Skip Navigation
Episode #116
Oren Klaff

Flip The Script For Consultants

Subscribe On

In this episode, Oren Klaff, the author of the books Pitch Anything and Flip the Script, talks about the art of deal-making. Oren is known as the go-to guy to get deals done when someone needs $10 million or $25 million for their startup business idea. Today, he narrates how he got into deal-making and the importance of presenting your idea in a way that people think it is theirs. He also dives into the ideal script for consultants and the three W’s that people can start to use to overcome the guard that people put on.

I’m here with Oren Klaff. Oren, welcome.

I appreciate that short but warm welcome.

Oren, you’re the author of Pitch Anything. Your new book is Flip the Script. We’re going to talk more about that. You’re known as the go-to guy to get deals done when someone needs $10 million, $25 million for their startup, business, idea. They come to you and helping to make sure that it’s a successful outcome for them and have a successful deal. Let’s start off with how did you get into deal-making.

When people need $10 million, $25 million and $50 million, it’s different for everybody. The differentiator is when the stakes are high and it matters. For some people, that’s $5,000. For some people, it’s $50,000 and for some, it’s $50 million. When the stakes are high and you have one bite at the apple and you’re going to a go-no-go meeting, it’s not sales. Do you know paper salesman are calling? You’re not checking in. When they say, “We want to hear what you have to say. We’ll take it to the committee or I’ll take it to my partner and then we’ll give you an answer on whether we’ll go to the next step or it’s not for us.”

When you go to Bank of America and you ask them for a construction loan of $5 million, they don’t say, “That sounds great. It’s not perfect for us today. Why don’t you make these adjustments and come back in a week or two and pitch us again? They go, “No, that is not for us. Don’t come back here. Thank you. Nice to meet you.” When it matters, that’s when I step in. When the stakes are high. When I talk about stakes, I think about this. I was driving over the Coronado Bridge in San Diego. It’s different from these other bridges in cities. It arcs over the bay. It goes over battleships your way up in the air. You are floating next to the gods. You look out the left window and Apollo was there waving.

Your way up high in the air and the battleships look tiny below you and there are these big guardrails. There’s this retaining wall concrete that it’s formidable and looks serious, but it doesn’t look like that big. People jump off this bridge all the time, super sad. I’m sitting here driving my G-Wagon with my family over the bridge staying in my lane, going in traffic 65 miles an hour and I go, “There’s no chance I’m going to hit that retaining wall. If I did, it would for sure stop me.” It’s safe. If they took that away, I will be on a bridge in the sky 18 inches from death with my family driving truck. I would slow down to 3 miles an hour.

The stakes of deals then.

As the stakes go up, the danger goes up for you. Click To Tweet

When you are in a deal and the stakes are high for you, you feel like anything can happen. You could go off. You’re scared, you’re nervous internally. You do all kinds of things that don’t assist you in closing the deal. You become needy, say things you shouldn’t say, and get off-track. You lose the ability to keep track of time. As the stakes go up, the danger goes up for you. When this meeting can change your career, your life, make your month gold, give you exposure and the money you need, a sale you need to get to the next level, to be something meaningful or whatever it is for you, when it becomes important, it triggers all kinds of behaviors you should not be doing. That’s why Pitch Anything and Flip the Script are so important because they give you the correct pathway through any deal. Even as stakes go up, it will become super important to find a way through that doesn’t ruin the deal.

In your new book Flip the Script the subtitle is, Getting People to think Your Idea is Their Idea. You talk in your book about how people’s brains are wired to resist other people’s ideas and it’s critical to present your idea in a way that they think it is theirs. This is important for consultants, our audience, to understand this. Tell us more about why is it so important to plant the seed so that people see your idea as their idea.

In our business, we’re consultants and we’re service providers’ consultants. We sell things that are abstract in nature. It’s difficult to communicate information about abstract services using language. Language wasn’t designed to describe financial services, financial planning, M&A advisory, advisor services, turning Accounting into financial models, financial models into a pitch and going to market and connect to the financial markets on this. Language was not designed to do that. Language was designed to communicate information about danger. At the end of the day, buyers want to feel autonomy.

