Everything is about sales. No matter what job or position you are in, you’re still selling ideas, products, services, and even your skills. That is why every successful business owner knows that getting deep into sales is a necessary thing to do. Starting you off on that path, Steve Farber brings over to the show the Vice President of Sales Training of Vector Solutions and sales maven, Phil Gerbyshak. Phil is all about sales. He is a sales speaker, sales trainer, leader, and mentor. In this episode, Phil shares with us how he helps other people get good at sales by combining his love for it and leadership. He talks about his sales approach, why building relationships play an important part in it, and how the nuance of love changes your whole sales process. Lean into this episode to know more from Phil how to become a good salesperson, someone who comes from a place of authenticity and care for others.
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Love And The Sales Maven With Phil Gerbyshak
My guest is my old friend, Phil Gerbyshak. I want to you to learn about his approach to sales because sales are in many ways Phil is all about. He is a sales expert in a lot of context. He’s a sales speaker, trainer, leader and mentor. He does internal sales training. He’s with a company called Vector Solutions where he is a Vice President. He’s a sales podcaster and a sales coach. Do you see a pattern emerging here? Phil has written five books and more than 3,000 articles. I’m assuming that it’s true, I want to hear about that. He’s been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Daily Globe and Mail, Financial Times, Investors Business Daily, Inc., and many other publications. He’s been featured on three magazine covers, Speaker Magazine, which is the magazine of the National Speakers Association, Marketing Media and Money Magazine and also a magazine called Social Selling Made Easy.
He’s a leadership guy and he’s deeply versed in technology and social media. You’ll see him on LinkedIn. You’ll find him on any social media channel. I want to hear a little bit about that but if you comment on Phil’s LinkedIn post, Facebook post, Instagram, Twitter, wherever it is, he responds to you almost instantaneously. It’s magic and Crunchbase recognized Phil Gerbyshak as 1 of the 25 sales leaders to follow. Phil, it’s a pleasure to have you on my show. I’ve been on yours a couple of times in the past, but now that I’ve got one, I’m glad you’re here.
Thanks, Steve. It’s great to be here.
You and I have had a relationship that’s been developing and deepening for some time. I would love for you to start out by telling our audience about your background and story. If you want to think of it in comic book terms, your origin story, where did the superhero known as Phil Gerbyshak emerge from?
I’m from a little town called Crivitz, Wisconsin, population 996 and none of the advantages. My mom cut the cheese for a living. Dad was a dairy farmer. I went in the Navy out of high school. I thought, “This is something to do. I’ve got to get out of Crivitz.” I delivered email by hand. That was my job for four years and I’m like, “This technology stuff is not going to work. This is not going to work for me.” I went to school to be a teacher and did that for about three semesters. The third semester, I learned about this thing called the internet because we were at 9,600 baud. For anybody reading at home, try to draw a picture and then walk it to the other side of the country, that’s 9,600 baud. I got enough speed that the internet could load quicker. I got into the Navy in ‘96 and ‘98. I started playing with websites and getting more involved. I had a website dedicated to the ‘80s. Schoolhouse Rock! had come out on DVD at some point and they reached out to me and Buckner and Garcia who wrote the song Pac-Man Fever.
That was a real crowd pleaser. They put it on CD and those two reached out to me because I had one of the best ‘80s websites. I knew that I was doing something right when the local radio station stole my 101 Reasons to Know That You’re Stuck in the ‘80s and put it on their website when I had over 1,500 submissions for that. I started seeing steep the benefit of social without being social. Guest books were social, my crowdsource page, but I had to rewrite the code every single time and I was like, “This sucks. I’m going to school to teach.” In 1999, I then went to school for about 3.5 years. About two years into my internet journey, I got bored. I got my first sales job that was formal. I was a stockbroker, believe it or not.
