450: Spy Secrets of Influence from Former CIA Officer Jason Hanson

By June 12, 2019Podcasts

 

 

Jason Hanson shares his intelligence operation secrets to “recruiting” people and convincing them to say yes.

You’ll Learn:

  1. The CIA’s SADR cycle and how it applies to the workplace
  2. Why research and authenticity are integral to successful influence
  3. How to advocate for your case at work

About Jason

Jason is a former CIA officer. After leaving the CIA, Jason became the Founder and CEO of Spy Escape & Evasion (www.spyescape.com), a company that teaches men and women how to be safe using Spy Secrets that 99% of Americans will never know.

In 2014, Jason won a deal on ABC’s hit Reality Series, Shark Tank and opened, “Spy Ranch,” a 320-acre facility to teach Evasive Driving, Pistol and Rifle Shooting, Intelligence Operations, Cyber Security and more.

Jason regularly appears as a Keynote Speaker at corporate events, conferences and conventions worldwide. Jason has appeared on The NBC Today Show, Dateline, Rachael Ray, Fox & Friends, and more. Jason has been interviewed by Forbes, NPR and The Huffington Post among others.

Items Mentioned in this Show:

Jason Hanson Interview Transcript

Pete Mockaitis
Jason, thanks so much for joining us here on the How to be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Jason Hanson
Thanks for having me.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I’m so excited to dig into your stuff. I mean, you’ve got a fun angle. And I imagine you’re probably not going to give me any really cool stories from your time in the CIA because I’ve pressed before with Navy Seals on the show but they never gave up the goods, so good patriots you all, you guys. So, maybe you could give us a fun story about being on Shark Tank.

Jason Hanson
Well, Shark Tank was a wonderful opportunity, it was a huge blessing because, before, I was doing a lot of consulting to corporations and Shark Tank kind of opened me up to the masses and introduced me to the everyday person, if you will, so it was a great thing. I can tell you one funny quick story. I recorded right after Diamond Dallas Page, he was the wrestler who did his yoga thing, and I just remember getting back after I did my recording and hearing a bunch of screaming and yelling between people. I remember thinking, “Huh, maybe his presentation didn’t go so well.” Fortunately, mine did and, again, it was a fun ride. I had a good time.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I’m so curious. So, I’ve seen the show many times, but are there any surprises, like, “Hey, you must not expect this, viewer, as you’re watching the show”? But it’s really like this for me. Like, just how long are you in front of the Sharks? I understand there’s a very awkward moment where you’re just standing, staring them down while they’re getting the cameras and the lights just right. What’s the inside story of how it feels to be there?

Jason Hanson
Well, the inside story is you only get one chance, so it’s basically a cattle call where they have people lined up all day. So, they say, “Hey, you’re going on at 10:00, you’re going on at 11:30,” or whatever your time is, and you only get one chance so there’s no do-overs. If you screw up, it is what it is. But I was in the Tank about 55 minutes and, of course, they boil it to less than 10 minutes. So, out of that 55 minutes, sometimes I look brilliant, sometimes I look like the world’s biggest idiot, so you never know how they’re going to blend things together.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s funny. Well, don’t you worry, Jason, we will edit out only the times that one of us look real dumb.

Jason Hanson
I love it. Perfect.

Pete Mockaitis
Usually, over 98% of the words gets used in most podcasts in my experience, so good stuff. Well, then, I want to hear what you’ve been up to with regard to spy-skill training and, particularly, how that can be useful for workers, those who want to apply some of your CIA brilliance to doing better on the job.

Jason Hanson
Well, so after I left the agency, I started my own company where I do survival training but I also do business coaching and training. And in the business world versus the CIA, there isn’t a whole lot of difference in the meaning of you’ve got to go out, you’ve got to go close deals, you’ve got to work with people, you’ve got to network, and spies are the world’s best salesmen because they’re selling a very hard product. They’re selling treason. But there’s a very distinct cycle that you go through to close deals that I’ve now applied to the business world and anybody can.

Pete Mockaitis
Certainly. So, I’d love to hear a bit about that and to hear about not just in sort of sales, prospecting, and customer acquisition perspective, but also in terms of the worker who may not be in a sales role. So, lay it on us, what is the cycle?

Jason Hanson
Sure. So, the cycle is the, I’ll spell it out, it’s the SADR cycle, and it stands for Spotting, Assessing, Developing, and Recruiting. So, kind of the 30,000-foot overview is if you’re in the CIA, or you’re a spy, and you’re going over to Russia, and you’re trying to recruit somebody to spy on behalf of the United States, first you have to spot them, meaning who are the best people that have access to the intelligence you want. Certainly not everybody.

Then, let’s say, you narrow it down to 20 people. Then you have to assess them. Out of these 20, who truly has access to that extreme amount of data you need? And then it boils down even further. And then after you spot and assess, you have to develop them, which really means make them fall in love with you, make them want to help you. And this wining and dining, this is buying them things, it’s like the dating. It’s courtship.

