SIV #061: John Ruhlin – Giftology

Is radical generosity your competitive advantage?

Author John Ruhlin

I first heard of John Ruhlin while listening to John O’Leary’s Live Inspired podcast. I immediately bought his book Giftology on Amazon and loved it!!!

As you may know, I read about a book a week and many of them are in the sales or sales leadership arena. Often these authors take ideas from previous books and authors, aggregate them and put their own spin on them. There is nothing wrong with that and they are definitely worth reading.

Giftology, on the other hand, was completely different. I have been leading sales teams for almost 22 years and I have never even thought about some of the ideas that John lays out in his book.

I knew immediately I had to get him on the Success Is Voluntary podcast to teach us about strategic gifting and making radical generosity a key competitive advantage.

Don’t worry if those two concepts are foreign to you. They were to me too. I’ll let John explain in just a minute. Just know this, I have listened to this podcast 3 times already as I was getting it ready to publish and I’m still learning things each time.

Things John And I Talked About

  • Gifting as a competitive advantage.
  • Radical generosity/giftology
  • If you take care of the family in business, everything else takes care of itself.
  • Gifting as a repeatable system instead of being haphazard.
  • If you are liked, trusted, and top of mind, you will beat out people that might be better than you.
  • Most people ask, “What’s the least I can do?” Instead, focus on what’s the most you can do?
  • Why food/wine is the absolute worst gift you can give.
  • Why gift cards are just as bad.
  • How many impressions are you making with your gifts?
  • What the difference is between a gift and a promotional item and why John never sends promotional items.
  • Don’t deface something by putting your logo on it.
  • Don’t gift on the ABCs (Anniversaries, Birthdays, Christmas)
  • Never gift for a referral or when a deal closes.
  • The two reasons to gift:
    • Just because.
    • Thanking someone for their time.
  • Why you should never send gifts in November or December.
  • The importance of gifting in a series.
  • How to surprise and delight.
  • How to set a budget for gifting. (5-15% of profits from that client.)
  • Sending gifts to the Decision Maker’s inner circle and why that is often more effective than sending it to the Decision Maker themselves.
  • Why a $600 coffee mug makes sense.
  • The art of creating artifacts.
  • How to gift a prospect. (But first take care of your warm market, centers of influence and current clients.)

Books John And I Talked About

Giftology – John Ruhlin

Give and TakeAdam Grant

The BibleGod

Raving FansKen Blanchard

The 21 Laws Irrefutable Laws Of LeadershipDr. John C. Maxwell

Click on the cover below to learn more.

Where To Connect With John


Your Turn

What gift have you received that surprised and delighted you? Leave a comment below or shoot me an email:

SIV #060: Bob Burg – The Go-Giver Influencer

The 5 Secrets Of Influence

Bob Burg The Go-Giver Influencer

I first met today’s guest at least 12 years ago. Bob Burg was hired by my team to teach from his book Endless Referrals. His speech inspired me and his book influenced me to make referrals my central marketing focus.

As important and as timeless as Endless Referrals has been, Bob teamed up with John David Mann to create a wildly successful series of bestselling business parables.

In The Go-Giver and then their follow-up, The Go-Giver Leader, Bob and John challenged the conventional wisdom about success. Now they’re back with a new and equally compelling story about the power of genuine influence, in business and beyond.

THE GO-GIVER INFLUENCER: A Little Story about a Most Persuasive Idea tackles the paradox of achieving what you want by focusing on the other person’s interests. No, not in a way that is self-sacrificial but rather in such a way that all parties benefit greatly. This results in both immediate and long-term success.

Bob Burg speaks all over the world on topics related to The Go-Giver, as well as what he calls, Genuine Influence.

The original book The Go-Giver has sold over 800,00 copies and has spurred an international movement. All books combined, Bob has sold well over a million copies. Holy cow!

Things Bob And I Talked About

  • Shifting our focus from getting to giving.
  • Providing value to others is the most profitable strategy.
  • The only way to make a lot of money is to provide a lot of value to a lot of people.
  • Influence is the ability to move a person, or persons, to a desired action.
  • Push vs. Pull (How far can you push a rope?)
  • Influence is the difference between some success and enormous levels of success.
  • Influencers attract people first to themselves and then their ideas.
  • Ultimately, people do things for their reasons, not our reasons.
  • Nobody buys from you because you have a quota to meet or because you are nice and believe in your product. They buy from you because they believe they will be better off by doing so than not doing so.
  • Money is simply the echo of value.
  • We have gone from, “I’m right. You’re wrong.” To “I’m right. You’re evil.”
  • Master your emotions.
    • Who is mighty? Those who can master their emotions
    • You can take your emotions along for the ride. Just don’t let them drive. Put them in the passenger seat with the seatbelt tightly fastened.
    • Rationalize = Rational Lies
    • Compromise is a lose/lose proposition.
    • Collaboration is a win/win strategy.

