Ep 234: Selling with a Servant Heart with Jim Doyle

RV (00:07):
Hey brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders, group.com/pod call brand builders, group.com/pod call. We hope to talk to you soon
RV (00:54):
If you’ve been listening to this show for any amount of time, you know, that the national speakers association has been a huge part of my journey was a huge part of my journey, especially early on as a speaker. And so I met Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy, and so many you know, of my personal mentors and mark Sanborn, Eric Chester, David Avin. Well, there’s a group that NSA has called the million dollar speakers group that started a handful of years ago. And through that group, I got a chance, a we got a chance, AJ and I to meet a lot of the, the, the really sustainable businesses that have been run by speakers. So they were speakers that they turned their expertise into a business, and that’s the man you’re about to meet Jim Doyle. I met Jim through that group. We’ve been friends for a lot of years now at this point he’s run a multi-million dollar training company for years, and we’ve just known each other through that.
RV (01:47):
And I’ve always admired him and looked up to him. One of the things that he did recently is he did an Aesop with some of his team and sold some of the ownership of his company back to his own team members, which is really, really a wonderful way to leave a legacy and something that you just don’t hear that much about. But anyways Jim has a book that just came out, it’s called selling with a servant heart the 10 lessons on the path to joy and increased income. And another thing, if you’ve been listening for a while, you know, we almost never have people on here to talk about sales because we have a hard time finding people who we agree with and how they teach. And we’ve got some really, really specific philosophies around selling that are pretty rare, but Jim is one of the guys that over time we’ve really come to a door and endorsed and we, we endorse this book. And so anyways, I wanted you to get a chance to meet him and learn from him along alongside of me as I learned from him. So Jim, welcome to the show.
JD (02:54):
Thank you. I, I have to laugh, but you know, Brian, Tracy Zig Ziglar Jimbo, Like I’ve arrived at to be even in the same sentence with those guys who were just legends and impacted and thought so many people I’ll take it, but I don’t I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination, what those guys have done is amazing.
RV (03:20):
Well, and I tell you, but in all, in all, like just objectivity, it’s a rare, it is a rare speaker who builds a multi-million dollar enterprise that scales beyond themselves that lasts, you know, over a decade that that actually has a wealth building, a true wealth building component. That’s a transferable asset. That’s really incredible. And so Jim, I want you started really, you, you tell us, tell us what you do. Like tell us what the company is. Obviously the book is about selling out. I want to hear that, but kind of talk to us about like how you started your career and grew the training company. So,
JD (04:03):
So I was always in the media business and the radio and TV business and like many entrepreneurs. I went broke into a deal in the early nineties and I was like, okay, what the hell do I do now? But I had always loved training and speaking. So I started a company in 1992 called Jim Dolan associates, our 30th year, it’s now called jda.media. So this is our 30th year and over a period of time and over, and I really should have been cited over a period of time. You know, it became, I think the largest training company in the TV space, for sure. And I think one of the lessons I’ve learned in that process that maybe is helpful to folks that are trying to do that and try to build a business is the line there’s riches in niches.
JD (04:54):
I think if you look at many of the members of that billion dollar group who have built big sustainable businesses, I think about our friend Roxanne Emmerich, who’s done that in the banking space, who is the guy that we knew, who, who was the guru of nursing homes and senior living centers and somebody, those people you know, people who done it in financial services, bill gates on a subject of referrals who built big businesses by being more niched focused. And I think what that allows you to do is to provide more services than just a training experience. And then you move to the next company in the next marketplace, down the road. Now you can do coaching programs, online programs build more sustainable product businesses that give you more opportunities. So I think that’s one of the lessons that we learned there’s riches in niches.
RV (05:46):
Yeah, that that’s really true. I mean and, and, and some of those folks you get, it’s like, they’re not necessarily names you would recognize, like you might somebody who, you know, speaks in marinas full of people. But in terms of the, the equity value of an, of an asset in a company that’s, you know, survive without them, they are there they’re huge and valuable and provide extraordinary wealth to the founder. And then also, you know, that the people who come after them. So one of the things that I really think is cool about what you guys do. So, so you’re, you’re saying, when you say media and TV business, you’re in media sales, you’re, you’re training you, your niche is training like advertising sales reps at like a local TV station to call on local businesses to sell air like ad ad ad time. Yeah,
JD (06:37):
Yeah, absolutely. So they’re using the, the, the TV stations platform. And then now, today, increasingly using all of the digital platforms that are available that, that television station might’ve created or represents.
