The BEST of the NEXT

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NEXTPERT Concepts Anniversary

My entire life I’ve always been attracted to successful people, but at age 25 I became almost fanatical in my professional development. I studied dozens of thought leaders, and decided to write a book about the themes and philosophies learned. A couple years later, the book was finally ready for print. And now, five years later, we celebrate the release of NEXTPERT concepts.

I spent Friday night and Saturday morning re-reading my own materials, and was reminded of the timeless principles from the book. I know we live in an ADHD wolrd so I decided to share the big-takeaways below. However, if you are a young professional looking to stand out as the “BEST of the NEXT” generation of career success then this is a must-read.

It’s still humbling to see your own product on Amazon, and to receive messages from those who the book continues to impact. What I love about human DNA is no two people are the same, and no two pasts are identical. We learn anything, from anyone, at anytime if we are open to it. Here are the timeless lessons from the NEXTPERT book.

Two core values of a NEXTPERT:

1. Every day in your current role is an interview for your NEXT role.

2. In order to be a great #1 we must FIRST be a great #2.

Ten core beliefs I was reminded of while reading:

1. We are the sum total of those we hang around most (spend time w/ talent)

2. Success is extremely inconvenient, most won’t do the heavy-lifting required

3. Never apologize for your desire for success or for actually being successful

4. Some will believe in you. Some won’t. But so what. Believe in yourself.

5. Must be willing to sacrifice short-term pleasures for long-term gains.

6. See things as opportunities rather than obligations.

7. You don’t need a title to be a leader.

8. Despite the most saturated, competitive times ever it’s actually easier to stand out through the right resources, mindset, and work ethic.

9. Personality gets our foot in the door. Character is what keeps it there.

10. Learn how to leverage current success (no matter how small) into future opportunity.

What’s Your Free Prize?

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Find, Package, and Sell Your Special

The last ingredient of a “Person of Influence” is the free prize inside. This is a concept made popular by marketing genius Seth Godin over ten years ago.

A free prize inside is something you get “in addition to” the transaction that you were not expecting. When you open up a cracker jack box at the very bottom is a prize. These add-ons are popular in many products. In the service industry, YOU are the free prize. When I have thousands of services to choose from I chose you, because of some kind of unique perspective or superior skill. However, we are never taught these concepts during the schooling process. Today, I want to help you find, package, and sell your free prize to the world.

I’m a big believer in being unique. No two people have the exact same past, experience, or struggles. When I was in my early 20’s the, “What makes me unique?” question was always a hard one to answer. One of the exercises we do in our coaching program is ask agents what their competitive advantage is based on their unique struggles, past, experience, mentors, and education. In essence, why should I do business with you rather than the 2-3 other services I’m currently shopping?

Free Prize Inside Questions:

  • What superior skill have I always had compared to others beginning at an early age?
  • What defining moments have I had in my life that shaped who I am today?
  • What do my friends or family come to me for advice on?
  • What are things I enjoy doing and am really good at doing the comes natural to me?

Another exercise is to write a “unique ability” letter to those who have known you longest, or who are closest to you. Ask them these two questions: (1) What superior skill or talent do I have? (2) Why do you like to have a relationship with me? Before you receive their responses write down your own answers about yourself. You will start to notice themes from their responses and your own. The reason this is so empowering is because your confidence level will soar when it comes from other people, and you will not only believe them but know it to be true.

An example of my own free prize takes me back to when I was 10-years old. Sports was also a release for me. When I was at home I would record athletes like Ray Allen, Greg Maddox, and Alex Rodriguez on VHS tape. I would study them in the living room and mimic what they did. I would then go into the backyard and do what they did with an actual ball. The two unique abilities I cultivated from this at an early age was (1) how to be resourceful with the lack of resources around me; (2) How to study top performers and extract from them what I do well (self-teaching). Once I understood this I could see these themes throughout my life. Like working as the direct assistant to top producers in multiple industries as a young professional, and writing a book at age 25 called “NEXTPERT” for young professionals on being the “next expert.” Now I get to use these same skills and systems every day with my coaching clients to help them accelerate their own growth. All while growing confidence in their unique abilities.

Here are some “intangibles” of the free prize inside concept:

  • When I’m with you I feel better about me
  • You take a complicated process and make it simple
  • You take my low thoughts and convert them to big thoughts

If you study great teams, especially at the professional level, they win because of their intangibles. When dealing with the top one-percenters in industries it’s the intangibles that make that 2.2mm of difference to win championships. Over half of NFL games last year were decided by less than one score. The same can be said of your industry.

