When Tragedy Strikes A Founder

October 11, 2019 |  

About this episode


Tom Pisello built Alinean, a consulting company which offered a set of tools to help salespeople express the value of picking their solution. The business was cruising with about half of its revenue coming from recurring licensing fees and the other half from consulting when disaster struck the Pisello’s family.

To read a transcript of this episode, click here.

Tom Pisello built Alinean, a consulting company which offered a set of tools to help salespeople express the value of picking their solution. The business was cruising with about half of its revenue coming from recurring licensing fees and the other half from consulting when disaster struck the Pisello’s family.

Pisello’s wife succumbed to a seven-year battle with cancer. Pisello knew he needed to focus on his family and decided to sell quickly and picked an existing partner as a new home for Alinean.

In the episode, you’ll discover:

  • How life events can change your motivation in an instant
  • How to value consulting compared to recurring revenue
  • How to evaluate a potential acquirer
  • Why your best acquirer may be an existing partner
  • How to vet the likelihood you’ll hit your earn out
  • Pisello’s biggest regret and what he might do differently if he could sell Alinean all over again
  • The definition of “Evolved Selling” and how it applies to B2B companies

The passing of Pisello’s wife triggered an overwhelming desire for Pisello to re-prioritize attention on his two daughters. What’s driving you to want to sell? If you’re not sure, get your PREScore™ now and discover how ready you are to exit your company without regret.

About Our Guest

Tom “The ROI Guy” Pisello is an entrepreneur, speaker, and author of Evolved Selling™: Optimizing Sales Enablement in the Age of FRUGALNOMICS. He joined the Mediafly team in 2018 through the acquisition of the company he founded and led, Alinean Inc. In his role as Mediafly’s Chief Evangelist, Tom is responsible for developing new practices for sellers and marketers to communicate and quantify the business value to increasingly frugal buyers.


John Warrillow:                Hey, next up is Tom Pisello who sold Alinean to MediaFly. So I don’t know if you’ve ever wondered when’s the right time to sell and thinking about maximizing value time in the market. Well, my next guest had a life event, hit him between the eyes and that caused him to want to sell his company, and it caused me to reflect personally on just the journey we all go through as entrepreneurs and how much we give to our companies and how sometimes we need direct reprioritize and get an awful reminder of that. Tom will tell you the whole story. He’ll also go into how you compare valuing consulting revenue versus your recurring revenue. He partnered and sold to an existing partner and he did that very quickly for reasons he’ll describe. And it reminded me of how much existing partners can be great places to look for acquirers. He’ll also talk about the definition of evolved selling and he’ll share with you one thing he wished he’d done differently had he had the chance to sell his company all over again. Here to tell you his entire story is Tom Pisello.

John Warrillow:                Tom Pisello, welcome to Built to Sell Radio.

Tom Pisello:                       Thanks. Thank you for having me.

John Warrillow:                I love the picture behind you. Tell me, we were talking offline about who it is.

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah, Alexandra Nikita. She was at the time a very young artist and was known as the petite Picasso, so this is one of her paintings and I collect religious art.

John Warrillow:                Oh, really?

Tom Pisello:                       A lot of religious-inspired art, Russian icons, Spanish Colonial Santos and Retablos, and things like that. Just things that I’ve found on my travels throughout the world and growing up as a good Catholic boy from Long Island, Italian American heritage, those images were instilled in me at a very young age and are part of my household now.

John Warrillow:                Fantastic. If you’re listening and not watching on YouTube, the picture behind Tom is a beautiful, shocking-red, and pink, and yellow and it’s a big bold picture, and it’s very energetic and inspiring. So great stuff. So Tom, tell me about this company that you sold, Alinean.

Tom Pisello:                       Yes, which is Spanish for alignment. And what we did was we were basically helping sellers and marketers to better communicate and quantify differentiating value to prospects. Now, what does that mean? We developed in the beginning, return on investment, total cost of ownership, diagnostic assessment tools that you could use with buyers, interact with them, collect a little bit of data, and it would create the business case, the financial justification, the health check and diagnostics to motivate buyers to change and inspire them to purchase your solution because there’s a high cost to doing nothing and there’s a good value of change.

