Success Blog

Your key to crafting a rewarding career or business

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In my book, “Are You for Real?!” I refer to the business of sales as a roller coaster ride. Really, isn’t that life in general? For some people it’s a thrill, for others it can be exhausting and a real drain on your confidence and your ability to rise again and again.

So what’s my advice?

No surprise: Be real.

In other words, you need to maintain a level of honesty with yourself and your situation, no matter which part of...

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We’ve all heard “nobody’s perfect,” and we all pretty much know that includes ourselves.

So, I am constantly challenged to understand why people feel that any situation will ever be perfect before they will make a move. Instead, they stay put, waiting for the date to be right, the money to be right, the place, the position, and on and on.

And guess what? It’s never perfect.

And so they don’t progress.

Ah - there’s a...

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By far, the most common thing I see with clients who struggle, whether it’s goal setting, time management, or personal development, is procrastination. It’s at the root of all of it.

Procrastinators are common, and I’m sure you can point to something in your life that you either

• View as difficult

• View as unpleasant

• Fear will end in failure

• Fear will be...

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I’ve said it in one form or another in writing various blogs, but one of the top frustrations I see with clients is that they consume themselves with results, particularly in sales, and it’s because they’ve forgotten the cardinal rule:

It’s not about you.

In fact, it’s never about you, whether you’re looking to be a hot shot sales person, teach students, fix cars, or lead a congregation.

Here’s a Top 8 list of previous...

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I know I have mentioned many times how I first meet with clients, eager to get started, ready to learn how to succeed (translation: make more money), and then…they stop.


Generally, they come in with an expectation that there is a magic answer, a formula that I can reveal, to get them to the next level and beyond. In fact, it has little to do with me; THEY are the ones who hold...

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We hold the keys to unlocking the doors to our own success; so why do we stay in prison?

I was recently invited to speak at the annual ITCon Cybersecurity Conference, with the topic of "It's Never Too Late," which I loved. While much of the subject matter had to do with protecting your information and your business from hackers, I quickly realized how we are often our own hackers, sabotaging our success.

So, for a change, I'll...

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I work a lot with people who have difficulty with the biggest word in the English language: No.

It forms the basis of their troubles, from being told no by their customers, coworkers or bosses. It limits their abilities, they tell me, to succeed, to make their own decisions, and to grow.

However, I am fluent in the language of No, and I overcame it. So needless to say, while I understand what they’re feeling, I don’t buy the...

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I’ve been working on my own — and now others’— interpersonal skills for decades, but I’m realizing I need to update my terminology.

Listening, empathy, teamwork, humility — extremely important along with your degree and “hard” experience and skills — are termed as...

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It’s been almost 10 years since i started coaching and it really all began with a mirror.

Over 33 years ago, I was in my first mentoring class, and the facilitator passed a mirror around and asked me what i saw. I told him the easy answer: nose, mouth, ears, etc., etc. He wouldn’t accept it. “The real question,” he said, “is ‘What do you see inside yourself with the mirror?’”

At that time, I wasn’t ready for that kind of...

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Yesterday I met with a sales prospect who sells over $50 million dollars a year of a specific product. It goes without saying that he is extremely wealthy.

However, after our meeting was over I concluded that he was the poorest man in the world... The only thing he has is money.

If you understand anything about what I teach in “Are You For Real?!” you know that I came to value being authentic and real in order to achieve the...

Non Verbal Communication

I have a few rules when I meet with a client or a prospect, and chief among them is that they make the same investment in paying attention to me as I am with paying attention to them. Some people are OK with simply asking to silence their cell phones. Me, I don’t even want the distraction of hearing it vibrate. So I ask people to literally turn. it. off.

As part of how I coach, I believe in honesty between myself and the person I’m...

Why I recommend a CRM

Your best bet for staying on top of your sales contacts is through a CRM - what do they do, and which one is right for you?

If you know me at all, I’m very cautious when it comes to using technology - it can be useful, but it also can distract from connecting authentically with your customer, or anyone you’re looking to build and maintain a relationship with.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is really...

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I meet a lot of people with drive — no one actually hopes to end up broke, unhappy and unemployed — but sometimes that drive comes without any steering, so there’s a lot of energy and talk, but no results.

Often, the issue is that people know what they want — and you all sure want a lot — but fail to take care of what they need. I hope everyone knows the difference, but if not...

A want is something you would like to...

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Why it Starts With the Question, “Are You For Real?!”

As you know by now my book title is "Are You For Real?!” I get questions from people asking, how did I come up with this title?

Generally after speaking to a group, I end up accepting audience members who become clients on a one to one basis. When I go through the intake process, I ask questions, and one of them has to do with being AUTHENTIC. It boils down to this question,...

