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

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 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 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 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

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 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

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 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 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

June 20, 2013

Sales Effort


They are willing to do the things necessary to being successful. They are willing to put in the extra effort in all areas in order to become an elite sales person and sell more. Do you see them standing around gossiping? No, they are constantly moving forward. Does that mean they don’t take a break? No, they are resting for their next stage.

  • TRAINING: They put in extra effort training, because they know that knowledge is power. They learn listening skills, reading body language, presentation skills, closing skills, etc.
  • PRACTICE: They put in extra effort perfecting their craft, practicing interviewing, perfecting their pitch role-playing sales scenarios, and overcoming objections.
  • SET GOALS: Top elite sales people set goals and monitor their progress on a daily, monthly, yearly basis. They know where they are at, and how close they are to achieving their sales goals.
  • PROSPECTING: They are always on the lookout for suspects. They don’t just shut off when they are “off the job.” They constantly have their antennas up for someone who might benefit from their products or services, or know someone who is.
  • CLOSING: Elite sales people are always closing. Multiple times, and in many ways. They don’t cave in to fear, or give up because they don’t think there is anything there. They close again and again after building more value and overcoming objections.
  • OBJECTIONS: They are prepared to handle objections. They test the customer’s objections to validate if they are really conditions or excuses not to buy. Then they go back to closing!

These are only a few things that set elite sales people from the rest of the pack. What are you doing on a daily basis to become an elite sales person? Are you constantly moving forward or, do you stop once you made a few sales? Do you give in to mediocrity?


-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

June 17, 2013

The Blame Game


When times are slow, things tend to build up. I know sometimes I start to over analyze things and wonder, "What is going on?" I try to figure something out to blame for the decrease of sales or the lack of traffic.


  • The economy
  • The sales people
  • The customer
  • The President
  • The advertising
  • The manufacturer

We can play the BLAME GAME and say we are not dong as good because of this or that. What it really boils down to is everyone dong their part 100% of the time to ensure that things are getting done right, following the correct procedures, and working hard all of the time without goofing off?


Am I doing all I can to ensure the success of the organization?

If the answer is no, then you can not blame anyone for your lack of success but yourself. Let me re-phrase that; You can only blame yourself!

Don't play the BLAME GAME. Look yourself in the mirror. Give yourself a good critique and then kick your butt into action. Those that are successful, are so because in tough times they work harder, and smarter than others--and they don't blame the circumstances or others for their lack of success.


-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

June 15, 2013

People Make The Difference


If you work in any organization or business--are you a drone? If you Manage or lead an organization--do you have drones working for you?

Drones are people who just show up, do what is necessary (nothing more) and go home when it is time. They may not put in extra work or effort. They may be the ones complaining about everything and do not provide any real constructive input. They may be grumpy or short and curt with other employees and customers.

Real people are the ones that show up early, stay late, and come in when needed. They put extra work or extra effort. They exude an enthusiasm that seems to be endless. They mostly don't complain, if they do then it is usually a real concern and they almost always have a plan to help overcome that concern. They are generally happy and uplifting people and are pleasant to other employees and customers.

Real people are the ones you want to CLONE yourself after. They are the ones you want to CLONE in your organization.


In any organization or company you can only go so far with product quality. In fact there are many companies out there that have a good (not great) product, but have superior people working for them that provide excellent customer service.

People make the difference to any business. If you are thinking of a way to elevate your own performance. Or, if you are trying to achieve the next level of your company and workforce, then focus on the people.

What is it that makes you better than the next guy?

What is it that makes customers want to buy your product or service?

What is it that makes customers want to do business with you or your company?

It is the experience they have with you or the person they come into contact with that makes them decide the answers to those questions.

Here are the Things That You Can do to be the Difference:

ABOUT THE PEOPLE: Be a "Real Person." Don't be someone behind a desk. Don't be just a name on the other end of the phone. Don't be a drone. Get involved in your business and organization. Take pride in what you do and who you work for. If you have a real concern, don't just complain--give a constructive solution to the problem. Stop being phony.

PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE: Be a product knowledge expert. Know the features and benefits to what you are "selling" to a customer. Articulate those features and benefits to your prospective client in a positive, enthusiastic, and organized manner. Know your competition; their pricing, incentives, pusses, minuses, and most of all how they operate and do business so you can explain how you differ.

CUSTOMER SERVICE: It is not about giving everything to the customer. There are several factors to good customer service. The first factor is; LISTENING. Listen to what your customer is saying and asking for. It does not mean you have to agree, or give it to them. Just listen to their want, need, or concern. The second factor is; TIMING. Do what you say you will do in a timely manner. If you are going to get back to them with a proposal in two hours--do it! The last factor is; WOW. Treat your customers special. Act as if they are the only person on the planet and they are important to you. Does this mean you have to drop everything--no. However, if you focus your whole attention for a moment on that customer, they will appreciate it and feel special.

FOLLOW UP: Good follow-up means having contact with your customer by phone, e-mail, or in person more than once a year. There are many sales people, company reps, customer service agents that call once a year just to "check in." Does this mean you have to call every week or every month to your whole client base? No. At least twice a year is good to keep your name in front of them and let them know you are still there to help them.

TRAINING: Do you have all the tools to be successful? If not, then you need to find the materials, take training courses, learn the techniques, and implement them into your work. Does your team have all the training materials they need to be top notch? If you are a manager you need to provide the materials, and proper training to your employees. You also need to make sure you have defined what steps or skills they need to use in their daily workings of your operation. Training and preparation makes it all come together in action. (There are many free courses and videos on the internet available to sharpen your skills.)

You can be the difference! If you are a manager or leader you can facilitate the difference with your employees! You make the difference happen!


