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    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    Anyone reading this would agree that referrals are a good thing. Referrals that trickle in because someone heard about you from one of your clients don’t come often enough.

    There are 3 reasons why you don’t get enough referrals:

    1. You don’t ask
    2. You ask passively
    3. You ask incorrectly

    Here is a list of common reasons given for why you didn’t ask for referrals:

    “I shouldn’t have to ask. If I do a good job, people will refer me.”

    “I don’t want to come across as pushy or salesy.”

    “I ran out of time before my next appointment.”

    “I’ll ask later. I need to earn their trust first.”

    “If I ask, I will look like I need the business. I want to look successful.”

    They are all rationalizations- rational sounding lies believed to be true. The truth is professionals make time to ask for referrals and they do it in a way that the client actually gets excited to help them.


    Some people ask but are fearful. Fear causes you to ask passively or ask with trepidation: “I really appreciate referrals. If you think of anyone who would benefit from what I do, please connect them to me.” You mention that you like referrals. You don’t ask for them directly. You don’t get them.


    Others don’t ask for referrals correctly. You ask, “Do you know of anyone who. . .” You actually set yourself up to get “I can’t think of anyone right now, but I will let you know if I do.”

    Other objections you get when they ask poorly include:

    • I need to think about it.” “Can you call me next week?” “I’ll get back to you.”
    • The “Hermit” objection: “I don’t know anyone.”
    •  “Sure you can call him, but just don’t use my name.” “Let me talk to  him first.” “I’ll have him call you.”
    • “I don’t give referrals.”



    Here are just a few tips that we teach at Southwestern Consulting:

    • Always ask “who do you know who . . . “ instead of  “do you know anyone who. . . ” or “is there anyone who. . .?”
    • Pause after you ask to allow them time to think. Break eye contact. And, look down at your paper ready to write.
    • Use memory joggers. For example, there are certain life events that trigger people to think about insurance. Anyone who is getting married, buying a new house, buying a new car, having a kid, retiring, or changing jobs is a great prospect. Ask who they know in each of these categories.

    The number one way to get referrals is to give someone any opportunity to give them to you. If you are not asking, start there. Then, work on your attitude. You must expect to collect names and numbers. Next, use the above techniques. You will be amazed by how many referrals you get!


    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.


     Building Major Confidence In You

     It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.  ~Author Unknown

     Building Trust

    The other day I was thinking about what makes a customer or prospect have confidence in the person who is selling to them. So I thought I’d write about how to ensure the confidence of your customers and potential clients.

    First of all, you must believe yourself that you are absolutely their best choice. I always tell myself I am the best salesperson, working for the best company, with the best products and services, for this person, at this time. Psyche yourself up with this kind of self-talk and you’ll be well on your way to successful selling.

    In addition to your self-talk about your ability to sell, here is my top 10 list of things you can do to establish confidence in the folks to whom you sell:

    1. Write an article or story about your company or yourself, what you are doing to help others and what results/benefits those people received.
    2. Get prospects to help you in your presentation. Maybe pass out materials or ask for directions on how to get to the appointment.
    3. Be as prepared as possible. Don’t be fumbling with papers, tripping over your verbiage, or moving with a tentative step.
    4. Tell a story about how you helped another client or possibly even film one of your workshops that you feel real good about. Then you can take some of the video highlights and show or email short clips to a possible prospect.
    5. Carry a printed list of people who have worked with you in the past. You may be able to reference someone from it.
    6. Be a name dropper, but be careful not to come across as bragging, but rather, sharing to build a trust base in you and the company.
    7. Have “Champion Letters” on hand. These are testimonials from some of your most loyal customers. Try to have one letter that addresses each of the objections you may get during the sales process.
    8. Get a referral and then ask the person who gave you the referral to personally introduce you or call ahead and put in a good word before you make the first contact.
    9. Let your clients know you are not a fly-by-night company and that you make a point of making regular contact with customers.
    10. Lastly, make people feel as though you really do care about them. No need for “commission breath”. Come across as really wanting to help them achieve what they want.

    If they trust you, they will probably eventually buy from you. It is all about that confidence that they MUST have in you that will determine your success.

