My Next Chapter

In 1981, I began working in the office equipment business making deliveries of supplies to area businesses in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  The following year, I chose to pursue what would become a three-decade long career in sales in the office technology industry.  Except for a few years as Pastor of Spiritual Development at a successful North Carolina church and a short run in the insurance business, I’ve spent the better part of the past 36 years focused on helping businesses become more successful and more productive.  I’ve trained and developed sales professionals in the business technology industry.  I’ve had a very successful career.

Today I am proud to announce the next chapter in my life.  I have successfully completed the required licensing requirements and have earned license to sell real estate in Oklahoma.

While this new career presents new challenges, I am excited about the opportunity to help families and individuals achieve their dreams of home ownership.  One of the cornerstones of the American dream, the opportunity to own a home and create a stable, strong future is one which I look forward to helping Oklahomans achieve.

I have placed my license with Coldwell Banker Select – a prestigious company with a nationwide reputation for excellence.  One of the great benefits in working with Coldwell Banker is the in-depth training all their agents receive in real estate transactions of all types and sizes.  With the training behind me, I feel confident that I can provide the professional advice and service that my friends and colleagues in Oklahoma.

If you or any of your friends are interested in buying or selling a home, please get in touch with me.  My mobile phone is (405) 537-3395 and my email address is Tom4YourNewHome@gmail.com.  You can also visit my website at www.Tom4YourNewHome.net.

Mastery or Mediocrity?

mediocrity

Mastery:

  • Comprehensive knowledge or skill in a subject or accomplishment.

“she played with some mastery”

  • control or superiority over someone or something.

“man’s mastery over nature”

Mediocrity:

  • The quality or state of being mediocre
  • Of only moderate quality; not very good.

“a mediocre actor”

In the field of sales, either you are striving for sales mastery or you’re simply performing with mediocrity.  A rep focused on becoming a master in his or her profession will always be distinctive from those that have a mediocre approach to their profession.

The question is:  Which are you?

Rather than elaborate on what a mediocre sales professional (can you really call that person a “professional?”), let’s look at some of the key characteristics of a sales professional who is striving to master his or her profession and bring the greatest value to their clients, their company and their career.

  • A Clear Focus on and Understanding of Their Ratios

Mastery means understanding how many touches it takes to identify a prospect.  It means knowing how many contacts it takes to get a meeting set with a decision maker.  It also includes appointment to proposal ratios as well as closing ratio.   In other words, a true sales professional understands the art of predictability.

Regardless of what you’ve read or have been told, sales can be quite predictive.  If you understand your ratios, you can lay out a clear path for consistent sales success.  The absence of such, well, let’s just leave that for the mediocre rep.

  • No White Space

Take a moment and look at your calendar for this week.  Go ahead and look at last week while you’re at it.  Of the hours available to be in front of a prospect, a decision maker, someone who can say, “Yes!”, what does the white space reflect?  Is it 20%?  40%?

If the white space in your calendar is greater than 20%, you have an issue.  In fact, a true master of selling has zero white space on their calendar.   In fact any professional in any profession should have zero white space in their calendar if they are maximizing their time.

A master sales professional has time blocked out to leverage social media. It’s limited and well defined, but it’s accounted for.  How much time do you devote to leverage LinkedIn to nurture relationships and develop new contacts?

A master has time blocked out every day to prospect on the phone. Is it a priority or are you just giving it lip service?

A master professional has appointments blocked out throughout the day

A master sales pro accounts for their time when they will respond to email, follow up phone calls, writing proposals, creating order paperwork, etc. This time isn’t left to chance.  Instead it is set aside in a specific time slot, preferably after peak selling hours.

  • A Real Commitment to Growing in Knowledge

A sales professional committed to mastering his or her craft is constantly seeking new opportunities to learn and grow.  They listen to sales training information while they drive.  They read books or listen to audio-books constantly.  They are attending sales seminars or webinars to seek out ideas that will strengthen their skills.

The mediocre rep complains they don’t like to read.  They don’t have time.  They’ll do it if and only if the company pays for it.  Welcome to mediocrity hell!

