As a consumer, fending off salespeople can be exhausting, but, on the flip side, most business owners don’t love the act of selling either. It can feel “grimy,” like you’re chasing after potential clients to take their money.
According to sales and marketing expert David Newman, this typically happens when business owners don’t give anything away until after people become clients., but it doesn’t have to be that way.
In his words, “What if you treated everyone like a client and gave them as much value as humanly possible before they bought from you? What if you shifted your mindset from a ‘taking’ mentality to a ‘giving’ one?”
As the author of the business bestsellers, “Do It! Marketing”, “Do It! Speaking,” and “Do It! Selling,” David literally wrote the books on selling as a thought leader and reinventing your mindset around sales.
In this episode, he outlines how this approach boosts trust and sales rates and how you can create that “giving” sales mindset in your own business.
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Show Notes 📓
✅ Connect with David: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidjnewman
✅ Learn more about David and his team at Do It! Marketing: https://doitmarketing.com/
📷 Watch the video version of this episode and subscribe for updates on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYAr3nGy6lbXrhbezMxoHTSCS40liusyU
🎤 Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/
🚀 And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/
Read the Transcription 🤓
Intro: You know those moments when you’re doing what you love in your business, maybe it’s standing onstage or creating content, whatever it is, you’re totally immersed, and time just seems to slip by? This is called the Flow State. At Speaker Flow, we’re obsessed with how to get you there more often. Each week we’re joined by a new expert, where we share stories, strategies, and systems to help craft a business you love. Welcome to Technically Speaking.
Austin: All right, boom. We are live. David Newman in the house, thank you so much for joining us today, my friend.
Taylorr: Wow, legend.
Austin: So good to see you. Right?
David: Such a pleasure, gentlemen. Such a pleasure. Great to be back. I think I was what, episode number two or something?
Taylorr: Two or three, yeah, of season 1.
Austin: Wow, that’s correct, number two.
Taylorr: Yeah, for sure.
David: Think of how much smarter all three of us are.
Taylorr: I know, a lot. Especially in the realm of podcasting.
Austin: It is astounding. Yes.
Taylorr: Look, I even have hesitancy going back and listening on those early episodes.
Austin: Yeah. So, here’s a little Easter egg for everyone. Taylor and I tried to start a podcast back in the day and we got three episodes and never published a single one.
Austin: But I still have all of the files.
Taylorr: Oh, so cringey.
Austin: So, maybe someday we’re just going to really, anyway, it’s real cringey to go back and listen to those. And to be honest, I think some of our early episodes are the same way, where we’re still trying to figure out how to do this well. But, David, you’re such a great conversationalist that I remember even having the conversation with you back in the day being like, wow, that was such an amazing episode. And it’s just because you ooze genius. So, thank you for that.
David: Thank you. Thank you. That’s going on my website right now. Oozes genius.
Taylorr: Ooze genius.
Austin: Oozes genius.
Taylorr: Yeah, Austin Grammond.
Austin: I will put that in a video testimonial. That’s right. You can use my face and everything.
Taylorr: Well, I don’t know if he’ll want that, but.
Austin: Yeah, we’re so excited to see you. We just saw you in-person too, which actually leads to a question that I wanted to ask you. You’re a part of a very specific group in the NSA, the elusive Million-Dollar Roundtable. Can you just share with us a little bit, what is that all about? How does somebody get there? We don’t have to be real long-winded about this, but I’m just curious, what’s the deal with the Million-Dollar Roundtable with the NSA?
David: Sure. So, the short story is that you have to have a million dollars of top-line revenue. And, obviously, it’s not what you make, it’s what you keep, but what they look at is a million dollars of top-line revenue as, what I call, a speaking-driven entrepreneur. So, yes, that includes speakers, but it also includes consultants and coaches and people that own training companies. People that have a very robust licensing program around their speaking and their training. Folks that have a coaching company and they have a whole bunch of coaches that work under their banner.
