Do you ever feel hesitant to go for the sale? I'm talking, your voice starts shaking, hands start sweating…I get it! Sales has never been “my thing,” but it is not only necessary for a business to survive, it is necessary to impact others. Thanks to the help of my good friend Colin Boyd, I think I have finally been able to grasp the concept that others are depending on me to sell to them! We are always on “stage” if you think about it! Whether it be a Facebook live, a local networking event or just chatting with someone you just met in a grocery store. Speaking is something we all do! And as Colin says, “speaking is selling!” And that's exactly why I am so excited to introduce you to Colin today!
Do you want to share a little bit of your background and how this became your thing?
Colin: “Yeah, I've been a professional speaker on the professional speaking circuit for about 10 years but it all kind of started when I was working in a corporate job about 10-15 years ago, and I saw a corporate trainer come in to one of the conferences I was attending at a company I was working for in Singapore. She came and she rain this brainstorming session and I remember sitting there and looking at her and just thinking, that is exactly what I want to do with my life!
Then I heard how much she got paid and it was basically for the 2 hours she came in was about how much I earned in my entire month! That just blew my mind, the fact that someone could get paid so much money for doing such a short, essentially just large conversation with a group of people. And then that got me really fascinated about how do I get on stage, on physical stages like that and then it's blended into running webinars and even Facebook lives and all that sort of stuff and videos, etc. because they're all stages as well. But that kind of started my fascination and realizing that if I could master this skill of learning how to speak to a group, then I could grow the impact that I'm having, I could grow the influence I have with my audience and really, essentially that'll grow my income.”
A lot of people just have this fear of talking in front of people or one on one they're even nervous to sell. Did you have that fear? Was this something that came naturally to you?
Colin: “Absolutely. I remember sitting in my Catholic boys high school, I was in an all boys Catholic high school. I had a little cub hat on and like high socks and I'm sitting there and it was coming to my turn to actually read scripture and it was to read from a passage from the Bible. I remember coming to me and they asked me to read and I started stuttering and tripped over my words and I was about 13 at the time and I remember coming out of that experience, literally feeling like I am an idiot. Like I cannot read in front of people, I obviously can't speak in front of people and what's fascinating is that experience stayed with me for probably I would say 10 years, up until about the age of 23 when I realized that I'd had this heightened emotional kind of negative experience with speaking in public and up until that point, every single time I got up to do like a very short presentation or short speech even in high school and then in university, my whole body would have like a visceral reaction to speaking, to the point of my arms would shake.
I remember one time I was speaking and I had my microphone in my right hand and I had to grab my arm with my other hand to hold my right hand still because my arm was shaking so much in front of the audience. So I haven't always been confident in speaking in public! What I discovered is that it's like 90% in your head and then about 10% in your body or in your practice. So working, out your mindset, coming into it and getting in the right headspace and even removing some of the emotional blocks that happened in the past that are probably staying with you on an unconscious level is part of the process that I kind of take people through. But yeah, I've, I've definitely haven't always been confident in that!”
I just want people to know that because they might be thinking, well, he was born to do this, so this is why it's easy for him. I still get nervous if we're in a small group of people and we have to go around and say our name and what we do and maybe there's, 10-15 people in the room, I can feel my heart racing when it's getting closer and closer to me and I'm like, don't sound stupid, don't do this! So it's still putting yourself out there, there's tension on you, you're going to have that nervous feeling. But I think there's just so much good stuff that can come out of it that I really want to encourage people to kind of face that fear and listen to Collins tips today because this is going to be so super helpful! Let's talk about a little about that mindset. You're saying most of its mindset, what have you done to gain that confidence to start to tell yourself like this is going to be okay?
Colin: “Well essentially what I did is I got really clear on what I was telling myself. So coming into every presentation, especially if it's like a formal presentation that could be a Webinar, that could be a live presentation, that could even be a video or even a Facebook live. Coming into it, I'm acutely aware of the conversation I'm having with myself and so I catch myself on a regular basis if I go down kind of the rabbit hole of negatron. So what I mean by that is asking yourself like really dumb questions. A dumb question is something like, what if this goes really bad? Or what if everyone is judging me? Or what if I just really look un-credible? Now your brain will naturally go towards that because your brain is designed to keep you alive.
Your brain is designed to make you survive and the problem is, is that it thinks you are literally going to die if someone judges you or you say the wrong word or something like that. So you put this huge amount of pressure on yourself. It's like you have this visceral reaction in your body when you have the thought or ask the question of am I going to look like an idiot? So if you're asking yourself those questions, if you come into a presentation and you ask yourself something like, am I going to look like an idiot in front of these people? Do you think you're going to feel really good about the presentation or kind of scared about it? You're going to be freaking out, right?! Ask yourself a question like this, how could I contribute and impact these people in a positive way?
So all of a sudden the focus of the question gets off you and gets onto them. And even more than that, the purpose, and I have this whole pathway that I teach people where it really moves people's focus from off themselves, which is the lowest level of focus you can have coming into any presentation, all the way through to having a focus on a sense of purpose. You think about some of the greatest speeches of all time, like Martin Luther King, I have a dream speech. When he says I have a dream, he's not speaking to himself even though he's saying ‘I' have a dream. He's not even speaking to the audience. He's speaking to this greater sense of purpose that he has in his life that is greater than himself. In fact, you know, he ended up dying for his courts and so it's like greater than him. Out of that purpose, out of that sense of whatever purpose you have in your business, whatever purpose you have in your life, if you can tap into the purpose, like she's building an empire…
Why are you building an empire? I think about even for you, Stacy, coming into your presentations, you think about the mom at home who's building her empire. She's building it for her kid, she's building it for a family, she's building it so she can live the life on her own terms, so she can spend time with the kids and so she can spend time with the husband, with a family. It's like you tap into that and all of a sudden your presentation has literally nothing to do with you! It's all about how do I tap into this purpose of building the empire of the people in my audience, and then tapping into that purpose. So when you change your focus off yourself and you put it on the actual purpose, even bigger than them, the audience, it's the purpose of the audience, then all of a sudden the game just changes.”
I could see how that would mentally shift what you're doing because you're right, it's all about, I'm thinking about me, I'm freaking out about me getting on stage in front of all these people and you're saying, how can I contribute to make their life better or easier? As soon as you start to do that, you're like, I could tell them this or I could share that and then all of a sudden I think I would feel more calm. So this is great before you jump on your Facebook live or especially if you're not used to doing live streaming and things like that, I think this could be a great tool to just ask yourself that quick question, how can I contribute to them?
Colin: “Yes. I'll give you some good questions that your audience can use straight away. So how can I contribute on a greater level? How can I serve my audience? What if there was nothing to prove? What if this was just a conversation I'm having with people? All great speakers, if you've ever sat under a great key note or a great speaker, it feels like you're in their living room just having a conversation and it's like there's no one else in the room and they're just talking to you casually and they have you captivated. And so really, it's just a big conversation and even that reframe of seeing it as this is just a conversation rather than a speech or a presentation or a webinar, no, it's just a conversation that you're having with people.
If you can have a physical conversation with someone like you've had many conversations…you can do it. And so all that is, is just having a conversation on a larger level and it's in my mind, even when I'm doing a keynote to like 5,000 people, I literally am looking at someone in the audience and it's like I'm saying, Hey Jenny, do you remember that time when we talked about this? That's how it feels when I'm talking and obviously my energy's a little bit higher, but I want it to feel like I'm just having a conversation over coffee with friends.”
I think too the word ‘conversation' is so key because when I think of my best times I've been on stage or best times I've done a Facebook live, it's when there's engagement and conversation coming back to me from my audience. So I think that takes away the fear of do they like it? Are they doing this? Because all of a sudden that becomes confirmation that they're enjoying it, they're engaging, they've got answers and questions. I think that word right there, if it's not a conversation, you've got to figure out how to make it a conversation.
Colin: “Yeah, I love that! So that's the mindset and that will help your audience to give you more feedback and what if they're not giving you any of that feedback? When I'm in the keynote, I'm not getting physical feedback. The funny thing is, and you would have absolutely noticed this, when you're speaking or you're running your events, and you've got 50-200 women in the audience, their faces are really not a good representation of what they're experiencing!”
It's really bad!! You're like, do you hate me? Do you not like this at all? I mean you just never know! Then you've got the one girl who is nodding and be like, I'm going to watch her!
Colin: “It is so true because people are really bad at connecting their experience to their face! If you haven't been in front of an audience, you probably don't know what that's like. But on a webinar, it's even kind of weirder sometimes because you're getting nothing. So definitely that's why it's great having planned spontaneity in there of questions. I even say things like this…so type ‘yes' into the webinar panel if this is making sense to you right now. And then you get like a whole bunch of yes's and you're like, okay, this is making sense, so in my head I'm always just thinking they are literally sitting there and they're just listening, but I want it to feel like it's just having a conversation with me.”
Especially if we're talking live streaming and webinars and all of that, I should say live streaming specifically, you're going to get the algorithm to pick it up when people are typing in ‘yes' so that's such a great thing that Collin just said, how can we get them to make a very quick and easy, not like tell me your top three goals right now and assume they're going to type that in, but they can type in a yes, a 1 or an emoji. So I think really trying to pry that out of them is going to help you gain that confidence too to say they're loving this right now! Anything else that we need to be thinking about to get that conversation going to keep that engagement? Anything else you do to have those questions come up? What's an example of that question when you're speaking on stage?
Colin: “So for me, when I'm actually speaking on a physical live stage one of my principles is that I demand rapport. And so what I mean by that, rapport is a very kind of soft feeling, it's like you gradually get rapport. But for me, I demand rapport. And so what I mean by that, and it's not like aggressive. It's when I get on stage, I will get up there and I'll say “hello” and no one says anything because everyone's freaking out and there's always like one, weird person who says “hello!!” really loud.
So I'll always say hello and no one says anything. One of the laws of speaking on a stage is that you always have to ask twice to get an audience response. The first time is the test. The second time is the real time. So I will say “hello!” and on the second time everyone, the whole audience says hello back. But what I'm teaching them there is that I am demanding a response. I do it with a smile on my face, do it in your own personality style, but for me it's like I'm teaching my audience right off the bat that it's not okay to not respond to me. So that that leads the whole way through to if I end up selling something or if I end up making an offer or even an opt-in, there is going to be a greater response if I'm teaching them that it's not okay to not respond.”
So you're teaching them, you're demanding the report, teaching them that they've got to give some sort of response. So you're saying that this will help you increase sales because they're there almost this feeling on their part of they need to respond to you?
Colin: “Absolutely! When it comes down to a sale or an offer, the goal of my presentation when I'm speaking and selling or I'm selling on a stage, the goal of my presentation is to do a presentation that resonates with the audience, that builds goodwill and brings them to a place of decision. It brings them to a place of congruent and integris decision that if this is the vehicle that would really meet their needs then it basically needs to be a yes for them. And if it doesn't meet their needs, then it's a no, and that's totally fine.
But really what I'm teaching them is that right off the bat I wanted to get them to to say yes or get them to respond and when it comes down to where they have the ultimate decision of course, but if I'm not teaching them that, if I'm letting them off the hook the whole time, even on a webinar, if I'm letting them off the hook the whole time and I'm not pushing them a little bit to engage or at least asking two or three times to type in the answer, then really I'm just teaching them that it's okay to just not respond and it comes down to the end and there will be a significant difference in the sales at the end if you teach them through the whole presentation that they don't need to respond.”
I love this. I want to ask you, because we're talking about selling here and I have a lot of clients that will say to me, but I don't want to sell or I feel weird if I sell because they're here for this great value and now I'm all of a sudden kind of baiting and switching them and giving them this. So how can you sell your stuff without feeling like you're crossing the line or having your potential clients feel like you're crossing the line?
Colin: “Love that! So there's two revelations that you need to have to do this well. The first revelation is realizing that speaking is selling. So what I mean by that, even if you're in a corporate job, if you've ever worked in like a corporation or anything like that or even in your current business, whenever you sit down and have a meeting with someone, you are actually in a sales conversation. Even if you're not selling something physically, you're actually selling an idea and if they don't buy into the idea, then they're not going to take the action that that you most desire. If you're working in corporate, you go to another area or another department, the goal of that meeting is to get the department on the right side and to find I guess a mutual, win win, but there's this sense of, I'm here to sell you an idea and if I don't do this well the department is just going to ignore it and start working with another department and I'm not going to get my project done.
So people think that a meeting is a meeting. A meeting isn't a meeting. A meeting is actually selling. That's what a meeting is. So everything is selling. Whenever I speak on a stage, whenever I'm doing a webinar, even if I'm not selling something physically or even having an opt-in, I'm actually selling my brand. I'm selling the philosophy of what it's like to work with me. I'm selling the desire of what type of life you can have if you learn these types of skills. So this first revelation that you need to have is that speaking is selling. It's not teaching, because even teaching is selling because you're trying to sell them or teach them in a way that they are sold on the idea.
So that's the first revelation is you have to realize that speaking is selling. Facebook live is selling. The second revelation that builds on from that is that selling is serving. Selling is the way that we actually serve people at the highest level and obviously there needs to be integrity in your product and your service and all that sort of stuff, but I've just got to assume that. Right? So selling is serving. Think about this…I know we've done similar masterminds together and you've probably done other programs. Think about someone in your life, Stacy, who has had like one of the biggest personal and deep impact on you and your business. Can you think of someone?”
Yeah! I'm just thinking about a past mentor.
Colin: “A past mentor. So even your audience right now, think about a mentor who's had a big difference. Maybe you've read a book from them, you've done a program and they've had a really big impact on their life and imagine that mentor never told you about the programs, the books, the things that have, have quite literally transform your life. Imagine they never told you about that and imagine because of that, imagine what would be missing in terms of the depth of who you are as a human being in terms of maybe your business results, in terms of the experience, the quality of relationships in your life, the quality of your thinking, the quality of your emotion. Imagine what would be missing from your life if they didn't tell you about that.
I want you to feel on like a visceral level, what would be missing in your life? I think about someone like a Jim Rowan who's passed away, but his books and his tape series that I've bought over the years. He literally has fundamentally changed the way that I live my life. I would not be living in California, running an amazing business if it wasn't for the events that I went to with Tony Robbins. So if they didn't tell me about those things, I wouldn't have the transformation in my life and it's the same for you. There are people in your audience who are the right people for you and if you don't tell them about the programs and the offers and the things that will help them to go to the next level, they're going to finish their life and there'll probably be something that they wouldn't have experienced in their life or maybe a level that they wouldn't have got to if it wasn't for your program.
Your program is part of their journey. I actually see it as being almost disrespectful to not ever make offers, to not ever share that these are the next steps. Now I work a lot with professional speakers and they say to me, hey Colin, but I'm there to just deliver a keynote not to sell. This is the mentality that I have because a lot of time if I get booked for a presentation, I will go to the sponsor, to the decision maker, and I'll say to them, look, I'm going to come in, we're going to have a great time, I'm going to inspire your people, we'll have a laugh, they'll walk away and they'll have a great experience. The problem is it's not going to transform their life.
I am here to not just inspire your people. I am here to transform their lives. Now, if you want to talk about a transformational journey, the next steps would be this type of program. Now we can either have that as an offer on the actual day and I can mention it or it could be something that you could pay for or maybe you could get your team to pay for. So the thinking here is that I'm not just here to inspire you. I am here to transform your life. The thing that's going to transform your life is the program, the immersion experience that you go through.”
I agree with you! When I love somebody on a stage or their book, I'm kind of irritated when I can't go to the next step. I'm like, but wait, you haven't taught me how to do this part or I want to go to the next thing and if you don't have that for me, it does make me go, oh, I'm bummed!! So I think this is where we undervalue ourselves and we think, but I don't have something good enough or of value to share, but there's somebody looking at you going, I want to know what they're doing. Teach me how you're doing this specific thing. So this is so good and I hope this is like a big eyeopener for a lot of people listening right now!
Colin: “Yeah, absolutely! That thinking has changed my life because I never used to do official sells on stage. I would do the speech or the presentation, but I wouldn't actually do any sort of next step offers. When I had the revelation that if I don't make an offer on some of my presentations, then I'm actually hanging people out to dry. I'm actually disrespecting their journey if they want to go deeper with me.”
This story always pops up because this only happened one time. I went to this amazing event with Darren Hardy, here was about 25, seven figure entrepreneurs in the room. It was a $10,000 event, it blew my mind, it was phenomenal! I would have pulled out my credit card and pay for anything that that man told me at the end of the day and he had nothing to sell. I just had the most transformational weekend, I want to go further and he had nothing to sell me. Now Darren does have things where you can go back and do more, but I never went back because I'm not in that moment anymore. I was disappointed in the moment. I moved or found other people that have provided services. I still love Darren, nothing bad about him, but in the moment I was so disappointed.
Colin: “Yeah, because selling is serving. It's always with integrity because if you do it in a way where you've presented your product, your ideas, and in your offer in an integrous way of what it's about, they get to make the decision. If they move forward, they can. If they don't, they don't. And so it just gives people the next step if it makes sense for them.”
Is there any other part to this now that you're saying that selling truly is serving and that'll help you all of a sudden say, it's time to really sit here and share with people the next steps. Is there any other part of that or is this pretty much it?
Colin: “That's the core premise and I'd even recommend your listeners, if they have a problem with this or they want to work through it, write on a sticky note and just put it up somewhere where they can see it regularly. My students do that and that just reminds them on a daily basis that that selling is serving. It's not because we associate selling is sleazy, selling is pushy, selling is the car salesman. I've had experiences of that but selling is actually serving.”
Now I've had the privilege of hearing you speak. You actually came to our propel coaching retreat in Newport. I've heard you speak and you are a very, very good storyteller. Can you talk about how you can tell these amazing stories and almost be selling in the story without even bringing up your product?
Colin: “So what I love about stories is that stories go past the conscious mind and they go into the unconscious mind. It's like we were just born to hear stories. Last night I was sitting with my kids and they're sitting on the right and left side of me and I'm reading a fairytale to them and they just captivated. We are just designed to hear stores. If I say once upon a time there was a…your brain just goes, okay, my brain's turning off now. I'm just going to listen. We love stories. Now, the first rule of telling your stories, never tell the audience that you're going to tell them the story. Because as an adult, we think we're too grown up to hear stories.
If someone says, let me tell you a story, we go, oh my gosh, I don't want to hear another story! It's going to waste my time. So you just go straight into the story. It was the 14th of January, 2012, and it was standing on the edge of this cliff. So you just go straight into your story, right? When we tell stories, there are 3 elements that that really drives a story and keep an audience captivated. The first element is it needs to be vulnerable. So there needs to be this sense of vulnerability. In other words, you get to look into me as a person so I'm not this incredible overcomer or who just gets everything right. If you are someone who it's like I've had nothing wrong with my life, everything's perfect the whole time and I've just had this privileged upbringing…no one cares. You want to find a moment where you were vulnerable, where it was difficult.
As you tell your story, you want to tell you we're in a dialogue. The things that were happening, what you're telling yourself, what were you feeling? So you share some vulnerability. The second element is you want to have some challenges, some tension in the story. So a really, good story is I think about, what were the most challenging moments in your life? What are the most challenging moments in your life and just write a quick list. It might've been an experience that you had at school. It might've been a breakup that you had. It might've been a business challenge that you had. It might've been a work challenge that you have. If you can find those most challenging moments in your life, they will usually be the start of a good story.
The third element is it needs to be victory in the story because if you're being vulnerable and you're sharing a challenge without victory, it's just like therapy on stage. You end up being this person who's oversharing and people are like, wow, I don't want to be anywhere near that person!” When you have those three elements, there's tension in there's a challenge, there's victory, and you share it in a vulnerable way. People are intrigued, they're inspired, and they even look inside themselves.
They get introspective within themselves and they ask themselves, how have I been on that journey myself? So even just before when I was telling my story of being in a Catholic boy's school, sitting there reading the Bible, and I had this visceral terrible emotion where I was stuttering and your audience, I bet, were thinking about an experience that they've had in their past with public speaking, where it freaked them out and whether that experience is still impacting them on an unconscious or conscious level now. So what we learned from story is that people actually don't listen to your story, they listen to their story.
They find a point of reference that connects with your story that related to their story. That's the other reason why stories are powerful and why stories sell so effectively is because they're not listening to your story so don't even worry about whether my story is exciting or incredible. Just just tell your story, make sure there's some challenges, some overcoming utility in a vulnerable way, and people will leaning, there'll be intrigued, and they'll actually, hear their own story.
Now what's powerful and what people need to understand is that when you're telling a story and it's a signature story you want to think about what is the core vehicle that I'm trying to sell here and how can i tell a story that basically helps my audience take on the belief that this vehicle could be right for them. This vehicle if I'm in that similar situation or experiencing those things, this vehicle will be the right decision for me to move forward. So that's where signature stories comes in.”
I hope you got so many takeaways from Colin today and he is giving you a template to download and create your own signature story head over to colinboyd.co/story and if you are looking to connect more with Colin, head over to his website, colinboyd.co and in his free Facebook group The Expert Edge or @colinboyd!
You might remember Colin's wife, Sarah, who was on my podcast a few episodes ago talking about How To Raise Kids In An Entrepreneurial Family so be sure to check out that episode!