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Get Inspired, Get Jack’d

Jun 2, 2019

Jack Daly has a 30-plus-year track record in sales and executive and entrepreneurial positions and has been called the best professional sales trainer in the United States. Rohini Manian chats with this avid speaker, award-winning author and 15-time Ironman competitor, who believes in living life to the fullest

You are one of the best known sales and business coaches globally. How did you learn this skill?

I started selling at the age of seven, charged twice the price quoted by all the kids I competed with and owned the market. While the other kids in the neighbourhood played traditional games, I found this to be my favourite ‘game’. By the age of 13, I had built my first company and had five employees who performed most of the work while I kept 70 per cent of the money. I was ‘sold’ on the idea of being a business owner when I grew up, and spent the summer of my 13th year interviewing 200 successful business owners on how to build a successful business.
This led to my building six start-up companies into national companies, all fast growing in revenues and profits, between the ages of 26 and 46. By the age of 46, I felt a new challenge was needed, and I evolved into a professional speaker, trainer, author and coach. In this way, I continue to impact businesses in a positive way, yet am relieved of the challenges of leading the companies and all the activities associated with that.

My skills have been honed on the street, client facing while recruiting, coaching and building the required professionals to generate hyper growth. Augmenting this real-world experience is reading cutting-edge business books at an annual rate of about 30 books per year, along with regular attendance at several business conferences each year.

You have led and steered several organisations to success — what’s your secret?

While there are many components to building successful enterprises, I would distil it down to three primary areas of focus. First is vision – beyond the mission and values is the question, ‘What is it that we are building? What will the business look like at its “end state”?’ I ask my clients to draw what the company will look like in the future. As I often say, ‘You can’t get there unless you know where “there” is.’ Once we are clear on the destination, we can then make the map to execute in an efficient and effective manner. Along the journey, the vision should be regularly communicated to all involved. People want to work for something more than a pay cheque; this is that something!
Second is key people in key spots. When the vision is to grow a hyper growth company, the key role is that of the sales manager, whose job is not to grow sales, but to grow sales people in quantity and quality.
The third key piece of the leadership puzzle is building a winning culture. If you get the culture right, everything else that needs to get done becomes easy. A winning culture is creating an environment where people ‘want to’ go to work, as opposed to ‘have to’ go to work. Fundamental to a winning culture is (a) recognition systems, (b) communication systems, (c) personal and professional development, and (d) empowerment.

It’s amazing that you ran your first marathon at 46 and completed your first Ironman at 58! Tell us your experience with this.

I have to admit to chuckling at the question. At the age of 37, I was the president of a start-up company and an employee encouraged me to do a 5k charity run for heart disease. I remember running the first mile and thinking is it almost over, when another runner said we had two more miles to go! After completing the race, the next day I felt terrific about the accomplishment, and went searching for another 5k, which translated into me running one each week. I later moved up to 10k distance, then took on a half marathon. As I celebrated the finish with my wife Bonnie, I laughed that we were toasting with wine at me doing ‘half of something’! She turned to me and said, ‘Really? You are going to race a full marathon?’ When she saw I was serious, she volunteered to run too, a first for both of us. By then I was 46 and when Bonnie finished, she said she was proud of the accomplishment, glad that she did it, and wondered why anyone would ever do that again. Well, that was her first and last, while I now stand at 95 in total, with one completed on all seven continents and all 50 states. (Clearly, she was the brains in the house!)
As for the Ironman, I was attracted to taking on this beast in 1982 when Julie Moss raced the Hawaii Ironman and ended up crawling to the finish line. It was so inspiring, I said to myself that when my children grew up and were settled, and I was relieved from the responsibilities of leading my companies, I would take the challenge on. The time came when I turned 58. First order of business was to learn how to swim at 58, and then invest the extreme time in proper training. I raced my first Ironman in 2007, and have gone on to race a total of 15, including the World Championship in Hawaii in 2013. It sure has been one hell of a joyful journey!

What lessons did you learn from the marathons and Ironman races you have completed?

Interesting enough, I discovered seven lessons, which were very applicable to my business journey as well.

Here they are:

• Vision — for over 30 years, I pictured myself crossing that finish line that Julie Moss crossed on her hands and knees. It was magnetic and compelling. My company Visions acted similarly.

