How to Build Trust and Connect with Anyone
The first rule of connecting to build trust is we need to lead with empathy. And again, I do this exercise all over the world, and here's what I find. Most people answer exactly the way you answered it. They say, "Oh, (mumbles), yeah, empathy. "We gotta lead with empathy," but then they don't do it. Right, because our brains are hardwired to not do it. We're gonna be talking about how the brain works. What happens is we lead with competency. You've seen it happen. Somebody connects with you on LinkedIn. The minute they connect with you, they go, "I have a state of the art blah blah blah "and I'd like to show it to you." How many times has that happened to you? It's like all of a sudden they're selling you something. There's no empathy there. Or we've all seen salespeople. This happens all the time, and they suffer. We suffer from a terrible disease. I call it Premature Demonstration Syndrome. They say it's due to connectile dysfunction. Anyway, different class. Premature Demonstration ...
Syndrome, what does that mean? That means we demonstrate before we've listened, before we've made a friend,. Katie's smiling. Before we've made a friend. And it's very, very common. So, we need to look out for that, because that's what usually happens. And we know that it costs us sales. So when we prematurely demonstrate, we don't know what the customer needs. So we wanna look out for that, and it manifests in many, many different ways. Remember this. Empathy gets you in the door. Reliability, competency, and integrity keep you there. But we must lead with empathy. My husband's camera shy. This is Jared and yes, we did go home with a brand new truck. That was awesome. Rule number two. Get out on the skinny branches. What do we mean by get out on the skinny branches? Connecting is difficult, particularly if you don't have somebody like Brandon does, who is bringing you referrals. I mean, that's amazing, right? But a lot of us have to prospect, and if you're an artist, you've gotta find clients. If you're creative, you've gotta find people. You've gotta network. How do we do that? That can be one of the hardest things for people. How many of you in this room actually prospect? Can I see a show of hands? Yeah, is that the hardest part? Right, yeah, the hardest part. So get out on the skinny branches means do what you're most afraid to do. I used to work with somebody who likened getting on the skinny branches of a tree to the fear that it takes to be a good salesperson. I always say, "Whatever it is you're afraid to do, you must do." The call you are most afraid to make, you must make. Do you wanna change your life and change your career? What we need to do is write down the five things that you're most scared to do, the five people that you're most scared to talk to. I mean, the calls that you might make that would change your life. And we all have 'em. Who are those people that if they said yes, everything would change? Now, I don't only want you to think about this in your business life. I want you to think about it in your personal life. Is there somebody that you need to connect with? Is there somebody you need to say you're sorry to? Because when we face our fears, magic happens. The biggest difference between successful people, the people that made it, is they're not as scared of the word no. We have an aversion to the word no, and the more no's you can get, the closer you are to a yes. You won't think about the no's once you get enough yes's. I hear a lot of salespeople, and they take the path of least resistance. What they'll do is they'll say, "Oh I left a message." You know, "Oh, I sent an email." That's not the courageous route, right? So, what is it that we can do to get through to that prospect? We've gotta be creative. We've gotta get out on the skinny branches. I'll tell you. One of the biggest deals I ever got, this was several years ago, when I first started my company. I could not get ahold of this guy named Simon. I tried and tried and every time I called his assistant, she said, "Well, Simon's in a meeting. "Simon's in a meeting. "Simon's in a meeting." I thought "this poor guy, all he does is lives in meetings." Does he ever eat? Does he ever get to go out and walk around the park? So finally, I called his assistant. It's 11:30 and she says, "Simon's in a meeting." Well it turns out, he's in a meeting with 10, 12 other people. And I said to the assistant "Has he had lunch?" She says, "No." I said, "What's the best pizza place around?" She says, "Well that would be Polly's Pizza." So I called up Polly's Pizza, had a pizza delivered, wrote a poem. This is back in the days when we faxed things. And the poem said, "Is it sunny, or is it raining? "Time to look at online training. "I know you're busy, playing business man and banker, "but isn't it time we set down our anchor?" So this fax is on the pizza box. An hour and a half later, I got a phone call and one of the biggest deals at the time our company ever got. So I'm telling you to be creative. I'm telling you to write down that what you're most scared of. And this is where I would like to bring up three people. And I'd like you to come and tell me. I'd like you to volunteer and tell me, is there anything that you've done in your company, that's super creative in order to get a prospect? Anybody wanna volunteer? Yeah, come on up. Let's get three people on up here.
