It’s a tale as old as time: you and your team spend hours preparing to meet with important stakeholders of a key account, you all deliver what you consider a top-tier pitch, and think “there’s no way they don’t pick our solution.”
Taking first place is the goal for all salespeople – especially when it comes to pitching proposals.
Almost immediately, the executive team you’ve just pitched to explains that they have a rule of three. Before they make a decision, they must hear three proposals from three separate companies with similar solutions. They want to ensure that they’ve compared you to your competition to discover the best product for their company.
How can your sales team ensure that their proposal wins the deal?
On this episode of Evolved Sales Live, John Livesay, a storytelling specialist who helps companies close more business, explains the approach used in most corporate purchasing and how to ensure that your proposal comes out on top.
Don't forget to follow us on LinkedIn for more engaging sales insights and discussions! Happy watching!
John Livesay is a four-time author, sales coach, keynote speaker, and previously, Conde Nast’s salesperson of the year. After finding his niche in sales storytelling, John has helped many enterprise sales teams use the power of stories to win more sales. His goal? To help teams tug on heartstrings in order to get their potential clients to open their purse strings.
Check out the transcription of this webinar episode below!
Jonathan Fischer 0:04
It's time once again for evolve sales live. Welcome back, everybody. I'm Jonathan Fisher, great to have you with us today. So imagine this, you've identified a key account connected with all the important stakeholders inside that company tailored your offering customized a killer proposal. And you've not delivered that proposal along with the best pitch of your life with all the decision makers present only to have them say to you, that was great. But we have a policy of getting at least three proposals. We'll be getting back to you. What do you do now? When you're one and three? How do you stand out? Well, our guest has the answer. John Livesey is a specialist in helping companies level up their pitch in a major way, so they can stand out from the crowd and become revenue rockstars by using the power of story. With a deep background in marketing and sales, John first made his name while working for notable companies such as The Daily Beast and Conde Nast, where he wants salesperson of the year. He's gone on to write four books and become a highly sought after coach and keynote speaker. And we're excited to have as our guest on the show today, John, welcome.
John Livesay 1:04
Thanks, Jonathan. Wonderful to be with you.
Jonathan Fischer 1:08
Very good. Okay, so I don't have a delay here. But my
looking a Okay, on my side, my producer saying there may be a glitch. That just means the show's gonna be that much better, my friend.
John Livesay 1:29
Jonathan Fischer 1:33
And we got let's see here.
We have a low from a Tim see I see that.
Yes. says we're streaming right now. Maybe on the producers end. All right, perfect. So we'll edit that out in the future. But all of you live people, you get to see the real thing, right. This is real, authentic live production. So you gotta love that. So John, as we said, we're fantastically blessed to have you with us excited to talk about this issue of standing out with the power of story, I want to tell our audience a quick reminder, this is live. And we want you to participate. So go out and start thinking of really good questions even during the conversation, throw those right into the chat. And at the end of the talk, we're going to get back into some q&a. Right here right now with our guest. John, let's start at the beginning. Tell our guests more of what you do every day, if you would.
John Livesay 2:26
Well, you know how there's so many salespeople, but especially those who work in healthcare and tech sales, like Olympus, medical or Bosch and loan, they struggle when they are invited to come in and present, to stand out and not drowned in the sea of sameness, where they're just seen as a commodity. And as if that's not bad enough, unfortunately, like, unlike the Olympics, you know, the Olympics, you get medals for second and third place, but in business you don't. So what I do as the pitch whispers I come in, and I teach them how to tell a story that makes their offer memorable and magnetic, because whoever tells the best story is the one that gets the sale. So companies bring me in at their annual sales meetings, to teach their team how to become storytellers. So they become revenue rockstars
Jonathan Fischer 3:12
I love that that's great language, everyone loves the idea of having revenue rockstars on their team. But you know, a lot of folks have great people with let's be honest about that, right with good skills, good solid skills, a great pedigree in terms of their background, and they get out there and they're fighting every day. And still the numbers aren't what they could be designed to be. What do you think's going wrong when it comes to closing deals? And especially given that that, you know, the typical standard operating procedure is to get multiple proposals right on the table? Right? Where are there misses happening out there?
