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HR in the Car - Episode 9: "You Can’t Bond with a Blank Screen"

Denise Horan, the founder and principal of Integrated Management & Sales Consulting, provides solutions to help organizations grow revenues, find new marketing opportunities and develop effective sales and management leaders.  Denise spends her time coaching entrepreneurs, training sales leaders and teaching business development skills to attorneys and other non-sales professionals. 

Most recently, Denise has launched her first book, Stories From The Sales Field, a collection of 60+ interviews from great sales performers.  Her book is also available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Chapters Indigo. 

More about Denise

Denise Horan is a graduate of Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology; she also earned a Masters of Business Administration from the University at Albany. She has served as an adjunct professor at The Sage Colleges, trained entrepreneurs for the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program at The Capital Region Chamber of Commerce and for The Smart- Up Program at The Rensselaer Development Center of the Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce.  In addition, Denise Horan teaches Marketing & Ethics for The Albany County Bar Association and Marketing Your Practice for The New York State Bar Association. 

Denise Horan is a member of The Consulting Alliance, facilitator of The Circle Leadership Group and the founder of the Sales Performer’s Club of the Capital Region.   Denise Horan serves on the board of the Women’s Employment & Resource Center. Horan is a member of The Executive Women’s Golf Association/ LPGA Amateurs and has served on their board for most of her 20 year membership.  

Horan has been recognized by the YWCA for advancing the empowerment of women, by the Stakeholders as Volunteer of the Year, The Women’s Employment & Resource Center as a pearl of wisdom and empowerment and by The Capital Region Chamber of Commerce as a Women of Excellence.  

Contact Information:

Denise F. Horan
Principal, Integrated Management and Sales Consulting - Sales Coach - Sales Consultant - Sales Trainer - Leadership Coach - Public Speaker - Author - Business Development Strategist


Voiceover: Welcome to HR in the Car, with Miriam Dushane and Tom Schin of Alaant Workforce Solutions, where exciting HR professionals and business leaders share laughter, insider stories, and maybe even a few tears about HR in today's world. Buckle up for the best half hour of your week.

Tom Schin: Our next guest, I can remember meeting during last summer, summer of '21, in person. And I was flabbergasted, because I'd only met her online.

Miriam Dushane: Yep.

Tom Schin: And so, I know you kind of prefaced, " Wait until you meet her in person," which I didn't really know what that meant. And then I stood next to her, and realized that she's all of four foot seven, or whatever it is, and what a strong presence she has. It was amazing.

Miriam Dushane: Denise is the absolute example of amazing things come in the tiniest little packages. She is a powerhouse. And I gush on her in our podcast, and it's truly genuine. I adore this woman. She is a lovely, lovely, genuine person. She supports this community like no one else. She supports women, women in leadership, women getting into leadership. And I'm so looking forward to having this conversation with her, because she is amazing, and she's got so many tricks up her sleeve.

Tom Schin: Let's listen in.

Miriam Dushane: We are thrilled to have Denise Horan with us today. She is the founder and principal of Integrated Management & Sales Consulting. She is actually a dear friend of mine. Someone who has honestly seen a lot of us through thick and thin during the pandemic with all of the work that she does, both in her sales consulting arena, but also in her leadership development, and sales circles that she has. And she's written books, and she's just an overall amazing, positive, genuine human being.
And I am so happy to have her here, because I actually seriously love you. Seriously love you. So, Denise, welcome.

Denise Horan: Thank you so much, Miriam and Tom, for having me here today. I'm blushing.

Miriam Dushane: Yes you are blushing. I love it.

Tom Schin: (inaudible) tears forming in the corner of her eye.

Miriam Dushane: (inaudible) .

Denise Horan: I know. That was so kind.

Miriam Dushane: But it's true.

Denise Horan: Thank you.

Miriam Dushane: We're going to talk about a bunch of stuff today, but I was first introduced to you when you won your Women of Excellence award, which was a few years after mine.

Denise Horan: Yes.

Miriam Dushane: And then from there, I started to get to know you a little bit better. I started being in some of your circles. Not purposefully, but by accident. We have a couple of volunteer organizations that we are both a part of, and those types of things.
And then the pandemic hit, and everyone went to virtual networking, and I got reintroduced to you again. And you were still writing your book, or you were reworking your book a little bit. And then you said, " Hey, I do this women's leadership group. Would you be interested?"
And I said, " Sure, let me check it out."
And let me tell you, seriously, I've been a part of other networking groups and other leadership groups, and Denise's is the best.

Denise Horan: Oh, thank you.

Miriam Dushane: And it's the best because she has brought together an amazing powerhouse of women. But on top of that, she's the most inspiring, most supportive, raising every single one of us up every single day in everything that we do. And so I'm going to stop talking so you can actually start talking, because I love you so much.

Tom Schin: I was going to say. You've done her introduction for her.

Denise Horan: Thank you so much.

Miriam Dushane: (inaudible) take that out.

Denise Horan: I'm all finished. I love that commercial.

Miriam Dushane: Mic drop. Off she goes.
When you meet someone for the first time, what do you tell them you do? If you're like at a cocktail party, or a summer barbecue, or whatever it might be, what do you say you do? And I know what you say, but go ahead and tell us what you say.

Denise Horan: You know it's really funny that you asked that question? And I sat back, and I said, " You really need to assess your audience."

Miriam Dushane: Mm- hmm.

Denise Horan: So if it's a general audience and I only have seconds, I usually say, "Oh, I'm a sales coach." But if it's a networking group filled with entrepreneurs and business owners, I go, " I'm a revenue growth coach." You know? It sounds a little fancier.

Tom Schin: I like that.

Miriam Dushane: Mm- hmm. Yeah.

Denise Horan: Thank you. And then if I'm with professional services people like lawyers and architects, I go, " Oh, I'm a self- development coach, business development coach," because that sounds a little classier than just a sales coach.

