What Are Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies?

Business Podcast

What Are Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies? Featuring Steve Wiideman

What Are Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies? Having the best website in your space is just the start. If no one is reading it then it serves no purpose adds no value. Today you have to work hard to drive the right traffic to your site, potential buyers. Those who are buyers are just vanity numbers. Use a combination of SEO, SEM, and targeted inbound marketing strategies to help prospects find your site

About Steve

Specializing in strategic planning for multi-location and franchise SEO campaigns, Steve Wiideman, of Wiideman Consulting Group, considers himself a scientist and practitioner of local and e-commerce search engine optimization and paid search advertising. He is the author of SEO Strategy & Skills, a college textbook through Stukent. Wiideman has played a role in the inbound successes of brands that have included Disney, Linksys, Belkin, Public Storage, Honda, Skechers, Applebee’s, IHOP, Dole, and others, with emphasis on strategy, planning, and campaign oversight. 

In 2018, Wiideman won Industry MVP at a popular SEO conference (C3 Searchies) and helped Meineke earn the NatLo Top 30 in Local Marketing by Placeable.  

Wiideman and his team have worked with Fortune 500 companies and small start-ups alike for over 22 years. His personal experience ranges from having managed or assisted with large sponsored ads budgets, to turning brick and mortar businesses into Internet profit machines using SEO best practices learned while studying under the world’s best organic and paid search optimization specialists. 

Wiideman conducts online video and in-person presentations at various conferences and tradeshows throughout America on such topics as the history of SEO, link-earning, multi-location ranking factors, pay-per-click advertising, responding to search engine updates, and much more. He also is a frequent panelist at online marketing events and speaks at many California meet-up groups and networking events. 

Wiideman designed and teaches the Website Optimization and Strategic Search Engine Marketing online course for California State University Fullerton, the SEO Tools and Analytics course at University of California San Diego, and was recently commissioned to write a textbook for a popular online learning service for colleges.

Wiideman’s information products of the 2000s have been adopted by thousands of small- and mid-sized businesses as a model for building websites on a platform optimized for higher placement in search results and social media destinations.

As a consultant, Wiideman has developed creative strategies that garner organic links and citations to web properties, in addition to strategizing website migrations, upgrades, and social media integration. Wiideman has been mentioned and featured in a number of popular publications including:

  • CNN Money
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Marketing Sherpa
  • National Journal
  • Response Magazine
  • Vice Magazine
  • Visibility Magazine
  • CNBC
  • Vice / Motherboard
  • Fortune Magazine
  • Local Search Association
  • American Express 

Wiideman is currently working on a project to provide his knowledge in the SEO industry in the form of a 6-week online training program. 

Steve’s current projects include a transparency service for small businesses, along with experiments his team is running to better understand the impacts of voice search, featured snippets, and structured data.


How to reach Steve Wiideman:

Phone: (562) 732-4417

Email: info@wiideman.com

Social: @seosteve | linkedin.com/in/seoexpert

Business of Business Podcast Offer: https://courses.wiideman.com/

CODE: SEOSTEVE (complimentary access)

Steve Wiideman Website

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Full Transcript Below

What Are Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies? Featuring Steve Wiideman

Estimated reading time: 46 minutes

Tue, 8/17 12:11PM • 45:04


people, page, seo, work, clients, website, search, pay, site, google, create, business, ad, set, questions, important, buy, steve, put, users, What Are Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies?


Steve, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:03

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. Of course, we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests that talk to a diverse set of topics. But we want to do is hopefully we can maybe bring up some topics that you may not have thought about. Or if you have something that’s keeping you up at night, we can definitely provide you some information and some professionals to help you there.

Today, we’re excited to have Steve Wiideman with us. He is a writer, a scientist, professor and practitioner of search optimization. Steve lives and breathes and eats SEO, SEM and inbound marketing. When he’s not leading his team of SEO consultants for franchise, multilocation and ecommerce brands. He’s a cheeseball romantic, entertaining dad, and world traveler with a passion for life. Embracing culture and diversity. While serving as an adjunct professor at UCSD and CSUF. Steve’s also building the Academy of Search. While volunteering time to help improve transparency and industry standards as an agency trainer. Steve, welcome to the show.

Steve  01:13

Thanks for Thanks for having me. And I know, you’re just hearing a little bit of my bio brings back so many memories. Of you know, the reason I. I decided to leave, you know, the the employee role and, you know. Kind of venture off on my own as an entrepreneur and how scary that journey was.

Roy Barker  01:29

Yeah, well tell us a little bit about that. Tell us a little as you know, as was marketing something, or SEO, something that you’ve always been into? Or have you kind of grown into that through your career?

More About Steve

Steve  01:40

Sure. So I was actually started in web design, while I was still in the military, it was the late 90s. And, you know, we just discovered this, this whole thing called web design and building websites. And I don’t know, I just, I just found an interest in it. So when I wasn’t, you know, on the on the field. And, you know, playing with, you know, with rifles and, and guns and so forth. We, you know, we’re playing around with gopher servers. And and you know, Wifi. I was part of an operation at the time where I was teaching soldiers how to how to use laptops. To be able to measure and fire Javelin missiles, right over hills, it was really kind of neat.

So So yeah, I just, I just discovered a love for all things. And when I when I got back home. And I was working for IBM I had a lot of friends that said, Hey, I got a DJ business. Can you build me a website? Hey, I’ve got a, you know, a friend of mine who, who has a couple of limousines. But you know, he’s having trouble and and other people using the internet, you know, trying to be found. And so I’m like, Well, I guess I could try to figure this stuff out. Right. And I like designing websites, let me see what I can do.

