There are thousands of books on sales and there are a growing number of books trying to tease out practical philosophies from Jiu-Jitsu, but what if a book did both? A book that serious sales leaders, those who want proven effectiveness and not platitudes or theory could use to start generating results right away?
Elliott Bayev and Daniel Moskowitz’s new book, Sales Jiu-Jitsu, is that book. Together they share a complete sales system for elite leaders and entrepreneurs to take their already successful sales teams and turn them into sales black belts. They pass along practical and actionable steps that you could use to get results with your teams on their next sales engagements. Whether you’re new to sales or a world-class salesperson who’s leading sales teams, this book aims to give you a competitive advantage in your industry.
Hey listeners, my name is Drew Applebaum and I’m excited to be here today with Elliott Bayev and Daniel Moskowitz, authors of Sales Jiu-Jitsu: The Secret Black Belt System for Champion Leaders. Elliott and Daniel, thank you so much for joining. Welcome to the Author Hour podcast.
Elliott Bayev: Thank you. Good to be here.
Daniel Moskowitz: Yeah, thanks for having us.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, let’s kick this off. Can you each individually give us a short rundown of your professional background?
Elliott Bayev: So, I actually left corporate sales 15 years ago to work on an impact project. I started my first gym as kind of my vehicle to get there. I’ve been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for about 25 years and teaching for the last 15, taking more of a philosophical-strategic approach. And in that time, I’ve done a lot of impact work with women’s self-defense. I have run over 100 free women’s self-defense workshops for women in Toronto out of the academy I own in Toronto. I also started a few years ago, Mastermind BJJ, a private training group for entrepreneurs, which is how I met Daniel.
Daniel Moskowitz: As they say, “The history was written after that.” Since I was duped in university by a salesperson, that thrust me into lifelong learning of the art of sales. I learned everything I could ever learn about sales and landed my first sales job. And through that time, I’ve just closed well over $30 million personally. I’ve run teams that have closed hundreds of millions of dollars in sales.
The most recent stint that I’m doing right now is I’m working for an organization called Advance Your Reach as a Director of Sales. In the last three years, we have grown that into multiple eight-figure businesses.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, you mentioned how you two met, but how did you really form this friendship and connection–did you two have an epic duel in the Jiu-Jitsu studio?
Elliott Bayev: Well, from Daniel’s first class, every once in a while as I would teach a certain technique or explain a concept or a philosophy a certain way, you’d see his eyes light up. I think a lot of people who maybe haven’t been exposed to martial arts and Jiu-Jitsu in particular, maybe have the idea that it’s an aggressive, violent art. But it’s quite the opposite.
Jiu-Jitsu literally translated means gentle art or art of softness. And rather than being about hurting your opponent or dominating them, it’s more about adapting with them and controlling the situation. As I would kind of express this more gentle philosophy, Daniel, again, his eyes just would light up.
Through the writing of this book, I’ve gotten to learn his sales philosophy. So, the marrying came with this idea that we’re not fighting the client that we’re selling to. We’re fighting the forces that get in the way of them saying yes and letting us help them.
Daniel Moskowitz: And, for me, it was really about my core philosophy around sales which is about not hurting people. Leaving people better than when you found them, even if they never buy from you. I’ve seen sales used negatively in a lot of contexts that end up hurting people. Buying things they can’t afford, pressuring them into things that they shouldn’t buy and that they never helped them, but wasted a lot of money.
So, as I researched Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the idea that you can win without ever hurting somebody. In a competition, you tap to stop. It’s very much in alignment.
It was funny because you would start teaching something, and I would think, “Wait a minute. That’s how I teach objection handling.” Or, “Wait a minute. That’s how I teach about rapport building.” There were so many synergies. Some of the other students said, “Hey, you guys should write a book about that.” And we kind of went, “Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s funny.” And it happened too often that we just said, “Okay, let’s go for breakfast and see if this is something that we can create.”
It took us about a year, but the bulk of the book was written when we went away for a four-day weekend. We rented a little Airbnb about an hour outside the city. And we just secluded ourselves away and recorded audio. The whole book was audio and then we had it transcribed. But it took us about a year to get through the editing process.
A Systematic Approach
Drew Appelbaum: Now, why was now the time to write the book? Was there an ‘aha’ moment? Was there some inspiration out there that you said, “We need to collaborate on this and we need to take this four-day vacation and put all this on paper?”
Daniel Moskowitz: Well, from my end, it was really the fact that entrepreneurs and top business people have used Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a sharpening of their sword, a sharpening of their skills, and you can put them all together if you read between the lines. Everyone has a different take on what it does for them. I thought this is a moment in time where it’s a hot topic. A lot of high performers are doing it.
