The Last Christmas Gift

by Paul Castain on December 17, 2014

Tucked away in a safe place within the walls of my heart, is a vision of my Father, Christmas Eve some 27 years ago.

I can vividly see the look upon his face because it was a look that transcended all expression. It was beyond gratitude or joy and it was as if he were recording our faces, our voices and acts to be filed deep within his soul. It was as if he had something to say, but couldn’t express it. I didn’t know what it was but I felt it to be profound and deep!

It was that Christmas that I learned something that I have since referred to as “The Gift”!

12 days later a family meeting was called by my Father and he obviously had something on his mind. With a heavy heart he shared with us that before he was released from the hospital ( a few days before Christmas) he was told that the cancer had spread and he was given 3 months to live. He explained to us that he didn’t want to ruin our holiday and wanted to give us the 12 days of Christmas.

That day a light bulb went off for me as I realized that on Christmas Eve, my Father was drinking it all in for the last time. Less than 3 months later, my Father passed away.

So let me ask the question for you . . . where’s “The Gift” in that? There are in fact many if you would do me the honor of reading on.

The first is a constant reminder that if my Dad could keep himself from wearing devastating news on his sleeve, perhaps I can keep whatever BS I’m going through off of mine! And let’s not to pretend that we don’t all have a little of that BS via the boss, the idiot who just stole the parking spot, the kids, the wife, the bills and for the “Bah Humbug” crowd . . . the season!

Whenever I’m guilty of wearing those things on my sleeve, perhaps I’m also guilty of getting in the way of someone else’s joy?Something for us all to think about next time we care to offer someone an invite to our pity party. There might be a “gift” in understanding that one!

The other “gift” is savoring the moment, involving all of your senses and living the holiday (and dare I say, our lives) as if this will be the last one. Someday we’ll be right!

I believe there is also a “gift” in catching yourself enjoying that moment. Don’t they call it the “present” for a reason? Personally, I think it sucks when we are enjoying a moment solely in retrospect! I triple dog dare you to catch yourself in the act of enjoying your life!

Gratitude is yet another gift that I have taken away from that event. Gratitude that I saw the moment when my Dad was savoring his last Christmas. In that moment, I was able to share something very profound . . . a moment when someone who had come to the end of their journey was counting their blessings!

Additional “gifts” come from that knowledge too. All of us have an expiration date. If you knew you were on your final 3 months, would you be filled with regret or gratitude? Perhaps there’s even another “gift” in starting, right now in positioning ourselves for a “regret free” life!

There’s still more, I promise!

If we can’t embrace gratitude, how about refusing to allow resentment to enter our lives? You know, not even once during my Dad’s final days did I get a vibe of bitterness that his life would be cut short at 65. Instead of anger that Christmas, Dad was thankful.

“The Gift” is also an opportunity for us to become selfishly selfless. It means finding a need, thinking beyond ourselves and giving unconditionally. How?

Giving of encouragement. Never, ever underestimate the power of giving someone the ability to take another round!

Giving of our time, our patience and our genuine interest!

Giving of our prayers . . . who doesn’t need a little good press with their maker?

The “gift” of forgiveness as well as the “gift” to remove our egos long enough to ask someone else to forgive us!

And in true “Charity begins at home” fashion . . . how about the gift of forgiving yourself for your own shortcomings?

The final “gift” is the ability to take our own sad stories, challenges and speed bumps and somehow take a lesson from them. In that moment, you may have something that becomes “a gift that keeps giving”!

With that, I want to thank you all for my “gift” . . . the opportunity to share something personal and profound. I share it with the hope that it will breed numerous gifts for you!

Please take a moment to savor and celebrate the many gifts that surround you! They are there my friend . . . sometimes we just have to look harder!

Oh, and before I forget . . . Dad, thank you for “the gift” . . . I have never forgotten it!

Wishing you and your family blessings of peace, joy and more “gifts” than could ever fit underneath your tree!

Happy Holidays from a humbled and grateful

Paul Castain

To donate to The American Cancer Society please click here.

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Getting A Jump On Next Year’s Sales Efforts!

by Paul Castain on December 16, 2014

It’s real easy to get “caught up” this time of year!

Caught up in all the year end stuff we need to focus on as sales professionals and;

Caught up in all our holiday preparations!

It’s funny in a way, because between all of the “getting caught up” and sadly, the “mental checking out”;

We forget about our personal development and then . . .

We come out of the gate the first week in January with a sense of “piss and vinegar” that typically lasts about 3 weeks until;

We simply go right back to doing what we’ve always done!

A vicious cycle to say the least!

Earlier today, I reminded everyone, that our early registration discount for our January 28th online program ends this evening.

If you haven’t done so already, please take a look at what we’re going to cover and lock in on the discount before the 2015 pricing kicks in later this evening!

We’re going to cover how you can hunt differently for business and quite frankly, it’s time many of you consider additional options besides the phone and email!

You can find all the details (and the special early registration discount) HERE.

We’ve had a considerable amount of people from the Sales Playbook community lock in already and needless to say;

I hope you’ll join us!

2015 absolutely CAN be your year but . . .

Not if you embrace an attitude of doing what you’ve always done!

Perhaps it’s time?

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3 Better Ways To Keep In Touch With A Potential Client

by Paul Castain on December 16, 2014

Unfortunately, you might be conditioning your potential client to blow off your “touch”!

Why?

1) You’re saying the exact, same thing every time you reach out to them.Worse yet, your message equates to “I’d like to set an appointment with you.” or “I’d like to sell you something.” Would that make you want to communicate with someone?

Remedy: Mix up your messaging. Have some where you’re simply sharing a resource, an idea or something helpful. Have others where you are inviting them to an industry event, local chamber event, perhaps a lunch and learn or webinar your company is hosting. If you notice that it’s their birthday, work anniversary or they’ve been promoted . . .congratulate them! Perhaps you could play matchmaker with them and introduce them to someone who they should know. This time of year you should be wishing them a “Happy Holiday” and yes, you can (and should be) reaching out to set an appointment or (in a non dickey way) sell them something.

The point is that if every time I reach out to you, I’m saying the same thing and the same thing equals “I’d like to set an appointment with you.” or “Buy my stuff” where’s the value in that?

2) You’re saying the exact, same thing via the same method of outreach. In other words, all you do is call someone or email and if you’re super creative . . .Both!

There’s a whole world of outreach options that are available to you. Why aren’t you using them!

Everyone has their own preferred communication venue and you limit your results if you only try 1 or 2 of them.

And don’t tell me that you “Don’t get Twitter” or you “Don’t get networking events” because I’m fairly certain your prospects aren’t basing their decision on communication platforms on what you get!

Remedy: Mix up your forms of outreach! Think phone, email, snail mail, Fed Ex, Drop Off, Drop In, Networking, Social Networking, Creative Door Openers, Content, Referral, etc.

3) You’re not showing up consistently. If you’re like most sales reps, you’re pretty busy. The bad part of being “busy” is that our hunting efforts take a back seat. The result, in many cases is that there are huge lapses in time between touches. When that happens, your prospect really doesn’t know who you are and you have to start from square one again, each time you reach out.”Square One” being your potential client asking them self “Who the hell is this?”

Remedy: Get it on the calender and respect the schedule. Treat it as you would an appointment with a client?

And Speaking Of Better Ways To Keep In Touch

On January 28th, right on your computer screen, I’ll begin to share over 100+ for you to hunt for business more effectively by marrying other forms of outreach in with the phone but . . .

It’s Your Last Chance!

To save $100 on our January online sales course! Early registration ends tonight (December 16th)

To learn more (and to cash in on the early registration discount) click HERE

But do something because if you’re like most people, you’re about to start the new year with great intentions but no plan and no person to kick you in the ass to help you work the plan!

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50 Ways To ROCK The Holiday Season!

by Paul Castain on December 15, 2014

A while back, I created this list of things to embrace during the holiday season with the goal of bringing you a smile and a dose of perspective. Sometimes we forget some some really important things . . . Today, our goal is to recapture them!

Please pass this along and let’s spread a little holiday cheer!

Any who . . .

1. Go Elf yourself by clicking HERE
2. Why not listen to some commercial free (almost) Christmas music here http://accuradio.com/holidays
3. Commit to laughing your hiney off at least once a day. Once you do that, make sure you help others do the same! Methinks we are taking ourselves way too seriously!
4. Don’t listen to that damn “Christmas Shoes” song. If you do and someone walks in on you tell them its your allergies!
5. Forgive someone.
6. Be a kid again. I won’t tell anyone!
7. Understand that other than the “5 Golden Rings” in The 12 Days of Christmas, someone basically cleaned out their attic and was trying to unload junk. I mean what am I supposed to do with a bunch of Lords a leaping? Screw it; just put it over there next to the swans a swimming, Jackass!
8. Sing along to a holiday song. Rinse and repeat!
9. Take a co worker out to lunch or coffee . . . just because.
10. Between now and year end include messages of hope and inspiration in your social networking status updates.
11. Grab a hot chocolate and look at some Christmas lights.
12. Say a prayer for someone. Please mention me while you’re at it . . . I could use some good press :)
13. Give someone a few extra minutes of your time.
14. Take at least one opportunity to bite your tongue.
15. Over tip someone who deserves it.
16. Listen to the Ave Maria and then acknowledge a truly beautiful song!
17. Fellow New Yorkers: Let’s have a “bird free” holiday season. If each of us refrains from middle finger usage at least once, it will reduce the other person’s urge to “return the bird” and total “bird” usage will drop by 10 billion.
18. Understand that laughing at the song “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” is sick. Would you really laugh if your Grandmother got run over by a reindeer? What’s next? Grandpa got his nuts caught in a turbine? Actually that would be funny. I might write that song!
19. Forgive your parents already. Like they didn’t forgive you for dopey stuff you did?
20. Evict negativity from your life. Seek out good. Its there . . . I promise!
21. Give someone the gift of your undivided attention.
22. Watch this important clip and then tell me who was the better dude. Heatmeiser or Snowmeiser.  I will tell you all straight up that I laughed so hard I cried with my Mom the first time I saw this!
23. Tell a loved one how much they mean to you. Unfortunately, there’s an expiration date on this crazy thing we call life! And if by chance you lost that person . . . find a way to honor them!
24. Read the lyrics to “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” and then prepare for a good cry when I tell you what inspired that poem. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s son was killed in the American Civil War and it was his way of expressing despair, anger and questioning his faith in the process. Kind of makes your complaint about having to stop by Aunt Sadie’s on Christmas look like baby sh*t next to his tragedy, huh? Here are the lyrics, get your Kleenex.
25. Plan a family night.
26. Find something inspirational and then pass it to your network because quite frankly, we all need a shot in the arm from time to time.
27. Encourage someone. Its free!
28. Answer this question: What am I most grateful for? Take inventory and count all your blessings.
29. Stop striving for Norman Rockwell Christmas moments. Understand that the beauty of his art was in capturing the chaos and even celebrating it. Might be a lesson in that crazy thought.
30. Donate some food to your local food pantry. They get hit hard this time of year.
31. Change the words to one of your favorite holiday songs. Personally, I like singing “Walking in my winter underwear” to the tune of “Walking in a winter wonderland”. I’ve even changed lyrics to things I could never share here. But I will hint that it involved a threesome and leave it at that.
32. Commit to wearing your spirit on your sleeve!
33. If you have stepped away from your faith . . . step back. By the way, I did and I was a fool for thinking I would travel my life’s journey without it! I’ll spare you the sermon, but I feel much better after setting my “Spiritual GPS” to the on position!
34. Listen to the lyrics of “We wish you a Merry Christmas” and then ask yourself What’s the deal with that Figgy Pudding and who the hell do they think they are threatening us that “We won’t go until we get some” I wish the person who wrote that song would have stepped back to realize that people are willing to get indignant over a Baileys or a hot chocolate, but a figgy pudding? Don’t have any, but help yourself to those Lords a leapin over there instead skipper!
35. Sing a duet of “Baby its cold outside” and then realize that the atrocity that just occurred with your singing is precisely why you both need to keep working your day jobs. By the way, how cool was it when Will Ferrell sang that in Elf with that quirky chick in the shower?
36. Stay away from the news. Take it in bite sized pieces. They make mega bucks with negativity . . . you don’t!
37. Find a way to create a memory and then visit that memory often! Someday you will refer to today as “The good old days” Make it count!
38. 101 Christmas Videos can be viewed online by clicking HERE
39. Go on a date with your spouse. Conquering the world needs to happen on the home front too.
40. Avoid any instance where you will be accused of “donning gay apparel” And don’t let the SOB soften that statement with some “Fa la la la la” jibberish. Talk about dropping a bomb and then changing the subject.
41. Go to a tree lighting, a children’s Christmas concert to get that hometown vibe going!
42. When you find yourself in an exceptionally good mood, don’t ever let anyone take your joy away from you. Let’s pinkie swear on it!
43. Find a way to make someone look like a rock star today, just because.
44. Mend a fence. Lose your ego and repeat after me “Sorry” Try it and you will lighten your load.
45. Catch up with someone you lost touch with. Please do this today after you read this. Life is short!
46. There are 11 towns in the US named “Santa Claus”. I’m only sharing that because I set the bar too damn high in telling you I had 50 things. What was I thinking?
47. Let someone know they inspired you!
48. Try to do some of your holiday shopping at a “Mom and Pop”establishment. It’s a great way to stimulate your local economy.
49. Christmas Shoes Part II: If someone walks in on you tearing up, tell them you are going to be the next Paula Abdul and you were just practicing!
50. Watch It’s A Wonderful Life and then acknowledge that it truly is!