I am Oren Kumar. I have two different services. And the first service is medical, legal (mumbles). We provide services to the law firms who does medical malpractice, those kind of services. And I heard about this, my prospect, who is a trainer, as well, who trains other prospects. I have to get his attention. If I get blessings from him, I know that I can reach hundreds of my customers. So then my goal is to get his confidence. And he's the busiest attorney ever we could meet. So I need to get his attention. Then, I do this research and he published a book. I felt that is a way we can hook up with. Then, I told him that I decided to buy his book in bulk and give to my prospects for free. That is a fast research I made. And I want to order hundreds of books.
So I made a phone call to his assistant, "I'd like to buy hundreds of his books." He said, "What, how many?" I said, "Hundred, probably two hundred, "because I'm going to give away to my prospects." I said, "Oh, okay, I got their attention now."
Beautiful, nice work.
And the book is only 10 bucks.
Right, and you got the deal?
You got the sale.
And the second one is I want to send a thank you note to the author so that he remembers us. I didn't send a thank you in a standard way. I sent a thank you note in a wine bottle, and I FedEx-ed it, and I got his attention.
And he's our client forever. So he referred us to many, many customers.
So this is something which we did.
Fabulous story, fabulous story. (applause) All right, Karen. And we need one more. Who would like to volunteer? Come on up again, Jared. So we're talking about getting out on the skinny branches. What do we do to get in touch with our prospects? People are busy today. They're overloaded. What are some creative ideas, whether you're sending a pizza, because again, there's a lot of salespeople that simply leave email. It gets boring. Or voicemail. What are we gonna do to stand out? What are we gonna do to get the attention of our prospects?
My name is Karen Kennedy. My company's called Insights to Growth, and I am the people whisperer for business. What I do to get to really hard to reach prospects is I am a hobbyist gourmet chocolate maker. I specialize in all-natural gourmet chocolates. So chocolate-covered Oreos, men food for sure. Truffles, etc. So I will make up chocolate gifts, all professionally packaged. I send a note to my hardest to reach prospects. And I say, "Not only is life like a box of chocolate, "your employee base and your candidate base "is like a box of chocolates. "I help you decode humans, understand who you have "or who you want to get, and I optimize your work force "and your profitability with this information."
And how does that work for you?
Right, so really, using the five senses, which we're gonna be talking about. How do you use the five senses to engage your clients? Excellent work. Thank you. (applause)
I'm gonna need her card for some of those chocolates, too. (laughing) My name is Jared. The first thing that came to mind was a situation with a client. I was actually kind of more in a supportive sales role, as customer success. My business development guy was selling this customer. And we were, if anything, trying to oversell. He was interested in the product, and we kept having to say, "Well, wait, there's more, there's more." And he was like, "Well, what is this, a ShamWow commercial?" And we kind of made that as a joke. A couple weeks went by beyond that sale. And we didn't have any return contact from him, no matter what we did. So Christmas was right around the corner. I said, "Let's make him a gift basket." This guy, when we met him, he didn't shake hands with us, which we thought was really bizarre. And he used Purell like crazy. He was a big germophobe. So we ended up sending him a gift basket with probably about 10 things of Purell in it and a ShamWow. And within a day of receiving that gift, we had a meeting with him. And he's one of our top clients now, at this time. Just from giving him a basket of Purell and being observative of what it was that really kind of made him tick. And he said it was the most creative gift that he's received.
