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  • Category Archives Leadership
  • The Self Esteem Trap

    Guest Post By: Rory Vaden

    trap

    Results are important, but you are not your results.

    And there is a great risk in attaching your self-esteem to your results.

    The risk is that if you allow your self-esteem to be determined by the results you are experiencing, then it will always be volatile as it fluctuates with the inevitable ups and downs of life.

    It becomes a self-esteem trap because when results are coming in, you feel great about yourself. But when they are not, you feel terrible.

    Ultras performers don’t want that. They are much more interested in consistency. And they have the perspective of knowing there are good days and challenging days.

    Instead of allowing their confidence to ebb and flow, they have developed a different strategy than most people.

    They put their self-esteem into their work habits rather than their production.

    They derive their confidence from focusing on things they can control rather than the things they can’t.

    Results in most walks of life are things that we can influence, but they often aren’t things that are fully in our control.

    It’s not solely in our control as to who wins and who loses, who buys and who doesn’t, how certain things are valued, or the exact financial balance that is left at the end.

    You don’t want to have extreme highs and lows. You want steady, consistent, positive direction.

    In addition to volatility, the other weakness of having self-esteem tied to results is it causes us to under perform.

    Because when results are poor we often feel undeservedly bad. And it affects the confidence by which we work and thereby lowers the effectiveness of our work and the likelihood we will produce positive results.

    Similarly, when results are pouring in and we are “winning” we also need to be careful about feeling uncharacteristically proud of ourselves. Positive results can be a source of complacency for someone who has their self-esteem tied to their performance. Not to mention that sometimes results come in by way of luck, circumstance, or positive changes in the market rather than by way of our own efforts.

    The best baseline then is to put your self-esteem into your work habits rather than your results.

    You want to be a person who lays it all out on the line every day.

    You do your dead level best regardless of whether or not the results are coming in.

    You are consistently and dogmatically focused on doing what you know how to do and controlling what you can control.

    You know that the challenging days are just a part of the journey to great performance and that the great days are fleeting and that they both come and go.

    But you have faith, and trust, and confidence that if you do your best, and you focus on simply putting in the work over and over each day, then over time you will win.

     

    Self-Discipline Strategist Rory Vaden’s book Take the Stairs is a #1 Wall St Journal, #1 USA Today, and #2 New York Times bestseller. As an award-winning entrepreneur and business leader, Rory Co-Founded Southwestern Consulting™, a multi-million dollar global consulting practice that helps clients in more than 27 countries drive educated decisions with relevant data.  Additionally, as the founder of the Center for the Study of Self-Discipline (CSSD), his insights on improving self-discipline, overcoming procrastination and enhancing productivity have been featured on Fox and Friends, Oprah radio, CNN and in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc and Success Magazine. 


  • The Secret of Being Enthusiastic

    Guest Post By: Dave Brown

    enthus

    In 6th grade I did my first ever speech competition. I did it because of Mrs. Bridges. She signed me up, without me knowing, and said, “Dave, you’re going to be phenomenal at it.”

    The speech I was doing was titled, “How The Camel Got It’s Hump.” I remember it was my first year in middle school down in Texas and I was competing with 7th and 8th graders who had already done this. I was scared! But Mrs. Bridges told me I had a “secret.” She was sure I was going to beat them with that secret.  She was going to teach me how to have enthusiasm.

    She knew that if I showed the energy and my enthusiastic nature I would catch the judges and win first place. So, that is what I will talk to you about today, because I still use that each day!

    Enthusiasm is contagious. It makes the improbable, probable. Do you think I won that speech competition?!

    WELL OF COURSE I DID!!! I took a first place win as a 6th grader, and the first one at that age level to do so!

    I used what Mrs. Bridges taught me from there and it stuck with me. I got into sports and every chance I had, I was getting my team powered up! I had better experiences and let that carry throughout my college career as an athlete. It’s so important!

    It’s also so important in the sales environment. People pick up on it! Whenever you have enthusiasm in place, you can do anything!

    Here is something I keep on me from Frank Bettger’s book, “How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling.”

    “Force yourself to act enthusiastic, and you will become enthusiastic. Make a high and holy resolve that you will double the amount of enthusiasm you have put out in your life and in your work. If you carry out that resolve you will probably double your income and double your happiness.”

    Your prospects will catch your enthusiasm! Show it, put it out there! Tell me about your scenarios and how you’ve seen a difference in your work and life by using this secret. Tweet me @davebrown_swc, comment here, or connect on LinkedIn.

