The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode 208 · 1 month ago

Espionage Tactics That Help You Sell


In this episode, we've got Jeremy Hurewitz with us. Jeremy Hurewitz is the founder of Challenger Hill Consulting, where he is using his years of International experience to gain a new outlook on leveraging clients. Join us for a great conversation about improving your sales skills from skills he learned from leaders in International espionage.

What You’ll Learn

  1. How Jeremy began to encounter International spies
  2. Tactics and strategies to connect with clients like a spy
  3. Use methods to attract overseas clients 

Show Agenda and Timestamps

  1. About Jeremy and Challenger Hill Consulting [02:57]
  2. The meaning of selling like a spy [03:58]
  3. How does someone sell like a spy [10:53]
  4. This strategy bordering on the line of unethical [14:06]
  5. Paying it forward [20:34]
  6. Sam’s Corner [24:35]

One, two, one three, everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the SALESACER podcast. Today on the show we've got a very special one. We've got Jeremy Herowitz and Jeremy is leveraging his years and decades overseas working in both corporate security, working in far flung regions of the world like China and Mongolia and things like that, to create a new sales methodology called cell like a spy, and we're going to dive into it on the show. And it's all about how to use the skills that the CIA and spies all over the world have used for, you know, decades, if not centuries, to convince people to do things that maybe initially didn't want to do. And so there's a lot of really interesting tactics and strategies and it's really what it fundamentally is about, is about empathy. So I think it's a great conversation. Before we get there, let's listen to more sponsors and then let's listen my conversation with Jeremy Herowitz. This episode of the Salesacer podcast is brought to you by outreach. outreaches the first and only engagement and intelligence platform built by revenue innovators for revenue innovators. Outreach allows you to commit to accurate sales forecasting, replace manual process with real time guidance and unlock actionable customer intelligence that guides you and your team to win. More often, traditional tools don't work in a hybrid sales world. Find out why. outreaches the right solution. Net Click dot outreach dot io forward slash thirty MPC. That is, click dot outreach dot IO forwards thirty MPC. This episode of the Sales Haacker podcast is sponsored by pavilion. Pavilion is the key to getting more out of your career. Our private membership connects you with a network of thousands of like minded peers and resources where you can tap into dozens of classes and training through Pavilion University. Make sure you take advantage of the pavilion for teams corporate membership and enroll your entire go to market team in one of our industry leading schools and courses, including marketing school, Sales School, Sales Development School and Revenue Operation School. Unlock your professional potential and your team's professional potential with a pavilion membership. Gets started today at join Pavilioncom once again that's joined PAVILIONCOM. This episode of the Sales Hacker podcast is brought to you by ambition. Every revenue leader feels the pressure to keep sales high and REP attrition low. Take Control with ambitions revenue performance platform, a suite of tools that combine performance intelligence with Sales Gimmification and coaching orchestration to drive accountability and encouragement across your entire Revenue Org. See why top companies like Fedex, ATP and the Atlanta Braves rely on ambition to keep morale high and Rep attrition low. Check them out at ambitioncom. Hey everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. Welcome to the salesacker podcast. To Day on the show we're really excited to have Jeremy Herowitz now. Jeremy is is the pioneer of a new selling methodology called cell like a spy. He's going to be teaching a class AT PAVILION IN A couple weeks. Let me give you a bio really quickly. As working on a book, he's doing a bunch of stuff, but it's really exciting. We're going to be talking about selling like a spy jeremy here. What started his career overseason media. He built a round projects indicate, a newspaper association based in Prague, the Czech Republic, starting off with just a few dozen member newspapers and a handful of eastern European countries. Projects Syndicate had over three hundred member publications in a hope over a hundred country countries by the time Jeremy Left and remains a leading global force in international trade. He returned to New York where he worked at firms such as Deloit, the Expert Institute and Gerson Lemur Group. Most recently, he was curation director of Nation Swells Council, where he recruited over a hundred and fifty members