(legit) Direct Website Inquiries are the HOTTEST LEADS

There are a few key items from back then that are worth a little further explanation, and it has nothing to do with the higher-education industry or the services / products we provided.

Digital marketing was still a relatively new concept when I worked there (it’s still relatively new in the grand scheme of things, even though 1999 was 20 YEARS AGO!), so there were a lot of things going on that were trial and error.

This may be no surprise, considering how the digital landscape is always shifting, so there will probably always be a degree of trial and error with digital marketing. As an example, what worked well six months ago may not work well now for lots of different reasons because Google is always on the lookout for people and businesses who are trying to manipulate the system and do things unfairly (it’s why they have penalties).

The concept of having a qualifying center is not new, either. When a company grows to a large enough size, it makes sense to have a team that calls out to pre-qualify leads and handle the bulk of prospecting (top of the funnel) efforts so that the sales team can focus more on closing deals (mid to lower funnel activities).

But something that I think a lot of people didn’t realize (and probably still don’t realize) is how direct website inquiries throw a (good) monkey wrench into this traditional machine. In the grand scheme of things, (legitimate) inbound, direct website inquiries are probably the hottest lead type ever.

Yes, anyone can find your website and submit a request to be contacted, so there’s a chance that a good amount of junk leads can come through this channel, but when you set that aside for a moment, there are a few key characteristics of legitimate, inbound, direct website inquiry leads:

  • They’re experiencing a problem that they don’t know how to solve on their own
  • They don’t know who to ask, so they turn to Google
  • They found your website because it ranks high for whatever it is that they searched for
  • They clicked around and liked what they saw (at least enough to feel compelled to submit a request to be contacted)
  • They probably clicked through other top-ranking sites, too, as everyone has competitors
  • They probably submitted requests to other providers
  • Direct website inquiry leads are probably the most informed buyers ever, considering how much information we all have access to
  • A good portion of the buying journey has been completed BEFORE you have a chance to actually speak with them
  • This empowers buyers to make even more informed decisions than ever
  • Under the surface, this empowerment, by default, shifts the relational power dynamic in favor of the buyers
  • These buyers feel empowered going into the sales process to the point where they can be quite demanding and even disrespectful
  • It’s gotten to a point where buyers feel like it’s okay to be pushy and overly-critical and overly-skeptical
  • Sales people oftentimes will cave under the pressure of demanding buyers
  • Sales people oftentimes will fight back because no one likes to be pushed around
  • This causes lots of deals (in all industries) to go sideways before they even get started
  • Chaotic top of the sales funnel behaviors cause a turbo-nuclear hornet’s nest at the middle and bottom of the funnel
  • Yes, I came up with “turbo-nuclear hornet’s nest”
  • Communication equals behavior; better communication equals better behavior
  • More strategic and disciplined, top of the funnel behaviors lead to a sense of order and predictability at the middle and bottom of the funnel
  • Organizations that out-behave will out-perform

Now, that was a bit of a tangent, I know, but I think it’ll help you to see where I’m going with all this.

When I worked at that university, I was part of the sales force, and I’ll admit: during those years, being in the mix of a sales-environment (residing in the middle to bottom of the sales funnel), I didn’t care where or how they got leads as long as I got enough of them to produce what I needed to produce.

From what I understand, the qualifying teams there would call out on lead lists that came from all kinds of different sources. I’m not sure where they came from, but I suspect there was a lot of internet voodoo and trickery going on throughout all those years for everyone (in all industries) to get their hands on lead lists, and of course, some of us started paying attention to lead source codes.

I won’t list them here because they won’t make sense (internal jargon), but we knew the codes for leads who were direct website inquiries, meaning “a potential student who went to the university’s website and submitted a request to be contacted,” and we all recognized a very distinct pattern: those leads were way hotter than everything else.

And, organizationally speaking, those hotter leads got mishandled on a regular basis by getting caught up in the mix with all the junk leads and bad behavior.

Several years after my time at that university, I heard that the Qualifying Center was shut down and that the enrollment counselors now have to handle the “first-contact” qualifying / prospecting efforts (in addition to everything else they do), and that introduces a whole set of other challenges (like previously mentioned – sales people trying to move too fast).

Inbound, direct website inquiry leads are hotter for obvious reasons, but just in case, let me try to spell it out a little. If you were a sales person and you had to choose between:

  1. a lead who visited your company’s website and asked to be contacted, or
  2. a lead that had been recycled through multiple contact lists that were bought and sold to multiple companies to pick through and call upon, repetitively …

Which would you choose?

It’s a no-brainer, right? I remember a common tactic that university used for lead generation was pop-ups on job sites. Remember when you were doing a job search on monster.com many years ago, during that time period (somewhere around 2004 to 2009 or so)?

A screen would randomly pop-up and cover the whole screen that asked you a bunch of questions about different jobs and your qualifications. There was also a small “X” hidden somewhere to close out of the screen, but you couldn’t seem to find it (without a magnifying glass) so you’d fill out the information to make the pop-up go away so you could get back to your job search.

Well, that’s how we got a lot of our leads back then. I’m not saying it was right or wrong, either – I’m just illustrating the fact that direct website inquiries are the hottest leads in comparison to all other digital lead sources, and, really – what’s the goal of any company that uses a digital marketing model? To get more direct web inquiries, right?!!

This should all really be a no-brainer up to this point, but I felt it was necessary to give a bit of background to the reasoning for the communication framework that I developed.

Although I believe that neuroscientically-designed communications apply to everything in life, the niche that I’m really focusing in on is more of the medium to larger-sized organizations who use this digital marketing model because it’s modern, it’s relevant, and really, regardless of products or services or even industries, digital marketing is here to stay.

I also really enjoy helping individuals to be more effective in their positions and helping businesses to grow – and to do so in the most honest and ethical manner possible.

Nobody likes dealing with needy or desperate people, right?

Nobody likes dealing with needy or desperate people, right? Of course, this isn’t exclusive to sales people; think of if you both swiped right on some dating app and decided to actually meet up in-person.

If you show up and she’s immediately telling you all about how when she gets married both families are flying to Tahoe for a week and how her dress will look like this, and the bridesmaids will look like that, and the menu will have (on and on and on), you’ll be like: “I’m out!”

And of course you may not say it, but you’re thinking it – and her chances of getting a second date are pretty slim at that point.

Think about how if you need help with something bad enough that you get to the point where you’re doing Google searches and submitting requests to be contacted on different companies’ websites. And of course, we’ve all done this at one point or another, but what if you got called by someone who just sounded … cool, like:

  • Confident but not cocky
  • Authoritative but not abrasive
  • Nice but not too nice (people who are too nice at first are weird, right?)
  • Humble but not timid
  • Enthusiastic but not all crazy
  • Genuinely wants to help but doesn’t sound like he or she wants anything

You’d more than likely get a good, instinctive feeling about working with that person and the company he or she represents, and things will more than likely go smooth from that point forward.

