“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “to talk of many things.” Our podcast guest, John Orban, is currently a marketing and business consultant who spent 24 years honing his sales skills as a rep for MetLife. Today, John joins our Market Dominance Guys, Chris Beall and Corey Frank, to talk of many sales- and life-related things. In this first episode of a four-part conversation, John, Chris, and Corey touch on the trickiness of successfully communicating an idea, on the importance of thinking but not over-thinking, on resisting the temptation to make things complex, and finally, on the math employed in sales and, thus, market domination. There’s even a bit about the stability of cruise ships. Seriously. Many things! And these three sales guys are just getting started, so don’t miss the fun in this Market Dominance Guys’ episode, “Of Cabbages and Kings — and Blue Whales.”
About Our Guest
John Orban brings his background as a MetLife sales rep and as an administrator of computer networks to his current career as a marketing and business consultant for creative professionals.
Full episode transcript below:
Corey Frank (01:18):
Welcome to another episode of the Market Dominance Guys. Here we are in late January, or whenever this is going to air, Chris, 2022. I'm here with Chris Beall, the sage of sales, the prophet of profit. And here we are talking all things market dominance, math. And today, we have a very special guest. We may delve into other topics, such as art, maybe blue whales, Chris, as you said before the show, and of course, all of our fun things to talk about with regards to how to dominate your market in today's business world. So Chris, how about just a few minutes on our special guest, John, and how you guys met, and then we'll dive right into the topics?
Chris Beall (01:57):
Well, John reached out to me on LinkedIn, and said something that made me cry. I can't remember exactly what it was, but it was basically, hey, your podcast doesn't suck too bad. I got kind of hooked on it. And it just touched my heart, quite frankly. And then, as we went back and forth a little bit, I realized that John brings a kind of depth and precision of thought honed over very many years. I'm not saying, John, that you're older than me, although it's possible, I'm-
John Orban (02:30):
Yeah, I am.
Chris Beall (02:31):
... [inaudible 00:02:31] old, but it was one of these situations where we just went back and forth a little bit, and I thought, good god, we have not had this guy on Market Dominance Guys, and we should. It was just like that. He reads books, we were doing a little book thing. He respects thought and reality. He's multidimensional. And he's out there in eastern Maryland, one of my favorite places in the world, so why not get a little geographic diversity here? Love it. Love it.
John Orban (03:01):
There you go, there you go.
Corey Frank (03:02):
But we all need a little serendipity in our life, and John, if you came across the podcast when you were looking for Joe Rogan or Jordan Peterson, or any of the greats, sorry to disappoint you upon first listening, but we're still glad that you're one of our seven listeners. So let's jump right into it.
Chris Beall (03:17):
Anyway, how are you doing?
John Orban (03:19):
I'm doing pretty good.
Chris Beall (03:20):
Fantastic. This is going to be a fun episode, books, books, books, so-
John Orban (03:23):
I don't have a fancy background like you guys.
Chris Beall (03:25):
I have a story with my background. It's a funny story.
John Orban (03:28):
Chris Beall (03:29):
The story of the boat there is that Helen and I spent a month in Australia, first month of 2020. And the last day of the trip. I went out for a nice long barefoot run, because she was hanging in the hotel having some business meeting or other. I mean, the girl carries a $1.2 billion quota. And even though she was between jobs at that point, I think quota chases you somehow, even if you're not working. So she's doing business stuff, so I go out for this long barefoot run. Come around this corner in Sydney Harbor, and here's this giant boat with this blue bottom, and it's got a Panda, like a four-story high Panda coming down off the top of it, like King Kong coming down it.
Chris Beall (04:12):
Yes. And I thought, wow, that's really weird, but interesting. And it's just huge, like, it's a city block or more long. So I looked at it, and I noted its name, and I don't really care about cruise ships, and that was it. And then, boom, cruise industry is gone about a week or two later. It was its last voyage before COVID. And we're not thinking about any of this kind of stuff, and then, here we are a year and a half later, having dinner, looking out over at Seattle, and suddenly, the ship shows up. The [inaudible 00:04:45] followed me from Sydney like a faithful dog ...
