Tag Archives: fighting

Attacking the hill.

Last year as I trained for a UFC fight I spent time in the gym pretty much every day running on the treadmill, pushing some weights, and hitting the heavy bags (The speed bag is still a challenge…).  After I got out of the ICU from the staff infection that I caught, all the time in the gym was wasted.  I had lost about 15 pounds in 4 days and for several months after I left the hospital I was weak and exhausted (from what I still don’t know).

This year I have been back to my roots — running.  I will think about getting back into fighting shape later.  Right now I am working on the cardio aspects of my training.

To keep myself h0nest, I have been using RunKeeper on my iPhone 3GS (which uses the internal GPS) to manage my entire running process.  It then posts it to the web where I can measure calories burned and times and even track the direct link between a specific climb and the speed of attack.  It does not however add in the temperature….


Unfortunately, Greenville is a hilly place.  A really hilly place.


Most of sales is attacking a hill — a challenge, a target, a opportunity, a commission quota…  There is no level playing ground and if you should be worried if it feels like you can do your job while coasting (that means a “cheaper” someone else can probably do the same thing).

Getting in fighting sales shape is about training on the hills.  You practice on a slope and challenge yourself to run the course faster and more efficiently each time.

You become a master of winning where other people get “winded”…

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It’s your fight. Come to play.

It you have been in sales long then you can appreciate when I make the observation that SALES is a fight.  It require discipline, dedication, and dogged training.  To be the best (or even get better) you have to “put in the time” in the sales gym.  You can’t get better by being a “January Gym Going”…

It doesn’t work.  You will never be the dude giving the knockout punch.  You’ll find yourself gasping for breath, knocked around, and feeling like you just got sucker punched.  And the reality is just that.  You got taken (and lost the deal)…

Like a good fight, the winner knows what he is going to do before the chime of the bell.  He has a plan and he executes with a zeal of a man who is about to get his head split open if he doesn’t win.  It’s that intense.

So what do you do?

You “put in the time”!  (like a lot of life, there is no shortcut….)

You study your craft, study the big players, study some great sources (like Seth and Sandler and Shamus and SalesClub)…  and you decide that whatever happens (no matter how badly you get hurt) you will show up for training the next day…  Because that’s what winners do.

And this is your fight.  And you have come to play……

Taking a Gut Punch

gutpunchUnderstanding “why” is a frustrating part of life and more specifically your sales negotiations. You can work your ass off, do a lot of things right, and still not get a deal done.

It’s a punch in the gut!

I have had deal-makers get transferred, get sick, get laid off, get fired, get demoted, get married, get retired, get bored and a million other bad and “unplanned” things that kill a deal.

It’s always tough to handle — especially since it almost always unforeseen.

The danger is that you lose motivation trying to dissect something that is too random to really be valuable.  There is nothing there.  Life sucks!  Move on!

Don’t stop to assess, plan, re-strategize, over-think or anything else labeled “the logical” next step.  The truth is that you are punch-drunk — like Rocky in the 11th round.  You can’t trust your logic or your emotions.  What you do next has to be something that is practiced and un-emotional:

  1. Keep your head up — You can’t “suck wind” and get energized with your chin tucked in…
  2. Keep your hands up — You still need to “protect your chin” with your other prospects…
  3. Keep your legs up — You need to push farther and faster now that that you are “behind”…
  4. Keep your eyes up — You need to believe in your vision now more than ever…

You can take a gut punch and hit the mat or keep moving…

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Focus on priorities

What would you be doing if today were the last day for you to be alive?

Would you work harder, take the day off, or just spend the day with regrets?

For the vast majority of us, there will be more days than today, but there won’t be a way to get back the time you spent today NOT focusing on your priorities.

Focus on your priorities for today like tomorrow might never come.  It’s amazing what you can accomplish with the proper perspective…

P.S  Don’t worry about getting it wrong as long as you are willing to keep trying…

Wrong, stupid, and half as bright as you

DanThat’s me by the way (the topic and scary pic)…

Some of my recent blog posts seem to have touched a raw nerve in the business world.  Besides the stupid comments I deleted from this blog about how stupid I am and ego-maniacal (I might actually be that one), I got a whole series of personal attacks (i.e. threats) that made me pause for a moment and reconsider…

And then I thought: WHO CARES!!!!

