Every day in business, all of us are pushing to make more, sell more, grow more, and manage the company better. Doing all of these things for some of us is a struggle. Mitch Axelrod, author of The NEW Game of Selling, takes us to the depth of his expertise as he talks about selling and leadership. He shares how he uses the human language as the equivalent of a business proposition, laying down the leverage points in every business. Mitch takes us to his own journey from doing 5,000 sales calls to working in the insurance industry. Giving great wisdom to business owners, he talks about having the beginner’s minds which is taking in as much you can learn even after years in the industry.
Playing The New Game Of Selling with Mitch Axelrod
We will start with the show with a question, “What do you think you can learn from a man who has made over 3,500 presentations, has trained over one million people on his processes and methods and created $3 billion and counting of revenue for his clients?” I think we can learn a lot. Our friendship started with a casual reading of one of his books on a flight over several years ago. That book impressed me that I reached out to him to let him know how much I enjoyed the book. As we continue to speak, I discovered he’s also shared the stage with people who I deeply admire like Jack Canfield, Denis Waitley, Brian Tracy, Jay Abraham, Les Brown, Dan Kennedy and many others. His topic is selling and leadership and I’ve learned much from him already. Let’s welcome Mitch Axelrod to the show. Welcome, Mitch.
It’s been long overdue since we’ve gotten together. I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you.
We’ve presented a lot of great people on this show and you are going to fit in well with the crew I’ve already assembled. You bring something unique to the table. That’s why I invited you. We’ve had lots of folks on who do things like Facebook marketing or real estate, but you bring something extremely different and very valuable. That’s why I wanted you on this show. Before we start to get into your amazing content and the lessons you’ve learned through life, let’s go back to the beginning. Tell us how you got started.
I came out of college and I went to work for a little company called Exxon. This was many years ago in 1978 and they were the number one Fortune 500 company. I went to work with them in the Garment Center of Manhattan. I did 5,000 cold calls. I was marching up and down skyscrapers in New York in the dead summer of 1978. Legionnaire’s disease was everywhere. It was unbelievable. I did not make one sale. I was selling something nobody wanted to buy, something called the facsimile machine. When I tell this story in audiences I said, “How many of you had a fax in 1978?” Nobody. The other part of this was Exxon’s known for oil and gas. When I walked with an Exxon business card, people are like, “We don’t need you. What are you doing here?”
I had to explain that Exxon created a new division called Exxon Information Systems. Nobody wanted this thing. Here’s the irony. You couldn’t sell one. Who are you going to fax to? I did that and after a few months I said, “That’s it. I’m never making another cold call. I’m going to work for myself.” At night, I had been studying for my insurance license. On Halloween of 1978, I passed my license. I put up a shingle. I got an office and I started in business. It’s now been a many year journey. I celebrated my anniversary of being what I call psychologically unemployable. That’s where it all started. There have been quite a few iterations of me over the years since that fateful day of Halloween 1978.You do not fail until you quit. Click To Tweet
It was probably closer to 1988 when we decided that it was important to have a fax machine at our new company because we hoped to do business with distributors. The only way we could take orders from them was over fax. We called up the only people that we knew that sold fax machines at the time, which was Xerox. We had a Xerox sales team come to my office and pitch us on a $1,800 fax machine, which we purchased. They would have loved to have set up a lease and all that, but we bought it outright. They came back later and they installed it into our telephone closet in the dark, in a corner. After it got installed, they tested it to make sure it worked and it worked fine.
I asked the woman who was finalizing the installation, “This is great. Thank you very much, but where do I buy the paper once the paper runs out?” She laughed and she said, “Don’t worry, you’ll never run out of paper.” The final chapter of this story is that as we built the company, there was no internet, no emails. We took almost all of our orders over mail or fax. We had set up a fax room with about eight fax machines all on tables that during high volume times, we could allow all those lines to ring and all those orders to come in. That machine was at the end of the line and it finally died after about ten years. It had 980,000 faxes that had come through that machine.
