Sales tips for the aspiring rock star!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Your Personal Board Of Directors!

Every now and again, life has a habit of giving us a "tap on the shoulder", that is, a moment that causes us to take notice and become more mindful. One of those moments arrived for me the other day as I was listening to a CD from Success Magazine. Darren Hardy asked a very simple but powerful question . . . "Are you where you thought you'd be when you began the last decade" The tap on the shoulder quickly became a knee to the groin when I decided to ponder that question. On one hand, I'm way ahead of where I thought I'd be. On the other hand, I feel like I haven't even begun. I'm dizzy from how fast the last decade zipped by and find myself in shock that at the end of this decade I will be 54 years old! Uncle Paul an old mofo . . . say it isn't so!

One thing I've learned, is that when we have these moments, we have to do something with them and not sweep them under the carpet. One has to look in the mirror . . . the full length one! The one that shows us who we are! Well I looked, and came to the conclusion that I am pretty good at helping others, but really crappy at asking for help. God, I feel like a wuss owning up to that!

Well speaking of decade and asking for help, for the last decade I have taught a philosophy that I call "Your Personal Board Of Directors" Let's take a look at it and then we'll get back to my "tap on the shoulder"

Businesses have boards of directors . . . so should you!

Your Personal Board of Directors should consist of:

1) An Accountability Partner: This is simply a relationship you have with someone where you will hold each other accountable for goals and more specifically, action steps towards goal attainment. So if one of my goals this year is to drop 70 lbs (it is by the way), one of my action steps might be to commit to buying a scale this week. Nothing jolts success like mutual swift kicks in the rear!

Action: Call someone, today, and present the challenge of holding each other accountable!

2) A Coach: If you have the money to hire a coach, I would do it in a heartbeat. If you don't have the money, simply ask for advice from someone getting the result you desire. You can even model someone's behavior from afar or read about people who have accomplished that which you wish to accomplish.

3) A Mastermind Group: A group of people who meet regularly (in person or by conference call) to brainstorm, strategize, share resources etc. You will be amazed at the amount of growth you can experience by just this action step alone.

Action: Start making a list of 6-8 other people you can meet with regularly. Hurry up, your success is waiting!

4) Spiritual Guidance: For us to think that we can venture through life without some "Spiritual GPS" limits our well being and potential! And at the risk of earning the "Holy Roller Of The Year" award, I would say that if you have taken leave of your faith . . . come back! It will be a homecoming that could change your life!

Action: Start with a simple prayer of gratitude for the things you have in your life and while you are at it, put in a good word for someone else. Deal?

5) Core People . . . At The Ready: Who do you have in your network that you can call on for general advice? Who can you bounce an idea off of. John Maxwell says we should "stretch" our thoughts by running them by others and getting different perspectives. How can you use that concept to create some kick ass ideas for the next 10 years of your life?

"None of us is as smart as all of us" Ken Blanchard

Unfortunately, all of these members of your board are useless unless you are willing to do something. Something that is counter intuitive for us sales folk. You have to be willing to make yourself vulnerable. Put yourself out there. Be able to confide in someone and tell them of your goals, dreams and what scares the hell out of you. In doing that you have to be willing to accept feedback and handle the proverbial truth!

Until then, we are merely going through the motions because we have rendered our board powerless!

So there it is. Something I've taught for years, have done for years . . . but now I'm ready to do it right!

Now if I can just get that guy I shave with each morning to stay the course, I can be rich and skinny by the end of this decade!

Wishing you incredible success and a decade that will make you proud!


FYI: I've been re reading one of my favorite books No Bull Selling by Hank Trisler. Hank is a member of our Linkedin group and one of the most giving individuals I've had the honor of knowing. I hope you will visit his site, order his book and subscribe to his blog while you are at it. Truth be told, I love his writing style and you will too!

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  1. Interesting to me that you list 'accountability partner' first, because as far as I can see, it's the only one I'm really missing, and the primary reason I lost 2009 to mirage-chasing and my own lack of focus.

    Fortunately #4 is where we absolutely got it right in 2009, so we've got a base to get back on track this year.

    I sure with I had someone other than me to blame for the fact that I'm about six weeks ahead of where I was in October 2008 . . .

  2. Paul, your ideas are always Right On and useful!
    I'll share this with my crew on FB! I can SEE you in my minds eye and you look GREAT after shedding 70 pounds. Keep going amigo!

