This is the second segment of the conversation I had with Libby.
In Part 2, Libby and I talk about:
- Remembering in sales you are dealing with another Human
- Are you coming across as a Friend or Foe?
- Perceived vs. Actual danger
- Want to be more effective at sales? Help your prospects feel safe
Libby Gill knows change. She grew up on two continents and went to eight different schools before putting herself through college waiting tables. Starting her career as an assistant at Embassy Communications, a television company founded by the legendary Norman Lear, Libby survived three mergers to emerge as head of publicity, advertising, and promotion for Sony’s worldwide television group in just five years. After her first career heading communications at media giants Sony, Universal, and Turner Broadcasting, Libby founded LA-based Libby Gill & Company, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. She guides individuals and organizations to lead through change, challenge, and chaos by deeply engaging employees in a shared future-focused vision of success.
In her consulting, coaching, and keynotes Libby helps her clients:
- Reframe change as an opportunity for massive growth
- Re-energize your best performers to reach their full potential
- Reinvent your corporate culture to embrace ambiguity
Her clients include Abbott Medical, ADP, Disney, Ernst & Young, Facebook, First American Insurance, Hyundai, Microsoft, Sony, Sutter Health, Viacom, Warner Bros., Wells Fargo, as well as non-profits and small businesses. A global speaker, Libby has delivered keynote presentations on three continents and in 36 US states for organizations including Acura, ADP, Bank of America, Capital One, Cisco, Disney, Honda, Intel, Kellogg’s, Marriott International, Medtronic, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, United Healthcare, Vanguard, and many more.
Libby is the author of five books, including the award-winning You Unstuck, Capture the Mindshare and the Market Share Will Follow, and Traveling Hopefully. Her latest book is The Hope-Driven Leader: Harness the Power of Positivity at Work. A former columnist for the Dallas Morning News, Libby has published book chapters and peer-reviewed articles for numerous journals and trade publications. Business leaders including Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh, Stephen M.R. Covey, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, and Dr. Ken Blanchard have endorsed her work. Currently, she is co-authoring a book about Rice University’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders with former Brigadier General and Director of the Institute Thomas Kolditz, Ph.D.
A frequent media guest, Libby has appeared on the CBS Early Show, CNN, Inside Edition, NPR, the Today Show, and in BusinessWeek, Time, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and many more. Libby lives with her husband in Los Angeles and is the proud mother of two millennials sons and step-mom to a step-daughter and step-son.
Her Books: https://libbygill.com/books/
E181 – Transcript
Jason: Welcome back to segment 2 on the sales experience podcast of my conversation with Libby Gill. We are talking about mindset and coaching and leadership in organizations. We talk about vision, we continue these conversations in this second part. So here it is and enjoy.
Libby: They really need to always be growing and developing to learn how, gee, our customers are changing, our clients have changed, they’re so informed now they can find everything online before I even get a chance to talk to them. How do you change to meet those needs and the way that your customers are growing? So they’ve got to keep that development mindset or they’re gonna, you know they’re going to go the way of time to move out to something else.
Jason: Yeah, and I think when it comes to that growth mindset that you’re talking about, and that last point you made about customers now have information at their hands. What used to be the value of a salesperson wasn’t the knowledge, right? It wasn’t, you know, the car salesperson, it was the knowledge about the car and the prices in the market. And that’s why people went to go buy a car because they didn’t know. Now people walk onto a car lot with more information than anybody else has ever had before about that car everywhere else, what everyone else is paying for it. And then the playing field is not even level anymore. Like it’s just so consumer side and the challenges, there’s a lot of salespeople still thinking that their power and their ability comes from their knowledge and it’s not right. It’s about relationships and asking questions and having conversations. And if you have that growth mindset like you’re talking about, then you understand that and you want to evolve with the sales, not with the customers. It’s not that you’re not valuable anymore, it’s just a different conversation. Not for long monologues, spewing out lots of data that people literally could look up while you’re talking.
Libby: Right, exactly. I, Hey, I go in, I’ve got the price in hand cause I’ve already gotten it from, you know, Edmunds or cars.com or Costco or somewhere. I know exactly what I should be paying for it. I’m not going to negotiate. I know what I want and I want the best service provider that I believe in and trust to be selling it to me. And uh, that’s, so what’s so much fun about sales is I see sales people thinking like, how do I connect with this person versus this person versus, and it’s very different. It’s, it’s that it goes back to as humans part of the animal kingdom, we feel first and we think second. And that’s the connection. I mean you’re talking about a used car or I mean a car, you know what you want, you feel it and then you back it up with the data, then you think of how you’re going to justify it and the salesperson is your collaborator in that process.
Libby: But we really do feel first, so it’s emotional connections that really drive, I think anything sales, mission, engagement at work, all of those things. And people that connect on that level because they get that, you know, it goes back to the tribal things. So funny that when people say your name, when they’re introduced, if they smile, when they learn your name, they are more likely to remember your name. Interesting. Yeah. Cause your brain is identifying them already as a friend. Cause you know we make those shortcut assumptions, friend or foe, friend or foe. Oh look you seem nice and you’re smiling and your eyes are bright. Therefore I’m going to remember you because you’re on the front side foe, not so much. I’m going to check you out and stay far away as I can. And some people do this instinctively without ever recognizing this is a a brain response. We don’t have time to calculate it. We make these, you know these jumps and conclusions but that’s what we’re doing. It’s kind of this survival instinct that drives a lot of our behavior.
Jason: And if you look at a historically right to tribal and way tribal, like you know tens a hundred thousand years ago is you’re trying to survive every moment of the day and the brain didn’t evolve to then think about it and then make decisions. It’s got to make them and thinking comes second. And a lot of people in life are operating still that way and salespeople are operating that way and not understanding it, or they’re not understanding their prospects are operating that way as well. And they’re trying to use logic when sometimes it’s not going to do any gut, right? There is no logic to be had with it. And I know in Malcolm Gladwell’s book blink, he talked about that, where it’s like this instant feeling, reaction, kind of decision judgment, you know, that we’re just programmed to make so.
Libby: And, and we have to be, I mean, if you’re, you’re driving down the road, a kid runs out in the street, you don’t have time to calculate velocity. Right?
Jason: Let me see what I should do. Should I stop? I don’t know. Yeah.
Libby: You just slam on the brakes and that’s it. And that’s so much of our thinking. And then the, the rationale comes around that. And I see that in leadership, particularly tied to risk taking. And what we were talking about with change is that there’s so many good reasons not to change. And these excuses and companies have their own specific excuse making, which is just part of their language and culture, which, wow, sometimes I’ll play kind of, you know, stumped me with your excuse. If I haven’t heard it before, I’m going to give you a book or something and people will come up with things. It’s like, Whoa, welders don’t do it that way. Okay, that’s interesting. Good to know. Because they will come up with their language of excuse making to avoid a risk. Even though intellectually you may know that it would be a benefit that part of us, I just call the immediate negative response is going to shut you down because your fear center is saying, Oh, new, different, dangerous. That’s not good. Just keep doing what you’re doing. That’s safe and that’s what we can’t afford to do.
Jason: And so what do you do in those situations where you’re hearing these excuses where people are just avoiding all risks? They want to stay in their comfort zone. They want to stay in this cave because they know this cave is safe even though it’s cold and wet and moldy, but the next cave could be filled with bears, so it’s better to just stay in this cage.
Libby: Well, the first is the awareness level is understanding that we are truly driven by fighter flight and they all know that and it’s like, you know, it’s our autonomic nervous system. You don’t have to trigger it. It’s just going to start with your sweaty palms and the blood rushing and adrenaline, all of that stuff. But that that is not just tied to danger, which is what it was meant to do is our early warning signal. It’s tied to perceive the danger. So going on a sales call or having a cranky client can trigger that fear center of your brain. Literally the same way it would be if you saw a speeding car coming towards you. Your brain does not distinguish between actual physical danger and perceived danger. So that can be one good way to for people to think about this. If you’re driving home the same way you do all the time, you don’t remember the stop signs or the, you know, you stopped, everything was fine and you made it home.
Libby: But if you go a completely different route through some other neighborhood, suddenly you’re aware of, Oh, there’s a store on that corner, there’s a bank over there. There’s this because your brain says you are different watch out you and different and there’s no actual danger that there’s a heightened sense of awareness because it’s different. If you can translate that as opportunity for growth, change and risk equals opportunity for growth, not something to fear and back away from, and you can get people taking little risks, then bigger and bigger and bigger, they begin to see, Oh, you know what, that didn’t really kill me. That didn’t really scare me so much. I’m still here. And things as simple as feedback where being on the giving or the receiving side are really scary for anybody and really uncomfortable and, and when you can point out, look, this is difficult on both and you’re just going to get past it because here’s an operation.
Libby: Here’s a system that will help you get past it. So you are working on the internal piece as well as combining it with the external, which is why you say vision and strategy. The vision is this big esoteric abstract thing that you’re excited about and the strategy is, Oh, here’s how we’re going to do it. So you don’t really have, you don’t really have an opportunity for the fear to take part too much because you’ve shut that down to some degree because you’re following a plan that gives you a sense of comfort and stability.
Jason: Yeah, and I think there’s so much in that that you were talking about and it’s interesting, especially when dealing with salespeople and change and risk. I mean our brains, like you’re talking about, our brains literally still think there might be a saber tooth tiger or lion or something that’s going to jump out. Right. And I joke about all the time, like the most dangerous thing now in most people’s lives is probably drivers who are texting or distracted that might hit you or do something like, other than that, there’s very little risk and danger in the modern world and especially first world countries, right? And so, but our brains don’t know that. Our brains literally think, like you said, you know, it still feels the same. It feels sweaty palms just scared, nervous, worried. I remember I started doing Toastmasters years ago because I wanted to work on my public speaking and I just remembered the fear, the feeling like I was just going to die and bodily fluids were going to come out of everywhere prior to a speech in front of a group that was very nice and supportive and it still felt like absolute death in my head.
Jason: And it took a lot to get over and it still never goes away. But it’s just interesting how we respond. And then that feedback and getting that feedback and helping grow and wanting to get better and then understanding like you’re not going to die. Uh, making a sales call is you’re not going to die if they say no, even if they yell at you, you’re not going to die. It’s just you’ll learn and move on, but you won’t die.
Libby: And then the other piece of that whole fight and flight that people forget about is the third component freeze. Also animal kingdom, you know, the deer stops and instructs the rabbit stops is as if you’re not going to notice if they stop and hold still. And as people we do the same. If I just kind of go under the radar, just keep doing what I’m doing. Don’t make any waves, don’t call any attention to myself. That can be safe. And it can be also incredibly unrewarding and boring. So, I mean there are slogans. I have clients around the world who cite the same saying it’s something like the nail that sticks up gets hammered down. It’s a Dutch saying, it’s a French saying. It’s a Vietnamese saying, Canadian saying, but it’s that sense of if you stick out, somebody’s gonna smack you. And when you can begin to say, you know, and the world is a little bit more embracing of our differences now. And so it’s like, you know, just be who you are out there and anything that you think is a limitation is probably an asset. So shine a spotlight on it and be proud of what you got that’s different.
Jason: Yeah. And that whole nail sticking up and people not wanting to stand out the way I should be. That. And how I relate that to people is we look at black sheep, right? The term black sheep is when you stand out and you’re different and you’re ostracized. When we look at tribal, if you stood out and didn’t get along with the tribe, they would kick you out of the tribe. You’re fending for yourself. You’re not going to survive very long in nature and you’re going to die. So the worst thing to do ever way back in the day was to be banished from the tribe and nobody, and that’s what everyone’s worried about, right? Is that if they’re going to do something, they get kicked out of the tribe. Right. Oh, I have an Android, not an iPhone, I’m going to get kicked out of the tribe of the society because I don’t fit in like everybody else.
Jason: And it’s interesting because the term black sheep, like when we look at that, like in the animal kingdom, most of the sheep are white. If you’re born as a black sheep, it means the Wolf can identify you and will, will hunt you down as every else the sheep are running. And so people don’t want to be that black sheep. But like you said, there’s nothing to be afraid of and you’re not going to be kicked out of the tribe of people just because you beat your own drum. And like you said, people are more embracing and you can now with the internet, find more different tribes that you probably fit in well based on who you are.
Libby: Yeah. I remember I had a friend who used to call me when in my entertainment days, which are, it’s a tough business and it was very male dominated. Still is to some degree, although that’s loosened up and you know, I’m taking calls, wall street journal, New York times, and there are always problems and I’m the corporate spokesperson for all the problems. So it was, there were a lot of triggers there. And I remember thinking that it was just if the flip side, Oh my friend called me, the ballerina on the football field was kind of her term for here’s this nice person and she’s getting kicked around. But the flip side of that sense of being fear of being ostracized is a desire to belong. And when you can embrace people for their otherness, for their talents, for their gifts, for their smile, for whatever it is you lessen all those anxieties so that people can begin to flourish, that they can begin to shine.
Libby: And one thing I’m really passionate about and starting to work with is there’s a community of neurodiversity and those are people whose brains are simply wired differently, whether they’re on the spectrum or they’ve got anxiety or they’re different in some sense from the neuro-typical, which is, you know, normal people. If there were such a thing. And often they can find difficulty communicating because they ask a lot of questions. They want to follow the rules, they want to do things right. And that doesn’t always sit well with a busy manager who says just figure it out. And so what I’m starting to do with a partner is look at how can we train management to understand there’s this wonderful hidden talent pool of people that have these supposedly limitations that are actually gifts. I mean there are some things that they can do with their brains, like questioning the status quo and being creative problem solvers and saying, Hey, wait a minute.
Libby: Did you notice that you had two policies that were in direct opposition of one another? That’s a problem. And they can really start to shine and thrive with just that little bit of understanding. So that to me is fascinating. I’m always, I started to be a marriage therapist and I grew up in a family of strengths and thought, you know, they’re just pretty nutty. I don’t don’t want to do that. There was no positive psychology back then or I would’ve done it, but so I went the other way. But I’ve always been fascinating on the marriage of brains and the workplace. How does, how we think affect what we do and the choices we make and how we act with others.
Jason: Alright. That’s it for part two of my conversation with Libby. Make sure to go to cutterconsultinggroup.com/podcast where he can find this episode, transcripts, all of the episodes available. You can find her links as well as all the information that is in her bio and what she has done. She is absolutely amazing and a force to be reckoned with in the world of positivity and coaching and leadership. And I just think it’s amazing where she has been and where she is now and the kind of companies that she works for and the values she provides. So please make sure to support her, check out her work in what she’s doing. And as always, remember that everything in life is sales and people remember the experience you gave them.