Tom Schin: Yeah, they don't want to hear sales on that front, I think. I think they are a little averse to that type of language.

Denise Horan: Yeah, exactly. But I mean-

Miriam Dushane: Even though it's a daily part of everyone's business, right?

Denise Horan: It's everybody's business, and I'm truly really a sales consultant, coach, and trainer, and a public speaker.

Miriam Dushane: And a published writer too. Don't forget that part.

Denise Horan: Thank you.

Miriam Dushane: Don't forget that part.

Denise Horan: I also wrote five cookbooks.

Miriam Dushane: Really?

Tom Schin: No kidding?

Miriam Dushane: Five cookbooks? So Denise does like a spread.

Denise Horan: That's how I started.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah, she's a great cook. I've benefited from a few meals, and she's a powerhouse with that too. There's nothing this woman can't do.

Denise Horan: That's my hobby.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah, that's... Yeah.

Denise Horan: It's very good for the stress level.

Miriam Dushane: Therapeutic, right?

Denise Horan: It's creative.

Miriam Dushane: My daughter is a baker, and she says the same thing.

Denise Horan: Yes, exactly.

Miriam Dushane: She does baking, because-

Denise Horan: I don't bake.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah, she bakes. She loves it. But she loves to bake because she loves chemistry, and chemistry is embedded into baking.

Denise Horan: Ingredients, yes.

Miriam Dushane: Absolutely. It has to be perfect measurements, and perfect timing.
So anyway, talk to us more about... It's funny, people say we're coming out of the pandemic. I don't think we're coming out of anything. I think we're learning to live with the pandemic, and adjust our life to pandemic, in our life, our business, how we operate, and what we do.
So tell us a little bit more about what's trending in your world as it relates to sales training, and coaching, and helping businesses.

Denise Horan: I have to tell you, my favorite topic lately is the sales force of the future, because people keep asking that. But the first thing I have to do is I've got to take you back. Just think about what you were feeling in March of 2020.

Miriam Dushane: Yep, pretty crappy.

Denise Horan: Exactly. Everybody was feeling that way. And everyone was kind of hiding, thinking we were two weeks of a vacation, or rest time, or whatever you wanted to call it, which turned out to be two and a half years so far really. I mean, we're totally different.
Salespeople probably freaked out worse than anybody I knew, so my phone rang all day long.

Tom Schin: I can imagine.

Denise Horan: But think about it. If you're a salesperson, how do you make your goals when no one is answering their phone, no one is in their office, and half those people were so stressed out, they couldn't even answer their emails.

Tom Schin: You couldn't go visit them. You couldn't get them out to lunch, coffee, anything.

Miriam Dushane: Nothing. Nothing.

Denise Horan: Exactly, so I tell people, " Think about this."
When I went back to rewrite the end of my book, it was about a month after the pandemic started, and I said, " I know exactly what's going to change." Number one, communication tools. And that became, people were really checking their social media platforms. So if you wanted to reach someone, a LinkedIn message went further than an email. And it was really clear that you had to be really creative in reaching people. So that was the first thing.
The second thing was networking. You were not going to be visible, so virtual networking became such a hot thing. I literally was on virtual networking every day to keep sane.

Miriam Dushane: Me too.

Tom Schin: Me too.

Denise Horan: Thank God for you two and the 518, because that was a big beginning of the virtual networking. Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I joined the Maryland group, the New York City group, the Buffalo group, all these groups, so I extended my circle of influence.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Denise Horan: You know? It was so great, so I mean that totally changed personal branding. And I will give you two an A on personal branding. It's all about looking professional on social media.
I think I've done more coaching in the last two years on personal branding. People want to look good on their platforms, because everybody became addicted to that. And you couldn't go out and show off at a networking thing, because there weren't or any.

Miriam Dushane: Weren't any. Mm- hmm.

Denise Horan: So you had to look good, and you had to be the face out there in front of your target market.

Miriam Dushane: Yep, absolutely.

Denise Horan: And I think that was huge.
And the other thing that exploded was technology. Anyone who was behind, oh my gosh.

Tom Schin: Oh, they flourished. I mean, not flourished in a great way, but you saw them stand out.

Denise Horan: Yeah. Well, and you also had to learn.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Denise Horan: Everything.

Miriam Dushane: Yep.

Denise Horan: You had no other choice. You were going on Zoom. You were going to probably enter Teams every so often. You were going to contact people differently. You were going to learn every social media platform, because you didn't know who was leaving you a message.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Denise Horan: It's amazing what happened in two years, isn't it?

Tom Schin: Yeah.

Denise Horan: And not for the worst.

Miriam Dushane: No, I totally agree with you on that. It's so funny. I was talking to someone more recently, and she was always adverse to the virtual networking. And I'm like, " Why?"

Tom Schin: Why (inaudible) ?

Miriam Dushane: I have met so many people.

Tom Schin: Same (inaudible) .

Miriam Dushane: I have built so many stronger relationships with people I already knew, and expanded my network, and the circle of influence that you just mentioned, which is so important, by benefiting from all of this virtual networking.

Denise Horan: Yeah, and think about how productive.

Tom Schin: Right.

Miriam Dushane: So productive.

Tom Schin: That's the thing that boggles our minds collectively beyond most, is the folks that want to force their employees back. And I understand manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, you need some boots on the ground so to speak.

Denise Horan: Right.

Tom Schin: But the ones that aren't in those roles where they have to be in front of folks, cutting out that commute... When I can remember times when you'd have to drive half an hour, 40 minutes back and forth to work. Your brain is working that whole time. You're on the way in processing all the stuff that you've got to do, so by the time you get to the office you're already stressed out. Right? And then on the way home you're decompressing the whole time.

Denise Horan: Yeah.

