Staying Focused: Tips + Tricks

stay focusedRyan Ziemba, Sales Coach

Smartphones, internet, ads, television, texting… the list goes on. Every second of everyday we, as professionals, are berated with these temptations that distract us from achieving our goals. It almost feels like a losing battle. In my career, I have faced, and still do, these same battles. What can a person do to combat this?

Goal setting. It’s not as easy as it looks but it can be made easier. Having goals set will keep your eye on the prize. You also have to have both personal AND professional goals. Usually your professional goals feed your personal goals but is not always the case. For each, you should have your ultimate, long-term goals set. From there, set a medium goal. One that you have to hit each month in order to obtain your long-term goals. Now set a daily goal that helps you hit your monthly one. The daily goal should be very simple and basic. How many contacts to get in touch with. How many calls, emails, demonstrations, etc. Establishing these personal and professional goals is the first step to having laser-like focus.

Work backwards. Now that you have your short, medium and long-term goals set, it’s now time to write down what you need to do. Work backwards in your logic, starting with your long-term goals. As an example, if you want to make “x” amount of money in 2015 then ask find out how many sales you need to close each month to earn the commissions you need. From there find out how many calls you need to make each and every day to close the amount of sales you need to earn those commissions.

Tunnel vision. Stop and ask yourself… Is what you’re doing RIGHT NOW helping you hit your goals? If that answer is no then refocus your energy toward the activities that do. It also helps to picture yourself completing the tough tasks ahead. You see Olympic athletes do this all the time right before a big event. They close their eyes and imagine doing their task perfectly. It puts them in that frame of mind where nothing will distract them. Before a demonstration or important meeting, imagine doing it perfectly and winning the business.

Health. Eating healthy, staying fit and getting enough rest are very important when trying to stay focused. Having the appropriate energy will ensure you are as productive and positive as possible. If you eat garbage then your mind will be full of trash (thoughts that distract). If you are tired then your mind will more easily drift or you’ll simply fall asleep at your desk. Neither scenario is good.

Staying focused takes practice and good discipline. Doing the things I mentioned above will help provide you a good place to start. Good luck and happy hunting!

The Art of The Ear

Ryan Ziemba, Sales Coach

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation with someone and you see or hear them disengage?  They are either focused on something else, something that caught their interest/attention or are just simply bored with the topic or worse, you. People that can recognize or avoid that all together are what I call Exceptional Listeners. The questions I’ll be answering in this post are: What is an exceptional listener? Why are they important in sales? And how do I become one?

Merriam-Webster’s defines listening as: “to pay attention to someone or something in order to hear what is being said, sung, played, etc..”  An exceptional listener is simply someone that is truly involved in the conversation at hand.  Not trying to multi-task or too busy looking at their cell phones.  You must be an active participant in the conversation to understand your prospects needs and identify how you can help them.

The less we talk the better off we are as sales people.  The greatest problem salespeople’s have are they talk themselves out of a sale by opening a can of worms or giving out too much information.  The best sales people talk less and allow their prospects to self discover why they need you.  It’s been said that people don’t want to be sold.  So stop selling and start listening.  Your bank account will thank you.

In order to be good at listening stop talking and really pay attention to the story.  You must liken the conversation like a hallway with many doors.  Each door leads somewhere else.  That somewhere else may be a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ or possible down another hallway with objections, etc.  If you already know the description of those other rooms and hallways then you will be able to actively listen and will able to react accordingly.  Listen for the cues.  Keywords.  Not jargon.  Not the BS but the real compelling reasons for doing business….. or not.


Work Smarter, Not Harder

Ryan Ziemba, Sales Coach

WorksmarternotharderWe’ve all heard the phrase, “work smarter, not harder.” I’ve also heard the opposite, “Nothing like a hard day’s work.” Why can’t we do both? If we as a collective work smart AND hard think about the possibilities! How much more would we accomplish?

Where did the phrase come from and why?

