Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Are You Addicted to Asking for the Sale?

Every successful business, organization, or salesperson has an unquenchable addiction to asking for business.

funny coffee addict

Flailing and failing businesses are addicted to excuses like, “We cannot compete with XYZ Company’s marketing budget”, or “The economy is tough right now”. Meanwhile, winning companies refuse to buy the excuses of the masses, and choose to invest their energy into selling themselves and their customers why right now is the best time to do business with them.

3 Reasons Why You May Not Be Addicted to Asking for Business:

1. You Play it Safe

Being a winner in business requires boldness and confidence. Confident companies like Zappos, Southwest Airlines, and Apple know who they are, and why they are better than their competitors.
To build your team’s boldness muscles, begin by asking each team member to write down three reasons why they are awesome, and why they feel your business or organization is awesome. It won’t turn your business into an overnight success, it begins to affirm a “buy in” belief within your organization.
They also understand the importance of a customer’s perspective. I wrote about perspective in in my interview with Tom O’Neal, Rock and Roll’s #1 Photographer.

2. You Blend In

While I am a fan of modeling successful businesses and practices that help you speed up your success learning curve; the last thing you want to do is to look and sound like every one of your competitors.
Camouflage by definition means that you blend in, therefore it is impossible to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Your customer’s minds are attracted to unique and fascinating things. If you don’t constantly innovate, communicate with, and remind your target market why you are the best choice for them, you are dying. 
When we help our consulting clients create hyper-targeted marketing campaigns that produce outstanding results, they are always bold, usually humorous, and create a memorable impression… which leads to more business.

3. You Suck at Closing

I don’t know why so many salespeople are afraid of closing. It is no more or less important than listening to your customer, being knowledgeable about your product, or knowing how to describe the benefits of your product or service to customer. It is the point when you either move forward or move on.
The late Zig Ziglar said, “A salesperson who does not close is nothing more than a professional visitor.” There ain’t much money in just visiting!
When we secret shop banks, credit unions, or retail clients, our stats are startling.
-55% of people actively engage the prospect and conversation and ask about their needs and wants
-18% confidently articulate why their business could be a good fit for the prospect
-8.5% ask for the business (or upsell if appropriate)
The worst thing that can happen is that your prospect can tell you is "No". They cannot shoot you and eat you. Sales Jedi, Grant Cardone, recommends that you respond to fear by taking action! The key to success in business is having an addiction to asking. 

What ways to you feed your addiction to asking?
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412

Friday, September 5, 2014

Dude! Where's Your Drum Solo?

No one ever made history by playing it safe. 

Instead of being motivated by the power of their goals, they are focused on things like:

What if I screw up?
What will people think of me?
I need to wait until I'm really good before I show others what I do!

Kid Drum Solo in music Store
Alex's Guitar Center Debut
No you don't.

My son, Alex, and I visited a Guitar Center several years ago. Like all 13 year old boys, he wanted to play the drums. While we were talking to the drum guy about various options and costs, Alex jumps in and says, "I'd just really like to play that drum set."

A smile shined on the employees face, and within seconds drumsticks appeared. Needless to say, the store was treated to an impromptu drum solo, courtesy of my son.

One great thing about kids is that they don't care what other people think!

Alex enjoys playing the drums, and has taken workshops with one of the top drummers alive today, Rich Redmond (drummer for the Jason Aldean Band).

Think of your favorite performer, actor, or entrepreneur. Chances are they kept their eyes on their goals and dreams, as opposed to constantly focusing on what everyone else thought about them.

What dream have you put on hold?

Share this post on social media, or forward it to a friend! 

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Frosting-Face Business Lessons from a 1 Year-Old

Most people have attended a birthday party for a one-year-old. The one-year-old is usually confused but has fun. The kid ends up covered in cake, and everyone has fun and talks about the event for weeks  afterwards.
Frosting Face Baby
Brailey's First Birthday
If you want to experience true success in business and life, approach your idea the same way a small child views their first birthday party.

