Doctor or Salesperson – Which Would You Rather Be?

Saw these average salaries quoted in USA Today last week:

Physicians are the highest paid salaried employees in the U.S.: $187,876 a year.

Pharmacy managers are second at $149,064 per year.

Third are patent attorneys at $139,272.

Fourth are medical science liaisons at $132,842.

When I was growing up, my parents wanted me to be a doctor – or a lawyer. They argued that I’d make lots of money, have job security, and would have a highly respectable career.

When I was in college, I was working towards my doctorate in psychology. After I received my B.A., however, something happened – I took a summer job in sales. I intended to go back to school, because I thought “sales” was beneath me. I still wanted to be a doctor like my parents wanted me to be.

But something else happened that summer: I made almost $47,000 in commissions (it was a commission only position), and suddenly the thought of going back to school for six more years, incurring hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans, and then working 80 hours+ as an intern wasn’t so appealing.

In fact, as I looked around at the top sales reps in the company I worked for (a financial services firm with 25, full time, commission only sales reps), I saw that the top performers were driving Porsches, owned beautiful homes, and were already saving for retirement. And they were in their twenties….

And here’s another thing: most of them had never even been to college.

To be clear – at the time, I wasn’t a top producer, and like most of the other sales reps at the company I soon became stuck in just getting by. It was at this point that I had to make a decision:

I could put in three to six months of studiously learning and perfecting the craft of sales – and this included working harder than I ever had, rigorously follow my scripts (rewrite and personalize them when and where needed), record and listen to myself daily, and commit to doing everything I could, each day (weekends included!) to get better – or I could quit, apply for loans, and hope I got into graduate school.

One path would lead me to top production in sales where I could make literally hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, take vacations whenever and wherever I wanted, and give me complete job security (I could work for whomever I chose once I became a top producer), and the other path, well, consider:

If I chose to become a doctor, I would be looking at years of rigorous and demanding school work. More years as an intern and then resident (at a city that might need new doctors), and hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, before I made a dime.

In addition, If I became a surgeon, I would work crazy hours most of my career, be on call at all hours of the night and weekends, be completely responsible to my patients and those working in my office, and I likely wouldn’t be getting my Porsche for many years.

For me, that choice was easy to make. I choose a career in sales. But not just an average career, I made a commitment to becoming a top selling professional.

And because I was willing to commit the time, energy, and money needed to excel, I became a top producer in that company in 90 days. Nine months later, I was the top rep out of five branch offices, and 16 months later I was promoted to sales manager.

And please don’t mistake this story as me trying to impress you. Instead, I’m trying to impress upon you that if I could do it, you can do it, too.

Sales have been a great choice, and I’m forever thankful I made it. But the decision that allowed me to be so successful was to commit to learning the craft of sales. It’s something I teach every week when training, and I write about it in my new book, “Power Phone Scripts.” It’s in the first chapter on the “Ten Characteristics of Top Sales Producers.”

If you have decided that you’re probably not going to become a doctor, but you’d like to live like one (with less stress, by the way), then make a commitment to your craft. Start by investing in my new book and then do what I recommend.

Believe me, if you do, this will become one of the wisest decision you’ve ever made.

The 5 Secrets of Motivating Your Sales Team

Having trouble motivating your team? You’re not alone.

Every member of your team has different skill levels, interest levels, and different ways of learning. Because of this, not everyone will respond the same way to your methods of managing and motivating, and that means you need different ways of motivating, mentoring, counseling, or even some babysitting.  Sound familiar?

Let’s face it: true motivation comes from within. In some way, each member of your team is already motivated. The secret (or five secrets) is to build on each team member’s internal motivation and learn to maximize it.

Here are five things you can do today to get the most out of your team —

#1) Make your monthly revenue goal, and each rep’s part of that goal, crystal clear. I’m sure you have a monthly revenue goal, but does each member of your sales team know what their specific part of that goal is? (Hint — it’s not all equal). Recognize that some reps will produce much more of the overall goal than others, but also make sure each person is clear on what their part of that overall goal is. And then coach to that.

#2) Make bonuses or prizes specific to each team member. The problem with most bonus programs is that as soon as they are released, over half of the sales team knows they can’t win so they are more discouraged than encouraged to produce. Instead, spend some time learning what each person would really want, and then customize each rep’s bonus and tie it to their individual production goal.

If a rep hits their goal, then they win something that is meaningful to them. This also makes each rep responsible for hitting their own goal.

