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Don’t Take Yes for an Answer, with Steve Herz [Episode 850]

Steve Herz (President of The Montag Group) is the author of Don’t Take Yes for an Answer: Using Authority, Warmth, and Energy to Get Exceptional Results. And he’s the President of The Montag Group, a leading agency representing top broadcast news and sports talent. In this episode we talk about personal development. Steve believes that we get a lot of positive feedback that we don’t actually deserve and in the age of “everybody gets a trophy” it could be the lack of honest feedback is what’s holding you back from performing at the level you desire.

Plus, we dig into why the difference between being good and great is usually quite narrow. As many of you know, I think we do a real disservice to people who are looking to change by emphasizing transformation. Wholesales changes that are too often unsustainable. Steve and I discuss why it’s often, a small tweak, a gentle adjustment, is all it takes to upgrade the trajectory of a career.

Episode Transcript


Andy Paul: Steve. Welcome to the show.

Steve Herz: Happy to be here.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Pleasure to have you here. Where have you been hanging out during the whole pandemic?

Steve Herz: For the last six months I’ve been out on long Island. You’re a South Hampton. About two hours from where I normally live, which is Manhattan.

Andy Paul: Got it. So are your kids still there? Are they getting ready to have school or have they gone back to school or.

Steve Herz: Kids are in school two days a week via actual classes. And three days a week via zoom this week, they only have three hours off in school. So my wife took them back just for a day. She’s coming back tomorrow and, then come Sunday, we’ll go back together. And then who knows what we’ll do after that? We might just stay in the city at that point.

It’s just.

Andy Paul: Yeah. Yeah, no, it’s, it sounds Mean, my wife just came back from spending battleship about a month in Manhattan and just said the people were much better about wearing their masks there than they are here in

Steve Herz: Yeah, it’s a strange thing. For some reason, I feel like I did a really good job after the initial hit that we took, and it’s not typical for New Yorkers to be so obedient, for lack of a better word.

Andy Paul: But I think the thing about New York that I’ve found is I’ve lived there 10 years now is that they pull together well.

Steve Herz: You’re right about that. It’s in the DNA. I think.

Andy Paul: Yeah, because so many people in such a small space that if you don’t pull together yeah. It’s just chaos. And it may look to chaos, like chaos to people that don’t live there. But, I always find it’s just an amazing sort of rhythm, people always talk about people walking, jaywalking across the lights and so on. This is just part of the rhythm of the city. If it didn’t happen, it would just be gridlock

Steve Herz: That’s a good observation. I agree with you.

Andy Paul: So I love asking this question of guests, so what do you think is the biggest lesson you’ve learned about yourself during the pandemic?

Steve Herz: Wow. That’s a really good question. I think I learned that I didn’t need to be on this crazy treadmill that I’ve been on for the last 53, now I’m 54, I turned 54 during this pandemic. I think it was really. It was a very humbling lesson about life, about what’s important about what, how you spend your time and what you think is important when it isn’t and, spending these last six months, every single day, basically 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

My wife and my kids in it, it was great. I have to say I’ve really enjoyed it. I feel like I know my kids better for the last six months than I did for the last they’re 11 and 13 for all those years combined. And I really cherish that time. And obviously there’s a lot about COVID that’s horrible. And I would never want to say this publicly, although I am right now, there’s a lot about it that’s been really, for me personally, it’s really given me a new perspective on things. I hope I can keep it.

Andy Paul: Yeah, I was going to ask. Yeah. Do you think you can keep it?

Steve Herz: I think I can, as long as, I can make it a habit, like just to not do things, to just keep yourself busy all the time by getting back on that hamster wheel.

Andy Paul: I did something similar when my kids were of similar age. They were 10 and 12 and I’d been working for mostly startups, but a fast-growth startup and traveling constantly around the world. and yeah, I stepped off the hamster wheel when I said there were 10, 12, and 10 and. Yeah, until they graduate high school. Yeah, I was that guy that people weren’t, it took pity on me, but I was at every game, every recital, every kid event. I think I was the only parent that’s all. and yeah. Then when they graduated high school, went back to it.

