Sales And Business Smarts: The Ultimate Mental Game Playbook With Dustin Gutkowski [Episode 154]

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What motivates you to succeed in business?

In this episode, Doug C. Brown speaks with Dustin Gutkowski, the founder and owner of Results Roofing, about overcoming setbacks and taught thinking patterns to achieve your highest entrepreneurial goals. Doug and Dustin speak about defining the true meaning of success as an entrepreneur, the importance of self-acceptance, the mental game of achieving and sustaining success, and much more.

In this episode you will learn:


Episode’s guest – Dustin Gutkowski

CEO Sales Strategies | Dustin Gutkowski | Sales Mental Game

Dustin Gutkowski, founder of Results Roofing, transforms lives through business. From overcoming homelessness at 14 years old to building a business empire, Dustin’s impact is changing the world. Known for his mantra, “Impact Over Income”, he’s aided thousands in achieving personal and professional growth. Dustin, a devoted father and entrepreneur, is on a mission to share the countless lessons he’s learned while building a $100M+ business.


Sales And Business Smarts: The Ultimate Mental Game Playbook With Dustin Gutkowski

Introduction And Background

You’re going to love this guest. His name is Dustin. The last name is Gutkowski. He owns a company that is called Results Roofing. He grew this company from $0 to $40 million now in its 4th year, about $75 million in sales over four years. We’re going to talk a lot about the mental game. I’m grateful Dustin’s here. The reason behind that is he didn’t have an easy upbringing in life. He’s made money, got knocked down, made money, got knocked down. He is a young guy and he has this focus on the mental skills game. We’re going to talk about no matter where you are, and no matter what you do, if you get knocked down, how you get up again and play the sales success in the majority of what it is in the mental skills game.

Whether you own a company, you run a company, you are a sales professional, an independent salesperson, you could be anything – this is how you will get knocked down and get back up again. We’re going to talk about that. Without further ado, well, before I go there, I want to let you know if you are interested in improving your sales game. We are running out of what we call the 1% Academy and we’re going to teach people how to work, think, act like 1% earners. If you want to learn those skills, reach out to us at YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com. Send us an email and we will get back to you. Let’s go talk to Dustin right now.

Dustin, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.

You have a fantastic story. Why don’t you tell people what you do and then we’ll get into the story. It’s amazing to me.

Roofing is the bread and butter. I own Results Roofing, Owner and Founder. Since Results Roofing, there’s been a couple of sister companies that we do that have been spun on. We’ve opened multiple offices, but we have Paintless Dent Repair, which is if your home gets hit with hell, your car as well, we have an insurance supplement business. We have a production company, a marketing company, and then we’ve invested in some pretty big brands like, for instance, GOAT Fuel, which I was literally on the phone with Jerry Rice about.

We have done free Reign Coffee, that’s with Cole Hauser from Yellowstone, and Tiff’s Treats’ cookies. We’ve done Liquid Death, which was another big one then a couple small ones that have been fun. We did one, Snaps Clothing which I’m a huge fan of, some like Pearl Snap shirts for work, but Results Roofing is the bread and butter. That’s our majority company, but it’s led to a lot of these other things. It’s been a fun journey so far, to say the least.

I appreciate this journey. For readers, I want to set the frame a little more on you. You were at a place where basically you had no money, you were in a down place, but you got knocked down, you got back up, and you built this roofing company. How big is the roofing company now? How many tens of millions?

In 2023, the roofing we did $40 million in the roofing and then everything together, like the evaluation we had was a little over $100 million for everything that’s been in a four-year run.

We’ve added $10 million per year every year over four years. Prior to that, I remember our initial conversation, and by the way folks, Dustin doesn’t always sound like the Godfather. He has been on tons of live speaking events. You and I discussed this. I remember one time I made a bad business decision and ended up with $400 in my pocket, sleeping on somebody’s sofa. You were in a place like that. Could you give me the backstory?

We go way back if we want to go to the original, how it led up to there. I was a kid who grew up in a rough part of town. We grew up in a trailer park. We were dirt poor. My mom had me when she was seventeen. She was a kid and she had a kid. My father was nowhere in the picture. I don’t even know his name. I know we talked about that. It’s like we tried ancestry. We tried these other things and no luck. I did multiple paternity tests when my mom did and no luck. It’s how it worked out. My mom got remarried. My stepdad and my mother had a rocky relationship to say the least, physical abuse, mental abuse, we were dirt poor. Our trailer was run down. Half of the time we had no running water or electricity and it was a rough upbringing.

It was go to school, secondhand clothes, use shoes with holes in them. It was tough, but we didn’t know any better. Looking back, it was hard. At the time, you thought it was life. That led to a lot of poor choices because I thought that’s how you lived a life. I didn’t know any better. That was how it started. It took me five years to graduate high school because I didn’t care. I didn’t have this picture of what I wanted my life to be. I didn’t know who I was, therefore, I didn’t know what I wanted. I coasted through life making stupid decisions. I had a lot of success in the sales game. I got into the fitness industry after I graduated high school. I was selling gym memberships. I worked my way up from a sales guide to a sales manager, to a general manager, to a regional manager, all the way up to vice president right before I got in roofing.

