It’s all about choices – Part 2

Last week we took an initial look at the issue of making choices. This week we’ll conclude with some strategies you can implement right now that will streamline your decision making process.

You’re going to see words and phrases here that I often use in discussing the strategies within the Straight Line Persuasion System. That’s because the Straight Line contains a set of universal standards and solutions that can be applied to just about every aspect of your life, not just selling. So no matter what you want to excel at, even if it’s something as nonspecific as leading a happier life, you’ll find answers in the Straight Line Persuasion System. Okay, let’s get down to business …

Remember your “why!”

This should not be a new concept. We’ve discussed it here in this blog and it’s a fundamental part of all my training systems. Your why goes hand in hand with your vision. Your why helps to clearly define your future and a direction or pathway to that future.

But don’t limit yourself to believing your why is only for the big picture in your life. Your why should be an important consideration for every occasion.

A simple example: you need to buy a new computer. You may need to make choices about brand, model, processor speed, RAM capacity, upgradability, warranty, price and a host of other considerations. Where do you begin? You let your why filter your choices.

Will this computer be your workhorse or just a backup? Will you be rendering processor-intensive graphics or just doing word processing? Will you be replacing it next year or will you keep it ’til it dies? Is your budget unlimited or really tight? Once you have all your answers your choices become simplified very quickly.

Just as a side note, if you went to a computer store and you encountered an expert salesperson, these might be some of the questions you’d be asked that would enable that salesperson to choose the best computer for you. So right up front you’re using your why as a basis for gathering your own intelligence.

Remember the “good enough” factor.

I always stress that you don’t have to be an expert before you begin selling. Some people spend all their time preparing to be great and never get out into the real world and incrementally become great.

By the same token, some people spend all their time preparing to make a decision and never get around to actually following through! In the case of our example computer purchase, you could spend hours, even days, researching online and comparison shopping. For what?

Sure, you want to make the best choice. I get that. But beware of setting a false perfectionist trap for yourself. There is a point of diminishing returns where more time and energy invested may produce more choices, but not necessarily better choices.

You’d be way ahead of the game if you were to choose the computer that’s good enough to satisfy your most important requirements rather than seeking out the perfect choice for all your wants and needs.

The object here is to satisfy enough needs to make a reasonably acceptable decision. So if your must-haves are speed, ram and price, concentrate on those three features and treat everything else on your list as icing on the cake if you get them.

Good enough is not limiting, it’s liberating! But only if you …

Remember your “standards.”

This is another concept I often discuss. Your standards dictate what is acceptable to you in every life situation. They are the litmus test for your good enough. We set standards for ethics, income, buying choices, where we live, who we work for, work with, accept as friends and ultimately who we marry.

If your personal standards have been a blessing to you, then stick with them. If they’ve been more of a curse, then it might be time for some adjustments.

Few things in life are carved in stone. So it’s okay to do some tweaking, experimenting and even failing if that’s what it takes to solidify your own personal standards. Once you’re comfortable with your standards then you’ll know exactly what your good enough is in any given situation.

Satisfice instead of Maximize

Everything discussed so far can be neatly wrapped in a package called “satisfication” – a word coined in 1947 to mean the point when a sufficient thing or things are available to render a satisfactory outcome. In our example, once your need for speed, ram and price (the things) have been met, you are free to make a purchase decision (satisfactory outcome). You are a satisficer!

A maximizer on the other hand, can’t make a decision until all those other things (the brand, the model, the upgradeability, etc.) have been investigated. The goal for the maximizer is to achieve the highest degree of satisfaction by leaving no stone unturned.

Here’s the rub …

Maximizers tend to be less happy with the choices they make. They won’t settle for anything less than the best so they exhaust themselves in their investigation. Then, once they’ve made a choice they’ve already set themselves up for self-doubt simply by the complexity of the decision they just made. The more complex the decision process the greater the possibility for error, the greater the dissatisfaction with the choice. If you’re a maximizer, stop beating yourself up!

