Learn from Al Levi's struggles with self-doubt and negative thoughts, and how Dale Carnegie School helped him gain confidence for personal and professional growth.
Welcome to the Successful Life podcast. I'm your host, Corey Berrier, and I am here with the seven power contractor, Al Levy. What's up Al? Yes, I am. Back, for a second episode and I always say you can fool people once it's really hard to trick 'em twice. So thank you Corey.
[00:00:19] And even, more honored than that is we're recording this on Corey's birthday. He's got an exciting life. If he's decided that I should be part of his birthday celebration,
[00:00:33] funny Al, I think most people that know you would absolutely understand why I would wanna spend his birthday. So look, I have, every year I do, I record with somebody and I told you this, and why wouldn't blowing smoke up your ass every year, whoever it is I choose. It's somebody. I found ex find extremely interesting.
[00:00:53] It, I've never had a, two, two-part person. And so I handpicked that person because that's who I want to be on the show that day. And I think you have such a fascinating story, but let's, dive into what we were talking about right before we got on. Yeah. I was talking about the scars that we have as owners is kind of what we were first talking about, and then it led to our last podcast.
[00:01:21] Really digging deep about what gets in our own way. It's not a matter of information, it's not even a matter of connections and things of that nature. Contractor to contractor and contractor to consultant. There's just plenty of that. But if you're not ready for it, and I was not ready for it for a very long time it's, actually very flattering.
[00:01:39] Guys will have worked with me. Go, oh, I wish you had been here earlier. And I go, you weren't ready. I know the the same thing about when the student's ready, a teacher will appear. That is, So part of what Corey and I were talking about is you gotta work on yourself. And when I say you gotta work on yourself, I swallowed that medicine cause I needed a lot of help cuz I was really very, busy blaming all of you guys or all of my failure.
[00:02:07] Whether it was a competition and whether it was the marketplace or whether it was my customers or my employee. WO is me. Look how miserable things are. I wasn't looking for my next meal. So of course I know how fortunate I was, but that's not how I felt every day. I felt this incredible pressure.
[00:02:26] And then as, you, when you're ready, one of my great friends, an excellent contractor, look to me one day and goes Enough. I go, what do you mean enough? He goes, the only competition you have is the guy you saw this morning when you were. And I just stopped and took a breath. And for the first time, and I'm sure I had heard this before, but the, for the first time, I let it wash over me.
[00:02:49] And then there was a great course that I was in. Corey did an exercise lucky enough to go to enough training. The guy said, put your arms out in front of you as far as you can. He goes, you control nothing outside your arms. You only control what goes on in the inside of your. Here's the great news, the most important stuff goes on inside of your own arms.
[00:03:14] And that changed things for me as I began to understand that yes, if I could make the changes myself and I could start putting the things in place and take control what we all hate but, we all know is true. Take control of what you can and learn to understand what you can, but you have much more.
[00:03:36] Than we think. I realized that and I had to go through this journey. Yes. Just like my clients. I wish I had known that earlier. No kidding. . [00:03:46] So did you bring up such a fascinating point? It's such a really timely point in my life, and I'm gonna share this with you. I outside of the organization, I some people are weird about referring to the organization, but let's just call it a 12 step program.
[00:04:04] Yeah. I got sober almost 14 years ago, and. I did it through aa. I guess I just let the cat outta the bag. It exists. It's my program. I guess I could talk about it. Whatever. Yeah. The point is I don't see why. I don't see why because more of us, especially in this industry, that is a problem.
[00:04:25] Even though there's other drugs and a addictions like we talked about, mine was a weight addiction. It's just how we feed what we need. That's right. Well, so about after about six years of being in that program, Graduated myself up to running my own meeting and it, when I say my own meeting, understand that's exactly what it was, my meeting.
[00:04:50] Right. I was running the show and so I kind of, I I, kind of hit the the top, so to speak. Little did I know, I was so far from the top it wasn't even funny. Yeah. And so what. Come to find out over the last six years or so, six and a half, seven years, whatever the number is not being in AA has helped Corey in Corey's way.
[00:05:20] I can't even tell you how many times and until last night I'm sitting in a meeting. I just started going back about three, four months ago after a recommendation of, or a guy said, it doesn't matter. I won't get into that, but, I realized last night that we just have to do the work, right? We just have to put one foot in front of the other, and sometimes you're gonna have to do some uncomfortable things, and getting sober was one of the hardest things that I had have ever had to do.
