Episode #100: Celebrating 100 Episodes
In This Episode of The Buyer’s Mind with Jeff Shore:
The Buyer’s Mind celebrates 100 Episodes. Here are some of the guests we’ve had over our 100 episodes to help you become a better sales professional. We wish we could have fit all our guests into this podcast. If you find this episode intriguing, visit https://jeffshore.com/podcast to hear them all.
Topics we’re going to cover on today’s podcast:
[1:02] Scott Halford
[3:50] Daniel Pink
[9:11] Dr. Martin Lindstrom
[15:16] Jeffrey Gitomer
[18:16] Ted Rubin
[25:44] Seth Godin
Links from today’s podcast:
Man: So what do you do when you hit 100 episodes? You celebrate. Join us as we reflect back on 100 episodes of “The Buyer’s Mind.”
Announcer: Welcome to “The Buyer’s Mind,” where we take a closer look deep inside your customer’s decision-making mechanism to reverse-engineer the perfect sales presentation. Now, please welcome your host, Jeff Shore.
Paul: Welcome to “The Buyer’s Mind” where we investigate what is going on in the mind of our customers who are considering a purchase decision. It’s about knowing your customer so well that the sale begins to roll right out in front of you. I’m Paul Murphy, the producer of “The Buyer’s Mind.” And in this 100th episode, we’re gonna reflect back on some of the wisdom shared with you on our podcast. And what better way to start than back in the first episode with Scott Halford, who shared with us just how the brain works and the importance of how to be mentally prepared. Here’s Jeff to introduce Scott Halford.
Jeff: I met Scott Halford several years ago at a National Speakers Association Convention. I read his book “Activate Your Brain” last year. I found it to be incredibly insightful and downright fun to read. And I said it there, a fun read on the subject of the way that the brain works. So welcome to the program, the Emmy Award-winning Scott Helford. Scott, so glad to have you with us.
Scott: Great to be here. Well, wow, what an introduction, Jeff.
Jeff: Give us a little bit of context for your work. You had a passion to understand how the brain works and you’ve really built a career out of that. Is it that simple?
Scott: Yeah, it is relatively that simple. I work with executives and scientists, and physicians, and people who are interested in the science of behavior. So, you know, we hear people talk about how to create success and how to be the best you can, and get the most you can. And all the audiences I speak to are incredibly cynical and they want the science. So I actually went to study the science. And there is science, so that’s always good news for those people who need a little bit of, you know, the nails to at all.
Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. Give us the sort of the big idea thought for our listeners. Is there one thing that you want sales and marketing professionals to take away from the conversation that would help them to better understand what’s going on in the brains of their customers?
Scott: Yeah, two things. One is that everything starts with you, the individual. You’ve gotta take care of you first. You’ve gotta take care of your brain and all of the things that go with that. If you ever hope to have a chance of being able to mirror somebody else and really kind of do mentalization, then that means that, when you’re sitting across from someone else, picking up on all of their cues, not just social cues, but actually ticks that your brain can add up and give you information about them. But you can’t do that if you’ve got a messy brain. You can’t do that if you’re fatigued. You can’t do that if you’re stressed out. And that’s what a lot of people miss. You know, they go into a sales call and were like, “You know I said all the words and I did all of the things they said to do to close the deal and it still didn’t happen.” And what they’re missing on is the connection and that connection happens because of our brains.
Paul: But we share a good deal about psychology and even neurology on “The Buyer’s Mind.” We just love deep thinkers, people like our next guest, Daniel Pink, whose book “When” shared the great concept of the Nappuccino.
Jeff: Please welcome to “The Buyer’s Mind,” Daniel Pink. Dan, how are you doing?
Dan: I’m good, Jeff, how are you doing?
Jeff: Good, good, good. So let’s get to the genesis of this here. You wrote “A Whole New Mind” about creative thinking, you wrote “Drive” about motivation, you wrote “To Sell Is Human” about sales. And now “When” all about timing. If I’m grinding away on a Friday afternoon, and boy, I got a problem that’s just really gripping me and I just cannot figure it out, you know, because I am a type of person, I take Saturday and Sunday off, I just do, you know, and I love it. That’s my life. Okay. And then I approach that same problem Monday morning and go, “What was I worried about? This is easy. Do this and this and then we’re done.” What’s happening right there?