So, that’s the secret there. I will tell you that, so when I joined in, I qualified in 2017, which I thought I would never do. I spent so many years being broke and clueless and lost and hitting every brick wall and every dead-end that I, literally, would just pinch myself and go, really? It’s like 20 year overnight success. So, what was interesting when I got there is that there are so many different business models in that million dollar speakers group, and some folks are kind of speaking first and consulting, coaching, training online courses. Some people are online courses are the lead product, the lead thing that’s at the front of the amusement park, and then they do some consulting and speaking and training. Some folks have a training company with 20 trainers that go out all around the world and do training for their corporate clients, and they speak and they consult and so forth.
So, literally, if you took 20 random people out of that group, it would be 20 very different business models, the only DNA that they have in common is that there is a speaking-driven profit center or multiple speaking-driven profit centers in their business.
Taylorr: Wow. So, is the Million-Dollar Roundtable a formal thing of the NSA? Was it started by just the members inside of it who wanted to be a part of a group that had similar nature? Is it a formal piece?
David: Yes and yes. And so, the Million-Dollar Speakers Group is a formal, it’s a community; it’s one of our NSA communities. And you do have to, the way to get in, people say, well, how do I get in? I make a million dollars a year. All you have to do is submit your tax return or your proof of revenue, most people use the tax return, to our NSA CEO and she will look at it and vet it and then shred it and then invite you in.
David: So, it is a validated, it’s not like, I make a million dollars, trust me.
Taylorr: Right. Yeah.
David: You have to submit authentication paperwork and then you’re officially in and we have meetings at the winter conference, we have meetings at Influence, the big national event every summer. There’s a Facebook community that is ongoing, there are monthly Zoom calls that we do. I just cycled off being the chair of the Million-Dollar Speakers Group, so last year I was the chair, our current chair, as we record this, is the awesome Michelle Villalobos. Verl Workman is our incoming chair after Michelle, so it’s just a very dynamic, very exciting group to be a part of.
Taylorr: Yeah. Heck, yeah. Great community too.
Austin: So cool.
Taylorr: It’s cool that everyone has a different business model. It just goes to show you, especially in lieu of today’s conversation, there are a lot of ways to make it happen. It just largely dependent on how you want to structure the business. Okay, so to segue a little bit, I I just want to start with a defining moment, if you will. In our industry, and I think we heard a lot of this, even with the Million-Dollar Roundtable conversation just now, we see a lot of labels in the industry, right? I’m a speaker, I’m a coach, a trainer, advisor, author, thought leader, when you’re running a personal brand like this, especially in the context of selling, right?
Building trust, building authority, is there a right label for this industry to sum up what you do? Is it appropriate to just define yourself as one of the modes of delivery, like I’m a speaker, even though you may have coaching, consulting and so on? What’s your take on that?
David: Sure. Yeah, the short answer is no, I really don’t believe in labels and I think labels are limiting. So, yeah, and I talk about this even in the Do It Selling book, that when we define ourselves by the outcome and the results that we create, not by the distribution method. So, you go on LinkedIn for example, I’m sure you guys see this all of the time. You go on LinkedIn and someone’s professional headline is; speaker, consultant, author, thought leader. Exactly those words that you were talking about, Taylorr. This tells me nothing about who you serve, what problems you solve, why I want to call you, why I want to hire you.
So, I think it was Joe Calloway; Joe Calloway, who’s in our Speaker Hall of Fame. He said, too many speakers think of themselves as a 12 ounce can of Coke. Now, if you want to buy Coca-Cola, that comes in a lot of different forms. It comes in a two liter bottle, it comes in a six pack, it comes out of a soda fountain at McDonald’s. It comes in a 55 gallon drum, if you’re a restaurant and you’re putting it into your soda machine. So, speakers need to stop thinking of themselves as the 12 ounce can, and they need to start thinking of themselves as the Coke, right?
So, the Coke comes in all different sizes and shapes; you can get it from a machine, you get it at McDonald’s, two liter bottle, glass bottle Coke from Mexico that has full sugar. So, the point is, do not define yourself by your distribution method, define yourself by what is the substance of what you do. And I think those are the two most powerful things you can do as far as defining your sales process is, number one, what people do you serve? Number two, what problems do you solve?
