Learn the Secrets of Ninja Selling From an ExpertNinja Selling: Subtle Skills. Big Results details the Ninja Selling System, a selling approach designed by Larry Kendall to help real estate sales professionals gain the mental discipline, focus, lead-generation techniques, and relationship-building skills that are designed to help clients get the best value and real estate professionals the income they deserve.

In short, if you want to be as awesome in real estate as the ninja were in martial arts, this book might be for you.

What is Ninja Selling About?

Kendall developed the Ninja Selling System in response to his own struggles in sales. As a child, he contracted encephalitis, which caused him to walk with a limp. He also stuttered. He survived the encephalitis and stopped stuttering as he got older, but found he still had low self-confidence and self-esteem. After leaving the Army, he ended up in sales, a job he thought he would never be in. Since he wanted to do well in his new job, he sought the advice of mentors and gurus of his day.

Kendall found that the sales philosophy of his time was focused on what he called “Depression-era mentality” sales. This sales philosophy emphasizes scarcity, manipulation and sometimes trickery. There was only so much money you could get from customers, this philosophy seemed to suggest, so you had to do whatever it took to get their money before someone else did.

This approach to sales didn’t really make sense to Kendall, so he began to integrate lessons from other gurus like Tony Robbins, Robert Kiyosaki and Marshall Thurber with his own experiences.

That’s when his sales exploded. That’s also how the Ninja Selling System got its start.

The Ninja Selling System helps real estate professionals (or anyone else in sales) in three specific ways. It trains sales staff to remain optimistic and focused while chasing specific goals, provides a solution-oriented (but flexible) sales process and develops an efficient routine for customer engagement and follow-up. After implementing the techniques and strategies from the system, the book attests sellers will reap the benefits with increased opportunities to close on deals and earn more income.

Kendall is a founding partner of The Group, Inc., a real estate agency and the creator of the Ninja Selling System. He is an expert real estate sales professional and trainer with a program that boasts of 50,000+ graduates worldwide.

What Was Best About Ninja Selling?

Ninja Selling is an engaging read filled with can-do attitude and inspirational stories to match. While some of the book’s recommendations are specific to real estate, the book has plenty to offer for sales professionals looking to improve. Kendall hones in on the tiny habits, like affirmations or a morning routine, that sales professionals can use immediately to improve their performance on the job. This reinforces Kendall’s point that a successful sales system should fit the personality of the salesperson, not the other way around.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

For a book designed for real estate professionals, Ninja Selling contains little information on specific real estate skills. Its focus is on the general principles behind those real estate skills. Those principles include prioritization, a positive mindset, organization and communication. Ninja Selling doesn’t detail how real estate professionals should adapt the book’s principles to their unique challenges in real estate. For those professionals looking for details on specific real estate techniques, you will probably need to find those in another book.

Why Read Ninja Selling?

As discussed several times above, Ninja Selling is designed for the real estate professionals who want to improve. For this specific professional, the book offers plenty of unique strategies that can be implemented immediately. This focus on the real estate industry doesn’t exclude other sales professionals. Most of the book’s focus is on the principles behind sales, not the specific details of transactions in a particular industry.

This book will be of particular interest to readers of books like “The One Minute Millionaire” by Mark Victor Hansen because it follows the same philosophy and approach to business.

This article, "Learn the Secrets of Ninja Selling From an Expert" was first published on Small Business Trends

How to Create The Bully-Proof WorkplaceWorkplace bullying is a topic that few businesses are comfortable being open about. The authors of The Bully-Proof Workplace: Essential Strategies, Tips, and Scripts for Dealing with the Office Sociopath believe it’s critical. Written for workers and leaders alike, The Bully-Proof Workplace serves as a guide to identifying and eliminating bullying culture in the place where most adults spend the majority of their waking hours.

What is The Bully-Proof Workplace About?

To stop workplace bullying, Peter Dean and Molly Sheppard point out in The Bully-Proof Workplace, our society needs to confront the reality. Bullying is happening in the workplace, at all levels. A report from Manchester School of Management finds that workplace bullying is a growing problem. Bullying is not something that happens in certain occupations or industries, either. It is prevalent in the vast majority of them. It can occur at any workplace at any level of an organization. This means up, down, and sideways or even outside the organizational chart.

Ending workplace bullying in a practical way forms the core of what The Bully-Proof Workplace is all about. It is a workbook that helps individuals determine if their actions (or those of others) are facilitating workplace bullying. The book identifies four basic types of bullies (Belier, Blocker, Braggart, Brute). For each bully “type”, readers walk through a specific bullying scenario along with tips on how to address that scenario.

For workplace bullying to stop on an individual level, both leaders and workers must facilitate a bully-fee work culture. It begins with formal policies and consistent enforcement of those policies. More importantly, these formal policies must be informally reinforced through thought and action. Without this push, your workplace culture can quickly fall into a self-defeating situation where bullying culture is tolerated (or even celebrated)

Dean is a former editor, lecturer, and professor who co-founded The Leader’s Edge/Leaders by Design (an executive coaching and leadership development agency) with co-author Shepard.

Shepard is a former business executive who currently serves as the co-founder, president, and CEO of The Leader’s Edge/Leaders by Design with co-author Dean.

What Was Best About The Bully-Proof Workplace?

Many books talk about uncomfortable issues in the workplace, but very few books actually spend the majority of their content on confronting that uncomfortable issue. The Bully-Proof Workplace is one of them. The book gives real-life scenarios, not the one-dimensional examples that you often see in employee manuals. The book then walks readers through these scenarios providing scripts and commentary on how they could have handled the situation differently. This simple approach might be a welcome remedy for a person who works with a bully and doesn’t know how to respond.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Although The Bully-Proof Workplace definitely moves the conversation forward on workplace bullying, it may not take the conversation far enough. This is especially true for individuals debating whether to stay or leave a job because of workplace bullying. In the scenarios given in the book, many of the employees involved left. The key question remaining is this: Would these workers still have stayed in their current jobs if they had implemented the book’s strategies? At which point would they have left their jobs? This is something the authors perhaps should have spent more time exploring.

Why Read The Bully-Proof Workplace?

Because workplace bullying can happen at any level in the organization, the book can be used by anyone. For anyone in a position of power at an organization, formally or informally, this book offers strategies and tips for maintaining a bully-free culture within the workplace. It also helps leaders reflect on their own actions to determine if their behaviors could be considered bullying. For anyone who reports to someone in a position of power, this book offers defensive strategies to defuse conflict and collect the necessary evidence to justify your actions (whether it’s to leave for a new job, move to a new job site or something else).

This said, an ideal audience might be the staff in the human resources department. This department is often tasked with creating and enforcing the policies of a business’ leadership. This puts them in a unique position to document, implement, and measure the impact of the book’s message in their workplace.

This article, "How to Create The Bully-Proof Workplace" was first published on Small Business Trends

How Being Out Front Can Help Women Be Great Public SpeakersFor women, there are unwritten rules about how to communicate at work. If a woman is aggressively confident (or even mildly so), she can be ostracized. If a woman doesn’t speak with enough confidence, however, she can be ignored or undervalued. Neither situation is good for women or the businesses that hire women. Out Front: How Women Can Become Engaging, Memorable, and Fearless Speakers, written by a former TV and movie director turned communications consultant, helps readers (particularly women) learn why they need to speak boldly and authentically to get where they want to go.

What is Out Front About?

Out Front tackles the “psychology” of the double bind in women’s communication. One of the biggest problems women face is anxiety while speaking. This anxiety comes from a variety of sources: workplace policies that allow men to dominate the conversation, the social stigma of women who speak their mind unapologetically on under-representation of women in positions of power, and a workplace environment that judges women by appearance instead of their competence. This is in addition to the normal fear that most people have about public speaking in the first place.

The other issue concerns the way that women (and men) are trained to speak in public. They are taught to give formal presentations with specific guidelines. (Bring notes. Look directly into your audience’s eyes, etc.) The key missing ingredient, Out Front would argue, is personal style. One of the chief measures of a public speaker is his (or her) ability to engage an audience. That engagement begins when a person presents an authentic version of themselves to the audience. That “authentic version of ourselves” is something that usually doesn’t make it to a public speaking class on your local college campus.

Deborah Shames, author of Out Front recalls the performance of talented actors from her days as a film and TV director. Talented actors not only need to deliver the lines. They need to deliver those lines convincingly. Shames argues public speakers need to “perform” their messages as well. To do that, they need to break from the overly formal and stilted presentation style of the past and break out of their speaking “comfort zone’. By doing so, aspiring public speakers can find a personal style, the very thing that will help them connect and engage with their audiences.

Shames is a former TV and movie director turned communications consultant and the co-founder and CEO of Eloqui, a Los Angeles firm that specializes in communication. Shames is also a keynote speaker, trainer and group leader for Provisors, a community that connects business professionals with advisors.

What Was Best About Out Front?

Out Front diverts from traditional books on public speaking where the focus is on delivering a message the right way. In this book, the focus is on something much larger and closer to the actual goals of public speaking: engagement. You don’t speak in public to win points for the best PowerPoint slide ever. You speak in public to connect and engage with others. This key insight, along with Shames’ insightful discussions on workplace communication issues for women, creates a book that is uniquely empowering in the growing tide of books on public speaking.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Most education on public speaking focuses on making students fit into a specific mold at the loss of their distinctive style (and personal comfort!) Out Front celebrates that personal style and urges readers, especially women, to leverage it for engagement. One area this theme could be more developed is where it applies to the social context of communicating as a woman at work. Specifically, readers might be interested in more of the author’s recommendations on facilitating a more gender-inclusive work environment from the ground up.

Why Read Out Front?

Out Front urges readers, both men and women alike, to break out of the perceived “mold” of what it means to be a good public speaker and instead embrace the comfort of being yourself. The book helps readers transform their anxiety about speaking in public (“butterflies in the stomach”) into energy that can be used to “work the room” like a professional actor or entertainer.

Out Front places special emphasis on getting women to speak with boldness and authenticity. Many women have been culturally conditioned to believe that speaking boldly is reserved for men. As a result, women are simultaneously underrepresented in leadership and stereotyped when they attempt to break the glass ceiling.

This article, "How Being Out Front Can Help Women Be Great Public Speakers" was first published on Small Business Trends

Want a High-Performing Team? Practice Ego Free LeadershipEgo Free Leadership: Ending the Unconscious Habits that Hijack Your Business involves lessons learned about ego-driven leadership as it plays out in the real world. Brandon Black, the former CEO of Encore Capital Group, Inc., thought he did everything right as a leader when he worked at Encore. Black was decisive, confident, and capable, all of the qualities he thought were required for a successful leader. Something, however, wasn’t adding up and Black’s company needed help like yesterday. Through coaching sessions with Shanye Hughes, Black started to realize his “leader’s ego” was sabotaging his own progress.

What is Ego Free Leadership About?

Ego Free Leadership addresses the hidden (and often unintentional) ways that our ego sabotages our path to success. We usually stereotype ego-driven leaders as loud, overbearing men or women who ignore others’ feelings in their quest for success.

We don’t often associate ego-driven behavior with ourselves, which is part of the problem.

This is precisely the point Black and Hughes try to impress upon readers in their book, Ego Free Leadership. We all have ego-driven behaviors triggered when something doesn’t fit our definition of the “right thing”. For example, Black encounters a situation in the book where some of his duties are taken over by another business professional hired by the board. Black assumed this means he is on the way out, so he begins plotting his path out of the company.

Before Black submits his resignation, Hughes asks him to confront his assumptions and get answers instead of wasting his energy on complaining and subtle sabotage. Black does, going straight to the board and outlining his interpretation of the board’s decision to hire someone else. As it turned out, the board was not firing Black, they were just adding someone who could complement his skill set.

The central lesson from this and many other anecdotes in the book is how our ego defends itself to our detriment. This defense becomes a habitual part of how we deal with the world. We continue repeating these unhealthy behaviors in a loop until we become aware of it. Once we become aware, we can take steps to save ourselves (and others) from our egos.

Black is the current president of RioPop Holdings, a subsidiary of Encore Capital Group and founding partner of investment company Clover Crest Partners. He retired from his role as CEO of Encore Capital Group in 2014. In addition to his work experience, he is very active in his community, serving as a school board member and Court-Appointed Special Advocate.

Hughes is the president and Lead Cultural Change Partner of Learning as Leading, the organization that assisted Black and Encore Capital Group in reaching a new level of performance.

What Was Best About Ego Free Leadership?

The unique approach of showcasing the thoughts of CEO-turned-student with insight from executive coach Hughes provides readers a chance to see how their ego is driving their behavior, no matter where they happen to fall on the organizational chart.

The book provides real life examples of potential help to business leaders who may recognize behaviors they need to work on in order to improve their ow leadership.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

One area that Ego Free Leadership could have placed more attention was conflict resolution in more ambiguous situations. In the examples provided in the book, everything works out for the best. What should a person do when things aren’t as cheery? For example, the book talks about another leader, Amy, who wants to advance in the company despite the glass ceiling. There is an excellent discussion about the complicated nature of sorting out discrimination from one’s own perception of discrimination. More information about how leaders can clarify their positions on diversity (and similar ambiguous issues) would be extremely helpful.

