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How Motivational Leadership Speakers can help your business and what to look for in a Speaker?

Having spoken to large groups, corporations, and at meetings for over 25 years I know that many times companies and meeting coordinators are hesitant, or reluctant to hire a Motivational Leadership Speaker, or perhaps any speaker for that matter.

Some of these concerns may be well founded, so having been on both sides of the fence (having been a speaker myself, and having had to participate in corporate meetings as an employee for many years) perhaps I can offer some insight into hiring a Motivational Leadership Speaker.

  • What credentials does the speaker have? What is their experience level? How long have they been doing it? These questions may seem obvious, but so many folks out there are marketing themselves as speakers, but have actually had little to no experience speaking at all. The speaker you hire should be someone who does this for a living, not someone who has been told by his or her friends: “Hey, you’d be a great speaker”. Ask any professional comedian, and they’ll tell you that everyone is funny sometimes, but to be paid and funny on the spot, when the expectations are high, that’s a different ballgame altogether!
  • Does this speaker have any video of themselves doing what they do? In this age of digital cameras and video phones, if your speaker doesn’t at least have some ‘live’ footage of themselves delivering part of a speech, that would seem suspect. Additionally, if your speaker has appeared on TV, that’s a plus. Everyone wants to get on TV because it is free publicity, therefore TV stations and broadcast networks use “extreme vetting” before they let someone on their set. When you are ‘live’ and millions are watching, there’s no time to take a chance or roll the dice on an unknown quantity.
  • Provided you’ve found a seasoned pro, hiring a Motivational Leadership Speaker makes sense because many times companies are looking for a third party to make a specific point. The reason is because, most companies have already heard from their own executive panel, therefore an outsider provides a fresh and objective perspective that the audience finds “refreshing” or dare I say “motivating”!
  • Hiring a Motivational Leadership Speaker also allows your audience to hear something that they may never hear from someone on the inside. For example, if your hired Motivational Leadership Speaker suggests that, “You haven’t reached your potential” or “I know that you can do a better job” that could possibly be political suicide for an executive delivering the very same message, as the audience may react in the following way: “Who does she think she is, everything is fine in the Marketing Dept.-Don’t blame us”, or “He’s just blaming everyone else, he’s in charge, that’s his problem not mine-He’s the boss”.
  • Finally the best for last-PRO TIP! Please note that I actually teach people how to speak, and I can tell you that the most important aspect about speaking is not necessarily the delivery (sure that’s always important, and image is almost everything) but rather THE AUDIENCE is even more important! Let me explain. If your hired Motivational Leadership Speaker does not ask you a multitude of important questions about who’ll be in the audience, what’s important to them and the challenges of your specific industry…then you’ve just hired the wrong Motivational Leadership Speaker! In other words if your audience perceives that the SAME speech that they just heard could have been given to a group of plumbers, bankers, insurance executives, or pharmaceutical salespeople that’s the kiss of death. The message to your group must be customized and specific to that audience, so that the audience realizes, “she really understands what our competition is trying to do to us” or “he gets the nuances of our industry, he seems to know a lot about us”.

In summary, hiring a Motivational Leadership Speaker is a worthwhile investment for sure, if it is the right person. Hire a pro that knows what they’re doing who has a proven track record and does this for a living. And finally make sure your speaker asks a lot of pertinent questions ahead of time (I typically spend at the very least 1-2 hours consulting with my clients before our presentation).


Till Kahrs is has been a Business Communication Consultant for over 25 years. He is also a Keynote Speaker and has worked with over half of the Fortune 1000 and is a frequent guest on Television appearing on networks such as Fox National News and ABC TV. Kahrs is also the best-selling author of “Enhancing Your Presentations Skills”, an international business classic now also available as a Kindle or Nook E-book. Two of Kahrs’ most popular keynote topics are “Handling the Hot Seat” and “Speaking Successfully” which address in much greater detail some of the issues mentioned above.