    Take one of the items on the list and put it into action today, then continue using it bit by bit until it starts becoming second nature. Next, move to another item, and so on…

    Make it a great day,

    Gary Michels

    [email protected]


    Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier. ~Colin Powell

    Success Tips

    I always have a sheet on or near my desk with my Critical Success Points. Of course, the points have changed over the years depending on the different careers I’ve had (real estate, fundraising, network marketing, training sales, etc). Your points will change based on where you are in life and what career and projects you are working on.

    The list of 10 Points below is used daily at our company, Southwestern Consulting™.  When you work on these points on a consistent basis, you put yourself at a higher level than the average producer. You can use these 10 points as a skeleton to create your own that are critical to your success. I suggest you write out the 10 Points and post them where you can review them regularly.

    Turn It Up a Notch Daily with These 10 Points

    • How many calls and appointments made before 8 AM? How many messages left?
    • How are my phone appointment skills?
    • Am I closing word-for-word for the appointment?
    • Am I trial closing?
    • Am I using 3rd party selling?
    • How many appointments ahead am I? 10-15 appointments ahead at all times.
    • Progress report on how much potential business set up, signed, and still needed to hit goals every week. (Daily attention – Friday Summarize)
    • What did I do sales-wise that was productive between 4-6 PM?
    • How am I doing in my Daily Point game? Am I 2 strong EVERY DAY?
      (Each appointment = 1 point; Demonstration/Workshop = 1 point)
    • Am I spending at least 15 minutes putting positive thoughts into my mind? 10/10 Affirmations?
    • Am I spending at least 20% of my time going after LARGE groups that can produce LARGE results?
    • Am I asking EVERYONE I meet for a REFERRAL?

    Give this a try for 4 weeks and share with us your successes!
    Gary Michels, Co-founder Southwestern Consulting™

    [email protected]

  • How to be a Top Producer

    The MINDSET to Top Producers:

    1.  On both good and bad days we have to remember that the results we get are from the thoughts we keep holding on to.

    • To accomplish anything in life, we have to have a dream and want it so bad we cannot live without it.

    2.  We have to see ourselves as entrepreneurs and not independent contractors or employees.

    • We have to have a love affair with the business of selling…we have to be passionate about it every day…don’t focus on the parts of the job we don’t like.

    3.  We have to remember the major reason for financial failure is working on something you don’t like for a long period of time.

    • We have to remember in life and business; it is never easy or fair.

    4.  There is not security in this business…there are only opportunities and with opportunities there is massive failure…get used to it, it is part of becoming successful and winning.

    5.  We have to develop the ability to bounce back from setbacks and failures quickly.

    • We can never let our dream out of our minds, even for a moment.  When the dream comes out of your mind it gives the negative a chance to come in.
    • Spend time with the right people…who are the right people and are you spending time with them now?

    6.  Don’t be impressed with your success and your intelligence, because there are smarter and brighter people than us in the world.

    7.  We have to quickly get out of fantasy land and get into reality to build our business.

    8.  We have to be mentally prepared for the cycles, because success is never one long upward trend.

    • Work 8 hours a day if you want to be good and you want to get paid…work a lot more if you want to be great and rich

    9.  We can find all the answers if we are willing to keep looking.  Lets become solution driven, not problem driven.

    10.  You have to become the eternal optimist

    • We have to work every day on speed and urgency.
    • Make GREAT service your obsession.

    11.  Develop the mindset that honesty is the best policy with everyone.

    12.  Work to keep your mind clear.

    • Focus on making decisions quickly instead of worrying about being right or wrong…just get it done.
    • Decide in advance you are never going to have a bad day. 
    • Do what you are supposed to do, when you are supposed to do it…whether you like it or not.

    13.  Remember emotions and drama don’t strengthen the mindset.


    Go make it a great day,

    Gary Michels



  • 3 Voicemails that Work to Get Prospects to Return Your Call

    Today, nobody seems to be around to answer their phones. You spend time calling, and all you get are voice-mail messages. You know people don’t bother calling back if they think it’s a sales call. Here are a few messages that get call backs.


