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How to Earn Six Figures

This blog is for those in sales who want to earn over six figures. Here I share a strategy to achieve that based upon my own personal experience and by observation of the highest performers.

Rule Number 1: Really Mean It and Take Responsibility
This is actually 90% of it. Do you really want to earn over £100,000 per annum in sales?
Do you really?
No, I mean it, do you really?

I did not say receive £100,000 for minimum effort, like win the lottery. I said earn it. Because believe me earning six figures is a high yet achievable level of success.I know through our placements over the years many people who have progressed and are now earning six figures. The majority though didn’t make it and they spend their time blaming. Blaming the recruiter, their employer, the market, the economy, the government, their friends. Anyone and anything apart from themselves.

The difference between success and failure is whether you take responsibility or whether you blame. Successful people by taking personal responsibility empower themselves. Think about it, if all those other things are to blame it is very difficult for you to change them. You can change yourself though. You can learn from mistakes, rejection, find solutions to problems. It is all feedback giving you clues to where lies the path to success. People who are serious about earning six figures take responsibility. Whatever happens they were and are in charge. Every setback, obstacles, rejection and failure points them forward. And if you aren’t going forward you are going backwards if winning is your goal.

The successful know that the decision for success is something they have to make. I hear this so often and then someone drops out of a job after 1 week. They weren’t serious, first sign of pressure. Building fear of rejection, whatever and they give up and run!

Rule Number 2: Believe you can.
Believe of anything is a specific way you have made up your mind. Do you believe the sun will rise tomorrow morning? Well, that is the sort of internal process and filing you need to keep your belief that you can earn over £100K in sales. When you have that level of conviction that the two are on par then you have a strong belief in yourself. So when the rejections come you just see at as steps to success. Rather than the majority who give up. Too much effort, pressure.They jump jobs looking for the easy life, they usually keep jumping, going around in circles, whilst others progress throughout the tough parts.

Rule Number 3: Get Educated
This is not a one off course or training but a continual process to continually learn and develop your skills. Listen to CDs free on You Tube, all the top gurus are on there Les Brown, Tiny Robbins, Zig Ziglar. You can also go to our You Tube Channel. Buy books on Amazon, especially mine, try Advanced Selling for Beginners. If you cannot afford it you can get it free on Get earplugs for your phone and listen on the way to work EVERY morning.

Rule Number 4: Get in the Right Sector
Some sectors are on an up most are on a down or holding their own. Pick a sector in growth. Then pick one that is favourably disposed to sales people and offers high income. If they even talk of capping commissions don’t even consider being employed by them. If they offer you an attractive basic with a tiny commission again don’t consider them.

Rule Number 5: Get in the Right Company for you
Few consider this on interview but most who succeed are a good fit for the company they joined. Their values are in line, they get on well and identify with the leaders of the enterprise. So, when on interview look at the boss and ask yourself. Does this person inspire motivate me, Do they talk sense? Do I admire them? Do I feel I would belong here?

Rule Number 6: Work hard and smart
Never be late, never waste selling time, never talk negative, never mix with negative people. Instead, keep focused on your goal which means working hard and smart consistently. The final never is of course, never give up on your goal of earning six figures. Never.

Whatever it is that you want print out picture get it on your wall at home, in the office, on your PC screensaver, on your mobile screensaver. Programme yourself for success. Ensure every influence around you is a positive one moving you forward towards your goal.

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Are you Destined to High Income as a Stockbroker?

Stockbrokers we visit often tell us their frustrations on recruitment, saying a typical dialogue might be as follows:

“I have always wanted to be a broker”

Ok, so you know what a CFD is, the difference between a forward and future contract, the difference between a stock and a share, an option, derivative, candlestick, swap?

“Uhh, not sure really.”

“Ok, so tell me what you know about broking, the market or how it works?”

“Uhh, not sure really.”

“Ok, what do you think for example would happen to the investment market with a rise in interest rates?”

“Uhh, not sure really.”

So what made you come to interview if you know so little about it?

They do not mind the not knowing, it is the clear untruth about always wanting to be a stockbroker. Reputable firms want people who tell the truth. It would break regulatory rules as well as being unethical and all calls are recorded.

