What are the four most frequent inquiries Jon Selig receives regarding his sales workshops and training?
Frequently asked questions include: 1) Whether he is a sales comic; 2) Whether his training is a gimmick; 3) Whether he can make people laugh; and 4) Whether he educates individuals to be quick with objections when they arise. Selig's class focuses on teaching sales teams to create jokes about the issues that their customers face in order to relate to them more effectively and stand out.
What are some of the management's blind spots in the tech sector, and how do they affect how individuals grow their skills?
The artificial timeframes that management in the IT sector uses to focus on short-term objectives like raising money or meeting sales targets mean that they ignore the development of employees' skills with a longer-term view, such as knowledge, communication, and emotional intelligence. As a result, salespeople struggle to connect with customers, and there is a disconnect between how the seller and the customer see the world and the problems they face.
How can sales leaders make sure that their sellers have the communication, creativity, and subject matter expertise needed to engage with potential customers and stand out in a crowded market?
In order to stand out in a competitive market, sales leaders must guarantee that their sellers receive enough training in subject matter expertise as well as the communication and creative abilities required to engage with potential customers in a memorable and effective way.
Marcus Cauchi: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome back to The Inquisitor Podcast with me, Marcus Cauchi. Today, I'm genuinely tickled pink to have as my guest, Jon Selig. Jon is half sales guy, half standup comic. Jon welcome.
Jon Selig: Thank you for having me. It's good to be here all the way from Canada.
60 second rundown on your background and how you ended up doing what you're doing
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Jon, could you give us a 60 second rundown on your background and how you ended up doing what you're doing?
Jon Selig: 12 years selling technology then I started doing standup comedy, kind of towards the tail end of that. People said to me, it's great, Jon, that you wanna pursue your passion. And I said, look, to be clear, my passion isn't standup comedy. It's never selling technology again. And, uh, I like money just like everyone else out there and standup comedy is not a way to earn it. But early on in my standup career, I realized, oh my God, this is actually the first time I was on stage. I'm like, this is a sales job. I need to get these people to like me and open up to me within the first [00:01:00] 30 seconds of me being on the stage, even quicker to be quite frank.
And, uh, I've put together something called comedy writing for sales teams, which helps sellers understand their customers and the problems they solve for them through the process of writing jokes, to help them better understand their audience and, and understand what their emotional trigger points are and how their company can help them remove some of those emotional roadblocks that are driving them nuts.
Marcus Cauchi: So it's a sales job.
Jon Selig: Oh it certainly is. Yes.
What are the four most common questions you get asked?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay. So tell me this. What are the four most common questions you get asked?
Jon Selig: Yeah, the first question is, are you a sales comedian? Do you tell sales jokes? Cause we'd like to bring you in, you could do an hour of sales jokes at our sales meeting and I just facepalm and I'm like, that is not at all what I do. I have like five sales jokes, you know, that I could probably deliver in a standup setting. Uh, what it is is this training and workshop and the goal is to get sales teams to write jokes specifically for their buyers about the problems, which they're struggling with, which the [00:02:00] vendor can solve so that they can better relate to their prospects and, and, and be relevant and, uh, be memorable in ways that other reps can't.
However, the jokes that they write require a fair bit of learning and understanding and insight into subject matter expertise and to who the buyer is. And we package all that knowledge. We capture all that knowledge and we, we package it up. We get them writing jokes. And a lot of the jokes stink. Let's be clear, like any, like any comedian, there's a lot of bombs in the process, but if you can get one or two or three good one liners that demonstrate understanding the prospects, pain and insight, every rep can just borrow it and use it for cold outreach for demos, uh, for discovery that that's a longwinded answer to say, no, I'm not a sales comedian.
So that that's the first.
Marcus Cauchi: Couple of years back, I went on a standup course, cuz I had aspirations to do standup as well. And um, I didn't make the cut for the, uh, the [00:03:00] final show and I was slightly despondent, but I figured in fairness, the others were much better and I came home and, and the following morning.
My youngest daughter at the time was about 11 said, daddy, a lot of people asked me, do you want to be like your dad? And I say, no, what do you mean? Well, I'm funny. So she definitely got the gene. I didn't. So what, what are the other common question?
Jon Selig: I was just gonna say, though, you know, uh, not succeeding at standup is a blessing because it's, sometimes it's such an emotional adrenal rush.
It's quite addictive and it sucks you in and there's never pay. I mean, yeah, unless you like getting paid in drink tickets. Um,
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah, absolutely.
Jon Selig: Yeah.
Marcus Cauchi: I love doing it. It's great fun.
Jon Selig: It is. I have gotten paid, but you know, you don't make a lot of money doing it and it's, it's a grind and it's emotional. If you're like me, you take it seriously.
And you, you wanna invest time to, even if it's for no [00:04:00] money, just do the job properly. And it sucks your energy and resources from all the things that matter in life. So just , it's, it's a bit of a blessing that you didn't advance. I just wanna make you feel good about that.
Marcus Cauchi: Thank you.