When we use language in a way that feels we’re trying to convince them of something we’re selling, when they can see the selling process happen and they feel like they’re losing control, they resist. They dig in and ask for a proposal and they come up with objections. It’s not necessarily because they want to resist not because they want to give objections, not because they want to the proposal. It’s because they feel you’re in control and ultimately below the surface, they feel their autonomy slipping away and dig in their heels. They can’t articulate it. They know they’re not in control but they want to be. That’s why it’s important.

That goes to the saying that, “No one likes to be sold to but everybody likes to buy.” The moment that you feel that you’re being sold to or that someone’s trying to work you through their path and you’re losing as you call that that autonomy, the natural inclination or reflex is to put our guard up to try and protect ourselves, like the fight or flight. Let’s get more into that because in your book, you talk about the three W’s that people can start to use to overcome the guard that people put on. Take us through what are the three W’s.

Before we get into the three amazing W’s, this is why it’s called Flip the Script. If they can see the sales mechanism happening, they go, “I know what this is. I know how to defeat it. I know how to deal with it.” It’s almost gamified. This sense of getting rapport with someone, “Good to meet you all. Do you like football?” “I like football. Do you like hockey?” “My little boy plays hockey.” “We flew to vacation in Florida.”

“It’s a nice picture on your wall over there. That was taken on that place. I’ve been there before,” that kind of thing?

CSP 116 | Script For Consultants

Yes, to get a safe place to give a pitch and this is the problem.

That’s a classic sales training. You have to build a rapport. It is important to have a relationship with people. If they don’t trust you, they’re not going to buy from you. What I’ve seen of all of your work, you try and accelerate past that rapport phase to get into the meat of it as quickly as possible. Is that because savvy buyers are busy and they don’t have time to chitchat? What’s your thinking about why it’s so important to go right into it as quickly as possible?

There’s a saying that, “People buy from people they like.” Now, I think the saying is, “They don’t buy from people they dislike.” They don’t have time to like you. They want a value proposition. They want certainty that what you say is going to happen in the future and that you have skin in the game. You’re not only going to get a commission and turn them over to someone else and move out. When somebody can see rapport happening, then they can see you, “These are the features and these are the benefits.” They can see what’s happening, “These are the stretch benefits than the trial close. What do you think? Is this something you’ll be interested in?” The objections come out, “Where is it?” “Here it is.” The way to overcome objections, there are 1 million books on it. Objections is a good book.

Jeb has been on the podcast. He’s great guy with lots of good resources.

How to overcome objections has been done as well as it can be done. People say to me, “Oren, how do you overcome objections?” I go, “I pick up Jeb’s book. You cannot argue people into believing they are wrong.” Jeb argues against his book.

I think what you’re bringing up is important. It’s not that you necessarily need to feel comfortable enough that they want to invite you to dinner. It’s not at all they need to like you because they’re too busy with what you’re saying. It’s that they need to not dislike you. They need to feel confident that you can deliver, you’re credible, and you’re on their side. How do people go about doing that? What have you found is the most effective way for people to achieve that level of comfort, trust and likability?

It’s where we started. You have to raise the stakes. “Winter is coming.” People have to have a sense that there is an environmental change that they are not prepared for. It’s catching them flat-footed and they need someone on the other side. They need to be aware that this is going to change the game and they need somebody who knows how the new game is played. We’ve talked before but the perfect example of raising the stakes is making somebody in the theater industry, maybe years ago, stadium seating came to the theater industry. It wiped out every other known form of theater and entertainment. It was a complete nuclear meltdown. Why would you sit in a seat where you can’t see over the guy in front of you when you can go to the theater across the road and have a clear sight? I’ll tell you look handsome but how tall are you?

At the end of the day, buyers want to feel autonomy. Click To Tweet

I’m 5’9”.

If you sat down with the afro, you’re still 5’9”. In the old seats, if you sat in front of me and you’re 5’9”, I couldn’t see over you much like if somebody who was 6’ in the new seats. If you were a salesman in that industry or you are an executive consultant for example in either financial, real estate or whatever you would go and say, “These new stadium seats are wiping out everything else that stands in its way. You have six months before there are six planted within a mile of here.”

Let me tell you how we got here and you give somebody how stadium seats came about, the certainty that they are coming and that’s the number. Unless somebody believes that there’s an environmental change and it’s going to affect them. It’s difficult to move on with any other parts of the pitch, presentation, details, anything else you have, value, ROI, the prospects that you have, the logos that you have. You’ve worked with Microsoft and Oracle and all these credible accounts. None of that can happen without the context of this pre-wired idea that some kind of winter environmental change is coming in and every industry has it.

