Do you believe that the cold calls you make are an interruption in your prospect’s day? Well, they definitely are! But to what purpose? Marketing and business consultant John Orban and our Market Dominance Guys, Chris Beall and Corey Frank, use part three of a four-part conversation to take this inherent problem in sales and look at it from a different angle. Chris cites the podcast he did with ConnectAndSell’s Matt Forbes, whose epiphany about how belief in the opportunity he offers his prospects changed everything about the way he conducts cold calls. John cites the epiphany he experienced reading Betty Edwards’ book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, when he discovered how a book can change your awareness of ordinary things and lead you to look at your world differently. Chris touts Geoffrey Moore’s book, Crossing the Chasm, for opening his eyes and engendering a new belief in empathy and how employing that essential quality can help you build trust with a prospect. And, with another of his insightful summations, Corey ties all these ideas together with the advice to “major in minor things.” Be prepared to garner insights of your own as our three dedicated students of sales and of life share with you their practice — just like Alice’s — of believing “Six impossible things before breakfast” on this episode of the Market Dominance Guys.
John Orban brings his background as a MetLife sales rep and as an administrator of computer networks to his current career as a marketing and business consultant for creative professionals.
Full episode transcript below:
Corey Frank (01:38):
Was that something that you were taught? Was that your natural state as an introvert? Could you teach that to your other reps that were on your team over the years? You're selling a different dynamic than Chris and I sometimes are used to in that mostly it was face-to-face sets. Correct?
John Orban (02:00):
Corey Frank (02:00):
So what are those dynamics that broke down to elicit that level of trust that people would go to the confessional with you?
John Orban (02:10):
This is how I feel about it. That technology is so powerful when I realize what was happening I tore all that stuff up. It scared me. It was way too much power for any one person to have. I'm serious about that. I'll never forget it. I was sitting in the guy's office and I was leading him down this track. "Well, why is that important to you? Why is that important?" And going deeper, and deeper, and deeper. And I got down to a level that if I had gone one more, I don't know what would've happened. And I said, "I can't handle this. I'm certainly not going to be teaching this to somebody else." Now, there are people out there who have learned it and you see them a lot in the personal development field. And they are very close to pure manipulation. That's how powerful that technology is. And it's like I told you on the phone. I don't know why we're torturing people because if you understand how to use this technology, they'll spill their guts. And I know that in some cases-
Corey Frank (03:11):
You talked about Neuro-linguistic programming, NLP.
John Orban (03:12):
Yeah. Yeah. And that in itself sort of raises a lot of red flags to people because NLP, the way it was originally developed and the way it's being used now, has basically been bastardized over the last 50 years since it's been out. So as part of the process of learning about that, I got involved with propaganda because I felt that basically that's all sales and marketing is, is propaganda. And who got at that started? Well, it was this guy by the name of Edward Bernays, who was the nephew of Sigmund Freud, who was exploring all this stuff about the human mind and that kind of thing. And he wrote a very small book called Propaganda. And I also read Goebbels' book on propaganda, which is, it's a short book. It's like 60 pages. So everything you need to know about propaganda, you can learn in a pretty short period of time.
John Orban (04:04):
Bernays, his book... I hate listening to C-SPAN's Booknotes because every time I listen to that stupid program I end up buying a book. So I'm listening to this guy. This goes back to 1998; I found it on YouTube. And he's talking about this book he wrote about, Edward Bernays, and it's in my Kindle library now because I want to start reading it tonight, but it's just fascinating. But all that stuff is related. And so, one of the notes I had written down was the idea of the power of words and Bernays understood that very early on. It's one thing if you call something a gene therapy treatment. It's another thing if you call it a vaccine. And the power of words is just something that people who know how to use it, use it very effectively, and it's just too much power to be in one person's hand. You know? That's just how I feel about it. And...
Corey Frank (04:58):
So Chris, let's springboard off of that to John. And since we originally talked to this episode of Market Dominance Guys, I think you and John met each other through a love of collaboration of different books that you were influenced.
John Orban (05:10):
Corey Frank (05:10):
When I say a book, that I'm a 21-year-old recently minted communications, finance business, econ, Elizabethan poetry grad. And Chris, I want to find the elixer, the matrix plug that can engender me as much trust, as much success as possible, as many conversations. Is there a particular book that you and the fetching Mrs. Fanucci perhaps talk about with all your younger, new-minted sales folks that come on board your respective companies that, "Hey, you've got to read this."? What should be in their arsenal as they set forth?