Why Read Ego Free Leadership?

The short answer is, if you have an ego (and yes, you do!), you should read this book!

For leaders especially, the book provides two great real-life examples of leaders (Black and one other) who embody everything society says a leader is supposed to be: confident, bold and decisive. Yet, as Ego Free Leadership points out, there are problems with this image of the leader who has all the answers. If your ego becomes attached to this perception of the leader who is always right, you will fail to notice when things go wrong until it’s too late.

This article, "Want a High-Performing Team? Practice Ego Free Leadership" was first published on Small Business Trends

Blue-Collar Gold Shows the Potential Beyond the StereotypeWhen most people think of entrepreneurs, they think of white-collar employees. They don’t think of chimneys. Yet, chimneys were the essential ingredient behind Mark Stoner’s rise to million-dollar success. Like others, Stoner didn’t believe a blue-collar job was the path to big success. His trip through the blue-collar industry was supposed to be temporary until he found something “better”. But things didn’t out that way. Blue-Collar Gold: How to Build a Service Business From the Dirt Up is the story of Stoner’s success and the lessons he gained along the way.

What is Blue-Collar Gold About?

Most people have a negative view of the blue-collar jobs. Society today often views them as inferior to white-collar jobs and certainly not the path to a lucrative business career. This bias assumes that blue-collar workers are not entrepreneurial like their white-collar counterparts.

Stoner’s own experiences, as depicted in his book, tell a very different story.

Before launching the blue collar business that would make him millions, Stoner was a member of a country band that was on the rise. They had won awards, gained a little attention, and were preparing for a deal. Unfortunately, that’s when trouble with the band leader and an ego inflated with success sent the group’s fortunes spiraling.

Stoner took the opportunity to dive full-time into a very unusual side gig — that of a chimney sweep. But through a series of unexpected twists and turns, it would also lead to blue-collar gold and make him a millionaire. The process wasn’t a straightforward one. For a long time, he treated his chimney-sweeping like a “job” instead of a profitable business.

Then he got seriously injured on the job.

It occurred to Stoner he could scale the business and scale he did. He shifted into business growth mode. Stoner obtained more trucks, expanded his service area, and began to grow the business to the point he could step away and still earn income.

Blue-Collar Gold contains the lessons on leadership, business development, and marketing that Stoner gained along the way. His core message is that a great potential exists in supposedly blue-collar businesses but entrepreneurs have to be willing to step outside their comfort zone  By moving past the “blue-collar” stereotype, entrepreneurs can find new frontiers of opportunity with the same growth potential as the high tech startups you see on television or in magazines.

Stoner turned a one-man side gig as a chimney sweep into a multi-million dollar business. He is a speaker, the current president of the Chimney Safety Institute and founder of the Sir Vent Chimney and Venting Service, a franchise that developed out of his expertise in the chimney-sweeping industry.

What Was Best About Blue-Collar Gold?

Blue-Collar Gold deserves credit for highlighting the business potential in supposedly blue-collar businesses. As Stoner reports (and news reports have declared for years), hundreds of blue-collar jobs go unfulfilled each year. These gaps in the economy are waiting for entrepreneurs and workers to fill them.

Blue-Collar Gold also demonstrates how leaders can use theory and practical experience to become better leaders. The book shifts between Stoner’s actual experience and the insights to be gained. This interplay of experience and learning is exactly what entrepreneurs need to advance in their careers.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Blue-Collar Gold is better suited for professionals already in blue-collar businesses. While the book offers plenty of helpful tips it lacks critical details prospective blue-collar entrepreneurs need to get started. Some of these details include funding, money management and business planning. Providing these details could help a prospective blue-collar entrepreneur break  into a new industry or a current blue-collar business owner refine his or her management skills.

Why Read Blue-Collar Gold?

Blue-Collar Gold tells an advice-packed, inspirational “rags-to-riches” story to inspire anyone interested in taking a second look at blue-collar business. Stoner also deserves credit for changing the discussion within the blue-collar business world itself. The blue-collar businesses have traditionally emphasized technical skills. Stoner’s journey shows the power of including business development and other “soft skills” into the blue-collar business world with unexpectedly profitable results.

This article, "Blue-Collar Gold Shows the Potential Beyond the Stereotype" was first published on Small Business Trends