Why Motivation Isn’t Enough

As the next week rolled around, I was very motivated to meet with my boss and find out what the missing ingredient to performance was. I had spent a few weeks identifying all the things I could do – that I had the ability and potential to do – if I choose to. And during the last week, I explored many areas where I had a lot more knowledge, and even training, than my results in those areas showed. I now had a strong desire to learn what was holding me back, and, as I said, I was motivated to finally learn how to use more of what I had.

This led me to think I knew what was missing: motivation. I obviously had lacked the proper motivation or a strong enough desire to put my ability and knowledge to use. I couldn’t wait to meet with him again, and that meeting took place on the following Monday. As usual, he asked me how my week’s experiment had gone. I told him I’d found that I knew a lot more about things than I was using. He smiled that smile again, and this time I smiled back. He asked me what I was thinking and I told him:

“What’s missing,” I announced proudly, “Was motivation! Obviously I just don’t want it badly enough, and so I lack the necessary desire to make it happen.” I rested my case and waited for his response. As usual, he started by asking me a question.

He asked, “Mike, do you now believe that you have the ability, the potential, that if you wanted to, you could get into good enough shape whereby you could complete a marathon?”

“Absolutely!” I said.

“And do you believe you know more about good fitness and proper diet than what your current weight, exercise, and eating habits would show?”

“Unfortunately, yes again,” I answered.

“Okay. Now let me ask you this. Have you ever joined a gym with the desire to get into top physical shape before?”

“Ah, yeah. I belong to a gym right now,” I said.

“And why do you belong to a gym?” he asked.

“Because I want to be in good shape and take care of myself,” I said.

“So in other words, you already have a desire to be fit?”

“Well sure. I think about eating better each time I order a meal, and I’m always thinking about getting back to the gym and starting working out again. In fact, each time my belt feels tighter, I’m really motivated to start working out again,” I said.

“And last question. Are you at your peak physical fitness level right now?” he asked me.

“Far from it, I’m afraid,” came my sorry answer.

“So, here we are,” he continued. “You have the ability, you have the knowledge, in other words you know what to do and even belong to a gym, and you have the desire to be in good physical shape. Am I right?”

He had me there. “Right,” I agreed.

“So the real question, Mike, is where is the follow through, the effectiveness? Why aren’t the results there in your life if you seem to have everything you need? What’s stopping you from achieving the performance and the result you truly want?”

We then went over a few other areas in my life where I seemed to have everything I needed as well. The biggest area was my performance in sales. I had to admit that, again, I had the ability, and I certainly had the training and I knew more than I was using. On top of that, each month I set a goal with my sales manager to achieve my numbers. We laid out how many calls I needed to make, and how many leads and presentations I needed to schedule.

Next, my sales manager laid out the compensation plan and we went over what achieving each additional level would mean to me. My manager even went so far as to show me what I could buy with the extra commission money I would make. After each goal planning session, I was pumped! But then the month began, and the calls got tough, and soon I was back where I secretly knew I would end up: in the bottom 25% of the sales team.

At this point, I threw up my hands and surrendered. I actually felt pretty down because I was convinced that I had everything I needed to perform better in my life, but for some unknown reason, I seemed destined to mediocrity. I started thinking about my family and wondered if underperformance was genetic…

My boss, sensing my despair, came to my rescue. He told me, “Mike, what I’m going to teach you over the next few weeks is not only why you haven’t reached more of your potential, training, and desire, but I’m going to show you exactly what you can start doing to change that. I’m going to give you proven methods and techniques for releasing more of what you have, more of what you know, and more of what you want.

“In fact,” he continued, “What you are going to learn is that it is actually easy to increase your effectiveness in any area of your life if you just understand the laws governing behavior and performance. And I guarantee that once you get in alignment with these laws of performance, you will be able to set and achieve any goal that has meaning to you. And you’ll be able to achieve it easily and enjoyably.”

