Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast Interview with Dustin Hillis

Posted in dustin hillis, Leadership Coaching, Motivational, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques, Southwestern Consulting on August 12, 2017 by Dustin Hillis

Checkout this podcast interview with John Lee Dumas the host of Entrepreneur on Fire and Dustin Hillis Co-founder of Southwestern Consulting.

3 Key Points:

  1. You cannot teach what you don’t know, and you cannot lead where you won’t go.
  2. Selling is the transference of emotions and expectations.
  3. Keep your principles. Stay focused on your principles.

Enjoy! (Click here to listen online!)

Download Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast Link on iTunes (Click Here) 

Also, you can click the image below to listen to podcast via online player

Dustin Hillis on Entrepreneur on Fire Podcast

Unconditional Confidence

Posted in Leadership Coaching, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Southwestern Consulting with tags , on February 8, 2017 by Dustin Hillis

Do you believe confidence is something you are born with or not? At Southwestern Consulting, we found that confidence can be developed and strengthened through awareness and training. There are 3 Types of Confidence. We all have experienced all 3 types in some form or fashion in various ways. Our goal is to progress through the 3 types of confidence quickly and end up with Unconditional Confidence in every area of our lives.
The 3 Types of Confidences: False Confidence, Conditional Confidence, and Unconditional Confidence.
False Confidence is saying you can do something, but deep down inside you think there is no way you can actually do the task. It is fake self-talk. A good example is someone whose group of friends talks and acts as though they were superman or superwoman, but when put into an unfamiliar selling situation, they change from superman to super-scared. False confidence comes from F.E.A.R. which is False Evidence Appearing Real. Sometimes we all have false confidence and “fake it until we make it”. However, we all want to move out of false confidence as quickly as possible.
Conditional Confidence is why a sales job can be frustrating and emotional. Why do you think that selling can be frustrating and emotional? It’s because we develop conditional confidence and attach our self-worth to results (aka whether or not we make a sale).  Many people have made one, two, or three sales in a row and their confidence goes way up. Then they go a day, a week, or a month with no sales and their confidence bottoms out. Conditional Confidence hits peaks and valleys like a roller coaster. This confidence is conditional on the outcome or result.
Unconditional Confidence is the most important type of confidence. It separates all top producers from average. Top Producers who strive for unconditional confidence have that something special—charisma, swagger, or mojo. How do you develop Unconditional Confidence? Unconditional confidence is based on your beliefs and habits. To develop unconditional confidence, you need to know that you do have innate skills and that your momentum comes from your work habits. Every day you can gain more confidence by focusing on the habits that are within your control.

There are 3 key areas that anyone can control every day:

  1. Your attitude, self-talk, and energy level. No one can control your attitude besides you. Knowing and believing you are created for a purpose and having positive self-talk is the most important area of focus in anyone’s life. Your energy level is a choice. Your attitude is a choice.
  2. Your schedule and time management. You determine what time you go to sleep, when you wake up, what time you make your first prospecting call, what time you make your last prospecting call, if you’re going to work on the weekends, or not. You are in control of your time.
  3. Your activity. No one can force you to work. You have to decide to get as much done as possible with the time allowed. Break your day into goal periods and decide what you are going to do with your time every minute, every hour of every day. Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla, Space X, and Solar City) breaks his day down to 5 minute time blocks that are scheduled before he starts every day.

The key to being unconditionally confident and having self-worth in business is to not attach your self-worth to how much you produce.  Your gauge on whether or not you’re doing a good job is based on work habits – Activity, Attitude, and Schedule. That way at the end of the day, you look in the mirror and don’t ask yourself “did I sell anything today?”  Instead you will ask yourself, “did I focus on controlling the controllable habits today and do my dead level best?”  When you are growing and improving every day in your beliefs and habits, you are creating Unconditional Confidence.

A good positive affirmation to use when forming unconditional confidence is saying to yourself every day when you look into the mirror:
“I do not expect success all the time, but due to the belief in my gifts and God-given abilities in addition to my knowledge and acquired skills, I can be fearless in the moment. In reality, self-worth has nothing to do with the outcome. So when the pressure comes, I cannot hesitate. Knowing sometimes I will do well and sometimes I won’t, regardless, I know failure is temporary and success will happen with perseverance.”

Navigate 2.0 – Selling the Way People Like to Buy

Posted in Sales Coaching on October 24, 2016 by eweikert

My father once told me “people buy because they like you and trust you.”  People love to buy, but they hate to be sold. The best salespeople on the planet understand that building trust is key.

My new book Navigate 2.0 is about how to build trust and how to sell the way people like to buy. Most people sell the wrong way. Most people treat other people the way they personally would want to be treated. The problem with that approach is if you treat everyone the way you would want to be treated you are not connecting with ¾ of the buying behavior styles in the world.

While getting my Psychology degree at the University of Tennessee, I found it fascinating that there are four different personality/behavior styles. After attending the Southwestern Advantage training on “How to Sell Like a Chameleon”, I connected the dots between the DiSC and Myers-Briggs personality profiles, that I was studying in college, and how to apply the same science to selling. This epiphany was the turning point in my selling career. Applying the principles found in Navigate 2.0 helped me break the 150-year-old all-time sales record at the Southwestern Company, which made me the #1 producer out of over 150,000 salespeople who’ve successfully gone through the Southwestern door-to-door selling program.

Since co-founding Southwestern Consulting and co-creating the Navigate selling profile system, we have successfully implemented its proven methodologies and helped over 6,000 people increase their income by an average of over 23%!  Now you have access to the Navigate 2.0 content which will take your selling game to the next level and help you sell the way people like to buy.  Just click here and enjoy!


Being Decisive

Posted in Leadership Coaching, Motivational, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , , on June 7, 2016 by Dustin Hillis

What do people like Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban and Mark Zuckerberg have in common? Other than being billionaires, they all are decisive. They know what they want. They understand their priorities. They make decisions. You’d probably never hear any of them say, “let me think about it”. Billionaires don’t have time to “think about it”; it’s either a “yes” or it’s a “no”. Opportunities are lost every day from not making a decision.

What is there to think about? Most of the time if we have to think about something, it’s because we don’t have a clear vision for what we really want. People are so focused on the day-to-day minutiae of life, that they cannot set their sights down the road on the bigger prize. It’s interesting to ask people the question “what do you want?” Most people respond with something generic like “happiness”, “make a lot of money”, “world peace”, etc. If someone asked you “what do you want?”, could you answer the question? Knowing what you want is the first step in being a decisive decision maker.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 8.57.16 PM

Considering your priorities and reorganizing priorities based on what is going to get you another step closer to your goal every day is a skill. We are all busy being busy. Nobody on the planet thinks they aren’t “busy”.

Why do so few people exceed their goals in life? They have their priorities out of order. If your priority is to become the number one producer, become financially independent and build wealth, then why are you spending so much time checking email, reading up on current events and chit-chatting with your co-workers by the coffee machine? You should spend 90-95% of your time doing things that only you can do with your unique skills and talents. Understanding your priorities will help you to stay focused on the things that only you can do.

All that is left now that you know what you want and you’ve got your priorities reorganized daily is to take action. Stop thinking. Pick up the phone. Book the trip. Ask the girl of your dreams out on a date.

Stop thinking and start doing. Make decisions. Be decisive. If 90% of your decisions are right, then the 10% that are wrong will be made up from making more positive decisions.

Being Present In the Moment

Posted in dustin hillis, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , , on April 12, 2016 by Dustin Hillis

Recently a man was taking a picture with his smart phone and backed off the ledge of a cliff and died. Being present in the moment can be the difference between life and death. Being present in the moment can be the difference between staying married or getting a divorce. Being present in the moment can be the difference between your child growing up feeling loved or alone. Being present in the moment can be the difference between winning someone’s business or losing the deal.

The greatest gift you can give someone is your attention.

When was the last time when you were in a room and everyone was engrossed in their cell phones and not paying attention to their surroundings? Can you recall the last conversation when the person you were talking with was looking over your shoulder and not making eye contact with you and you could tell they were listening to less than half of the things you were saying? When was the last time you were barely engaged in a conversation? Of even worse, you only focused on looking good by trying to impress the other person by talking about yourself, and not caring to ask the other person questions about themselves, resulting in a balanced conversation. People who are more focused on being interesting versus being interested will always have a difficult time fostering authentic relationships.

3 Levels of Not Paying Attention

Level 1. Attention Deficit

There are a large number of people in this world who are naturally wired to be on the go and cannot sit still long enough to ask questions and listen. While this might be a gift or a curse that God has given you, it’s still not an excuse not to be present in the moment. Some individuals with extreme cases end up taking medication for ADD. After being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), I was prescribed medication which caused me to experience hyperfocus. It also caused me to also experience negative side effects that caused me to stop taking the drugs. I found that after years of practice I could control my ADD and hyperfocus when I put myself in the right environment with no medication.

Level 2. Addicted to Technology

family on phones

Smart phones are making us stupid. The world is addicted to their phones. A large number of people are spending a majority of their time on their smart phones. Between Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, blogs and email, everyone is living a virtual reality versus living in real time. The most interesting man in the world (in my favorite Dos Equis beer commercial) says “I live vicariously through myself.” Life is beautiful. All we need to do is put down the technology and pay attention and see the real time Instagram-worthy things all around us.

Level 3. Consumed with Oneself

When someone is so consumed with himself or herself that they don’t care about other people, they enter another level of not being present in the moment. Think of the last time you went to a dinner or had a meeting with someone and at the end of the time together you knew everything about them and they knew nothing about you? Do you have friends who don’t really know anything about you? Are they really your friend? If someone is so consumed with how awesome they are, it will be difficult for them to be present in the moment and have a genuine conversation with you.

Now that we’ve identified the 3 levels of not paying attention, let’s discuss how to be present in the moment.

The first step in being present in the moment is to slow down and take a deep breath. Life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Who always wins in Aesop’s Fable The Tortoise and the Hare? The tortoise wins every time! Pay attention to your breathing. By simply taking a few deep breaths, you will slow your heart rate down and you’ll be able to be more present. Just by simply slowing down, you will start noticing things that are beautiful all around you that you may have never noticed before. I love how my 4-year-old daughter, Haven, always notices any flowers and makes us stop and look at them and smell them. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

After you’ve learned how to slow down, start working on being grateful. Every day either when you wake up or when you’re going to bed take out a piece of paper or a journal and write down 10 things that you are grateful for in your life that day. Throughout the day, pray or affirm your gratitude for all of the little things in life. When good things happen to you, don’t get over excited and when bad things happen to you, don’t get overly upset. Always stay even keeled in your emotions and grounded in thankfulness and gratitude. Just be thankful to be alive and healthy every single day. Everything else is just a bonus!

Get a better routine. Wake up and go workout, read some affirmations, eat breakfast and then maybe check your email for 30 minutes and then put it away. Then have a scheduled time in the middle of the day to check email and technology, then one more time at the end of the day. Checking email 3 times per day and social media one time per day should be enough! We do not need to be consumed by our social media all day long. Our relationships are suffering if we are addicted to our devices.

Finally, get over yourself. No one cares how awesome you are. Emotional midgets are the ones who care so much about what others think about them that they only want to talk about themselves. We need to honestly care about other people, ask questions and listen. We need to empathize with other people’s pains and struggles. Focus on maintaining eye contact, look for the non-verbal communication to make sure that what they are telling you is the whole story or, if you need to, keep asking more questions to get them to really open up and tell you what is really going on.

At the end of the day, we are all called to love one another. There is no way we can show love if we are too busy being busy and consumed with our own selfish human nature. This has been and will continue to be a struggle of mine.   Hopefully, you will join me in the pursuit of loving other people and being present in the moment.

Vanderbilt University Marketing Class Lessons

Posted in Motivational, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips with tags , on February 12, 2016 by Dustin Hillis

Vanderbilt University Marketing Class

“Who thinks they are going to be in sales when they graduate?” is the question I kicked off my class lecture with in the business class at Vanderbilt University. Which is the same question I’ve asked in my last six times of being their guest professor.  It amazes me every time I ask the question that no one raises their hand!

The number one thing I hope the Vanderbilt students get out of our session is that everyone is in sales no matter what profession they choose after college. At Southwestern Consulting we have doctors, lawyers, and dentist who all have gone through our 12 months coaching program to learn how to be a salesperson.  Because the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spent on their formal education didn’t teach them the most import piece of running their business, SALES!

The second thing I hope they take away from our class is that selling is serving, not forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do. One of the sharp young students asked me about a book the guy from the Wolf on Wall Street wrote. Thinking I was going to agree with his manipulation tactics and when I told him I believe the best salespeople in the world are the antithesis of the Wolf on Wall Street, he was shocked.

The third thing I hope they take away is an understanding of the art of true salesmanship and how it is a craft that can be honed just like any other profession, such as a doctor or lawyer. The younger generations have this fantasy that when they are ready to hit the working world they will just get a job, the phone will ring, and they will be doing what they love. They have no idea that what they are learning in college is a small fraction of what they need to know to be successful.

It is fun teaching this class every semester and staying in touch with the next generation of world leaders!  I hope that we all continue to reinforce and instill the right principles to our kids and the younger generations. It’s a good reminder every time I teach this class how much the world does not teach or promote the truth about what it takes to be successful in life, and it reinvigorates me to keep coaching and helping people focus on doing the right things and achieve their goals in life.

3 Ideas How to Take the Pressure Off

Posted in Motivational, Sales Coaching, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , on February 8, 2016 by Dustin Hillis

We live in a world of unmet expectations. We are consumed with struggling through the daily grind to be successful, or stripping away stresses to find our inner-self and calmness, or indulging in everything life has to offer to just be happy. We feel “less than”, pressure, and frustrated when we don’t achieve what we are longing for. We make an idol of success, tranquility or happiness.

Tim Keller said it best in his book Counterfeit Gods, “When an idol gets a grip on your heart, it spins out a whole set of false definitions of success and failure and happiness and sadness. It redefines reality in terms of itself.”

It’s mind-boggling how some of the most successful people I know are so full of insecurity and self-doubt. The outside world thinks these people are the most successful people who have it all together, and the reality is they are freaking out on the inside and putting too much pressure on themselves. I remember feelings of extreme pressure that I would put on myself, and thoughts of being less than no matter what I accomplished or achieved.

