Did you know that, during a cold call, your tone is more important than the words you use? Who would have guessed that tonality ranks higher than the message you so carefully crafted? Jason Bay, Chief Prospecting Officer of Blissful Prospecting, joins our Market Dominance Guys, Chris Beall and Corey Frank, to talk about this very thing: how a sincere tone communicates authenticity, which is so important when attempting to connect with your prospect. The guys also discuss how preparing and practicing cold calls can put you at ease enough that you are then able to concentrate on listening to the other person in the call — your prospect! According to Jason, “If you really listen to your prospect’s tonality, you’ll hear what they are thinking but not saying. But you’ve got to be so used to delivering your message that you’re not thinking much about what you’re going to say.” That way, you can really be tuned into the other person. We’d like to suggest you tune into this Market Dominance Guys’ episode to learn even more about how “Your Tone of Voice Tells All.”
About Our Guest Jason Bay is Chief Prospecting Officer at Blissful Prospecting. He helps reps and sales teams who love landing big meetings with prospects but hate not getting responses to their cold emails or feeling confident making cold calls.
Here is the full transcript to this episode:
Chris Beall: (01:31)
Corey, lead us into this thing.
Corey Frank: (01:34)
Beautiful. Absolutely. Well, welcome to another episode of the Market Dominance Guys. This is Corey Frank and my esteemed cohost, the sage of sales, the profit of profits, Chris Beall, as always. Welcome, Chris. How have you been this past week since our last recording session?
Chris Beall: (01:48)
Oh, this has been a rocking week. It's been wild. I think I've had five new ideas, two of which were worth not throwing away this week. It's really something.
Corey Frank: (01:58)
And I understand, not to disclose too much for the audience here, but competition is about to weep. I have a premonition the competition is about to weep here in the next few weeks with all the deals that certainly ConnectAndSell has been dragging in in this very profitable and high-velocity Q4, correct?
Chris Beall: (02:16)
Yeah. Q4 tends to be good for us, and I think this one is going to be pretty unusually good. So yeah, it's a lot of fun.
Corey Frank: (02:24)
Yes. And so today we have, I think the butteriest, is that a word? Butteriest voice in the business. We have Jason Bay, CEO of Blissful Prospecting as our guest in the studio. So welcome, Jason, to the Market Dominance Guys.
Jason Bay: (02:39)
I'm excited to be here. I was a little nervous about what was going to come out of your mouth after you said butteriest. Is he talking about my skin, my body? I don't know what you were-
Corey Frank: (02:48)
Jason Bay: (02:49)
... about to go with that, man.
Corey Frank: (02:49)
Extrasensory, yeah, I could wax your head a little bit. But I know Chris is a big advocate of tone and I'd like to talk about that, maybe even out the gate or so, because Chris is a connoisseur of the craft. And certainly you, Jason, for what you do at Blissful, which we want to learn all about. But tone is so important, and especially when we're talking about top of funnel for market dominance. So, Chris, the first time you were on Jason's podcast last week, I guess, and so first impressions, just if you close your eyes and you just think about the tone of getting a cold call from Jason, what are your thoughts?
Chris Beall: (03:20)
Oh, I'm just saying yes. I mean, if Jason closed a call with, "Fantastic, I'm a morning person. I'll shoot something over for next Thursday and we'll move it around if we have to," he's going to get 130% of the people he talks to saying yes. 130%. New people will come over and say, "Did I hear that correctly? I want in on that meeting, too." That's what it's going to be like. And it is. I mean, I'm deadly serious, by the way, that tone is everything. In fact, I was talking with Geoff Hatfield the other day, Scott Webb's partner in crime over there at HUB International, and he said, "People think that strategy and execution are where it's at, and the conversations work in service of strategy and execution. They're a thing you do, and you have conversation tools and analytics and all that around that." And this guy, by the way, is a world-class strategist. He's the real deal kind of strategist, right? And he said, "Conversations are up here at the top of the business. Everything else is dependent, including strategy and execution."
Chris Beall: (04:24)
Well, when you think about conversations, conversations by information content are almost all tone and very little of it is the actual words. So, we know that the words that we've spoken so far here might comprise, as words typed out, we might have gotten four or 5,000 bits of information out so far, the equivalent of a couple of emails, right? Maybe 5,000 bits in email is roughly the case. But the tone is being carried at 20,000 bits a second and it all counts. It all goes right into the mid-brain. It isn't very far between here and the center of your head, and there's nothing to stop that information from going in. So, if Hatfield's right, and by the way, I've known Hatfield only for a year and a half, but I've actually never known him to even be slightly wrong except about whether he is going to make a putt or not, okay? So, on all other matters, as far as I know, Geoff Hatfield is always correct. And this is strong statement from a guy who's an actuary. An actuary.