Right, because what are we telling people? What we're telling people is that once they become a client, this is how we're going to be serving them. We're saying a lot of things when we take that creativity, and we take that time to really know who our clients are. I heard something the other day at a seminar. Show me you know me. Are we gonna really, instead of just blind sending emails to people, instead of just having this mass mentality, are we really showing our customers that we know them? So number two rule to connecting. So we're talking about how to connect to build trust. And we're breaking it down, because to a lot of people, building trust is a mystery. We hear the word, but we don't know how to actually do it. Number three. And we talked about this. Or I showed this to you as we were talking about Jared and the car. Are we connecting on values and not just vocation? Most people connect at a what I call a first level. Most people connect in a very shallow way. I don't know if you ever saw a cartoon. This was years ago where this gal's meeting a customer, and she says, "Oh! You're from New York? Me too!" And then the next frame, "Oh! You're from Des Moines? Me too!" "Oh! You're from San Francisco? Me too!" So there's sort of this unauthenticity about it, right? When we're not truly connecting on values. Jared connected on values with my husband. He connected on something that was very, very important to him. Now, I'm gonna give you a quick exercise that you can take back on how you can learn to connect on values a little bit better. It's something that you can use. If you're leading a team, you can use. And I need to know, is there anybody in the audience that happens to hunt? I know we're in San Francisco. We've got a lot of vegans here. We've got a lot of almond milk shakes. (laughing) I was so glad you brought me kale this morning. That was really great for breakfast. So nobody in the room hunts? Well, I want somebody to pretend that they hunt, then. Who can pretend that they hunt for me? All right, come on up. It is so awesome to have you.
My father was a big hunter.
Okay, your father was a bug hunter. And state your name for the audience.
Hi, I'm Dave Rathbun, and I actually work here at Creative Live.
Awesome! All right, Dave. So I want to pretend that we're trying to build a rapport. Now, normally, what we do when we're trying to build rapport is we'll build rapport on like activities, right? Now has it ever happened to you, when you talked to somebody, and you're trying to find a connection, you're trying to find a like activity, nada, like zip-zero, right? What do you do? So I'm gonna ask you what it is you like to do, and you're gonna tell me that you like to hunt. And I'm gonna show you a process, how you can find a commonality when there seemingly is none.
Well, hi Shari. I'm David, and I like to hunt (chuckles).
Oh, really? Cool, I'm a vegan.
Well, that's great. I like to eat vegan food as well, and I like to eat meat.
So now, he's doing a good job of trying to build a rapport with me. Let me start and let's see what happens. Hi David, I'm Shari. Tell me a little bit about yourself. What activities do you enjoy?
Well, I really like to hunt.
Oh, cool. I'm a vegan. So now, a lot of times what salespeople will do is they'll go wide instead of going deep. And going wide might be, "Oh, what else do you like?" But you can take anything that's seemingly different and do what I call going deep. Going to a second level, going to a third level. What I would do is once he tells me that he likes to hunt, I would say, "What is it that you like about hunting?"
Well, for one, I like the challenge of actually stalking the animal, and also, I enjoy eating the animal after I hunt it and kill it.
That is so cool. So now, what might I follow up with? And I'm gonna throw it out to the audience. What might I follow up with?
How did you get started?
Thank you. How did you get started hunting?
Well, I got started, my father used to hunt. So I used to hunt with my father.
So were you close with your father?
I was, I was, indeed. It used to be a thing that we used to do together. And it was a bonding. It was a guy thing.
That's so awesome. And is your father around today?
Mine is, yes, but my father's father, no.
And you all did it together, the three of you?
That's correct, yeah. It used to be a thing we did.
Now do you see what's happening? Do you see this emotional state change? Now, I could then tell you, "We are so lucky to have our fathers. "You saw a picture of my father earlier, "and I went to LA where my father now lives. "He's 85 years old. "He still teaches at USC. "I love my father, and we had a mother/father time, "just the two of us, and it was magical and wonderful. "And I cherished that time with my dad too. "I get that."
Memories last a lifetime.