Steve Herz: Yeah, it’s great. It’s funny. One of the things I watched on Netflix in the time that this pandemic happened was a biography documentary about Garth Brooks. And I happened to be living in Nashville from 1988 to 1991. When I was going to law school at literally the exact moment that Garth Brooks came onto the scene, it was the exact same time.

So I’ve always been a fan of his, but I never knew that he quit country music and literally quit and took a 10, 13 year break to raise his three daughters while he was divorced. And they lived in the same house. He and his wife were the same property, and I have a lot of respect for what he did. And it was just odd to watch that during this pandemic.

Andy Paul: Yeah, I can just speak for myself as him, no regrets for taking that time. I’m sure there were impacts from a career and monetary standpoint, but. You never get those, you said you never get that time back. So there’s plenty of time to restart it and create a whole new journey when I go back to it.

Hopefully you can stick with it. Your book will help you do that. So we’re going to talk about your book. Don’t Take Yes for an Answer: Using Authority, Warmth, and Energy to Get Exceptional Results and I enjoyed the book. Cause it speaks to actually a couple of themes that I talk a lot about to the sales committee on this podcast.

So you wrote that basically we all get a lot of positive feedback that basically we don’t deserve. And which means that we all get a lot of yeses that we really can’t trust. I thought that wasn’t the case. So why do you think that is?

Steve Herz: I think it’s a lot of different reasons. I think number one, it’s just look when you talk about feedback. You’re giving someone else your opinion, and to give someone a less than positive opinion is a risk. If I tell you Andy, I don’t love your show. There are three things about it I would do differently. That’s a risk for me to do that. I don’t know that you want to hear that. First of all. I don’t know if I’m right. It’s just my opinion. Secondly, you don’t know that I’m right. And so it could become a very awkward conversation and it’s really not my place to tell you how to have a better show. And I’m just using that metaphorically. Of course, you know that, but. I do, actually, I was just telling you before the show, I really, to prepare for you. I listened to a few different shows and I certainly loved the most recent one I listened to with Karen Hurt. I thought it was fascinating. So I really do the show and I like your style. You have a very laid back interviewing style, which is refreshing. But, anyway, going back to the point is that. If you think about it, people, it’s your job to seek out the feedback, not to ask someone else to give it to you. And so it really opens up the door for that, because if you’re not opening up the door for it, then people are just going to tell you what you want to hear, because why should they take that risk? There’s nothing for them to gain from it.

Andy Paul: Yeah, it’s interesting because you’re one of a number of guests I’ve spoken to recently that sort of spoke on the same theme, which is that, and I’ll summarize it by saying is that it’s a fool’s errand to expect that in the context of working for a company that people in the company will give you the sort of honest feedback that you need.

And you illustrate this with several stories in your book about individuals that you are working with, or coaching who, you’re being told on one level, yeah, you’re doing fine and then they are getting fired because they actually weren’t performing that well. And I guess the theme being that as individuals is that you can’t sit around and wait for this honest feedback to come from a company. You need to be very much more self-directed in terms of assessing yourself and taking action to improve.

Steve Herz: Yeah. Cause I think that because we have this culture and I lay out some of the other reasons why in the books are just to get,

Andy Paul: some of those,

Steve Herz: think there’s, I lay out three reasons for it and I’ll give you a fourth as well. So the three prime reasons I think for this kind of. Lack of feedback.

Culture is one. You have this great inflation that’s permeated society. And so nobody’s fault. There’s a lot of reasons for it. I describe in the book, it’s become a consumer culture in academia. The second thing is that you have this participation trophy culture. That’s really blown up in the last 30, 40 years, and you it’s morphed into an MVP trophy, whereas, it’s really good for someone to go and try out for a baseball team.

What have you, but. Don’t think you’re the MVP just cause you’re playing right field and bedding knife. And then the last thing is this, where it’s really happened in corporate America and large companies don’t want to fire you anymore. They don’t even want to tell you’re fired. They will give you a reorg or a downsizing or all these euphemisms for saying, it’s not you, it’s me.

And then you never know what you could have done better. And then the last thing is, I just think there’s this mentality out there. Of this idea of no judgements, who am I to judge you? And there is some truth to that, but if you’re never being judged in terms of what someone’s saying to you and giving you feedback, then you’re ignorant to the fact that you are being judged.

