The Best Investment

“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”― Warren Buffett

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Be Bullish

INVESTING means different things to different people.

For some, it means the stock market.

For others, its real estate.

There is one INVESTMENT that gets overlooked.

This investment generates the highest RETURNS and has the least amount of RISK:

  • YOU

When I started in SALES I knew I had to level up or I wasn’t going to last long.

So I started attending SALES seminars.

The first one I attended was a game changer.

The conference had amazing speakers:

It was awesome.

But an author named Brian Tracy was the one who changed my MINDSET.

Tracy told the group that the THE BEST INVESTMENT a person could make is in THEMSELVES.

He challenged the audience to invest a portion of their annual income on their continuing education & personal development.

Tracy said INVESTING IN YOURSELF would return exponentially more than any stock or real estate holding ever could.

The 20 something version of me was SOLD. 

It’s a PHILOSOPHY I live by to this day.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR BEST INVESTMENT: 

INVEST IN YOUR CAREER

Jim Rohn said, “Income seldom exceeds personal development.”

In every field there are THOUGHT LEADERS. 

There were REMARKABLE people that came before us.

They established best practices.

Our goal is to make original mistakes, not the same ones they did:

This INVESTMENT alone will separate you from the masses.

INVEST IN YOUR HEALTH

Thomas Sowell wrote, “There are no decisions, only trade offs.”

One thing we don’t want to trade for anything is our HEALTH.

No amount of money or recognition is worth it.

We have to INVEST a portion of each day to:

  • Exercise.
  • Healthy Eating.
  • Good Sleep.

We all have the same amount of time.

We just have to decide that being HEALTHY is a PRIORITY.

INVEST IN A HOBBY

Nothing centers us and clears our mind like a fulfilling hobby.

For me, its Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

BJJ delivers an unbelievable workout.

It keeps me humble and focused.

Jiu Jitsu has introduced me to an amazing group of people.

It even gave me a new ACL.

Like Robert Arnott said, “Investing in what is comfortable is rarely profitable.”

Find a hobby you love.

It will pay lifetime DIVIDENDS.

INVEST IN RELATIONSHIPS

With the exception of just one person, the entire world is about everyone else.

Make it a priority to invest the TIME and ENERGY into the special people in your life.

BE BULLISH

There are times when we need to HEDGE our bets.

Investing in yourself is NOT one of them.

Time to go all in…

#InvestInYou

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

Cross The Gap

“If you want something you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done.” – JD Houston

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Sales & Jiu Jitsu have alot in common.

Both are humbling.

Each take decades to master.

Both have consequences when you underperform:

  • Make a mistake in SALES, you lose a customer.
  • Make a mistake in JIU JITSU, you lose consciousness.

The best practitioners in both fields feel a constant TENSION.

It’s a tension created by the GAP between where their SKILLS currently are and who they want to become.

Crossing this GAP takes time and a ton of work.

Early in my SALES career my skills were pretty awful.

My phone skills were so poor that prospects would actually offer me free coaching advice before they hung up.

Me: “Mr Prospect – Blah…Blah…Blah…”

Prospect:  “Hey buddy – You need to relax & slow down, or no one is going to buy anything from you.  Click.”

At least he did not leave me hanging.

There comes a time when we have to decide if we are going to remain just another face in the crowd or make an IMPACT.

We have to decide if we are going to CROSS THE GAP.

HOW TO CROSS THE GAP:

OPEN YOUR MIND

The best in any field are constantly EVOLVING.

They keep experimenting.

They actively search out NEW IDEAS. 

Ray Dalio wrote, “We have to be radically open minded to see what’s missing.”

ASK FOR FEEDBACK

Don’t wait for your performance review.

Make feedback a constant force in your life.

Feedback may bruise your EGO but will open your eyes.

It will keep you in touch with REALITY.

Elon Musk said, “It’s important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.”

Feedback is a gift.

Embrace it.

PRIORITIZE & EXECUTE

Jocko Willink wrote, “Stop spinning. Prioritize and Execute. Pick the highest impact idea and do it.”

MAKE IT ROUTINE

Put your top priority into your schedule.

Work on it 30 minutes each day.

You will be amazed how much progress you make in a month.

JOIN THE COMMUNITY

We become our peer group.

Want to get better at Jiu Jitsu? Join an academy.

Want to get better at SALES?  Attend a sales conference.

Proximity is power.

DO THE WORK

Inspiration is for amateurs.

Professionals DO THE WORK.

  • How do you get rid of writer’s block? Start writing.
  • How do you get out of a sales slump?  Make a sale.
  • How do you get better at Jiu Jitsu?  Train.

Hard work creates luck.

DECIDE

Where are the GAPS in your life?

What part of your life is AVERAGE that you know could be REMARKABLE?

It may be time to LEAP.

