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  • Four Keys to Success

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    Several years ago, my team and I wanted to re-create an event that was a huge success for other teams across the country. After our third attempt, with the same dismal results each time, I was ready to throw in the towel.

    The other teams that executed this event with such success must have had an advantage we didn’t. Was it their area, or maybe they just wielded some serious magic. Either way, there must be something beyond my control that made success with this event impossible for my team in my city.

    Four-Keys-To-SuccessDefeated, I confided in my National Sales Director that I was giving up and that these events just weren’t meant to be. He challenged me then, and his challenge has made a huge difference in how I see my ability to have success with every opportunity that has come my way.

    He said that, instead of giving up, I should evaluate what I have been doing through the ‘Four Keys to Success’ to see what piece was missing which in-turn was hindering my success.

    Four Keys to Success

    Before you attempt anything, you should begin with the end in mind.

    You need to define, ‘what does Success look like to me?’

    The example I will use today is the event my team and I were attempting to host.  Success to us meant that we had a certain number of clients and prospects attend our event and that from this event we generated a number of sales and bookings.

    THEN, you follow the 4 critical areas that lead to success:

    Desire

    • Do we have the real desire for the thing we have defined as ‘success’?
    • Did my team and I have the REAL DESIRE to have a great event and the results that would come from that event?

    Confidence

    • Do I think I can learn the skills it takes to achieve my ‘success’?
    • Do we think that we can learn the skills it would take to host a successful event? (of course, we would need to break down the skills needed before we can answer this decision)

    Skills

    • Do I think I can learn the skills it takes to achieve my ‘success’?
    • Do we think that we can learn the skills it would take to host a successful event? (of course, we would need to break down the skills needed before we can answer this decision)

    Activities

    • What are the right activities and the right number of activities to achieve my ‘success’?
    • Were my team members doing the right number of activities leading up to the event to ensure our successful outcome?

    This information was shared with me 7 years ago. It falls right in line with the Skill/Will Matrix that our company teaches Sales Leaders when they are helping their team members reach for success. When our team members:

    • Have a burning desire for a certain outcome
    • Have the internal confidence that they can learn the skills
    • Work on and perfect the skills needed
    • Do the needed activity enough times

    Then THEY WILL achieve their desired success.

    Whenever you aren’t achieving your desired success, look at these four critical areas and there will likely be something missing, something that is keeping you from success.

    What successful outcome are you currently working towards that has seemed out of reach? After analyzing the 4 critical areas, where is it that you can improve and then go after your dream again?

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • Bouncing Back Quickly

    Guest Post By: Gary Michels

     

    Confidence and great self-esteem is sexy and attractive, and fear, negativity and low esteem is not appealing at all. It certainly doesn’t get you ahead in life. When these types of unattractive behaviors take place, whether it is because of failing to hit a goal, a loss of some sort, a disappointment, a letdown, or even a small or large sickness of some sort, there is nothing more powerful than an attitude of BOUNCE BACK FAST! (BBF) Let’s think about the other option for a second of Bounce Back Slow. Of course, that is better than Bounce Back Never!!!

    So what are some things we can do to bounce back quicker than slower in both our business and personal lives? Have the proper self-talk. Are you reading daily affirmations 4-6 times a day as to pour into yourself thoughts that will require you to put the proper action into place? If we don’t replace the negative thoughts in our head with positive ones when there is a reason of some sort to bounce back the process will take longer. An example would be, “This is really hard to get over this huge setback.” Instead one could say, “I am a person that bounces back quickly from adversity and always come through stronger and better than before.”

    Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. I am always asking myself when I enter the room, am I a supportive loving, caring, enthusiastic being, inspiring and making things better for the people around me. If you surround yourself with as many people like yourself as you can, I guarantee you your BBF (Bounce Back Factor) will be better and quicker.

    Have a clear vision and mission in life. If the purpose and mission are strong enough and your “WHY” is powerful enough, you will do anything it takes to bounce back. If you have a goal of making a certain amount of money in a certain time period to be able to pay for a home, and knowing you couldn’t do it would let down the entire family, your BBF would be much quicker.

