Smile And Dial – PT1 – Adam DeGraide – David Vs Goliath – e82 –
In this episode of David Vs Goliath our host Adam DeGraide tells a story from his early years in sales. Packed with tips, great advice and a ton of energy you don’t want to miss part 1 of this 2 part series. Enjoy.
Welcome to today’s episode of David vs Goliath, a podcast dedicated to helping small businesses leverage technology to not only help them compete against their large competitors, but win. Your host is currently the CEO of Anthem Business Software, a three-time Inc. 500 recipient and a serial entrepreneur with a passion to help small businesses everywhere find, serve, and keep more customers profitably. Please join me in welcoming your host, Adam DeGraide.
Hey everyone, it’s Adam DeGraide with another fantastic episode of the David vs Goliath Podcast, if I say so myself. Today’s episode is brought to you by automatemysocial.com, where if you’re a small business you can automate up to a hundred percent of your social media, never have to think about it again, save time, save energy and save money. Visit automatemysocial.com.
Well, I want to do something different over the next couple of weeks. I do a lot of interviews here as you know on the David vs Goliath Podcast, but I thought it would be good to spend some time with you guys, just me and you, and I was thinking through my life some of the greatest lessons that I’ve learned, and I wanted to share one with you that I think is an interesting story. I’m going to break it into two parts, and for those of you watching this, you might think that I’m a little narcissistic, which is possibly true. You’ll definitely see that, but that’s not the intent. The intent here of the stories that I want to share with you is not to brag, but to share some principles that I learned early in my life.
So one of my very first sales careers, I was in banking and I was doing telemarketing, so I would sell credit cards, second mortgages, and I was always top in my field, but my income was capped in that particular industry and I said, “You know what? I want to try to go do something different.”
My dad was a disc jockey on the radio, and I said, “Why don’t I go do some radio sales?” and I remember interviewing at the radio station at the time, and it was a very grueling interview process, and it came down between me and my cousin, and I was actually chosen to go ahead and be a part of this team at Lite 105 Radio in southern New England, and I had the privilege of having a sales manager named Bob Carson.
He has since passed on, but Bob Carson taught me more than I’ve ever learned in my life, and one of the things that he taught me was belief, how important belief was, and how he did it was we were interviewing at this coffee shop and he said, “You know,” he goes, “Adam, I’ve met a lot of sales guys in my life,” he goes, “but I think you could be one of the best sales guys I know.” He goes, “I really believe you could make,” at the time it would seem like a ton of money, “six figures, and you could do it relatively quickly. You have integrity, you can articulate, you can speak,” and so he was very encouraging, and he goes, “I believe that you could be the best at radio sales in the state,” and he goes, “I want you to think about taking the job,” and he laid out the pay plan for me.
It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but I started thinking about it. I said, “You know, maybe I will.”
He goes, “Go home, talk to your wife,” and he goes, “and let me know what you think,” and I said, “Okay, great, I’ll do that.”
I said, “It’s interesting what you had to say to me today,” and he said, “Don’t ever forget it. I think you could be the best. I really believe you could be the best,” and as I was walking out the door, he says to me, he says, “But Adam, wait one second. It doesn’t really matter what I believe. It only matters what you believe about whether you can be the best or not, so let me know on Monday if you think you can be the best and if you believe that, because I only want you on the team if you believe it, not that I believe it for you,” and I thought that was interesting.
I went home, I remember talking to my wife at the time. You know about that. I remember staring in the mirror that Monday morning saying, “Do I believe that I could be the best at this particular thing?” and I finally said, “You know what? I do think I could be the best. I know I could be the best, and I’m going to absolutely make that happen,” and I went in to Bob the following day and I said, “I’m going to take the job. I’m very, very interested in it, and I’m ready to start. I believe I could be the best.”
And he started to train me very early on in regards to this, which I found fascinating. He gave me this sheet of paper that had this image on it, Smile and Dial, and I was like, “All right, kind of crude.” As you can tell, guys, I am not an artist, but nevertheless here it is, and he said, “Here are these five things,” and on the next page he literally hand wrote bullet point one, bullet point two, bullet point three, bullet point, wrote a bunch of sentences, and he said, “I want you to memorize these things, and by lunchtime I’ll come and I’ll give you the greatest sales list in the history of the world that every other salesperson in this office doesn’t value, but if you believe the list is the best, you can make so much money it’s incredible. I’ve been saving it for you, and I think it’s going to be awesome and worthwhile.”
So I said, “Okay.” I said to him, “What do you want me to do?”
He goes, “Well, I want you to go out there and start working on memorizing these five lines.”
So it’s five lines. I’m out there for 15 minutes. I’m like, “I’m already done. It’s 9:15, I got all this time to kill,” and I just kept staring at this goofy picture, Smile and Dial, and studying these five lines.
And then the other salespeople started coming by and saying, “Hey, congratulations on the job,” and they’re all smirking at me, like they knew something, and they’re like, “Oh, has he promised you the best list in sales?” and they all started going [inaudible 00:05:55], started laughing it off.
