The Sweetest Thing

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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A woman in India had a son that ate way too much sugar.

No matter what she did or said, her son continued to eat sugar.

The mother was so upset that she decided to take her son on a trip to see his idol, Mahatma Gandhi, to ask for his help.

They traveled to see Gandhi.

They waited a day and half to get an audience with the leader.

When their turn came to speak, the mom walked up to Gandhi with her son at her side.

The women said, “Sir, my son eats too much sugar. It’s affecting his health, his teeth, his mood.  Every time he eats sugar I can see the change in him.  There is nothing I can do to stop him.  I am afraid that sugar will ruin his life.  Please tell him to stop eating sugar.”

Gandhi listened to the woman.

He looked at the boy, then paused.

Gandhi told the mother, “Go home and come back to me in two weeks time.”

The woman was perplexed.

She wondered why Gandhi did not tell her son to stop eating sugar.

The mom took the boy and traveled back home.

Two weeks later she returned, boy in hand.

The pair waited hours again for an audience.

When their time came, Gandhi motioned for them to come forward.

Gandhi looked directly at the boy and said, “Boy, stop eating sugar. It is not good for you.”

The boy nodded and promised he would not eat sugar any longer.

The mother was confused.

She turned to Gandhi and asked, “Dear Sir, Why didn’t you tell him that two weeks ago when I first brought him to see you?”

Gandhi smiled, “Mother, two weeks ago I was still eating sugar myself.”

CHANGE STARTS WITH YOU

Want something to CHANGE?

Change yourself first.

LEAD by example.

Live what you preach.

It’s the fastest way to build TRUST.

There is no better way to establish CREDIBILITY. 

Andy Warhol said, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” 

Start with you.

Earning TRUST and having CREDIBILITY with your colleagues and customers is kind of like winning the SUPER BOWL.

Its…

#TheSweetestThing

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

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Enough

“All we got is all we need.” – Malcolm Jenkins, NFL Safety

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Kurt Vonnegut told a story about when he and author Joseph Heller were at a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island in NY.

The guests were mingling outside on the billionaire’s waterfront property.

The owner’s yacht was docked out front.

The property had a helipad.

Vonnegut said to Heller, “Joe, how does it make you feel to know that our host only yesterday may have made more money than your novel ‘Catch-22’ has earned in its entire history?”

Heller paused then said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”

Vonnegut, looking a bit confused says, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”

Heller replied, “Enough.”

WHAT’S ENOUGH?

Each of us has to decide on our own version of ENOUGH.

It’s a personal decision.

This decision will ultimately decide the amount of HAPPINESS we get out of life.

Trying to keep up with the lifestyles and possessions of others is a great way to live a miserable life.

That version of ENOUGH is like running on a hamster wheel.

We never get there.

There will always seem like something is missing.

The happiest people I know base their ENOUGH on 3 things:

  • Quality people.
  • Long term relationships.
  • Doing work that matters.

What’s your version of ENOUGH?

Find that and watch your best life unfold.

#Enough

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

Step By Step

“One walks over the highest mountain one step at a time.” – John Wanamaker

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How do you eat an elephant?

One step at a time.

Why anyone would want to eat an elephant confuses me, but you get the point.

BIG things are accomplished by breaking them down into small, actionable STEPS. 

Our goal is steady progress.

Keep moving the ball down field.

I just read Anthony Iannarino’s new book, The Lost Art of Closing.

The book is fantastic.

Iannarino shows how taking a STEP BY STEP approach to CLOSING A SALE is a highly effective way to create new business.

Our job as sales professionals is to ask for and obtain commitments.

But when people hear the word CLOSING, they can get a negative vibe.

Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake, in Glengary, Glen Ross comes to mind.

Baldwin plays a shady, money hungry deal maker.

His world is all about getting the customer’s money.

Great movie.

Amazing one liners.

But total BS.

Blake’s “A.B.C.” (Always Be Closing) Method of selling went out of style a few weeks after parachute pants did in the 1980’s.

Modern day selling is about helping your customers succeed.

CLOSING A SALE can take multiple appointments, a number of stakeholders and months to achieve.

A good sales person knows where they are in the SALES process.

They understand the next STEP they need to take.

They know that CLOSING involves more than just asking for the business.

A sales professional knows that they need to secure a series of smaller commitments from the customer before they get anywhere near a sale.

This process can be smooth.

You just have take it STEP BY STEP:

THE INTRODUCTION

Not all stakeholders will want to meet with you.

Many may not even respond to your emails and messages.

That’s a good thing.

This keeps all the AVERAGE sales people out.

The best way to deal with this is to get your advocates inside the customer to make the introduction.