I could have gotten further had I made better decisions. I made a lot of emotional decisions that I look back on that were a part of my upbringing that I never grew up from because I played this victim role my whole life. I always thought it was everybody else’s fault but my own. It forced me to make a lot of bad decisions. I’ll tell you, when I was about 24, I was making good money in the fitness industry. This was back in ‘05 or ‘06 roughly. I was making $100,000-plus a year. I was making poor decisions, going out every night. I got fired and I lost my car. I got repoed. I lost my house. I lost everything. In my next job, I was living in my car for like 30 days.

I remember that feeling of it wasn’t coming from the slums. It was getting up out of it and then going back. That was the worst feeling ever. So you know that this went on for 15 or 16 years. I had my son before we opened the roofing company to lead up to it, I was managing health clubs and I decided to get in the roofing industry. I was making a lot of money at the time. I was making about $150,000 or $170,000. I decided I wanted more. I wanted to do something else. I made this jump from the fitness industry, safe money, and salary to roofing, which was no salary. I felt flat on my face. We went from having money in our savings account to within four months, we had less than $300. 

We had nothing on our credit cards. We had 30 days to come up with money for next month’s rent. This time I had a one-year-old son. My wife is pregnant with our second child. She’s looking to go back to work. It crushed me because I had made her this promise that she could stay home and raise our children. Here we don’t even have $300 in our count. I’m driving Uber Eats to literally put dinner on the table. I’m working twelve hours a day in this roofing thing, making zero money. It was tough, man. It was a very emotional place for me to be, a very mentally draining place, that I’d put myself in this situation. I didn’t care about myself as much. It was the fact that I put my wife and my son in this situation that bothered me. That was what led up to the roofing company getting started and taken off.

Certainly, our environment can absolutely influence us the reason. I’m grateful you’re here because I hear all the time people, some people had rough stories growing up, some people had easy stories growing up, and some people had amazing like, “My parents own 27,000 acres of land and they sold them off. We’re billionaires.” The reality is that no matter what level I’ve talked to a human being, they’ve all knocked down at some point.

Certainly, our environment can shape our thoughts. I can relate to what you were talking about because I remember my mother looking for quarters to feed us in the sofa cushions and under the carpet when I was growing up. We always made a living, but like you said, you didn’t know you were poor by every other standard per se, but you thought it was life at that time. I felt the same way. What I also heard you say, and I can relate to this, is our brain takes us out of it if we want to, as long as we’re taking action. How did that happen for you?

Overcoming Mental Barriers

It’s weird how your ears hear what’s on your mind when you’re looking for what’s wrong. It’s always going to be wrong. When you’re looking for what’s right or opportunity, I look at any time something happens in life, your brain’s going to go to two different things, problem or solution. That’s literally every single time. When something comes to you, if you’ve trained yourself to constantly look at problems, that’s all you’re going to see. I think I felt like that my whole life. I remember one day, it was a Sunday and I had gotten done driving Uber Eats the night before. My wife calls me, it was raining. When I say raining, it was sprinkling. When roofing, you typically don’t work in the rain. It was drizzling and I had no money.

CEO Sales Strategies | Dustin Gutkowski | Sales Mental Game
Sales Mental Game: If you’ve trained yourself to constantly look at problems, that’s all you’re going to see.

She was like, “Do you have any money coming in?” I was like, “Yes,” but I didn’t. I go out on a Sunday and I knock on like my third door and this guy opens the door, big dude like, “What do you want?” “You roofers come out everywhere.” He saw my SUV. We had an SUV. He goes, “Let me guess. You were delivering pizzas and now you’re a roofer because we had a small storm.” It hurt me because I was. I was literally driving Uber Eats. I’m 35 or 36 years old. I came from this corporate job where I was a VP and now I’m delivering food to pay for my family and I have no money. I got in my car and I started crying.

I remember crying uncontrollably. I remember my wife called me at that time and she’s like, “What are you doing?” She’s like, “I thought you weren’t going to work today because of the rain.” I’m like, “I’m trying to make something happen.” Her friend had called her and offered her a job and she said, “I’m going to take it.” That happened too. I’m like, “This is crazy. This is all happening at once.” I called my old mentor and I said, “I need a job. Are you guys hiring?” He’s like, “I thought you were doing the roofing.” “Yeah, but let me know if you have something.” He was like, “You have to give me 30 or 60 days before that could happen but I can get you something.” I’m like, “I got to do something. I have this major problem. What am I going to do to fix it? Sitting in my car is not going to help it.”

I put on some training videos, it was weird. I was like, “I need to make some type of effort.” Go back to what you’ve done your whole life, fight through this. I put on a couple of training videos. I get out of the car and I go knock on the door. It was bad, but it was better. I had my headphones in one ear and as I was walking, I was listening. As soon as somebody would answer, I’d pause it and I start talking, then I realized what got me back to, it’s like, “Life is about relationships. Create this relationship with people and offer a service.” I noticed the next one was better, the third one was better.

Life is about relationships. Share on X

I knock on my 6th or 7th door and this guy comes out and he’s missing shingles. I start talking to him and I’m like, “You’re missing shingles.” The guy comes out like, “Help me.” I get my first roof. I’m excited. I don’t know what to do. He was like, “Can you tarp my roof?” I had no idea what I was doing, but I had all this stuff in my car. I ended up tarping this guy’s roof after two hours. All I did was slow down and talk to him. I remember he gave me his sister’s rental property and there was a friend. I ended up getting five roofs in that one day on a day I wasn’t supposed to be there. It changed my life and the course of my life because I wouldn’t be here without that day.

What changed it for me was like, “I have these problems. So what? Nobody cares man. You have a problem. Focus on the solution.” I remember that day I said, “I have this problem, what’s the solution?” I started focusing on every time something happened to me, a challenge, I said, “We don’t have problems. We have challenges and opportunities to overcome them.” I started changing my thought process on it. It helped me not be the victim. I would play like, “How am I going to be a great father? I didn’t even know my father.” I said, “I know everything what not to do. Just do the opposite. I can create this new legacy.” I stopped looking at what could go wrong and what if it goes right.

I stopped looking at, “Why am I giving my parents this power over me? Why am I giving my upbringing this power over me? Why am I blaming them? My parents aren’t here anymore. My mom’s not with me right now. My trailer park’s not with me right now. I haven’t been there in twenty years. I’m making excuses right now. I’m in my own way. It’s not their fault, it’s my fault.” That simple thing of switching from a problem to a solution changed the course of my life and realizing that I was not a victim. I was given every opportunity in the world. I wasn’t taking advantage of them. Everything that happened to me, I had a choice on how I responded to it, and I responded the wrong way.

I’m good friends with a man named Russ Whitney. Russ owns a part in Rich Dad Poor Dad. He wrote numerous books and eventually had a $1 billion company. He grew up in a very rough environment, chained to radiators when he was a kid. All awful things. He said something to me one day when I was working with him, which is exactly what you said. I said, “How do things change?” He said, “I stopped focusing on problems and I started focusing on solutions.” The reason I want to bring that up is I want people to understand while we’re talking here that no matter who in life, they have problems, we’re always going to have problems. If we focus on that problem, we’re going to keep asking the wrong questions. We’re going to ask questions about the problem. Internally, we ask those questions. If we are asking questions about solutions, we come up with better-quality questions for ourselves.

I heard a huge motivation for you, which was your family. You made a promise to your wife, you had a child at the time. You had another one on the way. You knew what you wanted, even if you couldn’t express it at that time potentially. We internally know what we want. You had this huge why and you decided, “My why is going to win over my past. I’m going to commit to what I want because I want this. My why is going to win over the past. I’m committed to making a better future for my family, myself, and for everything. I’m going to make a change, focus on solutions, and I’m going to take one step a day, point my nose in the wind of the direction I want to go, and keep going because you are going to have bad days.”

Success And Sales

You showed up and the guy who was like, “You’re a roofer? You were selling pizzas.” I’ve had many a day like that. I remember one time I drove almost two hours one way to an appointment when I didn’t have a lot of money and I was banking on this sale. I showed up to a “secret meeting”. I was the only guy there. I’m grateful to have you on this show. We’re going to get into that sales also is a mental skills game. We can have the greatest skills in the world, but if we lack this mental part of it, we’re going to be less effective. If we have the mental part of it and we lack some of the skills, we’re still going to be more effective in the sales game. You’re there. You made your first sale, internally celebrating, everything’s going amazing for that moment. How does this relate to selling $40 million worth of services and products over the next four years of that process?

We did $3 million in year one, $10 million in year two, $20 million in year three, and $40 million in year four, totaling $75 million in sales in four years. I never lost track of the people. I’m taking care of people because my life is blessed, but I also know that five years ago, I had less than $300 to my name. I was on the verge of being homeless with a family. I’m not naive to the fact that in four years that could be the spot I’m at if I don’t do what I need to do. I also understand that there are people out there like me who need one person to believe in them. I used to think that it was a negative, that I was the way I was. I used to think that people were weak-minded and that I was a terrible leader.

If people didn’t think like me, act like me, I didn’t want them around me. Then, when I opened the company – because, to backup, the first 10 months I was in roofing, I worked for another company and then I created my own, so it’s the last four years, but I’ve been in roofing for almost five years. I used to think everyone needed to be like me. Now, I’m grateful that I’m able to shield everyone from the bullshit, take it and deflect it off of them. I feel like how that used to be negative, like people call me to vent or express things. Now they need me to do that because they’re not at a stage of their life to handle it. It’s my duty to walk them through that. I take a lot of pride in that.

