The power of human connection in business: A conversation with Casey Jacox

October 23, 2023

    The power of human connection in business with Casey Jacox

    In an era dominated by technology and automation, the essence of genuine human connection often gets overshadowed.

    For episode five of the AI to Z podcast, Anna Frazzetto engages in conversation with Casey Jacox, a seasoned sales and executive leadership coach, author and podcaster to to talk about the indelible impact of building sincere relationships in the world of sales and beyond. Drawing parallels from his multifaceted journey—from sports to the staffing industry—Casey emphasises curiosity, humility, and the art of effective questioning.  

    Listen to the full conversation below and discover why, sometimes, winning the person is more valuable than clinching the deal: 

    The essence of Casey Jacox

    At first glance, Casey Jacox might appear as just another name amidst the sea of industry experts. Yet, a deeper dive into his LinkedIn profile unveils a rich tapestry. Here's a man who wears many hats: a doting father and husband, an impassioned executive sales and leadership coach, and a charismatic speaker.

    But what truly sets Casey is his unwavering consistency, his seamless transition between the boardroom and the family dinner table.

    As you delve into his story, you will discover that his values of humility, vulnerability, and, most importantly, curiosity are not mere words. Instead, they serve as the guiding compass for his journey, shedding light on the path for those who walk alongside him.

    The "team first" ethos

    We may not control everything, but we control our attitude and effort.

    Casey draws a vivid analogy between football and business, emphasizing the power of collaboration. Just as a quarterback can't throw to themselves, individuals in the staffing industry can't function in silos. The key to success? The strategy of always putting the team first, fueled by a passion for continuous learning, humility, and persistent self-improvement.  

    Going beyond the blame game

    Within the staffing industry, where numerous players are forced to come together, a familiar scene often emerges: the blame game.  It’s easy to imagine this; sales account executives and recruiters caught up in a spiral of finger-pointing, echoing the age-old debate of who dropped the ball.

    Casey presents an alternative script to this narrative. Drawing inspiration from his background - ranging from his roles as a father and husband to a leadership coach - he encourages a shift in perspective. Instead of getting caught in the tide of blame, Casey advocates for introspection. He prompts us to revisit those moments of contention with questions: Was our communication crystal clear? Did we set and understand expectations? Were we truly aligned in our goals?

    Through this lens,  we are reminded that challenges in the staffing sector aren't just about missed targets or unmet expectations. They're opportunities for growth, for building stronger teams, for fostering clearer communication. It's in these moments of self-reflection that we can avoid the pitfalls of blame, uncover underlying gaps and work collaboratively towards solutions. 

    Human connection is key to talent attraction and retention

    In today's business climate, talent acquisition and retention are not mere line items—they're pressing imperatives. Amidst the backdrop of a pronounced skill shortage,  Casey offers a refreshingly nuanced perspective. Drawing from his experiences and an innate understanding of human dynamics, Casey emphasises that the hiring process isn't just transactional. It's deeply personal.

    For Casey, it's not solely about the credentials or the accolades. It's about the essence of human interaction. How you make someone feel during their journey with your organisation can leave an indelible mark.

    While the industry continuously evolves with technology and trends, this serves as a timely reminder: at the heart of every recruitment drive, every onboarding process, every training module, lies an individual seeking connection, growth, and validation. In this dance of attracting and nurturing talent, it's clear that the intangible human touch, often overshadowed by metrics and KPIs, remains truly indispensable.

    Empathy and curiosity are at the heart of effective selling

    A great seller has a lot in common with a custodian. A custodian has a keyring on their hip that opens up all the doors, be it the gym or the classroom.  A relationship builder, or a leader or seller has the same invisible keychain. Those keys are questions and the right question unlocks a new conversation, a new thought, a new vision of who we are or why we are. And  when we show up that way, that's where the magic happens.

    In the dance of sales and persuasion, it isn't just about presenting an idea - it's about resonating with the listener's world. Casey underscores the significance of empathy and curiosity by drawing inspiration from TV-character Ted Lasso and the teachings of his mentor, John Kaplan. In this, he introduced us to "Ted-based questions."

    But what exactly are these questions? They are open-ended prompts like "Tell me" or "Explain," designed not just to elicit information but to deeply understand the intricacies of the client's thoughts, needs, and concerns. They are tools that foster a connection, a genuine bridge between two individuals

    . In an era where automation and speed often overshadow human connections, Casey's approach is a refreshing reminder: at the heart of every successful sale lies a genuine, heartfelt conversation.

    In a dynamic landscape, stay curious

    Saying updated can feel like navigating a labyrinth In the age of information overload, where rapid changes and innovations are the norm. But for Casey, the compass guiding his journey through this landscape isn't rooted in incessant news updates or the latest buzz. Instead, it's anchored in a profoundly human attribute: Curiosity.

    Rather than diving deep into the ocean of news sources with varying levels of credibility and authenticity, Casey turns to a more genuine and reliable reservoir: the people around him. Whether it's a friend recommending a show like "Hard Knocks" or a colleague sharing an insightful article, these human interactions, fueled by curiosity, become his touchpoints for staying informed.

    "Stay curious" has become Casey's mantra and It is a reminder he embeds in his daily life, even in the emails he sends. Curiosity, he believes, is the driving force that helps us remain open-minded and inquisitive.

    Genuine engagement is what drives success

    Connections are often seen through the lens of transactions and metrics within the world of sales and business. Amidst all of this is a lesson imparted by John Kaplan and passionately echoed by Casey: Genuine engagement is the core that drives success.

    Diving deeper into their insights, one can visualise a scenario where professionals, armed with rehearsed pitches and an arsenal of data, approach clients. While knowledge is undoubtedly power, Kaplan and Casey propose a more human-centered approach. It isn't about regurgitating every fact or having an answer to every query. Instead, it's about the genuine thirst for understanding, about asking those probing questions that lead to meaningful conversations.

    Casey's journey, peppered with experiences from sports to sales, has underscored this sentiment time and again. Whether recalling the nuances of a client's last holiday or remembering a colleague's child's graduation, these deliberate acts of connection transcend the mundane. They become a testament to the power of authentic engagement, turning interactions into lasting relationships.

    Key takeaways

    • Success isn't a solo endeavour. Like a quarterback in football or a pilot in flight, teamwork and collaboration are pivotal.

    • Move beyond the blame game and focus on reflection and improvement. This means clear communication and well-set expectations.

    • Talent acquisition and retention are paramount. Casey emphasises that the experience you offer someone matters immensely. The combination of clear communication, collaboration, and innovative methods makes all the difference.

    • Adopting a client-centric perspective, using open-ended questions, and prioritising relationships over deals are paramount in sales. As Casey aptly points out, the right question can unlock unparalleled opportunities.

    • In a rapidly changing business landscape, nurturing relationships and harnessing curiosity are keys to staying updated.

    • It's not about showcasing exhaustive knowledge, but about engaging genuinely, asking the right questions, and building upon shared knowledge.

    • Casey reiterates the importance of being curious as it opens doors, fosters genuine connections, and helps in understanding client needs better.

    Article and quotes have been edited for brevity and clarity

    This post was written by: Leanna Seah, Content Manager