Ben Gay III has been called a living legend in the sales world. After 50+ years in professional selling, he has been the #1 salesperson in every organization in which he has worked. Ben's site: https://www.bfg3.com/ Deals on Ben's books:...
Ben Gay III has been called a living legend in the sales world. After 50+ years in professional selling, he has been the #1 salesperson in every organization in which he has worked.
Ben's site: https://www.bfg3.com/ Deals on Ben's books: stores.ebay.com/ronzonebooks https://www.linkedin.com/in/bengayiii/
Jeff's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/JeffSterns/videos
Jeff Sterns 0:00
But a partial list of some of the famous slash interesting people, Ben gay. The third is known and worked with over the years into it Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, Norman Vincent Peale. Dr. maltz Maxwell maltz, no Apollo 15 1617 astronauts,
Unknown Speaker 0:19
and he said then you will worry less about what people think of you when you realize how infrequently they do. And Chanel that night at snooty frog drove that home. I've been gone six years in a federal prison. And she thought I was mad at her and hadn't been in in two or three weeks.
Unknown Speaker 0:40
Jeff Sterns connected through cars, if they're bigwigs we'll have him on the show. And yes, we'll talk about cars and everything else. Here he is now, Jeff Sterns
Unknown Speaker 0:59
I love that poster behind you. I've been to the concourse d'Elegance many times, but as I've gotten older, the cars they're showing as beautiful antiques are cars that I owned at one time. I don't mean really, really fancy once. But, you know, when I go to a 1936, whatever, my first new car was a 19 not new, but my first car was a 1936 Chevrolet. I don't need to see it in an antique show.
Jeff Sterns 1:29
And look how much better I age than that car did. Yeah, exactly is what you're thinking. Okay. So Jeff Sterns connected through cars podcast, I'm here with a literal legend, Ben gay the third. And so the premise of this podcast Ben and audiences, it's interesting people I'd met through the car business that I know a little. So I just want to be transparent. I don't want to act like a big shot that I know everybody. I have been reading Ben's book, The closers since the mid to late 80s have lent out God knows how many of them have bought it over again. Not that Yes, that one but not that cover the the cover. Oh, see. Now I'm like one of those Concord de la guns and tea. So a little darker than the color of my shirt. And it just said the closer's in almost a modernistic computer writing font or something, right. And I read that thing so often that I had the corner of the cover worn off, and the pages thin. And then of course, I'd get a fresh one when I would lend it to somebody. But I don't have the same closing ratio as you if I recall, you have something like career 86% closing rate or some lie like that. But I was good. And a lot of people asked what I did and I gave your book I can't tell you to how many of them so if you don't mind, I just want to read a little bit about you and we're gonna have a normal conversation here but there's so much about you I mean, my God, but a partial list of some of the famous slash interesting people Ben gay The third is known and worked with over the years most work with him either full time or as mentors or in seminar. So the names that stand out for me, is, you know, just to be able to as a you being the conduit, Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, Norman Vincent Peale, Dr. maltz Maxwell maltz, another one of my favorite books. augmon dinos are so great. And I mean, there's plenty here but there's also something interesting here and I want you I want you to save it though, because I have a little more stuff. I just want to brag on yellow. But I want to talk about you know, Apollo 15 1617. Astronauts. Okay, so that's the list incredible. guy there. So So you've done so much, you're well preserved, we'll have to ask what you're doing for self versus self preservation there. But of course, the book you know, the closer series and sales closing power now, you know, of course, this podcast is Jeff Sterns connected through cars. My background is I was in retail car dealerships for 27 years, a manager for a little over 20 of those years. And now for about nine years with chat lead, calm selling car and boat and RV chat to car dealers for the website, but I do an awful lot of consulting with them on the selling of the leads that our chat provides. So I'm talking to people about selling all day so this is so darn appropriate having you here worked continuously as a commission salesperson since you were 14 is a big deal. So did I Alright, But I don't have the 86% closer when you were 18 you're at Okay, this is impressive. Number one salesperson at Macy's in Atlanta. And then you became a buyers. They're the youngest one ever in their 100 year history. You're the number one salesperson, a large organization for manufacturers reps in a major food broker company brokerage company, in largest network marketing company at the time in a management consulting firm, and another direct sales company. Okay, this, this one is four pages. I mean, what, what I'm going to do for the watcher is I'm going to post this stuff in the notes. It's just too much not boring. It's just too much for one guy. What for what you're only one man, then truly a living legend. So, you know, sales is my thing. I love taking it down to the granular I love taking it down to the cellular. But my interest is really piqued with this with the astronaut thing.
Unknown Speaker 5:56
Can you talk about that? When I was running holiday magic cosmetics, which was the largest MLM direct sales company in the world at the time. One of our distributors, we used to call them holiday girls, like an Avon lady was named Jeanie Harrington. And she was married to Jim Harrington, who happened to be the launch test supervisor of the manned space program goes all the way back to Vanguard that Navy rockets that would go up about three feet and fall over and used to watch those as a kid on television. So Jeannie called me one day I remember I was in Canada, and she said, Would you like to come down and watch an Apollo launch? And I said, Absolutely. She said, how much warning do you need? I said, you just gave it to me. When he has it was watching Apollo 14 takeoff. That was Alan Shepards flight, and it followed 13 which had blown up, you know, in the wall circling the moon. So I was excited about going to it. Little tentative though, since we just had a bad experience. I didn't want to have another one that I was at. But she said come on down. Well, to surprise me that night at their house, they had a barbecue, and the launch cruise and the end the astronauts for Apollo 1415 and 16 were their apartment 1516 and 17. Were there because they want to see 14 take off also. So I got thrown to the mature in the middle of a bunch of astronauts. And it turned out I was the German gene Harrington we're excited to have the president of holiday magic cosmetics at their house. I was the president holiday magic, was excited to meet astronauts He did everything but bring my autograph book, though I was set up properly, and they want to hear what I had to say. So sitting around casually and wandering around. Explain it because they were all acutely aware that being an astronaut was not a lifetime occupation, it had an end date because of death accidents or just age. So they want to know what do we do next. So it turned into sort of a motivational seminar and working seminar. Mainly we ate and had a good time. But I remember sitting in the living room with all these people gathered around me and I thought the wrong person is in the chair. I should be sitting on the floor looking at them. So somewhere during the evening, Jim Irwin, commander of Apollo 15. Ben, if you don't mind, I am naming you our attitude coach. And the other astronauts all went Yeah. Now like a lot of things like teaching at San Quentin for five years. Attitude coach didn't come with any cash is one of those honors that you can't turn down but but you can't. I couldn't ask for money for it. So I began working with the astronauts and the directors of NASA, Dr. miles Ross and Dr. deivis at the time with the heads and sharing some ideas with them. They were very open, you know, I walked in their office, then what can we be doing better, etc. We set up a program over a few weeks time where the 100 and so astronauts that didn't have a shot scheduled they were, you know, treading water. I said what are they do? And I said well, they you know, they train etc. They pretty much got it now and they said well, yeah, awesome. I said, Well, let's, let's put them on the road and let America see what wonderful people they were which by and large. They were, well what would they talk about? And I said and they'd also talked about NASA has never gotten as much as 2% of the budget. We went to the moon and back and have done all sorts of amazing things on a shoestring basically. And one of the reasons is the tax taxpayers a lot more saying why are we going to the moon? I hear it now with Mars, you know, why are we going to Mars? Well, it's it is Jim Rohn used to say it's not important to become a millionaire. It's important you what you become, while you're becoming a millionaire. It's not important we go to Mars except what you have to do to get there. It probably if I want your office right now, I could point out 15 or 20 things that would not exist if NASA had needed them, and needed the minute via and needed the magic, you have a heart attack, God forbid when they when you're in the ambulance, and the hospital is talking to him. And they're beginning, beginning treatment while you're still parked in front of your house. That's NASA. That's where it came from. So I said, let's get these guys with a script. Oh, and I said, you haven't written down anywhere. All the things that came from acid, they came in with a thing that looked like the New York phonebook. I said, has anybody ever seen this? Well, no. Why would they want to see that's they want to know where their money is going. From digital watches to miniaturize computers. I have a cell phone here who as the fire power, and hold it the right way, has the firepower of any one of the consoles in mission control when
Unknown Speaker 11:32
rocket goes off. And the personal computer I'm looking at has more firepower than the entire control room, you know, for 12 $100 whatever it costs than the entire control room had when we sent three men to the moon and back. So it's amazing what they had to accomplish. We didn't have the huge rockets like the Russians had. Russians didn't have to miniaturize we, we couldn't casually throw a one pound item on the ship and had every ounce had to be accounted for, and therefore miniaturize. So we took the 100 or so astronauts, gave them scripts on all the things that NASA has done, invite encourage wherever they went that the entire public be invited. But our cover story was they were going to go out and talk to the schools. Under the theory, the students will go home and tell mom and dad You won't believe what NASA is doing. And even better have mom and dad come to the school. So we turned about 100 fighter jockeys back in those days pretty much you our pilot first turned 100 fighter jockeys into public speakers and publicity agents for NASA. And that program still continues. If you see an astronaut come to your, to your town to talk about NASA and all the wonderful things it's doing. They weren't doing that before the night Apollo for the night before Apollo 14 took off.