Jon Selig: You're welcome. I also get, is this a gimmick?
And I'm like, what? Making your buyers laugh and demonstrating that you understand their pain, that that's that's gimmicky? You know, I, I, I do believe that one joke can be scaled across an entire sales team. If it demonstrates insight and understanding of a problem that they struggle with or what could happen if they don't solve the problem?
So I don't believe any of it's a gimmick. Another question I get is can you make us funny? I don't believe you can make people funny and I I tell them look, no, no, no, I don't make you funny. I don't teach you to be quick in the moment. Have the magic wit rolling off your tongue as your, as your prospect is saying something that you think is a little bit [00:05:00] ignorant or dumb.
Uh, I don't have that magic bullet for every objection you get. No, I don't. I don't teach people to be funnier, but I do believe that everyone who has a sense of humor, there is a group of people called sociopaths who do not have a sense of humor. uh, I do believe that anyone who's not a sociopath can learn to tell one joke with some delivery and some timing in a way that suits them, that drops that subject matter expertise on the buyer that makes them relatable relevant, memorable human, all those good things that that is are required in sales today. And I think that if I can get more reps telling that one go-to joke or maybe two go-to jokes, everyone loosens up the tension is broken. They feel more comfortable, more at ease. They're more natural sense of humor can come out.
And even if I'm making everyone half a percent funnier, I feel that that's a compounding effect across the team and all discussions.
Marcus Cauchi: And was there a fourth question? [00:06:00]
Jon Selig: Yeah, Jon, we have an hour at our next big sales meeting. Can you teach us everything you know and deliver your entire workshop and getting us writing jokes in an hour?
And the answer is no, that is one of the stupider questions I've ever heard.
Marcus Cauchi: The, the correct answer to that is of course. Um, are you gullible?
Jon Selig: You know what I teach Marcus? I don't teach sarcasm. I know people from new neck of the woods are masters of it. I loved, I love dry sarcasm. Uh, it's something I actually encourage sales reps to not use in their outreach efforts or their discussions, because some people can't read sarcasm very well or dry with, but your point is well taken and it should be using it more and seeing the reactions for my own personal enjoyment entertainment.
It amazes me how, um, you know, everything I outlined to you is all about helping sales reps, understand their buyers better and master subject matter expertise. So they could become a little bit more consultative and have easier discussions. And [00:07:00] at the same time, undertake a creative process to help package up all that knowledge and insight and understanding and leaders hear it, but they sort of don't wanna invest the time for people to grow their skills.
That's something that, that blows my mind is that everyone's in such a rush to hit numbers that they don't want their reps to grow emotionally, creatively, or from a knowledge perspective. And so the answer is no, I, I can speak to your team in an hour. You can pay me good money to do that, but are they, are they gonna, um, apply any of the learnings from it?
I'm not sure. I, I think it's more important that they invest a little bit more time in the process.
What are the blind spots that you see?
Marcus Cauchi: My next question really is around blind spots. But one of the biggest blind spots I see is a total lack of business awareness and business acumen. Salespeople are product features, price, and they race to the demo, uh, with blindly overlooking the fact that their prospect [00:08:00] doesn't give a fuck.
They don't care about your ugly child and they don't want to see it or hear it. The problem is that so often companies are fixated on talking about themselves and their products, uh, their services, and they forget that there's a human being the other side of the desk or the other side of the phone. So what, what are the blind spots that you see?
Jon Selig: Well, just that, and I, I, I, I guess they, you can go a little bit more into my background to how to address what you just said. I ended up after two business degrees, not knowing what the hell I wanted to do with my life. During, uh, that's kind of the early 2000s, uh, dot com bust. I'd worked a couple of publicly trade, a publicly traded startup and another startup in the internet consulting space.
And I wasn't a fit in any of this stuff. And I ended up, uh, applying to a job at a very tiny startup called Oracle corporation in the early 2000s, [00:09:00] they, by that time they had scaled to about 40, 50,000 people. So I was employee number 47,643, or give, or take a few thousand. I don't remember, but they were starting up cold calling teams for the business application side of the business.
So the ERP and CRM side of the business, and this is the early 2000s. And, you know, they, they put you through two weeks of training, which, and, and it's intense and I recognize that some younger companies don't have that luxury of really onboarding people in a, in, in this deep away. And I also recognize that when I was calling up customers cold calling them, I dropped the name Oracle, they know who I am. I have some credibility outta the gate.
However, on the other hand, there was two things that helped me do my job fairly well. Number one, I had some good business acumen and I'm selling a broad suite of products, and there's no way to understand what [00:10:00] the hell these tools actually do from a feature function perspective, they're handling complex business processes.
And so they, they actually encourage you and I was, I was certain field sales reps. Oracle said, don't worry about this product. You'll never gonna understand it. You're never gonna use it. You have presales engineers who really know the features functions and, and can map those features, functions to particular business challenges.
You just have to understand what their challenges are and understand if ultimately working with the presales person, we have a solution for it. So what that did was it taught me two things. Number one, the product and the features and the functions aren't important for at least, you know, in that world.
