I’ve Never Been So Insulted!

When someone has the guts to tell you the raw truth, you should take that feedback and use it to positively change your life or your business forever.  Two mentors who have offered me the greatest push in my career are Darren Hardy, publisher of SUCCESS Magazine, and Dave Liniger, Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board of RE/MAX.  I have not spent tons of time with either one of these visionaries, but in the short time I have spent with each, they were brief, to the point, and totally honest.

Three years ago I was honored and privileged to have Dave Liniger spend some time with me to offer me advice on my speaking career.  He had seen me speak at an event and he wanted to offer me feedback that I could take forward with me in building a speaking business.  He told me that (1) I needed to get a sense of humor (at least on stage) because I came across as dry, (2) to never turn my back to the audience (nobody wants to see your butt!) and, (3) too many Powerpoint slides.

It’s really hard to accept criticism no matter what.  It’s even harder to change.  GET OVER IT!  I took Mr. Liniger’s advice to heart.  He was one of the few people in the world that was offering me the complete, 100%, non-sugar coated truth.  THIS WAS GOLD.  I went back to the drawing board and re-built my presentation, practiced my delivery, and to this day, I make a mental rundown before each presentation to ensure that I would do Dave proud if he were sitting in the audience.  Since that time, whenever I talk to Dave, I listen very carefully because it is not unusual for him to throw out these tiny pearls of amazing wisdom and I always make sure that I am ready to catch them.

Darren Hardy has offered the same type of unadulterated truth and it’s altered my business tenfold.  For one, Darren made me realize that my greatest weakness was in never saying no.  I’m a people pleaser!  To a certain extent I have built my businesses by always taking on more, and always saying yes.  Darren, in just a few words, made me understand that if I didn’t embrace NO more often, it would lead to the eventual demise of my Big Hairy Audacious Goals.  In other words, saying YES always and often had gotten me half-way there on the road to my dreams, but if I didn’t learn to adjust quickly, by learning the art of saying NO, I would never achieve my dreams.  Darren made me realize that every single time I said yes, I was saying NO to my dreams.  It’s been hard saying NO but every single time I have, a greater opportunity has presented itself.

I’ve been CEO of my own businesses now for twenty years.  It’s extremely rare to find someone who will give you the unfiltered truth about how you could be better.  As your businesses grow so does the list of people who have an interest in not pissing you off, so they simply keep their comments to themselves.  However, every once in a while a Darren Hardy or Dave Liniger will step into your life.  They have no problem telling you like it is.  The guidance they can offer is like the rarest of diamonds.  Recognize it for what it is.  Embrace it.  Change.  Opportunity awaits.

Next time someone has the courage to insult you, thank them from the bottom of your heart for their wise advice, and make bold changes to your business and your life with their wisdom.

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

Be Like Zamp

Louis Zamperini – leader, fighter, survivor.  I recently had the pleasure of reading Laura Hillenbrand’s book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.  It is the amazing story of Louis Zamperini, a one time Olympic athlete, whose airplane went down in the Pacific ocean during World War II.  Unbelievably, Zamperini survived the crash and floated along with two other soldiers, in a life raft, surrounded by hungry sharks for more than thirty days, without food or water, but for the occasional rain shower, or bird that would land upon them.  They eventually floated to an island, but unfortunately it was enemy territory.  Louis and Phil,  the one other soldier who had survived the long  journey, were taken as Prisoners of War where for more than two years they were tortured to near death.  Louis lived to tell his story.  What can we learn from a man that looked death in the eyes and survived?  What lessons are there to be learned from the man that was beaten day in and day out and robbed of all dignity?  Want to lead, survive, and thrive, like Zamp?  Here are five lessons to Be Like Zamp:

1. Focus on What You Have, Not What You Don’t: People that get stuck in life or business tend to find themselves focusing and even obsessing over what they don’t have.  People like Zamp, focus on the little things they do have.  For example, on many occasions during Zamperini’s long imprisonment, he almost died of starvation, his weight under one hundred pounds.  Louis survived by focusing on what he DID have, and that was his memories of all the great meals his mother had cooked for him in his life.  The memories were enough to nourish him.  He could smell the kitchen, picture his mother making the meals, and could see himself eating the magnificent dinners.  It was these memories that got him through the nights of starvation.  What is important to note is Zamp’s attitude.  When focusing on the food, he was grateful for his memory.  He didn’t focus on the fact that he didn’t have the food at that time, but rather relished in the fact that he had the memory to live off of.