Jeff Sterns 13:05
Ben, did you personally work with these fellows on their public speaking? Yes,
Unknown Speaker 13:12
yeah. Those who felt they needed it. The fighter pilot mentality is such that a lot of them don't feel like they need anything. A friend of mine, Danny Cox, who was a fighter pilot and a famous speaker in the real estate business. He said, do you do you want to know how you're in a room with a fighter pilot? And I said, Yeah, how do you tell he said he will tell you? So No
Jeff Sterns 13:35
Unknown Speaker 13:36
Yeah. He was aware of the ego quotient. So they wanted to get out there and do it. But they were they're into training. So they, you know, they want to have it standardize what they said.
Jeff Sterns 13:47
Thank you for that. So one of the people on the list was Napoleon Hill. And forgive me if I'm going all over the place. But Napoleon Hill I mean, my goodness. Zig Ziglar Norman Vincent Peale. How did you end up connecting with all I mean, meeting one of them? I mean, for me meeting you was a big deal in my life for you to meet these people. Was it centralized somehow? Or are they all at the same place one day funny, you
Unknown Speaker 14:16
should mention them. Let me write them down. I'll hit them all in order Dr. Hill. The day I joined holiday magic cosmetics, the gentleman who recruited me said you're young. I was 23 said you're gonna have to get some wisdom gathered up pretty quick. And he gave me an old beat up copy of thinking grow rich. So march up and underlined and all this hard to read it was his copy. And he gave me a record, which I still have about 15 feet from where I'm sitting, the Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale. He said listen to the read this, listen to this and so on. Two years later, I was president of the company to a large degree because of what those things taught. In what little training the company already had in place. So I'm sitting in my office one day, 25 year old president of a company that in today's money was soon to in about three and a half billion dollars, and I couldn't balance my checkbook, I was in over my head, to say the least. But if you tap dance fast enough, and you can speak and mesmerize crowds and make sales, they'll let you get away with a lot. But one day, there was a knock on the door and looked up. And there was William Penn Patrick, the owner of the company, one of my most important mentors. And he was standing next to this little man who was leaning on a cane. And so being a Southern Gentleman, I hopped up and ran around my table and went over and I said, Hi, I'm Ben gay. And the Bill said, then that's not that's the doctrine, Napoleon Hill. I said, I'm sorry. So sorry. The pictures I've seen had seen were all younger. And they had that horrible color that he used to where it looked like he escaped, but like he escaped from a lynching. And
Jeff Sterns 16:09
I know that picture you mean?
Unknown Speaker 16:10
Yeah. So I said to Bill, well, you had such an honor meet you into Dr. hills and so on. And he said, Well, I've got some good news for you. I've hired Dr. Hill to be your mentor. I'm not positive. He said mentor because we didn't use mentoring coaches much then as we do now. But what he really did was he gave him $50,000 little over almost a half a million dollars in today's money to be my friend, Rodney Dangerfield, the old comedian, he used to say that the family had to tie a pork chop around his neck. So the family dog would play with him. Dr. Hill was motivated to be my friend with a $50,000 check. And he said, here's the deal, man, you can tell he said, I know there are times when you're afraid or concern, but you don't want to make the long walk down the hallway and tell me you're afraid and concern, because you're afraid it'll cost you your job. Dr. Hill is now your friend and confidant you may tell him anything you want to tell him It will never get back to me. That's part of the condition of the arrangement. So I want you to use him and so on. So well, being the suspicious person. I didn't really believe that. But that was nice, you know. So I tested rather quickly, I tested Dr. Hill, I told him that I was thinking about doing something with some other people in the company. And Bill Patrick wouldn't like it. I knew he wouldn't like it because a similar something similar to the story I made up had been tried on him once. And he fired him all scattered him to the far winds. And he called it the Last Supper when he called them all together, gentlemen, welcome to the Last Supper. And Bill would get mad telling me the story years later. So I knew if I made up a similar story told Dr. Hill and he went down the hallway and told bill Patrick, I would hear the yelling from the back of the building. So I wrote a letter, I wrote a letter to him and sealed it went to the art department sealed it with that wax, they put on official documents, and gave it to your secretary and I said Marian, if you ever hear bill screaming and using my name and vain, etc, I want you to get this letter out and give it to me. And then I told Dr. Hill, a made up story and a couple others early in the game and waited for the explosion. It never came when the company went out of business three years roughly after I left to the best of my knowledge, that letter was still in Marion mcginnises top drawer. Dr. Hill could be he was like your Catholic priest to me. He never never criticized me or questioned me in front of other people. If there was a big meeting when everybody laughed, and I heard the door latch and think, okay, if I've done anything stupid now I'm going to hear it, but never in front of other people. The explosion from Bill Patrick never came. So I got where I could tell him literally anything and did and therefore got unfettered advice. You know, it's hard to ask an advisor, what should you do if you don't tell the advisor the truth? So I gave myself the freedom to trust him. So he came to work for us. The last two and a half years of his life. We at the end of the first year he started hinting about, it's about time to re up but we're not you know. And so I said to Bill Patrick later that day, Dr. Hill is hinting that it's time for another $50,000 and Bill said, Well, what are you gonna do and I realized this year was on me But it wasn't a company expense. So I wrote him a personal check for $50,000 went down and said, Dr. Hill, I want to re up. And we did. And I was talking to somebody the other day, I'm not positive that I paid him for the third year, which he didn't live through. Or maybe he was starting to get sick. And there was no point in it. I don't, I don't really recall. But the company paid him 50,000 once I paid him 50,000 watts, and maybe I paid him another 50,000 best money I ever spent,
Jeff Sterns 20:34
then, but in today's dollars, you're talking about half a million equivalent. Yeah. And you personally as the employee? Well, forget about that. You may have forgotten did I write the check? The second time, but not only were you when you're you're saying that it was the best 50,000 you ever spent and well worth it? But you were able. So that's it. I mean, you're still a young one, to write the check. Yeah, yeah. Well, I
Unknown Speaker 21:02
was making a lot of money when I left the field to come. Be president, the company I won that contest. But Zig came in second, I'd like to point out I wish he were still alive to hear it because he's driving crazy. I won the mystery prize. He won the Rolls Royce and other gentlemen won the Lincoln Continental another guy won a Thunderbird. And after that came steak knives. So when I flew to California to accept the mystery prize, I said the bill Patrick, what is the mystery prize? And he said presidency of the company. I said, What if, you know, somebody didn't like it one and he said, then I would have changed the prize. That's the reason it was the mystery prize. So at that point, I'm 25. Dr. hills. 84, biologically was old enough to be my great grandfather. And off off we went. And you would ask earlier, how do I need Zig I met Zig Wednesday, September 15 1965, at noon, in build Dempsey's office. And the reason I remembered is not that it was all that monumental. That was the day we both and my my business partner, Jimmy Rucker, all three of us answered the same ahead. In the Atlanta Journal Constitution said, If you know anything about marketing plans, and want to make more money, dial this number. I didn't know what a marketing plan was. But I qualified in the second sentence, I needed to make more money. So we went down, put up our $91.41 bought a one pack, box of cosmetics. And we started off Zig was 18 years old. He was in the Navy the day I was born. So he got off to a little quicker start and he was already an accomplished speaker. But he hadn't had a big hit yet. So zig and I started making serious money or got into a situation that make serious money on the same day in the same meeting.