Number one, if I couldn't, if I didn't know what a CFO did or a controller did, or a head of purchasing or procurement did, or a vice president of HR, uh, I couldn't have meaningful discussions with them about what their problems are. I didn't have to be an expert in any one of them, but I had it to be a couple of inches deep, [00:11:00] but I had to be wide as well.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Jon Selig: And so just the ability to understand who is this person, what are they trying to achieve? What's their general role? What are some general challenges they're having. Are they looking to solve this, obviously qualifying it. If they do have certain problems and do wanna talk to someone from Oracle and then being able to go back and, and talk to someone a little bit deeper, present them with my notes from my initial discovery, figure out is there a fit here?
So I, I do agree with you that that reps kind of lack that subject matter expertise at at least what I'm seeing. I'm blown away by how often reps can't tell me why and how they can save their clients time and money. They can't articulate those root causes in a consultative fashion.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, I, one, one thing I really I've lost my hair over is the number of sales people who don't understand the ripple effect.
I, if I help you build your pipeline and half the time that frees your [00:12:00] sales people up to spend more time in front of the customer or to do more prospecting so that you fill the funnel. But even that isn't the issue, because if I can help you to do that, then that should eventually translate into more sales, more revenue, more profit, which means that you can now invest.
Now that creates cash flow, uh, creates, uh, investment capital. For you to be able to recruit more, to buy more plant, more machinery, to invest in pet projects that currently you can't. And if there's a sales person, you don't understand the knock on effect and you don't understand the outcomes that the customer is trying to achieve.
Then all you are is just a, a pill pusher, and no one wants to spend millions of dollars on aspirin. So it, it just strikes me that there's, there is far too little planning and thinking. I fundamentally believe sales actually is a cerebral act. You know, you gotta use your [00:13:00] brain. And if all you're doing is turning up and you're basically a walking, talking empty soup, organic brochure, uh, you have no value.
You can be replaced by Alexa tomorrow.
Jon Selig: Well said. And, uh, I, I think something that reps don't think about is sure we solve this problem, but what are the impacts of not solving the problem and who are the stakeholders in, in the buyer's universe that will affect and not just within the company, but how does this problem affect our customers?
Our partners, our suppliers. Even the board members let's try and figure out how it could even affect the board members at some personal
Marcus Cauchi: Absolutely
Jon Selig: Financial level, absolutely. And this is the kind of thinking that I feel that more sales leaders need to encourage in their reps versus, you know, just getting them to learn how to pitch a product or use some jargon and buzzwords that they feel the buyers might be receptive to.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, no one in the history of humanity has ever woken up and said, bugger me what I want an ERP system.
Jon Selig: Well, you, you don't know my [00:14:00] life very well. I wake up every day thinking I need an ERP system and there's the, the little voice inside my head says, that's ridiculous. You're a one man shop and you don't need an ERP system go find yourself some more business
Marcus Cauchi: PostIt notes will do for you.
Jon Selig: Absolutely.
Blind spots that you see from a management perspective
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Are there any other blind spots that you see, but from, uh, perhaps a management perspective,
Jon Selig: Yeah, I think, I think this is a philosophy I have, I think like I work in the tech world mainly, uh, a lot of my clients, I would say three quarters come our tech companies and they're all driven by sometimes some artificial timelines.
You know, we're trying to raise our next round of funding. We need to get to this revenue number. We need to demonstrate, we book this amount of meetings and have had this many demos. I'm like, whoa, whoa, whoa. Like what about just developing people's skills with a little bit longer time horizon? Both from a knowledge perspective, a communication perspective, and even an emotional intelligence perspective.
So they could better relate to their buyers. [00:15:00] Most sales people sell products. They've never used to people whose jobs they've never had in industries. They've never worked. And I feel that that kind of gets ignored sometimes by leadership. Like there's, you know, I didn't, when I started Oracle and I had to call CIO.
I didn't really understand about what reporting tools were. I didn't understand how critical that was to the business, cuz I never used a reporting tool in my life. It made sense. I just, you know, if I was selling data warehousing, I never used an ETL extract, transform and load tool. I don't even know what that is, but if we can bring buyer and sell closer together, you're never gonna get it fully as a seller, right.
You're just never going to get it. How do you narrow that gap to being able to really understand their world and what their challenges are, where they're trying to go. And I just think that gets ignored far more than it should. And I don't know if it's fully acknowledged
Marcus Cauchi: Again, this is so endemic, wherever you look it's, it's the same old problem that sellers are being driven [00:16:00] nowadays by selfish, self-interest. The SDR on booking meetings, uh, the AE on generating revenue, the manager on hitting the team quota, the VP of sales on, uh, hitting their number. But all of this puts the customer at the end of this cycle or the end of this chain and makes them an inconvenience. And we, we forget we are in business because of not in spite of the customer.
They don't care about your quota. They don't care about your share price. They don't care about your raising series B. What they want is when I was in Sandler, David Sandler used to tell a story. About, uh, this kid having his Saturday morning job and a little old lady comes in and asks, do you sell heaters?
