Conversations with Phil - Sales and Leadership Insights to Increase Your Influence, Impact and Income

Each episode of Conversations with Phil will give you straight talk - with no BS - featuring actionable business insights you can use to increase your influence, impact and income. Some of these insights will be from me, and I'll bring you many others from the smart people I've come in contact with over my years as a speaker, as an executive in various companies, as a sales and leadership coach. Each episode go 30 minutes or less, so it's easy to listen to on your commute, during your workout, or wherever you have 30 minutes. Subscribe to the feed, rate the podcast, and offer me your reviews and feedback. I'll also be putting the videos that are mostly unedited online with show notes, links to things we talk about, and some special bonuses. Go to my website at to see the videos.
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Mar 23, 2017

David M. Dye is one of the most common sense and wonderful management and leadership experts I know. We spent one lunch together getting to know each other and became fast friends. While he's much more soft spoken than me (and a better listener), his words all carry a lot of weight with me - and with the organizations he's touched over the years. Today, we share some lively conversation about management and leadership, and his latest book, co-authored with Karin Hurt, Winning Well. I love this book - and the sub-title explains why: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results - Without Losing Your Soul. Made for a great conversation I know you'll enjoy. Connect more with David at

About David M. Dye

David M. Dye is an internationally recognized professional speaker, trainer, and facilitator. He works with leaders, managers, and supervisors who want to lead their team to the top without losing their soul (or mind) in the process. David works with leaders to increase their influence, solve common leadership frustrations, and improve their productivity through people-centered leadership.

David founded Trailblaze, Inc., to train leaders who want to build energized, motivated, and productive teams. He believes that leaders at every level can master the essentials of influence, the most critical component of success.

Known for his optimism, for making difficult concepts understandable, and for moving leaders to immediate, practical action, David’s workshops, presentations, and seminars help leaders increase their influence, solve common leadership frustrations, and improve productivity through practical leadership inspiration.

David is the award winning author of Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results without Losing Your Soul and The Seven Things Your Team Needs to Hear You Say. He is regularly honored as a top leadership expert to follow. You’ve seen him on the pages of the Huffington Post, Forbes, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and on radio and television throughout the United States. David is often listed with leadership influencers including Seth Godin, Tom Peters, Kouzes & Posner, and John Maxwell.

Connect more with David M. Dye

Mar 21, 2017

Time for some truth: I hate being pitched to be on my podcast. Almost always I say no. Except in the case of Louie La Vella. Louie cold emailed me and asked to be on my show, and he was so nice, and so genuine in his pitch, I said yes. I am so glad I did. Louie is a delightful human being. Smart, funny and helpful, with a dash of brash, I like Louie a lot. And I know you will too!

Louie gave Lady Gaga her first interview, has worked with Jon Taffer from Bar Rescue, and hung out with Sir Richard Branson. Whoa!

In this conversation, Louie and I talk about marketing. Why some people get it. Why some people don't - and probably never will. How it's changed. And how you can do it better than your competition. 

Louie has been on over 60 podcasts, but he's never been on one quite like this! 

Get to know Louie at his website

Louie La Vella on Marketing, Night Club Promotion and Lady Gaga

About Louie La Vella

Louie La Vella is where the entertainment industry turns to for out-of-the-box bursting ideas. Turning dead venues into packed venues, slow ticket sales into sold out shows, independent musicians into major-label-ass-kicking brands. Taking those amazing stories, experience and knowledge to all business categories.

Here’s the deal. As a business owner you are smart, savvy and have fantastic success under your belt. You’re also super busy operating your baby. Stats say that due to the constant changes in social media behaviour, what works in marketing today doesn’t work tomorrow. Entrepreneurs of any niche just don’t have the time to keep up with changing trends. And that’s OK.

Persuading customers has become super hard for those that don’t keep up to date and study their behaviours. However it is easy for those of us that know exactly how to persuade them.

Get excited. After Louie, your brand will never be the same.

Connect with Louie

Louie La Vella website

Follow Louie La Vella on Twitter


Mar 17, 2017

Having a podcast means I get to meet a lot of amazing people. Some I connect with - and they connect with me - and some not so much. When interviewing Keenan, and talking to him on the phone, it became quickly clear to me we would be lifelong connections. Keenan's straight forward approach likely rankles some C-suite executives, but his advice is spot on, and his intentions are crystal clear: to get your butt moving in the right direction with advice you never learned. Hence the title of his fantastic book Not Taught, which is the fastest 90 minute read I've ever had that will take time to implement and achieve. Warning: until you put all of Not Taught into action, you may want to hide from your C-suite leader, as they'll think you're going out on your own or looking for a new job - though that is NOT what this book is about.

Not Taught is all about how the rules of the 20th century no longer apply - and how we can pivot into the next century and succeed because we embrace these sooner than our competition. Meaty, useful stuff.

This episode went way too fast. We covered as much as we could. And we will do this again - soon. You'll want to find Keenan at right away - and start learning from his ASAP.

Right after you listen to this episode. 