#3) Get out of your own comfort zone and close some deals. Most managers are way too busy in meetings, or reporting, or just plain hiding out to be really effective. Remember one thing — as the manager, you are the leader. And leaders lead by example.

Want to motivate your team, make your numbers, and create real value for yourself? Go onto the floor and close business for some of your sales reps and help them make their revenue goals. This is the most important thing you can do not only for your bottom line, but for your team’s motivation as well.

#4) Invest $100 in a couple of trophies. This will be the best money you’ll ever spend — make one a “Week’s most improved,” or “Best effort,” and hand it out each Monday morning.

Each winner gets to keep it on their desk that week. The other trophy can be either “Most deals,” or “Most new clients.” or whatever other category everyone has a chance to win (as long as it is revenue related). Again, hand it out in your Monday morning sales meeting and each week the winner gets to keep it on their desk.

Remember rule #1 in motivating: recognition among peers is almost always more important than money.

#5) Have some fun! Go to a toy store and buy one of those beanbag tosses, and after lunch on Friday make some teams and have some fun playing as a team. Tack on $50 for good measure and watch the competition and fun build your team and dissolve stress.  This works – try it!

So there you have it. Inexpensive, proven techniques to build morale, motivate and make more money.

Want a bonus? Invest in and give each member of your team a copy of my new book: Power Phone Scripts.” See it here. In it, they’ll find scripts, techniques, email templates, voice mail scripts, and so much more that they can use to help motivate themselves.

Invest in them to help them invest in themselves. Now there’s a proven way to motivate your sales team!

How to Increase Your Closing Percentage

Let me ask you a question: Do all of your leads end up buying?

Of course not.

Next question: Out of ten leads that you set up to pitch a demo to, how many of those ten end up buying?

If you said “two” then you are at the industry average. Now consider what that really means: It means that out of ten closes you attempt, eight are not going to buy!

Now think about all the time and energy you spend trying to close a lead that is never going to buy anyway. Think about all the time and effort you spend following up, chasing, sending emails and leaving voice mails. It’s no wonder most sales people go home exhausted at the end of the week and are discouraged when they come into work on Monday and look at their list of prospects to call back…

I used to be one of those discouraged sales reps until I learned about disqualifying prospects rather than qualifying them.

This was a crucial attitude shift that changed my career. Think about it: 80% of sales reps are desperate to “fill their pipelines,” and will send out just about anybody with the pulse just so they have someone to pitch later on. Companies and sales managers train them in this way (“It’s a numbers game,” they claim.), and then sales reps spend their time chasing unqualified leads, getting rejected, practicing poor sales skills, and becoming discouraged.

It’s sad, but that’s how 80% of your competition spend their sales careers. This leads to poor morale, upset managers, and a lot of turn over.

Top sales reps, however, would never think of sending out unqualified leads, and instead eliminate prospects who don’t fit their strict criteria of a buyer.  Top sales reps would rather disqualify a lead than put barely qualified leads into their pipeline just so they have someone to pitch.

And because of this, top sales reps send out (or set up) the fewest leads (appointments, demos, presentations, etc.) in the office. But the important thing is they have the highest closing rates and their paychecks tend to be higher.

So what does “disqualifying” prospects really mean? It means pausing and questioning the “red flags” they get, rather than ignoring them and hoping they go away. It means having and following a “qualifying checklist,” and asking the tough questions about budget, buying motives, competition, timelines, decision makers and decision processes.

When a top rep is done generating a lead, they can tell you why the prospect will buy, what potential objections may come up, and in many cases they’ve already asked trial closes and can tell you when the prospect will buy and what the process will entail.

If you’re sitting at your desk right now, staring at a list of prospects you have to call back, then you know the difference between just setting appointments to pitch and disqualifying out the non-buyers and setting up truly qualified leads and demos.

And now you have a choice to make. You can either keep creating and chasing unqualified leads, or you can step up to the plate and start asking the tough questions and truly disqualify out leads that are just going to waste your time and not buy at the end of your demo.

The sooner you do that, the sooner your closing percentage will go up, your energy level and attitude will go up, and your income will go up. And that pretty much describes top sales producers.

Sorry, Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect

Practice doesn’t make perfect,

only practice of perfection makes perfect.

