October 21

Episode 57: How to Sell Without Compromising Your Integrity with Harry Spaight


This week Mike speaks with Harry Spaight, author of Selling With Dignity, to identify the things that cause business owners and CEOs to steer away from sales in their businesses.  Harry shares with us how he has successfully approached sales from a service standpoint and gives you tips to implement so that you can do it as well.  If you want to be more active in sales within your company, without compromising your character and values, this episode is for you.

Harry Spaight’s Biography

Harry is a keynote speaker, coach, and author of Selling With Dignity.  After spending several years in missions work, Harry has spent over the last 2 decades becoming a multi-million dollar sales producer and leader.

In This Episode, You’ll Learn…

  • Why it’s so important for you, as a business owner, to stop being hesitant to sell.
  • You don’t have to be a “pushy” salesperson to make a positive impact on your business.
  • What to do to break through the typical salesperson stereotype.
  • How to keep the sales process moving without being too pushy.
  • How changing your mindset will allow you to move past the “No’s” in sales.
  • How to follow up with past “No’s” so you don’t miss out on an opportunity.
  • What all entrepreneurs should be doing that will benefit their business.


  • “If we act like we’re serving others, then the word ‘no’ isn’t as depressing.” – Harry Spaight
  • “Success in sales, success in growing your business can really change your life and your family’s life for generations.” – Harry Spaight 
  • “This is the problem with some entrepreneurs and salespeople too.  They’ll ask once, and someone will say “No, I’m not interested,” or “No, I’m all set.” That’s not going to get it done.  You have to ask again.” – Harry Spaight

Links & Resources Mentioned…

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Read The Transcript

Episode #57

Mike O'Neill: Welcome back to the Get Unstuck & On Target Podcast, I'm Mike O'Neill with Bench Builders, and we specialize in helping entrepreneurs build the teams and the processes that they need to grow their business. Joining me today is Harry Spaight. Harry is a keynote speaker, coach and author of Selling with Dignity, your formula for life-changing sales results. You know, Harry, after spending several years in mission work has spent over the last two decades becoming a multimillion dollar sales producer and leader. Welcome Harry. 

Harry Spaight: It's great to be here. Mike, I'm really honored to be on your program. This is exciting. 

Mike O'Neill: Well, I'm looking forward to it. For those, who are listening, Harry and I, are in a, for lack of a better term, a mastermind group. It's a small group, and that I would not have known Harry if it wasn't for this mastermind group that's been coming together for now nine months. Does that sound right?

Harry Spaight: It doesn't sound right, but, yes, this has been a great group and, I'm thrilled to be part of it. And, there's some really smart people in that group and I'm glad they let me in ladies and gentlemen.

Mike O'Neill: Well, I thought that same definition. Harry, I'm looking forward to talking to you about your soon to be published book. But I'd love to tap into your expertise, not only as a successful salesperson, but someone who has lead sales teams. And I guess I would set the stage by reminding ourselves of who our listeners are. These are business leaders, many of them are business owners. And what I've been hearing from them is that as a business owner, sometimes there's hesitancy on their part to sell. Have you seen the same? 

Harry Spaight: Yeah. That's like a huge problem. So you have owners, CEOs that are absolutely amazing and really drive the revenue for the company. And then you have others that are great with the knowledge, their product, their brand, but they leave the selling to salespeople. And they're, you know, they're, they're missing an opportunity because no one has as much passion for the company as the person that you know, created it, right? So there's a huge opportunity for that. And, you know, I see in entrepreneurs which are driving the economy, so I have a huge passion for entrepreneurs because I love a strong economy. And my goal is to help them, right. So where they can actually be themselves, but still sell without necessarily compromising their character and their values, which some feel they have to do in order to be a quote unquote sales person. 

Mike O'Neill: I know that you from a sales coach standpoint have done that quite a bit. But if you just step back Harry, and just kind of reflect on those entrepreneurs who are hesitant to sell, what might be a few nuggets that you would want us to hear in this podcast. Things that you would suggest to them that maybe we could profit from.

Harry Spaight: Yeah. Okay. So great question. And thank you. So example number one that comes to mind is they don't want to act like a pushy salesperson. So I put out a post recently that some people feel like they need to go into sales mode, right? Where it's a personality than their regular normal nice personality. And I just don't think that's the case. I don't think you need to do that. And an example would be is that most people who buy things from a sales person, don't like pushy salespeople in general. Yeah. Right. I mean, is that true with you? 