And if all goes well, after you do spotting, assessing, developing, then you recruit them and it’s basically, “Hey, my name is John. I work for the CIA. How would you like to work for us?” Now, it’s a lot more in depth than that, but that’s the cycle and you can apply it to anything and everything.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Certainly. Well, sure thing. So, let’s talk about how we go about doing some of the spotting for starters. How do we figure out great people? And I guess that varies by your context, like great people to hire, great people to maybe buy your stuff, great people that you just want to be networked with internally to be an asset to you and vice versa. But how do you go about doing the spotting in your different context?

Jason Hanson
Sure. So, now in the business world, because of technology it’s super easy. Let’s say I’m looking to hire somebody who’s a Facebook expert, and I personally want to work with the best. So, I can go out and locate by Google searches. I’ve a very good network so I can talk to all my buddies in the business world, and say, “Hey, who are the best guys in the world of Facebook ads?” Then I can maybe get 10 names, maybe 20 names, whatever it is, so that is my “hit list.”

So, whether you want Facebook guys, or maybe you want a PR agency, or maybe you’re looking for an employee that has a very unique skillset, is narrow it down to those 20 people, 25 people, and then that’s when you start assessing them. That’s when you see, “Okay, out of these 20 or 25, who really has the goods?”

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah, okay. Then how does one go about doing that assessing?

Jason Hanson
Well, there’s many ways. So, it goes back to, okay, I teach lie-detection skills, so you can interview and ask them questions so you can see if they’re being honest with you. You can run background checks on them to see if they legitimately did what they said they’ve done. You, of course, talk to others, you get referrals, you say, “Hey, show me case studies, tell me references that I can call.”

So, you basically put them through the ringer, not in a bad way, but in a good way, and that quickly weeds people out because a lot of people may not want to do that, or may be arrogant, and you say, “Maybe that guy is not the person I want to work with because they’re not very friendly, they’re not a jerk.” So, obviously, it takes time but if you’re trying to grow a business and you really want to work with the best and be the best yourself, it’s worth investing this time to do the research to find the quality people.

Pete Mockaitis
Certainly. But I’d love to hear then, so what are some of the secret sauce then when it comes to doing the assessment? Because I think everyone is going to say, “Tell me about a time that you were in a team, and you had a conflict, and how you resolved that conflict.” So, what’s some of the special stuff?

Jason Hanson
So, one of the questions I always ask, and I always start out baselining them. Meaning, I ask them questions that nobody is going to lie about, I see how they act when they’re comfortable, so, “Hey, where are you from? Where did you grow up? How many siblings do you have? What movies do you like?” just generic stuff.

And then, out of left field, I’ll ask them a question such as, “Tell me the last time you stole something,” or, “Tell me the last time you did drugs.” So, questions that hit them hard.

Pete Mockaitis
That just sounds like fun, Jason. I’d want you to interview me.

Jason Hanson
Well, most people will be honest and say, “Hey, in sixth grade, I stole a Snickers bar from the grocery store,” that kind of thing. But when it comes to lie detection, you pay attention to the first three to five seconds of a response. Honest people answer very quickly and their face doesn’t look nervous. But if somebody starts stuttering, or they have the deer-in-the-headlights look after you asked them that question, something is wrong, and you’re probably about to be lied to.

And I have had that instance where somebody did lie to me and, finally, came clean and told me they stole a ton of office supplies from a former employer. So, obviously, I didn’t hire them. But I ask those questions because, very quickly, I can say, “Okay, is this person honest or are they already going to lie to me about stealing or about doing drugs?”

Pete Mockaitis
You know, it’s so funny, Jason, as you asked me, I had to think for a moment when’s the last time I stole something, and I think it’s probably, I guess if you think about time, like when you’re being paid for your time, like if I’m being paid by a client, and I’m not giving them 100% of my attention but rather 97%, it’s like I’ve stolen that 3% from them. So, that’s the last time I stole, Jason, was by entertaining distractions.

Jason Hanson
And you never stole candy from the supermarket?

Pete Mockaitis
Well, I think the last time I stole was probably not paying perfect attention with a client. In terms of stealing, I think maybe, boy, in college, I went on a real bender in terms of there’s something called myTunes which when you’re on a shared network enabled you to download music from other people’s iTunes. And, yeah, I probably stole more than 500 songs.

Jason Hanson
Oh, this is basically like Napster you’re stealing from.

Pete Mockaitis
Kind of like Napster, yeah.

Jason Hanson
Yeah, got it.

Pete Mockaitis
There’s some stealing there. Boy, all my sins are coming online, Jason.

Jason Hanson
You’re a criminal mastermind.

