Dan T. Rogers is the CEO & Founder of Sales Sidekick, where he helps sales leaders become sidekicks to their superhero clients. Sales Sidekick is the result of Dan’s experience in helping other business leaders understand what they really want and how to get there. He is also the CEO & Founder of Point to Point Transporation, a shipping company that has gained a total of nine appearances on the Inc 5000 Fastest Growing list, with seven of those being in a row.
That’s the present, but my goal here on the How’d It Happen Podcast is to decipher the turning moments in someone’s life, so, let’s take a step back.
From Burrito Roller to CEO
In 1994, Dan took a job as a burrito roller at Taco Del Mar to pay for college. The company had just three restaurants, but he saw an opportunity so he dropped out of college and went all-in on the burrito business. He stayed in the company for 3 years, becoming General Manager, handling the operations of over 50 locations, and supervising more than 250 team members.
Fast forward 10 years: he owns two companies, has an 8-figure conglomerate, but he hates his job. He was feeling stuck, and he knew that he was the problem. Things started to change when he got introduced to his first coach, who made him realize the root cause of the problem was his unclear vision. Thanks to the coaching and a combination of events, Dan was able to get unstuck and tap into his full potential.
And now here’s Dan T. Rogers.
Full transcript below
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Podcast with Daniel T. Rodgers. Turn Your Clients into Superheroes with Sales Sidekick.
people, business, decisions, vision, company, moving, customers, money, talking, boss, buy, person, little bit, coach, big, super, run, term, work, burritos
Mike Malatesta 00:08
Hi, Dan, welcome to the show. Thanks for having me looking forward to. Yeah, me too is, it’s it’s been sort of one of the, I want to thank you because it’s one of the fastest turnarounds of meet somebody to having them on the podcast I think in the almost 200 of these that I’ve done so, you’re a quick start, I think, but do you use this to use a Strategic Coach term, I do want to say thank you to Justin Breen for connecting the two of us I also noticed that Justin company is called br epic and he’s all about epic and when I look at your website for point to point, the whole video is about epic and everything so you guys are like a match made and made in heaven. Maybe, maybe, maybe even a cartoon match didn’t have an answer. I’ll take it if you will. Okay. Okay, well, I start every show by asking the guests the same simple question, Dan and that is how did happen for you.
Yeah so, I think really where, where it happened for me, is around September of 2007. I woke up and I hated my job. And that had not been the story or that had not been my story, maybe ever, but certainly not, not for over 20 years I think that was probably one of the first times. The only time it ever happened, and there was just one problem. I was, I was my own boss. I own companies at the time, and I was completely the guy in charge, and I hated, I hated going to work, I hated. I hated what we’re doing. I didn’t like it, I didn’t enjoy it, and I sort of facing myself a fairly accountable person with any sort of self respecting lack of self accountable person. First the employees. And I blame the customers, and then I blame our providers. And then it was obvious it is all free pass order but that goes obvious that I was the blocker. And through the grace of the universe I got introduced to a woman that would become our first coach, and in our initial meeting we’re having a cup of coffee and she asked me a very simple question she just said what’s your vision. And so this would be the probably the longest that she’d ever let me speak, but it was our first meeting, so she didn’t able to order release in about 45 seconds. And then she said, Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam. Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam. Sam, and then I won’t use the colorful language but she said, I don’t know what you effing said, whatever it is, is on vision. If you don’t have a vision, you can’t articulate a vision. If you can’t articulate a vision, you can’t you don’t know what you want people to do, if you don’t want people if you don’t know what you want people to do you can’t ask people to do what you want. No wonder you hate working here I’d hate working for you. And I said, You’re hired. You’re hired. And I’ve come to find out that, I think the way that I think of business coaches, is they’re psycho therapists with glasses to kill is, you know, is there a somebody who’s going to tell you the truth, and sort of cut to the chase. And so where that conversation led to is that we did the work that you got to do which is. We had an eight digit conglomerate and a couple companies so we had success within basketball we have done all this stuff, but we didn’t have a vision. So we did the hard work of sort of clearing out what the vision was and, and then a fairly absolute guy once we got clear on the vision, then we had to live with the application and the application of the vision was 70 cents on the dollar didn’t fit into our board. And so we, quietly, diplomatically moved on those customers, and we didn’t know it, but the recession was coming right behind it. And so the recession came in right behind it took another 7% And you don’t have to be a math guy than I am. That’s how it goes. It’s like a 91% drop in revenue in like 18 months. And so, from there with that clarity of vision. We started chasing that vision. Vision had sort of refined it, and that’s what led became, we came back to roughly two and a half times the size we were before we took apart. Instead, there was a seven year in a row seven years in a row, meaning 5000 went into coding. So that’s really where it happened, there’s obviously some magic that happened before that but that was really, I’d say where it happened. I pride myself on sort of hopping off the smartest kid in class for a very very long time. But it wasn’t until we got a coach, and sort of had a smart kid, that we could rise up by.
Mike Malatesta 05:46
Okay. Interestingly you you’ve used we and our a bunch there is, is it you and a partner you and your wife, what’s the what’s the we in ER here.