Tom Schin: Again, burning all that stress stuck in traffic. And you and I talk about the folks going up and down the Northway past Twin Bridges and so forth. But now-

Denise Horan: Yeah, that's me.

Tom Schin: ... You cut that out. You've cut out an hour, hour and a half, of that stress and just anxiety.

Denise Horan: It's so much more productive.

Tom Schin: Right?

Denise Horan: Just productivity.

Miriam Dushane: Well, and just from meeting, to meeting, to meeting. To the point where now when I'm meeting with a client or I'm about to meet with a client, I actually have to say, " Virtual or on site?" Because even my ability to meet with them is going to be different based on if I have to travel, or if I can just click a link.

Denise Horan: And your calendar is so different.

Tom Schin: Right.

Miriam Dushane: Yes.

Tom Schin: You can get eight, 10 meetings in a day. Not that you want that many of them.

Denise Horan: I know. Isn't it great?

Tom Schin: But it's really valuable to be able to, " Hey, I've got a 2:00. I got to go," and they all get it. They're like, " Yeah, me too."

Miriam Dushane: Yep. Yep, and then you're just... Yep.

Tom Schin: Poof. Everybody's brains are rewired to this new way of life.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah. I talked to someone that I met through networking, and he said, " This has just accelerated the inevitable."

Tom Schin: Yeah.

Miriam Dushane: And I was like, " You're absolutely correct."

Denise Horan: Yeah.

Miriam Dushane: Absolutely.

Denise Horan: Well, you know what? I was just reading, and my husband was also reading it to me this morning, so he saw it somewhere also. They said if the economy begins to tank, the employer feels more powerful.

Miriam Dushane: Mm- hmm.

Denise Horan: And in certain industries you're going to see them all called back in the office, because they can do it. And so it's really going to depend on what people feel is the right thing to do.

Miriam Dushane: I think there's enough of a force to walk with your feet, and vote with your feet, in terms of finding another employer who is not going to do that. I think the employers that don't do that are going to be far more successful than the ones that dig their heels in for the end-

Denise Horan: Yeah, well you'll soon find out. And plus there are industries that...

Miriam Dushane: And there are industries that... I mean we just did, I think it was this week I did a video blog about how there are a lot of industries that you can't do a remote or a hybrid environment. So what can you do instead, right?

Denise Horan: Well, it's going to be very interesting to see how this affects compensation. I work with people on sales compensation and things, and I'm telling you right now, everybody needs to pay for performance in some way and be able to measure that.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Denise Horan: Because I do know that there are many people taking advantage of remote working, and they're going to ruin it for a lot of other people.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah, I don't disagree with you on that. It's a whole retraining of managers to make sure that they are managing but not micromanaging, but also doing a very good job with communication. And setting expectations and measurables that people need to meet, excuse me, holding people accountable, et cetera. Those types of things, absolutely.

Denise Horan: Well, true leaders are going to shine.

Miriam Dushane: Yep.

Denise Horan: I mean, you'll be able to tell who they are.

Miriam Dushane: Yep, absolutely. Absolutely.
Aside from the trends and the sales force of the future. Any tricks or things that you would, without giving away your whole repertoire, that you could share with somebody if they are now in the situation where they are forced to really embrace the technology, embrace virtual sales, so to speak? What comes to mind as something that you would tell someone who is like, " Oh crap, I have to do this now?"

Denise Horan: Well, I think you have to go through their personal goals, because you always have to read how someone's motivated. And people are motivated by different things. And when you find out whether it's recognition, more time, more money, whatever it may be, there's a little bit of great in every way that you could explain it to them. You know?

Miriam Dushane: Mm-hmm.

Denise Horan: Like if, let's just say somebody is like, " Oh man. I'm putting in 10 hours a week, and I'm driving every single day." I hear that a lot from on the road sales people.
I'm like, " Think about this. You embrace technology, and people get on a Zoom with you. Can you imagine being home for dinner at 5: 00? Just picture that."

Miriam Dushane: Mm- hmm.

Denise Horan: So I think people are starting to get a lot better. Have you noticed a shift? And it was funny, last summer I think people were dying to get out. All of a sudden, this summer, not so much.

Miriam Dushane: Not so much. Not so much. (inaudible) .

Denise Horan: They don't have to necessarily be in person.

Miriam Dushane: You know the other shift I've seen? Is in meetings, or you're meeting with people, and it's a couple of people. I saw last year, far more people not turning their cameras on. And I've noticed this year that has changed, and that people are turning their cameras on for the most part. They might turn it off really quickly if there's something that's going on that would be distracting, which I actually appreciate. But I'm noticing that you don't have to ask them to put their cameras on.
I think it's the etiquette of this new reality that we're working in, and the new virtual world that we're working in, is starting to come to fruition, which I appreciate. I always equate it to, well, I wouldn't go to an interview or a meeting with my client with a bag on my head.

Denise Horan: I knew that was coming. I knew that was coming, the bag on the head thing.

Miriam Dushane: So what's the difference? What's the difference? There's no difference. But there are people that were camera shy.

Denise Horan: I got to tell you, I just think it was downright rude.
I have the best story. You want me to tell you?

Tom Schin: Yes.

Miriam Dushane: Yes, tell us.

Denise Horan: I run a lot of workshops for lawyers on personal branding, and business development tools, and things like that. Just think, they go through all of law school, they have not one marketing class. So-

Tom Schin: Amazing.

Denise Horan: ... I love to work with them. They appreciate it. They're great.
Normally I go in, I do a workshop, and then we move over to private coaching. Well, it was during the pandemic. They're like, "Oh, what are you going to do?"
I said, " Well, virtually going to get on a Zoom together." And I said, " But please, ahead of time, I'm going to ask you to have everyone's camera on." I said, " It is hard to talk to a black screen." You know?

Miriam Dushane: Yeah. Absolutely.