  • A Sales Master Looks and Acts like a Sales Master

You can pick the sales masters out in a crowded room of other sales professionals.  They are dressed for success and stand tall, shoulders back.  Yes, your mamma said that a lot while you were growing up.  You didn’t listen then, but perhaps you should now.

A sales master is seeking out individuals he or she can help.  Rather than asking for leads or introductions, they simply, honestly and clearly ask, “How can I help you?”  They understand the age-old Zig Ziglar mantra, “If you help enough other people get what they want, you’ll get everything you want.”  It has to happen in that order…period.

Let me ask you, “Which one are you?”  Are you a sales professional who is actively seeking ways to become a true master of your craft or are you just trying to get by on good looks and charm?  Are you more focused on what you can get than about how you can help others?  Are you sold out on your profession or are you just winging it until a better gig comes along?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and how you are striving to become a real master of the art of selling.

Let Us All Repair the Breach

With all the divisiveness in our nation, let us never forget what we are spiritually called to do, who we are called to be and what is promised in return..

“6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

    and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

    and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry

    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—

when you see the naked, to clothe them,

    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

    and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness[a] will go before you,

    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;

    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,

    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,

then your light will rise in the darkness,

    and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The Lord will guide you always;

    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

    and will strengthen your frame.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

    like a spring whose waters never fail.

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins

    and will raise up the age-old foundations;

you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,

    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”

Isaiah 58:6-12

Life’s Cloudy Skies

cloudy skies

Over the past few days, as I watch the Oklahoma weather do what it famously does, I’m reminded of an eternal truth.  Even on the cloudiest, stormiest days, the sky remains above as blue as ever.  Even when our human sight can’t see the promise of blue sky and sunshine, nothing can change the fact that it remains there.

Too often we allow the clouds and storms of life to affect us.  That’s normal.  But what we can’t let loose of is that the clouds will part, the sun will break through and the slightest hint of a magnificent rainbow is seen on the horizon.

Lest we ever forget, we’re provided these eternal words:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

Clouds are temporary; the blue skies are forever!

What Are You Thinking About?

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…

–Proverbs 23:7

We are what we think about most of the time.

–Napoleon Hill

Seeds of GreatnessPierre Teilhard de Chardin writes, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”  We are full of potential and have been, as Zig Ziglar famously has said, “endowed with the seeds of greatness.”  To live and operate at any level less than this is to forfeit our birthright.

So what are you thinking?  What are you focusing on?  If you find yourself consistently focusing on perceived limitations, perceived lack of knowledge or lack of experience, you diminish the greatness within you.  If you focus on perceived lack, lack is what you will continue to create.

If, on the other hand, we recognize the greatness within us and begin to focus on the enormous potential we each have, our lives will begin to take on the vision we see within our minds.

Solomon, the wisest of men throughout history, writes, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  What we think about most of the time is what we will become, what will begin to transform into reality.  If we have thoughts of lack, of weakness, of insufficiency, we plant the seeds that will blossom into what we’ve been thinking.  Seeds of lack grow into greater lack.  Seeds of unconfidence sprout into fear.  Seeds of weakness grow into intimidation and more weakness.

Change what you’re focusing on and, instead, focus on the greatness within you.  Faith is believing in what you can’t see, believing in what your five senses don’t experience in the moment.  It’s belief that you already have what you desire, you have what you are focusing on.  You may not be able to see it yet; you may not be able to experience yet, but that doesn’t diminish the simple fact that you already have it deep down within you.

Let the seeds of greatness begin to take root and grow within you.  You are destined to achieve great things.  You have been implanted with the ability to transform the world around you.  You just need to let go of your doubt, have faith and let the seeds of greatness germinate.

What are You Tolerating?

“You can’t change what you tolerate.”

–Craig Groeschel

In my master bath, above the bathtub, is a flood light.  The bulb went out several weeks ago and has yet to be changed.  Whether it’s because I prefer the shower over the bath or simply because I don’t care, it doesn’t matter.  The bulb remains dead.

In a recent leadership podcast from Craig Groeschel, the founding pastor of Life Church, he made a statement that really resonated with me.  He stated, “You can’t change what you tolerate.”  Think about that statement.  Mull it over for a few minutes in your mind.