 2. You Can’t Lose Everything: As a Prisoner of War, the prison guards tried to steal everything from Louis, even his dignity.  He was forced to clean the latrine with his hands.  He was beaten over and over again for no reason.  Even in the living hell that was Zamperini’s life for more than two years he found solace in the fact that the guards could not take away every last stitch of human dignity.  For example, at one point, Zamperini was offered the opportunity to live in nicer living quarters with plenty of food, if only he would transmit by radio, propaganda written by the enemies.  As hungry as Louis was and as much as he’d do almost anything to not have to go back to his prison, he would not read their propaganda.  He would not read it because it was a lie and there was still a piece of him that nobody could take a way…it was his moral turpitude.  And so, Louis accepted the starvation, the beatings, and the inhumane conditions because by doing so, he wouldn’t have to give up the one little piece of himself that he still owned.

3. Don’t Give’m the Satisfaction: On your journey through life there may very well be people on your path who want to see you suffer.  For Louis Zamperini there was The Bird, a notoriously harsh man who oversaw the prison.  The Bird would go out of his way to look for Louis in order to beat him, humiliate him, and just terrorize him.  Louis accepted his fate with courage.  He would never look The Bird in the eye and would never cry or complain about the overly severe and unjust punishments.  Louis simply endured.  The one thing that The Bird wished for was to see Louis suffer, and although he witnessed Louis’ pain, never did Zamp give The Bird the pleasure of seeing him suffer.

4. Everything Can Change:   After the war ended and Louis came home to Torrance, California, the war wasn’t over in his head.  The Bird, who had made his life a living hell, had fled the POW camp and was living in hiding in Japan.  It was killing Louis to know that The Bird had gotten away with so much harm, having even killed many POWs and having left Louis plagued with nightmares and physical wounds that would prevent him from ever competing in the Olympics again.   Louis drowned himself in alcohol as he planned a way to go to Japan to personally hunt down The Bird to kill him.   His alcoholism and his obsession over The Bird prevented him from holding down work and he almost lost his wife to divorce.  Then one day Louis Zamperini listened to Reverend Billy Graham preaching from the pulpit.  Louis had heard Graham preach before, but never really listened.  His wife would beg him to listen, but Louis was cynical and had no interest in hearing about God, or happiness.  He just wanted to drink and plan his revenge.  For some reason, the words of Billy Graham reached Louis one afternoon during an event that his wife brought him too.  There’s no saying why it was that day, but it ended up being the day that changed Louis’ life forever.  He quit drinking that day.  He changed his attitude and his life because of a few words he heard coming from the preacher.  No longer did Louis seek revenge on The Bird.   Too often, when times get hard, we think that the hard times will last forever.  Zamp is an example of how quick life can change on a dime.  Your tomorrow does not have to resemble today.

5. Forgive: When you live with hatred toward others, it kills you, not them.  This is one of the most poignant lessons that the story of Louis Zamperini offers.  Louis was led to alcoholism because he was tormented by the memories of his time in captivity.   Even when he was free, he hated his captors so much that the only way he could drown them out of his head was to drink.  The memories that you store in your head can make you or break you.  Louis survived starvation by focusing his mind on his mom’s home cooked meals during captivity.  Once he realized the power of his mind, Louis knew that the only way he could banish his own torment would be to fully forgive his captors, including The Bird.  By focusing his thoughts on forgiveness, Louis was able to do what he had previously hoped the alcohol would do, release the demons in his head.  Louis understood that his mind could help him or hurt him, it was his choice.  Through forgiveness, Louis healed himself.  Today he is in his nineties, still living in California.

