Episode #011: Welcome to the Emotion Economy with Mark Sanborn
In This Episode of The Buyer’s Mind with Jeff Shore:
Mark Sanborn, best-selling author of The Fred Factor and member of the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame, joins Jeff to talk about the shift from the Experience Economy to the Emotion Economy and exactly what that means for sales professionals.
Topics we’re going to cover on today’s podcast:
[1:57] Quote of the Day
[4:11] Sales Tip of the Day
[6:48] Just Returned From Dubai
[9:15] The Emotional Economy
[15:01] How Emotions Effect Outcome
[19:10] We Want Companies We To Succeed
[31:26] Speaking Tips
[38:21] Motivational Summary
More about our guest Mark Sanborn:
He has lived in the Denver area for 25+ years. Owner of Sanborn & Associates, Inc. an idea studio for leadership development. He was a past president of The National Speakers Association. Author of The Fred Factor and You Don’t Need A Title to Be A Leader. He’s spoken to over 2400 audiences in every state and a dozen countries.
Links from today’s podcast:
Jeff: Are we in a service economy and experienced economy? How about an emotion economy? We’ll unpack what that means on today’s episode 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.
Jeff: Well welcome everyone to The Buyer’s Mind, the podcast that focuses in on just what is going on in the brains of prospects who are considering a purchase decision. This podcast is all about taking a stroll through the buyer’s mind. It’s about understanding your customer, about helping to establish a rich sense of mutual purpose in the sales process, but we like to have fun and celebrate the wonderful world of sales along the way. I’m your host, Jeff Shore. You can read the full bio in the show notes or you can visit jeffshore.com. While you’re there, you can sign up for our free weekly video newsletter, a little Saturday morning inspiration to help you on your journey. Welcome as always, our show producer, Paul Murphy. Murph, how are you doing today?
Paul: Great. Good to be here as always.
Jeff: You know, Murph, we’re talking about emotion today and, look, you’re a tech guy. Are you okay with that?
Paul: Oh man, Jeff, that hurts. I mean that was just pretty mean. I mean, to quote the great Bard, “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?” Hey, I’ve got feelings.
Jeff: But that’s the idea. We always… Those of us who are more on the right brain, we look at you tech guys who are like do you have any emotion? Does it actually exist in there?
Paul: We do. We have emotions.
Jeff: All right, all right. Well we’ll unpack that today a little bit about the emotion economy and how important that is. Before I forget to mention it, stay with us because we always give something away at the end of the podcast. We’ll do that again today, but let me give you our quote of the day. This is from Vincent van Gogh, perhaps you’ve heard of him, and he says, “Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it.” Very interesting. Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it. I’ll tell you why I love that quote, because Vincent van Gogh came up with that idea long before the science caught up, but science has found this to be true, we have no idea just how much our emotion dictates our life and our thinking. We have that part of our brain that is what we call feeling, but it doesn’t really have a vocabulary. It moves us to act and then there’s a narrative that explains the action, but that comes later on. The emotion really has a mind of its own. That’s true for you and it’s true for your customer. We can guide, we can influence that emotion, but I don’t think we’ll ever really fully understand the impact of emotion on our customer. There’s always that elephant in the room. You can’t tame it, but it’s a good idea to know where it is so you don’t get stepped on.
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Now, coming up in just a little bit, we’ve got an incredible interview with the one and only Mark Sanborn. And for those of you don’t know Mark Sanborn, he is the author of a number of “New York Times” best-selling books, a really, really progressive thought leader and one of the most prominent speakers in the world today. But he has got us thinking now about the emotion economy. I think you’re going to enjoy that, and that’s gonna lead us into our sales tip of the day, and that is to allow your customer to release the emotion. Let me tell you what I mean by that. Too often, salespeople are so caught up in the discussion of features, and specifications, and processes, and the conversation can cause the customer to detach emotionally. You need to monitor how serious the mood might be and break it up with some levity when you need to, but then ask that check-in question in a very sort of light way, “Hey, how we doing? You guys doing okay?” You want to give permission for the customer to share their feelings, and I wanna warn you right now, it’s very difficult for a customer to outpace the emotion of the salesperson. So if you are dry, and somber, and professorial in your approach, your customer is absolutely going to adopt that same demeanor. They want to release the emotion. They want this to be an emotional journey. I don’t mean syrupy, and sappy, and, you know, grabbing for the Kleenex, but it’s okay for some of that emotion to be released and for people to be able to appreciate the process from both sides of the brain. Help your customer to release the emotion.