    What is your vision and why you exist every day? Have a healthy mind and body!! What we deposit into our mouths and our head pay great dividends. Are you eating healthy most of the time and setting aside time to get the proper exercise? Are you reading or listening to podcasts, books on tape, etc. to consistently be pouring fresh and exciting ideas into your life. Have some sort of faith and hope that you believe in and refer to on a regular basis. Believing that we are part of a bigger plan and that the future ahead of us will only be getting better is key to bouncing back quickly. Having the belief that in every setback there is a reason it happened and will make us stronger to deal with failures and setbacks in the future.

    The opposite of BBF to me is what I call the PLOM Disease. (Poor Little Old Me). I choose to not burden myself or others around me with my challenges. BBF is my only option. How about you?

     

    Gary Michels is a co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is a keynote speaker, sales trainer and business consultant and has motivated nearly 1,000,000 people to achieve their highest potential nationwide. Gary spent 19 successful years as a sales representative for a national fund-raising company.

     


  • How to Take the Pressure Off

    Guest Post By: Dustin Hillis

    We live in a world of unmet expectations. We are consumed with struggling through the daily grind to be successful, or stripping away stresses to find our inner-self and calmness, or indulging in everything life has to offer to just be happy. We feel “less than”, pressure, and frustrated when we don’t achieve what we are longing for. We make an idol of success, tranquility or happiness.

    Tim Keller said it best in his book Counterfeit Gods, “When an idol gets a grip on your heart, it spins out a whole set of false definitions of success and failure and happiness and sadness. It redefines reality in terms of itself.”

    It’s mind-boggling how some of the most successful people I know are so full of insecurity and self-doubt. The outside world thinks these people are the most successful people who have it all together, and the reality is they are freaking out on the inside and putting too much pressure on themselves. I remember feelings of extreme pressure that I would put on myself, and thoughts of being less than no matter what I accomplished or achieved.

    I’m sure you’re asking yourself right now, “this sounds good, but how in the world am I supposed to do this?”

    Here are 3 Ideas on how do we take the pressure off:

    1. Take a reality check. Ask yourself these two question:

    ♦  During your idle time, where is your head at? What do you literally think about when you are left by yourself?

    ♦  If you were 100% honest with yourself, where are you at emotionally?

    2. Find the root of the problem. Typically, there are three main root issues that cause us to put too much pressure on ourselves.

    ♦ “Comparison is the thief of all joy” – Any time we compare ourselves to anyone else, it creates pressure. There will always be someone else who is better, faster, better looking, stronger and smarter. We are all inadequate to everyone at something.

    ♦ Not having fun. – Your attitude is a choice. Your energy level is a choice. Choosing to have fun and be joyful in every single thing you do every single day is a choice.   Most people live in a reactionary state. They just let things happen to them and just think “woe is me”, or they take themselves so seriously they leave no room to simply have fun.

    ♦ Feeling like a failure. – Feeling like a failure is the granddaddy of all root issues when it comes to putting too much pressure on ourselves. Failure is part of life. No one is perfect. Anyone who expects to be perfect at anything will be guaranteed to feel like a failure because it’s impossible to be perfect at anything over a long period of time. At some point, we will all break. Often, it takes us reaching our breaking point to be able to accept our brokenness and dig down to the root of our problems.

    3.  Focus on Unconditional Confidence.

    In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the highest level is “self-actualization” which focuses on morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts.

    aa_maslow

    The difference between Maslow’s “self-actualization” and Unconditional Confidence is that Unconditional Confidence cannot be found inside yourself. Unconditional Confidence is not a goal or something you achieve. Unconditional Confidence comes from an understanding that you were created for a higher calling. You were created to die to your selfishness, and your highest achievement in life is to love, serve and care for other people. Another great book by Tim Keller – Every Good Endeavor – does an excellent job at describing in detail how to have Unconditional Confidence.

    There are three types of confidences and our goal is to strive to be Unconditionally Confident.

