The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 11 months ago

The Emotional Power Behind the Pitch

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

At the heart of nearly every professional sales process is the pitch.

When done right, it’s one of the single most effective tools in a salesperson’s arsenal. When done wrong, it’s like watching the lion hunt the gazelle, because in the end, you just feel bad for the gazelle.

But what if there were a way to know the secrets of the presentation? To really be able to nail the pitch every time, with the confidence of a seasoned professional?

On this episode of The Sales Engagement Podcast, we talk with Brian Burkhart. Brian is the Founder & Chief Word Guy at SquarePlanet Presentations.

What we talked about:

  • What makes a great presentation
  • The mistakes that people often make when giving bad ones
  • Why sometimes you should just walk away from a prospect.
  • The importance of knowing your core values and how those inform your presentations

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

Welcome to the sales engagement podcast. This podcast is brought you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, and they just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach well does outreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record time after virtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreach runs account based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagement platform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customer base. When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good as they do. Had to outreach Doo on outreach to see what they have going on. Now let's get into today's episode, all right. Well, hello everybody, and welcome back to the sales engagement podcast. My name is brick Pachesta, one of the hosts here as well as an outreach employee, and I am so delighted and honor to be joined today by a gentleman by the name of Brian Burkhard Bryant. Thank you for being here today. You know what brands has met. We have two double bees. It's be square. I know we meant to do this. It's true. That's probably why we're such good pals. Now to as well. Well, Brian and I are going to be talking about something that I think it's super important for every sales professional, or really anybody in business, and that's driving your sales presentation with your core beliefs and how to get a really good presentations going for yes, and at the heart of most every professional sales process is the actual presentation or the pitch that you do for your prospects and customers. And, long story short, highly technical or simply scamming the service, sales presentations are unique and critical opportunities to create trust, you connect with folks and, of course, build understanding. If you do it well, suddenly hitting quota can become really easy, but if it's tough for you and you're struggling along the way, you'll soon be wondering, is this the Gig for me? But the good news is sales presentations are a totally learnable skill and...

...the best one to rooted in brain science. That works no matter what the industry is, nor the audience. Better yet, once you know the secrets to success, you may even find these pitch opportunities to be downright front. We'll see, like I said, joined by Brian here. He's the founder and chief Word Guy at square planet presentations, a Phoenix Arizona firm dedicated to elevating people by helping individuals, teams and enterprise clients improve their pitchkin. And you've been at it for decades literally. So, Brian, for those who may not be familiar, to tell us what a score planet do and what is your role there? Well, first it's awesome to be here, so thank you, Brooke, and I'll tell you that you know what we do as much as anything. As you said it, it's to elevate people, and that can sound odd, I admit, but our core belief as a firm, but certainly me as the founder, is that exact thing. The combination of the tools, the resources, the confidence, the stuff that we do with our clients on a regular basis truly elevates them and we take it very, very seriously, and certainly it exists at an individual level, but we also do work at both team and enterprise scale, and so that notion of elevating people, it's really about action, about giving people stuff to make them better, and in the world of sales that can often include things like actually hitting quota going, yes, as a crucial part. Yeah, right, like we want you to win the free trip and go to Barbados in February. That sounds amazing. And so when we elevate people, it's through a bunch of stuff, but we also do it ways. I mean it's going to sound silly, I know, but things like I text jokes to people all the time for no reason. We go out of our way to say please and thank you and volunteer and do things that truly elevate the humans around us. And even things like on my own podcast, if we sniff out that people are somehow kind of more inclined towards hate versus love, we boot them. Elevating people. He's a huge part of our world and it's ultimately the way we get paid. I love that. Yeah, proof that...

