Tag Archives: authenticity

YOU are the Sale

17 Jul

In 2019, we are selling ourselves. It doesn’t matter what your position might be – frankly, it becomes more and more important the higher you are in a company. And as an entry level salesperson, you carry YOU forward – whether that’s at the same company all your life or more likely, whatever career is generated from your first few years in the workplace.

How do you sell yourself today?

1 – You have a kick-butt LinkedIn profile. Because that’s what professional people do. You also have other social media sites – at least Facebook – where you are community-facing on a regular basis. In the old days, networking happened in your neighborhood or at your place of worship or the grocery store where you knew everyone. Today, it’s on the world wide web.

2 – You operate every day with every person under the golden rule. People around you start saying (because you usually succeed at living the golden rule), “I wonder what that guy does…”. They won’t listen or remember – unless they ask with genuine curiosity. That curiosity only comes when they like you as a human being.

I grew up learning from people and many sales books that the buyer didn’t need to like you. It’s actually true – but then you can only be one thing – an expert with a perfect product or service. In case you aren’t the expert yet and/or your product service is only very good in a competitive field, genuine, trusting relationships go a long way in the ten years that I’ve been running my own business.

3 – You are authentic. Part of being likeable is being vulnerable. You have a couple warts and you talk about them openly.

For example, I don’t like golf. That makes me a bit odd in the business community, but I haven’t played a hole since my third child was born. Somehow, I’m accepted.

I’m also a spazz. My children and fiance definitely understand this. They also know they can say “shoosh you dumb bear”… and I’ll immediately realize that I might be talking an octave too high about something that probably isn’t that big of a deal.

4 – You strive to be the best in the world at something. It doesn’t have to be work-related because whatever it is, it makes you human and helps people remember you. I’m not the best in the world (yet) but my passions and talents are in writing. I’m a recruiter, consultant and salesman, so I decided to put off the fiction novel and pour my efforts into these blogs and business books until I’m 50 (then I write the novel).

If you have these four principles above well in hand, there are many directions you can go from there. It’s all about taking your passions and making you memorable – beyond the privacy of your friends and family...

You’re good at golfing… then represent your company at EVERY charity tournament this year.

You’re a juggler… then learn how to juggle EVERYTHING and tell everyone about it (think concise, short stories 🙂 ).

You love to travel… is your office covered with pictures from your vacations away? What’s the front-page screensaver on your phone? Buy a padfolio with photos on the cover. Start a blog for photos or writings.

You’re a pastry chef… then why isn’t EVERYONE at your office getting a birthday cupcake from you every year? Or maybe deliver some cakes to your clients? They will think you are nutty… but they won’t forget you.

You’ve got a heckuva story to tell… you don’t have to be a writer to be an author. What would be cooler than starting your own book? I can help you with that one if you reach out.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew


8 Characteristics of Inauthentic Leadership

17 Apr


Authentic leaders stay true to who they are and are comfortable voicing their own truths. They aren’t pressured into decisions or judgments by outside influences. Because of this, people who are authentic succeed over their competition.

Do You Have Any of These Flaws?

dumbo1. The unauthentic don’t expose their own faults. Instead, they hide their flaws and try to make themselves look ‘perfect’ which drives people away. A few years ago, I wrote a piece about “the fat fireman”. Essentially, I told the story about a disarming neighbor that cracked jokes and always had a smile on his face. I compared him to an intelligent attorney who always wore an expensive suit and perfect bow tie … but the lawyer was plain and not interesting. People were drawn to and disarmed by the fat fireman. I’m friends with the fat fireman and all his flaws and would definitely buy from him.

mistakes2. Therefore, they don’t learn from their mistakes. Because they are always hiding their faults, the unauthentic aren’t going to learn from them. A strong leader fosters an environment where faults and mistakes are not only accepted but encouraged. Everyone in their world is required to speak the truth and give feedback even if it hurts. Great leaders and their teams will learn much more from their mistakes versus their successes.

Ass_Kisser_Mug_300x3003. They are butt-kissers and people-pleasers.  Don’t kiss butts – it doesn’t work long term. Instead, tell the truth and be direct. Help, give and make genuine relationships with the right people and stop worrying about taking care of everyone. If your organization doesn’t promote this type of culture, you are probably working for the wrong organization.

4. They make short-term decisions that benefit themselves. Hopefully the reasoning behind this is obvious but it’s amazing how commonly this occurs. Great leaders stick to their guns and often make unpopular long-term decisions for the greater good.

Corporate America fails at this over and over again. They care about the stock price today, tomorrow and at the end of the quarter. This causes them to lie, hide and often make horrible decisions for the long haul. Artificial bubbles are created by poor, short-term decisions – and I have no doubt that America is building another bubble right now.

tightlipped5. They are tight-lipped. Don’t get me wrong, an authentic individual doesn’t need to be totally transparent. And a great leader usually isn’t the most talkative person in the room.

I have a deal with my three children that they can ask me anything and I’m comfortable answering 3/4’s of their questions. But there are 3 other categories: (a) I’ll tell you when you are 18 (b) I’ll tell you when you are 21 and (c) That’s dad’s business and I’m not going to share that information with you. Strong leaders need to express their thoughts, feelings and views unapologetically. In business, stay away from religion and politics… the rest should be fair game!

6. They are more concerned with impressing versus helping others. I had lunch with someone last month and I almost walked out on him after he referred to himself in the 3rd person for the 5th time (“John is really good at sailing…”). I decided instead to call John out on it. Let’s just say it was a funny moment (for me) but I don’t think we’ll be having lunch again.

Authentic leaders don’t care about their self-importance. They are much more concerned with helping those around them become successful. The authentic individual gives and shares because it’s obviously the nice thing to do – but understands that it also will benefit them. Warren Buffet isn’t significant because of his money and boasting. Buffet will be remembered for a long time to come because of his humility and value system.

surrounded-100526213-primary.idge_7. They surround themselves with anyone and everyone. Inversely, authentic leaders carefully select their trusted inner circle (because they tend to attract so many people). They conscientiously choose others that are direct, reliable and honest. In turn, authentic people are loyal to these relationships to the end of time.

8. Their value system constantly changes. That doesn’t mean those with strong value systems don’t adjust their principles here and there. If you watch the hit NBC Show “Good Place“, it provides laugh after laugh while consistently focusing on good ethics. In today’s ever-changing-world, the show recognizes that the definition of a “good decision” changes… but the core value system does not. Authentic leaders understand that their strong value system is at the heart of all they do.


If I haven’t convinced you yet that authentic people win long term, I’ll close with the fact that unethical behavior will cost you real money in business. You won’t land certain deals and customers because of poor decisions. A recent study by Goodpurpose demonstrated that where quality and price were equal, the leading purchase driver for 53 percent of consumers was social purpose.

So be real and be you. Live without regrets and be authentic!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew



The Friendly World of LinkedIn

19 Mar

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In February, I wrote a blog that I thought had a shot at being featured on a channel of LinkedIn Pulse (link to article here: The 50* Largest Groups on LinkedIn). It’s not really an “article”, but a list filling a void that I couldn’t find updated anywhere on the world wide web. After publishing and getting some organic steam, I decided to drive as much traffic to my post as possible. I did some considerable research on the topic of getting featured on LinkedIn Pulse and certainly got a lot smarter along the way as I interacted with a lot of friendly connections…


The primary way that my post received a lot of attention was by reaching out to my network one by one and asking for their support with the article. I certainly didn’t have time to invite all 14,000 of my connections, but I asked about 400 people and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of support from my network.

I used the opportunity to reconnect with 100 people that I hadn’t communicated with in some time and I shared it with 50+ clients asking them for a ‘like’. Then I rolled up my sleeves over the weekend and really dug into mining my connections and asking the biggest influencers in my network for help.

Who were the last 250 people I asked?

lion1. LION’s aka LinkedIn Open Networkers. I may go a little overboard as a recruiter connecting with other LION’s (I have over 2,000 of them), but they have real value and I saw this in action. I didn’t invite all of them, given this was actually me doing the invites (I don’t let my virtual assistant touch my LinkedIn due to it containing many real relationships, so I don’t want them to feel spammed). Instead, I searched through the LION’s that were most active, the ones that had the most connections and the individuals that also wrote articles that I could help to cross-promote. LION’s typically have a lot of connections so their resharing value is exponential.

