Joining me on this episode is my guest Thom Singer. Thom is a sought-after speaker, host of the Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do podcast, and author of many books, including, The ABC’s series, and his Some Assembly Required series about networking. Among the many topics that Thom and I discuss are the keys to building relationships, insights from Thom’s writings, and networking tips that are also sales tips.
What’s your most powerful sales attribute?
I think it’s that I care that an event is great. I really, really care.
Who is your sales role model?
Tom Hopkins, and Harvey Mackay.
What’s one book that every salesperson should read?
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Dr. Stephen R. Covey.
What music is on your playlist right now?
The Beach Boys, and the soundtrack to Hamilton.
AP: It’s time to accelerate. I’m your host, Andy Paul. Join me as I host conversations with the leading experts in sales, marketing, sales automation, sales process, leadership management, training, coaching, and any other resource that I believe will help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business, and most importantly, you. Hello and welcome to Accelerate. I’m excited to talk to my guest today. Joining me is Tom Singer. Tom is a keynote speaker host of the “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” podcast and the author of many books including the ABC series and the Some Assembly Required series about networking. Tom Singer, welcome to Accelerate.
TS: Andy, thanks for having me.
AP: So, take a minute to fill up that introduction. Tell us how you got your start doing what you’re doing.
TS: Sure. I am a professional master of ceremonies and motivational keynote speaker. I’ve been doing that full time for about seven and a half years. I was a sales guy. I was in marketing for a long time. You know how it is since you’ve been in sales – you go to a lot of conferences, and they would always bring in that speaker who would kick things off. I always thought, “Wow, that would be like the coolest job.” I never really realized that if you weren’t famous, or you didn’t have a New York Times bestseller, that you could do that. I worked for a law firm as their marketing director for a while, and the managing partner asked me to create a class for the lawyers on how to get engaged, how to network, and how to sell. I thought, “oh, they’re going to hate this.” It was a 90 minute class. At the end, one of the partners raised his hand and said, “This is the best training I’ve ever been to in all my years as an attorney. We need to send you to all the offices in the firm.” I started traveling, teaching this class for lawyers on how to network and how to sell and do business development. Then the lawyers started giving me to their clients who would have a team meeting or customer meeting. I thought it was fun. I was in Washington DC at this tech company, and the CEO said to me, “Why do you do this?” I kind of thought he was saying I wasn’t that good, so I was backpedaling a little saying, “I work for your lawyer, and he thought I would be good.” He goes, “No, you totally misunderstand what I’m asking. Why don’t you do this full time? You’re better than the guy we paid for.” That’s how it all started. It took a few years to be able to make that transition. I got involved with the National Speakers Association, and I got myself around people who were doing this for a living. I’ve been doing it almost eight years. So my first book –
AP: Was that Some Assembly Required?
TS: Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow, and Keep Your Business Relationships?
AP: I read that.
TS: Gosh, that’s 2000.
AP: Yeah, so what were the fundamentals that you talked about in terms of how you’re not working, and then the follow up question being how’s it changed?
TS: I wrote that book about 14 years ago and we rereleased the first edition because things have changed. The interesting thing was that I was laid off several times because I’ve lived and worked in Austin, Texas for 25 years. While everybody thinks Austin’s a boomtown, we’ve kind of had a history of boom and bust over the last three decades. I was laid off because of companies that either went out of business or pulled out of Texas. Every time I got laid off, which was four or five times, I always landed within three weeks. I barely made an outbound call. People asked me, “How is that possible?” The joke amongst my friends was that I was the only person they knew who got laid off up. It was because I was involved in the community and I had helped other people along the way. When I was in need, people created jobs for me, made introductions for me, or pushed one of their vendors to hire me. It was all because I was involved in the community, so there was some assembly required. The idea behind it is that if you want to have a network, it’s not going to happen fast or happen by accident. You have to put the pieces together. That’s what Some Assembly Required is all about. There’s a lot of little pieces to networking, it’s not going out and drinking cheap wine and handing out business card. There’s dozens and dozens of small things that you have to do. If you do them religiously for five and 10 years, all of a sudden opportunities are going to come your way. But if you don’t do them for five or 10 years, then when you’re in need, you’re going to ask, “How come everybody else gets helped and I don’t?” That was the premise behind what I was saying when I originally wrote it. The social media stuff was barely there, if at all. The biggest change – to answer your question – is how much we now rely on a like, a share and a follow as sort of a shortcut or a hopeful replacement for the hard work that’s involved to build long-term, ongoing relationships. I’m still out there teaching that a like, a share, or a follow is not a replacement for a real face-to-face friendship. In some way things have changed, but in some ways, we still have to get back to basics.
