Glenn Poulos is the Co-Founder, Vice President, and General Manager of Gap Wireless Inc. He has 30 plus years of experience in sales and has started and sold two successful companies. He has also just published his first book 'Never Sit in the Lobby: 57 Winning Sales Factors to Grow Business and Build a Career Selling.' In this episode, Glenn and Leon discuss the book-writing process and go through three of his sales factors: sitting is not selling, don’t confuse marketing with selling, and you only get forever to make another impression.
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Special thanks to Vaughn Metropolitan Centre for helping us bring you today's PEO leadership snippet podcast. Welcome to our snippets Podcast. I'm Leon Goren, CEO and President of PEO leadership, North America's premier peer to peer network and leadership advisory firm. Today, I'm very excited to welcome Glenn Poulos, the co founder, Vice President, General Manager of gap wireless Inc, a leading distributor for the mobile broadband wireless and test and measurement equipment markets. Gap wireless Inc, was recently acquired by network wireless solutions. Glenn recently joined PEO leadership and as a member of Pat 11, led by Tina Young. I know he's been an awesome addition to their group, from what I hear, and I hear a lot. And this past year, Glenn wrote and published his first book,'Never Sit in the Lobby: 57 Winning Sales Factors to Grow Business and Build a Career Selling.' Glenn, it's great to have you with us today.Glenn Poulos:
Thanks, Leon. Happy to be here.Leon Goren:
Thanks so much. Yeah. So I thought we'd start off with, you're still working? And I'm just curious, what prompted you to write this book?Glenn Poulos:
Yeah, yeah, not- well. So the idea came a long time ago. So I started selling in 1985. And early on in my career, I started noticing, like, repeat behaviors and trends and things right, and sort of, so I started jotting them down, and I, and a lot of times a few of them as it will become apparent to anyone that does read the book that a lot of them are like mistakes to avoid, not habits to copy, right. And so, you know, you know, don't do this, I did this, don't do that kind of thing. And so a lot of times, and I would also end, but whenever I learned a lesson or technique, or something not to do, I would sort of name it after the person that was exhibiting the behavior. And, you know, and I would call it factor at the end, you know, so the Bob factor, right. And, and, of course, in the book, I changed all the names to present the, to protect the guilty, right. But, so those are all made up names, but the, and so after a while, then I would start repeating them. And, you know, and then ultimately, I'd share them with some people outside of my company. And then I got asked to speak at some sales meetings and sales conferences and things back, back then. And people started saying, oh, you should, you know, and a lot of them are can be humorous when you tell them, you know, sort of face to face and a lot of people like, oh, you should write a book. And so years ago, I did actually having compiled many of the 57 factors, right? I took a stab at it. And I don't know how many words I got down. But nowhere near enough for a book. And I kind of shelved it, put it away. And you know, and I basically added it to the lot that list of I'm going to be doing, you know, in quotation marks, right? I'm going to be doing this. And I'm going to be doing that and sailing around the world and writing a book, right, and all that right. And so, when the pandemic came in 2020, I thought, no better time than the present. And so I basically looked to see, you know, I basically Googled how to write a book, and a list of all podcasts and things came up, I sort of clicked on the first one. And unfortunately, I can't credit the guy. But you know, he had great advice. And he basically said, look, I mean, writing books, not that complicated. He said, just commit to writing. And he said, 500 words every day, without fail, right? That was his method. And I. So I thought, well, I already have things I do Monday to Friday in the morning, and I don't have time to write 500 words. And I said, but on the weekends, I don't really do anything, per se in the morning. So I can commit to doing 2000 words, on the weekend. And so I said, I'm going to commit to doing the 2000 words, either both days, or at least one day on each weekend. And within a few months, I had 70 75,000 words written. And of course, the first editor that I sent the book to when she removed the F word from the book, and then I dropped to 71,000 words. And she said, Dude, you can't swear that many times in a book. And he said, she said, you get three F's, you know, in a couple of dams, right? And then that's it. Right? So it's about 71,000 words, and that and, and I just, I just decided that was the time to do it. I mean, we were kind of locked up at home. Yeah, couldn't really go anywhere. And so it was no time like the present. Right?Leon Goren:
Yeah. Well, congratulations. And so many of us talked about writing in the book. And it's not easy. So I mean, you have focus and you have resilience to do it every weekend to be able to write 2000 words is fantastic, and to get it done so. So in this book, because I think it's highly relevant today, you know, sitting in different groups and and everyone's talking about growth, you know, the challenges obviously, with inflation, different things, but their challenge with their teams as well and around salespeople, and that's really a lot Have what you cover in the book. And we're not going to get a chance to go through all these different points. But if you had three things that you could share with our executives and these presidents and leaders around making their salespeople more effective, making their development teams more effective, what would they be like your top three.Glenn Poulos:
All right, so the probably the first, the first thing that I would point out is sort of both a tough point, but also a difference between certain types of selling. So my book really appeals to the type of salesman sales person that expects to do the job face to face. And, you know, my company, you know, it's not important to go into the heavy technical details of what we sell, but we're selling high end technology products, instruments that engineers use, and then we sell products to the mobile wireless to the cellular industry. So all the stuff up on the towers and stuff. And that stuff doesn't get bought online. I mean, like, you know, we have, we have an online store to buy widgets, and, you know, in small pieces and stuff, but we can't sell effectively unless we visit our customers. And so a lot of my rules have appealed to the sales person that's going to be visiting customers. And so the, you know, my first rule is that, you know, you have to figure out which which business you're in, if you're in software as a service or something like that, you might have a different model. And I mean, I'm not really coaching to that sort of strategy, I'm coaching to the person that needs to get up and needs to make between, you know, 10, and 1520 calls a week, right? They're not making 10 calls a day, but they're making high value calls. And, you know, and it provides a series of strategies and techniques on how you can keep your, your call book full so that you're not, you know, you don't have to prospect, you know, spend hours and hours prospecting but the, the first lesson and rule is that, you know, sitting is not selling, right. And so, so many of you all, you know, I'm, I'm you know, I'm planning and I'm, you know, well, salespeople, one, they're always happiest when they're in front of customers. And, but sometimes they get struggled to get in front of those customers, but when they get there, they're actually happiest, that's when they're the happiest, right? And, and, you know, they're, they're singing the song of the products they sell, and, you know, and they're, they're visiting people and, you know, it's, it's what motivates them and, and, but sometimes they get stuck in this pattern of, you know, oh, Mondays, I'm in the office doing my this and Fridays, I'm in my office planning and, and so, but I always had this thing, and I do go on about it in the book, a fair bit about that sitting is not selling, right, like your job as a salesperson is really to be in front of the customer. And anything that's getting in the way of that, plus or minus some small amount of administration, that's expected in any business, you know, a salesman has certain amount of administrivia, that's required, is not you're you're just you're just pretending to be working. And, and so that's kind of like a little rule that I have, you know, a little rule I call it sitting is not selling, if you're sitting in your chair, and if you come to our office, it's like where are the salesman's desk there, we don't have any, right. Like, we have a little we have a little huddle room for salespeople, we have phones and desks, they could borrow and, but none of them have like a cubicle with their name on it. You know, some of our salesmen work from home and in the regions where we don't have an office, but, but again, we're expecting them to be in front of customers, you know, around proximately, four to four and a half days a week, right? And not not withstanding any restrictions from COVID, which are now most of our customers are allowing us to visit them now. But I mean, it was a very special case, from March 2020. Until today, but but most of our customers now and our salesmen are all you know, back in front of customers and more happy than they've ever been. Right.Leon Goren:
I think you described it as I picked up seeing the white there there the white of their eyes. Yeah. In one in your book, right. Yeah, to be able to do on that first point is it has COVID in the whole digitization, change that a little bit like when you're dealing with your salespeople today, you know, everybody's fighting the hybrid worker, we're not even talking about that. But the idea of zoom versus getting up going to their place of business now which is open, would you change anything from an efficiency perspective? Would it change your your thinking today,Glenn Poulos:
it would be nice if like, I would love to be able to say yes to that sort of thing, but I don't I'm not a zoom only takes only really I show finds value when you're doing for instance, a webinar or training session of some sort or another where the technical resources are in Germany or you know, France or something in the United States and you know, it's in it's in convenient to fly everybody in right now and what have you, but not for like sales calls or What have you it's as a matter of fact, like most of our customers, were almost like we called zoomed out, right? Where, because what happened was our salesmen were face to face sales guys, and I always talked about dropping off donuts, something in your hand, something in your mind, right? When you're showing up at customers, and all of a sudden, bang, they're locked up at home for, you know, 18 months or whatever, you know, whatever it's been, and I guess two years almost in some cases, but the customer is very quickly tired of these looks. Everyone's like everyone's doing a webinar, like you know, and in the beginning that people, the customers, the engineers and our contacts at these these high technology companies, they're probably struggling figuring out what to do at home, and how do I do my job. So they were saying yes to a lot of these webinars and felt busy, but in short order, they were dropping off, they're turning off their cameras, they were tuning out, and there wasn't a lot of it just wasn't producing any results for us. And so we of course, maintained doing them in what have you in the absence of any, but we struggled to keep the attendance levels up over time. And honestly, a lot of them just weren't effective. And so whileLeon Goren:
-certainly doesn't let you walk around their floor, it- the facility is a mini tour. I can't get that mini tour yet. You talked about sort of opens your eyes to their business.Glenn Poulos:
Oh, yeah. And you see, that's where you see that he's actually buying your competitors product. And he just hasn't told you right? To go on a mini tour. Right? And, yeah, yeah,Leon Goren:
would there be another point that you wouldGlenn Poulos:
Sure. So the one that I like to always point out share with everybody? is, and a lot of people scratch their head sometimes and is, I'm like, don't confuse marketing with selling. Right. So the way I break it down, and of course, I don't have I don't have a PhD in marketing, and I don't have a PhD in selling, right, I just, I just have 30 years of experience. And so I'm making, you know, gross, I'm making sort of gross assumptions here. And these are like in the street comments of what I've learned, you know, in the trenches, right. And what I mean by don't confuse marketing with selling is I, for me, I break it down simply, when you're face to face with the customer, you're selling, everything else is marketing, all that nonsense on LinkedIn, and all I'm digital social selling, that's not selling, that's not selling, selling is done face to face with the customer. The rest of it, is lead generation marketing. It's, it's, and if you're doing it as the salesperson, you're not doing your job, your job, the salesman's job is to sell the marketing job is to bring those customers and the sales people together. Right. And that can be done through a wide variety of electronic methods and mediums. And people will argue with me, and I just I, I don't enter into like debate, I just don't agree like that. Because a lot of people, some people can just sell all their product online, it's digital ordering, and it's click, funnel this and click funnel that and I mean, we're selling $100,000 instruments, people don't buy it through Click Funnels, like I mean, they want to look at it, touch it, try it, you know, et cetera, make sure it works, I bring the boss down from upstairs and show him what he's spending $100,000 on, you know, and I mean, I'm appealing to anyone that formerly sold face to face. And you know, and is expecting to go back to face to face selling now after the pandemic. And not to confuse all I do it all, again, you know, LinkedIn, this and LinkedIn that the marketing people should be doing that. You want to be involved in sales groups and other things on LinkedIn, maintain your professional career. But when you're doing that, you're actually marketing yourself and your marketing. You're still not selling though, right? And that's so that's just a golden rule for me, is don't confuse the marketing with selling and, and don't let the you know, in management sometimes thinks, oh, well, yeah, he's doing all this cool LinkedIn stuff. And we're getting all these leads, and whatever. But I mean, you could hire lead generation companies to do that you get the marketing team to do that the salesperson is the only one that can get out of his chair, get in his car, drive to the customer and sell the product, right. And that's a golden rule for me. AndLeon Goren:
that kind of resonates with me, thanks for that one, Glenn. Like marketing, it's maybe my comfort zone, I should be out there. SoGlenn Poulos:
never the first rule sitting is not selling, right. And marketing is done in your seat. So they tend to think that the rules all flow together from the book and, you know, like, and, you know, because once I start talking about the rules in the book, the rules, like seven or eight rules are just flow right all at once, because they're all interconnected. Yeah. Right. And, you know, so the, it's great. And the other the other third, sort of, you asked me for sort of three highlights or something like that was the, you know, this is not quite to do with with selling, you know, per se, like being a salesperson, but actually it's just Being in a functional company, with a boss and with customers and, and that is that you only get forever to make another impression, you know what I would call it like it's a golden rule of mine. And people are like, What the hell are you talking about, you only get forever to make another impression. They're like, I thought it was like, first impressions matter or something like that. I'm like, dude, you've been working here five years, you've been making a lot more than first impression, do you make an impression, every time I walked by your desk, and I see you all tab from Facebook, back to your contact your CRM, that's an impression, right. And so I use these, you know, like, kind of, you know, bold examples, like where I say, like, you know, when you hear the sound of the owners car, you know, he had made as a nice car, he pulls in with his Jaguar, and you can hear that some will, that rumble of that engine, hit in the parking lot out front, or you hear his car door, you will hear that what is fierce feet, you immediately want to be looking like the most important person in the building, doing the most work every single time, right? Like, because it because every time you make an impression, you're making an impression. And so, with customers, with your, with your boss, with your coworkers, everything, every interaction is an opportunity to make an impression, why not take every opportunity to make a good impression every single time, right. That's why I have all the rules about never sit in the lobby, always have something in your hand something in your mind, you know, you know, etc, in order to, you know, in order to make wise use of the time. And, you know, for instance, like meeting sales meetings, things like that don't show up to these things without a, you know, a personal like an agenda and a reason for being there. If you're not needed in the meeting, then decline the meeting, they'll go, you know, asked to be taken off and, and when you go make a good impression, you know, and, and so, it's just a career advice thing that I give people and a lot of people sort of the, the kind of like sloughing off, in a way, it's like, guys, you know, whatever, you're just being dramatic. And I'm like, well, that's fine. But I've actually own two companies that rent companies for 30 years. And I can assure you that every time I see you, you're making an impression. So yeah, you know, if you're working for someone else, you're definitely making an impression on that person, too. Right. So, you know, it's yours kind of take it for what it's worth, but,Leon Goren:
but I think it's a really, really important point. And it pertains to actually leadership as well as leader, right? You're making an impression all the time on the people that work with you.Glenn Poulos:
Yeah, I actually quote General Schwarzkopf in the book write about leadership, right? And it's like, when he, when he was brought in for Desert Shield to in early 90s, or whatever. And they asked him, like, how do you lead 100,000? Troops? Like, how do you be a leader of that many people? And he says, Well, when you're when you're put in a leadership position, take charge and, and lead, like, you know, you know, you have to be there, you have to lead, you have to make decisions, right. That's what a leaders job is. And it's not to do the all the work and, you know, drive the tank, but it's to lead all the people in all the teams and be that person and be that rock that's required. And soLeon Goren:
that's great. Yeah. Well, glad I got you to share those three things. I'm not getting to the other point, because I know I'm trying to hold this to 12 minutes or 15. Yeah, till we're over the 12. That's okay. But, you know, just for the audience, as well, just Glen has sold two businesses. And my other question to him was, you know, the lessons learned between the first and second business that you sold, most of us are lucky enough to just sell one business. We've done it twice. And so we will get to that, but hopefully, we'll get to that and other time. Sure. The other thing we're very fortunate to have you as part of PA leadership and I know members that are listening to this either around that selling the business and or around the book on the selling techniques and stuff, please feel free to reach out to Glenn pick up his book as well. And I asked him, would you drop into one of our groups and he said, Okay, so I'm holding him to that he has no idea what he just agreed to do. So that's awesome. So Glenn, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your insights. Thanks, Leon. And for those of you listening if you're interested in our live webcast, the way forward live and any any other snippets, please take a moment and visit us at pl leadership.com. You'll find on our site various pre recorded webcasts which include guests such as Morgan Housel, Professor Kenneth Stein, Harvard's Rosabeth Kantor, Michael Beer, Rob chestnut, Dr. Greg Wells, the list goes on. As we cover such topics as mental health leadership, the new world, and a host of others. Thank you for joining us today and we look forward to seeing you again shortly.