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  • Francisco Mahfuz

E94. Tell Better Stories and Win More Sales with John Livesay



Below is an AI-generated transcript and therefore it may contain errors.


Francisco Mahfuz 0:00

Hi everyone, Francisco here. Just before we get started, I wanted to share something I'm really excited about. I recently launched the story powers bootcamp, a course that teaches you everything you need to know about how to find craft and tell stories that work. But it's not just an online course, because you get personalised feedback from me for all the practical activities in three hours of life coaching to work through any challenges, or focus on specific projects. So it's like if you bought a cookbook, but the chef came along with it. So go to story powers.com and click on Course, all the information you need will be there. So please check it out. And if you love the show, and would like to support us, you can go to buy me a coffee.com forward slash story powers. I drink about five coffees a day, so any support would be much appreciated. All right on with the show.


Welcome to the story powers podcast, the show about the power of stories that we're going to tell them and why you should be doing it too. I'm your host, keynote speaker and storytelling coach Francisco mahfuz. My guest today is John Livesey, also known as the pitch whisper. John is a sales keynote speaker and shows the lessons learned from his award winning sales career at Conde Nast, he has been interviewed by none other than Larry King, and his TEDx talk has had more than 1 million views. If that sounds familiar, that's because it is. John was the first ever guest of this podcast a whole 93 episodes ago. And when I introduced him that first time, I said he was the nicest salesperson you ever meet in history with this. So when I found out that he had a new book coming out the sales in the tail, I knew I wanted him back on the show. Ladies and gentlemen, the man, the legend, John liver, say, John, welcome back. Hey,


John Livesay 1:56

you. That's a nice welcome back very kind of you looking forward to it.


Francisco Mahfuz 2:00

Alright, so full disclosure here, when we spoke, and I found out that you had this new book coming out, the CEO is in the tail. And I found out that he was a business fable. My first reaction was, oh, no, this is going to be terrible. But you know, you you are you and I have great, great trust in you. But I have seen business fables before, or of people using fables in business before. And that can sometimes be incredibly, incredibly awkward. So what made you decide to because you have a say, a book on storytelling. And so what made you decide to do do this book this? Well,


John Livesay 2:47

I have seen both great examples. I think there's a wonderful fable business fable called getting naked that Patrick Lencioni wrote, I was very compelled by that ability. But I haven't seen anybody write a business fable about sales. Usually, it's about thinking positive or leadership or consulting. So I thought, oh, there's an open lane here. No one's done a business fable from the perspective of a salesperson. And since you and I both love storytelling, I thought, if I can pull this off and entertain the readers are the listeners, if it's an audio book, where they feel like they're in the story, then it's literally a story about storytelling. And as we all know, when you show something instead of just tell it, then people are pulled in. So that was the purpose for writing this business fable.


Francisco Mahfuz 3:36

I think the biggest problem, the biggest obstacle in my head was something that might just be a misunderstanding. And it's the word fable. Because when I think of fables, I think of something from the days of yore. You know, I'm thinking of Hans Christian Andersen and stuff like that. And, you know, I very quickly realised within about three lines of your book that, you know, it's it happens in modern times, and it's dealing with modern Asia. So what is the actual definition of a fable? What makes it a fable instead of a fictional story,


John Livesay 4:12

I think the big difference is that much like Who Moved My Cheese, which was written many years ago, that was a very big success, as in putting the genre of a business fable, the purpose of it is to take you on a journey. And that's some of the things that might happen. You are willing to go on that journey in a different way than if it was just strictly here's the details of how to be a better storyteller. And compared to a fiction book, I think fiction books can you know, like a James Bond or something, you know, that's much more you suspend your belief, but a business fable in particular versus just a fable usually is grounded in some reality. In other words, the protagonist or the hero in the story doesn't suddenly start making all these sales the minute he starts To use the story, he still has some obstacles to overcome, which is what happens in real life?


Francisco Mahfuz 5:04

Yeah, I think from reading it my my impression was that the only part of it where where perhaps the whole suspension of disbelief thing was slightly tested was one when there is a, you know, not one, but maybe two or three different characters in the book that seem to have very relevant John liver say advice to dole out. And the other part is just how well in how thorough that advice at times was? Because apart from that, you know, if it's not that, and those are the parts where you think, Okay, well, clearly, this is when the author wants me to, to learn some of this content. But apart from that, which is, you know, well spread out throughout the narrative. It's just a fiction story. And at times a very, very entertaining one. No, I found myself very caught up in bands that range been the slightly crappy salesperson. And he's not very interested in becoming a better a better salesperson. So I think he, I think it might just be that this idea that, because it's a fable, it is expected that you have an agenda, which is teaching people something, and that at times, it will become pretty obvious that this is the educational part of it. Whereas if you try doing that to the fiction book in authors, I think try that sometimes with fiction because they have a political agenda, for example, those are the points of view will go, Wow, I'm not sure I'm liking this, because now he's trying to convince me that this thing is good, or that thing is, is bad. Let me just leap from that. Well, actually, let me just say one more thing, that I did really enjoy it. I want to make sure that's on the record.


