Increasing Sales with In Store Credit

This Business Round Table by Exit Your Way® topic this week was Increasing Sales with In Store Credit. We had the pleasure of speaking with Joseph Stepke.  Joseph helps retailers increase sales with in store credit financing.

This Business Round Table by Exit Your Way® topic this week was Increasing Sales with In Store Credit. We had the pleasure of speaking with Joseph Stepke.  Joseph helps retailers increase sales with in store credit financing.

We began by talking with Joseph about his time in the military.  Joseph went to the military right out of high school. He served as a military policemen in Korea. Joseph was 18 years old with no traveling experience, so one could only imagine the stress he was going through when he found out he was being shipped out of the country.  Joseph ended up enjoying the experience and the military.  Ultimately he had to end his military service due to a health issue.

Joseph then talked about how he worked on loss prevention at TJ Max and other retailers after he got out of the military. He explains a time when he was almost hit by a car going after shoplifters. “he dropped the merchandise by the car he was getting into. And the car started coming towards me, I saw it and I just jumped up.  My butt landed on the hood and I rolled off. Oh, God. Exciting times. Good times”, said Joseph.

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Joseph helps retailers increase sales by offering in store credit.  Joseph understands that traditional credit financing is not appropriate for many. For the merchant, a no credit/ in store credit option can unearth new opportunities for revenue growth and create competitive advantage to other merchants who only offer traditional programs. For the customer, the program enables the purchase of goods for customers with credit issues. Many people have problems with their credit or just simply don’t have the cash for items they need.

While Joseph helps retailers with in store credit financing he explains how he really helps his clients grow their businesses.  Joseph also helps his clients find the resources they need when they are looking at e-commerce sales because he sees that as the future for many of his customers.  Joseph creates long term relationships with his clients and helps them be successful so they can rise together.

Thanks to Joseph for sharing his time and knowledge about Increasing Sales with In Store Credit.

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Damon Pistulka  00:02 

Hey everybody, welcome back again today with Damon Pistulka Andrew Krause. And with us today we got Joseph step key on the X ray Business Roundtable. 


Joseph Stepke  00:14 

Say hello, Joseph. How you doing? I’m good. I say it now. Do you mind if I do the quick commercial real quick? 


Damon Pistulka  00:21 

The quick commercial right now. 



All right. It’s Joe step GI Joe, the finance guy. Just want to make sure all the opinions and thoughts that I have, do not express anything or have anything to do with the company that I work for. I just wanted to put that out which company I work for is a CME credit. But yeah, please, if you need anything go to Joe the finance guy. 


Damon Pistulka  00:42 

Yeah. Yeah, that’s that’s funny. Andrew just dropped off. We got him back now. And the wind must have blown the Wi Fi away there, Andrew. So we’re back. So today we’re going to talk with Joe a little bit about in store, financing options. Correct. Right. 



Or it’s actually called in store payment options. There you go. 


Damon Pistulka  01:07 

There you are. 



We’re more of a tertiary. We used to be called tertiary financing. We have traditional, you also have maybe a secondary and traditionally would be something like maybe a regular bank like Wells Fargo or something along those lines, then you have, you know, secondaries, almost like a synchrony maybe. And, and then, you know, you have the least on the no credit needed type payment plans for customers, and believe it or not, and you’ve seen some of the posts that I’ve done. 69% of Americans out there don’t even have $1,000 in their savings account for an emergency situation. Yeah. And I’m not talking about emergency situation like I need rims right away. That’s not what I’m, I mean by emergency situation. How, however, probably some of my merchant retailers would say, Oh, we get into emergency situations where they need rooms right away. Yeah, I’m talking about it’s summertime and usually, refrigerators break down. You know, freezers, yeah. tires, you know, and sometimes people don’t have that type of money to go out and buy a fridge right then and there. And that’s something that they may need, or four new tires. Yeah. Or even a new tire. And with our option, it comes into play. And it makes it really easy for a customer to get what they need. Yeah. Credit that they deserve. without it being credit. Yeah. Well, let’s talk a little bit. 


Damon Pistulka  02:45 

Let’s back up a little bit here. Let’s let’s, let’s talk about you. You know, you’re, you’re a military guy. First of all, you were on our military panel the other day when we were talking about the value the veterans bring to business on our Thursday deal. So tell us a little I mean, you were a military policeman if I remember right, Correct. 



Correct. Correct. That was my, that was my college. Yeah, it was, it was great. And I went in, and right after I got out of high school, I was 17 still had to get my mother’s permission to join, you know, the tree program. And I went in in 1989, January of 89. Fort McClellan, Alabama. for basic training at and then I was shipped off to Korea. Yeah. And I remember a funny story when I was when I found out that I was going to Korea, believe it or not, there was only one thing going through my mind. It was mash. Yeah, I that’s the only thing that was going through my mind. I’m actually thinking, I’m going where that’s not what I had on my list. I think I had Hawaii, Florida. Places. I think I even had California on there. I didn’t get those duty stations, they were sending Korea. And I remember I was on the phone with my mother. And I go like this. I’m I’m 18 at the time. I probably was crying like a baby back then. And yeah, please get me out of here. I don’t want to die. I seen mash. I know what would happen. Yeah, hopefully. Nothing like that. That was it. I had a great time. I was stationed in taegu. Korea, which is South Korea, and it was it was a great time. I enjoyed it. I had fun during it. 


Damon Pistulka  04:51 

That is that is great. That is great. Well, because I always think when I think of military police, I think that man you get in some situations you know, because military guys let’s be Let’s be honest. I mean you’re you’re like 18 to 2829 years old law these guys they get loose. It was 



what Damon Do you? I mean are you trying to bait me I mean Damon i’ll i’ll if you really want to know I mean my first day in Korea so we flew in and and i believe when I flew in, I was actually with one of my friends from basic training he met me in Chicago, we flew to California I think it was California then we went to Korea. Yeah, where how it went. But anyways, we get in we get up to we get down to we flew into Seoul, get down to taegu and everybody’s going out to the Ville now. Mind you I’m 18 Yes, I went out drinking before it’s nothing my mother doesn’t know now. I’m so statue of limitations. She can’t beat it. Yeah, yeah, but anyways, we’re going out to the Ville I’m going on right Great. Now I’m not a beer drinker. I don’t like beer. I mean, it’s too bitter. I’m more of a more of like the sweet drink type person or whiskey and shots. So we get out there and they have this thing called jungle juice. Yeah. And it was I don’t know what else I know it was so jus that was in there. I I will never forget that time because it was I got in trouble my first day there. But do you want to know what the cool thing about it was? my squad leader who’s corpulent? I can’t remember what his name was. Yeah. At the time, but what his name was at all. But he knew it. I was. I was I was gone. Yeah. And he took me back. I think I had to do some extra duty and I learned my lesson from there. And yeah, Was it but it was really like my college. It was fun. It was a job that you had to go out and do. And one of the most important sayings that I think every military policeman probably has ingrained in them, at least at that time was, you know, don’t confuse your rank with my authority. Because people would come in, you know, things would happen. And, you know, listen, I’m a captain, current, whatever. Sir, please don’t confuse your rank with my authority. You’re not supposed to be doing that stuff. Blah, blah, blah. But yeah, there are a lot of stories, and I cherish every one of them then it was awesome for me. 


Damon Pistulka  07:38 

Well, yeah, I mean, you got first of all, you’re 18. I mean, how much traveling Did you really do before you? Were before you went to Korea? 



None. I mean, are you not talking about the family road trip down to Florida? Are you 


Damon Pistulka  07:51 

talking about that? Yeah, 



yeah. So I did all my traveling when I was in the military, and it just seemed like Kept traveling from there. Yeah. So, but it was it was awesome. And the things that we saw it, I wasn’t on the the DMZ there. And I was lucky. It was. Obviously I didn’t get Hawaii, California, Florida. But if anything, this was great. And it was a culture that I learned. Very beautiful place. Yeah. Beautiful. And I remember like, in some even some of the restaurants going up there. Yeah, really good. Yeah. 


