A Day To Remember…Forever

There are those days that you will never forget…buying your 1st car, the first time you had…well you know, your wedding day, the birth of your children, and very select other days.  Personally, I was fortunate enough to experience one of those unforgettable days yesterday thanks to A Safe Haven in Chicago.  A Safe Haven is a foundation that helps people aspire, transform and sustain their lives as they transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency with pride and purpose.Banner ASH

Yesterday, A Safe Haven hosted the nation’s largest 5K run to end homelessness and Chicago’s largest veteran Stand Down.  When I signed up to volunteer for this event last week, I knew that what I was doing was for a great cause.  However, what I did not know was that I would be taking my 12 year old daughter with me to help volunteer, and that would change everything for me.

The Homeless injured vetevent featured approximately 5,000 runners/walkers who were running/walking at 8 am on a Sunday morning to help end homelessness.  Following the run, the event featured approximately 1,000 veterans who were either homeless or in a dire situation causing them to need help.  A Safe Haven provided both a duffel bag and a backpack full of clothes and toiletries, a pair of boots, a hat and a box of deodorant for each and every veteran who attended. My 12 year old daughter and I were assigned to loading the trucks with these items, unloading the trucks, and then delivering the items to the final destination.  We loaded and unloaded trucks for nearly 5 hours straight, and please keep in mind these are pretty heavy bags and backpacks completely filled with items.

IMAG0313I could not believe the way that my daughter handled this entire day.  Please keep in mind that she is 12 years old.  I had her up at 4 am to get to the event by 5:30.  Not only did she not complain, but she completely embraced this entire experience. She was lifting bag after bag after bag and smiling the entire time.  She was working as hard as I have ever seen her work, and she was motivated like I have never seen.  She absolutely LOVED knowing that what she was doing was helping others in the way that it was.  She interacted with the veterans and hand delivered items to them, while she engaged in conversations with them.  It was such a beautiful thing to see! When it was time to go, she did not want to leave at all, and she talked about the experience just about the whole way home during our hour and a half ride.  In the past, my daughter has been involved in buying Christmas gifts for children in need, but this is the first time that she was really actively involved in serving others on this level, and it was an amazing experience.

10534175_10204276816701491_8784133709343577717_nTo be able to serve others for such an incredible cause with your child for the first time is a type of joy and fulfillment that every parent should experience.  To watch your 12 your old daughter, and let’s be real, she is 12.  At that age, in their minds, the world revolves around them.  To see her being so selfless and so giving, and loving every minute of it, and to be able to share that with her, is something I will never forget.  All of us who are physically able need to give more to those who are starving for our help.  The gift of life is about serving others, it is that simple, and we should never forget that.  Let’s start our children knowing this and understanding this at an early age.  Kids’ minds are like silly putty and they can be molded.  It is our jobs as parents to expose them to what is really important in life so that their minds can be molded into caring, loving, giving, selfless people.  Take my word for it from personal experience, by doing so, you will create days that you will remember…forever.

-The Sales Leader

If you would like to learn more about A Safe Haven, please visit www.asafehaven.org. for more information.

The Past Is Behind You…Leave It There

Leave-The-PastWho has heard the saying “The greatest way to predict the future is by looking in the past”?  To a certain extent that is true.  If you want to know how someone will react in a certain situation, take a look at how that person reacted to a similar situation in the past.  If you want to know what someone’s sales numbers will be in the future, take a look at what their sales numbers have been in the past.  If you want to know if your new business partner is going to cheat you and take advantage of you, take a look at how this person has treated his/her partnerships in the past, and most likely you will have your answer.

The reason that you can predict the future by looking in the past is because most often times, things do not change.  We go through life doing the same things we have always done, the same way that we have always done them.  But this does not have to be YOU!  We are made with the ability to make up our own minds.  In this country, we have the freedom to make our own choices (within reason).  With the proper attitude, drive and mindset, WE CAN DO ANYTHING!  future past lane

If you don’t like how things have turned out, change them.  If you don’t like who you have become, change it.  If you have not surrounded yourself with the people who bring out the best in you, change it.  We can change anything.  The past is the past, but it does not have to be our future.  Your past is only your future if you continue to let it be your future.