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Last week I met with a client that does really well financially. However, he expressed some frustration in his ability to do more with his time and ability. As we talked, I grew to understand that his issue is that he is unorganized. Not so much with how he structures his day, but who. In other words, in sorting through his responsibilities, I realized that he didn’t necessarily need to handle a number of tasks on his own.

I asked...

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Lately I have been inundated with clients who are afraid to become uncomfortable. I keep explaining that in order to grow, un-comfortability is part of growth.

Not everyone likes that answer because no one likes to feel uncomfortable, sticking their neck out, or feeling they’re at risk. I get that — our nature is always to seek the comfort zone, but unfortunately while nothing bad usually happens when we stay there, nothing good...

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I work with clients who — to a person — all feel they are hardworking. Of course, the reason many of them seek my help is to make that effort seem fruitful. Nothing is more discouraging than feeling like you are putting in the time and effort in your career only to see little success in the outcome.

My strategy is generally to examine their motivation, help them find their “Why?” and help them to focus their efforts toward a goal...

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We all know about IQ, but how does Emotional Intelligence Help Your Success?

Of course, you’ve heard the term IQ - basically a measure of your overall intelligence. But lately, my industry (business coaches, leaders of employees and HR professionals) is placing a higher weight on EQ — emotional intelligence — which isn’t quite so apparent.

It’s no secret that I embrace the use of personality assessments; in fact, before I really...

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I’ve long been a critic of what smartphones and social media have done to derail authentic communication. I haven’t changed my mind, but I do want to offer a few thoughts on how these tools can be used, and used to build your business, smartly.

Of course, everyone has a smartphone, but the idea during the business day is to use it as a tool to make your business grow, and at the very least, help you prevent losing business. So what do I...

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If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’m a firm believer in using personality assessments to help you achieve success. In particular, there’s a lot to be learned from a person’s motivators — the WHY of what they do — in order to create a plan for success.

So we’re now getting into the middle of January and it’s possible, even...

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Recently, a company that I’ve come to trust for their in-depth training for coaches through the use of assessments ran a blog that I also really liked.


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As we wind down the year, we’ve talked about looking ahead to the new year with the right organization, process and planning in the last blog. Your focus and mindset will be a big part of your success.

However, tools are always what makes everything easier, and goal setting and success planning is no different. Here is a list of tools that should help...

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If you’re like most people, December is probably one of your busiest months. So it might feel like the worst time to take a step back and do some focused thinking of how your business has been.

But there is no better time and no more important task than this, if you wish to be and remain successful. I’ve offered tips on...


Remembering to say thank you was probably the first lesson you were taught by your parents. It’s polite, and makes the person who receives that thanks feel appreciated. Makes sense.

What we probably didn’t realize was that being thankful was just the tip of a much larger iceberg called gratitude. They aren’t quite the same...gratitude is truly an attitude that people must first CHOOSE, then work consciously to PRACTICE it. Being...

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I’m often amazed how complicated people can make success, when really it comes down to basic, common sense practices that, with focus and determination, can get you there. It’s simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

We like to look at multi-millionaires and think they have a secret. However, I came across a blog from TTI Success Insights, where earlier this year I enjoyed an intensive three-day seminar on assessments, which is a tool...

Coach David Stern Interstate Expo 2018

I enjoy working one on one with clients, but I also enjoy every opportunity to speak to groups, especially where I’m one of many speakers. It’s interesting to hear from other professionals and their perspectives on personal development. As much as I teach, I learn, and that is always a positive process.

So, I’m hoping that you will also take the opportunity to learn from other professionals and join me at one of the following events in...

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I’ve said it many times with clients, at speaking engagements, and in my blogs, but the key to really connecting with a sales prospect or building on current relationships is to always remember: It’s NOT about YOU. Ever.

The simplest way to reinforce that behavior is to come equipped to any meeting at any stage in the selling process (or with any business relationship you are looking to improve) with lots of questions. By their very...

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We’ve all heard the saying “self-made man.” While I’m sure it describes someone who beat the odds and didn’t master a skill by going to a traditional four-year college with lots of money, it doesn’t mean he (or she) got there alone.

In fact, I would challenge you to look into anyone you admire for their success and find that at no point did they lean on a mentor or coach. So how did having a coach make the difference? In the book,...

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In “Are You For Real,” I explain how I quickly learned that I wanted more than a JOB, which is the acronym for “Just Over Broke.” Yet so many people I know and coach seemed to be mired in a job, much of it due to their own making and their own mindset.