• Vision — for over 30 years, I pictured myself crossing that finish line that Julie Moss crossed on her hands and knees. It was magnetic and compelling. My company Visions acted similarly.

• Playbook — for both my businesses and my races, I always had a Playbook; the systems and processes required to bring success to the journey.

• Practice and training — if we want to be successful in any endeavour, learn from the best, and commit to a consistent regimen of training and practice.

• Measure, measure, measure — things that get measured get done.

• Having a coach — I have five for my personal goals, three for my business goals and six for my triathlon sport. Fourteen in total. From the earliest years of my life, I’ve practised something I call Model the Masters — learning from others who have been there, done that.

• Fitness — easy to see this applicable in the sport side; even more important when handling the daily challenges and stresses of running our business life.

• Attitude — I call it grit. It’s less important how many times we fall, what’s most important is that we get back up and move forward.

What is Life by Design?

When I interviewed those successful people at age 13, I learnt about the importance of goals and employing a system that would give us an edge at meeting the goals. I also discovered that the processes employed in building successful businesses could likewise be used in our personal lives. I believe we should love what we do in our business pursuits, but whatever that is, it should be the enabler to a great personal life. Identifying the things we want out of our personal lives, putting dates on when they will be completed, sharing them with others to bring accountability and tracking and measuring the necessary activities to getting them done. I now have over 300 items on my bucket list, of which over 75 per cent are completed. Life — what a ride!

What are the traits a great salesman should possess?

It all begins with grit, a commitment to success and willingness to expend the effort required regardless of the economy and competition. From there, the attributes are plentiful. Key is to do less selling, as people don’t want to be sold to. Therefore, the role of the salesperson is to help people buy. For that, a salesperson needs to be a great listener, looking to identify the prospect’s needs, opportunities and problems. In effect, helping to assist the prospect with the areas of pain and pleasure. When a salesperson cares more about the customer than he/she cares about the sale, success will be assured. Integrity, work ethic, people skills, self-discipline, a sense of urgency, goal orientation and a history of success patterns all come into play with top performers.

What are the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make and how do we stop this?

Well, identifying what should be done and getting individuals to do it are two distinctly different things. Often, the first is easier than the second. First and foremost, the entrepreneur must learn to rely on her/his team for implementation of the strategy while she/he should remain with the ‘big picture’, designing and leading with the vision so that the winning culture gets put in place and continues to grow and thrive. All too many entrepreneurs are too involved in the day to day, thereby not leveraging the team. This distracts from the high payoff activities of the leader. In addition, maintain a firm grasp on the numbers and ensure that key relationships are intact as the company grows. Typically, entrepreneurs are working on the current year’s business, whereas they should be allocating a sizeable portion of their time on the future and getting the organisation positioned for success there.
An outside coach can often be the catalyst that is needed to get the entrepreneur there.

How do you find work–life balance with the fast paced life you lead?

For several decades I have marched to the beat of something Lao Tzu said centuries ago: ‘The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him, he is always doing both.’

What’s next on your bucket list? And what are some interesting things you’ve achieved?

The bucket list is extensive, and always under construction. This year will include hiking the Rim2Rim2Rim in Grand Canyon, Safari in Kenya, marathon in Cuba and participating in the Hot Air Balloon Festival in New Mexico.
Apart from the various runs, flying a jet fighter plane, writing a #1 Best Seller business book which was featured on the big screen on Times Square, golfing the world’s #1 golf course of Pine Valley, completing the world’s highest bungee jump, hiking into Machu Picchu, marathon on Great Wall of China, marathon on the Polar Circle in Greenland, and donating over 300 blood platelets translating to saving approximately 1,000 lives have been some of the interesting things I have done.
I fell short of one of my bucket list goals, which evokes mixed emotions. I met my wife Bonnie when we were teenagers and my bucket list had a 50th wedding anniversary on it. After a magical 52-year relationship and 47 years of marriage, I lost her in 2017 to pancreatic cancer. I’m grateful for the life we shared together and our journey together as a couple is the accomplishment of all accomplishments that I’m most proud of.

Here is what our Clients have said about Jack...

Have you attended one of Jack Daly’s sales workshops or seen one of Jack’s keynotes? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know!