They do. Could you see what just happened? So this is what I call connecting on values. Thank you, Dave. Let's give Dave a hand. (applause) So I want you to try that. And again, if you're an artist, and you're selling your art, you wanna find out a little bit about that person. And you wanna find out a little bit about that person before you show your art. I can't tell you, how many artists I talk to. And they are so excited about their art. They're so excited about their sculpture that what they do is they meet somebody. They don't have a sales process. They don't connect first. They don't find out what is in it for that person in front of them, and they right away start doing a demo, if you will. Artists do a demo too. And what they do is they show all their photography instead of building that connection. The way the brain works. People trust you more if they like you. We've heard this a million times, but it's true. And according to this same Harvard business review article, and I love this one. You may want to write this one down. If you start with empathy and show people you care, they will actually think you're more competent. It's a proven fact. It's a fact of brain science. So very, very interesting. So we want to start, and as we go through the rest of the lessons, you're gonna see how asking questions, in the next segment, we're gonna talk about how asking the right questions actually build trust. Most people are asking questions, but they're not asking the right questions. And that's the same for B2B sales, for any type of sales at all. So we're gonna connect on values. Give them what the Internet can't. We all know, particularly those of us selling a B2B product, that customers don't want to talk to a salesperson anymore. I was listening to the news today, and there was a channel that came on. And it was all about how you can buy a car without ever talking to Jared. I liked talking to Jared, but most people don't want to talk to Jared. They wanna do it on their own. So one of the only ways we can differentiate ourself is to give the customer value at every single interaction. People are busy, and if we're not giving them value, let me tell you something, empathy and rapport ain't enough. Just because I like you, doesn't mean I'm gonna give you my valuable time. Time is the new commodity, and we're all broke, right? I mean, we don't have it. So what can we do to bring value to that customer all along the way and at every single interaction? And we have to think about that because in the old days, empathy was enough. Making a friend was enough. I can tell you, in B2B sales, it's not. And even for artists, it's not. What can you offer them? What trends, what interesting information? How about some chocolate? Whatever it is. So you wanna think about what is it that I offer them? I might give them an article. I might tell them a little bit about trends affecting their business. But every time you talk to a customer, I want you to think, "Am I asking for something? "Or am I giving you value?" And what am I giving them? And really, think that through. I love this one. One of the keys to connecting. And this is big. We are in an age of low trust. Don't you know? Fake news, right? So trust is at an all time low right now. Guess who is the least trusted of all professionals?
You win the prize. What's your name?
Barbara, you're absolutely right. Politicians are the least of all trusted professions. However, guess who the second least trusted of all professions is.
Salespeople, that would be us. Second least trusted. So we're sort of starting with customers not trusting us, being a little suspicious, right? So how do we earn their trust? And I've been telling salespeople for years, tell your customer what your product or service won't do. So they'll believe what it will do. You may want to write that down. And the product doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be better than the alternative. I say that to my girlfriends all the time. Look who you married. It doesn't have to be perfect. It's better than the alternative. It's good, it's good. It's all right, it'll work. We're not perfect either, right? So I want you to think about what are the baby negatives? And again, you may want to write this down. What are the baby negatives? Not a big negative. You don't want to say, "Oh, our entire software system, our servers all broke." Not that you wouldn't divulge something that really happened, but I would strategically write down what are some negatives? I can tell you in my own business, we sell live training key notes as well as virtual learning. And we do big implementations with companies that wanna train their staff of hundreds, maybe thousands of people. And I always tell them there's only three ways that this will work. And here's what could go wrong. They need to understand because I also don't want them as a client if it's not gonna work for them. And I will tell them. If it's brought in at the top, from the CEO, and we don't have a champion out in the field, making it happen, that's trained, it won't work. That's a baby negative. It's true. They need to know that. And it gives me credibility, because I'm telling them my product isn't perfect. So again, let's this time, let's do a pass the mic, and I wanna hear some baby negatives that you might use to talk about your product or service. So here's what we're gonna do. If I give you the mic, I am gonna put you on the spot. And I want you to tell me about a negative with your product or service. So take about 25 seconds, and think about one or two negatives. So we're gonna go ahead and pass the mic now. Who'd like to share a baby negative that they might use? What's wrong with your product? You guys know. You know what's wrong with it. Yeah?