Pete Mockaitis
I didn’t bank on this being where we were headed. So, yeah, my apologies. I now have the utmost respect for intellectual property. Okay, cool. So, that’s the assessing. So, then you’re looking for, well, let’s talk about the deception for a bit since you’re a pro here. So, you establish a baseline, and you ask them a question sort of with surprise, shock and awe factor, “When’s the last time you stole something?” and then you look to see if you get a quick response, or a deer-in-the-headlights, or super nervous and stuttering. And what else am I looking for to see if there’s lying or truthfulness happening?

Jason Hanson
So, the feet, we are very terrible at controlling our feet.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah, Joe Navarro was on the program and we talked about this.

Jason Hanson
And I don’t know him personally but I read his book, a fantastic book, and so I do that too. I mean, I’ll sit, because we’re used to lying with our mouths, people lie all the time with their mouths. So, I’ll see, “Okay, has the feet been still the entire time? But, now, they’re jiggling, now they’re uncomfortably tapping. Is something going on like that?” So, it doesn’t take long. There’s about nine or so things I pay attention to, and I can very quickly tell you if you’re being honest or not.

Pete Mockaitis
Let’s hear them.

Jason Hanson
Well, again, one of the questions I ask you, when I’m dealing with people who want to JB with me, a lot of times, because I was on Shark Tank, I now get pitch deals like crazy, which is great, except 99% of them are junk, and there’s one that’s actually good.

So, I’ll get someone who says, “Hey, Jason, you know, we made $5 million last year and blah, blah, blah.” I always ask, “Okay, show me the proof,” and that shuts people up very, very quickly. Like, if you’re going to quote numbers to me, show me the proof, show me bank statements, merchant accounts, whatever it may be. But, also, when people are lying, they tend to freeze, if you want another one. So, if they’re very animated but in a liar’s mind, if you retract and stop moving, you’re like going into a tortoise shell, and they think, “Nobody will see me. Nobody will notice me.”

So, the example I like to give is if I went somewhere and left my wallet in a cafeteria, and came back and there were a bunch of people around, and my wallet was missing, and I started saying like, “Who stole my wallet?” I was angry, normal people would be exhibiting normal behavior, and be like, “I didn’t take it. I’ll help you look for it.” I would look for the person who is being the least animated and the most quiet because they would be trying to hide and blend in. They would be “freezing” and most likely they’d be the guilty verdict.

Pete Mockaitis
Yeah.

Jason Hanson
You’re quiet all of a sudden. What is going on?

Pete Mockaitis
I’m thinking about a time in which, oh, man, someone I knew, we’re in babysitting situation, so there’s a home, a homebased sort of like a babysitting daycare situation over the summer, and I was there, and I remember someone had written a nasty letter to someone else, and I knew who did it. And then when they said, “Hey, who wrote this?” I was totally like super quiet, whereas everyone else was like, “Oh, my gosh, you’re right. Who would do that?” Like, that was everyone else was doing, and I was like saying nothing. So, yeah, there you have it, in action it happened.

Jason Hanson
We are very bad liars in real life. So, when I was with the agency, I can lie because it was my job, there’s no guilt associated, but in real life I’m a terrible liar. You could see right through me because we all do the same thing, like I said, we all freeze, we all stutter, we all look nervous in the face, because it’s not normal and natural to lie.

Pete Mockaitis
You know, that’s interesting when you mentioned it was your job to lie, and so you did so. And I found that in certain context in which it’s sort of like I’m playing a role or it’s for a joke, it’s like I’m pretty good at it. But then, like impromptu, I’m terrible at it. And so, that’s interesting mindset that you speak to there. Tell me more about that.

Jason Hanson
Well, when it’s your job and, again, with the agency you’re doing it for your country, you’re very patriotic, and there’s no guilt associated with it because that is your job. But if you and I are going down the highway, and we’ve got a dead body in the back of our car, and we get pulled over by the cops, you better believe both of us are going to be sweating bullets and looking nervous because we know if they find that dead body we’re in big trouble.

So, it kind of goes, is there guilt association, where you’re going to be nervous, or is there no guilt? So, what do they say, 2% of the world, or 1%, are psychopaths or sociopaths? That’s why polygraphs are not admissible in courts because there is that very small percentage who can lie and they don’t exhibit normal behavior but 98% of us, 99% of us are normal, and you can see right through us when we’re lying because we have a guilty conscience about what we’re doing.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s reassuring that I am not a sociopath despite my music grand larceny of my youth. Okay, but you said nine things, I wasn’t counting. But have we ticked them all off or are there a couple more?

Jason Hanson
Well, some of these are when I do, and I don’t know, I don’t have any down, but I’ll tell you another one, a very easy one, and this is when something is missing because a lot of the lie detection stuff I do in corporation is when something goes missing. And so, they’ll bring you in and say, “Hey, find out who stole the stuff in the warehouse, or who the stole money out of the account.”

