Sands of Time – Guest Post by Joe Buzzello

It’s not uncommon in our world to applaud workaholics. Hold them up as heroes. You’ve seen this type of highly charged entrepreneur or independent salesperson. They race around, cantankerously announcing that they are exhausted, so busy, swamped, slammed. They’ll tell you there isn’t enough time to get everything done. They think they’re successful, you think they’re successful, and they definitely seem prosperous to the world. But, if you think about it, that really doesn’t make much sense. You can only TRULY be successful if you can actually reap the benefits of your hard work.

Look, I’m probably the last one that should point fingers. I ran 60 – 70 hours a week for close to two decades, never taking a true vacation. (A cell phone or beeper was always strapped to my side.) When I began to take stock of my life, I realized that I had not taken a vacation longer than 7 days since I’d begun my commission-selling career in 1979. I’m not sure I was completely present to my wife and daughter during my go-go years. I still struggle with that now, even in semi-retirement.

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You Suck – At Saying No

How do I know you suck at saying no?  We all do.  It’s part of the human condition. But if you are going to build your Voluntary Benefits business into something that provides you true abundance, you are going to have to get much better at saying no.  That’s not just my opinion.  James and Claudia Altucher, in their book The Power of No, make a compelling case that the word ‘no’ can bring you health, abundance and happiness. (To find out more about “The Power of No” just click on the picture of the cover.)  Apparently Nancy Reagan was right!  We can, “Just say no…..”

On Monday I wrote about the power of what I call the “one more.”  (Read it here.) In fact, I gave you my 8 “One Mores” that make all the difference.”  So I think it’s only fair that I give you 8 things you must remove from your business to experience abundance. After all, the great sculptor Michelangelo was quoted as saying, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”  In other words, he felt that the angle wouldn’t be perfect until every ounce of marble that didn’t belong was gone. The only way to remove the following 8 things is to just say no to them.

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One Freaking Stroke!?!?

Can you believe that one freaking stroke in golf could be worth $720,000?!?!?

If you don’t follow golf, you may not have noticed that 25 year-old Rory McIlroy won his 4th “Major” this past weekend at the PGA Championship.  He has now won two majors in a row and is ranked the #1 player in the world.  To say that Rory has had a good summer is like saying that Bill Gates has money.

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5 Lessons From The Tom Hopkins Interview

As you know by now, I had the privilege of interviewing Tom Hopkins last week for the Success Is Voluntary Podcast.  (Listen to the interview here.)  It was a great thrill for me and I have received incredible feedback from many listeners.  Even though we spent almost an hour together on the call, I didn’t even come close to asking Tom all the things I wanted to.  After we stopped “taping” Tom and I talked for another 15 minutes and he offered to come back on in six months to follow-up with some of the questions we couldn’t get to.

As I mentioned on the podcast, I have studied Tom’s books, techniques and audio programs for 17+ years now and thought I was about as close to an “expert” on Tom Hopkins as there was.  Having said that I was taken aback by how much I still learned in less than an hour.  Because I was the interviewer, I got to pick the questions that I wanted answers to and was able to ask follow-up questions.  Instead of slogging through 300 pages of a book or watching 12 hours worth of a video course and then still getting a generic solution to my situation, I was able to ask THE EXPERT specific, targeted, case-specific, questions. Do you know what that sounds like to me?  COACHING!!! (Shameless Plug Warning— I offer a 30 minute free coaching session and a paid coaching solution too.)

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The 3 Priorities Top Producers Understand (There isn’t a 4th…)

I had a great blog article for you today about the lessons I learned from my Tom Hopkins interview (listen here), but my friend Joe Buzzello put the following out over the weekend and I felt it was too important not to share TODAY!!!  I believe that if you truly prioritize your sales career around the three things that Joe lays out below, you will see your checking account swell immediately!!!  Don’t worry, I’ll still publish the lessons I learned from Tom Hopkins this Wednesday.  Have a great Monday!!!

Guest Post From Joe Buzzello

This blog article will explore one of those unwritten rules that will ensure a successful sales career. (IF you understand and practice it) The antithesis of this law is also exact. It’s one of those laws that, if not applied regularly will absolutely kill your career in short order.

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Short-Term Urgency: The Other Half Of The Battle To Sales Success

I have zero patience. If you know me, you know that statement to be true. In fact, if anything, it is an understatement. I hate lines, slow drivers, idiots, laziness, waiting, looking for things, and the list goes on and on….. Now is almost too late.

Last week I wrote that half the battle of success in sales is having long-term focus. (Read it here.) I put forth the idea that without big goals and a clear vision of why you are doing what you are doing, the little annoyances and setbacks would drive you out of the business. That concept was hard for me to learn. I don’t always think way ahead. If some people are checkers players and others are better at chess, I lean more towards Candy Land.

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Who’s Feeding You?

When this question was posed to “David” (not his real name), I could see pure panic in his eyes.  (Full disclosure: We were sitting in Joe Buzzello’s hot tub and I must admit there was beer involved.)  At first David hemmed and hawed a little before saying he really didn’t have anyone who was feeding him and helping him grow.  Even though David is a very successful executive that has reached a high level position, he is stuck in a rut.  He admitted that his business wasn’t growing at near the rate he had expected.  Worse yet, he didn’t really have anyone to ask how to fix it.