Countless businesses or new careers are  roadblocked every day by fear and his destructive cousin, should. It usually sounds something like this,"I should start this business, new career, go back to school, etc.; but I just don't know how it would possibly turn out." 

If everyone waited until they were 100% ready and confident of their outcome, zero innovation would ever happen. Every successful sales professional or business owner has built the confidence necessary to succeed on the shoulders of uncertainty.

1. Every experience is new and different

Small children view new experiences through a lens of wonder and amazement. Fear and uncertainty are learned traits. I highly doubt that a small child would be thinking, "I hope I don't mess up putting my whole face into this chocolate cake. What will they think?"  It's okay to feel fear. 

2. All of these people and all these gifts must be here for me!

The level of expectation of a small child is unparalleled. What would happen if you viewed your next three sales calls with the expectation of, "Of course they want to do business with me. Why else would I be here?"

3. Make a mess and have fun

Most one-year-olds wind up wearing more of their cake than eating it. Yet everyone has a great time, the mess gets cleaned up, and people talk about it for weeks. What is the worst thing that could happen if you venture out and pursue a new career, business, or relationship? Get out of your own way. 

When I first started speaking, I had never delivered a program that exceeded 60 minutes in length. I finalized a deal with an event planner who booked me for a half day long workshop for $5,000! At the time, I had never received a fee like that. 

I called one of my mentors to share the great news, exclaiming, "I just booked a half-day workshop!" After he congratulated me, I realized, "Holy crap, I have never delivered a half-day long workshop. What am I going to do?"

I learned as I went along, and the event was awesome. Every entrepreneur or successful person has ventured out into the land of uncertainty with nothing but the light of faith to guide them. Sometimes things work. Sometimes they do not go as planned. Life goes on. 

How do you celebrate your business every day?
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412

Friday, June 27, 2014

Face Down to Fantastic!

Successful people celebrate their lives today, only because they have journeyed down a road rife with struggles, failures, and sacrifice. Realizing that the current challenges you are dealing with today are not just propelling you toward the goals that you desire; they are helping to shape you in the person you must become to sustain your goal.

“I just read a very motivating story about someone who has never encountered adversity!”said no one…ever!

Molly Cain Book Signing
Molly Cain Signing Books

Molly Cain just published her first book, Just Love Me

Molly is my step-daughter, and on March 30, 2012 she fell down the stairs at her home in Fort Collins Colorado and landed on her face, sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and was in a coma for 17 days. The next 2 years were filled with struggle, victory, and a crazy amount of effort.

Molly was basically a baby in an adult body, tasked with relearning virtually every function in her life. Her path of recovery involved learning to walk, talk, care for herself, write, and navigate this bumpy minefield of returning to an “normal” life. A little more than two years ago did not know if Molly would be able to walk, let alone publish a book and inspire audiences wherever she speaks. Check out her blog at
She did her first book signing in Moline, Illinois and completely sold out of books (and is fulfilling orders as we speak).
While most of you will not suffer a severe injury to the extent that Molly did, here are three strategies that will help you bounce back and recover, helping you harness this awesome gift of life that we all enjoy:

1. Get pissed off.

Sometimes the greatest fuel for improvement is ignited by an intense desire to change. Speaker and author, Mel Robbins, tells us that the word “fine” robs more people of their dreams and their potential then any other word.
If something is “fine”, that means you have absolutely no desire to change or improvement. Make a list of things that you merely tolerate… But would love to celebrate.

2. Be vulnerable

Confidence is an essential trait for anyone who desires success in life; so is humility. You do not know everything that you need to know to achieve the level of success that you desire. This does not mean that you need to become an expert at things that you truly dislike or are untalented at, but it does mean that you should solicit competent advice from people who love doing what you detest.

