EPISODE 005: NRG CEO and Founder Mike Weiner shares how being of service has doubled his sales

Mike is the founder and president of Network Referral Group (NRG). Mike is the author of The NRG Advantage, the definitive book of using referrals to grow your business.  He has guided thousands of salespeople and organizations to grow their revenue. 


Highlights from this podcast


  1. Serve not sell! Focus on people and their needs, instead of putting your own needs first. 
  2. Referrals are highly effective. It’s not who you know but who knows you! Enlist people to endorse you.
  3. Always aim high! If you don’t’ have a goal, there’s nothing you can shoot for.
  4. Each day ask yourself, “Am I moving further away from my dreams or closer.” 
  5. Always follow up. Your word is your bond. 

Mike’s LinkedIn profile

Here’s a transcript to the podcast:

Umar Hameed: Are you ready to become awesomer? Hi everyone this is Umar Hameed and welcome to the NO LIMIT SELLING podcast where we talk to the sales leaders, to get their insights on how to do better in sales and today I am privileged to have a MIKE WEINER, the president and founder of NRG. Mike, welcome to the show.

Mike Weiner: Umar, thanks for having me.

Umar Hameed: So Mike, in 90 seconds, tell us who you are and what you do.

Mike Weiner: Umar, I am the CEO and founder of NETWORK REFERRAL GROUP, started the company back in 2001, NRG is networking group committed to helping people grow their business through referrals and in a nut shell, I serve people and help them connect with people they have never met before, help them grow their business. I love what I do, I connect people everywhere and for me it’s all about serving people and helping them grow.

Umar Hameed: Brilliant. So Mike tell us who is your favorite superhero and why?

Mike Weiner: You know what Umar, I am gonna go back a little bit when I see speed racer drive a MACH 5, kind of a cartoon type of thing growing up for me, what I liked about speed racer who is always decisive, the car drove fast and it was kind of a clean cut guy. So I think I would go with the speed racer on that one.

Umar Hameed: So decisive is really important to you.

Mike Weiner: Very decisive, yes.

Umar Hameed: So, what motivates Mike?

Mike Weiner: You know what motivates me Umar, is I had built NRG very strong, had some challenges, health challenges also financial challenges and recession. Remember that little recession we had?

Umar Hameed: Oh, yeah.

Mike Weiner: So I am kind of like that Rocky Balboa of networking and Cal Ripkin because of the consistency and persistency which challenges me to get back to where I was before and then go way past it. I just love connecting people, help them grow and getting back to where I was and even beyond.

Umar Hameed: Nice. So getting back to where you were motivates you get up in the morning.

Mike Weiner: Absolutely, absolutely.

Umar Hameed: Who is your mentor?
Mike Weiner: You know what, I have got three mentors and guess I need to send you a cheque in the mail Umar. I would say Umar Hameed is one of my mentors. Umar helped me with his NLP where he helps people get through block, then there was something from high school, you were able to help me get through and then couple minutes later, break the board that you have at your seminars.

Umar Hameed: Brilliant. Who else?

Mike Weiner: The other two, I would say, Raphael, he has taught me a lot about how to serve people and it’s been amazing, it’s changed my mind set for serving and then Dr. David Silvermen, he is my mentor with CA, which is health and wellness project that has completely transformed me, gave me more energy, clarity and enables me to work through people and help them out.

Umar Hameed: So Mike, if you could have lunch with anybody that is living from history, who would you like to have lunch and what would you ask them?

Mike Weiner: Zig Ziglar, he is the legend in the sales.

Umar Hameed: He is a giant.

Mike Weiner: He is a giant and he passed away not that long ago. I would say Zig because of his passion his insightfulness, I mean he is a genius, and if I could sit down with him for an hour, I would love that opportunity.

Umar Hameed: Brilliant. So what was your first sales job Mike?

Mike Weiner: First sales job, outside sales job was selling thermal fax machines back in the late 80s to the mid 90s, the products were around three grand. People didn’t even know what they were, they didn’t think you know, you could send a message over a phone line and I remember I just threw myself in that and did very well. I was like number nine out of nine reps when I started and eventually became number one.

Umar Hameed: That’s brilliant. What’s a best deal you have ever done?

Mike Weiner: You know what, I would say one of the best deals that I have ever done, there is a very large staffing company here in Baltimore and I called on them like four years, network purchasing fixture, couple of babies along the way and eventually I end up selling four copier, now some people will say that’s crazy, but It was very, it was on my hit list, it’s one of the those elephants we say.

Umar Hameed: It sounds like you have to win.

Mike Weiner: I had to win and finally I got in there with like fourth visit and I was able to start to help them out.
Umar Hameed: Brilliant.

Mike Weiner: Absolutely.

Umar Hameed: So who was the best sales manager that you had and what attribute did they possess that spoke to you?

