April 2, 2021

044 - Thinking Better Will Result in Selling Better, with DAN MANNING


How do you solve problems?

With force? With money? With conversation? Or, with better thinking? Meet critical thinking expert and author of the great book, "Thinking Better: Critical Thinking & Creativity Through Trusting Collaboration ," DAN MANNING, as he joins me in this fascinating and entertaining episode of Marketing and Sales, Over Cocktails.

A former A10 fighter pilot for the Air Force and then a military diplomat who speaks fluent Russian, Manning will drop your chin with his stories and insight on how he became an expert on how to actually THINK BETTER.

Sit back and enjoy as we discuss the importance and significance of collaboration, creativity, and proper strategy in all types of situations, and how most of it can be applied to your sales processes, and your business.

Listen as he describes that thinking "outside the box" is only the first step, and that the "fear of future regret" is real and debilitating.

What’s You'll Hear:

●       How guessing the weight of an ox can teach us about collaborative critical thinking.
●       How do you come up with great ideas to improve your company? 
●       Why the fear of future regret is holding you hostage, and how you can break free of that limiting belief. 
●       Are you treating your beliefs as a fact? How to tell the difference between the two.

Mentioned in this Episode:

MarketingandSalespodcast.com
The 7 Secrets to Selling More By Selling Less
Shoot me a question on Allanger.com
Dan Manning on LinkedIn
Hi.Training
Thinking Better: Critical Thinking & Creativity Through Trusting Collaboration

Transcript

hello everyone. And welcome to 
marketing and sales over cocktails. The weekly 
podcast that helps you grow your business, 
improve your life, and enjoy yourself along the 
way. I'm your host Allen Langer. And every week 
we try to bring you the best thought leaders, 
the best business leaders and the best minds out 
there to help you succeed in business and in 
life. So sit back, relax, grab your pad, your 
pen, and your favorite beverage and enjoy. In 
the next episode of marketing and sales over 
cocktails. 

Hello everyone. Welcome back to another episode 
of marketing and sales over cocktails. This is 
your host Allan Langer with episode number 44. 
Tonight we are at 44 episodes. Love this. We're 
just moving along with one great guest after 
another and tonight I got a little bit of a. Off 
the beaten path kind of guest, um, uh, someone 
who's, who's not going to talk directly about 
sales or marketing, but he's going to talk about 
critical thinking, which we all need in business 
and in life. And I think this is really going to 
be an enjoyable episode because I think what, 
uh, my guests, Dan Manning is going to talk 
about is really going to help us all. So before 
we get to Dan, just a couple of quick 
housekeeping notes, the website is marketing and 
sales podcast.com marketing shell park, 
podcast.com. The ask Alan segment, if you just 
click on that little link, uh, you go to the 
form. Send me a question. We've got a cool 
question coming out from Beverley later tonight. 
If I select your question to read on the air, 
you get a free signed autograph copy of my book. 
So do that send in as many questions as you 
want. I get about 15 to 20, sometimes 30 
questions a week. I go through them and I pick 
the best one that I have for my guest. Okay. So 
let is, let's get into this without further ado. 
Dan, Manny, thank you for joining us tonight. 
This is going to be really exciting. I'm happy. 
You're here. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you. 
I really appreciate the invitation. I'm looking 
forward to it. Yeah. Yeah. So just so everyone 
knows Dan Manning, um, he is a former air force 
fighter pilot, which just the thought of 
actually me flying a plane. I have a fear of 
Heights, so I can't even imagine doing anything 
like that. So you're already a hero in my, in my 
book for being a veteran and for flying plane. 
So, uh, thank you for your service. Awesome. But 
what I believe, and I'm going to have him tell 
this a little more eloquently than me, but he 
got into, um, critical thinking, creative 
thinking, collaborative thinking, and he 
actually trains people on how to think better 
and his, his product that he does that is called 
human intelligence or hashtag human 
intelligence. So, um, Dan, why don't you tell us 
about that and how you got into what you do and 
how you help people? Yeah, sure. Thanks. So, so 
when I, I sort of tell the, the story of, of my 
life. My background going to say, I spent 25 
years in the air force and I just recently 
retired, um, just, just over a year ago, 
actually a year in a few months. And as you 
said, during that time, I spent the first half 
as a fighter pilot. I flew the eight, 10, which 
is a, you know, a single seat fighter aircraft. 
And then the second half of my career, I was a 
military diplomat. So I'm a Russian speaker. I 
did a lot of work with the Russians over, over 
Syria, ensuring that we weren't running 
airplanes into each other. And what I found was 
that the problems that I was tasked to solve. 
We're not solved well by the solutions that the 
department of defense is the best at using. So 
as you might expect, the department of defense 
likes to solve problems either with brute force 
or with lots of cash. But the problems that I 
was tasked to tackle things like, you know, 
deterring the Russians in the Baltics or helping 
to build the Afghan air force or fighting the 
ISIS a small drone problem where they turn these 
small, almost like drones into grenade, carrying 
weapons. It didn't matter how much force we had, 
and it didn't matter how much money we have. We 
had to find better ways of solving the problem 
and what that came down to was just thinking 
better, right? More creativity, more 
collaboration, more critical thinking. So I took 
that experience, combined it with the, uh, the 
research from psychology and from neuroscience 
about how we think to turn those into just very 
practical tips that people could use to think 
better. 