John Warrillow:                And what was your business model? Who did you sell this tool to?

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. We sold it to marketers and sales leaders. There’s groups within organizations now called value engineers, and it was mostly B2B, business to business providers. So companies like IBM, ADP, HP, Enterprise, Equifax. We had about 60 customers when we sold the company.

John Warrillow:                And let me make sure I understand it. So I’m a big company and I would use your tool as almost like a market research tool with prospects to learn more?

Tom Pisello:                       No. We work more interactively with them. So let’s say you were Microsoft and you wanted to cost-justify the move to the cloud and Azure, you would use a calculator such as what we designed to communicate and quantify the value of why move to the cloud if you’re Microsoft, same thing at Amazon. If you’ve got a new solution that’s coming out or a new process improvement you want to implement and software that would help with that process improvement like ADP, why should you outsource all of your human capital management, your HR to a company like ADP? Why outsource your payroll? It’s going to cost more, right? Well no, once you tally up all the costs, it’s actually less expensive. You saved money and you’re able to focus on the things you want. And it’s hard for a seller to both communicate and quantify that value. So with a couple of simple questions of the prospect, they put it in the tool, press a button and it creates a presentation, a value story. And then with another press of a button, it sends a business case report, that then they can pass around to the CFO, to the executives, to cost-justify, financially justify the solution end to the prospect.

John Warrillow:                That’s so cool. And so what was the business model? You were licensing these tools to big companies?

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. We would consult with these companies on what is your value proposition, how do you tell the story around it, and then how do you quantify it? So there’s quite a bit of consulting on the front end. And then what we would do is we had a platform where we can embody that into this platform and a piece of software that then gets licensed as a service. And then we would license that for website use, self-service off of the web for customers and then also license it to sellers.

John Warrillow:                How did you convince people to buy the software? Because there’s part of me that says, “Okay Tom, I’ll buy your consulting for sure, but haven’t I already kind of paid for you already when I pay for your consulting?” Like how did you sell them the software and the consulting, I guess?

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. We were in the end, in fact, we were doing it almost all as a service. So it would be just an annual recurring service and we’d have follow on. We’d keep the tool up to date, we’d have ongoing services to help them to make sure everything stayed relevant in terms of the story and the metrics. So that was part of the way we convinced it. And the other way we convinced them to buy just in general was we ate our own dog food. So, we would have business case tools for our own software to cost-justify our solutions to their organization and prove that by paying us a quarterly fee and amortizing the consulting over that life cycle and just signing up as a license, it would be cheaper and better to that with us.

John Warrillow:                So tell me how big you got the company before the triggering event that made you want to sell?

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah, not so big. This has been a niche that I’ve been working on for a long time. I created my first company in this space, a company called The Interpose in the early ’90s. And I sold that to Gartner Group and we had a really successful exit. And in fact, we built that business with Gartner’s brand name to over 30 million in a pretty short amount of time. So that was a great kind of tuck-in that we did within Gartner, but they never did scale that business. And so we realized there was an opportunity once the non-competes ran out there, the bursting of the tech bubble occurred in 2001, that’s when we reformed as Alinean and pretty much tackle the same kind of business again, trying to do cost justification and value communication and quantification tools for prospects.

Tom Pisello:                       So we’ve got this company up to about 4 million in revenue and at one point as high as six with consulting and everything else. But we were never able to break through that plateau. And when we look at the competitors in our industry, there’s only a handful of them, they too have struggled to break out of that kind of sub-10 category. There’s not a lot of capital being invested in it, so there’s been some venture rounds. We took a small round from Stonehenge Capital and Grace Venture Partners. And that was just a Series A and no one else has gone beyond Series A or Friends and Family funding in our space. So part of it is the money is not there and it’s hard to convince companies or investors that this is a big enough market opportunity yet for more institutional investing. But we sat behind other sales initiatives and other marketing initiatives and that’s been part of the challenge.