RV (06:50):
Interesting. And so these are these like, like, you know, whatever, like your local news for kind of a thing, or,
JD (06:58):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, we’ve, we’ve had clients in Nashville with clients and I think right now, 75 markets around the country. So you know, we’re able to go out and actually make sales calls side-by-side with their team members with just a whole file cabinet of ideas that we’ve learned from traveling all over the country. So we’re the, we’re the king of stolen ideas. We steal an idea, we steal an idea natural and sell it in Austin for a profit. And hopefully for the benefit of the business owner, that it gets some expertise that they might not have been able to get under normal circumstances.
RV (07:34):
And I think, and I said like tongue and cheek, but the, that is really rare. What you guys do is you not, I love this. You don’t only just teach people how to do it. You kind of do it alongside them. Like your, your team actually goes on sales calls with them, shows them in real time, like how to apply the concepts and the techniques you’re teaching. Yeah.
JD (07:55):
Yeah. So correct. And I’ll give you an example. I mean, you were kind enough to allow me to interview you for the book and, and ha as well. And you talked about something that was a big takeaway for me because it crystallized, you said it in a way that I didn’t, you know, made it clear when you talked about acute listening. So we teach as most, I think effective sales trainers teach as most business owners should probably embrace on a technique of, of doing a lot of diagnosis before you present ideas. And so when we go out on a sales call with a salesperson in a market their idea of listening, maybe three questions before they start talking about advertising, how’s your business? How’s the market right now? Oh, what are you doing for advertising? So the behavior that they model with our people is, you know, a 30, 40 minute conversation, that’s all about them, about the customer’s business, their challenges, their issues. Nobody wants to buy advertising, you know, almost they want to buy the things that advertising can do for them. You know, whether it’s solving a problem, dealing with a competitive threat, taking advantage of an opportunity in the marketplace. So, you know, that, that whole idea of understanding what the customer really wants is foundational to anybody who wants to be effective in sales, whether that’s a consultant, a business owner, or a salesperson at a TV station.
RV (09:20):
Yeah. And so the, I think that that’s super cool that you actually do the sales calls with them, to your point about the niches. That’s also like if you’re serving a vertical, you can do it. Like if you worked in that vertical for years, you know, it, you know, the game, you know, the people, you know, the lingo, the like all, all the, you know, the normal objections, et cetera, you can do that kind of depth of service that someone that just says, I teach sales training for everybody. It doesn’t mean it’s bad, but they can’t, they can’t do it to that level of detail.
JD (09:51):
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, th the more you know about the category, the know you, the more you also understand what the needs are in that category. So you can adapt, we’re create new products based upon what an opportunity is. That may be a new opportunity just in the last year caused by the pandemic. So I’m a big believer in going deep rather than wide you know, deeper rather than why that has at least served us. Well, of course, now I’m ready to book to go and go wider, but violating all my own advice. But but I think that, I think it’s served me well for a long time.
RV (10:24):
Well, and, and I, I would say, you know, so the way that we teach it, we call it, she hands wall. And I don’t know if you’ve ever heard us talk about this. We named this after Peter she hand who you probably know
JD (10:33):
Of course. Yeah.
RV (10:34):
W you know, we kind of took a, one of she hands models that he, he created for sort of like the corporate space. And we applied to personal branding saying that the way you break through the wall is by becoming known for one thing in one space. But then once you break through the wall, then you can expand into other things. After, after you have a team and you have money and you have resources and experience. And I think you’re, you’re a great example of that. So let’s talk about selling with a servant heart. There’s, there’s no shortage of books written about sales. Certainly not at this point. So why the need to write this? And what do you think is distinct or different about this philosophy compared to, you know, what other stuff people may have read or heard about sales?
JD (11:24):
So if you Google sales books and you look at the titles, it’s things like closing, winning, winning, winning you know, I, I gotta tell ya, I don’t think that great salespeople think about winning in the same way that maybe that’s the literature. And so I, I quite honestly get offended by a lot of what I read and, and one of them that I get, because we have a lot of great sales people, people who could be great, who are being taught, that this is the way to do it. And if you sell in that way, you know, maybe you’ll have some success, but I don’t believe that you’re going to find the joy that you can have in a long-term career in sales that you get, when you put your primary focus on serving people. You know, when I interviewed AIJ who, by the way you told me was the best sales person in your family. And one of the best you’ve ever seen,
RV (12:26):
She is to hand hands down. And I would, I’d say this, you know, separate of being my wife, like we work together, you know, for years, he is the best sales person hands down that I’ve ever seen.
JD (12:39):
And I would agree after having spent an hour on the phone interviewing her, but she said, you know, when you make your customer’s needs more important than your own needs. Well, in order to do that, you’ve got to believe that if it’s good for the customer, it’s ultimately going to be good for you, even though that might not be the case immediately, but if it’s good for the customer, it will ultimately be good for you. And so, and good. I mean, the first word of this book title is selling. This is not a relationship, or this is not a book to help you feel, you know, kinder in general. This is a book about being more effective in selling more effective at getting growing your business. But how do you grow your business? The more you serve, the more you get back and where you give the more you get back.
JD (13:26):
There’s a guy that I interviewed in the book Dave wall Dave if he was a, if he was an RV dealership, he’d probably be the biggest in the country. He sells these $2 million coaches, these beautiful motor home coaches, $2 million, $2 million. One of his customers who was an old client of mine said, you got to talk to this guy. And he S his customer said, this guy took a phone call from me. I didn’t, I had an issue with my coach. He took a phone call for me in the course of the conversation. I said, where are you? And he said, well, I’m on a family vacation in Argentina. And he was on a satellite phone somewhere in Argentina. And my friend said I was astounded. He took that call. So I asked Dave about it. And he said, I took you know, five minutes out of my time to help a customer.
JD (14:21):
Well, how has Dave one 60% of Dave wall’s business is repeat 60%. 30% of his business is referral. If you build relationships like Dave has you start every year at such a high level of productivity that you’re going to be an award winner. You’re going to be a high performance salesperson, all because you’ve got a commitment to customers. So you know, the idea that, you know, we’re going to win where they were going to close. You know, what I think selling is a lot more about the way you are as a person and a lot less about the words you use. And so that’s hopefully a focus of what I hope to accomplish by doing this book.
RV (15:06):
And that’s, that’s a really cool way to think about it. You know, like if you’re, if you’re just cold calling randomly every year, you start on zero with a whole bunch of people, you’ve got to cold call. If you’re, if you’re building relationships, then you come into that year, basically with an army of people that are helping generate leads for you, because they’ve all had this wonderful experience. That’s cool way of thinking about it.
JD (15:30):
I think it’s building relationships, but it’s also building trust, you know, the currency of relationships. I have a lot of salespeople that I like. I have a lot fewer that I trust and being trusted is the, is, is the pathway to really having deep, honest business conversations. But I was thinking about one of the biggest takeaways I had from doing this whole book. So I interviewed 35 people in all different industries. And so UNH we’re part of that group. And but I, I, I talked to the guy who had oversight ticket sales for the NBA and a mortgage broker who did probably 10 times the volume of a top performing mortgage broker. And as I reflected on all these conversations, one of the things I realized is man, there was a scary, real important it’s like to be trusted, has a lot of responsibility. I mean, you know, one of the guys that I interviewed said, you know, you can’t try with people’s money. You can’t try, you’ve got to do. And so there’s a responsibility of trust that. So it’s, it’s getting the relationship with trust, but then, you know, honoring that by being so good at the solutions you bring, that you continue to just build on that foundation.
RV (16:56):
Mm Hmm. Yeah. So, so what do you think to move, to move this tab to the tactical? Right. So if you buy into this sort of philosophically going, okay, you know, I’m building relationships, I’m earning trust, I’m doing what’s in my customer’s interest beyond, ultimately than what is just in my own. What are some of the things that should show up tactically? Or what are the things that we can do or say inside of, you know, how we prospect or how we qualify or ask questions? I mean, does it, what, what comes to mind in terms of the, the actual expression of how to do this in terms of selling with a servant’s heart?
JD (17:42):
That’s a, that’s a great question. I think that there are differences, but servant, heart sellers have in every part of the sales process I’ll give you Justin gurney was the guy that I talked about who oversaw ticket sales. He worked for the NBA national basketball association. So his job was to work with all 30 basketball teams to bring best practices on tickets and suite sales and, you know, the expensive sponsorship kinds of things. He said, the model has historically been a model of, you know, make a bunch of phone calls, you know, sit on the phone all day and call business owners where you probably gotten those calls from, you know, one of the international teams I’ve gotten them from the teams down at Sarasota. The Tampa teams are now that now they’ll make the phone calls slightly more sophisticated because the wait for the open, the email before you, then they then call you.
JD (18:37):
But it’s the a hundred calls a day kind of situation. He said, he found on every single team that there were outliers one or two people on a team, all of these 30 teams that did it differently, they focused on building a relationship. They spent a lot of time. If you want the specifics of tactics, we spent a lot of time, more time than any of their colleagues on, on learning about why you might use those tickets. What are the business issues that you’re trying to solve? What can an entertainment experience do to enhance your customer relationships and guess who were the top performers in every one of those teams? So fast forward a few years, Justin joins the New Jersey devils hockey team running their efforts and he tries to hire a team of outliers and he tries to hire a team and teach a culture that is very focused on diagnosis to your word and into acute listening, acute listening, really paying attention to what the answers are listening longer and in more focused than 95% of all the sellers do. That’s probably the number one skill that I think sets apart of servant heart sellers. Is that
RV (19:51):
Like the volume, the quantity of time for how long they’re listening?
JD (19:55):
Exactly. I think that most salespeople spend about 20% of their time listening and 70, 80% of their time pitching serve at heart sellers spend 70 to 80% of their time listening. And 20 to 30% of their time presenting, they can present for a lot less time because when they present a solution, they mail it. You know, it’s done really understanding what the customer’s issues are.
RV (20:22):
What are they listening for? I mean, yeah, like that’s, I guess that’s my biggest, like, so what w what are they listening for? Is it a, is it a standard set of questions they’re asking or
JD (20:35):
Well, I think that there’s going to be questions that an insurance salesperson might ask that a realtor wouldn’t or that a manufacturer, somebody selling manufacturing ask, but somebody else would, but the general principle to think about is I want to ask questions that have deep business conversations to try to uncover what is the customer potentially need, or how could they use the product that you sell in a way that solves their problems, not yours. You want to make a sale? That’s no problem. They want to, you know, solve a particular issue within, within their, their business. So, in, in Justin’s case, by having those kinds of conversations now they get to the pandemic where you think, you know, if you’re listening to this thing and you think your business had trouble, how’d you like to be a professional hockey team shut down.
JD (21:32):
Your building’s not even open. Nobody can come. At one point, I talked to him and they had no idea when they were going to even reopen. And yet they were still making sales and renewing deals because they were having the kind of conversations about how you could use that suite. They could use those tickets after the season started again. Other teams were laying off their people, the New Jersey devils kept theirs on and continued to find some impact. Now, come out the other side, who do you think is going to do the best? Who’s going to have the greatest impact. There are other specifics. I mean, one of the other specific things that I really took away from this is the idea that in your presentations, the servant heart sellers tend to teach and not sell.
JD (22:19):
So rather than here’s the greatest thing that you can do. They’ll spend a lot of time talking about what this product is going to do for your business. What is it going to, what is the problem it’s going to solve? I interviewed the only guy that I interviewed who had ever called on me. I interviewed him because he just impressed me so much, 25, 30 years ago. And he, he went on to oversee sales for arbitrage, which is a big radio company that did ratings for all radio stations in America. He said their most successful salespeople were people who started as trainers and then moved into sales. So customer would buy a product and they would train them how to use it. So when they moved into sales, that was their default. Here’s this new thing. Let me show you how this could make your station look good. And they had the highest performance across a whole sales staff from a bunch of people than people who were just coming in and trying to sell, teach, not sell, became something I really took away from the interviews that I thought was significant.
RV (23:27):
Yeah. That’s, that’s interesting. I mean, the other thing about the, I mean, yeah, that’s a powerful idea that you also kind of get the benefit of seeing what you do, being applied to people in real life, and then going to talk to a prospect. Like I was thinking about our, of strategists, how their, their conviction goes up when they actually come through the training or work with our clients and see how they apply it. And then they get to get, they get a sense of it. It helps them go out and have more conviction and clarity about what they’re selling to. And then to what you’re saying, it’s like, it’s more of a teacher’s heart than a commission breaths, salesperson kind of, kind of a thing.
JD (24:11):
Well, also also those stories not only help their own belief, but they conveyed correctly can also help their customers, their prospects.
RV (24:20):
So what are the things that you’ve you find? I mean, how do you think this applies specifically to personal brands? There’s, you know, we have, we have a one of our, one of our members only events is called pressure-free persuasion. And so there’s a time where we start talking about this sort of tactical one-on-one selling. But like, where do you think, like, even as you just look at your own career, you think back of going, here’s where I had to sell and learn how to sell in order to build the business that I have. You’ve got how do you think that this, like today, a lot of times when people think personal brands, it’s almost more like they think marketing, right? You’ve got, you’re doing videos and social media and funnels and writing books and, you know, even speaking from stage, but I would, those, those skillsets, I think, are pretty markedly different from the ability to have a one-on-one conversation with somebody and, you know, discuss their needs and eventually move them to make a decision and give you a credit card or send you a check. W so, so how do you think this applies, you know, sales still applies to personal brands?
JD (25:31):
Well, ultimately no matter how strong a brand I’ve built, I have to sit on a zoom call, be in front of a prospect or a potential client and have a one-on-one conversation. You know, if you, as you asked the question, I was thinking about you and I probably both had the experience of being with a lot of very successful speakers, very effective speakers guys who have built great personal brands, but when you spend time with them, one-on-one, they have a very, very hard time losing the spotlight. They have a very hard time not being onstage. So as a consequence, they tend to want to dominate the conversation. And, you know, I understand that probably guilty of that more than a few times myself, but it’s the opposite when you take your marketing. So my marketing is I’m out there, you know, here’s my content.
JD (26:33):
Here’s what I’ve tried to do. Here’s the messages that I’m sending out to the marketplace. Well, now somebody engages with me. I’ve got to just say, what are the issues that you’re trying accomplish? And I’ve got to, I’ve got to turn off my ego. That’s the hardest thing is turning off my ego, that desire to be special, that desire to be a star and really listen, listen acutely to what somebody is trying to accomplish. And then I can try to figure out, all right, what is it that I do that can best serve them?
RV (27:06):
You know, the part about this listening thing, which is crazy is you know, like the way I was taught on sales was just when you’re talking about it’s all a numbers game and you just like kiss, keep going no matter what. And you’re just burning through people and you know, kind of this, when they say this, you say this and, and you got to gear yourself up and you know, kind of like be, be persistent until they buy kind of a, kind of a conversation.
JD (27:36):
And they have, they have my money, got my money. I’m gonna get my money.
RV (27:40):
Yeah. Right. Yeah. They’re holding my money. I have to get my money out of their pockets. Yeah. The and that’s so hard, like it free for the sales person, like emotionally. It’s like, that’s a lot of pressure. What’s so crazy to me about asking questions is like, it’s so much easier. Like people tell you, rather than having to like gear yourself up and say, okay, I’m going to go spew a bunch of stuff at somebody and not shut up until they acquiesce. It’s like, I can sit back and do nothing while they tell me exactly what it is that they need. And they like lay out this roadmap for exactly what they need to hear and, and, and, and tell you how to like, make a sale.
JD (28:31):
Right. And if you, if you spend just 15 or 20 minutes on Google before you make that call looking at the business issues in that category tried to find out some of the competitive issues that are going on. So I did a few minutes on their website so that you can, so your questions are not just how’s business or what’s going on in your business, but rather lead to more in-depth business conversations. They’ll tell you everything. And they tell you everything because such few people do that. And that’s, that becomes a competitive advantage. You know, it’s interesting if we have this conversation that you know, I am more focused on listening or I’ve talked a lot about listening, but listening also has a, a partner. And that’s a good question. It’s you, you can’t just listen, you know, how, you know, did you watch the game?
