Don’t Let The Cult Of The Naysayer Steal Your Dreams

Recently, in the press there seems to have been a preponderance of articles from naysayers about how goal setting does not work. A raft of highly qualified psychiatrists, psychologists and doctors have been rolled out to make this point. Heavily armed with statistical “proof” they have sought to rain all over the parade ground of anyone wanting to set themselves a goal to get fit, lose weight, spend more time with their children, make more sales or be more successful at work.

The media has form. If they don’t understand something, if it doesn’t make sense to them or if it’s easy to have a pop at, they will do so. Good news does not sell papers and it does not keep people watching the television. If you haven’t achieved something yourself, it’s a lot easier to take a swipe at others trying to achieve the extraordinary that it is to acknowledge that maybe you yourself did not have enough drive and just gave up on your more ambitious dreams.

But that can’t be true because they have statistics. Proof. Proof that for most people, goal setting just does not work. People set goals and then make no progress towards achieving them. People set goals and then do not stick to them. People set goals and then do not reach them. People set goals and then forget about them.

The clear message is, “If you’re going to fail, then why bother setting goals anyway?” Watch out if you don’t want to let the cult of the naysayer steal your dreams.

And, for most people, this is true. Goal setting does not work. Goal setting is a waste of time. Goal is just another reminder that you just aren’t cut out to be successful. Some business models are structured around this whole principle. In the fitness industry, gyms expect a large influx of new members in the New Year and know that most people will never or rarely use the gym. If they did, they would be in big trouble.

So far, so true but that depends on how you look at things and what you want from your life. Ask yourself a different question and you will get a different answer…

Do you want to be ordinary?

Do you want to be ordinary? Do you want to be like everybody else? Do you want to give up on your dreams and desires? Do you want to look back on your life and say, “If only I had… got fitter / been a better parent / travelled more / written a book / followed the career path I wanted to / lived life to the fullest?”

I know that I don’t. I know that I won’t. What about you?

How Can I Be An Expert? A Few Quick Notes…

In the middle of an email conversation with a client the other day, she asked me, “How can I be an expert?” Here were just a few of the notes that I sent her…

  1. Being an expert in your product means really understanding how it helps others in their lives, in their business, personally and financially… and not just the obvious stuff either.
  2. Being able to uncover through the sales process how you can add value and making suggestions above and beyond what people are looking for. Delivering something extraordinary, not ever ordinary.
  3. Having the bottle and credibility to challenge your clients, being able to say “No” and helping your clients to do what is best for them even when they can’t see it and when non-experts would just go with the flow.
  4. Realise that if you want to stand out, some people will love you, some will hate you and some will be ambivalent. This is fine. If you try to be all things to all people you will just be some self-sanitized, insipid version of what you could potentially be.
  5. Be able to give case studies, show ROI etc and demonstrate your worth.
  6. Be tuned in to changes in the marketplace, offerings, trends etc and know how and why this information applies to your clients.
  7. Read books / watch videos / consume magazines on sales, the business and the market and use this to improve your services and those of your clients.
  8. Again, add extraordinary value.
  9. Stay in position. To be able to deliver the value of an expert you need to act as an expert and this requires your clients to perceive you as an expert. This is all about how you position yourself before during and after the sale.

There are many other things but these should set you off on the right track. Have a great day.

Recommended Personal Development Books

Like most speakers I tell people to read more so I thought I would make a list of some recommended personal development books. Unlike most, I do not support this advice by saying that all successful leaders are readers nor do I promise that reading will make you a winner. I have no idea whether either of these statements are true and, despite the comments of many of my peers, I know that you do not have to cast your net very far to prove that they are certainly not always true.

That said, I believe that reading is important. Very important. I have always read a lot and attribute much of my personal success to being an avid reader. In my opinion, reading is a great way of learning new skills. It keeps your mind fresh and agile. It helps you try out new techniques and strategies. It gives you positive input in a world where there is a lot of negativity. It gives you an inside track to the thoughts of people who are more successful, richer, smarter and more experienced than you. It allows you access to ideas, strategies and stories that you are currently unaware of.

When I tell people to read more, one of the questions I get asked a lot is, “What should I read?” It’s a great question, particularly in a world where everyone and their Mum seem to have a written a book and where quality seems to have often taken a back seat to the design energy that went into the front cover or the “We have to get to number 1 on Amazon” marketing plan. And it’s not always an easily answered one, particularly when I cannot ask you what you like, what you need and what you want to get from your endeavours.

But I have created a list. In this list, I am going to share a few of the books that I have enjoyed over the years. I am not going to dig through my library of circa 1000 books to make this list. I am not going to seek any external advice and I am not going to check other similar lists. I am going to do it based on what comes to me right now so apologies in advance to those who have been omitted and should not have been. This list is not a definitive list. I do not guarantee that you will like all of the books on it. Some you will probably hate… but you cannot please all of the people all of the time.

I mention these books because I enjoyed them. This may be because they contained something radical and new. It may have been because of the way they were written. It could be due to a story that they shared. Or it may just have been because of what I was thinking about at the time that I read them. I am a Yorkshireman so I don’t believe in wasting my time or my money so the one thing I can say is that I am have only listed books that, at the time that I read them, I felt were worthy of my time and my dosh.

Personal Development Books.

