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  • Being Present In the Moment

    Guest Post By: Dustin Hillis

    Recently a man was taking a picture with his smart phone and backed off the ledge of a cliff and died. Being present in the moment can be the difference between life and death. Being present in the moment can be the difference between staying married or getting a divorce. Being present in the moment can be the difference between your child growing up feeling loved or alone. Being present in the moment can be the difference between winning someone’s business or losing the deal.

    The greatest gift you can give someone is your attention.

    When was the last time when you were in a room and everyone was engrossed in their cell phones and not paying attention to their surroundings? Can you recall the last conversation when the person you were talking with was looking over your shoulder and not making eye contact with you and you could tell they were listening to less than half of the things you were saying? When was the last time you were barely engaged in a conversation? Of even worse, you only focused on looking good by trying to impress the other person by talking about yourself, and not caring to ask the other person questions about themselves, resulting in a balanced conversation. People who are more focused on being interesting versus being interested will always have a difficult time fostering authentic relationships.

    3 Levels of Not Paying Attention

    Level 1. Attention Deficit

    There are a large number of people in this world who are naturally wired to be on the go and cannot sit still long enough to ask questions and listen. While this might be a gift or a curse that God has given you, it’s still not an excuse not to be present in the moment. Some individuals with extreme cases end up taking medication for ADD. After being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), I was prescribed medication which caused me to experience hyperfocus. It also caused me to also experience negative side effects that caused me to stop taking the drugs. I found that after years of practice I could control my ADD and hyperfocus when I put myself in the right environment with no medication.

    Level 2. Addicted to Technology

    Smart phones are making us stupid. The world is addicted to their phones. A large number of people are spending a majority of their time on their smart phones. Between Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, blogs and email, everyone is living a virtual reality versus living in real time. The most interesting man in the world (in my favorite Dos Equis beer commercial) says “I live vicariously through myself.” Life is beautiful. All we need to do is put down the technology and pay attention and see the real time Instagram-worthy things all around us.

    Level 3. Consumed with Oneself

    When someone is so consumed with himself or herself that they don’t care about other people, they enter another level of not being present in the moment. Think of the last time you went to a dinner or had a meeting with someone and at the end of the time together you knew everything about them and they knew nothing about you? Do you have friends who don’t really know anything about you? Are they really your friend? If someone is so consumed with how awesome they are, it will be difficult for them to be present in the moment and have a genuine conversation with you.

    Now that we’ve identified the 3 levels of not paying attention, let’s discuss how to be present in the moment.

    The first step in being present in the moment is to slow down and take a deep breath. Life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Who always wins in Aesop’s Fable The Tortoise and the Hare? The tortoise wins every time! Pay attention to your breathing. By simply taking a few deep breaths, you will slow your heart rate down and you’ll be able to be more present. Just by simply slowing down, you will start noticing things that are beautiful all around you that you may have never noticed before. I love how my 4-year-old daughter, Haven, always notices any flowers and makes us stop and look at them and smell them. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

    After you’ve learned how to slow down, start working on being grateful. Every day either when you wake up or when you’re going to bed take out a piece of paper or a journal and write down 10 things that you are grateful for in your life that day. Throughout the day, pray or affirm your gratitude for all of the little things in life. When good things happen to you, don’t get over excited and when bad things happen to you, don’t get overly upset. Always stay even keeled in your emotions and grounded in thankfulness and gratitude. Just be thankful to be alive and healthy every single day. Everything else is just a bonus!

    Get a better routine. Wake up and go workout, read some affirmations, eat breakfast and then maybe check your email for 30 minutes and then put it away. Then have a scheduled time in the middle of the day to check email and technology, then one more time at the end of the day. Checking email 3 times per day and social media one time per day should be enough! We do not need to be consumed by our social media all day long. Our relationships are suffering if we are addicted to our devices.

    Finally, get over yourself. No one cares how awesome you are. Emotional midgets are the ones who care so much about what others think about them that they only want to talk about themselves. We need to honestly care about other people, ask questions and listen. We need to empathize with other people’s pains and struggles. Focus on maintaining eye contact, look for the non-verbal communication to make sure that what they are telling you is the whole story or, if you need to, keep asking more questions to get them to really open up and tell you what is really going on.

