Transcript of Efficiencies Expert Jason Helfenbaum On How To Increase Your ROI Through Training And Efficiencies
Michelle Tillis Lederman On How To Boost Your Likability & Influence To Get To YES (#101)

[00:00] Introduction Welcome to the Sell My Business Podcast. I'm your host Jeffrey Feldberg. 

This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth and the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience. 

Your liquidity event is the largest and most important financial transaction of your life. 

But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave anywhere from 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

I should know. I said no to a seven-figure offer and yes, to mastering the art and science of a liquidity event. Two years later, I said yes to a different buyer with a nine-figure offer. 

Are you thinking about an exit or liquidity event? 

If you believe that you either don't have the time or you'll prepare closer to your liquidity event, think again. 

Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing that the skills that built your business are the same ones for your liquidity event. 

After all, how can you master something you've never done before? 

Let the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and our nine-step roadmap of preparation help you capture the maximum value for your liquidity event. 

At the end of this episode, take a moment to hear from business owners, just like you, who went through the Deep Wealth Experience. 

[00:01:44] Jeffrey Feldberg: Connection creator Michelle Tillis Lederman is an expert on workplace communications and relationships. Michelle's mission is to help people work better together and advance their individual impact. Named by Forbes as one of the top 25 networking experts, Michelle is a speaker trainer, coach, and author of four books, including the Connector's Advantage and the internationally recognized The 11 Laws of Likeability.

An executive coach, people, expert and CEO of Executive Essentials, Michelle inspires organizations and individuals to build real relationships and get real results. Having worked with The fortune 500, nonprofit, university, and government clients she's identified the common struggle. Its people challenges.

When asked by her young son, what she does she simply replied, "I help people work better together."

This purpose has driven her work with clients large and small, including JP Morgan. J&J. Deutsche Bank, Michigan State University MetLife. Sony, Ernst & Young, the Department of Environmental Protection, and Madison Square Gardens. Highly sought after for her energetic, engaging, and authentic presentations Michelle has appeared on stages around the globe.

She holds a Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association, placing her within the top 3% of speakers. Her deep expertise has led her to be a regular media contributor appearing on CBS. NBC, Fox NPR, CNBC, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Working Mother, US News and World Report, MSNBC, Forbes, and USA Today among many others. Michelle spent a decade in finance with positions in audit, M&A, finance consulting, venture capital, and hedge fund investing.

Passionate about education. Michelle served as a communications professor at NYU's Stern School of Business on the Faculty of the American Management Association, Lehigh Executive Education, and Rutgers Executive Education.

She received Her BS from Lehigh University, her MBA from Columbia Business School holds the PCC designation from the International Coaching Federation and is certified in Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching Method. Executive essentials is a certified woman business enterprise.

Michelle lives in New Jersey with her husband two sons and two rescue dogs

Welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast. You know, my grandfather would always say, Jeffrey, it's not who you are, but who you know, and who, you know, is everything and your ability to connect with all of your stakeholders.

And when it comes to your liquidity, particularly your advisory team and your future buyer, there's a lot online. So, what can you do? Well, that's exactly what today's guest Michelle is going to talk to us all about Michelle. Welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast. So, happy to have you with us.

There's always a story behind the story, Michelle, what's your story? What got you to where you are today?

[00:05:05] Michelle Tillis Lederman: Well, I think all of us know that it's not a straight line. I like many of your listeners was a business person. I spent the first decade of my career in finance. And a lot of times we make decisions about our work life as an anecdote to what was missing in our younger life. So, for me, what was missing was financial security.

I went into finance, but that wasn't necessarily where my heart and passion was. And while working for a bank, I started The Evolution and found my calling and I stayed in finance as I built my business on the side. And I've now been on my own for over 17 years.

[00:05:38] Jeffrey Feldberg: And so talk to us about that for just a moment, because you found your calling, you found your passion. You looked around and you found a painful problem that you're passionate to solve. And you're so good at that. You became world-class. What kind of lessons can you share with our audience of what made the difference for you?

[00:05:54] Michelle Tillis Lederman: Well, It so interesting. As you said, there was a painful problem that I thought needed to be solved. I was on the trading floor. I was managing about a hundred million dollars for a bank and I had lots of hedge fund investors and fund of fund managers coming in, trying to get me to invest in their funds.

And I'm thinking, this is not how you pitch. And they're not reading the room. They're not following my interests, my questions, they're just running through a presentation. And so that's actually how it started was like, can I tell you how to get money from me? Because this is not working. And I started to do the work within the bank and it has grown and evolved from there.