So, rather than professional speaker, professional consultant, professional coach, your label, your unspoken label is professional problem-solver. And if you reposition what you do as professional problem solver where you just talk about your outcomes, you just talk about your results; you just talk about the kinds of transformations that you create in your audiences and in your client base, that’s what’s going to get you hired. So, don’t limit yourself that I’m just a consultant or I’m just the coach or I’m just the keynote speaker, because most business models, you’re multiple of those different things, right?
So, sometimes we’re asked to come in and keynote, sometimes we’re asked to come in and train, sometimes we’re asked to come in and coach. And you don’t want to put yourself in a box because then people don’t know all of the different ways that you can help them solve that problem.
Austin: Yeah, man, I love how concise you are about that, and it’s totally true. And, in that same vein, I also really empathize with people running these types of businesses; ourselves, all three of us included to some degree, because in a lot of other areas where there are multiple functions of a single person, think of an attorney, for example, right? There could be a family practice attorney, there can be criminal defense attorneys, there can be business attorneys, there can be divorce attorneys, there are all of these different flavors of how they help people and that can vary widely, in terms of how it’s actually executed; from paperwork being done to standing in a courtroom, right?
But there’s still an overarching label that’s easily accessible that everybody understands, I’m an attorney that’s connected to the outcome with an attorney, even if there are multiple outcomes, theoretically. But with this space, there’s just not a clean label, you have to customize it to the thing that you do. So, anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is I understand why this is a problem for people, actually, because there just isn’t a nice clean, tidy bow that you can tie on this that’s already accepted to define this thing, right? You have to kind of define it for yourself.
David: Exactly. Exactly right. For sure. Well, and then think of the sales process, right? So, even in the sales process, if you’re after a multi-dimensional relationship with a client, but you first come across as a coach and not a speaker, or you first come across as a speaker and not really a trainer, the context in which they see you or in which you present yourself, is the context in which they set you. So, let’s say that you’re doing an executive seminar for 20 board members at a company. They’re thinking, wow, this guy does some great board facilitation. He’s great in this small, sort of, seminar space; we have an event coming up with 4,000 of our global leadership team. They never connect that the same person that’s doing the seminar for 20 people would be an amazing, fantastic main-stage speaker in front of 4,000 of their leaders.
Similarly, you’re hired to go speak to those 4,000 leaders and then they have some training needs or they have some executive coaching needs. They’re not going to think of you for training or coaching. They’re going to think, oh, he’s a really great main-stage speaker in front of 4,000 people. The next time we have a need for a main-stage speaker for 4,000 people, this is the guy we’re going to call. And you’re losing out on that business, if you define yourself purely and strictly based on the distribution method that might only be one part of your business.
Austin: Yeah, man, what you’re saying is resonating so much. And something that we saw on your website is that you have a very specific type of person that you serve. You have three qualifications, and if I can remember them correct, this is purely off of memory, so if this is incorrect, don’t judge me. But number one, you have to be already running a successful business at or over a hundred k, you have to be coachable and you have to be action oriented, be willing to do things. Are those the three qualifications?
David: That would be my dream. If we only worked with those folks, yes. But now, we make legitimate exceptions. So, let’s say someone is just coming out of a corporate role and fantastic background, fantastic track record, maybe they’ve even done some speaking and consulting, kind of a side hustle, maybe even if it’s unpaid, but they have the expertise, they know what it takes to be successful, but now they’re taking that from a corporate context into an entrepreneurial context. So, that will be one situation where we’re happy to make an exception and happy to talk to folks about how we might help them. The other exception is if someone is kind of changing lanes.
So, we saw this a lot in March of 2020, right? With the pandemic and everyone’s losing their minds, and we had a $60,000 a month keynote speakers business go down to $0 a month. And I remember one particular client, literally March of 2020; David, I just lost $60,000 a month of gigs that were erased from my calendar. And all of my clients love me, but they’re like, Hey, we’re canceling the event, we’re canceling the meeting. We’re not sure if we’re going virtual, we might reschedule for virtual. He says to me, I think I really need to get a coaching and consulting profit center up and running. Coaching I get, and I think I already do some coaching informally, but I really want to get into consulting.
