To successfully entice people in buying what you have to offer, piquing their interest is the first major step. And for John Livesay, selling through storytelling is the most effective way to do so. The well-known author and keynote speaker joins David Jensen and Cecily Chambers in discussing why integrating the relatable and unique is key in unlocking the most effective sales pitch. By gathering enough confidence in telling stories, entrepreneurs can forge meaningful connections with their audience like no other. John also talks about his different faces of fear, balancing work and relaxation, and handling sales challenges, especially during the pandemic.
Listen to the podcast here:
Better Selling Through Storytelling With John Livesay
We are excited because we have John Livesay on the show. John is The Pitch Whisperer. He has been featured on Larry King, Shark Tank, and TED Talk among many others. John is an expert in storytelling and how storytelling relates to sales. I also love this idea of embracing change through storytelling. Now on to DJ who will kick us off.
We’ve got John Livesay here with us, joining us to talk about some structured mischief and rebels with a cause. He is The Pitch Whisperer and the ultimate storyteller. John, welcome.
Cecily is here with me as well. We’re going to jump right into it. What is it that makes you a successful pitch whisperer and how are you a rebel with a cause?
Pitch Whisperer is something that Inc. Magazine gave me when they were interviewing me because I told a story of helping Anthem Insurance when I was the keynote speaker to their team. After my keynote and doing a workshop with them that involves some improv, and the audience was shouting out objections. I was standing on stage in case any of the people who were role-playing, either the doctor or someone from Anthem got stuck. I would whisper something in their ear from my talk that would help them keep going.It is not about who has fallen the fastest, but who can get up the fastest. Click To Tweet
They were like, “Can you be in my ear all the time when I’m on call or meetings because this is fantastic?” That’s when the editor from Inc. said, “You are The Pitch Whisperer.” That stuck. I help people with their pitches whether they’re pitching to get a startup funded or win new business. Whether it’s a $1 billion airport renovation or getting someone to join their team, we’re always pitching. The second part of your question is what makes me a rebel with a cause. I love the James Dean reference there.
Everything you do is, so I have no doubt there. My personal cause is to help as many people as possible to get off what I call the self-esteem rollercoaster. You only feel good about yourself if things are going great, your numbers throw up, or you feel bad about yourself if things are not. That’s exhausting. I was on that rollercoaster myself for many years in sales. That concept of we’ve got to realize that who we are is bigger than any one thing happening to us at any moment is my personal cause. The rebel part of it is completely changing the old way of selling, which is pushing out a bunch of boring information and hoping that some of it sticks. The new way is getting people to become storytellers and not salespeople. That’s a little rebellious and it’s disrupting how people sell.
I’m going to have one more final question before I led Cecily to jump in here. On that last note, that was great. You’re pitch whispering in their ear and you’re helping them to bring a new way of selling. Can you give us 1 or 2 examples of where you’ve had and helped somebody have a significant breakthrough that has radically changed their business results or their personal results?
Olympus, the camera company, has a medical division. They were keen on getting their teams to start telling stories about why they do what they do and not what or how. I was working with the sales team after a talk that I gave to them virtually. I said to one of their people, “What are you saying to a doctor to get them to buy your equipment?” “Our equipment makes the surgeries go 30% faster.” I said, “That’s a nice little feature but it doesn’t tell me a story. What does it even mean? How long has the normal surgery without your equipment?” “Two and a half hours.”
“Do the math for me. What’s 30%?” “An hour and a half are all it takes.” “Here’s your case story that you’re going to tell another doctor that is considering your equipment. Imagine how happy Dr. Higgins at Long Beach Memorial was when he could go out to the patient’s family who’s waiting in that waiting room where every minute feels like an hour, and tell them their loved one did not have cancer an hour earlier than expected.”
That’s very powerful.
The key to that is that the doctor they helped is the hero in the story, not them. They hadn’t even realized that the patient’s family was part of the characters in the story. That’s one example.
When you start to break that whole scenario down for them, where they start to understand who the actors are, who the protagonist is, who the hero is, and start to help script that. Cecily is all about heroes and hero making. Cecily, I know you wanted to talk to John about some examples of wellness which is a big part of your interest.