So thinking about those folks that you're 
listening, like we get stressed out about, Oh my 
God, I didn't put my social media post on 
tonight or, you know, Um, the, the bill that, 
that I didn't pay my bill to today, you know, 
Dan was dealing with drones that dropped 
grenades and figuring that stuff out. So a lot 
of things you need to put in perspective. So 
again, uh, that's awesome. And thank you for 
what you did for the country. Um, and I totally 
for that. Um, what are you drinking tonight, 
Dan? Because we, we, this is marketing and sell 
over cocktail. So what do you have tonight? 
Yeah, so I'm drinking a bourbon whiskey it's 
from, uh, from Bowman's there's a small 
distillery in, uh, in Virginia. So I was 
assigned to that. Isaac Bowman. Yes. I've 
actually heard about that then you're in 
Alabama. So I am, uh, well, cheers to you. I 
actually have a Grenache tonight. I'm a little 
lightweight tonight, but that's okay. So a 
little virtual cheers to you. Thank you for 
being on the podcast. Once again. Cheers. So 
let's talk about, so tell us how so most of my 
audience are small business owners. They're 
they're entrepreneurs. Uh, I do have a lot of 
sales rep, a lot of marketers, but most of them 
are entrepreneurial minded. So how does a, how 
do you. You gave us a couple of tips on how an 
entrepreneurs starting their own business can 
start thinking differently, or maybe some of the 
traps that you see that business owners fall 
into by thinking the wrong way. 

Yeah. I mean, I think one of the most common 
traps that we all fall into, whether it's 
starting a business or solving any type of 
problem is that we rush to the solution and we 
sort of skip over the finding the problem parts. 
Right. So I talked to lots of, lots of folks and 
I'll ask them. So what's the, what's your big 
plan or what's your. What's your goal? What are 
you working towards? Whether it's your, the very 
big goal is in, what do you want to do with the 
rest of your life or it's, what do you want your 
business to achieve this year? And usually they 
haven't thought very much about that, right? 
Usually they haven't really dug into what is the 
problem that I'm trying to solve, because we're 
wired to, to go for solutions, uh, in a way 
that, um, sort of puts defining the problem on 
the back burner, right? Especially people that 
have a, you know, typically you say like a type, 
a personality, people that are. Bias for action. 
People that want to start doing something, they 
get a lot of comfort out of, out of doing, and 
they get less comfort out of like being 
deliberative with themselves and introspective 
and thinking about what am I really trying to 
do? What solution am I really trying to provide 
for my customer? Or what business am I really 
in? Right. Am I in the business of selling this 
or selling that or providing a service or maybe 
it's not selling at all? And I think really 
taking the time to define the problem is 
probably the, uh, the key. To start thinking 
better. Wow. So what kind of clients do you 
normally work with? Are they, are they large 
corporations? Are they small or do you run the 
gamut between all of them? 

Yeah. So I've, I've worked with, you know, cause 
it came from the air force. I have a lot of, uh, 
a lot of ties back into the department of 
defense and obviously I speak that language and 
have a lot of experience there. So I get several 
clients from, from DOD, but also what I find are 
the clients that I most want to work with. And. 
The ones that get the most benefit from my 
services are those businesses that are sort of 
the, uh, they've been in business for about a 
year, about two years, they've achieved some 
success, but now they're really looking to level 
up, right. They've achieved just about all they 
can do from doing what they've always done. And 
now they're looking for some different ideas, 
some different ways of thinking so they can 
really advance their business. So you're so 
you're helping them. I don't want to, I, you 
know, the, the term is so overused, but think 
outside the box. Thanks. Think differently. To 
actually get their success moving. 

So that's part of it. And in fact, when I talk 
to people, you're thinking outside of the box 
and something that comes up all the time and I, 
I have this little, uh, demonstration now that 
we're on zoom and it's people that are home. It 
looks like people that are just watching the, 
uh, listening to the audio. It looks like I'm 
holding up a cube, right? 

It does. 