Before we get to our interview, I want to tell you about an opportunity here, and that’s to be involved in our 4:2 Academy. Our 4:2 Formula Academy, this is an intensive training program specifically for real estate sales professionals where we’re using modern selling strategies and skills just for today’s buyers, just for today’s market. The 4:2 Formula is the core real estate principle that we talk about at Shore Consulting, but it’s gonna give you several days and actually spread out over the course of an entire quarter, a program that’ll allow you to just transform your presentation. We’ve put so many people through the 4:2 Formula Academy, always with tremendous results. You can go to jeffshore.com/events to learn more about the 4:2 Formula Academy.
All right. Hey, let’s get to our interview with Mark Sanborn. If you don’t know who Mark is, well, you need to get out more, or you can just hang out at an airport because you’ll see him somewhere. He speaks to thousands upon thousands of people every year, the “New York Times” best-selling author of a number of books, including “The Fred Factor,” “You Don’t Need a Title to be a Leader.” It goes on and on. He is one of the most prolific speakers in the world and a member of the National Speakers Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame. I’m proud to call him a friend and a mentor of mine. Mark Sanborn, welcome to the show.
Mark: Thank you Jeff for those kind words. Good to be with you.
Jeff: Hey, first of all, you just returned from Dubai. How you feel…I mean, you just got back a couple of days ago. How you feeling?
Mark: Dazed and confused, but I often feel that way so it’s not unusual. However, it was a great trip. I spoke for the Government Leaders Program, the United Arab Emirates, and wow, you know, any of us would benefit from traveling internationally, not just for pleasure to the places where we typically go, Paris and London, but to see, and you’ve been to Abu Dhabi and been to…visited Dubai, to see what’s going on in some areas of the Middle East. Dubai and the Emirates in general are probably the most tolerant and cross-cultural place in the Middle East, if not on the planet. Eighty percent of the people who live in the UAE are not from there, only about 20% are Emiraties. So they have done a masterful job of creating a wonderful infrastructure, great architecture, and it’s really a safe place and an intellectually stimulating place to hang out.
Jeff: Do you sorta get the sense that the government is looking at it and saying, “All we really have is oil and sand, and if the oil goes away, boy, we better have something else to hang our hat on.” Was that part of the premise of you being there, was how do you continually reinvent?
Mark: Indeed. They asked me to speak on disruptive leadership, and the interesting thing is is that UAE is one of the few oil-producing countries that saw the handwriting on the wall and moved to a knowledge-based economy. I did not realize this, but up until the Brits discovered oil there in the mid-1900s, the primary industry was pearling, diving for pearls. And when the Japanese started cultured pearls, it basically bankrupted the country and it was oil that at least, you know, for many years, saved them. And now their goal is by their centennial in 2071, and I was speaking to this topic, to be the best country in the world in terms of a lotta different metrics, quality of life and low crime. And there is no…there are no street people. There is no homelessness. They have a very interesting system about what it takes to stay in that country. So I’m still jazzed about all I learned as well as the chance to speak with 40 under-secretaries in the government.
Jeff: Sure. Fascinating. Love it. Love it. Mark, you’re an economist by training, representing, of course, I’ll say it before you get to it, the Ohio State University. And that’s interesting right off the bat because as an economist you’re supposed to be this, rational logical guy, yet you speak with passion when you’re talking about whether it’s enthusiastic mailmen or just now intrigued with the role of emotion in business. You’re a walking paradox. Explain your…how you kinda work on both sides of the brain there.
