How to Increase Efficiency: 5 Things the Most Efficient People Do Differently

Just because you are working does not mean that you are getting work done.  Have you ever finished a work day and thought, “I felt stressed all day, but didn’t really accomplish anything?”  If this is a pattern in your life, or if you simply want to become more efficient, pay attention to these 5 things efficient people do differently:

Efficient people create quiet times and eliminate distractions.

Did you know that it takes your brain about 25 minutes to get back on track after one interruption?  Yes, that includes looking at a text message and answering someone “real quick.”  A study from the University of California, Irvine, found that a typical office worker switched tasks or had an interruption every three minutes and 5 seconds.  Your brain cannot run at full efficiency with unexpected distractions moving your focus all over the place. Continue reading

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Inflection Points and How You Can Jump Ahead

An inflection point is a pivotal moment when the marketplace is ripe for change.  Sometimes consumer habits transform to cause these moments; other times changes in technology or regulations cause them.  Inflection points present a rare opportunity for organizations and salespeople to adjust their strategy and become industry leaders.  For example, advancement of technology and changing demands of consumers caused a major decline of desktop sales and an increase in the popularity of laptops, cell phones, and tablets.  Organizations that recognized this inflection point became industry leaders and obtained a competitive advantage.

How do inflection points impact salespeople?

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Sales Skills and Why Everyone Should Cultivate Them

The most successful people I have met share one common skill:  sales.  In less than a minute, a great salesperson can accurately assess a person or situation and understand exactly how to respond.  They identify priorities quickly, and easily make people feel comfortable.  They understand how to help others achieve their goals, and in turn, reach their own.  The best salespeople are sensitive to their audience and detect the slightest changes in the tone of a meeting.  Individuals with effective sales skills understand the influences involved in a decision, and quickly assess the best course of action to impact an outcome.  Here are 4 reasons everyone should take time to cultivate sales skills:

Sales skills teach you how to market yourself, your expertise, and your ideas.

Whether you are asking for a raise, working toward a promotion, interviewing for a new job, or presenting an idea to your friends, understanding sales will make your efforts more effective.  Effective salespeople master first impressions and quickly establish trust with potential clients, friends, or coworkers.  They possess the ability to read a person or situation and alter their behavior accordingly without being fake.

Sales skills will help you cultivate meaningful relationships.

Applying sales skills to everyday life will dramatically impact your interpersonal relationships.  The best salespeople listen 80% of the time and understand other people’s needs before expressing their own.  They actively seek out ways to use their knowledge, skills, and network to solve other people’s problems.  The best salespeople feel genuine empathy for others and convey it with their body language, words, and actions.  Sales skills will enable you to move a shallow conversation to a deep and meaningful dialogue, and will teach you to gain deep insight by simply asking the right questions.  Learning how to sell will teach you to become confident in who you are and what you have to offer, while helping you handle rejection in a positive way.

Sales skills teach you how to NOT internalize rejection.

Speaking of rejection, no career experiences rejection as much as sales.  Effective salesmanship teaches you how to properly handle rejection.  An old friend recently approached me, wanting to recruit me for a multi-level marketing company.  They asked if we could get together and reconnect, feigning interest in my life.  They then proceeded to tell me all about the product they were selling.  This product had changed their life, made them rich, etc. and they encouraged me to get involved.  I responded by telling them it was great to hear from them and that I would love to reconnect.  I congratulated them on their success, but explained that I was not interested.  This individual became extremely angry and told me that they would just “see me around.”

Inexperienced salespeople are easily offended and take rejection of their product or service personally.  Instead of gracefully moving on to the next prospect, they internalize the rejection and allow it to fester and taint future interactions.  They defensively reject people who could become a customer  or a valuable partner with potential referrals down the road!  Rejection is unfortunately part of life, but sales skills will teach you not to let rejection negatively impact your self-worth, your mood, or your efforts!

Sales skills teach you to become aware of your limitations.

If you think that being rejected constantly as a salesperson sounds tough, try finally getting a “yes” and then having to walk away from it!  Sometimes people want to work with you, but you learn that you cannot meet their needs.  In these cases, the best salespeople set realistic expectations and say no when necessary.  Sales skills teach you to be honest and transparent with yourself and the people around you.  I love to help others achieve their goals, which means that people often ask me to commit time and energy to their cause.  I have learned the hard way that I have to accept my limitations and tell people no when necessary.