At some point, I did that. I sold high speed internet, stockbroker, and then 9/11 happened and the world changed. I thought, “I should go back into tech.” The bottom dropped out of the economy. I’m like, “Sales is not going to work. I should go into something safer.” I went into technology and in 2004, this thing called a blog opened up. In late 2004, early 2005, Google bought Pyra Labs Blogger, and it completely changed my life. Scott Ginsburg, Hello, my name is scott.com was challenging me like, “You should start a blog. You should call me.” I’m like, “Shut up, Scott.” I call him on Valentine’s Day and he answers the phone with, “What the F took you long on the phone? Get here.” On 2003 to 2005, I started my blog journey and not too long after that, I met you.
Is that PhilGerbyshak.com?Everything is about sales. If you're a leader, you sell ideas. If you're in sales, you sell products or services. Click To Tweet
That was on blogger. That was MakeItGreat.blogspot.com.That was the whole jam. My book turns fifteen on June 30th. At that time, I had 80 articles that I would write. I would write one article every four days and it was riffing off somebody taking your stuff, Tim Sanders and Marcus Buckingham. Some of these guys into John Maxwell, reading Math and thinking about the management leadership blogger to your point. At least Amber had some great stuff. Mike sent Sony, Drew McLellan, Drew is still my buddy and started moving. In 2006, I got featured in Ted Demopoulos in What Nobody Ever Teaches You About Blogging and Podcasting as a blog.
I don’t even think the book is still in print, but I have a copy of it somewhere in one of my boxes. He mentioned me for blogging and I’m like, “Why am I not podcasting?” Chris Brogan started the Great Big Small Business Show. We would call in on the phone and leave our message. In 2007, I got to interview Seth Godin. We met about 2006 or 2007. We went to Perkins and shop for underwear for Jeremy at Kohl’s department store. It’s interesting because I gave my two-year notice in 2008.
I want to pause here because what you said is going to make absolutely no sense to anybody. I want to give a little color commentary. In 2008, I don’t know that you and I had yet met face-to-face. We’ve met a couple of times face-to-face. We’d spent a lot of time talking. My son, Jeremy, who had graduated high school at the time, was traveling on a program called Up With People. They were starting out in Wisconsin, not too far from where you live in Waukesha. I was there to visit him and we got together with you. We had some lunch and then we went shopping for underwear for Jeremy. You are our guide through the department store, a world of Waukesha, Wisconsin.
At that time, to be perfectly clear, you saw me speak for the first time. That was another seminal moment in my life. You heard me speak and you said, “You want some feedback?” I said, “Of course.” He said, “For eleven minutes, you were awesome. You’re on but for 49 minutes you sucked.” You said, “Nervous shack. You suck, you shit the bed. You weren’t good.” I was like, “Thanks, Steve.” He then said, “Do you want to know how to be better?” You gave me some feedback and you said, “Think about those eleven minutes. You were telling your story. You were telling us what was in your heart. You were sharing their love and for the next 49, you told us what you thought we needed to hear. Stop doing that and focus on your heart and what’s in your brain instead of what you think we need.” That changed my talk. My life changed my trajectory for sure. Ginsburg, ‘03, ‘04, ‘05 that Valentine’s Day kick started me there. You helped me with speaking. I gave my two-year notice in 2008 and I left in 2010
Fully expecting Steve that I was going to be a leadership consultant, slacker manager, we had 500,000 hits a month. We are the number 1 or 2 highest rated management leadership blogs at the time, he and David Zinger. I quit on June 1st and by the end of that year, B5 media sold out. My consulting contract had dried completely up and the only thing I had was sales. I started working with financial advisors on how they could do sales, how they could leverage LinkedIn and Twitter content and how they could talk about interviews. Even some little stuff around video, but this was early iPhone days. Video was still super grainy, but it worked. The stuff I taught worked and over time I moved away from the management and leadership side and into the sales piece recognizing that it was always all about sales anyway. Everything is about sales.
