Language Patterns, BJJ And Dealing With Selling Fear…

Marx E. Acosta-Rubio helps business owners create predictable sales systems.

In this episode of The Salesman Podcast, Marx explains his selling system that “never fails” and we also get into the benefits of BJJ and martial arts for sales professionals.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - Marx E. Acosta-Rubio
Business and Lifestyle Strategist

Resources:

Transcript

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Telling isn’t selling. Tom Hopkins said that from Jay Edwards, who taught him. Telling isn’t selling. It’s asking questions. It’s also not about being this overarching personality. I am a doctor. You’re sick. You’re coming to my office. I get to give you a shot. It’s not going to feel good at the beginning, but it’s going to make you feel better longterm. So, if I believe that you buying from me or buying from my company is better for you, Jim Rohn has a line that says this, “The more you care, the stronger you can be.”

 

The “Perfect Selling System” That Guarantees an 80% Closing Ratio · [00:51]

 

Will Barron:

Hello, Sales Nation, I’m Will Barron, host of the Salesman podcast, the world’s most downloaded B2B sales show. On today’s episode, we have Marx Acosta-Rubio, and we’re getting into Marx’ selling system. We dive into language patterns to control the sale jujitsu, and how that relates to not being fearful in selling a whole lot more. So, let’s jump right into it. I went on your website, and I was massively intrigued as to a couple of statements on there. I’d love to run through them and then we can dive into them deeper and give a tonne of value to the audience. So, one thing you mentioned was, and I’m going to air quotes here, but you have developed a perfect selling system that never fails, and you can ensure a, I think it was an 80% closing ratio for all salespeople, which obviously sounds phenomenal. Right? Can you start us off with the basic here? Provide us a high level view of what that looks like, this selling system, and then we can dive into perhaps a few elements of it throughout the podcast episode itself.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Fantastic. Do you mind if I tell you a little story how I got there first?

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Okay. I started working for a company back in ’94 where we sold on the phone printer ribbons. Now, I don’t know if you know what a printer ribbon is. Before the toner cartridge showed up, there was this massive typewriter ribbon, it goes… right? It was all on the phone. I was so bad, so bad. I got fired three times, but I just wouldn’t quit. I wouldn’t leave. They weren’t paying me. It was Sally [Drogan’s 00:01:53] commission, so they paid me $1,000 a month. I had to pay back in commission. I didn’t know what that meant until I actually didn’t get a check the second month, going, “Wait a minute. Where’s my check?” They tried to send me home.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Most of the guys and gals selling were alcoholics, from Alcoholics Anonymous, they had been to jail. They weren’t necessarily MBAs or college graduates or that level. I was a law school dropout, so I thought to myself, “Come on, man, if these guys and gals can do it, surely I’m not as bright as they are, but at least I can do it.” So, I began to read everything I could get my hands on, listened to every tape at the time, and started learning how to actually truly sell. Then I started to make a little bit of sales, and then I went from zero, and then I went to 5,000 a month, and then I broke the record to 10,000 a month, and then by age 28, I’m making 25,000 a month, now I’m 50 now, so this is, 20, what? Almost 25 years ago. So, I’m making $25,000 a month.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Then I got fired, started my company, grew it to Inc. 500 fastest growing company, right? Number 383. We did it by hiring derelicts, meaning people off the street that didn’t know how to put two syllables together, me, myself included, right? I’m dyslexic. English is my second language. I had realised that I had done something that nobody else had done in my industry. I’d broken every record, but I had realised that in my own mind, I had a pattern of what I did and how I did it and what I said. When I hired my first individual, I said, “Hey, look, here’s what you’re going to do. Here’s what you’re going to say, here’s how you’re going to say it.” They got some success at it. I thought, “Well, what’s interesting is it on producing something they’re not producing, but I’m not any necessarily smarter.”

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

I’m an introvert. I speak way too fast. Right? English is my second language, right? So, I took some neuro linguistic programming and modelling and extracted what I was currently doing. Then I taught them, I said, “Here’s what you’re going to say. Here are the language patterns. Here’s how you’re going to say it.” Now, I didn’t originate this. This came back from the guy that started NCR Ribbon back in the 1930s. Then Thomas Watson used the same concept when he started IBM, and then W. Clement Stone, who put [inaudible 00:03:59] on the map, used the same concept in the 1930s, actually 1920s, when he built what’s now known as Aon insurance, A-O-N insurance. So, it’s not like I invented the concept, but I did add some language patterns to it.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

I taught my guys what to say, how to say it, I taught them, presentations, overrides, closes, stalling questions, but they’re only getting about 60% of my success. So, I was at this level, and they’re at 60%, or you might say, “That’s great. If you can hire people and train them to get almost a little more than half of what you’re doing, that’s still pretty good,” but it wasn’t good enough for me. Here’s the high level piece. I realised, because I used to coach my guys were real time, we put them on the phone and then we had a little speaker box. They would turn the speaker box so I can then hear the prospect and hear them. I would then get them to turn the phone, because we had phones like this, doobies, this would hold it like a microphone, so they couldn’t hear the prospect. Then I would tell them the lines, and they would repeat the lines the way I said it.

