Building Relationships to Grow Sales
Building Relationships to Grow Sales
In this, The Faces of Business, Adam Baker, Strategic Partner, Schooley Mitchell, discusses building relationships to win sales and how helping people in different ways will help your business grow.
Adam is constantly building relationships. These relationships extend far beyond the scope of what he is doing at Schooley Mitchell, and they are helping him achieve consistent sales growth.
As a Strategic Partner at Schooley Mitchell, Adam helps his clients make sense of their telecom, card processing, small package shipping, waste disposal, ELD, electronic signatures, utilities, and fuel expenses, providing risk-free advice to reduce their costs.
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Before joining Schooley Mitchell, Adam served as a military officer for the United States Air Force, leading multiple initiatives and overseeing large teams. Let’s learn more about his relationship-building efforts and how they have enriched his life and career.
Damon joyously extends a warm virtual embrace to the illustrious Adam, gracing the audience with his presence on this Livestream. The host requests Adam to talk about his decision to join the Air Force, starting from college.
Adam reveals that his siblings were in the military before him, so he naturally followed suit. Before college, he joined the US Air Force to give back to his country and escape a challenging financial situation. His older siblings joined the Marines and Army, but Adam chose the Air Force as it made the most sense for him. After getting stationed in Enid, Oklahoma, Adam was fortunate to have great leadership that set him up for success by putting him in for a scholarship to get out of the Air Force early and return to college.
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Similarly, he got accepted into the scholarship program with only seven other applicants out of 305. While he was originally planning to become a cop, his commander offered him a pilot slot during the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) training, which the former accepted.
However, after struggling with flying, Adam realized that being a cop was a better fit for him and led 50 young airmen in Montana.
Adam says he loved serving in the Air Force and enjoyed leading troops and making a difference in their lives. He was deployed to Iraq with an army unit and enjoyed the experience. However, he had to choose between his love for the military and his relationship with his girlfriend (now his wife). He ultimately decided to leave the Air Force and pursue his relationship.
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After leaving the military, Adam worked in Pennsylvania in the utility industry using his leadership skills. He later returned to school to earn a degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in business. He continued to get promoted and ultimately led the metrics and performance improvement team.
Damon suggests that despite what people might think, a significant amount of human input is involved in the utility industry, and it is not as automated as people might assume. Adam agrees with the host, explaining that while there is some capability for remote fixing of electrical outages, a significant amount of manual work is still required in many cases.
Damon wants to learn what prompted Adam to start Schooley Mitchel.
Adam discloses several reasons that prompted him to start Schooley Mitchell. Firstly, it was his frustration with his previous corporate job, where despite putting in a lot of effort, they always fell short of hitting their goals.
Secondly, he realized he didn’t want to continue doing the same thing for the next twenty years and started exploring other opportunities.
At Schooley Mitchell, Adam felt great because they control the entire process, from identifying the issue to implementing the solution.
Damon invites Adam’s thoughts about building relationships to grow his business while working with Schooley Mitchell.
The guest believes that his approach to building relationships emphasizes that Schooley Mitchell is risk-free and only charges if they save money for the client. However, he discovered that some businesses hesitated to work with them due to their good relationship with their then-current vendor. Adam realized that building a relationship based on trust and believing that the vendor has the client’s best interests at heart is key to retaining business, even if it means potentially sacrificing cost savings.
Damon shows interest in knowing what insights Adam’s realization gave him and what ideas it sparked in his mind.
Adam realized that building relationships with businesses could help form a good partnership that would save them money and referrals. Focusing on building those relationships helped move his business along, and he now gets company referred to him all the time.
Damon requests Adam to share if he focused on building relationships with a specific group of people or if it was a more general approach, and if niching down or casting a wider net helped him get referrals for his business.
Adam explains that he has two networks: a wide network for knowing different services that work out there and a smaller network for people that do something similar to him, where he builds strong relationships.
Similarly, he cares about building strong relationships with his clients and networks to find people who can help his clients. He shares an example of introducing an Arabic linguistics expert to a prospective client struggling with communication issues with Syrian refugees.
Adam emphasizes the importance of being integral to clients by solving problems that have nothing to do with one’s product, price, or service. He suggests that businesses should know their ideal customer profile (ICP) so well that they understand their clients’ pain points unrelated to their offerings. By doing this, businesses can recommend solutions to clients, making them more likely to stay even if a competitor offers a better deal.
Adam talks about how businesses can’t compete on product, price, or service alone and must provide additional value to their clients. He gives an example using McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King and explains how they each have their strengths, but he chooses McDonald’s 90% of the time because they provide more than just the product, price, or service.
Adam explains how McDonald’s has perfected the Happy Meal to make children feel special by providing a unique box and creating a memorable experience. As a result, people tend to choose McDonald’s over other fast-food restaurants regardless of the product, price, or services.
Adam narrates an incident when he met a cost reduction consultant who works in utilities through a client introduction. They discovered they had different clientele and started referring clients to each other. They do not compete with each other and see themselves as complementary.
