Today's leaders need to work hand-in-hand with HR to recruit and keep the top talent needed to grow their business. Whether it is a new graduate or recruiting someone from a competitor, the stakes are high to get the right person in the right job and to do it quickly.
There are three stories leaders need to have in their toolbox to make their offer irresistible:
- Personal Story of Origin
- The Company's Story
- Case Stories
Having won salesperson of the year at Conde Nast and written four books on the power of storytelling as a sales tool, John Livesay is an expert in bringing inspiring, actionable stories to the surface to help sales teams win more sales.
On this episode of Evolved Sales Live, host Jonathan Fischer sits down with John for the second time to discuss the most important ways sales leaders can recruit and keep top talent and the stories all sales leaders should have in their tool box.
Stay tuned until the end of the episode for a step-by-step template you can use to put these stories into practice.
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
Welcome back to the evolved sales leader recorded live Friday, right here on LinkedIn from overpass studios every week. I'm Jonathan Fisher. It's always been tough to find and retain top talent and with the effects of the so called Great resignations still reverberating. It's tougher than ever. Well imagine if you had a tested proven way to attract the best people and get them excited to stay and work with you for years to come to such a silver bullet exist. My guest today says yes. Returning once again to the falsely sales leader is John Lindesay. Hey, Jonathan, great to have you. John's a four time best selling author, he's a highly sought after coach and keynote speaker. He's a specialist in helping corporations and professionals level up their performance using the power of storytelling. By the end of our conversation today, John will have shared with us the most important ways the leaders need to work with HR to recruit and keep top talent. The three types of stories leaders must have in their toolbox to make their job offers irresistible, a step by step template you can use to put these stories together and some tips and best practices on implementing all of this into your recruiting and HR to achieve exponential results. John, we're making a big promise today, are you gonna be good for that brother?
John Livesay 1:19
I love big promises. I love big, hairy, audacious goals for the new year. And I love making big promises that you can keep
Jonathan Fischer 1:28
my man? Well, that's why we love you. And that's why one of the reasons among many why you are our number one top podcast of the year this last year. Wow, congratulations, once again.
John Livesay 1:38
What an honor. I'm very touched and thrilled about that. Thank you.
Jonathan Fischer 1:43
Well, this, I trust, this won't be the last time either that we have you on our show, John. And just a quick reminder to our live audience. This is live. Please go ahead and begin putting your questions in the chat. We're going to have a q&a at the end. So you can get answers right here with our guest at the end of the show. So go ahead and get started. Don't wait. All right. So John, just kind of starting off a little bit on this topic of the show of recruiting top talent. I mean, you work with corporations all the time, how do you read the current job market?
John Livesay 2:15
Well, this has been a very interesting time to say the least. During the pandemic, a lot of companies were having to lay people off. And I think we saw it in the airline industry, they realized they laid too many people off now that things are back. And then even if they were companies were not laying people off, they had to adapt to them working from home, at the same time their children were at home, that's never happened before. And it really accelerated remote work. It was sort of starting off as a trend. Maybe on Fridays, we let you work from home. But the concept of productivity was really in question. And what still is very much in question is do you need to be seen in an office every day in order to get promoted. So this hybrid work environment is now the new norm. And a lot of companies are afraid to mandate that everybody must return to the office every day, that they'll lose a lot of good people. And yet they have this expensive office space. It's only being used Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, to a certain capacity. So that's created a lot of uncertainty. And companies that have never really had to recruit that strongly if they're the leader in their category, are now suddenly faced with a shortage of people. So it's this perfect storm of how do we navigate this? And more importantly, how do we fill these jobs that we need qualified people for? We're not talking entry level jobs at restaurants. We're talking architects, lawyers, professionals, that are the companies are struggling to find the right worker.
Jonathan Fischer 4:02
Well in this movement to either a hybrid model forever or a district distributed model. That's creating a lot of tumult. What about this resignation? thing? Are we starting to see the end of that isn't? Is that an ongoing trend as well?