...you can, you know, do really well in your career and do what's right. But let's let's get into this. So tell me, when did you, in the spirit of like presentations and like connecting with Stokes, when did you actually realize how powerful a good pitch or sales preso could be for you? I love the story and so thanks for even the fun question for me. I can tell you that I am certainly and this is obviously a podcast. If it's audio only, I have a hunch it is brook. You'll appreciate this. I am not follically challenged, but I am Verbon for a Middle Age man. I've never got the game here, but I'm not tall right. And so I was in fifth grade running for student council president in the Chicago yes words, yes, okay, gentlementary school, and I was so tiny back then and I can remember this was a kind of fun thing. was at a whole student auditorium filled kind of situation, and I walk up to the lecture and I grabbed the gooseneck microphone and you hear it, I pull it all the way down because I was so tiny, and I did my presentation, my stump political speech at the time in Fifth Grade, and I knew right then and there. I mean I knew that I was going to win. I mean to the point of like I actually thought the other candidates might vote for me. And really they just gave you a standing ovation. You're like, I got this in the bag pretty much and ten years old, like literally, it was that kind of a thing. And I'm not I'm not trying to be braggadocious in any way. It was because it was totally unknown to me. I didn't know. It was just one of those kind of things where I had a little bit of confidence and enough skill set at an early age that I could do such a thing and it was just different than everybody else. And so right then and there, at an early age, I knew, yes, I did win the election in a congratulations. Thank you. Closest Buddy, Jim Leonard, was my vep. We were quite the pair. And the thing that was interesting is...

...right then in there I knew just by my stature alone. I'm like, well, I'm never going to be that athlete that transcends time and space. I was bright enough, but certainly in Einstein and so it wasn't going to be about my intelligence. It was one of those things that I kind of knew in the moment this was going to be my thing. And so I've spent quite literally decades now learning the art and science of persuasion, of rhetoric, of what all this stuff means. And it's ancient. I mean the stuff goes way, way, way back. It's not talking about slide decks and power point here. We're talking right, Plato, socrates, like this goes way back, and so that's what I've been at doing for some time now. Wow, and I have to ask, do you remember what your topic was for your Fifth Grade Speech? Oh, I totally remember. The free lunch is extra recess. It was exactly all that kind of nonsense. There's even a photo of it, which probably makes it more amazing to me, makes it quite real. Oh my gosh, my topic as much as anything. What I remember, was along the lines of giving kids a voice. I was saying things like we'd be fools to think that we can ask for more pizza and we're going to get it just by asking. We have to use our power, we need our voice, and so it was a fairly impressive message that I'm sure I yeah, I guarantee, was not original, whether our side, I don't know what I was but yeah, it was stolen. Well, that's impressive. And then I have one more about and then I procesls. I'll stop drilling on the fifth grade speech. But like when you say you nailed it, like was there a feedback loop of some kind where you're like, Oh, yeah, I did a really good job, because I'm just thinking like in remote environments you don't get the same feedback that you might but I'm trying to think of what the I don't know, similar situation might be here in two thousand and twenty one. The equivalent that I think you're looking for is actually it's truly about a felt sense. I speak to this with our clients to this day and certainly the environment that...

...we're in. It's odd right, I mean right, what we're doing today. This is not normal. I would much read in the same room with you where we would be able to more comfortably feel if things are going well or not so well. It was very much a felt sense. Even as a little guy, I could tell one of the things that I'll give you in this is more actionable. But consider this. If you were in a live environment like I was as a ten year old, if you're seeing eyeballs versus eye lids, two very different things. And so let's fast forward to two thousand and twenty one. Even in Zoom, certainly in real life, if you're seeing eye lids while you're presenting, that's actually feedback. That means people are choosing not to engage with you, they're not looking you in the eye. They're choosing to look at a device or newspaper or whatever the heck it is, and right then and there you're going to learn what kind of feedback you need. Yeah, Ye, okay, I've got to do something different to keep these folks engaged. So back, even as a little guy, I knew that I had eyeballs, not eye lids, on me. I could feel it palpably in the room and I think the biggest thing was the adults in the room were the ones who are like, holy cow and now is the most impressive group of adults, but they gave me feedback in the moment that confirmed what I was feeling. Well, that's awesome. In thinking about like the eyeballs or says Ilids, like there must be some common things that people get wrong that give them the ISLID. So, like, what are some of the biggest thing mistakes that people make when they're making it a presentation, sales or otherwise? Great question and a tough answer because it's very voluminous. The biggest thing, number one overall, is to remember that the mistake is really a collection of little ones. It's kind of that death by a thousand cuts really what that is is that people are selfish. We have all experienced this. Heck, some of us have probably done it. Some easy examples are things like if you're allotted a thirty minute chunk of time...