I was excited to speak with you because I had done a lot of research and listened to your TED Talk that you had in 2018. Something that you spoke about there was having an openness to the unknown. That’s important especially during this COVID-19 era. Every morning, I get up and I say to myself, “I’m open to the unknown and I’m not afraid of it. I will roll with the punches and readjust.” That’s something that I would love to hear you speak about is how we embrace the unknown and the change, and how we can use that to our advantage?
First of all, I am hyper-vigilant on the words we say, especially the words we say that begin with I am because that’s programming our subconscious. If I say to you, Cecily, “Don’t think of a pink elephant with its left foot up in the air. What are you doing?”
Thinking of a pink elephant with his left foot up.
It’s because our subconscious does not hear the word don’t. I would like to invite you to no longer say to yourself in the morning, “I am not afraid,” because your subconscious doesn’t hear the word not and shift that to, “I bravely embrace whatever the day has to offer.” That alone will completely shift from a place of, “I’m not afraid,” clenching your fists and everything getting tense to, “I know who I am and I bravely embrace whatever the day has to offer without any attachment to what that looks like.” Does that help?
It moves you into a place of full acceptance of what comes your way. Sometimes, we have difficult things that come our way and we accept those versus resisting those. I also know that in my own personal experience. If I embraced the day, it’s a lot easier to receive bad information or something that’s unpleasant versus, “Here’s another curveball that’s coming my way,” and I tense up.People must become storytellers and not mere salespeople. Click To Tweet
I feel very strongly that if you’re alive during this time, you are supposed to be. The circumstances are not coming at you. You’re not the victim, they’re coming for you. How can we reframe everything, think that way, and make choices that are thoughtful that push us forward in a positive direction?
I’m not saying I’m doing this perfectly all the time at all. I went to see the dentist here in Austin, Texas. They make you wait in your car, then they come out, take your temperature, and ask you a bunch of questions before they let you come in, and then they take you right in the chair. There’s no sitting in the waiting room. I called from my car and said, “It’s hot here even with the air conditioning going.” They’re like, “We’ll be out as soon as we can.” Twenty minutes later, I’ve got the car running going thinking gas is cheap here. They come out, “We’re sorry. We made you wait so long. The receptionist forgot you were here.”
Had they said, “We were busy cleaning up the room from another patient or something.” I would have been able to process that much better than my ego going, “You forgot I was here. If Brad Pitt was sitting out here, I bet you wouldn’t forget.” You get so triggered by the stupidest things. There’s always a choice in how we react and I did not react well at that moment. Looking back on it, I was like, “What am I upset about?”
What were you upset about?
A lot of it has to do with being angry at the lack of control.
This is something we’ve talked about a lot.
Because we can’t control what’s going on in the world, so we try to hyper-control silly little things that. Thinking if I can control these things, then I have some sense of control as to what’s going into my world. All the things that we think that we never even had to be appreciative for like, “Of course, I can go to the gym, get my hair cut, or have a meal with my friends whenever I want. What do you mean that’s not available anymore?” That triggers a lot of rage on some levels. I wrote a whole article on it about It’s Ok To Grieve Right Now because we’re grieving something that we didn’t think we needed to ever worry about.
We have so much loss. I was traveling to the UK and taking seventeen hours with 41 people on 787. Having a mask on for almost seventeen hours is horrible. It’s a different experience than once it used to. In the big scheme of things, that’s nothing but it works on our psyche about the sense of loss and the sense of ease of going and traveling like we’ve done in the past for both business and pleasure, our ease of being able to go get a haircut when we want. The interesting thing from my perspective though is how being in Europe for the last few weeks, people there specifically in Italy when it was bad earlier this 2020, they’ve taken it in stride.
They’ve also embraced that we’ve had pandemics for centuries. We know how to deal with them. We know you have to cover your face. There’s not a lot of dialogue. The interesting thing I had with an Uber driver was America hasn’t experienced these things. Hence, people are feeling that sense of loss or lack of control. Why some people are raging and acting out is because they haven’t gone through it in societies and in cultures that have seen this before. I hope after you had your little release, you went back to your motto about bravely embracing the day.
