Speaker 1: (00:02)
Bill, Can I help you?
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Speaker 1: Wait, who? Who are you?
I’m your host. Sam Taggart, creator of the D2D experts in D2Dcon. Is there a place we can sit down?
Well come on in.
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Speaker 4: (00:49)
Hey Everybody. This is Sam Taggart, your host with the D2D podcast. And I’m here in Chicago live sitting with the owners and founders of Summit Solar and we got Josh Williams and Derek Lam. Dino, who are some, oh, I mean Josh started, well before me.
Uh, Derek was one of the first and founding fathers of the solar world. These guys have some phenomenal backgrounds. And uh, today we’re going to be talking on being the new guy. What that means is if I’m the new guy, that means I’m a new rep.
So some of you guys are just starting the summer. Some of you guys might be first years and this is for you if you’re a new manager. It’s like my first year running the team, my first year doing, uh, like leading and it’s like, man, I was a rep down the manager if I’m a new owner, right?
Speaker 4: (01:31)
So like these guys took the plunge into starting their own thing and leaving the fold and, and you know, and how to advice and techniques to just being in handling the new guy, right? And I think there’s certain nuances and problems and dilemmas that come with each position. So we’re going to kind of dive into that. That’s kind of the main thread today. But before we dive into that, kind of what welcome to the show guys. This is like a, it’s an honor to be here. It’s like, it’s an honor, man. We don’t get to be all sweet. I know. So three years we saw each other DV Con, which is a like, Whoa, what’s up? And then you guys got already here, your university I to the other side of the country. Back to that. Yeah, exactly. You kind of like left the fold. But anyways, so excited to be here to the office is legit.
Speaker 4: (02:13)
It’s fun to kind of integrate into your guys’ culture and see kind of your sales guys and the growth. And I, you know, I’ve obviously watched you guys being out in solar and, and uh, in South Carolina it’s like, oh, and then the summits, all our guys, like I’m talking to JFF today on the phone and she’s like, Oh yeah, yeah, I know those guys. And she was the, she’s the regional, that’s a good sign. She literally was like, I’m the regional over those three states, Atlanta, North Carolina, south coming. And so she’s like, Oh yeah, we’ve definitely been, some are excited about that division. It’s new for us. Or we were like, we, and we went out and found really, really good guys to help us pioneer that piece of it. We didn’t know that. Like that’s news to us. We don’t even know all the ins and outs of everything piece yet, but it’s cranking.
Speaker 4: (02:51)
It’s a lot faster. We thought if you’re listening to this and you’re a solar company, why would you not do roofs? And if you’re a roofing company, why would you not do solar? Like I literally am like wrapping my head around that anyways, but so it’s kind of cool. You’re catching up. Yeah. Okay. So let’s dive into it. So it’s fun to have two people on here. So I kind of all directed questions and you guys have to answer it. So, uh, most embarrassing moment of life. No, just kidding. I was like, let’s just go crazy. So you’re like, oh shoot. No. So where did you, I want to know your first, if we’re talking to the new guys, let’s go rewind to me being new Rep. Tell me kind of your story of like new guy, new rep, that first little. Yes. So I um, I went out for a month. I stayed in my hometown
Speaker 5: (03:34)
for awhile. I stayed in Colorado for my first summer out as opposed to, I got recruited by John Frampton,
Speaker 4: (03:39)
big shout out to go to Texas and I bailed last minute.
Speaker 5: (03:43)
Um, my dad was like, Hey, I think you should, you know, this is all still sounds like a scam to us and so I think you should stay back here in the state. And I got sinked up with another company and uh, stuck around and we went out in the first, that first company I was with and it was a rough go around. I was only there for a month. I ended up actually biting the bullet and going out with John and Houston. That’s where I saw a lot of success. But um, that first summer, it was funny with the leadership, but everything else I was taken out. I went and saw sale my first day. I didn’t know any of these people. Right. And so I started with this office. I went out and saw fold deal. Like it was nothing. It was, I think it was like the second door we knocked, I saw my manager close this deal and it was, to me, it looked like a lay down. It may not have been, I don’t remember, but at the time it looked pretty damn smooth. Okay. We flew to the whole entire thing and we left the house. I was given my binder and it’s like, all right man, good luck, you know, have a couple of by the end of the day and we’ll, we’ll pick you up at nine, which turned out to be 11 and that was it. And then, uh, the month, the, or the four weeks of not selling kicked in. And so it was a, it was a pretty rough go round.
Speaker 4: (04:44)
Yeah. And I think out of the gates. Okay. So anybody that’s listening to this, maybe it’s their first four weeks there. The new guy. Yeah. What’s going through your head when it’s week three and you’re sitting at how many deals? I mean, you were probably what, like a couple of what? Whoever would was just dying to have an alarm at the time I have right place. Right time. Yeah. You probably were sort of selling involved and so one or two a week, right. For the first couple of weeks it was rough. It was really rough. And you know, what are you, what are the things you’re telling yourself? Is that guy like you’re the, you know, just you got scammed. You came out to this market. It was a let down because he was emotional roller
Speaker 5: (05:17)
goes right. That was always, that’s a big piece of this stuff for me is I’ve learned to remove the emotion, the emotion out of a lot of it. And I was super emotional. I would, uh, go, I’d wake up, I this routine where I’d wake up every day, get super pumped up, and then instead of cutting up, turning off the emotion when I’d be on the doors, I carried it into the doors and is the, after the first note, I was like, up, here we go again. The state is going to suck. Right. And it just, the day would drain out over and over. And so it wasn’t until I started figuring out how to master those emotions and really focused on the skill set itself that I really got passed everything. So yeah, it was, it was a rough start.