And if anything ever goes missing, pass a piece of paper around to everybody who is part of that group, and say, “Write down what should happen to the person that stole the money or that stole the stuff out of the warehouse.” And the person who writes the least punishable thing is almost always guilty. Meaning, if you asked you and me, like, “Hey, the person that stole a million dollars from the account, what should happen to him?” We’ll say, “Well, they should get fired. They should go to jail. They should get the electric chair. They should be banned for life.”

Well, the guilty party will be like, “Well, if they return the money, maybe they can keep their job.” Like it’s one of these things, was it the Sesame Street, like, “One of these things is not like the other”? So, you’ll have all these responses which are typical human responses, then you’ll have the one response stands out of it’s not a bad punishment because that’s the guilty party.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Understood. Well, so these are sort of fun as we’re talking about assessing people in terms of their honesty and integrity. How do you go about assessing them just in terms of, “Okay, do you really have the goods, the skills?”

Jason Hanson
So, in the CIA, or any intelligence operative, you have to be very resourceful. And it’s not like you’re in the military where you’ve got a platoon or people behind you. You’re pretty much on the street, and you’re alone, and you’re doing your thing, there’s no backups, so you’ve got be very resourceful and creative.

Well, when people work for my company, I want the same thing. I want resourceful people. I don’t want to have to babysit them. So, I like to make up something bizarre and have them either do it or tell them how I would do it. And a bizarre example, I don’t know what just jumped into my mind, is if I said, “Hey, I want a horse in my office in the next four hours. Get a horse in my office.” Could they do that? Do they have the creativity to go Google and rent a horse and figure out how to get the horse?

So, I give them some unique thing where, “Hey, you got three hours to get me this answer or whatever.” Because if they can’t figure that out, then, clearly, they’re not creative and not somebody you want to hire.

Pete Mockaitis
So, they get the job if the horse shows up or how does that work?

Jason Hanson
If Mr. Ed is in my office within four hours, we’re good to go.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s great. Well, that could get a little costly, and I don’t know what horse rentals run these days. But it’s so funny, when you frame it as a challenge, I think you also get a sense about the attitude, like, “Oh, my gosh, what the heck? This is weird,” versus, “I’m excited.” It’s like, “Heck, yes, let me get on Yelp right now and see what I can do. I’ll post it on Facebook, see if I got someone who can hook it up,” and it’s sort of like, “I’m excited to spring into action to see if I can make it happen just for the fun of it, it’s like a challenge. It’s like do you have what it takes?”

Jason Hanson
Because in my business, and I run a few businesses, it’s very bizarre, meaning one day we may be doing X, one day we may be bodyguarding a celebrity, one day we may be doing training on evasive driving and crashing course. It’s all kinds of unique things. And so, the people I hire, I tell them, “It’s not going to be sitting at the desk every single day looking at a spreadsheet. You have to be able to get out of your comfort zone. I may send you to a tradeshow in Washington, D.C. one day, and then the next day you’re going and help me with an interview kind of thing.” So, if they can’t be kind of outside the box and be comfortable in many situations, they’re not going to last in my company.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. All right. So, that’s the assessing. And then how about developing?

Jason Hanson
All right, developing. As I mentioned, this the courtship period. This is when you’re making them fall madly in love with you. So, if you’re trying to get somebody to obviously betray their country, to make treason, you need to make sure they love you, that you’re best friends, so this can be a lot of it is the law of reciprocity, meaning I’m taking them out to dinner, I’m buying them a thousand dollar dinner. I am taking them out and buying them new clothes. I am taking them to the nice nightclubs or whatever. We’re hanging out. I’m basically giving them the life they wish they had.

So, you make them fall in love with you. By the time it comes to, “Hey, I’m ready to pitch them,” they feel so indebted to you, it’s like, “Oh, my gosh, Jason has bought this, this, and this, and this, then, yes, I’m going to get him X, or Y, or Z, whatever he requires.” Now, developing can take months, it can take years. Obviously, it’s a case-by-case basis in the intelligence operative world, but you don’t ever pitch someone, you don’t get to the point where you’re recruiting them, recruit and pitch the same thing, until you’ve developed them so well that you know there’s 100% chance they’re going to say yes. And that is the key.

Pete Mockaitis
Now, I guess what I wonder with developing is so, like do they know who you are and what you’re up to like the whole time that you’re courting them? Or how does that work?

Jason Hanson
No, I’m giving you hypotheticals of course.

Pete Mockaitis
Certainly.

Jason Hanson
So, let’s say I went over to whatever country, let’s just pick China out of the blue. And I would say I’m an American businessman and I maybe work for this tech company back in America, and we’re trying to learn more about missiles or whatever it would be. Obviously, it wouldn’t be missiles, but something. And then I have a big slush fund because I’m over here so they let me take people out to dinner.

