In this episode Josh talks with Jeff Bloomfield from Brain Trust Growth. They discuss how to clarify the message to your customers in a way that builds trust and creates an urgency to buy.
Most of business owner’s biggest obstacle to growth is actually STATUS QUO.
As a former sales & marketing executive, farm boy, and cancer survivor, Jeff will use his compelling life story to teach us how to communicate with more purpose, power and impact.
In today’s episode you will learn about:
- The science behind change resistance
- How to build authentic trust faster
- The secrets of the “buying brain”
- How certain cognitive biases may be preventing your success and what to do about it
Narrator: Welcome to “Cracking the Cash Flow Code”, where you’ll learn what it takes to create enough cash to fill the four buckets of profit. You’ll learn what it takes to have enough cash for a great lifestyle, have enough cash for when an emergency strikes, fully fund a growth program and fund your retirement program.
When you do this, you’ll have a sale ready company that will allow you to keep or sell your business. This allows you to do what you want with your business, when you want in the way you want. In Cracking the Cash Flow code, we focus on the four areas of business that let you take your successful business and make it economically and personally sustainable.
Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning, and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable and allow you to be free of cash flow worries.
Josh: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick. We’re at the sustainable business. My guest today is Jeff Bloomfield. Jeff has a company called https://braintrustgrowth.com/. They work on a lot of neuromarketing sort of stuff was a very fancy term for how to get your brain to understand how the brain works for marketing. Although Jeff works mostly with big companies, I think there’s an awful lot of stuff that we’re going to cover today, which is going to work really well for us blue collar business owners. Let’s bring Jeff on. Hey, Jeff, how are you today?
Jeff: Hey, Josh great. Thanks for having me.
Josh: My pleasure. Thanks a lot for being on today. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation. Let’s talk about the science behind change resistance because I think it’s a really interesting thing. I come at it from the viewpoint of behavioral economics. I’m [inaudible 00:02:00] you come at it from neuro psychology, if I’m reading stuff correctly.
Jeff: Yeah, I will say this and probably the back story is more important to the folks there in this case that are out there is I’m actually an old farm boy. I grew up on 100 acre farm in Ohio. My pap ball, if you’re not from the south, that’s my grandfather. He moved the family up from Kentucky when my dad was just a little boy. I was connected to his hip. He was this amazing storyteller. He had this ability to influence people.
People just when he talked, he was EF Hutton writer when he talked to everybody they like to listen to my Pap ball. I watched him influence not only people around him but me as a young boy around problem solving skills and communicating with people. You don’t realize when you’re growing up on a farm. You’re learning all this stuff around hard work and problem solving and all these different beliefs.
Well, unfortunately for me, he passed away of lung cancer when I was pretty young and I was devastated. Now, here’s what I think this is relevant to your audience is he wanted me to be the first person or family to get a college degree. Your blue collar from the [inaudible 00:02:59] just we say. That drove me to get good grades and go to college. I ended up in the field of biotech. I got to commercialize and help launch a drug for lung cancer. How about that?
Josh: Oh, isn’t that cool?
Jeff: Now, this is a point to the story here, Josh is that I kept working in the field of oncology and I got promoted a couple times far beyond my level of competence, as they say. I was always a storyteller. I led by being a storyteller. I talked to customers and physicians as a storyteller. I was raised around storytellers. It was the way that I communicated. They put me in charge of a team to launch a drug for brain cancer.
I thought, well, I probably ought to learn a little bit about the brain. We’re going to delve into this whole space of brain cancer and so I became obsessed with understanding first the biology of the brain, but then the psychology and the physiology. Not just around how the drug work, but then I really became obsessed around how the brain processes information or to either accept change or resist it. The last 10 years, we’ve learned so much more about how the brain works relative to processing information based on how it’s communicated. When I learned this my pap ball was a genius.