I want people to realize that it’s okay to still have your feelings. I’m big on not trying to be perfect. I tap into that all the time about letting go of perfectionism and focus on being a progressionist, which is somebody who celebrates progress. If I’m a little calmer than I was yesterday or last week, I’m celebrating that as opposed to I’m still not perfectly calm all the time.
We at Structured Mischief, one of the things we’re exploring is this idea of barriers and things that prevent us from achieving either our personal goals or business goals, what we’re looking to do, and how we’re looking to interact. Embracing the world and what’s being brought to you is a good approach. As a storyteller, you are looking at how you can help bring situations to life for people. Can you elaborate on some of the tools or techniques you use in order to embrace or make that storytelling?
The basic technique is understanding what makes a good story. One of the things I work with clients on is their confidence. I have them stack their moments of certainty and write down 2 or 3 times in their life when they knew they nailed something. They asked somebody out on a date, they got a yes. They get interviewed for a job, they got an offer. All those good things as opposed to the negative self-talk that goes on. One of my clients, Martin did that exercise and he said, “That was powerful because my story is, I was born in South America but I grew up in the Netherlands. When I turned eighteen, my parents took me back to South America and drop me off naked in the Amazon jungle to survive for two weeks because of my culture. That’s a rite of passage into manhood.”
I said, “That gives me chills. Let’s work on that story. What did you learn in the jungle?” “I learned how to focus, pivot, and even persevere.” When he had that story practice and he told potential investors, they said, “We’re going to invest in his startup because he can survive anything in the concrete jungle if he survived the Amazon jungle.” That little story has some structure to it. I know you like the word structure. The structure is exposition. It’s the who, what, where, and when. You paint the picture. When I was working with Martin, sometimes he would forget to say it’s a rite of passage in his culture. If you don’t say that, it sounds like child abuse.
We need to know the context. The problem is the stakes have to be somewhat high. They’re not always going to be that dramatic being naked in the Amazon jungle, but there have to be some stakes in a problem. The better you describe a problem, the better your potential client thinks you have their solution. The solution is you learned those life lessons but here’s the secret to a great story, the resolution. What is life like after that has ended? We could easily say, “He survived and learned these life lessons,” but to go on and say he got his startup funded telling that story because they figured anybody who could survive the Amazon jungle could survive the concrete jungle of business brings that story home.
Is that your secret sauce? One of the other things we’re doing in the show is trying to understand our guest’s secret sauce. Is it that resolution to the story that you emphasize?
That’s one of them.
It’s not only the resolution but having the client being able to identify where they are in the story or identify with a character in the story.
In the example I gave with the Olympus, you’re telling another doctor about a doctor. That potential doctor sees himself in the story of another doctor. You helped and made that doctor looked like a hero. Your closing question becomes, “Does that sound like the kind of journey you’d like to go on with us?” As opposed to, “Do you want to buy?”
You have to understand where people are so you can meet them there, and you can have empathy for their position.
Here’s one of my biggest secrets since you’re looking for secret sauces. The biggest myth in selling and we’ve heard it for decades, is that you got to get people to know, like, and trust you, in that order. You both have heard that many times. The problem that creates is salespeople think, “I got to get you to know me. Let me push out a bunch of information about my company and my product.” It’s pushing out information. The order is incorrect. You need to start with trust. You start at the gut level. The handshake came about to show you didn’t have a weapon in your hand.
It’s a fight or flight response. You build trust through social proof or introductions, and all that stuff. It goes from the gut to the heart. Do I like you? To your point, Cecily, the more you show empathy, the more likable you are, and then it moves to the head. The question is, “Will this work for me?” It’s not, “How much information do I need to make a decision?” There’s where the storytelling takes off because they see themselves in the story and go, “That would work for me. I would love that moment.” It’s gut, heart, head, trust, like, know. It’s not the old way of know, like and trust.