I will tell you that NO one can motivate you to change...that has to come from WITHIN. Coaches, mentors and bosses can only help you help yourself by understanding what motivates you. The...

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So, you get the value of taking assessments to gauge your personality, but as you get into the results and analysis, you soon get lost in the terminology thrown at you. You’re not alone...even those of us who use these tools to help business clients improve their outcomes in their careers have to ask for more clarity on what’s being measured, and what it means.

I quickly realized that if I was struggling to understand the terms, so...

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I just returned from a three-day seminar at TTI Success Insights in Arizona. The company is focused on developing assessments for professional and personal development. These are the tools that are invaluable to me as a coach. Basically, it helps me help clients to solve their problems.

Let me state clearly that I’m not a counselor. I’m a business coach. But what I learned in this session was just how much I didn’t know, and that’s not...

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I recently was asked to give a few words of encouragement at a gathering, and I had the choice of whatever topic I thought would be most helpful. I chose to speak about communication to the young man we were there to honor, as well as the adults of varying ages in the room.

It struck me as I was speaking that my advice was no different than what I tell the people who entrust their business and personal development to me.


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When two audiences need your attention, it’s time to retool to help both out.

If you know anything about my story, it is rooted in sales. From the time I was a young kid, I loved the challenge of making money on my own by selling. I made a successful 40-year (and counting) career out of it.

Along the way, however, I realized that it wasn’t just about sales skills. It was about how I could present myself as the commodity. To do...

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Why no dog is ever too old to learn a new trick.

I am an older gentleman...that’s pretty obvious when you look at me. The 40 and more years I’ve spent in business and sales are pretty evident, I guess, but what makes me still viable in business is not my outward looks. It’s the knowledge I have, and have gained through continuous learning. That’s not boastful, but it does explain how anyone who wants to...

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Developing strength inside and out for business success

Over the last few weeks I must of worked with at least 10-15 sales clients representing different companies in different fields.

Let me say, I have a very high esteem for those who have chosen the field of selling. It’s a field where you can earn huge amounts of monies if you are prepared for it. More importantly, it’s a field where you can...

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When you hear the word “diplomacy,” you likely think politics. However, in every day and in every relationship you have personally and professionally, you need to use it.

Negotiating a deal. Talking to a coworker about a performance issue. Discussing holiday plans with your family. All of these require careful handling of sensitive issues by using tact and understanding all of the dynamics that can affect the outcome.

Lately, we...

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Do you have all the pieces to finish your puzzle?

The other day I had a client who asked me a very serious question:

“Why is it so important to work on personal development? What does it have to do with business?”

It’s a question that I think everyone struggles with, and often overlooks when they’re trying to strategize their success. It’s also the main focus of my coaching because it’s the ONE thing and the...

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There’s one thing I want to make clear from the start: I do not make my client’s decisions for them. I’ve got plenty of my own to make and it’s their responsibility to make their own.

That said, I do act as a guide in the decision-making process WITH my clients, acting as a sounding board at times, and others offering steps to go through to determine what their answer or outcome should be. Salespeople decide whether...

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Recently, I had a meeting with 15 sales reps. The issue we discussed was around Honesty and Personal Growth. Of course people realize the value in being honest with your customers, but we dug deeper into the value of first being honest with yourself. These days it's also called self awareness.

For the vast majority of my clients, it is the hardest process to go through - self examination. However, until you delve into...

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If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know I am a fan of lifelong learning. Learning experiences aren’t just for kids...we need to constantly build on our knowledge. I recently completed my certification with the John Maxwell team as a Coach, Trainer and Speaker. However, I want to make a distinction between learning and applied learning. One...

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Becoming a go-to resource for clients, even when you don’t have what they need

Last week I was out with a client to go on a shadow call. This is a service I rarely use unless someone has been in sales for at least 10-plus years and has a pretty good understanding of the selling business.

When I was with him at a particular prospect, the conversations on both sides were really respectful and went very...

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Sales Preparation Planning: Set Up for Success

A few days ago I returned a call from a client who sells to high end companies. He was preparing a proposal for this particular client and was very stressed out. I realized that the appointment was the next day. He was going to the clients office with his boss and they were both working on the proposal.

My question to him was, “Wouldn’t being prepared in advance...

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Goal Setting: Is Your Puzzle Missing Any Pieces?

If you’ve ever put together a puzzle, I’m pretty sure you didn't start by just staring at the cover. No, I think you likely started by turning over every piece to represent the smaller parts of the picture. Then maybe you separated these pieces by which were the skies, the water, flowers or whatever made up parts of the whole picture.

This is...

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Selling Techniques May Attract Clients, but Listen and Respond with Empathy to Keep Them

The other day I had a potential client who came to see me about some issues he was having in sales.