And he starts explaining all the different functionality. And after a few minutes, she looks up over her half moon glasses and [00:17:00] says, son, the only thing I care about is will it keep an old lady warm?
Jon Selig: Right.
Marcus Cauchi: And the problem is that we get so fixated on the ugly kids and you know, the features and functionality we forget, but actually these exceed human beings with quite simple needs very often, they wanna keep their job.
There are outcomes that they're looking for and if those are not achieved, then their life turns to shit. And it's our job to help them. It's, you know, we've gonna be side by side with them, not the other side of the table, beating them overhead with, um, product information and bad technique.
Jon Selig: We're agreeing too much.
Marcus Cauchi: Tell me I'm wrong.
Jon Selig: No, I won't. And therefore that makes terrible podcasting. And you agree with each other? No, but we're on the same page and it's, I feel the problems are, are just, they're not as complex as someone who, um, make them out to be. I think there's just this, um, this desperation by so many companies to, to jump through certain [00:18:00] hoops.
But, you know, if we look back at the early stages of, of the 20th century and, and the Don the industrial era, none of those companies were on an investor's timelines. They were just trying to fill market needs, uh, and do it in a way, um, that was sustainable and on their own timelines. And if we look at, you know, auto companies, there was never a, a, a venture capitalist saying, look, you know, you need to book more appointments with car buyers.
Uh, that's what we really wanna see. They, they were just, you know, it's a new system, this, um, this sort of, um, factory driven approach to companies.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, again, I I'm sure we're gonna go down a rabbit hole you hadn't planned for, but it just strikes me that having finance people or dentists and ex football players on your board, just because they've got money, doesn't equip them.
Tell you, run your business better, just cuz they learn how to throw a pig splatter around. Doesn't make them valuable assets to add to [00:19:00] your board, take their money. And every now and again, report back what you've done with it. But the idea that they have any say whatsoever in who you hire, what products you develop or anything else is insane.
Jon Selig: I didn't know this was a problem to the degree in which you're, uh, painting out to me. But, uh, if it is, yeah, I wouldn't, I don't, I don't need a football player on my board unless they really know funnel opening
Marcus Cauchi: In investors. Think about investors, uh, bankers, you know, accountants, what the hell do they know about building a business and, uh, relationships with customers?
What do bankers, accountants know about building a business and relationships with customers?
Jon Selig: Yeah, a lot of the clients that I work with, I mean, their investors are just venture capitalists, um, who it's they're business model bankers or accountants.
But at the same time, I think they there's enough VC, um, founders who have exited and they they've, they've done it. They did it, they succeeded, but now they want to take that exact same cookie cutter approach and apply it to their next 50 60 investments.
And every business [00:20:00] is, is completely different. And you know, I, I'm not an expert in this stuff. I don't claim to know the ins and outs of VC financing. And I hope I'm not putting my foot on my mouth on this podcast, but it just seems like it's a very, I don't have the word. I don't have the words for it.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, uh, in all honesty, the way I, the way I view them is they're the left tenants of Satan, but I'm not necessarily an expert either, but the failure rate of VC backed companies is shamefully
high. Failure rates are bad enough out of VC to the mix. And you, you know, you increase that failure rate significantly. So, okay. Look, Jon, tell me what, what are the three questions people should ask, but they don't.
What are the three questions people should ask, but they don't?
Jon Selig: We've touched on 'em already, but am I giving my sellers, uh, enough training around subject matter expertise so that they could have consultative discussions where they know how to ask the right questions and can determine whether or not we can help them get to where they want to go.
And I [00:21:00] feel that I just in working with some sales teams, I really, I think they have some of the knowledge, but they don't always know how to articulate it, which leads to a second question. Which sales leaders need to ask is do my sellers have adequate communication and creativity skills to be relevant, to rise above the noise and be memorable.
In other words, can they put together an email that makes sense on their own, even if it can't scale. So it's great that you might have someone in marketing, writing, email sequences for SDRs, but do those people have the right messaging? Do they know how to stand out? I mean, we've seen so many templates but the best messaging isn't a template.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, you only have to look at the open rates on opt-in lists. You know, the average is around two to two and half percent. That's on people who've actually subscribed to your newsletter or to your email. And I, if you are producing [00:22:00] emails that are that ignorable, what the hell are you doing in marketing?
Jon Selig: Correct. Correct, but everyone's just trying the same stuff because there's, there just seems to be a dearth of knowledge and expertise. That's spread very thin among all these funded companies. I, I have this expression, there's more funded tech startups than there are qualified sales people and marketers out there.
Um, and they all need, they all need several of each, uh, at each company. And I'm not trying to belittle people, but it feels like there's just a gap, right? We're at, we're at a point in time where there's just a lot of investment. And they're all being told. You need to get to 10, 20, 50, a hundred, um, members of your revenue team on these timelines.
And there there's just a gap of expertise and that's evidenced by all the, um, those SDR kind of, um, training companies who are, who are trying to get, uh, people to change careers and to learn the, the skill of cold calling or cold emailing. I mean, these guys are in [00:23:00] business because there's a demand and need for, for sales talent.
