We’re Getting Ready to Play Notre Dame but All I’m Thinking about Is You!

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Since we are in the middle of football season, I am offering this article adapted from my book, “Selling Saturdays: Blue Chip Sales Tips from College Football.”
By Jeff Beals
Tucked away in the extreme northeast corner of the Lone Star state is the sleepy town of Hooks, Texas, population 2,900.  Located just outside Texarkana along Interstate 30, Hooks isn’t known for much and certainly doesn’t stand out on the map.But that wasn’t the case in the fall of 1974.  That’s when a star running back at Hooks High School was tearing up the football fields of East Texas.  His name was Billy Sims, and he was one of those once-in-a-lifetime athletes.  Having rushed for nearly 8,000 yards in his high school career, Sims was coveted by all the big-time college football schools.

Three hundred miles to the northwest, University of Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer had his sights set squarely on Sims, having identified him as the Sooners’ “number one recruiting priority” that year.  Switzer was practically obsessed with Sims.  Almost every Friday afternoon after practice, Switzer would board a private jet and fly down to Hooks to see Sims play. Then he would quickly return home to coach the Sooners the next day.

Although he doggedly pursued his top prospect, Switzer was still worried.  He wanted to do something that would truly impress Billy Sims.

Now, you need to know about a trick college football coaches use when recruiting players. When they’re in their office or hotel room before a game, coaches call their best high school prospects and say something like, “I’m here in South Bend getting ready to play Notre Dame, but all I’m thinking about is you and how much I’d like to have you on our team.”  Of course, Switzer made these calls, and in 1974, Billy Sims’ phone number was always on the list.

Coaches hope the phone calls will make recruits feel important, but the young men see right through it.  They know coaches are calling a bunch of players.

Switzer got the chance to do something special one Saturday when his Sooners were in Boulder playing the University of Colorado.  At halftime, the Sooners were leading the Buffaloes 28-0.  Needless to say, Switzer felt pretty good as he entered the locker room at half, so he wasn’t worried about tending to the team. He spied a payphone (this was long before cell phones) on the locker room wall, picked up the receiver and called CJ’s Conoco Station in Texas.  When the manager answered the phone, Switzer said, “This is Coach.  I wanna talk to Billy.”

Sims had been listening to the game on the radio while pumping gas for his job at the service station. He was flabbergasted that Barry Switzer would take the time to call him during halftime.  Switzer deliberately kept Sims on the phone for the entire halftime period.  Switzer even told Sims the plays Oklahoma would run on Colorado during the second half so Sims could listen for them.  The two talked so long, that the referee eventually came over, tapped Switzer on the shoulder and said, “Coach, it’s getting late. You got to get your team back on the field.”

Switzer smiled and said into the phone, “You heard the ref, Billy. I gotta go finish this ass whipping. Wish you were here!”

By the end of the conversation, Sims knew he was special.  Switzer had spent the entire halftime with him and no other prospect.

What’s the moral of this story?  Make the people in your life – clients, prospects, colleagues – feel special.  Make them feel like they’re the only ones who matter to you. Give them your entire focus while you’re with them.  Lavishing attention on others will get you more business opportunities and better career options.

It certainly worked for Coach Switzer, because Billy Sims eventually did sign with Oklahoma, where he became a two-time All-American and the 1978 Heisman Trophy winner.  His likeness is now immortalized in a bigger-than-life bronze statue which stands proudly on the OU campus.

So, who’s your “Billy Sims” and when are you going to call him?

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, sales consultant and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop, Washington, DC

“A couple of my Dean’s Fellows recently said your presentation two years ago about building your personal brand was their best experience at Creighton.” – Dr. Anthony R. Hendrickson, Dean, Heider College of Business, Creighton University 

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>

How Many Deals Have You Lost to “Over Preparation?”

By Jeff Beals

“The master of making copies.”

That’s how co-workers described a sales rep I recently met while visiting one of my client companies.  I won’t say what industry the guy works in, because it doesn’t really matter. Suffice it to say that the sales rep in question is good with clients. He knows his company and his products. His only problem is a perpetual tendency to hesitate.  He does not take quick action.

This interaction was timely, because I have been thinking a great deal lately about proactivity and avoiding procrastination.