We have all been in situations that have been less than ideal.  We have all done things that we are less than proud of.  We have all produced results that are far below our talent levels.  We have all made some horrible decisions both professionally and personally.  The common denominator here is that they all happened in the past.  The past is behind you, leave it all in the past and focus on change and the new future!

-The Sales Leader

For a complimentary Sales Diagnostic, please visit www.VelpelAssociates.com or call 224.484.3333.

Prepare For Success

education_student_newsRemember when…you were in school and you had a big test coming up.  If you cared at all about your grades, what did you do prior to the test?  You studied, you prepared.  Remember when…you were playing sports and you had a big game coming up.  What did you do prior to the game?  You studied, you practiced, you prepared.  Remember when…you were in the high school play.  What did you do prior to the play?  You rehearsed, you prepared.

Why do we not take the same time for preparation when it comes to running our sales calls?  We prepare for tests, games, concerts, plays, competitions, driving tests, our weddings, childbirth, and so many other things.  However, when it comes to running sales calls, which is really our livelihood, very commonly, we choose not to prepare for those.  I know people (ok, me at times LOL) who spend more time preparing for their fantasy football league than they do their sales calls and their careers!

prep meets oppThe late, great Zig Ziglar often said that “Success comes when opportunity meets preparation.  What I have found to be the case is that there is no shortage of opportunity but there is plenty shortage of preparation.  How much better did we do on tests in school when we studied?  How much better did we play in games when we practiced first?  It just makes good sense to be prepared in everything you do, and your career is no different.

For best results, prepare by knowing your competition, learn about what you are up against, study your customer or your target market, script out a systematic approach to your sales calls, rehearse your sales calls, and know your product or service inside and out.  You have the opportunity, now prepare for success and start creating overwhelming victories!

– The Sales Leader

For a complimentary 60 minutes Diagnostic session, please visit VelpelAssociates.com or call 224.484.3333

How Well Do You Handle The Curve?

“Thepitcher batter pitcher winds up, here’s the pitch…and it’s another curve ball”!  Welcome to my life!  Welcome to many of our lives!  How many of us end up in situations just as we have planned?  How many times does the “pitcher of life” throw us a fast ball right down the middle that we can knock out of the park?  For many of us, the fast ball right down the middle does not come very often, and it is the curve ball that we are often faced with.  So, the question here is, “how well do you handle the curve” in the game of life?

Life is a very difficult game to play.  Life is unfair, life is often times unforgiving and lets’ face it, life can be downright hard and mean.  Life will throw you curve ball after curve ball after curve ball.  In many cases, how we handle the curve will determine who we are and what we achieve.  When a curve comes your way, are you the type of person who will bail out of the batter’s box in fear, or are you the type who welcomes the challenge?  Because really what it boils down to is that when life throws one of its nasty curve balls our way, we can either let it beat us, or we make it our decision to beat it.

Whether it be a personal situation or a professional situation, we are all faced with negativity.  In life we may experience a job loss, the death of a loved one, a financial hardship, a natural disaster causing us to lose our homes, or any one of life’s many other curves that may come our way.  The key to mental and emotional survival is to not let life beat us, but for us to beat it.  In the past three weeks, I have experienced the death of my father, a trip to the ER myself to get my heart zapped back into rhythm, dealing with the parting of one of my businesses, and I have a frivolous law suit being dropped in my lap.  To quote Larry The Cable Guy, “I don’t care who you are”, that is a ton for anyone to deal with.

kicking assBut, for those of you who have seen the movie “8 Mile”, I am sure you remember the rap battles at the end.  Eminem was rapping about all the ways that life had just been kicking his ass and he said “and I am still standing here saying F*** the Free World”!  That is me at this point.  I am not going to let this time in my life kick my ass, I am going to kick it’s ass!  The last few weeks has been one bad ass breaking ball, but I am not backing out of the batter’s box, and I am going to crush this pitch!  I know first hand that life can be very brutal, and that life can get you down.  But, when it does, show life how tough you are, and just crush it, because we all have it within us!

-The Sales Leader

For more information or a free coaching session, please visit VelpelAssociates.com or call 224.484.3333







Make Them LOVE YOU!

