Josh Tapp 0:00
What's up everybody? Josh Tapp here again, and welcome back to the lucky Titan podcast. So today we have john live, say on the mic. And we're so excited to have john here because he started his career going around the world and speaking and sharing and training about sales. So john wrote the best selling book better selling for storytelling. He also did a TEDx talk that reached over 1 million views. JOHN is the master of selling and for that reason, we brought him on the mic to share with us how to make your clients the hero of your story. So with that, john, let's hop right in. All right, john. So tell us one thing about yourself that most people don't know.
John Livesay 0:37
Josh, one thing that most people don't know is that when I was a competitive swimmer, I was also a lifeguard. And I had to save a little girl one hot summer day back in the suburbs of Chicago. And that event, changed my life. The lesson I learned impacted my entire career.
Josh Tapp 0:55
So what are some of the lessons learned for me was it just like the the fear of it, I mean, there was a Probably a lot of lessons to learn there.
John Livesay 1:01
Well, the big one is Don't panic. Stay calm. Okay. And so when my lifeguard training kicked in when I saw somebody flailing, I, you know, if we both were panicking, it wouldn't serve us. Right? And then years later when I got laid off, that's another, you know, your adrenaline's rushing fight or flight responses kicked in. But I remembered my lifeguard training some 20 some years later, don't panic, stay calm. And that is what allowed me to get rehired. And when salesperson of the year Conde Nast. So that lifeguard lesson is a big aha that most people don't know where I first learned that.
Josh Tapp 1:37
Yeah. Wow, that's awesome. I say that translates well into the rest of your career. And life in general. Right. Exactly. Keeping cool under pressure. Well, awesome. So let's let's hop in. I'd like to hear a bit about your story, you know, kind of your background and you've already told us a couple things that gave me a pretty good, pretty good indicator.
John Livesay 1:55
Well, I grew up as even as I mentioned in the suburbs of Chicago and I learned those life lessons. About not panicking, staying calm, showing up doing what you say you're going to do all that integrity mindset kind of thing. I first started my career after getting out of college in Silicon Valley selling multimillion dollar mainframe computers. For companies who were mostly buying all IBM and IBM would say to them, Listen, if you buy anything, it's not IBM, we're going to point the finger at the other vendor, which happened to be me. And if something breaks, we're going to blame them and you'll get fired.
Unknown Speaker 2:31
John Livesay 2:32
that was my first aha of fear, uncertainty and doubt. Yeah, you know, that I could have the best product I could run faster, less expensive. But if there's some psychological reasons going on, no one's going to buy, right. I had to learn how to tell stories to start to, you know, understand their feelings and that empathy started to kick in listening and telling other stories of other people who had that mindset at first and what made them change their mind and then I moved Down in Southern California and worked for a small ad agency creating commercials for movies coming out on DVD that had been in the theaters. And I really honed in on my storytelling skills there because you had a two hour movie had to learn how to get down to 30 seconds. And then I would take those commercials out to studios to convince them to hire us to be their creative agency. And I love doing that. And then I went on to sell media for big companies like Conde Nast, which is GQ Vanity Fair wired, W all that stuff. And I love doing that because I'm a big passionate guy about photography. So every issue was different photography's to bring to life and sold ads to big companies like Lexus and guest jeans. And then around 2008, the big turndown came and luxury advertising went away, pretty much and I got laid off along with all the other people in the outside offices from New York. And again, I didn't stay And the panic zone. And I said, Would you like a status report so that I could show you, you know, where the ads are supposed to run after I'm gone? And she said, Wow, everybody's so mad that just leaving but yeah, and that's what allowed me to get hired back two years later. And then I ended up winning salesperson of the year after being laid off and I went, wait, and now I'm the same person, whether I'm getting laid off or winning this award. So that was my big aha moments of Hmm, what is going on? How can I let my self esteem go up and down on a roller coaster based on outside things and I decided not to do that anymore, and more importantly, how to help other people get off that self esteem rollercoaster. And I've started in the last several years giving keynote talks to companies, sales teams, in particular on how to use storytelling as a way to become magnetic and pull people in which then ultimately allows them to get off that self esteem rollercoaster personally and not burnout.
Josh Tapp 4:59
Yeah, which is in credit. So you've, I mean, I know I mentioned this in the intro, but you've already I mean, you've given a TEDx talk, you've gotten over a million views on you've written books, you give keynote speakers, you got keynote speeches, excuse me. I mean, you've already been giving this, this platform, I guess, all across the world. So tell us a little bit about your experience with that and, and how you're able to get into that realm.
