Category: Inspirational Speaker

What I Learned from My Pandemic

 

As a Florida motivational speaker who frequently delivers live presentations in Tampa, Orlando and Miami, I am well aware of what the pandemic did to wipe out everyone’s motivation. In fact, there’s a lot of research to back up why you’re feeling unmotivated following a miserable year of lockdown.

 

Where’s My Life?

Cory Stieg, wrote an article for CNBC (January 14, 2021) entitled “How the pandemic killed your motivation, and 6 simple ways to get it back, according to science.” It is a well-written piece where six key “motivational un-blockers” are identified by psychologists to help you get up and moving once again. The un-blockers include (the italics are mine):

  1. Create a daily ritual. Have a purpose.
  2. Set up routine cues. Make every day places and things special.
  3. Reward yourself in the right way. Celebrate responsibly.
  4. Make room for moments of positivity. Appreciate yourself.
  5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Sometimes we need to go back to move forward.
  6. Know your triggers. Avoid mean people and time wasters.

As I read Ms. Stieg’s piece, I was struck by how well my philosophy of Vision, Mindset and Grit meshed with what the psychologists had identified as being important. I also realized that every one of us, at some point in our lives, will have our own, “personal pandemics.” These pandemics can knock us to the ground, and will un-motivate us to give up hope if we let them. For some of us it’s physical; for others it’s emotional or a devastating tragedy to ourselves or someone we love; sometimes, it’s all three.

Remembering the Moment

I remember the exact moment I awakened in my hospital bed following a horrific automobile accident in which I was a passenger. I was, one minute before the accident, a Florida State football player and competitive martial artist, and one minute after, a quadriplegic. My life, as I had known it, was over.

In that moment of awakening, I also knew that I had a choice. I chose a vision of overcoming “the pandemic” that had been dealt to me. How would I do this? By having a life’s purpose; by setting up strenuous routine to make me as whole and as well as I could be; by celebrating each triumph; by appreciating each victory of movement; by forgiving myself for slipping back or failing and most importantly, allowing no one to sit there and feel sorry for me.

I knew that to overcome the challenge of where my life had unexpectedly taken me, that I needed a singular mindset of wellness. Maybe nothing would ever be exactly the same, but in other ways, I knew it could be better and I could be stronger in purpose. I would not allow anyone to out-determine me.

How would I accomplish what I needed to accomplish? Through daily, hourly, minute-by-minute grit. I would not permit myself to be out-worked, or out-hustled.

This past year might have been the hardest you have ever faced work-wise, socially, physically or psychologically. And possibly, it came on top of another personal pandemic that previously crushed you.

My message is that you can stand-up, you can be greater than you ever thought possible, and you will succeed with vision, mindset and grit. As a Florida motivational keynote speaker, I know you can do it and that I can help.

 

To book Scott Burrows, Florida Motivational Speaker for your next event, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

Have You Neglected Your Most Important Client?

 

As an insurance speaker and former advisor for Northwestern Mutual, I know the insurance industry fared pretty well in 2020. However, many media outlets viewed life insurance through the lens of “panic buying.”

In a piece by Greg Iacurci for CNBC (October 14, 2020) entitled “Americans are ‘panic buying’ life insurance due to coronavirus pandemic” Iacurci states:

“Insurance sales have been dwindling for years. In 2020, just over half of American adults reported having a life insurance policy, down from 63% a decade earlier…But Google Search traffic for “life insurance” jumped 50% between March and May this year compared with the same period in 2019.”

He cited growth of policy sales for major companies such as Northwestern Mutual by 15 percent, however he also noted 30 percent increases in the online insurance marketplace. The jumps in policy sales were especially strong among younger Americans. Iacurci found that,

“There was a 13% increase in life insurance applications among the under-44 age group in the third quarter versus Q3 2019, compared with a 9% jump for 45- to 59-year-olds and 0.4% in the 60-plus category.”

Where’s My Boomerang?

Close to 60 million Americans have now been vaccinated against COVID-19. While there are still several pockets of non-compliance and irresponsibility, Americans are in general more optimistic. Dominic Mastroangelo writing for The Hill (March 14, 2021) said:

“A CBS News/YouGov poll released this weekend found 64 percent of Americans say they think efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus are going well. Another 74 percent say they are excited about the prospect of businesses opening as more Americans get vaccinated against the virus.”