John Livesay 6:52

You know, it's funny, because when you're introduced to a new concept, what was fun about writing this fable, was you can sort of anticipate someone's initial pushback, like, What do you mean, I don't understand and allow for dialogue between characters to sort of clarify something, as opposed to just assuming that it's so obvious once you read something that you understand it and can start implementing it. So that was also part of the nuance of people going, Oh, I can relate to Ben. And we know the best stories are the ones that we see ourselves in. So I'm so glad you were able to relate to his journey.


Francisco Mahfuz 7:26

And one thing I picked up on that I don't think necessarily your the rest of your readership will pick up on is that a lot of the stuff in the book, not only the stuff you're teaching, the stuff you're teaching, I'm familiar with, because I'm familiar with your work. But a lot of the corporate examples or the storytelling success stories that you're using, come from your work with real companies, right? I noticed at some point, the Gensler case case story. They're the architectural firm, I think, come Diane tells that one and I think the there is a company called Athena medical, right,


John Livesay 8:00

there is not i There's a company called Olympus medical, we read your work with. And so this is a fictionalised version of that.


Francisco Mahfuz 8:08

Yes, I thought I thought it was that. But I had a quick google for a female medical and there is something there is some company that is, you know, Athena something, medical, whatever. So I thought we basically thought it was talking about your company, but then I realise that you've done a lot of work with Olympus medical, and then some of the stuff came from came from there. So what I want to know from this, from from having done this is, is something to do with with the idea of stories, being real, or or being fictionalised because I think the vast majority of people that work in storytelling tend to prefer the idea of real stories, you know, stories that actually happened to you or to your clients. Now, this is a book, it's a very different way of sharing stories. So I don't think anybody would have an issue with this being a fable. But what are your thoughts on people using hypothetical stories, or, or fictionalised stories, as long as they're being clear about it on instead of just using stories that actually happened? So I'm talking about either you know, you as a speaker using that when you're speaking to people or giving a workshop and but also people in sales, for example, using hypothetical stories instead of something that has actually when you're


John Livesay 9:23

giving a talk or a sales presentation, I think it's very important to be authentic, and only tell stories that you know to be true. When you're writing a fable you have a little bit of freedom to say this happened to me. 30 years ago, I had a bad boss, I can tell that story through the story and give some sense of what that was, or this happened to me, but I'm going to have it happen to this character. My sister is in the book. She happens to be a younger sister. I made her an older sister, so she'd have a little more credibility giving me advice. So there's some things that I took liberties with there, but the essence of Those are the stories in the book are all based in reality.


Francisco Mahfuz 10:03

I'm sure your younger sister feels fully entitled to give you advice age. It's different as


John Livesay 10:09

a reader, you were like, Why is he listening to him? Her?


Francisco Mahfuz 10:13

I think the reader would realise that Ben is someone who needs a lot. Ben, the main character is someone who needs a lot of advice. I don't think anyone would begrudge him or having issues with him taking advice from his younger sister, or anyone else, to be fair, with, with a fictionalised story, I think is interesting because I've come across a few different examples where people take the other different approach. So the most extreme example of come across is with someone you might be familiar with Kelly Swanson, who is also a storytelling keynote speaker. And she she has created this whole fictional world. And she has this you know, they come out in, in blog posts and YouTube stories and whatever. And she says that she has actually started sharing this fictionalised stories from her fictionalised town in her keynotes. And he says, you know, it's kind of obvious that you're telling them what is a fable, right? You're talking about the baker, in this little town that has a name that sounds a bit made up. And I think once the point becomes obvious, no one is going well, but that wasn't real, because it's, it's a thing that could so obviously, be real, that nobody cares that you use the story to illustrate the point, the same as if you're using a movie, for example, to make that point that I don't mind so much. But I've seen people, I've seen people talk about storytelling. And when they start trying to explain to competence how to do it, it becomes an exercise in fiction, where they're saying, you know, imagine your, your client avatar, imagine the things they could go through and now create a story that reflects all those things. And I'm always thinking, surely you have some stories that actually happened. Why are you bothering with all this fix, one


John Livesay 11:57

of my favourite things to do is turn testimonials or a case study into a case story. And after people read the fable, there are five storytelling secrets, broken down into templates and scripts with examples from my experience, that hopefully people can go, oh, I now can start implementing these, because there's certain steps to follow. And I just insert my actual experience with clients or struggles I've had taking myself to get to where I am.


Francisco Mahfuz 12:26

Yeah, so I'll want to delve deeper into into some of those things in a moment, I just want to clear some stuff out of not out of the way. But I wanted to touch on some other things first, so one of them is, is this something I just came across this again, a couple of days ago. So I one of the things I do is I teach at an MBA. And then we were working on how to open and how to close a presentation. And obviously, I was talking about stories as one of the ways to do it. And then one of my students came out with something that I've heard a million times by now, which is this, this resistance to the idea that that, you know, using stories, for example, work in the corporate world, or in corporate presentations, that doing things without a million slides or slides that have walls of text is acceptable. Or they owed Oh, but in my company that wouldn't work. Right? And you have you have a character in the book, Carl, who is was not the nicest of bosses. I think it's a bit of a coincidence there was a There's a very famous podcast in the in the UK called The Peter crouch podcast. And they had one listener who was an absolute knob or a douche as Americans call him and he was called Carl, and Carl became the shorthand for them for for idiots. Like don't be a Carl, like you being a Carl.