Yeah, so there’s a couple, and I’m sorry to have to get this to probability but thank you for asking. So, initially it was we because we hadn’t run EOS the whole entire time, but we run it. Most recently we ran scaling up slash voter habits before that. But but my number two. I make the messes, she claims a month where we have 17 years together, so it’s definitely we might be more of her than me if there’s anything right so, so that’s a huge part of it, obviously, to have the type of success that we’ve had is there’s just some people involved. And then, on the business partner front. I did have a business partner from, say, 2004 till 2017 ish. Yeah, That’s a, that’s a whole nother rabbit hole incredible incredible guy. Incredible minutes we’re all that short, he was huge part of it as well. Okay. Do you
Mike Malatesta 07:06
want to talk about that story or No.
Sure, you know, I, it gets it gets super convoluted fast so I’ll see if I can. So, um, when, when I, so I, when I was first looking to buy the company that I was selling for. I talk to all the people that I could think of that were smart business people. And prior to being in sales, I’ve worked, and opened about 50 restaurants or so for a fast food chain, that I hit it just at the right time I started with them. We had three stores, and in two and a half years, you know, we know that 50 Plus and all this crazy stuff was fantastic because like I actually dropped out of college to roll burritos. I did a little bit more than all breeders but literally I talked about the problems. And so that was sort of my undergrad and maybe a little bit together. And prior to that I’ve been moving furniture, and the company that I was moving furniture for was waiting for me to graduate college and I was taking night classes, and then eventually I had to take day classes and so I stopped living furniture momentarily started rolling burritos to finish our Polish radios took off, never went back to college, the moving company called and said hey, we’re waiting for you to graduate, you’re obviously not going to graduate but now that you’ve done all this crazy stuff. In business, do you want to come sell for us we have unlimited commissions. So the allure of an unlimited conditions and the fact that I didn’t have any equity in the restaurant chain was enough for me to get into sales. So, I went to work for a Mayflower vanlines agency, as we had some brand recognition not always before but also as a specialized provider inside that system had a really good run in sales in that and then Gox the place that I bought the agency from the guy that I worked for. Okay, so as the sort of that conversation I’m going to come back to this part of our problems but at the start of that started that conversation I talked to everybody I knew there was a business person so I talked to the guys that I worked for the restaurant business, and I talked to who this guy that was my father in law at the time. And he’s a very accomplished businessperson. He was primarily in natural resources, but he bought and sold, or participated in buying and selling publicly traded companies, he’s the finance. He’s always is usually the acquirer, right, they would, they would buy companies so he’s a very, very sophisticated guy, so I asked him some questions, and he was sort of one of my main one of like three mentors, eventually about two years into the business we were talking so much about it, he actually bought it not because we needed him. But just because I was talking to him twice a week. So the way that deal goes, is I’m not gonna I won’t use the numbers but he said about how about I buy in, and I’ll give you this much for 45% I was like sure at this point, I’m married to his daughter and I’m gonna inherit he’s got way more money than me and you know I’m also who cares. He said this to the cleaners on evaluation but the way they’re dealing. So, so then he was involved in, he had a nice run out, we got a digital business right. And then we took the thing apart. Right, first off I will inform you about our own billing decisions and then by the recession, we’ve seeded every goal that we set in terms of how much money we could lose. And he prompt us. We lived through his, his finances. He believed in what we were doing but like we were obviously losing money. So we borrowed money at interest from him, and then we capitalize some of that debt, and that made him a 5050. And then, then we went on the escalator ride up to that seven year run. And he’s got a wonderful daughter but we were fairly incompatible so either divorcing his daughter and then eventually buying him out. Guy there’s a baby. Anyways, I will be learning from him for 30 years whether he says that he still takes my phone call.
Reflect on what he’s told me to learn by just about this. She’s great great great Britain is hungry as we were heard and plugged into having split ownership when one person is sold
in business and everyone’s very passive incredibly smart. The word wisdom per word that we got from him was off the charts. He was incredibly heavy. Okay. I’m big on the word psychic. It’s easier to get ahead, products of the fast few,
Mike Malatesta 13:25
but I have a I was not expecting that, that that’s where that story would go very interesting to me.
It was. Yeah. Those two folks are in our universe. I love being a business, I know unfortunately, I know a bunch of other business owners, and one of the massive, massive, massive benefits that we have and it’s a little bit of a struggle, is that, that single head on her. Christine and I have made such a great number of people whether it’s an E or whatever, they don’t have that. And if you got to play both of those, certainly times when we really have to because you’re growing fast and all that, huge, huge part and then performance. But like baghouse financially, like we were set up from day one, like a publicly traded company back office. And that’s all stuff that’s just incredibly expensive and time consuming to learn, and like we learned from. So that’s all stuff that is, you know fortunate to survive all my bad decisions and other business owners and stuff that we do as we go but it was really obvious that we have with it’s just pretty gentle I’m sort of said that out of the. Because, so
sort of professionalized thing else kind of comes with Office because it’s usually not
the norm. And so it’s, it’s much better for me to start with a good,
Mike Malatesta 15:37
a good backstage as dancer, a good foundation
there to support your life better, was to try to get up to speed when you get off and it’s, um, I don’t want to try to whine about that
Mike Malatesta 16:04