You use that idea and have you found that it’s effective to use that, “Winter is coming,” as you’re calling? It’s the danger and fear. It’s the game-changer.

It’s not fear because it can be misconstrued as fear. This is the old system of selling.

If it’s not fear that I think when I listen to you talk about that, there could be a little bit of fear. If I’m going to own a theater and I don’t have that and you’re coming in and you’re telling me this is going to wipe me out like that, I would have maybe some fear of that. Talk to me about how it’s a little bit different from fear. I want you to be very clear on this is not selling based on fear.

It’s not fear-mongering because you don’t care. When you care, it comes with caring about what happens then it comes as fear. Zig Ziglar said, “Light a fire so you can sell them the fire extinguishers.” The difference is I’m not lighting the fire. You’re in consulting and financial services. There are lots of podcasts out there. It’s critical to have a podcast. Anyone without a podcast that is not in the marketing channels and are known to be effective, their cost to acquire a customer is super high. We have a great podcast. My clients have a great podcast. You have no podcast. We don’t have this problem, you have this problem, “Happy to help you. Set aside a little bit of time today, time on each other’s calendar I know you’re busy. We’re super busy. Good to be here. We have 25 to 20 minutes. I want to see if I can help you with what we know about the importance of omnichannel marketing to include the podcast.”

CSP 116 | Script For Consultants

What I’m hearing you say is it’s about positioning the mindset that you have. You’re not going in try to necessarily persuade. You’re not tied to the result. It’s more saying that, “This is the situation and you’re a messenger.” You’re delivering the message so that the prospective buyer is at least aware of what’s going on. If that’s something they want to grab onto, then you further the conversation. If they don’t care about it, it’s not something that resonates with them and that’s okay. You move onto the next person.

Both of these books, especially Flip the Script, is about caring about the customer, wanting their account, trying to do the right thing for them and helping them and at the same time not caring and being willing to walk away. Trying to find out which of those two answers is the right one for you and the client. Caring and not caring at the same time is challenging.

You talked about this message of, “The winter is coming.” It’s essentially why they should care what’s going on in their industry, in their business so that you’re getting their attention. You use that at the beginning of your conversation with the buyer. Have you found in your experience that’s also the same messaging that is critical to use to actually get the meeting and the appointment? That’s an area that a lot of consultants struggle with, “How do I actually get more meetings and have more conversations with buyers?” Are you leading with that same messaging with, “The winter is coming,” in your initial outreach to people to be able to set up those conversations? Are you finding something else that works best?

No, something else works best. Outreach requests are 35 to 45 words. That is not enough space. If you get more than that you’re like, “This is a form letter.” That’s a different subject is outreach and pulling people into that conversation. In that conversation, “Why I wanted to talk to you,” is this industry is changing completely. I noticed something so now we’re on the pitch. I noticed something about you guys that didn’t seem in sync with where things were going. I thought we have a conversation because from where I sit, even with visibility on it, we see this tariff tax, marketing situation this technology coming into space. I recognize you guys are heading in the wrong direction. Maybe it’s a purpose, maybe you have a grandmaster plan. I thought I’d talked about what we see happening and the impact of it. That heads you into the pitch, but that’s too much to do when you’re doing a call or an email.

Call or email’s only job is to offer something that if you even had it, they would want and communicate, “I am not a robot.” Those are the two jobs of outreach. That’s how you get people to a call. The outreach, when it’s cold for a consultant or service provider the confusion is it’s not about you the person sending it out. It’s about the person receiving it. I’ll leave it at this because it’s a whole conversation. We sent our outreach data to the Philippines to be nurtured and completed. I know what blogs the guy’s been on. If he’s been on a TEDx, what he said on the TEDx and what podcast he’s been on and which ones are interesting and what happened at minute three. I can put that on in an email and say. “I noticed these things about you. It’s super interesting.” The other thing that needs to go in there’s randomness. Randomness has to be in cold or cold outreach.

What do you mean by randomness?