[00:05:52] The great news is I have zero desire to have a dream today. It's Corey is the, biggest problem, right? I can get in my own way. It's not the dream's, the furthest. But it's those life things that you have to watch out for that a lot of people in maybe not even in sobriety, don't even realize, especially if they've never been through a program like this.
[00:06:16] They don't they, don't. A lot of people don't understand what alcoholics do understand, and that sounds weird, but if you understand anything about alcoholics, then that should make, hopefully made. Yeah, it does. And before you guys out there are listening and go, what's this got to do with anything?
[00:06:33] Here's what I'm gonna help you out. It's got everything to do with contracting and owning your business because it's what addiction flavor do you want? And I was so proud of myself. I could work anybody in, everybody under the table putting in how a hundred hour weeks is. No kidding. I could do that week on week when I was much younger.
[00:06:53] Still can I, to this day I can outwork a lot of people and, but I, had to stop one day and ask myself why, am I working on this at this pace and this level? Yes, there's things that you have to put the time in. I firmly believe that, and really apply yourself and the rest of it. But sometimes it's just we're feeding that addiction in a different way.
[00:07:15] Mine was food. I couldn't do it on my own. I had to go to Weight Watchers, thought I had it, Corey, for three years I had the weight. So all brilliant people, I drop outta Weight Watchers,
[00:07:29] So you can imagine I've ridden that [00:07:32] yo-yo and credit to you, you dropping out and still staying sober is no small thing. So whatever your addiction is and there are no shortage of those. These get in the way, but getting to the why, and one of the things that came to me years ago, again, being in a seminar where I was allowed to detach from my business and me for a.
[00:07:51] Guy on stage is talking about would you ever talk to one of your employees as you talk to yourself? Because the dialogue I was saying to myself was horrendous about how not yes, perfect. How I'm not doing stuff well enough, not fast enough how am I letting down the team? And I mean, it would just go.
[00:08:14] And there's, I think my yoga starts too. There's 30 or 50,000 thoughts you do in a day and they're remarkably the same. They just come in a little different flavor. So you don't know, but it's really the same and it's attacking everything that happened to you. I believe it was the Jesuits said that, give me your child from age zero to seven.
[00:08:35] I own them for the rest of their life, which at first sounds, you gotta be kidding cuz I'm a grownup. Well, you are and you aren't. A lot of, and I always tell this too, is why don't we do stuff? We don't do stuff unless there's a, what's in it for me? What do I get if I do? What happens to me if I don't?
[00:08:52] And then you're looking at somebody in their sixties, and I still am a six year old because I wanna know what happens to me if I do, what happens to me if I don't? And all of you who are listening today and watching you are exactly the same. So until you help heal. However that method is, and whatever help you need, you're gonna be hearing the same bad soundtrack over and over again.
[00:09:17] Actually, I think I, I don't know if I shared with you the last time, but I, when I would finally get the leadership power, which is the last thing I did, and we talked about why that is, is cuz you're swimming in a pool and you're drowning. I'm not teaching you swimming right now, so leadership part of the exercise.
[00:09:32] To take out a clear yellow legal paper cuz it is a writing exercise. There's a hand to brain connection. So I make them write down and I go, I want you to write down every negative thing in your head right now on this page. Here's the trick. You have to go fast. You don't filter yourself. Goal is fill this page up.
[00:09:50] Now. I'm too old. I'll never lose this weight. Nobody's gonna help me. All of this stuff. It's amazing how these guys, all of them, cause I do it with the team, pour it out on the page and then I go rip that page over. Now I want you to restate every one of those negative things in a positive way.
[00:10:08] So I go, I'm not too old, I still have plenty of time. I'm more productive and more knowledgeable than before. So that nobody's gonna come to help me. I have a lot of people who want to help me, but I have been sabotaging and I will no longer do that. So we have this terrible version and then this great positive version.
[00:10:29] And then what we do. You get to choose what method you will get rid of those negative thoughts. So we actually did a contest at one of their drain franchise was, it was so much fun. There was this huge group. So who in innovative ways being in the drain business, one guy took it and flushed it down the drain with a big hose and chased it another one out in the parking lot, set it on fire.
[00:10:52] And I do want you to have a fire extinguisher. If you just said one went down the shredder. I mean it was. What I wanted them to do is see themself literally shredding those negative thoughts and then hanging onto those positive thoughts. And whenever your bad day happens, I want you to be looking at that, what I said in a positive way
[00:11:15] that is super effective. [00:11:18] You took it actually a step further than I thought you were gonna take it. I thought what you were gonna say was, and this is what I do, I, let me say, this is what I try to do. If I get in that space I, take an, I take, like you said, I just take a note by this book and I'll just start writing and, I don't, I, like you said, I don't filter it.