I sent them different versions of this message (within LinkedIn):

Hello Susan, I’m trying to get this article featured on one of LI’s Pulse channels. Is there any way I could get you to reshare it and/or comment on the article? Let me know how I can return the favor. Many thanks! ~Drew


2. The Busy Bees. I asked people that were more active on LinkedIn. I view my newsfeed almost every morning, so I’m aware of who is most involved in using LinkedIn. These connections certainly got an invitation.

3. Recruiters and HR Professionals. They use LinkedIn probably more than any job title. All of the recruiters and HR folks that I know well received a message from me.

4. Groups. These weren’t individual people I messaged; I went to almost all of my LinkedIn groups and posted my article there. In turn, this generated a lot of visibility from 2nd and 3rd degree connections. Since I do not promote very often in my groups, I don’t think any took down my post. A lot of them were listed in the article, so it was certainly relevant material.

I assumed I’d get help from 1 out of every 10 people but that ratio ended up being closer to 1 out of every 4. The number of reshares was my biggest surprise and more than not, they reposted with a nice plug on the blog post and me. The comments were awesome as well and many of them came with thoughtful questions and meaningful feedback.

thumbsblogOngoing, I realized who in my network could help again if I asked. I’m guessing half of the aforementioned connections would be annoyed if I asked for another “favor” this month, but the other half offered to help anytime. These 75 or so connections (you know who you are) recognize the enormous value of a supportive community on LinkedIn. I will be liking their posts, reading their articles (and reposting if I like the material), joining some of their groups and likely asking for their help in the future.

As of today, I have over 800 views of my article, 168 likes, 47 comments and 97 reshares. Woo hoo! Of course, it never got featured on a channel of LinkedIn’s Pulse, which was my original objective… but it did garner a lot of attention, my answer on Quora is on the first page of results when you Google “largest LinkedIn groups”, I have a meeting with a new prospect and last Friday, I got a call from a radio host that wants me to be featured on his program. Listen to me live on Cover Your Assets with Todd Rooker on ESPN 1500 AM 8:00-9:00 am on April 13th!

I have been loudly reminded all over again of the utility of LinkedIn and the value of my 1st degree connections. The key is to actively engage with them on a regular basis. We all have only so much time… but I don’t think you can afford not to comb through your relationships and communicate with them on a regular basis. Thank you, Microsoft and LinkedIn, for your imperfect but valuable social media site. A thousand thank-you’s to my network for your ongoing support!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew



P.S. Can I still get featured? If you like this post, please give it a thumb. If you benefit from reading my articles, please go here and give me a like, comment or reshare: The 50* Largest Groups on LinkedIn




Connecting with Prospects

20 Nov



You finally got them on the phone – or finally got a chance to meet your prospect in person. Now you need to keep their attention.

I believe we over-complicate rapport building with prospects. We try too hard… talk too much… and often find ourselves nervous which causes us to step on our own feet.

The secret to developing rapport is being AUTHENTIC. If you don’t naturally have some of the skills and attributes I list below, then maybe you aren’t wired for sales. Because great salespeople don’t act in front of the prospect or customer. They follow a process – but don’t pretend or get flustered.