cause to work in atari, which maybe that’s the same as wrong. Maybe that’s the same. I don’t know, rolling burritos. It’s a step up from, from, from that decision that I made so, so well done. What I would say, fortunately. Anyway, in college because I have no business working in a cemetery. At least that’s what I’ve chosen to believe in and I noticed. You know, you said you’re big on sidekick you talk about your integrated integrator. In EOS terms I’m sorry I’m assuming and Christine, is that is that I see an illustration of Robin from Batman and Robin up on your wall, the sidekick, right. So I love that I want to explore that a little bit more because you have a business called sales sidekick now what you’re running, started in. Just recently I got so I want to get into that more but before I do I want to get back to this coach. How did you come about her. And I know that you when you told the story you said you reacted well to it, you know, Quickstart decision hey let’s do this book. How did you find her and when she was telling you all this stuff were you in this first meeting, where she abruptly cut you off after whatever it was and basically told you. You’re full of shit. Right, yeah. Yeah, so just like, you know, I mean, it’s one thing intellectually to be like yeah okay I get it, that’s, but it’s another thing to hear something like that, maybe even for the first time when you’re used to everybody sort of saying, great idea, then
we’re behind you. Yeah, no i. So, because a couple words intentional. There isn’t a business around intentional design Kaizen is a concept that I’ve held close my heart for a decade. There’s been a lot of attention. No pun intended. So, to get back to the question. So I started chemo. In early, early on was that it was just more effective to copy off the smartest kid in class, and we’re talking about cheating as a different story, right. So, here’s how it rolls, if I go to class. I aced the test. If I go in my high school and college transcripts will reflect that if I go, I aced the test, and if I don’t, I don’t have the GPA. But I don’t show up for stuff unless I’m going to play. So how I met the coach was. And I’ll just get super super real but I’m a 5% involved guy, and my MO is like I’m in the middle of the pack and work my way to the front. That’s very comfortable for me to deal with. That’s how things came to be alive. I woke up one day, I was the coolest guy in my, in my life, other than my father in law, hands down, I was the most successful person if I’m going to pay more taxes and most people are like I was the coolest guy, very beautiful woman, to all the drivers like everything’s awesome, like what the heck do I do, like I need to upgrade my network, so I can get some more, you know rear ends, Jason. And so I appeared at that point in my life around 2006 ish. And she was our chapter minister at the time, there’s this conversation
of whether or not. You came from there. So I am that intentionality intentionality peace I can delude myself, and ruin that.
I told my mentor to practice the principle that he said then, if you never work in everyday life. Guys, just like me, like I said I could run for a little bit because obviously
we’re always opening, that’s where the answer always is the good news. The bad news if the answer
is within the screws. But I can, if it’s controlled. And as far as I could on my own, on my own juice, it’s time to upgrade them. Okay.
And you didn’t make it all the way to the front of the hill but enough that it was like a good upgrade or network. Strategic Coach, as well. And I,
Mike Malatesta 22:20
it’s so funny because what you shared there about, you know, hating your business, but being the person who was the boss. I think that’s something that happens to a lot of entrepreneurs. I’m finishing my first book is called owner. Owner shift, and I have a chapter I the books basically about hitting that I call it dropping myself into the valley of uncertainty, so it’s kind of like the gap concept in Strategic Coach, but But I basically ended up. It sounds like you were. I didn’t feel like anything was right in business, but I didn’t realize that everything that was in the business was exactly what I had asked for you. You get what you asked for and I had been asking for the wrong things and I was getting them and it was pissing me off I couldn’t figure out how to stop it, and, and the same things go through. I think all I think all of us, almost all of us, not everyone, but a lot of us get to that same point, whether it’s five years and or seven or 10 or at some point you just wake up and you’re like, What the hell am I done here because I’m supposed to be. I’m supposed to be in love with this forever and it’s supposed to maximize all the things I’m great at and I’m supposed to have a great team and everything’s supposed to happen the way I want and none of that is, I can’t say that any of that is true right now. And yeah, you look for well whose fault is it, and instead of saying, Yeah, I’m getting everything that I asked for, and I don’t like it, so maybe I have to ask for something different. In order to get out of this valley and get where I should be
100% And what made it sort of twice is bittersweet and certainly way more humbling is apparently spiritual personal and quite rightly The reason why I believe I was had such great sales success is, I was just trying to serve people. And then I had lost sight, when I got into the quote unquote CEO chair I got lost in a role. And I lost sight of just trying to serve people and how do we serve them as have a mission that we’re certainly going to have to be other tools, added to the tool chest but I’d also sort of lost the survey, it wasn’t so much that I was trying to serve myself, but I got lost and like what I was supposed to do and all this other nonsense when I was ridiculously successful at the restaurant. They asked me to do stuff I was completely unqualified to do but they trusted me and then I trusted that I called the boss to hire my higher power. Remember, if I do the phone work the boss. And so, like it didn’t always work perfectly but those are trusted resources to them. And so I got to do a whole bunch of things I wasn’t qualified to do and we got, you know, most of them pretty much to where we wanted it was in sales I didn’t act like a sales guy was supposed to act as I mentioned, they understand how to move this stuff because he used to drive the truck. I can, I can actually post them the exact right way to do this, and we may or may not be the right company for but like I can actually serve, that was not surprisingly, ridiculously successful, and I’d like to think for the first little bit of point to point, and the other things that we’re doing that we started kept that spirit but somewhere along the way, I started trying to think like a CEO, and that didn’t make me like an awful self centered person, it just made me a person that was sort of answering to the wrong authority, if that makes any sense and, and, yeah, so, when, when it was like, Oh, we want to lead this great company that has a mission that we can get excited about. Then, then it all changed but I can’t stress enough there needed to be more tools, added to the tool chest as well. I think blind faith is great to some extent but the boss frequently says, Hey man, let’s go to a lot, right, so, so it was sort of a twofer one I got lost in the role, and then also was under resourced in terms of what required to be a successful business.
