Build It

“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos

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My first year in SALES was rough.

Watching me try to secure an appointment was like watching Shaq at the foul line.

They paired me with the best sales person in our office.

He took me to lunch.

After listening to me complain how hard it was, he offered some advice:

“Be patient.  You need to BUILD YOUR BRAND.”

I wasn’t even sure I knew what a BRAND was.

BRANDING was not taught in tax accounting class.

We all need to BUILD our own BRAND.

What’s a BRAND?  

Our BRAND is:

  • The REPUTATION that arrives before we do.
  • What people EXPECT when they decide to work with us.
  • What our customers SAY about us when we’re not in the room.

Tom Peters said, “All of us need to understand the importance of branding. Our most important job is to be head marketer for the BRAND called “You”.

If we don’t BUILD IT, we’ll become just another face in the crowd.

If we work for a BIG company, we’ll fade away into another replaceable employee.

If we run our own business, we’ll be at the mercy of PRICE.

Our BRAND gives others PROOF:

  • It’s the PROJECTS we’ve done.
  • The OPPORTUNITIES we took on.
  • It’s the way we TREAT other people.

HOW TO BUILD YOUR BRAND:

LEAD WITH VALUE

Our first move should be to HELP the people we are looking to serve.

Find ways to help people accomplish their goals.

Nothing establishes TRUST faster.

BE FRIENDLY

People may not remember what you accomplished.

They will definitely remember how you made them feel.

KEEP IN TOUCH

Remembered people get opportunities.

Send the hand written note.  Remember their birthday.  Know their kid’s names.

Do the hard work it takes to make CONNECTING easy.

BE AUTHENTIC

Have the COURAGE to be yourself.

Everyone else is already taken.

BUILD YOUR ON-LINE PRESENCE

Your BRAND is not your product or your company.

It’s YOU!

Pick a social media platform.

Establish your online presence.

A good brand acts like a MAGNET.

People will proactively seek you out.

The best time to start BUILDING YOUR BRAND was about 5 years ago.

The second best time is TODAY.

If we don’t BRAND ourselves, someone will do it for us.

Your move…

#BuildIt

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

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Know When to Fold’em

“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, Know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away, And know when to run.” – Kenny Rogers, The Gambler 

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Early in my SALES career I was looking to start a side business.

I did some research.

Somehow I landed on the idea of trading stock options.

I know…

I attended multiple weekend long seminars.

I even bought special software that was supposed to help me find the right stocks to trade.

But the more time I INVESTED, the less it felt right.

Thousands dollars and dozens of hours were sunk into my new options “business”.

What should I do?

Keep going?

Fight through the doubt?

Winners never quit, right?

Fast forward to 2015…

I hear and feel a LOUD pop in my knee while training Jiu Jitsu.

Always fun…

A few weeks later I’m standing in front of an orthopedic surgeon.

He tells me I need my knee reconstructed.

Was it time to RETIRE my GI?

Maybe time to buy my first pair of salmon colored pants and start golfing?

These 2 scenarios raise a Timeless question:

When should we QUIT?

When should we KEEP GOING?

Seth Godin writes in The Dip, “Winners quit all the time.  They just quit the right stuff at the right time.”

Motivational quotes like “Winners never quit. Quitters never win.” can be hazardous to your wallet.

This is FAKE NEWS.

New projects we take on START the same:

  • Excitement when we begin.
  • Then it gets hard.
  • We have to decide to keep going or quit.

This plays out from our New Year’s Resolutions to starting a new SALES position.

Every project has a BIG fat MIDDLE that is not fun.

We have to figure out if that JOURNEY is worth taking.

3 Questions – Hold’em or Fold’em?:

DO YOU STILL BELIEVE?

What is your gut telling you?

Do you still believe in what you’re doing?

The first person we have to convince is ourselves.

WHAT ARE YOU MISSING?

When we say “Yes” to something, we are saying “No” to something else.

Everytime I train Jiu Jitsu or write this blog, I am saying no to something. (Especially teeing off wearing those salmon pants…)

And I am OK with that tradeoff.

IS IT TIME TO CHANGE DIRECTION?

