Monday, April 10, 2017

Choose People

After more than ten years of social media and mobile, are we really better connected?  Some are confident we have transformed our society for the better, while others do not believe they have any more tangible relationships. Life is a long climb, and it is better when we along our path with others.

A decade ago, when all the online tools appeared, people predicted the end of live meetings.  In 2017 there are more face-to-face events than ever before.  People are hungry to connect with others, and I believe that many of the tools we use are not really allowing us to have deeper friendships. And it is not just formal conferences and events that are booming: Every corner has a Starbucks and those are filled with people meeting in person.  People need to convene. 

Because of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc... we know more people on the surface, but few are saying they have deeper personal connections and better business relationships. I think has become harder to get noticed in the sea of noise, and buyers are often more confused than ever when it comes to finding the right providers of products or services.

The noise will not go away, so people who want more connectivity in their lives and careers must take strategic action when it comes to cultivating long-term and mutually beneficial relationships. If you want to connect better with people, you have to make it a priority.  There are no shortcuts.

I am having more fun than at anytime in my career. I have been teaching networking skills for years, and suddenly people are hungry for more on this topic. The millennials in my audiences are the most energetic about the message of "Choosing People". In conjunction with my new material on "The Paradox of Potential", there is unprecedented interest on how to do more in a career and why there is power in making meaningful connections.  

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Friday, April 07, 2017

Global Meetings Industry Day

Yesterday (April 6, 2017) was Global Meetings Industry Day and I had the pleasure of attending a large celebration in Austin, TX.

Thirteen different meetings industry organizations hosted this informative and fun gathering. (Sadly the National Speakers Association Austin Chapter was not among the organizing sponsors - and in the future we need to make sure NSA participates!).

Many friends and clients were present, and the food was amazing.  Plus the open bar started at 3:00 PM ("day drinking" is very Austin).  Similar events took place in major cities around the country promoting how meetings mean business.

The two panel discussions were very informative.  The first one covered the economic impact of meetings on the Austin economy and the Texas economy while the second dove into issues around security.

Many probably do not realize that the meeting industry is the 3rd largest industry in the region in regards to the economic impact.  It has a $7 billion impact and over 120,000 people are employed directly and indirectly because of meetings and hospitality. With over 1900 associations based in Texas, these groups employ 21,000 people. Since a major component of the association business being meetings, they are directly contribute $1.2 billion to the state's economy. 

In the dangerous world we live in there are many places that terrorists can attack.  Large meeting venues are having to address the same issues that other public arenas are facing in regards to protecting the crowds that convene.  The conversation was a bit frightening, but also eye opening to the realities of the times we live in.  As a speaker I took notes on the topic, as everyone who is part of the meeting industry must be educated on how to handle incidents that could happen without warning.

I am proud to be part of the meetings industry.  Speakers are often absent from industry meetings like this, and yesterday was no different.  I looked around and did not see any of my other local professional speaker friends in the audience.  It is a shame that speakers do not see themselves as connected to the industry in the same manner as hoteliers, caterers, transportation companies, etc...  Speakers are meeting professionals.  I recently wrote and article for MPI's Meeting Professional Magazine called "More Than A Speaker", that covered how planners should be hiring engaged partners that do more than deliver a keynote.  

(Read the article here:

Happy Global Meetings Day to all the Event and Meeting Professionals.  We are lucky to work in a cool business that has a real impact on people. 

Have A Great Day

thom singer 

Monday, April 03, 2017

The ABCs of Sales - T is for Trust

The old saying goes "people do business with those they know, like and trust".  While some may accuse these words of being an overused corporate cliche, they remains relevant.  Getting to know someone used to be a process, and liking them and trust followed (or didn't) after a series of shared experiences.  However, our online connected world has mistakenly brought everyone to getting to "know" each other through search, likes, links, and follows.  As knowing about others has now become easy, arriving at like and trust have become more difficult.

Every action you take contributes to your personal brand, and if you are viewed as someone with impeccable integrity who can be trusted, then more opportunities will come your way over the long run.  Clients and prospects will want to work with you and will happily refer you to others.