    Your friend,

  3. Paul, thanks for an excellent article. I think it is difficult to find all five types of directors, but many people suffer because they have none, or only one or two, of these resources. A good place to start is the mastermind group because if it is structured accordingly, such a group can provide a certain amount of coaching and accountability.

  4. Great post Paul. I've seen the same thing now in several places, so it's on my radar screen, but this moves it up a few notches.

    I guess it's true that great minds think alike ...


  5. when I want tobe held acountable - i tell my Mom - she never forgets and wil remind of it constantly... " there was that time when you ...." OH not that type of accountablity ? most any member of the opposite sex in your life -

    but, for advise I have looked to peers -


    robert gagliano

  6. Paul, what I love about your articles is that not only do you provide a clear path with all steps outlined along the way, but I also really enjoy your writing style. Thanks for the inspiring read to start off my morning!

  7. @ Spinhead I agree. Accountability partners are often overlooked. Perhaps because there's no big "Aha" to it. It's simple . . . maybe too simple for us to get the value.

    @ Neil: Thanks for your encouragement buddy! Per our conversations, I'm depending on you as my Accountability partner! Go get 'em tonight at your fire walking seminar!

    @ Christopher: The mastermind group is a fantastic place to start because it will give you the momentum and resources to seek out the other things.

    @ MadDog: Thank you for the kind words!

    @ Robert: We may have to add Mother In-Laws to the list :) Seriously, it's amazing how many people are willing to be a sounding board and offer advice once we ask.

    Thank you all for contributing and have a kick ass week!


  8. @Lisa Samuel: Always an honor to give back!

    Thanks for the kind words as well!

    Rock on!


  9. "You have to be willing to make yourself vulnerable. Put yourself out there. Be able to confide in someone and tell them of your goals, dreams and what scares the hell out of you."

    Yes, this is the hardest part because then everyone will know I don't have it all together! :-) Thanks for this post; it made an impact. Intuitively I can identify people to fill each ‘slot’, it’s just putting myself out there and making it happen. On the flip side, I am pondering what roles I can fill for others, as well.


  10. @ Michelle Kane Think how I feel getting up here in front of thousands of followers telling them I don't have it all together :)

    If ever there was a good thing to come out of these challenging times, is that more and more of us have guts to come forward, make ourselves vulnerable and learning how to say "help".

    Gold star for looking for ways you can fill that role too.

    Now if we can get the rest of the sales profession to do this, we will make an insane amount of money :)

    Thanks for contributing Michelle!


  11. Love your thoughts on having a personal board of directors.
    Joining a mastermind group that is starting next week. I know that it will help me get to the next level.
    We all need a little help from our friends.
    Thanks for yours!

  12. @ Randi . . . Well stated!

    Wishing you lots of success with your new Mastermind Group!

    Thanks for stopping by to comment!


  13. Hi Paul

    This is a very common issue and not just among sales professionals. Isn't this part of the human condition universal to all of people: that we can't bear the thought that others think of us as vulnerable? How silly we are to think that no one will realize: we are all alike in that we need each other to survive.

    Perhaps we prefer to think of ourselves as independent because we don't want anyone telling us what to do, or dispelling any of the other personal myths we've come to know and love. In our pride, we want to think we can live life on our own terms not heeding the advice of others. Reflecting on my own past however, I recognize that the times I thought I was strongest and most independent that's when I actually made the most mistakes. As people, we were made for relationships; with each other and with our God.

    Great post!

    Don F Perkins

  14. Thanks for another great post Paul. I can particulary identify with allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. My father gave me the nickname of "Mighty Mouse" more than 40 years ago, because of my fierce independance and willingness to take on any challege (not to mention I topped out at 5'tall!). A few years back a close friend confided in me that being my friend sometimes made her feel bad about herself because I never came to her for advice and never seemed to need her help. Talk about your kick in the pants! How true though, that through allowing ourselves to be vulnerable we not only get the help we need, we also give someone else the opportunity to be the super-hero. So thanks Paul for the reminder that we can do so much more together than we can alone. My goal is to put together that Mastermind group this week. Thanks again for your inspiration.



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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics (CGX) one of North America’s leading general commercial printing companies. Paul has over 25 years of sales and sales leadership experience. He has trained, mentored and coached over 3,000 sales and sales leadership professionals. An accomplished public speaker, Paul has delivered numerous key note addresses. He has authored numerous training manuals, articles, blog posts and is currently working on his first book for release in 2011. Feel free to email Paul This has been a paid announcement by the friends of Paul Castain!

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