Here’s the good news …

Satisficers are perfectly happy with good enough. Their interest is in what gets the job done. Their approach is simple, yet they don’t lower their standards. Instead they prioritize, which allows them to choose the maximum benefits in the shortest amount of time while expending the least amount of energy.

In Part 1 of “It’s all about choices” I wrote that limiting the choices we make can have some positive benefits – increased self-control, patience, willpower and creativity. You can also add happiness to the list.

Satisficers, those who make an effort to self-limit their choices, are better able to cope with life stresses, are more ready to make choices, are more comfortable making independent choices, and have far fewer regrets about the choices they make.

What’s next?

If you’ve done what I suggested in Part 1 you have or are working on a list of the choices you make every day. Now begin studying your list and rate the importance of each choice you’ve made.

Of those that are least important, what would have been the consequence had you not made the choice at all? In other words, could that choice have been eliminated without you suffering any ill consequence.

That’s an important question because you’ll be fighting a natural tendency to want access to every available choice because you don’t want to miss out on anything. But by letting go of the less important choices you free yourself up to explore other options that may prove more valuable to you. And by not expending your energy on lots of little choices, you keep it in reserve for when you do need to make important choices.

All this is a process that’ll take some getting used to. But with a little patience and diligence you can create a decision making system for yourself that will prove valuable in both your business and personal lives. Perhaps the most important outcome will be that as choices come easier to you and with less regret, you’ll learn to trust the choices you make, making the next choices even easier to make.

All the best,

Sales and persuasion in the 1st century

There are times in both our personal and professional lives when we’re called upon to facilitate settlements… often ones involving disputes or at least differences of opinion. Parents do it, teachers and school administrators do it, managers and small business owners do it. Maybe you’ve done it and maybe you’ve felt like smacking the disagreeing parties on the side of the head. I sure as hell have.

There is, of course, a better way. The Straight Line approach reminds us to see the world as it is, see it better than it is, work toward making it better. In this case you’d need to make it better for everyone involved – a classic win-win-win situation.

Let’s go back in time over 1900 years. A slave named Onesimus has escaped from his master, Philemon, who lives in a city called Colossae, in what is today Turkey. Onesimus travels to Rome where he finds Paul, a man whose teaching holds great sway over a small church in Colossae of which Philemon is a member. The congregation there is referred to as the Colossians and the Paul in this story is the Apostle Paul.

Gathering intelligence

No sale can be made, no resolution can be gained until you have all the facts and you know what you’re working with. These are the facts …

Paul is a Roman citizen and well aware that slavery is the economic foundation of the entire Roman Empire. Roman law allows slave owners to punish slaves for the least little infraction. Running away was sufficient reason for a master to kill his slave. That Onesimus likely stole money from Philemon to fund his journey to Rome just adds fuel to the fire.

Paul’s dilemma

Paul’s faith is rooted in the Torah which forbids the return of escaped slaves. Furthermore, slavery is antithetical to the Christian faith of both Paul and Philemon, yet Philemon is a slave owner. As a further complication, Onesimus, while spending time with Paul, has become a Christian himself.

Paul needs to pull off a hat trick of sorts: comply with Roman law and see to the return of Onesimus to Colossae, comply with God’s law and ensure Onesimus remains a free man and ensure Philemon doesn’t lose face by giving him every opportunity to do the right thing.

Paul has the apostolic authority to force Philemon to do what is right, but instead, he chooses diplomacy and extreme persuasion skills. Paul begins by writing a letter, not as a personal communication to Philemon, but as an addendum to the letter he’d just written to the entire congregation at Colossae. While it’s addressed to Philemon, eventually everyone will have read it.

Right off the bat, Paul employs a variation of what Prof. Robert Cialdini calls social proof. Paul has already taught the congregation that while slavery is tolerated for economic reasons, masters should treat their slaves as well as they treat their own family members. All eyes are now on Philemon. What will he do with his runaway slave who just delivered this letter?

