Steve Ferrante's High Performance Blog for Sales/Customer Service/Leadership Champs and Progressive Professionals!

Posts tagged ‘Professional Development’

Your Single Biggest Advantage

Recently I came across this cartoon…

Who Wants Change

I’m not sure who the artist is but the depiction bears an uncanny resemblance to a speaking engagement I had a few years back. I was speaking at an automotive industry conference at the beautiful Baltimore Marriott Waterfront. There were about 1500 people in the audience. I was on stage with a movie theater size screen behind me. About 5 minutes into my presentation, I put this slide up on the screen..

DO YOU WANT TO WIN

The sheer amount of people and the rally environment of the conference made this the loudest response I’ve ever heard in the many times I’ve used this slide as they seemingly all cheered loudly, many raising their arms/fists to demonstrate their support. After all, who doesn’t want to win?

Then, I said “Great! What are you doing about it?” Like someone pulled the fun plug, the cheers faded away, the arms went down, and the place fell nearly silent as I switched to this quote from Coach Paul Bear Bryant..

The Will To Prepare To Win

Having trained thousands of folks in dozens of businesses, I’m convinced most people want to be better. They want to win. However, few people turn that desire into action and make the necessary changes to succeed at at a higher level. I believe this is your single biggest advantage for success.

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When I talk with clients, and people in general, about achieving higher levels of success (“Pinnacle Performance”) they all want it. But, when we address the changes it’s going to take then I often receive halfhearted commitments or excuses. Finally, I discover who I’m really dealing with in the actions they take or, most often, do not take.

Ever heard of a New Year resolution? The research studies all conclude the same findings, approximately 80% of people that make a New Year resolution do not keep it. There are a number of reasons for this but they are all driven by self-discipline and a commitment to change.   

Now this ‘change’ principle is certainly not the latest in professional development advice. In fact, English literary James Allen published this famous quote in one of the most popular self-help books of all time, As a Man Thinketh, way back in 1902:

“Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” — James Allen

Improvement, by design, is change. When you effectively apply this change principle to a organizations culture, where everyone is committed to continuous improvement, it is a very strong competitive advantage.

From 2007-2012 I conducted my “Strong Selling In A Weak Economy” seminar to dozens of organizations and associations. A popular program at the time, I would hear from many business owners on how they were trying to “weather the storm” and assuming a “bunker mentality” trying to make it through until the economy improved. I would ask how this was working for them and their business. It was not.

They all wanted to be better, yet they weren’t really doing anything about it other than trying to survive.  I would ask, “now that the economy has changed, what have you changed?” In most cases, nothing. I would point out how Einstein called this the definition of insanity; “doing the same thing and hoping for a different result”.

jim-rohn-change quote

So if positive change creates positive results then why don’t most people change? Here’s my top 3 reasons:

1) Change Is Hard?

There is no glitch in the Matrix.. That curious question mark at the end of this common statement is on purpose. The reality is change is only hard when you don’t know what and how to change. If you’ve been winging it, as a example, then “yes” change is hard. If you’re following a proven path then change is not easy, it’s just less hard, much less.

For instance, if you do not play the piano but were committed to playing really well, you wouldn’t buy a piano and just wing it. You would take lessons from a professional piano teacher who would help you change, with patience and practice, from an amateur to a professional yourself. 

You would recognize that in the beginning of your piano playing, like anything new, you would not be good and, very likely, would just plain stink. You would understand that this phase is a part of the learning curve on your way to mastering your skill.

If you understood all that and did persevere, you would be in the minority as the majority that try new things don’t succeed at them, much less master them. For them change is too hard. It’s much easier to retreat back to the comfort zone, so that’s where they end up. 

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do. – Eleanor Roosevelt

2) Your Environment

If you’re looking to lose weight then it only makes sense that you would not want to frequent the local ice cream parlor or pizza pad. If you want to succeed in your role, you need to take the same approach. Build a supporting cast by surrounding yourself with folks that are committed to the same change (or changes) you’re trying to make. Distance yourself from the naysayers and surround yourself with winners.

HANG OUT WITH EAGLES

For businesses, this is a culture issue. If a company is looking to achieve higher levels of success (a change) but their people are looking to stay the same (no change) then, ultimately, the company will not achieve its goal.  

Leaders must continually communicate the case for positive change and how it is ‘good for business’. They must create a culture that embraces change and strategically replace those on the team that are stuck in their ways and refuse to change.

3) Procrastination

Statistically speaking, there will be a great number of folks that read this and insist it’s not really about them. They are the ones that want change. They’ve just been so busy managing their current affairs that they haven’t really had the time to focus on all this change stuff.