Damon discusses how he doesn’t view his competitors as competitors and emphasizes the importance of building strong relationships with potential clients, even if they are not a good fit for his business. He believes in providing value and resources to these individuals to leave a positive impression and benefit from the relationship in the future. Winning and losing bids is a normal part of business, but creating a positive relationship can lead to other opportunities.
Damon emphasizes the importance of building relationships and how they can come back around. Then he asks what has been interesting in Adam’s world in the last few months.
Adam attended the annual conference of Schooley Mitchell’s franchise system in Jamaica, where he met franchisees with different skill sets than his own. He built relationships with them, and one of them helped him secure a multi-million dollar deal with a billion-dollar company. Adam couldn’t have done it alone and needed the franchisee’s skill set to close the deal. They are working on projects different from the typical Schooley Mitchell franchise model.
Damon expresses his desire to know how much time Adam spent weekly building relationships.
The guest replies that he spends around 70% of his week building relationships since Schooley Mitchell doesn’t do cold calling and mainly relies on referrals. He has created hacks to make building those relationships easier, such as using Google Alerts to know when something is happening and sending cards to clients who receive awards or recognition.
Adam uses the “strategically spontaneous” technique to build relationships by sending cards for unique events rather than the typical Christmas or anniversary cards that everyone else sends. This helps him stick out and show that he pays attention to what his clients have going on.
While talking about the importance of knowing the main points of clients to build strong relationships, Adam suggests being strategically spontaneous and paying attention to unique events, such as sending cards for a significant achievement. Adam also shares an example of how he joined the dots between a new law allowing 401K match against a student loan payment and the pain points of his vet clients, helping them get ahead of the competition.
Damon refers to his Livestream session with Andrew Deutsch, who talked about the importance of having everyone you interact with become a passionate advocate for your brand. Adam agrees with the host.
Damon praises Adam for the valuable insights he shared about building beneficial relationships to grow his business and help his clients.
With these remarks, the conversation comes to a close. Damon thanks Adam for his time.
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Damon Pistulka, Adam Baker
Damon Pistulka 00:01
All right, everyone, welcome once again to the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And I will get the microphone close to me first here. I am happy today. Very excited for our guests. We have Adam Baker with us today. And we’re going to be talking about building relationships to grow sales. Adam, thanks for being here today.
Adam Baker 00:22
Damon, thank you so much for having me. I’m looking forward to maybe peeling back the curtain a little bit. Because we because we broker so many deals, we really get an inside look at why businesses continue relationships with their vendors. And so it’ll be fun to just kind of discuss that.
Damon Pistulka 00:40
Yeah. Yeah, write that down. So, Adam, when we have guests on, we always like to start back in the beginning. So let’s, let’s start back a little ways with you, when, when you were in college, is that you decide to go into the Air Force? Or was it before college? Or when did you decide to go into the Air Force? Or how did you decide?
Adam Baker 01:03
So it was before college. All of my siblings joined the military, when when we when we grew up. We didn’t you know, my mother was a single mother with a 10th grade education, we didn’t have a whole lot. college wasn’t something that anybody could really guide us to.
And we we lived off the government and my mom was always in the mindset that you know, you don’t get anything for free. If you get something you give it back. So we all joined the service. That was the only way we knew how to give back. My older brothers joined the Marines. My sister joined the army. And I was the youngest. And after hearing their experiences, I thought there’s no way I want to join either of those branches. And I don’t like the water. So so the Air Force made the most sense for me.
And, and I joined and got stationed in Enid, Oklahoma, which when I found out I was going to Oklahoma, I had to look on a map. I had no idea where it was. And it was a terrific assignment for me, because there was nothing there to get me in trouble. Yeah, all I all I could do was stay on the base work and study. And I was really fortunate to have some great leadership. And they put me in for a scholarship to get out of the Air Force early, go get my degree, get my commission and then come back into the Air Force. Yeah.
So so they set me up. I, you know, there were, I think 305 people applied for the scholarship, they accepted seven, and I was one of them. Wow. And so got out, went to the University of Pittsburgh, I was going to be I knew I was gonna go back in the Air Force, but I wanted to be a cop. I had a teacher in kindergarten that she told me, she said, Adam, you’ve got a helping spirit, you’re going to be a cop one day, you know.
And so I was gonna go get my degree, be a cop and come back in. And I finished tops in my class in ROTC. And my commander said, hey, you know, you have an opportunity to be a pilot. If you want to be a pilot, we’ll give you a pilot slot. And I’ve never been the guy that said, hey, I want to fly like Top Gun was not a favorite movie of mine. But when you’re young and 20, and you think, oh, pilot, why wouldn’t I want to do that?
So I said, Yeah, let’s go for it. So so I get a pilot slot, and I go to pilot training, and I suck at flying. And it wasn’t very much fun. And and so about six months in, I go to my commander and you know, his name is Captain burn up, which is a terrific name for a pilot. And I tell him, it’s not for me. And he moves me over to being a cop. And I’m leading 50 Young airmen out in Montana, and you and I had talked about experiences in Great Falls Montana. In in so that’s, that’s kind of how my, my Air Force career kind of went.