Speaker 4: (05:52)
So now what happened? Like when did it click? You know, that first month you do seven or eight?
Speaker 5: (05:58)
Like at what point were you like, I should still do this versus go get another job? I think I made the mistake of seeing, I saw one deal closed and I didn’t see failure at all. Right. I just saw the win. And so I didn’t know what failure felt like in it. I didn’t know if anybody else was even failing really. I was on an island. I didn’t know anybody else in my office. It was, it was a really random thing that got me, but it wasn’t like from Utah. And it’s like I have 10 friends that do this. I’m gonna do it.
Speaker 4: (06:23)
Yeah. You didn’t come from the return missionary background, neither you guys, whatever. Yeah. The typical like, yeah. And that’s something important. I know. Yeah. Every fan
Speaker 5: (06:32)
both came from outside the industry. And so every friend and family member was like, you’re an idiot. Like of course, you know, this is going to be rough. And so, um, yeah, it was, it was really rough at the beginning and I only saw the one win and then I didn’t understand what the failure was like. And so it wasn’t until I met, I met John, I went out with him for Dan. I was only with John for like, it wasn’t a full day, it was like an hour. And it changed the game for me where I saw him fail three times in a row and then saw success and then failed four times in a row and a success. And it was reality is, it’s like he wasn’t selling every single door like I thought some of these guys were doing. Um, he just busted his butt and he showed me what the hard work was really like. And so where I would be out there around the neighborhood. I remember at one point me and my buddy Dave on a park bench just like killing ants.
Speaker 4: (07:18)
This you kill it answered is chilling, Dude. I was like, what? Like this
Speaker 5: (07:25)
sucks. This is not fun. And it wasn’t until I saw somebody like really go hustle and grind it out, um, where I was like, oh, and cause I wasn’t afraid to do it. I just didn’t know how, you know what I grew up like doing farm work and stuff like that. Right. I grew up working on a ranch, um, and doing a ton of odd jobs. I knew what hard work was like I didn’t know what it was like a door to door. And so it seems like a pretty Chris’ job when I got to know it was will you just walk around a little bit and talk to people and then you see it done right. And it’s like, no, you’re running around, you’re talking to as many people as humanly possible and you have to be so aggressive with how you say things.
Speaker 5: (07:58)
You have to remove that emotional piece and, and not try to be, you know, I would always like sympathize with my customers were, I don’t think I really believed in it yet or I was like, I get one, I’m a weird guy that showed up at your door. Like I probably wouldn’t do it either. Right. And it wasn’t until I left all that in the car with my car group and got out and it was just like I gotta I gotta be a sales beast and go out, perform and go out and perform nonstop. And John was the one that taught me that and it was amazing. Like literally I went from doing eight, I think I did eight in my first month and then my
Speaker 4: (08:28)
last week in the office I cranked down on accounts. Like it was nothing. And so get out now, so your first week you do, or the first month you do a and then all of a sudden you see it, it clicks it, it becomes like, hey, we’re doing this and I’m committed. Yeah. And I saw it done where they’re hustling. Like I saw it in a better environment. Yeah. And then all of a sudden it was like, okay, let’s do it. Yeah. Again, it removed all the emotion wasn’t like this thing where it’s like, man, we’re gonna go out there. It’s gonna be really hard today. It’s, it’s just, it’s what everybody did. And so you, you went out, you left the emotion in the car, you got hyped up, but you didn’t need that hike to get you through. That is like, you just need to perform all day long with this attitude, this intensity, this energy, and the deals are come flowing in.
Speaker 4: (09:12)
It wasn’t, it was just like more of a science as opposed to this. Like I didn’t. Yeah. As opposed to luck. So this is interesting. I always wonder, and we call this the ghosts of summers past, how many people don’t make it that first month that should be sitting here in 10 years later as a CEO of a multi, multimillion dollar solar company. See what I mean? Like, yeah, that’s the piece that I’m like, if you’re leading a team, and I’m going to kind of go to you Derek, because if you’re leading a team right now and you’re got this guy that’s like, he’s think of one a week kind of guy, you know, he’s not on my like all star guy that goes out, slings the day one and if you were to look at him and say, once this clicks for him, I’m going to give him the shot.
Speaker 4: (09:55)
Once this clicks, he potentially in 10 years could be running his own freaking company. Like you know what I mean? Yeah. Dragon, when everyone’s doing it, everyone’s like whatever. And I think a lot of people that they get so stuck in that first month, they quit week three and they go back to some societal drift job that’s like at the bank. Yeah, makes sense. Had you done that? Where would you be today? I think about it, what do you call it? Ghosts of Sig goes to summers past the guys that didn’t have a truce. You see those guys too, where it’s like, great personality, all of these things, they this and you’ve got, you sometimes see when you’re like, whatever happened to that. I do. Yeah. What happened to that guy? And you’re like, and then you see him and he’s like, oh, you know he’s working at the sign company.