We sell up on a sale system for small (mumbles) stores. And it does check in and check out the employees, but it doesn't do payroll. So we go in and let them know that yeah, you're able to check in, check out, but it doesn't do your payroll. Another thing that it does. We do have an inventory module, which tells you what products you need to buy, but it doesn't do extensive cost analysis, analysis of your inventory. You gotta let 'em know.
So you got a couple things that it doesn't do. Mario, what doesn't your product do? 'Cause you've got a pretty good product. What doesn't it do?
Well, I like to talk to people about the fact that we're a one year old company. And we brought together the strongest digital sales influencers under one umbrella, but we're a one year old company, and we will learn with you as we continue to grow in scales. So it actually is a baby negative, right. So we don't have all the answers in terms of the on demand learning platform, but you, Mr.Customer, Mrs.Customer, have an idea of what works really well for your sales folks. And as you continue to teach us, we will continue to get better. So that's a baby negative.
That's awesome, that's awesome. I love that. All right, do we have any other baby negatives? Any from the audience?
The product will take some time to get to you, or to be active, but the quality of it is worth the wait, and that it takes time to develop.
So that's great. And again, one of the things I would do is I would plan these baby negatives, plan 'em in advance, and think about if I really want to connect, and I'm connecting to build trust, so I'm gonna start with empathy. And then I'm going to have the competency and the integrity to tell them what the product won't do. Trust is built of competency, empathy, reliability, and integrity. We need all four. Reliability, this is huge, particularly today. Do what you say you're gonna do. If you say you're gonna send a brochure, do it. If you say you're gonna send a book, do it. This sounds simple, but as my mentor once said, it's simple, but if you're not doing it, it's advanced. And people today aren't reliable. Create interest span. You've probably heard the stats that attention span has dropped drastically. And that's all due to technology. Also, by the way, empathy has dropped by 40% for the first generation smartphone users. So as technology use increases, empathy decreases. So today, we talked about how do we break through. How do we get interest span? I say that it's about interest span, not attention span. Why? Because otherwise, we sort of blame. We say, "Well, people's attention is lower. "I can't get them, I can't hold their interest." But we actually can. And I know people are interested if they're interested. You've all binge watched The Crown or Orange is the New Black or something, right? If we're interested, we will binge watch something. So how do we connect and keep our clients interested? In the beginning and throughout, one thing that is really critical in keeping people interested is your voice. Do any of you sell anything over the phone? So your tonality is going to be huge. And one of the things I learned from my speaking coach, who, by the way, this afternoon after the break, you are gonna meet an amazing woman. We're doing a storytelling workshop. How to use story in sales and we're gonna get all of you up here. She trains Ted speakers how to speak. So it's gonna be very exciting. And she's also a Stanford professor. So she's gonna be joining me for the last bit of class today. It's gonna be really fun and interactive after lunch. And we're gonna learn how to perfect the craft of storytelling in sales. So how do we create interest span? It was probably about four years ago, my son who was then eight years old said to me, I was on the phone, I had just gotten off with a client, and he said, "Oh, what client were you talking to?" I said, "Well, how do you know I was talking to a client?" He said, "Oh, 'cause you were using pitch voice." (laughing) I said, "What's pitch voice?" "Oh, it's the same voice you use "when you're recording a video blog." Well, this was humiliating, and leave it to an eight year old to tell you the truth. And I started listening to how I sounded. And I think this is sometimes a bigger challenge for women, but I notice that when I get nervous, and I probably did it at the beginning today, my voice goes up an entire octave. And it sounds like, "Hi! Nice to meet you!" And my husband calls it high squeal. The truth is when we get into our diaphragm, and we bring our voice down and stay calmer, we actually have much more authority. And it's something, again, particularly women need to practice because we have an octave range that can make us go up. So in creating interest span, you are gonna come off as more credible and as more of an authority, if you keep your voice low. Very important. Second thing we can do, I just did. And that is number things. If you want to keep people interested, say, "We're gonna talk about three things, "five