    1. False Confidence – Faking it until you make it has its place and time. However, we need to quickly get ourselves out of a false confidence state once we embark on trying something new. False Confidence is saying you’re going to do something or thinking you are good at something with no real evidence to back it up. There are plenty of people out there who say “I could have done that if I really wanted to” or “I’m going to be number one.” Etc.

    2. Conditional Confidence – Conditional Confidence comes into play after we’ve set the stage with our False Confidence. We’ve set an expectation for ourselves that we are supposed to be a certain way or accomplish certain things, and then when the results are less than what we hoped for, we feel defeated and less than. Conditional Confidence is contingent on results. If we win, we feel good. If we lose, we feel pressure. Conditional Confidence is equivalent to the 4th level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – “Esteem: self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect for others, respect by others”. Most of us get stuck with Conditional Confidence our whole life.

    3. Unconditional Confidence – People who are Unconditionally Confident have figured out their purpose in life and what they are called to do. Once we have figured that out, we then get to work every day knowing we are making a difference in the world through our work habits, not our results.

    If taking the pressure off is something that you need to focus on, print off this quote and read it aloud every day for the next year:

    “I do not expect success all the time, but due to the belief in my gifts and God-given abilities in addition to my knowledge and acquired skills, I can be fearless in the moment. In reality, self-worth has nothing to do with the outcome. So when the pressure comes, I cannot hesitate. Knowing sometimes I will do well and sometimes I won’t, regardless, I know failure is temporary and success will happen with perseverance.”

     

    Dustin Hillis is the Co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is an expert in understanding buying, selling and management behavior styles and how to identify them and adapt to people the way they want to be communicated with. He also specializes in writing efficient and effective Customized Sales Scripts/Word Tracks. Mr Hillis consults companies on creating Compensation Plans, Recruiting Systems and Sales Strategies. Dustin is the author of the book Navigate: The Art of Not Thinking and co-author of Speaking of Success along with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield


  • Roller Coaster

    Guest Post By: Brent Widman

    We are sales people. Whether you want to admit it or not, we are all in this together. We all chose this profession for better or for worse. So many people succeed, and so many people fail. The hard part to figure out is, why are there so many that are right in the middle?

    Is that you? Do you wish you made more money? Do you wish you had more time? Do you wish you sold more? Are you that person that does just enough, or gets to a certain point and they get comfortable?

    I had a coaching call the other day and some of these things really resonated with me.

    We began talking about how they were down. How things just weren’t going the way they wanted them to go. How they had just lost two big sales to the competition and they thought they did everything right. They were down on themselves. They were living in that scarcity mentality. They wanted to and thought they had to close everything. This is because they weren’t doing the work they needed to get past it. You can’t get mad at the results if you aren’t putting in the work to get results.

    Do you know why this happens?

    Because we ride the roller coaster………

    rollercoaster

    I was driving to the gas station one day and I was thinking to myself, what happens when the bottom drops out? What happens when people stop buying? What happens if I stop making the money that I need/should be making? What will I do WHEN this happens, not IF. I remember sitting at the stop light, in my car asking myself these questions. So I picked up the phone and called my mentor, team leader, coach and just all around one of my best friends. And you know what she said?

    Are you doing the activity?

    Are you making the dials?

    Are you talking to people?

    Are you asking for referrals?

    Are you setting appointments?

    I answered yes to these questions. This has changed my train of thought since that day. No longer do I look at what might happen, but I go out and do what I have to to make it happen.

    You have to ask yourself, can you answer yes to these questions each and every day? If not, you will get on that roller coaster and not get off. If you are doing those things, you no longer have to ride it. It will just keep going up, as long as you continue to get better at what you do. As long as you continue to put the work in, adding to your vocation, pushing yourself out of that comfort zone. Stop taking the easy way and go out and live the life you want to live.

    Get off the Roller Coaster. Do the things you need to do to be successful.

     

    Brent Widman is has over 10 years experience in all aspects of sales. He is a professional sales coach at Southwestern Consulting. Brent has expertise in lead generation, prospecting, selling to top execs and the art of follow up. He has worked with numerous individuals to improve their sales processes, day to day interaction and ultimately them as a person. He is a former division director, sales director and district manager for distinguished sales teams in the recruiting, fitness and communications world.


