Sunday, January 5, 2020

A Few of my Life Mantras

I was not put on this earth for your approval.
I refuse to grow up.
I will not let other people determine my behavior, values or attitudes.
I am getting old but I’m not growing old.
If it happens I will be excited - if it doesn’t I won’t be disappointed.
Dream big, plan well, work hard, smile always and good things will happen.
What is happening now is nothing compared to eternity.
I will make my dreams bigger than my memories.
Quitting is stupid.
Every day is a gift.
I was were born, one day I will die – everything in between is trivia.
Today is the most important day of my life.
Brokenness always precedes – joy, peace, and wholeness.
Don’t wait for God to start you – keep going till He stops you.
Stop talking about it – just do it.
Fail often so I can succeed sooner.
What do I have that I can’t lose?
Joy is not an emotion but a mindset.
Just because God says yes, He doesn’t mean now and just because He says no He doesn’t mean forever.
If you didn’t know how you were how old would you be?
Laugh often and cry when you need to cleanse.
Life is short – have fun, make a difference and let go of the stupid stuff.

Want my complete list - contact me:

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Successful selling is not a transaction but a process.

Successful selling is not a transaction but a process.
Tim Connor

Two quick definitions:

The sales transaction approach: a one-time action or activity involving two parties where a transfer of services or property is offered in exchange for financial gain.

The sales process approach: a series of pre-planned actions or steps taken in order to achieve a successful outcome.

It doesn’t matter what you sell – homes, computers, services of any kind, aircraft or clothing.  It doesn’t matter whether your products or services cost less than ten bucks or more than ten million.

It doesn’t matter whether you are selling a product or service that has a global reputation or is a startup organization.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a long-term seasoned sales pro or just getting started.

Have I made my point yet?  When it comes to a successful sales outcome what matters is the approach you use.

One of the biggest mistakes’ many salespeople (anyone who sells anything to any one) make is they use a transactional rather than a process approach – let me explain.  Here are the short versions;

Example one (Transaction approach) – you make an appointment, you show up, you give your presentation    and you try to close the deal.

Example two (Process approach) – you do some prospect research.  You investigate any issue or topic that might impact their willingness or ability of them to buy from you. You attempt to establish buyer/seller leverage – a referral, an endorsement, etc. from someone the prospect knows. You ask lots and lots of questions before you launch into your presentation.  You maintain control of the buying/selling process. You tailor every aspect of your message and product or service to the profile of the prospect.  You ask for the business and close the deal.

So, here are just a few of the ways that poor salespeople fail to follow a process approach.  Yes, there are many more and in respect to your time, I am keeping these short and to the point.

1.They quote price too early in the process- just because the prospect has asked for a price doesn’t mean they need it right away or are even ready for it.  Prospects who want you to go to price early are generally price shoppers and may not be worth a great deal of your time.  Price is a function of perceived value.  If you have not had a chance to build value - the price will always seem high.

2. They talk too much. They don't ask enough questions early in the sales process. They just ramble on and on.  These salespeople feel or believe that people buy because of the various features of their product or service.  Everyone’s reasons for buying your product/service are unique.

3.They send out literature when asked, without first qualifying the prospect.  Billions of dollars of literature go in the trash every year. Requesting literature is often just a ploy or tactic to get rid of you.  You think, “Ah-ha… they want information.”  They are thinking, “Finally I have got this idiot out of my life.”

4.They rely too heavily on technology -using emails, websites, texts, etc. Selling is about trust and relationships and you don’t build those by typing a bunch of keys on a device and then hitting the “send” button.

5. They lose control of the sales process or never get it at the beginning.  I’m not talking here about manipulation but the ability to have the process proceed according to your plans and steps that are in the best interests of the prospect and not that of the prospect.

6.They don’t realize that if there is a trust issue in the sales relationship what will get that to the surface really fast is money. So, don’t wait too long in the process to bring up the issue of fees, terms, deposits, etc.  There is a professional way to accomplish this without referring specifically to the price of your product or service.

7. They leave 'will calls' when telephoning a prospect.  Please, if you are trying to sell me something don’t expect me to do your work for you. Trust me I will guarantee that fewer than five percent of your ‘will calls’ will ever happen and this includes less than 1% of your email reach-outs waiting for a response.