We notice on their CV they have not set up even a free online ‘pretend money’ trading account, read any books on trading, or frankly done anything at all apart from apply for this job that would back this claim up. If you have wanted to be something since school you would have nurtured and followed up that interest and have something to say about to back up the truth of this statement. We would sooner see people who had never thought of it but have solid reasons with a strong motivation of why they believe it is for them.

So we wonder what they think the role of a broker is. On probing we often find that the real goal is that the title broker with a city address has a very high status to it coupled with very high potential income and this is the true goal.

What is a Broker? A person who buys and sells goods or assets for others.

There are regulated and unregulated brokers. The former are decreed by Act of Parliament and the Financial Conduct Authority regulate their behaviour, products, and companies. The FCA cannot choose who it regulates nor can a company choose to be regulated it or not. It is listed in the Act or not.

Historically, this led to the creation in regulated brokers of the “Opener” role because you could not make deals yourself unless a regulated broker. The unregulated broker has also taken on this structure.

So let us clarify what this specialist sales role is and if it may be for you. Yes I said sales. There are back room broker positions for more analytical positions, we do not recruit for those. If you want to analyse figures, calculate and comment on P/E ratios, work out yields, internal rates of return then we cannot help. Our positions in this sector are front room Stock/Commodity/Wine brokers that are selling. Predominantly selling over the telephone, although a recent development has been more seminar presentation and one to one meetings with clients.

Any form of investment is highly competitive and you have to get out there and make a pitch against competition. Over a number of months and years stockbrokers develop their own portfolio of clients, even then the client will expect to be called with any new offers available. This is when the very high incomes are earnt.

Do I have to cold call? Everyone you ring will not know you, nor you them. No brokerage firm will give trainees their oldest clients or expensive leads coming in through marketing when you start. You have to earn this right by proving yourself. You will start as Junior Broker by developing clients from fresh. Would you give yours away to someone else 2 years later? So yes you are going to be calling people you do not know, developing rapport, qualifying, nurturing interest and getting information out. It is really hard work, call after call, much rejection.

I am always telling people that before they even look for jobs they should have a clear set of goals. This I do appreciate is far easier said than done with so many career directions to pursue. Unfortunately, most people drift through a few jobs to find out where they fit in. They start with a ‘try it and see attitude’. This is a recipe for several short job moves that can ruin a CV. As a Junior Broker you will not make it through the first week with that attitude.

A typical day will start quite late and with training in products, investments, finance, markets or selling skills. Then you will be on the telephone and have a sophisticated system dial up calls for you, one after the other. Expect massive rejection of investors with many offers to consider. Each call is recorded and evidence is kept of exactly what is said. Yes, selling an investment for £100,000 is a world apart from tele-selling a hotel promotion. You have to be very persuasive and that means far more than sales skills. It means you really do know what you are talking about.

How do I know that the company is reputable?  The investment and financial services industry generally attracts bad press/blogs like a magnet. If you are going to be broker you are going to have to learn how to analyse and separate truth from opinion, slander and lies. You should never tell lies as a broker, never take an investment that has been financed or involving any sort of loan, take money from someone that is needed for their living costs. Everything you say is recorded. To check out a company the best and only source I take any credibility from is the FCA. They will list all regulated brokers. If they are not listed they are not regulated. They will also list any companies that have reason to believe are not genuine or where any legal proceedings, investigations are in process. That is what I do when someone rings me with an investment.

How do I know it is for me?
This who success as stockbrokers or similar have certain traits in common.
A real interest in investment and finance.
Motivated by high income AND prepared to work until they achieve it.
They never give up.
They are keen to continue learning.
They are sharp, intelligent and think in their feet rather than having academic qualifications.
They are strong and independent. This means if those around you including me tried to put you off you would still be determined no matter what.
They are extremely good listeners. This is a tough one and probably the biggest cause of failure. It really is more about listening than talking. So many people blot out what they do not what to hear.

Still want to be a broker?

Then if so look at our latest advertisements in CV Library.

