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?”
“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 outAND 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 …
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.
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.
… and my goal here … is that … by the time we get down to ZERO … is that you’ll be in either one of two mindsets … so you’re either gonna be … in …
A … “this guy’s just … out of his mind?”
Or … B … “How do you do it?”
So on that, let’s go ahead and get moving …
… Most communications training … and … sales training … that I’ve ever been through … typically revolves around … normal topics … like … interpersonal skills and communication styles … and product knowledge … and … overcoming objections … maybe some closing skills …
But … I’ve never seen anything that’s geared primarily towards … opening skills … so … I … created it.
So just know … that this training’ll have … nothing … to do with any of the “normal” stuff … and what we’re gonna do is … is just … scale it … waaaaaay back …
To the mindset … of someone who… turns to google … for help. And really? This is some Art of War stuff right here …
And … of course, we don’t even have to really think too hard about this either … I mean, this is something we’ve all experienced at one point or another …
So … this person … YOU! … you’re … experiencing a problem that … you … don’t know how to solve on your own … and it’s frustrating.
And of course you’re skeptical … because of things you’ve heard about … and maybe even experienced … when doing business on the Internet …
But … because of how much information we all have access to … you’ve been able to do as much research … as you can … so you at least has an idea of what you’re looking for …
And of course this translates to in-person, too … not just over the phones and internet, like …
Personally, I’d never just … drive across town to check anything out … without doing some research first.
And I think that, because of the Internet … and us having access to so much information, that buyers today are … really the most … informed ever …
But you also have to realize that there’s a chance … that … you’re misinformed … because you can’t always believe what you see on the internet.
I mean, sometimes it says “THIS” or looks like “THAT” online, but in-person, it winds up being … something different.
So … you have to realize … that …
Your potential client’s mindsets … are really … just a … mixed bag of … emotions … I mean there’s a ton of uncertainty, and … all this just … raises … their already-heightened defenses …
So you click around and … you find a company that … looks like it could possibly help solve the problem you’re experiencing, and … you submit a request to be contacted … and then … you wait …
And … you hope to get contacted … soon …
But … you also hope your phone doesn’t get … blown up … by a bunch-a random people trying to sell you a bunch-a things that you didn’t ask about.
And you hope you don’t get tons of SPAM messages about this …
And you hope that your information doesn’t get shared with other providers …
… You just hope that … the person that does call you … isn’t … some … idiot.
So again, consider all these factors, and realize … that your potential client’s mindsets are really … just a … mixed bag of … emotions … and it’s a scary mindset to be in.
I mean, no one wants to get “sold” or “ripped off” or anything … so people tend to be even moredefensive going into initial interactions, especially when it comes to making purchases … and especially … when doing business over the internet and phones.
So, the time finally comes to speak … and again … doesn’t matter what the product or service is … or what the industry is, even … because … here’s what potential clients are … really saying … during initial interactions:
… “Hi, I’m experiencing a problem that I don’t know how to solve on my own … and I’m not sure how to communicate the fact that I’m … frustrated and scared … and don’t know who to trust …
so I’m gonna go ahead and throw out smokescreen objections to basically cover for my deep-rooted sense of fear … AND I’m gonna be hyper-critical and scrutinize every word you say and every tonality you use … in order to find a reason to NOT trust you … and then … get this:
We’re gonna go ahead and just spiral out of control while haggling about cost … and we’re gonna do all this before I even know if you have a solution that’d work for me … and it’s all rooted in the trust issues that we all have as human beings … because …
Even though it’s almost 2019 and we all have smart phones … we’re still very much … Primal, fear-based creatures.”
And then Novice Communicators’ll say something like:
“Don’t worry … it’s not really that expensive for my [product / service] …
…. here, let me just go ahead and answer all your questions and then I’ll tell you about all the features and benefits in an attempt to put your mind at ease …
Meanwhile, what this does is … is it just dumps fuel on the fire and causes things to … spiral even further out of control.
I mean, think about it … when you jump to features and benefits too soon? … the other person’s brain just … jumps right to … “What’s this gonna cost me?” … which, in other words … is … “opposition” so now it’s even more of a fight … and we’re only 90-seconds in …
So … what we really have here, under the surface of initial interactions … is a death match … between two primal, fear-based creatures … sizing each other up … and fighting … to establish control of the encounter.
And this happens … everytime … two people interact … for the first time for … any reason … I mean, think of job interviews … first dates … sales calls … so, business, personal, doesn’t matter …
And … and it’s all rooted … in our … hard-wired, survival instincts … from … … really from living in fear for most of our human existence.
