We Can Do It!

Once you realize that you CAN do nearly anything anyone else is doing, and that you can succeed at a very high level doing it if you choose to make it a priority and decide to invest the time and effort to do so, your world of possibility opens up for you.

When I committed to becoming the number one sales producer in my company of 25 other sales reps, I achieved it in 90 days. Within 9 months, I was the number one producer out of five branch offices. And you CAN do it, too, if you choose to…

The exciting thing, though, is that a “can do” attitude is contagious. When you infect a whole team, a whole company, a whole family with a “can do” attitude, a lot of exciting things begin to happen. I always think of the impact one runner had on the world’s performance once he changed everyone’s attitude with his own accomplishment.

Many of you may have heard of Roger Bannister. He was the first man to run a mile in under four minutes. This may not seem so remarkable now, but before May 6th, 1954, it was an acknowledged and accepted fact that the human body was physically incapable of running a mile in under four minutes. Everyone knew it was impossible to even try. But Roger didn’t believe it.

He knew he could do it, and he was determined to keep trying until he did. He failed at the 1952 Olympics (he came in fourth), but he didn’t give up trying. A few years later, on an unlikely day and track (poor weather conditions, cold day and a wet track), Roger shattered the world record, and the world belief, as he flew down the last straight and finished the course with the incredible time of 3:59.4.

He had done the impossible and broke through the 4 minute mile.

As amazing as this was, what was even more amazing for the world of running was that just 46 days later, a runner named John Landy beat his time. And over the next few years, even more people broke through the four-minute mark. Suddenly, people realized that it could be done and they believed they, they did it as well.

The world is filled with stories like this, and in business, it is also true. I remember when our team of inside sales reps were given new customized scripts and offered a huge monthly bonus for the rep who used them to capture the most new clients. The previous record was seven in a month. Marty, an average rep before the new scripts and contest, rigorously adhered to them, worked hard, and by the end of the month, he hit 21 new clients! We were all floored.

But once that new record was set, we began believing that perhaps we could do it, too. And some of us did.

If you are a leader of a sales team, athletic team or head of a family or cause, start believing that you can. Then transfer that belief to your team. If you do, then soon you will amazed by what your team can and will accomplish.

You Can Do It

Can you become a top sales producer?

We all know who the top sales producers are. Every company has them. If you look at all the producers in your company, I’m sure they are ranked in production from top to bottom. If your company is like most, there are probably even monthly or quarterly bonuses for the top revenue earners. Sales reps often ask me if I think they have what it takes to become a top sales producer, and I always answer that question with another question.

I’ll ask you that same question right now: Can you run a marathon? You know, a 26 mile marathon race? Just listen to what your mental answer was: yes or no. Some of you may be very athletic and some of you may even be runners, so that answer may be clear. But what about you? Can you run a marathon?

When I ask that question at a sales conference, the majority say no, they can’t. They think about the effort and endurance it takes; they think about the last time they tried to run; they consider their current physical shape and often their lack of an exercise routine. Once they consider all these things, it is easy for them to admit they just can’t do it.

After I ask this question, I then surprise everyone by telling them that they absolutely CAN run a marathon if they choose to. I tell them that they all have the ability to run a marathon and that the word “can” refers to the ability to do something. And you who are reading this right now can run a marathon, in other words, you have the ability to run one if you choose to.

The reason I know you can is because of the amazing people who are competing and finishing marathons right now. There is Fauja Singh who, at 100 years old, completed the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. It took him more than eight hours, but he did it. Then there is Patrick Finney’s accomplishment. In 1998, this Texas software engineer woke up with numbness in his legs. Doctors diagnosed him with multiple sclerosis. In 2004, he couldn’t walk any longer.

But Patrick didn’t give up. He committed to getting better, and with the help of medications and physical therapy, he learned to balance again, and after two years he entered and completed a marathon. He went on to finish 50 marathons in 50 different states – the first person with multiple sclerosis to do so. These are just two of thousands of other inspiring stories.

Now let me ask you a different way: If I told you that I would give you 1 million dollars to complete my favorite marathon – the December Honolulu, HI Marathon – and I’m talking 1 million dollars cash, after taxes, do you think you could do it? I’ll bet you’d start practicing tonight, wouldn’t you!

