December 28, 2013

The Best Motivational Song Ever!

Muse is an English rock band that, in the last few years, has risen in the world stage. Known for their energetic music and live stage performances they produce some interesting, alternative rock and new progressive sounds.

I recently purchased their latest album, The 2nd Law which has some different songs on it. All, which I like. One song is called Survival. It is the ultimate motivational song! Whenever I get in a funk I throw it on and blast it in the car. It get me pumped and energized again to face the day head on and overcome life's challenges.

Hear it for yourself and listen to the lyrics. Here is a YouTube video featuring Muse's London 2012 Olympic Games official song; Survival.

Go out there and win!

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

December 19, 2013

What Will The New Year Bring You?

It is that time of year where we throw out the old and bring in the new. 2014 is full of possibilities and new uncharted waters.

What do you want to accomplish in 2014?

What is keeping you from doing it?

What areas of your life do you want to improve?
  • Mind
  • Body
  • Money
  • Work
  • Social Life
  • Relationships
  • Belief
  • Family

What is keeping you from getting it?

Take a moment in the next few days to write down your goals, then keep them in front of you until you accomplish them in 2014.

You can do it--you deserve it!

You can also try these books to help you decide what you want in life, set goals, and realize it.

Decide On It!

Realize It!

Realize It! Goals Workbook

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

November 30, 2013

What Is A Good Goal Setting Workbook?


I have been setting yearly goals and tracking them since 1996. It is amazing at the end of the year how many goals I have crossed out. The challenge isn't sitting down and setting goals. It is looking at them on a daily or weekly basis and focusing on the things you want to accomplish.

If you don't set goals first it is impossible to reach them. I took the tools I used each year, to set goals and monitor them, and put them into this handy goals workbook.

Realize It! Goals Workbook

What is "it?" Anything you want in life is "it" and becomes the focus of your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. You may have goals to reach, but you may not write them down, monitor them on a daily basis, and work towards achieving them. This workbook will help you, understand your purpose, identify what success means to you, and set short and long-term goals to help you monitor and realize "it" in all areas of your life. Now, realize it!

So . . .

Set Goals . . .

Look at them daily . . .

Monitor your progress . . .

And you will realize them!

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

November 23, 2013

Sales: What Are Good Closing Techniques?

In sales, you are told by your managers, and selling gurus, to ABC = Always Be Closing. However, more often than not you go through your sales process, discover the customer’s wants and needs, show them the features and benefits, sell to their hot buttons, but when you get to the end of the process or a customer throws out an objection, you don’t go for the close.

Why do you do that? There are a multitude of reasons. You may be having a bad day. You may be afraid to push the customer away by trying to “close” them. You may not be prepared to handle their objection.

Whatever the reason, you have to remember that you are in sales, and nothing ever gets sold without asking the customer to buy. The deal isn’t closed until you write them up and get them to sign. The transaction isn’t processed until it gets rung up, and the customer pays.

Don’t be afraid to close. If you have done a “bang up” sales presentation, you have earned the right to ask the customer to buy.

So, what are some good closing techniques to remember to use when you get to the end of your sales pitch, or are faced with some objections? There are many different techniques and styles out there, but here are a few that are useful. Some have been around for ages while others are new spins on an old close.

FEEL, FELT, FOUND: This one is a classic close for any objection. It allows you to align yourself with the customer, and then show them that they are not alone in big decisions, and then explain how your customers with the same objection have come to the decision to buy. “I understand how you feel, many of my customers have felt the same way as you, what they have found is….”

LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION: This is a good lead up to a close and smoothes over a closing question. Instead of asking the closing question point blank ease into it, “Let me ask you a question . . . what would you have to think about?” More often than not customers will respond better to this. You ask command of their attention by saying, “Let me ask you a question . . .” Pause for a second then when you have their attention, ask your closing question. This is also a good lead-in to the next closing technique.

WOULD YOU DO ME A FAVOR: This is a good follow-up to the previous one. “Let me ask you a question… Would you do me a favor?” Most people are willing to help others out. When you ask this pause, nod your head and wait for them to respond. They usually will say, “Yes,” or “Sure.” Sometimes they will say, “Depends on what it is.” Then follow up with: “Would you give our product a try?” or, “I get paid for every demonstration, would you test it out and tell me what you think?”

IF I COULD, WOULD YOU?: This is probably the best closing phrase out there. However, it is the most used phrase out there. Customers know you are closing them when you use this. But, it works. So, why not use it? “If I could get you to $250 per month, would you buy this right now?” Don’t be afraid to ask the customer to commit. What is the worst they are going to do? Say no. I have also used the phrase, “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask . . .” and then ask them, “If I could, would you . . .” This eases into the question and the customer knows you are just doing your job.

WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE?: Many times customers are elusive with you. They play the “shopping” game and keep everything to their chest. They don’t want to tell you what it will take to close them. I always found this stupid. Why not just come out and tell us what you want and I will tell you if I can do it. We want to earn your business. However, it is not always that easy. You have to probe. There are several variations of this question; “What is it going to take for you to do this today?” or, “What is it going to take to end your shopping right now?” or, “What do we have to do right not to earn your business?” or, “What ideally does this have to look like to make this work for you right now?” These are the most direct phrases to ask and get a direct answer from your customer.

IDENTIFY, ISOLATE, REFINE, AND TARGET: Sometimes you have to get more information before you can close the customer. You may have to handle an objection first. One way to do this is to use the I.I.R.T. technique. IDENTIFY with the customer. “I understand . . . most of my customers feel the same way about (having to think about it, talk with my spouse, look around etc.) I felt the same way myself.” ISOLATE the objection. “Other than that, is there anything else keeping you from doing this right now?” REFINE by asking open ended questions to help understand the objection. “What are some of the things you would need to think about.” Or, “What do you think your spouse will say?’’ “What do you hope to find in the other product that you haven’t found in ours?” TARGET with a closing question. “If I could do X, would you buy right now without having to (think about it, talk to your spouse, look at other products, etc.)?”

