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The Worlds Cheapest, Most Persuasive Sales Tool…

Each year we ask #SalesNation what their 5 favourite episodes of the Salesman Podcast were over the previous 12-months. Thousands of you voted this episode with Mark Edwards as the “Best Of 2020”.

Mark Edwards is the managing director and resident whiteboard maestro at Whiteboard Strategies.

In this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Mark shares why the whiteboard is the world’s cheapest but most persuasive sales tool.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Mark Edwards
Whiteboard Maestro

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Sales nation, welcome to this top Salesman podcast episode of the year, as voted on by you. Over 1,000 of you guys, sales nation voted this episode with the legend Mark Edwards, as one of our top shows. And on this episode, you’re going to hear right now, we are talking about how you can use the world’s most persuasive selling tool, which is a whiteboard. How you can leverage whiteboards in both in-person meetings, which may not be happening right now, but especially how you can use them over the internet using Zoom, Skype or whatever platform that you’re most familiar with.

 

Will Barron:

Everything that we talk about in this episode as always is available in the show notes over at salesman.org. And so with that said, let’s jump right into it.

 

Will Barron:

So, on today’s episode, we’re going to be getting into, for everyone watching on YouTube, whiteboarding. And for everyone listening on the podcast, iTunes, Android, and everywhere else, I’ll direct you towards the YouTube to recap this show. Because I’m sure there’s-

 

Mark Edwards:

I think so. I would make sense.

 

Why the Whiteboard is the Greatest Persuasion Technology of All Time · [00:55]

 

Will Barron:

There’s going to be a distinct visual element to this one. But I want to get into your quote here, why the whiteboard is the greatest persuasion technology of all time. So, Mark, let’s get into that to start, mate. Why is the whiteboard just so powerful in presenting and changing people’s minds?

 

Mark Edwards:

Yeah. There is no science behind this. That’s the odd thing. I’ve looked through the journals on visual communication and so on. I can’t seem to find any scientific evidence to prove the point. But if you go on YouTube you will see, and yourself, you’re included in this, Will, when you try and explain certain topics, potentially a complex abstract idea, it’s often people will refer to the whiteboard. In other situations, you’d probably go for pen and paper, you might try to do something on the back of a fag packet, but the likely it is in a business corporate environment, which is where I make my living, and I would’ve thought many of your listeners and viewers would be the same. Going into customer offices, meeting customers, perhaps in their office or in a meeting room, you will find in, I would say 99% of the meeting rooms that are out there, the one piece of technology, and it’s not much technology, but you’ll see on the office wall is a classic £95 or $100 white laminate plastic white board. And they are used over and over and over and over again. And in many respects, overlooked, I think, by many of the professionals out there.

 

“Sometimes people will go for PowerPoint. They might take an iPad with them, but the reality is if you get up and just start jotting down your ideas on the whiteboard, you’ll make an imprint in the back of a customer’s mind. Because not only are they hearing you, they’re seeing things as well.” – Mark Edwards · [02:37] 

 

Mark Edwards:

So sometimes people will go for PowerPoint. They might take an iPad with them, but the reality is if you get up and just start jotting down your ideas on the whiteboard, you’ll make an imprint in the back of a customer’s mind. Because not only are they hearing you, they’re seeing things as well. And I do have a little exercise. I don’t know if now would be a good time to show you.

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

Mark Edwards:

Again, it’s something that I picked up a number of years ago. I can give a little bit of background. I was just in and out of a customer’s office in the US and I kept forgetting the pin number to get in, every time I… I’m a mid 50s year old man. There were a few times during the course of a day, I needed to excuse myself, and I kept having to go back to reception to ask for the pin number. And the receptionist said, “No, no, no, no, no.” Because every time, giving me the number, I’d be trying to remember. But basically the receptionist took a post-it note and a pen and said this. So this is how I would remember it. So I’m just drawing for those who are listening, I’ve just drawn a three by three set of boxes there. Meant to represent the entry code pad. You’d probably have a zero down here, but let’s just make it simple, three by three. And the number was this. You get it?

 

Will Barron:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Mark Edwards:

Okay. So [inaudible [00:04:08]?

 

Will Barron:

1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 8-

 

Mark Edwards:

No. 4, 5, 8, 7.

 

Will Barron:

I’d have to write out the numbers.

 

Mark Edwards:

Is it backwards?

 

Will Barron:

I’m reading the numbers in my head and then having to calculate it. But if the numbers were on the squares, I’d obviously make sense.

 

Mark Edwards:

4, 5, 8, 7.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah.

 

Mark Edwards:

Okay. Now then. So if I take that away…

 

Will Barron:

I’ve just failed the first test, haven’t I, Mark?

 

Mark Edwards:

Yeah. Well, not really. I think maybe doing it here… because sometimes when you use video, you do get a reverse image. I hadn’t really taken that into account. But if you then try and reconstruct what was those four numbers? You go back and you have a look at it, you’ll be able to reconstruct and build 4, 5, 8, 7. So it leaves an imprint, a verbal response just will not do.