8. They fail to observe and pay attention to early subtle signals given by the prospect.  If you are focused only on yourself and your presentation and your product or service – you will miss some signs or signals during the process that will give you accurate clues as to the prospect’s real or serious intent.

I could go on, but I am sure you get my point. I’ll leave you with a simple question – are you primarily using the transaction or the process approach?

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Are you wasting time & money - training employees?

Are you wasting time & money - training employees?
Tim Connor

Many organizations that invest in employee development or training are wasting a great deal of their time and money.  Don’t believe me . . .  read on!

Do you know the retention of new material, techniques or ideas after three to four weeks?  Well, it’s around 3%. So, the next time you send your employees to an all-day seminar and expect performance improvement that lasts - you are living in La La Land.

I have been in the training business for over 35 years and conducted hundreds of seminars in 26 countries for audiences between 10 and 3500 people and I have observed hundreds if not thousands of people sitting in seminars while mentally they were – somewhere else – the entire time.

There are many factors that determine whether an employee will learn, understand, embrace and apply new knowledge and skills.  Some of these can be controlled by the organization, but many are the results of an employee’s beliefs, expectations, mindsets, attitudes, and agendas which can’t be controlled by the training entity whether an outside outsourced firm or an in-house training department.

Over the years, as a result of extensive study and research, I have developed a unique training process and approach that can be described as “curriculum-based training” rather than short term or transaction-focused development.  If you want your employee investment to have a positive long-term return the only guaranteed way to accomplish this is by ensuring that any training initiative or approach takes the participants completely through this process.

Believe me, you can have the latest and greatest toys, software, products, and services, but if your employees lack the creativity, initiative, motivation, skills, attitudes, and empowerment necessary for effective performance - I’ll guarantee that these resources will be underutilized.

There are two ways to educate, train or develop employees.

-The transactional approach
-The curriculum based approach

Let’s take a brief look at both.

The transactional approach -

A transaction is a single event, a onetime interaction or a short-term approach.  Let me give you an example.  Let’s say you send your customer service representatives to a half-day seminar on how to improve customer relations and increase repeat business.  These people are exposed to appropriate and valuable material for a few hours with little interaction or participation.  They sit there all morning – and learn. 

After lunch, they head back to work dealing with many of the routine customer issues that the training was designed to help them with.

Now I ask you, if a person has spent ten, twenty or even only five years developing mindsets, attitudes, habits, routines, approaches do you think they are going to permanently change these because of a four-hour seminar?  Not going to happen.

The curriculum based process –

The curriculum based process is a longer-term approach where there are ongoing gradual incremental increases of information that are covered as well as some form reinforcement, coaching, inspection and/or accountability.

Let me give you an example.  If you took algebra when you were in high school, how did you learn it?  Let’s say after your first 45-minute class on the topic of algebra the teacher gave you your final exam.  Would you pass?  Of course not.  How do you learn algebra so that after three months of classes, three times a week you could pass the final exam?

Goes like this:  Class, homework, next class two days later you discuss the homework, then new material followed by homework on the new material. Two days later the process continues.  Three months later, you pass the exam.  Now, let’s apply this to a corporate learning situation.

You send your salespeople to a one-day training seminar on how to close more sales (the transaction approach) and then send them on their way.  They might improve their ability to close for a few days or a couple of weeks, but I’ll guarantee that within a short period of time they will default back to previous attitudes, approaches, and techniques.

See the difference between these two training approaches?

The curriculum-based approach has four necessary stages if you want to ensure the success and/or improvement or change in any employee’s attitudes, skills or behavior.

The stages are;

-The awareness level;

At this level of learning, employees have an awareness only of techniques, tactics, skills, and approaches to be more effective in their roles.  However, they lack the clarity and understanding to embrace the learning in a way that will allow them to put the information into practice in an effective way and for the long term.  At this level, the behavior will not change, and you will have essentially wasted corporate resources and the employee’s time. They will be alert and attentive during any training session but will lack the knowledge necessary to know how, where, when and why to use this new information.  The awareness level can be described as sharing information only.

-The understanding level;

At the understanding level, employees get it.  They see the relationship between the information they have learned and its value, but they still lack the ability to apply what they have learned to their roles and responsibilities.