    Voicemail #1 (The Mystery Message) :

    “Hey Bill, this is Steve Reiner. The reason I’m calling you specifically is I was told you can answer a question of mine. My phone number is… and again my name is Steve Reiner. It would be great if we can connect sometime today. Thank you.”

    I encourage you to not leave the name of your company on the first message. You do that and you’ll be shouting, “I’m selling something.” As proud as we are about the value we provide our clients, the reality is, people avoid salespeople and you’ll find the mystery message will be a greater enticer to receive a call back.


    Voicemail #2: (The Mystery Message Part 2):

    “Hey Bill, this is Steve Reiner. I’m not sure if you got my message from last week or if you’ve been on vacation but again, the reason I’m calling you specifically is I was told you can answer a question of mine. My phone number is… and again my name is Steve Reiner. I look forward to hopefully connecting today sometime. Thank you.”


    Voicemail #3: (The Call to Action Voicemail to Set up your Warm Cold Call):

    After you’ve left 1-2 unreturned voicemails, leave this message:

    “Hi Bill, this is Steve Reiner. You are a tough person to get hold but I consider that a good thing. It tells me you’re working hard and making things happen and you’re the  type of person I like to work with. So here’s my plan. I will be driving out to your office next Friday to meet you in person between 10-10:30. Please do me this favor: I’ll be driving 45 minutes out to your place so if that time does not work for you then please call back and suggest a time that works better. Otherwise if I don’t hear back then I will assume this is a good time to meet in person and I will plan on being at your office next Friday between 10-10:30. My number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.”

    This will either cause your prospect to call you back which is great or when you show up you can let the front desk know that Byron should be expecting you. The strategy here is rather than driving out 45 minutes to one prospect who may not even be there, now you are setting up an entire day of these warm in person calls. You should see your effectiveness sky-rocket. It requires a bit of planning on the front end but well worth the effort in the long-run!


    Remember, the #1 way to avoid call reluctance is to Take Action! It’s easier to act your way into proper thinking than to think you’re way into proper acting.


    To your success,

    Steve Reiner

    Professional Sales Coach

    Southwestern Consulting™

  • 3 Success Tips of Top Producers: Plan & Execute Day 6

    Some of the biggest obstacles we face in sticking to our schedule are:

    1. Too much socializing at the office.

    2. Starting your calls, but getting sidetracked.

    3.  Starting your day without a clear plan.

    Top Producers have a plan and execute it. Here are some solutions to keep your focus on completing tasks and staying on schedule.

    1.  Going to the office and socializing or screwing around. To head this off, you need to go straight to your office or desk and put up “Do Not Disturb – Golden Hours in Progress” sign outside your door as well as a sign on the inside of your door that says, “The pain of discipline weighs far less than the pain of regret.” Remember, the discipline of staying on schedule for prospecting is no different from the discipline of lifting weights. As you know, when you start lifting weights for the first time it can be uncomfortable and even painful the next day. However after getting on a good schedule and getting in the gym consistently, over time you begin building muscle and enjoy the process. The same is true with prospecting. Initially it can be a little uncomfortable and even painful. However after getting on a good schedule and going after it day in and day out, you’ll begin to set more appointments and will actually start enjoying the phone.

    2.  Starting calls but getting sidetracked. To head this off, think of yourself as a thermostat versus a thermometer. While a thermometer reflects its environment, a thermostat sets it. In the same way, you’re being a thermometer when you let your emotions determine your actions. People who are thermometers are activity oriented. If they don’t like the activity they don’t do it. If they experience a rude prospect, they stop making calls. Just like a thermometer, they are allowing their emotions and circumstances to determine their actions. People who are thermostats are results oriented. If they don’t like the activity, they do it anyway because they understand it will produce the desired results. If they experience a rude prospect, they become more determined because rather than basing their decisions on emotions, they base their decisions on values, principles and a predetermined plan. People who are thermostats are successful because rather than allowing themselves to be controlled by their environment, they simply set their own temperature and go after it!

