Sell with Courage

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston S. Churchill

It takes remarkable courage to confront large prey and even more to defend your Pride from the pursuit of another lion seeking to overthrow you. This is one of the elements I admire most about the lion – the real courage shown when it matters most.

In the Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion desires to go to the Emerald City in order to ask the Wizard for courage. Throughout their journey to Oz, the challenge with the lion’s timidity appears again and again. But when they arrive in Oz and the lion finally gets to ask for his courage, he finds out that he had it all along. The lion simply needed to reach inside of himself and recognize the courage that was already there.

There are far too many leaders in name only. Instead of exhibiting true courage, they, instead are a lot more like the Cowardly Lion. They make a lot of noise, roaring here and there, but fail to exhibit true leadership, true courage. They hide behind their desks and excuses, failing to do the real work. They begin to act a lot like the hyenas you’ll read about in the next chapter. This is a fact and it makes me both weary and fearful for our future generations. Leaders without courage operate solely out of intimidation and fear but fail to operate with real integrity. They won’t “man up” when it really counts.

While I realize what you are about to read smacks a bit of sexism, but I challenge you to read this as I intend it. Real leadership, whether the leader is male or female, requires critical skills and all too often I find these skills lacking in business leaders, government leaders, as well as in community leaders. Leadership is far more than having great oratory skills and it’s more than just stomping your foot and threatening when you don’t get your way. Real leadership requires courage.

Real sales champions are not just sales professionals; sales champions are leaders. Their leadership exhibits real courage in how they do their job, how they lead customers to make the right decisions, and how they perform under pressure. This is why some of the great leaders I admire rose from the sales ranks. Executives like Carly Fiorina, formerly of HP, Anne Mulcahy, retired CEO of Xerox, Bill McDermott, current CEO of SAP and former sales great, and others are profiles in courage and real leadership.

Learn to Act as If

Every sales champion understands this principle: “Act as if.” This principle challenges the champion to act according to where they want to be, not where they are at the present moment.

Let me explain.

When a sales champion is calling on a business owner or, more intimidating than that, a Chief Executive Officer of a Fortune 500 company, he understands that you have to act the part. If you act as if you don’t belong in the office with this owner or CEO, then you don’t and you won’t, for long. To succeed, however, you must recognize that this owner or CEO is looking for solutions to real problems and you hold the answer. You have the solutions they need and they are looking to you to be bold and assertive in identifying where the challenges and problems are and providing a real solution for them. If you aren’t prepared or willing to do that, you need to simply go home.

It takes real courage to act as if. Not every sales person I’ve met has what it takes to act the part. I understand why. It’s scary and intimidating. It’s not for the faint of heart. That’s why there is a real difference between sales professionals and sales champions. Sales champions are prepared and have the intestinal fortitude to act as if. They have the courage even when they may be a little fearful inside.

When you have the courage to push through your fear and act as if, others recognize the boldness. People respond to those who are courageous enough to put themselves out there and act as if until they become. This is why sales champions get results – real results consistently.

Over-Commit AND Over-Deliver

You’ve heard your boss say this as well as countless others: “Under-promise and over-deliver.” On paper that sounds good. It sounds reasonable that you want to set the bar low and excel far beyond what you promised. But, really? Have we sunk that far that we are unwilling to raise the bar and then strive to exceed those expectations?

Frankly I’m tired of individuals and companies who set the proverbial bar low in an effort to over-achieve and “wow” the customer. When I’m the customer, I want you to really wow me. Don’t give me milk-toast expectations that you know you can do in your sleep. Set the bar of expectation at such a point that there is absolutely no way the competition can really compete.

Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not suggesting you promise something that there is no hope of the customer every actually receiving. That is plain and simple dishonesty. What I’m referring to is simply elevating your game. Choose to do what your competition can’t or won’t do and then do everything in your power to even out perform yourself. This is a delicate and difficult balance but it truly can be achieved.

Annually I raise the bar on my sales teams. Regardless the quota that is established for me as the Director of Sales, my objective is to challenge my teams to over-perform what would normally be expected. I learned long ago that quota is minimal expectation for the job; exceeding quota is what needs to happen. Quota pays the bills; over-achievement puts money in the bank.