  1. Relax and begin informally. If you start by talking about your business solution, you might lose them immediately. Even though they may not have a lot of time, slow down and connect with the person on a human level. The first 30 seconds of the conversation is the most important and that is where the bond (or lack thereof) begins.
  2. Start with questions. You are a curious cat, no? Conversational questions should come naturally – but make sure to have a few questions prepared.
  3. Get them to talk. People like you better when you close your mouth and allow them to talk…. this means your questions are open-ended.
  4. Now they are talking – but are you really listening? People often ask questions and instead of listening to the response, they are thinking about two other things: (a) What is this person thinking about me? (which makes you nervous and keeps you off track) and (b) What is my next question? Be in the moment and don’t jump ahead!
  5. Great listening means being genuinely interested. If you don’t have this attribute, then I don’t think you can sell. You want to know about the customer’s hobbies, likes and dislikes – and you certainly want to learn more about their role and their business. Again, be curious!
  6. Tell stories. Instead of telling them why your product or service is SO wonderful, share examples of how you’ve helped your customers and give real life stories surrounding your solution. They are influential and more memorable than barking a generic value proposition.
  7. Reveal your interests and values. Sharing your passion and your values will resonate with the prospect and likely develop a stronger bond.
  8. Keep their best interest in mind. If you aren’t a fit for them, tell them and walk away. Don’t simply be a solution – but be the best partner and you will land the business and keep it for a long time to come.

I’m not suggesting that you walk into an appointment or take a call unprepared or too casual. Always have a list of prepared open-ended questions – and drive towards their challenges and how your solution can save/make them time and/or money. You need to have a specific outcome that you are driving towards during the interaction.

I think the rest is about being human. It’s about being authentic. Don’t be all things to all people. Be yourself.

It’s time to grow faster~ 
Drew Schmitz

What can Joe Mauer teach us about sales?

14 Nov


Very little.

This month, Joe Mauer, long term Minnesota Twin, announced his retirement from Major League Baseball. On Monday, I listened to Joe’s news conference where he emotionally discussed his retirement for over 30 minutes. I wondered where in the heck this Joe has always been…

I grew up here in Minnesota with the luck of watching my Twins capture World Series titles in 1987 and 1991. We had Kirby Puckett, a passionate, joyful character that always made me giggle; Bert Blyleven, who kept levity around the Twin’s clubhouse with almost daily pranks; Kent Hrbek, who was almost as hilarious as Blyleven… and Minnesota had Jack Morris for one year, who was as fiery as any competitor and won game 7 of the 1991 World Series pitching 10 innings. We had great personalities and players full of emotion.

Many years later in 2004, the Twins had a new star catcher named Joe Mauer as a rookie… Joe’s first 5-7 years with the Twins were unbelievable and he clearly looked to be headed to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

In 2010, he signed a record $184 million 8-year contract. In the following years, Joe Mauer had a major concussion and a number of frustrating injuries. In 2014, the Twins moved Joe to first base and he was never the same player again. Like many Minnesota fans, I began to lose faith in him. He was expensive, often injured and very average from that point forward at first base.

The real reason why I’ll never look at Joe in the same light as the aforementioned Kirby, Bert, Kent and Jack is because Joe seemed to lack any of the passion we saw from my World Series favorites. In interviews, Joe gave short answers in a monotone voice and in general was very close-lipped. Joe was boring. He was a good man and ball player… but extremely boring.

I always talk about authenticity in connection with others in sales. You can overcome many flaws if you have an engaging personality and approach people with the genuine ‘you’.

Joe never seemed genuine to me… until I listened to his press conference. Joe teared up many times as he spoke; he was verbose, and I might dare say loquacious, even. He was open in his press conference and forthright in his responses to questions. Joe seemed REAL for the first time in a long time (or ever). I wish we could have had this Joe Mauer over the last 14 years. I wish we could have seen his real personality as a player. If I’d heard him speak from the heart, I would have been much less disappointed in his average play and more sympathetic regarding his multiple injuries.

I never would have hired Joe for a sales position, but after this new glimpse into the life of Joe Mauer, I’m going to give him a call and see if I can get him to sell for Blue Octopus.

It’s time to grow faster~
Drew Schmitz

Service Recovery

19 Nov


We all screw up. It’s okay to make mistakes but it sometimes affects your customers. How do you recover?

It’s obviously easier and cheaper to keep a client than to go out looking for a new one. Are we focusing as much energy on retention of clients as we are on gaining new ones? If it’s more than twice as expensive to find new ones, shouldn’t we be spending a lot more??

I will use Comcast/Xfinity as an example. They’ll sign up new customers for $30 a month but their long-term customers have to pay about $85 a month for the same channels. Are they rewarding the right people or just encouraging people like me to stick with Netflix?