-The integration level;

Knowledge if it is not used, applied or integrated into current mindsets, activities, responsibilities or approaches is essentially useless information.  Without a doubt, the biggest challenge in any training initiative is to ensure that the new learning is used and used whenever and wherever appropriate for the long term. At this level - learning must include a variety of activities such as; the customizing of the delivered material, interactive participation during the training sessions, homework (take-away activities for participant implementation and testing), ongoing coaching and inspection by management, holding participants responsible for implementing new tactics or approaches, management or supervision attends the learning sessions so they are aware of what the participants are learning.

-The mastery level;  

Mastery is the highest form of knowledge applied.  This is where wisdom becomes the standard for learning and skill and attitude development.  Mastery occurs when knowledge becomes wisdom and wisdom is utilized at every opportunity when the situation or circumstance warrants.  Very few participants in a typical “transaction” training session for a number of reasons achieve this level of knowledge or wisdom.  Generally speaking, people who achieve mastery in their chosen field of endeavor have made mastery their goal and they have followed through with discipline, persistence, and planning.

That’s it, folks – so – keep wasting time and money or start using the “curriculum-based training process” that works and gives you value for your time and resources.  PS: If you want more information on this process – contact me – I have been using this process with clients for over thirty years.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Is your life turning out the way you really, deeply want it to?

Is your life turning out the way you
really, deeply want it to?
Tim Connor

One evening last month while reading a book by one of my favorite authors, John Eldredge, titled – “The Journey of Desire”, he asked me to put the book down for a few minutes and ask myself the following question – “Will my life ever be what I so deeply want it to be, in a way that cannot be lost?”
Well, to be honest, it took me more than a minute to ponder this question. I have been thinking about it for weeks so I started wondering if other people, when asked the same question would just click past it instantly or would some folks actually decide that the question deserved some insightful, enlightened and honest consideration.

So, if the question triggers any emotion inside you, I hope the following will help you take that inner journey in a productive way.  If you don’t give a rip – have a nice life and hit the “next” button on your device.
I am not using any of John’s material in this article other than his original question – what follows is my personal take on the importance of this question and the thoughts, ideas, questions or emotions it might bring to the surface in you and for you.

I have been on this highway of life for more years than I often like to admit, and the journey has had its share of amazing opportunities and successes and devastating and life-changing failures and disappointments. But as I have traveled from one year to the next, sure I had goals, plans, dreams, hopes, and desires but many of them they just sort of stayed on the sidelines as I traveled the world speaking and training audiences in twenty-six countries.

In addition - as an author of over seventy-five books including a million-seller and a few international bestsellers I kept preaching to others what life was teaching me the good, the bad and the ugly – and again often not heeding my own wisdom, lessons, and experience.

So here I sit – asking myself – “Is my life turning out the way I really, deeply want it to?” And the answer – yes and no.  And it’s the no’s that cause the most pain and even tears. Sure, I’m happy with the yes’s – who wouldn’t be?  

And just to be clear this article is not a cathartic release of all of my mistakes and frustrations to earn either your pity or your scorn, I just want to share the value both short and long term as well as the potential personal insights that can alter or change the direction or trajectory of some area of your life.

I would like to offer just five quick areas regarding this question for your consideration.

1)Adversity or a blessing - In life, sooner or later, we all have to overcome adversity, challenges,  and pain of some kind but we also all have known many blessings, too many to count in this article, suffice it to say that if you are reading this you have had more positives than negatives during your life so far, but often these outcomes can depend on how you choose to define or interpret the idea of – negative & positive. Regardless of the number of negatives, you may feel you have experienced I will guarantee you have had far more blessings. So, the question becomes – have you let any of the negatives get in the way of achieving or reaching your life desires at this point in your life as you hoped they would have turned out by now? If so – which ones and why?

2)Your response to stuff you didn’t ask for - There are three ways in life to deal with disappointments, setbacks or failures – accept them, deny them or learn from them. The first two unfortunately often cause us to remain stuck in the past, settle for what is rather than what could be, and many times retreat back to previous safe zones, attitudes or mindsets that will ensure we never achieve our hopes, desires or dreams.  The only way to keep moving forward is to accept the reality of life’s problems or challenges as necessary to become wiser, better or stronger.  And without this life approach, it is assured that dreams and desires will always be that – just dreams and desires that you hope one day will show up just because you showed up.  Sorry – that’s not the way it works, and I can say from personal experience that just showing up isn’t enough.