AP: All right, so you said there are dozens of small things you have to do. Let’s talk about some of the small things, but also reiterate the \point you’ve made before. I think this is something that’s hard for people in a sales profession to sort of think about, because we’re sort of on 30/90 day annual schedules. You’re talking about making an investment over a period of years in your network.
TS: Yes, and so the thing you have to remember is that your network is yours. If you’re going to be in a career that’s going to span 1, 2, 3, 4, sometimes five decades, you need to start now to put those pieces into place. Even if you don’t make your quota this time and you get fired, you still need to go out and do stuff in your community, whether that’s a geographical community or healthcare or a vertical type community. You have to constantly be connecting those dots and figuring out how are you building this. On the one hand – and I’m an old sales guy – you’ve got to be focused on meeting the numbers and making the sales. You also have to be thinking long term. How do I build these long term and mutually beneficial relationships? I talked to a lady years ago, and she got laid off from Dell. There was a number of layoffs. She had been out of work for close to a year and her four counterparts who she’d been laid off with all had jobs. I said, “How did they get their jobs?” Every one of them had gotten them through somebody they knew at church, through a social club, or through a business organization. She said, “I was working too hard to care about people.” I was like, “To quote Dr. Phil, ‘how’d that work out for you?’” You have to be doing both. You’ve got to be chasing your quota and meeting your numbers, but you also have to be thinking about what’s best for you and the people you’re connected to long-term and that is really about being there and building those long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. It’s those dozen little things: you’ve got to show up, you’ve got to belong to something. I talk to people all the time in my businesses, professional speakers who say, “Oh, I don’t go to the National Speakers Association, because there’s other speakers there. I just want to go where there’s people I can sell to.” That just sounds yucky. You have to go not just to sell everyone you meet, but you have to be thinking about how this is a give and take thing. You’ve got to get involved with groups. I’m a big believer that your industry groups are the smartest things you can join. Yeah, you’re not going to sell to those people, but you’re going to learn from them either directly or indirectly by just watching them. You know, you have to write, you have to speak, you have to put your name out there. Any one of those things won’t do it for you. You do dozens of them over a lifetime. All of a sudden people are like, “Oh, everybody knows Andy.”
AP: Exactly. It’s hard for sales reps to think about this, especially if they’re in a job where they’re selling to people in different geographic areas. When you say networking, they tend to think about it in terms of selling something, as you said, rather than their next job, for instance, which is going to come from somebody local to them, not somebody remote, perhaps.
TS: Well, perhaps. However, the other thing is that I think the word networking has been bastardized and stolen by the negative nancies of the world. They have all different meanings of what it means. If you go back and look in the dictionary, though; you’re going to find something that says – basically what I said before – and that is networking is the creation of long-term, mutually beneficial relationships between two or more people, where everybody involved in those relationships will find more success over a lifetime than they would without them. So if that’s the definition, then you’re networking with your clients, you’re networking with the vendors who sell to your company, you’re networking with your next door neighbor, who might be a doctor or lawyer or a baker. You know, everybody is somebody who you take an interest in and you just ask yourself, “Can I connect the dots and help these people?” Most often, the answer is “no.” You’ll still be nice to them, because you never know who’s going to be that person whose sister in law’s looking to hire a great salesperson. Then, they tell them about you.
AP: Right, and the other part of that – at least in my perspective – is that selling is a service. Selling is about helping people. It’s not about selling something, it’s about helping people make a decision. When you have that orientation in your work and in your life, then that’s going to serve you really well.