On that, you’ve been describing how you bring value and your self-philosophy through your work. How does that reflect in your playtime? What is your approach to playtime versus work?
I love taking photographs. It’s one of my passions. I remember taking photojournalism in college and the professor saying, “Photography is painting with life.” I’m like, “I’m so in because I can’t paint, but I can think of myself as an artist.” I collect photography as an art form. That’s one of the reasons why I love selling ads for W Magazine for many years because the photography was amazing. For me, going on walks in the park, seeing turtles on a tree, seeing the water clear that I can see the fish at the bottom of it, or seeing a cactus bloom, and composing the picture in such a way that I capture that moment when the sunlight is a certain way. That’s how that translates into my playtime because I’m completely in the moment.
You’re in your senses. You’re embodied
I represent photographers so I totally understand that.
That’s what I was thinking, there’s a great tie in there.
Follow me on Instagram, @ThePitchWhisperer.
You can follow us too @FormArtists.
What is the biggest challenge you’re facing with all that you’re doing, all the changes that you’ve been embracing, and all the folks you’re helping?
The biggest challenge I’m facing is staying at the moment. That seems cliché but it has come home now more than ever. I know intellectually that you can list five things that cause you to be stressed out, a divorce, a move, or whatever. It’s obvious. You add pandemic to a move. I moved here on March 1st, 2020, and didn’t know many people. You think, what happened? Where am I? Who am I? What’s going on? The only way out for me is to stay in the present moment because right now, I’m alive and healthy. I’m not going to worry about the numbers or anything except taking care of myself so I can be there to take care of people I care about, and not worry about what the future is going to be or not be when something is going to end or not end. Things I can’t control tend to be a challenge for someone like myself who likes to plan and control things.Entrepreneurs have the power like directors in a movie. They can cut scenes, recast people, and change locations anytime. Click To Tweet
Have you tried meditating?
I do that regularly.
That’s good because that’s all about releasing and surrendering. I thought that would be a good skill to pick up if you haven’t already.
We had a guest who was talking about how it took him until he was 40 and learn to surf for him to bring that calmness in that meditative state into his life, and how he had struggled in a good way because he’s successful in his endeavors. He’s an actor, writer, and musician, but it was never as rewarding or didn’t feel as successful until he could take a step back. Surfing introduced him to that more meditative and contemplative state.
For myself and all the reading I’ve done, the only place there’s ever any peace of mind is in the moment. You can keep obsessing about, “I can’t believe they forgot me in the parking lot,” and be mad about the past or push the fear button and start playing a horror movie for yourself of what the future could be. I tell people all the time, “I want us all to think of ourselves as directors in a movie and we can yell cut at any time.”
We can recast it and change the location. If we don’t like what horror movie we’re making up in our head at the moment of what the future is going to be, we can say cut and go back to what’s happening right here right now. The concept of gratitude is not something new but it’s sometimes a game almost to find, what can I be grateful for? I’m grateful I have a tank full of gas that I can sit in this car for twenty minutes without the air conditioning going out. You keep looking for something to be grateful for in a situation that would be easy to not be grateful for something.
Can you chat a little bit about the three faces of fear because you’ve talked about that a lot?
One of my favorite people who create content is Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote Eat, Pray, Love, and Big Magic. She talks about when she creates something new that she thinks of fear as being in the backseat of the car, she’s driving, and she doesn’t let fear take the wheel. We’re always creating something. When I started my podcast years ago, I had a lot of fear around it. I had to put faces on it. The first fear was the fear of rejection. What if I asked somebody famous to be on? They say, “How many other episodes? Can I hear the others?” “I don’t have it. You’d be the first guest.” I thought, what is this around rejection? I’ve been in sales long enough to never take rejection personally. I don’t reject myself. That’s me up there.
What else am I afraid of? I was afraid of the unknown. I don’t know how to do this. What mic do I buy? I vet a guest, how do I host? How do I edit it? Luckily, I found someone that that’s their whole business is, helping do the stuff that I don’t want to learn how to do or take the time to do. Finally, the other face is the face of failure. What if I have a podcast and nobody listens to it? I’ll be embarrassed. It’s a waste of time and money. I had a guest on and he said, “Failure is feedback. You keep going until you get a zombie idea. It’s great it won’t die.”
