Watch the episode here
Listen to the podcast here
AI Changes Your Life, Learn How From Chad BurmeisterI’m here with CEO and Founder Julie Houston, and I’m Melanie Davidson. We have a very special guest, Chad Burmeister. He is the Founder and CEO of BDR.ai. He’s a lifelong entrepreneur, a true sales professional, and an investor. Welcome, Chad. Thank you for having me. It’s great to be here. I have a wallet. It’s a little bit on the light side. I’m interested in understanding how we’re going to fill that up. We were looking over your website and stuff earlier. We’re excited to see this concept that you’re working on that honestly I haven’t seen before. LinkedIn is a good approach to meeting people. A lot of people get it wrong. I used to be the Head of Sales and Marketing for a company called ConnectAndSell. It’s a phone dialer. You would connect with someone and then have a conversation. In LinkedIn prospecting, you don’t want to connect and sell because too many people do it that way. You need to connect and build a relationship, not connect and sell. There’s a right way to do LinkedIn prospecting and a wrong way. I’m very passionate about doing it the right way. I’m excited to dive in more on that. Before we dive in on that though, do you mind giving me a little background to our audiences about your history, how you ended up to where you are, and what you’re focused on? I always knew I was going to be a sales professional from the time that I rode the bus to school in the morning because I remember learning about what a gross of suckers is. A gross is a pack of 144. I would go buy that at the Costco of the day. I can’t remember what it used to be called. We would buy that for probably $8 or something, and I would sell them for $0.25 to $0.50. At the very end, when there are only two left, this law called scarcity kicks in, which I didn’t realize at the time as a young kid. Now, the last two are worth more than $0.25. There may be $1 because I only have two left. I hope this isn’t unethical, but at the time, I did do this. I would keep an extra two in my bag. In the morning, I would say, “I’m sorry. I only have two left.” I would sell them for $1 each. At the end of the day, I would go, “I found two more for $1 each.” That’s how I knew I was going to be in sales. I was also competitive in elementary school, climbing the rope climb. I took the prize every single year from the 1st through 6th grade. I saw my teacher at the church one Sunday years later. He said, “I’m sorry to tell you. You lost the fifth-grade time up the rope.” I was so disappointed because I was eight years out of elementary school. That’s how competitive I am. I went to New Zealand. I did a study abroad program for six months. I was in a marketing class. If you flip to the end of the marketing book, there’s the sales chapter. I highlighted every single item about what is sales and who is a good salesperson. They’re competitive and all of that stuff. That’s when I understood and realized that’s what I was built to do. I worked for Airborne Express and Federal Express in my early days. I’ve done technology now for years with about 6 or 7 different high-growth companies. I have a passion for it. What a background. You touched on LinkedIn, but talk to me more about LinkedIn. I understand the relationship side. Honestly, I’ve stopped using LinkedIn because of so much of the spam that comes in and the messages. First of all, it’s advanced targeting because if you go too wide, and you’re hitting folks that have no need or desire for your service, then why are you even wasting their time and yours? You’ve got to, first of all, choose the right audience. You can do that by ideal customer profile, “10 to 50 employees in Mobile, Alabama.” I met with someone selling into that. There were about 1,400 people that are founders and CEOs. We have targeted. When I asked him, “What’s a landmark in Mobile, Alabama?” he said, “We have this battleship.” I was like, “We’re going to put that in our video.” We target 1,200. Ideally, if I had a little bigger list than 1,200, I would sort by group members. It doesn’t have to be the groups you think of. This would be a good one, “Julie, I see you’re a podcast host. Me too. Let’s connect on LinkedIn.” What do you think are the odds of you connecting to me? It’s 100%. There’s no way you’re not going to connect. If you can start with a big list, narrow it down to a monothematic theme or what all those people have in common. What’s my commonality? It could be, “I see you’re a Christian business owner. Me too. Let’s connect.” I get an 84% connection rate when I say we’re co-Christian business owners. You have to be creative with how you’re building your list in the first place, and then you don’t connect and sell instantly. It’s an hour later, “I’m glad you connected. Would you like to buy my product?” I don’t believe it. There you would have to be extremely relevant. I’ll do a video. In the platforms these days, you can do a one-to-many video that looks personal. I wrote a book called Sales Hack. That’s one of the sales hacks that I use. Let’s say I was prospecting into Julie Houston. I wouldn’t say, “Hi, Julie,” because I’m doing a one-to-many. You and I connected. I would say, “Thank you so much for connecting with me. I also run a podcast called The AI for Sales Podcast. I had 150 guests on the show in under a year before ChatGPT came out. Thanks so much for connecting. I love to network with people. If you think it might make sense, maybe I could have you on my podcast. I could be on yours. I’m not sure, but maybe if you want to get 10 to 15 minutes, I would be happy to have a conversation and see if we could share ideas.” That way, you’re adding to your personality a video, not just text. Text only communicates 12% of the message. If you add video, it might get to a 90% level of communication where in-person is 100%, but we have all been on Zoom for so long. 90% is pretty darn close to 100%. That is true. We have all been on Zoom, especially in the past few years. I should have invested in Zoom a long time ago. That’s funny because I worked for RingCentral. That was a reseller of Zoom. We were $14 a share when I joined. When I left, it was $70. Within a year, it went to $420. I was, “I’m sorry I sold the shares.” A lot of people made a lot of money on that transaction. That’s for sure. Tell us about conversation AI. This is where things are headed. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. It’s like a rollercoaster at Elitch. You get up to the top, and you’re like, “What do I have to expect now?” That’s how I feel about conversation AI. I’ve been tasked by this company. They want me to be their CMO. I’m like, “I have way too many projects going on. I can’t drop everything, but I can help you from a consulting perspective.” They have created an AI. I don’t even like to use the word bot because that starts to make it sound impersonal. They have created this conversational AI that can call you. Have a conversation, and you will never know that it wasn’t powered by AI. It’s amazing. That’s next-level. Everybody is like, “I’m writing email copy. I’m doing this and that.” I have heard no one doing this. The conversation I heard went like this. Imagine you go to Wine or a wine site. You go to check out of your cart and don’t finish. Cart abandons happen 90% of the time. What happens is later that day, you get a call from this person, “Julie, this is Maggie. I’m calling because you visited the site a little earlier. You were about to purchase twelve bottles of Sauvignon Blanc. For whatever reason, you didn’t complete the transaction. I’m calling to see if I can go ahead and process that order for you.” That invites the real objection. The person says, “I’m going to have to check with my husband.” There was a slight chuckle and laugh. Maggie is smart enough to chuckle back and say, “I get it.” Stop it. You’re freaking me out. Maybe I’m a bot, and you don’t even know it. You have to ask me for the secret passcode. I can’t tell you my birthday because then they will use it against me. It’s March. I had a big birthday. Happy belated. Thanks. What’s neat about the conversation AI is that I’ve trained hundreds of sellers, and I’m a seller. If I cold call someone, “Julie, this is Chad Burmeister calling from BDR.ai. Did I catch you in an okay time?” it depends on how your day is going, “Is this a sales call?” I hate that question. People hang up and everything. When was the last time you went into ChatGPT? Recently probably. You go in and ask a question. Have you ever said, “Please?” You’re talking to a bot. You don’t say, “Please, write me this.” You say, “Write this.” I bring that up because think of this. Training a human to have a conversation and be able to handle four objections in the course of 60 seconds is hard. I can train the value of the technology, and it’s going to do things that I as a person may not be comfortable with because of the limitations of me as a human. When this bot, Maggie, talked to the person, it went through four objections, “I have to check with my husband. I don’t know about the price.” It knew how to handle the price objection, “How long is it going to be? I was looking at this for a party at my house this weekend.” “What if I can get it out to you in a day?” It has all of these decision trees and abilities programmed into the back end. Get this. You can do 20,000 dials in a split second. Southwest Airlines goes down on their call-in because Southwest flights were down for an hour and a half again. Do you remember the weather problem they had? That might have been an attack. Who knows? Imagine if they had a call center that was powered by AI instead of people or even the spillover. Once they have capped it out, you’re going to be on hold for 40 minutes. You flip a switch, and now you’ve got 20,000 agents that can handle the conversations. It’s pretty magic. I’m blown away. It’s surreal. Here’s what we need to press for as a country, a world, or the human race. Elon Musk is talking about this stuff. Do you remember when Oracle, SAP, and all these companies came out? We have a friend that lives in our neighborhood who was the president of one of those big companies like PeopleSoft. They invented the CIO position, Chief Information Officer. That never existed back in the day years ago. The new role that in my opinion needs to be invented and installed at every company is the Chief Ethics Officer. It’s the new CEO. It needs to be its role that sits on top of the AI, or at least a VP of Ethics or something like that. Some of these AIs are going to go out of control for the next year like the internet and other things, but unfortunately, this AI could cause a lot of issues before it’s caught. Elon was saying, “I wish we could slow things down a little bit before we get into a jam.” Some of these AIs are going to go out of control for the next year like the internet and other things but unfortunately, this AI could cause a lot of issues before it's caught. Click To Tweet One of the things that I’ve heard is that they’re getting bogus scam calls through AI for ransom, or somebody has been in an accident. They’re in the hospital or things