TS: I talk to sales managers all the time who are like, “I don’t like my salespeople to network, it’s all about closing.” Sales and networking are not these separate things that live out in separate worlds. If you’re going to really sell, it’s all about relationships. Part of networking is relationships, the first impressions that you make and everything else. You are networking when you’re selling and if you’re doing it right, it is an honorable thing to be a salesperson, I make the joke that sales is the oldest profession. Somebody else said this once and I laughed so I use it. I say, “Sales is the oldest profession.” People respond, “Wait a minute, I thought prostitution was the oldest profession.” The joke punchline is “Well, she had to sell it first.” Every time throughout history that there has been business, there has to be sales and the best companies honor, respect, cherish and compensate their salespeople.
AP: Yeah, I mean, our companies don’t do that, obviously.
TS: They don’t do it and their best salespeople leave I talk to sales managers all time like the one who said, “Oh, I don’t want my people to network, because if they’re well connected, someone will hire them away.” I asked, “So you don’t want really good people who are at the top of their game because someone could take them? So you want a team of mediocre?” The guy said, “Well, yeah, because I can keep mediocre longer.” It’s like, really that’s it?
AP: Yeah, that’s like Forrest Gump. Simple is as simple does, right? You published an article about the 10 Rules of Sales Success, and I liked it because they’re very simple. My first boss in taught me a lesson: Sales is simple. It’s not easy, but it is simple. I think you’ve done a great job of sort of reducing the simplicity of what selling is about to ten steps. I just want to go through those and give some people got a sense of if you had to have a list on your desk of what you’re doing as a salesperson, this would be a good place to start. So one is to get the prospective client to know that you even exist.
TS: Yeah, I mean, if you’re not doing outbound marketing and prospecting, then they can’t buy. What I teach when I go in to talk to somebody is that your whole goal is to get on someone’s shortlist. If they’re going to only talk to two or three vendors in your industry when they’re looking to buy your product or your service, if you’re not one of those two or three, you have a zero chance of selling to them. The first thing you have to do is make the shortlist and you can’t make the shortlist if they don’t even know you exist. So, the first step to all of this is when they think of your product or service, they don’t have to think of you first but they had better think of you.
AP: Yeah. When you have solopreneurs and small entrepreneurs just starting business, this is so critical. I mean, it’s the part that so many entrepreneurs and solopreneurs hate, which is the business development part. You have to be out there. Being out there doesn’t necessarily mean going to networking events, cold calling, or doing cold outreach. Part of it could be content that you create and share, building your brand and your expertise within your area.
TS: If you’re the best kept secret in your industry, you’re going to go out of business.
AP: You can be the best and go out of business. So, what are some recommendations that you give people about this idea about personal branding. The tools never been more accessible to start to do this. You see more companies starting podcasts, for instance. That’s a relatively simple, inexpensive way to start creating some content around what you’re passionate about and conveying that passion to people.
TS: There are lots of ways to do it, and there’s no one way. My podcast is two years old. If I had started it four years ago, I’d probably have 10 times the listeners. I’ve now done 200 episodes and I have a good following, but so many people started podcasts in the last two years that it’s hard to get noticed. That being said, it’s been a great tool for me because I make my living with the spoken word. The podcast is perfect for me. You don’t even have to start your own podcast. Get on other people’s podcasts. For example, I’m on your podcast right now. There’s someone listening who may say, “I want to find out more about this Tom Singer guy.” It just takes one to go and say, “My company has a user’s conference. Let’s see what he does.” All of a sudden, they recommend me and I get it. Stranger things have happened. Just put yourself out there as an expert guest for people who have other shows. Write blogs, write guest blogs for other people, get interviewed by the press. I think that being a speaker at an industry conference, especially if people who buy your product or service are going to be there, is one of the greatest ways to get yourself out there. There are consultants and other professionals who go and speak for free as a breakout speaker every chance they can, because someone in the audience always hires them. When you’re the speaker or the writer, you’re automatically seen as the expert. Therefore, I think that one of the things you have to do is work on that. If you’re in sales, the best piece of advice I ever got was to join a Toastmasters club. Now, at that point, I had no idea I would become a professional speaker. I joined a Toastmasters club though, and all through my career, I was able to advance. One of the reasons was that people thought I was smarter than I probably was because I was always able to clearly and concisely share my opinions, whether it was in a sales meeting, a company meeting, or somebody asked me to speak at a local association, that was related to my job. Sure, I could do that.