Building rapport

Paul then makes four points to establish rapport. I paraphrase:

1) Philemon, you’re in my prayers and I always give thanks that you’re around because …

2) I keep hearing of your faith and about the love you show your fellow congregants.

3) And I pray that all the good you share spreads to those outside your church.

4) Personally, the love you show others has brought me joy, comfort and encouragement because the whole congregation has benefitted from you, my brother in the faith.

You might call this “buttering up” but there’s nothing insincere in Paul’s words. He’s simply acknowledging the good in Philemon which he will use later on to contrast with the not so good. And when you acknowledge the good that people do, you encourage even greater displays of good. Make sense?

Making a logical case

I have the apostolic authority to force you to free Onesimus, but in light of my previous observations, I’m not going to lord my position over you. Instead I’m going to show you the same love you’ve shown others (what Cialdini calls reciprocity), offered not by a church leader, but by a friend and an old man.

Onesimus is like my own child. But more than that, through our talks he has become like us. Onesimus is now our spiritual brother. Before he was unprofitable to you – a mere slave who ran away and stole from you. Now he’s ready to help you in your higher calling and can be very profitable to you. (BTW, the name Onesimus means profitable!)

Making an emotional case

I’m sending Onesimus back to you, not as a slave, but as a free man. It’s like I’m sending you my own heart. I would have preferred to keep him here so he could assist me. But I didn’t want to do anything without your consent and I certainly didn’t want to force your hand. The benevolence you show should be voluntary. Maybe that’s why this whole situation happened in the first place – that Onesimus would be yours forever, not as a man forced into slavery, but as a brother who willingly gives you his heart.

The close

If you consider me your brother in the faith, welcome Onesimus back in the same way you would welcome me. And if he did anything wrong or owes you anything, I’ll make good on it. I promise to repay you in full and I won’t even mention the fact that you owe me your life.

Make me happy, brother. I’m confident you’ll be obedient to my wishes and will do even more than I’ve asked. Oh, and rest assured that one of these days I’m going to pop in for a visit. I’d be honored to be your guest.

The wrap up

Some of you may wonder if Paul was using strongarm tactics on Philemon instead of persuasive skills. What really happened here is that Paul forced Philemon to see the world better than it is. The decision was still Philemon’s to make and based on what we know about him and the situation, the only logical choice for him was to accept Onesimus back as a free man. But just in case Philemon didn’t “get it” Paul assured him he’d be stopping by to make sure he did. Tradition has it that Onesimus went on to become the bishop of the church in Ephesus, another ancient city located in present day Turkey.

Remember that persuasive skills are used to change someone’s mind. Also remember that the end result of any sales situation must be that everyone involved has benefited from the encounter. It’s why I stress the use of ethical persuasion, especially with a system as powerful as the Straight Line Persuasion System.

Thanks for joining me. I wish you the best!

The making of a millionaire

How does a man who never made it past the fourth grade succeed in business? The same way most people do – through trial and error and lots of hard work.

His name was Milton and yes, he was a grammar school dropout. At the tender age of 13 he got his first real job at a print shop. He was soon fired because he liked to play around at work. Obviously there was no chemistry between Milton and the printing press.

Next, Milton spent four years learning how to make candy. This he was good at and in his late teens Milton opened his own candy store with funding provided by relatives. He busted his butt for 16 hours a day, made good candy, but had no real business sense. And six years later, Milton was out of business and broke.

So far we see a young man struggling to put away the “child” in himself, find his niche and make an effort to run a business. But hard work isn’t enough, as Milton discovered. You need business smarts too.

That is a learned experience. Some people, like my Straight Line Persuasion students, prefer to learn from a qualified mentor. Others, like Milton, go it alone through trial and error. To each his own.

Milton then went to work for a candy maker clear across the country where he learned how to make caramel. He learned his trade well. But he’d already tasted life as an entrepreneur and being an employee was not Milton’s cup of tea.