He just had an eighth grade education, yet he intuitively understood some of these change mechanisms within the brain that if I communicate one way, people seem to like it. They seem to be willing to do what I want them to do. And if I communicate another way, they seem to resist it. Well, here’s all the science now proving why he was such a great communicator. That’s really what I hope to articulate to your listeners today is what some of that is and how they can use it in their business.
Josh: Okay, what would be a way to communicate? Because people will say yes, and what’s the way to communicate that if people will say no?
Jeff: Well, here’s the one thing that we’ve learned for sure is the human brain when it’s under stress, and that’s anytime we’re talking to a customer about anything, whether you’re talking to them about your roofing services or plumbing services, it doesn’t really matter. Anytime you’re talking to a customer who can potentially say no, your stress level is up. Here’s the interesting thing though, when you’re under stress you communicate from your highest level of training.
For most of us, our highest level of training is the stuff that we know that we care about, which is the facts and the figures and the data about why we’re so great at fill in the blank. That’s the very information that actually drives your customer to not trust you. Because they care about what they care about and what you care about.
Josh: You see that at almost every level of communication between companies and their customers across the board for some very, very few exceptions. One of the things I always encourage people to do is say, “Go on your website, on the homepage and count how many times you say I, we or us versus you or yours.”
Jeff: That’s it. I tell people we have a pronoun problem. That’s the issue we have in business today. It’s we have a pronoun problem.
Josh: We have many problems that are one of them.
Jeff: That’s one of the big ones, but the part of the brain that’s designed for analytical thinking, Josh and logical rational thought, is also the part of the brain that’s designed for processing facts and data. But it’s also the part of the brain that’s resistant to influence because the researchers today have found that there’s two pathways in the brain: analytical pathway, and an empathic pathway.
If I connect with you on the empathic pathway and the emotional part of your brain, you’re open to change and you’re open to trust. But if I communicate with you down the analytical part of your brain with that kind of information, you’re not necessarily open to trust. You’re certainly not open to change or to doing something different. Now, which way do you communicate? Most businesses communicate with the wrong information in the wrong order it to the wrong part of the brain?
Josh: So Jeff, can you give us an explanation when empathic communication would be?
Jeff: Yeah, it’s a great question, Josh. Empathic is if you think about the term empathy, empathy means that you can put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You can feel and imagine what it must be like to feel what they feel. So as a communicator, whether you’re a small business owner, you’re in sales or in marketing, if you can really understand what it’s like to be your customer, to go through what they’re going through, to understand what they problem is. That’s emotional and it’s empathic. It’s shows empathy.
Rather than start off by telling you how great I am at solving XY and Z at being a mechanic at being a plumber at being a roofer, rather than tell you about all my great years of service and how my shingles are 30 year warranty and whether the best and why people love them. Start by understanding why your customer cares about their roof, and not having one that doesn’t have a hole in it. Start to understand by asking them questions about things they care about. Sharing your own personal stories around why you care about those things that they care about. That’s empathy, before you ever tried to solve their problem.
Josh: I’ve been a bunch of chicks right now. One of them is what I’m calling my vulnerability project. The reason I’m on that chick is that I think business owners spend way too much time trying to pretend that they’re perfect and not vulnerable. We’re vulnerability really kicks in is if I show you that I’ve made a bunch of mistakes along the way and here’s what I’ve learned from my mistakes in here why you should care about that. That always gets people interested because it humanizes you. Does that make sense to you?
Jeff: Absolutely, a hundred percent.
Josh: Why is it you think this is almost to a tee to everything they possibly can to not show any vulnerability whatsoever?
Jeff: Well, Josh it comes down to this. It doesn’t really matter what business you’re in. We are all trained. It starts in elementary school. It goes all the way through our secondary education. We’re trained to memorize and regurgitate facts to prove that we know we’re talking about. We’re trained that way. It’s ingrained in our deepest part of our brain. In business, we’re trained to never show weakness because then no one will ever buy from you. It’s called credibility. Here’s what we found though.