Can I share a little secret with you?  A huge part of long-term high-performance is understanding who you are….

Seriously.  Let me share my own personal story with you:

Concepts like discipline, hard work, goal mastery, and passion were drilled into me from an early age.  I was raised by Christian parents who were very moral people (still are) who set the bar very high for performance and personal endeavor.  I was trained in the musical arts (piano and trombone) and in public speaking.  I started my first business before I was a teenager.  I had no access to television for 18 years of my life.  In fact our house was not even wired for cable — my dad told the builder to skip it altogether.  During the summers, I had to read books for at least 2 hours per day and during school “season” I was fined if my bed was not made, shoes lined up in the closet, or (God forbid) I left the window open.  Silly or not, I was trained to be efficient and effective.

I also picked up some bad habits.  I worked so hard to be “perfect” that I spent a lot of “Dan PR” time trying to make sure everyone around me was happy with me.  Was I wearing the right thing to go the right place to see and do the right things……..  It became an internal guessing games of “am I doing everything right”.  That trickled over into my college choices, my business habits, and my selling style.  I was out to prove everything to anyone within earshot, eyeshot, or “texting range”.

And then I hit a few rough patches…  And all the critics that I was working so hard to please were no where around to help me.  They were happy to throw their mental “sucker punch” and run.  Everyone I was trying so hard to please was pleased that I was failing.  I was pushed myself to “be better” and they were providing enough criticism to feed my addiction.

It took a great coach, a great wife, therapy, and lot of experience for me to come to grips with me being me.  And guess what?  I am more successful than ever — in every sense, style, and shape of the word…  Lesson learned!

When you try to be who you are not, you waste enormous energy being someone that who is not effective.  I may be wrong.  I may be stupid.  I probably am half as bright as you are.  But I am cool with that.  Being me is pretty surreal…

But I also have a secret that you should know: Long after you give up, sit down, and throw in the towel, I will be achieving excellence because the “me” that was trained to be effective and efficient  is a warrior — and warriors conquer.

Do not apologize for greatness, achieve it.

P.S.  I had the best parents a child could ever ask for.  Thanks Mom and Dad for being rockstars!

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Create A Legacy of Trying

This could also be subtitled something like: NOT “Putting out” Only Works When You are Looking for a Girlfriend (and then sometimes “not-so-much”)… or  The “E” for Effort stands for “Everytime”

And so I give you some musings on “trying” and (2) videos you need to watch…

If you run a search on The DEW View for the idea of effort, you get like 50 or 60 posts on everything from investigating the best of open source technology to how to run a presentation so that people stay awake to how to get back up when you get your ass kicked (all good topics, I hear…).  The reason I am writing another post on the idea of trying is that a lot of entrepreneurs I speak with get the idea of trying all wrong.  They think “trying” is something to do after planning or building or everything else…  TRYING is what you DO while you DO all those OTHER things!

Try Harder Smarter like AVIS

Start-ups have one really differentiating quality — the art of trying harder.  Sure market timing, customer sensitivity, price incentives, management insight, cash flow, and a thousand other micro-factors impact your chance of success.  Sometimes, these factors have a HUGE impact on your success.  But the great equalizer is the effort the entrepreneur (YOU) puts into their own success.

Trying harder, better yet, “trying harder smarter” is the ONLY guarantee that you have.

You can’t change the economic outlook to get better financial terms.  You can’t change international geo-political trade regulations to grow new markets.  You can’t force people to care about you are doing…


If you haven’t read The Dip by Seth Godin, you need to go buy it from Amazon.com for the entire $5 that it costs.

Seth Godin Talks about Losers!

I read this some time back and recently did a re-read of all 96 pages.  It’s a 45 minutes pithy read on WHEN you need to quit.  Seth did a brilliant job of talking about this concept called the DIP, where most entreprenuers give up (or “stop trying” in DEW-speak).

