EP170: Sales Energy: The Importance of being an omnichannel salesperson
Chris Beall and Corey Frank welcome Gerhard Gschwandtner, the CEO of Selling Power and an advocate for non-verbal sales communication. Gerhard emphasizes the importance of being aware of one's own energy, as sales is a transfer of energy. They talk about the challenge of losing cultural underpinnings when not being on-site with customers and how finding the right connections that can help you learn and grow is important in gathering energy.
Chris, Corey, and Gerhard's experiences and insights provide valuable lessons for salespeople and individuals looking to improve their energy and become their authentic selves. They emphasize the importance of being aware of one's energy, using technology as a natural extension of oneself, finding the right connections to learn and grow, taking action and engaging with the world to build self-discovery, and accepting mortality to improve energy and focus in this episode of Market Dominance Guys, "Sales energy: The Importance of being an omnichannel salesperson."
Chris and Corey welcome Gerhard Gschwandtner, the CEO of Selling Power and an advocate for nonverbal sales communication. Gerhard emphasizes the importance of being of one's own energy, as sales is a transfer of energy. They talk about the challenge of losing cultural underpinnings when not being on site with customers and how finding the right connections that can help you learn and grow is important in gathering energy.
Chris, Corey, and Gerhard's experiences and insights provide valuable lessons for salespeople and individuals looking to improve their energy and become their authentic selves. They emphasize the importance of using technology as a natural extension of yourself, finding the right connections to learn and grow, taking action and engaging with the world to build self-discovery, and accepting mortality to improve energy and focus. In this episode of Market Dominance Guys, sales energy, the importance of being an omnichannel salesperson.
And we are off once again. Welcome to another episode of the Market Dominance Guys with the sage of sales, the prophet of profit, the hawking of hawking, Chris Beall, and of course yours truly, Corey Frank. We've had a lot of guests. Not going to embarrass a Gerhard a little bit, but I don't think there's many guests that we've had in 170+ episodes, Chris, where I actually had pictures on my wall as a young aspiring sales rep of the product of Gerhard's here. So we'll welcome Gerhard Gschwandtner, the CEO, founder, sales thought leader extraordinaire for, gosh, a lot of years, probably back since, what, 1980 or so, I think, Selling Power has been around, right, Gerhard?
So welcome to the Market Dominance Guys, thrilled to have you. Of course, Gerhard, not only Selling Power and thought leader, one of the original members, the OGs of the Sales Enablement Society, and I think the founder of probably the most timely conference in our profession today, Sales 3.0 up in Vegas, usually it's where it's, right? So welcome, Gerhard. Chris, what did you have to bribe, promise, cajole Mr. Gschwandtner here to get him to come back again? Once wasn't enough, back again to our humble little podcast here.
Well, I promised him I would actually burn a copy of the rules of golf on the first tee the next time we play so that there is no evidence of the existence of the rules of golf. Because he placed by his own rules that involve enjoyment, and I just don't want to get in the way. So that was my bribe.
Well, those are live rules, I think, right? You prefer the live rule book, I think is, it's a whole new addendum to the old PGA stodgy rules. So how did a physicist and a sales thought leader here, how did you guys even stumble across each other? Is it pre-Connect and Sell? Is it during Connect and Sell? Let's talk a little bit about that.
And we were sponsoring, Connect and Sell was sponsoring. We had met and chatted a little bit, but the shocking thing was, I was about to present in a breakout. And back then breakouts would have some people in them. I think I remember counting something like 87 people in this breakout, and I always count the people in a breakout. Whether I've ever told you this or not, I'm a former card counter. So I have this thing about counting things. So I count these 87 people, and I'm about to go up on stage, or in front of them, it wasn't an actual stage. And Gerhard walks in, sits down in front of the audience, and says the following. He says, "There are X products in the world of sales technology or sales enablement, something like that right now." It was a big number, it was like 637 or whatever. And he said, "And there's only one of them that works, Connect and Sell. Listen carefully to what Chris Beall has to say." And he walked out. And I tell you what, Gerhard, I have owed you ever since that day.
There you go. We expect Crisp Beal on the cover of Selling Power, the virtual magazine, here in the coming months, the coming quarters, I'm sure. So we've got a couple things to talk about now that we have Gerhard and then Chris fresh off the pre-release of the Market Dominance Guys book, which we can talk about. It's advancing technologies in sales. And Gerhard, you were an early proponent, advocate, shedder of light in the non-verbal sales communication methodologies. The NLPs has always been a big piece at a lot of your conference sessions, we talk about that. And it'd be interesting with Zoom, and Chris, I know you have some opinions on this too. When the old school, "I'm going to sell Gerhard something, I'm going to show up at his office and I have my wares and you're behind your desk or you're in the conference room and I'm standing up." You could read a lot about non-verbal communication there.