Damon Pistulka 04:00
Yeah. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. It’s, it’s interesting. You say that, because I grew up, I’ve got three brothers, and all four of us were in the military. Oh, okay. younger sisters that didn’t go with all four of us did, and it was primarily because, you know, at the same time, it’s a way to get to college. The GI bill paid for a lot of our college and that was important in our family. But yeah, so pilot pilot training wasn’t for you.
Adam Baker 04:26
It wasn’t you know, and it’s it’s one of those stories, where I never really believed that passion mattered and what you do, you can grunt through anything. And after experiencing that, I’m like, you know, I’m not very good at this. But you can usually overcome things that you’re not good at if you care enough. Yeah, but it just it wasn’t something that I really was passionate about. So I was like, why am I killing myself to do this? You know, I’m staying up late at night to study for something that that wasn’t what I was passionate about. I was passionate about helping People and leading people.
Damon Pistulka 05:02
Yeah. So then then your experience as a military police person, how? What did did you like it?
Adam Baker 05:11
I loved it absolutely love it. Honestly, I could have cared less about what I did. I loved leading troops, I love being able to help them make a difference in their life. Because that’s what I had happened for me, you know. And so I love that. I love the fact that I got to serve.
And I got a call one day. And I had an opportunity to deploy. It was deployed with an army unit in over in Iraq. And I said, Yes, I want to go like that’s, that’s what we want to do. And and so I went and I deployed in got to do some really fun stuff. But when I came home, my shoes my girlfriend, the time my wife now said, Hey, I don’t know where this is going.
But if you’re in the service, it’s not going anywhere. Like I don’t I don’t want you to leave me for blanks that time. Yeah. So so if you get out the service will go wherever you want to go. So I really had to choose, you know, I loved I love being in the service love leading, I was doing it really, really well. But it’s always the story of the girl, right? And I said, Well, you know, I I better hold on to this, because I don’t know if I’ll find this anywhere else.
Damon Pistulka 06:23
Yeah, yeah. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. So you, you got a service, you moved into Pennsylvania, it was Pennsylvania. And you’re working for a utility company there? Correct?
Adam Baker 06:34
Correct. Yep. So, so jumped in with the utilities. Because of my, my, my military experience. And my leadership got put into a role. did well at that for a few years. timeframe, you know, so I went to I went to school, and I got my degree in criminal justice.
Well, a criminal justice degree, unless you’re going to be a cop doesn’t take you very far. Yeah. Yeah. And, and so I, during that first few years, while I was there, I went back and got my master’s degree in business. And after I finished that I had an opportunity, you know, I just kept getting more opportunities getting promoted. Yeah, ultimately, I was leading, leading the metrics and performance improvement team.
Damon Pistulka 07:19
Yeah. Yeah, it’s really cool. Because it, you know, you move from the military into the private sector. And in the utility companies, there’s so much of the similar thing where you’re leading a lot of people, it takes a lot of coordinated effort. And, and in I mean, keeping power going is not an easy thing.
Adam Baker 07:37
It is not, it is not takes a lot of people doing the right things.
Damon Pistulka 07:40
And and the other thing is, too, is it’s not, from the little bit that I know about it, it’s not extremely automated in a lot of ways that people would think it is, or there’s a lot more human input in it, I guess, then. And
Adam Baker 07:57
you’re absolutely right. You know, it’s, we had the capability to do some remote sexualizing. But, but that’s You still got big swaths of customers out where you’re going to send guys out there to do some more manual switching to get it down to a small of an outage. And then then you’ve got to put crews on it to replace the broken pole or put the wires back up.
Damon Pistulka 08:17
Yeah, yeah. So then, then, you decided to go to Schooley Mitchell. So what really prompted the change?
Adam Baker 08:29
Man, there’s a lot of reasons. Probably the biggest one is, during my time in the utilities, I was part of a lot of strategic initiative teams, I worked with a lot of consultants. And they always shook out the same way where we’d start with these, you know, big wild goals. And as we worked closer and closer to Him, we put in a lot of effort.
And we always fell short of hitting those goals. And it didn’t matter if we were leading them internally, if we had, you know, we worked with Decorah. For safety, we look for we worked with McKinsey for operations, it didn’t matter who we brought in, we never quite hit the goal that we set. And it was frustrating. And I can remember I was I was leading a strategic initiative team. And we found about a half a million dollars of savings a year.
And everyone was excited for it. And we never hit the goal. And the reason was, is because there were too many people that were involved in making that happen. And and so the sense of accomplishment wasn’t there. So I said, you know, this probably isn’t what I want to do for the next 20 years. Yeah. So as I was exploring other opportunities, I thought, well, I can’t go to another large corporate job, because it’s going to be the same exact thing. And so when I came across Schooley Mitchell, Schooley Mitchell was a franchise system.
So I was like, Okay, if I buy a franchise, one, how’s that going to be different? The difference with Schooley Mitchell is they control the whole process. So the they’ll come in, they identify the issue, they develop the solutions, and they implement it. And so you have full control. So whatever you say you’re going to achieve, it gets achieved. And so that’s what really drew me into that. And I said, You know what, that’s that’s where I want to be. So I purchased my franchise, and it’s been great sense.
