Do Your Words Really Matter?

I AM....Do you talk to yourself? I already know the answer to this, YES, you do!  We all do.

But have you ever thought about if the things you say to yourself really make a difference in how you think, act or react?

Do your words encourage you or discourage you?

Do they give you confidence or do they make you self-conscious?

Do they make you want to keep going or do they make you want to get back in bed?

What you say when you talk to yourself is one of the most untrained on parts of being a sales professional, but one of the most important. It’s what we at Southwestern Consulting call “the power of positive self-talk.”

Learning how to talk to yourself is a really powerful element of building confidence on the inside so it shows on the outside. If you don’t believe in yourself very few will believe in what you are selling.

Positive self-talk is talking about yourself in present tense, which starts to create the vision of who you want to become.  Watching your words must be an intentional act of discipline to constantly reassure yourself that you can do this, you can learn this and it’s all possible.

The benefit of positive affirmations can be life changing. It can change your personal life, your work life, your confidence, it can change everything about you.

So here’s what I want you to do: make a list of all the things you want in your life.

What are the things that you want to have?

What are the things that you want to be and how do you want the world to see you ?

Do you want the world to see you as a loving father/mother? A loyal husband/wife? A hard worker? How do you want to be seen?

Writing positive affirmations allow you to physically see what you want written out giving you something real to look at and work towards

Long before I was any good at sales, my affirmations said things like, “I’m a million dollar producer, I’m a great speaker, I’m the top sales person in our company, I am a top leader.”

I may not of be all those things right now, but I want to be them. So I’m going to talk to myself like I am that person today.

My husband is a great example of this. He’s such an inspiration to me in this very specific area, because when he puts his dreams on paper, his affirmations, what he believes about himself, it always seems to come true. Not always today and not always tomorrow but eventually everything that he puts on paper, he finds a way to make it happen.

Years ago, my husband wrote down on his affirmations list “I am a New York Times best selling author.” He didn’t have a title, pages, or a topic of what he wanted to write. But he knew that’s what he wanted to be.

Five years ago, I wrote, “I’m a million dollar producer” down on my affirmations list. And I was very far away from being a million dollar producer. In fact, my best year at the time was probably just over $300,000 in personal revenue. In 2012 the same year that my husband became a New York Time Best-Selling Author, I sold over a million dollars in revenue for our company.

I believed it before it happened. I talked to myself as if it were already true, so when it came true it wasn’t that much of a shock. I’d been preparing myself all along to be the person I wanted to become. I spoke it out loud every single day.

So, here’s what you need to do right now. You need to write down 10 affirmations of who you want to be, present tense. I am a marathon runner, I am a million dollar producer, I am a loyal and devoted wife, I am in fantastic physical shape, I am the best friend anyone could have.

“I am . . . ” are the statements that you want to use. Present tense, to tell yourself that you are the person that, one day, you want to be.

5 Steps to Keeping Appointments & Reducing Cancellations

Here is a 5 step process to confirm appointments, reduce cancellations and decrease rescheduling! Read it, learn it, implement it!

Post Appointment Follow Up Guidelines

Step 1: Send confirmation email with date/ time of your appointment. Send email within a few hours of setting appointment.
· Sample email verbiage:

I just wanted to thank you again for taking a few minutes with me on the phone today, I really appreciate it. I look forward to meeting to meeting you in person on (date/time). Please feel free to call or email me if you need any extra information or have any additional questions. My contact information is listed below. Thank you again.

Step 2: Send Outlook invite
· Once you schedule an appointment (phone meeting or physical appointment) schedule the meeting in your Outlook calendar and then invite them to join your meeting (Outlook function). The individual will have to accept or decline the meeting at which point you will be notified of their decision. If they accept the meeting, the appointment will immediately be placed into their personal calendar. This is also a good indicator of the quality of your appointments.

Step 3: Handwritten Thank You card
· In a world full of high-tech availability sometimes the most unique, visible and personal thing you can do to catch someone’s attention is to send them a good ole fashioned hand written thank you card. Don’t under estimate the power of the personalized touch that comes with a handwritten thank you card!
· When the market is saturated and your prospect has a variety of options here is the key to being noticed among your competition; find out what everyone else is doing then do the opposite.
· Just think, when is the last time your real estate agent, insurance agent or car salesperson sent you a handwritten thank you card thanking you for your business?

