530: Getting Psyched Up To Sell (Isn't Just For Sales) w/ Daniel McGinn

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Daniel McGinn, a Senior Editor at the Harvard Business Review and author of "Psyched Up: How the Science of Mental Preparation Can Help You Succeed."

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mcginn/

Looking for a guaranteed way to createcontent that resonates with your audience start uponcast interview yourideal client and let them choose the topic of the interview, because, ifyour ideal clients care about the topic, there's a good chance, the rest of youraudience will care about. It too, learn more at sweetfish media com, you're, listening to the B Tob Groveshow pod cast dedicated to helping be to be executives and chies explosivegrown, whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools andresources. You've come to the right place, I'm Jonathan Green and I'm JamesCarbury. Let's get it into the show. Welcome back to the BE TO B GRO show.Today we are joined by Daniel mcgen. Daniel is a senior editor, and theHarvard Business Review is also the author of a site up how the science ofmental preparation can help. You succeed Daniel Welcome in the sholl HiJonathan. It's a pleasure to have you on the show today. I'm thank you for,for carving, sometime out of your busy schedule, t to join us sort of shareyour thoughts, your wisdom, we're going to be talking today about getting syheup to sell, and I know this is a little bit of a departure from some of our ourmore marketing centric episodes. But you know I'm just excited to have youon the shows and that's why we're going to be breaking from the pattern alittle bit, but before we get into that today, Dan ioll tell us a little aboutyourself and and kind of what you've been up to sure. So I work at HarvardBusiness Review, which is a magazine for managers, that's producingconjunction with the business school here at Harvard. I also write books onthe side for many years before I came to Harvard. I was a reporter inNewsweek magazine mostly covering business and management, and one of thethings I cover at HBR is sales. So any time you read a sales article in ourmagazine, there's a good chance that I was somehow involved in it. That's great, that's fantastic! So youknow, and again today we are going to be talking about this idea gettingsyhed up to sell Daniel. You know,...

Kindo, take it away what do yo? What doyou mean by that sure? So if you watch any kind of big time athletes, whetheryou're watching Michael thelps in the Olympics or Tom Brady, get ready for anNFL game o'r starting the season soon they have a process that they gothrough in the last few minutes before they compete, they've, probably beentaughtit by a sport psychologist. It usually involves a series of positivethoughts, things that are going to increase their confidence, reduce anyanxiety they have and get them really energized to be able to do their best.The thing that I make the point in the book, Yke Up is that you know most ofus are not Michael Phelpser Tom Brady were out there, maybe where lawyerslitigating or were doctors about to do surgery or where sales people making abig sales calgl. We should all have the same kind of routine that we use anthose last ten minutes. Before we go into the room, it might be listening tocertain kinds of motivational music. It might be st a couple of techniques toboost your confidence or some techniques. To me, you're a little bitless nervous, every person is different in thetechniques will vary, but the main point is you should have somethingyou're doing in that waiting room rather than just sitting there andbeing nervous right, and you did you had mentioned Michael Phelps. Do youthink that that the lessons were going to be talking about today also helpedto prepare him for when he swam against a shark during Shark Week recently, Ithink he was probably going to mentally outperformd the shark, no matter what,but I think anybody swimming against the shark is going to have an extrasense of motivation to keep moving quickly. I think you're absolutelyright and so we've kind of the annual we we've got sort of three maintakeaways for today in terms of in terms of getting siged up, and you knowI like how you have related this. Definitely it's IT'S W'E we're talkingabout getting sucked up to sell, but, like you hav mentioned, this can beapplicable to any sort of you know.

High pressure situation. You youhadmentioned a couple of different scenarios: Doctors, lawyers, whateverit is that you're doing so m. You know I do Ndefinitely, encourage O r ourlisteners to sort of tune in and take this away for their next high pressuresituation, even if it's outside selling so Danil, walk us through the stepshere sure. So I first got interested in this topic many years ago, when I wasactually a high school football and basketball player, and I wasn't verygood at either sport, but I got fascinated by what we would do in thelockerrooms and what the coaches would say and basically kind of the ritualsof the pregame to try to get US syked up back then I had a very simple viewof what it meant to get sicked up. I thought it was like a light switch andI thought it had a lot to do with Adrenalin that it was very simple onoff bianary kind of thing. Once you start doing the research and talking topsychologists and talk to Hie performers, you find out it's at leasta little bit more complicated than that. Now, instead of a lights, which I thinkabout a Stereo Knob and I think about you know in the same way you mightadjust tha the trouble or the base on a stereo. I I think you need to findtechniques to boost your confidence up and reduce that anxiety down and getthat energy level right. Those are really the three nobs one of the bestways to boost your confidence is to think about your greatest hits beforeyou go into that room to make a big salespitch reflect back on the lastsales pitch you gave where you just crushed it. You know in vivid detail.This is what athletes are taught to do, they're taught to imagine theirgreatest hits. Some of them will actually watch highlight videos beforethey take the field so that you know they remember in really vivid detaileverything they've done great in the past. So if you know, as a writerbefore I sit down to write something I'll often go take three minutes and goback and read one of my greatest hits in the past. It reinforces the ideathat hey you know. I really did a good job on that piece. I can do a great jobon this one to one of the most effective ways for people to increasetheir confidence, for their next...