You see, the important thing is that can is an ability. You have the ability to run a marathon, even though you may choose not to right now. But you CAN. And you can do a lot of other things as well – like become a top sales producer at your company and in your industry. But you first have to believe that you can first.

Many people limit themselves, in every area of their lives, with a “can’t do” attitude. It doesn’t matter if you’re interested or not, what is important is that you can. Once your potential and ability is properly reframed in this way, your life becomes a choice. It is okay if you choose not to do something – I am not into playing cards, but I know I “can” play championship bridge; I just haven’t learned how yet because I’m not interested in cards. But I can!

Once you recognize and acknowledge your ability – and we all have a lot more ability and potential than we are using – that’s when your life becomes an awesome opportunity. You can achieve superstar performance in sales – others have, and you have the ability to as well.

You just have to decide if you’re willing to put in the time and effort it takes.

But you can do it.

Tom Brady and Lessons for Sales

Whether you’re a fan of Tom Brady or not, you’ve got to agree he’s a winner. In fact, if he and the Patriots win this week’s Super Bowl, he will break the tie with Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana of winning four Super Bowls. Tom Brady will have five, and he will be the best of the best.

There are lots of articles written about both Tom and coach Belichick, and the Patriots, and I read one last week that, yet again, provides a big lesson for all of us in sales.

The article talks about how, after a good practice, coach Belichick came down hard on Tom and admonished him to stop throwing so many times to his best receiver. Tom didn’t agree and pointed out that he was simply polishing his timing, but Belichick was adamant.

“Throw the ball to somebody else!” he said, in not so polite terms.

Just when Tom was about to object and let his ego take over, he stopped and took it in. “I’m the player and he is the coach,” was his attitude. And this is what makes Tom so great: He is willing to keep learning and keep growing.

The article said it best: “The Patriots’ best player likes to be coached the hardest.”

The reason this is such a good lesson for sales is that I coach and work with “players” – sales reps – all the time. And what I find is that the ones who make the most growth (and the most money) are the ones who are open to being coaching.

This contrasts sharply with those who insist on doing it their own way; those who remain stubborn and think they have it all figured out. While many of these sales reps are talented, smart, intuitive, and even motivated, what they lack is a willingness to take a step back and consider possibly better way.

Unfortunately, many professional football teams and elite athletes are resistant to coaching as well. In the article, coach Eric Mangini points this out by saying: “There is almost this stigma to being coached.” And:

“The head coach of another AFC club tried a similar tactic with his team this season, showing the entire team clips of mistakes by a handful of his best players. One recently paid veteran responded by standing up in front of the room and screaming at the coach.”

I used to be resistant to coaching as well. Years ago, I thought I knew it all and was resentful when my manager – who wasn’t on the phones and didn’t have to make the calls – tried to teach me a better way. It wasn’t until I became committed to performing better that I became willing to be coached.

But when I did, my sales and my career took off.

The lesson I hope you all take from this is that you can and will benefit from advice, suggestions, and coaching from other people who have been there and done that. It’s when you think you know it all that you stop growing.

Just like when Tony Robbins was starting out, he read and listened to and absorbed everyone else’s ideas in his field. He said that if he got just one good idea from them (and he got a lot more), that would help make his motivational training and career better.

And it worked out for Tony. And for Tom. And for me and countless other top professionals.

So my suggestion for you is: Who can you learn from today? What piece of advice or which technique, or which suggestion can you try to make yourself better? How open are you to being coached?

The moment you become willing, that is the moment you will begin improving.

(See the full article here.)

Top Characteristic Part Ten: Invest Daily in Your Attitude

Now that you have resigned from the company club, you can use that time and energy to do the one thing that will have the most impact on your performance and your life: Find ways to build up your attitude on daily basis.

Before we get in to some ways to do that, let me emphasize the importance of investing time and energy every day to improving, strengthening and elevating your attitude. The “every day” part is the key. Think about it:

How many times a day do you eat? If you’re like most people, then you probably eat three times a day and have some snacks in between. Now let me ask you: If you skipped breakfast, how would you be feeling by, say, 11am? Cranky? Hungry? Unable to concentrate much?