Knowing when to pivot is a true sign of a professional.

There may be a better use of your TIME and TALENT.  

John Wooden said, “Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.”

Changing course may not be a failure.  It can be a step towards something better.

After asking myself these 3 questions, I knew:

  • It was time to RETIRE as a stock trader.
  • Jiu Jitsu and I were just GETTING STARTED.

Know when to HOLD’EM.

Know when to FOLD’EM.

#TheGamble

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

 

Take It Back

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” – William Penn

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My house cleaning career was short lived.

I thought cleaning the house myself would be a great way to save some cash.

So I cancelled our cleaners.

Instead it was a great way to kill a beautiful Saturday and smell like Windex the rest of the day.

Fast forward a few weeks…

It was past 1am when I hit the “Send” button on Turbo Tax.

After spending hours trying to figure out if the day camp my kids went to 6 months earlier was deductible, I finally finished our tax return.

Painful.

Who in their right mind would ever go into accounting?

Oh, never mind…

But at least I saved money by not hiring a CPA, right?

Wrong.

Our time is so valuable.

Time vanishes faster than Chriss Angel at a pool in Vegas.

It seems like we never have enough to give to our favorite people and hobbies.

Steve Jobs said, “It’s really clear that the most precious resource we have is time. Your time is limited.  Don’t waste it.”

No one is going to give us more time.

We have to TAKE IT.

How?

BUY IT BACK.

Trading our TIME for MONEY is a bad deal.

I have been experimenting by flipping that trade around.

Now I trade MONEY for more TIME.  

I pay a CPA to do our taxes and hired cleaners to clean our house.

This trade off has been a game changer.

HIRE A SPECIALIST

We all have a specialty.

What’s yours?

Mine is SALES.  

I also have a 2 side hobbies:

  • Training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
  • Writing this weekly blog.

These are the places where I invest my time.

Everything else I hire out.

Hire out the grunt work, the complicated repairs, and jobs you have no interest doing:

  • Yard word.
  • House Cleaning.
  • Tax Prep.
  • Home repairs.

This has freed up an incredible amount of time so I can focus on my family, work & personal goals.

I found there’s an added bonus.

The specialists I hire do a way better job than I ever could.

KNOW THY SELF

Everyone is wired differently.

I know people that LOVE taking care of their lawn.

Yard work is where they find their ZEN.

It helps them RESET.  

I’m definitely not in that group, but understand.

If you love it, keep doing it.

But if you don’t, call in the specialist.

Time is disappearing.

Tick, tick, tick…

#TakeItBack

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SaleVibe.Net

 

 

 

Start It Up

“Being an entrepreneur is not about starting a business.  It’s a way of looking at the world.  See opportunity where others see obstacles. Take risks when others take refuge.” – Michael Bloomberg

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“Be your own boss!”

That’s the rage today.

Anyone who has seen Gary V roll through his day “crushing it” dreams of launching their own START UP.

You don’t have to live in Silicon Valley or flip houses to be an ENTREPRENEUR.

We are all START UPS.

We are the CEO’s of our CAREER.

The same skills that help an entrepreneur launch a START UP are needed to GROW your career and keep your work RELEVANT.

We have to bring an entrepreneurial mindset to our CAREER.

When I first got out of college I worked in a CPA firm.

That was my first “START UP”.

I was “out of business” in about a year.

But I learned a ton and moved on.

I took those lessons and changed course.

I did what every successful entrepreneur does when they FAIL:

  • Learn.
  • Adjust.
  • Try Again.

Like many entrepreneurs, I had a few lean years.

I tried and failed multiple times.

It wasn’t until my 6th START UP until I went PUBLIC.

CAREERS, like like START UPS, have to grow and evolve or they die.

Here are 5 WAYS TO START UP YOUR CAREER:

CONTROL YOUR TIME

Control your time or someone else will.

Never go into a day with an empty calendar.

An unplanned day leads to working on other people’s agendas.

One of the wealthiest entrepreneurs I know gave me this killer time management tip, “Throw away your “To Do” lists.  If something needs to get done, schedule it. Protect that schedule.”

