From learning about sales as a child to speaking about it on stage. Ryan Sauers fills us in

– [Chris] On this episode of C-Level, I’m speaking with Ryan Sauers, President and CMO of Sauers
Consulting Strategies. (upbeat music) – So Ryan, so thank you
so much for coming out. You got several books out,
you’ve got a consulting firm, you do a lot of speaking. I’m really excited about today’s episode because we get to talk
about sales and marketing and how that plays in the workplace. But I’m really big on people’s journey. So tell me yours. Like, how did you get started? How did you get into all this? Where you from? – Absolutely, well, thanks
for having me, Chris. I appreciate it. I’m actually an Atlanta native. – [Chris] Cool. – So, in today’s world,
that’s the outlier, I guess. But, yeah, I always had
an interest in sales, communications, human behavior, marketing. And even when I was an undergraduate, I kinda parlayed communications,
public relations, marketing courses to get to
kinda what I thought I would do. And yeah, these things you
name have come together because I have a passion for
improving human performance and all the things you named. And so my story has been
year by year, step by step, person by person,
relationship by relationship, and it’s kinda led me to where
I am now, which is crazy, it’s busy, but it’s a good busy. It’s fun. I stay, I have my hands on a
lot of things but I love it. I absolutely love it. – So where in Atlanta are you from? – Originally, I was in
like the Decatur-ish area. – [Chris] Yeah, yeah. – And then I lived in another
part of DeKalb County. I now have raised up three daughters. One in college at Georgia Tech, one a junior who’s gonna
play soccer in college, and then my baby, I call her, she’s 12. And she’s in middle school. My wife of like 23 years, but we are now in Gwinnett. So, one time, long-term
I’m gonna to get to Florida and live by the water. That’s my final. – [Chris] Yeah, there you go. – But, I promised the family
we would be here for the while but yeah, that’s where we are. – [Chris] It’s cool. So, what was it about, was it something early on that you knew that you wanted to learn more about sales and learn about marketing? Did this start like before school, while in school, out of school? – You know, that’s a
great question, Chris. I remember my dad telling
me on the trip to college, he was showing me like we’d get to a fast food restaurant and he said, “Somebody sold that concrete, “somebody sold that building, “somebody sold this real estate space, “somebody sold this sign.” And I kinda halfway listened. But I realized even when,
like at high school, I did the yearbook sales. And I did it mainly,
for anybody listening, when they’re all tuned in later. (Chris laughs) I did it because you could
get out of three class periods and go off-campus. – [Chris] Right? (laughs) But I’d get a way to get out. – And they were like, they
told me that, back then I remember the first, and
I had a lot of success, but the first reason was like “Why did you join the yearbook staff?” I’m like, “‘Cause I’ll get 90
minutes I can leave campus.” And they’re like, “That’s your reason?” I’m like, “Oh, yeah, and to help.” (Chris laughs) So I saw immediately, no matter
what I got involved with, I got passionate about it. And I could, in a genuine
manner, build a relationship and find fits between people. So, education was certainly a part of it, but it became just, I would just even say this, early on in my career, when people say, “Your best trait’s in sales.” I took that almost like, “Well, I can do a lot of
things besides sales.” And now in my mid-40s, I look at it as every human is going, we need a strong salesperson on our staff. And I mean a person that
can really open doors and build relationships. – [Chris] Right. – So now I’m like very thankful. I didn’t understand completely the backward compliment at the time. – Yeah. So and I find that a lot,
early on, like salespeople kinda figure that out, like. – [Ryan] Right. – Hmmm, there’s something
here, like actually comes easy. Like, for me, like I actually started out, I’m an entrepreneur as well, so like I started out really
young at like seven years old. – [Ryan] Wow. – I was trying to sell
my fingerpaints (laughs) on the street corners, yeah. So like, it’s funny because
like I did horrible in school. Like, I was not a student. – [Ryan] Not a student. – No, like I was more hands-on. But when I went back and
I told my mother, I said, “Listen, it is not normal
for a seven-year-old “to go out and sell fingerpaints
on the street corner.” So that’s, early on, I knew I was kinda really good
