Gerhard Gschwandtner is the founder and CEO of Selling Power, a media company that produces the award-winning Selling Power magazine and Selling Power TV, a video interview series on sales success.
He developed and hosts the Sales 3.0 Conference, which helps sales leaders integrate sales technologies into their sales organizations to create improved sales effectiveness and greater customer value. Over the course of three decades, he has interviewed some of the most successful leaders and experts in sales, business, sports, entertainment, and politics, including Mary Kay Ash, Marc Benioff, Michael Dell, Marc Cuban, George Foreman, Larry Ellison, Richard Branson, Jay Leno, Meg Whitman, and many more. Gerhard has studied hundreds of peak performers and worked with world-leading coaches and psychologists to create the unique, new Peak Performance Mindset training program. He is the author of 17 books on the subject of sales, management, and motivation and received the Sales & Marketing Executives International, Inc. 2010 Ambassador of Free Enterprise Award.
Umar Hameed 0:06
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone. This is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to the No Limit Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how to make you better, stronger, faster. Get ready for another episode.
Umar Hameed 0:34
Hello everyone! Today I have the privilege of having a friend, Gerhard Gschwandtnerr, the publisher of Selling Power Magazine, and I’m really happy to have him on the show. But I want to tell you first before we let him say hello, how we met. Gerhard was flying back from LA to the East Coast. And a friend of mine, Jimmy Wilson, a jazz musician was chatting with Gerhard and Gerhard was so fascinating in the conversation. Jimmy was in economy class, Gerhard was in first class, Gerhard said we need to continue talking and he went and used his frequent flyer miles to bump up my friend. And that’s the kind of person Gerhard is, he’s interested in people and learning things, Gerhard, welcome to the program.
Gerhard Gschwandtner 1:13
Thank you, it is a pleasure to be here and I think this is a first class experience.
Umar Hameed 1:18
Excellent! Oh, very good tie in so Gerhard, you and I have been talking about mindset for a while. And you’ve been running mindset performance retreats. So everyone kind of knows mindsets important. But they really, a lot of times it’s just lip service. Why is mindset so important to you? And why should it be important to everyone listening to us?
Gerhard Gschwandtner 1:38
Well, I grew up. I grew up in Austria. And the way I can describe the mindset is, it was limited. And I remember a conversation with my grandmother was about seven years old. And we looked out the window and I was just musing about the river that’s in front of the house. And I said, What is that river go? And she said, Well, that goes to the salt, Salt River in whether the Salt River go, Well, it goes to the Danube, where does the Danube go goes to the Black Sea? What does that Black Sea go and it goes to the Atlantic Ocean and I said, “What, what’s on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean?”, and she said, “America”. And it was seven years old and I had only seen one American, and he was a colonel in the army and it drove a car. And I thought, “Wow! that is the promised land. I want to be there one day”. And you know fast forward…
Umar Hameed 2:41
And here you are!
Gerhard Gschwandtner 2:41
Here I am! And and I always try to engage in in no limit thinking when I moved away from Austria, I had a job with a construction equipment company. And they were headquartered in Paris. And I always have various, what would it like to be to live in Paris in another city and live in another language and experience life differently. And I was excited by the prospects and I got the opportunity to get a transfer. And people in Salzburg said, Oh, god, you’re not gonna be able to adapt, it’s, you got to miss it, you got to come home, you, you know, don’t go and I went, and I was happy to experience that new life, that new environment. And when I was ready to move to the United States and get a transfer within the company, I was excited that my French friends said the same thing. You…
Umar Hameed 3:40
Gerhard Gschwandtner 3:40
make mistake Don’t go! And and of course you understand it, because you moved from Pakistan, you move to London, you move to Canada, you move to the United States. And and you understand the benefits of a cross-cultural experience. And also you understand the benefits of no longer thinking but what I found the United States to be really an amazing experience. And I was always attracted by people who had a good attitude. And I always wonder what is the next thing about attitude? And then I discovered it’s really the mindset. And the mindset is, really, if you imagine it like a pyramid to me, at the bottom, you have to implant that mindset.