Denise Horan: And I said, " You really need to engage to be able to discuss this topic."
We get on there. Nope. 25 people out of like 40 had their cameras off.

Miriam Dushane: Ugh.

Denise Horan: And so I nicely said, " This is going to be a lot better for all of us if you'll engage. I don't care what you're wearing, if that's an issue."

Tom Schin: Right.

Denise Horan: Oh, it was so-

Tom Schin: I mean, wear something, but...

Miriam Dushane: Yeah, please.

Denise Horan: It had to have been one of the hardest workshops I had ever given. And it was just because you feel, right?

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Denise Horan: Don't you build a relationship-

Miriam Dushane: Absolutely.

Denise Horan: ... Just by connecting?

Tom Schin: Well, and you tried to preset it too.

Denise Horan: Yeah.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Denise Horan: But if you think about that now, I think people got used to the fact that you can't bond with a blank screen. Right?

Miriam Dushane: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Tom Schin: Right. Well, we both can recognize them. How many presentations have we done-

Miriam Dushane: Oh my God, yeah.

Tom Schin: ... Where you've got 20 people who just, they're off eating lunch, or having a Kit Kat Bar, or whatever they're doing. Or maybe they turned on the Zoom and left the room, right?

Denise Horan: That's what I worry about more than anything.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah. Mm- hmm. Absolutely.

Denise Horan: Especially when they call people out and they don't answer.

Miriam Dushane: Oh yeah.

Tom Schin: That's the best. That's the best.

Denise Horan: Then you know the truth.

Miriam Dushane: Yep. Absolutely.

Tom Schin: I think everyone is afraid of that. When all the Zooms started, if you remember back in March 2020, that hey Jennifer on Twitter. Do you remember this?

Miriam Dushane: Remind me.

Tom Schin: This woman is on a team Zoom. There's probably a dozen people, and they're all from different parts of the country, or wherever they were in the world. They're all kind of chiming in on stuff, and somebody is talking through the presentation. This woman is on her cell phone. She doesn't turn her camera off.

Denise Horan: Oh no.

Tom Schin: She takes it to the bathroom.

Denise Horan: Oh.

Miriam Dushane: Oh, that one. Oh yeah.

Denise Horan: And I remember all the skits on Saturday Night Live.

Miriam Dushane: Yes.

Tom Schin: Oh, that was priceless.

Denise Horan: That was brutal.

Tom Schin: Right? So I envision that's part of the reason they don't want to. But if you're sitting at a desk like most of us, kitchen table, whatever it is, even if you're on your couch, we've seen enough folks do that. Put on your lap and have a conversation.

Miriam Dushane: Absolutely.

Tom Schin: Who cares, right? You're there for the content, not for the dress code. If you want the dress code, you're going out to the gala.

Miriam Dushane: Right.

Tom Schin: Right? Put your bow tie on.

Miriam Dushane: Exactly. Exactly.

Tom Schin: Right?

Denise Horan: I totally agree though. You think about it now, I think people are adjusting a lot better.

Miriam Dushane: I do too.

Denise Horan: And I think for salespeople now, if they're going to remain top, they have to give that option to everybody. Would you like to do this on Zoom? Would you like to set up a private meeting out? Because a lot of people won't allow you in their office.

Miriam Dushane: Yep. Yeah.

Denise Horan: Or would you like me to come to your office? So there are a lot of choices. They have to be flexible with communication and with those choices.

Miriam Dushane: Mm-hmm.

Tom Schin: Yeah. I can remember when all this started there. I know some sales folks who are very much in person people, mainly.

Denise Horan: All the time, right?

Tom Schin: Right. And so they were pushing back, and all sorts of colorful adjectives that we won't have to bleep here because I won't use them.
But those folks were saying, " I can't meet with anybody. I have to sell in person. I have to sell in person. I have to sell in person." Now, two and a half years later, I'm wondering. You've obviously seen those folks.

Denise Horan: Yeah.

Tom Schin: What has it been like? Have you seen the good, the bad, and the ugly? What does that look like for you from your perspective?

Denise Horan: Yeah, most of them ended up adjusting. I mean, some were faster than others, and some just didn't want to give up a sales profession. A few of them did, but very few. A lot of them have thrived.
And the ones that are really good spent time calling people to check on them, not to sell them. So they were the relationship builders. They were the ones who really stood out, and they were shining stars to a lot of people.

Miriam Dushane: Yep. Absolutely.

Denise Horan: There's a place in Saratoga that was sending porch gifts to people. And I know salespeople that were ordering them, and having these beautiful gift baskets being sent to their clients. " Hey, I'm thinking about you." Not selling a thing.

Miriam Dushane: Yep. Absolutely. That's how the 518 started, you know? So when the pandemic hit, I said to everyone on my team, Tom wasn't with us at the time, I said, " Listen." I was like, " We're all going through this." I was like, " Start reaching out to everybody you know in your network, see how they are. Just talk to them."

Denise Horan: Right.

Miriam Dushane: " Can I help you with anything? We're not selling a thing. We're giving stuff away. What can we do to help, even if it's just talk?"

Denise Horan: Yeah.

Miriam Dushane: And so, Lauren Groff, who does the 518 with us, he and I always saw each other at networking events.

Denise Horan: Yes.

Miriam Dushane: He's a huge networker.

Tom Schin: Mm- hmm.

Denise Horan: He's quite the extrovert.

Miriam Dushane: And I reached out to him. I was like, " Lauren, I miss you." I was like, " Please tell me you're alive and everybody's okay," because that still, that was the point where people were like... People, it was scary. We won't talk about it, but that was very scary. So that was kind of part of why I just was like, " Are you alive? Are you still out there?"
And so he and I got on a call, and he's like, " Hey, you want to try virtual networking?"
And I was like, " Sure." I was like, " What do you got in mind?"
And he's like, " We'll have to figure it out. We'll have to figure out how to use Zoom."
And I was like, " Okay." I was like, " I can do that."
And he's like, " Okay." He's like, "Then we just invite people. Whoever comes, comes. If we get 10 people, great, and 10 more people we're talking to."
Our first virtual networking had like 30 people RSVP for the first one. It exploded to 80, 90 people RSVPing.

