building a legacy



How Building a Legacy Can Enhance the Success of Your Business

In this episode of the Sell or Die podcast, we are joined with Jill Walls, a world-class editor, and Doug Wing, the son of the legendary Hal Wing. If you don’t know Doug and Hal, you definitely know their brand. It’s called Little Giant Ladders. Hal was the founder of this company and started it from nothing. Based on Hal’s stories, we discuss how building a legacy first can enhance the success of your business.

building a legacy

But before we dive right in, let us introduce ourselves in case this is your first visit. Welcome to the Sell or Die Podcast. We’re your hosts, Jeffrey & Jen Gitomer. Between the two of us, we’ve written the books The Little Red Book of Selling, Sales in a New York Minute, plus 15 other best-selling books. We’ve also created the 7 figure sales formula program and the Breakthrough Business Babe Community. 

Sell or Die is for sales professionals, sales managers, entrepreneurs, and business owners who want to sell more at full price, earn loyalty, and have an unlimited stream of referrals. Every single episode will give you real-world, easy-to-implement solutions so that you can get your calls returned, your proposals read and acted on while creating relationships that you can take to the bank. 

It’s time to sell or die…

How are you focusing on building a legacy that positively impacts not only your business but everyone around you? Whether you have an answer or not, you’ll definitely want to check out this story of Hal Wing and the legacy he created.

For more details, listen to the ENTIRE episode 576 on your favorite streaming platform.

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In the midst of the company’s success, Doug was in charge of sales and sold millions upon millions of dollars in ladders. Jill, the editor, is working with Doug to compile all of his unique stories regarding his expertise and knowledge of the sales industry, coupled with the stories on how his dad built a legacy. The book is called Giant Success, and we encourage you to sign up to get notified when it’s released…We definitely will be!

One of the huge lessons Doug learned very early on in life, was that his Dad focused on building a legacy not only for his businesses but for his family. Building a legacy that others remember and aspire to achieve is not an easy feat, but Doug witnessed his Dad do just that; and he gathered the stories from those who knew his Dad to prove it.

If you concentrate on building a business and not the man, you will not achieve. But, if you concentrate on building the man, you achieve both.

 -Hal Wing, Founder, Little Giant Ladders

building a legacy

Doug, what’s one of your favorite stories you learned about your Dad?

Well, I knew about quite a few of the stories that attribute to him building a legacy, but I think the really neat experience that I’ve had along the way is learning the stories that I never knew existed because my dad was on the philanthropic side. He wasn’t secretive. But he wanted to remain anonymous, which I think is awesome.

My father had this unique ability to know when people needed him, and he just happened to be in the right place at the right time in a lot of situations. One story that comes to mind is that of Steve and Vicki, who were friends of my dad’s, where Steve was involved in a very bad industrial accident. He was critically wounded at work and ended up in ICU, where his leg was close to being amputated and his vitals weren’t stable.

Well, my dad just shows up in the ICU and tells the nurses that he’s Steve’s brother. He sees Steve covered in black all over from this industrial explosion. My dad just wants to help in any way he can, so he disappears for a second, comes back with a washcloth with soap and water, and he gently washes Steve’s face, arms, and hands. He then leans down as he’s getting ready to leave and whispers in Steve’s ear, “You really are my brother.

Steve ends up losing his leg, which led him into depression. And somehow someway again, the day that he gets released out of the hospital, the first phone call he gets is from my dad. He wants to know how Steve is doing, to which he replies, “Well, Hal, I lost my leg. I’m going to have to just sit home and do nothing.” Steve was concerned with how he was going to support his family. 

My dad says to him, “Steve, can you answer the phone?” So when Steve was ready, he came to work for our company, and he stayed with us until he retired. Steve affirmed that’s the kind of dad I had and the kind of a boss he was. He just cared for and loved people.

That’s what building a legacy is about, it’s not about showing off your assets and being careless to others; it’s about being genuine and making marks on people in every avenue you can in life.

Hal: Building a legacy and serving people

Doug, what was the main theme that carried on as your Dad was building a legacy?

I believe he gathered strength from being of service to others. My dad knew in his heart of hearts that he was placed on this earth to serve people. He was convinced that the possessions, the money, and the success that he had were just a loan. From God to him, someday when he passed away and met his maker again, he was going to be asked: I blessed you with a lot of things. What did you do with those things? Did you help other people? Or did you just buy nice things? 

He would always say, “This is not ours. This is not mine. This is on loan, and I know that I need to help people.”  

So you hear these corporate horror stories, where you’re just a number, you don’t matter, and they spit you up and chew you out. So, Little Giant Ladder was the place that everyone would want to go work because of the legacy my dad had built.

Building a legacy: The beginning

The foundation of building a legacy started way before my dad started Little Giant Ladder. My dad was a high school graduate. He got married, had four kids, and dealt with losing his brother; my uncle. They were going to take my three cousins to Nevada and divide them all up and put them into foster care. My dad said, “This can’t be done.” So he adopted my cousins. My mom and dad adopted them at twenty-six years of age and went from having four kids to seven. 