Tom Pisello:                       So what we realized was we were definitely growing, but we were behind sales enablement as the next big thing. So when you think in terms of enabling sellers, CRM was big. That was amazing. Then we had marketing automation. So companies like Eloqua, Marketo, Pardot, those guys had their run. A lot of money came into that market. They grew those lead nurturing systems, marketing automation platforms big. Pardot is now part of Salesforce. Marketo went public and got bought. Eloqua is now part of Oracle. So all of those companies got big. They went public, they got acquired by the big boys. Then the next wave now is sales enablement. And we’re about to see probably the first company in the space go public here within, depending on the markets which are not that great right now for IPOs, six months, maybe a year to public. And there’s a lot of money being placed, a lot of bets being placed.

Tom Pisello:                       We always in this value selling/value marketing kind of space sat way behind that. And so there really was not enough critical mass in terms of customers, critical mass in terms of financing. And it was a few of us industry leaders and innovators that were working with other innovative companies, these early adopters to kind of implement this, but it has not institutionalized. So what we figured was why not instead cast our lot with one of these sales enablement companies that already was at a Series B, ready to raise to Series C, and be part of something bigger. And that was one of the big motivations for me was, how do I personally become not just another niche play that I sell for a little bit, but how do I tag along with something that can become much, much bigger, perhaps a public exit or an exit to a major player in the CRM space?

John Warrillow:                Why was that important to you personally?

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. My new title is Chief Evangelist and that kind of goes along with the religious art and everything, but I love to be on a big stage. I was a musician when I was younger. I played in wedding bands on Long Island. I had a radio show on Long Island during my high school days, and so I always liked to perform as part of what I do, even though I went to school for electrical engineering. I still love to be out in front of people. I love to spread a quote-unquote religion around sales enablement and around value selling. I have different methodologies that I created, that I want to have a bigger audience and a bigger influence on. So that’s always been a big motivator for me, is how do I influence and create a market. And this was a way to get some of the tools and the resources, and great minds along with me to help to do that in a much, much bigger way.

John Warrillow:                So where does it go from there? You realize you want to play on a bigger kind of stage. Was there a trigger that–

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. So the negative was is we were in a little bit of a niche space and it was really struggling to grow out of that niche. The positive was that we’re adjacent to this really incredible space that’s highly competitive, and the companies that are in that space are looking to differentiate and desperate for differentiation. There all knife fight in a phone booth kind of deals that they’re going through.

John Warrillow:                I love that.

Tom Pisello:                       But the big trigger for me was a life change event. And so the sad part is, is that two years ago I lost my wife of 20 years and she was a partner in the business. Yeah. And so when you go through a life-changing event like that, because she played a vital role in the business as well, running operations and marketing, as she got sick through cancer, it was actually a seven-year battle with breast and then brain cancer, it was hard to maintain the focus on family and her health and wellbeing at the same time as the business. So we were struggling there for a while with that attention. And then once she passed, I just realized, look, I need to focus on the family first and foremost. I can’t be responsible to, we had 16 people at the time, so that was 16 families that were part of the family I needed someone to help take care of that so I could focus on my two daughters, who are now 21, one is in Pepperdine, and 16.

John Warrillow:                That’s really nice.

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah, a great cross country runner.

John Warrillow:                Wow. That’s great.

Tom Pisello:                       So they needed to be much more of my focus and I couldn’t have the responsibility for everything anymore. And I’m sure there’s many entrepreneurs out there who have gone through that kind of personal realization, and then my goals kind of changed. I needed you to focus a little bit more on my health and my wellness to be there for the girls and realized that these kind of entrepreneurial pursuits can be all-consuming and sometimes take you away from some of the things that are important. Now that hasn’t changed my motivation at all. I’m still very motivated. I still have a mission and I still have purpose on the business side. But I also realized that it was all-consuming and that I needed to make sure that my purpose wasn’t solely around the business and particularly some of the monetary and more selfish gains that were motivating me there.