This idea is killer.

Try it.

THE NEXT MEETING

Secure the next appointment before you leave the current one.

The most effective way to keep the sales process alive is to stay in front of your customer.

It’s amazing how many sales “professionals” don’t do this.

TO BE INCLUDED IN THE PROCESS

Great sales people are considered TRUSTED ADVISORS.

They secure a commitment to be included in the customer’s decision making process.

They are sitting next to the customer in the conference room when they are deciding which path to take.

THE ORDER

It sounds cliche, but it’s true.

Many sales people are afraid to ask for the order.

Sometime all you need is the COURAGE to ask.

“Would you like to move forward with an order?”

At worst you get a “No” and the real reason holding them back.

At best you get a new customer.

Ask and you shall receive.

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”

This is true in SALES.

It’s true in LIFE.

Slow and steady wins the race.

Just ask that elephant.

#StepByStep

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

Airplane Mode

“Starve Your Distractions.  Feed Your Focus.” – Anonymous

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Have you ever flown across the country?

If so, you can speak to the phenomenon of PRODUCTIVITY that happens when you are at 30,000 feet.

It’s called AIRPLANE MODE.

Many frequent fliers tell tales of getting more work done on a cross country flight than an entire week in the office.

AIRPLANE MODE serves up the perfect work environment:

  • Zero distractions (barring that screaming baby 2 rows back):
  • No interruptions.
  • Your phone does not buzz every 10 seconds.

You are in a bubble.

Work gets done:

  • Presentations get finished.
  • Books get read.
  • Blogs get written.

Author Peter Shenkman brags about writing 28,000 words for one of his books on a single flight.

One of the BEST IDEAS I discovered in 2017 was bringing AIRPLANE MODE to ground level.

It’s an awesome way to get work done.

I spend 1 hour of each day on AIRPLANE MODE.

Jon Acuff talks about this concept in his book FINISH.

There’s no need to wait for your next trip to Las Vegas to make progress on an important project.

We can create an uninterrupted, distraction free bubble to do our most important work on the ground.

The start of the year is a great opportunity to experiment with new ways of doing things.

So buckle your seat belts.

Put your tray tables in their locked upright position.

Oh…

And stow that carry-on bag under your seat.

TIME TO GO ON AIRPLANE MODE:

CHOOSE ONE PROJECT 

What’s the ONE THING you need to finish?

What project has been hanging over your head for too long?

Choose that one.

PICK YOUR PLACE

Find a place where you will not be tempted by distractions.

I found my home office was a terrible place to get work done.

There were just too many distractions.

So much so that I gave up my home office.

It was converted into a playroom.

I find cafes and local libraries work way better.

GET YOUR TIMING RIGHT  

What time of day are you at your best?

Schedule AIRPLANE MODE at your mental peak.

I’m a morning person.  For me, the earlier the better.

Night time does not work.

I fade late afternoon like the Dallas Cowboys in December.

DISCONNECT 

Shut your phone down.  Turn off your ipad.

Completely disconnect.

What if my kids call? 

What if I miss a customer email?

Be brave.

The world will be there 59 minutes later when you reconnect.

SET A TIMER

I put my iPhone on AIRPLANE MODE.

Then I set 60 minutes on my timer app.

The first couple times I found myself looking up every 5 minutes.

Eventually the hour flies by.

GET TO WORK

Don’t let the distractions of everyday life keep you from doing your best work.

Bruce Lee said, “The successful warrior is the average person, with laser focus.”

Starve your distractions.

Feed your focus.

Go on AIRPLANE MODE.

And watch your productivity TAKE OFF.

#AirPlaneMode

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SaleVibe.Net

Leaving 2017 Inspired

“Here’s to those who inspire us and don’t even know it.” – Anonymous

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Below are the PEOPLE, BOOKS, & PLACES that inspired me in 2017:

People

Ryan Holiday is my favorite author.  Holiday’s writing draws modern day wisdom from ancient philosophy.  His latest book, Perennial Seller shows how to create perennial success by basing your work on timeless principles.  His other book,  The Daily Stoic , is the book I give to others the most.

Seth Godin has the greatest blog on the planet.  He has published a daily blog post for over a decade without fail. His blog is the first thing I read each morning.  Godin challenges people to stop hiding and leap. He is known for asking, “Would they miss you if you were gone?”  The answer is up to you.

Jocko Willink spent 20+ years leading & training Navy SEALS.  His Jocko Podcast is a weekly wave of leadership & life lessons.  Jocko tells stories from military history, modern day business, & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Willink inspires you to rise up when others fade away.