And before I knew it, I was hooked. I was addicted to, you know, all things, digital marketing, how do I get more traffic. And, you know. Two years later. After sort of blank being Neo from the Matrix, and just diving in a day and night. Into this thing. The DJ comes to me and he says, You got to turn it off. I I’m one guy. I can’t do all I can’t have this many people calling me. And I’m like, I might be onto something here. And so I went back to scrub

Roy Barker  03:12

them to have

Steve  03:13

I know, right? So I so I went back to school, and I got a degree in business management. And I learned how web servers work and got to install web servers. I learned how databases worked and learned everything about SQL and how databases are created. And how to never type in the words DROP TABLE into programming and destroy everything. Learn some programming, you know. We started with like, was a QBasic, and then C++ and a little bit of JavaScript. I’d already been coding HTML when I went back to school.

So that part of it was pretty easy for me. But then I learned how to put all that stuff together. The graphic design that the server that the databases, you know. Put all that into a project so that I can take a site from conception to launch to. All the way to the marketing side of it. And my first job out of college. I left the world of IBM over there. And went to a kind of a startup It was called Paciolan. In fact, Yulin was like Ticketmaster, we ran 20% of the ticketing sales for for the MLB.

And we did theaters and whenever you book a ticket. You always see, you know. Even you dots, whatever their site was, and that’s where the ticketing thing happened. And that’s where I got to really, you know. Show them what I was made of. As it pertained to digital marketing. Not just with HTML and JavaScript. But I also got to do some things with email marketing. So I just I just discovered a passion for all things digital and you know, made that my career.

Roy Barker  04:42

Yeah, that’s a cool story. I guess. I’m not that in depth. But you know, like this, you know. I was of a certain age when this the, I guess the digital revolution came along. And so. I’ve always been interested in it and it’s, you know. Just like yourself. You’ve seen such a change that used to. If you put up a website, you are probably virtually one of the only ones in your industry that had one up.

Steve  05:06

So put on your business card, but it wasn’t good for anything else.

Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

Roy Barker  05:10

Right. And, you know, you gain traffic just because there’s nobody else in your space. But I think now we’ve evolved to. There’s so much stuff out there that you know. You really have to find ways not only in your web design, to set yourself apart and capture that audience. But also you have to have a way for people to find you. I mean, it’s this is like being its like looking for your friend and Times Square on New Year’s Eve. It’s tough.

Steve  05:38

And a lockdown taught us a lesson that we can’t, we can’t depend on people just strolling by our store and coming in as a customer. Is not going to work like that anymore. We have to, we have to be online. We have to pay attention to make sure that the products and services that we sell we appear for in search results. In Google and Bing and YouTube. Wherever people are looking for what we have and what we know about what we do. We want to make sure that we have content there to drive customers. Who either have an affinity or a specific demand for what we have.

So many so many businesses just didn’t realize that and when that pandemic hit, they’re like, the phone stopped ringing. Even even our clients. Applebee’s, Nighthawk who you know, between the two of them have like 3500, you know, stores locations, you know. When when this pandemic happened? They’re like, Oh, my God, what are we going to? Do? We need to put all our, our marketing on pause and stop. And we said, No, no, we’re gonna. We’re gonna help you through this. Don’t pause your marketing, pause spending if you need to, but we’re going to carry the load for you. And what we ended up doing was creating delivery and takeout pages across every single location.

So if you were to do a search for breakfast delivery near me. Or breakfast delivery in your city. And a lot of other queries, for restaurant terms. For Applebee’s You would actually see takeout curbside carside related keywords. Will drive you to their their little pages that we have create. And because of that. We think we played a pretty significant role in keeping the kitchen lights on during a period. Where those restaurants were about to shut down. And and now. Now because you know, there’s two demands, right. Demand one was. How do we get people to still buy from us. When you know, they’re locked in their homes? Now the demand is, everybody’s here, but all our employees quit, and they don’t want to come back. So now we’re launching job pages.

And we have job pages now across every single location. And now they’re getting phone calls from people saying, Yeah, I need a job. My unemployment is going to run out in September, and I need to start, you know, looking for something new. And so, so now we’re trying to satisfy that through digital marketing. Through creating a web page on the website that targets the specific thing that you know. We’re trying to drive people in from,

Roy Barker  07:46

yeah, no, that’s a great idea. Because, you know, we saw such a shift in such a hurry. And I think that the the companies, like you said. That could adapt. They’re the ones that are still here. Because there was a lot that either they couldn’t some resistance or whatever. But unfortunately, they’re not still in business anymore.

So but the other thing is, like, there was that big ramp up. And I don’t think we’re gonna see it go back down to pre COVID levels. I mean, not but I’ll ask you. I think I can speak from my point of views. That we would order some grocery items off of Amazon. Or the local company every now and then. Yeah, yeah. But now, it’s like we are pretty much I haven’t been to the grocery store, you know. Probably in the last year. And we’ve just gotten what we do everything online that we possibly can. So you know, people like me, we’re not going back.

It’s just a waste of time to go in there. When we could sit down and place our order and get it delivered. But What are y’all seeing, you know, across the industries that you serve? Do you feel like we’re going to maintain a certain level, there’s

Steve  08:57

a massive retention, right? When I look at the data, and granted month over month, the numbers are dropping, right. Month over month, they’re slowly dropping more people are going out. They are kind of getting back to somewhat of normal life, but it’s a very slow decrease. We’re looking at like three to 5% per month, going down. Where people are, are looking for directions more than they’re looking to place an order online.

So I’d say it depends on on the industry for shopping and clothes shopping. My wife still loves to go into the stores show $3 and torrid. I kid you not. And she’ll come out and she’ll see me hanging from the rafter. And like no, no, but just mentally yeah and and yeah, so so there there are circumstances where people still do want to shop but you know offline but I do agree. I think I think a lot of a lot of people have assimilated to the idea that they can purchase and buy things online Amazon. Where you can see Amazon stocks, right?

