Run Into The Zone

“My feeling is that any day I am too busy to run is a day that I am too busy.” – John Bryant

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It’s 5:30am and raining.

My sneakers are soaked.

A car swerves directly at me.

The driver recovers to miss me by 3 feet.

I see them wave “Sorry!” into the rear view mirror as they speed away.

Their phone still in their hand.

Every step of this RUN makes a statement.

My mood ELEVATES.

The MIND clears.

It’s the EARLY MORNING.

My favorite part of the day.

It’s the time when the new day decides what direction it will take.

This week my early morning routine faced a CHALLENGE.

I was 3 time zones away from home for a work meeting.

THE CHALLENGE

Anyone who travels for work knows it can be a grind.

2:30am wake up calls to catch 5am flights to the west coast are really fun.

Once you get to your meeting, every second is TAKEN.

There is ZERO free time.

Any time between 7:30am to 9:00pm is scheduled.

Without a PLAN, you will have a very AVERAGE week:

  • You will eat junk food like 3rd grader.
  • You will drink more coffee than a CPA during tax season.
  • You will end each dinner with a desert the size of your ipad.

Weeks like this used to kick my ass. 

THE ADVANTAGE

There’s a huge ADVANTAGE that east coasters have when they travel out west  – they are WIDE AWAKE at 4am on the first day.

The TIME CHANGE can be your worst enemy or your best friend.

I’ve learned staying on east coast time the entire trip puts you back in control of your day.

That’s why I wake up at 4am each day of the trip.

This allows me to control the only part of the day I can – the EARLY MORNING. 

ENERGIZE 

Early morning exercise energizes your BODY and MIND. 

This ENERGY stays with you the entire day.

Double that for when you RUN past scenic mountains, signs that say you may be mauled by mountain lions and rain slicked freeways with distracted drivers.

MIND, BODY, SPIRIT

After a 4 mile run, my thoughts are overwhelmingly POSITIVE.

Fresh ideas start to flow.

The current challenges that seemed so SCARY the night before, now seem doable.

Your body is ENERGIZED.

Your mind is CLEAR.  

The day becomes EXCITING. 

After the run, I return to my hotel room and I break out my JOURNAL.

I write down anything that strikes me as interesting.

Some ideas are just random thoughts that go nowhere.

Some are personal REVELATIONS that I bring out into the day.

When your mind and body are ENERGIZED, you become OPTIMISTIC.

This early morning routine converts your ATTITUDE from seeing problems to finding SOLUTIONS.

Positive VIBES flow into your day.

The early morning is the time to ESCAPE AVERAGE and RUN towards REMARKABLE .

#RunIntoTheZone

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

This post was originally published March 2014 on Life Unbalanced.

 

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Question of the Day

“Judge someone by their questions rather than their answers.” – Voltaire

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“Get out now while you still can.”

The guy on the other side of the table told me this as he stared at me with no expression.

I was a year out of college and struggling to make a job I disliked (working in a CPA firm) work.

The guy was a senior member of the firm asked to mentor me.

At our very first lunch outside of the office, instead of showing me the ropes, he tried to show me the exit.

Turns out he was miserable.

He hated being a CPA.

But he felt stuck.

He told me he was married, had young kids, car payments, and a mortgage.

“It’s too late for me to get out. Don’t get stuck like I did.” was the way I remembering him putting it.

Warning given.

Warning taken.

I jumped ship (and careers) a few months later.

SALES & LIFE

When I was an accountant, I knew many unhappy accountants.

They did not like their job:

  • The hours.
  • The monotony.
  • All those memorable lunches sitting at your desk alone staring at an Excel spreadsheet.

They may have been unhappy, but they were excellent at what they did.

They produced high level CPA work.

They delivered for their clients.

That’s not possible in SALES.

I’ve never met an unhappy, high achieving sales person.

Never.

An unhappy sales person has almost ZERO CHANCE of:

  • Engaging.
  • Connecting.
  • Building Trust.
  • Providing Value.
  • Helping someone else succeed.
  • Getting invited back.

ELEVATE YOUR QUESTIONS

What’s the best way to feel fulfilled in your career?

That’s hard to say.

It’s different for each of us.

There are no magic answers.

But there are MAGIC QUESTIONS.

The fastest way to elevate your MINDSET is also the fastest way to elevate your sales game:

Elevate the quality of your questions.  

10 QUESTIONS TO JUMP START YOUR SALES (and life)…

  1. What needs to happen for today to be a success?
  2. Who needs my help today?
  3. Who do I need to ignore?
  4. What do I need to stop doing?
  5. What do I need to get over?
  6. Who do I need to spend more time with?
  7. Who do I need to walk away from?
  8. What am I excited about?
  9. What’s missing?
  10. What am I grateful for?

