Category: Inspirational Speaker

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

Staying at Home Doesn’t Mean Stuck at Home

 

In my work as a motivational pharmaceutical sales speaker, one of the most often asked questions I hear these days is, “With all of this social distancing stuff, I’m stuck at home. How can I do my job?”

The answer is that the challenge isn’t one of distance, but of mindset.

Limiting Contact, Not Determination

We are in an unusual time, between vaccine availability and rising cases. Chances are your company is asking you to stay home. As well, many healthcare providers are not only overworked, they want to limit outside contacts.

The temporary new normal turns pharma sales into a major challenge especially if you are selling a new drug and need to provide samples, demonstrate, educate or provide safety information. If things were not tough enough, we all know that patients are fearful of office visits and have cut back on them. This affects prescriptions.

Pharmaceutical industry writer Jessica Merrill commenting on the impact of social distancing on sales stated (November 13, 2020) that:

“The impact of curbing sales reps and medical liaison interactions could be felt more heavily for drugs that rely on hospital-based physicians…many hospitals are limiting access, restricting the ability of company reps to enter the facilities. Primary care physicians too are fielding increased calls from concerned patients.” The sense of urgency to see patients has lessened as, obviously, are educational dinners, trade shows and the like.

If you are allowing tough times to discourage you, it is time to reset your thinking.

Drugs are still being launched. Education is still critical. Your competition is still out there. Are you determined to sell in tough times? Do you have the daily grit to see it through?

When One Road is Blocked, Find Another

Jessica Merrill talked about “Short-Term Triage, Long-Term Impact,” and she is correct. What you do now will impact on your success in the months and years to come. It is a matter of developing a vision of success.

Now, and certainly for the foreseeable future, most sales reps will have to rely on the virtual and digital space to communicate. According to industry statistics, during “normal times,” about 50 percent of the time healthcare providers are receptive to sales calls. However, in these times only 10 percent will open a sales email. That’s quite a drop. How do you get around it?

The key is creativity. Find more engaging approaches to communicate. Out-hustle the competition through committed customer support. Work at show-casing your products in a fresher way or with a more research-based approach or a more interactive method. The point is to be determined to set your company apart and above.

Keep in mind that virtual communication is largely in its infancy. We are on the verge of change. What is necessary now may become an accepted and permanent change in the years ahead.

The pharmaceutical industry has been looking for ways to lower costs and reach more customers for years. A mixture of innovative digital approaches combined with in-person calls could move the industry needle toward greater efficiency and impact.

Through vision, determination and the daily grit to rise above the obstacles that confront us, you and your sales team may well change the sales model forever. Staying at home doesn’t mean stuck at home, it means seeing possibilities from no matter where you sit.

 

Scott Burrows, Pharmaceutical Sales Motivational Keynote Speaker is booking appointments for in-person and virtual meetings and events. Contact Scott today through this website today or call: (520) 548-1169

Be Determined to Be the Difference in Real Estate Sales

 

As a virtual motivational speaker for those in real estate sales, I know that “the numbers” don’t tell the story. In 2019, about 6 million new and existing homes were sold and there were about 1.4 million realtors. Sounds easy, right? Hardly.

Along came February 2020 and COVID-19. A tough profession got tougher.

In the best of times, turnover is huge. Almost 75 percent of new agents fail in the first year, and nearly 9-out-of-10 fail after five years. In this time of pandemic, everything has become harder, from the first showing to the final handshake (complete with masks and hand sanitizer). Without determination, you can become a statistic.

Now for the Good News

Due to the pandemic, in many markets the demand for housing is exceeding the supply. Interest rates on home loans are at historic lows, and home prices, which dipped at the front-end of the pandemic, have recovered and are approaching pre-pandemic levels.

It may be tougher to sell a home right now, but those professional realtors who have a positive mindset, the determination to succeed, and the daily grit to be successful can be successful.

In terms of positive mindset, every realtor must re-dedicate themselves to education by being more knowledgeable than the competition. You must be an expert on your market through research and understanding the market forces. In these times, you must become an expert in every aspect of virtual sales. “Not knowing” the new tools of communication such as video-conferencing platforms will immediately work against you.

The determination to succeed means offering your clients the best customer service they have experienced in any sales setting. Whether you are asked for a recommendation on a low-cost trash hauler to someone who can restore antique Victorian wainscoting, the more you can convey your command of the business the better (even if the question is outside the normal).

It comes down to being a professional. Are you determined to being in the professional elite?

