Shut Up!

"Listen^ The enemy may be talking. Don't ...

Want to improve your listening skills? Simple. Write “Shut Up!” on a Post-It note and put it on your phone for 21 days. (How long it takes to learn a new habit.)

Nothing you have to say to the other person is so important that you have to interrupt. Let her finish. From Improvise This! here are some listening stats:

  1. Amount of time we are distracted, preoccupied, or forgetful: 75%.
  2. How much we recall after we listen to someone talk: 50%.
  3. Amount of time we spend listening to others: 45%.
  4. How much we remember of what we hear: 20%.
  5. We listen at 125-250 words per minute, but we think at 1000 – 3000 words per minute.
  6. Number of business studies that indicate listening is a top skill needed for success in business? More than 35%.
  7. Amount of people with formal listening educational experience: 2%.

And the band played on: Listening is hard. Missing the meaning can be deadly. Ask the captain of the Titanic when told about the dangers of floating icebergs ahead.


It’s Okay to Be a Coward When Cold Calling

People ask why I call my seminars and book Cold Calling for Cowards®. Here is an excerpt from my book explaining the reason behind the use of the word “coward”:

“Dr. Viktor Frankl was an Austrian, psychiatrist – and Jewish. Dr. Frankl and his sister would be the only two from his family to survive the German death camps. At the end of the war he wrote the book, Man’s Search for Meaning.

“Dr. Frankl created the word logotherapy. He’s also the father of the phrase paradoxical intention, which is what logotherapy means. His concept says that it seems the more you want something, the more elusive it becomes. The harder you try to grasp the prize, the more slippery it becomes. He said you can actually use this concept to your advantage, especially when it comes to physical sensations.

“For example, in the morning you’re staring at that 300 pound phone, knowing you need to make your cold calls. Your hands begin to shake. Perspiration forms on your brow. Your breathing is rushed. Your voice squeaks. You surrender to your fears. You can’t do it. You suddenly remember the report that’s due next week. (Sales managers know that if they have paperwork that needs to be completed, just tell their salespeople to cold call.) You’ll make your calls tomorrow.

“No you won’t. Who are you kidding?

“Use Dr. Frankl’s paradoxical intention to overcome your fears.

“When you’re cold calling, get a 3×5 card and write the word COWARD on it. Try to be a coward when you call the people. Try to physically shake. Try to hyperventilate. Try to have your mind go blank. The funny thing is, the harder you try, the calmer you get. Paradoxical intention.”

To learn more and order a copy visit

What’s the Matter with Those Stupid Idiots?

Mark Twain

From Mark Twain: “In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own language.”

You have a great product. It works as advertised. It can make the customer money. It’s inexpensive. It’s easy to use. You have testimonials. But still…he won’t buy.

You begin to question your sales abilities. What’s wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I make him see?

Don’t beat yourself up. Some people don’t want to be helped, no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try. I overheard a Costco floor demonstrator for weight loss tablets being candid and honest with a potential customer: “Don’t buy these if you don’t want to really lose weight. You can’t lose weight if you don’t want to lose it.” An honest salesperson bearing the blunt truth.

Further proof some people won’t act for their own good? Couch potatoes who won’t exercise even though it will improve their hearts and lungs. People who won’t learn because it’s not worth the effort. Smokers who say they can quit but never do. They know what they’re doing is wrong. They know how to fix it. But they don’t want to be helped. By you or anyone else.

Mark Twain it and move on. Find someone wants your help.

Some are knuckleheads: You don’t always know what’s going on behind the scenes you’re not privy to. Be there for others, but if they don’t want you, don’t be offended. Someone is looking for you.

Do Rabid Fans Need Their Shots?

England football fan

Look in any NFL end zone on game day and you’ll see clusters of rabid fanatics with blue and red hair wearing the jerseys of their favorite players. When times are good, their screams rock the stadium. When their quarterback gets intercepted, there’s a collective groan and slump of shoulders as the fans return to their seats.

What’s going on?

Mirror neurons at work. By wearing the jerseys of their favorite players, fans mirror and want to be their heroes. Since they can’t wear the full body armor of the gladiators, they paint their faces, getting ready for war. And as they rise or fall in unison, it’s as if they are actually playing the game themselves. They’re exhausted at game’s end.

So the next time you think there’s nothing to the mirror image, try to suppress your elation when your team scores the game winning TD. You can’t.

Sco-o-o-o-o-o-re!: If you’re excited and believe in yourself and what you’re selling, you’ll influence others to mirror you and want to have what you have.

Never Ask This Question

English: Blue plaque at Iffley Road Track, Oxf...

When you ask, “Can it be done?” you’re limiting yourself by setting results goals. Others asked, “Can the four-minute mile be beaten?” Roger Bannister asked, “How can I do it?”

“Can it be done” is about results. “How can it be done” is about process. Results come from processes. Someone deciding to finally move from couch potato to runner doesn’t ask, “Can I run the 10K?” Instead, “How can I run the 10K? What do I need to do?”

Setting results goals (sell 40 widgets this month) sets a barrier in the mind. You become anxious. In fact, you may become so paralyzed with the belief it’s an impossible task that you don’t even attempt to do what can be done. The correct question is, “How can I sell 40 widgets this month?”

That easy: Asking the right question will change your actions, which change your results.