John Livesay 3:42
Well, the first mistake I see most people make is they push out facts and figures, thinking that the logic is going to make people want to buy something, you know, this equipment makes your surgeries Go 30% Faster. Why don't you want this, um, in fact, we all buy emotionally and then back it up with logic. And part of the problem is that we've all bought into this myth of, oh, in order to get someone to buy from you or hire you, they have to, you know, know, like and trust you. And so that belief causes the behavior of well, let me send you more information about my company, more information about the facts, and the speeds and feeds of how this all works. So I flipped the script, Jonathan, we start with the gut. It's a trust thing first, in fact, the handshake came about to show you didn't have a weapon in your hand. So trust is transferred with warm introductions, things that you do that build trust, eye contact, all of that good stuff. So we start at the gut, we make sure that this emails not spam, or that I can trust what you're saying sometimes by being a little vulnerable. And then it goes from the gut to the heart. And that's the likability factor, because they've done all this research. In fact, Tim Sanders wrote a great book called The likability factor showing doctors spend more time with patients I like teachers spend more time with students they like, so the better you can describe the problem and show empathy for what that percent is experiencing, the more they think you have their solution. So we go gut heart, and then finally head, still not the time to push up facts. Here's the unspoken question everybody has, when they hear you pitch, will this work for me, they might trust you and like you. But if they don't think it's going to work for them, they're not going to buy it. And that's where storytelling comes in. Because when you know how to tell a story, that other people see themselves in so much, that they say, oh, that's, I want to go on that journey with you. That sounds like me.
Jonathan Fischer 5:33
Well, and I can hear what you're saying about wanting it to be a really good connecting of those dots. Right? What is in it for me everyone's favorite radio station. And making certain that the numbers do make sense, you can validate those I'm seeing in a lot of pitches, in my own experience, looking at companies, putting in things like case studies, putting in things like better market research data, putting in better maybe sport in the form of social proof, other users comments, trying to up the game on that side. That still doesn't sound like storytelling, necessarily. So let's talk about that a little
John Livesay 6:08
bit. So first of all, I turned case studies, even the word study sounds like homework and boring to me into a case story. So when you have a case story, it's got four elements to it, the exposition, the who, what, where, when, like a journalist, you got to paint that picture to get someone in the story, then you describe the problem, the solution. And then finally, the secret sauce is the resolution. What is life like for someone after they bought your product? Most people don't have a story with that in it. Imagine if the Wizard of Oz ended when Dorothy got in the balloon to go back to Kansas, it was the end. But no, there's that wonderful scene where she's in bed, and she said, Oh, there's no place like home and you were there and all that great stuff. That's the resolution. So what does that look like in the real life? Instead of that equipment being 30%, faster, the reps now tell this story. Imagine how happy Dr. Higgins was six months ago down at Long Beach Memorial, using our equipment when he could go out to the patient's family an hour earlier than expected, and put them out of their waiting misery. And if you've ever waited for someone you love to come out of surgery, you know, every minute feels like an hour, he came out, he said good news, the scope shows, they don't have cancer, they're going to be fine, and then turn to the rep and said, you know, that's why I became a doctor for moments like this. Now that rep tells that case story to another doctor at another hospital, who sees themselves in the story and says, that's why I became a doctor, I want your equipment to now the client said, Oh, that gives us chills. Not only we're not telling stories like that, but it never occurred to us to make the patient's family a character in that story.
Jonathan Fischer 7:51
That's really powerful stuff. I mean, if you're watching me and not listening, you'll see that I got a big smile as I'm listening to this change from 30% faster. That sounds good. I like it faster. But it doesn't move me. But that really took me into this other realm. And we've all been in situations where most of us if you've lived long enough have been in situations like that. I love that. So when it comes to taking what companies have right now, and beginning to transform it into more of a storytelling thing, what's that look like? What kind of of a process do you take clients through?