According to David Horsager, the world's leading expert on "trust" and the author of The Trust Edge, people pay more, come back, and tell others when there is trust. The trusted leader is followed and from the trusted salesperson, people buy.  Meanwhile, a lack of trust can be your biggest expense.

Companies spend a lot of time teaching sales professionals how to create elevator pitches, cold-call, handle objections, network, and close - yet there is little time invested in the conversation about how to be trustworthy.  A reputation of trust for the individual and the company can take years to create, but a single wrong action can undermine the foundation.

Tactics to manipulate a prospect or push them to buy a product or service that is not the right fit for them will make you and your company money in the short run, but over the long haul of a career will hurt your success.  To build trust you must always be honest, even if you will not win the sale.  Those who are known to be a trusted advisor will win more business in the long run. Character counts if you want to have a long-term career in sales.

Twenty-five years ago those who were not trustworthy could hide their reputation, but in the day of the internet and peer reviews there are too many ways for people to uncover how you have treated others. Trust is key to your success in sales and there are no shortcuts.  You have to have a win/win attitude and never deviate.

Are you making trust a key part of who you are and how you serve your clients, prospects, and others?  If not, you are leaving money on the table, as when the client trusts your competitor more than they trust you, they will get the contract every time. 

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

*Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies.  He talks regularly to corporate audiences in competitive industries that are sales focused and whose people are seeking greater success.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Thom Singer on the Runified Podcast (Episode 38)

I had the chance to be back on the Runified Podcast (a podcast for those who run).  I was on Episode 5 when I took up running at age 49.  I was not a runner.  Now I am. It has been quite a journey.

Title: Ep.038: Thom Singer - Paradox of Potential 

When Thom Singer first joined the Runified Podcast on Episode 5, he was a non-runner. Over the past year, Thom has eased into the life of a runner and shares the many different ways running has improved his life. Thom talks about training for and running his first half marathon. We also talk about how running has been a source of inspiration to further his own business and career, and likens his running transition and journey to challenges and progression and in the business world. As a professional speaker, Thom speaks about the Paradox of Potential, which he thought of while running. Thom challenges listeners to encourage others to start running by actively helping them through the transition from non-runner to runner.

This episode is hosted by Matt Sorenson and is sponsored by goodr. Use code “runified2017” at for a special Runified discount and to help support Runified and our running podcast!

Check it out:

Runified Website:

If you take a listen.... let Matt know you did and that you heard about it from my blog.

Have a Great Day

thom singer

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Being on time is respectful

Recently I delivered a speech at a conference where the speaker before me ran long.  This was not main-stage, but a breakout session.  There were several back to back talks in each room.  All were scheduled for 45 minutes, with 15 minutes between for people to move between rooms.

About ten minutes before my scheduled time I arrived in the room to find the previous speaker still going strong (5 minutes after his stop time).  I caught his eye and pointed to my watch with a  big smile, and he clearly saw me, but was not phased.  He even got the audience to talk to their neighbors and raise their hands to share their biggest learning moments from his talk.  

My approach toward the front of room began about 3 minutes until my start time.  Some of the audience was leaving to get to other rooms, while new people were streaming in to see my presentation.  This didn't bother the speaker, who just kept going.

Finally a person said "It is time for the next session", and the speaker laughed as if that was just a silly inconvenience.  I could not take it anymore, and I shouted out "NO, he is right.  I am the next speaker and have to set up my computer!".  He took another minute or two to wrap up, and then did nothing to show amy concern of time.  I had to get someone to ask him to unplug his computer (I was thinking of kicking it off the stage). 

As I went to the table to get the microphone he said "good luck".  I just shook my head at him.  He was either clueless or was the most self-absorbed person I have ever encountered.  Or both.   

I set up quickly and started my presentation about 5 minutes late.  

This incident has reminded me about the importance of looking beyond self in all situations.  This is not just true of keeping to your allotted time as a speaker, but as a friend said to me when I vented; "this goes for kids sports, dance classes, and basically everything in life".  My friend is right.  I remember when my oldest child was in middle school drama class and the teacher routinely kept the kids 20-30 minutes later than the scheduled ending of the after school rehearsal.  This messed up dinner, homework schedules, and evening activities for the whole family.

