1725 – Veteran’s Day Special: Unleashing the Power of Independent Thinking in Your Business with Total Business Results’ Robert Poole

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Co-Founder & Owner of Total Business Results, Robert Poole.

Poole wide

Robert's journey began 22 years ago, focusing on B2B cold calling. However, a life-altering event, his business partner's heart attack, led him to reevaluate his role and the future of his company.

This catalyzed Robert's mission to create a business that could thrive without his constant presence, a mission he now shares with other small business owners.

Robert shared his insights on addressing common issues such as overworking and the exhaustion that comes from constantly generating ideas. He emphasized the importance of building a strong team and fostering independent thinking within a small business.

Robert shared his experience implementing weekly meetings with his team, focusing on working on the business rather than just in it. He discussed the significance of trust in remote work environments, especially in today's context.

He discussed the importance of utilizing resources and seeking advice from knowledgeable individuals. He also acknowledged that finding solutions can be a customized process, depending on the specific circumstances and opportunities available. Robert highlighted the satisfaction that comes from overcoming challenges and solving big problems.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Robert Poole's background as the co-founder and CEO of Total Business Results
  • The challenges faced by entrepreneurs, such as long hours and feeling overwhelmed
  • The importance of finding a balance between work and personal life
  • Total Business Results' focus on helping clients generate revenue, build the right team, create a strong company culture, and implement effective systems and processes
  • The significance of personal growth and development for business success, as influenced by Tony Robbins' teachings
  • The importance of learning from failures and seeing them as opportunities for growth
  • Building a strong team and fostering independent thinking within a small business
  • The significance of trust in remote work environments and creating a culture of ownership and maturity
  • The need for customized marketing strategies and testing different techniques
  • Utilizing resources and seeking advice from knowledgeable individuals to determine the best course of action

About Robert Poole:

Robert Poole is a seasoned entrepreneur and the co-founder/CEO of Total Business Results, a leading marketing firm specializing in aiding small B2B businesses in boosting sales and revenue. With over two decades of experience in entrepreneurship, business consulting, and marketing, Robert crafts tailored marketing strategies to help clients achieve consistent growth.

A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point with a degree in Economics, Poole served as a US Army officer before diversifying his career across sectors like commercial real estate, technology, and financial services.

His passion lies in assisting small business owners in reaching their goals and reducing stress. Robert hosts a podcast that imparts valuable insights and advice on B2B marketing and entrepreneurship, showcasing his dedication to empowering fellow business professionals.

About Total Business Results:

Total Business Results, established in 2002 by a group of industry veterans, is a prominent national B2B marketing firm that offers tailored solutions to businesses aiming to boost sales.

Functioning as a dedicated sales force, the firm handles essential tasks in the sales process, allowing clients to concentrate on closing deals with interested prospects.

With 18 years of expertise, Total Business Results excels in various B2B marketing techniques, including cold calling, telemarketing, lead generation, script writing, follow-up, email campaigns, and digital marketing.

Their approach combines innovative tools with traditional phone marketing to help small and medium-sized businesses penetrate their target markets effectively.

The firm's mission revolves around increasing profits while minimizing the cost per sale, emphasizing a high return on investment for every dollar spent. Total Business Results' philosophy is straightforward: deliver substantial sales growth to clients at the most cost-effective rates possible.

Tweetable Moments:

20:31 – “Imagine what it'll be like when you get on the other side of that [topic] and solve that big problem that you might be dealing with right now that's stressing you out.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Total Business Results at

Check out Total Business Results on LinkedIn at

Check out Robert Poole on LinkedIn at

Check out Robert Poole on Twitter at

Check out Robert Poole on Facebook at

Check out Robert Poole on Instagram at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us. Right now it's Robert Poole. Robert, you are the co-founder and CEO of Total Business Results. You're found on the web at Total business Results. Robert, also a fellow veteran. Thank you so much for joining us.

Robert (00:01:13) - Yes, absolutely. Thank you for the opportunity, Josh. Great to meet you for sure.

Josh (00:01:17) - All right. Give us a quick overview of what you do with total business results.