    3.  Showing up to work without a clear plan. To head this off, you will make sure to take time the night before to plan out your next day in detail. This will include when you’re prospecting and who you will call. You will print out a predetermined list of prospects to call on the night before and lay it on your desk. Rather than wondering what you’re going to do and who you’re going to call, you’ll simply execute on your predetermined plan. It will take all the emotion out of the equation. It’s simply a matter of planning & executing. In fact your new affirmation should be, “I’m a top producer because I plan and execute. I blow out quota each month because I always take time the night before to plan my next day.”

    Please comment below on what tips work for your, or how these tips worked for you after 1 week.






    To your success,

    Steve Reiner

    Professional Sales Coach

    Southwestern Consulting™

  • How to Schedule Your Golden Hours for Maximum Results – Day 4

    Once you have your weekly schedule created, each evening, you’ll want to convert your next day’s schedule into a well-planned, detailed format. You’ll do that by having a set appointment with yourself each evening before going home, to plan out your next day in detail.

    For example, you’ll take prospecting time from your weekly schedule and make a list of 20+ prospects you can call on the next day. That way you don’t have to waste time the next day trying to dig up names to call on. Instead you’ll be able to show up and simply execute. This is a habit that less than 10% of professionals have. Mediocre salespeople don’t take the time to plan. Instead they just take each day as it comes, reacting to circumstances as they pop up. They end partaking in “creative avoidance.” This takes place when you avoid doing what you know you should be doing. In its place you do more pleasurable activities such as organizing your desk, checking emails, surfing the net, etc. At the end of the day you’re frustrated that you didn’t accomplish more. This makes it difficult to be in the moment with your family because you’re thinking about everything you didn’t get done at work. Keeping your ideal schedule, on the other hand, will prevent you from wasting time during the day on non-income producing activities, equipping you to head off interruptions to your schedule which are not as critical. Learning to set boundaries will enable you to work more effectively.


    Your schedule is your roadmap to get you to your goals. I encourage you to look at your schedule like it is your lifeline. You break it and the likelihood of hitting your goals dies. So let’s say we were to calculate your hourly rate to be $50, so every time that you are doing something other than what you should be doing, you are wasting $50. With this in mind, the majority of your day should be invested in either setting up appointments or going on appointments. Everything else should be delegated to assistants if possible. Your prospecting time is what we call your Golden Hours. Here are the steps for creating consistent momentum during The Golden Hours:


    *Schedule “The Golden Hours” in your calendar as if it’s the most important appointment you have in your day.  Do not do ANYTHING else during that time but prospect!

    *Don’t waste a second during your “Golden Hours”.

    *Have your top 20 prospects listed out and in a queue ready to call.

    *Stand up during your Golden Hours.

    *Eliminate all possible distractions.

    -Put a sign on your door saying “Golden Hours in process. Currently increasing my net worth or I am in the process of winning a trip to the Mediterranean. Interrupt at your own peril!”

    -Turn you outlook email notice button off!

    *Do not check email!

    *Don’t answer questions.

    *Don’t take personal calls.

    *Don’t answer any call that is not someone calling to set a new appointment.

    *Use the restroom before your “Golden Hours”.

    *Make as many dials as humanly possible during your “Golden Hours”.

    *Think about prospecting like a sport, setting up a contest with yourself or others. For example, treat yourself to an ice cream after you’ve put in the work and kept to your schedule.

    *Repeat the affirmation, “My job is to make a list and then cross people off that list. It can be a yes or no. I need both to have a great day. Who’s next? Who’s next?”


    High performance salespeople create a plan; they execute on that plan within a given time line and they have somebody hold them accountable to that plan.

    Planning, executing and accountability.

    It’s a great feeling waking up in the morning with a plan. It takes all of the emotion and guesswork out of your day. You simply execute on your predetermined plan. Once you form this habit, you’ll find yourself getting more done in less time. It’s easy to procrastinate putting this schedule together and keeping it. Remember, however, the key to overcoming procrastination is forming the habit of doing things that you don’t like to do. As you’re tweaking your ideal schedule, keep track of all your activities throughout the day to determine the income producing activities versus the time wasters. The goal is to get to the point where your days are on task and highly productive. Get excited about you leading your day versus letting other people and circumstances do it for you!