Umar Hameed 4:26
Gerhard Gschwandtner 4:26
You learn from your parents, from your caretakers from the people that you grew up with. The second level is the imprinted mindset. And you always get exposed to people outside the family that impressed you and that different I think…
Umar Hameed 4:43
American with the car!
Gerhard Gschwandtner 4:45
Right! You have you know, teachers and mentors and heroes, and you read books and novels and that stimulates you, your mind and you want to be like them. You want to be like an Olympian or something like that. car driver or football player, or basketball player. And the third level is the inspired mindset…
Umar Hameed 5:08
Gerhard Gschwandtner 5:09
…the expired mindset is really who you really are as a person, that’s your inner voice. That’s your inner magic. That is the voice that’s telling you, you’re different. You’re unique, compared to 7 billion people around the globe. And what I’m suggesting is that you look at those three levels, and let go of some of the self-limiting beliefs that you got the guardrails you got from your upbringing.
Umar Hameed 5:37
So we’ll talk about that go deeper there’s something you said earlier was, you know, people in the hometown don’t go to Paris, people in Paris, don’t go to America. And I had these defining moments in my life. And I was in Toronto that was like, that’s where I’m from. And they had this program where they had people that were on welfare, going back to school, the government was paying. And then they were starting jobs. And the poster child for this was this young lady who had just graduated as a paralegal. And she was going to start a first day at work. And they interviewing her to showcase the program and the interviewer says, “So what was the toughest part of this journey?” thinking, you know, going to college doing all those tough kind of things? And this is what she said, she said, Y”ou know, I’m the third generation welfare person. And the hardest thing was my friends, my family, people that live in that housing, all of them were like, ‘why would you ever want to do that, when you’ve got such a good life right now”. And so people have the best of intentions for you, but they want to hold you back at their level of thinking, and their level of success, because at some level is untainable for them to either let you succeed, or, and sometimes this from love, you might fail to want to keep you where we’re at. And we need to fight that right?
Gerhard Gschwandtner 6:50
Absolutely! I think we need to get exposed to other ideas to other people, learn other perspectives and look at life from a different perspective than where you’ve come from. And that’s not the right perspective, because it’s not going to lead you to your destiny. Your destiny is fulfilling that in a mission that’s within you. I remember doing an interview with Mary Kay, never forget it Mary Kay as the cosmetics queen…
Umar Hameed 7:16
Gerhard Gschwandtner 7:17
…when she says, so many people die, with the music still on plays
Umar Hameed 7:23
Gerhard Gschwandtner 7:23
And the real story is that we are all born with an instrument. And we need to learn what it is. And we need to learn how to play it. So some people are multi-talented, and they have a challenge. And you know, that cannot decide which way to go. But ultimately, you got to face that and, and learn that instrument and find your mission because you your life is not about meaning. It’s I mean, sorry, your life is not about money. It’s about meaning. And…
Umar Hameed 8:01
Gerhard Gschwandtner 8:02
…so many people have never been in a situation where like Dr. Viktor Frankl who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, he was in an Auschwitz Concentration Camp. And he discovered that meaning means survival. And if you want to survive in this world and thrive in this world, you want to pursue meaning.
Umar Hameed 8:26
And from my worldview, and we talk about things from different language, but the same thing. Every single human being on planet Earth has a purpose in life, and most people never uncover it. And when you uncover your purpose, it just makes life so much easier because you know, I need to do something on this path. And you could be in a career already, where you’ve got 10% stuff that you do is on purpose, the rest is what you tolerate but as soon as you uncover purpose, you can talk to your boss and finagle that 10% of 30% that allows you to be satisfied, or pick another opportunity that has 90% purpose, and you’re blessed to be doing what you were meant to do on this planet. So even if you have a totally crap day, you come home excited. I’m doing what I was meant to do. It was a challenging day, but I love it.
