The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode 130 · 1 year ago

130. The Mindset of Improv in Sales w/ John Sweeney


The sales funnel is actually a pyramid that looks like this: top-level is sales tools, middle level is sales skills, bottom level is the humanity of the sales professional. By restoring a connection to the authenticity, emotion, and mindset of the sellers themselves, the art of sales can begin to return to the foundation of customer experience: making people’s lives better.

In this episode, I interview John Sweeney, the Owner and Speaker at the Brave New Workshop Theater, about blending principles of comedy, improv, theater, and art to train sellers in using emotion to sell in person and via video.

John & I also discussed:

- What the art of theater has to do with sales

- Understanding the real sales pyramid and the mindset of the authentic self

- How to become comfortable with being uncomfortable

- Strategies for putting the human at the center of customer experience

Check out this resource we mentioned during the podcast:

- The Innovation Mindset

Subscribe, listen, and rate/review the Customer Experience Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or Google Podcasts, and find more episodes on our blog.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for The Customer Experience Podcast in your favorite podcast player.

What we have found, though, is that the productivity, the potency, the effectiveness of the tools and the skills really is determined by that human being, by that authenticity, by that mindset. The single most important thing you can do today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers. Learn how sales, marketing and customer success experts create internal alignment, achieved desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in a personal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast. Here's your host, Ethan Butte. Today we're talking about the role of emotion and the role of laughter in the customer experience and the relationship between improvisation, comedy and sales. Our guest is a business thinker, consultant and keynote speaker. Among his clients are our household names like Microsoft, target, honey well, US bank, Hilton and the Minnesota Timber Wolves. He's the author of four books, including the Innovation Mindset, which will probably get into, and he's the owner of the oldest comedy theater in America, the brave new workshop, as introduced to him by a mutual friend, Josh feedy, founder of sales reach, who is my guest on this show on episode sixty eight. John Sweeney, welcome to the customer experience podcast. Thank you for having me. I'm grateful to be here. It's to see you again. Yeah, we've after Josh introduced us, we spend a little time together. I was like, I we could have recorded these. It would have been useful to somebody in addition to being fun for both of us. So so I'm glad we could do it in a little bit more of a formal setting this time and I'll start with you, John, where we always start, which is customer experience. When I say that, what does it mean to you? Yeah, I'm you know, you've got all the traditional definitions and stuff. To me, like I always just think is it's just a simple thing, like is that person better after they had that experience? Like are they happier? Are they smarter? Are they wealthier? Are they more fit, whatever it is, and so it's almost like I always think of customer experience is anonymous with that word transformation, right, like was there, if you're doing a good job and do you want to come back? Right, like it's pretty simple. But I I'm always so grateful as a customer when I experienced something and I just go yeah, thank you, I'm I'm a little bit better, whatever that version or better is. You know, I mean my backs more line because of a chiropractor, or I just I'm happier because of that movie I just saw, or I'm I feel satisfied because I had a well cooked meal, or these shoes are wonderful. But have I somehow transformed into a little tiny bit better version of me? And then, if I did, I'm grateful. I love it. First of all, I always appreciate gratitude. I don't think any of US experiences enough within ourselves and expresses it enough to other people, including the people who were grateful for so I appreciate the way you Otton that up. But but above all, I really like your focus, very intense focus, on the desired outcome. You know, there's a just in general there's kind of this ongoing conversation about kind of the surprise and delight in the feeling part of customer experience versus the desired outcome part, and and I think they're both as you incorporated. I think they're both critical to the experience. You know, we can feel amazing or be surprised and delighted as much as we want, but if we didn't get what we paid for, it kind of doesn't matter. So really roved down there. I've been very privileged, you know, owning a comedy theater because you get to see that transformation and it really is satisfying. Right. So, and what I mean by that is, you know, picture, it's a Friday night, it's downtown Minneapolis. There's two hundred and four people who decided to of all the things they could do, they decided to come and spend time at your theater and drink your beer and see your comedy. And a lot of them, if it's a Friday night, maybe a bit grumpy, right because they they rushed from work, the dinner was late, the reservations, the cab, whatever it was, and so they kind of come into your theater and they're, you know, complaining, maybe their seat wasn't perfect or something, and you could just tell they're a little...