Well, that sounded too good to be true. I had set goals before – especially at the beginning of each year (New Year’s resolutions). And while I continued them for a month or so, I soon gave up and went back to the old me. I even brought this up in terms of setting goals around getting into physical shape. I told him my willpower would last for a few weeks, but then I would falter, stop going to the gym, and then I would beat myself up each time I slipped and had a donut at the office.

He raised his eyebrows and said, “That’s actually a good example. In fact, did you ever notice that in January and February the parking lots of gyms around the city are full?” I agreed they were. “But by March and April, they go back to where were in November and December, and they stay that way the rest of year.” It was true, I had to agree.

He asked me how that dieting process was for me in the beginning of the year. I told him I had to gather all my willpower and determination and that for the first couple of weeks it worked. But after a while, I felt denied the tasty foods, and that despite how much I wanted to stay on my diet, soon I was back in the break room in the morning gorging on bagels and cream cheese. Soon I wondered where all my good intentions and willpower had gone to.

He said, “Mike, you’re not alone. Making changes by using lots and lots of willpower is how most people do it, but it rarely works for long. In fact, willpower is essentially useless for making long term changes. Trying hard never works for long. It just exhausts you, and it usually makes those around you annoyed.

“What you are going to learn is that trying hard to overcome your abiding, subconscious picture will never work for long term changes. There is a better way to make easier, life-long changes that are in alignment with the potential and ability you already have.”

He paused and let that sink in. He could see the many questions I was thinking and he continued, “Here’s the thing. Think of your subconscious mind, and all of your ability and potential, as an iceberg. Your current performance and results are simply the tip of the iceberg, but your potential, of course, is immense.

“I like to compare the human mind to a computer. A computer has lots and lots of programs and potential, but we use only a very small portion of them. Even the word processing program, Microsoft Word, has thousands of features, but most of us just know how to open a new document, type some copy, and then save it. But there are endless editing features, amazing templates and document options, even language translation features we don’t use or know much about. The totality of the program is the iceberg, and what we use is just the tip.

“So how do we expose more of that iceberg? How do we use more of what we already have in abundance? The answer is that we must find out what is holding us back, what is limiting our natural ability and potential. What are the limiting attitudes, and habits and blocks that keep much of that iceberg underwater?

“And, more importantly, how can we release more of our potential? How can we do it in a natural, easy, and empowering way? A way that doesn’t cause stress, and doesn’t require constant willpower and energy? In other words, how can we creatively, enjoyably, and consistently produce the results we’ve already acknowledged we are capable of? How do we achieve performance we see others enjoying regularly, easily, naturally?

“And, most importantly, how can we make these changes permanent?”

He paused and let that sink in. I said, ‘I don’t know, how do we?”

“That’s what I’m going to teach you. And once you learn it, it will change your life, just as it has mine and countless others. And we’re going to start next week by exploring the concept of awareness. We’re going to begin looking at your habits, your unconscious ways of thinking and feeling, and the default actions you take as a result. We’re going to look at where you have unconsciously placed limits on yourself, and, through your awareness, we’re going to begin challenging and changing them.

“What you’ll soon learn is that although you have immense potential, you’ll never be able to use all of it. Instead, you’ll only be able raise or lower the limits – that are self-imposed – on your potential and ability. And that’s why athletes and top producers realize that they are never competing against anyone else except their own, current, best versions of themselves.”

He paused briefly and continued, “Mike, you’re about to go on a journey of self-discovery, one that will forever change how you think about yourself, the world, and what’s possible for you and others. And if you follow the truth I’m about to lay out for you, you will achieve things you never imagined possible for yourself. Your life will keep changing, evolving, and expanding. You’ll begin achieving more and more, and as you do, you’ll keep raising the bar for your performance and exposing more of that iceberg of potential.

“Your life will become a self-fulfilling prophesy – as it always was – but the dreams you will begin to dream will go far beyond what you’ve ever imagined possible.”