3. Become an activity grenade

Nothing happens without action. Little action will not create the amazing results that you truly desire. I understand that if you are 50 pounds heavier than your ideal weight, you will not drop 50 pounds and be in great shape within three days. You will begin taking progressive steps forward toward realizing your goals.
If you want to massively increase your income, you can’t just call a few additional prospects, you need to blow up your prospect’s phones and follow up so much that they think you are a freak! 
What are you doing to create your ideal life?

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412

Monday, June 2, 2014

Boring Marketing Is Costing Real Estate Agents Big Bucks!

Most of us don't wake up hoping that we are relentlessly pounded with unsolicited marketing messages; yet the average North American consumer receives between 4,000 and 10,000 marketing messages every day. 

Our mailboxes are filled with letters from real estate agents, insurance agents, and other small businesses. We all know  people who won't shut up about their business on Facebook and other social media channels; thinking that they all have the solution to all of my problems.

One small do you know what I want or need if you don't take the time to ask?

I recently received a direct mail piece from a very nice woman working in real estate who attended one of my speaking events. She means well and is a competent professional, but she committed a common marketing sin:

Boring Marketing

Here are 3 top tips for any direct mail letter

Today's consumers demand a relationship with the people whom they do business with. You must employ multiple channels of marketing, and become the trusted source for information in your customer's eyes.

If you are in sales or marketing, you should check out an article written by Crystal Milburn from Terrostar Interactive Media wrote a fantastic piece titled, The Top 4 Marketing Practices to Continue In 2014 (and beyond!).

Whether you are marketing to your prospects on their phone, computer screen, mailbox, or over breakfast; invest in the relationship and the value that you can bring to the table. If you are a consultant or professional speaker, read my previous post on costly speaker marketing mistakes here.

What types of marketing work best for your business?

Please share this post and/or comment below!

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412

Friday, May 16, 2014

7 Lessons Morel Mushroom Hunting Can Have On Growing Your Business

Morel mushroom hunting has more to do with leadership than you may think. If you have never tasted this amazing gourmet delight that pops from the ground for just a few weeks out of the year, you owe it to yourself to try them. Many people enjoy the amazing taste of morel mushrooms. Others pick and sell them for as much as $80/lb. 

I've pulled 7 great lessons that can impact your business quickly...after a walk in the woods. 
morel mushroom, mushroom hunting

1. Slow down and observe. 
The only thing worse than not finding any mushrooms, is looking behind you only to discover that you had trampled a patch of morels.

2. Focus on your target. 
Any morel mushroom hunter will tell you that once they discover their first morel, a sea of mushrooms instantly pop out in front of their eyes. Keeping a constant focus on your purpose and mission are essential for success in any endeavor.
3. Change your perspective. 
I will often climb on top of a downed tree or will crouch down toward ground-level in hopes of spotting a hidden morel. It is amazing what kind of impact a different perspective can have. Many "problems" in your business aren't really problems at all. They are only a problem of your current perspective.

4. Tune out the noise of life, and tune in to nature. 
Countless psychological studies have shown that multitasking simply does not work. You do not see people on their cell phones in the middle of the conference call while there traipsing through the woods looking for mushrooms. Focus on one thing at a time.
5. Look for hidden opportunities. 
Mushrooms grow around fallen trees. Sometimes you need to use a stick to lift up leaves and other debris that has settled over the winter to uncover what you are looking for. In essence, when opportunity knocks, we don't recognize it because it is dressed in work clothes.
6. Take action or lose the opportunity. 
Morels grow for only 2-3 weeks out of the year. You can't pick a mushroom that isn't there! Opportunities in business may come along at an imperfect time; but seizing them when they appear could be the only way that you will be able to realize the prize. 

7. Share the love! 
Frying a batch of morel mushrooms and sharing them with friends and family is a fantastic activity. Great leaders do not seek out the spotlight for themselves; they find reasons to exult and recognize other people in their organization.

What do you do to seek out hidden opportunities?
If you like this post, share it and please leave a comment!