[00:11:36] I write down whatever is in my brain. And what that does for me is it empties out all that crap and by the end of. I'm not really thinking about all that stuff I wrote down, but I don't take it a step further, which I will from now on. That's incredible. Yeah, it's a great lesson that I was lucky enough to learn along the way and pick up some tips and it's amazing when you're not sabotaging yourself and closing yourself off what your own self can let come to the surface in a good Because that is part of the thing. So let's, get it down to stuff that you guys are gonna relate to a little bit more. So, cuz Ka and I were talking before, I was awful at sales and the reason I was so awful at sales is I thought I had to be somebody else. And so best salesperson I ever met, and to this day, probably the same was my dad and I I had mentioned before about that he was very quiet and he would talk very softly and people would lean in and he was, had a smile on his face the whole time.
[00:12:36] And a really good listener. A great listener. And I tried to be that person when I first. I was awful. . Awful, And it cuz it just wasn't me, the authentic person. Now I'm not saying that yes, good sales training tells have to adapt a little bit to who you're with, but you can't become such a chameleon that you lose yourself, your authentic self.
[00:13:02] So the better you work on yourself and the healthier I got, magically my sales got better because I was allowing myself to return to who I. I'm an, I'm energetic and passionate, and I am still that way today. And so when I would start talking , I'm gonna laugh. I'm laughing card because you'll appreciate this in sales.
[00:13:26] So I would get into a conversation with a customer and I would ask great questions and give great solutions, and I would passionately give them what I thought was the very best solution and they would interrupt me and go, sounds good. When can we start and go? I'll get to that in a minute. I do love that.
[00:13:46] I absolutely love that. How long did you wait before you would circle back? Too long. Unfortunately I was really good at rescue, so it wasn't as tragic as it sounds. Ultimately, I always stitched this tip to guys like myself when I was doing sales training is that as I was very, shy, which we shared the last time selling at my shoes and all these other bad sales.
[00:14:11] So when I finally learned to talk, I found out I really liked to talk to the point that I never shut up . And so what is rule one in the sales one? Oh one thing is ask a question. Shut up, let them talk. Cause when they're talking, they're buying. When you're talking, you're selling. So I'd ask you a great question.
[00:14:33] And there was a little bit of silence there and didn't let them process. And I would jump. So there was no space. Everybody, all of us who were in sales, we hate dead air. And the worst thing we can do is talk next. So what I learned to do and what I've trained guys who have that same problem, cuz be surprised so many people do, is I used to bite my lower lip, but very gently to force myself to wait for them to.
[00:15:01] Whatever you think you need to do [00:15:04] now, be aware that can become painful if you're not paying attention, but it was a technique that I learned to finally become a better listener. I believe the best salespeople are the best listeners. I totally agree with you. A hundred percent. And I also believe that a lot of people when you say, well, you believe it or not, there's a lot of people that you know that have this that don't, can't they don't have the skill of active listing you and say exactly like that.
[00:15:33] But yeah, you get what I'm saying? I think a lot of that I, know that most, a lot of people in our industry, and I think I mentioned this last time, we have a D H D, and here's the. All right. I am, as a adhd, as any human being could possibly be. I have it's everything that I can do not to interrupt somebody, anybody, because I always think, or this is what I tell myself, I'm gonna forget what I need to say.
[00:16:00] So I feel and, I don't say the next part, which is really, I just think what I need to say is more important than what you're. That's really what you're saying to people. Yes. And so many times you talk about couple counseling is when the other person is talking, you're already building your defense, so this customer is talking and you're already figuring out how you're gonna respond to them rather than listening and trusting yourself.
[00:16:25] One of the techniques in sales is so, so much a technique was once I began to trust myself, and again, this goes back to the beginning. Part of my negative things is I did not trust myself even though I had earned my way to the front of the class. So it wasn't like I'm fake, or they'll find out, I don't really know what I need to know or all these negative thoughts.
[00:16:50] I had done the work, trust me, I had done the work in the pit every other way you can think on a frozen roof. It wasn't like, oh I shouldn't be talking about this now. I had earned the way, but you still have to resonate and feel. And so in my own company, my guys were not selling machines. They just had their head up, their shoulders back, they were dressed right, the professional, and their thought was because I helped them plant.
[00:17:17] That was who better than us can take care of these customers the way they need to be done? I'm gonna go today, ask good questions, listen effectively, and make good recommendations in their best. And magically sales happen. Oh, wow. Look at that. And it's happened at every place that I've ever trained sales on.