John Livesay 4:18
Depends what age group you're talking to. I think, you know, people who've got a mortgage and children and things like that are a little less likely than somebody younger, who might say, you know, I'm only planning to be at any job three years max, I don't really want to climb a corporate ladder, I want some freedom. The thing that's still going on is quiet quitting, where you don't quit, but you're really not giving it everything you've got. So that's also a separate problem from filling in open slots that you need filled in order to be you know, productive. So I think companies now are having to really flip the script it to make their place a fit people are looking at what's the cultural issues doesn't match my personal issues and beliefs around diversity and sustainability. There's so much more to a company's getting top talent than just here's the salary. Here's the benefits.
Jonathan Fischer 5:18
Well, this this is it. Everyone has to up their game to not just attract, but keep up people around. Of course, you know, we used to call that greener pasture syndrome. A lot of times folks find out the the pasture is no reader at the new place that it was where they left, right. But that lesson is still remains that as hiring managers, we need to have a way to up our game. Now. It's interesting, you're known as the pitch whisperer, you're known about integrating the power of story. Now typically, the application for this is closing more deals, you're dealing with sales professionals, business development people, how the world did you get pulled over in the recruiting side of this whole thing?
John Livesay 5:57
Well, a lot of my clients are in the real estate business and in the architecture business. And one of the real estate companies that engaged me to come speak on the power of storytelling, to help their team, sell more homes, get more listings, has now engaged me to come back next year, and talk about how to use storytelling to recruit the top 5% that are working at competitors to come work at their company. And in the real estate world. That's a little tricky, because, you know, there's only so much you can do in terms of commissions that you give somebody, and how bigger offices and the support they get. So it's the people who are doing really well typically are taking care of and don't really need to move over. But if you tell a good story, but the people typically might be great at selling houses, but they're not really great at selling themselves as a leader or having anything ready to go of other people that have made the move and how happy their life is. And the same is true of architects. The biggest firms never used to have to really recruit that much. They were always getting resumes from graduates and other companies. And now they're so busy, they've got all these open slots, that they're having to adjust their criteria for who they hire in terms of experience, but also really explain the company's vision and culture to people so that they feel happy that they're working in a place that matches their values.
Jonathan Fischer 7:26
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Well, and when you're dealing with top people, it's always competitive. Yeah, Headhunter calls come if you're good at something. A lot of our audience is going to be the tech space b2b services space. That's definitely true in that world. Do you feel like this is something that can also forestall that, like, you know, they're hearing messages all the time, you can't control? That? Is it? If you have your story acts together, the way that you kind of preach that message? Is that something that can help out?
John Livesay 7:53
Yes, when you tell a great story, not just a good story, it's memorable and magnetic. And it also is something that people can remember and repeat and become your brand ambassadors. So if you've got people out there talking about how great it is to work here, and now, you know, it used to be Google would give you free food. And that was new and cool. And everyone really wants to work at Google. Now, that's kind of table stakes that a lot of tech companies. And so it has to be something more than that.
Jonathan Fischer 8:23
Well, and when it comes to something more than that, you know, your your circle right back, we're talking about the story that you have. So what what are some of the before and after the you've seen with this? I mean, again, you're you're just now maybe implementing this moving from a sales application to a recruiting application? But could you give us some examples of before and after the beginning to see?
John Livesay 8:44
Sure. Let's go back to the real estate example. You know, they've always been recruiting the top talent at their competitors to come work here. But they didn't really have a system in place. It would just be oh, you know, let's have lunch. And you know, kind of casually talk about what it's like to work here versus where you are. Or if you're ever unhappy, we'd love to talk with you. There wasn't any formal funnel, or formal way to do it. And again, a lot of people don't realize the importance of their own story of origin. In this situation, they don't know what a story of origin is, as it applies to becoming a leader. Maybe you have your story of origin of how you got into real estate or architecture, or tech or whatever it is you do. But if you're now promoted and managing an office or a region, you need a story of origin of what inspired you to become a leader, what kind of leader you want to be, who are the leaders that inspire you, what people have said to you about why they like you, and your leadership style. Having that in a structured story, really is what pulls people in to even want to have a conversation with you
Jonathan Fischer 10:00
Well, and is it a sales pitch? When you're recruiting? Do you feel like that makes sense.