Now, for some of these folks, it’s just not that important. They’re simply not that committed. Their goals are really just wishes. If they happen, great! If they don’t, that’s okay.

For those people, good enough is good enough

For the others that say, “Heck no, it’s really important”, it’s often a matter of procrastination.

You can find my whole article on that here > Top 3 Reasons Champions Don’t Have Time To Procrastinate

I hope this article has changed you, even if just a little, to be better than before you read it!

Steve 🙂

This article is also published on LinkedIn here > Your Single Biggest Advantage

Steve Ferrante is the Grand PooBah & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC.  Through Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services, Steve creates positive change for success-driven businesses throughout North America. For detailed information visit Sale Away. Steve can be reached directly at 866-721-6086 ext. 701 or via email at steve@saleawayllc.com

Are You Just Another Brick In The Wall?

If you’ve been working in sales, customer service or just about any other professional services occupation for more than a week or so then you have likely come to the realization that you’re not the only one who does what you do.

In fact, there’s a very high probability that you’re one of many, an UN-monopoly in your marketplace, with many competitors trying to capture and serve the very same customers that you are.

So what’s you plan to stand out in the crowd?

As I advise all my Pinnacle Performance clients, if you look, sound and feel like all your competitors in the eyes, ears and experience of your customers then their decision to do business with you will come down to price. If you’re looking to be the Walmart of your industry and sell high volume at the lowest price than this a fine path to travel.

On the other hand, if you’re not anticipating moving billions of dollars in goods or services, then I strongly suggest another path to prosperity; be different, be better, be worth more.

As I wrote in Would You Buy You?, YOU have a choice in the way you perceive yourself, manage yourself and, ultimately, sell yourself to others.

So take a good like at yourself and business approach. How do you look, sound and feel from the customers point-of-view?

Remember, nothing perceived as ordinary is ever valued as something special.

Don't Just Be Another Brick In The Wall

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Let’s LinkIn!

Steve Ferrante is the Grand PooBah & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Leadership training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For detailed information visit Sale Away. Steve can be reached directly at 866-721-6086 ext. 701 or via email at steve@saleawayllc.com

Monday Morning Motivation: Don’t Wish It Were Easier…

Hi All,

Another work week is upon us… As always, it will come with it’s share of challenges and struggles.

Some folks will wish it were easier. Champion ‘Pinnacle Performers’ will be stronger and succeed.

Some folks hope things will work out. Champions plan and are prepared for when they don’t.

As personal development author and master motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, said in the follow-up to his famous quote below, Don’t wish for less challenges; wish for more wisdom.”

Fact is, you have a world of wisdom at your disposal to effectively handle any challenge.

Don't Wish It Were Easier

Make a Great Day!

Steve :-)

Looking for wisdom? Visit Steve’s Recommended Reading

Monday Morning Motivation: The Ant Philosophy

For this weeks Monday Morning Motivation, below is a great little piece from renown business philosopher, Jim Rohn.  This is a perfect lesson for Pinnacle Performers and those who would like to be one.

Walk The Path!

Steve

ant_01

The Ant Philosophy
by Jim Rohn

Over the years I’ve been teaching kids about a simple but powerful concept—the ant philosophy. I think everybody should study ants. They have an amazing four-part philosophy, and here is the first part: ants never quit. That’s a good philosophy. If they’re headed somewhere and you try to stop them, they’ll look for another way. They’ll climb over, they’ll climb under, they’ll climb around. They keep looking for another way. What a neat philosophy, to never quit looking for a way to get where you’re supposed to go.

Second, ants think winter all summer. That’s an important perspective. You can’t be so naive as to think summer will last forever. So ants gather their winter food in the middle of summer.

An ancient story says, “Don’t build your house on the sand in the summer.” Why do we need that advice? Because it is important to think ahead. In the summer, you’ve got to think storm. You’ve got to think rocks as you enjoy the sand and sun.

The third part of the ant philosophy is that ants think summer all winter. That is so important. During the winter, ants remind themselves, “This won’t last long; we’ll soon be out of here.” And the first warm day, the ants are out. If it turns cold again, they’ll dive back down, but then they come out the first warm day. They can’t wait to get out.

And here’s the last part of the ant philosophy. How much will an ant gather during the summer to prepare for the winter? All he possibly can. What an incredible philosophy, the “all–you–possibly–can” philosophy.

Wow, what a great philosophy to have—the ant philosophy. Never give up, look ahead, stay positive and do all you can.

How To Avoid Being Punched In The Face

Here’s my practical, 10-step guide to avoid being punched in the face by way of improved human relations at work and life in general

Contribute positively to society by sharing this presentation with your friends and professional network.

