EP199: Conversational Alchemy - Transforming Sales in the Age of Cheap Outreach
Prepare for another thought-provoking journey as Corey and Chris are joined by special guest Jim Graf, the CEO and Founder of Kazzcade, a former private equity finance titan turned outreach sales guru. Together, they delve into the concept of "Gresham's Law" – where "bad money drives out good" – and apply it to the world of sales.
In an era overrun by cheap tricks and impersonal outreach, the MDG team explores how these practices can diminish the value of genuine, high-touch sales. With AI and automation flooding inboxes with repetitive and uninspiring messages, Chris, Corey, and Jim examine the phenomenon of how "cheap outreach actually drives out the value of good outreach."
Join the conversation as they discuss the impact of this shift on the art of selling. Can we reverse this trend? Can we, in fact, perform real “conversational alchemy” by transforming mundane interactions into genuine, meaningful connections? This episode offers valuable insights into navigating the challenging landscape of modern sales and cold outreach, where authenticity and real dialogue are held at a premium.
Don't miss "Conversational Alchemy: Transforming Sales in the Age of Cheap Outreach" as it explores the timeless wisdom of Gresham's Law and its relevance in today's business world.
Here we are with another episode of The Market Dominance Guys, as we inch ever closer to episode number 200, Chris. And as always, I'm here with the Sage of Sales, the profit of profit, and the Hawking of Hawking. Chris Beal. Chris, how are you?
I'm doing pretty good today, having fun at the Outreach Unleash Conference the last couple of days. And gosh, I'd forgotten how amusing people are when you get 'em in a big herd like that. They're pretty funny.
Well, we're going to talk a little bit about the trends [00:00:30] and not the most circuitous route to get to B P O and outsourced sales. We have a very special guest, Jim Groff, C e o, and founder of Kaz Kade k a zz kaz cade.com. Jim, welcome to the market Dominance Skies.
And you are also for full disclosure because our attorneys get on this every episode, right? Chris, you are a power user of connected Cell just for the listeners, so they [00:01:00] absolutely know this was not coerced. You're not being compensated for your appearance in any way, shape or form. You were somehow enticed, seduced come on this podcast. And that's all there is really is just the nuggets that come from Chris's words. And that's payment enough though, as it is for me for the last 15, 20 years. I don't know what it's been, Chris, but anyway. Well, let's get right into it. So Jim, you come from a very different background that Chris has some interesting perspective on. You come from the private equity and financial [00:01:30] side of the ledger, but yet you own one of the best B P O sales consulting agencies marketplace over there in Lake Mary in Florida. So how did a finance guy, what left turn where you should have took a right turn to a space like this?
Yep. I spent my entire life actually in sales from right out of undergrad and then after grad school and I worked for some [00:02:00] great companies that provided just a great foundational B two B sales. Then after grad school, worked for an investment bank where it's a lot of selling. I mean, investment bankers by definition are kind of glorified real estate agents, but my specific role is what's called an institutional broker. And we would help companies raise capital and I'd work directly with hedge funds on pitching them stocks, putting their portfolio long or short. So it was a constant sales job and a lot of phone sales. So sales has just always been in my D N A and I always navigated [00:02:30] towards sales because the income was always limitless and it was a great career. I really enjoyed it, but I always had a very entrepreneurial spirit and just realized that look, life's not slowing down.
And so I started to look for an organization that I could raise some money and buy. And I came across this at the time it was just a mom and pop lead gen company in Orlando, and I'm like, man, I didn't even know appointment setting was even a thing. And I'm like, this is crazy because all my life in sales, I've never heard [00:03:00] of bant qualified. That still blows my mind. We can talk about that. I think that's insane. I was given a territory and it's like make it happen. So anyways, as I looked at the company, I'm like, this could be really interesting. I think it can add a lot of value here as sales is so cordo my profession. And that was eight years ago. And since then we really kind of transformed it into a complete S D R as a service.
We're more of a business process outsourcing where we bring the full stack from helping identify what is your I C P, any marketing around that email copy, the whole tech stack. [00:03:30] And that's where Chris and Connect andel are a key component, huge believer in using the phone. Matter of fact, at times we've actually thought about pulling the email component because a good portion of all the engagement we get and appointments we actually deliver for our clients is all via phone. But anyway, so we bring that whole tech stack, build out cadences, and then of course it's the technology, but then it's really the talent and who is that S D R that's going to steer that ship and execute those phone calls, respond to any emails, do it at scale, do it professionally, do it [00:04:00] well. And it's been a great pivot so far. We're very blessed that we have plenty of work.