Not Taught, with Keenan, A Sales Guy

More about Keenan

Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.

Connect with Keenan

Mar 16, 2017

You I'm so excited to share this episode with you. Eric Dodge is an amazing musician, terrific speaker, and really wonderful human being. I met him several years ago at a national speaker's association event, and we've been friends ever since.

Why Not Today is one of his best songs, but it isn't just a song, it's Eric's mantra. His way of being. He explains why this means so much to him, and how we can all use that to soar beyond our wildest dreams. 

Eric Dodge's music is what makes him famous, but his heart is something you'll notice as soon as you listen to him. And as a bonus, just for us, he performs one of his songs. You won't want to miss this episode!

For more from Eric, visit Why Not Today?!?

Eric Dodge - Why Not Today

More about Eric Dodge

Eric Dodge discovered his passion for singing in the most heartfelt of ways. While always having a strong love for music, his greatest fear was to share that passion publicly. On September 11th, 2001, as our great country suffered a terrorist attack, Eric was on a cruise ship outside of Mexico. That fateful day was when Eric made his decision to no longer be afraid. He stepped up to the microphone aboard the ship to share his voice and love of music. He was no longer willing to let his fear keep him from what was truly his gift to the world. He opened up his heart and sang Garth Brooks’ song “The Dance”. After his performance, a passenger approached him and encouraged him to pursue a singing career. Just as many others were changed by the events of 9/11, Eric took her words to heart and decided to follow his heart into the world of country music.

Eric has worked with Seth Riggs, vocal coach to the Stars in Hollywood and from there was sent to train with Jeffrey Skouson in Las Vegas. Thanks to these great coaches, Eric began sharing his talents professionally in 2003. He’s performed hundreds of shows all over the United States and Canada. He has opened for many of Nashville’s finest country music stars including: the late Chris LeDoux, Diamond Rio, Little Texas, John Michael Montgomery, Justin Moore, Collin Raye, SheDAISY, Terri Clark, Julianne Hough, Clint Black, Travis Tritt,  Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, and Carrie Underwood at the Stadium of Fire – 4th of July Celebration in Provo, Utah in front of over 50,000 people.

Eric has been featured in America’s largest country music magazine, “Country Weekly” on several occasions, and on the popular website, Music News Nashville. He was also recognized as “New Country Star—Best Male Vocalist”. Eric has also appeared live on many television shows. While performing on Good Things Utah on ABC 4, he met the very popular author and website mentor, Marla Cilley (aka the FlyLady) of She was so impressed with his performance, she asked him to record a song Titled “Why Not Today” which prompted the release of Eric’s album titled “Why Not Today”. Since then, Eric has accompanied FlyLady to many of her nationwide events where he has performed and been welcomed by thousands.

Eric has recorded many of his albums at OmniSound Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, where he worked with the best producers, songwriters, and musicians. In March of 2006, his first radio single, “Anything for You” was released and hit #19 on the New Music Weekly-Independent Artists chart. His second Country album “Why Not Today” reached #3 on Amazons best seller list and his album, “A Christmas Wish” sold thousands worldwide in its first season released. His fourth album, “Home to Me” was released in April 2010.  Unplugged Journey was a limited release album and was released in November of 2011. A Fork In The Road, a collection of Broadway and other hit songs was release in August of 2012. In 2013 Eric produced his gospel Hymn CD titled Never Walk Alone and in 2014 Eric’s greatest Hit’s CD got released titled Ultimate Collection. In 2015 Eric wrote and released his signature self help book “Why Not Today? Face You Fears and Chase Your Dreams!” a book about creating the life you were meant to live. Eric Continues to produce and release new music and books to this day and has released 8 full length albums and 2 books to date. In 2013 Eric released his debut book called “Baby Steps to Music Industry Success.” It is a book about Eric’s journey and all the small steps he took that got him the music career and recognition he has today. Eric is also a member of the National Speakers Association where he gives musical keynote events across corporate America.

Eric Dodge is a country boy at heart. When not on stage performing his favorite country songs, you can find him out riding horses or 4 wheelers or camping out at his family’s ranch. He loves anything outdoors including fishing and hiking. Summer, winter, spring or fall his favorite moments are sleeping outside by the campfire under the stars. From the brim of his hat to the tips of his boots, he is a true country boy.

For more information about Eric’s performances and past events as well as his press page and media files, go to

Mar 9, 2017

I heard Victor Antonio at Full Throttle Experience last year. He delivered an inspiring program - about personal finance. Yep, he spoke about personal finance, and he kept my attention and earned a standing ovation - talking about personal finance. To say that was unexpected is an understatement.

I asked Vic if he'd have a conversation with me after he came off the stage, and I'm delighted he said yes. I think you will be too.

Victor Antonio is inspiring, insightful and helpful in all he shares and does. He entertained me during this conversation and I know you'll enjoy it too. We talk about sales, being on TV, and our mutual friend Mike Domitrz of the Date Safe Project.

In addition to all the insights he shares, he shares an embarrassing story about hugging the amazing Zig Ziglar - and his wife Jean too.