How then, will Americans respond to optimism in terms of insurance purchases? More importantly, how will you respond?

If the economy is projected to have more of a “V” shaped recovery and, as appears, a more optimistic outlook than at the start of the pandemic, does that mean insurance sales will see a 2021 downturn? Even if we don’t see a dramatic downturn in terms of overall sales, will online sales organizations try to crush the insurance sales rep?

Have You Neglected Your Most Important Client?

As an in-person and virtual insurance speaker and former member of the Million Dollar Round Table, I have seen the industry go through major swings.

No one in our industry can predict the future but I do know this: in 2021 your most important client is you. Unless you are completely committed to your own success, unless you have the Mindset, Vision and Grit to succeed, no economic recovery pattern will make much of a difference.

As your most important client, you must be on-board with elevating your personal brand. That means a positive mindset. Your positive mindset isn’t about being Pollyanna, for none of us can turn our backs on life’s challenges, but as a successful insurance sales rep, be aware of the trap of negative thinking. How will you, as your most important client, focus on the optimistic and not pessimistic? A negative personal brand is a virus all its own. Have the mindset that no matter what the challenge, you can be determined to overcome it.

What is your most important client’s vision for 2021? Does your client have a personal vision statement and are you ready to act on it? Why is a vision so important in insurance sales? Among many other benefits, a personal vision helps to reduce tentativeness and dread of selling and creates confidence; it reinforces your ethical principles and best of all helps you advance your sales goals.

Finally, your most important client must have grit. Grit is more than determination. It is the daily, hourly, minute-by-minute conviction that you will succeed, out-hustle, out maneuver and win against the competition.

Your most important client deserves the best. Don’t neglect them. He or she will have the best if they convince themselves to be the best no matter what this year will bring.

 

 

To hire Scott Burrows, Insurance Sales Keynote Speaker for your next in-person or virtual event, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

The Post-Covid-19 Recovery Looks Promising, But Nothing is Automatic

 

As a motivational sales speaker, I keep hearing from my colleagues in sales all of the “happy news” about how great 2021 will be for sales professionals. On the surface, everything does look positive, but that’s when I start getting worried.

Joyce Chang, Chair of Global Research for J.P. Morgan, wrote on January 14, 2021, “2021 should bring stabilization and a reset for a number of disruptions experienced this year, with front-loaded market momentum and an economic recovery to follow.”

Who better to benefit from that recovery than the sales community? Ms. Chang also predicted that “the strongest global recovery in a decade will play out by the end of 2021 if the vaccine prospects play out as expected.”

Right this minute, at least four vaccines are showing excellent efficacy and the vaccinations nationwide are ahead of schedule. Does that mean sales people are free from challenges? Far from it. Let me take two of the highest-ticket consumer items, homes and cars, plus for balance in business, the computer software industry to illustrate an important point.

Nothing is Automatic 

On March 1, 2021, the Home Buying Institute reported, “Low mortgage rates and a pandemic-fueled desire for homeownership and space have increased demand within housing markets all across the country. At the same time, real estate listings and overall inventory levels have declined sharply.”

If you are in sales for any aspect of the residential industry, unless you are willing to have the mindset to deliver world-class customer service, expect stiff competition and a rough road ahead.

Bill Ross, Founder of Linchpin, an SEO and marketing organization, wrote this about car sales for 2021, “Automotive competition is intense. The concern is the peak demand for their product may have reached its potential. The decline in automotive sales is universal, with most European and American markets down nearly 5%.”

Everyone involved in automotive sales from new car sales to after-market understands 2021 will see many new regulations, a push for alternative fuel vehicles and the meteoric rise of online car sales. Do you know the rules, understand alternative technologies and can you compete against the threat of online car sales?

Finally, the Computing Technology Industry Association issued a comprehensive report at the end of 2020, as vaccines were starting to be administered, “As the industry emerges from a chaotic year, it will begin a rebuilding phase, but this rebuilding goes beyond restoration. There is little opportunity to return to the old way of doing things…this isn’t rebuilding to reclaim the past; this is rebuilding for the future.”

