The New Has Come: How to Embrace New Opportunities and Possibilities

"Behold, the new has come”… embrace the new possibility. You have a fresh start…

2015 is a brand new year, and with it you have a new opportunity – a fresh start with a new month and a new quarter. This goes beyond simply New Year’s resolutions, setting a few goals, or hoping to be more productive with our sales, with our leadership, with our work.

With this new opportunity, there are new starts, and with this new year and new quarter, it is fresh. It is full of possibilities. There are no limits. This is a truth, a universal truth that truly can set you free.

My Experience

A week ago, I was going into church, and I misplaced my cell phone. I looked everywhere for it. Retracing my steps, I started to freak out. I love my phone, and I was concerned that I was going to have to buy a new one.

A day and a half later, I got a text from someone who works at the church. “We found your cell phone. It seems to still work, but it was crushed.” They said.

Though the phone was working, it was slow. I just wanted my old phone back. I didn’t want change, but I knew I needed to explore new options. My executive assistant pointed out that while I could get the old phone fixed – I could also upgrade and get a better phone.

As I started looking at the new possibilities, what opened up was indeed a fresh stat.  At any moment in time, there are new possibilities.  I was able to get a new phone with better features and that challenged me to learn new programs and increase my technology skills. New thoughts, habits, and patterns opened up.  I even got a great deal; I got a new phone for free and an Android tablet for only $149.

We should challenge ourselves to find the positive and the opportunity in all situations – even the ones that initially disappoint us.
 

3 Ways to Embrace “The New Has Come” and New Possibilities

 

  1. Create a 90-Day Game Plan: Write down your specific goals and what you wish to accomplish with your work and your personal life. Be specific with these goals, and define three outcomes that energize you to create new results and habits. Pick results that you are passionate about. Enthusiasm, passion, and focus all go together.
  2. Help Others: Focus on what your co-workers, clients, and vendors/partners need. Strive to find one of these individuals that you can help each day and truly make a difference. Do this from a place of humility and giving, with no expectation of anything in return.
  3. Renew Your Mind: Each day, create an affirmation that asserts what you want to do and who you want to be. (For example, “I am good at (the new habit you want to develop).  I am good at being early for appointments.”  Or, “I am good at follow-up with clients and prospects.  I am thankful for…”) Repeat to yourself your affirmation five times a day, and also share your affirmation with others.

Closing Thoughts

Each day, you have a new day. You have a fresh start full of possibilities. With 2015, we also have a new year, and it too is fresh and full of possibilities. Embrace it with passion, with a new game plan, with a heart of service, and with a new mind.
Behold, the new has come!  Take action!

Tom Guzzardo

Time Management 101: Change the Way You Work in 2015

Strong time management is essential to having a strong first quarter. You should make a list of your top three goals and the action steps to achieve them. Each week write out your action steps and block out time to do them. Also plan time for the important, but not urgent tasks such as building future leaders and centers of influence.

Time Management Systems

Here are three time management systems to increase focused execution:

  1. Plan your ideal weekly calendar and schedule: Block out each week through March 31st and schedule when you’re working, when you’re not, and when you’re marketing, recruiting, leadership coaching, doing financial reports. (Your key activities)
  2. Plan your weekly goals: Plan each week and prioritize your schedule and actions. Every week you need to be on the phone, setting up appointments, and following up on cases. Be focused, committed, and productive.
  3. Plan three months ahead: Block your schedule. Block time for prospecting, sales appointments, recruiting appointments, team building, and marketing lunches.

Some key principles to remember to have strong time management and execution include beingfocused and planning well. Each day, have expectancy and urgency. Be enthusiastic about how you’re going to serve others. See the people.

Time Management: Creating Accountability

It’s vital that you have someone you’re reporting your business, marketing, leadership, and sales goals to, and this includes your weekly key activities. This could be your boss, a sales manager, a professional coach, or a peer in your industry. Create strong feedback and accountability with this person by following these steps:

  • Schedule weekly face-to-face or phone calls. Block out 10 to 15 minutes. Report on what you did for the week, what worked well, what didn’t work well, and what you need to do differently.
  • Be clear. Be clear about your business goals for 2015 and your business activities per week. Include the number of key results you want in sales, marketing, and leadership.
  • Commit to your sales, marketing, and leadership activity goals. Commit to the number of appointments per week, for sales, marketing, recruiting, and leadership coaching, and the number of center of influence calls. Track your activity and report this information to your coach or accountability partner.