One of the lessons I learned early in life, and I learned it from the number one Fortune 500 company, is just because you’re the number one Fortune 500 in one business doesn’t mean you can line extend and open up a disparate business. After spending $100 million, they shut it down a few years later. It was a great learning experience because what I discovered and when I went into business for myself, I said, “There are two things I recognize about people who at that time were wealthy, who had success in what you would consider being in the material world and such.” Number one, they either own their own business or number two they either sold something, an idea, product, service, issue or a cause. Back then there was nothing like this.
There were no podcasts. There was nothing to learn in the real world of business. Whatever you learned in college didn’t apply well once you got into the world of business. College back then taught you to become an employee, not an employer. There was little relevance to what I learned in college. I had to learn this entire game by trial and error. I also recognized something else, that if I could learn as much as I could learn from other people and always maintain a beginner’s mind. Even after 40 years, I have a beginner’s mind. I never get to the point where I think I know it all. I feel I’m excited about the next 40 years because I feel there’s as much yet for me still to learn as it is for me to teach what I already know.
I’m of the same mindset as well. I feel I’m always learning and always excited about what’s coming next. Let’s go back to those 5,000 sales calls. You have far more perseverance than I ever would have. I don’t know how you did 5,000 sales calls and got noes 5,000 times.
Some of those were hell noes. It’s part stupidity, part glutton for punishment. I was too young to know the difference and I thought, “I don’t look at this as no. I don’t look at it as a failure.” It was out of those 5,000 noes that gave me the tensile strength. It gave me the fortitude to know they’re not saying no to me. They don’t want this worthless product. If I walked in there with something that had value to them, they might say yes. I looked at that as the most powerful learning experience because I glean so much from it that taught me, “I’m going to be self-employed. I have to be the guy who makes the decisions here. I’m going to do this my way.”
I’ve been fiercely independent my whole life, maybe a little too independent for my good sometimes. I decided that, “If I’m going to do this, I’m not going to do it outside in or follow a model. I’ll learn from other people. If it’s going to work and it’s going to work for the long haul, I have to do it my way.” I developed two important mantras. One is, “Your upside is not outside. Your upside is inside.” I’ve got a quote book with about 150 quotes and that’s one of them. The other one is in every classroom in a school in Florida, “There is no such thing as failure. You either succeed or you learn.” When I adopted that, I said, “Everything I do from this point out, there is no failure in my life.” I don’t mean that in a Pollyannaish way. Words have power. Words are enormously powerful. I’m a wordsmith.
I spent much of the 40 years of my life writing, speaking, being careful and precise with my words. I help other people with that because your words manifest your thinking or your words become your thinking outwardly expressed and people throw words around without thinking too much. It struck me that if I could see every experience as either success, meaning I got what I set out to get or if I didn’t get what I set out to get, what did I learn from this that I could take to whatever’s next? That enabled me to also stay self-employed for 40 years through ups and downs, through a bankruptcy, through losing $3.4 million over 24 months. Through losing my house, my car and my confidence. That’s life. It’s a true saying, “It’s not what life brings you, it’s how you respond to things.” All that formed the foundation of what enabled me to stay in the game over these past 40 years.
Every reader who’s reading this, we’ve all been through ups and downs. It’s how you handled it as you know more than anything else. The part that I am in agreement with you, I say it a little bit different way. My belief is that you do not fail until you quit. In my world, I don’t believe quitting is the key, but pivoting is. In many cases for me, when I look at the things that I think of as failures, it was simply because I didn’t pivot at the right time or I pivoted something into something that was either as bad or worse than I started with and didn’t pivot again. My feeling is that failure comes from quitting, not from not being successful at first. That’s a little bit different than what you said, but it’s along the same lines.