It’s it’s pretty obvious that that everybody is latched on to the idea. That they can get whatever they need from Amazon. Which which is a bit of a. Because there are. There are some really, there are some really good local businesses that we love to patronize and visit that, you know, that are probably not going to make it because the traffic just hasn’t gone back, even though that three to 5% probably helps a little bit, they’re coming out of a deficit, you know, during a period where, you know, and for restaurants, some of the restaurants had to buy all this patio stuff, and then they had to buy heaters, we know when it got cold.

And so save all this debt that they created to be able to stay in business, right. And, and if it doesn’t come back right away, like a hockey stick on a graph, you know. They’re, they’re gonna have to get more loans. And get more and more debt. So I, I really feel for the small business owner. And I would encourage anybody, you know. Who who feels comfortable going out to go out. Patronize the local businesses. They’re, they’re doing online to purchase from them online. Even though their system isn’t as efficient as an Amazon or as, as you know.

Some of the bigger names that are out there. The Targets and Walmart’s, you know. Put up with the wacky system, you know. And then go in and tell them, show them your experience so that they can work with their development teams to get better. But don’t just not patronize them, because their mobile sites are awful. We’re trying as digital marketers to help them right now. But they don’t have a lot of budget. In many cases, we’re just doing it pro bono to try to help businesses that we care about.

Roy Barker  11:22 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

Yeah, because I’m like you, we actually were having a conversation the other day about a little town just not too far from here, that I spent some time in growing up. And I was thinking that the field that you got, when you walked into this old hardware store, they still had the wood floors that were all worn down the you know, like washers and screws and everything were in these boxes, and I was just thinking, you know, how far that we have come that.

The sad thing is, those people aren’t in business anymore, it’s made our life a little easier, you know, ordering online, but you know, there’s got, I think we have to have a good balance. Because sometimes we do need to go in and actually see this thing or touch this thing or the social contact as well. Sometimes you just want to go out and see people.

Steve  12:09

So so for you business owners that are listening, I think there’s some things that you can do with your webmaster to prioritize and maybe get a little bit more visibility when people are searching locally. The first thing I’d mentioned is mobile experience, really, you know, go through your website and place an order and see what it’s like, Can you do it from your thumb? Can you do it without having to fill in information on a keyboard?

You tap your way through an experience and, and pay with something like Google pay or Apple Pay or Amazon, you know, without having to put in credit card information? Can you can you make that experience for users so seamless that, you know, they can literally find what they need and purchase and get out in a few seconds. Accessibility is important. Make sure using large fonts, make sure that you’re not putting images or text on images so that those people that are have visual impairments, you know, can’t see it. And search engines can’t always read the text in an image either. It’s really like binary code to them.

Yeah, making sure that you know that you’ve thought about security and accessibility, if they don’t see that, that little secure lock on the browser, they’re probably going to go back to Google and choose a competitor. And over time, Google’s gonna say one, that must not have been a very helpful result, I’m going to demote it and put this other more secure website up, you know, make sure that you’re you’re thinking about privacy.

And if someone’s concerned about what you’re doing with their data, that, you know, they can click on the privacy policy, see that it was updated recently, and know what you’re doing with your information. So privacy, security, accessibility, mobile experience, all of those things are, you know, create a strong foundation for a successful digital marketing campaign, not just for keyword rankings, but also for users who, you know, get to from referral, and so forth. Now, that’s

Test Your Process

Roy Barker  13:53 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

an important part, it’s, I’ve seen to have talked about this on maybe two or three shows of late is that it’s, it’s important for companies to go through that buying process, because you know, what I’ve found is, you know, get all excited, ready to buy and get all the stuff in, and then the submit button is below the screen, and you can’t move it up or, you know, there’s Yes, there’s this and there’s that. And so, also, how many clicks does it take? Or, you know, how burdensome is it compared to others in your field, you know, make it as easy as possible.

And I think that was one thing. You know, we could say about Steve Jobs, I think he, you know, pretty much mandated his engineers, it needs to be three clicks or less to make this thing, you know, to make this procedure work. And it’s important. I mean, unfortunately, our attention spans have grown short, and our patients have grown short. And so it’s like you go on to the site, and if it’s not working, close it and move on to the next one.

Steve  14:55

And if we’re used to a two second experience, where we know exactly what to do, when we You get to a website, and some website that hasn’t updated itself is taking longer than that. You know, it’s why should I have to wait, I can go back to a site that’s going to be faster. And that’s, that’s going to hurt us in the orders we get. And over time, we’re going to sort of our website’s gonna fizzle away and not appear in search results anymore. Right? Yeah.

So I would think, you know, also, there’s, there’s probably three areas that I might focus on, if you’re a small business or midsize business, you’ve got somebody who manages your website, hopefully, you have a team of people that one who focuses on the writing to create content that people are searching for, to, you know, the person who’s in charge of the technical pieces to make that mobile experience great. And three, somebody who can help promote that website.

But you’re going to get with them every month. And you’re going to say, how are we doing in improving these three areas? How are we improving, you know, our relevancy to what people are looking for? When I searched for shoe repair in Dallas? I see 10 pages that show up on page one, I see us on page two, what are these guys on page one doing that we’re not? Let’s look at their titles, let’s look at their descriptions. Their content. Let’s look at it on mobile, let’s look at it on desktop, then let’s come up with a better page that is more helpful than what the other 10 pages have. The second thing we want to look at every month is, you know, how are we improving our visibility off the website.

So somebody needs to be out there making connections with similar brands, if your shoe repair, maybe you’re gonna work with a company that sells shoes, but doesn’t repair them, or a few of them to build those partnerships, where they’re going to refer business to you and maybe even link to your website, those links, Google’s going to crawl and follow and pass some voting power to and move your whole website up for a various number of keywords. And the last thing is, when those 10 results do come up in the search, how do you stand out? How do you stand out so that you get click on More? Do you stand out because you’ve put your customer ratings on there? And they can see five stars under your listing?