 

Mark Edwards:

Additionally, not only have we got the verbal element, but if you’re pitching in a customer’s office, you’re speaking to them about it. When you deliver your message, when you’re standing at a whiteboard, you really get integrated with it. And again, I’ll refer, if I can, to a number of the YouTube sales personalities that are out there, typically coming from the United States, but the Grand Car Dawns of the world you’ll often see, although he uses a piece of technology similar to what you’ve got in your studio, but he’s often there rattling out numbers on a whiteboard.

 

Mark Edwards:

As would be Jordan Belfort. Same again, except Jordan seems to prefer to use a flip chart. There’s a benefit to a flip chart in as much as you turn the page and you haven’t lost what you had previously written up. So when I did a lot of work in the training room, delivering training courses to sales people, the flip chart was typically the more common piece of kit that you’d use in that setting. Because you could start day two and you could go back and refer to what we’d done on day one. You can’t necessarily do that with the whiteboard.

 

“The concept or the dynamic of a presenter explaining something to an audience, and then illustrating their ideas visually on the whiteboard or flipchart at the same time is incredibly powerful.” – Mark Edwards · [06:17] 

 

Mark Edwards:

But still, both of them, I think, go to show that the concept or the dynamic of a presenter standing at a whiteboard or a flip chart, explaining something to an audience, and then illustrating their ideas visually on the whiteboard or flip chart at the same time, is incredibly powerful, incredibly powerful.

 

“If you look into a room and there’s somebody standing at a whiteboard and other people sitting down, you would typically assume that the person standing up is the subject matter expert and leading that session.” – Mark Edwards · [07:12] 

 

Mark Edwards:

And again, go back to when you were in school. When you were in school the authoritative figure of the teacher was at the front of the room standing in front of, as it would have been back in my day, it was a blackboard, maybe a whiteboard in your day. But also there’s elements, I think, tied into that, that we are used to. We’re partly conditioned to receiving information from authority figures or typically subject matter experts in the form of a teacher or a professor in a university. So when as a sales person, when you use the whiteboard in that kind of context, where you’re standing at the whiteboard, delivering a message, it also taps in to that… You could say it’s a subconscious dynamic, but it is there. If you look into a room and there’s somebody standing at a whiteboard and other people sitting down, you would typically assume that the person standing up is the subject matter expert and leading that session.

 

Mark Edwards:

So it’s all of those things, Will, that feed into making it, in my opinion, the greatest piece of persuasion technology known to man.

 

Will Barron:

So, there seems to be three things I’ve jotted down here, Mark. So we’ll run through each of them in order. The first thing is, and I find this really interesting of how daft I just looked with your code example, but I remember that shape, so the shape was…

 

Mark Edwards:

Correct. Correct. Absolutely.

 

Will Barron:

I wasn’t quick-witted enough to come up with the numbers in time, without looking like a fool, but I remember that shape now. Next time we speak, that shape will come to mind. So I guess there’s multiple levels to this. And maybe it’s how your brain… Although I think there is science that shows that our brains are particularly wired in different ways. It’s learning habits that people prefer numbers versus prefer images and that side of things or audio cues. But clearly, I remembered it visually as opposed to numerically, as perhaps other people would. And if there was a tone, obviously, these key pads, when you key them in, sometimes they have a tone on them, like a dial pad on a phone, for that reason as well, and I guess for blind people to experiment with the buttons to get the right ones, maybe. I don’t know.

 

Mark Edwards:

Yes. Yeah, yeah.

 

The Collaborative Elements of Using a Whiteboard For a Sales Presentation · [09:05] 

 

Will Barron:

So there seems to be multiple layers to all of this, that the whiteboard is hitting. Both the authority, the visual, the ability to, I guess… This is the second thing that I picked up on here. So tell me if I’m completely off on this, Mark. The second thing I picked up was, it’s almost like a shared memory that we’ve got on the board. So if you’ve got your short term memory just processing everything as it comes out, you’ve got your long-term memory, which you’re trying to potentiate your short term into. The whiteboard seems like an intermediary, where you can have your ideas on it, I can input my ideas on it, and we can come up with a collaborative thought almost, that can then be shared in our long-term memory.

 

Mark Edwards:

Yes. Yeah.

 

Will Barron:

So is that-

 

Mark Edwards:

Most people-

 

Will Barron:

Go on.

 

Mark Edwards:

I was going to say, with regards to the collaborative element there, most… And again, my specialism really is in the technology arena. So the typical clients are technology vendors. 90% of the time with very much of a sales role and responsibility within an organisation. But also we get a lot of pre-sales sales engineers in. They typically don’t regard themselves as salespeople, but they’re involved in the sales process. They are more adept, I would say, and fluent in using whiteboards than most salespeople are. Because they’re used to drawing up technology diagrams and so on and so forth.

 

Mark Edwards:

But they have often said to me, when the customer, if they can get a customer up off their feet, and they can pass a customer a pen. And then the customer starts adding information on to whatever it is that they’ve drawn on the whiteboard. A typical example would be where maybe they’re drawing out their technology infrastructure, their wide area network. When the customer starts putting in their offices or some of their specific technologies in there… Something else we need to consider here then. I would see that as that’s the first time there was ideas in the presenter’s head, ideas in the audience’s head, and for the first time they come out into the physical world and merge on that whiteboard.