John Livesay 8:27
Well, I tell everybody, you need to have three stories in your toolbox. Think of your brain like a jukebox or playlist depending on your age. Instead of music coming out, different stories come out. So you need multiple stories. So you're telling the right story at the right time to the right person. So in that particular situation, we were telling a story to another doctor, if we were talking to the CEO of a hospital, we'd have a CEO story, or a purchasing department a purchasing department story. Now I tell people, all of your stories need to have three C's, it needs to be clear. It needs to be concise. And it needs to be compelling. So let's dive on each one of those. If it's not clear, and you confuse people with a bunch of acronyms, no one's gonna say I'm confused. They're just not going to buy because the confused mind always says no. Then it needs to be concise. And here's the real exciting part. Jonathan, you need to have your story so concise, like the one I just gave, so that people can remember and repeat it for the meeting after the meeting. So what you know what the meeting after the meeting is? That's the buyer. Here's three proposals. And then they have their own meeting after that meeting. They go well, what do you think? Well, they all sound the same. I guess we should go with the cheapest price. No, that's not what I love that story they told about the patient's family and that's what we want our experience to be here. We need that equipment. So that's how they can repeat that story even if they didn't hear you present it. And then finally, it needs to be compelling. Because when you tell a story that tugs at people's heartstrings, they open the purse strings
Jonathan Fischer 10:02
will heartstrings to per string sounds right now, I can hear somebody out there questioning that because they're thinking, Well, I mean, a lot of these, a lot of the DMS inside these companies are just they're old school pencil pushing bean counting kind of individuals, right. So they may or may not be moved by a story. It depends on process. What would you say to that?
John Livesay 10:23
I would say, it's our job as salespeople and storytellers to create value that justifies something. And I have another story to show show you exactly what that is. So I was working with Honeywell, and they make a division that makes fans in the operating room. And they were talking about how fast the fan was spinning and the particles in the air and all that good stuff. And they were talking mostly to purchasing the people who are like that person you described. They're just like, we need this specs, and we need the cheapest price. That's it. So I said to the team, what happens if the fan doesn't work? Because remember, in any great story, the stakes have to be high enough for people to care. And they said, Well, you know, the patient could die. If you know, the fan doesn't work, you know, they could get infected. That's why we have to get that down, keeps the room clean. When I said, Okay, great. And then I said two magic words, I want everyone to go away with anything else. When you ask people, anything else, besides the presenting problem that's going on, you find out really deep problems. And they said, well, and this is before COVID. Our doctors and nurses are constantly, you know, cutting people open with lasers, and there's all kinds of smoke that that fan has to clear out. And if it didn't work, those people could get secondhand smoke damage. And I said, aha, that's the story. And we're going to be telling you to HR and not to a purchasing department, because HR cares about the safety of the employees. And once we had that story to a whole new person sales took off.
Jonathan Fischer 12:00
Well, that's playing off the fact that there's really only one final decision maker, there's multiple stakeholders, and you look for where you have an edge. I like that. Yes. I'd love to hear another one like that. What's another time when you have it? You're trying to figure out because this is all it's not almost never exactly the same person, right? Correct. What's another time you had to pivot?
John Livesay 12:18
Well, I was working with an architecture firm, and I was helping them win a billion dollar airport renovation. So talk about the stakes being high. They had been told that we've picked our final three architects, you could all do the work. That's why you're in the final three, we're gonna pick the team we liked the most. They might as well be tech people, they didn't know what to do with that criteria. They said, we just show our designs and hope that wins the business. So they brought me in, and I worked with them on their story of origin. So instead of just, you know, they're everybody has a team slide when you're presenting, this is who you'd work with, if you hire us. It's very dull. We've been here five years, this is what I do, blah, blah, blah. Instead, I pulled out individual stories. So I said, What did you do before you worked here? And one woman said, Well, I was in the Israeli army. I said, okay, but you learned about focus and discipline. And since you're in charge of making sure this thing comes on time and under budget, you got the perfect background. How about you, Bill? Oh, I got into architecture when I was 11 years old, playing with Legos. Now I have a son, it's 11. I still play with Legos with him. I'm very passionate about this. That's what made them stand out and up their likability factor because people feel like, Oh, I got a sense of who they are. I'd like to work with them for the next six years.