Damon Pistulka  08:33 

Yeah. Well, that’s, that’s cool. Because I think it’s, you know, when you look back on your life, and like all of us do, I think it you know, there those things, and those formative years are so important and where you end up today and how you do what you do, because when you look at what you do, now, I mean, you you take a much different approach to your work than other people do. I would think anyway. 


Joseph Stepke  09:00 

Yes, um, I’ve been told that 



you know, just maybe once or twice Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I’m not your typical finance guy. Yeah. And how I and I think the military, the military had a lot to do with it. 


Joseph Stepke  09:20 

It taught me persistence. 



Ever since I mean, even before the military and I don’t know if you know this, I’m a disabled but, but I have a pin in my head. Yep. Not one leg shorter than the other and, and I got out because it was acting up again. But a long time ago, the doctor told me I would never walk again. I’d end up being on crutches or in a wheelchair by the time I’m 25. Yeah, well, I have the limp still. I can’t, can’t. One leg will always be a little bit longer than the other. However. I just did not want to take that answer. I never will. what it was, it wasn’t an option. I wasn’t going to go into a wheelchair or anything like that. So I kept working out on my legs trying to make them stronger. It has gotten worse over the years. Yeah. You know, it beats 25. I’ve gotten 25 more years out of it than what he thought. 


Damon Pistulka  10:17 

So yeah, yeah. Well, I mean, I don’t I don’t talk about much. But my father has got about six inches of his left leg, and he was a farmer for about 40 years. So you can do what you want to do when you decide to do it. Right. Yeah, it’s just, that’s great to hear that that. You know that you’ve been able to do that because you’re, you’re now you. Tell me a little bit about you. You’ve got a fair amount of history in the rental industry. And so you’ve kind of understand retail and working through that stuff. And then with the About four years ago or so you started with FEMA? 



Yeah, four years. It’ll be five. come November. Yeah. It seems like the So I got out of the military. Yeah, make the snaps. I’ll make it short. So, interesting history this, um, after I got out of the military, I started working at Boca Raton Community Hospital. And, you know, payroll staffing coordinator, whatever in there. It was awesome. I liked it. My mother, my grandparents were down there. It was, or my grandfather was down there. It was great because I had some of my family there. When I got out. I started doing stand up comedy. And at the same time as when I was working at Boca Raton, yeah, and it was, it was just something I wanted to try. I love making people laugh. I was that guy that would go to the parties. And I would just start making jokes and making people laugh. I was always like that and going doing that on the aside, I wasn’t going to make a full time because if you want to be a stand up comedian, you got to put in a lot of time. Yeah. And not make money. Yeah, you’re not making a lot of money. I met Andrew Dice Clay when I was down in Boca Raton, Florida. There you go. Yeah, that was pretty. That was pretty cool. But a whole nother story and probably another another time. But when you find out really how much somebody makes you, you’re not going to come out of the gates being a robin williams or, you know, a big a big time comedian. And you’re not it’s just not going to happen. You got to work your way up and I didn’t want to do that. I wanted a job. Yeah, I wanted to work. So after the hospital. I know what what I was doing there wasn’t aligned to what I did in the military. Yeah, well, somebody told me why don’t you go for a loss prevention. I go wow, that’s that would be interesting. Catching shoplifters. Okay. So I started doing loss prevention for excuse me a company called TJ Maxx. Yeah. I’m telling you, I had such a good eye one. I had a great mentor when I first started in loss prevention, which was Jim wrens. Jim renza. Sure, sure. Enza. And him and I are on Facebook together. He’s down in Florida. him and I would have such a great time, but we would focus on you had external shoplifters, but you also had internal shoplifters. Yeah. And I read a lot of books about I love how people reading a person like a book. I know that actually is a book, but I used to love watching people. And you could tell who’s gonna do what and on there, and that I mean, the stories there alone, I almost got hit by a car going after a shoplifter and, and nobody thought that they were stealing I’m trying to tell the manager and I’m all the way in the back up on a crow’s nest type thing, looking through those little small two way mirrors. You know what I’m talking about the Jesus thing there. And this kid just loaded up a bunch of clothes like Tommy Hilfiger and stuff like that in a garbage bag. And then he starts running out. And I was not as big as I am now. I was a little bit skinnier Damon so I could get down off the high places quickly and run. Yeah. And so I went after him. The managers following me, I follow him out the strip mall and try to get it he dropped the stuff. But he dropped it in front of a car that he was getting into. And the car started, you know, coming towards me, and I saw it and I just jumped up my butt landed on the hood and I rolled off. Oh, God. Exciting times. Good times. 


Joseph Stepke  14:52 

That’s what it was. That was good time. And that’s the 


Damon Pistulka  14:54 

people that are not in that and I’m not in it. So I don’t know, but I don’t think they even Really, I mean, they worry about loss prevention now, but they don’t have people that goes after anybody anymore. Do they really 



know after I got out? And I heard about this after I got out, they, they stopped. They stopped chasing. And I don’t know for sure. I don’t want anybody if you’re not on the right side of the law going in where and taking something ugly. Well, I heard you’re the finance guy. They said that he doesn’t, that nobody stops shoplifters anymore. Yeah, somebody got shot in Florida. I got shot, loss prevention person got shot in the face or whatever it was, and that was right after I stopped. Yeah. And I guess they didn’t do it anymore. There were some scary times, but it’s the people that you wouldn’t think I worked at Lowe’s loss prevention. And I remember that’s where I met my wife, my best friend. Yeah, she was a head cashier, but I would always it’s funny, I would always peacock if you would, if I was going to make a stop. I would like make a big it was like a big deal about the whole thing like, you know, double doors outside like the contractor place. Yeah, like that. Well, the LP Booth was right near there. So if I saw somebody going out, I would be calling up making sure that I had people there and go listen, you gotta follow me. So then when I would go out and if she was at the desk at all, I would like pop open the door. So they both swung open like, like, I’m sort of Big Show, 


Damon Pistulka  16:30 

like ladder going into the bar. 



She knew I was doing but one person and he this guy was big. Yeah. Or at least Well, he was big when I found out on that got up to him. But it was just me and another manager and the manager couldn’t have been more than four feet tall. And I’m going Listen, this will be easy. Just he took a couple sync stuff or whatever. Let’s go so I start running after him. Did the whole peacock thing again ran out. As I’m running up to the guy. He’s he started getting taller. He he became, look, I’m looking at him like he’s Chewbacca. I’m like this. And I’m going like this. And I’m thinking he’s gonna fight. And I go, sir, Joe step key last branch and he’s come back inside with me. Do you know what he did? He turned around said okay. came right in. No fuss, no muss. That was the I mean, easy. Oh God, you had ones that were like, short, small and thinking yeah, this will be a piece of cake. Yeah, no, there wasn’t. 


Damon Pistulka  17:34 

Yeah. Interesting thing. 



But it the the reason why I was talking on loss prevention from loss prevention. When my wife and I started getting serious, I went over to work for a company called rent way. Yeah. And it was right next door. I met one of my friends john Clark. It who was over there him I hated him when I first met him. Listen I’m the guy I’m the Godfather do his son now so when CJ and Laurie and john if you’re watching this Lissa and Trisha Hi. But a guy he was such a sarcastic person him and I did not get along at all. Yeah, and he was ex military. And next thing you know, he’s the one that taught me about you know, rental home and collections and all that. And and that was exciting but we started I started at rent way. I worked my way up from a delivery driver all the way up to manager rd regional manager in development. I left to go to jd byrider which is like a buyer Buy Here Pay Here car place. Yeah, that they were looking for somebody for in the financing side of it, which was sort of up my alley a little bit because they do their collections there, huh? And I work there and then I went back. I went to Aaron’s Erin sales and lease. Yeah. And from there, I went back to rent way where I met a very a person that I would be indebted to for probably the rest of my life. He actually, and it’s Michael Bennett. He’s the CEO of buddy’s furnishings, buddies rents. And I’ve known Michael for 20 years going on 50. Um, we we have, we had the trifecta when he was here. It was him and I got along personally, we got along professionally, and our families got along. Yeah. And that’s hard to find anywhere. And it was just the things him and I just, we clicked we were the ultimate yin and yang and for me a lot about the lease to own business. And not just not just collections, but the right ways to do it. I think he took what I learned, you know, like the, the roughness that I learned through everything, and he polished it. And from there I we, I left right away. I followed him and I was part equity owner in the second largest franchise for Aaron’s. Right. And that was great because I was putting time in and helping build a business with with one of my best friends it was it was great. I mean, how could you go wrong? Yeah, that’s great. And once once we sold we sold back to Aaron’s corporate. He became the VP down here and are up here in Indiana. We followed and I was assistant VP senior, regional, and then after, I think it was five years. They changed CEOs they changed the sea level management. And next thing you know 


Joseph Stepke  21:09 

he I was looking for another position. 



