Smile & Dial – Part 2 – e83 – David Vs Goliath Podcast
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 awesome episode, part two of the smile and dial story that I’m telling everyone on the podcast over the last couple of weeks. If you haven’t watched last week, stop. You need to go back, check it out. Otherwise, you might be a little bit lost on today’s podcast, which is part two of the story I started to tell last week. This week’s message is brought to us by automatemysocial.com, where you can automate up to 90 to 100% of your business’ social media. Set it, forget it, and never have to think about it again. It’s an incredible product. Take the demo tour at automatemysocial.com. Be sure to visit us online at davidvsgoliathpodcast.com. There, you could subscribe to receive newsletters and information on the podcast as well as apply to be on the podcast. Next week we go back to our long form, but this week we’re going to continue with the story that I was telling last week.
As I mentioned last week, I think it’s important to have these moments where I get to speak directly to you guys, share some stories that I’ve had in my life, and this is a very interesting one. So if you remember right, just to recap briefly, I was given this sign from my boss, late boss, Bob Carson, smile and dial. Gave me five bullet points, told me to memorize them, told me he was going to give me the greatest sales list in the history of the world. Nobody else valued it. And he dropped the yellow pages on my lap. And so I started to call the individuals in the yellow pages, and the very first client that I came across was a automotive dealership called Barrington Ford. And it was right down the street from the actual studio that I worked in at Lite 105 Radio.
And this guy treated me horribly, absolutely terrible. And if you go back, I go into a lot of details on how that story actually shook out, and I highly recommend that you check it out last week. Anyway, fast-forward, he verbally abused me. He hung up the phone, slammed it down. I’m staring at this silly sign called smile and dial. And so the very next thing that I did was not call somebody else. I grabbed my jacket, I drove down to the dealership, I walked in and I said to the lady, “Let Gary know that Adam DeGraide is here from Lite 105, and I’m the guy that he just verbally abused, and I’m not leaving until he speaks to me.” So this is where the story gets really interesting.
So as I started to surveil the dealership, I noticed that the receptionist was playing solitaire when I walked in. That was number one. Number two, I see her go back there and she goes, “Hey, there’s some guy named Adam DeGraide here. And I see him, he’s looking outside the window.” He is like, dude, give me one of these looks like behind the curtain, so to speak. Who was this kid? And he’s like, “Tell him to get out of here. Get him out of here.” She comes back, she goes, “Well, he doesn’t really have time to meet.” I said, “Oh, it’s no problem. I’m going to be here until he leaves and I’m not leaving until we talk. And that’s just the way it’s going to be, and I’m going to wait right here. Let him know, no rush whenever he needs to. Whenever he’s got time, I’d love to speak with him really quickly.” So I’m sitting in the front, it’s like the reception area is right here, the receptionist is there, and I start to look around and I notice that the bathroom is right near where I’m sitting.
And I notice that Gary’s an older gentleman, probably the age I am now, mid-fifties at the time. And it’s only a matter of time till guys our age have to use the restroom. No matter how long you hold out, you got to break down. But during that process of waiting for Gary to come and actually use the restroom, because I knew it was bound to happen, I started to surveil the dealership and I noticed that there was no customers coming in, so to speak. There was some people coming in for servicing their vehicles, but there wasn’t a lot of new sales. This sales guy over here was ripping a butt. This one’s over here telling jokes. The receptionist is not answering the phone. And so I’m thinking to myself, clearly his marketing efforts are not working as well as they should be.
About an hour and a half goes by of sitting there. Now, this is tedious by the way. An hour and a half of sitting there is absolutely torturous in a lot of ways. But I was patient and I was waiting. And so sure enough, here comes Gary, comes marching out, boom, boom, boom, boom. He goes, “I’ll be with you in a second.” And I said, “All right, no problem.” Goes in to the restroom, does his thing, comes out, he goes, “Follow me.” So I start to walk back through the dealership, and he takes me into his office, slams the door and says, “I told you not to call me and you effing,” blah, blah, blah. Started swearing at me, throwing out a tons of profanities, gets in my face basically. And so I did the natural thing that anyone would do in that situation, and I started doing this, “Whoa. Hey Gary, time out. Take a second here. Time out. First of all, I’ve come here to congratulate you.”
He goes, “What? Did I win something from your stupid station?” I said, “No.” I said, “Nobody has ever treated me as poorly as you did as a human being as you. Nobody’s made me feel worse. Nobody’s made me be less secure about myself than you, and I want to thank you for that.” He was in complete shock, didn’t know how to take this. And I said, “You know, Gary?” I said, “You may not like my father, who is also named Gary.” Gary DeGraide at the time on the radio station, I said, “You may not like the music that we play, but those people that listen to our station buy your cars. And from the looks of it, from what I can tell out here, there’s not a lot of that going on. The receptionist is playing secretary. That dude’s ripped 15 butts. This one’s been telling jokes and stories to the service manager for hours. Clearly, your marketing efforts are working. Why would you need me?”