Listen all the way to the end, Victor tells you how to get all his books - for FREE! Visit him at

About Victor Antonio

A poor upbringing from one of the roughest areas of Chicago didn't stop Victor from earning a B.S. Electrical Engineering, an MBA and building a 20 year career as a top sales executive and becoming President of Global Sales and Marketing for a $420M company.

As Vice President of International Sales in a Fortune 500 $3B corporation at the time, he was selected from over 500 sales managers to join the President’s Advisory Council for excellence in sales and management.

He has shared the stage with top business speakers: Rudy Giuliani, Zig Ziglar, Paul Otellini (CEO of Intel), and John May (CEO of FedEx Kinkos). He's the author of 12 books on sales and motivation and recently released his Seminars On Selling course with 200+ sales training videos.

Advice for new speakers

  • Join Toastmasters
  • Buy the Wealthy Speaker book from Jane Atkinson
  • Pick your niche

Learn more from Victor Antonio

Mar 6, 2017


To say Jill Schiefelbein is an outstanding communications professional would be doing her a disservice. She knows communications better than anyone I know - and I know a lot of smart people. Jill makes sense of the nonsense and offers straight forward advice for communicating more effectively. I learn a lot from Jill often. She is one of my favorite people, and I am glad to have her on speed dial, or rather, speed text. 

I'm very excited to share her brilliance with you in this conversation, because she is someone you'll want to add to your list of mentors and coaches that you can learn from. She writes often for Entrepreneur Magazine, and her live video interviews and insights are engaging and action packed. 

In this conversation, Jill shares how she got started teaching college when she was very young, how she landed her book deal with Entrepreneur Magazine, and some tips on how you can communicate more dynamically today.

Learn more about Jill and her book at

About Jill Schiefelbein

Jill Schiefelbein is an award-winning business owner, author, and recovering academic. She taught business communication at Arizona State University for 11 years, analyzed terrorist documents to help provide counter-terrorism messaging strategies to the military, and was a pioneer in the online education space, creating an office serving 60,000 students and adding $1M in revenue in its first year. In 2011 she ventured into entrepreneur land and hasn't looked back. Her first business, Impromptu Guru, helps people improve their presentation and public speaking skills. She created a YouTube series that was syndicated by Entrepreneur Network and brings in thousands of new viewers each week.

Now, Jill is The Dynamic Communicator®, and creates and executes communication strategies that help organizations increase sales, enhance the product experience, and retain customers. She's a video partner and a contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine, as well as a livestream video personality. Jill also runs the Dynamic Accelerator program that helps solo- and micro-entrepreneurs implement communication strategies to accelerate business growth

Her latest book, Dynamic Communication: Strategies to Grow, Lead, and Manage Your Business is being published by Entrepreneur Press and will be in stores March 2017.

Connect more with Jill Schiefelbein

Mar 2, 2017

Many years ago, I met Chuck Frey because he had an innovation blog and I came upon his blog. I commented on his blog a few times, and we exchanged emails. Then I realized he lived near me in Milwaukee. We had dinner, and we've become great friends. I learned he's a family guy, with a wonderful wife with 2 daughters and a son with autism and also a mind mapping lover, and a content marketing expert.

He's created some AMAZING content products and written some powerful articles. I love learning from Chuck - and I'm so glad to share this conversation with you! 


More about Chuck Frey 

Chuck Frey is an experienced content marketing and digital marketing strategist with exceptional creative problem-solving skills and finely-honed entrepreneurial instincts. Chuck creates and executes marketing plans and materials that build audience engagement, generate leads and attract new business. He has grown several successful online businesses. Chuck has also built and nurtured talented teams that have achieved excellent results.

Chuck blends his in-depth knowledge of web technologies with strategic marketing know-how to deliver superior results for his employers and clients.

He specializes in creating compelling web content that commands attention and drives action. Chuck is a creative problem-solver who can transform the "straw" of raw information to the "gold" of clear, compelling content that gains the trust, understanding and support of audiences and stakeholders.

During the last decade, Chuck have successfully grown 2 online businesses that he has cultivated into thought leaders in their niches. The common thread between his vocation and his avocation is developing powerful ideas that drive business growth.

Connect more with Chuck Frey at

Feb 28, 2017

Michele Payn and I go back nearly 5 years, when I first met her in a hotel meeting room outside of Chicago for a speaker mastermind session. Immediately I loved her style, energy and passion for all things - especially for food.

No, it's not that Michele loves to eat as much as I do (few people do) it's that she is passionate about sharing the truth about food, and in helping people eat the right food. 

Think about this: Everyone eats. Yet two-thirds of the U.S. population lives in cities, with many of these individuals never having visited a farm or ranch where their food is produced.


In this conversation, Michele shares some insights from her new book "Food Truths," why this matters to her, and how she balances life as a farmer, a mother, and a speaker who travels a ton! 