I went to another company, almost like what we do now it’s called it was it was more along the lines of renta center. And I was there for a year and a half worked with an amazing person. hos stamper so hos if you’re watching this, how you doing? He was great. And he left and then I left. And I think a Sema came around right after that. Okay, the CEO of a Sema Aaron alread. He heard from one of my friends Amanda, who worked with me at acceptance now said if you’re looking for somebody in Indiana, there’s one guy you got to call a guy called Joe. Good. called me up I took such a drastic pay cut to come on board, but I saw the vision. Yeah, one if you believe in the leadership, you believe in the vision. Now, you, you could go anywhere. And I read, you know just exactly what we did. And I loved it. I was like going this, I could do this. This is easy. And so I started, you know, I think at day one, I’ve never missed a goal with the SEMA. I’ve always gotten my enrollments, I realized my network around me, because I talked to people about it’s not about it wasn’t about a seam. I just wanted to tell you how I got to here. Yeah. But it was it was showing them the value on how to bring in customers. Yes, because when you have this type of program, yes, it’s not about Yes, you could get those customers Remember we said 69% of them. Americans don’t have that. Yeah, not to mention who doesn’t have credit cards or who doesn’t have that ability to get credit? You know, I didn’t, you know who? Gosh, I think it’s a third. Like, a third of Americans or two thirds of Americans, their credit scores are under, like 600. So they probably don’t have credit cards or anything like that. And don’t quote me on that one. I have to look that one up. And yeah, 9% because I just read that just recently. But if if they don’t have that, how can you get those customers in? You know, about Mrs. Smith that lives next door to Mrs. Jones, and they see Mrs. Jones, they went to Joe’s furniture and they got this brand new sectional and it looks great. And oh, and she showed it off. But Miss Smith doesn’t have the credit nor the money but she wants it. Human beings are creatures of habit. They’re going to find ways to get it. They’ll do daymond they’ll go out Try to the goat anywhere they go to the rent to own, they want to get something, and they might pay a little bit more. The great thing about having an alternative funding option or payment option is that in 25 seconds, they get approved up to $5,000. I mean, and then they can get what they want. And it’s just a load of no initial payment. Yeah, pay as little as nothing or $50 to get something and all they need is, you know, a mobile phone or a way to fill out their application and 25 seconds and stuff. They need three months consecutive income 90 days with a checking account, make over $1,000 a month. That’s it. And it’s not even any paperwork that you got to physically show anybody. It’s all done through the computer and the application process. Yeah. And I might be going ahead I’m sorry. I just wanted to know 


Damon Pistulka  24:54 

I mean, what you’re talking about here, though, really, I mean, for the retailer, there’s there’s a benefit so sorry. If I’m if I’m a retailer, just give it give it for example, kind of what what what it really does with a retailer as far as their top line revenues if they’re if they’re a store or trying to do something. 



Traditionally I know that me one of the managing partners, Shawn Steven net great, another great individual. him and I have talked before but it’s usually a five to 10% kick, okay, to the top line revenue or I know that like a single store, maybe a 60 $60,000 $60,000 extra to the top. Yeah. And what is that what is that worth to somebody you know, for a mom and pop store that’s worth a lot for for any store. thousand per location, you know, in top line revenue increase. It’s huge. But what I found was, it’s not just about the in store, option to have it. It was all So how do you how do you teach people to bring in other customers? Yes, I was on the phone with one of my retailers. And these are the little you know, we talked about before the show, I was telling you about that I want to do the little, I want to do a podcast like a cup of joe in the morning, like, like that. And these are little tips and tricks because I’ve had these in me for so long. But one of the things I was telling this one retailer, I was gonna have you ever thought if you’re looking for customers, I don’t know where I mean, I know this is whether it’s pre COVID post COVID, whatever. I go, where do you go to lunch at? He goes, Well, I usually go to the subway right up the way I go. Have you ever thought about going in there? Just going up to the manager and go like is Hey, listen, I’m Jake right over here. You know, mattress and furniture. I wanted to make you know make you where you guys are all Golden members, that with my company, that means that you automatically get 5% 10% off whatever you want to do. And he goes, Well, I would give somebody fiber. Great. Alright, so why don’t you go in there and tell them you automatically get 5% off. And once you go a step further if they want to put it on their receipt, any customers, they they have and they bring in that receipt, they get 5% off to their all gold members. You know, and he goes like this. Wow, I never thought about that. Yeah, just something simple. Because Do you eat lunch every day? Yeah, Yes, I do. Where do you go? I listen. I worked in one of the brick and mortar stores like in retail. I know. You could try packing the lunch. Sure it happens. But most of the time, what are we doing? We’re going out to eat? Yeah, yeah. And you just can’t help it. They made a cheaper now. That’s the way to go. Ask the people where you go. Going to the bank. Have you ever thought about going to two businesses that around there when you’re going to the bank, just stuff like that. Talk to the manager, because then it builds the community sign. They’re going, Hey, listen, we need to go in and see them. 


Damon Pistulka  28:10 

Yeah. And you know, that’s the thing that I come back to when we first met. You know, that it’s been a while now, last year, sometime early last year was sometime last year. It was before 



the it was before my November incident in Las Vegas. Yeah. And that wasn’t a bad incident. I don’t want this. Yeah, I don’t want everybody thinking Las Vegas incident draft mini stroke out there or something like that, but I’m okay. Yeah, yes. It was before that, I think. 


Damon Pistulka  28:38 

Yeah, yeah, it was it was and and, you know, but what I can remember the very, very first conversation is you are talking about things like this, where you’re actually helping retailers, increase their sales, not just not just sell, sell something that of course, helps them but helps you. You are showing them how to actually increase the sales of their business. And I do that every day with our clients and, and just about every conversation. And it’s, it’s, it’s interesting to see you take that approach because you are helping them succeed so that you can succeed and I think that’s really the the sales the part of the sales uh, you understand very well. And I was just saying that you know, 



I’m looking at your left to go like this Batman rolls off a car wreck thanks yeah, I wasn’t even trying to look at chat sorry. 


Damon Pistulka  29:35 

I was looking at it too. It just kind of hits me right in the face and I’m trying to do but but you know, the, the whole thing about is you’re helping people do this and and helping them sell more along with what you’re doing. You’re helping them make, make them successful. And ultimately, if you make them more successful, hey, that’s great because there’s even more customers coming to you. Anyway, so it works works well for everyone but some of the innovative ways that you’re telling them Like that you were talking about flyers I think cannon people flyers with 



correct that you’re right. I don’t like to give out every every one of my tips. No No you don’t have to I still got a lot of a lot of them yes IRA you will be ignored. 


Joseph Stepke  30:18 

But the one thing that flyer one I think is what I told you. I was 



and this was great. I I have a retailer and great kid, great kid. He’s, he’s in his 20s he, you know, has a significant other. They are great people. And he was not a good kid when he was younger. Yeah, up in Chicago. I know that I wasn’t a good kid myself. However, he he went the right way. And he opened up his he opened up a business. Yeah. When he opened up the business. I remember going over there and this was in Ohio and he bought a bunch of door hangers. door hangers. So I come in, and it was it was cold out. I remember I had my like, I remember it was cold out I had my overcoat on and, and stuff and he goes like is Oh sir, I’m glad you’re here. He took me he was so proud of his store, which his store looked. It looked it looked great. And he goes like this, hey, I want to show you what I got. And he had all these door hangers. Right there. He goes like this. Hey, do you see this? I got these for pennies. on the dollar. This. I mean, awesome. And he’s really proud of them and had this and everything. I think it had the aseema stuff on there, you know, text to apply whatever it was. And he Um, excuse me, he said, he goes and you know what I do with them? And I go like this. What? And he leans in me. He goes, when people are about to leave. I give him one. 