Dan: Well, I mean, one of the things you’re seeing there in a pretty dramatic way is the importance of breaks on our performance. And, you know, I wish I were as enlightened as you, and this is another area where I’ve changed my behavior. I was always inclined to power through, you know, especially at the unit of a day, but even at the unit of a week and, you know, can’t sacrifice taking off Saturday and Sunday. I gotta keep powering through today. And in chapter two, I write about the emerging science of breaks, which has really changed my view of it. In some way, it’s changed my view. And I’m hoping that readers who look at that chapter will change their view in much the same way that I think that society has changed its view about sleep. You know, 15 years ago, somebody who pulled all-nighters, who came into the office and said, “I only got two hours of sleep last night,” you know, was seen as a hero. Now, we have the science of sleep tells us, “Whoa, wait a second, that guy’s doing something pretty stupid. He’s hurting his performance. He might be hurting our performance.” And I think the science of breaks is where the science of sleep was 15 years ago, that it’s about to break through the surface. What the science of breaks tells us is that they’re not nice to have. They’re essential in our productivity, our creativity, and our well-being. And we have to start thinking of breaks as part of performance, not a deviation from performance, not as a concession to our weakness, but as an integral part of how we do good work. And the science is also giving us some interesting lessons about what kinds of breaks are the most effective, the most restorative.
Jeff: Along those same lines then, tell us how you’re doing when it comes to your newfound joy of napping.
Dan: Yeah, so I was never much of a napper. I would take naps and I always hated myself afterwards because I felt like garbage. And I realized that I was doing it wrong. If you look at the research on napping, what it suggests is that there is an ideal length for a nap and, believe it or not, it’s 10 to 20 minutes. To me, that doesn’t seem that… Wait, how can that possibly be right?
Jeff: It feels like it’s not even worth it. Like, why bother if I’m only gonna sleep for 10 to 20 minutes?
Dan: Right. And what the research shows, and I have an awesome chart in the book about this, is that when we sleep past a certain point, beyond 20, 25 minutes or so, we start to accumulate what’s called sleep inertia, that is the groggy, boggy feeling you have when…at least I had when I woke up from naps. It takes us a while to shake that off. And so you start at a negative before you get any positive benefits of the nap itself. But with a 20-minute nap, a 15-minute nap, you can get all of the benefit with none of the negative. And so I now have become an aficionado of what is known as a “Nappuccino.” And a Nappuccino is this, you have a cup of coffee, you down a cup of coffee, then you go take your nap. You know, you find a quiet place, maybe put in some earplugs, I put in earplugs and I often put on an eye mask, I set my phone alarm, I set it for 23 minutes. I like prime numbers. So I set it for 23 minutes and do a countdown timer and then sit back or lie back. And it’s amazing how quickly we can often fall asleep. And just having that nap of a relatively short duration, you wake up and you’re much more alert, you’re much more restored. And since it takes about 25 minutes for caffeine to get into our bloodstream, at the moment you’re waking up, that caffeine is beginning to kick in. So I have become a devotee of the Nappuccino.
Jeff: I have to tell you, I was downright excited when I read that part of the book, Dan. And I did it, because like you, I’m not a napper because I’ve used to negative effects. I was so related to everything you were talking about, but I did it. I had a cup of coffee. I lied down and man I felt great, the rest of the day, it was fantastic. So thank you for that insight. That’s fantastic.
Paul: I always knew I was doing it wrong, but thanks to Daniel Pink, I now know how to nap correctly. Our next guest using an MRI to prove the link between our emotions and our purchases. It was a fascinating discussion with Dr. Martin Lindstrom.
Jeff: Well, we are joined now by Dr. Martin Lindstrom, he is the author of the book “Buyology,” B-U-Y-ology, and one of the great marketing minds of our day. He’s a diligent researcher, prolific writer, and a profound branding consultant. Also a recipient of “Time Magazine’s” world’s 100 most influential people. Joining us from Minneapolis today, Martin Lindstrom. Martin, how are you today?
Dr. Martin: Fantastic. How are you doing?
Jeff: Good, good, good. You have just got this amazing body of work. What do you consider to be some of the top highlights for all the research that you’ve done when you look back on it, this was either most enjoyable to you or where you felt this had the greatest level of impact?
Dr. Martin: Well, I think on a personal note that the most important piece of research or probably have done stand out of biology some years ago. Unfortunately, my mom passed away from cancer some years ago and she did that because she was a heavy smoker. And I promised her before she passed away that I would make a revenge on the tobacco industry. And my revenge, in many ways, was to do the largest neuroscience study in the world, where we scanned 2,000 consumers’ brains using MRI. And as part of that study, I had a hypothesis. My hypothesis were that the health warnings in cigarette packs actually had the reverse effect. So when you read it, it actually encouraged you to smoke even more. And it was a strange hypothesis, I know, but it had this ground in the idea of that these health warnings, in fact, almost became brand themselves when people saw that it was linked to the Pavlov’s dog’s effect. And suddenly people just felt that sense of craving. So we initiated this study and then we came up with a very simple conclusion using fMRI that, in fact, it was true that the health warnings have a reverse effect. In fact, the very concept of subliminal advertising indeed exists. And so as a consequence of that we change the health warning labels across the world and, you will see that in Europe, you will see that in Canada and Australia, and you will very soon see it here in the United States, that the Surgeon’s health warning will disappear and it would be replaced with other techniques we’ve learned out of this study. So that was one thing which I felt that had a huge impact on not just my knowledge and understanding of the power of brand and subconscious communication, but also made the tobacco industry really step back.
Jeff: Let me answer it here because I wanna ask you to think about your thinking here for just a moment. If you take yourself all the way back, it seems completely counterintuitive for you to even consider that this message here this, you know, Surgeon General’s warning or whatever was in different countries, that this message that smoking could kill you, it seems counterintuitive to believe that that would have a reverse effect. What was it that caused you to look at it and say, “I don’t think this is helping”? If you can go back to the origin of that thought, what triggered that contemplation?
Dr. Martin: What exactly are you asking in that question? Because that is probably my number point two. That is what I call small data. So small data is what we call seemingly insignificant observations you make in people’s lives. And when you see those observations and you really detect it, it actually can create the foundation for a new brand or a new product or a new service. Because quite often what I look for is where we out of balances in our lives. And we can see that in the way people dress, the way you sit, the way you stack your fridge, the way you place your shoes at the whole entrance, the way you brush your teeth, all of those elements is what we call small data. And actually, I picked up small data. And I did that in 1995, where I observed my mom smoking. And I noticed a couple of things. One thing I noticed was, when there was no ashtrays around, she smoked less, not because it was inconvenient, but because the ashtray in itself actually was almost like a broadcast station for smoking. It’s almost like it reminded her to smoke. And I realized that later on, when I checked into a hotel room many years later, and in the room I had no craving for chocolate, but when I went into the room, they had these round, colorful circles on the floor and immediately I got that sense of I wanted to have an M&M’s chocolate. And I was so pumped about why did I get that craving and realized that subconscious message was really strong?
So I started to look at health warnings. And whenever I noticed a smoker smoking, I would see that they actually quite often will notice the health warnings first, and that would make the crave. I could see that actually they wanted to smoke more in their body language, the way they were fiddling around with a pen, all that stuff. So the hypothesis actually came from small data and I verified that using fMRI. And I think this is a really the issue here. The issue is in our world today, that we do not observe anymore. We believe we can see everything from numbers. But the biggest and most important role for a marketeer is to wake up. You know, I don’t have the smartphone and I don’t have a phone, period. And I don’t have a phone because it makes me detached from the world. It stops my creativity because here’s the issue, you don’t see anything anymore. You don’t meet people anymore. And most important, you never get bored anymore. And boredom is the foundation for creativity. So the issue is a lot of marketeers are so busy on the phone, they don’t see the world anymore, and they don’t observe consumer behavior anymore because we’re too busy in our offices producing PowerPoint presentation and reports. So while the biggest and most important role is to get into the real world, live with consumers and spend time in their homes, and then observe the small data and use that as a foundation for a hypothesis, which can create a part of differentiation for our brand.