[00:17:38] And that will work no matter what size company you have. Doesn't matter. Doesn't matter. Doesn't matter. Yeah. Principles are the same. Yep. What do you think gave you, do you remember if there was a defining moment that you said, oh, like the confidence, let's just call it confidence or not trusting yourself, or when did you have that?
[00:18:01] Was it w was it what you were mentioning earlier is when that light switch come, came on, or when was, when did that happen for you, you think? Yeah, I think what happened was, one of it is, it's actually been a series of switches, think of a series of switches. One of them was finally realizing that I I have to make eye contact and I went to class and I had to learn, go to class.
[00:18:23] I had to go to Dale Carnegie School, which was a life changing event. In more ways than I thought. I thought, oh, it's just gonna help me relate to people better. It's gonna help me be a better employer. It's gonna help. No, it changed so many things in my life, being better, communicating with my own kids and my wife and, things that I had not even thought about.
[00:18:43] Becoming a way better trainer so that I could make great willing apprentices with no skills, to willing techs with great skills. [00:18:50] All of this was in the journey, if you will, and that's part of this thing I know, just like you. It's fun to go to Google, look something up and get the answer immediately. , we are trained I can wake up in the middle of the night and I go, you know what, I'm really craving Donuts.
[00:19:08] Where's a 24 hour donut place and I can go out and get it. Sales and training and working on yourself is an evolving process, and so the process helped. So there were, I was always going up, which is the great. But the thought of going up, people go, it's always a direct line. No it isn't. I got up plateau up plateau, and that is still progress.
[00:19:32] And so I had to get to these places that I could find. My client actually many, years ago, told me a great thing. He goes before you came here, I found that every time I opened a door in my business, there was another problem hiding behind it that I didn't know. And he says, with our work, we have resolved a lot of those problem.
[00:19:51] But I thought that would be it. And now what I'm finding is there are new doors I didn't even know existed that when I walk through 'em, there are problems, but my confidence is so strong now. My foundation is so strong. I trust that I can walk through these doors and find new ones and do the same. One of my other great things was my great friend who was a great industry guy, Dan Ho.
[00:20:20] He said to me one day, he goes, Al, you just talk about problems. Cuz the government changed this law and that's gonna be a problem from you and one of your competition did this, and now you have to measure up and you see everything as a problem. Here's what I'm gonna recommend to you.
[00:20:36] See a problem as a challenge. See a challenge as an opportunity. And I would write that down over and over. Problems become challenge. Challenges become opportunities, and every time I allowed myself to go that path, I was already close to figuring out how to make this into an opportunity. It's that mindset change, right?
[00:21:00] Yeah. You gotta make that mindset change. But you can't. But you can't make the mind. But you gotta take the first step and the only way to do that first step is you are probably gonna have to muster as much will and as much mental strength as you possibly can in order to make that next mindset shift.
[00:21:20] Cause it doesn't necessarily happen at the same time. No it doesn't. Yeah. But it goes back to what's in it for me. Cause either the pain has gotten so, That you wake up and go, I cannot do this one more day. Or the gain of wanting to reconnect with people that you've chased away outta your life either on purpose or by accident.
[00:21:44] Doesn't matter. The result is the same, is I am now. Want that so badly, I'm gonna do what it takes to get that. You're right. And you. Here's the, here's, I want everybody to really listen to this. You don't have to believe everything that you think. So if you're listening to Al and what you say, but that is so great.
[00:22:07] Carri. Say it again. Don't believe everything you think right it, look, our brains will absolutely, unequivocally, without a doubt lie to us and tell us there's not a problem, even though. We know the damn closet with the problems right there. We know it's right there, but we will tell ourselves it's in the closet.
[00:22:29] We're good. And all that pro you're just prolonging and, I'm, so, I'm guilty of this. Like [00:22:36] I, we are, I'm not perfect. Yeah. No. And until it fes, until it gets painful enough, you don't change. Right. Or there's enough reason or gain that you see out there that I, will no longer not have that.
[00:22:51] What I. . And so as you were saying that, I was thinking about there were times that I would arrive at a consulting client and they were troubled. They wanted to bring me there. Or the good times of course is they're good and they're growing. They want to keep going, but they want a foundation to platform.
[00:23:09] So once in a while I'd walk in and where would I find the contractor in their warehouse looking over all the inventory that they had collect? Which of course is got them confused. We're in the plumbing, heating, cooling, electric roofing business, carpentry business, whatever we are in, we're not in the warehouse business.