Chris Beall (05:51):
It's kind of funny. I don't have such a book that I tell sales folks to read. My view is actually consonant with John's view, which is if you learn how to use words and how to do your job sincerely, if you go through the first step, which is to make sure you're on their side for real, make sure you really believe. We had a whole podcast episode on this, which is the one that I've actually they've been sending around recently with big Matt Forbes. And that conversation that I had with him that helped him to go inside and ask himself-
John Orban (06:27):
About belief. Right?
Chris Beall (06:29):
[crosstalk 00:06:29] Do I believe? It's the one titled-
John Orban (06:30):
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I heard that. It's a great one.
Chris Beall (06:34):
It would've been comical for anybody to listen to that conversation. It was a two-hour conversation. I was out for a barefoot run down in Green Valley, Arizona and I thought I'd be out for half an hour. And an hour and a half later, I'm still talking to Forbes about this question because he's good. And when you're good, you're dangerous. And when you're dangerous, it's just like being big. Right? He's a big guy. So he's learned how to handle when you're 6'8" and you've been big your whole life; you learn that you have responsibility for what your body might do to other people who are smaller than you. And when you have the ability to use your voice, and it's really the voice more than the language, then you're like a big person. It's not right to go bump into, smash, knock over smaller people. It's just not right.
Chris Beall (07:24):
And this isn't about like who's better than somebody else. It's sort of a fact of the world. If you know how to use your voice already, then your number one thing to do in sales is make sure that you really believe in the potential value with the thing that you have on offer. It doesn't have to be certain value, but the worthiness of exploration of that value for this other human being, not for their company or anything else because you're talking to a person, and that value is potentially there even if they never are going to avail themselves of it or work with you in the future. That belief beats all books when it comes to salespeople who have any ability whatsoever to [crosstalk 00:08:04]-
Corey Frank (08:04):
How about... Let's talk about that raw skills. John, you can chime in this too. I have the belief I bought into this company. I want to work for MetLife. I want to work for SAP. I want to work for Microsoft. I believe in it, but my voice is... Maybe you have a slight accent. Maybe you have a slight lisp. Maybe I don't know... I'm not conscious enough of my voice as a tool, as much as Matt is conscious enough of his size when he is walking through an airport. How do you teach that? How do you make somebody self-aware? You're a singer Chris, right? And you're an artist, John. So how do you develop that awareness, that, "Wow, this instrument here can be used, manipulated in ways that transcends what my script says and that I have to be responsible for that."?
John Orban (08:50):
It's interesting because one of the other books that I read that really had a profound impact on me was a book called Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. And in the introduction, she made this comment that artists see the world different than other people. I could not wrap my head around that for the next 40 years. And it wasn't until I took up oil painting. And I'll never forget. I walked out of my studio one day and it was like in the movie Wizard of Oz when Dorothy walks out of that house and opens up the door and she goes from black and white to color. I saw stuff that I had never seen in my life before. I saw sun shining on leaves and going down the side of a tree and sparkling grass and things like that.
John Orban (09:37):
And when I mentioned that at a, I don't know, I'll call it a mastermind group that I was in for a while, one of the people that was there, who became a friend, was a copywriter for a company. And he had this group that he worked with, which he called his Copy Cubs and he was teaching him how to do copywriting. And he said, after that, he made every one of them take some kind of art course before they started his program so that they could reach this higher level of understanding. And I think that's part of the process. You can teach somebody some of this stuff, but until they experience it... I was a teacher for a while. I taught kids in a computer class. And one of the things that was most rewarding to me was when you see that understanding come across the student's face and they get what you're talking about and they didn't get it before. It's amazing. I mean, you basically have transformed their lives and that's what we're trying to do in sales.
John Orban (10:38):
See? That's the other thing that really got me about you guys, is that you seem to have a level of ethics in your businesses that remind me a lot of Zig Ziglar because when I think of Zig, I think of ethical business practices and he was very much into that. And it's like I see you as trying to take that to the next step. It's not just for the prospects that you're dealing with, but also the sales rep and your employees. I mean, you don't treat them like dirt. I mean you treat them like human beings and you're trying to empower them as much as they're trying to empower the people that you're working with. And if you can't empower them, how in the world are they going to empower the prospect or the potential client?
