The Power Of The Tongue

Posted in Motivational, Relationships


With our tongues, we boast great things.  The tongue is like a two-edged sword.  With it, we speak life, or we speak death.  With it, we encourage or we discourage. If we could only control our tongues.

Wars have been won and wars have been lost with a simple spoken word. Kings have been crowned, and Kings have fallen because of their words. Wonderful relationships have begun, and wonderful relationships have been destroyed because of words.

How do we control this little thing that causes such stress in our lives?

  • Learn to think before you speak.  How many times I have put my foot in my mouth because I did not think first.
  • Learn to speak positive things.  If you have a tendency to be negative, then seek to change your attitudes.  That starts with having a thankful attitude.  Being thankful will help you be more positive about life.
  • If you have a gut check about something you are tempted to say, don’t say it.  Trust your instincts.  A quick response could undo your relationships.
  • Don’t be a gossip.  Learn to keep a confidence.  Talking about other people behind their backs eventually gets back to them.  That destroys your relationship with them and lowers you in the eyes of others.
  • Learn to listen…truly listen to others.  Be intent on listening.  Make that your priority in communications.  If you do that alone, you will eliminate a lot of problems for you and for others.

My hope is that we learn to control our tongues and use them to bless and not curse, to edify and not destroy, to love and not hate.  My prayer is that we all hear more and speak less.


Dan Skognes

How To Turn A Customer Into A Client

Posted in Business, Motivational, Relationships


First of all, what is the difference?  Is there a difference?  Absolutely!

  • A customer has no ties to you.  A client values your relationship.
  • A customer buys on price.  A client appreciates your value added services.
  • A customer is buying what you are selling.  A client is buying you.
  • A customer does not think about you beyond the transaction.  A client invites you over for dinner.
  • A customer does not tell anyone about you and is reluctant to give you referrals.  A client tells everyone about you, and is giving you referrals unsolicited.
  • A customer is naturally suspicious of you.  A client naturally trusts you.

Pretty clear differences, right?  So who would NOT want every customer to be a client?

How do you turn a customer into a client?

  • Keep the customers’ needs above your own.
  • Show your customer that you value them as clients by thanking them, keeping them informed, being honest with them, and giving them the extra service above and beyond what is required.
  • Stay in touch with your customers.  Follow up after the sale and make it more about relationship than a sale.
  • Do what you say you are going to do on or before the time that you committed to.  Under promise, over deliver.

Clients are more profitable and a lot more fun to deal with because you are dealing with someone who is emotionally invested in you, not just buying from you.  When we begin to develop clients instead of customers, it changes the dynamics of business.

Are you making it easy for people to do business with you?  Have you paved the way for relationships?  Think of customers as a rough trail with a lot of potholes you have to avoid.  On the other hand, a client is the Autobahn.  I don’t know about you, but I will take the latter.  Here is to seeing you in the fast lane.


Dan Skognes


Posted in Motivational, Spiritual


I heard on the news today a man that had his boat go down in the ocean and he was adrift in the boat for 12 hours with no assurance that anyone was coming.  He had no idea if he had been missed or not.

The reporter asked him if he had any thoughts of just giving up.  He immediately said, “No, I would not allow those thoughts to even enter my mind.”

You and I will probably never face something like that in our lives, but we will have our time adrift in the sea of life.  There will be days, months, and possibly even years that we have to endure, not knowing if we are ever going to “be rescued.”

There are some great life lessons here:

  • Never give up hope.  You don’t know when relief will come.  Keep the faith.
  • Take every thought captive.  Don’t allow negative thoughts to enter your mind.
  • Look to the horizon and watch for help.  When someone is adrift in the sea of life, there will be someone who will notice and help you. You are not stranded forever.
  • Keep your life-jacket on. I was in a speed boat one time and was not wearing my life-jacket.  I was thrown overboard and almost killed as the propeller went right over my head when the driver did a stupid stunt to impress his wife on the shore. I am fortunate that I was not killed or seriously injured. If you lose your boat, your life jacket may be the only thing you have to keep you afloat.  In the sea of life, a positive attitude is your life jacket.  Don’t lose it.
  • Don’t be too proud to let people know you need help.  Send up a “flare.” Whether that is a phone call, email, or just telling someone you need help….let someone know.  Also, the perfect flare is a prayer.  God always sees it.  He cares and has the ability to help you when nothing else works.