Love picBe on time, have a great ice breaker, ask a lot of questions, do a killer presentation, close, pre-close, close again, always be closing, tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them, and the list goes on and on and on regarding all the things that we have to concentrate on to make just one sale.  While yes, all these things are vital to the sale, and they all need to happen, often times we seem to forget the key ingredient.  None of this matters at all unless they LOVE YOU!

Make them LOVE YOU!  People (well most people) are not robots, and they do not buy without emotion.  As prospects and as customers, we all have emotions.  We laugh, we cry, we get happy, we get angry, and yes even us men “feel”.  Most sales are driven by emotion.  People do not want to do business with people who they like.  People want to do business with people they LOVE!  So again, make them LOVE YOU!  FacesOK, I must confess…I watch American Idol.  For that, I must steal a line from Larry the Cable Guy, and say “Please forgive me Lord”!  Anyway, sometimes the judges on Idol will tell the contestants that they are thinking too much, and although the song they sang was technically flawless, they need to concentrate on connecting with the audience.  That is what I am saying here.  Connect with your audience.  Just like the singer, we must be technically sound as well and deliver a technically tremendous presentation, however, we cannot be so focused on the technical aspect of things that we lose focus of the connectivity that we must have with our prospects.

Make them LOVE YOU!  All of you have it within you, just make sure your prospect is seeing it too!

-The Sales Leader

For a complimentary 60 minute coaching session, please visit http://www.VelpelAssociates.com or call 224.484.3333.

The Harsh Reality Is…

The Harsh Reality Is… As salesreality check people, each and every time we lose a sale, it is always our fault!  No, you do not need to have your eyes checked, and yes, you are reading this right.  It is always our fault, and we should never blame our prospects or our customers for lost sales.  I know that this is something that none of us want to hear, and that most of us don’t want to believe, but we must believe it for a couple of different reasons.

First of all, we need to believe this philosophy because it is true.  The majority of the time that we lose sales is due to something we did.  Maybe we were not a chameleon on the sales call and the prospect did not like us.  Maybe we wore an outfit that the prospect was not fond of.  Maybe we did not ask the right questions.  Maybe we missed a key element in our presentation.  Maybe we did not close hard enough.  Maybe we closed too hard.  Maybe we had a piece of broccoli stuck on our teeth from lunch.  Actually, who am I kidding, we are sales people, it was more likely the Big Mac smell left in our mouth that was offensive rather than a piece of broccoli sticking out of our teeth!  LOL.  The point is, there could be any number of reasons why we lost the sale, and that we could have controlled had we done something differently.  We are not perfect, and we make mistakes.  But in order for us to improve as sales people, we must learn from the mistakes.  If we can analyze each sales call and we can find something that we can control that could have possibly changed the outcome, then we have something to learn from and work on.  Then maybe, just maybe we won’t lose another one for the same reasonControl11.

The other reason that we need to believe that lost sales are always our fault is because we need to be in control, rather than giving control to our prospects.  If we can say that it was our fault that we lost the sale, the outcome of the sale ultimately remains within our control.  If we blame the prospect for the sale being lost, we are putting the control in the prospects’ hands, and that is something that we should never do.  If we place the blame on ourselves, we will always feel as if we are in control of each and every sales call and we will feel empowered as we know that we can always control the outcome!

-The Sales Leader

Please feel free to visit http://VelpelAssociates.com or call 224-484-3333 for a complimentary 30 minute sales or leadership analysis today!

Just Ask

I hajust ask1ve a question for all of you that I get asked often times myself by many sales professionals.  What is the best way to sell a prospect?  Many people have many different suggestions on what they think is the best way to accomplish this difficult task.  The good news is that there is someone who can answer this question for you.  The bad news is that I cannot answer this question for you, nor can most people in the world.  There is only one person out there who can answer this question for you, and that is your prospect.  All you need to do is just ask them.  They will tell you.

I don’t mean to sound harsh, but if you can remember these 4 words and implement them on each and every sales call, your success rate will skyrocket.  The 4 words are: SHUT UP AND LISTEN!  As sales professionals, we should be asking a ton of questions and listening intently to the responses.  If we ask the right questions, we will get all of the answers, and all of the ammunition we need to sell our prospects.  When in selling situations, we often times get too caught up in presenting and closing, and we don’t spend enough time asking questions and listening.  Our prospects are dying to tell us how to sell them.  But we are too busy talking to give them the opportunity.  Prospects want to buy, and they want to tell us how they need to be sold.  All we need to do is listen to what they are telling us.  In many cases, it really is this simple.  The next time you are with a prospect and you are racking your brain trying to figure out how to sell them, stop trying to figure it out, and just ask!

