Starting Y
Starting Y

Episode 23 · 2 months ago

Sales is Trust


“The best salespeople are not the best talkers, they are the best listeners”  Terry Tucker

Our Intro is based on Quantum Jazz’s piece “Orbiting a distant planet”, published under Creative Commons

Our Guest:

  • Terry Tucker started out working at Wendy’s International, at a hospital, in a publishing company, and even as a SWAT hostage negotiator. Terry is currently fighting a rare form of cancer called Acral Lentiginous Melanoma, which returned after six years after which he had to get his left foot amputated.
  • You can buy his book Sustainable Excellence, Ten Principles to Leading Your Uncommon and Extraordinary Life here:

The Host:

· Jörn is a podcaster, startup scout, consultant, and entrepreneur, who is based in Frankfurt, Germany. He has a background of more than 12 years of management consulting but spends most of his time helping international investors and corporations to find, cooperate and invest in startups in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. He hosts an English startup podcast, covering the German startup scene ( You can learn more about Jörn “Joe” here:

You can suggest questions here, use #startingy

Twitter Michelle:

Twitter Jörn: 

This is a starting why podcast. Here we ask entrepreneurs, actors, investors, in the native and hardiest on the why why they are doing what they are doing, what motivates and drive them and why can't they stop? We will start in five, four, three, two, one A. Guys, hello and welcome back to starting why, where we talk about why you start and how to think about your life, Your Business and entrepreneurship and everything else. We help you here to build your own mental framework. Or just before this interview, I was talking to our guests Terry, and we talked about that. You meant to framework is something like a cloud of dots and always when we talk here at starting why, you can fill another of DOTS. Terry, I already announce you. Hey, welcome. Thanks, Joe. I'm really looking forward to talking with you, hopefully my pleasure, and you gave me a lot of stuff to work with here. I have like two full pages full of stuff we can talk about, and the main theme we want to talk about today is that you, as you said, reinvented yourself several times in your life, and that is something that is also a useful tool set or useful approach for many entrepreneurs. Who Need to think, oh rethink multiple times, maybe even a month, when they are really early with the company, what to do. Who am I a what do I want to reach with my company? What is my competition doing, and so on and so forth. So let's stay ride in. I've seen you've been a basketball player early on. Right, I was. I actually I grew up in a family with two other brothers, so we were all athletes and I was fortunate enough to play college basketball at the citadel and Charleston South Carolina. That's part of the NCAA, which is the national collegiate Athletic Association, which is the kind of the governing body over sports and other events within college and it's divided it up into division one, which are the bigger schools, division two and division three. Division three of the smaller schools which really don't give athletics scholarships but they still have basketball teams, football teams, etc. So yeah, I was very fortunate to play all the way up through college. That is very good and usually do, rumor is, the very good athletes. They also have good chances to find a pretty good friend there. That's all. Don't need to be no need to command on that and then you've been working with the company's. Most Americans may know Wendy's. I would say for everybody who has not been to Dus you can describe it as a competitor of McDonald's. So Burger K king absolutely like exactly Wendy's McDonald's Burger King. Some people may have heard overseas of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Those are probably the big for in terms of fast food or quick service restaurants. So yeah, I kind of funny. My father worked for McDonald's. He was the national director of real estate for them, and I ended up working for Wendy's in their marketing department. So I had a lot of fast food in my blood grown up. I assumed there will very interesting conversations going on during Thanksgiving between you and your father. There really were. I mean dad was, you know, he started out, you know, working regionally for McDonald's and then eventually got promoted to their corporate headquarters to do, you know, be the national director, which was great because their corporate headquarters was in Chicago and our family was from Chicago. My Mom and dad were born there, two...

