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How to Make Your Own Game in Sales And Win, with Chris Brogan [Episode 370]

Joining me on this episode is Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group (which provides skills for the modern entrepreneur), a highly sought-after professional speaker, and the New York Times bestselling author of nine books and counting, his latest being, Find Your Writing Voice.

Key Takeaways

  • Chris introduces his book coming out, called Make Your Own Game. The book has two sections. First is The Fast Book, for people who believe they are too busy to read. Second is The Real Book, for those who want it all.
  • Make Your Own Game first teaches how to win a game, seeing it as story (who, what, and why you are playing), rules (how to play), and strategy (how to win). Second, it teaches how to create your own story, rules, and strategy.
  • Some companies may say innovation is important, but then they retreat to, “That’s not the way we do it.” Innovation assumes risk, but proposes reward, and includes breaking out of the blue binder on the shelf.
  • Chris tells how doing something extra on Facebook to connect, led to a third party’s offering him a business deal.
  • There is a conflict in sales organizations between optimization of process and reporting through Big Data tools, and creating and nurturing human connections. Dashboards help, but people buy from people they know, like, and trust.
  • It’s easy to see on social media what people’s interests are. Google your contact before your sales meeting. Find out what will help understand them better, and bond together.
  • Your buyers are all involved in things outside the sale. There is great value in small talk. Chris would like to see it codified into systems. He admits to personally getting too familiar, too quickly, though.
  • Teaching authenticity is like scripting improv.
  • Andy suggests doing what you need, to be one percent better than the next guy. As the sales professional, you — not the price — are the first differentiation. Be your best you.
  • Sales professionals need to spend more time learning about their clients and connecting to them. Uniquely human skills make the sale. Don’t show you are busy, show you are responsive to them.
  • Sales is not about metric-driven methodologies. It’s about people. The biggest challenge in any sales organization is engaging with the prospect. It’s hard to put metrics on a sales rep’s ability to get others to ‘know, like, and trust’ them.
  • Sales professionals, like most people, want to have a system. The sales challenge is to learn a really simple system to win the sale. Chris wants his book to help people with this, using self-permission.

More About Chris Brogan

What’s your most powerful sales attribute?

Straightforward nature.

Who is your sales role model?

Zig Ziglar.

What’s one book that every salesperson should read?

Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur, by Sir Richard Branson.

What music is on your playlist right now?

Loud positive music. “Fighter,” and “No Plan B,” by Manafest. ‘90s Hip Hop.

Episode Transcript

Andy Paul (0:57)

It’s time to Accelerate. I’m your host, Andy Paul. Join me as I host conversations with the leading experts in sales, marketing sales, automation, sales process, leadership, management, training, coaching, any resource that I believe will help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business and most importantly, you.

(2:19) Hello and welcome to Accelerate. I am excited to be talking with my guest today. Joining me is Chris Brogan. He’s the CEO of Owner Media Group. Writing Skills for the Modern Entrepreneur. He is also a highly sought-after professional speaker, and the New York Times best-selling author of nine books and counting, his latest being Find your Writing Voice. Chris, welcome to accelerate.


Chris Brogan (2:41)

Super happy to be here. Thanks for having me on.


Andy Paul (2:44)

So, is there a new book since Find your Writing Voice?


Chris Brogan (2:47)

Well, there’s one on the way. I am working on one for the nice folks at Wiley called, Make Your Own Game, and it is, how to take stock, break the rules, and own your life. I think that’s what we decided on for a subtitle sounds good to me.


Andy Paul (3:00)

Yeah, like it sounds good. Give us some preview what it’s going to be about.