Jeff Sterns 23:04
Well, I don't want to make you feel too good on today's conversation, but you met Zig the same year I was born. So there you go. Oh, swell. Now you're the hill. Okay. So except I don't have the half a mil to stroke the check to God. And let alone the second one. God forbid. What about stone and Nightingale? I mean, these names unbelievable.
Unknown Speaker 23:30
Well, W Clement, Earl was the voice of holiday magic. I hired him to do that. And having heard him on the radio and everything, I tracked him down and hired him to be the voice. So if we invited you to a meeting and like distributor wasn't good enough to invite you, you handed the prospect a record. He went home and listened to it if he didn't have one in your office, and Earl Nightingale invited you to the meeting, then the meeting was totally scripted, plus a film. And the film said turn to the person who brought you here and ask how you can get started. And after you went through the closes all scripted and joined, you were given. Or let's say you were if you were given another record by Earl Nightingale called passport to success which in essence said join and then if you did join, the next thing you wanted to do was become a general distributor where that's goes to where the money was made. And I had Earl do another one called the general idea. And so Earl was the voice of the company cute story about Dr. Hill and Earl. Now present the company. Few months have passed. I'm living in one of the biggest homes in Orange County, California. They come out to spend the weekend and they stayed at the house as they always did. Dr. Hill in time had his own room at our house, but they came out to stay At the house, something came up and I told him the story about being given a copy of thinking grow rich and a copy of the strangest secret. One of them I don't remember who I remember right where they were both sitting. But I don't remember who said it. One of them said, Well, did they help? And I looked around, we're looking out over San Francisco Bay surrounded by 156 acres of pasture land in one of the biggest houses in Marin County. And I'm 25, maybe 26 by them. And I looked around I said, well, you're both working for me. And they laughed. Earl Nightingale had a booming laugh if you could get him to laugh at all. They both laugh so hard. But they were flattered because you remove thinking grow rich and the Strangest Secret from that recording session? I'm not sure I would have been sitting where I was it.
Jeff Sterns 25:54
Unbelievable. So I'm looking at the website and I'll put the address on the show notes. The last protege, calm. And, you know, you say most people don't know. But during the last three years of Napoleon Hill's life, he mentored a man who went on to become hugely successful business leader, Ben gay, but you know, further down, you'll be able to join us as we discover how to really in caps, you know, emphasize use the Laws of Success, originally compiled from more than 500 of the most successful business people, of course, that was in the book. But when you when you say, really, in bold, this makes me wonder something about you, Ben, and this isn't, you know, we have I have some notes about it, and some people I want to ask you about and stuff, but this is what comes up for me now, I get into this debate with some people, I want to train anybody that's interested in selling or succeeding, I always want to train them, mentor them, help them out. And I believe that, for example, with your book in other ways, and self management, management of your own state making some decisions, taking in some education that you choose, that salespeople are not born, they can, if you want to do it, you can do it. And I hear sometimes, and you've probably heard this too, and I'm not trying to compare myself to you because I've never hit your numbers. But I've been a mentor, a coach, a boss. But that's you, I can't do what you do. And that makes me crazy. Because that negates that negates all of for example, reading your book, over and over and over again, trying to absorb it. It means that for example, the person at the driving range who hits 9 million buckets of balls are the professional basketball player that throws 10,000, free throws, it was just some natural talent and not all that work that they put into it. But in your case, I kind of want to say but I'm not you, which always bothers me when people say that to me, because what you accomplish so young, and what you say about you know, as Albert Einstein said, the above quote, in theory, theory and practice are the same but in practice they're not. You've got some like unbelievable in human like running a three minute mile. accomplishments like anyone in sales knows an 86% closing rate or a 50% closing rate or probably even a 40% closing rate lifetime is not realistic. Scientists said the human body can't run the four minute mile.
Unknown Speaker 28:26
Right? And and now high school girls are doing it.
Jeff Sterns 28:30
The only because the first person did it.
Unknown Speaker 28:33
Yeah. Cuz Roger Bannister did it and then I forget what his name was. Now, that's when your second it's easy to forget who you are. But But Roger Bannister, et cetera. And they were studying him for weeks afterwards to see if his heart would explode. And then I repeat, high school girls are doing it now.
Jeff Sterns 28:51
So a huge part of you know, training, all that stuff. They believe it's possible or their coach tells them that it's possible, but they're not being told with pragmatic scientific fact that it's impossible. But when you say when you're talking about the Laws of Success from Napoleon Hill, and on this site, the last protege calm? I mean, is this sort of like a mystic, you know, staying in a cave for three years in solitary studying this stuff? I mean, are you getting it to the level that you feel like most people who just read the book and put it away aren't already feel like it's right in front of people's noses? If they would just pay attention? Is it like frustrating for you that they don't see it the way you see it?
Unknown Speaker 29:36
Yes. Because, first of all, let's go through my credentials. I'm a high school graduate, barely lasted in college, three weeks, just long enough to be elected President of the freshman class, but I wasn't there when they soar. The president of the class in I've always maintained the inauguration should be much cooler. To the election,
Unknown Speaker 30:03
to go to the election, and then have the inauguration. Sometimes, sometime further out in the three weeks, I don't think it's fair. And to get my high school diploma, I was thrown out of public school and because my family had some money, I wasn't sent to reform school, I was sent to a private school in St. Andrews prep school up in the hills of Tennessee. That was an interesting experience. I won't bore you with that. I don't recommend it. And then I got thrown out of there. Actually, I ran away, hitchhiked back to Atlanta. But because I did that, they threw me out. So I graduated from high school, barely, my father said it must have been based on height, you get to 510. They give you a diploma, because it certainly wasn't based on achievement. There. Back to the talent thing. There are people who were born to be especially charming and gracious Zig is one is had to learn how to sell. And he was taught how to sell by Jay Douglas Edwards, you alluded to his book, I wrote it for him after he died sales closing power, just because he didn't write a book. But I took it from his note my notes of what he said and his recordings. But Zig was trained, technically, by JD Edwards, he would have been the most popular guy in town without training. But he didn't start making serious money till he got trained and joined a company that could magnify his talents. I had zero talents. But here's one thing people said, how'd you become president and I pray 40 and slip. I wanted to be president united states. How did you become president holiday magic two years after you started? Well, it wasn't two years after I started, I started selling at age 10. When I want to read Columbia bicycle for selling more Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in any kid in Atlanta. So that's sort of where I started, I was selling Christmas cards and stuff before that. But that's the first time I worked. And they gave me some for age 10. At 14, I started my own business. Because my father told me I wasn't gonna be sitting around the house all summer long, mowing lawns, and I didn't know I don't like manual labor didn't then don't now. So I figured out a way with his help to go out and solicit and sell the jobs. And then to come back and inspect them, and then just split the money with whoever did the work. And the little trick there was our pricing was, when we're done, you pay us what you think it's worth, which meant people paid us 234 times what I would dare to ask for. And so when I split that with a guy who did the work, he had more money than he would have had if he'd done the you know, solicited the job and he wouldn't have solicited To start with, that's the breakdown, you got to go up and talk to a stranger. So in the in the growing season, Atlanta had 2025 kids working for me. In the non growing season, it would drop down to seven or eight. But I was splitting money with 25 employees having done the sales job and the collecting and the inspecting from 14 on so by the time I got to President of holly magic and how impressive that is. I've been selling and winning things for 15 years. I own my own business, or what 1011 years before that. And then I become the number one guy at Macy's and so on. So, so I didn't wander into holiday magic. Ziggy's talking about the guy who gets the top of Mount Everest didn't. When they asked him, How did you do it? He never says, Well, I was out wandering around. And I came to the top of this mountain didn't work that way. And it didn't really work that way. In my case, some of the side. places I took didn't fit into the overall plan, but rather quickly, I'd get back on one of the people who asked me, you know, to what do you attribute your success axiom of zip code? This is a gentleman Lamont borns who is our adopted son, one of one of my three adopted sons. And I met him when he came to a public speaking class. I was teaching him in prison. There was a 19 year old high school dropout. That's assuming you ever dropped in. I was never clear on that. But he didn't finish high school. He was a drug dealer. He was in the street gang. He'd been in a gunfight with his stepfather. Neither one of them were killed. But that was what in his heroes had Cadillacs with long hoods and Rolls Royce grills on the Aren't you know what I'm talking about. And they wore fur coats and hats. That was his goal to be the top drug dealer in the country that wound up putting in federal prison for five years, which was good news, because if he'd stayed on the streets much longer, he got in a lot longer since or been dead.