 

 

 

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

UN-Business Plan Presentation – Ottawa

I just came back from the RE/MAX International Broker Owner Conference in Ottawa, Canada where I was asked to speak to a packed house of brokerage owners about creating and implementing a business plan. Having built a brokerage myself, going from 11 agents to 290 agents in a thirteen year span, I explained to the group my anti-business-plan approach to building a business.

Work to a Strategy, Not a Written Plan – Let’s be clear, I do not have a written business plan which documents where I am going and how I am going to get there, BUT I do have a strategy for success. I am against business plans because business plan writing is time consuming, often based on inaccuracies, limiting, and too results focused.  Here are four reasons why you should think twice before diving into a business plan for your business:

Time Consuming: I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen business owners labor for weeks or months over creating a written plan for their business. Do you know what they are NOT doing while laboring over this piece of paper? They are not building their business. Ditch the written plan and start working!

Inaccurate Variables: Business planning is also usually inaccurate. There are two many variables that could change, making your business plan null and void. For one, you are basing your plan on the economic climate, something which is totally out of your control. You could labor three months over this plan and find out that by the time it’s done, the economy has changed, sending you back to the drawing board.

Limiting: This is my biggest pet peeve when it comes to business planning. It puts a concrete goal in writing. Often times business owners are conservative in their business planning because they want to hit their goals. Perhaps your business planning goals are totally not self-serving. You write down that you plan on selling 120 widgets in 12 months – just 10 a month. This is totally within your reach. Great, right? NO. God NO!!! Throw caution to the wind. You are capable of so so so much more. Maybe you have it in you to sell 1.2 million widgets in the next twelve months. Please, please, stop limiting yourself by some obscure little goal you have memorialized onto a piece of worthless paper.

Results Oriented: This is the point of a business plan, right? We need to track our results, do we not? Here’s my own little secret to success – Do NOT track results. Track your daily actions which are designed to lead to success down the road. Since I was speaking to a room of brokerage owners, this is how I explained it: One of the most important parts of running a brokerage is recruiting talented agents. There are certain prospecting actions which, if done every single day, will eventually lead to new agents joining your firm. The catch is that you must do these tasks every single day even though it is very possible that you will see NO results week after week. Your actions today will rarely create results tomorrow. Therefore, if you were tracking your results regularly, as is encouraged with traditional business planning, you may very well give up on your daily prospecting actions when you are literally three feet from gold. Focus NOT on the results, but rather the daily actions, and you will create a winning strategy for success.

A strategy is essential, a business plan is a waste of time. I have no written business plan to grow my brokerages from 290 agents to 1000, 10,000 or more, but I unequivocally have a strategy for succeeding. Ditch the business plan, create and keep improving your strategy for success, and win.

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

Number Two is the New Number One

For most business owners, the goal is to be number one, but the savvy entrepreneurs are seeking the far superior position – number two.  Being number one is an admirable goal, but having owned businesses where I was number one in many regards, like market share and brand dominance, while also having owned businesses where I was number two, with a large competitor controlling the market, I can confidently say that number two is not a bad place to be.  In fact, I’m about to make a case for you as to why you should aim to be number two, rather than number one.  Here are the top five reasons why Number Two is the New Number One:

1. Less Stress – When you are number one in the market there is monumental pressure to stay there.  Of course, if you are number two in your market, there’s probably some pressure to advance to the number one position but this pressure is nowhere near as immense as it is for the number one company that can’t bear the thought of moving to second fiddle.

2. Minimal Mistakes – Since there is immense pressure to remain in number one position, the dominant company usually is first to try out new endeavors in order to keep their slight edge in the market.  They may release a product too soon before all the kinks have been worked out.  They many pay thousands or millions in R&D only to scrap a four products before moving forward with one.  The great thing about being #2 is that you can sit back and watch the #1 company make all the mistakes in the world and when they finally get something right, just copy it!  Sure, they are first to market which offers a competitive advantage, but you don’t need to sell as much as them because you haven’t invested as much in mistakes as they have.

