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How to Look Put Together and Polished

How to Look Put Together and Polished

This article is a bit of a departure from most of the content on this site, as we won’t be diving into any sales skills or personal finance tips. Instead, in this article, I want to talk with you about the idea of polish. When I did my research on this topic, most of the pieces in the same vein as this one (“how to look put together and polished”) were targeted at fashion, not polish. Although a sense of style can certainly be part of your polish, it is not the central tenet.

Preparation is the key to how to look put together and polished. In this article, we will delve into the three points of focus needed when preparing yourself for your business life.

  1. Why you should strive to be more polished
  2. The benefits of being more polished
  3. How to go about it without wasting all your money   

In the context of this article, looking “put together and polished” refers to the apparent quality of someone that comes to work looking prepared and dressed professionally. Most importantly, being put together and polished relates to a frame of mind.

Click here for the Car Salesman Dress Code (this link goes to the full article!)

Why You Should Care: Discipline and Signaling

Why should you care about how to look put together and polished?

leather shoes are part of how toHow to Look Put Together and Polished

In my article on One-on-One Coaching, I introduced my coach, George.

George has a passion for discipline that he focuses on in all of our one-on-one coaching sessions. I believe that being a veteran profoundly focuses his view on the subject.

In George’s eyes, freedom is born out of self-discipline.

In our training session, George encouraged me to practice self-discipline both at home and at work. Discipline is a muscle that needs to be exercised, and he shared with me three easy “workouts.” These behaviors would, he believed, allow us to remind ourselves that our mind is in control of our body’s desires (and not vice-versa).

With a little work, he said, we can remind ourselves not to coast on autopilot.

How to Look Put Together and Polished: George’s Signaling

George, my coach, started at the dealership as a used car salesperson around three years ago. The first impression he presented was excellent, working long hours and talking to every customer with respect. In the beginning, George sold many cars, quickly earning the admiration of the used car manager. I observed him from afar, noting his presence when speaking to customers and the aura of professionalism that he had.

After a few months, I had my first real conversation with George. I had come to the used car department to have a buyers guide printed, and the used car manager was at the 7/11 down the street. Overhearing that I was waiting, George came to me and told me he could print the form that I needed. I followed him to his office, and he pulled up the admin logins to get the paperwork printed.

I was impressed. Here was the new guy, with the knowledge of a sales manager. He was useful. When sitting across from him, I noticed his shirt. More specifically, I saw his shirt sleeve seam. Although the shirt was the same branded store shirt most salespeople wore, his shirt sleeve seam was sharp. The shirt was bright white, with crispy sharp seams!

How to Look Put Together and Polished? Get your seams to look good!

Why did this affect me?

No-one else at the dealer had the level of polish George’s shirt had. Here was the new guy, doing the sales managers job, with a shirt that looked more polished than the General Manager. 

About a year after he started, George was the used car manager. A year after that, he replaced the new car sales manager.

How to Look Put Together and Polished: George’s Discipline

George’s shirt signaled to me that he cared about how he presented himself while at work. He carried himself with intention. 

The shirt signaled to me that he was someone to look up to and a man of character. When I asked him about it, he said that his crispy sharp shirt seams were the product of “not coasting on autopilot.”

“Every night, before bed, I lay my clothes out on the iron. In the morning, 10 minutes before I head out the door, I turn on the ironing board. When it’s hot, I iron my shirt and pants, with special care taken to make sure I’m presentable. Taking the time to do this prepares me for the day, and makes sure I’m prepared”

– George

Not only did his shirt signal to his customers and his coworkers that he was a professional, but it also self-signaled as well. The shirt reaffirmed his perception of himself.

Having ironed clothes is an essential part of how to look put together and polished. I don’t recommend going cheap on this one, instead I think it’s worth spending* a little more to get a quality iron and ironing board.

The Benefits Of Being Polished

In my previous article about closing deals, I mentioned the “Demonstrated Desire to Sell”:

You are the dealership’s representative. If you seem disinterested, tired, frustrated, or aloof, your customer is going to question how much you truly want to sell them the vehicle. The customer will then wonder how “fair” you are pricing a car if you don’t really care if you sell the car or not. 

I implore you to perk up. Drink some coffee and remember why you came to work today. When you are sitting across the customer, they should have a distinct impression that you will do anything to sell this car. This type of attitude makes any deal you offer much sweeter, as the customer believes you when you tell them an offer is fair.

The benefits of reading this article (“How to Look Put Together and Polished”) revolves around the way that your customers will see you. If you come to work with your hair neat, your shirt ironed, and your shoes polished, you come across as someone that is at work with a purpose.

How to Look Put Together and Polished: Customer Impression

When you take care of yourself, your customers notice. 

After meeting with George for my most recent coaching session, I pledged to him that I would take my polish more seriously. His advice was clear:

“I think it’s just little tweaks you need to put into action if you want to be more polished. It will take a decision to start, and a dedication to follow through. Polish is not about some grand action, it’s a collection of little steps. Little steps that you care about.”

-George

I took it to heart. For the last month, I’ve come to work prepared and with a full night’s sleep. I iron my shirts before leaving the house, and I’ve been using Tie Stays and Collar Stays.