Joseph Stepke  31:55 

Yeah, and so I’m thinking 



all right. This is a teachable moment. I was waiting for something else. Yeah. And I really the one thing with my retailers, I get to know them. I’m I’m actually their business partner that they don’t have to pay. Yeah, I’ve been on the phone with some. I’ve been on the phone for an hour, two hours, it doesn’t matter if they want to talk to me. I’ll be there. So I really owed it to this person to go because in my mind, I was thinking something totally different. I go, alright, so I asked him, I go like this. How many deliveries Do you do a day? Because you know what I’m doing? I’m doing like 10 deliveries a day. I go great. Have you ever thought about taking those flyers and going five up and five down and to these other places? He goes, and I go there, he just shook his head and I go, have you ever thought about monetizing your delivery drivers so they’re not throwing away so if anybody comes in with one, like maybe they have different colors, or they put their initials on it But if somebody comes in, they each get $5 or they get 10 whichever one he’s going wow, that’s a great idea. I go Hey, I even got another one for you. He goes yeah go it’s called breakfast Blitz. Could you imagine now take this if you would, and I and I had he had a map up or a map of the city I go to the nearest red tone. I’m not gonna say which ringtone it was, but there was I go, do you know these rental homes? They pick places to go to be? Not because it’s the cheapest place it’s because their customer bases all around this area. So have you ever thought about going a block or two blocks around there and on Thursday, once you get your team, go to McDonald’s, get a bunch of breakfast burritos or sausage biscuits for $1 have a team building event. You know just talk with everybody and then take these door hangers and go up and down the block or whatever and put them on the doors. Now I’m not telling you to knock. Because guess what? Those people are probably not home because why? Just like you, they’re out working. They’re working. But you know what’s going to happen on Thursday? They’re gonna come in on Thursday night. See that? And you just planted a seed because you’re the farmer you just planted the seed with that door or that flyer and or door hanger. And on Friday, they get paid. You don’t need to go in there. Hey, did you see this? no credit needed thing. Wow, that’s good. It wasn’t about just the no credit needed part. But it was about he just utilize that to bring a customer in. Yeah. And for the amount that he paid. So let’s cut to after I leave in that first weekend. I get a call like Monday. Oh my god, whoa, that worked. I can’t believe it. I go, I’ve done this for us know so many years. It’s just ingrained in me Yeah, something that I, I learned from Michael Bennett. I mean, 


Damon Pistulka  35:05 

that example that you gave and and it was, it was great. It was great then great now is just how you do this differently. I mean, when you look at, when you look at the way that you are, you are branding yourself when you look at the way that you are engaging on LinkedIn. Let’s talk about that a little bit, because I got to believe that you’re in an industry where you’re probably the unicorn. I mean, 



I Wow, that’s a that’s another word I’ve never heard before. I’m, I’m joking. And yes, I have heard that one. Um, I’ve heard I’ve heard the Tony Robbins of them. Um, that was from Tia Dietz. As a matter of fact, she, she’s, she said that to me, and it’s, it was different when I first came in and I wasn’t making a lot and I have a family of four. Yep. Um, I’m used to I was used to making over six figures a year working for errands. And when that was cut abruptly, yeah, and I and one thing I know I told Nick this yesterday, it was humbling at the same time. Yeah, it was when I lost my job. Do you want to know what I, I had? I used credit because everything was for the kids. And for myself, if you can tell from the background, I like comic books. Yeah, I know, you already know about this, but 


Damon Pistulka  36:34 

we’re gonna talk about that. And just 


Joseph Stepke  36:36 

Okay, good. Well, I, I didn’t save a lot of money. Yeah. So 



when you go home to your wife, and you tell her, listen, I’m out of a job. No severance package. And yeah, because I was making over the amount. I didn’t have the 401k I had this deferred payment type thing. But we got to wait six months to get that. Hey, I think I know I just got to go out and get a job really quick. I was scared. I’m still scared of my wife. So she’s a new Kalyan and my best friend. But she’s, yeah, I’m still scared to death of her. So it’s not, it’s not the easiest thing to do. So what she did, she took everything like a trooper. And she was, I think she was the one of the original extreme couponers before that went away, because we have a stockpile room that’s still next door to this thing that’s still filled up. There you go. But she she took the unemployment and she stretched it and I was only out of a job for I think a month and that was it. But I learned so much from that. That went into a Sema making less I had a plan on Alright, how do I dig myself out of my credit? Yeah, my credit hole that I dug myself in with all the credit cards. And how do I just how do I dig myself out? And how do I get a rainy day fund? a rainy day fund was to have a year salary in because you never know when a company is going to let you go or whatever. Yeah, it doesn’t matter. And I don’t want to be caught like that again. Well, no aseema helped me with that. Yeah, now I am debt free. The only debt I have is my house. Yeah. And I plan on retiring in five years. 


Damon Pistulka  38:28 

Yeah. So well in in what you talk about and when you say you say that you said one thing in there that you You never know if you’re going to be working for a company. And and I tell you what, one of the things that the fallacies that I had when I was when I was growing up and working through my career is that I thought that if I got you know, if you’re managing and working up in the companies that it was, it was there was somehow some sort of security to it, but it gets worse as you move up the chain again. Worse, right? And that’s what people don’t realize it’s or it’s not any better, I should say, maybe not worse, but it’s not any better. 


Joseph Stepke  39:07 

Right? And there’s not I know. 



It isn’t you, you become more of a target. I’ve heard stories that, you know, when you’re, when you’re out there and you’re, you’re doing well or you’re number one all the time, you also become a target. I tried to pay attention to my own thing. I don’t look at that. Yeah, I know that I’ve been offered a VP position, I think twice. Yeah, with the company. And I’m happy where I’m at because I don’t want to go out traveling. Yeah. And I’ve signed up over 920 locations and 


Damon Pistulka  39:45 

you know, I heard that I heard a yesterday when you’re talking to Nick and I’m like, How in the hell do you do that in any in Andy right. 



That’s the same thing. That’s funny. You say that same thing. The CEO knew me as the rabbit. You know what I mean by the rabbit. Yeah, they use me sometimes like that going, you know, they, you know, Joe’s done it and he’s in India. Well, hold on a minute. It was because I met more people like LinkedIn. Yeah. The people on LinkedIn. Damon, I mean, I have such a great neuro network of people on there. And we’re we’re friends. Yeah. Are we got to know each other where we took the online offline? Yeah, yeah. I got to know you. You were the firt. One of the first ones you and Nick were the ones that got me doing these zoom calls, and I go, holy crap. This is great. But you Nick Dorsey IRA, I can’t even even begin how much that man is such a giver. Oh, yeah. I mean, I know he’s my LinkedIn bestie I’m the ultimate Superman to my Batman or iron man, but he is He, He is such a giver and helps people. And you don’t really, it’s, he promotes me he, I know he promotes all of us. And I know you do it if there’s so many people out there Tina Oliver, you know, I? Yeah, you know, I whenever, and I said this yesterday, she’s the credit wizard. And it’s like, she helps people build their credit. And I help businesses get people that don’t have good credit. Yeah. So it’s such a great relationship to have with her. Just what a great heart Erica Warfield Miko planner, I just so many people out there that have helped me build my business. And I think that’s what’s done it But to your point tonight 120 it was because I’ve known all these people through LinkedIn, not just the ones I mentioned, but people I knew 20 years ago. Yeah, I mean I connected with somebody they were I remember and I no names on this but they were trying to connect with somebody on there, and hey, do you know this person? And I remember an email going to introducing me to this person. Yeah. And I was part of it. I go Hey, I don’t know if you remember me. And and not even five minutes email came back. Holy crap. I knew was you jokes that key? How could I not know. And believe it or not, we talked the next day. And one of the bigger deals that I’ve gotten and closed it in 15 minutes. 15 minutes. We talked about the program. Yeah. 45 minutes. It was, well, how in the hell are you going on? Yeah. And it’s all about People say it’s not who you know, it’s what you know, or it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and it is true. I, I’ve made so many friendships over the years that even in the rent own industry, people open up their own retail business, and they call it um, yeah, it’s just been so great. Yeah, yeah. It’s helped my family out probably more than anything. And I used to send out thank you notes. I used to hand write thank you notes. Now, up to a, you know, almost, you know, it’s over 900 locations. Yeah, it’s hard to write and thank you notes. You know, at that time, I’d be writing a bunch every single day, but I always thank them, I send out emails 82% of those. Those locations do deals. Yeah. And I for myself, it was just and I still go out there. there. Yeah, pre kovan Yeah, even though that I work in my office now what a great office to work in. But even though I work in office now I still go out and and, and visit and help merchants and their friends. These are all friends and then I get referrals. I could, I could easily get five referrals any month, just 


Joseph Stepke  44:26 

it’s that easy. 