AP: Yeah, and that’s another tip for people in terms of making sure they exist. Speak for free. Go to your local rotary and other local organizations, business organizations, chamber and so on. Get on their list to speak.
TS: But before you start going to your chambers and your rotary clubs and your Lions Clubs, make sure that you have something to say and that you’ve learned how to do it. If you are a bad speaker, you can do the exact opposite and ruin your reputation. People will think you’re kind of a loser.
AP: Well, right but Toastmasters was my first sales job. The boss said, “Everybody will join Toastmasters.”
TS: Yeah, the first thing I ever did.
AP: People think, “Toastmasters? Well, that sounds a little old fashioned.” However, you get a group of people together. They’re all there for the same purpose. They have a range of abilities, so you’re not going to stand out one way or another. They are non-judgmental. Oh, and if you want to go and practice, and learn some really incredible skills. Yeah, you can’t do better than Toastmasters.
TS: You bring up an interesting thing. You say that some people think Toastmaster is old fashioned. Toastmasters started sometime around 1924 – I’m guessing on the year. At the time, there was a big problem in business in that people were scared to get up and speak. Well, guess what? That is still a problem in business. If right now I said you were going to go to your next meeting, and there’s going to be 100 people from the company there and your boss is going to say that you need to get up and talk to the board and all of your peers about the project we’re working on. If that made you just throw up a little in your mouth, you need to get to a Toastmasters club, because that could happen to you. You want to be able to say, “I can do that.”
AP: Yeah, I had a CEO of a startup company on the show, and invariably CEOs of startups are going to talk to investor groups and so on during a relatively early stage. He had a hard time on the show with really expressing himself clearly. Once we finished, I recommended that he join Toastmasters. He did and he wrote recently saying that it was fantastic and he wished he’d done that a long time ago.
TS: I’ve coached a bunch of CEOs who have to do roadshows on just basic presentation skills and it saves them from stumbling.
AP: Yeah. Alright, so next on your list is to get the prospect to go to a website and watch a video.
TS: It used to be that as a salesperson, I controlled everything. If I could get the appointment, I controlled everything because they didn’t know about me and they didn’t know about my company. I started off in sales in the 90s and I would show up with a little cardboard folder and it would have little one sheets with the benefits of our of our service.
AP: And the flip chart portfolio.
TS: Yep, absolutely. You controlled when you flipped to the next feature or benefit. Now, before anybody lets you in, they’re going to go look. You’ve got to make sure that there’s information on your website that gives them the basics. We live in a world where people want to see a video of what you’re doing. It’s got to be short; it’s got to be something that’s understandable. In my world, as a speaker, if I don’t have a short three minute video that a meeting planner can watch, I’m never going to get the call. They need to see something. It doesn’t have to be highly produced, but it has to be something where they see it and say, “I want to talk more to that person.” That works for every industry. Once they know you exist, you’ve got to get them to do a little bit of research. If they don’t do the research then they’ve just proven to you that they don’t care. Nowadays, everything is a click away. You want to push them to do some homework on you.
AP: Well, in addition, the medium is important because you talk about video or things like this podcast. Watching you on screen or listening to you on the show versus reading a text description of what you do is a night and day difference to a prospective client, right? So the video is the same thing because there’s an intimacy about it that just doesn’t exist when people just go to the website and read something about you. That’s very critical for making that connection and establishing that initial bond.
AP: All right. So the next thing to talk about establishing connection relationships.
TS: Well, people do business from people they know. They like who they trust. That’s a little bit of a cliché, but clichés are all based in truth.
AP: That’s a valuable equation. That’s as true as it’s ever been.
TS: However, the world has changed. We all now think we know everybody. For example, I listen to Andy’s podcast. I know him. I follow him on Twitter. Hey, we’re buddies. We’re Facebook friends. Everybody thinks they know everybody. Getting to know somebody used to be a process and trust came along with it. Now we all think we know everybody, but do we like them? Do we trust them? When you can get to real life, and real trust, you have something magical in the world of sales because it is rare, more rare than it used to be.
AP: That really gets to the basics of when you have that initial connection with somebody, what do you do? The mistake that we still see, is leaving with a pitch perfecting your pitch. Don’t perfect your pitch. Ask something about them.
TS: That’s right. You know, they’ve done surveys on blind dates where they put a couple out in a restaurant and they put a camera in the flowers and they float a microphone in the beer and they record the whole thing. Afterwards, they asked them, what’d you think? The person who talks the most always says, “I love them. I hope we get married and have three kids.” The one who talks the least says, “I’m not so sure.” You want to ask a lot of questions so that you can learn about the other person and what their needs are, because that will draw them closer to you. The more they talk, the more they’re going to like you.
AP: Well, there was a study that was done by a company called Multiply in the business-to-business sales space that was published earlier this year. They surveyed executives on the buying side and sales reps about the same transaction and concluded that the sales reps always estimated the value of what they thought they delivered to be higher than what the executive thought they got. This mismatch is just the one you described. How do you avoid that? Make it about them. You’re there for them.
TS: Let them know that you care. It’s that old saying that I can’t care until I know you care.
AP: Part of letting them know you care is the idea that you have to listen. There’s a big sales problem prevalent today. We have these scripted questions and don’t get me wrong, a script is valuable. However, you have to know when to follow the script word for word and when to be there for the customer. Oftentimes, the best second question that’s really powerful to form that connection isn’t the one that’s on the script. It’s something that’s said in reaction to what they said. You’re never going to hear that unless you’re present, mindful, and listening to what they’re saying. Oh, and turn off your phone, for goodness sakes.
TS: We could do a whole podcast on the whole issue around the phones and how people pull them out in the middle of conversations. I have a little module about how people use phones and I do a little demonstration of somebody who’s on the phone while they’re in a conversation, and I asked the audience, what did you think? Somebody always screams out, “disconnected” or “rude.” One of those words comes out really loud, really fast. Then I do this whole bit about how it’s rude or it’s disconnected or whatever comes up, and then I ask, “What do you call it when you do it?” And everybody gets really nervous and uncomfortable because we all do it. We’re all expecting that call from that client or whatever. We’re talking to somebody, we glance at our phone. When we do it, we call it multitasking but when other people do it to us we call it rude.
AP: I have to steal that, bottle it up, and put it in a presentation. I’ll send the royalty check to you as well. So, the next one is to understand outcomes they desire from their investment in your product’s service. This goes back again to asking great question.
TS: Yeah, because at the end of the day, every client is going to be different. You can’t just come in and sell from a script, right? You have to go in and figure out what it is that they need, and a lot of cases – depending on what you sell – the buyer wants to look good, but you have to know what “looks good” means, Is it saving money? Is it saving time? Is it being more efficient? Is it raising their visibility? Whatever it is that you offer to sell, what it is they need, if you know what their hot button is it’s much easier to sell to that, but if you’re just guessing or treating everybody the same, you’re going to have a much harder time.
AP: Yeah, and one way to really dig down and get to that is what I call the world’s best second question. Hopefully your first question is an insightful one. You’re getting great information back, then pause for a second and then ask them, “That’s interesting. Tell me more about that.” That’s the world’s best second question.
TS: Open ended questions. I mean, they’ve been teaching for decades that open ended questions are always going to be better than a yes or no question. So “tell me more about that” is great, because they have to elaborate.
AP: That’s what you want. You want that elaboration. There’s a great book called The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier. He was on the show and his version of that question was “and what else?” It’s a great, great way to phrase that question. Next, talk about demonstrating unique value that you bring. This is really critical.
TS: We live in a world where everybody wants to make everything a commodity, right. I make my living as a speaker, but the reality is if they hire me to speak, or they hire you to speak, we both could go speak about sales but they’re going to have an entirely different experience. Now in the case of you and I, it’s going to be fabulous, no matter who they were to pick, however, it’s going to be different. Therefore, it’s one of those things that if I come off looking like everybody else, then they’re just going to hire based on price or who’s closer, so they don’t have to put them up in a hotel room or whatever. The reality is, you have to figure out how you’re unique. A branding expert named Sam Horn taught me about 15 years ago that if you name it, you own it. You want to take what you do and give it a little twist. So as a professional master of ceremonies, and even as a keynote speaker, I’m known as the conference catalyst, because I get people excited about this world of getting back to the basics of how we connect. Then I turn it around and I talk about what can we do at this conference. It’s going to make it the best event you go to all year, and so that’s my little twist that I’ve done and other people have now come along over the last decade and stolen it. There’s one person who’s the conference connector or whatever. Okay, that’s great, but I am the conference catalyst. That’s just the way it is. It gets people that I’m not just a networking speaker. I hate it when somebody says, “Oh, you’re the networking guy.” No, no, no. I’m not the sales guy. I’m not the networking guy. I’m the conference catalyst. Let’s talk about what that means and why what I do is unique compared to other speakers, you could hire. If they get that, they tend to hire me. If they don’t get that, they hire a commodity.
AP: Exactly. Here’s a great thing I heard from Brent Adamson, the author of The Challenger Customer: What can you tell the customer about their business that they don’t know, but should? If you can do that, that’s amazing, if you think about that from a value delivery perspective. If you don’t set yourself apart, what can you tell them about their business that they don’t know, but should know.
TS: It shows that you did your homework.
AP: And homework shows you understand their business?
AP: Great question. Okay. So we’ll go through one more here, and then we’ll take a short break. So overcome concerns and objections.
TS: After you make a proposal, there’s going to be times where they say, “This doesn’t really work. I really need to have you here the day before, or, you know, can you get that delivery date by a certain time?” If you don’t get them to tell you what their concerns or objections are, then you don’t know how to sell around them. So many times as salespeople, we leave people out there with the proposal and we just think they’re happy as clams, but there’s something about it that they really wanted. You have to go back and ask, “Is there anything in what I’m proposing that doesn’t fit with your needs?” If the client tells you that the proposal is fine, then that’s great. If the answer is, “I really expected X, Y, and Z from you in order to make this happen.” Maybe that’s something you can do, maybe it’s not, maybe you have to change the numbers. If you don’t know what’s on their mind, though, then they’re going into a closed-door session without you and making a decision. They’re going to go off of just what they see. You have to be able to ask them if they need anything you’re not already providing. Then, if they have an objection or concern, you have to be able to address it and do so quickly.
AP: Right. I think that really brings up a key point. If you’re going to send a quote or proposal to a customer, get them on the phone, get them on Skype or GoToMeeting or Zoom or something and review it with them. On the proposal, make sure you have time set up to walk them through it. That way, I understand why you proposed what you did and how it meets our objectives. Then ask, “Is there anything left that I haven’t addressed?”
All right. I’ve got some standard questions I ask all my guests. The first one is a hypothetical scenario. In this scenario, you’ve just been hired as VP of sales at a company whose sales have stalled up and flatlined, and the CEO is anxious to get things unstuck. You know a turnaround needs to start somewhere, so what two steps would you take your first week on the job that could have the biggest impact?