 

“The prospect does not want you to get to the close. They want to get you to go all over the place and not get you to that finish line.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [05:30] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

So, if I said to you, “That’s no problem, obviously,” you would not say, “That’s no problem, obviously.” You’d say, “That’s no problem, obviously.” Right? But I noticed that I had a particular flow chart that nobody else had. They knew what to say. The knew when to say it, they knew how to say it, but they didn’t have a particular roadmap get from point A to point B, right? Point A is start a conversation, point B is the close. Well, the prospect does not want you to get to the close. They want to get you to go all over the place and not get you to that finish line. Whereas what I did, I realised that I had a certain sequence of steps, and I wouldn’t move from one box to the other. So, then it dawned on me, “Oh, I have a flow chart that they’re not using,” so then I invented a flow chart.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

If this, then this, a little sequence, right? Of this and this, this all the way, through until they bought. So, I began to teach them the flow chart whereby they could not, under any circumstances, address the prospect and/or move anywhere else until they checked the box on that flow chart. So, if they followed a flow chart and did not deviate, if they said the way I wanted them to say it, the presentation, closes, override, stalling questions, then they would close eight out of 10 individuals, and that’s standard for any industry. Doesn’t matter if it’s toner cartridges on the phone, if it’s Learjet, I mean, I’ve consulted with almost every industry out there. So, I don’t know if that answers your question, but that’s sort of what the success system looks like.

 

Practical Elements in the “Perfect Selling System” · [06:20] 

 

Will Barron:

What would be an example of one of these, if this, then that, flow chart boxes?

 

“You’ve got to get yourself in a positive state because we have these mirror neurons in our noggin, in our brains, that ultimately, the way you feel translates to the other individual if you are congruent between what you say and how you feel. If there’s no congruency, then that other person is going to influence you more.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [06:32] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Sure. In the very beginning, the box one for one of the industries we have, the ink and toner, is you got to get yourself in a positive state, right? Because we have these mirror neurons in our noggin, in our brains, that ultimately the way you feel translates to the other individual if you are congruent between what you say and how you feel. If there’s no congruency, then that other person is going to influence you more. Right? We’ve got to talk about what congruency means. Then we’ll talk about mindset, because mindset out there, these programmes that are out there for mindset are all wrong, just dead wrong, because it’s easy to talk about mindsets when you’re doing online sales, whatever. But when you’re out there belly to belly, mouth to mouth, selling somebody, it’s a very different mindset to the true mindset. So, the box starts with you.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Then the next thing is you got to make the receptionist feel good. There’s two reasons for that. A, you want her to be your friend, obviously. B, you also want to continue that, not enthusiasm, but that positive state of mind. Positive means you’re focusing on what you want. It doesn’t mean you got to be all rubbed up like Tony Robbins and jumping up and down. You can be very mellow, very relaxed, very calm, and still have a positive attitude. Right? Then for us, for example, it says, ask for the decision maker, and they get to the decision maker. If it’s not the decision maker, you got to go back and find out the decision.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

When you get to the end, you got to build rapport, and you’ve got to ask four questions. What are the four questions? If they start deviating from their four questions, you cannot go to the next box, right? It is literally impossible. This does two things. It forces you to get really good at staying on track, and it lets the prospect know, “Boy, this person is absolutely serious about their job.” Therefore, they either acquiesce and keep moving forward, or they just bounce and move away.

 

How to Leverage Language Patterns to Stay in Control of the Sales Conversation · [08:25] 

 

Will Barron:

I don’t know if this is the right… there’ll be terminology for this. I know you mentioned NLP earlier on. This is not the best terminology, but I’m going to use it anyway because I don’t know an alternative. But is it about using language, language patterns? Because it seems like you’re trying to control the conversation here to be the alpha in the conversation versus the person who’s participating is the beta, they follow in with your lead. If there’s only one person leading in the conversation, they’re going to go the path that you’re taking them down, or is there something else to this?

 

“Telling isn’t selling. (Selling) Is asking questions.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [09:15] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

There’s something else to it, but you’re also right. Right now, you and I are having a chat, right? So, I’m not selling you. For me, it’s about giving you information as best as I can, right? I’m trying to communicate it so that you leave here going, “That was pretty good. I got some value out of it. I have some stuff to use.” If I was selling you, I wouldn’t be doing the most of the talking. It would be you. Telling isn’t selling. Tom Hopkins said that from Jay Edwards, who taught him. Telling isn’t selling. It’s asking questions. It’s also not about being this overarching personality. I’m an introvert, right? I’m generally a quiet guy. You can see all the books behind me, right? I mean, give me a corner, give me a book, and I’m happy. Right?

 

“In selling, it’s the opposite. I’m listening 80% of the time and doing 20% of the talking. I want you, the prospect, to feel in control, even though I am really in control.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [09:37] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

I’m generally an introvert most of the time, so I have to get myself keyed up, as W. Clement Stone would say, in order to present to you some information that you find valuable. But in selling, it’s the opposite. I’m listening 80% of the time and doing 20% of the talking. I want you, the prospect, to feel in control, even though I am really in control. Language patterns are important and they’re useful, but only in so much as they invoke a certain emotional response, because from my perspective, to sell somebody something, it’s about triggering the amygdala, the 5S, fight, flight, fornicate, feed, or freeze. 

 

“I define selling as getting you, the prospect, to actually do something, to actually take an action” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [10:17] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

So, it’s not a logical neocortex component. You have to bypass that in your cortex and get into the amygdala and get them to do something, because I define, me personally, I define selling as getting you, the prospect, to actually do something, to actually take an action. Give me the credit card, say yes. I need a physical response from you. That’s what I’m looking for. Right?

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Without a physical response, it’s irrelevant. Right? Chris Voss in his book, Never Split the Difference, we talk about counterfeit yeses, that’s all NLP stuff. It goes back to the 1970s when John Grender, Richard Bennett were teaching the FBI and the CIA how to manipulate. Use hypnosis. It’s just all hypnosis, right? I want you to get to do something, and I have to build the pressure inside of you, but I can’t do it by pushing you. I have to do it by asking you questions so you go inside into your amygdala and then have this urge, right? That if you don’t do action, something negative is going to happen, or if you do action, something positive’s going to happen.