 

Mark Edwards:

So that core creative element, most people would say that when that happens, there’s a moment of magic. They feel, they [inaudible [00:11:14] that, you know what I mean, that the relationship with that customer is now rock solid.

 

Mark Edwards:

So it’s not something that you’d probably want to build into the sales qualification process. Did your customer get up at a whiteboard with you? Yes or no? If they did, we’ve got the deal. But most of the people who use this form and approach will know, by long experience, that actually, it’s very, very meaningful when the customer does that. Because the customer ultimately, you could say, is revealing themselves, showing you how they think. So there’s all sorts of positives.

 

Will Barron:

Well, it seems like it breaks down that barrier between the salesperson and the potential buyer. And the buyer’s got their guard up because of how a lot of salespeople act, and the way the media portrays salespeople as well. I think our audience is slightly different. Typically it’s more large deal size B2B sales, as opposed to used car salespeople, who are obviously notorious for using different, weird manipulative techniques.

 

There’s Pressure Associated with Asking the Audience to Participate on the Whiteboard. How can we Diffuse the Tension and Make the Presentation as Collaborative as Possible? · [12:15] 

 

Will Barron:

So some of this may not apply so much to them, but it seems like it’s a great opportunity to get, as you said, someone off their feet, and there’s almost a social pressure, peer pressure. I don’t know if that’s the right way to describe it, because that almost sounds manipulative. But there’s a social pressure in the room when you ask someone a question, for them to give you a response. Well, if you ask someone to say, “Can you share your thoughts on this?” They almost have to jump in. Versus just giving you a one line answer that they’ve pre-prepared.

 

Mark Edwards:

Will, you’re a natural. Say, one of the other elements that I’ve often referred to is that, if you consider that dynamic, if you put me as the salesperson. There’s my customer, there’s me, this is the salesperson. I refer to it as triangulation, in as much as we’ve got the whiteboard. It’s not just me and the customer. And I ask some very probing, you might say challenging questions, but I’m able to do it for a number of reasons.

 

“I’m writing the question up on the whiteboard and I can look at the customer, the customer can look at me, and the customer can look at the question on the whiteboard. There’s three of us here. It’s not the two. And it diffuses the tension.” – Mark Edwards · [13:14] 

 

Mark Edwards:

One, I’m on my feet. Secondly, I’m writing the question up on the whiteboard and I can look at the customer, the customer can look at me, the customer can look at the question on the whiteboard. But there’s three of us here. It’s not the two. And it diffuses the tension. If I can give you a short story. Many years ago, I was in IT sales, back in the early 90s. And I sold a lot of desktop computers to a life insurance company. And one of the challenges that they had had, was that when life insurance salespeople, I don’t know if you ever remember a guy maybe from the co-op or something would come, and they’d literally come into the kitchen of somebody’s house, to collect their insurance premiums. But for these guys selling pensions, going into somebody’s house and then asking them what they earned, what they had in savings, was for a certain sector of the population, they’d take offence to it. You couldn’t do it.

 

Mark Edwards:

But they had found, when using them in the US, they’d found that if the sales person went in, set up at the kitchen table with a little laptop. And on the laptop asked, “What’s your salary? What are your wages? What have you got in terms of savings, or on deposit?” They would give the answer, because the answer was being fed into this.

 

Mark Edwards:

So I would see that as again, a method of triangulation, the white board is you as a customer, there’s the white board. It’s not just the two of you interacting and it does allow or enable a different form. I would say you’ve got to be skilled at it, but a more effective method of communication, much more of a kind of, you know, back and forth and collaborative communication. Okay.

 

The First Step to Becoming an Expert in Whiteboard Sales Presentations · [14:57] 

 

Will Barron:

It was the first step then in to use your term, the mark to become skilled in this, because there’s probably a lot of the audience going, okay, I get it. I’m sold. I’m going to follow up mark afterwards and get some training. But right now, what are the basic steps to implementing a whiteboard into a sales presentation? Starting perhaps from the point of I’ve been in sales five years, I’m doing reasonably well. Right. And I use a PowerPoint presentation every time, and I want to change things up. What would be the first step for someone in that kind of scenario?

 

Mark Edwards:

Yeah. Well, as I say, there are varying levels also of depth that you can go into. Where I am today, because I’ve been specialising in this area for 10 years. So what we do typically nowadays is, I will go into an organisation and they’ll say, “Right, okay. This is our situation.” Whether it’s a product or a new proposition that they want to take to market. “This is the customer. We want our reps, our salespeople to be able to go in and hold a certain type of conversation and discussion.”

 

“What would I be looking to do on a whiteboard? Effectively, I want to take the customer on some kind of journey. So it’s going to be a story with a beginning and a middle and an end.” – Mark Edwards · [16:13] 

 

Mark Edwards:

So we will typically design a presentation which can be delivered at a whiteboard. And if I was then… So let’s cut to the chase here, so that your people maybe can actually do this for themselves. What would I be looking to do on a whiteboard? Effectively, I want to take the customer on some kind of journey. So it’s going to be a story with a beginning and a middle and an end. Yeah?