Jonathan Fischer 13:38
This makes a lot of senses. This is a counterpoint to some of the old school connecting with people based on whatever you notice that they play golf, whether whether the yacht and then the picture in the corner of the family, which I mean, all that stuff has its place, if you have an opportunity to do that in a genuine way. It's pretty rare that you can do that in the virtual space. And I think a lot of folks have been scrambling for some kind of like, if you go there in person, and you're in the office, you can very naturally, especially if you are interested in lots of things, you can find a connecting point that can still hold on LinkedIn, oh, man depends on the profile, right? You may not have much to work on. So this, this sounds like this would be a great way to kind of go around that. What are some other advantages of using story that you've
John Livesay 14:17
seen? Well, then another advantage of the story of origin is you can then ask them, How did you get into whatever the field is, and they start telling you their story? Well, originally I was going to be a doctor and then I became this or it nobody very rarely do people have a linear path. And so that's asking them a question about them, as opposed to commenting on a picture on their desk. So that stories, do two things. They make us memorable, because research shows that we forget 40% of what you say after you say it, but we're wired to remember stories. And also the stories pull us in it's a different part of our brain that's going on. So the other part of it is a story about the company so many people get Up in the go, Well, you know, we've got this many offices and we've been in business this many years. You want to tell a story about the company that shows its values and actions. A lot of companies today say, you know, we're all about diversity, and sustainability, have a story about that in action, so that people can relate to that culture and say, Oh, it sounds like our culture, and bring that to life beyond just what the mission statement is with a story. My favorite example of that is Toms Shoes. Okay, so you remember you buy time shoes that used to be you buy a pair, right? They donated a pair to repair Basically, yes. So the guy Tom was starting this out, and he had had a few successes, and but he couldn't get Nordstrom to distribute the shoes, because he was only talking about the shoes. He wasn't telling the story. And then he told the buyer about going down to Venezuela, and a bus and seeing this woman with her three young boys running alongside the bus crying, but the boys all had his shoes on he does, why is she crying? The interpreters that I don't know, I'll find out. Turns out before they had those shoes, the they had one pair of adult male shoes that were way too big for the boys. But that's what they had. So the boys would put their little feet in this big shoe, and shuffle to school, go to school, and then shuffle all the way home. And then they'd have to give their brother the big pair of shoes. So they only got to go to school one out of three days. And it took forever. But now that they had these shoes, she was crying tears of joy. Because every kid could go to school much faster without being made fun of and go every day and their grades went up. And he told that story to the buyer at Nordstrom, and she got it turned around. She's like, I'll take all the shoes. All disused. Yeah, that's a story about the company's values and action.
Jonathan Fischer 16:55
That's really powerful stuff. Why do you think companies have taken so long to get to this? I mean, some of the very best stuff coming out of the 1950s and all the big name original marketing, right? You go back and read their stuff, they use story, to varying degrees and various creative ways has been lost. Do you think because it just there's too much happening in, in the world of commerce that these are lessons had been forgotten? What's your opinion on that?
John Livesay 17:18
Well, when an age interviewed me about the Superbowl commercials, it was all about which commercial is telling the best story. So they're spending millions of dollars shooting them. And for the airtime. Those brands know that it's about the best story and being part of the buzz of the Super Bowl. So I think part of the problem is, when you get out of you know, a Super Bowl situation and into we're gonna give you some training on the product. And here's all the speeds and feeds. Salespeople are not trained on how to tell a story of a client that is using the product, they only talked about the how to the details of the features and benefits. And it's no longer enough just to talk about features and benefits. So and if by chance, they are telling a story. Half of the people make themselves the hero of the story, you're not the hero of the story, the client is that you help another you're the Sherpa or Yoda in the story. The other big problem is the stories go on and on and on. There's no ending because they don't know the structure that I just gave everybody on how to tell a great story.
Jonathan Fischer 18:26
Well, you anticipated where I was gonna go next, which is ask how can you do do story wrong? Or there's are there some other ways that you mentioned a couple there? So are there other ways could it could be that you, you applied the same way across the board, because it you know, I can imagine you need to tweak it quite a bit. If you're talking about, say a video advertising campaign for digital marketing or on mass media, versus in a pitch, it's gonna be pretty different. Talk to us about that.
John Livesay 18:52
I think the biggest mistakes besides the story of going on and on and having no point and not being memorable and not being clear, and make yourself the hero is that you just aren't telling a story that's authentic. Your stories must be authentic. And be true, because other people can smell that a mile away. I think that's the number one thing. I would say. If you're going to tell the story, make sure it's true. And it's about you. In fact, I was working with somebody else. And they said, You know, I don't really know what my story of origin is. Can I just tell the other guy's story about Legos with his kid? I go, No, that's not your story. We eventually found a story for him, by the way. But yes, that's another Yeah, all your stories have to be authentic.
