Real Rapport

“Look guys … I’m gonna admit something real quick … and I know this may sound bad at first … but … I hatepeople.”

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.

Real Rapport

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.

 

You now run a Roofing Company …

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.

Neuroscience process flow

 

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.

www.facebook.com/thefirst28seconds

“Rapport” is often-times a very ill-defined and abused word.

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 communications framework, 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.

two types of 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.

 

Experience … typically … is a very … Subjective Thing.

Like, how do you measure something like experience … when there are so many different emotions and personalities and … personal preferences … and … this might work for you, but it doesn’t work for me kind of things out there?

What’s good … in one person’s eyes … could be considered terrible to the next … so we all have different perspectives and experience and when you think about …

Like, think of playing chess, for an example …

Most people would think that … losing your queen is probably the worst thing that could happen …

But … there are certain situations where losing your queen could actually be the best thing that could happen.

So … good … bad … it just seems so all-over-the-place.

So really … is there a way to objectively … create … and provide … the “optimal” experience?

(I asked all of this in a meeting recently).objective subjective

Want to know what … doesn’t care … about your personal preferences or interpretations?

The Limbic System.

The Limbic System is housed in the part of our brains that we share with other mammals … the Mammalian Brain, so think of it as … your dog brain … because your dog has this same part in his or her brain.

Consider how your dog has the ability to process emotions … like, your dog can pick up on the tone of your voice and will react accordingly … depending on whether or not it perceives “threat” or “reward.”

So, say your dog’s name in a stern voice, like … “SARAH” … (that’s my dog) … and when spoken like that, with flat or downward inflection, her ears go back, she cowers … she doesn’t have a tail but if she did, she would tuck it between her legs and in that moment, her fight or flight … coping mechanism … has been activated.

She won’t fight me, of course, but she’s thinking about darting off to her doggy-door to escape the perceived threat.

But when I say her name in a non-threatening way with a bit of upward inflection at the end of it, like … “Sarah?” Her brain’s emotion detector picks up on the signals put out by my tonality … and it gets classified as reward instead of threat, and now … she’s happy!

Her ears are forward, she kinda dances around a little and looks for her leash because she thinks it’s time to go for a walk.

You see, the Limbic System is the part of our brains where emotions are processed, and its processing is done subconsciously.

It’s primal and instinctive … same with the part of the brain we share with lizards, the Reptilian Brain … … that’s even more primal, but either way, the Mammalian and Reptilian parts of our brain operate at the subconscious levels.

They’re like anti-virus software that’s always running in the background, and when you think of the brain from an evolutionary standpoint, its main purpose for … literally thousands of years … is to keep us alive in a world that really is a scary place.

And these more primitive parts of the brain are very binary in their functions, meaning … new information and new people we come across get almost instantaneously and instinctively categorized as either “threat or reward” or “foe or friend” … and the default position, in most cases, is “threat and foe.”

And we can’t even help it … because we’ve been essentially hard-wired this way as a matter of survival.

Think about how fast we are … to move away from threats … but how … cautiously, we’ll approach things, even if we think they’re safe. It’s all very primal … I mean, think of how when we jump to conclusions about anything, they’re almost always negative.

So, is there a way to provide objectively optimal experience?

Well, if you consider our brains’ order of operations, meaning how it receives and processes information (and I’m not talking about psychology and the meaning of things or our interpretations of things) …

I’m talking about how it receives and processes information from a physical standpoint, the different parts and which part does what and when … you’ll find that it goes in this order:

Lizard Brain, Mammalian Brain … and then if no alarms are set off … then the Neocortex … which is the Human Brain, which is the conscious mind … the part that’s capable of processing complex pieces of information, like language, advanced problem solving, stuff like that … basically anything other than survival.

But, in order for us to even access this part of the brain … we must … feel safe … and we must … find the information interesting and useful. Anything boring or useless gets quickly categorized as “threat” and the brain shuts it down.

So when interacting with others about anything … if you want to capture the other person’s attention and communicate on a conscious level, you must first make it past the Lizard and Mammalian parts of the brain without setting off alarms

And I help develop neuroscientifically-designed communications frameworks … that do just that …

They’re actually really simple and easy to use, and by following them, you’ll be able to purposefully provide the … optimal, objectively measurable experience … every time you interact with anyone new about anything, and you’ll be able to do it in a way that is replicable, like … anyone can do this.