And then we moved to the past two years or so, 2+ years or so with COVID and Zoom. So let's start with there before we get into the advanced ChatGPT and how that's affecting sales, but what did you see that maybe was lost from the traditional non-verbal communications that us sales folks have that maybe we missed moving to COVID, and how do you get back to that after COVID now that people are actually seeing people face to face again?
Well, I think that salespeople need to be aware of two things. One is their own energy, because selling is a transfer of energy. And the energy can come in person, but also the energy can also travel digitally. So when I send you a little video with me shaking hands with a cat in a caption, "Deal closed?", then it gives you a jolt and you smile. So I think that what we need in the future is proficient omnichannel salespeople that need to use technology as an extension, as a natural extension of their own personality.
Mm-hmm. Chris, you saw certainly your team went to the face-to-face test drives, where you would fly in, parachute into these larger organizations, do one-day test drives, shake everybody up, and then hit the button and then everybody would leave. And you had to transfer a lot of your business to do that virtually. What do you say with what Gerhard is saying as far as that transfer of energy? Because you have the vehicle that is creating this, it's this kinetic energy machine, and then you have the dynamics of your entire team going up and down the aisles and watching the ticker go up. How did that change for your business and what do you have to say to that?
Well, it's kind of funny, because we made that transition on essentially the 1st of April 2020 to 100% virtual. And we did it on the same day that, I wasn't even paying attention to it, because it was the same day that our entire team in India went home. And that was much scarier, because the infrastructure in India in people's homes and apartments for doing their jobs was much iffier, much more varied. Pretty much all we do in business is variety management, right? If there were no variety, we wouldn't have to do any management. So the more variety there is, and then the closer it is to the beating heart of what you do, the more attention you pay. And if you're not capable of doing anything about it, the more freaked out you are. So I paid no attention during that entire first week to anything other than, "Are we up and running?"
And the answer turned out to be, miraculously, yes. I have no idea how it happened. It's just really good people. They prepped for it, they had no time, they got it done. Then I looked at the results from the test drives, and we did that week, if I recall correctly, I think we did nine test drives. So nine virtual test drives. Test drives are, I don't know if we've talked about them here on the show, but it's a full production experience of Connect and Sell. Connect and Sell is like, once Gerhard provided me with the opportunity to jump in the driver's seat of a Ferrari 455, that's the car I chose, and take seven laps around a sort of simulated Formula 1 course. And I can tell you that that's a special experience. It's not just that it flattens your eyeballs, but there's somebody yelling at you, "Brake, brake, brake hard, brake hard," and then you're supposed to hit this thing called an apex and God knows what's going to happen.
And after about three laps you start to settle in, and by lap seven it's like, "Can we just keep doing this for a long time?" And the answer is, "No, we only paid for seven laps." So our test drives are like that. You hop in, you're nervous, flattens your eyeballs, you go crazy, lots of things happen, and then everybody settles in. What was so interesting to me is, the action of talking to other people instead of us simply took over anyway. So it turned out that there's never been a difference in close rates or anything else. All that's happened was we saved $55,000 a month in travel, and we lost one of the cultural underpinnings of our company, which was not being on site with the customers but being on site with each other. And so we worked very hard afterwards to keep the energy up in the company that was lost because we weren't hanging with each other the night before and we weren't postmorteming at the bar afterwards.
And that cultural disconnect was much, much more challenging than the change in the sales process itself, whether we interacted with the prospects locally or remotely. And we had to do something about that. Because we were already virtual. We were virtual in 2014, when I became CEO I sent everybody home. And I was very comforted by the fact that customer success and sales would be in the field every day in different mixes because you didn't get to decide who you went with. And so it was a mix and get to know party. And I was on the road back then 110 to 120 days a year, some conferences, mostly test drives. And so I also had my finger on the pulse. So Gerhard talks about energy. The challenge of energy is, you've got to find it somewhere. Some of us wake up with more than others, but you've got to gather it around you before you bring it forward.
Gerhard puts on a peak performance mindset, or used to, I don't know if you still do it, retreat. And really what happens at the retreat is, everybody gathers energy from each other and from special people like John Devore, the world skydiving champion, the captain of the Red Bull skyflying team or whatever, who sadly was terribly injured recently. And Gerhard tells me he's now walking again. But those connections that you make when you're on site with people, those are the cultural glue that allows you to bring the energy and transmit the energy. And I think that's where the big challenge is.