...performance is to reflect back on theirgreatest past performance, I' encouraged as as a confidence boostingtechnique, everybody to find a way to do that. That's an interestingtechnique and you know feels like you have to get past. You know for ourlisteners. Would you say you have to get past this almost narsitistic sortof? Oh, I you know I I don't wantto just be watching or listening orreading my own personal greatest hits, but I mean you are really sort ofinternalizing that your you're you're, recognizing you know I I can't succeed.I can' achieve I mean, but but do you think that there's this idea that, likeOh, I I'm embarrassed? I don't want to be watching myself that feels toonarcacistic yeah. No, I I get it so. Some of the things that people dobefore they perform are really showy and elaborate and public. If you think of Labron James, thebasketball player, he has a very complicated pregame ritual and one ofthe things he does is. He goes over to this table in the middle of thebasketball Cort, where they keep chalk dust and powder to for the players toput in their hands, don't ride their hands. No, a lot of players wire, justvery nonelaborately, you know put a little potder on her. He has his veryritualistic. He throws it up in the air with hand, gestures and a crowd getsinto it and Um. That's a very public thing. But if you look at otherPerformanceso, one of the people I talked to for the book was Jerry,Seinfeld the comedian, and he has a backstage ritual. He does, but it'smostly internal. You know he spends about five minutes, reviewing his jokesand then at exactly the five minute mark before he goes on his stage.Manager comes over they're, very precise, about the timing. He puts hisjacket on and then he walks in a certain pattern until the curtain goes and it you know again, nobody whowatches him would think wow he's in ourssistic he's doing something veryelaborate, he's just sort of internally doing this ritual. So it doesn't haveto be something that anybody else is...

...gin to recognize you doing. That'sfantastic, okay, so getting confident before you know your big sales pitchgetting compitent before the main event, whatever it happens to be um and pointnumber. Two, though, is this idea of how to handle nerves and anxietybeforehand. Let's talk a little about that. Yes, so there's a lot of thingsyou can you know so that's Tho, the second dial N is you want to be reallyconfident, but you also want to try to tamp down whatever anxiety you have,and there are a bunch of different techniques you can use. I went toJulyard to the music school in New York City and they have a whole semestercourse, where they teach musicians, how to try to d not be too nervous beforetheir auditions, because auditions are so pressurized in their profession and they have you know: BreathingTechniques and mental visualization exercises they work, but they're prettysomewhat complicated to learn. You almost have to work with with a sportpsychologist to learn that sort of thing. One of the simpler techniquesthat I came across was a bit of research. That's been done mostly atHarvard where I work. They have studied a technique called reappraisal.Reappraisal is very subtly shifting how you evaluate something and hear's howthe research has gone. Thythey looked at people who are about to participatein a singing competition, they took half of them and before they went inthe stage they had them say out loud, I'm so nervous, and then they tookanother group and before they went on the stage they said I'm so excited andthey did it in music. They did it with people taking math tests. They did itwith people giving speeches in every case the people who said I'm so excitedpretty dramatically outperformed the people who said I'm so nervous. Now, ifyou think about it, nervous and excited they're, both high arousal states, it'sit's just that excited is a more positive form of it. So subtlelyshifting from that negative nervous to that positive excited, that's one thingyou can do to reduce your anxiety. So would you say then that sort of thisidea of even saying it out loud is is...

...like a certain technique that peoplecan use? I mean it is definitely one thing to say: Oh it's, it would be better if, in mymind I was I was refraining this as as excited versus, nervous or excitedversus scared. You know: Are there? Are there other things that that our listeners could do as they'retrying to you know almost convince themselves or as they're, trying to toreframe and and reappraise what? How they're? Looking at the situation yeah,I think Um the basic idea behind reappraisal that you're going to dobetter. If you try to push yourself nug yourself towards the positive and awayfrom the negative on the surface, that sounds like a simple idea, but it's AC.It actually goes against what many people have a tendency to do and I'mguilty of this myself. A lot of people have a tendency to engage in whatpsychologists call defensive pessimism, and I did I did this recently. I had achild that was dr going for their drivers, tests, which you know youremember when you re back when you 're sixteen seventeen years old. That's youknow a pretty nerve racking right of passage on. I was driving my child tothis test and I'm trying to figure out what was the right thing to say, and sohere's what I went with I went with you know. This is really nothing to benervous about. If you fail to test, you only have to wait one more week andthen you can take the test again. So you know the worst thing that canhappen here. Is You have to wait a week to get your license now? That soundslike a very logical thing to do. It's sort of presenting the worst casescenario and trying to rationalize why it's not so bad. It turns out.According to the research. That's almost always the worst thing you cando because you're pending somebody to fail, you don't want to talk aboutfailure before you go out there and perform you want focus on the upside.You know it'tortof like if you're sitting on the first tea of a golfcourse and there's a water hazard to your right. You don't want to think toyourself, don't hit it to the right.