Mark: Well it is interesting that my predisposition is very, you know, kind of linear and logical. And frankly, the passionate part doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s a learned skill, and it’s learned because, you know, people remember what has emotional impact. That’s key in selling, it’s key in being married, it’s key in leadership. And over many years, I observed that not only was emotion important in communicating a message and having it impact people positively, but then it was actually affecting what I believe is our economy. I speak about the emotion economy. I may write a book someday about it where I believe that, you know, that the evolution, and my friends, Joe Pine and Jim Gilmore did a wonderful job with a book that probably everyone is familiar with if they haven’t read. And by the way, it’s updated. I’d highly recommend “The Experience Economy.” And they talked about how products and services basically combine to create a client or customer experience, and how you create and manage that experience determines your success. And I certainly agree. I have no argument with anything that they’ve said. However, I think that with so many people and so many companies having focused on experience, that there’s kind of a parity now and that you’ve gotta elevate the experience, and the question becomes not just what kind of experience did the customer have, but how do they feel about it?
I think the future business, and you’re right, Jeff, this is very contrary to an economist’s brain, I think it’s about the creation of positive emotion, primary being happiness, although there are, you know, somewhere depending on how you count, 12 to 16 primary positive emotions. And I think, you know, as much as I like the Bain & Company net promoter question, would you recommend our product or service to a friend or a colleague, I like the idea of, are you happier you did business with us than somebody else? And it’s not an all or nothing, because sometimes it’s a brief interaction. And those brief interactions cumulatively create a client that says either, “I dread calling them, they won’t call me back, I can’t get the information I need, I’ll be on hold,” or “You know what I love about them, I’m gonna give them a call because I know it’ll be hassle-free and I won’t suffer any brain damage getting what I need.” So it’s about designing experience and intentionally designing it to create positive emotions. I’ll tell you something since we talked about the UAE, and maybe you noticed this, but when I was in the lobby area, I would notice that women would go to the ladies room and leave their purses unattended. I would notice men would go run an errand and leave their cell phones on the table. Now you and I both know in this country, the person’s cell phone would be gone pretty quickly, right?
Mark: They’re not. They have a really sophisticated system of both cameras and undercover police officers that monitor. They’re totally unobtrusive. You don’t even know they’re there until you try to lift a purse or a cell phone, then you find out in a big hurry. You say, “Well Mark, what’s this got to do with the emotion economy?” Well guess what a primary emotion is, security, safety. You know, you’ll hear people say, and we evaluate entire cities this way, “Well it’s not, you know, it’s not safe to walk after 9:00 by yourself.” You know, you’d wander all over in Dubai any time of the day or night and not be threatened in any way. So I use that as an example of security and safety being a positive emotion they wanna create.
You say, “Well Mark, you know, I’m in sales, I’m in marketing, what the heck’s that got to do with sales and marketing?” Well, think about it. For years, why do we offer a money-back guarantee? Because it offers safety and security. It says that you’re not gonna waste your money, you know, if it’s done correctly, it takes the risk out of doing business with you. And in the past, we’ve just thought of it as a technique, but what I suggest is that we reevaluate what we’re doing and say, “What are the emotions that we’re creating, and are we…” You know, I just redid a little bit on my website. My webmaster had to post for our credit card company, a statement of a return policy, and it says, you know, that once you buy a product, you know, absolutely, unequivocally, you cannot possibly in a million, trillion years return it, which is all psychobabble and it’s all legalese. But the reality is, you know, it’s in the fine print because I would obviously refund a product. If you’re not happy with my product, the only thing I hate worse is that you’re even unhappier that I wouldn’t take the product back. So that’s, you know, about the emotion. When the Postal Service loses something in the mail and my customer is upset, I don’t…even though I would like to throw the Postal Service under the bus, I take responsibility for the emotion, I replace the product and send ’em something nice to make up for the inconvenience. So you start thinking about what are the positive or the positive emotions I’m creating or the negative emotions that I’m avoiding.