There are two types of trust. There’s personal trust that comes from my ability to perceive you as open, honest, authentic, genuine and showing just the right amount of vulnerability. Then there’s professional trust which is my perception of your knowledge, skill and capability. But here’s the rub 99.9% of the time we try to communicate our credibility, but the way the brain works is and not until I trust you personally, am I open to how you can help me professionally. So rather than lead with credibility, lead with connection and then follow it with credibility. You’ll find out you’ll get way further along with your customers than you ever thought.
Josh: So Jeff, can you help me here and give me an example of what that conversation might look like?
Jeff: Yeah, so if you noticed even on our podcast today, Josh you asked me to start talking immediately about the science of change resistance. Instead, what did I actually talk about? I shared a vulnerable personal story about my pap ball and what he taught me on the farm. That he passed away of lung cancer and what it meant to me. I actually connected with a different part of your brain and your audience’s brain then if I would have just started rambling on about a bunch of neuroscience that nobody really understands or could care less about. You get my point?
Opening with that connection story around, showing that you’re vulnerable that you’re real, that you can connect with another human being, human to human level and then start talking about their issues and their problems then finally how you’re more uniquely qualified to solve them. That order matters significantly in how we trust.
Josh: So if I write your information correctly, you’re a cancer survivor also?
Jeff: That’s correct.
Josh: So am I.
Jeff: Well done. Congratulations.
Josh: Well, I’m still here 11 years later so it’s a good thing. How many years ago is it for you?
Jeff: It has been now it has been 20 much younger man, Josh.
Josh: I’m not sure about that. I think I might have 10 or 15 years I knew. What I often find is when I start off with something that people don’t like me often start a conversation especially a platform talk by saying, “I’m a cancer survivor.” Now, let me tell you what that means as far as the conversation we’re going to have today and just the fact that I say I’m a cancer survivor, everybody in that room starts listening because I told something about myself that many other people might say, “That’s an embarrassing fact. I can’t say that problem.” If you really want to get people’s attention, say something embarrassing about yourself.
Jeff: Yeah, or in this case, I think what you do is you actually activate the empathy gene. Because in today’s world when it comes to things like cancer, you may not have experienced cancer yourself, but you certainly have somebody either in your immediate family or in your extended family that has, you know the pain, you know the heartache, and you know the struggle of going through that. So you immediately empathize with that person and they see you as real and as human. That makes you more trustworthy, immediately.
Josh: Yes. Then when you start saying, “Okay, here’s what happened during cancer.” I often talk about who I was before cancer versus who I was after cancer. I also talk about who I was before I took new a seminar and who I was afterwards and the fact that I was the worst boss of all times. It actually became an okay boss by going through a metamorphosis makes people say well if he can do it so can I.
Jeff: That’s the beauty of storytelling, Josh is that if you do it well and you do it from a personal experience and you show vulnerability, like you are talking about your story becomes the listener story. I try to explain this to a lot of our clients a lot is if you’re using the “I” pronoun a lot in your storytelling, one, you should probably check yourself a little bit on it, but two, if you are, make sure that your story that’s about you, it’s really not about you. Make sure it’s about the listener.
Josh: It’s going to be a universal sort of thing that they can relate with.
Jeff: That’s it.
Josh: I will often tell the story that about if I’m doing, again a public talk, I’ll say, “No, I’m told I’m supposed to start off with a joke, but I have to tell you a story first.” My first talk I was with my father, we went out and came out to listen to me. After the talk, he said to me said, “You know, that was a pretty good talk except for one thing.” So okay, what’s that? Don’t tell jokes, you’re not funny.
Jeff: You use that as a story to open up your talk.
Josh: Everybody always laughs and it’s the exact reaction that I often get. What am I doing? I mean, self deprecating. It’s about me being silly. I wish people would get that more than they do. So when you’re doing this stuff, what you’re doing is what I’m assuming is that we’re building authentic trust more quickly.