The same is true with your customers. When you set a high standard of expectation and consistently meet or exceed that high expectation, you are elevating their expectations of anyone else who might desire to compete for their business. It can be a significant blow to the confidence of a competitor when he or she comes to the realization that competing with you is a futile experience.

Leave Your Paw Prints Behind

A lion has massive paws. Imagine being struck by one of them, let alone by the claws within those huge paws! But consider this: Have you ever heard of a lion wiping away its paw prints so the trail can’t be discovered? As ludicrous as that sounds, it bears an important principle for sales champions. Leave a trail of prints behind.

I’ve had those who insist that leaving your business card, a marketing piece or even signing in at the guest registry of an office should never be done. They argue that doing so leaves a signal to your competition that you were there. Essentially they are suggesting that we should never be seen until it’s too late. While I love the element of surprise – my competitor finding out that I captured the account after the fact – I, frankly, don’t give a damn. My competitors will never outwork me nor will they operate with the same tenacity or persistence that I bring to the table. Frankly I would be surprised if they found out I was there in the first place until it was too late.

Like a lion’s paw prints, the trail of prints you leave behind need to strike fear in the hearts and minds of those who intend to compete with you. This requires real courage and, unfortunately too many sales professionals and businesses prefer to not exhibit that type of courage.

There are people and companies alike who say, often with pride, that they want to fly under the radar. While I understand this concept to an extent, it is clearly a wrong and misguided philosophy. Any opportunity you miss to rattle your competition, to strike fear and uneasiness in their heads, is huge. Your missed opportunity is simply another chance for your competition to gain some boldness, some courage, and you simply can’t afford that kind of risk.

What kind of paw prints can you leave behind? Here are a few ideas that I’ve already addressed but they are worth repeating:

  • Eliminate Obscurity — As I shared with you previously, obscurity is one of your major threats. As long as you are not known across the market space, you are not gaining any traction. You must eliminate this as a threat to your future success. Be seen everywhere. Use social media to spread your message. Send regular email communication, such as e-newsletters and business ideas, to every email address you have. Get as active as humanly possible in different volunteer efforts within your community. Simply put: Everywhere your competition looks, as well as current and future customers, they need to see you!
  • Leave Your Mark — Provide usable, relevant items that have your name on them to your current and future customers. If you company is unwilling to do this, you need to do it yourself. Imagine for a moment that your competitor walks into a meeting with one of their current customers and in the customer’s hand is a coffee mug with your name on it. Mind blown! “Where else have you been,” they start thinking. It throws them off their game and distracts them. Send handwritten cards to everyone you speak with. Whether you meet with them in person or speak with them on the phone, follow up the same day with a handwritten card. Because this practice is so rare, many people proudly put the cards on their desk or their wall to be seen. If your logo is proudly printed on the card, especially with your name, your competition will see it. And they will begin to fear you.
  • Take Current and Future Customers to Lunch — This is a great strategy, especially with future customers, to use. Take them to lunch at a place where you will definitely be seen and, trust me, word will get around. I’m not suggesting you manipulate your future customers; this is truly to build the relationship with them and create opportunities to be in front of them. But when it strikes additional fear into your competition, it’s an extra bonus!
  • Over-Commit to Yourself — Just as I explained about over-committing and over-delivering to your customers, start over-committing to yourself. Have the courage to set goals that are truly going to stretch you and force you to go over and beyond normal expectations.

One of the main reasons I write out my goals every day is because this provides extra incentive to me to pursue my goals. I don’t operate from the principle of “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to my goals; my goals are far too audacious for that. I set them high because I really want achieve at that level, but also because they drive me each and every day to excel beyond “normal expectations.”

Too many people, sales professionals in particular, set impotent goals – goals that give no rise (pun intended) to performance. They fear missing the mark and disappointing themselves, so they set “reasonable” goals. The problem is that this is, frankly, boring. When you set “reasonable” goals and achieve them, then what?

You are far more than you are giving yourself credit for. It’s time to grow a pair and start operating a level much higher than you have been. Until you do, you’ll never experience the kind of life you were created for.  So go for it!


