About James Bond: James Bond, One of America’s leading Marketing & Behavioral Management Specialists, helps businesses with 5-50 employees scale their business by simplifying their management and marketing. James has more than 22 years of experience as both consultant and company insider at more than 133 U.S. companies, from smaller regional firms to divisions of several Fortune 500 companies, including Kal Kan, Amgen, Litton, Kraft Foods, Abbott Laboratories, Dannon Yogurt, Timex, Tenet Healthcare and others. James is a specialist at market introductions and managing execution of complex, strategic business initiatives in Marketing, Operations, Business Structure, Technology Development, Sales Force Structure, Sales Management, Distribution Channels Development, inter-departmental alignment, and post-merger integration. Check out the latest episode of our Conversational Selling podcast to learn more about James.
In this episode, Nancy and James discuss the following:
- The etymology of the term brain glue.
- Mirroring effect and the incredible power of questions in conversation.
- The neuroscience behind brain glue.
- The physiological influence of humor on the human brain.
- Application of brain glue by U.S. presidents, civil rights activists, comedians, and even moms.
- Political phrases and when to use them.
- How a book title change can change a life.
- Laughter is the best medicine.
- The most powerful human engagement tool that exists is questioning.
- You can’t be too serious, and it lightens up the nature of the conversation and the meeting.
- Political phrases do not make sense, but they grab your attention; they stick to the brain.
- Logic can help, but you must be triggering the emotional sides of the brain, or people will not buy from you!
- If you can get the judge to laugh and if you can get the jury to laugh at you, they suddenly want you to win.
“Brain glue focuses on two basic areas. There are many, but there are two basic areas. Redintegration, which is the brain’s need for completion, is one of them. And then asymmetry, which is when you could present something that is not balanced.” – JAMES
“ By the way, humor is very important. The brain sends chemicals throughout the body. And so, we have something called cortisol, which is the fear and flight drug that goes through our body. So, if somebody scares you or anger you, you get cortisol through your bloodstream. Well, cortisol stays in your bloodstream for up to 36 hours, making you highly resistant to buying anything or agreeing to something you wouldn’t agree to. So, if you go in trying to sell somebody, and they’re really angry because, I don’t know, their client did something, or their wife or husband did something or whatever else, it’s very hard to get them to say, “Yes,” and agree to buy your product or service. And the reason is that cortisol is basically a “getaway from me drug” going through your body. But Oxytocin is triggered; Oxytocin is the antidote to cortisol, and it’s triggered when you tell a joke. Or you do something fascinating, but usually jokes really work well.” – JAMES
“Absolutely, our body wants to smile, and we want to laugh. I mean, life is too short. And so, when to smile and we want to laugh. And so, when you’re working with clients, it helps you, and I know depression is a big thing these days, okay? Well, you got to force yourself to laugh. There was an editor of a major New York magazine, and the doctors told him he has like three months to live. And so, he decided he was going to start laughing. He’s going to force himself to laugh every single day. He’s going to come up with jokes and everything. He’s going to watch movies that are funny. He’s just going to laugh every day. And suddenly he lived, I think, for like nine years after that.” – JAMES
Connect with James Bond:
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesibond/
- Growth Management Ventures, LLC: http://www.gmventuresllc.com/
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Voiceover: You’re listening to The Conversational Selling Podcast with Nancy Calabrese.
Nancy Calabrese: Hi everyone, it’s Nancy Calabrese and it’s time again for Conversational Selling, the podcast where sales leaders and business experts share what’s going on in sales and marketing today and it always starts with the human conversation. Today we’re speaking with James Bond, one of America’s leading marketing and behavioral management specialists who helped famed investor Warren Buffett to simplify growth and selling at one of his companies. James helps businesses with 5 to 50 employees scale their business by simplifying their management and marketing. James has over 22 years of experience as a consultant and company insider at more than 133 US companies, including Amgen, Kraft Foods, Dan and Yogurt, and many more. So, welcome to the show, James. Let me start by saying a catchy name. I’m sure you get that a lot. [1:12]
James Bond: Hi, Nancy. Hi, Nancy. Yeah, no, you’re the first person this hour.
