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Ep. 236 – John Thalheimer: “I believed everyone in the world needed my products, and it wasn’t true. that’s the biggest challenge entrepreneurs have.”

John Thalheimer Headshot

John Thalheimer is an award-winning management consultant, speaker, and author who has helped hundreds of businesses and thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners transform their potential into extraordinary performance. The secret is in learning the ability to make the right behavioral decision in the moment to reach the desired outcomes. It’s simple. It just ain’t easy. John teaches small business owners and entrepreneurs how to make the right decisions about their company to take it to the next level.

In his new book, The Truth About Selling, John teaches us how to influences others to invest in our ideas, products, or services.


Most passionate about

  • My real passion is focusing on the human side of work
  • My main focus has been on the employee. How does that employee achieve what they want to achieve at work? How do they perform well and all that kind of stuff? But it’s also about that customer and client and how we get them to make that decision.

John’s career and story

  • My first career was in theater. I was a production manager, lighting designer, set designer.
  • At the time, I was in my early 30s. I’d been doing it for 12, 15 years, and it was time for me to do something different. I went into what I call my lost years. I did manufacturing for a while. I did hospitality. I did retail. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do.
  • I had an opportunity to work in corporate America at a company called QVC, which is a television network. One of the things QVC did well for us, when we were working there, was expose us to the whole business, and not only the production side. I was in operations at first, but then I got into the human resources side and the talent side.
  • I got laid off. I wanted to be an executive coach, to help executives get better. So, I started that journey, but I realized that my main focus was on the small business owner, the middle-tier management team.

Best advice for entrepreneurs

  • I believed everyone in the world needed my products, and it wasn’t true.
  • There are three levels that I look at.
    • At the first level, people out there see value in your product or service.
    • Then there are people who have the resources to embed.
    • The third category is people who have the problem you solve.
  • When we think of three circles, our market is in that overlapping section. I think that’s the biggest thing I see when I’m talking to entrepreneurs. They’re like, “Oh, my product is great, everybody wants it.” And they don’t narrow that market down to a set of people who are actually going to buy and invest in it.

The biggest, most critical failure with customers

  • One of the things I did was go out and get warm leads. I would do a free workshop or a presentation. The failure was that I would give great information and people would like it, but I was never able to get them to take that next step and invest in me. So, I struggled with that for a long time. I would just keep going.

Biggest success with customers

  • I got my wife a biscuit-making class. She could go to this class to learn how to make Southern biscuits.
  • I go to this class thinking, ‘Here I am, I’m going to be learning about biscuits.’ However, as I sat in this class, I started realizing the effectiveness of the facilitator.
  • I said, “Here’s the thing that we all have to do as sales professionals. When we’re working with our customers, we have to create a repeatable experience that gets us to where we want to go.” It’s selling products, selling information, selling whatever we’re trying to do—we have to create something that’s repeatable. And so my wife and I created a recipe that we use.

John’s recommendation of a tool

  • My biggest turning point was when I hired a virtual assistant.

John’s one key success factor

  • For me, it’s constantly innovating and seeing things from different perspectives.
  • And, I guess, really, it’s being able to take in information from many different sources and allowing it to change the way I look at the world. I have this saying; it’s called the advantage point.


John’s Mountain

Since we believe that the best way for entrepreneurs to get fast, big, and sustainable success is by leading your (new) market category, and the entire entrepreneurial journey reminds me of mountaineering, I want to ask you: Is there a mountain you dream of climbing or a mountain you have already climbed?

  • I think the same way. I love that whole visual of entrepreneurs climbing mountains. When I think about that, climbing that mountain, a lot of us as entrepreneurs, we know what we want to do.
  • We know what we want to build. We see that there, but as a coach and somebody who works with entrepreneurs, I am more interested in “where are you?” Because here’s the thing: When we want directions, when we want to get someplace, not only do we need to know where we’re going, but we also need to know where we are, because between those two points, we have to make the right behavioral decisions.
  • There are going to be hard things on the trail. There are going to be things that come up. Maybe there will be wind. When we get near the top, something might try to push us back. Maybe there will be fog. Maybe there will be rain. Maybe there will be a bear. All these things come up that we have to work around so we can get to that time.
Entrepreneurs Climbing Mountains



The best ways to connect with John


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