Jeff: You mentioned “The Experience Economy” and I was wondering if that’s where, as you labeled the emotion economy, if that’s how that originated. It was really interesting because first of all that book came out in 1999. It was really…the Internet was in its very, very early days, and yes, it was all about how you build the experience and companies got really out of that experience
bandwagon, but even as I was flipping through the book in preparation for this conversation, I noticed that the word “emotion” did not have a huge place there. It was almost as if it was the byproduct. But when you look at companies that have done both well, that is that they’ve build…they built great experiences, but the end result of those great experiences is that happiness. And of course, you know, the huge…the biggest example, the most obvious example being the Disney companies, but I see it in places like The Villages of Florida, the active adult community in Florida where you just drive on the campus and you see this just amazing spirit that takes place there. Or even when you walk into an In-N-Out Burger somewhere on the West Coast, there’s vibe, there’s a feeling. Is this cultural or is it something that really starts from the top down? How much does a company have to do to try and invest into the emotion economy?
Mark: I think everything is time-dependent. I believe that, you know, what Jim and Joe wrote about, their book was spot on for the times, and I just think for…I’m not a sociologist so I can’t explain it, but I think that we have evolved to the point where we put much more primacy on how we feel about things. I also think it’s partly a generational difference, but, you know, I’m, again, I’m ill-equipped to tell you what generations value what emotions, although I’m sure somebody out there probably already knows that. Here’s the point I wanna make, Jeff, that I think is so important, that is you can have a great experience and still be unhappy.
Jeff: Tell me more.
Mark: You know, think about it. There’re some times where, you know, you end up with an automobile that you love but, you know, it was like fingernails on a chalkboard dealing with the service department where you have to take it in. You know, you love the product but you have a negative emotion because of what goes along with that or, you know, your food is delicious and it’s delivered on time and the bill is incorrect and it takes 10 minutes to have the bill fixed. Little things can tweak positive emotions, and I think it’s not about being hyper…well maybe it is about being hyper-vigilant. It’s not about being paranoid, but it’s about a attentive, because it just amazes me, I think, at the lack of attentiveness.
Think about Uber. You know, I use Uber, and of course, they have some dilemmas at the leadership level and some things, but I love the service. And what’s interesting is they evaluate you. You know, when that first started, I was like, “I’m not sure how I feel about that.” But then I thought, you know, it creates a certain kind of an emotion and that is the emotion of collaboration and cooperation. I just got a, I don’t know, a few months ago, a little thing that says I was among the highest rated riders on Uber in my area, and I don’t know what that means, maybe they send it to everybody. But you know, I felt kinda good about that because I realized, and I’m a pretty gregarious person anyhow, but I realized when a Uber person picks me up, instead of sitting in the back like a, you know, clamb and the cab driver’s sitting in the front, you know, texting on his phone at the intersection, it creates this kind of exchange, this civility and this mutuality that I think’s very positive, and I think that’s a subtle aspect of how little things can tweak and change the emotion.
Jeff: But, you know, it’s interesting, the…when you look at the idea that Uber is rating us, and it’s kinda funny because for me, it’s like, “Uh-oh, I gotta be careful here. I don’t want my rating to go down.” But I think it speaks to the idea that when we like a company, when we want to do business with a company, there is that sense of mutual purpose, that is that we want companies to succeed that we enjoy doing business with. And you once taught me, Mark, that, you know, when you’re going on stage for a speech, nobody in the audience is saying, “Well, I hope this guy sucks because I can’t wait to blow ’em up on social media.” They want you to succeed right from the very beginning. I mean, this is true for great companies. There’s a loyalty there that says, “Come on. I’m okay giving you my money. I want you to win.” And I think that that’s really at the pinnacle of the provider customer relationship.