to join the council. He started Challenger Hill Consulting, an independent firm serves as a platform for advising on Business Development, communications and risk. Jeremy has developed a unique training program called cell like a spy that leverages his extensive experience working directly with former intelligence officers to share insights from spy tradecraft to improve sales skills. Jeremy, welcome to the show. Thanks so much that I'm bred to be with you. We're excited to have you, so I... had an extensive bio that I just read, but I think the best place to start is to say, okay, I just mentioned this thing, sell like a spy. Let's get into it. What is sell like a spy? Tell us about the origin of it, tell us how we got to this place today that you're teaching a course on it in just a couple weeks. Yeah, absolutely. You know, I like to say that sell like a spy is about the idea that spies are the world's best salespeople, because you know, after all, what's a harder thing to get someone to actually buy into than to get them to commit treason against their country or organizations? So, you know, I think spies are a little bit misunderstood. There are a lot of kind of scandals about the CIA and and things, and we don't hear about the extraordinary successes of these, you know, really amazing professionals because their need to protect sources and methods. We don't hear about the big victories. So I think it's a little bit of a misunderstood world. You know, perhaps we could talk about the experiences I've had working directly with these folks, but I've just been extraordinarily impressed with their ability to connect with people and I observe them for many years and leverage what I learned into my own salesmanship and really, you know, grew from that. So, you know, sell like a spy. Tries to bring those communication strategies to the sales world. But I also point out when I work with people that it's about life skills as well, and I think you'll probably agree, Sam, that life is sales in many ways. We're all trying to influence people be understood deep in relationships. So I think that it's really synergistic with you know, improving our ability to connect with people and, you know, practicing some of the skills that I'm talking about with people in their day to day life can really help them get comfortable with it, for they bring it into a business context as well. So I hope that's a good start there. Yeah. So well, one big question, which is how did you get involved in the world of espionage and intelligence and to you mentioned that you've talked to a lot of them. Are Does that mean that they're bad spies? A few knew that they were spies. Okay, let me start with the first question and I'll try to keep tem on that second part. You know, I my first encounters with spies was when I was working overseas and that was the first of kind of many experiences where I was wearing kind of two different hats. I, as you noted, built and Ran Project Syndicate, but I was also a freelance journalist and in both worlds I bumped up against intelligence officers and you know, perhaps you could call it the race for information to you know, report on things, and I definitely reflect on being a naive kind of guy in his twenties being at you know, embassy events and things and realizing that the people I talked to is, I look back, we're probably intelligence officers who are interested in my perspective, as I was doing a ton international travel to hear about what newspaper editors, academics and others in these places were telling me. So that was kind of my first experience. I've always been really interested in this world and reading everything I can get my hands on, but the most direct experiences I started having where when I came back to New York, where I'm from, after that decade abroad and worked in corporate security for some big global firms. This is kind of a quiet world that people don't know well, and I'm you noted some some book stuff. I'm working on a number of projects in this world. You know, it's kind of a quiet CIA for corporate interest, if you will, and a lot of former intelligence professionals leave public service and go into private firms like these corporate security firms. So I was working directly with these people. What do they what do they do in this corporate security world? What is it that they're they're doing? Absolutely so. A lot of them did corporate investigations, which was kind of my specialty in this world as well, and I still do a bit of that work. So background investigations, custom intelligence gathering work for hedge funds and other investors, but some of them also working kind of political risk advisory work and some physical security, but mainly intelligence gathering is where they worked. So this is like following people around, maybe taking pictures of them, and I mean that's part of it, right, less following...

...people and taking pictures, though. You know, the firms I worked at would, you know, put somebody on the top of the hill, you know, and take photos or look through a binocular minds to kind of in place like Indonesia, to count the number of trucks coming in and out for a Hedge Fund, you know, that kind of thing, but more about working sources, talking to people about you know, say a private equity firms going to acquire another company interested in the CEO. Want to get a real deep died that his or her personality, you know, collecting intelligence on some of the intangibles about somebody and whether they should retain them to run the company after they acquire them. Those kinds of things. I love the yeah, so well, what's without naming names. What's, like one of the most interesting things that's happened over the course of the less a couple decades of you doing this? Well, one of the stories I tell, and I've written about this that was pretty extraordinary, was a case we worked on during the you might remember like muddy waters and the Big China Short Times. I don't know if that if you recall that, but it was. That was one of the busyest moments I saw and I worked on a pretty extraordinary case where a hedge fund thought that a company, a gold mining company in western China, was exaggerating their earnings and they hired us. The public records were full of red flags. You know, different people doing things, family members, you know, just a lot of things that were concerning. But it was when we sent a subcontractor up to the mines in western China that we really found some major red flags. Two of the three minds were defunct, you know, not working. Even got some great details like grass growing out of the tracks to the mine, which you know not wouldn't happen with big mining trucks coming in and out. One of the mines was full of water. One was producing high quality gold, but when the subcontractor went down to the village they said, Oh yeah, the those mines. They paid us to act busy one day when a bunch of men in suits came to watch us working. So they basically faked the bank or road show prior to the IPO and Hong Kong to get a better, you know, price on the listing and our client was able to short the stock and it was ultimately delisted because of our efforts. Wow, that's amazing. Yeah, that is a good story. Yeah, you spend a lot did you spend a lot of time in China, but how did that? Is it just because that's sort of an area of interest for you. Yeah, no, I spent the final two years of my time abroad based out of China. It's where I did probably the most impactful stories when I was a journalist. But I still was, you know, Doing Business Development Work and expanding project syndicate in Asia Pacific as well. So I spent I spent the seven approximate years before that in Prague but, like much of my career subsequently was dominated by my time and what I learned in China. went to the Lloyd's Chinese Services Group and, did you know, a lot of work in corporate security focused on China. I don't speak Chinese, but I did learn a lot about China and up some strong views and in the past had some really good connections that I leverage. So I do think I know a fair amount of about China and I still work with folks on it. I just read this amazing book about China called Thunder Out of China by Theodore White, and I don't know if you know, but it was written in one thousand nine hundred and forty six, Soh's before the communist actually won the civil war. It was right at the end of World War Two and it talks about the rise of the Communist movement and the corruption of the Quomintang and Shankai check anyway. So it's good stuff. It is fascinating, fascinating place. Let's dive in. saw like a spy. Give us the tips. What are the highlights? How does one sell like a spy? What are the key elements that made you, you know, make the sleep well, you know, one of the things I think is a misconception about espionage and I you know, I talked about how it's about connection and not about deception. You know, if you watch, you know, TV shows and movies, you'll see spies, you know, blackmailing people and you know, torture and extortion, and that's just really not what the daytoday work of intelligence is all about. You know, spies build, rapport and grow relationships with such a huge array of humanity. And when you think about it, these aren't boy scouts the ter recruiting. I mean these are criminals, terrorists, diplomats from some of the world's most odious regimes. And the takeaway from that is that spies are so unbelievably good at finding...

