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Navy SEALs & Top Producers at the Southwestern Company

Posted in southwestern company, southwestern company truth with tags , , , , , , on March 12, 2011 by Dustin Hillis

Flying home to Nashville, TN to get ready to back to work at the Southwestern Company coming from Bogota, Colombia last year I had the honor of sitting next to and speaking with the Commander of our Special Forces unit with the US Navy SEALs.  What he and his team do for our country is not only inspiring, but humbling to even think about.  Most of us cannot even imagine what our military goes through everyday just so that we can enjoy the fringe benefits of everyday life.

After spending over three hours talking with my new Commander friend I began thinking of the similarities between how an ordinary sailor becomes a Navy Seal and how an ordinary salesperson becomes a Top Producer.
The only real difference between a normal Navy sailor and a Navy Seal is training. The same goes for an ordinary salesperson that has turned Top Producer.

Let me walk you through what it takes to become a Navy SEAL…and a Top Producer, for that matter.

After meeting some rather stringent requirements to become a Navy SEAL candidate, sailors must undergo Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL or BUD/S training. It is divided into several phases:

  1. Indoctrination
  2. Basic Conditioning
  3. SCUBA training
  4. Land-warfare training


Official U.S. Navy Photos

BUD/S training lasts seven months and tests each individual to the brink, both mentally and physically. Days are filled with running, swimming, calisthenics, and learning small-boat operations. They must endure drown-proofing (where trainees must learn to swim with both their hands and their feet bound) and surf torture (a.k.a. cold water conditioning).

SEALs also train extensively in closed-circuit SCUBA systems and underwater navigation. They complete land-warfare training for nine weeks in intelligence-gathering and structure penetration, long-range reconnaissance and patrolling, and close-quarters battle. They become the best of the best and are trained to react to sniper attacks or anything else they might encounter.  All of the training is part of the process designed to build and perfect optimal Navy SEAL skills.

When BUD/S is complete, trainees move on to basic parachute training and SEAL qualification training to refine their skills before they are officially awarded the rank of Navy SEALs.

All of this extreme training is critical. To the average onlooker the training may seem excessive. However, in reality SEALs must be able to operate efficiently at all times, despite weather, temperature or physical discomfort. Their lives, and the lives of others, depend on it.

So, what does all this have to do with salespeople? Let’s just start by saying that sales training and Navy SEALs training can’t truly be compared. I’ve never gone through surf torture and I commend the men who are willing to go through so much in preparation to serve their country. But look at it this way, in the same way that Navy sailors must go through this incredible training process to become SEALs, the Salesperson must go through an incredible training process to become a Top Producer at the Southwestern Company. Ask anyone in sales; it’s no easy task to become the best salesperson in the company, region or industry! If you think about it, isn’t it amazing how a training process paired with unwavering determination can turn the ordinary into the great?

Whether you want to be a top producer or you’d like to become a SEAL: training is key. Here’s a brief look at the Southwestern Company sales training process:

  1. Southwestern Company Sales Fundamentals
  2. Sales Mastery
  3. Sales Techniques a.k.a. Practice!
  4. Continuous Learning from other Top Producers

In the climb to become a Top Producer, you’ve got to start somewhere.  The salesperson must first begin understanding sales fundamentals, as is done in Year One of Southwestern Sales Training. During this part of the training process the students learn how to develop work ethic, maintain a positive attitude and develop the right habits.

The second step in training process is to master the art of sales. This is done through continuous sales training, expanding one’s skill set and becoming wholly invested in sales. It’s no longer about memorizing the best basic techniques, but going above and beyond to know all there is to know about sales.

Lastly, in order to become a Top Producer you must practice what you preach. Go into the field. Perfect, hone and refine your skills. Experience slammed doors and sweet success until the former becomes few and far between and the latter becomes commonplace.

The evolution from a good salesperson to great sales professional, from sailor to SEAL comes as a direct result of training. In order to stay on top and stay sharp SEALs are constantly training and repeating the cycle so that they are continuously improving and learning new skills. Same goes for the Top Producers. Once you’ve made it to the top of the mountain, you’ve always got the sky to conquer! 

Check out the Southwestern Company Top Producer’s BUDS training program for sales people at Top Producer’s Edge personal coaching.

(Thank you for information and photos)


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Mort Utley: How much will you wade through?

Posted in Motivational, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques, southwestern company truth with tags , , , , on March 3, 2010 by Dustin Hillis

Check out this speech by Mort Utley. For all who have sold books through the Southwestern Company or all who have had to practice the great art of persistence–this video is for you. It’s all about wading through the tough times to get to the gold. Listen to what Mort has to say, enjoy his classic analogy, take in some inspiration and… remember the pony!