It’s a new way of describing sales. If you’re in the biz, it’s something that people talk about. I could not find anybody who has written a book that has a systematic approach to embedding a system with these principles in mind. So, it felt like this is the moment in time, that we need to get this out before anybody else does.
Because I’m Director of Sales and I’ve been embedding systems as I’ve been learning and as I’ve been adapting things, I thought, “Well, I have this test area. I’ve been testing the methodologies. They’re working. Let’s get this into a format that people can digest and then take action.” I didn’t want a book that’s all theory. I’ve read too many of those and they kind of pissed me off. I wanted a book that actually had action. That actually had real action that you can take that’ll actually get results that have been proven from actual real-world case studies. So that’s what we set out to do.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, were there any learnings or breakthroughs during the writing of the book? Maybe some research you did or maybe just that introspective journey on your professional careers?
Daniel Moskowitz: When the book came together, the ‘aha’ for me was that it was really addressing some of the biggest concerns and complaints from both the perspective of sales directors and managers and sales professionals. So, from the manager’s perspective, some of the biggest complaints of my team are in overcoming objections. My team isn’t closing. We’re not getting consistent results from our reps. As I looked at the book, it totally addressed those.
From the sales professional’s perspective, and as a sales professional myself, not only do I lead the team, but I also take calls, so I know that our methodologies are working.
But for sales professionals, it’s “No matter what I do, I can’t get a prospect to engage.”
You get objections you can’t handle. Deals fall through that you thought were going to close. As we looked, my aha was certainly, “Hey, look at this. We’re solving some major issues here.” Because the only research that needed to happen was that I needed to go do it. I have an organization that can test all these ideas out. Yeah, it’s awesome when you see it come together.
Elliott Bayev: As we went away for that weekend, I’ve always taken a systematic approach. With my athletes, my competitors, and I’ve been a competitor myself for over 20 years. There’s a process that you go through. Through talking that out and mapping it out, I have these giant whiteboards that we brought with us to be able to see the big picture.
What we created was a system that has four main phases, pre-fight, fight, winning, and post-fight. Within each of those phases, there are different considerations, different components. But through coming together and mapping that out, we have this very elegant system.
To give you a sense–readers of the book will get to see this–we’ve got a little map at the beginning, but each of those four sections has three subsections. Each of those subsections has its own three subsections. So, we go very deep into this systematic process for prepping for, engaging in, winning, and learning from an engagement, a sales engagement.
So, we start with effectively using a Jiu-Jitsu competition as an analogy for a sales engagement. The parallels were so surprising and so elegantly a match. It was really beautiful to see it come together.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, do you need to know Jiu-Jitsu or anything about it to understand the principles in this book?
Elliott Bayev: Absolutely not. It was designed assuming that the reader had no background in Jiu-Jitsu. So, it’s more strategy, philosophy, big picture. We use the language of Jiu-Jitsu because it’s very visible. It’s kind of gross in the sense of its big picture.
It’s easy to understand when someone is on top of you. That’s a tough situation to be in. There’s a lot of opportunity for metaphor that can elucidate the same processes, the same struggles we might have in a sales engagement.
At the same time, for the sales professionals reading who are interested in these principles, again, you don’t need to have any background. But I do believe Jiu-Jitsu–and Daniel can speak to this well–I do believe Jiu-Jitsu is an invaluable practice, because it teaches you so many things, builds your grit, builds your comfort with stressful situations. There is no need to understand Jiu-Jitsu or have any background in it. But as an aside, it is not a bad idea for those intrigued to give it a shot.
Daniel Moskowitz: There’s something to be said. You can go through this whole book, engage and implement and install all the elements. There’re over 30 elements of strategic elements in the system and you can install all of it without ever really deeply understanding Jiu-Jitsu.
We do a bit of a primer on some terms we’re going to use, and we have some photos around certain moves that Elliott may have referenced and what they look like. So, we took photography to augment that case. But it’s not needed. The situations that Elliott describes are pretty self-evident when you read the book.
However, if you choose to take the ideas and concepts to the mats, what I found to be so striking for me is as I started to create the mental and physical, when that came together, wow! It was very powerful for me. To feel real resistance around a concept, physical resistance. It’s like taking a theoretical concept and making it into a physical concept. That just accelerates the learning in a way. It keeps it into a muscle memory that’s really different than just a mental muscle memory, if that makes any sense. It’s a visceral new way of thinking about it.