Yep. Yeah. So it's got six sides and you people 
talk about thinking outside the box and you want 
to get beyond. The box is here, but this box is 
just an illusion, right? It's just a piece of 
paper that's folded in a way to make you believe 
that it's a box. It's not a box at all. So what 
happens is our, our brains create these 
illusions and they're very attractive to us, 
right? We like to hold onto that illusion and 
believe that this is the problem that we're 
actually trying to solve. But I say that you 
can't think outside the box until you understand 
the box that you're in. And that's what critical 
thinking is. Right? Critical thinking is really 
assessing the problem. Really thinking, what am 
I, what am I trying to do around here? Um, what 
resources will be available to me to solve this 
problem. And now once they do all that work to 
really understand what is the problem. Now I can 
start using creativity to come up with solutions 
that solve the problem I have rather than the 
problem that I, that I wish I had, or it just 
satisfies the illusion in my brain. Wow. That's 
really just really fascinating. So that's what 
you really mean by critical thinking and 
creativity is, is understanding your 
surroundings. I liked what you said, understand 
the box first before you can actually think 
outside of it. That's that's really cool. Do you 
do many people that you talk to? Are they like, 
Oh wow. That makes a lot of sense once you 
actually say it, because it, that, that just 
happened to me when you just said that. I was 
like, Oh yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah. 
Yeah. So, um, so it does, like, it definitely 
takes some conversation because most of the 
things that I work with are things that people 
believe that they understand, but they. Um, 
they're really kind of loose with their 
language, things like creativity and critical 
thinking and trust and collaboration. So it 
takes a little bit of time to make sure that 
we're talking about the same thing. Right. So, 
uh, I'll explain something in a way that's both 
visual as well as, you know, um, maybe a story 
that's attached to it. And now that starts to 
click in and they understand and they understand 
what it is, you know? Yeah. Wow. That's, that's, 
that's really cool. So when people reach out to 
you, what are they trying to fix? Like. They see 
Dan matting and he helps with critical thinking. 
But what do you think they're actually trying to 
fix? Is it something, do you, are you, do you 
fix something that they're not expecting or the 
do when they talk to you? Like, yes, this is 
what I want. Is there a misconception? 

Yeah. So in fact, I learned that all the time, 
you, I do a lot of experiments with my, uh, you 
know, on my website and then just working to 
generate leads and start conversations with 
people. And what I expected was. That the 
customers that would come to me would have some 
type of business problem, right. That they would 
want to know how to launch their next, their 
next product or get into a new market or 
streamline some processes. But what I found is 
you'll probably about 60 to 70% of the people 
that seek me out to talk. I asked them early, 
what is your biggest problem? It's usually 
something that's in their personal life. 
Honestly, I, and I'm not a life coach. It's 
things like, like how do I, um, Continue to run 
my business while I take care of my elderly 
parent, who, um, you can't live with the, you 
know, with the retirement community where she 
lived before because of the pandemic, or like, 
how can I balance my kids' education and being 
home for school while I need to be, be working 
my business or very commonly, like, I don't, I 
don't know what I want to do with my life. I'm 
in a job, a mid‑career professional, and I'm 
pretty good at what I do, but this just isn't 
rewarding to me. I, I know that I'm capable of 
more. But how can I figure out how to move to 
something else or even if I should move to 
something else. Um, and those, I think are the, 
the bigger problems that traditionally you don't 
think about with critical thinking, but that's 
where it has the most payoff for people in their 
individual lives. And you can help with that, to 
think properly, uh, about those issues that 
they're, that they're facing. Yeah, because so, 
so the end lesson for creativity, how to be more 
creative and how to be a better critical. It 
actually comes down to collaboration, right? 
There's a, there's a pretty famous story about, 
uh, sir Francis Galton in 1906. He takes a, a, 
an ox to a County fair in England, and he asks 
people there to make an estimate of how much 
they think this ox weighs. So people turn in 
over the week or so all these different guesses 
and he gets about 1800 guesses of the weight of 
the socks and he takes them home and he lines 
them all up. And then he finds the media. This 
is the one that's right in the middle. So half 
the people thought the Oxford more and half the 
people thought the Oxford less, and the median 
guests was 1,196 pounds. The ox weighed 1,197 
pounds. So what happens is it turns out that 
when we, when we collaborate with other people, 
we think better. And I'll tell you as a, uh, as 
a introvert myself and someone who enjoyed 
flying, uh, you know, a single seat fighter, 
pretty disappointing to me. I realized that I 
don't think best by myself. I think better way, 
I think with other people, because those was 
those illusions that we were talking about, 
those those exist in our brains. But when I show 
up and I start collaborating with you, I bring 
my illusions with me, but I can't see them 
myself. Right. That's why it's an illusion, but 
you can see the illusions that are fooling me 
and I can see the illusions that are fooling you 
and me. If we can collaborate in a 
psychologically safe, trusting environment, now 
those illusions. Shatter. And we started getting 
closer and closer to like actual knowledge, like 
what is the real problem that we're working on? 
So simply working with other people in this 
trusting environment allows us to be better 
critical thinkers. That is so fascinating. And 
he just reminded me. I there's a show that I 
watched with my daughter. Um, it's called it's 
called brain games. Um, uh, have you seen that? 
Uh, um, yeah, w I forget who, who hosted? He's 
really good. He he's, he's the, he's like a 
critical thinker. Guy, but he hosts this show. 
And one of the shows was about, they had this 
giant jar of either marbles or m&ms or 
something. And it did exactly what you said. 
They had a bunch of people, guests and the 
meeting guests was literally three or four off 
of what was actually in the jar. That's 
fascinating. I do that with these ping pong 
balls during my, uh, during my workshops. And 
obviously the more people you have, the closer 
you get, you know, on, on average, you know, two 
or three people don't. I think as well as, you 
know, 50 people, for instance, and that type of 
a exercise, but it's something that very quickly 
demonstrates how much better we think together 
that our collective error is always less than 
the average of our individual errors. Right? So 
each of us may be off by lots. Right. But when 
we come together, we're actually very close. But 
when you say come together that they're not 
talking about how many are in there, it's just, 
it's just what they're thinking, but because 
they're in a group. That meeting will be, we'll 
be closer to the correct answer. 