    GO OUT THERE AND BE AWESOME YA’LL … (in my most enthusiastic voice!)

    Dave Brown is a senior partner and executive level coach at Southwestern Consulting and author of the upcoming book Painless Prospecting. Dave was a record breaking salesman for Southwestern Advantage, knocking on over 50,000 doors before the age of 25. He has spoken and trained over 100,000 sales professionals across the globe with Southwestern Consulting.


  • Think Backwards: The Key to Getting What You Want

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    backward_clock

    On a coaching call, my client told me she wanted to sell ten million dollars in business. I said, “Great! How do you plan on doing that?” She replied, “I really believe in myself, I know that I can do it I just know that with confidence I can hit my goal.”

    So I asked again, “How are you going to hit your goal?” She said: “I have made a vision board, and I’ve been focusing on it. It will help me hit my goal. I’m going to work harder than I ever have!”

    Again, “How?” She knew what she wanted. Without knowing how you are going to hit your goals, you can easily set yourself up to fail.

    In order to really move your business forward, sometimes you need to do a little backwards thinking.

    In every business it takes a certain number of dials to make a certain number of contacts, to set a certain number of appointments, to have a certain number of presentations, to have a certain number of sales. Your business might be a little bit different in terminology, or the process might be slightly shorter or slightly longer. One thing we all know is that every business follows a sales cycle.

    First, we have to track our numbers.  We need this information so we are aware of how many dials it takes to get someone on the phone. That’s our dial to contact ratio.

    We have to know things like how many contacts it takes to set an appointment.

    We have to know how many of our appointments actually stick and turn into presentations.

    Out of those presentations, what’s our closing percentage?

    How many of those turn into sales, and what is our average package size?

    Once you know those numbers then you can do some backwards thinking. Start with the goal you want to hit.

    Let’s say you’re like my client and want to sell $10 million in business. In order to get there, you need to take your average package size/sale size and figure out how many sales you need to make. The next thing you do is take your closing percentage and figure out how many presentations you need to run in order to have that many customers. Then you back end it out and figure out how many appointments you need to set based on your appointments set-to kept ratio. Then figure out how many contacts you need to make, and ultimately how many dials you need to make.

    Once you know how many dials, contacts, appointments set, and appointments ran you need, that is where you put your focus, not on the results.

    So many of us focus on the results. If we focus on the results that pressure builds up and we lose focus on the activity that is going to lead to the result. Consequently, we don’t achieve the result.

    Instead, you should almost forget about the revenue, the goal, and the money, and focus on the activity. When the activity is there, the results will follow. The results are a natural by-product of the activity.

    If you want to hit your goal, you have to think backwards!

    Write down how you’ll work backwards, let me know what you come up with!

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Teamwork

    Guest Post By: Gary Michels

     

    blueangels
    When I think of the ultimate in teamwork, I think of the Blue Angels flight team.  These pilots must be not only perfect but also precise in their daily performances.   They do this not only entertain, but to stay alive.  They raise the bar in a multitude of ways.  Their passion for what they do along with the amount of preparation and dedication to being the best is remarkable.  Regarding teamwork, when it is at its best, amazing standards are being set daily.  What level do you think your team is currently operating?  I am referring to the team you work with, and perhaps your family unit as well? Where do you and your team and need to raise the bar?  What areas do you think need the most improvement?
    Below you will find a few common characteristics seen in teams that work well together and achieve significant successes, both together and as individuals.

    teamwork

    Teams that rock, or are wildly successful, tend to share certain common values.  I find these teams typically have very focused goals along with a passion for succeeding.  You can ask any member of that team what is the focus of their team.  Each member of the team will know the main goal and they will all answer in a similar fashion. These teammates are so committed to their shared goals and success that they will put the success of the team first and be willing to make personal sacrifices in order to help the team.  One person on the team may purposefully take a back seat for a short while and let another teammate succeed.  They realize that a short-term sacrifice of glory and ego, today will help the entire team in the long run.

    When you are a part of a top team, teamwork is not something you only do part time. You live your life by doing what is best for the team.   I like to teach the concept of either/and instead of either/or. Top leaders of top teams must have a team first attitude and mentality.  Also, they must make sure they are performing at their very best.  When you are at your very best, in most cases you are helping the team as well.