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Apprentice Scheme Success Moves

We at Success Moves have used our sales skills to create vacancies in companies and secure openings for people. Sales is a great area to be creative because a good sales person is self-funding for the employer. We are always looking at ways to give young people their break to prove themselves. Many of them have gone on to be very successful, some have moved into management and some have even started up their own business.

We are always looking for new innovations which is why we have launched our “Interview Success Secrets” free seminar open to all. Designed to help candidates because we know the job offer often in the final shortlist goes to who sells themselves the best.

As a business that has employed many young people with our clients through the recession, we are very supportive of the current Apprentice scheme of the UK Government. It really has had a lot of thought and quality innovations behind it. For example, it includes people of all ages, not just young people which is the main focus. It is also structured in a way to make everyone a winner and give the opportunity to smaller firms to help our young people develop their careers with that valuable and much needed work experience.

It has been designed excellently and ties in practical and worthwhile work experience with learning and professional development. We believe that employment linked to learning is the best formula for career progression. I, and my partner, are both qualified in teaching and have been involved directly in such programmes.

As members of the FSB (Federation of Small Business) I attended a local meeting with FSB executives and also Henry Smith MP who shares an office address with us.

The young lady we have employed as an apprentice has surprised us with all of the office based skills she has despite not having the experience. The result is that her work responsibilities have grown very fast indeed at a pace in line with her own willingness to learn and contribute. She is also a great example of how positive an attitude and enterprise our young people have. In fact she has contributed ideas that are now our policy.

We actively suggest to businesses that they take on an Apprentice and give back and provide opportunities. Our young people have grown up in a credit crunch recession that was none of their making with greatly reduced job opportunities. When I cannot appeal to companies just on altruistic motives I do so on the basis that they can make a strong contribution to their business. For us at Success Moves the contribution from taking on an Apprentice was significantly more than we envisaged.

The Apprentice scheme is strongly connected to local colleges. In fact, on a continual basis your business will be closely monitored for all range of measures including from health and safety, quality standards etc. to qualify for the contract.

We believe in helping young people, in jobs, learning and career development. We always welcome constructive ideas to help.



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It ‘Aint Over Until I Win

Job hunting is exactly like selling, and like any success it is all about overcoming the negatives and persevering until you get what you want.

Rejection, setback, disappointment, frustration, criticism. You’ve got to take all of these on a daily basis in selling and win through. Success is all about dealing with negatives. I have a friend Billy Schwer who achieved the world boxing title (See our You Tube channel). Wow did he had have some strong rejections, like being knocked unconscious in front of a large audience amplified through TV, waking up in a hospital!  He got back up and kept pursuing his dream until he achieved it. Decide your dream and don’t give up. Let every setback teach you how to be a better you. Avoid the temptation to blame others. After all as Frank Sinatra once said,  “The best form of Revenge is Massive Success!”

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Success Moves in Mysterious Ways

“Sometimes pursuing your vision means that you will have to ignore others’ warnings and even jeers.”  Sir Richard Branson.

When you succeed and win a job offer you will probably be surprised at how even those close to you react negatively. Sometimes they are giving good advice as they know you. Sometimes they are using this as an excuse. Our advice is to stick to YOUR goals and relentlessly pursue achieving them. The best way is to write down your goals, values and beliefs BEFORE you go to an interview. Then refer to it. If what is on offer matches go for it. If not move on. Staying the course is wasting your time, the company’s and denying someone else the opportunity which is right for them.

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Who Are You?

Tell me about yourself?

Take a few moments to explain your career ambitions, do it now. Just write what comes in to your head, don’t stop to think.

Now with a collection of highlight pens I want you to go through your writing and do the following:

  1. Highlight all uses of the past tense with one colour pen.
  2. Use a different colour pen for the present tense and the future tense.
  3. Work out which is your most common tense, Future? Past? or Present?

Now with a different set of colours I would like you to highlight the sensory system you used.

  1. For visual words that suggest pictures colour one colour.
  2. For feeling and auditory words use a different colour.
  3. Work out which is your most common sensory system?

These are just two of the patterns that will appear in your thoughts around your sales career. Do you realise now how much you are restricted by them?