Having the daily grit to overcome the challenges and to make a human impact in the life of every one of your valued clients will set you apart. We all know there will be good days and bad; things will fall through, and the unexpected may happen. Those without grit may fall apart. Those professional realtors with grit will fight their way through any adversity.

Something to Keep in Mind

Professional realtors have been around since 1900. Realtors have sold through wartimes, peacetime, recessions, inflation, The Great Depression, pandemics, and in the aftermath of floods and fire.

Professional realtors have enjoyed success despite hardship. They have done so by having the mindset, determination, grit and absolute dedication to ethics and personal integrity. They are dedicated team members and unselfish in their roles. You can succeed if you are determined to be the difference and rise up to make the difference.

 

Scott Burrows, Real Estate Sales Virtual Motivational Speaker is booking appointments for virtual sales meetings and events. Contact Scott today through this website today or call: (520) 548-1169

The Most Important Member of Your Sales Team? Hint: It Isn’t You.

 

As a virtual sales team motivational speaker, I know how tough its been in what I call “The Time of COVID.” The good news is that for the most part, business has adapted.

McKinsey & Company, the international management consulting firm, has found that during these times, 96 percent of B2B sales teams have shifted to remote selling, and 65 percent of company decision makers feel remote selling is more efficient for them than ever before. In fact, many companies now prefer remote selling rather than in-person sales calls.

Who Thrives, Who Fails?

Whether remote selling will become a way of life, will go away completely after vaccines and such, or somewhere in the middle, those who make the sale must be determined to succeed. Now, more than ever, sales teams must have a unified vision to be successful. As to my question about the most important member of the virtual sales team? It is no one. There is no single person, it is all of you. In these challenging times, sales teams rise or fall together.

How do we rise to the occasion? I have identified at least five key factors:

  • Coordination – Without constant interaction and communication among the entire team, there can be no success. While all of us who grew up in sales are familiar with the old expression of “There is no ‘I’ in team,” during the time of COVID it has never been more important. Each member of the sales team must be determined to reach out and network with one another.
  • Knowledge is Power – The more teams know, and the more they are trained and given the materials to expand their knowledge, the more successful the team will become. Everyone must go the extra mile to help one another, to find information and features valuable to their product or service to help them make the sale. Team members who withhold information can bring down the entire team. Everyone must embrace the vision of working together,
  • What are our objectives? If we can’t get together on a plan and reaching our pre-determined objectives, then we are walking around in the dark. Accountability is a mindset. Everyone on the team must be accountable during tough times. What are your objectives to ensure success?
  • Make the meeting. The virtual sales team is a “we” proposition where we share, strategize and assist one another. Scheduled meetings must be respected. Unless there is a major virtual presentation taking place where a team member cannot appear, there can be no excuse for missing a team meeting. The meeting is where we build each other up, fight for objectives and stick to the plan.
  • Grit. Nothing will happen unless the sales team has the grit to get it done. Grit is not an on-again, off-again proposition. Grit is “the contract” that says we will have good days and bad, but we will push each other and celebrate one another day-in and day out. Grit is a commitment to excellent.

We are the sales team, and the sales team is us. Virtual or in-person, we will succeed if we have the vision, determination and mindset to succeed.

 

Scott Burrows, Virtual Sales Team Motivational Speaker is available for virtual sales meetings  and events for companies and associations. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169

 

Insurance Industry Change: Virtually as Hard as You Make It

 

As a motivational insurance sales speaker and former member of the Million Dollar Round Table, I know that selling insurance is easily one of the world’s most intensive, public facing sales jobs. Though products vary from company to company, the most important product you can offer is you.

Then we come to the pandemic. Suddenly, your firm handshake, your trusty, effervescent smile and the friendly banter gave way to videoconferencing, email and a phone call or two. Who had time to prepare for COVID-19? No one. The screeching halt from face-to-face to virtual sales was calamitous. Some insurance industry sales reps determined to keep fighting; unfortunately, many left.

In an industry where new hire turnover rates are 30 percent after three months, once April 2020 hit, thousands of insurance sales reps joined the millions of sales reps in other fields who quit or walked away because selling was “too tough.”

What’s the Difference?

The online resource Business Process Incubator recently completed (as of July 9, 2020) an insurance industry sales survey entitled: How Difficult It Is For Insurance Companies To Go To Remote Working? The results are eye-opening but not unexpected. Let me summarize several of the challenges.

The survey found that it is hard for insurance sales reps to initially explain what was happening, but those who succeeded in overcoming the confusion during the earliest stages had more robust referral networks.