SHAL WE GIVE IT A TRY?: Here is an easy one. I read this close in the book “The Closers.” This technique comes at the end of a presentation or after you showed your customer the price / figures. “So, shal we give it a try?”

LET’S PROCESS THE ORDER: You have just finished showing the customer you product. Write them up, or ring them up in your system and say, “Let’s process this order, how would you like to pay?” That will tell you right there what you have. You might be surprised. The customer may respond, “I’ll pay with cash.” Or, “Do you take checks/credit?” Sometimes all you have to do is assume the sale.

ROLL THE CLOCK AHEAD: The customer says, “I have to think about it,” Start by empathizing with them, understand their position, it is a big decision. Then say, “Roll the clock ahead to tomorrow. You have thought about it. What do you think your decision might be?” Or they might say, “I have to talk with my wife/husband/significant other.” Empathize like in the other situation and say, “Roll the clock ahead to tomorrow, you have talked with your wife/husband/significant other . . . What do you think she will say about doing this?” If the customer gives any signs of they say they would do it, then say, “Okay then, what is going to change between now and tomorrow? Let’s wrap this up now and you can enjoy your day tomorrow without having to worry about this decision.”

I know you are saying to yourself, “All these techniques are cheesy, or canned, or ‘old school’ and I don’t want to be that way.” Okay, I get it. You are right. Most of these are ‘old school’. The fact is, that when you use these, at the right time, in a calm and non threatening way, they work.

Stop being afraid to close!

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

November 16, 2013

Sales: How Do You Overcome An Objection?


Listen with the intent to understand and be empathetic. When you “Listen” to your customer’s objections they think you are really concerned with them. This will strengthen your relationship and build up more trust. Don’t take the objection personally. Remember the nature of the customer is to “get out” when they feel uncomfortable. This process must happen to get to the “close.”
#1  IDENTIFY with the customer. This makes them feel that you are listening to them. It puts you in the seat of empathy and builds up deposits.
  • “I understand how you feel many of my customers have felt the same thing…”
#2  ISOLATE the objection. Figure out their real concern and if that is the only thing keeping them from moving forward.
  • “Other than…”
  • “Is there anything else…”
#3  RFINE the objection. Ask open-ended questions targeted at the objection to gain clarity and insight as to the strength and validity of the objection. This further questioning builds your angle to head off or overcome the objection. Then use logic and support it with appropriate information addressing the concern.
  • “Many of my customers have found…”
  • “What would you need to talk to your wife about?”
  • “What is it about the price you don’t like?”
  • “What about the trade in figure is it you don’t like?”
  • “When could you come up with more $ down?”

#4  TARGET the objection. Summarize and answer the objection logically. Provide options that move toward a purchase decision and close the deal.
  •  “I don’t know if they would . . . if I could do X . . . would you buy it right now?”
 Hope this helps!

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

November 2, 2013

Free Kindle E-Book: Sales Is Mashed Potatoes

Download your copy of this pocket guide filled with witty sales anecdotes as it relates to mashed potatoes:  

From Nov 4th through Nov 8th author Tim Northburg is offering a free promotion of his book, Sales Is Mashed Potatoes. Get a free copy by getting the Kindle reader app on your Apple or Android smart phone or tablet, or on your PC and download your free copy of this sales book.
I would love to hear what you thought of the book.

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

October 19, 2013

How Do You Have Fun At Work?

When we think of work we typically don't think of the word fun. That is why it is called work, and not fun. If you are in sales, then work can be defined as prospecting, quotas, clients, presentations, closing, and training. At times those tasks can be less than enjoyable. Now, work can be fun and it can be enjoyable. It is all a matter of how you approach your work.

How can you make your work fun?

ATTITUDE: It all starts with your attitude. If you come to work thinking that the day is not going to be fun, or if you are dreading facing your boss, or a client, or you are worried about your sales figures, then your day will not be any fun. Have a positive attitude. No matter what the situation, throw your worries out the window and look at the situation with a positive outlook and you will have more fun in the day.

ATMOSPHERE: This goes hand in hand with attitude. If you have a positive attitude it will create a positive atmosphere for you and those directly around you. Make your atmosphere light, relaxed, and enjoyable and you will find you will have more fun, and your clients, your co-workers, and those you encounter will have more fun. Make a bubble of fun around you. If you come across a negative atmosphere, you can choose not to join in.

EAT: Several of my co-workers like to eat. They have a small griddle and are constantly cooking a good breakfast or a nice lunch. Good nutrition fuels the body and fuels the mind. I know when I feel my blood sugar dropping, and I haven't eaten (when I should have) I tend to get grumpy and less alert. My mood changes and I stop having fun. Take a break, grab a sandwich or a healthy snack. Cook a small meal and fuel your body to bring you to the optimum mind set, and return to having fun.

TAKE A WALK: May times we get hunkered down, doing deals, calling clients, dealing with a challenging customer or problem and we get locked into our office, desk, or meeting room. If you feel the fun factor dropping, take a short walk. It can be as little as a few minutes or as long as you want. (Provided you have the time.) A walk around the office, or around the building can re-energize you.

JOKE AROUND: I am reminded of the Joker in Batman when he says, "Why so serious?" I know I take my job seriously and can tend to be really focused on the task at hand. I have my poker face on and am intensely locked into the deal, or the heat of the battle. However, I have to remind myself to relax and lighten it up a bit. Sales can be high demanding and intense, but every now and then you need to joke around. I don't mean tell dirty or incorrect jokes, or pull pranks on people. But light and airy, jovial, banter, and talking amongst others about things makes life fun.

So the next time you feel your tension build, your situation heated, your worry creeping up on you, ask yourself: "Why so serious?" and put a little fun into your moment and your day!

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

October 12, 2013

Book Review: Otterocity! Field Guide

Otterocity! Field Guide by Tim Northburg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wrote this book as a follow up to Otterocity! I wanted it to be a guidebook for inspiring you and to help motivate you into action to bring a joyful spirit to your life. We all face challenges. It is how you meet those challenges and it is the attitude you choose to take when facing those challenges head on that makes the difference in your life. I hope you enjoy.