We’re all being judged all the time, subconsciously and otherwise. And people, that’s a competitive world. And if some company thinks that they can get a better employee than you or you’re, you can find a better doctor, but a dentist, better lawyer, better, whatever, better customer service provider, just know that you’re being judged all the time.

And don’t pretend that it’s not happening. Cause it is.

Andy Paul: yeah. Recently you gave, I really is, the participation trophy, and I think there’s a theme that sort of ties them together. The grade inflation is that it’s decided that everybody needs to be a superstar. And that it’s like it’s no longer enough just to be good.

And you read sales books, they’re full of this, right? It’s how do you become a top performer? And it’s come on, there’s a thin layer of people at the top and everybody else is either above average or average, or maybe below average, but it’s like good. Has it become a pejorative?

Steve Herz: you and

Andy Paul: And I think that the other and the other one I’d add to that is that sort of. That’s our place in this, I think is this whole idea of helicopter parenting, which is that there’s a couple of generations there come of age in this environment where they serve, except people in a position of authority to rescue them.

Steve Herz: I think there’s, I don’t think maybe in your podcast or someone else, someone was talking about how you can clear the path for the boy. You can prepare the path for the boy, or you can prepare the boy for the path and. Too many people. I said this to my wife and she yelled at me for saying it to her.

She denied it, which is funny. Maybe she’s right. Maybe I’m doing it. But I think sometimes we do it with our kids. We’re preparing the path too much instead of preparing the children and it’s tempting. It’s very tempting, but, I think you have to avoid that temptation. And I think to your point, that mentality has gone into the business world now, too. We don’t think people can handle it. So we secretly hide it from them. And then we just got rid of them. Some, a major company, a head of HR and executive vice president and the C-suite of a company that has 400,000 employees told me off the record. We don’t fire people anymore. We don’t even want our laggard employees to know that they were pushed out. We stealthily get rid of them. That’s what he said, stealthily.

Andy Paul: I take it. It’s not GE because they were famous and checked while shit on the bottom 20. Left every year. We’re excused.

Steve Herz: not cheap.

Andy Paul: Yeah. I just, some people have written that this is a, what we’re seeing a sort of response, from the boomers were raised differently and socialized differently that they didn’t get feedback at all, nor did they expect.

They’re basically told what to do and did it, in the workplace. And. Yeah. I wonder if that’s something you’ve picked up in your research

Steve Herz: I actually didn’t find it to be that much different from the baby boomers to this generation. I think this mentality, and maybe it’s just because now this mentality has taken root in corporate America for probably 15 or 20 years at this point. And it’s taking more and more roots. So whether you’re, like I said, I’m 54 or you’re 30, it’s a mindset that I think it affects everybody. It’s become the dominant culture.

Andy Paul: what’s this. But it’s an interesting conundrum is that at the same time, this is, as you’re saying, this is the corporate culture that’s evolving. And it has evolved is like Gallup has done surveys of sales professionals and the number one reason they change jobs is they’re looking for, they’re looking for an opportunity to develop. They’re looking for somebody to help them, Yeah, prepare them for the path those you talked about and they’re not getting it. And so what we see at least in the sales world is a lot of churn because people are seeking this, but not getting it. And on the other hand, what you’re saying is what companies are saying, we’re trying not to provide that.

Steve Herz: You’re right. And it’s funny because you did talk about this and that other podcast, where I thought it was interesting is the difference between a qualitative approach and a quantitative approach. And if you just tell people, Oh, get 10 leads or close this amount of business. That’s a very quantitative approach and I think you would agree. That’s not the way to build a sustainable lasting excellent business. There is a sustainable way to do it is through a qualitative approach, like Karen said on the podcast, how was the phone call? How was the interaction with the person? How did you react to them? If you teach people a process and a qualitative approach, then it’s replicable and it’s teachable and it’s coachable through an organization, but that’s difficult. And I think there are still some great companies that are doing that. And I, but at the end of the day, what really matters in my opinion, isn’t, we’re talking about the macro, right?