Robert (00:01:21) - Yes, absolutely. We started I co-founded the company about 22 years ago, so to speak, and kind of fell into it actually after a couple other companies that started and, you know, we started doing B2B. Cold calling was our business, and we built that up to a multi-million dollar business. My partner and I and had an unfortunate event. I came to work one day in 2017 and he didn't. Turned out he had a heart attack the previous night, and so it was a real game changer in my life. And it it made me realize that I was not really a true owner of the company because I was so involved in it, and I realized I was overwhelmed very quickly and knew, hey, I can't do this all myself. I can't take a day off, I can't go anywhere. And so I spent a couple of years trying to figure out how to get the business to function by itself and not only allow me to take time off, but to actually grow while I was gone.

Robert (00:02:20) - And so when kind of figured that out, I started helping some of our own clients make that same transition. So that's really my focus today, is helping other small business owners get that freedom back, that we all get into entrepreneurship before and think, geez, you know, it's no boss and all that great stuff. And what we end up getting is longer hours and tied to tied to our position more than anything, you know? So yes, that's what I've been up to the last two years.

Josh (00:02:45) - Yeah. You know, and not only that, not that people who work a regular job don't think about their job, you know, in the evening hours. But I find for those of us who work from home, you know, we're just constantly plugged in with it. This is our baby. So we really, really, really want this to succeed. You know, I think for a lot of us, too, I mean, there's no plan B, you know, once we kind of pull the trigger on, you know, everything invested, you know, we're obviously going to have teams.

Josh (00:03:12) - You're going to have payroll to make you have responsibilities on that front. Two. It's a lot. It's a lot. And you know if you don't build it and design it in a way it can, it really it could be quite taxing emotionally. Do you want maybe address that side just a little bit more.

Robert (00:03:29) - Yeah, absolutely. And most entrepreneurs find that out pretty quickly that the whole reason they got into business, hey like I said, I don't want to have I want to be my own boss and I want to control my schedule and my time and make more money and all that good stuff. And usually a year or two after they do it, you can check in and go, how is that working for you? Because we end up working longer hours. We're tied to things. And, you know, the stress that comes where suddenly you're responsible for other people. You know, if you're a good person, like most of us, then, you're actually worried and you're responsible for people's livelihood.

Robert (00:04:05) - And when you employ them and it you know, you've got to make that payroll. You've got to figure out, you know, how to grow the company and do all these things. And it just doesn't seem to be enough time in the day. And we also tend to be, you know, very hard workers as entrepreneurs, Type-A personalities, they just want to get things done. And that just adds to the stress. And I've just seen it unfortunately, too many times. I know in my own life, you know, family and personal life suffered because I was so focused on the business. But I realized that I've never met anybody that, you know, was, you know, later in their, you know, in their 70s 80s that said, you know what? I wish I'd spent less time with my family and more time, you know, working and doing that, you know, so so I kind of that was a realization for me, you know, because I still have young kids and how important that is for me to, to make that.

Robert (00:04:57) - But you're right, the, the stress and all the other factors that come along with it make it critical that we really do have to figure out how to balance that with our personal lives.

Josh (00:05:08) - So let's talk about like who you work with, what you do, and, you know, kind of what total total business results superpowers are.

Robert (00:05:19) - Yes, absolutely. Well, as mentioned, you know, we started, you know, 22 plus years ago doing cold calling. And that was our primary way to do business because we started from nothing. We literally my business partner and I had like between us like $5,000 and, you know, we had no outside capital, anything. And so we couldn't really afford to advertise. And in that time internet advertising was pretty limited. And so we figured, well, that's I know how to do that because I'd been in sales and, and so we started that and built that up over the years. But at that same time, when I lost my business partner, I was really reevaluating things in reevaluating my life and said, you know, I think that our clients are really missing out on helping them because we're all we're doing is giving them leads, setting them up on appointments and then saying, hey, good luck, you know, and we.