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

October 10, 2013

Overcoming Obstacles

Some days, when you wake up, the fog sets in and crosses your path. You stumble around not being able to tell which direction to go, or what to do.

As you heading off through the fog, you become unsure if you are dong the right things, or going in the right direction. You can't see where you are going and it becomes hard to focus on your dreams, visions, and goals. With a little faith and courage you keep going, regardless of the hurdles or obstacles you have to overcome.

None the less, you keep going. You find a way to keep moving forward to wards your destination. Then, the sun posed through and brings light to your situation. It validates you are heading in the right direction.

Life is like that. You have to make a choice along the way. Do you continue on through the fog and reach your destination, or do you stop and get lost?

It is up to you.

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

September 26, 2013

What Do You Focus On In Sales?

There are many times during the day, at work, or in our life that we tend to wander and lose sight of our goals, or what is in front of us. This can be especially true in sales, when we may get bogged down with the insignificant things, or sidetracked. Sometimes all it takes is a little focus to get back on track and do the things that are necessary for success.

What do we focus on in sales?

RIGHT NOW: The first thing you can do is focus on “right now.” What are the things you need to be doing right now? Drop the things that can wait and work on the important things. What are the important things—read on.

CUSTOMER: Pay attention to your customers. Notice that customer when they walk in. If a phone call comes in, devote your full attention to it. Phone customers are a hot opportunity. If you are walking past a customer acknowledge them. “Hi, welcome to (business.)” Nothing is more important than a customer.

SALES PROCESS: Many times when it is slow, or busy we tend to take short cuts. We lose sight on the sales process. Getting back to the basics allows you to regain focus of your sales process. Welcome-Interview-Presentation-Write-Up-Close-Follow-up. It is that simple.

WRITE-UP: When we lose focus in sales many times we become a tour guide and forget to go for the order. , in different ways. If you have meet all of your customer’s needs with your product or service then focus on asking for the sale multiple times.

CLOSING: Sometimes when faced with objections or a customer tells us “no” we have a tendency to stop and give up. Focus on closing. Turn that objection around into a closing question. When a customer says no, focus on asking, “why not?” Don’t give up.

FOLLOW-UP: To build customers for life, focus on follow-up. If all you do is focus on conquest sales then you won’t build up a good client base that repeats and refers. Focusing your energy and time nurturing the customers you already have will build a strong loyal customer base. So, focus your efforts on genuine follow-up and good customer service.

Focusing your efforts in these areas will help you to a great career in sales. So, get out there and focus your efforts starting right now!

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

September 19, 2013

The Sales Manager Creed

Here is a creed I developed in 2001 when I became a full time Manager.  I adopted this philosophy and try to use it every day with my employees.

"Let me do my best today to help my employees be successful and earn a good living---in doing that, I will be successful too!"

(What is your creed?  Please comment below.)

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

September 14, 2013

Coffee Quote #9 - Change

So I used to go to this coffee shop that put out these cool little stickers with quotes on them. (You put on top of the mouth hole of your to go cup lid so it doesn't spill in the car.) Well, the coffee shop has since gone out of business and now I don't get those cool little stickers with the inspirational anecdotes on them any more. However, I will still find some short quotes to continue my coffee sticker quote segment.

Here is one on change:
"By changing nothing, nothing changes."

--Tony Robbins

I think he hit it right on the head. That is the biggest problem these days is many people want change but they are not willing to do anything about it. Or, they think someone else is going to do it for them and give them change.


Why are we afraid to change things in our lives?

Is it that we get comfortable in our surrounding?

Is it that we are afraid of the unknown?

Is it that we think we are immobilized to change something in our lives?

It could be all of those things and more.

If you are unhappy about the way things are going in your life. Or, if you are unhappy with your job, career, relationship, money, finances, the economy, government, or other life situation you do have choices.

There are three things you can do in life about the situations you are in.

Suffer, Leave, or change.

SUFFER: You can stay in your situation. If you stay, and not change anything, then it is your choice to stay and suffer. If you choose to do this, then stop complaining about things. You made your choice, no one forced you to stay.

LEAVE: Leaving is a form of change. You can always leave. Move jobs. Leave your relationship. If you are unhappy with the government, you can go to a different state or country. If you don't like your friends you can find new ones. Remember, if the problem is with you, then your problems may follow you.

CHANGE: You can change your thoughts, actions, beliefs, or way you do things. If you are unhappy with government, get involved to make a difference. If you are unhappy with the economy, change your spending or think up new ways to make money. If you are unhappy with a relationship then find a way to change it up.

Change is all up to you.

Like Tony Robbins says above, nothing changes if you do nothing.




-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

September 13, 2013

Book Review: The Celestine Prophecy

The Celestine Prophecy (Celestine Prophecy, #1)The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Although the storyline was a little unbelievable the message overall was good. We can all add certain principles to our lives to make it better. I enjoy how the author weaves his message in and out of the story vs. preaching at me.

 View all my reviews

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

September 7, 2013

Take A Risk

There are only two things that can happen when you take a risk:

1.  You can soar to great heights.
2.  You can go down in a ball of flames and crash.

More often than not, the second outcome is what prevents you from taking a risk. The fear of going down in flames and crashing keeps you from stepping out on a limb and taking that leap.

So, stop being afraid.  You are the only one holding yourself back and keeping you from your dreams, goals, and desires.

Decide right here and right now what it is you want in your life. Take a risk and go after it!

So what if you crash and burn? (metaphorically speaking of  course)  You can always pick up the pieces and try again.


-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

September 6, 2013

Book Review: Otterocity!

Otterocity!Otterocity! by Tim Northburg

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 I wrote this book to help people, who are going through tough times in their lives, find joy and happiness again. If you are touched by the economic downturn, in financial distress, experienced the death of a loved one, or are having a tough time in general, this book was meant to inspire you to bring a joyful spirit back to your life. If Otters can be hunted by predators, constantly forage for food, deal with harsh conditions living in the sea, and possess a joyful spirit . . . so can we. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

View all my reviews

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

August 29, 2013

Book Review: Who Moved My Cheese?