I’ve been there. I understand how alone David feels in his journey.  A few years ago I had outgrown my leader. I’m not casting any aspersions on him.  He really is a good guy, but his leadership skills weren’t helping me.  In fact I felt he was holding me back.  I also felt trapped. It seemed that my only two choices were live with it or leave the organization.  Neither choice seemed tenable. After several weeks of sleepless nights I stumbled upon a third choice.  I found a mentor outside of my organization that was willing to work with me.  This relationship literally changed my life.

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Long-Term Focus (Half The Battle Of Success)

I almost ignored the best advice I ever received about success.  It was delivered by a cranky, old curmudgeon that taught my sales school nearly 17 years ago. The day it was delivered, I thought it was the stupidest thing I had ever heard.

It was nearly the end of the day and the class was tired.  The instructor asked us to raise our hand if we wanted to be successful in the insurance business 10 years from now.  Everyone’s hand went up.  He asked us to raise our hand again if we wanted to know how to be successful in the insurance business 10 years from now.  Again, every hand quickly sprang up.  He paused, let the suspense grow, and then said in a conspiratorial tone,

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Tom Hopkins is Coming on the Podcast: Exciting Announcement and I Need Your Help

Be careful what you wish for!  I wrote a blog article a couple weeks ago about how Tom Hopkins had ruined my life.  (Read it here)  Obviously it was very tongue-in-cheek. Early in my career I was a huge Tom Hopkins disciple and attended his Building Sales Champions boot camp.  I learned numerous career changing things that weekend. The one that has stuck with me the most has been his statement, “I must do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.” 

Well apparently someone forwarded the article  to Tom.  He reached out to me through LinkedIn and said some very nice things. I thanked him for his encouragement and asked him if he would be willing to come on the podcast. Imagine my delight when he agreed!!!

My delight quickly turned into angst. Tom Hopkins is one of my heroes and I am somewhat intimidated to have him on. I want to make sure that I get the most out of the interview for you, the faithful listener. I also don’t want to waste his time.

That’s where you come in. The interview is in less than two weeks and I am stressing!!! Could you do me a huge favor?  Could you please help me develop some questions to ask Tom?  If you are willing to help me you have three options:

  1. Leave your question as a comment by clicking on the “Comment” button in the top left corner of this article. (Assuming you are reading this on the SIV website.)
  2. Leave your question by voicemail. Just click on the blue button on the right side that says, “Send Voicemail.” (Assuming you are reading this on the SIV website.)
  3. Hit the reply button on your email program right now. (Assuming you are reading this through the email I sent you.)

If I use your question, I will give you credit for it in the podcast and I will also send you the Audio version of my latest eBook Disturbing Questions, Making the Decision Maker Uncomfortable. (A $12 value)

Conclusion: Be careful what you wish for!

Question: Would you help me with the questions to ask Tom?

Eight Signs You Have Turned Pro In Sales – Borrowed From Steven Pressfield

I have been under the spell of Author, Steven Pressfield for the last several months.  Pressfield wrote one of my favorite golf movies of all time, “The Legend Of Bagger Vance.” (Watch Here)

If you knew of Pressfield for his fiction, you may not know that he is also a non-fiction author.  Most of his his non-fiction writing is geared more towards artists and writers than it is to sales people.  Having said that, if you don’t read his books The War of Art and Turning Pro I worry about you.  They are both that important. Just about everyone, from every walk of life, can benefit from these two books. Those that are artists, writers, entrepreneurs and sales people will be profoundly changed.

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Freedom Isn’t Free, The Cost Of Your Independence

Today’s guest post is from Joe Buzzello.  Joe is blogging more regularly these days at  You need to follow him.  All the cool kids are!!!

This mid-week blog post is inspired by the essence of the Independence Day holiday that just passed. The words freedom and independencehave been on my mind lately for many reasons. I’ll begin this article with the definition of the word, independent.


Free from outside control, not depending on another’s authority. Free-thinking. Self-governing, self-ruling.

Isn’t independence one of the primary reasons we got into commission sales in the first place? Didn’t we want to be self-governing, earn as much as we think we’re worth, develop freedom? Everybody that gets into sales says they want this, but I’ve found that not everyone understands the cost of freedom or are willing to pay it.

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Why Lowering Your Stress May Lead To Failure

“I’d love to go out cold calling today, but I really need to get organized.  I feel that I am too disorganized right now and it is stressing me out!”  I stopped dead in my tracks and asked the agent that had just finished speaking to repeat it.  I wasn’t sure I had heard their reasoning excuse correctly.  They assured me that my hearing was fine and they had indeed just said exactly what I thought they had said.

Much to their surprise, I wasn’t the least bit sympathetic to their plight.  “Great!” I said, “I’m glad you are stressed out!  It shows me you are actually moving in the right direction.  You see, if you weren’t stressed, that would tell me you aren’t spending enough time doing the things that will drive your business forward.”

At this point my agent looked at me like I had three eyes.

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