Do you have the vision to help the industry rebuild sales?

What Sets You Apart?

Whether you are in healthcare, landscaping, pharmaceutical, insurance or apparel sales, 2021 will have lots of potential but nothing will be the same as pre-pandemic. In order to compete, you must have the vision to see where your industry is going.  You must develop the mindset to be focused on success – whatever it takes, and the grit to see it through.

As a motivational sales speaker, I know that 2021 will be uncertain. None of us have gone this way before, but with vision, mindset and grit, this uncertain year could turn into the most successful year in your career. Let’s make it happen!

 

To book Scott Burrows motivational sales speaker, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

2021 Insurance Sales: It’s About the Attitude of the Team

 

As a motivational sales speaker for insurance conferences, I know that as uncertain as 2020 may have been for the entire industry amid unprecedented changes, 2021 will test those in the insurance industry more than ever before.

Insurance industry expert Jean-François Gasc wrote an article on January 6, 2021 detailing the Top 10 most important trends in insurance sales for the coming year. If 2020 was the year of the pandemic, then we must consider 2021 the year of “trust.”

Every Team Must Buy-In

Gasc makes it clear that more than ever, trust is a non-negotiable element in the insurance industry.

“Consumers will not only expect their providers to give them good service and value for money, they’ll also require them to protect their personal information. What’s more, they’ll expect their providers to behave ethically in all facets of their businesses. Insurers that are perceived to have breached the trust of their customers risk substantial reputational damage.”

Building confidence and trust is a team effort and there must be a common mindset to protect the customer. As we have heard time and time again, selling insurance is a team effort. It is not just about someone closing a deal, but having everyone in the organization delivering world class customer service.

The foundation of the client-broker relationship must be a strong sense of ethics coupled with an understanding of the vulnerability of every valued customer. Personal information must be protected as the highest priority.

Does everyone at your agency have a vision of protecting the client?

Why is this mindset so important? Of all of the negative business news that confronted us in 2020, cyber fraud was at an all-time high. Cyber theft occurred in numerous agencies because employees let down their guards. It ranged from team members opening suspicious emails to using unauthorized websites while at work to openly sharing email addresses and sensitive data.

International cyber security expert Evez Hasson wrote (January 26, 2021):

“The pandemic has accelerated the shift towards a more digital world and triggered changes in online shopping behaviors that are likely to have lasting effects… This trend is predicted to grow in 2021. And with many businesses forced to change the way they conduct their sales; the risk of fraud is growing exponentially.”

If we combine the observations of the two experts, we can see two disturbing patterns: cyber crooks are constantly looking for ways to access sensitive files and customers need reassurance that your team is doing everything in its power to protect them.

Are You Determined to Advocate?

Insurance sales comes down to having the daily grit to place the security of the customer above all other considerations. It is a team mindset where everyone shares in that common vision. In 2021, the most successful agencies will have a positive team attitude on behalf of their clients.

Be a part of that mindset. Live that vision, and have the grit to aim for a level of ethics that will make you the industry leader.

Your client needs an advocate. Be that advocate.

 

 

To book Scott Burrows, insurance sales motivational speaker, contact him today through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

Sometimes Resilience Means Standing Firm

As a motivational speaker on resilience and grit, I have learned that most people confuse resilient with flexible. They are different words with different meanings. The definition of resilient I like to use in my motivational speeches is “the ability to spring back into shape; elasticity.”

Flexible isn’t Resilient

There are all kinds of examples of flexible. A garden hose is flexible, and so is spaghetti. In a negotiation, we can say that one of the parties was flexible; students and teachers learned how to be flexible in high school Zoom meetings and certainly a yoga instructor must be flexible.

However, in being resilient, we must strive to get back to our original shape, or to be even better than we were before. Now, as the tragedies of 2020 begin to fade and the sunrise of 2021 optimism looms before us, we must learn how to spring back better than ever. Learning won’t be automatic.