It’s easy to find bad examples of poor service but below is a great example of one company that apologized and quickly satisfied it’s customer (I just so happened to be working on my monthly newsletter the day it happened so it was a pain for me).

The day after it happened, I received an email from the CEO of Constant Contact (no, I wasn’t the only one!). I was impressed with its immediacy, honesty and thoughtfulness, so I thought I would share it with you.

To Our Valued Customers and Partners,
Wow. It has been a difficult few days – most especially for you. I know some of you lost some work in progress during the site instability and others were unable to send your email campaigns.  I cannot begin to express my most sincere apologies. You don’t have time to waste. We know that. We aim to make your life easier. And the product issues we have had this week have not done that.

I know a lot of you have questions. Our first priority has been you and making sure that everything is back up and running.

We experienced an infrastructure issue that cascaded into a service interruption.  Had we tested the roll-over for failure of this component?  Yes.  But in real-world scenarios sometimes things unfold in unexpected ways.  The team responded with urgency focused on recovery and the issues are fixed.  

At this point, everything is up and running, and campaigns are being sent.  No data was compromised.  Again, very sorry.  We know your time is precious.  If there is anything we can do to help, please reach out

Gail Goodman, CEO 

Your business will make mistakes. Will you recover as gracefully? How will you retain your clients?

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz

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Twitter: @drew_schmitz


Would Google hire Yoda?

14 Oct

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Does Yoda or Homer Simpson have higher self-awareness? Who’s more motivated – Erin Brockovich or George Costanza? Today, Google is hiring people based on their “emotional intelligence” or “EQ” and also offers a free training course for their employees. I’m hearing about these concepts often in 2014 so I decided to download Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves on my iPad (to hopefully increase my EQ!).

Is it a bunch of fluffy, new world garbage? Is this another crappy Fish! philosophy or the Who Moved My Cheese? of 2014? Or is there something to this emotional intelligence? I’m inclined to side with the modern-day hippies and give this movement some recognition. 

It a nutshell, the book is a nice step-by-step on increasing your “EQ” in 4 areas:

  • Self-awareness – Who am I?
  • Self-management – What do I need to do to be who I strive to be?
  • Social awareness – How am I perceived?
  • Relationship management – What do I need to do to be perceived authentically (your true self)?

In each chapter, it’s further broken down into 15-17 strategies per area. I’m the kind of guy that wants to read a book all the way through in a half day and then refer back to it in the future. The way the book is constructed, it’s easy to return to any of the concepts. It’s certainly a business book but it carries over into all aspects of your life.

Know thyself – if you have read my blogs over the years, you understand that I am all about self discovery. Figure out who you are, what makes you great and where you want to go (see my former blog on the Hedgehog concept). I don’t know how you’ll consistently improve at work and play without taking a few personality assessments, reading a book like this and/or engaging in some self-study. It’s simply easier to understand others when you really understand yourself.

I’m a kid still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up. Regardless of your age or stage in life, I think most of you are as well. I’d recommend working on your EQ and picking up this book as a great tool for your reflection and the journey going forward.

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz

"M@il" button (blue)









Twitter: @drew_schmitz

Would Johnny Manziel be a good salesman?

20 Aug


Cocky or just confident? As a sales coach and sales recruiter, I am always seeking confident salespeople. It comes with infectious enthusiasm, drive, optimism and carries immediate respect. Cockiness is interpreted as brash, arrogant and unlikable. What is the fine line between the two?

20 years ago, I went out on sales calls with a guy that entered an office suite without an appointment. He often flashed the lights on and off to get their attention and to get a laugh. I was amazed how Tom usually got away with it… and then followed it up by selling his printer cleaning services. Tom had a likeability about him and could quickly disarm the prospect at the front desk with a wink, smile and a joke. Later on in life, I realized that he probably wasn’t going to get away with selling anything that cost more than $500. Tom had half of what I was looking for – confidence, but he never succeeded as far as I know, in making a connection with a CEO and selling a bigger ticket item because his borderline cockiness would not fly today.