Who Moved My Cheese?Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 Great book about change. Sometimes seeing the need to change is hard. Other times we understand we need to change but we are afraid to do it. This book explains change through an interesting story. An easy read. Fun, yet informative.

View all my reviews

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

August 22, 2013

Coffee Sticker Quote #8 - Intensity

"Genius is intensity!"

--Honore de Balzac

I don't know who that guy really is, but he summed it all up in three words. Intensity is that great energy and strength within that pushes you to great heights. It is the concentration and conviction that motivates and moves mountains.

Intensity it that spark inside you that ignites a fire within that, when you fuel it, turns into a raging fire and pushes you and motivates you to gain success in your life.

Genius is the one that can have and sustain intensity in their lives.

Go forward today, and all days, with intensity!

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

August 17, 2013



What does it look like?

I asked those questions to my group of sales people and they gave some really good answers. Fist, to really define persistence, it is the continuance of an effect after the cause is removed. When we get it in our mind that we are going to accomplish something, or be successful at something than over time what is it that we do to keep continuing the course? After that feeling, emotion, spark fades a bit or you encounter some obstacles, how do you have that continued effort to achieve your goals?

I know it is easy to just say, “Oh foregt about it!” and move on to something else. Quitting is easy. Persistence is hard and painful. It can also be long and drawn out and very emotionally challenging at times. A life coach of mine used to say to me, “If success wasn’t hard, then everyone would be doing it!” I always get a chuckle when I remember that.

Ok, so what are some of the things that go into persistence?

Here they are:

STEADY MOVEMENT: Always be working, moving towards your goal. Movement breeds activity and you never know when you might bump into someone, or an opportunity that will catapult you to your goals. Movement may be backwards (one step back might lend to two steps forward) but it is movement. A rolling stone gathers no moss. If you stop moving you will stagnate. (I don’t mean job jumping here, because you will never get established. ) What I mean by moving is being active. Doing. Learning. Practicing. Being pro-active rather than reactive.

KEEP AFTER IT: This is a continuance of the above. Don’t see a setback as a negative thing. Many times obstacles and challenges are there for us to learn from and to get better. If you learn from your failures or mistakes, it may just help you in the future land that big deal, make that sale, or get that big break. No matter the challenges, always be learning and getting better.

WORK TOWARDS GOALS: For starters, set goals. Small, big, sort-term, long-term and work towards them. If you keep them in mind and work towards them you will eventually accomplish them. In sales, set a goals for how many people you talk to, how many people you prospect, how many people you hand you business card to, how many people you present your product to, how many you ask to buy, and How many you close. Those are the main important goals to work towards. No matter what your dream and aspiration is you can set goals to work towards it and accomplish it.

CLOSING: If you are in sales you must have the “A,B,C” of sales. Always, Be, Closing. If all you are doing is being a tour guide, or product information dump, then you won’t be successful. Always look for clues to where you can ask a closing question.

ASKING FOR THE SALE: This also goes hand in hand with the previous one. Go for the sale and ask for it. First, build value in your produce and make sure you show the features and benefits. After that, you earned the right to ask for the sale. If they say no or give you an objection, don’t give up. Have persistence. Ask, “Why not?” or “What makes you say that?” and try to overcome the objection and ask for the sale again. Remember it is way too easy to give up.

PROSPECT: Always be on the lookout for your next opportunity. Have your radar ears on. In sales, follow up with your customers and keep building those relationships, they will turn into referrals if you do. In everything else, make contacts. Talk to people. Network. You never know who you will run into that could help you reach your goals and dreams.

The main thing about persistence is this . . . How bad do you want it? If you want success, accomplishment, or to reach your goals (and you want it bad) you will persist, no matter what, to reach it. You will crawl through broken glass to get it. You will have that burning desire and tenacity to get there.


-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

August 9, 2013

Book Review - Gung Ho!

Gung Ho!Gung Ho! by Kenneth H. Blanchard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed the story of Peggy Sinclair who is tasked to turn around a failing plant. There she meets a man, Andy Longclaw, who runs a team in an obscure corner of the plant that is highly productive. Andy Longclaw shares the secrets of his success with the woman. I enjoyed how Ken Blanchard used animals and their characteristics through the teachings and allows you to apply those traits in your life.

View all my reviews

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

August 8, 2013

Automotive SalesTraining Book For Phone Sales

Automotive Sales Phone Mastery Guidebook
Phone Skills and Techniques of Top Sales Professionals

“Call until you ear hurts—then switch ears!”

I must have made a million phone calls since I started selling vehicles in 1996. Today, now that I am a Sales Manager, I still take and make phone calls to customers.

Like many things in Automotive Sales, phone skills are usually learned through trial and error. Many sales people have had little or no training on the phone. They may have had some word tracts passed to them from their manager or other sales people but that is where their training ends. Others may have had a trainer come in and share proper techniques and word tracts.

Calling and talking on the phone is not natural for a lot of sales people. It can be boring, monotonous, and painful. You get hung up on, yelled at, ignored, and abused. This is where call reluctance usually comes into play.

Sales people would rather stand on the lot and wait for a fresh up to come to them, instead of sitting in a stuffy call center or office hammering out calls. It is becoming more and more difficult to reach your customer and control them over the phone.

Customers know that they have the “distance” between them and you. They are more likely to be untruthful about their intentions. They are more likely to want all of the information possible without having to bridge that distance and come into the dealership.

I compiled the information in this book, to help sales people prepare for any phone call and to increase their skills so that they can get more customers to come to them.

In 2000 I became the Business Development Manager for my dealership. I set up the call center and instituted our calling best practices. I trained incoming phone call scripts, follow-up guides, and prospecting guides to our sales people. I made a ton of Public Relations Manager calls, took sales incoming calls, and prospected orphan owners. As a Sales Manager, I make these calls to this day.

In this Automotive Sales Phone Playbook I break down the finer elements of phone sales etiquette, how to properly handle incoming phone calls, leave effective messages, conduct proper prospect follow-up, and most of all prospect for more sales. You will learn word tracts, skills and techniques that will help you strengthen your phone work and help reduce call reluctance.

