Rise Above Your Fear

The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.

John C. Maxwell

This quote from John Maxwell appropriately sums up what I find to be the critical difference between those who are enjoying high levels of consistent success and those who just get by with average results.  And it’s the critical thing every sales professional and every business needs to address if they desire to take their success to the next level.

Your fear of failure is holding you back.  It’s preventing you from setting big goals and from pursuing your dreams.  You fear failing and what others might say or think if you do happen to fail.  And it’s why you continue to wallow in mediocrity.

Average thinking is, in the end, a losing proposition.  Average thinking gives you the false impression that you’re doing fine when, in reality, you are slipping ever so slowly towards the bottom.  Average is about getting by.  It’s about surviving.  But that’s what is holding you down.

Average thinking would have stopped Walt Disney from pushing through his multiple failures and creating his magical kingdom.

Average thinking would have stopped Abraham Lincoln from rising back up from one defeat after another and from changing the landscape of this great nation.

Average thinking would have kept JFK from challenging us to rise above the earth to the moon and beyond.

The self-destruction of the middle class over the past six years is the result of the fear of failure.  Far too many people still sting from the losses incurred during the great recession and, vowing not to experience again, they are paralyzed from taking risks.  This recipe for disaster has caused the proverbial middle class to slide to mediocrity and a Grand Canyon-type of gap to exist between the successful and the wannabes.

So what’s the solution?  Start by taking a look at your written goals.  No, not the ones you wrote in January, filed away and then gave up on by mid- to late-January.  What are your dreams?  Are they on paper?  Oh…there’s part of the problem.

Let’s start here…

  • Think big.  Write down real big goals.  Stretch yourself to think bigger, risk greater, and achieve higher.
  • Write them down — every single day.  This will cause you to revisit them and keep them fresh and top-of-mind each and every day.  We need inspiration many days just to keep after it and big goals, revisited daily, cause us to be reminded of why we do what we do.
  • Set your fears aside.  Failure is a winning strategy.  it’s what makes us stronger and what helps us to achieve more.  We need to bust through the failure and rise above it.  Your fear of it is what’s holding you back.
  • Recognize that life happens, so dream bigger and create activity that is far above what you’ve ever done.  Things will happen – the car breaks down, the kids get sick, you get sick, a recession happens — things we don’t expect or plan for.  But if your goals are big enough and you’re taking a massive amount of action each and every day, these life interruptions will seem less of a distraction and you will be able to push through.
  • Stop hanging out with and listening to average people.  I’ve often found that, if you want to find out what someone’s goals are and where they’re headed in the future, just look at those they surround themselves with.  What are their friends like?  Who do they spend time with on a regular basis?  This provides critical insight into the influence that is taking place.  Elevate your circle to other dreamers and risk takes.

Stop letting fear paralyze you.  Stop thinking like an average person and rise above the noise of those who want to hold you back.  And the rewards will be great!

Go big or stay home!

Do What the Average Aren’t Doing

Success doesn’t happen to me.

Success happens because of me.

–Grant Cardone

How are your business results looking as we head into the final two months of the year?  And how are the prospects of a successful launch of 2015 looking for you?

If you are like most, you’re simply scrambling trying to get through the next couple of months bemoaning the fact that November and December typically suck because of the holidays and whining about your results.  But let’s face it; November and December come around – like clock work – every year.  Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are on the calendar for every single year.

Time for a reality check.  You’re struggling because you’re suffering from an average approach to your work.  You’re average approach to the market space in which you operate is what is preventing you from having the kind of success you deserve to have.  Let me rephrase that; you’re getting the kind of success you deserve.  What you need to do is to shift your thinking and your approach and take a market space leadership approach.  And then, only then, will you deserve the real level of success you want and deserve.

What can you do differently?