Mike Weiner: Yeah, I had a sales manager named Ron years ago and when I went for the interview I was 23 years old and he had also these papers on his desk and he said sell me the paper clip and I said Ron, you know what, what if there is a way to organize all those papers in a systematic way? What if there was a way that you could put your phone calls in one packet and then you could put your prospects in another would that be of use to you? So I sold him the paper clip and I got the job.

Umar Hameed: That’s good.

Mike Weiner: Isn’t that cool?

Umar Hameed: It’s cool. So I know you are a Jew, but tell me about ‘come to Jesus moment’ for you, where you have to change what you were doing and get this new mind set to move forward.

Mike Weiner: You know what, I have been in and out of Corporate America couple of times, with the economy and everything and about late in 2016 I left Corporate America, came back to NRG and go full time and I decided, I was really gonna need to increase my social media skills. So I was on LinkedIn, I was on Facebook. I was able to really start to grow there. I met my publisher there, wrote my first book THE NRG ADVANTAGE, but I think in my 50s now, I needed to be able to get the mind set of how to utilize social media, I have a lot of success now.

Umar Hameed: So looking at sales profession, like selling today, is different than it was even five years ago.

Mike Weiner: Absolutely.

Umar Hameed: What is the biggest challenge in sales today, in selling, today?

Mike Weiner: You know what I think, it is, it’s not anymore who you know, it’s who knows you, and that’s the whole power of my NRG, would where we give you the power partners of the industry, and name counts. Pinball was getting people connected and I think getting infront of the right people, because there are so many layers and lets face it you get voice jail a lot, you call somebody and lot of times text messages are more effective going through as long as you have cell numbers you can go through that way. So I would say the technology, the way we approach people and really enlisting other people help endorse you to get in there.

Umar Hameed: Brilliant. It’s all about relationships and credibility. 

Mike Weiner: It’s all about relationships. Absolutely.

Umar Hameed: So how do you set expectations for your sales team?

Mike Weiner: I think it’s really important, I have also used Sunday night as a; I remember back even in my thermal fax days I would sit down and do a forecast of who I expected to bring aboard. That’s the same way that I train people on my team, it’s very important to know what you are going after, if you don’t have a goal, there is nothing you can shoot for, and I always taught people shoot for goals high, so that if you shoot for, if you are shooting to make 150,000 a year and you fall short to 125, that is better than shooting for 125 and falling down to 85. So shoot for the stars, you got nothing to lose and I have a saying IF YOU KNEW YOU COULDN’T FAIL, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Umar Hameed: I will ask you a next question, that’s what I would do?

Mike Weiner: (laughs)

Umar Hameed: So what is the best advice you ever got Mike?

Mike Weiner: I think, the best advice really has come in last couple of months, it was MIKE WEINER ITS TIME TO STOP SELLING, IT’S TIME TO START SERVING PEOPLE. What do people need, what do people want, focusing on them, not focusing on my needs, but focusing on them, coz in sales, find the need and fill it, that’s truly is sales over simplified.

Umar Hameed: So when people are hiring sales people…

Mike Weiner: Umhmmm

Umar Hameed: Sales people look pretty, they are good at talking and their resume is a brilliant work of fiction.

Mike Weiner: (laughs) absolutely, huge.

Umar Hameed: How do you know you are hiring the right sales person?

Mike Weiner: That is maybe your hardest question that you asked me today. I think, you know, as far as what I have done is, you need to put people through a sample trial, 30 days, 60 days. You are right, they look good, smell good, they come dressed in beautiful clothes and you think you have got some really good. There is an old saying, you might have a firm grip on an empty sack, meaning they are really not there; they are kind of rolling through.

Umar Hameed: Right.

Mike Weiner: So, I think, it’s important, testimonials are vital, you need to talk to people that you both know, that are credible, that are not gonna steer you wrong, but I think in lot of situations I would run a trial with them. You know, we are gonna go 60 days, we are gonna evaluate at 30, we are gonna evaluate 60, if this is not fit for both of us, we shake hands, remain friends and move on.

Umar Hameed: Brilliant, simple and to point.

Mike Weiner: Exactly, exactly.

Umar Hameed: So you probable had times in your sales career where you were in a slump or you had a lot of thing going wrong.

Mike Weiner: Umhmm..

Umar Hameed: How do you bounce back? How do you snap out of that? Move forward?

Mike Weiner: The serving attitude that I have now has really helped out but prior to that, going back, I would do a lot so self talk, there is a book by Dr. SHAD HELMSTETTER – HOW TO TALK TO YOUR SELF and WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOU TALK TO YOURSELF. 77% of the people are saying to themselves in negative and bad. GOSH, ITS COLD OUT TODAY. I WISH MY SPOUSE TO DO THIS. ARE THE KIDS EVER GONNA CLEAN THEIR ROOM. I have a saying, are you moving closer to your dream or further away and I would do a lot of self talk, a lot of self affirmation. Possible pop in ROCKY BALBOA theme THE ROCKY , music can do it, song like DANGER ZONE from KENNY LOGGINS. You know you use music, use environment or sometimes you just need to meditate and just buy yourself quiet and have a conversation with the Man above.