Till Kahrs, Keynote Speaker & Business Communications Consultant








Get a Mentor

To keep yourself on track and consistently offering progress and earning trust, seek out a mentor.  Mentors help you see beyond your present vision by providing practical advice, ideas, and valuable concepts based on their unique experience and the wisdom gained from their failures, as well as their successes.  They can play a significant role in the life of a successful networker.  A person you respect can guide you and share their wisdom without reservation. 

Make a list of people you believe can impact your networking success. 

Who has earned your trust?

Find a way to connect with these people today.  Mentors should be role models of the kind of person you are working to become.  Be sure to get your advice from the veterans who have “been there, done that” and who sport the “I feel successful” T-shirt.   

A mentor can:

–  guide you in crafting networking goals.

–  make you accountable.

–  show you how to network

    (not just tell you or toss you an extremely well-put-together book on networking).

–  encourage you to network often.

–  offer you feedback and help you identify and overcome

Look for someone who:

–  listens to others and displays good communication skills.
–  demonstrates integrity and enthusiasm for their life and career. 

–  models continuous improvement and the importance of networking.

–  shares their mistakes and how they grew from these 

    learning experiences.

–  seeks opportunities for personal and professional growth.
–  stays informed by reading and attending seminars.

Use these high achievers wisely.  Do not abuse the privilege and start whining about how tough things are out there.  With this privilege comes responsibility.  You must bring value to the relationship.  If you start believing your short-term objectives are more important than your long-term relationships, you will betray the trust and do more harm than good.  Acknowledge your mentors as you progress.  Something as simple as a thank-you and a pat on the back can serve as their inspiration to continue being there for you. 

Continue to earn their trust.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker




Write Catchy E-mail Subject Lines

The subject line of your e-mails needs to encourage the receiver to open it.  Create a signature file that includes your full name, e-mail address, and phone number so it will be easy for them to contact you.   Include in your signature file a brief but powerful statement of how you empower progress.

And make sure all your e-mails include the address to your own or your company’s Web site. 

Don’t have one? 

Get one, a good one.  

People often will check out your Web site just because you make it easy for them by including it in your correspondence.  Most people are curious and your Web presence can serve as another positive impression that builds trust. 

Your Web site must have up-to-date info, be attractive and easy to navigate, and be chock-full of testimonials from your thrilled customers and clients.

Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Make Friends with the "Gatekeeper"

Hug a “gatekeeper.”

Make friends with the executive assistants of those you want to create a relationship with.  Executive assistants can become solid allies or your worst nightmare.  Do not make the mistake of taking them for granted or seeing them as obstacles to be overcome. 

Heck, they’re the ones who set up appointments for the decision maker.  And in a lot of cases…           THEY ARE THE DECISION MAKERS.

Get to know everyone in the office as individuals.  Talk with them.  Learn all the front-office folks’ names, special interests and hobbies, the names of their kids, and stuff like that.  Check for clues from what they display on their desks. 

Be dependable and genuine.  If you can build a solid bond with these key individuals, you will differentiate yourself from run-of-the-mill sales punks who ignore gatekeepers and just try to barge in to see the big chief. 

If gatekeepers know and respect you, they can recommend you when the need for your service arises.  They can keep you in the loop.  They can be your greatest champion.  Plus, executives respect you more if you have an authentic interest in their whole staff.  Most executives like and respect their assistants and value their insight, so if the assistant likes you, so will the person in charge.

To gain a possible inside track, ask assistants what groups their boss is active in.  Join those groups and get involved.  When decision makers see you engaged in activities outside of the office, they develop more confidence and respect for you.  That’s good.

Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Capitalize on Opportunity

It's all about finishing well.  Understand the point-to-point mechanics of how your stuff ends up in your customers' hands.  Attach yourself to an order-understand the touch points from the consumer's initial awareness of the product or category through traditional advertising, online search, or social media all the way through the in-store merchandising experience-and see what you learn about potential weak spots in your competitor's assumptions.

Capitalize on opportunity.  "Whenever there's an opportunity for foot traffic, from either a season or a competitor, you really have to capitalize on it,"  "Regardless of whether you get the ad space, you always have an opportunity in stores to promote your product and take advantage of that traffic."