The 5 Secrets Of Influence

  1. Step into the other person’s shoes.
    • We can’t step into their mind.
    • We tend to believe everyone sees the world as we do.
    • Don’t just listen with our ears. Listen from the back of your neck.
  2. Set the frame.
    • The frame is the foundation of every interaction.
    • You can reset the frame as necessary.
  3. Communicate with tact and empathy.
    • Tact is the language of strength.
    • Empathy is understanding that the person is feeling something that might be stressful to them.
  4. Letting go of having to be right.
    • My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.
    • Confirmation bias.
  5. Tact and kindness should never be confused with compromise.

Books We Talked About

How To Win Friends And Influence People – Dale Carnegie

As A Man Thinketh – James Allen

Think And Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill

Psycho-Cybernetics – Maxwell Maltz. MD, FICS

The Magic Of Thinking Big – David J Schwartz, PH.D.

The Secret Of Selling Anything – Harry Browne

Thinking In Bets – Annie Duke

Endless Referrals – Bob Burg

The Go-Giver Influencer – Bob Burg and John David Mann

The Go-Giver – Bob Burg and John David Mann

Pick A Book – Any Book. You Can’t Go Wrong!

Where To Find Bob


Your Turn

How do you define influence? Leave a comment below or email me at

SIV #059: Patrick Galvin – The Connector’s Way

Building Business One Relationship At A Time

Patrick Galvin - Author "The Connector's Way"

I love talking to smart, dynamic people. Especially people that I can learn from. Today’s guest is certainly that! When former podcast guest, Andrea Waltz recommended Patrick to me I had never heard of him. Once he and I talked, I felt like I had known him forever. He is the living embodiment of his message.

Patrick has built his business around teaching people how to build better relationships with both clients and prospects. He is so passionate about it that he literally wrote the book on how to have deeper connections! When I read The Connector’s Way, I was blown away!  It is a parable about a struggling business owner who discovers simple yet effective ways to cultivate relationships in the real world and online and uses them to fuel his success.

If you don’t learn something today, that’s on you. If you don’t take notes, I’m going to assume you ran out of paper. Otherwise get out something to write on. I don’t care if it’s a blue crayon on a brown paper bag. I promise you’ll thank me later.

Things Patrick And I Talked About

  • People have to tell their own story.
  • The organizations that thrive are great at building relationships.
  • People try to use social media and lose touch with what brought them to the dance.
  • Many company’s strategy regarding advertising – Spray and pray.
  • Adversity is the only way to be successful.
  • People buy and refer business to people they know, like and trust.
  • Networking is an ego driven and based upon numbers.
  • Connecting is about developing deep relationships over time.
  • Most people can count on one hand the number of relationships that helped them become successful.
  • Serve other without consideration on how you are going to benefit.
    • Recommend your close connections on LinkedIn.
    • In the geography, invite two people that could benefit from meeting each other and take them to lunch.
  • What is it I can do that my competitors aren’t doing so that people will talk favorably about me?
  • Les Schwab – How they exceed expectations consistently.
  • To stand out on the web avoid “marketing speak” and allow customers to endorse you. Pull out your iPhone and have them give you a video endorsement no longer than 2 minutes.
  • “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Mya Angelou
  • Deeper connection creates loyalty.
  • Let people know how they can help you be succeesful.
  • Ask people how you can help them be successful.
    • What are your working on?
    • How can I help?

Books That Patrick And I Talked About

The Connector’s Way – A Story About Building Business One Relationship At A Time – Patrick Galvin

Go For No – Yes Is The Destination, No Is How You Get There – Andrea Waltz

Moonwalking With Einstein – The Art And Science Of Remembering Everything – Joshua Foer

As Always – Click On The Cover Below For More Information

Where To Find Patrick

Your Turn

What has an individual or company done for you that created a deeper connection and/or greater loyalty? Shoot me an email ( or leave a comment below.

What Do The Following People Have In Common?

Bob Burg, John Ruhlin, Larry Winget, Randy Gage, Dov Gordon, Anthony Innarino, Gerry Sandusky, John O’Leary, Brad Lea and Wes Schaeffer. I mean other than they are all incredibly successful and are going to drop some knowledge bombs on you?