Damon Pistulka 10:18
Awesome, awesome. So, as you’re, as you’re working with Schooley, Mitchell will talk about this a little bit, you’re helping people reduce costs, running their business, but today, we were talking about building relationships to grow to grow your business, what were some of the things that really brought that home for you, when you started to get out and try to do things with your business?
Adam Baker 10:45
So you know, when I when I purchased my Schooley Mitchell franchise, it says, Hey, listen, the whole premise behind Schooley Mitchell is you don’t pay us any money unless we save you money. So we’re absolutely risk free. And so as I met with businesses to try to talk to them about what we can do, there would be times where they would say, you know, we’re not interested in having anyone look at this.
And it says, Well, we could uncover savings, and it doesn’t cost you anything, why wouldn’t you? And it always boils down to, because we have a good relationship with our vendor. And as I dug into it, I said, What does that mean a good relationship with them. And the more it boiled down to it, the best way to frame that was, they felt like their vendor had their best interests at heart.
And when they do that, then they weren’t interested, it didn’t matter how much money they were going to save, it didn’t matter if they were going to find a better product. They weren’t interested in changing. And and it was really enlightening to see that. Because you think of all the times people are trying to make budget, the thing they’re not sacrificing, is that vendor that builds a good relationship with them.
Damon Pistulka 12:03
Yeah, it’s really it’s a it’s a great point. So at that realization, when you got and these people have good relationships with these vendors, and they don’t care if it cost them a little bit more to do it. What what did that what did that help you kind of what kind of light turned on in your head then?
Adam Baker 12:24
So for me and Dave, Chrysler’s probably the only other guy that loves Oh, you’re gonna face for everyone, and it wasn’t. So I thought, if I can build relationships with these businesses, then we can help form a really good partnership where not only am I saving them money, but then they’re going to refer me to their friends. It’s their associates. And so really focusing on building that relationship and showing them, hey, you know, I do have your best interests at heart that really helped move my business along, because now instead of trying to cold call or do cold outreach is I get business referred to me all the time.
Damon Pistulka 13:13
Yeah, yeah. So as you’re doing this, and you’re, you’re rebuilding these relationships, and you’re out there meeting people doing things? Do you think that it’s been something where you really niche down and said, these are only the people that I’m going to build relationships with? Or is it pretty wide open in your life? And just to understand your set, you’re saying you’re getting referrals coming in? Was it a matter of niching? down into just the just the right people? Or was it casting a wider net?
Adam Baker 13:50
So I would say, I’ve got two nets, right, I’ve got a very wide net, that I’ve got a very wide net that picks up you know, just just knowing different services that work out there. And I’ll give you an example of that. And then I’ve got another net of people that do something very similar to me, where they’ll help reduce costs, and I build really strong relationships with those ones.
And then, you know, obviously, my clients, I try to build a very, very strong relationship with them because they are my greatest champions, you know. So a really, really cool story about the big net right? And just knowing what most people don’t believe this, but I am very, very introverted. Right meeting with people doesn’t energize me.
You know, it’s it’s tough, it’s taxing. But I know part of my responsibilities as a business owner is to network Well, networking to go gain, get business, is it something that I am getting excited for? So I really changed my mindset and say, Okay, if I network to find people that can help my clients and you mentioned this, you have to your show with Kurt Anderson, you had mentioned this about finding people that you know.
So I met a woman who she, she’s very good at linguistics, she will go into organizations and she will help your employees learn English and she’ll help the leadership team learn whatever language they speak. That way it kind of bridges the gap in it allows a business to kind of widen their their pool of prospective employees. I was sitting down with a prospective client, and we were having a discussion. And I always asked the question outside of anything I can help you with, what is one area that you’re struggling with?
And they said, you know, we hired Syrian refugees to work on our manufacturing plant, but they speak Arabic, we speak English. And it’s very, very tough to communicate. And I said, I’ve got someone I’d love to introduce you to if it’s okay. Right in. And so what that did for me is in that prospective clients eyes, they said, This guy cares about us, right? It hasn’t, I’ve got no, I’ve got I don’t have a horse in the race. Right? But let me connect you to and try to solve one of your problems. That’s why having that big net is very, very useful,
Damon Pistulka 16:15
huh? Yeah, that’s a great example. And it’s in it those nets, you never know when they’re going to come into play either. Because, you know, I just had a had a chance this last week to someone I’ve known for a long time is now helping us with a client because there’s a specific need that they have. And people wonder why, as you said, you cast such a wide net, and you’re not focused in on just the people that might be in that business or something. Because you can help people, as you said, outside of your scope, but really help your your clients get to the place that they want to get to. By doing that’s,
Adam Baker 16:53
that’s really what matters. And Damon, like when I boil this down, like I said, we do we talk to 1000s of businesses a year, right? And what we find is a lot of businesses want to compete on product, price or service, right? It’s a losing strategy. Because depending on the pain point, your your client is feeling at any one time, someone’s going to come in and beat you, you know, because you can’t be great at all three of them in in. So how do you become, you know, where you are so integral to them, that you can help solve problems that have nothing to do with you that they don’t want to let you go?