I’m sure you’re asking yourself right now, “this sounds good, but how in the world am I supposed to do this?”

Here are 3 Ideas on how do we take the pressure off:

  1. Take a reality check. Ask yourself these two question:
    • During your idle time, where is your head at? What do you literally think about when you are left by yourself?
    • If you were 100% honest with yourself, where are you at emotionally?
  1. Find the root of the problem. Typically, there are three main root issues that cause us to put too much pressure on ourselves.
    1. “Comparison is the thief of all joy” – Any time we compare ourselves to anyone else, it creates pressure. There will always be someone else who is better, faster, better looking, stronger and smarter. We are all inadequate to everyone at something.
    2. Not having fun. – Your attitude is a choice. Your energy level is a choice. Choosing to have fun and be joyful in every single thing you do every single day is a choice.   Most people live in a reactionary state. They just let things happen to them and just think “woe is me”, or they take themselves so seriously they leave no room to simply have fun.
    3. Feeling like a failure. – Feeling like a failure is the granddaddy of all root issues when it comes to putting too much pressure on ourselves. Failure is part of life. No one is perfect. Anyone who expects to be perfect at anything will be guaranteed to feel like a failure because it’s impossible to be perfect at anything over a long period of time. At some point, we will all break. Often, it takes us reaching our breaking point to be able to accept our brokenness and dig down to the root of our problems.

3.  Focus on Unconditional Confidence.

In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the highest level is “self-actualization” which focuses on morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts.

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 7.36.14 AM

The difference between Maslow’s “self-actualization” and Unconditional Confidence is that Unconditional Confidence cannot be found inside yourself. Unconditional Confidence is not a goal or something you achieve. Unconditional Confidence comes from an understanding that you were created for a higher calling. You were created to die to your selfishness, and your highest achievement in life is to love, serve and care for other people. Another great book by Tim Keller – Every Good Endeavor – does an excellent job at describing in detail how to have Unconditional Confidence.

There are three types of confidences and our goal is to strive to be Unconditionally Confident.

  1. False Confidence – Faking it until you make it has its place and time. However, we need to quickly get ourselves out of a false confidence state once we embark on trying something new. False Confidence is saying you’re going to do something, or thinking you are good at something with no real evidence to back it up. There are plenty of people out there who say “I could have done that if I really wanted to” or “I’m going to be number one.” Etc.
  2. Conditional Confidence – Conditional Confidence comes into play after we’ve set the stage with our False Confidence. We’ve set an expectation for ourselves that we are supposed to be a certain way or accomplish certain things, and then when the results are less than what we hoped for, we feel defeated and less than. Conditional Confidence is contingent on results. If we win, we feel good. If we lose, we feel pressure. Conditional Confidence is equivalent to the 4th level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – “Esteem: self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect for others, respect by others”. Most of us get stuck with Conditional Confidence our whole life.
  3. Unconditional Confidence – People who are Unconditionally Confident have figured out their purpose in life and what they are called to do. Once we have figured that out, we then get to work every day knowing we are making a difference in the world through our work habits, not our results.

If taking the pressure off is something that you need to focus on, print off this quote and read it aloud every day for the next year:

“I do not expect success all the time, but due to the belief in my gifts and God-given abilities in addition to my knowledge and acquired skills, I can be fearless in the moment. In reality, self-worth has nothing to do with the outcome. So when the pressure comes, I cannot hesitate. Knowing sometimes I will do well and sometimes I won’t, regardless, I know failure is temporary and success will happen with perseverance.”

Being Positive vs. Positive Self-Talk

Posted in dustin hillis, Motivational, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, self talk on January 12, 2016 by Dustin Hillis

Being Positive vs Positive Self-Talk

The Four Degrees of Selfishness

Posted in dustin hillis, Motivational with tags , , , , on October 2, 2015 by Dustin Hillis

It wasn’t until I fully understood the degree of my selfishness that I was able to change. Don’t get me wrong. I have not arrived, nor will I ever feel like “I’ve arrived”. However, I feel like God has me on the right path and I have to daily check my compass to make sure I’m staying the course.

All of my life I’ve been focused on looking good and impressing other people. Early in my childhood I developed a “Performer” mindset where performing = love. The need to always be perfect and always “on” is a scary place to be. The reason being, we are all human, sinners, and it’s inevitable we will make mistakes. For the longest time, I always thought the things I did and mistakes I made were unforgivable and caused me shame and guilt, and I never learned how to accept love. However, what God has painfully showed me is that the most heinous of all my character flaws is not the things that I’ve done my whole life, as C. S. Lewis says in his book Mere Christianity, “the chief of all sins is selfishness. Selfishness is the sin of the Devil.”

Mere Christianity



The first degree of selfishness: Nature – “Mine”

I’ve been selfish my whole life, ever since I could crawl and say the word “mine”. While getting my Psychology degree at the University of Tennessee, we studied child psychology and it is amazing understanding the concepts in nature versus nurture. Our human nature is to be selfish. No one has to teach us this; it just is the state we are born in. So many of us never leave the first degree of selfishness during our whole life. Like a little baby who thinks the whole universe revolves around them, we only look out for number one and think everything should be “mine”.


The second degree of selfishness: Nurture – “I deserve”

After evolving out of the first degree of selfishness, we become much more sophisticated with our egotism. We start playing the nice societal roles we are conditioned and “nurtured” to play. This is where we understand the universe doesn’t revolve around ourselves, so we then start thinking, “look at how sophisticated, smart and nice I am to share and understand the universe doesn’t revolve around me. Aren’t I special? I deserve respect. I deserve to be rewarded. I deserve to be special.”

Feeling like we deserve anything as a result of an act we did is the second degree of selfishness. The reality is we do not deserve anything for our acts. If we are called to be focused on serving other people and laying down our own selfish desires, then the idea of thinking about what “I deserve” is a recipe for disaster. Once the seed is planted that you deserved something, even if you get what you think you deserve, it will create an appetite for wanting more and feeling like you deserve more. The reality is that everything good in this world has been given to you by the grace, mercy, and love of God. Understanding that He is the giver of all good things helps take the focus off of feeling like you have to earn your way into something you deserve.


The third degree of selfishness: Narcissism

Definition – noun: narcissism:  Excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.

  1. Psychology: extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.
  2. Psychoanalysis: self-centeredness arising from failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a feature of mental disorder.

Origin: early 19th century: via Latin from the Greek name Narkissos (see Narcissus) + -ism.

After experiencing the hell of the third degree of selfishness, I know that with God’s grace and mercy I will never go back. The third degree of selfishness is where you stop caring about other people and all you are focused on is looking good, sounding smart, appearing to be in control, being respected, being recognized for achieving amazing accomplishments. As soon as we lose the ability to consider other people and cannot be authentic, transparent and tell the truth to everyone in our lives, we start to enter into the third degree of selfishness.

In 2010, I went down the third degree of selfishness path and truly hit rock bottom. I did things that have no justification at all. I was so consumed with what I deserve, looking good, sounding smart, being respected, appearing in control, and seeking recognition that I hit the self-destruct button on my entire life. Then a year later after realizing the degree of my selfishness, the damage had been done. So I did what my instincts told me to do… lie. Just hide and bury the truth and never tell anyone the degree of my selfishness. After all, there is no way anyone would respect, forgive or love someone who is this selfish.


The fourth degree of selfishness: Self Destruction & Addition



In The Furious Longing of God, Brennan Manning explains that Shame and Guilt are the tools of the devil. Any screw tape that you hear playing in your head revolving around shaming you or making you feel guilty is a message straight from the pit of hell. The fourth degree is the scariest place to be. This is where you can become so overwhelmed by shame and guilt you might feel like it’s easier to check out or possibly just end it. Most people turn to addictions in this phase to numb the pain of their shame and guilt. There are many, many forms of addictions. We could be addicted to work, alcohol, drugs, food, narcissism, pornography, caffeine, pills, etc. After several close acquaintances in my life commit suicide, hearing the news of their death always has the same effect on me of a tidal wave of emotions with shock, anger and sadness. After personally experiencing the full measure of the fourth degree of selfishness, I now have a very small glimpse of how people think it’s possible to take their own life. After all, it’s the ultimate form of selfishness.


The good news!

The good news is there is a Way out of this hell. There is a Light at the end of this tunnel. It starts with the Truth. THE ONLY WAY TO THE LIGHT IS THROUGH THE TRUTH. Brutal, relentless, honest, embracing, humbling truth. Start with taking an inventory of your life. Ask God to show you the mirror and reveal to you the degree of your selfishness. Write down all of the ways you are being or have ever been inconsiderate, unempathetic, damaging to others and selfish. This exercise will probably be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. Most of us couldn’t even handle seeing the degree of our selfishness through God’s eyes, so He will only show you what you can handle. You will know if you’re doing this successfully if you are absolutely wrecked, broken and ripped apart after praying for God to show you the degree of your true sins. Once you have an understanding of your selfishness, you need to own your mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Anyone you’ve ever hurt, damaged or caused pain in any way. Call them or take them out to coffee, look them right in the eye and tell them what you did to hurt them, own it, and ask for forgiveness.  Being selfish destroys trust. Telling the brutal truth is the only way to restore trust.  Start with telling yourself the truth that you are a selfish, self centered, ego-driven human sinner and without God’s grace and mercy you have no hope.


At the end of the day we are all called to die to our selfish desires. This is counter culture. The world tells us the opposite. We have a decision to make every single day. The decision is simple, but it’s not easy. Are you going to focus on yourself and what you deserve, or are you going to lay down your selfish desires and serve others? I promise the results of these decisions are vastly different.

20 Ways to Be a Good Salesperson

Posted in Sales Coaching, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , , , , , on July 1, 2015 by Dustin Hillis

The world is full of dichotomies, the yin and the yang, the black and the white, the good and the bad. At Southwestern Consulting™, we are on a mission to change the perception the world has about the word “salesperson”.  Unfortunately, over the years, really bad salespeople have created a negative stigma for what used to be considered the most honorable profession in the world, selling. I attended a church service once where the preacher literally was referring to being a “sinner” as being a being a “salesperson”!

The reality is everyone is a salesperson. It doesn’t matter if you are an accountant, teacher, engineer, doctor or a stay at home mother… everyone is selling something always. Selling is simply communicating. Every day we are selling an idea to someone else. My 4-year-old daughter Haven is the best salesperson I know. Every day she is selling her mother and me on something she wants, and she is really good at negotiating and handling objections!

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wallstreet

Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

In the movie The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio does a fantastic job of demonstrating all 20 traits of a bad salesperson. The Wolf of Wall Street is the best example of a horrible, self-centered, high pressure, manipulative salesperson. At Southwestern Consulting™, we work with some of the best auto dealers in the world.  Some of the used car salesmen and saleswomen that we work with are the most ethical, honest and hard-working people we’ve ever met.  However, it is so unfortunate that a group of bad salespeople like The Wolf of Wall Street got into the used car sales business and gave the honorable industry a bad name.

Steve Reiner is a Top Producing Salesperson at Southwestern Consulting

Steve Reiner is a Top Producing Salesperson at Southwestern Consulting

The other day I was in Denver, Colorado working with a really good salesperson named Steve Reiner. Steve is a Partner at Southwestern Consulting™ and is an executive sales and leadership coach. It was so invigorating to watch him meet with a very savvy sales manager and extremely competent regional director and then present to a group of seasoned sales professionals at Wells Fargo Advisors. If Steve was a bad salesperson, he would not have gotten into the door with these folks and the seasoned sales team would have eaten him alive. So why did they not only let Steve come train them on how to be better sales professionals, but then afterwards a good number of them signed up for one-on-one sales coaching? Steve is a servant salesperson. He focuses on asking really good questions.  He listens with a heart of service and wanting to help other people reach their goals in life. He is not focused on himself and personal gain. He is patient and persistent and creates a comfortable buying atmosphere and sells the way people like to buy.

At the end of the day, we all have a decision to make. Are we going to be a bad salesperson who is focused on ourselves and how much money we can make, and be consumed with what we deserve?  Or are we going to be a good salesperson and focusing on serving others, asking good questions and listening, and caring more about helping people get what they want than we do making a commission. After all, people can smell your commission breath a mile away.

Here are the traits of a bad salesperson and a good salesperson: 

20 Traits of a Bad Salesperson:
1. Are selfish and focused on making a commission
2. Make things up to get someone to buy
3. Talks too much and too fast
4. Force people to do things they don’t want to do
5. Don’t work a referral system
6. Pressure people and makes them feel sold
7. Don’t dress for success
8. Are not disciplined
9. Say one thing and do another
10. Are lazy
11. Have call reluctance
12. Don’t have a schedule
13. Don’t track their activity
14. Don’t know their numbers/selling ratios
15. Think about prospects in terms of how much money they can make off them
16. Make excuses and blame others for failures
17. Take credit for a collaborative team effort
18. Lie and are dishonest
19. Don’t know how to close properly so they create undue pressure
20. Are ego driven and focused on looking good

20 Traits of a Good Salesperson:

1. Has a servant’s heart and focused on serving other people through helping them meet their needs

2.Asks really good questions and intently listens

3. Qualifies prospects quickly and doesn’t sell to people who are not qualified
4. Are aware of their surroundings and considerate of others
5. Closes quickly once a prospect crosses the buying line and doesn’t over sell
6. Uses Feel (empathy), Felt (relating), Found  (solution) and 3rd Party testimonial stories to answer all objections
7. Helps prospects buy with ease and have fun when they are buying
8. Sells the way people like to buy / adapts to others’ buying styles
9. Always is dressed appropriately for success
10. Always on schedule and on time
11. Works a efficiency warm referral system
12. Has a positive attitude in all circumstances
13. Tracks their activity
14. Knows their numbers/selling ratios
15. Does the work and doesn’t care who gets the credit
16. Doesn’t make excuses and finds a way
17. Are team players
18. Tells the truth even when it hurts
19. Studies the art of selling and closing to help prospects feel comfortable and excited with buying
20. Has a humble and loving approach towards everything they say and do

I challenge you to be one of the good guys.  Be a Good Salesperson!