I get where you’re coming from on the flip side, because there’s always a flip side. Almost everything in life is a double-edged sword. It can cut you or it can cut the thing you were trying to cut. Sometimes not quitting but recognizing in your language when you need to make the pivot that it isn’t quitting. One of the things I learned over the years, I was introduced to science 30 years ago called axiology. It has become the driving motivation and force in every aspect of life and business and such. One of the distinctions in axiology is we come from an either/or way of thinking. Our thinking pattern tends to be an either/or. It’s either this or it’s that and everything has two edges. The other side of quitting, which if you didn’t look at it as quitting is to say, “Knowing when to stop doing what you’re doing because you’re not getting the results you set out to do.” Don’t think you have to keep going because you started that journey. You might be smarter to say, “This iteration of it is not working. It’s time to pivot,” but that’s a difficult thing. In a two-dimensional either/or world, that means if we didn’t succeed, then we must have failed.Failure comes from quitting, not from not being successful at first. Click To Tweet
Underlying all of that in our brain is if I stop now, what’s it going to look like? It’s going to look I’m a quitter. It’s going to look like I didn’t finish. I got to the three-yard line, the one-yard line and those things start to infiltrate our mind. There was a commercial years ago and you remember the mind is a terrible thing to waste. I always thought, “The mind can be a terrible thing because our mind can trick us into believing things that aren’t in our highest and best good.” The point I’m making is exactly what you’re saying. It’s knowing when to pivot and then not framing the pivot as, “I failed at this. I’ll have to try something else.” As we look back over time, when I was 23 and I got into the business, I didn’t have the perspective of looking back. I could only look ahead. After many years, I have perspective as we all do as we get older to look back. If there was one thing I could tell my younger self to adapt and adopt sooner, it is that whole idea that everything has more than an either/or to it. I love the conversation and I’m here to talk about what’s next.
In retrospect, do you think you spent four of those 5,000 sales calls doing something that you should have changed doing earlier? Did you feel as if you needed to go the entire route before you had the realization that you did?
Here’s how it worked out. We had a quota of 100 sales calls a day, which can you imagine in nowadays world? You get somebody in business says, “You’re in business now. You’re going to have to make 100 calls a day.” Forget about it. You disqualified 99% of the people. The deal was you had to make 100 and I’m talking calls, not phone calls, hoofing it, knocking on doors, you had to come back at the end of the day. I did 100 a day for 50 working days. I said, “I’ll give this a few months or whatever the time it takes. I’ll do my quota.” In retrospect, if I would’ve known then what I know now, I had plenty of evidence after the first thousand. I wouldn’t have had to wait. It was like, “I’m going to do this. I’ll give it a few months. If it doesn’t work, I’ll do something else,” which was unusual at the time.
I had a night job. The night job is I was studying to get my insurance license. Every day after getting up at 6:00, taking the train to New York, getting there at 7:30, 8:00, doing my cold calls. Leaving at 4:00, going home, changing clothes and at 6:00 I met my guy, we went out on calls. I was setting up my insurance business at night. For those few months I wasn’t working eight hours a day plus travel, I was working three or four hours every night, getting home at 10:00, going to bed at 11:00 and doing it all over again. After these few months and 5,000 cold calls, when I said, “I’m calling it quits.” I had all I needed to go into business. I got my insurance license and I was in business within a month or so. That was an unusual event. Nowadays, everybody’s looking for that side job, that extra source of income. It’s commonplace now. Back then it was unusual, but I also knew that I wasn’t going to stay with Exxon for more than a year. I wanted to have something that I could enjoy doing. That’s how I got into the business.
Tell us a little bit about your experience in the insurance industry. Did that turn out to be what you expected?
No. Back then, this is 1978, when you walked into a room and people say, “What do you do?” they weren’t quite as offensive as people are now. The first question out of people’s mouths nowadays is not, “Who are you? Where do you come from? Why are you here? What do you do?” Back then when you got to, “What do you do?” if you said, “I sell life insurance and I’m proud of it,” everybody would leave the room. Nobody wants to buy life insurance. They’re like, “Nice to meet you. Goodbye.” This is how I got into the recognition that I had a special skill. I said, “I’m in the transportation business.” They said, “You look like a cab driver. What do you drive a bus?” I said, “No, I help people get from point A to point B financially. Where would you like to go?” They would stop dead in their tracks. They’d say, “You sell life insurance.”