If you are like me, and I suspect many of you are, there are elements in our lives as well as our professions that we allow to exist.  They are elements, activities, habits – whatever — that we tolerate.  Deep down, we know we can’t continue this way, but we tolerate them.  We allow them to continue to exist.  And, as a result, we become an enabler — we empower and embolden their continued existence.

And what does that mean for you and me?  What does that do within us?  For me, it begins to create an irritation.  This leads to frustration.  And, eventually, anger that they have the gall to continue when it’s just plain wrong.  “How dare they?”, I yell.

And yet I continue to tolerate the areas that miss the mark.  I’m more inclined to let it continue rather than confront the situation and make a change.

In the 70s, the movie “Network” make famous the phrase, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”  It’s at this point that we decide to – even refuse to – accept this pattern of behavior any further.  It has had its way far too long and now we’re mad as hell and we, too, just aren’t going to take it anymore!

But seriously, do we have to get to the point where we’re mad as hell?  Can’t we establish clear and straightforward standards that we won’t accept or tolerate?

Another statement Craig made is this:  “Our natural mode is not urgency; our natural mode is complacency.”  In other words, it’s natural to operate within the confines of safety and security rather than take a risk.  It’s easier to keep things the way they are than to stir the pot and stretch ourselves.  In doing so, we begin to tolerate bad behavior.  We begin to let things slide.  And then, seemingly out of the blue, we’re mad and we’re not going to take it anymore!

What are you tolerating?  What are you empowering to let slide by and do nothing to address it?

What areas of your personal life are you “accepting” rather than taking action?

In your professional life, whether it’s regarding you personally or a member or members of your team — what are you tolerating that shouldn’t be the “norm?”

That light bulb?  Well, it’s still out.  After getting on the ladder and fussing and cussing with it, I can’t get it out of the socket.  Oh, wait, there’s another point!  When we tolerate something long enough, it isn’t going to change easily.  There will be resistance to change.  They will fight you on it, arguing, “Why change now?”

Improvement and change are not easy – for anyone.  But if we continue to tolerate mediocrity, you continue to get mediocre results.

By the way, anyone know a good way to loosen a flood light?

Fearlessness

Sales champions recognize that their solution is not a proper fit for everyone. There will be those who are either a bad fit or the timing is simply not right for them. Either way, sales champions understand that rejection is going to happen. Regardless, they know they must be fearless in spite of the rejection.

Fearless sales pros understand that rejection simply is not personal. In spite of what you think, feel or tell yourself: Everyone is not out to get you! In fact, it’s not about you period. Rejection is prevalent and normal.

Think about it this way: 80% to 90% of all prospecting calls are rejected. Out of 100 calls you may make this week, ten to twenty of them will potentially agree to meet with you and have a conversation about their business and your solutions. That’s a lot of rejection!

Fearlessness is about accepting the reality and working in spite of it. It means acknowledging that it’s just not the right time for this prospect, but not fearing the response. It means making the next phone call, knocking on the next door, in spite of the odds not being in your favor. It means breaking down the barriers in your own mind and continuously moving forward.

What’s Your Number?

In his book, The Winner Within, Pat Riley details the principles behind the Los Angeles Lakers famous Three-Peat that occurred between 1986 and 1988. Knowing that getting one championship is tough, but going for two in a row and then a third, even some of the greatest teams in the NBA would have difficulty maintaining their focus. So he issued a challenge to his players to improve their results in five key areas by just 1%. By constantly looking for ways to improve in each of these areas, he believed the team would develop and experience exponential growth.

Reflecting back on it in his book, he writes, “As we saw it, one percent improvement, a one percent improvement in five areas for twelve players gave us a 60 percent increment.” His players bought into it and, as a result, his team experienced success at a level that hadn’t happened in a very long time in the NBA.

What’s Your Number?

Sales champions understand their numbers. They regularly track the number of prospecting calls they make on a daily and weekly basis. They know how many prospecting calls they need to make to set a meeting with a potential prospect. From there, they understand how many meetings turn into presentations. And, of course, they know how many presentations convert into orders.

Knowing your number is critical to your success. When you know your number, sales forecasting becomes a very predictive process. You know that continuing to perform at a certain level will help you achieve a certain result.

When you know your number, it also provides you with the ability to created improved performance. When Pat Riley was preparing to introduce his idea to the team, he first identified the five critical areas that lead to success and then measured every single player on his roster based on the previous season’s results. Having a starting point focused on important areas provides a way to create and generate improved outcomes.

If you know that you want to earn $100,000 this year and you know that your average sale equals $1,500 in commission, you have some of the starting data you need to create a roadmap for success.

What are some of the other information you would need to know?

  • How many orders do you sell each month to earn the average $1,500 per order commission?
  • How many presentations do you need to make to get each sale?
  • How many appointments will you need to get to that presentation goal?
  • How many prospecting calls will you need to make to schedule the number of required meetings?

When you know your number, you are able to design a roadmap to achieve virtually everything you want to accomplish. What would the outcome be if you simply make a 1% improvement in your closing rate? What about your meeting-to-presentation rate? Individually, each makes a difference in your outcome. Cumulatively, it dramatically improves your month-over-month success.

What is a Legacy?

Leave-The-Legacy-76A legacy is defined as something that is handed down and left for the next and future generations.  A legacy can be an inheritance, such as money and land.  A legacy can also be something much more significant, such as a positive impact on society that leads to a more successful and rewarding one.  It can also be something more tragic, such as debt and slavery that continues to shackle those left behind with the consequences of those who went before.

Throughout history, legacies have been left.  Some for good; others for worse.  The men who fought for and led in the rise of what is the United States of America left an indelible imprint on the future that we experience today.  The democratic experience was new when the United States was founded and it continues to be a grand experiment when compared to the thousands of years of history found in other nations around the globe.  And yet, in our infancy, the legacy of this country continues to leave a lasting imprint worldwide.

The question, then, is:  What kind of legacy are we now leaving?  As a nation, are we leaving a legacy of hope and inspiration?  Are we crafting a future that will continue to inspire and embolden society to seek the greater good and make a difference in the world?  These are questions that remain and the fact that the questions even have to be asked should terrify each one of us.

A Legacy of Doubt

At the time of this writing, we seem to be crafting a legacy of doubt.  We live in desperate times and in people are hurting, seeking resolution to their pain.

Government has failed us.  We have leaders who are locked in financial arrangements with individual and corporate donors that shape political decisions, not often for the greater good.  We have a political system that is devolving into political strife, inaction and negativity.  While words are spoken that indicate a commitment to seeking real solutions, the actions of those leaders speak volumes that indicate otherwise.

Corporate America has taken advantage of men and women in too many ways.  At a time when profits are at an all-time high among the Fortune 500 and Wall Street continues it climb to all new heights, the American worker struggles to survive financially.  The Middle Class, as we’ve traditionally known it, no longer exists for all practical purposes.  Incomes are stagnant and wages that are paid are paid not paid fairly.  When a woman works for seventy-three cents compared to that of her male counter-part, something is wrong.  When individuals struggle financially and are forced to work two and sometimes three jobs to meet their budget demands, something doesn’t feel right.

Racial division and strife are rampant in our world.  When those in authority, such as the police, abdicate their role as peace keepers and, instead racially profile and abuse their roles, something is dreadfully wrong.  When individuals, although not provoked, seek to question and challenge simple requests simply out of arrogance, tensions rise and spill over to greater, more deadly consequences.

Individual accountability is lacking, leading to a dissatisfied community.  Rather than accept personal responsibility to live and operate, too many put their future in the hands of others.  As a result, we are developing a legacy of disarray and hopelessness.  The cries of our future children and grand-children can already be heard.

Something must be done.

It Doesn’t have to be This Way!

In spite of the negative climate, there is hope.  Within each individual, including you and me, lie the seeds of greatness.  In spite of the challenges we face, each one of us have a unique opportunity to make a difference.

When we leave our future and our hope in the hands of others, we empower them to do as they will.  But the human design is not created that way.  We’ve been endowed with purpose and intention.  We contain the resources to choose a better, more empowering way.

But it begins with individual accountability and responsibility.

It begins with you and me.

We must resolve to craft our own legacy that we will hand down to future generations.  It must be a legacy that tells our future selves that we matter, that they matter.  Hopelessness and helplessness is not the norm.  There is a great hope for the future if we allow it to shine brightly and boldly.  But it begins with the only legacy that matters.