Paul: It’s always good to have healthy conflict. And so when Jeffrey Gitomer came on our program, it was good to hear he and Jeff find mutual ground.
Jeff: Well, this is gonna be fun. We have on the line with us, the one and only Jeffrey Gitomer, author of 13 books, all bestsellers, “The Sales Bible,” “The Little Goal Book of YES! Attitude.” His most successful title, “The Little Red Book of Selling” sold more than 5 million copies worldwide, translated into 14 languages. Basically, everything he writes is the best seller. He’s also the host of the wildly successful podcast, “Sell or Die.” His approach is unique. His energy is palpable. His authority is unquestioned. And if you were planning to listen to this podcast as background noise, you should probably think again. Please welcome, the one and only Jeffrey Gitomer. Mr. Gitomer, how are you doing today, sir?
Jeffrey: Thank you, Jeff, for setting such low expectations, but it’s a pleasure.
Jeff: Your style is bold, brash, brazen. Were you always like that as a little kid? Because I have to tell you, you seem like someone spending a lot of time practicing penmanship by writing phrases that start with the words “I will not” on a chalkboard over and over again.
Jeffrey: Yeah, no, I didn’t have that… I got lucky. My parents were very, I don’t know, culture-oriented. So they would buy tickets for Broadway shows. And if you lived in Philly, they used to open in Philadelphia and then move to Broadway. So my parents always had these tickets that we would go to. Sometimes we’d go to Broadway, but most of the time in Philly. And I went to this show called “The Miracle Worker,” which was the story of Helen Keller, that starred Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft, I think, and it’s so intensely emotional, and everyone was crying as they were leaving the theater. And I bumped into my eighth-grade teacher in English, and she was my homeroom teacher, and the teacher…I was still in the eighth grade. I got an A for the rest of the year and I didn’t do shit. So I wasn’t a bad kid. I was just a smart kid. And my parents were smart, therefore, I was smart. And I always figured out a way. I figured out a way in college. You know, I made money in college and I had to drop out because I wasn’t making enough money. And it wasn’t really doing me any good. You know, college is a great thing for discipline or playing Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit. It’s real good for that. You know, unless you’re gonna be a doctor or a lawyer or something, it’s not a gross necessity. You can pretty much learn on your own. And these days, you can learn a hell of a lot faster and a hell of a lot more. And you don’t have somebody droning on about what their political theory is.
Paul: Our next guest, Ted Rubin, has reinvented himself more times than even he can count, but his wisdom is something we all needed to hear.
Jeff: Well, listen, every now and then we get a guest on who is just gonna light things up. And I have a feeling that’s gonna be the case today as we bring on Ted Rubin. He’s a social media strategist and the CMO of Photofy. And I have to tell you, sometimes it’s difficult when I’m prepping for our podcast interviews because the bio, the resume is so long, what do you talk about? But I think right here, we can look at it and say he’s the author of a book called “Return on Relationship,” there’s several other books, but “Return on Relationship” is one of those books that became more than a book. It became a hashtag. It really became more of a movement. He’s also the author of “The Age of Influence: Selling to the Digitally Connected Customer.” He is one of the most prolific speakers and thinkers out there in the idea of social media influence and digital marketing. Trust me, if you live in the digital marketing world, you absolutely know who Ted Rubin is, one of the most prominent players in the world today. Welcome to the podcast, Ted Rubin. How are you doing, sir?
Ted: Well, Jeff, thank you for that introduction. I might have you come to all the events that I do.
Jeff: Yeah, very nice.
Ted: And introduce me in advance. You wanna do some traveling?
Jeff: Let’s do it. Let’s do it. We can drive to Atlanta in the middle of the night. That’s a side conversation, isn’t it? Hey, take us back to the beginning. You come out of Cornell and you say, “All right, I’m gonna change the world,” and thus you did. You got your first digital marketing job back in the day and you were on the cutting edge from the very beginning. Am I right? Was it that easy?