The whole idea was if I said I sold life insurance, which is transportation, what was the destination? I recognized the difference between our product, which is transportation and what people buy, which is the destination. I realized early in the game nobody wants to buy insurance, but they sure as heck want to protect their family if they get disabled or die too soon. It struck me that I had a gift for being able to language things in a unique way that got people’s attention. That was the first thing I learned. The second thing is I had to come up with a marketing method because we didn’t know anything about marketing. I was good in front of the room. I could teach. I loved to teach. I wanted to be a teacher, but I didn’t want to get paid $12,000 a year.
I started doing seminars. I did 200 seminars. That was my predominant marketing methodology. It was to teach people something they did not know, the difference between what you do with your money and what the banks and insurance companies do with your money when you give it to them. I developed this program called Reality of Change: Shifting Economic Tides. I put it into a presentation, the old Carousel with the slides. This is 1983 and I had the only presentation in the financial services and nobody had a presentation back then. The presentation got me on my first radio show on WABC in New York at the end of 1983, early 1984. I was on the Bill Bresnan Show, my first appearance in the media. One million people listened.
You talk about first 1,000 customers. In three weeks, my wife and I were manning the jet. We had 1,800 letters and calls. It took us three weeks to fulfill what we were fulfilling? I was sending out the workbook of my Reality of Change: Shifting Economic Tides. The thing cost us $3 to $5 a piece, plus it was $10 shipping. It must have cost us $15,000 to fulfill this. I got busy for the next year because of that one media appearance. It also taught me about leverage and it also taught me I’m not good at building an audience, but if somebody has an audience, I’m the best in the world at helping that audience. I decided I’m not going to market one person at a time. I’m going to continue to do seminars and what I realized in the process is I loved teaching and doing seminars way more than I did managing money.
We are talking to Mitch Axelrod. Mitch is the author of The NEW Game of Selling. Mitch is also an expert as we are starting to understand the depth of his expertise in creating the human language equivalent of a business proposition and he is teaching us exactly how to do this. You started doing these presentations and you found out that presentation selling was far easier and much more profitable than one-on-one selling. Did you stay in the insurance business at this point? Did you decide to pivot and do something more along the lines of teaching people how to sell?The moment in time when we experience the depth of our worst possible failure is also the birth of our greatest success. Click To Tweet
Yes, and here’s what happened. I started to get into real estate syndication. Our clients were asking for real estate. In 1986, the real estate tax laws changed and all those real estate syndications were void. In 1987, the stock market crashed. Fortunately, I didn’t have many people in it, but we had mutual funds, index funds. People took a beating. The pivot happened in 1988. My wife and I decided we were going to buy a restaurant down on an island in New Jersey called Long Beach Island. I did all my due diligence. We paid $1.1 million for the property and the restaurant. We had plans to run it for one year, knock it down and build four or five houses, which we were then going to flip and probably make $1 million. We probably would’ve sold each of them for $500,000.
The plan was impeccable. The land was assessed for $1 million alone. We opened up on May and a few weeks later medical waste started washing up on the shores of New Jersey. That was the summer of medical waste. The long and the short of it is we lost $500,000 that year, everything we had and another $500,000 in dropped equity. Over the next year or so, in the real estate crash we lost $3.4 million in 24 months. I was bankrupt in money. I was bankrupt in confidence. I was bankrupt in my self-worth. I had a newborn and I had no choice but to pick myself up, lick my wounds and say, “What now? What next?” That became a mantra for me.
Many people have attributed this moment in time, not the historical calendar moment, but the moment in time when they experience the depth of their worst possible failure to also the birth of their greatest success. Did that turn out to be the same for you?