Chris Brogan (3:05)

Oh, sure. You might be the first podcast I’ve talked about it on. First, there’s a couple pieces to the book. In fact, one little idea that I had was, I think that there’s so many people out there that believe that they’re too busy. And so, I made a book for them called, The Fast Book Anatomy, the first like, I don’t know, 20, 30, 40 pages of the book. And then I have a section called, The Real Book. So, I’m technically writing my own cliff’s notes or something for my own book. Because I thought, “you know what it’d be kind of neat? I encapsulate it in a small book for those people who don’t think they have time to read, and then write the real book for people who know that’s never going to get you as far as you should go.” And so, the first half of Make Your Own Game is actually how to win a game, which there’s three basic questions to that. “What’s the story?” Meaning, how do I understand the setting and the players, and everything involved in any kind of situation, “How do I play? What are the rules and mechanics of it?” In any kind of business or life situation. And then, “how do I win?” And that’s how you work on other people’s games. And then the next part of the book, Make Your Own Game starts to ask the question, “well, what do I really want to do? And who do I want to do that with? And how am I going to get that done?” And that’s kind of the answer that question a lot of people have, and sometimes inside of companies on, “who do I want to be when I grow up?” I talked to a lot of different types of companies where they say that innovation is important to them. And the minute you start talking about innovative things, they all go “Oh, that’s not how we do things here.” And so, this will be, maybe my 10th attempt at saying, “look, guys, that’s what innovation means. It means you do things that aren’t already in the little blue book with the binder on the shelf.” And they go, “oh, okay, okay, that could work for us.” And I think that companies are scared of that. So, this book is a bit of a choose your own adventure, because if you just are run-your-own-company kind of person, great, this books perfect for you. If you’re a guy who works for a guy who works for the lady up top, you’re going to do great, because it talks about things that we don’t usually talk about in business, which is like, “what does your boss really want from you?” So that’s what I’m working on. When we’re talking about this, I’m at page like 34 in writing it. So, it’s not like it’s a big thing, but that’s what it looks like.


Andy Paul (5:15)

Well, so that sort of leads to one of the questions and topics I want to talk about today, which is something that I’m concerned about and I talk about frequently. And you’d written a piece called, What do you lose by fitting in? And I was struck by that, because it seems like increasingly, we’re in this age where somewhat contrary to what people think is conformity is being emphasized. You have all these tools and which sort of supposedly, social tools express your individuality, but actually, I see this pressure more to conform. And I see this in sales for instance, we have a sales audience, and I see the sort of advent of this much more rigid sales processes. And people saying that the art of selling is dead, it’s the science of selling, and disintermediating the human out of this. And people wonder. Why aren’t we as an industry– Why do you read the reports from CSO insights, 50% of reps still aren’t making quota, and the close rate in business to business world are dropping, it’s like, well, of course, but why? The answer seems to be in so many cases is, we got to fit in more, we’re going to be more conformist as opposed to pricing the individual, uniquely human aspect of what’s selling, and marketing is all about.


Chris Brogan (6:37)