Whatever your least favoured patterns above I want you to rewrite your career ambitions. You may find it unnatural but do it anyway,  it has tremendous benefits. Opening up new options, allowing you to see yourself a little differently.

We are all quite different to each other, from fingertips, shape of hands, nose, hair colour and nature etc. It follows therefore that every person is in a world of their own with their thoughts ambitions, plans and dreams.

Your mind controls your destiny. Success comes without its support. So to enjoy real success it is necessary to control your own mind and have it work for you not against you.

So where do our different career dreams come from. My father said to me at age 7 he knew he wanted to fly and travel. As he had not at this time done either how could he have known something so passionately that shaped his life for the next 60 years?

On the other hand many people get to 60 and still have not found what they truly want to achieve in life.

With my personal coaching clients I help them probe deeply, careful not to add content or lead their decisions in any way. It never ceases to amaze me how something so deeply unconscious when clarified can cause overwhelming joy and total conviction. It has always, in my experience lead to boundless energy to pursue that goal. It is clear that if there is something over the fence really worth having then we just find the way to jump over and get it, however high the obstacle is.

Progress Now

What are the three things you would have liked to have achieved at this precise moment in time?





What are the three things that have stopped you getting there?





Now, what could you have realistically have done differently looking back to have produced a better outcome?






Imagining it is six months from now, what action do you think looking back from then you might have regretted not taking?






So, what decisions can you take now, and just how good do you feel making those positive decisions?





Decision Making

When new situations develop you must rationally, logically and completely without emotional influence make a decision with reference to your goals.  For this you need the strength of wearing a blue shirt when all about you are wearing a white one. Few are not influenced by wanting to fit into the group norm. Those few go by many names, innovators, ideas men, entrepreneurs, leaders, and winners. Churchill referred to a particular elite group of men as “The Few”.

If I could magic any experience or qualifications on to your CV what would you choose?


If you could have any job on the world right now, what would it be?

I asked that question for a period in a recruitment business that I owned many years ago. The answers that I got amazed me. Hardly anybody was doing what they really wanted to do. There faces lit up as they described to me their passion. Then their face would drop and come back to earth as they asked what I could get for them.

“The happiest sales people are those that sell something they believe in and have a passion for.”  

If you are doing something that you love any money that you receive must be like free money. Nobody has to pay me to go to the cinema, go swimming, go on holiday. That is the mindset that you need when planning your next job. I am not suggesting you ignore money, merely leave it to one side a minute to allow you to really focus on what you want to do.

Life is like a railway journey in some respects. At each stop we can get off and go on a number of other routes. Some are major junctions. Some like Gatwick or Heathrow offer all the air route choices as well. The point being whatever route decisions have taken us through life we need not continue to make the same choices or even use the same ‘decision model’ to make those choices. We, whilst benefiting from past experiences, need not be locked on a path if that path no longer leads us to our goals. We can decide to be a different person from tomorrow, with new habits, a new lifestyle, new goals. We don’t have to stay on the same train, we can get off, we have choice.

A new direction holds adventure, challenge excitement. Go towards it with a spirit of adventure. You future path starts now. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. That part of you that that is a little bit nervous, that energy needs to be directed towards ensuring that your goals and action plan are as fine tuned as they possibly can be an adjusted as new feedback and feed forward comes in.

Human nature being what it is, finds the need to conform to groups overwhelming. To have their approval we like the same rock groups, where the same clothes, even change our values and beliefs to what the group view would be. Anyone who has worked in recruitment knows just how testing it can be for someone to change organisations. Many have a three-month honeymoon period for settling in. Personally I settle in immediately and get going. Trouble is I don’t make a good large company person because I keep to my values whilst respecting theirs. Conformity and rigidity continues.  To be a success in this environment takes diplomatic skills as much as being good at what you do.

School leavers, new graduates.  Don’t have reference material to know how to choose?  In many ways this does not matter.  As soon as they try their first job they get something to analyse, what aspects they like and don’t like will give them a direction.  However it is not just area you want to go in but what so do you want to do in it.