Jeff Sterns 35:17
Right, he probably saved his life. Who knows?
Unknown Speaker 35:19
Yeah, prison was probably a good thing for him. I however, was raised two blocks outside the front gate of East Lake Country Club in Atlanta, Bobby Jones own course. And the people that I knew, and or caddied for, or got to sit at the table with with my father in the men's grill, where the Chairman of the Board of Coca Cola, the founders of Home Depot, the regional vice president of fill in the blank, every major company in the country had at least a regional office, if not the home office in Atlanta, and my father was a successful salesman always owned his own business, all my aunts and uncles did and so on. So I believe the goal was to be like these people, successful educated, gracious people, that a lot of Cadillacs out in the parking lot. And I sort of grew up with that. Years later, I met Jim Newman, who had pace seminars, and he coined the term comfort zone. So I can't claim I had it back then. But my comfort zone was set high. When I went out on my own, got married, announced I was leaving home. My father said, super, you know, I wish you the best. And if I can do anything for you, let me know. But the gravy train has ended. You're off on your own now. So I walked into our little two room apartment, not two bedroom, two room apartment in it. In Atlanta. No kitchen, by the way, we've cooked on a hot plant, hot plate and wash dishes in the bathtub. And I had half of the bachelor furniture from my apartment with Jimmy Rucker, you can imagine what you can imagine what it all would have looked like we can imagine what half of it looks like. And I walked in, looked around and thought to myself, I don't belong here didn't know the term comfort zone. But this was not the life I was expecting or looking for. And within two weeks of that experience, September 15 1965, I answered the ad, the Atlanta Journal, having bought the paper to look for job better jobs, and sales people were not in the jobs department. They weren't in business opportunities. He couldn't post the commission. So So I looked from A to Z if there was a z at all the things I could do for a salary. And Jeff, there wasn't a single item in the newspaper that I was qualified to do.
Jeff Sterns 37:51
Unknown Speaker 37:52
Yeah, thank goodness. So I kept reading as I was getting ready to throw it in the trash. And I came to the section, business opportunities. And I'm guessing I don't know the circulation back then. But let's say that that newspaper went to 200,000 people that day. And that ad only ran one day, he ran other ads at different times. But that ad that caught my eye ran one day, so 200,000 people have an opportunity to read it and respond to did because I responded for Jimmy and me to did me and Zig Ziglar
Jeff Sterns 38:28
that's all the action they got from the
Unknown Speaker 38:31
Yeah, yeah, we're only we thought zig and I and Jimmy, we thought we were going to a job interview.
Jeff Sterns 38:38
Right? You didn't know you're gonna leave. They're buying a box of stuff to go sell
Unknown Speaker 38:41
a box of cosmetics. Yeah, I went into a payphone to answer the ad phone booth in a payphone. And I likened it to that and we dial the number we didn't punch it in. I likened it to a rocket launch, I dialed in bill Dempsey's phone number, didn't know what was happening. But a rocket took off shape, like a phone booth. And my life changed radically. from noon on.
Jeff Sterns 39:11
I love your point when you're, you're in this apartment, and you said, I don't belong here. Because I've, I've had a hard time putting into words. Some people think, well, I shouldn't say thank say to me, Jeff, you know, can you calm down, you're doing this thing and you're doing and you're doing that thing? And you know, simplistically, I'm like, Yeah, but I got bills.
Unknown Speaker 39:35
My wife likes the one Little Richard was asked by Johnny Carson one night on the show, and Little Richard, you know, dress like a stolen car. He said Little ratio. Does your wife like the way you dress? He said no, but she likes the way she eats. That's right.
Jeff Sterns 39:54
But your point about I don't belong here. I think is the The most concise way to word, what motivates somebody when they're when they are motivated. And, you know, as it relates to comfort zones, I mean, it can go the other way too, because it has to do with your subconscious. So this is why the, the diameter puts the weight back on, I think, or the person ends up back in the abusive relationship or whatever. Because I think subconsciously, we all have this thing that we either inherited through circumstances, or created because of our vision, or in your case, the way you were living before and the way you're living ever, that I belong here, or I don't belong here. And I think that we, we do things when we don't belong, to improve our situation, or to make them worse, back to where we belong. Do you agree with that?
Unknown Speaker 40:54
Yes, a very dear friend of mine, and I walked into the Fairmont Hotel, I believe it was in San Francisco, some famous gaudy hotel. And they had never been in a hotel like that. As we walked in, it was a she she stopped and looked around and said, I don't belong here. And I took her by the hand, walked over to a sofa and sat down and we had about an hour conversation about it because she was very talented, but had not taken off. And that gave me the understanding of why she hadn't taken off she didn't think she was entitled to. She didn't think she had earned or deserved the good things in life. Like Lamont Bowen, I know better. I've pulled him out of prisons. One of my friends who went on to become president, one of my companies. When I first went to work at San Quentin, he was on death row. Shouldn't have been, but he was on death row. Then he won his appeal, and got it reduced to life without possibility of parole than one another appeal got reduced to life. And during this time, I was teaching at Bob schuler's crystal Cathedral. In Garden Grove, California. The Hour of Power is how most people know it. And I would tell them every time I was down there about how people build Sam Clinton was going, and they really hooked on to this one friend of mine, what he'd accomplished in prison from death row. And I said, His goal is to be standing here on this stage one day talking to you. So I go down, do another session. And they they said, how's Joe Mack doing? I said, you know, funny, you should ask, I pasted off today, before you came in. And I want you to now watch as Joe Mack takes the last 48 steps, from death row, to the altar of the crystal Cathedral, Joe, come on up and down the aisle, what you do. So when people say to me, I've had an interesting background, when people say to me, Well, you know, blah, blah, blah, but I've got these problems. Let me tell you about problems. You don't get you can't spell the word. You don't have a clue what a problem is. What you need is training and some motivation. And you can do anything. We build holiday magic. We didn't have any PhDs. If we did, I didn't know what and didn't care. We didn't have any PhDs amongst our 1 million distributors around the world. All we want to know is would you come early? Would you stay late? Would you work on weekends? And would you learn the script so you can effectively present the product? And if you could, and the marketing plan, and if you could, I could take anyone from zero or little or nothing to half a million dollars a year. In those days, Carlos Fong was one of the best waiters I've ever seen in action. He works in Tiburon, California, at a restaurant called the dock. And he did the flaming shift kababs like a bullfighter. And he was handsome. The women loved him. So he did the flaming shish kebabs at our table for the 100th time and I said, Carlos, how much do you make doing this? And he gave me a figure. And I said, What if I could promise you because I trust you. I'm not gonna do it for you. But if you can make 10 times that amount, if you come to work for me tomorrow morning, he said on the end, he'd seen all our people and knew they were doing well. Less than a year later, Carlos Fong was president of holiday magic Mexico, sa they call it I don't know what that stands for, but how they magic essay or operation in Mexico, and he was a multimillionaire. From a waiter in a restaurant, knee high school, barely graduate from Lamont Bowens, a high school dropout drug dealer. Oh, and by the way, llama I didn't finish the punchline on that. Lamont got out, finishing regarding his GED while he was there. Got out, Ashley calling me one day and he said, Would you mind if if you wrote a letter of recommendation? I said, Sure. What are you doing nice. I'm trying to get in college. So I said, I promise you tell me where to send it. Then I said, I said, Alright, have a great day said, Oh, one other thing. Would you guarantee my student loans?