High level questions attract high level answers.

U2’s Bono said, “We thought that we had the answers. It was the questions we had wrong.”

No need to get stuck anywhere.

What tough questions do you need to ask yourself?

That’s the…

#QuestionOfTheDay

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

Know When To Quit

“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 Rodgers

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The more things I quit, the better life becomes.

I’ve learned the secret is figuring out what to quit and where to DOUBLE DOWN.

Here are the 3 best things I ever QUIT:

  • TV
  • Golf
  • “To Do Lists”

TV

Want to talk about a TV series or the news?

I am not your person.

The non-stop barrage of violence, scandals, and bias news kills my positive vibe.

I’ve cut the TV cord.

(Eagles games NOT included).

Call it purposeful ignorance.   

GOLF

Golf and I were in a bad marriage.

Our problems were beyond counseling.

I would spend hours on the links, shoot my weight, and come home frustrated.

As that Andrea Bochelli’s song goes, it was “Time to say goodbye…”

QUITTING golf was liberating.

No more searching for my drive in the woods.

No more watching grown men walk around in plaid pants.

This gives me time to concentrate on more important things – like being choked unconscious on a sweaty jiu jitsu mat.

“TO DO” Lists

I used to write out daily “To Do” lists.

I’d spend the day running around, crossing items off my list.

A false sense of accomplishment would surround me like one of those cheap Today’s Man suits I wore after graduating college.

I was busy, but far from relevant.

I learned focusing on my “Not To Do” list was way more productive.

Steve Jobs said, “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”

Knowing what NOT to spend your time on is liberating.

TOUGH QUESTION

Think about your priorities.

What are you willing to quit to make those priorities a reality?

That’s the question.

Answer that and everything else becomes much easier.

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.NET

(The article was originally published in March 2015 on http://www.JoeCiccarone.com)

Edit, Edit, Edit

“Pare down to the essence.” ― Leonard Koren

move1.jpgWe’re moving.

After years of casually (and at times not so casually) looking to move, we finally found a house.

We made an offer.

Offer accepted.

We were even fortunate enough to sell our current house in under a week.

Buying a house before selling your existing home is a high wire act.

At times, it felt like we were trying to pull off our own version of the PHILLY SPECIAL.

Somehow, it worked out.

But that’s a story (and a blog post) for another day.

Now the fun beings…

Packing.

Ugggggh.

There’s a quote I read this week, “Moving was a great idea until I started packing.”  

It’s a 30-day sprint to BOX UP, CLOSE OUT, and LEAVE the place our family called home for more than a decade.

The packing / moving process is eye opening.

It makes you realize how much unnecessary stuff we have in our lives.

CLUTTER accumulates everywhere:

  • Our Homes.
  • Our Schedules.
  • Our Minds.

MOVING has taught me a BIG lesson.

EDIT, EDIT, EDIT

I am now in EDIT MODE in all areas of my life.

What I’m EDITING:

Personal Possessions

I am no longer holding on to things for Future Me.

If I don’t wear it or use it, it’s donated or thrown away.

No more things saved for “someday”.

If I don’t LOVE IT,  it’s gone.

Future Me can either buy a new one or figure out how to live without when the time comes.

EDITING is liberating.

The MENTAL benefits may be greater than the physical ones.

Our home actually feels lighter.

Less physical items lead to less mental clutter.

Schedule

Moving is a great reason to EDIT what goes on your calendar.

Time is ticking.

There’s a ton to get done.

One of my favorite quotes is by Jim Collins, “If you have more than 3 priorities, you don’t have any.”

What are your 3 priorities right now?

If the event you just committed to is not related to those priorities, why is it on your schedule?

Ryan Holiday wrote, “What’s your main thing?  Ok… So why are you doing all of these other things?” 

I’ve found SAYING NO takes courage, but is LIBERATING.

This frees up an incredible amount of time to INVEST in WHO and WHAT matter most.

PEOPLE

It’s never a bad time to EDIT the negative people out of your life.

  • Who are the people that bring too much drama?
  • Who drains you energy?

It may be a good time to start EDITING them out.

MOVE ON UP

We all heard that “Less is more.”

It’s not just a quote.

It’s a philosophy that helps us live a REMARKABLE life.

Think of all that stuff you have jammed into BOXES and BINS.

Look at those commitments on your SCHEDULE. 

Is all that really making your life better?

Or is it just weighing you down?