Randomness is something that signals that I’m not going down a list or robo-dialing. “I was talking to Michael, John, Tim, Joe, Susan, Heather, Jeff, Joe, and your name came up.” They said, “I looked you up and I realized you’re doing X, we did one of those. It’s coincidence or maybe not. I thought I’d jam off an email. I’m not a robot. I know things about you.” This is when the stakes are high, it’s hard to do 5,000 emails like this but we do this at volume. We could do 1,500 emails but each one feels to the person receiving it like someone has actually crafted this email and there’s somebody at the other end of it. That’s outreach.

The cost to acquire a customer is super high for anyone without a podcast and who is not in the marketing channels. Click To Tweet

That’s important. I know your book is not about outreach, but to put it out there for everyone that’s important. These days everyone’s searching for the automated solution and how could do things in scale and volume. Especially in consulting, it’s not about volume, it’s about making sure that you can differentiate yourself and the way to do that is exactly you mentioned. Make sure that your customized and you’re spending a little bit of time putting some of the unique in there that shows that you’re not putting them into a system and sending out the same thing to a thousand people. That’s ultimately what will get you a higher-level response. Let’s get back into your book.

Take us through what the three W’s are in terms of your book. You talk about they should be included in every presentation and in every conversation, you have with a buyer. I thought if you want to talk about that and the other thing, I want to ask you is that you mentioned that it’s important for you to give the buyer permission to start asking you questions. Start questioning you and your deal. A lot of people would think, “Why do you want to give the buyer permission to start asking you questions or to question you and your deal.” Maybe you can talk about that as well.

One of the W’s that’s important to me is, “Why you?” If I ask anybody 9 out of 10, 19 out of 20, 39 out of 40 people say, “Why you?” They’ll say, “Credentials, experience, capability.” Maybe some will touch on integrity. Mainly it will be about capability. The rest of the pitch answers, “Why you?” It is about, “Do you have skin in the game?” “How do I know that after I give you the money after I sign the contract and agree to give the money, after we’re in business together I’ll get the things you’re saying?” The real answer to, “Why you?” “It is because I have skin in the game.”

How do you convey that?

It’s easy for consultants. I type my name on the internet. I’ve been doing this for years not a single complaint. As a matter of fact, the first 75 pages on the internet are about me saying great things. I’ve skin in the game. I’m doing something personally with you. I cannot have you go, “Buy” I do four of these a year. I dedicate my entire business to one at a time. This has to work out over at XYZ competitor. They have 50 people. They start 30 of these and they complete 10 and that’s their motto. I start one and I complete one. Whatever the rationale is, you have to show people how you have skin in the game. Everybody knows we’re in the canoe together out, rent the boat together, whatever metaphor you want to use. When they need to know why you, it’s not about your capability. The other parts of the pitch are about that. Why is there mutually assured destruction if this doesn’t work?

Is that something that you are communicating to the buyer yourself? Is it coming from you or are you prepared with that so that when they start asking you about, “How are you different from Big Jill’s consultancy over there that you are prepared to respond to or are you bringing it up even before they get to it?”

I am trying to get it set aside as early as I can. It’s funny, I talked to another company that we’re collaborative with and they’re an exact same business. They go, “The clients pay me $40,000 and that’s gone the day we get it. That’s what I tell my clients.” They give us $40,000, $75,000. It doesn’t matter. We spend it that day we get it because we have analysts and all kinds of smart people from Goldman Sachs. They don’t believe us but I have to communicate to them, “You’re giving us $40,000 at the same time, I write a check for $40,000. The real cost of this is like $100,000.” We have mutually assured need for success and not only that we get paid many times on success.

CSP 116 | Script For Consultants

I put in my own money. You got to put a little money to have skin in the game. I have skin in the game, but we’re both pulling for the same thing because when this succeeds everybody gets paid. That’s how we answer them, “How are you better? How are you different than Jack and Jill Consulting?” That’s a tough one. I’m trying to think what page is that falls in on Flip the Script. It’s great and I got this a while ago. I thought to myself I started feeling myself go down the road of how we’re better. That is it that is a tar pit you will never pull yourself out of is convincing someone that you’re better than the other guys.

To your earlier point, it’s better to try and deal with all those potential objections are things that come up even before they appear so you don’t have to be on the defensive. If you come in with the offensive, you’re able to take care of those things, the questions that the buyer likely has but you’ve already taken care of them before they even start to bring it up. You’re in that place of power rather than having to try to find yourself, later on, would you agree?