Mark: It is. And we defend companies we like. I’ve gone online and said, “Well, I’m sorry. I’m surprised to hear that. I’ve done business with them. That was an exception, not the rule.” You know, and it’s not that I’m called upon to defend the company, but every company, no matter how good, is gonna have their off moments, and it’s when your customers come to your defense, you know you’ve done a pretty good job at building loyalty. And Jeff, I wanna add this because I think it’s important to your listeners in terms of those that are leaders and have teams or departments. I’m often asked, you know, what’s the biggest change you’ve seen in leadership in the last 31 years? And my answer is, it’s not in leadership, it’s in followership, in that we used to refer to leaders and followers, except followers don’t refer to themselves as followers. It’s almost a negative connotation. You know, a follower is someone that does what they’re told, and walks behind, and I’m not saying that it should be that way, but I think today, people don’t wanna be thought of as followers, they wanna be thought of as collaborators, and team members, and contributors and colleagues. Now, what that does is it changes the emotional state of the people you lead. If you treat ’em like, you know, people that have to snap to and command and demand kind of an environment, you’re gonna get a very low level of loyalty and morale versus when you say, “Hey, we’re all in this together.” Just as the company and the customer is, so is the leader and the contributor.
Jeff: One of the things that I…I’m trying to think right now about the…just the thoughts of our listeners right now as they’re listening to this conversation, and they might be…might well be looking and saying, “I want to work in that organization that values the emotional side that really drives towards that customer ending in a happy experience.” But you work with companies that focus a lot on programs and procedures. You work with the leadership, and oftentimes the leadership of companies themselves does not look all that touchy-feely. They do not look like they put a high premium on emotion. So what do you say to that person who works for a company where they say, “Hey listen, I would be all in on this, but you haven’t met my boss.”
Mark: Well, certainly I try…when I do find those kinds of leaders, I try to change the way they think and how they…the words that they use because that affects their behavior. Believe it or not, if you can just get someone stop calling his team his employees or his followers and starts talking about collaborators, it changes the entire orientation for how he or she interacts. Well, I will say don’t spend a whole lotta time, you know, fighting the battle of the futile. If you can’t change your boss, there’s, you know, My book the Fred Factor was a great example of a guy that created happiness everywhere he went. He worked for the United States Postal Service. Boy, you can’t get any more paradoxical than that. No matter where you work, you can still choose to be extraordinary. And really, I think, you know, the starter question is…and it gives you a way to do a lotta things: build relationship, create additional value. The question is, you know, what would make my customer happy in this situation? And it’s not a rollover and become a door mat. You know, the senate goes, “Oh yeah, well, my customer would be happy if I gave him the product for free and didn’t make any money.” And I’m not talking about that. We all know that. But you just think about the little things that change the emotional state, the irritants you can remove, the positive things, the pleasant surprises you can add, and really, your competitive advantage is to make the customer feel better they chose you than someone else who offers the same product or service.
Jeff: You know, I was having lunch with a client in Charlotte, North Carolina recently, and the food server was, I wouldn’t say completely remarkable, very adequate, I think actually respectful for the fact that we had a very intense conversation going on at the table and didn’t feel like, in this case, like he wanted to be the star of the show, he was gonna let it happen. But in the end, I paid the bill, you know, you give the credit card, they bring it back to you in a little portfolio. He hands me the portfolio but he takes the credit card out and hands it to me separately. And I hadn’t seen that before and I actually stopped and I said, “I’ve not seen that before. You actually took the credit card out and handed it to me. Tell me why you did that.” And he said, “Well, have you ever left a credit card at a restaurant?” And of course, as soon as he asked that question, I thought back to the last time I left a credit card at a restaurant and immediately there’s the, “Oh no,” it’s like, “Where’s my card and who is using it? Do I have to cancel it?” And, you know, and well, he said something else. Essentially he said, “Trust me, we don’t like it when you leave your credit card at the restaurant because we’re trying to figure out what to do with it.” Sometimes it’s just those little things. That was a very small, little moment, but here it is and we’re talking about it now and we’re broadcasting the message. And so when you ask the question, what are the things that we can do? How do you take away even the little irritants along the way? It’s a disruptive thing to do but in a very positive way.
Mark: Well, and you’re alluding to what I think is the most powerful app right now you can use in sales and marketing, and its called thoughtfulness. I think of it as an app, as a brain app, because we’re moving so fast and we’re trying to accomplish so many things that we miss those opportunities. For instance, you know, when I was listening to you relate that story, you said something that impressed me. Don’t you hate the over enthusiastic waiter that wants to jaw and chew your ear off when you’re trying to do business?