They are all scheduled to be on the Success Is Voluntary Podcast between now and Thanksgiving!

In prison, I fell in love with my country. I had loved her before then, but like most young people, my affection was little more than a simple appreciation for the comforts and privileges most Americans enjoyed and took for granted. It wasn’t until I had lost America for a time that I realized how much I loved her.

SIV #058: Mark Brown – World Champion of Public Speaking

Excellence In Communication


Today’s guest is the world champion of public speaking. Did you even know that was a thing?

Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Mark Brown migrated to the United States at 18 years old with only $40 in his pocket and a dream for a better life. Today, he has become one of the most popular inspirational speakers in the world.

In 1995, Mark defeated more than 20,000 contestants from 14 countries to win the illustrious Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking. Since then, he has delivered more than 3,500 presentations, to more than 1.7 million people on 5 continents.

I’m guessing that if giving presentations is an important part of your job, and I know it is, then who better to learn from than the world champ?

So get out your blue crayon, or whatever you use to take notes, and let’s learn together!

Things Mark And I Talked About

  • His journey to America at age 18 with $40 in his pocket.
  • “My life is a testament to what America has to offer.”
  • Whenever we see an opportunity we must take the first step even if it’s scary at first.
  • You must connect with your audience:
    • Your audience is you.
    • Share your life story, your experiences, your mistakes, your struggles, and your successes.
    • The common connects.
  • You can be successful at work but what is going on at home?
  • Excellence in Leadership – Practical Leadership:
    • What are you like day-to-day, hands-on with the people?
    • Adaptability to build and form teams quickly.
    • Braveheart vs. Glory
    • Lead from the front!
    • Give people the chance to fail.
    • Getting discretionary effort.
    • You must lead yourself first.
    • Lead your own leader.
    • You must see people as people, not as positions that are filled.
    • Building relationships and leading with love.
    • What does ASAP even mean?
    • How we communicate and how well we communicate are both critical.
  • It is our job to develop new leaders:
    • Must push, prod an poke people to become uncomfortable.
    • Letting people know that they have untapped potential.
    • Seeing more in people than they see in themselves.
    • Show them how leading benefits them and their family/community.
    • Everything is difficult until it becomes easy. It becomes easy with time and experience.
    • The lessons of Rocky 3. – Apollo Creed taught Rocky ALMOST EVERYTHING he knew. ALMOST.
    • Don’t stifle new leaders growth.
  • How to boost morale:
    • Appreciate people based upon their love language.
    • Don’t show people appreciation based upon how you like to be shown appreciation. Focus on how THEY want to be appreciated.
  • Don’t chase the shiny object.
    • We often try to learn from our mistakes but often fail to look at what worked well and try to repeat it.
    • Layer new ideas onto the old ideas instead of starting from scratch.
    • Why the world-class flutist James Galway stopped recording and giving concerts at age 50 and what he did instead.
    • It worked so good we stopped doing it.
    • The basic design of paperclips hasn’t changed since 1867. Where’s your paperclip?

Books We Talked About

The 5 Love Languages – Gary Chapman

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R Covey

The Book of Proverbs in The Holy Bible – The Message Version – God

As always, click on the cover below for more information!

Your Turn

How do you like to be shown appreciation? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

SIV #057: Eric Silverman – Part 1

Don't call it Voluntary Benefits!!!

Single-handedly disrupting a 100-year old industry.

I’ve known today’s guest Eric Silverman for a long time now. We have never worked in the same hierarchy. In fact, we worked on opposite sides of the country. Instead of working together, I got to know Eric through appearing on numerous panels together, and winning company sponsored trips and attending conferences. The more I have gotten to know Eric the more I respect him.

Eric was named the 2017 Adviser Of The Year by Employee Benefit Adviser.

He is a huge supporter of the Success Is Voluntary website and podcast! I am thankful that he has used his vast connections to introduce me to several of our recent podcast guests!

If you are in the Voluntary Benefits space, and you participate in social media AT ALL, you have seen at least one article or post from Eric.

We certainly don’t see eye-to-eye on everything in the Voluntary Benefits … I mean Enhanced Benefits industry. However, I have always admired him, his positions and beliefs. He is constantly trying to disrupt the status quo. I never want to close off my thinking by digging into my position without understanding the other side of the argument. Eric has opened my eyes to many things and I thank him for that.

As you listen to today’s podcast, my guess is that there will be somethings Eric talks about that might not sit quite right with you… And that’s great! Eric would love to start a conversation with you and listen to your point of view.

Buckle your seatbelts ladies and gentlemen, it’s going to be a bumpy ride! 

