Don Williams is a keynote speaker and the CEO of Don Williams Global, where he helps businesses grow and multiply sales. Over the last 30 years, Don has worked with about half of the Fortune 500 companies in marketing, sales, and customer experience. He has written four best-selling books including Romancing Your Customer and D.I.Y. Outbound Contact Center Toolbox. His latest book, Gratitude: Stories From Our Hearts, shares inspiring stories of the power of gratitude in people’s lives. Don is the Host of The Proven Entrepreneur Show and lives in Texas with his wife, Leta, and their two chocolate Labrador Retrievers, Maggie and Tess.
In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran interviews Don Williams, the CEO of Don Williams Global, about his sales process and entrepreneurship journey. Don also talks about the challenges he faced building his wholesale buying business, the importance of practicing gratitude, and why he started a contact center. Stay tuned.
Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:
- Don Williams’ background in sales and his journey into entrepreneurship
- Why Don decided to move to Texas and start a company
- The people that helped Don in his business and how he joined Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)
- The challenges Don faced building his second location, how he overcame them, and his advice on expanding market reach
- Don talks about managing a team and working with experts
- How Don started a contact center business and the types of consulting services he provides
- The people Don is grateful for and where to learn more about him
Resources Mentioned In This Episode
- Don Williams Global
- Don Williams on LinkedIn
- Don Williams’ email: [email protected]
- Gratitude: Stories From Our Hearts by Don Williams
- The Proven Entrepreneur Show
- Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)
- Warren Rustand on LinkedIn
- The Leader Within Us: Mindset, Principles, and Tools for a Life By Design by Warren Rustand
- George Gan on LinkedIn
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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.
John Corcoran 0:40
Welcome everyone. John Corcoran here. I’m the host of this show. If you are new to this program, go check out some of our archives because we got some great episodes for you with smart CEOs, founders, and entrepreneurs of all kinds of companies ranging from Netflix to Kinkos’, YPO, EO, Activision Blizzard, LendingTree, and many more. I’m also the Co-founder of Rise25 where he help connect b2b business owners to their ideal prospects. My guest today his name is Don Williams, he and his team help businesses to grow increase and multiply sales. Over the last 30 years he has worked with about half of the Fortune 500, it’s pretty insane, in marketing, sales and customer experience. He’s written four best selling books. His latest book Gratitude: Stories From Our Hearts, shares inspiring stories of the power of gratitude and people’s lives which if you listen this show, you know I asked about gratitude, so that definitely warms my heart. He also hosts the iTunes new and noteworthy podcast, The Proven Entrepreneur Show. And he lives outside of Fort Worth, Texas with the love of his life, Leta. Did I say that correctly?
Don WIlliams 1:39
John Corcoran 1:40
Leta and their two chocolate Labrador Retrievers, Maggie and Tess, who must be meaningful to you in order to make it into the official bio.
Don Williams 1:49
Our house went to the dogs a long time ago.
John Corcoran 1:52
Good for you. This episode brought to you by Rise25. Go to rise25media.com to learn all about how we help b2b businesses to get clients, referrals, and strategic partnerships with done for you podcasts and content marketing. All right, Don, pleasure to have you here. And I want to ask you about your journey into entrepreneurship. After all, what else do you ask the host of The Proven Entrepreneur Show how they prove their way into entrepreneur? I know you’ve been an entrepreneur for a long time. And we were chatting beforehand about how we both kind of started in a similar way. That is we worked for someone else doing something else. And we thought to ourselves, well shoot, I can do this for myself and make more money, which is kind of a classic way a lot of people end up in entrepreneurship. For you it was a wholesale buying service. So what was that?