Well, Chris also comes in, has a deep experience from that private equity venture world, and he is also reformed from that side of the ledger and decided to help and augment certainly in the arms dealing business, the weapons business of helping amplify the power of the phone. So Chris, you've worked with and collaborated with and argued and debated with guys like Jim when he was in the other side of the fence there. [00:04:30] So what do you think of that? What do you think about a guy who's actually reformed from the VC venture world and realizing, Hey, I've been in sales and now I've got to jump in and I have all this mass, these experiences I can help other people doing what I've been doing in my own practice day after day.
Mean, ultimately all of this is both constrained by and energized by money. That's kind of how it works. I mean, it's the magic of the fungible and the liquid and the leverageable. And so what's so interesting [00:05:00] to me, and this is actually why I jumped into connect and sell, is that when I first saw that particular product, I didn't see it. I was just told about it by a person that I was obliged to believe because if you fail to believe Sean McLaren, when he is speaking with you at six 30 in the morning at the Rosewood Hotel, you're just going to fail in general life. So I went ahead and believed him and to me it was like, wow, we always talk about printing money and in business in B two B, conversations [00:05:30] are truly money that is, you have to hold them reasonably well, but if you can make conversations liquid, if you can make them reasonably fungible, which is what Jim's organization does actually is like we can do it.
You don't have to do it, that's fungibility and you can make them leverageable. So you get more than what you put in, you get out. And so now you get a compounding effect. You can actually magic with conversations the same way [00:06:00] that folks in venture and VC and private equity and hedge funds do it with money. And I've always said conversations with the other currency in business, it's just the one that you feel like you can only print it at a certain rate. It's like in the old days you had, okay, what made a good currency? Well, limited supply, gold was pretty good. Very limited supply of gold. It's hard to make more of it. A lot of alchemists came along and said, I can do this. But it turned out they were not doing it correctly. [00:06:30] And Isaac Newton fellow physicist, he controlled the mint in England.
And why would you put a physicist in control or mathematician in control of the mint? Well, because you want to make sure that what gets in there is real, right? And that's kind of like the business of knowing what's real. And I feel the same way about conversations that what we're doing is we're saying, can I do conversational alchemy? Can I make real conversations flow at an unnatural rate as though I was turning lead into gold? So [00:07:00] interesting. And we've been trying to work with folks as you know, Corey in the appointment setting, lead gen, outsource sales, whatever space for years. And we always have ended up in a business model conflict with them early and sometimes forever because what they are selling is predicated on scarcity of conversations. And their whole pricing model is predicated on flow rates of conversations that don't exceed one or two per hour per rep, [00:07:30] and therefore their business model is whatever it happens to be, it's by the meeting or it's by whatever it happens to be. And it really takes a special kind of business mind to look at eight x nine x 10 x flow rate increases in conversations and say, we will adapt our business model to that and go dominate, which is what Jim and his firm are doing.
A matter of fact, you said something about [00:08:00] conversations having a compounding effect, the name Cascade, the actual, the reason it's cascade is that that light bulb went off many years ago. And I'm like, look, here's the deal, because when we were doing lead gen, this is a lead that's a lead. Here's a P D F call bill. And it ultimately dawned on me there's nothing more valuable than actually just doing this period hard stop and that every conversation actually has a cascading effect. And these aren't just like a widget. Here's a profile of a guy, his LinkedIn address and his email [00:08:30] as a lead, and that's where we actually named the company. It's Cascade because what we deliver has cascading effects for every business and for ourselves. And so I was telling Corey the other day when we were talking, we have some interesting tech and how we deliver our product, but it's really the tech stack and connect and sell, which are key components where we spend an inordinate amount of our time is the training of individuals to have conversations like an inordinate because as you know, you [00:09:00] just have so little time, but it's really that lever that really can make a great rep out of a good rep.
And what's funny is you talk about scarcity, they're only, especially with the AI and everyone with the biggest buzzword going on ai, this AI that they're going to grow in value. And we see it just in our ASPs. I mean, when I took over, I think our A S P was like 550 bucks. Now we've got a different pricing model, [00:09:30] but if we hit our benchmarks, it's more like 1400. And that's just been a steady why. To your point, these are harder to come by and you got to make the most of them. And that's kind of why I get excited. I don't see it going away ever. I mean, I could go on a diatribe how today's world, people feeling more isolated, they're just going to continue to grow in importance. And it's funny, when we bring people on, I actually tell 'em, I'm like, look, here's the deal.
