Training and coaching are essential for the rookie cold caller, and that’s an important part of the life work of today’s guest, Bruce Lewolt, Founder of both JoyAI and Blast Learning. But, as our hosts, Chris Beall and Corey Frank, remind our podcast listeners, even the most experienced and successful cold callers also need coaching from time to time. They can suffer from an inadvertent tendency to drift away from the prescribed plan — the script, tonality, and emotion that they’ve been trained to use — one that generally elicits a prospect’s response of “Sure! Tell me why you’re calling.” Bruce agrees and says that sales directors need to listen to calls and give feedback and coaching to all salespeople on a consistent basis, because it’s human nature to drift away from what you’re taught to say and start doing what feels easier or more comfortable, or putting your own cool, personal stamp on it because that’s the way you roll. It’s not your call to make, so note the caution in today’s Market Dominance Guys’ title and “Don’t Get Lost in Your Rock ‘n’ Roll” and drift away.
About Our Guest
Bruce Lewolt is Founder of Blast Learning, a service that uses Alexa or Google Assistant as an intelligent personal study assistant, resulting in a state-of-the-art study method that is not just effective but makes learning enjoyable. (See BlastLearning.com and BlastStudy.com) He is also the Founder of JOYai, the first emotionally intelligent and sales-savvy artificial intelligence system for salespeople, bringing intelligent automation to prospecting and selling.
Full episode transcript below:
Training and coaching are essential for the rookie cold caller, and that's an important part of the life work of today's guest, Bruce Lewolt, founder of both JOYai and Blast Learning. But as our host Chris Beall and Corey Frank remind our podcast listeners, even the most experienced and successful cold callers also need coaching from time to time. They can suffer from an inadvertent tendency to drift away from the prescribed plan, the script, tonality, and emotion that they've been trained to use, one that generally elicits a prospect's response of "Sure, tell me why you're calling." Bruce agrees and says that sales directors need to listen to calls and give feedback and coaching to all sales people on a consistent basis because it's human nature to drift away from what you're taught to say and start doing what feels easier or more comfortable or put in your own cool personal stamp on it because that's the way you roll. It's not your call to make. So note the caution in today's Market Dominance Guys title, and don't get lost in your rock and roll and drift away.
Corey Frank (01:31):
Would you mind saying your opening in character again all the way through Bruce, because I really like that. We certainly have used that here about the Blast Learning, because I think in character hearing your intonation and your modulation I think really helps convey that message.
Bruce Lewolt (01:46):
Sure. So Corey, you all have the list I've categorized by what you are. So I know that you're a dean...
Corey Frank (01:46):
I said I'm a nursing and administrator for a...
Bruce Lewolt (01:46):
Yeah, a dean of a nursing school.
Corey Frank (01:46):
...one of the medical schools. Yeah.
Bruce Lewolt (01:58):
Yep. So Corey, I know my call's an interruption. Can I have just 27 seconds to share how we could help your students? So with that there I'm getting the vast majority of the time. Sure, okay, go ahead. And I'm listening then for what kind of reaction that is really carefully there. I'm listening for the real emotive, I'm listening for the fun. Go ahead. Yeah, sure. Go ahead. And then I'm matching that. Then it depends. The words that I'm saying are somewhat [inaudible 00:02:31] on that, but the key is that I'm matching the emotion of that, right? So the [inaudible 00:02:36] is to do the one that's emotive. We've discovered a breakthrough here that solves the problem of retention for nursing schools and when other nursing colleges have worked with us, they've seen dropouts decrease by 92%. So in that part, I'm getting at the thing that after a while I discovered that is the biggest pain point for anybody that's a dean.
And by the way, if it's not a pain point, then they're not a prospect for me. Then I don't care. If no, it's Harvard and we graduate a hundred percent, I don't care. Okay, fine. Tell me no that, but virtually everybody else is really concerned about student retention, and then I'll go into a value proposition when they give me of course the 27 seconds, right? They've given me time to now talk. Basically what we do is we turn a student's cell phone into a digital tutor that follows them around and every single day figures out what they should do and how they should study so literally they can be in the car and say, "Alexa, open Study Blast," and it'll start quizzing them in the way that builds durable, long term memories.