Letting Go of the Uncontrollable

Posted in Sales Coaching with tags , , , on June 8, 2015 by Dustin Hillis

Donald Miller says in his book Scary Close, “the root of sin is the desire for control”… and “the root of control is fear.” The fear of losing control is a powerful driving force that causes us to behave in variety of crazy different ways. For some, this fear manifests itself by self-promotion and being self-righteous with the thirst for winning and being the best, while others might be controlling their image and presenting a perfect front to the world. For some, it’s the pursuit of being right or the relentless domination of others with an iron fist and exerting their will over the “inferior” people around them. The inverse is true when the craving for control rears its ugly head through self-destructive, shameful and guilt-ridden vehicles such as alcoholism, drug addictions, work obsession, food additions, sex and pornography addictions, and many other self-control coping mechanisms create the illusion of having control in ones life.

In the “self help” industry I often hear motivational speakers, authors, and “experts” promote prosperity and how to be in control of my results. Being in control of results usually involves manipulation. It hasn’t been until some recent events in my personal life that I’ve realized how destructive “being in control” can be. Upon reflection of my life, the more I’ve tried to control uncontrollable things, other people and results, the more I seem to screw up. Yet, everything noteworthy that I’ve ever done has came to me by letting go of the desire for control, focusing on the right activities and trusting God to deliver the outcome how He sees fit.

Letting Go of the Uncontrollable

Letting Go of the Uncontrollable

Don’t get me wrong. I feel that we are all called to take action and use the talents God has given us. However, we need to focus on the diligent activity, not the results. Ultimately, we only have a few things that we should put our focus on and let God take care of the rest.

Here are 3 areas of daily focus:

  1. Your attitude.

After the economy took a major dip in 2008, my father was in a board meeting for a Fortune 100 company. The CEO was going around the table reaming all the VP’s for their numbers being off target. The gentleman sitting next to my dad was smiling ear to ear as the CEO berated his way down the line of senior executives. Once he set his fierce eyes upon the smiling man, he ripped into him, “I don’t know why you have that silly grin on your face. There is nothing to be smiling about with your numbers either!” Then the man stood up and calmly replied “Sir, no disrespect. But you can yell and scream at me all day long; however, there is nothing you can say or do that will take my positive attitude away from me.” Then the brave bold man confidently sat down. The CEO’s demeanor changed on a dime and he shouted with enthusiasm, “that’s right! We need more of you to have an attitude just like this guy!”

You determine your attitude everyday. Your attitude is a choice.

  1. Your schedule.

We are called to be productive and serve other people. The best way to serve other people is to be organized, focused and proactive. At Southwestern Consulting™, we work with hundreds of different companies all across the country and we find the #1 thing that people need help with is controlling their schedule and time. The best approach is to be diligent and plan how you are going to spend every minute of your most precious resource you’ve ever been given, your time. The key is to not get caught up in the trap of being busy to just be busy. Wasting time and wasting your talents is a waste of your life.

Be proactive, not reactive. Understand your priorities. Set your schedule and stick to it!

  1. Your activity.

There is a massive difference between people who “work hard” and people who “work smart”. Typically, people who “work hard” measure everything in how long they spend doing something. They think that a 3 hour meeting is a good thing because the person listened to them gab on for that long. Typically, people who think they “work hard” do end up focusing on results and measure everything they do based on the results they are or are not seeing. Therefore, if they do not experience peace and joy when working because they are focused on results, that is something they cannot control.

The rare individuals who “work smart” are the ones who focus on being efficient and effective. They work referrals/word-of-mouth marketing; they gather intel before engaging someone in a sales situation; they find ways to shorten the sales cycle and are excited about spending less time with people and serving them as fast as possible, and not wasting the prospect’s time, as well as their own time. They focus on productive activity and not wasteful, unproductive time.

When my wife was a little girl, her father would make her re-vacuum the stairs if she missed a spot. He would tell her, “It doesn’t matter how hard you work up a sweat, if you don’t get the job done right. You need to work smart and get the job done right the first time.”

Letting go of the uncontrollable is a scary thing because in order to truly let go we, first must look long and hard into a mirror and admit what it is that we don’t want to let go of. Most of the time, the people, things or results someone is trying to control are stemming from a much deeper-rooted issue that manifests itself in the form of control. Living in truth and admitting our imperfections, wounds from others, personal sins and mistakes and asking for forgiveness is the beginning of letting go. Next is putting a plan and accountability in place to change our behaviors to insure that we don’t keep repeating the mistakes that are causing the need for control. Lastly, we have to fully submit to God all of our anxieties and worries and focus on being thankful and loving those around us. Once we let go all of the uncontrollable, life becomes more fun! The grass is greener, the sky is bluer, and everything tastes sweeter. Just let it go.


Posted in Motivational with tags , , , , , on May 25, 2015 by Dustin Hillis

May 25th, 2015 – Memorial Day. Thank you to all the men and women who have valiantly made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. This blog is dedicated to you.


The free world is not run by oppressive dictators because of the bravery of the individuals who fight against the tyranny of evil. Some of my best friends and family members have been part of the war against evil. They have shared with me their personal stories of how they helped the people of other countries try to rebuild after the genocide of an evil dictator.

My favorite books to read and movies to watch are the ones based on a true story of epic heroism to overcome evil. Evil is the producer of fear, death, and destruction. King David was one of the most fearless warriors of all time and the Bible says he was a man after Gods heart. Another one of the most fearless warriors who’s ever lived was King Leonidas, (c. 530-480 B.C.), King of the Spartans whose bravery is shown in the Hollywood produced and dramatized, yet epic movie, 300. This historical account documents King Leonidas paying the ultimate sacrifice along with 300 of his most fearless Spartan soldiers at the battle of Thermopylae. They chose to die and inspired all the city states to unite and fight for their freedom!

We still have fearless warriors like King David and Leonidas protecting us today. One of those warriors is Adam Brown who’s life story is depicted in the book Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown

Adam Brown - Fearless

Adam Brown – Fearless

Adam Brown believed that being fearless is what God has called us to be and do. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” —Isaiah 41:10

On this Memorial Day we can all honor the fearless soldiers like Adam Brown who have died in battle by being fearless ourselves. When we have to make a sacrifice of personal gain to do the right thing, that is an act of fearlessness. Confronting a tough problem head-on is being fearless. Letting go of anxiety and worry and trusting God is being fearless. Most of all dying to ourselves and stamping out our own self-seeking desires in the service of others is the best expression of fearlessness.

Everyone has the ability to be fearless and good, and everyone has the ability to be selfish and evil. There is a battle happening everyday both in the physical world and the spiritual world. The battle for your mind and your heart is the scariest battleground. On any given day you can choose to be the fear monger like the evil tyrants or fearless like our fallen heroes. Today the challenge for us all is to put on our figurative armor that allows us to stand “in the readiness of the gospel of peace,”…. pick up our “shield of faith”, and draw the sword of fearless love to be a light in the world and honor the most fearless people of all. Thank you to all the current soldiers in the military and the families who support them!

How to Embrace Failure

Posted in Motivational with tags , , , , on May 20, 2015 by Dustin Hillis

high-ropes-course-234101_1280Most of my life I’ve wasted exorbitant amounts of energy trying to overcome my failures and manage my brokenness. I have fled from my failures, tried to hide my mistakes and put on a fake smile to mask my pain and regrets. In the book The Furious Longing of God, Brennan Manning provides keen insight into how God’s mercy is shown by Him not allowing us to fully see the depth of our brokenness, as we wouldn’t be able to handle it. The more of life’s battles I endure, the more it has become apparent that success has nothing to do with overcoming failures. God has called us to embrace our failures.

Failure is inevitable. If you haven’t experienced a multitude of failures in your life, it’s probably a result from an even more significant quandary of playing the game of life too safe, not taking chances, not putting your heart and soul into your passions in life, or you’re in denial. Chances are you have experienced failure and then felt shame or embarrassment about your failure. Possibly, you went into problem-solving mode to overcome and/or manage your failure so you could be proud of the fact that you are self-sufficient and overcame your weaknesses. Does this ring familiar?

C.S. Lewis said it in best in his best-selling book Mere Christianity that the scariest person is the one who thinks nothing is wrong with them. Trying to be in control, managing our mistakes and acting as if we are never wrong creates a façade and turns us into a pious, judging people which is not how God called us to live. Embracing our failures is admitting we’ve failed, committing to changing and being extraordinarily cognizant and intentional to not make the same mistake twice. Once we embrace our failures we will find grace, redemption, hope and love. Through grace, we can embrace our failures and grow.

Here are five ways embracing failure can work for you, according to Jeremy Bloom’s article This Is What It Means to Embrace Failure on Entrepreneur.com.

  1. We learn some of our best lessons through failure.
  2. Failure inspires us. If we look at it properly and don’t allow it to define us, failure can be a great source of motivation.
  3. Failure teaches us humility. We feel humble after losing and recognize that we are indeed human.
  4. Embracing failure allows us to take more risks. Once we come to terms with having failed and survived, we can take greater risks.
  5. Failure makes success taste even better. We have a better appreciation of success having failed a few times on the way up the ladder.



Posted in Leadership Coaching, Sales Coaching, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , on March 2, 2015 by Dustin Hillis

Flat Tire

My very first summer selling I was out in the backwoods of Missouri where I got not one, not two, not three, but 10 flat tires. My 10th flat tire happened while I was driving a rental car. By that time in the summer, I had gotten pretty quick at changing out a flat and had formed a habit of jumping out of the car to change it, timing myself to see how fast I could do it to try to beat my NASCAR pit crew record breaking time.

On this particular day, I did not beat my NASCAR pit crew record-breaking time because in that rental car I’d never had a flat tire. I put it on the jack and didn’t realize in that car you’re supposed to pull the emergency break before changing the tire. The car fell off of the jack. And if you’ve ever been in the backwoods of Missouri and have a car fall off its jack, I can promise you that you’ll understand that this is not a fun experience! So I ended up having to move the car and work as hard as I could to get the jack out from underneath the car, jack the car back up, and change the tire. It took forever!

I’m loading my boxes back into the trunk and I looked down and realized that my skin looked like it was moving for some odd reason. Upon further inspection, I realized that I was completely covered in ticks. It wasn’t just a few ticks; it was not just a couple of dozen ticks…I’m talking hundreds of ticks that were in the canopy of woods above my head while I was changing the tire which had been falling on my head for over an hour while I worked on that rental car.

What did I do? What any other rational human being would do…I freaked out!  I stripped down to the nude, took my clothes and threw them in a blue Walmart bag that was sitting in the back of the car because I didn’t want to get the ticks in the car. Then I jumped in the car and drove off still freaking out! I remember thinking, “What’s going on?  Why am I out here selling in the middle of Missouri?” I wanted to quit, I wanted to go home, and I determined that that’s what I was going to do.

I pulled up into the only gas station in the entire town. It was the hangout for the city. It was the only place to go, evidenced by all of the people there. I opened the door of the car and I realized—wait a minute—I’m buck naked!  So I jumped back in the car, reached into the Walmart bag and grabbed my covered-in-ticks pants, putting them back on while I started running across the gravel, bare feet and all.

I opened the door to the gas station and find an old lady sitting in the corner. She asked, “Son, what’s wrong with you?” “Lady, I have ticks!” I told her. I think she laughed while pointing me in the direction of the bathroom. I quickly grabbed the only thing I could find in the store to help my situation: a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a razor, and ran to the bathroom. Inside, I looked myself in the eyes and, for the first time in my life, was absolutely convinced I wanted to quit.

I never wanted to quit more at anything in my life. And I’m not a natural quitter. But this day, I wanted to pack up my bags and go home. I didn’t care how much money I was making. I wanted to quit. And I’ll never forget looking at myself in the mirror, just picking off ticks and feeling miserable and sorry for myself. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

It was during this time that something in me began to stir. I remembered going through  training at Southwestern before that summer began and hearing Lee McCroskey teach about this very time in one’s life, the point in which someone feels ready to quit. He explained that everybody has an excuse why they quit and quitting happens in different forms in each different person. Some people quit and literally go home. They are through. Some people quit mentally while keeping at it physically. Some people quit on a month; some on a week; some on a day; some on a goal period…

I’ll never forget hearing him say that and writing down on a card, “I will never quit on my summer, on a month, on a week, on a day, on a goal card or a customer.”  I pulled out that card and re-read it. Looking myself in the eye, I decided, “All right, I’m going to do this.” I took out that rubbing alcohol and razor and I shaved the ticks off, one by one. That wasn’t the best day that I’ve ever had, but it was one of my most important days of my life.

It was important because I made a decision that day to push through.

I didn’t quit.

I had a few customers after that and it was brutal. But you know what? I finished.

After that, quitting was never an option.

I want you to think of a time in your life where you wanted to quit at something—whatever it is—and you didn’t quit. You pushed through. As the country song goes, “…if you’re going through hell, you keep on going. And you get through before the devil notices you’re there.”
When have you done that? When have you pushed through pain to the break through on the other side? On the other side, life becomes easier and quitting becomes less and less of an enticing choice.

At Southwestern Consulting™, we created a technique to help you do this consistently. It’s called RAFT.


Try to imagine this acronym as your life raft, as something that helps you navigate the tumultuous waters that life brings your way.

R stands for Realize. You have to realize an event is occurring. Many times, realizing that you’re in the middle of an event is the hardest part. What is an event? An event is anything that takes you off schedule, anything that takes you out of your routine, anything that takes you out of your normal rhythm.

In my story, my event was the flat tire and finding myself covered in ticks. Events come in all shapes and sizes. It could be as large as a crashing economy, death of a loved one or loss of a marriage. Or it could be as small as a rainy day, flat tire or bad hair day. All of those events, regardless of size, can end up disrupting your momentum.

A stands for Accept. You have to accept that the event is occurring. This is another very difficult part! Acceptance is a psychological action. When I was getting my Psychology Degree at the University at Tennessee in Knoxville, I was so interested to learn that what psychologists are really doing as part of their job is working to drive their clients towards acceptance.  More often than not, people don’t like accepting things.