...and then by Intermission, through the transformative quality of laughter, they they're a little bit kinder to the ushers and the Bar Staff and the conversation is going a little bit better at the table with their friends. And then by the time the show's over and they've seen the IMPROV set, they're like thanks for having us, so was great and you know in their skin color and their smiles and their gate they are a transformed person. and that's not necessarily because we do such a great job. It's just the you know, the art of theater is just a wonderful thing. You literally take someone from this point of view to two hours later being bettered. It's one of the things I missed the most. Now you know that we've been closed because because of the pandemic, is just standing outside those doors and watching those customers leave with that smile and you know they're they're doing goofy stuff walking down the street to their car and then really they got their arm around someone and they're just more happy and it's it's beautiful. I love it. Yeah, what did joy tell us a little bit more about the theater? I mean it is a theater, but you also mentioned the impacts of the pandemic. But you also do a lot of teaching, coaching, consulting. Traine Yard, you two trainings today and we're recording this pretty late in the afternoon. For you tell us what you're doing with brave new workshop. Sure, and it's a quick little story. But so the brave new workshop is the oldest, longest running satirical and improvisational comedy theater in the United States of America. Our first show was made ten of one thousand nine hundred and fifty eight. And one of the hard parts of the pandemic for us is so the first time we had ever missed a weekend of performances was this March. So we had sixty two years in a row where we had never missed a weekend, which was kind of fun. And so it was started by this wonderful man who we also have unfortunately, lose this this year, although he had a great life. His name was Dudley Riggs, fifth generation circus performer, so barnum and Bailey Guy, and then in the early s broke fifty two bones. Are Forty two bones, in one fall off the high wire act in Blackpool, England. Stuck around there and healed, went back to New York and decided he wanted to leave the circus and so he started doing this instant theater, they called it, and he was really kind of a warmup act with other acrobats, jazz musicians, actors, just a Ragtag Group of extroverts, I guess, and they would bring a trunk up on stage, and this was the last days of Vaudeville, so they might be warming up for the marks brothers or for a big orchestra. That's our stuff. And then they started traveling that around the country and then he fell in love when he came to Minneapolis, Minnesota, thank goodness, and he planted his roots for the first time in his life, like literally as a circus performer, they would summer in Arkansas, our winter and Arkansas, but that was only for a month. He was on a circus train his whole life until he moved to Minneapolis and then started this little coffee shop because he had an expresso machine that he had brought back from Europe. And so we are not only the longest running cut comedy theater, but we have the first expresso machine ever to serve Espresso on the west side of the Mississippi. And so he brought people to this cafe and they were weren't spending a quarter for espresso because coffee was only a nicols. So he said what if we did this instant theater in the front of the coffee shop, and that was made ten the one thousand nine hundred and fifty eight and the grew and grew and grew. In one of our our claims to fames is that really this show, Saturday night live, has its roots at the breakdow workshop, because Al Frank and and Tom Davis were taken off our stage to be the first two head writers at Saturday live. So when you come to our theater, and I hope you do, when we can make it safe again, we do scripted comedy that is social and political satire, and then we always do an improvisational third act, and so it's been great. My wife and I bought a twenty three years ago from Dudley and the reason why we have our corporate training is because two years into buying it, this wonderful thing called the Internet came out and DVD our players and Netflix and cat videos and t vo and so the live theater business, our big recession was kind of one thousand nine hundred ninety eight, two thousand and two and we lost a third of the theaters in the twin cities alone. And so as an entrepreneur we had to decide as a couple, how can we keep this theater from going under? And my wife had really developed our improvisational... at that point, and so we're up to about three hundred students and we asked them got any ideas, like, we can't make as much money as bees do on live theater, and the more we got to know them we realize that they were taking improvisational classes with no intention of ever performing. And then we got to know that they worked at General Mills and at best buy and at US bank and it cargale and all the wonderful companies we have in our twin cities and they were taking improvisation as a way to practice the things they were using at work, whether it was sales or service or leadership or innovation, and it seemed like it was an activating gym for the behaviors that they were then using and applying to the to the real world, I guess, in Corporate America. So we said maybe we've got something there, and so I started going around and asking the large corporations if I could come and buy them lunch and and do some improvisational exercises that we did in our school, and I had been in the corporate world, so I was able to bridge them to the corporate jargon and the corporate strategy and all the wonderful things about that world, and it took off and we've done thirty two hundred events and and we've kind of developed that. What we're really helping people with is the improvisational mindset. And then that mindset could be applied to sales or to service or leadership, but the mindset of an improviser is the unique one, because our customers are in front of us, they're mildly intoxicated. We ask them what's important to you and what should we build for you, and then they say, well, we'd like you to build as a comedy scene, but we'd like it to be about Hilary and trump in a canoe in Antarctica solving healthcare. And then we instantly build them that without knowing our role, without having any props, costumes, directors, scripts or practice, and we just get that done. So as almost a laboratory, it's a great way to understand what an innovative culture is, what confidences in your articulation, how to work with others really quickly, how to reduce that Voice of judgment, how to how to bring things to market even though they're not completely perfect yet and it's not a perfect model and metaphor, but we've been able to do to use it to help people be their best selves at work. What an awesome story. So many important transformations and decisions there. I loved your process of talking with your customers to understand what problem you were truly solving for them. It's obviously not make me an Improv improvisational performer, and so so many good tips just in that. We could spend the rest of the time breaking that down, but let's go high level and then get into that improvisation, the mindset and maybe confidence talk just in general and your experience and observation. You know there. It's easy to talk about the tools in the technology, especially in a sales or service capacity, but I don't think we talk enough about the human side of it. Just give me a go at kind of the human side, maybe of sales, the role of emotions or emotional connection or human connection. Bring us back to Earth with regard to that dynamic. We've been kind of explaining our work for a long time now, maybe fifteen years, and just a simple triangular pyramid, right, and the top third is the tools that we use and that middle strip is the skills that we have, and then the bottom part is that humanity. It's that mindset, it's that authenticity, it's that emotion, it's the person. And what I can tell you used to judge us a lot more than I ought to. I'd noticed while people spend so much budget and time and effort on tools and skills and and as an improviser, we don't have any tools or skills. We just have us right, and so that's why the metaphor works for us. But I realize that it wasn't that they were trying to purposely avoid the human it just made sense to me, because what gets budgeted gets approved. And so how do you budget mindset? How did you go to the CFO and say the Roi on better humans is and so after I kind of step back from my judgment. I was right. They're buying new tools because they can. They can convince someone to buy a tools because if we have...

...a new crm and sales will automatically go up by sixteen percent, and the crm was only a half million dollars. That makes sense. We're going to make money if everyone is six sigma certified or everyone has knows how to do standford design or if everyone is got this sales designation, the stats say they will sell more, so let's do that and that I'll make sense, and it's true. What we have found, though, is that the productivity, the potency, the effectiveness of the tools and the skills really is determined by that human being, by that authenticity, by that mindset. And mindsets a big, huge word. So you can have your own definition. Everyone does. Our mindset is kind of when we're on authentic self. That mindset is just that Lens we're going to look through to see the next moment, the next sales call, the next customer experience, the next conversation with someone. So what I love about it is that if we can help people really get to their most authentic self, it absolutely accelerates the productivity of this the skills and the tools and when it comes to sales, are programs really simple. We believe that process is important and that you know your product and you have the steps of your sales process and all the technology you need. But what we try to add to that is be your authentic self. Use the metaphor of improvisation as a way to navigate through sales conversations and learn how to tell stories. We can be authentic selves being an improviser and tell stories. I think we'll do okay in sales. Yeah, I love it. I love the try. I Love The pyramid. I also started to visualize it potentially as like an iceberg where, you know, the tools and tech are sticking out. We can point out them and talk about them and look at them. You know, like partly add or slightly above the waterline might be the skills. But some of those are below the waterline. But this big differentiator is hidden from view and often taken for granted. Let's break those three things down again, I guess. Actually, first let's get into improvisation, for you know, when I hear the word improvise or I think about improvisation, obviously comedy comes to mind, but I also think of jazz and I think of basketball. Is kind of like a physical extension. Well, jazz is physical to but I think anyway, that that's where my mind goes. Talk a little bit about improvisation in general and why are those skills like, especially maybe at that point where you're trying to make the decision what direction should we take this business in? So you can crease sustainable revenue, speak about improvisation in general and then maybe at this intersection of helping me be more effective in my role every day on the job. Sure, a lot of times people will guess it's how the brain works. They want to kind of think of either or right. So I'm either improvising or I'm using a system or a process. And and that's just now what we advocate. We we advocate that you have to do both. And what you find is, because of our neuralology, the brain is going to lean much more towards let's collect data, let's create a strategy, let's make sure we do analysis so we can prove the likelihood it will occur and reduce the risk, and then let's follow that system and that that's just wonderful. I mean, like one of our best clients has metronic right. I hope they're not improvising their pacemakers. I really want them to work right. And so we're not saying throw that out. We're saying, in addition to that, work on the ability to understand, how to identify opportunities that aren't necessarily showing themselves in the data. Maybe that's your instinct, maybe that's your gut. Know that we now live in a world that many decisions are going to have to be made without all the data because we've got smaller, more nimble competition that's coming in fashion than we do. So can we develop the ability to know I've got seventy percent, one I need and then I got some improvisational gut and so now I know how to decide. So it helps the decision mode. And then when it gets down to really, really practical stuff, right like a sales conversation, a Customer Service Conversation or a coaching session as a leader, those are just two person improvisational scenes and they have to be because because they involved to human beings who are, in general, unpredictable. That's what we are, we're unpredictable,...