Ted: Oh, sure. It’s always that easy. I have to tell you, I have probably reinvented myself more times. You know, and look, I’ve been one of those guys that came out of college and it was all about making money. You know, my dad was a hard worker. He taught me things. He taught me a lot about sales. But you know, he never made it as we say, you know, “in the big time.” You know, he’d be great. He came out of World War II and he supported a family and his dad died young. And I have respect for him, but like I wanted more. And what did that make me do? It made me jumped into the finance space, which is where I started my career at college. If I would come out of an Ivy League School, you know, you get access to a lot of these interviews, you know, I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted but I found something where I could be on the phone, learning about finance, selling people. And that was really the first part of my of my life was in sales. It burned me out young, you know, kind of like I made a lot of money, I lost a lot of money. Around 30 years old, I started training sales teams. And that’s what led me into the digital space because I had moved to Florida for a little while. I was totally bored with what I was doing down there. And in 1997, I discovered this thing called the internet, the World Wide Web. And literally, I had my epiphany, I’m sure many people did. You know, I said, “Oh my God, this is gonna change things and I wanna be a part of it.” And I started staying up late nights, I had two small children, and I had to pay the bills. And I had a sales team I had built for this importer and processor of seafood, don’t even go there. But it was a means to an end. And I started reading articles. And I read this article, that’s an interview with Seth Godin. And this was before Seth was Seth. This was before people really knew who Seth was. He’d written a couple of books with Jay Levinson, most of them were about, you know, how to better yourself and all these kinds of things. And he was talking about this company he was building called “Yo-yo Diet,” the first online direct marketing company. And I was like, “Oh my God, this guy is brilliant and on it, and I’m leaving the whole thing.” And at the end of it, the interview, I was like, “This sounds like a really cool company he’s building. Do you have any job openings?”
And Seth says, “Well, we don’t have any job offerings, but I will always hire a smart person because that’s the way I’m building my company.” He said, “And truth be told, I need people that can sell anything.” Because this is something that no one’s ever sold, you can find experienced people. And I immediately, I wrote him a letter. Yeah, remember that back where you wrote letters, like, cover letters with resumes? And I mailed it to him. And basically what the letter said was, “I’m smart and I can sell anything and I wanna come to work with you.” And of course, my wife at the time, who is my ex-wife, you know, was like, “What kind of an idiot are you? You’re applying for a job where there is no job.” And I’m like, “He said he hires.” I mean, he basically said, “I’ll hire Ted,” when he said what he said. And a week later, I get a phone call. And I ended up getting hired by Seth. And we made a deal. And we made it work for both of us. He couldn’t pay me what I needed. I needed more so we worked out a deal. And, you know, I kind of talked him into the fact that I could sell anything. And I went up there and I started selling. And within a few months, I built a whole sales team there, we got acquired by Yahoo!. And what he did for me is, I was there at the beginning, when e-commerce had just taken a catalog and putting it online, when online content and media was nothing more than a magazine printed online. And I made a really critical mistake. And I’m gonna advise your audience, anybody who’s listening, don’t do this. I went up to New York, my family is from Florida, so I moved in with my in-laws. Don’t ever move in with your in-laws, especially if they’re like the Costanzas. All they did was yell at each other and I had to get the. And there was a reason for that. I got in the office every morning at 6:30 a.m. and who was sitting there every morning? Seth. And Seth is an early riser and I was the only one in his cabinet office with him. And I was sitting there when he wrote the original article “Permission Marketing,” that within “Fast Company” magazine that became his first marketing bestseller. And Seth like to hold forth. And unlike right now, like I am with you, I knew enough to shut up and listen.
Jeff: But did you get his messages geeked out on this stuff? I mean, you are on the front edge, you saw what was coming. If I could have been a fly on the wall, I have a feeling that would have been some fascinating, fascinating conversation.
Ted: You know, it might have been. I think it was really one-sided. Seth was just… You know I was sitting there in awe, and like I said, I was smart enough to kind of shut up. You know, I would jump in with some things, but it’s really where “Return on Relationship” started because Seth is sitting talking about “Permission Marketing” and permission is about relationships. It’s about getting to know somebody and this is Seth. I learned this from an early age, my dad was a relationship guy. He taught me to be the neighbor that cleaned up the other people’s garbage, that shoved their walkways when it’s snowed, that stopped in the middle of the street when there was a garbage can in a neighborhood that we didn’t even know, and made me get out of the car and move the garbage fail, as soon as I was old enough to do it. Because do it for others without expectation of anything directly in return. And in the end, that return will come because a brand is what a business or a person does, but a reputation is what people remember and share. And they say, “You know, you can count on Jeff. Jeff will get the job done. Jeff will not make promises that he can’t keep.” To me, that’s what builds it. And Seth really understood this, especially because he had been on the forefront of selling something that people didn’t understand and he recognized that most of the initial fails he made when it was just him was because of him.