things, seven things, two things," because what'll happen, and this has probably happen to you, if you're on number six, and you stop, they'll say, "Well, what's number seven?" So when we number things, we are keeping and holding the attention of our audience. So again, artists, you might wanna talk about three ways what I do is different. Three is a great number. Five methods too. That creates interest span. Another thing, and we're gonna be talking about this in the storytelling seminar. A lot of salespeople, what I find they do, is their entire sales presentation sounds alike. Have you ever noticed that? And it's really bad when it's all excited, when it's all a 10. I'm so excited! Nobody's that excited. So what we wanna think about is how do we separate different pieces of information in our presentations. Some of the things you might do is you could say "if you hear nothing else, "if you hear nothing else I say, hear this." The use of superlatives, one of the most important things I'm gonna share with you, people don't know how to separate. And if it all sounds alike, it's sort of like a movie. What makes a movie great is that it's exciting. It's happy. It's sad. It's scary. There's different emotional states that happen. So we need to separate the emotional state of our clients. How do we do that? We do that through voice. We do that through numbering. And we do that through superlatives. And finally. Notice the purple hats. Years ago, when I was selling a B2C product, I remember I had a woman, I was selling a real estate product, and she came in to the office. Her name was Philis. I'll never forget. And she had this crazy, purple hat with feathers that went out like that. And I thought, anybody who wears a purple hat like that, I better say something about the purple hat. She wants to be noticed. So I call it notice the purple hats, because when you're connecting with somebody, if there's something very obvious and we don't bring it out into the open, what ends up happening is it actually gets away in the relationship. You've heard the expression, the elephant in the room. It is very obvious when somebody's got tattoos all over their body, or you meet that VP of sales, and he's got Gucci this, Gucci that, it's like he or she wants to be noticed. So this is very important when we're connecting is that we bring out the obvious. When someone is very beautiful, I will say, "Oh my gosh, you are so beautiful." Give them a sincere compliment. Notice what it is that they want you to notice. Again, I call it notice the purple hat. Now, where we take that concept when it comes to connecting, what true empathy is, true empathy is not only understanding your own emotional state, but understanding the emotional state of others. This is hard. It's hard to be constantly managing the emotional state of someone else. Sometimes it's very difficult for us to manage our own. But you wanna notice when the energy goes down. You want to notice when somebody's looking at their watch. You want to notice when somebody's getting irritated and know how to change their emotional state, because unless they're with you, we can't possibly sell them anything. And as I said, one of the things I find is the reason it's so difficult for us sometimes to manage the emotional state of others, is because we're not in touch with our own emotional state. And that's the thing that'll kill a sale every time. We know what to do. We know we're supposed to do certain things, and our emotions, our fear, our anger, our concern, our boredom gets in the way. And we stop managing our own emotional state, or we're not even aware of it. But notice the purple hats, and when we do that, what'll happen is we'll maintain that connection all the way through the sales process. We talked at the very beginning about do you lead with more competency or more empathy? And people that lead with more empathy are great at making friends. They're great at getting invited maybe to Thanksgiving dinner, but then when it comes to pricing day, cut the price. We talked about this. They cut the price or they throw in the kitchen sink. So we tend to lead with one of the other. Empathy or competency. Or should I say courage? Those who lead with too much courage very often come across as too hard core. They alienate the client. It's that always be closing a little bit. And they need to soften up, and make a friend a little bit more before they go throughout the rest of their demo or their sales presentation. So for those of you that are at home, go ahead and go to ShariLevitin.com/CreativeLive and you can take a test to see which way you lead, if it's with more competency or more empathy. Are you a Suzie, someone who's really likable but doesn't close as well? Or are you a Tony, somebody who closes really well, but maybe needs to work on your empathy skills? Or are you right down the middle? There's plenty of folks that are right down the middle. Go ahead and do that, and then you'll be able to download the workbook as well.