...and so to me it's such a beautiful set of tools and and mindset skills to be able to say I'm going to go in an ex nails sales call, I'm going to go have a conversation with a CO worker. I'm not exactly how it's going to go, but I know the tenants of improvisation which will allow me to focus on what my partner saying, which allow me to not get too stuck in what I expect and be more nimble and what can be which allow me to know that everything I need to learn is going to come out of my partner's mouth, which allows me to know that the imperfection maybe where the innovation will come from. And then this kind of selflessness and being of service, which I really love about our art form. Is My job is just to make the person in the scene always look better than myself. And so those are just a handful of improvisational based tenants that we try to behave in the real world. But when I see leaders at their best, it's because they have great analysis and systems and they're just brilliant and all that sort of stuff. And then the human side, their improvisational side, and boy, I think a lot of leaders had to do a lot of that in the last twelve months because things are different than any data could have predicted. Yeah, so much good stuff there and I'm going to draw a parallel between improvisation and authenticity. I'm going to see if you buy it and then see where you take it from there. So the way you defined improvisation or kind of talk through it, I think one of the reasons people get hung up. I mean you already mentioned kind of maybe a mental bias to the kind of the tangible and the measurable, which will kind of take our attention perhaps in the wrong direction sometimes you're at particular moments. I think a lot of people, with regard to improvisation, probably struggle a little bit with active listening. They're really focused on what they need to say next. That's probably a stumble. But I think something that improvisation might have in common, this is my kind of I'm teeing it up as a question, might have in common with authenticity is that it requires us to kind of go out a little bit on a limb that we might not be comfortable and like. It's not. It's not as secure, it's not as known, it's not as comfortable. We prefer to retreat back to are a mayor quoting here for listeners, like safer ground or whatever. Do you find that to be true? Like when you're working with people on improvisation and or authenticity, what are some of the things you need to unlock for them to allow them to experience it in full? Is this discomfort with, or lack of security, fundamental to it? It is it, it's everyone. So, you know, twenty five years I've been standing up in front of an audience and having to prus innovation off the top of my head without knowing what I'm supposed to do, and I'm still scared and I'm still hesitant to do that and it seems to be a risk. And what I've learned over the years, mostly because of the person I wrote the book with, a Lanna Muretsco, because she's kind of our res a neurologist, is that that just means my brains really, really healthy right, because everything about that, including the authenticity, is kind of contrary for what the brain would like. The brain would like to keep us safe, and safe is synonymous with predictable, and so the fact that we're asking ourselves to be in an improvisational conversation, or let alone in front of people who could judge us on stage with expectations of it's got to be funny. It's just counter of everything the brain wants us to do. What's beautiful about it, though, is that if you recognize that, then you can start to have daily practices that can help counterbalance that, and that's where you can actually start to determine the mindset you want to be in and then, almost like a meditation practice or a fitness practice, you can decide I'm going to work towards a more consistent mindset, mental state where I am more comfortable being uncomfortable. And that's one of the things that people trip up. They say, if I'm going to do this, then I'll be completely comfortable and you won't. You'll just be more comfortable with the fact that you're going to be uncomfortable. And that's one of the things I find in sales a lot to write like. How can you not be uncomfortable? You're trying to convince someone to give you money, right like. And so what we... is we try to quiet two sets of voices. The one set of voice, my wife just wrote a wonderful article about this, is those voices that we might have heard in our past that told us we weren't creative, we weren't a great salesperson, we weren't a great father, we weren't a great friend, whatever it was, those voices is darn brain listens to those in an amplified way and it writes it numerous times compared to you're awesome, you're great, your perfect salesperson, everybody loves you. Kind of poopoos those and so that's the one voice. And then the second voice, of course, is the voice that our own minds are creating, that intervoice of why are you doing this? You're not going to be good at it, this risk here, stay away from it. And not to get too deep into the science, but the part of the brain that creates that voice is the oldest part of the brain. So it's literally still stuck in don't go outside the cave, there's a saber tooth tiger, you know. And it's not that. It's just a conversation about a possible business choice that might increase our you know, vertical or something right like, and it doesn't do a good job of determining the level of the threat. It simply sees it as a threat and says don't do it. So that's what I love about improvisation, is that it truly is a practice. And so and improvisation please, you know, for our listeners, take it outside the world of comedy. Improvisation is the ability to create without an absolutely certain path. And so that means if you want to improvise, have a conversation with a four year old, you're done. You're improvising so well, there's no there's no path you could follow with a four year old. You know, if you're on improvisation, think of your favorite songs and then rewrite the words to how you're feeling that day, what it draws something, just do something in a way that is unpredictable and beautiful. I got to interview her name is Liz and she wrote the book you pray love. I believe she's a big deal. This is what your deal I have. And yesterday in our interview she had the most beautiful definition of art that I've ever heard. She said art that I feel this way kind of about improvisation, because our art is simply when we take anything, a person, article, a situation, and make it a little bit more beautiful than it need be, and I just thought that was so you know, just to go for utilitary into something, and so that just means we're all artists, which means we're all improvisers. So improvisation to me is, you know, it's just a simple practice of being more comfortable being uncomfortable, because you're exactly right, it's uncomfortable. Yeah, it's interesting to hear you describe it that way, this idea that it doesn't go away, that you just get more comfortable with it. It's interesting. What I've been thinking a lot about is for years, you know, at bombomb we make it easy to record and send personal video messages and emails and text messages, Linkedin, messages, slack whatever. And this same fear, like this fear of exposure, the self criticism when they see themselves in a recorded video like it stops so many people before they ever can turn it into a habit. And I love the way you talked about the science there and you did not go too deep. By you get you feel free to go deeper. Where I stop talking at you. Something that we've you know, we recognize it, that that there's this discomfort with vulnerability, the fear of Judgment. Are People going to accept me for WHO I am? Are they going to reject me? Because Millennia ago, if you got kicked out of the tribe, you would probably die on the beach or the desert or the forest or wherever your tribe lived. And like that's still with us, this ancient brain that still influences a dramatic share of our decisions, along with the Midbrain, which is emotional in nature, and assigence, kind of the emotions to the base instinct of our animal creature anyway. So I've recognized this, this fear that prevents people from acting in the interesting thing about, you know, a video messages that you can there is an alternative already. You could just keep typing out your messages and miss the opportunity to express yourself in full, into make yourself available and invite people into relationship with you through this act of vulnerability.

