How many cold-call opportunities have you wasted by pushing hard and fast to sell your company’s product? Today’s podcast guest, Bruce Lewolt, Founder of both JoyAI and Blast Learning, talks about a more caring and effective approach to selling. It starts with switching the goal of that initial call from selling your company’s product to offering prospects a helping hand with a problem or goal they have. Imagine for a moment you’re the prospect, and you’ve just been ambushed by a cold call: Who would you be willing to set an appointment with for a discovery meeting? A person blatantly trying to make a sale? Or a caring professional who understands your business’ needs and wants? In this episode, our three well-reasoned and insightful sales professionals share many insights with our listeners about making a successful cold call, but the one you don’t want to miss is this “aha!” moment. Your job is not selling your company’s product: Your job is selling a discovery meeting. That should make the title of this week’s Market Dominance Guys’ podcast very clear: You’re still selling something, but “Your Product Is the Meeting.”
Listen to Bruce Lewolt's previous episodes in this series:
Bruce Lewolt is Founder of Blast Learning, a service that uses Alexa or Google Assistant as an intelligent personal study assistant, resulting in a state-of-the-art study method that is not just effective but makes learning enjoyable. (See BlastLearning.com and BlastStudy.com) He is also the Founder of JOYai, the first emotionally intelligent and sales-savvy artificial intelligence system for salespeople, bringing intelligent automation to prospecting and selling.
Full episode transcript below:
How many cold-call opportunities have you wasted by pushing hard and fast to sell your company's product? Today's podcast guest, Bruce Lewolt, founder of both JOYai and Blast Learning, talks about a more caring and effective approach to selling. It starts with switching the goal of that initial call from selling your company's product to offering prospects a helping hand with a problem or goal they have. Imagine for a moment you're the prospect, and you've just been ambushed by a cold-call. Who would you be willing to set an appointment with for a discovery meeting?
A person blatantly trying to make a sale? Or a caring professional who understands your business' needs and wants? In this episode, our three insightful sales professionals share many insights with our listeners about making a successful cold-call. But the one you don't want to miss is this a-ha moment: your job is not selling your company's product, your job is selling a discovery meeting. That should make the title of this week's Market Dominance Guys podcast very clear. You're still selling something, but your product is the meeting.
Bruce Lewolt (01:36):
There's another thing in my mind too though, is it gives me the first marker that I can put in there as soon as possible to judge this person's emotions. Really I should back up, their personality, because I'm going to mold to their personality, right? I live in their world, not mine. I mold to their personality, rather than expecting them to mold to mine so I could communicate.
Bruce Lewolt (02:01):
And can I have 30 seconds? Okay, there's nothing really to react to there, other than yes or no. But 27 seconds gives a world of different options. They can laugh at it, okay. They can figure it's a challenge, "Okay, yeah. 27 seconds, go." That's a different personality than the, "Sure. Go ahead." The empathetic. "Sure, you go ahead." It's a different person. And the sooner you can get a handle on that person's personality, to go back to Corey's point, the sooner you can have an authentic relationship with that person about their needs in their world, because you're selling in their world and you interrupted them. It's your responsibility to be in their world. And that's how you start to figure it out.
Corey Frank (02:44):
Yeah. Chris, what do you call this, the playful curious, right? The, "Can Bruce come out and play?" type of tonality?
Corey Frank (02:53):
Is that what I'm after? Is that the best way to describe it?
Chris Beall (02:56):
Yeah that voice is the, "Can you come out and play?" voice. It's funny too, because at the same time, you're very seriously offering a solution to their problem, which is you. It's actually funny that you are the problem and that you recognize it. Almost all great comedians have something early in their shtick that lets us both laugh at them and with them at the same moment, at themselves. Laughing with somebody at themselves is one of the most collegial, embracing, we're together things you can do with somebody. It's acknowledging that the situation's a little funny, right? It is a little funny, I know I'm an interruption, but that's got to be hard and flat because I got to throw myself under the bus and then that playful, curious voice. And Bruce, what you did is so interesting is that there's at the very end, when you said "students", you went slightly down in the intonation, very slightly down.
Chris Beall (03:55):
It was playful and it was curious and then it was a quarter second of a deadly serious, "I mean this. This is something I mean." And had your voice gone up at that very last moment, it would've sounded like you were asking for permission, but what you were doing was making a recommendation and that recommendation is about something really important. And to me, that's where this game is played. It's played in those quarter seconds or so and we listen to Cheryl Turner sometimes around here for fun. My fiance Helen and I were listening to her once, because Helen was thinking of calling... I think it was all of the VPs of HR of Honeywell, using ConnectAndSell, there's 100 of them.
