CRO Spotlight

Welcome back to the CRO Spotlight Show! In today's episode, Jim Wexler joins the show and we dive into the realm of sales and the importance of genuine connections in the modern business world. Jim shares his insights on salesmanship, the art of building relationships, and the challenges faced by Chief Revenue Officers (CROs) in today's highly competitive market. 

From pioneering gamification to creating memorable experiences, Jim's journey will inspire you to rethink your approach to sales and prioritize meaningful connections over transactional deals. Get ready to explore the power of human connection in sales, right here on the CRO Spotlight Show. 

[00:02:17] Friend supports struggling bartender by entrusting clients.

[00:04:51] Jim brought me in to sell, and together we sold Hispanic media all over the country. I learned everything from you.

[00:09:07] Young people selling; being authentic sells.

[00:12:16] Sales is important for organizations, despite objections.

[00:13:30] Salespeople build relationships and persuade effectively. Art is gone; prospecting is delegated.

[00:18:00] Competition is slim, so belief is crucial. Preparing and researching online make it easier.

[00:19:54] Selling meaningless products is a valuable skill.

[00:25:03] Connection, likability, purpose, autonomy - differentiators in Zoom calls.

[00:29:04] Human relationships are valuable in a mechanized world.

[00:32:48] Relationships are valuable, not just transactions.

[00:36:36] Close bond, entrepreneurial mindset, innovative products

[00:39:37] Short attention spans drive success in relationships.

[00:41:56] Successful promotional business orders and delivers 3,000,000 items. Also offers gamified training simulations, effectively mimicking real-world experiences. Still a revolutionary and effective business.

[00:44:19] Effective graphic novels capture imagination of audiences.

What is CRO Spotlight?

Visit for 30-days free of The only community focused exclusively on your growth. Use the code: GROW30

Are you a CRO looking for insights and ideas from your peers? Are you a Revenue Leader with aspirations to become a Chief Revenue Officer? Are you a CEO looking to appoint a CRO to scale your business?

Welcome to the CRO Spotlight podcast, a weekly show featuring insights from Chief Revenue Officers, B2B Revenue Leaders and CEOs. Hosted by Warren Zenna, Founder and CEO of The CRO Collective, the show goes deep behind the scenes with the people who have been there, done that and have seen the results. The CRO Spotlight Podcast is an open, free-form conversation that digs into real issues that Revenue Leaders and CROs grapple with everyday.

1: The C R O Spotlight Podcast, power
by the Growth Farm and Production.

Hi, I'm Warren Zena, founder and
c e o of the c r o collective, and

welcome to the C R O Spotlight Podcast.

This show is focused exclusively on
the success of Chief Revenue Officers.

Each week we have an open, frank,
and freeform conversation with top

experts in the revenue space about
the C R O role and its critical

impact on the B two B businesses.

This podcast is the place.

to be for CROs, sales and marketing
leaders who aspire to become

CROs and founders who are looking
to appoint the CRO or want to

support their CRO to succeed.

Thanks for listening.

Now let's go mix it up.

Hello and welcome to this episode
of the CRO Spotlight Podcast.

I'm Warren Zenna.

I'm the CEO and founder
of the CRO Collective.

And uh, we've been having like a spate
of guests over the last like month.

It's been great.

Every week, amazing conversations.

And I'm really excited.

I'm going to talk about today's
because I'm inviting someone whom

I've known since my career started.

Matter of fact, you'll
hear the whole spiel here.

This gentleman is a close friend and a
mentor, uh, almost like a family member

to me and an amazingly accomplished sales.

and business owner and entrepreneur
with an amazing background and

some great stories to tell.

So, uh, without further ado, I
want to introduce Jim Wexler,

whom I've known since 1992.

I think it is, right?



We met, I think something
like that in the 80s.

That's, you know, yeah,
it was a long time.

And, um, you know, Jim,
I'll, I'll just explain this.

So Jim and I, we I've known each other
for that long and we've worked together,

you know, we, we first were friends and
then, uh, we met because I went on an

interview, my first like sort of real.

Corporate sales interview.

Someone introduced me to Jim and he
interviewed me and he didn't hire me.

He called me a lot afterwards,
offering me other opportunities.

I was like, this guy's pretty cool.

And then we saw each other out
in the city, bopping around,

and we ended up being friends.

And then amazingly, and this is where
the story gets really fascinating.

This is important story.

At the time, around 1994, I was sort of,
I don't know, floundering around trying to

figure out what I want to do for a living.

And Jim was, uh, just met his, his current
wife and they were just getting engaged.

And as my memory calls, he might, Jim,
you might be able to like fresh refresh

me on this, but came into my bar, I was
working as a bartender at the time and

basically in short said, you know, you
could sell anything, you know, and I'm

going away for three months and I have
all these accounts that I'm trying to

close and I think you could probably
close them for me while I'm gone.

So I don't lose the.

The business.

And he just basically said, I know
you can do this very casually.

Here are the accounts.

Here's the phone numbers.

Call these people, close these deals
so that when I'm away, I know that

business will be taken care of.

And you know, at the time
it was a big deal to me.

I really looked up to Jim and the
fact that he gave me that sort of

responsibility so casually and I
did it, you know, he was right.

I mean, I called up and I got
these three things closed or

two or three things closed.

And you know, when he came back
from the vacation with his, with

his then fiance, he was like,
you know, I'm going to hire you.

So he gave me my first job.

Like Jim gave me my first real job.