Corey Frank: (05:25)
Chris Beall: (05:25)
Think about that. And a strategist. And he says, "Execution, great. Strategy, yeah. Conversations actually rule the [crosstalk 00:05:37] of any company." And that's really something. And it's all tone.
Corey Frank: (05:41)
So, what do you think about that, Jason? I see an oversized ukulele in the background there, you can see, so you're a musical guy, clearly. Did you learn your tone or were you think you were born with your tone? Was there a point when you started in your sales career that you were oblivious to your tone and your pace and your authenticity, or did you have to work at it like the rest of us?
Jason Bay: (06:04)
Yeah. The selling came pretty natural to me. My first job at 18 in college was going door-to-door selling house painting services. So, I signed up as a summer job. It was a big company that hires kids and essentially teaches them how to run a franchise. And to zoom back to when I was five, though, because this will answer your question, I remember when my parents signed me up for soccer. I was a super shy kid. So, they signed me up for soccer and my dad's like, "You don't need to do this forever, but you need to try it. We think you're really going to like it." And when my mom dropped me off in the little minivan, I remember walking up to the field and the coach, his name is Steve Herd, I think is his name, and I remember walking up like this because I was so shy and embarrassed that other people that I didn't know were looking at me.
Jason Bay: (06:52)
That's how shy I was. When I kicked a goal in one of the games and the people in the stands were cheering, they had to stop. My coach had to call a timeout because I was so embarrassed. As soon as I figured out that they were clapping for me, I just couldn't take it. So, I've always had this unassumptive approach to most things, just out of shyness. And we could spend a whole hour talking about what I've learned in therapy about what that shyness probably was. But I've always approached things from the place of, "You know what? If you don't want to do this, that's okay." And I think that that's really key. When I was doing door-to-door, I picked up on that really, really quickly. Now, teaching salespeople was something I struggled with at first, but the going door-to-door...
Jason Bay: (07:37)
And I still remember the pitch. It was, knock, "Hey, my name's Jason. I'm a student at Oregon State University and I was coming by because I'm running a house painting business this summer. We're going to be painting a lot of houses in your neighborhood. And I was wondering if you were thinking about getting any painting done this summer." And then I would do whatever I needed to do, objection handle from there. But it was very similar to how I approached cold calling for the first time. I didn't really struggle with that. This company that I worked with, they had this thing called the shark tank and they built this feature into their custom-built CRM. They called it the shark tank. But they have about 150,000 leads that come in through the system across the nation every year. And what they would do with the shark tank is they found a way to compile the data, much like we would in lists with people that signed up for estimates that didn't book a paint job, right?
Jason Bay: (08:24)
People that signed up for estimates that never got an estimate. And we would call through this. And I don't know. I was never really taught how to actually make the call. I just thought, "Hey, I'm going to introduce myself. If the person doesn't want to do an estimate, that's okay. But I'm just going to come in and tell them that I would like to stop by their house. And if they don't want me there, that's okay." And I think a lot of the tonality, looking back and what I try to teach now, is I think your mentality really drives a lot of your tonality. When people try to fake their tonality and try to make their voice sound a certain way, I find that that's a lot harder than just coming from a place of, "You know what? I did a lot of research on you. I don't really need you to talk to me right now. If you're open to, I would love to." You can even hear it in my tone right now. So, I think it came pretty naturally. To me, teaching it was much harder.
Corey Frank: (09:15)
Well, if this is a microcosm of how you sell on the phone, and certainly from watching some of your podcast and your content on LinkedIn, I think it is, it's that you're a three-dimensional sales professional. You use your hands. You use your body language. I was talking with a rep yesterday and we were showing the old Toy Story clip of Tom Hanks, who's on camera doing the Toy Story read-along. So, it's a voiceover, right? He's an animated character. And it's not like he's sitting down behind a desk saying, "You are not a toy, and what's the next line?" I mean, he was standing up. He was the typical Tom Hanks oversized, animated self. "You are not a toy." And even though they're not recording any of that, they just want his voice and his...