Do you stand out because you’ve answered some FAQ questions, and I have two other listings underneath your listing with some questions and answers. Do you stand out because you have a video or a image thumbnail next to your listing, because you’ve told your developer to add some code to your site to make sure that we’ve got, you know, a really standout experience in the search results. So be focused on those three areas every month with your team and set some KPIs some key performance indicators of of where you want to be in a year from now, every month you sit down, how’s our relevancy? How’s our off page visibility? How’s our search experience for users that do see us in search? And if you’re nurturing those three things, you know, you’re gonna see success and you know, search engine optimization.

Roy Barker  17:39 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

Yeah, important part that, you know, this isn’t like the rotisserie of the night you see on late-night TV that you set it and forget it. I mean, it because I

Steve  17:49

missed those days, that was so easy. Just throw up 50 words on a page somewhere, you know, let it go. And then two months later, you get traffic? Yeah, right, it was early,

Roy Barker  17:59

because if you even get it dialed in today, things change so much tomorrow, that, you know, you just have to stay on top of it. And there’s, you know, competitors moving up and down,

Steve  18:08

not gonna rest on their laurels. Right. That’s for sure.

Beyond Page 1

Roy Barker  18:11

So what I don’t want to do not trying to stump you, but do you know, right off the top of your head? What is the percentage of people that actually would roll to page two to look for results? Is that they still publish those?

Steve  18:25

Sure? Well, it varies based on the query, right? What’s your intent? Is your intent doing research? Are you doing a what, who how, why strategies, tips, ideas, if you’re doing more of a research search, you’ll go as far as page three. But if you’re looking for a product or service, if that product is 20 bucks, 50 bucks, you’re probably not going to go past the first three results, you’re going to get what you need, as long as you feel like this is a sign I trust. This is a site that I’ve I’m familiar with, because I’ve seen it other places, and they’ve helped me in the past with questions I’ve had, I’ve heard of them, you know, then you’re not going to go past the first three or four results.

If your product is over 50 bucks, if you’re getting into the 200 300 400 range, then they might go to page two, because they they want to sort of price things out, they want to see the difference. That’s the larger investment. You know, they want to make sure that they’re getting value, not necessarily the best price, but value. And I think you can provide value by giving people a sense of guarantee that, you know, hey, if you’re not happy with this product, we’re going to, you know, make sure we send it back.

We’re going to warranty it, here’s why you should buy it from us and not go to Amazon and try to find a cheaper rate, the loyalty programs, the initial discounts that you get when you visit a website. So yeah, again, uh, you know, depending on the intent of what the user is searching for, if it’s if it’s something low cost, then I just need to search by it and be done. The first couple of results if it’s, you know, search, but I want to make sure I’m getting value, you know, they’ll go as far as page two, but if it’s just informational.

They’re going to Do all sorts of searches the probably even click on image search and video search and eventually go over to YouTube because image search isn’t that great in Google, or video search isn’t. And so they’ll go over to YouTube and find you know exactly what they’re looking for, for some of those queries.

Difference in SEO and SEM

Roy Barker  20:16

So another question I had is, can you tell us the difference between SEO and SEM,

Steve  20:23

of course, so So there’s two ways to look at it. For us older veteran digital marketers, search engine marketing is the all encompassing umbrella of everything we do in search. It is, you know, optimizing for organic results. It’s optimizing for universal search with our images and videos. It’s having paid ads, you know, at the top for shopping ads for, you know, your static text ads. And so search engine marketing is sort of everything that you do for search.

But in some context and some functional roles, they’ve considered sem more on the paid search side, specifically around paid search ads. So you’ll hear it both ways. For me, I like to look at search engine marketing, as paid and organic. But in a lot of business functions, they’ll say there’s SEO, the organic side and sem the paid side. And that’s okay. I don’t I don’t know why it did that. 10 years ago, it did this little bit of a shift. But there’s two ways of looking at now, the difference in the algorithms isn’t that great, right? That the only major difference is, if you’re willing to spend more on the ads, you have a higher probability of appearing more often, right?

It is an auction still, but the auction isn’t strictly cost. The auction has a lot to do with quality and ad relevancy. Even even if you’re willing to spend $100 a click, if you’re sending somebody to a page that has nothing to do with the keyword that you’re bidding on, Google’s not going to display your listing. So there’s still there’s still that algorithm, but the principles are the same, right? It’s making sure that that the relevancy is there, do we have an ad that’s relevant to the keyword or an organic listing that’s relevant to the keyword?

When they get to our page? Is the content helpful, is it accessible? Is it secure? are they paying attention to privacy? In Google ads, they’ll actually, you know, disallow or disapprove an ad, if you don’t have a privacy policy, and they won’t tell you why you’re just like, Why did my ad get disapproved, and you realize, because you didn’t say what you’re doing with their data. So so the algorithms are very similar.

And they’re all focused around, you know, quality, relevancy, one of the most to actual to actual hacks that you could do to sort of marry, paid and organic. The first is, if you want a better score, and paid and pay less per click, make sure that the language that you use in the ad is represented on the page. So that way, when a user does see an ad, and they go to the page, like, yeah, that’s exactly what I was expecting to see. But if you say, Here’s why you should buy from us, and they go to the page, and it says, here’s another reason why you should buy from us, you’re like, wait a minute, what about what happened in the first reason, you know, so there’s, there’s a lot of that disconnect sometimes.

So that’s one, the other thing to do is, is you take some of the data, after running your ads for a few months, you can take some of those search terms that actually triggered your ads, and move those over to your content strategy to make sure that you’re addressing those keywords. From an organic standpoint. Now, you’ll start to appear more often organically, because you’re taking the you know, the the data from your paid search and applying it to organic, in fact, you’re taking search terms that produce sales or leads for you so that you’re getting higher quality clicks on organic, not just more traffic.

