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How to Strategize with Pillars on Index Cards with Brian Margolis [Episode 684]

Brian Margolis, Founder of Productivity Giant and author of the book The Index Card Business Plan for Sales Pros and Entrepreneurs: How to Use the Pillar System to Simplify Your Strategy and Magnify Your Results, joins me on this episode.


  • The genesis of Brian’s book was a plan he had been using for years. A client asked him to write it down in a book.
  • Brian had been looking for a simple business strategy and plan and he found the pillar system. He modified it with index cards. He explains how the pillar index cards work.
  • First, identify your pillars. By completing tasks from these pillars each week, you do the most critical things for that week. By focusing on the important things you advance.
  • Andy relates strongly to the aspect of simplification in the system. We complicate sales unnecessarily with innovations and technology.
  • A card is not a checklist of things to get the most done. It is a proactive, focused effort to perform activities within your control that produce the most results.
  • Brian’s premise is that as long as you do your pillars, everything else “takes care of itself,” in a bleed effect. Pillars work by the compound effect. If you ignore them, you don’t notice results right away, but over time you do.
  • Choosing the triple cheeseburger or the kale salad for lunch doesn’t show up in the mirror tonight. Choosing one or the other every day shows up in the mirror, gradually, over time. Brian applies this to sales behaviors.
  • Brian has a learning pillar. The most important thing about the pillar is choosing the right thing to learn. The information is out there. Choose the skill that gives you the best return.
  • Brian gives a tip for instant application. Identify the key proactive things that you have to do every week so you feel on Friday night that you had a great week and your business is moving forward. Execute them continually.
  • You can run your business from an index card if it includes your critical activities. Brian’s plan has resulted in individual reps becoming seven-figure earners. Fortune 500 companies have taught their staffs this system.
  • Andy is sold on the simplicity of the concept and will start using elements of it in operating TheSalesHouse.com.
  • It is difficult to diagnose company problems either by the lagging indicator of closed orders or by activity reports. But those may be all managers look at. When reps use pillars and cards, they can review them with managers.