EP 58: The Trust-First Mindset
Kelly: So welcome back to another episode of Thrive. Today, we're gonna talk about the trust mindset for agency leaders, and my guest is Jay Tinkler. He's a sales strategy and consultant for digital and branding agencies and he’s based over in Brisbane, Australia. In addition to owning his own digital agency for about the last ten years, Jay helps leaders to really understand how trust impacts their business. So naturally, I had to connect with him after we actually connected on Instagram of all places so it's great to see you again Jay. Thank you so much for coming on the show today.
Jay: Thank you so much for having me Kelly. Awesome. So good.
Kelly: And I just want to say at the top of the show here that for those of you who are watching or listening and you don't think that you can form real authentic relationships off of something like Instagram or other social media channels, this show is absolutely proof that that's not true.
Jay: We are proof.
Kelly: We are proof. I had seen a couple of things I don't know if I followed a hashtag that you use or whatever it was but I had seen a couple of things that you had been posting and I found myself sort of nodding my head. And I'm like wow this guy gets it. There's definitely some synergy here. Let me just follow him. Let me kind of see what he's all about and every single time I saw something I was like okay alignment, alignment, and then we reached out and now here you are.
Jay: Yeah and I know a previous chat that we've had as well, I was doing the same thing with you. I’m just going, yes, yes, totally, yeah, yeah, yeah, we killed it, the conversation.
Kelly: So I'm really excited to talk with you today. I want to start out with the this sort of reality that service-based businesses, they need to escape this feast or famine situation that they’re in associated with pipeline and yeah I know that that's something that you work with them a lot on. The agencies themselves especially in Australia and I wanna know what led you to figuring out what that underlying factor was in helping them to change that Easter famine pipeline issue.
Jay: Well, at least, listen, to begin with I think it's inherent in our industry. I think it it's something that sort of has driven being a project based business initially for me and coming in as really probably the difference from me coming into my businesses is it all start off as a sales person, right? So a lot of coders come into or designers that they say you know what, I'm going to create my own business, create my own agency here. I came in as a solution focused sales person. And I was looking at the business model originally I'm saying okay, well, to actually drive that business long term and have a consistent income coming in, you need to eliminate that debt, you need to eliminate and get them flatten out that sales, not only from, you talked about mindset a minute ago and even under the heading of scarcity versus abundance kind of mindset. The beautiful thing, I was with a company today and the beautiful thing about being able to step into an abundance which is where we're at with things, we’re in design, we’re in flow, and we're actually being incredibly abundant, and present with our clients and we’re able to, I guess, nail a solution for them every time is the fact that more people buy in nature anyway, in that mindset so it's not only the obvious of hey, we need to cash flow wise, flatten out this feast and famine, but in the famine, we have this scarcity mindset that we step into which is detrimental that can be a slippery slope for us as an agency too.
Kelly: Right. And you did some stand-up comedy a while back and you sort of entered into this stream of consciousness right? We'll call it. How did that lead you to sort of teaching people that trust is earned in relationships because I think this is fascinating.
Jay: Yeah, well listen it's probably been a backstory too on that is the fact that I've been a salesperson right from day one right and one of the things that was, stand-up comedy was a great thing so it was really addressing a fear of mine which was, and most people probably getting up in front of hundreds of people and actually and telling your own jokes and saying will I stay lean? But one of the lessons that they teach you in stand-up comedy is the fact that you do a thing called streaming of consciousness, which is about getting all of the information in your head out of your head and then down on paper and what that allows you to do is actually understand what, it's a really good way to understand your why, understand why you want to be authentic, how are you going to show up. And so what came out of that was really, as humans, as individuals we do this trust thing so well as friends we do this trust thing so well as family members as we step into this and do this trust thing so well by default but the moment we put on our work clothes and step into the work door for whatever reason we stop put on this facade that everything's okay, that we don't necessarily need to be vulnerable, we don't necessarily need to seek out shared value with all the people. And so, that stream of consciousness piece that came out of stand-up comedy was really just identifying for me that I want to show people and demonstrate to people that amazing things come from trusted relationships and if we can learn how to have more trustworthy relationships that together we can create amazing things.
Kelly: Yeah, it's just interesting the way that you just frame that. When we do put on our work clothes it's almost like we are automatically distrusting of the prospects that we're going after, very distrusting of us because they think that we're just there to sell them things. It's like you said we just take this trust that's inherent in these familial or friendship relationships and we forget that we're working with humans. And so, that's very interesting to me because I think if we all trusted each other just a little bit more out of the gate and we're open to what the possibilities were, if we could let those walls crumble a little bit and be a little vulnerable and be more transparent and be more honest, I think that the entire economy would be different. And this is what Brene Brown talks about, you talk about it a lot. There are so many people talking about authenticity and gratitude and vulnerability and showing up and I love the fact that this is where we're at, in this moment today because it's a conversation that we have been putting off for far too long.