My dad instilled the drive and motivation in us to succeed from a very young age. He did everything he could to support us. In the 70’s, my father, who was working for an insurance company at the time, was assigned to open an office in Germany since he spoke fluent German. So he did. That’s where one of his business partners, Richard Meiner, stumbled across the first version of a little giant ladder from a company called Waku.

So my dad met the inventor, a gentleman named Walter, and basically he worked out a deal where he could buy the ladders from him, take them back to Utah, and try to sell them. At first, no one wanted to buy them. He had about 50 ladders to sell, and everyone that promised to buy them backed out. 

So my dad started going to people’s houses and businesses. It was then he realized people needed to see how it worked. So he started going to trade shows, home shows, and garden shows. That’s how the company took off the first year by himself. He sold half a million dollars worth of ladders. He was building a legacy and building his business, so he started hiring people, and the rest is history. 

I know this sounds like it happened very quickly, but it took decades for my dad to build a legacy. He always used to say, “This is a marathon, it’s not a sprint.” So you just have to keep plugging along and never give up.

What sets Hal apart from being good to being great?

Jill, the editor of Doug’s book Giant Success, is sitting front row to the stories on how Hal started building a legacy. She can explain what sets Hal apart from anyone else…

I’ve watched twenty-five hours of video from everybody, from associates to employees to friends and family, and what’s overwhelming is that no matter what the story is, fundamentally everybody says the same thing — how much he loved people, how generous he was, what a great person he was, and how consistent he was. 

You hear these stories and you hear people tell these stories, and not only are you inspired, but you learn what you can do in your own life to be more like that. You learn how to start building a legacy. 

That’s what’s going to be the value of this book. Not only really giving people and showing people the legacy of helping, but also tactically how they can put it into play in their own lives. How they can be more successful, not only in their career but in their family life, in their community life and just being a better human being.”

Doug adds…

My dad helped out whenever he could, even when he was retired. One day we were all in the office discussing if we could help an employee who had asked for a loan to pay off his house. He was going to lose it within the next two weeks if he didn’t pay it. Like always, my dad walks in at the exact time and finds out the issue. “Give him the money. He’ll pay us back. He’s always made his bonuses, just give him the money,” he says…

So we give him the money. His house is saved. He earns his bonuses over probably a year and a half to two years. He pays the money back.

How many bosses would do that for their employees? 

Would you?

Hal was a lover of life to the fullest. He was big on quality. He strived to be the best in his work life, family life, and community; and he expected the same of others. 

That’s why people loved Hal Wing, why they were loyal to him, why they would do anything for him. Because they knew that he loved and cared about them, and he would help them if he could.

How are you being a ‘Hal Wing’?

Building a legacy doesn’t just start with your business, it starts with who you are as a person. That’s what every single business owner that listens to this show should consider: 

  • Are you being a Hal Wing in your life and business?
  • Are you supporting people however you can?
  • Are you demonstrating to your employees instead of dictating? 

Hal treated everybody the same, and he really wanted everyone to succeed, just like he succeeded. He was out on the floor. He was talking to employees. He was getting to know them. He was genuinely interested in their families and what they had going on in their lives. He was actively engaged in every part of the business all the time, and it made all the difference in building a legacy. 

Doug Wing: An important lesson

One thing I’ll always take away from my dad is the lesson to appreciate others. Especially throughout this process of writing the book Giant Success, I couldn’t have done it without the help of Jill, my editor, and Jeff who was guiding me along the way.

It’s intimidating to write a book that others are going to read, but I hope when you read it, you’re able to find inspiration from my dad’s stories, his legacy, and the success in Little Giant Ladders. 

This book is for companies, businesses, sales teams, and individuals to help them be more successful and truly embody the principles of Hal Wing and ultimately start building a legacy.

Visit my website to find out where to get notified when it releases in March, so you can be the first to read about the impactful lessons and stories in Giant Success.

How Building a Legacy Can Enhance the Success of Your Business: The Bottomline

Be sure to listen to all of episode 576 for more details on the legacy of Hal Wing.

Thank you so much for listening to Sell or Die! We hope that this episode helped you to learn a thing or two about making a significant impact in your business & personal life.

If you enjoyed this episode please take a second to rate & review. Each review helps us help more people just like you make a difference in this world! Don’t forget to take a screenshot, share it in your Instagram stories, and tag us @jeffreygitomer and @jengitomer. See you next week! 



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Hop on the waitlist to get all of the updates on Doug’s upcoming book, Giant Success

About your hosts

Known as the King of Sales, Jeffrey Gitomer is the Author of 16 best-selling books including the Little Red Book of Selling, the Sales Bible, and his newest book Get Sh*t Done. In 2008, he was inducted in the Speakers Hall of Fame – the highest award in the speaking industry. His world-class list of clients include companies from  Fortune 500 companies around the world. His digital Learning academy and signature course, The Seven-Figure Sales Formula, offers individuals and teams real-world sales strategies they can implement immediately.

Jen Gitomer gained her prowess in NYC as both a salesperson and award-winning sales leader for a Fortune 500 company. She is the best-selling Author of Sales in a New York Minute, CEO and Founder of Breakthrough Business Babe and a master business growth coach.

Jeffrey and Jen thank you, Diehard, for helping Sell Or Die achieve more than 2 million downloads!

Thanks for Listening!