    At the end of the day, we are all called to love one another. There is no way we can show love if we are too busy being busy and consumed with our own selfish human nature. This has been and will continue to be a struggle of mine. Hopefully, you will join me in the pursuit of loving other people and being present in the moment.


    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

  • Featured ImageJay Baer Radio Interview with Rory Vaden

    Jay_BaerCo-Founder of Southwestern Consulting™, Rory Vaden, recently had the privilege of interviewing fellow keynote speaker and marketing expert, Jay Baer.  Jay Baer is co-author of, “The Now Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social” and author of his newest book on content marketing, “Youtility”.

    Listen to Jay Baer’s full radio interview on the Rory Vaden Show here!

  • Facebook Timeline for Pages: Guide to understanding the new changes!

    Main Facebook Page Changes Effective 2/29/12
    “Mission control for your business on Facebook”

    In the words of Facebook: Pages are the essential place on Facebook for businesses to build connections with people. It’s where you connect with fans by announcing new products, sharing news, and gathering feedback. Your Page is also where you create unique brand content that can become ads and sponsored stories. It’s the core place for businesses to manage their posting and advertising content.


    Pages allow you to:
    1. Express your identity with features like cover photo and Page timeline.
    2. Reach and engage your audience on the web and on mobile.
    3. Respond to people in a quick, more personal way.

    <DRUM ROLL> The changes:

    1. You Can No Longer LAND on a Custom Landing Page or Tab! Welcome pages and tabs still exist, but you can no longer default to land on any tabs. As with the timeline on your profile your photos and apps show in the central section in boxes, which means we can add a nice looking graphic to our Welcome pages and tabs to encourage people to click on them. Here’s what FB say about the central boxes:
    Photos, likes and apps are now at the top of your Page. Photos show in the first spot, but you can change the order of everything else so people see what matters most. You can show a maximum number of 12 apps, so make sure to put your most important ones first.

    2. Cover Photo. This is the large picture at top of your screen. This is where your page branding can be done. Facebook has placed many restrictions on what you can and can’t have on your cover photo:

    Cover images must be at least 399 pixels wide and may not contain: Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website” Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your Page’s About section References to user interface elements, such as Like or Share, or any other Facebook site features Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”.


    3. Your Profile Picture which will initially be the top part of your avatar must be square and at least 180px wide. It should also be scalable to 32×32, because it shows up in many other places (posts, ads, etc.).

    This entire picture is the avatar (180x540px). The part taken for your Profile Picture will only be the top 180×180 (see the red square).

    4. You Can Pin Posts to the Top of Your Wall. You can now move posts to the top of your wall and have it remain there for 7 days. You just hover over the post with your cursor and a pencil appears, you click it and there will be a choice of items: Pin to Top, Change Date, Reposition Photo, Hide from Page, Delete Post, Mark as Spam. This is a great feature, b/c your important post stays visible for as long as you’d like. The other option you will see when hovering over the post is a star. When you click the star, you can feature your post because it covers the width of your page so it’s double-wide and draws attention.

    5. There’s a new admin panel. Everything is in one place. You can see your notifications, new likes, insights and the new private messages that people can now send you from your page. From your admin panel you will also see the Manage button which gives you access to the main editing section of your page (Basic Info, Manage Permissions, Apps and so on). Not much has changed in there apart from the Manage Permissions section which no longer has the default landing tab section. Also from the admin panel, you can access Facebook ads, a function to share your page and to invite friends, plus access to ‘help’.

    6. You can now get Messages on pages. Your fans can message you directly on the Facebook Page. The messages will show within your admin panel and you can respond from there. This is a HUGE because you can now message, individually, your fans. There is real two-way communication!

    7. Tab Pages are now BIGGER. The official size is 520px wide and unlimited length. Tabs were the items that were listed under your profile picture before (videos, blog, YouTube, questions, etc.). Now they are under the Cover Photo and larger. Only 4 appear at a time and the others are available in a drop down menu. These can be moved around, but the PICTURES tab cannot be moved. This is where all of your “old pages” will appear, including your Welcome or Landing Page.

    8. You will AUTOMATICALLY get the new design on March 30th. So jump and play around and make the most of it, because it’s coming whether we like it or not!