Damon Pistulka  44:28 

Just what you think and what I liked. And what I see about you’ve done in personal off LinkedIn on flip on LinkedIn is you’ve used it to build relationships. Yeah. And where that relationship goes, who knows good friends, just whatever it is, but by building those relationships, and you know, it’s something that I Hell, I didn’t know, LinkedIn was like this until, you know, shortly before I met you and we start you start to engage on LinkedIn and people that aren’t on LinkedIn or aren’t aren’t doing you using LinkedIn like this to build relationships can’t really fathom what it will do if you just build relationships right in the relationships and yes you yet and your career throughout and that helped a lot, too. But the but the, the long and short of it is you’re a great relationship builder. You build relationships through helping your clients be better you build relationships, like you’re doing on LinkedIn every day, supporting people no matter what. And then just the content you produce. I mean, you You’re, you’re kind of an engine when it comes to that you’re the gifts you produced and some of the little video things you do and the posts you’re doing. Almost every day. If people haven’t followed Joseph step key they need to because it’s, it’s worthwhile. And you you get some interesting stuff and it’s it’s fun to watch 



the Yeah, I would say YouTube is new to me. Yeah. I know the Twitter, the Instagram Yeah, just even talking with my kids. I, you know, like I was upstairs before this. And my daughter, I don’t you saw the posts that I did this weekend. She goes, Dad, I she was not here she goes, Dad, I really appreciate you doing the Danny DeVito the Danny DeVito post, and I did two of them. I did the one because I guess it was Danny DeVito day I have no idea. But I just thought I thought trending on that. I thought you know what? I’m gonna do this for my daughter Sierra. This will be good because she likes Danny DeVito and then we start talking I go like this. So who would you pick? Would you pick 50 permits and 30 Danny DeVito is too picky and she’d go dead. I actually just skim over your Instagram I think and I go like this one she goes I just think it’s it’s you know dead it’s it’s just not cool for the daughter the like the dad stuff. Yeah, me and my sons the same way. Yeah, he doesn’t even want to play video games with me anymore. Yeah, I mean I’m like the person like in the corner going like this Hey you want to play he did after get off with my friends then I’ll play with you all right just just don’t look right now they’re they could hear you but they it is different I’ve tried different avenues like the social media yeah I think that’s the way to connect with people I said it last night on next thing is that people buy from people. Yeah. Are you really going to get to know somebody off of this LinkedIn you could. But you got to take the online offline, but also you get to know more about them through the Facebook through Instagram more that way. I think when I’m such a chameleon, because I could get along with mostly anybody I I I very rarely will say anything bad about somebody. Um, I might think it and there’s a couple People I confide in. Gregory Adams is one of them. He’s he actually was an ASM with the SEMA. And then he became VP. And he’s one of his he’s a great friend is he’s he’s like my brother, but great person. But anyways, I, I think you can find common ground with anybody. Yeah, I’ve taken it’s it takes took me like 18 months to close somebody before just by going there every day and that’s where the persistence comes in. Hey how you doing? And then finally one day they go you know what I I see the need because I don’t do the pressure sales I think people have other things to do but when you find out something about them, Listen, I’m a I’m a father. I’m a husband, I I’m from Chicago, my wife’s from New York. She’s Italian. I was in the military. I’m a veteran. I’m disabled. There’s so many things to talk about. About that, you know the stand up comedy too. You could find something at the comic book stuff alone. Do you know how many comic book geeks there are out there? Oh, yeah. Rob just sit there and display that. I drive around in a Chrysler 300 Gotham City edition. Come on. I’m not embarrassed even though that when I turned 50 I think I’m turning it in and just taking the bat symbols off so but that’s another story. Oh, yeah. 


Joseph Stepke  49:30 

Yeah. But I think it’s about building relationships. 


Damon Pistulka  49:33 

It is it 



is you’re great at it. And you do understand the the importance of getting personal understanding something about people so they can build these deep relationships because this right selling is not about pushing something on somebody. It’s about, hey, if you need it, great. If it helps, great, but doesn’t let’s just let’s talk be friends. Well, you know, why not? And that’s why I tried to do with some of you know, some of it is hard. You just got to crack the initial, the initial shell out there because a lot of people just see it. And if God was another salesperson, I am not like that. I want to help people. I’ll give me another example. And I know I wanted to talk about e commerce with you, because that’s, that’s a hot topic, but one of the examples was, I’m in a Facebook group, a mattress group. Uh huh. And, um, it was almost like a questionnaire came up. Like, who would you rather use? Like, would you rather use, you know, ABC, the SEMA was one of them. Yeah. And I have a bunch of retailers in this group. And they were going, Oh, my gosh, Joe, the finance guy, Joe step key, you got to talk to them and stuff. So the person that posted it, I reached out to the person and said, Listen, if you need anything you want to talk, feel free. Give me a call. I’m here for you. And come to find out he did reach back out to me. He goes, listen, you really swayed me. I, I’m, I’m gonna sign up with Sema but I have been talking somebody else. I think it’s only fair to do that. That’s fine. But at least I got the ball rolling and yeah, you’re gonna swear I don’t think people I’m not gonna say a seaman doesn’t know it. I wonder sometimes how many people I’ve actually drove drew in to sign up with us as Joe the finance guy. Because I still help anybody on there. And I’m not the type person that’s going to take something from somebody else. I think you reap what you sow. Yeah. And when you do something like that, it’s just gonna come back at you tenfold. Yeah, I’d rather help somebody and the more people you help, the more it’ll just come back at you. 


Damon Pistulka  51:51 

Yeah, yeah, that’s for sure. So let’s let’s let’s get on something that’s kind of important here and been on my mind because I’m I’m trying to say so now. Are you a DC? Only or a Marvel and DC guy? 



