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How to Convert Contacts Into Profitable Relationships, with Ed Wallace [Episode 363]

Joining me on this episode is Ed Wallace, Founder and CEO of The Relational Capital Group, and author of a couple of great books: Business Relationships That Last: 5 Steps to Transform Contacts Into High Performing Relationships and The Relationship Engine: Connecting with the People Who Power Your Business. Among the many topics that Ed and I discuss are the steps to you can take to convert sales contacts into relationships, the engine that turns leadership connections into relationships and how you should assess and strengthen your business relationships.

Key Takeaways

  • A CPA ‘in recovery,’ Ed was a senior executive at Vertex for 20 years. He was their 9th employee and they sold $1M; when he left, they had 1,000 employees with $120M in sales.
  • There is great potential to improve the existing business relationships you have. It takes time, and it’s difficult, but 90% of executives say relationships are the secret to their success.
  • Ed describes the concepts of the relational ladder and the relationship engine. Each type is appropriate for specific circumstances, with different goals.
  • Ed shares questions to assess the strength of your relationships and shares a process for building strong relationships.
  • Given that you have good intentions toward your colleagues and customers, what is the central challenge of relational leadership?
  • Ed offers to you, Andy’s listeners, to take the Relational Quotient test, an objective measure of 35 human business behaviors, such as email response, call-back time, etc.
  • If you are not getting validation from the people with whom you are trying to build relationships, look at your credibility, integrity, and authenticity. Something is missing. There are no neutral interactions. Trust either rises or falls.
  • Worthy intent is a promise to put the other person’s best interests at the forefront of the relationship. Trust is the inevitable consequence of worthy intent. Asking relevant, topical questions shows your worthy intent.
  • Relational GPS means Goals, Passions, and Struggles. Learning and sharing relational GPS is the universal framework for every business relationship. Let it flow naturally; don’t ask. Ed shares a $10M GPS anecdote of a deal saved by credibility.

More About Ed Wallace

What’s your most powerful sales attribute?


Who is your sales role model?

Max the Taxicab driver, in my previous book.

What’s one book that every salesperson should read?

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: Uncommon Thoughts on Common Things, by Robert Fulghum.

What music is on your playlist right now?

Vintage Rolling Stones. Also The Beatles.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul (0:35)

It’s time to Accelerate. I’m your host, Andy Paul. Join me as I host conversations with the leading experts in sales, marketing sales, automation, sales process, leadership, management, training, coaching, any resource that I believe will help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business and most importantly, you.

(2:23) Hello and welcome to Accelerate. I am looking forward to talking to my guest today. Joining me on his show is Ed Wallace. He’s the founder and CEO of The Relational Capital Group, the author of a couple great books which we are going to talk about today, Ed, welcome to Accelerate.


Ed Wallace (2:36)

Hi, Andy, great to be with you and your audience.


Andy Paul (2:39)

Well, nice to have you. So, take a minute and introduce yourself. That’s fairly a short intro. I always leave it to the guest to introduce themselves. they do a better job of introducing themselves.


Ed Wallace (2:49)

I appreciate that. I guess the best way to introduce myself is, I’m a CPA by education. I always like to say I’m in recovery, my accounting friends tend to get a kick out of that.


Andy Paul (3:03)

And abandoned recovery for sales, I’d say.


Ed Wallace (3:04)

Exactly. And part of that recovery process is to go into sales. I spent about 20 years with a tech company as a senior executive on the sales and marketing side. The company went from a million to 120 million during the time I was there. So, everybody did very well. Vertex, they are a tax technology business centered in Pennsylvania, but they are global now. I was the ninth employee, they wound up with 1000 and counting. So, it’s quite a story. At one point I decided I wanted to strike out on my own and I really wanted to write books and talk with people like you like I’m doing today. So, I wrote a couple of early books that got some cachet. And then, about five years ago came out with a book that you mentioned when we were prepping a little bit called, Business Relationships That Last, that really created a space for us in the sales world, as a taught leader there and a sales trainer about how to build great business relationships in the sales arena. When it came to moving that into the leadership arena, our mutual publisher Amacom said, “these concepts apply equally to the leadership world, why don’t you do book with us on relational leadership?” And the book is the relationship engine. Because they don’t like to put leadership on too many books anymore, because everybody has leadership on their cover. So, I like the way they did it. I think they did a great job with it. We were talking earlier, everybody’s in sales Andy, no matter how you look at it. If you’re external, you’re certainly building relationships with clients and customers and centers of influence. If you’re internal, you’ve got to get some unbudgeted money for a project, or you’ve got to put a team together and get resources that are at will and they’re not available at that point in time. So, how do we help people buy and not have to sell to them all the time. And the concepts in my books are really about how do we facilitate people buying our ideas, buying our products and services? And this is our 10th year. So, we’re doing pretty well, The Relational Capital Group. We’ve evolved to working mostly with fortune 2000 companies now. And it’s been very rewarding.