John Livesay 10:04
And it's a total sales pitch, let's not get ourselves you are selling yourself, the company and the opportunity. And in that order, and most people forget the first two steps, Jonathan and jump right to the opportunity. And that's the biggest mistake I see happening time and time again.
Jonathan Fischer 10:20
That's the features of your product before you've established a need, I suppose, right?
John Livesay 10:24
Yes, exactly. It's like, oh, you can make a lot more money here. It's like, wait a minute, wait a minute, you're gonna date me a little bit? You know, nobody may
Jonathan Fischer 10:32
not be what matters most of that person either.
John Livesay 10:34
Exactly. That, you know, I think we've seen people make this mistake on LinkedIn, oh, let's connect. And then they asked you to buy something, you know, there's a process, and I have a ladder above going from invisible to irresistible, that really applies to selling anything, including getting top people to come work for you love it. I can go over those rungs really quickly if you'd like.
Jonathan Fischer 10:57
Yeah, I was gonna ask you that story, what you said there's three types of story that the leader needs. So the hit hit us with those, just one after the other first, if you would, and then we'll dive deep on each.
John Livesay 11:07
It's the story of origin, as I mentioned, then it's the company story. And here's where people make the mistake of talking about how long you've been in business and how many offices you have. That's not a story. That's facts. And then it's turning a case study of another employee that came from a competitor to what their life is like now, not just in the professional part. But in the personal part, maybe they have more free time, maybe they're not missing their kids, sporting or musical events. So your story is a leader, the company's story as values and action, and finally, a case story of another employee. Because remember, when you tell a story that other people see themselves in, they want to go on that journey with you.
Jonathan Fischer 11:51
Well, that makes all the sense in the world. I mean, we say that in sales, but in truth, it applies that much more when you're talking about recruiting. So a personal story of origin, and then the company story. And then I think you're also mentioned about having case stories, yes. From other employees. Let's break those down a little bit. So personal story of origin. Mia, how personally are we talking here? Like, what's that? What's that actually look like?
John Livesay 12:13
Well, it's like a journalist, the who, what, where when, you know, you know, when I got into business, the one of my mentors, and the person that really inspired me was someone named Tim Sanders, who wrote love as the killer app, and went on to write many other books. And he's also a sales keynote speaker. And one of the things I love most about Tim is he's so heart centered, as well as data centered, and he's combined both. And so if I have that, as a little story of origin of someone who inspired me, mentored me, wrote the foreword to one of my books, that gives people a sense of, oh, this is who you are, like, This is who you're emulating. So you don't I my unfortunate case, I've met Tim Sanders several times. But some other people, maybe you just are inspired by Abraham Lincoln, or whoever that is, you know, I love that kind of leadership just have some story of origin of, you know, my Angelou really inspired me with her poetry. And that's what I that's kind of a leader I aspire to be making people feel seen and heard, and how they I care about how many people feel, because that's one of her great quotes. So that's what I mean by having that story of origin, that people go, I love Maya Angelou to or I love Brene, brown to whatever it is that you go, I get a sense of who you are as a person and a brand.
Jonathan Fischer 13:32
Well, it sounds like you're not recommending that I just spit out a list of perceived accomplishments or whatever great things I think I've done or whatever plaques I have on my wall?
John Livesay 13:42
No, again, it's not about you. It's only about you in terms of does this person want to work with you? And what does that vibe feel like, right? It's like, Yeah, I'm assuming you have whatever qualifications you need to be in this position. But so does my existing boss. So why do I need to? I'm not going to change jobs, because you had a higher GPA for your MBA than my boss did. Right? That's not relevant.
Jonathan Fischer 14:10
Yeah, yeah. Do you think this is a place where ego can maybe not serve one well, in leadership?
John Livesay 14:16
Yes. Ego never serves you well, in any kind of sales. Right? I always tell people when you tell a story, even if it's your own story of origin, you're technically not even the hero of that story. In my case, Tim Sanders is the hero who inspired me, and they give specific things that he said and done, that made me want to go on that journey and aspire to be as a good leader as he is. So having some other frame of work as so it's not just me, me, me. And so now that's, you know, the values and virtues. You know, it could be I am inspired by Socrates, you know, and being stoic and that philosophy doesn't matter who or what it is. But it's something bigger than you That makes your story of origin. The reason I got into leadership in the first place was, it wasn't enough for me to just be making money. I wanted to train and inspire other people and help them get to be successful. You know, those kinds of comments are what pull people in.