He started another candy business, again with the financial help of relatives. And again, this time at the age of 30, the business failed. Milton was flat broke. With the exception of his mother, his family practically disowned him.

Third time’s the charm, they say, and Milton’s next business venture, the Lancaster Caramel Company, made him a wealthy man, and very quickly. I call this getting rich quick and it’s my preferred way to earn wealth. For some of us it takes a few months or a few years to be in a position to get rich quick. For Milton the wait was a little longer. About 14 years.

Milton did get one thing right from the very beginning. He learned to fail elegantly. For some people, failure is the end of a dream. But Milton was a life-long experimenter. He knew that success is often a process of elimination. If you eliminate everything that doesn’t work you eventually arrive at what does.

Other things he had to develop over time. In the early years Milton lacked a vision, which meant he lacked any concrete goals to attain that vision, which meant he didn’t know where the heck his business was headed. He just sort of went along for the ride. That’s why the first two businesses crashed.

Of course, few people are successful right out of the gate. Entrepreneurship, like gaining business smarts, is often a hands-on, learned experience. And failure is a great, but harsh teacher. So learn how to fail elegantly so you can stay on your feet long enough to succeed wildly.

It might have been three strikes for Milton had it not been for his vision. At one point, just before he became wildly successful, a note came due on the home his mother had mortgaged to fund the Lancaster Caramel Company. He was broke and his mother was about to lose her home.

So Milton goes to the bank and convinces the loan officer to come back to his shop so he can properly sell his vision. And that’s exactly what Milton did. The banker was so impressed he personally signed for the note. Amazing the interest you can attract with the right vision!

Now the story gets interesting. See, caramel was a cool commodity, but the truly hot confection of the day was milk chocolate. Back in the early 1900s it was imported from Switzerland and so expensive only the wealthy could afford it. Milton’s vision begins to expand. He experiments with ways of making a low cost milk chocolate for the masses.

Milton is growing into his entrepreneurial comfort zone. He sells his entire caramel candy company and pours the proceeds into his new milk chocolate venture. All one million dollars! Risky? Some people would think so. But entrepreneurs aren’t gamblers. They take calculated risks. Milton is learning from his earlier mistakes and this “gamble” pays off in spades.

Milton builds a new chocolate factory. But this is now a very small part of his ever-expanding vision. He builds homes for his factory workers to live in, schools for their children to learn in, churches to worship in and parks to play in. In fact he builds an entire town, along with a bank, a department store and public transportation system.

And during the Great Depression, when most businesses were closing their doors, Milton was hiring. He put more candy makers to work and construction workers too, building a larger factory, more roads and a new hotel. Everyone who worked for Milton thrived during the Great Depression. Remember all this the next time you take a bite out one of Milton Hershey’s chocolate bars.

All the best,

Of Marshmallows and Millionaires

Back in 1968, Walter Mischel, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, initiated an experiment, the results of which are still being studied today. In the experiment, Mischel offered children a marshmallow. And if, instead of eating the marshmallow right away, the child waited while Mischel left the room and returned 15 minutes later, he or she would be rewarded with a second marshmallow. What do you think happened?

Seven out of ten children could not resist the sugary treat and gobbled it up before Mischel’s scheduled return. The average elapsed time between the sound of the door closing behind Mischel to that first bite of the marshmallow was less than three minutes. Some children couldn’t wait past 30 seconds.

Normal childhood behavior? Maybe. But very telling behavior. See, for over 35 years Mischel and his associates have been following the lives of the children in the original experiment and the dozens of experiments that followed. Over the years they’ve discovered that the children who were able to delay gratification tested better in school, were more socially adept, had higher levels of self-worth, were better able to cope with stressful situations, graduated college at a higher rate and now earn higher incomes compared to the children who couldn’t wait to bite into that first marshmallow.

If this were the end of it, we’d have a good story with a good moral: the best things in life are worth waiting for. But there’s more to it. Seems there’s a large group of participants who couldn’t wait for that second marshmallow, who are now succeeding really well as adults. They were able to change their behavior patterns and control how they react to the world around them.