    Top teams tend to consist of several leaders, leaders that are confident and skilled enough to walk the talk, not just talk the talk. In all areas both personal and professional you will see top teams whose leaders lead by example and set the pace. They are proactive, rather than reactive and plan on winning no matter what.

    Yet another part of teamwork to be aware of is trust.  Teams that have a great chemistry also have amazing trust for one another.  This comes from amazing communication amongst the team.  Often teammates will carve out  time to communicate when challenges arise.  Typically the type of situations that may threaten the bond and success of their team.  Often, trust is broken when communication is poor.  People who want to grow their teamwork skills must make good communication a priority.

    Teams that succeed are the teams that prepare the most. They often work harder and more diligently than anyone would imagine. Whether its additional hours of work in order to prepare, or tenacious effort during the hours of preparation, strong teams do the work. Ask yourself this question: Does your team put, less, the same, or more work when preparing for success than the average team?  The answer probably lies in your results.  If your team isn’t where you want it to be, it is because you need to work on becoming more prepared.

    Lastly, great teams have great attitudes. Attitude stems from what and how teammates talk to themselves when no one else is around.  They have clear affirmations and the words they said whether to themselves or to their team.  Of course, things happen in life and having a good attitude and good self-talk can help everyone bounce back fast from the challenges one may experience.

    You don’t see winners walking around defeated and down.  It’s because they have mastered the self – talk and attitude skill set.

    What type of team do you want to build? When do you want to start? What are you and your teams biggest growth areas to Turn It Up A Notch in your teamwork abilities?

     

    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.


  • Control What You Can: Attitude and Effort

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    attitudeOften we get frustrated in life when we try to control things that we actually have no control over.

    We get frustrated when the traffic is bad and we are late to work.

    We get frustrated when somebody doesn’t buy from us, or they don’t show up for an appointment.

    We get frustrated all day long with little things that are happening, that we forget that we cannot actually control some of those things.

    What can we do to keep from feeling this way?

    There are only two things each day that you actually can control. Only two things!

    They are your attitude and your effort. That’s it!

    When something bad happens you control how you react to that something. You can control what attitude you choose to put on. Choose to put on a good one!

    You can also control how hard you work. How many hours you put in. You control how hard you work during those hours, how many phone calls you make, if you pick up the phone and dial again and again and again.

    There are things that you can influence, like how well you have a conversation. You can influence if somebody buys or not, but you can’t really control the outcome at all.

    You can control a lot of what you do in terms of how many appointments you set, etc. You can have a great amount of control over that. Two things we can work on controlling is how hard we work and our attitude.

    If you focus on controlling the “controllables,” controlling what you actually can control, and just surrender the rest, you will have a lot less frustration and a whole lot more peace!

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • Fuel Your Fire

    Guest Post By: Rory Vaden

    It’s easy to look at other people’s success and be jealous.

    Sometimes it’s not even envy that shows up, but more of just frustration with your own situation or your own progress. Because you see where they are and you know that you’re capable of the same thing.

    But that gap of dissatisfaction doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. It can be incredibly compelling and highly motivating for you on your journey.

    You just have to remember two things:

    First, other people haven’t taken the same route as you have to get where they are. They may have been more focused, had different mentorship, more specific training, or just plain started earlier than you did. And you can’t compare your chapter 3 to someone else’s chapter 9. Instead, you can gain perspective by evaluating the “trajectory” that you’re on.

    Don’t compare where you are today to someone else’s yesterday. Think about where the course you’re currently on is going to lead you. Very often you will find that if you are making good choices now, that you are inevitably headed toward the same eventual destination.

    Secondly, and more importantly, you have to quickly realize that there is no benefit in wallowing in what you do not have.

    It brings no value to your life to think about what you have not yet accomplished.

    And it does nothing to speed up your progress by looking at what others have achieved that you haven’t yet.

    Unless…

    It drives you and inspires you to do the only thing you can do: work.

    As soon as you realize there’s more you want to accomplish, then you should immediately activate.

    You go to work.

    You decide that you’re not ok with that gap.

    You decide that it’s not acceptable for you not to achieve those same things with your life.

    And you decide that you will find a way to do whatever it takes to accomplish those achievements that you want.

    It’s not about what other people have that you don’t.

    It’s about seeing other people’s accomplishments that you believe are meant to be possible for your own life too.

    And when you see them, you feel that gap. You feel that dissatisfaction. You feel that space that you were meant to fill.