The impact that it has had on my customer’s perception of me has been reason enough to keep going. Here is a recent review:

“Everyone is very nice in dealership. My sales rep Andrei provide an exceptional professional customer service experience since the first day I preordered my car until I pick up the car from dealership!”

  • DealerRater Customer Review on 9/25/18

How to Look Put Together and Polished: Defeating Overwhelm With Preparation

So is all this polish just for the customers? No. One of the great rewards of being more polished reveals itself internally. 

Every job has stressful parts. Stress is often rooted in a lack of preparation, as it can be rooted in the overwhelm you feel when you can’t get everything done.

Overwhelm is the enemy of mental preparation. Once overwhelmed most people will need to leave a situation before returning to an agreeable state. The key is to avoid overwhelm if at all possible.

How so? With routine. Routine is the pattern of behavior, repeated daily, that ensures that all your ducks are in a row. When your routine is on point, you can go into situations without mentally juggling everything that still needs to be done.

To be consistently polished, you need a steady routine. Every day should have a pattern that you follow so that your polish becomes a habit. Polish is a battle of small steps. It’s a process to build up your routine to take care of this little things. I still remember when, after two years, my boss took me aside and recommended I take care of my nose hairs. I had never even thought about nose hairs in my life until that point! Now using a nose hair trimmer is part of my polish.

When you work on looking put together and polished, you will naturally feel more prepared at work. When you feel prepared, you will be less susceptible to overwhelm, and stress will no longer be your enemy.

How To Look Put Together and Polished Without Breaking The Bank

Now that we know why you should care and the potential benefits of looking put together and polished, let’s talk about how not to break the bank.

Step 1: Realize This Isn’t About Money

This article (“How To Look Put Together and Polished”) is not about spending more money on clothes.

If your clothes are falling apart or stained, then you should spend some money to replace them. Your clothes should be clean and fit well. 

More than anything else, the idea of how to look put together and polished involves caring. Do you care about how you present yourself at work? 

There are some products that can help you look more polished.

Step 2: Review of the Products to Help You Look Polished

Although looking put together and polished isn’t about money, a few things have helped me get myself set up:

A Quality Iron and Ironing Board ($50-$200)

Here is the iron I’d recommend, and here is the ironing board that I use with it. These are the products that I like to use personally, and they have helped get my clothes to look sharp.

The reason that you want to spend a little extra on these items is that the quality of them makes them more pleasurable to use, and therefore more likely that you will iron your clothes every day. I’ve also found that these higher quality models (linked above) last longer.

If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, these two are what I started with: The Sunbeam Steam Master and the Homz Steel Ironing Board. In a pinch, both of these will do!

Tie Stays (<$10)

These things are worth their weight in gold, especially since using this link you can usually get them below $10 including shipping. Tie stays are fantastic for keeping your tie looking fresh when you are out on the lot since they hold down your tie and stop it from getting caught on everything. 

Now, many salespeople these days have stopped wearing ties, which I can understand. You should wear attire that suits your customer’s preferences. A tie still signals “I’m here, and I’m a professional,” which can help when closing deals.

Collar Stays (<$20)

Sticking with the accessories for a moment, I recommend you pick up some collar stays. These will keep you looking polished and put together since your collar will stay down all day, regardless of how much you are running around.

Nose Hair (<$25)

Nothing is more distracting than a wild nose hair. Use these trimmers!

How to Look Put Together and Polished: Review

If you want to succeed, you need to care.  You need to care about how you perceive yourself, and how your customer sees you.

This simple guide on how to look put together and polished hopefully gave you a few tools to get started on your journey towards showing that you care about your professionalism. I hope that you take this advice and run with it.

*Note: These are affiliate links in this article, so if you do decide to follow my advice you help support the blog with your purchase!

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Run Your Life Like a Business

Run Your Life Like a Business

We are taught that money is a tool to pay rent, a tool to buy food, and a tool to save for retirement. We are also told that money is the root of evil, that money does not bring happiness, that money corrupts. All of this is true, in a sense. If that is the case, why should you run your life like a business?

The key tenet of this article “Run Your Life Like a Business” is simple. If you ignore your money, your cash flow, and your investments, money will likely become the greatest challenge of your life. If you concentrate on money just enough, you can eventually safely ignore it.

I need to get all of that out of the way before jumping into this article, my first personal finance article, on Car Sales Story. This article is not about car sales in any way, rather it is about running your life as a business owner, with focus, direction, and the right tools.

(That being said, the car business is one of the great businesses to work in if you want to make this work!)

My goal is for you to run your life like a business. I want you to be your own “life business owner”.

I’m also going to be introducing you to three tools* you can use to run your life like a business:

  1. Personal Capital
  2. Robinhood
  3. InvestedInstead

Let’s get started with the story of Ziggy, and then contrast the story of Zag.

*By the way, I’ll have a disclaimer at the bottom about the links to these tools!

The Story of Ziggy

Ziggy was a hard-working guy at ABC corporation. No one would call him a slouch. He clocked in on time, and did everything that was asked of him.

Ziggy was a happy guy and had a full career. He worked for 40 long years at his dealership, getting small raises here and there for his hard work. He didn’t know how much others made, and he thought it would be rude to ever ask.

