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.

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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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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#053: David Allen – Getting Things Done

The Art of Stress-free Productivity

David Allen

David Allen literally changed my life. Before I read his book Getting Things Done, I was constantly flying by the seat of my pants, stressed out, missing deadlines and wondering why I seemed to forget so many important things that I needed to do.

When someone put David’s book in my hand, the subtitle absolutely sang to me. How could I not hope against hope that David was going to teach me the Art of Stress-Free Productivity? (Tweet That)

I devoured the book and then went back and read it step-by-step, implementing the teaching he outlined. It wasn’t easy, but I dedicated two full days to capturing everything I had running around in my mind, my email, physical inbox, the piles on my desk and the unfinished projects I had started.

I can’t tell you the relief I felt even before I  started to tackle the projects and tasks I had now cataloged.

David will never know how much he has helped me. I appreciate him jumping on with us today, but I am forever thankful that he wrote Getting Things Done!

Now SERIOUSLY get out your pen and notepad. If this doesn’t help you, I’m worried about you!!!

Things David and I Talked About


  • It’s truly a global world.
  • He held 35 jobs by the time he turned 35.
  • He didn’t know what he wanted to be when he grew up.
  • While helping other’s build their business he learned methodologies that he was able to turn into a consulting practice.
  • Developed Getting Things Done as a package of best practices.
  • The difference between outcome and action thinking.
  • Execution comes down to the micro level.
  • Water appropriately engages with its universe.
  • GTD is about getting a clear head so you can stay appropriately engaged with your universe.
  • The stress of opportunity – How many things could you be doing right now?
  • Stress is defined as something I want to be true but isn’t true yet.
  • Asking yourself, “What has your attention and why has it got your attention?”
  • Deciding not to decide is fine as long as you have a decide-not-to-decide system.
  • “Set a meeting” is not a next step.
  • “Buy cat food” takes up as much space in your brain at 3:00am as “Create a life.”
  • A lot of people are trying to wait until they know what to do before they’ve decided what doing looks like.
  • The average person has between 30-100 would, could, should, or need to’s running around in their head.
  • Keep your filing system simple or you won’t file. You will stack instead.
  • When in doubt, throw it out… When in doubt, keep it… WHAT!?!?
  • “Neat” and “Organized” are two entirely different things.
  • You need as many files as you need.
  • Most people live in “emergency scan modality.”
  • Your ability to deal with surprise is, to a large degree, your ability to have zero backlog.
  • “You have to think about your stuff more than you think, but not as much as you’re afraid you might.” – David Allen (Tweet That)

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#052: Jeb Blount – Objections and Fanatical Prospecting

Jeb Blount and Objections

Today’s guest may very well be the biggest name in sales training today. I also believe he is one of the best.

Jeb Blount has written 9 best-selling books on sales. His book, Fanatical Prospecting which he published in 2015, struck a chord and has continued to resonate with thousands of salespeople everywhere.

Jeb just released his new book, Objections, The Ultimate Guide For Mastering The Art And Science Of Getting Past No, on May 17th of this year and it immediately shot up the charts to a #1 bestseller.

Anthony Iannarino, a best-selling author in his own right and former Success Is Voluntary podcast guest, declared: “Objections is the indispensable guide to the meaningful client conversations that only Jeb Blount could deliver. You will never again fear rejection and you will never again struggle to get past ‘No.’ Jeb is at the very top of his game in Objections, and after reading it, you will be too.”

Jeb travels the US and internationally as he speaks 250 days a year to sales organizations of all types.

Oh yeah, he also runs, the premier job site in the sales industry.

You will definitely want to get out your pen and a pad to take notes. Jeb absolutely crushed it in today’s podcast. If you don’t learn anything… That’s on you.

Things Jeb and I Talked About

  • His dedication to sales as a profession and being a true pro.
  • In 25 years he has made every sales mistake.
  • Has had great success and great failure.
  • His decision to leave corporate America and start his own company.
    • How tough it was.
    • The work it took.
    • Had to GRIND every day.
    • How he worked so hard he hurt physically.
    • How he got up at 2:00am to work on his business.
    • How his wife said that she believed in him, and knew he was doing the right thing, but would like to see some evidence. (The lovely Dizzy D says the same thing to me…)
    • It was intimidating and a blow to his ego to start over.
    • He was willing to take a step back to move forward.
    • The need to burn the ships. It leaves only one choice… to succeed!
    • It took him nearly six years to get his company on a very sturdy foundation.
    • There is no secret to success. Just hard work! GRIND.

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#051: Scott Channell – Dramatically Improve Your Cold Call Scripts

Even if you think you are a professional


I’ve been in sales for 22 years. I’ve made thousands of cold calls. I’ve lead sales teams that combined, have made hundreds of thousands of cold calls. I’ve written cold call scripts. I’ve trained cold calling. I’ve considered myself to be an expert… Today’s guest, Scott Channell helped me to understand I needed to learn even more!

What We Talked About

Scott’s start in general marketing including direct response.

How he started developing cold call scripts.

How he was able to set over 2,00 appointments with CEOs of major companies.

When you get the prospect on the phone, you have 7 seconds to earn the right to a 30-second conversation.

Why it’s critical to get the prospect to choke on “I’m all set.” And how to do that.

Why most sales teams miss one of the most important elements of a cold call script: Credibility

The need to brutally eliminate every unnecessary word in your script, including your last name.

Scott’s rule of 7.

A big part of sales if just bumping into someone who meets your profile, has a need for what you do, and would benefit from your experience.

Why phrases like, “How are you doing?” or, “Am I catching you at a bad time?” are dumb.

Don’t make it easy for them to lump you in with the idiots.

They don’t care if you are conversational. Just lay the value on the table and let them say yes or no.

You can’t out-nice the completion.

The importance of a CRM, segmentation, and why he (and I) use ACT.

Everything has changed yet the drivers of success in sales haven’t changed at all.

Understand that you don’t have as much wiggle room as you once did. Make sure you are executing when you get the chance.

Don’t chase shiny objects. Work a solid plan.

“Don’t wish it was easier. Wish you were better.” ~ Jim Rhone

Books We Talked About

Spin Selling – Neil Rakham

Managing Major Sales – Neil Rackham & Richard Ruff

Million Dollar Consulting – Alan Weiss

Setting Sales Appointments: How to Gain Access To Top Level Decision-Makers – Scott Channell

7 Steps to Sales Scripts for B2B Appointment Setting – Scott Channell


Where To Find Scott

You can reach Scott at his website: or on LinkedIn at

Next Week

You will definitely want to join us again next week when I bring on maybe the most sought-after sales trainers, authors, and speakers on the planet. Jeb Blount stopped by last week and the conversation was absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to share it with you!

#Bonus Podcast: – Business Blast with Tyler Wagner

I'm the guest!


This is a bonus podcast!

I was asked to appear on Tyler Wagner’s podcast “The Business Blast.” Before saying yes, I thought I would go on and listen to an episode or two. The episodes were so short, typically 5-8 minutes, that I got sucked in! I probably listened to 9 or 10 before I realized I had fallen into the same kind of vortex I sometimes find myself in when I go on to Youtube to “watch just one video.”

Tyler asks the same set of questions to each guest. It is fascinating to listen to how different people perceive the world.

I Challenge You

Instead of just listening to my answers, I’d encourage you to pretend Tyler was

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