I take a lot of honor and being able to help them and pass it on because I think the ultimate fulfillment is impacting people, your wife, kids, or your significant other, but those people who are directly in contact with you, like watching you impact them and then impacting others is huge. I never lost track of the people. I never got like, “I’m the man.” When people ask me like, “You’re successful,” I don’t think it’s true. I only gauge my success by being a good husband and a good father. I think that’s the ultimate success. I ground myself in being a father, it is the most important thing in the world to me, like my wife of being a mother. I pride myself on that. I don’t get caught up in the “success” of the business. I take it one day at a time and I’m trying to improve as a person.

CEO Sales Strategies | Dustin Gutkowski | Sales Mental Game
Sales Mental Game: The ultimate fulfillment is impacting people.

I’m trying to improve as a father, a friend, a husband. I’m trying to be a better person each day, which I think allows me to help with the business. I had that success. I tell myself, “Are your feelings more important than your family?” To me, it boils down to that. When I get emotional about something, I’ve got to put it away because my family’s counting on me. My work family is counting on me. I don’t have time to be in my feelings. When I went through this struggle in the roofing industry, I wanted to create my own legacy and make my kids proud of me and my wife proud that they had my last name. I’m the only Gutkowski because it’s not my dad’s last name. I’m literally starting this heritage from when our son was born.

I take a lot of pride in that, “One day you guys are all going to know the Gutkowski last name and you’re going to be proud that that’s your last name. We’re going to create this legacy that I get the chance to start.” If it fails, it’s on me and no one else. I knew there were people out there who needed that one person to believe in them, why not be me? Why not I be the person that believes in them and gives them that confidence to go out there and create something special for them and their family? When I started it, that was the goal. It was to impact customers. It was like, “Mister and Mrs. Jones had a hailstorm. Their roof is totaled. They’re dealing with a hundred different contractors. They don’t know who to pick. There are all these untrusted contractors in the industry. It’s unregulated in Texas.”

Why not be the person who provides great service and takes care of them? Why not be the person who is able to take that bad situation and turn it into a positive? Which I think it speaks for itself. We have about 912 reviews. We have a five-star rating on Google. We’ve been in business for years. Taking care of those customers. It flips from not only taking care of the customers, but can take care of our people as well and provides this place where they can come from all different cultures, all different backgrounds, and do something special together. I’ve never lost track of that this is a people business. I’m in the business of building people. I’m in the business of helping people. Roofing is a vehicle and I don’t think I’ve made it. I laugh and say, “When I was a homeless kid, fourteen, living on a park bench to where I’m at right now, I’m still much further away from where I’m going than that. That it’s not even close.”

I want to take everyone with me. All these people who believed in my vision mean the world to me. They could have picked anywhere else in the world to work, and they decided to work here. I owe them everything. I want to take them with me. I want to help them achieve their goals and dreams. It’s what I ground myself in. I don’t care about the cars, the house, and the money. It’s a vehicle to help us get there. I care about being the best version of myself and creating a legacy that’s going to inspire other leaders and inspire others to create a legacy in my family. That’s the most important thing to me. It’s trying to build infinite life in a finite time. It’s a game that never ends for me.

That’s what keeps me motivated. Maybe it doesn’t work for everybody else. You have to find who you are. When you find who you are, you can understand the things you want. That’s what makes me tick. I don’t try to be motivated by things that don’t. You can’t entice me with money. You can’t entice me with a car. You can’t bribe me with that stuff. It’s not what excites me. Now, it does excite other people. If it does, then you should chase that. I fully support that. It doesn’t for me.

You used the words gauge yourself, family, husband, father, being the best version of yourself. You’re very clear. This is what I want people to get. Sit down, take a piece of paper, go to a quiet place, sit in the woods, sit by the beach, whatever, and write down how are you going to live your life, and engage yourself going forward. So many people don’t do this. I heard you ask “why not” questions versus “why is.” You’re focusing on solution questions constantly in your head at this moment like, “Why not do this? These are the possibilities. Let’s focus on the solution.” You’re also paying it back, which is another trait of a great leader. Frankly, I’ve worked with many great leaders and they all want to pay it back. You said something key.

It’s your responsibility to make this happen. You’re taking this upon yourself. You’re not looking at it as failure. You’re not looking at this as success, but you look at this as responsibility. I want everybody to know, whoever’s running a company, they own a company, or you’re selling, you have your own internal responsibility for whatever you’re trying to do. When you’re clear on that point, things change when you focus like you’re doing, Dustin, on solutions versus problems.

I’ve had similar things happen in my life, and it is like, “Aw.” You go from everything’s good to being knocked down. I wrote down Kevin Hart’s name, the comedian, because I remember watching something with him one time, and he said in very similar language that you did, he also said this about Hollywood. He’s like, “This isn’t real. People think that this Hollywood thing’s real, but it could end tomorrow. Your career could end tomorrow, and you’re back to being Kevin Hart who nobody knew. You’ve got to always maintain yourself and play the game within that process,” as long as he had himself, and I’ve heard many people like yourself say the same thing, “As long as I’m focused on that and I know that’s the important part, the rest is a game. It’s a game to play.”

