Today on the Heath Barnes show, we’re speaking with sales and leadership expert René Rodriguez.
For the last 25 years, René has researched and applied behavioral neuroscience as a dynamic keynote speaker, leadership advisor, world-class sales expert, and renowned speaker coach.
This is a great conversation, full of actionable ideas on how to make connections with people, frame your conversations, and amplify your influence.
René also generously gave us a discount code for the upcoming AmpCon in Las Vegas (details in the show links).
Listen to the podcast here
Amplify Your Influence With René Rodriguez
I am overjoyed with excitement to have one of my mentors, Mr. René Rodriguez. He created the AMPLIFII process. He also has his own TED Talk and he is a podcaster. He has a new book coming out called Amplify Your Influence. René, who are you? What do you do and what makes you unique?
It’s good to be here. I’m René Rodriguez. Many years ago, my mother asked me a question. She said, “Look around the room and tell me what everybody here has in common.” I started looking around the room and tried to figure it out and I couldn’t come up with anything. She said, “Everybody has a brain. If you can understand how the brain works, everything in life becomes easier.” I have spent many years diving into how to apply brain research neuroscience in the areas of leadership, influence, change, and how to be better sales professionals.
How did you come up with the AMPLIFII process like the AMPLIFII event? Was it a process? Did you copy it or learn it from someone else? Where did that come from?
There are very few things that are new in the world, but AMPLIFII came about getting asked over and over again by people to help them become better speakers. The approach that I take is very different because there are techniques to being a better speaker and communicator. My interest lies in how to make better leaders. Why are we speaking? It’s asking a deeper question.
I can teach how to stand up and speak, but for what purpose? It’s a gift and a curse. I’m always asking myself, “What’s the purpose behind this?” Things for me that lack purpose, they lack meaning and they don’t capture my attention. When you realize that the purpose of speaking and leadership is influence, then the question becomes bigger.
It’s not just about being a good speaker. It’s about how you drive behavior change. How do you inspire action? How do you speak in such a way that people want to do something different because of your words that they wouldn’t have done if you hadn’t spoken? That process entails a lot of things from body language to what you know about managing our stress response to sequencing, storytelling, and all the things that go into creating a good experience when someone is speaking.
Let’s start off with one of the things that I most struggled with starting with the AMPLIFII process. For those that don’t already know, I have done AMPLIFII three times. I heard René in a video and within two minutes, I said, “Sign me up.” One of the things that were evident to me was how I couldn’t handle the elevation of my heartbeat. My mind was starting to lock up. You gave me some advice. What advice would you give other people when they feel they are going into that lockdown process?
I remember your journey through it when you are such a talented and respected coach. You are ridiculously successful in the mortgage space and have helped so many people. You watch the one-on-one conversations you have with people and how people look to you and your leadership. I was blown away because I’d watched you transform when you got in front of the room where you would look like a deer in the headlights and the stress became overwhelming.
The process we try to remind people of is that stress response is designed for a reason. It’s designed to keep you alive. The problem is the brain a lot of times misinterprets what stress or a dangerous situation is. It looks at the difference between physical safety and psychological safety. The brain responds to almost the same psychologically unsafe environment. Meaning the fear of judgment, self-criticism, and all those things being in front of the room, being watched, humiliation, failure or whatever it is. We associate the same thing and our heart rate responds the same.If you can understand how the brain works, everything in life becomes easier. Click To Tweet
When our heart goes into a place of trying to survive, it shuts down access to memory because it was not needed at the moment. You need to remember your speech. You need to find the exit. It’s the most important thing, and then how do you get off the stage? It’s like you are being chased by a bear in the woods. You are not going to need to remember who the 32nd president of the United States was. You don’t need that information. You need to know how to get out of here.
Your blood goes to your arms, legs, and extremities to be able to be stronger. Those are all things you don’t need and don’t want when you are speaking. The only real way is to practice, but also to learn how to breathe. When we walked you through the breathing exercise, you literally went from deer in the headlights look that almost looked like a neurological disorder and went to sounding like Clark Kent and being confident in who you are, which was beautiful to watch.