I think that everybody needs to connect with sources of energy. And it is amazing to me, every time I interviewed somebody for a cover of Selling Power, like Corey, you mentioned earlier, Brian Tracy, you get into that mindset of that other person. And spending time with people like Oprah or Bill Clinton or Donald Trump or Malcolm Forbes who was on the cover, it gives you a glimpse of their perspective of the world. And I think we need a more nuanced and differentiated perspective. The way we look at the world is one point of view. And in order to help a client, we need multiple points of view. Larry Wilson once said that your point of view is the point from which you view, therefore you don't know where you stand 'cause you're standing there. So to me energy is a question of connections, the right connections that can help you learn and grow, but also exposure to the right amount of ideas. You get a different level of ideas from TikTok than you get from Aristotle when you read it.
He's down at the [inaudible 00:13:51], he was down at the sea. Fascinating, Gerhard, about the energy and all the folks, the Mary Kays and the George Foremans and the [inaudible 00:14:00], et cetera. Trying to think, Anthony Robbins, all these over the years. When you did the face to face interviews, did you feel the energy right when you were sitting down? Did you ...
Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I remember exactly where I was sitting in Tony Robbins' castle when he was pounding his chest and energizing himself and talking about making money in his sleep. Or I remember the biceps of George Foreman in New York at a studio. It's really humbling to shake hands with someone where you think you're a midget in comparison.
We'll be back in a moment after a quick break. Connect and Sell. Welcome to the end of dialing as you know it. Connect and Sell's patented technology loads your best sales folks up with eight to 10 times more live qualified conversations every day. And when we say qualified, we're talking about really qualified, like knowing what kind of cheese they like on their Impossible Whopper kind of qualified. Learn more at connectandsell.com. And we're back with Corey and Chris.
Let me tell the audience something about Gerhard. So I have had opportunity to greet Gerhard very, very many times, dozens. These are always first time at the conference or before the conference. And every time I am shocked by the same thing, which is, I give him a hug and I go, "Oh my God, I've never felt anybody's shoulders and back and all that that are as rock hard as this guy." It makes me actually jump every time. I flinch at his fitness, which is, the George Foreman effect doesn't require having massive biceps. You can also simply be looking like, "Yeah, I'm just standing here being a normal guy." And then you realize, "Oh, oh, no, no, that's made of marble or something underneath there."
Since you bring it up, that energy when we get together, I remember at the mindset retreat you came in spite of the fact that your wife had recently passed. And I checked into my hotel room, and it was a Four Seasons, and usually there's some books in the room. And among the many books, I picked one up and it was a book of poems. And I opened it up and I got to one poem, and it made me instantly think of you and your sorrow. And then I took the book with me and pushed the elevator button, the elevator door opened, and who was in there was Chris Beall, and there were four other people.
And I handed him the book and I said, "Look at this page." And he was reading the poem, and all four people in the elevator there were totally floored by that experience because it was so spiritual, so moving, because that poem offered a perspective on life and the arc of life in a zen-like way that there was healing. And I had no idea how I thought about doing that, but it felt like the right thing to do. And Chris, how did you feel about that?
Oh, I'm still moved by it, I can barely talk right now. It was the combination of your thoughtfulness, the material itself, and then what would have generally been seen as a coincidence. I'm not a believer in, there's coincidences that have magic behind them, but I think when you bring the energy of life to your everyday experience, especially in sales when we're bringing energy to others, many, many interesting things happen that would not have happened otherwise. That is, those who don't pick up the book like you did or don't have that thought or don't take the action, they don't have any magic coincidences either because they're not out there. That was one where we got to stick to each other, and it changed everybody in that elevator. They were just there. They were just on board. We were all in the same little room. As one of my Vietnamese friends said, an elevator's just a little room that goes up and down on a rope.
So we were in that little room going up and down on a rope, and the door opens and there's a moment of lifetime magic. It wouldn't have happened without you being who you are. And if we go back further, it wouldn't happen without us having many times come forward in situations where others might have hung back, with each other or with people that we were around.
Right. I think that opens another dimension. I remember doing an interview with Dr. Wayne Dyer, who wrote the bestselling book Your Erroneous Zones. And he said, "We call ourselves human beings, but we are spiritual beings in a human body."
Yeah. Well, this turned into the Lenten episode here about our own mortality very, very quickly. I love those stories. Chris, from the times that you meet Gerhard, and Gerhard, you've been on stage in front of thousands of thousands of folks and certainly interviewed some of the titans in our space. Can people get better at that energy awareness? Especially in our profession, because part of it, I may have a killer product, I may have a incredible presentation that my marketing team gave, I have the latest Mac, I've got the best lumen projector. It's the perfect day out, it's a 10:00 meeting, there's plenty of time left for lunch, but yet I just don't transfer that energy. Can I get better at that? Have you seen folks that you've met over the years turn and tap into that?