  • Three Things that I Wish I Knew Before I Started Selling

    Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden

    Something that most people don’t know is that our company, Southwestern Consulting, is actually the training and consulting arm of a much larger corporation known as The Southwestern Company. In fact, The Southwestern Company is the oldest direct selling company in the entire United States.

    We’ve been around for just shy of 160 years but I’ve been in the sales profession for only 10 years and what I have realized is that I wish I had another 150 years of experience to prepare me for the daily ups and downs of being a professional salesperson. In light of that I thought I would share 3 simple, but impactful tips I wish I knew before I started in sales almost 10 years ago:

    1. It’s harder than it sounds – I really wish I knew how hard I was going to have to work. I knew that being in sales wouldn’t be easy but I wish I knew how hard it was going to be as a salesperson. I wish somebody would have sat down and told me.

    “You’re going to have to have a lot of perseverance. You’re going to have to be very persistent. You’re going to have to work when you don’t want to. You’re going to have to work longer hours than you thought. Sometimes you’re going to have to  work on weekends. Sometimes you’re going to have to miss parties, and events, and weddings, because you’re going to have to work.”

    I wish I would’ve been prepared so that when it came time to work that hard, I didn’t get upset. That I didn’t resent the fact that this was my job.

    I’ve finally learned how to really love the daily grind of working hard and today I really take pride in the fact I’m part of a job that I’m so passionate about it doesn’t feel like work.

    But many times as a salesperson, we start to feel unbalanced because we didn’t have the proper expectations of how hard we’re going to have to work.

     

    2. You have to want to be better each and every day – Being a great salesperson means it’s a never ending pursuit of learning. And again, like working hard, I really learned to love that about what I do at Southwestern Consulting. I am very blessed to be a part of an entire company who is passionate about learning and self-development.

    However, when I first started in this job one of the first things I was most excited about was, “I can’t wait ’til I know what I’m doing so I don’t have to study so hard anymore.”

    Guess what, I’m still not there. Almost 10 years later, I’m still not there.

    I wish I would’ve known that the books that I read were going to teach me more than any classes I ever attended in college. I wish somebody would’ve said, “Buy these books. Listen to these audio trainings. Go to these seminars. Find mentors. Get a coach. Find an accountability partner.  Study hard. Really be a student of the game. Listen to people. Ask for advice. Be a never ending learner.”

    work-in-progress (1)

    3. I will never arrive at being at the top of my game – For 10 yrs I have looked forward to the day when I have “finally arrived” only to realize that day does not exist and ultimately should not exist in my mind. The moment I actually think I have arrived will be the day I need a reality check.

    Every day I have to push aside what I think is right and to listen to others. I have to be coachable. Learning to be flexible is never easy, but being stubborn doesn’t help anyone. Be open to trying new things, even when you think you know everything…. Because, guess what, you don’t … but, neither does anyone else.

    Whether it’s your first day in sales or your first year or you’re a long time veteran and you’ve been selling for 50 plus years, it doesn’t matter. Those three things never change. You have to work hard, study hard, and be coachable if you’re going to succeed at anything.

     

    Amanda Johns Vaden is a founding partner, executive coach and senior consultant at Southwestern Consulting. She has worked with over 400 sales offices nationwide.  Amanda is the author of the upcoming books Unspoken: Redefining Expectations Between  Men and Women in the World of Work and 4-Dimensional Follow up: Increasing Client Retention and Customer Loyalty Through Follow Up


  • Resiliency

    Resilience sign with a desert backgroundGuest Post By: Gary Michels

    Oxford Dictionaries defines resiliency as, “the ability to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed” Often resilience is defined as the capacity to withstand stress and catastrophe and Bounce Back Quickly (BBF), which I talk about often. Of course depending on what has happened in your life will determine how quickly you bounce back, however sitting in the gutter and having the PLOM Disease (Poor Little Old Me) rarely serves anybody well.