It may be time to start Movin On Up…

#EditEditEdit

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Write It Down

“I want to write, but more than that, I want to bring out all kinds of things that lie buried deep in my heart.” —Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

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What do the following people have in common?

Besides changing the course of history, they all shared a common practice.

They kept a JOURNAL.

Journaling is a life changing habit.

When I first heard about journaling, I was sceptical.

I thought writing in a journal was something that people who wrote bad poetry did.

I was wrong.

Jim Rohn said, “If you’re serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured, and unique individual, keep a journal.”

There are a number of studies that show keeping a journal helps you better cope with STRESS and ANXIETY.

A journal will help you:

  • PRIORITIZE your day.
  • CLARIFY your thinking.
  • Stay ORGANIZED and FOCUSED.
  • Increase your CREATIVITY.

HOW TO JOURNAL:

FIND YOUR PLACE

You don’t need a vista.

You don’t need an ocean view or a Pottery Barn table.

Da Vinci wrote (in one of his journals), Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” 

Keep it simple.

Pick a spot where you can open up your blank notebook, feel comfortable and write down your thoughts.

GET YOUR TIMING WRITE

Start by allocating 10 minutes each day.

We are all busy.

But we all need time to THINK and REFLECT.

For many, there is a burst of creative energy that comes after a good night’s sleep.

For you NIGHT OWLS, there might be no better way to clear your mind than writing your thoughts down before bed.

Capture those ideas on paper.

WHAT TO WRITE?

The first step is the hardest.

Don’t let what to write be an OBSTACLE.

Here are some journal prompts to get you started:

  • What’s got my attention?
  • What made me happy today?
  • What surprised me?
  • What challenges am I facing?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • What excites me?
  • What scares me?
  • What did I learn today?
  • What great quote did I hear?
  • What people do I need to spend more time with?

NO FEAR

Write without fear.

Lose your inhibitions.

Don’t hold back.

Let your writing express how you really feel.

This journal is for you.

No one else.

THE BENEFITS

Journaling will help you enter each day with greater clarity.

Your actions will be more focused.

You’ll start to feel GRATITUDE for the little things.

2,000 years ago, the stoic philosopher Epictetus wrote, “Just as one person delights in improving their farm, so I delight in attending to my own improvement.” 

So…

What’s on your mind?

What’s keeping you up at night?

How can you make tomorrow better than today?

Do what some of the greatest minds in history have done…

#WriteItDown

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

Lead the Way

“Leadership is influence.  Nothing more, nothing less.” – John Maxwell

 

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What makes someone a LEADER?

The best definition I ever heard is “INFLUENCE”.

Whether you lead a global corporation or run your family, every organization needs the next generation of leaders to step up and LEAD THE WAY.

John Maxwell wrote, “Everything rises and falls with leadership.”

You may be a new leader trying to establish TRUST.

You could be an established leader looking to STAY RELEVANT.

Either way, one thing is certain –

Leaders are CREATED, not born.

HOW TO LEAD THE WAY:

SHARE YOUR BEST IDEAS

Leaders need to ELEVATE the thinking of everyone in the group.

Don’t hold back.

Put your best ideas into world.

Edwin Markham wrote, “What we put into the lives of others, comes back into our own.”

MAKE DECISIONS

Leaders have the COURAGE to make tough decisions.

They gather the available information and have the guts to make a call.

Leaders know that NOT making a decision is making one.

Amelia Earhart said, “The most difficult thing is the decision to act; the rest is merely tenacity.” 

MOVE ON

Not every decision will work out.

Life will knock you down.

The past is an awesome teacher, but a bad place to live.

Leaders learn the lesson, adapt, then move on.

EMPOWER OTHERS

Leaders take people with them.

Wayne Gretzky said, “It’s not about how great you are.  It’s about how great you make the people around you.”

Empower others.

RAISE THE BAR

Leaders raise the bar.

From Washington leading the Continental Army, to Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat, to Steve Jobs denting the universe…

Great leaders show what is possible.

Seth Godin wrote, “You can raise the bar or wait for others to raise it, but it’s getting raised regardless.” 

Elevate what people think is possible.

STAY RELEVANT

Leaders know the best way to STAY RELEVANT is to keep learning.

John F. Kennedy said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

Leaders keep learning or slowly fade away.

IT’S YOUR TURN

The world is asking you to step up and help show the way forward.

Someone is waiting for you to LEAD THE WAY.

Who will you INFLUENCE?

How far can you take them?

It’s time…

Lead, follow, or please get out of the way.

#LeadTheWay

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

 

 

 

A Beautiful Mind

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” – Aesop

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What’s the SECRET TO LIFE?