And uh, then mentored me
and taught me how to sell.

And a lot of what it is that I do
today is very much grounded in the

work that Jim and I did together.

And we still talk and we
still do work together.

So I thought we're always
talking all the time, Jim.

We're always yammering, you
know, on shit all the time.

So I thought I'm going to invite you
on and let's have a cool conversation

about some of the amazing things
we talk about and the way that the

world has evolved since you and I
started selling with like, like you.


Briefcases in our hands and the notepads.

So anyway without jim,
thanks for being here man.

Yeah, really great.


Great seeing you Uh,

2: listen just to correct the the record
on one thing and that is that when I

interviewed you I didn't give you the job
because I said this guy is going to be

much better at this than I am So I got
you out of there as quickly as I could

1: I got it.

Well, I appreciate that And look, it
turned out to be fortuitous thing.

I mean, if you probably hired
me, we probably never to work

together again in any event.

So it's important.

I want to tell the story a little bit
more, more depth, Jim, because you know,

Jim was first working for this, uh, Jim
was always very entrepreneurial and, um,

he was working for this small startup.

He was like a consultant to sales
consultant with a rap sheet, right?


And so, and so Jim was selling advertising
in, in, in, in paper newspapers, you

know, and, um, It was owned by this
guy that Jim knew out in California

who owned a bunch of publications.

And when Jim brought me in to sell Rap
Sheet, his, his boss at the time, this

guy, his, his client, I guess at the
time, Jeff said, well, let's just bring

them on and have him sell everything.

And then we, we started selling
all that other Hispanic media.

And that was amazing.

We were traveling all over the
country doing this stuff together

and I learned everything from you.

I mean, you really taught me how to sell.

It's great watching you, you
know, and, um, you hammered me.

I mean, it was old school
style sales training.

I mean, you just like you sat
next to me and you're like, no,

you have to write it like this
and you have to say it like that.

And it was, it was great.

I mean, you drilled it into
me and I sat next to you.

I listened to you on the phone
and I started sort of emulate you.

And there was a time I think people were
making fun of us because we sounded alike.

Like I would make calls and I
would mimic you, you know, and

then it sort of eventually.

Like I tell the people that I train,
um, you have to copy the master

until you can make it your own.

And then I kind of created my own
style, but it was all grounded

in the stuff you taught me.

So anyway, Jim, uh, tell
everybody about yourself and

who you are and all that shit.

I will.

2: You know, it's, first of all,
it's fascinating because back then

you didn't really mention it in
your, uh, intro, but when you were

bartending, you were also an actor.

You were an actor and, uh,
uh, you had some success.

I did, but I was originally attracted
to the, uh, possibilities because you

could act because to me at the time, at
least, I think my thinking has changed,

but it was a role that was being played
the role of the salesperson to deliver,

um, believability to the customer.

And so you can take people who think they
can sell, but if you can take someone who

can act, then they can assume the role.

And I've hired, uh, many actors
to take on this, uh, job over

the years in the same way.

So it's, it's interesting that, that, uh,

1: it's funny because
people ask me this, right?

Like I, I don't, I don't tell, I don't
tell people that often that I was an actor

for a while and I do it for this reason.

It's funny that you bring,
sorry, I'm your bud.

I don't care.

It's not that I'm trying to hide it.

I'll tell you why I don't.

I enjoyed it.

It was amazing.

And I did have some stuff I did.

I ended up actually working.

Um, but.

There's another story from their time.

It's because I do hear sometimes people
say, Oh, yeah, I mean, you're just acting.

It's not really you.

You're playing a character.

I hear that all the time.

Like people have this idea, which
is wrong by the way, that if you're

an actor, you're sort of making
things up or you're faking things.

But in fact, It's actually a good, good
topic just for a second is that what,

when acting is when you're trained to
act, which I was, I went to a really,

really, really good acting school.

It's very complicated and very difficult.

It's really, it's you, it's, you're
finding your own sort of sense of

yourself and then you're adding onto
it all the behavior that you created

your own and you're not faking it.

I mean, it's all your own behavior.

So in fact, the best actors, and
I'm not sure I was the best, but

the best ones are really authentic.

They just take on a persona.

And they're kind of merging
their own reality with that

persona and it's not fakery.

And you know, I asked myself
this, I've had this question asked

me a lot is, you know, did that
acting training help me at all?

I don't know.

I don't know.

I mean, I think maybe I certainly feel
okay being able to talk to people and.

But you do too, right?

You never had any acting experience, but
you're really as good as you can get up

in front of 1000 people and just talk.

So I don't know, I bring it up
because it's, let's just say that

2: the, uh, the authenticity and
authenticity, I think we'll go full circle

in this conversation, but authenticity
is one of the few things that's

remaining in this busy and noisy world.

It's what you bring to the
table is your authenticity.

There's nothing else.

The stuff in the satchel or the things
that you're delivering as services

are, uh, uh, are delivered by you.

There is the human connection
is a key part of any success of

convincing anybody to buy anything.

So maybe it's because actors are in
touch with the authentic might have

been some of the thinking, uh, for me
maybe back then, but it's quite true.

I will tell you this
because we're talking about.

Such ancient history that we're,
we're not even remembering the dates

correctly, but the stories are accurate.

And, but, uh, when I started selling
stuff, this is by the way, the

stories you're talking about, the
mentoring, we were both in our twenties

when all this was taking place.

It's not like I was the grand old man.