There are three things in life that you should put your energy and focus on.

1.    Controllables (your work habits, attitude and schedule)
2.    Things that you can influence (people)
3.    Things you have to accept (the events in your life—these are things that you can’t control. Instead, you need to roll with the punches as they come at you)

What’s interesting is that most people choose to spend their time, energy and thoughts focused on things that they just should instead be accepting. But that’s not fun! Everybody loves to gossip, to have an excuse, to talk about why something can’t work. It’s a rare individual who doesn’t make an excuse, but instead finds a way.

F stands for Focus. You have to focus on the controllables. Like I said above, there are only three things you can control—one of which is your attitude. Attitude is a choice and I challenge you to choose wisely. You can also control your schedule and your activity. Are you making wise choices?

T stands for Transform. You must transform the negative event or the negative emotion into positive momentum. Emotions are good, but even bad emotions can be harnessed to slingshot you into positive and record-breaking production.

It’s not coincidence that the week I broke the company record for making the most money in a single week was the week following learning my parents were getting divorced.
At that time, I made a choice to do RAFT:  to focus on the controllables versus quitting. Football players do the same thing. They get knocked down. When I played football, after somebody blindsided me the first time, that was when I had my best game ever.

Make sure you’re doing the following:

1) Realize the event is occurring.
2) Accept that the event is occurring.
3) Focus on the controllables.
4) Take the momentum of the negative and slingshot yourself into positive momentum.

If you can do those things, you will be able to be self-controlled, break records and take it to the next level.

Do you want more information about the R.A.F.T technique and its components? Fill out the form below to get in touch and we’ll send you more information:

Modify: Entertainer (Pt. 2)

Posted in Closing, dustin hillis, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2014 by Dustin Hillis

Today I am wrapping up my Modify series. This week, I’ll finish with how to present and close with an Entertainer. Catch up on last week, how to present to an Entertainer, here (Modify: Entertainer Pt. 1).

Did you miss the rest of the Modify series? You can catch up here:

Modify: Fighter Part 1

Modify: Fighter Part 2

Modify: Fighter Part 3 

Modify: Detective Part 1

Modify: Detective Part 2

Modify: Detective Part 3

Modify: Counselor Part 1

Modify: Counselor Part 2

Modify: Entertainer – Presentation and Close

When it comes to modifying your natural approach, presentation and close with an Entertainer’s natural buying behavior style, it is important to remember that Entertainers are the kind of people who are energetic, enthusiastic, inspired by affirmation and their biggest fear is rejection.

Knowing all of those things, we really have to be careful with how we approach, how we present and how we close because they can be the most emotional when they are buying. They can also be really great advocates and referral partners, but only if we do it the right way.

–> Click here to continue reading.

Modify: Entertainer (Pt. 1)

Posted in dustin hillis, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 8, 2014 by Dustin Hillis

Today, I am excited to share with you the last section in my Modify series. This week, I’ll cover how to approach an Entertainer followed by next week when I’ll go into how to present and close with an Entertainer.

Did you miss the rest of the Modify series? You can catch up here:

Modify: Fighter Part 1

Modify: Fighter Part 2

Modify: Fighter Part 3 

Modify: Detective Part 1

Modify: Detective Part 2

Modify: Detective Part 3

Modify: Counselor Part 1

Modify: Counselor Part 2

Modify: Entertainer – The Approach

When it comes to modifying your natural approach, presentation and close with an Entertainer’s natural buying behavior style, it is important to remember is that Entertainers are the kind of people who are energetic, enthusiastic, inspired by affirmation and their biggest fear is rejection.

–> Click here to continue reading..

Modify: Counselor (Pt. 2)

Posted in dustin hillis, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips with tags , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2014 by Dustin Hillis
Presentation and Close with a Counselor Natural Buying Style

Presentation and Close with a Counselor Natural Buying Style

Did you miss it? Last week was Modify: Counselor Part One. Catch up here.

When it comes to modifying our natural sales approach to adapt to a Counselor’s buying behavior style, it’s important to remember that a Counselor is a team player.

They are active listeners.  They are the people who are family-oriented.  They are the slowest of all the decision makers; they are more meticulous and they buy through consensus.

If you’re working with a Counselor, you’ll need to hone in and get to the core of what they are motivated by and, if you’re selling to a Counselor, what their biggest fears are.

So what is their biggest fear?

Their biggest fear is change.

One of our clients is DIRECTV.  For DIRECTV, it can be a challenge selling to a Counselor because almost every single one of their clients is changing from one product to another—from Comcast to DIRECTV.  When a Counselor is dealing with fundamentally having to change something, it is a fear of theirs.  We need to help them get over that fear and feel confident that this is the right decision for their team and their family.  We need to help them move forward despite that fear.

When presenting to a Counselor (also true for the approach), what we really want to make sure we are doing is to slow it down. Click here to continue reading.

Modify: Counselor (Pt. 1)

Posted in Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques with tags , , , , , , on November 17, 2014 by Dustin Hillis
Modify to a Counselor's Natural Buying Style

Modify to a Counselor’s Natural Buying Style

When it comes to modifying our natural sales approach to adapt to a Counselor’s buying behavior style, it’s important to remember that a Counselor is a team player.

They are active listeners.  They are the people who are family-oriented.  They are the slowest of all the decision makers; they are more meticulous and they buy through consensus.

If you’re working with a Counselor, you’ll need to hone in and get to the core of what they are motivated by and, if you’re selling to a Counselor, what their biggest fears are.

So what is their biggest fear? Click here to continue reading.

Modify: Detective (Pt. 3)

Posted in dustin hillis, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2014 by Dustin Hillis
How to Modify your Approach to a Detective's Natural Buying Style

How to Modify your Approach to a Detective’s Natural Buying Style

Today I’m wrapping up my Modify: Detective series by discussing how to close with a Detective. If you missed parts one and two, you can catch up here: Modify: Detective Part 1 | Modify: Detective Part 2

A few weeks back, I shared a similar mini series called Modify: Fighter. Did you miss it? You can catch up here: Modify: Fighter Part 1 | Modify: Fighter Part 2 | Modify: Fighter Part 3 

When it comes to modifying our natural selling style to that of a Detective, what we need to remember is that Detectives are detail-oriented and analytical.  They are the CPAs, accountants and engineers in your life.  When you’re talking to an analytical type of decision maker, think about the things that motivate them and also what fears they have. –> Click here to continue reading…


Modify: Detective (Pt. 2)

Posted in Closing, dustin hillis, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2014 by Dustin Hillis
How to Modify your Approach to a Detective's Natural Buying Style

How to Modify your Approach to a Detective’s Natural Buying Style

Today I’m sharing part 2 of my Modify: Detective series. In this blog, I’ll discuss how to present to a Detective. If you missed part one, you can catch up here.

A few weeks back, I shared a similar mini series called Modify: Fighter. Did you miss it? You can catch up here: Modify: Fighter Part 1 | Modify: Fighter Part 2 | Modify: Fighter Part 3 

When it comes to modifying our natural selling style to that of a Detective, what we need to remember is that Detectives are detail-oriented and analytical.  They are the CPAs, accountants and engineers in your life.  When you’re talking to an analytical type of decision maker, think about the things that motivate them and also what fears they have.  –> Click here to continue reading…


Modify: Detective (Pt. 1)

Posted in Closing, dustin hillis, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2014 by Dustin Hillis
How to Modify your Approach to a Detective's Natural Buying Style

How to Modify your Approach to a Detective’s Natural Buying Style

Today, I am excited to share with you part one of my Modify: Detective mini series by covering how to conduct your approach with a Detective.

Last week I wrapped up my Modify: Fighter mini series. Did you miss it? You can catch up here: Modify: Fighter Part 1 | Modify: Fighter Part 2 | Modify: Fighter Part 3 

When it comes to modifying our natural selling style to that of a Detective, what we need to remember is that Detectives are detail-oriented and analytical.  They are the CPAs, accountants and engineers in your life.  When you’re talking to an analytical type of decision maker, think about the things that motivate them and also what fears they have. –> Click here to continue reading…


Modify: Fighter (Pt. 3)

Posted in Sales Coaching with tags , , , , , , , on October 6, 2014 by Dustin Hillis

A couple of  weeks back, I kicked off my Modify: Fighter series. Today wraps up that series. Missed parts one and two? Catch up now!  (Click here to read Modify: Fighter Pt 1) (Click here to read Modify: Fighter Pt. 2)

How to modify to a Fighter's natural buying style

How to modify to a Fighter’s natural buying style

Navigate: Selling the Way People Like to Buy consists of 3 sections:

  • Solidification on the behaviors of the 4 buying styles
  • Identification of the 4 buying styles
  • Modification of your natural selling style

Modification is the most important part of how to sell the way people like to buy.  The goal is to modify and adapt one’s own natural selling style to someone else’s buying style.

The Fighter

How do you modify your natural selling style in your approach, presentation and close to a Fighter’s buying behavior style?


–> Click here to continue reading. 

Modify: Fighter (Pt. 2)

Posted in Closing, dustin hillis, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2014 by Dustin Hillis
Modifying to a Figher's Natural Buying Style

Modifying to a Figher’s Natural Buying Style

Last week we kicked off part one of our Modify: Fighter three-part series. Missed it? Catch up here.

Navigate: Selling the Way People Like to Buy consists of 3 sections:

  • Solidification on the behaviors of the 4 buying styles
  • Identification of the 4 buying styles
  • Modification of your natural selling style

Modification is the most important part of how to sell the way people like to buy.  The goal is to modify and adapt one’s own natural selling style to someone else’s buying style.

–> Click here to continue reading. 


Modify: Fighter (Pt. 1)

Posted in Closing, dustin hillis, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2014 by Dustin Hillis
Modifying to a Figher's Natural Buying Style

Modifying to a Figher’s Natural Buying Style

Navigate: Selling the Way People Like to Buy consists of 3 sections:

  • Solidification on the behaviors of the 4 buying styles
  • Identification of the 4 buying styles
  • Modification of your natural selling style

Modification is the most important part of how to sell the way people like to buy.  The goal is to modify and adapt one’s own natural selling style to someone else’s buying style.

The Fighter

How do you modify your natural selling style in your approach, presentation and close to a Fighter’s buying behavior style?

–> Click here to continue reading. 


Navigate Handshakes

Posted in Sales Coaching with tags , , , , , , on September 15, 2014 by Dustin Hillis
Navigate Handshakes

Navigate Handshakes

When it comes to identifying people’s natural buying behavior styles, one of the best ways to identify someone’s style is by taking note of how they walk, move and shake hands.


Visual: Arnold Schwarzenegger has just entered the room, straight off of the movie Terminator.  He is coming straight at you!

Fighters pump their arms and move their feet quickly.  It almost looks like a fast-speed, militant-style walk headed toward you.

Once they get to you, they’ll often shake your hand in one of two ways.

–> Click here to continue reading. 


Redefining Possible

Posted in Goal Setting, Motivational with tags , , , , , on September 1, 2014 by Dustin Hillis
Redefining Possible

Redefining Possible

I remember it like it was yesterday.

I was on track to break the all-time company sales record at Southwestern. It was a feat that only one person had accomplished out of 150,000 salespeople within the 159-year-old company.

My first three weeks of trying to break the record I didn’t even come close to hitting the numbers that I needed to in order to exceed the record.  There was another gentleman that year that was on the same track as me and also had the goal of breaking the company record.  His name was Dave Brown. The difference between Dave and me was that Dave was actually on track to break the record during those first three weeks.

I remember thinking every day, “Gosh, I can’t believe that Dave is beating me!”

–> Click here to continue reading. 

The Answering Objections Formula

Posted in dustin hillis, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips with tags , , , on August 25, 2014 by Dustin Hillis


How to Answer Objections

How to Answer Objections

At Southwestern ConsultingTM, we have found that there is a very proven formula to efficiently answer objections.


If you don’t follow this formula, what can happen is your prospect will continue to provide you with objections.  That can lead to frustration and spending unnecessary time and effort following up with people only to be given more objections.  These objections will seem legitimate, so you’ll spend time answering them…only to be given yet another objection.

–> Click here to continue reading. 


The Art of Not Thinking

Posted in Motivational, the art of not thinking with tags , , , , , on August 21, 2014 by Dustin Hillis


How I Discovered the Art of Not Thinking

How I Discovered the Art of Not Thinking


What is it that holds people back from reaching their true success and achieving that next level in their careers and/or personal lives?  What is that one thing—that lack of confidence—that causes us to give in, quit and stop at the moment where we could instead reach that next level of success?


That thing, that event, is called the Confidence Anchor.  There are probably events that have happened throughout your life where you have pushed through that barrier and you didn’t even realize it.  For me, the best example of this occurred during a wrestling match my junior year of high school.



–> Click here to continue reading…

7 Steps to Courageous Goal Setting

Posted in Motivational, Sales Coaching with tags , , , , , on August 11, 2014 by Dustin Hillis


How to Set Courageous Goals

How to Set Courageous Goals

One of the scariest goals that I’ve ever set personally happened years ago.  I set a goal to break the company all-time sales record, to become number 1 out of over 150,000 of the best salespeople on earth, at the over 150 year old Southwestern Advantage.  It was a very daunting goal.


When I think of those in my life who are the best goal setters, I think of the person who held the company sales record (that I ended up breaking), my wife, Kyah.  I learned more about how to be a top producer from Kyah than anyone!


—> Click here to continue reading…

Creating Your Creed

Posted in dustin hillis, Leadership Coaching, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , , , , , on August 4, 2014 by Dustin Hillis


Creating Your Creed

Creating Your Creed

In order to have a team that has a common mission and vision, there must be methodology and principles to live and operate by.  At Southwestern ConsultingTM, this is what we call a creed.


Every company needs a creed. At Southwestern ConsultingTM, we have helped hundreds of companies create creeds for their businesses.  As a company, creating a creed changed the trajectory of our business.


In 2009, we found ourselves in a situation of having… –> Click here to continue reading. 


Getting Over Call Reluctance

Posted in Sales Tips, Selling Techniques, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , , , , , on July 28, 2014 by Dustin Hillis


Getting Over Call Reluctance

Getting Over Call Reluctance

I started my career knocking on doors with Southwestern, where I worked 85 hours each week cold calling door-to-door.  Years later, when we started our business Southwestern Consulting, we started with the seminar business.