We’re in this kind of very big macro conversation, but my book is really about the micro and I don’t think it’s possible for me to change the macro. And I’m not even going to try to change the macro because it’s not where I want to put my energy. What I’m hoping is that the person who’s listening to this podcast is going to think, I’m an individual on the micro level and this is affecting me.

And what do I do about it? And if my company isn’t going to have the culture or the courage to tell me what I want to hear, and when I’m sorry, tell me what I need to hear instead of what I want to hear. And I gotta go seek that out. And that’s what I’m hoping is that people will read my book and have a mindset shift.

About how they should be functioning in the world and not get lulled into this false sense of security, because that’s the only thing that matters in my opinion.

I agree a hundred percent and one of the reasons I really enjoy the book is. May I just go, I agree with that and aligns with my philosophy, but you wrote that, the good news is a quote is the good news, is that the space between good and great can be quite narrow, often a small tweak, a gentle adjustment.

and I agree I think that. In general, if we look at people and say in the sales world, who people listen to this podcast is that, yeah, they’ve all been generally similarly trained. They’re similarly skilled. they operate, I think, within a sort of a narrow band of proficiency.

And I think what chain, what’s the difference between some people on the other is their perspective, right? It could be just one, 1%. One degree shift in perspective makes all the

I agree. And I want to just build on that for a moment, because if you don’t mind, it goes into the second part of my book, which is about this whole idea of awe, authority, warmth, and energy. And I think that I was talking to a friend of mine today, and we were complimenting this guy that we knew in common, who was a bond trader.

And then he left the bond trading world. His name is John Sessler and now he owns an olive oil and food company. He called Zoe and I were both saying how. He’s an impressive guy, but he kinda, he has an Aw shucks way about himself. He’s just, you would never know. He was so hard driving and he has this quality that he never gets angry.

He’s always smiling and he has a very good demeanor. And I think that’s what makes him very successful as a salesperson. Because he keeps it positive and keeps it light. And you never see that frustration in his demeanor and his face in his body language. And it’s just a great quality to have. And I think that’s what I’m trying to say to people in this book is some of your communication behaviors are what’s going to make or break you or make the difference between good to great or mediocre to good, et cetera.

And these are the things we’re not really thinking about, and I have a problem. Frankly, I don’t do that. I need to work on that. I get angry and frustrated sometimes and show it too much. And that’s the fastest way to turn off a potential customer or a current customer, And so just practicing that and practicing this, I call it under the rubric of a warm, connected connection.

If you can practice, that’s going to have a very significant outcome for you over time.

Andy Paul: I liked the way you talked about consistency, right? As is, you have a statement that your reputation stems, not only from how we eat. Talk and behave and present ourselves when we’re in front of a prospect, but also how we behave, speak and do the same things during, my sort summarized it when people aren’t looking right and perhaps the small everyday interactions we have and so on.

and so as I was reading and you’re talking about awe and we’ll get into that, authority, warmth and energy is really what we’re talking about. It seems like to me, I mean it’s and it’s a word that’s not, that’s like we shy away from when I use the word character. I think oftentimes when we talk about personal development, but in that really what you just

Steve Herz: It’s interesting. I’m going to give you the worst answer you’ve ever gotten on a podcast. I don’t know.

Andy Paul: that’s fine.

Steve Herz: haven’t really thought about it in terms of character. I actually, I’m going to disagree with you for a moment. I think it is a character. It is the character you’re right. But I think you could have two people with almost identical characters, right?

You can both be. Really decent people and you can have the same values, but one person might develop what I would call bad communication habits because let’s say. I grew up in a household where there was a lot of screaming and yelling going on and anger was part of the normal course of communication.

And I think so much of the way we communicate is just through imitation, right? And then another guy grows up in a household and there’s no anger and there’s no screaming and yelling. And the only way to kind of combat. Someone yelling and screaming is to just have this really amazing social jujitsu way of taking the temperature down.

So you could have two people with identical characters, and yet one’s going to be a much more successful salesperson because they lack that negative trait. So I, again, I’m not sure if I had to dig deeper, I may find out that you’re actually right.