And then you take the same thing from your organic data, using Google’s free Search Console tool, just go to Google Search Console, log in, go to this specific performance URL for the page, it’ll give you a whole list of words that Google serve that listing for, take those words, print out all the weird stuff that doesn’t make sense for you put it in an exact match and throw it into your Google Ads campaign. And watch your quality scores and cost per click, go performance go through the roof. Yeah. So yeah, so there’s some things that you could do if you want to do both.

But having both does give you more visibility gives you more real estates, and the data shows that there’s a higher likelihood of a searcher actually clicking on one of your listings if you’ve got both. So which one you do? I say, do both of them pay less overtime for the paid search while you continue to nurture organic? But I would say do both for sure.

Google Focuses on The User Experience

Roy Barker  24:19 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

Yeah, and I think one thing I learned not long ago is, if you think about things, and in terms of Google and who they are and what they do, the best, I guess thing I heard about to put that in a concise manner is that, you know, they are very focused on user experience. And so kind of to what you were saying, if, if, if you provide a poor experience for their people that they’re sending to you, they’re going to figure that out. And then they’re going to quit sending people so important to kind of keep that in mind.

Steve  24:50

Yeah, and if they’ve created a whole new dashboard for you, again, it’s free. You just go to Google Search Console, and you’ll go over to the tab that says core web vitals, and they’ll have this whole list of things. that you can do to improve user experience, things like making sure that the content above the fold line on a mobile device loads faster, right? Maybe, Hey, move, move some of those images and pictures down so that people kind of get what they need right away. And then they can scroll and see some of that heavier content. security issues. privacy’s not really something you see a lot in Search Console, but you see security in there.

If you’ve got some problems, where Google can’t really figure out which version of a page to appear for though, they’ll allow you in the URL parameters section to filter some of that stuff out and say, Hey, search engines don’t go into this stuff. It’s all duplicate of what I already have on the website, things like a print version of a page, like question mark print equals one in the URL, you don’t need that just tell the search engines don’t crawl those URLs.

They’re just duplicate of, you know, the main page. So there’s lots of things that that search console will help you to do for free and being has a tool set as well, that being webmaster tool set free to use, you just go in there claim your your site, they’ll have you verify by adding a little piece of code to your site or through your registrar, and then they’ll walk you through all the things that you can pay attention to.

Managing a Team

Roy Barker  26:06 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

Okay, cool. Well, I want to switch over to just a minute to, I guess two more the business side of what you do, I know that, you know, you started doing this yourself. And now you’ve got a team that you manage, and, you know, I look at I’m, I’m more of the numbers guy on the spreadsheet. And so, you know, it’s easier for me to manage a team, because two and two is always gonna should always equal four, there’s really no interpretation of that.

But when you when you start talking about creative, you know, my creative or what I think is gonna differ from what you think. And so, you know, what are some of those challenges that you’ve had to overcome? And what are some solutions to, you know, go from, you know, the guy that was coding it to now managing a team,

Steve  26:51

I first thing that I first build I had to swallow, is that I couldn’t do it myself. When I was early in my career, you know, I left the corporate world in 2010, I had to do everything myself, it’s all I had, I had no, no other income than what I was bringing in with my freelance clients. And I had to do everything myself. But as I, as I was able to bring in sales people to help me sell some of the things that I was doing, they sold for three times as much as I was selling for, because they’re salespeople, and I wasn’t I was a tech geek.

So they, they saw the value in what we’re providing with SEO, and they sold it accordingly. So I was able to make significantly more money and with that, instead of just saying, Hey, I’m gonna buy a mansion and sports cars, and whatever I reinvested and, you know, put it back into the business to get more people to help me to streamline, get, get more minimes, right, so that I wouldn’t have to do all the work. I think that was that was something I learned right away is, you know, look at, look at the value of what you’re providing.

And change your costs, if you need to, we have a friend of ours that works with us, who’s called Mr. Charge Higher Prices. He his thing is always charged more and have your clients thank you for it. And, and he and he hit it on the nail, because if you if you charge respective to the quality of what you’re providing, people will want to pay it you don’t have to sell they’ll come to you because they heard you’re the best at what you do.

They’re willing to pay, you know, what, what they feel is a reasonable value for it’s not about the cost if they’re, if they’re clients that are looking for low cost cheap products, and that’s what you do great. But if you’re, if you have a lot of pride in what you do, then, you know, don’t don’t target those kind of clients don’t look for that, you know, I’m looking for a cheap discount offer whatever look for somebody who knows that, you know, when we, when we go through an hour of planning with the client for their digital marketing, and they take that planning and update their website, and six months later, they’re getting an extra 20 $30,000 a month in revenue from their site, and they paid us 200 bucks for that call.

Yeah, I mean, it’s it’s pretty easy to see, we know where some of the value can be in what we do in this industry. So how we differentiated ourselves before anything else was transparency coming from the corporate world and working for for Disney parks and resorts and an IBM and some of those other great brands. I had already, you know, established a sense of we’re transparent about everything reporting what we do, how we operate, you know, we don’t keep anything secret.

So with us, you know, when when we set up our project management system for our clients, we include the clients when we set up a Google Drive folder to store all the documents that we’re working on, and don’t keep anything local. We give the client’s admin access to that so that they can pull it down whenever they want to and back it up or, or interact with us in the Google Sheets and Google Docs, we keep 100% transparency, so the client knows that we’re not extorting them, they own it, they run it, we’re just their wing man.