    Last evening I saw a short video about Chris Singleton who unfortunately lost his mother back in June of 2015 in the terrible shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. I was so inspired by this video I had to write about Chris’s and the community’s resilience. Less than 48 hours after his mother was shot dead Chris came out publicly and said, “We have already forgiven the shooter for what he has done and there is nothing but love from our side of the family.” The community so rallied in love and wanting to fix the problem this reaction instead of going into riot mode and making things worse. There was a massive feeling of resiliency of bouncing back quickly and even wanting to be better than things were before the incident.

    So what are some tips and ideas on how to be more resilient:

    1. Build and nurture close relationships with friends and family so when things do happen, and they will, the people around you are supportive and strong.

    2.  Write, and read often, positive affirmations to be constantly pouring into your mind positive thoughts and feelings. For example, “I am a person that bounces back from adversity quickly and appropriately” or “I feel happy, wonderful and terrific and will let nothing bring me down further than I want or deserve to be.”

    3. When you truly are down for one reason or another don’t be afraid to seek professional help. There is no stigma placed on you for having a counselor or coach or good friend advise you for ways to be better.

    4. Stay healthy in both body and mind. Exercise in some fashion at least a few days a week and eat appropriately to give yourself the proper fuel to live on. Also take some time regularly to read some positive type of material and average of 15 minutes a day as often as possible. Remember the famous statement of “Input = Output” What you out into your mind will give you the results you want.

    5. Try to get your mind off of yourself and be a servant to others. When you have mastered being a giver it makes you so much stronger when times are tough and it is time to bounce back. You have no time to sit in your misery and pout. There are others out there that need the “Positive You” back!!

    To bounce back quickly from adversity and be resilient is a powerful characteristic to master. Take the bull by the horns and make an effort now to really grow in this area of your life and watch things flourish all around you.

     

    Gary Michels is a co-founder of Southwestern Consulting.  He is a keynote speaker, sales trainer and business consultant and has motivated nearly 1,000,000 people to achieve their highest potential nationwide. Gary spent 19 successful years as a sales representative for a national fund-raising company.


  • Do Your Words Really Matter?

    I AM....Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden

    Do you talk to yourself? I already know the answer to this, YES, you do!  We all do.

    But have you ever thought about if the things you say to yourself really make a difference in how you think, act or react?

    Do your words encourage you or discourage you?

    Do they give you confidence or do they make you self-conscious?

    Do they make you want to keep going or do they make you want to get back in bed?

    What you say when you talk to yourself is one of the most untrained on parts of being a sales professional, but one of the most important. It’s what we at Southwestern Consulting call “the power of positive self-talk.”

    Learning how to talk to yourself is a really powerful element of building confidence on the inside so it shows on the outside. If you don’t believe in yourself very few will believe in what you are selling.

    Positive self-talk is talking about yourself in present tense, which starts to create the vision of who you want to become.  Watching your words must be an intentional act of discipline to constantly reassure yourself that you can do this, you can learn this and it’s all possible.

    The benefit of positive affirmations can be life changing. It can change your personal life, your work life, your confidence, it can change everything about you.

    So here’s what I want you to do: make a list of all the things you want in your life.

    What are the things that you want to have?

    What are the things that you want to be and how do you want the world to see you ?

    Do you want the world to see you as a loving father/mother? A loyal husband/wife? A hard worker? How do you want to be seen?

    Writing positive affirmations allow you to physically see what you want written out giving you something real to look at and work towards

    Long before I was any good at sales, my affirmations said things like, “I’m a million dollar producer, I’m a great speaker, I’m the top sales person in our company, I am a top leader.”

    I may not of be all those things right now, but I want to be them. So I’m going to talk to myself like I am that person today.

    My husband is a great example of this. He’s such an inspiration to me in this very specific area, because when he puts his dreams on paper, his affirmations, what he believes about himself, it always seems to come true. Not always today and not always tomorrow but eventually everything that he puts on paper, he finds a way to make it happen.

    Years ago, my husband wrote down on his affirmations list “I am a New York Times best selling author.” He didn’t have a title, pages, or a topic of what he wanted to write. But he knew that’s what he wanted to be.