We were just.

Young people with some skills, but,
uh, at the beginning, when I first

started selling, I thought the job
was, uh, deliver the material in a,

the, the, the, the, the mental, um,
uh, image of a salesperson is what

I thought you were supposed to do.

To be very expert and deliver the
material in a straightforward way.

And it wasn't that at all.

It's never been that.

And it was, I wasn't successful
at first trying to be the.

Uh, expert sales guy who puts stuff
over like a car salesman or something.

In fact, it's just being you.

It happens that I think for you and for
me, being me, uh, works in the situation

of reaching out to strangers, cultivating
the relationship and, uh, and, uh,

providing them with, uh, information.

The reason I've had any success
is because I guess they want

it from me on some level.

Uh, my, I'm really hyper and talkative and
passionate and, and, and funny and, uh,

goofy, whatever it is that I'm bringing,
that's me wrapped into the, any one of the

dozen things that I've put forward over
all the years is what sells and it ends

up, I, I, you know, for me, a lot of the
relationships that I've cultivated are

with people who continue to trust me and
want to hear what and buy stuff over a.

Well, for three decades,
perhaps they they're still

there or people who they know.

That because the connection was correct
in the first place and real and, uh, uh,

it's, it continues to serve, you know, I
remember in selling, we used to go into

the, we're talking about, you're wearing
the suit and you're going into the office

and you're getting past the receptionist,
all the things that don't even exist

anymore, but, uh, on the way in.

You try to, uh, see something about them.

They have a sailing painting on the wall.

And if you know something about
sailing, then you're golden.

The whole conversation could
be about sailing because

that's what they care about.

Anyway, you know, that, that, that, uh,
authentic connection, uh, uh, could last

a lifetime and, uh, it's, you know, it,
it becomes, uh, uh, uh, a factor, uh,

I remember once I went to a meeting and
the guy said, uh, I've met you before

I've met you and I didn't know if he was
right or wrong, but that was pure gold.

It was the brand manager at
Gillette trying to sell him some

digital game based services.

Yeah, yeah, I think we do know each other.

We've spent about 10 minutes
trying to figure it out.

Did you come from Western Massachusetts?

You ever work in the amusement park?

What about the, did I date your sister?

You know, all that stuff.

By the end of it, it didn't matter
whether we'd known each other.

We knew each other now.

And, you know, what's the difference
between me and 900 other guys who are.

Trying to get time with him.

It's the connection.

So, you better be yourself, because how
else could you connect, you know, with

1: anybody?

Well, that sort of like launches off the
whole reason why we decided to have this

conversation in this format, because...

One of our, you know, many, many
conversations, we were talking about

modern sales and I talk about this a lot
and I guess to frame it for the sake of

the audience and was listening to this
right now, how does this relate to the

CRO collective or chief revenue officer?

It does a lot because it,
despite my protestations on.

Sales is being too much of a
focus for chief revenue officers.

The reality is that for
companies, you got to sell stuff.

I mean, ultimately the, the, the role
of the organization is to persuade

people to consider what you're
offering and get them to buy it.

And there's a lot of things
that go into it, right?

There's marketing and all these other
things, but you know, you're going to

be overseeing a sales organization.

And you know, Jim and I, we really
did, we literally, we grew up in this

like kind of old school sales world.

Like he said, our world was flying to
locations and getting seven meetings in

that location and walking into everybody's
offices and going up to the seventh

floor and walking into the office that a
receptionist and sometimes even like Jim

and I on many occasions were in a building
where we saw there was a company there.

We just tried to go in and just
see if we can meet somebody because

we were in the building, you
know, and these are the kinds of

things that you did in those days.

And to Jim's point, you make a great one.

I want to emphasize this.

It's kind of key thematically
to what we're talking about is.

You know, salespeople at the
core are relationship builders.

They, they make connections with people.

They make meaningful connections with
people and they are able to persuade

people not just on the veracity of
the product that they're offering,

which we'll get into that because it
is important and if not critically

important, but it's just who you are.

And I, and what we were saying and
the reason why we wanted to talk

about this is that's that art is gone.

It's just not prevalent anymore.

What I'm seeing, at least in my world, Jim
and I were talking, talking about this.

Salespeople today, many of them have
SDR groups that do all the prospecting

for them and do all the, I'd call the
hard work, the real hard work, you know,

and, uh, salespeople as a result are
losing out on the opportunity to develop

critical skills that make them not just
great salespeople, better people, you

know, being a salesperson and having to
convince people or persuade people or

get people to, you know, connect with me.

It made me a better.

So, you know, we wanted to
talk about this a bit because

we're seeing it's still needed.

You know, it's missing
and it's not going away.

I don't think machines
are going to replace it.

I don't.

I think that's actually going to be bad.

When we're, when I'm looking at my
clients businesses, we're seeing

that salespeople are spending all
this time in front of software.

They're looking at their CRM screens,
sometimes their Salesforce or

HubSpot screens for like 30 hours
a week or something like that.

And they're not really on the phones.

You know, we didn't have any technologies,
Jim and I, like we, dude, we had like

notebooks, you know, like we had, we had a
board on the wall and we'd write our stuff

down on it and we'd look at it every day.

We'd go, okay, what's
going on with that account?

And we kept notes.

And so we

2: had the, we had, we had, we had phone.

Uh, not, not a mobile phone.

There was a phone, the whole thing of, you
know, calling at, uh, after five o'clock

cause you'd get the guy on the phone.