[00:23:26] But why are they there when all these problems exist? Because it's all mine. All of it's mine, and it makes me feel like I'm successful, even though the numbers tell me I am not. And so what should they be doing in terms of. So I literally had to pull 'em away from the warehouse and get to the desk and we start the back in those days, planning power, which was the 360 degree view of their company along the seven powers, right?
[00:23:55] And so that's when the direction begins to change because you have to let go sometimes of things that you have always had or desired or attached to, to go get the things you really want and desire. So for me, part of my. Came from I have to, do this. I absolutely need this. And one day just sitting around, like you talked about writing paper and I said, how can I change the have to a need cuz it's just driving me crazy.
[00:24:25] I can feel my blood pressure rise. And I wrote down, I want to, I like to, I love to. And all I did was put those words in front of whatever it is that I needed to. So there's times now I've been putting columns out since 2002, so it's 20 years of writing columns and I still love it, but it's still a chore.
[00:24:47] People don't realize that blogs, articles Facebook posts, and there's times where I know I'm delaying and I am not a procrastinator. Now, I used to be an awful procrastinator, and I can talk about that in a second if you remind me why. But then I finally got really good about action and doing.
[00:25:07] And finally I say to myself, when I'm stuck, I go, remember why you started writing? Cause I would love to help other people who have, are in my shoes, the ones that were so uncomfortable. If I write this, if I share this, there's a chance that one, 10, a hundred, a thousand million people, there's a chance that I can help them too.
[00:25:34] And when I do that, Magically. Magically over and over again it flows. That make sense? Totally and effortlessly. Lots of times it flows effortlessly. Yeah. One of the hardest writing assignments I ever had, this Hang with us guys cuz it's gonna go a little dark before it gets bright. My dad passed away.
[00:26:00] He was 84, up to 80. He was great. I mean, incredible. But he had asbestos, which is a token of the heating industry that we had worked in. He hadn't touched a boiler in 30 years. So when they say do you pay a price for being in the business? Yeah, you can. So he passes away and I was very [00:26:22] lucky.
[00:26:22] One of my great friends comes up to me and says, look around this funeral home, there are 500 people here today for an 84 year old. These are his customers, these are the vendors that he touched and changed their lives. I'm sorry, I'm getting choked up about it, because that was his goal. His impact was to leave this place better.
[00:26:47] And so I was, my family is, I'm the youngest of six , and so they're deciding who should get on the to the podium and speak and do the eulogy. And they all look, turn their heads and go, Al, you should do it. And so I was asking them questions you what do you want me to say? What do you wanna say? And, I tell you, it was so overwhelming and overloading.
[00:27:12] And I'm at home at my computer and I go I just gotta let that go. And this moment I let it go. Electricity in my fingers. I kid you not, I am a spiritual person, not religious. Hit the keyboard and it just, I got done with this thing and people go, how long have you been preparing that? I go about an hour, but probably my whole life.
[00:27:40] And you have to let it go to let it flow? A hundred percent correct. Because as you mentioned earlier, We can only control what's, as you said here I've, always just thought of it here, but either way, if you can't touch it, you have the ze control over it. Yeah. But we have so much more power than we give ourselves with, once we can lose our own self sabotage.
[00:28:09] And even if this whole idea, I was starting to come back to procrastination. So why? Because people know I'm gonna get it done, guys. But you don't know my whole story. You're looking at a couple of pages in the book, like all of us do, right? You've met me along page 200, you don't know what happened in the beginning.
[00:28:27] So I procrastinated because I wanted everything to be perfect, and if it wasn't perfect, I wasn't gonna get it out there in the world. And so I was always causing a problem. One of my greatest growth moments was, When I got to the end of the day, one day, I just said to myself, you know what? Good enough for today.
[00:28:49] I'll make it better tomorrow, but this is going out. And that was the first time I could let it go. And the second way I would say that I also incorporated that new feeling was I learned to say to myself, I'm willing to lose a battle to win the. So you're right now, the people are texting you every, minute interrupting your day, and you blame them.
[00:29:14] But I blame you because you've allowed that you haven't done the things it takes to empower them so that they're free because of you, not them to interrupt your day all day long. And you are addicted, like all of us to this, where we're gonna look at it all day and as soon as, even if it lights up on your desk and you don't even look.
[00:29:37] Your mind is gone. Study is approved of this. It's gone for a minimum of 20 minutes. So you have to learn how to block time and then do constructive work that you set out to do in the, I prefer two hour time blocks. Yes, I, to that exact point I found myself sitting with this new AI stuff, I've just been en, en engulfed in it, right?