I am. If you look around the Batcave here, I’m black. I give it away. I am both. I’m both I have Marvel and DC. However, back in 1990 and believe it or not, do you want to know when I started this after high school? After high school? Yes, I like Batman during high school. Um, I always liked him because he was the world’s greatest detective. I always wanted to be a cop. My father said, you know, they cops don’t call themselves cops. All right, whatever. Um, but, you know, I think he always thought I was immature. He goes, you ought to be an actor. You want to be you want to be a copy and actor to be a cop or something like that. But, um, I never did it. I like Batman and I like Sherlock Holmes when I was young, because they were the world’s greatest detective. Yeah, I got involved with x men was my first real love of comics. And it was I was stationed at Sierra army Depo in Northern California, herlong, California, and my roommate at the time. He, he showed me one of the comic books and I read it and I was just all I was thinking was, oh my god, this is cool. Yeah. And then the show came out the video, the cartoon. Then I started watching that. So I’m like, 20 years old watching cartoon religiously. I had to record it. I wasn’t going out drinking with my friends when I was in Florida after I got out of the military. I was I was collecting comic book figures, and so on. There was a Christmas that came about is right after the x men series came out. And Lisa and john shoe tail Friends of mine and Lisa used to work at Boca Raton Community Hospital. They got me two figures it was Mr. Sinister and Wolverine two of the figures that I started with. And I love to tell you I still have them in the box. I do not. I opened them. So I’m thinking they weren’t worth anything. Damon. I’m thinking they’re just I thought it was cool, you know? So out of the box, I’m putting them up like a little Dyer diorama or whatever. on like a shelf. Yeah. stuff on them. Just thinking it was cool. I had probably the whole set. I went in to buy my comics. So I’m already into comics. Now. I’m reading x men usually. Yeah, marine. Batman. I’m worth reading on a regular basis. And this was before Big Bang was even cool. Very, yeah. Um, and I’m in there and the guy said something They had beast. Beast was behind the counter, and it said $55 on it. And I went, that’s worth 55 He goes, Yeah, I go, Well, I have that. He goes, you do and I go, yeah, I have that same exact one, but it doesn’t have that. That thing in there. And he’s thinking it’s a variant of some sort and probably more and he goes, really? Yeah, I threw it away when I open it up and put it out. He goes, Well, then it’s not worth Yeah, be fine. Yeah, they’re worth more in the book, which I didn’t know that at that time. You know, I wasn’t thinking that way. I went all out to almost every pig beats toy store, because they were selling them like for three for $10. I went to every single one to track down every one I start and you know, I had before I got them all back. Oh, and I’ve never taken anything out of the box. After that, yeah, my kids it’s it’s like a running joke in, in the family because when Disney was I think it was xfinity or whatever they came out with a game that the characters in there, and I was going, you know, you could just take the character, keep it in the box and just put it on the thing and it’ll still work. So I even taught the kids not to take things out of the box. And they they don’t some of them, just keep them in there. So, but they’re looking forward to me crying so that they could get this. 


Damon Pistulka  56:32 

Well, that’s what I’m wondering. It’s like their inheritance problem. Yeah. 



Well, my wife says our retirement, my kids, hey, that’s ours. I told them I wanted them all melted down in the casket made out of it. But that’s what my wife told me I’m being cremated so great. I didn’t even have that in the plan for me, so that’s good. 


Damon Pistulka  56:50 

Yeah, yeah. Well, that’s that’s great. So that, you know, the passion around it is awesome man because they know that It is funny though, when you look at this stuff, and in it with me, I had something a little bit different, but I was in Cooperstown, New York. A number of years ago now my son playing baseball, and I walked into obviously baseball. It’s it’s the mecca of baseball history. Other than, you know, some of the great parks the United States, Cooperstown is the place to go if you asked me. And I’m walking into one of these stores that has the old baseball gloves, right? And I looked down at this glove, and I go, that’s my glove. And I’m not talking about the glove, you know, that I had when I was 20. I mean, I’m talking about the glove that I was, I think my father gave it to me. My parents gave it to me when I was probably 10. I still got it. And I looked at that glove and the glove was like $200 and I’m like, You got to be kidding me. And I saw so this is a few years ago, I lost out. I walk into the garage where a course I’ve got, you know, we’ve got totes full of sports junk, right? sure as hell I dig down there’s that glove and I’m like, I gotta take better care of this stuff. 



And you kept you didn’t sell it did you? Don’t know still here still here again, when promise. Well first off I want to say I never knew I like if what you just said to me about Cooperstown. If I didn’t have an incident that happened to me about a month ago, I would not know what the hell you were talking about at all. Oh, and I’ll tell you why. So, you know, I’m not a I’m a sports guy because I’m yokes. The only sports teams I like are the bears the bulls, the cubs. Yeah, that’s it. Yeah, maybe the Blackhawks but whatever. Anyways, I think that’s the hockey team. But I remember Greg, actually, we were talking about something. He goes Joe, you’re in cool. First town, you know, you’re good. And I didn’t know what he was talking about. So when Nick came out to visit, you know, when he came out to visit Indy and we met up at that Italian cafe that’s really not an Italian cafe whatever. And longer long story behind that one. I was telling him, he I don’t know how he got on it. And he said something about Cooperstown. And I go, he goes, Yeah, the major league, you know, Hall of Fame and stuff. And I went, Oh, so then I explained the story to him. He goes, Yeah, I go. I had no idea. So then I had to call up Greg and go, Wow, I never knew that’s what you meant. I had no clue. I was like, You gotta be kidding me. So what you meant yet? You’re like a Hall of Famer. That’s what I was trying to say. Let’s go. Yeah, I had no clue. I didn’t get it. Why couldn’t you just say like, you’re like Stanley, and then I would have gotten that one. Yeah. So yeah. 


Damon Pistulka  1:00:00 

Yep, that is that is that is funny because it is it is like anything you know, because I talked to my son My son’s a Marvel maniac. He’s 21 but the dude, I mean, just like you were saying, understands the backstory behind characters. And now kids are a young youtuber bazillion hours a month and looking at all the backstories and everything else around the characters. He’s telling me that just just the amazing amount of detail that you can you can understand about Marvel and stuff and, and I was trying to relate to him the other day about how Stan Lee how many years and I’m not great. I’m not a great comic nut, but I can remember Stanley when I was 1819 years old, and comics weren’t that big a deal. They were around and everything but they were they’re big like there are now and Stanley was just a struggling cartoonist, right? Oh, yeah. And now you know, it’s like shit. There’s probably shrines, you know, up to him and 



I regret I could have met him. We went to one of the Comic Cons, or we were supposed to know we were supposed to go to that one. And I didn’t get it. And it was just recently, like, where I had the money that we could have done it. And I regret doing not doing it. And it’s something I should have. That’s one of the things that I said, No, it’s all right. I don’t need to. I really liked him. I would say don’t meet your heroes. Yeah, I actually went to a Comic Con. I met. I’m in line. So you know, I’m an x men, you know, fanatic at first and I was going to meet Patrick Stewart. And I am my wife and kids there. And I have my phone out. I want to take a picture with them because I really liked Patrick Stewart. I like Professor Xavier, I like to meet john Luke Picard, but he’s also played a lot of other things, too. He’s just a great well rounded actor. And I haven’t read this whole COVID thing. He was reading sonnets and stuff like that. And Jonathan Franks, also from Star Trek was on there, too. But it was it was awesome. You know, I thought, I thought the world of him. I’m in line. And I know that they go they see so many people a day I get it. I go, you don’t mind me taking a picture of you really quick. He goes, No, you can’t move along, move along. And that’s all I will remember of Patrick Stewart saying that to me, and it almost broke. It’s weird. Not that it broke my heart. It was just like, I told my kids you just shouldn’t meet your heroes. Yeah. shouldn’t meet your heroes because everybody’s human. He could have had a bad day. I did meet Ice Man. Are we all met ice man? The guy that played him in the movie? Yeah, great. And Lou Ferrigno. Yeah, came around. He liked my wife. He actually friended my wife on Facebook. Forgive me. My while I 


Damon Pistulka  1:03:03 

would do that. 



No, no and and i don’t think anything of it but it was Yeah, you had a good picture with them and stuff like that it was. It was some that was a great Comic Con to me. And I also met the person from Sleepy Hollow. I can’t remember her name. But she was the one that played left Tennant. Yeah. And she was awesome. I think it was B but we met her as well. And I just had it was such a great time. I just regret when I went to Comic Con The only person that I didn’t get to see and do anything with with Stanley. Yeah, yeah, we’re going back to like this. Do you know how many times I’ve gotten a deal? Just for driving up in the Batmobile? Oh, I’m sure. I mean, I’ve been called. Oh wait, you’re the guy with the hat. Yep, good stuff. Are you gangster from New York, where she cago Well, they say New York. I usually go No, no, I’m from Chicago originally. Yeah. So, um, and then the the Batmobile one I’ve I’ve done that because it sparks so much in the conversation is that you just either hate Joe step D or you love them. And I think when you take the time to do things with people, and they come together and they know that Listen, I could call them up at eight o’clock on a Sunday night. Hey, listen, I got a problem and to go, so we could dovetail a little bit into something else. I got a call one night right when COVID started happening, the shutdowns. They were shutting down and I get a call from one of the mattress sales groups. I’m the person that runs it in there, and he goes, Hey, listen, I wanted your opinion. What do you think people are going to have to you know, what are they? What are we going to have to do tonight Go Well, it’s, I’m glad you call. Yeah. And I think what’s going to have to happen is, if you still want to work, you’re going to have to really focus on curbside. Yep. And you’re going to have to focus online it’s going to have to go to social media. Yeah. And and that was the way it it’s gearing up. I’m going to tell you I’ve been in in here since March 12. Now there’s a lot of other things going I don’t I you know, that’s a whole nother story. I I am more successful being in here and doing calls and stuff like that. And I understand that Sema wants me out there, but I’m, I’m so so much successful. I’ve like blew out my goals. By far, probably better than anybody else over this time. But there’s 


Joseph Stepke  1:05:56 

being here. Do you know how many things I’ve ordered off? 