Mike Malatesta 26:50
So, I’ve got a lot of time to think about that and I want to run something past you based on what you just said and you can create a tell me whether I’m barking up the wrong tree or whatever but you use the term, you know, kind of at trying to be a CEO, and then you use the term, you know, self serving. And, my mind went to something opposite of that. So I want to make sure, because like, what my experience was is as the business grew, I was, you know I was, you know, team got bigger I was taking on all these different responsibilities because I thought that’s what I had to do like you were saying you know that to be the CEO, but, but I didn’t. So I saw that it took me a long time but but I think what happened to me is I became too unselfish, meaning. I thought I was a hero. And I thought that everybody’s needs came before my needs, because I could fix stuff right I could put out fires I could help people get to where I wanted them to get instead of training them how to get to where I wanted to get. And ultimately when I, when I found myself in this valley that I was talking about it occurred to me and some of it would probably came from Strategic Coach because I joined the year after, not quite a year after I got in fell into this valley to dance sort of similar to you, but I can’t I came upon this notion that, really, I actually needed to become more selfish, not unselfish and not selfish like in a, you know jerky way, but if, like with your vision, I mean if I didn’t know what was important to me for the business, how could I expect anyone to get on board with it, or have changed the way that I was helped me change the way I was feeling about myself, does that. Does that resonate with you, basically. Okay,
yeah, definitely. Obviously it’s a slippery slope, and it’s just so funny how the universe play so I was in a training yesterday. And I’ll let hammer name. I won’t pull in pulling down but the facilitator, was described the same sort of dynamically they use the word self full never heard it before. I think that’s the right way to think it is not selfish, and it’s not selfless, it’s sort of a proper level of self, right, because if I don’t exist. I’m a doormat, right, whether I’m the hero and the villain or whatever, 100%, like 100% and I, my, my story is similar to yours in terms of not only, I mean I realized like at one point I had taken what I’d taken by capable people, and turn them into a really good question askers because I was like the Google in the cover is easier to come ask me that answers the question, that it was a good figure to figure it out but there’s a little bit of hero stuff in that for sure. And, and, and that was also just, you know, it wasn’t. It was more that I felt it wasn’t guilt. But things were so good for me, that I think I absorbed, a little bit more than, I think if I had looked at it, like if I was consulting another business, I’d be like, Look man, like I definitely just in some of the lines, and then actually that same very first coach, he told me one time she’s like you’re entirely to you like there’s times when you don’t leave any accountability for anyone else in the team. That’s not going to serve you well. That took me a lot longer to learn. And it’s, there’s, there’s, there’s a little bit ego not for sure, like there’s something that my ego doesn’t express itself is for folks that know me well they know exactly how it is when people first meet me my personal income. That’s one of the super disruptive. Okay,
Mike Malatesta 31:22
so full, I have not I, I have to admit I don’t think I’ve heard anyone say that because
he didn’t pick up in that moment, but that’s the key, right, He’s gonna write a book around it or whatever. I own, I know you guys get concepts. Right, right size in another context here about being right size right and I think shuffle is right size, right.
Mike Malatesta 31:50
Yeah, well I have to say when you set it, not only did I write it down but I was like, insane selfish. Maybe I’m describing it wrong. Anyway, really good. Um, so let’s get in the weeds a little bit. Is that okay with you. Sure. When. When. I’ve heard lots of speakers say, you know, don’t be afraid to fire you know your best customer. If you know their values don’t align with yours and all that stuff, man, and from a stage. Sounds good. I get it makes sense all that. You said that once you worked with the coach and your team and you got your vision, nailed down. Implementing the vision required 70% of your clients to be moved along. Okay. Hmm. Okay, I can see in the meeting. Yes, okay, this is
now. And we went into. So here’s the rest of the story. Yeah, in September of 2007 because of our back office being so strong to things. We knew it was going to be the best year ever in top line and retain percentage and company history. And we still fire 7% of it because we knew we had to do. And I, I’m a big enough knucklehead that I actually want to enjoy. There’s not enough cash like I’ve been, I’ve had. It was a very small part of my, I had a very very small universe at the time, very small, very small, but I’ve been in the place where I had more money than I expected and one of the darkest moments in my entire life. And so I know that money doesn’t answer for I’m not driven by money. Money is a byproduct it’s supposed to be produced, but like I want to I want to I want. I want to be able to brag about what we’re doing. Not not about the results of what we’re doing but like the actual work that we’re doing and what how I feel about it so it was, um, I’ve never really discussed it with him, I think, um, my business partner at the time was a big enough for me. It wasn’t the money was completely in house according to him, he cares about us responsible. It’s not going to change his, his lifestyle that I think he was just willing to bake on me, but my guess is he thought I was crazy. And, but the folks that know me. Think I’m Mr high risk guy, or whatever it is not high risk at all. It’s just, if that’s where we got to go and that’s what’s indicated and that’s the path of the walk, and so it was. Yeah, I’ve heard it saw that I’ve heard. You Ever Have you ever made a decision that costs you money based on your other values. You know, I mean, we’ve, we’ve, we’ve done it. We still do it. and COVID is just provided the next opportunity.
Mike Malatesta 35:10
When you, when you went about executing it, what can you give me, give us an example of a client that no longer fit without the name of course but like you’ve done the other examples. What, you know what kind of matrix, did you go through or was it what did they do that made them no longer fit, for example.
