To fix your messaging and improve business communication with the TBDs, consider this… If nothing that you convey in your communication, instills any sort of belief in the other person as to why they should take the action that you’re requesting in the third step, then it’s not at all likely they’re going to take that action.

David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. In today’s episode, co-host Jay McFarland and I will be discussing the TBDs. Welcome back, Jay.

Jay: Hey, it’s such a pleasure to be here with you again, David. We’re talking about communication here and I’ll be honest, oftentimes we’ll discuss a podcast that we want to do, or you’ll send me the topics and I sit here and I think, you know, I’ve never once thought about this type of thing, how to improve communication. I just kind of fall in the trap. You know, I talk to people, I send them emails. I’m guessing that that’s good communication, but I’ve not really thought about it, David.

David: Yeah. I sort of introduced this topic backwards, I guess, at the top of this podcast. When I say we’re going to be talking about the TBDs, what we’re really talking about is improving our communication with the TBDs.

And for those of you who are saying, “what are they talking about?” Allow me to elaborate. A lot of times when I’m working with clients, one of the things that they’ll ask about is how to improve the results that they’re getting with the communications they’re having with prospects.

That could be anything from the messages they’re leaving on people’s voicemails. It could be not getting responses to emails. It could be the things they’re posting on social media, any form of outbound communication, whether it’s one-to-one or one-to-many. What you say in those communications is going to determine what happens.

We touched on this a little bit in the previous episode. But if you want to really think about what is going to likely get you the best results, what I ended up boiling it down to for myself and for my clients is what I refer to as the TBDs.

Now, when people think of that abbreviation “to be determined,” that’s often what’s used there. That’s not what I’m thinking in terms of. When we’re looking to communicate with other people, particularly when we’re looking to get a result, we want to ask ourselves:

“As a result of this communication, what do I want this person to think? What do I want them to believe, and what do I want them to do?

Okay? And so if you structure your communication in a way where it addresses those three points, you’re going to be a lot more likely to get at least closer to the result that you’re looking for.

If I’m sending somebody an email and there’s nothing in particular that I want them to think, believe or do, there is no reason for me to send that email.

Jay: Mm-hmm.

David: If I’m making a phone call, if I’m leaving a voicemail message, if I’m doing anything that is initiating contact with another human being, if there’s nothing in particular that I want for them to think, believe, or do, then there’s no point to having the conversation.

Now, if you’re calling a loved one, Okay. You know?

Jay: Yeah.

David: You want them to know that you love them, you want to know that they love you, all that sort of thing. But, in business in particular, in our communications, if we don’t have a reasonably good idea of what we want the other person to think, believe, or do, then there’s not a whole lot of reason to communicate.

Jay: Yeah. That’s so powerful because how often or is the temptation I’m calling a client? Hey, just checking in, seeing how you’re doing give me a call back. It’s like, that’s the trap. I think so many of us fall into.

I’m not thinking at that moment, what I want them to be thinking is, please call me back because you need me.

But I sound kind of desperate and not like there’s a priority. There’s no urgency, there’s nothing really being conveyed. Right?

David: Yes. And when we’re doing follow-up calls, when we’re doing check-in calls, and just even using those words in a voicemail message. There’s nothing really compelling for them to respond to there. Is there?

Jay: Mm-hmm.

David: If you’re saying to somebody, “Hey, I’m just checking in,” it’s like, “okay, well they’re just checking in. I’ve got nothing for ’em at this point. I guess I don’t need to respond to that.”

But when you leave a message like that, We have things we want them to think, believe, and do. We want them to think, oh, I’m going to get this message and I’m going to call this person back.

We want them to believe that it would be in their best interest to pick up the phone and call us. We want them to do, we want them to pick up the phone and call us back, right? So it does kind of tie together, but when you’re conscious about it, It requires you to think differently and to speak differently and to approach the whole thing differently.

If I want them to think that it’s important for them to call me back then saying, “Hey, I’m just calling to check in,” is probably not the best approach to take. And in most of our communications, it’s good to have some sort of call to action at the end of it. Give me a call back, drop me an email, send me a text, whatever it is, that’s the “do” portion of it, and that usually does come at the end.

You want to have a very specific call to action at the end indicating what you would like or appreciate for them to do. Are they always going to do it? No, I leave messages for people who don’t call me back. Even people that I’ve known for a long time, who I’ve worked with and things like that. For whatever reason, that still happens.

But if you are at least clear, on your end, about why you’re calling, what you’re looking to accomplish in that call and what you’d like them to do next, then at least you’ve got a shot.

Jay: Yeah, and I think it’s probably a, discussion more for a future podcast, but things have changed dramatically over the last, say, 15 years.

It used to be people expected a voice phone call. We get almost zero results now, in our business with the return voicemail. All of the results come through the return email or the return text. And now, I find it’s easier for people to get back to me because they respond right when they see that text.

But it makes it harder to define, you’re not in person, they’re not hearing your voice, and so now making sure they’re going to think what you or believe it and do what you want them to do, you’ve got to be able to condense that down and share that message in a powerful way, in fewer words. So there’s some wordsmithing needs there that have to happen.

David: Yes, and the belief portion of it, I think is pretty key. And it’s important to differentiate that from the think portion. And what I mean by that is if I want you to think that we should do business together, it needs to go deeper than that. You need to believe that it’s really in your best interest that we do business together, because if you just sort of think it, if it sort of flies by in your brain, then it can just as easily fly out.