3. Mobility – Usually, although not always, the number one firm is the larger one.  There are more employees, more layers on the corporate organizational chart, and more bureaucracy.  Larger companies move slowly.  They can’t change quickly because there are too many balls in the air at the same time.  There’s a lot to be said for tiny organizations that are lean, mean, malleable businesses machines.

4. Nobody Gunning For You – When you are the dominant brand in your industry, not only is the number two guy gunning for your spot, so too are numbers three, four, and five.  Most business owners are under the false perception that the number one spot is the best spot so everyone behind number one sets their sites on that position.  When you are number two, usually, nobody is after your spot.  As number two you get the leisure of going about your business, making money, profiting, copying the successes of the number one guy while avoiding his failures, all with very little competition for your space.

5. Everyone’s Number One at Something – Even if you are number two, you can most likely stake a claim of being number one for something.  Perhaps you are number one in a narrowly defined market.  Perhaps you are number one when it comes to being a “Best Place to Work” company for a number of years.  Number one in advertising impressions. Number one in SEO rankings.  Search hard enough and you are number one.  The great thing about this is that even as the number two brand, you have the ability to pull out the number one if and when you need it.  Most consumers are not suckers for detail so if you can legitimately claim you are number one at something, even when your brand is number two in the market, why not flaunt it?

Sure, there’s glory in being number one, but with it comes a lot of Ajita.  Going for number two is not for the faint of heart.  If you’ve got an ego, then anything less than number one will eat at you.  If you can get past your ego, and really look at the pros and cons of building a business, you may very well find that the real glory lies in being number two.

 

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

#1 Quality of Achievers

They do things they don’t really feel like doing.

Anything good that I have in my life was achieved by doing something that I didn’t want to do.  I am engaged and have a beautiful daughter because I asked my boyfriend, Jay out, even though it was really uncomfortable taking that step.  I now travel the country speaking on stages in front of thousands of people, even though there were hundreds of times I was sick to my stomach about getting up in front of just a small room of people.  I have run many half marathons and one full marathon, even though running just one mile was painful and exhausting just a few years earlier.  As I often remind people in my training seminars, “The road to success is the one that runs just outside your comfort zone.”

I look for opportunities regularly to do something I don’t want to do.  In fact, often times I know when I am committing myself that this is something I am going to dread doing! So, why bother?

I bother because every single time I have done something I didn’t want to do, something AWESOME happened.  I overcame a fear.  I ended up having a blast.  I made new friendships I never would have made. I accomplished a feat that at one time seemed impossible.

Imagine if every single month you accomplished something you never thought possible.  I bet after a while you’d get a feeling that nothing in the world is out of your reach, and that’s pretty powerful stuff.

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

Stop! Your Time is Worth Something

I am about to share with you one of the most profound secrets I have uncovered over the past ten years.  I know many of you will skim past this article and continue your journey through life no different than you did before. But, for some of you, there will be an AHA!  You will read and re-read this article and walk away with a whole new understanding of the value of your time and how you should be compensated generously for sharing it with others.

The Value of Your Time = What You Are Willing to Take For It

This is the point where about 90% of you have already stopped reading.  It seems simple.  You kind of knew this in the back of your head.  In fact many of you reading this right now are accepting an hourly pay for your work that crystalizes this point.  If you get paid $20 per hour, your time is worth $20 per hour. Why…because you accept that.

But, why do some people have time that’s worth more than $20 per hour?  Why do some get paid $400 per hour for their time…or $10,000 per hour or theirs?

Are those people smarter, more educated?  Are they better than us?

To a very small extent, people that get paid more for their time, might have something valuable locked away in their heads that they can share with you, justifying a higher price for their time.  However, this only accounts for a tiny, miniscule, pinhead sized portion of the reason they get paid more.

The real reason they get paid more than you, is that they won’t accept less.  THEY set the value of their time, not someone else.  THEY choose to say no, when someone offers them less for their time.  THEY remain in charge of setting a boundary around their most precious asset, time.