Gerhard Gschwandtner 9:10
Yeah. And also, when you do something that other people expect you to do. I give you an example, the, I interviewed Dr. David Burns, who is the author of a wonderful book called Feeling Good. He just wrote another book called Feeling Great. And this guy was in law school…
Umar Hameed 9:31
Gerhard Gschwandtner 9:33
Umar Hameed 9:35
That will do it!
Gerhard Gschwandtner 9:36
Well, but the real reason he got depressed or got depressed was not because law school wasn’t challenging, but he felt the pressure from his dad to become a lawyer like him. But he liked the arts, he liked entertainment. And then you know, the psychiatrists told them, ‘Why don’t you explore entertainment law?” And the depression lifted instantly thought, “Wow, what a great idea. I can’t hang out with movie stars.”
Umar Hameed 10:09
So let’s actually back up there just for a moment, because that’s a beautiful story in that when you’re in that depressed state, where you focus on the problem, there is no solution. Because pretty much, you know, anybody could have said, you know, he could do entertainment law, and they could have, but he could not think of it himself. Because when you’re in that spot, it’s your mindset determines what you see. So Gerhard, from your vast experience, if somebody is listening to this right now, and they’re focusing on the wrong thing? How can you give them a simple little technique that would allow them to kind of step outside of their little trap so they can go, “Oh, my God, I could do that.” Any thoughts or comments or advice?
Gerhard Gschwandtner 10:45
Well, I think that the best advice is to for anybody out there, you cannot do it alone.
Umar Hameed 10:55
Gerhard Gschwandtner 10:56
If you live in your own head, you imprisoning yourself. And you rob yourself of your possibilities. And the there is a saying in in German, that it’s not good for anybody to be alone. Because you…your mind literally can attack you. Your thoughts can attack you.
Umar Hameed 11:19
Gerhard Gschwandtner 11:20
And you need to let the best come out in conversations with other people. I’ll give you an example. Anybody who listens out there, if you don’t have a mentor right now, get one tomorrow, think…
Umar Hameed 11:35
Gerhard Gschwandtner 11:35
…you can be…
Umar Hameed 11:36
Putting out there for you.
Gerhard Gschwandtner 11:38
Umar Hameed 11:38
Looking to help, let them help you.
Gerhard Gschwandtner 11:41
Exactly! Our kids crack when he created a Rebook, he, you know, later became the CEO of DocuSign. And then the chairman, and now he’s Under Secretary of State working in Washington on the Pompeii. And Keith was a Harvard educated, brilliant, brilliant guy, and he was managing a Reba, Reba was growing so fast, like hundreds of percent, you know, not just 100% year doubling, but 10x every year…
Umar Hameed 12:18
Gerhard Gschwandtner 12:19
And the management challenges were incredible. So they said, the Board of Directors said you need to get a mentor. And then I asked him, who would you want to get? And he said, Well, I don’t know, I’m maybe I’m not I don’t feel worthy of you know, he had some self-esteem issues but…
Umar Hameed 12:42
So pause right there just for a moment because I think it’s important. Just because you have self esteem issues does not mean you cannot achieve a level of success or a high level of success, it’s the level of happiness that suffers when you have that self-esteem, go on. And we’ll come back to this.
Gerhard Gschwandtner 12:57
Yeah! Because the thinking was, he grew up with a wonderful father, who was very loving, very supportive, wonderful mother, and he sort of was thinking that, you know, who can be better than that? I am lucky already. I’ve, he doesn’t see the need. But then he got a call from John Chambers, who said, “Hey, Keith”, and he was, uh, you know, he never thought that John Chambers ever would talk to him. But he said, we are speaking at the same event in Madrid. And you are going to go over there because I have room on my private chat, you can travel with me if you’d like. So out of the blue, he got that call and he’s, of course, it jumped at the opportunity because Cisco was at the time, the most successful company in the world.