And, and that that gives that gives your client a sense of like a peace of mind. And they’re never gonna want to leave. Because they know that if they go to another agency, or if they decide, you know what, I’m going to try another group to see if I can go faster. And that other groups gonna say, okay. We’re not going to give you access to anything. We’re not going to tell you about what we do, because that’s our secret sauce. When when you go away from us. We get to keep everything we did. And you’re gonna have to start all over. And they’re like, Yeah, no, this is my marketing. This is my brand. I’m gonna bring someone in who’s going to support that not own that. Right. I think that’s, that’s what differentiated us. Yeah, yeah, I

Price or Value

Roy Barker  30:22 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

think it’s important, you know, within reason that we can either focus on price, or we can focus on the value that we add. And, you know, my opinion, and what I’ve seen is, if you focus on price, there’s, you’re always going to be fighting that battle, somebody’s always going to be trying to underprice you. And so, you know, making that switch to what value do we actually provide, because, you know, as a consumer, I buy from people I, like I buy from people I trust, and I’m willing to pay a premium for that, you know, for certain things, you know, I know, lower cost items is probably not as big of an issue.

But when we start talking about services and high dollar things, it makes a difference, because I want to know, you know, the things like you said that all this is my information, you’re supporting me, you know, those are things that are important to me.

Steve  31:09

Absolutely. And we, we, we know, there’s a lot of snake oil in SEO, and it gets a really bad name, sometimes to me, everybody, every business owner has gotten the call, hey, this is so and so with Google, it’s really just some agency trying to sell them on some $200 a month product that does nothing for them other than extort them and take, you know, access away from their own tools. So we created a site called SEO verified. And basically, it’s, it allows business owners to have this little interview sheet.

So when they’re talking to new SEO companies, they can say, hey, by the way, do I have admin access to my analytics? Or do you own that? Do you? Do you own the content that you create for me? Or do I write asking all those important questions, so they don’t have to worry about starting over if they decide to shift from one agency to another. And I thought it was a neat thing to do to kind of give back to the business community, we got a lot of negative feedback from some agencies when we first started it, because they’re like, our business model is this, you know, if we give our client access to the site, they’re gonna break things and hopefully break things. It’s their fault.

That’s because you didn’t you didn’t communicate with them about what you shouldn’t shouldn’t be doing. But it’s their website, you can’t block them from editing their own website, you know, right. So and I get it, you know, if the client goes in, strips out, all the keywords I used and titles and descriptions, and their rankings go down, and they come back later, and they’re mad at me because their traffic slowed down, I get that.

But that’s why we educate and collaborate with our clients ahead of time, let them know, by the way, any change you make to the website, let us know so that we can we can give you feedback, you know, when when applebees Nighthawk when they when they do press releases, they lead him in anything we can do from an SEO standpoint on this before we blast it out all over the internet. Sure, can you make sure not linking to the homepage, but to the actual specialist page, you know, things like that. So having that communication and that relationship with your clients prevents those things from happening.

I think if you’re if you’re a business owner, whether you’re doing digital marketing or something else, just just making sure your client has enough education on what they’re buying. That that they don’t come back later and are disappointed setting the right expectations, of course, and, you know, making it very clear, here’s, here’s what you’re purchasing, and here’s what here’s what’s not included? And what you can do to you know, take care of those as


Roy Barker  33:27 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

well. Yeah, I think communication, you know, in any businesses, it’s something we’ve gotten away from, but I think it’s, it’s an important factor from all aspects and that education part as well. But unfortunately, you know, it’s cuz when I think about is that guy that you know, the guy that calls you up and says, Oh, my gosh, I’ve got this plan, you know, if you’ll just send me 200 bucks, we’re gonna get this started. And they don’t take the time to Who are you? I mean, you may sell, you may sell this widget, but what’s your positioning versus the next guy? You know, and I just always say, that’s a huge red flag with any service. If somebody doesn’t ask you a lot of questions about

Steve  34:09

that those dialers now, too, it’s so ridiculous. Yeah, I know exactly what I mean, when I’m, when I’m talking to somebody I really want to work with, I take the time to do the research, it takes about 30 minutes to an hour to come up with with enough information to to help give them something for free. And if they take that and run with it and never hire you, that’s fine, they’re still gonna know who you are, and remember you and you’re probably gonna get a referral out of it down the road. But at least you’re providing value and showing where you know where the sort of the sense of deficit is, and where the opportunity is, Hey, I took a look at the current competitive landscape.

And it turns out, you’ve got about 26% of the share voice and your competitor has 30. Here’s what they’re doing. Here’s some suggestions on what you can do to combat that. We’d love to do a full analysis and see how we can help you build out an entire roadmap. But here are some starter things that we have identified and looking at your top competitors, your top keywords, where your competitors are getting links from that you’re not. And it gives you a starting point of some things to work with. And if you want more of that we’re around, you know,

Giving The Secret Sauce Away

Roy Barker  35:11 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

you mentioned this earlier, but people are concerned that they’re given the secret sauce away, and I kind of look at it the other way is that, first off, we’re educating number one priority. And then sometimes though, we can actually show people why this is difficult, why you need to hire because when they get this, they’re like, Oh my gosh, I don’t even know, this looks like it’s, you know, written in a different language.

Steve  35:34

Right. That’s what got me into teaching. I saw that so much that I said, you know, what, I’ve got so much in my head that I want to share that I want to get out so many, you know, 1000s of title tag tests that we’ve done to see, you know, what, what users respond to, and so many usability tests and things. So I said, I’m going to start teaching. So I teach at Cal State Fullerton, an SEO strategy course. And they throw me into the landscape class.

And then on the analytic side, at UC San Diego, I get to teach, you know, web, SEO tools and analytics. So we get to kind of show students how to create KPI sheets, so they know, you know how to how to start with a baseline report, here’s where we are. Here’s where I think we can be in a year from now. And that Fullerton community, geez, some SEO, web design, sem, website promotion, you know, we kind of do all these different these courses for the digital marketing.