He loved getting his paycheck every two weeks, because that paycheck paid for his rent, his food, and his bills. His money bought him excellent food at restaurants, where he loved to go.

If he had money left over at the end of the month, Ziggy would buy toys. He especially loved electronics and took pride in having the newest things that he found at Best Buy.

The Story of Zag

Zag, compared to Ziggy, was a pretty lazy guy.

He started work at ABC corporation about the same time as Ziggy.

Zag wasn’t quite as hardworking as Ziggy, but he had an eye for detail and a curiosity about money

Zag asked a lot of questions at work. His curiosity about money was always there. If Zag got to know you well enough, he would ask how much you make. How much you spent. Why you spent on what you did. He was always trying to figure out who made the most money at ABC corporation. He tried to figure out why some people made more than others.

When Zag was paid, he had a budget laid out. He delighted in the magic-like power of the stock market. Zag, just a regular guy, working at ABC, could buy a little part of ABC with the money he didn’t spend. Zag loved the idea of his money making money for him, mainly because Zag wasn’t a huge fan of working in the first place. 

After a few years, Zag heard about Ted leaving. Zag knew (from all of his past questioning) that Ted’s job paid very well, and Zag had made sure to be next in line for the position.

Zag got the promotion, and he used the extra money to buy more stocks, and put money down on a rental property. Zag liked to think of his investments as an “Army of Dollars” that worked for him.

As he worked, the stocks and the rental property were growing in value, slowly, every day.

Zagging When Others Are Zigging

Ziggy, our first character, was missing one key element. He was approaching his work and his company with care and dedication, but he was all but ignoring his financial life.

He was a great employee, but his company had no interest in teaching him personal finance. His continued work was an asset, and hard-working employees are hard to find. What incentive did his company have to train Ziggy in personal finance? To teach him about money?

Zag, on the other hand, always had his financial position in mind. He understood that the company he worked for was beholden to the people that owned shares in the company, and he played the game as such. Zag wanted to be an owner, so he treated his finances like the very business he worked for.

Zag understood how his company was laid how, similar to how I recommend you use the Mega Post to know how a dealership works if you work in the automotive industry!

Zag played the game. Ziggy did not.

Why Run Your Life Like a Business?

This article is, it must be said, was inspired by my time at the car dealership. I have sold thousands of cars, during which time I’ve had the opportunity to look inside the financial houses of my customers. I’ve come to understand how most of my customers think about money. I often am left feeling that there is a better way. 

The business that I work for is publically traded. Every dollar in every vault and bank can be assigned an origin and understood in the context of the business. The dollars spent are categorized and accounted for. The dollars earnt are categorized and accounted for. Every single employee understands, to some degree, how the business is kept. They understand that money can’t go missing, it can’t disappear. People’s livelihood depends on this business being run with a keen eye.

When the business has profit, it is reinvested to make more profit. When a certain amount of capital is amassed a new building is built, more inventory is bought, and more people are hired.

This same eye for detail and expansion can be the backbone of your finances. Every facet of your finances can, in the 21st century, be easily accounted for and tracked, for free. Not only that, if you can run a surplus, spending less than you earn, your money can quickly go to work for you. It has never been easier to run your life like a business.

The point is not money for money’s sake. The point is that if you don’t do this, you will end up having to think about money when it’s too late. When you want to retire, but the numbers “don’t make sense.” When your family member is sick, but there is no money for the health insurance deductible. When you lose your job, and you need some time to find a new one.

Money is your safety net. It is the lifeblood of your personal life business. Money is necessary and needs to be respected.

How To Run Your Life Like A Business

Your life’s business has the same levers as the business you work for, and the same things need to be tracked.

I’ll break down in this article how to understand the importance of your cash flow. I will show you how to track the money coming in and the money coming out.

I’ll also be jumping into the idea of capital, the backbone of your business. The proper use of wealth is the key differentiator between those who build a successful life’s business and those who don’t.

If your money doesn’t work for you, you will always need to work for your money.

Let’s Talk Cash Flow (Life and Business)

At my dealership money comes in, and money goes out. At your household money comes in, and money goes out. How is it tracked? 

At the dealership, we have cash flow statements. These large, unwieldy documents, are the key focus of the General Manager, who needs to make sure that all of the store’s numerous commitments make sense. These documents also can reveal the profit centers of the business, and reveal the places where money is being lost. The General Manager looks at this statement every month, making sure that business is living up to its plan. Every facet of the business is revealed in this document.

this article about how to run your life like a business does not require you to use ugly financial statements

financial statements are ugly

At your home, what do you use? Do you just check your bank statement? Your credit card bill? How do you know how much you are spending on restaurants every month?

Let’s try this; I’m going to ask you a few simple questions. You see if you know the answer off the top of your head:

  1. How much, exactly, do you spend on groceries every month? Is it consistent?
  2. How much, exactly, do you make (after tax withholdings)?
  3. What is your current net worth?
  4. How much do your cash flow, positive or negative, every month? Do you go deeper into debt? Or do you slowly grow your savings? Is it consistent?

How did you do? 

Do you think that a General Manager of a dealership would know his business’s cash flow? Do you think that the business manager for your dentist knows how much profit the practice makes each month?

Now, if you knew all four numbers right off the top of your head, skip the next section (skip the “Cash Flowing” bit). There is plenty more to learn other than cash flow for how to run your life like a business.