John Orban (04:47):
Chris Beall (04:48):
... to show itself off. So I took a picture of it. And so, when people ask me, where are you on the surface of this blue rolling planet, I can say, well, I'm about half a mile from where this picture was taken, looking over at Seattle. And they go, oh, okay. There you go.
Corey Frank (05:01):
Our dear friend, Oren Klaff, has a response for why are things the way they are, and why don't cruise ships tip over? Why are tides the way they are? Why do people buy the way they do? And I'm going to butcher it, but he uses what's called, the blue whale close. When a prospect asks you something that is, well, why is it the way that it is? How come your product does X and Y and Z? Something obscure. And as a sales rep, right, sometimes you want to delve into the detail, and go to the cool cognitions, and sometimes you want to dance. And sometimes you want to just forget that the question existed altogether and change the topic.
Corey Frank (05:33):
But he has this blue whale close that he uses. And the blue whale is the most magnificent creature on earth. It is the largest mammal in the world. Cruise ships and tankers of the aircraft carriers, when they see a flock, a fleet, of blue whales swimming towards them, they move, not the blue whales. And this blue whale, right, can eat thousands of tons of plankton every single day to sustain itself. Plankton, the most minuscule, microscopic piece of ... as you know, John, in the universe. This blue whale, the most majestic creature that there is, can choke on a common grilled cheese sandwich. Why is that? Because it just is, that's why. Because it is.
John Orban (06:16):
Chris Beall (06:21):
That's so funny.
John Orban (06:22):
Chris Beall (06:23):
By the way, Corey, that's not only funny, but I just read an article in New Scientist yesterday, in which they were reporting the discovery of why blue whales and other baleen whale don't choke when they ingest as much sea water as would fill their whole body. It'd be like us drinking one human body's worth full of water, right? If you hollowed a person out and you made them into a bottle, and you filled them up with water and you drank the whole thing at once, in about two seconds, that's how they eat. And they finally discovered just a few months ago, why they don't choke. And you know why they don't choke? Because there's no cheeseburgers out there at sea.
Corey Frank (07:07):
Chris Beall (07:08):
No, they actually found a big plug in the back of their throat that works in a funny way, and they don't choke. Which is hardly surprising, because if they all choked to death on the water that they're using to eat all the plankton, well, the number of blue whales would be very small. It'd be slow, and sitting on the bottom of the ocean.
Chris Beall (08:10):
Exactly, so, John.
John Orban (08:11):
I talked to Corey some last week, and I mentioned to him that I could never have imagined me listening to a podcast about market dominance. I mean, I'm not a CEO, I'm not an entrepreneur. At best, I'm a reluctant employee. In fact, what got me was a podcast you did, Chris, where you were talking about the seven seconds to get trust built up, that kind of thing. And I was hooked. And then when you started talking about your spreadsheet porn, and stuff like that, I was just all over that. I mean I love spreadsheets, and I got three different spreadsheet programs on my computer, trying to figure out which one I like. Since I started hearing your podcast, I'm done listening to any other podcast for the time being, because as I'm walking the dog, these ideas are popping into my head that go back to books that I've read in the past.
John Orban (09:06):
And I'm just literally freaking out. I mean, sometimes I'll walk around the circle and pick up pieces of my brain that had just blown out my ears while I'm listening to you guys. And it's like, you are redefining the way business is done. I mean, you're basically redefining sales. And I told you, or wrote in prior correspondence, Corey, I think you've basically obsoleted every sales book that's out there. Well, except for one, and that's the [inaudible 00:09:35] Book, In-
Corey Frank (09:36):
Oh, [inaudible 00:09:37].
John Orban (09:39):
... [inaudible 00:09:39]. But that's different, he's got a different approach to it. But I mean, I've read an awful lot of sales books in my life. And it was funny, I was listening to a podcast today, and you were interviewing the Jefferson guy.