Jonathan Fischer 15:16
I think that sounds like, there might be a real sound of a sigh of relief on the part of sound listeners that they don't have to talk about themselves. Some of us don't like to do that. No, it's awkward anyway. So it's kind of a relief that hey, you can actually tell a compelling personal story by sharing who are your inspirations? I love that. Yeah. So then what's the company story about?
John Livesay 15:34
Okay, so one of my favorite company stories is Toms Shoes, because most people have heard of it, you buy a pair of shoes. And you know, they donate a pair to a third world country and give it to children, typically. And, you know, having listened to the founder talk about that whole experience, after they did the very first experience, you know, he was actually having trouble getting Nordstroms to carry the line. They were just talking about the shoes, and they said, No, we also have this charity thing, but it really wasn't flushed out. There wasn't a story. But after the first time they did that he then went back to the live was Venezuela. And he was on a bus with a translator. And he saw this woman running alongside the bus with three children who had the shoes on. But the mother was crying. And he's like, Why is she crying, they have the shoes, because I don't know, I'll find out, I'll ask him and translate it turns out she had brought the worn out shoe dress you have an a man, and said that before he came in, gave her boys shoes, those boys had to put their feet into the man's shoe. And of course, it was way too big. So they actually had to shuffle and it took them much longer than their friends to even get to school, then shuffle all the way home. And then the next day, the next brother got it. And the third day, the next brother got it. So a it took them forever to get to school. And B they only got to go to school one out of every three days now. They get to run with their friends and go to school and they're going every day. He told that story to the Nordstrom buyer, and she had tears in her eyes, like I want all the shoes. That's the company values in action, we have a sense of that impact.
Jonathan Fischer 17:14
That's really powerful. So again, it's not about we're such a great companies that we're doing something it's really worthwhile and is compelling to be a part of
John Livesay 17:22
sounds like exactly.
Jonathan Fischer 17:25
So then you talk about using case stories of other employees. And before we get into that I want to mention, hey, if you're trying to recruit top people, how about getting into a pool of people where everyone's raising their hand and saying, Hey, I'm ready to work. overpass.com allows you to do just that, go create a free account on overpass.com. If you are a hiring manager in any kind of company, create a job post, it's free to do it. And instantly, you will have dozens of highly qualified people raising their hand to be considered who have great qualifications. You can listen to sound bites of their voices on the phone, you can see their CVs, you can quickly interview and hire people in just days at a very low cost very high value overpass.com. We're very proud that our show is powered by overpass here on the Evolve sales leader. So John, when we are talking stories, we got a personal story going on. We got a couple company story going on. I guess it doesn't make logical sense. We need to know a little bit what's going on with other employees. Sounds like it could be tricky to me, though. So dive in, if you would, how do we define this? And how do we get that in those stories?
John Livesay 18:30
Well, I think really savvy employees have always taken a little initiative and talk to people potential job that they're thinking of working at and had some coffee or one on ones with them, like what's it really like to work here? What's your favorite part? What's your least favorite part and getting a sense of the culture. But if you're the person, you know, in that interview role, and you're trying to recruit some top talent to come over, let's just give a mock up example. So let's say Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is trying to recruit somebody from Southern B's. And six months ago, somebody Sally left Sotheby's to come work at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. And so they've had her now there for the last six months. And Sally is married a mother of two. And she just felt like she was working 24/7 at Sotheby's and had no time for her family or herself. And she also didn't feel like she had a lot of support in getting in through the world of really affluent buyers. And so one of the things that Berkshire Hathaway prides themselves on is a work life balance. And you know, you can work 24/7 If you want to, but they don't encourage it. And they also have a really unique system where they will give homeowners an accurate analysis of what their home or homes around the world are worth when they meet with their financial planners and accountants. And it elevates the real estate ranging from just being seen as a transaction to being seen as equivalent to a financial planner and the CPA. And those little techniques that they have and systems in place for that help generate really upscale leads for that. And so if you tell that story of now, Sally has been with us six months, by using our system of doing these free analysis of what your homes are worth, for your annual meetings with your financial planners, she's getting higher price point listings, she's working fewer hours making more money, and able to go see her daughter perform ballet once a month, whereas before she would be missing those because you'd be at a closing or whatever. So that little story if you have another agent that happens to be like Sally, she's also a mom, you know, you want to have your brain be like a jukebox or a playlist, you have multiple case stories to go depending on who you're talking to. Again, we want another woman, let's say Mary to see herself and God Sally sounds a lot like me. Yeah, I want Sally's outcome.
