Category Archives: nlp

Leadership: Remember the Frog and the Scorpion


I have worked as a team leader for 4 different companies and been a upline in network marketing with organizations with members in the thousands. Thus I have had the opportunity to see all types of people.

What I have found is that you cannot change anyone, you can lead them and help them bring out their potential. But if someone has some innate characteristics, there is nothing you can do to change that.

For example, in my current position I have a gentleman named Miquel who was struggling. He made sales, but nowhere near what was expected. He went through the same training, so what was the problem?

Management wanted to terminate this guy. I asked to work with him for awhile and see if I could help him. Managements response was that he was on my team and nothing seemed to be working. What difference could I make now?

They allowed me some time to work with Miquel. The first thing I did was take him aside and have a private meeting with him. I could see the horror on his face. He thought I was going to fire him. Instead, I asked him what his goals were with this company. Did he see himself as a “lifer” He said he did. He liked this job and wanted to succeed. Then he went on to explain that he was having an issue with some of the strategies and in particular the verbage I was teaching as well as some of the sales training. He found it uncomfortable.

Also I asked him why he never participated in our group sessions when we discussed book, cd and video training assignments. He acknowledged a little sheepishly that he didn’t read the books, listen to the cd’s or watch the dvd videos. He told me he had disdain for the sales trainers that I recommended and honestly didn’t think it would work.  He thought these trainers whose books were rampant in book stores and had websites, sold courses were just charlatans.

I pointed to people like Angelo, a young man also of Spanish descent like Miquel who started off rather humbly and went on to make rapid progress. He was using the material I recommended. I also pointed to myself and indicated that I used the sales and management training espoused by the sales trainer I recommended. I rose from nothing to doing $100,000 in monthly sales and became a team leader. I smiled and said, “It works. But only if you use it.”

I told him that I wanted to work with me provided he would work with me. He was relieved. I thought I called him in to fire him. First, he had to listen to the CDs, watch the DVDs and do the exercises. He already had good product knowledge. He erroneously felt that was all he needed. He agreed to work but was a like reluctant.

So I worked with him and suggested he paraphrase some of the things I taught. He participated in group training sessions. I could tell he was USING the training. We worked over the scripts together. Role played. It was obvious where he was struggling.  We made some changes that he was comfortable with. He did PDR Practed, Drilled and Rehearsed with me and others in training and on his own time. His sales went from under $10,000 a month to over $40,000. He was thrilled and so was management. My superiors wanted to know what I did differently. I simply told them that you can’t change anyone, you can only bring out what is inside. Miquel wanted to improve. He just needed someone to show him how to do it and moreover, show that someone cared.

By direct contrast, I worked as a team leader and with a guy who we will call Sondro. This guy was similar to Miquel. He seemed like a nice guy, sharp, good looking guy and very friendly. He was also struggling and was on managements hit list. I tried to work with this guy, he wouldn’t listen and in another regard, he was trying to get my job. I was on his radar screen and he telegraphed it.

Sondro went on to became a problem employee. He would take unauthorized breaks. He wouldn’t do what I suggested to him instead he was a maverick doing things his way which wasn’t working.

Still I wanted to help this guyl. He had a family and obligations and appeared to have potential. So I kept giving him more opportunities and he agreed to follow my advice and give it a shot, but never did. Instead, he would go back to management and say negative things about me that of course were not true. This guy was the classic scorpion.

One day, after along dialing session around 11am Sondro told me he was going out to buy a hot dog. I looked at my watch and told him that it wasn’t break time and lunch was 2 hours away. He said it was ok, management gave him authorization.

Management came by and asked me where Sondro was. I said he went for a hot dog and was told management approved it. Such was not the case. When Sondro returned, he was hussled to the HR dept office and was promptly terminated. Finally the scoropions tactics had backfired.

Unfortunately, Sondro told management that I approved that he could leave. Of course that was a lie. Sondro the scorpion was trying to sting me. Unlike Miquel, Sondro had certain personality characteristics that were let’s say evil. Nothing I could do or say would change Sondro. Unlike Miquel, he didn’t want help. He wanted to get a position he didn’t deserve by any means necessary. And he wanted to do things his way along with taking excessive breaks. Also like Miquel initially, he Sondro was struggling. I recommend the same books, CDs, DVDs that I recommended to Miquel. Unlike Miquel, Sondro did not change anything. He thought he was already a polished salesperson. A know it all. And he also raved about the fact that he had a house that was completely paid off and that somehow put him at a higher level than anyone else.

When you are green you are growing and when you are ripe you are rotten.”

I first heard this statement over 40 years ago. It is very true. If you think you know it all, you are ripe, unteachable and doomed to failure. When you continue to train, educate yourself and study sales skills you are ripe and continue to grow. Think about it. Imagine a athlete who stops training. Says. “I’m in shape. Don’t need to train anymore.”  How fast will this guy decline? Instantly and permanently unless changes are made. But here is the key factor: A person can only change if they want to and believe they can. If they were brewed like Sondro, think they are doing good enough and know it all, dismiss sales, motivation and personal development training, they are lost.  They are scorpions who never change, never grow and never achieve any meaningful success.

Now on to the story of the frog and the scorpion. I first heard this story told by the late, great Jim Rohn way back in 1987. This was my first run with Herbalife and we all gathered in at the Embassy Suites Hotel Ballroom in Altamonte Springs, FL to listen to Mr. Rohn. Later, along with 30 associates, I had the opportunity to have dinner with Mr. Rohn.

For those not familiar with Jim Rohn, he has been and still is the mentor to tens of thousands of business people. His most famous student is Anthony Robbins who also worked for Jim Rohn. Probably 75% of what Robbins teaches is what he picked up from Jim Rohn. Anyway here is the story of the frog and the scorpion as Jim Rohn told it:

One morning a frog was about to cross over a pond to the other side of the lake. Standing several feet away is a scorpion. The scorpion seeing that the frog is about to swim across the lake shouts;

“Hey Mr. Frog. Can I ask you for a favor?”

The frog looks over, nervously and knows full well that scorpions are the enemy of frogs and responds;

“What could you possibly want with me?”

The Scorpion responds;

“I see you are about to cross over the lake. I too would like to get over to the other side but as you probably know, scorpions can’t swim. Would you be so kind as to allow me to hop on your back and I could cross over with you?”

The frog just laughs and says;

“Are you crazy? Everybody knows that scorpions sting frogs. If I let you on my back, you will sting me and I’ll die?”

The scorpion responds;

“No Mr. Frog. You are not thinking with your little frog brain. If I sting you, yes you will die but then so will I. Why would I do that?”

The frog thinks and says,

“Yeah that makes sense. Scorpions are ruthless but that would be stupid. Ok. Come on over and hop on my back. I’ll carry you with me.”

So the scorpion jumps on the frogs back while the frog swims across the lake. The scorpion is making conversation with the frog and the frog is impressed at what a nice guy this scorpion is. He then apologizes to the scorpion for being so rude to him.

But then as soon as they get half way across the pond, the scorpion stings the frog! The frog is amazed. He can’t believe it.

“Why did you do that to me. I’m going to die but so are you.”

‘Because Mr. Frog, I am a scorpion and scorpions sting frogs. That will never change.”

So the lesson as it applies to leadership is that you can bring out someone’s potential, but you cannot change their inner personalities, unless of course they want to change. Work with people who deserve it, not those who need it. And beware of scorpions and people like Sondro.


From Failing in sales to Over $100,000+ By Tony DeFrancisco

Anyone who has ever been in sales can tell you that it can be a tough grind. Customers today are sharper than ever before and really want to test anyone who is trying to promote a product or service.

My intro to selling

I started in sales via direct sales in 1975. I was recruited to sell and recruit people into a “soap” company. I failed miserably. Only a few relatives and friends would buy anything from me or showed any interest. So I lasted less than a year and washed out of the soap business.

Then about a year later, I heard about another direct sales company that was promoting weight loss and nutritional products. Since I had been in physical culture at that time for 14 years, worked out and was always watching my weight this seemed to be a slam dunk and it was. I did very well with this company despite the fact that my skill set was about the same. What was the difference?

The Business Got into me

The biggest difference was that the business got into me. I was genuinely excited about this opportunity and my excitement lead to generating sales.

When you like what you do, it is no longer work, it is fun. When you turn on the passion, you turn on sales. You can get into business or sales, but nothing will really happen until the business gets into you.

The Phoenix Arises…..

We have all heard of the mythical story of the Phoenix Bird right? In real life it can happen to a degree. Over the years, I have witnessed some incredible success stories of people who started with very humble beginning and then took off like a rocket. It happened to me as well.

Since 1993, I have turned primarily to phone sales aka telesales aka telemarketing. It is the easiest way to reach a lot of people and without running around in a car. And if you find the right company you can make some good money.

Since 2001, I have had some ups and downs going from doing very well to doing extremely poorly. What made the difference? Three factors:

1)Some of the companies I worked for left a lot to be desired.

2) The products of some companies didn’t really excite me.

3) Inside of me I had a deep, burning desire to succeed and was convinced that nothing would hold me back.

Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s I enjoyed significant notoriety as a powerlifter starting in abscurity barely placing in competitions to winning National titles and qualifying for the world championships. I started in powerlifting with no special advantages and many disadvantages. Everyone told me I would never succeed. I put it into my head that I wanted to succeed and I did.

Another factor is that I went to work. I trained for sales as hard as I used to train for those powerlifting contests. In my powerlifting days, I trained 4-5 days a week, every week, for years. In sales, I studied sales training everyday for at least 1 hour a day, studied the company I worked for, learned their products and mastered them. I still do this today. A favorite phrase that I heard over 40 years ago is, “When you are green you grow, when you are ripe you are rotten.” Keep learning. Keep growing. So I still study today, everyday. All professionals do.

Can you imagine a doctor who says, “I don’t need to study anymore. I went to medical school. I’ll figure it out.” Or a lawyer who says, “I finished studying. No more for me.” How quickly would you find another doctor or lawyer?

In October, 2014 I started in a new position with a company called Performance Marketing. When I walked in the door, I saw an immediate match. Great people, beautiful office and to me, great products that I could sink my teeth into. I was immediately promoted to Team Leader. In my first month, I generated over $60,000 in sales. In my second and third months, sales went over $100,000 establishing a company record.

Be Excited

I am not telling you this to impress you but rather to impress upon you that the first rule of being successful in selling is to be excited about the company, the products and the industry you are in. If you are not excited, it will come across in your voice and demeanor and will cost you sales.

I also learned that it is a misconception that a good sales person can sell anything to anybody. No! Con artists do that. A good salesperson uncovers the prospects needs and sells them the right product to meet their needs. He/she matches the product/service to the customers needs and wants.


The good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason and we should use them in the right order. When I first started, I used to jaber, jaber, jaber overwhelming the prospect with all the reasons why I felt my product or service was the greatest thing in the world. When I finally learned to SHUT UP and listen to the prospect, and I mean really listen not just wait for them to finish so I could talk, I started making sales again.

Maintain an Assumptive Attitude

Selling anything can be frustrating especially in this economy. It is oh so easy to fall down and get frustrated. We hear all the reasons why the customer does not want our products or services:

I like what I am using

I can get it cheaper

Can’t afford it

I have to ask my spouse

Call me back in 6 months

If you have been in sales for even a short time, you have heard all of these and more. This used to beat me down. Not anymore. I learned to go Into every call by saying, “This is going to be a great call.” And even if the call did not end up in a sale, I would say to myself or sometimes out loud (if the company permitted it) GREAT! And most of these so called objections are really just smoke screens.

Now what is so great about missing a sale? My attitude was intact even if I lost the sale and I was ready for the next. The absolute worst thing to do is make a call when you are beat down and frustrated.

Stand Up and walk around while on the phone. Emotion is created by motion!

The first sign of a failing salesperson is the one who crouches in their chair, all slumped over. They are too relaxed. The sign of a winner is one who stands up during the call or better yet, uses a wireless headset. Emotion is created by motion. By moving around and even making hand gestures while walking you engage your physiology and this creates energy which comes across in your voice. End result. You will make a lot more sales

When is the best time to make a sale?

Based on what I just wrote above, this one is easy. The best time to make a sale is right after you have made one. Your energy level is high. Adrenalin is pumping. You are excited. But what do many people do (and I used to do this a lot before I became educated) they walk around the room and get stroked by their friends bragging about the sale they just made and if they are a smoker, they go outside and smoke. Then when they come back, the excitement has settled down quite a bit, they are relaxed, the energy is gone. Bad move.

Affirmations, NLP and Alpha Waves

I touched on affirmations above. They work but only if you believe in them. Aside from taking an assumptive attitude right before the call, I begin affirmations on my way to the office. I say things like.

I’m going to have a great day today

This is going to be my best day ever

Record Time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

While some people may laugh at this, I can tell you it works. But you can’t just mumble the words out loud or in your head. Combine them with emotion and feeling and you will see some results.

Another technique I had been reacquainted with is using NLP-Neuro Linguistic Programming developed by John Grinder and Richard Bandler and popularized by Anthony Robbins. NLP is simply a way to change your behavior and it’s like supercharged affirmations. I use swish patterns to energize me and overcome weaknesses and scramble patterns to eliminate any negative things that may have happened to me and I do these everyday.

Finally, Alpha Waves is getting yourself into a relaxed state, into a twilight sort of condition where you are almost asleep but still awake. This allows you to program your subconscious at the deepest level and effects rapid change. The best time to use alpha waves is first thing in the morning when you wake up and last thing at night before you go to sleep. A 3rd time is after or during lunch.

This article is targeted at phone sales but can be used by any sales person or anyone wanting to improve in any area of endeavor.

Put a mirror on your desk

This evokes laughter from some people, even good salespeople. They will say, “Hey Tony D, what’s the mirror for? You on an ego trip? No the mirror is a reminder to keep smiling and that your attitude and personality are a direct reflection of the expression on your face. If you frown, you will sound like frowning person. If you smile into the mirror, you come across as such. By the way, always keep a smile when you talking to someone.

Mirror Technique

Speaking of the mirror, practice your script in front of a mirror. Recite your affirmations in front of mirror. It’s hard to explain why this works so well, there is a tie in between actually seeing yourself and hearing the words versus just reading them silently.(CAUTION) Let the people you live with know what you are doing lest they throw a blanket over you and have you hauled off to the luny farm. Practice in your car on your way to work or your way to see the prospect. It works!

In the old days, we used to practice our scripts in front of mirror and read it into a cassette player. Today we have web cams. Another great way to master your presentations.

Never use HAYT on the phone

A common mistake that almost every phone sales person does is open by saying,

“Hello, MR/MRS Jones, How Are You Today?”

That stands for HAYT and is a terrible way to start off. Instant identification that you are a sales person trying to solicit them. You are battling a uphill battle from there on.

The company I work for now uses a vicidial which has a 4 second delay from when the prospect says hello to when you get the call. While everyone else was frustrated over this, I came up with a strategy that worked very well, I simply open by saying,

“Yes, can you hear me ok?”

Then I go into my presentation without saying the time worn,


Mentally Rehearse and Warm Up before you talk to a actual prospect

If you ever been in a sport, what do you do before you play? You warmup right? You need to so the same thing in sales, whether it is telesales or face to face sales, rehearse your presentation just before you start. It gets you warmed up and going, sets the right mood. Rehearse rebuttals and pretend you have a very difficult, nasty client. Then when you get face to face or on the phone with a real prospect, you will be warmed up and ready.

These are a few of the things that turned my career around for me. I will only add one more thing in closing and that is be proud of your profession and your company. Like what you do. Don’t put it down when you are away from the bosses office. If you don’t like what you do, find another vocation because this one is NOT FOR YOU!