1: All those tactics.


So, I mean, I, we sound like two old salts
here, but the point we're making is that

it's important because people that possess
those skills, they're still needed.

They're not, maybe certainly the
technologies have advanced, but

if you can't make a meaningful
connection with people.

You're, you're not going
to close a lot of business.

And if you rely on your product alone,
the only people that are going to

survive are people that sell things that
are like everyone's calling up to buy

anyway, you're just order taking and not
many people get the benefit of working

for companies that like Salesforce
or whoever that just is order taking.

So you know, I'm curious to know
what your thoughts are on this.

So if you were to, I guess a couple
of things I want to ask you, never

asked this before, you probably
know the answer, but if you were to

of core philosophy is on selling.

Like, what's your point of view on sales?

If you were like teaching some
young whippersnapper today about

sales, how would you sort of quickly
articulate what your thought is on

what is your point of view on selling?

2: Well, uh, it just popped into
my mind, uh, to how I would answer

that question if I were asked ever.

And the answer is the job is
to get people to believe you.

That's the entire thing.

They have to believe you and that could
mean they have to believe that the

product is going to be effective or
it could just mean they believe you,

so it doesn't matter what you say.

But that is it.

That's the entire job and a
lot of ways to deliver on that.

Uh, we used to try to prepare to go to a
meeting by reading about the company and

its goals or finding out what they did for
a living or, or, or just some key insight.

Because another thing I tell
salespeople is, you know, 99 percent

of the people calling on the person
you want to do business with are.

You know, morons, they're
not your competition.

There's just a few gonna be 2% that
actually are valid competition for the

possibility of having a relationship,
getting that person to believe you.

It's, it's not as, as,
as, as thick as you think.

And even in the modern world with
all this, uh, s d r, 99% of that

is just falling by the wayside.

It's recognized from afar.

There's a lot more noise in
front of you, but most of that

is also recognized as being.

Not worth engaging with.

So you're, you're, you have
to get through the noise.

But again, your competition for actual
mind share with that person, but the

ability to buy is, is, is, uh, slim.

So get, getting them to believe
you is what you're working on.

Oh, what I was saying is in the old
days, we would prepare because I would

go to a sales call and asking them what
their plan is or what are your plans

for the coming months or, or, you know,
leading questions that got them to talk

or allowed for you to hear something
that you could be insightful about.

Was the entire battle.

It was not about, as they say, vomiting
the presentation and saying what we do.

It was not that at all.

It was finding out what they need and
then giving it to them, you know, so

the, that, the heart of it is, uh, is.

Getting them to believe you.

Part of that is preparing.

It's never been easier to prepare every
single thing that they need and the

competitive analysis is available at
your fingertips online, but how you

use that in the service of establishing
a rapport and a relationship is.

It's TBD just because
the information's there.

It's not, doesn't mean that,
that, uh, that, uh, it's being

effectively used in service

1: of, of building the relationship.


You know, one thing I noted in this
response is that you and I grew up

mostly selling complex services.

Like we weren't selling widgets or
some subscription or some, some signup

program that we're getting someone to
do a, like a recurring payment thing.

We, we were selling complicated things.

We were trying to explain a offering
that And another thing I learned from

you, which I know you and I talk about
a lot is you got to sell something

that you really is really amazing
and really cool and provides value.

Because if that's not, if you don't
believe in it, then you're screwed.

It's really hard for people to
go out in the market and sell.

How could you get them to believe
you if you don't believe in yourself?


Well, you know, okay, so this is
a big topic for me because think

about how much stuff is being
sold that is meaningless, right?

I mean, there's just so many
offerings that come into me

that are just commodities.

And there are people selling them.

So in some weird way, I kind of think,
I sort of think that people that

have the ability to sell something
that they don't really believe

in, that's an incredible skill.

I mean, I, I do admire people that
can do that and people do cause

people, people, stuff gets sold.

I mean, I looked, I worked in
the media business like you did.


So when I came out of the media business,
I stayed in the media business and I

was selling online advertising, which,
you know, how many online advertising,

you know, It's just ridiculous.


You can, it's endless, right?

How many people got into that business?

Mainly because it's so lucrative.

So if you're selling or buying
media for people, that's about

as commoditized as you can get.

But yet there are some people
that have the ability to do

better at that than other people.

So the, the human element is
the only differentiator, right?


Because you don't have a
product that sells itself.

It has

2: to be the relationship and the
human element you're going to sell

to a media buyer at an agency.

If there's still such a thing, the
relationship with that man or woman is

the only thing that would differentiate
or influence their decision.

I mean, there are.

There's data and then maybe they have
to make some decisions about that, but

if it's commoditized meaning if it's
I could buy a b c d Or all the way the

whole alphabet, why you, uh, because
of, they, they want to be with you and

maybe part of that is because you're
bringing a dynamism or an expertise.

So it may be that your insightfulness
or your, uh, uh, acumen that brings

value to their role as a media person
would be valued by them, but it, it's

probably because you're, uh, Um, uh,
decent person to spend some time with, you

1: know, I would say there's no
doubt that the differentiator with

the commodity commodity sale is you.

But here's the problem.

And this is a big problem is that
probably up till about as recently as

three years ago, You could build those
relationships, you could take people

to the ball game and you can take
'em out to the, you know, whatever.

You know, people did some crazy stuff.

I mean, you remember the days in like
the nineties, you, you take 'em to strip

clubs wherever you, whatever you can do.