So, I just opened a pretty decent business deal with a company, and I got to tell you how dumb this really is. I wish somebody else on Facebook “Happy Birthday”, and this person’s friend, I never just write “Happy Birthday”. That’s a piece of the story you are not getting. I write like a missive to the person. Anyone who’s my Facebook friend, I write why I know them, or what do I like about them, or why you should follow them. I really try to connect, which is an important thing for any sales professional, right? So, in this process, some nice lady saw this post to this other person and said, “huh, he’s pretty interesting”, clicked on to figure out who I am and went, “oh, we could use this guy.” And now I have a business contract in front of this person. Now, there’s no way in the world that wishing this woman Happy Birthday, I was thinking this will lead to some revenue. But right there, is the whole challenge facing all sales professionals, all sales organizations and all companies bigger than three people. We now exist in this universe we’re in which everyone seems to think they don’t have enough time. And everyone wants everything to run on a dashboard. And there is the endless fight dear sales professional, use the damn software, because I’m too busy to talk to you and ask you how it’s going. I need to see on a dashboard if this deal is green or yellow. And that’s all I want to hear. And if it’s red, you’re fired. And that’s all we have time for we think. In part it’s truly, let all the middle management out of as many companies as we can, because especially publicly traded companies, they were told, “look, you got to cut some fat somewhere.” And there’s nothing more fat than the guy that carries the report to the other guy, right? And it’s endless. So now “hey, sales robot, you could put your sales info into the sales computer, and we’ll give it to the mama break.” Big Data is really important. That’s what everyone says. Now, on the one side, they’re not wrong. All these people carrying around their index cards, they’re Glengarry leads, they’re losing stuff, they’re losing content that’s so useful to a sales professional. If you have to call Melinda over at, incrediblepants.com. And you’re trying to land a $200,000 deal with Melinda, but you don’t know that Melinda also owes the company some money on another project, or whatever, you start making concessions or whatever. Well, now you’ve got a conflict. There’s all kinds of problems. And that data is stuck in a salespersons head somewhere. Yes, we need that data surface, but the problem, the big conflict is this, leadership wants systems in place that are dashboard “boardatized”, which is totally not a word, but it should be, they want the salesforce plug in, they want the other conflicting not salesforce plugin, “forget those guys, we’re these guys.” But they want you to make your quota, and they want you to do it faster than ever before. They’re implementing software on corporate cell phones to make sure that they know where you are, like you’re some kind of very important cop and you have to be in the right driveway at the right time of day. So, they don’t trust anyone. And they’re signaling this with software. And on the other side, you as a sales professional have the exact same goal you’ve always had, which is you got to make a human connection with your buyer. If you only buy from people, we like. I was in the business of acquiring a new data center for my company when I worked in wireless telecom, and I was the Senior Project Manager on this project, but I had a very strong vote at this table. And I went to one meeting where the people treated us like we were “______”, and I felt like we were going to buy a pretty substantial amount of space from them. So, they should have treated me a little nicer. They didn’t. So, we moved on. Nothing about whether or not it was the right economic answer. It was like they didn’t treat us nice. I couldn’t expect to have good service if I had downtime, right? The next guy, we landed there at lunch, and there’s supposed to be a kind of like office pizza lunch thing going on. And the guy is eating with his mouth open. And I don’t know, but that was the only reason why I didn’t pick this guy. Because it turned me off. He was like, “I’m grossed out by you. Like, how clean your data center is going to be if you don’t actually really get to close your mouth when you chew?” I was making a $2.6 million decision. When we finally bought, we bought from a really good company that did really important work, blah, blah, blah. We did all our diligence. But none of that fits on a salesforce document. I can’t type anywhere, “Mike chewed this pizza weird”, so I’m not buying from him. And I think that’s the challenge.


Andy Paul (10:57)

It is one of the challenges—what does it take for sales rep these days to sort of break out of the conformity and say– it’s always been the case that the individuals are the differentiator, as the sales rep. So, it’s being squelch. So how do they break free? How do they have the summon the nerve to not fit in, but, stand out?


Chris Brogan (11:24)