Plan for trouble.  Losing a key merchandising opportunity promised by an important partner happens in life and in business, but that doesn't mean you can't make doubly sure that won't happen today or tomorrow. And never stop working just because you've been told you got the ad.

Be ready when trouble arrives.  One of the most enduring lessons that an experience teaches is that you should have the resources ready when the opportunity (for the disaster) arises.  Having the foresight to train and retain the right resources is half the battle.


Contributed by Stephen Denny, Keynote Speaker & Author of Killing Giants, 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in Your Industry.



Get Cracking Keep Networking!

Do not get stuck in the “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda” Trap.  Solid Networking skills are good to possess but they are only useful if you USE them.  Don’t just plan to network.  Reach out!  Networking takes personal self-discipline and dedication.  Every day, hundreds of thousands of people have hundreds of thousands of ideas, goals, and intentions – but they never take that first step.  

Hey, you’ve known networking is a good business practice for a while now.  So why have you not done more of it up to this point? 

One of the main reasons people don’t take the first step is they have little vision of the outcome they’re looking for through networking.  They’re not clear on why it’s worth the trouble of finding the events, getting dressed up, and making themselves stressed out and uncomfortable.

Increase your determination to make networking work for you by listing the reasons you haven’t done more in the past.  Getting to the bottom of your resistances will encourage you to blast through them – by just doing it.  And once you get on a roll, you won’t stop.  It could even become second nature to you.

Want a way to get really motivated to keep networking? 

You do?  OK. Try this: 

Create a Cracking the CODE Connection Map

Create a visual representation of your NET.   Make it just like a family tree, except have this one show how each of your new contacts leads to others. You can easily keep track of your progress.  And when you see how networking has helped, you’ll be more motivated to keep making new contacts and developing your network.

Work to move beyond your shyness and take full advantage of all the networking opportunities that come your way. 

Wait.  Strike that.  Do not just take advantage of the networking opportunities that come your way. PROACTIVELY MAKE OPPORTUNITIES to broaden your net.

Networking is one part social skills and one part sales skills, mixed with a couple shots of life skills.  Networking is as natural as breathing.  We all do it all the time.  Whenever you ask someone’s opinion to help you make an informed decision, even if it is just to find a good sushi bar or a DVD at Blockbuster, you are reaping the benefits of networking.  Gathering new contacts and opening avenues of opportunity increases the number of people in your network.

Get out more often.  Attend more general business events and industry functions.  If you don’t meet new people, your network will shrink, stagnate, and lose its strength. 

Yes, most of these events happen in the mornings, during lunches, and after hours.  Look, success is rarely created working 9 to 5.  What a way to make a livin’.  It is all takin’ and no givin’.    Thank you, Dolly Parton. 

Networking is not about chance meetings.  Hard work makes luck, my friend.  Go make some luck.  I know that sometimes a business luncheon may seem like a waste of time, especially if all you do is eat and make random chit chat.  But it will not feel like that when you learn how to effectively network at these events.  Even if your BlackBerry or ACT database system is bursting with names, numbers, and e-mail addresses, it will not do you a bit of good unless you build the relationships. 

Feel great about yourself.

Be optimistic.  Expect the best.

Get out and about.

Be confident.

Display a great attractive attitude.

(This just in: Your attitude counts for more than your knowledge.)   

Listen.  Be interested.

Give a hoot.

Be helpful.

Get involved.  

Stay in touch.

Sure, being in business is challenging. 

Sure, it’s nerve-racking to look for a new job.

Sure, sales can be tough to come by. 

Sure, marketing is a moving bull’s-eye. 

Sure, people are often pressed for time.

But here is something else I know for sure: People do business with, as well as help, share information, brainstorm, and give referrals to people they trust and value.  They trust and value people who genuinely care about them and are progress for their lives. 

Create personal curb appeal.

Open face-to-face relationships.

Deliver solid first impressions.

Earn trust.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker





Stress is Dangerous & Expensive

Stress is very dangerous, not to mention expensive.  Businesses across the U.S. of A. lose $200-$300 billion dollars annually to stress, resulting in loss in productivity (i.e., less progress) and treatment costs. Effects of stress in the workplace include absenteeism, disruptive outbursts, and the tendency to do as little as possible to get by. 