And he pauses and he says, I just have one question, David, what is consulting? And I laughed and I said, okay, well, let’s break it down, right? So, what is consulting? Consulting is a combination. So, he was a very successful keynoter. And I said, so you’re doing keynotes. Yes. So, let’s just put together a very quick little consulting package right here, right now on the phone. So, let’s say that we have a six month consulting program and he was into team building and collaboration and all of these things. Could you do six keynotes once a month for a company? Oh, sure. All of the time. Great. Could you do six half day more like training sessions or master class in-between those keynotes for ongoing repetition reinforcement application?
Yeah, no, I love doing a half-day, roll-up your sleeves deep dive; in fact, I’ve done that a couple of times. Great. Put that in there. How about coaching clinics? Just like open office hours where people kind of just come in, desk side support. I’m wrestling with this problem; I have a one-on-one with one of my direct reports coming up. I have my performance review. Hey, I’d love some help. What do I do? What do I say? How do I say, oh, I do that all of the time. Great. So, put in office hours, put in coaching clinics. How about videos? You ever want to make little three to five minute videos just for little micro lessons that they can consume in-between your in-person sessions? Oh my god, I have a home studio, I make videos up.
So, he already had the building blocks for what we call consulting, but he had never sold consulting. So, there was a very big client in his hometown that he had done multiple keynotes for over the years. And I said, call up all of your favorite speaking clients, tell them what you’re up to now because of the pandemic and because there’s a need for a deeper level of training and, as I said, the magic words to sell this are ongoing repetition, reinforcement, and application. Not just the keynote that shares the ideas, but the implementation that helps it stick. Call up three or four of your favorite clients. Tell them what you’re up to and see if we can get a couple of nibbles.
Well, he, literally, made three phone calls. One of them was a very serious prospect. He says, David, how do I price this thing? I said, well, how much would, you know? So, you’re a very successful keynoter, how much is that? 20 grand. And we said, we’re throwing in six of those right? So, six times 20 is one 20 and then we’re doing these training sessions, how much are those? And he told me. And then you do these videos, right? And coaching clinics and office hours. So, $300,000 of value. I said, you know what you do? Just sell it for a hundred k. Tell them that the bits and parts would ordinarily add up to 300 k. I don’t want to nickel and dime you; I don’t want to charge piecemeal for this.
And so, here’s the other sound bite. I am much more interested in getting you to your destination than I am in running the meter. And throughout the hundred K number. He gets back to me; David, you’re not going to believe this. They bought it. Let’s recap. Had never done consulting. Half-jokingly asked me, David, what is consulting? We put together this kind of back of the envelope consulting package. He had never sold consulting, his first consulting sale a hundred thousand dollars. Crazy town. Crazy town, I tell you. But, literally, that’s a perfect example of what we were talking about earlier. I’m not a 12 ounce can of Coke, right?
This is a professional problem solver conversation. Not, hey, do you want me to come in and speak? Do you want me to come in and speak? Do you want me to come in and serve your team and solve your problem and get you to a new outcome? And that’s done with a combination of in-person and virtual and coaching clinics and videos and all kinds of other things, but packaging all of that together had tremendous value for that client and the prospects closed themselves. They didn’t need persuading and convincing and chasing.
Taylorr: Right. Well, a lot of that language is certainly, I want to get you to your destination and not run up the meter. The way you’re explaining what you do inherently is just laced through value. And I think this is something in selling that a lot of personal brands, thought leaders struggle with is they view sales as an icky word, right? They see selling and they’re like, oh, they cringe up a little bit. And it’s because they don’t want to have that used car salesman vibe. We hear this all of the time. And inherently they don’t see it as a valuable transaction on their end. You’re really doing them a disservice by not lining something like this up, right?
They’re concerned that they have to use these kinds of sleazy tactics, if you will, to get a sale through the door. But, what, you just outlined is like, this is pure value. If I don’t help you out with this, you’re going to be in a way worse position and we wouldn’t want that and I’m just here to help you out and that really flips the script on how powerful selling can be when you come at it from that mindset, rather than the, what’s the exact phrasing I use to get this person to buy from me. It’s just a completely different mindset to approach a sales conversation.
David: Oh my gosh, absolutely. Well, and if it’s okay if I just do a little quick plug here, this whole concept of.
Taylorr: Please, yeah.