And as I built my business, people said well, how did you land JP Morgan as your first client? And Deutsche bank as your second? And how do you have these name brand clients that you've built for the last decade or two? And my first book, The 11 Laws of Likability was my answer to that. And understanding the value of connection and how connection gets us.

And that's my follow-up of the most recent, which is The Connectors Advantage, whatever we're working on, whether it's selling a business, growing a business landing a client, it is going to get there faster, easier, and better with connections. Your grandfather was right.

[00:07:08] Jeffrey Feldberg: And so, let's talk about that, Michelle, because I know there are lots of people out there that are saying in the community. Yeah, you know, Jeffrey and Michelle, that's all great. And this connector's advantage sounds. Yeah. On paper. It sounds great. But I'm not an extrovert, I'm an introvert. And just speaking to people is really hard for me.

Yes, I have my business, but maybe I'm that really geeky person behind the scenes or that really good operator. I'm not that front person. How in the world can I possibly do this? Maybe I should even stop listening to this episode right now, Michelle, why are they all wrong? What can you share with them of how we all have within us?

[00:07:43] Michelle Tillis Lederman: They are absolutely wrong. I actually have a section on the book called the introvert's edge and good news for the introverts because some of the best connectors I know are introverts. And when I talk about the seven mindsets of a connector and I can list them out and you can pick which ones you want to dive into but when we focus on the one called social and curious, I am not talking about being a social butterfly. I am talking about putting yourself in a position to connect and be curious about one other person to build relationships. And the truth is introverts are much better at that. They're more comfortable in the one-on-one.

They listen with a far more ability and skill than any extrovert out there. So, they're bringing that natural quality. They probe. They are curious, they're learning about somebody. Where they want to stretch themselves is in the willingness to share. So, the extroverts might bring that ability to keep a conversation going and TMI share the world, but they can be a little off-putting and that's something extroverts are not.

So, extroverts put people at ease. They do not come on too strong. They enable connection in the one-on-one. They leverage their listening skills. And when we think about being a connector is not working the room. And not throwing a light for the party. It is simply learning about somebody else. What matters to them and finding those points of similarity and commonality to connect on.

[00:09:03] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, let's talk about that because I have two very distinct situations in mind. Let's talk about the first one. We're all going through this crazy pandemic and it has these twists and turns, and it's really changed the social fabric of society as we know it. So, when we look at connecting and likability and just speaking with people, the dynamics have changed and we have a lot of virtual and remote kinds of situations. What changes now in this remote work virtual type of world that we're living in?

[00:09:33] Michelle Tillis Lederman: There is no magic formula, right? I'm going to put it out there right now. There is no magic formula. You cannot make somebody like you. But what you can do is enable people to see what is likable about you. And to understand that we don't connect on what we do, but we connect on what we like to do. Our common causes and our common people and places and passions and hobbies and interests and experiences.

All of those are the things that make me say, I want to know you more. And then later we might figure out, hey, I want to work with you too, because people work and do business and hire and promote people they like. And it often wins over a better product and a better price. The relationship usually will close the deal and I've listed the statistics that can back that up.

So, I just want to put it out there, I cannot give you anything magic. There is no formula. It is an idea that anybody can embody these characteristics and the attributes into their interactions and to their relationships that show these qualities that enable more rooted relationships. And when you have those rooted relationships, it's a lot easier to, as I said, get what you want. Because when you network and nurture for the long-term, it's there to sustain you.

[00:10:46] Jeffrey Feldberg: Some terrific insights there. And you know, as you're talking, I'm thinking just about some of the classic books, Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, which sounds like we're all talking the same genre here of how we approach it but what would you do, Michelle? Because when we now have these remote meetings, it's not like it was before where you go into some kind of meeting room, maybe you're waiting around, the people are there.

You can get the small talk going. Now we just kind of show up and bam, we're on. How can we get that likability and that Connector's Advantage going in that kind of situation?

[00:11:18] Michelle Tillis Lederman: Honestly, it's not that different. And let's get down to tactics. I had a call this morning with an existing client, but she was new to the team. So, I've never met her. I didn't have any work on the agenda with this client, but I had done work in the past with the organization. And we get on. And she didn't have her camera on.

So, the first thing I would do to enable connection is just put your camera on. It makes such a difference, even though those people that are listening to this podcast right now, can't see us, we can see each other. And I think it makes a difference in how we are having this conversation and how we are connecting in this moment.