TS: So I think if I came in as sales manager, the first step would be to get to know the people on my sales team. Maybe I have to get them off site. Maybe we have to go bowling, maybe one on one we go out for lunch, but I have to know what their motivation is. Do they like where they are? Do they do they have enthusiasm for the job? Do we have the right people? Sales can stall out and you still have great people or sales stall out because the people just aren’t enthusiastic and they’re not there and, if they’re not the right people, then you’re going to have to make some changes down the road. So, the first thing would be to get an idea of what’s going on with the sales team. The second thing would be if you’ve got the right people on the bus, and they’ve stalled out, I’m a real believer that you’ve got to change the way things are done, you got to fire them up a little bit. Maybe you’ve got to have a little bit of motivation. Maybe you bring in some sort of a speaker who’s going to talk to them. Now I get a lot of pushback in my world because I’m a speaker. People say, “Oh, well, motivation doesn’t work.” I love to quote the famous and legendary Zig Ziglar. He said, “Motivation is like bathing. You know, we recommend you do it every day.” If people aren’t motivated, if things have stalled out, you need to find ways to get them excited and get them get them pumped up. Yes, bringing in a motivational speaker for an hour isn’t going to do anything. You can change the culture of your team to where people are talking about the issues, setting really realistic goals they can go after, and you’re firing them up and letting them know that they have the power to go out and do that. Then you have to reinforce that. You have to like bathing, you have to bathe every day, you have to have your motivation on a regular basis. However, I think that if you get people fired up, you and they want to be there and they love what they’re doing. All of a sudden, you’re going to see the results coming.
AP: Great answer. All right, some rapid-fire questions. You can give me one word answers or elaborate if you choose. When you, Tom, are out selling your services, what’s your most powerful sales attribute?
TS: I think it’s that I really care that an event is great. I really, really care.
AP: Yeah, I think your service orientation is a strong point. Who’s your sales role model?
TS: I was a big fan of Tom Hopkins when I was young. I haven’t followed his stuff in probably a decade. When I was a young, I was a real disciple of him and of Harvey Mackay.
AP: Yeah, Tom is great. I had him on the show not too long ago. So other than any of your vast library books that you’ve written, what’s one book you recommend every salesperson read?
TS: So I’m going to go old school on you. I’m going to go back to the late 80s and I’m going to say everybody still needs to go and read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey.
AP: Great book, great book. So okay, last question for you. This is a toughy. What music’s on your playlist these days?
TS: Whenever anybody would ask me about music I used to always say that my favorite band is the Beach Boys, which just embarrassed the crap out of my wife because she hates the Beach Boys, but I love the Beach Boys. I know, can you believe she doesn’t like country music either. We live in Texas.
AP: Where’s she from?
TS: She’s from Northern California.
AP: How can you hate the Beach Boys?
TS: She doesn’t love The Beach Boys. They came through in a concert and I said, “Let’s go.” She said, “I’ve been.” I said, “In 1992.” She’s like, “That was enough.” I grew up in the 80s when they made their original comeback, and they played all over Southern California. In ‘81 and ‘82, when they were sort of re-coming back on the scene, I was in the neighborhood, you know, the area of where they played a lot. That was my first concert and all that. So, I like the Beach Boys. The other thing on my playlist is the soundtrack to “Hamilton,” because I have a 14-year-old daughter who is an actress, and she is absolutely enamored with the musical Hamilton.
AP: The soundtrack to “Hamilton” is becoming an increasingly frequent answer on the show. Have you had a chance to go see it?
TS: I wish. No, I haven’t been in New York in about a year. I will go as soon as I get a chance to be in New York, though.
AP: I think a surprise 15th birthday present for your daughter is in order.
TS: So we have a deal with the kids that when they turn 13, they do a trip anywhere in the US with mom. When they turn 16, they do it with me. She’s a little over a year from turning 16 and she’s planning a trip to New York so we can do that.
AP: Excellent. Tom, thanks so much for being on the show. Tell people how they can find out more about you.
TS: I’m easy. It’s tomsinger.com.
AP: All right. Well, thank you again. Remember friends, make it a part of your day every day to deliberately learn something new to help you accelerate your success. One easy way to do that is to make this podcast part of your daily routine during a commute, in the gym, or for a morning sales meeting. That way, you won’t miss any of my conversations with top business experts like Tom singer, who shared his expertise about how to accelerate the growth of your business. Thanks for joining me. Until next time, this is Andy Paul. Good selling everyone. Thanks for listening to the show. If you like what you heard and want to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming episodes, please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or stitcher.com. For more information about today’s guests, visit my website at www.andypaul.com.