So, I don’t know that there’s hope I’ll try to give a little bit of your decision making criteria, just to give it a plug, and then I’ll walk you through the biggest one. So what we had decided was, and I can’t stand word but it’s just we don’t have a better word, right, so what we wanted was like we could move people stuff around, like we could specialize that you can move it like we physically transport. But, for the folks that were willing to actually let us improve and enhance their systems, because I’m really a systems guy at the end of the day I have a system here, and, and those relationships look wildly different than moving stuff around. And so our criterion was is that, as a result of working with us. Your internal processes change and are improved, there’s probably a little piece of paper or disclosure somewhere that actually has that. And that was one of our measures is like we have, we both have to actually change based on us. And we had done that with a group of our existing clients at the time, a very small group a whole bunch of people. And they just sort of liked the idea that we were very reliable shipping. And so we had, there was one very very large customer I sat down with him the Tuesday after or after the 2007 and I said this is not a negotiation tactic. We are, we are going to part company because this is where we’re going. And I’m gonna hold your baseball card, you’re a very large company with multiple branch offices, and we just don’t get. There’s no systems to this there, you have systems where you don’t view us as part of your system, we’re not we’re not a partner, we’re not going to change each other. So with all due respect, we’re going to move on. We had a bunch of business that we’re doing together and so I said, We’d like it to be over, you know, by January 1 want to transition in a way they owned. Almost every relationship with a customer, it was sort of a reseller force or whatever, very end. So he said look I wanted to transition well, there’s no fantasy that we’re gonna go take the business away from you, we’re gonna go focus on all the people that don’t know you’re one of us. That’s what we’re going to do. and a couple of those key customers over time came back to us. Not because we did anything other than I just wanted what we what we had. I, I, we’ve done, not that the numbers are super dramatic and all that, but we’ve done stuff like that, over the years because that’s just miles have principles, lie, cheat, all I want. But if you’re gonna try to live in the right way, it’s like well if there’s no, there’s no point in doing the work, and figuring all this stuff out and that goes back to, like, If I show up for class. So, if I’m delusional in self doubt whenever I can pull myself as best I can but if we’re having to fix it. So, I think, I
Mike Malatesta 38:37
mean it’s admirable it’s, it’s, it’s more than admirable. I wish I could come up with the right word for it because, hey, I’ve been around business leaders and entrepreneurs and big company executives all my life and they’re always adapting to what the marketplace is throwing at them, and it has an it often has nothing to do with what they actually believe it’s what they feel like they need to do in order to keep their job or remain in business or meet budget or whatever it is.
Yeah, I’m far from perfect on this, but on the big decisions, which I prefers superstrong smaller decisions I’ve been pretty good decisions almost always get right when I say yes or no higher authority, like I entered with the boss. You’re just reporting into the need to upgrade the reporting structure. It’s crystal clear, it’s crystal clear, yeah, sure, want to share this so we, we’ve incorporated the best practices in our family, and it’s just an organization right consistence guide so we’re not wacko about it but I have almost a six and almost a four year old, and they have little tiny bracelets that say that they are and if you don’t, if you don’t want to keep them then give them back to us. Rogers on there. And there’s three rules. Right. And so, my kindergarten teacher at school, Mr Hayes says hey I wanna be on Team Rogers, he’s great rules. Number one, and his family first. Rule number two. Rule number three is, is no quitting. And I want to get too out there but it’s, it is a, is a religious school. And so I said well you can tell Mr hay that he’s already on the team. Because family verse isn’t a Roger’s family, it’s the boss’s family. Let’s put people first. Like I said, that’s how we should roll
like you got some type of personality that is likable and you can certainly have a conference room table, or talking over anything become worthless. Thank you again for like they get in. Same way, not stupid people. And so I don’t, I don’t want to have to answer to myself. Here’s a great question. So I’m first year with your business, maybe six months or so I was working for the company.
But they really weren’t the seven people that were supporting my cell phone numbers, and a friend on day one, it wasn’t. So, about six months. Like due to Financials real by my ex father in law, her father in law at the time was terribly active use a mentor who was not active. And
so, and I made some really just doing basic for about a week I thought that this is just
consolidated personal interests interesting company but somehow, there’s just not enough money left to make sense. So I guess it’s just a bad idea. And I, turns out that I was just doing that.
But I failed, man. The first six months of their business, made the right decision. Simple. Man, if I got to put an L up on the board I am so grateful that there is
a thing. And it turns out, I just, um, but that was a great reference but like I said I’d like everyone to have an English but I did walk around for about a week 10 days living with the idea that it had not worked. but at least I could feel incredible songs just actually action, that it was buying from an ethics. That’s priceless money so, Yeah, that’s sort of forgot that, that was really super fun.