It is clear from the current political discussion online (and in person) that we have lost sight of being respectful to others in our society.  Personal beliefs rule the day.  But does it have to be this way in everything? Would it be cool to see respect make a come back? Can it ever happen?

Being true to the allocated time (as a speaker or anywhere) is a small thing, but it matters.  It shows you understand you are not the center of the universe, as you are acknowledging that there are others who have things to do, too.

I doubt the other speaker would ever read my blog, but if he does I wonder if he would even care that his actions impacted other people (me, the audience, the event planners, etc...).  I doubt it.  I am sure he is more focused on how spectacular he is and how lucky we are that he is on the planet.

Finally, He was a good speaker, people praised his session and the online comments were strong.  But about 10 people came up to me later and pointed out that he really didn't seem to think his running long was an issue.  We had a good laugh about it, but it never should have happened. 

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Monday, February 06, 2017

The ABCs of Sales - S is for the Short List

If you are not on the "Short List", the prospect will not buy your product or service. Out of sight is out of mind, and not being on this important catalog of those under consideration is the fastest way to lose a potential sale.

When I work with sales professionals or speak at sales meetings my key point is how "sales skills" do not matter if you are not being seriously reviewed by the decision makers.  Long before you can build rapport, demonstrate your product knowledge, ask open-ended questions, actively listen, communicate solutions, overcome objections, negotiate the best deal, or close the sale you must be one of the final vendors the buyer is considering.

Many who buy from you will talk to more than one vendor, but they cannot consider every company in your industry.  No matter what you sell, you have competition.  In many cases you could have dozens or hundreds of competitors.  However, most buyers (regardless of industry) tell me they interview about between two to four providers when seeking to make a purchase.  If you are not on that final list of approximately three, then you have no chance of getting their business.

Nothing leaves money out of your paycheck faster than missing out on being on the "Short List".

Too many sales people and their managers are constantly worried about how to close sales. While this is important, it is eclipsed by the need to get on the magic list of finalists.  This is more than simply prospecting as it involves making sure that you are one of the few that they believe can deliver on what they need after they narrow their choices.

There are many things that go into regularly appearing on more of these lists.  It is a combination of consistent prospecting, relationship building, reputation and branding, and developing a strong word-of-mouth network.  

Instead of being solely focused on hitting a sales quota, the best sales people are equally interested in making sure they are under consideration every time there is a deal to be made.  If you are on more "Short Lists" you will close more business. Period.

All sales professionals know that over time their sales statistics become a numbers game.  If you close one in five proposals, you know you need to present to 5 more prospects for each sale you hope to make. "Short Lists" are the ticket to more contracts. Finding these opportunities where you are seriously being considered should be a high priority.  While you will lose some of these deals, and wins are not always in order (lose four, win one), the key to selling is being on the list. 

There is nothing I hate more than knowing there was a prospective customer to whom I could deliver the perfect product, only to discover they did not look at my offerings.  If I can get them ponder the value of working with me, I can only then have a chance at winning.

Go out and get on more "Short Lists" and watch your business grow.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

******Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies.  He talks regularly to corporate audiences in competitive industries that are sales focused and whose people are seeking greater success.

Friday, February 03, 2017

A Touching Letter From A Podcast Listener

I received the below letter from a listener of my podcast, "Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do".  His experiences is a good reminder of the importance of getting involved with your industry trade associations. All the stars can line up for your career when you meet the right people.

In addition to sharing his letter, I have asked Jesse to be a guest on my podcast, as I can tell that his entrepreneur journey has many lessons that will be helpful to others.  Check out "Cool Things" in the next few weeks to hear his whole story.


I've been meaning to write to you for some time and share a neat set of circumstances that involved your podcast.

Sorry, the set up is a tad long but I think it'll be worth a read to you (and no, there isn't a sales pitch at the end, just a thank you.)