[00:30:05] And, you get lost. And here's the thing, like [00:30:08] you may not, if you're listening to this, they're the first of it anyway. When we're talking about alcoholics and eating issues, guess what? Workaholism. Absolutely. And so I, can just as easily convince myself to sit right here. Well, you need to get this one more thing done.
[00:30:25] Don't go to the meeting tonight because you gotta get, you know what if, and I'm like, dude, stop. So one of the things to your, again, to your other point, I have I don't think about what I, if I if, there's a thought that comes in my mind that I need to do this thing, I go and do it right then no matter what I'm doing for the most part.
[00:30:50] Right. Because if I procrastinate or if I just want it to be right, it's like that first book. I never put out . Right. Yeah. Yeah. would never have a book out either. Exactly the same thing if and, it was way harder to make that book thin. It's really. To make a big fat book of confusing stuff and, just stuff it and make it bigger, it's way harder.
[00:31:19] One of the best business books, people always ask me, what's one of your favorite business books? And without Phil, I go, who moves my cheese? They go, well, it's only like 40 pages. And I go, it's the fe best, 40 pages you ever read. And you'll read it over and over again. I don't have much above my desk other than my family's stuff, but I still have the things from the handwriting on the wall about who moved my cheese.
[00:31:42] Cuz I look at that and ask myself, am I letting change happen? It says it right there. Am I monitoring, looking for change. There's such great wisdom. And it's, that's really kind of the thing. If this guy decided, you know what, I have to write a 500 page who moved my cheese? It would be a million times worse.
[00:32:04] Yes. Sometimes you, don't have to say a lot to get the point across. Right. And I'll tell you Al, I like, I spoke at the national PhD c event this past year and I finished my talk like eight minutes early and, I just looked at him and I'm like, Nobody got upset when somebody cut off early.
[00:32:26] Right. And then this all kind of looked at me like, well, we're not sure. I don't know if anybody's ever said that to them before. Probably not. But they look confused. But I've never been upset when somebody cut out 10 minutes early. Have you ? No. You know what I've been upset about is I've agreed to be here and now you have such great knowledge, you're never gonna let me get out of this chair, and I don't agree with it.
[00:32:51] I have the 10 golden rules for, meetings that I constructed years ago. And one of them is start on time. I don't care how many people are in the chair cuz otherwise you told everybody who's in this chair, you're an idiot for getting here early. That's right. If you excuse everybody's bad behavior.
[00:33:06] So start on time. And the second seminal rule is end on time. I don't care what is fascinating beyond belief, but end on. Especially in these things where they have to get to the, get a cup of coffee, get to the next thing you know, it's the factory of where you're running back and forth. It's really insulting.
[00:33:23] But all things car I was lucky. I had great, mentors come in my life and I went to great training and one of the things that they taught me was about put in time extenders and time cuts. So in my presentation only I. It says t E and tc. And I know where I am in time, so I know if I have time to kill, I'm gonna time extend with a story.
[00:33:49] And if I know I don't, that story's gotten shelved, but you out there are not seeing it. [00:33:54] So this speaks to the discipline for you guys of having your presentation set up when you're going to see somebody, but don't be so rigid. Where it's step one, step two. And one of the great sales training I went to is somebody arrives at the door and you've been trained to engage in a conversation, talk about their dog and their flowers and whatever else to build a connection.
[00:34:18] And he said, what are you gonna do if they're on the phone? And then you just go like this, are you gonna just stand on the stoop and go, I'm not coming in until you get off the phone, cuz I gotta talk about your flowers. Probably some people for sure. I, guarantee you some people for sure are gonna go, I'm sorry, we cannot skip step one.
[00:34:37] I wonder if that comes from, and this is kind of what we were saying earlier about the, self-talk. I wonder if that comes from just. Letting ourselves down so many times that sometimes, and I've been in that situation where I have let myself down so many times that I'm like, let's just not like this is probably not gonna work either.
[00:34:56] And then I future pace the failure. . Well, part of my sales training was always about, because I take it from my own personal experience and then both as a big ticket salesperson and also as a service tech at my own company selling, and I got to. Become really good at diagnostic of my own stuff.
[00:35:16] And what I would do is I would roll my truck about a block away so the customer couldn't see, what am I still doing there? . And and I would say to myself, what did I do really well? Do it again. What did I not do so well? What could I improve on in the very next call I go to? And then what I learned to do and what I share with people in the seminar is a, is an illustration for this is, Kari, if I asked you to walk a mile, could you pick up a rock about this?