If you didn’t, let’s talk about cash flow tracking.

Cash Flowing – Where Did My Money Go?

If you don’t know how to find out the answer to those questions in less than 5 minutes, it’s time to get some new tools.

The beauty is that just about all the financial tools these days are free, easy to use, and available on your smartphone.

You may be thinking that I want you to do this:

the old school way to run your life like a business

Old School

When in reality, I want you to use automated tools like this:

the new school way to run your life like a business

New School

Did I painstakingly label the transactions into those categories? No! The app, Personal Capitaldid it all for me. All I did was link up my credit card to the phone application, and I was done. The computer went and categorized everything for me.

Personal Capital is our #1 tool for tracking cash flow, and I think it’s just about a requirement for you to use it if you aren’t following your cash flow right now. How are you going to get in control of your life’s business if you don’t know where your money is going?

Cash Flowing – How Much Am I Surplus?

The surplus will become your investment capital in the next section. How much do you cash flow every month? 

Well, good news, Personal Capital can show you that as well!

I’ve mocked up this cash flow table in Personal Capital to demonstrate what this example high-earner would “cash flow” into surplus every month.

personal capital is a great tool to use to run your life like a business

Cash Flow Table from Personal Capital (automated!)

According to this Cash Flow table, this person would have a surplus of $8500/month on average.

Now, this type of earning is not common, but I just mocked this up to give you an idea of what a cash flow table can look like. Even if your surplus $500/month, you can have an “Army of Dollars” that can grow to over a million dollars over your career (inflation adjusted!).

Investing – Zag’s “Army Of Dollars”

If you can run a monthly surplus (your earning is higher than your spending), that money left over is your Capital. Capital is the only thing needed to make investments, and wealth is the main reason that the rich get richer.

When you think of “Investors” your mind probably goes to Warren Buffett or Mark Cuban. You probably don’t think of yourself as an “Investor.” Why would you? What’s the benefit of being an Investor?

The benefit is simple. Your capital (surplus money) can be used to make more money. Your money can work for you.

The surplus dollars you save at the end of the month are recruits in your “Army of Dollars.”

This “Army of Dollars” goes to work every day at the same time you do, fighting the good fight, growing in strength day by day. This growth in your “Army of Dollars” is your “Return on Investment.”

How much should you hope that it grows per year? Well, the stock market is not guaranteed. It doesn’t always go up. When you run your life like a business, you don’t need guarantees. You need good chances.

Let’s Talk About The Stock Market

When I bring up the stock market, many people’s first response is fear.

I would invest in the stock market, but it’s really high right now.

or

I would invest in the stock market, but I don’t want it to go down in value, then I’ll lose my money. I like my cash.

Fair points. What if you invest in the stock market and it goes down? It very well could. That being said, over time, it trends up, at the rate of about 10% per year. From there, you lose about 3% to inflation. That leaves you with an average of 7% gains per year. See below for the history of the stock market (already adjusted for inflation). You can see recessions highlighted in gray. Those were the periods when stock values trended down for a period. As you can see, over your lifetime, the system trends up.

The S&P 500 is one of the key tools for how you can run your life like a business

S&P 1930-2018

Now, that money in the stock market will grow via compound interest, explained below by Investopedia:

One day, this “Army of Dollars” might grow large enough to support you! 

A business owner looks at his or her business capital as a tool to make more money. Compound interest is a vital tool for how to run your life like a business.

The Difference Between Not-Investing And Investing

Using the 7% that I mentioned earlier, let’s create a table. We are going to compare two identical people, except for the distinction of being an Investor vs. Non-Investor.

They both have a monthly surplus of $500 to save. The Investor puts that money in the stock market and earns 7%. The Non-Investor takes that money and settles into a saving account making 1%. Let’s see how this pans out over a 40-year career:

Compound interest is one of the key tools for how you can run your life like a business

The Power of Compounding

The difference is over a million dollars. Inflation-adjusted.

Do you understand the power of your “Army of Dollars” now?

One Sentence Investor

You, our new “life business owner,” know understand the power of your “Army of Dollars.” You understand that investing is something you need to learn.

So do you need to do 1000 hours researching? No. If it were, I would have never have done it myself.

The fact of the matter is, in 2018, you can become an investor for free. If you have $500 in your bank, you can become an investor with this one-sentence instruction:

Download the application “Robinhood” on your smartphone, fund your account with $500, and buy the “SPY” index fund.

Done. Congratulations, you are now an investor. 

Ok, you want a bit more information. Let me give it to you here:

In the United States (and much of the world), companies are owned by the public, represented by shares (a “share” of the business). When the company makes money and grows, it becomes worth more, and your shares grow in value. Robinhood is a “broker” who facilitates these transactions. Robinhood does not charge fees, which lowers the bar of entry on investing. You access “Robinhood” by using your smartphone or computer.

Now, the second part of my single sentence on investing involves buying “SPY”. What is that exactly? SPY represents the S&P 500, which is a combination of 500 of the largest companies in the United States. When you buy the SPY you are buying a little part of each of those 500 companies at the same time. 

Instead of trying to “pick the right stock” you just buy a basket of the best ones. These have returned 7% (after inflation) over the last few decades. 