You’ve clearly found a zombie idea that won’t die. You keep going. It’s awesome.
I enjoyed your metaphor about the nervous butterflies and how we don’t want to squash those butterflies but we want them to learn how to fly in formation.
Many times, people will say to me, “I get so nervous when I have to speak in front of people, I have a big meeting coming up, a big date or whatever. We get butterflies in our stomach.” The goal is to draw our adrenaline. Going back to what DJ was saying, instead of resisting that, it’s about accepting, “This is happening.” Our body doesn’t know the difference between fear and excitement. Feelings are the same. You say, “This is game time. It’s my Super Bowl moment or Olympic moment.” That’s all. You’d get the nervous energy in your stomach out into the room.
I’ve been trying to do that. When I feel nervous about something, I identified the fact that nervousness could also be translated into excitement and how I can foster it in that direction.
What a great example is I can be grateful to be nervous because if I was leading such a boring life that I never got nervous about something new, that’s not fully living. I’m doing something that’s out of my comfort zone and that’s okay.
That’s the thing about the unknown. All opportunity springs from there. You’re not going to get all these amazing opportunities by doing the same thing every day, seeing the same people, and being in the same pattern. There’s an openness there to regenerate and recreate.
If I had not been someone who was like, “Do you want to come to our house for a dinner party? We’re going to have someone you haven’t met there. Is that okay?” “No, I must know every single guest before I go to a dinner party.” I then would never have got to meet DJ.
My father had a life lesson which was, “Always find yourself a new way home.” Meaning he always wanted to come home a different way. When you live in one place for many years, you start to run out of those options. It was something that he instilled in us especially because he was a big traveler and took us when we were young traveling. It was always this other way of thinking about getting lost because you then discover these things that you would never know.
That plays into another question we had for you, John. One of the things we’re addressing and looking at is these barriers that we put in front of ourselves or they get put in front of us and how we get around them, or rules that need to be broken that we think are holding us back. What is your advice for someone who’s unsure about how to start either breaking those rules or breaking down those barriers that are holding them back?
Rules are sometimes what people tell us but more likely than not, they are rules we’ve made up for ourselves and how we want to live our life. Barriers for me connotate something somebody else has put up in front of me. For example, when I decided I wanted to be a keynote speaker and now a virtual keynote speaker, that’s a huge barrier. We’re not having live events. What are you going to do? How are you going to make that work? That’s a barrier.
I invested in creating a home studio so that the experience of seeing, hearing me, and all that would be as good as it could be. I’m figuring out how to make my talk interactive for virtual talks whether that’s a Zoom breakout room or working with people before the talk, and calling on them to interact in a talk situation, and throwing out the rules. When you’re giving a keynote talk, you don’t have anybody else to speak.
That works when you’re in the room but if you’re going to be on a Zoom virtual talk, you need to make it a little more interactive so that rule of, “You’re the speaker. You don’t call on people. That’s a workshop, that’s not a talk.” I threw out that rule and handle that barrier of it’s not a live event. I found that it was still emotionally engaging which was fantastic. Even though the 200 people were on mute while I was speaking, the feedback afterward was phenomenal, “We needed to hear that. We have some new tools for storytelling that we can’t wait to use. We’re going to start using it internally as well. This will be a great tool to onboard new salespeople and share our stories.”
They’ve created a whole map of the country where you can click on different states with people’s faces that work for the company and hear their own story of origin as well as their own case story. It’s a personal new way to interact. To have an impact on a big company like that virtually is thrilling but I had to overcome the rule of, you can’t have somebody speak when you’re speaking and the barrier of this won’t belive.
That’s very specific and you’re still growing your business. You now have your whole virtual masterclass sessions. In many ways, this moment in time has allowed us all to have a self-imposed sabbatical to think about where we’ve been and where we want to go. That was great in terms of your personal experience. Can you give another example of how you have helped a client, confront those barriers, break some rules, or bend some rules that were holding them back?