CONTROL YOUR FINANCES

Create a monthly budget.

Give each dollar a job.

We are not in Congress.  We can’t spend more than we make.

Dave Ramsey sums it up best, “Debt is dumb.”

CREATE YOUR BOARD OF ADVISERS

No one wins alone.

Have a board of advisers.

Learn from who came before you.

Make original mistakes, not basic ones.

INVEST IN YOURSELF

The first START UP we need to invest in is ourselves.

The wealthiest people I know all have 1 thing in common, they never stop learning.

Take the seminar.

Read the book.

Grow or die.

TAKE RISKS

No risk, no nothing.

There comes a time when you have to LEAP.

When opportunity appears, take ACTION.

It doesn’t matter if you are a solo ENTREPRENEUR or part of a BIG organization.

There is enormous opportunity everywhere.

What will you START UP?

Up to you…

#StartItUp

-Joe Ciccarone

www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

 

 

Halftime

“Do your job.  Finish.” – Bill Belichick, Halftime at Super Bowl 51

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The 4th of July…

With the amazing weather and trips to the beach comes a wake-up call.

July 1st is the halfway point of the year.

It’s HALFTIME of 2017.

A good time to pause and reflect.

How’s 2017 going?

Did you make any big RESOLUTIONS?

What type of PROGRESS have you made?

Are you still excited about the NEW YEAR?

Or has frustration set in?

Our best intentions can easily get pushed aside by our daily grind.

Life happens.

Regardless, we’re still in a great spot.

It’s only HALFTIME.

There’s still time to accomplish great things in 2017.

Andy Andrews wrote, “There is nothing less important than the score at halftime.”

Just ask the Atlanta Falcons…

Bill Belichick may not show up in our kitchen to give a motivational speech.

Lady Gaga probably won’t set up a stage in our back yard.

But this week is a great OPPORTUNITY to put on our own HALFTIME show.

3 Ways to Rock Out HALFTIME:

ASSESS

Each year I choose 3 words to guide my decision making in the year ahead.

As I look back on what I wrote, I see progress and missed chances.

Take a moment.

Look back at the GOALS you made going into 2017.

Where are you?

What’s working?  What needs to change?

Define what part of that process you can control.

That’s where your energy needs to go the rest of the year.

ADJUST

The greatest NFL coaches are known for their halftime adjustments.   

They observe the strengths & weaknesses of their opponent during the 1st half.

Then they make ADJUSTMENTS.

General Ike Eisenhower said, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”

Unexpected things happen.

AVERAGE people fold to circumstances.

REMARKABLE people learn how to adapt.

Be remarkable.

FINISH

The second half is CRUNCH TIME.

The second half is where LEGENDS are made.

Focus on actions that move the needle.

One of my mentors once asked me, “What makes you uncomfortable when you think about it? That’s what you should be working on.”

Decide what’s your #1 PRIORITY for the rest of the year.

Commit to taking DAILY ACTION on that goal.

Move the ball forward a little each day.

The concept of HALFTIME is bigger than 2017.

It’s always HALFTIME in some aspect of our life.

We are always entering the midpoint of some important phase:

  • Our kids living at home.
  • Our career.
  • Our marriage.

It doesn’t matter the phase or the current score:

  • Pause.
  • Make adjustments.
  • Execute.

Come out of HALFTIME swinging.

Do your job.  Finish.

When you do, the best part is yet to come…

#HalfTime

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

 

It’s Your Turn

“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” — Sun Tzu

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The jiu jitsu mat resembled a blue slip & slide.

It was 95 degrees outside, hotter inside.

I was testing for my purple belt.

After about 10 rounds I was pulled off the mat.

I tried to walk back on.

My instructor told me to sit down.

It had something to do with me not making sense when I tried to speak.

The scariest part was yet to come…

A few weeks later, I walked past my instructor.

He asked someone if they wanted to lead a weekly beginner’s class.

I looked behind me to see who he was speaking to.

Nobody was there.

What business did I have leading a BJJ class?

It didn’t matter what I thought.

It was MY TURN

Leading that class taught me an amazing lesson…

We need the COURAGE to LEAP when opportunity shows up.

We have to walk past our FEAR and JUMP towards what scares us.

To live our best life, we have to TAKE OUR TURN.

Fast forward a few months…

I’m at a SALES seminar.

The presenter challenged everyone in the room to START A BLOG.

He told us having the guts to WRITE SOMETHING and SHIP IT OUT for others to judge will make you better.

A few days later I wrote my 1st post.

I hesitated pushing that “Publish” button for the 1st time.

I was scared.

But it was time to run head first into my little FEAR.

Life is at its best when we TAKE OUR TURN.

3 Ways To Take Your Turn:

Choose Yourself

Don’t wait to be “selected”.

You don’t need anyone’s permission.

  • Write that blog.
  • Start that Youtube channel.
  • Put yourself out there for the world to judge.

Create White Space

Free up creative time each week.

Ryan Holliday wrote, “Cut out all the needless things that make you busy.”

“Busy” is a great place to hide from doing work that scares you.

CREATE something.  Share it with the world.

What project has been on your mind but scares you?

That’s the project you should be working on.

Get Uncomfortable

Putting yourself out there is scary.

People will judge you.  Some will laugh.

Good!

Seth Godin wrote, “Dance with your fear.  Seek out what triggers the resistance and makes you uncomfortable.”

Get comfortable being UNCOMFORTABLE.

Amazing things happen outside our comfort zone.

“The Resistance” tells me all the reasons I should not write this blog.

Every week I have to quiet those voices.

What fear will you overcome this week?

What opportunities will you SEIZE?

I’ll start by hitting this PUBLISH button.

#ItsYourTurn

-Joe Ciccarone

www.SalesVibe.net

 

Super Power

“Know thyself.”  -Socrates

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If you could have one SUPERPOWER, what would it be?

Growing up I wished I could read people’s minds.

Facebook cured me of that.

Now my superpower would be SELF AWARENESS.

Self awareness is magic.

Self awareness is:

  • Knowing your strengths.
  • Realizing your weaknesses.
  • Understanding how your actions affect others.

Self Awareness is more important than intelligence.

Early in my career, I struggled big time with self awareness.

I wanted to be a tax accountant.

I got a degree in accounting and a position in a CPA firm.

How do you say “bad idea” in Italian?

Family members, who never offered me advice ever, pulled me aside during parties and told me I was making a mistake.

They said accounting and me were not a good combination.

Did their opinions have something to do with my inability to sit still, not being great with math, and my habit of talking to anyone who entered the room?

It’s amazing what others see, but we can’t.

My lack of self awareness caused a number of job changes.

I moved through 3 different industries to find my career path.

Fun times…

Tony Robbins said, “Self awareness is one of the rarest of human commodities.  Very few people are aware of their own patterns.”

So true.

Self awareness dramatically improves your chances of succeeding in SALES.

How?

Selling is about INFLUENCE.

Influence starts with self awareness.

3 Ways to Increase Self Awareness:

1.  Video Yourself 

There’s a reason video is used by every professional sports team on the planet.  The tape does not lie.  Watching yourself give a sales presentation can make you uncomfortable, but gives amazing perspective.  It shows things you would never realize.  Once you see your errors, they are much easier to correct.

2. Imagine You are Being Recorded

This idea came from Jocko Willink.  Willink said just the thought of being recorded will affect your actions.  Imagine your actions, expressions, and words are being taped. Then imagine that video played back to your family & friends. Ouch…

3.  Seek Out Feedback

Find someone you respect.  Ask them to critique your game.  How do they think you’re doing?  What should you start doing?  What do you need to stop?  This one takes courage. Double that if you ask one of your customers.

Gary Vee said, “If you don’t have self awareness, then no matter how smart you are, you aren’t going to get very far.”

#KnowThySelf

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

Plus, Minus, Equal

“To become great, you need someone better you can learn from, someone lessor you can teach, & someone equal that can challenge you.” – Ken Shamrock, UFC Legend

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Ken Shamrock is a dangerous person.

Shamrock is a legend in the Mixed Martial Arts community.

He is a 4x World Champion and  UFC Hall of Famer.