 

Marx’s “One, Two, Three, cha-cha-cha” Formula · [11:06] 

 

Will Barron:

There’s a lot going on there, Marx. Can you give us a practical example of perhaps a couple of questions that would fit in a box that we don’t let people… we kind of keep nudging them back into the box before we move forward, or I guess we discount and disqualify someone if we can’t do that process, what would be an example of a few questions that would put all of what you just described together?

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Wonderful. We have a one, two, three formula. We’ve called it one, two, three, ch-cha-cha. I don’t know why it became one, two, three, cha-cha-cha, it just was easy to remember. Right? I was a big Bruce Lee fan. I did martial arts for most of my life, and Bruce, he was a cha-ch-cha dancing champion.

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

I was so scared as a salesperson. I mean really frightened, no joke, completely hated going to work, pissed my pants. I mean, just really scared, because when you were selling on the phone, you have a headset, and so you hear them inside. I’m very auditory. There’s a whole visual, kinesthetic, auditory, [inaudible 00:12:04]. I’m very auditory. So, when they would say no, it sounded like, “No.” It would just be this big no, and I would feel really small. I was like, “Oh my God, I hate this job. This is all horrible.”

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Right?

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

I actually took the headset off, I put the speaker on the desk so the voice would be further away from me, and then I knew that I had to override their objection, overriding and then close. So, I would do one, two, three with my fingers, one, two, three. Now, this changed my life, because when they would say, “Look, man, you know what? Your price is too high. We just want to buy from you.” I would go like this. Now, they can’t see me, but I’m going like this with my finger. Right? Meaning the prospects [inaudible 00:12:43] on the phone.

 

Will Barron:

Just for people who are listening to this, you’re pinching your thumb and your little finger together.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Yeah. Thumb, little finger, thumb and ring finger, and thumb and middle finger. Right? So, little, ring, and middle. The first one, I would literally pinch my thumb with my little finger as they’re giving me objection. I now knew that I had to go to the second finger, which I had to override the objection. “Hey, Bob, that’s no problem. My price may be higher right now, but compared to what?” Right? He’d go, “Well, to what I’m currently paying now.” Now I had to go to the close. Right? “Bob, if I could show you that my product is indeed more cost effective than what you’re using now, and [inaudible 00:13:24] risk, obviously going to at least take a look at it, isn’t that right?” They would say, “Yeah.” I’d say, “Great, what’s your shipping address?” There’s a close. Then I had a little number sheet on a piece of paper, and I would check one close.

 

“Now, we know through psychology that the human mind can’t say no more than five times. That’s what we thought about closing eight times. If you do the research, it takes five contacts to close a sale. So, we try to do it all in one phone call, try to get to eight.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [14:10] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

I like to close eight times. So, I’d check one box. You go, “Well, no, we’re happy with our current vendor.” I’d say, “Bob, that’s no problem. Nobody appreciates vendor loyalty more than I do. However, doesn’t loyalty to your company come first?” “Yeah.” “I mean, if I could show you a product that proves to be more cost effective than what you’re currently using right now, and I showed it to you on my risk, don’t you think you owe it to your company to at least take a look at it?” “Sure.” “Great. How do you spell your last name?” Boom. Those are the close. right? So, it’s like one, two, three, cha-cha-cha formula. Now, we know through psychology that the human mind can’t say no more than five times. That’s what we thought about closing eight times. If you do the research, it takes five contacts to close a sale. So, we try to do it all in one phone call, try to get to eight.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Language patterns become very important when you’re at a higher level. But in the beginning, it’s really about just having that objection, override, close, objection, override, close, objection, override, close, because if you look at certain books on a willpower, right? Willpower begins to wane. You only have so much, it’s easy to say no in the beginning, but the more you get asked, the lower and lower, until finally, you hear this. You hear them go, “Okay. Send me one,” or, “Okay. I’ll try it.” It’s almost like their neocortex shuts down and the amygdala goes, “Okay, send it.” I don’t know if that answers your question.

 

The Difference Between Essentially Bullying Buyers Into Saying Yes and Persuasive Selling · [15:04] 

 

Will Barron:

It does answer my question, and I’ve got a couple of follow-ups from that. But one thing, and I know what you’re getting at and I know you’re coming from a good place, but what’s the difference between using these techniques to just bully someone into accepting your free trial, a demo, buying your product or whatever it is, which then obviously is going to lead to a refund or bad experience for them. What’s the difference between knocking someone down so far, and essentially bullying them into saying yes, and doing this appropriately? I assume it’s a grey area between, but is there definitive markers we should be aiming towards?

 

“Here’s the way I look at it. I am a doctor. You’re sick. You’re coming to my office. I got to give you a shot. It’s not going to feel good at the beginning, but it’s going to make you feel better long-term.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [15:47] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

It’s huge. I mean, it’s so polar opposite for each other. First, you’re assuming that you have integrity. Secondly, here’s the way I look at it. I am a doctor. You’re sick. You’re coming to my office. I got to give you a shot. It’s not going to feel good at the beginning, but it’s going to make you feel better long-term. So, if I believe that you buying from me or buying from my company is better for you, Jim Rohn has a line that says, “The more you care, the stronger you can be.” So, it’s okay to be vigilant and adamant and congruent about your product. Now, if you’re doing it to get something over on somebody, first of all, your closing ratio will never be 80%. It’ll be 30% at best. Right? But it won’t be that 80%, because people understand and they feel the sincerity of the individual, right?