    Why do need to know about social media? That’s where the people are. As a sales professional, you are continually seeking to meet new people. You attend networking events, you are cold calling, you place ads, you put a listing in the yellow pages, and you create flyers all as a way to meet new people to build relationships with, to become prospects, referrals, and business partners. The main function of social media is to meet people. “Your customers hang out in social networks.” – Seth Godin

    If you have any specific questions, feel free to email at dbeauvais@southwesternconsulting.com or post a comment below and we’ll help you in the transition. If you want more information on Selling with Social Media, email us for more information on some upcoming workshops.

    Dawn Beauvais

    Social Media Marketing Consultant

  • 5 Easy Steps to Creating a Follow-Up System

    5 Easy Steps for Effective Follow Up & How to Incorporate Social Media

    For sales professionals, having an up-to-date contact management database is one of the KEY systems you must have in place to be successful. Even more important, is having a
    system in place to create effective follow-up. Your business is built on following up with leads and building relationships.

    If you don’t have a contact management system in place, you will not be able to follow-up effectively with prospects, you could lose clients and you will not be able to build your business.

    Your contact management system doesn’t need to be an expensive database but it does need to be easy to use, easy to maintain and easy for you to find your contact data. Once your contact management system is in place, you need to ensure that you keep it up-to-date and are using it to follow-up with prospects and client regularly.

    Here are 5 easy strategies for an effective follow-up system:

    1.   Update as you go. Whenever you speak with or email a contact, take a few minutes afterwards to update your database with this information BEFORE moving on to the next task. For example, did your conversation end with you promising to contact them again? If so, note this and create a follow-up task so you don’t forget.

    2. Touch base regularly. Each month go through your database and see who you haven’t had any contact with over the last few months. Send them a ‘just touching base with you’ email or call them.

    3. Don’t forget snail mail. A handwritten thank-you card gets noticed, so invest time in writing personal notes to key contacts – they will remember you for it. If you want to keep it automated, a great tool to use is Send Out Cards – it’s really quick and simple to use. You can choose to send either a card or postcard and it is a great ‘stay-in-touch’ service. It is just as simple to use as email, only more personal!

    4. Send a newsletter. It is not exactly a personal one-on-one follow-up, but it is keeping you in touch with your database and your name in front of them. Your newsletter may generate a response from the reader, which means you will be able to turn this into a one-on-one communication with your contact!

    5. Make it a habit: Update your database regularly. If you don’t get the opportunity to update your database as you’re going along, spend 20 minutes at the end of each day reflecting on what you’ve done during the day, who you’ve contacted, what the outcome was, and enter all of this information into your contact management system.


    1. LINKEDIN TIP: Do a search to see if your contact has a LinkedIn profile. If so, send a request to connect. Do not use the default invite – write a personal note that addresses your conversation, thanks them for them time, etc.
    2. TWITTER TIP: Search for their Twitter profile and follow them.  The nice thing about twitter is that you can follow anyone; you don’t have to wait to be accepted. You can then send a direct message to them on Twitter. Take the time to review their Twitter feed and find a tweet that is worth re-tweeting. Everyone loves to have their contact re-tweeted and it will help to build a lasting relationship.
    3. FACEBOOK TIP: Most people are not going to add new contacts to their Facebook profile, because it is a place for connecting with friends. But, some contacts may have business pages that are used for just that – business. Do a Facebook search for the contact’s business name and if they have a Facebook PAGE, then be sure to LIKE it. This gives you another platform to connect with your contact and build a relationship.


    For more tips on using  SOCIAL MEDIA for marketing and follow-up, check out Rory Vaden’s NEXT GENERATION MARKETING.


    There are hundreds of “experts” out there talking about how to add followers, so why am I taking the time to write an article about growing your Twitter base? Because there’s lots of gimmicks, lots of tricks, lots of alleged shortcuts, and you guys know I despise that junk. Here is the TAKE THE STAIRS DISCIPLINED attitude about growing your follower base: “It’s not about how many followers you have, but the quality and responsiveness of your followers.”