So, very simply put your camera on. I don't care if you're washed your hair or not, don't care what you're wearing. I'm still in my gym clothes. And then what are the things that you do? So, a lot of times I talk about being curious, asking open-ended questions that you want to know the answer to. What's that rapport-building small talk.

I do that on this call. I think we spent the first 12 minutes of our 30-minute call, just chit-chatting. I liked her shirt. I just said, hey, I like your shirt. And you know what she did. She goes, I've got matching socks and she took her foot and put it into the camera view and showed me her matching socks.

And that willingness to be real and to engage and just have some fun. And so then we talked about the fact that she's six feet tall and I'm four foot ten and then we all gained weight during COVID. And so we had this whole conversation. And it was simply because we were willing to put our cameras on and go there.

So, that's the first thing I would tell people to do. Now, if you're in group settings, the moderator facilitator, one of the things is sometimes we have to be a little bit more intentional about it. Creating a breakout room, doing a round robin question, scheduling hey, we can't go for coffee but let's all raise a beer and you know, conferences have sent boxes to our house so that we can have a cheese plate and we're doing a cheese tasting online.

Know there are differences, but we can still create moments to share and sharing is where we start to feel connected.

[00:13:10] Jeffrey Feldberg: I love that. Just the sharing, the connection, being a little bit vulnerable, putting ourselves out there, and just being open. This is what we normally do in most situations. And let's flip it now. So, the meeting has been planned, and let's go into the world of Deep Wealth. I'm having a liquidity event. I've done all my preparation.

I follow the 9-step roadmap. And I'm going to be meeting with a prospective buyer. My investment banker has lined this up and so I have a chance to get prepared, but what does that preparation for a master communicator? Like you, Michelle, what would you be doing? You're now that business owner, and as you have one chance to get it right with your business.

It's the largest, biggest, single most important financial decision of a lifetime. And so no pressure, Michelle, none whatsoever.

[00:13:55] Michelle Tillis Lederman: So, I'm going to take us down two paths. One path is for this specific thing and one path is for anything.

So, on the broader side, I want you to be very clear on how you want to be known and what you want your I'll say, brand reputation to be. And when I talk about brand, I talk about promise. So, my brand is the promise of the experience of working with me, of being in my audience of having me on your show.

You know what you're going to get when you ask me to be part of whatever it is that you're doing. That's my brand. That's my promise. And I'm not going to tell you my brand attributes are you probably could tell me already, but I really clear in my head. And once we're clear, we think about how do we infuse those attributes into everything that we do.

So, I almost want to say, what do you think one of my brand attributes is, but we won't go there. So, big picture when we know our brand attributes, and then we're going to meet this person. We're thinking about how do we embody what we want them to see in us? Now we're talking about this specific person, this specific meeting, and this ongoing and critical relationship that we're going to have and how is it going to go?

And whether it's a business or a house or whatever it might be, who you're engaging with makes a really big difference in how that process goes smoothly. So, in advance, I'm probably going to go look them up online. I'm not going to stalk, but there's almost a respect of at least you Googled them for five minutes and you saw where they worked.

And if you had any people in common or places in common, because as I said before, it's a great conversation starter for me to look through and say, how do you know Jeffrey Jones? I went to summer camp with him. Small world. And now we have this person in common and that creates that feeling of connection. Or it could be curiosity.

Oh, I see you went to that school. I'd never been to that state. What was it like? Showing interest in the other person. So, that little bit, five minutes of looking at their LinkedIn profile or their Facebook page that can give you a little bit of insight into them, can help you with that rapport-building moment. And that's the place I would start.

[00:16:02] Jeffrey Feldberg: You're doing a little bit of the basics taking time out of your day and seeing what's available online in a non-stalker-ish kind of way. And so, you load it up now with this information. And boom meeting is starting so, investment banker in the room, the buyer, possibly the buyer's team, some of their advisors are there, you're there.

And so it's really a potentially a high-pressure corporate type of situation, but that's just the way it is. How would you diffuse that? Just to get a little bit of perhaps humor in there or get people smiling to say, hey, wow. I know this is a business meeting, but Michelle really personable. I can actually relate to her because we all know people want to do business with friends, not strangers. And two opportunities being equal, you prefer one person over the other because they're more likable, more relatable. That's where you're heading. Any strategies that you can share with us?