Andy Paul: it’s just, when I was reading that particular section of the book, is it just called the mind, this quote from John wooden that I remembered, which is in turn derive from a quote from CS Lewis, which is a written quote, was the true test of a person’s character is what he does when no one is watching.

Steve Herz: That’s true.

Andy Paul: and I think that’s a lot of what you’re describing is it’s these habits we have when we’re not on stage talking to a prospect or an existing client or whatever, it’s the way we treat then work with people and present ourselves in our day-to-day lives. That makes the difference.

Steve Herz: Absolutely. And it’s funny. I sometimes think this is probably not the best way to try to sell a book, but I feel like this book in particular is not really for everybody. It’s really, for people that I think are already doing a lot of things. And then still can’t figure out why.

They haven’t gotten to that even good level, whatever good means for you. Cause I know you talk about good and great. and you don’t look, there are people out there who they just know in their heart of hearts, they just haven’t remotely come close to reaching their potential. And they’re good people.

They worked hard, they got a good education. They show up on time. They might even have good ideas, but I think it’s that bucket of. and by the way, they also have good character, but they just, maybe they’re just a communication flaw that they have. That’s really just holding them back and they’re just so blind to it.

They don’t even know why.

Andy Paul: and that’s why I think one of the really valuable things about the book is that you give lots of examples of these. Walk home, small things that I love, the small things. Cause I think if I talk about this idea of the aggregation of marginal gains, which is something that came out of the sports world, but, where are the areas you can make these small improvements, just 1% maybe, but in aggregate make a difference.

And so often, and I think in self-help books and our books we’re trying to teach people is it’s this idea that you have to transform completely the way you are. And that’s the one thing that I enjoyed about your book is that no, you’re talking about these paying attention to these small things that have an outsized impact

Steve Herz: I’m so happy you said that because. Two things. First of all, one of my least favorite books I’ve ever read was don’t sweat the small stuff because I think it’s all small stuff. And then secondly, I’m so glad you CA you made that comment about my book is not trying to be transformational. It’s not this global solution and is, it’s, it is those little tiny things.

And I never really thought about it in these terms, but if you think about it, you put your money into it. Into an investment and I’m not a math guy, so I’ll probably get this all wrong. But. if you were to get 4% a year on your investments, over a 30 year period, and I was to get 5%, it would seem like a small difference, But I’d probably have double or triple what you’d have at the end of the 30 years, which seems counterintuitive. And so it is those small little things that day after day, they compound in your life. And I think my niece just got a great job. She just grabbed me from the university of Michigan, which is our family school, where I went as well.

And she was telling me, there you go. She’s telling me how she got the job that she met, she had a friend in college who on moving day, whose father was there. And she just started talking to the dad after she had gone running and the father, after this conversation said, I like this kid.

I like Eliza. She’s a nice kid. She’s impressed me. Tell her to email me her resume. And she didn’t know who this guy was. He was just. and it turned out he was a lawyer in Chicago whose brother runs a major, wall street firm and got her an interview there. And then she got the job and she had no idea who this guy was.

She didn’t know anything about him. She didn’t know anything about the brother, any of it, but because she engaged this gentleman in a conversation and talked to him and he was curious about her and she was curious about him. She presented, now she has a great job. Aggregation of little things.

Andy Paul: Yeah, in a LinkedIn post I posted today, I went off a little bit of a rant. One of my pet peeves in sales and applies to this exactly is, and this is a, it’s a male salesperson that who does this is called somebody like me. They had somebody call me up, they’ll have a conversation. And at some point.

Or multiple points during the conversation they refer to me as buddy or pal. That drives me nuts. For a variety of reasons, one is it’s just lazy behavior. but it’s also, yeah, I think it. Talks down to people to some degree, that shows they didn’t. If a 20 year old sales salesperson was calling me and I’m in my sixties, why are they going to call me buddy?

it’s just, you’re just not matching your language to the person you’re speaking to. But so small things that make a big difference to me, their disqualifiers. If I’m talking to a salesperson, that’s trying to sell me something and they use that language. We’re dumb.

Steve Herz: with you. And I think it’s disrespectful and it’s also, in my kind of parlance of warmth, I think I use it as a synonym in some respects for trust. And I think I’m having the exact same reaction. I’m not even know. I didn’t experience this buddy thing that you experienced, but I’m having the same reaction viscerally that you had.