Corey Frank: (10:05)
And Chris, I think Jason probably competes with you with how many different positions he's had in his short lifespan. But one of your positions you worked at, at actor's theater, at dinner theater. I recall, I think, one of our earlier episodes from a few years ago or so, and you probably got a front row of how actors and certainly you did your share of door-to-door selling. Is there something to this actor door-to-door selling face-to-face and using that to translate well on the inside and for phones?
Chris Beall: (10:34)
Yeah, I think it's a mix. It's funny. I am in complete agreement with Jason that it comes from inside. Your mentality conditions your tonality. I love that. I don't know if you said conditions, but I did and it was fun. I liked the extra syllables there. They sounded poetic to me. But I do believe that's a fact of the world. And I think we just heard something, by the way. We know there's a lot of research that says introverts make better salespeople than extroverts. And nobody really knows why. This is more extreme, Jason. You're saying that actual shyness, which came from somewhere and hopefully you haven't expunged completely because you're still quite good, but that shyness is a great foundation for, I don't know how to put it exactly, but I remember as a door-to-door salesperson, I thought of it as innocence.
Chris Beall: (11:28)
So, when I would knock on your door, I would say, "Hi, I'm Chris Beall. I'm your new Fuller Brush man. You probably don't know what Fuller Brush is. I sure don't." That was what I said when you opened the door. And then I'd just stand there. And I couldn't think of anything more truthful to say. But I was certainly vulnerable. I mean, "I sure don't," is not something that comes out of a salesperson's mouth when it comes to, do you know what you... "I don't even know who I'm working for, right? I sure don't." And people would always, after a little hesitation, all of them would say, "How can I help you? How can I help you?" And I think that's a big part of sales is its mutuality. And if we're always got that push and that desire for you to do something, you're going to push back. And if we're okay with however it goes, we give you room to come toward us.
Jason Bay: (12:21)
One thing that you mentioned on the podcast we were on, Chris, that just blew my mind in the way that you explained it, was you talked about the first seven seconds and the fact that it's less about managing our fear as the salesperson and more about helping the prospect manage their fear. So, if you chunk that up a little bit and think about the psychology behind that, I think that one thing you need to be really aware of, and one thing I've just always thought about, is the other person. So, when I would teach people to go door-to-door, it was little things that I would notice where, "Hey, when that little old person, that man or woman, opened the door, did you notice that they seemed very uncomfortable and almost a little scared of you. Actually? Why do you think that that was?" And it was little things like the screen door. "You opened up the screen door and you're sitting inside the screen door when they open their front door."
Jason Bay: (13:53)
"Don't do that. How would you feel if someone was up in your face?" And I had this guy. He was a football player at OSU. He's 6'1", 210 pounds. He's a huge dude. And the person was clearly scared of him at their door. It's this person that they don't know. There was other little things about how you stand. Are you squared up to the person versus at an angle? If there's stairway going up, are you maybe down a step so the person can just look down? It's just less threatening. And I think that the sitting in the other seat of the other person and just thinking about what is it like to receive, be on the receiving end of what I'm doing, just being conscious of that is going to drive a lot of your tonality. If you're thinking about the other person and how you appear, how you sound, how you're coming off, that's a really big part.
Jason Bay: (14:40)
And the second thing I'd add to this is something Ryan and I talked about was, I want to come off as a peer. There's a lot of stuff I've seen and heard content-wise out there in cold calling where you want to act lost and put um's and uh's into your intro on purpose. And I'm just thinking if any executive that I've called that's picked up the phone, they don't want to help a lost person. They're way too busy for that. You know what I mean? I need to be very sure that I called you on purpose, Corey. I called you on purpose, Chris. And I don't know if I can help you or not, but I did do this with some intention.
Corey Frank: (15:16)
Yeah. Yeah. I agree with that. The use of uh's and um's, I'm a big advocate of that. So, that's where I would politely disagree on a sales approach. Because I don't think it's necessarily being lost. I do like the broken wing mentality dependent on what type of person I'm calling. But there's a great book by Susan Cain called Quiet. It's been about for about 10 years ago. And she quotes a University of Michigan study where they had a team of survey interviewers, just doing public surveys at the university, under the guise that the most successful interviewers, the ones who convinced respondents to stay on the line and answer the most questions, spoke moderately fast and paused occasionally with filler uh or um kind of statements. And she contrast that with the interviewers that made no pauses at all did less poorly. And the rationale behind that study is it elicits authenticity, this concept that never trust any man who doesn't walk around with a little bit of a limp.
Corey Frank: (16:29)
No one is that polished. That's just a philosophy. The beautiful thing about sales, right? Whether you use Sandler, whether you use pitch, whether you use [Taj 00:16:36], whether you use QBS, whether you use spin, is to know all these methodologies, I think, makes everybody, and this is what we try to teach here at Branch 49 is, learn from the masters. There's a great movie we like to quote, have all of our new folks listen to. Chris and I have spoken about it a few times, called Jiro Dreams of Sushi.
Jason Bay: (16:57)
Corey Frank: (16:57)
Right? So, it a great documentary about the only three star Michelin-rated sushi restaurant in the world. And I've been there to. It's at the Ginza subway station in Tokyo. There's not even a restroom attached to it. And Joel [Busharon 00:17:12], the other esteemed three star chef, best restaurants in the world, and Ramsey, talk about the same concept that Jiro does, and I think I hear that in both you, Chris and Jason, is they don't hire chefs and teach them how to cook. They hire chefs to teach them how to taste first. "I've got to teach you how to taste. I've got to develop your palette and then I can teach you how to cook." And what you're saying about don't be squared up, hey, knock on the door, knock on the door and then maybe walk to the back of the porch and then do the, "Oh. Oh, hey, how are you?" Right? Versus open the door and you're there. And I love that nuance and applying a lot of those nuances to the phone on the delivery on the tone. And that's why I'm a big advocate on the ah's and um's.
Corey Frank: (18:00)
Oren Klaff, who's been on the show several times, from Pitch Anything and Flip The Script, talks about using hot cognitions and cold cognitions. And cold cognitions, speed, feeds, facts, numbers, data you're going to do low and slow. When you're talking about hot cognitions, you almost want to... If you listen to Elon Musk, he's always ahead of his [skis 00:18:26]. It's like his brain is firing at it so many synapse that he can't sometimes keep up. And it's not enthusiasm. It's just authenticity. It's, as the word used, Chris, innocence. I love that. Innocence. It's endearing sometimes. But it's a magical thing, isn't it, to do what we get to do? Ryan calls himself a professional. He was a professional salesperson, and now he's a professional caller. And I really like that. So, what are your guys thoughts on that? Are there natural callers or do you have to go through this tasting school first before you can really get to the promised land in selling?
Chris Beall: (19:08)
We've taken up training people, and I think training is a funny term but it actually is in this case, on how to experience a great cold call by doing one. And when you really think about it, it is more of a tasting experience than it is a cooking experience. We do all the cooking. We cook up the script. We describe and have them practice what the different parts are about. But there's a funny thing about the sense of taste, so to speak, in sales, which is we can't taste unless we're under pressure. We taste nothing in a sales situation unless it's real. And so we can role play all day long. And then as soon as we're in the real deal, we're not that person anymore, we're somebody else. So, we need to learn to be ourselves, that is, to taste authentically, so to speak, when we know that that dish we're tasting is going out there to a very, very particular kind of customer, the kind who shows up at that three-star restaurant and sends stuff back if it isn't plated quite right, much less if it doesn't taste perfect.
Chris Beall: (20:12)
So, I think that that's actually what I feel like we do in Flight School. I love that analogy. We let people experience the taste of a cold call by doing it under pressure. Then when they go off and they're doing it themselves later, there is something to talk about when they get off the beam, so to speak, when they drift. There's something to talk about because they're actually aware of what it tastes like to do it right. And yet until you get there, it's like unless you're under pressure performing in sales, it is like an actor, but it's like playing a musical instrument. I play very differently when my audience is me. I play a little bit differently when my audience is Helen. I play poorly when my audience is Kelly's boyfriend Dave, who's a master pianist.
Chris Beall: (21:05)
That's all it takes, right? Because you put enough pressure on me and that ease of being myself at the piano dissolves. And so practicing under pressure, I remember this when I was a young pianist. The hardest part of getting ready for a big music competition was figuring out how to put myself under enough pressure to break my ability to play that particular piece, which I had now over-learned.
Corey Frank: (21:29)
Chris Beall: (21:30)
And it was very, very hard to find. I once had the luxury in Phoenix of having Liberace show up.
Corey Frank: (21:36)
Really? Oh my gosh.