  • Stop thinking and operating based on the average.  The average person chooses to do what average does.  The norm.  The standard.  The basic levels of expectation.  But average doesn’t take into account the unexpected.  Sick days.  Car trouble.  Sick kids.  Customers who cancel appointments or put off making a decision.  And average thinking gets you, at best, average results.  Take your game to another level.
  • Dramatically increase your level of activity.  Start today and begin raising your expectations of yourself and begin to generate a substantial level of activity.  If the average is 20 calls a day, start making 40 or 50 calls a day.  If the average is 2 appointments a day, start aiming for 5 appointments per day.  Raise the level of your activity to star-level activity and you will start to see dramatically different results.
  • Do what no one else is doing.  There are a number of things you can start doing today that no one else in your industry is doing:
    • Send a handwritten Thank You note to five current customers every day.
    • Send a handwritten Thank You note to every person you speak to and meet with every day.
    • Follow up like your life depends on it.  If you leave a voice mail and they don’t call back, call again.  And again.  And again.
    • Never present a proposal to a prospect without asking for the order — AND — make sure you have paperwork with you to get it signed.  (You’d be surprised how many reps fail on this point!)
    • View every “No” and objection simply as a complaint.  It simply means you haven’t addressed a question or dealt with a point of fear the prospect has.
    • Fill your calendar every week.  When you start work on Monday morning and look at your calendar for the upcoming week (or more), there should be minimal white space.  White space indicates wasted time and that means missed opportunities.  Fill it up!

Will this make a difference in your November and December?  You bet it will!  Better still, this level of activity, continuously maintained, will lead to an increase in business throughout 2015.

If you will commit to this and commit to continuously improving your skills, your W-2 will show a huge difference.

Go big or stay home!

Your Duty as a Sales Professional

One of the biggest hurdles I find with sales professionals is the lack of connection with their responsibility and what it takes to fulfill that responsibility.  Simply showing up isn’t enough.  It requires that you wrap your mind completely around the responsibilities you have in order to create the right level of action necessary to succeed.

What responsibility, what duty do you have?  There are several and I’ll touch briefly on each:

  • You have a duty to your customers and prospects.  There are people and organizations with specific pain and you have a solution to address and resolve this pain.  You have a very specific duty to these customers and prospects to find them as quickly as possible and connect them with the solution to their challenges.
  • You have a duty to your employer.  You are being paid to achieve results.  Showing up and making calls isn’t what you’re paid to do.  Let’s be real on this topic:  You are paid to close business — period.  Simply calling on accounts, managing your territory, making presentations are part of the job but what you are really paid to do is to close business.  To not close business each and every day is to not meet the obligation of your professional duty.
  • You have a duty to your family.  Sales provides you with the unique ability to make your family financially secure, not just for the short term but for the long term.  I have raised five children and throughout their years growing up, one of the first things they would daily ask when I got home was, “Daddy, did you sell anything?”  It was and is a great question.  They understand the connection between my success and what I can provide to them as well as the security I provide when I am financially successful.  It is my duty to create a secure financial future for my family.
  • You have a spiritual duty.  In Colossians 3:23-24, the Apostle Paul writes, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”  Your spiritual duty to God is to work in a way that honors Him.  To accomplish this, you must be 100% plus in.  You can’t just decide not to bring your “A” game one day; that shows tremendous dishonor to the God you serve.

I would love to say that I have always honored the duty and responsibility I have.  That would be disingenuous.  But I continue to strive, each and every day, to improve on what I am doing to meet my personal obligations, duties and responsibilities as I’ve outlined above.

By the end of this year, the book I am writing will be published through Amazon and will provide a deeper insight into this topic as well as several other sales-related topics.  Be sure to keep an eye out for it.

In the meantime…Go honor your responsibility and your duty!

Just Like in Politics…If You’re Dominating, Don’t Debate

This past week, the Democrat challenger to Jim Inhofe, the incumbent US Senator from Oklahoma, complained that Senator Inhofe won’t agree to a pre-election debate.  It got me to thinking…the Senator’s plan of choosing to not debate is the right strategy.  If you’re the dominant player, why should you debate?

Just like in politics, in business your purpose must be to dominate your market.  I can’t get any more clear than that.  When you compete, you give some level of credibility to your “competition.”  You’re, in effect, saying, “Yes, they play in my space and offer similar, if not equal solutions.”  That’s not only wrong, it’s stupid.

Your goal must be to completely dominate your market.  How do you do that?

  • Do what others in your space are NOT doing.
  • Raise your activity level to levels that leave them with their tongues hanging out.
  • Be seen everywhere…Blogs, email campaigns, social media, chamber events, everywhere.
  • Become their worst nightmare.

When you take this approach, you’ll hear that you’re not playing fair.  Exactly!  That’s what you want.  Better yet, you’ll be winning business, winning market share, and you’ll be getting higher prices and more profit out of every transaction.  When there’s no competition, you can virtually name your price.