The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey.
Awaken The Giant Within by Anthony Robbins.
Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins.
The New Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.
The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.
The Winner’s Bible by Dr Kerry Spackman.
NLP: The New Technology Of Achievement by Steve Andreas & Charles Faulkner.
Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength by Roy F Baumeister & John Tierney.
Achieve Your Goals by Andy Smith.


Anything written by Me!
Customer Centred Selling by Robert L Jolles.
Spin Selling by Neil Rackham.
Selling To VITO by Anthony Parinello.
Little Red Book Of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer.
Sales Coaching by Linda Richardson.
Think And Sell Like A CEO by Anthony Parinello.
Coaching Salespeople Into Sales Champions by Keith Rosen.
The Greatest Sal es Stories Ever Told: From The World’s Best Salespeople by Robert L Shook.
Sales Blazers by Mark Cook.
The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon & Brent Adamson.
Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff.
Influence The Psychology Of Persuasion by Robert B Cialdini.
How To Master The Art of Selling Anything by Tom Hopkins.

Communication & Influence Books.

Words That Change Minds by Shelle Rose Charvet.
Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman.
How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
People Watching by Desmond Morris.
Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
How To Persuade & Influence People: Powerful Techniques To Get Your Own Way More Often by Philip Hesketh

Books On Presenting.

Be Heard Now by Lee Glickstein.
Presenting Magically by David Shephard.
Success Secrets Of The Motivational Superstars by Michael Jeffreys.

Other Stuff Of Interest.

Affluenza by Oliver James.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.
Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
The 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss.
The 4 Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss.

A Little More In Depth For Those Fancying The 10 Metre Board.

Detecting Lies & Deceit by Aldert Vrij.
Unmasking The Face by Paul Ekman & Wallace V Friesen.
Changing Belief Systems With NLP by Robert Dilts.
What The Face Reveals by Paul Ekman & Erika L Rosenberg.
Motivational Interviewing by William R Miller & Stephen Rollnick.
Sleight Of Mouth by Robert Dilts.

When I get a chance, I might add some links and if anything else strikes me, I might add it… but, in the meantime, happy reading.

Help! My Salespeople Don’t Know How To Close Sales!

I wasn’t planning on writing anything today so this is just a short one.. but no less valid or important. I just received a  call from a client who was making an enquiry because their salespeople need to know how to close sales. Perhaps not surprisingly, they think they need help in closing techniques and strategies.

They’re probably wrong.

Closing is an interesting topic and certainly one that has been popular over the years. There are several sales training books written about how to close more sales and some of them even have some good content in them. It is, of course, possible to educate salespeople in specific techniques for closing sales and it is possible to improve their results this way but it is not the right way to do things nor is it likely to get the best results.

The first problem is that this request for training in closing more sales is all about you. It has little to do with the client and everything to do with the salesperson. It assumes that the salesperson is deficient in some particular skills or techniques and that the addition of a strategy or a quick line or two would make all of the difference and help them to close more sales.

This is a common situation. As a sales speaker, I often get asked by sales directors what they should do to make more sales. How do we convince the client? How do we demonstrate value over price? How do we negotiate a better deal? How do we shorten buying cycles? Etc etc. All of these have one thing in common and that is that they are all about you. They are not all about the client.

I rarely (for rarely read never) get asked for help that is client focused. People do not call me and ask how they can better understand their clients, they call me and ask how they can close more sales. People do not call me to understand why their clients went elsewhere, they call me to ask how they can convince their clients to buy from them. People do not call me to ask me help them understand why they did not engage their clients, they call me to ask how they can persuade and influence more effectively.

This may sound like semantics but it is a BIG deal.

If you want to better engage your clients, differentiate your products and make more sales… you need to be thinking about your clients. You need to take the weight off what you do and focus on what they want. Just a thought.

So, back to closing, closing is not all about you, you, you… you have to make it about understanding your clients. And when you reach that point, you realise that closing techniques themselves are unlikely to be the major cause of your problems. Salespeople fail to close for a whole variety of reasons, a few of which might include…

  • Lack of confidence leading to client doubt in them.
  • Lack of belief creating lack of engagement.
  • Insufficient / poor / unfocused prospecting meaning they speak with not enough /  the wrong people.
  • Lack of rapport and understanding of clients.
  • Weak / no / insufficient / irrelevant questioning.
  • Now knowing how to or not adding enough (any) value.
  • Lack of compelling reasons for the client to take action.
  • Unconscious knowledge that they have not done some / all of the above and, therefore, feeling uncomfortable about closing.
  • I could go on… and on… and on… and on… but you get the idea.

Don’t you? Suffice to say, any sales speaker or trainer who simply agrees to teach salespeople how to close sales is, at best, misguided and, at worst, a charlatan.

That’s my sales rant for today. I’m going back to focus on my clients. What can you do to better focus on your clients rather than yourself?

Responsibility – Video

Responsibility is not the sexiest of words and it is not a word that you hear a lot in today’s society, people preferring to talk about their rights and what their entitlements are. Taking responsibility, however… responsibility for their own sales, responsibility for their own businesses, responsibility for their own lives… is one of the core characteristics shared by all top performers.

Whether you’re in sales, running your own business, taking part in a competitive sport or even just living your life, one day at a time, taking responsibility for yourself and for your success is critical.

Watch my video above, inspired by marketing graduate Alfred Ajani and decide what it means for you, for your business and for your life.