How about if you also skipped lunch that day? How would you be feeling around, say, 3:30pm? Would you be ready for that big presentation? Or that meeting with your sales manager or boss?

O.K., now let’s say you got home by 6pm and you didn’t eat anything all day. How would you be around your wife and kids? (Or roommate or girl/boyfriend?) Would you want to be around you?

Now imagine going two days without food. Try three. I think we could all agree you’d be pretty much worthless by then (if not way before!).

The reason I bring this up is that your mind, your attitude, needs feeding just like your body does. If you don’t make a concerted effort to feed it regularly, then it, too, will get sluggish and worthless. If you don’t spend active time feeding your mind, feeding your attitude positive material, then you will be more susceptible to negativity, more susceptible to members of the club, and each time you have a bad outcome – client doesn’t reload, new prospect doesn’t buy, you don’t make your lead numbers – you’ll get more and more discouraged.

And if you let that happen, then you’ll begin searching for reasons why you won’t succeed. And if you let that continue, you’ll find them or you’ll make them up…

Top producers always spend time consciously feeding their minds positive stories and positive examples and cultivating a “can do,” positive attitude. They spend time taking in other positive thinker’s ideas and strategies, and they purposefully employ those strategies in their lives. They are constantly listening to audio books, or reading (or re-reading) books on how to get better and do better. Many top performers also spend time with affirmations and visualizations along linked to purposeful and motivating goal setting.

And all this pays off. Those producers who are in the habit of developing a vision, and who dedicate themselves to achieving it – no matter what – those are the top producers, the top athletes, and other top performers who always out perform their competition.

But it all starts by making a commitment to developing, feeding and cultivating a positive, can do attitude. And the key, again, is to do this daily (several times a day, actually).

So how do you get into the habit of doing this? A good start is to find the medium that works best for you. If you are a reader, then get some books that resonate with you and commit to reading a certain amount of pages each day.

If you prefer audio books, then get those books on MP3 and listen to them on the way to and from work or when you get home, or at the gym, or when you’re walking the dog.

One resource I still work with today are subliminal recordings. Subliminal recordings are great because they speak right to your subconscious mind which runs just about everything in your life. I listen to recordings either during meditation or during relaxation sessions. I also use them to go to sleep with sometimes. A great resource for these can be found here.

Another good thing to do is to pick up a few books or audio programs on setting goals. Just listing what it is you’re going to accomplish this year (or what’s left of it) can be highly motivating by itself. As soon as you define your vision, you’ll find that you begin to automatically feel more positive and motivated. When setting goals, just remember:

Whatever you want to have or achieve is possible. Other people around the world are having and achieving the very thing that lives in your heart. If they can have it and do it, so can you! But you’ll need to work for it first. You’ll probably need to rearrange your consciousness so that it can fit a new expectation of what you believe is possible. And this is where affirmations are useful.

Affirmations are simply statements or images that you feed yourself, thoughts and emotions that you tend to dwell on all the time. Everybody uses affirmations – you’re using them right now. The problem is that most people are using the wrong affirmations and getting the things they don’t want as a result.

The reason for this is that most peoples’ random self-talk is incredibly negative. That’s where affirmations come in. Affirmations are nothing more than carefully constructed words, phrases and stories that you design in advance that support the goals you’ve identified are important for you.

There are many books on this subject, and you can easily do a search and find the one(s) that speak to you.

But affirmations are key to you feeling positive about yourself and your career, and for helping you maintain the positive attitude that will enable you to persevere and succeed.

With all of the resources above: books, CD’s/MP3’s, subliminal recordings, goal setting, affirmations, etc., you’ll be able to put together a varied and full course of “food for your attitude” that you’ll be able to munch on throughout your day.

If you’re not doing this now, or have stopped, then start today. It is amazing how just a little bit of positive energy can turn around a day, a week, month and a whole life. Remember, all top producers have a positive, can do attitude. If you don’t believe me, then get around one of them – their attitude is contagious. Yours needs to be, too.

In ending this series on the Top Ten Characteristics of Top Performers, I hope you’ve seen some ideas that resonate and that you feel will work for you. Just adopting a few of these habits will have a dramatic effect on your career in sales, and on your life in general. Hopefully you’re already using some of the characteristics, and you already know how valuable they are.