One of the things I came to realize as we talked was that he thinks that when in sales he needs to be in charge and not sensitive to others. Don’t get me wrong, he was doing very well financially and used many...

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We are in the last month of the year. Obvious I know, but I’m always amazed by the many sales clients that come rushing in that they haven’t met goal yet and they are trying to achieve club membership or credits which is based on total sales. I question them where were they in January or June? They likely haven’t been setting SMART goals in any of the previous 11 months.

I always talk about GOALS starting in January not October through...

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The Skills You Need to Build Your Business

It’s sometimes said that customer service is dead. The experience of getting a satisfactory answer to an issue or question is more like going into battle for many customers, and I’m not sure why businesses don’t make it THE #1 priority.

Luckily, when you are in business for yourself, you have the ability to make that experience - and every experience - for your customer...

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Developing effective self management skills to stay on course in sales, and in life.

In my book “Are You For Real?!” I talk about a time when I was living what I thought was the good life, doing well in sales and celebrating that success almost every night during the week. Of course, that didn’t last and when I had a sales slump, I wasn’t prepared.

That’s when I realized that I needed to apply some discipline to...

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The best habits that will lead to success in sales and life

I’ve said it over and over that sales in particular is a roller coaster ride, and your success lies in staying consistent during the ups and downs. But when you’re at the bottom and you see a long climb up the next hill, it’s easy to feel discouraged. How do you motivate yourself to get back up there during those down times?


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How to meet your sales goals through logical, systematic and orderly procedures

In sales, it’s rare that you can reach any of your goals without planning for getting there. Whether it’s a product or service you’re selling, you not only need to be organized, you need to create tactics and strategies that will make your organized sales an assured success.


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Knowledge is important, but personal development is even more critical

It’s a given that in sales you need to know your product and your customers to be successful, but let’s go a little deeper and find out more about what YOU bring to the table. How equipped are you to develop yourself into a solid business professional with the sales skills sets needed to engage with your customers in a very...


Close the sale by opening the lines of communication

I’m not sure why interpersonal communications strengths are often called “soft skills.” It implies that these are easy or unimportant, when sales success through interpersonal skills can be the toughest abilities to develop. And can make the difference between a sale and a “no,” it’s also one of the most important.

So let’s review what skills you have developed,...

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Stay focused, stay the course and stay successful

We’ve talked about the ups and downs of sales; that “rollercoaster” that can throw you off if you aren’t looking at the bigger picture. Think of being goal oriented, then, as the way to keep your wheels on the rails. Sales success through goal orientation can be viewed as that harness that keeps you in your seat, whether your climbing up or heading downward.


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Recharging for the roller coaster of sales

Let’s face it, some days - most days, really - aren’t diamonds, and it’s tough to don a positive attitude. Especially in sales, you put yourself out there every day with the likelihood of rejection, and it can wear on anyone. the good news is that you deserve a little reprieve now and then. It’s really key to learning how to stay positive in sales.

Have you ever bought...


Consultative Selling: Make your clients seek YOU out

Many years ago while working at Motorola, there were many of us sales people who were experts in certain industries. For example, we knew that to be successful in sales, we needed to master step 3 of the six steps in selling which is Qualifying, as it is the most important step of all. In this step you are getting to know your clients’ business, and providing the...

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Sales Territory Mapping = time management

I have seen a common issue that many outside sales people have. The problem I am hearing is, “I'm all over the place and can't get it together.” They’re spending a lot of time in their cars in other words, and less in front of customers and prospects.

One of the issues I look at is for them is how they are managing their time while still covering their sales territory....

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Defining Training vs Coaching

We need to stop interchangeably training vs coaching when we’re talking about learning in your career. They aren’t the same, but they certainly are vital to each other.

Training is teaching, being given information, skills and knowledge from one person to perhaps a large group to have them memorize or apply in their job. The trouble is, we know that people only remember so much, and...

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When phones were dumb and people were smarter

I remember the days when cell phones started to sell; as a matter of fact I was part of the team at Motorola that was responsible for introducing cell phones to companies or individuals back in 1986. Whoever thought at that time how cell phones would become smartphones and would be what they are today? I didn’t really see it coming. I witnessed cell phones get smaller but...

Shut up and Listen- Good Listening Skills are Great Communication Skills

Good Listening Skills are Great Communication Skills

Shut up and listen: It sounds harsh, but is it? Not really. Learning how to be a good listener is a key to success in life, not just in sales. And if you want to be a successful business professional, it’s a lesson and a skill that you must learn to master. I’ve coached many clients who wish to excel in sales BUT, they come in to see me with issues of not being able...