And it's so interesting because I would imagine then this is why people retreat into the known in the secure. I'm a little bit restating myself, but they retreat into the known in the secure because that's where, I guess, the voices die down. So what are a couple practices? You know you have to give away all of the secrets, but like, what is something that a listener could do today, because I identified so much with your definition and examples of improvisation. You took it, of course, outside the sales roll and brought it back into it and took it back out to get into like daily life of talking to a four year old. What are one or two things that are listener could do today that would maybe help them either a become aware of these voices so that they can just start listening to them and talking back and or be start getting comfortable with that discomfort. Sure there's an I'll I'll start with something really specific, right. So I'm a big, really big fan of your product in your service and I use it all the time and one of the things we do in our sales training, of course in the last ten months, is to deal with the fact that we're now selling virtually or via video. So one of the things you can do to help your mindset with that judgment talk of Oh, I get a little intimidated by this video thing is is to actually acknowledge it right. So, like right now, and this is real primal, two eyes have a really, really big role in whether or not we believe we're being judged. When we are being looked at, our brain gets that right. So right now I'm looking at my flip camera, so I can see me with the green screen and back of me, then I can see you looking at me and then I can see the zoom screen looking at me. So now I have three sets of eyes willing to judge me. They see the wrinkles, I used to have hair, I'm fifty pounds overweight, I look tired, I cut myself shaving over here, right. All that comes in, and so part of what we try to help people do is just just say that, that that is a truth, because guess what, I'm still okay, I'm still good, and the brain is really like saying, I don't know if you're good. You mean, what could happen? I am going to become invisible. It will selfcombust like the brains trying to scare you, right, and then you can imagine if we're doing this all day long. We have a program now that that's just about relieving some of the stress that the virtual world has brought us, because we got people looking at you know, the training I did today one on fourteen hundred people. In the way we set up our zoom calls, I could see every single one of them. So I got fourteen hundred people stare at me. I'm used to it because I give speeches for a living, but so to acknowledge it. And then here's what we do. When it comes to the specific thing like bombomb the next time someone sends you a video or the next time you're on a video call and you're looking at fifty people, write down how many times you are looking at people going Oh, they don't look so good, Oh that guy's a jerk, oh that person should lose some weight. You don't, and your brain is telling you that you're getting all this judgment. It's an ear rational set of data. The truth the matter is that you send out a bombom video, you do zoom call and, especially in this new world, everyone is compassionate and interested and caring and there's not nearly the judgment that your brain is artificially escalating. So we try to get real with the data, I guess is a way of saying it. I've never had someone send me a bombomb and go wow, the lighting, oh, that guy's an idiot. Right, you're just happy to see a face. It's all good, man, it's all good. The other thing we do is to try to have a handful of people. Are Just one person in your life that is that other voice, that Voice of after affirmation, that voice of you took a risk, good job, and you find those people and hang on to them and it sounds a little bit therapy, but I you know I'm a pretty confident guy and and a lot of it is that I depend on a group of people who are kind and loving and affirming of me, and that means like, Hey, you know, whenever it was nine months ago, wow, what's this thing you sent me? It's a it's like a video and I could see you and it was easy and I just clicked on it and that's pretty cool, you know. And so I knew they would, I knew they...

