America’s Hope

America is the greatest nation on earth, made so by the goodness of her people and their belief in God. Though not universally held, 92% of Americans profess a belief in God. And according to the research, there seems to be a strong correlation between business owners and entrepreneurs, and a belief in God.

The research of Mitchell Neubert and Kevin Dougherty from Baylor University reveals some interesting patterns. It turns out that entrepreneurs pray more frequently than people in other professions. Business owners are more likely to think of God as a personal, interactive being who is interested in them and their problems. For Neubert and Dougherty, “entrepreneurs simply have a more personal view of God than non-entrepreneurs.” While the researchers make no mention of sales people specifically, it seems to me that selling is a fundamental brand of entrepreneurship and that the research applies to sales people and business owners equally.

Our nation’s founders were also confirmed in their faith and belief in God. One example is George Washington who said, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable.” And, “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

The fourth stanza of our national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner”, proposes trust in God as a national motto. While not yet an official motto, the phrase “In God We Trust” first appeared on American coins in 1864. It wasn’t until 1956 that a joint resolution of Congress adopted “In God We Trust” as our official national motto.

Belief in God is espoused in the “Declaration of Independence” and the “Pledge of Allegiance.” In the pledge we acknowledge, “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Ours is a tradition, rich in faith.

Despite the foundation and history of our nation’s reliance upon Deity, the topics of faith, religion, and God are pushed out of the public discourse. It follows that personal religious behavior would also decline, and I think that is bad for business. It is bad for sales and it is bad for business owners. Many great American leaders have repeated the sentiment that America’s greatness is the goodness of her people and when her people cease to be good, America will cease to be great.

I for one, believe in America’s greatness. I believe in the goodness of her people. And I am willing to back my belief with action. This week I will dip my bicycle tire in the Pacific Ocean near Chula Vista, California. I will turn my bicycle east and ride until I dip my tire into the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way I will interview Americans about their belief in God and their personal religious behaviors. I will post those interviews on our YouTube Channel. I will write a regular blog of my experience and share photos and videos of our journey.

Our economy, our way of life and our very nation are at stake. And so I ride for America’s Hope. I invite everyone to join the dialogue and to pledge to personal religious behaviors. Join the adventure. Follow the journey on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and our website.

As you follow, make comments and make a pledge. You may commit to run, ride or walk as an outward expression of your faith. You may read or paint or write as a way to demonstrate your trust in God. You may visit an elderly relative or a sick friend and offer relief in the name of service to your God. Sharing your pledge is not intended as a badge of honor but rather a way to stand united. Your pledge is a way to let others who believe know that they are not alone. When you comment, you invite discussion of faith and God back to the public discourse. Your profession of faith, your pledge, is in no way intended to suggest that you are better than someone else. But it does acknowledge that there is hope for an even brighter America as we re-establish and profess our trust in God. This we can do for America’s hope.

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To What Should I Attend?

In 1999 Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris shared an amazing video illustrating selective perception (Watch here). The researchers focus the attention of viewers by asking them to count the number of times a team dressed in white passes a ball. The attention of the viewing audience can be enhanced by creating a competition, “women get the correct answer more frequently than men”. While the ball is being passed, a person dressed in a gorilla costume saunters onto the stage, faces the audience, beats it’s chest and then exits in the opposite direction. More than half the viewers never see the gorilla. It is as though the gorilla is absolutely invisible. Here is another version of the invisible gorilla (Watch Here).

The Simons and Chabris experiment begs the questions, “what am I missing that would advance my career, help me be a better performer or lead to greater levels of success?” “To what should I attend.” “What are the hidden parasites sucking the power out of my performance?”

As a human performance scientist and coach, one of my key roles is to call my clients to attend. It’s the job they pay me to do. Attending to the right things is one of the great secrets of being a successful performer. Wandering attention quickly erodes performance results.

Even sales people who have been immersed in the Griffin Hill Integrity Sales System can lose focus. Individual life circumstances such as personal or family health, relationships or other responsibilities can divert attention. When focus is diverted, poor performance is the inevitable outcome. The performance decay may occur over time leaving the person bewildered at the result and guessing at the cause.

