How to Guarantee You’ll Never Meet Your Quota

Beat your quotaLet me show you how to guarantee you’ll never meet your quota. It’s really easy. When you organize yourself to just meet it, you’re not very likely to achieve it. By operating that way you’re setting yourself up to generate less revenue for your company and fewer dollars for yourself. It’s actually why so many people never meet quota. All they do is set their sights on meeting it.

How’s that again?

What I’m saying is this: If all you try to do is meet the quota, you’ll never do it.

Why not?

Because you’ll organize your activity to hit the mark—which means barely meeting it–usually on the last day of the month. In the normal course of business, something will almost always go wrong with part of your plan, resulting in at least a small shortfall. Don’t be the salesperson who ends the month saying, “Had it in the bag. Then Jasper Jones fell apart on me. If it wasn’t for that, I’d have hit the mark.” That’s what happens when you aim to be average. In order to meet your quota every month, quarter, or year, you need a different strategy.

Begin by organizing your activity so you can double your quota. What will it take to make that happen? It’s easy to figure out. Just do the math. You must know what it takes to hit the mark. Double it to picture what has to happen to go beyond. Then, plan your activity as if this doubled amount is your actual quota. This way, when Sara asks for different terms, Kyle cancels an order, and your big client committee delays a decision, you’ll still do well with the other sales you’ve closed. When you do start hitting 200% of quota because of your increased activity, bump your goal to 300%. It can and has been done by students of my training. They implemented different strategies. They detailed out their activity plans. Those past graduates of my training followed through…and doubled and tripled their incomes.

Don’t meet any quota that’s set for ordinary people. Change your mindset and demolish it!

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Excerpted from my book, The Official Guide to Success.

Believing in Yourself as a Sales Professional

Believing in yourself, being confidentBelieving in yourself is the first step to success in sales. A lack of self-confidence will be evident to others and cause them to hesitate doing business with you.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being “outstanding”), how strongly do you believe in your abilities as a sales professional? I’m going to assume you believe in your product. If you don’t, stop reading and start researching a product that you can believe in. Your own experience with and conviction in the value of your product will impact your sales as much as — if not more than — any selling strategy I can teach you.

Now, back to the original question, do you believe in yourself? Do you believe in your abilities, your competence as a sales professional? Really think about this. You probably aren’t equally good in all areas of the sales process. Few are. If you believe yourself to be great at prospecting, yet less-than-great at qualifying, you may be doubling your presentation time (presenting once to the non-decision-maker and again to the real decision-maker). If you’re great at presenting, but hesitant about asking people for their money, your ratios will show it. Any of those things can negatively impact your belief in your ability to succeed.

Ask yourself, and honestly answer these questions:

  • Do I start my day feeling physically and mentally at the top of my game?
  • Is my day well-planned, allowing for emergencies, or will I figure out my schedule when I get to work?
  • Is my hair well-cut and styled? Are my nails manicured (even if they’re self-manicured)?
  • Does my clothing fit well and comfortably? Is it pressed and clean (no spots or stains)?
  • Is my mode of transportation in good repair and clean?
  • Are my presentation materials so well organized that I could give a sound presentation should I meet a qualified client while I’m out and about?
  • Am I generally prepared to be all I can be as a true sales professional?

Each of the areas listed above impact your belief about how your day will unfold. If you’re wondering in the back of your mind if the client will notice your scuffed shoes, you’re not at your best in the “front of your mind” where effective selling occurs. If you notice you’re running low on gas on the way to a client meeting, you’ve just upped your stress level. If your desk or computer screen has multiple projects going at once, how much of an impact do you think you’ll be able to make with each one?

True sales professionals understand how important their beliefs, attitudes, and self-discipline skills are to their careers. They take care of themselves physically and mentally to be at the top of their games when in the selling arena. They pay attention to their grooming. They invest in quality clothing. They take advantage of organizational skills, strategies to help them focus, and preparation time. All of these things enhance their ability to believe in themselves as professionals thus doing the best job possible for the people they serve.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Learn more about how to professionally serve your clients through my training here>>

Guide to Sales Success

Sales SuccessThe guide to sales success is simple really. Plan out the best actions to take. Then act on your plans.

Self-discipline really encompasses nearly everything in life. Do you remember in school when you were given 30 days to write a term paper? Did you start it that first night? Most of us didn’t.