On January 15, 2021, Professor Julian Birkinshaw wrote a guest article for Forbes on resilience. I want to quote part of a paragraph from the piece:

“But what does getting back to normal look like? There seem two very different answers to this question, depending on who you ask. Some argue that the pandemic has fundamentally changed how we live our lives – for better and worse – and that these new attitudes and behaviours are now so ingrained that we aren’t going back. Others see these new behaviours as temporary adjustments to a one-off shock, and predict a wholesale reversion to type as soon as the shock is over.”

Professor Birkinshaw gives us a map with a fork in the road. We can throw up our hands and say, “nothing will be the same,” or we can have the mindset to stand up, stand firm, and be decisive in our determination to claw our way back to the best of what we had.

The choice is clearly ours to make. What is your choice? I surely know mine.

This is Nothing

Many years ago, I was involved in a serious car crash that hurled me from the world of a Division I football player and full-contact martial artist to a quadriplegic. If you would like, you may think of it as 2019 as it got slammed into 2020.

I awakened from the shock of my accident to discover every movement I had learned from childhood, every instinct I took for granted on the gridiron or in the ring was lost. It was from my hospital bed, the very moment I awakened that I developed my philosophy of Vision, Mindset and Grit.

I refused to see myself as a victim. I refused to see myself as having a life that was fundamentally change. I saw, instead, a resilient person who would shake off the worst of what was thrown at me, and that I could “spring back into shape.”

I gave myself a vision of independence and wellness. I empowered myself with a mindset to develop – not arrogance – but high self-esteem, and purposed to do whatever it would take to continue working to achieve my goal, even if I faie.

These years later, I have success I could never imagine, the love of a wife and friends, and the ability to stand firm against the tide. We have all been through a rough patch, but none of us are resigned to the negativity and the hopelessness of what we went through last year.

 

 

Book Scott Burrows, resilience speaker by contacting him through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

Now, More Than Ever, Associations Must Engage Members

 

In my role as an association keynote speaker, I know that now, more than ever, associations must re-engage their members. Association membership has been in trouble for quite some time, and membership loss and membership engagement with those organizations have worsened during the pandemic.

In February 1, 2018, Associations Now published the results of a Member Loyalty Study that listed several reasons why members did not renew their memberships to associations.   Of the top reasons, three of them deserve note here:

  • 34% of members who dropped out said it was too costly
  • 26% of members who dropped out said the association was providing little value
  • 9% of members who dropped out said the organization had declined in quality

Unfortunately, with the pandemic, these same problems increased.  Michael Hickey, also writing for Associations Now (September 25, 2020) noted:

“Losing members is an unfortunate reality for every association. This is especially true in 2020, when new outside pressures—particularly the financial turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—might have more people ready to cut membership fees out of their expenses, on top other reasons [reported above] that people let memberships lapse.”

Business as Usual or a New Mindset?

There is no doubt that 2020 was a year of “financial turmoil,” but as a keynote speaker for associations I know that to attribute membership declines and a lack of engagement to lockdowns does not tell the whole story.

Unfortunately, in some associations the decline has gone on for years. Ironically, associations are needed now, more than ever. The glue that holds professionals together is the professional association.

Jan Hill, writing for Onelegal.com, a website directed at law associations, listed 10 advantages to belonging to an association. Among those advantages were: getting your name “out there,” job prospects, mentoring programs, networking and resources. If we couple those advantages with the survey above, it is apparent that there is a vision and mindset problem because the advantages an association offers are exactly the things members need.

Associations should be “blasting off” with new members at this time – and they’re not. COVID should be serving as a catalyst for expanding association membership and not a damper.

What is needed is a new association mindset. Whether the association addresses financial services, accounting, agriculture, manufacturing or dentistry, members need the combined expertise and common bonds shared with like-minded people.

Does your association have the mindset and the vision to engage existing members and to attract new members? If, as the survey showed, more than a third of your members may be dropping out because they think it’s too costly, or if more than a quarter of your members have left because they see little value, what is your association’s vision for new programs or services or engagement messaging? Very seriously, if members are leaving because of the declining quality of your association’s professional benefits, what is the collective mindset for improving that quality?

