Barter THIS!*#*


I get it, you want to help. You want to serve, and then THEY don't want to PAY!!!

This video blog was inspired by my friend Ann Zuccardy who shared this objection at our exhibit booth at the National Speakers Association convention a few weeks ago.

Bartering has been around for thousands of years, and in certain parts of the world, it's more common than others. Here's the deal though. I'm a capitalist. I want cash. I will gladly work my ass off for you but you have to have skin in the game.


If your doctor, lawyer, or your cable company won't accept 10 pounds of cheese for payment, why should you?

Remember that when someone asks you to barter, what they are usually saying is "I want what you have to offer, but I don't want the temporary pain of making a financial investment to get it"

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that those are NOT your ideal clients. My experience tells me that 90% of the time, a barter relationship for professional services does NOT work out. Someone always gives more value, and over time feelings get hurt.

Sometimes it works. If BOTH parties want it from the start. Yeah...we might have a match. I've bartered before, but we BOTH wanted it and BOTH suggested it early on in the process. We then laid out a very clear dollar for dollar exchange. 

In general though, as your sales coach, my advice to you is when someone asks you to barter, just move on. Hope this video helps!

Stop Using This Word in Your Business!



One of the most common things I hear when someone is struggling in their business is a sentence that starts with the word “People”

Oh…I’m sure you’ve said things like:

“People just don’t want to pay the prices I’m charging anymore”

“People just aren’t spending like they used to”

“People just don’t want to buy something like that”

These are just a few examples that I’ve heard most often (and have even said them myself)

Here’s the problem with each of those statements; THEY ARE ALL UNTRUE

Usually we say these things because one or two people said no to our offer, or we’ve had a rough day of sales or even a rough month.

Perhaps they would be true if you inserted a qualifying word like “Some” in front of the sentences. As they stand right now, they are generalizations only, and generalizations can be the DEATH of your business.

If it were true that all people weren’t spending like they used to, how is it possible that some businesses are making more now than they have before? How is it possible that I was able to build a 6 figure business from scratch during the height of the worst recession in 70 years? How is it possible that first class cabins on airplanes are full every time I travel, and how is it possible that places like the Ritz Carlton seem to still manage to get $500-800 per night for a hotel room?

The TRUTH is that there are ALWAYS people out there who are willing to pay what you’re asking, spend like you want them to, or buy what you have. 

You just need to work a little harder (ok a LOT harder) to get to them and attract them in your business. Once they are there however, they will pay you whatever you ask as long as you are offering to solve a problem that is important enough for them to invest their money at that level.

The reason first class cabins are full is because the right people or companies are willing to use the miles or spend the money to fly in first class because of the problem it solves. (Lack of sleep on a plane, quieter cabin for doing work, more relaxed when you reach your destination) – those are worth something.

Trust me when I tell you that the people sitting up there are not there on free upgrades most of the time. In fact, I am a premier status member on several airlines, and I can’t remember the last time I got a free upgrade to first class. No, those folks are paying for those seats, or cashing in valuable miles to fly first class!

Think of your business now. What is it that you offer that is a MUST? What would the right person pay to get that “must” item or service? Hmmm…kinda changes the game doesn’t it?

I hope so.

Comments welcome below as always.

Thanks for reading.


Your Best Investment is YOU

"If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest." – Benjamin Franklin

Keys To Community: Ben Franklin and flag

This recession has raised a lot of talk about investments, and triggered discussions about the best place to invest your money. One thing I've noticed about successful people, and great businesses during this recession is that they always invest in themselves.

Investing in yourself is absolutely the best investment you can make during any economic times, but especially during difficult times. I know many people who have lost their jobs, and have since committed themselves to learning new skills, and even starting new businesses, because they believe in what Ben Franklin said. No matter what happens, no one can take away your knowledge, your ambition, and your determination.

Investing Still Requires Work

I don't think Ben Franklin was implying that if you just paid a lot of money for books and workshops or college degrees, that you would be guaranteed a successful life. You can't buy success. Investing in yourself means that you actually have to read the books, and apply the knowledge. Or, hire the coach, and take their advice. Or start that business, but work consistently to grow.