About Michele Payn

Michele Payn personifies passion. Known as one of North America's leading experts in connecting farm and food, she serves as a resource for people around the plate. Michele encourages all of her clients and audiences to find people's hot buttons and speak their language - whether it's growing the conversation between farm gate and food plate, developing strategy, or building an advocacy plan. Widely known as a "change agent," Michele delivers training programs and motivational keynotes to empower organizations to build connected communities.

Entrepreneur. Farm girl. Mom. Science enthusiast. Author. Food translator. Innovator. 

Connect with Michele Payn at

Feb 28, 2017

I got to know Brad Szollose when I was looking for a few generational stats to use in a presentation. We're part of a group of speakers who helps each other, and Brad stepped right up to say this was his expertise. I thanked him for the stats, used them in my presentation (with full credit of course) and then started researching him.


Brad is a generational expert! He wrote the book on them in Liquid Leadership, and he travels around the world, consulting with companies and delivering programs to young and old, new and experienced leaders, to help them make sense of the confusing mess that can be generational differences.

In this all too brief conversation, Brad shares his insights into these generational differences and how we can lead more effectively by understanding why these differences are true, and by working together to leverage the other generation's strengths. 

Brad is also a former stand-up comic, so you'll definitely laugh at some of the things we share.

More About Brad Szollose

Brad Szollose is the *award-winning, international bestselling author of Liquid Leadership: From Woodstock to Wikipedia which explores the subject of new leadership styles – mainly how to get the tech-savvy Generation X & Y and analog driven Baby Boomers working together.

But Seriously, WHO is this Guy, and WHY should I listen to him?

Brad Szollose is a business consultant and keynote speaker who helps smart companies understand how much technology has transformed corporate culture and behavior…especially the behavior of Generation Y Millennials, and how that impacts management, interaction and expectations in The Information Age.

But this is not based on management theory: With a 30 year career as an entrepreneur he knows firsthand what it’s like to grow a company from a simple idea in a coffee shop (without any startup capital), to an internationally recognized brand.

Brad is a former C-Level Dot Com Executive who went from entrepreneur to IPO in 3 yrs—co-founding K2 Design, the very first Dot Com Agency to go public on NASDAQ. His company experienced 425% hyper-growth for 5 straight years, expanded from 2 business partners to 4 with 60+ employees and offices worldwide. At its height, K2 was valuated at over $26 million. His results only management model (ROWE) was applied to the first wave of young Generation Y workers producing great results—winning K2 the Arthur Andersen NY Enterprise Award for Best Practices in Fostering Innovation.

Connect with Brad Szollose

Read Brad's blog Liquid Leadership

Get a copy of Brad's book Liquid Leadership

Apply to be part of Brad's Liquid Leadership Nation Mastermind 

Feb 23, 2017

Is there a perfect close, or just 50 ways to leave your lover, I mean 50 ways to manipulate buyers that don't want to be sold to buy? Best-selling author James Muir believes there is a perfect close - and it's just 2 questions, zero pressure, and is 95% effective.


James and I talk about the perfect close, how he got started as an accidental salesman, and how he was mentored by some of the best salespeople on the planet - by reading and listening to their cassette tapes. And you can too!

This guy is the real deal folks. He spent an additional 30 minutes with me after our podcast was complete to find out who I needed to be connected to, and then sent 25 personal emails to the people I asked for. What a guy!

You won't want to miss this episode of Conversations with Phil on the Perfect Close with James Muir.

James Muir - the Perfect Close

About James Muir

James is a professional sales trainer, speaker and coach. As a Vice President at NextGen Healthcare he is in the trenches daily with reps educating, coaching and taking on the challenges of the day. Over nearly three decades now he has performed in every selling role. His guidance comes from experience and the school of hard knocks. Because of that he has a practical perspective on what works in real life and what doesn’t.

His greatest professional joy comes from working with new and inexperienced professionals. He's on a mission to teach new and inexperienced sales and service professionals how being genuinely authentic actually creates the highest levels of success and happiness.

Much of James' material is aimed a new and inexperienced sales and service professionals. What he offers is useful to everyone involved in generating more business. However, professionals who are new, inexperienced or currently uncomfortable with the selling process are likely to gain the most.

James is passionate, enthusiastic and fun. He likes to have a good time while he works. James gets the challenges and concerns that come with being new to selling because he's been there. And because of that he's created easy to learn principles, actionable education and training that help others achieve their highest potential.

He's a fitness fan, a musician and an organic chemistry buff (ya, ask James about it sometime). He lives in the mountains of Salt Lake City with his awesome wife and two sons.

Learn more from and connect with James Muir

Feb 21, 2017

Many years ago I started reading business books. I remember reading First Break All The Rules, Good to Great, Who Moved My Cheese, Love is the Killer App, Radical Leap, and many other great books. I knew there had to be a faster way to get just the highlights of the books I wanted to read, but I really didn't like a lot of the offerings that were out there, so I would try one, and then not use it.

More than a few but not that many years ago, I found one that felt different. It felt different because it was not just a summary of the book, but actionable information I could use. In this conversation, I get to talk to the founders of that company, Steve and Marisa Cunningham, who not only are married, but they work together in their company,

How do they do it and stay sane? Why did they decide to launch this awesome book summary service? How does Steve read a book a day? All this and more is answered in this episode of Conversations with Phil!