Jonathan Fischer 21:06
Getting some social proof working to sell your your opportunity. Yes. So these are really powerful insights. I guess the first place my mind goes, as a leader myself is how do I implement on this? Like, how do I begin to put these stories together? Can you give us a recipe book we can follow? Sure.
John Livesay 21:24
A good story has three C's, it needs to be clear, concise, and compelling. The first see is if you're confused people and start using a bunch of internal acronyms that your company has that others don't. Like, I'm confused. I'm out. The second is it needs to be concise, so that people can remember that story and repeat it. Oh, so let's say back in the example I was talking about, if we're trying to get married to come over, like Sally did, Mary has to remember Sally story and repeat it to her husband, if she's going to make a big change, like changing companies. And then finally, it has to be compelling. There has to be some heart centered thing. It can't just be making more money. But no, it's that and she's got time back. She's now going to Pilates once a week. You know, she's seen your kids perform. She's got her life back and making more money. So it's the combination clear, concise and compelling? Is the checklist you have when you say okay, I know I need three stories now. And I need to practice each one of those stories to my friends and co workers and say, was it clear? I think confusion there. Is it concise enough that you think you could remember it? And more importantly, did it make you feel anything?
Jonathan Fischer 22:36
That's good is Do you think this is something a leader needs to tackle him or herself? Is this something that can be done collaboratively? What are your recommendations on that?
John Livesay 22:43
Well, one of the methodologies that I have is giving you the structure to make those case stories. And I'll get to that in a second. But I am a big believer in having accountability partners. And I say tackle each one once a week. So this week, I'm going to really hone in on my story of origin. Next week, it's the company story and everybody needs to be involved in that, let's all get on the same song book about what we're saying our company story is. And then the third week will be case stories. And maybe your colleague has a case story of the kind of employee that you haven't managed yet. But you could use that case story depending on who the person is you're trying to get to come over. So you want to have a database of all where all the stories live. I've had a client put it on a repository map where you click on each state and up pops the stories, it could just be a Google Drive. But if you when you go into the case story in particular, it's got four parts, the exposition, the who, what, where, when. So in this case, we know Sally, you know, she's approximately this old married two kids, you know, I want to get into even more detail like her kids are this age, she lives in, you know, often all that good stuff. And then what the problems are, you got to describe, you know, Sally was making a lot of money, but she was burning out. And really, it was affecting her personal life, hers her health, and then the solution was coming over here. And you know, not only we have a new way of attracting top buyers and that income level, and you go into a little bit of what the solution is, as I described how they, you know, do the analysis of the homes, and then the resolution. What is life like for her now that she's been here six months, not only making more money, but happier, healthier, all that good stuff?
Jonathan Fischer 24:27
And then would you would you kind of just go through and just look look through the current team. And we have this sort of sort of demographic map this sort of story and just try to have Is there a is there sort of a critical mass or is there a set of three or five types that you would generalize that will generalize in terms of building these
John Livesay 24:43
I all the sales VPs and Chief Revenue officers I've all talked to you. They have a good sense our top producing 20% of our top producing salespeople that sometimes produce as much as 80% of our revenue. We know who that is. We know their psychographics demographics. And that's who we want to get to come here because they fit in well into this culture. And so start with those case stories, and then target those people at other places that see themselves in those stories. So you bring in top producers, and just because someone's a top producer in one place, doesn't mean they will be a top producer somewhere else. Odds are they will. But you got to really still screen for culture fit and other things.
Jonathan Fischer 25:26
Yeah, for sure. Okay, so we know the story types, we know what they are, we've got a good recipe book to follow to, to to put these together. Talk to us about implementing now, what are my best practices to incorporate this to my daily recruiting?
John Livesay 25:40
Well, I think you first have to really go in saying, What's my checklist? Is it clear, concise, and compelling? Do I have three stories? Who is the person I'm recruiting? Do I have a case story that fits them? And, you know, Arthur Ashe, the famous tennis pro said the key to success is confidence. And the key to confidence is preparation. So i The number one thing on any kind of sales call, and this is a sales call, when you're recruiting top talent is prepare, don't go, I'll just wing it. I think I know the story of so and so I'll and if you haven't practiced it, and then you've kind of stumbled through it. And it's not clear, concise, and compelling it all just like a cake that falls flat, you know? So that's, that's, you know, organize it prepare, practice it prepare, like an athlete.
Jonathan Fischer 26:28
Who's telling the story does it have? Like, I'm thinking of different ways. Like, here's where my mind goes, for example, I can think of telling me stories and little videos, and then giving these to maybe some other people in the organization to use or that's part of our regular email, follow up with recruiting, like, can you give us some tactical inputs on that?
John Livesay 26:46
Well, I definitely think the company's story should be on the website. Well, on the about page, it should be on the LinkedIn profile. And it should feature you know, if you're promoting diversity, let's make sure we're showing that in the people that are in that video. That's very tactical. If you're all about sustainability, we need to see LEED certified stuff, we need to see people who care about sustainability and want, you know, a little testimonial of why they care about the planet climate, whatever, and how this company fits those values. But there's no substitute for that one on one communication. I don't think anyone's going to change jobs, especially if they're a top producer, based on videos, but it doesn't hurt for you to have your story of origin on your own LinkedIn profile under the About page. You know, LinkedIn is so great in terms of your ability to upload videos, I have several videos on my profile as a sales keynote speaker. So the story of origin and the company story, definitely videos, but in terms of those customized case stories, I would say of those for in person.
Jonathan Fischer 27:54
Yeah, like that's kind of the the final, the final elements to motivate them. Let them really see themselves in the role perhaps alright. Well, as usual, John, the conversation is blown by chock full of value. It's been a fun ride. Our audience. Hey, if you've got a few more questions, shove them in the chat real quick. We're going to jump over to q&a here in a moment. But before we do that, John, you've got a really neat offer. The title behind you there of your latest book, which is the sales in the tail, a really great best selling book, what is your special offer, tell us about that.
John Livesay 28:28
If you take out your phone and text, the word pitch, p i t c h 266866, I send you the first chapter of the book for free. It's a business fable about the story of storytelling and how somebody was stuck in a slump and how they got out of it. And then all of the templates I described here are in the back for you to start crafting your own stories.
Jonathan Fischer 28:51
Well, if you agree with the premise that recruiting is a sales pitch, hey, recruiters, get out here and grab yourself this this first chapter and you'll probably end up getting the book as well. Great stuff. John, you're a great friend, friend of the channel. And so thank you for sharing those insights. Let's, let's move over to q&a and see what we've got here into some good questions. Here's one coming from Michael Glassman. He's asking is organizational vision, or job design benefits more critical when building this sales pitch?
John Livesay 29:24
If you mean organizational vision, telling the company story and showing those values in action, like I mentioned, Toms Shoes, and then yes, I think the criteria for people, especially top producers, people with a lot of experience today is much more than just salary and benefits. So your ability to turn that into a story that they care about and would be proud to say I work at you know, and obviously if your company is one of those companies that's been voted the best place to work. You would want to put that into your story and but not As lat, but you'd want to tell a story of someone who has worked there for a while and why they love working there.
Jonathan Fischer 30:08
I can think I can think of a good follow up question to that, too. What are some what some advice that you might give somebody who is a hiring manager. And so they have departmental leadership. But they haven't created the company vision, they don't have the authority to tell the company story per se. What would what advice would you give them to still take, take away today's conversation and apply it?
John Livesay 30:34
Make it your own personal story? Here's my story of why I got into this business, whether it's, you know, architecture, law tech. But one of my favorite things about working here is the charity work we do. I'm talking to a company that isn't supplies for dentists, and they donate toothbrushes to children who need them. And to me, I care about children in the world. So that's part of the reason I love working here. So even if the company story is not promoting that big tell why you love the company.
Jonathan Fischer 31:10
I love that. And there's nothing to stop you from creating your own little pieces and elements and in finding a good portion of that. And maybe to work its way up the chain. Right. So what this is an interesting comment, I think it kind of contains a bit of a question. He says Dean Miles is easy. And executive coach says that a great story combines elements of planning and spontaneity. And there, I feel like there is a balance between those two things. Isn't there the spawn spontaneity and planning? It's talk to us about that? Is it attention? Or is it balance or give us your insights on that if you would
John Livesay 31:44
compare yourself to an athlete or an actor, right, lots of rehearsal, lots of practice. And then where the real magic happens, if you listen to Meryl Streep, or you know, Al Pacino being interviewed, is they've done all the work, they know the lines, they know where they're supposed to go, and they have a framework. But every once in a while, they'll get an idea in that moment, or when they're in or, or the other actor there with will give them something unexpected, and they respond in that moment authentically. That's where the magic happens. So preparation and spontaneity are not enemies. But in fact, friends. And in order for spontaneity to really be great. All the basics have to be done in advance.
Jonathan Fischer 32:30
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Back to that preparation comment, gives you that confidence, you can kind of go with the flow, be creative when you wouldn't put that work in? Yes. Here's a great way to share as well. Dennis Hamilton is asking, he's mentioned same thing. It's a comment that has a question. He said it helps helps him to think of these as like parables. Is that is that kind of what you mean by clear and concise expand on that? If
John Livesay 32:53
you would? Sure. Um, for me, especially as a kid, I would hear some parables and I'm like, I don't get it. I missed the point. Or it's, like the opposite. That's not really clear. I mean, you know, it's like very clever, but not really, don't make us work that hard in the business world. You know, nobody's wants a, you know, word puzzle. So I tell everybody speak at a fifth grade level. The Einstein quote, If you don't understand something, really, you can't explain it simply. So you go on and on and on. So to make something clear, with no acronyms, that's the first part. You don't have to be someone in artificial intelligence to understand what our company does, and artificial intelligence, right. Those kinds of things. And the concise part is up to you in terms of could I think I could tell that story once and somebody could remember and repeat it? If not, it's probably not concise enough. And some of those parables can go on and on, if I remember correctly,
Jonathan Fischer 33:53
some of them can depends on who's doing the selling. So it should be able to be remembered and retold by the listener is that the number one criteria, and
John Livesay 34:03
here's why. Because no matter what you're selling a product or a job, that person is probably going to discuss with someone else or committee, their spouse, their friends, if you told a story of what life is like to work here that is so compelling, and clear that they can remember and repeat it. Like, oh, great, so imagine you're Sally going home to her husband going, you know, I met with these people, and Mary seems really happy there. And he's like, Oh, really, you really want to change? I thought you were well not. But Mary, and he's, well, what's going on with Mary and she goes I don't remember, but she seemed happy. But if she's got the details, oh my god, Mary is using this new way of getting these listings. And she's, you know, got more time and now she's going to exercise and I want to go to extra. She got the essence essence of that story, because it's not that complicated. It's not that long. And she needs to repeat it to other decision makers. Right. Right. Or code decision makers in the case of a good marriage.
Jonathan Fischer 35:10
Exactly. In the case of a healthy marriage code decision maker, that's, you get lots of additional free advice here on golf sales leader, everybody.
John Livesay 35:19
Loose Lucy cartoon the doctors in right. Yeah, exactly, exactly.
Jonathan Fischer 35:23
So when, when you are, when you're building something new, we have a lot of listeners who are in the startup space a stimulate questions come to my mind, I was going to be done a little bit differently. So you're probably primarily lean on your own story to get the first few recruits coming in the door, right?