John Livesay 5:22
Well, I started my first speaking about 15 years ago, and I would be calling on big advertisers like Land Rover and Jaguar and some of the fashion brands. Yeah, and my job was to say to them, that's when my first book came out. You know, run your ad. In this publication. The ideal audience will see it and put it on their shortlist of cars to test drive when they're in the market for a new car. And then the added value was, the magazine bought copies of my book gave it to the sales teams at Land Rover and Jaguar, and then I gave a talk to them on how to sell to the luxury market. So the ad would push traffic into the dealership. And then my talking book would help them close more sales. Because of them learning what I was talking about, like not taking rejection personally and staying in the moment and all that good stuff. And that's really what launched my speaking career. And now to the point today is I've really found my niche, because there's so many companies that had to do what I had to do where Alexis would say, okay, you know, the 50 magazines we looked at where we've narrowed it down to five to come in and we're going to run into Yeah, so that Bake Off, shoot out, interviews, lawyers call it a beauty contest. Any company that has to do that one hour in person presentation, pitch interview. That's really my sweet spot of how to use storytelling as a way to become memorable because one executive CEO of an international search firm said to me, you know, we asked if we can go last of the three, thinking whoever goes last is the most memorable But we can't control the order we go in, right? But you can control who tells you this story. Even if you go first, you will be memorable with a great story. And that's what people remember is the stories of what made you become an architect or an executive recruiter. Tell me a story of how you helped another client that's just like us. And here's the secret sauce, Josh is when people see themselves in your story. And by the way, you're not the hero of the story. Your client is you're the Sherpa or like Yoda in Star Wars. And so they go, Oh, you helped another airport redesign. And in there are some problems and you fix them and now that airport sales are up and they're getting pressed in the New York Times. Yes, that's what we that's what we do. Oh, well, then your closing question. At the end of your presentation is Does that sound like the kind of journey you'd like to go on? It's not this heavy duty sales. You want to buy you want to buy
Josh Tapp 8:00
Right. You know, I even hardly worried about the ask because they're asking you. Yes. Wow, that's awesome. I just have to repeat that for our listeners, because that really struck me is gold that so your client is the hero of your story? Not you, right? You're not the hero of your story. That's so awesome. Well, let's let's delve further into that. I mean, that's one of the reasons I brought to us podcasts. You You are the king of storytelling. So your book right, the better selling through storytelling, I like to delve into kind of what it takes to to have a good story and honestly, why you need a good story. We've already kind of touched on that a little bit. But, you know, how do we create that better story for sales messages?
John Livesay 8:39
Well, good stories have four elements to it, and exposition. You paint the picture. So people know if this happened last week, last year. Where am I who's in the story what's going on and then you describe a problem, the stakes have to be somewhat high, a little bit of a drama, hopefully. And then you resolve the story to give a solution and then the secret sauce again, is the Resolution, What's life like after so I'll give you a quick example. When I was working with Gensler on their story of how they helped another airport is, you know, three years ago, we were called in by JetBlue at JFK to renovate that wing. And the problem was, over the course of the time, we had to rip up all the floors in the middle of the night. And make sure it was all done by 9am. So that the source could open without losing any revenue. So we had all our vendors on call, and at two in the morning, sure enough, fuse blew, but we had somebody there to fix it in 20 minutes in a day. 59 in the morning, the last tile went down, the stores opened on time. And now, the year after the renovation, sales are up 15% because people love shopping their longer because of what we've designed. Yeah. So those are the four elements exposition. We know exactly where we are and how long ago we tell the problem in a way that instead of just saying we're someone who uses critical thinking, to anticipate problems, I told a story showing That instead of telling it see the difference,
Josh Tapp 10:01
John Livesay 10:03
And then of course, the solution is, you know, a little drama 859 the last tile goes down solution is it were stores opened on time. And then the resolution. What's life like after?
Josh Tapp 10:15
Yeah. Wow, that's awesome. I'm taking tons of notes from this.
Unknown Speaker 10:20
Josh Tapp 10:21
So when we you know, teach storytelling to people let's I just kind of frame in the in terms of our audience. A lot of our audience are your podcast host. So they have their own audience. So So how do they develop that story to start attracting more people into their audience?
John Livesay 10:38
How do people attract more people into their story? Is that what you're asking?
Josh Tapp 10:43
Yeah, are into their audience using stories?
John Livesay 10:47
Well, the better you can define the problem, the better that people think you have the solution. That's the first Aha.
Josh Tapp 10:53
John Livesay 10:54
So really describe that problem in such a way that people that someone else who you know You're going to have that same problem, probably we're going to need to rip up the floors in this airport. Right? Alright, so now I see myself in the story. I'm no longer just watching what's happening, I can imagine needing that exact same scenario. And that's, I think, really the big takeaways. Whoever describes the problem in such a detailed way by showing empathy for what's at stake, and understanding and anticipating things that better they think you are the ones that have the solution.
Josh Tapp 11:28
Yeah, I love that was one of the things that one of our last guests was talking to us about this same kind of concept was 90% of the time. When when you're making a sale, it's not your offer your offers hardly ever the problem. It's almost always the story that you're telling, when it comes to, you know, to how you're using the product or how you came to make the product. Right. I love that. I absolutely love that. So, tell us a little bit about your book, you know, what do you go into within within better selling through storytelling?