All reduce productivity and damage an organization's bottom line.  Plus, many of us do not have a well-defined boundary between work and home, and end up taking work problems home with us and letting them affect our personal life.

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”       -- Marcus Aurelius  

I don’t mean to stress you out about stress, but the crazy thing to consider is that WE are truly the ultimate cause of our own stress. It is our reaction to stressful stimuli that “makes us sick,” not the stimuli themselves.  We internalize too much outside pressure, which causes inside pressures.  No matter what the circumstance, we still have power over the attitude we take toward it.  When we feel stress, we become focused on the pain and not the opportunities to take positive steps. 

Often, we invest so much time dealing with stress that we don’t take time to progress.

We all relate to stimuli differently.  What really freaks one person out may excite another, or only mildly irritate a third person.  The key is to know in advance positive ways to respond to stressful stimuli.

Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Create Personal Curb Appeal

Most people connect the term “curb appeal” to checking out a house or building from the street.  How does it look from the street?  Is it attractive to the eye from the outside?

Personal curb appeal involves much more than how you look on the outside.  Sure, you need to look sharp when networking, but real personal curb appeal originates from within.  Before you even start networking, you must feel it is inevitable that you will meet and help people.  You must feel it is inevitable that you will continue to progress.  It simply will happen.  It is happening.  You will help other people reach their goals.  You will reach your goals.  You are progressing and you help others progress. 

People pick up on that feeling.  It’s a buzz, an aura.  It surrounds you.  It’s appealing.  It draws the right people to you. 

Be a success in your own eyes. You have to feel successful.  Not Cocky or Uppity, just good about yourself.  This creates personal curb appeal.  You can’t go to a networking event looking for success.  You have to take success with you to the event.  Success breeds success.  Success attracts success. 

It is so important to feel successful, to feel like a winner.  Feeling successful makes you attractive.  You become attractive to be around.  You ooze confidence.  You create an aura of inevitability.  You must believe you can help.  That you will help.  It is inevitable.  At its core, having personal curb appeal is knowing that you can and will be progress for the people you meet.

Sometimes you are going to have to act more positive and confident than you feel.  If you do, you will soon start to feel more positive and confident.  Change the negative perceptions about yourself and you will easily build greater trust and rapport with others.  I know this is almost impossible to pull off, but try to compete only with yourself and do not compare yourself with others.  Your overriding goal is to be the best you can be. 

Don’t let anyone (including yourself) say you can’t do it.  

As a young student, Martin Luther King, Jr., was told by a teacher that he would never be able to speak with enough passion to motivate people into taking action.

Thomas Edison was told by educators that he was too stupid to comprehend anything.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he had "no good ideas."

Beethoven's music instructor once said of him, "As a composer, he is hopeless.”

A magazine editor once informed Emily Dickinson that he could not publish her poems because they failed to rhyme.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team at the start of his sophomore year.   


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   



Humor into Your Daily Life


People are often envious of those who are funny and able to make others laugh.  I know I am envious of Dennis Miller, Jack Black, early Steve Martin, and Bill Cosby, circa 1966.  Cosby’s comedy album “Wonderfulness” from that year is pure comedy gold.  Anyone can learn to be more humorous with a little practice.  Humor is a technique that can be learned, developed, and perfected  just like origami (OK, not like origami, but you get the idea). 

Incorporate humor into your daily life.  Once you cultivate humor, you have the foundation for intellectual rapport.  Not every attempt will get a knee-slapping belly laugh; your mission is bigger than that.  A comedian succeeds just by being funny, but a networker succeeds only when the humor helps to create a positive impression. 

But of course, humor will never substitute for solid listening skills.  Mix too much yuck-yuck with too little care or respect and you will plummet, crash, and burn.

Some people will not even desire or enjoy humor.  It will not take a rocket scientist to spot these folks because they will be the cats that won’t laugh at anything.  The best thing to do in this scenario is to play it straight.  Cut the humor and ask another open-ended question that gets them talking.  Remember, the goal is to deliver a solid first impression.  You are not auditioning for a gig on Jimmy Fallon.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Power To Make Choices

Power is the ability (present or anticipated) to make choices that bring about significant change, usually in people’s lives, through one’s own actions or those of others.  Nengli, the Mandarin word for power, literally means “can-strength,” or “being capable.”  To influence others, one must have some understanding and mastery of the situations or things the other person desires or needs.  A boss, manager, or employer wields power over employees because he or she commonly controls projects, working conditions, wages, hiring and firing, etc.  However, employees hold power, too.  They can quit, slack off, form a union, steal pens and toilet paper, undermine coworkers’ morale, provide lousy service, and be all-out liabilities.  Employees can also arrive on time, be supportive team players, think outside of the box, and provide world-class service.  It all comes down to the power of choice. 

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”
-- Viktor Frankl

All parties in all relationships have some power.  Customers have power to choose to spend their money wherever they please.  Companies have the power to alter policies or refuse service.  Power can be delegated, but only to those who choose to accept the power. 

One primitive but common way of obtaining the feeling of power is by threatening someone with pain (firing, a bonk on the head, no dessert).  There is power in threatening pain.   But this kind of thought and behavior is a negative misuse of power and is always counterproductive. As any student of world history or “office politics” will tell you, such “power”  inevitably builds resentment and resistance.  And, there is power in resistance. “Fight the Power” is itself a statement of power. 

Someone’s awareness of us and our abilities can have powerful results.  People carry archives of knowledge and impressions within their gray matter, and it behooves us to have ourselves archived as a source of power.  Powerful people are those with easy access to resources, those who can reliably exercise their will, their ideas, and their way. 

Progress Agents are able to show how the choices we want others to make will bring them more choices, more power, more progress.  But it is still each individual’s choice as to what to think and believe, and how to act.

Between stimulus and response there is a space.

In that space is our power to choose our response.

In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
-- Viktor Frankl

Offer the promise of power. 


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker





Get Funny


Making someone laugh (with you, not at you) is definite progress.  Humor attracts and holds attention. Many a person has walked away from a conversation out of sheer boredom.  Make them laugh and they will like you.  Humor can help make a great impression because it appeals to a person’s need for pleasure and release. 

Think I am just joking around?  Humor has been scientifically proven to relieve stress, motivate, and improve relationships.  The use of good humor relaxes people; in that state, they become more open.  A tense or uncomfortable person is far less able or willing to have a good discussion with you.

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”       -- Victor Borge

Common sense is a prerequisite for using humor successfully.  Avoid any attempt at political, sexual, or religious humor.  Refrain from making off-color or derogatory remarks about others. Trying to get a chuckle at the expense of others shows a lack of professionalism, character, and good sense. 

No jokes. Tell stories. 

A joke is rarely original, memorable, or all that funny.  (Of all the jokes you’ve been told in your life, how many do you remember?)  They don’t help the person you are talking to get to know you.  Jokes make you look like you are trying too hard.  They are contrived. 

Jokes force your audience into the uncomfortable position of having to smile or chuckle when they’re not amused.  They act more as a shield than anything.  Jokes are often risky because most are demeaning to some group of people.  Stories are where it’s at. 

They are genuine and offer a window into the real you. 

The highest form of humor is to laugh at yourself; the lowest form is to laugh at someone else.  Tell personal stories where the lesson is learned, or the embarrassment is suffered at your own expense. It will make you appear more vulnerable, more approachable, more human.  Poke fun at yourself and people will laugh with you, not at you.

Don’t be afraid of putting some egg on your own face early in the conversation.  Self-deprecating humor is so effective that it is highly regarded as a leadership trait.  It reflects confidence and strength. It shows that you are secure enough to laugh at yourself.   It also creates instant rapport, defuses tension, and makes you more likable.  Learn to laugh at what you do, without laughing at who you are. 

Quick One Liner:

“I’m such a bad speller, my spell checker is stunned.”

Tell stories that gently poke fun at yourself.  Doing this acts as a social lubricant and shows that you are comfortable in your own skin and at ease with life.  It encourages your listener to feel the same way.  “Laugh and the world laughs with you.”