    Five years ago, I wrote, “I’m a million dollar producer” down on my affirmations list. And I was very far away from being a million dollar producer. In fact, my best year at the time was probably just over $300,000 in personal revenue. In 2012 the same year that my husband became a New York Time Best-Selling Author, I sold over a million dollars in revenue for our company.

    I believed it before it happened. I talked to myself as if it were already true, so when it came true it wasn’t that much of a shock. I’d been preparing myself all along to be the person I wanted to become. I spoke it out loud every single day.

    So, here’s what you need to do right now. You need to write down 10 affirmations of who you want to be, present tense. I am a marathon runner, I am a million dollar producer, I am a loyal and devoted wife, I am in fantastic physical shape, I am the best friend anyone could have.

    “I am . . . ” are the statements that you want to use. Present tense, to tell yourself that you are the person that, one day, you want to be.

     

    Amanda Johns Vaden is a founding partner, executive coach and senior consultant at Southwestern Consulting. She has worked with over 400 sales offices nationwide.  Amanda is the author of the upcoming books Unspoken: Redefining Expectations Between  Men and Women in the World of Work and 4-Dimensional Follow up: Increasing Client Retention and Customer Loyalty Through Follow Up


  • We’re hiring!

    We’re hiring!

    Southwestern Consulting™ (SWC) is seeking an experienced professional who is passionate about managing special projects, delivering superior client care and being a critical part of a dynamic team that is impacting sales forces nationwide on a daily basis.

    SWC is a team of 100+ professionals dedicated to positively impacting other growing professionals through various coaching techniques. With a coaching staff of over 70 coaches, SWC needs a dedicated Centralized Administrative Coordinator (CAC) to meet the daily needs of a select group of coaches in order to help build their clientele and maintain excellent levels of service.

    This role will work with all levels of professionals and be an integral part of the success of a fast-paced, energetic and influential business.

    For more information on Southwestern Consulting™, visit our website at www.southwesternconsulting.com.

    CAC Responsibilities:

    • Run sales activity reports
    • Market research
    • Value-added correspondence with clients
    • LinkedIn research and list creation for workshops
    • Set up new clients for coaching
    • Calendar and e-mail management
    • Travel arrangements
    • Correspondence with corporate office
    • Resolve payment issues
    • Update and maintain contact cards
    • Other special projects

    Qualifications:

    • Bachelor’s degree
    • 2-5 years of Administrative and/or Project Management experience
    • Strong computer skills with proficiency in Microsoft Office including Excel, Word, PowerPoint
    • Accuracy, attention to detail and excellent organizational skills
    • Ability to interact with all levels of personnel
    • Self motivation, time-management skills and the ability to coordinate multiple tasks concurrently

    Please send a cover letter and resume to Stephanie at slatka@southwesternconsulting.com

    (Official job description can be found here: CAC_2015_Final)


  • The Beauty of Work

    Guest Post By: Rory Vaden

    I’m not sure where I got this idea from, but a substantial amount of the stress I’ve experienced in my life was the result of me thinking that “leisure” and “retirement” were the ultimate goals of a happy life.

    Maybe it was from the baby boomer mindset of “if you work hard enough then one day you get to retire!”

    Maybe it was the entrepreneurial dream of my venture capital friends saying “it only takes one great idea and you can be rich by the time you’re 30!”

    Maybe it was the escalator mentality of an entitled younger generation always convinced there is a “shortcut” or an easy way.

    Whatever it was though that gave me the idea that permanent leisure was the ultimate goal in life was incredibly wrong.

    –> Click here to continue reading.


  • Create Your Ideal Schedule

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

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    Effective self-management begins with a well-planned schedule.

    The strategy is to create a schedule for the entire week which includes both professional and personal activities from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. The idea is to treat this like you’re back in high school and schedule your activities in blocks of time.  I understand in your industry things pop up and it’s difficult to keep to a specific schedule. However, if you can’t picture the perfect week then chances are you’ll never have one. You’ll want to start by planning in your CSF’s – Critical Success Factors that we discussed today!

    —> Click here to continue reading…