Instead, we thought about it every night. “Got to get moving on that ratty project. But I’ve got almost a whole month left. It can wait.” As time goes by, worry about getting a failing grade looms larger in our minds. At first, the pain of starting the term paper is greater than our concern about the failing grade. So after a week, we still haven’t started. Two weeks go by. What are we doing every night before we go to sleep? Worrying about that “F.” “I better start. Tomorrow, I’ll get moving on it.”

A week before the term paper is due, the “F” is getting larger, but it’s still not quite large enough to offset the pain of working at preventing it. All of a sudden there are only three days left before it’s due and at last the “F” looms larger than the pain of working on the term paper. So we start.

As you lay it out, you begin to feel some enthusiasm. “This isn’t bad. I may get an ‘A’ if I do this and that.” When you walk in with your paper, you’re happy but you wasted 27 days worrying about starting. In other words, you operated at a deficit emotionally for 27 days when you could have been in the profit column the whole time. [Read more…]

The Essence of Leadership

The topic of leadership is always popular in business, and in life in general. It’s been a highlight for me to share the seminar stage with some of the greatest leaders in recent history. I’ve met and spoken with people like Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Former First Lady Barbara Bush, Retired General Norman Schwartzkopf, Zig Ziglar, and Rudy Giuliani. During these wonderful times with them, I’ve done my best to keep the mindset of a student. As a dedicated student, I’m always prepared to ask a lot of questions. I try my best to be an intent listener—especially when I’m around people of the above-mentioned stature. They have shared some wonderful concepts during their speeches and during our conversations that have meant a lot to me.

For example, General Schwartzkopf, who commanded our troops during the Persian Gulf War of the early 1990’s, had a great definition of a leader. He said, “A great leader is an average individual who is extremely well-prepared when an incredible event occurs.” If you think about that definition, we’re all pretty much the same in the beginning of our lives as far as being average people. As babies, we all have the same basic mentality and skill levels. How our lives are lived out depends on how we prepare ourselves by developing skill sets and stretching ourselves with new experiences.

Regardless of what you’re doing in life, you’re either leading or following at all times. As a parent, you lead your children. As a spouse, there are times when you take the lead and others when you follow. As an employer you lead your people. Employees follow the leadership of their companies.

But what is it that makes leaders different? Here are 10 key points about leadership:

  1. L          They fall in Love with what they do.
  2. E         They are Enthusiastic.
  3. A         They have the right Attitude. Attitude is everything when it comes to leadership.
  4. D         They have a Desire to learn everything they can about their situation.
  5. E         They Emulate other leaders who are greater than they are.
  6. R         They have the Respect of the people who are following them.
  7. S         They enjoy the Success that leadership brings them.
  8. H         They are Humble about their success—always open to learning more.
  9. I           They have tremendous Imagination to envision themselves in their next position of growth.
  10. P         They develop a burning Passion for life and for what they do.

There are a few kinds of success that don’t require leadership. A very few. Unless you’re convinced that you’ll never need to display leadership, miss no opportunity to develop it.

What is the essence of leadership? It’s the ability to make your followers believe that you possess superior knowledge of the situation, greater wisdom to cope with the unknown, or greater moral force. Unless you seem to have more of these things than the average follower does, they won’t follow you around the first corner.

Superior knowledge of the specific situation you’re involved with must often be acquired on scene. Greater wisdom comes from study that’s tested by experience. Although moral force is also a learned trait, it springs from an inner commitment to greatness that any of us can make.

One of the best examples of leadership I know of comes from Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great was a Macedonian king and great conqueror. At one time, Alexander led a forced march across and hot and desolate plain. On the eleventh day of this march, he and all the soldiers who were still with him were near death from thirst. Their water supply was gone. Even so, Alexander pressed on. At midday, two scouts brought him what little water they had been able to find—it hardly filled the bottom of a helmet. Their throats burning, Alexander’s men stood back and watched him enviously. Alexander didn’t hesitate. He turned the helmet over and poured the water on the hot sand at his feet. Then he said, “It’s of no use for one to drink when many thirst.” His men desperately needed water—quantities of it—when Alexander was only able to provide a few drops. So he gave them the only thing he did have: inspiration to press on for the good of all.

That’s leadership.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. My best self-development content is in the book, The Official Guide to Success. NOTE: We match or beat Amazon investments for my books!