So, at first, they have no idea, but the people you’re trying to recruit eventually figure it out. They don’t know 100% sure, but they’re like, “Okay, he probably works for the government.” So, when it comes to the recruiting part, the way you kind of pitch, and there’s many ways, but one way is like, “Listen, Joe, we’ve known each other for eight months now, we’ve known each other for a year, or whatever, and you probably guess I really don’t work for XYZ corporation. I work for the U.S. government and, guess what, I’m a spy. How would you like to be a spy with me? Wouldn’t that be awesome? We could both be spies.” That sounds corny but that is one of the ways you do it and it works. I’m not kidding either.

Pete Mockaitis
“Let’s be spies.” It’s like, “Let’s be friends.” All right. So, I guess in a way, well, I’ll let you comment on that. Why is that an effective way to ask?

Jason Hanson
Well, first, again, you don’t ask until you’re 100% sure, because in the spy world, if you screw up and you go asks, and the guy says, “I need to think about it,” or maybe he’s going to get back to you. Well, if he doesn’t say yes on the spot, the next time you meet him again, you may have a bag put over your head, or you may end up in a foreign prison because he goes and tells the Russian government that you just tried to recruit him.

Pete Mockaitis
Plus, the Chinese are in cahoots.

Jason Hanson
So, you know he’s going to say yes. But it’s effective because you know. In business you’ve got to know your customers, right? Well, when you’re trying to recruit somebody, you know them better than they know themselves. So, you would know in that instance that he wanted adventure, that he was a bored scientist, and that he would love to be a spy. That would be thrilling for him.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay, I hear you. So, you’ve zeroed in on a need and you’re delivering on that need.

Jason Hanson
Correct. So, I’ll ask you a question. What do you think, not the number one, but one of the main reasons that people spy for the U.S. if you had to guess?

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. I’m going to say they would love to have themselves and their family escape their nation and be in the United States instead.

Jason Hanson
Pretty darn close. It’s education for their children.

Pete Mockaitis
Oh, okay.

Jason Hanson
So, when a U.S. person, when somebody betrays America, it’s almost always for money. But when we’re trying to recruit somebody from some crap old country and they’ve got kids, they want an education for their children. They want to say, “Hey, I want my kids to be able to come to the U.S. where they have the opportunity to go to a great university.” So, once you know somebody’s hot button, that’s when you push it, whether it’s adventure, whether it’s on education, and that’s what you obviously figure out over time.

Pete Mockaitis
And so then, I guess they have to be able to get admitted, huh? Or you got ways to make that happen too. We’ve heard a thing or two about how that can unfold.

Jason Hanson
And you know what? I’m just going to no comment, or I can either confirm or deny, or whatever you want to say there.

Pete Mockaitis
Right. So, that’s intriguing then. Okay, so fascinating. All right. So, regarding with making them fall in love with you, so we talked about it in a spy content, but let’s talk about sort of a workplace context. So, you probably have less capacity to provide lavish dinners and entertainment, etc. So, what are the ways that you recommend people develop relationships with potential allies stateside without the government slush fund?

Jason Hanson
Well, yeah, it doesn’t take much money. The government, obviously, has unlimited funds, our tax dollars that seem to be unlimited. But, for you and me, we don’t have to spend that much. It’s the little things. I keep going back to courtship. You’re trying to court a woman, and so if you know what they like, “Hey, I know you love whatever book. I bought this book for you.” Or, “Hey, I saw this clipping in the newspaper that talked about seven ways to help your kid with reading, and I know you mentioned your kids having trouble reading.”

So, you do little things to show you care about them. So, it doesn’t cost any money to clip out a magazine or buy, spend 15 bucks on a book from Amazon. But if you’re thinking about them, like, “Oh, Jason really pays attention to me. Jason really cares about me,” and, obviously, when you show somebody you care about them, the more they want to work with you, or work for you, or help you.

Pete Mockaitis
Right. Yeah, so that’s good. So, you sort of notice. I guess it’s not that different after all. You notice their need. Maybe, in the spy example, it’s education for their children. In this instance, it could be any number of things. And then you sort of proactively make it happen. And you know what’s interesting is people have needs all the time.

And I’m thinking like over the last couple of years, we bought this house and property, and it seems like we had a heck of a time finding different people for the miscellaneous renovations, whether it’s landscaping, or carpet, or carpentry, plumbing, electrical, you name it. It’s like there’s always something. And if someone were to say to me, “Hey, Pete, I found this amazing electrician who’s super reliable at a great price,” that would make me say, “You’re my best friend. You have met an urgent need that is maybe not super important, but urgent in my mind. And so, I love you as a result.”

Jason Hanson
And you’re 100% right. We’re so busy and self-absorbed in the world we live in today that nobody does the personal touch. Like, I’ll write handwritten letters to some of my best customers. I’ll send thank you notes. And most business owners never take the time.