You know, you, you took the
client out, you went to the Yankee

game, you went to a restaurant.

Those days are done, man.

I mean, those, that
doesn't happen anymore.

I mean, COVID changed the
game to such a degree.

That now getting a client out to
dinner to get them to an event or

get that it's just it's impossible.

And what we saw happen, a lot of
my friends who worked for companies

whose business model was basically all
based on travel entertainment budgets.

That's how they won their business.

As a matter of fact,
I'll tell you a story.

So when I was working at Avast,
I was an executive that I had a

budget and I was being sold to.

So I had a really good experience of
seeing what it was like to be on the

other side of the table with a big budget.

This is actually what, what
launched the CRO Collective

was my observations from that.

One company, another commodity,
big agency, media platform that

wanted the business from Havas and
knew that I was the gatekeeper.

They took me to the masters.

I didn't, didn't just take me, they
took a whole bunch of people, but

their strategy was really simple.

They were like, all right, how
much is it going to cost us to take

12 key prospects to the masters?

25, 000 or more.


More than that.

Not more than that.

I can tell you that.

It was a lot more.

So, you know, the whole thing
was first class the whole way.


I mean, they drove us to the
airport in this big, huge bus,

and then we landed at the airport.

They took us to another place
in a big, huge bus, and they put

us all in these beautiful rooms.

And they had a party
for us the day before.

And then they drove us
all out to the masters.

We spent the day at the court, the thing,
and then they got tickets to the, the

event at the masters, like after that
night, you know, when everybody was

there, it was like a star studded affair.

I mean, it was about as.

It's amazing an event as
you could possibly ask for.

It was incredible.

I mean, it really is memorable.

And I remember thinking to myself,
man, these guys are smart because you

know what, I'm going to buy from them.

It worked.

Did I think their product was any better?


Did I even like them?

Not particularly, to be honest with you.

I mean, they were just a
bunch of dudes, you know.

Um, but they won me over because
they gave me this experience that the

reciprocity was so deep at that point.

Like, how could I not
do business with you?

So the calculation was really brilliant
because they sort of knew it in a way.

They were like, how could people not
buy from us if we do this for them?

And that's not possible anymore, right?

It's done.

I mean, I, I don't get
meetings with people anymore.

I'm on zoom calls with them.

So in the zoom world, it's called
the world of the zoom, what's the

way that a salesperson in your view.

Can maintain that connection without
the ability to have as much access,

particularly if you, the company you work
for, the success they had was predicated

a lot on being able to entertain people.

And those are things are gone.

Well, no

2: one said it's going to be easy.

That's for sure.

But I do think that whatever the margin
is for that connection, it's still

the differentiator on a zoom call.

You can be with someone or not.

And you know, you said you
didn't like those guys that much.

Uh, they would have their, their cost
per acquisition would go down if they

were connectable and likable and they
could have, you know, they could have

you for a life on the one masters and not
have to, it's extrinsic versus intrinsic

as we used to say in the gamification.

Uh, outline when we're talking about
UX, it's the SPFs get you in, but it's

the, uh, connective stuff, uh, the, the
sense of purpose, uh, giving, uh, the

customer autonomy and giving them a,
a chance to make their own decision.

Uh, and so on, those are the things
that, that make a difference.

Uh, uh, it may be that the, that
the, uh, margin has closed on both

gifting and also on human interaction,
but without it, there's nothing.

So on the zoom call, it means
that the talking head who is

trying to, uh, sell something to
the other talking head has to be.

Get believed be relatable.

It should be after the zoom that the
person says I wouldn't mind being

friends with that person getting a
beer with that person or entrusting

them with this piece of business,
which Is meant to get me a promotion.

I think

1: they earned my

2: trust through expertise through
personality Not I guess in that situation

not so much through spiffs and grease

1: It's the same thing you say that
because in a way what, what I think

happened was similarly the old school way
of selling afforded you the ability to

borrow equity from a Yankee game or borrow
equity from a master's game, borrow equity

from a great restaurant or a great meal.

That you could just bring that
person there and that experience

did all the work, you know,
now granted you're correct.

I mean, the real
professionals do both, right?

They bring you to this event and they're
awesome people, you know, so not only

do you have a great experience, but you
really enjoyed the person's company.

I mean, that's probably about
as good as you can possibly

get, but they don't have to be.

Yeah, no, but it

2: has to be.

I think about my own, uh,
uh, successes in the past.

And you can, inexperienced or, uh,
ineffective versus experienced and

effective at the sales process.

You're in a fine restaurant
and the food's amazing.

That's the opportunity to connect.

It's not about the food.

It's, it's just that you've softened
the ground for a relationship.


1: a, that's a philosophy, right?

So you, me.

And I, I know we're on the same page here.

If I'm taking somebody to the
masters or I'm taking somebody to a

restaurant, I view the context of that.

I view them as not, Oh great, I'm
going to take them to this great place

and the steak is so good that they're
just going to have a great time and

they're going to buy some for me.

I like you think this is a great venue
for us to connect and have a great

relationship together because we'll
experience this together and we'll,

we'll, the same thing that I would have
done with them in their office by looking

on the wall and seeing if they have
two kids and one has a baseball hat.

My kids also plays baseball.

To do that in an environment
like that only enhances it.

But I think what happened was a
lot of these companies were relying

too much on the venue, right?


To make up for the lack of
personality that they had.

It's a very expensive,

2: very expensive equation.