[00:16:54] Michelle Tillis Lederman: Absolutely. So, that initial tone that we set as we walk in the room is that a first impression. And it's really hard to change a bad first impression. So, we might as well focus on making a good one. And as we walk into that room, It is not necessarily about you. So, there are three shifts that I talk about making one is about talking about work, to talking about anything, which we've already explored.

We want to broaden those conversation topics. The second is to go from a short-term approach to a long-term approach. So, we're thinking very long-term about the relationships that we build. They're not always strategic, but we just never know if we're enjoying connect. And the third is from, it's not about you.

And by the way, it's not about them either. Cause it's about you and reverse. It's about the relationship. And so when you enter, you want to think about how are we having a dynamic where are they sitting in the room? How are we walking into that space, how are we making them feel comfortable?

So, one of the things I talked about is having a host mindset, if you are on neutral ground or if you're in their space, you can still enter a space and having a host mindset. A host is somebody who makes people feel comfortable and a host is somebody who welcomes people in, who introduces, who offers them a drink type of thing.

It's putting them at ease. So, if you come in with a mindset of how can I make somebody else feel comfortable. You feel more comfortable when they are comfortable. So, that's about making that space one that is inviting to them. Maybe don't sit down at the table right away, maybe stand up and look out the window and talk about the view or say, hey, I haven't been to this area before.

We're thinking about dinner plans tonight. Any favorite restaurants? Asking for advice makes somebody feel valued and important, and that you respect their opinion. It's such a small little thing, but again, it gets me in a conversation that says I'm just a real person. I'm just somebody who wants to talk to you and then, okay. Then we'll go over here and do business.

[00:18:48] Jeffrey Feldberg: What it sounds like, really the small talk is the big talk. It's the small talk that opens people up. We become relatable. Oh, okay. Michelle's a person just like me. I'll ask about this area. Yeah. I can say lots of things about this area. I'm feeling important and I'm feeling that someone's paying attention to me just to open me up, to get a light conversation going. So, is that the general thinking?

[00:19:11] Michelle Tillis Lederman: Yeah. I love the small talk is the big talk. One of the things I put in the whole chapter on curiosity is how do we open up a conversation to get somebody talking? Because you don't want to say, hey, how was your day? Good? How was your commute? Long. We want to try to get them to open up a little bit more and you can use I have all these categories of conversation starters.

So, hypotheticals. When I did a book signing once I basically was saying, okay, if you had $10 million in the bank, what would you do with your time? And it was just a really quick fun way. And it kind of almost gamified meeting people. If that doesn't feel comfortable with a lot of introverts, wouldn't like something so bold, there's always a conversation about the weather these days.

Because there's always such extreme weather. I live in the Northeast, we are still talking about Sandy. God knows how many years it's been, but there are still things that have not recovered from that storm. What's the latest storm or what's the tornado or this or that? People really get into those conversations because it impacts life in so many broad ways.

You can talk about the news. I would be careful with politics because that can be very polarizing, especially these days, but you can talk about, hey, did you hear that story or see that game or whatever it is that is the popular topic right there. It TV is a great one. How much TV have we watched in the last year and a half?

So, whether it's squid something or Queen's Gambit getting somebody engaged in a show that you might have in common. These are like the little things that can go a really long way. So, use the news, use the environment we already talked about. You can use hypotheticals, you can do a common you know, a generic personal inquiry like, hey, have any upcoming travel plans?

Have you decided to start traveling again? And for me as a travel junkie, I can talk for an hour about travel. So, when you start with an opening question, especially for my introverts, I want you not only just be interested in their answer, but be willing to share on the same topic.

[00:21:04] Jeffrey Feldberg: I'm wondering though, Michelle, and I'm sure this has happened. You do everything right. You walk into the room, you have the right presence. You're relaxed. You're maybe out by the window. You're asking different things but the person is cold as a clam, as the saying goes. And they're not really responding to you.

Maybe they're just all, gung-ho about this business meeting and they're going to show you that they're really the big boss and it's going to go on their terms and they're all business. How do you react and what do you do in a situation like that?

[00:21:34] Michelle Tillis Lederman: I follow Covey's advice. So, your grandfather, and now we're onto Covey. Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I'm sure a lot of your audience have read it. Habit number five, seek first to understand, and then to be understood. It is probably the greatest approach you can take in anything that you do because I really frame it more as inquiry versus advocacy.

If we start with inquiry seeking to understand, seeking to take in information. What are your biggest concerns or what drew you to thinking about purchasing this business? Or what excites you about this type of work or what are the things that might keep you up at night after you take on this company?