Andy Paul (5:19)

Excellent. Okay, let’s talk about one of the core concepts you have, which is concept of relational capital, the title of your company. So, explain what relational capital is because I think people need to understand that before we proceed into the deeper discussion.


Ed Wallace (5:34)

Sure, well, relational capital was defined by academics years ago, as kind of like the value of intangible assets on a balance sheet or the relationships between companies at that level. I defined it at a human level one to one, and I call it the distinctive value created by people in a business relationship. And in every business relationship you have, there are three qualities that can come into play. The first one’s credibility. A lot of the stuff you write about Andy is all about developing credibility. I wanted to make sure I commented on that. And if you look at credibility, and you look at the definition, a lot of people will say, “well, that’s keeping your promises.” That’s doing what you say you’re going to do. It’s really not, that’s integrity, credibility is the power to elicit belief. And I was shocked by that definition.


Andy Paul (6:28)

I agree. There’s a big difference between integrity and credibility.


Ed Wallace (6:31)

There really is. And I don’t believe that a business relationship can go anywhere until we are deemed believable. But once we are deemed believable and we’re credible, now becomes a mutual relationship, bringing in the second quality, which is integrity. So, when those two qualities combined, now you’re doing stuff together for lack of a better phrase, and the sooner we can be authentic in that process, that’s the third quality. That’s when relational or relationship capital comes into play. And, if you think about it, the more the more believable we are, the more we keep our promises, and the true we are to ourselves; I always like to say, “be yourself, everybody else has been taken”, the better chance we have to build this relational capital, a better chance we have to advance the relationship and get some stuff done together.


Andy Paul (7:22)

Well, “be yourself” seems to be a real challenge. Why is that the case? You certainly see this in the sales world is, especially with the migration to give them the benefit of technology, for sales to be more virtual these days it also tends to be a little more scripted. And the authenticity that I think needs to be there for those one to one relationships is harder and harder to come by.


Ed Wallace (7:50)

Believe me, I love technology, but I tend to think we lean on that thinking. Let’s go to LinkedIn for instance, since we’re going to talk about technology and relationships, that might be my best example here. When you think about it– I was I was giving a speech recently and somebody brought up, “I have all these LinkedIn connections, I have thousands of connections.” I said, “fantastic, where’s that getting you?” And he said, “it’s not really helping me very much.”


Andy Paul (8:21)

We’re in relationships.


Ed Wallace (8:22)

Right. I’m over generalizing there, but what I find when I’m working with our customers and our clients, we tend to want to accumulate or aggregate ethereal relationships. And that somehow is like a badge, it makes us feel good. But when you’re trying to accomplish something, when you’re trying to complete a project, when you’re trying to close a sale, it really gets down to a one to one relationship with someone, so we talk about creating an action plan, believe it or not. For other human beings who come into our goals, we’ll ask you, “what are your goals for the year? Give us two or three”, now attach a human being or human beings to each goal, and now let’s create a plan for that relationship. And it’s that simple. The latest research that we’ve uncovered about the best relationships, think about your best business relationship Andy, it’s really only working at 45% of its potential if you fall within the average of everybody else. So, there’s so much room there. And relationships are difficult, they’re awkward, they take time. Everybody’s like, “well, I’m not sure the return on investment yet”, but the same survey says 90% of executives believe it’s the secret to their success and their team’s success. They just don’t think about it in terms of process, they don’t think about it in terms of what I call “intentionality” in the book.