I’ll tell you another example. I never sent a text message in my life. I don’t text. Yeah, a personal preference, I have a flip phone, I have no desire to text. But I get people who text me, every once in a while, to try and pitch me, they’re like, “Hey, I got your number from a friend of a friend of a friend. I have this great product. Are you interested?” I’m like, “You didn’t do any research on me whatsoever.” Because in multiple of my books, and multiple articles I’ve written, I mention how I never send a text, and here I am doing it again.

So, most people don’t do the deep, deep research and are lazy, but if you do, you figure out those things, and it’s much easier to close people these days because nobody else is putting in the effort.

Pete Mockaitis
You know, I like what you’re saying here, Jason, and I’m thinking about the context of, well, hey, just my podcast. I think the plurality of emails I receive these days are, “Hey, I want to be on your podcast,” which is flattering. Thank you. But, you know, it also just feels a little bit like, “You know what, I’m so much more as a human being.”

Jason Hanson
Yeah, absolutely.

Pete Mockaitis
“I feel I have so much more to offer beyond just a publicity, opportunity.” And so, I’m intrigued then. If you’re reaching out cold, well, we know what not to do is do zero research and be kind of not at all aligned to kind of how you operate. But what are some of your pro tips when you’re doing, I guess you’re talking about the spotting and assessing and developing? Let’s say that we’re developing from ground zero. We spotted them and we’ve assessed them from afar, like, “Oh, wow, that would be an amazing person to come work for me, or to buy my product, or to promote something.” How do you recommend making the very first steps in this courtship?

Jason Hanson
So, what I recommend is, in the intelligence operative world, you give people gifts and you find out what they want. So, let’s say they love Scotch, I don’t know anything about Scotch, but you give them a great bottle of Scotch, and you send it to them, and give it to them. They’ll think that’s the greatest thing in the world.

So, what I do is if I’m trying to work with somebody or somebody I don’t know out of the blue, I will send them a box of gifts along with my stuff. So, if I know they love – and I’m just making this up – railroad books, or whatever, I may say, “Hey, I’m Jason Hanson. Here’s what I do. Here is a book on railroads. I heard you love these. Also, here are some of my books just so you know who I am, that I’m not a total nutjob who reached out of the blue.”

So, it depends on how big of a customer or a client they could be, but I’ll put together a fancy, nice gift box with all the stuff, showing that I took the time to really get to know them, and spend a hundred bucks because it could be worth a gazillion times that to me. So, I like sending a big box of stuff if I’m really trying to go after somebody.

Pete Mockaitis
You know, I like that because I’m just thinking about sort of podcast pitching. Yeah, no one has sent me a physical gift in advance. Yeah, they send them afterwards, like, “Thank you. I appreciate that,” which is nice of them. Thank you. But that’s good. So, that’s kind of like your introduction, it’s like, “Hey, I’ve learned a little bit about you and I thought you’d like this. Here you go.” And there you have it. And, you’re right, that’s quite rare. That doesn’t happen much.

So, here’s a real pedestrian question, maybe easy for a former intelligence officer. So, let’s say all you have is a person’s website or maybe even just an email address and a name, how do you get their snail mail address for this opening introductory gift?

Jason Hanson
So, yeah, I’d do research, I’d search the email in many place, I’d see if there’s anything attached to it. Now, sometimes they do not. Sometimes all you have is an email and there’s nothing else. Well, then you’ve got have a killer unique email and a totally, not bizarre, but totally unique subject line. So, in the intelligence world, if you want to get somebody’s attention, you want them to notice you, you’re not going to be boring, you’re not going to be weird. You’ve got to stand out. You’ve got to make them notice you and be like, “Hey, let’s be friends. I’m this American businessman. Can I take you out to dinner?”

So, whatever the subject line is, it just can’t be like, “I would like to ask you a question.” It’s got to be like, again, I’m not coming up with anything. For some reason, I keep thinking of horses or talk about horses.

Pete Mockaitis
Sure, we can do horses.

Jason Hanson
And you’ve got to write it like you talk. And I use the truth in mine too. I say, “Hey, Bob, I’m sorry to send you this email. I looked like crazy for your physical address but I couldn’t find it so I’m going to keep this short because you’re busy.” And I always use, I’m lucky because I’m a former CIA, so a lot of times the subject line is “Former CIA officer wants to talk to you,” kind of thing. And that gets opened the majority of the time. So, use whatever unique hook you have that’ll make you stand out from the crowd.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay, cool. All right, so that’s developing. And how about the actual recruiting?

Jason Hanson
So, yeah, this is the time where you’re going to come and say, “Hey, again, I’m not the American business. I work for the government. How would you like to spy with me? How would you like to…?” And this is where you push whatever the button is, if they want money. Like, I can give some examples. There are many countries in this world where it’s normal to have a mistress. So, it’s not a big deal, the wives know, you don’t throw it in their face, and these guys need money for their mistresses.