Umar Hameed: Nice. So how important is mind set to selling?

Mike Weiner: Mind set is vital. I would rather have some more of the great mind set and limited product knowledge. Product knowledge can always be taught, mind set is the hard part because people sometimes with lot of negative things going on the news and so forth, they get drawn down. So mind set, to me, your attitude controls your altitude, and you gotta be positive, you gotta be upbeat, even when I wake up from, you know, not feeling well or bad day. I am gonna smart myself right through it and usually it takes less muscles to smile than it does to frown. So you have gotta cone out with a system, I think it’s music, I think its affirmation, its being friendly, its being upbeat, remembering we are on the right side of the soil.

Umar Hameed: So Mike, what something you know now that you wish you knew ten years ago that would have made a difference?

Mike Weiner: You know what because I was in office equipment industry and the training was very intense. Sell, sell, don’t give up, ABC- Always be closing. Take a little step back from that, people do not want to be sold these days; they wanna feel like they made a purchase. So I would think really more on serving, asking a lot of questions. If you ask a question you stay in control, but even more importantly then that is, find out the information you need and if you ask the right question even more importantly, they are gonna tell you exactly what you are gonna need to do to bring them aboard as a client.

Umar Hameed: A smart man knows the answer; a wise man knows which question to ask.

Mike Weiner: Exactly, exactly. So makes you wonder about the questions we ask our girlfriend back in high school (laughs).

Umar Hameed: Are you sure you like me?

Mike Weiner: (laughs)

Umar Hameed: So what’s the best business advice you have ever received?

Mark Weiner: The best business advice I have ever received, follow up. In a world where sales people are always in a follow up, if you would have follow up you would have got the deal. It’s imperative if you tell someone, you are gonna do something, your word is a bond, and as soon as you have broken that, it’s gone, it’s over, they may forgive you somewhat, but if you tell someone you gonna follow, I don’t care what your system is, database, reminder on your phone, a tickler system, whatever it is , if you tell someone you are gonna do something, you gotta follow up. Most of the times when I was selling copiers, the fax equipment, I would get the deal because I was the only one left standing, my competitors have probably quit by then.

Umar Hameed: Right.

Mark Weiner: So follow ups are vital.

Umar Hameed: And that tickler system thing, I think HR has some issues but that is a different story.

Mike Weiner: (laughs).

Umar Hameed: So what advice would you give leaders, to be better leaders?

Mark Weiner: Everyone tends to talk the same talk…

Umar Hameed: Umhmm..

Mark Weiner: Walk the walk, I mean, go out there and lead in performance in every industry. In this country whether it’s a pharmacist or political or athlete, people watch you, people really really watch you and the man upstairs watches you. What are you doing when nobody is watching you? Are you doing the right thing? Are you being ethical or moral? You should not be on a sales appointment saying ‘You should buy from me coz I am modest’, that puts a big, BIG RED FLAG, to me those are the things that should already be there, those are the things I learnt from my Mom and Dad growing up. So you wanna do the right things all the time, 100% of the time without fail.

Umar Hameed: So if you had a sales person come up to you and say, ‘You know, How can I do better’? What advice do you give him?

Mark Weiner: You know what I would do, I would, I would say, when you say ‘How can I do better’? in relation to what? What are you trying to accomplish?

Umar Hameed: To get clarity..

Mark Weiner: Get clarity, coz how can I do better, there may be a new man (12:25) there may be the top guy, but everyone can do better. So you need to find out whether that, what are they when they say, ‘better’, is that more client? Is that more revenue? Is that more referral? You clarify it absolutely.

Umar Hameed: Brilliant. Also true with customers. Sometimes customers say something and if you assume you know what that means, you might be barking at wrong tree and I need better (12:47) how would you know you are getting better service, oh I, I would know if they give you clarity. So ask questions, get clarity. Last question Mike, What’s must read book you recommend everybody read?

Mike Weiner: Two books. The NRG ADVANTAGE which is my book. I am an over achiever. The first seven chapters are about networking. Chapter eight Creating mass momentum, which is vital in anything you do, chapter nine is closing more sales, chapter ten is consistency and persistency. The other I probably would say is WILLIE JOLLEY – SETBACK IS A SETUP FOR COMEBACK. We all had them, I had them and many who are listening in. Feel free to reach out and I will tell you some of my challenges. It’s not the challenge; it’s how you handle it.

Umar Hameed: So, number one deciding factor, how well you do is, able to rebound.

Mark Weiner: Exactly.

Umar Hameed: If somebody knocks you down or life knocks you down, how quickly you get back up and keep moving.

Mike Weiner: Exactly.

Umar Hameed: Mike thanks so much for sitting down with me, I really enjoyed the interview.
Mike Weiner: My pleasure. Thank you, Umar.

About the Author Umar Hameed

I am a performance coach who uses Applied Neuroscience to help individuals and teams break through their barriers so they become awesomer! Take a look at my Motivational Speaker Kit

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