 

“If you’re on your feet in front of your customer, and you basically want to introduce them to whatever your product offering is, you could start that by saying, “Well, look. The kind of things that we see in the marketplace when talking to organisations like yours, these are some of the issues and challenges that we have.” – Mark Edwards · [16:55] 

 

Mark Edwards:

So if I give a basic structure here, that perhaps your viewers and listeners, to give themselves just a little bit of a framework, a trellis upon which they can put their own proposition and their own solutions. Really what we would typically start off with, is the current as is. So for a customer, where are you now? And a classic line that we would use here is, if you’re on your feet in front of your customer, and you basically want to introduce them to whatever your product offering is, you could start that by saying, “Well, look. The kind of things that we see in the marketplace when talking to organisations like yours, these are some of the issues and challenges that we have.” And you could list them up. You don’t necessarily have to draw anything too detailed and specific, but you can just list up. “Let’s have a look at a couple of the two or three of the main challenges that we see in the marketplace today.” And then present those to the customer.

 

Mark Edwards:

Having done that, then pivot from there into, “Well, look. What are the kinds of issues and challenges, in terms of what are the complications and consequences of those concerns?” So begin to map that out for the customer, checking off. Whilst you’re doing this, by the way, Will, is this something that you see? If I say that this is an issue, this is an issue, and this is an issue, would you agree? Yeah?

 

“When at the whiteboard, you should be keeping your eye on what it is that you’re writing up here, but also all the while monitoring the audience. Whether it’s one person, two, or three people, monitoring them to get some indication of what they’re thinking. And the moment you see whether they’re nodding in affirmation, or sometimes you can see thoughts pass through people’s minds, make sure you involve them. Bring them into the conversation at that point.” – Mark Edwards · [17:53] 

 

Mark Edwards:

And really, when at the whiteboard you should be keeping your eye on what it is that you’re writing up here, but also all the while monitoring the audience. Whether it’s one person, two or three people, monitoring them to get some indication of what they’re thinking. And the moment you see whether they’re nodding in affirmation, or sometimes you can see thoughts pass through people’s minds, make sure you involve them. Bring them into the conversation at that point.

 

Mark Edwards:

So, step one, these are some of the issues that we see. Step two, these are the typical results or the typical consequences of these issues and challenges. “But Hey, guess what, Mr. Customer, it doesn’t have to be like that, because that there is a solution.” And at this point then maybe draw up an abstract of your solution. So that doesn’t necessarily… In many respects, you might have, whether it’s a piece of technology that you’re selling, but maybe you should look to draw an outline of your portfolio of services.

 

Mark Edwards:

I’m just trying to think of an example here. Rather than a specific product, you might say, “Well, look. These are the various services that we offer.” And an easy way of doing that, by the way, Will, if I can, would just be to even put it into a grid format. Yeah? So, we’ve got four main categories of service. We do this, we do this, we do this, we do this. In each one of these areas I can then list what those are, and of course I can refer back to some of the problems that we talked about earlier on. And all the whilst, while doing this with the customer, looking for responses, looking for their engagement to get them involved in walking through this sequence, that kind of logical sequence, where at the end of it, you may, I think it’s unlikely, certainly in today’s business environment, you don’t often get an opportunity to turn around and ask the customer for an order at the end of the meeting.

 

“When I started selling in 1986, selling photocopiers in the city of London, you could go to a first meeting, conduct a meeting and at the end of it, literally close a deal and get the customer to sign an order there and then. It doesn’t really happen nowadays. So I would conclude most whiteboard presentations with some kind of call to action. But that might be a follow-up meeting, to be honest is probably the most common call to action.” – Mark Edwards · [20:13] 

 

Mark Edwards:

When I started selling in 1986, selling photocopiers in the city of London, you could go to a first meeting, conduct a meeting and at the end of it, literally close a deal and get the customer to sign an order there and then. It doesn’t really happen nowadays. So I would conclude most whiteboard presentations with some kind of call to action. But that might be a follow-up meeting, to be honest is probably the most common call to action. “So how about we come back again, you get your people in the room, I’ll bring some of my colleagues along and we’ll whiteboard it or workshop it out?” You’re looking for more engagement from a customer.

 

Mark Edwards:

It may be that maybe the call to action is you want them to come and visit your show room and maybe get a full demonstration. That type of thing. But it’s usually some kind of progression in the sale, not necessarily a close. But that would be a basic structure.

 

“As I say, just get up and use the whiteboard. Get up, start trying to articulate your thoughts visually in some way. And as I said, this doesn’t need to be artistic, it can just be and often is, boxes with arrows connecting them. But present your ideas in this way. And the more you’re at your feet, the more time you spend at the whiteboard, the more comfortable you feel, typically the better you get.” – Mark Edwards · [21:27] 

 

Mark Edwards:

And again, just to hammer home that point. Because you were very specific. What would people… What should they be doing? As I say, just get up and use the whiteboard. Get up, start trying to articulate your thoughts visually in some way. And as I said, this doesn’t need to be artistic, it can just be, and often is, boxes with arrows connecting them. Yeah? But present your ideas in this way. And as I say, the more you’re at your feet, the more time you spend at the whiteboard, the more comfortable you feel, typically the better you get.