Tom Pisello:                       So it was really a little bit of an awakening that occurred through that process and one where I realized I needed to have other people along with me on this journey and to take care of some of the things so that I could focus on the things in the business that I loved, and then certainly myself and my personal growth and spiritual growth, and then my family as well.

John Warrillow:                Well thank you so much for sharing that difficult time. I think it’s not something we talk a lot as entrepreneurs. We’re always talking about valuation.

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. I know.

John Warrillow:                But it’s good of you to share because I know for a lot of people that is something that many people are going through the weight of running a company and how it affects their personal life and so I appreciate that.

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah, absolutely. And it doesn’t give you a lot of time for many, many other things. So, sometimes it’s good to stop and realize that, hey, there are other paths and other ways to get there. Like I said, I’m still super motivated. I’m still doing as much if not more in some ways than before. But balance is also really, really important.

John Warrillow:                So where does it go from there? You have this life changing event. What was the next step? Did you have someone waiting in the wings looking to buy the business? Did you take an offer?

Tom Pisello:                       We had people kicking the tires. I had taken it to market maybe seven or eight years before. Didn’t like the process that we went through and didn’t think there were a lot of companies who would be ready to consume us. So we wound up having a partner, a company that called us up. We were recommended by a mutual friend of ours to talk to each other. Michael Orford, he was working at a Salesforce out of Chicago, a great connector. There are these people out there that just love connecting different like-minded kindred spirits together. We liked the company right away. We partnered together on a couple of deals right away and won them business, and they won us business almost immediately.

John Warrillow:                Tell me about this company. This is MediaFly?

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. This is MediaFly.

John Warrillow:                And what did they do?

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. They’re a sales enablement platform company. So content management is the main focus of what they did, so the ability for sellers to find and locate the right content, the ability for marketers to publish the right content out to sellers, and then put rules around it so there’s recommendations of what’s the best piece of content to use when, and where, and how with a buyer. And then they had this extra piece, which was how do we change the engagement, that last mile, that moment of truth when we’re sitting in front of a customer to not use PowerPoint but to use something more rich and dynamic like an interactive application. And then that’s where we come in because we’re another interactive application that can fit in there. So we did a project for one of their customers called Sealed Air, and it was a cost justification tool that would have taken them months and months of custom programming, be too expensive for the customer to buy at scale. And we were able to implement in a week what took them months. And then we were able to get another deal and another deal together.

Tom Pisello:                       And it was just, it was fun working with them. I saw that I could have a really good stage presence and they didn’t have someone like me on that organization. And we were just a fit. So it really wasn’t that we were receiving an acquisition then. Although I had bought my investors out and wanted to make sure that it was moving towards an exit. I wasn’t really pursuing it in earnest and it kind of came to us.

John Warrillow:                Who raised the specter of an acquisition? Because you’re going with MediaFly, you’re going into kind of these pitches. MediaFly’s using you as their sort of killer app to win a Coke/Pepsi kind of battle. Who made the first move?

Tom Pisello:                       They did, yeah, which I always like to do. I mean they kind of knew that I would be considering it, especially because of the life events that had occurred, which had only occurred a year prior to us partnering. So Carson, the CEO, they had never done an acquisition before, he said, “Would you be open to pursuing this? I don’t know if I can get it through the board or not. Let’s make a run at it.” And I’m like, “Yeah, we love working with you guys,” which was my biggest criteria in it, “Let’s see if we can work something out.” And we were able to do that.

John Warrillow:                So Carson comes to you with an offer of some sort? Was that the first step?

Tom Pisello:                       He came with a framework. Yeah, a framework of an offer. It wasn’t every i dotted t crossed in terms of all the terms, but it was close enough. We took that to the board, got some temperature of them. I didn’t have a board at the time.

John Warrillow:                To be clear, I was going to say, you took it to the MediaFly board?

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah, took it to their board. Yeah. I had bought my board out and kind of took it all private ahead of the life-changing events that I went through. It was just appropriate because the business wasn’t growing through that period.

John Warrillow:                And so you’re four million in revenue, what was the split between, if you can share, sort of consulting versus recurring or licensing fees on the 4 million?

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. It was more consulting than licensing fees. It was about 40 licensing, 60 consulting.

John Warrillow:                Okay. And so did you have a sense of what you thought it was worth?

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. And it came out to be just about that.

John Warrillow:                And how did you arrive at that valuation? I think people, I know we can’t talk about the exact number.

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. There’s multiples out there in terms of what is consulting revenue worth, what is annual recurring revenue worth. And the multiples were along the lines of those typical multiples. And when you’re a smaller company, it’s discounted more, if you’re a larger company it’s … And growth plays into that, so those are the two other kind of mitigating factors that I encourage entrepreneurs to consider. If you’re a smaller company but you’re rapidly growing, that’s worth more, but you’re a smaller company and when you’re looking at a valuation compared to a larger company, there’s kind of a collateral discount that occurs on the other end of that. If you’re not growing, then there’s discounts that occur there. If you’re growing quickly, then there’s multiples that kick in. So those were some of the parameters that we were kind of playing with as we came up with the valuation.

John Warrillow:                So in your mind, when you came up with your own sort of valuation, independent of Carson, were you placing a higher value on the recurring licenses and fees than you were the consulting?

Tom Pisello:                       Yes. Oh, definitely. Yeah, substantially.

John Warrillow:                Would it be like 2x?

Tom Pisello:                       Usually the range on recurring revenue is anywhere from three on the low end to kind of six, seven on the higher end. There are some that are more than that that are out there, but that’s rarefied air. And then consulting revenue could be anywhere from, I mean I’ve seen in all my experience and I’ve been involved in a lot of different acquisitions, different companies I’ve had pieces of, anywhere from a quarter on the dollar to one and a half, maybe, on the dollar. So that’ll give you an idea of kind of where to kind of look for. And again, the mitigating factors are how big are you compared to the other company, are you growing, are you not growing, and then overall that mix, the recurring revenue, the subscription revenue is still worth a lot more, although, we’re seeing that get discounted a little bit. As the WeWork IPO kind of struggles, as some of these newer IPOs struggle, I think the days of kind of, you know there was some 7 and 8x multiples on SaaS, I don’t think those days are here anymore. Sandhill.com is a good resource to go and look at for recurring revenue valuations and there are other sources out there. But there’s good metrics, I think, that are floating around. I just encourage entrepreneurs to be a little bit cognizant that there is discounting going on in the SaaS multiples today. A year ago it was a little bit different. Three years ago it was way different. But today they’re under a little bit of pressure.

John Warrillow:                Got it. So you’ve got a sense of what you think the business is worth. Carson comes to you with an offer. What was your reaction to the offer?

Tom Pisello:                       It was good. I was ready to sell. I think that’s the first thing as an entrepreneur. If you’re ready, I think it makes it easier. We did a quick check to see if there was any other low hanging fruit out there of companies that might be interested.

John Warrillow:                You mean other buyers?

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. I think that’s always prudent to do. If I didn’t have some of the life motivation that I had, I might’ve even run a process at least a quick one formally at that time. But we had put some feelers out on terms of different strategies. At the time, it was either raise our own Series B and go big, find a partner like Carson to partner with within kind of almost an acquisition/hire type acquisition that we did where we could fold in and we can then be participating in the growth of that company or kind of get kind of a strategic buyout from another company. And there just weren’t that many strategic buyers in our space. Again, it’s not a well-defined space. We were pioneers in it with maybe one or two other companies, which wasn’t a lot of out of the gate interest. I think it’s something that had to be nurtured almost like what we did with Carson and his team and proven so that the risk was off the table.

John Warrillow:                How did he sort of de-risk the deal from his end? I’m assuming there was some sort of earnout or structure.

Tom Pisello:                       And that is exactly how we did it. Yeah. It was very much on the earnout side to make sure that we still contributed to the growth. And on the other side too, we were pretty interested in that as well, so money was definitely taken off the table. But a lot of it was, we believed in that organization and we knew what we could contribute. I knew what I could do from the bigger stage. My team knew what we could do if we had some more resources, so we weren’t afraid to let it ride. And we also had more money to play with, more investors and professional private equity firm instead of have venture capital firm to back the organization.