Picture 56

Remember the Pony from Geoffrey Kidney on Vimeo.

Back by Popular Demand – The Southwestern Company presents “The Mimic Effect”

Posted in Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques with tags , , , on February 1, 2010 by Dustin Hillis

Some time ago, we made a post that was dedicated to teaching others the art of the “mimicry”… Lately, we’ve been getting lots of questions about what it takes to be a “master”  – so, we’ve decided to bring back the Mimic Effect to help all of you who are seeking to learn the secrets of best and brightest.


The Southwestern Company presents “The Mimic Effect”…

Have you ever noticed that when two kids are good friends they mimic each other? Sometimes they bounce around like a Mexican jumping bean and have more energy than what they know what to do with. Or if the kids are like me and my best friends growing up the friends or group of friends could be known as the notorious “gruesome two-some” or kids that your parents warn you about.

“The mimic effect” is a universal principle that’s been around since the beginning of time. At the Southwestern Advantage, we have taught top producers to learn from other top producers for over a century.  We are naturally programmed to emulate the people we surround ourselves with. The good, the bad, and the ugly absorbs into our DNA like a sponge. As Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said “the only difference between who we are now and who we are in 5 years, is the people we meet and the books that we read.”

From birth to death “the mimic effect” determines the altitude of our success. We are only as successful as our 5 best friends. Whether or not you have heard of this universal truth before matters not. Do you purposely use the principle to take your business and life to the next level? Do you find yourself aware of this principle, yet still squandering your life away hanging with negative, lazy, fear paralyzed people?

Try this simple exercise that will forever change your life:

Developing your “peer group”:
Write down the specific characteristics you want to have. What do you want other people to describe you as?

For example: Dependable, Honest, Top Producer, Hard Working, Creative, Wise, Entrepreneur, Business Owner, Financially Free, Dedicated, Caring, etc.

Then make a list of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Then write down the top 5 traits other people would say they have (good or bad). Next, make a list of people you know who have all of the traits you just listed. After that compare your lists and see if you have anyone on your list of people you spend time with who are doing the things you want to do with your life. If not… you guessed it’s time to get a new set of friends! Set a goal to surround yourself with the people who are already doing the things you want to do and “mimic” them.

If you want to be a good investor…start hanging out with a top investor in your town. When hanging out ask a specific question and try to get inside their brain. Then “mimic” them!

If you want to start your own business, or be a top producer, or be a good husband/wife, or whatever your passion is to become, you must surround yourself with people who are already doing what you want to do and let “the mimic effect” go to work for you.

When I decided I wanted to become a professional sales trainer/ consultant/ coach for the Southwestern Company I put into play the law of “the mimic effect.” I made a list of the type of people I needed to surround myself with… and guess what, I’m now certified by the National Speaking Association.

Here is the peer group that I on purpose surrounded myself with:

My Southwestern Company top producer/ sales ninja “peer group”
Here is the Southwestern Company all-time sales record holders and our Chairman Henry Bedford.

Sales ninja "peer group"Sales ninja “peer group”

From left to right: Dave Brown- The world’s best cold calling salesman of all time! (at the Southwestern Company he had 23 customers in one-day selling books door to door!), Kyah Hillis (formerly Kyah Grady)- shattered the Southwestern Company record not once but twice! (Making her #1 out of over 250,000 salespeople who have come through the Southwestern Company over the past 154 years), me, Henry Bedford- All around badass and CEO/ chairman of the board of all 17+ of the Southwestern Companies. Bill Zizzy- Former Southwestern Company sales record holder, Dave Rosen- Former Southwestern Company sales record holder. Although I never formally had a professional relationship with Bill or Dave they were still in my Southwestern Company sales ninja “peer group”. I applied “the mimic effect” with them through listening to their advanced sales CD’s over and over and over and over again in my car during the summers and drinking from their wealth of knowledge.

Here is a member of my Southwestern Consulting professional sales coaching “peer group”:

SSN! crew on stage with Matthew Ferry SSN! crew on stage with Matthew Ferry

Matthew Ferry- Life coach extraordinaire! (Author of “Amplifying Your Money Magnetism”)

So if you really want to take your business/life to the next level put “the mimic effect” to work for you.
Know what you want.
Know who you want to be like.
Find those people and spend time with them.
Then let “the mimic effect” do the rest!

For additional information and help with designing a “peer group” and applying “the mimic effect” go to

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Dave Brown: Little Victories

Posted in Motivational, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques, southwestern company, southwestern company truth with tags , , on August 14, 2009 by Dustin Hillis

Creating Positive Momentum:

Life is all about momentum. Whether it is at work, in sports, or in relationships momentum is the key to reaching your maximum potential.