Tom Petty is the person from 2017 who I never met, but will miss.  Petty, who died this year at 66, has been part of the soundtrack of my life since high school.  His concerts were the best.  Petty’s, I Won’t Back Down”  inspired me through tough times. RIP Tom.  Your music made many “Feel A Whole Lot better.”

Books

Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done was my favorite book of 2017.  Jon Acuff breaks down why starting is not the problem; finishing is.  Acuff writes about simple tactics to overcoming obstacles that keep us from finishing.  One of my favorite quotes from the book, “Starting is fun, but the future belongs to finishers.”

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck was my surprise book of 2017.  I had no expectations, but found myself completely engaged and not wanting it to end.  This book informs and entertains.  The first chapter drops more “F” Bombs than the bar scene in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas The F*cking premise of the book is that our time & energy are limited.  They are the greatest resources we have. We need to figure out who & what are most deserving of them and “not give a F*ck about everything else.”

Tools of Titans by Tim Feriss is a true gift.  Imagine having access to billionaires and world class performers like Brene Brown, Peter Theil, General Stanley McChrystal and Malcolm Gladwell.  Then imagine having them share their best habits, routines, and tactics.  Thanks to Feriss, we now do.  You can open this book to any page and get inspired.

Principles by Ray Dalio.  Ray Dalio is a self-made billionaire and a legend in the financial world.  Bill Gates and Tony Robbins go to Dalio for advice and council.  This book is filled with ideas and principles that lead to success in business and life.

Places

Our family’s most “Magical” week of 2017 happened in Disney World.  We took our first family trip to the Magic Kingdom.  Mickey did not disappoint.  I was skeptical going in.  Impressed on the way out.

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Happy holidays.

Wish you a REMARKABLE 2018!

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Talking About Practice

“If you don’t practice you don’t deserve to win.” – Andre Agassi 

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In 2002 NBA MVP & Future Hall of Famer Allen Iverson held one of the most famous press conferences in sport’s history.

Iverson was 3 days removed from his team being eliminated from the NBA playoffs.

Emotions were raw.

There were rumors he was on the outs with his head coach.

People around the team whispered he was giving less than 100% at PRACTICE. 

A.I. took his frustrations out with a rant about PRACTICE. 

The word PRACTICE was said over 20 times in a 5 minute period.

A.I. downplayed its importance.

He told the media as long he gave everything he had during the game, PRACTICE did not matter.

The press conference was immortalized with his famous quote:

“We’re talking about practice.”

With all due respect to THE ANSWER…

LET’S TALK ABOUT PRACTICE.

PRACTICE is a force multiplier.

It’s a DIFFERENTIATOR.

PRACTICE makes POTENTIAL reality.

It creates MOMENTUM.

From playing in the NBA to the world of SALES – PRACTICE matters.

PRACTICE can reveal a person’s true CHARACTER.

Many people claim to be “hard workers”.

PRACTICE proves it.

PRACTICE creates champions.

Muhammad Ali said, “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses…in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

Want to see how much CONFIDENCE a salesperson has?

Just tell them you will video their PRACTICE session and play it back for their peers to critique.

I have seen experienced SALESPEOPLE crumble at the thought.

WHAT WE NEED TO PRACTICE:

SKILL BUILDING

This is the PHYSICAL side of PRACTICE. 

This is Old School practice.

This is the SALESPERSON writing down and rehearsing thought provoking questions before their BIG meeting.

This is the BJJ student drilling a new move dozens of times to ELEVATE their game.

This is the NBA star shooting hundreds of foul shots after practice to fix a problem.

You find something you need to get better at, then – REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT

PUTTING YOURSELF OUT THERE

This is the MENTAL side of PRACTICE.

This involves losing your EGO.

This is having the guts to try something new.

It brings about the possibility of you looking foolish doing so.

This is putting yourself out in the arena, again and again, to either succeed or fail.

This type of PRACTICE is far more rare.

It’s gettin knocked down, making adjustments, and having the guts to try again.

This is knowing you have to EVOLVE and having the COURAGE to do so.

This type of PRACTICE gives no guarantee.

Seth Godin writes, “This is doing things that might not work.”

PRACTICE IS A MINDSET

In Carol Dweck’s book MINDSET, she proves the greats in every field are MADE, not BORN.

How?

PRACTICE.

The world is filled with talented people who never ESCAPE AVERAGE.  

But not you.

You’re better than that.

Here’s THE ANSWER…

#TimeToPractice

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

Time To Finish

“It’s fun to start, but the future belongs to finishers.” – Jon Acuff

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I read Jon Acuff’s new book, FINISH: GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF DONE.