We’re putting together a stage presentation right now that has us actually demonstrating these Jiu-Jitsu principles as it relates to a concept that we’re teaching. And it just completely changes. We recorded a digital course on the backend of the book, and we’ve shown these elements in a very new light. It’s a different language. It’s a different way. So, there’re different levels that you can go deep into this book.
A Sales Black Belt
Drew Appelbaum: I’d love to start diving into the book right from the beginning because you kick off the book in all caps and bold with two lines. “THIS IS NOT A BASIC SALES BOOK. THIS IS A BOOK FOR SALES BLACK BELTS.” When I read that, I just want to do a kick in the air. What is your definition of a sales black belt? And in your eyes, how does this book differentiate itself from those other basic sales books?
Daniel Moskowitz: Yeah. I think a lot of sales books have to take one big concept and they try to make a book out of it, and they say, “This is revolutionary. This is one concept. If you do this one thing, you will always win.”
Other books I think relay the basics of sales techniques in a systematic way. I see that there’s always a need to ensure your basics are covered, and we do that too.
The difference is we take the basics, we take the advanced, and we take the very advanced black belt. And it brings it to a whole new level because it’s systematic because the system is recursive. It feeds upon itself. When you have something that just gets better the more you do it, that recursive nature just exponentially increases growth.
That’s what I learned around Jiu-Jitsu. What I took away from my learnings from Jiu-Jitsu is that as you start to stack and learn and train and learn from your mistakes, learn from your wins, it becomes a recursive algorithm of perpetual improvement that not a lot of systems that I’ve ever seen out there in terms of sales takes into account. We do. And that’s really the up-leveling of what we put together.
Drew Appelbaum: Now you mentioned earlier that you took the Jiu-Jitsu success formula and you morphed it into the sales Jiu-Jitsu formula. When you’re trying to implement this, how important is the building of a habit around these ideas?
Elliott Bayev: The idea with the formula is that it’s a process that you’re going to apply in the Jiu-Jitsu context to every engagement and every competition. This is one of the things I’m really proud of, and I think we did very strongly, is to develop a coherent system.
So, you have a match coming up. It’s not enough. If you want to really perform at an elite level, it’s not enough to just say, “Okay, I’m prepared.” No. No. No. You have to make sure you understand as much as you can about new trends in Jiu-Jitsu. And one of the things that makes Jiu-Jitsu unique is that it’s always evolving. You have to understand historically what’s worked very well. Then if you can, you want to gather as much information as you can on any particular opponent.
So, we go into each of these processes. As you get closer to competition, you develop a game plan based on all that kind of intelligence, all that learning. Then it’s not enough, and this is another thing that makes Jiu-Jitsu unique. It’s not enough to just have a plan. You have to test that plan. In many martial arts, they’ll have the same techniques as we use in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but they won’t practice them with resistance.
So, say someone will grab you in a certain way. And then as soon as you do your first step in your response, they’re basically waiting for you to finish.
In Jiu-Jitsu, once you know the technique as soon as you do your first step, the person’s trying to stop you. We might have the perfect game plan in mind. We might have used our research analysis of new trends and what’s worked in the past and know an opponent really well and use that to develop a robust game plan. But unless we test that, we’re not going to actually know whether that’s going to work.
So, this is just kind of a taste of these processes that have to be applied in every case. A really important one just to wrap up that idea is it’s very easy. If you’re a sales professional, if you’re a competitive Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, high-level, you are learning from your losses. It’s a must-do. If things don’t go your way, it’s very natural or it’s very important that we turn those losses into lessons. But it’s very easy to overlook turning your wins into lessons as well.
Quick example, I have a fighter who was a purple belt at the time fighting a local black belt. Jiu-Jitsu, for those unfamiliar, spends most of its time on the ground because that’s where you can really control someone. So, we knew that if this black belt had a chance, it was going to be on the ground because we felt very confident everywhere else. And so, the plan was to avoid letting the opponent even get close to taking us down.
Now my guy went in, dominated in maybe two and a half, three minutes, and it would have been very easy to look at that and say, “Okay. Well, there’s nothing to learn. It went so well. There was a moment in the fight though where the opponent got close enough to potentially take my guy down. He stopped the takedown, but why did the opponent even get that close?
Without doing that analysis, without that analysis being a habit, not only learning from our losses, but our wins as well, we wouldn’t have actually gained some new insight that helped us in the next fight.
The idea is that the whole system is itself a habit and it’s a habit of processes for a Jiu-Jitsu competitor that you would want to build into your regular practice.
For a sales team organization, it’s a system that you integrate. And Daniel can speak much more to that.