And that’s what the children, who successfully held off until the researcher returned, were able to do. They took control of their environment. How they did this will sound familiar if you’ve read my most recent posts on fear – What are you afraid of? and Lets-take-another-look-at-fear. The children used distraction techniques like singing songs, playing games, or simply closing their eyes. They put their focus everywhere but the marshmallow.

There’s more …

When the children who couldn’t wait 30 seconds were taught to reframe their reality – “see” the marshmallow as a picture of a marshmallow or even as a cloud – they were able to go the full 15 minutes with ease.

So where are we going with all this? We could conclude that if you want to be a millionaire, don’t eat the marshmallow. But the results of these studies are much more profound. They tell us that self-control is a key element to success and that we can control how we react to every situation we encounter. We don’t have to be victims of circumstance..

Control the fear (and all things negative) by reframing how you see it or by avoiding even the thought of it. Keep yourself from giving up by seeing a setback as an opportunity to learn from; and then move forward. Love the hard work now by seeing it as the path to the wealth and freedom you dream of. Focus on the prize and you can easily justify the cost of achieving it.

Remember – get honest with yourself. See the world as it is: Here’s where I am. This is what I know. This is what I gotta learn to get where I want to be.

Then – see the world better than it is. Create your vision and the strategy to getting there. Don’t let the bullshit stories of “why you can’t get what you want” stop you.

All the best,


Let’s take another look at fear!


In last week’s blog post I said we need to focus on the outcome we desire in order to avoid crashing into the fear we almost always focus on as human beings. Responding to my post, William brought up an important issue that we should resolve. That is: the difficulty in identifying what outcome to focus on.

Those who’ve trained with me either in person or through The Straight Line Persuasion System already know there are only two choices: you either focus on your goals or you focus on your vision. And since your goals should be leading you to your vision, that really leaves you with just one choice: you focus on both! Difficulties arise only when you don’t have both because you haven’t been trained to create them.

Extensive training is not the purpose of this blog, but I’ll share a metaphor with you today that should put the fear/goals/vision focus issue in better perspective. I hope this will spur you to study the subject of goals and vision in more depth. Sound good?

Think of your brain as an autofocus camera. If you were to point your camera directly at a brick wall and tap the shutter button, it would instantly focus on the most minute detail of that wall. You’d see the small pits in the brick and the tiny shadows they cast as well as the sharp edges where the brick and mortar meet. Most importantly, the brick wall would consume your entire field of vision. You’d see nothing else. That brick wall represents your fear.

Now tilt your camera up slightly and tap that shutter button again. What’s in focus now? Towering over your brick wall is a tree swaying in the breeze, its leaves rustling, its branches hosting flocks of chirping birds. Certainly a more hopeful picture than the brick wall. This is your goals.

Tilt your camera up higher still. When you tap the shutter button your camera will reach the limit of its focusing capabilities. Ironically, this point is called infinity! And yet that’s the perfect word to describe your vision because there’s no limit to the possibilities! Get it? Your vision is filled with blue skies.

Your vision is the end game – the big picture. Your goals are stepping stones that lead you to your vision. If your vision is to get into prime physical condition, then your goals might be to quit smoking, lose weight, eat healthier, and exercise better. Each of those goals might have smaller goals. As an example, to eat healthier you’d research the healthiest foods, where to buy them and how to prepare them so the loss of nutrients is minimized.

If your vision is financial freedom, then your goals would be to prepare yourself mentally, what I refer to in my courses as the Inner Game of Wealth. You’d need a vehicle for creating wealth. And here, knowing how to close is an absolute necessity. Doesn’t matter if you want to make widgets, invest in real estate or serve in public office. Your goal must be excellence in persuasion because at the end of the day you’re going to have to sell something, maybe an idea, maybe yourself, to create the wealth you want.