A little more than a year ago my wife and I realized it was time for a change for our family. Up to that time, I have had several careers and treated each of them like I would be there forever. My last two careers (IT and Ministry) spanned about 10 and 15 years each - which I suppose for some would be forever.

Until last year, each time I had changed jobs or careers I already had the next one in line. This was different. I was taking a season away from ministry not knowing how long that would be and not knowing what would be next. It was a scary step.

In thinking about what was next, becoming a freelance worker certainly had some appeal. We were also invited to partner in a business - a toy store. Having worked around children my whole life, that certainly had appeal...but I also knew it had risk.

In May of last year, our family packed up for what would potentially be our last vacation for a while. Whenever we'll be driving for a while I select a few podcast to listen to...and with the discussion of becoming a small business owner of some sort, Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do was an intriguing title.

The first episode that I listed to was the one with Michelle Sahr.

Like I said, we had been invited to partner in a toy store and as part of the exploration, I had considered attending an ASTRA conference (American Specialty Toy Retailing Association). Again and again in the episodes I listened to, you encouraged people to be involved in their industry's associations. By the time I arrived at our vacation's hotel I felt I had made a mistake by not checking out the conference. Wondering how much it would cost me by missing the early bird pricing (the conference was now about 2 weeks away), I check to see if I could even get in.

To my surprise, not only could I get in, they had a special for that weekend that brought the price down to the early bird pricing I had missed.

I sent of my information to register and began to enjoy the vacation.

Friday night, I checked my email to find details on the conference. For first time attenders they offered to pair you with a veteran to help you learn the ins and outs of the conference and (for those with a store) so that you'll have someone after the conference is over that you can lean on when you have questions.

Unfortunately, Friday was the deadline to sign up for the program. The email also noted that they would be out of the office over the weekend. I knew that I was late signing up for the conference and not really surprised that I missed out on getting in on the "All-Star" program. In fact, I figured all the "good" veterans had been assigned weeks ago.
Having run much smaller conferences I could only imagine how much work the ASTRA staff was doing. Nevertheless, I decided to be bold and ask if I could be let into the All Star program late. I thought there was little chance my email would even be read.

When I got home on Sunday, I checked my email and found that one of the organizers of the conference had emailed me. Thinking it was an automated mail with information about the conference, I opened it and was surprised that it wasn't an automated mail.

It was an email about the All-Star program - when to meet, special events for veterans and their newbies, things like that. At the bottom of the email was a name and phone number for my veteran.

I read the name and the city and thought: Weird, that podcast I listened to on Thursday had someone from Ohio. In fact, I think it might have even been that town. I wonder if it is a local competitor.

Instead of fully connecting the dots, I googled my veteran and her store. Wait, she has a cheese store too?!? That's not possible. So I grab my phone and scroll back to your podcast and there it is, the name of the person that was to be my veteran at the conference your podcast convinced me I should attend....

Michelle Sahr

Turns out all the good veterans hadn't already been assigned.

Again, sorry for the length. I hope this lifts your spirit and encourages you to continue in what you do. Your podcasts are great and you are making a difference.

As you can see from my signature block we moved forward with the toy store. I'm still listening and hope that someday I'll be able to join in one of your mentoring groups.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.

Jesse Smith   Owner, Sockmonkey Junction 

Address: 316 S Main Street, Mansfield, TX 76063

If you are in the Greater Dallas area, check out Sockmonky Junction toy store in Mansfield, TX. 

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

10th Annual Fundraiser "Kate Singer Endowment for Cranio-Facial Research"

It is hard to believe this is the 10th year we have asked for your support of the "Kate Singer Endowment for Cranio-Facial Research" at Dell Children's Hospital.  

As you may remember, when Kate was born in 2002 she had to undergo major surgery to correct a condition known as Sagital Synostosis. The bones in her head had fused together, and she needed to have much of the top of her skull removed to allow her brain to grow.

At the time we did not have the most state of the art children's medical facilities in Central Texas.  Kate was operated on by the amazing doctors at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego (if you would like to donate to Rady Children's Hospital, we have established a similar fund for that foundation). Upon the opening of the new Dell Children's Medical Center in Austin, we began donating money and fundraising to help with research for kids born with similar issues.

Today, between the two endowments (Austin and San Diego), we have raised over $60,000.  Let's help that grow!

Please take a moment and donate any amount.  We have proven over the years that small donations add up to real numbers (I call it "Compounded Generosity").

DONATE NOW (look on the pull down menu for Kate Singer Endowment).

Thank you.

Thom, Sara, Jackie and Kate Singer.  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Website Problems

My Website - is currently down.  Don't you hate it when technology fails you?

The company who manages my site is working hard to fix the problem, but if you are seeking my site and found this blog, please call me directly 512-970-0398 or email

Sorry for the inconvenience. 

Thom Singer

Friday, January 06, 2017

The ABCs of Sales - R is for Referrals

Referrals are the life blood of selling. Marketing, social media, PR, advertising, etc... are all great, but in a business world full of noise and self-promotion, few things have as much power as a word-of-mouth referrals.  When someone makes an introduction and endorses the sales person there is a higher level of trust that occurs right from the start.

Approximately 90% of my own clients come from referrals.  I can do countless other marketing activities (and I do), but the majority of my work is because a person who knows me has told others that I am the right choice to speak at their conference.  

The problem with referrals is too few people actively take the steps to promote other people.  They say they will, and have great intentions, but then they get busy with their own lives and never seem to get around to making the introductions. Thus, those who do talk you up should be treated like gold. 

We live in an era where self-promotion is at an all time high.  Combine that with a high level of competition and everyone is frantically trying to get to their own success.  Too few believe they have time to help others, but the most successful sales people often operate in the opposite manner.  Some of the best sales professionals I have ever known are always working to connect others, without regard to if there is anything in it for them. They take great joy in being the catalyst that brings others together to do business.  Over the long run they develop such a strong reputation of being a giver that people line up to refer work their way.

The trick is to make referrals without being worried if others will return the favor.  I often run into people who want to keep score and make sure they only refer to work to those who can quickly return the favor.  The problem is that not everyone can help at the same level, so pre-judging who to help means you wont help many people.  Also there are those who are overly concerned with how to monetize the referrals they give.  They are seeking ways to charge commissions rather than just connecting the best resources. Unless you have a business that matches customers and service providers, do not charge a commission.  Your long term reputation out weighs any monetary gain you can get from a percentage of an individual sale.

The most important thing is to remember to thank the people who send you leads that turn into clients.  A "Thank You" is not only polite, it guarantees they will remember you the next time they can send business to someone in your industry.  I have had those I connected send me gift certificates or other presents (I got a wonderful Garmin Runner's Watch from one friend whom I referred a client), but I never expect such gifts.  I match up people I know will do a good job for the person in need of their offerings.

Never forget that sometimes competitors make the good referral partners, too.  Depending on your industry, developing long term relationships with others in your field and sharing leads when appropriate is a great way to get more business opportunities.  I have created a page on my website of other speakers I know do a great job and I share this link with my past clients, as I know most associations do not want the same speaker year-after-year at their conferences.  By providing them with quality speakers I get to stay in touch over the long run (and thus get re-hired in the future), and the other speakers who get booked are more likely to refer me in the future.

(Check out my "Recommended Professional Speaker" page:

When people tell me they never get referrals my first question is "how many referrals have you given in the last month that turned into real business?".  If they do not know the answer, that is most likely the problem.  I can't understand how people who never refer anyone expect others to send them business.  While not everyone would (or should) create a link to competitors on their website, you should be promoting your clients, vendors and friends regularly. 

Finally, if you want to get referrals you have to tell people how much your business depends on their help in connecting you with those who use your products or services.  One real estate agent I know has it at the end of voicemail message: " business depends on referrals, so if you know anyone looking to buy or sell a home, please tell them about me!"  My own email signature has the following sentence: "As a speaker, I am seeking introductions to companies, law firms, and associations that host conferences and team meetings - Thanks!" If you don't remind people that you seek referrals, they probably will not think about it.

There are a lot of moving parts to a successful career in sales, but cultivating referral business should never be ignored. 

Have A Great Day

thom singer