I’ve always admired Ron Alford from my brief time working with him, and I knew he needed to be part of this project from the beginning. Ron’s discipline, attitude, and infectious enthusiasm are amazing and shine through in this interview.
As one of five senior partners with Southwestern Consulting, Ron leads an organization of over 180 professionals focused on providing tailored one-to-one sales consultancy to salespeople. This interview is actually two interviews condensed into one and is presented below in its extended glory.
You can read Ron’s full biography here
Jamie: Ron, what has been the fulfilling part of your career by far?
Ron: Man, I think these last two years, it’s hiring coaches into their dream job. Our actual team name is the MTB crew, which is what stands for “Meant To Be.” It’s really fascinating; we will have people at Southwestern Consulting who are 30 years old, who have had a 10-year run of doing great in sales and we’re still hiring them early in their career. Then I’ve hired others who are 60 years old, where they’ve been in sales for 40 years and they’ve been in a variety of different industries. But either way, you see them come to our initial training and they have this feeling of, “I’m where I’m meant to be. Everything I’ve done up till now has led me to this, and now it’s my chance to keep growing.”
Number one is to stay humble and keep learning and growing always; I don’t care what you’ve done before. But then number two is to share, give, impact, and uplift. So that’s by far the biggest impact in the last two years: bringing and hiring new coaches into this business.
Jamie: What have you found more fulfilling about hiring and being a sales manager than you did being a salesperson?
Ron: The group celebration. I learned that early on- things that I could do, it was fun and people would cheer for it and congratulate you, but at the end of the day, it was just me. When you see others succeed, and they’re part of your team, then there’s this mutual celebration. I get goosebumps talking about it. It’s such fun. To me, it’s the ripple effect. If they’re growing, their families are impacted and it spreads. It’s just so much more impactful and meaningful.
Jamie: What is the best thing about being in sales?
Ron: I would say freedom. I just think it’s so great because you can customize it to your life. Sales kicks your butt because it’s never-ending. You can’t take your foot off the gas. If you get complacent, or you get what we call, “satisfied-itis,” all of a sudden you look three months later, you’re like, “Well, I’m struggling. I’m sucking here.”
You have to stay on point and I love that. That’s to me one of the greatest things about sales, that you have to stay on point.
You see all around us people who are going through the motions. I don’t know what that feels like, it just sounds horrible to me.
In sales you always have a goal – it’s not your identity, of course, and that’s the fine line. That’s the challenge, of not taking last month’s results as my self-image.
But yeah, I just love the freedom. I love how you can make your choice. You can set your goals, or you can choose to ebb and flow, you know, “Okay, this next season, I’m going to focus a little bit more on my family, and I’m going to maintain my production.” Or, you know what? “These next few months, man, I’m going to buckle down. I’m going to get permission from my family to go deeper here and take this to another level.”
Jamie: Does that separate it from other industries or professions?
Ron: Yes. You bet. Which again, I love it. You know, I think a business owner, like my wife owns her own little business. She’s insane. I would categorize what she’s doing it in a very similar light.
Jamie: What does a sales-oriented culture mean to you?
Ron: Clear expectations. When you get hired, we’re really big on when we interview someone- this is what we’re interviewing for. No matter what your business card says, or your LinkedIn profile, at the end of the day, here’s the culture we have created. It might be a fit for you, it might not, but this is the type of person we’re looking for. So as long as there are clear expectations on the front end, everybody’s aligned. It’s not like six months later, they say, “Oh, my gosh, I wasn’t expecting this.” Everybody knows the mission we’re on and it’s clear.
Jamie: What skills do you think someone should exhibit naturally to want to go into sales?
Ron: Desire and grit. I always talk about the two H’s- humility and hunger. If I had to capture two things, I’d say hunger – which means I have this insatiable quench to get better. It doesn’t mean hunger, where I’ve got to be number one, or I, have to beat everybody. It’s more than I want to grow, and I want to say “I’m doing my best.” When I “clock out” – because I’m never actually clocked out – but when I clock out at the end of the day, I know I left it all out there and I can relax. I can enjoy my downtime, because I know I’ve given it my best. That’s hunger.