Who are you helping? Them? Or yourself?

Before each client contact, ask yourself this: Who are you helping? Them? Or yourself? This means giving yourself a quick attitude check. Are you concerned about your production this month? Or, are you more concerned with whether or not you have the right solution for the client?

LS002546When you present an attitude of helpfulness at the beginning of every client contact, you’ll become a top closer in sales. By approaching selling situations with the goal of helping the client, you won’t come across aggressively—and by no means will you be average or typical. And, with a helpful attitude, you’ll knock the dollar signs out of your eyes, which will put the buyer at ease.

I teach my seminar attendees that a salesperson’s income is a scoreboard reflection of the amount of service he or she gives to others. If you’re not happy with your current score (aka income), it’s time to improve the level of service you’re currently providing.

Improving your service begins with taking on an attitude of servitude. It also means taking control of your personal environment. If something that’s going on in your personal life is distracting you from your job, it may show to potential clients. When they feel you’re distracted, they’ll want to extract themselves from working with you.

Don’t risk losing sales or long-term clients because non-career challenges you are facing distract you from providing the service you know you need to deliver. Do whatever it takes to give your clients all that they expect and deserve. They’ll reward you with their business…and referred leads.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

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Choosing What to Sell

mallOne of the questions I’m asked most often by people who are new to the selling profession is about choosing what to sell. My answer isn’t what they expect. They want me to tell them to work in a specific industry or to sell the latest “hot” product. But that’s not how it works.

In order to do the job of selling well, you must believe in your product and the benefits it provides to your clients. So, my answer is this, “The best product for you to sell is one that you truly believe in and can speak about with great enthusiasm and, if at all possible, from personal experience.”

  • When you believe in your product and its benefits, you’ll do the work necessary to become an expert on it.
  • You’ll be excited to talk about it.
  • You’ll gain a clear understanding of what type of person or company makes an ideal client for you.
  • And your selling job will be fun.

[Read more…]

Self-Discipline, the Foundation of Self-Improvement

What is the one thing you must have in order to succeed? It’s a little thing called self-discipline—something that’s little only in the sense that it’s yours any time you choose to employ it. In its effect on your life, having self-discipline makes a tremendous difference—a difference too great to measure. It’s not something you’re given not something you inherit. Self-discipline is something that you acquire by yourself and for yourself. You get it from the inner person—from the voice that talks to you all the time.

SP001708Self-discipline is the foundation of self-improvement. It channels your resources of time, energy, and money into the habit of learning and growing towards something new and better each and every day. I believe in surrounding myself with happy and successful people. I believe that happiness and self-discipline are found together and that together they are the fountain of greatness.

People who achieve success share at least this one thing called self-discipline. Regardless of the endeavor—whether they are professional people, students in school, business owners, corporate executives, athletes or whatever—the one characteristic that is common to all succeeders is self-discipline. [Read more…]

Understanding Your Nut

Understanding your nut requires that you sit down at least once — preferably right now — and list out all of the expenses of your monthly life. If you don’t do this regularly, the number might surprise you. It’s funny how little things like daily coffee at your favorite corner place, occasional donuts for the office, and grabbing milk at the quick mart instead of on sale at the supermarket add up. Be honest and give yourself a real number–your current “nut”–that needs to be cracked every month in order to maintain your current lifestyle.

The necessity of cracking the nut every month can be a lift or a drag on your productivity. Getting through every month requires that you get your hands on a certain amount of money. The least amount of money that will keep unpleasant things from happening is your nut.

Some people work best with a big nut to crack. They relish the pressure. It makes them feel more vital, and spurs them on to greater achievement.

Everybody doesn’t react this way. Lots of very effective people are pressure sensitive. Very little of it makes them try so hard that they drive success away. Other pressure-sensitive people become so cautious that their productivity suffers. Instead of spurring these individuals on to greater achievements, money pressure destroys their confidence, shrivels their ingenuity, and exhausts them with sleepless nights.

Here’s a success secret: Discover what works best for you. Then arrange your life so that you’re working under that exact amount of money pressure. You’ll have to learn what monthly nut will put that amount of pressure on you by experiment. When you’re studying this question, don’t give any weight to what you think should motivate you. The only thing that’s important here is what actually does motivate you to higher production.