Remember, whatever you focus on, everything else becomes peripheral – less important – and ultimately, inconsequential. Focus on your vision and your fears become impotent.

All the best everyone!

What are you afraid of?

Fear seems to be a hot topic these days. There’s an endless variety of self-help tips on the Internet, along with an endless array of books and even a few sermons on the subject. Funny thing is, with all that expert advice, there’s no real consensus on how to deal with fear. So let me offer you a simple truth that will lead you to a simple solution.

No human being can focus on more than one thing at a time. I know! There are lots of people who are incredibly good at multitasking. But research into how the human brain works says even those people can’t focus on more than one thing at at time. They’re simply able to switch their focus rapidly and often.

Here’s another truth. Where focus goes, energy flows. Makes sense, right? That’s how we get things done during the day. We focus on a task, our energy flows to that task and it gets done! Now, what happens when we focus on our fears? All of our energy is drawn to what we’re afraid of and we crash right into it!

Henry Ford summed this up pretty well when he said: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”

Now you might be wondering – how do we think we can when we’re already thinking we can’t? And more importantly, how can we make the change simply, elegantly and without having to test drive the dozens and dozens of methods that claim to make this change possible?

Just change your focus. Instead of living in the problem (where fear has you tied up in knots) focus on the outcome (which gives you the freedom to move toward the outcome you desire). As long as you keep your eye on the outcome it will be impossible for you to pay any attention to the problem (and the fear that goes with it).

And don’t say you can’t because Henry Ford has another bit of wisdom for you: “One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.”

Let me share one more thought with you today. I meet a lot of people who are under the impression that I’m a fearless guy because of what I’ve been able to accomplish in my life. And you may be thinking, “Yeah, it’s easy for Jordan to say ‘just change your focus’ but I’m not Jordan.”

Okay, I get it. You’re not me. And you know what? You don’t have to be me because what I’ve suggested to you works for anyone willing to do it. There are no Supermen and Superwomen in this world. There are only men and women who want something more out of life and are determined to focus on it with a laser-like intensity until they get it.

So if you give yourself half a chance, a great surprise awaits you. You’ll discover you did the very thing you were afraid to do.

To Your Success!


The socialist, the capitalist and the entrepreneur

I just wrapped up an engagement in Sophia, Bulgaria where I met some of the warmest, most energetic and eager-to-succeed people on the planet. But you know what? I met the same kind of people in Sydney and Melbourne last month and in London the month before that. Still, Sophia is different and here’s why.

Only one generation ago Bulgaria was a part of the Soviet Union. Under socialist rule from the end of World War II until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, Bulgarians had no apparent desire to succeed. There was no incentive to work harder, think smarter, innovate, or even dream big.

Everyone had a job, which is a good thing, but the government decided what you did and what you got paid and that was usually just enough to get by. Everyone had staple foods, a roof over their head and clothes on their back. All that was good too, but you had to wait two years to buy a car or even a television. So life for the parents and grandparents of those who came to learn from me about Straight Line Persuasion, lived a life of sameness – mediocrity. There was no room for improvement, so why bother trying?

And the point of my little history lesson? To show the contrasts and similarities with America today. Here we are in 2015 and still, too many of us don’t see any room for improvement in our lives, so we don’t bother trying. And yet we live in an entrepreneur’s paradise! No country on the planet has produced more rags-to-riches success stories. Nowhere in the universe will you find it easier to start and grow a successful business. So why are so many people willing to settle for mediocrity?

Well, for one, most of us were taught to be average. It began at an early age when we were trained to conform to the standards of society, to play by the rules and not make waves. By the time we became teens we felt the need to “rebel” which really meant not be like our parents. But our greatest desire was to “fit in” – to be like every other teen. So we graduated from being average in one group setting to being average in another. We never became our own and by the time we figured out we had to it was far more difficult.