John Warrillow:                Being the MediaFly.

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah, exactly.

John Warrillow:                Can you give us a sense of, and again if you can’t I understand, but can you give us a sense what proportion of the deal was sort of at-risk versus kind of what you got upfront? Can you talk at all about that, at broad strokes, even?

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah, about 40/60, 40 kind of upfront, 60 kind of earnout backend.

John Warrillow:                And how did you get comfortable with that? Obviously, you’d done a couple of deals with MediaFly, you knew them. But was there any other due diligence that you did to make sure that earnout piece was going to happen?

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. First of all, you never know, right? So diligence, we definitely looked at the deals they had, the customers they had, we were involved in co-selling right along with them. That was good. I think with any organization that you partner with, there’s always, I wouldn’t say surprises, but things that you find out afterwards on both ends that you just have to manage. So you just have to make sure you’re aware of that. The good news with us is we immediately got hired as part of the team. All of our team was retained, and in fact, we’ve added to it substantially. So we’re growing the business substantially within the MediaFly family, which is awesome, which was a big part of what I wanted to do

John Warrillow:                Fantastic. What was the biggest surprise?

Tom Pisello:                       How even more competitive their marketplace was than what I knew going in. I already knew it was competitive, but it is, when I say, “a knife fight in a phone booth,” many, many of the deals they’re involved with, the companies that are involved have all taken much bigger rounds, which means that they’re more well-financed, they can discount more and things like that, but they’re also at risk and they’ve got to get these deals quick. So, they tend to be very difficult RFPs when you’re at that stage to win the deals. So what we’ve had to do was make sure that, and this is a big contribution of my evangelism as well as our organization, that we’ve got a different almost playing field that we created that we’re competing on. So it’s been a substantial contribution, that I don’t think we understood would be as important. And maybe, if I were negotiating today knowing that, I probably could get more, but going in, we didn’t realize how competitive that was.

Tom Pisello:                       So that was kind of the one surprise, is that we’re I think a more substantial part of the differentiation in the business than we ever imagined we would be and also a bigger contributor in a lot of ways than we would’ve been. And I don’t think I valued that 100%, but at the same time, these are things that you don’t know going in. Other than that, they’ve fulfilled on all of the promises, the team has been retained, we’re all doing jobs that we love. If someone’s in a job that they aren’t, that they want to do something else, they wound up finding positions for them and moving them around and giving them other career opportunities. So it’s been fantastic on that front.

John Warrillow:                It’s great. I’m glad you brought up sort of the point of differentiation in the platform and your evangelism because part of that is the book. Can you talk a little bit about the book and show the book?

Tom Pisello:                       I always have a copy handy.

John Warrillow:                There it is, yeah. It’s called Evolved Selling.

Tom Pisello:                       It is.

John Warrillow:                Tell me about it and what it’s all about.

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. So it’s the methodology that Carson had put a name to and that we combined our methods on. And it is a way to enable sellers to sell better, to move from the kind of traditional ways of pitching a product with the PowerPoint deck and paper-based collateral to, now, how do you digitally transform that and take the seller on a journey to make them more evolved, to sell with purpose and with value instead of just pitching. So from pitch to purpose, that’s kind of what the book is about. And it’s a journey and a roadmap that we created. It’s a method that goes across four different pillars. So there’s a way to inspire buyers to change. There’s a way influence them with the right material at the right time to facilitate their buying process. There’s interactive tools. And then there’s intelligence. Those four pillars are what essentially Evolved Selling is built around.

Tom Pisello:                       And the best thing with the book is, for those who are online, it is a picture book and it’s part of the methodology that pictures are worth a thousand words and so it’s full-color pictures. It’s got charts, graphs, interviews, articles. Brent Adamson from Challenger Sale, we interviewed him. We interviewed Mary Shea from Forrester. Scott Santucci, Leader in Sales Enablement. Tamara Shanks and other great analysts are all contributors in the book, and it was a way for me to kind of encapsulate all the great interviews and webcasts that I’ve done over the past few years with a methodology and a roadmap and put it into a simple to use guidebook for sales enablement and content marketers.