Another secret weapon on calls is to (and I do this on every call), somewhere towards the beginning, casually mention: “… And I’m just taking some notes as we speak here. I wanna make sure I get everything right …”

This is really a command to: SLOW DOWN.

It makes the potential client feel good, too, because you’re paying attention and taking them seriously. This works EVERY TIME. They’ll slow their rate of speech down just a little bit and they’ll appreciate the fact that you’re actually paying attention. This is literally a piece of “active listening skills,” which is an often-times overlooked aspect of communication. Active listening is an especially crucial component of communication, though – especially when over the phones – so this is a secret weapon way of showing that you’re actively listening.

And to prove that there is a logical flow to the way questions should go, I’ve done an exercise with my team where I’ll randomly ask the questions on worksheet. I’ll talk through the end of the Intro and Agenda Statement and I’d ask:

  • “So, what can we help with?”

And then I’d basically rattle off some typical things our potential clients would say and then start asking questions, like:

  • “What’s the best number to reach you on?”
  • “The one you called.”
  • “Okay, and … how did you hear of us?”
  • “Internet search for Credit Recovery.”
  • “Okay … do you know your district enrollment, by chance?”
  • “Um … I think it’s about … 2,800.”
  • “Okay … How long’ve you been there?”
  • “Um … 2 years.”
  • “How many students would we be looking to serve?”
  • “… about 80.”
  • “And what’s your role at the school?”
  • “I’m the principal.”

See? It makes no sense and I sound like some novice who’s reading off some checklist.

Meanwhile, if you have your questions strategically mapped out, they’ll sometimes even start connecting the dots and they’ll give you answers to questions before you even ask them, and this is really how you can get people to open up and feel like they can trust you.

Not to get too crazy into neuroscience here, but when people start “clicking” like this, their brains start producing dopamine and it feels good! (This is also how real rapport gets built and why if feels good).

And then, have “What Comes Next” mapped out, and be able to confidently (and accurately) say what they are. All of this only serves to further solidify the fact that your potential client is working with an EXPERT.

I was in Austin, Texas, working with our teams there on stuff like this (communication frameworks), and one of the team members there laughed at the part where I was talking about this.

“You laughed,” I said, and she felt embarrassed for a moment. “No, that’s a good thing!” I said, “you laughed because of how simple this is, and that’s a good thing. Like, ‘Duh!’ right?!”

And they all laughed and got it.

When I map out frameworks and process flows of any kind, I really do it with a reductionist viewpoint. Meaning: I do my best to reduce the complexity and make things as simple as possible. Communication wants to flow in a certain way, so identifying how it wants to go and channeling it in a way that is mutually beneficial for all parties involved is a good thing.

So, if your organization has a team like mine that handles leads before they go to sales who operate on this level, what this does is, is it lays the groundwork for this “next-level” type of optimized experience throughout the entire sales process and beyond.

Potential clients LOVE this. And account executives love this, too, because what we’re doing on these calls, asides from basic qualification (surface level activity), is we’re purposefully aligning what the potential clients want (some help) with what the organization wants (to help them) and doing it in a way that doesn’t set off alarms.

“I’m not concerned with what potential clients KNOW about the organization when they get off the phone with us,” I’ve told my team, many times. “I’m concerned with how they FEEL.”

If your organization has sales reps who handle first contact to close, then all of this still applies.

I think a big risk that runs in environments like those is the sales people get eager and they want to jump straight into sales mode whenever they speak with anyone. If you get eager and jump the gun, it spooks people and they get scared off, so even if you handle first contact to close, it would be wise to have a clear line of delineation between your marketing / qualification / sales efforts.

Lead qualification, at least from what I’ve seen, typically gets classified as a “marketing” function, but realistically, it should classified as a “sales” function because the sale starts the moment humans first start to speak.

You see, a big misunderstanding that I’ve seen out there (I’d go as far as to call this a fatal flaw), is that people think the sale starts when they’re walking a potential client through a demo or a proposal, because this is the point where money can finally be exchanged for goods and services. But, if you are picking up what I’m putting down here, then you’ll understand that the sale starts the moment the humans start to actually speak – it starts when you go through qualification and intelligence gathering, and how you transition to the next phase of the operation, and the next.

Experience plays a HUGE role in how people make purchasing decisions, so it’s mission-critical to have a standardized framework for how your teams interact with potential clients in the pre-sale relationship (as well as the post-sale relationship).

Because of how precise and thorough my team is when handling leads, the account executives we support never have leads ask them:

  • “So, how long is this gonna take?”

We diffuse that bomb before it has a chance to go off because of what we explain when we tell them about “What Comes Next.” From our scripting:

  • “And since the next call with [Cara] will be a much more thorough, much more in-depth needs analysis call … she will reserve thirty minutes for ya … just so you guys can comfortably discuss all the necessary details of what you’re looking for help with … and ensure we have enough time to answer all your questions …”

Potential clients also never demand quotes immediately, because my team takes the few seconds or so to explain that:

  • “Alright, so first off, I just wanna let ya know that we don’t have any sort of like, set packages or one size fits all solutions … so if we do anything for you, it will be customized according to lots of different factors,” and of course after that we tell them about the next call with Cara.

And what we’re doing with this style of communication, really, is we’re getting the leads to TAKE. US. SERIOUSLY.

And I know I showed some conversion rates earlier, but this is why there was a drastic shift in lead quality for my organization throughout 2018. It’s because of these strategic, communicative tactics that are used by the team that resides at the top of the sales funnel.

When I first started at this organization, not even kidding – I’m talking about my sixth day on the job; I had scheduled calls with the sales managers and this one says to me: “Well, your team sends us all these leads and they never even answer the phone, so what’s the point?!”

Well, things have changed for my organization, and I’m sharing my secrets with you. This is all some SECRET WEAPON, GAME-CHANGING STUFF, and the words in these frameworks are just a fraction of it: seven percent.

Ninety-three percent of it is having the right information for this point in the relationship, organized in a logical and coherent manner, in a FRAMEWORK, and having team members who know how to use the right tonalities and inflections at the right places.

This style of communication is powerful! And this is really WHY the leads that go through this process are responsive and happy to take the next steps and speak with our account executives, and it’s all on one page – it’s not complicated at all!

I mean, what’s the alternative? Just get on the phone and wing it? And hope for the best?

No thanks!

Strategic Cave-persons

I’ve designed a few pretty simple worksheets for a couple different organizations now for their reps to use on calls. And of course the worksheet I designed is really more of a template, so you could design one like it that has a different format or flow to it, but there are some key advantages to using something like this.

Having a strategic tool like this helps to ensure that your reps are:

  • Gathering and sharing the right information for the touchpoint
  • Staying on track and not skewing off into tangents that pull them off course
  • Not letting potential clients skew off into tangents that pull them off course
  • Providing consistently excellent experience from rep to rep
  • Ultimately, meeting the goals of the particular touchpoint

Those are all surface-level, too. Not to say that they’re not important, because they are – but remember, under the surface, there are some very consistent psychological things going on during initial interactions.

The brain is a pattern recognition machine, so if you have questions that are random and sporadic, it throws the other person’s brain a cognitive monkey wrench. Meaning: if they don’t make sense or if there’s no rhyme or reason to the questions, then it makes it seem as if you’re a novice who’s just reading random questions off some survey or checklist or that you’re winging it with no plan.

Cognitive dissonance causes people to tune out because it causes threat alarms to go off in the other person’s subconscious mind. If we were on the phone right now and you’re trying to influence me about anything but what you’re saying doesn’t add up, I will very quickly check out of the conversation as my inner monologue races off about what’s for dinner (or something random, you get the point).

So, with this simple, one-page worksheet that has the questions strategically sequenced, I’d suggest taking a few minutes before the call and fill out what you can (name, company, who the Account Execs might be, stuff like that), and after your intro and agenda statement, use it to ensure that you stay on track with the call.

How can you tell who’s in control of a sales interaction? By who’s asking the questions.

So the questions you ask should go in a logical sequence, starting with less-invasive questions to more invasive, and doing this makes it easier for leads to answer because, check this out:

If you jump on the phone and go through your intro and agenda statement then immediately ask: “So, what’s your budget for this?” then you have just created a massive, uphill battle for yourself from that point forward. And of course budgets are important to discuss, I’m not saying to avoid it, but you’ll find that potential clients are typically much more forthcoming with that type of information after getting basically warmed up to it.

So, I get that BANT makes it easy to remember:

  • Budget
  • Authority
  • Need
  • Time

but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going in that order.

As an example, on my team, we always (towards the beginning of calls) either verify or ask a person’s role, like:

  • “And you’re the [ROLE] there, right?”
  • “Yep, sure am.”
  • “That’s awesome! How long’ve you been there?”
  • “Who me?”
  • “Yeah!”
  • “Oh … about four years now, ha ha!”

And you’ll hear them just open up and get a little cooler at that point because (and this is some secret weapon-type stuff here): we took an active-interest in them as a person by asking a personally-professional question that acknowledges their accomplishment of earning whatever title they have – and it MAKES THEM FEEL GOOD.

They get cool and they open up because, psychologically, it feels good to be acknowledged. Is it a play to the person’s ego? Yes – and so what, right? Everyone likes to be acknowledged, but no one likes insincerity, so there’s a balance to this, too.

Shoot, I have to give an example:

  • “And you’re the [ROLE] there, right?”
  • “Yep, sure am.”
  • “CONGRATULATIONS!! How long’ve you been there?”
  • “Six years now …”

At this point, the potential client checks out because the rep sounds fake and disingenuous and it sounds like the rep wants something, so it sets off alarms.

In this moment, does the rep want something? Yes, of course.

In this moment, does the potential client want something? Sure does!

So, is there a way to purposefully align what they both want so we can predictably achieve an outcome that’s mutually beneficial for both parties involved? Absolutely!

But first, let me ask a question: why is it so annoying when people are needy and whiny?

Like, there’s a reason for why we get annoyed when people want something (especially strangers), and it goes back to our pre-historic, tribal cave-person days.

If you think about it from a primal standpoint, the world is a dark, scary place to be.

Of course with modern advances in medicine and technology, we’ve come quite a ways, but think about how much safer the world is now versus … 100 years ago. We’ve come a long ways, but – evolutionarily speaking – that’s hardly a blip on the radar.

Now, I’m not going to spin off into some crazy tangent about science and evolution, but we all know the world is pretty old – at least thousands if not millions or even billions of years old. It takes a long time for evolutionary changes to occur in humans (and other species), so when you think about how our brains are essentially hard-wired in a certain fear-based, survival-based way, it should make a lot of sense why someone who is needy is annoying – especially strangers.

Imagine we’re in a tribe, just out there in the wild, fending for ourselves. What sets humans apart from all other species really comes down to two things:

  1. Our willingness to protect each other, and
  2. Our willingness to share our resources (namely: food and shelter)

So, let’s say two strangers approach our cave who have (barely) survived an attack from a pack of saber-toothed tigers. Everyone else in their tribe got killed and eaten, but they made it out.

These two strangers are now THREATS TO OUR RESOURCES because they’re going to have a hard time defending themselves and those around them. They’ll be eating our food and using our stuff, so they’re literally threats.

And of course we tend to be a little more forgiving with our own children, right? They can be whiny and needy up to a certain point, sure, but after a while, we’ll want to make sure they learn to fend for themselves. All of these behaviors and tendencies are still true today, but things around us have changed.

We no longer have to go out and hunt down our food and drag it home to our caves, but we still need to eat. And for the most part, we don’t live in caves anymore, but we still need shelter, right? So, we have apartments in the city and houses in suburbia and everything, but we’ll get super-annoyed, super-fast when someone comes over and say: wears out their welcome and stays longer than expected and doesn’t help with anything.

It’s annoying that my 16-year old daughter holes up in her room and doesn’t engage with or help her “tribe” for extended periods of time. Eventually she’ll venture out of her room to get food and then go back to her video games, and then I’ll have to remind her to wipe her bathroom down and do her laundry, but my goodness – imagine if she did the dishes just once a week? Or took the trash out every now and then?

It’s even more annoying over breaks from school because I’ll get up early, go to work all day, and then come home to dishes in the sink, trash overflowing, dirty bathroom, messy room, and I’m like:

  • “What were you doing all day?”
  • “Existing,” she’ll say.
  • “What have you helped with?” I’ll ask.
  • “Nothing … I didn’t know there was anything to help with.”
  • “Well, you have helped with a few things,” I told her. “You helped with running up the electric bill, and water bill … and you ate the food, and used the wi-fi to play Fortnite all day …”

Annoying, isn’t it? If we were cave people, after a while, this type of behavior would get a person banished from the tribe, and banishment back then equaled death because a person could not survive on his or her own. And this is still true to an extent – modern society is set up to where it’s pretty much impossible to venture out and survive on your own without any help from others.

I’ve spoken with my kids about all of this, and how, yeah, I’m not going to banish them, but this stuff, LIFE, is hard, and it’s borderline impossible to do any of this by ourselves. We need to be willing to help each other and look out for each other, and how small teams with members who are self-sufficient who can fend for themselves (to an extent) have healthy division of labor amongst its members.

It’s not fair for one person to:

  • go out and hunt down the food
  • drag it home
  • cook it
  • feed the rest of the tribe
  • clean up after them
  • watch the fires all night to make sure the saber-toothed tigers don’t kill everyone
  • then wake up the next day and do it all over again for the rest of his or her life

We all know that wouldn’t be fair, so we all have this instinctive ability to just know when others aren’t helping out with things, and it’s annoying because it’s a threat to our resources and our group’s overall chances of survival.

Now, I know that was a bit of a rant, but it serves two really big purposes:

  1. It explains why people who are needy are instinctively labeled as threats
  2. It ties into the basic neuroscientific principles we’ve hit on throughout this [BOOK?]

Strategic Preparation

When developing this course, I ran an experiment on myself.

Check this out … I know this material like the back of my hand

And, what you’re getting in these … blocks of instruction … are really the tip of the iceberg … I mean, this stuff took me … literally years … of research and development … to be able to compile it all in a logical and coherent manner.

And … I can speak about this stuff with … certainty … and in the most thorough and in-depth manner … so at first, I just … pressed RECORD and … went with it … when starting out on recording all this …

And … guess what?

I didn’t SOUND that good. I mean, I sounded okay … but I didn’t sound … as … good as I sound right now.

And why is that?

Well, I think that it’s very possible to be the world’s biggest … subject matter expert about whatever it is you specialize in, but if the way you come across sounds … like, just … not the BEST … then it undermines your credibility … right off the bat.

You can have the best words, the best information … but if you sound nervous? or like you’re just … winging it? … then you’re sabotaging your efforts to get your point across … whatever it may be.

 

I think that there’s really only one way to be able to communicate fearlessly about anything, and that’s with the right amount of strategic preparation …and practice and rehearsal …

And so … I’m a fan of scripting things out, and planning … but you have to know that … it goes beyond words here.

I mean, remember from earlier … words are 7% of our communication and 93% is how we come across.

In fact, look … I’ll flip this around and show you … I HAVE THE WORDS RIGHT HERE IN FRONT OF ME … for all of this … and you don’t care, right?

I mean, think about it … having things scripted out is NOT the true objection here.

If a person sounds … IF I SOUND … nervous, or inauthentic … or scared … then that’s where the true objection lies .. that’s what sets the alarms off.

Think about how … it doesn’t really matter if we have the words in front of us or not … I mean, we’re still formulating what we’re gonna say next whenever we’re presenting information about anything.

Anytime we’re engaged in dialogue, we’re carefully choosing our words … and sometimes we’re saying things we’ve said a million times already … so it doesn’t matter if it’s all memorized or all right in front of you … we’re still following a “script” of some sorts.

You see, the problem with scripting … lies in the fact that typically when we write, we write properly

But when we speak? We tend to cut corners … linguistically, that is … and we tend to round things off, and mash words together, and contract things that we normally don’t contract … and stuff like that.

So, let’s say you write out a perfectly-worded piece of information … like … an intro and agenda statement for a call.

If you read it just like the way you wrote it, all proper and everything … you’ll sound forced, and inauthentic … and maybe even nervous

So the key to preparing communications frameworks that sound authentic … is to write’em the way you speak, which means … write’em conversationally, less formally.

And then practice … read it aloud, and modify it and just really … dial it in … until it all flows naturally and what you have written down is aligned with how you speak … and what this does is … is it allows you to provide OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE every time you hit the phones.

And remember, it’s more than just words … look, I’m a human, too …

I’ve got kids and I’ve got to get’em ready for school in the mornings and it never goes as smooth as we hope for …

And if we miss the bus then I’ve got to drive’em to school … and they actually go to two different schools … and if I miss one, it puts me behind for the other one, then I have to park and walk them in …

AND THEN … I’m like Samir from Office Space, fighting traffic to get to work …

So I get in … scrambling, I’m late … and frustrated from dealing with kids and traffic and everything …

And now … the phone’s ringing. What do I do?

You see, having a framework mapped out … for me … and my team … what it does is … is it really helps us to just TURN OFF ALL THE NOISE … so we can really focus in and deliver the best experience … every time we … make or take a call.

Like, it really helps with being able to snap into the right mindset, and this is crucial … like, think of how we sound when … we’re scrambling … or frustrated? It comes across in our tonality … and detracts from the experience.

So … really, having a communications framework mapped out helps us from sounding like … remember Janine from Ghostbusters? When she was like … “Ghostbusters, What do you want?!”

 

So of course … I think that stuff like this is important … like, mission-critical important … but … check this out:

In all the different industries that I’ve worked in …

I mean, I’ve worked with all kinds of different leads and different personalities … and … I mean, I’ve done business with CEOs and VPs and Presidents of Fortune 500 companies and …

Real estate agents and general contractors … and everything in between …

And I can say, WITH CONFIDENCE … that … in all my experience … that executive-level education leaders are, perhaps … the MOST … professional communicators out there …

Like … it’s their NORM … to speak well and write well …

So … what happens when ANYTHING falls outside of our norms?

It pretty much immediately gets classified as INFERIOR … and remember … from that neuroscience stuff earlier how … when we jump to conclusions about anything, they’re pretty much always negative.

Like, we’re always much quicker to assume the worst about things.

Pattern Disruption & Steamrolling Gate Keepers

Alright, so we ended that last section with “nailing the greetings on calls,” and … this is crucial …

I mean, inside sales, outside sales … doesn’t matter. It all starts with a phone call … or at least with leads you get from my team.

But there is a variation to this, and it’s when they identify themselves when they answer the phone, like …

RING, RING, RING …

Them: Hello, this is Dave?

In this instance, it STILL WORKS … to say: “Hi-yes, Dave?”

I mean, trust me, he’ll still say “Yes?” and fall right into the trap … BUT … it’s a little weird because he’s already said his name, so it seems like maybe you weren’t … paying attention and it can send off signals that trigger … cognitive dissonance … in Dave’s mind …

I mean, it still works, though … but … the other variation … what I do when this happens, and I’m prepared for it every time I make a call because it’s either gonna be A: they just say “hello?” without identifying themselves, which is the majority of the time … or it’s B: where they identify themselves

But anyways … it goes like this:

RING, RING, RING

Them: “Hello, this is Dave?”

You: “DAVE! Hey! This is Tom, calling over from Wherever?” And I’m just calling to … (then the rest of the call).

Guys, seriously … That SPARK … of ENTHUSIASM is CONTAGIOUS … and at that point, you got’em hooked.

Does it mean they’ll be immediately ready to sign? Of course not!

But … from that point forward … they’ll be HAPPY TO BE SPEAKING WITH YOU instead of rushing you off the phone … which is what happens when you sound just like everyone else, like:

“Hi, my name is Thomas Hurley, calling from COMPANY… May I please speak with Mr. David Milo?”

Or …

“Hello, this is Thomas Hurley, calling from Wherever … Thank you so much for taking my call … How are you today?”

You hear stuff like this, and what does your brain start doing? … It starts racing for a reason to get off the phone!

Like … you’re not saying it, but when you hear normal greetings like this, you’re just, immediately thinking:

WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT DO YOU WANT?” And “I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS RIGHT NOW.”

And you know what I’m talking about.

Plus, in an industry like ours, where it seems like hardly anyone has a direct line and you’re constantly dealing with Gate Keepers …

I mean, think about it … if you sound just like everyone else out there, then what do they do?

They SHUT YOU DOWN … because … it’s their job to keep intruders out AND that’s NOT … how people … who know each … other speak.

Get it? It’s not … in-the-familiar, like when you sound NORMAL, like everyone else out there … then you sound like a STRANGER, and Gate Keepers are just doing their jobs, really … I mean, it’s their job to keep the strangers OUT.

Meanwhile, say something simple like, “Hi-yes, Dave? Which is what’s known as a PATTERN DISRUPTOR

And they’re like, “Oh, no … you got Tom, let me put you through … and they just step out of the way. I’m not even kidding …

My team does this … all the time. We call it Steamrolling Gate Keepers.

Guys … this is some secret-weapon type stuff here …

Like think about it … people hear the same old greetings all the time, so they typically offer up almost … pre-programmed, blow-off responses, especially Gate keepers …

Where they’ll cover and say the person you’re calling for is … “In a meeting right now” or “Out of the office at the moment … may I take a message?” … and they’ll do this even if the person is STANDING RIGHT THERE

Here, I’ll show you a few examples:

 

 

 

 

a Fatal Flaw (with a lot of organizations out there)

So fast-forward to present-day, and I’ll tell you: it’s something that I coach my team on, heavily. I mean, we all have our different personalities and styles and everything, but the common thread on my team is the ability to communicate fearlessly.

But back then, though, in the Army, I learned that it was possible for a soldier to know everything there is to know, but how he could still lose if he sounded nervous and unsure of himself, especially right at the very beginning when he’s first given a chance to speak.

I also learned that it was possible to win, even if you didn’t know all the answers, as long as you spoke with a certain level of confidence that made it abundantly clear to the board members that this soldier is an expert and therefore, he’s the best candidate.

You see, it would be unrealistic to expect that any one particular soldier could possibly know everything there is to know about everything, so even though general military knowledge was important, it wasn’t all there was to it. A person’s “military bearing,” their presence, the way they carried and presented themselves were very important.

 

I left the Army at the end of 2006, and since then, I’ve worked at several organizations where I’ve spent time on both sides of the marketing and sales fence.

I’ve also read quite a few books along the way, tested a bunch of communicative methods out, and I’ve basically been able to map out the ideal, initial interaction, experience that consistently produces a very specific and desirable outcome:

The highest quality of leads who willingly move to the next steps of the sales process because they feel SAFE and feel like they’re working with an Expert, and really, it’s all because of the way I speak.

With this communication style, I use zero force when speaking with Potential Clients, so this typically reduces their “sales resistance” instead of increasing it, and this is why Leads who go through this strategic, communicative process are typically responsive and ready to take the next steps.

With this style of communication, you won’t need to get 20 leads to get 2 deals, and I’m going to spell it all out in detail in a very logical and coherent manner. It’s actually quite simple, and it has nothing to do with my personality or anything subjective like that. I know how to scientifically break down the best way to do this.

From 2017-19, I worked for a major organization and I created and managed the Marketing Response Team there, and we handled all the inbound website inquiries from Potential Clients (and people who called in to inquire about our services).

Long story short, I wiped out everything they were doing, cleaned house as far as the team that I inherited goes, completely broke down their processes and re-wrote everything (including the team name and job titles), then recruited, hired, and trained a team to do things my way, and guess what:

It completely optimized the way that organization did business.

You see, a fatal flaw that I’ve identified at several organizations now, is that most organizations that have a big enough sales team and high enough lead flow get to a point where they need a team that sits between Marketing and Sales who basically do lead qualification. The fatal flaw is that they’ll typically staff those teams with Novices and give them very little to no guidance on how to communicate with Potential Clients (asides from some poorly written scripting and maybe some email templates), and then, on top of that, they don’t pay them enough to take their jobs seriously anyways.

It’s a recipe for failure. I mean, think about it: It doesn’t matter how high your website ranks or how great your products and pricing are if your Potential Clients get scared off the moment they speak with your humans, right? Well, you might get away with having poor communicators if you’re strictly e-commerce, but most companies aren’t.

So, I was hired on to manage the Lead Generation Team there, even though I made it abundantly clear during the interviews that I’m not a “Lead Gen” kind of guy. I mean, yes, I’m familiar with lead gen tactics and digital marketing, but my area of expertise comes more into play when the humans actually start interacting, so I’m really more of a communications specialist.

During my interview for that position (which I was recruited for), the VP of Marketing told me about some specific problems that they were having, and I gave her very specific ways to fix them and showed her examples of my work, and then of course, I was brought on and we made it happen.

In a lead flow conversion analysis for the first three quarters of 2018 (of course I can’t give specifics as far as deal sizes and revenue goes), the organization was converting Leads that went through my process at right about the 40% mark, and we’re talking about 1,433 Potential Clients. That’s a lot!

First quarter was when my process and methods went into effect, so of course there was a ramp-up as people got used to things.

My Marketing Response Team was located at our headquarters, in Scottsdale, AZ, and we supported Sales Reps who were scattered all over the country plus an Inside Sales Team that was located in Austin, Texas, so a remote sales force that was comprised of anywhere from 50 to 60 Account Executives.

First quarter, we converted at 37.7%.

Second quarter, 38.3%.

By six months in, we were firing on all cylinders and for the third quarter, we converted right at 42%.

It was working – all of it – and everyone loved it; the Account Execs we fed Leads to, the organization as a whole, and of course the Customers that we helped. And we’re talking about some high-ticket items, too, with hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue generated.

Working at that organization gave me a HUGE sandbox to really test and hone and get all of this stuff down, and I’ll tell you now – none of what I’ll be sharing is product or industry specific.

I basically cracked the code on how to communicate in an influential, yet not pushy or aggressive way that just gets people to follow my guidance and HOW TO REPLICATE IT regardless of personalities. My team has older Team Members, younger Team Members, females, males, different personalities, and it doesn’t matter who handled a Lead, the EXPERIENCE provided is consistently (and predictably) objectively excellent.

I remember explaining to that VP of Marketing, “Like … I don’t know, I just … have this certain way of speaking that gets people to take me seriously …”

But back then, when interviewing, although I had been like this since my Army days, I couldn’t really explain how to do it. Like, I couldn’t scientifically-explain it, step-by-step.

Well, now I can, and I’m sharing all of my secrets here.

Promotion / Competition Boards in the Army

In order to earn promotions to certain ranks, we had to face a promotion board, which was basically a structured, paneled interview with senior enlisted leaders of the organization (the Command Sergeant Major and the First Sergeants). There would be five of them on one side of the table, and me (or whoever was competing), facing them.

In a civilian setting, think of the CEO and all the VPs all interviewing 10 candidates for two open manager positions, something kinda like that. We’d get tested on stuff like general military knowledge, of course, but really, it was a test of our overall ability to prepare and present ourselves in a professional manner, and they were competitive.

Speaking of competition, the Army also has these same board type of proceedings for competitions, like Soldier of the Month and NCO of the Month (NCO: Noncommissioned Officer; the squad leaders), and I won a decent amount of those competition boards.

I also trained quite a few of my soldiers to win and get promoted, which, I’ll say it: individually, it’s nice to win – but there was always something very special about teaching others who were able to compete and win.

So, something I learned early on in my career, way before I thought of any of this marketing or sales stuff was: When it comes time to compete, what’s the difference?

Like, what really sets the winners apart, and why were some soldiers selected for promotions while some were passed over?

Whenever I competed for anything, there were other top-performing soldiers who were also selected to compete, and on the surface, we were all pretty much the same. Like, we were all experts at our particular jobs, experts with weapons, physical fitness and basic soldiering skills, so really, what was the difference? We’d all go through the same process, too, so it wasn’t like the circumstances were different based on who was competing or anything.

In fact, here’s a quick run-down:

  • Knock on the door
  • President of the board issues the command to enter
  • I’d enter and march up to the table, front and center, and report: “Sergeant Hurley reports to the President of the Board!” while saluting
  • Command Sergeant Major salutes back, then issues commands to move me in front of each of the First Sergeants so they could inspect and scrutinize every detail of my uniform (while doing this, they normally wouldn’t say anything; they’d just take notes)
  • After being marched in front of each of them, if I passed the uniform inspection and showed that I was capable of following the President of the Board’s commands (which I always did), he would then direct me to take a seat
  • Some soldiers would get dismissed without ever making it to “hot-seat” for stuff like misplacement of certain things on their uniforms, ribbons, badges, ranks, etc., or for executing a left-face when the Command Sergeant Major issued the command of: “Right, Face!”
  • Once in the seat, the President of the Board would typically say something like, “Alright, Sergeant Hurley, now that you’ve made it to the hot-seat, why don’t you take a minute and introduce yourself to the members of the board, starting with when you … graduated high school.”

And seriously? This is where a soldier would win or lose. Or at least that’s what my thoughts were based on my rather extensive experience.

When preparing for this moment, I would script out what I was going to say and I would practice it over and over again. I would rewrite it, record it, listen to the playback, and just really dial it in until I could speak about it with confidence and certainty.

You see, when the President of the Board says: “Take a minute and introduce yourself,” that is NOT the time to try to come up with something intelligent to say.

And the board proceedings were standardized, too, so when preparing, a soldier would know what to expect, especially after going through a few of them. And realistically, these were high-pressure, intense proceedings that were designed to test our ability to present ourselves and keep calm under pressure, so when given the opportunity to speak, you could really set yourself apart from the pack by being about to speak well.

This was the only part of the board proceedings where a soldier could be proactive. What I mean by that, is that from there, for the rest of the proceeding, it was question and answer time.

So from there, the members of the board would take turns asking me questions and of course I’d tell them the answers, but that opening piece, the “Tell us a little something about yourself” piece, was the only part where a soldier was given the freedom to really say whatever he wanted.

I found that if I were able to calmly yet enthusiastically clearly articulate whatever I said to them, that the rest of the board proceeding seemed to just go very smooth. But, if a soldier were to wing it and sound nervous and stumble over whatever he was trying to say, the board members would zero in on that and mess with him to get him to stumble even more.

Was it mean? Maybe.

But again, this is a test to pick out who’s going to win and who’s going to be promoted, and the Army doesn’t need leaders who buckle under pressure. If someone caved under the pressure in a boardroom, how would he do when facing real pressure out on the battlefield, when he’s responsible for leading soldiers and keeping them alive, right?

So I found out, very early on in my adult life, that a big difference between those who won, and those who lost, really could come down to the way that we spoke about things, the way we communicated. I learned that there were just certain ways of wording things that sounded better, and certain ways of speaking, and carrying myself, that just, made them take me seriously.

And I’m not talking about yelling or anything like that, either like what you might think of when you think about the Army (we’ve all seen the movies, and no, it’s not just a bunch of people running around yelling at each other).

I’m talking about speaking with a certain spark of enthusiasm and speaking like an influencer and really:  speaking FEARLESSLY, and that’s something that I KNOW FOR A FACT is a competitive advantage.

Shoveling Snow & Baling Hay

I always had a bit of an entrepreneurial mindset. I grew up in a really small town in Pennsylvania, and I played in band every year from 5th grade through graduation, and this means that we had to sell things to raise money for band trips.

Every year, we went door-to-door and sold cheese and sausage from a fundraiser catalog. And I’ll admit: I was never the TOP salesperson, but I was always near the top. Not to make excuses, but I had no family there (besides my immediate family), and the top salespeople were always ones who had lots of family in the immediate area that would always buy from them exclusively.

During the winters in those years, I would also shovel snow to earn money. When it snowed, I’d wake up early like normal and listen to the radio for school closures and delays, and when I’d hear that school was canceled, I’d get up, get dressed, grab a shovel, and go door-to-door. Sometime around lunchtime, I’d head home with a fistful of cash.

My earnings would vary, of course, but after a while, I had loyal customers who would turn other kids away so that I could shovel their sidewalks and driveways, and of course, it wasn’t tons of cash, but as a kid with no real bills, earning a bunch of $10s and $20s was amazing! I can’t recall specific amounts, but I remember going home with somewhere around $100-something bucks on a regular basis.

In the summer time, I’d work on farms and bale hay, and THAT was some hard work. And I’m not even kidding about this – I remember the specific amount I’d earn, and I’m not embarrassed to say that I’d make literally $10 bucks a day, which was $50 bucks a week.

You might think that’s a pathetic amount, and I may be inclined to agree, but there was competition and if I wasn’t willing to work, someone else would have gladly taken my spot, and there was really only so much room on those hay baling trailers.

The farmer guy would drive the tractor that had the hay baler that would shoot the bales back into the trailer, then we’d have to snatch them up and stack them neatly. When the trailer was full, we’d head back to the barns where we’d have to unload everything into the barns, and that was seriously some hard work (but it helped me to be in decent shape for football season, ha ha!).

It also got me out of the house and kept me from getting into the kind of trouble that most teenagers seem to get into, and from age 14 on, I was able to pay for all my own school clothes, which was a big help for my family considering how many kids there were (are).

I was the 2nd oldest of 5 children, and I’m not going to give the “my-family-was-so-poor” sob story, but it was nice to be able to help out with buying food and stuff like that. There were quite a few times when I would earn money shoveling snow or baling hay and then I’d walk down to the general store (yes, the town I grew up in had a general store), and purchase milk and bread and stuff like that for the family.

I also played sports in school, so that helped me to develop a bit of a competitive mindset. And also, like I mentioned, I had no immediate family in the area, and it was one of those rural, farming communities in the mountains where everyone seemed to be related somehow.

So, if you could only imagine, I always seemed to be a bit of an underdog, too, because in a lot of cases, the kids with the “names” who were related to the right people, typically got picked for certain positions. Regardless, I always made the teams and I always got plenty of playing time, but I take pride in knowing that nothing was ever handed to me because of my name.

I really had no college ambition as a kid. I didn’t even think about college during high school because I didn’t really see the value in it. It seemed like the only jobs where I grew up were either teachers or farmers with a few factories scattered here and there that people worked at, but none of that interested me.

Plus, it seemed like the only kids who were college-bound were the teachers’ kids, so I went to the Army. I enlisted during my senior year and left immediately upon graduation in 1997. I served from age 17 through 27 and served on Active Duty from July 1997 through December 2006.

I did really well during my time in, and it was very formative for me as I was very young and impressionable during that time. I rose through the ranks fairly quickly and found myself in a few different leadership positions, mainly as a squad leader with anywhere from two or three soldiers under me and times where there were up to ten to twelve or so.

I don’t really want to make this about that time of my life, so I promise to keep this part brief, but there is something very relevant that I would like to share, and no, it has nothing to do with my three overseas tours.

 

Lining up the Tumblers

 

Alright, so we’re gonna review a few slides from earlier just to make sure we’re all up to speed with everything so far …

Remember … neuroscientifically-speaking … there’s an ORDER of OPERATIONS … that our brains go through when we come across anything new … so … new information, new people … business, personal doesn’t matter …

And you guys’ve seen this slide … the timeline of the first :28 seconds … and …

I’m sure you’re wondering … why :28 seconds? …

Well … it just … seemed like a good number.

… But seriously … I have call-recording hooked up for my team, and after analyzing literally … hundreds of calls from different team members and … even myself … it seemed like the average time for making it past the Reptilian and Mammalian parts of the brain … and accessing the Neocortex …

When using this framework, that is … uh, it seemed to consistently land right around that :28 second mark …

I mean, yes, of course … it can happen a little left or right of that point on the timeline … but that’s really right where the average was … so that’s how I came up with the … :28 seconds …

But remember … you have to relieve those primal concerns of safety and emotions … in that order … and you know what’s crazy about all this?

Most people don’t even KNOW … that these are concerns of theirs … I mean, remember, this stuff is all done subconsciously, below the surface … like … it’s instinctive … like, you just know … when someone knows what he or she is talking about … and … when they don’t.

Same with when you … LIKE … someone … or TRUST … someone. Like, you can just tell, and you can usually tell within the first 30 seconds.

Remember the bit last section about the lake and the hazards lurking below the surface?

Here’s my attempt to equate all that to dealing with the different parts brain.

Um … when you first put the boat in the water? It’s like dealing with the Reptilian Brain. Like, does it float? YES or NO?

… Okay, we’re not sinking, so … we’re SAFE!

And now … we can start making our way back to the beach …

And on our voyage out there, we have to safely navigate and avoid all these hazards, so this is like dealing with the Mammalian part of the brain, all the feelings … and … emotions and stuff …

But, if we make it past all that without hitting anything? We’ve now made it to the beach … and we’re having a great time, everyone is HAPPY and SAFE … so this is like dealing with the Neocortex.

 

And, of course you guys’ve seen this slide before and how by the time you make it to this point, you’ve been judged. The other person has ripped you apart and reconstructed you in their minds and they’ve formed a mental image that is either favorable … EXPERT … or … not favorable … NOVICE.

I mean … remember, you don’t stop for a minute to analyze … and interpret … the tone of someone’s voice … and consciously choose … to feel … threatened or safe … or skeptical or open-minded … like, you just, get that feeling, and of course, you know what I’m talking about how, like …

You can just tell … like, in less than 30 seconds … if the person you’re speaking with can actually help you or not.

I mean, you just get that feeling …  and at this point, you’re either gonna pay attention and take this person seriously … or you’re gonna tune’em out and escape the encounter as fast as possible.

 

Remember earlier how I mentioned that all these little things are like … lining up the tumblers to a lock?

And how, when you do it just right, you’ll gain access to the prize?

Which is … having the other person actually pay attention? and take you seriously? because they feel safe and that they’re working with someone who can actually help them?

Well here’s my attempt to illustrate this

the first 28 seconds gauntlet

Think of these TUMBLERS … as BINARY … like … YES, NO … and how, they can literally restrict your access to the prize like … first and foremost

DO I FEEL THREATENED? If YES, SHUT it down! And get away from the threat NOW!

And … I know STATUS seems like a superficial thing to be concerned with … but really … I mean, instinctively speaking?

What this means is … is Expert versus Novice, like … the lower the status, the lower the credibility … I mean, think about it: higher status equals higher credibility, and really, what this comes down to … is …

And I know this’ll sound harsh, but, it rolls up to … in fact, all this rolls up toinstinctively DETERMINING … if someone is worth listening to.

I mean, think about it

You can come across as non-threatening? Make others feel safe? … Be the biggest Subject Matter Expert in the world? On whatever it is that you specialize in?

But … if you come across as … BORING?people’ll still tune you out.

Like, it sounds harsh, I know … but something like that or … any one of these, really … can keep you from ever actually … getting through … and connecting on a conscious level, I mean … think about it:

Your expertise may never have the opportunity to shine through … if … you … don’t get through the first :28 seconds without setting off alarms.

And also, I wanna point out how … just because you make it here doesn’t mean you’ll always stay here.

Like, the Reptilian and Mammalian parts of our brains are like … subconscious anti-virus software, constantly running in the background and just … scanning for threats.

But … it’s VERY IMPORTANT to know … that … you’ll NEVER connect on a conscious level if you set off alarms right at the very beginning, and this is the … science … behind why first impressions are just … so powerful.

I mean, think about it

Plenty of sources indicate that … it takes EIGHT subsequent positive encounters to overcome a BAD FIRST IMPRESSION, and I don’t know about you guys … but I can’t recall ever being given EIGHT ADDITIONAL ATEMPTS … to get it right.

I mean, really … this stuff is CRUCIAL … MISSION-CRITICAL … to just … get right as much as we possibly can.

 

Avoiding the Hazards

 

So last year, I helped the account management department with developing communication frameworks, so think of stuff like … contact and engagement strategies … structured welcome calls and talking points like … what to cover, what not to cover … um, stuff like that …

And then regular … touchpoints for follow-up to ensure we’re … keeping the … lines of communication open with our new clients.

And altogether, it wound up being right about seven hours’ worth of training.

Was it too much? Maybe.

But it helped me to … narrow down … what I’ve got … prepared … for this section because … in the different … training groups … we consistently reached a certain point … that … just really stood out …

And each time we hit that point, I stopped and told’em

“Look guys … it’s a lot, I know … but if there’s ONE THING … the MOST IMPORTANT THING … out of all of this … that I could possibly impress on you guys …

It’s this:”

THE FIRST :28 SECONDS

And this section will only have … 7 slides … and again, we’re gonna move FAST!

My family and I spend … a lot of time … out on the … water.

And this picturebelieve it or not … is from the week of Thanksgiving, 2018. We were out at Sugaro Lake, out on the east side of town … and … it was just a … stunningly beautiful day out there.

And … there’s … um, actually a beach … straight ahead in this picture, and that’s where we were headed. There’s actually a few beaches in Phoenix, but … they’re waaay out on the backside of the lakes, so most people don’t know of’em.

Anyways … I’d like to go ahead and zoom in on this picture … and I’d like to point out these buoys.

Being on the water is like, the greatest thing in the world to me? … but it’s also a very dangerous activity, I mean … people … die out there … every year … from accidents.

But to help people be safe … the lakes’ll have the major hazards marked out … like … underwater rocks and boulders … um, submerged trees and stumps … um, narrow places where the current’s really strong … places where the water’s really shallow … you know, stuff like that …

 

So, anyways … with all that being said, I’d like to ask a … question … and it’s really a bit of a … dumb question, I think … but I’m gonna go ahead and ask it anyways …

 

Um … if you were … about to head out on the water … especially with your family on board … and your kids … would you rather …

A: HAVE THE HAZARDS MARKED? … so you knew the areas to avoid? …

Or …

B: NOT HAVE THE HAZARDS MARKED … and just kinda  … hope you don’t hit anything?

Which would you choose? … …

 

And I know … it’s a dumb question, like … really …

Who in their right mind would choose to NOT have the hazards marked?!

 

Check this out … here’s my attempt to illustrate this:

The lakes in Phoenix are long because they’re part of the river system … so, if viewed from above, they’d kinda look like this …

So, you get going from the launch ramps down here … and … you make your way to the beach waaaay out on the backside of the lake …

And, the reason for sharing all this … really … is to show … that … with boating … there are lots of hazards … and they’re … … mostly … below … the surface …

So the buoys … the markers … help us to KNOWwhere stuff like all this is because … I mean, really … you can’t see’em otherwise … but, trust me … they’re out there!

I mean … check this out … we got caught in a current once that pulled us into a shallow area and we tore up the lower unit … which wound up being … just over $3,000 dollars’ worth of damage … it was NOT a pleasant experience.

 

So anyways … this concept of … dangerous hazards … lurking beneath the surface …um … directly … relates and … applies .. to … communications.

In fact, I was shocked when I first learned of this … how, like … when it comes to communications … um, 7% is the actual words … and how 93% … is everything else.

hazards beneath the surface

Seems a bit off, doesn’t it?

Google it when we’re done here … google, “What percentage of communication is words?” and you’ll find … lots of sources that back-up what I’m talking about here.

And also … know that … my intentions are not to … MINIMIZE … the importance of words here, either … I mean, words are important, don’t get me wrong …

But … you can have the best words and still say’em the wrong way …

So the point of sharing this, really … is more to … EMPHASIZE the importance … of non-verbal communication … because I think it’s something that most people don’t realize so they tend to overlook it … AND … this is the stuff that makes up that … 93% … lurking beneath the surface.

So when we think of non-verbal communication, the first thing that probably jumps to mind is … BODY LANGUAGE

And I think it’s probably a normal assumption … to think that stuff like body language … and facial expressions … and certain physiological triggers, like … talking with your hands … don’t really matter when doing business over the phones because … the other person can’t see you.

Well … motion creates EMOTION … and the way we MOVE … affects the way we SOUND … and what I’m talking about here is TONALITY.

Like, we … sound different when we’re standing versus when we’re sitting …

And we all know when someone sounds … prepared … or when they sound unsure of themselves, like … there’s just a … certain level of confidence … or lack of confidence … that comes across in our tonality … and what this does, whether you realize it or not …

I mean, yeah, they can’t physically see you … BUT … you must realize … that whenever you speak with someone over the phone …

You … on the intros, you quickly … tear’em apart and form a mental image of whoever it is you’re speaking with … and it’s either gonna be a positive image? Or a negative image … and it’s all based on HOW THE PERSON SOUNDS.

I mean, when it comes to tonality … we all know how to speak with CERTAINTY about things that we’re certain about … like … “Based on everything we’ve discussed so far, I’d say there’s definitely an opportunity to assist …”

That’s a transition sentence that my team uses on our calls …

… And we all know how to speak in a … MATTER OF FACT tone …

Like … “If we do anything for you it’s gonna be customized according to lots of different factors, some of which we’ve discussed already, sure … but there’s a lot more to it … and we have a process we follow …”

I mean, that’s another piece …

And how to, you know … speak like something’s NO BIG DEAL … Like … “This’ll just be a real brief call ..” Like, no big deal, right?

And we all know how we sound when we’re talking about SOMETHING THAT EVERYONE DESPISES

Like … “I’d say … feel free to go ahead and respond first … and let Craig know when YOU would like to schedule a call, and this way you guys aren’t … you know, like … playing phone tag or trying to track each other down or anything like that …”

I mean, think about it … when we want people to listen, we RAISE OUR VOICES

But … if we really want people to listen … WE LOWER OUR VOICES.

Dropping down to a whisper tone at the right places … especially when on the phones … is POWERFUL, like … it just draws the listener in, like … it implies you have something special … something exclusive … and they just really wanna know … what you’re about to say next.

And when it comes to rate of speech? You have to realize …

That when we’re nervous? We naturally tend to speak faster, which RAISES the pitch of our voices … and that registers subconsciously as … this person is nervous, therefore something must be wrong …

Whereas, when you speak a little slower, it lowers your pitch, and you come across as more … authoritative, so it registers subconsciously as … “Whoa … better listen up and take this person seriously …”

… And all these subtle nuances … help to make up that 93%.

Different tonalities can literally make words mean different things, and I know what you’re probably thinking right now … like, “Oh my goodness … I have to learn all these different tonal patterns?”

… NO! I mean, you already know’em! … You already know how to do all this …

So when you take stuff like, ADVANCED TONALITY … and purposefully use it at the right places? Especially on … Intros to calls … and of course throughout the calls?

… it will enhance and OPTIMIZE the experience … in your favor!

I mean, this stuff literally … registers favorably in the subconscious minds of whoever you’re speaking with and it lets you … tiptoe past the Reptilian and Mammalian parts of their brains without setting off alarms … and it quickly gains you access … to their Neocortex …

Which means they’re now consciously paying attention because they feel safe and feel like they’re working with someone who can actually help’em out.

Guys, this is some secret weapon stuff right here … and I’m not telling you how to do your jobs or anything … but … what do you think’ll happen when you incorporate this kind of stuff … in … how you communicate … with your potential clients?