You want to think to yourself hid entowards the center. In every sort of thought and action you have prior toperforming, you want to think about the positive outcome, not about avoidingthe negative it's sort of like. If you know, if you start looking at somethingon Thi right side of the road when you're driving your car has a tendencyto sort of pull itself in that direction. Your mind is the same way,so you want to try to constantly keep pulling your mind into that positiveframe of reference before you go on stage. That's fantastic, yeah N, I meanan and, like you said it', it can be very natural to say: Oh, what's theworst, that can happen, but reframing your mind. You be focusing onsuccess and and not failure. That makes a lot of sense. So Daniel. Let's moveto this third point, you know actually how to give a Peptok to your team toget them sygked up, and I think this is going to be great. I think our ourlisteners are going to get some tremendous value out of this, becausewe have a lot of listeners who who lead teams. So what do you do when you, whenyou're talking about sort of this external idea of getting your teamsyked up sure? So, if you think about the career of a salesperson, thebiggest leap most of them will make is when they go from being an individualcontribute, an individual rep up into that sales leader sales manager, a rollwere the performance is no longer something that they can controlthemselves, but they have to act through other people and especially inthat environment, finding the right words to try to get people positive andenergized and motivated that's a big part of being an effective sales leader.When I was reporting the book, I actually went down to yelp the onlineroveusite. They have about a seventeen hundred person sales force. I went downthere on the last day of the month when they typically make two to three timesas many sales as they do on an average day, because everybody's rushing to tryto meet their quota and on that day the head of the sales department gets upand gives this kind of rousing motivation all talk. And then I lookedat the research in terms of what those...

...talks typically have or what theyshould have, and it turns out there's a rich body of academic literature, scalled motivational language theory and it comes down to a three part formela.The first part of a good peptalk is the direction giving, which is you know,the actual, specifically what you want the person to do so. If you're, youknow, if you're giving a peptock to a basketball team, that's where you'retalking about the Xis nows, the offense in defence, to actual strategy. Thespecifics. The second thing that a good peptolk has is empathetic language.That's e language. That shows that you understand what what the person isgoing through tries to draw a personal connection between the leader and thefollowers. So any time, you're saying you know, I really want to say thankyou for what you've done. You want to sort of thank individual people. Youwant to acknowledge that what you're asking them to do is hard, that'screating that bond of empathy, and then the third thing you want to do in thesepeptalk is what they call meaning making language where you're trying totake the individual tasks that you're asking people to do and put it intosome larger context, something that makes it feel a little bit moreimportant than it might w. You sort raising the altitude a little bittelling them how their individual peace of this task fits into the largerorganizational landscape or even the larger societal, landsceme U'Mso. Ifyou think of a military situation before you go into combat, you know,you're, asking the soldiers maybe to take that hill over there, but theleader could sort of draw that out and try to talk about why that hill isimportant in the landscape of this campaign, and you know in this sort ofnational struggle, wheren yeah, perfect Daniel. I love this content. I love thefact that you know we're talking about getting sucked up to sell, but I just Ifeel like this is so applicable across the board to to other high pressuresituations ti to leading a team m. This is this is perfect, so aniel, if any ofour listeners are interested in following up with you learning moreabout today's topic. What's the best...

...way for them to go about doing that, soI'm unlinked INA Daniel mcgin, I'm on twitter at Dan mcgin, so is close bysaying this sales people were one of the groups. I had in mind when I waswriting the book, but I've been surprised how strongly that group hasresponded to it to the point where a few companies have actually bought thebook for entire sales teams to read and discuss, and some of them have had meget on the phone with them afterwards, because I think sales managers realizethat if they can get their reps to have something productive to do in thereslast few minutes, it can only help them perform a little bit better. So Ireally do think this spprofessionit makes a lot of sense, O try, absolutelyso and and Daniels wrok again the site up how the science of mentalpreparation can help. You succeed check out the book Daniell. Thank you so muchagain for your time today it was a peasure having you on the shell. Thankyou again. If you've been getting value from thispodcast, you can help us reach more people by reviewing the show on Ituneshereis how you can leave a Reieu in less than a minute open your pod castout and tap the search igon in the bottom rad corner type in p. to begrowth, then select our shol once you're, there tap the reviews tohaveand tell us that you think of the show. These reviews help us out of time.Thank you so much for listening until next time.

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