Umar Hameed 13:51
Gerhard Gschwandtner 13:52
And he had this incredible opportunity for so for, for 10 hour flight from San Francisco to Madrid, they covered a lot of territory. And then John Chambers invited him and he says, “Why don’t we have breakfast, once a month, and keep it open-ended.” So every month for like, over two years, they met, and he says, you can ask me anything. You know, sometimes you don’t want to talk to your board about an issue, or you cannot talk to your wife about that issue. So just let’s have a conversation and see what emerges. So one day he asked him, “John, why are you doing this?” And John said, “Well, when I was I was in a situation, and I was starting a company, I got a mentor, it was Luke Platt from HP”, and the and he said he was enormously grateful, because he never asked for for anything in return. And he says, “There’s only one thing I want you to do in return, shared a gift that I gave you with somebody else.”
Umar Hameed 15:07
So that is a beautiful story and the other part I like about it is, you know, we keep on talking about, you know, when you know what you want, the universe is going to bend over backwards to give it to you and this was a perfect example of honor silverplate, better still on a private jet…
Gerhard Gschwandtner 15:21
Umar Hameed 15:21
…you’ve get this opportunity and a lot of people see the world. I saw this image on Facebook yesterday, or today, it was a boulder that had this tree that had cracked the boulder into and had grown up in the middle of that boulder. And there are some people that will look at the tree and go, “Oh my god, this is the power of perseverance to break through a boulder.” And there’s other people that are pessimists, “Oh, my God, even a boulder can be snapped into two.” So look at things from a positive point of view and it’s there right? There’s lots of people business success stories and when there was a calamity, and someone said, “What’s the opportunity there where everyone else shut down, they look for the opportunity, if you look for you’re going to find it.”
Gerhard Gschwandtner 16:01
Right. And that’s especially important in the COVID crisis, you know, businesses get shut down and people get furloughed, some, a lot of people are still out of work, and my heart goes out to them. However, on the other hand, a lot of new opportunities emerging for companies, and some companies do exceedingly well, because they make the shift. You know, I talked to a VP of sales of a building company, and they said, well, they were all in coop, you know, they had a sales model, where buyers came to their model home in the show to us the model home and within 36 hours that shifted their sales model, put cameras in in the homes, and started to do virtual tours shifted from face to face to virtual selling, and actually discovered that they can do more virtual home tours online that they could do in person.
Umar Hameed 17:06
Yeah, it’s amazing. And you remember that there was a real guy, of course, Tucker, who had a car company, and they made a movie, I think with Jeff Bridges. Tucker, a man is his machine. And what was kind of interesting was, I think they used a brochure to sell the car, like for the cars were ever built way back then in the 50s. or whenever it was that we limit ourselves. This is the way it’s always done, people will only do this and take the platform we’re using, we’re using Zencastr to record this thing, the audio, but we’re using Zoom to kind of see each other face to face to make this a richer conversation. And I’m sure at some point, people in Zoom, we’re like complaining, if only we can get more people to use this platform, we would take off and they were already successful before and along comes a pandemic and all of a sudden, you know, six year olds learning from home or resume users?
Gerhard Gschwandtner 17:53
That’s right. Well, a lot of people in the epidemic that suffer from anxiety, the worry, there were their financial worries are there. They have stress because all the family members are cooped up inside the house and cannot get a baby sit on that gets stir crazy and I think it’s really important to shift your mindset and say, “Well, I cannot go to the gym”, but yes, you can do yoga inside or you can meditate inside where you can do workouts by following some trainer on YouTube…
Umar Hameed 18:32
Gerhard Gschwandtner 18:33
..do virtual workouts. So in and also, you know, I found myself going outside and I found a park nearby that I’ve never gone to and go for walks go for hikes. There’s a five mile trail and I can do it in an hour. And I see beautiful sunsets and taken a lot of pictures. And I can be outside and do something new that I haven’t done before. And this last weekend, I found myself looking at those hundreds of photos that I’ve taken…
Umar Hameed 19:09
Gerhard Gschwandtner 19:10
I created a photo book.