If you want more info, Google has just about a billion articles about index investing. Time for you, our new business owner, to do some research. 

The Magic and Awe of SPY

SPY is one of the greatest things in the world. When I buy a share of SPY, I am becoming a part-owner of 500 different businesses at the same time. I am buying a piece of Amazon, a part of Apple, a piece of Caterpillar, and a portion of The Clorox Company. At the same time!

When those companies make money, I make money!

Let’s get back to our business owner analogy that this article is based on.

When the business you work for has a surplus, it uses that capital to buy things to make more money. It buys the work of new employees; it buys the land to build a new building. These Investments make them more money. Investment is how the business grows.

Ziggy used his surplus to buy toys. He buys fancy cars, new watches, and clothes. His stuff makes him no money, but it makes him happy for a little while.

Zag used his surplus to buy SPY (and other investments). SPY goes to work every day for him, making him money. Zag knew how to run his life like a business.

The power of SPY and the S&P 500 is one of the best tools for how to run your life like a business.

Helping Ziggy Understand – Opportunity Cost

Ziggy loves his toys. How much have those toys cost him? 

When Ziggy bought a brand new iPod in 2001, how much did that cost?

If you ask Ziggy, he would say $399+tax, because that is what he paid for it.

If you ask Zag, he would say just under $70,000. Why does Zag think like that?

Zag isn’t just thinking about how much it “cost” but about how much of an investment he could have bought with that money instead. If Ziggy had bought $399 of Apple stock instead of the iPod, today (9/27/2018) he would have $69500~. That means the iPod cost almost $70k. 

This line of thinking is how a business person thinks. This is called “analyzing the opportunity cost”:

“Opportunity cost represents the benefits an individual, investor or business misses out on when choosing one alternative over another.”

Investopedia

You can think of all the toys with this same mentality. If you do, you will start to run your life like a business, instead of like a consumer. You are learning how to run your life like a business.

Want an easy, free tool to do these calculations? I’ve got one for you. Welcome to InvestedInstead. Beware- you may never look at consumption like Ziggy again!

The End Game: The Return of Humanity To The Equation

The best part about learning how to run your life like a business is a power that comes with your surplus. One of the best parts of my life is the charity that I can do with the money I make. 

Retake a look at that expenses chart from earlier:

Choosing charity is part of how you can run your life like a charity

Rent vs. Charity

That decision right there, to have low rent** and to have a large amount of charitable giving, comes from an understanding of how to run your life like a business. This has taken years to get to, but I am happy with my progress. This article is about taking control of your financial life.

**Note: This low rent is in notoriously expensive Silicon Valley comes from my ability to understand the market.

Further Reading On How to Run Your Life Like A Business

Hopefully, you are now getting excited about learning how to run your life like a business. You are inspired to be like Zag, relentlessly pursuing career growth and the ability to scale your life’s business at the same time. 

Here are some the absolute best resources for you to continue this journey of learning:

  1. The Story Of The World’s Worst Market Timer: This short article will work to quell your fears about stock market investing by reviewing what would have happened if you invested all of your money on the days before the start of all recent recessions. Very interesting!
  2. Mr. Money Mustache: One of my favorite financial bloggers, has some very worthwhile articles:
    1. Your Money or Your Life
    2. Getting Rich: from Zero to Hero in One Blog Post
    3. Great News: There’s Another Recession Coming
  3. Investopedia: Annual S&P 500 Returns: Investopedia is one of the easiest reads available online regarding all facets of investing

Tools So You Can Run Your Life Like A Business (3x No-Brainers):

  1. Personal CapitalThe easiest (free) way to track your money and your investments
  2. RobinhoodThe easiest way to buy SPY, the name of the fund that tracks the S&P 500
  3. InvestedInstead: The easiest way to put your consumer purchases into perspective

Additional Tools to Run Your Life Like A Business:

  1. VanguardVanguard gives you the ability to buy the S&P 500 and a wealth of other index funds at a small cost. More established than Robinhood.
  2. Compound Interest CalculatorInvestment return is a crucial facet of how to run your life like a business. Remind yourself of its power here.

Disclaimer on Tool Links:

If you click on the links for Robinhood or Personal Capital, you will be taken to a signup page with an offer. For Robinhood, if you sign up using that link, we both get a share of a company, chosen at random by Robinhood. For Personal Capital, we both get $20, assuming you link an investment account (such as your new Robinhood account).

Since these are mutually beneficial, I figure it’s fair for me to include in this free article. If you want to skip them, feel free!

I think that these tools are great for how to run your life like a business, but there are alternatives out there.

One-on-One Coaching: Recent Lessons

One-on-One Coaching: Recent Lessons

A few days ago I met with one of my mentors for some one-on-one coaching. My August sales had gone well, with strong volume and happy customers. I carried little intention into the meeting, rather opting to create an open space to receive whatever my coach had on his mind. (In place of my mentors true name, we will be using the pseudonym “George”.)

Lucky for me (and now for you as well), he had some wisdom ready to share.

While I won’t edit heavily what he shared with me, I will extrapolate on the things that he brought to me. In just under 30 minutes we covered a range of topics, from controlling our tendency for autopilot, the danger of distractions, and bedtimes.