...would affirm me. So get real with the data and then surround yourself with the voices, because the brain listens to them as much as it listens to yourself. So interesting, because that's another thing that I that I recognized years ago and continue to promise people. Will Happen is, and you just added this this function to it, which is if you put yourself out there and you make it about the other person in a video message. Let's just say you send five or ten messages today in the vein of something like thank you, good job, congratulations, I just noticed that, or I was thinking about you, dot dot dot, and you make it about the other person, you'll get at least a few replies that kind of validate the effort let you know that you are okay, that you are good enough and all these other things. And it's interesting that it's that, that you see yourself as a confident person, but also are honest enough with yourself and with me and with the listeners that it depletes you at some point to express this confidence, and so you surround yourself with people that fill you back up with affirmation. And it's not empty affirmation either, right. It's not this idea of, you know, standing in the mirror and hearing these voices of people telling you how amazing you are, although I I've heard that that's effective, to that, that it's like that. You're surrounding yourself with real supportive people, and I think people do it differently. What I do is it. Those voices helped me in this battle of letting my brain know that it's just genuinely inaccurate and that it's using a set of criteria to judge the risk inappropriately, and so that takes it away from me, it takes away from shame. I'm just trying to get some accurate, rational data so I can offset the ancient data of if you go on camera and a sales email, the the tiger will come into the cave right. I have to tell you, and I don't I don't want to turn this into a bombomb commercial because I know what my see insincere. But when I first started using it, and I've been doing this right, this is actually what I was tracking. I was tracking the difference in the reply back and I found something I think is is. I'm sure he's this with a lot of your stuff. If I sent an email, the reply back was almost exclusively about the content of the email, the text, the practicality, the issue at hand. If I said a bomb bomb, they certainly heard the contents and email back about that, but they always included something about me or them, and so it made me realize that an email is almost exclusion are of the human being and the relationship. And you know, many of the people that I sell to have been sold to for a long time. So it's the language is casual and so my bombom videos are casual sort of stuff. But like if I would have said, you know, like a dear friend named Dannis, he dared Dale. You know, we're thinking about this new training program I think it'll be appropriate for your you know group. Let's get together and chat and see if we can add value to your next company meeting. He would say, okay, by next two days open, and I think I might be intrigued with that. Let's Great. In the bottom bomb he's like, sweetey, how you doing, man? How's he hanging up? How's The theater? What's going on? I think you got a kid who's going to college this year. Right. It's instantly allows the human conversation to happen, and I don't think that's by chance. I just think it's because I'm seeing it's back to the neurology, like how can I have a relationship with a flipping email? Like? I have one and I hate it. Ye Know, that all I love about bombomb and that's what actually I love about zoom selling, like let's get it. God, yeah, so good, is really interesting insight. I you know, I've never heard it expressed that clearly. This difference. We leaned on a little bit of science in Rehumanize Your Business, the book that I co authored with my friend and teammates Steve, where our brains don't recognize typed out text as having been written by a human right, and which is captured in what you just said. Right. So, I'm responding to the information my brain doesn't assign, except maybe in these rare cases where you know, you're maybe typing up an email to someone you know well and they know you well and they see your signature or your logo and it just triggers...