John Warrillow:                And in terms of the financials, was this a book you wrote prior to the deal with MediaFly or after?

Tom Pisello:                       It is a second edition of a book that I wrote prior, but definitely was able to carve out extra time through this so that I could finish it up and wrap it up with my team and create all of the great new content that needed to go into it to expand the scope.

John Warrillow:                Got it. And I’d be curious, I don’t know why I’m curious, so tell me, go to hell if you have to, but did you retain the copyright to the book? Do you get the royalties? Is it a MediaFly property? In seriousness, there is sort of some modicum of a method to my madness. I’m curious, when an entrepreneur does an earnout, there are other activities that you do, speaking and writing, is that something that you charge for incrementally or is it all roll up to MediaFly?

Tom Pisello:                       It all rolls up to MediaFly. The royalties are separate. So I get compensated for book sales, and that’s great. And the rights are kind of, this exact book is theirs, but a lot of the methods are retained. So yeah, it’s kind of a shared model. Evolved Selling was not my concept. It wasn’t my name. It’s their trademark. I think that helped compared to the prior name of the book. And several of the methods are their methods, not my method. So it was definitely incremental in terms of a collaboration. But at the same time, I did retain individuals. I’m the sole name and author on the book. The royalties do come my way, which is great. And yeah, so definitely a little bit of a shared model though.

John Warrillow:                Yeah. And again, the reason I ask is I think a lot of entrepreneurs are so used to having their fingers in a lot of pies they sell, and the question then becomes, well hold on a second, is a 100% of your effort that you put into the-

Tom Pisello:                       What did you sell?

John Warrillow:                Yeah, what did you sell? Yeah, exactly. Did you sell a little bit or just part of it?

Tom Pisello:                       Exactly. That’s a really good point because a lot of us now have personal brands, right? And when we sell, did you sell that personal brand or didn’t you? And it’s important to try to maybe retain some of that. With me, I’m often called the ROI Guy. That’s kind of my moniker and my online persona that’s retained. So there were certain websites, certain things that were retained, but you’ve got to be careful there because you don’t want it to seem to the other company like, oh well he’s just going to be here for a year and he’s got all this stuff and he’s just going to bail out and go and do that. And so you have to make sure that you’re not negotiating it to the point where you’re not committed. I mean, these kinds of earn-out deals, you either commit 100% or don’t, would be my advice to the entrepreneur. And you can’t have a foot in both camps. It doesn’t mean you can’t still be building a little bit of personal brand and working on certain things and certain creativity outlets that you have, but at the same time I think the more you can figure out how to dedicate to it and then once you’re done you’re done and then you can move on to that next thing. That’s always good.

John Warrillow:                So the book is called Evolved Selling. Available, I’m assuming anywhere you buy books. Amazon is probably the best place to get it.

Tom Pisello:                       Yep. Amazon is the best place to do it. In fact, we self-published it via Amazon.

John Warrillow:                Okay, interesting.

Tom Pisello:                       It was the only way we could get actually the production quality that we wanted, in four-color, vibrant, the way it is. It’s all on-demand printing and publishing via Amazon through the Kindle KDP Program, which I’m a huge fan of. This is my second book there. And then we just recorded and wrapped up the audiobook version of it, which will be on audible.com. It doesn’t help with all the pictures, but it’s still a good listen. And that’ll be available here within a week or two.

John Warrillow:                Fantastic. Tom, I know people are going to want to reach out. What’s the best way? Are you a Twitter guy? Are you a LinkedIn guy? What’s the best way for people to reach out?

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. Thomas Pisello on LinkedIn or @tpisello on Twitter. So absolutely, and I publish often on those channels, so subscribe, or sign up, or send me an invite and I’d love to chat.

John Warrillow:                Well, it was great to meet you and thank you for doing this. I’ll be picking up the book and appreciate you taking the time.

Tom Pisello:                       Yeah. Good to meet you too. Thank you.


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