It did. What happened was out of necessity and sometimes, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention, I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I had a newborn and within 34, 35 days of walking away from that restaurant, I had a contract with the twelfth largest insurance company to train five of their agencies once a month for $500 an agency. Within 30 days of my worst nightmare and this was again knowing the value of relationship capital. One of the things I would venture to say, of the million people I’ve worked with, I could pick up the phone if I had them all in a database. I could call every one of them and with few exceptions they would all take my call. They know that when I was with them, I always did my highest and best in their highest and best interest.
That became another mantra of mine. I don’t like the notion of compromise. That’s old game thinking. New game thinking, which is no box thinking, not outside the box, not inside the box, there’s no box thinking. New game thinking is let’s shoot for the highest and best for both of us. The only way we can do that and this is a revolutionary way of negotiating. It’s revolutionary not so much in the philosophy of it, but in the actual practice of it because we always have our self-interest at heart and it’s hard for us to see through anyone else’s eyes but our own.
I began a practice of saying to my clients, “If I could sit in your seat and advocate for your highest and best interest, would you allow me to do that?” Who would say no? I would say, “Would you then sit in my seat as I sit in your seat so you could see through my eyes? If we’re willing to switch seats and advocate for each other’s highest and best interest, when we get back to our seat, I can see what your highest and best interest is. You can see what my highest and interest is, and then we can aim to get the highest and best for both of us.” As compared to the old method, which is you sit in your seat, you shoot high. I sit in my seat, I shoot low and then we compromise. To me, that’s insane. It’s diminishing the true potential of people because we’re rooted in that competition as opposed to saying, “If we collaborate here and we can see through your eyes.
There’s an old phrase, “You want to sell Johnny Jones what Johnny Jones buys. You have to see Johnny Jones through Johnny Jones’ eyes.” One of the other things I became good at is being willing to sit in your seat. Even if you’re my competitor, I’m going to sit in your seat. I’m going to advocate for you because there is no competition. If you’re worried about your competition, you’re not focused on you. One of the reasons I wrote The NEW Game of Selling, one of the reasons I developed a 57-video module training in six different game plans is because all the old game selling training that I got, I couldn’t stand it. It was all about manipulation and trial closes and trying to get the money out of your pocket. I never felt comfortable with that. I say let’s advocate for each other.
This is the reason why I reached out to you after reading your book because I thought that you had seen this entire process from a completely different perspective, which was refreshing and valuable and easy to apply. That’s how our friendship started several years ago. What you’re getting into is the content. If you were to give advice to our audience and most of the people in our audience have a business. They have something to sell. They’re struggling or they’re pushing every day to make more, to sell more, to grow their company, to manage their company better. Where would you start? What would that gemstone of advice land?
I’m going to give you two angles. One is if you’re up and operating, let me give you my overall philosophy and it will answer your question. There are six leverage points in every business. There are seven if you include intellectual property, but let’s look at how you attract customers, qualify them and convert them. That’s the front end of the game. Everybody does those three things in some way. Here’s the pivot point. What do you do when you convert a customer? In my estimation, my history, the reason I’ve been able to help companies generate $3 billion and not just big companies. I’ve trained hundreds of thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs and salespeople. It’s because the most leverageable point in the entire relationship is when that person says, “I would like to do business with you,” and they buy something. At that point, you have a critical decision to make.