    Growing your Twittership is just like joining any other community; it takes time, patience, and energy. The 5000 people who have joined the Take the Stairs tour on Twitter have come about through only 3300 Tweets that I’ve posted. 5000 followers on 3300 tweets is a  low volume of Tweets to reach that level of followership, so here are some practical tips to maximize your time on Twitter if you’re just getting started:

    1. It’s a Numbers Game
    Just like sales, sports, business, dating, or anything else you have to do a bunch of bad ones before you can do a bunch of good ones. Facebook is like friends at a barbeque, LinkedIn is like colleagues at the office, and Twitter is like the chatter at a party. So one way to get popular is to go to lots of parties and to get involved in lots of conversations. In other words, the more you tweet the more followers you will get because the more opportunities there are for you to be heard.

    2. Load Your List
    This isn’t a fool-proof strategy but if you have a digital list of all of your contacts somewhere, save them to a .csv excel file. Then import them to Gmail (free) and when you open a Twitter profile you can import your contact list into Twitter and automatically follow friends that you already have who are on the platform.

    3. Follow People
    In the early stages of Twitter the fastest way to get followers was to follow others and hope they return the favor. You don’t just want to follow anyone though; follow people who are Tweeting about things you care about. One shortcut strategy that doesn’t work is following a bunch of people and then un-following the ones who don’t follow you back (called Vetting). First of all, you’ll be building a crappy community of people who don’t really care about you or what you’re doing because they’re just trying to add followers the same as you. Not to mention that this is illegal on Twitter and they will catch you and turn off your account. However, follow people who are saying something worthwhile and who share the same interests as you and there’s a good chance they’ll follow you back and that they’ll forward – or re-tweet (RT) – some of the things you are saying to their followers and then those people will follow you as well. You can do keyword searches on search.twitter.com or on applications like Tweetdeck to help you find people who are interested in the same things that you are (i.e. I have columns on my Tweetdeck that search for terms like “sales, Rory Vaden, stairs, take the stairs, discipline, Success Starts Now, social media, etc.”).

    4. Follow People Back
    If someone follows you, then follow them back. That shows that you are not a celebrity that is not willing to follow people back but that you are interested in developing relationships with people which attracts more followers. I personally follow everyone who follows me at this point and many people do. I think it’s kind of rude not to follow someone back although some others have a different philosophy.

    5. Be Human
    People want to know the real you. They don’t want a bunch of corporate jargon or just to be broadcasted to about your products. Promoting your brand/company/product is great but just make sure that you are vulnerable at times and give people an inside look at who you are. And don’t be afraid to be yourself. The best thing in the world is to have people un-follow you because they don’t like something you said. That’s fine because you are creating your very own target market. The beauty of the internet is that you no longer have to worry about making everyone happy because there are enough people out there that you can just be yourself and people will want to be a part of that. Remember, “be who you are and say what you mean because those who mind, don’t matter; and those who matter, don’t mind.”

    6. Scratch My Back and I’ll Scratch Yours
    Probably the second most powerful way (next to #10 on this list) I’ve seen to get followers is to target people on Twitter who tweet about similar things that you’re interested in and then RT (re-tweet) their content (make sure to use their Twitter handle such as “RT @rory_vaden” in your post). If they are using Tweetdeck or any other similar service, they will see that you forwarded their content; which is a great compliment. And very often they will either publicly thank you or even better they will return the favor by finding something valuable that you’ve written and they’ll RT you back. Either way, whenever someone mentions you (i.e. they write a post with your Twitter handle in it) then ALL of their followers have an opportunity to see your handle, check out your profile, and possibly begin following you.

    7. Share the Love
    When someone does RT you or give you a mention make sure to thank them and if possible find something relevant they have to RT back. This ensures that they will continue to RT you in the future and that you will both grow together. Twitter is all about forming a community of people around the things that you’re interested in. ALWAYS be looking for opportunities to RT valuable information (sayings, videos, pics, blog articles, etc.) from other people out into your Twitter stream. Also on Follow Fridays (designated by hash tag #FF) it’s customary in Twitter culture to announce to the world who your highest recommendations are for good people to follow.

    8. Announce it on High
    Make sure that you let people know on your e-mail signature that you are on these other platforms. You can also add it to your business cards or other marketing materials. And of course you want to have intertwining links to your Facebook, LinkedIn, You Tube, Twitter, and Blog. They should all point to each of the others.

    9. Have a Blog
    Your blog is the central home point of all of your social media relations. It’s where people learn about you and it’s often where they go to get involved in a relationship and hopefully someday a financial transaction with you. All of the other social media sites (FB, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) are just flag posts that help you grow communities and traffic that you can direct to your blog. Your blog is where you share whatever your expertise is; in my case it’s strategies for improving your self-discipline in every area of your life and how to do things you don’t want to do.