Cocky Salespeople:
  • Sell you stuff – if you don’t like the product, all they have is words…
  • So they talk a lot.
  • They tell you this product is the best one then make you feel bad for not buying it today (like most people in car sales).
  • This trait develops when people externally are continually telling them that they are important. When this breaks down, they usually don’t have the internal wherewithal to recover well.
Confident Salespeople:
  • Sell you a product and/or service with choices, solutions and benefits surrounding their offering(s).
  • They usually don’t talk that much but ask you what you are looking for and answer questions.
  • The urgency to buy belongs to the customer – the salesperson is urgent, but can sell it to you as slowly as you’d prefer.
  • This trait arrives from an internal self-assurance. It is built from within through a realistic view and trust in your own talents and abilities. It allows you to authentically respond to your customers and prospects.

If you are still waiting for the punchline on Johnny Manziel… NO, he wouldn’t make for a good salesman!

There are two things a salesperson can do this week:
  1. Have your manager or one of your better coworkers join you on a call with a prospect. Their number one job is to evaluate you while in the meeting.
  2. Video tape your presentation in a mock sales call with a coworker.
Evaluate your sales approach and make sure your confidence never comes across as cocky. You can always learn something about yourself through these two simple methods to keep yourself sharp.

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz





Twitter: @drew_schmitz

Being Direct = $ and Happiness

6 Aug


Authenticity – Being genuine trumps everything else in terms of human relations. If you’ve heard me speak, had coffee with me for 15 minutes or read my previous blog posts (see I Like the Fat Policeman blog – https://blueoctopusllc.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/i-like-the-fat-policeman/), you know authenticity is a characteristic I emphasize.  If you want to be a better salesperson, manager, co-worker or friend, you need to be more direct with people. Simply, “let down your guard” more often and be honest. The stress will dissipate and more will happen in your career and life.

Let Down Your Guard – Share something about yourself – NOT “I have two kids, I’m a Twin’s fan, look at my cool car or I went to Disney World last week…” tell them something about YOU. Tell them something interesting. Trust them with something important. When you do this, most people reciprocate and open up to you. It usually doesn’t happen unless you are the first to tell them about the time you got your tongue stuck to the fence last Winter…

Honesty – The truth is a universally good trait that we have not perfected. There’s two sides to this coin – the importance of maintaining some level of decorum and the advantages of being honest. “Decorum” is about being appropriate. There are rules at home and at work that don’t allow us to be completely honest. If a 400 pound woman asks you “Do I look fat in this dress?” you have to soften it – somehow!

You also can’t share everything with our 7-year-old and you can’t tell your boss in the middle of a meeting that you’re leaving to play golf (if you can, you are working for the right boss!). You cannot wear pajamas to work – you get my point. If you read my last blog on the importance of “please” and “thank you”, you’ll understand that I appreciate good manners, but there’s a point where nice has to end and being direct begins in order to accomplish your priorities…

In the workplace, I can be a little brutal at times. I tell clients the truth even when it hurts. If a sales candidate sends me a lousy resume, I tell them to fix it. It’s direct, short and polite usually includes some constructive criticism, but I don’t have the patience for spending a lot of time with average salespeople (I can’t place them!). I’m certain that I offend people, but if my three bullet points on their resume leads to them getting a better job on their own, I’ll settle for that victory.

Recently, a friendly current client asks me “How are you doing?” on the very same morning I’ve been up all night. I was driving back from the ER with my son who smacked his head the night before and he’d gone through concussion testing. I answer “Not very well” and tell him an abbreviated version of the story (if he wants the long version, he’ll ask). Now a lot of people wouldn’t share this personal news, but I usually “spill the beans”.  It gives me a buffer in case he catches me yawning and most importantly, it pre-empts the fact that  I’m not going to be razor-sharp on the call. He did ask a few questions – the same thing happened to his daughter last winter and we chatted for 10 minutes before getting down to business. We now have a better bond and will both enjoy our future interactions even more.