I said, “Yeah, he did.”
They said, “Oh, good luck with that,” and so different attitudes of either encouragement or discouragement started to flow my way.
Well, fast forward to lunchtime, and lunchtime came around and he basically said, “Have you been studying your lines?” and I said, “Yeah, I’ve absolutely studied my lines. There’s five of them. No big deal. I’m ready to go.”
He goes, “Great,” and he takes the Smile and Dial thing, he puts the Smile and Dial up behind the phone, and he says, “Are you ready to get the greatest sales list ever been given to somebody in radio?” and I said, “Yeah.”
He goes, “But do you believe, because it doesn’t matter what I believe, Adam. It only matters if you believe that the list is the greatest,” and I said, “Hit me with it, man. I’m ready. Hit me with it after all,” and he said, “All right, here you go,” and at the time, he dropped this big book, boom, and what I realized was it was the Yellow Pages. Think about that. The Yellow Pages.
And he said, “In this book is all the advertisers that you’ll ever need to meet and work with to feed your family and become the greatest sales rep in radio sales,” and he goes, “All I want you to do is open that book, read those five things, stare at this picture, and I want you to smile when you call these folks, because when you smile people can physically hear it and sense it when they’re on the phone, versus, ‘Hi, this is Adam DeGraide, Lite 105 Radio.’ ‘Hey, it’s Adam DeGraide from Lite 105 Radio. I’m so glad to speak with you today.'”
He said, “It’ll be a whole different experience,” and he said, “so when you’re ready after lunch, fire it up and let’s go make some money together.”
So he walks away, and all the salespeople snickering, laughing at me going, “Yeah, look at this list.”
I thought he was going to give me an account list of Dunkin’ Donuts or all these things, people that are already spending money on the radio station, but that wasn’t the case.
And then it was time for me to start smiling and dialing, and right after this break stay tuned. I’m going to share with you the first part of that story.
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And we’re back with Adam DeGraide to continue the story of the Smile and Dial, and then part two of it will be next week.
So I’ve got my list, I’ve got my phone book, I’ve got my picture on the wall, Smile and Dial, I’ve got my five things to tell everyone when I call them. Not being the brightest person in the planet, guys, I open up the Yellow Pages and I said, “Where should I start?”
Well, the alphabet starts with the letter A, and it was Automotive at the time, was one of the largest segments of advertisers in the Yellow Pages. So the very first person that I call is a dealership called Barrington Ford right down the street from where I was working. Phone answers. I said, “Hey, this is Adam DeGraide from Lite 105 Radio. I’m looking for Gary,” because I found out, I did a little recon, found out who the manager was, and they said, “Oh, you want to speak with Gary? Hold on one second.”
About 30 seconds later, this guy comes on, “Who is this? This is Gary.”
I said, “Oh, hey Gary, it’s Adam DeGraide from Lite 105 Radio. Did you know that we are number one in blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” and he goes, “Time out. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down there, young fella.”
He goes, “First of all, let me tell you something. Number one, I hate that radio station. Oh, by the way, they have a morning personality. He has my first name. I’m not crazy about it. Gary DeGraide,” who was my father. “I can’t stand that guy. He’s always so happy. I can’t take it. It’s the most awful situation in the world having to listen to that station. I would never spend a dime with you. I don’t trust radio. I will never trust radio, and you’re wasting your time doing this with me today.”
And then he said a few proclivities. He said, “So don’t you ever, you blah, bleep, blah, bleep, blah, blah call me again.”
This is my very first cold call by the way in sales history ever. Slams the phone down, boom, and I’ll never forget it. I have never felt worse as a human being in my life. I have never been more dejected in my life, and as I look up over the phone, I see this stupid picture, Smile and Dial.
Now, what do you think I was feeling at that moment, folks? I was depressed. I was like, “Can I do this? Is this something that I’m going to be able to live with in my life, having people treat me this way?” So what do you think I did? It’s a good question. What would you have done in that situation?
And a buddy of mine who interviewed me the other day said, “Adam, I bet you went to the next person and you smiled and dialed,” and I said, “Wrong. I sat there. I thought about it for a few minutes and I said, ‘What am I going to do?'”
It was wintertime. I grabbed my jacket, I put it on. I told my boss, “I’ll be back. I’m going to speak with Gary from Barrington Ford, and I’m going to do everything in my power to change his mind.”
I got in my car, I drove down to the dealership, I walked in and I said, “I am here to see Gary. Tell him it’s Adam DeGraide, the guy he just verbally assaulted and abused on the phone from Lite 105 Radio, and I will not be leaving until he talks to me.”
The rest of the story is fantastic, and I’m going to save that for next week. Stay tuned. The principles of this, by the way, are profound. Do you believe, number one, I can’t believe for you, number two, and then do you have the tenacity and the courage to stand up to your giant and slam? The story gets good. Come back next week.
This has been another episode of David vs Goliath with your host, Adam DeGraide. Thank you for tuning in. We’ll see you next week.