So, you would come with a nice fat envelope and say, “Hey, Bob, as you might’ve guessed, here’s who I work for. I’d love you to continue helping us. You’ve been a great friend. And guess what? I’ve got this $5,000 in this envelope, and I can give it to you now, and then give you $5,000 every single month for your help. What do you think?” And you take that envelope out, you put it on the table, you put your hand in it while you’re talking. You don’t just push it over, you make them really, really want it, and you make them say yes, you make them commit. Then you can slide it over to them where they can touch it. It’s not a huge event because you already know they’re going to say yes or you wouldn’t do it.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Certainly. So, you present it such that they can desire it all the more and it’s not yet there until they’ve said yes.

Jason Hanson
Correct.

Pete Mockaitis
Well, this was fun. I have so much more to ask you about so let me see here. You talk about the concept of active awareness. That sounds great. What exactly is it and why is it good and how do we get it?

Jason Hanson
It is keeping your head up, looking around, not having your head buried in the cellphone, and basically paying attention to your surroundings. So, if you’re trying to close a deal, or even walking down the street, what I do is I play a game, or if I’m walking to the airport, I’ll just quickly describe everybody, like, “White male, red hat, blue shorts, about six foot tall.” “Black female, big earrings, sandals,” whatever it may be, so then I’m looking around, taking in my surroundings.

Most people live in zombie land where they have no idea what’s going around. So, if you’re a business person, observing, seeing what they wear, seeing their office, and really looking around, that may be a key to closing the deal if you see that little nugget of information you need. So, just pay attention. Don’t walk around like a drunk.

Pete Mockaitis
So, you’re just saying in your head, like the descriptions of what you’re seeing. Like, “Blue wallpaper,” or whatever it is, just what’s there. You’re sort of sub-vocalizing the description of the stuff.

Jason Hanson
Correct. Because it makes your mind think, your mind doesn’t fall asleep, and it forces you to look around in your surroundings so you see what’s going on. That way, you can’t be looking at your feet at whatever digital device you have.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. Super. And so then, so that just sounds like a good thing. In practice, what are the advantages of having it?

Jason Hanson
Is that you’re more successful because you see what’s going on, you see things other people miss. Before, we talked about Shark Tank, I read every book they’d ever written, I watched every episode, I knew every question they asked, I knew everything about their families, I watched every interview they ever did. I knew them backwards and forwards, and I actually used that, remember I was in there for almost an hour, and they boil it down to 10 minutes, and I know some of the key things like throughout to help me get the deal because I observed their body language, how they were removing what they were wearing. And most people are probably not as observant as I was.

Pete Mockaitis
Certainly. Well, I can’t let that go. So, body language, there’s a lot of ambiguity there, but you mentioned feet earlier. Are there any other sort of just key body language things you notice over and over and over again that prove quite useful as you’re interacting with folks in work settings?

Jason Hanson
Well, most of them are common sense, meaning, “Do they look interested? Are they smiling? Do they lean forward?” Like, when I was on Shark Tank, I could see who was leaning back in the chair, and as I said certain things, they had literally leaned forward. I was like, “All right, I’ve these two. These are the ones I’m going to focus on, dedicate more time because they’re clearly paying more attention at the moment.”

So. It’s all stuff that it doesn’t take a spy to see. All of us can quickly pick up, if they look bored, or leaning forward, or they’re crossing their arms in disgust, or they’re open and they’re being animated and talking because they’re excited so it’s easy to pick up on.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Cool. And so then, I want to get your take on how do you recommend that we apply some of these approaches to just better advocate for ourselves in terms of we are trying to make the case that you deserve the promotion, or the opportunity, or the raise, or to be heard?

Jason Hanson
Deep research. So, deep research on everybody else. So, if you want a raise, why you deserve a raise of the other five people in your office, and what proof. So, in the intelligence business, you’ve got to have proof for everything. Meaning, when somebody says, “Hey, we need you to take out this terrorist.” Well, what’s the proof that they did something? What is the proof that they’re behind it? If you’re going to take someone’s life, or snatch someone off the streets, you got to make sure you have all the details.

So, the same thing, if you come in, “Why do you deserve a raise?” “So, I’ve been here five years.” “Well, I don’t care if you’ve been here for five years. What have you contributed?” So, have files, have all the, “Hey, I made an extra $5 million for the business off of this project alone.” So, come in, pretend you’re in front of a jury, and you’ve got to have proof beyond reasonable doubts, and if you do that, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to get the promotion or get whatever you’re looking for in life.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. And so, when people try to apply some of this stuff that you’re teaching, are there any sort of ways that they mess it up, like they’re trying to implement it, and they make this mistake over and over again? What should we watch out for?

Jason Hanson
You have to be authentic. So, when you’re trying to recruit somebody, and you’re trying to make them fall in love with you, if you’re faking it and you’re not showing empathy and really caring about this person, they can see right through it. And it’s the same thing in the business world. So, when somebody is trying to close a deal on me, I can tell when they’re being fake. The old cliché of like, there’s a model sailboat on the table, and it’s like, “You like sailing? I like sailing.” And, of course, you know they don’t know anything about sailing. So, you’ve got be genuine and authentic because people are not idiots and they will spot it.