Too often, seminars are filled with people who come home with a book full of knowledge and ideas, but never act on them. This would be the equivalent of going to the doctor when you are sick, and not taking the medication he/she prescribed. If your life depended on that medication, or that exercise program, I'll bet you'd follow the program. Why not apply this same principle to your business, or any area of your life that you'd like to improve or grow.

Limitless Returns

My business mentor shared this analogy with me: Imagine you could invest in a company that had tremendous growth potential, had a product or service that nobody else had, and was currently undervalued. Suppose you knew facts about this company that the market place didn't know, or didn't believe. You would buy!

This is exactly what you are! No one can offer what you can offer. No one can grow like you can grow. And there is absolutely no limit on how much return you can get on your investment of time, energy and money, when you commit to believing in yourself, and buying!

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: jepsculpture

Invest in Your Relationships and The Business Will Follow


Why do Most Businesses Fail?

While there are many reasons that a business can struggle, one of the biggest reasons is lack of sales and not quality of service.

If a restaurant has the best food in town, but no customers, they will simply have a freezer full of the best food in town, and no money in the cash register. This means it is only a matter of time before the rent doesn't get paid, and the lights are shut off.

Getting the Word Out

In 2010, technology has become a huge part of any successful marketing campaign, and social media has now become a part of our everyday communication and lifestyle. If you don't buy into that concept, all you have to do is look at the statistics and demographics of Facebook users.

While I fully support a solid social media and web strategy, as well as an appropriate amount of other marketing that is relevant to your business (radio, TV, etc), in my experience as a business owner, there is no substitute for repeat and referral business. The highest quality lead is by far a customer or client who came in contact with your business via referral, word of mouth, or has used your service or purchased your product before.

Investing in Relationships

This is where I see many business owners and executives missing the boat. They will often agree that technology, a solid marketing strategy and social media campaign are something they "should" be doing, but they forget about the fundamentals of building relationships, deepening relationships, and adding new relationships. Any marketing budget that does not allocate sufficient resources to not only generating new customers, but retaining and supporting the customers they have, and asking for their referrals is losing a huge chunk of market presence.

Be Proactive

While word of mouth is a great way to get customers, this is a passive approach, and happens without the business owner doing much of anything. To go from word of mouth to referral implies more intentional planning, and marketing to make sure that your current clients know five things:

1. You're in business

2. You're good at what you do or your product is excellent

3. They made the right decision by hiring you

4. You appreciate and need their referrals to grow your business

5. You care about their needs

These fundamentals have not changed in sales in decades, and I propose they will not change. All of the technology, social media are merely tools to help us reach people and connect with people in a way that is relevant to them.

It's Good Business

Finally, for those of you that have a tight marketing budget (in other words…all of us), let me tell you that not only are the quality of customers better when they are repeat or referred customers, but the cost to retain a customer or gain a referral is much less than advertising to get new clients. Calling and staying in touch with current or past clients is also more effective, and more pleasant than cold calling will ever be.

Again, those more traditional methods should not be abandoned, but if you want your business to really grow today, make sure your marketing and your business plan is grounded in the fundamental principle of investing in relationships.

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: AndyRob

Simple Steps for Staying On Task

Do You Struggle with Distractions on the Job?

40+242 Work

Of course you do! We all do. Avoiding distractions is nearly impossible, so we must manage them and recover from them as quickly as possible to maintain optimal productivity. Just how do we do that?

Decide to be Productive

Well first of all, we need to make a decision that we are going to be committed to staying on task as much as possible for today. This simple choice will block out about 30% of the self imposed distraction, such as you see in the photo above.

I suggest taking it a step further, and writing on a yellow post it note "Today, I choose productivity" and keep that nearby where you can see it. Before you open solitaire, or check that junk email account once more, you will see that reminder, and at least think twice about it.