I worked with an architecture firm when they were up to redo an airport. The stakes were high. Whoever won was going to get $1 billion. The decision-makers told this firm and the other firms that were in the final three, “We’re going to hire the people we liked the most because we got to work with you for six years.” The firm freaked out. They’re like, “What? We show the designs and hope that wins the business.” I said, “We got to throw those rules out. That’s not going to work anymore.” I was working with them. They were showing me the slides and they said, “Here’s our team slide. If we run out of time, we’ll skip this.”
I’m like, “Did you not hear the criteria? This is the most important slide. What are you going to say when you show these pictures of the people that they would be working with if they pick your firm?” “My name is Bob, I do this. My name is Sue, I do that.” I said, “That’s a barrier. It doesn’t make you memorable, likable, or anything. We’re going to drop down these professional barriers that you walk in with.” I pulled some personal stories out of them. I said, “Bob, what made you become an architect?” “When I was eleven, I played with Legos. Now I have a son that’s eleven, I still play with Legos with him. I bring that same passion to the job.”
“Sue, where did you work before here?” “I was in the Israeli Army.” I said, “You’re going to bring that same focus and discipline you learn there to make sure this project comes on time and under budget.” They ended up telling stories about themselves that they didn’t even know about each other as co-workers. They won that job because the people said, “We like those people. They get us. We remember them. Those are the people who we’d want to hang with.”
I might have to borrow that. I have a client and we’re trying to do team alignment and executive alignment. The one thing that I heard was they all know each other and they all socialize as they did before COVID, but they don’t know each other’s personal backgrounds. One of the things we need to do is they move into this what I’m calling a pandemic pressure test. I asked them to think about how they’re going to get through to the other side to make sure they meet their business goals and the objectives of what they’ve signed up to do. What you described could be a good technique for them. Thank you for sharing that. I’ve got to steal that. We’re getting close to the end. Cecily, you had 1 or 2 more key questions for John. We should then start to make sure that we get him out of here in time.
What was your response to the COVID crisis? Have that taught you anything surprising about yourself?
It’s confirmed the importance of resilience and my definition of resilience. When I gave my TEDx Talk, I followed a speaker named Bonnie St. John. She had lost the lower half of her left leg at twelve and went on to compete in the Paralympics downhill skiing with a prosthetic leg. During that competition, you had to ski down two mountains. She went down the first mountain, and she was in the first place. She was the fastest. On the second mountain, everybody was falling. It was very icy and she also fell. They combined the time from the two mountains and they said, “You came in second place. You were the fastest to go down but you were not the fastest to get back up.” That sticks with me. We’re all knocked down now. How fast are we going to get back up? That’s the secret.Just keep looking for something to be grateful for in a situation that would be so easy not to be grateful for. Click To Tweet
That’s powerful. That’s what everybody is dealing with. How fast you get back up in business, personal, spiritual. People are losing people to this horrible virus. People that are denying that have been lost to it and their family members, and all of a sudden have an awakening. It is how fast we get back up.
It’s also not checking out to being present, identifying your fears, figuring out a way around them, and some solutions.
One of the things I say in my keynote that’s been a favorite of audiences is that people came up to me ten years after they heard a talk and still remembered it. That’s a good analogy to leave on. During this time, we can either be the ostrich, bury our head in the sand, and let me know when this is all over, or we can be like the peacock. The peacock makes himself big and beautiful when a predator comes. We have a choice. Be an ostrich or peacock.
That’s the importance of power posing too.
We’re all about power posing in the show.
I was telling DJ that when I first started my agency, I started it out of my apartment in West Hollywood. At my dining room table, I was sending out my first emails to clients letting them know that I was starting it. I did a few two minutes with my arms up and on the waist.
You can stack your moments of certainty while you hold the power pose. That will make the time go faster because you need to do that for two minutes. If you stack your moments of certainty, while you hold the pose, that’s the secret combo.