JD (29:23):
What do you think about the Titans? You know, how’s your business? I mean, blahblahblahblahblah now I want to be able to engage in a business conversation. So w I, and when an organization does it, I know you have a ton of entrepreneurs who follow the podcast, follow your work. And I had a banker, you know, this is a banker who took this into his entire bank’s culture. Rather than call his people commercial lenders, they call them commercial bankers and they were instructed to have business conversations, train taught drilled to have business conversations with, with every prospect. Where do you see the future of your business? Do you have anybody identified who might be a buyer for this company down the road? They’re trying to look at the longer term business issues so that they can help this this business owner oriented business to that, and provide perhaps the capital to do all of those things. Unbelievable loyalty, less pressure on rates for, you know, borrowings, because I’ll pay a little bit more for that degree of service, if I’m trying to borrow money for something. And when the pandemic hit and this bank, landmark bank in Kansas could fulfill PPP loans in a hurry. When the big banks couldn’t do anything, they got hundreds of customers. We’re now extraordinarily loyal to the bank. So this is, these are, you know, this whole idea of, of asking good questions is a partner with listening, has to be.
RV (30:57):
And you’re the questions you’re trying to ask there are, how do you, how do you know what questions to ask? I mean, one is to do the research. It’s funny, you mentioned this. So one of the recent interviews we did with Sam Richter about, I don’t know if you know, Sam, all the customer intelligence and the online research stuff that he uses, which has been really
JD (31:15):
Good stuff. So,
RV (31:17):
So once that, you know, it’s kind of educating yourself on some of the industry dynamics, maybe the company dynamics, et cetera, what are the other triggers or, or things that we’re paying attention to, or how do we reverse engineer and come up with the right kind of questions.
JD (31:38):
I’m listening in every business conversation, obviously for opportunity for problems. So I’ll give you one specific technique. I learned this from a guy who was a producer on a 60 minutes type of interview show. And he said and this is, this goes to your comment in our interview about acute listen. He said, when they would do an interview, they would train reporters that after the person answered the question to not immediately jump in with another question, you said, pause, don’t fill up the space, nature, abhors, a vacuum. And most people will start speaking. And he said, we would get the most compelling soundbite, the most interesting piece, the less rehearsed idea after the pause. So people would have the rehearsed, but then they give you maybe something really honest. And if I hear that really honest bit of pain or problem, then you keep asking a few more questions to see, is this going to be something that might create an opportunity on it’s the understanding that whatever business you’re in the customer is not buying that they’re buying what that can do for their business, how they can solve a problem and, and, or take advantage of an opportunity.
JD (33:08):
So that’s the kind of listening that I have to be able to do to understand what are their needs.
RV (33:14):
I love it. I love it. Well, Jim Doyle is the author selling with a servant heart is the book long time friend. Check this out, Jim, where else do you want people to go? If they want to connect with you and learn, learn more about what you’re doing, and heck if you’re trying to sell some media stuff, you’re the guy for sure.
JD (33:34):
So LinkedIn Facebook, for sure. Love to connect with folks on LinkedIn. And the there was a specific website for the book which is servant selling book.com. Love to see people there. And I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the opportunity to do this. I have such admiration and respect for you and what you built. And so this is an honor for me. I I had the privilege of interviewing you when you brought out, take the stairs. And so I was thinking today, what an honor to get the to do the reverse, thank you for doing, for, for doing this.
RV (34:10):
Yeah, of course, man. It’s, it’s our pleasure. And you want over AIG AIG’s heart with your interview and then the, all, all the information about Maine and the lobsters and everything is just really, really, really, really wonderful.
JD (34:26):
So we still have to have lobsters on the coast of Maine
RV (34:29):
Sometimes. That’s right. Well, she is, she’s convinced that we are going there at some point soon, so I’m sure. We’ll see. I’m sure you’ll be, he’ll be the first, the first call would make
JD (34:40):
Thank you
RV (34:42):
All the best, my friend. Thanks