It is.

And the proof that it's expensive is
when you take away the, when you take

away the extrinsic, there's nothing left.

1: So what I'm saying is now the
zoom meeting, it's even harder.

Like you really have to be incredibly
talented now because if you're in a flat

screen like you and I both are, you have
to learn how to make that connection.

And the people that can do that
are on a high wire now, right?

They don't have the benefit of,
you know, music and you know, food

and you know, a game going around.

But I think it's just

2: human.

It's just humans.

I'm sorry.

It's just human stuff.

It's just being a human.

You think about the relationships you
have, I know what kind of person you

are and you're, you're able to relate
to, it's the bus driver and the coffee

guy and then Warren, why did he take
an extra half an hour to get home?

Because he was being relatable
or kind or got involved with

other humans on the way home.

And I'm the same way.

I, I, I can, not only can I talk to
anybody and not only do I talk too

much, but that's, uh, what, what, uh,
drives me and makes me human and it

gives me a good time in the world.

So I think, you know, maybe, first
of all, I think that that's, if

that's lost in the mechanized sales
world of the, of the X last years,

then, uh, it becomes more valuable.

And that, uh, maybe the, uh,
maybe there's an inflection point.

I mean, everything's being automated,
everything's being maximized.

I'm a little less connected because
I continue to sell consultative

services that are highly sophisticated
to people I've known for a while

or people who know people I know.

I mean, for me, it's not a lot
of cold calls at this point.

I have a, a network of.

Of people and I, uh, I work it and
despite I've got a new initiative,

as you know, and I'm, I'm really
excited about it and I'm taking it

to some of my, uh, communications
contacts from over the last.

20 years, and many of them have
heard me, uh, come up with some

new item that I thought would be
worth their while, uh, you know, a

dozen times, uh, over the last, uh,

1: period of time.

So you're, you're, you're capitalizing
on the equity that you built in the

marketplace over the last three decades.

And most people don't
have that benefit, right?

You did a great job.

I mean, I know we talked about
all the time, you know, we've.

We just had a conversation last week.

You spoke to somebody that we
both know from 20 years ago and

you're going to meet with them.


And I know that's probably the case
and I can do the same thing too.

I'm very proud of the fact that I
can make those phone calls myself.


It took us a long time to cultivate
these relationships with people

who are happy to hear from us.

They, they like our company.

They want to talk to us.



That's, that's beautiful.

But someone who doesn't have
that, you, we had to build that.

2: Someone who doesn't
have that has to build it.

Has to, they have to build it now and
they have the benefit I don't have.

If you're a, uh, uh, 22 and you, uh, are
calling on some guy, uh, you, first of

all, you're going to have known him when.

I mean, the people that I'm
doing business with now were

junior communications people.

Some of them disappeared, some
of them X, Y, Z, and some of

them are running the joint now.

You know, in other words, the networking,
by the way, it's a network world.

All the things that we, we came
to see as a, uh, as a leg up.

I'm good at networking.

I'm staying in touch.

I'm being smart.

I'm never, you know, I, I
got introduced the other day.

I'm doing this nice project now for the,
uh, involves the, uh, the NFL and, uh,

and this thing I'm doing that the, uh,
uh, client introduced me to all his peers.

And he said, Jim is.

He's, you know, he's an innovative
guy, has been forever, and it's always

straight up and he's always got something
valuable, and he'll never try to sell

you anything that's inappropriate.

Everything he said was just so
complimentary, even though I've

been hawking him for years.

But it's not, it isn't that.

The, the, the...

Expression of value and the trust that I
built that I, I'm bringing you some value.

You're lucky.

I called you because I
have something valuable.

If it's not a fit, then we, we don't
have to talk about it, but I'm not here

to shove anything down your throat ever.

Oh, my point is if you're really
young, you have to recognize, uh,

I always was patient enough to,
uh, realize that what I'm doing is.

Uh, interacting with someone and, uh, I
don't care if they buy from me or not.

It's about the moment and about the
relationship and where's it all going?

Because if you're, if you have the
benefit of being, uh, far younger than

I am, then you've got years to cultivate
that relationship and you've got to see

it that way, or you're a transactional
person in an oversaturated world.

So it should always be that you're,
this is the acting that the, the,

the, what you're bringing present is.

Real and relatable and valuable.

Not when can we close?

It used to be that way.

If you take someone to lunch, are you
expecting them to buy something from you?

Well, that's not a relationship
or it's only a transactional one.

It should be, I don't care what,
can we just have a good time?

Isn't it great for two minutes
to take a breath of fresh air and

be humans on the planet earth?

That's a very celebratory, uh, mood.

It's a long term view, but if you're
young, you can take the long term view.

I, I had a young woman, uh, call me
the other day who was the daughter

of a guy I used to do business with.

And she's in, uh, she's in audio, uh,
she's an audio, uh, sound engineer.

And she, uh, I said, I, I know some
people that you should talk to.

I'm, I want to do her father a favor.

And, and she was nice.

And I connected her with my college
buddy who runs the podcast company.

I should have had her call you.

And I, and I connected her with some
people, you know, but four people,

all of which were great connections.

They could all actually offer
her work, but I've told her

this is not, can they help me?

This is.

You know, this is forever, the lady
that I connected you with, who is

the head of production for that, uh,
uh, the TV company, it's forever if,

I mean, until she, she's, she'll be
retired before you're too old, but that

woman in 10 years will say, I knew you
when, and you're, that's your friend.

