71: John Livesay, “The Pitch Whisperer”, talks about how respect is critical to a Sales Pitch.

Learn why a sales pitch can have such a negative vibe by buyers and how you can transform the sales pitch into a positive experience for everyone by John Livesay. Host Mike Domitrz will dive into all the ways John can share how each of us can use story in our lives.

   

** You are invited to join our community and conversations about each episode on FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/respectpodcastgroup and join us on Twitter @PodcastRespect or visit our website at www.RespectPodcast.com **

 

John’s BIO:

John Livesay, aka The Pitch Whisperer, is a sales keynote speaker and shares the lessons learned from his award-winning sales career at Conde Nast. In his keynote “Better Selling Through Storytelling,” he shows companies’ sales teams how to become irresistible so they are magnetic to their ideal clients.

After John speaks, the sales team becomes revenue rock stars who know how to form an emotional connection and a compelling sales story with clients. His TEDx talk: Be The Lifeguard of your own life has over 1,000,000 views. He is also the Co-Founder, CMO of QuantmRE which is a blockchain real estate company. His new book is Better Selling Through Storytelling.  

He is also the host of “The Successful Pitch” podcast, which is heard in over 60 countries. These interviews make him a sales keynote speaker with fresh and relevant content.  

John has appeared on TV as an expert on “How To Ask For What You Want And Get A Yes.” John currently lives in Los Angeles with his two King Charles Spaniels who welcome him home after he returns from being a sales keynote speaker, reminding him of the importance of belly rubs.

 

Links to John:

  • www.johnlivesay.com
    • text the word PITCH to 66866 and get free sneak peek of Better Selling Through Storytelling
  • @john_livesay on twitter
  • @thepitchwhisperer on instagram
 

Books John Recommends:

  • Dealstorming by Tim Sanders
  • Crack The Funding Code-Judy Robinett
  • Disrupt You -Jay Samit
 

YOUR HOST: Mike Domitrz is the founder of The Center for Respect where he helps educational institutions, the US Military and businesses of all sizes create a culture of respect throughout their organizations. From addressing consent to helping corporations build a workplace free from fear (reducing sexual harassment and helping employees thrive by treating them with respect every day), Domitrz engages audiences by sharing skill sets they can implement into their lives immediately. As an author, trainer, keynote speaker and coach, Mike Domitrz loves working with leaders at all levels. Learn more at http://www.CenterForRespect.com

 

READ THE FULL TRANSCRIPTION of the EPISODE HERE (or download the pdf):

 

Mike Domitrz:
Welcome to The Respect Podcast. I’m your host, Mike Domitrz from MikeSpeaks.com, where we help organizations of all sizes, educational institution and the US Military create a culture of respect. Respect is exactly what we discuss in this show, so let’s get started.

Mike Domitrz:
John Livesay is our guest today. He is the Pitch Whisperer, a sales keynote speaker who shares the lessons learned from his award-winning sales career, Conde Nast. He and his keynote, Better Telling Through Storytelling, he shows companies and sales teams how to become irresistible so they are magnetic to their ideal clients. John, thank you so much for joining us.

John Livesay:
Thanks for having me, Mike. It’s a great topic.

Mike Domitrz:
All right, well let’s dive right in there. How did you become known as the Pitch Whisperer?

John Livesay:
Well, it came from two different sources. I was being interviewed by Ink magazine, and I was describing how I help people with their confidence, much like a horse whisperer calms a horse down, and make sure that they have a message that’s clear, and concise and compelling. The person who was interviewing me from Ink said, “Oh, you’re the pitch whisperer.” I said, “Oh, I like that,” so I put that on the cover of one of my books, and then I was giving a talk to Anthem insurance, and they had me stay and do a little workshop with improv. I would stay on stage with them as they were role playing and handling objections, and if they got stuck I would whisper in their ear something to say that would keep the conversation going. They just looked up and said, “Oh my God, can you be in my ear when I’m the field? You really are the pitch whisperer.”

Mike Domitrz:
From that moment, now in theory though if you’re giving what they need right in the moment, when they’re in that situation, because they have all the skills.

John Livesay:
Yes, but in like learning anything, you need to practice it. In that situation, I was helping them practice what they had just learned. It was a very sweet of saying, “I want to hear you in my head, but it would still be great in real life if I had you in my ear all the time.” Eventually, like learning to ride a bike, you don’t need the training wheels anymore.

Mike Domitrz:
Absolutely makes sense. We’re all about respect here, so how does respect play into somebody in a sales pitch? In the actual pitch itself.

John Livesay:
Well Mike, I think it always starts with respecting yourself. If you don’t respect yourself as a professional and think of yourself as someone who has something to offer of value, then you become the used car salesman that’s pushy. Nobody wants to do that, and that’s typically not respecting your profession, what you’re doing for a living, and certainly not respecting people who you’re talking to. However, the new way of selling is to think of yourself as a storyteller. You tell stories that pull people in, and people feel respected because there’s no pushing going on.

Mike Domitrz:
What would be a good example? Can you give us an example of something let’s say you could tell, or something to tell where you bring the story in?

John Livesay:
Sure, I was just helping an architecture firm who has to pitch to get selected to redesign an airport, or redesign a law firm. They go up typically against two other firms, and they’re given an hour to come in and talk about what their designs are, and whether we’d like to work with them. The old way that they would do it would just be, “Here’s who we are. Here’s what the designs look like. Any questions?” There was no story there. It very, “Do you like our designs or not?” I would work with them during that one hour that they had to say, “You know, when I was 11 years old I played with Legos, and that’s what inspired me to become an architect. Now I have a son that’s 11, and I still play with Legos.” I bring that same passion to this job today.

John Livesay:
Now here’s [Sue 00:03:41] on our team. Before working here, she worked at [inaudible 00:03:44] Israeli army, and she says, “I bring that same discipline and focus from being in the Israeli army to making sure your project’s going to come on time and under budget.” So now they have a story connected to each person that makes them memorable, and makes them feel connected to them. That’s how they won that account.

Mike Domitrz:
So people can also do this, for instance, in a job interview. Can you give some examples of how to utilize that in a job interview?

John Livesay:
You’re absolutely right, Mike. That’s a great way to do that. People will often be asked in an interview, “Can you bring your resume to life?” That’s your que to tell a story. A story has a beginning, middle and end. I just did a video on this for LinkedIn’s #GetHired. The very concept is even if you’ve been around for a while, you still tell your story at the beginning. When I was being interviewed I said, “You know, I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, went to school at the University of Illinois. Then I moved to California and I bring my Midwest sensibility to California,” because the person interviewing me was in New York and a lot of New Yorkers think everybody in California is flaky.

John Livesay:
So by sort of handling that objection up front, the gentleman interviewing me said, “Oh, I used to live in Chicago, so I know exactly what you mean.” Had I not started that story at the beginning, we would not have bonded over that, and I ended up getting the job.

Mike Domitrz:
That’s a great example. Now, when it comes to using the story, yours are very short there, which is I would think key to this. If you get into a long story, you’re going to lose them. How does somebody know what’s too short/too long when it comes to storytelling either during an interview, or when they’re selling an idea or a product, or a service?

John Livesay:
A good story has four elements to it. The exposition, you paint the picture, who, what, where, when. Then you tell a problem. Then you tell a solution, and then most stories need a resolution, what’s life like afterwards? So again, an example in an interview situation. You would probably be bringing your resume to life, telling one of your success stories from a previous job. Paint that picture. For example, when I was being interviewed, I was telling a story of four years ago when I was selling ads for W magazine, we were trying to get the Jaguar car account to advertise with us. The problem was they said they wanted people to think of their cars as a moving sculpture, and they didn’t know how to do that.

John Livesay:
So we came up with the solution of having some of our subscribers get picked up in the car and taken to an art exhibit where they could see some art and talk about art with people from Jaguar at a dinner after the art exhibit. They sold four cars, and we got 10 pages of advertising, which resulted in $500,000.00 worth of revenue. That’s a story, and it had a beginning. I painted the picture of how long ago it was, and who the client was. I described the problem the client had, how we came up with the solution that resulted in advertising and them selling some cars.