Needless to say, I was inspired and excited to learn more. I hope you are, too.

Until next week….

Knowledge is Power – Or Is It?

The week after my first session with my boss was very interesting. I took his advice and began asking myself if I could do a variety of things. Could I actually become the top producer at the company? Could I go back to school and get my PhD? Could I write a bestselling book? Could I get into ideal physical shape and run that marathon one day, and many other things. Perhaps the most revealing aspect of this exercise was listening to my self-talk as my initial answers came.

For example, when I asked myself if I could write a bestselling book, my automatic self-talk was, NO! I was amazed by the flurry of supporting thoughts – and by how quickly they came – as to why I couldn’t. Things like I had never written a book before; It was really who you know, not how well you can write; And I even thought that there are many, many other writers better than I was who never wrote a bestselling book.

After this initial onslaught of negativity, I then decided to do some research on authors whose first books did become bestsellers. The obvious example was John Grisham’s A Time to Kill, published in 1988. It took him four years to write that book, and not only did it become a bestseller, but he is one of only three authors to sell 2 million copies of a first printing. As I continued to look, there were others whose first books became bestsellers as well.

So suddenly, I had to grudgingly admit that I had the ability and potential to write a bestselling book, but what I obviously lacked was the knowledge and training (writing experience) to do so. As I thought more about this, I was pretty certain that my next meeting with my mentor would be about learning what I was sure was the missing link to unleashing more of my ability and potential: knowledge and training.

When we next got together, we reviewed my experience with asking myself the “can I?” questions, and he pointed out how important my initial internal reactions were and especially my self-talk. He said we would be getting back to that in an upcoming session. When I told him my ‘aha’ moment about knowledge and training, he smiled again and asked me another question:

“Mike, what do you know about the importance of eating a lot of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet?”

Well, that was easy! I told him all about the studies I’d heard and read about emphasizing the importance of fruits and vegetables. I told him about the essential vitamins and minerals found in green leafy vegetables, about the disease-fighting phytochemicals found only in these foods. I then told him about the importance of dietary fiber which was crucial to maintaining a healthy intestinal track and, of course, and to preventing constipation and even reducing the risk of bowel cancer. I was prepared to go on even more until he stopped me and asked me another question:

“Mike, how many servings of fruits and vegetables did you have yesterday?”

I hesitated as I reviewed my eating that day. For breakfast I had bacon and eggs over easy with hash browns and white toast (lots of butter of course). I went out for Chinese food for lunch and had the lunch special of chicken fried rice. For dinner I had a steak sandwich with garlic mashed potatoes. Oh, and there was some broccoli as a side that I pushed around with my fork but ultimately ignored.

He then said, “So Mike, is it a fair assessment to say that you already have more knowledge about good eating habits than you’re using?” He had me there. He then went down the list. He asked me if I knew more about physical exercise than my daily workout routine (what daily workout routine?) would indicate? Yes. Did I know more about good organization habits than my garage at home or my closet might indicate? Yes. He asked about when I was in college if I knew more about good study habits and homework habits than I had practiced? Yes again!

And that’s when he lowered the boom on me. He said, “Mike, just like it isn’t about how much ability you have that determines your results, it’s also not about how much you know that determines your results either. Just like with potential, people have a lot more knowledge than their actions and results would indicate.”

So I brought up training. I told him that maybe if I had more training – essentially more knowledge – than maybe I’d use more of it. He immediately reminded me of the sales training I went through when I was first hired. He reminded me of all the phone scripts and proven techniques I had been given. He asked me how many of them I used on a daily basis. (Not many – I was still winging it.) He asked me where my script playbook was at that moment? Was it on my desk, opened up to the rebuttals I would need for my next call? No, I had to admit, it was in the middle drawer of my desk, under a pile of other neglected paperwork.