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It Worked So Good…

We stoped doing it!

I love technology! I love anything that is shiny, sexy, new. I love the latest and greatest ANYTHING!

Technology is great but it isn't necessarily better than the system we are already using.

So many things that show up on my Amazon suggestions call to me to just hit “Buy with 1 click!” So many information products (classes, seminars, resources, do it for you programs, etc.) sing to me.

I’ve seen a lot of marketers claiming that you no longer have to cold call. How cool! Wouldn’t it be awesome to just use social media? “Who needs to cold call,” the charlatans cry out. Just buy my course for $1,999 and I’ll show you how to leverage LinkedIn!!!

I’m not alone. As I work with sales teams all over the country, I regularly see organizations that have walked so far away from the basics of sales, they couldn’t find their way back with gps.

The reality is that we aren’t really leveraging technology. Technology is leveraging us.

Please understand that I am not a technology hater. I am more connected than I probably should be. Technology has made many aspects of our lives much easier (not necessarily any simpler.)

We get so caught up in learning the new tool that we forget to do the basics. Why? It is very safe to spend 4 hours learning how to do LinkedIn searches. Nobody can tell us no when we are watching videos.

Instead, we start spamming inviting people, we have zero connection to, to learn about our awesome opportunity. When they don’t respond or tell us they aren’t interested, at least it was so easy to ask we don’t feel the rejection the same way we would on the phone or in person.

Back To The Basics

The legendary college basketball coach John Wooden, at the first practice of the new season, started by teaching his players how to put on their socks. Wait… What? Weren’t these some of the best basketball players in the country? Surely they knew how to put on their socks. The freshman players would roll their eyes but the Juniors and Seniors would let them know immediately to shut up and pay attention. Coach Wooden explained that if they didn’t put their socks on right, they would get blisters. If they got blisters, they couldn’t practice properly. If they didn’t practice properly, they wouldn’t get to play.

Tim’s Basics of Sales

Sales is very much like putting on socks properly. It’s the little things that will derail your career. The sooner you master the basics, the faster you will hit the levels of success you desire. So what are the basics?

Master These Basics First. We’ll Work On Three-pointers Later.

  • Read SOMETHING! 80% of salespeople have never read at least one book on sales. 20% of all salespeople take home 80% of the available commissions. Hmmmm. Do I have to draw you a map? Read!!!
  • Never stop prospecting. According to the late, great Zig Ziglar, the number 1 reason salespeople fail is due to a lack of prospects.
  • Pick up the phone. “But Tim, I much better in person,” I hear you say. Tough! Cold calling via phone is a skill you must master.
  • Get out of the office. “Didn’t you just say to use the phone?” Yep. You need to be good in person too. Jeb Blount explained on his recent Success Is Voluntary podcast interview, that by choosing only one way to prospect (or one day of the week, or just during the same time block) you are limiting your probability of success. LISTEN HERE
  • Use a script! You need a track to run on. I could write 5 blog articles on this point alone. Instead, I suggest that you listen to Scott Channell’s recent podcast for more on this. LISTEN HERE
  • Followup, followup, followup. I am now coaching, speaking and writing full-time. Not only have I had to relearn how to prospect, I am relearning the importance of following up. Many of my sales and engagements are happening on the 9th, 10th, 11th time I have reached out.
  • Use a CRM. If you are going to be a professional and followup at the right time, there is zero chance you can accomplish that using an excel spreadsheet or a scratch pad. I wrote a blog article in 2014 explaining a low-tech version of a CRM. (READ IT HERE) If I were to rewrite it today, I would caution using it for very long. The sooner you can get onto ACT!, Pipeline Deals, or some other inexpensive CRM the better!!!
  • Role-play prospecting and Decision Maker presentations: When I was a corporate sales trainer, I could instantly tell if someone had practiced or not while they were going through their initial training. So could the prospects…
  • Do your homework. Never ask a prospect a dumb question. I know you have been told your whole life there is no such thing as a dumb question. I hate to break it to you, you’ve been lied to. Asking a Decision Maker questions that you could have found out by just googling them is a dumb question.
  • Shut up!!! Once they buy, keep your mouth closed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen salespeople talk past the yes and lose the sale.
  • Go for no. Once you have the first commitment, keep asking for additional commitments until you finally get a no. In their best selling book Go For No  Andrea Waltz, and Richard Fenton tell the story of a suit salesman that stopped selling whey he hit his self-imposed maximum sale to one customer. The customer never said no. How much greater that sale could have been will never be known. Read the full story HERE. You can also listen to Andrea’s fantastic Success Is Voluntary Podcast Interview: LISTEN HERE
  • Show your appreciation. Send the handwritten thank you note. Refer business to your client. Create a gifting strategy. Drop by with donuts or pizza. John Ruhlin wrote a fantastic book about this very thing! Giftology should be a foundational book for every salesperson.
  • Keep your commitments! One of the reasons salespeople often get a bad rap is they promise the moon and then ghost on their clients. Don’t screw it up for the rest of us. Under-promise, over deliver instead. This can be as simple as the expectations you set on your outgoing voicemail. Read more about this HERE
  • Complete the implementation. Meet with the Decision Maker immediately after the enrollment/implementation has been completed. Find out if there is anything you missed or unmet expectations. Now is the time to get ahead of it versus trying to fix it after the problem has festered.
  • Service your accounts. Or someone else will. Enough said.
  • Get a mentor. There are people in your organization that have already gone where you want to go. Learn from their mistakes. I have found, without exception, that the people in this industry are incredibly gracious and will share with you their best practices. You could eventually learn it on your own. Why would you want to do that? For more information, listen to Success Doesn’t Leave Tracks LISTEN HERE
  • Get a coach. This may sound self-serving as I do coaching. I promise it isn’t. There are sooooo many reasons to get a coach. Instead of listing them all, I’ll ask you this question instead: What do Richard Branson, Steph Curry, Oprah Winfree, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Tony Robbins, Metallica, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bill Clinton, Serena Williams, Luke Skywalker (I could keep on going…) have in common? If you guessed they are incredibly successful and wealthy, you would be right… But what I was going for was they all have coaches. Seriously. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. “Yeah, but they can afford it,” some might say. Huh, I wonder why. Oh yeah, they have a coach… Get a free, 30-minute coaching session with me by CLICKING HERE. 

