Meet Dave "Giff" Gifford - Radio Advertising Sales and Management expert

  • Search Google or LinkedIN for "Dave Gifford" and your top results might include a real estate broker, bicyclist, missionary, microbiologist, wine expert, social media specialist, insurance executive...  But add "radio sales" to your query and your hits will be about one guy who's trained thousands of radio advertising salespeople and sales managers over the past 3+ decades.

    I've had the opportunity to hear him speak and always enjoyed reading his columns in RadioINK.  Perhaps my favorite of his Giff-isms is: "What-you-say-times-how-many-times-you-say-it is the only thing working in advertising today."

    Recently "Giff" launched a new venture, through which he offers his training and consulting services on a one-to-one or one-to-many basis via Skype.  He's also joined us here at Radio Sales Cafe, and I invite you to reach out to Dave and get acquainted.  (With any luck, he'll upload a photo of himself, too!)

    Reprinted here with permission is his first blog post from

    (Revised excerpt from Giff's Graduate Schools For Sales Management)

    Alexander the Great

    Ali, Mohammad

    Anthony, Susan B.

    Aquinas, Thomas


    Armstrong, Louis

    Bach, John Sebastian

    Beatles, The

    Beethovan, Ludwig van

    Bell, Sir Alexander

    Ben-Gurion, David

    Bergman, Ingmar

    bin Laden, Osama

    Bonaparte, Napoleon

    Brahms, Johannes

    Braille, Louis

    Brando, Marlon

    Brown, Jim

    Buckley, Jr., William

    Buddah (Siddhattha)

    Bull, Sitting

    Caesar, Julius

    Calder, Alexander

    Capone, Al

    Carson, Rachel

    Castro, Fidel

    Cezanne, Paul

    Channel, Cocco

    Chaplin, Charlie  

    Chavez, Caesar

    Christ, Jesus

    Christi, Agatha

    Churchill, Winston

    Clarke, William C.


    Coltrane, John

    Columbus, Christopher


    Cook, Captain James

    Copernicus, Nicklaus

    Darwin, Charles

    De Mille, Cecil B.

    da Vinci, Leonardo

    Dickens, Charles

    Disney, Walt

    Duncan, Isadora

    Edison, Thomas Alva

    Einstein, Albert   

    Elizabeth I, Queen

    Elizabeth II, Queen

    Ellington, Duke

    Faulkner, William

    Ford, Henry

    Franklin, Benjamin

    Freud, Sigmond

    Friedan, Betty


    Gates, Bill

    Gershwin, George    

    Gandhi, Mahatma

    Gompers, Samuel

    Graham, Martha

    Guinness, Sir Alec

    Guevarra, Che


    Hawkins, Prof. Stephen    

    Heffner, Hugh    

    Hemmingway, Ernest

    Hines, Lewis

    Hitchcock, Alfred

    Hitler, Alfred

    Jackson, Michael

    Jefferson, Thomas

    Joan of Arc, Saint

    Jobbs, Steve

    Joyce, James  

    Kant, Immanuel

    Kennedy, John F.

    Kerouac, Jack

    Khan, Genghis

    King Jr., Dr. Martin L.

    Kipling, Rudyard

    Lama, The Dali

    Lawrence of Arabia

    Leary, Timothy

    Lenin, Vladimir Ilyich

    Limbaugh, Rush

    Lincoln, Abraham

    Lombardi, Vince

    Louis, Joe

    Luther, Martin


    Mao Za Dung

    Meir, Golda


    Mohammad, The Prophet

    Monroe, Marilyn

    Montessori, Maria


    Moses, Grandma

    Mozart, Wolfgang A.

    Murrow, Edward    

    Nader, Ralph

    Nelson, Horatio

    Newton, Isaac

    Nightingale, Florence


    Obama, Barack

    O'Haire, Madalyn M.

    Olivier, Sir Lawrence

    Oppenheimer, Robert

    Owens, Jesse

    Paine, Thomas

    Palmer, Arnold

    Parker, Charlie

    Parks, Rosa

    Paterno, Joe

    Patton, Gen. George S.


    Peron, Eva

    Picasso, Pablo


    Pollock, Jackson

    Presley, Elvis

    Reagan, Ronald

    Robinson, Jackie

    Rogers, Will

    Roosevelt, Franklin D.

    Ruth, Babe

    Seuss, Doctor

    Shakespeare, William

    Shaw, George Bernard

    Sinatra, Frank


    Spock, Doctor

    Thatcher, Margaret

    Jim Thorpe

    Thomas, Dylan

    Twain, Mark

    van Gogh, Vincent

    Washington, George

    Wilde, Oscar

    Williams, Tennessee

    Winfrey, Oprah

    Wright Brothers

    Wright, Frank Lloyd

    Wyeth, Andrew

    X, Malcolm  

    Zuckerberg, Marc

    Was former General Electric CEO Jack Welch a great motivator? If his renowned, inspirational leadership influenced subordinates to do what he wanted during his tenure, as GE's financials would appear to indicate, most people in the business world would agree with that characterization. 

    By that standard alone, however, so too are the 148 individuals listed in the left hand column—an intriguing list that includes Genghis Khan, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Osama bin Laden along with Abraham, Buddha (Sidhartha), Jesus Christ and The Prophet Muhammad.

    I submit that none of these notable figures "motivated" anybody. Jesus Christ and the Prophet Muhammad never motivated anybody? Preposterous! Influenced, yes, motivated, no!

    Many people tell me I "personally" motivated them. That would be most gratifying were it not for the fact I never motivated anybody in my life, and as sales manager, neither have you, or will you.

    I shall attempt to document the following:

    1. Management can not motivate.
    2. Management can only activate.
    3. Management can not change attitudes.
    4. Management can only change behavior.


    Motivate: To provide with a motive

    Activate:  To make active

    Actualize: To achieve a personal objecti

    Attitude:   A settled way of thinking or feeling

    Behavior:   The way in which people behave

    In truth, today even the most renowned human behaviorists disagree on the ability for managers to motivate.

    Warren Bennis, known for his watershed books on leadership, defined motivation as communicating a vision others can believe in, and then helping people convert that vision into organizational gains. But what if your salespeople don't buy into your vision, at which point the conversion of that vision into organizational change is impossible! WaWas it a flawed vision, was it the lack of credibility of the communicator, or is it because no one can "provide a motive" for anybody but themselves?

    Peter Drucker, the late guru of management gurus, counseled that if you "Manage By Objectives" (MBO), you motivate by encouraging communication at all levels. Although I manage by a delineation of Drucker's MBO—advocating instead MBP: Management By Priorities—I am at a loss to understand how it is possible to "provide with a motive" simply by encouraging communication. What if the communication is miss communicated? Wrong words, wrongly placed words and wrongly expressed words are what miss communications are all about. Lack of "clarity".

    Behavioral scientist Abrahan Maslo, clinical psychologist Frederick Herzberg and social scientist Douglas McGregor assert that motivation comes from the psyche of the individual, affirming that motivation in the workplace cannot be achieved without first satisfying an individual's higher needs—the "want" satisfactions as opposed to the basic need satisfactions of food, water, shelter and clothing.

    In principle, the latter judgment supports my supposition that human beings respond to 16 predominant, personal pressure stimuli—the atoms that galvanize our motivations—all conveniently beginning with the letter "P".

    GIFF'S 16 "Predominant Personal Pressures Stimuli"

    Passion Praise Principles Participation
    Pleasure Popularity Parental Pressure Performance
    Pain Pride Peer Pressure Profit
    Power Philosophy Partner Pressure Protection

    John Adair, a foremost authority on leadership development, had an altogether different take—his "50-50 Rule"—a modification of "Pareto's Law" (80% of results come from 20% of causes)—in which Adair contends that the influence of leaders is equal in importance to serving both need and want satisfactions. Problem: To influence is not "to provide with a motive".

    Given that managers push from behind and leaders pull from the front, leadership in the words and actions exampled by Franklin D. Roosevelt, General Dwight Eisenhower, Winston Churchill and Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery clearly resulted in "organizational" gains during World War II. At question is whether or not the "whole" of Hitler's inspirational power, by itself, was "greater" than the "sum" of the "parts" of his influence?

    In fact, the psyche of Hitler's constituency may have been a more inspiring a factor for the cause of World War II than Hitler's intoxicating persona, his incendiary oratory, and his leadership, combined!

    What commonality did the German people share in order to so eagerly respond to Hitler's leadership? Mired in the Great Depression, bitter over the perceived unfairness of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, uncertain of Germany's place as a dethroned world power, and staggering under an unstable government threatened politically by communism, by circumstance the German people—starved for leadership—succumbed to and embraced a destiny-imagery impossible to resist, i.e., the Germans people were the "master race".

    Was it Hitler's leadership, was it the stirring enticement of the "Big Lie", or was it the will of the German people that germinated the birth of the Third Reich? Absent an elusive national identity, obviously there was a deep seeded need longing to be filled by a most receptive nationalistic populace. As a consequence Hitler did not "provide with a motive"; the motive was already present in the psyche of the German people. All Hitler had to do was to "activate" a willing predisposed audience. In effect, Adolf Hitler, albeit aided by his fiery oratory, was preaching to the choir.

    Similarly, sales managers need only to activate self-motivated salespeople…salespeople obsessed with a burning, driving obsession to succeed for whatever reasons. Put another way, self-motivated salespeople become successful not because of management—however damaging that may be to our respective egos—but because they have to succeed; it's in their DNA...they are driven...they are "do-ers".

    Assuming you possess a certain magnetic charisma, your own brand of inspirational leadership, exceptional communication skills and a proven ability to persuade, obviously you influenced a great many salespeople to translate your vision into positive, measurable results. Nonetheless that doesn't mean you provided the motivation. In reality, what you actually did was cock the triggers of the self-motivated salespeople on your staff. That isn't motivation. That is activation! Interesting, isn't it, how some sales managers—so lacking in their inability to motivate salespeople—work pretty hard in their attempts to de-motivate salespeople. What can you do as a manager?

    You can train, teach, influence, challenge, coach, prompt, push, prod, encourage, incentivize and inspire your salespeople. As an external force, however, there is absolutely nothing you can say or do to internalize what is missing—that burning "inner urge" that drives self-motivated salespeople. It will not graft. It will not take! Not buying it? Assuming you're not suicidal, who in the left hand columns could "motivate" you to kill yourself? No one! Think about that?

    But, what about those situations where your salespeople did make positive changes in their performance only because of you? Changes in their attitude? No! Changes in their behaviors, Yes! Management can change behavior with incentives, policies and procedures, accountability systems, discipline, etc., but management can not change attitudes. Why not? For the same reason you are the only one who can change your attitude.

    Face it, you are more dependent on your salespeople than your salespeople are dependent on you!. For that reason alone as a sales manager, you need to manage your salespeople's behavior, not their attitudes. Test sales applicants for, and then hire attitudes!

    My thesis is further reinforced with a single inarguable fact: people will not do what you want them to do, willingly, without their consent. Willingly!

    Given how few soldiers jump on live grenades to protect their buddies on the field of battle, one might conclude that those who failed to take the same action, responded to a different motivation. What motivation? The truth is, for most people, there is no interest greater than self-interest!

    You didn't get up this morning to fulfill your company's "mission statement", did you? Nor did you get up for your boss or for your salespeople, isn't that also true? No, you got up for yourself and, hopefully, for whomever is dependent on you. Was it any different for your salespeople? It's about time (past time, actually!) management understood its limitations.

    To buy into this hypothesis fully, especially when it comes to seminars advertised to be instructional but turn out to be instruction-less, it is important to recognize that while it is true that motivational speakers can not motivate un-motivated salespeople, they do have the ability to inspire them. Sadly, without self-motivation, inspiration soon fades away.

    Caution: Do not confuse inspiration for activation!

    Finally, self-motivated salespeople do not need inspiration, they need inform-ation.