The seminar business typically includes a lot of phone work.  It wasn’t unheard of to make 100 dials per day.  I remember hiring a consultant and having him tell us that…. –> Click here to continue reading.


How to be a Closing Machine

Posted in Closing, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Southwestern Consulting on July 22, 2014 by Dustin Hillis
How to be a Closing Machine

How to be a Closing Machine

When you talk about closing, there are two groups of people that come to mind.

The first are those who are self-proclaimed closing machines.  They say they have no problems closing and that they love to close!  They will close anyone, on anything, at anytime.

The second are people who claim they… –> Click here to continue reading.



Understanding Key Metric Ratios

Posted in Sales Coaching with tags , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2014 by Dustin Hillis

 How to Read Key Metric Ratios

How to Read Key Metric Ratios

How to Read Key Metric Ratios

You cannot expect unless you inspect.

Understanding your key metrics, or as we call them at Southwestern ConsultingTM, your Critical Success Factors, is essential to success. So many people push, fight and refuse to track their activity and think through their ratios. Usually there are some basic, fundamental ratios that most salespeople need to know and be able to track, regardless of industry.

One of those ratios is the Dial to Reach Ratio.  That ratio measures how many phone calls you have to make/doors you have to knock on/contacts you have to make to reach one decision maker.

Another that’s important to understand is your Reach to Appointment Ratio or how many decision makers you have to talk with in order to get one of them to set an appointment with you.

The next ratio happens when you’re meeting with a decision maker.  It’s called the Appointment to Next Step Ratio or, depending on your industry, the Appointment to Close Ratio.  Sometimes Top Producers will know this ratio.  They may know, for instance, that they need to meet with four people in order to close one.  However, it is rare for someone to know his or her closing ratio.

I challenge you right now as you’re reading:  Do you know your ratios?

Are you nodding your head and feeling like you understand?  If so, the next challenge that I have for you is to think through what other ratios you aren’t tracking which you should.

A key metric that most people don’t track, that moves the needle and makes a difference, is your Referral to Meeting Ratio.

In other words, how many meetings must you run in order to get one referral?  Or, in every meeting, how many referrals do you average?  That is a key metric that can really make a huge difference.

One of the things that is really important for you and your team to understand regarding tracking activity and ratios and taking your time to actually measure your critical success factors is that this is for you.

I know that a lot of times managers will have people track their activity and the team feels as though they are being micromanaged.  But if you think about it, why wouldn’t you want to know what you’re doing in order to have something to measure against to know if you’re improving or not?

The first analogy I can give you is that measuring your ratios, or your Critical Success Factors, is like having a GPS device.  People used to fly planes without GPS devices.  They could take off, land and get where they needed utilizing very rudimentary maps and compasses and the like. This got the job done, but it wasn’t as safe, efficient or effective.  And then GPS came along…what a great thing that did for aviation!  I, for one, feel safer knowing that the plane that I’m flying on has a GPS device.

Measuring your ratios and Critical Success Factors is like having a GPS.  It will let you know if you are on course or off course.  It will guide you and let you know in which direction you need to be heading to stay on course.

The second analogy is that measuring your ratios, your Critical Success Factors, is like using a thermometer. If you go to the doctor and tell him there are all sorts of things wrong with you, but you don’t know what’s going on, it is really hard for that doctor to pinpoint whether you are sick or not without having some kind of gauge to go by.  Having a thermometer that tells your temperature will help the doctor know how to diagnose you.

Regardless, if you decide to look at it like a GPS device or a thermometer, it is really important for you to be passionate and excited about understanding how crucial it is to track your activity.

One of the tools you can use to help you create this is a goal card.  Think of this just like keeping score when you play golf.  You’ll have an Excel spreadsheet with all of your activities across the top:  your dials, reaches, appointments set, new business closed, referrals, etc.  Whatever you need to put on your goal card, put it on there.

Throughout the day, you’ll track the number of those things that you did. Every time you make a phone call you’ll make a tally mark. Every time you get a reach make a tally mark. Every time you set an appointment make a tally mark, and so on and so forth.

At the end up the day, count up your marks and, hopefully, you’ll have met your goals.  If you’re in our Top Producer’s Edge coaching program, you’re using an online activity tracking system, our Critical Success Factors website, which will log your activity.  If you don’t have that, an Excel spreadsheet works great, too.

For you to understand your ratios and always be improving one of your ratios, in addition to having a goal of constant, never-ending improvement, tweaking and finding more ways to increase your efficiency and effectiveness with those ratios will help bring up to that next level.

The LinkedIn Referral Technique

Posted in dustin hillis, Referrals, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2014 by Dustin Hillis
The LinkedIn Referral Technique

Using LinkedIn for Referrals

Where do you rank in your level of expertise at asking for, expecting and getting referrals?

Are you an expert? Are you honestly getting five referrals every time you meet with somebody?

Are you a novice? Do you rarely get referrals? Is your idea of getting referrals that you do a good job and impress people and ask them to pass your name? (Or perhaps you’re a really bold novice and you give them a couple extra business cards and ask them to hand them out!)

If you practice those strategies, you need to realize that you’re doing what amateurs do. We want to be pros! We want to be the best! If you want to be the best, you have to ask for, expect and get referrals on the spot.

–> Click here to continue reading. 

How to Remember to Ask for Referrals

Posted in Sales Tips with tags on July 7, 2014 by Dustin Hillis

How To Get Referrals & Work Smart

Working hard or working smart…which one do you prefer?

The answer, really, should be both.

At Southwestern Consulting we coach thousands of salespeople in every different industry.  What we have found is that it doesn’t matter what industry you are in, working hard and working smart is the difference between a top producer and an average producer.

The 2 key factors that are needed to become a Top Producer: …. (CLICK HERE FOR MORE)

The All In Principle

Posted in dustin hillis, Leadership Coaching, Motivational with tags , , , on November 12, 2013 by Dustin Hillis

The All In Principle

Nothing great has ever been done half-hearted.  You cannot accomplish something extraordinary with one foot in and one foot out.  You have to be all in!

Hernan Cortes figured it out when he and his 600 men went on a mission to conquer Mexico.  The only way they could possibly find a way to win the battle and conquer Mexico was to burn the boats.  He knew that having no escape, no plan B was the only way he could possibly motivate his men to not quit and find a way to win.

I think the only reason I was able to get a scholarship to play college football was from a very valuable lesson I learned from my coach in high school, Coach Adams.  In the middle of a game, Coach Adams pulled me out of the game and asked me an interesting question.  He said “on that last play were you going 100%?”  I replied “well no.  The play was away from me and I was saving my energy for the next play.”  Coach Adams laughed and said “if you go 100% ever play, you will have more energy for the next play every time.  Energy creates more energy.  You need to go 100% every play.”  After that I ran back on the field and for the rest of my football career, I said out loud before every play “I go 100% every play.”  That lesson changed my life.

Do you go 100% every play, every phone call, every meeting, every day?  Set a simple goal over the next 21 days…go 100% every play!

3 Keys To Survival

Posted in dustin hillis, Sales Coaching with tags , , , on August 19, 2013 by Dustin Hillis

3 Keys To Survival

Float Plane

Float Plane

Back when I lived in Anchorage, Alaska, my dad wanted to take me and my little brother fishing.  My dad loves fishing the hardest possible way.  We woke up early one morning and went to a float-plane charter.  My dad insisted that we go to the most remote lake possible, that nobody had ever been to.  I did not want to go to this spot.  But he insisted.  We ended up going to a lake that the fishing guide had never been to.  The only way that we could get upstream was by walking through the river.  At one point, the guide stopped us, put his hand on his gun and said for us to be quiet. Then he said, “Did you smell that grizzly bear?”  This was not my idea of a fun fishing trip!  The only thing that was fun about the trip is we were walking through about 2 inches of water and a 50 pound king salmon was trying to swim upstream.  I threw my pole down and bear hugged the salmon.  I asked my dad to take a picture, but then the fish slapped me in the face and got away.  We ended the day after hiking 9 to 10 miles trying to get back to the float plane and fly home.  The pilot made several failed attempts at flying us out of the wilderness.  We were scared to death and we barely got out of the lake alive.

Alaska King Salmon

Alaska King Salmon

After this extreme fishing trip, I decided I was going to drive to my next territory where I was selling books door-to-door in Fairbanks, Alaska, which was almost a 5 hour drive.  As I was driving through the Denali Mountains and elevation was increasing, I physically started to shake as I was driving in my car.  Knowing that there was no human life within miles of where I was, I drove my car as fast as I could to find the nearest hotel.  I found the owner of the hotel and he called the ambulance for me.  He told me I was dehydrated.

Road to Denali Mountain

I woke up the next morning in Fairbanks with the doctor telling me that I had a clean bill of health.  I asked how I should get back to my car on the Denali Mountains.  He laughed and said I would have to take the Greyhound.  I said where do you get the Greyhound?  He said if you run as fast as you can all the way across town you can catch it, but it leaves in 10 minutes.  So there I went, still wearing my hospital bracelet, running as fast as I could out of the hospital across town and barely catching the bus in time to take the five-hour ride back to retrieve my car and drive back to Fairbanks.

I checked into a hotel in Fairbanks that night, woke up at six in the morning and was knocking on doors by 7:59 AM the next day.  I ended up having a great week…and still ended up finishing as the #1 salesperson at Southwestern Advantage that year.

Upon reflection, I found that there were three key things that I did to be successful that next week and stay alive!

1.  Focus on the Solution Not the Problem

When facing dehydration in Alaska, focusing on the problem would have made it worse.  If I had pulled over to think about what I needed to do, it could have been the end of the road for me.

2.  Never Hesitate

Not making a decision can be the worst decision I could have made when faced with a life or death situation.  The most successful people I know are decisive decision makers.  They know that even if their decisions aren’t 100% the best decision they can keep making decisions to make up for the few bad ones.

3.  When Life Throws You A Curve Ball…Hit a Home Run!

Excuses are so much easier than following through, sticking to a plan and being successful.  It would have been very easy for me to quit and go home after this near-death experience in Alaska.  No one would have thought any less of me, I would have still made good money, and life would have gone on.  However, my goal for that year was to be the #1 salesperson in the company.  I still had two more weeks of selling left, and if I had quit, I would not have hit my goal.

After the doctor told me there was absolutely nothing wrong with me and I had a clean bill of health, all I wanted to do is get back to work before I lost all of the momentum I had before this seemingly major setback.

What is your Denali Mountain that you’re facing right now?  Are you shaking at the wheel?  What area of your life do you want to quit in right now?  Do you have what it takes to not just survive, but thrive?

You Cannot Teach What You Don’t Know & Lead Where You Won’t Go

Posted in Leadership Coaching, Sales Coaching with tags , , , , on July 29, 2013 by Dustin Hillis

Those that cannot do, teach.

hypocrite or walk the talk

The world is hypersensitive to hypocrites.  The idea of someone telling me what to do that doesn’t practice what he or she preaches makes me cringe.  Kids see hypocrisy in their parents when the parent tells them to not cuss, meanwhile the parent cusses away.  Salespeople see hypocrisy in their sales manager when he demands they do something that he himself has never done.  The citizens of a country see it in their leader when he asks the country to make sacrifices that he himself is not willing to make.

No one wants to be a hypocrite.  So, why doesn’t everyone walk the talk?  Why do people reach the top and stop doing the activity that got them into that position?  Why do people who’ve never earned anything feel like they deserve something?  The answer is simple yet not easy to hear…entitlement.

Being entitled is so much easier than being a leader.  Entitlement is a gross character flaw trap that people fall into.  Our society has created a world of entitlement.  Think about it.  Parents tell their kids “make good grades, so you can get into the college you deserve”; colleges tell you “get your degree, so you can get the job you deserve”; employers tell you “come work here, so you can make the money you deserve”; marketers tell you “make a lot of money, so you can have the happiness you deserve”.  All the while no one is saying, “You don’t deserve anything!”  We are called to live up to the potential God has given us…nothing more, nothing less.

Leaders lead by example.  Leaders give and don’t expect to receive.  Leaders give advice from a “what I personally do when facing this problem” perspective.  Those who walk the talk, believe in other people and have an abundance-giving attitude inspire people to follow them.  Those who talk a big game without backing it up expect others to do all the work for them, and feel like everyone owes them something.

Do you walk the talk?  Or, do you focus on what you deserve?

For information about Leadership Coaching:


Posted in dustin hillis, Leadership Coaching, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , on June 24, 2013 by Dustin Hillis

“There is an element of truth in every piece of constructive feedback.”



In my book Navigate, I write about the 4 different buying behavior styles and how psychologically buyers make decisions based on their fears.

– The Fighter’s biggest fear is “losing control.”
– The Detective’s biggest fear is “making a mistake.”
– The Counselor’s biggest fear is “change.”
– The Entertainer’s biggest fear is “rejection.”

The fear of feedback is interesting because it affects all 4 behavior styles the same. No one naturally likes feedback. It cuts to the core of who we are. It offends our egos. After all, how dare someone tell you what you need to work on, when they have so many obvious faults of their own?

There are 2 types of feedback.

1. Destructive Feedback – Destructive Feedback is evil. People use it to make themselves feel more important than someone else. Destructive feedback comes in several forms. One way is where someone will highlight an obvious weakness of other person to make them feel inferior. Another way is simply make things up and lie about someone’s actions and character. It is best to cut out anyone in your life who consistently is giving you destructive feedback.

2. Constructive Feedback – Constructive Feedback is what people use to help other people improve the people they care about the most.

The best leaders in the world are the best at receiving constructive feedback, internalizing constructive feedback and changing based on the constructive feedback.

Here are 3 tips about giving and receiving constructive feedback.

1. Don’t Be Defensive!
Always assume the person giving you the constructive feedback has your best interest in mind and is taking the time to give you constructive feedback because they care about you.

It is so frustrating to work with someone or have a conversation with someone who is a “know-it-all”. Life is all about learning. If you are not learning, you are dying. The “know-it-all” people of the world will not reach their potential because they shut people off from giving them feedback. Without feedback, you won’t change and without change, you won’t grow.