Uh, it is your, the ping pong balls is just a 
demonstration of that, right? But when people 
make their, make their guests about how many 
ping pong balls are in the container, they, they 
feel safe about sharing their guests, right? 
Nobody feels embarrassed about whatever their 
number is. So they offer up like they're, uh, 
essentially they're unbiased. Um, guests, it's 
only biased by themselves. It's not biased by 
what the rest of the group thinks. A couple of 
times when we were first practicing on how to do 
these on zoom, I would have people put their 
guests in the chat, or maybe still some, 
sometimes people will put their guests in a 
little bit early before I tell them to hit 
enter. And those early guesses will, will bias 
the rest of the group. If the first person, yes 
is a low number, everyone else kind of starts 
steering lower on the, uh, on their, their 
guesses. So it's, it's not an effective 
demonstration. Right. But what really matters is 
when we're talking about not about ping pong 
balls or about oxygen, But about how do we come 
up with great ideas to, uh, to improve our 
company? Or how do we approach this new market? 
Or how do I figure out where I'm going to be 
happy? And now having people show up with their 
whole selves and be able to, to share their 
ideas in a psychologically safe environment. 
That's what allows us to shatter those illusions 
and get closer to the knowledge we need to solve 
problems. 

Wow. This is really fascinating. So is there a 
way to take this type of process? This thought 
process you're talking about and apply it to a 
sales situation where I'm talking to a potential 
customer. Is there a way I can do some critical 
thinking about how I'm presenting or how the 
customer's thinking? Is that something that you 
talk about at all? 

So, in fact, I would, I would sort of start the 
start the other way. I would start with the 
collaboration part and I've, you know, I read 
your book as we were preparing for this podcast. 

Oh, it's thanks. Thanks for writing it. There 
was a lot of. Great lessons in there. And I love 
the approach that you take to, to helping your 
customer, right. Essentially, you're talking 
about how do I collaborate with this customer 
to, to solve a problem? Correct. 

And my, my wife also has a fresh roasted coffee 
business. She started here in Alabama, so I will 
help her on the weekends sometimes go out to 
farmer's markets and sell coffee. Right. And 
let's just, let's old fashion selling. Right? 
You're set up, people walk by, people are 
interested in coffee and. So I learned over the 
past couple of years of helping her do that, 
just some of those basic lessons, but it still 
comes down to collaboration, right? If someone 
walks up, you know, I, I asked them, are you a 
coffee drinker and people who are coffee 
drinkers are proud to say that they are. And now 
I ask them like, so what do you, what kind of 
coffee do you drink? And we start a conversation 
about what they typically drink. And now I can 
help them to make a recommendation about, well, 
you know, we have these different coffees, but 
based on what you normally drink, this is 
probably the one that would be best for you. And 
now. Collaboration puts them in a different 
place right now, they're in a place where they 
are willing to share that information. And if I 
can create this atmosphere of psychological 
safety and trust, and they'll tell me what type 
of coffee they drink, right. They'll tell me, or 
they'll say, you know, I drink whatever's in the 
cabinet. You know, I'm not too, I'm not too 
picky about it. But the point is they share that 
information and that I need their information. 
If I want to collaborate with them to solve 
their problem. And ultimately, if, if the 
product that I'm selling is the thing that 
solves their problems, right. We're going to be 
able to meet somewhere and, and yeah, you can 
also take that a step further. Like once they 
tell you, I like, you know, hazelnut and that's 
what I, you know, that's my that's going to 
solve my, my flavored coffee problem. And then 
you say, well, let, let, let me introduce some 
social proof. You know, most people in the, you 
know, in the, in the Alabama area here, um, they 
buy a lot of hazelnut coffee and all of a sudden 
now they feel a lot better because not only 
you're collaborating, but they're feeling a part 
of a trial that you're not the only person. 