Jay: Yeah, listen. The other interesting thing about this is like it or hate it, our capitalist society is not set up for creating trusting relationships. It is actually an intended behavior change that we need to make. That it feels counterintuitive because it goes against of what is inherently a, for want of a better word, his selfish act of going I really need some money. Right? And saying I need to figure out a way but if you can then go, okay, if I slip that on its head and say, if we are doing an exchange and I'm really simplifying here but if we're doing an exchange here and we are having a true relationship, what this should mean is collaboratively, there is a win-win for both of us. And so, stepping into that realm of going we’re not selling here, we’re not going into actually sell them something but we're actually feeling how do we create a relationship together so we create a long term profitable partnership. Then suddenly we go okay how quickly can I get to the no, how quickly can I get to that we’re not a good fit, let me interview you to see whether you're a good client for me rather than doing my dog and pony show every time to actually show what my ways are to see whether you're interested. That’s abundance.
Kelly: Right. And obviously, yeah, and so yes, it's a little bit of abundance mindset and it's a little bit of going in with asking the questions as opposed to introducing ourselves and going right into our capabilities deck which I call the Chinese menu of services allowing that prospect to sort of self-prescribe and choose from that menu. There's no value in that. We’re not showing what our intellect is and what the value is that we're bringing to the table so it's all about questioning. I always say it's a hundred and ten percent about them at the beginning of the relationship then they'll want to get to know you, build, develop that trust. You'll develop the trust with them and that's really how these relationships in these long term business relationships are formed. So yeah I mean everything that you say makes a lot of sense.
Jay: And I think that we are in a revolution at the moment with the Brene Brown as you said before and these kind of people that what were considered quite feminine based trait like empathy and authenticity and vulnerability were starting to say you know what these aren’t, let go on the days of these being feminine traits, these are necessity for us to have authentic relationships.
Kelly: So what you're saying is women were right all along?
Kelly: It's okay. You're in the safe place. You're talking with me. You can say it. If you wouldn’t it, I’ll say it. So one of the other interesting things in people that you talk about a lot is using feast from Princeton and Susan Fiske has this great phrase or quote, “Trust is not born from confidence. Trust is born from warmth of intention.” And I love that term warmth of intention so I would love for you to talk a little bit more about that because you know her work so well.
Jay: So, it gives me chills talking about this kind of stuff because I really like get off on it, really it's so much fun, especially again just circling back to what we were talking about just a minute ago, which is around there, naturally we step into a dog and pony show right? Naturally, we default to, oh let me show you how to fix that and let me show you what we've got. Let me show you when in actual fact didn’t see what I really want as a buyer, is I really want to know that you care. I really want to know that you actually understand me and that you actually care. So talking about warmth of intention, the cool part about this is a couple of things. First of all, you need to own your competence. The first thing is you need to own that the reason why you are in business and that you've lasted as long as you have is because of your competence, you do what you say you could do. Now, stop talking about that and start building strategy around your warmth of intention. What is your warmth of intention? Everything that we've just been talking about. It's that gut feeling, it's that place around which we build on that level of care, that level of empathy, that level of authenticity and people often set aside how do you build strategy around that because what we think happens here is that we go in with our competence and we go, we've got something to fix that problem people go great, thanks so much, and then over time because we've done lots of business with them. We build warmth of intention when in actual fact the way to hack trust, for want of a better word, I mean, hack meaning you always need time, you always need that level of, the recipe that comes with warmth of intention plus competence. But is to stop with warmth of intention is to stop with going I'm here to help first and great, if my product or service can actually serve a purpose in your business, wow, that's a win-win. But let's talk about how I can care about you guys first and be empathetic. The analogy I like to give on this is I don't know whether it's the same in the states but we've got this sort of, I guess it's from movies and that kind of thing but the typical used car salesman.
Kelly: Oh yeah, we have lots of those here.
Jay: Stereotype, right? And if you're walking across a used car sales lot, the first thing you're thinking of, when you're walking across that used car sales lot is, I'm not buying off this guy if he's so and so, right? That I can tell you that in most cases. Let's say that the poor used car salesman is walking across that car yard going, maybe a station wagon. Yeah, I don't know. He's got kids. He's so amazing competence wise. Now for him to be successful, all he has to do is, you know what right? And he meets you where you are and suddenly you build a relationship in which you can generate long term profitable partnerships who will refer you every day of the week if he feels like you care. So the second piece I just want to touch on there is to say that you can lose opportunity for warmth of intention. So if you start with competence, often you become a transactional relationship.
Jay: Yeah commodity, sell, and you lose the opportunity to build true warmth of intention later.
Kelly: And again this isn't new. This is old stuff we do every day of the week in friendships family in that kind of thing but we almost need to learn it as a forced behavior and I don't mean that in a disrespectful way. It actually we have to because the game is not set off in a way to have that comes to default behavior. Yeah, forced just in terms of being against the grain or against the norm or against the conditions that we've been accustomed to.