Unknown Speaker 45:36
All I need is your signature. And I'll be off and running. If they let me in. I said, Sure. He said, I want you to understand, he wasn't yet calling me dad like he does. Now. He said, I want you to understand you will never take a dime out of your pocket. If it kills me, you will never have to pay a dime. So fast forward four or five years, he calls one day said that by now, Dad, I need a letter of recommendation. And I said, what are we up to now? He says, I'm going to law school. And I said, fantastic. He said, and I do need a loan guarantee. I said, Okay, so we guaranteed that loan, have never had to pay a dime, I'm confident never will have to pay a dime. He's now a successful attorney, with offices in three cities, East Coast, West Coast, and Texas, doing very well. And he called me less than a year ago, and he said, Dad, I need another letter of recommendation. And I said, How much is this one gonna cost me. He broke up and he said like the others nothing. This is a recommendation for a judge ship in a juvenile court, that he'll still keep this law practice but he had nights he will be a judge. And I've always would every time I think about it, I smile. Can you imagine standing in front of Judge Bowens with your story of how you went astray, but it's all somebody else's fault. And you're talking to a guy who served five years in federal prison, he worked his way through high school, college and law school, is very successful now has a book out that's doing well has been doing well for a couple of three years. Tell him your tale of woe. I, I would like to fly to wherever the courtroom is going to be and just wait for that moment. When Lamont in his deep voices young man, let me tell you about struggles. So properly motivated. somebody puts you on the right path. You can do anything, almost anything. If you're going to climb Mount Everest, you don't wander around. Like Zig said you hire a Sherpa. Someone who's been down the road before, there's a gentleman who's climbed Mount Everest like 300 times. He's never in the headlines. He's a Sherpa. But minus him, you wind up being one of the three or 400 dead bodies on the side of Mount Everest.
Jeff Sterns 48:04
Very interesting. A man who climbed Mount Everest 300 times never mentioned, the Sherpa never thought about that. You wouldn't be there without him. That's it. This is such gold. This is such gold. I hope that we can get five listeners in our audience. But if not, I want you to know that, you know, this is gold to me, I'm enjoying every second of this. With you no doubt about it. Now, I want to backtrack a little bit. You've done a lot of public speaking, pretty sure a lot
Unknown Speaker 48:33
over 5000 paid engagements, and probably another 5000 churches and prisons and so on.
Jeff Sterns 48:41
God, I didn't even know that. That number. Oh, and by the way, I just wanted to throw out there. I mean, I may not be as impressive to you as this waiter. I haven't been able to audition to you doing my flaming shish kebab is many times for me to catch your eye. But I want you to know that I'm in my boss might be watching this, but I'm willing to leave for five times what I make. It doesn't have to be 10. So I want to be easy prey for you if you've got anything. Okay. All right. So onstage anything interesting. You know, I've done a little bit of public speaking, but my god with 5000 rounds behind you're paid and another God knows how many 1000 not paid, you've had to have some interesting things happen. And this shows about the stories and anything we're talking about.
Unknown Speaker 49:23
Oh, I've had a few interesting moments Zig used to say cuz, starting out, I said what do I do? He said speak every time you get a chance. Well, I took him literally. And I was somewhere every day doing something. And Zig came to do the stories and Ben gay would work a traffic accident. And I said only if there were two or three people there. That's right. Yeah, got it. I have my limits, you know,
Jeff Sterns 49:52
Unknown Speaker 49:54
Yeah, early in my career. I cut me off anytime you want because I could go on And on and on. This is gold to me. Early in my career, I'm going all the way to Florida with Bill Dempsey, the guy who got us in the business and Jimmy Rucker, and he told a funny, funny story. Dempsey was a great storyteller. And I'm a great listener and Laffer. I got laughing so hard, I couldn't stop. Have you ever been one of those situations where you're laughing, you're laughing, you're sick and out of breath, and then you catch your breath and start laughing again. Anyway, the it was a story about a guy who was a newspaper carrier in Atlanta. And for some reason, I don't know, we found out it was true for say, for some reason, this guy had a reaction to a certain thing. And B, how Dempsey found out, I don't know. But the he worked at five points, which is a big intersection Atlanta, where the banks are and everything. And if you went by on foot or in a car and said, Hey, Henry, go Henry, Henry Henry, and throw down his newspapers and stomp on them. And, and so if you're young and stupid, it's funny to have somebody do that. One day, Bill Dempsey is walking down the street with a guy named Richard Michaels, who was a big deal on holiday magic at the time. And here's Henry right in front of on the sidewalk. So Dempsey walks on one side, and guides Richard where they were split by this guy. They each walk on one side, Dempsey reaches around Richard Michael side, taps the guy on the shoulder who is facing the other way and says, Hi, Henry. And he turns around with a stack of newspaper hits Richard Michaels in the face, drops him to the sidewalk and begins yelling Henry Henry Henry, and leaping up and down. For some reason I found that amusing, and I started laughing, then record in the backseat starts laughing. So then I started laughing to the point I fell out of my seat, and I was curled up in the fetal position under the dashboard for much of the trip from Atlanta, to I think it was Jacksonville, Florida. And I arrived, they're worn out from laughing, go up to the room get cleaned up, put on a suit that doesn't look like I've been on the floor of Lincoln all afternoon, walks to the front of the room. This is the first time I'd spoken to about 500 people, I'm guessing, which was a big crowd. Every night in Atlanta, I was speaking to 100 200 and so on, but 500 people looks a lot bigger than 200. I walk up to the front of the room have a nice introduction. And they give me a warm round of applause. And I look in the back, Dempsey standing in one corner, Rutgers in moving towards the other backing up unrolling a piece of butcher paper, about three and a half feet tall and long enough to cover the back of the room on which is written in huge letters. I don't know how they got it done. written with marker panthenol. Henry Henry and I collapsed.
Jeff Sterns 53:08
Oh my god, he couldn't take a cold.
Unknown Speaker 53:10
Yeah, no, I went right into the historical can't control myself thing again. And by the time now I'm pointing at the back of the room to show people why I'm doing this and Rucker and Dempsey are just standing there looking at me. Like he's lost his mind. What a shame. There's no sign of the sign. It's gone. And they come up to get me literally, they pick me up under the armpits and take me to the back of the room. Face down. I'm watching my toes drag along the carpet shrieking and I'm looking up at people as I pass them on the end of the tables in I said, Henry Henry Henry, like that would make sense to them. And they're all backing up. Yeah, like yell, okay. Henry Henry, whatever. So I'm dragged out thrown in the lobby, I remember it was in a wicker chair left to my own devices in a wicker chair in the lobby of this place. So that's one, one. That's funny. Now that wasn't at the time. I'm called by the home office of still distributed Atlanta. To go up to New York to a big meeting. They were having 5000 people in the Grand Ballroom of the park Sheraton Hotel. That afternoon. The guy I was going to be working with called and asked if I want to go to lunch. His name was urn Westmore, you're probably too young to know what but the West Moors of Hollywood. Were the makeup people. They did the makeup. There was a Westmore brother that were five brothers. There was a Westmore brother at the head of every major studio in Hollywood at the same time. And then this Mr. Westmore senior was treated like a god. So I'm now going to have lunch or breakfast whatever with urn Westmore. I called my mother who used to watch him on the old Art Linkletter show and I said I'm having lunch, let's say With Arne Westmoreland, she said no, you're not nice. Yes, I am.