Yes, you're exactly right about the tribe as 
well. Right? I mean, the absolute best is when 
you're talking to someone about the coffee and 
one of our customers walks by and says, Hey, you 
need to buy that coffee. It's fantastic. Great. 
It's completely unsolicited pastored by talking 
about it. I think that tribe is so important 
because building that tribe helps them to, uh, 
to feel trust, right? To feel trust inside that 
group and people that are a part of a group, um, 
are more likely to, to share with. That group 
and to take an attitude where they're, they're 
open to, to ideas and open to sharing 
information. Yeah. I mean, it, it, it's, it's 
the classic, you know, you're walking down the 
street and, and three people are looking up. 
What do you do? You look up? Sure. Because you 
feel comfortable because you're part of that 
group. Like a, you know, I'm not going to be 
embarrassed looking up because other people are 
doing it. Um, exactly. That's, that's how the 
human brain works. And if you use that in a 
selling situation and it's not manipulative, 
some people think, well, I'm, I'm manipulating 
the customer. You're actually not, you're 
actually just inviting. Getting a natural human 
brain behavior that makes them feel comfortable 
and you're actually making them feel more 
comfortable to purchase your product by just 
using that technique, which is very common. 

Yes. No, I think, yeah, you're exactly right. It 
is. It is not. In fact, I teach in some of my 
classes, like how to, how to tell when you're 
being manipulated right out of how to tell a 
cure that here are the tricks, but there's no 
trick to human connection right now. They're you 
believe that I'm an authentic human that you can 
trust or you don't. And I'm not going to be very 
effective at tricking you for that for very 
long. Yeah, absolutely. That's a great point. I 
always make notes as we talk, because I do a, I 
do a little podcast teaser when this comes out 
and I put that on LinkedIn and I, and I try to 
like Mark the points of, of, of the things that 
the guests said that are good. So our so far 
I've got six of them for you. So I'm way over 
what I should, what I need. So that's really 
good. I'll slow down. No, no, no, this is, this 
is awesome. Um, now you, you sent me. Some 
questions. We haven't gotten any because we're 
just having a great conversation, but, but I 
love, I absolutely love this question. So I'm 
going to ask it, uh, you, right when we are 
making the decisions, like whether or not to 
make a purchase, how are critical thinking and 
creativity in play. I love that. Please, please 
tell our audience what you mean by that and how 
that works. 

Yeah, so, so the first is with critical 
thinking. So when, when I talk about critical 
thinking, I say that critical thinking is 
sorting between things. Facts beliefs and 
uncertainty, right? So the things that are facts 
are those things that are observable objective. 
These are observations that are backed by 
evidence. These are things that are generally, 
um, there's some proof around those, right? 
Certainly math is one of those facts, but also 
like what my current inventory is or what my 
actual problem is. It turns out to be a fact, a 
lot of times, if I have a flat tire, then I need 
to. I do tire on my car. Right. That's uh, or I 
have a flat tire. That's a fact. Right? And now 
there are things on the other end that are just 
pure uncertainties. For instance, I may not know 
what the, how much a tire would cost. I don't 
know if they're going to the store would have 
the tire that I need in stock, or if I'm going 
to have to wait. I don't know what's going to 
happen that later in the day, do I, am I going 
to have an emergency where I need to manage my 
time and go pick up my son from school or 
something? So I've got facts on one end. 
Uncertainty on the other. And then in the middle 
though, or our beliefs and our beliefs are those 
things that have to bridge the gap between facts 
and uncertainty and our beliefs are made up of 
everything. That is us, all of my, my education, 
my experience, all those cognitive illusions 
that I was talking about, my, um, my previous 
experience, buying a tire, all those things go 
together. But what happens when we don't think 
critically is sometimes we will treat our 
beliefs as facts. Right. We will treat a belief 
that, uh, getting a tire is going to take all 
day. Right. Did I, cause the last time was the 
last two times I went to the store, it took me 
forever and I'm stuck in a cramped waiting room 
and, um, it's an uncomfortable experience, but 
the reality is that doesn't, that isn't a fact 
that doesn't have to always be the case. There, 
there may be, uh, a great tire company. That's 
just down the road where maybe they'll give me a 
loaner or maybe they have a shuttle or maybe 
they have a good wifi or something that I can 
use and get some work done. But I treat my 
previous experiences as facts, and that leads me 
to make bad decisions, but once I can sort of 
sort all those out and understand, like here are 
the actual facts of the matter, you know, I do 
have a flat tire, but, um, I, I can go and like, 
I can call a few stores and find out where the, 
you know, who has the tire that I need and what 
their wait time is. Now I can start making a 
better decision about how to manage my life and, 
and fix this problem. 