The Limbic System doesn’t care about your personality, your gender, your personal preferences or interpretations …

And if you don’t make it past the anti-software programs of the other person’s brain, then you’ll never really connect on a conscious level because they’ll just tune out and do things like … just agree with you to end the interaction as quickly as possible …

They’ll offer up one-word answers to your questions … all while their subconscious mind is just thinking … GET ME OUTTA HERE.

Imagine a world … where … two people can interact without immediately annoying each other …

It’s possible, and this isn’t some sales or marketing gimmick, either … these are real communication hacks that are designed to go in-line with how the brain prefers to receive and process information instead of going against it.

That being said, if you have objectively better conversations … and … strategically provide the ideal, optimal experience starting out?

Then without a doubt, you’ll close more deals with faster sales cycles because your potential customers will feel safe when working with you … and it all starts with how you come across in the first :28 seconds.

 

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.

www.facebook.com/thefirst28seconds

I Threw my Phone on the Table

“Since we’ve been in here,” I said … to the person I was meeting with … “Your phone has gone off at least four times.”

She was a little shocked, I could tell, but I wasn’t trying to attack her … I was just trying to make this point:

When you consider how we are constantly bombarded by multiple streams of information, all day every day … and I mean, you have outlook, and gmail, and text messages, and facebook, and Instagram, and everything else … all right here on our phones …

What this means, really … is that our already limited attention spans … are shrinking even more.

“And it’s not just the younger people,” I told her. “It’s you, too … and it’s me. As soon as I leave your office, you’re going to check your Facebook page, and that’s okay, because that’s what I’m going to do, too,” and she laughed and agreed.

I’m not anti-technology, so that’s not the point.

But too much of anything can be a bad thing, and a modern communications trend that I’ve noticed is that … people just … have a hard time … actually speaking about things … and presenting information in a coherent manner … and … listening to others.

Active listening is a skill, but being that our attention spans are literally getting … reduced … by us getting bombarded with multiple streams of information, it’s making it to where the ability to capture someone’s attention … and hold it … for any amount of time …

For … four minutes … six minutes … SIXTY MINUTES !!!

It’s gotten to a point now … where I think it’s a lost art, to be able to communicate in real time, and I blame the rise of smart phones and text messages and emails … but I also understand that that stuff is not going anywhere.

Like I mentioned, I’m not anti-tech.

So, what does any of this have to do with anything?

Well, I think that … the ability to communicate … in a logical and coherent manner has … really become a … competitive advantage … by default.

And if that’s the case, then what do you think will happen … if you learn how to craft and tailor your communication strategies to go in-line … with how the brain prefers to receive and process information … instead of going against it?

I think that, because of real factors like limited attention spans and how technology is stunting our abilities to communicate … that it’s become even more crucial than ever to be on your A-Plus game any time you speak with potential clients or … even current clients.

So this isn’t just a sales or marketing thing that I’m talking about, either … I’m talking about neuroscientifically-designed communications frameworks.

Imagine a world … where people interact without immediately annoying each other … it exists!

your expertise may never have a chance to shine through

I remember training a group of account managers a while back and I told them how I have this theory where, every call … is a sales call. Like, it doesn’t matter if you’re exchanging money or not … every call is a sales call …

Because … you’re either reinforcing your client’s positive perception of the organization … by providing the type of experience that makes them want to keep doing business with you … or you’re not.

So forget about sales for a moment, and imagine trying to influence anyone to do anything … for any reason. Business, personal … doesn’t matter.

Imagine trying to get your kid to clean up after herself … or trying to influence the group you work with to participate in some great idea you have …

Or, how about trying to get your spouse to agree to some great idea you have for the weekend?

Your ability to communicate … will determine your ability … to get others to go along with your ideas … and there is neuroscience behind how to motivate and influence others in a way that is consistent, testable, and most importantly … replicable.

Like, anyone can learn this stuff, and it’s actually quite simple.

You’ll be shocked at how effective it actually is, to do something as simple as … for example … on the intros of your calls, how raising the inflection at the end of a sentence infers a micro-agreement instead of it coming across as a declarative.

So many people go through their lives each day, just winging it when it comes to communications. Some get it right, some don’t … but just think about how … your expertise may never have a chance to shine through if … your intro, how you greet people … on calls or in person … just rubs them the wrong way.

Every day out there, people just … rely on their experience and things they pick up along the way … knowledge about products or services … and then they’ll go interact with potential clients and customers and just kinda go with the flow, and let the clients or potential clients dictate the flow of things.

And this works, too … but top producers who consistently perform at the highest levels … usually have a plan in place, a strategy … a framework … that puts them in the leadership position in the relationship.

They don’t  … just … go with the flow and hope for the best.

I mean, think about it … information is powerful. Words are powerful. Tonality is powerful.

So having the right information rationed out … at the right times … and delivered in the right ways … is the key to capturing the attention of … whoever it is you’re trying to communicate with.

 

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.

www.facebook.com/thefirst28seconds

I had a Pool Table a while Back.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, and it was a lot of fun at first, but after a while, it just wound up taking up space, and my house isn’t really that big … so I sold it.

When the buyers came to pick it up, they seemed like normal guys, laughing, joking … checking out the table … and in conversation, I overheard them talking about a call the one was out on the night before.

And I was curious, so I asked him … “Are you a police officer?” And he was.

He was in regular street clothes at the time, so off-duty when he was at my house, and we spoke briefly about how I had tested for Mesa Police Department a while back but just didn’t get selected.

He mentioned how Phoenix needs officers pretty bad, so he was encouraging me to test for them, but I was like …

“Nah … after going through the hiring process, I realize that … just because I was a good soldier, it doesn’t mean I’d be a good cop because of how I just … wouldn’t want to be caught in the middle of domestic issues all the time.

I mean … I’m into public safety and helping people in dangerous situations, but getting caught in the middle other peoples’ personal problems all the time is not something I’d do well with.”

And he was like, “Yeah … it’s pretty bad sometimes …”

He mentioned the worst was like, when a mom calls and he’ll go to the house, and she’s like, begging him to straighten out her 15-year old son, like … “Take him outside and shake him up a little, scare him …”

And he’s telling me how, the last thing they want is people being scared of them (the police), and how … “There’s no way a 15-minute conversation is gonna undo 15-years’ worth of bad parenting.”

 

And it was kinda funny to me, because in training sessions … I’ve drawn out timelines that compare raising children to sales processes, and how there are certain, desirable behaviors … for certain age ranges …

And how … if you wait until a child is 15 to start enforcing a sense of order and discipline, then it’s probably too late.

Pretty much anytime you come across a troubled youth, you can almost certainly trace back on the child’s timeline, and find that there were certain, uncorrected behaviors from when he or she was younger.

And then … if you look at nightmare clients … you’ll find pretty much the same thing, if you look back on their timeline.

In either case, there most certainly have been … things that happened that shouldn’t have happened … or things that … didn’t happen that should have happened … early on in the development of a child or a client.

… And the communication frameworks I’ve designed are geared towards … setting the relationship on the right path by setting the power dynamics in favor of who should be in charge … right from the beginning: you!

And I’m not talking about being a bully or being pushy or desperate or high-pressure anything, either …

I’m talking about neuroscientifically-optimizing your initial interactions so that when the smoke clears, your clients view you as more of a trusted advisor instead of a typical sales person.

There is a night and day difference between how things go when you are in control of the sales process and when your clients are in control of the sales process.

And dynamics like these are set during initial interactions, and having the right communications framework in place, and executing on it … will make it so that you are consistently setting the relationship between you and your clients on the right track from the start.

All of these dynamics start with how you present yourself during the first :28 seconds … how you come across to whoever it is you’re communicating with.

 

Think about it: we’re all told to not judge books by their covers, but guess what?

We all do it … and we do it instinctively and subconsciously.

The subconscious parts of our minds are constantly scanning for threats, much like anti-virus software that’s constantly running in the background … and this is all done by the more-primitive parts of our brains that we share with reptiles (like turtles), and other mammals (like dogs).

Initial Interactions

So, when we encounter anything (or anyone) new, we are instinctively suspicious to start out, which means we’re in a heightened state of alertness to begin with … by default … like, we can’t even help it as it’s the way that our brains are hard-wired after living in fear for most of our human existence.

And since we are all primal, fear-based creatures, think of how quick we are to assume something is wrong versus assuming something is right.

When we jump to conclusions of any kind, think of how they’re typically negative versus positive.

This is why it’s so much easier to be in a negative mindset than to be in a positive one, and we all know how negativity breeds negativity … but what most people don’t seem to understand, is how being “too positive” can set off threat signals to our subconscious mind, too … (maybe I’m just being negative?).

 

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.

www.facebook.com/thefirst28seconds

Argument with my Manager

I’d like to share a quick story about an argument I had with one of my managers at the university. Like I mentioned previously, we had a military division comprised primarily of veterans, and if anyone knows the value of rank structure and chain of command, it’s veterans.

So, we’re arguing about some call coaching and how he’s telling me I should have said “this” or should have said “that” and how we couldn’t script things out because we’re in higher ed, etc.

I remember explaining to him how we have relational power dynamics, and internally (in the organization, I mean), we have the luxury of ranks and titles, and I understand the employer-to-employee relationship and how I am more than willing to do what’s asked of me.

I remember telling him:

  • “Look … the director can speak with you in a certain way and that’s fine, because he’s the director. And you’re the manager, so you can speak with me in a certain way, and that’s fine because you’re the manager and I’m the team member. We have the luxury of internal ranks and titles that give us a certain (what we called in the Army) “command authority,” but that authority doesn’t transfer to outside of the organization.”

What I meant by this is that I can’t speak with our potential clients and clients in that same certain, authoritative way because:

  • “I’m not their superior, and they’re not my subordinates,” I told him. “So I don’t have the luxury of a rank or title to help me just tell them what to do and they do it … it just, doesn’t work like that.”

This made a lot of sense to me at the time, but it doesn’t stop there because it wasn’t all there was to it.

I was going through a divorce at the time (2013), and I was learning about relational power dynamics and how imbalances in power often times causes things to go wrong in relationships. Even though I didn’t connect the dots at the time, this all started to clue me in on how power dynamics are present in every relationship, both business and personal.

Ranks and titles afford us the luxury of explicitly having power over others, and don’t get me wrong; I value the idea of a chain of command and good order and discipline amongst workplaces and homes and society as a whole, but – what happens when you strip away the ranks and titles?

Well, power dynamics are still present, and what I started to figure out way back then, is how to purposefully influence them in my favor, and it all starts with how you come across in the first :28 seconds of the initial interaction.

You see, there are a lot of things happening under the surface when people speak for the first time about anything (business, personal, doesn’t matter). There is a subconscious, primal struggle to establish power and dominance in the relationship, and it goes like this:

There are instinctive concerns running through the subconscious mind of the person you’re speaking with (and these are also going through your mind at the same time), and it goes, pretty much in this order:

  • Do I perceive threat or feel safe, YES or NO?
  • Do I sense reward, YES or NO?
  • Is the person speaking with me high or low status, YES or NO?
  • Is the information useful or relevant, YES or NO?
  • Is it interesting or boring, YES or NO?

 

When you make it past the first :28 seconds and there’s a YES for every one of these, then you will have won the subconscious battle for dominance, which establishes the power dynamic in your favor.

As the smoke clears, you will emerge from the first :28 seconds in the alpha position (the leader), and from that point forward, the other person will be in the beta position (the follower). When you win this initial subconscious battle, you will enjoy the type of relationship where you are viewed as an expert, the authority figure who’s worth listening to. This means the other person happily follows your guidance and thanks you for it.

But here’s the big problem with this: if you get a NO for any of these, you’ll still make it past the :28 second mark every single time. So what’s the big deal?

All YESSES equals “expert” (someone who can help me get what I want who is worth listening to) whereas one single NO equals “novice” (someone who can’t help me who is therefore not worth listening to).

So, the big difference between these two scenarios is, if the person you’re speaking with views you as:

  1. an expert, he or she will actually pay attention and take you seriously
  2. a novice, he or she will tune you out and actively seek reasons to explore other options

And these determinations are instinctively made in (usually) less than :30 seconds of speaking with someone new, and you know what I’m talking about here, too.

I mean, you just get that feeling, and instinctively, you can tell whether or not someone can actually help you and whether or not they’re worth listening to.

If the person you’re speaking with instinctively labels you as a novice, then they may go along with you and pretend like they’re listening, but they’ll only offer up one-word answers and not really engage in meaningful conversation. They won’t be as forthcoming with the information they share with you because their guard is up, and the reason why they’ll pretend to go along with you is: no one wants to be perceived as “mean.”

So, they’ll play along just to be “nice,” but when the time comes to make an actual purchasing decision, they’ll balk if they view you as a novice.

On the other hand, if they view you as an expert, you’ll have a much easier time closing the deal – it’ll be much more natural, much more “no big deal” with less haggling and runaround, less sharpshooting.

And really, this all comes down to your ability to influence the other person’s (potential client, first date, interviewing manager, etc.) perception of you. There’s a lot of truth to the old adage: “99% of perception is reality,” and the way we feel about things (no matter if right or wrong), definitely influences our beliefs.

Knowing what those primal, instinctive concerns are and how to purposefully relieving them is how you can scientifically get people to consistently listen and take you seriously – regardless of established ranks and titles. It’s almost kind of like playing poker; when it comes to poker, my friends all know that I don’t really know how to play it that well, but I have been known to win a few hands here and there when playing with strangers.

Trust Matrix

 

The Only Way to Communicate Fearlessly (about anything):

Well, that “one way” … has a few moving pieces … but that’s besides the point … what I’m talking about is … “Strategic Preparation.”

Consider this: from a neuroscientific standpoint, when someone nervously speaks about … anything … the person’s nervous tonality literally sends off “threat” signals to whoever is listening.

You can have the best information … and say all the right words … and say them in the right order …

But if you sound nervous? Then the other person’s Limbic System … which is part of the Mammalian Brain … the part of the brain that we share with other mammals, like dogs … which is the part of the brain that processes emotions and does this at the subconscious levels

Picks up … on those “nervous signals” and labels them as threats.

We all know how emotions cloud our vision, too … and our decision-making ability … and what I’m talking about is not a conscious process … all this is done subconsciously, much like an … anti-virus software that’s always running in the background … scanning for threats and blocking them from getting through …

But, check this out …

You can actually learn to consciously … purposefully, craft and tailor your contact and engagement strategies to go … in-line … with how the brain prefers to receive and process information.

Does this mean you’ll close more deals? … Absolutely.

So how do you do it?

Well, considering how there are certain things that we do every single day … and how our brains are literally pattern-recognition machines, what happens … when we repeat any routine a few times or more … is it becomes embedded in our minds.

So, whether you use scripting for your interactions with clients or not, you’re still using a script … I mean, think about it …

There are certain things we say every single day, every time we make or take … a call or interact in person. Doesn’t matter if the words are there in front of you or if you’re simply repeating what you have memorized and have said a thousand times already.

When helping other managers with building out communications frameworks, I’d ask them … “So what do you think of scripting?”

And I’d hear something like … “Eh … I’d rather my reps have more natural, organic conversations …”

And then I’d play them calls from my team and they were just blown away. I mean, I could stop a call at any random point and start filling in the lines, like … check this out … she’s about to ask about … “this” or ask about “that.”

And they’d be like … how do you know that?

And I’d have them focus in on the potential client that we’re speaking with’s tonality …

And how you can feel the tension at first, the apprehension and skepticism … and how you can sense their relief because they feel like they’re working with experts … and by the end of the eight-minute or so call, they’re expressing appreciation and they’re ready to willingly move to the next step in the process.

There’s only one way to be able to communicate fearlessly like that, and that’s: Strategic Preparation.

Having a framework mapped out and knowing what you’re going to say before you have to say it, and answering the phone the same way every time, or having the same, purposeful intro and agenda statement for every call and delivering it with the right tonalities …

I mean, think about it … you have 5 seconds … on a call … to come across as sharp, enthusiastic, and as an expert. If you don’t come across as these three crucial things … in the first five second … then you may as well just hang up the phone. You’re done.

If you’re not perceived as an expert, then what are you perceived as? A novice.

And no one … wants to deal … with a novice.

you have been judged

And as important as those first 5 seconds are, it doesn’t stop there … of course. You have to have a plan, and it doesn’t have to be hard-scripting or anything like that, but at least have a framework.

Have clearly defined goals for each interaction … and each step … should be setting up the next step in the process.

And a strategic plan like this is called … practicing the art of not blowing it. How many times … out there … every single day … do people schedule time to meet about … anything …

In person, over the phones … whatever … business, personal … doesn’t matter …

But how many times do people schedule time to come together for whatever reason, where they’re taking time out of their busy schedules, to bring their two worlds crashing together for a certain, specified and agreed upon amount of time …

And then after about six minutes, they run out of intelligent things to say so they just start winging it and making up stuff, or saying stuff that doesn’t mean anything … or doesn’t have anything to do with the business at hand.

This happens so often out there, and I’ve reviewed calls where my feedback was something along the lines of how it just sounded “leaderless” … like, we had two people on the phone who didn’t know what to do next.

It’s not just a waste of time for everyone involved, either … that’s an opportunity that has a really good chance of being blown.

So, I’m a big fan of communication frameworks, strategic plans, that help guide your potential clients from first contact to close and beyond in a way that is clear, concise, logical, professional, and above all, ethical … and … frameworks like this make it possible for anyone to communicate fearlessly.

 

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.

www.facebook.com/thefirst28seconds

I use Basic Principles of Neuroscience in my Communication Strategies

Our brain’s primary purpose for thousands, or perhaps even millions of years now, is to keep us alive, so it’s constantly making snap decisions and assigning values to everything it comes across. It’s pretty much like it has programs running in the background, like a subconscious, anti-virus software.

And the snap, subconscious decisions our brains make fall into two primary categories: “threat” and “reward,” and then our instinctive responses to these categories are to either move “toward” or “away” from whatever it is.  the first 28 seconds gauntlet

These snap judgements are made subconsciously, too, under the surface – so even if you have just a basic understanding of neuroscience, you can then craft and tailor your communications strategies to flow in a way that is naturally appealing to the brain (instead of going against it).

And neuroscientifically-designed communication … will give you an almost unfair advantage with everything, and these are not “sales” tactics, either … this neuroscientifically-optimized communication stuff works with everything that requires human interaction.

There are a few parts of our brains that we share with other species, and the part we share with reptiles, the Reptilian Brain, is the first part of the brain that processes new information.

It governs things like instincts, survival, and dominating behaviors … so think really primal, really basic stuff. It doesn’t consume much energy to operate as it is more “instinctive” than anything.

The Mammalian Brain, the mid-brain, the part we share with other mammals, like dogs … is where the Limbic System resides, and that’s the part that governs emotions.

It’s more advanced than the Reptilian Brain, but still very primal. This is where feelings come into play, and social status … or perceived social status, anyway.

Alpha / Beta … Leader / Follower. The higher the perceived social status, the higher the credibility. It consumes a bit more energy than the Reptilian part of the brain, but it’s still very simple in how it operates.

Consider this: think about how FAST we are all to … run away from perceived “threats,” both physically and mentally.

Think of how fast you’ll move if you suddenly see a snake. Or how fast you mentally check out of a conversation if the information is not relevant or useful … or if it’s just overwhelming … all of that sets off “threat” alarms in our brains.

Think of how we are typically slow and apprehensive, cautious, when approaching anything new … even if it is something that falls into the “reward” category.

Think of someone going door-to-door who’s simply trying to raise awareness for a good cause, or someone giving out free samples of some new food at the grocery store.

Think of how cautious we are as we approach those encounters, even though the cause may be noble and how we … normally don’t perceive threats at the grocery store.

There are huge differences in how we instinctively react to “threats” and “rewards.”

the first 28 seconds

The Neocortex is the most advanced part of the brain … it’s the “Human” part of our brains that we use to do just about anything “other than survival.”

It’s the part of the brain that we use for advanced concepts, like language and strategic problem-solving, and it consumes tons of energy, so to strategically conserve energy, the brain does most of its functioning at the subconscious levels, like with Reptilian and Mammalian parts of the brain.

As communicators, the big flaw that we all tend to make, is that we’ll prepare complex pieces of information about [ANYTHING] and then just assume that we are transmitting it from our Neocortex directly to the Neocortex of the other person … like a fax machine … but we’re not.

In order to access the other person’s Neocortex … in other words, conscious mind … you have to first make it past the primitive parts of the other person’s brain … their subconscious mind … without setting off “threat” alarms.

This can all happen very quickly if you know how to do it … or it may never happen at all. And it happens naturally sometimes, but sometimes not, and I teach people how to develop communication frameworks that help them do it every single time, on purpose, and in a way that is consistent, testable, and most importantly, replicable. Like, anyone can learn this stuff, it’s actually quite simple.

When it comes to communications, there are many hazards both above and below the surface … but mostly below. Considering how seven percent of communication is the actual words, and ninety-three percent of it is everything else, and I’m talking about the non-verbal communication that’s in our verbal communication … like tonality and pacing and inflection … and body language and facial expressions … and even the way we dress.

For example, if I was saying words that make sense but my tonality indicates that I’m nervous, then I’d be literally sending signals to your Limbic System that would get labeled as “threats,” and this is all happening under the surface, much like how your computer’s anti-virus software just picks things up and flags them or eliminates them.

So, when it comes to communications, it’s one of those things that’s pretty easy to get right, but also pretty easy to mess up … but the repercussions of getting it right or getting it wrong can just reverberate throughout the entire relationship, no matter how short or long it is and no matter if business or personal.

So, what I teach is how to map out communication frameworks that are neuroscientifically designed to just go in-line with how the brain prefers to receive and process information instead of going against it.

And what’s really cool about it is that it’s very simple … like, it doesn’t require smooth-talking or any trickery or pressure of any kind … like, I don’t teach “sales-tactics,” but incorporating these communication hacks in your contact and engagement strategies will help your sales to go a lot smoother.

I mean, think about how … if you can get your potential clients to just, not fight you on every step of the way, then you will inherently reduce the amount of time it takes to go from first contact to close.

This will also reduce the amount of runaround that goes along with all the chasing and follow-up, which will … in turn … increase the amount of time you have to be able to focus on new business opportunities … AND … reduce the amount of nightmare clients that your organization has to deal with further on down the road during the post-sale relationship.

 

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.

www.facebook.com/thefirst28seconds

Intro to the First :28 Seconds

I’ve developed a decent amount of training materials over the years for communications.

Earlier this year, I helped to develop a communications framework training program … for the Account Management Department where I work, so … think of Contact and Engagement Strategies, Structured Welcome Calls with talking points on what to cover, what NOT to cover, basically a structure and sequence of the right information for the right stages …

And a  cadence for … follow-up touchpoints … to ensure we’re keeping lines of communications open for our clients after they get started.

And … it involved right about seven hours’ worth of instruction.

Was it too much?  … Possibly.

But as I walked the department through … in several groups going through the same blocks of instruction … talking through and instructing and discussing with the groups … helped me to narrow down the idea of the First :28 Seconds.

We seemed to consistently reach a certain point, with the different groups where … I’d stop and be like, “Guys … it’s a lot, I know … but … in all these hours of training, in all this time we’ve spent together so far … I mean, if there’s one thing … that I can say is the MOST IMPORTANT thing … that I could possibly teach you guys … it’s this …”

And it was how to open up initial interactions … in their case, the Welcome Calls with new clients … in a way that just … got the clients to take’em seriously from the very beginning.

I mean, think about how crucial this is … the client just wrote a check or whatever for however much it was … and in our case, it can be some pretty high-dollar amounts … and you have to consider how …

We all make major purchasing decisions based on EMOTION … then we try to justify it afterwards with LOGIC … so, “What are you guys dealing with on these Welcome Calls?” I’d ask.

“The feelings of buyer’s remorse.”

So, coming across like an expert from the very beginning is crucial, I’d tell’em, because it would help to reduce and fight off this negative emotion by reassuring them that they made the best purchasing decision.

“Plus …” I’d tell’em … “if they don’t take you seriously when you first interact with’em on your Welcome Calls, then good luck trying to get’em back on the phone when something crazy comes up eventually … which will happen …

I mean, we all know this … so there’ll be times when you have to get’em on the phone to work through issues that’ll come up.

… And just think … about how … your expertise may never actually have the opportunity to shine through … if you rub people the wrong way … on initial interactions.”

So again … this was the Account Management Department I was working with, and it’s interesting because I’ve never been an Account Manager … I mean, I’ve spent most of my time in Sales and Marketing-type roles.

But … the communicative tactics and frameworks that I’ve developed are not limited to Marketing or Sales; I mean, think about it:

If you knew how to craft and tailor your communicative approach to go in-line with how the brain prefers to receive and process information, instead of going against it … how much more effective would you be in whatever position you might hold?

I use these methods in every meeting I attend … every training session I conduct … every call I make … and even at home with getting my kids to do what they should be doing.

And I feel that I possess a gift when it comes to communicating effectively … and seemingly fearlessly … and I launched this site in an effort to share this gift with you.  the first 28 seconds

 

Here’s the VLOG for this entry:

 

www.facebook.com/thefirst28seconds