The risk you take when you accept money for your time…either through an hourly salary, a consulting fee, a commission on sale, or anything else, is that while accepting that compensation, you are simultaneously declining something better…something more.  But, how do I know if someone will pay me more for my time?  You don’t know, but you will never know if you always choose to accept only what people will pay you right now.

Before you settle for what’s being offered, consider other things you are giving up too.  I recently got an offer to do a four state speaking tour for an amazing company. I really wanted to take it, but the compensation was really low.  In the end, I declined the offer.  I thought about all I was giving up, if I took that gig.  I could stay home with my family, go to my office down the street, and work on high value tasks and earn nine times what this firm was willing to pay me for my time.  It’s important to understand though, that I declined it not only because of my best interests, but for the best interests of those that would have come to hear me speak too.  Don’t THEY deserve a speaker who totally understands the value of time?  Because I understand the value of my time, I am better able to teach those who hire me the value of theirs.  Then, and only then, do they get the opportunity to walk out of my training event armed with the knowledge and know how to monetize their time in a way that offers the best possible life for them.

As you move forward in your journey of life, remember you and only you can dictate the value of your time.  If someone offers you less for your time, you always have the choice to protect your asset and decline the offer thereby preserving your time to go after bigger and better opportunities.

 

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

Get Your Email Opened

What’s the trick to getting your emails opened by potential clients?  Marketing by email has become increasingly popular.  Why?  It’s FREE!  Unfortunately, the volume of marketing emails that are sent and received each day makes it difficult for a marketer to get a message through to a prospective client.  The trick to getting your message through is your subject line.  Besides your name, the only thing that the email receiver can see prior to opening the email is a subject line.  Over the past few months, I’ve been cataloging a list of email subject lines that have caused me to click on them.  These subject lines are funny, thought provoking, scary, and different.  Use these and your email will likely get opened.  The rest is up to you.  Make sure your message is as good as your subject line and you are well on your way to converting internet traffic.

  1. Outrageous
  2. Engaged!
  3. Free!
  4. Bad News
  5. Coward
  6. Sorry
  7. Are you angry?
  8. Breaking
  9. Affair
  10. Need your decision…
  11. Dinner tomorrow
  12. VIP guest ticket
  13. Please don’t tell
  14. Receiver’s Name
  15. Disaster
  16. Sorry – My dirty little secret
  17. A Scandal
  18. Do you know him?
  19. So sad
  20. No subject

 

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

Join Stacey Alcorn with Wealth Expert Belinda Rosenblum

Join Stacey live on August 7th with her guest, wealth expert, Belinda Rosenblum.

Register Here:  https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/408295217

This is one webinar you cannot afford to miss…literally!  In this 45 minute program, we will hear from the amazing financial expert and author extraordinaire, Belinda Rosenblum, on how to create higher net worth by focusing on your self-esteem with money.  During this fast paced program, you will learn:

* The art of creating higher self-worth which will lead to higher net worth
* How to create a life of joy, pleasure, aliveness, affluence, and riches
* How to extinguish old and useless belief systems about money so those negative emotions stop flaring up whenever a financial decision needs to be made
* How the 3 A’s will make or break your financial success
* Why not tracking where your money goes is costing you hundreds or even thousands of dollars every month (and what you can do about that!)
* The new 5-word motto to overcome perfectionism
* The science of owning rather than renting your money and your life

Money–although such a useful tool–is often accompanied by avoidance, shame, and anxiety. Does it have to be that way? Absolutely not. Financial independence begins with your self-worth and builds to support your net worth, yet too many people instead base their self-worth on their net worth. It doesn’t have to be confusing and can actually be very empowering.

In this program, you’ll learn a new way to think about money and will be offered the opportunity to realize that you control your destiny when you take back control of your emotions, activities, and finances.  Once you realize the control you have over your belief about your own self-worth, you will then have the ability to steer your life toward the net worth that you desire—and make the real money you know is possible for you. Where there’s always enough and it’s never a mystery.

BUY THE BOOK: https://ownyourmoney.infusionsoft.com/go/SWB/rlestate2/

 

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.