And then once I sort of understand the problem 
now, Time for creativity and creativity is the 
production of ideas that are new and useful. So 
now it's time for me to take everything that I 
learned when I was thinking critically and apply 
it to come up with some new solution. 

Maybe I can, uh, can call an Uber to go take me 
to wherever I need to go right away. Maybe I 
don't have to worry about getting the tire 
fixed. Now, maybe I can fix it later. Maybe I 
can, maybe there's somebody who will come and 
change my tire for me. Right. Maybe it'll come 
to my house, but I can start looking for 
something that's a little bit different in that 
solution. And when we're buying something. 

We are running through all of those. Um, we have 
the opportunity to run through that cycle for 
every purchase that we make. Sometimes we'll 
just keep making the same purchase over and 
over, because that's what we've done. Other 
times, maybe we have a new problem. We don't 
know how to solve it, but where it can all work 
out better is when we can collaborate with 
someone that has the knowledge and experience to 
help us make a better decision. 

So do you think, so you read my book, so, you 
know, I talk a lot about rip the trust, the 
phobia, which is the fear of media. With a 
salesperson because everybody hates meeting with 
a salesperson because of past experiences. So it 
sounds like exactly what you're talking about. 
They're making a bad decision because they know 
that for the most, most of the time, the 
previous time they met with salespeople, the 
experience was terrible. Yes. Yeah. This is a 
hundred percent. Right. And so I, I take my 
belief and I act as if it's a fact that all 
salesmen are horrible. All salespeople are, wow. 
That's not actually the case, you know? Yeah. W 
when I trained, if you actually become the sales 
person, that the person is not expecting, like 
they're expecting the sales person, who's not 
going to listen to them, was going to rip them 
off. It was going to be in it for themselves. If 
you're actually not that person, you are like a 
God to them because they start referring you 
everywhere. But because you're the person that 
they didn't expect. 

No. Yes, you're exactly right. And, and I think 
after reading your book and having this 
conversation, right, it keeps coming back to 
trust, right? At human intelligence, we define 
trust as believing that when given a chance you 
are not going to do something damaging to me. 
Right? So trust is a choice. I make the choice 
to believe that Alan's not going to take 
advantage of me. If I tell him, um, you know, 
what my actual problem is, or how much money I 
have to spend, or, um, you know, my, my previous 
experience or the other things I'm looking at. 
If I trust you, then I'll share that 
information. And if I don't, you're not getting 
anything out of me. Right. And, and, and you're, 
and now you're just the typical sales person 
that they were expecting. You know, I I've told 
this story before. You'll appreciate this. I 
went on a ride along once. This is in my window 
days. And, uh, it was a younger rep. We met this 
couple on their, on their back porch. I think 
this is in my book actually, if I remember 
correctly, um, and the experience was so bad 
with the couple from the rep that I was sitting 
there next to he'd just put pressure on them. He 
didn't listen. The guy just walked out of the, 
we were on the back deck. Back in the house, the 
wife was embarrassed. It was, it was an awful 
experience for them, but their windows were 
really bad. Like they needed to replace their 
windows. And I drove pipe by that house three 
years later and they still had their bad windows 
and I couldn't help, but think they didn't want 
to have that experience again. So they'd rather 
live with terrible windows than deal with what 
they dealt with. 

No, yeah. Yes. That is a great story. Um, what I 
found is that the harder a decision is the more 
likely we are. To stick with the status quo. 
Right? So if I need to make a decision about 
buying a new buying new windows, now I've got to 
figure out like, what, what kind of windows 
should I get? Should I get the vinyl windows or 
I need wood windows. And you know, there's maybe 
five companies, maybe there's one that's going 
to give me a great deal. Or what's the timeline 
for getting these done? And I have to move stuff 
out of my house to, to make it happen. So let's 
just not do it. So what you find is that one of 
the things that drives that status quo illusion 
is a feature. You're a future regret. This comes 
up over and over. People are afraid that in the 
future, they're going to look back and say, you 
know, I shouldn't have done that. I should've 
just stuck with what I was doing. I should have 
left well enough alone. I shouldn't have made 
that change. And we, because of that fear, it 
leads us to stick with a bad situation for much 
longer than it would rationally make sense for 
us to, to stick with it. Wow. That's a great, I 
really liked that a lot. Fear of future regret. 
I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm going to 
borrow that from you, if you don't mind and a 
future conversation. 

