Persistence Drives Growth with James Heller at Wrapify

Persistence is needed more than ever as everything is changing fast. Those people that have persistence will drive the company goals forward. Part of the formula is hiring people that already have a natural dose of persistence inside them. You also have to lead them to increase their confidence too. My guest today is James Heller, Founder of Wrapify. His company was ranked #309 in the 2019 Inc 5000 list. Discover how James sees persistence in his fast-growth company. We talk about the ins and outs of persistence.

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James Heller: The Transcript

Target Audience: James Heller is the CEO & Co-founder at Wrapify. Wrapify Is A Startup Paying Drivers To Wrap Their Car In Ads. … Gas, insurance, and other miscellaneous car-related costs add up and mean that in some cities it’s already cheaper to replace your car with ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

James Heller
Most people stop at No. And that’s one of the reasons for why a lot of people aren’t successful. So that’s something that not just I am a huge believer in but I make sure that everybody in my company, my sales folks, my drivers support operations created all of them. I make sure that persistence is something that persists through our culture.

[00:00:24].330] – Intro
Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs. The fastest growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth. Are you ready to grow?

[00:00:41].190] – Gene Hammett
Do you want your employees to have more persistence throughout the culture. This is not just a sales thing. Yep persistence is something you need throughout the organization. In sales we’re taught that no is never know. It’s always not right now and you keep pushing on those relationships adding value where you can. You’re not looking to be annoying. You’re looking to truly create the relationship and you can’t do that if you stop. Persistence is something necessary for your growth as a leader but also your your culture. You want people to push beyond their there the barriers of uncomfortableness so that they grow and they learn how to find how to be persistent when it matters most.

[00:01:24].030] – Gene Hammett
Well today we’re gonna be talking with the founder and CEO of Wrapify. His name is James Heller. Their company has grown at number 309 on the INC list fourteen thousand sixty eight percent over a three year period. Almost three million in revenue but the really closing faster on faster growth. And the reason why they’ve done it is through persistence. Today we talk with James about why that matters and really what to do when people aren’t being persistent and how he handles that inside the culture of his company growing fast. So tune in to the full interview with James.

[00:02:01].350] – Gene Hammett
Thanks for tuning in here to growth think tank. Really excited about sharing this with you. And before you run I have done so many interviews in the last few weeks. I have such a exciting time to share with you that those interviews have been organized into the 12 core principles of fast growth companies. So all you have to do to get that is going to Jean Hammett dot com slash worksheet so you can get the 12 Principles and I’ve been able to go in there and find which episodes will align to each individual episode. Will you subscribe to growth think tank you will find exactly what you need so that you can move forward and many of them haven’t been published yet depending on when you’re hearing this but you can you can tune in to the date that means the most to you. Now here is the interview with James.

[00:02:45].960] – Gene Hammett
Hi James how are you.

[00:02:47].500] – James Heller
Excellent. How herself.

[00:02:49].150] – Gene Hammett
I’m fantastic. Excited to have you here at grow think tank. I want to dive in with you right away. I’ve already told the audience a little bit about you personally as a leader and some the work you’re doing. But tell us about rapidfire what space for you in and what are you doing.

[00:03:03].100] – James Heller
So Wrapify is an ad platform that is part of the gay economy and what we effectively do is provide everyday consumer drivers. Ride sharing drivers and folks that want to monetize their time on the road with the ability to make money by advertising on their vehicle and on the brand side. We provide brands with the ability to measure what that exposure actually does for their brand in terms of conversion on their web. Conversion in app as well as retail foot traffic and we also connect that out of home exposure to digital retargeting across multiple channels including connected TV audio streaming native mobile and display.

[00:03:45].490] – Gene Hammett
Well I love the fact that it’s not just a physical thing where you’re doing all this tracking to get results. That must be reason why you have so many employees.

[00:03:55].270] – James Heller
Yeah. It’s also the reason for why all the brands behind me in the brands that leverage us continue to love justice because they can actually measure what the dollars spent on rap I actually do for the brand.

[00:04:06].830] – Gene Hammett
How many in place to have James?

[00:04:09].520] – James Heller
We just actually hired a couple so I think we’re 28 or 27 or 28 today.

[00:04:15].850] – Gene Hammett
It’s always the same fast growing companies are not quite sure because they’re always in the midst of hiring someone.