There is nothing worse than not being prepared to take or make a phone call. You might as well not do it at all! The average dealership spends $250 - $300 per customer in advertising (sometimes more) to attract a customer and get them to inquire with the dealership.

So, if each customer that calls in costs $300, don’t you think you had better be on your best to handle that call for your dealership? It is the “hottest” lead (next to a fresh walk-in customer) and the most important lead to handle correctly. You can always get a turnover with a customer on the floor, but it is more difficult to get a T.O. with a customer on the phone. You only have a few seconds to make a good impression and to control the customer without having them feel like you are controlling them. If don’t start off right, you will be holding the receiver with a dial tone on the other end. If handled properly you will set more appointments and be able to follow-up your phone prospects, that did not set an appointment or come in.

Now, a dealership spends less advertising money on retaining satisfied customers. (Usually half) So the second most important call is the owner base call. What are you doing right now to contact all of your past customers? What is your dealership doing right now to contact all of your orphan owners? Are you getting your owner base working for you and taking advantage of your referral program? There are a lot of things you could be doing, that are easy, when making your calls.

Also, a good sales person knows what their closing ratio is. They know how many people it takes to get in front of in order to sell the number of cars they want to sell in a month. So, if it takes 30 customers to sell 10 vehicles with a 30% closing ratio what are you gong to do if you only get fifteen to twenty fresh customers in a month? A top sales person knows that they will have to prospect. This is done either with lost opportunities from previous weeks and months, or cold calling. From working in insurance for three years, I know what I would rather do. I hate cold calling. I still have nightmares with phone books attacking me in my sleep.

A “warm” opportunity is better than a “cold call!” It still don’t understand it when a sales person lets a customer go with the hope that they will return. It blows my mind even more when they don’t follow up with the customer. On top of it all, I cannot fathom it, when this is done with multiple customers.

So, let’s go back to the question; where do you find more customers? You prospect. If you get in front of 30 customers a month and sell at a 30% close you have 20 customers left unsold. Add that up over several months, you have a good list of “warm” prospects.

Everything compounds. If you add your phone up’s that didn’t buy, your owners that you can ask for referrals, orphan customers who don’t have a sales person any more to your lost opportunities, you will have enough people to call to add to your sales in a down month.

What are you going to do? Are you going to learn the skills in this book and put them to work? Or, are you going to stand out in the wolf pack and wait to pounce?

Someone once told me . . . “If you live by the floor, you will die by the floor!”

The choice is yours.

Buy The Book On Amazon
Phone Skills and Techniques of Top Sales Professionals
What sets top sales people aside from the rest? They know how to work the phones. This complete playbook walks you through the various phone calls, word tracts, and objections an Automotive Salesperson takes, makes, and handles many times each day. Master the phone and sell more vehicles.

About The Author
Tim Northburg started his automotive career in 1996 selling at a Saturn retail facility where he learned highly valuable customer service and needs based selling skills. In 1998 he gained international experience while managing a Rover, MG, MINI Cooper dealership in Chester, England. Since 2000, he has moved into upper management where he currently trains, motivates and leads his highly successful team of sales professionals. He has three years experience running the Business Development Center where he learned valuable customer follow-up, incoming phone call, prospecting, and owner retention techniques and skills. He spent six years as a Used Car Manager /Desk Manager and is fully trained in Finance, Marketing and Public Relations. In 2010 he became a Sales Manager and E-Commerce Director at a highly successful Honda, GMC, Buick Dealership. Tim Northburg’s commitment and dedication to the business, and the sales people he leads, is evident in this complete training guidebook. He shares the knowledge gained, throughout his career, because he wants others to succeed like he has

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

August 1, 2013

Coffee Sticker Qote #7 - Training

I kept an old coffee spill sticker quote and I pulled it out for this post. (It is also strange how it compliments my recent post on training.) Here is the quote:

"Train everyone lavishly, you can't overspend on training."

--Thomas Peters

Training is the first thing that gets cut when organizations need to scale back and trim the fat from their bottom line. But they are not trimming the fat, they are trimming good meat that can sustain the organization.

I believe you cannot spend enough to train the people in your organization. Training is one thing that you will always get dividends from. If you allow your people the skills and tools to be successful, you can't go wrong.

That is if you do these things too:

TRAIN PROPERLY - I do think you can pay for bad training. Make sure the training is useful and the training mode is connective to those taking the training.

SET EXPECTATIONS - What do you want to get out of the training? What do you want to learn from the training? Are those expectations real and pertinent?

MEASURE TRAINING - Is it working? Are people using the training daily, weekly, monthly? Do you see an increase of productivity?

ROLE PLAY - Practice the training to form good habits. Eventually the training will become natural instinct.

COACH - Training gets lost over time. It is good to positively reinforce the training and encourage those to use the training.

TRAIN MORE - Even though some people think they know it all, they can actually learn more.

Get out there and train your butt off, like it is the Olympics in your field, and you will succeed more!

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

July 29, 2013


Intensity is that extra spark to achieve the successes you desire. It is the ability to turn up the flames and fuel your passion for something. It is an intangible feeling or emotion that comes from somewhere deep within.

I held a meeting with some sales consultants and asked them what Intensity means to them. Here is what they came up with:

  • FIRE: Intensity is a feeling inside—you know, get fired up! The flames of intensity burn within and spark you into action. Get others fired up too.
  • FOCUS: Intensity is the ability to zero in on your target or to have complete focus to gain your goals and aspirations.
  • ATTITUDE: To have a take-charge attitude. Intensity is also having mental strength to bring additional heat when needed.
  • PATIENCE: Intensity doesn’t have to be wild or out of control. It can be steady, and have endurance.
  • DUE DILIGENCE: Intensity is having a constant and earnest effort while pushing the body or mind to attain what you desire.

I got to thinking about what they said about intensity. I personally wouldn’t put patience and due diligence together with intensity. Now, thinking about it a bit more, I believe they do make sense. You can have patience while having intensity and give you the endurance to outlast or work through the time needed to achieve your goal. Intensity will help you focus on diligence and allow you to do the steps needed to succeed.