Daniel Moskowitz: When I brought this idea, I had always focused on, “Okay, you didn’t close that sale? Okay, send me the video and I’ll analyze and get you feedback.” But I started to have them send me both a loss and a win, and I had the sales professional go through them. These are some of the tools we give in the book. We give an analysis tool on how you break down a call so that you can get the most out of it for both the sales professional and the manager reviewing it.
I first have my team go through it and they will critique themselves. What are the things they did right? Now, what are the things that they did that they could have improved on even in a win? The second they did that, they started seeing their brilliance. They started seeing the things they did incredibly well, and they had their confidence boosted because of that. As we know, sales is very much a mental game.
So that confidence boost increased. Then I started seeing that they were doing the things that they saw themselves doing well. They started to do them more, and incredibly, I saw a 10% increase in their conversion rates when I implemented this opportunity, this part of the system.
What I found the most frustrating before is that one day they would close a sale. It would be a sale that had a very similar niche or a very similar objection and then the next day they would try to close something similar and they wouldn’t close, but they forgot to use something that they said in the close that they did the day before.
So, all of this is a system, and we’re just giving a couple of examples. There are so many elements in there that become a habit, and as a process, once it does become a habit, you become unstoppable as a sales team.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, when you’re going through these steps, is there a different approach if you’re selling with that team versus being out there as an individual?
Daniel Moskowitz: That’s a great question. I’ll tell you this. As you look at the book, whether you’re a solopreneur, or you have a small team or a large team, all of these steps can work 100%. And the problem with most solo entrepreneurs is they’re not disciplined to follow a process. They’re mostly about shooting from the hip and going on instinct, which gets them pretty far. But some solopreneurs find sales to be excessively hard, and it doesn’t have to be if they follow a system.
So, yes, you can go through this entire book. If you are a team of one, as I call it, you are a solopreneur, you can go through this book and actually be disciplined to follow these steps. Review your own calls. Review your wins. Review your losses. Take the same methodology. Apply the tools to all of those elements and you will win more often than you don’t.
One Step at a Time
Drew Appelbaum: Now what does the rollout of this process look like? Is it plug and play where you implement everything at once? Are there single parts that you could implement?
Daniel Moskowitz: Yeah, that’s a great question. Thank you so much for asking it. Absolutely. The book is designed that you could read the whole book so that you understand what the whole system is. Then the way I would go about it is to figure out where your team or you are the weakest in and implement that one tool in that one area and then start to reverse engineer the elements that you’re the weakest in.
It doesn’t serve anybody to take an entire system and implement it new. If you’re just starting out, it’s incredible to do it that way. But if you already have a team or you’ve already been selling for a while, I would pick one or two elements every couple of weeks to start introducing and implementing, and mastering.
Once you get it mastered, then move on to the next one. But definitely, you don’t want to go and blow up an entire process and say, “Okay, this is what we’re doing now.” You’ll get a little bit lost in that scenario. So, it is plug and play from a standpoint of we’re giving you tons of tools to implement. Every single chapter has an action item and many, over half of them, have actual tools that you can go grab and implement right away.
Drew Appelbaum: Now, what are the overall expectations when you start this method? And when do you expect to see results?
Daniel Moskowitz: I think, depending on which element you’re going to implement most of them, you’re going to see a result right away. Others are a little more long-term because they’re more about the learnings and the integrations. But if you take, for example, the training, the one that we already talked about, I saw an increase that same week. I literally saw an increase in the same week.
Others where we have this concept where we hold an objection database and the database is leveraged in two ways. It’s leveraged for other sales professionals in your organization to go back. If you’re a solopreneurs, then you’re trying to log and remember some of your objection handling techniques, and it’s leveraging marketing so that when you go to do your marketing, you want to be proactive in understanding what your sales reps are seeing, and it’s gold for your marketing.
That can have instant use and also long-term use. Overall, what I saw after I had implemented the entire system, I saw about a 20% increase right away in my team, and that’s just increasing as we master the system and continue to leverage it. New people come in, they get introduced to it, and I can see the increase over time for each of them.
Drew Appelbaum: Now one part I find really interesting is the last part, which is the post-fight. I think a lot of people skip over this. They try to move on to the next one. Whether they had a win or a loss, they’re looking too far ahead. How important is staying hungry and doing that postmortem?
Elliott Bayev: It’s huge. It’s very easy, whether it be a Jiu-Jitsu competition or a sales engagement, to be focused on the results. And you need that mindset. You need to be hungry to win in order to win. But that’s short-term thinking.
Unless you are analyzing, unless you are doing a postmortem after every fight, after every sales engagement, there are going to be so many micro-moments of opportunity for learning. And unless you have, again, as a habit, as a routine, as a system, unless you have that postmortem built in where you’re watching video, where you’re listening to the conversations, you’re not going to be converting that into new learnings.