With those same thing, I get to put these videos together, here’s, here’s how to do it, and present it when you’re going out into the job world. So that you’re you’re educating first, and that you’re creating a roadmap and a strategy. First, you’re not just doing SEO, you’re not just doing Facebook, you’ve got an actual roadmap for technical, contextual and off page. No,

Roy Barker  36:47 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

no, that’s so important. I was gonna ask you to about the Academy of Search that you’re building? Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Steve  36:53

Sure. Sure. So you know, when you get to 11 years, you know, of, you know, teaching and consulting and training you, you start to put a lot of content together a lot of best practices. So we decided, let’s start creating some videos recorded one that mimics my course sets, Cal State Fullerton, in fact, if your listeners want to take that one at Academy of Search, just use my handle SEO Steve as a code and you get free access. We’re revamping it, but that code will still be good. So you know, just write it down log in, you know, make sure you have it.

And the next few months, we’re going to be launching a series of smaller bite size videos, not a full six week course like the one that’s on there right now. If you want to just learn something with on page optimization, how do I get my one page to rank better, there’ll be something on that there’s going to be one on how to use basic Google Analytics. So if you’re just new to analytics, here’s, here’s a way that you can dive in and get just what you need as a starting point. So we’re, we’re putting those together.

And it’s just one of the thing, few things that we’re trying to do to scale as, as a consultancy, there’s only so many hours in a day. Right? Right. So we figured let’s, let’s put some videos up, let’s see, if we can, we can put some, you know, $30 $40 videos up and, and if it works, and people get the training they want, maybe they’ll buy more of them. Maybe though, they’ll come back to us and ask us to do a strategy forum, you know, and we can apply what they’ve already put into it.

So. So it’s a cool way to give back to create a low cost way to learn. But it’s based on corporate experience in my days, you know, at Disney as well as, you know, 11 years of consulting for some of the most exciting brands, you know, that that you probably know of?

Roy Barker  38:36 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

That’s awesome. And we appreciate the code. And I’ll be sure to include all that in the show notes as well. But yeah, that’s awesome. I think I love the approach, because again, you know, there’s going to be certain number of people that just either aren’t going to do anything, or they may dabble a little bit themselves, but this just really shows that you need an expert in the you know, in really whatever space it doesn’t matter if it’s SEO Marketing bookkeeping, is that, you know, we’re all good at we all have our own talent. So we need to hire talent to do these things and really make it count.

Steve  39:07

But I wouldn’t have made it had I not brought in the people that I brought it in to help with without, you know, Brian Fernandez, our creative director, we wouldn’t be half as as presentable at conferences and presentations that we’ve done, you know, without Hanzel over here, I wouldn’t have been able to manage those 3500 locations that we take care of with our, our restaurant chains, you know, so you’re right, bringing in the right people that have experience, you know, and, and maybe maybe there’s a way to do it for business owners where you bring them in to set the foundation for you, and give some training to a less expensive resource to manage it.

Some people are fine with that some people aren’t looking for a career. They’re looking for a project, they’ll come in help you set everything up for you the way that it should be set up, train somebody who’s fresh out of college who wants to learn, especially for small businesses, and then they run the fort and if they need that other person, you just pay time material for consulting. I think that’s a, that’s a great strategy for businesses that don’t want to hire six people full time, bring those experts in, lay out the groundwork and then hire somebody more affordable at a school.


Roy Barker  40:10

Yeah. And then with this, the gig economy and with these sites where you can go out and hire professional, you know, what we call fractional? Yes. You know, it’s I mean, it’s such a, it’s really a nice innovation, because, you know, I can’t afford to put on $100,000 a year, you know, CFO or something like that, but I certainly reach out and, you know, get it on those project base, which is a lot better, you know, in the long term to you can actually afford that.

So absolutely love. Great advice. Well, Steve, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to be with us such great information. Before we get away a couple questions. Like what is a tool or a habit, something that you do or use every day that you feel like adds a lot of value? Can it be professional or personally, the one

Steve  40:56

Oh God, I have so many apps on my phone for productivity, I can’t even tell you. I don’t know my favorite right now. I’m using Evernote, right I use that for everything I journal there every day I i staged my my to do’s of things that I’m working on and focusing on Evernote spend, you know, a pretty awesome productivity tool for me. I’d say that’s, that’s super helpful. For digital marketers, I’d say my favorite tools, SEM Rush right now, for smaller businesses as SEM Rush, is a great suite, to manage your digital marketing.

But yeah, I’d say I use that. And I use Slack with my team with, you know, other groups that I’m in, it’s helped me collaborate with other experts in ways that I couldn’t have done and then social media. So I’d say keep Slack on your phone, join some Slack groups of people that are in your industry that you can collaborate with. And then yeah, Evernote, just a really good productivity tool.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  41:54 Great SEO, SEM, and Inbound Marketing Strategies

Yeah, all three of those are great, I think I use all of those. That’s a, you know, the one thing about the Evernote, what we’ve been trying to do is, you know, get rid of piles of paper and filing cabinets. And with Evernote or some other apps out there, you know, it’s so easy to take a picture of that receipt, file it away or take a picture of that document.

And then you don’t need the you know. I guess legal papers, you know, ask your professionals before you get rid of anything, you know, important but, you know, for a lot of the stuff that we keep around, take a picture of it and store it digitally, get it out of the way. It works. Alright, Steve, well tell us how can who first off Who do you like to work with? How can you help them? And then of course, how can they reach out and get in touch

Steve  42:43

Walways try to save the world, right? And it’s good and bad. It’s good, because I feel like we get to get back. But it’s bad because sometimes we a little overwhelmed. But we we want to help. If there’s something that we can do, we’re not, we’re not working with a lot of small businesses. If we are helping somebody, it’s going to be free.

