Stay focused on the big picture

The following is from Harvey Mackay. Harvey had a major impact on my life and he should on yours too.

Originally published May 18, 2006

A reader of this column sent me an email recently, thanking me for a column I had written on getting outside the box. She then told me how she had lost focus for a while, but had turned things around. She encouraged me to write a column on staying focused.

I immediately thought of my varsity golfing days at the University of Minnesota many years ago. Back then The Saint Paul Open was one of the top tournaments on the men’s professional golf circuit. Prior to the tournament, I had a chance to meet Gary Player when he was taking a lesson from our team coach, Les Bolstad. Later that evening I went to dinner with the world’s future #1 player when he was still an unknown.

The following day at The Saint Paul Open, I saw Gary after he teed off the first hole and ran up to him to say hi. I wanted to tell him what a great time I had the night before. His steely eyes remained focused on the fairway ahead and he never broke stride. “Harvey, please don’t talk to me. I must concentrate. I will see you when I’m finished.”

I remember how devastated I felt, but I learned a valuable lesson on focus. Many years later when he was world famous, my wife, Carol Ann, and I ran into Gary and his wife in South Africa. I reintroduced myself and reminded him of what happened on the golf course. Gary’s wife told me, “Don’t feel bad. He doesn’t even talk to me on the golf course.”

That’s the focus that it takes to do your best. If you have the ability to focus fully on the task at hand, and shut out everything else, you can accomplish amazing things.

Arnold Palmer, another golfing legend, recalled a tough lesson he learned about focus in Carol Mann’s book “The 19th Hole”:

“It was the final hole of the 1961 Masters tournament, and I had a one-stroke lead and had just hit a very satisfying tee shot. I felt I was in pretty good shape. As I approached my ball, I saw an old friend standing at the edge of the gallery. He motioned me over, stuck out his hand and said, “Congratulations.” I took his hand and shook it, but as soon as I did, I knew I had lost my focus. On my next two shots, I hit the ball into a sand trap, then put it over the edge of the green. I missed a putt and lost the Masters. You don’t forget a mistake like that; you just learn from it and become determined that you will never do that again.” Trust me, your friends will understand!

A response Babe Ruth once gave to a reporter sticks in my mind. “How is it,” the Babe was asked, “that you always come through in the clutch? How is it you can come up to bat in the bottom of the 9th, in a key game with the score tied, with thousands of fans screaming in the stadium, with millions listening on the radio, the entire game on the line and deliver the game winning hit?” His answer, “I don’t know. I just keep my eye on the ball.”

In other words … focus.

How many times have you heard an athlete talk about focus? It’s a topic I also hear about frequently in business. The most common complaints? Too many irons in the fire. Too many projects spinning at one time. Too many interruptions. Too many phone calls. Too many emails. Too many things to do. Too little time.

The late Peter Drucker, management consultant and author, observed, “When you have 186 objectives nothing gets done. I always ask, ‘What’s the one thing you want to do?’ In Mexico they call me Senor Una Cosa.” (translation: one thing)

Decide what’s most important. Make a list every day or every week and prioritize your activities. Scale back the amount of time you spend on meetings; they can be the biggest time-wasters of all. Learn to delegate, and make sure all members of your team follow through on assigned tasks. Set aside a specific time of day to return phone calls and emails, and keep distractions to a minimum. In other words, set rules about how others use your time. And if you’re not the boss, work with your supervisor to make sure you agree on priorities.

Stay focused as best you can, and don’t let things happen to you – not when you can make things happen.

Mackay’s Moral: The person who is everywhere is nowhere.


Everything Old is New Again….

I just spent the last hour reading my own blog, the older stuff from a few months ago and from last year. I found it refreshing, like a gentle reminder of how to do things, or sometimes a harsher slap in the face to wake up and do what needs to be done.

When I started this blog over a year ago, it was for my own use, to capture the wisdom of others and lessons I’ve learned along the way. Every once in awhile, I tell someone about this blog so they too can learn that “Collective Wisdom” that I have learned too.

If you have read this and want to make yourself known, leave a comment.

Is There a "Dress Code" for Public Relations?

The following is from an e-mail from Margie Fisher. Good stuff!

It has been said that “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

And first impressions are made, in part, based on how people look. Thus, an important factor is your personal dress code. What you wear is a part of your public relations, because your dress code communicates messages to the world — and, in particular, the business people you meet with on a daily basis.

For instance, I know a (male) printing salesman who dresses in a nice shirt, tie, slacks and great shoes. I know he cares about how he looks, and that translates into the care he takes in his printing jobs.

I also work with lots of “creative” types who wear jeans and sweats while they’re in their own work environment but wear suits or nice shirts and pants when meeting with clients. While they want to have freedom of self-_expression while doing creative work, they also realize they must have, as Marketing guru Dan Kennedy says, a “selling wardrobe.”

This dress code issue is a very personal one to me. Now that my husband, David, is about to join the business full-time, we’ve been talking about his wardrobe. Coming from an industry where he wore khakis and polos every day, he obviously has wardrobe gaps. Living in Florida and dealing with 90+ degree heat doesn’t help, either.

So we’re going shopping soon. And if any of this makes you think about your own wardrobe, be aware of this: people prefer to deal with successful people. Your wardrobe (and my husband’s) should reflect the fact that you are a successful person with whom others want to do business.

More great tips on converting customers from competitors

Converting customers from competitors is a fact of life for salespeople. Customers become dissatisfied and switch. Your market share will increase if they come to you. Here’s how you entice prospects to switch.