He asked me another question: He said, “Mike, do you know more about the importance of good qualifying techniques and skills than your last few sales lead calls might indicate?” Gee, this was getting annoying. YES! “Do you know more about closing skills and proper objection handling than your last few closes might indicate?” Okay, I surrender. I admitted right then that, yes, I knew more about most things than I my actions, behavior, and my results showed.

He told me that while knowledge and training were important, they were not drivers of actions nor of results. They were not what made someone more successful than someone else. He told me that knowledge was crucial, and that we could always use more training, but by themselves, they were not going to cause me to use more of the potential and ability that I already agreed I had. He told me that it’s not what I know, rather, it’s what I do with what I know that makes the difference.

All right, so how do I get motivated to use more of that I already know and to use more of my potential and ability? I was suddenly convinced the missing piece was motivation, right? When he heard me say this, that same little smile, now a smirk, I was sure, crept across his face. He told me we’d dive into that subject next week.

In the meantime, he challenged me again – and I’m going to challenge you – to come up with areas in my life where I wanted to achieve more, and then he asked me to begin making a list of the things I already knew in those areas and whether or not I was using my knowledge and training to maximize results in those areas. Whether or not that knowledge was influencing my behavior or allowing me to use more of my ability and potential.

It was the start of an interesting exercise, and I highly recommend you try it for yourself this week. Pick an area – as many areas as you choose – and ask yourself if you know more than you use. If fact, ask yourself how much, or how little, of the current knowledge you have in that area that you’re using. The answers for me were revealing, and I think they will be for you, too.

The Missing Ingredient to Top Performance in Sales

Have you ever wondered why some people excel in sales, while others don’t?

Have you ever questioned – if most other things are equal, like if you all have access to the same leads, the same sales training, the same number of hours in the day, etc. – why are there always top producers who hit or exceed their goals, while the rest of the team members struggle to varying degrees?

How about yourself? Are you a top producer at your company?

If you aren’t, then have you ever wondered what is keeping you from being in that elite group? (And if you are, have you ever asked yourself what is keeping you from earning even more?) And if you’ve struggled with consistency – perhaps one month you do well, then a couple of months you fall off, wouldn’t it be great to have the key to consistent performance?

I used to have all those thoughts. I watched with amazement the top sales producers win the bonuses and the trips over and over again. I used to think that I just didn’t have “it” and that I was probably better suited for a different career. Then something happened for me…

Years ago, I was introduced to a way of thinking that helped me understand how my current levels of belief, and my consistent ways of thinking and feeling were limiting my results – not only in sales – but in every other area of my life as well. At first I was highly skeptical, but I was also pretty fed up with how things were going for me. So I was willing to use these new tools to see if it could make a difference in my life.

Some of you who know my story know that after 90 days of following this new way of thinking, affirming and imaging, I literally doubled my income. And nine months later, I was the number one sales rep out of five branch offices.

What you may not know, though, is that I changed other areas of my life as well. I lost a tremendous amount of weight and took my fitness level to a place I had never achieved before. I used this program to achieve a deep level of happiness and purpose in my life. And I was able to do it all easily, without struggling.

And that was huge. I didn’t have to resist eating “yummy” but unhealthy foods or force myself to go to the gym, etc. Suddenly, with the use of this program, these and other things came to me naturally and became a “want to,” rather than a “have to.” I had found a remarkably effective way to easily make changes in my life.

I have been using and teaching this program for living for over 30 years, and it is still the most important ingredient to my success today. Today, when I set goals for achievement, and implement this proven approach, things automatically “happen” for me. Resources appear, opportunities show up, and it’s as if the entire Universe has conspired to help me achieve my goals.

And you know? I believe it has…

What I have decided to do is to share this program with all of you over the coming months through my blog. Each week, I am going to explain, little by little, how this approach works, why it works, and I’m going to give you specific, actionable steps you can take each week to begin implementing this into your life.

I know it works because it’s not only worked for me, but it’s worked for the thousands of business leaders, professional sales reps, and personal friends I’ve coached and shared it with as well. And it will work for you, too.