Mike Malatesta 44:14
I like what you said about the get around a conference room they become ruthless, I mean it could feel like everybody’s got people in their life on the business side where you’re like, How could anybody like that person, this person is such a jerk or they’re, whatever they are, and. And then you meet people know them personally. And they’re saying, Wow, did you know that person what a great person they are I mean so generous and so I’m like, What are you talking about, it’s like you said, they have two different personas to them they have a they when they show up at work, they’re one person, and when they go home, they’re another person. And I can maybe we’re all a little like that I don’t know but there’s those tests that show that predictive index or some other I don’t know what but it just always strikes me as, as strange as why you would be so, so different in, and I don’t mean like maybe a little more formal or something but just like a, you know, jerk. Best person
always Western. I think that folks get ration, right, like it’s sort of like situational navigation, as opposed to navigation, by, by, by principle, and it’s, it’s why I sort of restraints out, and as far as I’ve been one of one of our sayings, or one of my restraints is, is it’s just not checkers. And that’s not even really fair because like if you think about what life is from a systems, standpoint, right, and multi channel chairs, nested inside a multi dimensional chess environment that gets ridiculously complicated. Unbelievably, impossible. So sit tight. Ashley, the situation or is just a bad strategy is super bad, if I have a guiding principle, I can at least test that. And if it worked I can, chances are misinterpreting the principle wrong but I can course correct. It’s a little bit of a cop out as far as, like, that’s, that’s a huge part of, I’ve got this brain, and it doesn’t know how it literally will sort of fixate on it doesn’t sort of align. And so, I, I didn’t want him to try to figure out how to make all these decisions, or I just, I think, from where I said, I’m not a humble guy by a fourth. Understanding that I’m arrogant actually gets me closer to home than people who are oblivious as to where they are on the spectrum, and I think that, as humans, despite all this incredible technology and the fact that we can position, like it’s a super complex game and we don’t give it credit to the boss that I have, I think is the only is this the best resource, and the best strategy for the game that we’re playing. And so because of that, that’s my answer to the guiding principles or what the guiding principles are. And, you know, it certainly works better for me, not everyone should make decisions for themselves. That is the reason why. That’s the reason why, and that’s how I live with all that stuff and then the rest was also just okay. Company.
Mike Malatesta 48:08
As I understand it, you’re sort of experts in moving as needed. You know, trade shows stuff and what the extent of it is, but But it’s but it’s event related. And you had mentioned brief, you know, in passing, you know, COVID long and all events worldwide or worldwide are sort of canceled. What, how did, how did your vision, your restraints and all the other things you’ve talked about your sidekicks, how did they get you through that. I mean still going through it stuffs just starting, maybe to come out.
We’re gonna get it so we’re right in the middle of the future. I’m so little infomercial for me. So, in fairness, like what what the point is, is, is a world class event solution, folks, that, that see the value in managing back of house expenses. So, by rolling our program, we can, we can take what they believe as fixed costs by managing it better. And then, I guess it could be that the finance for all of our clients, just use it for attending experience. So like the steak sandwiches or box lunches, that’s what we do. So, that was fantastic and was it comes back at some point but that’s really what it is. We had plenty of customers that we took their stuff, and those were those are our clients, right, and then we had customers that we took to trade shows and took their stuff to corporate America. Um, so, I saw this, not because I’m a visionary. Marshall. Pick the brain from Seattle. Seattle. General. I think he gave us. We also want customers were thinking about going anywhere. They told me that they were considered Kansas. And the, the oldest one of the time is, is one day a read Chinese school had already, because the rest of us didn’t think it was a problem in December of 2019, but the Asian community in Seattle was like there’s too many people coming into college from China and there’s people dying to try to, like, they stopped meetings before anyone else, so it was on my radar that I get this call from Barcelona. And it’s obvious like his mobile, mobile Congress in my estimation is the largest corporate event that happens on Earth. Man mean it is it is, it was certainly if that was on the chopping block because of COVID. That made it 100% At least in the perception of my customer, right. If we go back to 2020. More people die of lung cancer. Totally. COVID was again just my own little narrow band. I was like this is an absolutely hard stop zero Retton over. So I was incredibly fortunate that the boss gave me that I don’t have a certain plan and go through my own gyrations and everything else before I talk to the leadership team so that we could go through the gyrations and all that. And I say all that because this is a this is a brag on the boss, my initial in. It evolved slightly but my initial thought was, is, I want to be able to brag about how I think to myself, 25 years from now. I just think it’s gonna be a total diaper Dirty Diaper dumpster fire, but as I want to be able to brag about how there’s some ego there for sure but that was like direct response super long term. And second of all, just keep all the decisions and the runway, and I didn’t work for that. I didn’t, I didn’t go journal, or I didn’t go meditate before it was given, it was reserved as gifts. And, and it just hasn’t really been mapped out since then. So, you know, we’re moving a handful of shipments now before there’s a little bit activity but we’re still in the middle of it, but it’s been an opportunity for me to transform myself and in my career into, into what I think is, whatever the next thing is supposed to be. So I mean, I want to be real it was brutal, and it was way harder on the people that work for point to point than it was on me individually. I did pretty much spared, if you take them by deploying balance sheet destruction off the table I then put the Spirit on zero impact I’ve never seen that gets more. We put synthetic ice in our garage and I stayed place marking rock wall The garage has been fantastic. So, that’s, that’s not suddenly talking myself into because that’s,
that’s the sidekick mentality that I’ve been given. I just tried to operate out of these principles and and report. Report. report out to the public. That was the answer. Okay.