Robert (00:06:12) - Around our clients. We were we were kind of giving advice, you know, on the side. And we were trying to help them. But really there was a need that people needed, you know, help and really running their business and, you know, getting, getting free from some of those things we talked about, you know, and so it's not just about creating revenue, it's about all the other things creating that right team. And, you know, creating a culture in your company that's based upon everybody having an understanding of marketing and sales, putting the right systems and processes in place, and most importantly, working on you as as the entrepreneur. You know, I used to kind of Pooh Pooh the idea, but I really believe that, you know, our business is only going to grow to the extent that we do personally. Yeah, we don't grow our skill set and our business acumen. Our business is not going to grow. So, um, so those are some of the things that I focus on when I'm working with clients these days.

Josh (00:07:06) - Yeah, I think I see a book in your background. I think it looks like a Tony Robbins books, but. So I had the opportunity to speak for the Tony Robbins organization. I know one thing that Tony says is 95% of the success or failure of a company comes down to the psychology of the business owner. Right. And so it's really, really important for us as the founders to continually be working on ourselves and getting better and, and growing and, and, you know, it's not that we're not going to make any mistakes. You know, I make mistakes frequently, but I hope that we're really, really good at learning from them very quickly.

Robert (00:07:46) - Absolutely. I totally agree and I'd like to say I have a PhD in failure. I did a podcast once. It was, I think was entitled, uh, you know, the best PhD for Making Money. And it got huge downloads, and it was one of the most popular ones that think people thought I was going to say, you know, you know, in finance or, you know, or whatever.

Robert (00:08:05) - But I said, hey, it's about failure and it's about what you do with that and what you learn. And because as human beings, that's unfortunately positivity is great. But a lot of times we we respond better to to negative motivation. And like Tony Robbins talks about, I've been following Tony Robbins since I was like 19.

Josh (00:08:23) - So yeah, you and me both.

Robert (00:08:26) - Yeah.

Josh (00:08:28) - So okay, so what does it look like when you work together? You know, in particular I'm thinking about, you know, a friend that may be listening to us and they know that some like they know here's what they may know. Right? They know that they're working way too much, and they may be frustrated that it could be, for example, that you know, it seems like, you know, I think one thing I was just talking with someone earlier, it's like, man, I had to come up with all the good ideas here. And it's just like at the end of the day, like it's just exhausting.

Josh (00:08:56) - Like, you know, I have plenty of I have plenty of doers. That's good. And I'm grateful for that. But, you know, like, he and I were kind of talking about that, the importance of that, kind of that the operators of, you know, the the folks that can oversee the whole project and also innovate as well. Is that common or what are what are some more common things that you see? And then how do you begin to chip away at that. And, you know, very tactically start to put those systems, processes and people in place?

Robert (00:09:26) - Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, what you hit on there. You know, I'll put it this way. A lot of an outside investor, if they were to look at your company and want to purchase it, though, a lot of the value they're going to find is in your customer base. You know, it's like, um, you know, these large companies, Facebook didn't buy Instagram because they wanted the technology.

Robert (00:09:48) - They wanted the the customer list. So understand that. But from a small business owners perspective, in my opinion, the biggest asset we have is our people. And it's because of exactly what you said that, you know, if we feel like we've got to be the person with all the ideas, all the strategy, all the, you know, the things to implement, and not just a, you know, yes, yes or a no certain type of person. Um, you know, then we're going to have problems. And again, it's dependent on us. But if we're able to build a team that that really encourages independent thinking and, um, you know, when you get employees in a team that start to think as owners, it's a whole different game because they start to do things and come up with ideas and start to have that vision that you do. Because, you know, I used to think that, well, money is what matters. You know, where I'm going to hire best employees, I'm going to pay above the market.

Robert (00:10:41) - And as long as they get paid, they're great, you know? But it doesn't really work that way. If you do any kind of or look at any surveys of employees, it's always money is always like third or fourth down the list and the priority because it's about being part of something, being part of a team, you know, the change you're making and that, you know, that can take time to create. But, um, I would say that's probably one of the biggest things I did. And it was actually a I went to Tony Robbins Business Mastery event back in 2017. And, and he had an idea about doing weekly meetings with all of your team and spending an hour, hour and a half going over, working on the business versus in it. And at first it was really difficult because my employees didn't trust me. I was just this top down kind of, here, you do this type of person. And eventually they started coming out a little bit. And it is absolutely amazing when you people start to buy into the bigger vision of the company, how much they contribute, and it doesn't matter what their experience is.

Robert (00:11:43) - You know, as an example, we've we had a receptionist who was I think she was 20, maybe 21, and she came up with some of the best ideas that us 40 and 50 year olds were clueless on, and because she felt comfortable in sharing was it. And so it's just an example of how you create that team. So if I was going to do one thing right now in somebody's business, I would say that that whole meeting idea and getting the input of your your whole team is so critical, and figuring out a way to do that is probably going to make the biggest difference, the quickest in your organization.

Josh (00:12:19) - Tell me more about that.

Robert (00:12:21) - Yeah. Well, it's, um, you know, as I said, um, you know, when you start to realize that we don't have all the ideas, we're one person. Um, and we when you start to create a mastermind, so to speak, with your own employees, the trust that is built not only between them and you, but between each other, when it becomes an organization that's closer to a family, that eliminates turnover.

Robert (00:12:45) - I used to have, you know, mean the average employee was there like a year and a half now. Think our average is over seven years, and it's because of the culture that we created. And when you start building that and start getting people to buy in and have that ownership mentality, that's where that vision comes from. And as I said, a lot of those ideas come from, you know, the, you know, the team themselves. And then because they buy into it and buy into it as an owner mentality, even if they're technically not an owner, they have a vested interest in it, at least in their mind. And that's what allows you some freedom, because you can realize I can trust these people, especially today in the environment of remote work. You know, a lot of companies are struggling with, geez, how do I, you know, make sure this person is doing what they're doing. And we we would, you know, did a lot of remote before Covid, but it just enhanced it.

Robert (00:13:42) - And but I have no problem in worrying about what my employees are doing on a daily basis because the trust is there. And that can only be created if they're if they have a buy in mentality. And, you know, it's something that I think comes with maturity. I didn't get that when I was younger. You know, it took me a long time to figure that out and some significant events. But, um, so again, you know, creating that culture and, you know, creating many owners in your business think is really the key, you know, one of the key areas anyway.

Josh (00:14:15) - Yeah.

Josh (00:14:16) - One area I know, Robert, that you talk about frequently is, you know, in B2B sales development, sales growth, B2B marketing, what do you B2B lead gen, what do you see working really well right now? And what do you also see not working very well?

Josh (00:14:36) - Yeah, absolutely. Um.

Robert (00:14:37) - And I'll give you a good lawyer answer. It depends. And you know, there's unfortunately, you know, every Googler out there will tell you that their particular marketing strategy, you know, you've got to social media advertising, you've got to you got to do cold calling, you got to do print out, you got to do whatever.

Robert (00:14:55) - And the truth is that most marketing techniques are not going to work for your company, but there are a few that are going to work very well. And there's a lot of factors that goes in or goes into it. You know, there's your industry. You're in the size of your company, your personal, um, the culture. You've created, all those things. But the, like a lot of things with marketing is, you know, Josh, you know, it comes down to testing and you've got to try a lot of different things. Um, you know, for example, you know, as I said, a big part of our business is still cold calling, but that only works in very specific industries in specific circumstances, high ticket journaling. And it's, you know, if you're selling a $27 widget, for instance, that's never going to work for you. Um, and so as far as what is working better than other things, um, again, I don't think it's really driven by what's going on in the current environment.

Robert (00:15:49) - Think it's driven more on a company by company basis, if that makes sense. So I know that's not the easy answer, but in my opinion, you know, that's the reality. And if we try to if we're chasing that, that shiny object, whatever's the coolest trend in marketing, you know, that's where we get ourselves in trouble. So. Yeah. Um, so think you, you have to evaluate where you are and what you're, you know, the type of company have all that kind of stuff and try different things. And, but a lot of us also try something and will prejudge it, you know, we'll try. Okay. I'm going to do, you know, Facebook advertising for six weeks or whatever. And then we give up on it when we don't have a large enough time frame to evaluate things properly. So um, so because it can give you false positive, so to speak, you can think, oh, this is working great. I got so many clients from this.