Yes, I agree. Try and get that set-aside, but they will ask the question because somebody will come in late some will go, “How are you different from McKinsey?” “Go write them $1 million check if you have it. That’s how we’re different” You don’t have to say that. There are two answers, one is we’re not different. We are all the same. Commoditize and instead of trying to get the relative value of them. No matter what you say after how are you better, it is in your own self-interest to say it and is a 100% discounted. You can’t answer the question. It’s a Kobayashi Maru and it’s a game that’s set up to not be able to be won. The answer is, “We’re not any different. All of us do the exact same thing and then you do a flash roll,” which is in Chapter 3. We take your financial model. We correlate to the county. We try and produce three years of historical financials and show that you have 20% year-over-year growth. We produce some board packets. We get a board of advisors set up and we produce a deck that tells your story.

We test the deck and a couple of trial meetings and then we email 10 or 20 closely held firms and we put you in front of them with some training. Everybody does that if you don’t do that, you can’t be in our industry. We’re all exactly the same. That’s what you’re looking for. It’s generic 101 Accounting, Financial Services, Wealth Management. I can send you a bunch of firms that do that. Say, “Oren. I’m looking for generic 101 everyday out-of-the-box, Costco, XYZ Consulting.” I will send you to one of my buddies at does that it’s cheap it’s decent and it will get you out of a pickle because that’s not what we do. On the other end, you have McKinsey. They do the exact same thing. He can repeat the flash roll again. If you have $1 million and you walk in the door of McKinsey, “Nice to meet you, here’s a cup of Kombucha. Do you have a million-dollar check so I can let you in to speak to a partner?” That’s how it works there.

In all seriousness, if your board of directors, your wife, your partner, and your advisors, McKinsey or PWC or JP Morgan or whoever they want to name stamped on it. I got a great guy who works at Goldman. I’ll send you over there or McKinsey. I can tell you this, for the $50,000, $80,000 you have whatever for the size of the company. At McKinsey, you’re going to get interns who started yesterday. That’s not what we do. What we do is for a $20 million firm whose needs are done at the highest level possible, it’s done correctly with experience having done this 1,000 times with great certainty on the outcome doing it alongside you. We’re not going to work on your business harder than you but work as hard as you will. The last twenty deals we’ve done have been exactly the same your size company your problem we saw this all. If that’s what you want to be done at the highest level for somebody who knows how to do this, we can talk, if our circles overlap and be willing to undertake your problem. We saw this all the time we don’t have this problem, you have it.

What’s powerful with what you share their or and everyone who read this might go “That’s not the language that I would user I’d feel comfortable with.” That’s all good. What I want everyone to notice is what you’ve done, by having that conversation and essentially planting those seeds. The concerns that a buyer would have because they’re thinking those things, but you’re bringing them out into the open. They feel that you’re not attached to the decision. You’d love to have their business, but it’s not something that you’re going to bend over for. You have a lot of other options that you know other people that you could serve as well. You’re putting it out there and now they get to decide where they want to play. That’s powerful.

You talk about in your book this idea of inception. That’s the core idea right based on the subtitle. It’s getting people to think your idea is their idea. You gave a formula a little bit later on in the book, which is like pessimism plus autonomy plus expertise equals inception. I don’t think we have the time necessary to go into the whole formula here. I’d love if you could maybe talk a little bit more about what is the key. I highly recommend that everyone does go and check out the book. If you have to boil it down, how do people plant that seed how do people get the buyer to think that their idea, the consultant’s idea is actually the buyer’s idea? What’s the key to making that happen?

Caring and not caring at the same time is challenging. Click To Tweet

I’ll give you an example. We had a buyer in town. It’s a big account. Probably, $275,000 a year Services Consulting Account. The guy comes by and we sit with them within an hour. We talked about it. We get him to believe the main role was to look at the scope and the services and everything like that. He leaves and I say, “Jonathan, how do we get this agreement?” That’s the best close I have. I’m not a closer because I don’t overcome objections. I go, “Jonathan, how we get this agreement signed?” “I signed it an hour ago. It’s on the conference table.” That’s inception where the guy has signed the deal hasn’t priced negotiated at all hasn’t marked it up and didn’t even tell you that it’s closed. The deal’s already closed and you’re still working.

Walk us through that, how did you make that happen? If you want to use it as an example or another example, what happened there so that it was a successful deal for you?