One of the things that’s interesting to me about this, it’s not that hard to start figuring out what somebody’s into these days, we all contribute without anyone forcing us. I don’t remember whose quote it is., there’s a really great quote out there somewhere that says, “there’s no way George Orwell could have predicted how willing we were going to be to rush towards 1984”, we made it for them. No one had to wait, right? So, when you start looking around at people, when you start googling them nowadays, before going to your sales meeting, you’ll see stuff about them. You look at Chris Brogan on Instagram and you’ll say, “oh, this guy goes to the gym a lot.” I don’t get that because he looks fat and weird, but I guess he’s at the gym a lot. He eats a lot. Yeah, I rucksack. So, these are the tools that sales professionals used to build relationships. And I’ve often said that I’m amazed that everyone thinks golf is the only way you can get a deal. How come no one wants to play Call of Duty or something. How come nobody’s getting a big video game land party together? There’s other ways to bond. I think that salespeople are scared because they do anything to get the deal. There’s a massive difference between not making your quota and thinking, “well, what if I upset this person”, right? I mean, there’s also you have to teach people a little bit about how to be themselves by not being the most insane version of themselves. I had this sort of joking term we use often called the “Perez Hilton Hot Mess Line”. If Perez Hilton was going to write about you, because you’re that weird or something like that, then you probably right. And we see news stories like this, almost every day now, in a place like Facebook, like XYZ person getting fired because they said something anti-Semitic or whatever, by the way, perfect, I fired a guy because he made a racist comment to somebody once. It was one of my only two firings I’ve ever done in my career, and I was, “yes, I’d do it every day”. But there’s a world of difference between kind of being yourself and trying to communicate and reach people in a much more human level than there is, you should bring your confederate flag to the next meeting kind of thing, right? You could start to find some ground where you could run it by the other system. You could have a little sales meeting where you say, “what’s cool to talk about that’s not work related? What do you guys think?” And I’m sure you brainstorm some stuff. But your buyers are all into stuff other than the sale. I worked in Wireless Telecom, we did b2b stuff. It was nothing but b2b, we bought servers and data farms and we did all this crap with big guys like AT&T. But when we got to a pre– we’re having a cup of coffee, we’d say things like, “well, do you go to movies very often?”, Whatever, right? Well, I think that we need to codify this in all of those technologies and all those systems.


Andy Paul (14:22)

I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but there has been a lot of research in the last two weeks about the value of small talk. I have sell trainers that go out and say, “do not waste a minute of the customer’s time with small talk”, and yet this research is coming in, pretty authoritative research saying, there’s incredible value in small talk and building this relationship that sets you apart from the other person.


Chris Brogan (14:45)

I’m guilty of one thing, which is a I sort of force familiarity on people a lot sooner than they’re probably ready. And by the way, Americans in the larger world, I know you’ve done international sales, American are known for this, we’re known for, “hey, best friend forever.” And Europeans or anybody else are like, “don’t touch me.” What do they say? We’re sort of like an avocado, like we’re super squishy. But we have this hardcore, that’s the real part of us that you’re never going to see. And Europeans and others are like, I think they call them pineapples, where it’s like, all spiky and miserable on the outside, but when you get inside, it’s all soft and sweet. Right? So, small talk is important, but my misgiving, my failure is that I try to get there really fast, “hey, what did you watch on Netflix last night?” And like, that’s not the first sentence. It turns out.


Andy Paul (15:39)

Yeah, well, hey, you called me handsome earlier today.


Chris Brogan (15:43)

I did I find you handsome. I’m straight. But I find you handsome.


Andy Paul (15:47)

Thank you. And I blushed appropriately. I think that’s a great analogy. Because I did a lot of international business and, you are given all these protocol lessons before you went to your first trip about what you shouldn’t do. But what I found actually is, in Europe and Asia, South America as people appreciated the authentic you.


Chris Brogan (16:10)

You know, the thing that it’s become weird to me, I’m a little weirded out by so many people trying to teach authenticity and teach transparency. Because it’s like trying to teach humility. And I think that unfortunately, it probably does need to be taught in some ways. But I also think that teaching authenticity is like, scripting improv. It’s kind of the antithesis of what you’re supposed to be doing. But, to your point about conformity, we’re taught all through the entire schooling system, what the school really means, in the US system anyway, I am getting you ready for the factory. I wish they were socializing my kids for work. They’re socializing for a factory. They’re socializing that every cog has to fit exactly so. But the work that will maintain in the western civilization for the next little while is the non-mickey mechanized work. People are making jokes like, “someday a robot will take your job”, they’ve taken your jobs, right? There’s transaction systems everywhere that I’ve removed lots of human interaction. There’s lots of restaurants now that let you buy stuff off an iPad. And I’m not I’m not some weird Luddite saying, “let’s not do that.” But I’m saying that, that’s where our individuality becomes ultra-important, because selling to the right thousand people is always going to trump selling 10 million people and all the effort it takes to try to get the match. I think that trying to sort of take your Glengarry leads and crisscrossing with people I would have coffee or a beer with, is a much better way to start building the sales relationship and how to stand out from your colleagues.