...of my brothers, one of my brothers and I were born there. So yeah, Chicago is kind of home in a lot of ways. People know that I love Food and love teachails, but Chicago Deep Tis Pizza, Oh yeah, it's very good and wasn't able to find a place here in Frankfort, even though there is a big American community. Due to the very great connections everywhere, but also to history, they can American community, but it could not find yet a deep dish pizza restaurant here. So they've still big gaping hole in the market U but it's something I really miss. And then you started working at a hospital. How do you go from well, that this unfortinted the question, because I want to ask you how do you go from Wendy's to hospital? It was actually a fairly seamless transition. When I left Wendy's I was a supervisor in new product marketing, so all the different types of whether it was a day part in terms of breakfast or whether it was a specific menu item in terms of, say, hot dogs or something like that. I got to be involved in a lot of development. When it came to our we going to put a certain product or a certain daypart into the restaurants, and so the hospital actually was a fairly large hospital, is about one hundred beds, about fivezero employees and they started a new program development process. And so it was I was really able to take what I learned at Wendy's and sort of insert that within the hospital to work with other people. And I have no medical background, so it was, you know, somebody in respiratory therapy or somebody in pharmacy that wanted to start a new program it was working with marketing, it was working with finance, it was working with their operational people to how we go about doing that. So it was more or less coordinating a process of developing new programs within the healthcare system. I see, I would call it a little bit like program management. Yeah, in a lot of ways it was, like I said, I don't have any medical background. So when, you know, say respiratory therapy wanted to put in a new machine or a new program I didn't know anything about the medical side of it, but I could help with the business side of is this a viable program is this going to make us money or is it going to be a loss leader? Something we still want to do that. I'll bring people into the hospital. We can make money on down the road. So it was more of a business role as opposed to a medical role, and apparently you then got married and moved to the other side of the X. I did. We moved to Santa Barbara, California're probably one of the most beautiful cities that I've ever had the opportunity to live in. It was a great opportunity. My wife has always been the primary breadwinner and our family, so we kind of go where she goes, which has been great. I've been able to sort of indulge my passions, my purpose in life, because she was able to take care of a lot of the finances in that so it worked out for me in a lot of good ways. And there you invented yourself again. And then you've been a customer service manager for academic publication and then you move back to Cincinnati, Ohio and then became a swat hostage negotiator. That was one of the steps where I thought usually his stops before had something to do with like program management, more or left, and then you stopped negotiating. Did you have to negotiate? It so heartful. All you budgets in the program it's kind of interesting. If you know, you saw it. There's a backstory to all this and I'll try to set that up for you for a little bit. So my grandfather, my paternal grandfather, my dad's dad, was a Chicago police officer from one nineteen twenty four to nineteen fifty four. And there are a lot of things going on in the United States back then. Prohibition, when alcohol was outlawed in the United States. We had a great depression in the late s early...

...s and then we had a lot of gangsters that were kind of shooting up the town and my grandfather was actually shot in the line of duty with his own gun. It wasn't a serious injury. Was Shot in the Ankle, but my dad always remembered the stories my grandmother told of that knock on the door of Mrs Tucker, grabbed your son, come with us, your husband's been shot. And so when I expressed an interesting going in the law enforcement my dad was like, absolutely not. You're going to go to college, you're going to major in business. You know you're going to get out get a good job. My Dad had my entire life plan for me, but it was the life my father wanted me to live. It wasn't the life that I felt I was born to live. So when I graduated from College I had a choice. My father was sick. He had cancer, he was dying. So I had a choice. I could say sorry, Dad, I'm going to go blaze my own trail and get into law enforcement, or my other choice was, out of love and respect for him, I will go into business and do what he wants me to do. So if you look at my resume, as you said, my first two jobs, with Wendy's and then hospital administration, were business related jobs and that's what my dad wanted me to do. And I sort of joke I did what every good son did. I waited till my father passed away and then I followed my own dreams. So those first two jobs are really what my dad wanted me to do. Law Enforcement was really my passion, my purpose, my why, whatever you want to call it. I got into that Lighton life. I was a thirty seven year old rookie police officer, which by many accounts is pretty old to be getting into that line of work. But that must have been a very traumatic shift in your life, from taking care of sheets of medical products to really negotiating with people who hold hostages how did you approach that? How did you transform yourself? If you think about what a police officer does, I mean ninety nine percent of what we do is facetoface with another human being, whether we're pulling them over to give them a ticket, you know, for speeding, or whether we're answering a radio run for a fight or domestic situation, or whether or knocking on your door to tell you to, you know, call the hospital because grandma passed away, whatever the situation was, it was always facetoface. But as a negotiators, we weren't facetoface with people. We were sometimes blocks away, talking on the phone. A lot of times, best case scenario, it's we were on the other side of a locked door where they have barricaded themselves or taken hostages. So we had to figure things out based on what people were saying, what they weren't saying and how they were saying it. And if you think about hostage negotiating, we have kind of two brains. We have a rational brain and we have an emotional brain, and when we're starting negotiating with somebody, their emotional brain is way up in the air and their rational brain is kind of down on the ground. I always kind of if you picture a teeter totter or a seesaw at the park that we all played on as little kids, you think about, okay, their rational brain down on the ground, emotional brain way up in the air, and over time, by asking them open ended questions and getting them to talk and burn off a lot of that emotional energy, that teetertotter, that seesaw kind of comes to an equilibrium and then over more time, again asking more questions and getting them to talk, their rational brain now is up in the air and their emotional brain is down on the ground, and that's the time when we can talk about solutions to the problem, letting the hostage go or putting the gun down in coming out, because we all make better decisions using our rational brain as opposed to our emotional brain. So that was one big thing that I learned. The other thing that was very important, and what we did was trust. This was building a relationship, and I don't care whether you're in business as an entrepreneur, I don't care if you're in a relationship with your house or your significant...