So, are you adrift in the sea of life, feeling like nothing is ever going to change?  Take heart.  Send up a flare and send up a prayer.  Help is on the way.


Dan Skognes

Stumbling Blocks To Our Success

Posted in Business, Motivational


I hate stumbling blocks. It seems that they are everywhere I turn, and I seem to be stubbing my toe every time I turn around.  They come in various shapes and sizes, and it seems that no matter how hard I try, they still manage to trip me up!

What are some of the stumbling blocks we all face?

  • Pride.  When our ego gets in the way, we shoot ourselves in the foot.  A teaspoon of humility always goes down easier than a gallon of pride.
  • Unforgiveness.  If we harbor resentments against those that have wronged us, we let them steal our joy.  Is there true success without joy?  I don’t think so.
  • Fear.  Fear robs us of peace and holds us back from our destiny.  Fear has a spouse called Worry.  They go hand in hand.  The child they produce is Stress. Fear, Worry, and Stress are things we can control, but we have to face them and conquer them. Quit carrying them with you.  They are too heavy to bear.
  • Being Selfish.  It is natural to be selfish.  We are born that way. We want everything our way when we want it, and just the way we want it. We have to get over ourselves and learn the secret of serving.  That is when we can actually grow up.  Being an adult is not just an age we attain, it is having the maturity to accept responsibility for who we are and to admit that it is not just all about us in this world.  When we put the needs of others ahead of ourselves, we find that the pathway just got easier.
  • Being foolish.  We have all made some terrible decisions at some point in our lives.  Unfortunately, some of those have life-long consequences.  Just because we have made some foolish choices, does not make us fools.  It makes us human.  We only become a fool if we continue making foolish choices. Learn the lesson.  You don’t want to take the test over and over and over, do you?
  • Being lazy.  Success does not come to those that sleep.  It takes work, perseverance, and a belief in yourself as well as your goal. It takes focused activity.  Don’t wait for your ship to come in.  Swim out to it.

What stumbling blocks have you been facing in your pursuit of success?  Here’s to you removing the stumbling blocks that have been holding you back.


Dan Skognes

Our Deepest Need

Posted in Relationships, Spiritual


I am going to go out on a limb here, but I think that the deepest and most basic need we have is to love and be loved.  We have been created in the image of God…who IS love, so that has to be part of who we are and what we are about. That relationship is at the core of our purpose in life.

So, assuming that is true, then why are there so many people on this planet that are loveless?  Why are there so many people that have no clue what love is, or even who God is?

Well, this is a controversial subject, but I think the answer is clear if you believe there is a God, and if you believe there is a Devil. For every good thing that is created, the Devil has a counterfeit.  Think about it:

  • God gives life, the Devil gave us death.
  • God gives love, the Devil gives hate.
  • God gives grace, the Devil gives condemnation.
  • God gives light, the Devil gives darkness.
  • God gives mercy, the Devil gives judgment.
  • God gives forgiveness, the Devil gives revenge.
  • God gave us sex to enjoy and procreate within the bounds of marriage, the Devil gives us lust and perversion with no boundaries.

The list goes on and on.

Here is the basic problem as I see it.  If someone does not know God, then they cannot really know what love is about.  I realize that there may come to mind people that you know that are “good people,” folks that give freely to others and care for their families.  That is not knowing God.  There is a big difference in knowing about God, and having a relationship with God as your Father.

The Devil and his demons know about God, but there is no relationship.  They hate God and everything He stands for.  So there is the chasm that everyone must cross at some point.  Do you accept the love of God and take Him at His word?  Do you believe in Jesus, His Son?  Do you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you?  That may sound like mumbo jumbo to you if you have never asked Jesus into your heart, but He is real.  His love is real.  He wants you to know Him intimately, like any loving Father would want to relate to his children.

The question then is, do you want to know love? Love is there for anyone who wants it, 24/7. If you have been looking for love in all the wrong places (as the country tune says), then look up.  God is not mad at you.  He is patiently waiting on you.  He loves you.  Get to know Him, and you will experience what it means to be loved and to give love unconditionally.  That is a need only God can fulfill. My hope and prayer is that you find what you have been searching for.


Dan Skognes

Why Do We Fail?

Posted in Motivational, Video


Click Here:  Why Do We Fail?

This is a great video about success vs. failure.  It is a mindset.  What you believe, you achieve.