What can Ken Shamrock teach us about sales and personal growth?

Everything.

Shamrock is now a renowned trainer for young MMA fighters.

He developed a training strategy that is studied by business leaders and best selling authors.

It’s called:  Plus, Minus, Equal.

Let’s double leg in to take a look…

PLUS

Everyone needs a coach.

We need someone in our life who has more experience than we do.

It’s human nature to revert back to the mean.

You need someone you can go to when you’re in a slump.

You need someone to tell you the hard truth you don’t want to hear.

Consider this:

  • Tiger Woods has a swing coach.
  • Mike Trout has a hitting instructor.
  • Robert De Niro has an acting coach.

Even Warren Buffett has Charlie Munger to run deals by.

It doesn’t matter if you have won 4 Masters, 2 American league MVP’s, 2 Academy Awards, or have a net worth of $74.6 Billion.

You need a mentor.

MINUS

Everyone needs someone to teach.

When you teach something, you are forced to understand it better.

The teacher benefits as much as the student.

I was a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for 7 years.

People earn their law degree faster.

I had incredible instructors.

I had a peer group who enjoyed smashing me into the mat.

But 1 thing was missing.

I was not teaching anyone.

Then I was asked to teach a weekly basic’s class.

An amazing thing happened…

The more I taught, the more refined my own skills became.

That faded blue belt is now draped around my college diploma in my home office.

Find someone to mentor.

EQUAL

We all need a peer group that pushes and challenges us to be our best.

Tony Robbins said in a podcast that there are 2 rules people need to follow to live an extraordinary life.

Rule #2 is:

  • “Surround yourself with quality individuals.  You become who you hang out with.”

Rule #1?

Sorry, that’s a topic for a future Vibe.

The Plus Minus Equals concept works so well because it gives us continuous feedback from every angle.

When we play in all 3 spaces, we get exponential benefits.

Plus Minus Equals changes our mindset.

Too often we get caught up in singular titles:

  • “I’m the director.”
  • “I’m just a sales rep.”
  • “I’m the new guy.”

No more.

Everyone teaches.

Everyone learns.

Everyone trains.

Your CHALLENGE is to find an area in your life where you can dive into all 3 roles.

Mouthpiece not included.

#PlusMinusEqual

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

Believe

“Do you believe in miracles?” – Al Michaels

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37 years later you can still feel it.

The air inside the building has a presence to it.

You can sense something REMARKABLE happened there.

As you enter Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid NY, you are greeted by 2 amazing images:

  • A 30 foot photo of the 1980 US Hockey Team diving on captain Mike Eruzione.
  • A banner hanging in the rafters that states, “Miracles Happen Here.”

Goose bumps…

ESPN ranked the 1980 US Hockey Team’s win over the Soviets as THE GREATEST sporting event of the 20th Century.

A group of rival college kids, under a drill instructor head coach, defeated the greatest hockey team ever assembled.

They went on to win the GOLD medal.

This MIRACLE was made possible by 1 thing:

Synergy.

This week we continue a series on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Habit # 6:  Synergize

Synergy is defined by the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

Synergy means 1 +1 = 4.

Synergy is everyone following the same script.

The 1980 US Hockey Team may be one of the greatest examples of SYNERGY.

Most of the players on the US Olympic hockey team could NOT even have made the Soviet roster.

But together they found a way to defeat them on the world’s biggest stage.

The reason?

Synergy.

3 SYNERGY Lessons from the 1980 US Hockey Team:

  • Diversity is a force multiplier: Brooks selected players with different skillsets, back grounds, & perspectives. Great teams are created with diversity.
  • Trust: Synergy is built on trust.  You know the other person has your back.  You know they will be there when you need them.  No trust, no nothing.
  • Expect Adversity: Adversity is going to strike.  It’s not a matter of if, but when.  How you handle adversity determines who you become.

The 1980 US Hockey team SYNERGIZED their way into history.

Helen Keller wrote, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

Believe In:

  • Yourself
  • Your teammates.
  • Your mission.

Synergize.

And watch the miracles unfold…

-Joe Ciccarone

www.SalesVibe.net