Steve & Marisa Cunningham -

About Steve and Marisa Cunningham and

Marisa and Steve Cunningham have lived through the ups and downs of entrepreneurial life, and are proof that you can work with your life partner and keep your sanity.
Before, Marisa started off her working life in marketing and PR, working for some of Toronto’s largest law firms along the way. Steve was a lawyer for one week, and then went on to run a manufacturing company, a digital marketing agency, and now 
They live in Toronto with their two beautiful daughters Sophie and Emma, and their dog Stewie (yes, the name inspired by Family Guy). is the smartest and easiest way for entrepreneurs and leaders to learn what matters. They summarize best-selling business and personal development books into 12-minut animated videos, audio and text, that help turn your “in-between moments” into the most productive parts of your day. They have thousands of customers around the world, and testimonials from respected thought leaders like Tony Hsieh and Dan Pink. 

Connect with

Feb 17, 2017

As a member of the National Speakers Association, I get to meet many interesting speakers, authors and thought leaders from around the world. Some are very experienced, some are not very experienced, and some just stand out as soon as you come in contact with them.

Scott McKain is the latter, and is someone once you meet, or even see on video, you never forget.

Scott was gracious enough to spend a few minutes in person with me at last year's NSA annual Influence convention, and we set up time to go deeper into a conversation in this podcast. I learned a lot, and Scott has so much to share, I wish we had hours to spend with you.

From speaking at 4H until today where he speaks in front of hundreds of thousands of people every year, Scott McKain is remarkable. I am super excited to share this helpful conversation with you. 

Scott McKain

More about Scott McKain 

Scott McKain is an internationally known authority who helps organizations create distinction in every phase of business and teaches how to deliver an “Ultimate Customer Experience®.”

Scott McKain creates captivating presentations and bestselling books which clearly reveal how to create more compelling connections between you and your customers and how to stand out and move up, regardless of the economic climate in your industry. Scott McKain’s calling is business – and his passion is platform presentations. He is a unique combination of vast speaking experience and new, cutting-edge information. His presentations benet from three decades of experience, combined with his innate talent for articulating successful ideas. McKain has spoken before and consulted for the world’s most influential corporations.

Connect with Scott McKain


Feb 16, 2017

Several years ago I answered a question about why someone should join the National Speakers Association. I answered briefly, then invited that person to call me if he had further questions. We spoke for over an hour and became fast friends. Since then, I've learned a lot about leadership, especially on leading myself, from Ricardo González, the founder of Bilingual America. 

Ricardo Gonzalez is a leadership expert, and an all around great guy. Our conversation went through a lot about leadership, and it could have went on a lot longer. I'm always grateful to talk to him, as he is experienced and compassionate when leading - and when talking about leadership.

And if you're wondering, yes, he has been a member of the NSA since our conversation. 


About Ricardo González

Ricardo González is the founder and CEO of Bilingual America. He developed Bilingual America’s courses, including Success with Hispanics, Líderes Exitosos (Successful Leaders), Spanish Power, Inglés Poderoso, among others.

Ricardo speaks internationally on organizational culture and Latino / non-Latino business relations. He is a founding member of The Speakers Guild of America, a professional member of the National Speakers Association and a speaker for LeadercastNow.

He is author of “The 12 Hidden Truths to Learning Spanish” and his newest book, scheduled for release in 2017 is titled, “The Six Stages of Cultural Mastery”.

Ricardo also serves on the board of the Home Industry Leadership Board sponsored by HomeAdvisor as well as the Advisory Board for the Hispanic Corporate Council of Atlanta. He is or has been a consultant to National Roofing Contractors Association, National Kitchen and Bath Association, The Coca-Cola Company, Georgia Pacific, Hanes, Home Advisor, Cricket Wireless, Owens Corning, Certainteed, The Atlanta Braves, Gingrich Communications, Smithfield Foods, Kimberly-Clark, Brighthouse Networks, Alllied Building Products, SRS Distribution and many others.

Ricardo has undergraduate degrees in theology and communications. He also has Masters Level training in counseling.

He comes from a bilingual, bicultural family. His father was one of 27 children from Puerto Rico and his mother was an orphan from the hills of Kentucky. He jokingly calls himself a Puerto Rican Hillbilly. Out of his life story comes his desire to help individuals and organizations develop healthy cross-cultural relationships that maximize and leverage relationships for the common good.

Ricardo is married to Maribel and has three children: Gabriel, Andrea and Marí Andrea.

Connect with Ricardo

Feb 7, 2017
Kathi Kruse is one of the most fun marketing strategists I've encountered, and that's saying something. She works in the "car biz," a predominantly male industry, and she kicks butt at it - while a big smile! She's the founder and CEO of Kruse Control Inc. and is the author of "Automotive Social Business 2.0- How to Captivate Your Customers, Sell More Cars & Be Generally Remarkable on Social Media".
This was a fast interview, filled with smart insights and marketing takeaways you can use to sell more, market better, and have more fun!