Mark: And you just wanna say, “Go away.” Now, they’re being friendly but they’re not being thoughtful, because your guy recognized, you know, you had an intense conversation going on and he didn’t wanna interfere with it. There’s a restaurant here I’m quite fond of. There’s only three in the United States, so I guess it’s a chain but it’s a very tiny chain called White Chocolate Grill. And I talk about them in my work because they do something I’d never seen before, and I’ve eaten in restaurants all over God’s green earth. If you get a martini or a, you know, a Manhattan, they serve it to you in a martini glass. About halfway through your drink, they bring another chilled martini glass and transfer the drink. Doesn’t take more than 15 seconds. Never seen it. Very cool, pun intended. I mean it keeps your beverage cold. And I thought to myself, “Isn’t it interesting how we’re going for the grand gesture, right, the, you know, buy one car, get a smart car free, right, when we should be thinking about what are the little things that we can do that cumulatively will make a big difference?”
Jeff: Yeah, sure. Yeah. I think there is that thoughtful…by the way, that thoughtfulness app, that’s gonna be a blog post in about an hour after this call, just so you know. I mean, I love it, it’s a great way to be able to look at, you know, what we are doing to make sure that we’re intentional about this, and I think that that’s a big part of this entire conversation, is that’s the intentionality of the emotion. It’s not emotion-free, emotion sense, but there’s a strategy behind it as we seek to figure it out. When you look at companies out there that really do a great job of eliciting emotion and making you feel emotionally connected, are there any that jump into the front of your brain?
Mark: Well the forerunner, and, you know, I can’t speak to them as much lately, but the forerunner was Zappos. Tony Hsieh, you know, was about living and creating wow and they were about creating happiness and they were very, very successful at it. Interestingly enough, again, the UAE has a minister of happiness. They have somebody in charge of happiness for their country. And as an economist, there’s a lotta work being done right now about the linkage between happiness and gross domestic product. It’s happier people tend to be more productive people. I would say, you know, the low hanging fruit of course are the really good, you know, entertainment companies, the folks like Disney, but there’s a great company that I doubt many have heard of on this podcast called Western Water Works. They’ve been a client over the years, and they provide basically the stuff that you don’t see. It’s underground for city municipalities, water conveyance, hydrants, things that are just boring to the average person unless you’re building, you know, water systems. And those guys have turned both their employee experience and their customer experience into a true art form. They’re all about how you feel about the work you do and the service you receive. So, you know, you don’t have to be Disney to use these principles.
Jeff: Yep. I’ll tell you, I recently had the opportunity to tour the Zappos headquarters in Las Vegas, and to anybody who’s listening, if you’re in Las Vegas, it’s…just arrange…I don’t remember they charged us or not, but it couldn’t of been much. It didn’t matter. It was well worth it. And one of the things that was really cool was that environment. There is a culture in the building that speaks to the way that they’re gonna take care of people, and that goes down to, you know, the CEO of the company, Tony Hsieh. His office is not an office, it’s just a desk amongst a row of other desks and it’s several feet away from the call center, and if you wanna go talk to him, you just go talk to him. But it is…it really is… Their HR department has a big sign on the back wall that says, “Business in front, party in the back.” And it just looks like a party. It’s an amazing experience. But the key thing here is that it trickles down to the customer. So if you call Zappos right now, if you call their 800 number, there’re gonna say, “Press ‘1’ to talk to somebody right now. Press ‘5’ and you’ll hear a joke of the day.” And that’s it. Those are your only two options. It’s incredible how they’re just thinking through how do we do that. And so, my guess is that most of those suggestions bubbled up from people. If you create that type of environment, they want to… And I think that that’s the key as we start to head into the wrap-up market, that people want to do…to work in that type of environment and they do better work when they are in that type of environment.