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Presenting yourself at a Networking Meeting

At many networking meetings, participants are given the opportunity to participate in what I call the Rise and ShineThis is usually a 30-second opportunity to rise from your chair and present yourself and what progress you offer through your business in a very concise, direct, and hopefully memorable way. This is your time to shine.  You also benefit from hearing other participants give their promotional spot. 

Do not use this time to brag.  Egotism is boring. Focus on how you help others solve problems.  How are you providing progress?

Here is a tried and true outline to follow: 

My name is (your name). 

I work with (or run) a company called (your company). 

We work with people (or organizations) who are ready to (attract new customers, get their books in order, hire the right people, etc.)

so they can (make more money, save time, be more productive, etc.), because everyone can use more (money, time, productivity, etc.).  

(Your name) with (your company).

Important Related Tip: 

Do not hold stuff in your hands when you do your Rise and Shine unless you are going to refer to it.  It pulls focus away from you. 

When meeting someone one-on-one, you have far less than the 30 seconds in a Rise and Shine to grab their attention.  Come up with some progress-based statements that share your expertise and what you and your company offer in a clear, engaging way.  If you talk aimlessly or just throw some stuff together on the fly, you will quickly lose their interest. 

Always speak about what you do in a professional, positive manner.  Concentrate on how others benefit from the product or service you perform. 

It’s important to communicate what you do in ways that will help the person you’re speaking with understand that you provide solutions.  They must have you positioned in their mind as an agent of progress.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Listening as if Your Lifestyle Depended on it

Everyone has a need to talk and be heard.  Treat others as if they are the most important people on the planet because – in their minds they are.  Everyone wants to feel that they are significant and have meaningful ideas to share.  Those who choose to really listen will always have someone to talk with.  Notice that I wrote talk with, not talk to.  The key is to:

Turn people ON to you by tuning IN to them.

Good listeners absorb and reflect on what they hear.  They are active in the listening process.  This requires energy and motivation because listening is more than just hearing.  We must become active listeners rather than passive hearers. 

Often our motivation to actively listen is not all that high. We think we can get by without really focusing. This is a mistake. The ability to value what others say is critical to building priceless relationships.  To make solid first impressions, be determined to understand completely what others are trying to communicate. 

“No man ever listened  himself out of a job.”          -- Calvin Coolidge

Collect your thoughts and focus.  Think only about the present conversation.  How often do you catch yourself thinking about some unrelated issue when you should be listening?  It is difficult to tune in when you’re preoccupied with previous conversations or unfinished tasks.

Business philosopher Jim Rohn is quoted as saying, “One of the greatest gifts you can give anyone is the gift of your attention.”  Rohn is right.  Don’t get distracted by other people’s nearby conversations.  If you have to, walk the person you are speaking with to a quieter place in the room to have your initial chat.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker




Sales is an Impressions Game


Unfortunately, far too many of us invest more energy in planning our weekends, or even what we’ll have for dinner, than we do our opportunities to prospects and customers.

Don't believe anyone who says sales is “just a numbers game.”  Sales is an Impressions Game – a Proof-of-Progress Game – The Ultimate Game of Trust.

Sure, the more contacts you make the better your odds – but you may also be blowing your chances for many potential relationships, not to mention time (yours and the prospect’s), by rushing through the process half-cocked with an indifferent attitude.  The worst time to think of what you're going to say is as it's coming out of your mouth.

Prepare, keep your enthusiasm, and be persistent.  Eighty percent of new sales are made on the fifth contact, yet the majority of salespeople give up after the second contact.  Give full attention to every relationship opportunity.   Being well organized makes it easier to build trust and offer progress.  


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker & Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Proactively Seek New Contacts

The key is to create and stick to a networking strategy.  Proactively seek new contacts.  Develop your plan of action and get started without delay.  Identify who you want to meet, where you are likely to meet them, and how you will follow up.  Invest quality time thinking about the people who can best offer you the right information, contacts, and opportunities.  Build relationships with these people by understanding what you have to offer them. 