Andy Paul (17:52)

Part of what I say though, too, is making people just understand. I agree with you, teaching authenticity is not something you probably can do. Maybe you have a better word for it. But what I tell people in sales is, this is what my experience has shown me, I only need to be 1% better than the next guy to get the business. I don’t need to be 10% better, or 20% better, but there’s some differentiation that I’m part of as the salesperson, I’m the frontline of differentiation, if I can be 1% better than my competitors, then once the customer makes that decision, they’re going to make a change, then my odds of winning the business are pretty substantial.


Chris Brogan (18:34)

And I think you’ve probably found those almost always to be in the softer parts of your transaction. Would I be right about that meeting the– it’s never price, it’s never the contract, it’s never the maintenance fees or something like that. It’s something you brought to the table. That’s a little hard to explain perfectly well, but that actually put the ink on the page.


Andy Paul (18:53)

Well, there was a research been done by some professors at Harvard, it was in the Harvard Business Review. It was about what they called “tie-breaking selling”. They’ve done this research and they found that that, yeah, the tiebreakers are rarely priced. In fact, you could actually be a little bit more expensive. But if you have these intangible, they’ll their perception of you is to be somebody they can trust, somebody that is going to deliver the value that they say they’re going to do, then yeah, you may win the business, even be more expensive.


Chris Brogan (19:21)

I think that when it comes to all the ways that you can accelerate, to sort of echo your podcast name. I think that we spend our time in the wrong places as well. Sales professionals spend their time in the wrong places. They spend their time surfing sloughing off really weird cold leads, arguing with marketing that the leads they received aren’t any good. Doing a lot more mechanical relationship building, a lot more like copy paste email lists and stuff like that. Not a soul alive receives one of these copy paste emails and goes “oh, they mean me.” We all know, heaven forbids is from some other platform, that we’ve already received it from some other person with a different name on it. How many times that we received an email meant for somebody else, or they just forgot to replace the first name field, right? So that’s where we spend our calories. Instead of, why can’t we be as simple as a piece of paper on your desk, writing notes about what the person is really into, and the fact that Jennifer had a college exam coming up. My grandfather was the number one candy salesman in Augusta, Maine for Pine State Tobacco way back in the old days, he was a leading candy salesman, they used to give him trips down to Disney World for it and all that. And I went on his sales route with him a whole bunch of times. I never saw him sell a damn thing. I saw him hug people, talk to people, tell jokes. It took me years to learn that he told dirty jokes when I wasn’t around. I thought he only told very clean, kid-friendly jokes. And he knew everything about every one of his clients. And by the way, they put in more orders for candy. You know, candy is pretty easy. Do I need, or don’t I need more lollipop?


Andy Paul (21:03)

The candy store in Maine, right? Right past the border.


Chris Brogan (21:07)

Yeah. It was he was more like every bus depot, and all kinds of weird little variety stores when those existed. But yeah, I took that lesson into how I sell, I want to have relationships with the people I sell to, and I think anything more than a simple transaction sale, like, “how much for the popcorn?” You really have to put that into it.


Andy Paul (21:25)

Yeah. People are so busy trying to scrub it out of it. I heard somebody use this term at conferences, these set of uniquely human sales skills that should be prized and developed because that’s what’s going to withstand on hold off the automation.