I’m excited, and you should be, too. So stay tuned and be on the lookout for the first installment here next week.

Your life is about to get a whole lot better.

From Hero to Zero

Being in sales is kind of like being a professional football player…

In football, each result can either be celebrated (or not) for a very short time. If you win the game, you get about a day to enjoy the victory, and then it’s on to the next game where you need to win and prove yourself all over again.

Same in sales. Each month you shoot for a victory (making your numbers), and, if you hit them – great….for about a day. Because suddenly it’s a new month, and you have a new quota. What you did last month (or last game, if it’s football), doesn’t matter this month (or this week).

You may have been the top producer last month, a hero, but now you’re at zero again.

Years ago when I was struggling, this used to wear me out. Each month I’d barely do enough to keep my job – like a team going 8-8 – and then I’d be at zero again and have to climb back up the hill.

What happened for me – and what I wish for everyone that I work with – is that I made a commitment one day to get out of this constant struggle and learn how to perform like the top producers in my company.

Each month, the same three reps would win all the awards for being the top producers, and each time the new month would begin, they would already have deals on the board. Everyone in the company expected them to win, and win they did.

Kind of like the New England Patriots…

So if you are sick and tired of acting like Sisyphus (look it up if you don’t remember your Greek mythology), then make a commitment this year to do the things that other top producers do.

And that is really what it starts with: A commitment. The question you have to ask yourself this January is: Are you ready to do what it takes to finally change your career and your life?

I love what Bear Bryant (football coach) once said: “It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”

If you are willing to do the prep work it takes to succeed, then you can change your career.

If you’re not sure what (“prep work”) means, then pick up a copy of my book: Power Phone Scripts. In it, I list the “Ten Characteristics of Top Sales Performers.” Read that first section and commit to doing that work.

If you do, then soon you’ll find the fastest way to go from Zero back to Hero again – month after month!

And wouldn’t that make your 2018 better?

Avoid this “Ghost” of Christmas Future

When was the last time you read the classic book: “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens? If it’s been a while, I highly recommend it. Dickens is a superb story teller, and there is a reason this is a “classic.”

While reading this, it reminded me of an encounter I had that was a chilling reminder of the bad “Ghost of Christmas Future” I narrowly avoided all those years ago. Here’s what happened:

I was on my way to work with a new client one day when I stopped at my local Starbucks for a cup of coffee.

As I stood in line, I saw a city bus stop and a bunch of people get off. One guy – mid 40’s, tall and lanky – started walking towards the Starbucks, and there was something about the way he was walking that was familiar to me.

When he entered the store, I recognized him from many years before when we were both struggling inside sales reps trying to sell investments over the phone.

His name was John. After I got my coffee, and he got his, he came up to me and said, “You’re Mike Brooks, right?” “Yes” I said. “Hey, we used to work together!” he said. “I remember,” I said.

He asked me what I was up to these days, and I told him I had become a consultant in inside sales, and that I was off to work with a new client. I asked him what he was up to and this is when the chill hit me.

He said he was starting a new sales job today, and then he rolled his eyes as if to say, “And this one will suck, too.”

We walked out of the store together, and said goodbye and went our separate ways. He went to wait at the next bus bench, and I got into my Mercedes and drove away.

As I sipped my coffee and listened to the tunes in my plush car, I thought about how different our lives had turned out and wondered what happened to make them so different. As I did, I knew exactly what it was.

During our time together, the owners of the company brought in a sales trainer to motivate us. He spoke to us for an hour about what makes the difference between the top money earners in sales versus all the other sales reps.

He said that you have a choice to either commit to learning and using proven scripts and sales techniques that would double or triple your income, or you could just keep doing what you were doing (ad-libbing), and then you’d just keep getting what you had been getting.

He said: “If you are willing to do what most sales reps aren’t willing to do, then soon you’ll be able to enjoy the things, the lifestyle, and the future that most sales reps will never be able to enjoy.”

I was sold. John wasn’t.