at the sales game and that’s, I’m finding that some
people have noticed that, some of those traits early on and it just kinda led
into a career in sales. – Yeah, I mean, I watch
my middle daughter, she’s probably the closest to what I, she’s 17, and she just, I’ve coached her since she was two, but she has, yeah, she
doesn’t like school either. I mean, I didn’t like school. So, when I told you I’m, well,
later, if we talk about it, I’m working on a doctorate, I don’t, I didn’t like school. I was bored out of my
mind through high school. And even in college, I
enjoyed the social part of it. – [Chris] Yeah. – So, I always enjoyed
connecting academic concepts, but how’s it mean in the real world? And that’s my passion. That’s great to talk about
theories and whatever now. In the academic world, they
get a little upset with me when I say that, you know. – [Chris] Yeah. – But really everyone wants
to know how can this play out? And so now I get asked often about being an entrepreneur, right? – [Chris] Yeah. – And you’re an entrepreneur, and I think if you don’t have
that sales-type feel, which is what you were
doing with the paint, trying to convince people
to look at your stuff, it’s something inside you that drives you to wanna do something that
other people can’t do, or like, they’re scared
to even think to try. – [Chris] Right. – And I think it’s fascinating studying and being around entrepreneurs. – Yeah, and one of the things that actually I used to struggle
with when I was younger is, I used to think everybody was just like me and thought just like me. And I’m like, this is the vision, why
can’t you see the vision? I see it complete, but
you can’t see it complete. And it was a struggle. Because the way a lot of entrepreneurs and visionaries think is, they already see the completed project. – [Ryan] Right. – Whatever it is. Whether it’s a company,
whether it’s an app, whatever it is, right? But sometimes they have a
difficult time expressing that to other people and how
to get there, you know? – [Ryan] Yes. – So I think it’s
important for entrepreneurs to have a vision, that’s great, but figure out a strategy to get there. – [Ryan] Right. – Because ideas don’t make you money. – [Ryan] No. And I’ll give you an example of it. So I’m certified in some
of these personality types, like you and I were discussing,
and one is Myers-Briggs is one of the most
widely-used in the world. And if you just take
one component of this, intuitive people are very big-pitch or gut-feel, sixth sense. So you and I could say, “We’re gonna to do this and
then we’re gonna go there,” and somehow we end up
on the beach in Florida. And we’d say that in like six sentences. And then you got a second group of people, which is about half of
society, called sensing. And they’re like, what they can feel, what they can touch, what they know. And they’re like, “We have
no idea what you guys did. “You just went from point A
to point 12, and we’re lost.” And so when I used to speak, I’d realize the people with me, they were like, “Yeah,
man, that’s right on.” And the other half part
of the room, I lost ’em. They had no clue. So what I learned to do is
go, and just because I got it, to your point, I was like, all right, I need to go back
and affirm the other people who are the big picture
entrepreneur intuitives, did they follow? And some do. And then the other group, I went, all right, let me explain
you step one and how, here was the second step. And that’s how Florida came in. And then in the third, something like, “Oh, okay.” And that’s how we’d make them feel comfortable in the process. – [Chris] Right. – And those are those goals along the way. – [Chris] Right. – Because just ideas without action, which I’ve seen a million ideas
in my 25 years of business, is, well, that they’re ideas (laughs). – [Chris] They’re nothing
more than an idea. – (laughs) I mean, you know? And that, you’re right. I mean, ideas don’t make you money. They have to become tangible action plans. And that’s why I believe
in bringing diverse talents and people to a team. Because some people, which I hate doing, I like the big picture, but they’re like, I love putting all the steps together. – [Ryan] I’m like, great. – Yeah. – [Ryan] You’re my guy, you’re my girl. That, and it’s so
important to identify that when you’re team-building. Because a lot of people like myself, like I, in the movie business, I work in development, right? So I like the beginning, packaging it up, getting all the talent,
getting everything going. But the day-to-day grind, it’s not me. – [Ryan] No, no. – I’m gonna be your guy that’s