Paul: We’ve been fortunate to have so many great guests on the program. It was really hard to choose which episodes to put into our 100th episode, but having Seth Godin was the highlight in 100th episodes.
Jeff: Well, you’re most likely already familiar with our guest today. And if you’re not, boy, you’re seriously missing out. He’s one of the most prominent, accurate, and I believe pressing voices and marketing of our generation, author of 18 books, founder of several companies, including Yo-yo Diet and Squidoo, and most recently, altmba.com, perhaps the most popular blog in the world, which I love because Seth’s blog is, I suspect, interested in just one thing, and that is getting me to think. Seth Godin leaves room for me to think. So it’s a thrill to have him on the show. Seth Godin, welcome to “The Buyer’s Mind.”
Seth: Well, thanks for having me, Jeff. It’s a pleasure.
Jeff: Let’s start with some professional context here. Most people would accurately refer to you as a marketing guru, savant, wonk, whatever you wanna call it, but you can most definitely hold your own in a conversation about sales. In your opinion, is there a clear line of demarcation between the two disciplines or are they more sort of two sides of the same coin?
Seth: Well, I’m not sure I wanna own the guru thing because I’ve defined marketing as everything, that gives me a lot of leeway to talk about stuff. Marketing is what we do and how we do it, who we do it with, why we do it, the side effects we leave behind the changes that we make. And I believe that sales are a critical component because sales is what happens when a human being engages directly with the fear that another human being is experiencing. That if people didn’t have fear, we wouldn’t need salespeople.
Jeff: Fair enough. And so on that deeper level, in even in preparing for this conversation, I got a hold of a great book from some 20 years ago called “If You’re Clueless About Selling.” So I picked that up and I’m sure it’s been a while since you’ve read the book. But I have to tell you, it’s aged quite well, you’ll be glad to know. I don’t know if you even remember some of your early books at this point because you’ve written 18, I think, perhaps more. But do you even go back and think about your early books, at this point?
Seth: Well, so just to fill people in, there’s this job called book packager. And what book packagers do is what movie producers do for movies. And so I made 120 bucks when I was a book packager. I made books on gardening and business, and the secret power of your name, and 100 things in between. So it was a lot of fun to do that. And some of the books I wrote myself and some of the books I just made happen in the world. In the case of “If You’re Clueless About Selling,” I had my hands in it, but I can’t confess to have written every word of that book.
Jeff: I’m still gonna give you a credit. I can because it aged really well, there’s no question. And there’s one important mindset point from that book and I’m gonna paraphrase. But you say in the book that, “If you feel like you are asking your customer for a favor when you’re trying to sell something, you’re probably doing it wrong.” That’s an interesting take.
Seth: Yeah, I wrote that, and it’s true. The reason that so many people hesitate to go into sales is because they feel that selling is asking for a favor. And the idea that for a living, you would bother people, whether it’s people you know or people you don’t, and constantly humble them to get them to do something for you is an unsavory way to spend your day. The alternative is to realize that no one in a free market buys something unless it’s worth more to them than it costs. In essence, everything is on sale. Everything is a bargain, that you pay $3 for a bottle of water because it’s worth $5. You donate a million dollars to charity because it’s worth $2 million to you to do so. And if you look at it that way, then the salesperson’s job is to create communication, so that value is created, not just value created for the salesperson, but value is created for the customer. And if no value is created, then all you’re doing is bothering people and you’re not really a salesperson.
Paul: Thank you so much for joining us on our first 100 episodes. We appreciate you joining us each and every week. If you’re looking for show notes, don’t forget to visit us at jeffshore.com/podcast, where you can find notes on each of our guests and the things that were mentioned during the podcast. We look forward to bringing you many more interesting and thought-provoking podcasts that will encourage you to go out there and change someone’s world.