Corey Frank (03:40):
But I love your tonality. I love your emotion, the verbal dis fluency, just enough of a stammer for endearment, and it doesn't sound like the 153rd dial of the day.
Bruce Lewolt (03:50):
Right. Right. I'm never...
Corey Frank (03:50):
It sounds like...
Bruce Lewolt (03:51):
I'm never completely competent in this role. There are other salespeople I have trained. It is sharp and to the point, okay? So I trained people for a big company that has three letters in their name. Everybody expects them to be very competent and the authority in there, therefore I needed people to step up emotionally...
Corey Frank (04:12):
Don't most companies have three letters in their name?
Bruce Lewolt (04:14):
Yeah. There you go. Okay.
Chris Beall (04:16):
Well it's like this. Did you know that most people have more than the average number of legs. That's just math though.
Bruce Lewolt (04:26):
That's just math.
Chris Beall (04:29):
Sorry Bruce, go ahead.
Bruce Lewolt (04:30):
Very good, Chris. Yeah. So Corey, I think the interesting thing there, and just kind of transitioning a bit, so you've learned all these things, you've figured out tonality, you've figured out the words that work, you've figured out the emotions that work, then how do you take that and transfer it into a sales team? And what I did here is I didn't hire salespeople first because I didn't know for sure the characteristics of the salespeople I needed to hire. Do I really need somebody that's very, very self coming into this? There are certain roles where I really do need that, a lot of self-confidence really resistant to rejection, but the more self-confident coming into it, in many ways the less trainable they are, right? Cause at the other side of that coin is I really know what I'm doing and I want to stick with it.
And you know this better than I do. What I did is I came to you and I said, "Look, I've figured this out now that works for me, now I've got to figure out how to make it duplicatable and how to train it." So you were with your people, then we took it and we trained it. Well, your people all come with experience. If I was somebody who had never done this myself before, I would've had no credibility, but I had credibility. I knew what worked. I knew what didn't work and could come through and train it, and even that my words of training come across differently. People hear things from their own perspective. Everybody's got a frame, the glasses that they look through, they have different colors in them, right? And so whatever I say, they see in a different way. But if I hadn't had that background of doing myself, I couldn't work with them and really train them well to be able to duplicate it and understand that they can't be clones of me [inaudible 00:06:18] you have to call in for me is doing a phenomenal job.
She doesn't sound like me but was able to communicate to her and coach her on taking the emotions and adapt it to her voice print. And that's what's working really great. By the way, haven't told you this. So she set an appointment last week, we did the first presentation and today was the second presentation and they need it badly, and we've closed the deal on it based on one of the cold calls made, and this is someone who has only been calling for us for two weeks. So it can happen very, very quickly.
Chris Beall (06:57):
So I got a question. So Bruce, you're going through the training of her. When we're doing anything, there's always a bottleneck and a process, there's always a sticking point in the training, the place where you kind of get a little nervous. I've taught a lot of people to swing a golf club, and there's always a point in that process where I think "Are they ever really just going to let go of their risks and let the club head accelerator, or are they just going to hang on until they're hanging onto the side of their casket?"
There's a feeling in me when I'm training people that makes me a little bit uncertain. I borders on anxiety. Is this going to work? Because it's not like cutting up an apple, right? I get up in the morning, I go get an apple, I got a sharp knife. I am a hundred percent sure that that knife's going through that apple. But when I'm training somebody, they're not an apple, I'm not quite a hundred percent sure. I might run into something inside of them that they're unaware of and I'm unaware of that gets us stuck. Did you run into that kind of thing at all, or did you just cut the apple?