...and you go thirty one minutes or longer, you're taking time that is not yours. You're being selfish. If you throw slides up on a screen and utter words like I know this is tough to see. If you can see this, this is what it says. Well, why would you design that way? That's ridiculous. It's supposed to be a visual tool so people can see and you're making it inherently right. Let's see that self fish over and over and over again. It always comes back to that. The thing that is interesting is people don't even know how to counter that, and so they might stand the problem, but will then, Brian, what do I do? How do I fix it? There's a lot of to it, but the biggest thing when it comes to this notion of being selfish is people really just don't consider the audience. They consider themselves. They build up right these come using old materials, using stuff that they know wrong. It's about the people you're speaking to. When you realize that you're being selfish. That's when you should say, okay, can I fix this myself? What do I need? Some outside help? Yeah, that's that's get inside. So then, when you say that the biggest key to success is just means selfless in your presentation. Or is there another aspect there that's really well said? Actually, I mean I think it's just give. As I like to say, the root of the word presentation is present as in happy birthday, marry, Christmas. You're actually getting the gift right. You're giving like that. Yeah, and too often people give a lousy gift. I mean no one wants to receive a lousy gift. You want a good gift. And so, if you think about it from that perspective, a selfless act of presenting is to give something awesome. That means you have to put the time in, you've got to do the due diligence, you've got to really think it through, maybe even practice, which lots of people don't. But there's so much that can really be done to make incremental steps forward. Progress is actually quite simple, and I think the big thing here is no one is really, in corporate America, at least, trying to be the next mlk or Obama,...

...greatest presenter. All, we need you to be as effective. There's no great that all the end of the day, for yours. Hast order great sales presentation, you get a gold medal. No, doesn't work that way. Just get the sale and the way you do the right factive. So it's just a little bit different way of thinking. Yeah, and I guess what I'm thinking about, you know, like being selflessn't really focusing on your prospect or, I guess, the receiver of your presentation. That sounds fantastic, but when you're doing a lot at scale, it can also seem overwhelming. So, like, what are some ways to create a repeatable or systemic process so that you've got your outline and you're not, you know, having the right whatever peel or surprise winning script, email, etcetera, for every single prospect? I love this and I think what you're really asking is, how can you automate this? Right? Yes, I like to not make of myself as lazy, just trying to be efficient, you know. You know, I think that's a really great way of putting it. It's not about being lazy, it is about using your time efficiently. I think your spot on Brook and so many parts of the sales process are about using tools to automate, to create efficiencies, whether it's a simple crm or your SDRs, to help get things moving from the get go. I mean you gotta use some things. Presentations are no different. It starts first and foremost, and this is going to get ever so confusing, so please hang with me. You got to know what you stand for as an individual. We've got to know what you believe, and this is deep. This is that aristotle, socrates, Plato stuff. Once you know what you stand for, where you know what your core beliefs are, you then try to align, have congruence, if you will, with a firm that believes the same things the organization that you work for. You want to be fully aligned in your core values, your core beliefs as a human in the organization, and then you're going to look for prospects that believe the same things. So that may not sound like a process or a framework for automation just yet, but hang...

...with me on this. If you know that the stuff that you stand for essentially never change, it's like for me, you're going to have to work really hard and, by the way, you're never going to succeed to somehow, some way tell me that people don't matter. My core belief of elevating people. It's deep, it's real, it's unwavering. Those that work here they understand that coming to work at my company, Square planet, that that's a part of what we do. There's a really high likelihood that if they believe the same thing, they're going to want to work here. If they could care less about people, this is not the right fit. So inherently we have this duality of core beliefs right there. We've already systematized the way we think. We've automated the notion that our values over are aligned. That's huge. But here's the part where it gets troublesome. Is How many people have actually taken the time to codify the things they stand for? How many have really look deeply at the organization's where they hang their hat every day to say, am I incongruence with what they stand for as a firm? And this is again another one of those felt senses. You know, you know, you know. If you work at a place where you like man, it's just something's off. Might not be your boss, your colleagues just something there's probably not an overlap of core beliefs. Once you get that thing nailed, it's easy to automate because now your presentation is based first and foremost on the shared set of values. Think about it from the standpoint of if I at square planet was going to go out to outreach and pitch our wares, I would say we're all about elevating people. I would talk about how we've done it. We'd be an easy thing. Now if I wanted to go up the street to Amazon or to Microsoft, I could certainly do the same kind of thing. I'm using the same language because nothing's changed. I still believe that where it gets harder is if the prospect doesn't let's use Amazon, for example, which actually a kind of ours, but you know in the news right now it can be debatable. Do they actually hear about people?...