Denise Horan: Oh, I remember. I've been on them most of the time.

Miriam Dushane: And we were like, " What is happening?" And it was-

Denise Horan: It was an escape.

Miriam Dushane: It was just simply to stay connected with people.
It's funny, maybe I'm just a crazy person, which is very possible.

Tom Schin: No comment.

Miriam Dushane: I don't see a difference between seeing you here with us right now or talking to you on a computer screen. You're still in person with me.

Denise Horan: Yeah. Yeah.

Miriam Dushane: I don't see a difference. I can still make that connection and that bond. And it's interesting to me, the people who have either pushed back on it, or say that they're not making those connections. How can they start making those connections?

Denise Horan: Well, think about the personalities that people have. Some people have a very difficult time.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Denise Horan: The other thing is, the only thing I really miss, I think, and I'm very Italian, is to hug people.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah. Yep.

Denise Horan: And you can't really hug my screen, but-

Miriam Dushane: I've actually hugged my screen.

Denise Horan: Oh.

Tom Schin: That's funny.

Miriam Dushane: I think I've even hugged Tom through the computer screen, because... And I do-

Denise Horan: Oh, I know I've done that before too. Just make the motions. But you know what I mean. I mean, sometimes it feels good to just have that human bond, and to see somebody feels good. But I personally prefer to sit at my desk, be productive, and be done at 5: 00.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah, especially 5: 00 part.

Tom Schin: Well, and I think we talk about the positives. I think what you were alluding to is that introvert, extrovert kind of conversation.

Denise Horan: Right.

Tom Schin: And I saw so many introverts come out, because they would come to those because they didn't have to feel like they had to shake your hand, or do this, and that, and the other.

Denise Horan: Right.

Tom Schin: They controlled camera on, camera off, mute on, mute off. Now mind you, I always get on and never know how to turn a mute off. I don't know what it is.

Denise Horan: Oh, why bother?

Tom Schin: I know. I think they turn it on me automatically.

Denise Horan: But that's so funny that you said that, because I remember saying early on, " Listen, everybody on that screen is an equal square."

Miriam Dushane: Absolutely.

Denise Horan: And I go, and that's what you learned that there... Like when you went to a networking group and you saw CEOs over here, and maybe you saw salespeople in a bunch over here. And you tended to go and flock to a corner if you were an introvert.

Tom Schin: There's no posturing.

Denise Horan: Exactly. But if you're on a screen like that, I don't care who you are, you're equal to everyone else.

Tom Schin: Yeah.

Miriam Dushane: Absolutely. And I have, networking aside, I always liked going to networking events, but I also hated it at the same time, frankly.

Denise Horan: Yeah, same.

Miriam Dushane: Because there's always these clusters of people talking, and you may or may not know them.

Denise Horan: You talk to the same people you know.

Miriam Dushane: Or you talk to the same people you know. So are you really networking? I mean, maybe. But not at the level that we did when we were on the computer screen, because most set it up in such a way that everyone had an opportunity to speak.

Denise Horan: Right.

Tom Schin: Yeah.

Miriam Dushane: And I agree completely. And again, met more people, learned about more things in the world, and industry, and business, and vice versa.

Tom Schin: And from all over the country, and all over the world even.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Denise Horan: Oh, I know. Isn't that amazing?

Miriam Dushane: I mean, our 518 gets people from London, and Italy, and Canada.

Denise Horan: I know. I love that.

Tom Schin: Yep.

Denise Horan: England. Yeah.

Miriam Dushane: We're like, "Why? But okay. Cool."

Tom Schin: We had one fellow from India, so he's 12, 13 hours behind us or ahead of us. I don't know which.

Denise Horan: Yeah, that's great.

Tom Schin: Other side of the date line.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah, absolutely.

Denise Horan: But you know what? They're looking them up, and you can find them on Eventbrite now, and you can join in. I mean, I was on one the other day. I don't know, there were people from all over the place. So you don't really know what you're hopping on.
But the one lesson I teach to sales people is, listen, if you want to make this productive, this virtual networking, you really need to jot the names down of the people that you're kind of meeting on the screen. Follow up afterwards on link LinkedIn. I mean, I'm constantly writing a message. It's the same line every day. " Hi, it was nice to have met you on the screen. Would you like to set up a short Zoom to get to better know each other?" You know?

Miriam Dushane: Yep.

Denise Horan: And oh wow, I added so many contacts to my LinkedIn.

Tom Schin: I would love to see the stats on that, right? So LinkedIn must have tracking.

Denise Horan: They went crazy. They exploded.

Tom Schin: Yep.

Denise Horan: Yes.

Miriam Dushane: Mm- hmm.

Denise Horan: Somebody like me who had maybe 500 contacts, who has 1200 now. And I only connect to people I literally know.

Miriam Dushane: Absolutely. Amen to that.

Denise Horan: And it's okay now to know them from the screen, as long as I've gotten some kind of a dialogue going.

Miriam Dushane: Amen to that.

Tom Schin: I send those responses all the time. I'm like, " Yeah, well we can connect after we talk."

Denise Horan: That's what I say. Yep.

Miriam Dushane: I say the same thing, always say the same thing.

Denise Horan: That's great. I'm glad to hear that.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Tom Schin: It's tough.

Miriam Dushane: Not as many people do that. It's fascinating.