Chris Brogan (21:47)

If someone in Bangladesh can make phone calls and land the deal, everything in that process is wrong. And you know, no slight on India. I’m just picking a call center location. I could have said Vietnam. But I would say that the last mile is almost always the way. I was looking at LinkedIn, which I so infrequently do, because usually the only contact I get there is someone who just lost their job and it not any fun. But this guy was a sales guy at Sun Microsystems when I dealt with him a long time ago, there’s a name you don’t hear that much anymore. And when you were talking about the differentiators and all that, I was thinking about, we bought from him over this other guy, and he was more expensive. And the difference besides that was that he always answered the phone, he was always available in some way. And I have no idea what his home life was like. But I knew that if I asked Ben a question, I’d get an answer real fast, and the other guy just seems so busy. And so, I think it’s weird that so many professionals in life tend to show how busy they are all the time, which makes me judge them negatively, because they don’t really know how to handle their lives very well. I always tell people, I’m not busy. I’m blessed. I mean, the reason you and I didn’t talk earlier today was a simple technical challenge. Still not busy. I have plenty of time to talk with you because it’s I want to do. And I think that that becomes important to this whole process. And I feel bad because I know that some salespeople are listening to this going, “oh my gosh, can we please get another guest on that only wants to talk about quotas and opener lines.” But my best opener lines in sales have 100% been customed, to the one human in front of me and not “hate-able”. And I think that that’s true of any of the top salespeople and I think the only people that will tell you that they have an opener that works 100% of the time is someone that’s selling you a how to open 100% of the time book.


Andy Paul (23:32)

Right. I think there’s been a sort imbalance between– and I see it in training. It’s certainly seen in sales; I see it perhaps in other professions as well, as we talk more about skills rather than behaviors. You talk about responsiveness, if you read the other my books, half of them are about responsiveness. If I had the choice between hiring a sales rep who was really good at giving presentations, or was as you described, the guy from sun micro was incredibly responsive. Give me the responsive person every day of the week, they’re going to sell more than the really skilled presenter. Why aren’t we teaching more about just these fundamental behaviors, which, at root are really just human behaviors that are applicable in any circumstance?


Chris Brogan (24:14)

I think that there’s something that– you never get fired for buying IBM.


Andy Paul (24:21)

I was the victim of that many times.


Chris Brogan (24:24)

I hear that, believe me. In everything I’ve ever sold in my life, I’ve always been at least the B brand, maybe the C brand. I did some work with Pepsi and I made them mad right out of the gate because they said, you know, everyone outside of this room considers it, “is Pepsi okay?” Their appreciation of your soda pop brand, is they asked for Coke and the person said, “is Pepsi, okay?” And that, of course, makes him very mad. But I’ve made a career out of saying to big people, “look, that’s how people say it. I don’t, it’s okay, if you want to feel sad, but that’s what’s true right now.” That’s what people say, and so we got to figure out why it’s going to be better. And Pepsi has done an amazing deal with the Gatorade line, with all their other things. So, why we don’t teach it though? Which was your question, I look at your books, Zero Time and Amp Up and I think that people who have a little bit of budget to train, if you’re a sales manager, you look at books like that and you go, “alright, I can see that there’s a whole tangible thing here we’re going to get”, and it’s an expression I’ve used a lot, it’s, you got to kind of hide the broccoli inside the cake. And I think you’ve got to basically say, “oh, it’s like what David Zink said and Men’s Health magazine. He said he could measure 30 to 40% sales drop every time he didn’t put the phrase “six-pack abs” on the front of the magazine. And he said, “I can put anything after it. I can put, good roll into Thanksgiving with six-pack abs. Change your car’s oil better with six-pack abs, it didn’t matter, just those three words, six-pack abs, the sales will go up or down to 30 to 40%.” And I think that in sales, I’ve already apologized twice in this interview for saying, “jeez, I feel like people are going to feel bad that this isn’t so meaty.” So, I think we’re sort of trained in helping sales professionals to give them really numeric stuff, really tangible stuff, really metric driven stuff. And I think part of it continues to go back to the robot overlords and that we expect that if we can’t measure it, then it can’t be true.


Andy Paul (26:36)

And what is interesting, though, is over the last year, I’ve interviewed probably 400 people, sales leaders, sales slot leaders, probably as many as if not more than anybody else. And what I’m finding is sort of a consistent thread, especially a lot of the CEOs from the Silicon Valley startups, the SsS startups that are selling sales technologies or not, that are using the sales technologies to sell their service. You ask them what their biggest challenge is, and they say, “getting my salespeople to really engage with the prospect”. It’s funny, they are selling all the automation but the end of the day, it’s that soft skill that’s the missing link for them.