Bruce Lewolt (07:55):
I guess I didn't have the expectation that I would cut the apple to start with. So I knew that they were going to take it from their framework, interpret it, and it's only through coaching once they started that I could actually mold it into what works because they hear me, they think they hear me, they interpret it, they think it'll work this way, but it's like, what's the thing, nobody ever survives a sock in the nose, whatever the saying is, right? So, but until they get out there and do it, they don't really experience the feedback. The thing you were talking about, your Zen thing. So the number one thing when you start a new salesperson is you have to listen to their calls on a consistent basis. I can't tell you how many times hundreds of sales managers I've worked with, they never listen to calls. It's insanity.
Because the salespeople will get off by a little bit. So one person was doing really well and I was listening to calls and then they stop doing really well. And it was imperceptible. It was a few words that they'd changed and a tonality that they had dropped in the middle that was really important, and to them, they didn't understand those words, what those words really meant to a dean of a nursing school.
These words were really ... but would you understand them? We also offer next-generation questions. That would just go right over your head unless you're a dean of a nursing school and you know that the licensing exam is going to be filled with those and you're freaked out because your nursing students don't know how to handle these critical thinking type of questions that, by the way, if you're in any other profession, this is where all professional examinations are going from this [inaudible 00:09:34] multiple-choice to how do you think in the profession. And that's one of the things we train on. So, didn't make sense to her, but as soon as I picked it up, I was listening. I said, "Oh, you've dropped these words, add them back in and we'll all be good." So listening and coaching is incredibly important.
Chris Beall (10:35):
I love that. By the way, we have a name for that at ConnectAndSell, we call it drift, and drift is the one universal that we find in cold calling, and I had an opportunity once to talk to Dan McLean. He was actually on the show with us talking about this and I was driving across the Sierras on my, I don't know, 7,000th trip trying to get stuff over to Reno, and I'm listening to Dan and I'm thinking, "Is this Dan?" None of this stuff was on script, none of the tonality was right, and none of the understanding was there, and I just dropped what I was doing called him up and I said, "Dan, I'm listening to a conversation of yours from three days ago, it said 3:22, go listen to it. You've drifted into outer space, man."
And he said, "No, I never drift. I never drift. I never drift. I am exact right on." So three minutes later he calls me back and says, "Chris, I have no idea who that was. It didn't even sound like me." Right? And that's somebody who's an expert who's doing this 25, 30 times a day, who sells the stuff, and he drifts. We have another guy whose drift is this, he adds one word. It's like, I used to have a horse that would always start to turn its head toward home. Even when we were three miles away, if we were going oblique down a wash, it was like it had to pull me. I was out by your place Corey. You know those big washes out there where they don't exactly parallel the road and horses [inaudible 00:12:00] he would pull, well this guy works for us, I'll let him remain nameless, to add the word "a bit" to soften up the beginning of his opener because he is awkward feeling, being the problem.
To embrace being the problem was just too much for him. He's kind of a rough tough guy who believes that it's okay to be the problem, but he actually inside doesn't think it's okay to be the problem. And so he says, "I know I'm a bit of an interruption" and boom, hang up.
Bruce Lewolt (12:30):
Corey Frank (12:30):
But we hear that so often don't we Chris, on the 27 second and information-based opener, they're going to put it in all in one bucket, all their curmudgeons and cynics will put it all in one bucket, and I'm a big ... and I think all three of us are here, on the performance of it, the musicality, the authenticity of it, and so that little word "a bit," we have folks that they'll learn the screenplay and they'll say change it from 27 seconds to half a minute, or 30 seconds. And they'll say, "Well, what's the harm that's done?" So Chris, you're the expert, this all emanated right, [inaudible 00:13:07]. So what is the harm that is done from that novelty perspective by just changing that one little bit of the intro to, can I take about a half a minute versus can I take 27 seconds?
Chris Beall (13:21):
How about a quick minute. There's one that's...
Corey Frank (13:23):
A quick minute. [inaudible 00:13:25].
Chris Beall (13:24):
Just opens with a lie. Go ahead, lie right off the bat. You don't sound like a salesperson. It's multifold. I mean, for one thing, you've given up something that is really valuable, which is a precise number that gets somebody curious, and it's like, well, why 27 seconds? Well, there's curiosity just built right into that thing. It makes them, not pay attention like look up kind of pay attention, but kind of cock their head go "Yeah, 27 seconds, right?" So you've given that up. You've just thrown that away and you've become uninteresting. For another thing, when you say 27 seconds you sound like you mean it, like you're making a real deal with somebody. It's real. You're going to stick to it. When you say "kind of a half a minute," they know you're lying.