Unknown Speaker 55:07
Why is that so amazing? Because he's a television star and a big deal in Hollywood. She wouldn't believe me. So anyway, I go to lunch. And during lunch, he's popping pills have a little jar. Like they were m&ms. I later found out that were hard pills, nitroglycerin. And he's talking about how much he likes me. And he said tonight, would you mind introduce, if I introduce you? It would be an honor. I said an honor. I hope we can get it on film since my mother doesn't believe we're having lunch together. Sure. So he goes up and he does his thing. And he told me, I said, if you had to go after I figured out those were probably hard pills. If he had to go, how do you want to go and he said, I want to go on stage. talking to women. About his catchphrase was there wasn't there isn't a woman in the world who the arch of a brow and above the lip cannot be made more beautiful, is I want to go talking about the love because I have a love for this. So that's fascinating. So I go down when it's time to go on stage, look at 5000 people and I'm thinking, I think I'll just slip up and go back up to the room, the worst will happen is they won't be able to find me somebody else will come up, I got all this stuff. justified my mind, I was not ready to appear before 5000 people. So I had one foot up on the the four step rise, we went up to the stage and and I thought to myself, no, I'm gonna go. And just as I thought that they wheeled spotlite around and put it on me because Arne had started into my introduction. Now you can't slip out of a room with 5000 people and and a spotlight on you. So I stood there and he said, ladies and gentlemen, oh, my newest friend, a man who I believe will become president of this company. Ladies and gentlemen, Benjamin Franklin, gay. The third. And as the D came out of his mouth, he dropped dead on stage. And I don't mean fainted. There's there's a look when somebody faints, you know, this is like you've been shot with an elephant gun, boom, down. So I got up and grabbed the microphone. I says, Is there a doctor in the house and a couple of guys came forward and started working on him. I said somebody called whatever you call them in those days, and what 911 and somebody did that and an ambulance came and they came in with a Stokes litter. The stretcher on wheels and I started working on him. And finally they looked up and they said Sir, he's he's dead. And they loaded him the Stokes letter and started across the stage to go down the steps and out the side door and I said Ladies and gentlemen, I had this is the only thing I add live. Ladies and gentlemen, I had lunch with Ern Westmore. Today, I asked him how he would like to go off he had to go because I knew he had a heart problem I just found out. And he said on stage talking to women about how they can become more beautiful microbes in his famous catch line. It looks like he's achieved that. Let's give him one last standing ovation. And the management the hotel told me that they can they could hear what was going on in the ballroom out in the lobby and up one floor, the roaring of the crowd. So the doors I can still hear in my ears. The medics push their way through the doors. I hear flap flap. And then I think, Oh, it's back to me again. Well, we had a script was a 47 minute word for word script, plus a 15 minute film. Then the lights came up and you started hopefully signing people up. So the only thing I had to go with saying showbusiness. You know, I got nothing. I had nothing but the script. So I said Good evening. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Ben gay. I'm a general distributor with holiday magic. And it's my pleasure to welcome you to tonight's special meeting. I went on for the other 46 minutes showed the film film at the end said turn on the person who brought you here and ask how you can get started. The lights come back up and the distributor is supposed to get out their legal pads start circling our normal closing rate in a situation like that figure the audience's half prospect half distributor was about 50% of the prospects would sign up. And that's what different closers have different closing ability but we'd still get about 50%. That night, we got almost 90% and it was the same meeting word for words are what my meeting was the emotion of the moment most people never seen a person die and so on. So when I'm asked how to be effective in group presentations, when you're selling something, I say, here's what you do. Get a very famous person to introduce you and drop dead on stage. I'm telling you, it never gets any better.
Jeff Sterns 1:00:16
So after that, I mean, did you hire shills
Unknown Speaker 1:00:19
to guide you to come in and fake death, I never got that bad, but things like that. Just funny and sad things that 4050 years later become funny. I've had dozens, but we had a movie projector and a screen to show the holiday magic film. The screen was enormous. I've never seen a screen, you know, on three legs that big. And they were just run the film and all. And I go up to say something with a screen behind me hadn't given any thought. I'm looking at the front row. And their faces are all. And I'm thinking I didn't say anything that bet. And then it hit me. Literally, the screen came down on me. And I went up through the middle of it. In my custom made tailor made black suit. And you remember those screens? I had that glitter all over? Yeah, I look like Frosty the snowman.
Jeff Sterns 1:01:24
I didn't know. I didn't know this stuff came off the screens. Okay, now I know.
Unknown Speaker 1:01:27
Oh, it comes off the screen. Yeah, it does. under the right circumstances, it comes off. Hollywood, palladium. We rented the whole palladium for 30 days, and did two meetings a day there for 30 days in on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. First time I go on stage, I had my briefcase with me for some reason, I guess I was gonna get something out of there. I know I was. And I'm doing questions and answers and somebody asked me something. And in my mohair suit, custom tailor made suit. I go over to open my briefcase to answer whatever the question was, and it was on the floor. So I knelt down in front of I don't know, three 4000 people my pants in both legs split from the cuff to my underwear. Oh my god. And you know, now what do you do? You either offstage in either direction was 50 feet. And you can't do that backed up to the audience. So I've had and I could go on and on and on and on with funny things and things that people What about your?
Jeff Sterns 1:02:37
What about your Did you mean any bad moments? I mean, I know the guy dying at that time was bad. But it turned into a good story. But anything bad stayed bad.
Unknown Speaker 1:02:46
I've gone up on my lines a few times with show business term for you forgot what you're supposed to be saying even though it was most of it was scripted, where I just didn't know anything. But if that's happened to me five times, I was saved each of the five times by Wade cannon, one of my early mentors. I used to be Vice President Wilson learning Corporation, Larry Wilson's farming company. He got up in front of a room one day, and he was telling about the qualities they should have. And he'd list each and here's five qualities should have. And the end, he listed four. And then he would get to the fifth one. And he couldn't remember it. And he would pause and look around and said, Well, this is embarrassing. And then he looked up, and he would look up and say, Oh, the fifth one is what you're feeling right now. empathy. So I wasn't doing that trick. But when I went up on my lines, I said, after some point, realized it wasn't going to come back. I said, What I also want you to learn, it's important in selling is what you're feeling right now. You have to learn empathy. And people go Wow, that was fantastic. The truth is, I didn't know what I was going to say next.
Jeff Sterns 1:04:07
That's fabulous. Now you're you're pretty good storyteller. Is that like almost inherent? Like you probably you might be the best storyteller in the world with that closing rate. I mean, I guess you can't story sell, right?
Unknown Speaker 1:04:24
Yeah, I talked with word pictures. Because people can understand if they can see it in Technicolor, they got it. If they have to decipher your words, they may or may not get it. Zig was not a great salesperson caused a lot of sales Don't misunderstand me, but he wasn't a I say this and they say this and I say this and so he would teach that from the stage but it wasn't what he did. Zig told stories and made you love him. And when he asked you for your money, you gave it to him because you loved him and trusted him because he was a storyteller. I was telling a story about Zig the other day. I, when I first started realize he was by far a better speaker. I was still terrified. He was up while on them, you know, I used to follow him around, I shattered him. He told the story, this gets fleas and pump hills were three famous stories and pump handles. He had one of those old farm pumps for getting water out of the well, that he carried is a prop well to be with him. I carried the pump. In fact, to the point I said to him, they don't they make these things in aluminum because this was a real steel went off of somebody's farm. And he said, Well, I'll look into it. Then. Two or three meetings later. Sure enough, we had a shiny silver looking aluminum pump. I said, Alright, I'll carry it with you for a little while longer than so. I got I heard your story. Go ahead.