I’m just feeling how you feel. And I’m recoiling from the word that you used in reference to, because it’s a falsifying sense of trust and there’s nothing worse than trying to falsely gain someone’s trust. it’s it’s it’s it’s to me, it’s like the worst thing you can do to somebody and you can pull it off obviously, but you recognized it for what it was.

It’s a game and you don’t want to be in that game. You want to have trusting relationships for people that have earned it, not someone in five minutes, who’s familiarizing yourself with you to try to trick you.

Andy Paul: Yeah, the false symptoms say is, Yeah, I equated it to nails on a chalkboard, reaction. So let’s dive into your authority, warmth, energy, just so I would give people a sense so they can buy the book and read more about it. But so are you all as an authority. So define authority.

Steve Herz: authority is now, remember my book is about, again, the people that have substance, right? if you have the substantive authority in your life, you know how to do the job at hand, that’s not enough. It’s about stylistic authority. It’s about the perception of competence that you have, the perception that you can be handed a job.

Or a task that might have influence over other people. And so it’s in your voice, it’s in your body language, it’s in your emotional commitment to your words, it’s in your eye contact that you make with someone it’s in the inflection, in what you speak it’s in your physicality. So all these things are going to be an indicator of your authority.

And, you can also talk about confidence. Part of it is confidence, of course, but these are just, watch words. Too, because I think we’re, like I said before, we’re all making judgments about each other and. You may be the greatest X at what you do, but if you haven’t ha and I use it as an example of a dentist in the book, cause we’ve all been to the dentist and, needing a root canal and you go to this one guy and he tells you the 17 different ways you can do a root canal and the 17 different ways he’s done it in the past.

And there’s all these variables to consider and your head is spinning and you just don’t want to be around this guy anymore. And then you go to the other dentist. And he, or she tells you, look, I’ve done this, I’ve done a thousand root canals. I did 50 this week alone. You’re going to be put out and I’m gonna, I’m gonna, I’m gonna numb you.

And in an hour, you’re going to be perfect. And that’s the person that shows a lot of authority. And you want to put yourself in that person’s hands and you don’t know whether person A, a, or person B is actually better, but you’re really judging them based on their style.

Andy Paul: Yeah, and these perceptions are so powerful and. In researching my second book, I was writing, I was doing research into this whole idea of science and perception and this fascinating thing was, that people now quickly form perceptions of somebody they meet for the first time or encounter for the first time.

And what the research has shown is that these perceptions are so sticky that even when people are confronted with facts that contradict the perception. They tend not to let the perception go that they formed initially. So all of these points you raised about, the way that you, the things you way you present yourself and the language you use and so on is if you’re not conscious of it.

And you accidentally misrepresent yourself unintentionally. it’s going to stick even though you may be extremely competent and maybe the best fit for what this person needs or whatever, if you don’t make that good first impression, you

Steve Herz: And I think there’s so many people in this world and maybe some people who are listening to this who use too many filler words, or they have this bad habit of their eyes dart away when they’re making a point to another person when they’re speaking. And these are just two of many little communications.

Self sabotaging behaviors that you could be doing. And unless you’ve become aware of them, you’re constantly reinforcing your own mediocrity in this world. And that’s unfortunate because you’re working hard. You are competent, you do have the authority substantively, you worked hard, but yet stylistically you’re killing yourself.

And I think it’s such a shame.

Andy Paul: And when you’re talking about little things, to the point, you just made it, you just talk about your voice, right? It’s your pitch pace and what was the V I forgot your volume, right? Is. I’ve coached people and actually sent people to get training on their voice. People, they’re extremely competent people, but their voice was holding them back.

And you tend to think, this is just the way I am. And it’s no, this is having an impact. I had one guy that worked for me that it was his voice that sounded like it was a struggle to come out of his mouth. It’s like it’s stuck in his throat somewhere. Yeah. Extremely capable individual. And for him, it was a matter of actually his case doing Toastmasters for a year, just an Island to relax.