Jonathan Fischer 19:37
Now, that brings me to an interesting challenge, because a lot of our audience members are going to be in startup mode. You know, they're beginning a tech solution. And they're all of two years old, right? Yep. And so they don't have a lot of case studies from their real experience. What do you advise them to do and applying this methodology?
John Livesay 19:55
Well, if you can tell a story of origin that you yourself were in, you know how you just covered the problem that you're solving. Because I know I was frustrated with this, I figured there's a lot of other people that were frustrated with this. That really helps. Now I see one of the questions here is, is the founder story, the new elevator pitch. And I want to make the distinction between your story of origin and an elevator pitch. I call them elevator stories. No shock. Yeah, the whole goal of an elevator story is to intrigue people enough to say, Wow, Jonathan, that's interesting. Tell me more. Now, the elevator pitches are usually boring monologue. And they're just going, nobody remembers anything. So I have a quick process on how to tell a good elevator story. You don't even talk about what you do until step four. So the first step, you literally just say the phrase, you know how, because that gets, that's very conversational, right? You know how this winter was really cold, or whatever the topic is, you know how and then you start describing who you help. A lot of tech salespeople struggle, and then you describe their pain with the word struggle, not to be seen as a commodity. And then the fourth part is, I noticed the pitch whisperer, I come in and teach them how to tell stories. And after that, then the fifth part is what's life like for them. And so if you tell a little elevator story like that, and people are like, wait a minute, I'm intrigued. I know what a horse whisperer is, what the heck is a pitch whisperer, you plant little seeds, and they're doing treat people to want to have a conversation with you. So even if you don't have tons and tons of clients, you to describe how whoever your target audience is for this tech product is, you know, you know how people in whatever, excellent, you know, people who have to do human resources and performance reviews are struggling to make them relevant and current, and then people hate them. And so what we've developed is a solution to that. And it's called this, and after using this program, it's much more efficient and effective. And people feel like the feedback is more relevant and timely, you know, so you describe what that journey is going to be when people start using your tech product.
Jonathan Fischer 21:58
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John Livesay 22:37
Great. I loved it that was really fast on the on the fly like that, you know? And then if you so then we start tweaking it right? Because you did a really good job. Now we say, what can we make it a little more emotional? Maybe? Right? You know, so no longer will you struggle with jobs that are open for months at a time. And you're leaving revenue on the table? Right, sir? Paint that picture of what happens if they don't feel those jobs fast?
Jonathan Fischer 23:03
Sure. I love it. I love it. Yeah, I gave it a go i my heart rate go a little faster there. I got nervous, but I thought I'd give it a go. Now I'm already I can see it applying across the board too. And I think that that was kind of the segue into that right? I mentioned how do you pitch in different formats? I mean that you could use that YouTube video, you could use it in mass media marketing, you could have a lot of fun with that. You couldn't have one within your pitch couldn't Yeah, I could see. Yeah. So it's almost get like, right, you could kind of talk about have some fun with that picture. Yeah, right. So what are some other ways where you can apply store a little differently? So we have these different formats that we're kind of talking about here today? Is there anything else we're leaving out here?
John Livesay 23:40
I think the big three case, the big stories you want to have is your own story of origin, the company story, and then the case story. Most people forget the first two stories, and jump right into the product. And it's still not a story. So if you develop those three kinds of stories, and then once you're in the world of case stories, I tell people, let's identify your three big avatars, right, like for the case of Overpass? Who is it? Is it a small business owner typically that buys this product?
Jonathan Fischer 24:10
No, it's going to be typically a technical, you know, like a b2b, either as a software as a services company or b2b services type company, that typically going to be probably through the first couple rounds of funding, and they're looking to grow and really hit that curve.
John Livesay 24:25
Got it. Alright, so now we've identified one avatar. I'm guessing there's at least two others correct? Because most companies have multiple avenues. Sure.