Chris Brogan (27:15)

And I think that to my point a little bit earlier about the fact that it’s scary to wonder how you’re supposed to do it. How don’t I upset somebody? How do I do this in a way that I feel conscious to people’s time? To your point, don’t make small talk because you’re wasting their time. It took me a while to be okay with talking about sales at all. And it was because I had been exposed to so many bad salespeople, so many input. I just went to type gmail.com into my browser to look something up. And I landed on GMA-Li Gamali.com, which took me to shop.reduce.com, which is a really not super high-level looking page, and I thought, what a human being who mistyped Gmail.com lands and goes, “oh!”


Andy Paul (28:04)

Oh, I’ll click on it.


Chris Brogan (28:06)

I think it’s time to do some business. It seems like a good idea, and who knows, I could be totally wrong. The hundreds of millions of miss types of gmail.com a day, maybe that person gets plenty of cash and I’m a big dumb idiot. But we buy it from people we like, and we buy from people we trust. You said it, know, like and trust. Then to your question, why don’t we have more people training on that? I think it’s because it’s so much harder to get a test on that. It’s so much harder to say, “oh, people should trust you.”


Andy Paul (28:38)

Yeah. So, our question for you is, and this sort of the last question we can dig into here. I was fortunate earlier in my career, and it seems like maybe the situation has changed. I sort of feel it too many times with bosses, because they’re so data driven, is that we have a very distinct process, my first company was selling against IBM, selling computers. We were the number two company, which had a very well-defined process, but I found that I could be more successful if I just modified that and moved about 30 degrees this direction and did my own thing. And my bosses were okay as long as I brought it home, delivered the goods. I’m finding that seems like people feel more constrained these days and less willing to sort of take that slight variation, to be that individual within that, that environment. That’s what you see in that regard, and because to me, that’s sort of the core of things. And maybe it’s because some of the managers are insecure, not letting the people go, but I think we could really transform productivity, and I’ve seen it in companies I work with, if you just let the people lose a little bit.


Chris Brogan (29:49)

My very first response to you, in my head started to sound a little bit like, “kids these days…” I think there’s a bunch of us all looking for a template, or a blueprint, or a plan that’s already laid out. And then we’ll just follow that, “why don’t you just tell me what I should do?” And I think that it’s always last mile challenges. In the phone company world, we had, it was always called the last mile selling. Because everything all the way to here, to here, to here, it was great. And the problem is almost always from the poll your house. I worked in My Bell Telephone repair service. And my job was just to keep calling listen to people call me and tell me their phones are broken. It was a million times right there. So, what needs to happen– your point that they’re not really willing to branch out or do whatever. I think that they’re not given really simple systems either. Like you asked me a question about my next book, Make Your Own Game. One of the things that I’ve been teaching for a couple of years now in business are really simple systems. I came up with a priority management type thing, because I think Time Management is a silly word. We all get the same 24 hours. I’d figured out three hours worth of priority every single day would move your business better, right? And so, I said, “well, no one really has three hours in a row. So, let’s break it into nine 20-minutes slots, so it looks like a Rubik’s Cube.” And that’s my 20-minute plan. And in that process, what I started seeing was, “follow this” and everyone be like, “okay”, and then they see results a couple days later, and they go “oh!” So, for some reason that we don’t teach how to generate and then follow a really simple system? Even though every one of us must have played a video game by now. We’ve all played Pac Man, what do I do? I eat the dots, okay. Don’t touch that thing, okay. We like systems when they’re in things like games, when we play poker, we know that there’s the turn in the river and all that sort of thing. We love this feeling of, “I know what’s coming next or whatever.” And yet, for some reason, we don’t implement it when it doesn’t exist already ahead of time for us. And I think that that’s the next thing to do, is start teaching people how to make a simple system that teaches you how to win what you’re trying to win. And you’re going to have to come up with it. But I’ll give you all the ways you can think of it and then it’ll work forward. And that to me is kind of the missing link that could move us forward a lot faster. And the beauty is it doesn’t take a whole lot of hard work to figure that out. It’s a little bit of self-permission, and then you start moving forward.


