that improves your own talents; nobody can tax it or take it away from you. They can run up huge deficits and the dollar can become worth far less. You can have all kinds of things happen. But if you’ve got talent yourself, and you’ve maximized your talent, you’ve got a tremendous asset that can return ten-fold.”

–Warren Buffett

Are you really serious about your career, more importantly, about your future and the future of your family?  If you are, you’re applying this advice from Warren Buffett on a daily basis.  If you’re not doing that, you’re simply lying to yourself.

I get a lot of lip service from those who say they want to be successful.  They claim to want to achieve, to reach for a better way of life, to be one of the best and yet they simply lie.  They lie to me and, worse, they are lying to themselves.

Your unwillingness to invest in yourself is what is keeping you in the ranks of the average, the mediocre.  If you’re struggling to get by, living the proverbial paycheck to paycheck lifestyle, then it’s clear you’re committed to average thinking.  If you’re simply hitting your quota and think you’re all that and a bag of chips, you’re committed to average thinking.  If you’re blaming your company, your territory, your manager or your competition for why you’re not succeeding or making the kind of money you should be, you frankly are average and I don’t need you around.

I’m ready from people who have the intestinal fortitude to step up and take personal responsibility.  These kind of people strap it on and take personal responsibility every day for their life.  Yes, life can be tough and there are a variety of obstacles you will face, but if you sit there moaning about how bad it is or how evil the government is or how greedy your company is, then you’re pathetic and you need to find a different occupation than sales.

However, if you’re truly serious and ready to take ownership of your life, here are some things you need to consider and put into action in your life:

  • Set Inspiring Goals for Yourself – Stop thinking like everyone else and create some inspiring goals for yourself.  Continuing to not design the future you desire is an indication that someone else is designing your life.  Identifying your goals and taking daily action towards their accomplishment is the ultimate first step to taking ownership of your future.
  • Make Drive Time Your Educational Time — Stop listening to the radio.  Whether it’s music (which Brian Tracy refers to as chewing gum for the mind) or talk radio (which is about sports or, worse, politics which is the worst negative thing to feed your mind), you’re wasting optimum learning time.  Pop in a CD or listen to an audiobook that provides educational content.  Listen to some sales training while you drive.  Whatever you listen to, make sure it’s a real investment in yourself.
  • Read — Yes, read!  Few people actually like to read and even fewer read material that is about improving their understanding of their profession.  It’s been said that the world’s top CEOs read an average of 60 books a year while the average person reads less than one.  And we fuss about the huge incomes these CEOs make!
  • Attend Seminars — Stop waiting for your company to make the investment FOR you and make it yourself.  If you invest in yourself by attending a seminar, you’ll take it more personally and actually listen and look for ideas to help.

These are just a few to get you started.  If you’re reading this blog, you are likely someone who fits the category of “serious” and I’d like to hear from you.  What is one thing you do consistently to improve your life, your career?

If you are reading this and you are NOT doing anything to invest in yourself, I want to know why.  Either get in the game or get out.  It’s been written that “You’re neither hot or cold, but instead you’re lukewarm, so I spit you out.”  Either get hot or cold, but stop being a lukewarm pansy and get serious!

Dress Like You Mean It

Imagine for a moment that you are scheduled for a job interview today.  How will you dress?  How will you prepare to present yourself for this important meeting?

Why do I ask this?

If you are in the profession of sales, and frankly every single one of us in sales in one form or another, you are interviewing for a job every single day.  On every sales call, you are interviewing for a job.  You are presenting yourself as someone desiring to provide solutions to the person on the other side of the desk and you close the transaction so you can get to work.  That, at it’s core, is an interview.

Every day you are interviewing for your next job.  Whether you work the front desk or are the Chief Executive Officer, every contact you make is a potential interview for the next step in your career.  The people you meet can often be those who help you in the next step in your career.

Your appearance matters.  It shows you care enough to present yourself in the best way possible.  It shows you mean business.  The fact of the matter is this:  Those who dress well garner the most respect.  They are paid more.  Their opinions are taken more seriously.  They get the promotion.  People who dress well tend to carry themselves in a much more confident manner than those who don’t.

Today, as I write this, it’s Friday.  It is the traditional day known as “Casual Friday” and many will head to work today dressed in jeans.  I don’t mind dressing in jeans; in fact, a good pair of jeans are quite comfortable.  But casual Fridays have devolved into a day where it seems anything goes.  The level of respect seems to go down.  The attitudes are more cavalier.  The work done is less than desirable, if done at all.

I recognize that it’s important to dress appropriately for the work you do.  I’m not suggesting that an oilfield worker dress in a dapper suit.  But the argument that you should dress down for your position is, frankly, disheartening.  Don’t dress down just to prevent people from thinking you are something you aren’t or don’t want to be associated with.  Be proud of who you are and the profession you’re in or get out.

I’ve had it said to me that “I don’t want to dress in a suit and be taken for a salesman” by someone actually in the profession of sales.  While I completely understand the negative connotations often associated with the traditional salesperson, let me be clear:  Get over yourself.  If you want to change the impression have of sales, give them something to aspire to.  Stop running from the preconceived notions and set the new expectation.  Create the new way of how people view salespeople by becoming the new “spokesperson,” the new model for what and how we should be viewed.

Stop wasting my time by showing up looking like you should do my chores.  Dress up and show up ready for real business or go home.