You know, and I think it was Tom, Herman, you, you and Tom Holman, were discussing, knowing knowing your your ICP, and knowing them so well, you want to know your clients so well that you know, their pain points that have nothing to do with you. So that when there’s an issue, you can make a recommendation to them.
And they’re like, You know what, someone may come and they might save us more money than Adam, they might take less of a percentage. But atoms solve so many issues for us. We aren’t going to leave him. Yeah. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 18:08
And you know, it’s funny, in operating businesses, there have been a few people that I’ve known over my career that were like that. And I can remember, I remember run by name, especially one one gentleman in Tennessee, Bill Ryder, and if anybody’s in Jackson, Tennessee area, they know this guy.
And he was a legend in in innocuous things as manufacturing supplies to run a run a facility, right, you know, like, anything, anything, but if he didn’t have it, he would always get you in contact with somebody else that did. And and you know, those people like that, you go, yeah, price is kinda important. But really, he’s coming back again next week, and I have a problem. He’s going to have somebody else that’s going to know what to do, or he’s going to have someone that knows how to help us. Yep. And,
Adam Baker 19:01
and what you have is that trusted resource, so you’re not Googling, like, you’re not trying to say, Okay, how do I even solve this problem? And when I figure out a solution, how do I know I can trust them? You just say, Damon, I’ve got a problem. What can you how can you help me? And if you recommend it, they didn’t have to look for it. And they don’t have to vet them? Because you already have.
Damon Pistulka 19:21
Yeah, and that is that is so huge, because as business people, we don’t have time to do that. Correct. And it’s this. It’s really kind of interesting. We’re talking about this because I was talking with some clients this morning about that and helping them really understand. And one of the things that they are actually talking about is building relationships.
That’s what we do better name bass, we do. You know, some of our stuff is similar, but the relationships we build in the way that we we work because of those relationships is really what we think is our unique value proposition in the industry. Yeah. And it’s endured is. And it’s valid to, it’s valid, you know, a couple of instances, like you’re talking about where you help those clients with other outside resources. And, you know, you, you are part of the family.
Adam Baker 20:16
That’s exactly it. That’s exactly the, you know, the thing that I love telling this, this kind of story or this example of doing so, the again, the product price the service, right, that’s what everyone, so think about this, right? Whenever you find a McDonald’s, not far away, you’re gonna find a Wendy’s and you’re going to find a Burger King. Right? And, and me personally, I think Burger King has better burgers, right?
I think McDonald’s has better fries. on the cost side, you know, I think Wendy’s is just a little bit cheaper, right? So they all have their thing. They’re all kind of the same. So logic would say, I would split my money, three ways amongst them whenever I go out to eat. But I don’t 90% of the time, I end up at the same restaurant. And it’s McDonald’s. And do you know why that is?
Damon Pistulka 21:14
Because it kids like the Happy Meals.
Adam Baker 21:18
It’s the Happy Meal. Damon. So here’s what this is, right? Here’s I learned that dude. Here’s the genius behind this, right? You could go to Burger King and Wendy’s and get a kid’s meal, right? But the kids meal is going to come in a bag. The bag looks just like mom and dads.
They don’t feel special at all. Right? You go to McDonald’s, in the kids are going to get their own little box. It’s so different than mom and dad. They feel special. They’re eating it. They’re enjoying their meal while mom and dad get to enjoy our meal. Right? McDonald’s is not in the business of selling boxes. But they have perfected that to the point that we don’t go anywhere else. No matter what the product price or services. We’re not going anywhere else because they have perfected that.
Damon Pistulka 22:05
Yeah. And they’re building those relationships and getting that with with their clientele. And they understand that by by doing that little thing for those young kids. They’re given the parents, a few minutes of peace, maybe the
Adam Baker 22:21
end if we’re driving down the road, and we say okay, where does anyone want to eat tonight? Kids are always shouting McDonald’s. Oh, yeah. If I take him to Burger King, you know, I’m gonna Oh, I really want to McDonald’s, you know? And it’s like, oh, you know, so it’s just, it’s easier. They they have figured it out.
Damon Pistulka 22:36
Yeah, yeah. And that last two for my son all the way through, he was out of high school. That’s awesome.
Adam Baker 22:44
So So it’s funny in not to get too far down to McDonald’s. But McDonald’s has figured out, right, so as they do this as a child, because you feel all these really good feelings. When you go to McDonald’s, you get a Happy Meal. As an adult, you go back, and it reminds you of those feelings. And so they’ve they’ve done a really, really good job behind
Damon Pistulka 23:04
Yeah, yeah. And that’s it. When you talk about building relationships, too, and how that helps you in business. People often look at it, when you start out in business, or you’re starting out doing like when you started your business, and go, Well, I just, I should just be here and just talk to people here. Because that might not be my real audience. But what you don’t understand is you never know where that business is going to come from, or whose sister brother, father in law, son in law is going to be the perfect client for you.