Make a commitment today to put even more of them to work for yourself. I guarantee the more you use, the better you’ll feel and the better you’ll perform.

The Top Characteristic of Top Sales Producers

If you’re reading this article right now, then chances are you want to perform better in your sales career. It shows that you’re willing to take the time to search out tips and techniques that will give you an edge over your competition. That’s a good thing.

But are you ready to really commit to doing the things that will catapult you into that rarified air of top sales producers?

And chance are, you know who these top producers are. They’re the ones who are always at or near the top of the sales production list every month, always winning the sales contests, and who always seem to be in a good mood. They’re positive, confident, and they have that feeling that no matter what happens to the leads or the economy or the company, they’ll find a way to succeed.

Years ago I heard a sales motivator say that if you are willing to the do the things that most sales reps aren’t willing to do, then soon you’ll be able to do and have and enjoy the things that most sales reps will never be able to.

When I heard that statement, I was a struggling sales rep, and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was at a crossroads in my career, and I was either going to find a different way of making a living, or I was going to go back to school and get out of sales altogether.

What I chose to do was commit to being one of the top producers. I heard another motivator say that if the grass looks greener on the other side, then you need to fertilize your lawn. He said that you don’t have to change where you are to succeed, but rather you can bloom where you’re planted.

And I had many examples of that in the company where I worked. There were 25 sales reps, and while most of them had varying levels of inconsistent success (I call those the 80% of the any sales team), there were also the top producers who consistently were at the top of the sales charts. They were the ones who made the most commissions, drove the nice cars, went on the fun vacations.

These top producers were also the ones who made it look easy. They never seemed to struggle; instead, they seemed to intuitively know what to do. It was inspiring and intimidating at the same time. It wasn’t until I finally made a commitment to be one of them that I saw how much time and discipline and effort they put into being the best.

While it did take time, money and lots of effort for me to go from where I was as a struggling sales rep, with commitment and determination I became the number one sales rep at the company in 90 days. And the habits I developed allowed me to be the number one rep out of five branch offices just nine months later.

And you can do it, too. The good news is that success leaves clues, and if you’re willing to invest the time, money and effort into completely changing your results, your life and your family’s life, then you can. You can bloom where you’re planted, and you can start enjoying the things that top producers take for granted – the things that most sales reps will never get to enjoy.

I guarantee that if you adopt this one characteristic, then nothing will stop you from succeeding….

Top Characteristic of Top Sales Producers: Make a commitment to doing whatever is required of you to be a top producer.

Let me illustrate this with a story. Earlier this year, I was asked to give a keynote speech for a company of a little over 100 sales reps. Before I do any of these kinds of talks, I always ask to do a phone interview with their top producers. I reached out to their top sales rep, a woman working in Canada who had been with the company for just 15 months.

What was interesting about this sales rep was that she had come from a completely different industry – not sales – and yet in the course of about a year, she had become the top sales rep for all of the U.S. and Canada. As you can imagine, I was anxious to speak to her.

What I found out is what I always find out about top producers. When she joined the company, the first thing she did was make a commitment to work harder than another any person there, and to learn and practice the top principles of qualifying and closing sales.

I asked her how long she worked and she told me she regularly worked ten to twelve hours a day. I asked her about her family and kids and she said that’s what weekends were for.

When asked how many cold calls she made in a day, she told me about 100. The average sales rep in the company made about 25. I asked how she could make so many calls and still run appointments, and she said she began early, and made calls throughout the day – while waiting for an appointment in the field, after and between appointments, and then she made some more in the evening when others have long left the office.

When we talked about the specifics of the sale and how she qualified, she told me she gave her pitch on the first appointment call, told the prospect that she would then show them exactly what she just described and that at the end she would ask for a yes or no. “Will you be able to make a decision at that time?” was her last question on the appointment call.

Once on site, if the prospect tried to delay making a decision, she reminded him/her that they promised to commit at that time – yes or no – and she then began closing for the sale using proven, scripted (memorized and delivered naturally) closes that worked the majority of the time.

If the prospect simply wouldn’t commit, then she asked them to have a decision made by the end of the day (or next morning if an evening appointment), and she then called back for the yes or no. If it’s a no, she moved on.