Step 4: Add them to your network on LinkedIn
· This acts as one more way of getting connected and building rapport before your actual appointment. The more they have invested in you the less likely they are to cancel or postpone your meeting. Get to know them and let them get to know you. This is especially powerful if you have recommendations available on your profile.

Step 5: Follow up with a phone call a few days before the actual date of your appointment
If you have to leave a message call back the next day. Call until you are able to confirm your appointment. Start the attempts 5 days before the scheduled meeting because it may take you 2-3 days to actually reach your prospect. Reconfirm the meeting address, let them know you will be there a few minutes early and remind them of anything they may need to bring.

Appointment Confirmation Rule of Thumb

If the appointment is more than 10 days away:
a. Complete steps 1-4 within 48 hrs.
b. Call 1 week before appointment for confirmation.
c. Send an email the day before your appointment to let your prospect know how much you are looking forward to meeting them tomorrow.
If the appointment is less than 10 days away:
d. Complete steps 1-4 the same day as you set the appointment.
e. Call 2 days before meeting to re-confirm the details.

In the Spirit of Success,

Amanda Johns
Southwestern Consulting
formerly known as Success Starts Now!
2451 Atrium Way
Nashville, TN 37214

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Please share your tips that work or let us know what  you think about the 5 Steps.



The most successful salespeople I know get off to a fast start in the New Year.  They realize that if they start the year over plan they can build on their success throughout the year.  Otherwise you spend most of your year just trying to catch up.  Here is a recap of the 5 ways to have a fast start:

  1. Renew and Up-Sell Existing Clients:  We need to treat last year’s production as a foundation for this year’s revenue!  Ask yourself this question; who could be using more of your services? Start there. Step 1, make an active account list and identify where additional business lies. If you can identify additional services they should be doing label those on your sheet.  Step 2, schedule Re-Focus Meetings with each of these accounts so you can stay aware of potential business opportunities and get referrals!
  2. Regain Former Clients:  Identify five to ten former customers that haven’t used your services in the last 3-5 years.  Send a ‘New Year’s message’ email just touching base, updating them, re-providing them with your contact information and offering them a ‘review meeting’ to go over their current financial situation.
  3. Ask for (and receive) Referrals on a Regular Basis from active clients:  It’s important to set the stage for referrals with all of your customers.  One good way to do that is to teach your customers how to give referrals by giving them a referral.  Identify five good customers that haven’t given you a referral in the past and if possible start the referral process by giving them a referral. The 2nd thing you should do is send them a ‘New Year’s message’ email following the former client email but instead of offering a ‘review meeting’ you will be asking for referrals! The goal is to get a 5% referral return rate.
  4. Target Specific Companies/Industries for New Business Development: Profile what your “best” customer looks like and create a prospect “Hit List”. You have already done this do you are ahead of the game here!
  5. Generate Additional Referral Resources:  In order to outsmart your competition you need to create yourself a niche market within a set group of 6-10 repeat referral partners.  One way to stick out among other financial advisors is to highlight what it is that you do that your competition doesn’t do, can’t do or won’t do in this market place. The goal would be to get 1 solid referral/month from each referral partner.  The target is on accounting firms and bonding firms.


Here is the text I generally use for obtaining referrals via email. Feel free to use and edit this as you see fit.


Hi ______,

First of all, I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are having a great start to 2011! I am looking forward to getting this year underway which is actually why I am emailing you today. I just wanted to give you a quick update on some new things that I will be doing in my business this year that you may or may not be aware of.     (list 1-2 things that you are doing this year … i.e.; seminar classes, newsletters, etc…)


Sample verbiage:

In 2011 I will be proactively holding educational seminar classes for my clients on a variety of topics including; ___,___,___. I will be conducting private classes for organizations, as well as be participating in hosting public seminars available to all of my clients free of charge. I will also be incorporating a quarterly newsletter for my clients to keep you updated on market trends, industry facts, new products and services and all company updates. Lastly, I would like to invite you to join my professional network on LinkedIn so that we may continue to keep in touch on a regular basis.


I look forward to speaking with you soon as I will be following up via telephone in the next several weeks to go over a review of your account. Please feel free to contact me in the meantime if you have any questions.