 

Will Barron:

So, that’s one side of it. Let’s attack the other side here, and I’ll give you an example from me using this whiteboard in our YouTube content. Right?

 

Mark Edwards:

Yep.

 

Stop Yourself from Overcomplicating a Whiteboard Presentation · [22:07] 

 

Will Barron:

How do we know, Mark, if we are completely over doing it? And what I mean by that is, the example I give you is, on the first few times I used this, I started writing out questions and I was writing out text and immediately I got a series of comments of, “We don’t need to see you write out stuff. It’s YouTube. It isn’t live. Cut that stuff out.” They liked the idea of having, rather than an overlay, it was novel to have my handwriting on the screen. And since then I’ve pivoted and I can share how I’ve pivoted, and you can tell me whether I’m right or wrong with this. But if you are going into your presentations, how would you know if what you’re doing, I guess you’re looking at the potential customers as you go through it.

 

Mark Edwards:

Yes. Because you’re getting better feedback. And it is the case, because a presentation, when I design them now typically for maybe customers want, let’s say a 20 minute discussion. Yeah? 20 minute presentation. Because again, if you go through those steps, this is where we are, this is where we want to get to, this is the kind of opportunity available to you and the solutions that we’ve got. It’s going to take 15 to 20 minutes to deliver something like that.

 

Mark Edwards:

But you always have to be aware of the fact that, if it ain’t going down, if it’s not working, then your just going to, I would say, pull the ejector cord and get out as quickly as you possibly can. That rarely, if ever, happens. Certainly in my situation, I’ve only ever really had maybe two meetings where I think I’ve been confronted by just nasty contrarian types who are just trying to be awkward. And I don’t think there’s anything I could have done in those situations. Otherwise, I’ve always found people very, very receptive to it.

 

Mark Edwards:

But you need to make whatever it is your presenting… Again, the one thing I’ve learned over the 10 year period of just doing this is, we need to make them simpler and simpler again and simpler again. And not be afraid of leaving lots of white space. You know? So again, early on, I had customers, we designed a whiteboard and they go, “Oh, you’re not using that space there. You’re not using it.” They want to come up with some facts and figures or some proof statements to… But it was all getting too much. So simplicity, I think, is the key. Some of the things on your YouTube channel, there is a clip of you with a… Is it an anxiety model that you’ve got? Which is very good by the way, which is classic example.

 

Mark Edwards:

If you think about it, it’s a hugely complex situation, dynamic that you are trying to articulate there. And I think the model that you’ve got works really, really well. But what you were trying to do, or what you’re trying to do is you’ve got, I think it’s probably a PowerPoint kind of flow chart diagram in the background. But you do insert yourself into it. That are points where you take your pen and you work on it.

 

Mark Edwards:

The challenge a lot of the time, with the pre formatted Microsoft or PowerPoint elements is then that you can’t necessarily read them. They’re fine if you’re reading a slide at close quarters, but actually, if you stand back a little bit… And even that diagram that you had there. Again, you and I are referring to something that you probably got a picture of it in your head as I have.

 

Will Barron:

I’ll link to it in the show notes as well for everyone who wants to check it out.

 

“Make it as simple and as easy as possible. And also, don’t be too fussy with regards to how messy it might look on the whiteboard.” – Mark Edwards · [25:51] 

 

Mark Edwards:

Right. Could be very simply presented in live action, didn’t necessarily, even just with a block there, a block here. Here’s the situation. Here’s how you respond to it. I would just try and make it, break it out, make it easier. Did it need to be six blocks? I think it was six. Could it be broken down into four? Make it as simple and as easy as possible. And also, don’t be too fussy with regards to how messy it might block on the white board. I mean, what we’ve got on the board behind us here, to somebody literally coming in halfway through this programme and looking at it, they wouldn’t be able to make any sense of it at all. But anybody who’s heard my explanation as I’ve gone through it, understands completely.

 

Mark Edwards:

So, lots of opportunity. The merger of these two kinds of technologies is a challenge, but I think it’s something that we’re going to have to address because particularly after this now much more prevalent work from home scenario… I mean, I’ve worked from home for a very long time, but I’ve now conducted meetings and training sessions from my desktop just using, well, I’ve got the whiteboard behind, but I also have a Wacom screen here, where I can write in front of me on to an application on here.

 

“Going forwards, I think there’s going to be much greater use of maybe, as I say, the digital technology, but we need to be able to find a way to get in there and personalise it, change it, adapt it, draw attention to certain elements. So you need to have that pen and the ability to bring people’s attention and focus to a particular point by drawing a circle around it or underlining it.” – Mark Edwards · [26:57] 

 

Mark Edwards:

But I think going forwards, I think there’s going to be much greater use of maybe, as I say, of the digital technology, but we need to be able to find a way to get in there and personalise it, change it, adapt it, draw attention to certain elements. So you need to have, as you’ve used in the past, you need to have that pen and the ability to bring people’s attention and focus to a particular point, by drawing a circle around it or underlining it. So I hope that helps.

 

Mark Addresses Will’s Concern that People with Terrible Handwritings Might Struggle Using the Whiteboard Effectively · [27:30] 

 

Will Barron:

That does help. It seems like the audience might have a few light objections here. And I’m sure you get these all the time, Mark, of, “I can’t draw. My handwriting is terrible. Well, from me, which is a concern for me, I’m terrible at spelling it. I don’t like writing Dick every time I misspell something on one of these YouTube videos. So is there any way to, I’m guessing none of the matter. Is the answer to the question. But is there any way to get someone who perhaps is really interested, they’re really excited about this idea, but they have them as a hurdle that they’ve got to get over first. How do we get over those issues?

 

“Getting up and standing and using a whiteboard for some people is going to feel a little odd as if they’re drawing attention to themselves. Therefore more exposure, more time at the whiteboard, more time drawing up your ideas and your thoughts on a whiteboard or even in a notebook, all of that is going to help.” – Mark Edwards · [28:12] 

 

Mark Edwards:

Yeah, And I think the only way to get over them really, is through continuous exposure to it. As I said, you might feel a little bit self-conscious. Even getting up and standing and using a whiteboard for some people is, is going to feel a little odd as if they’re drawing attention to themselves. Therefore more exposure, more time at the whiteboard, more time drawing up your ideas and your thoughts on a whiteboard or even in a notebook, all of that is going to help.

 

Mark Edwards:

But I just want to hammer home that point. This is not about art or creativity here. There might be a situation, the type of things that I am typically drawing are squares, triangles, concentric circles, connecting lines. Yeah? Every now and again… I’m just trying to think what I might… Definitely, I use quite a lot of examples of a person, Stick figures makes a lot of sense in many respects. But I don’t end up drawing cars, or horses, which would be very difficult to draw, even at the best of times. It’s shapes more than anything else. Okay?

 

Mark Edwards:

Now then, again, with regards to how neat your handwriting is. Whether this is because I’ve been at it as long as I have, I just don’t give a damn. I don’t give damn. And well, if I say whatever, if I’m saying this is [inaudible [00:29:32] two, and this is regards to our solutions here, one of our challenges in this area is we’ve got too many vendors in this area. Way too many vendors. So what’s necessary is, we want some kind of vendor consolidation. Squiggle, squiggle, squiggle. But if it’s been presented where I’m saying what the word is as I’m writing it up, it works. Nobody… [inaudible [00:29:58] not sure on the spelling of any of that stuff there. Vendors I’m comfortable with, consolidation might be one of those words, which has a… in the middle. Is it an O or is it an I? I know it is an I.

 

Mark Edwards:

But anyway, you can’t read it. Nobody could come in from outside this call and look at that and have any idea what has been written. But if the two things are delivered at the same time, if the audience is receiving the visual and the audio together simultaneously, synced perfectly by the way, in space and time, they understand. It locks in.

 

Mark Edwards:

So I think it’s a case of just try and shed those inhibitions, get rid of the inhibitions and get up and give it a go, and see how you develop.

 

Will Barron:

So two things. We won’t do it right now, but when we wrap up the show, we’ll have a horse drawing competition and I’ll put that as the outro credits in the YouTube version of this podcast.

 

Mark Explains Why Whatever You’re Writing on the Whiteboard Does not Have to be It’s Exact Representation As Long As You Emphasize or Highlight the Main Points · [30:55] 

 

Will Barron:

But it seems like, Mark, and tell me if I’m right again here, or wrong, I might be way off. We’re communicating with our voice, and that is articulate. Hopefully that’s articulate and straightforward. What we’re writing on the board, it doesn’t have to be the exact word, it’s more of a symbol just to map out in space what we’re saying. Is that how we should think about it? As opposed to a PowerPoint, where the list has to be aligned, and we look all professional.

 

Mark Edwards:

No, that’s right.

 

Will Barron:

If it’s all over the place.

 

Mark Edwards:

No, the more I’m talking to you, you’re a natural at this. I mean, that’s an insight that you’re getting there, as I said, that it is symbolic, even to the point there are times when I’ve even said to people, “Just bang…” You know what I mean? It might be bang the whiteboard. Or underline something, big circles. It is suggestive of something, of importance, of criticality. So, all of that can be delivered at the whiteboard. As I said, it might just be literally taking a red pen, underlining something, or bang it, make it raising the volume of your voice at the same time as doing it. Hugely important.

 

Mark Edwards:

So with that in mind, you can begin to perhaps see we’re playing the whiteboard now. And we’re now getting into musical territory here now. We are beginning to, maybe like a rim shot on a drum here. But we can play with the whiteboard and get all sorts of responses and dynamics out of it.