When you break down what this number one rep did (and continues to do) to be so successful, you’ll find that she does “what most sales reps are not willing to do.” First, she’s made a commitment to working harder and smarter than all of the other reps in the company. When most sales reps are still at home drinking coffee, she is making calls. When most sales reps are shuffling their leads or thinking about lunch, she’s still making calls.

When other sales reps are semi-qualifying their prospects and then showing up and hoping and praying someone will buy, she’s already asked for a buying decision before she even gets there. And when many sales reps are put off with a stall at the end, she begins closing when she gets an objection.

Because of this commitment to be the best, she closes more sales than any other rep in the company (again, of 100+ sales reps). And this enables her to make double what the average sales rep makes, and triple what a third of the struggling reps make.

When I was at this annual sales conference, the company was giving out the awards, the bonus checks, and the family vacations and other perks. This top producer got all of these rewards, accolades and pats on the back. The other top producers (nine of them) got various awards as well. The other 90 sales reps? They got increased quotas, increased pressure and after three days at the conference, they went back to their jobs to struggle along for another year….

The bottom line in any career or profession is that the top performers are committed to putting in the time and effort to be the best. They are willing to pay the price for success by staying after practice to keep working, by putting in the time for film study or playbook study, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to perform at the top of their game. This is true of top athletes like Michael Jordan, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods, etc., and for top concert musicians, professional dancers, and virtually any other professional.

As someone once said, “The extra mile is never crowded.”

If you will commit this one characteristic, then you will be able to live, have, enjoy and do the things that most sales people will never be able to have, enjoy and do.

The Key to Using Your Imagination

I’m reading a great book this summer about the power of using your imagination, called “The Law and the Promise” by Neville. It’s the kind of book that adds very fine distinctions to the concept of the Law of Attraction, and acts almost like a graduate level work on the subject. It’s the kind of book that reminds you what you think you already know about the power of setting specific goals and visualizing their accomplishment, but it does so in a way that makes you go, “Ah hah!”

The key that I took from it is the distinction between thinking of an image or goal realized and thinking from the image instead. This difference is so important, that it means the difference between a vision or goal being manifested or not.

The book points out that everyone uses their imagination, and the way most people use it is to think about something. In other words, they imagine something – a new car, more money, a new home, etc. – and they think about what it looks like, or they visualize the image as being out there. For example, everyone can hold the image of a beach in their minds – everyone can visualize it. The imagination can create virtually any image and think about it. That’s how most people use their imagination.

The difference in thinking from the image rather than of the image is that when you think from the image, you become part of it. It ceases to be an abstract concept, and instead, by entering into the wish fulfilled, you feel its accomplishment and thereby manifest it much faster. As Neville says, everything we see is created by focused and sustained thought through imagination, and fastest way to sustain that thought is to think and feel from the image manifested.

What this means in practice is that it’s crucial to create an image and then to inhabit it by feeling, seeing, hearing, sensing, acting as if it has been manifested. The sooner you do that, the sooner it will come into being.

Neville has many other golden nuggets in this book, like:

“Imagine better than the best you know.”

“If we live in the dream – thinking from it – and not of it, then the creative power of imagining will answer our adventurous fancy, and the wish fulfilled will break in upon us and take us unawares.”

“The drama of life originates in the imagination of man.”

“Life would undergo a change of appearance because we ourselves had undergone a change in attitude.”

I love that last quote about attitude. I’ve written many times about how changing our attitudes can change everything else too. Remember it was Zig Ziglar that said, “It’s our attitude, not our aptitude that determines our altitude.”

If you are looking for another book to add to your summer reading, then pick up this gem and read it today. It’s a fast read (you could read it in an afternoon), but it is a rich read as well. All books of truth are. I hope that learning to live from your dreams help you manifest them even sooner.

Three Things You Need to Have to Be Happy

Are you happy?

I mean consistently, get out of bed, enthused about another day happy?

Or, do you wake up and wonder if it’s the weekend yet? Or worse, if it’s the weekend already, do you still wake up and wonder when the weekend is coming?