I like that Seth puts some science behind the experience that I have been through several times in my life.   I certainly have been in the DIP several times in my career and it’s BRUTAL…. until you power out the bottom of the curve and get  superstar results.  Life is miserable at the bottom until you “figure out if you have enough guts to keep pushing”.

When critics complained to Abraham Lincoln that his leading general was a drunk, Lincoln made the witty response:

“Tell me what brand of whiskey Grant drinks.  I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”

That summed up Lincoln’s analysis of what he wanted from his leadership — not DRUNKENNESS but FIGHT!  (By the way, the story of Grant as a warrior is inspiring by itself.  He had no friends and no real experience like General Robert E. Lee and yet his courage to FIGHT on was a deciding factor in his success.  He didn’t quit…)

Have you ever noticed that quitting is something that we perfect as we get older?

We try to say sophisticated things like “market research indicates that current demand ratios point to slower growth patterns” or “I need to think about this some more.  I don’t want to make the wrong decision”.  What we really need to say is  something along the lines of  “I am really scared right now.  I think I have a great idea and I passionate about it, but I could lose everything if I’m wrong.”  Now we’ll getting somewhere.  Now we have the personal integrity that is foundation for deep-rooted, passionate enterprise.

It’s hard work.  No one said being successful would be easy.  But you CAN do it.  You CAN be the WINNER you want to be.  If you are in a DIP right now, here are a few things you can do to stay sane and motivated:

  1. Recognize that you are in a DIP.  There is no use denying the obvious…
  2. Refocus your attention on the basics (customers and cash flow)…
  3. Rationalize what “seems” or “seemed” to be working into a process that you can examine at a later date…
  4. Repeat to yourself and anyone who will listen your core values driving what you are doing…

There is no silver bullet that makes your pain go away or your fear of failure disappear.  You are your own best medicine.

Let me leave you with this quote from a reader and commenter of The DEW View, Lydia Sugarman: “I do it because I can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn’t…”  If you really understand that quote then you are on your way to creating your own legacy of trying!

Keep Trying!

Try today!

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Joe Learns, Joe Kicks Ass…

Joe Learns to Kick Ass!
Joe Learns to Kick Ass!

If you happen to need a good real estate agent or more importantly, really want (or need) to sell your home, then Joe is my recommendation to you.  He handles my personal business because someone “kicking ass” for me is what I need.

Who is Joe? And why does he matter?  He’s a modern success story that you need to hear about…… and my friend.

Joe Blackton, (who you can find on twitter as @JoeBlackton) just sent me a letter a few days by email that I wanted to share with you.  Joe is a real estate agent that I recruited to work at ACCESS when I was CEO there.  I was constantly looking for junior sales talent that could be transformed into All-Stars (still am looking for more), and Joe certainly has become an All-Star — after leaving ACCESS!

I was first introduced to Joe by a long time friend that I went to High School with.  My friend told me that there was this guy “Joe” who was working really hard and was a great sales guy – so I picked up the phone and called him.  Two weeks later, Joe started working with me learning the ropes on a completely new vertical — the legal industry.  Instead of tackling homeowners, Joe was talking with attorneys and often working with my own personal list of more than 3,000 clients — most of which were in the Washington, DC area.  He did a super job, especially when you consider all the obstacles that he faced:

  1. The company was in the process of being sold and the chief sales-dude, ME, was not so available for training like I used to be…
  2. The process of “shopping the company” had created uncertainty within the firm, making it difficult for newcomers to adjust…
  3. Joe was completely new and trying to work with brand-new lingo, law firms, and internal technology teams was brutal…

In spite of this, Joe demonstrated class and talent and was well on his way to becoming a leading sales executive with us.  I was quietly impressed.

Here’s the kicker: On the first day that the buyers of our company took over officially, JOE WAS FIRED!  No warning!  No Discussion! No 90-day Goal Period!  Nothing!  Just a pink slip.