Trust is needed for growth. People with trust issues have growth issues. The key is to have well-defined parameters about who you allow to give you feedback, and then when those types of people give you feedback, it’s up to you to not be defensive.

2. Listen
It is so hard for people to hear someone else criticize them that they have natural defense mechanisms that kick in to defend their egos. People will interrupt, argue, justify and deny the feedback. Listening is a skill. Think of the last time someone took the time to give you constructive feedback on any area of your life. How did you react?
Here is how to react to feedback – after someone takes the time to give you constructive feedback respond with “let me make sure I’m hearing you right”, then repeat back to them the feedback they gave you, and then say “is there anything else that I’m missing?”. Then if they say “no”, you reply with “tell me more…where did this come from? Can you give me a specific example of when I did this?”

When you seek to understand before being understood, you will reach the next level of being an effective communicator and leader.

3. Give Constructive Feedback with Love
Giving constructive feedback to the people you care about is one of the best services you can provide a friend. If you know that someone is doing something that is damaging their reputation, business, friendships, relationships and life and you don’t share the feedback with them, it is selfish and wrong. The key to giving constructive feedback is to give it with love.

Ken Blanchard discusses in his book The One Minute Manager how to give constructive feedback. What Dr Blanchard suggests is that you always give feedback one-on-one and never in a group setting. When giving feedback, always apply the “sandwich technique”.

The Sandwich Technique:
Step 1. Praise them for what they are doing right and why you respect them.
Step 2. Provide the constructive feedback.
Step 3. Build them up and encourage them with possible solutions for improvement.

When you care enough about other people to take the time to provide them constructive feedback with love, they will tend to return the favor and feel comfortable with discussing constructive feedback that might be potentially relationship-damaging topics with you.

True relationships are forged from the real topics of life. Everyone has dozens of “surface” friends. Not everyone has people in their life who care about them enough to take the time to give them constructive feedback. The next time someone in your inner circle of peers gives you constructive feedback, thank them for it, listen and see how you can apply it to your life.

Efficiency and Effectiveness

Posted in dustin hillis, time management with tags , , , , , , on June 7, 2013 by Dustin Hillis

Efficiency and Effectiveness

My father-in-law, Jack Grady, loves telling the story about when he asked his daughter (my wife Kyah) to vacuum the stairs. He recalls that an hour after her working hard at vacuuming she reported back to him that she was finished. Upon inspection, he found that she had missed several spots and made her do it again. She was mad because she had “worked hard” and he told her “it doesn’t matter how hard you work, all that matters is that you get the job done right”.

Jack Grady

Jack Grady

After working with thousand of executives and top producers, I have found that the difference between an ultra producer and an average producer is efficiency and effectiveness.

Having a goal of constant and never-ending improvement around being more Efficient and Effective is the most productive goal anyone can have. This is a goal that has no finish line. There are always ways to be more Efficient and Effective. When you strive to maximize your time, you will be amazed at how much more enjoyable the things you do are. The worst feeling in the world is to feel like you’re working hard and not making progress.

Here are the top 3 tips to being Efficient and Effective:

1. Delegate – Focus 95% of your Income Producing Activity (IPA) time doing only things that you can do. Delegate the rest.

– If you don’t have a team, get one. Give up control. Stop being the biggest obstacle that holds your company back. Hire, train, motivate and hold accountable people who are smarter, more efficient and better looking J than you are at tasks you should not be doing. Empower others and let it go.

2. Be Proactive, Not Reactive Spend 2-3 hours every Sunday planning out every day, hour and minute of your next 2-4 weeks.

– I went to dinner with one of the most successful people I know named Spencer Hays. At dinner, I asked Spencer “how do you manage your time?” He replied “I schedule an appointment with myself every Sunday and I plan out every phone call, every meeting, drive time, logistics, etc. for every minute the next week. That way when Monday comes I don’t have to think about what I should be doing.“

3. Do NOT Over Commit If something is not on your calendar, don’t do it!

– In the book Crucial Conversations, the authors discuss the importance of learning how to say “no”. This resonated with me because at the time I read that book for the first time I was a habitual over committer. I over committed at work, at home, with my friends. My intentions were to make everyone happy and the result was no one was happy. I created a mini-script that made a major impact in my life. Anytime someone asked me if I could do something instead of giving my normal impulse response to just say “Yes”, I started saying I don’t know. Let me check my schedule.” Then I pull out my schedule and check and see if I can do what is being requested and then put it in my calendar. These 2 sentences have changed my life. I’m no longer an over committer, and I do not do anything that is not in my calendar!

We all want to get more done in less time. The question is… are you willing to focus on these 3 steps and actually do them?

Focus Is Power

Posted in dustin hillis, the art of not thinking with tags , , , , on June 3, 2013 by Dustin Hillis

Focus Is Power

Problem: We think when we should be acting, and we relax when we should be thinking. 

I recently was in Ohio working with one of our Southwestern Consulting™ coaches named Karla.  Karla’s husband is a farmer.  We were discussing how during the harvest season her husband is absolutely focused on harvesting their crops and nothing else.

In business and life, so many people worry about “balance”.

Thinking of life as seasons helps provide focus.  Focus is power.  Focus literally is power.  You can focus the light of the sun and create fire.  You can focus the pressure of water and cut through steel.  How focused are you?

focus is power

focus is power

As I write this, there are thousands of college students in a “Harvest Season” out selling books.  There are many seasonal professions out there.  Great American is one of our Southwestern sister companies and their harvest season is from August- November.  Some industries have a harvest season at the end of every month. When is your “harvest season”?

Here are the rules of engagement to focus during a harvest season to maximize your results:

  • Act; don’t think
  • Literally move fast
  • Plan, study and prepare during “non-income producing activity time”
  • Make quick decisions – be  the world’s most decisive problem solver
  • Work harder, longer and smarter than you ever have in your life
  • Do not waste one single second
  • Have fun – take what you do serious, and yourself lightly
nate vogel


My good friend Nate Vogel named his organization “Red Line” representing when you push a car to its maximum speed the RPM gauge will cross the red line. I love this analogy of “red lining” because so few have ever experienced what it feels like to truly go all out and “red line”.  I feel the reason people don’t go all in and “red line” is fear.  Whether it’s the fear of losing, the fear of rejection, the fear of success, or the fear of (insert your fear)… fear is the greatest paralyzer of focus.

Ask Yourself These 3 Questions:

1.  When is your Harvest Season?

2.  How many times in your life have you “red lined”?

3.  Are you willing to step up to the challenge and try “red lining” during your Harvest Season?


You can do this. Go all in.  Don’t hold back.  Give 100% every day, every hour, every minute.

Focus is power.


If you need help maintaining your focus, you might need a coach.  Complete this form for more information about getting a coach that is right for you:

How To Ask For Referrals

Posted in dustin hillis, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, southwestern company, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , on May 1, 2013 by Dustin Hillis

How To Ask For Referrals.

For more information about how to become a referral master click here:


7 Ways People Lie

Posted in dustin hillis, Leadership Coaching, southwestern company truth with tags , , , , on April 20, 2013 by Dustin Hillis

Liar. What a harsh word. It cuts to the core. No one wants to be a liar, yet we all are.

Most people define “lying” as looking someone in the eye and delivering a bold faced lie. The reality is that we are all much more creative in the ways we lie.

I was sitting in church at Mid-town 12th South listening to my pastor Russ describe the 7 ways we lie, and realized that the reality is that almost everyone at some point in their life will not only be a “liar”, but we will all probably will be guilty of all 7 ways we lie.

Here are the 7 ways we lie:
1. Error- a lie by mistake.
2. Omission- leaving out relevant information.
3. Restructuring- distorting the context. Spinning.
4. Denial- refusing to acknowledge a truth.
5. Minimization- reducing the effect of a mistake or judgment.
6. Exaggeration- representing something as greater, better, more experienced or successful.
7. Fabrication- deliberately inventing a false story.


I feel the number one reason people lie is to “be right”. Being aware of the 7 ways we lie is one of the first steps in preventing being a liar. The truth is that we all have our version of the truth. The best we can strive for in not becoming a liar is having a heart for always doing what is right and letting go of caring about who gets credit or caring about who is right.

I loved this message because it gives us all pause to think about the way, not only the way we deceive others, but how many ways we deceive ourselves when it comes to our commitments with our careers, our health, our family, our faith, and our friends. It certainly made me think and I hope the message resonates with you too!

4 Types of Leadership

Posted in dustin hillis, Leadership Coaching with tags , , , , , on January 25, 2013 by Dustin Hillis

4 Types of Leadership

How to be a Navigate Leader

Recently, I was riding in the car with a consulting client field shadowing and listening to him coach his newly-acquired team.  He is a classic Top Producer who was promoted into sales management without any leadership training.  (I see this happen all the time!  Why do we put so much effort in recruiting the right sales person, getting them on-boarded, continuing training them and coaching them to ensure they are successful?  But when we promote someone into a leadership position, we just throw them into the fire and say, “good luck with this mess”.   What’s ironic for a top producer is that usually becoming a manager means a decrease in pay!  Yet this conundrum happens all the time.)  This rookie manager was talking with new salespeople, veterans, top producers and average producers and was managing them all the exact same way.  After listening to four calls, my coaching radar was going off that this new manager needed some leadership coaching on the 4 types of Navigate Leadership.

One of the most important things I learned on the topic of leadership early in my career was from a book I read by Ron Marks called Managing for Sales Results.  It the book Marks talks about the fact that there are four different types of leadership that different team members need based on where they are at in their career.  A common mistake is to treat every team member the same way, or treat them the way you would want to be treated.  The best leaders understand you have to be a Navigate Leader and manage each person on your team the way they would want to be managed.

4 Types of Leadership

4 Types of Leadership

There are 4 types of team members that need 4 different types of leadership that you need to understand to become a Navigator Leader.

4 types of team members:

1.  Low Motivation and Low Skills and Knowledge.

2.  Low Motivation and High Skills and Knowledge.

3.  High Motivation and Low Skills and Knowledge.

4.  High Motivation and High Skills and Knowledge.

Now that you know the 4 types of team members, take a moment and create a flow chart of your entire team and categorize every person into one of the 4 categories.  Now that you have an understanding where each team member is, it’s time to Navigate how you lead each one of them.

4 Types of Navigate Leadership:

1.    Directive Leadership:  For people with low skill and low motivation.

When someone knows hardly anything about how to do the job, the product or what to do… they need to be told what to do!  Most leaders make the mistake of thinking people don’t want to be told what to do, and that is not true for this group of people.  Rookies need directive leadership on a regular basis.

This can be difficult for leaders who are naturally macro-managers.  I remember the first personal assistant I hired.  I didn’t want to come across as “bossy” so I let her set her hours, keep track of her to-do list and come to me when she needed help.  Well, that lasted for about 6 weeks and she quit!  Then I hired another assistant and she quit!  Then I realized they were quitting because they were not feeling supported.  During someone’s first year of being on your team, they need for you to hold their hand, help them over come the inevitable challenges and figure out how to be successful at their job.

2.    Inspirational Leadership:  For people with high skill and low motivation.

Old dogs can learn new tricks… you just need the right bone to throw them. When working with a group of seasoned veterans, one of the biggest challenges a leader faces is keeping them motivated.

This seems to come from two areas:


1. Ego – Top dogs want to remember the good old days.  Usually they have been successful in the past, and they are trying to save face by always talking about their years of experience and how they’ve always done things.  When someone keeps doing things the same way they’ve always done, they will always get what they’ve always got… and most of the time that is not growing or moving forward.  We call this common trend “not being coachable”.  Sometimes the best way to cure, this is the follow the veteran in the field and ask them after the day is over what they think they are doing right and what they are not doing right.  Usually they will give you an excuse as to why they do things the way that they do.  When they do this, smile and ask them how that is working out for them?  Usually it’s not.

The next step is to show them how to do the job the right way.  Either you personally run the next meeting and close it by the book or you have them follow a top producer.  There is nothing more inspiring to a veteran who technically knows everything there is to know about the job, but is just too stubborn to follow the proven system, than seeing a live presentation where someone who has less experience than they do close a deal with ease by following the system.

2. Complacency – We see this all the time in businesses that have residual pay.  Once someone has been selling insurance or doing financial planning, they are making so much income from residual pay they stop working.  The best way to identify if someone is complacent is to look at their income over the past 3 years and if it hasn’t grown by at least $10,000 – $20,000 then they probably are complacent.  The best thing to do with someone who is complacent is to promote them as a new in-field trainer.  It’s amazing how hard working and re-invigorated someone becomes when they know they are the example other people are following.  Set up a follow schedule of having rookies follow someone who is complacent to “show them how to work hard at the job”.  Make sure you coach this team member in how important it is that the rookies see a really solid day of work and to be following the processes by the book.

Another great idea is to create an incentive plan based on activity.  Then create a leader-board that you publish every week with everyone’s activity.  Veterans usually hate being shown up… and when you send out everyone’s activity and who is leading the company in each category every week your competitive team members will rise to the challenge.

3.  Coaching Leadership – For people with high motivation but low technical skill and knowledge.

Average producers usually have one of two issues.  Usually it’s a lack of skill or it’s a lack of will… sometimes both!  If someone doesn’t have skill or will, at some point you have to be willing to just let them go be successful somewhere else.  So, let’s assume most of your average

producers have a high will and motivation to be successful, but they are just lacking the knowledge it takes to be a top producer.  These people don’t need “pump up calls”.  They need coaching, role-plays, video taping of their demos and having you review it with them.

Coaching is the greatest form of results-driven spaced repetition training a leader can provide.  Classroom training is what most leaders utilize; yet it is the least effective in getting real results in their team members. You should have a regularly-scheduled coaching session with each one of these team members weekly or bi-weekly.  On each call, you should review their activity numbers with them and be prepared to coach them on one thing technical and one thing emotional to help them be more successful that next week.

4.    Servant Leadership – For people with high motivation and high skill and knowledge.

Nate Vogel said it best, “Top Producers are like top of the line sports cars.  They go real fast, are expensive to fix and they really make you look good.”  If you have a Ferrari, you wouldn’t drive it the same way you would drive a VW bug.  Literally, your Ferrari can go faster and do things that a VW bug could never do.

When it comes to leading your Ferrari’s/ race horses/ Top Producers, doesn’t it make sense that they need different maintenance than your other producers?  A contest for a Top Producer should be different than a contest for your average producers.  The way you lead your Top Producers should be different than how you lead your average producers.  Typically, the best way to lead a Top Producer is through Servant Leadership.

Servant Leadership is simply being a servant to the people on your team.  While you should be a servant leader for everyone on your team, this should be the only type of management you provide to Top Producers.  Top Producers do not want to be told what to do.  They typically don’t need someone to pump them up everyday.  Top Producers who have a high motivation and high technical skills just need someone to help remove the barriers that might slow them down.  A great question to ask a Top Producer is, “is there anything I can help you with?”  If they say, “nope, I’m all good” then just make sure they are happy and having fun doing the job and let them go along their merry way.  The worst thing in the world you can do with a Top Producer is to find the one or two things they are doing wrong and try to fix them.  They just need to feel like everything they are doing is right and keep on doing what they are the best… Producing!

My wife Kyah tells me stories of when she was breaking the company record at Southwestern and she was feeling burned out from working 85 hours per week she’d call her manager and say, “I’m thinking about getting my nails done”.  Most average managers would have reminded her that would be “getting off schedule” and pressured her to keep on working, but not her manager Nate.  He was a Navigate Leader and every time she had an idea or thought he’d simply tell her “that’s a great idea.  I think you should do that.  Just call me when you’re done.”   Then she’d go take 30 minutes to do her thing, and then call him back and was refreshed and back at work.  At Southwestern, not every salesperson could handle this kind of interruption in their intense summer work schedule, but Kyah’s Navigate Leader knew that she could!

When it comes to being a “Navigator Leader”, it is important to remember to not treat everyone the way you would like to be managed.  Rather, you identify where each person on your team is in terms of their motivation and skill then you create a plan to make sure you are leading people the way they want to be lead.

For more information about the Southwestern Consulting™ Leadership Coaching program go here:  http://coaching.southwesternconsulting.com/Sales_Coaching_and_Leadership_Coaching.aspx

2012 Top 5 Blogs

Posted in dustin hillis, Leadership Coaching, Sales Coaching with tags , on January 1, 2013 by Dustin Hillis

What A Great 2012!

These are the posts that got the most views in 2012.

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 24,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 6 Film Festivals!

Thank you for your continued support and reading my blogs!

5 Types Of Decision Making

Posted in dustin hillis, the art of not thinking with tags , , , on November 28, 2012 by Dustin Hillis

5 Types of Decision Making

How to make a decision is simple, but actually keeping your decision-making process simple is not easy.  Decisions are made every day.  Some decisions are big decisions, some are small. Some decisions will change the trajectory of your day, while others will change the trajectory of your life. With so many decisions to make, how do we make sure we’re making the right decision?

Decision Making

Decision Making

I’ll never forget the day I truly made the decision that I was going to ask my now wife Kyah to marry me.  I was in the library of the University of Tennessee on the phone with a jewelry salesperson from San Francisco and she told me “once you put this deposit down, it is non-refundable”, so needless to say I was a little nervous.  But I made the decision, I put the deposit down on a ring, and from that point forward there was no looking back.   I was going to marry Kyah!   Now 7 years later, we have a beautiful baby girl named Haven and life is good.  But what if I had not made that decision?  Life would be much different.

The media have programmed all of us to make decisions.  If we don’t take the time to make logical or principle-based decisions, we all will fall into the decision-making process other people want us to follow.

Are you making an impulsive or emotional decision, or are you making logical principle-based decisions.

Sun Sui says in his book The Art of War that one of the most important things someone needs to master to be an effective decision maker in battle is to “know thyself”.   If you know your values, have written down goals and understand the principles in which you believe, then making quick and decisive decisions should be easy.  However, if you don’t have goals, don’t understand what your values are and don’t live a principle-based life, then you will be easily persuaded and will continue making emotional and impulsive decisions the rest of your life.


There are 5 different ways someone can make a decision:

  1. Impulsive Decision Making
  2. Emotional Decision Making
  3. Group-Think Decision Making
  4. Logical Decision Making
  5. Principle-Based Decision Making


Impulsive Decision Making:

According to researchers at UC Berkley, people make decisions based on the first option they see.  For example, if they are looking for a pack of gum, they will simply just pick the first one they see.  Hopefully when we are making big decisions, impulsiveness is not how we are making our decisions.  If I had made a spontaneous decision about who to marry based on the first girl I was attracted to, I would have married my childhood girlfriend Amy who I haven’t seen in 25 years.


Emotional Decision Making:

Humans are creatures of emotions.  We love drama, action, a love story and cheering for the underdog.  A new science was developed back in the 1950’s called Nauru-Associative Programming that changed the way all marketers in the world viewed marketing.  Through NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) or NAP (Neuro-Associative Programming) marketers and the media figured out how to control us using both impulse buying and emotional decision making together.  In using NLP and NAP, you first show the consumer something that makes them emotional and feeling good – it could be a couple on a beach, a fun-loving puppy dog, a famous athlete, or the most popular is an attractive female.  Next, you flash your product or logo after emotionally charging the consumer.  Then, you finish the commercial with the good feeling emotional distracter.  The first company to use NLP in a commercial was Pepsi in the 1990’s.  Pepsi paid Michael Jackson a large sum of money to simply do the moonwalk across the stage for its commercial.  What’s even more ironic is that Michael Jackson couldn’t even drink Pepsi or anything caffeinated for religious reasons, or even be seen holding the product!  Pepsi didn’t care.  The marketers knew that all they needed was his image of doing the moonwalk and then flash the logo of Pepsi and their sales would increase.  And increase they did.  After that commercial, Pepsi’s sales skyrocketed, helping them go from 15% to over a 30% market share in a matter of a few months!

We don’t realize it, but we are programmed to make decisions every single day with NAP.


Group-Think Decision Making:

Think of the last time you made a decision to do something or buy something simply from the fact that someone you know made a similar decision.  I’m willing to bet it was at least several times in the last month, if not in the last 24 hours!

Group Think actually has its advantages.  It takes much less effort to make a decision based off someone else versus having to actually do the research and think for ourselves!

Group Think can also be dangerous.  For example, a survey was done testing if people would help someone on a crowded street who seemed to be severely injured.  When there were more than ten other people around the individual in need of help the odds of someone stopping to help decreased significantly. When asked why they didn’t stop to help, they replied, “I thought someone else was going to stop and help.”  Yikes!  That’s scary!

The media uses Group Think all the time!  Pay attention to the Presidential elections.  The media always tries to sway America on who to vote for by showing popularity polls and forecast of who’s going to win.  They want to paralyze people into just going with their opinion instead of actually doing the research on their own and making a logical or principle-based decision.   After all, why should we vote for someone who the media says is going to lose anyway?


Logical Decision Making:

Logical Decision Making is a good thing to do.  It helps make sure you’re not making a mistake and probably most the time a logical decision is a right decision.

The problem with Logical Decision Making is it takes way too long.  People who make a majority of their decisions based on a Logical Decision Making process often miss great opportunities, due to over-analyzing the facts, gathering opinions, looking into the history of what they are making a decision about and calculating into the future the consequences versus benefits of making the decision.


Principle-Based Decision Making:

People will let you down, but you can count on true principles.  Here is an easy way to understand what your principles are.  On a sheet of paper make a list of the top 10 things you believe to be true about life.  For example, if you truly believe it’s important to live a life that is debt free and you know that you can get caught up abusing credit and credit cards, then write down this principle for yourself, “if you cannot pay cash for something, you don’t buy it.”  On the other side of that, you might be someone who manages money well, understand how to leverage money, and you’re not stressed by the thought of using your credit to make more money when you manage it well.  You might write down a principle that says, “I let my money work for me, and I make decisions that maximize each opportunity.”  Regardless of your principles, as long as you have them written down and solidified in your mind, then you can make decisions with peace of mind.


Being a quick and decisive decision maker can help you advance your career, improve your personal family life and even save your life.  It’s worth taking the time to actually think about what kind of decision maker you are.  That way, when the pressure comes, you can be fearless in the moment and not hesitate when you make your decision.  Knowing sometimes you will make the wrong decision, but at the same time knowing that because you are making principle-based decisions, most of the time you will be making the right decision for you.

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Posted in dustin hillis, Leadership Coaching, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips with tags , , , on September 27, 2012 by Dustin Hillis
Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy

Comparison causes stress, frustration and ultimately limits people’s belief in what they think is possible.

It takes an extreme amount of self-control and mental toughness to not compare yourself to other people. Think about it.  When was the last time you had any of the following thoughts:

  • “I would be doing much better if I had Mary’s territory”
  • “I’m doing more work than Henry and he need to pick up the pace”
  • “The only reason John is successful is because he gets special treatment by the boss”
  • “It’s not fair that Sue is getting paid as much as she is. I work just as hard if not harder than her”
  • “Nancy’s husband is so much more attentive to her needs than my husband”
  • “I wish my wife was as hot as Mike’s wife”

The hardest part of not comparing yourself to other people is the fact that we as humans are hardwired to desire what we don’t have.  Last week I was observing my 14 month old daughter playing with another girl her age. She walked right up to the little girl who was playing with a mini-shopping cart and took it from her! I thought to myself “Wow! It’s crazy that kids are naturally so selfish!  She hasn’t ever seen someone take something from another person like that.”  Being content with your current situation can be a challenge.  There is a fine balance between being content and not ambitious.

Being competitive and wanting to win is a good quality.  However, being too competitive with other people can end up being destructive. It’s okay if your goal is to be number one, if that is because you think being number one is your potential… not because you cannot stand the person who’s currently number one and you just want to beat them. When people are too competitive with other people, they tend to be territorial, selfish and frustrated with what other people are doing or not doing.

I personally believe that God has designed us to live to the potential that He has given us.  Our ambitions should come from being motivated to do our dead level best everyday.  If our goal is to beat our own personal best performance everyday, then there would be no limit to what we can do!

Here is a simple 3-step process for not comparing yourself to other people, being content with what you have and breaking your own belief barriers of what you think is possible:

1. Be Eternally Thankful
Make a list of 20 things that you love about your life.  Then tape it to your mirror and read it everyday.

2. Focus On Other People’s Strengths and Catch Other People Doing Things Right
Write down the names of the top 10 people you can think of who you have ever been mad at/ envious of/ want to have things in their life/ are jealous of/ are resentful towards, etc.  Then next to their name write down 3 qualities about that person that are admirable, respectable or things that they have done that are good.  Be intentional to look for things that everyone around you are doing right, then take the time to acknowledge them and appreciate them for doing a good job.

3. Create Self Competition
Write down your personal goals for the next year.  Base your goals on beating your personal best performance so far, not based on what someone else has done or what someone else told you what your goal should be. Then write down why they are your goals and why they are important to you.  Put your goals in big bold letters somewhere that you can see everyday.

The saying “if it’s meant to be, it’s up to me” has helped me personally overcome many, many obstacles that would have normally shut me down, caused me to quit or simply not perform up to the full potential of my God-given abilities.  Focusing on what I can bring to the table and contribute, and focusing on the good qualities of those around me and catching them doing things right has helped me be happy, consistently achieve my goals and enjoy being with the loved ones and co-workers in my life.

Southwestern Company / Great American Ranked In Top 5,000 Companies In America

Posted in Leadership Coaching, Sales Coaching with tags , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by Dustin Hillis
Southwestern/Great American Inc. 5,000

Southwestern/Great American ranked in the top 5,000 companies in America by Inc.


Inc. Magazine recently ranked Southwestern/Great American as one of the top 5,000 companies in America.

For more than 30 years, Inc. has celebrated the fastest-growing private companies in America. To be honored this year is a particularly notable achievement. To rank among the 2012 Inc. 5000, Southwestern had to thrive through three of the toughest years this economy has seen in living memory. To be successful in such times takes a team with creativity, resilience and tenacity.

As an Inc. 5000 honoree, the Southwestern Family of Companies now shares a pedigree with Intuit, Zappos, Under Armour, Microsoft, Jamba Juice, Timberland, Clif Bar, Pandora, Patagonia, Oracle and other notable alumni. The class of 2012 added such powerhouses as Chobani, CDW, Levi Strauss and a little social media company called Facebook.

Several people have already asked us “how did you do it?”

The top 3 common characteristics in the Southwestern Family of Companies are:

1. Persistence:  “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge
Most companies think they need to hire the right talent to be successful.  Southwestern focuses on hiring people who are willing to work hard, study hard and are teachable. Then we plug them into a proven sales system and sales culture, and that is what makes them top producing salespeople.

2. Focus On Doing What’s Right:  Henry Bedford (CEO of Southwestern) often says “It doesn’t matter who is right.  All that matters is what is right.”
The removal of the ego and being okay with “not being right” is one of the hardest things a driven business leader has to do.  Bad decisions are made when a business leader is focused on “being right” and saving face or trying to look good. It’s easy to make progress when everyone in the company is focused on doing what is right.

3. Build Your People and They Will Build a Great Company:  Spencer Hays (the majority share holder of Southwestern/Great American) has always focused on putting resources, training, coaching and consulting into his sales teams, leadership teams and team of employees.  He says that the secret to success is not having the fanciest product or technology on the market.  It’s having a quality product that your company can provide that fills a need in society.  Then focus your time and effort in hiring, training and motivating quality salespeople to serve your customers well.

For more information about how to build these types of systems in your company, fill out this form:

7 Steps How To Ask For Referrals

Posted in Sales Coaching, Sales Tips with tags , , , , , , on August 10, 2012 by Dustin Hillis

The confidence in asking for and expecting referrals comes from the knowledge of what to say.

When it comes down to it, the core of why people don’t consistently ask for referrals at every single opportunity and expect to get five or 10 referrals from every person they meet with is because they’ve had a bad experience from asking. That one bad experience sticks in their mind and the fear of that rejection holds them back. With creating a script for referrals, one of the things to hold at the front of your mind is that asking for referrals is an art. One of my favorite quotes is by a guy named Scott Kramnick: “No matter how artful or talented you are, you must follow a specific methodology to be successful at expecting and getting quality referrals.”