The best explanation I ever heard is from Tony Robbins.

In his UNSHAKEABLE podcast, Robbins said there are 2 rules people need to follow to live an extraordinary life.

RULE #2

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

Who do you spend the most time with?

Who’s In Your 5?

These people influence:

  • What you DO.
  • What you EAT.
  • How you MOVE.
  • What you READ.
  • Where you GO.

Think about it.

Is this the life you want to lead?

If not, it may be time to MAKE SOME CHANGES. 

Nothing will elevate our lives faster than being surrounded by great people.

RULE #1

“Develop the ability to live in a state of gratitude regardless of your circumstances.” 

It’s easy to BE HAPPY when things are going our way.

It takes a strong MINDSET to do so when life gets difficult.

Robbins said, “We have to remember that life happens for us, not to us.” 

Each OBSTACLE is there to make us better.

Ryan Holiday wrote, “Obstacles show us who we really are.”

There are seeds of opportunity in every setback.

Gifts are hidden inside each problem.

Our job is to find it.

There is nothing more liberating than…

#ABeutifulMind

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

You Too

“Everyone is in sales. Maybe you don’t hold the title of salesperson, but if you deal with people, you, my friend, are in sales.” – Zig Ziglar

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Have you ever tried to convince your kids to eat healthy?

Have you ever asked someone out on a date?

Ever try to convince your spouse it’s time to buy a new car?

If you have, I’ll let you in on a little SECRET:

YOU ARE IN SALES.

Anyone trying to MAKE A CHANGE happen is in sales.

  • It’s the PHYSICIAN convincing their patient to start a new therapy.
  • It’s the TEACHER getting their students to READ more.
  • It’s the BACKUP QB asking his head coach to run a trick play in the SUPER BOWL.

Seth Godin wrote, “If you’re not trying to make things better, why are you here? So, you are SELLING something.”

The sooner you realize this reality, the easier your reality becomes.

Be Proud.

Say it loud….

“I AM IN SALES.”

Now go out there and change something for the better.

#YouToo

-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

 

 

JAB, JAB, JAB, HOOK

“The person that gives value first has the leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

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What’s the worst professional advice you ever got?

In Tim Ferriss’ new book, Tribe of Mentors, Ferriss asks a series of questions to a group of elite athletes, super achievers, & billionaires.

Here’s one question that generated some fascinating dialogue:

“What are the bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?”

This question brought me back to my first SALES job.

During our weekly sales meetings, my manager would walk around the meeting room and say phrases like “Work the close!” and “A.B.C. – Always Be Closing.”

It was like Alec Baldwin’s character “Blake” from Glengarry Glen Ross giving you a motivational talk each week.

SALES was all about CLOSING a deal.

Get the contract signed and move on.

Helping a customer succeed and establishing a long term relationship had little to do with the process.

For my money, “Always Be Closing.” is the worst professional advice I ever got.

EVERYONE IS IN SALES 

Like it or not, EVERYONE is in SALES.

We all have something to sell:

  • Our product to a customer.
  • Your kids on brushing their teeth.
  • Convincing your husband it’s time to remodel the kitchen.

If you really want to CLOSE THE DEAL, focus less on CLOSING and more on VALUE. 

LEAD WITH VALUE

Sales is all about providing VALUE.

It’s HELPING someone get the OUTCOMES they are searching for by using your idea, product or service.

Gary Vaynerchuk, internet entrepreneur & bestselling author, has an amazing philosophy on how to get people to decide in your favor.

It’s called JAB, JAB, JAB, HOOK.

GIVE TO GET

Think of the SALES process like a boxing match.

Each JAB is you providing HELP and VALUE to your customer.

The HOOK, which comes only after a series of jabsis your ask.  It’s what you are trying to get the other person to agree to.

Your JABS setup the HOOK.

The JABS increases the chances that your HOOK hits the target.

Just like a boxer has a GAME PLAN before entering the ring, each salesperson needs a plan before entering a customer’s office.

SALES PLAN

Before you ask a customer to do anything, HELP THEM three times.

Prove your VALUE. 

It’s not about “Always Be Closing.

It’s all about: “Always Be Helping.

It’s:

  • Give Value
  • Give Value
  • Give Value
  • Ask

The JAB, JAB, JAB, HOOK method delivers knockouts:

  • It ENGAGES customers.
  • It creates TRUST.
  • Establishes long term RELATIONSHIPS.

People are way more receptive to take action on new ideas with people they like, trust, and know have their best interests at heart.

This is not just a GAME PLAN for SALES.

It’s also a great philosophy for life.

#JabJabJabHook

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net