To have a strong fast start first quarter, create a sense of urgency, clarity, and commitment. Be a caring professional. Focus on giving and creating win/win relationships. Be confident in knowing that you will hit and exceed your goals. Lastly, set up strong marketing systems and strong time management and execution. Stay focused, and do your best!

– Tom Guzzardo

Dream Big with Your 2015 Sales Plan: 4 Steps to Your Best Quarter Ever

If you want to start 2015 as a top sales producer, it is important to gain insight and clarity around your success principles and embrace them in your life. Below I have 4 of the top success principles that are important for top sales leaders.

  • Courage: Have the courage to think big for new possibilities. Go beyond your feelings and circumstances in order to hit extraordinary results. Don’t settle!
  • Clarity: Create clear goals. Know what you desire your year-end sales goals to be. See it, feel it, and go for it. Focus on your goals, and your game plan.
  • Commitment: It takes commitment for sales leaders to achieve and surpass their goals. Do whatever it takes to accomplish your goals and obtain phenomenal results.
  • Caring: Are you creating win/win relationships? A caring attitude can make a huge difference in your success. If you’re doing the right thing and serving well your results will be undeniable.


2015 Sales Plan: Marketing Activities for a New Year


Your first quarter marketing will set the tone for 2015. As you develop this marketing strategy, start small and with low hanging fruit. To hit your top sales numbers, you will need to be focused, urgent, anddriven. Below is an outline of best practices that I’ve seen top producers use for a fast start in a new year.

1. Sell your existing clients: Your quickest and easiest sales are with your existing clients. They know you and they trust you. New sales exist for you through these clients. Follow the tips below for discovering these new leads.

  • Create a list of people that you want to see.
  • Make the calls.
  • Do the appointment, and
  • Ask for referrals.

2. Consistently get referrals: If you’re taking good care of your clients, you can expect to get referrals. Don’t be afraid to ask for them and use a script in doing so. The referral habit goes on 24/7, 52 weeks out of the year. Use the following tips to generate referrals:

  • Make a list of people to ask for referrals.
  • Call and make the appointments.
  • Set up face-to-face appointments.
  • Offer them value.
  • Ask for referrals using your script. Remember, “Words are power”!

3. Build client centers of influence: Your best clients will be your advocates. Train them to regularly give you referrals and personal introductions to your ideal prospects. Try the following tips for a fast start to your 2015 sales plan.

  • Make a list of your best centers of influence to see.
  • Make calls.
  • Set up appointments.
  • Do value added actions.
  • Take them to a special meal.
  • Ask for referrals.

4. Holiday marketing: During the first quarter, you want to acknowledge your best clients. Be generous and thank them for who they are. Here are some practical actions top of the table producers do.

  • Send New Years’ cards.
  • Do one-on-one meals during January and February.
  • Create small January parties.
  • Give small gifts.
  • Call and express thanks to your top 20 clients and professional centers of influence.

As 2014 comes to a close, reflect on what you’ve accomplished this year, and what you wish to improve on with your 2015 sales plan. A successful first quarter needs a sense of urgency, clarity, and commitment. Focus on giving and being a caring professional. Create relationships that are win/win and confidently know that you will not only hit your goals but exceed them. Stay focused and keep giving your best. Don’t settle for anything less!

In my next article, I’ll discuss tips for strong time management and execution for continued success as we enter 2015.

Have a wonderful holiday season, and I wish you much success in 2015.

– Tom Guzzardo

Become a Social Champion: Be Flooded with Referrals and Create Clients for Life

Social Champions love to help and serve others, and they are magnets for mutual partnerships. They build ideas and leadership thoughts to make business fun and financially rewarding. They seek to “champion” or actively empower another person’s vision and goals.  Their primary behavior is to “serve generously,” never looking at their investment of time or as an expectation of something to come back. They actively look for social events to build and bridge relationships. It’s a dynamic and constant process of service. This creates a business friendship with mutual support.

There are five success traits all social champions have. The two I want to highlight are… serving well and being generous.