–Anonymous

This is one of my favorite sayings, and I love to use it during training or during a speaking event. I ask the audience how many people think that practice makes perfect, and you should see the hands shoot up! Everyone has heard this saying since they were kids, and most people believe it is true. And you should see the look on their faces when I tell them it’s not.

As they slowly put their hands down, I tell them that practice only makes permanent. If you practice something wrong – a golf swing, a sales rebuttal, etc. – you’re going to get really good at doing it wrong. In fact, it will be easy for you to be bad at something automatically, you won’t even have to think about it!

Unfortunately, whenever I go into a company and listen to their pitch, or the way they handle objections, or open their calls, I hear it. Many sales teams, and sales reps, are practicing poor selling techniques over and over again. And because they get into the same situations over and over again, they just keep saying and practicing the poor techniques.

And this is why they don’t see the consistent results they want. Think about it: If your prospect tells you at the end of your demo that they need to talk to their partner or spouse before they can make a decision, the right response isn’t, “Okay, when do you think I can call you back?” That is practicing a poor selling skill, and the result is a lot of calls backs and chasing unqualified leads.

The proper response – and the way to practice perfection in this instance – is to isolate this stall by saying, “I understand and you should speak with them. And if, after you do, they tell you to do what you think is best, then based on what we’ve just gone over, what would you tend to do?”

By isolating this stall – rather than buying into it – you’ll soon learn that any answer other than, “I’d do it,” means that asking their so-called partner or spouse isn’t the real objection. There is something else holding them back, and until you uncover and deal with that first, then you are just going to get stalled by this objection over and over again.

Practicing poor selling skills has another danger as well. It also ingrains poor techniques and turns them into habits. And habits are very hard to break. In fact, when teaching a team new and better selling techniques, one of the biggest challenges is getting them to first “un-learn” their old, ineffective habits. While they may do well in the first week or two with the new approach I teach, soon, if they’re not diligent, they can drift back to their old habits and poor skills.

That’s why constant, ongoing work and commitment is required in the first 90 days to make sure they learn and adopt the new habit of a best practice technique.

The good news is that by concentrating on practicing perfection, you’ll not only get better results – and what better reinforcement is there? – but you’ll also develop better habits. Soon, if you really stay focused and keep practicing your new techniques, it will be easy for you to succeed in the selling situations and objections you get into over and over again. And then soon, it will be like you to do things well and become a top producer.

And that’s when selling become easy, and your career becomes much more rewarding.

First We Form Habits, Then They Form Us

“First we form habits, 

then they form us.”

–Bob Moawad, Edge Learning Institute

I just worked with a great inside sales team in Louisville, KY (hi Kathy, Darryl and the team!), and this week they begin working with a new, best practice approach that is going to make them much more successful. I’m excited for them! At the close of each day of training, I told them that the biggest challenge isn’t going to be learning the new scripted approach (although that will definitely take some effort), but rather it will be in unlearning their old habits.

Now don’t get me wrong, habits are a good thing and without them we couldn’t get much done. In fact, the great thing about forming a habit is that once you do, you can rely on it almost unconsciously and so devote your time and energy to other things. Just think about driving your car. Once you learn how, you no longer have to take the time to learn how to pull out into traffic, change lanes, or learn how to parallel park. You just get in and your habit of driving takes over!

When you come to think about it, our lives are made up of a series of habits: habits of eating and exercise, of communicating with other people, family members, etc., and hundreds of other routines of living (think about brushing your teeth – do you floss?). Just imagine how much more difficult life would be if you had to learn all these things over every day!

So habits are a wonderful thing – if they are good ones. Unfortunately, we also can develop bad habits. Once, when I was working onsite for a few months many years ago, I got in the habit of visiting the food truck at the 10:00 A.M. break. They had the most delicious French Fries with a tangy salt, and I developed the habit of having them every day. Well, after three months I had put on almost five pounds.

That’s when I remembered today’s quote. What I found was that the French Fries habit I had formed was suddenly forming me! And when you think about it, all habits work the same way. And this is especially true in sales. If we develop poor prospecting habits, then we create unqualified prospects and appointments. This leads to a low closing percentage. If we develop an aversion to asking for the order, then we tend to create a lot of call backs.

Because many sales teams have developed bad selling habits, the first thing they need to do is unlearn the bad habits before they can learn newer, better ones. Here are three tips for doing just that:

  • The first thing you want to do is make sure it is easy for you to adopt the new habit of a better approach. In the case of learning a new scripted sales approach, I always like to use the Adele example. How many of you know the words to the song, “Hello”? Lots of you, right? That’s because you’ve heard it a hundred times!