Speaker 4: (10:37)
Always Dad and dad’s business. Yeah. Is it a teller enough? No offense tellers and ranchers or whatever. But it’s like, no, there’s a possibility like, like Leo sage, man, he’s on here. Like his story. It’s awesome. It’s like people like that that it’s like he could have gone back to his old where he should be. Yeah. But he chose to stick it out. You know what I mean? Like those people. And that’s like the ghost of summers past right now because it’s like entering into this peak season. How many new guys are all of course us. You know what I mean? So let’s go to you Derek. So let’s fast forward not first year. Your first, it’s similar, right? So here’s your notepad. Good luck like, and, but I want to go. When you first were a leader, when you first managed, like when you were the new manager, you’re like, I got a team, I’m leading. What happened? Tell me about that. I think,
Speaker 6: (11:28)
I think before that, um, means a lot where, um, I think a lot of, a lot of times in today’s industry guys are managers or want to be managers and they’re not actually ready. And so when I became a manager, I was ready to become a manager. And I think a lot of that is due to my manager. Um, when I got into solar, I didn’t manage an alarms. Um, I, uh, I just sold and that was it. And when got into alarms, I sold for I think a year and a half, sorry, solar. When I got into solar, I sold it for a year and a half. And I didn’t want to manage, I wanted to make a name for myself first. And I wanted to learn. I knew I did not know how to properly manage a solar team identity. And I think it starts with just understanding that, that I’m not ready.
Speaker 6: (12:13)
And, um, thankfully I had a great mentor out of Mcclellan and uh, loved Adam and uh, I had a great mentor and I just watched him and, and there was a lot of things that if I would’ve become a manager before them, I probably would have failed. Um, he constantly just helped me, corrected me, criticized me, brought me clothes when it was ready, when he, when he thought I was ready. And um, I really just got to see how he did things for a year and a half. And then when that time came and it was time to open an office, it was, it was not necessarily easy, but I felt like I had a really good path. I knew what I was supposed to do because I’d already seen it done for a year and a half
Speaker 5: (12:54)
and, and so critical cause people are like, that guy should just manage. It’s like, yeah, like he said, put it in is like burst out of thin air, like managerial skills, like and leaderships gets like you took the course. I actually did the same thing. So I went to visit was under Nick Hanson and um, the next year we crushed it. My downline did like 800 and 700 accounts on the first year. And he’s like, well, does that make sense to go run your own team? And I was like, Nah Dude, let’s just stay together. I want to do another year. I paid the Piper gave him most of the override and I said I want another year of learning. Yeah. And then when I ran my own team, it was almost like, it’s like it’s a short, it’s a short or as long game. It’s the shorter version.
Speaker 5: (13:36)
We all came up in the industry too. There weren’t as many companies. Like now there’s like everyone has a company, everybody wants to be like your can dealer or the one advantage that footlocker. So you could probably be in cheer. Like yeah, we’re, we’re just got leadership. Yeah. He has experience. And so we’re, when we came up in it, it was like, it was so coveted to become a manager. Like it was, I remember like the way to put on the pressure put on me to want to become one or I was like, that’s all I cared about. I didn’t even know I wasn’t even following my own pay scale. I wasn’t selling to make money. I was selling because if I did a hundred accounts, I got to become a manager. That was it. That was like the ice that the money was the icing on the cake. Like I was fighting for that leadership position. And I think when that intensities there where it’s like you’re paying such close attention to Adam or John or Nick Hanson, cause that’s what, you know, you have to do it the way he does it to accomplish that role. It’s a good healthy pressure as opposed to just this title thing or this, this kind of thing. You know, it has to be correct. I speak for me,
Speaker 6: (14:35)
I was so passionate about it because I really felt like I earned it. Um, and you know, I remember getting on a call when I originally started as a salesperson and I just said like, Hey, I don’t want to manage right now. Um, but I will, but I’m going to force you guys to put me in a management position because I’m going to be the best. And that’s when I want to become a manager because I’m the best person to be put in that position. I don’t want politics. I don’t come from the industry, but I’m going to be the best. And I did that by studying. I studied at them like crazy. Um, and when I became a manager, I wanted to be my teacher. Um, you know, and that kind of fueled me like, Hey, I want to go out and show him what I can do now and spread my wings a little bit, but still take all the things that I learned from him and not necessarily recreate it, but kind of do it on my own way with, with my own way.
