How To Find The Joy In Consulting Sales With Rene Rodriguez: Podcast #269: Consult

Keynote speaking requires a unique skill set. It’s not an easy job, but how can you find joy in speaking and consulting in sales? Here to share his story is Rene Rodriguez. Rony is a best-selling author, keynote speaker, leadership advisor, and transformational speaker coach. In this episode with host Michael Zipursky, he shares insights from his book, Amplify Your Influence: Transform How You Communicate and Lead. Rony shares his career story, and why he chose the path he’s on now. He also lets us in on what it’s like to work as a keynote speaker and offers advice for those pursuing this career. Rony talks about what you need to expect when working as a public speaker, what you can gain from it, and what you need to work on to succeed. There are a lot of nuggets in this episode that you won’t want to miss, so listen in to learn all about it.

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I’m very excited to have join me Rene Rodriguez. Rene, welcome.

Thanks for having me, Michael. It’s great to be here.

You are an author, speaker, consultant and coach. You’re the CEO of where people can find out more about you. My understanding of what you do and what I want to dive into our conversation here is taking the application of brain research, combining that with leadership development, employee engagement and sales training and you’ve helped many well-known organizations. You’ve gone on stage in front of these organizations or worked with them but companies like Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Verizon, Cargill, 3M and many more. You also have a new book that is Amplify Your Influence: Transform How You Communicate and Lead. Does that sound all about right?

It’s been a long time. Yes.

Overnight success and many years. I want to go back in time. Take us to the early days. Before you started speaking on stages and doing what it is that you do, what were you doing? Get started or even before that, where did things begin?

Things began for me as a salesperson. I got cut from the basketball team when I was eighteen years old in college, my sophomore year.

Where was this?

The University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Here I was thinking that I had this career ahead of me in basketball and had the discipline, hard work and work ethic. I didn’t like school very much. Once I got cut, long story, I was devastated. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I got a chance to talk to an executive to whom I asked one question.

I said, “What’s the one thing that I got to do to be in your shoes when I get older?” He looked at me, smiled and said, “You learn how to sell. If you learn how to sell, you’ll always be employed.” For me, eighteen, being coachable and raw in every way, being rejected and having a difficult journey through basketball I guess, prepared me for that. I got a job selling cookware door to door.

If you have a good solution for something and somebody has a real problem that they don’t have a solution for, then it’s an obligation for you to communicate your solution in the best way possible. Click To Tweet

Was it Cutco?

Cutco made the knives. At first, it was Royal Prestige and then moved over to a company called Saladmaster. Going through that whole process was perfect for me. One, massive amounts of rejection but learning how to sell a very difficult high-end idea, which is you got to sell. Normally, people have hand-me-down cookware or they get something at a wedding. Here we’re convincing them to change their lifestyle and spend $2,500 on what we call kitchen jewelry. It was a whole system for health. What I wanted to do was learn how to sell a difficult idea. That was probably one of the best things that serve me in how you sell an idea.

Prior to that time, did you have any sales experience?


How did you feel about sales? It sounded like you were excited by that idea when the executive gave you that feedback. A lot of people feel very uncomfortable even around the concept of sales. It’s like sales is a bad word or something that you don’t necessarily have to do, hopefully, and people come to you if you’re good at what you do. How did you feel about sales before and then at that early stage?

I was taught about sales early on and that it was what makes the world go round. To me, if I sell a product someone spends money. That allows me, the company, to also then turn around and buy groceries and food, which employs people and spends money, which then spends more money for other people and spends more money. It keeps things moving around.

I also learned very early on that if I have a good solution for something and somebody has a real problem that feels like they don’t have a solution for, then it’s an obligation for me to communicate my solution in the best way possible. It’s a calling in that sense. It’s also the same obligation to not sell something just because I can. Selling, in my opinion, is the most beautiful profession because of what it requires to be good at it. When you can help shift someone’s attention from what they thought was one thing to another and watch them change their lives for the better, that is what true leadership is about. Selling something to people that already believe what you do is nothing. Being a leader during good times is nothing.

When you give somebody new information and persuasive enough way for them to rethink to say, “I never thought about it that way. I never thought of eating this way might change my life. I’ve never thought of changing the process in my business would be this way or this technology or maybe this service to learn.” Let’s say you’re selling emotional intelligence. Maybe if I’m a better EQ as a leader, I’d be a better leader and treat people better. If you can sell those ideas to people that don’t want to hear them, to me, that is an amazing skillset.