It’s a game. I go, “How do you build a successful business?” I’m like, “At some point in our life, we all played video games no matter what. I grew up playing NCAA and Madden football. I used to love to create the sty mode where you create your own player and you take them through high school, then combine college and you go to the pros. That’s what life is like for me.” I’m playing a video game in business, and it’s literally my video game. It’s what I love to do. It is my hobby and it’s fun to me. I don’t get it twisted in thinking that people are like, “You got to live for others.” You can’t. You have to make yourself happy because it’s the conversation.

I couldn’t do what I do without my wife. My wife is at home taking care of our three children, and she’s a phenomenal mom. She’s the most incredible mom I’ve ever met in my life. I’m thankful for her, especially not having a mom who’s there and sacrifices much for us. She couldn’t be a great mom if I’m not providing the financial need. I couldn’t provide the financial need if she wasn’t a great mom. You have to be open and honest with those conversations of like, “I can’t do what she does and she doesn’t do what I do.” I don’t question her protecting our castle. I support her in the decisions she makes because I know she’s going to make the best decision for our family. Then she doesn’t question the decisions I make outside the castle to protect it from outside intruders and to build it bigger and better.

We work together. She wants me home. I always have conversations with her because if I’m not chasing my goals and dreams, I will never ever be able to be happy at home for her or the kids. We have an open dialogue about what we want, what we need, and how we can do it. It works together and it works for us. If I was working an 8:00 to 5:00 every day, I’d be miserable. I’d be a terrible husband and I’d probably be a terrible father. That’s me. I have friends, on the other hand, who work 8:00 to 5:00 and they take weekends with their kids. They live a happy life, but they’re not complaining about more. I want to do more. We have those conversations. It’s understanding yourself. It’s understanding who you are.

It’s making yourself happy because I spent my entire life trying to people please. I wanted everyone around me to accept me. I wanted to be their friend. I spent my life trying to people please and get them to like me but I never got to like myself. Now I focus on making myself happy. Obviously, I have my wife and kids, but I’m okay with being alone and having no friends besides them and being happier than being miserable and having 10,000 friends because I’m trying to make them happy. Ironically what happens is because you’re authentic, you end up getting more friends and you get real friends, but it’s a switch that we don’t understand because we think by trying to please everyone and make everyone happy that we are, which in turn, you’re not going to make any of them happy, then you’re going to make yourself miserable.

When you're authentic, you end up gaining more real friends. Share on X

Being our true selves and identifying what’s clear in that in our lives. Like you, I was a people pleaser growing up. Literally, I’d give the shirt off my back if somebody was cold. I was that guy. I love what you said. You can’t live for others. You have to live for yourself. If we want to be better people, better for society, better husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers, one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is to be ourselves. Let them see who that person is and teach them to be the same because in society, in general, growing up, there’s much pressure not to be yourself, how to conform, and walk on the right side of the road.

“Maybe I like the view on the left. There’s a lake over there. I like being on that side.” You can’t because society says this, school says that or whatever. There are rules that we all live by and govern our lives. That’s not what I’m talking about. Violating what I see people do, what I did, which I came out of and I see you have done the same thing, is we’re not violating the rules of society. If we’re violating the rules of our own self, we’re paying the highest price and so is everybody else around us. The best gift we can give the world is to be that true, authentic self. That’s what I’m hearing you say.

The rest, you’re building a team part of the success that you have. Your wife runs the castle. She’s the queen of the castle. That’s it. You let that happen because you’re surrounding yourself with great team members in the business itself. I know you were doing that before because in our conversation prior to recording this, you also said that you folks train your salespeople. The majority of your sales training for all of your sales members is training them on these concepts and the mental game. That’s what you folks do.

The Importance Of Team And Training

It’s not about the numbers. It’s about being a better person because most people are struggling at work. It’s because they’re struggling with something mentally, either at work or personal. Most of the time it’s personal. If you can help them overcome that hurdle, they’re going to be an A player. It’s usually not the sales tactic. We get caught up in these sales tactics and shortcuts. You should learn the skill. You should get better. If you’re in sports and you’re a basketball player, you don’t shoot better free throws or three-pointers because you got better mentally and you read some books. You have to practice the free throws.

CEO Sales Strategies | Dustin Gutkowski | Sales Mental Game
Sales Mental Game: It’s not about the numbers. It’s about being a better person because most people are struggling mentally, either at work or personally. If you can help them overcome that hurdle, they will be an A player.

I’m saying the extra, if you take someone who is a nine in sales, and you take another person who’s a nine in sales, but one of them is mentally strong, he’s going to wear out the other one. It’s not even going to be close because we prepare people for that. We do some of the sales training, but it’s preparing for what’s going on. It’s talking through those challenges. It’s allowing yourself to understand you’re going to feel some type of way. To me, it boils down to two things. Nick Saban said this and huge on this was that, “There’s things in life that you know you have to do, but you don’t want to do them. Can you still make yourself do it?”