One of the things we talked about is making him aware that the industry he’s in, which they market the hospitals, you cannot market to hospitals. You can’t call them. You can’t reach them. They don’t take your call. They don’t open emails. There’s a new omnichannel method that requires data science. The last two generations of marketing in the hospital systems, one was manual and then when manual sales automation. Now its data science. If you don’t know data science, you don’t have the skills to do it today. That was one.

Was that an idea that he didn’t necessarily know or was something that maybe he knew but he didn’t know how important it was? What was revolutionary or powerful about that idea?

It certainly in the buyer’s mind. There are all these things, data automation, data science, manual marketing is under marketing. What we did is we pulled back the curtain and we say, “This is how it worked five years ago.” Got it? This happened, marketing automation came on and it worked. We said, “These are all the technology. This is how you do.” “Totally agree.” What happened is you could get lots of data on an individual and follow them. Monitor what they were doing and feed them stuff slowly over time and that changed everything. These new skills became relevant. We organized his thinking on it and then we go, “What’s different about the last two generations is these skills are not like a step up.” In the first generation, your neighbor’s thirteen-year-old could set it up, “How do we set up” Anybody could do that, the next year is marketing automation.

You had to be a 24, 25-year-old with some experience in web and is complicated. Data science is no BS. Twenty-four-year-old, dropped out of Santa Monica Community College is not doing this. We have guys that we’re recruiting from Goldman Sachs. We’re paying them $220,000 and putting them here on the beach in California and buying them a BMW to drive into because we need their services. This is a level up. If you don’t get these skills, you can’t compete. We gave him some examples. That’s how we made that real. The skills needed today are no joke and hard to get. That is where the inception comes from. Why is this hard? If the buyer leaves thinking that what you do is easy, he will look somewhere else or do it yourself or try and get it for free from China.

You haven’t talked about your process or your methodology, is that correct? The environment and the situation and, “The winter is coming,” as you called it.

CSP 116 | Script For Consultants

It’s not until he believes that in general, this change and doing what we do or other people do in this change is super hard. We would have skin in the game in doing it, we wouldn’t pitch, features, benefits and value proposition ROI. People look at my pitch and that of a twenty-minute pitch. I might not get into features and benefits or you know exactly what it is until out of a twenty-minute pitch and until minute twelve, most people start with that. Until they perceive that you solved this problem 1,000 times, 100 times, 50 times before for this company and it’s almost boring. A boring push up to get this done and they perceive you high-status. They perceive what you do is hard. The skill sets are high and things are changing. You cannot pitch what you do.

One thing I’ve taken away from your books and the conversations we’ve had on and your style when it comes to this is it’s very important to be specific. You can’t go in telling the story at a high level and with generalities. In order to make this stick and to make an impact so that they do believe you, you have to come in very specific. Whether it’s giving acronyms and percentages and dollar signs, the more specific you are the more believable the message is. If you could talk for a moment about that, to make this clear, to make this work, you can’t come in and give a high-level loose story. It has to be very focused very specific so that it’s believable, is that correct?

Yes. I have to believe it. That is so easy for you. You can describe my problem, the likely solution or something you’ve done before, while talking three times as fast as you normally do. As if you’re rolling off your top your mind and you have forgotten it the minute you have gotten it out. What are your kind of car do you have?

I actually walk to the office. My wife drives an SUV.

You’re trying to do the generalities thing.

She drives a Nissan SUV.

Five years old?

Randomness is something that signals that you’re not going down a list or robo-dialing. Click To Tweet

Four years old.

Nissan Murano starts making a noise and not so bad. It’s usually the belts but there’s a little bit of crunching. You go, “That’s bad.” The dealer is a real pain. I might take it to the dealer. I can’t spend all day there. You take it to your local mechanic. He comes out and he says, “I hear the belt squeaking. I tell you what, it’s $350. We’ll check it out. We’ll tell you what our assessment is. If you decide to get it repaired here, then we’ll credit the $350 to the repair ticket.” You go, “I don’t know. It sounds good. I don’t know if that solves my problem. I do know I get a bill for $350. Let me check one more place.” You go there, a guy who walks out, he’s got nice a uniform on. His name is Eric.

He takes a look at the Nissan Murano and he goes, “Let me hear it.” It had a squeak and crunch, “Here’s what’s going on. They built these in 2012, 2013, when the disaster hit. They move these over the Nagasaki Factory. A couple of parts that they didn’t replace and one was a fan belt. This has a 27-407 C fan belt on it. The correct one is a 24-407 9. We have about 100 and back. We see three of these a week. I’ve done 50 in the last two months and I do 100 a year. Do me a favor, leave it here. It’s $650, come back in the morning. It’d be fixed and this gear oil will stop leaking as well because the gears oscillate at the wrong speed. We’ll fix that at the same time.”

Not only are you going to sign up and pay for that, you’ll pay more if you pay a premium because you’re sold. I agree.

We had Range Rover, an older model and she took it to the garage. She comes back and she said, “They’re going to fix the brakes.” I go, “How much is it?” She goes, “$400.” I go, “That doesn’t sound right. Are you sure it wasn’t $4,000?” She goes, “I don’t know.” Welcome to my life, but that’s the point like those guys know what they’re doing. She’s smart. She’s completely convinced that they’re going to fix all four brakes, the air pad system and everything like that. She’s going to get it back. It would be safe to take the family in. It’s either $400 or $4,000, who gives a damn? Oren pays for it.

The big message here right is specifics. When you’re delivering that message you have to be specific in order for it to be believable. One final question on this is all based on you going in and telling that story based on what you believe their problem to be or what the outcome they’re looking to have. A lot of people don’t necessarily know what is top of mind for the buyer because they’ve set the appointment or the meeting for the first time. How can you tell that story confidently if you don’t know exactly what they care most about are what is top of mind for them right now?

I don’t mean to be rude or crass. Sometimes a couple of words pop out.

You’ve been known to do that. It’s okay.

I can’t think of an example, where you don’t basically know. In our industry companies come in and they could be in semiconductors, they can make brooms, they can produce liquid that goes in but it doesn’t matter. They go, “We have $25 million in revenue. We got $4 million dollars, and we’re growing 25% year over year.” Got it. You got like 25 people maybe 8,000 square feet and some office probably in Boise or Utah, but you live in La Jolla somewhere nice, “How did you know?” It’s not the case that you don’t know anything. I talked to a pretty serious firm. They’re maybe $50 million a year and they get on the phone. This is where I was helping them. For them, it was $35,000. For you, you get it right here. They go on the phone and they do this big long interview process, to try and understand and find the buyer’s pain because that’s what they call it. We got to ask all these questions to understand their situation to see what their pain is. Your clients don’t have 75 different kinds of problems that are never been invented before.

There are some nuances and in our world, they want to sell their company because they’re breaking out. They’re getting a divorce. Somebody passed away, they’re sick, they’re tired. Who cares? The problem is they can’t push a button and sell their company and get $20 million. They need someone like us to help them. That’s their problem. You know what their problem is. Their taxes are messed up. Their financials and their people, they have management problems. You can get a little bit of information and go, “I see this a lot of times. Let me take a stab at this.” You use a crystal ball because you’ve seen this so many times, “Is this about what’s happening?” Even if you get it wrong, they will appreciate not having to sit through a twenty-minute Q&A.

When you are sitting there asking them questions, one is they don’t want what you have, they’re not learning anything about your capability, you’re framing yourself up as low status. You’re boring for them. They’re in a meeting, where they’re not meeting anybody interesting and getting anything of value. They’re giving you information, which they know you’re going to turn around and use to negotiate against them. You got to cut this down to, “Tell me a little bit about what’s going on.” “I get it.” “The problem is about this.” “That’s what we’re feeling.” Later you can get the details but nobody can sit through that twenty-minute Q&A in today’s world. They expect you to know that stuff.

What I’m hearing you say and tell me if this is right or wrong, you’re focusing on the outcome of the most likely outcome that person has. The nuances the things you might pick up in the questioning around trying to understand the value and all that, they might have different issues going on. In your case, the outcome that they want to sell their company for the most money possible. The nuances might be because of the divorce, this, that and the other. Your presentation your story is not focused on all the nuances rather you’re focusing on the outcome. It’s powerful you focus on making that story so powerful and believable that they can hook onto enough of the different things you say that connect to some of their nuances. Maybe not all of them, but it still has the end outcome in mind. If they are an ideal client, it will still resonate with them, even though it’s not custom-tailored to them at that stage 100%.