    You don’t get jealous. You don’t get envious.

    You simply get to work.

    Self-Discipline Strategist Rory Vaden’s book Take the Stairs is a #1 Wall St Journal, #1 USA Today, and #2 New York Times bestseller. As an award-winning entrepreneur and business leader, Rory Co-Founded Southwestern Consulting™, a multi-million dollar global consulting practice that helps clients in more than 27 countries drive educated decisions with relevant data.

    Additionally, as the founder of the Center for the Study of Self-Discipline (CSSD), his insights on improving self-discipline, overcoming procrastination and enhancing productivity have been featured on Fox and Friends, Oprah radio, CNN and in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc and Success Magazine.


  • Are You a Manager or a Great Leader?

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

     

    leadership1-248x300Favorite pieces of leadership advice when running a 1000+ team was “You can’t do for 1 what you can’t do for 100”

    Think about that. Think about your business and what you are doing for your team members today.

    Write out that list and now put on your thinking cap. What can you do to systematize this so that you aren’t running around putting out one fire at a time?

    Recently, I was working with one of my amazing coaching clients who is a future Area Manager with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Karli Spahr. She is growing to a 23 person team and has brought in 7 new people in a few short months in 9 different branches. In order to get people trained and successful, she is working on a systematic way to ensure they are all getting the right training in the right order and that they know where to look for help if she isn’t available. Here are a couple of issues that she is dealing with and how she decided to deal with them. I hope this helps you think of ways to deal with what is stealing your leadership time every day as well. Comment below with your ideas.

    Issue #1: New loan officers constantly coming to her with questions about different loans.

    Solution:

    1. Put together an onboarding system that includes a chart showing the entire loan intake process from start to finish and who will have the answers in different areas.

    2. Compile a list of the most commonly asked questions and add them to the training material.

    3. Partner with more experienced loan officers for certain types of questions.

    Issue #2: Loan Officers scheduling meetings for her to go with them to visit real estate agents at all different times during the week.

    Solution:

    1. Share her schedule with everyone the week before with the times she is available for going with people and they are to sign up first come first serve.

    2. Create a script and outline for how to meet with real estate agents and words to use. Train on this so that they learn how to do it for themselves.

    Issue #3: She plans her schedule every week, but she never gets to keep to it because people are always calling her and popping in to ask questions.

    Solution:

    1.Do a sales meeting where she teaches them what she has learned in coaching about time management and setting a weekly schedule.

    2. Share her schedule every Monday by 8 a.m. with her team.

    3. Let her team know that this is her schedule and when she is available and what they need to do if they have a question when she is not available and what constitutes an emergency that would be cause for interrupting her schedule.

    Since we have been coaching together, we have been working on a ton of issues just like this that bother sales leaders every single day. Why do that? So you, as the leader, can make the time to do the things that will have a significant impact in growing your business and your people. Instead, so many sales leaders spend their days running on the hamster wheel and wondering why they are frustrated and overwhelmed.

    It’s not hard to be a manager, but to be a Great Leader who runs a well-oiled organization that positively impacts your clients and the lives of your employees, it takes a lot of thought and preparation. So which are you today, a manager or a Great Leader? If you’re not a Great Leader, what are you going to do today to change that?

     

    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.


  • How Bad Do You Want It?

    Guest Post By: Jay Wang

    Some want it badly, whatever “it” may be for them, success, a goal or a win. Some don’t. Others say they do but can’t seem to make things happen.

    Why is it that some people do and some people don’t? I do know, it just seems to work that way. A better question, however, might be what does it look like to want it more?

    Here’s some insight. My good friend, mentor and role model Rick Takahashi is constantly asking me and those he mentors “How Bad Do You Want It?” Rick and I first connected through our Surf Ministry called Water at The Rock Church in San Diego, CA. As the leader of our Men’s Group, I could go on and on about his character, heart for people and humility, but I will go with humility to introduce him. You see Rick has some credibility to lead a group of surfers because he is a USA Surf Team Rider. Yup, Rick’ is a humble guy, so I will brag on him a bit. In 2012, he had a perfect season, winning every contest in NSSA, including Westerns and Nationals. In 2016, he won 1st place in 10 National Finals! He is also sponsored by a slew of companies like Rusty Surf Board, Oakley and Dakine, just to name a few. All this to say, he is the best surfer I know and a Top Level Competitor!

    rusty_team_rick_takahashi

    Rick told me, “Jay, I just want it more than the next guy. I push for that extra mile in training and I do more! There are a lot of surfers that are more talented than me, but I know I just have to be better than the next guy for a few critical moments.”

