On this episode, Tim interviews his friend Andrew Goldschmidt, the Senior Vice President of Sales & Client Success at Engage2Excel. For over 26 years, Andrew has been helping organizations transform their talent through an authentic approach to partnering with clients. Listen in as Andrew talks about the value of using humor to create opportunities and forge relationships in a business world that often takes itself too seriously. Selling is no joke!
Speaker A: Hey, welcome to the selling excellence podcast for business executives. We
all know b two b selling isn’t getting any easier. And what’s worse, it’s getting more
expensive. Hello, I’m Tim Geyser to your host and partner at Octusiq, a selling
excellence as a service company. Our goal today is to give you insights on how you can
turn your sales force into a company asset. We hope you enjoy.
Speaker B: Today.
Speaker A: We have one of my oldest friends, somebody I worked with back in the
good old days. The good old days when. Well, then, when they were the good old days.
How are you today? Andrew Gold Schmidt.
Speaker B: I am good, Tim. Good to see you.
Speaker A: You’re looking well. You’re looking spry, you’re looking fit. You’re looking
ready for it. So, for the audience today, let me tell you a little story about Andrew. You
Speaker B: I hope so.
Speaker A: Back in the day, we worked for a company called Kinexa, and we had what
we called our world conference, where we brought all our customers and anybody
surrounding our customers, partners, and everything else, like many companies do.
And one of the things about this, we had a lot of energy right back in the day, and it was
just fantastic. And so I asked Andrew, who is arguably, boy, this means this is going to
put a lot of pressure on you, Andrew. One of the funniest, most delightful, one of the
smartest, most witty, executives I ever worked with. And so I asked Andrew if he would
host our world conference, and, by God, he just nailed it. He was fantastic. Created a
great environment. Do you remember those days, Andrew? And if you do, what sticks
out to you?
Speaker B: Well, first of all, thank you for all the blatant compliments. I appreciate all of
that and fully.
Speaker A: Expect them from, you know, I’m a good kiss ass.
Speaker B: That was pretty good. Those are a lot of work. well, I guess what it comes
down to back then, I had started kind of lampooning our principles. I’m sure you
remember that, Tim, to put together, powerpoints and introduce new principles to the
company. Back when we were just a little company. And, that kind of got parlayed into
Rudy, our CEO, saying, all right, guess what job you’re getting for our world conference.
It’s both a blessing and a curse, as you well know. Right. but I enjoyed that in the role
that I was in at the time, in client services. It gave me the chance to, I forget one of our
clients called, me, the mayor. During that period. I was hosting, and then I was hosting
the clients and gave a nice level of visibility to.
Speaker A: Well, it did. And really, that’s the crux of, aside from the humor and all of the
things Andrew has taught me and many others, the value of intellect, but also, using
humor as a way to really, one, get past issues that you many times face in business, but
also really advance that relationship to turn into something fantastic. And Andrew right
now is, running customer service and sales at engage to excel, a fantastic company
where he and, several other of us alumni from the good old days of Connectsa are, I
guess, just to set this up for what you kind of have this innate ability. Right?
How have you used humor to advance relationships and business
So talk to us about how you’ve used humor and how it’s been valuable throughout the
course of your career, and how have you used it to advance relationships and business
and all of those sorts of things.
Speaker B: Well, I’ll start by saying, first of all, nobody thinks they’re funny. You speak
your mind and, okay, you.
Speaker A: Just know you’re funny.
Speaker B: Is that what it is? I’m so freaking funny trying to be funny. But, one of the
things that has been useful for me, particularly when you’re trying to, gain some level of
visibility within an organization, this was particularly the case at Kinexa, is if you’re
willing to say things that other people will not, it’s both about serious business and
what’s going on, but also the levity side of it. and for me, that was kind of like breaking
down barriers, because if, you could be comfortable, if you could speak to the CEO or
the COO or the CFO and get a laugh or two, their defenses come down as well. You
realize that you don’t necessarily take yourself too seriously, but as long as the
contribution is there from a business perspective, it helps build those relationships. And
for me, it was doing that not only internally to get a little bit of visibility, and I didn’t want
to come across as, insincere or, not serious, but it did allow me the opportunity to have
more sit down conversations with, executives and people that I wanted to emulate and
be around. Right. So that was definitely very useful. and then with clients, it gives you
an opportunity to break down their defenses as well. And if you’re in a difficult situation,
once again, you don’t want to come across as not serious or not taking the moment
serious or their feedback serious. But I find it, you’re more engaged in more personal
gain, a more.