-The Sales Leader

For a Sales Analysis, please contact VelpelAssociates.com or 224.484.3333.


Starting Your Day

How do yoAlarm clocku start your work day?  If you are like most people, the start of your work day goes something like this.  Your alarm goes off, and you immediately hit snooze.  After a couple of times repeating this process, you roll out of bed, and get yourself ready for the day.  During this process, you may get a workout in, you probably get showered and cleaned up and you may get a chance to eat something for breakfast.  You then hop in your car or on a train and commute to work.  You then get to work, and you dive in head first starting your day.  Sound familiar?

What if I told you that there was a major flaw with this type of morning ritual?  What if I told you that a minor change in your daily routine could drastically change your mindset on how you attack your work day, which could lead to much greater productivity?  The answer is so simple, but yet so few people do it.  Start each and very day by spending 15 minutes either reading a book or watching a video on one of the following:  Motivation, Communication, Relationship Building, Inspiration or Leadership.  Everything we do is centered around these things, and our success in life both personally and professionally is reliant on communication, relationship building and our ability to positively be influenced as well as positively influence others.  These are core competencies that we all need to be successful in business, and it does not come easy without practice, and without warming up.RelationshipsImplementing this type of behavior into our morning ritual gets our minds warmed up and ready for the day.  When we exercise or work out, we warm up first.  Before singers go on stage, they warm up first.  When athletes get ready to play a game, they warm up first.  We warm up to get our bodies ready for the task, and if we are not warmed up, we are not able to perform at our most optimal level.  Why do we not do this in business?  It is crazy!  We should all be getting our minds prepped and ready to go.  To influence others in a positive manner, we need to be positive ourselves, and guess what, I have news for you.  Rushing to get ready in the morning, eating breakfast on the run, and developing road rage sitting in traffic does not put us in the proper frame of mind to conduct good, solid business.  We desperately need that 15 minutes of warm-up to get ourselves in a positive frame of mind so that we may productively attack the day.  Take a leap of faith, start injecting yourself with 15 minutes of motivational/relationship building materials each day and see what a difference it makes in your life!

-The Sales Leader

Please feel free to visit http://VelpelAssociates.com or call 224-484-3333 for a complimentary 30 minute sales or leadership analysis today!

Creating Value

Increate value sales, it is very easy to determine when we win and when we lose.  When we make the sale, we win, when we don’t make the sale, we lose.  In selling situations when sales are lost, it is most commonly due to price.  It can either be that we feel our price is too high, or the customer feels the price is to high because we have not created enough value in what we are selling.  The easy way out, and the lazy approach is to simply blame our pricing and lower it.  It is much easier to lower price than it is to build value in what we do and what we sell.  However, lowering price is ultimately not the best decision for anyone.

When prices are lowered, it usually means that the sales person is losing money due to lowered commissions.  When sales people start losing income, they can become very negative and they can begin to lose their passion.  When this happens, sales people either leave the company voluntarily, or they are asked to leave to due poor performance.  This causes a very high turnover rate within an organization, and the company starts losing money.  The next thing you know, the company starts taking short cuts and cutting corners to make up for excessive turnover costs and lost revenues, and now quality control is shot.  Many think that lowering price is good for clients due to the fact that clients will be spending less money and they will be saving money, and saving money is always a good thing, right?  Wrong!  Saving money may sound great to clients in the short term.  However, lowering prices is never the best answer for the long haul…for anyone!