gonna package everything up and give you a framework. And then I would want to hire them. – [Ryan] You move on to the next. – Yeah, I’m on to the next thing. – [Ryan] That’s high-end, though. – Like I’m, yeah. So that’s where I operate really the best. And then I talk about
balconies and basements in our company, right? Like, what’s your balcony? Like what keeps you going
and keeps you excited? And what’s your basement? What do you hate operating in? And as CEO, it’s our job to actually put those people in where
they operate the best because it’s less struggle for them. – [Ryan] Yep. – And less struggle equals
a stronger company, right? – [Ryan] It does. And you take a book, like years ago, I took some people
through “Good to Great.” And people, obviously
you get the right people in the right seats in the bus. But there’s a lot of times you need to get people off the bus, you need to get the
right people on the bus. And you gotta realize, and I finally realized
it in mid-career is, these things, like to your point, I do like the big picture
and what’s the next thing and I have had a speech the other day and then the radio show
and then I switch gears. I thrive on that. But for other people, it’s overwhelming and it drives them crazy. They wanna say, “Hey, Chris, man, “you’ve got the big picture
and you’ve got the talent, “let me grind that detail after detail.” And what I realized is both of
those are equally important. It’s just where they fit the best. Because that’s, like you said, that’s where their balcony
or their basement is, and that’s where they’re gonna be happy. And that’s where they’re gonna produce. And that’s what’s gonna make
the organization successful. – Right. So let’s talk a little bit about a topic that a lot of entrepreneurs and a lot of people that are in this, it’s sales, right? It’s a sales thing. So what are some, off the top, like what are some sales strategies that you would recommend or maybe some things that
you’ve implemented in the past? – Well, the first book I wrote was called “Everyone’s in Sales.” And so when I came out with the book, people were like, “Everyone’s in sales?” I’m like, “Let me reframe that.” Salespeople, unfortunately, get a bad rap. And there’s some bad used car
sales-type people out there. I said, this book is really written to people not in traditional sales. And this is written to an
IT person or an accountant or an engineer going,
“Well, I’m not in sales.” Like, well, if you communicate
with people, do you, when you’re passionate about
your project getting produced, do you, well, if you
define sales that way, I’m like, “I do.” So people then say, “Well, you can’t sell the
other hard-pressed other way?” I’m like, “You can, I don’t, but you can.” I find it annoying. So the first thing is, I think
you’ve gotta think long-term. You’ve gotta leave it all on the field. Make sure you’ve looked
at every angle possible to help somebody. You’ve got to realize it’s a small world, and I’ve already seen in my career, two or three times, people
redevelop themselves and come back at a different time. And how you’ve treated
them makes a difference. And if you try to go for the kill and force something to occur
that’s not ready to occur, it will bite you. It will come back to haunt you. – [Chris] Right. – And instead you want
what’s best for them even if it’s not the right time, even if you wish you could have it. And when you do that, and you
genuinely, people can see it, sales at its best occurs. – Right. And it’s to that point, I love the title of your book, by the way, ’cause to that point, I’m a firm believer that anybody can sell. Because if we go, all of us,
go back to when we’re children. – [Ryan] Right. – And you want a lollipop, – [Ryan] Yeah. – You’re gonna sell your parents– – [Ryan] I’d say that’s exactly right. – Any which way to get
what you want, right? I think what happens in life
and in the school system, life, whatever, friends,
family, mom, dad, right? You’re used to being told no so many times that those things get suppressed. – [Ryan] Yeah. – And I think when you realize
that that is a mental game, right, that you do have the
ability to convince somebody and you step out, I think you
can become a better sales rep, a better version of yourself,
no matter where you are. – [Ryan] Well, you got me
in the studio today, man, and I had to fight you guys off. – (laughs) Yeah. – [Ryan] I mean, people
are calling me all the time so that’s good intuitive. But and now I’ll return the favor and sell you about coming on
something I’m going to do. But, seriously, it’s very true. And we talked about kids