Nancy Calabrese: Real, oh just this hour?
James Bond: This hour.
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, if that’s an icebreaker you’ve got the best one.
James Bond: Yeah, people hang up on me sometimes. I have this guy Jesse James was an investment banker. I don’t know if that’s the best name for a banker, by the way. Jesse James was a bank robber. And I called his office and I said, “Hey, is Jesse in”? And she said, “Who’s calling?”. I said “James Bond” and she said “Yeah, right. And hung up on me”.
Nancy Calabrese: Oh well, you got a catchy name, so anyway, it’s a great icebreaker. And you know, in doing my homework about you, you have coined the term brain glue. Tell us all what that is. [1:55]
James Bond: It’s brain triggers. We don’t realize that we have, there are patterns that are in the brain. And when we can use those patterns, we can get dramatic results. Yeah, just, I mean, I’ll give you an example. There’s something called redintegration, not reintegration, but redintegration, which is the brain’s need for completion. It’s why we watch crappy movies to the end. I went into the living room, and I said to my wife, she was watching a TV show. I said, “Is this any good?” And she says, “No, stupid”. I said, “So why are you watching it?” She said, “I want to see how it turns out”. Well, questions, you know, I could ask, like “What’s the most powerful engagement tool that exists, human engagement tool?” I’m using it now, aren’t I? Can you tell me what I’m doing? I’m using questions. Questions are powerful. And so, one of the things I focus a lot on is power questions. I’ll give you an example of three incredible power questions, okay? Processes: past, present, future. So, we were selling advertising so we would go to somebody, and we would say “Have you ever worked with an advertising agency before” and They would say “Yes” or “No” and then either yes or no, it doesn’t matter, we would say well “What worked for you and what didn’t work for you” and they would tell us and then we would say: Present “so are you using an agency now?” So “Yes” or “No”, “What’s working for you? What’s not working for you”. And the Future: “What would be ideal as far as the situation is concerned?” [3:26]
Nancy Calabrese: Yes.
James Bond: I remember we won Seagram’s, the booze company.
Nancy Calabrese: Right?
James Bond: And I went in there and started asking him that, like if you ever work with, back then I was a photographer, eventually built an advertising agency. But as I was a photographer and doing advertising, I asked him, “Have you ever worked with photographers before?” I said, “Well, yeah, of course”. They said, “Well what’s worked for you and what hasn’t worked for you?”. He started explaining that they spend $100,000, sometimes 50 to $100,000 on bottles, that bottles and how the bottles are made, and the glasses used and all that stuff, and the labeling is so important for them. In the olden days, when I first started, I would have just walked in and shown a portfolio hoping I found something that was fantastic. I would take them through like 50 different examples. [4:15]
Nancy Calabrese: Right.
James Bond: Now or then, what I did was I asked them questions first. And then, as he explained the bottles were important, I went, oh, and I pulled it out. I had a lighting catalog from a lighting manufacturer. And I said, well, we did work with this lighting manufacturer. It has like 600 lamps and lights and chandeliers and stuff. And here we did this, where we showed off. And I started explaining to them how we’re experts in doing glass and plastic and different textures. And they went, “Oh, we got to hire you”.
Nancy Calabrese: Wow.
James Bond: And so, going from. you know, just showing a portfolio to asking questions first. In fact, what I would do is I would say, I’d like to show you samples of what we do, and I’d lean forward, and they would lean forward getting ready to see it. And I’d say, but if it’s okay, can I ask you a few questions first? And I’d lean back, and they’d lean back, little dance, you know? And then I’d ask the questions.
Nancy Calabrese: Oh, I love that. It’s mirroring, right?