The best way to learn a new script is to record yourself practicing it into a recording device (all smart phones have one), and then commit to listening to your recording 30 to 40 times. If you do that, then using them will become an easier habit for you.

  • Record yourself. Because habits are mostly unconscious, we often don’t even know when we’re using them! By recording yourself, and then listening to your recordings daily, you will become aware of what you’re saying, and you’ll have the ability to change that.
  • Reward yourself when you use the new scripted approach. When you catch yourself using the new scripts, give yourself some positive reinforcement. Hit a “That was easy” Staples button (get one for your desk), or use positive affirmations to support yourself. I used to say to myself, “See, I knew I could do it. And watch this, I’m going to do it again!”

Just know that the good news is that once you displace an old habit with a more effective one, the new one will take on a life of its own as well. That’s why top sales producers remain top sales producers regardless of what company they work for or what product or service they are selling.

So commit to learning a better practice approach in your sales environment, and then commit to developing it into a habit. When you do, you’ll find that your new habit will soon be forming a more successful and productive you!

Current Prospecting Tips that Work

Do you hate prospecting by phone? “Who doesn’t?” is probably your answer. And who can blame you. First you have to deal with gatekeepers, receptionists, office managers, etc.

Then, if you do finally get through to someone, you get blow offs, resistance, and the old, “Just email me something, and I’ll look at it.” Yeah, right.

Imagine if I told you many of the ways you’re approaching your prospects are actually causing the objections you’re getting? Some of the wrong things to say are:

“Did I reach you at a good time?”

And

“I’m just calling to learn a little more about your company…”

Many sales reps think they are being polite when they use these kinds of openings, but in reality they’re just making it easy for prospects to blow them off.

Wouldn’t you like to know:

  • Better ways of opening your conversations?
  • Proven ways to deal with gatekeepers?
  • Word for word scripts to deal with common blow offs like “Just email me something?”

If you’ve read this far, then you’re in luck. By clicking the link below, you’ll get access to a 34 page sample of my new book, “Power Phone Scripts: 500 Questions, Phrases, and Word-For-Word Scripts to Help You Open and Close More Sales.”

And in this sample, you’ll get all the scripts and techniques to help you deal with the situations above. All for free.

Get your sample here.

And if you like what you read, why not get a copy of this powerful handbook for all your team members and yourself. Keep it near the phone to instantly improve your effectiveness on the phones. Increase your sales and build your confidence. All for $28!

Also, if you’d like a limited edition signed copy of the book, use this link to order.

Either way, invest in yourself, in your team and company, and start winning more sales, more easily.

Get yours today!

Your Comfort Zone and Your Success

“Everything you want in the world is just right outside

your comfort zone. Everything you could possibly want!”

– Jennifer Aniston, actress

I once heard a joke that goes like this: “The only reason there are matinee movies in large metropolitan cities is for commission sales reps who have hit their comfort zone income early in the month.”

I remember my thoughts when I first heard this. I remember thinking that when I got near the production I needed to make my expenses for the month, I let my foot off the pedal. Once I knew I was covered, I just wanted to relax.

I remember how it was in the early part of my career, I was more interested in getting by than in succeeding. I didn’t have any goals, and I certainly didn’t see myself advancing in my career. Inside I was secretly hoping to go back to school and get my doctorate in psychology. I was just sort of hanging out in my job until the time was right.

What always interested me though, were the top producers. There were three people in my company who made considerably more money than me and it showed. They drove beautiful cars, and owned homes, and won all the bonuses. I had no idea how they did it, and it wasn’t until I heard about the concept of a comfort zone that I put it all together.

What I learned is that the only difference between my production and those of the top 20% was what we expected of ourselves, and how hard we were willing to work to get it. I learned that if I wanted to achieve more, in my job or even back in school, then I had to be willing to examine and step outside my comfort zone.

If I wanted more from my job, I had to get to work earlier, use a scripted, best practice approach, record myself daily, etc. That was the “try harder” part. But it also meant that I needed to expect more. I had to be willing to step outside of my comfort zone and think bigger.

This was the hardest part because it meant I needed to believe I could have and I could achieve more. It was hard to change my expectations and my beliefs, but I did it incrementally by setting small goals and achieving those first. It was then easier to raise my goals a little more. By doing this over time, I raised my comfort zone.

In my experience, everything and anything is possible if I’m willing to believe it is. I like to say that if anyone else has something or has done something, then I can do it, too. And so can you – as long as you are willing to get out of your comfort zone and put in the work.

The Importance of Following Up

Let me ask you this: If you just met with a really hot prospect, how long would you wait before you followed up? A day? A couple of days? A week?

Here’s my experience with a couple of real estate agents a while ago:

My wife and I were selling our home and interviewed some real estate agents to represent us. I got a couple of referrals from some good friends in our neighborhood, reached out to them, and told them we wanted to meet.

I think I’d call that a hot lead, wouldn’t you?

So one night we met the first agents – a husband and wife team – who had been selling real estate in our neighborhood for years, and claimed to be the Number One agents in this area (it’s odd that the other two agents we met with also claimed to be the Number One agents as well, but that’s a discussion for another article).

We spent a couple of hours with this team, really like them, liked their recent experience and success on the next block over, and loved their strategy. We told them that we’d be meeting with another agent referral the next night but that we would get back with them the day after that.

O.K., so now comes the test: When would you, if you were them, get back with us?

The right answer is 9 A.M. the very next morning. If I were them, I would have sent a quick email saying it was so nice meeting my wife and me, that I really liked the house, and that I was confident I could sell our home using the strategy I had outlined. I’d say if there was anything I could do, just reach out to me, and that I look forward to speaking with them (me) very soon.

No brainer, right? Well, we got….nothing.

Okay. So the next night we had the other agents over – a team of two “Number One” selling agents in our area. We liked their pitch also, and we were impressed by how much they wanted to list our house for. In fact, when they left, we were leaning towards hiring them. We told them about the other couple we met, and told them we’d have an answer for them in the morning…

Now, how long do you think it took for them to follow up with us?

Believe it or not, they didn’t reach back out to us for over a week!

A week! I’m still stunned because, as we told them we’d have a definite answer by the very next morning. Did we get a follow up email? No. Did we get a follow up phone call? No. Here we are a HOT lead, and they didn’t even follow up?!

What’s wrong with these sales people?

In the meantime, the first couple emailed us the next day asking what happened with our other meeting and expressed their strong desire to work with us. When we told them about how the other team wanted to list our house for more money, they immediately cautioned against that and told us they wanted to meet with us again – that day even – to explain their strategy again. They redeemed themselves and ended up getting our business.

So here’s the lesson for all you sales reps and business owners out there – don’t wait days or weeks to follow up prospects! Especially the hot ones! A simple email that thanks them for their time, acknowledges how much you learned and how excited you are to help them will go A LONG WAY to earning you their business.  Especially since not many other sales reps have this kind of urgency.

If you need some follow up strategies that really work, along with some word for word emails and voicemails, then invest in my new book: Power Phone Scripts: 500 Phrases, Questions, and Word-for-Word Scripts to Open and Close More Sales.

BONUS: Get hundreds of dollars in bonuses from top sales experts like Jeffrey Gitomer, Jeb Blount, Mark Hunter and more when you order here

General Patton on Singleness of Focus

“You must be single-minded. Drive
for the one thing on which you have decided.”

–George S. Patton Jr.
U.S. Army General

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big multi-tasker. This is especially true at work. When I get in each morning, I look at my calendar of to do’s, and as soon as I get started on one task, my email beeps, and I take on something else. Next, my assistant reminds me of an article or email I need to write, so I start that as well. Then a client asks for something, and before long, I’m doing five things at once. The next thing I know, it’s 5 P.M., and I haven’t done any of my follow up calls, let alone prospecting. If you’re like many other professionals I know, you can probably relate.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not knocking multi-tasking. In some applications, like straightening up my office or gardening, it’s great. But I learned a long time ago that in business – or any other major endeavor – having singleness of focus is crucial to being ultra-successful and accomplishing the goal that is going to give my life the most impact. And anytime I forget this, I pay for it. For example:

In my business as a consultant, I get approached by other companies and people all the time to resell or become a side vendor for their product or service. Years ago, I would divert my attention lots of times and plunge in, thinking I could develop another source of revenue for my consulting practice. Instead, what almost always happened is the moment I took my absolute focus off my core business – consulting and training – my income and the growth of my practice suffered.

A specific example of this is a company and service I love and still use called Send Out Cards. Some of you may know that it’s a direct marketing company (multi-level marketing), that creates and sends out customized greeting cards and gifts. When I was introduced to SOC, I knew at once what a great asset it would be for my business. It allowed me to create a customized campaign of cards that keeps me top of mind for prospects of my business. I signed up and started using it immediately (and still do).

When I signed up though, I also signed up as a distributor. Because I had a list of thousands of other business people who would benefit from using cards to keep them top of mind as well, it was a no-brainer that I become a reseller. So I plunged in. I spent time giving webinars every month, answered countless emails, had phone conferences and training sessions. My goal was to build a substantial downline and then sit back as thousands of dollars rolled in in residual income.

What happened was very different. As I took my attention and energy off my consulting business, my prospects dried up and my income went down. Soon, I was pulled in two different directions, and I wasn’t making much money from either of them! I realized that I needed to get back to my core business, and that I needed to put my sole focus on it. I did that, and after a few months, my prospect list was full, and I was booking lots of business again. What I learned is what General Patton is talking about in this quote: Pick one thing and focus and drive towards it. If you do, you’ll be successful at it.

I can point to countless examples of how important singleness of focus is: concentrating on school full time; committing to being a top producer when I was in sales; becoming a world class consultant/trainer in inside sales. Whenever I focus on just one thing – full time – I succeed quickly at it. Whenever I try to multi-task, however, or do two or three things at once, they all suffer, and I don’t make much progress.

I’ll end with Brian Tracy’s advice on goal setting: Make a list of ten super important goals for the next 12 months. After you have, look at that list and identify the one that, if you were to accomplish it, would have the greatest impact on your life and your future. Once you have identified it, throw the other nine away and concentrate, 100%, on the one goal that will mean the most for your life.

Just remember, multi-tasking is great for somethings, but for the big things, the life changing things, singleness of focus is the key to success.

Hard Work Pays Off: I’m So Annoyed My Father Was Right

“Hard work pays off. I am so
annoyed at my father for being
right about that.”

–Lena Dunham, actress

This quote sure struck a chord with me. I can still hear my own father telling me how important hard work was. He used to say, “There’s no substitute for hard work, Michael.” And he used to practice what he preached. He was always the first one up in the morning, around 5am, and he wouldn’t return until after 7:30pm. He would spend an hour or so chatting with my mom after dinner, and then it was time for bed.

As a young teenager, I followed his lead. I used to work the summer doing odd jobs for people, for $1.10 an hour, and when I was 16 years old, I got my first job at Jack in the Box. I saved my own money for my first car, and when I was 17 years old, I had three jobs after school and even moved into my own apartment. I worked my way through UCLA, but when I graduated and started my first inside sales job, something changed.

When I watched some of the top brokers at my new company make big money and saw them wearing nice suits and driving nice cars, I thought that after a few months on the phone, I had paid my dues and that I should have that, too. In fact, after making hundreds of cold calls, I felt I deserved it….

But that didn’t happen. After three months, I was struggling, and then resenting my lack of success. “Don’t you know who I am?” I thought to myself. “I’m a college graduate” (more than I could say about many of the reps there), and after three more months, I was secretly thinking that I could probably run the company.

Did they acknowledge me? Nope. So what did I do? I copped more resentments and started hanging out at the break room grumbling with the other bottom performers. As I was sneaking out early one Friday, my manager confronted me and read me the riot act. He told me I was never going to succeed if I wasn’t willing to work for it.

That weekend, after I got over my new resentment at him, I began thinking about what my father had always said. I began thinking about how hard he worked. I asked myself how hard I was working and how much time and effort I had been putting in. My honest answer was not very much.

When I got back to the office that Monday, I found that the top producers were already there and they had even written some deals already. When I was about to go home at 4:30pm, they were still there, in full swing. And that’s when it hit me: If I want to succeed, I’m going to have to work hard – a lot harder than I thought I already was.

Fast forward nine months later. After making a commitment, putting in the time, and putting in the effort, I became a top producer at that company. I was the first one in the office and the last to leave. And as I put my first deals on the board in the morning, I watched the bottom producers straggle in and head to the coffee and donuts. I watched them grumble that they hadn’t been promoted yet, that the good leads went to other people, and how hard the competition was.

After they had long left the office, I turned out the lights in the office, locked the door behind me, and got into my Mercedes. I was dog tired. Suddenly, I realized how my father must have felt each evening. I smiled to myself when I realized that he had been right all along….