[00:04:22].140] – James Heller
Yeah we’re growing.

[00:04:23].050] – Gene Hammett
You know we talked last week about about your business about the fast growth behind that and some of the core parts of leadership and culture and you mentioned persistence. Why is persistence such an important thing in your culture.

[00:04:37].180] – James Heller
Well one of the things I learned about persistence early on is just because somebody says no it doesn’t necessarily mean the answer is no forever. It’s you know might not it might not be yes today but it could be it could be yes you know shortly thereafter. The other thing I’ve also learned is most people stop at No.And that’s one of the reasons for why a lot of people aren’t successful. So you know that’s something that not just I am a huge believer in but I make sure that everybody in my company my sales folks my drivers support operations creative all of them make sure that persistence is something that persists through our culture.

[00:05:24].680] – Gene Hammett
Now persistence and some of the examples you gave are known inside of sales right. One of the things I’ve worked with companies on is that most of the business comes after seven knows.

[00:05:35].170] – James Heller
Yeah. You know it’s funny. Some of our biggest clients initially told us they would never ever in fact have 1 brand client that told us they would never ever use Wrapify ever. Like those are their actual words. And we we build north of a million dollars with them in 20 19.

[00:05:55].560] – Gene Hammett
I love it. What are you doing with the other person organization to ensure that they’re persistent because it’s not just sales that needs to be persistent. Right?

[00:06:06].980] – James Heller
yeah. And I mean another thing one of my mentors Bill Albom. He he. He’s one of the proponents of a two word one slide deck at an all hands meeting he held when he took the reins at a large media company. And those two words were everyone’s cells. And I think that that’s important to keep in mind when you’re a founder because you know if if just your sales organization knows how to sell and understands the value of your product you end up having a disconnect internally. And so making sure persistence is something that isn’t just a sales organizational thing.

[00:06:52].120] – James Heller
It’s something that is is spread throughout the organization super important because it keeps everybody working towards a common goal it keeps everybody thematically talking the same way about you know your product or what it is you’re doing your company. So you know it’s something I’m a huge believer in.

[00:07:11].470] – Gene Hammett
I want to get some of the details behind this because you know our audience is fast growth leaders that want to get strategy. So what steps did you take to ensure that you have a persistence to extra culture.

[00:07:25].290] – James Heller
Well I think part of it is when we’re onboarding a new employee or when they’re getting used to like you know what we what we’re actually building here what whatever their respective job is it Wrapify. When we notice at least initially when we notice somebody I hate saying giving up but like that’s kind of what it feels like when I notice somebody like kind of stopping before the finish line and recognizing that we try to nip it in the bud make sure they’re aware that there is still a distance to go and being aware of that is you know as a manager or as a leader is something that I think is super important because yeah I mean like for instance a great great example might be working with my engineering team trying to integrate some part of our product with a vendor and you know sometimes you know we’ll kick something over the fence have them set a meeting and it just will doesn’t happen because something you know they can get schedules to line then it’ll just kind of fall by the wayside.

[00:08:30].440] – James Heller
And that’s a missed opportunity because we know we could have done something really amazing with that vendor partner whatever that technology solution. So you know that’s a great example of like it’s not sales but they could have you know they could have continue to persist to make sure that meeting happened and that you know the value from that meeting whether we use that vendor or not. Well understanding that actually happening. Is super important. So it’s not just you know trying to get a brand client or trying to get a customer to buy necessarily it’s sometimes it’s just like making sure that you’re following up with people so that you can you can do something collaborative.

[00:09:12].800] – Commercial
Hold on for a second. James has talked about onboarding. Do you have a really clear process for onboarding you probably do it you’re growing fast you probably have someone that really takes ownership of that. I really want you to think about something that I’ve seen really work well. It’s not just onboarding from a sense of paperwork and laptops and you know phones and all of the things that go with that. It’s about onboarding them to your culture onboarding them into the values of the company. How much time do you truly spend. You know setting expectations of how they should work together how they should perform and how they should really push beyond their barriers. That is about great onboarding. So if you add that little element into your onboarding process then you have more engaged employees. They will take more ownership. And that’s really the key. So back to the interview with James.

[00:10:09].860] – Gene Hammett
Is persistence in your company values.