You are going to be trained on skills, but I'm just seeing in four years, [00:10:00] either you're an engineer, you're creating something or you're interfacing with a client. Everything else, it's gone. Don't need it. Don't need it. And so the skills that we are training with the people that we hire for an S C R, they see that and they understand that it's a huge opportunity for 'em. But I really believe it. I didn't come up with this. I think it was some author like Adam Grant or somebody said in the not too distant future, it's going to be critical thinking, collaboration, creativity. There was another one. But outside of those skills with ai, [00:10:30] you better have those skills.
Yeah, yeah. Well, it's kind of funny. I'm an old programmer and we had a thing just happen yesterday in our company. It was kind of funny. It was kind of funny in a tragic way, but we got around the tragedy and that was some data that should still be in Salesforce had inadvertently been undone. It wasn't there anymore. And so this is an AI story, and so I went back through 1500 emails and found the 56 [00:11:00] of them that contained that data, but simply as a webpage in an email copied and pasted those into Excel files one tab per and sent it off to the one and only Tom Jung, who's been a guest on our show, he's our data concierge, and I work with him a couple hours a day in the data. And here's the AI part. This is why normally it'd say, okay, so the skill it takes to take this weird random stuff and extract [00:11:30] a little mini table out of the middle of it, over 50 something tabs and produce one beautiful piece of output that I can send to somebody who might be an investment banker or something like that about what's happened.
So what did he do? I'm on my way to the eye doctor. I give him this assignment. I get to the eye doctor 22 minutes later, call him up, how's it going? He says, I just had chat [00:12:00] G p T, write the Python script that will take all of this stuff and turn it into what we need. I'm testing it right now. This is 22 minutes on the clock. I'm testing it right now, and I think it'll be done in 15 to 20 minutes. How long is your appointment? So the idea that you've got a bunch of stuff in your head that you can dredge out, and as a programmer you think, I've got these tricks up my sleeve, they're not really there. Same thing with business analysis. [00:12:30] I took chat g p T for a little ride one day and just took some spreadsheets that described our costs, our true deep costs, agent navigation time, and a bunch of stuff like that. Our two kinds of contracts connect on target reach, connect on live voice, what we charge for them and how customers receive R O I. And I asked chat G P T to build me a pricing model that would balance my customer's, r o i, with our desire to hit certain margin.
It [00:13:00] did it for me through about an hour and a half of interaction. That one I wouldn't have been able to do myself. I could have done it in spreadsheets and stuff like that, but it would've taken me two weeks and I get interrupted 30,000 times in two weeks. So it wouldn't have happened. And it was just a fun Saturday just saying, no, no, no. What I meant was that's $7 an hour, not $7 a minute. I misspoken. It goes, oh yes. Thank you so much for clarifying that and it gives me a complete analysis. I said, please put that in this form, put it in this form, put it in this form. [00:13:30] It analyzed the business and gave me a better pricing model. So if you think that your skills are these technical skills that other than critical thinking, and I would break that down by the way, anybody wants to do critical thinking, you got to understand set theory. You've got to understand survivorship bias. These things will not jump out of the ai. It's interpretive critical thinking around what these fantastic tools can do. And it's knowing when you can use it. When is it okay? [00:14:00] And when's that damn thing hallucinating?
Kind of jump in, but I agree with you a thousand percent. We have somebody we work with, her name is Cheryl Turner. Cheryl Turner is the master of the cold call, micro pivot. We listen to her because what she does is somebody says X, right? And she's always inside the script, but her timing the little chuckle,
Being genuinely amazed, whatever it happens to be. My wife and [00:14:30] I spent hours one day listening to her as my wife, Helen was preparing to embark on her career as a cold caller using Connected cell, which she did for one hour and has never done it since. And she said, greatest weight loss program in history. But she also said this, all my research was a waste, which is similar to all that stuff in your head's, a waste. My research was a waste. All I needed to know was I was talking to another human being. I pushed a button and had the undivided [00:15:00] attention of another person, a person who could mean something to my business and vice versa. I had no idea there was such power. And we've been together for three years.
Yeah, that's interesting. Yeah. It's funny, when we get into the training and the way we break it down, there's selling skills and there's product knowledge. But when you get into the selling skills, it's so funny. You have the script and all that, but it really is, you got to talk it. And they use the example of a movie and who your favorite actor is and how, look, they have a script, but [00:15:30] he's not reading it. And you got to be the same way. And it's tonality and it's active listening and the more human it is, it really, it's just the more authentic it is. And we have this gal who started with us in July with no background, no background in sales, and no technical background. We have a lot of our enterprise clients are leading tech companies, A W S H P E, don't know if I can say that on the podcast.