And he just stared at me bewilderingly and said, “Are you telling me how to manage my dealership?” I said, “No, I’m not telling you how to manage your dealership. I’m telling you that I have people that listen to this radio station that you hate so much that buy your stupid cars. And if you want to sell more of these things, I would highly recommend that you consider running an ad campaign letting me throw at some events so people can actually come in here and buy something from you.” I said, “I don’t care who you’ve worked with in the past, I don’t care who you’ve talked to in the past, but you’ve never worked with Adam DeGraide, and I can get you business in this dealership, which clearly you’re struggling to do right now.”
So it was a very fascinating moment in my life because I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn’t shaking in my boots as I was saying all these things to him. But nevertheless, it was powerful and it was absolutely life changing for myself, and I think for this gentleman as well too. He didn’t know what to do, and he said, “All right, well, show me what you have.” So it went from, “Don’t ever call me again. Your station sucks. You’re the worst person in the world. If I ever see you, I’m going to beat the crap out of you,” basically, to me, driving down, waiting for this guy for an hour and a half. Now I’m in his office, now I broke him down, and now we’re talking business. And remember, this is my very first cold call I ever did in my entire life. And right after the break, by the way, I’m going to tell you what happened and the rest of the story, but here’s a very important message from Automate My Social. We’ll be right back.
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And we’re back with the continuation of smile and dial part two, here on the David Vs Goliath Podcast. So now Gary and I are sitting down, we’re going through packages and options. It got to the end, and this gentleman, not only did he do business with me, he signed an $80,000 contract, local direct contract. And for those of you in radio sales, those are rare to come by. He signed a three and a half month program. I think it was four months. I couldn’t even, maybe it was six months. I can’t remember how long it was, but it was a quite substantial amount of time with a really nice commitment to the station. And I put together a bunch of bells and whistles for him as well too. I went back to the station. And you would’ve thought I won the Super Bowl. Nobody could believe it.
It was my day one in sales. I closed the largest local direct sale in the history of the radio station to that point. And this is from a kid who was told a few weeks back in the coffee shop that he has to believe that he could be the best salesperson in the world because Bob Carson thought I could be, but it didn’t matter what he thought. It only mattered what I believed, and I had to look at myself in the mirror and face myself. But the story doesn’t end here, by the way, guys. Over the years, I grew my local direct business. I became someone that car dealerships, especially the troubled ones, they would sic me on, and I met all these very interesting cast of characters there in Southern New England, to the point where in the future of my life, I started writing jingles for these guys, starting helping them with their print ads or TV ads.
And it led to me having my own business where I ended up having over 5,000 rooftops of dealerships working with my first business. And my business partners, Sean Wolfington, myself and David Simas, we ended up selling that business for $133 million valuation in the year 2006. And it all started with Bob Carson, silly picture, smile and dial with five bullet points that I needed to memorize, and then the guts to pick up the phone, call somebody and ask them for business. Now, how about yourself? I’d love to hear your stories. Think about that. This kid from Rhode Island, barely graduated high school, guys, by the way. My nickname in high school was Mr. 2.0. My first great sale, if you’ve ever watched the podcast in the past, I’ve told you, was convincing my geometry teacher to pass me, to being able to build a company with over 180 people alongside of great partners that I had, to having over 5,000 rooftops and dealerships that we worked with, to selling it to ADP, a Fortune 500 company, at the time had almost a $2 billion market cap.
We were valued at $133 million, from this little kid who just smiled and dialed, was treated horribly, drove down to the dealership, signed up his first auto dealership. And then fast-forward to 2006, ended up having an amazing success story. And see, the principles are so critical for all of us in sales, and it always comes down to belief. So the question I want to ask you right now is, do you believe? Do you believe that your business can be the biggest it can be? Do you believe in the success that you possibly can have? Because I believe if you’re watching this and listening to this, there’s things that are still inside of you that are being called out and you can’t be afraid to do them.
But it doesn’t matter what I believe, guys. It only matters what you believe about yourself. This has been another awesome episode of the David Vs Goliath Podcast. Next week we return to a long format interview. I hope you’re going to enjoy it. Please subscribe if you haven’t. Share it with a friend, tell a loved one. This show is not just about business, it’s about also motivating ourselves with inspiration, education, and most importantly, activation. Remember, action is the life of the entrepreneur. Hesitancy is the death of the entrepreneur. Let’s get to work. We’ll see you next week.