Mediocrity is safe. Being average means you never have to face risk or challenge. You just sort of exist, go with the flow, put in your time and let the matrix deplete you like a disposable coppertop. Here’s the truth: Mediocrity breeds a false sense of safety and comfort, one that’s very dangerous because it keeps you stuck in a rut.

Back in Bulgaria, many of the old generation wish they could return to the days of the Soviet Union. Back then they felt safe, the government took care of everything and it was easy to hide from their problems. Every year it seems more and more Americans are demanding the government do more to take care of them, guaranteeing they’ll be stuck in that rut a little longer.

The new generation of Bulgarians, the one I just trained in Sophia, are rejecting the old socialist model because they want more out of life and they realize no one’s going to do it for them. And like their entrepreneurial counterparts in Britain, Australia and here in America, they’re willing to risk some comfort and safety for greater rewards down the road. And for that I applaud them.

All the best,


Why do we hate salespeople?

So in my last blog post I tackled the issue of money being perceived as evil. And hopefully you agree with me that it’s not. Nor is the love of money evil. Remember, it’s all about context and what’s going on in your head.

Now what about selling? Is selling evil? And what about salespeople? Are they heroes or villains? I think it’s safe to say that goods and services don’t sell themselves, so without selling the entire global economy would come crashing down. So selling is good and salespeople are a necessity.

Then why does selling get such a bad rap? Why do consumers loathe the thought of walking into a car showroom on a Saturday afternoon? Why do business owners hide in the back room when a salesperson walks in the front door? And why do CEOs hate their own sales staff?

The problem boils down to one simple, yet profound issue – bad attitudes and bad habits and both stem from bad training … or no training at all.

So Mr. Business Owner and Ms. CEO, if you have a sales team that’s underperforming or one you refuse to admit publicly is on your payroll, here are a couple of thoughts.

Teach your salespeople to shut up and listen. The simple reality is that people have problems they need solved. Your company might have the product or service that’ll solve those problems. But your sales staff will never know that unless they stop talking long enough to ask relevant questions and wait for an answer. A big part of selling is the discovery process. I call it gathering intelligence.

Imagine a general leading his troops into battle without first gathering intelligence on the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, location and movements. Or a doctor who prescribes medication without first interviewing and examining the patient.

Salespeople who like to talk it up instead of gather information are novices at best and time wasters at worst. No wonder people want to avoid them.

Teach your salespeople about every aspect of your products or services. How on earth can they fill a need if they don’t know what they have to work with? How can they get prospects mentally and emotionally engaged if they aren’t fully engaged themselves? How can the prospect have any confidence in your product, and by extension, your salesperson and your company, if your salesperson is clueless?

Sales is a professional career path. Wanna be smart? Then train your sales staff as professionals, treat them as professionals and pay them as professionals. Do that and they’ll present themselves as professionals and the “evil of selling” would vanish overnight. Think about it …

If your salespeople knew how to ask the right questions, made their presentations based on the intelligence they gathered and actually knew a thing or two about what they were selling, there would be no need for high-pressure sales tactics, for lying, for cheating, for “playing games” and on and on. There would be no adversarial relationship between prospect and salesperson. Your sales staff would be recognized and sought after as experts in the their field. If you want to increase your bottom line begin by investing in your salespeople.

All the best,


Would you rather be rich or poor?

Strange question, right? I mean, who really wants to be poor. And yet there are plenty of poor people in this world. And what about the flip side of this coin? Does everyone want to be rich? If the answer is “yes” why are so few people actually wealthy?

I think it all boils down to some misconceptions that have produced limiting beliefs. Here are two of them …

The first is that money is an evil thing. Okay, I know, some of you are thinking: it’s the love of money that’s the root of all evil. I get that. And I believe that’s true. But at the same time, I love money! And I’m not ashamed to admit it! And, I know I’m not a bad person for thinking this way.

So how can I love money and at the same time agree that the love of money is the root of all evil? Context is everything my friends. Evil is elevating money to the status of a god. When you make money your master, when you become its slave, you step into the pit of evil.