Mike Domitrz:
Is there special tricks or techniques to making a story extra memorable?

John Livesay:
The more conflict the higher the stakes are, the more memorable the story is. Let me give you another one. I work with my clients, as I mentioned, on their confidence. One of the things I have them do is write down two or three times when they knew they nailed it. I call it stacking your moments of certainty. This is certainly important before you go for an interview, or to pitch a product or service. One of my clients, Martin, said, “Wow, that was a powerful exercise for me. I wrote down remembering that I was born in South America but I grew up in the Netherlands. When I turned 18, I was dropped off naked in the Amazon jungle to survive for two weeks, because that’s the rite of passage in my culture into manhood.”

John Livesay:
I said, “Oh, that gives me chills, Martin. Let’s work on that story.” I said, “What lessons did you learn in the Amazon jungle?” He said, “Well, I learned how to focus, and pivot, and persevere.” I said, “Great, and you’re going to take those lessons from the Amazon jungle into the concrete jungle of being an entrepreneur.” When he had that all practiced and honed, he got his startup funded because the investor said, “We’re going to put our money on the guy that survived the Amazon jungle.”

John Livesay:
Now when he was practicing with me sometimes he would forget to say, “It’s a rite of passage in my culture to do this.” I said, “If you don’t say that as part of the exposition, it’s going to sound like child abuse.” So there’s an example of paint the picture strong enough that people see themselves in the story, and they’re riveted to see how it all turns out.

Mike Domitrz:
Well, that makes total sense. Is there other areas where storytelling could be used besides selling? Somebody’s listening thinking, “All right, well I work in a job so I’m not interviewing, and I’m not in sales. How can story come into my life?”

John Livesay:
First, I would say almost everyone today is asked to sell something. If it’s your idea, you have to sell yourself to get promoted. We’re all selling on some level, even if our job title is not sales. Another example of storytelling helping people, I was interviewed on Talk of the Town in Nashville, and they said, “You know, a lot of people who watch daytime TV are parents, stay at home moms. Do you have any tips for them?” I said, “Yes, so many of my friends say,” especially teenagers or young teenagers, preteens. They’ll come home from school and the parent will say, “Hey Billy. Hi Sue. How was your day?”

John Livesay:
They get these one word answers, Mike, “Fine. Good.” So I said, “If you reframe it and say tell me a story about the best part of your day,” then your child has to say, “Hm, what was the best part of my day?” And they start to learn some storytelling techniques and you start to pull out some information from them because they’re telling you a story, and you can just say, “Max was running fast at school today? How fast was he running?” Get them to flush out the details.

Mike Domitrz:
Yeah, that makes sense. Now, I can imagine some people listening going, “All right, that’s just not in my talent, skillset that I’m born with. That’s not how I’m wired.” Can anyone learn to be a good storyteller?

John Livesay:
They can. We all have stories inside of us, and it’s just a matter of like anything else, realizing how important stories are in order to have people remember you and engage with you. So just learning those four basic steps to a story, and start looking at movies that you see and say, “Oh.” Here’s an example, one of the genres of storytelling is rebirth. You start to think, “Okay, what movie used that?” Well, It’s A Wonderful Life, the Jimmy Stewart black and white movie. You say, “Oh,” and then you look at an ad from Prudential and they say, “You know, your retirement is a rebirth. It’s your third act. Let us help you plan it.” So you can start to see movies and brands using storytelling genres, and figure out which genre you want to use to tell your own story.

Mike Domitrz:
You also help people, as you’ve discussed earlier, with that confidence. But it doesn’t just have to be sales. You also help with resilience, which has a lot connected to it. You came to that from your own experiences. For instance, you were laid off after 15 years with the company, so how did that change you? What’s the story around that, and how that took you to resilience?