When somebody starts to give me all those details voluntarily, I’ll go, “I don’t need to hear all your problems right now. We can get that all later.” I understand what’s going on here. I’ve done this 100 times. You are all jammed up because the company is growing, you’re seeing all these offers. You don’t know what to do, you need somebody who can help navigate it. Is that about right? What else are we talking about here? That’s what we do. We don’t make websites. We don’t deliver pizza. That’s your problem. Let’s talk about how I might be willing to take my company, people, integrity, ability, background, reputation, financial models and money to help you out.

I’m looking at you and before you got here, I typed your name on the Internet and I looked a couple of things. I like you. You’re a perfect account, you straighten up but there are some red flags. There are some questions I have to ask you and some of them are tough questions. Doing this together could be good for both of us but if it doesn’t work, it’s a disaster. I’ve got my firm involved for something for six months and it goes nowhere. I can’t have that. I got to ask you some tough questions. You got to ask me some tough questions. You’re evaluating me and at the same time.

You got to put a little money to have skin in the game. Click To Tweet

I’m evaluating you. We can do three things, one like each other. By the way, I don’t even know if we like each other right now. Let’s get there. Do we like each other? Can we work well together? You’re a good guy. I’m a good guy. We probably like each other. Can we work well together? We got to figure that out. Can we build something that’s good? Can we solve this problem? Can we do this financial model? Can we train your people? Can we do this org chart? Can do this management training? Not, do we think it’s good because of course, “Michael, great job. We killed it.”

Do other people think it’s good? That’s what we got to figure out. Do we like each other? Can we work together? Can we build something good and do other people think it? Let’s not try and take over the world in one moment here and take over all your financials, all your accounting and all your problems. Let’s do something focused in which we go, “That was great.” I heard you say before, you might not talk in the same tone but I’m so committed to this. I do talk in this tone to brand new clients and go. “Sorry, I’m not yelling at you. I’m yelling for you.” They go, “We understand. We love it. We love your passion.” It’s the certainty that you’re conveying.

Certainty is powerful, it goes in right away. That’s confidence. That confidence goes to them and ultimately when a buyer is deciding to buy from you or someone else they want to feel confidence. They’re choosing the right person. If they’re talking to a consultant that doesn’t convey confidence how confident can they be that that’s going to be the right decision? I can see how the certainty that you bring to that and that conversation in your style is very powerful in conveying that level of confidence.

You convey a level of confidence and certainty in the way you talk, in the way you present yourself. It’s totally different. That’s not me.

We all have our own styles.

Chapter 7, How to be Compelling, a lot of people want to be like me. No, you want to use the structures that I use and be like yourself. If you’re mousey and you get scared people to want to fix that, don’t fix yourself. I’m not good enough. You’re not good enough. You’re not good enough for who you are. The structures will work. Don’t change yourself. Use the structures. People hand me CEOs that are straight off the boat from India. They’re hard to understand, call a spade a spade. They’re technically capable, have a great company. I got to train them to pitch. They’re hard to understand and they’re not plugged into our cultural resonance.

They aren’t back-slapping, frat boy, Silicon Valley bad boys of raising money. They’re watching Silicon Valley. I had a guy here who meets this definition exactly and his first pitch was impossible. I worked with him for two days in the conference. The last pitch he gave people were crying, not because he finally gave a good pitch, but they saw the change in him. He committed to who he was and did the structure correctly. What’s the structure? “Slow down. You’re hard to understand.” “Glad I can make the time to be here. I know you guys are busy. I’m busy too. We found some time on the calendar, where we could all get here. Same call, the same time, let’s make the best use of it. Does anybody need fluids in or out?”

We’re going to have to leave it there for now. Thank you so much for coming on. Oren, from your mouth, where’s the best place for people to go to learn more about the book and everything else you’re working on right now?

Buy the book on Amazon. It’s $12 or $18. That thing will make you a million dollars. If it doesn’t, come back and complain to me and I’ll take care of you. That’s for certain. Second, go to and put your name in there. There’s a contest on the website. I’ll fly you out to California. I’ll put you up on the beach and I’ll help you train up on this stuff, where you feel comfortable giving it. Enter that contest and try to win that, those are the two things you got to take care of.

Important Links:

Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!
Join the Consulting Success Community today:

Leave a Comment, Join the Conversation!