I love that. All right. We're moving right along 
here. So I want to get to the, uh, to the, uh, 
ask Alan segment, which is a really good 
question. I had this question come in about 
three weeks ago, but I didn't have a guest that, 
um, I, I felt I, I could ask it to, until I got 
Dan on the show. So listen to this one. I don't 
want to hear how Dan is going to answer this. So 
this comes from Beverley. And she's way over in 
Spokane, Washington. So clearly on the other 
side of country from Dan and I, uh, but Beverly 
writes, uh, I seem to always freeze up in tough 
situations in sales, in talks with superiors, et 
cetera. If you ever have anyone on who talks 
about confidence or what I can do to unfreeze 
myself, I would really love for you to ask this 
question. So Beverly, your, your prayer is 
answered. I'm asking that question to Dan. I 
hope you're listening to me. How would you 
answer Beverly with that one down? So, yeah, so 
I would, I would answer it two different ways, 
right? The first is just the very practical, 
tactical answer is one is to slow down, slow 
down your rate of speech. It'll slow down your 
thinking. It will make you easier to understand, 
and it builds in pauses to allow you to think 
so. It's okay. If your brain is running a little 
bit more slowly, the pauses that you take. Or 
only long to you, right? To the, or to the 
people that are listening to you like, Oh, there 
were very controlled. There was a very 
controlled delivery. That person has it going 
on. So simply slowing down your speech is going 
to make it better. 

On the other hand, this is it's an illusion that 
often drives us to freeze up. Right. We believe 
that maybe this other person is thinking 
something bad about us or this other. Person's 
going to think that that I'm dumb or I'm 
incompetent, or I don't know what I'm doing. The 
odds are, the other person is not thinking about 
you that much to have those conclusions, right? 
Yeah. The person that you're talking to is 
thinking about, you know, what they have to do 
after work, or I've got to go pick up the kid, 
or I have this big project I have to do, and 
they're just barely paying attention to you 
anyway. So one thing that you can do is to start 
a conversation with them as if they were a human 
right. Ask them how's your day going, but then 
genuinely listen. Right? What, what are they 
thinking about? What's going on? Having this 
conversation, you actually start to fill out 
their personality. So you're not talking to this 
illusion that you've created, you're talking to 
another human and they also see you as a human. 
And now you can have a human to human 
conversation and get where you need to be. Wow. 
That's, that's great stuff. You just reminded me 
to let you know. Uh, I'm certainly not an, uh, 
uh, an expert in, you know, critical thinking or 
anything, but I do consider my myself, uh, 
pretty knowledgeable in human behavior. And what 
you just said, there is so important. And for 
people to understand you put so much emphasis on 
what you think people think about you, or look 
at you when those people, for the most part 
could care less. They really could care less. 
Think about, I told this to my daughter, about 
six months ago, she was worried about what she 
was wearing. And I said to her, how many times 
have you seen someone in the street wearing just 
a crazy outfit or just something that you would 
obviously never wear? How, how much thought did 
you put into what that person was wearing? And 
she was like, yeah. Just kind of glanced at 
them. I said, exactly. So do you think someone's 
going to care about what color top you're 
wearing right now? Just wear what's comfortable 
for you. Nobody is going to care about it. So 
that would be my advice to Beverley. Pretty much 
tagging what you just said. Dan is you're, 
you're putting so much emphasis on what you 
think people are thinking about you where it's 
really, they're not thinking nearly as much as 
what you're, what you, what you're envisioning 
in your head. 

That's exactly right. That's great advice. Yeah. 
So, well, this has been awesome. We're almost 
at, we're almost at 40 minutes already. Believe 
it or not. Um, so let's, let's um, you have a 
couple of more questions I want to get to, I 
guess I want to get to one more, because I know 
I have, I have a lot of small companies here 
that have small teams, and I know I get people 
asking, you know, about leadership and about how 
to have a good team meeting, but you have a 
question here that was really cool, that, that, 
that caught my eye. And I want to ask you this 
as the final one and you write what is the 
easiest way to make your team more creative? I 
really liked that because. I think once I think 
if an employee feels like they're part of the 
team and part of the company culture, and 
they're helping with their, you know, whatever 
they're coming up with is helping the company 
improved. It's it's just a win‑win for everyone. 
So how would you, uh, how would you answer that? 
What is the easiest way to make your team more 
creative? So, so I've asked this question to 
hundreds and hundreds of people, and I'll ask it 
with this. So, so Alan, can you give me a use 
for this? If you're listening to just the audio 
version, it's a brick, like what's a useful. 

So two things just popped in my head. I can make 
a building out of it or I can throw it into a 
window with a ransom. Yeah. 