One of the best examples of someone I have met through the years who wins in everything he does by creating positive momentum is the Southwestern Company all time customer record holder Dave Brown. While working at the Southwestern Company and selling books door to door eighty-five hours a week on straight commission, Dave operated on a philosophy called Little Victories.
It is a checklist of activities you do everyday to create momentum consistently:

Little Victories List:
1. Wake up, jump out of bed and say, “It’s going to be a great day!”

2. Hustle to the bathroom, look yourself in the eye and say, “You sexy animal, I hope you never die!”

3. Do some kind of physical activity: run, push ups and sit ups, etc. Each day do one more repetition than the day before.

4. Take a two minute shower and say ten times, “I can, I will, I’m going to ________ (insert your goal for the day).”

5. Get all fixed up, and then during breakfast read something inspirational.

6. After breakfast take ten minutes and review your “must do’s” for the day and visualize success. If you are in sales pre-fill out your order forms and date them.

7. On your drive to the office listen to motivational or training CD’s.

8. When you get to work say something uplifting to the first person you see.

9. Pick up the phone or knock on your first door before a certain time everyday.

If you do these nine Little Victories everyday, you will have so much positive momentum going for you that your confidence will be at a peak even before you technically start your work day!

The Golden Hours

Posted in Motivational, Selling Techniques, southwestern company, southwestern company truth with tags , , , , on March 8, 2009 by Dustin Hillis

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After working over 80 hours a week and knocking on over 2,500 doors my second summer with Southwestern Company, I felt as if I could not physically work any harder… yet in the end I didn’t feel as if I had done my best.

Have you ever felt as if you worked as hard as you possibly could work… yet in the end didn’t get the results that you felt were your best?

If the goal is to take your career to the next level and you cannot work any harder, what is the only solution? That’s right… work smarter!

What does working smart mean?

Working smart means utilizing the most valuable asset that we possess: TIME.




Time, according to Mort Utley, is the most precious thing God has given us in the material world. I can waste a dollar and I can replace it. I can damage or destroy a piece of property and I can rebuild it or repair it and make it whole. But if I waste one hour of time, there is nothing that I can do about it for the rest of my life; it is gone forever.

In Dr. Hartso Wilson’s prayer poem on time he says, “Dear God, this is the beginning of a new day. You have given this day to me to use it as I will. I want this day to be good not evil, success not failure; I want it to be right not wrong, in order that I will never regret the price paid for it.”

Coaching and training thousands of professionals across the world brought me to the realization that most people don’t have a problem with “working hard”. Prospecting and time management are two areas that 95% of sales professionals say would take their business to the next level. Working smart is working efficiently and effectively with every second in your day because everyone in the world has an even playing field when it comes to the amount of time allotted to be successful. What separates the champs from the chumps is what is done with their most precious asset – time.

One of the first “techniques” we have our personal Top Producer’s Edge consulting clients implement is called working “The Golden Hours”. The concept of “The Golden Hours” comes from creating momentum consistently every day during the maximum productivity times available. So many people squander the opportunity to “work smart” in their day because they operate their schedule around their own convenience for when they feel like prospecting/cold calling.

The first key with working “The Golden Hours” is to look at the group of people you are calling on and think “when is the best time for my prospect to be reached?” If you are calling on CEO’s, VP’s, or business owners, the best time to reach them might be from 7:30-8:30 AM and 5:00-6:00 PM. Depending on the person, “The Golden Hours” time may vary… but for the most part your prospects should have similar peak time availability.
Once you’ve identified the best time to reach your prospects, the next step is to create a system to put yourself in the zone during “The Golden Hours” every day.

The Golden Hours

The Golden Hours


Here are the do’s and don’ts for creating consistent momentum during “The Golden Hours”:

*Schedule “The Golden Hours” in your calendar as if it’s the most important appointment you have in your day.
*Have your top 20 prospects listed out and in a queue ready to call.
*Stand up for the entire hour.
*Eliminate all possible distractions.
*Put a sign on your door saying “Golden Hours in process. Currently raising your stock value!”
*Turn your outlook email notice button off!
*Use the restroom before your “Golden Hours”.
*Make as many dials as humanly possible during your “Golden Hours”.

*Don’t waste a second during your “Golden Hours”.
*Do not check email!
*Don’t answer questions.
*Don’t take personal calls.
*Don’t answer any call that is not someone calling to set a new appointment.
*Don’t hang up the phone for the entire hour. (Use your finger to hang up and keep dialing.)

Anyone can work intensely for one or two hours every day. By sectioning off “The Golden Hours” in your day, you will be able to get done the things you get done while still not giving into the “tyranny of the urgent”. – Stephen Covey.
For help with creating your own “Golden Hours” schedule go to:
Creating your “Golden Hours”.

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