I invested in this sales trainer’s cassette series, “Double Your Income Selling Over the Phone.” I committed to learning, practicing, and doing what he suggested.

Soon afterwards, my sales and income soared.

John thought what the trainer taught was just a bunch of old sales techniques that wouldn’t work for him.

John thought he knew better.

John didn’t believe in using scripts.

“I’ll sound like a telemarkerter,” he said. “I have to go with the flow because each prospect is different,” he persisted.

John didn’t believe in putting in the time, energy, or money to get better.

So he didn’t.

Fast forward to our Starbucks encounter. Over 20 years had passed between that sales trainer’s talk, and I realized, that seminar was the moment I made the decision to change my life.

When John showed up that day, he was the Ghost of Christmas Past that could have become my Ghost of Christmas Future.

My life has changed because of other sales trainer’s material, my commitment to investing in other sales material, and then learning and using all of it diligently.

My life is infinitely better because I did, and I have no doubt that had I not invested, learned, and used proven selling techniques, it would have been me that was taking a bus to my next, new job.

It sends shivers down my spine just thinking about it.

The moral here is that you, too, can avoid the Ghost of Christmas Past from becoming your future. There are a lot of great sales training books, CD’s, and courses you and your team can take advantage of to get better.

One of the best (in my humble opinion) is my new book “Power Phone Scripts.” Over 500 word-for-word phrases, questions, and scripts that will make you better in just about any situation you find yourself in.

So why not give yourself a gift this season?

Get it here

If you don’t want to invest in my material, no problem. Find someone else you respect and invest in theirs.

Make this best holiday season you’ve ever had, and give yourself a gift that will repay you for the rest of your career.

Best Motivational Book Recommendation

Thanksgiving is in two days, and the holidays are right around the corner. As we work to close the year strong, many of us begin thinking about our goals for 2018. And, more importantly, we begin thinking about what we can do differently next year to achieve them.

I want to share with you one of my all-time favorite books on how to achieve the right mindset for achieving just about anything. This is a book I picked up in the 80’s, and I read it at the end of just about every year as I set my new goals.

It’s called, “Advanced Formula for Total Success,” by Dr. Robert Anthony. If you haven’t read it – or haven’t read it lately – than this will be one of the most important books you’ll ever read. It’s packed with useful, no-nonsense examples that will really resonate.

It is out of print, but you can get used copies on Amazon.com for about $6.00. Believe, me, it’ll be the best $6 you’ll spend this year.

Dr. Robert Anthony updated this book a few years ago and called it: “Beyond Positive Thinking.” That book is readily available as is, or an audio version of it if you prefer to listen to your books.

Either way, though, Dr. Robert Anthony is an awesome writer who gives you the formula you need to set and achieve goals. So while you’re contemplating that second piece of pumpkin pie, make sure you eat it while you’re reading one of the most important books you’ll find in years.

Enjoy!

5 Quick Secrets to Compelling Emails

Want to get your emails returned? Who doesn’t…

Many of us would settle for just getting our emails read!

Let’s face it: prospects get hundreds of emails per week and there is a slim chance they are going to read – let alone respond to – an email from a sales rep.

Luckily, there are 5 quick secrets to help your emails stand out and give you the best chance of getting them read and returned. Here’s what they are:

Secret #1: Put the prospect’s first name in the subject line.

Everyone is drawn to their first name, so if you make your subject line something like:

“John, just left you a VM…”

Your email will stand out in their inbox and they will open it.

Secret #2: Personalize the first sentence of your email.

Draw your prospect’s attention to something that is happening now and current in their situation. This will snap your prospect out of his/her rote reading of emails. Things like:

“Hope you’re staying warm on this winter day!”

OR

“I’m sure you’re buried in your new project, so I’ll keep this brief…”

By taking the time to personalize your first sentence, you’ll draw your reader in and that will give you the best chance to get your email read.

Secret #3: Break your paragraphs up into sentences.