Jeff: Yeah, I want people to understand out there is that every single human being wakes up in the morning in self preservation orientation. You wake up and self preservation mode. Your entire day is built around risk mitigation and safety survival. That’s the core element essence of your being is safety survival. You view everything through the lens of risk. Another thing, you can categorize something or someone is safe. Are you open to change?
When you talk about this as a business owner, your customers no matter how long you’ve been doing this, you’re selling them something and they’re preconditioned to look at you as risky. Because we’ve all been sold something we didn’t need or want or pay overpaid for something or whatever the case may be. So when you tell a story like you’re talking about what happens is, you lower the perception of risk in the mind of the customer and they see you as human.
They see you as trustworthy. They see you as like they are. Therefore, now I can listen to you try to help me. I don’t feel like you’re selling me something. I feel like you’re serving me by solving my problem, totally different feel.
Josh: So I have a question for you, which just popped into my mind actually, is that I’m a huge believer in guarantees. I do not understand why people don’t guarantee the work they do. But I’ve also found that many times I tell people our guarantee, which is a money back guarantee, basically no questions asked. People often look at that is being manipulated. How can we use guarantees in a non-manipulative way in our businesses?
Jeff: Let me ask you this. Why do you feel like that people feel like it’s manipulative?
Josh: While I’m taking all the risk away, they often don’t say yes. When I’m thinking is that the guarantee I’m giving is seen as a gimmick, not is something real. I have a way I’ve gotten around that now. I’m curious what your advice would be?
Jeff: Well, so my initial gut reaction to that is that it’s not a novelty anymore. The brain likes newness. It likes shiny objects when the things to see something different are attracted to that something different. Money back guarantees have become almost associated with like sham wow commercials, and infomercials. Our brain has almost been trained to put those in the category of, “Well, if this was really as good as they’re saying they were they would never offer a money back guarantee because it’s going to work.”
It’s almost like an infomercial kind of processing part of the brain. This is my opinion, by the way. I don’t have research to back this up. I think it’s reached a point where people, they don’t believe it. Now, I still personally believe that there’s a value in it, if it’s communicated correctly. How do you communicate today? How’d you get around?
Josh: Basically bring up this, “I bring up the infomercial and the money back guarantee that you’ve never taken advantage of.” I say, “Here’s the difference with me, you’re not paying me first and ask me for your money back. You don’t pay me till after we’re done and only if you’re satisfied.”
Jeff: See, that’s totally different. That’s a totally different money back guarantee because this case, it’s not really a money back guarantee. This is I don’t pay you guarantee if you’re not happy.
Josh: If you don’t think I did what I said it was going to do, you don’t have to pay or want to pay you. It’s also why. Now, I also have a thing we call the winding conversation, which is a five step conversation we have before I’ll take somebody on and explain this and say, “The reason I do this conversation is because if I agreed to take you as a customer, I’m the one taking the risk because if don’t do it, I promise you don’t pay me.” So I set it up before you even start the conversation.
Jeff: Yeah, I think that’s very powerful. It’s very different than a money back guarantee because of the reasons that we’ve already outlined. The way their brain processes a money back guarantee means I got to pay you and then you’re going to prove that you can do it or not do it, but most people don’t ask for the money back. It feels a little bit like you’re kind of playing the game with me. In your case, you’re doing the opposite.
Josh: I also open the conversation with it. If I close the conversation, it guarantees [inaudible 00:17:21]. We’re open with a conversation. It almost is guaranteed to be a positive fact in the talk. Because by the time we get to the conversation, I can always circle back because I remember when we started the conversation with, they’ll talk to me and again, it’s really a questioning process versus a telling process. Speaking of questions, why are questions about 100,000 times more powerful in declaratory statements? Statements I make about something.
Jeff: Let me clarify one thing. Properly phrased questions are 100 times more powerful than declarative statements.
Josh: I would agree with it. I would say open questions not so closed question.
Jeff: Questions that are about you and the things you care about not self serving questions.
Josh: Oh god, yes.