Once you have mastered what your free prize is, and combine it with being an expert agent then you’ll drive more referrals. You will educate potential clients on the front-end on “how you do it different” and, in return, they will be able to refer you more business. The average transaction SHOULD be worth 5.7 additional deals.

However, most people get discarded after a transaction (deal) is over. I believe in being in the transformation business where people come to us one way, and they leave us a completely different way. Let’s look at real estate for example. Too many agents give lip service that, “real estate is the biggest transaction of your life” but yet once the deal is over there was no transformation. Isn’t it time you found, packaged, and sold your special to the world to elevate your status in the market?

Becoming a Person of Influence

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10 Ingredients of a Person of Influence

During the last article, we taught why “status sells” and introduced the person of influence assessment. The reason we should all aspire to become a person of interest in our industry, and elevate our status in the market is so we can influence more people through our services. The reality is there are a lot of bad salespeople out there who diminish the value of all the great ones. This leaves a negative perception in the market about our industries. It’s our job to protect clients from those who cannot deliver the quality of service they deserve.

Over the last five years, I’ve had the pleasure of coaching top producers all over the country. People of influence, in any industry, have certain “ingredients” that make them great at what they do. If we went through the Top-100 producers in your industry I’d be confident in saying they share or possess most of the following person of influence ingredients. This is what we call the WHOLE salesperson through our entrepreneur evaluation.

Person of Influence Ingredients:

  1. Knowledge: Have a strong understanding of your products, services, and industry
  2. Skills: Have superior skill-sets required in your field and in sales such as delivery.
  3. Desire: Do the heavy-lifting required to be successful on a consistent basis
  4. Confidence: An internal knowing that you are an expert and can talk to anyone
  5. Likability: Other people genuinely like you and want to be around you
  6. Authenticity: People know that you are real and want to help yo
  7. Connectivity: Ability to connect with people from all walks of life
  8. Network: Have deep, meaningful relationships with a wide range of influencers
  9. Status: Have a personal brand and status in the market that people recognize
  10. Free Prize: Something that comes “in addition to” your service based on your past

We all have missing structures in our business that could use some extra attention of fine-tuning. We can break the ten ingredients above down into three specific categories.

Part I: Knowledge, Skill, Desire, Confidence = Whole Person Theory

Confidence is the one thing that effects everything. Without knowledge, skill, and desire then it’s awfully challenging to have the confidence to sell our services. Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” made this theory popular back in the 80’s but it still rings true today. The best sales people are confident in their knowledge and skills.

Part II: Likability, Authenticity, Connectivity = Personality/Character

Personality gets our foot in the door, but our character keeps us there. In a world filled with cynicism and skepticism through social media and the many other communication channels there will always be room for those who are likable, authentic, and can connect with people from all walks of life. We all know the expression people do business with those they know, like, and trust.

Part III: Network, Status, Free Prize = Marketing & Branding

In today’s highly saturated, competitive, and commoditized industries it’s not enough to just be really good at what we do—especially early on. You could be the best agent in the world, but if nobody knows it then it doesn’t matter. We all need more attention for our business. We should be both interested in other people but also interesting ourselves. This is done through deep networks, elevating our status, and packaging our unique experience to sell to the world.

Rate yourself or, if you are a sales manager,  have your newer producers rate themselves on a scale of 1-10 from the person of influence categories above. From there you know where to go to work on the missing structures to help accelerate growth. This entrepreneur evaluation is perfect for those in real estate, mortgage, insurance, title, and financial services.

We always welcome your feedback in the comments section. You can also find this article and others on LinkedIn.

Are you ready to become a person of influence? Check out our 90-Day Sales Manager program where we consistently grow production over 40 percent.

Why I Believe Status Sells

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How Attractive is Your Personal Brand?

Most salespeople are taught to chase business vs. attract it. Sales advice, especially early on, is filled with platitudes such as “get your name out there” or “hand out as many business cards as possible.” Neither of which positions you as a must-have expert in your industry. I believe status sells.

In today’s competitive and saturated real estate business, there’s never been a more important time to have a personal brand status. As a former business professor, I’m confident in saying there weren’t many classes that helped you find, package, and sell your special.

Why is this important? Because status sells.

Statistics tell us buyers use the first person they talk to 67 percent of the time. The number one challenge small business owners have is overcoming obscurity meaning not enough people uniquely know who you are or how you can help.