I’ve known salespeople who simply wouldn’t work effectively unless they were about to have something foreclosed or repossessed. Then they’d suddenly switch on the hard work and become enormously creative and effective. Other people I’ve known lost all their flair for success under a surprisingly small amount of money pressure.

For most of us, the best-sized nut is one that we have to strain to crack, but it’s not one that’ll bend our bones. Then as we get stronger, as we gain in experience and skill, most of us need a larger nut to crack if we’re to keep up our pace.

Know exactly what your nut is at all times. Review it every 90 days and decide whether its size is helping or hurting your march toward greater success. When you’ve made that decision, change your lifestyle to bring what you’re committed to spend in line with what makes you earn the most.

If you work better under money pressure, leverage your investments and buy your rewards and luxuries on credit. Do this within reason, of course, and keep a wary eye on the general condition of the economy at all times.

If you perform best without money worries, never buy anything on credit unless you really structure the plan of how to pay for it. Be more prudent and frugal with your money. Have an amount put away that can cover your actual nut or obligations. It lets you work more relaxed and creatively. Rent until you can buy for cash; invest with cash only; buy luxuries with cash only. Above all, keep the nut you have to crack every month thin shelled.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International. Excerpted from The Official Guide to Success book.

Freedom and the Free Enterprise System

American flagAs we celebrate the birth of the United States this year, I’m so grateful to live in a country that protects freedom and the free enterprise system. It’s  because of our free enterprise system that I’ve so enjoyed my career in sales. It’s because selling allows us freedom of expression that it’s so much fun. And, hearing the stories of those who have taken my training and experienced the joys of selling is what keeps me going today.

The profession of selling can bring you many things: financial freedom, job satisfaction, the accolades of your peers and leaders, and appreciation from clients who have been well-served. There are few moments more special than when a new client thanks you for helping them relieve a pain or solve a need. It’s the “standing ovation of sales.” It’s when we know we have utilized our skills to the best of our abilities: asking the right questions, really listening to the answers, educating decision makers with the knowledge we’ve worked hard to gain, and helping people rationalize their decisions–helping them feel comfortable with owning or experiencing something new in their lives.

Wow! Isn’t selling great?

I truly am proud to be an American who is free to tell the world that I am a sales professional. And, that’s the feeling I wish for you now and always.

Happy 4th of July, 2014.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

4 Steps to Turn Setbacks into Comebacks

Every now and then, I encounter other speakers, trainers, or authors with messages that just have to be shared. Please enjoy “4 Steps to Turn Setbacks into Comebacks” by Dr. Willie Jolley.

Let’s face the facts…the last few years have been economically challenging for most people around the globe. We’ve gone through financial crises unlike anything most of us have seen in our lifetimes.

But while this recession is technically over, most experts say the recovery cycle can take anywhere from 5 to 15 years to complete!  That means we must continue to Go and Grow Through the process to turn this setback into a stellar comeback!

How do we learn to thrive when we have had a setback?

First, don’t panic! The word “panic” is taken from the Greek word “to choke!” To choke means to cut off, to disengage, and to disconnect. When you panic, you cut off the air to your brain. When you cut off the air to your brain, you cannot think clearly. And when you are unable to think clearly, you are unable to make wise decisions.

And if you are unable to make wise decisions, you usually end up making poor decisions.

History shows us multiple examples of people who panicked and made poor decisions. During the stock market crash of 1929, thousands of people panicked and committed suicide. But the market came back, bigger and better than before! That stock market crash was called a crisis. “Crisis” is a word with dual meanings – great challenge and/or great opportunity! In the landmark book, Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, he states, “In every adversity there is always the seed for equal or greater benefit!”

That “greater benefit” concept was reinforced during an interview I had with Dave Yoho on my SiriusXM Show. Dave Yoho is a dynamic speaker and business consultant who is in his 80’s, yet is still working like a person in his 50’s!  Dave was born in 1928, one year before the Wall Street Crash.  He vividly remembers the Great Depression and how he and his parents got through it. Dave said, “When I grew up, we didn’t know anything but tough times. We learned tough times don’t last, but tough people do. You can’t panic, but be committed to working on your goals and personal achievement all the time.”

Research shows that world economies will have good times, followed by tough times; followed by good times, followed by tough times; and then back to good times! So the key is: Do not panic!