So, when we start to take information, an inquiry is our greatest tool to influence. Advocacy is your greatest tool for results. Advocacy is the desire to be understood. It is trying to share information. It is trying to advocate and promote an idea or an action. But if we can then present that idea or action from the lens of what's important to the other party, we immensely increase our odds of effectiveness.

 So, if somebody is getting down to business, then let's get down to business. Let me understand what are the top things that are on your mind about approaching this business, running this business? What are your dreams for this business? I will tell you that bad stuff is more influential than the good stuff, but I ask about both.

Because then you can present well, So, here's how I see a structure that is going to meet your concern here and meet your desire there. And now we're looking like we're a collaborative partner of solving the problems that they're bringing to the table.

[00:23:14] Jeffrey Feldberg: That's brilliant. And for our listeners, I really hope you were listening so closely. Because that was not gold, but platinum wisdom that we're hearing from Michelle, because here's the deal. And you've all done this before introvert, extrovert. It doesn't matter. You're a business owner. You're an amazing person.

And when you started your business and to get to where you are today, effectively, you were mearing. So, in that thought scenario, Michelle, we came in and we thought maybe we do a little bit of small talk, but this person was all down to business. So, based on your strategy, boom, we mirror them and were now down to business and I'm just amazed here because you took the pages right at a Deep Wealth and our 9-step roadmap. In step number three, the future buyer, we tuned into WII.FM the what's in it for me radio station. And we're asking the buyer, what's keeping you up at nights and we're learning about the problems that they're encountering of how we can add value to solve it.

So, now we're going to get their interest. And now we're going to go into a dialogue where we're giving and hopefully, over time we'll receive in terms of information or insights so that we can both understand and take that there.

So, Michelle, that was brilliant. Let me ask you this though. We can always talk about what to do, but I found both in business and life often knowing what not to do. And looking back at what some people call failures, I call learning opportunities we can often learn a lot more. So, in your gazillions of people that you've spoken with and business leaders that you've helped over the years, where do most people get it wrong? What would be the top two or three areas that are hurting them and not helping them?

[00:24:46] Michelle Tillis Lederman: We believe in our assumptions. And that's really the first thing that comes to my mind is that we all are advanced human beings and intelligent human beings. And as a result, we take in information quickly form conclusions. And that's a great efficient way of using our brains. The challenge with that is we've then taken all future information through that lens and try to prove ourselves right.

If you want to stay open, we need to also stay open to being wrong. We need to seek contract formation. We just slow our thinking down and stay in a place of curiosity versus conclusion. It is a very hard skill to adapt because we are smart. We are fast-paced, we are successful. And the reason we got that way is because we moved at this pace.

And because we can think really quickly. And we don't want to slow down. I totally get it. I was trying to tell my son that we need to work on his stress. And he said, meditating feels like a waste of time and I totally get it. It's a hard to slow down when you'd like to go.

So, what I want people to think about is how can I park my assumptions at the door? How can I recognize what is an assumption versus an observation versus a pact? And what happens is, and I'm not sure if you're familiar with The Ladder of Inference, Chris Argyris back in like the seventies put this model out there, and basically what happens is we have an interaction and observable fact of interaction and we then have a series of mental processes that we go through that interprets that action. But what we're really doing is we're building our bias into it, our assumptions, our perspective, our perception, and then we believe ourselves, and then we act. And we have to recognize that we might not have the same interpretation of the situation. Intent does not always equal impact.

[00:26:32] Jeffrey Feldberg: I love that. So, really, we're wearing our own rose-colored glasses and we're coloring or filtering what we're seeing. It may be completely off and just having that openness and that vulnerability. And I'm going to go back to what you said earlier, more of that curiosity. You know, what's going on.

And so, on the heels of that, Michelle, I know you're on some of the networks and on TV and you're just putting yourself out there. So, that's a high-pressure situation. And there, you're dealing with professionals and for the TV audience, maybe they're not even there, it's just being televised and you're not seeing them.

So, how do you deal with that? What's your mental process that's going through that you're just going to hit it out of the park because I view that very similar to, we're walking into a room and there are all these advisors that we don't know. And you can just feel that pressure and we have to perform.

It's really important that we perform because the buyer's going to be making judgments about us based on what we're doing. It's not right. It's not wrong. It is what it is. So, let's learn from a pro like yourself, what are you doing in that kind of situation to really glide the wheels?

