Timology 1 – The Secret to Being a Great Sales Guy

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Tim is excited to launch a brand new series for the summer.  His “Timology” series will reveal the secrets of great salesman.  Tim came by this knowledge the hard way – years of failing. For over 20 years Tim scratched and crawled his way to building a successful business.  Along the way he developed a winning strategy for selling his products and services.

Tim says that three are three facets to being great in sales.  Those are relationship building, marketing and accounting. In today’s episode Tim talks about the importance of building a relationship with a client.  Tim likens building those relationships to being a successful political candidate. You have to shake one hundred hands to get one vote. The math is similar in sales.  You have to introduce yourself to one hundred people to get one sale.

Building a relationship with a client depends on personal contact.  Tim insists on taking a potential client out for a drink or a meal before taking them on.  If they don’t have time for that Tim isn’t interested in working with them. You need to become friends with your clients otherwise you won’t be able to depend on them for future business.

There is a lot of negativity around sales.  There is a common idea that sales people are scumbags who will say anything to get your money.  And to be sure there are plenty of guys like that out there. Tim takes an opposite approach. If you are the only one walking away happy you’re doing it wrong.  You don’t just bid jobs in order to bid jobs. You have a moral obligation to give the client a fair price.

Episode 21 – Blooper Special

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Tim celebrates Season 1 with a retrospective episode featuring some of the funniest, dumbest and most offensive clips from the last 20 episodes.

The episode features perhaps the most important conversation ever featured in the podcast.  Back in Episode 7 discussed where the best bathroom can be found in downtown Toronto.  Tim is immediately interested in this line of conversation having visited every public washroom in the GTA over the last 30 years. Tim excitedly describes Crown Property Management’s bathrooms near the airport which have alcohol wipes that can be used to wipe down the seat prior to use. The pair then debate which building has the best washrooms in the downtown core. For the longest time Tim used Atrium on the Bay because for years the loading dock manager would let him use the second floor washrooms. (This was before the age of the security guard, of course).

Next we return to one of the more disturbing tales ever spun on the podcast.  In Episode 8 Tim welcomed his old mentor Bill Stallon onto the podcast.  Together they recounted one of their more memorable adventures together at Beaver Valley. The group retired to a hot tub after a large steak dinner. Because no one had swim trunks that meant everyone was naked. Not having anything to drink one of the hosts offered a full bottle of XO Cognac.  After drinking the entire bottle Bill was now soundly asleep, happily bobbing in the tub.  What followed next was a heroic attempt to move the much larger Bill out of the Tim.  After dragging Bill like a corpse across a frozen threshold they left him in the laundry room. (Covered up for modesty’s sake.)

Along with these classic tales the blooper episode also features Anthony Vinzi noting that Tim looks like a vagrant and the story of Tim’s insane attempt to break the sound barrier in a brand new Porsche.  It’s been a great first season!  Hope to see you when season two gets underway in the fall!


Episode 20 – Hello Jeff Amos

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Tim heads back into the office and welcomes longtime colleague Jeff Amos onto the podcast this week.  Jeff has worked with Stadia for 13 years or as Tim likes to say “since Jesus was a cowboy.”  Jeff came on-board as a part time worker when he was in his early 20’s.  Tim and Jeff went to the same high school and they start this week’s episode sharing war stories.  Unsurprisingly, Tim was something of a difficult student. He politely told the principal to fuck off one day in Grade 12 and walked out the door, never to return.  Ten years later that same principal invited Tim to speak to students about succeeding in business. That teacher told him that he didn’t remember many of the thousands of students he taught over the years.  But he always remembered Tim Byrne.

Jeff has worked long enough installing glass that he’s injured himself on a number of occasions.  The most egregious example occurred when he was working at the Bay Tower installing a piece of half inch glass in an office partition.  The glass slipped broke and slammed into his arm. The doctors had to cut him open on multiple occasions to remove all the broken glass.  That wasn’t the only injury. Once in the Stadia shop a piece of glass slid right through his hands slicing open both his palms. He was working with a Stadia hero named Ronnie who Jeff was desperate to impress.  “Do you want to go to the hospital?” Ronnie asked. “Nope!” Jeff replied before taping up his hands with duct tape and finishing the work day. A lot has changed on the workplace safety front just in the last ten years.  The days of never wearing gloves or safety glasses are long gone.

“Have you ever been scared on the job?” Tim asks.

Jeff quietly nods his head before launching into a harrowing story about installing glass on the CN Tower.  They are 45 stories up and a gust of wind catches them on the swing stage.  The stage was blown 15 feet straight up in the air before crashing back down.  Everyone was tied in and secure and no tools were lost. But pants were definitely shit on that day.

Jeff is often asked why he has worked at the same company for so long.  It’s difficult to explain he says.

“Everyone is fucked up,” he says. “But everyone cares about each other and that’s impossible to find anywhere else.”

The culture is so strong at Stadia that employees who stop working with the company almost always eventually ask for their job back.  If you are not as happy to come into work on Monday as you are when you leave on Friday you’re working at the wrong place.

Episode 19 – Tenders with Dave Angelis from Ivy North

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Tim is happy to have a guest from the construction management world on the show this week.  There’s lots to be learned which Tim emphasized in his intro in which he entreats the listener to “pay attention” and learn how to price jobs so as not to “look like a fucking retard.”  Tim University is now in session.

Dave Angelis is Tim’s guest this week.  Dave is a partner with Ivy North Corporation, a project management firm based in Etobicoke.  The company has focussed on staying small and working on medium-sized projects that they can service the hell out of.  Their sweet spot is on projects in the $10-30 million range.

Tim is curious how construction managers are finding subs to bid on jobs.  Developers often have preferred contractors that they go to on a regular basis.  Dave feels strongly in bringing in as many bids as possible to find the best contractors out there.  They have a list of guys they like as well and they definitely have a shit list of contractors they don’t.  Dave likes to get a minimum of five bids per trade. The high bid is probably too busy. The low bid is way too desperate.  It’s the guys in the middle that he likes to pick from.

“Have you guys ever fucked up and taken the lowest bidder to get yourself out of a financial jam” Tim asks diplomatically.

Dave admits that sometimes there will be a problem with developer.  They may have made an error in their design or maybe the city is holding them up on permits.  Whatever the issue is their bank account is draining and they have to make some hard decisions.  The problem is when you pick the low bidder they tend to come in and try and nickel and dime a developer.  They might bid lower than the cost of the job and then try to add 25% to the job before they’re done.

Tim talks about many bad experiences he has had with general contractors.  He was once on a job where every single trade got hit with the same $14 thousand charge for the same problem.  GC’s try and make their money by bidding low on jobs and then burning their subs as hard as they can.

“Why would I go to a GC when I know there all these bullshit shenanigans going on instead of hiring a construction manager?” Tim asks.

You won’t find a lot of people building condos with GC’s these days, Dave answers.  They are usually on large commercial spaces. There are a lot of companies that need a one-off building like a warehouse.  It’s those kinds of builds that you can find yourself getting burned on.