And it was like a

Steve Herz: you chase that guy’s life just by setting in you’re the catalyst that’s set in motion, these relatively small things in his life, and I’m sure he’s succeeding beyond anywhere where he would have been without that.

Andy Paul: Yeah. And we early in this show, we’ll have early, maybe in the first hundred episodes of that, of the 800 plus we have here, I interviewed a woman who, whose businesses working with salespeople just on their vocal usage, I guess is the best way of saying it is right. Tone of voice everything, because it’s part of this first impression.

Steve Herz: And look, I think it’s part of your second impression and your third impression to your point earlier about how you solidify. These perceptions, even if you change it and look, the one thing the research shows that I relied on in the book is that only 15% of your success professionally is correlated and causally related to how good you are at the technical part of your job.

And so the way I see that.

Andy Paul: hard hearts, hard

Steve Herz: And the way I perceive that is that it doesn’t mean you don’t have to be good at the hard skills. You do have to be good at them, but almost anyone you’re competing against in your job is also good enough at the hard skills. So that’s not going to be the differentiator.

The differentiator is, like I said, trust and perception of competence, which is authority, or, the E is energy and how you energize other people. And so those are the things that can’t be commoditized. Those feelings people have for you.

Andy Paul: Yeah, I tell folks that there’s this universal question that everybody has to answer repeatedly throughout their professional lives in their personal lives, which is when someone meets you. And is the question they ask is why you. Why should I invest my money with you? I should invest my time with you.

Why should we become friends? I go down the list of questions I have to do with almost every interpersonal situation, whether it’s business or on a personal level. And you have to answer that question for that person, right? And it’s not based on how you verbalize that answer. It’s based on how they experience you and these things you talk about with the authority of warmth.

The energy is just that sums up how people experience you.

Steve Herz: Exactly. it’s true. And look, one of the things that made me want to write this book ultimately is not that people have been thinking about these topics for a long time, but I think that what fascinated me in my career most of my life, and I still am a talent agent for broadcasters, is that.

I felt like I had a front row seat to seeing which people actually do reach their potential, relatively speaking, which ones don’t and the ones that didn’t just didn’t dedicate any resources to this and the ones that did. And I think it is a microcosm of the larger society, and again, I think about the successful dentist you put, you talk about.

Why are some dentists really successful versus others? I don’t think it’s just about their work product. I think it’s about their ability to engender trust with the patients and have those patients who like them and You feel like they’re integrating vibe, then they’re recommending other patients.

It’s true of any look, I know your podcast focuses a lot on sales and or all on sales, my view on, and I’ve been in sales, as an agent, like I said, for almost 30 years now, I think the most effective way to be good at sales is to get referrals and also to maintain the customer base that you have.

And I think that happens through this kind of process, at least in my opinion,

Andy Paul: Yeah, no, I agree. I completely get that the research that talked about the 85 15 split 85 is really the soft skills you want to look back on in my own career. People ask. How was I so successful in what I was selling? And I worked in extremely complex technical fields without a shred of technical training, basically, and a history major in college selling large complex satellite communication systems.

that wasn’t. No, that wasn’t the question people were asking about why me? It was me personally. Why should they buy from me was about the 85% was about the soft skills, engaging on a human level with people being curious and extremely interested in learning about what they were confronting, what they were trying, the problems they were trying to solve, the ways that perhaps they didn’t examine for that we could help them that they desperately needed.

But with all that soft skills. No, it’s not that I was completely unmindful of the technology and so on. Yeah. I was a smart guy. I’ve learned that as a lay person, but it was boiled down to the interpersonal, the human level things, the human aspect of things. And that’s, I think probably the reason I enjoyed the book so much.

It’s just that you give so many examples of, again, the small things that make an out-sized

Steve Herz: And the way you’re describing your career, it’s just, it fits in exactly what the narrative is that people wanted to do business with you because you wanted first to understand them. And when they realized that you were going to take the time and want to understand their problems, and then put the time in to figure out a solution and make the application for whatever product you had for their solution, that’s all people want.

And I think. To me, that’s what the best salespeople do. And obviously you are a great salesman and you’ve been an expert on it and talking about it, lecturing on it, et cetera. it’s undisputable.