3)Do dreams really matter - Sometimes our dreams or desires are just beyond our reality of what we are willing to pay or sacrifice or do to have them become real for us. This doesn’t mean we should only dream for what we feel might be right or possible, but it does mean we need to make the adjustments necessary, learn the appropriate skills or accept the lack of success with poise and maturity.

4)Who or what can you trust - Sometimes life seems to know what is better for us in the future than we do. What do I mean by life in the previous sentence? Life for each of us is a series of accidents, situations, people, events, and outcomes that we all get.  Some of these can teach us while others can cause disappointment and pain.  Some help us grow while others keep us stuck.  As these various circumstances come into our life whether a flat tire or a new lasting relationship, a new career or a serious health challenge they give us the opportunity to do three things – 1a)Learn from them, b)Deny or avoid them and c)Ask life simply – “what am I supposed to do with this?” In the end we all get inner guidance regardless of what you want to call it; Devine help, Universal Consciousness, Hunches, Insight – whatever – in the end life is a teacher and sends us all kinds of stuff and people to help us learn.  Does this mean life is a “person or God, or Alien?”  

Again, call it what you will but let me ask you – have you ever wondered what to do with a situation or challenge and you got this inner message and you didn’t follow it and things got screwed up?  Ever gotten this inner message and followed it and things worked out in your favor? Well, what was this inner voice?  I don’t have a clue but what I do know is we can trust it or ignore it and which approach do you think might, in the end, be the best?

5)When it’s over it’s over – We are all given so many years to yearn, hope, desire, dream, wonder and yes, work, play and yes experience a wide variety of life outcomes.  But in the end how our personal journey progress whether towards our desires or far from them is a combination of a wide variety of choices, decisions, actions, beliefs, etc.  Here’s part of the problem, we don’t have a clue as to where these choices and decisions will lead us or end up.  

We don’t have the slightest knowledge of who we let into our life and who let go of how these choices will impact us over the long term. In the end, this is a good life strategy because can you imagine what your life would be like if you could plan every action, step and choice and control the outcomes?  I know what you are thinking – “yes, I would love this privilege – I could determine the quality of my life and my destiny.” But what if your choices were limited by negative emotions or attitudes like fear, regret or the lack of experience or knowledge or even accurate information – do you think you could make some wrong moves?

In the end, we are all “out of here” at some point so the real question is – are you living each day doing your best to make the best of that day or assuming you will fix or change things tomorrow?  Good luck with that one.

Yes, there are other reasons why as time and the years pass that we fail to achieve the life that we really wanted deep in our Heart and Soul, but from personal experience, someone who has not achieved the life I thought in every way one day would be mine, I can  admit with humility, gratitude, and honesty that I have often wished my present would be different and my past would have had less chaos, dysfunction, and frustration, but I am the one who got me here and I am the one who made the decisions and choices of the past so like it or not – blame, finger-pointing and even anger won’t change a thing. As my daughter is fond of saying, “Dad, it is what it is – deal with it.”  Don’t you hate it when what you teach others at some point comes back at you from them – or is it just me who has to deal with this stuff?

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Today – what if it was your last one!

Today – what if it was your last one!
Tim Connor

I know, the title might sound a bit morbid but think about it, today is the last day for over 7500 people who live in the US.  Add other countries to the results – and the number is over 150,000.  WOW – and one of these today – wasn’t you!  Over 6500 US citizens are currently turning 65 every day . . . are you one of them?  Well, if you are lucky someday you will be.  So, Tim, where are you going with this article?  That question after less than 15 seconds of your life is exactly the point I will try and make. So, to save some of your time so you don’t have to read the entire article since I’m sure you have better or more important things to browse on your phone or computer . . . let’s assume for a moment you don’t have another tomorrow.  

Yes, you have had all of your yesterdays but today is your last day. Will you spend it on your device browsing Facebook, Twitter, etc.?  Will you spend it in front of the TV watching your favorite sports team?  Will you spend it working out at your local gym?  Will you spend it at work earning money that you will never get to spend? Stupid questions or assumptions? No – remember I said today is the last one you get here and then it’s . . . . Bye Bye. 