Chris Beall: (21:37)
10:30 at night at this piano store where I'm practicing, because it was the only place I could find this particular piano that was identical to the one that I was going to play at [Greti Gamich 00:21:47]. And Liberace shows up to buy a piano at 10:30 at night. And I don't know who in this audience even knows who Liberace is. He was a very flamboyant guy and wore a lot of rings and some sort of outrageous clothing and all this. To others, right? To him, it was just who he was. But truly, truly a master pianist. This guy is off the charts good. And it was so valuable to me because Liberace walks in and asked me, "What are you playing?" And now I've got to play this Bartok piece-
Corey Frank: (22:22)
Oh my God.
Chris Beall: (22:22)
... [crosstalk 00:22:22] Liberace. And it actually is what prepared me for the competition. All the other work was worth nothing other than the over-learning, but the pressure was worth everything. And I think that being yourself under pressure is true master. That's that's when you know you're a master. It's not what your performance is under pressure. It's just, can you be yourself under pressure? Imogene Coca told me this at that dinner theater one night. I said, "How can you be so funny on stage?" And she says, "I've done it so much that I'm still me."
Corey Frank: (22:58)
Jason Bay: (23:00)
I think the practice piece is so important, and being able to get your reps in so you don't have to think about what you're saying. That's where, when you've been doing it long enough, when I get in the zone the most is when I'm doing a training call and sometimes it doesn't happen and it's frustrating because I'm just distracted or off for some reason. But when I get in an hour call with 30, 40 reps or whatever it might be, and I'm very in the zone and I'm just talking and I'm not holding back. I used to have, when I first started training folks, the VP of sales was on the call participating. I would play the game of, "Oh man, well, this person's been running this business longer than I have, and they got more experience than I do," whatever, versus just focusing on delivering the message. I just hadn't done it in that environment enough.
Jason Bay: (23:44)
And I think it's totally the same with cold calling, like you're talking about, where have you just gotten in enough reps to not have to think about what you're going to say so much and really listen to the person so that I can hear the nuance in their tonality. One thing I ask reps a lot and challenge them on when I talk about cold calling is one of the three things that you need to do is actually get better at listening. You're not a very good listener. And there's a book called You're Not Listening, and it's prescribed reading for my wife. But one of the things that she talks about a lot in that book that's interesting and what I ask reps is, "What is this prospect thinking that they are not saying?" So, when someone says, in a cold call, "We're not interested," or, "We already have one of those. We already do that. I'm busy. Can we talk next year?" whatever it might be, are you really listening to the words and the tonality that is behind that? You know what I mean?
Corey Frank: (24:44)
Jason Bay: (24:45)
There's so much more nuance behind that. I worked with another company that was a staffing company. The question they would get a lot is... Because they don't want to be branded as a staffing company because it's more of a software platform that they have where staffing is just a component of it, but they get lumped into the staffing category a lot. And I asked them, "So, when people ask you on the phone, 'Oh, are you guys a staffing company?' what's the question behind that question/" because they're not just wanting to know, are you a staffing company? Because you could just say, "No, we're not. Here's what we are instead." I want to answer the question that they're not asking. The question that they're not asking, I mean, there's a lot of them, but really what they're asking is, "Well, we're already trying to fix this problem. And I think it's doing the job right now. Why would we want to do something else right now when this is working?"
Jason Bay: (25:34)
Or maybe they're wanting to know about your credibility because you called and you're this random person that they've never talked to before. You need to answer those questions when you're answering that question. You need to really think about, "What are they feeling? What is the question behind this question? What are they thinking that they're not saying?" That type of, I don't know if you call it tactical empathy or whatever you want to call it, but that's the type of stuff that you can do when you've gotten your reps in and you're not thinking so much about what you're going to say and you're really just tuned in to the other person.
Corey Frank: (26:07)
That's developing trust, right? Chris, I think, talked about that several times is that sometimes you have to like something before you even understand it. And part of getting to that like certainly is trust. So, that's why I think we led off this call with truly something that was very, very evident, which is your tone. I think the authenticity and the tonality says, "Listen, I may not need your product, but I like what I'm hearing. I'm not threatened by what I'm hearing enough to say, I can ask you a question. Well, are you guys like X or are you guys like Y?"
Corey Frank: (26:46)
Versus sometimes, as we've all heard, it's happened to me, folks will hang up on me before I get past 27 seconds as clearly I was off. Maybe they were having a bad day. Maybe it was the fourth call of the day that they had like that or a plethora of other reasons. But if I get that over and over again, as the connected cell weapon certainly would reveal to me, my coach should be able to say, "Wait a minute. Corey, the last 27 conversations he's had, he's got a hang-up past 18 seconds."
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