Speaker A: Personal relationship with the know, just to hear you talk about it, maybe it
never really struck me. Know, this is a little bit, And comedians in cars getting know
how. Jerry Seinfeld kind of tries to unravel the science behind humor and all of those
sort of things.
How do you diffuse tension in meetings or customer service meetings
As I was listening to know, you think about, there’s a lot of tension in business, right.
There’s the little tensions where you’re getting ready to get ready for a meeting, and
you’re maybe prepping with the team, or you’re about ready to walk in, or you’re at a
cocktail party. You don’t know anybody need to work the room. We live, especially in
sales and customer service, on a certain amount of tension edge. Right. And that’s true
for the customers. Right, as well.
Speaker B: Absolutely. And I think as someone who, is in those situations, whether
you’re about to make a big presentation or you’re dealing with an angry client or
whatever the case might be, sometimes it’s for your own benefit.
Speaker A: Yeah.
Speaker B: I’ll give you an example from one of the world conferences. So, Dara Torres
was somebody that I had the opportunity to introduce, and she’s a m. Multi Olympian,
Speaker A: She was fantastic.
Speaker B: She was fantastic.
Speaker A: Yeah. She did a great job.
Speaker B: And I remember distinctly, you get a level of nerves, right? So you’re sitting
there in the audience, and you’re watching a speaker, and you’re trying to think of, well,
what do I say in the moment? How do I curb my own, fears? And so you spend a
couple of seconds, and you think of something to say, and you get up there and you
throw it out there, right. And it helps calm me down. So when I hear a little bit of
laughter, I hear somebody react to something. it puts me in the zone. I feel more
comfortable with what I’m about to say, whether that’s, So in that moment, she was up
there, and, of course, she’s an olympian swimmer. And incredibly.
Speaker A: And a great story. I mean, she just.
Speaker B: I’m not. What are you saying?
Speaker A: What are you saying?
Speaker B: Yeah. Not only am I not a swimmer, I’m a little winded right now. Holy.
Speaker A: Can we take a break? I need to kind of stretch now.
Speaker B: You think about the difference between her being on stage and then, of
course, me having to come back out there, gray suit and pocket square, and I said, how
fat did I just get? Of course, I don’t know if you remember that, but everybody laughs,
and I’m immediately more relaxed. Right. I’m immediately more comfortable in that
moment. And I think the same holds true for business meetings or phone calls. Difficult
phone calls, those kinds of things, or putting somebody not on the defensive, but
warming up and more agreeable and more relaxed, right.
Speaker A: To some degree in that setting, you’re the host of the party, right? And if the
host, you go to anything, whether it’s Thanksgiving with the family or it’s a cocktail party
at work or whatever it is, if the host is relaxed and having fun and everything seems to
be covered, then so does everybody else. And you did that so very well, right. You kind
of served as the host where we could get down to business because we sold a lot of
stuff during that conference, before, during and after. And so the tone of it was really
key. But you’re the master of ceremonies, for that. But you’re also doing that in one on
ones, right, in meetings. So I’m going to put you on the spot, Andrew. I mean, you did a
great job of serving as master of ceremonies at our world conference. But what about
meetings? What about specific times? I mean, how did you diffuse the situation or
make everybody comfortable so that business could happen?
Speaker B: Yeah, well, I mean, one example I can give, and I’d said before, there’s
more than one where we’ve had to diffuse a, wired room, so to speak. But I can think of
one presentation that we had to give, where we walked into, basically an, amphitheater
of sorts who knew that was inside the corporate building. But we were not given any
chairs, and we had to go up on stage and literally present one by one to an entire room
full of people before we actually got up on stage. And this wasn’t necessarily to the
group. there were a couple of chairs sitting there and there was somebody sitting in a
chair. And we had this quick exchange and I didn’t really know who the person was, but
we had a quick exchange about the chair, and I’m glad I stretched my hamstrings. And
you’re just a couple of quick little jokes about the fact that we were supposed to stand
for 2 hours chuckling, and some people overheard that. And then that group of people
who overheard that conversation seemed to be more engaged and relaxed, because
we were being light about the current surroundings and the fact that we had to present
standing up. And then after the fact, a couple of people, said that as a joke after the fact
about next time we’ll give you chairs. And it was just this little thing. And to me, after the
fact, I’m like, well, that made them more relaxed because they realized they were
putting us in a difficult situation. It made me feel better because I’m like, hey, we have
Speaker A: What are you people doing to us?
Speaker B: And it’s very small, and it’s not anything but just making the comment and
trying to engage offline without the powerpoints and the business speak and everything
else, I think helps. I think it helps that situation. Now, like I said before, I think, it,
depends on the situation, but in that particular case, it made sense to be a little light
You mentioned humor helps convey that you like each other in
Speaker A: Well, I don’t know how many times you and I did a lot of work together,
pitched a lot of business. And one of the things that, as I listened to you, that just
popped in my head, some feedback, that humor helped us convey that we like each
other. And when a buying group or a set of executives are going to make a decision,
they don’t know much. They have to rely on what they see, what they hear, but also
what kind of their EQ is telling them. Do I like these people? Can I trust these people?
And we heard time and time again, we went with you guys because you seem to like
each other. You seem to kind of trust each other. And of course, some of that was just
giving each other a little bit of hell in the middle of the meetings, right? Yeah.
Speaker B: Well, it makes you real. I mean, it just makes you a real person. You don’t
come across as scripted or artificial or, not genuine. It makes you a real person. I think
that’s important to come across that way. I think it makes people feel better about what
you’re saying and they trust you more. I totally agree. Internally or externally, as
colleagues or otherwise.
So what have you learned coming out of the pandemic?
Speaker A: So what have you learned coming out of the pandemic? You run a sales
team, you run a customer service team. has that importance of what you just said
grown? Has it been diminished? Has the pandemic changed the value of what you’re
just talking about?
Speaker B: Well, I think the virtual aspect of the way we communicate today, and, of
course, we’re starting to do more travel, everybody is as much of an issue as it was.
But, back when, folks weren’t commuting, you had an entirely virtual business
relationship, internally and externally, for that matter. asking questions, telling stories,
talking about the stuff you’re going through, being real about the trials that you’re going
through. I mean, people needed to hear that as much as you needed to talk about it. I
think this is the reality for some people. Situations are far more serious when you’re
talking about an illness and everything else. But, I mean, ultimately, if you’re stuck at
home and you’re with your kids all the time, and there’s so much content to talk about
so many things that you’re going through new experiences that, I think that in and of
itself helped you stay very close to clients, prospects not as common during that period
of time. Of course, there wasn’t a ton of buying going on in the middle of COVID but
clients needed to know that you were paying attention to them and you had their well
being at heart.
Speaker A: Yeah. One of our, clients, he’s a musician and he’s a great musician. On
weekends he plays in bands. And, I would have never known that if we would have met
in a corporate office, but on his Zoom call, when we had our first discussion off in the
backside was a Fender telecaster. I just kind of picked it up and started talking and say,
hey, I noticed that, and what’s the deal? And we ended up talking about music, some of
his bands, some of the famous people that he actually played with, and some of the
bands. It was really interesting. And for all of what we’re complaining about with Zoom
calls and various other things, it’s really an interesting opportunity for people to notice
those things about the person because you’re living in their environment. And I’ve really
had some great conversations and made some really good friends. Just because you
start to identify with some of those personal things, that, those personal artifacts. I
mean, I’ve got my university football behind me and I don’t know how much crap I take
Speaker B: Not to mention the harmonica that I’ve seen you pull out something you
should take some crap over.
Speaker A: Yeah, they never mentioned the bagpipes, but the harmonica, every time.
Speaker B: It’s the jaw.
Speaker A: Harp.
Speaker B: Maybe it’s the jaw.
Speaker A: Yes, that’s exactly it. Exactly it.
Yoho says part of being a successful seller is trust
So, I mean, as you think about this, what are some of the things that people can learn,
to be better at selling and creating this kind of more open, dynamic and personal
dynamic that people can take away from listening to us Yoho’s talk today.
Speaker B: Well, I’m glad you said that. I don’t think I have anything all that surprising to
say. I think it comes down to part of being able to have a successful seller, advisor,
consultant and client customer relationship is trust, and it’s being real and knowing that
you’re communicating in a similar way. And I think whether humor is involved or you’re
telling stories about your family or other things, I think folks need to be very comfortable
with doing that and taking the conversation a little bit off topic for a period of time
because that makes you a real person. Not everybody comes in and talks about one
serious item and then leaves. I mean, there’s an openness about that. I guess maybe
it’s twofold. One, early in my career and to this day, it’s really to not be afraid of being in
front of people, speaking, telling stories, taking a chance in.