So, I’ll ask you one more time, how will you spend today if you knew it was your last one?

OK, now you can go back to whatever it was you were doing or want to do instead of reading. For everyone else, I would like you to consider a few basic premises. You can agree or disagree with any or all of them – your choice:

One – sooner or later we will be one of the above statistics – we are out of here.

Two – No one knows when, how or where it will end for them.

Three – You will leave here with some regrets and some unfinished business.

Four – It’s only a matter of time before you and your life will no longer be at the forefront of other’s lives you left behind.

Five – Where you are headed next will be related to how you lived while you were here.

Six – While here you touched some people in a positive way and others in a negative way.

Seven – On your last day you can’t fix all the mistakes or failures you made while here.

Eight – You will never know what legacy you left behind you.

I’ll let you come up with numbers nine and ten . . .

Nine –

Ten –

Life is short and fragile and it’s unfortunate that far too many of us, and I include myself in this group, wait far too long to fix things, change things, do things, undo things, etc. And for many of us, we will never have that opportunity, so I would like to leave you with three quick thoughts: If you knew ahead of time you were leaving today – 1) what would you try and fix? 2)Who would you spend your time with and 3) How would you spend your time with them?

Don’t wait too long or put too much stuff off till later– none of us knows the when . . .

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Do you need an encourager in your life?

Do you need an encouragers in your life?
Tim Connor

Do you need an encourager in your life now? Ever needed one in the past? Are you an encourager? Just so we are on the same page if you decide to read this article - an encourager is someone who – guess what – yes, encourages others. But, is there more to the idea of being an encourager?  Yes, and I know firsthand what role an encourager can have in our life when we are heading in the wrong direction, hitting bottom or just feel like no one cares.
During my years I have had many occasions when I was in desperate need of encouragement rather than invalidation. And, on some occasions, these people showed up and, on many occasions, I was left alone to navigate life’s challenges, trials, adversity and failures alone.  I have learned both the hard way and the easy way the importance of having encouragers in our lives when we need them.

How about you – ever had to deal with a life issue alone and no one was in your corner or maybe even no one who cared? I can tell you if you have never been there that these times can be very trying life circumstances that can stretch us to our limits of faith, patience, hope, and belief forcing us to reach deep and find something we didn’t even know we had.

What is the role of an encourager?

Encouragers are not in our lives to pave the way forward so that we can aimlessly wander through life’s circumstances, lessons and challenges without effort, learning, fear or even guaranteed success. Encouragers are teachers.  

They are caring and compassionate souls who want to help us learn life’s lessons with as little pain and trauma as possible but they are not in our lives to help us avoid what life wants and needs us to learn so we can be productive humans regardless of our roles, responsibilities or opportunities. 

Encourages can cheer us on, root for us and listen to our concerns and needs but their role is not to remove the learning from our lives that is necessary to master so we can grow and become productive in whatever fashion we have chosen.

Encouragers don’t remove the pain or drama from our life, but they help us to find the inner courage, belief, and resilience to handle it, manage it, overcome it and yes learn from it.

Who can be an encourager?

Encouragers can be family, friends, co-workers, customers and even total strangers. I can recall years ago sitting in an airport waiting to board a flight when I was having a conversation with a total stranger. FYI – ever had one of those – where you shared intimate inner fears, dreams, plans, hopes or frustrations with a total stranger who you knew you would never see again?  Happens all the time and why?  We all need times to share, express and cathart and if we don’t have people in our routine lives who can fill this role, we will reach out to anyone and everyone from time to time.

Back to my example – I shared with them the frustration of dealing with a challenging client that I had been working with for years.  They listened respectfully as I went on for what seemed forever, and they finally asked a simple question.  “Why are you tolerating this behavior and not just cutting the cord and moving on?”  This is not what I thought I wanted to hear or felt I needed to hear but it was what they chose to share, and you know what – in reality, it was exactly what I needed to hear.

I could have shared this with a spouse at the time or a few good friends and peers but was unable to admit the frustration to them so I just kept it bottled up inside me to the detriment of other relationships and activities in my life that kept deteriorating due to my lack of ability or willingness to address the issue. Finally, with the help of a total stranger, I was able to move one.