There are seven steps in asking for referrals that apply whether you’re at an IT company or selling widgets.  These seven steps can be customized to fit any type of process when asking for referrals.


Step #1. The Referral Transition Statement

The most common step that is skipped in this whole process is step one, the transition statement. A good analogy for this is to remember the first time you ever drove a stick shift car. When you do not have a transition statement in asking for referrals, imagine that you’re missing a gear when you’re shifting gears in a car.  That jolting feeling is the same feeling somebody has when you don’t work a transition statement into your process of asking for referrals.

Referral Transition Statement

Referral Transition Statement

One of my favorite transition statements is doing two steps where you build them up.  First, you thank them and you then plant the seed for the referral. How that sounds is, “You know what, Emmy, thank you so much for who you are and making an investment into your future. I wish I had ten more customers or ten more people to talk with every day who are just like you.” That does a couple of things. Number one it makes them feel good. Number two it plants the seed that you’re not going to ask for one, or two, or three referrals, but that you’re going to ask for ten referrals in a minute.

Step #2. Clearly Ask For The Referral

The next step is to clearly ask for a referral. On this step the key is making sure you clearly ask for the referral without using the word “referral”.  There’s something weird about the way society has branded the word referral. It’s seared into their mind as a bad word and creates an objection that doesn’t need to be there. We still build them up and create a buying atmosphere and how it sounds is something like this – “You know, based on who you are and who you know, who do you think would at least be a good fit to talk with about their needs?”  Watch their body language when you say this part and if they start to cross their arms and show you that they are going to put up their defenses, then use this next line – “You know, Nancy, my job is to at least meet with everyone and I’ll show them the same professionalism that I showed with you.”  That’s the attitude in this phase of buying a building atmosphere.


Step #3. Paint The Picture
The third step is to paint the picture. In painting the picture, you want to put them in your shoes. You want to tell them specifically who you are looking for. It sounds something like this: “If you were me helping raise the bar in people’s lives, who would you go talk with first? Who would you see?”  They could already have a name stuck in their head, and they say, “You should talk to my friend Karen,” but that usually doesn’t happen. That is why you need the next step.


Step #4. Isolate The Faces
Next you need to isolate the faces. When you isolate the faces, there are two things you must do.

You start broadly, you identify their circle of influence and then you get specific. When you get specific, that is the closing question in this process of getting a referral.

#1.  Then you find the circle of influence. The best time to find that is at the very beginning, when you meet them and are building rapport. My favorite question to ask people is, “What do you like to do for fun?” It sounds like a random, broad question, but people love to answer it and this is where you get the gold. When you ask them what they like to do for fun and they tell you yachting or racing sailboats, that’s where you get tapped into their specific circles of influence.  Now you know where you can get referrals and you can do it in the rapport-building phase. It should sound something like this: “Basically, Dan, what I’m looking for is anyone who has recently had a job change, has kids, or is moving in or out of town. I know you’re really involved with your PTA group. Who is somebody that you’re closest with in the PTA?” Now that is starting broadly because there are several people in the PTA. One of two things could happen with that question. They could instantly think of someone that’s a fit for you, or what is more likely is that they are going to give you a slight objection and say that they can’t think of anyone.
#2.  This is when you get specific. The next question is the closing question, where you isolate it down to one face. You want to make them think of one specific person. The question that you ask next will definitely have an answer to it. It can be as simple as, “Who did you sit next to in your last meeting?” If you’re asking about who they know at their country club, “Who did you play golf with last?”

Usually the first name they give you is not the most qualified name for what you do, but that’s ok. What we’re trying to do is create momentum. Once that momentum is going and you get that first name, you’ll be able to get more.

A shortcut to this step is called the barbeque technique. The barbeque technique is where you say, “You know what, Dave, if you were to have a barbeque who would be the first five people you would invite?”


Step #5. Write Down The Referral

With those names, you then go to the next step where you write down the referral. This may sound strange, but a lot of people forget to write down the referral. Here are the steps to writing down the referral.

Number one – once you say that closing statement of, “Whom did you sit next to in your last meeting,” you need to break eye contact and be quiet. You don’t talk until they give you a name, no matter how awkward the silence is. You need to have a referral pad. Get a legal pad and at the top write “referrals”. Go ahead and write five referrals on there from the last person that gave you referrals. Pre-fill out your pad before you use it for the first time so that the perception is that every single person is already giving you referrals.

Step #6. Ask “Who Else?”
The second to last step is you ask “who else.” Do not get pre-approach immediately. If you do get pre-approach immediately, you will leave with only one referral. Write down as much information as possible and then thank them for giving you the referral and always ask who else. It will sound something like this: “Thank you so much. I really appreciate this. Who else do you know at the country club?” Keep talking about the different circles of influence until they are out of people in that area and then you say, “I know you’re really involved at your church. Who do you know at church?”


Step #7. Get Pre-Approach
Once you have the list of ten people to call, you get pre-approach. The main four things you want to know are:

1) What is the decision maker’s name?

2) What’s the best time to reach them?

3) How do you know them?

4) What kind of decision maker are they? Are they straight to the point, detail-oriented or outgoing? Write down what they say and apply the rules to Navigate because that will identify their buying behavior style.

Click here to learn more about how to ask for referrals, expect referrals, get referrals, and then sell to referrals!

How To Ask For Referrals

How To Ask For Referrals

How To Help Someone Make a Decision – No More Maybes!

Posted in Sales Coaching, Selling Techniques with tags , , , , , , , , on July 18, 2012 by Dustin Hillis

No more maybes. Winning their business before you begin

How to help someone make a decision

How to help someone make a decision

Helping someone make a decision is vital to being a Top Producer! Professional salespeople can take a “yes” or take a “no”, but it’s the “maybes” that kill them! If you or someone you know has an issue with getting people to make up their minds faster and closing the deal or wish that your closing ratio was better, following the five steps of the cycle of the introduction will change your world.  Nothing will improve your closing ratio better than understanding why they are going to buy before you ever begin.  The best salespeople are the best at asking questions, uncovering needs, answering objections before the come up, and letting people buy.  Ultimately, the close should just be a formality when you do the steps of the introduction correctly.

There are five steps to the introduction and I think they are the most important part to selling.  They are not necessarily the hardest and challenging part, which I consider to be your prospecting step to get the appointment, but instead the most important.  Once you have the appointment set and have done the heavy lifting ,why waste the opportunity by jumping right into your presentation?

Here are the five steps of the Introduction to follow before your presentation.

Step #1. Eliminate distractions.

When you cross the threshold of walking into someone’s office or house or the threshold of an appointment over the phone you need to eliminate distractions whether it’s on their end or yours. Many times if you are in an office you need to see if there is a TV or radio on in the background. If you’re walking into a house, look to see if they have dogs or little kids running around.  You will want to literally turn the TV and radio off and ask if they can put the dog in the backyard to eliminate all of the distractions.  Another thing to strategically think about when eliminating distractions is that you need to face a window or anything that could potentially be distracting so that they are looking at you instead of the distraction.

Step #2. Build rapport through using names.

There are a couple of things you need to prepare before your appointment. The first tool you need to prepare is a names list. You need a list of every name and company and information on all the people who have purchased from you – who are all your customers, where they are from and what companies do they work with.  Once you have that list and it’s on a nice piece of paper where you can show people, the next thing you need to do before you have your appointment is look at that list and identify one to two people that you’re fairly sure you both know.  It could be working in similar industries, living in similar parts of town, anything.  Try to figure out a person you have in common. Then visualize what it was like when you met with the person you both know and think of some personal things about them. When you first sit down and have already eliminated the distractions, start the conversation something like this – “Well Dave, it’s so great working in Nashville.  The people here are so amazing.  The other day I was out meeting with Ron Marks and after our meeting he asked me if I wanted to fly in his airplane.  It was the coolest thing.  I actually have never flown in an airplane and he let me fly it for a couple of minutes, which was a little scary.  Did you know he has a plane? Has he ever let you fly it?” Talking about the person you have in common allows you to make a connection and a bond. The person you are trying to sell to will like you and trust you faster because you know somebody that they know. People are influenced by what other people buy, so when you start out in the beginning talking about other people that bought from you, telling stores and engaging, it does so many things to set the course in the right trajectory.

Step #3. Uncover the need.

People will buy because they like you and trust you; however, they will not buy from you if they like you and trust you, but they don’t need what you have.  Sometimes people don’t realize that they have a need.  If you product is innovative or revolutionary, people might not realize that they have a need for your product.  You have to be a master of asking questions to make them realize that they have a need.

Step #4. Create a buying atmosphere.

People love to buy, but they hate to be sold.  Forcing someone to buy something is what gives salespeople a bad name.  If we want to sell the right way and sell the way people like to buy, one of the biggest things we have to do is create a buying atmosphere.  A good visualization that will lock this in your memory is the difference between walking into a retail store versus walking into Wal-Mart.  When you walk into a retail store, a salesperson will approach you and ask you how they can help you. You instantly reply “no thanks. I’m just looking.”, knowing the person is trying to sell you something.  When you know there is a high-pressure situation and someone is trying to sell you something, you usually tend to buy less in that store. When you walk into Wal-Mart, you aren’t pressured to buy by the person at the front of the store. Instead, you’re met by a nice smiling older person who puts a smiley face sticker on your shirt as you walk by.  Wal-Mart has mastered the art of creating a buying atmosphere, and I don’t know about you, but when I go to Wal-Mart, I end up buying more than what I went there for.

A little mini script for you to use when selling to create a Buying Atmosphere is – “What I’m going to do is show you how this works and if you like this product, then that is great. However, if this is something you don’t like and is not a fit for you, it will not hurt my feelings.  You do not have to buy from me.” Once you say that and open up the buyer’s mind, a lot of times (if they have their arms crossed) they will uncross them when you deliver a very powerful buying atmosphere.

Step #5. Answering objections before they come up.

The rule usually is that the first person to say the objections wins. That’s why you have to build in the common objections to your introduction and answer them before they come up!  Everyone is a little bit different, but I encourage you to always include two objections – 1) always answer the decision maker objection and 2) always answer the procrastination objection.  Right after you create the Buying Atmosphere, you will want to insert the answer to those two objections. This is how you should phrase it – “You know, Dave, the only favor I ask is whenever I’m done showing this to you and going through all the details, is that you just give me a yes or a no at the end. Does that sound fair?”  And Dave will say “yes”. Then say one more thing.  “Whenever we get to the end, I wouldn’t want to step on anyone’s toes so we will show you all the services that you like and that you said you wanted to change. Would there be anyone else needed to be included in the decision making? Or would this be something you could move forward with yourself?” Dave then says “no, I’m the decision maker.”  Then you will say “great” and move forward with your presentation.


When you walk into a presentation doing these five steps the close will just be a formality because you will already have a customer before you begin.

The Navigate Behavior Styles

Posted in dustin hillis, Leadership Coaching, Motivational, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, southwestern company, southwestern company truth, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2016 by J Kinard

While it may be no surprise that “Selling the way people like to buy” gives you the best chance to serve your customers and clients, knowing “how those people like to buy” is another story.

The Navigate system is built to help you understand the people around you, so that you can connect with your prospects in a deep and meaningful way during the sales cycle. Our years of research have found that people tend to fall into one of four dominant behavior styles: Fighters, Entertainers, Detectives, and Counselors.

As a Navigator it is important to understand these behavioral styles and be able to identify first your own style and then your prospects.


  • Fighters are cut-to-the-chase, bottom-line drivers with little time and less patience. They are motivated by results, and it’s important to them to be in control.
  • Entertainers are social butterflies and enthusiastic extroverts. They love people, possibilities, and rapport—and they care more about emotions than facts.
  • Detectives are practical analysts. They are always on the hunt for details, and unlike Entertainers, they rank the value of facts over emotions every time.
  • Counselors are “steady Eddies.” Laid-back diplomats, they have the interest of the team at heart. They love security and consistency, and they make decisions by consensus.

These people probably sound familiar. You’ve met them all before in some shape or form, and a few of them have most likely driven you up the wall in the past. But when you begin to sell to the four behavior styles the way they like to buy, that paradigm of frustration changes fast.

All you have to do is learn to Navigate. Want to learn more?


Navigate is more than just a book. It’s a mindset.

Posted in dustin hillis, Leadership Coaching, Motivational, Prospecting Tips, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques, southwestern company, southwestern company truth on November 11, 2016 by J Kinard

The Navigate process is not a quick easy fix to a broken sales philosophy. It’s not a way to manipulate a person with tricks or gimmicks and it’s definitely not a “get rich quick” system.

The path to being a successful top producer can be a long road that requires a great deal of work and a great deal of a sacrifice. However, those are some of the things that make it worth the journey.

The core fundamentals of becoming a Navigate top producer are hard work, a positive mental attitude, and a desire to be a student of the game. Only after you have bought in to these principles will you begin to push your sales success to the next level.


The difference between the ordinary salesperson and the extraordinary salesperson is mindset. With the goal of becoming a successful Navigator, you must develop an extraordinary mindset.

Different from an ordinary mindset, an extraordinary Navigate mindset is focused on serving others through adapting to their natural buying style. Someone with an ordinary mindset sells the way they personally would want to be sold. Someone with an extraordinary Navigate mindset sells the way others like to buy.


The Navigate Mindset:

  • You take the time to study buying behaviors and what makes them tick
  • You are aware of the 4 buying behavior styles and are always looking to identify someone’s style
  • You ask questions and care about the answers
  • You connect with people in a meaningful way
  • You can then provide true value for people and focus on their specific needs
  • You adapt your natural selling style to their buying style
  • You’re able to speak and act with integrity and make sure you do what is right
  • You help people buy the way they like to buy


It’s the Navigate mindset that separates you from the average salesperson.


With the Navigate mindset, your focus will always be serving and the byproduct will be selling. The Navigate process requires an “all in” mentality and it is then you begin to elevate your sales and elevate your success.

For a FREE webinar on the concepts of Navigate 2.0 click here!


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