Where are the best places to make face-to-face contact with them? 

Answering this question will help you decide which organizations you should belong to and which events you should attend.  Important point: The organizations that are the best fit will change over time as your business grows and your career develops. 

Have realistic expectations.  You are (probably) not going to land a big account or forge a strong link from a five-minute encounter.  Networking takes patience!  Networking takes persistence!  Come to terms with the fact that it is probably going to take more than one meeting for folks to come to the conclusion that you are amazingly with-it. 

In fact, it has been proven that it takes most people six to eight positive impressions to remember and begin to trust a new person.   

Keep firmly in your mind that networking may not provide immediate benefits.  It may take years to see the results of your networking efforts, or you could open your e-mail in the morning and have a cool opportunity from someone you connected with the day before.

Shy?  Nervous?  That’s understandable. 

Start with people you know and trust.  Share your desire to be introduced to quality individuals who would be good for you to know. Get connected to the people your contacts know.

Vary your activities.

Grow your list of contacts each week.  Start now and do not stop.  If you’re planning to hit several networking events in a single day, make sure you take time out to recharge.  Plan your schedule so that you have periods of solitude.  Guard against scheduling a full day of networking activities if you plan to network at an evening event.  You’re after quality, not quantity.

As you and your network grow, you will need to make some changes.  Let go of organizations and associations you can no longer maintain properly, or that are no longer relevant. Without forgetting where you came from, allow your network to evolve with you.

Have a goal for each event.  

Decide what you hope to gain before you go.  Write it down.  Then get there and work toward it.  Commit to staying until you have met and connected with your predetermined number or selection of people.  Think about it.  Set a target and push yourself.  This will keep you from walking aimlessly around the room. 

Keep a log.

For a month, keep a log of everyone you meet. 

Then classify and analyze them. 

Which contacts are most valuable?  Where did you meet them? 

Who are the takers and who are the givers?

Any time-wasters?   Hey, your time is valuable too.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Progress Takes Persistence

Personal, professional, and social progress demands persistent action.  The greatest goals, ideas, plans, and skills in the world are useless unless they are combined with a generous amount of persistence.  Persistence is a byproduct of passionPassion leads to a zest in the pursuit.  To keep the passion, we must constantly remind ourselves of the benefits we are expecting from our efforts. 

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”     -- Calvin Coolidge 

News flash

Goals can be achieved without a plan.  It will most likely take us much longer, but we will eventually progress if we stay committed.  The dangerous thing about not having a plan is that the longer it takes to progress toward a goal, the more likely we are to search out or give in to other ways. Note that I said other ways, not better ways.  And I said try to feel, not feel. 

Without a plan, we are likely to get discouraged and give up. “Losing sight of the goal” means that it has not been defined clearly enough, and/or not held on to long enough, to be realized. A plan helps us achieve our crafted goals faster and more efficiently, without wasting resources or pulling our hair out. 


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker




Be assertive - Be proactive

Procrastinators can find every reason under the sun.  Don't wait for that one big thing to happen before you move forward. And don’t wait for the right mood to strike.  Do one small thing today that you believe will help you find progress in change, no matter how small. The point is to start immediately to reach your goals and stay motivated to lead on your path. 

Develop the Do it now habit.  Be assertive.  Be proactive.  You are most likely on a learning curve, so round that corner.  As Confucius told me personally, in a dream, “Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”  After assessing the likely consequences, make it okay to fail, to try new things. It’s how we grow, wise up, progress.  Haven’t we heard all this before?

  Two Step System  for Progress

   Step 1:  Get Reliable Information.

   Step 2:  Act on Reliable Information.

That’s it two steps, simple.  Get reliable information and act on reliable information.  If the information turns out not to be useful, guess what we do?  Get reliable information and act on reliable information, over and over and over and over.

“When any real progress is made, we unlearn and learn anew what we thought we knew before."     -- Henry David Thoreau

Today, information is readily available for the asking.  Good info is everywhere on the Internet, in books, recordings, and seminars.  Really, not knowing how to do something is the weakest of excuses.  