Then humility is important because I’ve never got it figured out. You know, Dan Moore [President of the Southwestern Group of Companies] is a great example of that personality type- it’s just so fun being around people that have this humility about them, where it does not matter what awards or accolades they’ve won. I think a huge ingredient to getting into sales is this drive; which leads to natural self-discipline. I don’t have to have a ton of accountability. I can get myself up in the morning and get myself going. I’m a self-starter. Because that carrot, that vision, and the clarity of what I’m going for drives me and pushes me. I don’t have to have a boss constantly nagging me.
Jamie: Do you think there’s a personality type that is best suited to sales?
Ron: I would say number one, people who are comfortable in their own skin, people who are authentic. I guess that would be any personality but anybody who was really comfortable with who they really are, but yet can adapt.
An ideal person in sales is someone who understands themself. They’re authentic as to who they are, but they’ve got emotional intelligence to read the person they’re with, and be a chameleon.
They kick it up a little bit when there’s an energetic person there with you and they’re visually engaged. Then sometimes, when it’s someone who is more soft-spoken and logical, you can turn it down a notch. It’s the personality that is not so locked into one thing, but it’s able to adapt. Usually people who have a little bit more energy, a little bit more evident enthusiasm; that’s helpful.
Jamie: So you would say extroverts, in general, might be more inclined to sales and might do better?
Jamie: Would you recommend that anyone goes and sells books?
Ron: Yeah, you bet. If you put energy for one summer it can’t hurt as it says, as long as people know what they’re getting into, then I’d say yes. It can’t help but wake you up to real life and you learn a lot about yourself.
Jamie: Would you recommend anyone to go into sales consultancy?
Ron: No. Selling books is a seasonal piece where it’s like it’s an ingredient to whatever I’m going to do in life. If I’m going be an entrepreneur, an attorney, or a medical professional, whatever, I can take those few months and just learn so much from it. Anybody can grow from that, but sales consultancy to me feels more like a calling; a career.
Anybody should do exercise. Everybody should have a part of their life geared towards some form of fitness, getting out and be active and alive. But it doesn’t mean everybody should be a long-distance runner. I think everybody should be subjected to sales because that’s learning how to listen, learning how to find the need and understand what other people need, and then trying to serve that.
I need my assistant who’s not in sales. I’m praying she doesn’t want to get into sales. I love that she loved being at home handling, enrolling, running our CRM or just doing a lot of the task-oriented stuff. I love that my daughter’s school teacher is fascinated by being a school teacher. I don’t want her getting into sales. I want her teaching my daughter.
Jamie: In sales generally, is there any advantage in terms of age, gender, or physical appearance that you’re aware of?
Ron: No. I don’t know if you want me to elaborate but my short answer is no.
Jamie: So you’ve seen people of all shapes and sizes both succeed and fail?
Ron: Yeah. When I was selling books with Amy Brock-Devine and Peggy Spalinger, I was like, “Man, those girls have an advantage.” I would use that as an excuse a little bit, but at the end of the day, you realize it’s not true. It’s using what you have and of course, connecting. The beauty of the law of averages or the numbers game is that there are plenty of people out there.
If I’m a little more seasoned, in my 50s or 60s, that’s great. Or if I’m in my 20s, that’s fine – we have coaches who are 28 and then coaches who are 63 or 64.
There are plenty of people who are going to appreciate your style, you just have to go and find them.
Jamie: What skills do you need to develop and foster within yourself to really succeed in sales?
Ron: Grit, the bounce-back factor, and resilience. It’s like a muscle that has to be exercised. When I have a setback or a failure or a no, or even when I’m rocking for a week, if I sit there and dwell on it or think about it or take my foot off the gas or over-analyze it, then “good night.” I’m going to struggle. I need to bounce back quickly and learn from it and just say, “Cool, who’s next?”
You know, not over-analyse stuff, but just the ability to overcome things. Just like this call. I’m frustrated that I was a few minutes late for our call because, God, my wife and I got in a bad car accident this last weekend. Life happens. We’re not unique, none of us are. We have health issues with our children, and there was a snowstorm two weeks ago, but it’s the spirit of finding a way and not making an excuse that’s the key. We can sit around all day and look for reasons why we’re not going to hit the goals and ways I can rationalize it, or I can say, “Okay, I got an obstacle here. I’m going to have to be a little better; I’m going to have to overcome this.” That’s how I would define that resilience or that grit, and I think that’s the number one trait.
Jamie: How can someone go about developing that resilience?