Andy Paul (9:57)

How do you how do you measure the potential relationship?


Ed Wallace (10:03)

How do you measure the potential or measure the strength?


Andy Paul (10:06)

Well, you’re saying we’re only using 45%, exercising 45% of the potential of the relationship.


Ed Wallace (10:13)

I can use an example from our own business. We’ve got a lot of customers, and we tend to sell them a program. And we tend to satisfy their needs, we get great evaluations and all that stuff. And I have a sales team. I had the kind of relationship where I can easily get on the phone with that client and say, “hey, can you give us some references?” I never do, and my salespeople never do. Now your best customers are your best referral source. That’s a personal example. We live this stuff every day in our business. For 10 years all we’ve done is think about relationships. We’ve done all this research, we’ve created metrics, but at the end of the day, we tend to fall into the same category where we just say, “you know what? Let’s go get a new customer. Well, that’s an old customer, let’s just get a new one”, when that old customer is the best customer, the highest margin, right? So, I hope that’s a good example for you.


Andy Paul (11:17)

Sure. It’s very comparable, right? With so much emphasis on new customers, as opposed to “yeah, let’s expand this relationship.” So, your first book, you had five steps to transform contacts and high performing relationships, establishing common ground, displaying integrity and trust, so on and so forth. And it seems like in the new book, The Relationship Engine, is just expanding those and turning the focus a little bit onto leadership.


Ed Wallace (11:42)

Exactly. Well, in the first book, you’re moving up a ladder, we call it the relational ladder, the process. And you tend to want to take your customers or your prospects from acquaintances to peers or to advisor level type relationships. You want to move up the ladder. We point this out in the book, the nuance between that and relate, and the process for leadership, relational leader relationships, is that the relational leader in intentionally thinking about relationships can decide, “I don’t need to move this person to the highest level, because based on the goal we’re working on, we can just stay colleagues.” So, the process in the relationship engine, which is all about how to become a relational leader, has three dimensions of relationships laid out in there, colleagues, their professional peers, which is a similar dimension to the previous process, and their advocates. Let me give you an example of each one. Let’s say you and I are a transitioning team leadership on a project within our company, and I get to get to know you, and we’re going to spend a couple of months together, and that’s probably the last time we work together for a while. Well, we don’t probably need more than a colleague level relationship at that point, we don’t have time, times are most nonrenewable resource. So, in the relational agility process, which is the relational leaders’ approach to launching, advancing and elevating relationships, the leader makes a decision based on this goal, transitioning team leadership, not a great big goal, I just need to be a colleague with Andy. Now, let’s say in another example, you and I have worked together before, we’re colleagues, we worked together on this project a few years ago as a transition team leadership, and now we’ve got to integrate a new product line from a joint venture. In this case we got to be peers, we got to have a higher-level relationship. So again, when I start thinking about the goal and the deliverable, I need a pure level relationship with Andy Paul, not a colleague level relationship. And then finally, now, a couple years later, we’ve been great peers, we’ve been working together for a while, you’re now on the board of our company. And I need a million bucks on budget. Where am I going to go first? I’m going to try to create a relationship where we’re advocates. So relational leaders don’t have to go to advocate like salespeople try need to get to the top of the ladder, they consciously decide this is where I need to be. I hope that helps.


Andy Paul (14:30)

Why even think about that in a sales context. If you look at the way things are, sort of seem to be shaping up in a large complex enterprise sale, challenger customer, they talked about the number of stakeholders that exist. And that number is increasing, it’s 5, 6, 7 people that you have to sell to. But in addition to those people there’s also other people you have to talk to, that sort of fit beyond all of those descriptions you’ve had, some are advocates, some are going to be peers and some are going to be colleagues that may just point you to somebody else. And don’t really have a role beyond that.