On the flip side, which is why I think most people mess up, there are things that you want to do, but you know you shouldn’t do them. Are you able to tell yourself no? That’s what self-discipline is talking through that with people, letting them know and getting over those mental hurdles, and caring. Not just texting them, “What’s your numbers?” Calling and texting to check in on them, “How’s life? How’s the family?” Have a real, authentic conversation and being vulnerable.

I’m very vulnerable in the things that I say and I do. I don’t think I’m better than anyone on the team. I’ve been through a lot, and I’m going to try to help them identify hurdles that are going to come up or pitfalls. I want you to avoid them if you can. When people ask me these questions, they’re like, “What’s the one thing you would do differently when you opened the company?” I’m like, “Nothing.” We got here, and I’m excited about where we’re at. I go, “The problem is we want these shortcuts on how we can speed it up and there are not shortcuts.

You can network and meet people that can open other doors for you. That’s going to increase opportunity. If you’re not doing the right work, it’s not going to matter anyway, but we don’t want to hear that. It takes self-discipline, time, and hard work. We don’t want to hear the 100-hour weeks. We don’t want to hear about you missing your kid’s birthday party. We want to hear what’s the sexy secret that you can do to trim $40 million in one year. You can’t. There’s none. Do all those things. For me, it’s understand that be unrealistically realistic with your team on what they can achieve, but what it’s going to take. We tell people in this industry, “You can make $250,000 a year in roofing sales.”

What people don’t tell you is that takes 6 or 7 days a week to work for 10 to 12 hours a day. You don’t work part-time and achieve that, but a lot of people don’t want to have that conversation. When someone’s struggling, I always like to identify it as three things. The first one is if they won’t do it, you’ve got to get rid of them fast. You fire them because if they won’t do something, that means they’re refusing, they know the difference, and they’re trying to cause chaos and be a cancer. The second one is they can’t do it if it’s a skill issue. It’s a can’t, won’t or maybe.

If they can’t do it, it is because they’re maybe not trained properly and they don’t understand it. Maybe they lack a little bit of confidence. If they can’t do it, it’s your job and your role to train them and to show them and to show, tell, and do. I feel like most people fall under the “maybe” category. They maybe can do it, but they’re either going through something personal, they’re going through something at work, or maybe they’re mad at you or the company and they feel frustrated.

Where you win in business is taking the maybes because if you can get them outside of their own head, they’re going to win big for you. They’re going to want to stay with you forever because you’re the person that got them through that. I feel like many times we don’t have empathy when we’re dealing with our team. We feel like they make a mistake and they’re stupid. They don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s like, “Who trained them? You. Who hired them? You.”

This is why I think being a father played such a large role in me. I’m not comparing employees to kids, but I am because it taught me to have patience. I look at my six-year-old, and when he’s acting a fool talking about his new thing, poop. He was like, “Poop.” When he says it at the kitchen table, I’m like, “You can’t say that in front of people.”

Instead of yelling and screaming at him, it’s like, “Stop it.” He’s six years old. I’m trying to get him to act like me at 41. You probably start figuring things out at 3 or 4 years old. You start to experience things. I have 38 years of experience. He’s six. He has about three. I’m trying to get him to learn in three years what it took me to learn at 38. No. I want to coach him through why you can’t do that and why it’s not appropriate to talk about that, not just chastise them and yell and scream at them.

I do the same thing with the employees. I’ve been doing roofing for, call it five years, but I put in a lot of time. I probably, early on, averaged 90 to 100 hours a week. I probably have 10 to 12 years in business. Before that, I worked in the health clubs where I was working 6 to 7 days a week, putting in a lot of time. I have a lot of experience. I’m expecting someone who’s maybe 21 or 24 years old, that this is their first or second job and they have no leadership experience. They’ve never gone through the proper coaching channels. I’m expecting them to learn something in a month that it took me fifteen years to learn. I want to have empathy from them on why they made that mistake.

Let me talk them through it. Let me coach them on it. A lot of times you find out they’re going through something and you can help them coach them through that. It’s having that empathy for people to understand the mental battles of it, to understand what to look for, to understand it’s okay to feel a certain type of way. It’s helped people not only put up extraordinary numbers but then become better people and become leaders that are now passing that on to other people and creating other leaders. We have leaders creating leaders who are creating leaders who are impacting others. It’s that cycle that’s been incredible to watch over this four-year run.

CEO Sales Strategies | Dustin Gutkowski | Sales Mental Game
Sales Mental Game: Empathy unlocks potential. Understanding mental struggles empowers people to excel. This creates a ripple effect of strong, compassionate leaders uplifting others.

It reminded me of a statement that people used to ask all the time. I was around famous people in a lot of ways like musicians, Tony Robbins, and guys like that, public people. People used to say, “I want to have it. The success has to come like bam.” We’d be like, “It doesn’t work that way. How long did you think it took Mr. Robbins to be an overnight success? How many years do you think it took?” That type of thing.

What I loved about what you said was you’ve got to put in the work, the dues, and pay the price one way or another. But it goes back to exactly what you said. You have friends who work five days a week and spend time with their kids because that’s what they truly value in their life. That is part of who they truly are. What I want people to take out of this whole conversation, which I think you’ve illustrated amazingly, is our life as human beings, our individual and we’re responsible for our own individual happiness and success, there are no barriers or no boundaries for most people that do this, but that has to come from a decision of knowing our true selves and who our true self is.

If we take time to figure that out, the rest starts falling into place. As long as you do what you said, the people who you know won’t do it, can’t do it, or maybe can do it. Those are the three things that we’ve got to figure out and not let us not get back up and not focus on solutions when we get knocked down. We’re always going to have a day here and there. People generally do. If we’re going to run a company, we’re going to run, be a business owner, we’re going to be a top sales professional.

A lot of people ask me, “How long does it take to get into the top 1% of selling?” I say, “Two years with a lot of hard studies, dedication, and moving forward.” They go, “That’s too long.” I’d say, “What? You want to be in the top 1% earners brackets and you’re not willing to put two years into that process. Why?” It goes back to exactly what you started out with the mental game. They’re not clear on it. They won’t play the game. They won’t commit to the things they should and they will commit to the things that they should not do in order to achieve that goal. Ultimately, it’s a want, but it’s not a committed want. That’s what I hope people take out of this conversation that we’re having is get to that committed want of what is the truth. When we do that, as you’ve proved on this call and in life, things start falling into place.


The universe wants to align around that. I can only imagine, I don’t know what happens after we all die, but you can only imagine like whatever universal energy that’s out there. If we don’t live our true authentic selves, we go to wherever we’re in front of, whatever it is, the truth board or whatever, and somebody gets up, walks over, slap someone upside the head and says, “Why did you waste 90 years trying to do this? I sent you 3000 messages over that time period.” Anything you want to say in closing? This has been an amazing episode, thank you for being here.

One of my best friends, his name’s Rogers Eley, he’s a realtor. He is a great guy that we do some business together and we both like these two quotes. He says, “Be you. Everyone else is taken.” And it hits hard.” That’s a big one. I always tell my son like, “Be you. They’ll adjust.” It comes down to being yourself. I think people struggle with the commitment aspect because they don’t know what they want. The reason they don’t know what they want is because they don’t know who they are. You were talking about that they want it fast. I think they want it fast because they don’t want it. It’s like, “Let me get it now.”

People struggle with commitment because they don't know what they really want. This lack of clarity often stems from a deeper uncertainty: who they truly are. Share on X

Part of life is figuring out who you are, which will then open up what you want. For everybody out there, look, start small. You can dream big, but set your goals as small. We teach financial goals because it’s a good metric to follow. If you made $50,000 last year and you’re in sales and you want to make more, put a goal of $75,00 or $100,000, whatever it is, because that’s a good metric for you to follow if you’re doing the right work, but it’s not going to bring fulfillment. I love when the competition wants material things because I’m going to smoke them. I know when it gets hard, they’re not going to be able to keep up. I know when they hit that $1 million a year target, they’re going to fall off because that’s all they’re chasing.

When they realize they hit that $1 million, there’s no fulfillment. They don’t know where to go. Although those things are good to have along the way like, “I’m going to buy a Lamborghini because I got made fun of for my secondhand hand-me-down, second-generation hoopty car.” When you get that Lambo, that’s part of the process. You’ve got to have this North Star that’s going to guide you. The reason why I can tell you this, I have this dream when it’s all said and done, what it’s going to look like? I feel like people that are chasing success have that. I have this scenario of sports of they’re hanging my jersey in the rafters. I’m giving my retirement speech and what does it look like?

I add to it and I subtract, but the main thing is the main thing. When distractions come my way, I don’t get caught up in them because I know where I’m going. When a challenge hit me in the face, it doesn’t matter. I know where I’m going, focused on solutions. It allows me to eliminate all these things along the way that don’t tie me down because I’m chasing something big. On the flip side, when I didn’t have goals and dreams and I had these fake goals of, “I want to make six figures. I want this,” when something bad happened, I’d get wrapped up in it because I didn’t know where I was going. If you don’t have a vision, vision is about seeing, you’re not going to see where you’re going. It’s like if I told you like, I don’t know where you’re at right now, but if I said, “Let’s meet in Dallas at 4:00,” and you’re like, “Where? I’ll figure it out.”

“What do you mean? I’m going to meet you at 4:00 in Dallas.” Between DFW, there’s no way we’re going to find each other. That’s how we’re living our life. We think we’re going to find something that we don’t even have a map or a clue where we’re going. For everybody out there, set a destination for yourself, set a target and set it big, but then set smaller goals along the way that give you a metric to hit them. Be yourself and keep chasing. Don’t worry about what everyone else says because they’re not a part of it. They’re not a part of your journey. They’re not going to be there and they’re not going to understand it’s your goal, not theirs, to block out the noise.