To add to it, here is what I believe intensity is:

  • PASSION: Intensity is an overwhelming feeling inside that moves you to do great things. It allows you to bread out of your mold and do things that will make you successful.
  • EXTRA MILE: Intensity is doing things that others are not willing to do. It is about going the extra mile to learn more, achieve more, or do more in your life.
  • PURPOSE: Intensity is a determination or resoluteness that helps elevate your purpose. Intensity gives more emphasis to have purpose in what you do. It also allows the spark for you to reach your goals or intentions.

Intensity it is something that not everyone shows. It is an innate desire to want to be the best, achieve your goals, influence others, or accomplish a task. I do believe intensity is something that everyone has. Some it flows more freely. To others, it is hidden somewhere deep within. It is up to you whether you use it or not.

Tap into your intensity and achieve the goals and desires of your life!

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

July 27, 2013


I got to thinking about training the other night when I was watching the final race of  Le Tour De France.  190 guys on bikes, 21 days of intense cycling and at the end of it all only about 160 made it to the finish in Paris. It fathomed me to think what kind of training these guys do throughout the year for this race.

This is what made me think about training. They push themselves to the limits for the shot at a yellow jersey that, in the end, only one person wears. You have the sprinters training and competing at all out sprints at the end each flat stage while risking crashing for a chance to wear the green jersey. You have the climbers who compete for the King of the Mointain polka dot jersey. None the less, they train each day, every month, all year for something they believe in.

What are you doing daily to train in your work?

Are you training each day, every month, all year?

DAILY TRAINING: Work each day to learn a little more about different skills you can apply to your business. Customer service skills, personality differences, sales basics, advanced sales techniques, phone skills, communication skills. Are there any programs for your job you can learn that will help you be more proficient in your work?

DAILY COACHING: Is there a mentor at work, or outside of work, that can help you become better? Are there things you can learn from the top person in the office or at your work? If you are the top person, who can you help coach. Many times when you are coaching others you learn as much from them as they do from you.

DAILY ROLE PLAYING: Do you practice word skills, sales scenarios, role-play sales basics, with your boss or co-worker? Doing this keeps you on your game. If you sit back and wait for things to happen, you won’t be fresh or ready to perform.

MONTHLY: Do you track your progress? Are you constantly looking at your goals or forecasts to see if you are on track or not? Are you analyzing your performance to see the areas where you need to do a bit more training, or practicing to get better?

YEARLY: Do you go to seminars, take webinars, read books, analyze your goals for the year and set new ones?

If athletes can train daily, monthly, and yearly . . . why can’t you?

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

July 13, 2013

Take Action!


Nothing will ever get accomplished without you taking some kind of action. This is important for achieving success and it is extremely important if you are in sales. If you are looking for a job, working on your relationship, or trying to achieve a goal of yours, nothing will happen by you sitting back and waiting. Well, okay, something might happen, but it will not be the thing that propels you towards what it is you want.

Say it is your goal to become a famous writer. Or, you may want to start a cupcake business. Or, you want to be a successful salesperson. Or, you might want to be a dancer. How do you take action? What are the things you need to do to become one?

Start doing something: Start writing. It is that simple to get started. You can’t become a writer if you don’t write. You can’t open up a cupcake business if you don’t make cupcakes. You can’t be a good salesperson if you don’t have a product to sell. If you want to be a good dancer, start taking lessons. Whatever it is you want out of life, just start doing it.

Learn from someone: If you want to become the best, learn from the best. Whatever your passion is, there are people out there that are already successful at what it is you want to do. Search them out and meet with them for coffee. Most people are willing to give you a little bit of their time and knowledge, if you ask in the correct manner, and most people are willing to help you.

Join a support group: There are many groups out there that meet once a quarter, month, or week. Other people who have the same passion as you, that are working towards their goals have formed all kinds of groups. If you want to be a writer, join a writing group. Many groups have all levels of people in them—from the accomplished to the novice. You can learn a lot from those people, and who knows, maybe in a short time you will be one of those accomplished who helps others along the path to success.

Pick up the phone, email, or go door to door and prospect/network: Okay, you have a novel—find an agent. You have a sales product—find customers. You can make a world class cupcake—find some investors to help you open a small business. Whatever it is you are doing there are people out there to connect with. You just have to find them. Call them, send them an email, or visit them in person. What is the worst thing that can happen to you? You get hung up on. You get yelled at. You get a nasty email response or no email response at all. They tell you no. If you don’t take action and prospect, whether you are in sales, looking for a job, or networking how are you going to get what you want?


If you want to become a writer, write.

If you want to be a dancer, dance.

If you want to be a salesperson, sell.

If you want to save money, save.

If you want to take a person out on a date, ask them.

If you want to change your life, just do it!

Stop complaining. Stop whining. Stop procrastinating. Stop doubting.


-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

July 11, 2013

Coffee Sticker Quote #6 - Patience

Another interesting coffee spill sticker quote!

"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time."

That is true. The thing I have learned most about in life in the last ten years is to have patience.

People always preach, "Good things come to those who wait." I believe that is somewhat true. I think you need to have patience while working towards the things you want. Your goals, dreams, success, never comes when you want it. It comes on its own time.

That reminds me of another quote I heard:

"Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness.
But to keep going when the doing is hard and slow - that is patience!" 

I know there have been times where I wanted to give up because because things got hard. Really, I was running out of patience. Then, I realized I just needed to give it a little bit more time. I kept persisting, had a bit of patience, and then . . . it happened. I realized my goal.

Whatever you are doing right now.

Whatever you want in life.


-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

July 9, 2013

Automotive Sales Training Book for Advanced Sales People

Knights of the Blacktop
Advanced Sales Techniques of Automotive Retail Champion

What is it that makes a great salesperson . . . great? It takes a wealth of knowledge, experience, dedication, and desire to make a sales person great. Greatness comes from commitment within. Commitment allows a sales person to stretch their sales ability and combine skill, passion and finesse in their approach in order to grow to their ultimate potential.