See, the energy is always there. What is also present in many people's minds is a lot of noise, and the noise comes from the past. NIH has a study that shows that I'm experiencing 60,000 thoughts a day, and 80% of those thoughts are automatic but also 80% of those thoughts are negative. And the negative thoughts come from the circumstances of your childhood, where you create a narrative as a child and you tell yourself, "This is the way the world works." However, the story that you fabricate is actually not true because your brain wasn't formed completely when you were a child. So you need to go to multiple revisions of the story of who you really are. And most people have what I call a guiding fiction for their lives that's faulty. And we need to challenge that fiction and rewrite the story of who we really are. So once we become our authentic selves, the energy flows freely. But if we are not, we have that energy interference in form of negative thoughts. And that is a difficult situation to be in, because your best version of you is dampened by your faulty story.
Wow. Yeah. Chris, what about you? Did you see folks get, as Gerhard said earlier about the right connections, the right type of people, the right information, the right books, the confidence? You can build that energy. Do you see that with folks certainly in your world, hiring salespeople over the years and meeting with clients, that they're different, they exude a different power, energy as you see them over the years?
Yeah, I think there's so many ways that we go about learning who we are, and one of the ways that we go about learning who we really are is by finding out what we can do and that we might not have thought we could do. So Gerhard's peak performance mindset retreats, there were people who didn't know that a thing that they could do is jump out of an airplane. In fact, I was with somebody in an airplane who was pretty convinced she could not jump out of that airplane, and we were up there 10,000 feet in the air above a beautiful, lovely field below. But there were a lot of things in her that said this wasn't a good idea. And it's not a big skill, by the way. She wasn't jumping out of the airplane in a way that required a great deal of skill. It took some, you had to get your feet out. For me that was a little hard because it was a little tight. I've got long legs.
But she needed to do that to exercise, that was a skill of courage or a skill of commitment, and she was quite transformed by it. When we got on the ground and we spoke afterwards, she was quite transformed. 'Cause that was something that let her meet herself through doing, which is I think something that's really important for us. Because Gerhard says, well, we're spiritual. We're also animals and we move, and the animal brain is built for movement. A sentence is pretty much a little more than taking the movement we do in the world and reducing it to sounds that represent different parts of the movement and how we would interact with them. So the idea that these nouns and verbs and all this somehow float free out in the world makes no sense. They have to do with us as animals moving through the world.
That's the difference between us and plants, right? Plants defend themselves with chemicals, animals defend and offend as we do through motion. We don't stay in one place and wait for the action to come to us. So that process, I think, is when we do guided action, like flight school is like this, right? Flight school is not a theoretical exercise that we offer. It has a speaking component at the very beginning, which is, just get confident that somebody else knows a good way to talk to somebody that you just ambushed. But it's in the doing that our flight school students actually find out who they are. And when they find out that they are that person who can do the hardest thing in sales, which is to turn an ambush into a triumph for the other person, that you can be of service to somebody by ambushing them, when they do that and they do it and they do it, it changes them because they then find out who they are.
The narrative now includes, "I can do this. And I can do it and I can enjoy it." Which is yet another part of what we might learn about ourselves, is something that we can enjoy that we didn't know that we can enjoy. So I've often thought these are very deeply introspective situations, behaviors, action settings in which we engage in self-discovery. I think that's not generally the case. I think sitting around and introspecting tends to lead you into the same thoughts that you were having beforehand, except more of the negative ones are likely to show up because you don't have the world helping keep you sane. You might have heard this from me before, Corey. I'm reasonably convinced it's our interactions with the actual world out there, people, things we're trying to do, that actually give us sanity.
I cannot emphasize enough the fact that our strivings are fantasies. Our thoughts are really driven by the unconscious. So in the case in point with Chris Beall, when he moved to Arizona from Baltimore as a kid, he discovered something totally new, nature, and he was out there alone. But he found something in his house, that there were books everywhere. And he was curious and he opened the books, and he was reading adult books as a six or seven-year-old. So he tried to understand and explore the world outside and inside, inside the mind. And all those explorations driven by his curiosity, driven by his relocation, moving to another state, created a mindset that is always expansive, that always looks for new wonders like ChatGPT.
Because I think the older we get, for me anyway, and I know some people see it differently, I think it's easier to be curious and to engage and explore things that are new and interesting than when we're younger. And it's because we're on a more solid stance with regard to who we are.
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