James Bond: Yeah, exactly, exactly.
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, very much so. You know that they’re engaged. So, what’s the neuroscience behind brain glue? [5:18]
James Bond: Well, brain glue focuses on two basic areas. There are many, but there are two basic areas. Redintegration, which is the brain’s need for completion is one of them. And then asymmetry, which is when you could present something that is not balanced. You know, I’ll give you asymmetry in an example with Marilyn Monroe. A lot of people don’t know this about Marilyn Monroe. So, Marilyn Monroe, her name was Norma Jean. And I think it was her manager that said, you should change your name to Marilyn. And then her stepfather, I’m pretty sure it was her stepfather was named Monroe. So, she came up with the name Marilyn Monroe, which uses alliteration, the repetition of sound. When I’m describing my product, I say, or my book, I say, well, it teaches you how to light the fire of desire in your buyer. And people go like, oh, okay. So that’s what you want to do. You want to trigger the emotion part, okay? But so, the first thing she did was she changed her name. Then she loved Jean Harlow, who was early in the motion picture industry. [6:19]
Nancy Calabrese: Right.
James Bond: And Jean Harlow had platinum blonde hair. So, Marilyn got the same hairdresser as Jean Harlow and got her hair dyed the same color, platinum blonde. But she had a beauty mark on her cheek, and she would cover it up with makeup. But one day she was looking at photographs of Jean Harlow and she noticed that in some photographs, Jean Harlow has a birthmark on her cheek and sometimes it’s on her chin. And then she realized, “Wait a second, I bet she doesn’t even have a beauty mark. I bet she just puts a dot on her face to bring attention to herself”. And so, Marilyn did that and believed that, that she became famous in large part because of that beauty mark. In fact, Cindy Crawford, who’s a supermodel, when she has a beauty mark over, I think it’s her left lip.
Nancy Calabrese: Right, above her lip, right.
James Bond: And, Yeah, just above her lip. And she said when she was a little girl, she begged her mommy, you know, “Can you please take me to the doctor and get it removed?” And now she says, “I am so glad my mom didn’t get it removed because I believe I became a supermodel in a large part because of this beauty mark”. So, I’m not telling everybody “Go out there when you go on presentations and put a dot on your face”, but it will certainly bring attention to you. [7:33]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, well, it sounds like, you know, you just want to be different, right? You want to do something that’s different from what people remember.
James Bond: Well, and jokes work this way also. You know, if you know what people are thinking, and you could say something different, then it grabs their attention. So, I love the joke, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, congratulations. Okay, it’s like what?
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, right.
James Bond: By the way, humor is very important. Humor, so the brain, you know, sends chemicals throughout the body. And so, we have something called cortisol, which is the fear and flight drug that goes through our body. So, if somebody scares you or makes you angry, you get cortisol going through your bloodstream. Well, cortisol stays in your bloodstream for up to 36 hours, and it makes you highly resistant to buying anything or agreeing to something that you wouldn’t agree to. So, if you go in trying to sell somebody, and they’re really angry because, I don’t know, their client did something or their wife or husband did something or whatever else, it’s very hard to get them to say yes, and agree to buy your product or service. And the reason is that cortisol is basically, get away from me, get away from me. It’s a getaway from me drug going through your body. But oxytocin is triggered, oxytocin is the antidote to cortisol, and it’s triggered when you tell a joke. or you do something fascinating, but usually jokes really work well. And so, if you can tell the joke, and I’m terrible at jokes, I don’t know.
Nancy Calabrese: I think, yeah, humor is so powerful, right?
James Bond: Right, absolutely.
Nancy Calabrese: You can’t be too serious, and it lightens up the nature of the conversation and the meeting. But I want to go back to something. Now, I know you talked about Marilyn Monroe, but, and you also state that US presidents, civil rights activists, comedians use rain glue. Okay, we talked a little bit about that, but how do you… the presidents and the civil rights activists. And you said even moms use their brain glue. I love that. [9:43]
James Bond: Yeah. Well, so let me give you the mom first. So, this mom comes to me and says, “You’re an expert in brain glue. Can you help me with my 14-year-old son?” I’m like, “Okay, what am I getting into?” And she says, “So my 14-year-old son says, Mommy, why do we have to follow so many rules in life?” Okay, so I said, “So the first tool we’re going to use is rhyme. So why do we have to follow so many rules in life? What rhymes with rules? How about fools? Only fools don’t follow rules. Okay, so that’s part of it. I could use that, but let me use a metaphor, you know, and add to that. And so, I brainstormed with the mom and we came up with a metaphor and I sat down with her and her son and I said to her son, so you were asking your mom why we have to follow so many rules in life, right? And he said, yeah. I said, well, think about it. When you’re thirsty, you could drink out of the toilet, but why would you want to? Remember, only fools don’t follow rules. And his response, hmm, that makes sense. First getting a 14-year-old to say anything makes sense is a miracle, so I quickly escaped before he asked another question. [10:56]
Nancy Calabrese: Oh my God.
James Bond: But does it make sense, or did I just simply trigger the emotional sides of the brain? So here are two political statements, okay? Political phrases do not make sense, but they grab your attention, they stick to the brain. You can’t hug a child with nuclear arms, okay? How about this one? It’s sort of a joke. The right to bear arms is almost as crazy as the right to arm bears.
Nancy Calabrese: Oh God.
James Bond: Now, both these phrases are ridiculous from a logical standpoint, but they trigger the emotional sides of the brain. And when they trigger the emotional sides of the brain, they resonate with us. And there are famous studies that show that more than 90% there’s this Harvard professor, Gerald Zaltman and Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, Daniel Kahneman. And both show that more than 90% of buying decisions are triggered on the emotional side of the brain, not the logical side.
Nancy Calabrese: Yep.
James Bond: Logic can help, but you have to be triggering the emotional sides of the brain or people will not buy from you. So, we often hear people say, Know, like, and trust. Okay, you want people to know you, like you, and trust you. Well, yeah, that’s true. But you can’t just depend on that. If you can do an analogy, I mean, John Gray, this is what turned me on to all this. Well, one of the things was John Gray, I was at a conference, and he was telling me, he wrote the book, Men, Women, and Relationships. Fabulous, one of the best relationship books ever. But he only sold a few thousand copies. Then he got this crazy idea. What if I changed the title to Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus? You know, and just tweak the content so it refers to it throughout the book. Guess what happened? [12:37]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah!
James Bond: Instead of his books just sitting on a shelf, almost overnight, half a million books sold, then a million, then two million, then five million. He sold 50 million books, 50 million. He went from a few thousand to 50 million just because he changed the title. Like, wow.
Nancy Calabrese: Wow.
James Bond: when I first started recognizing how powerful brain glue is, first you do the research in it. I’ve been doing this for like about 35 years, by the way. I’m old. So, I had these three construction guys, guys in a construction business, and after 10 years they had 2 million in sales. In one year, by applying this, I got them to 10 million, and then they reached 32 million two years later. So, we went from 2 million to 32 million just by tweaking how they describe their business. Okay? By the way, when I got up to 10 million, they said, hey, Bond, it was supposed to be 12 million our goal. And my response is, shut up. [13:33] They bought each other the biggest brand-new BMWs. They had three BMWs. But what I did was,
Nancy Calabrese: I hope they bought you one.
James Bond: No, they didn’t. That’s what
Nancy Calabrese: They should have. Ha-ha.
