[quote style=”boxed”]If you have ideas, explore them. Talk with other people and let them simmer. Let the bad ideas slide away. Keep focusing on the good ideas. Get really excited about them, but not so excited that you have blind spots. When you’re ready, get started. Dive in. Ready, set, go. Don’t give up too soon, but don’t keep flogging something that’s going nowhere. Chase the winners.[/quote]
President of RAIN Group, Mike Schultz is world-renowned as a consultant and expert in sales performance improvement. He is co-author of the Wall Street Journal and Inc. Magazine bestseller Rainmaking Conversations: How to Influence, Persuade, and Sell in Any Situation (Wiley, 2011) and Professional Services Marketing (Wiley, 2009) and was named the Top Sales Thought Leader globally in 2011 by Top Sales Awards.
Mike delivers dozens of keynotes and seminars per year for clients and at leading industry conferences. Mike has worked with clients such as Bank of America, Quintiles, John Hancock, Oracle, Ryder, Microsoft, and Bayer. He is publisher of RainToday.com and a member of the faculty in the Marketing Division at Babson College.
Frequently quoted as an expert in publications such as Business Week, Inc. Magazine, and Selling Power, Mike has written over 150 articles, research reports, and white papers in sales and marketing. Mike blogs at RAINGroup.com/blog.
Mike Schultz is a graduate of Brandeis University in Waltham, MA with a B.A. in American Studies, and holds an MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. Mike also enjoys fly fishing and golf, and actively studies and teaches the traditional martial arts of Seirenkai Karate and Jujitsu, holding the ranks of third degree black belt and Sensei. He lives on a lake west of Boston.
What are you working on right now?
We’re in a fast growth period for our company. At the moment, we’re working on defining the strategy for doubling the size of the company and then doubling again, continuing to innovate, and maintaining delivery quality at the highest level as we grow. Expanding internationally is high on the list. But as fast as we might be able to sell, we won’t sacrifice quality for growth speed.
Where did the idea for RAIN Group come from?
Like every industry, sales training and performance consulting has its own quirky dynamics. We didn’t try to invent the industry or the concept, but we saw that many companies had huge untapped potential to increase their sales. Like every industry, there was an opportunity to innovate. We saw ways in which we could help clients tap into these opportunities. We decided to go for it.
What does your typical day look like?
Wake up at 5am with my 7 month old son. Change diaper. Sing Cyndi Lauper tunes to him. Turn computer on. Work if he falls back asleep.
Head to office:
– Work on content – research, white paper, articles, book
– Work on strategies
– 3 or 4 internal meetings
– Client calls
– Sales calls
– Deliver a webinar
Or I could be delivering all day at a client site or giving a speech at a conference.
When I get hungry, go home. Make dinner. Hang out with wife and son. More Cyndi Lauper. Maybe some Men at Work.
How do you bring ideas to life?
If you have ideas, explore them. Talk with other people and let them simmer. Let the bad ideas slide away. Keep focusing on the good ideas. Get really excited about them, but not so excited that you have blind spots. When you’re ready, get started. Dive in. Ready, set, go. Don’t give up too soon, but don’t keep flogging something that’s going nowhere. Chase the winners.
This can take two hours, two days, or two years. All depends on the idea.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Buying patterns are changing. Buyers are more sophisticated. Sellers have to better or they won’t survive. This change is good. And it’s changing everything.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
Anything that requires me to handle tedious details.
Work with people who love details. Respect and appreciate them, so they do the details while I do the big picture.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
The list of mistakes and missteps is huge, but I don’t know if I could have foreseen them or worked around them. No regrets. Everything I’ve done has shaped who and where I am. Since that place is just fine by me, no changes.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Build a brand and reputation for excellence. Decide to be a leader, not an also ran. It’s hard work and it takes a while, but it’s way better than being a “best kept secret” or “hidden gem.”
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
You’ll hear advice to “target specific niches and you’ll really resonate with them.” What you don’t hear as much is, “If you target too narrowly, the market may be too small.” Sometimes narrow definition means differentiation and specialty. Other times it’s too limiting. We’ve done some things that were great, but were too narrowly focused. They had no chance of being home runs, and even if they weren’t strike outs (and there have been a number of them), they were only singles and doubles. Never take away your chance for a home run.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would find a cure for congenital heart defects, and make heart transplants work perfectly. Then no one will have to go through what my son is going through, and if he ever needs a heart transplant, it’ll be a solution without complications. His story: www.echoofhope.org.
Tell us a secret.
My favorite TV show of all time is Battlestar Galactica. New version. Geeky? Don’t care.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
RainToday.com – I publish it, so I like it.
RainGroup.com/blog – Same thing, except I write more here myself.
www.linkedin.com – Because the potential is limitless.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Rainmaking Conversations, of course, because I wrote it. On Writing Well, because without that book, I may not have written much.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Perhaps when my son pooped all over my mother in law. You know, as sophisticated as we think we are, a timely poop scenario is always good for a laugh.
Who is your hero?
What do you think holds back would-be entrepreneurs and sellers from reaching their greatest potential?
Hard work and confidence.
What is your favorite sports team?
The Boston Celtics, even when they were the worst team in the league, couldn’t keep me away. The internet on my phone opens to www.celticsblog.com.
Mike Schultz on Twitter: @mike_schultz
Mike Schultz on LinkedIn:
RAIN Group’s Website: www.rainsalestraining.com
Echo of Hope’s Website: www.echoofhope.org