with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

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In this Best of Series episode, we hear from globally-acclaimed freelance direct marketer, Alex Mandossian, on ethical influence and the art of storytelling.

I interviewed Alex for this podcast back in July 2018.

Alex is the Founder & CEO of MarketingOnline.com, a business he founded in 1995.

He is considered to be one of the top 10 freelance direct marketers in the world today. Over the last two decades, he has helped his clients generate over $203 million in sales from TV spots, infomercials, direct mail and web marketing.

He has coached George Foreman, Larry King, Russell Brunson, Jay Abraham, Brian Tracy, Jack Canfield, Brendon Buchard, Alexandria Brown, and Barbara DeAngelis to name a few.

He is also the subject of many books on marketing and selling, and host of the iTunes top podcast “All Selling Aside” and is proudly BG – Before Google!

In this episode, you’re going to hear Alex talk about:

  • The keys to ethical influence through storytelling
  • The most powerful ways to build trust and influence
  • How people can have a more meaningful and impactful career
  • Helping you overcome your fear of selling.

Connecting with Alex Mandossian

You can connect with Alex via MarketingOnline.com and his podcast, All Selling Aside.

Books and resources


A story wins the heart, and then the moral of the story wins the head.”


On early marketing lessons

  • If you're in business, you want your clients, your customers or patients, to feed from the palm of your hand.
  • A prospect or lead or a candidate who you want to enrol is afraid to make the wrong decision, so of course they're going to walk away. You’ve got to expect that.
  • But then as you're moving away from a candidate saying, “Okay, well, if I came on too strong, here's what's still here,” and you dangle the bait. You don't want to feed your prospects. You don't want to feed fish, you want to bait fish, because if you feed fish, you don't hook them, right? You’ve got to bait them.
  • Once you get the first sale, you have referrals coming in as you've proven the concept to the species of client that you have. And then all the others come in a lot more naturally. You don't have to go through that dance with every single one of them. You just have to go through it once, maybe twice.
  • How many times have you had something that you really wanted to convince someone of? Maybe it was a product or a service or something, and they ran away from you. And then you blame them for running away, when you just didn't know how to engage them.
  • I learned how to write sales copy, which is applied psychology in the written word, spoken word, and visual word, and I started to gain a big following.

On the art of storytelling

  • One of the elements is seeding the influence of the sale through storytelling. You never know which seed is going to take root and germinate. Remember, the seeds come before the root.
  • Everyone has self-image issues. Everyone has the sense of, “That's impossible.” If you wrote down the word “impossible”… I-M-P-O-S-S-I-B-L-E. Write down an apostrophe between the I and the M of “impossible” and it's now, “I'm possible.”
  • Mixing humility with ethical influence, don't tell them, show them. Demonstrate. Experience is not the best teacher. That's a lie. Experience is the only teacher.
  • It’s just a matter of you not letting that one question get in the way. It’s not “what”, that's intention. It's not “why”, that's purpose. Your head is what, your heart is why. The thing that gets in the way is strategy. “How? How do I do it?”
  • We're naturally wired to receive stories and to tell stories; before writing was around, and before the book was invented, story is the way knowledge was passed on. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and it has a moral or point. 
  • If you know that your prospects have certain objections, tell a story relevant to those objections so you can eviscerate them to the story, and not hit them point-blank where people will resist you. So the story is there to smuggle your point. It's a carrier. It's a Trojan Horse of what your point is. For me, the story of moving towards something, moving away, moving towards, moving, and then having that distance getting less, less, and less, that's also sales and marketing. It's not giving up. When someone says no to me, that's a shy yes to me!
  • So a story wins the heart, and then the moral of the story wins the head. So when you win the heart followed by the head, you have the passion of the heart, the why, and then you have the logic of the head, the what. But if you try to sell someone or win someone over by attacking the head first logically, the heart is saying, “What about me? What about me,” and you're not getting them emotionally. 

On marketing/selling mistakes

  • The biggest mistake someone makes is they don't identify the objections that prevent someone from implementing. Many people look for the strategy ie. what are the benefits of my product? What are the features of my product? That's not what I do.
  • I look for the objections first. What is the lock that's attached to the door, that's on a hinge, that will swing open? What's that lock like, and once I study that lock, I'm a locksmith, I'm going to go create a key, to open the lock.
  • Once I open that lock, there's another door. There's another objection, and with that roadblock, or obstacle, I'm going to make another key, and I'm going to have that key fit that lock. Pretty soon you have a ring of keys.
  • So I find the roadblock first, then I find the strategy. Most people make the mistake of seeking the strategy, and then, when the roadblock pops up, now, they've got to make more keys.
  • I look for the obstacle first. I look for the roadblock first. I look for the lock to the door first, and then, I create the key. So, obstacle before strategy. The purpose of a strategy is to unlock the roadblock.

On Alexisms

  • “The only thing worse than going in the wrong direction is to go in the wrong direction enthusiastically.”
  • “Do you want a pilot who loves to fly? Or do you want an aeroplane pilot who loves to land?” 
  • “The early bird gets the worm, but it's the second mouse that gets the cheese.”
  • “You don't need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive more than once.”
  • “There are only two types of problems in life. The ones you have, and the ones you will have.”

On finding your blind spot

  • What don't I see? There's four levels of consciousness:
    • Not knowing that you don't know – that's the blind spot. Unconscious incompetence
    • Knowing that you don't know – that's when you're willing to be taught
    • Knowing that you do know – that's wisdom
    • Knowing that you know – that's flow, that's consciousness. Conscious competence
  • The terrible thing about a blind spot is that you don't even know it's that.
  • A leader's number one responsibility is to eradicate and eliminate their blind spot, because they are going to take their followers down with them if that blind spot becomes big enough.

Final message of wisdom and hope for future leaders 

  • The single most important idea, for an executive, a leader, entrepreneur, is to have a mission. And then choose to accept it. Having a mission is so important, and to actually complete it doesn't mean it's over, as long as you're breathing. It means there's another one to come.
  • Along the way, identify the problems before you think you have the solutions. Identify the obstacles and the roadblocks, so that you can make the keys to open up those locks, to unlock those doors. Don't make the key first. Find the door that's locked, and then, make the key afterwards.
  • With a mission, and finding the roadblocks in getting there, I think you'll accelerate, and you'll build more momentum in getting there faster, and you'll have more missions during your lifetime.

Stay epic,