There's 50. Uh, I, I think it's 50 or a hundred programs in America at univer, at colleges and universities around sales degrees in sales. So, so clearly the market is we're in the middle of an adjustment. I think where you, you know, people aren't expected fully to get that on the job training. There there's programs designed to prep them for those jobs.
And hopefully in five, 10 years, maybe, maybe this kind of discussion we're having it won't be relevant anymore because more people are just prepared for the job and know what's involved.
Marcus Cauchi: I, I love your optimism.
Jon Selig: That's the first time anyone's ever said that to me, but thank you.
Marcus Cauchi: What's the definition of an optimist, a man who hasn't been dis disappointed enough yet?
Jon Selig: Correct. Correct. Yeah. I don't know if I fall into that category. The last thing I would tell you is, and again, I, it's funny, we we've been talking about anything but jokes so far and humor.
[00:24:00] I get it. I firmly believe that you can't, you can't tell or write, a good joke that, that, that touches your buyer, uh, emotionally, unless you really understand them deeply in everything that's going on in their world. You can't, you can say something frivolous joke about the weather or about their city, but, so what, who cares?
That's a nice little icebreaker. It doesn't demonstrate your credibility or relevance to the buyer. I want to help sales teams package up relevance, subject matter expertise into memorable messaging all in one 12 to 15 second swoop. And
Can you give us some examples of how you've been able to do this in the context of a technology sale?
Marcus Cauchi: Can you give us some examples of how you've been able to do this in the context of a technology sale?
Jon Selig: I'm gonna give a few examples. We'll, we'll talk about ones that everyone, uh, in this audience will get right away. And then I'll tell a couple of jokes. They probably won't get, but it doesn't matter because the jokes aren't for them. It's for my client's prospects. So I have one joke [00:25:00] that people can use and, and maybe I'll demonstrate on you, Marcus, would you, would you role play this for me?
Marcus Cauchi: I'd be delighted to Jon. Thank you.
Jon Selig: Ring ring.
Marcus Cauchi: Hello Marcus Cauchi.
Jon Selig: Marcus, this is Jon Selig and we've never spoken before. So this call will be a lot like a craft beer. Unique, refreshing, and ice cold.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay. I've it's Friday afternoon. I'm ready for one of those.
Jon Selig: Excellent. Who is it? It's a global pandemic.
Um, it's, it's an ongoing St. Patrick's days is my new expression. How about, um, if I were to call you up and I'd say, Hey Marcus, this is Jon Selig uh, and I speak with a lot of senior sales leaders, just like you. And they all struggle with discounting, long cycles and slippage and this saddens me because the sales executive's problems shouldn't sound like a midnight trip to Walmart and so you're laughing and I'm glad, but I said three things in the setup that you struggle with discounting, long sales [00:26:00] cycles, which I shortened a little bit and slippage and right outta the gate, I'm being relevant to you.
This person, this person speaking my language. And then I just come along and subvert those expectations with, with a twist. And if you laugh, it's a segue to a conversation. So those two are my, my go to sales joke for sales leaders jokes and ones. I like to drop on these podcasts, but you know, a couple of other jokes.
For example, I worked with let's do this one. So I worked with a company called Event Mobi. An Event Mobi is a SaaS company that offers event and conference planners, mobile apps. So they're they're attendees. Can download the app. Look at the agenda. Look at the speakers. Look at everything versus printing off the programs.
Yep. So the event planners struggle with the challenge of printing off programs, the cost associated with them, and then the disposal of them afterwards, cuz people just [00:27:00] leave them lying around. So their sales team wrote the joke, the most challenging part of printing programs for your next conference, is finding a recycling bin big enough to put them in
And what did you notice about that joke?
Marcus Cauchi: It implies all the other stuff, but it speaks to a truth that is clearly painful.
Jon Selig: Correct. And it highlights. And you, I know you said it in there, but it highlights the impact of not addressing the challenge. If you want to keep the status quo. Fine. Be our guests.
Keep recycling, all those programs that get thrown out that your, your attendees aren't even bothering to take home. Like why go to that trouble? And I'll give you one more. Let's just see if there's a newish one. That makes sense. I like this one. I worked at the company called Interplay Learning in Texas and Austin, and they they're really niche.
[00:28:00] They have a training simulation software for HVAC technicians. So heating, heating, uh, ventilation, air conditioning, and they target learning and development managers at large property management companies whose technicians might, you know, not be, they might not be able to offer the training they need on new HVAC systems, the way they need, this is a complicated niche thing these guys do.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Jon Selig: And so sometimes the problem is they have to rely on third party vendors because their technicians don't want to get trained. It's hard to scale the training. So the joke that these guys wrote is the only thing harder to scale than one on one maintenance training is that mountain of bills from your third party vendor
So we're demonstrating our relevance, our understanding of the problem of spending a lot of money on third party vendors. And just like, like how challenging it's to scale the training. And it's just meant to be a quick
Marcus Cauchi: It's effectively a, an, a witty intellectual shortcut. [00:29:00] So in, in the space of 12 to 15 seconds, you've encapsulated the issue, the cost of not addressing the issue and how it affects that individual personally.