Speaker A: Those kinds of things, just doing it.
Speaker B: Not everybody wants to host a world conference. I get that. But I think if you
can develop a comfort level with that kind of an environment, or the thought of doing
something like that, or leading groups or whatever, that’s going to benefit you, because
then people see you being confident. They know that you’re comfortable in front of
groups, they’re going to put you in front of clients, they’re going to give you
opportunities that folks that are more hesitant to do that kind of stuff won’t get. So that
part of it is that there’s a lot of stuff about public speaking. The other part of it is, when
you’re in relationships one on one, it’s okay to try to be a little funny. I love making
people laugh. It’s one of my true joys in life. And I’m not going to stop doing it just
because I’m working that great man. Right. I think that’s, part of it too. Don’t force it. If
it’s real for you and that’s your personality, let that come out. And I think that’s going to
help you. It certainly has helped me.
Andrew Miller: Quick wit and humor are signs of intellect
Speaker A: Well, ah, one of the things, and this is the ultimate compliment to you, is,
ah, quick wit and humor is a sign of intellect. And you are off the charts in that regards.
And I loved taking a guy like you or going into a meeting with a guy like you because it
opened up the opportunity to have real conversations faster. And in this day and age,
this day and age where everything is speed, to know breaking down those barriers gets
you to an outcome faster, and there’s nobody that’s better at it than.
Speaker B: So I appreciate that.
Speaker A: Andrew, thank you for your time today. It’s always a pleasure. It’s always one
of the best things to work with.
One story that sticks in your mind involves the CEO of Kinexa
go, before we go, just any final story, something that kind, of sticks in your mind as one
of those anecdotes that stay with you.
Speaker B: I’ll give one that I think, obviously it goes back to Kinexa, and, does involve
Speaker A: he may be listening, just so you know, because he’s a big fan.
Speaker B: He’s going to remember this. At least I hope he does. he never, needless to
say, if he is listening, then he knows exactly how difficult it is to call him out in front of
the client. We went on a pitch, way back, and it was rare to have Rudy, the CEO, be a
part of those meetings, but for whatever reason, a part of this one. Once again, I won’t
name the prospect, but, we were in the meeting, and, as part of the pitch, the, head of
this, I forget it was the chief operating officer. It might have been the chief operating
officer. Either that or head of sales was challenging us on our timeline. We had talked
about implementing and how long it would take. This was for an RPO program.
Speaker A: Okay, yeah, sure. Recruitment, process, outsourcing, for those of you.
Speaker B: and the challenge was, the timeline was too long. And, of course, I was in
the room at that point as an operations guy. So I was talking about what’s realistic and
what’s not realistic, and trying to set expectations. And I had the primary speaking role
at the time. And, the CoO said, this timeline is not going to work. And Rudy, from down
the table, yelled, three weeks. We’re going to do it in three weeks. You’re a lunatic. The
sales guy said, no. I said, no. I said, forget what he just said. We can’t do this. It’s m
literally impossible. And Rudy’s like, three weeks. The CEO goes, did you just tell the
CEO that you can’t do something? And I’m like, yes. And he knows. See, Rudy gets just
the tiniest crack of smile because he realizes three weeks is ridiculous. So I don’t know.
It’s just one of those situations where the client was comfortable with that. They
laughed. Rudy gave me an earphone later, but.
Speaker A: You since forgot that that didn’t matter because, well, why? Because we got
Andrew: Sounds good. It sounds like we need a cocktail
Speaker B: Exactly.
Speaker A: All right, thanks a lot, Andrew. And, until next time, keep them laughing and
sell some stuff.
Speaker B: Sounds good. Sounds good.
Speaker A: It sounds what? It sounds okay. It sounds like we need to get a cocktail.
This podcast is part of Octusiq’s selling excellence podcast series
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the selling excellence podcast for
business executives. I hope you’ve gained some insight on how to help turn your sales
organization into a company asset. Don’t forget to subscribe to the sales excellence
podcast wherever you get your podcast. And for more information about Octusiq or to
schedule a discovery call, visit our firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time, this is Tim
Geyser, your host and partner. At Octusiq here to help you sell more and grow your
company. Ahura Media production.
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