As we are being led out of the pandemic, the association must be there to lead the way and to put a public face to your industry. A healthy industry must have healthy associations. It will take mindset, vision and grit.

 

 

Book Scott Burrows, association keynote speaker by contacting him through this website or his office at: (520) 548-1169

 

“Dealing with It,” Isn’t a Game Plan

 

In a recent virtual presentation I gave on goal setting and success for 2021, I commented that “Dealing with It” isn’t a game plan. Goal setting and success require determination. Times may be uncertain but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set goals.

Who will win in 2021? The person with vision, mindset and grit.

Build Something Powerful

Business journalist John Boitnott recently wrote an article for Entrepreneur magazine entitled “How to Build Your 2021 Business Strategy in the Face of Uncertainty.” Boitnott listed several focal points to consider that not only apply to entrepreneurs, but to anyone in sales or marketing. The three most important points he raised were:

  1. Focus on what you can do.
  2. Provide valuable resources for customers.
  3. (Anticipate) More certainty than uncertainty.

I would like to briefly discuss the items in view of my philosophy of vision, mindset and grit and how they can turn 2021 into the best year of your life.

Focus on What You Can Do

For most of 2020, the world was in some form of lockdown. Business was tough, lay-offs and bankruptcies were everywhere and pessimism was at an all-time high. Despite the doom and gloom, some people did rise up, in fact whole companies rose up, and had incredible years. I’m not dismissing the challenges certain sectors of the economy faced, yet what was it that enabled some businesses able to fight and survive while others gave up and walked away?

It comes down to vision.

Vision focuses on what we can do, right here and right now. In focusing on what can be done to better a situation, rather than wringing our hands and giving up, is empowering. For me personally, vision saved my life.

After an accident took me from being a Division-I athlete to a quadriplegic, I developed the vision to be as strong and mobile as I could be. I progressed further than anyone (except for myself) could have imagined. View 2021 through the lens of vision. While that might sound like a play on words, giving a strong focus, a lens, to your vision is more powerful than you could ever imagine.

Provide Valuable Resources for Customers

Virtually everyone who works, works for a customer. Think about it. What is your plan to provide the best customer service in 2021 that you can for those customers?

It comes down to mindset.

Your 2021 mindset must be to do everything in your power to deliver a level of customer service that far exceeds any experience your customer has ever seen. Customer service wins and keeps customers. Your goal, your mindset, must be to earn a “Five-Star” rating every day. To whatever level you can be there for customers, be there!

(Anticipate) More certainty than uncertainty.

Is this a mistake? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? No! We have seen the worst of it in 2020. The year threw everything it could at us. There are no surprises now. What will it take to develop a successful 2021 game plan?

It comes down to daily grit.

Vision and mindset are necessary, no doubt about it, but in 2021 it will take grit to make the plan work. Are you willing to fight for every victory, every success, every square inch of success?

Getting up from a hospital bed did not happen all at once for me. It was the daily progress, the struggle and the sweat. Grit isn’t pretty, but it’s the glue that holds the plan together. It is grit that will bring you out into the sunlight.

You will get through this, but just don’t deal with it, rise-up and become the winner that you are.

 

Scott Burrows, Dynamic Goal Setting and Success Motivational Speaker, can be reached through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

Adversity is Not a Four-Letter Word

 

Several years ago, the Harvard Business Review ran an article entitled “How to Bounce Back from Adversity.” It is as important now as when it was first written a decade ago.

One of my favorite passages rings true to me now, more than ever:

“Even for the less heroic among us, adversity can touch off intense bursts of negative emotion—as if a dark cloud had settled behind our eyes, as one sales manager described it. We may feel disappointed in ourselves or others, mistreated and dispirited, even besieged.”

It’s true. Many of us play the blame game or the victim role when times get tough. It is as though some of us expected the good times to last forever, back to the glorious pre-pandemic days, back to when we told ourselves we could sell or market anything. Truth be told, tough times have always been with us.

The winners in tough times have been resilient and, as the article explains, we learned to bounce back. We were determined to bounce back and had a vision of ourselves as winners. But we all know those who put together strings of four-letter words and who threw up their hands and quit.