Denise Horan: Well, do you really want somebody... Because now you can go into other people's contact database if you pay up on LinkedIn.
So in fact, one of the chapters of my book is a real estate woman who said this is what she does every single morning. She looks up somebody she knows on LinkedIn, goes in, and looks at all their contacts, finds who she wants to meet, and then she calls the person. I happen to be one of those people before she ended up giving me the story.
And she said to me, " Listen, I noticed you know somebody I'd really like to meet. Can I have a personal introduction?" She does one to three of those a day. That's all she needs. She doesn't need to sell anything.

Tom Schin: Right. Right.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Tom Schin: (inaudible) .

Denise Horan: How awesome is that, first of all, as a strategy?

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Denise Horan: And second of all, don't you want to know the people in that? It becomes your old fashioned Rolodex.

Miriam Dushane: Absolutely. Well I always say to people, " What's the point of linking on LinkedIn if we don't know each other?" Because isn't that the point? To share information, make connections, and business leads.

Tom Schin: Well, I think the other side of it is they want the address (inaudible) . Just flood them with connection points. I always get the ones where you can see they're connected to one person. I'm like, " Why'd you give us all up?" Right?

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Tom Schin: You gave us all up. Now we're in this little database of people that are getting hunted down.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah. Yeah, definitely.

Tom Schin: But interesting.

Miriam Dushane: Aside from your book, are there any? Everybody takes information in different ways. We joke about the fact that I don't really read books all that much. That I'm an audible book kind of person, or webinars, or TED Talks, or whatever it might be.
So aside from your book, how do you stay current? Do you do business reading? What types of things interest you that you could share?

Denise Horan: Well, I'm probably like you. I definitely have been an extrovert with way too much on my plate, so every time I'd sit down with a book, I'd fall asleep.

Miriam Dushane: Yep.

Tom Schin: That's me.

Denise Horan: And I really find most books very boring after the 10th to 20th page. And I mean, I'm being honest with you when I said it's funny when I start one and I make it past there, I'm like, wow. So now I feel obligated, because I have so many great author friends, to read their books, that I'm forcing myself to try to get past that beginning part. And I've actually completed a lot of books lately.

Miriam Dushane: Hey.

Tom Schin: Good for you.

Denise Horan: But now that I don't have a child at home too, I have a little bit of extra time. But if you think about that, I mean, I'm not a huge book person. I am a huge news junkie, and I watch business shows mostly for knowledge. I'm really interested in a lot of people, and I'm really interested in a lot of industries, so I watch a lot of business. I do watch politics, crazy as it is. But you do watch a whole bunch of that great stuff over the years.
But I love the TED Talks.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah, TED Talks are great.

Denise Horan: And when I drove all the time for work-

Miriam Dushane: Yes, all the time.

Denise Horan: ... Oh my God, I had books on tape back then, and talks. Oh my God, I was always listening to something.

Miriam Dushane: Yep.

Tom Schin: Fantastic.

Denise Horan: So, you know-

Tom Schin: What about podcasts? Are you into those?

Denise Horan: Well, podcasts, I'm only just starting to listen to the ones that are people I know and a few of people in my industry. And I'm signing myself up to promote my book, so I have been on quite a lot as a guest.

Miriam Dushane: Yep.

Denise Horan: But generally many of them are very dull.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Tom Schin: Not this one, of course.

Denise Horan: I thought yours was great. I've already watched a few, and listened to a few, whatever. I just wish they were all video podcasts, because I always like to see people.

Miriam Dushane: Ah, yeah.

Tom Schin: Well, you never know.

Denise Horan: But you know what?

Miriam Dushane: Someone else said to me, we should livestream these via LinkedIn. I was like, how would we even do that? I don't even know how we would do that.

Denise Horan: Oh, there's a lot of great LinkedIn Live things now.

Miriam Dushane: Oh, I know, I know, I know. But good lord.

Tom Schin: I'm sure Adam's wheels are turning right now.

Miriam Dushane: Or paused right now.

Denise Horan: I'm sure it'll grow into something, but I think they're really, the podcasts are meant for the radio and being in the car.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah. Mm-hmm. Car. Like HR in the Car, baby. There you go.

Denise Horan: I know. The best name in the world.

Tom Schin: # beepbeepbeepbeepyeah.

Denise Horan: (inaudible) .

Tom Schin: (inaudible) make it a thing.

Denise Horan: I love that. Is it really?

Tom Schin: It is now.

Miriam Dushane: No, I think we just made it. So Denise, talk about your book.

Denise Horan: That's great.

Miriam Dushane: I want you to be able to plug the book a little bit and share why people should read the book.

Tom Schin: Stories from the Sales Field.

Miriam Dushane: That's right.

Denise Horan: It's so funny. It was on my bucket list to write a book, and you know what? I'm way out of my comfort zone. I'm not a writer. I'm verbal, as you can tell. In fact, I write everything in bullet points.

Miriam Dushane: Oh, hello. Hi. Me too. I hate having to write a sentence. Hate it.

Denise Horan: I started by writing cookbooks, and to give them out to the family for holiday gifts and things like that.

Tom Schin: That's perfect.

Denise Horan: That gave me a little start in trying to do that. Well, I suddenly said, " You know what? I've got to share these stories."
I'm doing a lot of coaching now, so private coaching, so I said, " I want to tell stories of these great salespeople I've met for the last 25 years." And so I found them all. In fact, I found them all on LinkedIn. And I found people that worked for me many years ago, or that I met at airports and traveling. And I had a huge territory. And I found them and I said, " Tell me a good sales story," and sometimes I would give them some topic choices, but a lot of times it was like, " Tell me a story."
But in the book, so it's over 60 interviews, and each one has given a sales tip, a lesson learned, and an action plan for success. I wanted to create a book for people with ADD, that could only read two or three pages at a time, like myself, and put it down.
Somebody said to me, " I love this." They go, " I read one interview or two interviews. I put it down, I walk around, I come back, and I read two more." That's exactly what I wanted to create.
Getting ready to do the next. There's two more in the series. Hopefully I'll get through two more. They take a long time, because of the interviews.