CSP 269 | Sales  

At what point in your journey did you start to become interested in psychology and behavioral neuroscience and what’s going on inside of the brain and then connecting it to leadership and sales?

I was eighteen, probably so around the same time. My mother asked me a question. She said, “Rene, look around this room. What does everybody here have in common?” I tried figuring it out and I couldn’t figure it out. She said, “Rene, everybody here has a brain and if you can understand how the brain works, life becomes easier.”

When I was in high school, I didn’t like school either but there was the psychology teacher. We took an intro to psych. The teacher brought in a magician and I was hooked. I was like, “Using magic to get me to like school and persuade the sensation and perceptual illusion was intriguing to me.” It’s like, “I can do school this way.” It got me intrigued in the learning process but it also said, “Psychology is a cool thing and we should talk about the brain.”

I’m like, “I need to understand this thing we all have in common.” If I can understand what truly drives us, how decisions are made and what are the motivations, what are the underlying pieces, what are the things that you think you know but aren’t there? You came to realize quickly that most of the motivations that we have, very little of that are a conscious process.

When I say motivations, I’m not talking about rah-rah. It’s the motivation to buy something to eat or to go in a certain direction, following a vision. There are so many unconscious factors that are influenceable to drive that. To me, it became fascinating and scary because it can be used for wrong as well but like anything.

What do you think was going on in your mom’s mind at that time when she brought up that question? I’m very interested in why you think she even brought that up. Who was your mom? What was her background? What was she doing career-wise or lifestyle-wise? Give us a little look into that stage.

My mother was a consultant at the time too. She ran a very successful change management consulting firm. In that firm, they used brain research to help people deal with change. For me, to go to school for the brain and have a sales background and then go to work for her afterward, they were doing 55 workshops a month. She had 37 consultants, was very successful and had about $28 million in business over a 7 to 8-year period. She was a former nun too so she was not a business person.

This is somebody who had a very unique approach to understanding behavior at a mass scale and then was introduced to rudimentary brain research as part of her Master’s degree and her journeys through the world and meeting people and then learned to apply it. I followed that same route, except I took a more technical route and added the sales component to it as well as the business side of things.

People are the same. They still have the same needs of feeling respected, of validation, of wanting to be in community and work together to do their best. Click To Tweet

She didn’t go out of her way to mentor me. It was one of those things that were her passion. It was what she did. I got a chance to observe it for many years, watch, be a part of it, memorize, learn and have conversations about how you create change in a way that doesn’t leave dead bodies. She lived in five countries, all before the age of 25. She was born in Cuba and lived there before and after the Cuban Revolution. She was in Germany after the Holocaust. She was in Panama during the Panama Canal crisis and was a nun on the border of Haiti with the guerilla warfare going on and was in Vegas during the A-bomb testing. That was all before 25. War and revolution were in her soul.

She saw the promise of it and the romantic side of the revolution. She also saw the destructive death toll that it took on people emotionally, spiritually and physically. She was always driven by how do you create change without leaving dead bodies. How do you create change that lasts? That was a big one too. Anybody can do momentary change but the long-lasting change was something that always drove her.

For me, studying the brain was getting the research behind what she was saying already and focusing on applied science, not the research. There are a lot of smarter people than me out there but my skill was how do you apply it? As long as I could speak the language, read their research, talk and understand it but I could also challenge them to say, “What does that mean in life?”

I got to imagine that in your mom’s time, there weren’t many consulting businesses that were at the scale and size that hers was. When you look back or think about your mom in that business that she had then, you talk about some of the beliefs that she had but what do you feel was the mindset that maybe gave her an advantage? What do you think are the keys that allowed her to create so much success, especially as a woman at that time when I don’t think it was nearly as common as it is? She built up a very sizable business. What stands out for you, your mom and the success that she created?

She had something different. She was driven by something. She was purpose-driven and she didn’t see herself as a female Cuban trying to make it there. She saw herself as somebody who knew how people functioned and understood how to create change. She did that in the communities. When she was asked to do that in business, she realized that people are the same. They still have the same needs of feeling respected and validated, wanting to be in the community and work together and doing their best work. What she also found was that leaders were so far removed from being able to communicate in that way. If she could bridge that gap, magical things would happen. She also found out that we function in a sequence, that there’s a sequence to how the brain works and in communication that matters.