While on your path to becoming a Social Champion, it’s important to remember not only to serve people, but to serve them well, which can be demonstrated by being authentic and generous with your offer of service. Once the offer has been accepted, it’s equally important to follow-up by delivering the next level of your best service.Below is a story that illustrates the very nature of what it means to serve well and generously:

Below is a story that illustrates the very nature of what it means to serve well and generously:

Early in my speaking and coaching career, I attended a National Speakers Association meeting. Everyone was talking about the extraordinary speaker, Joe Charboneaux. He was a small man, rather round and full of life and good humor. He was exceedingly excited about his message. He spoke about creating extraordinary customer service and falling in love with your clients. He received a standing ovation from the 50 people in attendance. At the end, he made a surprising offer. To everyone in the audience, he offered a free copy of his book and his training program. He simply invited attendees to give him their business card and request the training series. The program was valued at $250 – an entire training program with a workbook. I was quite impressed. I said to myself, “Wow, how can he do that, why is he doing that?”

When I spoke with him afterwards I asked him, “Joe, how can you afford to do that?” He looked directly into my eyes and with warmth and caring he said, “How can I afford not to? My message is be generous, to be extraordinary, to love and serve well. I want to help professional speakers fall in love with their clients.” I was touched, moved and inspired by who he was and his simple act of generosity. This is an excellent example of simply being who you are and a great illustration on how to create a “Wow” level of service.

When you provide a “Wow” level of service, it is motivating and inspires the other person to reciprocate naturally. This is not a “give to get” manipulation.

Actions that will help you create the desired “Wow” level of service include:

  • Solving a problem in their business.
  • Taking action to help them reach their business goals.
  • Helping to clarify their work and life vision.
  • Supporting their vision.
  • Helping them achieve their family goals.
  • TLC: Intentional Concern and Care

If you’d like to know more about becoming a Social Champion, please pick up my new e-book, Social Champions: Create Business Friends and Profits for Life available soon!

Coaching Skills 101: Living Intentionally

How often are you present? Truly present and aware of what is going on around you?

In my last article, I touched on the concept of living intentionally and embracing the moment. We focused on active listening, and it is important for you to become an effective leader as well as an effective coach. How can you think like a CEO, act like a leader and grow your organization? Active listening is only one of the skills required. In this article, we will focus on living intentionally, making commitments and achieving high performance results.
 
The Key Success Principles to Living Intentionally

  • To Create: We live our lives moment to moment, generating results and the quality of life we intend. Often, we react to situations instead of respond to circumstances.  Living intentionally means we are creating the results and the character qualities we are committed to live. (Example: Intentionally create/plan the day, your meetings or sales results.)
  • To Commit: Commit yourself to getting certain results. If we are committed, we do whatever it takes to get the result we want, or to be the kind of person we want to be. Be committed to live purposefully.  Thus, live each day with your vision and mission. Review it and repeat it to yourself throughout the day.  Ask yourself questions.  Am I living my vision of _________ ?

 Living Intentionally: Create Each Day

Each day, create the day the way you want it to be. Choose two character qualities for the day such as service or generosity. Commit yourself to two results such as making five recruiting calls or having 2 powerful coaching sessions. Lastly, commit to learn one new skill or one new piece of information such as active listening, referrals or leadership coaching.

Illustrate living intentionally:
–  I am committed “To Be” ___________________ (2 character qualities)
–  I am committed“To Do” __________________ (2 results or activities)
–  I am committed “To Learn” _________________ (1 skill or new information)
 
Ask yourself…

  • What percentage of the time are you present?
  • How often do you live intentionally?  How many days of the work week?
  • What am I committed “to do” this week?
  • Who do I want “to be” this week?

 Finding Myself in the Moment

I recently went on a church mission trip to Cameroon, Africa. It was a beautiful experience that challenged me to let go of all my day to day distractions like my cell phone, my work and even my level of comfort. However, what I found was incredible. The people around me were very present, loving and joyful. They were clear about what they wanted to do, and they were open to learning. There was a vitally there – a brightness in their eyes. They saw life as a gift.
After being with them, I was confronted by how often I’m not present, and through this realization – I am choosing to be in the moment. I see the beauty around me. I committed to love and serve well.

Do you see the beauty around you? Do you see that every day is a gift?
 
What’s the Payoff in Living Intentionally?

The payoff to living intentionally is immense. You can achieve far better results, be present in the moment more often, be more passionate about your life, and have a stronger connection with those around you – both your clients and your loved ones.