Corey Frank (09:54):
Chris Beall (09:55):
John Orban (09:55):
Chris Beall (09:56):
Yeah, sales enablement.
John Orban (09:57):
And as I'm thinking about these ideas that are popping in here, I'm thinking, I've never heard anything like this before. But what I have heard is little pieces in books I've read over the last 50 years. And I had this flash the other day when you were talking with Valerie [inaudible 00:10:18]. And I said, it sounds to me like you guys are close to discovering the theory of everything. And since you've got a physicist on board, I'm thinking, well, maybe that's where it's coming from. So I mean, I could go on all day about this, but it's just like, I don't see any reason to listen to any other podcast about business or sales than what you guys are doing. So I don't know, that's the end of my ranting and raving about that.
John Orban (10:44):
And like we were talking about before, Corey, where you were saying the client that I'm working with, would this idea work with him? Man, I think it could work with virtually anything. I mean, you're already selling air compressors, German air compressors, right? With the thing? I mean, I think it's a universal application, and that's what I'm thinking about the theory of everything thing. Because what you're doing is, you're simplifying stuff, and that's what needs to be done. I mean, we have overcomplicated so much in the world. That's the reason why we're having all these problems.
John Orban (11:18):
But the thing that really hit me was when, Chris, you started talking about these bits of information things. And I watched this, I don't know whether you'd call it a movie or a documentary, or whatever, but it was called, What the Bleep Do We Know!?. And its basically gets into quantum physics and that kind of thing, and they said that we are bombarded with four billion bits of information every single second. I mean, I can't even wrap my head around that and I tried to verify that independently. And as I told Corey, I couldn't come up with a four billion number, but basically, the only thing I could come up with was scientists that were saying, it's a heck of a lot of information we're getting hit with.
John Orban (12:00):
Well, that took me back to one of the very first books that I read that literally changed my life. I mean ... well, let me put it this way, it started me on a 30-year path, if you will, of reading everything I could get my hands on, on why people do what they do. What is human behavior, and that kind of thing. And the book was called, and I told Corey, and it's called, Structure of Magic. And it was written back in 1975. And the idea is, we are by bombarded with so much information that we have developed this strategy to deal with all that.
John Orban (12:40):
So we basically do one of three things. We either delete the information. Have you ever had this situation where you're trying to find your car keys? Because I'm all the time losing my car keys. And you're looking around the kitchen counter, and of course there's all kinds of crap on there, but the keys aren't there. That's where they should be, but they're not there. Well, I do, let me not project this on you, but I go ranting and raving around the house. My wife goes crazy, the dog runs and hides somewhere. And then, I come back to the counter, and there they are. The keys are right on the counter, right where I left them. Now, why didn't I see them? They were there, I looked at it, I didn't see them. So that's kind of like what the deletion thing is.
John Orban (13:17):
The second thing we do is, we tend to distort information. And this is for, I think ... well, considering that sort of applied to me a lot, it was very difficult for me to say thank you when people would compliment me. I would always think in my mind, well, you don't really mean that, I really didn't do that great a job, that sort of thing. So you get into that. And I remember reading a book where the author said, all you have to do is say, thank you. And that was pretty significant, right? One of the things that you said, and I say recently. Recently, for me listening to, for you guys, it was probably like a year ago. But you started talking about this idea of, you were going to hire psychologists, and put them on as a sales rep.
John Orban (14:03):
And I said, that's incredible. I mean, that is an incredible idea. Because, when you start to think about this communication thing that we go through, you have an idea in your head. Now, your idea just doesn't pop into the other person's head. You've got to verbalize that somehow inside your head, you then have to say it, the other person hears it, it goes into their head. They have to think about what it is, and then it gets to the thought that they come up with. Now, what do you think are the chances of the thought that's inside your head and the thought that's inside their head at the end of this process is exactly the same?
John Orban (14:43):
It's pretty rare, especially as you think about the fact that while this is all going on, as a human being, you're dealing with your experiences that you've lived in your life, the perceptions that you've formed from those experiences, and then the language that you've learned to try to communicate or express your feelings. And a lot of people are ... a lot of difficulties about that. So in that whole chain of process, from idea to thought to verbalization, listening and all that kind of stuff, you've got all those things that you're dealing with. Now, that's in your sales rep. One of your podcasts, you were talking about how to hire sales reps, and things like that. But to have a sales rep that could understand themselves, for example-
Corey Frank (15:29):
Well, let me take something, John, when we look at ... and Chris knows this, he's heard the story, right? He's been a mentor and a sensei and a Sherpa of mine for 20 years ... gosh, 15 years, maybe. It feels like longer.
Chris Beall (15:43):
Corey Frank (15:43):
But a lot of things that you're saying, John, right, you're talking about hiring psychologists. Chris talks a lot about, and kind of won me over years ago, two companies over, to look for introverts, as they make the best sales folks. And you take that psychological strategy, right, and he'll talk about that in a second. And then you talk about using the proper tools. Jerry Hill today ... Chris, you saw your boy, Jerry, right, who's one of your top folks over at ConnectAndSell, posted an incredible iteration, deconstruction of the math of sales. Loved it, right? And Chris and I, and other folks live in the math of sales, John, how we deconstruct complex entities to the simple.
Corey Frank (16:28):
And you talked about your car keys. The reason you need to find your car keys, right, is something that we talk about on the show a lot, which is Occam's razor, right? Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily. Chris's company, ConnectAndSell, is in the business of not multiplying unnecessary things unnecessarily. Don't overthink things. Sometimes the simplest solution is the easiest solution. So when you take what Chris advocates from a personality perspective, the introverts and the introverted mind, and you take that and put the math around how to dominate your market, you have what should be something that is common sense. But sometimes, we in sales, especially CROs, investors, like to make things more complex, wouldn't you say, Chris?
Chris Beall (17:16):
Yeah, I think the temptation to make things complex comes from two places. One is, it's hard to make things simple, right? It requires a lot of thinking, actually. Henry Ford said something that I repeat to myself every day. Thinking is the hardest work of all, that's why hardly anybody ever does it. He was being funny, but he was also being very, very serious, which is, when we think it's psychologically and physically very challenging, and it's a lot of work. And the easy thing to do is to think additively, just to come up with one more thing, one more thing, one more thing, one more thing. And the hardest thing to do is to think synthetically, which is to say, this thing and this thing, actually, in some important way in this circumstance, or actually, this other thing when they're together, and I'm going to take that thing and rely on it, even though I can't see it.
Corey Frank (18:12):
You're talking about simple. Again, you're the physicist here, so just to be sure, John, right? I'm [inaudible 00:18:18] to be the poetry guy. I should be driving a cab or tending bar. Chris is the guy that should be running Los Alamos laps, okay? So we got to [inaudible 00:18:25].
John Orban (18:25):
Listen, listen, don't cut yourself short on this. Because when we were talking on the phone and I was telling you stuff about my friend, and you were coming back with a sales script on me, I was freaking out. I could not believe that anybody could take that information and flip it around that quick, and come back with what I thought was powerful stuff.
Corey Frank (18:44):
Well, thank you.
John Orban (18:44):
And I'll tell you what I told him right after I got off the phone with you. I said, listen, these guys can do in 30 days what it would take me over a year to do for you. And I said, if it doesn't work, you'll find out in less than a week. But I said, let me tell you something. If you go through with this, your life is going to change. And he's not the first one I've told that to, because marketing, done right, will change a person's life. I mean, he's going to be on the road, he's going to be touring, he's going to be doing all kinds of crazy stuff.
Corey Frank (19:16):
Well, simple is better. And the formula we use for screenplays, scripting, Chris uses the same one, the [inaudible 00:19:25], that creates millions of phone calls, and tens of thousands of successful conversations a year has to do with that simplicity. When you have two competing theories, right, Chris, that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is always the better one.
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