Ed Wallace (15:13)

Completely agree. And again, the relational leader could be an account manager in sales, it could be a high-tech sales, senior sales executive, it could be a director level and human resources for a corporation, relational leader can be the receptionist, because everybody can get better with their business relationships. I’ve asked a prospect of ours or a customer, I’ll ask this question I rarely hear “no”, and the question is, “do you believe there’s a strong connection to your team’s performance and the strength of their relationships?” We rarely hear “no”. And then also, “what are you doing about that?” “Well, we just hire great people, and those great people have to then go figure it all out on their own, and we try to give them some vitamins. We try to give them some prompts.” We share a process on how to build either customer relationships in the first book, or internal colleague type relationships in the relationship engine. And again, when you’re working in a complex sale situation, back to your scenario, there are subject matter experts around your company who you need your help from, and I call them at will, because unless they’re specifically assigned to your project at that moment in time, you’re not part of their plans Andy, and here comes Andy looking for some subject matter expertise. So, the internal relationships you build are probably just as important as the external ones you’re trying to build with the influencers and everyone you reference on the buying team. And back to the research, the weakest relationships, believe it or not, are our internal relationships.


Andy Paul (17:02)

They suffer from the same thing. All relationships do, people take them for granted.


Ed Wallace (17:08)



Andy Paul (17:10)

We talked about relational leadership. You defined that in the book as someone who intentionally puts the other person’s goals and values at the forefront of each business relationship. To me that’s a recipe for a sales rep or account executive, account manager, as well as working their internal relationships. I mean, it’s a gift to get. I mean, one of the aphorisms that we all live by these days.


Ed Wallace (17:42)

Absolutely. And the other half of that we’re not suggesting, and I really try to call this out a few times in the relationship engine. We’re not suggesting getting good intentions towards your colleagues and your customers, we’re assuming you have those. The challenge is, the other part of relational leadership is, are you observing behaviors coming back to you that validate for you that they believe that? Because that’s when we’re the intent, which is the number one principle in the book, that’s when it manifests. So, we can have all the good intentions we want about things, but if the people we’re working with, in a one on one capacity or as part of a team, don’t recognize that we’re really working for the greater good, and they’re not behaving in a way that validates that for us– For instance, a great example would be, you’re working with someone and they start sharing competences with you. They give you extra meeting time that was unscheduled, they give you an early heads up on things. One of the things I can offer to your audience when we’re finished, is they can go out and take a free RQ assessment. It stands for Relational Intelligence or Relational Quotient. We actually have an objective measure that was developed by Villanova University’s Human Resources, Master’s Department. And they came up with 35 behaviors that human beings exhibit in business. And we’ve refined those over the years, but they pretty much stood the test of time and, and the behaviors like, “Andy does not respond to my email correspondence. Andy calls me back. Andy gives me extra meeting time. Andy introduces me to people, etc.” What relational leaders are great at is going in with good intentions, and then validating those intentions, but through the behaviors they see coming back. And our cue is an assessment. It’s an online assessment that allows that relational leader to go out and answer some questions about some people and get a report back that says, “hey, you’re a professional peer. Here’s some ideas to keep that relationship going, or if you want to advance it, here’s some ideas around that.” So, there’s an objective measure, it’s an RQ score. And of course, subjectively we can just look at behaviors individually and say, “you know what? I think I’m pretty good relationship here with Andy.?


Andy Paul (20:09)

Well, I think one of the key things you brought up here, and I think the RQ is really interesting. As you talked about, if you’re not getting validating behaviors coming back from the other party, think about this from a sales perspective, if it really boils down to three things you talked about front the credibility, integrity, authenticity– if you’re not getting the response you want from people you’re trying to form a relationship with, that’s the core reason, right? These three things. They don’t trust you, they don’t believe you– that oftentimes leads to reasons of authenticity.


Ed Wallace (20:47)

Absolutely. I tend to think that if you’re not getting the response you want and it’s a newer relationship, you’re just not believable yet Andy, you’re just not credible yet. But if the relationship been going on for a while and now, you’re not getting the response, I think integrity probably popped in there somewhere, an integrity issue. And some research on integrity and trust is– to work the Great Places to Work Institute did a survey a while back and they studied business interactions. This is a business interaction we’re having today, right? And when we get off and you play this down the road, your audience will either trust you more or they’ll trust you less, believe it or not. Their perception of me, their trust will either be higher or lower. And what the study said was that it would be really important for us to focus on every single interaction we have, whether it be electronic or audio like this, or any way we’re doing it, because there’s a good chance when the parties leave the interaction trust will either increase or decrease is rarely neutral. So, you’re very insightful going back to those qualities. There’s something missing, if the relationships not getting off the ground, or if it’s slides.