-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

June 13, 2013

Critique: The Sandwich Technique

Use the "Sandwich Technique"
when you give someone a critique,
pointers, or areas of improvement.

I learned this when I was eighteen. I was a Swimmer in High School and I became a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor. In my Water Safety Instructor Course, one of the first things my instructor taught me was to use the "Sandwich Technique."

First he said, "The one thing you don't want to do is make a child afraid to come to class because he is going to get scolded by you for not doing a good job, learning how to swim. It is very important for them to feel welcome and appreciated for the effort they give, no matter how small or great that effort is. When you critique them you have to be careful not to bruise their ego. They are there to learn how to swim, and that is a very important thing."

Then he pointed out, "Critique in this way . . . Positive, Negative, Positive."

I thought about it for a moment, and it really made sense. Sandwich your critique between two positives. The pluses outweigh the minus. You have a better impact because you don't just come out and say, "Here is what you did wrong, you suck, get better at this!" Bosses do that. Leaders use the sandwich technique.

Twenty-one years later, I still think about this. The sales people I manage and lead are the same way as the children I taught how to swim. They want to be respected. They don't want to be afraid to come to work and have their boss up on their back all the time. They want to know they are doing a good job. And they want to be treated in a professional manner.

The sandwich technique accomplishes all of this and it is the easiest thing to do, and it doesn't cost any money!

In other words tell your employees; Good Job . . . Needs Improvement . . . Good Job!

I did this yesterday and I got a look with a smile that said, "Who is this guy, and what did you just say to me, it makes me feel good!"

Here is what I said;:

"I like the way you found out what the customer wanted and created interest in the product . . . One area I would work on is to ask for the sale, we let the customer go without asking . . . you did a good job and earned the right with your enthusiastic presentation and you left the customer excited about you and our product!"

That is just one idea of how to use this technique. If you were this person how would you feel?

How would you feel if you were critiqued the normal way? 

"You forgot to ask the customer to buy our product, make sure you write an order up next time or it could be your last customer!"
Which way do you think this person is going to respond to more?

The other thing you can do is coach. After using the sandwich technique you can do some role playing so that they can learn how to get better at asking for the sale.

"Now, here is one way you could ask for the sale . . ." Show them how to write up the order.

The "Sandwich Technique" is and always will be the best tool you can have in your Managerial Skills Bag.


-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

June 10, 2013

Goal Setting Workbook

It's not too late to set goals and Realize It!  You don't have to set goals only at the New Year.  Start today!

Are you going to set goals this year? Are you going to stick to them? Let my goals workbook help you set short-term and long-term goals, monitor them throughout the year, and cross them off as you Realize It!

Order Online on Amazon:

Realize It! Goals Workbook

We all have goals. Not all of us write them down, monitor them on a daily basis, and work towards achieving them. This workbook will help you understand who you are, where you have been and where you are headed. It will also help you set and monitor short and long-term goals to help fuel your furnace and achieve the success you desire in all areas of your life.

Remember, you can start setting goals anytime!

-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

June 3, 2013

Sales Motivation


Sales is one of the hardest jobs one can do. Weather you sell insurance, homes, cars, toothbrushes, fridges or widgets you have to deal with irrational, irate, unrealistic customers on a daily basis as well as meet the demands for sales quotas by your employer. You receive more rejection in one day than an average 9-5 person sees in one month. So how do you stay in sales with so much pressure? What can you do to get motivated and stay motivated?


  • EAT A GOOD BREAKFAST- This sounds corny but having enough energy to carry yourself into the work day is important. If you are not energized to take an early morning customer/client then you will miss an opportunity.
  • HAVE A GAME PLAN- Know what you are going to do that day. Fill out a tracking sheet so you know where you are and where you are headed. If you are off track from where you want to be then you know what you need to sell that day to get back on track.
  • GET FOCUSED ON THE DAY- Start a few minutes early. Know your inventory. Know who you are going to meet with today. Look through your past few days visits/clients and see who you can get back in touch with.
  • STAY BUSY- If you are not with a customer it is natural for you to sit back and gossip with the other sales people or people in your office. We all know that gossip can be counter productive to motivation. Go prospect on the phones. Do some outside prospecting by handing out brochures or business cards to local businesses.
  • REMEMBER THE MONEY- We all come to work to earn it. Keep the vision by remembering the reward for all of those mundane calls, the 'lookers' and the people who can not buy. Keep telling yourself, 'I am one more customer closer to a sale.' (SALES=$$)
  • WORK ON PERFECTING YOUR WEAKNESSES AND STRENGTHS- Constant training can be a motivation. When you learn a new technique to overcome a weakness you have then it makes you more confident and you can handle that situation with a customer more readily. Also accentuate your strengths and use them to your advantage when leading customers, building rapport or closing.
  • HAVE A HAPPY ENVIRONMENT- A happy environment is a productive environment. What do you do when you are not in one? Ignore the people who 'whine' and 'moan' about everything. Get away from them. Tell them to go away! They are just taking up your time and trying to bring you down with them.
  • LET IT GO- If a situation with a customer happens-don't take it personally. Brush it off and move on. Don't dwell on it. STUFF HAPPENS! When it does deal with it and then let it go. I have seen too many sales people let a bad moment affect the rest of their day and they get cracked mentally. If you have a bad customer remember, IT IS NOT YOU!

Getting motivated and staying motivated is all up to you. No one can motivate you. A boss or manager can yell and scream and threaten you, but only you can get yourself going and keep the momentum needed to sustain a great sales career! It all resides within the six inches between your ears. It is your mind, let it direct your life--do not let it hinder your life.


-- 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.