Those who succeed, over the long term, know this: You thrive when you accept that setbacks are part of any business. Yet, those who dwell only on the challenges setbacks bring, routinely falter.

The secret is to not give up! Keep going and growing through your challenges! These temporary setbacks can empower you to reach even greater levels of future business success.

Here are the 4 Steps to Turn Your Setbacks into Comebacks!

1. Focus Your Vision

Where you focus your energy determines where you will go. If you focus on the setback and the challenges it brought you, your business can’t move forward. However, when you focus your vision on what you want your business to become—despite the setback—then you’re using the setback for what it really is: a transition period.

Since every business will go through some sort of change or setback, it’s important to be able to look past the obstacle and plan your future strategies. In order to develop your new business focus, ask yourself these questions:

  1. “What is the big picture goal I have for my business?”
  2. “What can I do differently to keep this setback from occurring again?”
  3. “What goals (sales, product development, customer retention, etc.) do I want my business to achieve in the next three, six and twelve months?”
  4. “How can I use this setback as a learning experience?”

In my book, A Setback Is A Setup For A Comeback, I have a chapter titled Face It, Trace It, Erase It and Replace It!  The chapter tells the reader that we all have setbacks but once we face it and trace it, we can learn how to avoid it in the future. Then we need to erase any stigma we feel about the setback and replace that negative thought with a positive thought!  Rather than beating ourselves up, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and go about getting it done better in the future!

Use the answers to these questions as your guide to develop your revised business focus.

2. Make A Decision

Both success and failure are decisions. So once your vision is in place, you need to decide you’re going to win, despite the setback. The truth is successful business people choose to be successful. They know that decision and choice are integral parts of the success formula. No matter what setback they encounter, they decide to overcome it and prevail.

Some decisions you’ll have to make in order for your business to overcome a setback includes:

  1. Who are my advisors? Negative advisors who focus on the setback won’t help you overcome it. You need to decide to associate with positive advisors who share your vision.
  2. Is my new goal big enough? Just because you had a setback doesn’t mean you have to start over small. Make a decision to see the big picture first. Then you can work your way backward to meeting that goal.
  3. What steps must I take to meet my goal? Plan out specifically what you will do to meet your new goal. For example, if your goal is to increase sales by 33%, write out what you will do to accomplish that and the time frame you’re allowing yourself to meet the goal.

3. Take Action

A decision without action is simply an illusion. An action without a vision is mere confusion. Yet a vision plus decisive action can give your goals a life transfusion. Once you decide on the strategies for making your new business vision a reality – you must take action. You must take action on each and every one of those strategies or goals!

Unfortunately, many business people never act on their decisions. While they have every intention of making their new business vision a reality, they lack the determination and persistence that is required to take the action. When you take action on a decision, you’re taking responsibility for the setback! You’re now ready to move forward and attain your next goal.

Remember, you may not be responsible for getting knocked down, but you are solely responsible for getting back up. Only those who act achieve their goals.

4. Keep The Desire

Desire is the degree of energy you’re willing to exert in order to reach your goal. In other words – how badly do you want your business to thrive and what are you willing to do in order to achieve it?

In order to reach your new or revised business goal it takes consistent follow-through with every action, even if it involves a degree of risk. While taking a risk can be intimidating (especially after a setback), it’s a necessary ingredient to reaching your new business goal.

There’s an old saying: “It’s impossible to reach second base if you’re afraid to leave first.” Decide how badly you want to achieve your goal.  Then keep going until you achieve it.

Having a business setback is not an “if” proposition… it’s a “when” proposition.  And when one occurs, you need to make a conscious decision to view, it not as a problem, but rather, as a learning opportunity! Decide what you’re going to do about the setback and focus on the solution.

Over the years I have interviewed hundreds of super successful business people either for my radio show or on my television programs and every single one has had setbacks.  Yet, I have stated in my books and these successful business people have confirmed that a setback is not the end of the road, but rather a bend in the road. And the only ones who crash are those who fail to make the turn!

Viewing your business setbacks as a chance for future growth, allows every business challenge the opportunity for a positive outcome. And every setback can be seen as nothing but a setup for an incredible comeback!  Keep making great things happen, and as I share with my audience every week on my radio show…Stay Positive and Remember Your Best Is Yet To Come!

Willie Jolley, President/ CEO, Author of the International Best-Selling Book, “A Setback Is A Setup For A Comeback!”