Speaker 6: (15:20)
And I feel like because I really earned it, I took so much more passion into it. And, um, because of that I just, I spent so much time into the business and I wanted to create my own business within the business. Um, and I think that’s what was really most important. I started small and it quickly just started to get bigger and better, bigger and bigger because I wasn’t out there trying to recruit 30 dudes at once. You know, I knew that, hey, I need to spend time with one guy, teach him what I know. Then duplicate that in my model was, you know, and, and again, you know, I learned this very well as I still have to make money for myself. And I think when people become leaders or managers, they think it’s time to sit in the office, do paperwork and office work. And for me, I had that and I did office work, but I segregated my time in my schedule to where I was on the doorstep. I said, here, come watch me. I’m going to teach you everything. I know we’re going to have office time, we’re going to have field time. And so I really just knew that I needed to create myself into somebody else. And, um, the one thing I could not worry about what sales, it had to become like the back of my hand. Yeah. Um,
Speaker 4: (16:25)
and that I think a lot of people, they don’t, they try to just jump into a leadership role without ever mastering sales. Like the, it’s like they accelerate, they go, I’m an okay. It’s like no, become the master at leading yourself. And really it’s not even necessarily just sales, it’s leading yourself in your ability to stick to a schedule. You’re disciplined, you’re your habits, things like that. Then leading the individual, like you said, it’s like just get one guy that I can really coach and then leading the group and the team and then the culture. Right. So I think it’s like you’ve guys have gone through and I think a lot of people look at like a summit and they go, holy cow, how did they do what they do? And you’re like, no, we paid the Piper for years. Being the rep then being the manager and saying, I don’t need to be a, I like I had a call yesterday, literally a guy’s like, dude, I’ve been running now.
Speaker 4: (17:14)
It wasn’t yesterday. Probably like two days ago. He runs an alarm dealer out of Utah and he calls me, he’s like, dude, I haven’t talked to me this and this comes out for me. This like, what should I do? And like, you know, I’m broke as heck and I’ve been running this dealer for three years and I’m like, that’s your problem. You, you, you never were even a arrest you when you started as an owner because you felt that CEO had a cooler title. Like, you know what I mean? And it’s like, that’s the crazy part is people don’t realize that there’s a journey and a natural progression of growth that people try to fast track and sometimes he bites them in the butt or this guy’s literally taking
Speaker 6: (17:50)
out. He just lost his house. He just lost his wife. He is lost. He lived literally and he’s like, dude, I’ve lost like everything. I’m like, that’s because you just wanted to look at Instagram and say, I want that jet. And all of say when they relate title two money, right? As opposed to the hard work and experience the money and so experience more than anything right then. So really paying the dues. I wanted to pack a punch when I was in front of my guys and my people. I wanted to pack a punch. I wanted it when I see like that’s powerful and the only way it was going to be powerful is if my team knew I did it and I was doing it. I wanted to be the general that would run with them next to them and fight with them. And that was super important for me. Love them. And so I think that’s why it just grew really fast.
Speaker 4: (18:30)
So let’s say, okay, I’m now in that manager position. I’ve kind of the backstory, which I think is super relevant by the way. Now you’re there. What advice would you give a new manager? Like he’s there. I’ve got a team of 10 guys or 50 guys or five or whatever that is. Best practice for a manager.
Speaker 6: (18:49)
Um, I would say to a lot of managers, look at the bigger picture when they really need to start small and pieces all together. Like what’s the first thing I need to do on a daily basis? Start with a schedule and stick to the schedule. And I would say, um, use, use your mentorship around you. You know, um, I think that’s one thing that Josh and I do really well is we ask around people that have done it before.
Speaker 4: (19:11)
Can I, I’m going to point out something. And this is what very rarely anybody who do, you went to door to door come on in January, but you said, let’s make the best use of our time. So you scheduled a meeting with an owner of a solar company, another owner of a solar company, another owner. We’re a solar company. The big, the bad, the, the, the big ones. And you’re like, Hey, I know this is weird, but can I just pick your brain for an hour? Yeah. Not many people think to do that. Like the curiosity when you had five pages of notes at door to door con being the owner and I’m a CEO of Blah Blah Blah. It’s like you have more notes than the reps did, which probably have way more to learn. You know what I mean? And I think that that’s what’s interesting is it’s like how hungry you are to say, how can I learn from mentors? How can I find new mentors? How do I join like different environments and cultures and coaching groups or whatever that is, um, is powerful. That’s great. I want her to put that two sentence cause I, I that was impressive to me. Like, oh my God, cool. I think the both of us are, are
Speaker 6: (20:07)
super humble and um, title doesn’t matter to us. Like I’ll go pick up garbage on our installs. Like I don’t care. That’s not our, we’re not after titles. And we always want to consistently learn. Always. I mean if you have these guys are successful, why would you not be taking notes? It doesn’t make sense. Um, and so I think that’s important for us. It’s like your detox about the clouds. And the dirt. It’s like when a lot of people get that title race, they want to play in the clouds, they want to go big with it. They, you hear them talk about it all the time. Where were the guys man? We played in the dirt like will when we became managers we just, we’re, we’re still reps. Like we still had perform like nothing really changed. It’s just people. Then follow is some income
Speaker 5: (20:48)