Without further ado, let’s jump in.

One-on-One Coaching: Discipline From Your Toothbrush

George has a passion for discipline that he focuses on in all of our one-on-one coaching sessions. I believe that being a veteran profoundly focuses his view on the subject.

In George’s eyes, freedom is born out of self-discipline.

In our training session, George encouraged me to practice self-discipline both at home and at work. Discipline is a muscle that needs to be exercised, and he shared with me three easy “workouts.” These behaviors would, he believed, allow us to remind ourselves that our mind is in control of our body’s desires (and not vice-versa).

With a little work, he said, we can remind ourselves not to coast on autopilot.

The first trick? Switching hands when brushing our teeth.

Switching hands? How will that help…

When you brush your teeth, your mind lets go of control and your muscle memory takes over. The task, like so many other parts of our life, is relegated to autopilot.

The first thing you will notice when you switch hands is just how strange it feels. How much you need to think to accomplish the task. You will feel more sensation and notice things subtleties of brushing.

This trick, George said, reminds you about everything in your life that you are relegating to autopilot.

Are you introducing yourself to customers on autopilot?

Are you walking into your office and saying “good morning” on autopilot?

How about your personal life? Do arrive home and greet your partner on autopilot?

Swapping hands while brushing your teeth can serve as a reminder of just how able your body is to take over the day-to-day tasks in your life. Although this is natural, it can be dangerous. Someone that is on autopilot does not take risks. They don’t “surprise and delight” their customers.

Salespeople on autopilot do the bare minimum required of them. 

One-on-One Coaching: Discipline Countdown

Discipline comes in little pieces.

“Here’s the other one,” George said, “try doing an alarm clock countdown every morning. When the alarm clock goes off, start a countdown in your head…’1, 2, 3, up!’ and get going”

I love this habit.

When the alarm goes off in the morning, I’m just as liable as anyone to slam the snooze button. If instead I do this mental countdown, I am able to prepare myself for a successful day.

It’s the little things.

At the end of the day, George stressed, discipline is a skill you must develop with focused effort. Discipline is your ability to overcome autopilot.

One-on-One Coaching: Distractions

Distractions are the antithesis of discipline. George took a serious tone when addressing distractions.

“No matter what your distraction, be it TV, Internet, Videogames, or other people, you need to take back control,” George said, “Whether at work or at home, distractions will destroy your discipline”

As a way to combat these distractions, he gave me these simple questions to ask myself. When you notice yourself getting distracted, stop and ask yourself:

Is this (what I’m doing right now) helping me, hindering me, or simply neutral (keeping me stagnate)?

If you can catch yourself from the distraction (and the ensuing mental autopilot), you might have a chance of avoiding the pitfall!

I’ve found that I am distracted most when I’m tired. As the day grows older and the sun sets, my discipline goes out the window. My clean diet turns towards high-sugar sweets and my half hour of Netflix becomes a marathon. How often does that happen in the morning?

My Miracle Morning

As such, I’ve been trying my best to become a morning person. The idea was first sparked by a colleague who had read the book “My Miracle Morning.” I hadn’t heard of this book, although the idea was vaguely familiar. Although I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, the advice seems to boil down to having a well planned out and effective morning that is identical everyday.

This is what I’ve come up with:

one-on-one coaching often inspires me to make checklists like this one

Return of the iOS Notes app!

Simple right?

I’ve found that the simplicity helps, and the results are great. If I am able to wrangle my morning into this schedule, I feel a warm glow the whole day. My work mind is clear. After work, my mind is at ease as the bulk of my self-care and tasks were done first thing that morning.

One-on-One Coaching: Focus on Communication

Since I am in sales and management, George always focuses on communication when we meet. How can you get your message across in a way that builds up, not tears down, a relationship? He gave me a simple list of internal questions to keep an eye on when delivering a message:

  • Who is receiving my message?
  • Why do they need this message?
  • How can I deliver clearly what I want to communicate? (concentrate on the connection, always!)

These simple questions help align me when communicating. Some customers want to have a luxury experience, while others only care about efficiency. We all need to constantly remind ourselves to tailor our communication to our target audience.

The second question (why do they need this message?) can reveal when your ego has slipped into your communications. Sometimes I will find myself telling customers things that they don’t need to hear, simply to satisfy my ego.

A few days ago, during the Labor Day weekend sale, I had a customer become disgruntled. The sales process had been rough, with unwieldy hand-offs and long wait times. I wasn’t proud of how his experience went.

When I gave him a follow up call, I was ready for him to lay into me with his disappointments. As soon as we got on the phone, his disposition was clear.

“I don’t know if you know this Andrei, but I am a customer service consultant who specializes in end-to-end luxury experiences. I can tell you that my experience on Saturday was decidedly not…”

He continued, rehashing what had gone wrong. Even though I had seen this coming, I could feel the hot coal of anger burning in my hands as he listed the problems in detail.

I wanted to stop him and explain that there was little that could have been done, that the weekend was busy, that “at least he got a good deal.” None of these things would have helped. The “Why” for communicating these things would have only been to alleviate my own stress. The worst part? I probably would have derailed the entire conversation and made repairing our relationship difficult.