Pete Mockaitis
I like sailing.

Jason Hanson
I don’t know anything about sailing.

Pete Mockaitis
It’s funny. You like sailing, I like sailing. Well, that’s funny. Back to podcast pitches, a lot of times people been coached to start with a compliment, but it’s sort of like, “I don’t think you’ve ever actually heard the show. That’s just sort of something that you’re saying. All of the stuff someone told you, you’re supposed to do that.” So, that’s good. So, be authentic. Well, that’s interesting. Well, when it comes to be authentic, I mean, you do want something from them, and that is why you’re having that conversation. But you’re still authentic in the sense that – how would you distinguish it?

Jason Hanson
Well, you’re on the authentic of, “Hey, I really want to work with you.” If you’re flattering them because they’re the best at what they do, you’re not using cheesy flattering, you’re being genuine in your compliments to them, like, “Hey, I really do admire how you wrote this book,” or, “I really do admire the way you do your podcast interviews.”

So, you can be authentic and all that, and then, of course, you’ve got to offer them something. So, you don’t want to come out, like in the intelligence world, “Here’s 5,000 bucks. If you do this, I’ll give you 5,000 bucks a month.” You’ve got to have something that’s going to make it worth their while because people are busy. So, what is going to be beneficial for them to work with you? And, obviously, be able to present that.

Pete Mockaitis
Beautiful. Well, Jason, tell me, anything else you want to make sure to mention before we shift gears and hear about some of your favorite things?

Jason Hanson
No, I already know your life story and how you’re a criminal, so I think we’re good to go.

Pete Mockaitis
That’s the essentials. How about a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Jason Hanson
Something I find inspiring, a favorite quote. There was, I think it was a book, like, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” And, I don’t know, I think it was a book or a quote, it doesn’t matter. So, I love that because in the intelligence world, and also in the business world, there’s always going to be tough times, but you got to keep on trucking, never give up, and those are the successful people.

Pete Mockaitis
And how about a favorite study, or experiment, or bit of research?

Jason Hanson
I love psychology. I try and read all kinds of psychology books. Robert Cialdini has written some great books on that. I’m a fan of his. I read sales books because when it comes to business, and when it comes to humans, and when it comes to getting people to spy, it’s all psychology. It doesn’t change.

Pete Mockaitis
And so, Bob Cialdini’s books, Influence, Science and Practice, as well as Pre-suasion are amazing. Any others that you really love?

Jason Hanson
I mean, I’m old school. The old Zig Ziglar sales books just to learn from them, Tom Hopkins. I’m the kind of the guy who reads all kind of books because even if I get just one nugget, it’s worth it for me.

Pete Mockaitis
And how about a favorite tool, something that helps you be awesome at your job?

Jason Hanson
A tool? I’m a gun guy. I love guns. I love knives. I love flashlights. I’m like a gear junkie. If you come to my house, I’ve got tents and sleeping bags and all kinds of survival and outdoors gear.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. And a favorite habit?

Jason Hanson
Favorite habit? Well, I like and don’t like. I wake up at 4:30 every morning, so not necessarily that I like waking up early, but I like being productive and be able to get a lot of work done that most people are not able to.

Pete Mockaitis
And what time do you go to bed at night?

Jason Hanson
I got to bed at 9:00 p.m. if I can. The latest 10:00 p.m. but, yeah, I’m trying to be in bed at 9:00 every night.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. And is there a key thing that you share that often gets quoted back to you, a nugget that you’re known for?

Jason Hanson
I teach people anti-kidnapping skills, especially how to take escape duct tape since it’s the number one way people all over the world are kidnapped, so a lot of people know me from teaching people how to escape duct tape.

Pete Mockaitis
Yes, and while we’re on the topic. What’s the trick for escaping duct tape?

Jason Hanson
Well, it’s going to be hard to say on the radio, but basically when your hands are duct-taped together, and you put them higher over your head, and then bring them down and pull apart as if your elbowing somebody from behind, and that will allow you escape in less than two seconds.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Good to know. Thank you. And if folks want to learn more or get in touch, where would you point them?

Jason Hanson
I would point them to CelebrityMethod.com because that is my website where they can find all kind of stuff about me.

Pete Mockaitis
All right. And do you have a final challenge or call to action for folks seeking to be awesome at their jobs?

Jason Hanson
Get up at 4:30 a.m., plan your day ahead of time, and work your butt off, and do deep, deep research because most people are lazy these days.

Pete Mockaitis
Okay. Thank you, Jason. This has been a lot of fun. I wish you and lots of luck for the book Agent of Influence, and all your adventures.

Jason Hanson
Thank you. I appreciate it.

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