James Bond: That’s what pissed me off. These guys are rich, and they walk away. And I’m like, OK, better look for another client. But they had fun. And it was fun working with them. So, I started with a whiteboard, and I said, let’s make a shopping list of all the different types of clients you go after. I said, everybody, let’s think of everybody you’ve worked with, okay, or that you like to work with. And out of that, I said, okay, now we’re going to play a game. I want you to pick one that you’re going to focus on and say no to everybody else. I said, well, we don’t want to do that. I said we don’t want to say no to people. I said, I got it, but just we’re playing a game, okay? And so, we went through the list, and they finally said. Fire restoration for insurance companies. We’ve done it for two insurance companies, just a couple of clients, where a client had a fire. And when a client has a fire, the first thing you do is go in and check the frame of the building to make sure it’s not damaged. If it’s damaged, you got to tear down the whole building. But if it isn’t, then you must fix it and make sure it’s not going to catch fire again and all that stuff and make sure the smell’s gone. I said, okay, so that’s good. So, let’s pretend you’re focusing on that. And so, what’s the first thing that your client thinks of when he’s ready to hire someone like you, we’ll fire, you know, because my client just had a fire. So why don’t we call you guys the fire extinguisher for insurance companies? And they went, huh? They said that as they’re laughing, as they’re saying this, huh, that’s funny. So yeah, we’ll get the website FireX, but we’ll call you guys the fire extinguisher. And when you go in, that’ll be a big part of your pitches. You’re going to say, hey, whenever your client has a fire, we’re your fire extinguishers. You call us and we’re going to extinguish not the fire, we’re not going to put out the fire, but we’re going to extinguish it. And they had fun. This is one of the things that people don’t understand. You got to have fun when you’re going in to present your product or idea. I mean, I guess if you have a funeral home, it might not be exactly the thing, but for most businesses. [15:34]
Nancy Calabrese: Wow.
James Bond: So, they did this, and they said two things happened. The first one was we had a ton of fun because we said, think of us as your fire extinguisher and clients would laugh as, you know, Laughers are buyers, okay? And so, they’re laughing. And they said, this is so much fun, we got to go to other insurance companies. And they finally said no to everybody else because they were so busy with focusing on insurance companies with the deal with a fire that their business grew like big gangbusters. [16:03]
Nancy Calabrese: Wow. And it all started with fire extinguishers.
James Bond: That’s right, which made them laugh. It still makes them laugh. I have a friend who’s Robin Thompson, and she’s on the East in Detroit on ABC television as the personal finance coach, okay? And so, she created this program, and it’s very left brain. This is the whole thing in the right brain, which is the emotion size of the brain that you want to trigger the emotion size of the brain. And so, she tells, for women who make over $100,000 a year, but you suddenly realize that most of your money is going to pay off debts and it’s not really, you’re not getting to keep any of it. And so, it’s very left-brain logic, do this first, check your credit card, how much money you make, and everything else. And so, I got her to include this in the pitch. Money isn’t funny, okay? When you laugh, you’re laughing, everybody laughs when they hear it because the word funny just kind of works. And I said, so I’m training her. And she’s having a riot with this now because she says all this logic and she stops and says, remember, money isn’t funny. Okay. [17:09]
Nancy Calabrese: Yep, I love it.
James Bond: She laughs every time she says it, but it triggers the emotional sides of the brain, and it makes it more fun when she’s presenting to people. And they buy more and more people buy. I have these two friends who are in the top 100 attorneys. One is in the top 10 attorneys in the country. And both told me how they use humor all the time. Because if you can get the judge to laugh and if you can get the jury to laugh at you, they suddenly want you to win. It’s just a funky thing, you know? And so, yeah, just jokes work. [18:02]
Nancy Calabrese: I am so about humor, especially in a sales position. You got to have fun. You must be passionate about what you do. You must know how to do it and do it well. But you’ve got to throw in humor too I think that helps to create bonds with your prospects and your customers.
James Bond: Oh, absolutely. And humor is the, you know, laughter is the best medicine. And it’s true. It makes people feel better. I feel bad that people like Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock, don’t do comedy at colleges anymore because they’re going to offend somebody. It’s like, shut up.
Nancy Calabrese: I know.