...a kernel of kind of interest or empathy with people, because they need to. They need to connect with them to because the goal is to develop an agent that they can work not for a short term type of thing, but for somebody that can collect intelligence for you as government and for our national security for years. So they have to practice what you know. We talked about his tactical empathy or radical empathy, and I talk with clients about how, you know, we as sales people face challenges with difficult clients. You know, people are sometimes condescending to salespeople or dismissive or, you know, their cynical about it. So we have to get past that. And you know, there's a quote that's attributed to Abraham Lincoln. I don't like this person, I must get to know him better, and so I encourage people to think about that and make it kind of a challenge to dig in when you find somebody that you don't have that natural rapport with or maybe is entreating you as well as you want to be treated, make it a challenge to get to know that person if they're a key part of you know who you need to grow or to you know, to win over that client. Some of the other things we talked about our elicitation, which is a skill about collecting information in a more kind of circumspect manner. So I like to break it down for people you know, and I can give you some examples about how it work and kind of it everyday world in a spine sale. Sure you know real quick if I was throwing you a surprise party, Sam, and I wanted to find out what your favorite food is. I don't want to ask you that directly because if you have a birthday coming up, you might it's a little too on the nose. It might trigger some suspicions. So but if I call you up with a statement that I either know to be false or just don't know to be true and say hey, Sam, how about we get some Thai food next week, it didn't you tell me that that's your favorite food, you're going to say to me, no, Jeremy, you know I ties, okay, but pizzas actually my favorite food. So then I know to get pizza for your for your birthday party. But I didn't have to ask that directly and it leverages a powerful point from behavioral science, which is the tendency to correct. You don't want me to. Not only you know think that tie is in your favorite food, you want me to know what your favorite food is. That's the way human beings operate. You know, you worry. Do people give you feedback that you know this strategy is borders on dishonesty, that people don't feel like it's, I don't know, ethical or moral or something like that. You know, it kind of skirts up to the line of that. And so I'll give you an example or from the sales world and you can tell me if you think this would be unethical. But what I tell people, the sales example for this would be I have a client. We have a retainer renewal at the end of q three. That's very lucrative, important part of my quota, but I don't know. You know, service is trending. You over your rather flat. I don't know what to expect in terms of the renewal and I'm worried about it. So I call it my client, let's say his name is Bob, and I say hey, Bob, I just heard a disturbing rumor that you know, Q two's come into a close and you guys had been I'm hearing. You know it's been tough. You know, revenues down. I'm hearing about budget cuts, layoffs, you know is that I was worried about it. Wanted to give you a call and Bob Says No, Jeremy got it actually backwards. We're doing great. I'm going to be doing some hiring. Budgets good, so you better check your sources now I know that it's not going to be budget or the business environment that's going to hurt my retainer renewal and it leverages that tendency to correct, as well as the other point of professional pride. He wants me to know that they're doing well. And you know, look, I understand the perspective that someone might think, Oh, is that dishonest? I think in the in the business world, it's a very minor white lie and it just gets to the fact of how to operate efficiently. But everybody needs to find a different comfort level operating in some of the gray areas that intelligence officers, you know, operated. But it's interesting. The to your point right. It's just it's stating something confident like that may or might not be true, so that you can elicit some kind of response from the other person. I think it's it's really interesting. You've also mentioned that mirroring is a really important part of selling like a spike. Talk a little bit about that. Yeah, absolutely, and you know I've been in business trainings where we've talked about mirroring. So I'm not going to say that this is going to be revolutionary. I've been a lot of your listeners have engaged in mirroring or heard about it. So I...