Ten years ago, I had a client in Minneapolis where we were placing inside salespeople. Their office was filthy and two of our hires told us about the overflowing garbage in the middle of the room and their dirty bathrooms. We contemplated how to handle it and I decided to call the owner and be direct about it. The next year our business with them doubled. I was telling them something that no one had shared with them previously and it worked

Directness is about efficiency. Efficiency is about making more money and going home earlier to see your family and friends (what’s really important).

Why are you beating around the bush to sacrifice either?

Let’s review Jim Collins’ famous Hedgehog Concept – you’ll find your sweet spot in the blue area in the middle:


Economic Engine: Translate this to finding a career where there is a demand (then there will be money behind it).

Passion: You will succeed in that circle if  you identify what drives you and continually express those desires to the people around you. These conversations are about what you’ve observed, want and how you feel.

World’s Best?: If you want to be the best in the world at something, you need to worry about this thing called time. Time requires efficiency… efficiency requires what again? Being direct.

It’s a ridiculously simple logic equation that we don’t follow often enough: authenticity = happiness. Pepper in more directness and honesty as you let down your guard more often. I know you’ll like the results.

Hope you are having a fantastic summer. Enjoy the dog days of August!

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz





Twitter: @drew_schmitz

8 Phrases That Will Win Anyone Over

24 Jul


Common courtesies seem to be lacking more than ever in 2014. I’m all in favor of casual dress and enjoy often working from home (literally in my slippers). What has fallen hard though are the common courtesies and words that we should be hearing from everyone on a daily basis.

This week, I’ve had two cases that had my jaw dropping…

  • Yesterday, a candidate of mine had a phone screening with my client who called him at 8:30. My candidate started out with “I’m not sure if I’m ready this morning because I haven’t even had my cup of coffee yet“. Imagine hiring this salesman to hunt for you that can’t even have his game face on at 8:30 am? I called him immediately after and assumed he was trying to joke with that statement and that it just came out wrong –  but I honestly think he was that self-important. Or just stupid. I was embarrassed and apologized to the client. I’m not sure how this candidate passed our two screening calls prior to being presented, but he somehow fooled us.

Here’s why I was really upset – he didn’t say “I’m sorry”.

  • The second story happened today. I was getting my favorite 99 cent dog at Super America. While assembling my Chicago-style hot dog with everything on it, the mustard blew up all over my suit. I politely asked the cashier (because I’m a salesman so you always ask!), “Can I get this hot dog for free since the container just cost me a few dollars at the dry cleaner?” He didn’t even answer my question as he rang me up. “Is that a no?” He nodded. All I really wanted was a simple apology!

Both of these men were in their 40’s or even 50’s so don’t attack the youth of America. Bad manners exist throughout every age group.

Here are my eight magic phrases. If you apply every one of them every day, you will find more customers (and friends) in your life:

  1. “I’m sorry.” This one is probably the most difficult to hear in America. Please be humble – and apologize more often.
  2. “Please.” We miss this a lot in our rush. I do too, but I always follow-up with a…
  3. “Thank you.” Why not thank everyone? Were you really going to think of something important during that second it takes to say or type “thanks”?
  4. “Excuse me.” Say it even if it’s their fault. Maybe they don’t understand that you walk on the right hand side always in America (I think it’s those British transplants 🙂 ). It can also be used to get someone’s attention without appearing aggressive.
  5. “Sir” or “Miss”. I learned the hard way that ma’am doesn’t work very well other than in the South. Young women don’t want to be called ma’am. Older women are flattered that you call them miss. Anyone over the age of 18 gets a sir or miss label from me if I don’t know their name.
  6. “Can I help?” Who doesn’t love this question?
  7. “Do you mind if I…”. Asking for permission is appealing to everyone. You can also use the abbreviated “Do you mind!?” when upset with other motorists instead of swearing.
  8. “I’m feeling…” This is a great start to resolve any conflict you come across. Don’t tell them what they did wrong – tell them how it made you feel. It’s less personal and more effective.

And your bonus: use THEIR NAME while talking to them which is second only to “I’m sorry”. Read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People if it’s been a while. It’s an oldie but goodie.

If you are looking for work, leading an organization, selling or trying to improve your relationship with friends and family, try using these words more often.

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz





Twitter: @drew_schmitz