Umar Hameed 19:12
Brilliant! We have a mutual friend, Dr. Robert Peterson, I think…
Gerhard Gschwandtner 19:15
Umar Hameed 19:16
So this is what he told me I was doing the podcast with him and then he was telling me about his students. And you know, I’m thinking a bunch of entitled, whiny, crybaby kids and he didn’t say that. He says my students are driven hard workers that take responsibility. And I said, “Wait a minute, hold on, how is this even possible? we’re hearing of all these entitled people”, and this is what he said, he said that when we had the 2008 financial crisis, these kids were about seven years old, this is like a very impressionable kind of age, their siblings that were older 9 10 11 12, it didn’t impact them the same way. Siblings that were younger, were too young to figure it out, but at that point, their parents were losing jobs, they weren’t sure whether we’re going to eat, whether they were going to keep their home. And so these kids had the same mindset of the depression-era kids. And so they’re driven to succeed and the reason I bring it up is this, we’re talking about mindset as we go through this pandemic, certainly lots of stressors, but there’s also everyone was if you ask the average American, what’s the most important thing? “Well, it’s family, its friends and my job “, in reality it was that’s bullshit, it’s jobs, family and friends, but this pandemic, it’s been family. And I wonder these kids that are six, seven, how they’re going to grow up and how important family is going to be to their being of who they end up being, it’d be really kind of interesting, if we kind of get back to that family is like the most important not just in what you say, but what you actually do. Any thoughts?
Gerhard Gschwandtner 20:48
Well, I think there’s another dynamic at work, which is, the real estate market is really, really good, right though?
Umar Hameed 20:54
It’s smokin hot!
Gerhard Gschwandtner 20:56
Yeah, because people are improving their homes, they’re adding a swimming pool, you have to get in line, if you want to buy one. The in, people invest in, in gyms, inside their houses or in massage chairs. And so there’s a lot going on where they want to make the home experience much better. And it reminded me in Indiana, there was a time where there was an oppressive regime…regime where people couldn’t go outside or didn’t want to go outside anymore, because there were a lot of fights and demonstrations. And it gave rise to a new style for in inside furniture, it’s called the be the Maya style, where they made intricate desks and trunks and Amaz and everything. They’re very valuable, so the whole world is shifting in a very gradual way and we probably will look back 10 years from now at this time and say, “Yeah, that is the COVID style of interior design or…
Umar Hameed 22:06
Yeah! or breadmaking or whatever, right?
Gerhard Gschwandtner 22:09
Umar Hameed 22:10
So Gerhard, you have two daughters, right?
Gerhard Gschwandtner 22:14
Umar Hameed 22:14
Three. Wow, I did not know. And probably a bunch of grandkids?
Gerhard Gschwandtner 22:18
Umar Hameed 22:19
Two. So as Grandpa, if you wanted to impart just before we leave this episode, three pieces of advice to your grandkids that would allow them to thrive in any circumstance? What would those three things you want them to know and believe in their hearts?
Gerhard Gschwandtner 22:34
Well, I think that I remember when my kids grew up, and I said yes, suggested to them to repeat after me. “I’m lovable, and I’m lovable and mommy and daddy love me.” They, I want children to know that they are loved, that they’re cared for that they’re precious, and it is really a gift that we are getting. And we as parents, we are the stewards of life, and we have a responsibility to create something that is better than what we have received. So we want to leave the world a better place. The second thing is that I want children to discover that they can optimally function on a an intellectual on a cognitive, on an emotional and on a physical level.
Umar Hameed 23:37
Gerhard Gschwandtner 23:38
And that sort of that trials..
Umar Hameed 23:39
Embrace them full cells.
Gerhard Gschwandtner 23:41
Right! that they invest in learning, invest in their brains, but also invest in their hearts, but also invest in their bodies and find a balance. The other one is to lead a life with no limits, that limitations are dependent on your perspective. And you can change your perspective at any moment and you can see a richer, better and more enjoyable and happy a future ahead of you if you find the right perspective. And I think that the if I would add one more is that nobody knows enough about the future to be a pessimist.
Umar Hameed 24:32
If only people believe that, Gerhard there’s lots of people call you when they need to kind of boost up their thinking. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom with us today. I really appreciate it.
Gerhard Gschwandtner 24:43
Likewise. Thank you Umar.
Umar Hameed 24:50
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