I mean, Amazon. I mean, they certainly they sent me a plaque on like this. Hey, we just wanted to let you know you’re you’re like a great guy with us. We love you. 


Damon Pistulka  1:06:11 

I just shut my phone off because the notifications ever dangerous. I had two deliveries Come over here. 



Right? Well, I got two my two came earlier today. Yeah, by I got the two books. So the one that I read and the branding your story and then the I got another one like a marketing ones from the same author that I wanted to read this week. But, you know, being in here, I know that’s what we’re doing. Everything is done online. Yeah, no, then if this what we’re going to have to do and I said, I go listen, we got posts, I could tell you how to do things. I mean, you got text to apply. There’s so many things you could do to drive customers in and not just about a Sema but to drive them and go, Hey, listen, we’re still doing business. I was talking to one of my merchants and It I don’t think he would mind because I’m giving him a plug anyways in this Jared Simon he he’s one of the owners assignments furniture in Massachusetts. And if I’m wrong if it’s wrong, Massachusetts I’m sorry, Jared. Um, but anyways, and he came up with something. Safe assignments. Yeah. And like how they’re being safe there for people coming in. It’s just finding a way to get people in. And so this goes into another part like with everybody ordering things on and doing e commerce. And by the way, if you have an e commerce platform and you need an alternative funding option, please call Joe the funding. Joe the guy I’m gonna be there for you. Or go to my website, Joe the finance guy, calm, but all. Now think about everything was shut down or whatever a month to Months whatever it was Damon? Yep. And warehouses were shut down. Everybody’s I know that some people went on vacation because we heard about it going to Florida Spring Break whatever. I didn’t go on vacation. I told my wife we’re not going on vacation till next, you know next year. Um, so how much money did I save on that? Yeah, take big vacations. You know, I’m working on the house what we’re doing I’m, we’re putting a screen room on or and we’re working on the house here. The point I’m trying to make, do you know what ended up happening? Everybody started going out and buying the furniture buy that they needed. They got the stimulus check. They started buying and guess what ended up happening? The warehouses were closed. So now they are I mean, some of these warehouses. People are waiting for deliveries. They’re waiting like three to six months. Yeah, you know just to get product now because There was such an influx with people going in there going, we might well we’re home, we might as well get stuff that we need them. And that ended up happening. people buying online and everything else. So for myself, what I’ve seen is now, I mean, they’re doing great. Some of my retailers have had the best months that they ever had one of my retailers I mean, he did one store when single store, not even online doesn’t use e commerce. He did over 90 grand last month. 


Joseph Stepke  1:09:36 




great person, but, yeah, people. When I was talking to this person in the group, I was saying, you got to go start doing things online. You got to start doing e commerce. That’s gonna be the way to go. Find somebody that could dropship I was talking to a person it was from IRA’s. Follow me from And when Curtis was on another person Curtis Tompkins love you to death Curtis, you are the reason why I get up in the morning to look at your poll. What 


Damon Pistulka  1:10:09 

if people aren’t following Curtis Tompkins? They need to meet. Yeah, it’s like I get up really early. So what my time it’s like 415 in the morning and I see him pop up and I’m like, wow, that’s the they’re always good. 



Yeah, I love sitting there and going through that hole. When he puts up the knob, he gets like me first thing so I could think fresh on there. But I was on the follow me Friday. or whatever it was, he had current IRA had Curtis on and I was talking to an individual Mike and he goes, can we talk offline? And he did. He called me up yesterday where it was it might have been yesterday or the day before. And we were talking about well, what do you think I should do? You know, he’s, he’s, he’s not in a great he’s not in the position he wants to be. Yeah. Given my ideas, I go like this. If it was me, I would, I would find out what you want. Get a website. Yeah. Um, you know, like, what do you want to sell, you know, whatever it is figure out something you’re passionate about. See if you could get a drop ship like that somebody can dropship you know, whether it be mattress furniture, tires, electronics, whatever it is, see if you could dropship something, go buy a domain website. And, you know, install get something like a an e commerce platform put in there like shopping cart capability, like a WooCommerce or whatever it is 


Damon Pistulka  1:11:41 

buying drop Shopify in real easy 



Shopify. And then I said And don’t forget, you’re gonna have to get to the finance guy to sign up with you. Yeah, well, of course I’d have to do that. Okay. But going doing something like that that quick, then I go The only thing you’re going to have to do is learn how to market your website to Get it out there in front of people. And that’s it. But that’s, if you could do that you could do your job from, from writing office, your website, the dropship capabilities, and do it and then maybe get with somebody, you know, like, whoever you’re doing the dropship with, maybe you’re on a net 10 or a net 30 with them, whatever it is, but you could start doing that and get product flowing. Yeah, what don’t quit your job yet. Get it built up. And then when it starts building up, where you know, I’m making more income here than I’m doing there, then guess what? Quit your job. And now you’re, you’re good. And now you’re doing something you like. Yeah, I think that’s the way that 


Joseph Stepke  1:12:47 




it’s terrible to say because I want to get out to I want to go out to baseball. No, I’d be lying to you. If I said baseball games, I only I only threw that in for you. Because of the Yeah, were you in the football games or whatever with no. But I want to get out there I want to do things I want to go to concerts I want to go out again. And but I think the way it’s going is it’s easier for us to get on here. Go search what we want. Oh, I want that. It’s a good price. Let me go by mmmmm I’m done. It’s coming. 


Damon Pistulka  1:13:22 

Yeah, it is. And you know that the thing is, a retailer that’s doing it online now is going to have to come to terms with the fact that big box locations are not going to be able to stay the same size and i’m not i’m not talking about Damon’s you know store down the street that selling you know that that’s gone 20 years ago, I’m talking about the ones that are still here today and selling because when you look at a while in our part of the United States nordstroms right. If you look at a Nordstrom store, now they’re scaling down the size of the stores. They’re scaling down the inventory in the stores that offer them the main things and do that but they still are fulfilling most of their stuff through their ecommerce channel direct and a lot of their sales now and I do this because I don’t hell I don’t like to walk in and shop. You order online you go pick it up at the store. It’s ready for you. Yeah. How good is that now that in COVID I mean, ask my son he’s been to Lowe’s more times because I can order junk online and he can go get it for me 



it’s free. That’s and that’s that was everybody that everybody all around and that’s right, wrong or indifferent. But that’s where we were that’s what we wanted. That’s that was the way to shop. Look at Walmart had the idea like, order online. Go park your car and get it. Yeah. And and I’ll tell you something. I don’t want to go in Walmart because I spend too much money in there. So shopping the way I did and just do that I’m saving money. Yeah, my wife will tell you that because we start at one side and I’ll walk all the way around. And if I see something I like, well, I gotta get bad. Yeah, yeah. Doing this, it just makes it a lot easier and then I’m not wasting two hours walking around Walmart, it’s just loaded up. That was one of the perks I thought that came out of this that oh, well, I have to go in anymore. 


Damon Pistulka  1:15:28 

I heard we know Kurt Anderson. talks about e commerce law Jeffrey Graham I there’s a lot of people I work with that that talk about e commerce a lot. And that’s what they do. And when I forget who it was them, or Brian back was talking about how it’s just accelerated the e commerce transformation so much faster because we couldn’t go to the stores and couldn’t shop and couldn’t go. And I think it’s something that’s not going to go back because it’s it’s just people have gotten used to it and the convenience of it, correct. So I think You know, but you you helping out with an alternative financing solution for the congresspeople helps just as just as well. And it really allows your retailer base now to offer service to more people. 