The cause-effect of elevated performance and poor performance may go unseen without the experienced eye of an expert. It is as invisible as a gorilla beating its chest on stage. Three recommendations will help maintain attention on things that matter to your success and your career. The recommendations relate to three meanings of the word attend:
1. Attend: be present
2. Pay attention: listen and observe
3. Attend to: apply, deal with, act upon

Attend. If you are not attending regular coaching sessions, you have lost connection with the clarion call to attention to things that matter. The very first step is to be in attendance. When you attend be on time. Sit up front. Look at the Coach not your smartphone. Everything about your physical and mental attitude should be attuned and demonstrate your perceptual receptivity. Coaching sessions are all about you—your success and your achievement—be selfish about the time. Squeeze out every bit of attentional value you can muster.

Pay Attention. Listen. Observe. Don’t let your mind wander to lesser things. Critical thinking will enhance listening. Critical thinking simply means asking yourself good questions and seeking answers in the coaching content. While not all questions need to be asked out loud, don’t be afraid to engage the coach with good questions that enhance your understanding and skill development. You’ve heard there is no such thing as a bad question—not true. Avoid questions or comments that detract from the topic. The theme is selected with your growth, development and improvement in mind. Listen and observe. Ask yourself what matters to you. Ask how you can learn, grow, and improve based on the current topic.

Attend To. Finally, attend to the coaching content. At the conclusion of every coaching session your coach will ask you to write things that resonated with you, things that you don’t want to forget, your ah-ha moments from the coaching session and at least one binding commitment based on things that were meaningful to you. What you write is what you should “attend to” until the next coaching session. This doctrine of “attending to” is all about your post-coaching behavior and how you will improve by applying what was important to you. You will never reach your full performance potential without application—“attending to.” Create a way to be mindful about your take-aways and action items. Use 6 Steps to a Successful Sales Call. Implement ScoreCard™. Think and act—these are the domains of the attentive—the top 1% of achievers.

The Griffin Hill Integrity Sales System™ is a system of achievement. When you attend to The System™ you attend to your success. I promise you rapid success improvement when you attend coaching sessions, use 6 steps to a Successful Sales Call, implement ScoreCard™, and follow-up on take-aways and action items. The promise of success is real. You can do this. We’re here to help.

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Strike it Rich With Sales Gold

Referrals are gold!

I was on a sales call this morning with a prospect referred by a mutual friend. In a casual conversation, the prospect told our mutual friend that his company was seeking help with strategic planning. Our mutual friend immediately responded, “then you need Griffin Hill.” Our friend sent an email to me, and to the prospect, to facilitate the introduction. It was just perfect. I followed with a “reply to all” answer indicating my delight at the opportunity to meet the prospect and my gratitude that our friend thought of us first.

Because the initial contact had been made using email, I sent an email with my case open routine including options for Scheduling a Next Event. The suspect replied with a different option that fit my calendar. I accepted the invitation and the sales suspect became a sales prospect. The Needs Audit and Solution Presentation were equally smooth and this morning we agreed on a delivery schedule for the strategic plan and coaching. Sales Gold!

Everyone knows how important referrals are. Everyone agrees that a referral can help the sales process be smoother. The getting, the harvesting—there’s the rub. How to get quality referrals from a trusted friend and maintain the trusted friend status—that’s the trick. The age old problem is elegantly solved using Griffin Hill’s Fulfillment and Follow-up play set.

For those not yet familiar with the Griffin Hill Integrity Sales System, I will give you the play set. For our clients it will be a review. The point of emphasis here, is that if you are prospecting for referrals, you better have the best tools available—and you better know what gold looks like. Both take practice. If you want to be brilliant at harvesting referrals, you have to be prepared and you have to practice. Do that and sales gold will be yours. Here are the basic plays.

  • Reframe (summarize past interactions, highlighting the benefits to the client)
  • Collect Proofs (what have you liked best about our service to you?)
  • Harvest Referrals (from a selfish standpoint, I have a few questions that will help me grow my own business. Is this a good time for a few more questions?)
  • SNE (I’ll return and report)

The magic is in the quality of your questions. Your questions must stimulate names and faces in the mind of your customer or referral source. Your prior preparation is essential. Here are some questions that work for me.