1. Think long term. Don’t give up when you hear, “I’m satisfied.” Satisfaction may be temporary. Your prospect’s needs may change, or you may provide a good reason for switching.

2. Develop a relationship. Establish rapport with a prospect, sale or no sale. By developing a friendship, you will be able to revisit the issue at a later time.

3. Study needs. Take your time, do research, and ask a lot of nonthreatening questions so you can find out your prospect’s needs and how well they are being satisfied. The key is to find a need gap and offer a solution.

4. Sell yourself. Personal chemistry is important, but so is the knowledge that you are an enthusiastic, earnest, professional, ethical, caring expert who would be nothing but an asset to know and do business with. Come up with new ideas for your prospects. Show them that you are on their team, sale or no sale.

5. Add value. So many products and services are commodities that differentiation may be difficult. That is why you sell yourself. That is also why you have to differentiate your product with added value such as service and performance guarantees, superior services, better delivery schedules — whatever it takes to be better.

6. Ask for a no-risk trial order. Many customers are loyal to their suppliers, but will grant you a trial order if you ask for it. Make it a no-risk proposition. Ensure your prospect’s satisfaction with some kind of guarantee, and bend over backward to make sure the trial order makes a very positive impression.

7. Ask for a portion of their business. Converting a competitor’s customer may not be an all-or-nothing deal. You may have to do it bit by bit, proving yourself slowly as you go along. Ask for a small percentage of the prospect’s business and you may find that percentage will grow.

8. Be persistent. Nothing succeeds more than persistence. All things being equal, the persistent salesperson will win the account every time. Keep in touch with prospects, think long term, be a consultant and ally, and you will plant drought-resistant seeds.

Source: Dartnell’s e-Tips for Sales Professionals (May, 2006)


More responsabilites, More Opportunities. This week it was announced that I was being promoted to Station Manager of WXKE, MIKE-FM. If you are unfamilar with this format, check out our website This involves mostly the sales side however it includes working hand in hand with our Director of Programming who handles all 6 of our stations. This is going to be fun! (and a lot of hard work too)

How One Idea Can Influence….

The following is from Jim Meisenheimer. It is a review of an excellent book that EVERYBODY, no matter what you do for a living should read at least once. I have read it twice in the past 60 days and need to put it away and read some other goodies I have, but read it at least once each year. Which reminds me, Do you have a book you would like to recomend? Let me know and we will share it with others, after all, this is “Collective” Wisdom.
Okay, read on…

How One Idea Can Influence
Your Income And Happiness

I just did it again.

I reread one of the best sales books ever written for the fifth time. It’s a classic book on sales. I first mentioned this book to you 18 months ago.

I’ve got so many notes in this book I can barely read the type on the pages. The title of the first chapter is, “How one idea multiplied my income and happiness.”

This guy really knows how to grab your attention. Here’s his powerful and provocative idea.

“Nothing but the determination to act enthusiastic increased my income 700% in 10 days!” Your enthusiasm really does make a difference, so you’d better have it with you during every sales call.

This book is getting hard to read now because I have so many things underlined and highlighted. The inside front and back covers are loaded with notes. But that’s good isn’t it?

I’d like to share some of the things the author said in his book:

1. He said, “When I force myself to be enthusiastic, I soon feel enthusiastic.”

2. He felt no one was cut out to be a salesperson. He said, “You have to cut yourself out to be whatever you want to be.”

3. He said, “The most important secret of salesmanship is to find out what the other fellow wants, then help him find the best way to get it.”

4. He used the word “You” and “Your” as often as 69 times in a 15 minute sales call.

5. He discovered the most important word to use in sales had only three letters – “WHY.” He used that word often when dealing with objections.

6. He talked about a daily ritual he performed and got these results, “I became more welcome everywhere, when I did this.”

7. When faced with objections he often said, “In addition to that, isn’t there something else in the back of your mind?” Imagine what you could learn about your customer when you ask this question.

8. He also believes, “By concentrating on one thing at a time, you will get farther with it in one week than you otherwise would in a year.”

9. He said, “A salesperson cannot know too much but he can talk too much.”

10. He pondered, “Have you ever noticed that the breaks seem to go with the person who has a sincere, enthusiastic smile?”

11. He also said, “Give every living soul you meet the best smile you ever smiled in your life, even your spouse and children, and see how much better you feel and look. It’s one of the best ways I know to stop worrying and start living.”

12. He devoted an entire section, five full chapters, of his book describing ideas on “How to make people want to do business with you.” This is a must read if you’re in sales.

Well, you’d probably like to know the author’s name and here it is. Frank Bettger wrote “How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success In Selling.” It’s a classic sales book with over 700,000 copies sold.

This book is so powerful I just bought another 50 copies. That’s right another 50 copies. I did the same thing 18 months ago.

So what am I gonna do with them? I’m going to make you an irresistable offer which includes your personal copy Frank’s book.

I guesstimate only 1% of my readers will scoop up this very special package.

And I can’t wait to get your e-mails telling me how the ideas in Frank’s book helped you close some BIG DEALS!

Go here for complete details:

The last time I made this offer – we sold out within three days.

Let’s go sell something . . .

Jim Meisenheimer

PS – Thanks to those who ordered my new Special Report, “25 Ways To Get Motivated For A Sensational 2006.” Included in this Special Report are my
5 best time management tips plus an extra bonus section called “Seven Ways
To Get Off To A Rocket-fast Start In The First Quarter of 2006.”

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