changes, things like that. You know what I mean? As the way things were structured, but the job was still the same as the job really never changed. Right. And so in any good managers the same thing. And so when they got that management position, they just kept on doing the same things really, really well. They just slowly got to get more of their time to mentorship to grow the guys around them. And so you see some of the best regionals or owners of companies, they had that inner circle that built up around them. They build up that following, right. And so they weren’t focused on, Hey, I have this 20 man team now. They’re still focused on him. My three really close guys, I’m going to build up to be around me and then I’ll level up to that next level. So,
Speaker 6: (21:21)
well, you know, one thing too that I feel like is, um, when nowadays it’s like I want to, I want to own my own business that’s like today or I want to be, I want to, to be the arm. I’m going to be the owner. Yeah. The way, the way I, I took it was when I became a manager that was my business. And it didn’t matter that I worked for another company. To me, I was using their platform, um, and I was pitching their name, but I was, I owned my own business. I mean, I structured it like my own business. I had schedules, I had leadership groups, I had all these things within one office. And for me, I think that’s why it, it really helped. Um, when I was managing it was just treating it like it was my own business. So when it became your own business,
Speaker 4: (22:03)
it was good. They were done. It was a, you’re already running. Yeah. That was Kinda the next, that’s the next question. Is it like at what point, and I’m, I’m not, you know, don’t kill me for saying this, but like at what point did you say it’s time? You know what I mean? It’s time to run my own thing because that was probably a very hard decision. I mean obviously like just a backstory for those listening in guys. Like you guys went to trinity and Love Trinity and you went there. They were just a traditional mom. Paul like good old clean and marketing sales kind of emulate that. Was it like a solar? You’re like let’s do door to door. They’re like, what’s that right there? Like really you’re going to do that? And all of a sudden they’d what, three x four x five x in like a short amount of time. Like we’re gonna just five extra company, boom. Like big, like not many people can say they’ve done that. I’m going to go to them. A
Speaker 5: (22:54)
big company, big five x, a big company like, yeah. And I think it’s like there’s so people understand like they’ve done some pretty powerful things, but then at one point you’re just like, let’s do our thing and what tell let’s talk about fired. Go out. Amen Bro. Um, no, I mean it’s the truth. Like we, uh, I don’t know if I ever would’ve stepped away for sure. Yeah. I don’t, I mean, it’s like where I was making crazy money and opportunity. Like it was just, it was a lot of fun and it was, it was easier that, you know, there was, you know, every, every situation’s different. I always, I always ask myself that what would have happened had that not a situation I’ve fallen, you know, the way it did. And um, yeah, it’s, it’s comes off, it’s a blessing in disguise where it was like, you know, happen.
Speaker 5: (23:45)
It pushed me is that opportunities at that point to take like a quick deal of some type, right. Every solar company came out was flying me out to their corporate headquarters and all this stuff. But I felt like the biggest hypocrite dude, like had I just preached against recruiting against the sun run or Vivian or whoever else. And then I’m just, because of the circumstance, like, oh, actually I decided they’re great now. So yeah, you guys should always have it right. Like it was, it was a tough one where it was like the only option I had was to go do our own thing. Right. Like that was it. That was ever going to a different industry. Like I could, I would have been the biggest hypocrite had I sat there and be like, well, actually, I’ve just decided that x company is really good. You know what I mean? It’s everyone. Yeah.
Speaker 4: (24:24)
Which we see that we see that a lot. And my wife thought I was crazy
Speaker 5: (24:30)
for doing it. Right. It took a lot of, of talking her into the whole entire thing of like, hey, instead of getting a big chunk of money, let’s go spend all of our money and go start a company. And so, um, but it was worth it. You know what I mean? And I guess, you know, when it’s the point where you’re running it again, like dirt just brought this up. Like we already running our own business, you know, when we’re at Trinity, like the your individually. Yeah, we had our own division and it was, it was never a matter of like the CEO never had to tell us what time you had to be there and stuff like that. We was, it was our own integration. We ran it as its own business, build the systems as its own business and we own still thrive today and those guys are killing it. And so, you know, at the, at the end of the day I was like, you have to do the job before you would get the title right. It’s no different for a rep that wants to come, a manager, the manager will give you the title eventually we’ll give you the pages. And so just always kicks back to that. And we all know it. We all know it is just some people don’t want to pay the dues. And some people don’t want to play in the dirt and do the really tough stuff.
Speaker 4: (25:25)
And this is where it bugs me, this industry. Right. And, and I will maybe get shot for this. So hate me. Shoot me. Give me a thumbs down if you disagree. But I look at like how many dealers pop up, right? This two man dealer, this Forman dealer, this one man, everyone’s a dealer. Congratulations. I started a dealer because why I’m a hungry EPC company or I’m a hungry alarm guy that’s offering x multiple and a hungry this and I go, I want to put it on my Instagram. I want to say that I’m CEO of ups, Solar AP, Sam Taggart and per enterprise. Um, but like let’s talk to that because I think that there’s like congratulations to those doing it, but at the same time, like what advice would you give them? Maybe that like, and I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it’s just a world we live in right now. Yeah. So it’s like, let’s talk about it. How about
Speaker 5: (26:17)
that for a second? Okay. I, my thing is, this is like, it’s just a matter of like, look in the mirror, be real with yourself. Are you going to end? If you’re in that situation, there’s nothing wrong with them via two man company. Right. But go pay the dude. We were at one point shoe. It’s not like we started off and had 50 people, you know what I mean? We started, it was, it was the two of us and a little beat up office that was, you know, smaller than any part of this room. And uh, it was tough and we looked at each other and it was like you had the titles, right? It like set it on the car. It’s easy to go to networking events like, oh yeah, I’m CEO. Yeah, yeah, yeah, because nobody could see it. Right. But look in the mirror and really see, and we saw it.