Ron: Affirmations. Catching myself doing things right, and telling myself, “Man, I’m getting better at this. I’m getting better at sticking to things. God, I’m getting better at overcoming things.” I say two things, affirmations and then who you socialize with, who you’re around. If I’m around people who are making excuses and always complaining about the government or the weather, or how someone wronged them, I’m more apt to pick up on those attitudes. Whereas, if I’m around people who have spirit and say, “We’ll figure it out, we got this. It’s going to be good. You know, we’ll be okay.” It’s so uplifting. I think that’s the biggest two- choosing carefully who you’re around mostly and who you choose to communicate with and associate with, and then affirmations.
You should say, “Okay, I’m going get better because of that.” Really noticing my words, even if you call me and say, “Hey, how was your week?” “Dude, I had a couple of health issues but man, I’m getting better.” How I answer that question is incredibly important. So, being ultra-aware of the words I say to you, and how much I’m going live into that proclamation. So, affirmations of what I say to myself and then what I say to you about myself.
Jamie: How do you go about finding those more positive people?
Ron: It’s like an Easter egg hunt.
Look under the rocks if you have to, look in trees, bushes, whatever you got to do man, and find positive people because it’s worth it. It doesn’t mean we judge those that aren’t in that category. But I’m only going to try to have a core group I hang out with.
Please don’t take that the wrong way where I’m in any way judging those that aren’t in that core group; it’s just not my niche at this time of life.
It’s also listening and noticing. Every year I get more and more focused on talking less and watching people’s actions. Anybody can talk a good game, but when you hang out with them, and you see how they treat a waitress, or you see how they talk about someone, or do they gossip, or do they complain overly, and you just kind of make a note of that. I’m going to have lunch today with a good buddy Ryan Jewel, and he’s someone who, over the years, I’ve noticed things about him, about how he views the world and how he views setbacks and how he treats people, that make me want to spend more time with him.
Jamie: We’ve talked about sales skill and how it’s developed. Is there anything specific to sales consultancy you need above and beyond that?
Ron: To me, that’s the whole Michael Jordan thing. He’s an individual athlete. If I’m selling, it’s about my performance, and there’s definitely what most of what we’ve been talking about here. But if I’m now going be able to coach others and lift their game up, it’s a completely different skill set. There’s one view of coaching where it’s more just best practices – “Hey, here’s what I do. Good luck.”
That’s kind of sharing best practices. But the art of coaching is really Socratic coaching where you’re helping them find a light bulb. It’s not giving them a fish. It’s teaching them how to fish. You’re trying to reprogram their thoughts, you’re trying to reprogram their confidence.
I think in the consulting and coaching world you have to have this desire to really understand people. I love learning about a company. I love understanding the story behind the story, truly understanding, then, I can help them be better. I can help them grow, I’m so excited to do it. So that’s a whole different skill set than me selling a product to a client.
Jamie: What are the biggest challenges that you have faced in winning business in consultancy?
I’d say that’s number one, ego. Getting past that ego where you can help them see, “We’re not taking your role, we’re not. You’re the leader, we’re just here to help you lift you up and align with your voice. Because you people need multiple layers of accountability. They need multiple voices coming at them.”
It’s just like for my kids. I’m dad, no one else can be a dad for them, but I need mom and grandma on Sunday. I also need a school teacher, baseball coach, and school principal. I need a lot of voices instilling principles into those kids, not just dad, but that’s got to get past my ego. The biggest obstacle we face is ego and that the boss, the manager, the company is open-minded for help. That otherwise there’s just no buy-in, and so if we don’t have buy-in, it’s hard to get past that.
Jamie: How did you get past that ego?
Ron: Stories, examples, and just listening. I think approaching them with humility, and just seeking to understand, just being fascinated. If I’m talking to you about your company and I say, “Man, Jamie, I’m excited just to learn my hope for our call today was just to learn, to get an idea of what’s rocking for you guys, it sounds like you’re doing a great job.” Then I’ll find some gaps, find some little areas where you have felt we could be a little better.
“So walk me through your team, tell me a little bit about the team you work with,” and just really learning.
The more they start talking and opening up, they start letting out little pain points, and then I can talk to those pain points. Then of course I compliment them, stroke their ego and say, “Dude, it sounds like you’re doing an awesome job, I love how you’re in the trenches, and I love hearing about your vision.”
“Walk me through when you said you feel like some of your team is getting complacent, is that just a recent thing? Or has that been part of the culture for a while?” That’s the whole idea of pouring salt in the wound, there’s a wound there of complacency and I’ve gotten him to go deeper, I’ve got him being honest. If we go to happy hour this afternoon, have a couple of drinks and relax, we can be honest, there’s no fake agenda here. This is two authentic people talking and that’s the way to get past that ego. Trying to get the authentic conversation going, and then come to the second part; the story and say, “I don’t know about you, I was talking yesterday. I had a call with Greg Hazi, and he was just saying his team is seasoned, they’re so dang sharp, they’re veterans like crazy, they know what to do, but they’re just going through the motions! Some of them are waiting for the business to come to them versus getting out and hunting. I don’t know, Jamie – do you guys feel that? Is that at all something you can relate to with your team?” I’m helping them see that through story that every great leader has challenges.
“You can be safe here, but please don’t act like you got everything figured out, let’s be real.” Then they have hopefully dropped their ego
Jamie: How can you improve and get better at storytelling?
Ron: Listen to storytellers. That’s such a cool topic. If someone is in academics, then listen to them, or they’re in a church service on Sunday or on a TV show, or watching a TedTalk or listening to a podcast. Really listen to how someone develops characters. There’s character development, and then how they develop the conflict, and then the conclusion and climax; that’s the art of storytelling where it builds towards the point you’re making. Listening for brevity too; great stories are not long-winded, people can track you, people can live into the story, so I think it is listening and practicing it is big.
Jamie: Do you recommend that every sales person gets better as a storyteller?
Ron: Yeah, you bet. I think so because stories move people- we all know that. That’s what’s memorable, and having these stories is important because then we’re better at delivering the message. You need clear characters and a sort of conflict.
I’ve got to develop the story where there’s a conclusion and a climax versus being long-winded, and without a clear point to it. That’s where having the stories is so important. For example, a story about someone that has been doing this for 30 years, they’re great at what they do, but they’ve lost motivation.
When we take a story and built it from a thought, we write it down and then we can read this story and think it through and then every time we deliver it, we get a little crisper with it. I’ve got stories that I’ve shared hundreds of times and it’s so much more impactful now than it was early on.
Jamie: How do you deal with organizational complexity while selling?
Ron: I usually just give up. Say who’s next? [chuckles] No, I think kind of going back to where we talked about earlier, just trying to listen. Let’s say I’m referred to you and I’m your first point of contact. You’re going have to introduce me to your boss, and you’ve got three other co-owners that would be involved in this decision. I’m just trying to listen and if I can build trust with you, I now have an ally. If I can get one or two allies to start, now I’m in with the company.
You and I are on the same team. I’ve got a buy-in with you, that’s a huge start because now you and I together, we’re creative, we’re sharp, we can say okay there’s three other business partners and then there’s your boss who has to sign off on this, let’s talk this through- what are some hurdles you think we’d have to overcome to get their buying? I think just being patient, this is a long game, not being transactional is one answer, because I think sometimes – and I’m guilty of this – I want a quick answer – “Who’s next?” But this is a slow game, I’m not going anywhere. I want build trust with you and ready to get full buy-in with one person to start at least, and then now I’ve got an ally who can help me break into this entire company or go deeper within this potential client.
I’d just say patience and then strategically looking for an ally or two starting somewhere. Even if it’s just a sales person, I can think of a lot of my big accounts right now where just getting one sales person bought in, and then getting a little bit of evidence, lead to an introduction to the higher-ups.
Jamie: Do you believe that selling and serving accounts are different skill sets?
Ron: Yes. I think they’re blended of course. You know that either way you’ve got to have a heart to serve. Selling is serving, so, on one hand, but I think anybody landing the contract or getting the yes, getting the enrolment or contract, versus to go in to be the one to deliver, I think that’s a different skillset. They’re intermixed for sure, but there are differences.
Jamie: In sales consultancy, how are the sales consultants treated?
Ron: I think it’s hard to speak for everybody but I would think incredible because none of us have any of this without the personnel and the frontline hunting. We can have all the farmers in the world and all the servers but the people who are out hunting and winning the business on the front end are the most important.
I think any thriving, growing, strong cultured consulting company or sales company treats their salespeople like gold. If they don’t, they’re probably struggling.
Jamie: How do you figure that out, if you’re on the outside looking in, how companies treat their sales people?
Ron: We love to get in the trenches and be the secret shopper, or just talking to the people on the ground floor and asking how they feel about their job. You can see their face light up. You know instantly how valued they are. So just asking questions like, “Hey, walk me through your sales process – how do you motivate them? How do you incentivize them?”
Then you hear how the leaders talk about their people, do they beat them up and are constantly like, “Oh my gosh, these guys, I have to always motivate them,” or are they talking about them like, “Man, we appreciate our sales people so much, we do everything we can to support them,” so you can hear the leadership saying it, and then you can hear from the sales people how much they feel supported, and I don’t mean just by expensive prizes, I mean by encouragement and appreciation – affirmation is the cheapest form of recognition and appreciating people goes so far.
I think it’s taking a genuine interest and understanding, right? That’s the whole idea, not just asking a question because it’s in my sales script but asking questions because I want to understand, I love to learn, I love understanding that that’s a trait here and you can sense the way people talk about each other, how they view and how they treat each other.
Jamie: How is the sales training for sales consultants?
Ron: I’m biased. There’s a reason why I’m here for 25 years. I think it’s unreal and I’ll be honest, I took it for granted for the 20 years I was in Southwestern Advantage getting trained and being the recipient of it, and then being the one running sales schools. I took it for granted because it was just your world, you were in your bubble, it is funny when you don’t really branch out – like with family. We know only our siblings and our parents until we go live with some other family for a month.
But now these last five or six years where I’m out in so many other companies, I just think it’s so incredible -the training, the history, the Southwestern Group of Companies is a 160-year-old family of companies with pride in its principles. Its principles first, and personalities are way distant. If you’re all about promoting your personality, this isn’t going to be the right place for you. This is a principles-first company, you know where it’s about for what’s right not being right.
I just see a bunch of leaders who love being in the trenches. We don’t have people who sit behind their desks and just bark at everybody. I’m one of the five senior partners who run Southwestern Consulting. All I’m doing today is selling.
I’m out in the field like and I appreciate that. I appreciate having leaders who are out walking the walk.
Jamie: Is that the main difference compared to training that happens within Southwestern Consulting and other industries that you’ve seen?
Ron: Yeah. That’s the main difference. We’re big on shadowing too.
It’s one on one, it’s planned, it’s about your vision and then me coming into the field and working with you. I’ll have dinner with your family, I’ll get to watch you do a workshop, I’ll get to be in the trenches with you, that’s one thing our coaches love and appreciate and they’re not used to that where they came from – we’ll have a lot of them on their first year too say, “Wow you’re going to fly out here to Austin, Texas and work with me for a couple of days? Wow, what do you want to see?” That just blows them away and then I say, “Of course I am! I would like to be able to work with you and help you hit your vision, help you reach your goal this year.” That is a big differentiator I think; getting into the detail. Of course, the numbers and tracking is also important but making it about their vision, not about my agenda or the company’s stock.
“How can we help you reach your vision in life?” I think people really feel that.
Jamie: What advice would you give to aspiring sales people?
Ron: The first thing is to have patience. I know I’m sitting here thinking in my head, so many people I’ve worked with over the years who just wanted it quick, and if they didn’t get it whether its sales as a career or a certain company or a certain product, they just jump to another.
The grass is always greener, but the grass is greenest where you water it. I’m not saying there is not a time and a place to leave and do something different, but I think patience is important because it allows you to play the long game.
I’m not short-sighted. I have a long-term belief and vision in what I’m building as a career, I’m building a life. I’m not only trying to win this trinket award this month – though the monthly awards are nice too. I think patience is big.
The second thing is humility and to really get out, seek and learn from everybody. Then the last thing I’d say is the application of the basics is what separates us. You can have all the fancy stuff in the world but it’s about applying the basics. ‘Schedule is our lifeline,’ is one of our mottos.
I get goosebumps when I talk about this – the most basic thing is how did you plan your week before it started? Do you have accountability set up so you can follow your plan? Have you created boundaries? Is your calendar aligned with your vision board? Are you planning your hours and your minutes? So, it’s the application of the basics that separates us. Talent can be great this day or this week or this month but over time, the basics always win.
For him to get up there and share verbal support, how convinced he is in this coaching for his people, and also offer a little bit of financial support – in other words, he was going to help chip in for anybody who was going to invest in themselves – when he did that, that was the sale. I think a few people would have bought it either way, but I think that got some of the other ones of the fence.
Jamie: If you had the chance to start your sales career again, what would you do differently?
Ron: I would be more humble. If I were to start my sales career again, I wouldn’t do a lot differently because I think of the mistakes I made; I needed those.
“Ah, that was dumb, ooh, that was ugly, or that was embarrassing,” but then it’s, “Dude, thank God that I did those things because I’m better because of it. I can hear other people coach me on how to avoid that, but I have to go through it myself sometimes.”
I think being willing to get beat up and being okay with it, and even appreciating it. I would have had more perspective of the long term and I would have started building through other people quickly. I think it took me a long while – longer than I would have liked – to realize that to grow something significant and impactful, it’s through other people, we have to develop others around us, and so I would have done that quicker.
Jamie: Can you let me about a time when you didn’t make a sale but it really taught you something?
Ron: Recency bias will lead me to one that happened in Vancouver, Washington. This place is about two hours from my house and where we book a workshop up and we do a lot of preparation. We say that the work on the boss is the actual sale. If I’ve got the boss on my side before the workshop, I am more likely to get the attendees involved and want to hire a coach long term.
Long story short, I came away with nothing. This is an opportunity where it could have been great but I cut corners. A lot of times, you’ll have a great buy in the room and everybody agrees, they want to grow, and they want to be better, they want accountability. They know they need help to get to the next level. But if I haven’t properly prepared the boss, and really walked him through how to close the workshop to get people off the fence and to take action today, it doesn’t work. They need to either get going with us or say “No thanks,” which is no big deal, but to not be like “maybe; let’s think about it and talk in about a week.”
I had the boss come up and he said, “Guys that’s awesome! Let’s give Ron another round of applause.” Everybody said, “Yeah, that was great. We got so much out of it. Woo-hoo.” Then the boss said, “Well, guys, the coaching seems like it could be a really neat thing. Why don’t we all talk about it in the coming days and if you’re serious about it, we’ll get back to Ron and see what happens.” That is just the worst nightmare in our job and it was totally my fault. I cut corners, and I kind of winged it.
I didn’t do the necessary steps before the workshop to really walk the boss through emotionally, to prepare him about how to help get his people off the fence to help him make a decision. So now what happens is that two months later, no one’s made any changes. No one’s done anything. No one’s growing. So, that’s an example of one where I just totally missed the sale with the boss because of not sticking to the script, and not following the plan we already have.
Jamie: What is the ratio of preparation versus actually presenting in an ideal sales process?
Ron: My gut feeling says kind of two-thirds and one-third. If I’m just getting in-depth pre-approach, really knowing my background, knowing my stories I have different stories, and different seeds that I can plant. If I’ve prepared and I’ve done my homework. I know other examples that are relevant to this person that I can use. I think always at least 50-50, just about, oftentimes two-thirds, one-third as far as preparation time to presentation time.
Jamie: Could you tell me about a time when you made a sale, and it really showed off all the skills you’ve developed throughout your career?
Ron: Wednesday, I was in Portland, Oregon. This was two days ago. I went down and did a workshop with a team where so far nine people have enrolled in coaching from that sale, and each person is a $7,200 decision.
This is not a product. This isn’t like selling two trucks. This is not something I could touch. It’s an agreement that they’re going to hire a coach.
I our world, that’s a solid day and that was because I was prepared. I was locked in, I was mentally strong. Greg, the guy who had me in, he and I were on the same page. I had really taken time to get to know him, and what’s already going great for this guy, and what are some gaps for him.
What are some areas where they want to grow? And it’s all about Greg, his people, and his team. He felt that, so we got to the point where it’s about to be game time. Greg and I had coffee right before. He and I are now on the same page. That means the world, and then, there’s around 25 attendees in the meeting.
Half of them aren’t prospects because they either already have a coach or they’re just completely closed minded or they are not in a sales role. I remember getting into the end and a couple of people started asking questions, and I was thinking, “I could lose the crowd here because I’m about to close a room of 25 people.”
The fact that Greg was on my side though, there were two of us there on my team. I said, “So guys, before I wrap up, I’ve got a couple last things I want to go through with you. Greg, what are your thoughts? You and I have talked about this so much over the last couple of months, and it’s just been so neat getting to know your heart and how much you care about your team. What are your thoughts about all of this?”