Hands down one of the most helpful books I read in 2017.

It came at a great time.

Why?

I used to think the END OF THE YEAR was the time to make RESOLUTIONS.

It’s not.

It’s the TIME TO FINISH.

It’s the time to leave your mark.

I used to believe STARTING was the secret to SUCCESS.

It’s not.

The MAGIC is in the FINISH. 

It’s easy to START things.

It’s hard to FINISH.  

Look around…

We have UNFINISHED business laying all around us.

Here’s my version of UNFINISHED:

  • Dozens of BOOKS half read.
  • PROSPECTS not converted to CUSTOMERS.
  • ONLINE COURSES not complete.
  • TRIPS not taken.

Our UNFINISHED work clutters our lives.

This clutter is both PHYSICAL & MENTAL.

Has an UNFINISHED project ever wore you down just thinking about it?

The most tiring projects are the ones we leave undone.

FINISHING can make the end of the year the BEST part of the year.

There’s no need to wait for the NEW YEAR to make our lives better.

The best way to START a new year is to FINISH this one STRONG.

HOW TO FINISH:

CHOOSE 1 THING

What’s the ONE THING you need to FINISH?

What’s the one project that would make the BIGGEST IMPACT for you?

Pick that one.

MAKE YOUR GOAL SMALLER

A great way to get stuck is to have a monster goal that seems unattainable.

Jon Acuff wrote, “If you want to fail before you start, pick a goal that’s too big.”

Dial back your goal a few notches.

This may sound counter intuitive, but it’s not.

This will make your goal more REALISTIC.

You will be more inclined to TAKE ACTION.

If you hit your smaller goal, you can always keep going.

CHOOSE WHAT TO BOMB 

FINISHING requires FOCUS. 

We have to eliminate distractions.

Distraction is a killer.

A great way to ELIMINATE DISTRACTION is to choose what to bomb.

When I am in FINISH mode, I ignore email.

I FOCUS on the work in front of me, not my buzzing iphone.

This frees up a tremendous amount of TIME.

SEIZE THE MOMENT

Our moment is NOW, not next year.

What OPPORTUNITY is right in front of you?

What do you need to FINISH?

For me, there was trip my wife I talked about for 10 years.

No more.

Trip booked.

Your move.

#TimeToFinish

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

Stay Calm

“Don’t worry about a thing, every little thing is gonna be alright.” – Bob Marley, Three Little Birds

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This week my local Starbucks went from Falling Leaves to Holiday cups faster than Psy’s music career.

Lowes has their fake Christmas trees displayed likes it’s December 23rd.

The HOLIDAY CHAOS has begun.

The end of the year brings more DEMANDS.

We have PRESSURE to:

  • CLOSE OUT projects.
  • Bring in SALES.
  • PLAN for the coming year.
  • VISIT Aunt Betty.

It’s enough to make a Buddhist monk reach for the Ativan.

How do we STAY CALM in the middle of chaos?

STAYING CALM is a skill set we all need to develop.

Calmness is a MINDSET that can be learned, practiced and refined.

STAYING CALM under pressure will improve all aspects of our lives.

HOW TO STAY CALM: 

PRIORITIZE

All the requests for our TIME and ATTENTION can not be met.

PRIORITIZING reduces anxiety and keeps us focused on what’s important.

Trying to make everyone happy is a recipe for failure.

Jim Collins wrote in Good To Great, “If you have more than 3 priorities, you don’t have any.”

It’s easier to STAY CALM when we are centered on our PRIORITIES.

CONTROL THE CONTROLLABLES

STAYING CALM comes from knowing the difference between what’s in our control and what’s not.

NFL Coach Andy Reid said, “Figure out what you can control.  That’s your next move.”

What’s in your CONTROL?

What’s ACTIONABLE?

Start there.

TAKE ACTION

Sometimes the only way out is through action.

Tony Robbins said, “Nothing succeeds like massive action.”

Be PROACTIVE.

Action crushes anxiety.

Be like Nike – “JUST DO IT”.

FIND YOUR OWN ZEN

Calmness comes from within.

We each need to find our own ZEN. 

It may be the YOGA mat, spinning class, or taking a walk on a brisk autumn day as the leaves fall around you.

Each of us has to find our own methods that help us STAY CALM.  

Eben Pagan wrote, “The calmest person in the room is the most powerful.”

Life throws constant OBSTACLES. 

It’s easy to lose our peace of mind.

When chaos shows up:

  • Prioritize.
  • Control the Controllables.
  • Take Action.
  • Find Your Own Zen.

Everything we need is already inside of us.