are, “Why, why, why?” and asking questions. And sometime, yeah, as
we get older, we just, some people say, “Well,
it’s not gonna pay off, “it’s not gonna work,
I’m not good in this.” And people quickly say,
“I’m not good in sales, “it’s not my thing.” And I do think there’s a
natural propensity towards it. I also think that people asking questions and listen and build rapport, they don’t have to be
the life of the party. Sometimes people just wanna be heard, listened and solve their
pain, solve their convenient. I mean, let’s just face it. Here in 2019, what I
would tell salespeople, “Are you solving headaches? “Are you letting him
sleep better at night? “Are you providing convenience? “Are you providing stress relief?” We’re livin’ in a slam, bury,
runnin’ ragged, slammed, comin’-up-for-air world. And so the person you’re selling to feels the same way we do, Chris. – [Chris] Right. – And so if we’re not going
right after those basic needs, forget what you’re selling, then we’re not even realizing
they’re human beings. – Yeah. – [Ryan] And I think that’s
what’s lost a lot of times. – It’s solving an issue. Like if you’re, first off,
if you’re going in there thinking about your pocket,
you’re not a good sales rep. You gotta realize that
whatever product it is, right? So like, I have like tech guy asking, trying to say, “How do I sell tech?” You don’t sell tech. – [Ryan] No, no. – You sell solutions. – [Ryan] You sell solutions. – And that’s how you can solve. And when people can see that
you’re solving their issue with your solution, people buy. As long as you’re genuine, honest, and you build that relationship. – Yeah, so my second book was called “Would You Buy From You? Your
Brand Makes The Difference.” So it kinda built upon the first concept. And at the end of the book, I concluded, so I won’t give a complete spoiler alert, but it doesn’t matter. I said at the end of it is our humanity. It’s saying, I said if
everyone was to develop a pact, our passion, our authenticity,
our creative approach to it, and we want a relationship built on trust. And meaning that if this deal
or this sale doesn’t happen, you know what? It may well work out in three months. But don’t force it. Don’t be that guy. And I always say, if you
don’t know who that guy is, you are that guy, you know? – [Chris] Yeah, that’s right. And so some people lose
sight of it and just, I had one the other day
was driving me crazy for a favor I was doing for them. And finally, I’m like, “Chill out, man.” And that’s, that energy? People can feel it, right? You know that it’s either
too pushy or genuine. – [Chris] Right. – Right? So, but a lot of people say, “Yeah, okay, we hear what you’re saying. “We’re gonna do it this way.” That’s your choice, but not
the way I’d choose to do it or you’d choose to do it. – Yeah, it’s more, I
think it’s more natural. Like when you’re, hey, I always say this. People ask me, “Well,
what are you selling?” And I say, “Listen, I’ve never
sold anything in my life. “All I’ve done is make a
couple of recommendations “and people bought.” – I concur. I mean, people will say whatever, a book or a magazine or
this, what are you selling? I’m like, “I’m not.” Or “Who are you competing with?” I don’t really care
what anybody else does. I mean, doesn’t mean I
don’t have respect for him. But I’m on my own journey;
doesn’t mean I’m not learning. But if you’re looking behind you or out of the rear-view mirrors, you can’t be focused on what you’re doing. And we always gotta be learning. But yeah, I mean, even I used
to own a printing company back in the day. It was
a Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing in that, and you would make magazines or catalogs, and people, “What are you selling?” I’m like, “I’m gonna sell trust.” Because they can’t tell how
this is gonna manufacture. “But aren’t you selling
something on paper?” I’m like, “That’s the
by-product of this transaction.” They’re trusting me that I’m gonna deliver and they’re not gonna have headache, really scared to death at night that something’s gonna go wrong. Right? That’s what I’m selling. I’m not selling a widget. – [Chris] Right. And we say it all the time, with salespeople, if
you’re in a sales role, they’re buying you. – Yeah, they’re buying you. So would you buy from you? I also close in the book, I’m like, your competition is yourself. – [Chris] Yes. – I mean, you’re gonna
sell differently than I, even if we had the same philosophy. So it means quit worrying
what everyone else does. Be who you are. Be real. When you make a mistake,
which we all do, own up to it. And when you do those things,