[00:35:41] And put it in your pocket and walk the mile. And the answer is yes. How about if I told you every block you walk, you have to pick up another rock with you? How's it gonna go? So this is what you do. If you get one or two nos, the human nature is to sit at your own truck, look out to your passenger window and go, this person's not gonna buy either.
[00:36:04] And you already have condemned or you will make that your own bad reality cuz you already implant. And you're gonna prove yourself right by hurting yourself and them because they really wanted somebody to solve this problem for them today. That was your job to come up with a solution to solve their problem today, but you already decided what they will and won't buy without, going through the system, without asking good questions, without writing their answers down, without looking at the whole job and doing a survey and making good recommendations and making.
[00:36:38] Know what is the best choice, what are some good choices, and only give them those opportunities so they don't hurt themselves. Cause if we are not good as salespeople, they will hurt themselves. So one of my oldest sales stories, of course, I hated the moment, but if I was lucky, it happened when I was 25.
[00:36:58] I was at a customer's house. His name was Mr. King, and I am not making that name up. . His name was Mr. And I'm at his house and he wants something a heating piece of equipment and he wants to be able to make hot water. And I go, well, the best one that will do that is this make and model. And he goes, but I want what I have at my commercial buildings that you serve.
[00:37:19] And I go, they make really great commercial equipment, but very poor for this thing. He goes, are you gonna give me what I want or. And immediately the video of my and my above my head was what my dad told me. The customer is always right, so of course I sell it to him. I only have to wait a week. [00:37:40] Corey calls up and he goes, I'm not getting the hot water I really wanted.
[00:37:43] So I go over myself to make sure it's all working and it is, and I go to him and I go, everything is working according to specs. This is why I didn't wanna sell this piece of equipment. And he looks at me and he. Well, you should have been more assertive, . And that's how everybody feels when you have to go send one of your guys out, back out to a job.
[00:38:08] Every customer feels that way. So a again, good lesson at 25, I said this is not gonna, I said, the customer is always the customer, but they are not always right. So what I built into my sales speech, and I've taught so many people in sales training to do the same thing, which. Barry, I so appreciate the opportunity to be here today to look over and provide great solutions for you.
[00:38:32] Here's what I can promise you. I'm not gonna let you make a bad decision today. I put it in the front of my speech, so if they wanted to back stuff out and it could fit the budget and it didn't, I would do that. I'd make it hurt a little bit, but I would get to a solution that they would want. Or have other solutions that I could recommend, all of which I can stand in front of.
[00:38:52] But if they wanted me to do stuff like change the right faucet, not the left faucet, and they're both 25, 50 years old, I go, I totally understand why you want that, but here's what you need to know. We won't do any work that we can't stand behind, that we can't make sure that we are protecting you.
[00:39:09] So if we can't come to, I appreciate the opportunity, I'm just gonna say goodbye. And I taught my guys to do this with a lot of role. Would you like to know how many times they couldn't get to the door before the customer said, all right, come on back. Let's do this.
[00:39:28] I had no idea. I probably a lot, yeah they, maybe got to the door five out of a hundred times. Five out of a hundred times maybe. And it, thankfully those five were insistent about they wanted a bad repair that we couldn't stand. And all it would do have either been an insurance call back and all of the bad things you don't want.
[00:39:51] So, , yes, I was actually sorry for laughing, but I'm thinking about it opened up another page when I was young. Our insurance agent was a great friend of my dad and my uncle and he was kind of like our uncle as we came into the business. Cause he was there regularly. We had a 70 huge amount of trucks and.
[00:40:12] I was full-time in the business finally, after I came home from college. And he says to me, have you learned the secret of business? I go, no way. What's the secret of business? He goes, ah, finding out the 5% of the customers that will cause about 90% of your headaches, and then make them go away. But in a nice way, it's kind of like dating Corey.
[00:40:35] It's not you, it's me, . Right, but what's, the, what is the, what is that 5%? How bad does that affect an organization? My guess is you like it's nothing. Nothing. No, I mean, I'm saying that 5% is, a powder cake. Sure. No, but demoralizes your staff. And actually, I got really good at, I was a New York City Union shop, but finally I just had enough of this and I said We always talk about our employees are the number one customer, right?
[00:41:08] You've heard that tagline for a hundred years. Yes. And so put your money where your mouth is. There's a time to fire a customer if they're on the phone and they're abusive to your staff. The CSRs, the dispatchers, the tech, no matter which one. Now look, everybody can have a bad day. I'm not [00:41:26] talking about a bad day, but every interaction they have with you is a problem.