Okay. Very nice. Good. Now, so the ransom note 
went, that was pretty good, but think of a 
creative use for this brick, what's something 
that you could do. That's creative with us. I 
would use it as a, um, a bookend hold, some 
books on my shelf. Great. So, so you answered 
that question, just like virtually every other 
person that I. When I first asked what are some 
uses for the brick, people will say, well to 
build stuff, right? It's literally made for 
building things. So that's a good, a good 
answer. Particularly with military groups, it's 
rapidly becomes a weapon. It gets thrown through 
a window it's used to, uh, you'll put under your 
tire. So your car doesn't roll away. Those 
typical things that we talk about, right? So 
this is your brain. It's the left side of your 
brain. Now it takes your entire brain to be 
creative, but it's your less side of the brain 
just cataloging all the places you've either 
seen or heard. I heard of a brick being used and 
you're just repeating all those out. Right. But 
as soon as they ask you, what does the creative 
use for that brick? Now, the question moves from 
the left side of your brain, to the right side 
of your brain. And now, instead of looking for 
what are the ways that I've seen or heard of it 
being used, your brain starts asking what are 
some possibilities? Like, how could I use this 
brick in a different way? Probably the most 
creative or almost bizarre answer that I ever 
had was this guy who said he could file down his 
Bunyan's with it. 

So that is a hundred percent, right. It's a 
striking visual. I asked the question the first 
time, right. That answer existed in that guy's 
mind. Right. But he didn't, he didn't provide 
it. Right. He didn't answer about his Burundians 
because there's a pre‑conscious process in our 
brain. It's called latent inhibition and it 
filters out ideas before you even have the 
conscious thought of, you know, should I share 
this or not? Hmm. So maybe the idea of Bunyan 
bounce around somewhere in his brain, but latent 
inhibition said this is not the right time or 
place for that. Just keep it, keep it to the 
side. But as soon as they asked him to be 
creative, those filters start to open up. And 
now that idea about as Bunyan, now, it comes 
into his conscious mind and he has a choice 
either. He's going to choose to share his and 
problem with the rest of the group that's there, 
or he's not. But the choice that he makes 
depends on the psychological safety that exists 
in the group. Wow. So simply by asking people to 
be more creative, they actually turn out to give 
more creative answers. And researchers at Yale 
did a study where they divided the class into 
three groups. They asked one group to write a 
creative essay. One groups, write an analytical 
essay and the third group just to write an 
essay. Then they graded them for creativity and 
wouldn't, you know, it, the people they asked to 
be creative wrote more creative essays. So the 
easiest way to get your team to be more creative 
is just ask for it, to ask them to be creative, 
as simple as that. Wow. A hundred percent. 

That is fascinating. And now I'm not going to be 
able to, to get rid of the image of this guy, 
filing his Bunyan's with a brewery out of my 
mind for the rest of the night. 

You're welcome. Yeah. Thank you, Dan. Dan, how 
can people find you if they want to contact you, 
uh, for their, for their business, or I know you 
just wrote a book. Tell us a little bit about 
that. Uh, is it, is it outers are coming out? So 
it is out available on Kindle on Amazon. It's 
called thinking better and it's. Critical 
thinking and creativity through trusting 
collaboration. So it's all about the things that 
we talked about here, how to make yourself and 
your team more creative, better critical 
thinkers, and then how to use that to solve 
tough problems like building strategy. That's 
awesome. Yeah. So I encourage everyone. I'm 
going to get the book myself, uh, go get, go get 
Dan's book. And if they want to, if they want to 
reach out to you at it at all, Dan, how can they 
find you? 

Yeah, so the easiest way is through, uh, you 
know, through my email address, Dan, at H 
i.training, Dan at high dot. Training and if 
they want the book, they simply have to ask and 
I'll trade the book for a conversation and be 
glad to, uh, to learn from a human or an 
exchange for sending them the books. That's a 
great way to do it. I also post on LinkedIn. 
That's a great place to find me there. Yeah. 
Dan's got some great stuff on LinkedIn as well, 
so, and we've collaborated there as well. So I 
actually want to personally thank Casey Jones 
for introducing us. She's awesome. And I 
wouldn't have met Dan without Casey, so, uh, 
thank you Casey. If you're listening, Dan, I 
want to thank you for being on the podcast. This 
has been awesome. And I want to thank everyone 
for joining. Joining me tonight on episode 
number 44 of marketing and sales over cocktails. 
Beverly is getting a free book from me, signed 
by me because she sent in a question and I read 
her question. So what are you waiting for? Get 
to the ask Allen segment on marketing and sales 
podcast.com. Send in the question. If I, you get 
a free copy of my book with my signature is 
going to be worth a lot of money someday. Dan, 
again for Dan for me. Thank you for joining us 
everyone tonight, and we will see you again next 
time.