Andy Paul (22:08)

Which is a good thing. And I talked about this in my books. Every time you have an interaction with somebody, let’s take a prospect for instance, they aren’t judging you. To your point about trust, either increases or decreases. There is no such thing as a neutral interaction.


Ed Wallace (22:26)

Well, in reviewing a lot of things you write about, credibility and integrity are huge on the stuff you write about, they’re huge in there.


Andy Paul (22:37)

There is an interesting point that you made, you lead with credibility and sort of follow with trust. And then you have Amy Cuddy with her book presence, where she sort of inverts that. She thinks people start with trust and then go to competence afterwards. I mean, does it matter?


Ed Wallace (22:56)

Well, you know, it’s interesting. Steven, M.R. Covey endorsed my latest book. And he’s the king of trust, right? And he knows that I lead with credibility. And we talked about that. And I’ll say, “until you’re deemed believable, you don’t get the opportunity for them to trust you until you display integrity and trust.” So, I look at it kind of linear. If I ask an audience this question, let’s use the sales example, people buy from people they___ invariably Andy, the first response is “like”, and “trust” comes second.


Andy Paul (23:47)

Know, like and trust. Yeah.


Ed Wallace (23:48

Exactly. And actually, “know” usually comes third. So again, I find it interesting that in any kind of audience, when I ask that generally “like” comes first, and I’ll ask, “why did most of you say “like”?” and they’ll say, “it’s a superset”. I’m like, “what do you mean? What’s a superset?” They go, “well, it’s a superset, I’m auditioning the person. I’m assessing them emotionally.” “Like”, usually comes through first before “trust” comes through. In the book, we talk about warmth and competence. And I think I cite in one of our white papers, Amy Cuddy, and she’s really big on “warmth” before “competence”, and warmth generally comes from the way we approach people. Now, we can approach people in a way that makes them trust us, that’s probably why she works down that avenue. But the other thing she writes about, which I think is pretty compelling, is that from the time we were primitive, whenever that was, whatever we believe at one point, we were less advanced than we are today. I think everybody can kind of accept that, right?


Andy Paul (25:01)

We may be going back the other way.


Ed Wallace (25:03)

Well, yeah, that’s another conversation, right? But from the time we were primitive, if you approached me with a club, and I was in the forest with my family, the first thing that went through my mind, and in her research and Dr. Fisker research this has been proven out is, I’m not as worried about Andy’s competence with the club, as I’m worried about what is . So believe it or not their research, which is so compelling, after all these centuries, thousands of years of evolution – whatever we believe in, and again, you got to be careful – that when a sales rep or a business leader or relational leader walks into someone’s office, they’re assessing us and they’re trying to figure out our intentions for walking in their door. It’s still baked into us. So again, I’m not debating trust before credibility or whatever, I think the whole thing does get down to “warmth”, which is what she promotes.


Andy Paul (26:10)

Yeah. And I agree. I think they’re really sort of linear. I don’t know that one completely precedes one or the other, but they both need to be there. And I agree with the authenticity being part of that as well. You have this this concept, you’re talking about displaying worthy intent, which you say is the promise you make with the other person’s best interests at the forefront of what you’re doing, more front than the relationship. That seems self-evident, that’s talked about in sales at nauseum, you’ve got to be customer-oriented, customer-first be present. Yet it’s a hard behavior for people to learn. And so, how do you learn that behavior? How do you make this a habit? That is what I want people to focus on, right? How do I integrate this into what I do and make this habit, displaying this worthy intent?


Ed Wallace (27:07)

Well, I finished that particular chapter in the book with, trust is the inevitable consequence of worthy intent. And I’m kind of proud of that line and how I invented that line, because an inevitable consequence and trust seems like their negatives. But, but ultimately, when we go into interactions, the fastest way I believe to start getting to credibility is asking questions that are very relevant, and very topical to the person you’re talking with. Not “oh, I see like golf.” When we started talking before this recording, you asked me some really great questions. I felt this is a warm guy. He’s got his good intentions towards me to try to help him with this podcast today. It was very comfortable. And, how do we create that kind of experience for the people we’re working with? And it gets down to– we certainly go in with good intentions, but the way we conduct that interaction is important and we have a concept called relational GPS.