...other or you're a negotiator negotiating with somebody's taken a hostage. There's a relationship that's built there and that relationship has to be built on trust. So we never lied to people. People would sometimes say to us, Hey, I'll come out, but you got to promise me I'm not going to go to jail, and we would have to say to them, well, when you do come out, you are going to go to jail, and then we would try to deflect the conversation to something that was more positive. So we never lined up somebody because there was always the chance that a year from now or two years from now we were going to be back negotiating with this person again and if they felt we lied to them, we deceived them in any way, they were going to say, Hey, you know what, I don't trust you, and you'd have to bring in another negotiator, because if you don't have that trust factor, there's no way you're going to be successful in that relationship. So it's always about building trust there. But it's also a very good approach if you want to find a cofounder, a investor, clients. Of course, the more valuable are the stuff are, the things you are selling, maybe a physical product, maybe software, the more trust you need a specially food investors, that they hand over a lot of money there. And the question for me would be what did you learn? They're about building trust, like tooth proaches, or just some idea that stuck to you mind that people out there would be able to apply here. I think one of the biggest things I learned is the importance of listening. You know, it's always been said that the best salespeople are not the best talkers, they're the best listeners. Again, a lot of times, as we were negotiating, we would spend two hours kind of on a topic that had absolutely nothing to do with what we were really there for, but the person we were negotiating with had to kind of burn off a lot of that, you know, emotional energy so that they were ready to get to a point where they could actually start now dealing with the situation at hand. So I would say listening, and we're all guilty of this. You know, the difference between listening to respond versus listening to understand. And you know, if you think about it, whether whatever you are, whether you're, you know, negotiating with somebody you know on for a building or you're a salesperson, you're trying to get somebody to buy your product or your service, you have to understand what they want, what they're looking for, and not just kind of go in there like a bull in a China shop and be like you know, well, here, let me tell you why we're great. That puts people off. That says you're not listening to me, you're not understanding what I'm trying to do. You may be able to do that at a certain point in time, but to go into it like you know, I've got this great product and I'm going to tell you why it's going to help you. I think the IMP portance of listening before that. What is the customer want? What is this person saying? And again, what are they saying and what aren't they saying? What do you do in your research? What do you do when you're trying to figure out who this company is or who this person is? In your research, what did you uncover about them? So it's not so much necessarily what they're saying, it's also about what they're not saying and how you can deliver a product or a service that will help them to either be more successful and you know, and their endeavor, or how you can negotiate a better deal for yourself based on what you are saying to them. My daughter and her husband just bought a house where they live and it was interesting because a builder who designs the house, buys the land and then builds the house, and there were other offers on it, but the builder said that he chose their offer because they spent the time to ask him about him and his business. You know, tell me about why you...