    Your partner in success,

    Steve Reiner

    Professional Certified Coach




    [email protected]westernconsulting.com

    (513) 600-2976 Cell

    (303) 774-6559 Office

  • How to Keep Your Schedule on Track and See Results – Day 3

    The Schedule Slinky

    Here is how the negative slinky happens:

    An event occurs, you get off track, and your SCHEDULE SUFFERS.

    Once you get behind you become consumed with catching up and your THOUGHTS SCATTER.

    As your thoughts become scattered, you lose focus, it becomes easy to get overwhelmed and your ATTITUDE FALTERS.

    As your attitude starts to fall apart, your PRODUCTION SLOWS.

    Finally, because over time you’ve had great results and now you don’t, your SELF-ESTEEM CRASHES.

    The solution is to REFOCUS yourself and put your self-esteem into your work habits and not your production. A schedule is being where you’re supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to be doing and doing the little things right. It doesn’t have anything to do with producing or not.

    Here is the positive slinky effect:

    First you convince yourself that as long as you are on schedule then you are doing a good job and immediately you gain confidence and your SELF-ESTEEM INCREASES.

    Now you are feeling better and purely focused on doing what you said you would do when you said you would do it and you get back ON SCHEDULE.

    Once you are back in the right places at the right times, it becomes easier to perform and your THOUGHTS REFOCUS.

    Now that you have control of your previously wandering thoughts, your ATTITUDE IMPROVES.

    Because you have a great attitude, the numbers game takes effect and often the next thing to happen is your PRODUCTION INCREASES.


  • How to Create a Plan to Follow and Achieve Success – Day 2

    You cannot possibly manage your time well, if you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish for the day, week, month, etc. You need to have written goals. A vision of where you are going, what you want, and when you want it. Here is one way to get that done (written by Kitty Barrow, Southwestern Consulting™ partner and Professional Sales Coach)

    I don’t know if you have the movie, “Facing the Giants”. If you don’t, it is definitely the kind of video you will want to buy and watch over and over again. One of the things I love about the main character, is that he sets down a mission statement and a vision statement with his team that, at first, is just his vision. By the end of the movie, you see how it has been internalized by his team. Here is just one clip from the beginning of the movie. The coach had hit rock bottom and had nowhere else to go, but ‘up’. I know this isn’t the situation you are in, but I love how he decided the mission, vision and purpose of his team. I hope you’ll watch the movie to see it all. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9G9C7o0dD4&feature=related <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/I9G9C7o0dD4″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

    Action Steps:

    1.      Work on dream & life pages and then have a posterboard making session.

    2.      Work on Mission Statement, Vision, Long-Term Goals.

    3.      Write a Creed for you personally, with your team at work and/or with your family.

    4.      Write down your priorities and post them where you can see them every day.

    We would love to see pics of your dream/vision boards. Please post them here.

    We will choose 1 person who posted a picture of their dream/vision board to receive a FREE COPY of Gary Michels e-book, Turn It Up a Notch Weekly – 52 Weeks of Motivating Stories. Winner will be chosen on October 31st.

  • LINKEDIN is Now #2 Social Networking Site

    Are you even using LinkedIn?

    Can you be found on the internet by prospects?

    Are you using social media and other technology to increase your sales?

    Our ASK THE SALES EXPERTS teleseminar THURSDAY, JULY 14TH at 7:00PM CDT, will help guide you through some of the tools to use on your social media sites and other tools to increase your sales, your presence and your success!

    Technological Tips for Increasing Efficiency & Improving Sales Performance

    Dustin Hillis  – The Smart Phone is Everything You Need

    Emmie Young – Using Technology to Save Time and Maximize Every Second of Your Day

    Amanda Johns – The Best LinkedIn Strategies of Our Time

    Gary Michels – Effectively Using Power Points, Testimonial Letters and Videos

    Rory Vaden – Organizing Your Friends for Fabulous Follow Up


    CALL IN: 712-432-0404  access code: 555575#

    Live Chat on our Facebook Page  at 7:00pm CDT – Join us for LIVE Q & A during teleseminar