If you’re a leader, you sell ideas. If you’re in sales, you sell products or services. If you’re a customer, you’re selling your boss. If you need to buy this, whatever it is and I recognize that, sales is my calling. That’s caught me up to where I am now. My LinkedIn profile got the attention of a headhunting firm in Tampa who said, “You want a job?” I said, “No.” He’s like, “What do you mean no?” I’m like, “I got my own business. I’m doing great. Things are good but what is it?” “If you need a sales trainer, you probably need sales training. I’d love to talk to the chief sales officer.” We talked about it at Vector. I talked to Dave Brown. He’s a great guy. My boss genuinely loved the guy. We were talking and told him what I needed to make it work. At the time, we had four locations. Now we have 5 or 6, “I want to travel. I want to be able to influence this. I want to create the sales training myself.” He’s like, “We’ve never had a sales vendor before you. Do whatever you think is best.” Here we are months later.
You took all that experience that you had as an entrepreneur, as an early stage blogger, as an early stage podcaster, as a social media guy and combined it with your love for leadership and for sales. You took that whole package and you applied it and are still applying it internally at Vector Solutions. They offered you a job because they saw through your platform, that you had this incredible expertise with sales, but not sales in the South. I want to dive into that because it’s not sales in the stereotypical traditional way that we look at sales. The negative stereotype of the salesperson is somebody who’s going to tell you what you need to hear in order to get you to do what they want you to do. Your approach to sales has always been different from that. It’s been more on the relationship side and my impression is that you look for various ways to build that relationship and social media is a big part of that. Give us a little bit of a glimpse behind the proverbial curtain as you’re thinking about what your sales approach is.
Relational and consultative are absolutely important regardless of the size of the deal. We have some smaller deals for sure and we have some bigger deals. Relational and consultative means it starts with the prospect. As we think about the prospect, what do they need? As a sales development rep, because I coach and train our entire sales organization of 170 sellers, and about 30 to 40 liters on a sales development end. It’s 90 seconds of research. Here’s how to research someone and develop at least enough conversation that you’ll answer the phone and respond to my first inquiry. Not super cold, but not worn that I spent three hours researching you because the deals are not that big. They’re often small. We sell software to fire departments and police departments and engineers and all those people. Ninety seconds of research starts with building the relationship, not talking much about how we can help you, but who you are first and doing a little bit of research.
What have you downloaded? Pay attention. Don’t ask stupid questions. The comment about there’s no such thing as a stupid question came from somebody in sales talking to their customers, not a customer talking to the sales team. Sales people ask stupid questions. They know what questions that they know the answer to or that they should like doing 90 seconds of research. Steve, what keeps you up at night? If I go to your website and you’re in your company, you probably have a blog or you have a social media channel. You’ve got something that says, “Here are our secures, our strategic vision for the year.” That’s keeping them up at night and they don’t need to tell you that. How long have you been with the company? Go to their LinkedIn profile, “I see you’ve been there 11 years and 9 months. What’s changed?”
The way you’re defining a stupid question is asking a question that you should already know the answer to because you’ve done your research.
It’s a question that wastes your prospect’s time, your customer’s time.
It’s also by you already knowing the answer to that question, it shows that you care enough about this person to have done your homework about them before calling them cold.
It’s interesting when I first introduced this, I got people like, “Aren’t they worried I’m stalking them?” I’m like, “Maybe but they’re more worried that you didn’t pay any attention to that. That you’re calling everybody in the phone book.” That’s a way bigger concern that you’re going to waste my time. That’s why cold calls suck. The first question is how much time are you going to waste and then get off the phone because you’re never going to get to the point. You’re not going to be relevant. You’re not going to build a relationship. You’re not going to have any sort of connection with me step one is connection. Step two is the value.
I’m reflecting on the vendors or potential vendors that I talked to in my business. I have to admit that I’m an easy-going guy. It irritates me when a potential vendor gets on a call with me. We schedule a call, I’m interested in their service, they get on and they start with, “What do you do? Tell me about your business.” There’s a part of me that says, “Was that damaging to my ego?” What I’m realizing now is that I’m easy to find. If you google Steve Farber, you get plenty of information and you’re telling me you didn’t take the three minutes to get the answer to that question before getting on a call with me. I get it. I hear what you’re saying. What that says to me, if I flip it around when somebody has done that, the overriding message that I get beyond the words is you cared enough about this to check me out. Learn as much as you can ahead of time and that makes me feel good.
If you’re one of those people that puts things online, and not everybody does and that’s fine, I’m not judging anybody who does or does not, but if you do and a sales person doesn’t do the research, they’re wasting your time. I should be calling you because I believe there’s a fit, not because I’m trying to gauge that. The real question is, “Is now the time to solve the problem?” You won’t tell me that unless we have a relationship. Let’s get to the end here. Salespeople are paid to solve problems to find pain. If we had no relationship and you walked up to me as I walked off the stage and said, “You suck. Here’s ten reasons why you better and you didn’t know me.” We know people that that’s happened to, “You suck. If you’d like some paid coaching for $10,000 a month, I can help you.” That’s what people hear. We flipped. Instead we took the time and built the relationship.
“Are you open to some feedback? As a salesperson, Steve, I noticed on your website that it seems like you’re challenged by X, Y, or Z. Are you interested in learning about how those things might be solved? How I might be able to help you? Now might not be a great time, but perhaps it is next week, next month, tomorrow or an hour from now. I know I called you out of the blue to you, but Steve, is it worth it to have a conversation with me?” That’s because I did the research because I care about you. That’s where salespeople have to do that. Our sales development people, our inside sales reps, they have to have that and then if you’re someone who’s in a role that gets past the lead from a sales development rep, then your question is, “This is what Phil told me that you said, ‘Are these the most important things or is there something else that we might be missing?’” After I’ve taken the time to build a little bit of relationship, not over rapport. I’m not trying to find out about your dog, wife, cats and your books and all this stuff, but a little bit enough to break the ice. It’s not reading the report. It’s that you did some research. It’s that you care about enough that you invested some time not to waste mine. That’s sales. That’s the relationship.Incorporating love to sales is about believing in your products, services, and what you’re selling. Click To Tweet
You were about to get to point number two.
We have a prospect. We have that prospect from there, then that middle piece is you’ve taken the call to your point. You get the appointment and most salespeople lead with, “This is my company and here’s why we’re great. Here are seventeen companies that we’ve taken down. We got into recurring revenue of this and we’ve got 74 people in this.” Nobody cares. It’s, “Steven, here’s the notes that I’ve got. It says that these three things are important to you. First, is that true? Are those really the most important things that we can talk about now? I’m looking at my watch and we’ve only got 33 minutes here. I don’t want to waste a minute of it on something that doesn’t matter to you. Are these still the most three most important things or is there something else you’d like me to make sure that we cover? I’m wondering before we even get started, can you tell me why those are important to you?” Relationally, if I’ve taken some time to build that relationship a little bit, we’re not sleeping together.
You’ll say, “I know that those are challenges because those are challenges for everybody in my industry but this one is the biggest one. The other ones, those would be nice but if you could solve this one, that would help me. With that one, my organization could do X, Y or Z. Here’s the pain that it would solve. Here’s how much more it would make us. Maybe it will stop the bleeding. Maybe it’s something that we’re having to pay out. Maybe we’re getting fine. We sell some compliance software, that helps people, their OSHA, our requirements. If you have unlicensed people on a job site, it’s possible you could get fined. If an inspector shows up, Steve, last year you got $571,000 and our training costs $4,000. How many times are you going to risk a $171,000 fine when you could solve that for $4,000?” Relationally, when I ask that question, it’s clear that I asked that because I care about you because I have some love for you and that’s where this whole love thing comes in. If I don’t care, check the box. How long are you going to have that? It seems to me it becomes great.
It feels transactional. That’s exactly the question that I want to make sure we don’t lose it. It’s a very profound question when you’re identifying these kind of the pain points as it were. The question then that you laid in there was, “Why is that important to you?” That’s a powerful question because what you’re doing is you’re opening up a door into what makes this person tick. By trying to answer that why, you’re going to hear about their challenges, their history. You’re going to hear about the things they tried before that didn’t work again, that they wish they could do again. That’s where you might hear about their kids and their cat without asking, “Tell me about your kids and your cat.” The question why is a love-based question. As long as it’s coming from a place of, “I’m asking you this. I’m genuinely interested in your answer, not because I’m looking for ammunition to use against you in the sale.”
That’s such a nuance. That’s where checking the box on sales. I can tell you the sales process, the nuance of love changes your sales process. You made a good one with the why and that is you have to ask why a few times. The first ‘why’ is what the organization says. The first why is, “Steve, it costs us a $37,000. Why is that a challenge? Why is that important?” The reason might be, “We’re cash strapped. That $37,000 in grain.” Then I’m going to go one deeper. I’m going to say, “What does that mean to you? How does that affect you?” If we don’t get it done, if we fail to deliver, if this doesn’t work, if this is a failure, has this ever happened to you before? We have to find that out because sometimes the big why is, “Because my job depends on it.”
What I understand then, this is a bigger risk than I thought. We need to hold this accountable. We need to make sure we timeline that out. “Steve, what day did you say? You said 731. Let’s reverse that 731. Let’s identify those milestones, those checkpoints that we make sure we hit them. That 731 is a hard date, not a soft date.” What we’re saying underneath that is, “I care about you. I want you to feel secure.” Security is the first reason that sales don’t go anywhere because inertia works against us in sales. Staying in the status quo is comfortable. There’s no risk there.
What you’re saying is that the biggest reason people don’t buy a new product take on a new service is because that by definition means they have to change something. People would rather maintain the status quo than change. One of my mentors, Terry Pearce, who I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about before, unfortunately passed away. He used to say, “People don’t like change, but they love progress,” which is change. As progress with a purpose, as progress leading towards a better future. If the salesperson has done his or her job correctly, then they understand what picture of the potential future to paint for this prospective customer.
The better tomorrow. The thought of hope is big. When we think about sales, that mindset of hopefulness is important. That’s where optimism matters. It doesn’t matter what economy and tomorrow can be better. We have to believe that as sales professionals. Many are challenged by that because there’s uncertainty. That’s the biggest challenge. Let’s talk about what is certain. If I’m a sales leader, what is certain is I can look at your attitude and say, “How’s your attitude?” I can look at your output. What are you doing? I’m not looking at the outcome. Let me be clear. I’m talking about output. Outcome, I can’t control. If I expect you are going to make 100 calls a day, which is a lot, you get a lot of no answers. You get a lot of voicemail. One hundred is not unreasonable. Ninety seconds of research at that takes you about an hour to research. It’s about an hour to two hours to research those 90 customers or a hundred customers because they don’t come up online, summer negligible. The industry’s the same. With all of that, we have to remember we have to de-risk the decision for them.
What does that mean?
The risk of change is huge because it could go wrong. Somebody could not like it. I could be unpopular. I could make people hate me. This could cost me my job. Jan said, “If it isn’t red, we can’t do it and they didn’t show me red.” I don’t know if this might be an extra hour for me. I won’t get to go see the kid’s baseball game. All these risks and my job as a sales professional is say yes to them. Those are valid risks. I totally understand that we can’t control all of them, but I can sure bet that we’re going to work together to de-risk this as much as we can and think about the benefit. Think about what’s going to happen as a result of this. You might miss two ball games and that sucks. I don’t want to miss my kid’s ball games either but when this is done, you won’t have to miss another ball game for this. You won’t have to get fined. You will get that promotion. You will get that better performance evaluation or whatever it is because we’re going to be successful in that. If I show that I improved, that I care about you, you believe me. If not, you’re like, “That’s not going to happen.”
The obvious thing here is you have to genuinely care.
That’s the missing link.
It’s not about saying the script is when somebody says, “I may miss my kid’s game.” I then say, “I wouldn’t want to miss my kid’s game either.” It’s not right. It’s coming from the compassionate place that makes it obvious that I wouldn’t want to miss my kid’s game either. I don’t want you to have to do that. I think we’re conflating a couple of different things here. You started saying as a sales leader, you want to measure output not outcome. The way that I hear that is you can measure if your salespeople are making those hundred calls a day. It’s putting the attention on the things that you do have control over. Behavioral things are typically things that we have control over the outcome of that is the number of sales and etc. The theory is if I manage the output that it’s being done, not quantitatively but qualitatively, then the outcome will follow.
That’s the expectation and sales is much about timing. We can’t control that either. In the middle of a pandemic, an organization might be completely shut down. If there’s a relationship there, if we showed that and we talk about the output and focus on that, it might not be a great time. You might not have the funds, the authority and the people in the office that can help implement this. When do you think you will? I’ll follow up with you then again. Keep writing, make a promise, keep a promise. I’m going to call you that morning. We’re going to check in to make sure that everything is good, that we can move forward. I can’t say, “On 6:30, I have this and then I’m going to wait a whole month to contact you again.” I have to keep building that relationship. That’s where we have some of that conversation and we talked about the kids.
I want to dig a little bit deeper into the love element of this. I know that’s where you come from and that’s what we’re all about around these parts. I sometimes refer to it as the Extreme Leader’s Credo, which is do what you love in the service of people who love what you do. I’m not a sales technique expert or a sales guy. That’s not part of my self-image, although I think I’m good at it. It strikes me that do what you love in the service of people who love what you do is a powerful framework for a sales orientation, a sales mindset, a sales approach. What are your thoughts?
It is a great mindset. If we back into that, the love what you do means you believe in your product, in the service and in what you’re selling. Doing what you love is service. It is service doing what you love. I love to help people. I would not consider myself a sales person either. In fact, I ran away from it for a long time. It is only in the last, probably two years that I’ve embraced the fact that I’m a sales guy. I’m a sales trainer and that’s really who I am. Frankly, that’s who I’ve always been. By service do what you love. That’s the service we provide in the service. It’s got to be useful. That’s where you don’t sell something that isn’t a value that’s where you don’t push people in a sales. Throwing that all together, “I enjoy serving people when I am serving them in a way that is appropriate in a timing that’s appropriate,” that they don’t get buyer’s remorse for people who appreciate the transformation that happens because of the work that I’ve done.It is a service doing what you love. Click To Tweet
“Do what you love in the service of those who love what you do” is a perfect mindset. If we think about that and we put love in the center of that and we always say, “This is a person, not a number. This is a person, not a prospect. This is a person, not a target,” which often sales do. What would I do for a person that I loved? I would always be honest with them. I would always slow down to speed up. “Steve, you look like you have some questions. Let me stop for a minute and let’s talk about those. I’m paying attention. Even if we’re on the phone, I can hear your breath change. I’m listening, not to respond but to hear you.” I wish I’d come up with the first because it’s perfect for sales.
What would you recommend to somebody who is struggling with their sales job because that love isn’t there? It’s true for any job, but let’s focus on sales. They’re not crazy about the product. There’s maybe a better solution. They don’t have a lot of confidence in the company that they work for to back up the promises. There are lots of variations on that theme where people feel less than 100% in love with the very thing that they need to sell in order to put food on the table.
You have to look deeper for the love and where’s your love? Is it because you love your family? Is it because you love yourself? For some salespeople, some love money. What money can get that if we focus on that, that’s helpful. If we think about, is there any time that I do have love for this product for this service, for these people, for this company, for my boss, for my team? I have to look for the love. When I look for it, I will probably find it, but I have to stop for a second and count our blessings. What is it that I love? What am I grateful for? If we’re in the middle of a pandemic, you might be great that you’re getting a paycheck every two weeks. That’s love because I need the love that. I might love the fact that my boss checks on me every day and finds out how I’m doing. I’m fortunate. I have every week with my boss and we talk about what I’m working on. I love his attention and sometimes I’ll tell you few sales professionals want to talk to a trainer on the last week of the month. They’re trying to make it. This month right there, it’s quarter end as I got month end, quarter end.
It’s the middle of the pandemic and we’re closed on the second. We’ve got a four-day weekend, which means I don’t get to talk to anybody on the sales team for fifteen days practically. That’s a problem how do I show them my love? If they’re not feeling it, if they’re concerned, I share a show, I share an article. I share some mindset shift. I find out, I asked instead of, “How about some training?” I say, “How can I help you close more deals this court this month, this week?” I shift that and as a salesperson, we got to get out of our head because there is love there. We often don’t realize what it is. It might not be our product, but it might be the fact that in certain situations it is the perfect product for those customers. I should sell to more of them, but it might be because of my service team. We might have great customer support. I love that team.
There’s always a spectrum in this. It might sound obvious, but I will state the obvious. If you’re selling something that truly has no value, that’s called a con job. You have a choice at that juncture is to either figure out a way to fall in love with something that is not love worthy or you’ve got to find somewhere else to apply your skill.
You have to be willing to say that to yourself and the timing again might not be now. Let’s be perfectly clear and that’s okay. You still have to operate from love. What would happen if I felt that love for this other human being? That’s important. We have to ask ourselves that question, I don’t ever recommend lying to be clear. I always remind my team, “Don’t call from a fake number you can look local. Don’t say that you’re the internal revenue service to try to get a call back because that’s ridiculous. Don’t lie. Tell the truth.” The truth will set you free and if there’s no love there, that’s fine. Move on to the next one. No is the second-best answer we can get in sales. No means, “Sop chasing me. Leave me alone at least for this quarter, this year, this month.”
It occurred to me that your deep background in social media, tell me if I’m wrong about this, is informing your approach to sales. What I mean by that is what makes social media communication powerful is authenticity. Our willingness and ability to show up as who we are on our social channels. We hear a lot of criticism about people only putting their best foot forward on Facebook and creating a picture of a life that other people compare themselves to and feel bad about their own lives, because that seems like an impossibly high standard and there’s an impossibly high standard there because people are faking it, or they’re being very selective about what they share. All that aside, the effective social media communications are very real.
There is no lying involved. It’s being vulnerable. He’s coming up a lot now but the aforementioned Terry Pearce, my mentor, he was talking about vulnerability back in the ‘90s when I first met him. There was a phrase that he used that it was powerful. He called it relevant vulnerability. Being vulnerable doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily going to open up the closet and show you all the skeletons that are hanging in there, to use an inspiring metaphor. Be honest with everything that I do share and I’ll choose those things that give us the opportunity to connect with each other.
You’ve been doing that on social media since day one. From my experience in our friendship, whenever we have a question about what we should or shouldn’t do, and the social media channels or technology we call Gerbyshak and say, “What do you think we should do?” You’ve always been more than willing, eager to help us out. That’s what comes across in your voice, in all of your channels. Going back to one of the first things I said about you at the beginning of this discussion, when somebody comments on something that you’ve posted, you always respond, do you ever not respond?
Sometimes I do not respond. There are two times. One, if it’s a clear spammer. I have to say that because sometimes you’ll see there’s no response. The second is when somebody is purposely trying to be divisive.
We don’t see much of that on social media nowadays.
Lately, it’s been tough. I don’t know if I learned this from Jay Barrow, who I learned this from, but I’m only going to go back to someone maybe twice. I’m going to have a response I’m never followed up with their response and then I’m going to end the conversation. I’m not trying to get the last word. I don’t respond for the last word to be perfectly clear. Growing up in our family, that was the joke that, whoever got the last word, won the conversation. I’m not trying to win conversations. I’m not trying to get the last word in. I’m trying to show gratitude for the fact that you commented for the fact that you took time to connect with me. The fact that you shared your opinion, even if I disagree, but if you’re purposely provocative for no other reason and you’re always the devil’s advocate or you’re always taking it and spinning it, I’m going to leave it. I’m then going to give you one more chance and if you do it again, you’re blocked. I blocked three people. I block people in months, maybe year. I bet I have less than twenty people that I’ve ever blocked in fifteen years on social media that are non-spammers.
These three people were intentionally divisive and the words that they used were inflammatory that even after I said, “Please stop.” They did not. It comes down to respect. You steal your word. It does come down to love and I love myself and my community enough that you don’t get to poop in my living room. Get away because it’s my house, my social. Every guest that comes to my front door to see if I’m going to greet them. Every guest that comes in the front door or a side door or any door, or even if they crawl in through the window. I’m at least going to say thank you. I’m at least going to acknowledge that. I appreciate them. I asked about what do people read? Where are you getting your news? I want to know, where are you getting your news? All I did was like each post I didn’t love. Any of them asked a couple of clarifying questions, but purposely didn’t say, “Me too.” What are you doing there? I genuinely wanted to listen and consume. Sometimes the best thing we can do as salespeople, as leaders, as human beings is we can listen from a place of love.
The operative question of that, it’s at the core of all of my work and in particularly of Love Is Just Damn Good Business book and a lot of discussions that I’ve been having on this show series is we’ve got to answer the question, “What should love look like in the way that we do business?” What you said as I treat everybody that’s coming into my house, no matter how they’re coming in, whether it’s through the door, through the window or down the chimney, I’m going to welcome them. This, metaphorically how you approach social media, people coming into your house as it were. That’s a beautiful description of a simple act of love. It’s that welcoming attitude. That carries through it because it’s coming from that real place.
It carries through on everything that we do and carries through on the way we show up in social media, it carries through on how we listen in sales calls. It carries through on, as leaders, our ability to hear the concerns of the people that work for us, with us and around us. It comes down to, am I willing to hear tough feedback on myself as a leader in any other role? That simple metaphorical setup. I welcome everybody into my house applies in many different arenas. It’s a brilliant metaphor. Phil, this has been incredible. You and I have talked quite a bit over the years. I don’t think I’ve ever heard you lay out your sales thinking before. It was insightful for me personally. Thank you for that. All this talk about social media, people want to know, “How do I build a relationship with Gerbyshak?” Where do we go to find you?
I prefer LinkedIn. LinkedIn is great for me. It’s the easiest place to build a relationship because you can see the business and we can get to know each other on business and a little bit personal. It’s safe. I’m going to de-risk that for you. If you want to connect, hit connect, send me a personal message. Tell me you heard me on Steve’s show. I’ll say yes to your connection. My phone number, my email address is also on my LinkedIn connection on my profile in a couple of spots. If you are more of a private person, you can certainly privately email me. If you’re brave you can call or text me. I respond to all of that. I welcome you to contact me. Social certainly is my home. I give you a chance to connect with me. Tell me that you heard me on Steve’s show. Tell me that I’m all wet. That’s okay too. You don’t have to agree with me, but tell me why.Don't sell something that isn't of value. Don't push people in sales. Click To Tweet
It isn’t immediately obvious for most of us why we should connect. Say your why and I encourage you to think about that with anybody you’re connecting with. Let them know why. Give them a reason. That’s all about them. Not all about you, unless it’s something in common. I’m a pinball guy. I love Pinball, Steve. I put pinball wizard on my profile. If you have a favorite pinball game, you could say that. If you love The Who song Pinball Wizard or the Broadway Musical Tommy, say those as well. Find a way to connect. Find a way to go a little bit beyond. Do the research. Don’t ask me a stupid question like, “Are those orange glasses real?” because the answer is yes. I have eighteen pairs of glasses. People do ask that and yes, I do love Pinball. If it’s on my profile, I don’t lie and I encourage you not to.
I want to close this one. I will make a commitment to you, Phil. I promise that I will never poop in your living room.
That’s never going to happen. Thanks for being with us, Phil.
I love you.
I love you too.
Thank you, Steve.
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