[00:41:29] Or there's a house where it's a hoarder and it's just loaded stuff. It's toxic literally to go into, cats are climbing over equipment. This, I'm not judging you as a person, don't hear that, but it was an unsafe, an unsanitary thing and I had to go talk to customers and explain in my case it was easy cuz I said, we're a union shop and ultimately they get to vote on places that are unsafe or unhealthy, not passing personal judgment.
[00:41:55] If you're willing to clean it up. We are more than happy to continue on service. But I did train my staff, I. Periodically we will fill fire a customer for things like this, but we don't want to become so great at firing customers. , definitely not. Yeah. But, there's a time where you have to stick up for your people.
[00:42:15] Absolutely. As the owner, really, your job your, really, your focus should be the people and then your people's focus needs to be the customers, right? Yes. I mean, yeah. So, and if. If you treat your employees well, they'll treat your customers well. Yeah. Some of the biggest and best guys that I've worked with over the years, Corey said exactly that.
[00:42:37] And matter of fact, when I sat down, this was early in my career, again, I was lucky. A lot of stuff happened early in my career. A great contractor. And he just said to me, you know what, al magically the better. I treat my employees magically. We get better and better reviews. My company grows and gets more prosperous every.
[00:42:56] And to this day, he's still there and they are still exponentially growing. Now having systems and platforms and things that we did that allow his people to get better has of course accelerated that. But at the essence of it, you can have all the greatest systems in the world, and if you have toxic people and you're treating them poorly, it's not gonna work.
[00:43:17] It's not gonna work, not now, nor ever. So yeah, so, and shave it. And here's where people get. Is they think, well, and I'll just give you a real time example of a company that I was working with it was a moving company and we had a, I, he's, same thing, a complete pain in the ass customer,
[00:43:40] And he had convinced himself that she was 40% of the revenue. And I'm like, well it just, that really doesn't add up. So we had to go through the numbers, right. And we had to make sure, and we, after drilling down, it was less than 5%. And I'm like, Do you realize like she rattles every hum every single one of your employees?
[00:43:59] They hate her. Yeah. Like just cut it dude. Just cut it loose. I finally did. I'm so glad you got it to the numbers. So yeah, I know we're running out on time, but I'm gonna talk about perception for one second please. So my brother Richie and my brother Marty, my two older brothers. We decide to make a change to one of our policies.
[00:44:21] And we were always pretty careful about going small before you go big. And we were testing it out. So we changed this thing and it gets in place and I, of course, I'm the driver of that. And Richie walks in to the office. He had been out on the field. He comes back in 9:00 AM 9:00 AM It's important to listen to that time of day.
[00:44:41] Okay? And here's exactly what he said. Everyone is calling today about. And I just sat back and I go, really? Let's just examine that we have 7,000 customers. It's nine o'clock in the morning. You spoke to 7,000 people, Richie. Oh, you know what I'm gonna say? How about 10%? That means you spoke to 700 customers.
[00:45:02] Today, I'm gonna be even more generous. There's 1%, 700 70 people. You spoke to 70 people by now. It doesn't it's, [00:45:12] human nature is, it's so ve. That it feels so monstrous is, and until you, there is one of the beauties of knowing numbers and making it, reducing it to the ridiculous, which was here about what it was.
[00:45:27] It just so aggravating because like we covered before, is as human beings we think we are logical, but we really make decisions on emotion and then we defend it with our own logic. That is the exact thing. Don't fix your emotions. Are you gonna make some bad, logical decisions? Yeah, I mean, yeah, you're absolutely right.
[00:45:51] And look, I promise, like if you just get rid of some of these things or work on some of these things, if you're struggling with, we covered some addictions, or if you are getting in your own way or any of this stuff made sense today, all you have to do literally just put, move the one rock, right? Don't move 'em all.
[00:46:07] Just move the one rock today and then worry about the rest of 'em. If that's at least gonna be one solid step into the to the right direction for tomorrow. Al, I appreciate you man. This has been such a common, this is always so much fun and it's such important stuff that we don't usually get to talk about, and I'm so honored that you gave us the opportunity today to talk about some really deep, important stuff.
[00:46:33] Yeah. I love systems. No question about it. And I believe in platforms and the rest of it, but I also believe what Corey and I are sharing here, You gotta be ready. You gotta do the work and you gotta help your people do the work. Really leverage the systems the way that you can. Hundred percent.
[00:46:51] Thank you my friend. Thank you, my friend. Happy birthday. Thank you, .