people still buy from people. And behind all these social
media things that we all use, there’s a person. – [Chris] Yep. – And we forget that. – [Chris] Yep. So that’s really an interesting segue, because the market has
really changed where, like we’ll talk about
personal branding, right, for instance, or branding yourself, where a lot of these CEOs
and some of these founders like back in the day, hiding
behind a logo was fine, or whatever, I mean, your Swoosh logo, the color scheming of your
whatever it is, right? But now, we’re a social media society. So how do you feel the impact of personal branding
is on a CEO or a founder to actually grow their business? How do you feel about that for an example? – Yeah, there’s no hiding anymore. There’s no, we’re gonns
send out a press release and that’s be sufficient or get back to people in three weeks when an incident occurs. It’s gonna be on Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat and everything
else in the world. So we live in an instantaneous society and a CEO cannot divorce themselves from being actively engaged. And so what organizations do incorrectly in the branding process
or when crises develop, is they don’t do anything. They just sit there and
it gets worse and worse. And instead of comin’ out and
saying, “We’ve made a mistake. “We’re wrong; we stand behind
it and make a statement.” ‘Cause I would think America in particular is pretty forgiving. If you look at people
that have failed, they, if they come out and say, “I
was wrong; I need to fix this.” But it’s the people that
continue behind branding, not to say anything or they keep changing
what their opinion is. People can see through that,
and they lack the trust. So, yeah, I think people that are at the highest
level of an organization, they can’t just say, “Well,
the company believes this, “but here’s what I believe.” Unfortunately, your brand is, what I always say, it’s
not what you say it is. it’s what they say it is. – [Chris] Right. – And perception is reality in branding. And so in the eye of the beholder, you may say, “Well, we do
this, and people do this, “’cause our great customer service.’ And if I go do an interview for a company, they may say, “Yeah, their
customer service is pretty good.” But really, they’re literally
the most inexpensive and that’s why we go there. – [Chris] Right. – And people sometimes don’t
even know what their brand is. – Right, right. It’s, yeah, and from a corporate level, you need to know your brand, but most importantly from
a personal level it’s, people say that social
media is changing people. Social media is not changing people. It’s exposing people. – [Ryan] Absolutely. – It’s exposing for who you really are. And granted some of these CEOs, like they didn’t grow up with social
media, some of the older CEOs, they didn’t grow up with social media, so they may not understand it as much. But it’s no different than if you’re going to a
networking event, right? Back in the day, you go to all these network events, you’re shaking a whole bunch of hands, but how many people can you
actually meet there, right? With you leverage that on
social media specifically, like even LinkedIn, like if you’re in B2B, and you’re not on LinkedIn,
man, you’re missing out. Because that is a gigantic
networking platform. – [Ryan] And people are watching. – And people are watching. So the easiest way for them
to get to know who you are, is by releasing content, but
it’s more personable, right? – [Ryan] Right. – It’s, they’re getting
to know you as a person as opposed to you being behind the scenes with a company logo. If something does happen and you’re not, or people haven’t been following you, there’s no followers or nothing, and then something happens, like there’s the trust
factor that gets lost, right? But if you start building a following and people know who you
are from the beginning, now you can address these
issues instantaneously without it seeming like you’re trying to hide
behind a corporate veil. – Yeah, people want, they want
less this corporate stuff, more authenticity, more down to earth. So from the CEO level, there’s no excuse. I mean I’m mid-career, there’s no excuse, and I hear it from a lot of my friends who own companies, “Eh,
social media isn’t my thing.” You don’t have to be an expert,
you better understand it. And they don’t even understand when people are tagging them in LinkedIn or on Twitter or Instagram. I mean, I took upon
myself a couple years ago, just saying Instagram was
really starting to boom and people were like Instagram? Like in the same thing where