And, you know, I got clients coaching baseball, I got clients, you know, do another, you know, you just never know it. And the thing is, is they and you say to introvert, I have to I would rather not be out there doing some of those things. But I think for introverts is it’s easier if we flip the switch and think about helping other people. Absolutely. Because when you do it in that that spirit of helping other people, then it then it becomes a lot easier,
Adam Baker 24:15
right? Because we say okay, we love to solve problems solving problems energizes us. So how do we kind of change that mentally say, okay, taking something that would typically be you know, emotional drain, how do we get it to energize us?
Damon Pistulka 24:29
Yeah, yeah. Good stuff. Good stuff. So what are some of the the relationships you’ve built, that have been really interesting to you that you would have never thought someone looks at the outside and go, oh, there’s a relation. I would have never thought that was a relationship business relationship that you wanted to build and, and that’s been beneficial for you.
Adam Baker 24:56
Yeah. So I think it’s gonna be very similar to Your example. So it was a cost reduction consultant that works in utilities, right, which is, which is a sandbox, we plan? Yeah. And one of my clients actually introduced us said, Hey, I think you too, would hit it off.
And me and this gentleman, we sat down, and we met, and we did you know, we kind of we got along. And, and what we found was, our clientele were different, that I worked. When I did utilities, it was only for large scale manufacturers. And he did it for he didn’t have a threshold. So he could work with a lot of small ones. Well, I pick up a lot of smaller clients, nonprofits, retail shops, things like that, that I can’t help them reduce their costs and utilities.
So I refer him in, he’s able to save them money. I look like the hero he does. Well, it got to the point where he said, Adam, he said, I’m going to start introducing you to my clients. That way, you can do cost reduction for all the other areas that I don’t touch, you know, and so a lot of people think, Well, why would you guys I mean, you compete, but we don’t compete. You know, we’re very complimentary, if you can look at it that way.
Damon Pistulka 26:11
That’s, I am so glad you brought up that example, because I don’t know how many times and you probably get this too, that people will be talking to me, but oh, that’s probably a competitor of yours. And I’m like, I haven’t thought of a competitor as a competitor. In the last 10 years. Yeah, it’s like, because when you look at it, that competition is more in my mind than it is in anyone else’s mind.
And then that other business person too. Even if they thought about me as a competitor, it’s more in their mind that it is I’m really competing against them. Right? Right. I have never, in I don’t know how many years doing this, helping people build and sell businesses never run into a situation where I went, Oh, we’re head to head competing, and you know, blah, blah, blah, yeah, there have been people, we bid on the same stuff with people once in a while.
But you know, what, you’re gonna win some, you’re gonna lose some I mean, it’s just the way it is. And, you know, it’s the comes back again, to the relationship did a good job, good job of building a relationship, did I really show value in what we do?
Am I a good fit for what they’re supposed to be doing? Because, you know, you really got to look at what’s the best fit. So when I look at things, and people talk about that competitive thing, I really love it when you build these relationships like this is to be able to be talking to someone that could be a potential client, and you tell them, now, this, I’m not the best person for you, this is really what you should be doing. And it could be a competitor could be just someone different that you need to do.
Because I think as you’re building relationships, and you’re helping people with those other things, even if you can’t help them with what you do, but giving them a good resource for what they need. Leaving with a good feeling about you means that down the road, that relationship could pay off in another way when someone talks to them about something that you do. And they said, You know, I’ve talked to this person, and they they were kind enough to point me in the right direction, but they might be able to help you.
Adam Baker 28:19
Yeah. And so that goes back to, you know, when I said that, these businesses when they don’t want to leave vendors because of the relationship. And really, the relationship is they feel like that business is putting their needs first. And when you refer someone that people think is your competitor, like, this guy really cares about me. And he says, Hey, you’re a better match with this person, you should probably link up with them. You have made them feel that you put their needs first. And that’s critical to the relationship.
Damon Pistulka 28:51
Yeah, yep. Yep. And it it happens in our business a lot. It happens in our business a lot where we can’t we’re not the right fit, because we are pretty Nishi about what we do. And it is it is great to still be able to help people point them in the right direction, find someone you know, that will at least listen and try to help them the right way. And, and so you can leave them knowing that you did what you could to help. Absolutely, yeah, guy comes back again to build relationships, you know, and those things come around. They do. They do. Yep. So what’s what’s been interesting in your world in the last last few months?
Adam Baker 29:33
Oh, my gosh, um you know, so we talked about building relationships with Schooley Mitchell’s a franchise system, right. There’s a lot of franchisees out there. In November, I went to our annual conference down in Jamaica. Really, really cool opportunity. Like to pat myself on the back. I did receive rookie of the year so I’m pretty I’m excited about that. But I got to meet a lot of different franchisees that have skill sets that are different than mine.
And I built relationships. And one of the franchisees, he and I, we hit loft, because our skill sets are different. And I had an opportunity to get in front of a billion dollar company. And he and I sat down, it looks like we’re going to be able to work, you know, and save this, this billion dollar company. And this, this may turn out to be a multi million dollar deal for us, you know, that.