Jonathan Fischer 24:32
Yeah. There are multiple verticals that demonstrate it's fantastic for a lot of companies, no question. So
John Livesay 24:37
we would have the b2b description that you just gave us there in round two of the funding. Then we literally looked for a case story of someone who just finished their second round, and was struggling to grow as fast as they wanted to, and yet had all the stress from investors to start getting some numbers, but they needed the right salespeople. And so this was their this is what allowed them to and you tell that story to that avatar, so having Multiple avatars, each having their own story is the next level of getting it ready to go so that you're not a deer in headlights, and that you can customize each case story and not having to wing it.
Jonathan Fischer 25:10
Now, I want to talk about how you would get your team to apply this because my mind always goes to the next level, which is to replicate the thing, right? Like if I'm, if I'm running a team, and you're talking to me, John, you're gonna sell me in the first couple of minutes, because you use story to tell it to sell what you do, and you do a very, very excellent job of that. How do I inculcate that into my team effectively?
John Livesay 25:29
Hmm. Well, typically, people bring me in as a speaker, or I do workshops, or I have an online course. And you start working on the basic structure. And then you have each other practice the stories with each other. Okay, and so you say, oh, and I have clients that now take all of the stories across 200 salespeople, and put it on a repository map, so that all the different stories from each different situation can be found easily. And you can use someone else's story. If you don't have an example that fits that ideal avatar. And then once people start sharing stories across divisions, silos come down, it can become an onboarding tool, because you can put your own story of origin on the repository map. So stories can really change the culture.
Jonathan Fischer 26:14
Yeah, for sure. I love it. Well, we blown through a fantastic conversation already, John, and we're gonna have a little q&a here in just a few moments. I do wanna let everybody know you have a special offer. I'll put up on the screen, would you go ahead and make the audience aware what are you offering here today,
John Livesay 26:29
I have a new book, it's called the sale is in the tail, T A L E, because it's a business fable about a sales rep struggling to not get out of a slump, they didn't know what to do. And then they learned about the power of storytelling. So if you text the word pitch, with a p p, i tch 266866, you'll get the first chapter for free.
Jonathan Fischer 26:53
All right, so I'm gonna put that there on the screen for our live audience. We'll put that in the show notes for our podcast listeners, but the sale is in the tail. That's going to be available on Amazon. But if you text the word, pitch, the number is 66866. You can get what was it again, the first chapter for free. Yes. Love that. That's great. So that's a nice offer for our audience. Thank you for doing that. Sure. Okay, so let's go ahead and jump over to q&a. And if you haven't already, audience, go ahead and send in your questions. We've got a number of good interactions here with this already. I'm gonna ask one as I'm kind of taking look, and we'll start sending some more through. Okay, well, little off to the side. But I've seen some people use a story approach and it isn't their story. It's maybe a famous person's story. Oh, yeah. And they'll drop a big name. They'll drop like an Elon Musk, or they'll talk about the Rockefellers in their financial services or whatever. What are your thoughts on that? Is that cheesy? Or is that is can it be done? Okay, cuz you said these be authentic? What are your thoughts?
John Livesay 27:54
Well, as long as you don't pretend it's your story. Right? Okay. But if you've interacted with that person, like for me, I sold advertising to Speedo when I lived in LA, and I convinced them to do the event with me based on Michael Phelps, who was on their payroll during the Olympics, to come to that event. So I have a picture of me with Michael Phelps. And I'm telling a story of Michael Phelps, and what he said to me about why he's so successful. That's so much more meaningful than just quoting Michael Phelps. If you got your own connection with that person, the story is much more and more interesting.
Jonathan Fischer 28:27
Sure. Or it maybe like, would you say like, maybe if you were inspired by I don't know. Sure. Mark Twain or somebody, you're gonna quote, I'm just making. Yeah. But you can say, Hey, I've always been inspired by and like, can you still make it personal? Would that be advisable?
John Livesay 28:41
Oh, yes. I mean, think of how many people, you know, talk about Oprah as their inspiration. And she got inspired by people before her. So yes, when you? It's just has to be specific of, you know, we don't need another story about Elon Musk or Steve Jobs unless it has some relevance to how that shifted your story.
Jonathan Fischer 29:00
Yeah, yeah, for sure. Tim just makes a comment on a question. He says don't sound bored by your own product or service. Oh, yeah. Thank you for that Tim. And I think he he's kind of chiming in. Others were mentioning to happen important tonality is and delivery. We didn't really get into that, could you share maybe a few key notes on how to deliver the story.
John Livesay 29:21
I tell people, when you have a big meeting coming up in a pitch, you need to think of those as your Olympic moments or your Super Bowl moments or whatever you want to reference. And also remember people like Hugh Jackman, who were on Broadway every night, eight shows a week. Do you think he phones that in? No, no. He is up there giving it his all every single night. He's not bored with the song or the dialogue. And we can't be bored with a song or dialogue either. And that goes back to why am I doing this in the first place? Do I really believe in what I'm doing? Do I care if people buy your energy? Because money is Energy. So that's really where it gets very quantum physics on you. But if you don't have the energy, nobody else is going to be energetic.
Jonathan Fischer 30:08
Yeah, gotta get back in touch with your why some of the stuff you hear forever, but we need, we need to be reminded very often. That makes a good segue to another question that Andrew mentions, what do you say to CEOs when there may be hesitant to be vulnerable? They don't want to share their personal story too much. What are your thoughts on that?
John Livesay 30:27
The fear of being vulnerable, is very common. And I myself was given that note by my speaking manager, about let's be a little more vulnerable in your talks, because you have the credibility. You've written books, you're on stage, but the audience needs to relate to you. So good leaders today are very different than leaders from 20 years ago, where it was very hierarchical. You do what I say, don't ask me any questions. Good leaders are willing to say, I know what I'm doing. And I have some ideas, but I don't know everything. So I'm open to hearing what other people think without feeling like it's taking away from their credibility, because I have a whole philosophy that are soft skills, listening, empathy, storytelling, and even vulnerability. Give us the emotional connection we need with our team, and certainly with buyers.
Jonathan Fischer 31:17
Yeah, for sure. Jackie lamb refers to Tommy Boy, circa 1995. Do you know what she's referring to?
John Livesay 31:25
I don't I know. Okay. Tommy Hilfiger, the fashion? I think there's a you know, I can think of big Bob's Big Boy, but the Tommy boys will have to get somebody
Jonathan Fischer 31:37
up. Jackie, tell us. That might have been a movie. I can't remember. But it's followed up, let me know what that was. What What would you say are some of the applications of story across the range of marketing efforts? So, you know, is this something that's suitable? Say, for your cold email campaign? Is it suitable for your phone scripting for STRS to be using? And how would that maybe need some further tweaking? By way validation?
John Livesay 32:04
I just got an email from my friend, Scott, Monty. And the subject line was a tale of two layoffs. Okay, nice. And so you instantly know what's going to be stories. And he was describing the contrast between how Twitter's laying people off and how stripe is laying people off. And so you're in you're reading about it, and you're he's comparing and contrasting. You know, one management company took responsibility for over hiring one was not taking that that angle. So stories can definitely be a great way to get people to intrigue with you in an email.
Jonathan Fischer 32:38
So And what about like in phone scripts? I mean, when you're, I mean, cold calling is not going to die anytime soon. We talk a lot on our show about different ways to do it better how to do it in conjunction with a more well rounded Omni style effort on omni channel style effort, business development. What about in that format? Can I just launch into some you know, I don't know. I'm thinking about how, like I'm getting hung up a little bit. I'm thinking of I've written a lot of cold call scripts for clients myself.
John Livesay 33:05
Let's let's talk about genres of storytelling and movies that use them, and brands that then use that. So three, separate, all connected, so you'll never watch a movie the same way. And you'll now be able to start looking at ad campaigns in a new way. So the first one is rags to riches. That's the genre. Cinderella is the movie, right? Sitting by the fireplace and the ashes and then boom, this transformation. That's what you want to take your clients on this amazing magical transformation. Oprah Winfrey is a person that had a rags to riches story, journey, I met the CMO of Domino's Pizza when I was speaking at the Coca Cola Summit. And I said, you know, this pizza is all about going taking people on a on a journey. And he said yes, well, and M is pretzels, who's also here with us said that, you know, she's in airports and malls now. But she started at one farmers market. That's a real rags to riches story. So that's one genre. Another genre is rebirth. My favorite movie that does that is it's a wonderful life coming up for the holiday season. And what you know, oh, let me make different choices. Prudential says your retirement is your third act. It's not just a continuation of middle age. Let us help you plan it. That's pretty good stuff. Like yeah, so you can start to see there's movie genres that are using storytelling brands that are using it. And when you can start to look at all the different genres and figure out which one do I want to look into?