It's so funny. So this gal [00:16:00] we're going over basics, what the cloud is. I'm just like, oh Lord. But she is so authentic and what she calls, she has such genuine excitement about the fact that this cloud provider can lower infrastructure costs by X percent. And she says it with such honesty and kind of like a pure, authentic naivete that the prospect is like, tell me more. Well, let me tell you, Chris, and it's only because it's authentic. He's just genuinely [00:16:30] that positive all the time. It's just her demeanor. And I coach these guys about this and there's nothing magical because you get other sales guys who have a bit of an ego, and I'm going to close more and this and that, which is awesome. I love it. I get it. But there's a part of, you got to be able to communicate that you truly believe you can help the person and be real. You got to be in the moment. If they ask you a question, just pause and think about it and then answer. But be honest. If you don't know the answer, say you don't know, [00:17:00] you start spinning off in the space trying to come up with something about the product that you don't know much about. You're just, it's gone. It's gone. But it's try to
Do that same thing. Jim, as you had mentioning, as you were mentioning, trying to do that same level of insistent mindset, authenticity in an email. And I think you had said something interesting, and I'd love to get Chris's opinion on this, especially coming from Unleash the conference up there in Seattle. But you had mentioned that you're thinking of pulling back on email as part of one of the [00:17:30] channels that Cascade does. Why, how come, and then Chris, does that mesh with some of the things that you've learned from Unleashed this week? Certainly the things that we've taught on this podcast for many years.
So first of all, it's just as simple as about 85% of our engagement and production is a result of a conversation. So it's either our guys are able to actually set up a follow-up call with our client or actually set a time [00:18:00] where they will have the discovery call, but the majority of that, and it's more than half, it's truly close, like 80% is via the phone. Second thing is, look, we use chat G p T, and as Chris was saying, at this point, it's really about the prompts. And I tell our clients, me telling you we use chat, G P T is like me saying, we use Google. It's out there. Everyone uses it. It's really how good are you at prompting? And we're at the fifth iteration of our prompting for generating email copy. And even then it's really AI assisted. [00:18:30] We still have a copywriter kind of audit.
These subject lines are just cheesy, whatever. But I'm sitting here, I'm like, well, if we're doing this, everyone's doing this. The amount of content marketing and email marketing is just going to explode if it hasn't already. It's kind of been like that. And so the only reason we haven't pulled it is we do have some of our SDRs, and this is more empirical. I don't know a way to quantify it When they're talking to a prospect, he or she'll actually reference, oh yes, you've been, [00:19:00] I know you've reached out a couple times via email. What's going on? I don't know if it's a trend yet. It's more just data points, but that's just empirical evidence. So we haven't pulled it yet. Honestly. Also clients, they love to hear about this exotic cadence of X amount of touchpoints, email and phone. But in the back of my head, I'm like, I'm just telling you, it's predominantly the phone. But I'm glad you like all these elegantly crafted personalized email messaging. So that's why we've debated internally a couple [00:19:30] of times.
Rolling? Yeah, it was pretty interesting. For one thing, my buddy Tito Bort was there and Tito was the straightest of the straight shooters, right? It's the South American thing I think. So I asked him, I said, Titos, what's going on? We're just standing around the first evening, what's going on with email? And he says, oh, simple. One year ago, 72 emails to get a response now, 205.
I said, well, doesn't that mean you have to have three times as many [00:20:00] SDRs to get the job done, or you just have to use bots and hope nobody caress about your sincerity? And he says, yep, that's it. And I just come right back to going around and listening to people at the conference and talking with Jerry Hill who was there, and James Townsend was there, came out for it. It's like, what did everybody think? Who thinks somewhat like we do? And that is in the face of tricks. They're trying to invent more tricks. [00:20:30] It's like
Tricks. And what the theme was of this particular conference, and I'm not saying this in a negative way, I'm just observing, is everybody said, well, if it's gotten hard, because everybody else is using ai, you need to use AI better. And that strikes me as just me as absurd because of the scarcity question. It comes down to this Gresham's law [00:21:00] of money says bad money drives out good, bad money means counterfeit money and drives out means good money goes under the mattress when bad money's in circulation because you don't want your good money to go out there and circulate with the bad money because it becomes worth less, right? You hang on, and that's when a whole bunch of interesting things happen. Prices tend to go crazy when there's a lot of bad money floating around. And some people think the government printing lots of money is a form of bad money. It reduces [00:21:30] the scarcity value of the money that you have when they print more of it. Well, there's an equivalent law, and I'm not Gresham and nobody else made it, so I'll call it deals second law of something, or rather, which is that cheap outreach drives up the value of expensive outreach.