How Do You Thrive In An Uncertain Economy?

Posted in Business, Motivational


We live in uncertain times.  Life is like a roller coaster, especially if you follow the stock market.  There seem to be seasons of success followed by seasons of drought.  Sometimes they move quickly, and sometimes they last for years.  So, how do you keep your sanity in that environment of uncertainty?

  • Be open to change.  If you are in a slump, evaluate what you are doing and see what you need to do to adapt to your current situation.  Keep doing what you are doing and you will likely continue in the slump.  Nothing changes till you change.
  • Get creative.  Look for different ways to market yourself and your business.  If you are not using social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter in particular) you are missing the boat.  Having a listing on them is not enough.  There are incredible tools that I recently learned to use and it makes all the difference in the world.  Get social! That is FREE marketing.
  • Continue to plant.  It is a funny thing that when times get tough, people cut their marketing budget.  That is self-defeating.  You may have to reduce your budget, but if you do, find creative ways to market yourself.  Volunteer your services somewhere.  That has an amazing effect on your own attitude, and business can come from the relationships that develop. There are thousands of inexpensive ways to market your products and services, but the best way is word of mouth. Ask for referrals from everyone.  If you don’t ask, you probably won’t get them.
  • Stay positive.  It is very easy to get down when you are in a slump.  Read positive books.  Surround yourself with positive people.  Re-train your brain to focus on the positive.  Take every thought captive. Even the words you speak have great power.  Start speaking positive things.  It may sound hokey, but it works!  If you are one of the people saying to yourself, “That will never work,” you are one of the people that needs brain surgery.  Cut out the negative self-talk.  Only you can control that.  Take control.
  • Get help.  Too many people isolate themselves when they are in a slump. That is a big mistake.  Surround yourself with people who can speak life into you.  Join a good Chamber of Commerce, find a good Church. Plug in and engage.  You will find that the more you engage, the more energized and focused you will become.
  • Don’t give up.  Remember that storms come and go.  Don’t concentrate on how to endure the storm, figure out how to dance in the rain.

Here is to seeing you dance!


Dan Skognes

Will Someone Please Translate?

Posted in Motivational, Relationships


Do you have the same problem that I have?  Understanding the opposite sex is like joining the army.  It is not a job, it’s an adventure!  LOL.  That goes for both sexes.  Men don’t really have a great understanding of women and women don’t really understand men. 

In My Fair Lady, there is a famous song that is worth repeating.  This is the last refrain of the song, Why Can’t A Woman Be More Like A Man?

Why can’t a woman be more like a man?
Men are so decent, such regular chaps;
Ready to help you through any mishaps;
Ready to buck you up whenever you’re glum.
Why can’t a woman be a chum?

Why is thinking something women never do?
And why is logic never even tried?
Straightening up their hair is all they ever do.
Why don’t they straighten up the mess that’s inside?

Why can’t a woman behave like a man?
If I was a woman who’d been to a ball,
Been hailed as a princess by one and by all;
Would I start weeping like a bathtub overflowing,
Or carry on as if my home were in a tree?
Would I run off and never tell me where I’m going?
Why can’t a woman be like ME?

Well there you have it.  The problem that men and women have is summed up in the last sentence.  Men want women to think like them, and women want men to think like them.  Only problem is….it ain’t gonna happen folks.  The differences are more than just physical.  We are wired differently.  And you know what?  It is a GREAT thing that we are different.  This would be a boring world if we were all alike.  God knew what He was doing. Quit trying to change each other and celebrate one another.  That is God’s creation that you are messing with. He loves both of us as we are.  We just need to do the same.

Now, if I could just figure out why my wife cries at the mention of our deceased dog that died many years ago, I would be able to solve the problems of the world.  LOL. Bottom line is, we will never really understand since men think with their brain, women think with their heart.  We just need to learn to use a little of both, and then we would have a clue as to how to relate and celebrate one another.

Here is to understanding each other, accepting one another, and loving one another.  By the way, there is a REASON that when God told Solomon that he could have anything he desired, Solomon said he wanted wisdom.  If you had 700 wives and 300 concubines….what would YOU ask for?  LOL.


Dan Skognes

There’s No Testimony Without A Test

Posted in Motivational, Relationships, Spiritual


Everyone I know is going through something.  They might be having problems with money, their work, their relationships, or their health, but everyone is getting tested.  The good news is, this is a no fail test.  You get to keep taking it till you pass.