Choosing a Different Method

So instead of explaining, I asked for his advice. I politely apologized for his experience after he had finished “emptying his cup” and asked for him to give me some practical advice on how to improve. Immediately the entire conversation changed. Now my customer was in his element, giving advice and commenting on the parts that went well. He went from giving me a 1-star Yelp review to acting like I was one of his paying clients. He went as far to complement a few parts of our process that he liked, which I imagine is simply a habit of positivity from his day job.

The best part? He had some great advice.

One-on-One Coaching: Stress

“We overuse the word stress”

George was certain of this. Stress can come from demands or threats, and often feels like a mix of both. By isolating what is bothering us, we can often find simple answers. Much of “stress” is actually procrastination.

Try to simplify. Either the task can be completed on time or it can’t. Either result can be worked with. If it can be done, get to work. If it’s not possible, it’s time for you to give a mea culpa and figure out your next step.

Stress should be used as an internal signal that work needs to be done. It shouldn’t be treated as a sign of defeat.

One-on-One Coaching: I’m a Believer

I continue to believe that one-on-one coaching is one of the most powerful things that you can do for yourself. If you want to work with me directly, shoot me a message on the contact page, or click the link below.

If you would like to start working with me, reach out here: https://carsalesstory.com/coaching/

One-On-One Sales Coaching (Why and How)

One-On-One Sales Coaching (Why and How)

Everyone needs guidance. In my career so far, I’ve had a number of people who have provided me with one-on-one sales coaching. The skills, routines, and discipline that I’ve taken from them have been invaluable.

In the last few months, I’ve begun hosting my own one-on-one sales coaching, paying forward what has been given to me. There is no greater inspiration than to teach, and no greater tool for accountability. One of the most gratifying parts of my evolving career has been to work with one-on-one sales coaching clients. They have broadened my horizons by sharing with me challenges that I have never faced in my own career.

One-on-One Sales Coaching: Becoming A Good Student

Before you can ever coach, you must learn how to be coached. A good teacher is once and always a good student. Learning is a constant process, so embrace it now.

I’ve always sought to make people I look up to into my teachers. I try to capture the essence of what makes them successful. I’ve had coaches throughout my adult life and none of the time with them was wasted. There is a method to being a good student.

One-on-One Sales Coaching: Finding The Right Mentors

First things first, you need to find good mentors and convince them that you are worth teaching. You must be proactive, attentive, and respectful of their time.

The mentors you seek out do not need to be the exact model of who you are trying to become. They should have incredible talents that you want to emulate, combined with a personality that is agreeable with yours. Think right now of the people that you interact with that have both a talent that you want to emulate and a personality that you get along with. That person is someone you could learn from.

Pick someone that you look up to! What is it about the potential mentor that you want to capture? What have they accomplished that you want to emulate? One-on-one sales coaching is particularly suited to this type of talent acquisition, and you should think of your teachers in this way. When you know what you want to learn from them you will have a greater drive to be a good student.

Asking For Help Is A Great Compliment

Almost everyone has someone that they both look up to and get along with, so why isn’t one-on-one sales coaching more popular? The practice is mutually beneficial to both the teacher and student benefit greatly.

The biggest hold-up? Fear. Most potential students never actually ask for any type of “formal” coaching from their potential mentors for fear of rejection and embarrassment.

What if they don’t think I’m worthy?

What if they don’t have time to share with me?

What if they think it’s weird I want to ask them about their success?

Thankfully, we can take a page from the mastering sales mindset when addressing these fears. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. I believe it is better to be painfully rejected 10 times to get 1 good mentor than to never coached at all.

Reframe your thoughts on the subject.

Asking for advice and guidance (if done right) is a respectful and complimentary thing to do. In the few times that I have been rejected, my relationship with that person has always improved. Why? Because although they don’t have time to help me (understandable!), they appreciate my “looking up” to them.

It’s a huge sign of respect to say, “I’ve been watching your success and want to be like you”. Wouldn’t you appreciate it if someone said that to you?

Simple Mistakes

There are a few potential mistakes that can be avoided with a little planning.

First, understand that asking for someone to guide you and be your mentor is a big ask. As such, don’t be surprised if people say no. People have other things in their lives that might come before you. That’s okay. The last thing you want is someone to say yes and then half-ass their time with you.

Secondly, don’t start by asking Tim Ferris or Tony Robbins to be your mentor (to start). Famous people who are thought leaders, authors, or public figures generally tend to be both very busy and very expensive. Hundreds (if not thousands) of people are vying for their daily attention. Most importantly, their guidance is not necessarily that much better than those people one step less popular. Often times the difference between a “brand name” thought leader and their contemporaries is not skill but timing and luck.

As an addendum to number two, I think that it’s critical to seek out local mentors. My best mentors and coaches have been people who I work with, simply because proximity is critical to action. If I see my coach every single day my potential accountability is exponentially greater than with someone I talk to once a week. If my coach is also my boss, they can and will pay attention if I’m slacking!

Third, don’t start too formal. Many potential coaches have actually never coached before, so it’s critical that you are tactful in your approach. If you were the potential teacher which of these approaches is better:

“Hi! I am a huge fan of the way that you carry yourself and what you have been able to accomplish. I’m trying hard to be the best person I can so I was wondering if you can be my LIFE COACH!!!!

or

“Hi! I am a huge fan of the way that you carry yourself and what you have been able to accomplish with X and Y. I was wondering if you had time to grab coffee sometime this week so I could ask you a few questions?