[00:27:33] Michelle Tillis Lederman: I got to be honest with you. I don't even relate a little bit to the thinking. As I entered one of the situations, what I always tell people is when you are clear on how you want to be seen how you want to be known. Then you can determine a drive, how others see you. And I have tested this theory, time and time again at the end of the day, how I want to feel as good about how I interacted, how I presented myself, how I showed up. And a lot of times when I'm thinking about, what am I going to say, or what am I going to do? I will use a little filter in my own brain of how am I going to feel about this an hour from now? And just because it might feel good in the moment, does it serve me in the long run and that's that long-term perspective.

So, I'm not gliding in or greasing wheels?

or thinking about all of it. I'm just saying I'm going to show up as my best self. And I want to be clear on my goals and my goals are usually two-fold. One of my goals might be to sell my business or, get this piece of the negotiation. And we can talk a little bit about negotiation because I think it would help us as well.

But part of it is I want to build relationships. And that is always a part of my intent going in and my evaluation of success going out. Did we have any points of connection? Was there a possibility of effective working together and having patients with that? But I wish I had this brilliant answer of how do I handle stress?

The truth is it's, I'm trying to come from a place of abundance, which is one of the other mindsets of a connector. And when you come from a place of abundance, it's not rose-colored glasses. But it's not scarcity. So, scarcity is the opposite of abundance. Scarcity is, you know, I didn't have this and I don't want to lose this I want to protect this.

And so, we become very defensive and very protective and it's a fear-based approach. Coming from a place of abundance comes in with the idea that although things might not be perfect, the possibility is there. And maybe even the probability is there. And so if I believe in that, then it's about how do I get there and how do we get there?

So, it's a shift in my mindset and my perspective, and I promise I would list off the mindsets just so you have them. Cause I know people are getting them a little piecemeal. Connectors are open and accepting, and we've talked about a little bit about that one as well. Open to being wrong. They have a clear vision. I do want you to go into that conversation, knowing what's important to you and what you want to walk away with. Coming from a place of abundance. We've talked about connectors trust, they're social and curious. They are conscientious and they have a generous spirit.

[00:30:04] Jeffrey Feldberg: I love that. And my goodness, there's so much to unpack there. We could have probably 10 podcast episodes just on what's there, but for the listeners, here's from me, what the takeaway is. And I hope you picked up on this as well. You know, when all of said and done what Michelle was saying, and she's coming from the place of abundance.

When you come from abundance, it's almost as though you don't care. I mean, you do care, but you don't care in the sense that if it doesn't work out here, there are so many opportunities out there that I'll find the next one because what she's doing is she's doing this meeting or this presentation for her.

Regardless of the outcome and as she's walking out, feeling proud of herself and hey, I left nothing on the table. I did my best. I absolutely could. And win, lose, or draw, regardless of what happens. There's nothing more that I could have done. I mean, what a great feeling, what a great place to be coming from.

And when one door closes. A hundred others are going to open. And I just love how you're approaching that. Another saying in negotiations, which we can talk about is the one who cares the least is the one who wins the negotiation. And that's tough to negotiate against someone where, okay. Yeah, sure.

Whatever's going to be, whatever's going to be, I know I'm oversimplifying. It's not always like that, but Michelle would love your thoughts on that.

[00:31:14] Michelle Tillis Lederman: You know, I totally hear that. And I actually related to being a kid with my sister and whoever got more upset in the fight actually lost the fight. But I would actually tweak it a little bit into not to whoever cares the least. But whoever is going to be accepting of more than one possible outcome.

Sometimes when we go in, so fixated on what success looks like, we're not open to the possibility of other ways that achieve that success. And so in talking about negotiation, one of the models that I infuse into my work is the Harvard Model, The Seven Elements of Negotiation. And I really focused on those first three elements, which is interests. There's your inquiry. What's important to them. And what is the one thing that is non-negotiable for them? And what are the things that they have some flexibility? I'm understanding that about yourself as well. So, it's not just their interest, it's yours as well. And then options. I always say are on the table.

What are the things that we can figure out together? But one of the ways that you can go into the negotiation being okay with multiple forms of success is alternatives. We all know that phrase, BATNA, what's your BATNA, your best alternative to a negotiated agreement. This is probably not news to your listeners, but when we have an idea of, if I say no to this, I'm saying yes to something else, or I'm opening up this possibility.

And as people who have built businesses and I'm one of them as an entrepreneur, it's sometimes really hard to say no to the work coming in. And I have to remind myself that saying no to this is saying yes to something else. And by turning down this type of work, what I'm leaving room for is this other opportunity that hasn't shown up yet.