...some of those feelings, but not nearly in the same way as seen your face, in hearing your voice and really having the kind of the the immeasurable's come to surface. You know, is one of my first reactions. Is Like I've been spending so much time trying to humanize my emails so they will make that connection. Again, I don't I'm not aware of any of the science or I don't like I gotta get them a joke in there. I got to tell him something, a personal and that takes so much time. I got to think of what to say, I got to type it all sort of stuff and then that instantly happens when I'm like hey, dale, like, we're done, we're connected. So I'm lazy. I was like this is a lot easier than trying to figure out a clever email. Yeah, and it's a little bit of an in between two. Like the email, you have to be very conscious and rational and thoughtful about you know, improvisation is reacting in the moment to your partner, and this sits somewhere in the middle where you know you don't want to just hit record and just start yaking at somebody, because that's a the you know, it's just disrespectful of their time and attention. At the same time, once you do hit record, you know you just kind of go so you're not working off of somebody else, as you are in like a true improvisational situation. At the same time as it just you don't have to manufacture the humanity because they see and hear you right like the effort is to take in an email to to do that, like even if you just give a pretty straightforward word content in your bomb bomb, by its nature the humanity just is there. So, like, I don't know, it's saves me a time. I don't I can just get to the point too. Like I actually think it's a really succinct way of communicating to yeah, absolutely, okay, thank you for all that. That was super interesting for me and actually very, very helpful. I really appreciate you sharing your experience with it. One of your books is titled Return to Civility. Now, I have not out confess I've not read the book, but I love the title and I know You well enough to know that if I, if I introduced this, that there will be something interesting that comes back. When did we have civility? When or how did we lose it? How long has it been gone, and is civility coming back? Sure, well, I can, I can give you a little bit of data. So, probably because I was actually I got excited about hoot sweet. I'm a technic, but then I'm not very techy, which is kind of an odd thing, and so I was like, do I have anything that I could like load into hoots sweet and do a daily social media thing? And again, I'm all, I'm old. So this stuff is all fascinating. It seems like a big miracle to me, right. And so I was like, well, I wrote this book called return to civilility, which is really just a thought of the day book. It's three hundred and sixty five things that the brave new workshop pledges to do to make this world a little bit more civil, and they're all ridiculously practical and simple. Like, if people are getting off the elevator, let them all get off the elevator before you bar John to the elevator. Every time someone has their blinker on to merge, let them in every time. If you're shoveling your stidewalk in Minnesota and you live next to an older person, shovel their sidewalk. I think today's was just take a little bit of time to clean up the public restroom after you use it and be sure to flush like nothing huge, right. And so, anyway, we wrote this book along time ago and I'll tell you that story real quick. But so I was like, I've got three hundred and sixty five j pegs of each page that the publisher sent me. I'm going to love that in a hoot. Sweet and January, first two thousand and twenty one, I'm going to replay one each day and I have to say it's been one of the biggest kind of responses I've ever got in Linkedin, in Facebook, in instagram. People are yearning for simple, complement decent acts of civility and none of these are very complicated. So I think there's a need. I think there's a passion for it. Again, I own a very political bass theater, so I won't go into the timing of perhaps when it went away, and the truth the matter is I bet you it's coming gone a million times. The real reason that I wrote the book was, once again, because just because you're write a book...

...doesn't mean you're very good at things, right. And so every August there's a wonderful singer and songwriter named Sean Colvin and it's my wife's absolute favorite musician and she's won a couple grammy's and she's kind of a classic singer Songwriter, right, and she comes through Minnesota and it's always around the time of my life's birth days, so we always go. So here we are. It's an outdoor amphitheater. It's filled with wonderfully educated, polite MINNESOTANS. were all so great, but they've been drinking a little bit maybe, and after the second song sewn has to stop singing and ask the audience to bring their conversation down because she can't hear herself in her own monitor. And it's my wife's birthday and we also can't hear her very well. Right. So I'm Irish and I've been sober for twenty six years and I've used to have a worst temper problem than I have now. Thank God, but I'm about to go off. I'm like, shut the heck up. She letters sitting right and and my wife can tell that because I have a vein right here that really kind of stands out. One of those my time. So she puts her hand on my knee and she says, honey, remember, they're not trying to be jerks, they're just forgetting to be civil. And I realized that's what it is. I do have faith in humanity. We I believe we're all good. We get so busy we forget to be civil, and so I was like, well then, we're just going to remind them in really simple ways. So we sat around as a company and we wrote that book in thirty six hours and we came up with five hundred ideas and we narrow it down to three hundred and sixty five. One of the funny stories about that, because we're very irreverent little company, we ran out of civil ideas after about fifty, because that's simple. So all we did as COMEDIANS is reverse engineer. We came up with horribly heinous things to do to people and then just reward the words those like, you know, instead of like knock down people on an elevator let them off like yeah, I love it. I love the you were able to en exit that way from like the first fifty up to five hundred and then, of course, the edit back. Normally I asked this at the end, but because you mentioned that this is out in different feeds, where can someone access these tips for civility? What like twitter, hand aller or pages or whatever? So my facebook is John Sweeney speaks. My linkedin, I think, is John Sweeney mindset. But yeah, they're on. And then my instagram is I am John Sweeney, my twitter as I am John Sweeney. Awesome. I'll link those up for folks who are listening. We do short write ups. We put in some video clips, for example, of you want to see his shaving accident, maybe I'll maybe that moment will wind up in a clip at bombombcom. PODCAST is bomb Bombcom podcasts, and I add I had links for things that that come up in the conversation as well, so you can find all that there. Well, if you really want to get to know me, you can go to Jigglie boycom because that's where all the action is and you'll see me dancing with my shirt off in front of Eighteenzero people. So yeah, with the with the respect and appreciation of Kevin Garnett, one of the greatest of the basketball players of all time, which was a life goal. Yeah, and you will never see John Sweeney the same again once you visit Jigglie Boycom. I know I don't not close to dinner time or anything. It's not and don't show the kids. Yeah, good for anyone to see. Well, but we didn't hit everything that I wanted to address, but I love the conversation. I think it was very interesting. I think it was very helpful. I think any human it's fun to talk about these themes and I'll bet you experience. It's like I talked about some of these themes and different ways, in different formats, and I'll bet you get the same experience, even when you're going into, you know, fortune five hundred companies. Everyone can identify with the realities of the human experiences, especially the you know, you mentioned the word shame once, but like the discomfort, the times we feel shame, even confident people such as yourself, you know, we all experience these things and so I just appreciate that in a business context, that some of these ideas are a little bit more out on the table instead of, you know, being hidden and not talked about. In your left to figure it out on your own or, you know, if you're fortunate enough... have someone close enough to you, or you can be your real, true, whole full self and an honest way and say some of these things out loud and just the kind of like let them free and maybe get the support of other people. So I appreciate that you're out there giving this permission to people to be comfortable with their discomfort and some of these other themes that you're sharing. What I could tell you. You know, as an entrepreneur, we've had lots and lots of ups and downs and one of the things that we did through the EOS process is to really nail what our mission was right and we we came up that a long time ago, and so we wake up every day and we do the same thing, however it's implemented, but we try to use transformative laughter to help people find their best mindset so they can be of service to others, and that's just drives me all day long. Now that might be helping them be a better salesperson or be a better leader or or just making them laugh at our theater. But that's you know, I'm so grateful to the the entrepreneur operating system methodology to help us narrow with and that focus, because it makes it really clear and we use Meta Ivization, but that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to say you're awesome, practice small things, be your best self and your best mindset for the sake of others and life will be okay, and that that keeping it that simple works for for someone like me, I think so too. I don't think that requires an excessive amount of hope. I don't think it requires an excessive amount of faith. I think it is basically a truism and I appreciate given voice to it. If you're listening to this episode, I know you are enjoying it, and here are two more that you might also enjoy. I already mentioned it in the beginning episode sixty eight with Josh feedy, founder of sales reach. We called that one creating better buying experiences with videos. If you like some of the video talk we had. Josh and I also talked some video. As you probably not surprised to know, Jod and then more recently on episode one, hundred and two with Paul Ross. He is also a speaker and an author. His kind of brand area is subtle words that sell, and we called that one. Using suggestion to sell decisions and good feelings. We get into what are we actually selling when we're selling, and so, if you like, some of the psychology, some of the brain science in this convert were station. There's a little bit of that one. They're in episode one out two, John, before we call this a show or before we wrap or before we bring the curtain down. I'm sure I'm mixing metaphors and but we all know what I mean. I think I'd love to give you two opportunities. The first is to think or mention someone who's had a positive impact on your life or career. In the second is to give a shoutout or a mention to a company or a brand that you really appreciate for the experience they deliver for you as a customer. Sure, the person who's had so many people that have had great influences on me, but the one I like to share today. Her name is Jackie Bergland and she's the founder and CEO of Finnegan's Beer Company and it's the only beer company I know that that donates a hundred percent of their profits to feed people. And she's been doing that for eighteen years and I don't know if I've ever met anyone who, on such a moment by moment daily basis, is as true to her mission. She just wants to feed people who are hungry by the sale of wonderful beer and she's just an inspiration. So Jackie Berg lend of Finnigan's is the person who inspired me a lot. And the brand that I that I love lately in that that is just wonderful to their customers, including me, is red wing shoes. And again they're there. are a Minnesota company, but they're worldwide now and it's not just the quality of their product, it's how they treat their customers and how customized they can get when it comes to the fitting process. And then, just because I have to know a little bit about the CEO and their company, they are just to a company that is all about the communities that they serve and that they they are there to improve the lives. You know, a core of base of their's is people who are using those shoes to get the job done, to work, and so they want those people to have a healthier life because of the shoes and boots they were. So Jackie Bergland and red wing shoes. Awesome, well done. I appreciate both of those in the in the spirit behind them, which doesn't surprise me, are really awesome. Dude, I appreciate you spending time with me. I'm pleased to be able to...

...share this conversation on like some of our previous ones, with anyone who cares to listen. For folks who have reached this point in the in the PODCAST, they obviously are into your ideas. Where would you send people to follow up? They can just go to two places. Just brave new WORKSHOPCOM and that's a place where you can learn about our training in our theater and that sort of stuff. And then my speaking website is John Sweeney Dot CEO, and everyone thinks it's a type hoole, but it's not thatcom it's John Sweeney Dot CEO, and that's just because a wonderful re order named John Sweeney and San Francisco won't sell me his website. So if he's listening, I still want to buy John Sweet so good. That's really funny. It's in for folks who are listening and aren't going to go to bombombcom slash podcast to get these links. Sweeney, is there an Ey or just n? Why? It's a three word. I'm pretty big deal. We us. I only used to have two ease and then we got up, but it'sswe and Ey. John Sweeney Dot CEO. Awesome. Thanks so much, John. Yeah, thank you.

In-Stream Audio Search


Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (207)