John Livesay 13:46

We have a face out here in America. Don't be a Karen.


Francisco Mahfuz 13:50

Ah, yes, yes. Okay. Well, I think it's a slightly different curl and curl in that case is just someone who's being like, an obnoxious idiot, either Karen has different connotations were so she we have this boss that is is very sceptical about the whole storytelling thing. So in your experience, both in in the work you've done before becoming a speaker and the work you do with companies now, how much do you find that that's still a big thing that that there is one person or or a culture in a company that people are pushing back against? Yeah, it sounds great when you're doing a keynote, John, but like, I've got 10 minutes to do this presentation. I you know, I haven't got time for this. Like they don't they don't have to give me the time. for


John Livesay 14:34

that. I'm happy to say that it's been a big shift. Three years ago, I was being hired to be a sales keynote speaker for a recruitment firm and I was speaking to the CEO and he said, I'm not sure I understand the connection. And I said, Okay, you have to present against competitors to win a new client. Yes. And we hope we always ask if we can be the last one to go because we think that will make us more memorable. Last I said, but you can control the order you present. So your strategy is hope. I said, if you tell a case story during that presentation, instead of facts and figures, you'll be memorable won't matter if you go first or last. And then the light bulb moment went on, anyway, oh, now and I told him an example of another client using that to win a big account. And so I don't usually have to spend a lot of time anymore, explaining why storytelling is important to sales. In fact, I've had many clients and healthcare and tech reach out to me saying, we know we need storytelling in our marketing materials, and what's coming out of our sales people's mouth. And that's why we want to bring you in. So they're actively seeking me and finding me through SEO or referrals, or whatever. So that is really nice to skip that first step of having to connect the dots between storytelling and sales.


Francisco Mahfuz 15:52

There is a concept you talk about in the book, and I've heard it before, but I've not heard it described that way. So can you talk a little about this idea of that stories are for the meeting after the meeting,


John Livesay 16:06

we all realise this, but I don't think we think about it. So typically, if a client is interviewing us to be either one of their speakers, they usually boil it down to two or three speakers. Or if you're the one pitching, presenting, you know, you're one of three finalists, and you have a chance to come in and pitch tell your story, however you want to describe it. So after they've heard all the presentations, or had all the meetings, they have the second meeting, the meeting after the meeting, which is where they sit around, they say, Well, what did you think? Well, they all sounded the same, I guess we should just go with the lowest price, or I love that story. Francisco told us about how he was so great at another event, that's what we want, let's get him. So whoever tells the best story is the one that stands out. And oftentimes, there's some very senior people in that second meeting that did not hear all the pitches, they depend on their team to make a presentation or a recommendation. And so if you've told a story that someone can remember and repeat, then you've really achieved a competitive advantage.


Francisco Mahfuz 17:09

Yeah, this is a concept of I talk about when I give my keynote, because I've been talking a lot to to HR people. So sort of the leadership HR space. And this is one of the concepts when we're talking about things like purpose, or or a company strategy says, you know, if, if your employees need a 10, page memo, a mouse mat, or a mug with the company's values to remember them, then then you have a problem. You know, whatever it is, if it's a strategy, if it's your purpose, it's your values, if people are the mission statement, which would win the worst wastes of time that a lot of companies have, if you if you if those things are not memorable and easily repeatable, then they're never going to work, nobody's going to, you know, it's not going to catch is not gonna spread around the organisation and make their way into the way people actually behave. So you need the most memorable thing you can have. And it doesn't need to be a story could be a catchy slogan, or something like that. But in most cases, it just makes more sense to be a story because then you're building the examples of what you're talking about in the story is not just while we know we value integrity, and transparency, you're what does that mean.


John Livesay 18:30

And it's something that everybody can say, so then it loses its value. I think one of the best examples I've seen of a company doing something that allows people to share it as a story about their mission statement values is during the pandemic, Olympus medical was giving for free the use of their equipment that would allow doctors in other locations who didn't feel safe, maybe being in the surgery, to watch what was going on and could contribute and make comments without everybody having to be in the room when a pandemic first broke out. So their their value of really caring about the doctors and the patient safety was an action with that donation, which is one of their values put into an action put into a story that people can remember that story. There's visuals to it, and it's great when you can see it and then you have an emotional connection to it, which is the whole goal of a story.