 

“When it comes to a PowerPoint slide, as I said, we get fixated on “everything’s got to line up correctly. It’s got to be just right in the centre. The font has got to be correct, the colours and so on.” But bearing in mind that all of those things, with regards to the person who’s putting it all together, it’s a complete distraction from what the message is.” – Mark Edwards · [32:34] 

 

Mark Edwards:

So yes, absolutely. When it comes to a PowerPoint slide, as I said, we get fixated on everything’s got to line up correctly. It’s got to be just right in the centre. The font has got to be correct, the colours and so on. But bearing in mind that all of those things, with regards to the person who’s putting it all together, it’s a complete distraction from what the message is. You’re spending all of your time thinking, “How big should the font be? Where should it be positioned? And how long should my list be? And how neat and tidy? Should they be formatted to the left or to the right or centred?” Actually, if it’s about the message, it can be quite messy. And what I’ve got here, and I could show you. When I finish a development workshop with the customers, I will typically paste one wall with magic white board. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen. Magic whiteboard is the roll up stuff that you can paste on a wall, and it’s just one big wall of squiggles, lists, words, my work, other people’s work. It just looks an absolute mess.

 

Mark Edwards:

But I would see it as the creative endeavour and what comes out of it, once we’ve tied it up, we’ve got something really meaningful and worthwhile.

 

When Meeting Important People, Mark and Will Agree that the Whiteboard Can Be Saved as an Artefact for Future Reference · [33:56] 

 

Will Barron:

Do you know what? As you say that, if you could meet with someone, I don’t know, Bill Gates is top of mind at the moment with the pandemic that’s going on, and he’s been vocal about it. If you could meet with Bill Gates and document on a whiteboard the meeting that you had, that could be a really cool piece of art. Or if you met with someone socially exceptional or an athlete, and you could pick their brains and it was squiggles, that’d be really interesting piece of art that I’m sure people would be interested in.

 

Mark Edwards:

I’m sure they would. Again, if you look online, in terms of famous… It’s not a whiteboard, it’s on the back of a napkin. But the guy who basically set up Southwest Airlines in the US, it was supposedly the apocryphal story, is him in a bar with, again, a potential investor for his business idea. And it was back of a napkin stuff. So it was literally a napkin that you’d have in a bar. And it’s a triangle. And on the three triangles, I can’t remember, it’s Dallas, Austin and one other Texas kind of location. And it’s just a triangle and the three locations. But that napkin is now referred to time and time again, certainly within the history of Southwest Airlines, but also when people do MBAs and whatever. But when they study it, that napkin is absolutely referred to.

 

Mark Edwards:

So it is an artefact of that meeting. As even what you’ve got on the board there behind you, it’s quite artistic what you’ve got there, Will, to be honest. But if you think about it, it is an artefact, it is an image captured from a moment in time. I’m sure at the end of this call, you’re just going to turn the monitor off and it’ll disappear. But I would recommend maybe you take a screenshot of that and maybe colour it in later.

 

Will’s Idea of Documenting a Podcast Episode Using a Whiteboard and Experimenting on Visual Thoughts · [35:51] 

 

Will Barron:

It’s something, Mark, that… We’ll wrap up with this, mate. It’s something that I’ve pondered. Maybe you can give me off-camera some thoughts and feedback on this. I would love to document the podcast and almost me just sucking information from the guests, and have it on the whiteboard.

 

Mark Edwards:

Yes. Brilliant idea.

 

Will Barron:

And with this, you can screenshot the page and it’ll email it to you. So we can put it in the show notes of the episode. And I’ve pondered this, but I’ve never managed to… I’ve never tried it for a start. This was probably the episode to give it a go in, and I’ve missed the boat there.

 

Mark Edwards:

I’m interested what’s on your notepad there. Because the reality is, it may just be words that you’re putting down. I don’t know, when you take notes, whether you write things out long hand, or whether you just put words down, which are going to trigger the thought. Also, if you look at my notebooks, I’ve always been a bit of a… I don’t doodle at work, but even my ideas, when they’re coming out on paper, there’ll be little squares and connecting boxes and so on.

 

Mark Edwards:

But what you’ve got there, is how you would work if… When I was training people in a classroom, again, with a flip chart, ideas, whatever’s coming from your audience, that would always be make a note, put it up on there. And I think you’ve got it in your notepad, but some of those points would be well-served being written up on the whiteboard behind you there.

 

Will Barron:

That is really interesting.

 

Mark Edwards:

But you’d have to get over your concerns about your writing first.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. Well, no one would be able to read it, so that wouldn’t be an issue.

 

Mark Edwards:

No, that’s right.

 

Will Barron:

But there’s a triangle here from the Southwest Airline story. I’ve written horse, in capital letters, with a big bubble around that. I’ve done a dotted line that goes from, as is, consequences, solution, call to action, and then journey above it. So you’re right, this seems like a great way to add another layer of… Even if it’s just for the people watching the show, another layer of engagement, as opposed to anything else that come from that?

 

Mark Edwards:

Absolutely.

 

Will Barron:

I will experiment with this, Mark. I appreciate your feedback on that.