Twitter was 10 years ago. So you speak of LinkedIn. I remember getting my
first LinkedIn request, I think in 2000, late 2006. So when my daughter,
who’s at Georgia Tech, started doing that, she goes, “You have so many connections.” I’m like, “Well, I’ve been on it.” But I saw it before it even developed. And when Twitter back then,
it’s plateaued a little bit, but it opened so many doors
for books, for people, to connect people I couldn’t
connect with otherwise. So still to this day, when 2019, 2020, when I see people going,
“Yeah, I just don’t get it.” I’m like, “You don’t get it, dude.” I don’t even have an answer for. It is, everything happens
in real time, right? And our response is,
whether we like it or not, we can’t just sit back and go, “Well, I wish it was this.” Well, you know, everybody
does want this, Chris, like we’re doing now. – [Chris] Yep. – But you also have to
be cognizant of that. And you constantly have
to be guiding your company to navigate through this noisy world. – Right. And it goes to the classic
thing, people do business with who they know and who they trust. And when you’re on social media, and you’re releasing content
at-scale on a consistent basis, people start building that trust with you, this weird thing happens, like they start seeing who you are, right before you even
physically actually met them. So when that time comes
when they do see you at a networking event, they’re like, “Hey, I saw that article that you wrote.” Or, “Hey, I listened to your podcast.” Or, “I listened to your talk show.” Or whatever it was, right? It makes it that much easier
for them to do business with you as well. – [Ryan] Yeah, they
feel like they know you. I mean, I remember, I put
out, when I was first starting in the consulting with
that industry I left, back then, this was about 10 years ago, and I was gonna go after and help with sales and marketing sold before those printing
companies that I knew, ’cause I’d done that a lot in my career. And so I created this robotic
videos, an animated video, it looked at a bunch
of robotic salespeople. And I mean, it wasn’t anything, but it’s had, like, so
many views over the years. So I’d see somebody,
and that was part of me. I made it. So it was the robots talking
but it was my script. And you being from an
acting and all that– – [Chris] Right. (laughs) – You appreciate it. But people would hire me from that. I go, this just, I mean, “You’re spot on. “We loved your robot
video,” or something else. Or, “Hey, that,” I’ll go to
an event and they’re like, “That thing you put up,”
and I’m like, “What thing?” But if you’re putting out things, and I would just add to what
you’re saying, consistency. Meaning that you’re consistent
across all the platforms. So the Chris and Ryan we see here, is gonna be the same as on LinkedIn. It’s gonna be the same as on Twitter. It’s gonna be the same if we’re out on the street corner tonight, because that’s what people look for. They go, “This guy? “Wait, on Twitter, he tweets about this, “but I met him and he sounded like,” people sense that quickly, right? – [Chris] Yeah, yeah. I think, yes, I think there
is a demographic, though. So there’s a certain demographic. So for instance, like, your
demographic on LinkedIn is gonna be a little bit younger. Still be you, but I think when
you address certain things, like in your title, in your
tags and stuff like that, you’re gonna be addressing
a different market as opposed to LinkedIn, right? So everybody on LinkedIn
is in a business mindset. – [Ryan] Oh, yeah. – So the content on LinkedIn
needs to be geared a little bit more towards that market. – [Ryan] Oh, certainly,
certainly, absolutely. – So whereas on, say,
Instagram, it’s quick video, stuff like that, micro-content. So I think anybody that does step into the personal branding, like trying to get, trying to make their content work better, just understand the platform of who’s actually consuming
that type of content, what type of market that is. – Yeah, and I think it’s spot on. In other words, I tell
people this all the time. “Okay, you’ve got a Facebook account. “What you’re doing over there “versus what you’re doing
on Twitter and Instagram, “you can’t just post the
same vein and advice.” So what I was really getting at is, let’s say I’m a positive guy who’s not gonna be on
the street corner cursing nor are you gonna see my tweets do that. You’re gonna see the same Ryan. – [Chris] And then a different person. Yeah, you don’t want to
see a different person. That’s a problem, yeah. – They see a person. Now, if I’m, in Twitter, it might be fine we send