What attributes set that person apart from the mediocre? An elite sales person lays their foundation in the basics of the needs based sales process and expands from there. A Knight of the Blacktop is interested in solving other people’s needs. They have perfected the art of identifying customer’s needs and showing how their product can solve those needs. The needs based sales process is their ally. They have the skills to overcome objections and present their product in a professional manner. They mix all of that with enthusiasm, heart, and power, creating an instinct that is unstoppable.

You see, the Knight helps people get what they want while making them “feel good” about the process of getting it. By doing this they do not need to “sell”. People just buy. Stop trying to “sell” people! Understand your customer’s needs, create relationships, build trust, increase value, and exude confidence in you, your product, and your services and people will naturally buy.

Think about the things you like about shopping. Do you appreciate an over aggressive sales person that does not understand your needs? How do you feel when a sales person is being pushy and just trying to sell you whatever it is that he or she wants you to buy, with no concern for you?

Customers do not want you to “sell” to them. They want you to assist them with their purchase. When you start helping others get what they want, you will have more success in this business than you can ever imagine. Prior to being in the car business, I was a Lifeguard. I actually saved four kids lives. Now, I am saving people from making bad vehicle purchases. I always looked at it like I was helping my customers make the best choices. The best salespeople help their customers and create the want to buy.

In today’s highly competitive market, with narrower margins and challenging customers, it is apparent that those who are “in tune” with the wants and needs of the customer, will make more sales and retain more profits.

If you look around, the top sales people in a dealership are the “natural born sellers” that have devised their own way of selling. Most have done this without any formal training program. They have become skilled at meeting and greeting people, developing instant rapport, qualifying the customer, building value in the product, demonstrating the vehicle, handling objections, closing, delivery and finally building repeat and referral business.

You are probably reading this post for a reason. You want to figure out how to master the automotive retail business and become ultra successful. Since I started in the business in 1996 I dedicated some of my extra time to writing down everything that I have ever learned in the automotive retail business to bring you this all inclusive training manual. The techniques in this book were not created in some university setting by someone studying automotive sales. They are used daily by other highly successful automotive sales people in real dealerships. These same techniques can be used to take your sales to the next level so you can become a Knight. Learn the business as I have and you will greatly accomplish your dreams and goals.

Knights of the Blacktop is an all inclusive training manual for selling cars. Much like a recipe book, that outlines the ingredients and gives the step by step details to create a great meal, this book outlines specific steps to selling cars and teaches techniques and word tracts within each step that helps sales consultants become an automotive Knight. It is these basic skills and word tracts that increase your ability and effectiveness to become a Knight in automotive sales.

To become a Knight in the automotive retail business you need to take your skills to the next level. This book can become your universal handbook for automotive sales. If you master the basics outlined in this book and follow the formula for success with every customer enthusiastically, and professionally, you will lead your customers further into the sales process, close more deals, and get more referrals. You will become an ultimate success a true Knight.

However, skills, techniques, and word tracts are not the only thing that makes a sales person a Knight of the Blacktop. It all comes back to commitment. A Knight of the Blacktop knows that the single greatest factor of success is commitment. Commitment sparks action and action leads to success. They know that the “doing” is where their success comes from. Their business success comes from the strength of their commitment, religiously followed. They do what it takes to be successful and commit themselves to learning their craft and becoming the best. They provide the best customer service experience possible!

But, it is much deeper than that. Knights adhere to an altruistic set of beliefs, principles, ideals, and values—and it shows in everything they do. They adhere to them every day, in every way.

In the first quarter of this book, you will uncover these traits and ideals that set the knight from the rest. In the last three quarters of the book you will dive deeper into the advanced sales techniques of the Knight and analyze every minute detail of automotive sales.

Use Knights of the Blacktop training guide book to stretch your sales ability to the highest plateau. Fully commit yourself to becoming an elite automotive sales person and hold true the beliefs, principles, ideals, and values shared in this book and you will become a true Knight of the Blacktop!

Buy The Book On Amazon

Knights of the Blacktop
Advanced Sales Techniques of Automotive Retail Champions

This advanced sales guidebook builds off the skills introduced in "Automotive Sales Playbook" and "Automotive Sales 101" to bring you the advanced sales techniques of Automotive Retail Champions. Learn every advanced mindset, skill, technique, word tract, and close you need to elevate your automotive career so you can become an elite Knight of the Blacktop!

About The Author
Tim Northburg started his automotive career in 1996 selling at a Saturn retail facility where he learned highly valuable customer service and needs based selling skills. In 1998 he gained international experience while managing a Rover, MG, MINI Cooper dealership in Chester, England. Since 2000, he has moved into upper management where he currently trains, motivates and leads his highly successful team of sales professionals. He has three years experience running the Business Development Center where he learned valuable customer follow-up, incoming phone call, prospecting, and owner retention techniques and skills. He spent six years as a Used Car Manager /Desk Manager and is fully trained in Finance, Marketing and Public Relations. In 2010 he became a Sales Manager and E-Commerce Director at a highly successful Honda, GMC, Buick Dealership. Tim Northburg’s commitment and dedication to the business, and the sales people he leads, is evident in this complete training guidebook. He shares the knowledge gained, throughout his career, because he wants others to succeed like he has

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

Book Review - 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal ChangeThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very good book about how to bring change to your life. Classic.

View all my reviews

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

July 6, 2013



I asked this question to some sales people in a meeting the other day and got some good answers on the subject.

The first person said; “It means to SUCK-LESS!”

We all laughed, but he was being serious. When you think about it, he has a point. When you are successful, you do suck less. You are doing the right things. You are making the right choices, decisions, and actions to achieve your goal or purpose.

Here is what else we came up with:

NO FAILURE: When you are on a success streak—you are not afraid to fail. Your mind-set is strong, and you persist—no matter what. When you have the success mind-set you don’t accept failure.—it is not an option.