But now I have space for, and that's again, that mindset of abundance.

[00:32:54] Jeffrey Feldberg: It's a mindset of abundance. And if you go back to your book, The Connectors Advantage, and just this whole, I'm going to call it a way of life, really, because that's what it is. In the 9-step roadmap in the Future Buyer module, we ask the participants, the business owners. Number one, create your own clarity of what you want from the deal we call it deal points and no-fly zones.

So, here's what I absolutely must-have in the deal. And here's what I must not have in the deal. But then Michelle, to your point, and in the Deep Wealth Experience, the nine-step roadmap, WII.FM, do the same thing for the buyer. What does the buyer likely you never know, a hundred percent, what does a buyer likely want to see and what don't they want to see?

So, you have a North Star and you're looking at it really holistically of what you want, what the buyer wants. And somewhere in there is likely going to be a deal. If you're able to connect with them, relate with them, and just take it to where you can take it. I really like how you're approaching that.

[00:33:52] Michelle Tillis Lederman: And check your assumptions because when we do the analysis on the buyer's interests and the options, and even their alternatives, check your assumptions. I remember when I was in business school and I was in a negotiations class and the way that they did things and they graded things, was that you had your scenario that you're negotiating against somebody else.

And you had a point system and the highest grades were people who maximize the points of the entire negotiation, not of their side. And so that is something that's always stuck with me. If you think about all the aspects that are negotiable, what is you’re a hundred-pointer, and what is your five-pointer?

And if you’re a hundred pointer, and their hundred pointers are different. You just got 200 points in this negotiation. And so we're maximizing outcomes and positive outcomes for both parties. And it might not be a win-win or a loss, or a partial winner or a partial if it's fair, and happy.

[00:34:49] Jeffrey Feldberg: I like that fair and happy. And you're so right, Michelle. And this really goes back to the attitude that you're talking about earlier, because oftentimes people go into a negotiation. Either I win or I lose, or the other party wins or the other party loses. And everyone loses really in that kind of scenario with that kind of thinking, because what we're missing is the opportunities.

 Now, speaking of opportunities, I mean, you're full of such insights and strategies and it's like drinking from a fire hose on this episode, Michelle and I know you have a book club.

Which can really make a difference because if you're not learning as a business leader, then you're not learning you're at, you're really writing the end for yourself because you got to continue to grow and get out there. So, what's your book club all about and why should I be interested about this book club that you have as a business owner?

[00:35:37] Michelle Tillis Lederman: Well, thank you for sharing about it because this was something that I put in because a lot of people wanted to coach with me and I didn't have as much capacity as the interests so I actually created a book club micro-course. So, for those people who want to start to learn these mindsets and infuse them into their interactions and start to adopt a connectors mindset. We have an online book club and we'll put it into the show notes. You can join a public club where you can go through it with other people. And it's 28-days of micro lessons. The lesson could be a few minutes, no more than 14 minutes a day. I think that's the rule as it can't be more than 14 minutes a day.

And you can stretch it out. You don't have to do it every day. You've lifetime access to your club, once you join a club. And we do these little logic labs. I do some demos. But better yet for your group of listeners is for them to host a club because that's a way to not just learn it, but it's a way to implement it.

So, we are opening, I think a few host spots where they will bring it to their community and they can be the facilitator. They can be their voice. And especially for those introverts, this is such a great way to build community and do it in I'll call format thus very conducive to those who don't necessarily, always want to put themselves out there in a big way. We do a lot of it for you.

[00:36:56] Jeffrey Feldberg: That's terrific. It's a curated way with a proven methodology, a system that just works. I don't have to think about it. I'll think about myself and what I'm learning, but you've really done the heavy lifting for me. I absolutely love that.

Michelle, as we begin to wrap up this episode, there's a question that I love to ask every single guest.

And the question is this, think of the movie, Back to the Future, and in the movie, you have that magical DeLorean car, which can take you to really any point in time that you choose. So, imagine now tomorrow morning, Michelle, you wake up, you look out the window, and lo and behold, the DeLorean car is there.

The door is open and it’s waiting for you to hop in. So, you go into the car and you can now go to any point in your life. Michelle as a child or as a teenager or an adult, whatever the case may be, what would you be telling your younger self in terms of, hey, Michelle, do this or don't do that? Or life lessons or wisdom? What would you be thinking in and sharing with your younger self?