out three tweets a day, no one wants to see three
Facebook posts a day or, everybody has, each one exactly has his own specific ingredient. But what I look for is the
person I met in person, why do they tweet completely different than when I met them in person? The tone’s different. But if they’re consistent, and people go, “Man, I love that person.” Because they start watching you, watch what you write, watch
your videos, watch what you say. And yeah, you got a lot
of people from afar, it’s amazing sometimes they’re watching. And I mean, even the two magazines I own, people read my columns every month. I think they read them more than I do. Like, “We just love what you wrote.” I’m like, “Wrote about what?” And obviously a neighbor sometimes, like “It really inspired me.” I’m like, “Context?” (laughs) – [Chris] Yeah, right. – But yes, it is true people are watching. – Yeah, I think it’s specifically, ’cause there’s a lot of CEOs
and there’s a lot of founders that wanna get into speaking, they’ve never done it
before, right? (laughs) – [Ryan] Yeah. – It’s not a Broadway stage. If you try to act on stage,
like people will sense that. It’s literally you need to just be you. – [Ryan] You do. – And that’s it. You’re having a conversation
with the audience. – [Ryan] You are. – And I think it’s a big fear
that a lot of people have, a big struggle that they have, they don’t understand it and they think that they have to perform. And, unfortunately, I’ve,
man, I’ve seen some speakers and they feel like they have
to perform, and it’s like. – You know, you can see through. It was funny, I was speaking
to this high school class as a favor yesterday, and
this was the youngest group I’ve ever spoken to. And my challenge wasn’t,
there was a senior class, half and half, about 400 and 400, about 25 minutes and 25 minutes. So I had a lot of good
content, but also knew, with this demographic,
keeping them off their phones for about one minute was
gonna be a challenge. So a lot of interactivity,
a lot of making them, where it wasn’t just me
spitting stuff at them, I was making my point through. But it was very real. And they started laughing and going, “Oh, my God, that’s awesome.” But I kept them off their phones. Now it was a challenge of a lifetime. – [Chris] Right. – But it’s doable. And so we wanna put
generations in the bucket. So that Gen Z, of course,
you got millennials and my generation Gen X, very small, and then you got the boomers and the generation in front of them. And people just like,
all so-and-so does this, and that is absolutely incorrect. I mean, you know, there’s
tendencies in every generation, but every person is unique. Every person is unique. – [Chris] So what are you seeing in the difference of generations
as far as understanding? – Yeah, I think you’ve got boomers like my parents, well in
their 70s and their friends And they, it’s a huge generation. It’s always been a huge generation. And so people are living 70s, 80s, 90s. And I’m seeing these
55-plus communities grow up on every street corner everywhere. And I start to think, and
I’m not trying to be morbid, but in 20 years, what are they going to do with all these things? Make them into fraternity
houses or something? And then I see the generation behind us, my generation, is quite small. So quite frankly, it’s overlooked, Gen X. And then you get a millennials,
mammoth generation. You hear all the time in market,
millennials, millennials, boomers retiring, millennials
there forget the best one, which is fine, that’s an opportunity. And then lastly, we now
want to lump millennials and Gen Z together. Well, Gen Z is just beginning. I mean, Gen Z is either 16, 17, 18 to 22. So what I would say is,
usually every generation does something different than
the one in front of them, a little bit. And what people that are
older do, I see in particular, they say anybody who’s
on their phone too much, oh, they’re a millennial. First of all, no, they’re not. So I told that group yesterday, I said, or whatever day I was
speaking to them, I said, “First of all, let me just tell
you something academically. “You are not a millennial “because you’re 17 or 18 years old.” And, but that’s just
lack of learning, lack of if people, and you’re the CEO and people are on their phone
and trying to look at stuff while you’re talking, it probably means you don’t have a real good
engagement with your team, because they’re not that onboard. And if you’re engaged, and you
can look people in the eyes and have an exciting conversation, people don’t want to be on their phone. But if they’re bored, they’re
going to go right to it. – [Chris] Right. – Right? – [Chris] Right. Interesting. So I think it would be
important to, if they do, are going to their phone
and they’re millennials, sometimes they could
actually be researching what you’re talking about. Because I’ve actually
ran into, I’ve talked to a couple other business people that, like, “Yeah, how do I get
engagement from my people?” I’m like, “Well, have
you actually asked them “what they’re doing?” Because they actually
might be researching, what you just said, because
the millennial generation is the generation of information. – [Ryan] It’s grown up with the Internet. – Yeah, it grew up with the Internet. – [Ryan] Yeah, absolutely. – And I find, well, I’m actually on the cusp of a millennial,
so like I do the same thing. So sometimes when we have sales meetings, I know, and I have a much younger staff, they’re all on their laptops
or all on their phones, but I know that we’re all working, we’re all researching that type of stuff. So just I think just
don’t fall into that area where you’re like, oh, maybe
nobody’s paying attention. Just find out what they’re doing. – Absolutely. And as I’ve gotten, every year goes by, you have these people who wanna say, “We’ve always done it this way.” And they’ve got people, this. The best way to lead, I
told you I’m on the Board of my doctorate in leadership, because I want to empower
these generations behind me, is to say, “You know what? “Yeah, John over there is on
his phone looking up an answer “to what the research says on X, Y, Z.” So he may be very engaged in it. So our gut reaction might be,
“Why are you on your phone?” – [Chris] Right. – But John might be a real productive guy, that we’re callin’ him out for something, he’s actually being productive. – [Chris] Right. – So, I think that’s the mistake. I mean, I think it’s, “Oh, ya know, everybody’s on their phone.” Now, should we silence our
phones when we’re in a meeting? Sure, so everybody cannot be distracted. But phones and social
media are part of life. And it’s using tools, like
a hammer or a screwdriver, intelligently, because, as I
told this group the other day, I said, “Your digital connections
are absolutely a mammoth.” Now the key is make them into
real-world relationships. – Right. – [Ryan] Because those
will open doors, right? – Yes, yes. So I, and I love that. So using it as a tool
to get to the next step, which is actually– – [Ryan] Connecting. – Connecting, eyeball-to-eyeball. – [Ryan] Eyeball. Because here’s what I wanna
say, you say in sales. Let’s go back to that. I say, “All right, so,
Chris, we connected, let’s just say we hit in Twitter and then we connected on LinkedIn, and then LinkedIn, maybe
it was an inbox message. And then from there, I said,
“Hey, shoot me an e-mail.” And the e-mail was like, “Hey,
I have this, I have this.” We’re connecting, to a
phone call, the phone call leads to an in-person, bam. – [Chris] Yep. – And that’s what people are like, “Well, I just sent him a
hard message through LinkedIn “and I hope that will sell it.” I’m like, “No, no, no.” Because you can buy a service. That is not a relationship. That is a tool. – [Chris] Yes. – To the relationship. – [Chris] It’s a step.
– It’s a step. – [Chris] It’s one step in the process. – It’s one step, exactly. – So, in wrapping up, so if there was one solid
piece of leadership advice that you could give to
somebody, what would that be? – I think two things come to mind. I mean one is, our time is a present. You can’t get time back. The time we have right now is the present. The time in front of us, it doesn’t matter how much money you have, you can’t get any more of it. And it’s how we structure our days and how we balance our lives. And I like to just tell people, you should have an
appreciation of your past. You should have a dedication
of what you’re working on in your present. And you should have a
strong and passionate vision for your future. And when you put those things
together and you’re real, and you invest in other human beings, reciprocity is a big thing. Meaning that, hey, this guy
reached out and did this for me. People want to help you along as well. And the last thing I’d
just say on leadership is get people to want to do
things because they want to, not because they have to. – [Chris] Love it, that’s awesome. Thank you so much, Ryan. I appreciate it, man. – [Chris] Hey, guys, thanks
for tuning into the episode. If you guys enjoyed it, show some love. Give me a thumbs up and subscribe. Also, make sure you check out our exclusive C-Level group on Facebook.

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