Don Williams 2:39
So you know, wholesale, buying services, a place where a person can buy a membership, and different than say, Costco where it’s $35, or $50, or $100. These memberships are $1,000. And today in that industry, they’re probably $3,000. And then you could buy furniture, appliances, window, floor coverings, jewelry, just about anything you could imagine, manufactured direct at a cost plus basis. So you know, $25,000 worth of furniture you might be into for 10,000 bucks. Okay, and so it’s certainly one major purchase, like that, put you right side up on your investment into the membership. And at 18. I was a freshman in college. And I took the sales job. And it took me about eight months to become the top salesman in the country about 450 salespeople a round. And I was 18. And I worked part time. How did that happen? Well, you know, I didn’t. I’d like to say, Gosh, I’m just that great. But that’s obviously not true. And I think all my life, people said you’re a great sales guy. And I’m like, yeah, maybe I don’t know. But I will say this people like to buy from me, and I let them Okay, I think it’s my obligation to let them. And so many years ago, I learned that if you talk to people from their point of view, and you’re honestly trying to help them, and you’re brutally honest, people will buy and the, you know, the mainstream sales guys there. They’re like, that doesn’t work. You know, you got to follow this 17 step system. I’m like, number one, most people can’t follow 17 steps, okay, they just can’t do it. And two, if you’re brutally honest, brutal honesty is evident. And it’s shocking. It’s in short supply. And so when you’re brutally honest with people, they like it, and they like you, and it builds trust, and you know, big trust big sales, no trust, no sales. Number one objection. Number one reason people buy is all about trust. So I was top salesman at 18. They promoted me to Sales Manager, which typically is a bad idea. You don’t want to promote your best salesperson to be a sales manager, you typically lose a great salesperson and gain a poor sales manager. But in their case it worked out well. Mmm, it took me about another eight or nine months to become the top manager in the country. And I think a good manager, a good leader will produce the most sales and the most dollars, and finally, will replicate themselves. So I would push out a performing sales manager about every six months, my assistant manager, you’d be able to push out and go have another profitable operation. And, you know, people think about leadership, and I think about followers. And certainly, if you have no followers, I question if you’re a leader, you can’t look behind you and see somebody, I don’t think you really are. But the real mark of a leader is not how many followers you gain. It’s how many leaders do you gain? Because that’s the true mark of leadership. And so I have that I have the gentleman that I worked for build this company, worked my way into partnership with him. He gave me equity and one of his locations. It was when when it came time to pay dividends, the delayed and I said, Well, how long will it take you? And he said, 30 days, I was like No problem. And so 30 days later, I came back and I said it’s 30 days. And he said, Yeah, I’m not ready yet. And I said, I’m done. I resigned, and and it was an integrity issue. And even though we had a huge rift at that point, we did reconcile later in life before his death, which I’m grateful for, because he had been very instrumental leader in my life. And my world was somewhat crushed when he didn’t live up to what he said he was going to do. I’m one of those people who think you should keep every promise, no matter how small. And if you can’t make your promise, I can’t keep it. John, I should come to you before the time I’m supposed to deliver the promise and say, John, I made a promise. And I’ve done everything I can to keep it. I’m sorry, I cannot. Okay. And and that’s the only way to break a promise with any decorum. And so, so he didn’t pay me as agreed. I was ill prepared. I did not start my entrepreneurial journey. At that exact moment. I went and sold new homes. So I worked for a homebuilder and we would show people dirt and show them floor plans and show pictures of houses. And we’d sell them houses, and I could barely spell house.
And the first month I sold 17 houses. And I can remember and I’m 60. So this was 40 years ago, I could remember Realtors would come in and they would have a little button. The really good ones would have a button on their lapel that said million dollar round club, a round table. And I was like, what is that? And I knew, but I’m just armory that way. And they’d say, I sold a million dollars in property last year. And of course today that would be half that’d be a condo in San Francisco. Yeah, no big deal. But back then, that that was a lot of production. And, and I you know, I went through all that just to set them up, say, Oh, wow, I didn’t know that. I sold that last month. And so always have been kind of that brutally honest guy that people wanted to buy from. And so I just love him. After about a year in that business. I’d saved up my coins. I had enough capital to launch my first company. And I moved to Texas. I was in Oklahoma at the time. I moved to Texas, because then as now, Texas has no state income tax. And so compared to California, where you live, that’s 13% difference right there. Yeah, and and I think most good entrepreneurs would not like to evade but like to avoid taxes are possible. And so I moved to one of the nicest places on the planet. Wichita Falls, Texas, nicest people you would ever want to meet worst weather of anywhere in the country. Hottest that and bullhead. City Arizona typically compete for the hottest temperatures in the summertime and tornadoes in the spring, April 10 1979. largest tornado tornadic disaster. So Wichita Falls, but great people started that company there.
John Corcoran 9:18
But let me let me pause right there. There’s a couple of things I want to unpack here about what you said so far, but it’s hard to start a company even harder to start a company in a new community where you haven’t been living. So I mean, that’s like adding an additional challenge. Or maybe you needed to do that. But But Why move to a new place where you don’t know the community you don’t know the people and starting a company there.
Don Williams 9:42
Well, in retrospect, it might decision, you know, and factor in that. I incorporated the business on February 17. I got married on March 16. And we opened about April 15. And so huge, big lot, let’s move changes. Let’s let’s open a company, let’s get married. And in retrospect, I would say, Hey, that’s a little too much all at one time. And I went from having a very solid six figure income when that was a lot more money than it is today. to nothing, I mean, we starve to death for two years.
John Corcoran 10:28
Wow. So it took a while to take off them.
Don Williams 10:30
Yeah, I didn’t. I couldn’t spell p&l. And that’s just P and L. I couldn’t spell it. I didn’t know anything about I knew how to bring in money. Okay, which for most entrepreneurs, you know, I’m gonna say
John Corcoran 10:46
that that’s what they say, right. And I think Mark Cuban is credited with saying that sales cures all problems.