 

Mark Edwards:

And as I say, those visuals, because that says to me, is that you’re thinking visually as well. You’re thinking in abstract terms. You’re not just writing words down line by line. And particularly there with the sequence, you have basically dotted it into sequences, so that says that you’re a bit… As I said, I do feel you might be a natural, with regards to the whiteboard.

 

Mark Edwards:

But those elements, really, some of those are refined. You can smart them up, you can think it through maybe, and go, “Hang on a second. If I add this extra element to it.” More importantly, and you put it on the whiteboard.

 

Mark Edwards:

Can I kind of make a point here? I know we’re short on time. But think about… I mentioned there the Grand Car Dawns of the world. And you’ve seen him at a whiteboard. Typically he’s numbers. Numbers, numbers, numbers, $10,000 here, whatever. Jordan Belfort is more words. So he’ll be writing up lists of words. Also, sorry, he likes to do numbered lists. So, “There’s four main reasons behind this.” Or something. Four reasons. Does one. He does two. He gets to three. By the fourth one, he’s forgotten what he’s talking about. And he’s probably moved on to the next sheet by that time.

 

Mark Edwards:

But think of Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Which I’m assuming you’re au fait with. You’ve probably come across it at some point. Conceptually, think about it, it’s a four box matrix. If you remember, it’s employee, self-employed, I think entrepreneur or business owner, and investor. Four box diagram. Stephen Covey, with his seven habits. He also had a four box diagram. Urgent, important. I don’t know if you know the matrix. Urgent, important, not important, and not urgent.

 

Mark Edwards:

Simon Sinek, who is I would say, a YouTube sensation at the moment. Very famous speech of his, which is all about the motivation, and it’s about why we do things. Three concentric circles. That’s all it is. There’s a why at the centre. I think it’s a what, is the circle around that, and a how around that. So, go have a look at that. That’s basically three words and three circles, in what is a 20 minute presentation that’s possibly many millions of hits.

 

Mark Edwards:

So as I say, there’s many speakers out there that are already, articulating their ideas, not just for verbally, but visually is as well. And I think what you said, you’re already clearly getting the idea that maybe it’s something that could add a little extra to what it is that you do here. You’ve got the tools and I would say you’ve got the nowse as well, to be able to do it. So I look forward to seeing it on some future episode.

 

Will and Mark Plan to go Through a Practical Breakdown of a Sales Presentation Using a Whiteboard · [40:43] 

 

Will Barron:

Good. I appreciate that, Mark. Well, we’ll have you back on and perhaps you could even just critique me. Or perhaps we can critique a previous episode where I’ve used it. Or, I’ve not really got any meetings in the diary, but I’d love to now, especially as we’re all selling from home, we’ve got a sales training platform called salesman.org. I’d love to having had this conversation, do a Skype or a Zoom meeting. This is usually there and I’ll bullet point the topics of conversation. But I won’t do what we’ve just described to link things together. I would love to perhaps do a sales presentation, probably the audience would enjoy this as well, to see me do a good or a battle from below or win the deal, and then get you to critique it. If you’d be interested in that,

 

Mark Edwards:

As I say, my guess is your customer typically is a sales director for that situation. Isn’t it, for the… So I’m used to those people. I’ve spent half my life in rooms with those people. They respond really well to a whiteboard presentation. And also by the way, they respect it as a skill and a competency. If you can stand up and if you can deliver your value proposition on your feet at the whiteboard, that’s something that they’re very keen for their salespeople to do. They respect it and whatever it is that your proposition is putting forward, whether it’s online training delivered that way, it’s going to have great effect. We’re very pleased and very happy to help you do it. I did a lot of sales training in my past. I don’t do so much of it now anymore. As I said, 10 years ago, I focused, I latched onto whiteboarding and that’s all I’ve really done since then. But yeah, I’d be very happy to help and work with you on that, Will.

 

Will Barron:

Good.

 

Mark Edwards:

I’ve really enjoyed our time here today, actually,

 

Will Barron:

Well, I appreciate that.

 

Mark Edwards:

Maybe too much time. We’ve been on too long.

 

Parting Thoughts · [42:32] 

 

Will Barron:

We’ll wrap things up, Mark. I appreciate you. For everyone who has been blown away as I have from this content, and essentially the training you’ve given us today. Tell us where we can find out more about you and all the whiteboard training that you do.

 

Mark Edwards:

Well, obviously I can be found on LinkedIn, which I think is the platform of choice nowadays. So my name is Mark Edwards. Company is Whiteboard Strategies. And so you’ll be able to search and find me on LinkedIn. The website is a whiteboardstrategies.co.uk, and there’s some videos and bits and pieces on there, that you can have a look at. But I’ll extend the welcome. If anybody wants to reach out, if they got any specific questions, find me on LinkedIn and direct message me on there. And we’ll start up a conversation. Very happy to do that.

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. Well, I’ll link to all that in the show notes for this episode over at Salesman.org. And will that, Mark, I genuinely really appreciate your time. I thought it was a really interesting conversation. And I want to thank you for joining us on the Salesman podcast.

 

Mark Edwards:

A pleasure. Thank you very much, Will.

 

 

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