Mark: They do. And I would recommend Tony’s book, “Delivering Happiness,” because he basically gives you the template for how he thought about his business. And I’m with you Jeff, it’s about intentionality. This stuff doesn’t happen accidentally. You know, the critic again might say, “Well that sounds manipulative.” Well, is it manipulative when you get your spouse an anniversary present? Yeah, I mean no. I mean it’s a good way to stay married, right? And in business, you know, we do things for two reasons. One, because they’re the right thing to do. That should, in my opinion, come first. And two, because they’re profitable. They’re not mutually exclusive. And so you gotta be very clear on what can I do to make my customer happier today? You know and like I said, that’s the best beginning point, and then it’s a lot more fun to do business that way by the way.
Jeff: Yeah, it really is. And you’re right, it’s…here’s nothing inauthentic about it. I don’t think any eight-year-old at Disneyland or Disney World is gonna go, “Hey, this is completely manufactured.” It’s just not the way it works.
Mark: “They paid that guy to wear the mouse head. I don’t like that.”
Jeff: All right. Hey, last question here, and I’m gonna go off the board on this one, Mark, but I wanna talk just a little about your speaking career because you are one of the most prolific speakers in the world today. And one of the things that’s really interesting about your style is that you and I have both seen the speaker who steps on stage and, boy, there is no lack of polish. I mean they know where to stand and they know where every hand motion goes and it’s delivered so that you’re gonna hang on every last word. And yet, when you’re up there, you just sorta look like you’re chatting. You look like you’re just having more of a conversation. What is it about your style and what advice do you have for people who find themselves in a setting where they have to talk to 5 people, 100 people? And I know you’ve talked to thousands and thousands, but what advice do you have for people who don’t do this for a living but they need to make a presentation and they’re already feeling the nerves?
Mark: Truth is, I started out as one of those overly polished speakers because I was 27 when I started speaking and I was scared to death some older person in the audience would jump up and, “What does he know?” And so I did my homework and I was so prepared, and by the way, that is the key, and then I’ll build on it, preparation. You know, you don’t do anything well without practice and preparation. The biggest myth is that there are naturals that can just get up and talk. You know what, 99 times out of 100, those naturals have just practiced, and prepared, and done that presentation so many times that it looks natural.
What I found is that, you know, polish can create control but it doesn’t create impact. And I would be in a program where I was delivering a lotta content and then some speaker would tell kind of a fluffy speech that had a few inspirational points and people would leap to their feet, and after I got over the immature response, which is, “Why they didn’t like my content, my content was better,” well the audience gets to vote on that, you know? It’s like my kids don’t get to fill in their report cards. You know, if they did, there would be a certain lack of objectivity. So I realized that what I said in the way of content was important but it was not more important than how I said it, because how I said it determined whether or not it was going to be accepted, whether or not it was gonna be memorable, whether or not it was gonna be acted on.
And the key for me, and after 31 years in the business, having done a lot wrong and hopefully learned, you know, a lot right, the key is first of all to be myself, and number two, have fun. You know, whenever you’re in front of an audience and you start to, you know, and we all know that feeling, you start to freeze up. You go, “Man, they’re gonna eat me alive. What have I got to say?” You go back to being yourself and you go back to having fun. Even if you come out of the gate a little stilted, a little stodgy, you get a slow start, work into that space where you’re…you alluded where you’re having a conversation. You know, granted it’s a conversation with a whole lotta people. But if you come about it from being very prepared, knowing what you wanna say and who you are, the rest seems to work.
Jeff: There you go. What an honor. What a thrill to have the great Mark Sanborn on the show. You can follow Mark at marksanborn.com. That is your go-to resource to be able to figure out how to purchase any of the many books that he has out there, to be able to follow him on social, or to bring Mark Sanborn in to speak to your organization, marksanborn.com. Mark, thank you so much for being on The Buyer’s Mind. Really appreciate it, my friend.
Mark: Jeff, it’s always a pleasure. Thank you.
Jeff: And there we have it, a legitimate celebrity and Mark Sanborn on The Buyer’s Mind today. It was great. Paul, did you sorta get the sense that this is the type of guy you could sit down and have a really good cup of coffee with?
Paul: Yes. Not only is he the type of guy I’d have a cup of coffee with, but he’s just down the road from me. I could have a cup of coffee with him. But I really like what he had to say about happiness.