You can't hold somebody to kind of half a minute, but you can certainly hold them ... In fact, you can come back and say "No, but I'll give you 17" and you got to know what to do when they say that, which is fantastic. Tell you why. And then you just go there, right? You thank them and you go, because they don't have time for anything else. It's funny. Chris Voss talks about this, that odd numbers are important, odd being not odd and even, but odd being different because if you mean it, what are the odds that the right amount of time to do something is also a round number? They're almost zero.
Bruce Lewolt (14:43):
There's another thing in my mind too though, is it gives me the first marker that I can put in there as soon as possible to judge the this person's emotions. Or, so really I should back up, their personality. Because I'm going to mold to their personality, right? I live in their world, not mine. I mold to their personality and rather than expecting them to mold mine so I could communicate. And can I have a 30 seconds? Okay. There's nothing really to react to there other than yes or no, but 27 seconds gives a world of different options.
They can laugh at it. Okay. They can figure it's a challenge. Okay. Yeah. 27 seconds, go. That's a different personality than the "Sure, go ahead." The empathetic. Sure, you can go ahead. It's a different person, and the more, the sooner you can get a handle on that person's personality to go back to Corey's point, the sooner you can have an authentic relationship with that person about their needs in their world, because you're selling in their world and you interrupted them, it's your responsibility to be in their world. And that's how you start to figure it out.
Corey Frank (15:50):
Yeah. Chris, what do you call this? The "playful curious," right? The "Can Bruce come out and play" type of tonality, is that what I'm after? Is that the best way to describe it?
Chris Beall (16:00):
Yeah. That voice I think is a can you come out and play voice. It's kind of funny too, because at the same time you're very seriously offering a solution to their problem, which is you. It's actually kind of funny that you are their problem and that you recognize it. Almost all great comedians have something early in their shtick that lets us both laugh at them and with them at the same moment at themselves. Laughing with somebody at themselves is one of the most collegial embracing "we're together" things you can do with somebody. Acknowledging that the situation's a little funny, right? It is a little funny. I know I'm an interruption, but that's got to be hard and flat because I got to throw myself under the bus, and then that playful, curious voice, and Bruce, what you did that is so interesting is there is at the very end, when you said students, you went slightly down in the intonation, very slightly down.
So it was playful, and it was curious, and then it was a quarter second of deadly serious like "I mean this, this is something I mean." And had your voice gone up at that very last moment, it would've sounded like you were asking for permission, but what you were doing was making a recommendation, and that recommendation is about something really important. And to me, that's where this game is played. It's played in those quarter seconds or so. And we listen to Cheryl Turner sometimes around here for fun, and my fiance Helen and I were listening to her once because Helen was thinking of calling. I think it was all of the VPs of HR of Honeywell, right? Using ConnectAndSell. There's like a hundred of them. And we made a list and came up with script, didn't know if it was going to work or not.
It was really fun though, because she hadn't been through it. And I said, "But before we do this, let's listen to somebody who's a true master." So we're listening and listening and I asked her, "What do you think" after about 20 conversations, and she said, "I get it." The secret is in the micro pivots, the emotional micro pivots in which she picks up on something and changes just a little bit to be a little bit more with that person, and it's that little chuckle or that little pause or that little agreement or that ... whatever it is, and they happen fast.
And I call this the sword fight in a dark room. It's pretty dark in there. You got to hear where the steel is hitting the steel in order to know what to do next, and then it starts to get a little lighter and you start to have more of a chance to kind of fight on an equal footing so to speak. Not opposing the person, I just think that my point is, it's not languid. It is not slow. It's you may be speaking slowly, you may be speaking quickly, but what you're going to hear and react to you don't have a lot of time to do that, and it's what makes ... Cold calling is such an athletic business.
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