David: People, we’re just going to plug away, right? Why not? Folks who hate selling. Folks where it makes them itchy, it makes them nervous, it freaks them out like, oh my god. So, so many speakers, consultants and coaches, they love doing the work of the work. They just hate the sales part. So, this is why I wrote the book, Do It Selling and the book is actually filled with frameworks, not scripts. Very big difference there, we can talk about that in a minute. Frameworks for initial conversations, follow-up conversations, discovery calls, closing conversations, all of those things are in the Do It Selling book and if folks want to go check it out, it’s simply doitselling.com.
And you can buy the book, you can download all kinds of companion downloads and bonuses and trainings and videos where I talk more in-depth about this. But this is really, really important. So, think about whether it’s speaking or training or consulting or anything that we do. Imagine if we reframed the sales part, which is, again, in quotes, right? The sales part. Ooh, I don’t like the sales part. What if the sales part was actually simply the first phase of your delivery?
So, remember what I said a second ago; people love the work of the work, they love the speaking, they love the training, they love the consulting, they love the coaching. They just don’t like the sales part. What if we reframe the sales part? That’s your first moment of delivery. So, after you’re hired, what do you do? If you’re a speaker, you’re a trainer; after you’re hired, you have a series of interviews with the folks that are on that committee with the executives who are bringing you in to speak.
What’s going on? What’s the problem? What are the issues? What do you want me to address in the keynote? What are some of the hot button topics? What should I talk about? What should I avoid? What are some landmines? What’s really going on here? How can I best serve your group? Why would you save that part of the conversation for after you’re hired, when you can have that part of the conversation before you’re hired? So, one of the things I talk about in the Do It Selling book that people have just been blowing their minds, imagine if you treated every prospect like they were already a client.
And this is what I talk about in the Do It Selling book about pre-sale value. All of us are brilliant at post-sale value, meaning they give you a check; they give you their credit card. You are amazing, you’re a fantastic keynote, you’re an amazing trainer, you’re a fantastic facilitator. No question, your post-sale value is at a hundred percent. The pre-sale value; it’s pitchy, weird, salesy, pushy, nagging, pestering. And this is, of course, where Speaker Flow comes in, right? Because Speaker Flow, you make sure that every touchpoint has value, it is scheduled, it is accountable, it is relevant, and you are moving each step of the sales process forward.
So, how do you do that in your brain, not just in Speaker Flow? You do that by treating each prospect like a client, and when you treat prospects like clients, big surprise, you will get a lot more clients. You will, literally, get a lot more clients if you just do that mind shift. Think about, do you ever get nervous talking to a current client? I don’t. I love talking to current clients. Imagine every sales call, every prospect. You’re talking to a current client, they’re already a client, they just don’t know it yet.
They’re already a client; they just haven’t filled out the paperwork or the credit card or sent the invoice, right? So, they’re already a client, so one of the mantras that I teach people is in a sales conversation, nothing to hide and nothing to prove. This is so critically important because you want to be open, you want to be having as much fun on a sales conversation as the three of us are having right now, right? It’s like a coffee chat with friends and you have nothing to hide and you have nothing to prove, so it’s not like, oh, I have to show them how smart I am. I really want to be liked. Don’t worry about showing them how smart you are. Don’t worry about being liked, have a genuine human-to-human conversation.
You invite them to a conversation about how you can help, how you can help their team, how you can help their leaders, how you can help their employees, how you can help their association members, how you can help their board of directors. Whatever it is, it is an invitation to a conversation. And one of the first things that you want to reframe in your mind, it’s not pitching, it’s not what do I pitch? In this first conversation what do I pitch? You don’t pitch anything. You ask questions and then you shut up and then you listen. Because we don’t talk our way into a sale. This is really relevant for speakers, right?
Speakers love the talking. You don’t talk your way into a sale, you really don’t. You listen your way into a sale. And as far as wanting to be liked and wanting to sound smart, let that go. People judge us far more on the questions that we ask than on the statements that we make. And I’ll just close off this little rant here with the following, I forgot who said this. I think it was someone in our NSA community. The sound bite is, a prospect who is listening is not a prospect. When I first heard that, I was like, prospect who is listening is, oh, oh, I get it. Prospect who is talking is a prospect.