More about Kathi Kruse

Kathi was born in the heart of Los Angeles to a family of “car people” and her passion for the car business spans a 25-year career managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Her Kruse Control Blog is the leading Automotive Social Media blog in the US and Canada.

Everybody wants their shot at social media success but that roadway has been blocked by too many choices and not enough results. People are frustrated. Kathi understands and has a plan. She’s cleared the path for many companies, she’ll clear the path for you.

More from Kathi Kruse

Feb 2, 2017

I first met Robert Caruso as part of a group of social media masterminds Keri Jaehnig setup years ago. He was hustling his face off to build a spectacular piece of software that he eventually sold off. But Robert wasn't done. Not by a long shot! Now he's running a social agency called Fondalo, and he's still hustling his face off, but with more balance. 

Now Robert is a married dad and while he's still the same feisty guy I knew all those years ago, he's found his balance and is living life and running business more on his terms. I know you'll enjoy this conversation where Robert shares things he's never shared in public before, and where he offers insights into marketing people pay top dollar to learn from him.

And you'll learn the meaning of Fondalo, his company name, and his Twitter handle.

Robert Caruso is Fondalo

More about Robert Caruso

Recognized on Forbes list of top 40 social media marketers and the 57th top digital marketing influencer in 2016 , Robert Caruso is a social media, digital marketing and technology professional with over 20 years creating, planning and executing strategies within various industries. Robert was the co-founder of Bundlepost and holds multiple internet technology patents.

Robert writes, speaks and consults on social, relationship and digital marketing, but he focuses on working with B2B, Enterprise, SaaS and Startup brands to develop, design and executive integrated digital marketing programs that impact their traffic, lead generation and net results online.


Connect with Robert

Jan 26, 2017

Adam Toporek is a customer service expert. Not only does he do keynotes and training on customer service, but he has lived it, and grew his family's and his own businesses by delivering great customer service. He gets customer service!

I met Adam last year at a National Speakers Association meeting, and we've been friends ever since. His common sense approach to customer service is refreshing for its simplicity and its honesty. I learn a ton about the right way to do customer service from reading Adam's blog, and listening to his podcast Crack the Customer Code, which is co-hosted by Jeannie Walters, one of the world's foremost experts on customer experience.

In this interview, we crack some customer codes, break down customer service, and share stories of great and not so great customer service.

Adam Toporek - Customers that Stick!

More about Adam

They keep giving Adam Toporek new titles: “Thought leader.” “Customer service expert.” “Customer experience influencer.”

But he is really just a guy who loves customer service and who spreads his message of Hero-Class®service through engaging keynote speeches, high-energy training workshops, and informative writing.

Adam’s business inclinations were demonstrated early on when, as a small child, he disappeared in a department store and was eventually found in the manager’s office playing with an adding machine.

While he has since learned to do what he’s told when shopping with his mother (and his wife), he’s never lost his passion for making sure the numbers add up.

Connect with Adam Toporek

Jan 24, 2017

For those who don't know my background, I grew up in Crivitz, Wisconsin, a rural town of 996 people in northeastern Wisconsin. I wasn't the fastest kid, or the smartest kid, or the most athletic kid. In 7th grade, I was one of the worst basketball players on the team. I had generic shoes the other kids called "G-Didas" for generic Adidas shoes. They were Win Streaks, and they were all we could afford. 

I didn't believe in myself - at all - in 7th grade basketball. To say I sucked was an understatement. I played 5 minutes a game, if that, and I don't think I scored any points. 8th grade was a little better, and Coach Nelson showed me some sympathy and started me a few games. I averaged 6 points per game. I still had no confidence in my game or me.

It took me until freshman year when I really thought I could be a decent ball player. We practiced hard, harder than I ever had before, and I worked my butt off, in large part because of the belief of my coach, Gary Wondrash. I still believe in myself, and much of that started with Gary's belief in me first. He was a great coach, and I still use his coaching philosophies in how I lead and how I live.

Work hard. Practice hard. Hustle. Don't be afraid to do the hard work. Focus on your fundamentals. Keep improving a little bit more, every day. Learn from your mistakes. Be a good sport. Smile. Sing in the shower.

Easy for him to say. He was the coach. He was my stud coach. He could hit 10 free throws in a row. Heck, he could hit 50 free throws in a row. To say Gary was someone I wanted to be like would be a gross understatement. 

But I didn't know his back story, until we had this conversation.

Growing up, Gary wasn't the fastest kid, wasn't the smartest kid, or the most athletic kid. By the time he got to my school as a teacher, he had been awarded all conference in basketball, had set school records that are still unbroken, and he'd impacted some kid's lives. 

In this conversation, Gary Wondrash shares his philosophies on basketball, life, and on the value of hard work. On how growing up as the hardest working player on the team helped him be better than his more naturally gifted teammates. 

This is one of my favorite conversations, and I hope you'll listen and learn from my mentor, my coach, and now, my friend, Gary Wondrash. He inspired me with this conversation, just like he inspired me my freshman year of basketball. 

Gary Wondrash

More about Gary Wondrash

  • Gary is still a teacher, though not in my hometown. He also is a fitness coach, and teaches older adults the benefits of moving more and eating right.
  • Visit Gary Wondrash's website to learn more about his fitness coaching and a little more about him.
  • You can also check out the Tough Kid Challenge, something Gary spearheaded, for kids in the Fox Valley area (in Wisconsin).
Jan 11, 2017

David Boutin is one of the first people I met when I moved to Tampa. I noticed him on Twitter, and reached out to him. He hesitantly agreed to meet with me, and we've been friends ever since. 

David is a Georgia Bulldog football fan, a husband, and a Twitter chat guru. I learn a lot from David's writing, and from watching what he does on Twitter. Recently David co-authored the book Twitter Marketing that Sells with Mike Kawula, and they work together at The Social Quant. 

David and I talk about all things Twitter, why he was hesitant to meet me (and how the way we met helped him get an awesome job) Tampa life, and more in this informative interview.

David Boutin - Phil Gerbyshak - Conversations with Phil

Connect more with David Boutin

Jan 6, 2017


One might wonder what chicken wings, sports announcing, nursing, parenting, entrepreneurship, and admissions have in common. If you don't know, then you haven't met Brandon Elliott. I met Brandon several years ago at a speaking engagement I had, and we have been connected ever since.

In this conversation, Brandon and I talk about being a male nurse, how he's overcome discrimination in his work and in his life, how he makes a difference teaching social media to kids in his S.M.A.R.T. program (S.M.A.R.T. stands for Social Media Awareness & Responsibility Training), sports, and a whole lot more. 

Brandon Elliott - The SMART program

More about Brandon Elliott

As a graduate from the College of Mount St. Joseph Brandon earned his nursing degree while playing football. He was a captain on their undefeated team in 2004 as well.  Brandon worked in the hospital setting before finding his niche in long term care.  He became a director of nursing services by the age of 26 and is currently known in the Cincinnati marketplace as the nurse liaison for Oak Pavilion nursing center. As a nurse liaison Brandon has become known as a straightforward, responsive professional to the discharge planners in all the area hospitals. He is also using his nursing platform to speak with teenagers about the healthcare field and the wonderful field of nursing.

Here is where chicken wings come in. Brandon's in-laws run a local watering hole, which he takes his turn working.

It is a great place for him to catch up with friends while watching his beloved Bengals and Reds.

Speaking of spare time, Brandon seems to pack a lot into a little. As a graduate and student athlete at Purcell Marian high school here in Cincinnati, Brandon supports his alma mater in several ways. He is a mentor to many of the African-American athletes starting at their first day of school. The most notable role is that of Internet broadcaster for the athletic contests at Purcell Marian.

Brandon proudly represents both The National Black Nurses Association and The American Assembly for Men in Nursing.  His spearheading of the annual fundraiser event has made it possible for more scholarships to be awarded for thriving students.  He has recently been named the Chair for Social Media/Technology for the National Chapter.  It was not a surprise to see Brandon listed as a recipient of the 1st Annual NBNA “Under 40” award!

Brandon is also the co-founder and CEO of the social media awareness and responsibility training (SMART) program. This non-profit organization was created with his best friend after seeing several student-athletes lose out on scholarships and opportunities because of their social media image and brand.  The SMART Program’s mission is to teach students to teach students to use social media in a mature, savvy way, for the purpose of creating a positive personal brand.  Our goal is to reach 1 million people by year 2020.  2016 has been great with 40 presentations in the books and over 20 scheduled for 2017!

The most important role that Brandon fills is that of father. Brandon is married to his high school sweetheart and has three very active and pretty daughters, Avery, Macy, and Laney.

Connect more with Brandon Elliott and his SMART program

Jan 3, 2017

Does posting about things like politics that polarize people make business sense? Sam Richter certainly has an opinion on this - and he has proof to back it up based on conversations he's had with event planners.

Sam Richter is an expert in sales intelligence and reputation management - so not only does he have anecdotal evidence on this - he's done the research to make this work. 

In this conversation, Sam and I talk about statistics, reputation management, and much more.

Sam Richter

Connect with Sam Richter

The best place to connect with Sam Richter is at his website, where he has all his intelligence tools and more. 

Dec 23, 2016

One of my favorite things to do is karaoke. I'm not a good singer, but I'm very enthusiastic. Some of my best conference memories are of doing karaoke, and I've even done live band karaoke. So much fun! As I've done this so many times, I've seen good hosts, and bad hosts. I have a ton of respect for those who are really good at being the karaoke meister, the person who helps everyone have fun and cues up the music we sing, and who also sings to fill in the dead air when nobody wants to sing.

The best karaoke meister I've seen is Robb Ellicson. He's just got what it takes to be great. And he's a terrific business person, who markets multiple businesses in addition to his karaoke business. In our conversations, I've learned a lot from him, so it's fun that I get to share him with you.

Connect with Robb Ellicson

If you're in Milwaukee, check out one of his shows. And connect with Robb even more at

Dec 20, 2016

Charles Lerette aka Hugh Briss is a social media pioneer. He was the first person I remember making social media graphics, nearly 10 years ago now. He's still the first person I look to for guidance on for the right way to use imagery for social media.

With my recent move to Florida, I actually got to spend a day with Hugh, and learned he is even smarter than I realized - and that's saying something. He's a savvy business owner who teaches himself new skills to remain relevant in his niche. Whether it's photography, where he got his degree, creating social media headers, or video, Charles is a smart guy. 

Yes, his real name is Charles Lerette. You'll find him online as a photographer with that name, and all his social media identity information online as Hugh Briss. We'll talk about why he did that and so much more in this conversation.

More about Charles Lerette aka Hugh Briss

All aspects of your online presence matter, and Charles can help you with them all. He's taken my headshots, done my logo, designed my podcast art, my social media header graphics, and even does print layout. He's been doing graphic design for longer than most people have even thought about graphic design, and he has a great eye for taking a concept from idea to execution, fast. 

Learn from Hugh Briss

Social Identities - the portal into all things social with Hugh - need good photography taken, or an image cleaned up? He does it all, here

Hugh Briss / Social Identities on Facebook - This is where I get the majority of my social imagery information, super relevant

Social Media Masterminds Facebook Group - Got questions about social media? This group will help you. I hang out here and learn a TON from the people inside. Definitely speeds up answering any questions I have about social media because of the experts who pay to be part of this terrific group.

Dec 15, 2016

Scott Monty and I first "met" as a contributors to The Age of Conversation series in which hundreds of bloggers wrote a page or two about marketing, compiled it into a book, and gave the proceeds to charity, many years ago. In 2015, Scott and I got to solidify our friendship by meeting at a Social Media Club event in Dallas. In between, Scott worked with Ford to take them from recession to relevance with some of the most interesting marketing that moved the needle. 

Scott is also a man who can rock a bow tie. Seriously well. When I think of Scott, I think of that signature bow tie, which is his logo now as well as how he dresses. Super cool!

In this conversation, we talk about all of Scott's passions: marketing, Sherlock Holmes (he runs the I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere website and podcast), and podcasting. The time went too fast for us, and I know it will for you too.

Scott Monty

More about Scott and connect with him

Scott Monty is an internationally recognized leader in digital communications, digital transformation, social media and marketing.

As CEO and co-managing partner of Brain+Trust Partners, he addresses and advises businesses and groups about the power of humanity in business, particularly through digital transformation and strategy.

Scott spent six years as an executive at Ford Motor Company, as a strategic adviser on crisis communications, influencer relations, marketing, customer service, innovative product launches and more. He also has a another decade and a half of experience in communications and marketing agencies. Scott's clients have included Walmart, IBM, Reebok, Coca-Cola, and Google, and The Economist ranked him as #1 atop the list of 25 Social Business Leaders. He most recently ran Scott Monty Strategies.

He is a board member of the American Marketing Association and an adviser for a number of Silicon Valley companies. He writes about the changing landscape of business, technology, communications, marketing and leadership at, and edits and produces the widely acclaimed weekly newsletter and podcast The Full Monty.

Dec 13, 2016

I met Amy Franko on now defunct #SocialLeader Twitter chat and was impressed by her ability to quickly synthesize leadership topics into tweets. We decided to swap our leadership and sales thoughts in a few Skype conversations. I quickly realized Amy had a lot of useful information to share that could benefit you, so I finally recorded one of our conversations. 

More about Amy Franko

Amy Franko drives results for organizations by elevating their most important asset—their people. Her firm, Impact Instruction Group, works with technology companies and professional services firms to design and deliver leadership development and strategic selling programs.

Amy’s experience within large global organizations, such as IBM and Lenovo, has shaped her skills as a futuristic thinker and leader. She brings new perspectives to her clients, with a sharp focus on achieving strategic goals.

Known for her dynamic and engaging style, Amy is a sought-after speaker on the topic of leadership development and strategic selling, having delivered her powerful messages across the country. Her expertise is widely shared on social networks, and in respected publications such as Chief Learning Officer, TD Magazine, Training Industry, Training Magazine, Columbus CEO, and Smart Business. She is a certified training partner through IMPAX Corporation.

Amy Franko

Connect more with Amy Franko

Dec 8, 2016

Mark Hunter is known as The Sales Hunter. Yes, Hunter is his real last name, and sales is really his game. I learn so much from Mark every time we connect, every time I read his articles, and especially when I read his books. His latest is called High Profit Prospecting and if you're in sales, you won't want to miss it.

In this conversation, Mark and I laugh a lot as we share insights on sales and leadership you won't get from anyone else. His tip on how to use LinkedIn strategically to get to the C suite is outstanding. 

This episode is worth the listen even if you're not in sales, because Mark shares how sales and leadership are really the same thing, and how you can lead better by selling better.

Connect more with Mark Hunter

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