Eliminate the Phrase “Sales Slump” from Your Vocabulary

hiding-under-table-370x229We’ve all experienced a sales slump.  For several months in a row, you’ve been bringing business in.  It seems like you’re the company darling or sales champion.  And then it happens.  The well suddenly dries up and you, of all people, are in a sales slump.  Everything you touch turns to s*#t and nothing you do seems to make a positive impact.  Then, one day, you get a glimmer of hope from a prospect…and then they stall, wanting to wait a little longer.

Sales slumps hurt.  They can even be career killers.  When the slump dismantles your self-confidence and makes you begin to over-think every move you make, you become worse than ineffective.  You become your own worst enemy.

But sales slumps never have to happen.  And I mean NEVER…if you understand what causes them in the first place and, far more importantly, know how to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Sales slumps happen for one simple reason:  We fail to stay focused.  We get distracted by deals that take too much of our time.  We fail to focus on the routine that brought us to the recent success we enjoyed.  Instead we focus on the wrong things and get caught up reading our own “press clippings” about how great we are that we fail to focus on the key elements to continued success.

To avoid sales slumps altogether, we need to concentrate on a few fundamentals:

  • Admit that life happens.  Whatever effort you think you need to put in to get the level of performance you need, raise that by at least 5x, preferably 10x.  This means your activity on a daily, weekly and monthly basis needs to be five times to ten times above what the typical person would do.  The reality is life happens.  Car problems.  You get sick.  Your kid(s) get sick or need to visit the doctor.  You experience several snow days forcing you to work from home.  Whatever it is, it’s Murphy’s Law.  And, yes, it will happen to you, so plan for it in advance.
  • Don’t get side tracked.  When you have a good month, there will be those who want you to celebrate it.  These are the proverbial lifetime members of the bullpen.  They rarely leave and when they do, it’s because they’re going to lunch.  These are the ones who bicker and complain about company policies or someone in the “order prevention” department.  They sell just enough to keep their job and that’s it.  They want you to stop excelling because you’re making them look bad.  Recognize these “hyenas,” as I refer to them in my book, and get away from them.
  • Continue to set high goals.  Sales slumps occur often after you’ve achieved a lofty goal you set for yourself.  Congratulate yourself and celebrate, but then sit down and establish some new goals.  If you revel in your accomplishment too long, you’ll find yourself spiraling backwards instead of propelling into the next orbit.
  • Love your clients.  Sometimes it’s your clients who fall victim to your sales slump.  You get sidetracked and then fail to take proper care of your existing clients.  The problem is, you helped them solve a problem and they can help you share that story with others.  When you fail to truly love your clients, you’re not going to get referrals.  After all, if you become known more as a “one night stand” type of rep, why in the world would they want to introduce you to their sister?

Avoiding a sales slump isn’t complicated.  And, frankly, a sales slump should never, ever happen to any sales rep.  But it does and it happens for a reason.  Following the ideas I just laid out in a consistent manner will help you avoid the sales slump and, very likely, protect you and your family from even bigger failures!

Go big or go home!

From Dream to Reality


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!

Own It, Deal With It and Win

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!

No More White Space!

“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:

  • Bookkeeping
  • Online Research
  • Database entries
  • Data presentations
  • Managing email
  • Social tasks
  • Travel Research
  • Scheduling
  • 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.

Bottom Line…

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!

Are You Persistent?

Never Give UpIn 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:

  1. Failure to recognize and to clearly define exactly what one wants.

  2. Procrastination, with or without cause.  (Usually backed up with a formidable array of alibis and excuses).

  3. Lack of interest in acquiring specialized knowledge.

  4. Indecision, the habit of ‘passing the buck’ on all occasions, instead of facing issues squarely.

  5. The habit of relying upon alibis instead of creating definite plans for the solution of problems.

  6. Self-satisfaction.  There is but little remedy for this affliction, and no hope for those who suffer from it.

  7. Indifference, usually reflected in one’s readiness to compromise on all occasions, rather than meet opposition and fight it.

  8. The habit of blaming others for one’s mistakes, and accepting unfavorable circumstances as being unavoidable.

  9. Weakness of desire, due to neglect in the choice of motives that impel action.

  10. Willingness, even eagerness, to quit at the first sign of defeat.

  11. Lack of organized plans, placed in writing where they may be analyzed.

  12. The habit of neglecting to move on ideas, or to grasp opportunity when it presents itself.

  13. Wishing instead of willing.

  14. The habit of compromising with poverty instead of aiming at riches.  General absence of ambition to be, to do, and to own.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

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!