Approach with a light touch!

“…asking someone to be a formal mentor is the absolute worst way to get a good mentor, because it’s like ‘hey! do you want to sign up for a unpaid part time job because you have so much free time?”

-Tim Ferris in interview with Ryan Lewis, “The Obstacle is The Way” by Ryan Holiday, Audiobook, Track 39

Potentially Critical Mistake That You Absolutely Must Avoid

This one deserved its own header. If and when you find someone that you hope to be your mentor, read their damn book first (if they have one). Read their blog. Learn, inside and out, what they have taken the time to put out into the universe before asking for one-on-one sales coaching.

Example From My Client

Aaron was the very first client that I met through this website. Here is our very first email exchange:

Simple!

When I received this, I was so excited. My very first coaching lead generated from my website. Aaron took time out of his day to send this simple message on my website’s fledgling “contact me” page, and I’ve been invested in his success ever since. Since sending this email (around 50 days ago) we’ve spoken on the phone for at least 4 hours and we text a few times a week. In the time in-between our conversations, I’ve spent at least 6 hours working to learn the answers to his challenges, taking his questions and finding experts to provide us with solutions. I re-listened to two audiobooks simply because I thought I could refresh myself on things that could help him.

Aaron took initiative (2 minutes to send the original message), and in turn, I’ve taken the time. The math works out that I’ve spent at least 10 hours working for him (whether directly or in preparation).

Now that’s a good return on investment.

If you would like to start working with me, reach out here: https://carsalesstory.com/coaching/

One-On-One Sales Coaching: Learning From Your Coach

Once you have secured someone to be your sales coach, it’s time to start on your path to learning. There are going to be a few things to keep in mind during this process!

Respect

It’s mission-critical to heed every word that your coach tells you, as showing respect will unlock their greatest generosity. As I mentioned before, if your coach has produced any available content, you should have already read/listened/watched it. You should take notes when you meet with them, paying attention to the themes of what they teach you.

Asking for help is a supremely humbling and respectful thing to do (if done right). Parlaying the following opportunity into a strong longterm relationship is the next step. Make sure that you crush the basics. Always showing up on time to every meeting, taking great notes, and being a good listener.

Themes

Often times your coach will have underlying themes to what they teach. For example, one of the people who has coached me over the last few years is a master of personal responsibility. Garcia is a military veteran, a father, and a sales manager. He is always dressed properly, shows up early to work, and conducts himself professionally in important situations. His level of personal discipline is one of the things that attracted me to ask for his guidance in the first place.

As I’ve spent more time with this particular coach, I’ve found that this personal discipline is a major theme of everything he teaches me. It is a central tenet, a unifying capstone that holds his philosophy of life together. Once I had identified this, it was easy to understand how (and why) he conducts himself.

In sticking with the idea of respect, I’ve made an effort to conduct myself with a similar way.

Progress

Your one-on-one sales coach wants to know that their time is being well-spent. There is no greater satisfaction than seeing the fruit of your labor, and your progress is that fruit! If you have chosen a good coach, listened intently, read the supporting material, and put their words into action, you should be able to show progress to your coach.

Keep track of what you have been able to achieve. Loop your coach in periodically with how their time invested in coaching you have had tangible results.

Note: Don’t overshare with your mentor, avoid daily updates.

It is absolutely fundamental to stay humble throughout this process. If, with coaching, you are able to achieve great things, make sure that you do not become conceited. No coach wants to see their influence parlayed into someone acting like God’s gift to mankind.

“In All Matters, Stay Humble”

Challenges

Challenges that you are facing in your journey are oftentimes more useful than your fresh wins. Learn how to paint your challenges in a positive light. Here is an example of how you can share your challenges while mentioning your successes:

“So I’ve had some great success with the Facebook group that you suggested I set up. I’ve had two referral deals come from it, plus a number of potential leads that I’m still working. That being said, I’ve noticed that one challenge is…”

This framing of the situation will both allow your coach to see progress and feel a need to still be your coach. Perfect.

One-On-One Sales Coaching: Watch and Learn

When you are working with your coach, you should also be learning how they are teaching you. If you want to become a sales leader you will need to become a coach first. The best way to learn is to teach, meaning that you should be paying attention to how your coach acts in their role.

Pay attention. How does your coach respond when you bring a new challenge? How do they act when you show your progress? What makes your coach effective with you?

Notes. Notes. Notes.

You absolutely should take notes, and keep a journal to boot. What did your boss tell you about your performance two years ago? Don’t remember? Exactly! You need to write down everything from your one-on-one sales coaching sessions.

My First One-on-One Sales Coaching Experience

Working with Aaron has been a huge blessing in my life so far. The conversations we have had have felt important, and his progress is already apparent. Working with him is incredibly gratifying.

 

my one on one sales coaching involves using shared ios notes

Magic of Thinking Big (With Shared iOS Notes)

I hope to do more coaching (both receiving and providing) in the future.

One-On-One Sales Coaching Review

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends

  • Joe Cocker

Everyone needs guidance. Strive to give it and receive it.