John Livesay:
Well, the story is that I realized when that moment was happening back in 2008, I don’t know, I had a couple of friends come and help me clean up my office because we had to be out in 24 hours, that I didn’t panic and I stayed calm. That’s a lesson I learned from being a lifeguard. I said to my boss at the time, “Would you like me to give you a turnover report so you know where these clients’ ads are supposed to be running, and what issue and what page?” “Well that’d be great, but everyone else whose being laid off in the outside office is so mad they’re just storming out.”

John Livesay:
I said, “I’m not going to do that.” Little did I know, Mike, that that respect that I showed for my clients and even my boss would turn out to benefit me later. As I was closing the door saying goodbye to my job, I felt sad, and scared, and a little disappointed that that was over. I realized that I lost my job, but not my identity. I said, “Okay, I better reinvent myself,” much like some actors that were in silent movies had to learn talkies. In my case, it was going from just selling print to learning how to sell digital ads. That’s, I think, the big takeaway for people, is to look at stay in the learning zone. Get out of your comfort zone and realize things are changing for all of us. We’re all being disrupted. Even if you don’t lose your job, your job’s being disrupted.

John Livesay:
That mindset of lessons I learned, I learned how to sell digital ads. That was part of the interview process I was describing earlier. Ironically, I got hired back by Conde Nast two years later because I left on such a good note, and I ended up winning Sales Person of the Year for Conde Nast, not just for the magazine, but for the entire company against 400 other sales people around the world. I realized the big takeaway for me is I’m the same person whether I’m being laid off or winning an award. When you realize that, you’re free from being so attached to any one thing happening to you good or bad that is going to affect your self esteem and your self awareness.

Mike Domitrz:
Yeah, you know that reminds me of a story of somebody once, I don’t remember who it was now. It might have been Scott Stratton. He was talking about his first book, and when it became a bestseller. The day that that became the bestseller, he thought, “Oh, now I’ve written a bestselling book,” but actually they were writing the bestselling book before it was ever even being sold. He was already a level of a writer, it’s just he got the acknowledgement on that day. He had written that well the year before. We forget that, that whether I’ve been fired or whether I’m working in my dream job, I have all the same skillsets in both spots. It’s just where I am.

Mike Domitrz:
So what is the secret to resilience then?

John Livesay:
I would say the secret to resilience is remember who you are, that you’re bigger than any one thing happening to you. Also, the other secret is how fast you bounce back after you’ve been knocked down. Suze Orman talks about this in real estate, that the key difference between those top one percent performers and everyone else struggling to make ends meet is the top one percent get a no, or a deal fall through, they just, “Okay, on to the next.” The other people say they are doing it, but they don’t. Their attitude for the next two weeks or longer is kind of still moping around and upset about that.

John Livesay:
When I gave my [TedX 00:14:07] Talk, Be the Lifeguard of Your Own Life, one of the other speakers is Bonnie St. John. She had lost the lower part of her left leg at 12 years old, and went on to learn how to downhill ski with a prosthetic ski leg at that Paralympic Medals. She said, “You know, when they ski, they have to go down two mountains. You get measured, the compilation of both whoever has the best time for both downhill races.” In the first one, she was first place. The second mountain was icier and everybody was falling, and you knew you were going to fall. Sure enough, she fell and then she got back up as fast as she could and finished the race.

John Livesay:
They said, “Oh, you came in second overall.” Because while she was the fastest one to go downhill, she was not the fastest one to get back up. That’s the secret to resilience, is how fast can you get back up?

Mike Domitrz:
That’s a great story. Now, you’ve met Michael Phelps, and I come from a swimming family. There’s a lesson you learned from Michael Phelps. I’m curious to what that is.

John Livesay:
Yes. The lesson I think starts with how did I even get to meet him. I also was a lifeguard and swam competitively. That was a big dream to get to meet someone like that. One of the clients I was calling on was Speedo Swimwear, and they were coming up with a line sportswear. They were probably going to run it in a fitness magazine. I went to them as a representative of Fashion magazine, and I said, “You know, what if we treated your sportswear like it was high fashion, and we had a fashion show around a swimming pool at a hotel. The models could go around the pool, and you could invite Michael Phelps since he’s on your payroll as a spokesperson. We could get all kinds of publicity that wouldn’t normally happen.”