And you would think that Joe was crushed — many people would be!  He wasn’t.  Pissed off sure, but when he called to tell me that he had been fired (I didn’t know at the time) and that he had to think about things, he mentioned that he would probably be going back to his real estate roots.  And that’s where the story really starts.

Read his letter first to me and then I’ll tell you the rest of the story:


I know you’re a busy man so I will keep this short and sweet.  I just wanted to take a brief moment of your time to thank you.  You thoroughly changed my entire view point and perspective in this ever changing sales industry.  You taught me that technology is the key factor in not only generating leads but turning the majority of those leads into clients with a “WOW Factor”.

Witty remarks and a down to earth demeanor placed you a step above the rest in my book immediately in addition to your reputation of success.  My respect level was immediate as I found that you were a twenty nine year old CEO of a multimillion dollar industry in Washington DC and after working with you I could not have been more impressed.  With the extreme multi-tasking and technology proficiency you possessed it was as if these were common prerequisites that EVERYBODY had perfected.    I have always been an avid believer that if I see somebody attain a goal that seems nearly impossible with such ease; then there is NO reason why I cannot achieve these same accomplishments in my field or practice.

You have been a true mentor to me in the past year and I felt a thank you letter was in order.  I enjoy our brain storming and networking strategy session phone calls.  Whatever my increase in sales are this year, a better part of it will be contributed to the man that positioned me a step above the rest.

It has been a pleasure, Sir,

Joe Blackton
Avery Hess Realtors
Direct: 571-437-7285
Office: 702-802-8200

Getting a letter like this is emotionally rewarding and an ego boost — but it’s really a HUGE credo to JOE!

What did Joe do?

The first clue is to take a look at Joe’s website (www.JoeBlacktonSellsHomes.com).  It’s his first one and get’s him between 55-100 emails and phone calls a day – every day.  It’s a simple website!  Nothing crazy.  In fact, you might even criticize the soft tones (Joe is a tough “fitness nut”) and all the information that he provides directly without you having to call him.  According to the leading sales and negotiation books, you aren’t supposed to provide that  service without getting something in return.  It’s supposed to NOT work!

But something seems to be working, because in a “down turn” economy Joe is busy all hours of the day!  We actually played “phone tag” for a few days until I actually reached him last week around 8PM on my drive home from the office.  Joe is doing the impossible — selling homes in Northern Virginia while  everyone else seems to be having a problem doing that.

So what is Joe doing? AHHHHH!  Now that this is $64,000 question.

Better yet, what is Joe doing that you should be doing?

  • Joe is using technology to find, track, and manage his clients.  Joe uses some pretty sophisticated technology to match up his sellers with buyers out there and provide value to both.  That enables him to sell homes faster and with both sides feeling great about the process.  It’s fun to hear about…
  • Joe is following EVERY lead and clue until it falls apart completely.  Instead of hiding in the corner, Joe is offering advice (like his website) to people who aren’t even selling their homes right now.  He is working with entrepreneurs who want to get into the “buy and sell game” and talking to banks who want to unload foreclosures.  He is everywhere twice as fast as the competition…
  • Joe is passionate about his own success.  Joe went from angry and pissed off to completely focused back into his old business of selling homes and he is doing 10x better than he was in the upswing economy days!  WHAT?  Joe is purely passionate about selling homes for his clients and providing value that no one else is taking the time for.
  • Joe is learning.  I like that sentence in the letter where he says: “I have always been an avid believer that if I see somebody attain a goal that seems nearly impossible with such ease; then there is NO reason why I cannot achieve these same accomplishments in my field or practice.” Learning from the bad things that happen to us is more powerful that learning from our successes.  Joe learned a little from me.  But more importantly, Joe IS LEARNING from himself and life.

You can be a “Joe” too. Follow the same steps that he did and you’ll be “kicking ass” too…


KUDOS to you, Joe, when you happen to read this blog post!  Thanks for the letter.  I am excited to see you put into place the things that we talked about.  I am sure that you will be a high performer this year for Avery Hess and you deserve the awards that are coming to you.  Keep “Kicking Ass”…. and keep learning!