John, last question from me and this is one that you’ve already answered, and you’ve been generous with your support and your input as we’ve launched this show, but any other advice for newbie podcasters and how we connect to our audience.
Ask people for their stories, figure out what the story means, and if the story has some takeaway. When you hear a great story or soundbite, people repeat it and it makes it memorable. When you have an emotional connection with anyone whether they’re on your show or having a conversation with them, it’s the stories that people remember and wants to come back to.
John, thank you for being with us. We look forward to your continued success. We hope you will come back and join us again on the show.
I have a gift for your audience. If you take out your phone and you’re going to text a number and a word, I’m going to send you a PDF of my top-selling storytelling secrets. You simply text the word Pitch to 66866. You get a free PDF from me. It’s more secrets that I even didn’t have time to reveal.
Thank you, John.
Thank you both.
That’s fantastic. John Livesay, The Pitch Whisperer, keynote speaker, and author, talking about better selling through storytelling. He shared so much about how to break down barriers and how to bend the rules in order for you to be more successful storytellers. I loved the example of the downhill skier with the amputee. She came in second place, the fastest on one part of the course but not the fastest in getting up, but that’s all of us.
I love that as well. That resilience is the way that we’re going to get through this. It’s to understand that sometimes we’ll be down, but it’s about how fast we can rebound and get back up.
Some of his techniques about how to be an effective storyteller and how to create structured mischief are key, along with his joined by text Pitch document PDF that you’ve got to listen to. What an amazing storyteller and how he’s brought all of his years of experience down to trying to live a better life.
One thing that resonated with me was rearranging the order of know, like, and trust in storytelling. Putting trust first, that’s important.
What that goes to is the heart of, “If I don’t trust you, what do the other things matter?” Flipping that on its head is powerful. The fact that in his playtime, he’s also a photographer. He’s going out and shooting turtles, water creatures, and fish at the bottom of a pond.
It’s also nice that he has a separation. That separation is important between play, work, and being able to turn your brain off from the same patterns that it goes through every single moment of the day.
The thing I would end with that inspired me was when he was talking about the one client and the brief was, “You’re going to get $1 billion if you get the project right and we’re only going to hire the team we like.” As they prepared, they weren’t even going to include their team bios. He said, “You missed the whole point.” The client said, “We’re only going to hire the people that we like.” For him to then help them bring their own personal stories to life, whether they had been in the Israeli Army or they played with Legos when they were eleven, and still doing it as an adult with their eleven-year-old son. That was great because it brings the personal side to the life of what you’re passionate about. I’m going to borrow that.
Also, not get stuck in a pattern of how you pitch something before thinking outside of the box.
We’ll look forward to you in our next episode.
- John Livesay
- TED Talk
- It’s Ok To Grieve Right Now – LinkedIn article
- @ThePitchWhisperer – Instagram
- @FormArtists – Instagram
- Eat, Pray, Love
- Big Magic
- Podcast – The Successful Pitch
- Bonnie St. John
About John Livesay
John Livesay, aka The Pitch Whisperer, is a sales keynote speaker where he shows companies’ sales teams how to turn mundane case studies into compelling case stories so they win more new business. From John’s award-winning career at Conde Nast, he shares the lessons he learned that turns sales teams into revenue rock stars. His TEDx talk: Be The Lifeguard of your own life has over 1,000,000 views.
Clients love working with John because of his ongoing support after his talk which includes implementing the storytelling skills from his best-selling book and online course “Better Selling Through Storytelling.”
“John is part artist, philosopher, and sales crushing storyteller. Highly recommend John for any organization looking to change their selling style to be relevant, impactful, and to rise above the noise.” — Keith Griffis, Executive Director of Marketing, Olympus
He is also the host of “The Successful Pitch” podcast, which is heard in over 60 countries. These interviews make him a sales keynote speaker with fresh and relevant content.
John has been interviewed by Larry King and appeared on TV as an expert on “How To Ask For What You Want And Get A Yes.” John currently lives in Austin with Pepe, his King Charles Spaniel, who reminds him every day of the importance of belly rubs.