I don’t know whether it’s a coincidence or not, but I have read three articles over the past week that mentioned a certain kind of procrastination: over preparation. One writer referred to it as “getting ready to get ready.” Another called it “preparing to prepare.”

In other words, some people can become practically paralyzed by over preparation.

Over preparation is a form of procrastination, which is a form of perfectionism.  A perfectionist procrastinator does not want to act until everything is perfect and every detail ironed out. The problem is that nothing is ever perfect.  If taken to an extreme, a perfectionist procrastinator will never stop preparing to prepare or getting ready to get ready.

Perfectionism/procrastination isn’t the only challenge busy professionals face each day.  As the demands on our time grow, we need be razor-focused and make time our ally instead of our enemy.

Management theorist Peter Drucker once said, “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.”

In order to achieve your goals, you must develop superior time management skills. Time is the world’s most precious resource.

If you need more investment capital, you can find it.  If you need more talented people to work for you, you can find them.  Unfortunately, you can never find more time.  It is finite.  It is fleeting in nature.  Once it is gone, it can never be recovered.  Time is also a great equalizer – rich or poor, stupid or brilliant, everyone has the same number of hours in the day.

Nobody actually perfects the art of time management.  With dedication and practice, however, you can come close.  The problem is that most people find time management to be quite difficult.  There are so many tempting time wasters in our lives.  What’s more, it tends to be more fun to waste time than conserve it.

Entire books have been written and semester-long courses have been taught about the intricacies of time management, but one of the best ways to manage time is to minimize the biggest time wasters:

  1. Worrying
  2. Television
  3. People interruptions when it’s time to focus
  4. Procrastination/perfectionism
  5. Inability to say “no”
  6. Lack of planning
  7. Failing to put first things first
  8. Disorganization
  9. Excessive social media, internet and video games
  10. Too much socializing

Now, none of this is to imply that you must extinguish all fun from your life.  That would be a mistake, for fun-haters don’t live as long and don’t lead as meaningful of lives.  We just need to schedule our enjoyable activities carefully.  We need recreation in life, but recreation becomes rather meaningless if we’re not working actively and diligently the rest of the time.

Ultimately, no one but you should be able to control your time and how you use it.  If you allow people to abuse your time, they will do it happily.  People can be rather obnoxious when it comes to time usurping.

The colorful and controversial U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson once said, “Heck, by the time a man scratches his behind, clears his throat and tells me how smart he is, we’ve already wasted 15 minutes.”

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, sales consultant and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop, Washington, DC

“A couple of my Dean’s Fellows recently said your presentation two years ago about building your personal brand was their best experience at Creighton.” – Dr. Anthony R. Hendrickson, Dean, Heider College of Business, Creighton University 

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>

Want to Be Successful in Sales? Observe the Masters

By Jeff Beals

If your company or industry lacks the time and resources for or commitment to sales training, you should at least consider a strong mentoring program in which new salespersons are matched with successful veterans.

If you’re a leader in such an organization, take the initiative to set up mentoring relationships. If you’re a new or young salesperson is such a company, make it a priority to find a mentor.

In some industries, the mentor-mentee relationship actually works more effectively than traditional training. Mentorship also appeals more to the action-oriented person who can’t stand sitting in a conference room listening to the blathering of scripted sales trainers.

There are countless examples of young/new sales professionals who have thrived thanks to the tutelage of an experienced colleague.

Observing a master sales professional firsthand is probably a better learning experience than anything you can glean from a book or webinar. Mentoring relationships are powerful in any company and in any industry.

Even if your company doesn’t offer a formal mentoring program, you can always seek out an informal one on your own. Mentorships are also advantageous for veteran salespersons as well. Serving as a mentor sharpens your own skills and causes you to reflect on what you are doing and how you might be able to do it better. Furthermore, serving as a mentor can reenergize a career that has become too boring and routine.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>

 