Jeff: I know they sound like no brainers, right? No duh. This is no lie just this morning I was in a meeting actually with one of our key clients of a very large organization that everyone recognized. They probably have this credit card in their pocket. It was a sales director and he was talking about their needs analysis. If you’re not watching, I’m putting that in quotes, “needs analysis” which in the world of B2B sales has morphed into a interrogation analysis about asking a million questions about things that I care about that will lead me to be able to sell you something that I’m trying to sell you.
We don’t mean to do that sometimes especially in the small business. Never ask a leading question. Always ask a “you” centered problem centric question that helps uncover information and allows your customer to be able to expound upon how they feel about the problem they have so that you can properly position your service as a state solution to that problem. Then you’re not making claims, you’re not hitting the wrong part of their brain. You’re not trying to sell them something. You’re simply trying to solve something later. That’s the beauty and power of questions.
Josh: I would add that we want to have that question be an open ended question where you drill down.
Jeff: Yup, multi layered, absolutely.
Josh: Multi layer question when someone gives you an answer, ask for clarifying information, ask for clarifying information. Ask for clarifying information if you go back to psych 101. You can think of Carl Rogers in active listening if you want.
Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. The thing about that approach is, the deeper that you get with a multi layer probing questions. We started to say this earlier, I’ll truncate it. Human beings make decisions emotionally instinctively, and then they look to validate with facts and logic not the other way around. So when you ask really good effective problem centric questions and then multilayer then you get to the root of the emotion behind how the customer feels about their problem. Then they own that problem. You have a better perspective on how to then help them.
Josh: And they become part of the solution. My financial planning people think I’m crazy financial planner. I tell people I spent three hours on financial plan that’s all. Two hours of that is getting information so we can work with it. Asked me how I can so well the client comes in, we put the software up on the screen, and they start telling me which lever to move. Because they’re telling me which lever to move, it’s not my financial plan. It’s now their financial plan.
Jeff: Yes, there’s a cognitive bias out there called choice supportive bias. What it means is that when the customer feels like they’ve made the decision to change, they will own it at 100% more velocity then if you feeling forced to change.
Josh: Which is the reason that was Simon Sinek start with why, I actually think you start with what, because I don’t know what you doing with why unless you’re know what to test. But by drilling down on North wise, which is going down these five levels, we get to a core reason which I can now use as a motivating factor that gets you to do what you should do in the first place. That’s a great way to do it.
Hey, Jeff, unfortunately, we are out of time.
Jeff: Already? It went so fast.
Josh: Yeah, it does. I keep telling people so 20 minutes sounds like a long time. We’re going to talk about well, I could probably go on for a long, long time with you. Mostly we’re trying to get into the work or getting into the house. So if somebody wanted to find you, how would they go about doing that? What other information might they want to know?
Jeff: Yeah, we just released my second book a couple of weeks ago called NeuroSelling and it can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble. NeuroSelling. You can go to our corporate website at braintrustgrowth.com, or you can go to my personal speaking site, which is JeffBloomfield.com. Those are the three ways to engage.
Josh: Super and I also have something I’d like you to consider. One of the things that– I got three signature programs we have: the Financial Freedom Project, Cracking the Cash Flow Code and [inaudible 00:22:03] Ready Business. We have a little widget I put together which I call The Four Boxes of Financial Independence.
It’ll help you figure out whether you’re on the road where you’re financially free from your business or not. It takes all the seven minutes to do. It’s pretty easy. You just go to thecashflowcode.com that’s thecashflowcode.com. You can click on the big orange button, put some information and seven minutes later, you’re going to find out whether you’re doing the right things to get yourself to financial independence or not. This is Josh Patrick. We’re with Jeff Bloomfield. You’re at Cracking the Cash Flow Code. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to the “Cracking the Cash Flow Code” where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around a hundred years from now?” If you’ve liked what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 extension 102. Or visit us on our website at www.sustainablebusiness.co. Or you can send Josh an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening and we hope to see you at Cracking the Cash Flow Code in the near future.