Jon Selig: Correct.
Marcus Cauchi: Very elegant, really elegant.
Jon Selig: No one's ever said that to me, but I appreciate that.
Marcus Cauchi: It is. It's beautiful. I love good selling. The challenge, uh, I think is that most sales people just bloody waffle and they spend three minutes stealing someone's time. And talking about irrelevancies what you've done in the space of 12 seconds is hit them between the eyes, with something they can relate to instantly.
Jon Selig: And that's the goal and it just brings seller and buyer closer together. I mean, I don't teach all that. What questions to ask next. I'm not a sales methodology. I just want them to understand their buyer better, their relevance, and then a way to CR to craft messaging that's short, sweet, quick, and demonstrates all the above.[00:30:00]
Do you have some high level framework in terms of the thought process people need to go through to be able to try their own witty opener?
Marcus Cauchi: So in terms of helping people walk away from this, with something they can put into action, do you have some high level framework in terms of the thought process people need to go through to be able to, uh, try and butcher their own witty opener?
Jon Selig: As a comedian, I'll tell you a quick little story. There was a gentleman on a flight next to me, one time.
And I just sort of looked over at, just looked over and he was covering his phone. And the moment you see suffering, someone covering their phone with their hand, you're wondering why are they covering up their phone? And he was reading a very sassy tale on his phone with explicit language graphic description.
And this was so funny to me. I'm just like, oh my God, couldn't this guy, wait to get home to read this in. You know, he was one step away from watching a, a, a very adult film, shall we say? And, um, I'm trying to keep it clean for your PG audience.[00:31:00]
Marcus Cauchi: There is no PG audience there.
Jon Selig: Oh, I know
Marcus Cauchi: Old, funny buddies.
Jon Selig: I know, I know.
Uh and, and so I just found that so funny. And when I got home, I didn't know where the funny was in it, other than the obvious, but I wrote out the story. I captured every detail. Of the situation and circumstance on paper without trying to be funny. And then I, what I was able to do was I was slowly able to parse out all the unnecessary moments and, and instances and observations.
I boiled it down to the essence, and then I used my comedian's hat to try and structure this into some jokes. So the first step for any sales seller is to really again, if you, you can't write a good joke, touches on your buyer's problem or what happens if they don't solve a problem, if you don't know what those problems are and those impacts of not solving the problems are, or again, what's their desired state and what are those roadblocks.
If you don't understand all that stuff, you won't be able to do what I teach, which is [00:32:00] why that's the first step in what I teach. And that's why we've been talking about it so much of this, this podcast, cuz the jokes are just the, the, the cherry on top of the gravy on top of the iceberg, as I like to say.
So, even if you don't write a great joke outta my coming outta my workshop, as long as you're able to be a little bit more conversational, you've ditched the buzzwords and paraphrase them and learn how to say things in a more human manner. Those are some of the big wins, even if you never deliver a single joke that comes outta my workshop.
But step one is to write is just to get everything on paper or on a screen, and just gather as much knowledge and understanding and valuable insight to your buyer. About their challenges that you can. So that's the always the first step in the framework is just to summarize and capture everything.
Constraint is what makes jokes funnier. Are there any guiding principles in terms of identifying what you should take out?
Marcus Cauchi: And then in terms of distilling out and pairing down, cuz I think one of the lessons I took from my comedy course is that [00:33:00] constraint is what makes jokes funnier. It's what you take out rather than what you leave in, that makes all the difference. So are there any guiding principles in terms of identifying what you should take out?
Jon Selig: I like the, so what, who cares approach? In other words, if I, if, if I've write something down on, on paper or in a, in a word, doc, is it gonna hit them between the eyes?
Is that sentence or statement gonna hit them between the eyes? Is it personal to them? And when, I mean personal, I really mean professional. Does the CFO really care about an HR person's problems? And the answer is no. So take it out, you know, there's this expression on LinkedIn. I see all the time, like no fluff, just cut out all the fluff that is irrelevant to your buyer, or that's not specific enough.
And just, just get to the heart of like, answer the question. So what, who cares and will my buyer care about this stuff that I'm writing down? It's not get it out.
Marcus Cauchi: Makes a huge amount of sense. [00:34:00] So again, for those of you listening, write down every detail and then apply the, um, the, so what, who cares filter in order to see what's left and off the back of that, then how do you craft a decent punch line?
How do you craft a decent punch line?
Jon Selig: That's what I get paid the big bucks for, but the short answer
Marcus Cauchi: Actually telling me to fuck off and but but
Jon Selig: I'll send you the invoice don't worry after this, but look a good punchline, um, surprises. There's an element of, we didn't see it coming. And the trick is to create a setup that up that uses words and phrases that misleads the listener's expectation or if you can compare one thing to another in absurd way, that that's also a good way to create that punchline, but it, it comes down to some shared traits and commonalities between the two things. And that's usually in the wording. So that's one kind of joke, but then there's the classic setup, [00:35:00] punchline.