Francisco Mahfuz 19:22

And it's great to hear that you finding there is less resistance to the idea of the stories. But How easy do you think it is for most people or or in practice? How quickly do they take up those ideas? Because what I found sometimes is when it comes to to presentations, or pitching or anything like that, you know, we're giving people we're not just refining what they're already doing with changing the way they do things. And everything sounds amazing in the keynote, everything sounds amazing in the training. They might even do it and do it very well in training. But then sometimes what you find is You know, six months down the line a year down the line, the vast majority of those people haven't actually changed dramatically the way they're doing things. Because the resistance of doing something new crept in when they were busy with other stuff. So, again, what's what has been your experience with that


John Livesay 20:16

when people are at they're like any problem, when it's at the breaking point, you're not making your numbers, you're coming in second place when against your competitors, and you can't figure out what it is. Or you have something that's more expensive than your competitors. And you know, you're gonna have to come up with something, I have found that the people that start to test will storytelling work for me, and then start getting sales faster and easier without feeling pushy. That's their personal incentive to keep doing it. Like, Oh, this feels easier to me and to the person I'm presenting to. So there's a big incentive that you're not just saying, you're going to win more sales, which isn't the truth, but you're going to feel better doing it. We all know, people are motivated from their self interest first. So if this makes me feel less pushy, and I have to say less, because I'm not pushing out every detail of every feature, then they're like I'm in?


Francisco Mahfuz 21:12

Yeah, yeah, I think I think it depends on how quickly people have the opportunity to try it. And if they have the opportunity to try it early on, and they try it and they get reasonable results from it, then you probably got a conference for life, where I think sometimes it's a little more difficulties. If you if you teaching this to people that are not necessarily going to use it straight away, amongst down the line, there, the impact of those learnings have has been diluted by a million other things, and then then they might end up not doing it. So I've tended to find that. Whenever we have a chance to work with with any company, it's better to build some type of follow up into whatever you agree with them. Because if you the greatest training, the greatest workshop, or the greatest keynote, I don't believe would generate change on its own. If they never ever hear from you again, even if it's just, you know, an email a few weeks down the line saying okay, so let me let me hear about the stories you've you've been telling so far. And they have to go, whoops, maybe, maybe this is the thing that was meant to be doing.


John Livesay 22:24

Yes. Now, I usually offer a 30 and even a 90 day follow up. And then a lot of companies will buy my online course to supplement the talk in the workshop. And then there's, you know, goals and assignments with those things. So that after 90 days, that storytelling is part of the culture. And it even becomes an onboarding tool for new salespeople to listen to other people's story of origins to get to know each other personally, as well as the case stories until they have their own sales, they can start using other people's case stories of what's worked.


Francisco Mahfuz 22:55

Yeah, so so let's get a bit into the weeds of some of the stuff that you teach people. And there's a line in the book that it's it's sad as a joke. But then when I saw it, I was like, Is it really a joke, and I think then is the main character is talking to Diane, who is the person who teaches him most about storytelling. And in his summary of what he should be doing with a story is, don't be the hero. Don't be complicated, and don't be boring. And they kind of laugh. But just to a great extent, isn't that a pretty decent summary of what most people have what most people realistically should be aiming for? When it comes to telling stories,


John Livesay 23:40

you know, and once you hear all of those things, and you can boil it down to three things, then you're like, Okay, that's the basics. And that's my minimum. That's my checklist, right? If I look at this, am I making myself the hero of this story? That's not right. The clients wants to be, is this confusing? Well, no one's gonna ask me to clarify it, you know? And is there any emotional tug here? Is it compelling in any way, shape or form? So? Yes, it's like anything. The reason why it's sort of played off as a joke, as elf is only that simple, you still need to practice like any new skill. But yes, those three things are crucial.


Francisco Mahfuz 24:15

Yes, I just just yesterday posted something on social media, where I it was the it was the sort of five most important points anyone needs to know when it comes to telling a good story. And it took me 69 seconds to cover them. And at the points where the points were figured out what the point of your story is, once you know what the point of the story is. The characters need to be doing something early in the story that shows them clearly that whatever learning they got, at the end, they didn't know that thing in the beginning. So if they, if they learned about engaging clients emotionally, in the beginning, they're clearly not doing that. They're just giving them information or facts. Once you know that, then start with time place and make that Beginning as close to the end as possible, so you're not wasting anyone's time. And then add some details and some dialogue and off you go. And I said, well, people are like, Oh, you're giving away all the secrets is like, yes, sure, because now I've told you this five things, everyone is a master in this and nobody's ever gonna hire a story coach, I started having speaker ever again,


John Livesay 25:21

I recently was working with a health care company, and they, you know, offer a place for people to go who have dementia or Alzheimer's. And I was getting, they said, you know, you tell us to make these stories compelling. Can you give us examples, or give us some more tips on how to make something compelling? And I said, Sure, there's a little bit of neuro linguistic programming, where if I say the car door slammed, some people will hear it, some people see it, and some people feel it. So if you involve all of those elements in your story that pulls people in. So they said, well, one woman came in and she was so depressed, she'd put her head down on the table, sometimes, I said, Okay, that's a good starting place. But let's give her a name. Tell me how old she is. And use all those. So now they said, Oh, we had someone here, her name was Pat, she was in her mid 80s. And sometimes, she would feel so sad that she would just put her head down on the table with a slight thud. And imagine how sad and depressed you have to feel to not even do want to look up and see what's happening in your surroundings. So we took just a basic, one thing and amplified that to make that more compelling. And they went, Oh, now we understand those, as you said, the description, the details, make that little moment, much more compelling, because some people go oh, I heard the thud.