For 10 years, and if you, if you
don't see it as transactional,

then you have the opportunity
to make it a real relationship.

I mean, you know, you think about the,
your friends, you and I are friends.

You think about all your friends.

What are you, uh, hoping for something
value out of them on a short term basis?

You're not in it for anything except
the relationship, and that's, that's

how you have to think about humans.

Who have the potential to issue POs,
they're just humans that will be so

different already that you'll have
a chance of getting the business.

That's the

1: only way to go.

Your point is well taken.

I would say this, this is an interesting
point that you bring up when I'm

thinking about this is that the world of.

The commodity, the marketplace has
become almost hyper transactional.

And what's happened is that
salespeople that are deployed

into the marketplace today are not
told to cultivate relationships.

They're told to close deals and as many
as possible and as quickly as possible.

That's why all this technology has been
invented to support them to do that.


And so what's in, what ends up happening
is, and I see this all the time, right?

You get this.

I mean, the evidence of this is in the
amount of inbound I get every day, right?

All the emails I get and all the.

inbound LinkedIn messages I get
because people are managed and they're

expected to be transactional in
the way that they deal with people.

And they have quotas they have to hit.

And those quotas are very, very strenuous
and they have to hit them every month.

And so they don't have the luxury to
think about it that way because they're

on the wire to make They're number.

And if they don't make their
number, they're going to be canned

or they're going to lose whatever.


So it's really difficult for people in
today's very highly transactional world.

Everything's sped up like a
lot more so much faster now.


I mean, we have dialers.

Now you can literally press a button
that'll dial like 80 numbers in a row

that'll only answer the one that answers.

We have machines that you press a
button that'll send a cadence of emails

out to a thousand people right away.

And it'll give it to them in succession.

I mean, these are things that
you and I remember we had, we

had to craft our emails together.

We compared them, we'd read them
to each other and I still do that.

And so what I'm saying is that we don't
have the environment that allows as much

room and plus Transcribed You and I have
been for the most part, even though I work

for a lot of companies, we're both very
much like entrepreneurial people, right?

We've always had the ability to
kind of think about our next thing

and how we're going to carry this
relationship to our next thing.

We always knew there was
going to be something new that

we were going to be doing.

And it gave us the ability
to do a couple of things.

One is we never ever worked, very
rarely ever worked for any company

that didn't sell something really cool.

You and I had the benefit of selling
some really amazingly cool things,

some things that you in fact invented.

We'll, we'll talk about that in a
second, but a lot of these people

are working at these big machines.

They're selling software,
sales software, automation

software, programmatic software.

They have very strict quotas and
they're on zoom calls or they're

on the phone and uh, they don't
have the luxury of thinking.

Cause what you're saying
obviously makes sense.

I think anybody to argue the
wisdom of the point you're making

everyone, it's perfectly logical.

But I, I would say the possible pushback
on that from some person who's 25

or 26 would say, are you kidding me?

I have many phone calls.

I got to make a day.

Do you have any people like it?

I can only have two seconds with them
and I got to get them on the phone.

And I, I, my point is I don't think
that's a very effective way to

sell and I don't think it's a very
effective way to go to market, but

that's the way things are today.

They are done that way.

2: I guess, I guess I would say that.

Uh, it's the, it's still is the
discretionary tidbit is the human stuff.

So just because you have these quotas
that say slam it down the client's

throat at an accelerated pace does not
mean that's going to be, uh, successful

even short term, meaning even in the
moment of, of the sped up transaction.

Finding, uh, the, the human element,
listen, I will say this, if you

think about this and you think about
what we did learn together, remember

you'd make a phone call and you
knew you had four seconds or less

to keep the person on the phone.

What were you going to say?

We used to say, I'm calling, I can't
even remember that we used to have a

pattern that when, and a pause that
meant that you wanted them to say.

And, or yes, they had to permit
you to continue, not hang up.

And so it was a transactional
short, uh, moment of seeking, uh,

manipulating, but seeking a connection.

It had, you had to have the
connection in order to go to part two.

It had to be as there's, there's, there
were probably parallels between the two,

meaning even if it was exact, look, you
just said, the guy says, I've got to

make 40 phone calls a day to close two.

Uh, all right, well, if you're making
40 a day or 400 a day to close some

small amount, it should be that when
you get past the roto dialer and a

person finally says, yes, that you're
using that moment effectively to

1: try to deliver some, yeah,
you almost have to condense

the relationship into small.

And I think that the people that
are good at that probably succeed

in this, in this new world.

But you know, I want to, cause we
only have about 10 minutes, I gotta,

I got another thing I gotta do.

But I wanted to ask about your business.


Because when you, when you first hired me,
he was a, it was a publishing company, but

then you went to go work for a partner of
yours and you hired me to help you sell.

An incredibly innovative thing,
which was your company built custom

video games for brands, which
at the time was revolutionary.

I mean, now it's like, no shit, they're
video game being done all the time.

It's a huge industry, but you know,
this is, you said it and it's true.

You, you're a pioneer in gamification
as a industry and a building.

experiences that create greater retention
for people, whether they're learning

things or they're trying to buy things
or they even want to sell things.

And as a result, it was the most
satisfying time of my career was

selling this amazing program to people
when they, when they bought it, the

stuff that we built was amazingly
cool and fun and it really worked

and it made a really big difference.

And it was also very lucrative, you
know, it was a very good business.