I was talking with a client the other day and he told me about a psychologist he heard being interviewed on the radio, and the psychologist had a very simple three-step process to being happy. He said that if you examine all the happy people in the world, they generally all have these three things in common. Here’s what they are:

#1) Someone to love. This is an important ingredient for happiness for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that it gets you thinking of someone else other than you. Let’s face it – the quickest way to feeling miserable is to think only about yourself all the time. If you don’t believe me, just try it for a few hours.

When you have someone to love, however, you spend much more of your time thinking about their welfare instead of your own. Also, you now have someone to share life with – both the good and the bad. You are no longer in this thing alone. You have someone on your side and someone who knows you and cares about you. This someone to love can be a spouse, a partner, or someone you are dating or in a relationship with.

The person can also be a son or daughter, or even another family member. In some instances the bond with a pet can be strong enough for awhile. I remember once I got a cat and told my chiropractor, and she asked how long I had been without a pet. I told her over 10 years and she said, “How did you go so long without unconditional love?”

John Lennon said, “All you need is Love.” It turns out there are two more things you need to have:

#2) Something to do. Boredom is a killer. It can kill a relationship, a vacation or just a weekend. In fact, compare how you feel when you don’t have anything planned for a weekend to how you feel when you wake up with a list of things to accomplish or enjoy. It’s a different experience, isn’t it?

Mark Twain said “To be busy is man’s greatest happiness,” and I agree. That’s one of the reasons I love sales. In sales there is always plenty to do. There are people to call, deals to close, clients to work with, and sales reps to train. I have a thousand things to do in my business, and I love them all.

After work I fill my time with the gym, with writing, with friends and, of course, with spending time with my wife. Together we make plans to get together with friends, find ways to help others and then engage in one of our favorite activities – planning vacations and trips together. And that leads to the third thing you must have to be happy:

#3) Something to look forward to. The other day, I was looking at an email from a travel site I subscribe to (travelzoo.com) and they had just sent out their weekly travel specials. I almost deleted it because I have a very busy second quarter coming up, but I opened it at the last moment.

When I went down the list of travel deals they had, I was amazed to see a deal to Honolulu for five nights that included air for two and a five night stay at my favorite hotel on Waikiki Beach – the Mona Surfrider. It included airport transfers, breakfast for five days and even two cocktails each evening. The price was amazing. Ten minutes later my wife and I were booked!

What’s amazing about this is how I felt immediately after I paid for our reservation. Before it I was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the work I had to do. But the moment I got off the phone with Pleasant Holidays, I was a changed man! There was a lightness in my step, and all I could think about was getting there and sitting on the beach watching the sun set the first night. I could already feel the soft trade winds blowing and the Hawaiian band playing there under the Banyan Tree. Heck, I get excited by it just writing this!

It was at that moment I realized and remembered how important it is to have something to look forward to.

As I listened to my client describe the three things you need to be happy I smiled to myself when I realized I agreed. In that moment, happiness was simple. And when I hung up with him and thought about it some more, I realized that I was indeed happy.

And that made me smile some more….

Here’s the Secret to Success

Want to know an important secret? The most powerful technique to ensure your immediate and continued success is staying focused on what you want – all aspects of it – and not give in to worry, doubt, or to the temporary circumstances are happening right now in your life. I know this sounds simple, but most people find it extremely hard to practice.

While everyone understands the importance of goal setting, what usually happens after the excitement wears off is that reality sets in. You may have a goal to earn a certain amount of money, or drive a different type of car, etc, but after you receive a few checks that seem to be about the same, or after you get back into your old car for a few months, have you ever found that you forget about your goal and just start accepting that things are probably going to remain the same?

Or have you ever attended a motivational seminar or read a motivational book and been fired up for a while? Have you even taken some of the advice and written down your new goals or even taken some action and tried a new marketing plan or diet? If you have, then you’ve probably experienced the kind of let down that comes from not making progress fast enough and then laying in bed at night worrying about your income or about your future (again).

In fact, let me ask you right now: “How much of your thinking is about what you don’t want to happen or about what might happen if something you’re trying to accomplish doesn’t work out?”

The answer to that one question will always determine your ultimate success. You see, the secret to all success is to be able to stay focused on exactly what you want regardless of how long it takes, or what else is currently happening. It is this single ability to stay focused, committed and always trained on the end result you want – no matter what – that enables you to ultimately achieve any goal you set.