You have to connect before you can build trust and you have to have trust before I’m going to listen to you. Those are sequences that we all know about. She was able to tap into what we call legacy-type leaders. People that were very successful and had a lot of power, in companies like DuPont, also knew that something was missing. It wasn’t just numbers, strategy, direction and vision. There was a people component to this.

You’re right. Back then, there was no talk about EQ or emotional intelligence, leadership best practices and the importance of communication. It was none of that. It was very ahead of her time. Let’s say, good leaders. The leaders that had faced reality knew that there was a missing component that had to do with people and emotion because emotion was not a discussion in business back then. For her to bring a safe way to talk and the results that she was able to get were incredible and undeniable.

You probably weren’t expecting to come on the show and talk about your mom but I appreciate you sharing some of that because there are some very valuable lessons and inspiration from her story.

CSP 269 | Sales  

Not a problem. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her literally and figuratively too.

Let’s bring it back to you. I’m wondering, as you started to strengthen your sales skills and you became more interested in psychology and how the mind works and finding ways to connect all of these things, if we fast forward in terms of your business, are there 1 or 2 things that stand out? Are there 1 or 2 mindsets, principles or something that you learned about how the mind works and applied to your business and saw extraordinary results? Is there anything that comes to mind?

A couple of things. The mindset is that we’re always selling. If you’re in consulting, you have to be okay with the sales process and reframe it for yourself. If I had the cure for cancer for you and I said, “Michael, it seems like you might have this cancer but you got to go get it tested for $10,000,” you’d be like, “Thanks, Rene. Did you take a class on this or something?” I’m like, “I’m not sure but I took one class on it and it seems like you might be.” You’d be like, “No. Go kick rocks. I’m not doing that.” Six months later, you find out that you had it. You’d come back to me like, “Rene, what do I do?”

I’m like, “I’m sorry, it’s too late. We would’ve had to deal with it back then.” You’d be upset that I didn’t sell you more and communicate better. Selling is about communicating value. That’s all it is. How best can I communicate value? What I think people say they don’t like selling is they don’t like to be pushy or unethical. I don’t either. Nobody wants that. I need to be able to communicate my value in the best way possible.

Also, I need to understand that most buyers are procrastinators. Part of the sales process is to help people overcome procrastination and better their business and their lives. That’s helping them make decisions. You can call that closing or driving the sales process. Whatever you want to call it, it’s the same thing. If I sell something that I believe in, then I need to be able to act as if I believe in it and I need to have some conviction about it.

What I use is I have to care enough to be unreasonable. Sometimes you have to care enough to be hard on the people that you love. Sometimes, I care enough about my clients to tell them, “No, you need to look at this differently.” My clients know I’m very honest with them. If they’re wrong, I’m going to tell them. I’ll say, “No, you’re wrong. Here’s why but here’s what you can do and here’s the opportunity.” The value in that was huge.

The other piece is the realization that opportunity and innovation come from constraint. If I can predict behavior, meaning if I know in my industry or my client’s industry that some tragic thing happens or some pandemic happens, I can predict certain behaviors. One of them is irrationality. If I can then do the opposite in a world of irrationality, I can be a rational voice of reason.

If I also know during those points of time that people stop marketing, they stop communicating and they get scared, then I’m going to do the opposite. I’m going to market more, communicate more and give away more information for free during that time. During the pandemic, we knew that we lost 100 events and meaning no flights, no in-person events. That means we didn’t exist. I didn’t exist. There was no business. Your medium of communication is gone.

Selling is about communicating value. Click To Tweet

We had to cancel 100 events or even millions. My team looked at me and I started smiling. They said, “What are you laughing at?” I said, “This isn’t my first time. The same thing happened on 9/11.” They go, “Why are you smiling?” I said, “It’s because this is going to be the most innovative time that we’ve seen in a long time.” They said, “Why?” I said, “My mother taught me a lesson a long time ago.” I had made the mistake of telling her that I was bored. She said, “Go over there and play with your crayons for fifteen minutes. I’ll come back and play with you.”

I grabbed my Crayola box 64 pack, the one that the angels sing because there are so many colors that came out of it and the sharpener in the back. She said, “No, you can’t have the whole box. You can only choose two colors.” I looked at her like she was crazy. I’m like, “What do you mean two colors?” She said, “Be creative. Rene, creativity doesn’t mean you can use every color in the spectrum or it isn’t about using every color in the spectrum. Creativity is about having only two colors and working wonders with those colors.”