...did this. Tell me about how you got into this. Again, goes back to what I was talking about negosition, developing a relationship. You know, yeah, I want to buy a house from you, but no, this is got to go deeper. Tell me about you, tell me about your family, tell me about your upbringing. Oh, you expressed interest in me. Okay, now of a sudden I like you. Now we're developing a relationship and based on that relationship, hopefully we can develop business relationships as well. That is actually very important fact. I've learned over child and when a thought it out as an entrepreneur, as a freelancer, I also had this idea of being very aggressive, very loud, then he can sell stuff. But actually see complete opposite. I totally agree with you there, and I think that very important points already that he can use something like this. But, going a little bit to what we promised our audience, the skill set you have developed over time to basically transform yourself. Can you lead us through a little bit what you realized, what works and also what they not work for you? I guess I would start sort of as an umbrella with you need to be a lifelong warner. I started out in fast food and then changed industries into healthcare and, you know, then went to an entirely different job in law enforcement and then I started my own school security consulting business. I guess I'll say one of the things that we've always told our daughter this is to play to your strengths. What are you good at? And if you don't have certain skills, can you bring people in that do have those skills? I'm reading a book now called team of rivals, and it's about the sixteen president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. When he put his cabinet together, his advisors together, he didn't look at necessarily, are you a Republican or are you a Democrat? He looked at who is the best person to be in this job? Who is the best person that can advise me, and that was sort of something even today that is foreign, at least here in the United States, where if you're a republican president, you're going to pick Republican advisors, Republican cabinet members, and the same thing. You know, if you're a Democrat president, you're going to pick democratic advisors. And what Lincoln was saying. No, I'm going to pick the best people for the job based on what. I don't know. I don't know these things. Maybe I'm not really good at diplomacy. Well, who's good at diplomacy? Well, that person is in another party. Can I still put them in place? And Lincoln felt he could and was successful at it. I guess I'll give you for quick what I call my four truths, and I think these can be adapted for I've used them through my cancer journey, but I think they can be adapted. I know they can be adapted for Your Business and they're just one sentence and I'll give them to you real quick. The first one is you need to control your mind or your mind is going to control you, and I think where that applies in businesses. Are you the kind of person who you know it looks at the glass as half full or as half empty, and if your mind is putting negative thoughts into your brain. One of the chapters I wrote in my book is entitled that most people think with their fears and their insecurities instead of using their minds. So as an entrepreneur, it's like, Hey, I want to get into this business. Wait a minute, it scares me. I'm a little nervous. Do I have the resources? Do I have that knowledge? Do I have the education? You have the background to be successful at that? And a lot of people are like, oh no, I don't, so I can't do that. And I think what that says is you need to control your mind. You need to tell yourself, yeah, it's going to be hard, but can I learn something here? Can I keep going even though I may make mistakes along the way? So many people are not willing to even try and think about that. You're going to be so much...

...further ahead if you have even a small amount of grit to go ahead and pursue your dreams, because so many people are willing to take the chance on an unknown outcome. So that's the first one. Control your mind. The second one is embrace the pain and the difficulty that we all experience in life and use that pain and difficulty to make you a stronger and more resilient individual. You know, there's no such thing as an overnight success. I mean all of a sudden is burst on the scene. Had all kinds of failures along the way, and I really think failure it is the driveway to that, you know, million dollar mansion. You've got to fail before you can succeed and I think it's important, especially when you're young, to fail and to fail often, to take chances, to step outside your comfort zone to improve yourself. So anytime you experience pain in life, instead of running from it, what I would suggest is do just the opposite. Take that pain, internalize it, flip it inside, burn it as fuel, use it as energy to make you a more resilient individual. So that's number two. Number three it's kind of more of a legacy truth. I think it's important, regardless of where we are in the stage of our life, whether we're just starting out, whether we're in middle age, whether we're towards the end, to look at the end game of our lives and what would people say about us at our funeral? You know what we want people to say, I mean this was a great guy who was a great entrepreneur. But I think the important thing about this, and I'll give you the quote here, is what you leave behind, is what you weave in the hearts of other people. And I listen to a youtube video the other day by David Brooks, who's a New York Times columnist, and he was talking about our values, but he was talking about two different values. Is it the value of your resume or the value of your eulogy? What guide you? I mean the value of your resume where you're you know, I got to be tough, I got to be strong, I've got to be aggressive, or the value of your eulogy where he was a good man, a caring man, a loving man. It things like that. So you have to look at how you develop your life based on the values that you have in that and I don't think a lot of people spend time really thinking about what their values are, whether it's values of how I want to operate as an entrepreneur or is a businessperson, or how I want to operate as a human being. Those things aren't mutually exclusive. You can operate the same way as an entrepreneur as you can as an individual and still be successful. So that's number three. And then finally, number four. As long as you don't quit, you can never be defeated. And for me having cancer right now, the way I look at that is my pain, my difficulty, is going to end someday, man through surgery, at Man through medication. Quite frankly, it may end when I die. But if I quit, if I give up, if I give in to pain, then pain is always going to be a part of my life. As an entrepreneur, as a business person, you're going to have pain, they're going to be bad days. But do you quit when those obstacles, when those and pediments and you know, get in your way? In the United States were great about Oh wait a minute, something block my way, so I'm going to quit now, I'm going to give up. But then we want to blame somebody. Very few people in life take personal responsibility for their own success and happiness. I'm actually here still thinking about it, but that actually sounds like a very, very good framework. You have here is especially worked out in like four points, and we also again highlighted how important it is to be not that aggressive when you sell something and of course, about the value of trust. I do believe that a sup points that we've made in the past quite a few types.