So how do you stay focused on what it is you want when so much seems to be contrary, or your mind constantly says, “Yes, but….”? Here are some tips that help me, and might help you as well.

I remember when I wanted to upgrade my Nissan Hatchback to a Mercedes. Well, at first I couldn’t afford the down payment, didn’t know how I was going to make the monthly payments, insurance, etc. Instead of trying to figure all that out, I started with the thought, “If other reps in the office drive nice cars and they seem to be able to write enough business to afford them, why not me?”

That basic belief was the core driving thought that I always went back to when I had a bad sales day or week. Whenever my mind started to go negative on me with the, “Who are you kidding? You a Mercedes?” And so forth, I would always reaffirm what I could believe in – “If others could do it, I could do it too!”

After that, I strengthened my vision by going to a Mercedes dealership and test driving the car I wanted; I had the sales rep at the dealership take pictures of me next to my ideal car (in fact you can see that exact picture by clicking here and scrolling down a bit). I brought all the brochures home of the car I wanted and kept them on my desk and looked at them often. And then I wrote an affirmation card and spent three to five times a day slowly visualizing how I felt now that I owned my dream car.

That combination – always combating any negative thoughts with a thought I could believe in – “If others could do it, I could as well” – along with constantly feeding myself the feelings of having accomplished my goal, enabled me to stay focused on what I wanted, rather than on what I didn’t have.

The result? Four months after writing up my affirmation card and making the commitment to owning the car of my dreams, I went back to the same dealership and bought the exact car I had been visualizing about.

So my question to you is this: What do you want, and what belief can you believe in now that can become your default self talk that will counteract any negative thinking? And then what kinds of reinforcement tools can you surround yourself with that will keep you focused on how you’ll feel once you attain your goal? These, coupled with an affirmation paragraph that you read and visualize several times a day, will keep you focused on what you want.

And once you do that, your goal will always become a reality…

Why Not You?

Russell Wilson, the 5’11, 25 year old Seattle Seahawks quarterback who just won the Superbowl, loves to tell the story of how his dad pulled him aside when he was a kid struggling to make teams because he was so small. His dad would tell him, “Russ, you’ve got the talent, you’ve got the drive and the work habits, why not you? Why not you?”

Wilson says those words became the driving force that kept him competing for starting jobs on college teams and kept him working hard to get drafted in the NFL. On draft day, he watched as other quarterbacks got picked in the first round, and then the second round. The announcers who covered Wilson back then all said that if he were only 3 inches taller he would be a first round draft pick. Finally, with the 12th pick in the third round, the Seahawks drafted the undersized quarterback.

When Wilson showed up for training camp, it was almost certain he would sit on the bench behind highly prized free agent, Matt Flynn. Matt had been Aaron Rodgers’ back up in Green Bay and had a franchise record setting, 6 touchdown performance at the end of the previous season. Millions of dollars later, Matt was projected to be the Seahawk’s starter for years to come.

As Wilson started training camp, he heard his coaches say that the starting quarterback spot was open to the best player at that position.

“Why not you?”

These words rang in Wilson’s head again as he practiced, competed and performed during off season workouts and throughout the preseason. By the final game, Wilson was named the starter, and he went on to have an amazing 2012 rookie season.

As the 2013 season began, Wilson had a message for his team: “Why not us?” Every player bought into those words and that became their team mantra as they went on to a dominating 13-3 season. In February as they headed out of the tunnel to start Superbowl XLVIII, they all believed that no matter who their opponent was, there was no reason they couldn’t be hoisting the Lombardi trophy at the end of the game.

After all, “Why not them?”

As I read these stories throughout the season, I kept thinking about a similar mantra I adopted once I committed to becoming a top producer. I was struggling just to pay my rent at the time, but I’ll never forget looking at the top three producers and the porches they drove and the suits they wore and trips they won and thinking, “What do they have that I don’t?”

I realized they all were selling the product I was, had access to the same leads, the same sales scripts, the same amount of time in the day. What was different, I wondered? When I discovered it was only their commitment and ambition, I knew that I could do it too. And that’s when I developed the mantra:

“If they can do it, I can do it better!”