Your Turn

What are some of the things that worked so well you stopped doing them? Leave a comment below or email me at

SIV #056: Brett “Coach” Davenport – Recruiting and Building Teams

Study the past. Live the moment. Plan the future.


I was introduced to Brett Davenport by my friend, and past podcast guest, Gary Hoy. Brett has had a very successful career in the financial services arena through recruiting and building teams.

Even though we come from very different ends of the financial services spectrum, our philosophies around recruiting and training are incredibly similar.

I asked Brett on the podcast to talk about how people from a variety of different backgrounds and skill levels can thrive in our industry. We explore the realities of not being able to pick winners, but how to look for those characteristics that winners possess.

As important as recruiting is, if we don’t onboard and train our recruits properly, there will always be

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SIV #055: Andrea Waltz – Go For No

Success is on the other side of failure

Andre Waltz stops by the Success Is Voluntary Podcast

Since Go For No came out, it may be the book that has influenced my new recruits the most. I have bought hundreds of copies and given it to every new agent that has joined my team.

Andrea Waltz is the co-author of this sales masterpiece. When I had Jeb Blount on the Success Is Voluntary Podcast a few weeks ago, he offered to put me in touch with her. I couldn’t have been more excited when Andrea agreed to stop by and hang out with us.

Andrea and her co-author, business partner and husband Richard Fenton travel internationally speaking and training sales teams. I believe that the critical mindset of going for no is absolutely foundational and something that every salesperson must understand and get comfortable with. As Andrea and Richard point out in the book, and in this podcast, the people that win the top sales awards at most companies, are also the people that get told no the most. I’m pretty sure

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SIV #054: Geoff Woods – The ONE Thing

What is the one thing that I can do...

Geoff Woods

“If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” – Russian Proverb

Geoff Woods

Geoff Woods is the Vice President of The ONE Thing and the host of The ONE Thing Podcast which is in the top 5% of all podcasts in the world.

After hearing the Jim Rohn quote that “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” Geoff set out on a mission to surround himself with high-level CEOs and successful entrepreneurs.

Fast forward just 10 months, Geoff went from employee to entrepreneur, launching a company with the co-authors of the best selling book The ONE Thing.

Geoff has been featured in and is on a mission to teach people how to take back control of their time and get clarity on how they want to invest it.

The ONE Thing Book

In 2012 Gary Keller (as in the founder of Keller Williams Real Estate)  and Jay Papasan released the book: The ONE Thing. It has been incredibly successful, selling over 1 million copies and was a #1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller.

I first consumed The ONE Thing via Audible, which was great, but I am so glad I went back and bought a physical copy to be able to see the multiple charts and infographics it contains.

Since reading the book, it has kind of been annoying… but in a good way. I hear

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