My research has pointed me to sometime after the Great Depression. Our country was lagging behind the Germans and Russia in the fields of Math, Science, Aeronautics, Space Exploration, etc. We were known at that time as a hard-working, industrial country. The new world power. School’s pushed this new saying so we could compete on the international level in these previously mentioned areas. The cold war grew and the need for a smart offense and defense intensified.

The cold war is over (some suggest it’s being rekindled- thanks Putin) and somewhere the message has been lost. It was meant to challenge us to work smart and hard. Not one vs the other. Not to think of better ways to be lazy. Laziness becomes complacency which makes us weak as a nation. New dangers are out there and they are working smarter and harder but for the wrong reasons.

I challenge everyone to ask themselves how smart and hard they are working. Is it one or the other? Are you thinking about ways to do your job faster and produce greater results? Or are you doing it to be more productive and work less?

As for the teachers, coaches, managers, and leaders out there, what message are we relaying? And why?


resuME: Individualizing The Resume

Logan Sand – Director of Talent Acquisition

Job Search - Resume

We all know it when we see it: the white, 8 x 11, Times New Roman font, one-paged bio about a “hard-working” individual in search of a career. Yep, you guessed it right, the resume. The resume is the conversation piece into the workforce. It’s the ticket to your employee badge number. It’s the piece of paper that will get you your very own green paper. All of us in the workforce have one, and that’s a good – and challenging – thing for us in the recruiting field.

If you look at it from a recruiter’s eyes, it all makes sense, really. I’ll give you an example. Currently I’m looking for our next group of interns for the summer. Right now, I have about 6 spots (I could probably squeeze a few more in if I have quality candidates), and roughly 50 students that have made it into the first round of interviews. At the end of the day, I can’t have conversations with all of them, and that’s where the resume comes into play. The individuals I move forward with? Well, there’s a reason behind the madness, and when it comes down to it, it’s about the individualization of the resume. It’s the best way to get my attention, and want to move forward. A little insider tip: I don’t look for perfection, I look for passion. I look for who the candidate really is, and what they’re trying to achieve.

Here are 3 things you can do RIGHT NOW to make your resume uniquely you.


  1. Bold, Breaking-The-Mold font. Listen, I’m not saying to use Comic Sans here (but please, don’t). Find a unique, clear, crisp, bold font to use that might be slightly different than Helvetica or Times New Roman.

LOGAN TIP: There are thousands of fonts on, and if you do decide to download a font, know the recruiter or hiring manager probably doesn’t have that font, so a word document could look different on their computer. If you use a unique font, make sure your resume is in an non-editable PDF.

  1. Your Objective. Way too many times do I see an objective along these lines: “A hard-working individual seeking to utilize my skills.” It says nothing about YOU. I’m also a hard-working individual who wants to utilize my skills. So is my boss. So is my co-worker. So is every other applicant who wants the spot you want. Be creative! This is an opportune time to reel me in.

LOGAN TIP: Be specific, clear and concise! Make sure that your true objective is parallel with your ultimate goal of that company. Try something like: “A meticulous business administration student with proven leadership and managerial skills seeking to apply my abilities at Bridge Logistics in my upcoming post-graduate career.”

  1. Design. Okay, you don’t have to be Monet. But it IS a nice refresher when I see a slightly different resume pop up on my desk. The other day, I had an individual who had their picture on their resume. Another had all of there text angled down the page, with contact information on the bottom left corner. Not for everyone, but different and eye catching nevertheless. Do what you feel is organized, and suits your personality.

LOGAN TIP: Some hiring managers / recruiters may not like to search around the page to figure out simple things, like contact info, education, and work experience. Make sure that each section is clear with a BOLD – and slightly larger – header.

So, there you have it. An easy way to have eye-catching resume with great content that really describes YOU, and why I should hire the man or woman behind the piece of paper.

Like what you’ve heard? Add me on Linkedin, or stay tuned to the Inside Scoop!


Cowan Systems

Cowan Systems has consistently provided Bridge Logistics Inc with above par service and a high level of availability. On numerous occasions we’ve needed available equipment on a last minute bases, around the Cincinnati area, and 9 out 10 times Cowan has pulled through for us. When they haul our freight we know they have our best interests in mind.