Are they elevating people? If we don't have that crossover, if we don't have that overlap, there's a pretty good chance we're not going to work together. And so having really clear core beliefs as an individual and the firm you work for codified. That's how I automate this thing, Kusha. So it sounds like just seeking out like rather than trying to, like, finash your presentation to every potential some prospect out there. You refine your list of prospects, are like your Tam or however you want to think about it. To folk further is that overlap, so when you're presenting they'll be speaking the same language. You got that so right. I'm high fiving you. Virtually you know this, and probably everyone that listens to this podcast knows this. The best salespeople often achieve those ranks of superstars for a number of reasons, but clearly one of them is they jettison bad prospects quickly. They're not going to waste their time, energy, efforts, etc. Chasing their tail on a prospect that's never going to convert. And the easiest way to know is by understanding that notion of core beliefs. What you essentially want is a ven diagram. You want a little overlap of you as a human, the firm you work for and your prospect all have a shared belief. If you don't move on, because even if you get the sale, the relationship is miserable and likely unproomfortable. It'll take too much time for the service team or the whatever it takes, it'll suck the life out of you. You want the congruence to really occur, and salespeople get it. Don't even waste right those that don't, that don't believe the same thing totally. And is that like what we're talking about now? Is this what you mean where it comes to brain science in the biology of presentations like this seems fantastic, but like, I guess, how would I test for that? You certainly could. The crazy part is it actually is stuff that I racle. Evidence can actually be formed on this versus just anecdotal. The brain science part is a little bit different...

...and it goes really to our old reptilion brains. Some people call it the CROC brain, as an alligator crocodile, but it's the Amygdala, which is a really deep portion of the brain, small little chunk where a number of chemicals are secreted, and shockingly, science has proven this to be true. There are a number of them, but things like oxytosin. This is a really good chemical. We like oxytocin and things like stories where we have shared beliefs create oxytosin. It feels good. You're more flexible, as in neural plastic. Wise you're more open to ideas you're in a good mood. Imagine, let's let's use politics, for for example. If one side is super liberal and the other side is super, super conservative, there's not much overlap there. Remember my congruence thing, right. So, if you're doing a sales pitch and you're talking to a prospect who doesn't believe what you believe, no oxytosin it's quite the opposite. It's cortisol, it's the other chemical that's part of the futter flight. And so in this case, two different beliefs, we get defensive and all of a sudden it goes to hell. And so it really is one of those things where, chemically speaking, science speaking, if you know your core beliefs then you can state them and really clear, easy story based ways. Your potential prospect, if they believe the same thing, will light up, chemically agree and feel good about you. If they disagree with your beliefs, Defense mechanisms come up, chemicals Serge to their brain that say I want to beat this person and move on. It's science. Yeah, is there a way to salvage that? Say you find that there's like a negative reaction happening. Can you save it or that point do you just important mission? Oh, you aboard mission. You can try to say save it, because there are always additional factors involved. I mean it's one of those kind of things where you know you might be able to give such a ridiculous discount to stave, to save the sale, that the prospect will say, okay, I'm going with you, even if it feels wrong.

Number of reasons that I can make a case that you can salvage it, but I would tell you it's not worth it. Find a better prospect. Yeah, yeah, a good point. In the long run, whether you're managing them or your success team or whomever, will not, like you said earlier, will not be awesome for that's exactly and all I need. We talked about evidence a little while ago. Here's my evidence. Just date for a while, but I mean really think about all the you know, x's that we've all probably had in our worlds. It's like that's just didn't feel quite right. Well, yeah, I can tell you why. It's brain chemistry, you know. True, true, every time I'd think about sales, there's always a congruency between dating and sales, and it's yeah, because you're working with people, and I guess that's why it's interesting too. I'M COMING UP ON MY sixteen wedding anniversary, who congratulations, and my wife was a psychotherapist and way more pleasant and smart and beautiful and all the things. He's, all the things that I wish I was. We've talked about how our feelings for each other are so much deeper. I didn't say better, I didn't say worse, just deeper. And sure that's part of the time of being the other for sixteen years. You've got all these experiences. But think about it with the best clients, the ones that you've served for the longest amount of time, it just works right. It just feels easy and good and if you miss a deadline or if your over budget, you're not that concerning. You don't want to disappoint them, but you know you're going to make it work. It's no different. It's just it's the same processes of marriage, if you will, or partnership, certainly partnerships in business, those that believe the same things. It just works. It just does. Yeah, yeah, and it is. It's nice when it does. And now I'd like to ask you. I can you tell me about a time where either something went really, really well, and maybe you know more recent than the fifth grade speech, example, really well and perhaps really wrong...

...as well. I'll give you the wrongs because these are always more fun. They will end on the positive. Maybe a couple of years ago we were doing a project for Jim Beam, as in the Bourbon folks, and I read about this in my book and I remember my editor. She said something like you know, if you put this in your book you're never going to work with them again. Yeah, I know, it's so I it's send it. Yeah, there's no risk of Jim being like, we'll send it now, they're already met. They it's I didn't really know this, but at the time I've since learned of distiller of spirits like Jim beam. They don't really sell to us, the consumer, they sell to distributors. Distributors then put bottles of Booze and store shelves and restaurants and etc. And so the distributors are their clients, and often these are some humongous companies with billionaire founders who fly their Gulf streams and they make a lot of do the distributors. Well, we were in Las Vegas at the Wind Hotel for the annual Jim beam distributor conference their clients. This was the biggest event that they do and they pull out all the stops for this. I mean they spend crazy money, millions of dollars, with all kinds of celebrities. I mean like I got to work with me lacunists and Justin Timber Lake and fifty cents and it was all nice. That's cool. And so we were working on the keynote presentations for the five sea suite leaders, including the CEO, and then all the brand managers. This is a big project for us and we were doing great with everyone, but the CEO. He had been on the job for about a year and he had, of course, a very strong pedigree, strong resume, and we kept just sort of butting heads and he had said to me something along the lines of well, you don't understand my audience, and I said, well, no, you don't understand. There is no difference between your audience and everyone else. I'm glad that you think they're special, but they're not. They're human beings like you're. No, well,...

...yeah, and so it was one of those kind of things where we just did not drive and I mean we tried and we did the best job we could and we continue to provide deliverables, but we're out in Vegas. It was after some rehearsals that went horrible. He just did a terrible job. We knew he was going to crash and burn. So I was with one of my colleague and so I said that's and I this is funny. I wasn't, wasn't thinking this way. Broke, but now all comes full circle. I said to her, let's look for eyelids versus eyeballs, and she knew what I was talking about. It's a room, pull out our IPHONES, we go to the little timer thing, stop watch, and it's the opening keynote of this big, huge conference with millions of dollars spent. The first guy on stage is the CEO, and I'm looking to see how long it's going to take before I see the glow of someone's phone, because I know he's going to be quick, that he didn't do the work, he didn't listen to us, he wasn't paying attention, and so I start the clock upon his voice over relationship and please welcome Joe blow. He takes the stage, clock starts I'm holding it. Twenty seven seconds before it's like a thousand people in the audience and I'm harsh. I never never look at the stage, I'll look at him. I'm looking at the audience. Bam, twenty seven seconds and then within like three minutes there are probably thirty phones. Within ten minutes there were hundreds and he had a six. So brutal. Lasted like thirty eight minutes. He was twenty some minutes short. WHO's awful. He didn't listen to us, he didn't do the work, he did everything wrong. He was totally selfish. He didn't engage the audience, he didn't care about connecting with people. It was just brutal and I was like, dude, I told you and you refused to listen, and so that didn't go well. We've done none. I've done no work with Jim beam since we did it a bunch of product, and so that wasn't all bad. There was a little sor I guess that's okay. So take away from that is, if you are consult he's probably listen to them. Second, engage with your audience, tell stories, be a bit more selfless.

Otherwise we'll get the eyelids exactly right, exactly no good, no, good, no right. Want to be yeah from the side. Nobuy. No, you got a good one for us to end on. When years thinking, man, this person crushed it. I got lots of good ones. That's the cool part is more often than that we've got lots of good ones. One that really is impactful to me this notion of understanding your core beliefs. It can seem esoteric, it could seem difficulty even put a finger on, but it really deeply matters. We were working with. The firm was Transamerica, you know, a huge, multi bazillion dollar firm, bunch of different divisions, but this was the retirement division, which is a bunch of years ago. He has since moved on. The President of the division. It was just an absolute prince of a human, I mean just a great guy, deeply resident, emotional kind of guy, and we were in his office, just a small little kind of satellite office basically in Silicon Valley, and it became very clear to me that he had really lost his way. Couldn't remember what his purpose was, didn't know. Is Why, if you will hmm, which is ultimately the things you stand for, your core belief and so I've known for a while, could kind of inherently figure it out. gave him some words and the next thing you know he was like bursting into tears, very emotional wow, and he said, you know, I've been doing this for thirty years, how come nobody ever told me this stuff? So well, it's really hard to be honest. You're the boss, who's going to tell you? And so it was one of those kind of moments where that sort of insight and clarity it ultimately changed everything. We help them with a year over year increase in sales of four billion dollars. That's with a be wow your I'm going to take as much credit for that as we possibly can, but I mean it wasn't just us, I'm aware, but it was us too, you know. Yeah, that thing that we experienced that moment. It changed everything and I just always appreciate his humility and...

...hubrists and willingness to go to a place that most won't. But once you can crack that code and get really comfy with it, it's pretty powerful. Definitely. I mean I've learned so much in just our short time together. But if folks listening or myself would like to go learn more, like what would be some good resources you could point us towards to here comes the shameless plug, which I always love that. Yes, we have a very cool program that is designed specifically for sales people. It is called the pitch elevator. It's a combination of incredible, very real tools resources. By that I mean like we're going to give you a scripts and slides, stuff you can say and things you can use visually to make a huge dent to your presentation. It also includes an amazing community of peers and then, finally, hot seat coaching twice a month. You get the choice, if you so volunteer, raise your hand and, in front of all these people, do your thing and I'll give you the Velvet Hammer, which is very loving but probably good funk to the head about your presentation. So the pitch elevator is a six month program. It's awesome. That's one. But the best way to do that is to simply go to a square planetcom as in round earth. We do, as I said earlier, lots of work with people one on one, but certainly at a team and enterprise level. And the other thing that I'll tell you. As much as anything, this is not for the faint of heart. This is for those that really want to be amazing. I mean you know this. Something like seventy percent of all salespeople fail to a quota. Well, I'm not interested in working with those at the bottom of that that. There's a bunch at the top. There's a bunch of those people that desperately want to be rock stars, that want to hit quota. Those are my folks. If you're one of those people that really want to crush it and make a name for yourself and move up and get those awesome presidents club trips, great, give me a call. That's the kind of people that really make a big difference and we can help. I love it all right. Well, you heard it here first, folks, Brian...

Burn Card. That's from square planet. Check out our website. If they want to get in touch with you, can I just find you on Linkedin? Oh, for sure, and I would say you know, certainly square planets the easy way, but you can just even shoot info at square planetcom and it goes right to my desk. There you go, all right, direct line. Well, this is awesome, Bryan, so great to chat with you. I learned to time. Thank you so much for sharing your time and your knowledge with us and you have a wonderful rest of your afternoon. I certainly appreciate you. Are So amazingly warm and genuine. Brook, you're just a delightful person. Oh, thank you. Thank you for that, but I just want to say thank you to outreach as well for giving me a chance, of course. Yeah, all right. Well, that's IT, folks. Have a wonderful rest of your day and we'll tetch you on the next episode. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. To help this get in front of more eyes and ears, please leave us a shining five star review. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes. Resources in the book on sales engagement. To get the most out of your sales engagement strategy, make sure to check out outreach, that ioh, the leading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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