The vast majority of companies that I’ve seen and I’ve worked with and that I’ve helped start that same process all over again. Meaning, “I got a customer. Let me go get another one.” They start the process. They go out and attract, convert and keep another customer. The most profitable, successful companies go the other way. They say, “Now that I have a customer, I didn’t get a customer to make a sale. I made a sale to get a customer.” What’s the lifetime value of that customer, potentially referrals from that customer, introductions, testimonials and endorsements? You can pivot and say, “We’ve taken care of that, let’s talk about what’s next.” What I learned in financial planning was a tremendous gift, once they purchased whatever they purchased, insurance and mutual fund. We were a fee-for-service planning firm. We turned into a fee-for-service because I didn’t want to be tainted by commissions. We took commissions when people bought through us, but we were fee-for-service.When you have that commitment, readiness, and willingness, money will never get in your way. Click To Tweet
When they said, “Let’s do business and let’s get the first step,” the next conversation in that conversation was, “What’s next?” When you make the second sale, which is what you need to go for. At the time you make the first sale, you’re going down a different path, which is the path of retention or keeping the customer. That’s the fourth step. The fifth step is to multiply your ROI and that comes through a second sale, a referral, an introduction or an endorsement. You don’t have to worry about the sixth step, which is reactivating customers after they leave you, which for some companies is an actual gold mine sitting right in front of their noses and they don’t even know it. I have this diagram of these six steps and I go to companies or organizations and say, “Which of these do you feel is the number one leverage point where we could press a button and create push button profits? Look at the rest of your mosaic and see how we can little do a little bit of tweaking here and there.”
The big takeaway for me is that pivot point when you make that first sale, what do you do next? You go back and start the whole process all over again or do you lay the foundation for the next sale and then how you’re going to serve them because that’s been my game. It’s serve, deliver and serve some more. All of a sudden, they’re tied to you and you can make a whole lot more money with a whole lot less expense by getting referrals, introductions, endorsements than by going through the whole process all over again to get another new customer. That’s the first leverage point. The second one is the qualifying process. I call it the Grand Canyon of lost opportunity. Companies spend a fortune to attract customers. That’s called marketing. They blow the opportunity terribly because they don’t know the difference between a ready buyer and a getting ready buyer. I’m going to drop four words on you that I would say has attributed to probably 40% to 50% of the $3 billion of revenue that I’ve helped my clients create. I’m a simpleton. I love simplicity. As Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” If you can get it down to one word, it’s the simplest thing of all.
Here are the four words. If you can put these four words in front of you always and these are the four words you begin your conversation with once you establish your pleasantries. Those four words are ready, committed, willing and able. Those are the four responsible criteria or makeup a ready, serious buyer. You have to be ready. The distinction here is are you ready or are you getting ready? If you’re ready, you’re in a different state of being than if you’re getting ready and I have to treat you differently. If you’re getting ready, I have to know what will take you from getting ready to be ready. It’s simple. I don’t need to present. I don’t ever present to people anymore. All I do is ask them questions. That’s the whole conversation. Next, you’re ready. The question is, are you committed? We think that ready and interested is enough. No, people need to be committed to getting what they want, not to buy our product. I never sell my product or service. It’s all about you getting what you want and are you ready and committed to doing that?
The next question is, are you willing? Are you willing to do what you need to do to get what you want? I’m just the navigator. I’m just the facilitator. I’m going to help travel with you, but I’m not going to give you what you want. You have to be willing to get what you want. The fourth criteria, which is often the one that’s the deal breaker, is are you able? Able comes down to a few things. Number one is money. Are you able financially? Number two is time. Do you have the time to do this? Number three is bandwidth, which ten years ago you didn’t have to ask for bandwidth. Do you have the bandwidth? I had a guy a few months ago said, “Mitch, I have no bandwidth. I need this. I want this. I got to start. I’ll have the bandwidth in a few months. Can we start in a few months?” I said, “Provided you’re ready, committed and willing. If you’d want to start in a few months, give me a deposit and we’ll start in a few months.”
Anybody could take those four words, ready, committed, willing and able and apply them to the way they sell now. The only thing I would ask and you’re the master at this, but I’m going to question you about one thing. In my world, I would switch committed and willing. In other words, it’s sometimes better to find out if they’re willing to move forward before discovering if they’re committed. Tell me why that’s the wrong combination.