Chris Beall (11:21):
Holy moly. So two things. One is Drawing on the Right Side of your Brain transformed me in an instant also. I was actually afraid of drawing. I would draw by myself and drawing anything that was supposed to be realistic was an embarrassment to me. And in my 30s, early 30s, that book fell into my hands. And I decided not to read it but just to do the exercises. So the only thing I read was the introduction. And then I simply did the first exercise. Terrible. Did the second exercise. Terrible. Did the third one. Terrible. I think it was the fourth or the fifth exercise, you look at your off hand. In my case, my left hand; I'm right-handed. And without looking at the [crosstalk 00:12:11] you take the paper down, you look at your left hand, you block your view with like a little divider. I remember standing a three-ring binder up so that it was really blocking the view, so I couldn't cheat and glance over there. And then you draw what you see.
Chris Beall (12:27):
And it turns out when you can't see what you're drawing, you can only draw what you see, which is... I didn't know that because I was this ignorant person. So, finished it. It took forever. Took probably an hour and a half. Oh, you're not allowed to lift the pencil. Pencil stays on the paper the whole time. So an hour and a half later, here I come out of this interesting meditative, weird ass state that I'm in, and I take the notebook and put it down. And I look over at the page and it is truly bizarre looking. Like, lines that would represent the edges of my fingers are crossed and stuff like that in ways that are impossible. And it's the best thing I'd ever drawn in my life. It was completely realistic without having any realism in it, if that makes any sense at all. To artists, I think that means something, right?
Chris Beall (13:18):
And suddenly, instantaneously, with no further training, I could realistically draw anything.
Corey Frank (13:26):
Chris Beall (13:26):
And I spent the next year and a half or two years, in my spare time, always with a pad, always with pencils ready to go. And wherever I was stuck, much the same way that you might; you were a Sudoku freak, you might pull out the Sudoku thing and do that; I would pull out the pad and I would draw what's in front of me. And yet, it came down to that one thing. No, no, no breakthrough. And what's funny about-
Chris Beall (14:35):
If I apply this to sales, this is why we take people through flight school. The reason we do it is that there's a moment in there suddenly where being trustworthy and letting your voice express your true belief, that this is good for the other person. That it is truly ethical. It's not a moral question. It's an ethical question. You've gotten to the bottom of the time. It's an ethical question. What is right here? And if you don't believe it's right for them to take the meeting, why are you selling the meeting? You're a thief. You know? Being a thief kind of comes out in your voice. I mean, unless you're a psychopath by the way. If you're a psychopath, pay no attention to all this. Just ignore it and go be a psychopath and do bad things or do good things.
Chris Beall (15:21):
If you're a psychopath, by the way, you have a real burden to be ethical. Ethical psychopaths are some of the most useful people in the world, right? Because they're psychopaths, they can manipulate people right and left, but they're ethical, so they do it for other people. Right? If you are a psychopath, which is a nature of things, kind of thing. There's introverts, extroverts, and psychopaths. Those are the three categories of people, right? So if you're going to be a psychopath, because you're one today, therefore you'll probably be one tomorrow, don't fight it. Just go adopt some really deep ethics because that's the only safe place to be because you're a very, very, very, very dangerous person. And it's good to recognize that. And it's like going around, not like Matt Forbes, but like Matt Forbes covered with dynamite, with little fuses all over the place. Like, don't do that. Don't blow people up. But if you're a regular person and you want to succeed in business, not in sales, but in business, there's a hump you have to get over. The sincerity hump.
John Orban (16:18):
Chris Beall (16:18):
You've got to decide that you're only going to do for others what you truly believe has potential. You don't have to know. You can be ignorant. Ignorance is fine. You can be uncertain. Express your uncertainty. All of that is just ducky, but you got to get there. And as soon as you're there, it's great. But how do you get there? What's the equivalent of looking at your left hand and drawing with your right? Do the breakthrough script. And all you have to do is be coached over and over on getting your voice to be the same voice you use to tell a genesis story, a story about yourself from when you were younger because that's the voice, the voice that you use to tell a story about how you came to be like you are; a story, not exposition. The story of how you came to be like you are. That event in your life. That voice is the full voice you need to go find.
Chris Beall (17:15):
And you can have somebody help you find that voice by just telling them your genesis story. We actually did this exercise last night, interestingly enough, right here. Helen Fanucci, who's been a guest on our show here, who I'm marrying, she's right over there in the other room, she has some podcast work that she's doing, shall we say, working with our favorite podcast publisher, Susan. And we were listening to a podcast episode. And her question was, "How's the voice?" And well, it's a little bit, maybe a little more factual. And then she told me her genesis story of how she came to expressing action what she believes in the book, that she did it herself at the age of 23, did it to herself. And I'll let her tell the story. And that voice is the voice, the voice that she tells that story in is the voice.
Chris Beall (18:07):
So if you want to find your authentic voice that you can use to share with folks, if you want to do that exercise, but that the one that works for you, my recommendation is the voice comes out of the genesis story, the practice comes out of the first two sentences, the breakthrough script. And the reason is it's really, really a deep thing to throw yourself under the bus within tenth of a second of meeting. So that's a deep thing to do. Most people can't do it. When you say... And the two sentences are, "I know I'm an interruption." When you say that and you mean it, that you mean you're a bad thing, you get it, you have agreed with yourself to be the invisible stranger, the scary invisible stranger. You know that's going to engender fear in that other person.
Chris Beall (18:53):
And yet you did it anyway. Why'd you do it? You have to be doing it for them and for you mutually, but for them first in that order. For them and for you. And then, you have to do something really hard, really hard with your voice, which is let go and say, "We're going to go on adventure together if you're willing to." And you switch to that playful, curious voice. That's what Chris Voss told me when I said, "What do you think of this?" He says, "It's perfect." He says, "When you switch from that hard flat self-indictment to playful curious in a fraction of a second, that is the thing that makes those two sentences work." And you're not faking it. You're finding it. That's the key. You got to find it in yourself.
Chris Beall (19:35):
As to books to read about sales, I'm not a big sales book guy. I think that Market Dominance Guys is actually built around different books. It's not a sales show. It's a market dominance show. And it's built around Geoffrey Moore, which is, again, it's about people's emotions. When people are buying new stuff, they're afraid of it. Not just you. Now they're afraid of it. At least life insurance, they might have thought, "Well, some people buy that stuff and maybe it's not bad. I don't know. I've heard people been bamboozled, wasted their money." But when you're buying innovations... In the innovation economy, you're buying innovations. And when you're buying innovations, they make you sick to your stomach. They're scary because you fundamentally don't know what's in that thing. You don't know what's in it. And you don't like the feeling. And you're the first buyer in a category and you don't like that feeling because you can't look around on anybody else and say, "Well, Joe, Mary, they already bought it." It's like you're going first because you need it really, really bad.
Chris Beall (20:33):
That book by Geoffrey Moore stands, in my opinion, alone in the innovation economy. Crossing the Chasm. And it stands alone for a simple reason. It tells us what we need to be empathetic about when we're bringing something new to someone else. And otherwise, we don't know what to be empathetic about. In fact, otherwise we're pissed off that they're scared of this thing. And we think, "Why don't they treat me better?" Well, I don't know. You walked into their house with a rattlesnake and it's in a jar and you're threatening to take the top off the jar and turn it loose. And their dog's on the floor. Why should they be scared of you? You know it's just a snake. Everybody knows that this one is more or less defanged. Right?
John Orban (21:17):
Chris Beall (21:17):
So that book speaks to me about the world we live in now. He was 25 years ahead of his time. He was right on, but he's 25 years ahead of his time with regard to the universality of the problems we facing. I'll call them interesting businesses. And interesting businesses, by the way, come up with innovations. HUB International, Scott Webb and that team over there, they invented a new product so that they can engage with these CFOs using the telephone. It turns out that commercial insurance is fine, but it's kind of a difficult product to sell in a displacement mode because everybody's already got it. So what do you sell them? The opportunity to learn something. Actually, the same thing I used to sell in [inaudible 00:22:05]. Their's a little more complex. They do a big multi-point analysis of your business and share it with you and it's worth a ton of money. I had it done for us and it was fabulous, but it's the same thing, which is, what can I always offer in service? I can always offer my expertise. Always.
John Orban (22:19):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Right. Right. Right.
Chris Beall (22:21):
Always. Always. I can go to work for you, right? That's my first thing I can do; in service. But to get there in your own emotions, you need to know what's going on in the other person. And the other person is repulsed, scared of, sickened by your innovation, not because of its characteristics, but because it's new. And read Crossing the Chasm five times if you have to. And if you're a tech entrepreneur and you like your own stuff, you're in deep, deep trouble because you're in love with your baby. And it's not that your baby's ugly. It's that your baby has fangs, bites, and has poison packed in its jaws. And they know it. And there you are coming and going, "Want to hold the baby?" Get the baby away from me. That sucker bites. You know? My neighbor over there got bit by your baby. He's been dead for three days. Come on.
John Orban (23:20):
That's good. That's good.
Corey Frank (23:22):
Love that. I love that.
John Orban (23:22):
Corey Frank (23:23):
I never pictured... I suppose it all come full circle now seeing the deconstruction mindset that you have, Chris, as a scientist. Right? Breaking it down to the core, to the atomic level, and how you can apply that to drawing, which is why I think why you were probably attracted to Ms. Edwards' book and how to replicate it. Right? How to break down helping my son with fractions the other day; take these large fractions, break it down to the simplest form. Right? Two-thirds versus four-sixths versus eight-sixteenths. That's in essence what I hear you both doing from an artist perspective as well as a science perspective and certainly a sales perspective, but simplicity doesn't mean ineffective. It doesn't mean a watered down, non-creative.
Corey Frank (24:12):
I think it is so creative because it is so simple. And we're trying to complicate things too much, as you had said, John, certainly with NLP. And did the eyes move up into the right? How's the mirroring? Am I being defensive? Now, its like I'm really majoring in minor things in a sales presentation where I just try to engender that trust, Chris, as you say. And man, and then just be curious. And holy cow, the floodgates will open.
Chris Beall (24:37):
John Orban (24:38):
And like you kind of intimate, it's a switch that gets flipped. I mean, it's like you go from one state to the other almost immediately once you have that realization.
Corey Frank (24:48):
Chris Beall (24:49):
Yeah. It's funny. I think there are two things that we're talking about here that are quite complementary, but I think it is tough for people to see how they go together. One is there's stuff you need to learn about the world to be an expert who's worthy of talking to of helping somebody else. It is true. You all only need to be one chapter ahead in the book to teach it. Right? John, you taught-
Corey Frank (25:09):
Chris Beall (25:10):
I used to teach physics. I was often three-quarters of a chapter ahead or one equation ahead. Right? I go back to the Maxwell's equations. Maxwell's equations. Oh my God. Right? What is that thing with the curl again? And then, I'd be all distracted. But I was just a little ahead. So one is the what stuff. You got to be an expert. You got to be worthy. You have to have access to resources. You have to have something to offer. That's fine. But the second is you got to find that thing inside of you that allows you to be yourself when you're in the uncertain situation where you don't know what the outcome is.
Chris Beall (25:43):
And sales management, we talked about that, and that's why I said, "Holy moly." You know? Helen's over there writing a book right now and it's going to be a major, major book in my opinion. And the book is called, Love Your Team. And it's exactly about what you said, John, which is, if you don't empower your salespeople, how are they going to transfer any power to the prospect? Right? And so I think sales compensation is actually one of these. The way we do it, it's locked. It's locked. Work in the office used to be locked, and then it got blown up by the pandemic. And now we've gotten over it, right? It's the same way that John was locked on one side of the phone until he actually started calling, and then curiosity would call into the next call. Everything is locked somewhere.
Chris Beall (26:30):
I think we're actually locked as an economy in a what I can only call a funny way of compensating sales people. We compensate them for the short term. We're asking them to build our business for the long term.
John Orban (26:44):
And that hasn't changed in 50 years. I mean, at least the 50 years I was involved in it. And the thing about that, one of the other podcasts I was listening to, the guy was talking about how you game the system. Yeah. He was sand bagging his calls for the blitz that they had on Thursday or something like that. But I saw that when I was in business. I mean...
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