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Any company we represent or that we teach, we always make sure that their product is better for the individual. If it’s not better for the individual, we can’t do it. First of all, it’s going to come back and it’s going to be more expensive to return. Right? But we have to remember, though, that if you’re not telling them, somebody else will. An example of toner cartridge, they’re buying the cartridge from somebody. It’s not like they don’t use it on a regular basis. Right? The question is, who are they buying it from? You? Me? Staples? Right? So, you have to fight for that. Now, remember, I said in the beginning that when we are teaching sales, it’s 80% they talk, 20% us talk. It makes it feel like it’s your idea.

 

“At the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is you’re afraid of making a mistake. That is the only objection in the world that ever exists on anything, is the fear of making a mistake. It doesn’t matter if we’re selling toners, cars, aeroplanes, irrelevant. It’s that fear. I can’t get to that fear and address it with you belly to belly, heart to heart until I get rid of all those knee-jerk reaction BS responses you’re giving me.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [17:47] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

I’m going fast because we have a short period of time and I want to give information, but the truth of the matter is when we are selling, it’s a low key, calm, collective, hypnotic voice, and it’s a curious tone. It doesn’t go like this. “Hey, Bob, don’t you think you should come and take a look at it?” It goes like, “Hey, Bob, don’t you think you owe it to your company to at least take a look at it?” They go, “Yeah.” The other flip side of that question is that we always look for the no, not the yes. I don’t want you to tell me yes. I want you to tell me no, because I want you to object. “Price is too high, I have too many in stock, I don’t know who you are.” I want all those objections from you, because when we’ve addressed all of those, at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is you’re afraid of making a mistake. That is the only objection in the world that ever exists on anything is the fear of making a mistake.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

It doesn’t matter if we’re selling toners, cars, aeroplanes , irrelevant. It’s that fear. I can’t get to that fear and address it with you belly to belly, heart to heart, until I get rid of all those knee jerk reaction BS responses you’re giving me. So, it’s a game, right? You give me a BS response, okay, boom. That’s out of the way. Now what? Boom. It’s like you’re throwing volleys in tennis and I’m just hitting them back, hitting them back, hitting them back, until you finally tell me the truth, which might look like this. “You know what? Look, I’ve tried this before and I’ve just been burnt. I bought somebody else’s cartridges,” or, “I bought this car from this guy.” Doesn’t matter, right? “It just didn’t work out.”

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

That’s when you have the heart to heart. Then you connect with them and then they say, “Okay, now I trust you.” But you can’t get there unless you get through… you termed the word bullying. Bullying is for somebody who’s got the lack of the skill and empathy. Right? You have to understand where they’re coming from, but you can’t be faked out into thinking that the objections they’re giving you are true objections. They’re not.

 

Will Barron:

Yep.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

The best one is they come and say, “Look, here’s the bottom line. Right? You seem like a nice guy. I would love to buy from you, but the truth is, I’ve been burned before.” That’s when you want to get to. Does that make sense?

 

Will Barron:

That makes total sense. Okay, Marx, rough numbers, you might not have them off the top of your head, but how long have you been teaching this for?

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Since I was 26 years.

 

How to Handle Buyer Objections From People Trained on Negotiations and Dealing with Salespeople · [19:34] 

 

Will Barron:

Have you seen the buyer side of the conversation change over that period? What I mean by this is that I didn’t realise this, but I know procurement are trained up on purchasing. I was solely unaware of the amount of essentially procurement dropdown training that was happening from procurement teams to middle managers, to C-suite executives of how to deal with buyers who are perhaps not adding value, who are trying to suck value from a conversation. Have you seen that the conversations that we’re having as salespeople are changing due to perhaps buyers being, not necessarily savvy to what we’re describing here, but being taught to be calm and cool and collective and stick to their guns rather than perhaps in the past, it’s been a little bit easier to get out of them what we need to help them make a good decision?

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Yeah. ISM, Institute for Supply Management and they’re US and worldwide, they have 60,000 members that are procurement and CPOs, chief procurement officers, whatever have you. They train negotiations. I mean, they’re always trying to educate the buyers, or anybody for that matter, on how to deal with salesmen. Now, if the salesman’s not trained and they’re cheesy and, because there’s a lot of them.

 

Will Barron:

Yes, of course.

 

“I learned that the better educated the procurement buyer is, the easier they are to sell. Because they understand the game, and they want to play the game, and they’re looking for what’s best for them and the organisation.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [20:48] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Unfortunately, in this profession, the majority of them are just bad. They’re terrible. They’re so bad, right? They’re going to be able to dominate them. But I learned that the better educated the procurement buyer is, the easier they are to sell.

 

Will Barron:

Okay.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Because they understand the game, and they want to play the game, and they’re looking for what’s best for them in the organisation. If you can prove to them with reasons that you’re the best for them, they’ll buy from you. Now, remember, you’re unpacking a whole… I mean, salesmen persuading is such a elaborate, detailed, intricate, fascinating field, because we can elicit buying strategies via NLP. We can use Cialdini’s Pre-Suasion or influencing techniques, right? We can use hypnotic language from Milton Erickson. We can use the [inaudible 00:21:32]. There’s just so many ways of attacking it. But it all boils down to the fact that you want to trigger the amygdala to get them to actually take action. The more educated and the more advanced they are and the more they are at the high level, as long as you’re at that level, it’s way more fun. Right?

 

Will Barron:

Yep.