As Executives, Management Teams, and Sales Professionals, we need to be building value in what we do and what we sell.  Building value is being magnetic, being passionate about what we are doing, as Stephen Covey said “seeking to understand and then to be understood”, digging deep to find out what really motivates and inspires people by finding their “real wants and their real needs”, leading people to make good sound decisions, truly educating people in a consultative way, and making people feel that what you have sell is worth more to them than the money they have in their hands.   Where we often times get confused is when we think that clients want “the best price”.  The vast majority of clients do not necessarily want “the best price”, they want “the best value”!  Clients don’t want “cheap”, they want “quality and value”.  It is our job as sales people to not only build the value in what we do and what we sell, but also to inspire and lead others to appreciate that value.  price benefitIn sales, we have to believe there is tremendous value in what we are selling.  If you don’t greatly value what you are selling, no one else will.  However, if you do value what you are selling, don’t de-value yourself, your company, or your product by lowering prices.  Use your passion, your enthusiasm and your influence to get others to see that value just as you do.

-The Sales Leader

Who is the Greatest Quarterback?

Who isQBs 1 the Greatest Quarterback to play the game?  Many of us love a good debate, and with Peyton Manning playing in the Super Bowl this past week, it has sparked the debate of who is the greatest Quarterback to have ever played the game.  Now for this argument, I will only talk about those Quarterbacks who played during my time.  I have never seen some of the great ones like Johnny Unitas and Y.A. Tittle play, so I apologize for leaving these guys out of the discussion.  My time goes back to the Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach days, so I will only be talking about Quarterbacks who have played since the late 70s, early 80s.

To start with, I think we to define what makes a truly great Quarterback.  To me, it is a combination of being a great passer and a great leader.  Some would argue these days that you need to be a great runner as well, but to me there have been many great ones who were not great runners, so I leave that off my list of what assets a great Quarterback must possess.  The reason that I say you must be a great passer is because as a Quarterback, that is your primary responsibility, so I think everyone would understand and agree with the fact that to be a great Quarterback, you must be a great passer.  The reason that I say you must be a great leader is because on just about every team, the Quarterback is a team captain, he runs and leads the offense, often times he calls the plays and most of the team looks to the Quarterback to be a leader.  So, based on this, to be a truly great Quarterback, you must be a great leader as well.

Now, what defines a leader?  A leader’s job is to lead by example, inspire and motivate and to get the absolute most out of what he/she has to work with.  This is why I argue that Peyton Manning is not the best Quarterback ever.  I think Peyton is a great passer, is a very intelligent person, and although I have never met him, from what I hear he is a great guy.  But if you look at “leadership”, he has not done what other Quarterbacks have been able to do.  When with the Indianapolis Colts, Peyton arguably had the best leader 1Center in the game in Jeff Saturday, he had arguably the best RB in the game in Edgerrin James, arguably the best WR in the game in Marvin Harrison, arguably the best receiving groups in the game with Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Dallas Clark, and arguably Peyton was the best QB in the game.  Nearly 40% of their offense was made up with arguably the best players in the game at their positions.  My argument is that with that team, and him as the leader and one of the captains, did he get the most he could out of what he had to work with?  NO, he did not.  This team only won 1 Super Bowl.  Joe Montana had a great deal to work with during his days, and he won 4 Super Bowls.  He got the most out of his teams.  Tom Brady has often times had much less to work with than Manning and he has won 3.  Peyton’s brother Eli has had much less to work with than Peyton has as well, and Eli has won 1 more Super Bowl than Peyton.  As leaders, all of these other Quarterbacks have risen to the occasion and have gotten more out of themselves and what they had to work with than Peyton has.

Now, with the Denver Broncos, Peyton ran the highest scoring offense of all time.  This team has one of the best receiving groups that has ever been put together, a tremendous offensive line, a great running game, and a good, solid defense, and they lose 43-8 in the Super Bowl.  This was one of the worst defeats in Super Bowl history.  I know you cannot put the losses solely on Peyton, you win as a team, and you lose as a team.  However, again, I contend that it is the Quarterback’s or “Leader’s” job to get the most they can out of what they have to work with, and that is why guys like Peyton Manning, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly cannot be in the same discussion with guys like Joe Montana and Tom Brady.  MontBradTo me, when you take everything into consideration, Montana is the best ever, and Brady is a close number 2.  As pure passers, they probably don’t have the passing talents of Peyton Manning, Dan Marino or even Warren Moon.  However, when you couple their passing talents together with their leadership skills, that is what makes them the greatest Quarterbacks of all time.  Remember, they are called Quarterbacks, not Passers!

-The Sales Leader