I hope in some crazy way this has brought you a smile, a tear and a renewed sense of holiday spirit!

Your turn . . .

I’ve been sharing this list since 2009 and it’s time to update it. What can we add to this list? Let’s have some fun and see if we can turn this list of 50 into 75-100! Ready . . . Go!

A Gift That Keeps Giving . . .

Our January online sales course will be the best one ever! There will be well over 100 actionable sales tips, several free bonus e-books,  and several other freebies up my sleeve! The best part of this course is that you can go at your own pace and around your busy schedule. I hope you’ll give yourself this gift because it’s a gift that will keep giving! Please click HERE to learn more and to take a simple step towards starting the new year strong! Oh and if you enroll before December 16th, you’ll save $100!

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A Quick Sales Tip From Paul Castain

by Paul Castain on December 14, 2014

This week, we’re going to talk about a little something/something called the “twofer” and how you can embrace it during the holiday season!

I have 6 super easy ways for you to do this and the great news is that it will only take you a few minutes to listen to this free audio tip!

Before you scroll down, I’d like to remind you that the $100 early registration discount for our January online course, goes away this Tuesday, December 16th. Click HERE for all the details and to reserve your seat!


Download this episode (right click and save)

Perhaps it’s time . . .

For you to stop doing the same things you’ve always done and start the new year strong by hiring a sales coach or joining us for our next online sales course?

To learn more about my coaching programs click here.

To learn more about my next online sales course click HERE

But do something because if you’re like most people, you’re about to start the new year with great intentions but no plan and no person to kick you in the ass to help you work the plan!

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