CEO Sales Strategies | Dustin Gutkowski | Sales Mental Game
Sales Mental Game: Define your destination or target, then break it down into achievable milestones and keep chasing them.

Let them talk down to you because the people that try to talk you out of your dreams are people that are never going to accomplish shit in their life anyways. They’re not going to accomplish dreams. They’re going to try to bring you down. You don’t get ahead of them. Don’t get caught up in that stuff. Be yourself. Be authentic. You have to work hard towards it and dream big because you can’t achieve it. If a guy like me, a white trash kid from the trailer park, had no sense, five years to graduate high school, played the victim my whole life – if someone like me can do these things, I promise you everybody out there can do it.

Thank you so much for being here, for bringing the A game. I appreciate it. Folks, if you want to know more about Dustin or if they want to get in touch with you, is there any way for them to figure out a little bit more?

On social media, @DustinGutkowski. I’m probably the only one on there, all social media platforms. If you have any questions or anything at all, reach out to me. I would love to connect on there.

Dustin, thanks for being on the show.

I hope you have a lot of notes. I’ve got a ton of notes. There are many things that we talked about, and I would implore you, if you liked this episode, to go back and read this not just once or twice. Start pulling out all the nuggets. Focusing on problems versus solutions will never get us anything but questions of more problems. In other words, focusing on solutions, as Dustin was saying, is the way to go. I have learned that in my own life. I’ve learned that being around some of the best leaders out there. They do focus on solutions. They ask why-not questions versus why is like, “Why is this happening to me?”

Your brain is going to come back and go, “Because,” and then you’re going to fill in the blanks. If you ask why-not questions like, “Why not have something different than I’m experiencing right now?” Your brain’s going to come back and go, “Because,” and it’s going to give you a better answer. In other words, the quality of our questions, to quote Tony Robbins, determines the quality of our life, but the quality of our questions is focused on the quality of our brain thinking in one path or another. Think about this, anything that’s ever been bad that you focus on is bad. You’re going to put yourself into a state of anxiety, frustration, anger, fear, and whatever it might be. All these negative emotions drive cortisol through our body, creating adrenaline coming in there.

We’re going to keep in that cycle until it burns out, then eventually we might solve the issue. But if we focus on the solution, 1) It’s going to limit down what we’re focusing on. 2) It’s going to focus on us on creating better chemicals in our bodies. We might still have adrenaline, but it’s going to create better chemicals in our bodies. It’s going to give our brain the ability to focus, we’re going to ask better quality questions, therefore we’re going to have a better outcome. Most importantly, a quicker outcome. You’ll resolve things fast compared to focusing on the problem.

That was one real big thing, asking quality questions. I love what he said and what he tells his children, “Be you because everybody else will adjust.” When you are your true, authentic self, everyone will adjust. Why? They don’t have a choice because you’re being your true, authentic self. If you don’t deviate from that true authenticity, then people who are going to challenge you are going to realize, “It’s not worth the challenge.” People who are going to support you are going to hang around and they’re going to continue to keep supporting you.

People who are your true friends will stay your true friends most of the time. All of these great things happen from the lessons that we talked about. I hope you got a ton of notes. Be true to yourself. Identify what that is. If you don’t know what it is, seriously, grab a pen or a pencil, take a notebook, go sit someplace quiet in nature. Take a walk through the woods, sit by the ocean, sit by the lake, wherever you feel at peace, and write the question, “Who am I truly? What do I truly want?” When you know what you want, you know why you want it, and you’re committed, it’s not just, “I want this” but it’s a commitment. You will take action.

As Dustin was saying, “Are you committed to doing the things you know you must do, even though you say, ‘I may not want to do that,’ or are you committed to, ‘I know I shouldn’t do this, but I’m doing it anyways?” because those two different paths diverging the woods. Robert Frost wrote that poem that is no different than “Are you focusing on solutions or are you focusing on the lack of, which is a problem?”

If you love this episode, please review it. I would be very grateful if you would do so. If you want to identify in your business who your true buyers are, how to work, think, and be like a 1% earner, we’re rolling out our academy and you can send us an email at YouMatter@CEOSalesStrategies.com. We will respond to every single email that comes to us. If you don’t hear back from us within 24 hours, please send a second one because we didn’t get your email. Otherwise, you’ll hear back from us.

If you want a copy of our 1% nonstop earner eBook, go to www.CEOSalesStrategies.com/1PE and you’ll be able to get a free copy of the book. Until next time, go out and sell something today. Play the sales mental game. Go out and drive a little bit harder today than you did a little bit less yesterday. Remember, if you get better 1% a day in your mindset, in your sales success, in your mental skills, your sales skills, and you take that out, in 70 days, you’ll be twice as good. Thank you to one of my mentors who taught me that. I ran those numbers out for a whole year. You’re 37 times better than you were when you started. Play win-win. Don’t discount. Help somebody. Solve a problem. Help somebody gain a better future. It’s the best type of sale out there. Until next time, to your success.

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