The other 70% of the distractions come without us even realizing it sometimes. These can be things like an important email that causes us to have to put out a business fire, or checking our voice mail immediately after we miss a call. We have a tendency to work on what is urgent, whether or not its important. Yes, I borrowed that idea from Steven Covey.

"The To Do List"

One way I have found to minimize the effects of distractions is to go back to the good old fashioned To Do List. This sounds simple, and primitive, especially in the world of i-phones, blackberries and other devices, but I have yet to find a simpler, more effective way to make sure I get the important things done most days.

When making the to do list, I suggest not just writing down everything you need to do, but have a formula, and a specific time when you write this list. The end of the previous day, or first thing in the morning before you open your computer might be best.

Prioritizing the To Do List

Next, make a list of everything you believe you need to get done, both personally and professionally, and assign those tasks a value of A, B, or C.

The A projects are the most dollar productive and often include tasks such as sales calls, calling past customers, taking business partners to lunch, or for me, writing my blog post. These are things that are going to give your business the biggest boost for that day.

B projects for me include researching website providers, choosing next month's marketing materials. These are things that are important, but not urgent, and can probably wait until tomorrow without destroying my business.

Finally, the C level projects. For me these include, cleaning my desk, organizing files, addressing envelopes, making appointments to have my car serviced. These are things that can either wait, or be outsourced to an assistant, or a virtual assistantto enable you to do more A projects, and be more productive.

Once I've completed them, I cross 'em off the list. I have found that my most productive days come when more "A's" are crossed off than C's. Or, when I have fewer cross-outs, but the 1 or 2 that I crossed off were A projects.

How To Rank Your Tasks

The good news is you get to decide how to rank them, but always ask "Is this the highest and best use of my time right now". If the answer is yes, continue on. If not, it's probably something that needs to be delegated or put on the back burner for now. There is no hard and fast way to do this, but give it a try and see if it works for you. Tomorrow I will discuss how to use this method of planning over the course of a week, a month or even a year.

Thanks for reading as always!

Sean Carroll

Photo Credit: Bark


I worked all day and got nothing done!

"I worked all day and got nothing done"

Does this sound like something you've said recently after a long day at work or in your own business? If so, you're not alone. I affectionately call this "Busyness Burnout"

Busyness burnout refers to the feeling of defeat, or overwhelm that we feel after working a very long day, and not having any idea if they were productive or not. In my early days as a business owner, I would often not know if all the work I did actually moved me closer or further away towards my goals. Why?? Because I didn't have any goals.

Because I had no goals, I had no idea where I was heading. Without knowing where I was heading, I couldn't possibly know if I was on my way to getting there or not.

Goals not only help us succeed in the long term, but they help us be successful today. Goals give us the road map to prioritize our tasks in their order of importance, based on how they fit in to our weekly, monthly, yearly, and longer term goals.

Goals, Goals, Goals

Imagine you were taking your family on a road trip from New York, your spouse asked you where you were going, and you said: "I don't know, but I'm just going to start driving, and keep moving". Where would you end up?

Most likely, if planning such a trip, you not only would know your destination ahead of time (the goal), but you would likely also have a map of a possible route (daily priorities), or bring the GPS with you (business coach)

Are you one of the 3% of people who actually has written goals? If not? What are you waiting for? Take some time today, and answer this question:

"What do I want my life to look like 5 years from now?"

Start writing down thoughts that come to mind. Don't filter them, don't try to write the perfect sentence, just WRITE.

or…if that's too far in the future, try 1 year, or even 6 months.

Then, after you've written down answers to those questions, ask yourself this one:

"What are 3 things I can do TODAY  or this wee/this month to get me closer to that description?"

If you can complete this exercise, you are well on your way to becoming one of the elite 3% of people who have written goals. Guess how much more you'll get done when you actually know where you want to go?

The next part of this blog series will give you more "how-tos" on setting goals and daily priorities.

Until next time.

Sean Carroll


Photo Credit :lululemon ,

Build relationships, not just connections! – Video Tip

Don't let this happen to you!!