Jeff Sterns 1:05:53
No, Ben, I'm gonna have to put pictures on this video up in the corner. Because you've talked about a payphone we're gonna have to explain to some young people with that is a rotary Yeah. What is the rotary phone? You know? panel, right? I mean, my kids say why do you say dial seven? You know?
Unknown Speaker 1:06:12
Or even though hang up? Why do you know they don't hang up? Right more they use their thumb. That's your hang up, right? Yeah. Which is taken all the impact out of slamming down the phone.
Jeff Sterns 1:06:24
Right? You just break your screen now? Yeah. didn't teach anyone unless, of course, you have brothers or sisters.
Unknown Speaker 1:06:31
One sister seven years younger, the bane of my existence. We've had a wonderful kidding relationship. But she has a weirder sense of humor than I do. Which is going some?
Jeff Sterns 1:06:44
Well, then I will then you didn't use phones for what my little brother and I did. I mean, you know, those were terrific weapons. There's no way you're going to nail your sister seven year younger sister with the telephone, receiver, whatever it was called. But I mean those things back then you could just about kill somebody with them.
Unknown Speaker 1:07:03
Yeah, the old black ones. were heavy, heavy. The I got my sister on phone. One day I was out. I was in Detroit, even a seminar called back to Atlanta to talk to my mom and dad. They were out for the evening. My sister was there by herself. I'm guessing she was 1718. And we have a thing in our family where when we're through talking, we don't say goodbye. We just hang up on the other person. It's a running joke. So Jane hung up on me. I hung up on Jane. Then she called back. And we talked for a minute she hung up on me. Then I call back and she wouldn't answer the phone. But I knew she was home alone. So I did what any rational son would do, brother, I called the DeKalb County police in Atlanta. And I said, I don't want to stir you up and over nothing. But I'm very concerned. I was talking to my sister. I know she's home alone. I know she was undressing to take a bath when I called. And the phone went dead. And now it won't answer. Is there anything you could do? They said we'll send a unit out immediately. So mom and dad pull in just as the SWAT team pulls up in front of their they had a condominium. And by that time SWAT team pulls out or whatever they call it in those days, and forces their way into the glass sliding door, followed by mom and dad. And Jane is sitting in the bathtub looks up. And there's four or five Deputy Sheriffs and mom and dad saying are you okay? And Jane said Why would I be okay, so well your brother called from out of town and said you wouldn't answer the phone. And mom and dad telling the story said they walked away. Didn't want to rat out Jane and me, but walked away shaking their heads because they knew instantly what had happened. But they had to fill out police reports and all sorts of things. And I might add it was the last time Jane has ever hung up on me.
Jeff Sterns 1:09:15
Now, Ben, are you I mean, when we're talking you're like, you know walking promotion? You've got your embroidery on your shirt. You've got your your books handy. Are you working? Like what are you doing? Are you still work? I mean, you're obviously still promoting yourself. And I'm so grateful that you agreed to join me on the show. I mean, I'm just enjoying you. Unbelievable. It's and I want to tell the audience that like I said in the beginning, I was really nervous about intimidate about having you on and I've had some interesting people on and I sold roles in Bentley for 10 or 15 years so I thought I met everybody or could be cool in any situation. But anyway, you're just I'm enjoying every minute with it. But are you like Officially working? Are you speaking? Are you just selling books? And we're like, what's going on? Why? You know what's happening?
Unknown Speaker 1:10:05
Well, when the speaking business dried up because you couldn't get on a plane or incentivizing one to come to a room, I do just 24 a year. But they're 95, which is a negotiation I made with Gigi, when we got married, she knew both of my former wives, was raised with one and a very good friend of the first one who died. And so when I asked her to marry me and told her I was in love and all she said, Okay, I love you. And I was hoping you to ask and, and I'm ready to go pick out rings. However, I do know, your two previous wives. And I say, Yeah, but I've been very open with you. They can't spring anything on you. And she said, No, no, what they sprung on me was you do over 300 speeches a year, and you're hardly ever home. I can be lonely by my own self. So we must discuss how many times and then I've heard in Marin County that you couldn't go into a restaurant because you had five major companies. They're the cosmetic company and motor oil additive company, a vitamin company and so on. That distributors are always in town. So you never got through a meal without somebody you know, pulling up a chair and going Hi, we won the contest in Columbus, Ohio. We're out here for a week. Do you mind if me and the missus sit here with you. She says I don't want to live like that. So I would like for you to just be Ben gay that nobody knows. And then you and I. So we negotiated down to 24 a year, no more than three in any one month. No local clients. If you've ever been to Placerville, California, you'll understand that really wasn't a great loss. And no speeches within 50 miles a home. I said How far is it to Lake Tahoe is I do a lot of stuff up there. He said 60 miles, I said good. I can go with all of those. So when the speaking business shut down, there's 24 times 9500 plus book sales that went away. So income is down somewhat, but not much. I've taken on more coaching clients dying normally would. I don't have a numerical limit on him. But I can tell I don't have any more time. So with the traveling gone temporarily, I've taken on more coaching clients. I've I've written 24 books, but 12 of them were ghost written. I ghost wrote them. So I've ghostwritten two or three books since the shutdown. I do a lot of direct mail letters. Direct Mail, to me means you know, on the internet or in the mail or whatever, but sales
Jeff Sterns 1:12:55
now wait a minute, you wrote or or ghost wrote 24 books in the last year? No, no, no, no, no.
Unknown Speaker 1:13:03
I've written 2412 and we'll ghostwritten three of them, which I probably wouldn't have done. We're done in the last year.
Jeff Sterns 1:13:11
Oh, he did three which is still a feat. What during that? Okay, God, yeah. Especially. Right I need to do any year.
Unknown Speaker 1:13:19
Yeah, it is. Most people haven't read three books and never written Never mind written three or whatever. So you know, I've just taken and I still teach and sell. If you and I weren't on the phone and a call came into the control room. If I'm here, I'm always first in the rotation. I take the first call, and I answer it. Thank you for calling. How may I help you? I don't say this is Ben gay, cuz then that elongates the conversation frequently. And if they're asked for Ben gay, then Bob Tolbert, who is my alter ego, finds out why they're calling because the odds are there's someone else on the team that would better serve their needs. So but a lot of people have bought from me directly and didn't know it. I sold yesterday afternoon, two parcels of land in Arizona and acre apiece to people who've never seen the land, probably never will see the land. It's the type of thing you buy for retirement, but frequently don't retire to it. And so you put it in your will for your children or grandchildren, but sold to lots.
Jeff Sterns 1:14:30
Did you is this property that you own? Or are you also a realtor?
Unknown Speaker 1:14:36
I'm not a realtor. And that particular thing doesn't require a real estate license. When you go to sign up and all the paperwork sent to you that comes from a real realtor who fills it out. Now they call me one day and want to know if I knew how to sell land. I said, Sure. I've sold lots of land because the subject matter was right. Right, something they said well, what we do is right And this is there's a sales lesson here come in Jeff, what we do is we run a one inch ad in classified sector papers all over the country. So but we're not selling much. He said, Can you write a one inch ad that will sell one acre plots in Arizona? And I said, No, don't do that. They said, well, you were, I was told you could sell anything. I said, I can't, I won't. But I could probably it's true. But your problem is, what you're asking for is virtually impossible. But what I can do is I can write a one inch ad, that will get people to dial your 800 number, you do have an 800. Number, don't you know, we just run out regular number. Now, you'll run an 800 number, I won't do it. I'm the one who started the 800 call center industry, I know the power of an 800 number. And our websites, of course. So I said I can write a one inch ad, that will get them to dial in 800 number there, they will hear our recording, and the adults say it's a recording, so we don't scare them off. There, they will hear a recording of a script that I will write and I wound up narrating that form. And that script will get them to leave their name, address, phone number, website, whatever, email, and then I will write a sales letter that goes out with your literature and all and there and only then will I sell the land? And the answer is yes, I can sell a lot of land. If we do that, here's the sales lesson. Jeff, you always got to know what you're selling. And each step along the way. Step one, I was selling them on dialing a number to hear a recording, make the call, right? Yeah, that's a successful sale. That's the sale that's the only sale at that moment, at that moment, right. And then when they listened to the recording, the sale was Give me your name, address and phone number, email, etc. And if they did, that was a sale. And then we sent them the package, and they read it and it encouraged them to buy now. And if they called or emailed by now, that was a sale. And then they bought. So yeah, I can write a one inch ad that will result in a sale, but it's for state for sales or for steps later.