So, Senator Inhofe, my hat’s off to you.  Let them think they’re competing for the vote when, in reality, they’re just eating your dust!

The 3 Reasons Your Business Isn’t Growing…and what you can do about it!

As we kick off the 4th quarter of 2014, let me ask you this question:  Are you experiencing double digit growth?  No?  Why not?

We are live in the greatest country in the world, a nation with very few limits except for those we actually place on ourselves.  And those limits usually mean we have impotent goals and we have a less than stellar understanding of the kind and amount of activity it takes to really grow our business.

Since 2008, business owners have cut…significantly.  As a result, they have been asking their people to do so much more with a whole lot less.  Now that they’ve reached the lowest level they can go, they’re so wrapped up working in their business that they’ve lost sight of why they’re in business in the first place.  You’re not in business to monitor your employees’ productivity!  But that’s what’s happening.  Your workflow and systems are so 2008 that you can’t get ahead let alone grow.

In the midst of all this, you’ve become obscure or even forgotten by those potential clients in your market place and, worse yet, to many of your customers.  You’re not leading the charge.  You’re people are following your lead.  If you think dealing with the minutia such as paperwork and other “busy work” is okay (as proven by your example), then your employees are going to do the same.

I have some specific recommendations for the cure to this.  If you’d like to learn more, simply send me an email and request my FREE report:  The 3 Reasons Your Business Isn’t Growing…and what you can do about it!  I will send you this free report that provides you with multiple different ways to grow your business at a double digit rate year-over-year.

Remember…Go Big or Go Home!

Using the Inc 5000 to Create New Opportunities

Annually Inc. Magazine publishes their list of the 5,000 fastest growing, privately-held companies.  It is based on the average growth of the company over the past three years and annually has a list of unexpected surprises.

“That’s great, Tom, but how does this relate to me?”

It’s simple.  This list contains the companies who are actually growing.  They are dominating their space and making business happen.  Their growth means business opportunities for every vendor in the market who supports these types of businesses.

Using Inc.’s list, you can drill down to the state and metropolitan area to find those who are in your local market.  Or, if you provide national coverage, simply start at the top and work your way down the list.

This year’s #1 company:  Fuhu.  Fuhu is the creator of an Android tablet for kids and an Adobe Air application that allows children to access the Internet in a parent-controlled environment.  They’ve experienced 158,957% growth over the past three years.  Their revenue has risen from $123,000 in 2012 to $195.6 Million in 2013 and they’ve added 178 jobs in the past three years.

Ask yourself some questions:

  • What market is this company in?
  • What challenges could they be experiencing as a result of this growth?
  • What pain might they be wrestling with?
  • What solutions do I offer that may be of value to them as they embrace this growth and plan for additional growth over the next few years?

Do your research and start making contact.  These accounts are being courted by someone; why shouldn’t it be you?

Remember:  Go big or stay home!

No Mercy

heartON Saturday, September 13th, I went to the local urgent care because of a increasingly difficult cough and lack of oxygen. After x-rays were done, I was sent directly to the hospital where I was admitted with Congestive Heart Failure. A week later, 30 pounds down and a stent in one of my arteries, I’m back at work and feeling better than I ever have. Traditionally this is where you hear about the great epiphany that occurred. You won’t hear one from me. No, I didn’t have an epiphany but rather an awakening to one of life’s greatest principles.

The marketplace always disciplines the unprepared.

Success loves and rewards the prepared.

My body was unprepared because I let it become that way.  My experience was no surprise.  I have type 2 diabetes (not managed); I have high cholesterol; I have a family history of heart disease; and I’m well over my optimum weight.  Just as the marketplace punishes the unprepared, my body punished me for not being prepared.  For not taking care of myself.  For being a putz when it comes to living my life to it’s greatest potential.

Look…the key as I see it is this.  I have an ethical duty to my wife, my family, my job, my community to be the very best I can be.  I know what my purpose is and it’s up to me to live it out.  There are no short cuts and there is no middle ground.  It’s all or nothing.  Live big or go home.

I had a wrist band on for the past several days that says, “Don’t be a little bitch.  Champions dominate!”  When I hurt the most or my energy was dropping off, I meditated on that simple message.  It’s a message no longer lost on me.

So join me or don’t.  I intend to live life with no mercy.  I will live according to my ethical duty to my wife, my family, my employer and, of course, to myself for a long time to come.