Lastly, I was actually hoping to ask a favor of you. As you know, your business is very important to me and I look forward to continuing our business relationship for years to come. I was curious to know if you knew of anyone who is currently looking to ___,____ or ____. Or perhaps you know someone who is just looking to switch advisors and needs a good recommendation. Whatever the case may be I wanted to ask the favor of you to please let me know if you know of someone who may be looking to work with or simply talk to a financial advisor. If so, I would love the opportunity to meet them to see if I could be of assistance.  Thank you in advance for these efforts.


Wishing you continued success in 2011!


In the Spirit of Success,

Amanda Johns

Corporate Partner and Program Director

Southwestern Consulting

Corporate website:

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Connect with Clients Before End of Year

This is a time of year when some sales professionals think that everyone is too busy for meetings, that no one will buy and they tend to slack off a bit. Don’t be that sales professional! Now is a great time to reach out to all of your ‘ideal clients’.

Action Items:

  1. Make a list of all your ‘ideal clients’ (good clients)
    1. Call every single one and do a customer service call

                                i.     Wish them happy holiday.

                               ii.     Thank them for their business.

                              iii.     Ask them how the service has been. Get feedback.

                               iv.     Offer them your direct line/ extension or email.

                                 v.     Ask for referrals!

  1. Goal:  call 50 clients and get 15 referrals

So, before taking off time for the Holidays, complete these action items and you will be setting yourself up for a fabulous 2011. 

Have a fabulous Christmas!

In the Spirit of Success,

Amanda Johns

Corporate Partner and Program Director

Southwestern ConsultingTM

Referrals: A Key to Your Success

Referrals are not an option!


When you have less time, you need referrals.

When you need more sales, you need referrals.

When you are on a deadline, you need referrals.

In other words, referrals should be the lifeline of your business!


Here is a referral gathering gameplan:

1.      Ask every time – no matter what

2.      Treat getting referrals like getting sales

3.      Don’t stop until you get at least 1 referral from every buyer

4.      Use the following script: At the very end of your presentation: Do you mind if I ask you a question? What made you decide to go ahead and move forward with this today?  

(let them talk)

That’s great. I am really glad to hear that! You know, before I leave, I was going to ask a quick favor of you. I have found that there are really 3 groups of people that I tend to work best with and quite honestly, these people are the ones I can help most often, so I was curious do you know anyone who recently got married, had a new baby or started a new family?  (customize for your industry.   After receiving referrals find out one piece of unique information about them:

Simply ask: Can you tell me one interesting piece of information about ___ that most people don’t know?


This is your key to getting referrals … now, just put it to use and go kick some referral butt!


In the Spirit of Success,

Amanda Johns

Corporate Partner and Program Director

Southwestern Consulting


In a recent conversation with a colleague, we shared some ideas on how to stand out from the crowd. Here are a few ways to differentiate yourself from everyone and become super customer service oriented as a by-product!

Differentiators once you set the appointment:

  1. Ask the secretary/assistant what their favorite breakfast spot is or where they get their coffee.
    1. Get a gift card to that location
    2. Bring them coffee/drink when you come in for the meeting
    3. Send a hand written thank you card as soon as you set the appointment
      1. Thank them for the opportunity and their time

 Differentiators once you make the sale:

1.  Thank you for your business gift basket or bottle of wine

  • Include a thank you note and business card with each gift
  • Deliver in person when possible
  • Personalize gift when applicable or include things that require time with you (i.e. lunch, golfing, etc…)

2.  Have 1 luxury item that you give each one of your new ‘platinum’ customers

  • For example if a company starts a 401k with you that could make you $10K plus perhaps you give them a Mont Blanc pen (high net worth client gift)

 Differentiators to keep your clients:

1.  Annual or bi-annual thank you gifts or business reminders

  • I receive a Titans magnet football schedule from my realtor every August  
  • Annual Christmas, Thanksgiving or New Years card (since most people send Christmas cards send a Thanksgiving or New Years card so that you stick out more)

2.  Business anniversary gifts

  • Send bottle of wine/champagne thanking them for another year of their business

Additional, periodic, service mailers are another added bonus. Specific marketing pieces going out to clients and prospects is just another great way to let them know what additional services that you can provide for them as a client. It’s all about being service oriented. Hit up your current clients to offer/remind them and send it out to current and past prospects as an added benefit!  Make sure your personal information is on that flyer.

Keep the creative juices flowing! 

In the Spirit of Success,

Amanda Johns
Corporate Partner and Program Director
Corporate website:
Join my professional network on LinkedIn