Ever been there? How about family, friends and even neighbors who from time to time are needed to help us weather life's storms?
How can we handle stuff when we don’t have an encouraged in our life?

Trials, tribulations, adversity, disappointment, failure, etc. are all a normal part of living.  To deny them is to be naive and immature. So, what are we to do when they strike with or without warning? There are dozens of ways to manage life’s negative circumstances and while some are more efficient than others many can be a waste of time, energy and even resources.

Enter the encourager, someone who can help you, support you, believe in you, teach you, encourage you and care.  No one likes going through adversity alone especially when we are unable to see clearly the resources, solutions or answers that are obvious and right in front of us.

No one wants to feel abandoned or without someone who cares when life’s negatives show up on our doorstep. We all need emotional support from time to time regardless of our age, gender, financial status or education.

Without encouragers in our lives during challenging times we will tend to overreact, fall into depression, feel hopeless, make dumb decisions or just isolate ourselves from the world.

Encouragers are an important part of our lives and believe me having gone through many negative life experiences alone I treasure a few of the encouragers I have had during my life.  “Thant you – each and every one of you.”

What does it take to be an encourager for others?

I’ll keep this final question short and to the point.  To be an encourager you need some or many of the following traits, characteristics, attitudes, beliefs, values, etc.

-You care about the influence you have on others.
-You believe in the value of the human spirit in others.
-You do not have a selfish bone in your body.
-You always put others ahead of yourself.
- You have a giving spirit.
- You want to leave a legacy of service.
- You have the ability, to be honest even when the message might be perceived as negative.
- You have healthy self-esteem.
- You don’t need the approval of others to feel personal value.
- You are a listener.
- You do not have personal agendas whole encouraging others.

Yes there are many others but these are a few of the basics.

Got any of these traits? 

The path of least resistance.

The path of least resistance.
Tim Connor

Have you ever noticed that at certain times of your life everything seems to flow smoothly and easily – you are in the groove, while at other times, no matter what you do or don’t do, how hard to try or how long you strive, everything just falls apart while you watch in amazement as life seems to deteriorate while you are getting what you don’t feel or believe you deserve or have asked for?

I know that feeling, folks – I have been in both places many times during my life. Getting in the groove is a wonderful place to be, and spending time in a rut is just not fun or rewarding and often humiliating.

What are a few of the causes, symptoms, results, negative consequences, feelings, attitudes and benefits of both? That’s a book but let me share just a few quick points. Yes, there can be benefits to being in a rut, and yes, there can be negative consequences to being in the groove.

The path of least resistance doesn’t mean:

- you sit around and wait for your ship to come in
- you hope someone else will deliver success/happiness to your doorstep
- success will come because you have worked hard all of your life up to this      point
- you are guaranteed whatever you want because you were born with the          right  genes  or environment
- you are guaranteed success because you were born into the right family
- you will easily get everything you want because you just deserve it
- no bumps in the road
- everything has to be perfect every time, every relationship and even every      day

The path of least resistance does mean:

- life is more fulfilling when you do what you love
- life is more fun & rewarding when you control your emotions
- you will achieve more if you know what you want
- you will achieve your dreams if you never give in or quit
- you roll just as easily with the curves as you do the straight-aways
- you enjoy the trip one day at a time or even one minute at a time
- your outcomes are not just up to you

Are you in the groove right now, or are you struggling to get out of a rut or hole?

Regardless, learn that every obstacle, plateau, bump in the road, achievement, failure, or success is not about what is happening - but what you are learning from it and how you are growing because of it.

If you are in a rut today: ask yourself – how did I get here and what can I learn while I am here?

If you are in the groove today: ask yourself – how did I get here and what can I learn while I am here?

Get it, regardless of the circumstances or consequences you are experiencing now - the lesson is the same; life is about learning, growing, becoming and giving.  It is not about selfishness, narcissism, control, taking and thinking or believing you are ever the smartest person in the room.

In the end, life is here to teach us what it wants us to learn while we are taking the journey.  It is very patient and will keep sending us teachers; people, events, circumstances, challenges, problems and yes achievements until we finally – get it – we are here to learn – not; whine, brag, complain or act like the world owes us anything.

So if you are in the groove – learn.  If you are in a rut – learn.