One of my favorite quotes is, “Let your heart speak and sequence.” How do you drop out of your head into your heart so that you have a bigger impact on your audience?
I define the heart as your values and it’s your beliefs. To access values and beliefs, you also need memory. Values, beliefs and memories are the things that you remember. The things that you remember are also tied to values and principles. That’s all research. We don’t remember what we feel or what we calculate to be important.
We remember what we feel to be important, things that are tied to those things. When you access memories, memories are a good way of accessing what people believe and what they value. That’s what I call your heart. A lot of people think your heart is like speaking touchy-feely. It’s not about that. It’s about what you believe. You can speak in a very strong way from the heart about something you are passionate about. The sequence comes down to the sequence of the brain. The brain listens to and needs to follow a certain methodology and sequence for it to retain information for it to even hear it.
We know that sequence. If you’ve ever given feedback, you don’t start with negative feedback. You start with the positive. That’s priming the brain to be more open and receptive to other information. It tells the brain that you care about them, that you are able to see both things, and it creates psychological safety. That allows the secondary information or maybe the criticism or their areas for improvement to come in. It’s a simple example of sequence but there are so many more that go into creating the AMPLIFII process.
What do you think is one of the biggest mistakes of most people like leaders when they are trying to influence their audience? What are 1 or 2 things that they often forget about?
They don’t connect first. The connection has to happen before influence. It’s very hard to be influenced by someone you have no connection with and you don’t trust. People can intellectualize that concept, but living it is very different because living it requires you to change how you speak. It requires salespeople to change. They say, “People buy emotionally and defend logically.” Every salesperson who is worth their weight in anything knows that, but their sales presentations have nothing to do with emotion. They are all product-based.
They need to learn to follow what the science says which is to connect first. That usually happens through a personal story. It happens through vulnerability. It happens through the struggle and the failures of life. It does not happen through success. We can create some connection through our successes in terms of some attraction through success, but it doesn’t create the connection that we are looking for.
Talk about your own personal story and what’s happening in your life. You talk about signature stories. There are a lot of people that say, “I’m not good at storytelling.” Storytelling is the master way to influence people. What advice would you give people on how to tell a good story?
There are countless amounts of information on the internet on how to tell stories. I look at the simplest form, the recollection of events and chronology of what happened. If you know that it’s a memory, that means it’s memorized, then you look at the chronology. Most people don’t give the detail necessary or they give the wrong detail.
You have to approach the story from the end in mind. What’s your objective with this? What are you trying to share? I could tell your story about when you had a hard time on stage and you froze. In a totally different way that would add no value, but I chose the elements that contributed to the message, which were you’re stressed, but then you breathe and then everything went better.
Those were the three core messages. The details behind that and all the other details that could tell a different story aren’t relevant because of the objective I had at that moment. Let’s say I was talking to a potential instructor that wanted to do AMPLIFII. I had to go through the struggle of wondering, “Did you have a neurological disorder?” I couldn’t harp on you in front of the group. I had to assess this very touchy situation.
I have to focus on that part to teach the person that I’m training how to understand boundaries and how to understand good judgment when you give coaching, when you back off, or when you do one-on-one versus in front of a group. That’s a totally different message than we had before. If you notice, the story fits the message you are trying to say. The details are driven by the end result, not by me wanting to tell a story.
One of the things you learned in AMPLIFII is one of my favorite quotes, which is, “Claim the frame.” Why do you think the frame is so important and how can people become better communicators by framing? How can you teach them?
Framing is how we understand reality. We understand the world around us because of frames of reference. There are a lot of different applications of that. The frame that we put around things is the explanation. It’s how we understand it. It determines how we interpret things. The news frames things depending on the political interest of the new station.
CNN and Fox both will take the same current event and put a different frame around it. One that drives a very opposite agenda of the other. Those frames are powerful because they become constructs of reality. When I say constructs, it’s the building blocks of reality. We are building our reality based on frames of reference that we know. The simplest example is what word comes to mind when you say used car salesman. People always say something negative. They are sleazy and dishonest, one of those types of things.