Once I made that commitment, I knew I could work harder and work smarter. I could learn all the top sales skills they were using, and I could perfect them even more. The old determination came back to me, and I suddenly remembered being in college. I knew I could get “A’s” there, too, if I was willing to commit, and I did. And if I did it there, I could do it here. After all, I had three role models who were doing it day in and day out.

“If they can do it, I can do it better!” That mantra drove me to succeed. I relentlessly listened to my recorded calls and committed to improving on the very next call. I learned how to qualify leads, and I learned how to listen (thank god for the mute button). I developed affirmations and began visualizing my success. And each and every day, probably a hundred times or more, I would repeat to myself:

“If they can do it, I can do it better.”

And I did. In 90 days I went from last place out of 25 sales reps to being #1. And I never looked back. Nine months later, I was the top rep out of 5 branch offices and won the closer of the year award. (That award, by the way, was a Corvette convertible. You can see a picture of me standing in front of it here – scroll down a bit).

I’m going to borrow a line from Anthony Robbins right now and say that I’m not telling you this to impress you, but rather to impress upon you that if YOU make a similar commitment, then YOU can also become a top producer at your company or in your industry.

And once you do this, entire world changes. Your family’s life changes. Your future changes. You sleep better every night and you don’t dread Mondays.

Once you become a top producer, you never go back and suddenly you know how to succeed in selling anything. I’m here to tell you, the freedom from worry, from debt, from the future is an amazing feeling and one you owe to yourself and to your family.

Now if you’re wondering if you can really achieve this kind of success in sales, I’ll borrow a line from the 3rd round pick of the 2012 NFL draft:

“Why not you?”

I Agree With Jeffrey Gitomer About These Two Things

Now, let me just say for the record that I agree with a lot more than just these two things that Jeffrey says, but these are things I’ve known for many, many years. I hope they resonate with you, too.

So here’s the scene: Large corporate sales convention in the company’s training center, over 250 sales reps flown in from all over the country; Sales directors, V.P.s, sales managers all running around stressing over the schedule, quotas, current sales, etc.

I’m speaking to the entire group (owners, board members in the audience, too), and after the training portion of my presentation, I ask the question that gets the managers and directors to shift uneasily in their seats: “What are the two most important determining factors in making sales and exceeding quotas?”

The reps raise their hands and start firing away, “Leads,” “The economy,” “The price of the product,” “Territory,” they yell out. The managers and directors are now sweating, and the owners and board members look irritated and even a little angry.

“While those things all play a part, the problem with them is that you have no control over them. So for that reason alone, they don’t qualify as being the most important things.” I tell them.

“There are only two things you CAN control and those happen to be the most important factors affecting your success. And they always will be,” I say. And what are those two things?

Your attitude and your actions.

Everything else flows from those two things. And the good news is that both of those things are directly under your control and when you learn to develop and maintain an expectant and enthusiastic attitude, and you take smart, consistent actions, you will always get the results you plan for.”

After I delivered this (and the rest of my talk), the managers and directors, V.P.’s and owners were all smiles. And so were the Top 20%, because they know the truth.

Ask any top performer this question, and you will get the same answer, albeit, in a different way. Some will say it’s how hard they work; others will say it’s their mental preparation, and still others will attribute their success to visualizing a win. But it all comes down to the same thing.

A winner will always take 100% responsibility for their results, while the other 80% will blame it on things outside their control. And that’s why winners will always eventually win, and the rest of the players will lose and make excuses.

It’s like my friend Jeffrey Gitomer once said, “Your boss can’t stop you; your co-workers can’t stop you; your territory can’t stop you; the economy can’t stop you. Only YOU can permanently stop you.” (I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it.)

In today’s business environment of social media, product reviews, so many Internet options to buy, etc., it’s crucially important that you develop, feed, and maintain a positive, expectant attitude of success. No matter what you’re going through right now, circumstances will change, and they WILL get better. The question is, what extra actions are you taking right now to ensure your success? Are you working harder AND smarter? Are you coming in early and leaving late? Are you going that extra mile every day including Fridays? Are you visualizing your success?

The bottom line is that if you focus on and take care of the two things you can control – your attitude and your actions – then nothing will stop you from reaching your goals.

That was a message all 250 sales reps in needed to hear, and I know that 20% of them already knew it and were already practicing it.

How about you?