like that, which I’m sure you’ve heard of. I heard that call recording where the daughter calls. She’s in a ski area. They were asking for a $1 million ransom. Luckily, she was she figured it out, and then they lowered their ransom rate to $50,000 after a couple of minutes. I read about this. The trick is to ask for the password, “If you’re telling me you’ve got my daughter, then I need to know what the name of her cat is. If you can tell me the name of her cat, then I’ll wire you $50,000. Let’s go.” This happened to one of our friends. It’s a big scam. The pros are Southwest Airlines goes down. We could get 20,000 agents turned on. The con is to imagine getting a call from your mom, your brother, or your sister that needs money, “I’m stuck in Mexico for $2,000,” and it sounds like them and can have a real dialogue. How will this affect sales professionals? The law in the country around conversation AI is that you can’t cold call someone with conversation AI. That will probably stay in place for the long haul, but if you ever noticed if you go to a website and fill out a form, and there are the terms and conditions, you may be auto-dialed. What will happen is that the terms and conditions will start to say, “You may be called by AI. It will be part of the form.” The law in the country around conversation AI is that you can't cold-call someone with conversation AI. Click To Tweet InsideSales did a study on this a long time ago. If you call someone in under five minutes, you’re 78% more likely to win that deal than your competitors. It has been hard to program that in and have a person. They might be on their lunch break. They might not have enough backup to do that call. The very first one is inbound leads that come into your website, you can now call them in under seconds and persist. If they don’t pick up once, call them ten minutes later. Reps will see the same person. Human behavior is, “I already tried. I left a message for Julie. I’m not going to call her. I’m going to skip.” The AI is going to try Julie again under a randomized caller ID, a local area code, or all these other ways. Finally, when you pick up, then the AI can have a conversation with you. What will happen then is you will have a team of highly productive sellers sitting behind the AI so that if Maggie doesn’t know the answer to the question, “Julie, you’ve stumped me. Can I be honest with you? I’m a bot. They got me. Let me get Chad on. He’s a real person.” You could have some fun with it. There is a presidential candidate. I’m not at liberty to share who they are. They’re not from Florida, but they are a candidate. They’re going to be using this technology to do fundraising across the US with people that have opted into a potential donor list. You can call all these donors in a split second and then process their donation on a phone call powered by a bot. It’s going to say the company name at the end, “This was brought to you by company name.” You didn’t know you were in for this conversation. We did not. I would love to meet Maggie. Maybe we can have her give you a call here at some point. I’m all about Maggie now. It’s pretty magic. That’s some crazy information. What are your secrets to success? It’s funny because I think back to a colleague who was a good seller in person. He would sit across from the customer. At the moment, he would connect on an emotional level. I was jealous, “I don’t know if I can ever get to be like Steve because Steve knows what the heck he’s doing,” but then he would go back to the office, he wouldn’t do his follow-up, and his proposal wasn’t quite as tight. I had a manager, Philip, tell me one time, “Your follow-up and your ability to listen and document are better.” Even though I felt that I was a B-player, at the time, I had advice that said, “Stick to it because revenue equals frequency times competency.” Frequency gets your repetitions up. He said, “If you want to be a good seller in enterprise deals, then sell a bunch of small deals first. Learn what the objections are, and then your competency will go up over time.” I wrote a blog on this years ago. Whenever I’m working with new salespeople, I say, “Get the F up,” meaning get the frequency part of that equation up, if you win with volume, the competency will come through repetitions. Revenue equals frequency times competency. Click To Tweet There are a lot of salespeople that don’t realize that part of it and that they’re a lot better than they think. There are so many more things that have to be taken into account with all of your stuff being much tighter and much more together than others. I did attend an event in Boston. There’s this company called Objective Management Group, OMG. There’s another one. They have been around for years. They have scored 1.8 million salespeople on sales skills, attributes, and competencies. They can tell you beyond a reasonable doubt where the gaps are. Looking back years ago and then doing it now, the DNA doesn’t change. Your core competencies and skills are probably going to be where they are. As a faithful person, it’s much easier to get in where you fit in, take a test like that, and say, “Let me go to the company that I’m a perfect match for or that role of account manager instead of hunter or sales development rep for inbound leads instead of outbound leads.” It’s neat when you can as the CEO or the SVP of sales understand what your top performers are doing and what their sales DNA look like and then hire people that have similar sales DNA. What’s also cool is the diversity conversation because diversity and inclusion are sensitive