Jonathan Fischer 34:33
That's good stuff. So it probably is pretty challenging. If I'm just cold calling you. Hey, John, we've never met, my name is Jonathan blah, blah. Or is it? I mean, could I start with, Hey, we found that the companies were struggling with blah, blah, blah, we thought you might be interested in how they solve that problem. I mean, could could that be a good lead in follow white paper by email and
John Livesay 34:51
Pullman? Yeah, and again, I am not big on sending facts and data like paper because it's just you're in the left side of your brain when you're doing this analysis. paralysis, I need more data, to tell a story to get people to be able to summarize it and go, Okay, this is what we need. So that's what goes into. If I can put something in a subject line on a cold email that grabs people's attention, and happens to hit them in a moment, they go, what is this guy? Jonathan, in my head? How does he know we're struggling with this? Right? You know, a phrase to use in an email like that is, if you're anything like me? Or if this sounds like something you're struggling with. Let me tell you how we can help you like we've helped XYZ person.
Jonathan Fischer 35:33
Let's good stuff. I wasn't the only one curious. I know some of the other audience members were as well what you call a white paper then. So obviously, you're associate that moniker with something dry data Laden
John Livesay 35:44
was read my 50 page description of data. Yeah, that should give me enough information for you to decide this is such a logical decision, I have to get it. Right. I'm much more into what it is because you're asking someone to change the behavior when they're buying something. Yeah. So in my case, I'm asking people to hire me as a speaker. So my job is to mitigate the risk, right? Here's video of me in front of hundreds and hundreds of people, here's testimonials. You know, I customized I have to make them say, Oh, we're going to be a future pace. And what's it going to look like after a week after the event, people are going to remember what I said, it's going to change the sales, you paint that picture. So when you're selling something, with just numbers, it just you've become a commodity then because it's like, yeah, we're doing a lot of analysis on this with no sense of urgency to even make a decision, right. And because you haven't described a story in a way if somebody else waited, and they're really regret waiting?
Jonathan Fischer 36:43
Well, one of the things you reminded of us earlier, and I really appreciate it, is that we don't make our decisions from the other rational center. We make our decisions emotionally, and then we validate them rationally. I first heard that from Zig Ziglar, probably three decades ago or longer, sorry, I wish it weren't that old. But okay, it's just as relevant as Britain is probably 50 years before that. So I mean, it's definitely still relevant today. And this is one of the most powerful things I'm hearing about why storytelling is so effective is we're appealing to the center of decision making. And we're kind of going around that. So we argue over the issues, and we back them around. And we almost enjoy doing that in our rational center. Right? That's kind of the fun part of the rational center. If they if our brain had two personalities, right, the other personality wants to go with the moment go with the flow go with what we're feeling when we're asked to do it right now. And if we can appeal to that more quickly, that's good. Are there unethical ways that we this is this could be a superpower if you get really good at this right? With great power comes great responsibility. Yeah. Are there ways that this could be abused? I didn't think of this earlier in the conversation that's occurring to me now.
John Livesay 37:52
Hmm. Well, I think the biggest blatant one is what we talked about earlier that you're telling a story that's not true or not yours. That, to me, is the biggest misuse of it. You know, sometimes you'll see that on a TV show, right? A doctor tries to convince a patient to have a surgery, and they make up a story about themselves or another patient. And it's not true. Yeah. So I think that's really crossing the line. But for the most part, if you're just an authentic person yourself, then you're you're fine. And stories that actually happened to you and lessons you've learned, or stories of other clients you've helped and how happy they are. You can't go wrong if you stay in that lane.
Jonathan Fischer 38:32
Well, John, you've been a fantastic guest. Thanks so much for being here and offering so much value, not just our audience, but to myself to the whole team here at Overpass. My pleasure. And thanks to our audience for joining us once again and making this fast growing shows such as success. Hey, keep on coming back. Same time, same station next Friday, and bring a friend we'll see you then. Have a great weekend everybody. Bye bye now.