Francisco Mahfuz 26:41

So the what did you use just there is one of the things I want to ask about moment. So this is one thing I swear by. And I know a lot of people that talk about storytelling, also swear by that is, is that the best stories should have a moment some people will describe this as a scene, you know, the story should be a movie in your mind. So there's a scene where things are happening in real time, with lots of sensory details and all of that. Now, in the vast majority of stuff in this book, for sure, I can't remember exactly what your what your thoughts are on the better selling through storytelling. But in this book, for sure, you didn't make that as one of the of the main things people need to be looking for. So a lot of the examples in the stories, they don't necessarily have that moment or scene. I think that doctor one when he comes out of the of the operating room and talks to the family is one example where there is one. But there's a lot of other stories in there that don't necessarily have a scene with lots of sensory details. Was it a deliberate choice to not go that much into to go so deep into the how to make a story compelling in this particular book? Well, I


John Livesay 27:48

think if teaching people the differences between Don't end your story, just where there's a solution, but have that resolution to the story, that that resolution often is the moment without labelling at the moment, because I wanted the people using storytelling as a sales tool to not have to learn a lot of nuances of storytelling, as much as here's four steps, I need to make my case story compelling. And if I have something in the resolution, nine times out of 10, that will be the moment that makes someone say, oh, I want your product or I want to hire you because of that resolution life after your talk or life after buying the product is so much better that I've seen myself in the story. I want to go on the journey with you. Yeah,


Francisco Mahfuz 28:34

this is the challenge. I think a lot of a lot of people that work with story have, because on the one hand, once you used to telling stories with with very vivid details and dialogue, I find it very difficult to tell a story now that it doesn't it's not centred around the moment. So most of the stories I put out on, I put on social media now or using my keynote, they're mostly dialogue in something happening in real time. And now we find it very difficult to to tell them otherwise. But for a lot of people, that is not the most natural way of doing it. And if they tend to tell more than they show when they tell stories. So yeah, I see the point of you just want them telling stories if they get used to telling stories and the pieces are generally in place, and they want to make those stories more compelling. There are some easy things that they can do once they've mastered the structure and appeal to the habit but before I get why you might not want to have that was one of the as one of the main things


John Livesay 29:37

and certainly the exposition I said Think of yourself like a journalist you must have those basic who what where when details, explain to pull people in to the story and paint the picture. And that example of that woman head on the table was the exposition that they then went on to describe this the case story of what life was like for her after she went to their place.


Francisco Mahfuz 30:00

One of the five secrets in the book is what you call story of origin, which I and a lot of other people call the origin story. There is there is a criticism to that, that I've heard a few times, and I wanted your take on it. And the criticism is that so so the origin story for anyone or the story of orange, for anyone who doesn't know, is is the one that answers the question. You know, why are you here? Like, where did you come from? Why are you doing this thing? Why is this important to you? And your prompt on the on the book, that the end after the story to do this? Think back to childhood? Or when you're deciding what you wanted to major in school? Was there any indication that you would end up here, eminently sensible? So the question then, that Africa, the pushback I've got from some people is, you know, are we not trying at times to fabricate not fabricated narrative, but sort of force a narrative as if everything I've done over there was always leading up to here, when when life tends to be significantly more chaotic than that, I don't know if you've heard that before, as a bit of, of not a criticism is a bit of a challenge to the


John Livesay 31:11

one, sometimes people have trouble finding their story. But I would say the people that I get to work with that are passionate about what they're doing, there's usually it because you have to think put yourself in the buyers shoes again, let's go back to the example of you know, you have to put your one of your parents in a Alzheimer dementia facility, there, it's no longer safe for them to live with you or, you know, by themselves. And the person says to you, you know, I just took this job because I couldn't get any other job. Versus, oh, you know, when I was 12 years old, I used to take care of my grandma, and I would paint her nails for her. And then when she got too sick to live with us, I would go visit her. And by the time I was 16, and have my own life, I would still drive and you know, hang out with her and her friends. And that's what made me realise I wanted to do this as a career that's much more meaningful. That's who I want taking care of my parent, not somebody who goes well, I couldn't get a better higher paying job. So that's why I'm here. So I think if the person's you know, and sometimes it's nothing dramatic with an architect, he said, you know, he's 11 years old, I play with Legos. That's what got me into the, and now I have a son, that's 11, I still play with Legos with him. So those moments don't have to be this long drawn out dramatic story can just be some hint of something that got you to be interested in this. And certainly any actor that you meet, because people that's an example, people usually are really passionate about what they're doing, they can remember the first play they ever went to. And that's what made me know, I wanted to be an actor. So ideally, there is something in your background that allows you to tell an authentic, meaningful story. So people have a sense of who you are.