Andy Paul (32:18)

Well, I think that self-permission is a big part of it, right? So, Chris, we’re in the last segment of the show where I’ve got a few standard questions I ask all my guests. The first one is a hypothetical scenario of what you’re the you’re the star of the show on this one, in that you’ve Chris have just been hired as a VP of sales at a company whose sales have stalled out, and the CEO and the board anxious to hit the reset button get turned around in place. So, what two things could you do your first week on the job that could have the biggest impact?


Chris Brogan (32:50)

The first thing I would do is I’d start creating content. That is my, “when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” I would create content because I think that what’s always starving in companies are behind the scenes information, interviews with the people who do really cool stuff there, and a lot of how-to information that would help people move from thinking about it with I’m going to go with this guy.


Andy Paul (33:09)

Okay. That’s one, you get two.


Chris Brogan (33:14)

I make some content. The next thing I would do is, I would start asking my best buyer so far, how else can I help? What else can I do? And who else needs to know about this? In the most loving possible way. I think we’re so afraid of asking for nice, warm referrals these days. And I think that pendulum needs to swing back.


Andy Paul (33:33)

Okay. All right, good answer. So now some rapid-fire questions. One-word answers if you want or you can elaborate, if you wish. So, the first one is when, you Chris are out selling your services. What’s your most powerful sales attribute?


Chris Brogan (33:47)

Straightforward nature. I guess it’s two words but straightforward nature.


Andy Paul (33:51)

You can have as many words as you want. So, who’s your sales role model?



Chris Brogan (33:56)

I guess, Ziegler.


Andy Paul (33:59)

Okay. So, what’s one book you’d recommend every salesperson read, other than any of your own.


Chris Brogan (34:03)

Business Trip Near, by Richard Branson.


Andy Paul (34:07)

Ah, very good. I like that one. Okay, last question, tough one, what music is on your playlist these days?


Chris Brogan (34:14)

Ah, so if I’m at the gym, it’s usually kind of louder and heavier but mostly positive, which is weird because I grew up listening to really angry heavy metal and now I listened to much more positive things, which may or may not be Christian music, etc. But that’s not the part that I’m into. I’m into the fact that they’re not saying mean things but still really loud and “grrr”


Andy Paul (34:33)

Do you have a band?


Chris Brogan (34:35)

Sure, Manafest, M-A-N-A-F-E-S-T. He has songs like Fighter and No Plan B that I think really speak to our thing. The other thing just totally to make it , some 90s hip hop.


Andy Paul (34:47)

Nice. Yeah, that gets a lot of votes actually. Sort of maybe third on the list. I have to publish a list soon on that. I just published a list of the five most frequently recommended books. Yeah, and so the music is coming next. AC/DC is number one on the list so far. Yeah, that just speaks to like, how old my guests are actually, it’s not even all the old people that say that. Well Chris, great to have you on the show. Tell people how they can find out more about you and get in touch with you.


Chris Brogan (35:14)

Either, chrisbrogan.com or owner.media, or just google “Chris” and I should be one of the first few results you find.


Andy Paul (35:22)

All right, Excellent. Thank you very much, and friends, thank you for spending time with us today. And remember to make it a part of your day, every day, to deliberately learn something new to help you accelerate your success. An easy way to do that as join my conversations with top business experts like my guest today Chris Brogan, who shared his expertise about how to accelerate the growth of your business. So, thanks again for joining me. Until next time, this is Andy Paul. Good selling everyone.

Thanks for listening to the show. If you like what you heard and want to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming episodes, please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or stitcher.com. For more information about today’s guests, visit my website at andypaul.com.