Andy Paul: No. I love the quote you and the book is from, Admiral Mike Mullen, who unfortunately has taken fire these days. But, Is this quote talking about when he went and met with the troops out in the field. And he said, the quote was, this is my challenge is it’s a very senior guy. What I’ve learned over time is this is what’s most important is not what I say, but my interaction with the audience, which sort of, I like, and it echoes the famous Maya Angelo quote about, people yeah.

Paraphrase and people will never remember what you say, but they’ll remember how you made them

Steve Herz: Which is in the book too. And, I got the chance to spend some time with Admiral ballroom and I have to say he completely changed my perception of everything that I thought ignorantly, frankly, about senior military leaders. this is a guy who. Honestly, he’s a lot like you, he’s, he seeks first to understand other people.

He’s very curious. He’s inquisitive and interested and he has seemingly. A very small ego, if at all and very oriented towards serving other people and obviously serving his country. And I don’t think a human being could be that good of an actor. I think he truly is a very special person and both in his character to your point.

And also the way it reflects his communication with Flex’s character.

Andy Paul: Yeah, I have really had the good fortune twice in my career to work for ex-military people. Then there were senior officers like muck, but they’ve been commander level in the Navy and so on. And yes, managers I’ve ever worked for, I don’t think, it, I was like, yo, I was shocked just how they were trained in now, we’ll call it man management, people management, yeah.

Very impressive and yeah. Changed my mind at that time too. It’s and I think that the military gives a tremendous amount of thought to how to do this. You have about Charles Duhigg’s books. He talks about how the military goes to great lengths to train soldiers, to take responsibility for their decisions because they know that they take ownership of their decisions.

They’re not making better decisions. and it’s. Yeah. I find that the military is very foresightful oftentimes in some of

Steve Herz: I agree. That’s been my experience too.

Andy Paul: And so one last thing I wanna bring up, which I thought was a great and painful metaphor, but, you talking about, you have to be, you have to have intellectual humility in order to succeed.

We talk about humility being important and vulnerability, but I categorize that. Until that humility is intellectual humility is being able to admit what you don’t know it’s are the, and take action on it, the opposite of the Dunning Kruger effect and you present an interesting warning about that is as you equated it to.

So going through life, assuming things are okay. And then you learn to light that it’s too late is this idea of creating it. Yeah. Equating it to cancer. And I think it’s a sort of interesting way for people to serve. Keep in mind is that yeah. there’s no staying still, something’s always changing and you have to be aware of what that is.

Steve Herz: After I wrote that, I then subsequently learned that Churchill had said something similar about 80 years earlier about this metaphor for being sick, like a feedback. And I think that, look, I just hope that people, if they read the book, hear this podcast, just have a little bit of a mindset shift.

That’s it? it’s it’s she’s asking you to think about your life in a slightly different way to realize that. Andy Grove wrote that book only the paranoid survive. And I’m not saying I’m not saying be paranoid, but have a little bit of a healthy paranoia about the fact that there may be something out there about you that you could be approving at every moment.

And I think there is, for myself included and I, and look, the way I look at it also is that if you are lucky enough, To live. As long as you live, you should hope that until the day you die, there is still something you should be improving. that’s the point of life or one of the points of life is this idea of continuously trying to grow and improve in every aspect of who you are.

Andy Paul: Yeah. And reinventing yourself. That’s how I look at it. I might see I counted up like seven different times during my career and life. Consciously took steps to move in a different direction, to take on the challenge, to learn new things,

continue to evolve. And I think if you don’t do that, then yeah, you fall prey to becoming obsolete and having your sell by date moved up much

Steve Herz: good way to put it.

Andy Paul: it. all right, Steve, thank you so much for joining me. This has been a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the book. Recommend people. Read it again.

That is don’t take yes for an answer using authority, warmth, and energy to get exceptional results. So if people want to learn more about you and connect with you,

Steve Herz: go to my website, WW dot Stephen her’s dot com, STEINHERz.com. And you can follow me on all these various social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook, like then, but not Tik TOK. Not on tick-tock yet. I’m not hip enough.

Andy Paul: definitely not hip enough. yeah, you’re not gonna see me there, LinkedIn. All right, Steve. Thank you so much.