Kelly: I just want to touch on everything that you're saying in terms of warmth of intention to me it sounds like what we went back to earlier about asking those questions and making it all about them. What I like to do is aside from just asking questions, I'm listening not just with my ears, I’m listening with my heart. I'm listening to the things that people are saying but probably even more so I'm listening to the things they're not saying and then that gives me just from a practical or tactical standpoint, that gives me a reason to ask another set of questions or to follow up or to dig a little bit deeper and the deeper that you dig, the more emotional people will get, the more trust that they will have, the more that they will open up and the opportunities that you're talking about from a business standpoint are in the underpinning, they’re in the underlying reasons why they’re vetting you as a solutions provider. I like to use words like after we have that conversation, I like to use words like it's my intention to serve you or how can I best support you, this is not about sales, this is about nobody wants to be sold anything that they don't need, so I need to understand what the need is, what the wants are, what the impacts of those things are going to be to you on a personal level and in your business. And then I can say I would love to be able to support you. This feels like a good fit for me. I hope it feels like a good fit for you and if that's the case, then you know I would be happy to put a proposal together. That's kind of verbally how this situation goes with warmth of intention. Would you agree with that?
Jay: I totally agree and I think a good hack around this is the idea of and I often say to clients that we work with is, go out and get me five no’s. Go out and go, because the mindset and the exploration that comes with figuring out whether they shouldn't do business with you, is the kind of exploration that you should be doing as to whether they should.
Jay: In other words it should be asking all the reasons like why we are a good fit. Some of the same kind of reasons is why you wouldn't be a good fit and if you're not, then great. Let's get a few no's. Because we're so conditioned to get the yes. Absolutely.
Kelly: Right. And the no’s are not bad.
Kelly: No is still an answer. No to me is just another reason to dive a little bit deeper and see again like you said why is it no.
Kelly: It maybe that we haven't hit on the pain point yet or the challenge or the…so that's interesting.
Jay: We may not be a good fit and if we're not, I've got someone really good that I can introduce you to that I think that would be a fantastic fit for that.
Kelly: Yeah and how valuable is that to be able to have that dialogue and that exploration with someone to find out that you're not a good fit to them or for them, they're not a good fit for you and then to leave them with this amazing taste in their mouth like wow, that was a really helpful and beneficial exercise that we just went through and on top of that, they're still providing me a solution. It's just not their solution. That's just giving, that is like the ultimate giving.
Kelly: So that's absolutely how I think most people should operate and here's the reality for that. I mean when I work with agencies and I'm sure you do the same. Those situations don't necessarily mean that you're not going to be getting something monetarily out of that. If you have a strategic partnership, referring those non-ideal prospects for you to other people that would be ideal for them, that could be some kind of commission based structure or partnership where you're referring and again that's like pure profit into your company. So those are, I love the no’s because that's like great I'm not a good fit, I've got somebody else who probably would be and then with my strategic partnership network, I'm still getting money. I'm still getting income and it's pretty passive so I think that's an important point because a lot of times we think about oh well it's not a good fit for me, forget it. I'm not going to refer them to someone else because there's nothing in it for me. Sometimes you refer people even if there's nothing in it from you because that's just giving and that's how you should act in this world and show up in the world but sometimes there is going to be a monetary benefit so I just wanted to quote that out.
Jay: Yeah and not only that, but if you're able to define why you're not a good fit. And they go, yeah, totally get you, the next time they're at a barbecue you still become a referral source, you still become a third tea, you still become and it becomes an act of reciprocity as well, that you just also just given them the perfect fit for what they need. And they’re feeling that to you.
Kelly: Right. So as we're starting to wrap up here, I want to ask you this question. If we led with trust more often in our lives, what would happen in your opinion from an economic perspective?
Jay: I'm able to answer this like not theoretically because…
Kelly: However you want to answer it.
Jay: I can say that there are a lot of studies now around even if we lead with trust, even with somewhat forced trust, for want of a better word.
Kelly: Conscious trust maybe.
Jay: Conscious trust but I guess what I mean is trusting first rather than necessarily getting to a place of trust so trusting what people would call trusting bluntly, all of the studies show that all our economy markets go up. Now the interesting thing about that is that there’s two pieces to trust is the trustworthiness and actually being trusted so you still need to show up with the element of do I have the ability to do what I say I can do, do I have the commitment to do that. But also the elements of character and connection which is, will I do the right thing or will I do the right thing by this person. Did the other pieces that actually had a tied up in this? So the short answer is that through trusted relationships, I mean, if we look at just an agency level, through trusted relationship, we elongate these relationships. They become more profitable. They become more profitable not only through new business coming through that existing client, that referral base, everything starts to explore. It's the pillar in all of this that we’re trying to achieve. But I just need to touch on one last point to you Kelly and that is runway, that this isn't about going into one conversation and asking the right questions. I really want to encourage the agency community to build more time into what we all call discovery to not only allow number of quality interactions over a period of time but to understand that the time even if you charge for it but the time spent in that early planning stage, I can guarantee it pays off at the other end financially for you with the right type of client once you've gone through qualifications stages and stuff. It needs runway. Every relationship needs runway.
Kelly: Absolutely. And I'm glad that you sort of ended encapsulating that because I think that's a really, really important point and I'm glad we didn't leave it out.
Jay: Yes, cool.
Kelly: Well Jay, thank you so much for being on the show with me today. It's an absolute pleasure every time I talk with you and I'm looking forward to more conversations.
Jay: Amazing. Thanks Kelly.