Chris Beall (04:45):
We made a list and came up with a script, didn't know if it was going to work or not. It was really fun though, because she hadn't been through it. I said, "Before we do this, let's listen to somebody who's a true master." So we're listening and listening and I asked her, "What do you think?" After about 20 conversations, and she said, "I get it. The secret is in the micro pivots, the emotional micro pivots." In which she picks up on something and changes just a little bit to be a little bit more with that person. And it's that little chuckle or that little pause or that little agreement or that whatever it is, and they happen fast. And I call this the sword fight in a dark room. It's pretty dark in there, you got to hear where the steel is hitting the steel in order to know what to do next. And then it starts to get a little lighter and you start to have more of a chance to fight on an equal footing so to speak, not opposing the person.
Chris Beall (05:38):
My point is, it's not languid, it is not slow, it's you may be speaking slowly, you may be speaking quickly, but what you're going to hear and react to you don't have a lot of time to do that. It's what makes cold come... Cold-calling is such an athletic business. I think it's so fascinating how athletic it is. Bruce is a true master and athlete. And when he's adapting to them, he's adapting to them like Sugar Ray Leonard adapted to people in his fights. It was very clear when you watched him, that's what he was doing. And Bruce does that because he's a practiced expert with a theory too, that goes with it and it's tested in lots and lots of science.
Bruce Lewolt (06:23):
Yeah. Thanks for that. There is a component to that though, that also has the real... So there's the athletic, the endurance, the taking the brunt of rejection and still coming back strong. There is also, to Corey's point of the sincerity, I really care about helping students. If you're a corporation, I really care about helping salespeople reach their full potential and do well. I care about helping your business do well, so that comes through to me. But when I train salespeople, I recognize if they work for a big electronics company, they may or may not care as deeply as I do about their customer doing things.
Bruce Lewolt (07:07):
So my daughter was a successful actress when she was young in Hollywood, she was on a lot of national shows and did a lot of acting training and they use framing. What's my frame here? How am I looking at the world? So for the salesperson, before they start, they need to do the same exercises that a salesperson, that an actor does before and to get themselves in the right frame, seeing things in the right frame, so they are coming across as caring. They are coming across if need be as very confident or they are coming across as, "I'm struggling a little here, could you help me?" The broken wing script if that's what they're doing.
Chris Beall (07:45):
Well, one of the beauties of B2B is that B2B tends to run through a meeting. You're going to have a meeting in the meeting as a meeting in which both people are going to voluntarily show up. And the fear that's expressed as annoyance is going to be replaced by apprehension, that you can replace with some other emotion. And it's a lot easier to work with apprehension on a volunteer than it is to work with fear on somebody you've ambushed. It's an easier emotional game to play when we're dealing with that more awkward conversation, the cold conversation, one of the beauties is the only thing you have to believe in deeply and sincerely, is the potential value of the meeting, for the human being you're talking to. In the case where you're never going to do business with them.
Chris Beall (08:34):
This is the only time in business there's such a thing as a universal framing, you can deeply believe no matter what you're selling, you can deeply believe my company are experts at this because we're specialists. And this other person is a generalist and can learn from us, and what strikes me as especially odd is the product training that goes on for salespeople, even those who are setting meetings, is not about the product that they're selling, which is the meeting. So they never learn about that product, which is the only product that they have to sell and be sincerely... to have that sincere belief and it's value.
Chris Beall (09:13):
And it's so odd, I have yet to see one time across all of B2B, that I've run into and you guys know, I see a little bit of it. I've never had a yes answer to this. So can you break down the discovery meeting for me that this person's going to have, who says yes. In terms of the value that they're likely to receive from attending that meeting, what value are they likely to get from the meeting, not from your product later. Cause that's all that's on offer and I've not had one person ever say, yeah. We've actually gone into our discovery meetings and listened to them carefully for that moment when the prospect goes, "Oh yeah!" and they've learned something. Because the value's always going to mean learning. "We've codified that, we schematized it, we know the value points of the meeting out of the product that make it worth attending no matter what." I've never heard anybody say that, isn't it odd?
Corey Frank (10:18):
Do you guys give cold calls, Bruce, do you and Chris, do you receive cold calls in your roles or too often more than you used to less than you used to?
Bruce Lewolt (10:28):
Certainly far less than I used to, which mystifies me and almost no good cold-calls, professional cold-calls. I always... Listen, most of them are the ones for selling some scheme thing but it's not, but I don't get them from professional companies as much as I used to. And they're generally making mistakes that we've known about for 20 years, that we know don't work. It amazes me that the industry doesn't learn, which oddly enough comes back to this drift that you were talking about, Chris, that salespeople think, "Oh gosh, everybody has heard the 27 seconds." I've said it a million times, everybody must have heard it a million times, that's not true. The person you have heard it... First of all, maybe they heard it a week ago. And how many of you remember what you had for lunch a week? I studied memory for a living and I can tell you, they do not remember the last time they [inaudible 00:11:27]
Corey Frank (11:27):
Bruce, let me give you an example on that. As you know, at Branch49, we're an agency business. We do top-of-funnel, full-stack discovery. And the majority of our clients are cyber security clients. So in a Venn diagram, there's a lot of overlap between cyber security solutions. So for the most part, our data team, top shelf, trained at the feet of the Chris Beall method, and Zoom Discover, Apollo. We have them all and we've had them all, and we have our own brokers. So this is not an indictment on them by any means, but we have two people who are sitting next to each other, work in two different cybersecurity campaigns for whatever reason, it happens in data. The same record happened to be in both of their campaigns, which is generally a no-no that you just don't do, but it was.
Corey Frank (12:13):
Once you know it, and we see every demo that comes in, in the slack channel every day is that, one rep, Catherine, got a gentleman from this particular organization, senior level gentleman for a cyber security product that we're representing in the morning, see the name, very recognizable name, not Tom Smith. In the afternoon, Brent, who sits right next to her, with pretty much the same screenplay, 27 seconds gets the same gentleman for another cybersecurity product. Now, at no time and you listen to the phone calls, at no time, did the person tip off, give away that, "Wait a minute, I've heard this 27 second thing." It's part when it's delivered, it's invisible or Clef always talks about, "Make sure you can deliver your screenplay, your pitch to the point where it is invisible. It is conversational to your point about, I don't remember what I had lunch last week, but clearly I didn't miss lunch last week," right?
Corey Frank (13:15):
I think that's indicative of the performance matters because it just becomes part of, "Wait, there's curiosity here, there's really [inaudible 00:13:22] and I need something. I don't remember how I walked into the restaurant, did I have my jacket on and off? Did I have it? I just remember I turned around, oh, somebody walked into the restaurant before they saddle up next to me at the bar," right?
Bruce Lewolt (13:34):
Yeah, that makes total sense. To come full circle then, from that back to what Chris was talking about, Chris, when you're talking about the value that they get, as you're wrapping up that call, so you're doing the ask now, right? The ask is, "Can I get 15 minutes on your calendar for our founder to share this breakthrough with you? Then if you like what you hear, you can schedule a demonstration." Whatever that thing is, "the ask" how then, are you getting what's core value to them into that ask?
Chris Beall (14:07):
Yeah, so it's interesting. This is, again, I'm going to go over to Cheryl's approach. If you really believe, that you have something special that's worth 15 minutes for them to spend with you learning, interactively learning, in a conversation, then you want to jealously guard that, guard its mystery and let it stay out there in that 15 minutes in the future, because that is the value. The value is that you're going to get to interact with an expert. This is a rare thing. This is somebody who really knows their stuff. If we want to come back to ask, "Well, what's going to happen?", and it's going to be the sharing of the breakthrough. We're just going to repeat that. So my very favorite, by the way, my favorite objection to talk to about or talk with people about, is what I call the Venus fly trap objection. So Bruce, tell me more. Right? So Bruce, the sucker says, "Oh, well what we have..." And then goes on about it, right? And it's like, "Well, that sounds like this other thing thanks."
Bruce Lewolt (15:12):
Right. Then we've ended curiosity.
Chris Beall (15:14):
No curiosity left, right? By the way, men have a harder time with this than women.
Chris Beall (16:16):
I think it's something that makes sense. Women are smarter about a lot of things than men, and this is one of them that they're vastly smarter about. Don't just spit it all out right now, hold it for the date, for the meeting, that's where we're going to actually do something. I love to say to people, somebody ask me that. I just say, and you have to say it very wistfully, we've learned the hard way that an ambushed conversation like this, isn't a fair setting to talk about something this important. Tell you what, I'm a morning person, how's your Thursday. And that little thing that ends with something about me, I'm a morning person, how is your Thursday? So now it's about them, empathetically. Do we mesh, just about a simple thing, which is when. Let's stop wasting our time talking about what, or if. Those are not the subject of the moment, the real question is when and when? I'm a morning person, how's your Thursday?
Bruce Lewolt (17:22):
Alexis, one of Corey's people that are doing calls for me, had this exact situation and she was very competent in saying I'm not the expert at that, which no one would expect her to be. But Bruce, the founder is, and I know he can answer that question. The key to that is she wasn't defensive nor was she trying to make something up and [inaudible 00:17:49] into the value because obviously this is important to this person, right? They're not there, so she did a masterful job of doing that.
Chris Beall (17:55):
What she's selling is you, the expert, the time to get to spend with an expert on something important on an important topic and she is free to say something good about you. And actually I think I recommend reps say is, and say it like this. I'm thinking back, I can't remember one conversation I had with Bruce where I didn't learn something and something that I still remember.
Bruce Lewolt (18:19):
Chris Beall (18:19):
And it's just such a simple way to put it.
Bruce Lewolt (18:22):
So I did training for a large government law enforcement agency and I trained undercover agents. They would build... have somebody always build their credibility instead of building their credibility themselves. So someone would say, "This guy is really smart at this or this guy is really good at this", rather than the person themselves. And then when they would come in and actually after somebody was brought in for interrogation, they were always in teams and one guy would excuse himself, and the other guy would sit there [inaudible 00:18:55] coming along, and the guy that was still in the room said, "Bob, gosh, he's a really nice guy, you're really going to like him, but he is a human lie detector, whatever you do, just don't lie to, cause he'll know it, he'll know it right away." And invariably, that wouldn't make the people... Absolutely of course believe it.
Bruce Lewolt (19:13):
Now he actually was pretty good at this, but he would understand when they're becoming uncomfortable and just lean in a little bit, the guy would go, "Oh my gosh, you're right. He is a human lie detector." So what somebody else says about is my point, I'm totally agreeing with what you just said here, is that there's this real propensity that you really believe in what they say. So by the same token, you better make sure what you're saying about that person is true. You need to believe that it's right, don't be making enough stuff.
Chris Beall (19:42):
Yeah, if I were going to do the real lie detector thing, I might even add something that's personal. In fact, last week I told him that I had to take my kid to this piano lesson and damned if he didn't know I was heading over to the bar. It's that kind of thing, right? It's that... The little micro story you can throw in about your own experience, that reinforces what you're saying, because then they come over and go, "Well, it's happened to me too, right?" Everybody's been caught in a little something and now you're together, you have this natural thing and well, "Bruce, the lie detector comes back in ha ha, he got you." But I'm not even going to try him.
Bruce Lewolt (20:28):
We've been going around back and forth to training on tonality and training on character. Those guys, the training from them, for sales people or for management training, okay. You blow it, you blow it. Those guys, it was real life and death to get out of character, to blow a conversation, to appear to be more competent, because you're really competently trying to get information, but to appear that way, was a real problem.
Chris Beall (20:59):
I sold 20 year jail sentences.
Chris Beall (21:05):
You think your product stops.
Bruce Lewolt (21:07):
Yeah, right. Goodness gracious. Well, this has been a delight.
Chris Beall (21:13):
It has been awfully fun. Well, I think it's so cool that you guys have hooked up on this super important mission. What Blast Learning is doing, it's not just going to be for nursing men, it's ridiculous for me to say just because if you could wave a magic wand and fix the nursing shortage problem, you've fixed about the next... Well it depends on how fit we are each, but then lucky 30, 35, 40 years in my case, somewhere, according to my fortune teller between a hundred and 150 years of needed services, and it's a true universal, nursing is the true universal and it's just wonderful that not only are you guys working together on that, but it's also helping to mold and train and create those future CEOs that come out of Branch49. This is a... Now there's no evidence we need more CEOs, but we can use them. Maybe some of them will hire some nurses or something, I don't know.
Bruce Lewolt (22:15):
When you think about the skill that CEOs really need, they need to be masters of the one-on-one conversation with their managers, with employees, with the board, this conversation, his ability to have this conversation is critical life skills. So, and Corey, those of you who don't know, he brings his students in from the college there and then trained them to have effective one-on-one conversations. They build confidence, they build verbal skills, they understand how to communicate emotions as opposed to just words, it's phenomenal program in what he's doing there.
Corey Frank (22:52):
Well, Chris is to blame from the [inaudible 00:22:55] is another byproduct of the podcast from three-plus years ago is, it started off from... there's plenty of folks do top of funnel and, but who does a really good discovery call and who can I really turn to, to trust enough with pipeline to actually do full stack sales? That's where this idea started from and certainly with the good folks at ConnectAndSell, helping seed this.
Corey Frank (23:18):
But been a conversation with Steve Richard the other day, our good friend Steve, at execution about that and indispensable tool, certainly to have in an organization. I don't know if you have a disparate, at home, fractured workforce that is doing cold-calls and you don't have a tool like exec vision. I don't know how you can compete or certainly unless you're using ConnectAndSell where you can actually listen to the calls, but something to listen to the calls, to do the coaching. But here at Grand Canyon University, right, Chris, nudged us in the direction of saying, "What is our biggest asset here at Grand Canyon University?" It's the 45,000 students we have on campus. And there are plenty of organizations that are struggling to find top sales talent.
Corey Frank (24:04):
And as a father of eight children, I used to always say, as a sales manager, sales VP, is, "It's tough to find good sales talent, so I'm going to make my own." and that's what I did with eight children or at least trying to. This finishing school for future CEOs that we talk about because Robert Vera, who's been our guest on this show, as Chris knows, has said many times that the goal of this university should be really threefold and certainly coming out of Branch49, it's to be able to speak clearly, to write clearly, and to convey a quasi-controversial or novel idea with persuasion. And I have those three skill sets, if I can graduate, I'm going to be okay to be on certainly on your staff, Chris, as a junior training exec or on your staff, Bruce, as I come up in about working with Blast on this project has been a blast and-
Bruce Lewolt (25:03):
Blast learning is a blast to use.
Corey Frank (25:05):
Yeah, absolutely. We appreciate that powered by ConnectAndSell of course, which we weren't able to do what we were able to do without that beautiful weapon. So enough of the commercials of the product placements here-
Bruce Lewolt (25:18):
Before you jump there, back to this original thing we started with was why founders should cold-call. I never could have done what I've done and learned what I done in a timely manner without using ConnectAndSell. I got two months of conversations done in a week of learning and trying and changing, and I couldn't do it more than an hour here and an hour there, but I could get on it and learn all kinds of things that were really valuable that you could never do if you couldn't just essentially, if Chris couldn't deliver me a whole bunch of conversations.
Chris Beall (25:54):
The cycle time around that learning, well, you're the learning expert, but there's some things that are really much harder to learn if between one experience and the next experience you go too long. And I don't know what those decay curves look like, but I'm sure an hour is too long.
Corey Frank (26:11):
If you're doing what Bruce wants to do, which is validate product-market fit and validate your Tam, you want to do it as quickly as possible, certainly right? Because it is a zero-sum game, and we always believe that a half-wounded prospect with no follow-up is left wandering aimlessly, the fields of the marketplace, waiting just ripe for your competitor to say, "Come here, come to my van, do you want some candy?" and take them off the chessboard for three years. And so you need that critical follow-up, the way you do critical follow-up at scale is certainly a weapon like ConnectAndSell. And so whether you're looking for, how do I know what dormant leads do I have that should be reconnected with or reheated or new validation of product-market fit, certainly ConnectAndSell, and what we do at Branch49, right through Bruce's help to train the team we think is key.
Chris Beall (27:07):
I love that, half wounded, leaving a blood trail for your competitor.
Corey Frank (27:14):
You always have to use that word blood that gets everybody frozen. Just got us in the headlights, right? For was it seven seconds? Is that the science?
Chris Beall (27:21):
We get eight seconds out of blood, blood is the magic and you get eight full seconds out of blood and a fiance if you play it right.
Corey Frank (27:31):
We shall see on July the second, that's correct. Well, for three old sales dogs, this is a blast. Bruce, we got to have you back over and over again, we always say that Henry is the honorary third market dominance guys, but I think Bruce is putting in his bid to be on that Mount Rushmore of market dominance as well, so we thank you.
Corey Frank (27:54):
Thank you very much, Bruce.
Corey Frank (27:57):
Chris Beall, the profit of profit, sage of sales. And again, the Hawking of Hawking. I'm going to keep testing that one here I'd like that, so until next time.
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