Andy Paul (28:25)

Which I love by the way. I think it’s a great mnemonic for people to remember, especially salespeople, because it exactly directly applies to customers.


Ed Wallace (28:34)

It cuts through. And again, this concept has been adopted by customers of ours around the world now because it’s so darn simple. In general, everybody you work with has business and personal goals is the G. Causes or passions is the P, things they care deeply about, and S for struggles, and I’ve never run into anybody who does have struggles in life.


Andy Paul (29:01)

Goals, Passion Struggles, GPS.


Ed Wallace (29:03)

GPS. And I call the universal framework for every business relationship because it can cross generations. A boomer can talk to a millennial and learn GPS and have a better chance to have a relationship with that person, then they can’t just kind of ad-libbing it. So relational leaders, by being intentional, initially with the first principle, which is worthy intent. How do I do that? Of course, I have good intentions towards Andy, how do I do that? Well, I’m going to try to learn some of Andy’s GPS in this. I’m not going to say “hey, Andy, what are your goals, passions and struggles?” Right? And it’s really funny because we’ll work with young salespeople sometimes, and they’ll email me saying, “yeah, I’m going to a first meeting. I’m going to ask, Andy about his GPS and like”, I don’t know if you want to phrase it that way. But I learned several things about you as you were asking me questions earlier. And the simple way to do it is, as you’re taking notes when you’re in that conversation, write the acronym vertically GPS on a piece of paper, and start jotting down “oh my gosh, Andy shared a goal with me. I guess I’m becoming credible.” And we’d love it when our customers are able to learn goals from their customers or their colleagues. But we don’t give as many points for that as when Andy shares a struggle with me, because that’s when Andy is saying, “Hmm, this guy’s provoking some thought on my part, I like the way he’s having this conversation. I’m not afraid to let him go around the company and he’ll make me look better than maybe someone else that I might send around.” So, we get a lot of points for struggles. And ultimately, if you can get to passions, that’s a longer term thing when they start sharing their charities or things about their family or maybe their careers, their passion, then you’ve really locked up a great chance, or what I call you’ve competitor proofed yourself, because almost anything they share, except maybe their political opinion, or their opinion about something else falls into one of those three categories. So, it’s simplifies things. Because there’s so much information that salespeople leaders are trying to figure out and process today; you know, their universal framework, relational GPS, three simple letters, write a note down next each one and bring that up or use that for research and in time for the next interaction. You do more of that. And again, in the relationship engine, in the in the relational agility process in there, that’s how colleagues launch their relationships and start displaying where the intent. Long answer to your original question.


Andy Paul (31:51)

Well, but for people nowadays, also for people in sales, that is how they build a relationship with a prospect, with a costumer. Like you said, if you write down on one side or a piece of paper, probably you’re taking notes and your iPad about goals, passion struggles, those translate into a business sense, right? Costumers have goals, they have things that they’re passionate about achieving within their business that that maybe is not in the prime focus that needs to be accomplished, but if they could accomplish that as well, that would be fantastic. And obviously struggles like pain points and so on that they’re trying to address, you’re not going to get those answers without trust and credibility being there first, right? That is why people in sales have a hard time understanding first is that a customer is just not going to tell you everything just because you’re there. Because they’ve agreed to meet with you, it doesn’t mean they’re going to open up and tell you. My good friend Mark Hunter was also another Amacom author, he knows that that is on the right track with a customer when they do share something in confidence that they’re not telling. To him that’s the key that wow, that’s the first step to being a qualified prospect for me because I’ve gone across that chasm there and they’ve been trusted something confidential to me.


Ed Wallace (33:15)

I know that a lot of your audience works with business owners. Think about it, if you can get a business owner, if you can ask him the questions in the right way– we call them “learn abouts”, we don’t call them questions. If you can come up with the right learn abouts that create credibility for you with that business owner, they’re going to get to passions about their business a lot faster than maybe a vice president of a corporation you’re trying to work with to buy something from you. The business owners are very passionate about their business and they like talking about their business. I love talking about my business, you love talking about your business. And when someone who is a vendor who is trying to create a relationship with us, when they ask the kind of questions to get us talking in that direction, all the more powerful. You want a $10 million anecdote on GPS?


Andy Paul (34:11)

We’ll conclude this first segment with that.


Ed Wallace (34:15)

So, I was working with a customer a few years ago, a large company, multibillion-dollar company, and we were working with their account managers, and part of the process was for them to learn the GPS of their customers. So, we conducted some instructor-led training, we did some coaching and we bring everybody back in three months and we have them profess what they did, actual work, how they applied these concepts. So, when we got to the follow up workshop, the VP of Sales got up and he says, “I want Nick to tell his GPS story”, so I didn’t even have to facilitate anything. And this guy Nick got up in front of the room– and by the way, in the workshop Nick was not very active, but apparently, he paid a lot of attention. And they were about to lose a 4 million-dollar account because of the degradation of the relationships between sales leadership and any account manager they put on this particular account. This Vice President wanted nothing to do with this account. And it was a very difficult account to fire by the way, but they were going to fire them, 4 million dollars a year. So, this VP of sales had nothing to lose, he put this young guy Nick on it. And Nick goes in and he just starts applying this idea of learning about this person who was about to fire them. After those three months what Nick learned was that this person was concerned that there’s going to be a merger and he was going to lose his job and not become COO, and that Nick’s company was making him look bad in that process. Once Nick learned that and the fellow opened up to him, things started getting resolved. And I think it was four months, after four months, Nick saved the $4 million. And the VP of Sales got up and he announced that, “we’re going to get another $6 million from this guy’s customers, the customer’s customers who sees requiring to use our services.” It was a storage data company. So, they were going to lose four, they wound up taking it to 10 and mixed it up. And he said, “I just went in and start trying to learn about him. And I started applying this GPS concept.” So, there’s a real-life anecdote where if you just keep it simple, you learn some things about the person, they start opening up to you, now you know how to solve some of their problems. And the funny part of the story is, the customer still didn’t like the Vice President. So, when all this got resolved, and the business escalated again, he left the Vice President this message and I’ll never forget this quote “John, this is so and so, from whatever company I can’t name them. We just re-upped your contract and I’m making everybody else use your stuff too. So there.” And he slammed the phone down.


Andy Paul (37:12)

Yeah. “Like” as a relative term. But the point about Nick is, back to your story, he clearly had credibility in order to be able to have the person open up. And this is the thing that that I keep stressing on the show and my writings for the audience that are listening, credibility comes from, in part, knowledge, right? To be able to elicit belief, people have to understand and believe that you know something about their struggles, you know something about what they’re trying to achieve, and requires a certain specialization, a certain knowledge set. Everything I talked about in terms of why I believe is the era of the specialist in selling is really coming into being, is supported by what you’re talking about here, it’s an easier path to credibility, certainly enhances if you have integrity to go along with it that enhances it. If your customers know if you know what you’re talking about, if you are being yourself and being authentic, they know that.


Ed Wallace (38:21)

And when you talk about absolute responsiveness, and I believe that it starts with those. It’s not once they’re customers, it starts with the way you conducted that first interaction, and how you prepare for that shows you’re going to be responsive. You came in and asked the kind of questions that haven’t probably been asked before, and all of a sudden, their emotional assessment of view is changing. I forget what the exact statistics are, but 75% or so according to the Wharton School of buying decisions or our emotional, everybody keeps telling us they’re rational, but they’re not, they’re assessing your time. The gel in your hair in my case, the way you ask and whether you were prepared or not. And you mentioned authenticity earlier and I wanted to get back to that, and your comment here a minute ago just tied that up. I think in the case that I shared, Nick was very authentic with this VP, I think he went in, he’s a young guy, he didn’t go in, indicating he knew everything because he did it. I think he was really authentic about that. And I think somehow, this person looked at it and connected, like, “you know what? I’ve been really hard on this company, on this vendor. But, why would it be hard on this kid?” And all of a sudden, zero went to 10 million and that’s a real number.


Andy Paul (39:47)

That’s a real number. And we come to the last segment of my show, where I asked some standard questions to all my guests. And the first one is a hypothetical scenario. In the scenario you have just been hired as VP of sales at a company whose sales have stalled out, and they want to hit the reset button and get things on track. And the CEO is anxious for this to happen. So, what two things could you do your first week on the job that could have the biggest impact?


Ed Wallace (40:17)

Well, the first thing I would do is, I would reach out to my team and try to launch or establish some type of relationship with them. Because sales is stalling, I’m not humanly going to be able to do that all by myself. So, I would reach out internally, get my key team members and talk to them, find out what’s going on. The next thing I would do is go reach out to my customers and find out why they stayed with us even though sales are sour, what is it about our processes? What is it about our sales approach? One of my great friends Tom Feeney, the CEO of Safe Auto Glass, he’s in our book. He’s a true relational leader, he’s always been an advocate of ours. He still goes on sales calls from time to time. Now this is the CEO of a billion dollar plus company, because he loves the interaction. And one of his questions when he gets together with a prospective customer, not necessarily a customer, but let’s face it, there’s probably a ton of prospective customers or in the scenario that you’re talking about. He’ll say to them, one of the top two or three criteria you look for in a vendor. And it seems like a very simple question. But when we put our customer or prospect in the role of an expert, they’re going to share with us reasons they buy from other people, and that’ll help us understand why they might or might not be buying from us. And I find that interesting. So, I think you need to assess intentionally, where are you relationally with your own team? And then, where is your team? Or where are we relationally with our customers? And then that also transitions over to our prospects. But I would not worry about metrics, I would not worry about sales training, I would not worry about anything other than where do we stand relationally with those two main constituencies.


Andy Paul (42:23)

All right, excellent answer. So now some rapid-fire questions you can give me a one-word answers or elaborate a little bit if you wish. So, the first one is when you Ed Wallace are out selling your services, what’s your most powerful sales attribute?


Ed Wallace (42:36)



Andy Paul (42:38)

Who’s your sales role model?


Ed Wallace (42:41)

Max, the taxicab driver in my previous book.


Andy Paul (42:45)

You and Scott McCain of taxicab drivers that are sales role models. Besides your own, one book every salesperson should read.


Ed Wallace (42:56)

Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. It’s About 12 pages.


Andy Paul (43:01)

All right, excellent. All right, so last question. What music is on your playlist these days?


Ed Wallace (43:08)

I’m going to have to give this up to you now, Andy, but I am a closet, Rolling Stones nut. So, everything I play is vintage Rolling Stones. I’ve been to four or five concerts and it’s just amazing to me. I can stand up and do a keynote talk and I am exhausted after one hour. And I watch these and all rock guys in their 70s, and they’re out there four nights in a row for three or four hours. So, I’d say the Rolling Stones. They would be my group and I’ve always been a Beatles fan too.


Andy Paul (43:45)

All right. Well Ed, thank you very much for joining me today. Tell people how they can connect with you.


Ed Wallace (43:51)

You can reach me @EdWallace. At relcapgroup.com, relationalcapitalgroup.com. And I mentioned earlier if you’d like to take what we call an RQ assessment, you can go to our website relationalcapitalgroup.com, click a couple of buttons and we will send you an access code and you can take a free assessment. A salesman will not call, so, don’t worry about that. And you’ll find out all about how strong your top five relationships are.


Andy Paul (44:24)

Excellent. Well, thanks for joining. And remember, friends. Make it a part of your day, every day, to deliberately learn something new to help you accelerate your success. And one easy way to do that is to take a minute and subscribe to this podcast Accelerate because that way you won’t miss any of my conversations with top business experts like my guest today Ed Wallace, who shared his expertise on how to accelerate the growth of your business and your relationships. So, thanks for joining me. Until next time, this is Andy Paul. Good selling everyone.

Thanks for listening to the show. If you like what you heard and want to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming episodes, please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or stitcher.com. For more information about today’s guests, visit my website at andypaul.com.