Robert (00:16:42) - And then but that just happened to be, you know, the results you happen to get that short period of time. So it takes a certain amount of discipline to evaluate those things as well. That's one of the things we focus is, are on is, is testing and giving things time. Because I know we are impatient people and don't like to wait, but you know, we want it done now. You know, hey, we're Type-A personalities, most of us. But if we if we discipline ourselves to give things time, that's how we we figure out what is really working for us. So no, that's not the easy answer. But that's in my opinion, that's the truth.

Josh (00:17:17) - No, it absolutely does. I agree with you. And you know, at the end of the day, you know, we can we can make educated guesses, you know, based on maybe what other people are doing that's working or has worked pretty consistently. And I agree with you as well on the note that you had shared about, you know, by the time the gurus are teaching it and talking about it, it's that those techniques might, in my experience, have kind of largely been burned over a little bit.

Josh (00:17:46) - You know.

Josh (00:17:46) - It's kind of it's, you know, by. You know, by the time. Yeah. Like, I have so much skepticism in that world, right? It's like marketers blocked all the good ideas until they ruin them. And then by the time if you're not the first mover, it's like, you know, it's people are already getting wise to you. You know, where I generally lean toward is the thing that most, you know, amateur marketers aren't willing to do, and that spending more time with fewer people spending, you know, really diving deep into relationships and, and investing in long term collaborations, that sort of thing, which I'm always a huge fan of. Um, hey, Robert, your website, I'd love for folks to connect with you, but someone that might be listening to our conversation wants to know, okay, listen, I love what Robert's talking about. How do you work together and what would you recommend kind of those next steps be if they're just kind of getting to know you for the first time here?

Robert (00:18:45) - Yeah, absolutely.

Robert (00:18:46) - Of course you can go to our website. There's there's general information there. And I'm on, you know, most of the social media platforms, um, a lot of my YouTube channel, and it's all under the Robert Pool with an E on the end of it. Um, and so you can certainly check out some of my stuff there and, but did want to offer your audience, I don't have a ton of time, but, you know, a couple individual consultations, probably the first three people that contact me, you can you can send me an email at Robert Pool at operator to business owner, and we can set up a time to chat. And I'll kind of help you evaluate where you are and that spectrum from operator to owner, and give you some actionable tips that you can actually input or implement the next 90 days that can actually make a difference and start getting a little bit of that freedom back. Um, and so I'd like to, to help out your audience a little bit with that, but give you an idea of, of how I work.

Robert (00:19:42) - But, um, it is a process, people, you know, I'll, I'll say this to that. People always ask, you know, well, geez, you know, how long does that take to make that transition? Well, again, the lawyer answer it depends. It depends.

Josh (00:19:54) - So.

Robert (00:19:56) - You know.

Josh (00:19:56) - How bad is your.

Josh (00:19:57) - Situation.

Josh (00:19:57) - Yeah.

Josh (00:19:58) - You know, are the resources you have to work with. So that's why. Yeah I agree this stuff is pretty custom right. You got to have you got to chat with smart people so they can figure out okay here's what you got access to. Here's your opportunity. You know, here's your best course of action right now I agree.

Robert (00:20:13) - Yeah. It's different to to change the direction of an ocean liner than a speedboat. So you know it really depends on the situation. But I would say it can be anywhere from three months to a year or two years, whatever, you know. But, you know, a lot of it depends on your specific situation, of course.

Robert (00:20:29) - But in the end, it's worth it, in my opinion.

Josh (00:20:31) - Oh yeah. Imagine what it'll be like when you get on the other side of that and solve that big problem that you might be dealing with right now that's stressing you out. Well, Robert Poole again, co-founder CEO of Total Business results found on the web at Total Business Results dot com. It's been a great conversation. Robert, thank you so much for joining us. Yes.

Robert (00:20:51) - Thank you Josh.

Josh (00:20:56) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence slash guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our Listener Facebook group. Just search for the Thoughtful Entrepreneur and Facebook. I'd love even if you just stopped by to say hi, I'd love to meet you. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world.

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