But if you’re able to instill some level of belief, even just a little, a little bit of a belief, which is more than a thought, it’s actually a strong consideration that this might be in my best interest, then you’ll be a lot more likely to get the return call, get the return communication, whatever it is.

So it’s a small distinction on some levels, but it’s a really deep distinction on others. If nothing that you convey in your communication, instills any sort of belief in the other person as to why they should take the action that you’re requiring in the third step or requesting in the third step, then it’s not at all likely they’re going to take that action.

Jay: Yeah, I imagine like for example, if you in promotional products are trying to get somebody to believe something, I would think what I want them to believe is that the longer they wait, not using your promotional products, the longer they’re not going to experience the benefit of the sales and the growth that those things can provide.

If I can convey that, I’m guessing for you that would be a win.

David: Yeah, that’s an excellent example of a belief system that we would like to be able to install in other people. That it is absolutely in their best interest to do it, and if they’re not doing it, that in some ways it could potentially be harming them.

Jay: Mm-hmm.

David: Particularly if those things are true. We’re not just looking to try to make things up to manipulate people into responding to us. If what we’re offering actually has value and has the ability to help the other person, and we don’t create that belief, we don’t convey that belief to them, then we are doing them more harm than we’re doing to ourselves. Because they don’t get the benefit of what it is that we could help them with.

Jay: Yeah. And so being lackadaisical, that’s probably not going to help. Are there any tips or guidelines on how you can really identify that thing? Because I’m asking myself, “okay, what do I want my potential clients to believe?” I don’t know if I know the answer to that question. So spending some time on just that could be very valuable.

David: Yeah, literally if you grab a sheet of paper and you write, “Think” at the top, “Believe” in the middle of the page, “Do” near the bottom, and then say, okay, what is it that I want to accomplish in my next communication?

And when you’re reaching out to a lot of different people with a similar message, for a similar purpose, then this becomes that much more critical. Because every call that you make without doing this decreases the likelihood that you’re going to get the result you want, because you haven’t defined the result you want.

I mean, yeah, you know that you want them to call you back, but you haven’t identified what you want them to think about that, what you want them to believe about that so that they will actually take the action that you’re requesting.

Jay: Yeah. And then what’s probably going to happen, because you haven’t done that, you’re going to sound desperate and like you’re begging. And that is, that is the worst place to come from in a sales call.

David: Yeah. Or that you’re careless, that you’re just, “oh, I thought I’d give you a call.” Like I have nothing better to do. When you convey that sort of a message Into somebody’s voicemail, particularly if that’s somebody who’s busy, who actually has things that need to get done to improve productivity and make things happen, and move things forward in their business.

They’re going to listen to that. I’m going to say, I don’t have time for this,

Jay: Right.

David: But if that same message conveyed a thought that resonated with them, a belief that would motivate them, and then a call to action that would actually happen. Now you’re using exactly or at least roughly the same amount of time to leave that voicemail message, but improving your results and your responses dramatically.

Jay: Yeah. And it’s a legitimate place where you can use the phrase game changer. It’s often overused, but this is a process, right? So you may want to do some A/B testing, I think. You’re not going to nail it the first time. But it’s another place, and we talk about this very often, tracking the messaging that you’re using and seeing which types of message are most effective.

Because if you’re not doing that, you’re not going to know when you’re really hitting that sweet spot or not.

David: Exactly. And if you have the ability to track your most recent calls, your last 10, 50, a hundred calls. If you’ve been doing the same thing on those, how many of them got a return call? If you made a hundred calls and three people called you back, that’s a 3% rate.

If I change the approach, if I incorporate the TBDs, what does that do? Does it convert it to 6%? Does it convert it to 8%? Does it convert it to 20%? Does it reduce it to zero? Right? Any of those things are possible, depending on what it is we’re conveying in that message.

It could make it better. It could make it worse. But if you do this, if you test it, as you’re talking about, an A/B test. The A test was what you did before. The B test is what you’re doing now for a certain period of time. You’re tracking those results. You’re comparing it. That gives you the answer.

It gives you the answer better than any guru, than any marketing Sherpa, whatever it is that’s going to tell you because the market always votes with their wallets. Or in this case, they vote with their phones, whether or not they’re going to call you back.

That’s what tells you the answer. So it’s very easy to define once you’ve got it set up. Not always fun to implement. Not always easy to implement. Probably easier than it seems, but once you do it and you’ve got those numbers, now you know. You don’t have to wonder. Hmm. I wonder if that would work better. You know.

Jay: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s the most important part. That’s the difference between just shooting stabs in the dark or conveying a message of, you know, “Hey, I’m just your friend,” instead of somebody who has a product that can change your business or improve your business. So how do people find out more?

David: You can go to to schedule a call with myself or my team. If you’re looking to initiate more conversations, improve your communications with people, get a better response to your emails, your voicemails, your phone messages, anything you’re doing in that regard, then let’s have a conversation.

Our Total Market Domination course is all designed to get you better results from what you’re currently doing.

Jay: Fantastic. David, thank you so much for sharing your information today.

David: Thank you, Jay.

Are You Ready to Improve Your Communication to Get Better Results?

If so, check out a few ways we can help you grow your sales & profits:

  1. Just Getting Started? If you (or someone on your team) is just getting started in promotional product sales, learn how we can help.
  2. Ready to Grow & Scale Your Business Fast? If you’re an established distributor serious about growing your sales and profits now, check out this case study and schedule a call with our team.
  3. Need EQP/Preferential Pricing? If you’re an established distributor doing a decent volume of sales, click here to get End Quantity Pricing from many of the top supplier lines in the promo industry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.