I have no spiritual attachment to money. I don’t have an emotional attachment to money either. For me, money is a practical tool – a means to an end. I love it for what I can do with it. That’s it! Nothing more. Bottom line: there is no spiritual argument against money.

The next limiting belief is the so-called philosophical argument against wealth. Kierkegaard said he’d rather have “the passionate sense of potential” instead of wealth. Smart, well-respected guy … must know what he’s talking about, right?

Earl Nightingale, author of the classic self-help works The Strangest Secret and Lead the Field said, “a library of wisdom is more precious than all wealth.”

So, were these two guys happy and wise in poverty? No way! Kierkegaard lived off an inheritance and didn’t have to work a day in his life. Nightingale helped so many in his audience become wealthy he couldn’t help, but become wealthy himself!

Again, look at the context. That passionate sense of potential Soren Kierkegaard cherished so much could be better translated today as your vision! And what do you think the chances are that with the right vision, you can become wealthy? I’d say pretty damn good!

And does wealth come to the foolish or the wise? Does the old proverb a fool and his money are soon parted ring true?

Or how about the classic – money can’t buy happiness. Does this mean you’ll be happier trying to find two nickels to rub together rather than sitting on a pot of gold? Does it mean money is evil or that it will bring misery? Listen … if you’re miserable as a poor man you’ll be miserable as a rich man too.

See where I’m going with all this? No one is saying vision, or wisdom or even happiness should be sought to the exclusion of wealth. They are all precursors to wealth. If you have a vision that will inspire others, if you have some wisdom under your belt (or a good mentor in your back pocket) and if you’re generally a happy person, you’ll find it much easier to get rich. And when you get there you’ll have no regrets because you’ll know in your heart you earned every penny honestly and fairly.

To your success!


Five traits of the entrepreneur

Right now I’m in Melbourne, Australia teaching a Straight Line Sales and Persuasion Mastery Boot Camp. By the time this blog gets posted I’ll be teaching a Venture Capital Boot Camp for entrepreneurs. Hectic week and I’m loving it, because I thrive in these fast paced environments.

Since I’m surrounded by successful people and those eager to achieve success, I thought now would be a good time to share some thoughts on entrepreneurship. That word gets a lot of use these days and in some cases it gets a lot of abuse.

See, entrepreneurship is not the same as starting a business or running a business. It’s a much more visceral, seat-of-your pants experience. And while I teach in my Boot Camps, 10 skillsets every entrepreneur must ace to be successful, there are some necessary traits that just can’t be taught in the classroom.

The first is passion. I’ll go so far as to say obsession. If you’re thinking about being a 9-to-5 entrepreneur, you’re not ready for prime time. There’s nothing casual or part time about being an entrepreneur. It’s an all-consuming lifestyle.

Next is mental and emotional toughness. There’s a reason why this lifestyle is all-consuming. There’s a lot of risk involved. In fact, risk is a part of the dictionary definition of entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs work endless days with no pay and no guarantee of success. But they’re so passionate about their cause, so driven by their desire to succeed, that they can weather any storm, overcome any obstacle.

You’ve got to believe in yourself. All eyes are going to be on you. You’ll have to sell your vision to investors, to partners and finally, to employees. If you’re smart, you’ll attract people who are both complimentary and supplementary. You won’t be skilled at every task and you’re going to need others to fill the voids. Accept that, attract great people and don’t be threatened by their greatness.

Be decisive. There’s no room in an entrepreneur’s life for endless study and debate. No entrepreneur makes the right decision all the time, but the hallmark of a true entrepreneur is the ability to make that decision. They gather as much intelligence as they can and then they make their move. Boom! It’s a done deal. Next case.

Finally, on the heels of being decisive is being flexible. Even if you were to make the right decision every single time, that decision is just for a moment in time. A new day brings new challenges and new opportunities. Entrepreneurs know how to adapt and how to change course. The one thing entrepreneurs don’t know how to do is stop.

All the best,


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