    And finally the best, grandest, most important, and biggest secret of all…put out good content!!!! Say something that adds value to people’s lives. No one cares that you’re eating a burrito on the porch. Not unless you’re a food critic and you give reports on the best restaurants in town. Tell me something that I can use in my life. I’ll let you sell something to me but only after you’ve first earned my trust by giving me a chance to glean some wisdom from you. If you’re in real estate, show me some pictures on good deals. If you’re a financial advisor, give me a link to an article that explains why we should stay invested when everything tanks. If you sell cars, give me the lowdown on what the coolest features are on the new models and tell me the horror stories of the crap cars on the market. You get the idea. Give people something of value. Share your expertise. Be helpful and don’t be selfish. I hope that you all get value from the things I’m putting out. My biggest fear is being one more person who is broadcasting 10 million messages on the highest volume possible out to a bunch of people who don’t care.

    As I re-read this post I realize that I’m feeling a bit feisty on this issue for some reason. Probably because there are so many cheeseball gimmicks about how to get more followers.  Having lots of followers doesn’t mean you’re cool necessarily. It does mean though that you have the rare privilege and opportunity to impact people’s lives. When it comes to social media there is a whole lot of ego and a whole lot of “escalator mentality” going around in social media land and I’m not a fan of that part of it.

    The most blatant truth I’ve realized is that if I’m no fun in real life, then I will be no fun online (there is no difference). Let’s be people who are interesting and let’s be people who give and share our expertise in a concise way that helps the lives of others and not just our own pocket books. Let’s work to be disciplined about caring for others more than we care for ourselves; that’s hard work for me, too.

    Thank you for the compliment of being my friend and my follower.

    Follow us at www.roryontwitter.com, Friend us at www.roryonfacebook.com, Watch us at www.roryonyoutube.com

    For information on booking motivational speaker and self-discipline strategist Rory Vaden please visit us at www.roryvaden.com

    For information on sales coaching, sales training, or sales consulting please visit www.southwesternconsulting.com

    Have a college-aged student in your life that you want to introduce to success principles, entrepreneurship, and leadership? Have them check out The Southwestern Company paid internship at www.southwesterninternship.com

    Join motivational speaker Rory Vaden’s Take the Stairs Tour:

    Click Here

    See you in the stairwell,

    Rory Vaden
    Take the stairs – Success means doing what others won’t.

  • Next Generation Marketing – Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day

    Next Generation Marketing – Making Social Media work for you in 30 minutes a day

    Rory Vaden has  created an awesome resource for sales salesprofessionals.  Don’t  be left behind in the next generation of professionals.  Finally someone has figured out how to turn all of this social media hoopla into some hard cash. Reality is that business professionals must learn to use these tools to be successful in the next generation. Being ahead of the curve means knowing what their capabilities are and learning to leverage your network and maximize your time to get results from social media. In this cutting edge resource you will learn:

      Why social media is growing so quickly in popularity and what it can do for your business
      Who is on these various platforms and why you might be missing out on your perfect audience
      Exactly what the major tools of social media are and which ones will be most relevant to you
      How to leverage these mediums to maximize your marketing, increase your income, and catapult your career!

     PLUS: You will receive step by step video instruction for how to get make all this social media work for you in 30 minutes a day or less.

    This 3 disc program includes one 60 minute audio CD recording of Rory’s popular new keynote presentation “Next Generation Marketing” PLUS two 60 minute DVDs of step by step, on-screen video instruction for exactly how to perform each of 23 different techniques outlined to make you a master social media marketer.


    Rory Vaden MBA is a self-discipline strategist, author, and motivational speaker. He is known world-wide for his resonating “Take the Stairs” message of self-discipline. With so many people wondering if social media is the next “escalator” to success Rory has gotten intimately involved with what social media can and can’t do. In this program he will expose the truths about social media while also cutting thousands of hours off your learning curve by sharing tried and true techniques for taking advantage of this new exciting phenomena. You can expect the same entertaining delivery style of this 2 time world champion of public speaking finalist juxtaposed with his consistently pragmatic approach for taking your life and business to the next level!