...want to spend as much time on physical mirroring what I do talk about that, but then I get into verbal mirroring, which is maybe like the you know, varsity level mirroring, if you will, and spies do that. They you know, they learn a lot about physical and verbal mirroring when they're engaging with people. But it's really I have a partner I work with named Steve Vermano, who's the former chief hostage negotiator for the FBI, and hostage negotiators really leverage verbal mirroring because, when you think about it, they're dealing with you know, people who've kidnapped be bawl and they have you know, they're very tense, they're often unstable, so they need to build rapport quickly and mirroring someone's language is a subconscious way to create, to augment that familiarity as a shortcut and they talk about looking for pet words to really actually accentuate as well, because those colloquialisms and pet words signal to somebody subconsciously that you're on the same page. So these are little subtle tricks that can help you build, you know, shortcut that rapport buildings exercise. So what are what's like an example of something like the pet words? Would it be like saying y'all, if you're down on the south or something? No, you know, like one of the thing I give people an example. It sounds a little hard, back to back, but you know, if a client, and I'll give you the kind of China example of a client saying to me, Hey, Jeremy, we have a minority investor from China that we want to, you know, invite in great liquidity for us, you know, bring some knowledge and connections in the region. But we're concerned about, you know, Cyphist regulations. Were concerned about our partners in Asia Pacific and we want to avoid a stampede of those partners for the exit when they hear about the relationship with this Chinese investor. Can you help us? And if I say look, I understand syphist, the committee on foreign investment in the US very well and I'm well positioned to help you avoid a stampede of, you know, your partners leaving. It's the stampede where word. I think that I would accentuate their particularly because that's a word that person chose to use. They didn't have to. So if you use that back at them, behavioral science tells us that that will, you know, increase the familiarity. So again, it sounds a little crude backtoback, but look for words, a pet words and colloquialisms that don't have to be there, that they chose to use. I like it cool. The you you also have a section or a piece of your training where you talked about how sales people can use archetypes and role models to navigate bad days, difficult clients and other challenges. Tell us a little bit more about what you mean. They're yeah, yeah, I really enjoy talking about that part. You know, look, spies, it's not a misconception to talk about disguises and the change of kind of persona as different cover stories. Those are, of course, part of what spies do and whether it's, you know, a case officer in Pakistan putting on a traditional Shaw War camise and going to a cafe to assess means of Egress and who the patrons are there, or a you know, an officer putting on taking off their business outfit and putting on athletic where, sunglasses, a baseball cap. Shifting their appearance and their cover stories is absolutely a part of it and we as sales professionals, can leverage that mentally to sort of, you know, amplify sides of our personality that are, you know, useful or d emphasize sides of it because, you know, look, if I'm going to see a hedge fund is, I've done many times, a multibillion dollar powerhouse, hedge fun, you know, walk in great art on the walls powerhouse and they're you know, I've encountered hedge fund guys who are surprised, surprise, a little bit arrogant, a little bit dismissive what we might bring to the table. If I can embody a character, and I talked about don draper from mad and the Gravitas, the charisma, you know, and try to sell as a peer and kind of stiff in my spine and and dial back my normal kind of gregariousness my salesmanship and make that cell about. Hey, you want me to be here, I have something that will make you more successful and hey, if you don't want that, good luck. You can work with a competitor is not as good as mine. That's going to be a different tactical sale that I'm going to make Ben a different type of environment and another one. I also have another madman, example Roger...