Like I helped a startup founder write a joke about like, how he came up with the idea for his business. And I was asking him, so his problem was really boring. I, I was new in what I do and I, I couldn't turn his, the problem, he solves into a joke. So I said, how'd you come up with this business and I'll answer it in joke form.
He answered to me. So basically the problem is they help software developers eliminate the need for databases when they're developing software, it was so boring. Like, and the way he described it was really boring. I said, okay, look, how'd you come up with this business? He said, I spent 12 years developing enterprise software in a bank, but left when the branch manager kicked me outta the water.
So, if we look at the phrase in a bank in today's electronic banking world, where we do everything over a website, we think of in a bank, I worked in a bank. I developed software in a bank. We think of that person [00:36:00] sitting at a cubicle in an office tower in, you know, a large major metropolitan city but the punchline and the way the word's in a bank, we, we just kind of like, we, we toyed with the expectations and had that person sitting, obviously in one of those leather chairs, waiting for their, their loan officer to come out.
And so that's why that joke works. It's just a twist. It's a surprise. So to answer your question, to craft these great punchlines, we need to build expectations in the setup. Make people think we're going in one direction and use words and phrasings to subvert those expectations or even context as well.
Have you ever been blindsided in the work that you're doing?
Marcus Cauchi: So, Jon, have you ever been blindsided in the work that you're doing?
Jon Selig: Uh, you know what, I, I, I don't believe so because I'm really clear on what this is I do and what I don't do. My customers usually hire me with, with being clear on what's going on. I've been blindsided with, you know, maybe X people's expectations and it was very much early [00:37:00] on when they're like, oh, great.
So you're gonna teach us improv. And I'm like, no, that's about unscripted moments. I wanna teach your reps to have better scripted moments that they can lean on to, to start conversations. And then hopefully you've trained them adequately to have a meaningful conversation. I wanna help you break the ice or hands on an objection with something, um, scripted, but you know, it's a good question.
Nothing really springs to mind if I've been blind excited.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay.
Jon Selig: I've been a little bit blindsided by lack of imagination. Sometimes that's something I've been blindsided by and, and occasionally every sales team has one rep who goes to this, like, like it's a, you know, they're really attracted to what I do and they're creative and I've been blindsided by sometimes how much people wanna do something creative, um, and are, are lacking it.
And I'm, I'm sort of nourishing that, that their appetites.
Marcus Cauchi: I think often what you find is this kind of thing is frowned [00:38:00] upon because of this ludicrous idea that we need to be professional. And the end of the day, businesses do not buy your products or services human beings do. And I, if you're not able to engage with another human being in the moment and be fully present and have them be fully present, then chances are, you're just gonna get shunted off to somewhere in Siberia and the organization, or you'll be asked, uh, to do a demo that they're not interested in, or, um, write a proposal. And this is really about creating human engagement and, um, making sure that the other party is attached to the outcome.
Cuz if they're detached from the outcome, then it's just an intellectual exercise and the selling is about the transfer of emotion. So, okay. Tell me this. Have you ever done any work with vendors and their channel partners? I'm curious [00:39:00] about whether or not that it kind of application translates well.
Have you ever done any work with vendors and their channel partners?
Jon Selig: It would translate well, but I haven't, I haven't worked like that yet.
Uh, I've had the odd conversation about it. It hasn't materialized. Okay. But, you know, I, I, I sold Oracle AF after working for Oracle, I worked for a channel partner for six and a half years, and we're getting training straight from we're we're, we're preaching, so-called Oracle gospel and it's, we really need to be on the same page as the Oracle sales rep.
So there's no reason why, what I do wouldn't work. And in fact, sometimes channels have that ability channel partners have that ability to be more human because they're smaller. Um, we were a professional services firm of about 35 people by the time I left. And we're like, um, we're, we're not publicly traded.
We're not venture funded. We're, we're operating with good common business sense. So humanity and, and being likable is, is, is a more important asset, especially considering sometimes a client's [00:40:00] adversarial relationship with a giant vendor. Sometimes their view they're treated like just another number.
Whereas when you're a channel partner, you're able to develop those long term relationships. So what I do would be very valuable for any, any kind of channel situation.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Okay. I'll bear that in mind. Cuz I do a lot of work and, and around channels. What are you struggling with? What are you wrestling with at the moment?
What are you struggling with? What are you wrestling with at the moment?
Jon Selig: Oh God. Uh, global pandemic for moment.
Marcus Cauchi: Not from a leaky bathroom.
Jon Selig: Yeah. uh, my freedoms right now. We have curfew here.
Marcus Cauchi: What pandemic? What pandemic?
Jon Selig: I don't know. There's rumor of one. No, in all honesty. Uh, obviously. Yeah, like just like everybody else. The pandemic is, is getting heavy, but. You know, I'll be called an optimist, uh, for the second time on this call, because I do think here in Canada, spring is coming, we're getting vaccinated.