Francisco Mahfuz 32:48

Yeah, I, I, I don't have an issue with with, with the idea that we are trying to spot things in our past to make to make the journey make a little more sense, because I don't think it's, I don't think it's all accidental. And I think often there is a connection. And I've, I've gone through when I gone through, I went through the exercise myself to try and you know, to write my own origin story, I ended up unearthing all sorts of, of somewhat complex in a time struggling facts about my childhood. And my motivations, then that, you know, I can't possibly say for sure that they make as much they made as much sense in real time as they seem to make sense to me now. But there are a lot of connections that I never made. I was like, But why? Why did that thing lead to that when I obviously like something else was like I was because I was worried about this? Oh, hold on. I wasn't worried about this, when I make those made those other choices to spotting of a trend here. So yeah, so I think there's, there is no perfect story from from where we were in childhood to now. But just because it goes every which every which way doesn't mean that there isn't a path there. That that makes some sense of things. And sometimes


John Livesay 34:08

it can just be something as basic as, oh, I was in the Israeli army before I took this job. But oh, well, you must have learned a lot about focus and discipline. And since your job now is making sure a budget and a project comes on time and under budget, you got the perfect background so you can look at something you were doing in your recent past and say what lessons, what skills did I have, that will make me a good person doing this job now, so we don't have to, you know, it doesn't have to be this painful therapeutic experience. It can be something as simple as that too.


Francisco Mahfuz 34:40

Yeah. So talking about therapeutic experience. There is something you you you've been talking about for a very long time that you don't brand storytelling as such, but I've now seen other people start branding that the storytelling so so there is something you've been talking about for many years, which is stacking your money moments of clarity. So, yeah, so there's an explain that and then I'll tell you what, where the hell I'm going with this.


John Livesay 35:06

Sure, it's a confidence tool I have where so many people get intimidated in certain situations, especially if the stakes are high. And I said, you know, your monkey mind will take over and say, this is never going to work. Or you really need this money or this job. So instead of that, I say write down two or three times when you knew you nailed something, your wife said yes to you, when you proposed you got a big promotion, you got a big sale. And not just those moments, but the feeling associated with it. I felt happy, exhilarated, proud. And you recreate that feeling in your head right before you walk into the presentation, or the zoom call to pitch. And that is a nice boost of confidence for people. So it's a nice exercise.


Francisco Mahfuz 35:52

When I when I read about that the very first time you more in your first book, I think my first impression was well that you know, this sounds very useful. I'm not sure this is storytelling as such, because I think I came across but during the book as in a storytelling book, but obviously I was wrong, because because I know that okay, I know this, but Kyndra Hall,


John Livesay 36:14

yes, this is where you tell yourself, yes, yeah. So so for her,


Francisco Mahfuz 36:18

she's launching a book now. And her whole focus seems to be going towards this idea of the stories you tell yourself, and how to tell ourselves better stories. And in many ways, the moment stacking moments of clarity, just seems, just seems very similar. I mean, yours came much before. But the given seems very similar to telling yourself success stories, instead of the usual imposter syndrome stories that a lot of us have about many things. But I hadn't made that connection that essentially all we're doing is find, find those stories of success. You don't have to tell yourself the whole story, but have those stories in the back of your mind and how they made you feel. And think about that before you go into any challenging situation. So yeah, that's, that's, that's what I said you, you didn't bring them as storytelling, you call the moments of clarity instead of, you know, stories of success.


John Livesay 37:15

Again, you know, from being in sales myself for so many years, I realised, we're all going to have moments of insecurity, imposter syndrome rejection, so much of its mindset. And so I wanted to include that as tips for your mind before you tell the story. Because you can have a great story. But if your mind isn't feeling confident the story won't come across. Well,


Francisco Mahfuz 37:37

the book has one other two that I don't think I've seen you talk about before. And I think it was in the original book, which is something you called in the book, I think called 555.


John Livesay 37:48

That is new content. Yes. Okay. So explain to


Francisco Mahfuz 37:51

everyone what the hell that is?


John Livesay 37:55

Well, again, we all have moments where we get rejected, we get disappointed, we get frustrated, and I thought, How am I going to deal with this? How long am I going to keep thinking about this? And for me, when those moments are happening? I can say to myself, you know, somebody cuts me off in traffic, some people that flips them out on me, I'm like, Yeah, you know, I'm over it in five minutes. Somebody else is still mad for five hours later. So the 555 method is literally just say to yourself, is this going to matter in five minutes, five hours, about five days from now. And when you zoom out, and like a movie director, you know, on a scene, like five days around, I'm not going to why am I giving this so much energy now? And if it's something more severe, like not getting a promotion, or maybe a death of a pet or family member, you think, yeah, this is still going to really be painful, then you can use another version. Okay. So, five days from now this, how about five weeks, five months, five years from now? You think, Oh, it'll, I'm still gonna miss my dad, but not at the same pain level five years from now that I have right now. So I think it's a really wonderful, useful, memorable tool, that it's like, oh, wait, five, let me 555 This to get me out. Because it's all about how fast do I get back up after I've knocked down and zooming out like that with that timeframe? Is really helped me and I've seen it help a lot of other people.


Francisco Mahfuz 39:19

Yeah, I like how you say, I've seen it helped a lot of people. And I've seen it help everyone. Because I know some people in my family and my mother in law to be exact. were things that should not have mattered. Five months later still matter. 15 years.


Unknown Speaker 39:38

Yeah, you're still holding on to that. Really? Yeah. Yeah, I


Francisco Mahfuz 39:43

remember I think I've come across before this idea of you know, is this gonna matter in your deathbed, but the problem with that approach is that there's almost nothing that's gonna matter in your deathbed. I mean, you might hopefully care about your friends and family, but there's pretty There's nothing else you're gonna care. So it's like, Oh, I've just completely destroyed my career, is it gonna matter my death? But no, really.


John Livesay 40:09

It's too big of a leap of time for us. So this 555, it just reminds you, you're always a choice of how long you hold on to something. And so it's another version of again, I'm the movie director of my own story. And I can yell cut at any time. So it's up to me, we're like, No, we're done with this and five minutes moving on next thing, or I'm going to still think about this for five hours and make myself miserable. And that's where it really gets tricky. Because you if you let it go, then you can't keep telling your friends about what happened to you. Like, you won't believe what so and so said, or did or bump up? You go, no, no, if I'm going to let this go in five hours, I'm going to give myself five hours to call everybody I know and complain about it. And then I got to stop. Yeah,


Francisco Mahfuz 40:52

I think I've, I've explained that concept before. As in, you know, we are the writers of our own story. And we get to decide if it's the end of the story, or just the end of a chapter, you know, if this is the end of if it's really bothering you, but it's just the end of a chapter, not the end of the story. Does it bother you so much? Well, no, because I guess something more interesting is going to happen later, or something better will come or this will become the lesson, or the challenge that makes me better in the future, then then I'm okay with that. Okay, but then there you go.


John Livesay 41:26

What you just said is so key there, it's there that you have the mindset of abundance or scarcity. So when something doesn't happen, we go, Well, that was my last chance at love. That was my last chance of ever getting to be hired as a speaker again, or ever making a sale or whatever we can do to ourselves. Like, no, no, there's plenty of people that need what I have, and are willing to hire me. And that person said, No, that's fine. And moving on, versus thinking about it for weeks afterwards. And the need to get back up fast is the secret to success.


Francisco Mahfuz 41:55

Yeah, I think that there was one example there that she used about the things that might be harder to get over. And it's something unfortunately, I know, we both share, which is which is having lost having lost a pet. And in my case, it's been now 1011 years or 12 years, and I can talk about it much without hearing. I think so some of those, I mean, obviously, it doesn't hurt as much as it used to. But, but I guess there's some of some of those wounds are remain somewhat, somewhat painful, for for a very long time. But you know, then again, the what we got in return for them, I think in most cases is is worth it.


John Livesay 42:45

Ah, a friend of mine asked me when my pet died. If you knew now how unhappy you'd be Would you still have gotten him? I said, Yes. And that really helped me go, Ah, okay. That's what life is, if you're, you know, I remember once being in therapy, and the therapist said, you know, your feelings are like on a dimmer switch. And if you only want to feel this much happiness, and this much sadness, you can't really you're not really living. So your willingness to feel sadness, allows you to have a higher range on your happiness. So I'm in you know, a lot of people go, I can't take that pain, again, of losing a pet, I'm never having another pet. That's not how I feel, I know, it's gonna hurt and I know there's gonna be a lot of joy. So it's that muscle we build up of that just as an example of my capacity to love and express and feel. And that's what being alive is for me. So instead of resenting it, or, or regretting it, or I just look at it as I really have a deep capacity to love and feel that much sadness that much later. That's, that's that's great, because then my feelings on the dimmer switch are a big range.


Francisco Mahfuz 43:50

Yeah, there's there's something too, as well to the idea that that most people don't have never thought about have never really considered and I don't think are anywhere near being able to live with which is that the whole sandcastle idea, right? So if you are if you're on the beach and you're playing with a child or your child or nephew or whatever, and like you can have as much fun as they are having but a wave comes over and destroys it, you're not going to be heartbroken because it's a same cast. So it was going to fall apart. At some point the there was a given, but when it comes to almost anything else in our life, we really tend to struggle with that idea. But hopefully that's not the case with with our children. But for pets. I mean, that is that is a given right you get a dog you know that if you're very lucky, you might get 15 years with that dog or 20 if it's one of those tiny things that people call dogs these days, but but you know that it won't be enough but now that's what that's that's an actual bog. Yeah, very cute one. John is lifting his dog which is Not a, like, one of those dogs that people carry around and purses that can barely move by themselves. That's what I mean by that is 15 pounds? Yes. Yes. Yeah. So my, my wife had a dog that lasted 18 years, 19 years when I was a little toy poodle, which I'll barely call it a dog. But but in 18 years, whereas, you know, most dogs have a reasonable size 1112 13 years. So. So yeah, I think I think this is something where we, we really struggle with the idea that those you know, those stories to bring it back to, to the topic are, they have an end, we know what there are in this. And if you look at them as as part of your bigger story, then you can try and find some meaning in it, and use that meaning to less than the hardship of dealing with the difficulty of the thing when it happened. But but if you don't, then it's just more painful. And this is one of the reasons why I think that having a habit of telling stories can be psychologically very useful, and healthy, because you, you're constantly trying to find meaning in things. And you know, if you don't like the meaning you're finding, then you can look for a different meaning. But you need to do the exercise. Well, if you