The bad news is, there is always another test!  I was meeting with a group of guys some time ago, and one of the men was sharing that he was out of work and really stressing out about it. Me, being the encourager that I am, tried to make something positive of it, so I told him, “One good thing will come out of this.  When you have come through it, you will have quite a testimony.”  He smiled and said, “I’ve had enough of the TESTS, I just need more MONY.”  We all laughed.  There was truth on both sides.

Here is what I have learned from going through tests:

  • Tests sometimes take a short time, and sometimes last a long time, but they are always in God’s time.  They may seem like an eternity to us, but in God’s eyes, they are a nano-second.  The reality is, they don’t last long in that light.
  • Tests are never pleasant to take, but when you have completed it, you will indeed have a testimony that can help someone else who is going through the same thing.  How you respond to the test determines whether your testimony is worthy of sharing or not.
  • You are either going into a test, in the middle of a test, or coming out of a test.  It is a cycle, and you go from test to test.  This is part of the process that God uses to teach us, to grow us, to humble us, and to help us have the character that reflects Him.

How are you responding to the tests you are facing?  Are you negative, stressed, bitter, complaining, angry, or in despair?  Or, are you positive, at peace, determined, thankful, hopeful, and faithful?  We get to choose how to respond.  We get to choose what our testimony is going to be.  I will give you a hint to passing the test…it is the sentence that has hope in it.  So, you have the answers to the tests you will face. Learn them, remember them, and practice them.  They will help you pass the test you are in.

May your testimony be one worthy of sharing, and one that reflects the character of God.

P.S.  When you are going through a test, it is always a good idea to have a good teacher, and surround yourselves with positive students.  You have the perfect teacher (God).  The students (family or friends) you hang out with will to a great degree determine what your testimony will be and how long the test will last.  Surround yourselves with the A students, not the ones who are constantly in detention.


Dan Skognes

How Often Should You Have Annual Reviews With Your Clients?

Posted in Business


This is not a trick question.  The answer is annually.  So why do so many reps NOT have contact with their clients after the initial sale?  One of the major complaints clients have is that their agent does not stay in touch with them.  How do you think that makes them feel?  Put yourself in their shoes.

Here are some reasons to do an annual review with your clients:

Reason 1.  Client retention.  You want to keep clients on the books?  Stay in touch with them.  This lets them know you truly care about them and their welfare.

Reason 2.  Things change.  You have new products.  They may have gone through a divorce, a marriage, bought a house, got a new job, had a baby or a grandbaby, lost a loved one, just retired, etc. Every life event is a potential need for your services. They need to be reminded of what services you provide that can meet their needs.

Reason 3.  Annual reviews are always a great time to ask for referrals.  If you are providing your clients outstanding service, you have a right to be introduced to a couple of the friends or family members, don’t you think?

Reason 4.  You want to separate yourself from all the knuckleheads out there trying to take your business away.  If you have developed relationship with your clients, what is the chance of someone coming in and taking them away from you?  Slim to none, if you have done your job right.

Reason 5.  It is just the right thing to do.  Honestly, customers don’t really expect it because not many people do it, so that puts you into an elite crowd already when you make the effort to serve your clients and develop relationships with them. I say this often. We are in a relationship business.  Take your relationships seriously.  Do your part to keep the relationships alive and growing.

Several good things come out of this, as you can see.  Even if a client declines meeting with you, they will appreciate the fact that you made the effort.  By the way, if someone says, “Can’t we just do this over the phone?”  Say, “No, because I have a gift for you that I need to deliver in person.”  Don’t tell them what it is.  It is a surprise.  It may be a surprise to you too…LOL.

I like to give my clients things to read that are encouraging.  You can give them a little book like Tyranny of the Urgent. It can be read very quickly and has some great principles that everyone can put into practice when it comes to time management.  It talks about how we often sacrifice what is important for what is urgent.  Big mistake.  It is a great read.  If you have not read it yourself, I highly recommend that you read it. Give them a reason to meet with you! Just one tip.  When you give someone a book, inscribe it with the date and a personal message for them.  Then sign it.  That little extra touch makes it personal and meaningful. They are more likely to read it at that point.

I hope this helps you and I encourage you to have your annual reviews.  We did not even mention how to stay in touch with your clients between reviews…but that is a blog for another day.


Dan Skognes