[00:37:54] Michelle Tillis Lederman: There are two thoughts that came to mind. One was flexible, be flexible. And I think that's part of what we've been saying. I had to have things a certain way. It's just like a little rigidity that I had that I wish I had been more flexible. But the real lesson that I would probably share is you know, those tried-and-true things that are there for a reason, you get more bees with honey.

The way I think of it is to make people want to say yes to you because when they want to say yes to you, they find a way to say yes to you.

[00:38:24] Jeffrey Feldberg: I love that. Wow. What a great way, just to cap off this episode and some terrific wisdom. And in our show notes, we're going to have all of your links. And Michelle has a lot of links, but it will be really easy for you. You'll just point and click when you get there. But if somebody wanted to reach you online, what would be the best place where they come to our show notes and they see all these different links as are one preferred place for you, than others.

[00:38:47] Michelle Tillis Lederman: Yeah, I do a lot of links. LinkedIn is my favorite of the social media. So, that's a great place to start a connection with me is on LinkedIn. Also, you can just go to my website is You'll see the spelling above and from there I have a community where I send my newsletter and I interact with a very engaged, small community of people.

So, I love to give freebies and tips and tricks and all that good stuff. So, those are the two best ways to engage in. From my website, you can get everywhere else.

[00:39:15] Jeffrey Feldberg: Love, it sounds like a plan and there's just so much value there. Well, Michelle, we're going to officially close out this episode. I really want to thank you for taking part of your day to be on The Sell My Business Podcast and to share your insights and wisdom. And as always, please stay healthy and safe.

[00:39:28] Michelle Tillis Lederman: Thank you for having me. 

[00:39:30] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.

Lyn M.: This course is one of the best investments you will ever make because you will get an ROI of a hundred times that. Anybody who doesn't go through it will lose millions.

Kam H.: If you don't have time for this program, you'll never have time for a successful liquidity

Sharon S.: It was the best value of any business course I've ever taken. The money was very well spent.

Lyn M.: Compared to when we first began, today I feel better prepared, but in some respects, may be less prepared, not because of the course, but because the course brought to light so many things that I thought we were on top of that we need to fix.

Kam H.: I 100% believe there's never a great time for a business owner to allocate extra hours into his or her week or day. So it's an investment that will yield results today. I thought I will reap the benefit of this program in three to five years down the road. But as soon as I stepped forward into the program, my mind changed immediately.

Sharon S.: There was so much value in the experience that the time I invested paid back so much for the energy that was expended.

Lyn M.: The Deep Wealth Experience compared to other programs is the top. What we learned is very practical. Sometimes you learn stuff that it's great to learn, but you never use it. The stuff we learned from Deep Wealth Experience, I believe it's going to benefit us a boatload.

Kam H.: I've done an executive MBA. I've worked for billion-dollar companies before. I've worked for smaller companies before I started my business. I've been running my business successfully now for getting close to a decade. We're on a growth trajectory. Reflecting back on the Deep Wealth, I knew less than 10% what I know now, maybe close to 1% even.

Sharon S.: Hands down the best program in which I've ever participated. And we've done a lot of different things over the years. We've been in other mastermind groups, gone to many seminars, workshops, conferences, retreats, read books. This was so different. I haven't had an experience that's anything close to this in all the years that we've been at this.

It's five-star, A-plus.

Kam H.: I would highly recommend it to any super busy business owner out there.

Deep Wealth is an accurate name for it. This program leads to deeper wealth and happier wealth, not just deeper wealth. I don't think there's a dollar value that could be associated with such an experience and knowledge that could be applied today and forever.

Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?

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As we close out this episode, a heartfelt thank you for your time. And as always, please stay healthy and safe. 

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Your liquidity event is the most important financial transaction of your life. You have one chance to get it right, and you better make it count. 

But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time, money and effort wasted. Of the "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave 50% to over 100% of their deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

Our founders said "no" to a 7-figure offer and "yes" to a 9-figure offer less than two years later. 

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This podcast is brought to you by the Deep Wealth Experience. In the world of mergers and acquisitions, 90% of deals fail. Of the successful deals, business owners leave millions of dollars on the deal table.

Who are we and how do we know? We're the 9-figure exit guys. We said "no" to a 7-figure offer based on 3-times, EBITDA. Two years later, we said "yes" to a 9-figure offer based on 13-times EBITDA.  In the process we increased the value of our company 10X.

During our liquidity event journey, we created a 9-step preparation process. It's the quality and depth of your preparation that increases your business value.

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Michelle Tillis Lederman On How To Boost Your Likability & Influence To Get To YES (#101)