Tom Schin: Right.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Denise Horan: But I sort of want to do the same type of thing. And so it's not me preaching or talking, it's me sharing other people's success stories.

Miriam Dushane: Absolutely, and I think I love that approach. Because again, it's not just Denise saying, " This is how you're going to be successful." This is all of these lovely, amazing people. And everybody has different techniques, everybody has different approaches, that it's just sharing all of these other success stories. And I think it would boost someone's confidence to realize, well, if all of these-

Tom Schin: If these can do it.

Miriam Dushane: ... Different types of people can do it, so can I.

Denise Horan: Absolutely.

Miriam Dushane: Right? Yeah.

Denise Horan: And I've been speaking to a lot of college students.

Miriam Dushane: Good.

Tom Schin: That's a great audience.

Denise Horan: I had 85 people from LSU on the screen one day.

Miriam Dushane: No way.

Denise Horan: Kids. It was a sales master class for undergraduates. And I said to the professor, " Listen, let's just open the floor."
And he goes, " Oh my God, it's going to be chaotic."
I go, " I can handle it." And I said, " They can ask questions. I can give them a little bit just in the beginning about relationship building, and making contacts, and building their circle of influence, because they're at that age." And so I talked maybe five minutes and I said, " I want to open up the floor. Any questions you want to ask me?" Holy moly, I got flooded.
And finally the professor is like, " Class is over. Class is over."

Miriam Dushane: That's awesome.

Denise Horan: But it was so fun. And then I had locally, I was on the Saint Rose Sales Club.

Miriam Dushane: Yep. Mm- hmm.

Tom Schin: Mark Michaelson, right?

Denise Horan: Yeah. Mark is now in Virginia Tech, so I'm headed down there to talk with his students.

Miriam Dushane: Great. That's awesome.

Denise Horan: Yeah.

Miriam Dushane: Very good.

Tom Schin: That's fantastic. I think for me, no, I spent the first 10 years of my career in publishing. And so-

Denise Horan: Oh, you understand this.

Tom Schin: I do. Well, and the small chunks. The books that we had that had the smaller chunks, the digestible chunks, were so much better sellers than anything else, because you had an audience out there that just wanted, " What can I use today? And then I'll go to the next one tomorrow, and the next one the next day." Otherwise, it was 40 pages of put me to sleep.

Miriam Dushane: Mm- hmm.

Denise Horan: Right. Right.

Miriam Dushane: Well, and that's why a lot of these... I mean, I think a lot of these business books that are out there, I'm sure they're very valuable. I'm sure they are.

Denise Horan: I know.

Miriam Dushane: And I have not read any of them. Any of them. And even, I'm going to be honest with you, I've read parts of Denise's book because it is in smaller pieces, but I'm still working on it because I'm like you. I'm busy as heck, and so-

Denise Horan: I totally get it.

Miriam Dushane: But yes.

Denise Horan: You know what? I realized I was not the only person who buys people's books and has a stack on my desk like two feet high. And it's embarrassing. And I realized a lot of people were kind enough to buy my book, and had no intention of reading it. So I find that it's really an eyeopening experience, what it's like.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah. Yep. Well, I still have intentions of finishing it, but I'm not going to say I have read the whole thing yet. I have read parts of it.

Tom Schin: I have three or four books like that. I have my vacation book, it's called Lifelong Kindergarten, and it's one of the guys from LEGO Education.

Denise Horan: Oh, I love the title.

Tom Schin: Yeah, and it talks about kind of learning stuff, but it's just the mindset. But it's my vacation. I sit on the beach, or sit wherever we're going, sit on the plane. I'll read a few chapters, I'll fall asleep, take some notes, and then I take it out the next time I'm on vacation. And someday I'll finish it. I don't know when. But I've had it for like three or four years. My friend Jerry gave it to me.

Miriam Dushane: Wow, three or four years?

Tom Schin: Yeah.

Miriam Dushane: That's a long time.

Denise Horan: A lot, yeah.

Tom Schin: And eh, who cares?

Miriam Dushane: There's one quasi business book that I've actually been able to get through, but it was an audible, so I listened to it when I still had a long commute, and it's called The Happiness Advantage. And it's basically the psychology of mindset and happiness, and how that translates into successful business.

Denise Horan: Which, I love that topic. Yeah.

Miriam Dushane: And it's actually fascinating. It was fascinating to the point where I'm going to listen to it again, because I'm a happy person. I think everybody can benefit from positivity. But this guy took this approach and has scientific evidence to back it up. That's what was mind blowing about it. So Happiness Advantage is definitely one if you're-

Denise Horan: Oh, I think happiness and positive people are much more successful, generally speaking. Negative people are really, I mean, they're an issue for me.

Tom Schin: Those are the ones you want to throat punch? Is that how we call it?

Denise Horan: Yeah, but I mean, somebody said, "Clear your life of negative people." And I said, " Sometimes you can't." It's not like you select your relatives.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Denise Horan: Right?

Miriam Dushane: Amen. Amen.

Denise Horan: I'm sorry, sometimes you've got to deal with all those negative people. I can just think about being on the phone going, "Uh huh. Uh huh." By the time I get off, oh my God, I'm so depressed.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Tom Schin: It's horrible.

Denise Horan: Which is so not like me.

Tom Schin: It's horrible.

Miriam Dushane: No, definitely.

Tom Schin: But it's all right. What's going on in their life that's making them that way? Right?

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Tom Schin: And so we try to reflect on that. But that Happiness Advantage, there's a second one that the same author, that's also really good. That's one book when I started with Miriam, one of the only books on her shelf.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah, I actually had it.

Tom Schin: I'm like, " Look, a real book."

Denise Horan: I might have to go back and order it now.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah, and that's saying a lot, right? That's saying a lot about me. Yeah, and the book.

Denise Horan: Usually I read the ones where I know the people.

Miriam Dushane: Yep. Mm- hmm. That's what I'm really working on now.

Tom Schin: And that one, he cites probably six or eight other books as he goes through, whether it's Simon Sinek, or Daniel Pink, or Brené Brown. I'm just rattling off names for names, but there's other authors that he references, and they're all good books too. Everything that he listed in there is spot on.

Miriam Dushane: Yep, absolutely.
All right, so before we wrap up, I want to get into community involvement. Let's talk about the-

Tom Schin: Causes.

Miriam Dushane: ... Causes, nonprofits, charitable, whatever it might be. Community related organizations that you're involved with. And I know you and I are both involved, but you are way more involved than I am in the Women's Employment Resource Center.

Denise Horan: Right.

Miriam Dushane: And so talk a little bit about that. You've been a huge advocate of that organization for way longer than I ever have.

Denise Horan: I get involved and support a lot of organizations, but I really kind of have focused in on one just because of time.

Miriam Dushane: Absolutely.

Denise Horan: So I think I've been involved with the Women's Employment Resource Center, which we call WERC-

Miriam Dushane: WERC.

Denise Horan: ... For over 20 years now. 21 years.

Miriam Dushane: Wow.

Denise Horan: I was thinking about that actually. I was a volunteer back in the early 2000s, and then I became just kind of a friend/ advisor, and then I went on the board. And the board has broken into a working board versus an advisory board. So I was on the working board for a lot of years, I think about 12. And now I'm on the advisory board, but I'm also an event chair, and I'm also on a couple committees for a couple other events. But I've been involved.
I think it's fabulous that women are retrained to go back in the workforce. What a needed commodity right now. I mean, they don't have enough people to send to the marketplace right now, which is the best problem in the world. But they build the confidence of these poor women that actually said, " I want to go back to work, but I feel like I missed so much in the last few years." And they teach them technology skills, and resume writing, and communication, and confidence building.

Miriam Dushane: Confidence building is a big one.

Tom Schin: That's huge.

Miriam Dushane: It's a huge one.

Denise Horan: It's fabulous. It's such a great organization.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah, it is.

Denise Horan: I mean, coming up, we have two more events. There's usually a couple events every year, and we just finished the one I do, which is shopping and networking.

Miriam Dushane: It's like the perfect event, and that one is usually every-

Denise Horan: It's the party event.

Miriam Dushane: That one is usually every June.

Denise Horan: Every June. First Impressions Second Chances.

Miriam Dushane: First Impressions Second Chances. And it is shopping, eating, drinking, fun.

Denise Horan: Yeah. Oh, networking like crazy.

Miriam Dushane: It's my favorite networking event.

Denise Horan: Today was, or this year, today. I mean, this year was just so much fun, because it was the first time we were back together off of virtual, and we got to see each other. We also moved it to a safer place with more airflow, and that was beautiful.

Miriam Dushane: It was great.

Denise Horan: And it was a great spot, so I'm looking forward to-

Tom Schin: It was the perfect time of year.

Miriam Dushane: Yep.

Tom Schin: Yep.

Miriam Dushane: And then now you've added, I know there's a golf event that's usually every fall now.

Denise Horan: Well, yes, and the beneficiary of that tournament will change every year or two. So this is the second year that it benefits WERC, so I'm on that committee. It's called Links to Leadership. Last year we raised just an unbelievable amount of money the first year, so we're really excited about the second year.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah, this was so much fun. Thank you so much for joining us today. It was great to have you here with us in person.

Denise Horan: Thank you both.

Miriam Dushane: Everybody go get-

Tom Schin: Stories from the Sales Field.

Miriam Dushane: ... Stories from the Sales Field, because it has some great information in there. And frankly, Denise does so much to support women in this community, the WERC, but just in general, there's a lot of stuff that Denise does that no one ever sees. But I can tell you from one of the beneficiaries of it that we love you, and that we thank you so very, very much for all that you do for all of us. So thank you.

Tom Schin: So her whole conversation with us made me think of that phrase, stronger together, and all the things that she does and tries to help. Because you hear her talk about coaching and developing leaders from a sales perspective, but also from a business perspective. But with all the charitable interests she has, and the stuff that she does for WERC, W- E- R-C, for those of you spelling at home, it just makes me think of how generous a soul that is.

Miriam Dushane: Well, on top of that, it's a cliche of a sentence, but truly making lemonade out of lemons. And for the last two years, figuring out that this is not a bad thing that we went through. I mean, yes, the pandemic was a bad thing, but what can we learn from it? How can we overcome it and adapt to be even better at our jobs if we're sales people, at our jobs in life? The whole thing. And so for me personally, I truly got to know Denise over the last two years.
And she's right, she doesn't like negative people. She is one of the most positive people I've ever met. She makes me feel more positive. But again, she's super supportive of everyone in her circle, and regardless if you're in a leadership group with her or not. I mean, there's on a daily basis, if anybody that she's in contact with does something good, or they're in the news, or they're-

Tom Schin: She's out propping them up.

Miriam Dushane: She's propping you up, she's giving you kudos, and she's your cheerleader. She's an amazing cheerleader for this region, for WERC, and I'm so happy that we had her on the show.

Tom Schin: Yeah, and I think probably one of the favorite lines in there was that bag on the head moment.

Miriam Dushane: Yeah.

Tom Schin: Which, I'm thinking she would probably club somebody if they took a headshot and put that out there with that.

Miriam Dushane: Oh my God. Right? I have to do that one of those days. I'm going to get one and put it over my head before we start one of our virtual meetings.

Tom Schin: What a treat.
Well, for that and more, thanks for joining us here on HR in the Car. We'll see you next time.