[00:10:16].450] – James Heller
In terms of the way that we the way that our culture works. Yes in terms of like written in our company values it probably should be it probably should be. I think there is that’s definitely part of the read between the lines. Yeah I mean I think one of the one of the really important things that we’ve learned is a lot of the folks that enter the space that we effectively created they they typically fizzle out and a big part of that is lack of persistence like they get a couple of no’s in there they’re out or they get to a point of contention or a level of friction that they’re not comfortable pushing through and being a startup founder and starting any business for that matter requires you to be okay in extremely high friction environment where you know no is just something that you’re going to hear so much and you have to not be emotionally you can’t have an emotional reaction to it. You just have to recognize it and understand how to navigate that no.

[00:11:26].730] – Gene Hammett
You know I bet this is a part of your core mindset around persistence. That’s fair to say. Right?

[00:11:32].200] – James Heller

[00:11:33].990] – Gene Hammett
How do you coach others too can truly be persistent day in and day out because there’s probably many opportunities where people want to to stop pushing. There’s like you know I’ve already asked them four times. James how do you continue to coach. Is it a coaching kind of process or is it something different.

[00:11:53].840] – James Heller
It’s a coaching process to a to an extent and then there’s the recognition that there is recognizing that this person just isn’t going to be able to do it and that happens there and that’s fine. You know it’s actually good to recognize that sooner than later. And I think it’s also important to note that there is a line of where you know you could be you. There is a line that you could. There’s a threshold of persistence that become annoyance and you want to make sure that you ride that line regardless of you know regardless of what it is. So you know there’s persistence being aggressive and then being annoying and you know it’s finding that balance and being self-aware and understanding where where to to fall there.

[00:12:38].790] – James Heller
But going back to like your initial question coaching recognizing that somebody might not be able or might not be willing to and getting them outside their comfort zone some people would get outside their comfort zone and then they really thrive and they realize like oh wow like no ninety nine point nine nine nine nine percent of the time in business does it necessarily mean. No it just means not right now or I don’t understand why is usually what no means is I don’t understand why I should say yes or aren’t willing to take the time to understand why yes is the right answer here.

[00:13:18].210] – Commercial
Let me break in here. James just talked about getting out of your comfort zone. Now I know what this is like because I got into a comfort zone within my own business. I led a fast growth company and I was growing from zero to five million and I got complacent. I really get let success teach me that it should be easy and it should be you know comfortable when the reality is. That was when the time I should have kept growing and I actually felt the pain not only myself but my team wasn’t growing either. I wasn’t expecting them to grow so I share this with you because I actually wrote a book about it. It’s called the trap of success. I don’t know if you’ve seen it but I will tell you this book really will help you understand a little bit about going beyond on your comfort zone. And it really is about facing those fears about growing and evolving as a leader. And it really shares a kind of a dark story that business I was running I actually went bankrupt because of something that happened I trusted my best friend and I lost three million dollars on a deal. Now yes I take responsibility for that but the journey back was the key. The trap of success was really the cause of everything. Now I share this with you because I’d love for you to continue to get out of your comfort zone so that you can be the leader to get your employees out of their comfort zone. Now back to interview with James.

[00:14:44].620] – Gene Hammett
What have you learned in coaching others to be more persistent.

[00:14:51].470] – James Heller
There are two types of people there are people that learn how to ride that line and they find the that that that threshold and they understand how to be successful. And being self-aware of where that threshold lies and then there are some people that never even get to the threshold and quit and you know I’ve had folks in our sales organization where they’re like can’t do this.

[00:15:18].450] – James Heller
It’s not. I’m not comfortable doing it and we’ll try to explain to them like this is like this is what you have to do to be a successful salesperson. Period like you not whether it’s Wrapify anywhere and it’s a great I mean we can teach you how to do it here. The other. And that’s in it actually it’s OK because there are folks that think they’re salespeople that really just shouldn’t be salespeople. And then there are folks that like never realized that they never find that like that threshold they either fall if they fall short over and over and over and over again and you try to show them here. If you just continue. If you just pushed a little harder if you just you know added one or two more touch points into that into that you know that cadence you probably would have been successful and they just never they never get there.

[00:16:08].860] – James Heller
So I think the what the people that I really value and what the my favorite my favorite employees to to nurture and and develop are the ones that you could tell like they just need they need it they need somebody to help them find where that threshold lies so they could you know they could capitalize on on just that self-awareness right. And that’s really awesome to see as a founder and as a as you know as a manager it’s really cool to see somebody who you know has promise they just need to focus and understand how to like manage that component of being successful. Persistence is a component right.

[00:16:51].910] – Gene Hammett
So any rituals inside your day to day inside of meetings where persistence becomes a part of it. Like the recognition or anything like that.

[00:17:02].530] – James Heller
Well in terms of like follow up when we follow up the power of thank you. And just like you know and acknowledging and empathy within that within any conversation like acknowledging that like understanding who you’re talking to and what they might be going through on their side of the fence right in their shoes. I think when you approach any conversation whether it’s in business personal you know etc. When you have when you approach you with empathy it ends up creating this like it ends up just lowering the lowering the guard a little bit and allowing you to connect more on a human level than in purely like a business a business and that that always makes things way more seamless and also allows you to get to yes a lot a lot faster.

[00:17:57].130] – Gene Hammett
Maybe we’ll take a break from the persistence here to to just tune in to some of the mistakes you might have made along your journey for fast growth. So what comes to mind on one or two of those top mistakes.

[00:18:09].460] – James Heller
Wow there’s there’s a lot I mean a lot of mistakes. I think OK well so first off I think it’s a you need to be OK with like making mistakes like making mistakes as the founder is something that is going to be your best teacher but that you’re your biggest failure actually is making a mistake and then making it over and over and over and over again and not understanding why or learning from it. That’s true. To me that’s like the definition of failure.

[00:18:37].600] – James Heller
So yeah I think that that’s number one is like when you do make mistakes over and over again. You get to get to the root of why is like for instance for me for my state my my standpoint I made the mistakes that I make that are typically frequent have a theme and that theme usually has something to do with just the way I’m wired like there are certain parts of my personality that will allow me to find myself making a similar flavor of mistake. And I think that’s something that happens with pretty much everyone.

[00:19:13].600] – James Heller
You know there’s everybody’s got their strengths and weaknesses and sometimes those weaknesses allow you to make mistakes. And I think recognizing that and be able to go OK Oh this is what this is one of those times where making a mistake I’ve made before and then knowing how to make all the right levers appear so you can start pulling those levers until you until you solve for it.

[00:19:35].200] – Gene Hammett
It’s another reason why self-awareness is so important inside of leadership.

[00:19:40].150] – James Heller
Yeah totally.

[00:19:42].880] – Gene Hammett
James when you think about you know the defining moments of your leadership what’s one moment in time that you could share with us that really changed or rewired you so that you could be the leader that you are today.

[00:19:59].280] – James Heller
Recognizing that every time you have a success or every time you have like a really amazing like a triumph and an achievement recognizing that the there’s a pitfall that’s right around the corner and you got to be ready for it because it’s very rare that people would go up and up and up and just never deal with you know some sort of trial or tribulation. It’s pretty normal for everyone that there’s ebbs and flows means the way the world works. But recognizing that when you’re going at right after that you know celebrate the success you know live in the moment but recognize that there are things that you’re going to deal with that that might not be as fun to deal with right around the corner and just be ready. That allows you to adapt react a lot faster and just it’s again going back to that self-awareness.

[00:20:57].790] – Gene Hammett
Well I really appreciate you sharing your journey here and talking to us a little bit about what Wrapify does but really about the culture and leadership that drives your company to fast growth. So James thanks for being on growth think tank.

[00:21:10].400] – James Heller
Yeah thanks for having me.

[00:21:11].550] – Gene Hammett
Wow what a great interview. I love talking to someone about you know fast growth culture and being the kind of leader that you really want to get people to get outside their comfort zone. If you can’t really engage people to grow and be uncomfortable then you really will struggle as a company. And I really want you to think about what that means day. It may not be persistence to you it may be something else that you want maybe it’s more ownership maybe it’s more you know empathy inside the work you have to decide how to engage people as a leader.

[00:21:44].110] – Gene Hammett
And that’s really what’s most important about today’s interview. Persistence is important but it’s not everything. So thanks for tuning in here to grow think tank. Hopefully you’re sharing this with someone who you know wants to be a better leader and evolve as a leader as always lead with courage. We’ll see you next time.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.


GTT Featuring James Heller



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