The survey found it is more difficult to sell an “intangible product” remotely. Customers and sales reps can’t share emotions. It is difficult to break through barriers. This is where a sales rep must focus on selling themselves, outworking the competition, and making a difference.

Managing data security is also seen as a big challenge. Insurance providers and their agencies must bolster security and hire more people to ensure confidentiality and protect extremely important customer information. To that end, sales reps must convey trust and instill confidence.

Working remotely is not easy for the sales rep or customer, however, sales reps can convey the convenience and the lessened stress in buying insurance online. In other words, a negative can be turned into a positive.

While some are challenged, others aren’t. According to the survey, the keys are flexibility and technical expertise. Sales reps must either embrace the challenges or get lost in the confusion.

So, what is the Difference?

It can be argued, of course, that the insurance industry and its sales reps live in challenging times, and that the changes faced everyday are enormous. But hasn’t it always been this way?

In what era has selling insurance been stress-free? In what year have so many customers flocked to us that we didn’t have to work? Truth is, there are insurance sales reps who have a winning mindset, and some who don’t.

The insurance industry has always relied on people with vision who have the determination to succeed. If we look at the points raised in the survey, it’s clear that each challenge in the present-day world of virtual insurance sales can be overcome.

The science community has shown tremendous determination and grit to arrive at several promising vaccine candidates. The challenges against them were many. Yet, they persisted and they are close to winning.

Your mission as insurance sales reps is to be inspired to rise up in a similar manner. The difference is you. Stand up to the challenges – and win!

 

Scott Burrows, Motivational Insurance Industry Sales Speaker, is available for virtual or in-person sales meetings. Contact Scott today through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169.

The Biggest Healthcare Challenges Are Found in Us

 

It is impossible to say how many times I’ve delivered keynote speeches on Healthcare Challenges when an audience member might ask, “Scott, have you ever seen a greater healthcare challenge than the one we face?” Invariably, they are referring to a specific disease or a set of government regulations.

While I’m as concerned as anyone else about a disease outbreak or a set of government regulations, those issues are transient and they will get solved. What is often the bane of a healthcare system are those who lack vision, the determination to correct problems and the grit to pull together each day, every day.

A Quick Review of Longstanding Challenges

To illustrate the point above, I will review the major healthcare challenges as outlined by three top-notch organizations. Managed Healthcare Executive magazine lists those challenges as: the need for costs and transparency; improving consumer experience; delivery system transformation; data and analysis; consumer data access; and holistic individual health. Healthcare Success lists the challenges as: changing consumer behaviors; HIPAA marketing limitations; underinvestment in the healthcare market; reviews of doctors from online sources; and the overall product. Finally, Becker’s Hospital Review lists: controlling hospital costs; healthcare regulatory challenges; medical and technological advancement challenges; training and education challenges; and ethical challenges.

When comparisons are made with these and many other sources I gathered, what strikes me are the similarities. In fact, each list of challenges can be easily condensed to five or six common items.

Those with vision should anticipate the need for transparency, changing consumer patterns, and training and education. Those who are determined to overcome healthcare challenges will get ahead of healthcare regulatory challenges, HIPAA marketing limitations, and streamlining data and analysis. Healthcare professionals who develop the grit to overcome what is ahead will confront ethical challenges, improving the overall product and improving customer service.

Nothing that Can’t Be Accomplished

When I was recovering from my terrible accident, relatives, friends, teammates and hospital staff routinely visited or offered care. I was grateful for every one of them. However, I quickly learned that their opinions ranged from “Scott, don’t expect too much” to “Scott, you’ll be playing professional football before you know it.”

I realized that opinions, no matter how well meaning, were external to my situation. It was in rehab where I developed my philosophy of vision, determination and grit. I bring up this point as illustration of the larger healthcare challenges our industry faces.

We can all opine at industry meetings about continuing staff training and educational challenges, or how marketing will be increasingly affected by HIPAA issues. But there must be a plan in place whether a large clinic, pharmaceutical company or major teaching hospital. More specifically, the plan must include a vision as to how the challenges will be met, a determined effort to implement every step to overcome those challenges, and the grit to get it done.

I recovered beyond expectations not because I am special, but because I realized to overcome challenges, we must strive to be exceptional. Healthcare’s biggest challenges are in us, but you would be amazed just how good we can be.

 

To book Scott Burrows, Motivational Healthcare Change Management Speaker for your next industry meeting contact us through this website or by calling: (520) 548-1169