When I moved to Denver six months ago to launch 90-Day Sales Manager™ I knew exactly nobody in my target markets of real estate, mortgage, and financial services. But, I was deeply convicted in my services, and knew it was my responsibility, and nobody else’s, to elevate my status in this market.

Why Status Sells

Here’s how I attacked the Denver market:

  1. Have a clear opportunity filter of who YOU want to do business with.
    Advice: To know who you want to work with you must first define your own beliefs. This comes from your unique past, experience, struggle, mentors, education, and interests. Without a filter, we chase anything with a pulse and a pocket book which often results in the high maintenance customer. I look for people who are hungry, humble, and coachable based on my belief that trained people outperform untrained people.
  2. Identify target markets with those who fit your filter.
    Advice: Sales is a game of probability. We aren’t going to win every customer, but once we know who to go after we can drastically increase our odds. In what groups or environments are you most likely to find people who share your beliefs? Most make the mistake of trying to be all things for all people. My target market when coming here was sales managers in the “FIRM” (Financial Services, Insurance, Real Estate, Mortgage). Along the way, I started to attract producers in the title business, because of the clients I was already associating with. Have a clear target market and you’ll start to attract those from other areas based on shared beliefs and philosophies. And, even better, your target markets will sell you, because they know exactly who you are targeting.
  3. Have a clear position in the market as the expert.
    Advice: Confidence is the one thing that effects everything. Have an unwavering belief that you are as good, or better, than anyone else in the market. Position yourself as the buyer who gets to choose who you want to work with based on being the expert (opportunity filter). I’m only looking for those who are looking for me. This abundant mindset allows us to pick and choose who we want to do business with. Anything that feels chased will run if you position yourself as inferior.

I bet if I asked who currently owns your real estate market 2-3 people would come to mind instantaneous. That’s because Status Sells, and the brain only has room for few people in each category. Are you in that go-to space? If not, how can you better position your personal brand?

The reason we want to become a person of interest and elevate our status is to ultimately become a person of influence who can HELP more people with our services.In the next edition, we’ll walk through the person of influence assessment, and go over the ten “ingredients” people of interest have.

Do you believe Status Sells? We would love to hear your feedback in the comments.

Learn more about Bruce Lund, PhD and his 90-Day Sales Manager™ program at where he consistently doubles production within 6-months of graduation. Check this article and others out on LinkedIn.

Tired of Missing Deals?

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When I don’t get a call back during the follow-up process or I lose a deal it tells me one thing—my status isn’t where it needs to be with the buyer to close the deal. I’m not as attractive in the market, right now, as I need to be. Maybe I didn’t articulate well enough how I can help. I didn’t show enough value on the front-end why my services are a must-have. We’re not the “go-to” expert in our space just yet.

When this happens, I could choose to get frustrated. Or, I can simply ask WHY I didn’t close the deal? Below are some areas we can go to work on.


Here’s how we can elevate our status to attract call-backs and close more deals:

  1. Be the Expert (Knowledge) – Put in the work to study your field every single day. Listen to audios. Read books. Make your car a rolling university. Do the heavy-lifting required to be an expert. Have style, but more importantly, have the substance. There are a lot of posers in today’s saturated and commoditized markets.
  2. Social Consensus (Status Sells) – Build engaged followers who talk you up in the market. It’s the, “I see and hear your name everywhere” concept. Be the glue that holds your circles together by hosting big-time events. Include your biggest Advocates in everything you do. Connect them to new business and they will do the same for you.
  3. Get Proximity to Prosper (Networks) – Get around other like-minded people who are obsessed with success. Get on the inside of where deals are happening. Buy into the NEXTPERT concept of spending time with talent as often as possible.
  4. Sell Your Special (Free Prize) – Know what your “free prize” is to the world. Most people can’t answer this question, because the schooling system doesn’t help us find, package, and sell our special. We all have unique pasts, struggles, experiences, mentors, and education that gives us an unfair advantage if we package and sell it.
  5. Bet on You (Skills/Confidence) – Having support groups are important, but nothing’s more important than you taking ownership of your life. Always bet on and invest in yourself.


These questions are straight from our Entrepreneur Evaluation© where we assess ten ingredients persons of influence have to close more business.

The next time you miss a deal instead of looking outward (getting mad at the person), look inward and ask what could I have done better? Did I not follow-up enough? Did I not explain my differentials? Is my business not as attractive as others in the market? Take ownership of your brand.

“Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn.