THE TRAINING CAMP WHERE I HONED MY SALES SKILLS

I wrote this book because I know firsthand the pain of not living up to your potential and knowing that there must be something more available to you. I spent decades with this feeling, and now I want to share everything I’ve learned with you so that you don’t have to wait that long to start reframing the game and making the impact you were meant to make. I wish I could say that my mom dying got me to figure everything out right away, but I had more blessings disguised as heartbreaks coming. Fueled by a desire to make the most of my life, I hustled to finish college early.

After graduation, I went to work in sales at some of the biggest companies in America, including Pfizer and Hewlett-Packard. I became a top sales performer wherever I went, because I came factory installed with a knack for selling and a desire to keep learning and upping my game. A true results junkie, I would keep toying with a process until I got the outcome I desired. Yet, despite the fact that I was killing it at work, there was always something missing.

I was living a double life: weekdays I was consistently growing revenue by four and sometimes five hundred percent, nights and weekends I was poring over self-help books and attending personal development seminars. I knew there had to be something more meaningful and rewarding for me than selling Viagra or printers. But the money I was earning on the job made it hard to leave.

The fact that the money was also supporting my then-husband and me as he attended medical school made it seem nearly impossible to quit a salaried job. And then one of the seminars I attended changed my life. This particular course taught women how to create powerful partnerships with the men in their lives. The things I learned there made a huge difference in my relationship. I loved it so much and got so much value out of it, in fact, that I left corporate America to help grow that business. I felt like I had found my calling! I wanted every woman in the world to know about this work. I felt I had discovered a powerful tool, and it felt selfish to keep it to myself. Even better, I loved the woman who ran the company. She was more than a boss to me. She was a mentor.

I started with this company by leading their free evening workshops where I packed as much useful content as I could into three hours and then made an offer for the women attending to buy a weekend-long seminar. I knew that if a woman showed up to the introductory workshop, she was open to learning something new and that I had one chance to get her to decide if she wanted to learn more. If she left without signing up for the seminar, I knew she probably never would. Because I believed in what I was teaching so wholeheartedly, if I led an intro workshop and 30 percent of the women signed up for the weekend seminar—which I would later find out is a pretty great conversion rate—I would go back to my hotel room and cry about the 70 percent who didn’t register. I was determined to figure out what I could do to get more women to say yes to themselves on the spot, while they were with me at the intro event and were open to a new possibility. I played with every variable I could: the chair arrangements, the lighting, the length of the breaks, how much I encouraged discussion versus how much time I spent teaching, price points, bonuses, you name it.

Eventually, I got to a point where as many as 60 percent of the women who attended my introductory workshops signed up for a $500 weekend. And I regularly had as many as 85 percent of the women attending the first weekend course go on to enroll in more advanced seminars with us. I had no idea that in the outside world, getting 10 percent of people to act on an offer on the spot was considered a major success.

I was so focused on serving those women in the room that I was in a bubble and didn’t realize that the results I was getting were, well . . . off the charts! After six years with the company, during which I grew the business from $300,000 a year to $1.3 million, my bubble burst. I got fired. It was the night before Christmas Eve. It felt like my calling had hung up on me. After the death of my mom when I was 19, it was the most painful thing that had ever happened to me. Yet it came with a major blessing—eventually, it became clear that my calling had grown, just as my dad’s had when he transitioned out of playing with the band to being a front-and-center one-man act. This is what happens when you accept that you are meant for more—or, as in my case, when the universe gives you a nudge to show you that you are.

Periodically, your view of what you’re intended to do will evolve. The pieces of what you believed to be your unique gift will rearrange themselves and you’ll be able to use those same gifts in a more expanded way. In my case, after being fired from my dream job, I knew for sure that I didn’t want to grow anyone else’s business again. It was time for me to step out on my own as an entrepreneur and use my innate and well-honed gift for sales to grow my own bottom line. The problem? I had no clue what I would be offering. I went on a search to figure out what product or service I could create and sell. I started attending seminars, reading books, and working with a coach. It was in my very first session that my coach asked me where I shined and what really made my heart sing. I told him how I was good at helping companies grow.

When I told him I consistently had 30, 60, and even 85 percent of people saying yes to my offers on the spot, he immediately said, “Lisa, wait, stop! I know what your unique value is.” Even though I had built so many other people’s businesses, I couldn’t see that making irresistible offers was my strength. It had all felt so easy that I didn’t think twice about it. And I certainly didn’t realize it was something I could make big money doing—and make a big difference in teaching others how to do.

(By the way, everybody has abilities, gifts, and talents that come so naturally to them that they are tough for them to see. This book will help you discover yours.) I wrote down all the things I had figured out about making offers that inspired people to say yes on the spot—what to say and what not to say, how to inspire action, when to use incentives, and, just as importantly, what I never did, because it felt wrong or slimy. That’s where my business, The Invisible Close, was birthed. It turns out that those six years I spent building someone else’s dream had been the perfect training camp for defining my unique abilities to sell without being sales-y, which eventually became the foundation of my own business and the way I would make a huge difference for thousands of people all over the world.

(You too have been in the perfect training camp to hone the gifts that will help you reach for your version of “more”—we’ll uncover that as well.) I started offering my coaching and advice to people one-on-one for an hourly fee. I quickly got so busy that I maxed out (which is common when you land on the thing that you are uniquely suited to help others with). While it was amazing to be busy and in demand, every additional hour I could have worked would have meant an hour less with my kids, or a missed workout, or a canceled date night with my then-husband. So I learned to leverage the power of speaking to small groups and using the internet to attract clients, which allowed me to make my offer to more than one person at a time and also to serve more than one person at a time. This is referred to as leveraging yourself and your time. I have made a very good living distilling powerful concepts into easy-to-follow systems.

We’ve been named to the Inc. 500—a list of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the United States—two years in a row. We were number 20 on the list of women-owned businesses and the number two training company in San Diego. Also, as a result of the massive boost to my income that came from tapping into my gifts and following my calling to expand, I’ve been able to fulfill a lifelong dream and become an active philanthropist, having personally raised and donated over $1 million for organizations including the Just Like My Child Foundation, the eWomenNetwork Foundation, Global Dental Relief, and Natural High. I’ve also received the coveted eWomenNetwork Foundation Champion award and Donor of the Year Award from the Just Like My Child Foundation for my fundraising efforts. I am living proof that the systems I teach work, and they have benefited not just me—they have dramatically improved the lives of the people I care about too.