Compete or Dominate?

“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 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:

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:

Average or Extraordinary

determined vs average action

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!

The Alamo Mentality

The AlamoIn the early hours of March 6, 1836, the Mexican Army began their final assault on the Alamo.  Facing insurmountable odds, those brave people entrenched at the Alamo stood their ground and faced down the invading Mexican Army.  When the day was done, every American in the Alamo was dead.  Historians report that between 182 and 257 people died in the Alamo and that approximately 600 of the 1,500 Mexican troops lost their lives in the battle.  Those at the Alamo that day were committed.

“I’d rather be 100% committed to the wrong thing, than only partially committed to the right thing.” –Grant Cardone

I’ve written about the subject of commitment before, but I sense the need to revisit it.  We’re 50 days into this new year; how’s it going for you?  Are you getting the results you need or desire?  Are you where you need to be at this point?  Do you have an Alamo-like commitment?

I suspect you, like far too many, if we’re being honest, will admit that you’re already struggling.  In fact, your New Year’s Resolutions are long past gone and your year-to-date results are nothing to write home to mamma about.

If you’re not getting the results you should be, I have to ask:  “Are you really committed to what you are doing?”  Too many sales professionals argue that they’re committed, they’re all in.  And yet, when you look at their daily activities and their results, it’s clear they’re not committed.

If your company isn’t getting the results you should or need to be getting, I have to ask:  “Are you really committed to your company and your clients or are you just mailing it in?”

Here’s what real commitment looks like:

  • Committed to the End Result:  If you are a sales professional, let’s be real clear about your responsibility.  You’re paid to do one thing and one thing only:  Close business.  If you aren’t closing business that only means that you’re not committed.  You’re not committed to doing the daily things that position you to close more business.  You have impotent goals – or worse, no goals – that fail to inspire you to greatness.  If you are really committed, you are investing daily into the activities that create the results you are paid for – signed orders.  If you’re really committed, you’re not sipping another cup of coffee, scanning your database or the internet for leads, you’re creating business.  In fact, you already know where you need to be.
  • Committed to Your Career:  If you are truly committed, you’re taking daily action to learn your craft.  You aren’t waiting for someone else to do it for you; you’re investing in yourself.  You’re reading.  You’re listening to training material or motivational information in your car.  You’re using downtime to sharpen your skills.  You’re role playing with your team members to improve your sales ability.
  • Committed to the Grass on this Side of the Fence:  The grass is always greener on the other side, but that’s because of the “fertilizer” they happen to use.  The fertilizer, if you will, is prevalent everywhere, in every company.  It just has a different name and a different look, but really – it’s all the same.  If you’re working for ABC Company while also keeping your options open, you’re not committed.  Either get in or get out!
  • Look Like You’re Committed:  Do you dress the part?  Take a quick look at yourself in the mirror.  Do you look like someone who is committed to excellence, to success?  Or do you just look like every other schmo in the industry or in your community?  Elevate your game and look like you really mean business.
  • Committed to Your Clients:  When you’re in front of your clients, are you 100% focused on them?  Or are you thinking about the fat commission check you’re going to get off this deal?  Or are you thinking about your next appointment?  If you’re committed, you’re focused on your client — the one you’re in front of right now.  Get focused on your client!
  • Committed to Your Employees (as well as your Clients):  The biggest challenge for virtually every business is the failure to believe in the products they represent.  If you aren’t using your own solutions and services, are you really committed to those products and solutions?  What does that say about your commitment to your employees?  What does that say about your commitment to your clients?  Is it just lip service or are you prepared to get all in?

The lack of real commitment is one of the greatest dangers to this country and to our future.  Your lack of commitment is holding you back.  It’s creating a more challenging life.  In fact, it’s your lack of commitment that is creating this “living paycheck to paycheck” mentality.  We need individuals and companies who will step up their game, man up, and operate with an Alamo type of attitude.  We need men and women who have the brass balls and intestinal fortitude to do whatever it takes to be successful and make a difference in this world.

I hope you’re with me.  It’s pretty lonely in the Alamo right now.  I could use a few more people who are willing to take a stand!

Go big or go home!