When you realize that creativity comes from constraint, that means that we’re about to go through a recession, an increase in prices here and we’re about to go drop. You go, “Let’s see the creativity and what innovations come about. I want to be on the forefront.” That mindset creates a narrative inside of our brains. Narratives are things that we see that the media and politics are creating but narratives are also things we either buy into for ourselves or other people sell to us.

The scariest and most exciting part about the narrative is that narratives are constructs of reality. The narrative I buy into creates my reality. If I go through a pandemic and I say, “This is exciting because this is going to be innovative,” then I’m going to start seeing innovative idea opportunities and opportunities to solve problems. I’m going to start seeing slow things that need to be increased or sped up. I’m going to see the inefficiencies that could be made more efficient.

All of those are points of value. If you know how to communicate, back to the sales communication piece, communicate the value of that, then I can monetize that into a business. If you help during the downturns, even if it’s free, because you do a lot of free work in this work, people will remember you. When times are good, they’ll always remember you. If we believe in what we’re doing and these are predictable behaviors, creativity and innovation come from constraint and learn how to communicate value, we’ll always be successful in this business.

When you’re sharing this whole idea and what you’ve seen play out, I’ve seen this firsthand. I’m a very big believer in this concept as well. Is there a more powerful principle that separates those who succeed from those who struggle beyond what you mentioned? Is this the key that everything else connects to in your experience?

I caution myself and anytime I sound like I’m saying silver bullet stuff, I’m going to say, “Take all of that with a grain of salt.” I believe that the reality we choose, the narrative that we’ve created for ourselves and the frames that we choose will help us either see an opportunity or not. Seeing opportunities is one thing. Being prepared for it is another.

There are so many opportunities that come across me that I’m not prepared for. “I wish I could do X but I don’t have enough money and time but I can do this.” Being prepared as well as managing how you view and the narratives that you buy into are the most important pieces. You got to be good at what you do. You got to have a great narrative in living in La La Land but not know how to add value. It’s a marriage of all of those elements.

CSP 269 | Sales  

The other word that you used, you said this twice, was unreasonable. Can you offer an example of what being unreasonable looks like in a client situation?

For example, even in pricing, when the pandemic hit, I did 320 virtual events because we had to figure it out. I’m in a nice studio here. This is my desk and I’ve got four studios in my office because we built it because of the pandemic. This is all innovative stuff. I can hit a button and control everything in here. We got lights. There are 42 lights in here, 6 microphones and 5 cameras all controlled by me. None of that would’ve happened had it not been for the pandemic. I did 320 virtual events, most of which were free during that time to learn how to do this.

We were plugging in a new thing and testing the mics. “How does this sound? How does that sound?” I’m on my hands and knees, my guy’s remote telling me what. I felt like MacGyver trying to plug everything in. When we look at that, we say, “Putting all of those elements together, how do we then translate that into value? How do we translate that into something that I can turn into value?” That’s the biggest question.

You mentioned the virtual presentations and keynotes. You’re back doing live, I believe. Is that happening or is it all virtual?

We’re booked solid live and then we’re fitting in as many virtual events in the downtime as possible.

You have live keynotes, virtual sessions and workshops. If you look at the breakdown of popularity or where you see the demand but also the percentage of revenue that is created from each of the different offerings that you have, what does that look like? What’s the make of we do this the most than this and how that fits in with revenue as a percentage?

I’ll answer that and the previous question because I realized that I lost track of what you had asked previously about unreasonable examples. They go hand in hand. We built the studio and a client asked me what’s the cost of the virtual event. I said it was $20,000. They looked at me like I was crazy. They said, “$20,000 for doing it from your computer?” I said, “No. Here’s the thing. When you host your events live, you have to get a stage. You have to have camera crews, audio crews and technicians, build a backdrop, lighting $90 a gallon in coffee. You have all of these costs and you got to fly everybody in, put them in a hotel and then feed them. You’re $200,000, $300,000 in minimum, maybe $500,000 in.”

I said, “In this event, you have none of that. All the production burden falls on me.” I show them my lights and the things that I’m doing.” I said, “My job is to keep standing in front of my touch screen and how things come alive on screen. My job is to be the production and I have spent almost $100,000 in doing that so that’s why it’s that.” They looked at me and go, “Sold.”