Mr. Jones I know you are active in your service club. Who are the 3 most influential business people in your group?

Who do you like to sit by at those events?

Among your current customers what three or four companies have the largest sales force?

When you think of business executives who are always looking to improve, what three to five names come to mind?

If your questions look like this and are custom fit for your organization and circumstance, you will be able to strike sales gold with your referrals.

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Journaling: Get More out of Yourself

Every single day I learn something new about the power of the Griffin Hill Integrity Sales System. New learning is stimulated by study and experience. The more I adhere to process, plays, metrics and coaching, the more power and influence they bring to my life. It will work for you too.

One way to stimulate new learning and growth is to engage deep mental processing. Deep processing is the exact kind of thought we encourage in our prospects when we ask open-ended questions. Asking and answering meaningful questions is how we get the best critical thinking.

Journaling is a great method to stimulate mental processing, critical thinking and personal evaluation. In a recent blog we cited research suggesting humans are not skilled at individual judgment and personal evaluation. We tend to over-estimate, by about 40%, our individual contribution to a project or team. Journaling helps us get in touch with our inner critic and helps us to make honest assessments of our successes and our need to improve. It keeps us honest… if we ask ourselves the right questions.

Like other forms of evaluation the rules associated with celebration and helpful observations apply to journaling. Start with 3-5 successes. What do you feel good about and why? How has your performance improved? What feedback from customers, peers or supervisors gives you encouragement? What positive patterns are emerging?

Strengthened and encouraged by the answers to questions evoking positive feedback, you are now emotionally armed to ask the difficult questions. What flaw, weakness or shortcoming do I hide from others and even myself? What improvement does my current performance demand? What mistake or error did I make that I must not allow again? In what ways did I display poor judgment? How could I have been more kind, helpful, service oriented? These open-ended questions help us to think critically and honestly. They also lead to ideas for action and improvement.

Opportunities for journaling are well established in the Griffin Hill Integrity Sales System. We sometimes refer to them as evaluate or reflect-and-write. Every coaching session lead by a Griffin Hill coach ends with an invitation to reflect on the coaching session, its content and ideas that were stimulated. We ask you to select 3-5 ideas that resonated with you, that you found to be important, ideas that you don’t want to forget. We ask you to capture these ideas by writing them. In the context of your selections and writing, we ask you to choose an action item. This reflect-and-write activity is one way journaling is used and encouraged in The System.

In addition to the journal writing exercise at the end of each coaching session, there are other opportunities to journal in the Griffin Hill Integrity Sales System. From our Goal Setting Theory Day, we encourage clients to evaluate written goals each day, every week, monthly or quarterly and annually. Evaluating goals calls for self-reflection and writing—journaling. Every sales call follows a protocol of six-steps to insure optimal results. The final of these six steps is evaluation. How did the call go? What went well? Why? Did I adequately prepare? Did I follow the Six-Step Protocol? What one thing do I need to do better in the future?—journaling.

Taking advantage of these and other opportunities to ponder, think and deeply process will accelerate your improvement. Journaling will increase your conscious competence. You will have more wins. You will earn the respect of your peers. You will develop a pattern of growth for every other aspect of your life.

As you reflect-and-write consider the pattern we teach; fact, meaning, feeling and action. Capture the facts by asking good questions and seeking answers. Make sure you lead with the positive. Once you have assembled the facts ask what these facts mean to you? How do they apply? Next, ask how you feel about these facts and their meaning. Armed with facts, meaning and feeling you are prepared to conclude with 1-5 action steps.

I learn new things about the system all the time. The learning is more frequent, more meaningful and more powerful when I intentionally engage deep mental processing stimulated by journaling. This kind of learning leads to power. The power of greater knowledge, skill and action will strengthen you in the same way it strengthens me. It will make you mentally and emotionally stronger. You will become a better person. Your skills will improve and you will experience more success.

Be more conscious in your journaling opportunities—every coaching session, goal evaluations and six step protocols. You will be more prosperous and happier.