I know, I couldn’t have gotten on my own, because while I built a relationship to get in front of them, I needed his his skill set to get us across the line, you know, and so it was, that’s probably the coolest thing. So we’ve got a bunch of different projects now that he and I are working on that. It’s different than the typical Schooley Mitchell franchise model where everyone’s working by themselves. Yeah, it’s so that’s probably the coolest thing that’s been happening lately.
Damon Pistulka 31:03
And that is, that’s really cool that you’re doing that because it is it is, you know, we talk about collaboration, people talk about collaboration a lot. And I think what you’re doing, they’re showing how building those relationships allows you to collaborate at a deeper level with, as we talked about, just recently, someone will say might be a competitor, but it’s really not when you look at it, because you’re gonna get the deal.
Adam Baker 31:26
Yeah, that’s absolutely right. You know, I don’t think I could get it on my own. Because that what they needed to hear is not my skill set. Right. And so it just it works and those sorts of situations. They work well, if you think out, if you think outside the box, you know, say, Well, I don’t I don’t want to share any of the savings that we’re able to achieve. It’s like, well, I’d rather get 50% of something than 100% of nothing. Yep.
Damon Pistulka 31:56
It’s a little better payout. Yes. Yeah. And you’re helping them and you’re helping them? Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So as you’re as you’re building these relationships, how much of your week is spent talking to people building relationships?
Adam Baker 32:10
Oh, I would probably say 70% of my week is based on building relationships. Nice. Because we don’t cold call. And so it’s it’s building relationships where, you know, we get referred in to other businesses. So today, I talked to multiple folks that I was referred to, I didn’t reach out to them. But I’ve also created a couple of hacks to make building those relationships a little easier. You know?
I don’t know, do you use Google Alerts at all? Yeah. Okay. So Google Alerts, a lot of people don’t use it for you know, if you’re a b2b, it’s a lot easier. If you’re b2c, it’s a little more challenging. Maybe you pick your, you know, your, your VIP clients or whatever. But getting those indications of when something’s happening. And then I can send a card off, like, I had, I had two clients that showed up in a best of Erie, they were they received the best theory award from a magazine that I would have never read.
Yeah, but they showed up in my Google Alerts. And I saw it, and I sent them off cards. Right? It was, it was just okay. And I they even they respond is, hey, thank you so much for thinking of us. We appreciate that right? In. So I found ways to kind of hack that time to build those relationships. That way, I’m not spending all day saying, Okay, what are my clients doing today?
Damon Pistulka 33:41
That’s awesome. And that’s a great way to use it. We use it for other other reasons. So you know, the list of industry, things that are coming out and doing those kinds of things. But if you’re following a distinct set of clients, that’s, that is a great way to do that.
Adam Baker 33:56
Yeah. So So one of the things that I found that that helps build relationships, I like to call it being strategically spontaneous. Okay, in and what happens is a lot of businesses, they want to build relationships by sending Christmas cards, and they want to build relationships by sending anniversary cards, which those are good to do.
But so is everyone else, you know, when you send a Christmas card, they’re getting into the same time every other one of their vendors, you don’t stick out. Okay? But what if you send a card later on in the year for something really cool that happened? You stick out and they say, You know what, haddem is really paying attention to what we’ve got going on. Yeah, you know, and so stuff like that. And so it allows you again, to be just strategically spontaneous. It lets you stick out
Damon Pistulka 34:52
Yeah, all right now down because that’s, that’s something that people should really think about doing strategically spawn. taneous I liked that. I liked that, that thought, because it really does make a difference because you said, like you said, right, everybody gets a Christmas card, everybody gets a, you know, birthday card, whatever it is. But when you when you win a nondescript Industry Award, how many people are going Hey, good job. Yeah, not in the industry?
Adam Baker 35:20
That’s exactly it. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 35:23
That’s really cool.
Adam Baker 35:26
Just things like that. And, you know, really, one of the things that I think is important is, is knowing the pain points of your clients. That way, as you’re meeting with, with other folks. You’re thinking about their pain points. And I’ll give you another really good example of something that you can do. I work with a lot of veterinary clinics, and in vet clinics are struggling to hire both veterinarians and vet techs. It’s more competitive, there’s just not a lot of them out there. Yeah. And then post pandemic, there’s a higher demand. So so we have this going on where they need this.
Okay, so I’ve got clients from the vet space, I’ve got some some large scale, prospective clients that I want to work with. And I meet with a financial planner. And he this financial plan on I just saw, I said, Well, what what’s going on? What’s new that’s come out like this, anything changed. He said, Well, actually, Adam, he said, Congress just passed a law that allows businesses to do a 401 K match against a student loan payment.
He said, where they you know, a lot of times when someone graduates College, and they they join a business, they have to delay participating in a 401 K plan, because all of their money is going to their student loans. Congress just approved that that company can enroll them in the 401 K, without them paying without the employee paying, they can pay their student loan, and the company can match that student loan payment to a 401k. The magic of compound interest, you know, allows.