Creativity comes from constraint. Click To Tweet

I had to be unreasonable in accepting their old frame. If a leader is saying, “I’m going to go down this path of communicating one thing,” then I have to be unreasonable. I have to be like, “I can’t let you do that. If you’re going to do it, I at least need to tell you what you’re going to face.” To be able to communicate that over and over again, even if it becomes an argument. My clients and I argue all the time and then I’ll tell them, “You didn’t hire me to tell you yes to everything. You hired me to tell you where I think your risk is and this would be a big mistake.”

We see this play out so often that consultants or firm owners are hesitant to engage in this kind of direct feedback or disagreement, especially with buyers because they don’t want to lose the potential business. What would you say to them? Do you have the perspective of doing this yourself, being in the business but also the understanding of how the mind works? What counsel advice would you provide to somebody who’s hesitating in providing that real direct honest truth even if it goes against what the buyers tell them that they want?

There’s a balance in it all and I get the need to close the deal and find ways to add value. If you can accommodate the value of what the client is looking for, you have to because the value is defined by them, not us. People buy for their reasons, not ours. We have to be able to do that. Where we have to be willing to push back is when their definition of value might be construed. They might say, “Rene, great. You have your three-day workshop. Wonderful. Can you do it in a day?” I go, “Unless we change the deliverable. I’m happy to but the deliverable I promised you that you’re asking for takes me three days to get to. If you want me to give you the same promise in a day, I’d be lying to you. I can’t and so I have to be able to go do that.”

There are ways to say things and say, “I like to frame things up from the beginning.” I go, “I believe in something very deeply, which is care enough to be unreasonable. Sometimes there are things that I’m going to disagree with you about. Let me ask you, Mr. or Mrs. Client. Are you okay with me pushing back if I disagree with you?” What do you think they’re going to say? “Absolutely. It’s what I’m paying you for.” I say, “Great. This is one of those moments.” I might smile.

I go, “Here’s why. I’m not saying that I have a crystal ball. All I’m saying is I’m going to lay out what my concerns are. I’d like for you to listen to them and then maybe reassess if that’s the right approach. If you listen to them and you’re okay with the risk, let’s do it.” There are ways to approach things in a way that doesn’t have to be antagonistic. If I’m arguing with my clients, it’s already because we built massive rapport. We’ve built enough trust and rapport that we can do that.

You can’t start off that way. Everything has a sequence. It’s what we wrote in the book, Sequence Is Everything, chapter two. You build the rapport so that I can be tougher on you and be more real. Not so that I can be softer and more laid back and go fishing. Golfing isn’t our relationship. I’m helping you grow your business. If you want to go golf because it’s fun and build a relationship, I’m cool if we both have time but I’d much rather add value. How do we do that?

Let me bring us back to the previous question in terms of the breakdown of your service offerings and what you provide. Give us a sense of what that looks like. I know you’re on stage a lot giving presentations or keynotes to large audiences but you also have these 1-day and 3-day workshops. What does that look like? Do people typically start with one over the other? Percentage-wise, what’s the breakdown in terms of business across those?

I’m telling anybody who wants to get into consulting to learn how to speak. It’s the best brochure you’ll ever have. If you can learn how to speak, which means to articulate an idea in front of a room, the psychology of what happens when you are the one in front of the room and you’re articulating an idea that an entire room is following and taking notes on or maybe taking action from or feeling inspired by or emotionally moved by speeds your sales cycle time indefinitely. It almost eliminates the sales cycle time. You move from trying to get an appointment over 6 weeks to 1 year to 1 phone call and seeing how they can get you in. That’s the main reason you need to learn how to speak. Speaking is one of those pieces.

CSP 269 | Sales  

Also, keynotes pay very well. I was frustrated by that for many years because you’re not going to change an organization through a keynote. Consulting services do but a keynote goes in there for an hour and they get paid ungodly amounts of money and you go, “Nobody changed.” No, but they were able to capture the attention of an entire audience and company around an idea. It’s a special skillset. If you can do that, it’s good. It translates into things. I didn’t want to get rid of the pieces that are not scalable but it’s also the parts that are more rewarding.

Rene, for those that aren’t familiar with the world of keynote speaking, when you talk about large amounts of money or great compensation for that one-hour talk, what does that look like in terms of a range of actual price that you can command?