John Livesay 46:23

go into sales, you're no, you're going to get rejected, and we're all selling ourselves on some level. And so if you think, Hmm, if I if that person says no to me, does that mean what I have to offer isn't good? Or that I suddenly am not good? You know, we take the know, personally. And so that's why it's so important to know going in, you're not going to get a yes, every time to everyone who interviews you to be a storytelling keynote speaker is not going to say yes, they're, you know, sometimes it's a fit, sometimes it's not, and how you deal with that, for the next conversation. If you drag that negativity in, then you know, you've already lost before you've opened your mouth. But if you instead flip the script and go, Well, that was no, the next one will probably love me. And if they say no, you don't give your power away.


Unknown Speaker 47:09

Yeah, there's


Francisco Mahfuz 47:10

another way of heard of expressing that idea is you you win or you learn. Yeah, either one, but not. I know a lot of people that they win, or they lose, they never learn anything. In an ideal world, you win or you learn, right? All right, so So one thing I will be very curious to find out. And I don't know if there is any practical way for you to ever find this out. But I didn't know the whole concept or whole theory about storytelling, which has, in many ways been substantiated by scientists how much more memorable stories are than anything else, and how teaching something through a story is a better way to teach things. So I would be really curious if there was any way to ever make that excellent find find out those numbers of if we compared someone who, for example, went through your online course, compared to someone who read the new book. And if you had to test them, a few days later, or a week later, a month later, who's going to remember the main concepts or the main lessons from it better? Because I mean, in theory, the book should be significantly better at teaching that, then your online course or workshop, not so much, because we will be doing things in practice. But then a keynote would. Now I've, I've no idea if there's any way to ever test that. But if you ever, if you're ever able to test that, then there's more data you can use in your own keynotes and pitches.


John Livesay 48:42

Yes, well, the goal is that the story the fable has sort of awakened you to the concept of it and the need for it, that you start using the methodology the back or decided I now I really want to double down and take the course or I really want to bring Johnny into my team to make this come to life. And have everybody read the story so that we can reference the story in our weekly calls and start taking some of the tips about opening up meetings with celebrating progress. So there's a lot of details in there that have I've seen really work.


Francisco Mahfuz 49:16

Alright, so So the book is called The sale is in the tail, and it's coming out on the 18th


John Livesay 49:23

of February. Yes. Okay.


Francisco Mahfuz 49:25

Everywhere books are sold, I guess.


John Livesay 49:27

Yes, you can preorder it now.


Francisco Mahfuz 49:29

And I will I will add my last review might not be quite the word. But my my endorsement in that. I have read was it the greatest salesman? I forgot the name of the book from Augmon Dino, which has sold like a bajillion copies everywhere. And I thought it was ALRIGHT. I wasn't overly impressed with it. Perhaps because its wisdom has now been so repeated over the years that there was not there was nothing particularly new in that book, but that is a bit Isn't this fable essentially, and I've, as we've touched on briefly, I read your book from cover to cover the whole 156 pages of it in the space of, I don't know, maybe two or three hours yesterday, and I thought was was very entertaining and the start turn of good content about storytelling in there. So, you know, I think that if you have 1% of argument in the success of that book, you're really happy. But but to my, to my taste, it's a significantly better book for sales today. than then the greatest salesman is so so there you have for whatever that's worth, you have my full endorsement on that.


John Livesay 50:44

I appreciate that. Now, it means a lot because you love stories. So that's the goal is that the story is compelling enough that you don't want to put it down, and that you learn something and then want to know more. So that's the whole purpose. So thank you for having me back. And for taking the time to read the sales in the tail.


Francisco Mahfuz 51:00

Alright, and if anyone wants to find out any more about John, John livesey.com, I'm going to put links to that in in the show notes. John, it's I have no doubt that be the case. But again, it's been a it's been a great pleasure. Thank you so much. All right, everyone. Thanks for tuning in. Take care of yourselves. And until next time, and as John along John's alarm is going, it is time for us to finish it is the perfect way to finish. Alright everyone do next time. Bye bye.


I hope you enjoy the show. And if you did, I'd love for you to subscribe and leave us a review or a rating on the Apple podcasts app. It's very easy. You open the app and find the show and scroll down a little and when you see the stars tab. I'd really appreciate it and he does help other people find us. And if you'd like to get in touch or find out more about what I do, reach out to me on LinkedIn or visit my website story powers.com



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