Nothing will turn your prospect off more than long, information packed paragraphs.

Their eyes will glaze over!

Break up your sentences into paragraphs if possible to make them easy to read and accessible.

I say no more than 2 sentences per paragraph.

Just like this example is written – easy to read, isn’t it?!

Secret #4: Ask for a return response – whether they are interested or not.

Give your prospect a chance to “op out” of further communication with you.

Thank them in advance for their consideration and ask them to let you know if they’re interested – or not.

And let them know you’ll remove their name if they aren’t.

Special Hint: Also give them the option of referring you to the right department or another person who might be more appropriate. This also gives them an out – and you an in.

Secret #5: Promise to follow up by phone if they don’t respond.

Let them know that you understand they are busy, and that out of consideration if you don’t hear from them you’ll follow up with a call in a day or two.

This really increases your response rate, and don’t be unhappy if they ask to “op-out.” Those prospects who do have just disqualified themselves and saved you a ton of time.

And for those you don’t hear from – start calling! Suddenly, when they do pick up, they’ll be a warm call 🙂

Try implementing these 5 secrets today and watch as your emails suddenly become relevant again.

And if you’d like more current and effective tips, check out 500 more questions, phrases, and word-for-word scripts that will help you open and close more sales by picking up a copy of my new book: Power Phone Scripts.

See it here.

Lessons from the NFL on How to Close More Business

Ahhhhh…..  The NFL football season is underway. We are a few weeks in, and there is still hope for all teams! Players and coaches are watching game and practice film to find ways to help players get better.

I read a piece by Peter King from SI.com about his conversation with Ellis Hobbs – former cornerback with the New England Patriots. He was talking about how much respect he had for head coach Bill Belichick.

He said, “Early in my career, Bill called me into his office, and we sat there – for a long time – studying film. He taught me to look for the simple things, and not to make football so complicated. I got better. I was with one of the best coaches of all time, and he helped me become a better player.”

In sales, too, you can become a better producer if you concentrate on the simple things and doing them better. Here are two things you can do starting today to increase your closing ratio and make more money:

1. Keep a record of the reasons your prospects don’t close and then concentrate on qualifying for these issues up front with all future prospects. This was one of the simplest and most effective habits I developed to get better.

I kept a notebook with all my prospects in it and every time they didn’t buy, I’d put in red ink the reason why not. I even broke it down to three codes: NI, for No Interest; NM for No Money; and NC for Not Controllable. And then throughout the weeks and months that followed, I’d go back through my notebook and look for patterns and ask myself, “What do I need to focus on during the qualification stage?”

If too many prospects were not buying because they simply weren’t ready or interested, then “No Interest” needed to be addressed on the front call. I’d start by asking more questions like:  “Prospect, if you find that this would work for you, what is your time frame for moving ahead with it?”

And so on. Bottom line – if you don’t get it right on the front end then you’ll never increase your closing ratio on the back end.

2. Ask for bigger orders on every close. Oh I know, you’ve heard this before, right? But how often do you actually do it? So many sales reps are afraid to ask for too much and are just happy to get a minimum order. I know because I used to be that way.

But my career turned around when I began asking for big orders on every single call. And what I learned is that you never know how much a person or company can handle. You can always go down (in price, quantity, etc.), but it’s much harder to go up.

The truth is, it’s all the same amount of work anyway, so why not ask for two times, or three times the minimum order and see what you get! If only one in ten of your prospects buy the increased amount, how much more money would that mean to you?

The fun part about consistently asking for more is that you’ll end up getting more – and every time you do, you’ll reinforce the habit to do it. And as soon as you get a taste of closing bigger deals, you begin looking for and expecting them. Try it and you’ll see for yourself – it’s one of the simplest things you can do to make a lot more money.

So there you have it – two simple ways of closing more business and making more money. Just remember, as you’re reading this article, NFL players and coaches are working on the simple things to improve. You should be doing so, too!

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!