Mike O'Neill: It's true with me, for sure. 

Harry Spaight: So we want our salespeople that are working with us a great compliment for the types of salespeople that I'm talking about is I really like working with you because you don't act like a salesperson. So why are they saying that? Well, typically they're saying that because the sales person's only about themselves, they're talking over the other person, they're pushing out what their interests are. You know, they'll ask a question and as soon as the person starts to respond, they're trying to overcome it with directing them down the path to buy their stuff. And it's all a lot of manipulation and it's just that stuff makes me vomit. So, and I've never, I mean, I, when I got into sales, my first feelings about it, when I went into the corporate world, I said this is not what I thought it was. So I've read, The Greatest Salesman in The World. And in that book, it talks about sales as being like an act of love. Right? Really showing you care about people and helping people. And then you go into the corporate world and it's, what are you going to close this week? What are you going to close today? What are you close this month? Our shareholders, you know want us to grow and it's very little about the client. So flipping that on its head, so to speak, let's make it about the client. Let's treat them with dignity and those who, those of us who are trying to do this the right way have self-respect. And we don't have to compromise our values and we can just speak to people like we're normal friends, and you know, good things will happen if that helps. 

Mike O'Neill: I think it helps quite a bit. You know, what kind of goes with sales, if you're a business owner or if you're, that's what your job is full time. Is you hear the word no. And if you're working hard enough, you hear that perhaps more so. But the word no can be gosh so discouraging. How do you, what do you recommend for, for us when we get so discouraged to be able to get past that?

Harry Spaight: Yeah. So there's, I love that question. There is, a person, Shad Helmstetter. And he wrote a book and he's, I think he's kind of a scientist on a self-talk. And one of the things he said, when we had him on our podcast was he studied the salespeople, because salespeople hear the word know more than anybody. And negative self-talk is all about the word no. No, I can't do this. No, I can't be thin. No, I'm not capable. And well, salespeople hear it, you know, 90 times a day or whatever the number is. And how do you deal with it? And an example I use, is that if you go out to a fine restaurant and you have a great server and the server says it comes up to you and says, would you like some water know, would you like to take a look at the cocktail menu or the wine list? You know, all these things. Then they come back and this ask about the specials and they go through their lists and then they come back and say, how's everything going? Would you like some dessert? And you might say, no. Right. I've had enough to eat. Well, the sales person doesn't go into a huge depression, right? I mean the server. I said sales person, but they're really interchangeable. Like the server is a sales person in that environment. They're hired to serve, but also to upsell. So that the restaurant is being more profitable and you know, it's better for the business, more revenue. That's all good. But the server is selling. And they have to get past the no, because periodically people are going to say no. So what is their mindset? Their mindset is I'm just going to make an offer. And I'm going to make my offer to every guest and I'll make several offers. They've been offered the specials. I'm going to offer appetizers. I'm going to offer the cocktail list. I'm going to offer the wine list. So they might make six or seven different offers for each guest. How many times did they hear no. Right. And then, how depressed are they after they hear the word no? So in general, they take the yeses and the servant mindset and they're good with that. So my suggestion is is that if we act like we're serving others, then the word no, isn't as depressing because we're just throwing out, Hey, we can help if you're interested, if you're not that's okay. Right. And it takes a lot of the pressure off. 

Mike O'Neill: You know, Harry you made a comparison of a server in a nice restaurant an a salesperson. And you said that those two terms could be used interchangeably. I could probably make the same argument. If you own a business, you are constantly in a position to have to be selling in your product or service. You know, you made this comment about, sometimes what gets in our head is we don't want to come across as pushy. But It seems that some of the things that we are selling nowadays are a little more complex. There's a longer sales cycle. But you gotta to move that sales process along. As, as you're thinking about that, and people need to move things along. What guidance would you have for us? How can you nudge prospects along. Without necessarily come across as being too pushy. 

Harry Spaight: Yeah. Another outstanding question. So, Mike, when you think about this, most people who're having conversations are, they leave them open-ended right. They don't close to the next conversation. So for instance, you and I could be having a great conversation and I could gauge that you're really interested in what my product is. So at the end of our conversation, and maybe we meet for coffee, we can say, this is great. We ought to do this again sometime. Well, now it's out there and I know I want to continue it. I know you're really interested, but I don't have a follow-up meeting set. So now I'm chasing you down and it becomes frustrating because I know you're interested, but I don't really have any next step lined up. So instead the next, the best thing, and I get this really from oh my goodness, my mind just drew a blank. A person I really respect the perfect clothes james Muir, M U I R. A. He's one I have massive respect for. His suggestion is to use a line that moves the sales cycle forward when you're having a conversation. And that line is very simple and I'm going to try not to butcher it here, but it's, you and I have had this great conversation, Mike, I think a next logical step would be for us to meet again, say in three or four days and continue. Does that make sense for you. And you're nodding your head? So I could then say I could let's let's put that in the calendar, even if it's for a 15 minute, let's catch up, see where we are. Or you might say no, I'm not ready for that. I'm really busy. James follow-up is that's fine. What would you say is a logical next step?

Mike O'Neill: Hmm. 

Harry Spaight: So now you have something. And then, you know, when someone says, why don't you give me a call in a month? Or why don't we, you give me three months, try to put it in the calendar. I know it's not always easy. I mean, in the ideal world, but we're all carrying our smartphones. And say, how about this spending a great conversation? You just mentioned. You'd like to continue it as what I. 90 days from today is whatever, the 1st of January won't be the first January, but whatever, the 5th of January. Let's put that in the calendar, right? So now we've got a next step it's planned and they're going to get notified. So when you go back home and whatever you want to put into 24 hour notification, you can do that. So they're getting a little reminder and it's much easier now to have that next conversation without being pushy. And sometimes people will say things like, you know, a sales person will say, well, there's really a ton of interest and they'll try to overcome the objection. Objection is not an objection. It is a concern. Right? I've got a lot of things on my mind. Right. You have things on your mind, Mike, when it's, sometimes you put things off that, you know, you need to do, right? Because you have other priorities. That you say, I know I need to do that. I know I need to, whatever, paint the side or pay, paint my house or pressure wash the deck, whatever. And we push things off because we have other priorities. Well, just because you have other priorities, does it mean I need to overcome that objection and lay a guilt trip on you. Right. And that's what sales mode goes into, right? Where salespeople lay some kind of guilt trip and say things like, well, you really need to do this. How much better would your life be if you do this? And it's like, yeah. Okay. Just get in the line. I mean, because there's a lot of things my life would be better if I did. But it's very natural to have next logical step, put it in the calendar. And if it's three months, six months, don't lay an egg over that because now someone's giving you a next step and be grateful for that. What's your thought on that? 

Mike O'Neill: I think that answers the question beautifully. And that is you are reminding us that you're there to serve them. And this gives them a sense that they have some degree of control. You're just trying to advance the sale. And you spoke nicely about how do you do that without coming across, overly pushy. You know, I introduced you as someone who had, lots of sales experience and experience leading sales teams, but you've done something that a number of friends of mines have talked about, but you've actually done it. You have finished a book. So let's start with, you've entitled this book Selling with Dignity and the tag line is your formula for life changing sales results. Let's start with selling with dignity. What prompted you to write Selling with Dignity? 

Harry Spaight: Well, I love sales. I love helping people. And I passionate about the growth of people, their business, the lifestyle it can provide and how that's better for all of us. It's better for our communities. It's better for our country. It's just that type of ultimate result is what really drives me. And when I look at way sales is now it's, it's because there's a ton of automation. You know, people don't care, they just get through personalities. They get through all the noes, get through the noes to find the yeses. They don't care. They, you know, they say things that are disrespectful to buyers, buyers are liars. You know, they have all this stuff where it's us against them and you don't have to be that way. So I, you know, I came out of the mission work, looking at sales and what it was and said, I'm gonna just do this, like the server, right? My life has been all about server serving prior. I'm going to see if this works in sales, because I think it will. I think people will want to buy from me and it's worked. I mean, for years it's worked and I've been, I'm talking decades, it's worked. And that, as you mentioned, entrepreneurs are the same way they're providing a service. So you can do that a number of different ways. You can be really kind and respectful and helpful and you'll draw your clients to you. Or you can be obnoxious, pushy all about me person that pushes a lot of people away. And you'll still get your business because some people will be drawn to you. I'm just saying for those that don't like that style, there's still a ton of hope and potential for you. That is life-changing right. Success in sales and success and growing your business can really change your life and your family's life for generations.

Mike O'Neill: So if you were to describe who would benefit most from your book, who would you say this book has best written?

Harry Spaight: Yeah this question is interesting because I struggled with it. When I started writing the first person that I was writing this book for, it was me. Right. And it was, it was weird, but I, you know, I didn't have a lot of thought. I just knew I needed to write the book because this was my way of paying back the creator, because I've feel like I've lived an amazing life with what I've done with my family over the years. And it's, it's amazing for me. It's not like we've climbed Mount Everest, but it's just been an amazing life. Where it's been things I've always pursued and it was excited about and, and sales we were in Washington DC there was a funk in 2008 and 2009 or seven and eight, I forgot the years. But I said, every morning, we're driving the economic engine, we're driving the economic engine. And I just kept reiterating that to our sales team. And we were not going to accept excuses. Right. We had families to provide for we're going to drive the economy. We're going to help people or not. You know, cry and weep in our cereal because the economy's bad. So I wrote the book because of all this excitement over the years. And then I started thinking about who is going to benefit. I used to be self-employed. I had a small business and I said, I wish I knew what I knew from selling when I had a small business. So I really migrated towards that. Is that for entrepreneur, introvert's many of them people are very bright in creating their products, creative mindsets, that are just not outgoing personalities to go sell. This is for you. Cause I'm going to make selling easy by being a good person and being helpful we'll get you sales. And then secondary is a salespeople who want to do it without being corrupt. And, there's a huge market for them to I think. 

Mike O'Neill: You know, Harry you've mentioned, two things, in your response a moment ago. And that is we tend to think of stereotypes, the pushy, outgoing salesperson. And you've basically have turned that on its head. You're basically saying to us, you don't have to be an extrovert to be successful and you don't have to be pushy to be successful. But you need to do certain things if you want to sell with dignity. Could you kind of give us a little bit of a sneak peek if we were to kind of look into some of the chapters of your book, what might be some of the themes that people would read if they ordered your book?

Harry Spaight: Yeah. Thank you, Mike. The one that comes to mind is, I'm going to go back to, the sermon on the Mount. That again, all of the principles I talk about in the book are related to what I learned in the mission life. And on the server and the Mount there's a line in there about, ask and you shall receive, but there's also keep on asking. And this is the problem I think with many entrepreneurs and salespeople too, is they'll ask once and someone will say, no, I'm not interested nor no, I'm all set. And that's not going to get it done. You have to ask again. Now it doesn't mean you ask the next day, but they're within a reasonable amount of time. If someone says, look, I'm not interested. So maybe, you know, three or four months go by or two or three months and you see the person again, or they're on your call lists. You can say, I know you weren't interested last time we spoke, I just wanted to catch up for a few minutes and see what's new in your business. Not go back to what my offer was. Right. But let's take the pressure off. You're acknowledging that they weren't interested and they're gonna, they're gonna breathe and say, well, good you're not calling me because I told you I wasn't interested, but you're going to reengage find out what's going on in their business, build up the trust and then see if there's an opportunity for that next logical step. Say, normally we have a conversation like this Mike, a good, next step would be as for us to have another one. Say what's your calendar look like? Let's say you want to try this again in the next couple of weeks, maybe two weeks from today. And you could say, well, Harry, you know, I've actually enjoyed this conversation. Right, now we get another 20 minutes on the calendar and see where it goes versus the person that hears the no once and is done misses out on the opportunity where something might have changed over 90 days. Whatever you're offering the world changes dramatically. Technology changes, businesses change. So now there may be an opportunity down the road that you did not see 90 days prior. So just keep on asking, right. Reasonably right kindly, but, and not pushy. And you'll be amazed at the results. 

Mike O'Neill: Harry I was flattered. When here a couple of months ago, you asked some folks for some input on a, the near finished version of your book. And I had a chance to, to read basically the book, not in its final form, but if you're listening, you're watching Harry, what you're going to find is the book very much mirrors Harry. And what is it we're kind of talking about? So, I appreciate you sharing those insights. I'd like to ask you, if you could share maybe another one. And that is in keeping with the theme of this podcast, would you kind of reflect on example where either you or a client got stuck. And when that happened, what did it take to get unstuck?

Harry Spaight: Yeah, so I think all of us potentially get stuck periodically and we may not know we're stuck. I think, sometimes you need, you need to have a conversation with a coach or like close friend or spouse and just ask for a little evaluation sometimes. What do you think? What do you think I'm doing these days? What's your thought by doing things right. And I've got to say in 2020, I was just in a funk and it may be pandemic related. But it may not have been pandemic related because I was doing the same things over and over and over again. And I wasn't feeling it. Have you ever been in that situation where you don't feel like you're productive, you don't feel great about what you're doing? Well, that was me and it took, I was doing that for months. And so what I ended up doing, I mean, I was just in this, again, maybe it was a pandemic funk. I don't know, but I was, I started reading again and I was doing podcasting and meeting a ton of great people. And of course, all of those great things that come out of that. Incited me to read more and to self reflect more. And that's when I had this eye opening aha moment that I needed to do something different. And that brought me down the path of writing a book. But I could have ignored it. Right. I could have, I mean, I'm at an age where a lot of people are thinking, well, it's just a few more years and I can retire. And I'm not that person. I want to be excited all the time. And if I lose the excitement, I need to go into an evaluation mode and hopefully recognize that I'm in some kind of funk that I need to come out of . Right. Oh, you gotta, you gotta kind of lift yourself out of your body, so to speak and take a look at the person and say, that's not who that person needs to be. And that's what I ended up doing. Make sense there? 

Mike O'Neill: It makes perfect sense. And I think if you were to step back and ask, why was this podcast named what is was get unstuck. What I'm finding is we all at times get stuck and how can we learn from each other. Let me go back to your book for a moment. How long did you think about writing a book before you started the process? 

Harry Spaight: The book idea came to me probably 15 years ago. And I said, you know, there's enough books out there. I don't need to write a book. It'd be stupid to write a book. I'm not an author. No one would read it. And it was just negative self-talk right. Dr. Shad would not be happy with me. So 15 years ago, probably about 14 years go by. And I have friends that are writing books. And they're not, I mean, they're great people don't get me wrong, but I don't look at them as authors. They're just friends. And then I started thinking like, what if they can do it, and it's inspiring. I should, I should give this a try. And so I did, so it was a 15 year project that took me, probably nine months. Once I started, it took me nine months to, go from beginning to end. 

Mike O'Neill: You know, when I asked that question in the back of my mind, I was kind of wondering if 15 years ago you began kind of contemplating how I might want to write a book someday. To some extent you've been writing the book for 15 years. But it wasn't until you made that conscious decision, I want to start and then pour your all into it. Nine plus months, we're recording this in late September. And I think your book is scheduled to be released when?

Harry Spaight: Should be out I'm going to say by mid-October.

Mike O'Neill: Perfect. 

Harry Spaight: 20, 21. 

Mike O'Neill: About the time, it comes out, this podcast will probably be published. As you reflect on what we've discussed today. We've covered a lot of different things. What would you want to be some closing thoughts? 

Harry Spaight: Well, I would like all entrepreneurs to self-reflect if you're not selling, if you're not out and about in the community, I'm not necessarily saying you've got to pick up the phone and start making 50 calls a day. But you should be out networking, getting involved in chambers, non-profits and asking people to have a business conversation. Simply saying I'd like to learn more about you. And, you know, can we schedule something on, either a coffee or virtual coffee and start meeting people and ask how you can serve. When you do that, you're going to build up all kinds of relationships. People are going to think of you more than looking at Google next time they need someone that provides your service. They'll make recommendations, referrals, and you can really help your business just by taking an active role. And selling yourself, you don't have to be pushy, right? You just go out and say, how can I serve? And the more conversations you have, the better it will be for your business, your family, for your employees, because you'll be bringing in additional revenue and everyone benefits from that.

Mike O'Neill: This may already be out there, but as I'm listening to you, I can, even since you had another tagline serve, don't sell. 

Harry Spaight: Right. 

Mike O'Neill: The way you've modeled this, this has been, most interesting. You know, Harry, if people have heard you today and say, gosh, I love to get to know Harry better. What's the best way for them to connect with you online.

Harry Spaight: You can go to harryspaight.com. The last name is spelled S P A I G H T. And maybe we can put that in the show notes. And you can also find me on LinkedIn and Selling with Dignity. If you search for that, I'm sure you'll find me. 

Mike O'Neill: We most definitely will include, Harry's website link. We'll include his LinkedIn profile link, and we'll also anything we can do to connect people so that, that book, if they want it, how they can kind of reach that. Harry, thank you. 

Harry Spaight: It's been fun. 

Mike O'Neill: It really has been. I also want to thank our listeners for joining us today. You know, every Thursday we upload the latest episode to all the major platforms. So if you haven't already please subscribe, but if you're an entrepreneur with big dreams but you're tired of letting your business keep you up at night, it's time to take action. Head to bench-builders.com to schedule a quick call, to see if our growth coaching program can help. So I want to thank you for joining us, and I hope you've picked up on some tips from Harry that will help you Get Unstuck & On Target. Until next time.

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