Mike Malatesta 54:05
And speaking of sidekick mentality, what, let’s let’s move into something that’s, that’s new and exciting, something different, it’s older and exciting this sales psychic thing that you started this year, or earlier this year was
connected to, we made, we made all the tough decisions and dealt with it and so I started talking to people in strategic coach, and let them go out problems are reported in mind. And my problems are super simple, it’s like the decision thrown in the garbage can. And like I said, I can wait. And other people have way more challenging issues like how did they stay open and some people are going out early. So that led to a lot of fun sort of thought experiments and mental exercises and I like to think that we have value along the way. And then inside of those conversations, sooner or later about back to sales, not all the way back to sales, eventually with one of them. They demanded that they, you have to come train on people, you talk about sales in a way that I’ve never heard use terms as is really out of a book but you’re telling me they’re not from a book like country by people. And so, with this guy in particular. I said, Well, I mean, they are trained from point to point and see if it’s what you think I don’t know. And so, so I showed her like sneezing. And so, so I just wanted to be helpful at first and so that’s what we did and then as we started to lean into a term creative vision or whatever. I mean I think I look at this I think the most useful way to look at a business is a system. And then, as a system, you know, we could get super complicated but to keep it just, you know, use useful. I think some systems, and inside of that you’ve got the first sub system of marketing and selling. And then the second sub system, you got to produce it and deliver it. And then the last sub system is you got to, I think, where I can be uniquely helpful and the folks that we’re trying to be helpful with is if you have a viable business. Right. So how do we define by how we find it right so, so, I think, how I would define it, is I would say let’s look at those three subsystems and individually rate ourselves, honestly, one through 10 on each one of those, and you’re viable if you can make it to 24 I don’t care how 24 higher your Bible, okay 10 For 10 tenten for more than 10. Add, there’s one unicorn on eight and eight. So if you get to 20 for your Bible. If you want to grow. Sooner or later, you’re gonna have to be number one. You’re always gonna have to maintain 24 to be viable. But I mean I guess we’ll go on record for this, this might scare some of our clients but ironically point to point, as a transportation as an event shipping company, bottom line, I’d say our weakest leg was, was the hands down, like, nine or 10 on the first one, and definitely 10 on the back and probably somewhere else, deliver it. And you can, it’s not that you’re fake it, but you can over, you can sort of be inefficient and effective service delivery. If you do the other ones. Well, and what I noticed with the people that started asking me for help in sales is they were viable. But they, they just hadn’t figured out how to sell, and they were actually, Most of them are like ridiculous the great at number two, a way that I look at it like, oh my god like what, whatever, whatever, and I tell them all the time, like if we switched over just a little bit. We would completely switch positions in this conversation, because you’re. You’re so much better at this part of it than we are right. So that’s what we’re doing. Okay, is a system that we think that we can reproduce what we did our points important from a sales perspective.
Mike Malatesta 58:44
And when you run into that type of situation where the production is or execution as a 10 and marketing and sales is a six let’s say is that, do you think that’s because of you the expertise of the owners or whoever the leadership team is or do you think it’s something else that
I didn’t really realize I had formed these opinions. But at some point somewhere right now it’s just a glitch in this knowing business owners that what it is is that they’re in love with themselves.
They think they have a special snowflake. And what I’m here to tell them is there’s no special snowflakes. None. There’s just the reason that they’re all the same. They’re all the same. Every business is the same if it’s fine. Once we get the Bible, they’re all the same issue matters but it doesn’t matter. It certainly doesn’t matter. They just show relevant customer couldn’t care, right, but we fall in love. And that’s what makes us great. And then most of these folks that I know, they, they, they’re not. They’re sort of reluctant accidental salespeople because there’s such a great craftsman, that anybody with half a brain in their head that wants what they’re doing is like oh my god this, this, this woman or this man is, is a genius. Of course I’m allowed to do all that stuff. But at some point that doesn’t scale, because they can’t be on every project or they’re on top of your business or whatever and so we can we can sort of decode what that often is, and then build an entire system that is non personality driven, sustainable and scalable, and it doesn’t even have salespeople. But we got to say sales because everyone thinks right. But yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s what we’re doing and we’re, we’re, we’re in process, with, with, it worked for you. And so I’m biased that I think it can work, but on the b2b side. I absolutely get this at this point that it transmits it transmits to other businesses if leadership is willing to make the decisions that are required to redesign your business. Okay. But the one thing I’ve just dropped this is, if we think about it as a system, which I think is the most useful. What I would say respectfully is that the accepted. Blinds are the lines and this is just too small. If we fall into underwriters, and acid to produce a greater amount, you actually solve a bunch of these problems, sales and marketing doesn’t become a problem if you make a bigger organization. It delivers creates more value than just the standalone business. So what we’re trying to do is create systems that have more valuable byproducts than actually what we’re selling. And that’s a super super grandiose delusional arrogant thing but I’m confident that we can ever do it. There’s by arranging the work. And by looking. By praying value in a community and not worrying about whether you get paid for. You can create more value than you get paid for, and still afford to pay people. That’s essentially what we’re doing.