And then you've done so many other things.

So in the next like three or four
minutes that we have, I want to

tell a little bit more about what
you're doing and how you've kind

of capitalized on this idea of.

You know, building engaging
experiences for people that

have them learn more, do more.

retain more, et cetera, et cetera.


2: thank you for letting me tell my
story, uh, back when we were working

together, uh, originally we had this,
uh, aha moment that games would matter to

business and it, I hate to, Oh God, these
things, I hate to say it, but it was, uh,

you know, it started in a pre web era.

We were doing it when the only way to
deliver interactive experiences was

either on a laptop and even the green
screens were crummy or maybe on a place

based kiosk at a trade event or on disk.

And so we started by making games as
deliverables that were used promotionally.

And I'm not going to go deep into detail
because it's so long ago, but we waltzed

into Coke and Taco Bell and General
Mills and gave them this idea that they

should make games about their brands.

They had no idea what
we were talking about.

And so it led to a really good
promotional business, uh, where they

would order 3 million of those things.

Can you deliver 3 million?

And then we'll give them out
with a kid's meal kind of thing.

It was a great business.

That evolved into the, uh, gamification
side of things where we were making

a game for business that, uh, taught
their people stuff simulations,

mostly where we build a custom made,
uh, experience that reflected, uh,

their, uh, processes and their values.

And you would immerse the, either the
new hire or the, the employee into

an experience that mimic the real
world and very effective business for.

It's still, it's still my business.

It's still effective, but it was, uh,
revolutionary, uh, early on to, uh,

promise this medium that is so important
to people, particularly young people as

a, as an interface and yet replicate, uh,
the, and simulate the world they were in.

So you'd create for salespeople, we
would create a situational selling

and they would meet the customer.

We would populate it with the, with
the sales materials that they needed

to sell and what they needed to say.

Branching dialogue and they could
go anything from being kicked out of

the meeting to, uh, closing the deal.

And those simulations are, are
an effective way of teaching.

As you, as you said, the
change in the business is that.

Uh, everybody is expecting
it off the shelf now.

Uh, they'd rather buy an off
the shelf piece of software

1: that, uh, it's harder
to stimulate people today.

They're overstimulated already.

2: That, and, and, and then the bo, the,
the powers that be, uh, think that, uh,

uh, an approximation of their process is
good enough for the price rather than,

uh, expecting to build things by hand.

So, but that, so that business
has been very effective.

Uh, and my business, as you know,
is called experiences unlimited.

I went into the experiences business for
delivering people experiences, usually

digital, that would reflect the world.

That's, uh, uh, what we've been doing
for quite some time, uh, since you asked.

Uh, the new iteration, the thing
that's so exciting now is doing, uh,

a similar effort, taking a medium
that is incredibly important to

people and applying it to business.

In this case, uh, our medium
is graphic storytelling.

We're creating, uh, uh,
graphic storytelling.

In order to deliver brand
communications, talent acquisition,

uh, uh, uh, CSR initiatives and so on.

And it's, uh, a really effective format.

My studio creates, uh, commercial
quality, uh, graphic, uh, novels.

And applies that skill set to creating
something that will actually capture

the imagination of an employee or a
stakeholder or a customer or a consumer.

And, uh, it's really, uh, uh, novel.

And, uh, effective and
it's got great traction.

So it's, uh, it's, uh, it's
old again is new again.

Can you take the things that make
people respond and engage and, uh,

create an emotional experience and
apply it to business because people

at work are humans, you know, the,
the, the, the, the old saw that,

uh, you and I used to tell was the
person went out and saw the 3d movie.

And then they play video games
on their, on their PlayStation.

And when they got to work,
you give them a PowerPoint.

So they completely disengage.

He said, all right, I'll, I'll, I'll
look at the PowerPoint, but it's not me.

That's not my world.

Why would you disengage your employee
with the media that you put in front

of them when you can actually give
them something that they would value?

And, uh, I just keep, I keep doing
that, uh, trying to find the emotional,

uh, uh, media, uh, that will help, uh,

1: Yeah.

No, it's great.

I love what you're doing, but,
um, we're, we're getting out

of time, but this has been fun.

You and I can talk for three more hours.

I know we probably will.

I'll probably call you after this and talk
more, but anyway, look, man, this is fun.

I'm really glad we're talking
and thanks for doing this.

It was a cool experiment and, um,
um, I'm sure that people find a

lot of value in some of this stuff,
particularly some young people

who are looking at two old salts.

Who really carried bags around and
actually did the hard work and it's

no offense to the young salespeople.

I'm going to tell you
it's a lot different.

It's a lot different.

The amount of, um, uh, tools
that young people have today.

You know, the mid, mid, the early,
late twenties, early thirties, I

have a lot of friends who are in
that age group selling right now.

The amount of tools they have at their
fingertips, we didn't have any of them.

And you know, they, if they just add
a little humanity to what they're

doing, they can be superstars.


Cause there's very few people
that know how to do that.

Well, so that's the kind of takeaway
I get from this conversation is if you

could be a really amazing human on top
of all this stuff, you, there's like

so few people that are good at that.

You'll kill it.

So that's the, that's
the kind of takeaway.

Uh, from this whole thing.

2: Agreed.

I, and I wonder if those young
people, uh, would hear that or agree.

I don't know.

Uh, but I, uh, I don't either.

I, I think it's true.

1: But, uh, I gotta, I
gotta dash here, man.



It's such a pleasure.