There’s no right or wrong. That’s a two-dimensional way of thinking about it. You might ask, “Are you willing and are you committed?” There are four criteria. They’re not necessarily sequential. I’m presenting them sequentially, but they don’t have to be presented sequentially. They can be presented in any order you want. They are four criteria that must be met. I know people who the first question out of their mouth is, “I only work with people who invest $1 million and more. Do you have $1 million or more?” That’s ability. That’s able, “Yeah, I have $1 million or more.” “Now that I know you have what you need to get the anti-stakes to get in the game, let’s go back and talk about ready, committed and willing.” Here’s the other part of this. What are you ready, committed and willing to do? It doesn’t matter which order you ask these. These are for necessary criteria. Here’s the great thing and this relates to people also who always think that I don’t have enough money, I don’t have the money or if you’re a seller and you’re getting the objection.
In the new game of selling, it’s the only training in the entire selling world that does not have a single word about handling objections. Why? We know how to prevent them. One of the underlying philosophies of the old game of selling is that you have to convince people to part with their money and objections are roadblocks that you have to move out of the way. That’s not true. Objections mean you’re off course. You’ve gotten out of alignment or agreement or commitment. Those are the three magic words. Those are the three most powerful words that I ever discovered about knowing exactly where I need to be in the process. I need to have alignment with somebody then I need to get an agreement before I get a commitment. The point of this is let’s say you’re ready committed and willing, but you don’t have the money. Guess what people will invest in? They will invest in you. It’s no different if you were to go to college, you were ready, willing and committed to going to college, but you didn’t have the money.
You went to and got a college loan, somebody financed you. If you ready, willing and committed, but you don’t have the money to get a car or a house, somebody will give you a mortgage if you qualified. Here’s what I discovered and I share this with people because it’s rarely money that stops you if you’re ready, willing and committed. If somebody says, “I am ready. I am committed. I am willing to do whatever needs to do to get what I want. I have a proposition for you.” I did this my first deal after bankruptcy, after coming off this worst thing of my life. I had $5,000 left to my name. I called up Brian Tracy. Brian gave me one of the greatest quotes. It’s at the top of my book. He said, “My method and process has helped more people break into the top 10% in their field than almost any other trainer alive now.” That’s the greatest compliment because my game is all about making your game better. Part of the game is that when you have $5,000 but the investment is $13,000 to get in the game, you have to come up with another way to get in the game.
Brian never knew this. His associate who handled all of his distributors, I sent him a fax. I said, “I don’t have $13,000 to buy your distributorship. I have $5,000.” He says, “We don’t finance anybody. Go to a bank.” I said, “I can’t go to a bank. I lost $500,000. I want you to stand by your fax machine. In one hour, I’m going to fax you one page. After you read that one page, you call me and decide yes or no.” I sent him a fax, which laid out my situation, what I was willing to pay and how much I was willing to pay. It came out to $777 a month. I purposely used that triple seven. I said, “I will give you my last $5,000. I have a wife, a newborn child and I have 30 days to make money or I’m going to be out of my house.” One hour later, I got a call back and he said to me, “I can’t believe I’m going to say this to you, but I will accept your proposal. We can’t tell Brian because Brian would reject it.”
He said, “I’ve never read a one-page profoundly moving,” and that was after our conversation and they financed me. Within a few months, I had him paid off. Within several months, I had a $100,000 retainer with an insurance company. I was ready, I was committed, I was willing to do whatever it took, I just didn’t have the ability. He saw how committed I was, how ready I was, how willing I was to do whatever I needed to do to support my family. He said, “We will accept your proposal.” It also taught me something that when you have that commitment, readiness and willingness, money will never get in your way. There are plenty of people who would love to associate with somebody who’s the got that passion, that willingness, that commitment and readiness. Those four words are unbelievably powerful.The universe conspires and stands beside the committed man. Click To Tweet
They say the universe conspires and stands beside the committed man. In this case, that was you. Before I let you go, I have a question for you. It’s a question I ask every guest. Our audience knows that I love this question because it helps us understand a little bit better as to who you are. This is the question. Who in all of space and time would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?