When that happens, it constructs a reality in front of us of somebody we can’t trust. If I can’t trust that person that’s in front of me, then anything they say is not trustworthy. When we talk about claiming the frame, in whatever industry you are in like if you are in real estate mortgage, you have the same challenge as used car salespeople. Some people in some research have an even harder challenge because of the things that have happened in the past.Memories are a really good way of accessing what people believe and what they value. Click To Tweet
You have to claim the frame through a personal story. My grandfather wanted to get out of Cuba in the early-’50s I think it was. He wrote a letter to the president saying, “If you get me out of this country, I will fight for yours.” Long story short, he gets out of the country. They pull them out and he goes and fights in the American Armed Forces. He got out in Homestead, Florida without any money and no job. In Homestead, Florida, there were no opportunities so he couldn’t have his American dream until somebody believed in him. He got him into an older vehicle. That older vehicle allowed him to drive 50, 75 and 100 miles for an income. That person that believed in my grandfather was a used car salesman.
All of a sudden, that story that’s placed in front of the actual answer claims the frame. What happens is if I don’t provide a frame for my audience, my audience will create one for me so that they understand what’s going on. That frame is created based on their experience, not mine. It’s a crapshoot on how they are going to understand me.
We all have our own experiences, whether you are growing up. I can’t tell you about my childhood, but if I tell you a story about my childhood, you experience that childhood experience. What’s super impactful for me and what you talk often about is how people give a message and they may be great speakers, but in the end, they give no tie-down. Talk about the different tie-downs and how we can become better as loan officers and tie down our message.
Some people have a natural understanding of conceptualization, which would be good in providing context and frame to an understanding. The tie-down answers the most important question. What does this information mean to you as the audience or the listener? Why did I share this with you? What can you do with it? Very few people answer that question. The mortgage industry is notorious for posting about and telling people what’s happening in the marketplace but they don’t have any information that says, “This is what it means to you.”
They say, “The Fed cut their interest rate by half a point.” What does that mean to me? There are housing shortages and inventory shortages in the industry right now. What happens is that people who are professionals assume that their audience has the same level of understanding. They assume that they are going to connect the dots in the same way that I intended them to.
The tie-down takes away that risk and says, “The reason I share this with you is because right now,” and so then you can fill in the gap depending on the audience. If you are talking to a real estate agent, it’s going to be a different tie-down than when you might be talking to a consumer, a family member, or your children. It means something different to all of them.
One of the greatest pieces of advice that I heard out in our last AMPLIFII is sometimes you might be on stage and you are talking and you forget where you are. The reason I tell you that is most of the loan officers we have experienced in the last couple of years has been outstanding. We are coming into a higher interest rate environment. Tell us what’s the message or give me a great script for addressing interest rates for our audience. If the client says, “Tell me about your rate,” give us one of your phenomenal advice.
I did a podcast on this price versus value. To be able to answer the interest rate question is no different for whatever industry to answer the price question. You have to first believe. Do you believe that interest rates are the most important driving factor? The answer is emphatically no. Does it have to be competitive? Yes, of course.
Assuming a competitive interest rate, but a fluctuation up or down isn’t going to make or break someone’s life and should not be the only thing. The reason is that this industry requires people to give good advice. For it to be good advice, there have to be people hired and they have to get paid. For you to be able to be successful in this industry, you have to close on time. You have to be able to get to the closing table.
Not all products of the same. There’s a whole financial plan that goes behind the mortgage that people try to distill down to an interest rate. When you personally as a loan officer understand that, then the price question should trigger automatically, shifting away from price and into what matters. A script that I give people is one to help define terms.
If you can answer it by asking a question in return to help them realize that no loan officer should ever quote an interest rate because a quoted rate is different from a locked rate. That’s the first definition of claiming the frame right away. Somebody says, “What’s your interest rate?” “I’m sorry. Are you wanting a quoted rate or a locked rate and do you know the difference?”
There’s a big difference between quoted rates and what I can quote you today, but that quoted rate means nothing to you because you are not going to pay a payment based on a quoted rate. You are going to make a payment based on what matters to you on a locked rate. For us to have a locked rate, there’s a lot of information I need to collect from you first. I have to be able to check your credit and have some conversation, decide what programs and get a general game plan. Quoting a rate is a pretty risky situation and here’s why I say it’s risky. In this industry, trust is the most important thing for me, and me being able to say something and follow through on it is paramount.