Let’s look at the low end, $2,500 for a keynote. We’re also getting paid $2,500 an hour to my fee of $35,000. Find your range within that. I’ve got friends that are $50,000. I was on stage with Gary Vee’s $250,000, Ed Mylett’s $75,000 to $100,000 and probably going up because he’s blowing up. It’s a real deal. They get on that stage and move you. They move ideas and things.

$2,500 is great and sometimes even free because you might be speaking to a group of CEOs. I speak at Vistage, which is one of the largest consortium group CEOs in the world and they pay slightly under my fee. That’s fine. There are also 300 to 600 CEOs in a room. For me to be able to have access to them, that’s of value in return. They also buy books and things like that.

As you deliver that keynote talk, what typically happens after that? Where does that lead in terms of your other offerings?

There are keynotes. We have a workshop called Amplifii that’s a 2.5-day camp for 12 people, $6,000 per person. They go through a very intense process of speaking in front with me, critiquing and showing them the Amplifii methodology. They’re learning how to tell their story, flush out their origin story and sequence how to craft a method to talk about a difficult idea.

Some people come because they’ve got a new product they’re trying to launch and we’re creating the story and the ethos behind that. They’re learning how to create it. They’re also getting feedback on body language, timing and tone of voice. How to do that with the goal is getting to their heart. Their heart is their values, beliefs and memories. If they can speak from there, it becomes the most powerful and influential way to connect with people. It’s an intense process. We limited it to twelve people so that people can get the one-on-one attention they need.

How much of your time is that taking in terms of percentage on a monthly basis or annual basis? What percentage would that be?

Seeing opportunity is one thing, being prepared for it is another. Click To Tweet

We do three of them a month. In 2021, we did 34.

Is that virtual or in person?


Is it always in one location? Are you going to a company’s location to do it or you’re moving around?

All over New York, Miami and LA.

You’re racking up plenty of airline points.

I’m at 340 already halfway through the year. It’s wild. Yes, we do that and then we have a course called Engage, which is an offshoot of what my mother created. My mother passed away in February 2022. This is her legacy living on. The Engage course was the course that she created. She called it back then The Fundamentals of Rapid Change. It’s about employee engagement and that wasn’t a buzz term back then. How do you use brain research to help people engage in trust in teamwork and real communication skills that are needed in the real day-to-day? How am I going to deal with it when you and I don’t get along? How do we solve that problem that doesn’t involve HR or my manager? How do you and I solve that?

When you engage a group in that possibility and you give them tools, you watch organization shifts. That’s Engage. That’s one day. From here to there, I try to do as little as possible but we’ve got the customized consulting things that will be brought in to look at a very specific challenge or a very specific challenge, whether it be in sales because we do some sales training pieces as well. We have lots of virtual courses. We also are launching our on-demand video Amplifii course, which is an interactive course that lasts a year.

Value is defined by them, not us. People buy for their reasons, not ours. Click To Tweet

Rene, you have a lot going on like several different offerings. You have a team, a handful of people or so but how do you manage all that? For you, what’s the key to making sure that you can not only pull all these off successfully but day to day? You’re flying to a different place. You’re traveling and delivering all these different things.

Some people have a hard time even being clear about 1 or 2 offerings. Here you have many more than that. What have you learned about that? Do you plan to continue offering a lot or do you think you want to start to cut back some of those? What’s been your experience in secret to making all that work so far?

Having an incredible team. We’ve got my wife, first and foremost, who’s our Chief Operating Officer, my boss and who is one of the best executors I’ve ever met in my life. An idea gets in her hand and it’s going to happen. The book happened because of her. The podcast launched because of her. This new offering happened because of her. I put an idea in her hand and I get scared because my calendar is going to reflect the execution of this idea, come hell or high water.

She is a doer. She respects the creative process but not at the expense of the business. She’s a businesswoman. We have Jenny, our VP of Events, who is an event dynamo. That is the only way I can say it. She has the ability to plan, connect with people, go through the details and make sure that everybody has a great experience.

Her, Jenny and Maddy working together is incredible. It usually takes both of them to manage my calendar because they’re maximizing trips. We have an event. I have a keynote on a Wednesday, then Thursday and then start the event on Friday evening. They asked if I could speak in a different city Friday morning. They get together and go, “Flights, everything, we could do this. We’ll move the dinner an hour.”

They’re constantly moving and shifting sometimes even calling a client, “Is there any chance we could move?” They’re amazing at getting me in front of groups. We’ve got one of the most talented designers ever. His name is George. I’ve worked with him for years and I finally said, “The world is changing. Design and visual is so important in the social media world.”

Is he the one that does all your website and all that stuff?

Yeah. He’s incredible and he loves the work. Finding people that love the work too, that it’s not a job is important. That’s my first thing. We want to hire a PR firm. “Do you love the work?” We’re about to launch a big social media campaign and in my first interview, I said, “What do you think about the work?” If they can get passionate about the work then creativity will follow.

Value is defined by them, not us. People buy for their reasons, not ours. Click To Tweet

The hardest part for me for years was letting go. Knowing my wife had the best interest of me and her at the same time, I could release my calendar to them. The biggest piece that they did and what Maddy and my wife did was force us to plan 6 months to 1 year out. Her thing is if you plan first, you own the calendar. She started planning stuff and I released it. I let go and all of a sudden, everything took off.

Some people might describe you as a road warrior. You are hitting the road nonstop. How do you feel about that? Is that something that you still enjoy as much as you did even years back or is it something that you’re thinking about finding some changes around in the future?

What’s funny, the hardest part of the road is your health. It’s sleep, diet and exercise because it’s easy to not eat well, eat at hotels and nice restaurants, drink wine and have mashed potatoes, steak, high-salted foods and things like that. You got to get up and do it the next day. When you start speaking this much, you realize that you can’t drink anymore. I was never a big drinker anyways. You can’t do it. You can’t eat bad foods. You have to plan workouts first.

I’m at the point where we will fly food. If it’s a two-day event, I can make my food, take a cooler with me and I have my food. That way, I don’t have to think about restaurants or anything. I don’t have to worry about poor choices, being tired and feeling the emotional need to celebrate something. I can eat well. I wake up the next day and my clients, with these big events, go out and party some nights. I’m in bed at 9:00.

They’re like, “Why are you going to bed?” I go, “It’s because you hired me. I’m working.” I’m there at 6:00 AM the next day ready to go and they’re not but they’re so thankful that I have the energy to carry them. That was a discipline. It took me a long time to learn and I’m grateful for it. Here’s the hard part. My wife travels with me as much as possible and we’ve got a great support system but I don’t want to do it forever. I know that I’m still going to do it for a few more years. The book has been doing well. We’re meeting demand and doing all that stuff but we are looking at different models that are more scalable without sacrificing impact.

That connects to my next question, which is when you look at your model, it still very much relies on Rene. From what I can tell, you are doing the vast majority of the delivery of the knowledge, the expertise, the solution and so forth. What are you thinking? I know you’re not there yet. You’re maybe playing with some ideas or exploring. What do you think the future looks like?

For a lot of people, when they’re in a similar situation, it’s a challenge given that you’re bringing in so much revenue, income and profit with a model that is working. What are your thoughts on shifting from a model that is working that maybe is not in your best interests from a health perspective or the travel may be too much? What are you guys talking about or exploring? Where do you think this might go?

We have a franchise agreement already with a graduate school in Italy and their program, the Cofounder of the NeuroLeadership Institute, saw what we were doing. He wrote the foreword in the book. We have licensed them to do that for Europe. That’s a fun way of getting that out there. They do some similar work in a different arena but they have the skillsets to train this.

We are looking at different models that are more scalable but without sacrificing impact. Click To Tweet

When you say license them, will they essentially take your body of work, your IP and they can deliver that through workshops or talks?


What does that look like from a monetary?

Twenty percent. What’s crazy is I didn’t do it for money. Dr. Allen and I get on the phone altogether. He’s the Cofounder of the NeuroLeadership Institute. This guy is making my work better. The collaboration, the concepts that we share, it’s like one of those that I believe that this works needs to get out to as many people as possible. We didn’t do it for financial reasons.

We did it because it made sense for the work to survive. The value that he would contribute to the work in terms of research, validation and more, it’s the right thing to do. Also, I’ve got requests all the time for people that want to be certified in delivering the Amplifii course and things like that. We’re looking at that model. I used to have 37 consultants that did the Engage course. It’s hard to manage.

It sounds like you were picking up where mom left off in terms of the business with that many people.

After 9/11, it was when we decided. I don’t know if we wanted that model anymore. It’s tempting but the future holds a lot larger scale events where people can come selling from there, having maybe facilitators in the room that can help do some of the training. Innovating the methodologies. The book is crazy. It cannibalizes other bigger sales. You could say that but to me, people are saying, “I read the book and I’m able to do X, Y and Z.” They didn’t have to spend $6,000. That makes me happy because we wanted something that would be free. That’s why we created the podcast. The podcast is free and people say that most value comes from the podcast.

$25 is the book or $28, depending on when you buy it on Amazon. We’ve got our annual Amp Con event. We do a big Amplifii Conference event in Las Vegas. It’s $500 and that’ll be 600 to 1,000 people. We’ve got our Amplifii course, which is $6,000 and then Engage, which would be $35,000 but it’s for 40 people. You can find me anywhere along that spectrum. The Amplify Academy, which would be our on-demand course, is going to be around $3,400 for the year. It’ll be an ongoing coaching permit anywhere between $100 and $300 a month for 2 Zoom events a month.

You have to have a pipeline of ideas. You have to constantly do things to put yourself out there. Click To Tweet

Rene, there’s so much more that we could continue this conversation around and I enjoyed it. I want to be conscious of the time that we have. Before wrapping up, a few final questions for you. We’ll make sure that people can find out where they should specifically go to learn more about you and your book. It sounds like you’ve probably already covered a bit of this but to make sure that we bring it to the forefront. With everything that you have going on, I would imagine you have some habits, a couple of things maybe that you do on a regular, maybe even daily basis that you feel contribute to your performance, success and focus. What do you say those things are?

To me, there’s the business side where you’re always looking at a pipeline. You have to have a pipeline of ideas. You have to constantly do things to put yourself out there. If you’re starting this out, trying to grow, if you’ve got time, do free work. Why not put yourself in front of places where people can see what you’re doing?

For the best comics in the world, go to open mic night and they don’t get paid to do that. They don’t bring their best material. They bring new material. They don’t bring proven material. They bring testing material. They spend months, if not a year, testing out a joke to see where it lands and how it lands. That joke takes on a form. When they get their HBO special, they’re not wondering if people are going to laugh.

They’ve already had thousands of people laugh in the underground. The conversations that you have, I’ve tested my ideas for years before they make it to the stage with every conversation I’m having. It’s like, “What do you think of this?” The ideas I shared here, on our podcast, every podcast, why do I do it? It’s because it’s more of an opportunity to share and get feedback on something.

When you can get feedback on something and you can test it tonight, when you get to the big stage, it’s your first time sharing it. Constantly philosophizing around what you believe and sharing that and being open to people’s real responses is the best thing because then you get to the group. You already know the response. I’d say that would be one of them for sure. If you want more than one, I can give you more.

If there’s anything else that stands out, that’s a great idea or seed to plant for people. This is the final question. For you, one book that you’ve read or listened to, aside from your book, anything that stands out, anything that you enjoy that you’d recommend to people?

I’m going to give you a book that I read when I was in my early twenties that is still the best book for consultants to read. It’s about how to sell high-end technology. There was nothing back then that told me how to sell consulting. Technology is intangible and so is consulting. If you can make the leap between those two, this will change your life. It’s a book called Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play by Mahan Khalsa.

He’s a Harvard professor and if you can get the audio first, listen to him. It’s the way he gives you the nuances of what he thinks and more importantly, how he builds a value proposition or a business case for what you do. How you get to the issues, then you get to discover the evidence of the issue and then the impact issue, evidence impact around an opportunity is life-changing. I’ve listened to it probably 400 times. I’ve studied that book. It is ingrained in my soul. It’s how I talk. Get that book.

We’re coming towards 300 episodes on the show and this is the first line somebody has mentioned in this book. I appreciate that. We’ll try and get it out there. Turning over to you, Rene, as the final point for our time together. For those that want to learn more about your book, all the work you have going on and all the different programs, is the main place they should go or anything else we should tell people? has a link to everything. Follow me on Instagram. It is probably a good thing. It’s at @SeeReneSpeak. Everything can be found right on Rene, my book, the podcast and all our events. You name it.

Rene, thanks again for spending some time. I enjoyed our conversation.

Likewise. This was fun. Thank you.


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About Rene Rodriguez

CSP 269 | SalesAs an entrepreneur and CEO of multiple companies, Rene integrates a practical business approach that inspires his audiences to take action. Through his keynote, boot camps, workshops and proprietary Amplifii™ course, he helps us own our backstory to build the frame for not only our unique value propositions but also a beautiful picture of life.





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