Embracing Your Personal Target Audience

By Jeff Beals
Seven billion is an overwhelmingly large number.
That’s the approximate number of people now living on planet Earth. The thought of selling a product or service to all seven billion is a staggering thought, but fortunately, marketers focus on niches, narrow slices of the population. The trick is to identify the appropriate slice.
The same thing applies when marketing yourself, for you are a product. You are a brand. You are a business unto yourself.
In order to promote yourself effectively, you need to become a celebrity in your own “sphere of interest.” Every professional has a sphere of interest. It’s your own narrow slice of the population. You could also call it a “personal target audience.” It’s comprised of those people, who in any way, can help you reach your goals – clients, prospective clients, those who refer clients, someone who could hire you, someone who could get you on a coveted committee or board.
Among these people, you need to be famous. When someone in your personal target audience needs the services or products you provide, your name and face should pop into their minds. When someone is looking for people to invite to a special occasion, your name needs to be at the top of the list. You are a highly desired person in your community or industry when a large number of people in your personal target audience have heard of you and have a positive feeling associated with you.
But before you can become a celebrity, you need to determine who is in your personal target audience. This is determined by your business, career, life mission, goals and personality.
Once you know who is in your personal target audience, manage it carefully. Just like a company managing its prospective clients, you as an individual must diligently manage your personal target audience and lavish attention upon it. The people in your personal target audience are precious, critical to your success.
If you tend to your personal target audience, it will yield positive results and help you achieve greater personal and professional success.
Now that we have established this, it’s time to think about your personal target audience. What types of people need to know about you? Where are they? How do you reach them?
There may be billions of people in today’s loud and crowded marketplace, but it’s liberating to know that you can become famous enough by chasing only a minuscule percentage of them. In order to get your message to connect with the right niche, think about what you do and who is in your personal target audience.
Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Is Social Media Really Worth the Risk?

By Jeff Beals

Is it worth the risk?

That’s the question some professionals are asking themselves when it comes to using social media.

This risks and pitfalls of social media are a frequent topic of water cooler conversations at offices worldwide. It seems as if celebrities and business leaders are constantly catching heat because of ill-advised message postings.

Just last week, my alma mater hired a former television personality to serve as public address announcer at football games. A couple days later, the university abruptly retracted the hiring. As it turned out, a university official discovered a nine-month-old Facebook post in which the would-be PA announcer derided the university’s chancellor following last year’s firing of the head football coach.

University athletic department officials apparently determined that the suddenly unearthed Facebook post disqualified the new PA announcer and ended the relationship before it really even began.

The incident has served as a real eye-opener, sending countless professionals to their social media accounts to see if they have any old posts, tweets or updates that could come back to bite them. For better or worse, we live in a hyper-sensitive society in which people are fired and companies lose contracts because someone disapproves of another person’s opinion. That environment is magnified through the easily available and widely distributed communication platforms that we all have right at our fingertips.

Make no mistake: Nobody is perfect. I am an opinionated guy and have surely said things in public that would have been better left inside my head. Most of us have strong opinions, and it feels so good to let out our anger and frustrations on a public forum.

While we enjoy freedom of expression in this country, we are not immune from the consequences of what we say.

That brings me back to the original question: With all the ways it can hurt you, is social media worth the risk?

The answer depends on who you are, what you say and what you are trying to accomplish in your career.

If you’re careful what you say, social media is probably the most cost-effective way of building and maintaining your personal brand.

In this day and age, professionals need a widely recognized and highly respected personal brand. When a large number of people have heard your name and have a positive feeling associated with it, you stand a better chance of winning new business, landing a new job and making a bigger difference in the community.

A strong personal brand helps you transcend the ups and downs of the business cycle. It gives you options and opens otherwise-closed doors.

Because your personal brand is so important, using social media is probably a wise choice for you. The key is to develop a system of “checks and balances” in your head — anytime you are about to post something, think about your personal brand.

If your purpose for posting a message is emotionally driven, it’s best to pause for a while and cool down before you start writing. A little time and perspective can go a long way in preventing the consequences that could come from an inflammatory post.

Imagine your post will be read by your colleagues, boss, clients and prospective clients. Consider whether the post advances or damages your personal brand. Consider how the post will come across to someone who doesn’t know you well or isn’t intimately aware of the subject you’re talking about.

When posting to platforms like Facebook and Twitter, it pays to think like a journalist or a broadcaster. In other words, don’t assume you’re only communicating with close friends or family. Instead assume that the world will read your post. Theoretically, if just one person shares or forwards something you write, there’s a chance your message could go viral.