What I challenge you do in the upcoming weeks is to find an accountability friend and:

  • Define 2 character qualities you want to possess
  • Define 2 results or activities that you are committed to doing
  • Define 2 new skills you want to learn and practice

Do you want more peace and more time? Living intentionally is a skill worth mastering for your career and the ones you love.

Tom Guzzardo

Coaching Skills 101: Active Listening

Living Intentionally and Embracing the Moment

As a CEO, you want to be a leader that builds a successful company that is efficient, serves well and truly makes a difference. Whether you’re running a business, a family, a church, or a non-profit, you are growing an organization. You are a CEO, and you are truly influencing others.

In my upcoming articles, I will be discussing what it takes to be an effective leader and an effective coach. How you can think like a CEO, act like a leader and grow your own organization. Great leaders and coaches are constantly improving themselves and their coaching skills (such as active listening, providing feedback, setting clear outcomes and acknowledging people). These coaches help others to grow to the next level. They have the skills, expertise and the desire to positively influence others’ performances.

In this article, we will focus on the coaching skill of active listening and truly being present.

What does a great listener do that makes you feel special and honored?

We all get busy and distracted in the midst of the challenging goals and expectations we have at work and with our family. It can be hard to really listen and tune in, yet this is exactly what a great listener does that makes you feel special. Think about how it feels when someone doesn’t listen to you, and you don’t feel heard. Is being a better active listener something you’d like to work on?

Active listening creates a strong interpersonal connection with two-way communication. It communicates respect and honor. So how do we do it?

  1. Recognize: Acknowledge the other person’s communication with a head nod, a comment of yes or I understand you.
  2. Repeat: Restate the content, meaning and ton of the communication. (Example: Bob, you’re really frustrated that you’ve missed your goal by $5,000.)
  3. Ask: Ask questions to clarify the communication. (Example: Are you saying that recruiting four new people is a top priority for you this year?)

 
Active Listening: My Personal Experience

A few years ago, I came home from a really long day of coaching and selling in Atlanta. I came in with my briefcase, went down stairs to my home office, and Kathryn, my four-year-old daughter, was following me as I went down stairs to drop off my things.

Pulling out a couple things from my briefcase, I started organizing files at my desk and really was only half-heartedly listening to Kathryn.  “Yes, I hear you. Cool, that’s great. That’s good.”  This went on for some time.

Eventually, she walked up to me, got right in my face and took my face in both of her little hands. Pulling my face to eye to eye with her, she said, “Daddy, you’re not listening. Play with me. Now.”

It was like an arrow was shot through my heart. I teach people active listening, yet I’m not listening or tuning in to my daughter at all. I missed the moment and the connection. Are we present to the gift of the moment?  Are we present to the opportunity to love and connect with people? We must fully tune in and be a generous listener and communicate genuine honor and respect.
 
The Barriers to Active Listening and How to Fix Them

We often don’t listen or tune in. Why is this? What are the barriers?  It can be as simple as being distracted by telephone calls, emails or texts. It can be noise, fatigue or pressing business problems and deadlines. It can be personal crises or even our goals that create the barriers that keep us from truly tuning in.

How can we fix this? We need to embrace the moment, or we risk missing it forever. There are three positive actions that need to be present:

  1. Visual responses: Look at the person who is talking with you and create eye contact. See the whole person, become like a camera and take clear pictures.
  2. Auditory responses: Create positive self-talk to help you focus. (Example: Say to yourself tune in… I really want to support them.)
  3. Kinesthetic responses: Take three deep breaths and become centered. Lay your back against the chair. Be present.

 
Active Listening and Being Present Takes Practice

Here are some practical things that you can do to practice active listening, being present and embracing the moment:

  1. Enroll a friend or someone you work with to be giving you feedback. Am I actively listening? Are you feeling heard, respected?
  2. Once a day, have a conversation where you practice the positive activities of being present. (Example: Look at the person, create positive self talk to help you focus and tune in)

 
Your life is quickly moving forward, great coaches actively listen and practice being present. You have to embrace the moment and fully tune in – or we miss it forever. Don’t miss the chance to truly love and serve. Know that your active listening truly makes a difference as you create connections and communicate respect and honor.

Take three deep breaths. Get present. Life is moving.

Tom Guzzardo