Ambition comes in two forms. The first is a raw powerful energy that is not harnessed or directed. The second is a set of clear goals that a person really wants to achieve.

So if somebody says that they are ambitious the first question I ask them is, “for what”?

When an ambition is at the raw energy level it is powerful. I regularly observe highly ambitious and motivated people fail in their career and become frustrated. Ambition without direction is like a speedoat without a rudder. Like all power it can be used for good or bad. It can your personal power can be manipulated leveraged by someone else to help them achieve their goals.

Now one of the greats resources of leverage available to you is by you doing the manipulating. Who can you help get what they want, and benefit indirectly.

Who has got an interest in you getting what you want?

Who would benefit directly and indirectly by you attaining the steps you seek on your way to you dream?

As a careful thought. Who will be threatened by you achieving success?

Whose nose will it put out of joint?

Get real. Most people resent people around them that they perceive as being more successful than them. If you are in a group of ten peers and you get the promotion. Whilst they congratulate you with a smile on their face. Many of them will be saying different things behind your back. Can you honestly say that someone else’s success has not given you a negative feeling? Well the thing to do is turn that energy into spurring you on to your own success. Learn from them, find out their secrets.

Progress Now

Here is something I want you to do now. Send the following e-mail to at least 12 people that you know personally.


I am doing this exercise that I just read on a website I would like you to answer as honestly as you can the following question, which I have answered for you below. It is based upon the idea that others know us better than we know ourselves.

What are my three best qualities/talents/gifts with reference to work/careers?




What do you think is my weakest point, my Achilles heal that might hold me back?”



It is important to get at least 6 feedback and focus what keeps coming up.

This blog was written by Alex McMillan BA MSc DIC Cert Ed. Alex is the CEO of Success Moves and has a background in the recruitment and training industries.

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The Right Company for You

All companies have a culture whether they know it, designed it, or it just evolved. So when you join one be aware you are joining a cult. And like any cult there will be formal and informal group behaviour rules. These rules will govern a value system, how to behave in certain circumstances, even a dress code. If you don’t know the rules you are unlikely to survive let alone prosper. My thirty years in career consultancy has shown me that time and time again career success goes to those who fit best into the cult.

So how do you know what culture to look for?

The answer is to know yourself. As a professional recruiter I can tell you 90% of you out there don’t! Here is a quick test. Answer these questions.

What really motivates you?

What are your career values?

Where exactly do you want to be in one/five years?

What core career beliefs do you operate by?

What are your ambitions?

Where do your ambitions come from?

Did you find that on asking yourself the above you did not have to think? The answers were straight there with clarity? If so move to the next question.

Are all of your short and long term goals really yours or those of your peers, parents or friends?

If yes you are in the 10%. If not I would not put money on you becoming a great career success. Make no mistake the ocean of opportunity out there is full of sharks. Once your ship sails you don’t want to go overboard!

Here is how to be in the 10%.
Firstly establish for any new employer their corporate culture. This tends to indicate a company that is going places. I cannot think of a single exception. The cultures are obvious to the customers. McDonalds, Marks and Spencers, Microsoft, Virgin, Amazon. Clear identity and values.

The secret of judging how well defined the culture is found by looking for commonality at all levels.

So it is not how they dress that is important but how they dress relative to each other. It is not the particular value set that is important in itself but that they and you share common core values.

So look for commonality in every aspect of them. How they answer the phone, dress, talk to each other, plan out their offices, incentivise their staff, train their staff, report and accounts, marketing, advertising styles, competitive stance etc.

How would you describe the culture of the following organisations?

Nat West Bank


British Army


Which above organisation do you think would have most of the following core values?

Team work
Attention to detail
Benefit to others

You see, the evidence is all there.

What from the above are the three most important values to you? Now which company do you think you would be happiest in and develop most working in? Why?

Now for those of you in the 10% you have to get to the 1% of serious sales successes. You will achieve that by knowing your personal profile, match it to an aligned organisation then you will be somewhere which will appreciate and develop your talents best.

The final ingredient is having some talent. Talent is a choice not a gift. I firmly believe that everyone is incredibly talented, they just have to recognise it.