John Livesay:
They liked that idea, and gave me some advertising that wasn’t expected normally. Then I got to meet Michael Phelps. So I went up to him, and I said, “Michael, everyone says you’re such a great swimmer because you’re tall, and you have this huge lung capacity, and your feet are like fins. But I’m guessing there might be something else.” He said, “You know what John, years ago my coach said to me Michael, are you willing to work out on Sundays? I said, yes Coach. He goes, great we just got 52 more workouts a year than your competition.” So the takeaway for everyone is what are you willing to do that your competition is not?

Mike Domitrz:
Yeah, I love that. That’s a great takeaway. Yeah, he’s known for his work ethic, and that’s what a lot of people don’t realize.

John Livesay:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mike Domitrz:
Even at a young age, he was willing to work that out. In resilience, in storytelling, you have to face conflict in life. How do you help people get out of their comfort zone?

John Livesay:
I think the best way to get out of your comfort zone is to first realize you’re in it, and the dangers of staying in it. For example, Blockbuster was in their comfort zone. Blockbuster said, “You know, we’re just going to keep renting out videos.” Meanwhile, Netflix is like, “Oh, we’re sending out discs. That’s different. But what if we got into this whole new streaming business?” So one stayed in the comfort zone and went away, and one thrived. I think that’s the “aha” moment for everyone whether you’re working for yourself, or working for a company, is to realize the dangers of staying a comfort zone, and always be learning and stay curious as to what’s coming up. You know, with the Wayne Gretzky quote, “I anticipate where the puck’s going. Don’t just stay focused in the weeds.”

Mike Domitrz:
How does somebody do that? That’s a goal that sounds good, getting out of my comfort zone, but how do I actually get past those barriers that keep me in my comfort zone?

John Livesay:
Well, I think you need to look at your own specific industry. If your someone whose saying, “Here we are in print. Print advertising has been going on for decades, and there’s this new thing called the Internet coming out. Maybe we should look into getting into that as well, and having a website for our brands.” I mean, it’s hard to imagine back then, but that was a decision people had to make. Like, “Our advertisers are going to have a website, and they’re going to start selling clothes from this website and not just the store. Maybe we should get into this.”

John Livesay:
Some of the brands companies jumped ahead and were already there. Some waited until their clients and advertisers were already saying, “We’re taking some of our print budget and putting it into digital.” Some people were saying, “Oh, we don’t have a website yet for you to advertise on.” Other people said, “Great, we have a website. We have this many visitors on it already.” So that’s how you do it. You would see what’s coming and anticipate it first as being reactive.

Mike Domitrz:
Awesome, now you’re a big reader. You recommend one specific book that I noticed, Judy Robinett’s Crack the Funding Code. What about that book do you recommend?

John Livesay:
First of all, Judy’s a great writer. She shows a tremendous amount of empathy on putting yourself in the investor’s shoes. She helps so many founders get funded and get their dreams to come true. That’s her main focus. She’s inspiring to let you know that if you just get in the right room with the right message on how to do that in the book, you can get your startup funded. A lot of startups fail because they don’t have customers and they don’t have funding to keep things going. I recommend that because she really explains a step by step process for so many people who have the dream of getting funded and don’t get it happen. She shows you how to do it.

Mike Domitrz:
There’s another book you recommend called Disrupt You. What do you love about that one?

John Livesay:
That’s by Jay Samit. Again, it really plays to what we were talking about earlier of not staying in your comfort zone, because if you stay in your comfort zone, then we know what happens. But Jay’s book is all about disrupt yourself. Learn something new. Try and solve some problems that are going on in the world and see how you can disrupt yourself before disruption comes to you.

Mike Domitrz:
That’s awesome. John, I want to thank you for joining us. You’ve given us a lot of information in a short period of time. For all of our listeners, this is John Livesay. If you are looking to how to spell that, it’s think of live and say, L-I-V-E-S-A-Y, and John, that’s JohnLivesay.com. We want to make sure everybody can find you there. You’ll also be in our show notes. There’s a way they can text. That’ll all be in the show notes to get information from you. John, thank you so much for joining us.