SMILE: When you have success—you tend to smile more. The feeling of success is great and it affects your emotions, body language, tonality, and your overall thoughts. You are excited and on cloud nine. Your thoughts are positive. This translates to a happy state and you go around with a big grin on your face.

WINNING: When you are successful you are winning more than you are losing. You are on a streak of fortune. I know that when I was selling and I was on a hot successful streak, my winning translated to other areas of my life.

NO STRESS: Success takes all the stress away. Really it doesn’t, but it feels that way. More than anything, we tend to take the pressure of striving and wanting to success off our shoulders. When you have success, fear, anxiety, stress seem to melt away.

PMA: Positive Mental Attitude. This goes with all the others above. When you are successful you tend to have a positive mental attitude. Your thought processes are different—you are more sharp and on the ball. You are able to handle objections, and overcome obstacles. The negative talk inside your head is buried by positive affirmations and internal high five’s. You feel so strong mentally, that nothing can stop you or break your spirit.

SELF MOTIVATED: When you have success you are more self-motivated. You are eager to continue the successful streak. You don’t need a manager or anyone telling you what you need to do, you just do it.

So, start small. Look at the small success you have in your day to day life. Build off that. Motivate yourself to gain more success. Form a positive mental attitude, smile and accept no failure. When you win more you will feel less stressed.

So, go out there and SUCK-LESS with SUCCESS!

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

June 29, 2013


It is funny how our minds work. What goes on in the six inches between our ears can mean the difference of achieving our dreams and goals—or not. Our negative thinking can keep all of our desperation, paranoia, panic, anxiety, nervousness, stress, anger, tension, agitation, and worry going full speed in our lives. Or, we can relax and put it all aside and let everything come to fruition.


You can’t SELL when you are DESPERATE!

You can’t THINK when you are PARANOID!

You can’t FOCUS when you are PANICKED!

You can’t COPE when you are ANXIOUS!

You can’t ORGANIZE when you are NERVOUS!

You can’t ADJUST when you are STRESSED!

You can’t REASON when you are ANGERED!

You can’t BREATHE when you are TENSE!

You can’t RELATE when you are AGITATED!

You can’t SUCCEED when you are WORRIED!

Just put it all aside and RELAX!

Let your negative thoughts go, and you will sell, think, focus, cope, organize, adjust, reason, breathe, relate, and succeed more!

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

June 27, 2013

Coffee Sticker Quote #5 - Goals

I like reading the tiny coffee sticker quotes I have collected. This one is a good reminder this time of year.

Here is the coffee sticker quote:

"Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor."
--Brian Tracy

Here is the relevance I see in this quote:
Around the New Year, many people are all jazzed up and are setting goals and resolutions. It is a time to plan out what we want to do and accomplish this next year and work towards it. Now that it is Summer, what have you done about your goals?

The essence of that quote is the word goals. If you are not setting goals, you will not be able to control the direction of change in your life. Goals that are not written down are just wishes, dreams, hopes. Those are all good. However, written goals give you that needed spark to commit to doing something and thus, "control the direction of change in your favor."

It all starts with that one phrase, "I will . . ."

Now, go set some great goals for the rest of 2013.

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

June 22, 2013

Enthusiasm Sells

What is the number one thing you can add to your selling process that is bound to make a huge difference?


Enthusiasm sells. This super strength, high powered excitement is ultra powerful, addictive, and contagious. Enthusiasm is; energy, excitement, strength, power, confidence, motivation, positive attitude, persuasion, and power all rolled into one.

Enthusiasm, used correctly, is not “showy” or “flashy.” It cannot be faked. It is the ability to exude all those qualities above into your product or service. It is the ability to show that you really genuinely care for your product or service and believe in its benefits and translate that to the customer.

How does one get or maintain enthusiasm?

Not everything is going to go your way each moment of each day, and you are going to feel un-enthusiastic at times. There are some things you can do to keep enthusiasm in your corner, or find it when you have lost it.

POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE: There is nothing worse than a negative attitude. It sours the air like day like a glass of milk left out on a 100 degree day. Negative attitudes translate to your customers. They can sense when you are off. Your negative thoughts translate to negative vibes and people around you will pick up on it. So if you are bummed about your sales performance, your finances, your favorite team losing, the weather, the argument you got into with your significant other, boss, or co-worker, or whatever it will telegraph through you to your customers. So break the negative thoughts. Shake it off. “Click it to Zero.” Do whatever you have to do to shake those negative thoughts.

(The rest of these will help with PMA)

LAUGH: Get laughing. Nothing breaks the negativity more than laughter. Tell a joke. Read a joke. Think about a funny time in your life. Watch a funny video clip. Laugh at yourself. There are many ways to get the laughter going. Laughing changes your posture, gets you in a better frame of mind, and sends endorphins rushing through your body. So, get laughing!

READ BOOKS: Many times it is difficult to get motivated. It is hard to break out of a funk. I have found that if I read something it is a momentary escape from my life. It is a break from all the thoughts going on in my head. It doesn’t matter what I read, it allows me a moment to be someone else. Many people read motivational books. Stories of personal journey, or how to books help. You can learn a lot from others successes. You can learn a lot from other trials, tribulations and how they overcame them. There are many ways you can gain enthusiasm from reading. There are millions of books out there, so find what works for you.

START EACH DAY FRESH: My old boss used to say, “Before you go to work, take your brain out and put it in the fridge, come to work, do what you need to do, and when you get home you put your brain back in.” What he meant by that was, leave your problems, issues, insecurities, etc. at home. Be fresh each day and leave your problems behind so you can be at your best.

READ MOTIVATIONAL QUOTES: If you need inspiration, there are tons of sites out there with positive motivational quotes. Find a new quote each day that inspires you. Read it several times a day to keep you in the flow of things and in the right frame of mind.

HAVE EXCITEMENT: Find something to be excited about in your day. If you are down all the time you enthusiasm won’t find you. Find one thing in your day to be excited about and hold onto that thought all day. Don’t let the negative forces in the world get to you.


-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

Copyright Notice

LifeWork Elements © 2011 by Tim Northburg and LifeWork Elements. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Tim Northburg and Lifework Elements with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.