 

“Is it harder now to sell than it was 26 years ago? Is it more difficult to get the buyer to say yes? Do the same techniques work? The answer is you haven’t changed the human brain in 26 years. You may have changed the knee-jerk reaction responses that they think work, but the reality is, when you bypass all that BS and get to the true objection, to the amygdala part of the brain, you’re still going to persuade them.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [21:56] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

And you’re more likely to close it. But it doesn’t change. I think the question you might’ve asked was, or might want to ask is, “Hey, is it harder now to sell than it was 26 years ago? Is it more difficult to get the buyer to say yes? Do the same techniques work?” The answer is you haven’t changed the human brain in 26 years, right? You may have changed the knee-jerk reaction responses that they think work. But the reality is, when you bypass all that BS and get to the true objection, to the amygdala part of the brain, you’re still going to persuade that. Hypnosis techniques have been modified, but the concept of hypnosis hasn’t changed. I use hypnosis because that’s been around for a little while. I find it’s actually easier to sell now.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Caveat, right? I have an allergic response to cheesy trained salesmen, and I don’t want to name any names in your programme to put anybody down, but they’re on YouTube, and you see them on Facebook, and you see them on Instagram and stuff. One guy’s called the [inaudible 00:22:57], and one guy is this in real estate, right? Those guys are terrible, horrible, and they’re going to teach you how to be a scammer, scummy, shitty individual, right? Salesmanship truly is, I know it’s a cliche, It is helping somebody. Right? Now, you have to be strong, because there is this sometimes contentious from the other part, from the part of the prospect, right? Because they’re different human beings. So, you got to be very empathetic.

 

“Empathy is the number one persuading tool we have, that is to understand the other person. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to be sympathetic or you’re going to feel what they feel, because then they persuade you. You’re empathetic, meaning that I understand how they feel, but I’m not going to feel the way they feel. When two people meet, the one who’s most congruent will persuade the other.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [23:28] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Empathy is the number one persuading tool we have, that is to understand the other person. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to be sympathetic, you’re going to feel what they feel, because then they persuade you. You’re empathetic, right? Meaning that I understand how they feel, but I’m not going to feel the way they feel. When two people meet, the one who’s most congruent will persuade the other. Does that make sense?

 

Will Barron:

It makes total sense. I typically describe it slightly different. It’s the same point, but slightly different. I describe it usually as the person who is the most assertive will lead the conversation, and the other person follows in the footsteps, because if two people are being massively assertive towards each other, then you just have a neutral outcome and you just go 50/50, and that solves the problem. If one person is more assertive, they get to drive the conversation in one way or another. I liked the doctor analogy of when you go and see the GP, they ask you questions. They’re relatively blank faced. When you walk in, unless your arms… you go into action and emergency and your arm’s hanging off and blood’s pumping out of you, other than situations like that, they’re blank faced, they ask you three or four minutes of questions, and then they’ll give a clear diagnosis at the end of it.

 

Assertive Versus Authoritative Selling · [25:01] 

 

Will Barron:

They’re not trying to wow you, they’re not trying to keep your attention. This tension gets built up in the conversation, right? Because you can’t just ask shitty questions. You’ve got to ask questions that make them think. But when you’re answering these questions, you’re going, “Where’s this going to?” And you can see it leading towards a funnel, towards somewhere, and you know that there’s going to be value at the end of that. So, I like that analogy of the doctor. One thing, and then we’ll wrap up the show with this, Marx, you mentioned Bruce Lee. You’ve mentioned martial arts. When you were, I think you used the word scared about selling right at the beginning, were you doing martial arts then?

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Yes. Let me answer the question twofold. One is if it was me, I would substitute the word assertive for authoritative.

 

Will Barron:

Why would you do that?

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Because assertive implies push, push, push, push, push. Authoritative implies, “I know what you need.”

 

Will Barron:

See, I’d push back slightly on there. I’ll let you finish, but authoritative is… I know this is just semantics, right? Authoritative to me says, “I’m right. You’re probably wrong.” Again, this is just semantics. Assertive to me says, “I have a strong conviction on what I’m sharing with you, and so that is why I’m able to be assertive behind it.”

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

I like that definition, and I would still choose authoritative over assertive.

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Because if you go to the GP, he knows, you don’t, for the most part, right? Let’s hypothetically assume. So, when somebody’s selling something, that salesperson should be knowing more than their individual, what they know best. Now in the process of asking questions, we may realise that person’s not best suited for my product. It’s okay, it’s a balance. Right? It’s not a problem. “Hey, listen, Johnny.” I mean, when people come and hire me, I’m not cheap. Right? When they come and hire me, if I don’t believe I can succeed 100%, I don’t want them as a client. Right? First of all, I don’t need the money, and secondly, it’s just not going to work out well.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

That gives me the authority to make that decision. So, I do like your definition. I would still go with authoritative. The reason is because what I found in my… now, just so you know, I didn’t tell you this, I have closed over 150,000 deals in my lifetime, right? On the phone, primarily, and in-person. I’ve counted, 150,000 deals. This is not me writing a book. I don’t have a book, right? This is me real life, I still do this, right? This is somebody who’s still fighting in the game, going, “Hey, this has been my experience.” It doesn’t mean you have to take it., It doesn’t mean that you have to believe me. It doesn’t mean that I’m right, it just means in my experience. Sometimes when you push somebody, you get the opposite response, right? They push back.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

If you’re assertive, they’re going to be assertive too. I don’t want that. I want the jujitsu approach to it. But in jujitsu, in the martial arts, and I’ve done all kinds of martial arts, I like kickboxing better than jujitsu, but in jujitsu, we’re learning to use the individual’s force in our favour to submit them. So, they push, you don’t push back. You bring it in, you put them into the headlock. You’ve seen UFC, right? [inaudible 00:27:38].

 

Will Barron:

I train jujitsu, so I’m on track with you there.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Okay. Sometimes, from my perspective, I’ve sparred guys who were just way bigger and way stronger. There’s no way I can be assertive with them. But I can be smarter. Right? So, when they push, I may give them fake push to lead them into a triangle or an arm bar, a sweep, right? A mount, whatever the case may be. So, the idea was when Hélio Gracie developed jujitsu, Hélio couldn’t do, according to Hickson, who I’ve trained with, Hickson Gracie, Hélio, his dad, couldn’t do 10 push ups. Right? That’s why he liked to be guard, and that’s why smaller guys can win. I don’t know how tall you are, but I’m not a very… I’m six foot tall, but [inaudible 00:28:19]. So, anyway, to me, that’s what selling is like, is I want you to think that you’re in charge. I want you to think that it was your idea to buy my product and my services, and that requires skill.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

But in order to get there, we also require that we must stay a path which means that I’ve got to be authoritative and not necessarily assertive. If you heard me on a phone call, you’d be like, “Wow, I’ve heard Marx talk on a podcast. That’s not all what I thought he would sound like.” It’s very much teasing things out of you and building that pressure inside of you by asking you questions and leading you. Now, the questions of, “Isn’t that right?” The tag questions, they have a purpose, but that’s not the way you should do everything all the time. Right? I’ll say things like, “Or am I wrong?” They’ll go, “No, no, no. You’re right.” Well, that’s better than saying, “Isn’t that right, Bobby?” “Yes, it’s right.” I get them to say no. Remember, I want the nos, right? I get them to say no, but their no means yes.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Or I’ll ask questions like, “Hey, Bob, let me just ask you something, just out of curiosity. If you had my product right there right now and it came time for you to change it, you’d put it in the machine, wouldn’t you?” “Yeah.” “Great. If it ran great and you loved it, not only would you keep [inaudible 00:29:37], but you’d order more, or am I wrong about that?” “No. No. I’d order more.” “Fantastic. Let’s do this. I’ll set aside just four only. You can have that.” So, you see it’s sort of I’m asking them questions, they’re giving me the answers, because if I tell it to you, it’s not true. But if you say it to me, it is true. So, I want you to say what I want you to say, not me tell you it. Does that make sense?

 

Will Barron:

That makes sense. I’ve never done any of this kind of NLP and language patterns, that side of things, probably because I’ve only ever worked for large medical device organisations that are the cream of the crop, the best organisations. So, the surgeons that I’ve sold to, my perhaps more assertive approach of going in, this, this, and this, doing a great demo, worked perfectly because the person was pre-sold. But I guess for more commoditized products, what you’re describing here, it might be a better approach. So, I appreciate that. With that, Marx, I want to go back to the martial arts element of this just for a second, because as I said, I love jujitsu.

 

Will Barron:

I have so much, my girlfriend keeps calling it masculine energy. I don’t know what it is. I’m running around the house like a nutter at the moment because we can’t train because of this pandemic, this COVID-19 pandemic that’s going around the globe, so all the gyms are shut. I just want to touch on this for a second, because at the top of the show, again, you mentioned Bruce Lee, you mentioned the martial arts. So, you were doing martial arts, right, when you first got into sales, is that correct?

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Yes. I started doing martial arts at age 16 and then got a black belt in karate, threw it away, because I went to Danny DeSanto school, who was Bruce Lee’s best friend and protege, and started learning Jeet June Do and Muay Thai, Subak, Silat wrestling. I got really great at standup. I trained with Chad Stahelski, the guy that did Jon Wick one, two and three, and I trained with Erik Paulson, who’s trained Ken Shamrock. We were the young crew. I started getting into sales at 25, and I had been training for nine years at that time.

 

Marx Reveals the Different Mindsets Between His Martial Arts Training and His Fear for Selling · [31:28] 

 

Will Barron:

Got it. That makes sense to me, right? With that said, why would you be… and this is the mindset thing, this is what I want to wrap the show up with, Marx, why would you be able to kick most people’s asses in the street, right? But then be bothered by, nervous by, scared by talking to someone on the phone? The reason I bring this up is we have a mix of listeners, people with experience, people new to sales, and I feel like getting people’s opinions and thoughts on how they make that mindset shift from, “I’m cracking my pants going into work every morning,” and right now, perhaps people are buying less than before. “My job might be on the line.” You have this almost paralyzation of… I think I might have just made up that word, you might be feeling paralysed by the stress of it all.

 

Will Barron:

How do you break through that and realise, “Sales is just a job. You’re just going to go through these set processes, and if you do everything correctly, you’re going to come out on the other side a winner.” How would you make that mindset shift from someone like yourself, who could kick someone’s ass on the street? Most dudes on the street would probably run away from you as soon as you mentioned the accolades that you just showed us there, to going into the office and being bothered about being on the phone?

 

“Mindset is really how you interpret the world inside your brain. It’s not what reality is. It’s what you believe reality to be, and you’re going to behave that way. A lot of times, it’s very subconscious.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [33:19] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

That’s probably the best question you’ve asked all this podcast. Mindset is a huge thing for me, because that is the difference. We didn’t get a chance to talk about this, but I’d built a fortune, then I lost it, and then I rebuilt it. I had to sort of go back and look at what was the mindset I had? Mindset I define as a set of belief systems about what you believe about yourself, the world, and the environment around you. What does that really mean? We could spend hours talking about this amazing stuff, but the mindset is really how you interpret the world inside your brain, right? It’s not what reality is. It’s what do you believe reality to be, and you’re going to behave that way. A lot of times, it’s very subconscious. As a child or something of that nature, you have these preconceived ideas, visuals, talking to yourself, feelings you have inside your noggin.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

In martial arts, my vision, my own internal belief was an image inside my head of me being able to take on anybody, because I had that experience, I was not the best in the world, but I was pretty darn good. Right? I mean, I’d sparred a bunch of guys, I never lost, yada yada, yada. But in sales, inside my own head, the images, the sounds that gave me the feelings were very different, were tremendous, right? It was like, “Sales is crappy. They’re going to say no,” all of these components, right? So, I had to change that re presentation, how it represented in my mind, in order to get a different set of belief system. Remember in the beginning, I told you that when they said no in the headset, it’s like this big, loud noise. I was like, “Oh, [inaudible 00:34:19].” But I took it out of my head. I physically took it into the desk, because there’s a big difference between a voice going, “No,” and a voice going, “No.”

 

“Changing mindset is not about changing your mindset, it’s about changing how you behave, and then it changes inside the noggin, but you’ve got to be aware of that behaviour.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [34:39] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

So, for me, because I was affected very much auditorily by hearing, putting the voice on the desk allowed me then to do a better job. Then using the physicality, the fingers, one, two, three, changed it. Changing mindset is not about changing your mindset. It’s about changing how you behave, and then it changes inside the noggin, but you got to be aware of that behaviour. Right? Some people, it might not have been the noise. It might have been the image inside their head. Who knows? Right? So, we can go into it, that’s one of the points, if you like, but I think the best way to change your mindset is by changing it. It sounds stupid, but it’s true.

 

How People Who are Afraid of Selling can Use Negative Emotions as Slingshots to Positive Action · [35:22] 

 

Will Barron:

So, what would you say then, Marx, someone who’s watching this now or listening to it, they are driving, probably not driving to the office, they’re going from one side of the house to the other, and they’re going to sit down, and they’re going to make some calls, and rightly or wrongly, they are nervous right now.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Yes.

 

Will Barron:

What would be the top thing, if you only give them one piece of advice, what would be that one piece of advice to get them almost excited to sell as opposed to being fearful of it?

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Use the negative emotion as a slingshot to a positive action.

 

Will Barron:

What does that look like practically for someone who’s listening to this who’s making that journey from the breakfast table to the office?

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Sure. Let me give you an example. I woke up every morning when I first started not wanting to go to work.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Hated to try to go to work. Right? I felt I was going to be demoralised, it was difficult, it was challenging, I sucked at it, I hated the rejection. I was young and what have you. I tried to deny that emotion and realised the more I denied it, the worse it got. In psychology, it’s whatever you resist persists. I would read all positive books and what would have you. So, I tried the opposite approach. I said, “What if I lean into it? What if I said, “Man, I hate going to work in the morning. It feels terrible. I’m anxious. I hate the word no. I feel rejected. I don’t want to do it, and that’s why I’m going to do it.” A miracle happened was emotion didn’t go away necessarily right away, but it lessened, but I took control of my life by taking the action despite the negative emotion.

 

“You can’t get rid of the elephant in the room by ignoring it.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [37:04] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

So, the negative emotion never went away. It became the trigger for me to go do the action. Then when I was the action, I would always call somebody I knew right away to get in a good mood, but it was an action that got me really to become rich. Right? It was taking that step. Most people succumb to it or try to ignore it. Don’t avoid or ignore the negative emotion. Lean into it. You can’t get rid of the elephant in the room by ignoring it. Right?

 

Will Barron:

We’ve actually had a couple… and we’ll wrap up with this, Marx. We’ve had a couple of Olympic athletes on the show now. I think we’ve got three of them. Two of them come to mind immediately as you described that, of they embraced the fact that it’s difficult. I don’t know if you ever read the book The Dip, by Seth Godin. He talks about you start playing golf and you buy your clubs, and then you go for your first lessons. It’s all exciting. Then there’s a big, massive dip underneath it. It’s only people who get to the other side of the dip. Most people quit in the dip, and that funds golf courses. It funds shop that sells golf equipment, because beginners are buying all this crap all the time, and that subsidises the expensive stuff, right?

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Right.

 

Explaining The Dip in the Real World and in Sales · [37:48] 

 

Will Barron:

Gyms, right? Gyms, most people don’t go to gym even though they have a membership. If everyone turned up all at once, then the gym would be too crowded for anyone to get any lifting and working out in there. Whole industries are based on this dip. It seems like you’re describing the same there, of once. You’re accepting of your responsibilities, that there’s going to be a grind, there’s going to be a little bit of pain, but once you get up the other side of the dip, you’ve now built a moat, right? You’ve separated yourself away from the competition. You’ve listened to 20 episodes of the podcast. It was perhaps a bit of a grind, you could have been playing with your dog or doing whatever, playing computer games if you’re at home right now, watching Netflix, watching that Tiger King show that everyone’s banging on about. Instead, you trained, you improved, and so the other side of the dip, you’ve got that gap between you and your competition. So, it’s really interesting that you of similarly say that to a sporting analogy, how you described it there, Marx.

 

“Success isn’t about working harder, because people go, “I’ve got to work harder.” It’s not about that. It’s about doing the consistent action on a daily basis” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [38:49] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

I’ve read now over 3,000 books, and every biography I ever read of any successful individual, the one thing that sticks out in every single one of them is the action. See, success isn’t about working harder, because people go, “I got to work harder.” It’s not about that. It’s about doing the consistent action on a daily basis, right? You just do it and you do it and you do it and you do it. It’s like do jujitsu. You could teach somebody an arm bar, but not until they do it and they do it and they do it, and then they do it in practise over and over again, it’s that doing. Right? It’s that consistent discipline that really requires action. Whether it’s Action, Do it Now, by W. Clement Stone, or Willpower with Peter Daniels, or [inaudible 00:39:18] with Jim Rohn. It doesn’t matter who you look at, right? It’s doing that activity and getting out of your head, right?

 

“What makes great people great is that it’s not that they like to do something, it’s that they don’t like to do it, but they do it anyway. You just cannot become successful in anything if you avoid it.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [39:34] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

The mindset is about getting out of your head, not staying in your head. It’s about taking that action. You stay in your head, you can’t solve anything. Getting out of it, you can solve it. What makes great people great is that it’s not that they don’t like to do something, it’s that they don’t like to do, but they do it anyway. Right? You just cannot become successful in anything if you avoid it. I mean, I don’t know about you, but when I go to jujitsu or whatever, I still got to take a poop before I go. I get nervous and I got to go take a poop, and then I go. I’m always late to class. I just got to take a poop. I’ve been doing this now for 25… oh, gosh, no, 30 some odd years now, and it doesn’t change.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

I was sparring with a guy named Jason Samson down here. Jason’s a 15 and one. Sorry, 14 and one. UFC fights on [inaudible 00:40:15] one. [inaudible 00:40:16], I can take him on ground, he just annihilates me. Right? Now, when I’m in it, I’m in it. When I’m in it, [inaudible 00:40:23], I’m good. before that, I’m nervous, my hands are cold and clammy, I just took a poop. Right? It hasn’t changed. But the difference is, is that even though it’s uncomfortable, I still show up. Sales is exactly that. Now, for some people, they may love it. They may have no reservation. They may have no disability. They’re like, “Hey, man, I can’t wait to go.” That was never me. It was always that scared out of my wits, but I lean into it and I do it anyway. I think it doesn’t matter what side of the stripe that many of your listeners are on, they’re just like, “I can’t wait to get on the phone,” and those guys to me scare me a little bit.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

I like the guys who are like, “I’m a little nervous of doing it, but I do it anyway.” They do a better job, in my opinion, right? Because they’re better at listening, and they’re better at having that empathy, and they are better dealing with the rejection emotion. If somebody is really great at something, they have no adversity challenges. They’re not capable to be grow that muscle. Right? I sucked at almost everything I’ve ever done in my entire life. I have sucked at it. When I started going, “That guy sucks.” But it was that consistent… we’ll wrap up with this because I know you want to cut up, but I was a young man, and I was listening to Jim Rohn. I grew up in a poor environment, didn’t have much. Nobody had ever talked about success and money and happiness. Right? I had no idea.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

I was listening to this saying, and Jim says, “I’m going to give you the definition for failure and success.” I literally stopped my car, no joke, pulled over, and this is back when we had tapes, right? This is 1994, ’93. I took out a pen and paper, and he said, “Failure is repeating judgments and error every day.” So I put, “Okay, well, do not repeat judgments and errors daily. That’s failure.” Then he said, “Success is a few simple disciplines practised every day.” You don’t eat 50 apples at the end of the week or have 50 steaks at the end of the week. It’s a steak or an apple every single day. I thought, “I can do that. Anybody can do that.” I would make 200 phone calls every single day. I would try to make 20 presentations every single day. I would close eight times on each presentation every single day, because he also said success is a numbers game, and of course, ratios.

 

“Emotions aren’t always subject to reason, but they are always subject to action. Meaning that if you feel negative, you feel depressed, you feel anxious, feel whatever, don’t worry about the emotion. Go take action anyway.” – Marx Acosta-Rubio · [43:11] 

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

In the beginning it was slow and people were beating me, but over time, about six months into it, I started getting this huge momentum. Then I broke every record, but I’d never stopped doing the exact same thing every single day, and I got better. At the beginning, I talked to 10 people, closed one. Talked to 10, closed one. Talked to 10, closed one. By the fifth or sixth time, talked to 10, closed two. Whoa. So, I kept up the same level of activity, but I increased my skill set and my skill level. That’s what sales really is. Right? It doesn’t matter… I mean, we’ve done all industries. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change. The last piece I’ll give you is, and this is from W. Clement Stone, who said, “Emotions aren’t always subject to reason, but they are always subject to action.”

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Meaning that if you feel negative, you feel depressed, you feel anxious, feel whatever, don’t worry about the emotion. Go take the action anyway. Go do something physically, because then your body starts to feel different. This is how he made himself a fortune. He started selling insurance at the age of 16, you know? Then he’s one of the [inaudible 00:43:41]… anyway, long story short, that’s the mindset. Forget about the mindset silly stuff. Lean into the emotion. Yeah, it sucks, I’m scared, but don’t deny it. Own it. Say it out loud. Feel it. Make it even stronger and go, “And that’s why I’m going to do this.”

 

Parting Thought · [44:01] 

 

Will Barron:

Got it, got it. Well, with that, Marx, for everyone who wants to know more about yourself, all the training you do and everything you offer, where can we find more, mate?

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

They can go to the website you were looking at, the callmarx.com, but I think we’re putting up a new website, marxacostarubio.com, which is actually, it should be cooler. It’s M-A-R-X, A-C-O-S-T-A, R-U-B-I-O. It may not be up yet, but that will give you some free tools, as well as who I am. The other one is a funnel. callmarx.com is a funnel. You’re welcome to go through it. But I think the website with my name on it will give you some cool stuff, if anybody’s interested.

 

Will Barron:

Good. Good man. I’ll link to both of them in the show notes for this episode over at salesman.org. With that, Marx, I appreciate your back and forth on this. I appreciate the jujitsu talk. I know there’s actually a surprising number of people who train jujitsu who always reach out to me after these episodes and thank me for that kind of content. With that, mate, I want to thank you for your time, expertise, and for joining us on the Salesman podcast.

 

Marx Acosta-Rubio:

Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. You have an incredible day.

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