John Livesay:
Great. I have a free gift for your listeners. If they text the word “pitch” P-I-T-C-H to 66866, I’ll send them a free chapter, sneak peek, of my new book, Better Selling Through Storytelling.

Mike Domitrz:
Awesome. For our listeners, you know what’s next. It is Question of the Week. Before I answer this week’s Question of the Week, I’d love to ask you a question. Would you please subscribe to this podcast, the Respect Podcast with Mike Domitrz. By subscribing, you can make a huge impact. Now, you might be wondering, “Mike, how does my subscribing to your podcast make a huge impact?” Well here’s how, for every person that subscribes, it raises the rankings of the show on the search engines. For people who care about respect like yourself, when they’re doing a search for podcasts they’re more likely to find the show providing an awesome opportunity for us to spread more respect around this world.

Mike Domitrz:
All you do is hit subscribe under your podcast. Plus, the second benefit is by subscribing, you automatically get every episode right into your phone or whatever device you are listening to the podcast on. It happens automatically. So, subscribing also makes your life easier. Now let’s get into this week’s Question of the Week. Oh and by the way, you can always ask your Question of the Week by joining us on Facebook in our discussion group. It’s called The Respect Podcast Discussion Group. Go there on Facebook and ask whatever questions you would like me to answer and/or address in this segment of the show. Then listen to each episode to find out when your question is included.

Mike Domitrz:
Today’s question is, “Mike, how does innovation and having a foundation of respect go hand in hand with an organization? How do they work together?” Like most people don’t think, “Oh, if we have a foundation of respect here, our company will be more innovative.” But actually, it absolutely will. Here’s the concept of having a foundation of respect, you respect all voices, all backgrounds, all ways of thinking these possibilities that further deepen your company’s knowledge base, problem solving, creativity. When you really create a foundation of respect, more people will feel safer being able to share their ideas, their problem solving thoughts, without fear of judgment, or ridicule, or humiliation. They’re more likely to come forward.

Mike Domitrz:
Without an overly competitive, “Somebody did it better,” or “I’m doing it better,” knowing you have a foundation of respect, it is with support, it’s with gratitude that ideas are brought forward. So, so many more are brought forward, therefore you create greater services and products and solutions because you have more voices contributing. You also look for more diversity in who makes up your organization, because you want that diverse voice. You want that diverse thought, and ideas, and problem solving. You bring more of that into you. You seek that out versus going, “Hey, we’re all alike in the room, so how do we think in a way that’s diverse?” Which is not a healthy way to be diverse.

Mike Domitrz:
You be diverse by having a room of diversity, and that’s what we want more of in any organization if it really wants to be founded in respect. It’s why respect and innovation go so beautifully together, because when have a foundation of respect you’ll be feeding and nurturing innovation throughout your organization. While others struggle with being overly competitive with the organization, you will have one built on support and respecting those ideas and brilliance brought by each person. Thus, giving you a big, big up on the competition because of creating an atmosphere of respect and support for every person within your organization.

Mike Domitrz:
Do you know what I would love? I would love to hear your answer to this week’s Question of the Week. Would you please answer what your answer would have been if you were asked that question today on the show? All you do is go to our Facebook page. We have a special group where we have these discussions called The Respect Podcast Discussion Group. The Respect Podcast Discussion Group. Share with us what would your answer have been to this week’s Question of the Week, and take a moment and post us a new question for future episodes. What question would you like to hear me answer on an upcoming episode? That’s all done on Facebook in our special group, which is The Respect Podcast Discussion Group.

Mike Domitrz:
I can’t wait to see you there.

Mike Domitrz:
Thank you for joining us in this episode of The Respect Podcast, exploring work, love, and life. This episode, like every episode, is brought to you by our organization, The Center for Respect, which you can find it CenterForRespect.com. Of course, you can find me, your host Mike Domitrz, at MikeSpeaks.com. Thank you so much for joining us.

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