I mean, think about it … from just a … survival standpoint … our brains’ main purpose … is … really to … keep us alive … so they’ve been essentially … hard-wired … to perceive most new information we come across as “threats” … and most new people we run into as … “foes” … and it’s like …
We can’t even help it … as these snap-judgements are made subconsciously … and this is why … first impressions are just … so powerful.
So, in this particular example … the Potential Customer has established … control of the encounter, and he’s wildly attacking … while the … Novice Communicator’s likean outmatched boxer … pinned up against the ropes, just covering up … and hoping … to make it to the end of the round …
And beyond this point? … the success of the … Novice Communicator … will depend solely upon how nice the Potential Client decides to be … because when someone takes … control … of the initial encounter … what this does is …
Is it sets … the power dynamic … for the relationship … and typically, once the power dynamic is set … there’s usually no switching roles …
I mean, think about it … one person will emerge from this in the DOMINANT … um, Alpha-position … the LEADER … and the other person … from that point forward, will be in the SUBMISSIVE … beta-position … the FOLLOWER.
… And really … there’s just a … night and day difference … with how things go … when you’re in control … of the sales process … and when you’re not.
And I’m not talking about being a bully or … being abrasive or … anything high-pressure or anything like that, either … I’m talking about having the type of relationship where … you’re viewed as more of a … Trusted Advisor … instead of a Typical Salesperson …
So, we spoke about the mindset of your potential clients BEFORE the initial interaction …
So AFTER the … death match … you have to realize, that their mindsets … are really gonna be one of two things:
And it’s either gonna be, A: … I’m working with pros … who actually listened, who care … who can help me get whatever it is that I’m after …
Or … B: … which is … I’m gonna have to look at some other options.
So, Power Dynamics … are present in every relationship … and when you … understand this … you can then … purposefully … influence them … in your favor … regardless … of established … titles and ranks …
… and by doing this, you can establish … control of the relationship … by speaking with a certain … fearlessness … that just gets’em to take you seriously right from the very beginning.
And there’s really a science to doing this … taking control without being abrasive … and without … being desperate or pushy or anything like that … and I’m a big fan of it because … it … like, doesn’t require smooth-talk or high-pressure anything …
I mean, think about it … if you knew how to craft and tailor your communication strategies and approach to go … in-line with how the brainprefers to receive and process information … instead of going against it? … what this means, really … is that …
… you’ll be purposefully … and fearlessly … communicating … in a way that doesn’t set off … threat alarms … for people who are … by default … in a … fearful mindset to begin with.
And really … this is a way to diffuse … … TRUST BOMBS … before they have a chance to detonate … later on down the line …
Alright, let’s fly through this last piece … only 3 slides left!
And … what we’re gonna do here is … is we’re gonna go ahead and fly through … some basic neuroscientific principles, like … the … order of operations … and … you may be in for a surprise …
You see, the fundamental flaw we make … as communicators … is that … … and I’m quoting Oren Klaff on this … author of Pitch Anything … which I … HIGHLY RECOMMEND …
… and this is more paraphrasing, really … but … I mean …
Look … I prepared this presentation with my NEOCORTEX, which is the Human part of the brain … and … you’ve done this too …
Where we prepare the information using … conscious thought and energy … and then we go to … sell it to others, or teach it, or just … you know, somehow transfer the knowledge, like this … and we assume …
That since I prepared “ALL THIS” … with my Neocortex … that I’m transmitting it out … Like a fax machine, like … BRRRR!… and then YOU … receive it with your Neocortex … like BRRRR! And it’s all just a … crystal clear transfer of information …
and it’s … NOT … HOW IT GOES.
New information … and new people … ANYTHING NEW … First goes through … the part of the brain that we share with reptiles … the Reptilian Brain … and the primary concern here, is SURVIVAL.
And it’s very primal, very instinctive, and it’s like a … subconscious anti-virus software that’s constantly running in the background, scanning for threats.
But, if you make it past this part, you’ll now be dealing with the part of the brain that we share with other Mammals … and it gets tricky here, because now … you’re dealing with emotions … and feelings …
And power … and status … and … I mean, you can make it past the Reptilian Brain but still get shut down here …
I mean … this is all done subconsciously, too … and you know what I’m talking about how, when … like … how, you just get that … feeling sometimes.
Like, instinctively … you can tell within … 30 seconds … if whoever you’re speaking with can help you or not.
And you know what I’m talking about, like … how … no one stops for a minute … to analyze and interpret … the tone … of someone’s voice …
And then … consciously decides to feel …threatened or safe … or skeptical or open-minded … I mean, this is all done subconsciously … like, you just get that … feeling …
So, if you know how to … PURPOSEFULLY … relieve these primal, instinctive concerns … and get … through without setting off alarms … this means you’ll earn access to the other person’s Neocortex…
And what this means is … is that you’ll be able to … really have a meaningful connection where the other person is actually … paying attention and taking you seriously … because they feel safe … and feel like they’re working with someone who can … actually … help them out.
Here, let’s put it on a timeline … And we’re down to TWO slides … so, almost there!
Again, this is OPENING SKILLS … so, we’re only focusing on the first :28 seconds here …
So, I’ll draw a linehere … and remember, we’re dealing with the Subconscious Mind at first.
In the first 5 seconds, you’re dealing with the Reptilian Brain, and its primary concern is SAFETY.
You make it past that, and now you’re dealing with the Mammalian Brain … whose primary concern is EMOTIONS and FEELINGS.
And … you must … relieve these primary concerns … in this specific order …
And this is CRUCIAL … if you wish to be a … consistently … effective communicator.
And when you do all this … you’ll earn access … to the other person’s conscious mind … for the rest of the interaction.
And really, this is all like … lining up the tumblers to a lock, here … so you can get access to the prize, here …
So, you’re now dealing with the other person’s Neocortex … which has the ability to use LOGIC … and REASON … and advanced problem solving skills … but REMEMBER THIS …
In order for us to access our Neocortex … we MUST … FEEL … SAFE and we MUST
… FEEL … LIKE THE INFORMATION IS USEFUL … AND THAT THE PERSON … PROVIDING IT … IS SOMEONE WORTH … LISTENING TO.
One slide left!
So you have to realize … that by the time you make it to this point … you’ve been judged … by the person you’re communicating with …
And the judgment is … that you’re either … A: an EXPERT … or B: a NOVICE.
And of course an expert can help … whereas a Novice can’t.
So the instinctive judgment … which is made SUBCONCIOUSLY … by who you’re communicating with … is to … either … PAY ATTENTION to THIS PERSON … or:
Tune this person out and escape the encounter as fast as possible.
And the real problem is … is that you’ll make it past this :28 second mark every single time.
Like, people don’t want to be “rude” or “mean” or anything … so they’ll go along with you and offer up one-word answers to your questions and agree to next steps, whatever they are …
But the problem is, is that when you get further on down the line … where you’re actually presenting a proposal or walking’em through a demo and … it’s now time to make an actual purchasing decision …
And this could be two-calls away … or it could be … TWO YEARS away …
But … IF … they perceived you as a NOVICE from the very beginning? … Good luck trying to get’em to sign.
But … if they perceived you as an EXPERT from the very moment you … opened your mouth? … then they’ll make a much more … comfortable … decision when deciding to go with you because …
They feel like they’re working with an expert, and it all starts here, in the first :28 seconds …
Alright, so … I’ve never really been one to subscribe to the idea of, like … “positive energy” and being all optimistic and stuff …
I mean, most people who know me know that I’m typically pretty quiet and reserved for the most part … but as I’ve studied more of this neuroscience stuff, I’m coming to realize that there may be some truth to all that “positive energy” stuff.
As I’ve learned more about the different parts of the brain and what they do … I’ve learned that, like … how it’s just … very possible … to set people off with something as simple as our tonality.
But on the flipside, I’ve also learned that purposefully using the right tonalities at the right places and doing something as simple as … raising the inflection at the end of a sentence? …
Like, doing stuff like that will literally send signals to the subconscious mind of the person you’re communicating with and it’ll get them to be … immediately more agreeable?
Like, I’m not saying “DO THIS AND THEY’LL BE IMMEDIATELY READY TO SIGN!”
But … by doing stuff like this, they’ll at least be OPEN to hearing out … whatever idea you’re proposing, instead of being immediately closed off and skeptical.
And I can always appreciate a healthy dose of skepticism, too, like … I didn’t believe this stuff either when I first learned of it … but once I fully grasped it … in fact, shoot … I’ll tell you a story about this real quick:
I was working a sales gig a few years back … doesn’t matter where, doesn’t matter what the product or service or industry was.
Just know that, as a sales rep there, I was responsible for taking a lead from 1st Contact to Close, and it was ALL OR NOTHING. We also had no marketing, so we had to cold call from a database full of thousands of leads who had been beaten up by this company for years.
So needless to say, it was a cold, cruel world … but the commissions were uncapped so there was decent earning potential.
And I sold there, too … but not as much as I would’ve liked … and the Sales Director, a great guy named Dave Milo, would offer coaching to whoever actively sought it.
And I don’t remember the day exactly … so let’s just say it was Wednesdays … but like, one day a week, on Wednesdays … he’d offer to be in an hour early and have bagels and donuts for whoever wanted to come in early for coaching, so I took him up on it one day.
So, I scrambled, got the kids to school early and made it in, I’m in the conference room with a bunch of other people, I’ve got a bagel, and Dave asks: “Who wants to go first?”
And I’m like, “Right here Dave … let’s do this,” … and he pulls a call up.
It’s playing through the speakers for everyone to hear, and I don’t mind … but he only played like, the first 5 seconds or so … then stopped it.
Then he pulls up another call and listens to the first … maybe 7 or 8 seconds or so, then stops that one.
Then he pulls up another call and listens to the first maybe … 5 or 6 seconds or so … and meanwhile, I’m just getting … agitated.
And I’m not saying it, but I’m thinking … like … what sort of meaningful feedback are you going to give me if you’re not even listening to a whole call? I scrambled and got the kids to school early and came in an hour early for this?
Like, I’m kinda insulted here … what’s going on?
And then, after three or four calls or so, maybe five … Dave stops and he says to me:
“… Tom … I’ve got some bad news for you …”
… I sat there for a second, just kinda shocked, then said: “Alright, Dave … hit me … what’ve we got?”
And he’s like … “Nah, man … that’s what you sound like!” and he gets all excited. “You sound like you’re about to deliver some bad news!”
And I’m like … “… I’m just trying to be as professional as possible …” all defensively.
“Yeah, I get it,” he says … “but lighten up. You sound like you’re about to say something like, ‘I hate to be the one who informs you’ or … like, you’re knocking on someone’s door and telling’em ‘I’m so sorry … I just hit your dog … I think he’s dead.’”
And the room lit up, people are laughing, and … I was slightly embarrassed … but a lightbulb went off.
You see, Dave didn’t explain anything about neuroscience or “positive energy” or anything like that, but I got it … I understood what he was saying.
You see, at that job we’d cold-call 200 people a day … to hopefully get 10 of’em to speak with us … to hopefully get 4 of’em to agree to a follow-up appointment for a demo … to hopefully get 2 of’em to actually show up … to hopefully get 1 of’em to close … I mean, it was a GRIND there.
We’d get hung up on left and right, or people just wouldn’t answer … so when a person actually did answer, we kinda just … expected … to get yelled at and hung up on …
So it was normal to get in the mindset of expecting that it wasn’t gonna go well and we’d go into the calls just bracing for the impact.
You see, I was saying the right words, but I was saying them the wrong way. And the greeting was really simple there …. In fact, I took with me and I’ve used this at several organizations now.
It went: “Hi-yes, Name?” with upward inflection at the end of the person’s name.
“But that’s not me,” I said, when learning this … “I don’t speak like that. I’m not Mr. Optimistic, Cheery, Mr. Cheerleader-guy.”
So, I’m as skeptical as it comes when trying new things and really, I just thought it didn’t really make a difference, so I just kept doing what I was used to.
My greetings were going: “Hi-yes, Name …” with flat or even downward inflection, but after Dave gave me that feedback, the lightbulb went off and really, that was a game-changer for me.
I mean, think about it … something that simple … I trained myself to nail that upward inflection on the greetings, and … I’d even conduct myself with my hand, like this … “Hi-yes, Dave?” and … I even had a yellow sticky-pad with it on my monitor …
and here’s what it does:
RING, RING, RING …
Me: Hi-yes, Dave?
Me: Hey Dave! This is Tom … calling over from … Wherever? And I’m just … (and then the rest of the call).
You see, what happens is, if it IS the person you’re calling for, they’ll pretty much always answer with “Yes?” and they’ll MATCH and MIRROR your inflection. And it’s like … they can’t help it!
There are a few other psychological purposes that this serves, too … like … If it’s NOT the person you’re calling for, like, when you’re dealing with a Gate Keeper … it makes it seem as if the person you’re calling for knows you and is therefore expecting your call … so they put you right through.
Guys … seriously … this is some secret-weapon type stuff right here.
Raising their name up at the end of the greeting like this infers what’s known as a micro-agreement, so subconsciously, they get … basically tricked … into becoming immediately open and positive and inquisitive.
Then they’ll even answer, “Yes?” which is an explicit agreement, and all this happens in less than 2 seconds!
And I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but what’s the alternative?
“Hi-yes, Dave …” with flat or downward inflection.
“Hi-yes, Dave …” with a nervous or scared tone.
They answer back: “Yes …” with flat or downward inflection …
And there is a … WORLD OF DIFFERENCE … from this point forward.
I mean, think about it … if you could have the person you’re communicating with about ANYTHING be either, immediately:
A: Open, Positive, and Inquisitive …
B: Defensive, shut down, and hyper-critical …
Which would you choose?
It’s a no-brainer, I know, but doing something as simple as purposefully using in the right tonalities on your intro and agenda statements of calls will make a HUGE DIFFERENCE in how receptive the other person will be to whatever it is you’re proposing, and this is not limited to marketing or sales functions, either.
I do this all the time in meetings, calls with potential clients and clients, training sessions, even dealing with my kids …
And it works every time because by doing stuff like this, you’re purposefully communicating with the other person’s subconscious mind and getting past the parts of their brain that’s concerned with safety and emotions without setting off threat alarms.
And within the first :28 seconds of any call I make, by the end of the intro and agenda statement … I usually have at least 4 or 5 micro-agreements from the other person … most of which are complete strangers … potential clients who asked to be contacted on our website …
And it makes … the calls … go smooth … every … single … time.
Alright, you guys have seen this slide before … about the neuroscientific order of operations, so I’d like to walk you through a flow chart I created to really just … drive the point home.
So, the primary concern when we come across anything new is …
DO I FEEL SAFE?
Remember, this is like a … subconscious, anti-virus software that’s always on … and … constantly running in the background, scanning to identify threats in an effort to keep us … safe.
If NO, then … all this … freeze up, run from it … fight it … all very primal stuff.
If YES, then let IT … pass to the Mammalian part of the brain, and it’s primary concern is … HOW DO I FEEL ABOUT IT?
So, is this useful?
Is the person credible?
Is it interesting? Will it help me solve problems?
If the answer is NO … then tune it out! Shut it down, flee the encounter … just … ignore it.
But, if the answer is YES … then let it pass on to the NEOCORTEX … and once we make it here, the determination is to then … consciously engage and pay attention … and take this person seriously.
And again, this is the logic center of the brain, the part we use for higher-order thinking … like language, strategic problem-solving, stuff that requires … conscious thought and energy.
And this process … this order of operations … all happens … in right about :28 seconds when done right … I mean, think about it … our brains are like super-computers …
We can process information literally in milliseconds, and remember … how, like … I know I mentioned this earlier, but … none of us, like … like, no one stops for a minute … to consciously analyze and interpret the tone of someone’s voice and decides to … feel … threatened or safe, or skeptical or Optimistic.
Like, this is all done instinctively … and remember how we’re … like, pretty much hardwired to perceive most new information as threats … and most new people as foes … and it’s like, we can’t even help it …
So, if you can safely navigate … the first :28 seconds of the encounter and avoid setting off alarms by strategically relieving the primal concerns in the right order …
Then what you’re doing, essentially … is you’re helping your potential clients move from a state of Uncertainty … to a state of … … Certainty.
And successful relationships are built through the transfer … of the emotion … of certainty.
There’s this guy named Jordan Belfort … everyone knows him as the “Wolf of Wall Street” and … we’ve all seen the movie and know that … he was a … terrible person who … lived a pretty despicable life style.
But … if you’re able to see past all the debauchery for a moment … just … know that this guy was a communicative genius, and here’s something I learned from him:
He talks about this Certainty Scale … what he calls … the Three Tens.
He says there are three things a potential client must feel certain about … and he puts them on a scale of 1 to 10 like this …
He says you have to feel certain about … the Product?
The … Company?
And … … you guessed it … the People.
He says … the closer to 10 on all three, the better the relationship.
BUT … if any one of them is off? Like in this example … where … they love the product, love the people … but just DON’T trust the company? You’re done!
Or like in this example … where … they love the product, love the company … but just don’t trust the people … again, you’re done!
Or they can love the people, think the company is pretty good but if the product sucks, then again … no good … so basically, the closer to 10 for these three things on … Jordan Belfort’s Certainty Scale, the better.
Makes a lot of sense, right? But the problem here … is that … what most people don’t realize … is that there are actually two types of certainty.
You have … Logical Certainty … which is very important … and you have Emotional Certainty …
And a … fatal flaw … that I’ve seen at multiple organizations now … is that they expend so much of their energy and resources … building the case for Logical Certainty … that they do it at the expense of building the case for Emotional Certainty.
So, you build Logical Certainty with stuff like … facts and statistics … … hard skills, basically … and this stuff is important, don’t get me wrong … but the way you build Emotional Certainty … is how the information is delivered … the right information at the right time, using the right tonalities … so, soft skills, basically.
Here, I’m gonna put it on a Matrix and plot it out for you …
Here’s the Logical Axis, going from negative ten to positive ten … and here’s the Emotional Axis … same thing … negative ten to ten …
And we’re trying to take our potential clients from a state of … Uncertainty to a state of Certainty.
Up here we have the highest levels of Logical and Emotional Certainty … this is the target … this is where we want them to be!
Down here, we have the lowest levels of logical and emotional certainty. Obviously, NOT where we wanna be!
Up here … we have high amounts of Emotional Certainty, but … we’re plotting real low for logical … and of course this is no good …
And down over here, we’re plotting high for Logical Certainty but low for Emotional, so this, of course … right here, is a bad combination as well.
So … when you think about it … Increased Certainty … really means … Increased Trust …
Like, as you raise your potential clients’ levels of certainty, at the same time … you’re raising their trust in you.
So, to close this section out … I’d like to use the same matrix format for … Trust.
On this axis … we have your Credibility … which is based on logical factors … and, on this axis, we have your ability to connect on an emotional level, so Connection …
And we’re trying to go from a state of low trust to high trust … and up here, we have a person who is … knowledgeable and personable … this person displays authenticity and empathy and cares about more than just … making the sale.
This person is a PRO … an Expert … so this is the kind of person you want to work with.
Meanwhile, down here, we have a person who … doesn’t know much and isn’t approachable … like, this is a complete Novice … and like, the last person you’d wanna work with.
This is the type of person you immediately tune out … where you’re thinking, Maybe if I just hang up and call back, I might get to speak with someone else …
Up here, we have the type of person who’s very well-intentioned, a very nice person … who … has the ability to connect and make people feel good … but just doesn’t know his stuff very well.
And down here … we have … the type of person who’s extremely knowledgeable … I mean, she knows her stuff … but … she’s not exactly personable … and she … acts like she’s doing you a favor by doing her job.
And obviously, the type of people … that people wanna work with … are the ones in that upper right quadrant. Those are your … top-performers, the people who just … annihilate … their competition!
“Look guys … I’m gonna admit something real quick … and I know this may sound bad at first … but … I … hate … people.”
I don’t know if this is a “right” or “wrong” thing to say, but I’ve stood in front of groups during training and said this.
And then I’d go on and explain how I’m just really introverted and shy in real life and how I’m kinda really socially-awkward and how I don’t like large crowds and that I’d much rather be at home with the family then out on a Friday night.
In fact, my idea of “going out” involves early mornings out at the lakes or on the side of a mountain somewhere.
And as I’d explain this stuff, there’d always be at least a few others in the room who would punch in comments about how they hate people too, and how they “use the self-checkouts at the stores so they don’t have to speak with anyone,” and … stuff like that.
“But, I learned a long time ago … that if I’m gonna work in professional environments that require human interaction … that I’d better get good at dealing with people, and everything I’m showing you guys is really how I’ve managed to be really effective in both professional settings and even personal settings. Guys … this stuff works.”
So stuff like this is shocking to say … but not being afraid to admit stuff like that can really draw in the audience. Like, from that moment forward, people would just be more engaged and receptive to the concepts that I train on.
And of course I’d go on to explain how I don’t really hate people … I mean, I like coaching and mentoring and guiding and helping others to succeed. In fact, I’ve told my team at work many times: “Look … you guys don’t work for me … I work for you. Your success is my success, so if there’s anything I can help with, don’t be afraid to ask.”
And I mean it … I mean, think about it: As a leader, if you help your people to be as successful as possible in their positions, then they will be happy, engaged, positive, and productive … and all of that, in turn, will reflect back on you favorably.
Anyways, the whole “I Hate People” thing came up when discussing the traditional methods of building rapport where people tend to make meaningless small talk, like opening calls with: “How are you today?” or “How was your weekend?” or “How’s the weather out there?” stuff like that.
“Am I catching you at an okay time?” is a really nice thing to ask, but with how busy everyone seems to be, it’s never a good time.
And it sounds counterintuitive to coach people on not being “too nice” but, check this out: really nice people weird me out … and I know I’m not the only one.
And I mean people who are overly nice … it’s not just weird, but it sounds like they want something when they’re overly nice.
I have this theory on rapport-building though, and it works pretty much every time. This has really helped me with cutting out the fluff and cutting through the noise of “normalness,” and countless people that I’ve helped have expressed genuine appreciation for this approach, and it goes like this:
“If you want to build real rapport, be respectful of time and just take care of business and then guess what? They’ll love you for it.”
And it’s true, believe me.
And I’m not talking about being mean or being pushy or being emotionally-absent, either, like some robot.
Like, when I’m helping anyone, no matter if over the phones or in-person, that person gets 100% of my attention, absolutely no BS … and pretty much every time, they listen attentively to whatever I recommend and then thank me for it and happily move in the direction I point them in.
And this communication style isn’t exclusive to Marketing or Sales-type roles, either … it really comes down to being a leader and speaking like one.
I’ve trained Support Team Members and Account Managers on these communicative methods, too, and I’ve even had some people tell me how because of this “no fluff, no BS, be respectful of time and take care of business” approach, that calls that used to take them 15-minutes to resolve are now taking more like 5 or 6 minutes.
And this is good for everyone, really.
I mean, when you think about it, even though we all get 1,440 minutes per day, it seems like we’re all just getting busier and busier … and our mental bandwidth capacity is just pushed and pulled in multiple directions all day every day which is reducing our already limited attention spans.
So, being able to get in and get out in the most timely and efficient and professional and respectful manner is really … in my experience, anyway … the key to building real rapport and taking care of business in a mutually beneficial way for everyone involved.
So, for a moment, let’s just … forget that you’re a [type of] company … and you’re now a … roofing company. It’s monsoon season in Phoenix, so lots of rain … which means, lots of business.
And this is expected … it’s literally … business seasonality … get it?
So, you guys receive lots of inbound calls during this time of the year, and here’s how some of them go:
Them: “Hi, my roof is leaking … can you come out and take a look at it … today? It’s leaking pretty bad over the kitchen.”
You: “Um … well, we won’t be able to come out today, but I may be able to schedule some time with you for early next week … if that would work?”
Them: “Well, it’s leaking pretty bad and we need this fixed just as soon as possible … so, can I text you some pictures of it so you can see what I’m talking about? I’ll send them as soon as we get off the phone, and then … could you give me some estimates on what it might cost to get this fixed up?”
You: “Well … there’s really no way I can provide an accurate quote without actually inspecting the roof first … I mean sometimes, in most cases, the visible damage isn’t all there is to it …
And then there’s also different construction materials and methods in use out there, so … there’s really no way of coming up with an accurate quote without actually inspecting the site.”
Them: “Oh, okay … well, you know what, then? I’ll um … I’ll just call someone else. Thanks.”
You: “Okay, sure … no problem.”
So, now … worst case, you just lost out on a new business opportunity.
But, best case … (and this actually happens sometimes) … the person calls around to a couple other roofing companies and hears similar stories … except … they can’t come out to look at the roof until two weeks from now, so now … the person calls you back!
Them: “Hi, we spoke yesterday, and I called a few other roofing companies, and they can’t even come out to look at my roof until two weeks from now, so is there any way we can still schedule an appointment for next week?”
You: “Um, yeah … sure. Let’s take a look at our calendars … I can come out on Tuesday afternoon if that would work?”
Them: “Sure … I’ll have to leave work early, but that’s okay … I mean, this needs to be fixed. So, what’s the latest we could schedule?”
You: “Well … it depends on your location, really … um … what’s your address?”
Them: “12345 Whatever Lane. In Mesa.”
You: “Alright so … if traffic treats me right, I could be there by 3pm on Tuesday. Would that work?”
And then you guys schedule some time to come out and inspect the roof, and now … you have to hope … that the person is there at the specified and agreed upon time.
Often times, the person will still call several other roofing companies and schedule appointments to get estimates because … people are always on the lookout for the best deal … and understandably so.
Perhaps an appointment next Tuesday is still too far away for them … I mean, especially with storms expected over the weekend … so maybe they call and get someone to come out Saturday morning … who happens to have the capacity and materials to get started on the job right away.
So, you show up at the address at the agreed upon time to find nobody home.
And then after a while, you call and … leave a voicemail, maybe send a text message or two, but the person has gone dark and you don’t know why.
Maybe they’ll have the courtesy to respond to a text at least … like, “Hey sorry, we went with someone else,” … but that’s if you’re lucky.
So, forget about roofing for a moment … forget about any product or industry for that matter, and just understand and recognize … that under the surface … here’s what potential customers are really saying on the initial interactions:
“Hi, I’m experiencing a problem that I don’t know how to solve on my own … and I’m not sure how to communicate the fact that I’m … frustrated and scared … and don’t know who to trust …
So I’m gonna go ahead and throw out smokescreens to basically cover for my deep-rooted sense of insecurity … AND I’m gonna be hyper-critical and scrutinize every word that you say and every tonality that you use … in order to find a reason to NOT trust you … and then … get this:
… We’re gonna go ahead and just spiral out of control while haggling about cost … and we’re gonna do all this before I even know if you have a solution that would work for me …
And it’s all rooted in the trust issues that we all have as human beings … because … even though it’s 2018 and we all have smart phones … we’re still very much primal, fear-based creatures.”
So, what I teach with this First :28 Seconds methodology, is how to capitalize on those initial interactions in a way that is … neuroscientifically-designed … to just capture every single lead that is capture-able because these communications frameworks are … in-line … with how the brain prefers to receive and process information instead of going against it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a roofing company or a digital marketing company or an ed-tech company …
It doesn’t matter if you have a 1-call or 2-call close system or if your sales organization requires the highest levels of relationship-building where it takes months to go from first contact to close … because it all starts with the First :28 Seconds.
And I’m not talking about turning “Nos” into “Yesses,” either. I’m talking about capturing the “Maybes” and keeping them moving forward in your process because they feel safe.
When somebody contacts you about your services, and has a legitimate need and authority and budget, that is a “Maybe.”
So, with the communication frameworks that I’ve developed, you won’t find yourself needing to get tons of leads … you’ll find yourself in a position of power to be able to … authoritatively … sift through and pick the ones that you want to work with and … basically discard the ones you don’t want to work with.
And this empowerment will optimize your entire sales process by making every sale the same … because you will be in control from the very beginning.
Want to know more? Find my FB Page … I have a bunch of videos on there where I explain this stuff in even more detail.
So, when you think about it, most attempts at building rapport are actually quite repulsive.
Ever speak with someone who just sounded, like … way “too nice?”
It was weird, wasn’t it? Like, why is it so weird when people are overly nice?
I think it’s because it sounds like they want something and this sets off alarms in our subconscious minds.
Plus, we’ve all become busier and busier than ever, it seems … and when you consider how our attention spans seem to be shrinking even more and more, traditional attempts at “rapport-building” are really just annoying, when you think about it …
Like … “How are you today?”
People ask strangers this all the time, but meanwhile, we all know you don’t really care how I’m doing, and I don’t really care how you’re doing, either … I mean, we’re strangers and you’re trying to sell me something!
*(Which, I mean … by the way … so what?! Right? I mean, if I need help and you have something that can help me, who cares if you want to sell something, really. The problem with this is that we’re all oppositional and feel compelled to act like we don’t want something when we need it, so it’s just part of the human condition to fight back, especially when it comes to sales and making purchases).
But anyways, I have a theory about building rapport, and I’ve brought this up many times in training sessions:
“You want to build rapport?” I’ll ask. “Well, here’s how you do it: be a laser-focused pro, be respectful of time, get in and get out, take care of business of course, and guess what? … They’ll love you for it! They’ll thank you for your expert guidance and happily move out on whatever path you recommend.”
And it’s true … All of it.
I have data that backs this up … hundreds and hundreds of recorded calls from different team members of mine with different personalities speaking with all kinds of different leads from all over the country who are at all sorts of various levels of decision-making authority …
And we follow the same communications framework every time which produces the same very consistent and desirable results.
And I’m not talking about hard-scripting, either … but communicationsframework, where we have the 8 to 10-minute initial conversation mapped out in three different phases with right about 3-minutes’ worth of scripted material, total, and we use it to guide the conversations in a very logical and coherent manner.
And it sounds counter-intuitive, I know, to coach people on not sounding too nice, but believe me on this:
We never ask people how they’re doing … we never ask if we’re catching them at a good time … we never ask about the weather in Biloxi and we never ask about who won the game this past weekend.
What we do is, is we go into each call mentally prepared and laser-focused on delivering the best experience possible with our framework mapped out in front of us … and we execute on it.
We know what we’re gonna say before we have to say it, and because of this … tactic … we don’t really have to try and come up with something intelligent or clever to say at the moment of execution …
And to our potential clients, it all seems like an easy, carefree, naturally flowing experience, but to us, trust me … it’s all very well-planned out.
Because of all of this strategic preparation, it frees us up to really focus in on our approach and delivery, where we purposefully use the right tonalities at the right places with the right spacing and cadence and inflection to safely navigate the primitive parts of our potential clients’ brains and access their Neocortex to really connect and communicate on a conscious level.
I mean, think about it: Words are Powerful. Information is Powerful … and Tonality is very Powerful …
And really, over the phones … what else do you have?
These are your weapons, and we use them to consistently take potential clients from a state of uncertainty to a state of certainty all within a matter of an eight to ten minute call …
But … what a lot of people don’t know … is that there are actually two types of Certainty: and that’s Logical Certainty … and Emotional Certainty.
So having the right words and information mapped out helps to build the case for Logical Certainty and delivering them in the right order with the right tonalities helps to build the case for Emotional Certainty.
And you can listen back to the recordings and hear the nervousness and combativeness in the potential clients’ voices at the beginning of the calls and how quickly they get comfortable and open up to us … because they feel like they’re working with experts …
And how by the end of those calls, they’re expressing genuine appreciation for our expert guidance and how they always say that they’re looking forward to the next steps …
So we set our sales team up with leads who are responsive, happy, ready, willing and able to take the next steps because they feel safe … and feel like they’re working with pros who care, who understand them and can help them fix whatever problem they’re experiencing that they don’t know how to fix on their own …
AND, really … it all starts … with just nailing … the first :28 seconds.