subjects in America. What I liked about this part of the talk is that they said that we’re not going to lower the standard by a level or two and say, “You’re an 18-handicap and I’m a 1. Let’s hire 18 handicaps.” They go, “That’s not what we were asking you to do. Open the net. Let’s use the same scoring algorithm, but if you’re recruiting from this local community, why don’t you go to the community next door? Why don’t you go to a school that has women and people of color and open up to hire a diverse audience?” The benefits of doing so are a 30% lift in your outcomes, better sales, and better revenue. I get it. If it was all Chads in a room, we’re not going to go very far. When my wife is there, she adds a lot more value to my level of thinking. Why wouldn’t I want to open it up? The value of these tools is that it scores based on something not related to the color of your skin, or if you’re a man or a woman, or those kinds. Another power of AI and automation is to look at that data to figure out who you should be hiring on your sales team. That’s interesting. You go to Vegas and put down $100, which we did once, on a number. It was the number eleven. There were four of us. I go, “Give me $25. Let’s do this.” We won $3,500 that day, seriously. This was the CEO of Exceed from Israel and two other people. We won $3,500 and split it four ways. Elon was like, “Chad, I only put in $20. You should pay me less.” I go, “It was a $5 rounding error. Here’s your $900.” The odds of that are 35 to 1. It’s very hard to get something like that to occur. That same story I told you probably happened 35 other times, and that’s the one I’m telling you. Imagine if you could go in, and the table lit up and said, “This is the one that’s green.” It’s probably not one square. Maybe it says, “Here are the six squares.” If I could bet on those six squares 3 to 4 times in a row and then it hits, I’m going to beat the house. The beauty of this technology is its 92% accuracy. If they say, “Julie is good. Go ahead and give her the offer,” 92% of the time, you’re going to be in the top 20% of my team. If there’s a maybe, then I can figure out what skills are a gap and train those. If it’s a no, and you got five red Xs, then it’s like, “I’m sorry, Julie. You’re going to have to stick with the on-air podcasting.” It’s the other way. If it says five red Xs, it’s going to say, “There’s 92% that you’re going to be in the bottom 20%. You’re going to leave within 90 days.” I could know that before I even set up the interview because that’s also stakes. Why would I want to talk to somebody on an interview and then tell them no if I know that 92% out of 100% they’re not going to win? These are a few of the AI tools that are coming out in the world. Imagine what’s around the corner. I cannot after this. I wasn’t even prepared for Maggie. I enjoyed the conversation. We should revisit maybe in six months or so and see how the world has changed. I would love that. That would be great. Is there anything you want to leave our audiences with? I go back to the ethics part of the conversation. I happen to be a Christian Founder. I put out a podcast. I have the AI for Sales podcast with 150 guests, but I also have a podcast called YOU MATTER To Christ. With everything going on in the world, we need to remember that we were created for a purpose. Figuring out that purpose is very important. If we can leverage AI to help people discover what their purpose in life is, ultimately it goes back to knowing that you’re a perfect creation or a perfect masterpiece. You’re destined to do something amazing. Stay the course. You will get there. Pray about it. I have another app called 77Pray. It helps people connect and have a conversation with God. It doesn’t mean you go to church every Sunday, but you can have a conversation with God every day. To me, that’s part of the most important thing. You created the app. What is the app? 77Pray. It’s for Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given. Knock, and the door will be open to you.” It’s like Fitbit for faith. In the morning, it beeps and tells you, “Did you say your prayer?” It pops other verses. I like that. I need Fitbit for that. There you go. My son had an accident. He was burned on his face and hands with 2nd to 3rd-degree burns years ago. It could have ended badly, but we have faith. We prayed for three weeks. He was at the hospital at the burn center. They have a new treatment called Resell. They put it on the face and hands. It’s about 50% that it will take. When they unwrapped the gauze, it was 100%. You can’t even tell that he ever had a burn accident on his face. When you talk about miracles in the Bible 2,000 years ago, it’s hard to connect. When you see it right in front of your face, it reinforces that miracles still happen now. We built the app because of that situation. What an incredible story on that. We were very lucky that he even made it because he was cooking, and it caught fire. He put it underwater. The whole apartment blew up. It was scary, but he’s doing great now. He loves to snowboard. His face looks great. That is so great. What a blessing. It has been an honor to have you on, Chad. We enjoyed our conversation. Me as well. Thank you so much for having me. It’s a fun world. As much as doom and gloom are out there, these are the times. If you think of your personal stories, it’s in the trauma that positive things usually come out. Whether we go to digital currency or blah, it doesn’t matter. That’s why faith matters more now than ever. I couldn’t agree more. Thank you again. Thanks for having me.