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

3 Business Lessons from Rock and Roll's #1 Photographer

A picture may be worth 1000 words, yet most people race through the blur of life without pausing to capture the every day magic moments right in front of them. Magic memory opportunities present themselves inside of your business and in life every day. Will you leave the lens cap on?
Tom O'Neal is one of rock 'n roll's most legendary photographers. He and I had an opportunity to catch up following a speaking event in Las Vegas. Have you ever seen the iconic photograph of the Jimi Hendrix burning his guitar at Monterey California? Yeah, Tom was there. He has captured memorable images of bands like the Rolling Stones, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Jimi Hendrix, The 3 Tenors, and many more.

Shef and Tom O'Neal

During our conversation, I begin to realize that there were several tactics necessary for shooting photographs that also carry over to success in business. 

3 Success Ingredients of Photography and Business

1. Perspective
The angle that the camera is pointed at can create two completely different stories in the viewer's mind. Shooting a performer onstage against a backdrop is nice; shooting that same performer onstage from an angle that shows the audience exploding with laughter or screaming with excitement tells an entirely different story. 

As a business leader, we need to understand the perspective of our customers and our employees. Business that will stand the test of time (especially in an over-commoditized marketplace) will be remembered for the way they utilize their moments of opportunity to "Wow" every customer. (Check out Shep Hyken's blog on Customer Service Olympics).

2. Pause
Nothing ruins a photo like a blurry image. Preparing your equipment for the speed of the action you are shooting, and composing the shot is essential. A pause before depressing your shutter has an amazing effect on the crispness of your photo.

The power of the pause when dealing with customers and employees is also important. Allow a moment too digest what people are saying before launching into a potential solution or response. God gave you two ears and one mouth...use them accordingly.

3. Purpose
In order to create a memorable subject of a photo, you must eliminate as many non-essential elements in the frame that could distract the viewer.
Many businesses strive to be everything to everyone, which is a sure recipe for disaster. Pick your top three focus areas of your business, department, or culture that you are committed to working on, and focus exclusively on them.
Successful people always have more opportunities than we do time, giving yourself the gift of saying "No" to opportunities which do not fit into your primary focus area will clearly set you apart from your competitors.
These three success recipes will not make you a rock star in your industry overnight, but when practiced constantly, you will become a legend over time. What do you do to capture magic memories with your team and customers?
Please comment and share!

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Chuck Norris' Kicking Points for Your Goal Setting Sticking Points

Let's face it; it is easier to stay in our comfort zones than to push ourselves to become the people we truly achieve to be. 

I had the honor of speaking with Chuck Norris' long time business manager and friend, Dr. Reggie Cochran, this past week in Las Vegas, and he shared several key "kicking points" for people's "sticking points". 

motivational speaker and Chuck Norris' Business manager, Reggie Cochran

1. Appreciate your past...and keep moving forward
Chuck Norris weighed less than 4 lbs. when he was born. He endured a tough upbringing...yet he has achieved an legendary reputation for being an international hero, who refuses to give up. 

What limiting stories are you telling yourself? How do you protect yourself from negativity?

How quickly can you detach yourself from those stories?

2. Train, Train, Train. 
The late Vince Lombardi said, "Practice does not make perfect...Perfect practice makes perfect."

Chuck and Reggie are obviously amazing martial artists.
One thing that I learned when training for my black belt in Kuk Sool Won was the importance of the little details, and how they create a WOW factor.

(I was blessed to work with one of the top instructors in the world, Master Jeff Green, who would frequently watch us execute a perfect form, then would say, "Awesome! Again...Again...Again..." Repetition is crucial to your success. 

3. Be Consistent
You are a brand.
Regardless of if you own your own business, are a stay at home parent, or are a doting spouse; your brand must remain true to your values. 

Chuck Norris is flooded with requests for endorsements, partnerships, and opportunities. Most of them he declines. If something is not a cohesive fit for you and/or your brand...don't split your focus and your effectiveness. 

What kicking points do you use to move from your sticking points?
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412