And, um, um, so that that's good. Uh, on a professional level, I mean, being a solo printer is never easy and preaching [00:41:00] something. You've given me almost an hour of your time to walk you through what I do and its value. Most of my prospects, if especially when I'm I'm hunting, don't give you that amount of time.
You don't, you don't get to unpack all this. And unfortunately, the concept of jokes and comedy and using humor to connect with your buyers is very misunderstood. And hasn't been thought of, and I try to use the analogy of if I'm doing a standup comedy show. For comic book fans or, um, star wars fans, let's say it's a star wars theme show.
I can't do the show unless I have deep knowledge of the star wars universe, right. And that's the thing, that's the thing that sometimes, um, some, some decision makers in my world don't fully appreciate. I try to use that exact analogy to communicate to them really quickly, but it's also been a process and an evolution.
Just getting, getting enough buyers, see the value and just getting the word out there is, is always a [00:42:00] challenge.
Who are your comedy influences?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. Okay. Who are your comedy influences?
Jon Selig: I think about this a lot because there isn't a singular one, but I would say that my favorite comedy thing ever and not stand up because I'm not, I, I do a lot of standup, but I realize I came to standup after watching a lot of sitcoms, late eighties, early nineties, SNL, movies. Like I watched all forms of comedy, but my go to comedic comfort food is the Simpsons and anything that Conan O'Brien does. I, I think he's actually my single comedy idol cuz he's he does it all. He could be the straight man. He could be the funny man. He could be self-deprecating, he could be arrogant.
No one understands comedy better than that guy.
Marcus Cauchi: I still have to look at that. I've seen several clips, but we, we don't get much of a, a many of his stuff over here, I guess YouTube's supposed to go.
Jon Selig: He's got a lot on YouTube from over the years. [00:43:00]
What are you reading, watching, listening to?
Marcus Cauchi: Okay. What, what are you reading, watching, listening to that you reckon other people should pay heat to?
Jon Selig: Look, I think something that's, uh, a very good podcast that I found. If people are trying to understand why humor and jokes work, there's a podcast. I don't listen to every episode, but it's called, uh, Good One. It's put out by the good folks at Vulture and what they do is they have a different comedian on, they play a certain bit that's been very successful for them. That's gotten them some not notoriety, and they'll spend the better part of an hour talking about like, how'd you come up with this and where does your comedy come from? It'ss it goes a little deeper than just the bit, but I think that's really valuable to help people understand why does a certain bit, uh, register with audiences.
So definitely, definitely check that out. WTF is something else. Mark Maron's podcast, where he speaks with all kinds of personalities at this point, but it started off where he was just talking to comedians about their craft and, and how [00:44:00] they got to where they are and how their act evolved. So I highly recommend that.
And, uh, look, just go watch more Simpsons because it's just such a good, um, it shines a light onto society for the last of the last 32 years or so, so highly encourage people to watch more of that.
If you had a golden ticket and you could whisper in the ear of the idiot, Jon age, 23, what choice bit of advice would you give him?
Marcus Cauchi: So if you had a golden ticket and you could whisper in the ear of the idiot, Jon age, 23, what choice bit of advice would you give him that, you know, he'd have ignored, but would've sort of in good stead,?
Jon Selig: Ignore your parents and do whatever the hell you like carve your own path.
I didn't have enough self-awareness or confidence to do those things. I was just, just who I was. I was very cautious and safe and didn't want to take risks and wasn't in a position to go hungry for a passion. I actually think my path has served me well, where I took the safe route, gained a lot of knowledge experience, um, and [00:45:00] skill.
And then at a certain point, uh, was able to break off and go do my own thing. I think that's a very, I, I don't really regret the way I've done things to be quite honest. Cause I didn't know any better. So, I, I don't know if I have great advice to my 23 year old self cause. Uh, I think everything happens for a reason.
And, um, I, I hit a point in my sales career where I'm like, I don't wanna regret sticking here if I don't wanna do this anymore, which was the case. So I left at, at the right moment, uh, when I was able to, to handle that.
How can people get hold of you?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. How can people get hold of you?
Jon Selig: jonselig.com and the H in Jon is both silent and invisible
therefore making a J O N S E L I G .com. That's my website. Uh, and LinkedIn is the other I'd love to connect, uh, LinkedIn. I'm pretty active there and, and would love to connect with anyone who wants to.
Marcus Cauchi: Fabulous. Jon Selig, thank you.
Jon Selig: Thank you for having me.
Marcus Cauchi: So this is Marcus Cauchi signing off once again from the [00:46:00] Inquisitor Podcast.
I, if you found this interesting and insightful, then please do like, comment, share, and subscribe. And if you are the owner or CEO of a tech company, and your goal is to grow your business significantly, um, achieve real sustainable hyper growth. Develop, highly engaged employees who give massive discretionary effort who love your customers to death and keep customers for year after year after year, then please do get in touch.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can DM me on LinkedIn and in the meantime, stay safe and happy selling. Bye-bye.