Jeff Sterns 1:17:26
Makes perfect sense. And it's funny because people worry about the sale that they're not on the sale step that they're not on often. I think
Unknown Speaker 1:17:38
they often don't know what the sale step is. Oh, but you're also talking about like a golfer, a world class golfer is not bothered by the shot, he hit last good or bad. And he's not worried about the shot he's gonna hit after he hits this one. He's worried about this one, only to the exclusion of all other golf shots in his career. If you can focus in light that you do well in any business or any industry.
Jeff Sterns 1:18:08
Can I ask you something about your I mean, I don't want to be like too much of a groupie, but about the book. But I would carry your bags anywhere. So in the first book, you talk about master closer and then in the next book you talk about sales infiltration. Can you explain a little bit about that?
Unknown Speaker 1:18:30
Sure. In the closer's part one, you will tell them how they can get it if they're interested in the closer's part one, we teach the kicks, the blocks and the punches of selling. He said this, you said this, he said that his his objection. Here's how you overcome that objection, etc. Three
Jeff Sterns 1:18:49
devil clothes. Yeah, the three devil clothes. I never forgot that. So I'll go ahead. I'm sorry. 325 years later, I still remember that
Unknown Speaker 1:18:58
the selling the way it really is not the way we wish it was. Then enough people said to me, but then that isn't really the way you sell. They sort of caught me doing what Zig Zig said say this, they'll say this, he say this, but that isn't what he did. So they said write another book that picks up where that leaves off. that's crucial. They got to have that like kindergarten through senior year in high school, and then show them what you really do. Because the way it's and so therefore I wrote the closer's part two, this is what sophisticated people really do with the information in part one. And in the last chapter of the closers, part two starts on page 257 is what you're referring to sales infiltration. That is, in my humble opinion, the best thing ever written about selling it when you were young your family gave you a box of puzzle puzzle box to put together unless they were really cruel. On the cover of the box it came in was a color picture of what the puzzle was supposed to look like when you got done. So you had some reference points. Well, the closure is part two does that it's the color picture on the puzzle box. And when you start putting things in and start doing things go, Why see now why they told me that in closers, part one, this goes here, this goes here, this goes here, and then sales infiltration starts on page 257 goes to the end of the book, I show you what master closers and sales infiltrators, which is a step above master closers. What they're really doing. Jimmy Rucker, I running high school running buddy who know turned out to be the greatest salesman I've ever personally worked with. zig and i a lot of other people weren't qualified to carry his briefcase. And but he was a very bad sales trainer. Why? Because he didn't know what he did. He was just Jimmy Rucker got the little dimples had the curly hair. Most of it's gone now. I have the curly hair. And people just loved Jimmy Rucker. It's quick, Jimmy rocker story. So sales infiltration. When I wrote that it was inspired writing. I wrote it in one sitting on a title filled up a whole legal pad. Just without adding go to the bathroom. I didn't look up, I suddenly got it. I knew what Jimmy Rucker was doing. And I wrote that down. Here's what you can do. If you're Jimmy rocker, I don't encourage it for Jimmy. I don't encourage it for anybody. We're at a meeting one day recording people into something I forget what it was. And the guy said, sitting across the nose long folding tables in hotels with a green tablecloth. guy said, I'm in. But I forgot to bring my checkbook with me. Well, this isn't the days when you left the house, you had your checkbook because we didn't all have a pocket full of credit cards, and so on. And Jimmy stands up leans over the table as he says, Oh, of course you did. And he reaches into his coat pocket where that inner vest pocket is and pulls out his checkbook. Yeah, pulls out his checkbook. He says here it is. Like I said, Ah, I forgot I had it. I maintain Jeff that if you are I did that we get punched in the face. The guy wrote Jimmy Rucker, a check for $5,000.
Jeff Sterns 1:22:39
Well, then I could send you a video from someone else I had on the show, which used to be one of the guys that worked for me at the exotic car dealership, the rolls, Bentley, Ferrari, whatever. And I actually forgot the story. So when I invited him to be on the show, it's like, you know, we work together, we dealt with all I wanted was some customer story, some interesting customer story. And I didn't know that he had one about me. So I might be able, I might have a little of this me. A fellow said he was going to take a car. And I said, terrific. And he didn't say he left his checkbook, but I don't have my wallet or I don't have whatever, right. I can't leave you deposit right now. And I said, by the way, that is a really nice looking timepiece. And he goes, Yeah, that's a huge blow. Gosh, you sent me back a little over 50 grand. And I said that'll do. And I slit it off is off of his wrist. And clay, the fella that I had on the show tells the story. Dead honest, I forgot. I mean, I remembered after he told, but you know, it was one of those things like the golfer you mentioned, you forget what you do after you forget what you do what you don't think about what you're gonna do next. It's only what's going on now. And you do it. So I don't want to compare myself to that guy. But I did have a similar story to the checkbook.
Unknown Speaker 1:24:00
Oh, that's great. If Rucker and I were, I'm not a watch guy. So, for instance,
Jeff Sterns 1:24:08
but you but you would have to be a watch guy. If you're selling these cars. Oh, sure. Because you've got to look at the shoes and the watch to know if you want the person to test drive it or not.
Unknown Speaker 1:24:18
Right? Absolutely agree. But to give you an example, my watch brand broke the other day, and we were in Walmart. So I bought this watch for $8.88
Jeff Sterns 1:24:30
we need to get you in a speaking gig quick.
Unknown Speaker 1:24:35
So if you'll take that as a down payment on a Bentley, I'm in. Absolutely will hold it.
Jeff Sterns 1:24:43
Absolutely. Then I want you to know that. I have enjoyed you today. I mean the thing that I love about this show, speaking for me, but I've gotten a lot of positive feedback and of course a lot of constructive advice that we've changed a lot of thing is that I feel like I'm at dinner with the person. And you know, that's what I really want for the audience. I really want the best experience. I mean, what's great for me is I'm creating a product, hoping that someone else out there will really get something out of it and enjoy it. And I want you know, it needs to be a win for everybody, the person in the audience getting something wonderful. You get, you know, to promote, show your books terrific. And at the moment, short term I just get to enjoy every minute. God willing, I get to my 4000 hours a month of someone watching YouTube, I can get paid for a commercial. I'm at 100 hours now. So we're gonna get there. I'll probably I should ask you later. If you could help me with a one inch ad that can get me my 4000 hours. Yeah, probably. Then we'll stop recording in a minute and you know, you could give me I'll take, I'll take your advice.
Unknown Speaker 1:25:56
This has been Jeff Sterns connected through cars.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Salesman/Speaker/Sales Trainer @ "The Closers"/Coach/Consultant
Ben Gay III has been called a living legend in the sales world.
After 50+ years in professional selling, he has been the
#1 salesperson in every organization in which he has worked.
At age 25 he was president of what was then the world’s largest
direct sales/network marketing company, having been personally
trained by fellow sales legends J. Douglas Edwards, Dr. Napoleon
Hill, Earl Nightingale, William Penn Patrick, Zig Ziglar and many
other sales giants.
One of the most famous, popular and powerful sales trainers
in the world, Ben now writes/publishes/produces “The Closers”
series of books/audios/videos/newsletters/teletrainings/live
seminars, a series that is considered to be “The Foundation of
Ben was the founder and is the current Executive Director of The
National Association of Professional Salespeople.
Ben and his lovely wife Gigi live near Lake Tahoe in the little
Northern California town of Placerville, California – where the
California Gold Rush began!
Deals on Ben's books! stores.ebay.com/ronzonebooks