John Livesay 11:58
Well, first of all, it's the awareness That the old way of selling just doesn't work anymore of throwing enough spaghetti up against the wall and hoping it sticks. And that, you know, storytelling can be used throughout the entire process. It changes the way you develop rapport. It changes the way you describe a case study. It changes the way you describe the team. And remember people buy from people that they trust, like and No. And again, one of the old ways of thinking about that is, oh, well, if people get to know me, then they'll trust in like me. And I say the orders reversed. It starts with the gut. It's a fight or flight, we think, really Joshua and the handshake was the show we didn't have a weapon in our hand. So we have to make sure that people trust us first, and then it moves up to the heart, which is Do I like you? And the likability factor all comes from showing empathy, putting yourself in the other person's shoes, and then it moves into the head and the unspoken question people have there as well. Will this work for me is you're describing a solution here. But unless I can see myself in that story working for me, I'm still not going to do it. So that's one of the other big things that people really love in my book is got heart head.
Josh Tapp 13:11
Yeah. Why I like that the analogy there because you can you can really visualize it, you're already using the story. Selling, selling, selling, right?
Unknown Speaker 13:19
Josh Tapp 13:20
When like you're saying, I mean, the buyer has now become so much more sophisticated there. They really understand when they're being sold to and so you have to really like you're saying you're getting to their heart and to their head. So when when you because I mean for for you in particular, you work with larger companies helping them to get, you know, big bids or, or investors, when you're approaching them about their story. How does that even apply to them? I mean, they can, like how do they use story when they're pitching, like you said, with an architect being able to get a bid for a for an airport?
John Livesay 13:52
Well, the old way was to just show some slides of here's another airport. Here's the before and after, there was no story. So by crafting a story with the visuals of the before and after. Suddenly people go, Oh, it's memorable. And then as I mentioned, you know, the team slide is typically I've been here 10 years, this is what I do. Now, by me working with them, I'd say, maybe become an architect. So it's a, you know, my name is Bob, you know, when I was 11 years old, I play with Legos. That's what inspired me to become an architect. Now I have a son, that's 11. I still play with Legos with him. I still have the same passion for this project. And then they sue says, oh, before working here, I was in the Israeli army. And I learned a lot about discipline and focus. And I'm going to make sure I apply that discipline and focus to make sure that this project comes on time and under budget. Wow, these people are like, that's your team. I remember. He told me a personal story. That's who I want to hang out with for the next five years as we renovate the Pittsburgh airport. And that's how you become memorable and that's the power of storytelling.
Josh Tapp 14:53
Yeah, which in their case, you know, results in million dollar multi million dollar deals billion dollar deals in some cases. That's incredible. Well tell us a little bit about how we can get in communication with you, you know, I'd be able to see your book, you know, where can we find your book?
John Livesay 15:08
Well, it's on my website and of course on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or wherever you like to buy books. There's a Kindle version and an audio version that I narrated. But if you want a sneak peek of it, all you have to do is text the word pitch with a p p i tch 266866. And I'll send you a free Sneak Peek to see if in fact, it's something you want to buy or listen to on Audible.
Josh Tapp 15:29
I love that. So you text the word pitch, all lowercase or all caps doesn't matter. Oh, really? Okay. Tex pitch 266866 I'll actually put that in the show notes. Everybody can have access to that so we can, we can see your book. But john, thanks so much for coming on and sharing with us kind of sharing your experience about selling everything I know a lot of people are going to take a lot from this interview. But before we go, what's one last parting piece of guidance you have for us? You know,
John Livesay 15:54
the old way of selling is always be closing. Right? As I said, you know if the only tool in your toolbox is Hammer you tend to go around looking for a lot of nails to hit the new way is a BK always be kind to the way you talk to yourself, the people you work with and then your potential clients and I promise you kindness with storytelling will make you a revenue
Josh Tapp 16:15
Rockstar. Love that always be kind. Awesome. Well thank you so much john for coming on the show. And I'm so is there any where people can reach out to you personally through LinkedIn or anywhere?
John Livesay 16:28
Yes, I'm on LinkedIn, my website john Livesey calm. My email is john at john lewis a.com. So there's all kinds of ways to connect with me on Twitter, at john underscore live Isay and on Instagram the pitch whisper.
Josh Tapp 16:43
Awesome. Well, I will put links to all that in the bio and thank you for coming on the show, john.
John Livesay 16:48
Josh Tapp 16:50
Have you ever wonder which tools top entrepreneurs in your industry are using? Well, I've interviewed over 100 entrepreneurs and from those interviews, I was able to see which tools that pretty much all entrepreneurs are using and we were able to create a resources page for you with all of these tools available to so if you'd like to see the top tools and top trainings that we're going to be offering here at the lucky Titan, you can go to the lucky Titan comm slash resources to see this entire treasure trove of tools and trainings and everything else you're going to need. So with that, go over to the lucky titan.com slash resources.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai