Every month we honor a member in our Gentleman’s Post. For June, we honored one of our longest members, Dave Tear. This month, we had our Head of Marketing, Shane Torrey, conduct an interview with our featured member.
Hey Gentlemen’s Box, I’m Shane, here with Dave Tear, our featured member for June 2017. So, Dave, your profile says you’re 27 years old.
Yes, 27. 52 Canadian.
Oh, I forgot about the conversion. So you’re from Plymouth, MI, which is just down the road from us here at Royal Oak. What is something fun to do in Plymouth?
Well, residents of Plymouth call it DTP, which means Downtown Plymouth. One of the coolest places to go out in the evenings. Great restaurants, great places to have a cocktail. Music in the park, a lot of festivals. I will never get my wife to leave Plymouth because of DTP.
So maybe I’ll get to see you down there this Summer.
Yeah, for sure. It’s great.
So you’ve been a member since November of 2014, and that was our first month of Gentleman’s Box. Do you remember what was in that box?
Cool socks, for sure. Every month there’s a cool pair of socks. That’s my thing. That’s my favorite thing about it.
That’s great. Tell me, what is a fun fact about yourself? Something that you want the Gentleman’s Box community to know about you, Dave Tear.
Alright, I was into fashion before Gentleman’s Box was even invented. Nobody knows this, but I studied fashion merchandising while I was in college. Somebody said you have to get through school, and I felt that was a fun way to do it. So I studied fashion merchandising in college and graduated in 1987. Then immediately did not go into fashion. So I’ve always enjoyed it. I couldn’t wait for Gentlemen’s Box to come out. My wife has always been a member of a few different clubs, and I finally thought, at last, we get one for guys.
So knowing your fashion background, what is your favorite accessory?
Well it changes, it’s funny because my son is 22. My son is big into shoes now. It used to be shoes for me. Then early in my career, it was ties. Because everybody was wearing ties, less now. But back in the day, everyone wore ties, and it was cool to wear ties. Now I’m telling you that it’s socks. It’s the coolest thing to go to work with fun socks on. For me it’s socks.
I notice neither of us is wearing ties, but I am wearing some fun socks. [lifts leg to up to show sock]
Oh, I have those. I just wore them yesterday. [lifts leg to show his sock.]
So what would you say being a gentleman means to you?
Treating people right, leaving a lasting memory on people. Doing the right thing, and treating people the way they need to be treated. And hopefully passing that stuff onto my kids.
Do you think being a gentleman is a lost art?
I don’t know if it’s a lost art. But you sure can identify a lot of opportunities or a lot of times lately when it doesn’t happen. I don’t know if reality tv plays a role in that. But there sure are enough instances where you wonder if it’ a lost art.
Certain aspects have been lost. But part of what we’re doing here is bringing back that lost art. And we’re glad that we have guys here like you on our team to help us.
Well, thank you.
So we’re switching gears. What would you say is your favorite book and why?
I read a book early in my career as a sales coach called “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.” And it’s a wonderful story of a kid growing up in Hawaii that had his buddy’s dad and his dad. His buddy’s dad owned a business and was a street smart, hard working guy. He taught him his money concept, and how to be comfortable with money and talking about money. He was successful because he had that dad. His other dad was great too; he was a professor. But he learned how to be comfortable with money, and be comfortable with business from his rich dad. So it’s a great book.
Find it on Amazon. (laughs)
Find it on Amazon. (chuckles)
This is a good segway too. Like you said in the book, he admired elements from both of his fathers. What’s something you admire about your father?
It’s interesting because my Dad was a teacher and still is a teacher. He’s 77 years old. He taught in Wyandotte (MI) for 39 or 40 years. Retired, but still subs. So here’s whats cool about my Dad. He has 2 or 3 times been asked by his students to accompany them at the superintendent’s dinner. They get to pick a mentor. They get to pick somebody that was an influence on them, and they picked my Dad. Last month they asked him again as a sub. I mean he’s a sub, he goes in two or three days a week.
As a substitute teacher.
The kid asked him to do it again. The school board wouldn’t let him because he wasn’t a real teacher anymore. But what an honor to be asked to do that.
It shows that he helped make an impact on those student’s lives. For them to keep asking him to come back, even when he’s not allowed to do it anymore.
My Dad, he’s great with kids.
So as a father, what’s something that you hope your child realizes on their own about parenthood?
Yesterday I read a post about how a basketball coach up north quit coaching because of parents. They get too involved. I hope my kids, let their kids do it. If they fail, that’s fine. But put themselves out there, and not let them get too involved in managing. Like those helicopter parents. It was a horrible story to have read about why this guy got out of coaching because of that. They want to live their life through their kids, but you don’t want to do that. Let your kids be kids, and see what happens. Let them learn how to fail, and see what happens.
So let them get knocked down and teach them how to get back up again with grace and style.
Yeah. Right, that’s it.
So what is something fun that you enjoy doing with your kids?
Well, my son graduated this past Saturday from Western Michigan University. My wife and I enjoy tailgating with our kids. We have a blast. It used to be that we watched them play their sports. Now as adults, we go out there and tailgate with them and have a lot of fun. We take them out there, we’re adults. They are our best friends, but they’re our kids. But they’re adults now, and they can be more friends. So we enjoy that.
But you still don’t lose that element of still being their Dad. By still being there for them and parenting.
Big time. He’s interviewing for jobs now. I’m coaching him through that sort of stuff to make sure he’s taking the right step in his career. There is still lots of parenting to do.
So you have two sons?
A son and a daughter.
So a son and daughter. What is some advice you give to them about being a lady and a gentleman?
I do this often. I look people in the eye and engage and have a conversation. Be curious about people, ask questions, engage. Tell them to do the right thing, but what’s the right thing anymore. I hope my kids open the door for somebody. I hope he pulls somebody’s luggage out of the overhead because she can’t reach it. This is the sort of stuff I’m hoping that my kids have learned from us growing up. And I think they have. That’s a gentleman thing to do, that’s a ladylike thing to do.
So to switch gears, why is your style better than mine? I work here at the Gentleman’s Box, and you’re dressed to the “T”, and I’m not.
I don’t know if anybody can see but if we start with the shoes. Then work all the way up to the button down, right to the hair. You got that George Bush style hair going on. (laughs)
I’m going to get a haircut today. Thanks, Dave
That’s good. (laughs)
So you’ve been one of our longest members. What was your style like before you joined the Gentleman’s Box? Was it anything like mine?
Well, it wasn’t that bad. But as I said, I studied Fashion Merchandising. So I’ve always had an eye for fashion and accessories. I just always had to get them. But now I have a box delivered to my porch once a month. Usually about the 25th, and I can’t wait to see what’s in it. From socks to tie clips to collar stays.
Let me make a note here that you’re wearing our April 2016 tie clip, not on a tie. Why is that?
Well, 27-year-old fat guys don’t look very good in skinny ties, so I’m not clipping ties anymore. I’m clipping lapels.
(laughs) That’s good, that’s unique. And that reminds me, we had someone share with us on our Instagram that they took a pair of socks for one month. I think this was a joke and they put it in their suit coat pocket as a pocket square.
For their handkerchief kinda?
That’s a pretty cool idea.
Would you ever put socks in your coat pocket to wear them as a pocket square?
Yeah, I can do that.
So you said you started out doing Fashion Merchandising, but now you do nothing like that. You’re a sales coach. So what is a sales coach?
Well it’s two things. There’s a sales training element to it, where I go in and teach companies how to have control of the sale. Ask better questions, set expectations, and position their mind for what they want to accomplish. Think through, instead of flying off the seat of their pants as a lot of salespeople do. And then there’s a coaching element; kind’ve like a help desk coach from Dell, like the Dell help desk. I offer a sales coaching help desk, where they can call, email, or text for tactical, real-life sales questions at the moment. So I’m a trainer, but I’m also a coach.
So when someone is in the middle of a pitch. And then they stuck, they can say hold that thought.
Then they call a lifeline. (laughs)
I don’t know if that’s ever happened, but they can call before appointments, after appointments, and when things are fresh in their mind.
So how might one be a gentleman in sales?
That’s a good question. Well, it was just yesterday afternoon, and I taught a session on what we call bonding and rapport. Like how to posture yourself in front of people so that they’re comfortable with you. The stereotypical hard-sell, convince, high-pressure tactics don’t work anymore. So it’s an effort to embrace a consultative approach. Be curious and ask questions. Understand that people buy from people that they’re comfortable with. So if you mirror and match other people and be comfortable with them so that they’re comfortable with you, you’re a lot more likely to be successful. And that’s what gentlemen do.
So we mentioned not to take that hard punch approach. Would you tell me the least gentleman thing you can do in sales? Do you have a good story you can share?
Well, I think everybody has their story. All you have to do is go to a retail store, a car dealership, where you know for sure the sales person is not listening to you. And you know it because they want you to buy what they want to sell you. So I think the least gentleman thing you can do is to not listen to somebody and make it all about you. When you talk and talk and talk about what you want to sell, there’s no way to connect with that person. It’s not about what you want; it’s about what they need. So ask questions, be curious, and get them what they need. That’s what gentlemen do.
And you could say that it’s not just sales, but it applies to real life. Listen to people, be engaged in what they say and then actually have a real conversation. Don’t be a wall, don’t be one-sided.
That’s what my wife tells me.
(laughs) Alright. Well, that’s all the time we have. Thank you so much, Dave Tear.
It’s a pleasure.