If we want something badly enough, there are ways to get the info we need, even if we have to pay someone for it. Stay motivated and lead the way for your own happiness!

Instead of thinking, I don't know how, ask yourself, Where can I get the new information (read: knowledge and skills) I need?

Find someone to bounce ideas off of.  Form a mastermind group.  Everyone knows someone who has a talent or skill that can complement their own.  Put your minds together to create what you want.  Instead of assuming that we are in this alone and that no one can help us, we should continually ask ourselves,   “Who can help me and how can I help them?”

When change comes (and it’s coming), it’s up to each of us to relate decisively to that change, rather than passively allowing the change to take us where it may.  We have the choice of taking control of our actions and the situations, and creating progress. 

We'll never know the outcomes unless we try.  We can always revamp and act again.  Better to fail from making an effort than from inertia.  Why not try? 

Do the next right thing, or at least do something that you believe is the next right thing.  Better to do the right thing wrong, than the wrong thing right.  The key is to DO something. Learn something.  Try something. 

Act.  Get rolling.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Be The Leader of your Destiny

Solid, proactive folks share they have “no time” to get it all done, and have too many demands placed on them.  

“There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them.”

-- Jim Croce

Our ideal “stress-free,” “healthy,” or “right” work-life balance shifts on a daily basis, and certainly over time. The right balance for us tomorrow will probably be different from what it is for us today. 

If we want to be working and winning, which includes arriving at that well-worn expression “Healthy Balance,” we must begin to internalize our motives, the reasons for our actions.  Truly understanding and digging into why we’re choosing to do the things we’re doing is vital if we’re going to reach true balance. Managing our lives and making changes when we feel motivated to do so, as we set goals for ourselves, could make us the leader towards our own destiny.

As humans, we have this dangerous and unavailing habit of always looking at the greener grass on the other side of the fence, unaware that it’s really all about our priorities and how we roll out our choices, thoughts, and actions. 

Working and winning is a unique and personal jigsaw puzzle, and only we can put the pieces together.  This puzzle is made up of ourselves, our family, our friends, our work, our career, our interests and hobbies, and, in all of the above, our ideals and aspirations.  

it is not healthy, productive, or even logical.  All we end up doing is comparing our insides with others’ outsides.  We compare the way we feel about our situation as it is today (insides) to the way other people seem to live: career, house, car, family, network – (all “outsides”).  This is not fair to either party.  We do not know what is going on in the other person’s life or head.  As my good friend and fellow author Carl Youngberg would say, “Stop measuring yourself with someone else’s yardstick.”

 It’s like that commercial where the guy has the big house, pool, manicured lawn – the perfect life.  He turns to the camera while cruising around his big front yard on his big riding lawn mower and says sadly, “I am in debt up to my eyeballs.”

Humans love to compete: richer, better-looking, wiser, best-behaved kids, happiest pets, who gets the latest BlackBerry earliest, who understands text-messaging lingo the best.  IMHO*, most of this competition is just wasted effort (LOL).  Working and winning is a contest with one player – ourselves.  The only person we are truly competing against is our current self. 

“Winning isn’t getting ahead of others.   It’s getting ahead of yourself.”    

--Roger Staubach


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker




Take Action

Make action the way you roll.  As Will Rogers said, “Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.”  Consistently be doing something you believe will help you move toward progress.

Start now.  Take some action.   Be dynamic.  Dare to fail.  Time is ticking.  The sooner you find out what doesn’t work, the sooner you will find out what will. And the sooner you start, the sooner you will progress.  With each small step you grow in confidence.  The excitement level increases. 



Focus on Value and Cost, Not Price

Sure, it is easy for prospects, as well as sales professionals, to focus on price because it’s right there in black and white.  And true, our products and services do come with a price.  But the price of a product or service isn’t what the product or service actually costs.  We must show that every penny of the price is necessary, because it offers the best value and avoids the cost of alternative purchases and situations.  Cost and value are hard to nail down but are far more important figures to relate – because they include not only the price, but also the value-added service, technical support, our expertise, and all the other progress-based aspects that go along with a relationship with us and our company.