The important thing to understand is that this is not an A to B process or A to Z process. It’s A to Z back to A. Your postmortem teaches you, your post-fight process teaches you new insights. It gives you new information that then becomes part of your pre-fight for the next engagement.
Daniel Moskowitz: It’s just critical because that’s the recursive nature of the program, of the system. If you’re not taking that time out, it’s hard. It’s hard in organizations.
I’ve been in agencies and you’re always having the next sale come in. You have operational things. And to take time out to do that postmortem may sometimes feel frivolous. It feels like this is time I could be using towards prospecting or other things. But honestly, when you take that time and really invest it, it makes the next sales engagement go even easier and you increase your conversion rates exponentially over time.
That’s what it comes down to. When I sat back and really looked at the book, the biggest takeaway I took was increasing your conversion rates with your existing lead source. Now a lot of sales books out there talk about how to generate more leads or a new methodology. “Phone isn’t dead,” or, “Email isn’t dead.” You hear all these things. And that’s all great. Lead generation is important. But every organization out there has existing lead sources and they’re already producing some leads.
If you could just increase your conversion rate with your existing lead sources, think about that. If you could increase your existing lead source and you can close–if I could tell you it was 10% by just implementing one or two of these elements from the book in your business, that should be a no-brainer for anybody listening to this to go grab the book and implement at least a couple of things from it, because 10 points on a conversion rate can mean a lot of money to a lot of organizations.
Elliott Bayev: Just to tag on to what Daniel was saying. On the mats, we say a black belt is a white belt who never gave up. I think those who don’t train martial arts or specifically Jiu-Jitsu, because this is, I’d say, more unique to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We have this idea that a black belt is someone who made it. They’ve mastered things. They know everything there is to know.
It’s quite the opposite. Many black belts will say, “That’s when we really start learning.” It wasn’t until I got my black belt that I really felt like I had a solid understanding of the game. If you stop learning at that point, you’ll achieve a certain level of success. But those who get to the elite levels are those of us who are constantly learning. That’s what makes this system, as Daniel was pointing out, so powerful is that it’s training you to constantly be growing. However successful you are, you can do better, and that mindset must be implemented into your processes.
Four Steps to Increase Your Conversion Rate
Drew Appelbaum: Now, you offer some really great resources outside of the book. Can you talk about what’s available to readers on your website?
Daniel Moskowitz: So, for the launch week, we’ve put together some incredible bonuses, the e-book is just 99 cents. So that’s a no-brainer for anyone that’s doing sales. You can get that at salesjiujitsubook.com/scribe. So that’s salesjiujitsubook.com/scribe.
We put together a couple of other things. One, we’ve created a really incredible training program that’s complimentary when you get the book. It’s called The Four Steps to Increase Your Conversion Rate in 30 Days. And when you implement these steps correctly it will help increase your conversion rate with your existing lead sources right away.
Then we also have free resources with the book such as our call review sheets, objection handling database, a whole lot more. There’s just a ton of them there. And once you sign up for and grab the book, there’s a process there to claim all those two pieces. Again, all you need to do is go to salesjiujitsubook.com/scribe. Again, that’s salesjiujitsubook.com/scribe.
Drew Appelbaum: Elliott and Daniel, writing a book, especially like this one which will help so many business professionals is no small feat. And we just scratched the surface here, but I want to congratulate you on finishing your book.
Daniel Moskowitz: I really appreciate it, Drew. What I really feel about sales–is sales is a noble profession? It really is. I mean, as sales professionals, we do get a lot of mud. But we get paid to solve problems for other organizations. That’s what we get paid to do. And the problems that we solve help companies in so many ways. They help companies hire more people because they’re more profitable. They help companies keep more employees because they become more efficient and they save money. Our solutions do so many different things.
And just like Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art where you’re not trying to hurt anybody, I ask everybody who is in sales to use their superpower of sales in a positive way that helps change the world and spread some good around. This is why I feel that sales is a noble profession. And I salute all of you that are looking to get better in that area.
Drew Appelbaum: This has been a pleasure. I’m so excited for people to check out this book. Everyone, the book is called Sales Jiu-Jitsu, and you can find it on Amazon. Elliott, Daniel, besides checking out the book, where can people connect with you?
Daniel Moskowitz: Yeah. The best way is to come out to salesjiujitsubook.com/scribe. Throw your email in there and we’ll definitely stay connected as you pick up the book and get the bonuses.
Drew Appelbaum: Gentlemen, thank you so much for coming on the show today. It’s been a pleasure.
Daniel Moskowitz: Thanks, Drew.