Jeff: I love when he just…that simple question, “What would make my customer happy here?” And the thing that makes that interesting is that that’s not programmatic. It’s not like, here are five things that we’re gonna do at this stage of the process. I mean, it’s not that there’s no room for that, but I think that there’s, especially for the salesperson, there is that, at any given moment, what would make my customer happy, whether that’s removing an irritant over here or a pleasant…a comment over there. What would make my customer happy and really valuable way to be able to approach this, right?
Paul: Yeah. Well, and I think we need develop that thoughtfulness app, I think that’s brilliant.
Jeff: Yeah, definitely. I am…I’m all over that one, no question about it. I love too the concept, and we had actually talked about this with Jeb Blunt when we had Jeb on the show, the idea that your customer wants you to succeed, that there is that sense of mutual purpose that we’re going after here, that we would be well served to keep in our brain. And I find that just the concept of boy, you could be friendly but not thoughtful, and that’s that food server, for example, who wants to dominate the conversation when there’s another agenda. And I think salespeople can tend to do that where a customer is taking time to process, they’re in their own space, and if we walk all over that, we’ve got a problem.
And so I just want to encourage the listeners here as we wrap up this part of the conversation, there is that idea of what happens in your brain, the act of thoughtfulness. What does that mean? How do we translate that out there? But this is exactly what your customer needs. So often we get in love with our own presentation, we get in love with our own desire to dazzle, and shine, and share all of the features and everything else, but what your customer really wants is for you to be thoughtful, for you to subjugate your own feelings, for you to set that aside and serve your customer and ask the question, “What does my customer need from me now?” You are not the star of the show. Your customer is the star of the show. And everything that we do has to fuel that, has to feed into that so that by the time you’re done, your customer is feeling like, “Wow, that was great. I am happy now. Happier than I was before I met the salesperson, before I did business with this company.” The thoughtfulness app, great food for thought.
All right. Well hey, before we wrap it up, let me just end with this. We are too often afraid of emotion. We think it makes us look weak or light on substance, and that’s a real problem because your customer needs you to pace the emotional altitude. But there’s someone else who needs your emotion. You need your emotion. I know that sounds a little weird but stay with me. We feel better when we feel better, all right? We feel better when we feel better. Here’s a bit of research on that. What happens when we diligently focus on our gratitude, when we count our blessings as the saying goes? You know what happens? We get happier. The science says it is one of the most powerful things that we can do to increase our own happiness, and that is to be grateful. You see, we feel better when we feel better. We can sorta trick our mind into positive emotion. And the downside, well, there really isn’t any. People will enjoy you more. You will lift their spirits and then your spirits are lifted a little more, which lifts your spirits a little more. My friends, we feel better when we feel better. Embrace that gratitude and embrace your strongest emotional self.
Hey, at the beginning of the show, I told you we’ve…we’re running a contest right now. You have the chance to win the Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones. I love these headphones. I wear them when I’m traveling when I’m listening to a podcast or when I want really great quality music and just to block out the world around me. And for the winner, you can take your choice of either the over-the-ear or the noise canceling earbuds. And those earbuds are great. You can listen to The Buyer’s Mind while you’re working out so you get both a physical workout and a mental workout at the same time. I’m also giving away several Shore Consulting swag bags. That’s five of my books, a coffee mug, motivational CD, and a bag to carry all of it, and all you have to do is download all of The Buyer’s Mind episodes on iTunes, subscribe to the podcast, and leave a review. That’s gonna take you just about 30 seconds. Then go to jeffshore.com/podcast and click on the contest link. You’ll just enter your email address and the name you used to write the iTunes review and we’re gonna pick 10 winners from there. Ten lucky people are gonna win the Shore Consulting swag bag, and remember, the grand prize, the Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones or the noise canceling QuietComfort 20 earbuds. Take your pick.
All right, that’s a wrap on our podcast for today. Thanks for listening to The Buyer’s Mind. Hope you enjoyed it. Until next time, go out there and change someone’s world.