#CrossTheGap

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

Get Uncomfortable

“Get comfortable being uncomfortable.  That’s how you break the plateau and reach the next level.” – Chalene Johnson

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How do you get to the next level?  

A mentor of mine told me I needed to become UNCOMFORTABLE

He said, “What do you think about that makes you uncomfortable?  That’s the project you should be working on.”

What makes me uncomfortable? 

Beside “Italian” chain restaurants, it’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and writing a weekly blog.   

That’s why I train as much Jiu Jitsu as possible and publish a blog every Monday morning. 

It’s called the Sales Vibe.

Sales Vibe explores tactics and strategies that help you succeed in SALES & LIFE.

You can read the Sales Vibe by going to www.SalesVibe.net. 

#GetUncomfortable

-Joe Ciccarone

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Free Yourself

“Posterity — you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” – John Quincy Adams

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FREEDOM and COURAGE.

You can’t have one without the other.

I read David McCullough’s fantastic book  – 1776.

It’s an incredible story of how America won it’s FREEDOM.

Midway through the book, no rational person would think the Americans had any chance of winning.

But thanks to the LEADERSHIP of Washington and the COURAGE of his army, they did.

Our FREEDOM came at a tremendous cost.

It’s an amazing gift.

The crazy part is how easily we give our FREEDOM away.

240+ years later we no longer have a foreign power occupying our country.

But sometimes our own insecurities steal our FREEDOM on a regular basis.

Here are 3 THINGS THAT LIMIT OUR FREEDOM:

FEAR OF REJECTION

We have to come to grips that not everyone is going to be a fan.

There are going to be people who are not interested in us or what we do.

Each day we face a sea of rejection.

That’s a good thing!

That rejection keeps out the amateurs.

People are usually rejecting your idea, not you.

Most people are so caught up in their own lives, that they are not even thinking about us.

Don’t hold back.

Produce your best work.

Send it out into the world.

What others think is irrelevant.

ANXIETY

Don’t let the PAST or FUTURE steal another second from TODAY.  

Give yourself the FREEDOM of the present moment.

Lao Tzu wrote, “If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.  If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

The PAST is gone.

The FUTURE is a mystery.

Live in the moment.

EGO

EGO’s are fragile.

They get bruised when we fail.

Our brain tries to protect us by keeping us “safe”.

Unfortunately our safety zone is our DANGER ZONE.

Check your EGO at the door.

Have the COURAGE to fail.

Make today your Independence day.

The Founding Fathers did their part.

Now it’s time we do ours.

Move past FEAR.

Free your mind.

Free your life.

#FreeYourself

-Joe Ciccarone

http://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

 

The Secret Ingredient

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from their point of view – until you climb into their skin and walk around in it.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

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My grand mom was a KILLER cook.

Her chicken cutlets were incredible.

The cutlets were so good, they caused arguments before Sunday dinners.

A constant stream of cousins would walk by and grab the cutlets as they came off the frying pan.

Everyone would downplay how many they swiped.

There would be none left to put on the table.

This cutlet heist played out over decades.

The early bird gets the cutlet…

One day I asked my my grand mom to teach me how to make them.

My version was average at best.

The cutlets all made it to the table.

Something was missing.

Years later I learned I forgot her “secret ingredient” that tied everything together.

The art of COOKING & SALES share the same principles.

Leaving out 1 ingredient can separate AVERAGE from REMARKABLE.

In SALES, that secret ingredient is EMPATHY.

Empathy is defined as the ability to step into someone else’s shoes & experience emotions from their perspective.

In his new book, Sales EQ, Jeb Blount writes, “Empathy is the most important of all the Sales Emotional Intelligence traits.”

The BIGGEST communication problem in SALES is we tend to listen to reply, not understand.

This habit can crush opportunities and destroy relationships.

Your EMPATHY must precede your advice.

If your customer doesn’t feel you UNDERSTAND them, you have zero chance of INFLUENCING them.

People like to think they’re special.  This mindset carries over to their perceived problems.

It doesn’t matter how simple the customer’s problem is to fix.

It doesn’t matter how amazing your solution is.

Your solutions (and sales) will go unheard if your customers don’t feel you understand them.

3 Ways To Bring More Empathy to Your Sales Game:

Never Interrupt or Correct

  • Give your customer your full attention.
  • Listen.  Then listen some more.
  • Let them say everything they need to say.

ReState Their Position Back to Them

  • After they finish speaking, say, “If I hear you correctly, you feel that…”
  • Then list each of their points back to them 1 by 1.
  • This will make your customer feel heard.
  • This will make them receptive to what you have to say.

Show How Your Can Help

  • Only after you do the above, offer your ideas.
  • Be Concise.
  • Be Relevant.

Empathy is a key ingredient for success in SALES and LIFE.

Empathy will increase your influence.

Empathy will help you close the sales that feed your family.

Will that food make it to the table?

Depends who’s cooking…

#LeadWithEmpathy

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net