Speaker 5: (26:51)
We’re like, dude, we’re not, we’re a little tiny desk. This isn’t CEO COO life. Right. We get to go pay our dues. And so we went out and knocked, we started from scratch all over again and just figured it out as we went. I think that’s the difference. Um, and I think there’s a lot of, there’s some really, really good dealers out there that are doing that. And then there, I did say 80 20 right? So I mean if not less than that. And so you got this 80% is strictly a title and we’re on the betting side. As a solar company, we get opportunities all the time to sync up with dealers and we’re almost betting against the model because of that. We think there’s a lot of fluff there and we can go sign up with a bunch of these dealers and have these guys, what are they going to stick around? Are they really going to be there two years down the road as the ITC starts to step down? Are they going to weather that storm? And so I think guys have to really look in the mirror and say, is this a title or am I really here? I’m going to pay the dues and go start from scratch. Because when you become CEO, you become that brand new rep all over again. Yeah. There’s no difference.
Speaker 4: (27:49)
That’s huge nugget nugget because, and that’s where people get mixed up. It’s, I became CEO but I forgot. No, I really became a brand new rep over again. Yeah, that’s it man. I think people,
Speaker 6: (28:02)
um, I think we did it for the right reasons. Right. And I think that’s super important. Um, you know, for me like I was always jumping around to different companies. I never really felt like I, I was successful but I was missing something. I think I worked for three or four different companies and that was kind of like my emo. Like dude, he jumps and it really was because I was missing something in my life and it was entrepreneurism and I needed that. It, I was already successful like it, but I kept it, there’s something missing. Um, I didn’t want to do it just because I wanted the title or to make more commissions or to make more money. That’s, that’s not what I was out for.
Speaker 4: (28:39)
Cause here’s the myth that I want to debunk. Just cause you have the title of owner, it doesn’t mean you make more money. I would do like a lot of times it’s like not like I haven’t taken a vet check out like a year. I would have made a heck of a lot more money just being a sales way. They run it, right? Like to this day we’re not, I’m not making as much money as I as I did in the past. You’ve not even, even when you are making the good money, one thing we’ve realized is unfortunately as you go further down this road, we want to keep putting it back. The one responsible for the rainy day fund and all these things. So even if you know, as we make more and more money, you can’t touch it. Right. And when you’re, when you’re on your own and free and your other the heck you want.
Speaker 4: (29:11)
And so it comes with a pretty crazy responsibility to that. Unfortunately, our industry isn’t known for their financial, their ability. Yeah. Their ability to say, yeah, there’s literally think I have a dealer. I want to grow this. I want to take over the world. We’re going to be the biggest dealer in the country, blah, blah, blah. I hear these ambitions yet they still want to make 300 grand a year and their first year. And I’m like, you aren’t, and you’re not willing to pay the piper. It’s the wrong reason. You’re doing it for the wrong reason. And they’ll always be, that pressure is different when you are the owner of a or a dealer or anything else because you have everybody else to take her payroll, his payroll different than how your family, you have the dealers that are like, hey,
Speaker 6: (29:48)
um, I want pay up front. It’s like, well then you should go work for a company like so do I. But you know, if you chose to be an owner, like we, I think we went seven months without taking a paycheck at all when we started the company. And um, we are willing to, you know, take that risk. I mean, it’s a huge risk and um, you know, again, I think, I think guys some time to do it for the wrong reasons. They just want to make more money.
Speaker 4: (30:13)
So he had to do it for a little better pay. And the reality is when you’re putting in deals as an owner, you gotta be willing to say, I’m not getting paid on the commission. Yeah. Those deals are funding that payroll this month, those deals this month, our funding, you know, x, Y, z event or like, you know what I mean? Like I just dunk a lot of people when they get in the CEO role, they don’t know. They just don’t know what they don’t know and I’m glad like the new CEO, I just, I would, my advice would be realize like why are you doing it? Is it for a name on a business card? Is it funny? Is it for money? Is it for the long term, like excitement of the chase and the journey. Like maybe that’s why like for me it was the challenge, like challenge.
Speaker 4: (30:57)
I was like I kind of reached my whatever. Like I just want a new challenge. It was more like I have savings. Like if worst comes to worst I can pull from certain places. Like my, it’s, I equate it to leaving the industry almost. Yeah. It’s like, because you spent all these years here and like, like you said, like you got to this point where you want to be challenged. Again, that’s no different than leaving the industry. But if you ask, a lot of these guys are, you know, approaching that like ownership level or whatever, you know, would you ever leave the industry is no way. I said, well, you better be prepared to, because when you step away, it’s completely different. It’s not as, it’s not just knowing how to sell anymore. It’s not just managing one or two things in minutes. It’s a lot of pressure I faced too. Like,
Speaker 6: (31:36)
you know, look at who you’re going in business was like, like we trust each other, you know, like we’re brothers, right? Um, it’s not all rainbows and lollipops. Um, that’s important. Right? And know who you’re getting into business with. Um, we trust each other very much and that was important.
