💛 THE STRATEGIC ADVANTAGE OF BEING A GOOD PERSON

Building relationships is a strategic advantage.

If you give value to someone else first, you have a strategic advantage.

It’s as simple as that. I truly believe that when I go and make time to do a keynote or free masterclass (even though my wife and kids think it’s stupid and I should be charging for it), that I then have leverage with that business owner or leader.

It’s a funny statement, and I know it feels kind of dark.

I mean I am so happy that my generosity is viewed in a nice way and contributes to me having a nice reputation, but I’ve said it before: I’m not Mahatma Gandhi.

I just think it’s a smart thing to do. I’m extremely good at building emotional capital.

Now do I cash-in on that leverage?

Sometimes. I actually prefer not to.

I’m very “Old-school, East African”, so I don’t like to ask for favors.

I actually hate that I have a coffee mug, t-shirt and hoodie coming out this winter, and I have to use this leverage to go in for the sale.

I ENJOY THE TIMES WHEN I’M NOT ASKING FOR ANYTHING, BECAUSE THEN I’M TOTALLY SELF-SUFFICIENT.

That brings me to the other half of the equation, which I think is huge, and that is having zero expectation for others.

The reason that I’m able to give so easily and create that leverage is that I never assume that someone will reciprocate and come through for me.

Both of those sides have to be in play in order for this system to work.

If things get out of balance, one way or another, someone’s going to end up feeling bad.

It’s emotional. It’s taxing.

My wife for example, is just the greatest woman on earth, but boy does she ever get let down by people.

I’m just not like that, okay maybe I used to be and that allows me to play through and keep giving.

What I love best about this is that it allows me to be extremely happy 99.99% of the time.

Lack of expectation and generosity are two very lucky traits I have, and they’re something that I implore more new Managers and future leaders to focus on.

This piece was originally posted on my Linkedin account.

Take a look. I do tons of stuff there!

😉 ✌🏽 ☕️

HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE ENTREPRENEURIAL DNA 🧬


I recently received a Homer Award for ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT, it was one of several I have received the past 4 years working as a Master Trainer for The Home Depot University.

Someone who admires me recently asked me if whether entrepreneurship is a case of nature or nurture. I really look at it like a skill thing like singing or basketball. Some people were born with it and had circumstances where they never even had the chance to realize their skill. I’m sure there are hundreds of people around the country who could play for the NBA right now but maybe they were never exposed to it in high school or maybe their interests lay elsewhere when they were younger.

On the flip-side, basketball may have been a “way out” for some people and they worked their way up to a high skill set through sheer determination. but I always think that at the end of the day it’s about betting on your strengths, so finding a way to figure out what you’re good at and then going all in on it is extremely important. Whether that’s being an entrepreneur, or an accountant or a teacher, it’s all based around skill sets.

So do I think there are outlier situations in which you can be forced into something that you become great at? Sure. But do I think that for the most part it’s a DNA thing? Yes, I really do.

I had no choice in the matter. I HAD to knock on doors and sell or I didn’t eat. It was the only thing I thought about. When everybody went outside to play and go bowling or to Mickey Rats on the beach in Buffalo, I just had to stand on the side of the street, make flyers and put them out door-to-door, bang phones, and sell stuff all day. Now I’m an extreme version of it, but there are a lot of places in between, and I think most of them are predicated on skill and DNA.

So now, you’re probably asking, “how do I know if that’s me? If I hate my job and want to get out and explore my options, how do I know if entrepreneurship is in my DNA?”

I’d say that it’s like anything else. You don’t know if you’re going to be good at something until you do it. Now up and quitting your job isn’t practical. I know that people have lots of variables in their lives like kids and mortgages that don’t allow them to flip on a dime, but that’s why, in my blog I wrote about the idea of 7pm-2am. Now if you really hate your job, that is a powerful thing. Hate is a tremendous motivator. Hate is worth working from 7 at night to 2 in the morning. And what’s great about the time we live in is that 20 years ago, you couldn’t have done that, but with the internet, 7pm-2am is just as useful as any other time of the day.

If you want to know whether you’ve got that entrepreneurial spirit in your blood, here is what you do: You cut out watching your favorite sitcoms at night, you cut out playing more call of duty, you cut out going out for beers, you cut out being on the bowling or golf team, you pick a dream and you go after it.

And if you prefer all that downtime over the upside of building your own business? I honestly think that’s great! That’s totally fine, but you’re not allowed to complain about how much you hate your job, just like I am not allowed to complain about my lack of free time or sleep.

Please share this a friend on LinkedIn or Twitter or Text and Email. 🙂

THE SECRET TO WORKING IN SALES

Mombasa, Kenya 1983

I grew up in sales.

Long before my successful sales career I was selling candy, mangoes, pizza, burgers, Indian food, landscaping, computer parts, cars, alarm systems door to door and so many other things.

Always sales. A little over 30 years later, and I’m still selling, but I find myself in a position of mentorship and training more and more often.

In light of that, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to quantify exactly what it is that I’m looking for in potential business partners and employees, and I’ve realized a very specific common strain runs through most of my favorite candidates: Experience in sales.

When you work in sales, whether it’s door to door, services B2C, B2B, working the floor at a convenience store or a big box store, working the register at a family business, or taking orders at a fast food restaurant (I know that’s more service-oriented, but it’s still the same set of skills I’m talking about), you start gaining the one thing that I think is really important for everybody to understand: The ability to read the customer.

If you’re unable to read the customer, to adjust to a customer’s response in real-time, directly in front of your face, I think you’re missing out on something that makes every great businessperson truly exceptional.

We’re living in a faster world, and if you can’t reverse-engineer your customer’s finish line in order to make him/her happy, you’re going to have a very hard time breaking through the scale and the speed that we’re now dealing with thanks to the streaming economy.

As somebody who likes to rant– and let’s be honest, I love to rant. I love to talk.

I love to hear myself talking. I love to be heard– It’s shocking to me how much I like to listen.

To be honest, I used to struggle with it.

“Why the heck do I like to listen so much?”

And then it dawned on me (which probably prompted me to write this article): “Oh… I’m a sales person.”

I had no choice.

Customer walks in and I had to listen.

Long before I could spout about what Keypad would go best with that system, I had to hear what system they were going to install.

Long before I could go on about what system they should buy for their vacation , I had to know how many windows were there and, more importantly, what their preferences and lifestyle were.

And so, my friends, I implore you to recognize the world we’re living in; to recognize that the consumer will always be right forever.

I implore you, if you’ve never worked sales, to try and find a situation that allows you to do that.

I implore my sons and all college students to highly consider taking a summer job stocking shelves or working a register.

The soft skills (which are, in my opinion, hard skills) that you will learn in that job will be transferable to everything you do for the rest of your life.

This piece was originally posted on my website. Head over to LinkedIn, I’ve got over 30 features over there. Take a look.