Steve 🙂

Link In With Me @ Steve Ferrante on LinkedIn

HOW TO AVOID BEING PUNCHED IN THE FACE Cvr Pg

Work Break

With Summer upon us, many employees have a hard time focusing on their jobs and find themselves on an extended mental (if not physical) break. Below is a witty sign a crafty company posted to remind their employees of their mission. Would this be a suitable addition to your workplace?

Work Break

Have a Happy 4th of July break (tomorrow)

Steve 🙂

 

Monday Morning Motivation: New Beginning

Hard to believe 2013 is now half-way to done. Time flies when you’re on the run!

This mid-year point is the perfect time to evaluate your sales performance year-to-date. Have you hit your performance goals thus far? Are you on track to achieve your 2013 goal? If not, why not? What do you need to do to get on track, elevate your performance and finish strong in the second half of the year now here?

My 25+ years of sales/sales management experience has revealed that under-performing salespeople are typically not getting themselves in front of enough qualified prospects or, if they are, they’re not as effective as they should (and could) be. Often it’s a combination of both deficiencies.

One thing is certain; you cannot change the past. You can, however, control your future. What you do (and how you do it) from this day forward will determine where you end up at the end of the year. It is your new beginning…

New Beginning

Vitallity Ability

Power Your StoryMake a Great Day!

Steve

Need help with what you do and how you do it to achieve and exceed your sales goals? Visit Sale Away LLC.

Monday Morning Motivation

Time for a little Monday Morning Motivation…

How will you be better this week than last?

inspire-others-9

Onward & Upward!

OffToGreatPlaces

Make a Great Day!

Steve

The Power of Doughnuts?

national-doughnut-day-2

Good Day Folks,

As a professional sales/customer service trainer,  I’m often approached by individuals seeking the right foods to power their pinnacle performance.

Actually that has never happened but it does bring up a good point.

Today is National Doughnut Day!

It’s true. See this report from ABC News that includes where you can get free doughnuts today > National Doughnut Day 2013: Where to Get Free Doughnuts

Assuming you have not run out of the building to your local doughnut retailer and are still reading this I will add that doughnuts would not be my first recommendation as an energy-driver power food. However, there is something to be said (something good) about the personal enjoyment derived from a good glazed pastry with a hole in it.

Or perhaps your more  of a creme or jelly filled sans-hole type of doughnut connoisseur? No worries, they have plenty of those to please the most demanding pallet.

There is some logic, albeit fuzzy, at work here too. Doughnuts put you in a good mood. It’s just hard to miserable eating one. And when you’re in a good mood “Positive Attracts Positive” and everything goes better.

Besides, you work hard. That’s what Pinnacle Performers do. You deserve a delicacy now and then. Consider it a just reward for a job well done this week.

Make mine a powdered chocolate warmed (but not too hot) with some strawberry cream dipping sauce!

Steve 🙂

Things Turn Out Best For The People Who Make The Best Of The Way Things Turn Out

Good Day Pinnacle Performers,

Welcome to May! Hope this post finds you doing extraordinarily well.

We have arrived at the last in the series of John Wooden Maxims:

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”

Excerpt from Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court:

“Why is it so much easier to complain about the things we do not have than to make the most of and appreciate the things we do have?”

This quote ties directly into the Maxim as many folks don’t make the most of the way things turns out, instead focusing on and complaining about what is missing and/or wrong with the situation.

This is a lesson I personally lived out in my professional selling efforts. When I started in business management consulting sales, I was assigned a territory that was considered to be “saturated”, having gone through many years with many different sales reps before me calling on what was, by and large, the same prospective client base.  At the same time, there were brand new “virgin” territories in other areas of the Eastern U.S. that afforded the sales reps there opportunities to get in front of potential clients for the very first time. In a new territory, it was not uncommon for the salesperson who worked there to receive (from the company’s inside sales effort) twice the number of appointments in any given week.

It would have been quite easy to focus on those negatives; I can’t sell because the territory is saturated, I can’t sell because the prospects I’m seeing have seen us 14 times already,  I can’t sell because I’m getting half the appointments, etc.

Instead I chose (with some effective mentoring at the time) to focus on what I did have and could control. If I had less opportunities and the opportunities themselves would potentially be of lower quality, well then I needed to be all that much better with the opportunities I did have or I would surely fail.  I’m happy to report that was not the case…

Over my 10 years with the company, I maintained the highest batting average (sales to presentation ratio) and ended my tenure with the highest generated revenue totals in the company’s history.

One thing is certain. You will have challenges. You will have obstacles. In order to succeed you must build a mental bridge and get over them. What John Wooden said is true:

Thing Turn Out Best - John Wooden

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

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