So, a prospect who is listening is tuned out. Prospect who is listening to you go wa, wawa, wawa, wawa, right? They’re thinking about their grocery list, they’re thinking about their next meeting. They’re thinking about how quickly can I get off this call? The more you talk, the less trust is built. The more they talk, the more trust is built. So, you really need to get great at asking questions because people love talking about themselves, right? I, me and my, my three favorite topics, every prospect, I, me and my is their favorite topic too. So, get them talking early and then use the questioning techniques that I share in the Do It Selling book that is going to help you treat every prospect like they’re already your new best client.
Austin: Yeah. Man, what a great way to really, I don’t know, connect with the person that you’re talking to while simultaneously feeling better about the conversation. That’s part of this whole style of interview-based selling, I guess we could call it, questioning as you’re going through the sales process is, I think most people get uncomfortable in selling, not by listening, but by trying to figure out what to say. But if you can stop worrying about what to say and just start trying to get them to say more stuff. What a dynamic shift in the conversation, it takes pressure off of you. And it also goes to really reinforce the fact that you’re there to create value, right?
Because you ask questions, because you care, you don’t ask questions because you’re trying to get a sale. That’s not the gist that people get from that. They feel the care when they’re being questioned because of what you just described. So, yeah, I hope people really take that thing home.
David: And, Austin, a thousand percent. And when you look at some of the sales frameworks and some of the question frameworks that I share in the book, one of the caveats is, if your come from is not in the right place, you’re just doing this because you’re greedy and you want to grab the sale, you want to kind of make the sale no matter what, and you have complete disregard for the client, two things will happen. Number one, that interview process is going to sound more like an interrogation. It’s going to sound like they’re being peppered with questions and that just gets annoying and that kind of grates on prospects nerves, they hate that. And they realize that you have an agenda.
If your come from is completely different. Same questions, same words; literally, same words leave your mouth, but your come from is genuine empathy, genuine curiosity, and genuinely wanting to serve that client, whether that’s by hiring you or by not hiring you. And you’re totally unattached from that outcome, that will come across as well, and it will be a sales conversation that they rarely, rarely ever have, right? Prospects are used to being treated like prospects. They’re totally unaccustomed to being treated like clients. The best outcome, and maybe this will come back to you at some point, maybe it won’t, but in your mind, what I want you to envision is they hang up the zoom caller, they hang up the phone call.
There are two or three people around the speaker phone and they’re like, I love this guy, I already feel like we’re working with him. Let’s hire him. I already feel like we’re working with him, right? That’s the kind of Jedi mind trick that you want to convey from your brain into their brain. You’re already in the family. Because your come from is in the right place. You’re not concerned about convincing or persuading or cajoling. They’re already in the house and you’re already brainstorming ideas that will help them whether they hire you or not.
Now, a lot of people hear that and they go, oh, no, well, hold on, hold on, wait a second. Do you mean free consulting? You mean help them before I get paid? No way. I don’t want to do that. That’s what I get paid the big bucks for. And this is why you might be struggling, or this is why you might not be making the money that you want to be making because you’re holding back. Right? You’re holding back. Go back to the mantra, if they were already clients, would you hold back? If they were already clients, would you edit and censor your advice and your recommendations. Right?
People buy your post-sale value because of your pre-sale value. If there’s no pre-sale value, you’re not going to make the sale and you’re not going to have the chance to deliver your post-sale value. So, please think about that, that this is entirely shifted, I would say in the last five years where it’s like, oh, no, I hold the good stuff for my paying clients. If you don’t give your prospects some of the good stuff before they buy, they’re just not going to buy, because information wants to be free. No one’s going to hire you for the information. They’re going to hire you for the implementation of the advice, of the recommendations. If they could do that on their own, they wouldn’t be talking to you.
So, of course they have a problem that you can solve, of course they have a need that you can fill. Of course they have an outcome that you can accelerate the speed and shorten the path and reduce the risk of them getting to an outcome that they already know they want or solve a problem that they already know they have. But you have to treat them like a client, otherwise it’s going to be weird and risky and dangerous to hire you. I want to flip that. I want them to think after they’re done with that initial conversation; it’s risky and dangerous not to hire you.