Correct. And that’s why there was, you know, that was where I started thinking about the whole YouTube series and I started going 


Damon Pistulka  1:16:21 

yeah, those are great. 



The six benefits of offering an alternative funding option for your retail business and, and I started doing that just because I want people to know I wanted to get my name out there for one, but I wanted people to know listen, you have a way to go to because there’s, there’s a lot of places I’ll go in there and go, Oh, we don’t get that customer. We don’t get that type of customer in there. And I’m I’m thinking to myself going you have a rent to own right down the way you get that customer in here. You just don’t know. And a great story. I will tell you another great story. Um, I signed up somebody probably A couple years ago, and they’re in an area, and he hardly used us, you know, maybe maybe once or twice, you know, really wasn’t looking at that type of customer. Yeah. And you can’t blame the person for doing that. Because it’s just it happens. You don’t mean to watch. But you don’t even think about asking. Yeah, like, I’ll tell you the way how I teach salespeople how to ask when they’re leaving, and maybe you’ll get a kick out of it. But a competitor, not a competitor, well, competitor of his came in and in the same town and started doing maybe about 20 deals a month with us, easily 20. And I had to think I was going How is this over here? Getting it and this one’s not and I already knew the answer. Yes. And so Even called up, talk to him a little bit about knowing that customer is there. You just got to be able to go out there and get it and talk to them. And sometimes it’s hard. You got it. You got to really find the pain. You got to find the pain point for somebody when they want something, and they’re going, I don’t know why I’m not getting sales in there. That’s how come I don’t do pressure sales on it. Yeah, tell something. Well, you’re gonna miss the boat. If they’re not ready to listen. They’re not gonna do it. They’re, they’re just not they’re gonna take you. Yeah, that’s great. You gotta wait till they want it. Yeah, so this individual, he, um, you know, we talked and I’m telling you the following weekend, he got one and then he’s been doing it ever since after that. Yeah. Yeah. It’s a great feeling. Knowing that as Joe the finance guy that I can. I like doing that. I tell my guys, you know, and not just guys but everybody. That I talked to that. I want you to treat me like I’m you’re Jake from State Farm. Yeah, I don’t think I’m as hideous. I wear dress pants not khakis. But I want you to call me up anytime because if you need support, I want to be there to support you. Yeah. And that’s what that’s my claim to fame. I think that I’m different from any other finance person out there. I agree 


Damon Pistulka  1:19:26 

with that. 100% Joseph. And you know, I it’s it’s great talking to you today. And I think that that you know, the people that haven’t gotten to know you about in what you can help them with and retailers and then just generally in in Oh, Aaron wants to know what you’re wearing Jake knows he’s got dress pants on. We’ve got it going on. He’s right. And you know, but if they if you know and just just getting to know your LinkedIn and stuff That 


Joseph Stepke  1:20:00 

is you’re gonna see the hat IRA. Do you 


Damon Pistulka  1:20:03 

really have to show that before we get off? We got to get off soon let’s let’s get the hat All right, we got we’re getting it all in here. 



All right, I’ll get the hat. All right, is that better for you IRA? Yeah, is it gotta be better it’s gotta be it’s gotta be better. So now I didn’t even plan it to be down here but if anybody I don’t we’ll go ahead Damon. Does 


Damon Pistulka  1:20:29 

it have a special case? 



No, no, no, I just put actually I don’t even know why it’s down in the Batcave. I usually have it upstairs but it was on the ps4 headset thing. So there you go. I don’t know when the kids had it down here but it I was gonna say if anybody is interested in the program that I offer a Sema credit please go to Joe the finance guy calm. Yeah, website. Bowman made the website. So there’s Bowman digital media. And but go to the website, sign up, go there book a demo, it’ll come to me. I’m here to be your business partner, I want to appear. And I want to help you grow your business, not just through the the lease towing option, the no credit option, I want to help you grow your business all around. And that’s something I love doing. And one other thing person. People have called me up about other finance things. They call up and go, Hey, you know, do you do this? And I’ve gone well, that’s not really what you know. I do. Yeah. And you know what I’ve done for them. I’ve looked up I’ve given them numbers. I’ve gone on to my site to find the people and go, here you go. Now you could, you know, like it was just hooking talk to this person. They can help you just tell them Joe sent you. Yeah, I think that’s where it’s all about because now that person is going to remember it go They ever see or ever and I’m and the only reason why I say it because we’re doing this is a new industry we’re in right now cell phones, they ever come to know a cell phone owner, hey, you gotta call Joe the finance guy, he can hook you up. And I think that’s important and that’s a whole nother you’ve seen my article on that. I think having this option for people in a cell phone business, you know, and handheld electronics. That’s important. I did the same thing I called gaming. And I’m not even gonna, I’m not gonna call out this game. Yeah, this gaming person, but we got a seat at the table. And I don’t know what it is. They didn’t go with us. They said we were their second choice. And I’m such a gamer with them. I am I’m 50 I’m almost 50 Damon, I play. I have the ps4. I have the Xbox One. I got it all. And all I could see was as a parent I know people can’t afford this stuff, you know, Christmas or whatever. Yeah, need this type of option. And, and I started giving Well, how would you sell it? So I started giving them little. Yeah. And then when they didn’t pick us, I just said, I don’t want to see you guys using any of my stuff. Yeah, I’m on there, but I thought I could see it ahead of time. That what set what a great, great tool it would have been. Not just for customers like that would get us the option, but to bring more customers in and now they’re in stores. 


Damon Pistulka  1:23:37 

Yeah, well, yeah. Well, that’s a that’s a good point, you know, because and it’s definitely something we can we can talk about an upcoming episode and just just go over it because, you know, cell phones are 1000 bucks now. Yes. This thousand bucks. Yeah. It’s like, you know, you can, that’s a that’s a nice nice bit of furniture. That’s a nice whatever, you know, and it’s It’s no different than what you’re doing. It’s a 


Joseph Stepke  1:24:01 

small little thing like this because you’re just going, what? 



If you read an article we have that shooting here in Noblesville. Yeah, areas time of my life. And I remember when we all got home, and we’re all crying. You know, like, you know, we’re all it’s highly emotional because you don’t know about your kids. I have, you know, my three children in three different schools. Two of those schools. Well, one of the schools the high school actually had the suspected shooter in there, though, the West had that’s where it was done. Like there was a shooting in there. And the teacher in there was great. He was a hero and save, saved all the kids from it. And then East who is where our other but you’re talking about every single person in Noblesville, like calling 911 at once go I want my kid And like five hours later everybody’s getting their kid but we were highly emotional when we got home. My, my oldest daughter was there. And I remember my my and my daughter’s my 17 year old now, but the next one, she her phone wasn’t even. She couldn’t even call out. So I remember I just told my wife. I’m getting phones for everybody. That’s it. I’m done. I don’t ever want to be in that situation where, you know, Logan Sierra, none of them couldn’t call us. Yeah, no, I don’t ever want to see that. So yeah, it was scary. But I won’t add another time. That’d be great. When an hour and a half. 


Damon Pistulka  1:25:43 

Yeah, it goes because there’s a lot of things we can talk about. And you’re a great guy to talk to you, Joe. Go. Excuse me. I always say no, 



call me. Listen, that’s what the moniker is Joe, the finance guy. It’s all nice guy. 


Damon Pistulka  1:25:56 

So that’s why I say But anyway, it’s been great having you on Today Joseph and you know, if again if people need that need alternative financing for their retail or e commerce, you’re the guy to talk to, I mean hands down. And and you’ve you’ve demonstrated that and you demonstrate that every day and then it just it’s fun to talk to you talk to you about get to know you better get to build this relationship between the two of us and let you build relationship let us build a relationship with the world around us to so you have a great rest of your night. And we will we will sign off here and you know, you and I will be talking in the morning. 


Joseph Stepke  1:26:33 

Yeah, no, we will. Haha talking tomorrow, thank you for 


Damon Pistulka  1:26:39 


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