Sterling, who's The flip side to the coin, who's the gregarious, outgoing guy I talked about. You know, Roger Sterling. If it's like you're going to a happy hour with the junior guys that have important client but you've just had an awful day, you don't feel like being there. How do you get past that? You put on a mask and you use some in your inner Roger Sterling and you're you know, it helps you get past it. So I talked about that. Bill Clinton as a great listener. So I have a few ways to get clients to think outside the box. That embody, somebody that they can, you know, improve their salesmanship or aspects of their personality. I love that. That's awesome, Jeremy. We're just about at the end of our time together. But one of the things we like to do is sort of pay it for you're writing this book. You know you've been inspired by a ton of interesting people. When when you think about the people that have had the biggest influence on you, they could be founders, they could be investors, they could be great books that you've read, but there's things that have formed you that you think we should know about. WHAT COMES TO MIND? HMM, great question. Well, I had a great boss when I was at project syndicate. You know, it's funny story. When I was first working for them, I was my early s and I didn't realize I needed a visa for Brazil led to me. It's a whole long story, but I ight up getting deported from Brazilio's result and my the the Director of Project Syndicate at the time, professor and Jay Rapachinsky, was a really esteemed law professor Columbia was very kind to me and was a great mentor and I learned so much about how to how to lead, you know, and how to treat people and about the world. So he was somebody tremendous that I've been lucky to have as a mentor. I've been reading a rereading a partner of mine on cell like a spy, is name is Bob Grennier and he's got a wonderful book called eighty eight days to can to heart. Bob Was a decorated CIA veteran of over thirty year, or around thirty years rather, finished his career as head of the Counter Terrorism Center and was actually the station chief and his lamb about Pakistan when hundred eleven hit. And he's working with me with with the course with you of Web Pavilion Sam. so He's going to be teaching course three and he's just an extraordinary leader and somebody I, you know, I think everybody can learn a lot from when it comes to kind of tradecraft and very lucky to have him sharing his expertise. That's awesome. What's eighty eight days to candahar about? It's about, you know, talks about his early career and his early careers fascinating. I particularly love that earlier in his career he was very well regarded as a young guy and was asked to take over the farm, which is the training facility of to see, yeah, langland. So he has that kind of Pedagogal, if I'm saying that right, background to teach tradecraft. But the book is mainly about, you know, how the CIA was kind of waving their hands about how all Kaida was determined to strike ultimately did, and just the enormous birden that fell on Bob and his team after and eleven to you know, stiffen the resistance in the Northern Alliance and in the southern part of Afghanistan to you know, to attack all Kaida. And he was the first diplomat that went over the border to actually talk to the Taliban about, you know, turning over been latten. So his experience was just extraordinary and that was one of you know, it obviously didn't turn out that well, but that early stage of responding to nine hund and eleven was a pretty brilliant tactical victory for the US those couple months and he was one of the key reasons behind it. Yeah, that's before we got mired and the quagmire that was Iraq. The necessarily last question for you. Did the CIA write the song by the Scorpions Wind of change? I read that. I listened that podcast to and Buddy of mine, Michael Ourback, who I worked with in corporate security, was one of the key guys behind it. So that was pretty fun. What I listened to to? I don't really know. I was left pretty inconclusive about it, but I think hid me down, I'd probably say no, but it's really hard to say, isn't it? Yeah, it was amazing to listen to Jeremy. If I just want to get... touch with you, obviously they should take your class, I like us by through pavilion. But what if they want to email you directly? What's the best way to get in touch? Yeah, absolutely so. My website is www dot hill consultingcom. My website is my first, initial and last name, Jh at challenge or he'll consultingcom. That's your email, you mean? But yeah, Hey, excuse me, excuse me. I email is the j j a challenge or he'll consulting and pretty easy to find on linked it as well. Awesome, Jeremy. We're going to talk to on Friday for Friday fundamentals, but thank you so much for joining us. It is great chatting with you. Thank you so much the I'm I really enjoyed it, everybody. Sam Jacobs, what a great conversation with Jeremy. I hope you're able to take the course. But if not, you know, what are the things that we can take away from it? While they're I think for me, fundamentally, one part of all of it is about empathy, and we'll talk about that on Friday, fundamentals as well, but it's just about getting to know people and putting yourself on the same side of the table as the person that you're interacting with, negotiating with, and some part of that that you know, that word empathy is so important in this in this modern day right where the world is so polarized and we are so triballistic, so many on both sides, both sides of the political spectrum, you know, they it's US versus them. They are like this. It could be, you know, the Republicans, it could be rich people, corporate corporations, you know, and it's a way of simplifying the world in a to a degree that is not actually descriptive or helpful, because the world's actually pretty complicated and nuanced. And so that's why I'm with you, so important because it allows you hopefully to see things from a different perspective, and that's fundamentally the main thing that Jeremy's teaching in addition to some of the other strategies, tactics and tips. Up to you and whether you think his strategy or his tactic of elicitation is, you know, quote unquote unethical, where you say something that's intentionally wrong as a provocation to discern information. So you might say, as he referenced right if he wants to figure out what my favorite food is, instead of saying what's your favorite food, he says I I'm going to go get some Thai food. I remember that you mentioned you love Thai food is and that your favorite food, which is a little bit different than saying what is your favorite food? So I think there's really interesting stuff in there. And then he also talked about this idea of like channeling superheroes, channeling role models, archetypes within yourself so that you can play a part when sometimes you don't feel like it. That's particularly true for introverts. He mentioned, you know, going to a happy hour and you don't feel like going to happy hours like but maybe channel your inner Roger Sterling and maybe become some outgoing, gregarious person that maybe you don't feel like being, but you use that as a challenge. It becomes a game and maybe that's a way you get through that interaction or even or even do great work around it. So I thought that was that was really interesting. Now, of course, we want to thank our sponsors. You'll hear from them shortly. If you haven't given us five stars in the in the itunes store, really anywhere that you that you might rate, you might rate podcasts, we would really appreciate it. If you haven't joined the sales hacker community yet, I really think that's something you should do. I think it's probably up to over thirtyzero different people that are asking and answering questions all the time, helping each other out. It's it's a powerful thing and sales hacker does a really, really great job and and it's an incredible community. And finally, if you want to get in touch with me, you can. You can find me on Linkedin. It's linkedincom. The word in slash Sam f Jacobs, and you can reach out to me. Of course, you can email me anytime. Sama. Join PAVILIONCOM. Thanks a lot for listening. We'll talk to you next time. Thanks so much for listening to the Sales Hacker podcast. Today's episode was brought to you by outreach. Remember outreach allows you to commit to accurate sales forecasting, replace manual process with real time guidance and unlock actionable customer intelligence guiding you and your team to win more often. Go to click dot outreach, dot IO forwards thirty MPC. We were also brought to you by pavilion. Pavilion is the key to getting more out of your career. In Roll in sales school, Sales Development School, marketing school and many, many more, for yourself or for your entire team. Learn more at join PAVILIONCOM. And finally, ambition, the Revenue Performance Platform, as we have tools combining performance...

...intelligence with sales gamification and coaching orchestration. See why top companies like Fedex, ATP and the Atlanta Braves rely on ambition to keep morale high and wrap attrition low. At ambitioncom. Thanks so much for listening and we'll talk to you next time.

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