For me to quote a rate and then run the risk of the market changing or a different scenario coming up in that rate having to change because I didn’t get information fast enough from you, I would have to change that and then I’m the one that looks like a liar. I don’t want to do that. I hope you can understand that, but I will tell you this. You got to answer it.
Our rates are going to be pretty much the same rate from here to there. Give a range. Your goal is to get you on the low end, and that’s going to depend on how fast you and I can work together and the list of information I get. How soon can you guys give me the information so I can get an accurate rate? I’m using that information to drive the behavior change and the behavior. That’s what influence is about. The framing was quoted versus locked.
I liked what you said about asking questions. Often as a loan officer, you give information and most of the information that you need, you are going to get by asking the right questions. If I’m telling you about mortgages is one thing, but if I get you to tell me about I should wait to lock a rate, the market is not good or what have you. That’s the difference between the two. Tell me about the new book. When is it coming out?
April 26. We hit the number one new release in business communications on Amazon. A lot of pre-orders are coming in. There’s a lot of excitement for the book right now. You are one of the big contributors to that and I appreciate that.
You also have your podcast that came out as well. It has been a big year for you.
The podcast, AMPCON, the AMPLIFII Conference, and the book. Those are the three big goals that we have. It’s exciting that we reached them all. The book is an in-depth look at the process and the course itself. Anybody who has been through the course can use it as a manual to go back to every single one of the concepts.Connection has to happen before influence. It's very hard to be influenced by someone you have no connection with, and you don't trust. Click To Tweet
Those who haven’t can use it as a guide to walk them through how to amplify their communication style and their influence. The AMPLIFII Conference is happening on March 14th with about 1,000 people. A lot of which have been through the course. A lot of people who are wanting to learn about it are coming together. Leaders bring their teams. You were the last one. That’s a lot of fun.
I’m going to give away 100 books if you like and leave a comment on this episode. I’m buying a few from René. I got to have something to do with the books. I got a few comments. If you haven’t been to one of René’s events, you are already sold out in January and February.
Yeah. We are moving into March and April. It’s a lot of fun.
If somebody wants to go to one of your events, how would they do that? Where would they go to contact you?
The best way to find me is MeetRene.com. You’ll be able to see the book. You’ll be able to see the AMPLIFII event, and then otherwise you can go directly to AmplifiiMyLife.com. Go to MeetRené and click on AMPLIFII, the book or the podcast.
One last question. When someone says Nike, you think “Just do it.” If you had a tagline, what would your tagline be?
You said it before. Let your heart speak in sequence. That’s the one that people tend to gravitate towards. We are sticking with it. The only problem is you have to go through the course to understand it, but it does create a good conversation to start.
For those of you that haven’t been through the course, go to the website right now and sign up. Can they get a discount if they put in a code?
Not the course but the AMPCON. It is $595. The early bird special is $495 if they use this code RENE100. It’ll give you $100 off. It is only $395. We made it accessible. We want it to be accessible for people to bring their teams and other people that cannot pay the $6,000 for the other course.
It’s going to be in Las Vegas on the 14th of March.
Following the days after two days is Momentum Builder Conference, which is another 2,500 people. I will be on stage with Gary Vee, Hal Elrod, Ryan Holiday, Brad Lea, and some other cool people.
I appreciate you being on the show and I want to acknowledge you for what you are doing right now in the space of influence, especially in our industry. Moving forward, people in our industry are going to have to master their influence. I appreciate you being on. Are there any final thoughts before we sign off?
I appreciate you and all the support. You’ve been one of my favorite people to work with because you have such a huge heart, and also such a vast amount of knowledge and expertise. It’s fun to watch you piece those together and influence more people. You are one of the good ones. Thank you for having me on.
Thanks for being here, René.
There you have another great episode. Don’t forget to check out the notes at HeathBarnes.com. You can find out more about all the ways we can help you at HeathBarnes.com. That’s it for this episode. Have a great week and we’ll talk next time.