Trust is huge and again, trust permeates every part of our lives. You know, whether we're a businessperson, whether we're just starting out, whether we're working for somebody else. You know relationships with our kids, with our spouse, with whatever. Trust is really the overlying umbrella to whether or not people are going to want to do business with you. You know, just like if I'm negotiating with somebody, if they don't trust me, I'm not going to be successful as a negotiator. Well, if companies or people don't trust you, they're not going to work for you, they're not going to want to do business with you, they're not going to want to be involved with you. So trust is a huge thing and again it goes back to you know your value your values as an entrepreneur. Your values as a businessperson can be the same values you have outside the office. You know how you conduct your life with other people. So don't think they need to be mutually exclusive. They don't. You can still be tough and aggressive, but you can also be kind and caring about other people as well. Very very important points here. I'm just trying to think if all audience could take a few more good points from you. Experience you have made. As he said, you pretty open about it. You have cancer. I do believe they're also some things you have learned to deal with it. Right. I have. I mean, I think, the big things I've learned or what I called my for truths. But I also think that whenever you're facing something, you tend to think of it as being in a vacuum, you know. So if you're starting a company, it's like, okay, you know I am starting a company. But if you think about it, there are all kinds of touch points along that way, whether it's your spouse, I mean is your spouse with you along this journey, or are they just kind of a I recall a there was a president here in the United States by the name of Harry Truman who was a vice president for President Roosevelt. Franklin Roosevelt during World War Two, and Roosevelt was a huge leader in the United States that goided the country through World War Two but died unexpectedly in office. And here's this vice president who really didn't have much of a role. That is now thrust into. I am the commander in chief of the United States during World War Two. Well, his wife didn't want it. I have anything to do with him being president. She didn't want to be involved. She actually went back to Missouri, one of the states here in the United States, and lived her life while Truman was being president of the United States. I mean, imagine, you know yourself. Yes, I want to start a business, but do you have the support of your family? Do you have the support of your friends? Do you have the support of suppliers and things like that? And I always says, but Joe, you know, if I didn't know you, but I knew the five people you hung around with the most, I could tell you a lot about you. And so I think it's a pornfall of us to look at our inner circle. Who are the people that we surround ourselves with the most? Are those kind people, carrying, people, loving people, people that will support us and people who will risk their relationship with us in order to tell us the truth, because they love US enough to do that? Or are you surrounding yourself with people that are all about them, that all they care about is what they can get from you? And if you're not surrounding yourself with people that uplift you. You know, it's gonna be hard enough to start business as it is, but if you don't have the right people around you that are like you know, yeah, Joe, this was a tough day, but you know what, you're going to get through this. If you don't have those people around you, it's going to be that much more difficult to get your business off the ground. Yeah, totally. To remember conversation I had with one of my first business angels. He told me that actually the decision for your domestic partner, for you wife, is more important for the success of your... than the first few business angels, especially considering a clong term. Yeah, that's right, and I actually have to smile a little bit. We told me, like the five people who around me most especially since my little boy is definitely part of this, that would be an interesting analyzes here. Yeah, it is. I mean that would be very interesting and realize you know your impact. I mean when I was a police officer, I was working nights most of my my police career and I made a conscious effort to always say I don't care how little sleep I get, I'm going to be at my daughter's, you know, games and recitals and plays and all that kind of stuff, because my family was incredibly important to me and, you know, think about it, there were nights that I went to work and I carried a gun and had to make life and death decisions on three or four hours of sleep. But that was the sacrifice I was willing to make, with the understanding that, you know, what I want my family. My family is my number one priority. As much as I love being a police officer, my family was everything to me. And then they grounded me. They grounded me in the things that, you know, I had to see as a police officer, that I had to be involved in. And the same thing with you, you know, are you an entrepreneur that you know? Do you get home and, you know, kick the dog and, you know, are surly with your wife and yell at your kids, or is your family the touchstone, the grounding point for you to be successful in your life? And if you don't have people that come along with you along that journey, I don't care if you get to the end of the Rainbow and you get that pot of goal, it's going to be awful lonely. If you don't have anybody there to share it with. That is totally true and actually I would say that a great closing words with this interview, because you packed it so then with interesting stuff. I do believe I have a few days that I would need to really think about it. Well, good, I'm glad I got you to thing. I think that's really important. It goes back to being a lifelong learner. As long as you're still thinking, there's still hope. Yes, exactly, Terry. It was a big pleasure having here. Thank you very much for being a guest. Well, thanks, Joe, for having me. I hope your audience got something really good out of our conversation. I am sure they did. Thank you very much.

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