Time to let it show…

#StayCalm

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

Be Happy

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” – Dalai Lama

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What’s THE SECRET to happiness?

I had no idea.

That was until an amazing little gift changed my perspective.

Now I pay attention to what makes me happy on a DAILY BASIS.

My wife, who I’m not permitted to mention by name (but will say she is an amazing blog editor) bought me one of my favorite presents for our last anniversary.

It’s called the The Happiness Project: One Sentence Journal.

The journal is based on a great book by Gretchen Rubin. 

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It asks you to WRITE ONE SENTENCE on what made you happy that day.

  • That’s 7 happy thoughts each week.
  • 30 happy moments each month.
  • 365 happy memories each year.

You will have 1,826 moments written down that made you HAPPY at the the end of this 5 YEAR PROJECT,

To quote a line from the Lord of the Flies, “The greatest ideas are the simplest.”

I’ve brought this journal to every SALES MEETING and family vacation for 2 years.

My HAPPINESS PROJECT has traveled with me to California, New York City, and many stops in between.

The journal has visited more Jersey beach towns than Snookie.

One of my favorite things is looking back to what made me happy exactly 1 year to the day.

Studying your past is a great way to CREATE YOUR FUTURE.

So, what has this project taught me about HAPPINESS?

WRITING HAS POWER

Writing one sentence daily can keep GREAT MEMORIES alive.

It’s pretty awesome to have all your best memories captured in one place.

Like the old saying goes, “A sentence is worth a 1,000 words.”

Happiness starts with GRATITUDE.

Gratitude crushes rough days.

It’s hard to go to bed in a bad mood when you write down HAPPY MOMENTS that you were lucky enough to be part of.

PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION

Happiness is about MAKING PROGRESS, not everything being perfect.

We have to focus on our gains, not on the things that went wrong that day.

From helping a new customer treat their 1st patient to learning a new technique on the jiu jitsu mat – HAPPINESS is all about progress.

TAKE CHARGE

We’re in charge of our own happiness.

If you don’t like something, CHANGE IT.

If you can’t change it, change THE WAY YOU THINK about it.

Don’t wait for someone else to make you happy.

That almost never happens, except in John Hughes movies.

Helen Keller wrote, “Happiness is not out there, it is in us.”

Happiness is the ultimate INSIDE JOB.  

It’s hidden in plain sight.

Our job is to notice it.

And maybe even WRITE IT DOWN.

#BeHappy

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

Who’s In Your 5?

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

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One of the great things about living in Philly is how close you are to the beach.

You can go from the Liberty Bell to the ocean faster than you can watch Rocky 3 for the 10th time.

“My Prediction?…Pain.”

During our last trip, I went in the ocean with my kids.

After a few minutes I turned around.

We were 25 yards from where we walked in.

An undercurrent pushed us down the coast without us even realizing.

This concept plays out in our everyday life.

There is a POWERFUL force that either pushes us forward or pulls us back.

It’s the people in our lives.

Who we spend time with INFLUENCES who we become.

There is a great quote from Goethe that says, “Tell me who you spend time with and I will tell you who you are.”

Each person we allow into our life influences us in some way.

We start to:

  • EAT what they eat.
  • DRINK what they drink.
  • READ what they read.
  • SPEAK like they speak.
  • THINK like they think.

Eventually, we start to do what they do.

To have a remarkable life, you have to surround yourself with REMARKABLE people.

Ryan Holiday wrote, “The people we surround ourselves with set the baseline for what we think is possible.”

We have to keep the right people in (and out) of our lives.

This is not always easy.

But it’s necessary.

Jim Rohn taught that we have to EVALUATE and SHIFT our associations into 3 categories:

  • Expand
  • Limit
  • Walk Away

Expand, Limit, or Walk Away

EXPAND

There are certain people that make us BETTER.   

They CHALLENGE us and bring out our best.

They PUSH us forward.

Our job is to find ways to EXPAND the time we spend with them.

Where do the people you admire hang out?

Join those organizations.

Find ways to spend more time in those communities.

LIMIT

Some people drag us down.

We need to LIMIT our interactions with them.

Maybe we can spend 5 minutes together, but definitely not 5 hours.

This idea can be tough.

This person may be a coworker or even in our extended family.

Regardless, we need to LIMIT our time with NEGATIVE influences.

WALK AWAY

There may be times when we need to WALK AWAY from people all together.

Can you think of a person that kills your ENTHUSIASM each time you see them?

You may have to cut them out of your life.

We can’t allow another person’s NEGATIVE ENERGY have a profound affect on our life.

No one knows what challenges lie ahead.

Being surrounded by positive influences is a great place to start.

#Who’sInYour5?

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net