Making a pitch sounds catchy and “sales-y,” but this skill easily transfers into any occupation.  If you can quickly establish a connection, create credibility, effectively communicate, and solve problems, you are well on your way to success.  Ongoing success in sales hinges on developing meaningful relationships, which also translates to any occupation or industry.  Possessing sales skills will help you gain confidence, make you better at your job, and ultimately, achieve success.


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Achieving Success by Helping Others

We know that being successful in sales comes down to helping others achieve their desired outcome.  Today, I would like to celebrate a small personal victory and share a valuable lesson.  A broker brought an undesirable case to us and asked us for help.  We value this broker’s partnership, and took the case knowing that we would probably take a loss.  I made it my personal mission to have a successful enrollment.  After reviewing the results with the client, they decided to move all of their lines of coverage over to the broker!  What a huge win for our partner!

No, this does not impact me in a concrete way, but as Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”  In order to achieve outstanding success, you need to leverage other people’s connections, intelligence, and resources.  You need to attract other people who will work hard to make you successful!  Here is how you can start helping others achieve their goals and attract partners who will help you become successful: Continue reading

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The Difference Between Failing and Being a Failure

“I feel like such a failure!”  I have heard these words uttered far too often from people who are giving their all to something.  Salespeople, managers, parents, spouses, and pretty much anyone who has ever tried anything has failed at one time or another.  However, being a failure is completely different than failing.  Failing is a natural step on the journey to success.  Being a failure is a mindset, and an acceptance or belief that your efforts will only end in failure.  People do not dispute the value of learning from mistakes, yet few professionals are good at it.  Here are 5 ways you can learn after failing and overcome a perpetual failure mindset:

Identify the reason you failed

Consistently take time to reflect on your actions and results.  Examine the reasons you fail, and ask others for their input.  For example, if you consistently get a “no” from your prospects, ask one of them what you could do better to earn their business.  They might surprise you with candid, helpful feedback that will help you grow.  Even as you achieve success, ask your customers what you can do better.  When searching for reasons you failed, examine your sales plan, what you did before your meeting, your execution, and your follow up.  Use this knowledge to anticipate future challenges and adjust your approach.

Try something new

Most people who start out in sales begin with repeated failures and few successes.  They take a while to find their stride, and begin to enjoy some success.  Fast forward a few years, and most people reach the point of diminishing returns.  No matter how much they increase their effort, they cannot surpass their production levels from previous years.  Some professionals feel stuck in a rut, and begin to unknowingly foster a failure mindset.

Take a look at what activities you do that lead to success, and find ways to increase those activities.  Identify the time wasters in your schedule, and delegate them to someone else or eliminate them altogether.   If your current strategy is not getting the desired results, learn new ways to refine your approach.  For example, attend seminars or workshops to grow your skills.  Learn more about your prospects, or try to sell to a new market segment.  Build a strategic network and cultivate meaningful relationships inside and outside of your organization.  Become a student of successful people, and pay close attention to their habits.


Build resilience

Becoming a failure happens when you allow discouragement to settle in your thoughts and believe that you will never succeed.  Come to the realization that you will fail on your way to success.  Let me rephrase that:  realize that you will fail repeatedly on the way to success.  Develop thick skin, and understand that every “no” presents an opportunity to grow and brings you one step closer to a “yes.”

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games.  26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

Embrace risk

Do not become so afraid of failure that you avoid risks altogether.  Avoiding risk ultimately leads to a life of failure anyway!  No great success has been achieved without some level of risk.  Understand that as you embrace risk, you must also embrace failure.  Failing is only a natural part of growth.

Focus on what you can control instead of placing blame

Unfortunately, failing and blame go hand in hand for most people.  As soon as an organization or project fails, people want to know where to assign the blame.  Identifying the cause of a problem to learn from it is different than placing blame.  Finding a scapegoat does not help anyone learn from mistakes, and creates a culture of blame since everyone becomes afraid to fail.  Admitting your mistakes is a crucial part of building a strong team.  When you fail, search for things you can control and take responsibility for them.  Your teammates will feel more comfortable taking responsibility for their mistakes, and you can all grow together.

Failing is a step on the path to success; failure is a crippling mindset. Click To Tweet

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