I’m going to tell you somebody you probably never heard of, few people have. His name is Dr. Robert Hartman. You probably heard the name Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning, Abraham Maslow. Another is a guy named Erich Fromm who was a really big name in the 1960s. Dr. Robert Hartman was friends with all of them. He was the only one who was ever nominated for a Nobel Prize. Dr. Hartman came out of Nazi Germany. He was a magistrate. He was putting Hitler’s henchmen in jail. They put a bounty on his head and he spent the rest of his life trying to understand how a good country could do such a heinous thing. He came upon the most profound realization, a science called axiology. Axiology is the science of human values. He developed the first time and the only time a profile that can measure how we think and make decisions and then enable you to understand how you think, not what you think. See how those translate into your peak performance.
This guy cracked the code. I was introduced to these 30 years ago. I read his autobiography and it’s a book that I have marked up pages. I thought, “This guy is unbelievable. He cracked the code on values. He came up with this three-dimensional model of values and nobody knows about it.” I started to talk about it and I developed my model around it. I call it the Soul-Role-Goal of Life. Those three dimensions reflect history dimensions of the soul, who you are. The role, what you do. The goal was where you’re going and how you think. When I discovered what he had created, this guy not only cracked the code and was nominated for a Nobel Prize and died the same year in 1973, but he also was the godfather of the American pension system. He gathered together top corporate heads in the 1940s and said, “If you want to value human beings as human beings, you need to make them stakeholders in your company.” He created this entire new organization dedicated to pension planning. Within a year, thousands of companies had signed up. That was the beginning of the American pension system. Nobody even knows that he was the founder of that.
I used to think Einstein was the guy I’d love to walk in the park with. There’s so much material on Einstein, you can almost feel like you walked in the park with him, his books and his videos. Hartman, nobody knows this guy. This is my change the world work. The last 40 years have been leading up to me bringing this work. After I shared it with a guy, he said to me, “How would you like to speak at Harvard?” I was introduced to him. He was a stranger. I said, “Who are you?” He says, “I’m the Executive Leadership Conference director. For many years, we’ve never had an outside speaker. We’ve never had a non-Harvard PhD come in. You’re going to be the first. Would you like to speak? We have 50 health care leaders. They need to hear about this.” I got to speak at Harvard on values, the Soul-Role-Goal of leadership. People were blown away by it. They said, “We’ve never heard anything about it like this.” This has become the work that I believe. I don’t believe, it’s gone beyond belief. I know because every time I talk about this, not only do I light up, but the people I talk to light up. The beautiful thing is we have this incredible tool that in fifteen minutes can measure your thinking and show you exactly objectively what stands between you and your peak performance.
That takes us right to the point where we’re about to introduce the amazing gift you’ve created for my audience. Tell us a little bit about that.
To celebrate my anniversary, I put together a collection of some of what I feel is my favorite work. There are a half a dozen videos in here, a bunch of articles, some terrific worksheets and everything. It’s terrific stuff like how to make good decisions without stressing out. What we call successability is life skills for business and business skills for life. There’s a video on the new game of building wealth, which asks the question, “Are you a jockey or are you a horse?” I’ve got the actual link to the Harvard presentation, a studio version of the Harvard presentation and another one on bursting the belief bubble. Discovering how your own beliefs may be blocking you and how to redirect your energy from protecting and defending your beliefs that are not loving and serving you to transform you into a congruent person. I put twenty of my best videos, audios and everything together in one gift bundle. I would be delighted if your people would accept that as my gift.
Yes, I’ve recorded over 2,000 hours of audio and video over the years. The next iteration for me is to look at the legacy of all this work. I feel giving this away, whatever can help people. It’s a small fraction of what’s behind it.
Thank you so much. To our audience, we’ve had an amazing experience with Mitch Axelrod. His book, The NEW Game of Selling, is available on Amazon. All you have to do is sign up and you’ll get everything he’s talked about for free, including more than he’s even mentioned. You shared so much amazing wisdom and I appreciate it and I know the audience will as well. Thank you for being on the show, Mitch. I cannot wait until we get a chance to talk again.
It’s been my delight, Mitch. Thank you for having me.
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Mitch Axelrod
- The NEW Game of Selling
- Man’s Search For Meaning
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