James Bond: I mean, you know, and so, but you must laugh. It makes you feel better. So, if you go in and you’re talking to a prospect and you make them laugh, he wants to buy from you. He’s going to want you to be around him or her. She’s going to want you to be around because. I mean, not just humor, but if they reckon, I work with this company, martial arts equipment company in a turnaround, okay? And when it’s a turnaround, it means they’re in trouble and they’re afraid they’re all going to lose their jobs. The owner’s afraid he’s going to go bankrupt and all this stuff. And so, when people are stressed, it turns off creativity. And so, I had this joke I told, which they tortured me with for over a year, and it was, So the maintenance man is hiding in the maintenance closet. And whenever people would come to show up, he would open the door and scream, supplies, you know, not surprise, supplies. So, I would be walking through the company, and I look inside the window of somebody’s office, and I could see the stress on their face, you know, I don’t know, we didn’t have enough product, or a customer is not happy or what it is or didn’t have supplies. And so, I’d open the door and I’d say, how’s it going? They see me and they’d immediately smile and go, supplies. Every time they saw me, I was tortured with it. But it changed them. [19:30]
Nancy Calabrese: I love it. Yeah.
James Bond: It changed their body language and suddenly they went from being stressed, you could see it in their face, to laughing.
Nancy Calabrese: Wow.
James Bond: I see how they’re going, oh, we have this crappy, this client is just like terrible and it’s okay.
Nancy Calabrese: Oh my God.
James Bond: But it’s easier for them to deal with it and handle it and sell more when they’re laughing. I mean, life is too short. I saw this guy who had a t-shirt that said, “Life sucks and then you die”. And I’m going, no, no. Although I know some people that can really use that T-shirt by the way, okay. But I mean.
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, you know, I don’t know how many people know this, but it takes fewer muscles to smile than frown.
James Bond: Absolutely, our body wants to smile, and we want to laugh. I mean, life is too short. And so, when to smile and we want to laugh. And so, when you’re working with clients, it helps you and I know depression is a big thing these days, okay? Well, you got to force yourself to laugh. There’s, I might forget his name, but it was an editor of a major New York magazine, and they told him he has like three months to live. He has this illness. And so, he decided he was going to start laughing. He’s going to force himself to laugh every single day. He’s going to come up with jokes and everything. He’s going to watch movies that are funny. He’s just going to laugh every day. And suddenly he lived, I think, for like nine years after that. [20:47]
Nancy Calabrese: Wow.
James Bond: And it’s because, yeah, humor, laughter is the best medicine.
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, I think this is your next gig. You know, if you’re ever looking to get, you want to get rid of brain glue, go into humor. Humor and conversation. I love it. I love it. I can’t believe we were at the end.
James Bond: I’m terrible at it, but I mean Well, well, just can I just tell one quick line?
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah.
James Bond: Warren Buffett, okay, he loves humor, and he loves metaphors, okay? And so, one of the lines he uses is, only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked, okay? What he means is, you know, only when times get tough do you realize who’s the most innovative and everything else. But if you say that, it goes, oh, yeah, okay, yeah, you know. But if you say, only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked, it’s like you’re laughing while you’re going, yeah. [21:37]
Nancy Calabrese: Holy cow. Unbelievable. James, I loved having this conversation with you. And I really hope we can continue at some point because I know you have a whole lot more information. So, I thank you for coming to the show and sharing your expertise and humor. And everybody out there, grab a copy of his book, Brain Glue, and get in touch with James. How can they reach you, by the way?
James Bond: Well, the easiest way is if you go to Amazon and you do braingluebook.com, it’ll take you right to the book. And then just going through that, it’s easy to get in touch with me from that. But yeah, Nancy, thank you for having me.
Nancy Calabrese: Well, it was a pleasure and you sure made me laugh and I’m sure people listening in are going to have some good chuckles. So, make it a great sales day everyone and we’ll see you next time. [22:30]