Speaker 4: (31:51)
Yeah. I see a lot of those go south fast. Yeah. So what about, what did, like what are some of the pain points that you’re like, man, I wish I would have known x. That’s a good one. Um, wish I would’ve known how I was going to be. No one ever, everyone wants a Pci when you’re a good salesman, when you’re on your own company companies, I want to touch you. You know what I mean? It’s like, yeah, but because you’re dealing with different people, it’s one of those things where it’s like, you know, everyone’s, these high level sales reps are so used to being pursued 24, seven by every company under the sun. And then you go out and you do something different. And uh, these, you know, distributors or equipment manufacturers are finance companies. You know what I mean? That’s a piece of paper. Think about, they’re like, I don’t care how many you sold. You know, you want to see a couple of years in business and they want to see your financials. So
Speaker 5: (32:40)
it’s just not as easy as everybody makes it out to be. Or you can do the, the dealer model and sign up underneath somebody else. But at that point too, it’s is it really its own company or is it just a, you know, a regional manager underneath the company kind of thing? You know what I mean? And so, um, yeah, I don’t think we ever underestimate, I don’t think we ever, uh, properly adjusted for how tough it was going to be. And then the construction piece man, like that was one that we had to do. We were kind of forced into it. Um, just because we had so many issues with not doing it ourselves and um, it was one that we definitely weren’t ready for. You know what I mean? As learning how to start a real construction company. We do everything internally, right. All of our own trucks all over and crews managing stuff that we never thought we would
Speaker 4: (33:22)
have. You got inventory on shells? Yeah. You’re dealing with, I guess, I guess some advice in the whole thing would be to look at the other parts of the
Speaker 5: (33:29)
business you’re in. Let’s say you’re a or regional manager at vivid, right. Instead of being just a regional manager at Vivian, I’d make really close friends with everyone else in the business and really tried to understand the other roles. Look at the financial,
Speaker 4: (33:41)
does the sales rep that schedule, we don’t ever look at like what are, yeah, Hri and contract roles. All of these things were horrible at as an industry. HR, financial, legal money on legal at first is like, Gosh, I didn’t think were going to have to spend this much money like activist an attorney to write into the contract, reviewed a couple of grants, the grants in a way that’s a sale. Like I have to go sell this deal to pay for illegal dude like and I think, I don’t think people realize like that stuff if you want to do it
Speaker 5: (34:12)
right. Yes, we did it right. Our insurance coverage, everything that we did, we did it right and so that it was a price to pay. Expensive way of building,
Speaker 4: (34:23)
but it’s sustainable for long haul. Right. Again, it’s short term or shirts. Yeah, it’s a long game for us. Who wants to play the short game and who wants to play the long game. It’s so fun to watch some of these guys playing the long game that are starting to come out of the woodwork like, uh, I don’t want to say names, but like, there’s a lot of people I’ve been meeting and I’m like, Jeez, you’ve been around for like 15 years. How come I’m just now hearing about you that you’re, where are these guys coming from? I’m like, oh, there’s 10 years of their head in the sand. Yeah. You know what I mean? And they starts out there in the little lackey is of the world and stuff. Then just do, they paid some dues, pay their dues and a at a time when the industry was a lot harder to in and so it’s slow. It’s cool. Yet
Speaker 5: (35:02)
that’s slow and steady, man. We don’t, we don’t hire people that don’t fit who we are, our values. I mean, we pass up on people all the time. And I think again, a lot of times companies like, yeah, just grab everybody and recruit everybody. That’s just not who we are. We’re, we’d rather grow slower and get the right people that work for the company. That’s more important to us than anything that patients has gone a really long ways. And it was really tough at first going to be 600 accounts a month to getting our first
Speaker 4: (35:29)
six accounts. Yeah. And that, that and that patient. It’s funny because we’ve always been intrigued by like, there’s always these, you know,
Speaker 5: (35:38)
carrots being dangled of like, well you can come over and you can tie yourself at the hip with this big company and get this product. But there’s always this give and take. We have to go back. We have a big responsibility to the people that trusted us when we were a no name company in this, right. People from, you know, South Carolina that didn’t know who the heck we were. The trusted us, you know, like they like Karen and some of our people that have really grown with us, um, to where like they did, they had no idea who we were and named and to go that far with it. And so to kind of, it’s been kind of interested in the crazy and everyone told us since is just everyone told us not to do the construction piece. Don’t do it. You’re crazy. You’re crazy. You’ll fail. It’s the hardest thing and it has been really hard.
Speaker 4: (36:19)
You’re like, oh, they were right. There were a lot of them want to speak to the patients on it and there was a lot of options.
Speaker 5: (36:24)
Trinity’s to make just that short game collagen because we still get tempted with it, right? Where it’s like, yeah, oh, what if we did this? We give do 50 accounts in this state overnight, and you look at all these companies that are in 20 markets and do four counts, or it kills me, you know? And so we just never want to be that company. We owe it to the people that we have that have trusted us since the beginning to really take our time, build it the right way. If we’re really trying to build this fall, we’re not trying to sell tomorrow. We’re trying to make money. If we’re going to do this for another 10, 15, 20 years. Love it. Love it. Yeah, we love it. Yeah.
Speaker 4: (36:53)
Well Dude, I appreciate you guys being on the show and then this has been like a journey just coming out here and having faith in our university us and then taking a chance on us. So, I mean, it’s pretty fun. Um, I always ask like the, the last question as we kind of wrap up and both of you guys can answer, but, um, if you could give the industry one piece of advice, what advice would you give them? Hmm. And you can pick it. You’d be like, I’m a rep, I’m a leader, I’m an owner, I’m a solar guy, I’m a
Speaker 7: (37:26)
Speaker 5: (37:28)
I, uh, I would say pick your battles, right? Really figuring out you have to know yourself pretty damn well. And if you’re not willing to grind it out and do say if you’re not willing to take really good care of people, and that’s really not your number one, it’s so easy for us all to say it, right? Where it’s like, yeah, I just want to lead people. I want to grow and add value. We have like these one liners that we all use, right? And so you like, how can I give you value and all this stuff. It’s do you really, really, really want to have that kind of responsibility because it comes with a price. If you really want to make money, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Go make a ton of money but maybe not go be CEO, right? Maybe not start a company, maybe just be a really bad ass BP or or salesman shit.
Speaker 5: (38:08)
You don’t like responsibility. That’s fine. I think, I think knowing yourself really, really well goes along ways and that’s like for us and we’re like, we’re not your run in the middle of CEO’s on Martin vans and covered in tattoos. Right? Like we go against the grain on some stuff, but we really, I think once we stepped away from the rest of the industry, like it took getting fired to be like, you know what? I’m not, I don’t want to dress up everyday and go to work. I don’t want to place in these games. I know what I want and I’m going to execute on that really, really well
Speaker 6: (38:36)
and hopefully it builds a following. We’ll see. Right. And it slowly has and it’s been good in that sense. So I think really just picking those battles and knowing what you want, knowing who you are. Love that. What about you? Oh Man. I would say this would go for any owner rep is it’s focus. Um, there’s so many things out there today. There’s so many different things you can do and the squirrels everywhere. Um, I’d say put your tunnel vision on and just go work your ass off and um, you can be successful. Um, I really believe that just stopped looking all over the place for the next better thing. Just put your tunnel vision on. Um, there’s companies that will throw crazy kilowatts and you know, commissions with no matter what industry you’re in. But I think people forget, like if I just put my tunnel vision on with the company that fits me, um, and I just go work hard and I’m going to, I’m going to be successful.
Speaker 6: (39:28)
I’m going to make money. Um, and do it really, really well. Really, really well. Um, I’d say that’s, that’s really important and be real. I think people forget that man. Like we’re all real people. Right? Um, just because I don’t work for your company doesn’t mean that we can’t be friends. Um, that was one thing that really kind of I struggled with in the industry where I didn’t have a lot of um, direction. I have a lot of people look on when I first had grown up at all and I found that I was everyone’s best friend when I was selling and making them money and then when I wasn’t, I was a nobody. And I think that can kill somebody. It really can. And I think, you know, just remembering that everyone’s, they’re all people in this industry and we can have longterm relationships no matter what company we work with. I think you’re creating that. Right. I think that’s something that we’re all learning gap on trying. Yeah. Refreshing your cause. Like, like you brought up the other companies that we went and visited, right? To go learn from people like the Kelly Walker’s in the world. And stuff. It’s like how many guys cause of pride have to learn those really tough lessons over five years as opposed to us in a one hour conversation. We can pick them and just really good people in our industry are willing to share their lessons. I know we are. Yeah,
Speaker 4: (40:39)
that’s what I call the podcast. It’s sharing conference, it sharing the, you know, the, the circle that we have. I mean it’s a bunch of CEOs sharing it. So it’s for us it’s like there’s power in saying, okay, I don’t know everything. Teach me and a, I do know some good stuff. Here you go. That’s why I like consulting. I get to like steal the secrets from everyone and be like, what secrets do you want me to tell that? No, they’re no, but you know, I’m as much as the student, the teacher and they go to companies, it’s like, I’m like, Hey, let me like, here’s a nugget nugget. You know, have you not gotten some nuggets instead of out probably like crazy. He was just like, oh my God, can we just keep you for another month? We can dazzle dollar sign on. I’m just kidding. I appreciate it man. It’s been worth, it’s been worth its weight in gold. Like we were too busy to do this in our minds. Like we had too much to everybody else’s like last minute
Speaker 5: (41:34)
and you, you really ease my mind with the whole entire thing. So I was like, we’re talking a couple of these before, right? Dude, we should just cancel this. Like we don’t have time. We can’t figure out how to work it in. And uh, you were pushy and you said, I’m just going to come anyways and showed up and it’s been worth its weight in gold when I first to cancel a lot of other stuff after that first night it was like, all right dude, we just need to sit on, we need to talk. I need a whiteboard and time with you and we’re good. Love it. A lot of volume and we really appreciate you. Cool. Yeah. are you doing with the industry guys with really awesome love that shot it for door to door count this year? January 15th through the 18th yeah. I think we’ll be there. Be there. Go Register. Tickets are on sale. You guys are awesome. My first person to comment gets a free ticket.
Speaker 8: (42:12)
First person to comment. It’s a hell of a high five from Sam. Hi Bud. Good to see you guys.
Speaker 7: (42:18)