The Difference is Grit

Adversity is always with us in one form or another. Currently, it is a virus that has shut down the way we do business. In the past it has been recessions, depressions, fuel prices, inventory problems, raw material shortages but somehow, the best of the best overcame adversity and succeeded, while others used disparaging words and walked away.

What was the difference? Were the successful brighter, more connected or better looking? That is what the victim mentality suggests, but it’s not true. The experts agree that the one quality the most successful sales and marketing people share is another four-letter word, “Grit.”

Grit is not the same thing as determination, though they are often used interchangeably. I can be determined to sell more, market better, produce a higher quality product. But the machine that drives that determination is the daily, hourly, grind it out effort that refuses to give in and that says, “I will do what I need to do to be successful.”

I was recently shocked to hear a manufacturer friend lament that he couldn’t get his suppliers to return his calls, and another story of a physician who was waiting on some promised information from a pharmaceutical sales rep. Both stated that they were getting so impatient they were considering alternatives.

We can attend all of the virtual meetings we would like, where the vice president of sales or marketing tells us to be determined to sell more and market our products better, but “determination” is much like good intentions. What makes the difference is the grit to follow-up, give superior customer service and to always out-hustle the competition.

These are not easy times for anyone no matter what industry you are in, and the times call for resiliency in the face of adversity. However, these are not impossible times. Forget about fancy terms, buzzwords and slogans. Focus on the simple things and the simplest words, and always value the power of grit.

 

Book Scott Burrows, Resilience, Adversity and Change Motivational Speaker for your next sales meeting through this website or by calling (520) 548-1169

Healthcare Employee Burnout Doesn’t Cure Itself

 

As a healthcare motivational speaker, I know the healthcare industry is going through one of the most difficult periods of low morale in decades. It is not just the pandemic, but a changing landscape that includes ever-changing insurance reimbursement issues, new software and systems, coding challenges, compensation issues, employee turnover and understaffing.

Added to all of this are the daily tests many of us encounter before we even get to work. COVID has forced our kids to learn remotely; we can’t easily travel; vacations are limited; our spouses fear lay-offs; and even the simple joy of going to our favorite restaurants has been affected.

Nowhere to Decompress

When we get to work, be it an office, clinic or hospital, unless we have the opportunity to sort through all of the psychological and physical challenges, burnout becomes a major problem. Ultimately, patient care suffers, with minor to catastrophic outcomes. It is the one result no one wants.

In a September 2020 article by Practice Builders entitled “How to Improve Staff Morale in the Hospital,” the writers raise four important points in regard to improving staff morale: Practice Effective Communication, Respect Employee Opinions, Appreciate Employee Efforts, and Empathize with Staff.

While I would not disagree with any of these strategies for improving morale and inspiring employees, there are important “drivers” to make sure that morale is addressed and not just talked about in the break room.

Are You Determined?

If healthcare organizations want to improve morale, the entire organization must have a focused mindset to do it. This mindset is not just from the top-down, but the bottom-up. While it’s true that effective communication is important for any healthcare team, let’s not forget that individuals make up the team. It is up to everyone to develop a mindset to enable communication.

This leads me to determination. If, as the article suggests, the pathway to improving morale and open communication includes mutual respect, appreciation and empathy, we must be determined to do it.

If a team member is hurting, we should be determined to raise that person up. If a team member is disrespected (and that can cover a wide range of unacceptable behaviors), every other member on staff must be determined to understand the problem and correct it. If someone is going through a rough time, the team must be determined to help that team member.

Having the mindset to improve morale and being determined to communicate, respect, appreciate and empathize are merely intentions unless there is the daily grit to see it through. Without grit, the best of intentions to improve morale and inspire others remain the best of intentions.

There is no worse morale killer than a failure of the healthcare organization to see a program through, and to let it fall by the wayside. If we are all determined to bring about an improvement, to show everyone greater respect and appreciation and to empathize with one another, but we neglect the grit to make sure those things happen on a daily basis, then morale will only worsen.

To truly inspire one another, we must be individually determined to make a difference in our life and in the lives of everyone around us.

 

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Healthcare Industry Keynote Speaker for in-person and virtual meetings. You can reach Scott through this website or call: (520) 548-1169