Mike Malatesta 1:02:42
I don’t. Third time through with somebody that we haven’t had five conversations with. So I appreciate you trying to roll with this. Yeah,
Mike Malatesta 1:02:54
I don’t. So I don’t consider what you said to be delusional or error. In fact, it, the whole system thing makes a ton of sense. Most, and I’ll use myself as an example, maybe I don’t feel this way now but I did feel this way over time. You know, when, when it comes to operations or execution, there’s a way to do it, and there’s a way not to do it, but I’m gonna choose the way to do it. When it comes to back office, there’s a way to do it, and there’s a way not to do it I’m going to choose to do it the way I should do it. And then when it comes to sales or, God forbid, marketing, we throw up our hands down and we go. It’s like an art and science and all this and, you know, I’m unhappy with it. I don’t like the way it’s going. But I’m just gonna roll with it because of it so it’s almost as if we dismiss it as being systematize herbal when
I’ll give you a real life example. And I’ll just say is, is it the skills, this will be on the ground. One quote unquote transaction, but I’m telling you that it’s a fractal, it will, it will, It will expand to larger scale, scam. Um, but I did this countless times, countless times, a large fortune 10 company asked me to fix a problem. And it was managing essentially a sort of point of sale. And it was a little bit of a gong show, and they’re like, Hey, you guys are bulletproof go fix it. So I showed up and I like so sort of details most types of the chase but but showed up at the agency. There, they’re all beautiful people. And they own this fortune 10 customer for all these other things that you got like a little friend guy come in because they can’t, you know they can’t hit the broadside of the barn. Any of the tour before we sent pointed out, all these different things and all the expensive artwork and all that other stuff, but they had this procurement department that basically bought and coordinated all these different services, one of which was shipping and make sure we introduce you, because you can become one of our providers. So we sit down and talk about what the problem is, and I want to sort of protect the elephants in the room. So they were working with a large shipping company, it wasn’t going well, but as an informed systems guide that is actually the right provider, but you have to engage that provider, the right way to get the right result. And they weren’t using them incorrectly, they did an incorrect results. So that was obviously that was we asked those questions and that was the issue. And so I said look, I can, I can send you the process that we train our operations department on how we manage that elephant. As the self explanatory but if you have any issues with it. These people are issues with a bigger reach. And I was looking at me like, well, what’s in it for you. And I’m like, they asked me to fix it. I know that the fortune 10 company actually wanted me to go ship, but I want to fix it. And what I had decided what was obvious was is I didn’t want to compete with those three people in the room, they had, they had made a business decision that that was going to be a service that they offered to their company, that people that we worked with value that that don’t want that on their payroll, whether the end user more than a reseller in between us and the end user, right, so no point in trying to create value in a place where we’re not going to be valued because they think they can do it themselves. Right. And the reason why I bring that up is, is back to the creating value. I don’t know how many followers we’re creating. Right. We put $1 amount on it, like I think I was sort of shocked when I saw all this business and your appraisal gives away, you know, gives away all this, this national contract. But what I would say is I think the value that was created there is that, hopefully their business was wrong, and feels way better than us getting more shipments, right, and I know from previous experiences sooner or later, even if we have converted them into a customer that agency, sooner or later they wouldn’t have valuable, because that’s what they want to do so this is going to change their mind, we’re going to argue with. So, so it’s not surprising, if you approach sales in that regard. You have people reaching out to you all the time to fix things. You can then pick the stuff that you’re actually supposed to do help on the other ones, and not have to have not even have to be a salesperson. And this actually happens on business and all that all the time like they don’t have salespeople. It’s just somehow we think that we have to go down for dollars, or whatever it is, no just actually go create enough value in your community. So people want to work with you. That’s, I mean, it’s unbelievably hard to do but it’s not terribly complicated. So, I don’t know I mean I’d like to think that PDP overall, you know, we’ve sort of impacted our community in that way, in terms of helping people in the way that we can. And it’s, there’s no question that we
have stuff. But we didn’t have salespeople, seven years in a row, or 1000 salesperson now, when somebody needed a sales presentation whenever I show up for someone, but we are dialing for dollars and we would have to carry this was very attractive for people to come ask us for help. But we would coach them to their answer, not to ours. And, I mean in Austin, and our loss department. So back when I used to do the initial training, back in the day, and sooner or later, another person on the team took that on, but I would tell people when they went into operations. Here is your get out of jail. I was servicing that we’re because we’re in a relationship business, like, I don’t care if we make an investment on this ship. But we retained the relationship and we retain our credibility in the marketplace. By retaining them, that they can trust us, and that they respect us, we’re golden. So we ran in business that’s why we were six and operations funding is super, because people have like chess. Right. But it’s amazing when people think oh my gosh,
it’s easier for me. The following is fortunate that way. But is is if you do what I did. That’s what we’re trying to share with other people is, but the folks that work with on the sales side have to sort of expand how they serve their community, in the long run, but there’s no there’s no games to
show the kids how to get past. Let’s just make a lot of praise systematizing. And as far as time. What really. We’re trying to redeem work. Like I want everyone to love the thing is, We’ve just broken because the system is a little too small. Think about it the wrong
one, was the wrong thing. Yeah, just as you roll in and vision. I was looking to compensate. Most people know where I came from. What’s been provided is way less than what is because we’re trying to mean. It’s all stuff. What it is, young kids and this wouldn’t be a good practice, teaching something different in kindergarten, and sales and marketing. And that sounds sort of silly but when you really look at what’s happening. Yeah, so I don’t, I don’t think we figured much out other than
Mike Malatesta 1:14:37
that, I think that’s the part of you coming out because it just feels to me it sounds to me like you got to find
out for sure, with other people, which is on top. The thing, the bottom line was, whether we are, quote unquote higher than customers or quote unquote sales presentation. This information is useless to me, if I’m not going to work with you. But I do think it’s the right thing for you to do. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it. And hopefully you’ll give me the chocolate recipe is the one that you want to make cookies but at the end of the month.
And it’s as a sales guy. When I, when I lost sight, that’s just what it is.
I think there’s, there’s limited resources and the boss is super productive. So, from that said, usually between looking inward. For reasons, you know, fear scarcity selfishness for outcomes. And so it’s not that this reverse you might mean anything. You know it’s like hey this is pretty obvious. This is perfect. It’s all stuff that I think we try to teach our kids grow up.
Mike Malatesta 1:16:49
Good. leave it on that I do appreciate you, man. It’s been a real pleasure. Thank you. Awesome, great time, the recording has stopped. Thank you. It’s more than comfortable.