So when I thought about that, I did a little write up for my vet clinics and for the vets that I’m looking for I said, Hey, did you hear about this, if you can get in front of this and build a program before anyone else, you are going to have the competitive advantage whenever you go out to recruit. In it again, it’s them seeing me as Adam is a guy that cares about our business, even though it has no impact on him whatsoever. And so if you can know the pain points of your clients, again, it’s another hack. You can just say, Okay, I’ve got this on my mind, when I come across something. How do we help them solve it?
Damon Pistulka 37:44
That’s very cool. That’s very cool. Because it is, it is one of those things that will help you bring different solutions to people that will create more memorable interactions and build those relationships. Absolutely. Yeah, you dropped some good ones today, dude.
It’s like, you know, strategically spontaneous using Google Alerts. Or thought if if people listening don’t know, the Google Alerts, I’d go and search what it is. And it’ll tell you, they’re really good. You can get daily or weekly, you know, emails of things happening on it’s really as good, but I never thought about using in terms of a client and a specific person or whatever you’re trying to look at. Yeah. So that. So
Adam Baker 38:33
imagine this, Damon, right. So I know you’re involved in Little League. Right? You, you, you’re president of the Little League organization. I forget what that organization was called the Seattle.
Damon Pistulka 38:42
Yeah, there’s it was a private baseball club. But yeah, yeah.
Adam Baker 38:45
So So imagine I’ve got you in there, right. And I see that that your your team, either you guys raised a ton of money, or your team won the championship, right? And I just send you a card saying I know how much work you put into that thing. I think it’s awesome. When you see that, you’re gonna say, Man, that makes me feel good. You know, I’m glad that he’s paying attention. And that’s that’s the kind of response you want to elicit becoming that emotional favorite.
Damon Pistulka 39:10
Yeah. Yeah. Yep. And that’s, that’s just a Yeah, that’s a great way to say it becoming that emotional favorite. Yeah. Write that down. And a lot of things write down today. Well, and what you’re doing too, is it’s not most I don’t want to say most, but a lot of people do not like selling. Yeah. But when you build relationships, it’s not really selling because if it’s appropriate and you need to do you, it’s appropriate to do business, you’ll do business. And I personally think it is a much I don’t know for me anyway, it’s a better way.
Adam Baker 39:58
It is a much anime. Got a quote, I’ve got a quote over here that I’m gonna read you. Because you asked me how much time I spend on this right? 70% of people are like, well, how are you not going out and getting business that way?
Right? And it’s because I don’t want to chase clients I want. I want to build the relationships so much that people call me. And there’s a quote that says, when you call a prospect, you’re a salesman. When a prospect calls you, you’re an expert. Right? And so if you if you perform at such a level, and you make your clients feel so good, that they’re referring you, you’re talking to people, and they don’t see you as a salesman, they see you as an expert.
Damon Pistulka 40:42
Yep, yep. And this comes back again to Andrew Deutsch, I talked to him last week or the week before, you know, he’s CEO of a company that and I forget, I forget where it’s at. It’s in in the east coast there. And it might be even close to where you’re at in Pennsylvania. But it’s, they’re doing power washing, house cleaning, roof, cleaning, and other kinds of things around the home. And he’s always talked about it for years that you need, that everybody you interact with, needs to become a voracious advocate for your brand.
And what you’re talking about is doing that is helping people becoming that emotional favorite becoming that person that does the the thing that really makes a difference, spontaneous, spontaneous, or strategically spontaneous, and, and coming, paying attention to the events that other people might not, you know, are doing the things that other people, they might not by going out of your way to make sure that someone gets the help they need or are doing that. So yeah, it’s good businesses built around that.
Adam Baker 41:48
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. You know, so it’s in your right, it’s for if, if you don’t like sales, right, and you don’t like I’m not a guy that if I sit down with a business, and they object to me, I’m not the guy that tries to, you know, rebut their objection and say, Oh, that’s great. You know, is there anything else I can help you with? And can you keep me in mind? This is a really, really good way to build a business without having to feel like you need to overcome a bunch of objectives of people.
Damon Pistulka 42:18
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Because like you said, you’re a salesperson, if you’re overcoming objections, you’re an expert if people are coming to you, so that’s exactly it. Yeah. Well, Adam, this has been awesome talking to you, dude, I’m so glad you had so many good nuggets in here talking to people about just how these relationships help how some of these ways you’ve worked with other people to build relationships to help grow your business and help their business and help your clients. I think it’s awesome.
Adam Baker 42:48
Yeah, it’s, I appreciate the opportunity to come in. You know, it was fun. A lot of people you know, no one got to hear our conversation beforehand. We’ve got that Montana link, you know, and oh, yeah, Lonnie. It was, this was a really cool opportunity to be on the show, and I really appreciate you having me.
Damon Pistulka 43:05
All right. Well, thanks so much, Adam, for being here hanging out for a minute. Thanks, everyone else that was listening today. Come back again, we’re here on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm Pacific with other guests, or you can check us out on exit your way. Adam will be there. And then Adam will be on our podcast a few weeks from now as well. So thanks so much, everyone. We’ll be back again.
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