In some ways, these precautions might feel like a little overkill. Perhaps you’re thinking I’m demanding too high of a standard and that you don’t want to worry so much about everything little think you post. I understand, but remember social media are like fire — if used properly, social media will benefit your life; if used improperly they can kill your career.

Is it worth the risk? Yes. In today’s loud and crowded marketplace, social media can help you cut through the clutter. Just be careful. Any time you stick your neck out there’s always someone ready to criticize you.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>

Sales Prospecting: Go Where the Players Are

By Jeff Beals

NOTE: This article is an excerpt from the author’s award-winning book: Selling Saturdays: Blue Chip Sales Tips from College Football (published in 2013), which uses stories from college football recruiting to teach sales lessons to professionals of all industries. 

MiamiCarolCity

Miami’s Carol City High School sits in an economically disadvantaged part of town, but it has quite a reputation for producing great football players.

Back in 2003, Rivals.com’s Sean Callahan and a few of his colleagues put on a football camp at Carol City High. The Rivals guys worked out the entire team, putting the players through various tests and conditioning drills. Conditions were Spartan to say the least. The 40-yard dashes were timed on the driver’s education parking lot because the practice fields were in such poor shape. But the lack of quality facilities didn’t keep the Carol City Chiefs from making a positive impression.

“I have never seen a more impressive collection of talent and speed on one team in my entire life,” Callahan recalled. Carol City produced eleven Division 1 players that year.

If the sheer number of phenomenal athletes on that high school team wasn’t impressive enough, what would happen next is something Callahan will never forget. After the camp ended, and the players started heading home, a group of middle-school students showed up—a bunch of skinny kids wearing jeans and plain old tennis shoes. Having watched the older kids go through the drills, the youngsters wanted a shot. The Rivals guys had some extra time, so just for fun they put the kids through the same drills. Though they had probably never worked out, lifted weights or run timed 40-yard dashes in their entire lives, several of the middle schoolers ran electronically timed 40s in 4.7 seconds or faster.

That’s beyond impressive.

For perspective, Callahan was involved in a high school summer camp at Penn State University known as the Central Pennsylvania Coaches Combine. Four hundred high school players from the area participated, hoping to impress college coaches. In some cases, entire teams showed up. These kids had all the right gear, and many had parents who paid for off-season training.

Despite all those advantages, only ten of these four hundred players ran the 40-yard dash in under 5.0. Think about that. The Miami middle-school kids, wearing jeans, bad shoes and using terrible technique, outran the experienced and well-trained high school players in Pennsylvania.

What does this story teach us? That’s easy. There’s a hell of a lot of raw talent in South Florida!

But it’s not just Florida. There is simply more talent down South than there is up North. That’s not to say the North is without talent. Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey high schools produce huge numbers of outstanding college players each year, but that amount of talent is nothing compared to what college coaches find in the southeastern states plus Texas and California.

Because such a disproportionately large number of great prospects live in the South, northern coaches are forced to have southern selling strategies if they hope to win national championships. You may be able to build the core of a northern team with in-state or regional players, but you will have to supplement them with at least a few southern blue chippers. If you look at the northern teams that have won national championships over the past twenty to thirty years—Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan, Penn State, Notre Dame—most of them had quite a few southern players on their national championship rosters.

On the other hand, it typically does not make sense for southern coaches to look up North for talent unless there’s an unusually great prospect who fits a need on the team right away. With all the talent down South, it would frankly be a waste of resources for Sunbelt coaches to travel north to the Rustbelt.

In 2006–2007, CBSSports.com columnist Bruce Feldman was granted insider access and spent parts of a whole year observing the recruitment practices at the University of Mississippi under the leadership of then–head coach Ed Orgeron. The result of that experience was Feldman’s acclaimed book Meat Market: Inside the Smash-Mouth World of College Football Recruiting. Recognizing the hotbed of talent in which Ole Miss was located, the bombastic Orgeron reportedly told his assistant coaches, “Planes don’t fly north!”

Just like a big-time football coach, you are constantly selling in a competitive environment.  A big part of the strategy is to find a way to sell the right prospects on your “team.” You have to go where they are, develop rapport, build relationships with them, establish trust and close deals. You have to go find prospects on their home turf.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>