    As a sales coach with Southwestern Consulting, I love to see the parallels one can draw from professional sports like Surfing to things like business success and sales.

    Three Keys I learned from Rick:

    Be Disciplined and Keep Good Focus! – Have specific goals and create a solid routine around that. Know that there will need to be a sacrifice! And if you can see the prize you will pay the price. Know what it takes to win! What are you going to give up to reach your goal? So many people want to do well, yet they are not willing to give up their free time. They still want to sleep in or just be comfortable. Many times you only have to sacrifice for a specific amount of time, like a season. Know when to push, because it pays to win.

    Hustle! – Train/study harder than the next guy! Have a healthy sense of competition because it’s real. In anything you do, if you’re not going to get after it, someone else is! Don’t compare yourself, but be a competitor. Note- it’s not just winning but how you win. Be Dominant!!

    The big one…

    USE YOUR BRAIN! – Hustle with your mind, not just your body. This is what it really means to be a student of the game. Don’t just study to study. Learn and study to have a competitive advantage. Have a winning strategy. Know how to play the game, know the rules and find out the best ways to win!

    Using your brain helps to take some of the emotion out of the equation. Don’t just react to the situation or event that is occurring. Slow down and think…what can I do better here? What can I control? What did I learn? What can I do differently?

    How many times do we go around in circles wanting to win or do better or overcome a challenge but never seem to gain any ground? Rick said so many surfers just do the same thing, they use the same board every time and they get the same results. He said, “I am constantly thinking… What is the best board to use? Why? Can I surf that spot ahead of time? What do I need to look for in the conditions? What tweaks do I need to make to have a competitive advantage? Etc.”

    Let me encourage all of you, use your most powerful advantage… Your Brain!!

     

    Jay Wang started selling with The Southwestern Company while in college. He was in the top 1% of sales producers and was able to sell, recruit and manage teams in order to pay his own way though school. After graduating with a degree in Business Management, he transitioned to managing multi-million dollar commercial real estate properties, achieving record-breaking occupancies. Since 2011, Jay has been traveling the country as a professional sales trainer and Partner with Southwestern Consulting.


  • Do limits prevent you from being an Ultra performer?

    You are the person who sets limits on yourself.

    You decide what is possible and what isn’t possible for your life.

    And most of the time we allow our boundaries for the future to be defined by the accomplishments of our past.

    We project our “best ever” into the future as the limiter of what is possible.

    Ultra performers don’t do that.

    Ultra performers do not allow their creativity to be used in a way that sets limits. And they don’t base what is realistic or what is possible on what others have done.

    They instead unleash their creativity in the positive direction by simply presenting the challenge, the goal, or the problem that needs solving to their mind and then allowing their mind to break it apart to find new answers, new solutions, and new paths.

    Ultra performers know that their mind is happy to achieve whatever their mind is set to.

    >> Continue reading on Rory Vaden’s blog <<


  • R.A.F.T.

    Guest post by: Dustin Hillis

    My very first summer selling I was out in the backwoods of Missouri where I got not one, not two, not three, but 10 flat tires. My 10th flat tire happened while I was driving a rental car. By that time in the summer, I had gotten pretty quick at changing out a flat and had formed a habit of jumping out of the car to change it, timing myself to see how fast I could do it to try to beat my NASCAR pit crew record breaking time.

    On this particular day, I did not beat my NASCAR pit crew record-breaking time because in that rental car I’d never had a flat tire. I put it on the jack and didn’t realize in that car you’re supposed to pull the emergency break before changing the tire. The car fell off of the tire. And if you’ve ever been in the backwoods of Missouri and have a car fall off its jack, I can promise you that you’ll understand that this is not a fun experience! So I ended up having to move the car and work as hard as I could to get the jack out from underneath the car, jack the car back up, and change the tire. It took forever!

    I’m loading my boxes back into the trunk and I looked down and realized that my skin looked like it was moving for some odd reason. Upon further inspection, I realized that I was completely covered in ticks. It wasn’t just a few ticks; it was not just a couple of dozen ticks…I’m talking hundreds of ticks that were in the canopy of woods above my head while I was changing the tire which had been falling on my head for over an hour while I worked on that rental car.

    –> Click here to continue reading….