John Livesay 35:38
Well, let me tell you, the number one criteria investors have when they're investing in a startup at any level, is what is the team. And so if you can't recruit the top team to work here, maybe for low money and high equity, or even just you know, they have lots of options, then you aren't going to be persuasive enough to run the company. So your first job as a tech startup founder is to recruit top people, which requires selling your vision and then better be clear and concise and compelling. Or a because then people are like, I'm working for this tech startup. I don't really know what we do. I think we're disrupting blah, blah, blah. But it's not really clear to me, it was like, Well, why did you take that job? As opposed to I love what we're doing. We're disrupting HR, and how people get reviews now. Because the old way doesn't work anymore. And people really didn't tell the truth and blah, blah, blah. My God, that sounds great. That's definitely I can understand the problem. And you guys have a new solution to it. Oh, that's cool. Good for you. Right, keep remembering. We don't want any buyer's remorse when people take a job, right. And it's one thing to recruit panelists. And another thing to keep them that first 90 days must be laid out with someone is the mentor. Check off points. You don't just throw someone to the woods and go Good luck. Yeah, that's another big part of the story of why you want to work here.
Jonathan Fischer 37:03
Well, yeah, like in describing the kind of support that's available there, that takes a lot of intentionality sounds like as well. Here's a question from Joshua, is storytelling a sort of a skill all of its own? And if so, what can you do to get better at
John Livesay 37:17
it? Well, the good news, Joshua is that you don't have to be this gifted singer or athlete to become good at storytelling. As I said, what you can do to get better at it is use the three C's as your criteria, just the stories you've been telling. Put them through that lens, get feedback. And then make sure the stories you're telling have all four parts that you're not leaving off the special resolution part. Oh, and got everybody, you know, imagine the Wizard of Oz ended when Dorothy gotten the balloon, right? It's like, wait, no, she's at home, and there's no place like home, make sure your story has that. And when you do that, then the final really level that distinguishes you from being a good storyteller to a great storyteller is, did the person I told the story to see themselves in it? Did I customize my story enough? That they go, Oh, that sounds like me. Because if that happens, then you don't have to push to close the sale. You literally just say, does that sound like the kind of journey you'd like to go on with me? Yes, please.
Jonathan Fischer 38:20
Yeah, there you go. They've sold themselves. People love to buy I hate to be sold as an executive used to say. So um, when it comes to these, sort of learning it as an art is this something you recommend role playing like with your team, perhaps like, get your managers together? And yeah, tell stories to one another and critique them.
John Livesay 38:42
I work with teams all the time. And I say first of all, we're going to let go of being perfectionist in this. And it's a safe space to make people feel safe to make a mistake and all that good stuff. And instead, we have coined the term be a progression. Earnest are why we're wired to celebrate progress. That's why Fitbit works, your video games, you're at the next level. So when I started having leaders open their weekly meetings, whether it's Monday or whatever day of the week, it is with what progress have we made, go around the room really quickly, not what sales if we closed that's that's very black and white. And if you don't have a sale that close that week, you feel bad, but I've made progress, I got an appointment with the VP. It's tomorrow, whatever it is, right? That that is a mindset of celebrating and focusing on progress. And then from there, break it down. Like I said, this week is all about story of origin. We need that for establishing rapport. We need that for networking events. Let's make sure we each have a good one and say it here in a safe space before we go out in the world and get give each other feedback.
Jonathan Fischer 39:44
I now almost I almost picture these on like a like note cards, each different type and kind of really drilling them when you have off time, right? Is that kind of? Yeah.
John Livesay 39:52
You know, a few bullet points, you know, boom, boom, boom, what it's all about when I gave my TEDx talk, my TEDx coach said We start at the end, we reverse engineer this, what do I want the audience to feel? What do I want them to think? And what do I want them to do? So if you use that criteria for your stories, all three, you're like, Well, I would like people to remember what I do and why I do it, and be able to either hire me or send me referrals. But what I've said is so intriguing and unique that they can. That's what I want people to feel. And they feel that my passion for it. Those kinds of things.
Jonathan Fischer 40:33
Well, I'm pretty confident that the listener feels like they got a ton of value out of the time spent with you today, John, and I have lots to think about and we all want to go do what you've recommended today. Thanks once again for being an absolute Rockstar guest on the Evolve sales leader. Thank you, Jonathan. All right. And so all of our listeners, thanks so much for making the show such a success. Without you, it wouldn't be possible. And we're here live every Friday afternoon. Come back and see us and bring your friend next time. We'll see you then. Thanks so much.