So if you want to reach out on social my handles SEO Steve, you know, our company handles Wiideman W I I D E M A N, if you want to ask a question, why is our page not ranking? How come this competitor beating me? How do I show up in the maps, ask those questions, we’re going to help you and we’re not going to charge you anything. Our target of you know, the clients that we do still want to work with are usually multi-location brands, you know, those that have 100 to, you know, a few 1000 locations, they want to try to figure out how to scale.

So those those are the ones that we we’ve had a really good track record with. And I’ve learned some things that make the process a little bit a little bit more seamless, and a little less effort on the side of the you know, points of contact we work with. So I’d say those are the folks that we do really, really well with but we’ve we’ve worked with no 11 years, every type of client you can imagine, right?

So if you’ve got a an SEO question are you want, you know, some free templates or checklists are about ready to build a new website and you want to know what prerequisite stock to use. You’re upgrading your website and you want to make sure you don’t lose SEO during that process. Hit us up. We’ve got plenty of those guides and we’re happy to share them with you for free.

Roy Barker  44:10

That’s awesome. Well, Steve, thanks so much for being here. We certainly do appreciate it. Y’all reach out to Steve see how he can help you out a lot of great information in this program as well. Right. It’s been great. Yeah. been a lot of fun. All right. Well, that’s gonna do it for this episode of The Business of Business Podcast. Of course, I am your host Roy.

You can find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. We’re on all the major podcast platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Spotify, we’re on all the major social media networks, probably hang out on Instagram a little more reach out we’d love to engage and a video of this interview will go live when it goes will go up when the episode goes live. So be sure to go over to our YouTube channel and check that out as well as our other episodes. Until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

Steve Wiideman Website

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The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy Delivers Value

Business Podcast

The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy Delivers Value Featuring James Hipkin

The Hub and Spoke digital marketing strategy is a great way to keep the digital marketing plan simple and easy. The hub to the middle is our website, the spokes are are channels we use to deliver our message. The outer rim is our messaging. We don’t always need to next shiny object in messaging. More figure out what works and replicate it.

About James

James is an accomplished, forward-thinking marketing professional with 40+ years of multi-disciplinary experience in marketing and marketing communications companies serving high-profile, global brands and B2C clients in consumer packaged goods, durables, transportation, telecommunications, and financial services.

He has been involved in digital marketing for more than ten years, first as president of a direct marketing agency Brann Worldwide’s San Francisco office, where he led the evolution of the agency from traditional direct marketing to digital. Clients included Apple, Wells Fargo Online Bank and Nestlé.

He went on to become the head of a mid-sized agency’s interactive group, with Toyota as the main client. Over ten years ago, he joined Red8 Interactive, a long-term vendor and became an owner and managing director.


Red8Interactive Website

Inn8ly Website

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Full Transcript Below

The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy Delivers Value Featuring James Hipkin

Estimated reading time: 37 minutes

Tue, 8/10 12:13PM • 48:43


website, customer, strategy, James, people, small business owners, problem, business, spokes, email, important, build, sales, product, create, purchase, messaging, hear, interest, privacy policy, The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy, delivers value


James, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:00

Hello and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy course we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests that can speak to a diverse set of topics. Hopefully, we can shine a light on something maybe you haven’t thought about. Or at the very least, if you have something that’s keeping you up at night, we can provide some information may be to help you solve that problem, or some professionals in that discipline that can give you some great guidance and today is no different.

We’d like to welcome James Hipkin to the show. James is an accomplished forward-thinking marketing professional with 40 plus years of multi-discipline, disciplinary experience in marketing and marketing communication companies. Serving high-profile global brands and B2C clients in consumer packaged goods, durables, transportation, telecommunications, and financial services. He has been involved in digital marketing for more than ten years first, as a president of a direct marketing agency brand worldwide San Francisco office.

Where he led the evolution of the agency from traditional direct marketing to digital. Clients included Apple, Wells Fargo online bank, and Nestle. He went on to become the head of a midsize agency’s interactive group with Toyota as the main client over Ten years ago, he joined Red8Interactive, a long-term vendor and became an owner and manager Managing Director. James, welcome to the show.

James  00:00

Thank you, Roy, it’s pleasure to be here.

Roy Barker  00:00

Yeah, so tell us a little bit about your journey, you’ve got a sound like an awesome background. And I know I gave a little bit but just drill down a little bit more, how did you kind of end up in this space and something that you always wanted to do or something that you just kind of fell into,

More About James

James  01:56

I always wanted to be a scuba diver. But that didn’t work out. Right? I it’s it’s a function of I’m a very curious guy, and things keep popping up in front of me. And I’m not afraid to embrace that and you know, have a have a go at something new. So even with the gray hair on top, I’m still enjoying learning new things and exploring new things and continuing to help. The common theme throughout my career is I’ve always been in account management and working directly with clients, and I just have a deep passion for helping business people, you know, be more successful and take advantage of the opportunities that exists and the technology that exists and the techniques that exist in order to create more value for their customers, which ultimately creates value for the business.

Roy Barker  02:59

Right. Yeah, and that lifelong learning that that’s the one great thing about this age that we live in, it’s given us the opportunity to, you know, continue to learn. And also there’s so many new and different innovations and tools that come out just about every day, you know, you can get behind if you don’t stay on top of it really easy.

James  03:19

That’s true. But that, as with most things has a other side to the coin. One of the things that I counsel small business folks about is you know, avoid shiny new things syndrome, right? An awful lot of the what’s called Digital Marketing. And it’s it’s that genies not going back in the bottle, it’s it’s here to stay. But the principles haven’t really changed. Right? The principles of getting the right message to the right person at the right time hasn’t changed.

Right. And that, you know, that’s, there’s a tendency and to grab the next tactic that comes in to take the advice of the next, you know, plaid jacket sales guy who shows up. And that’s almost never a good idea. Right? Right. And this is I came up with this concept of the hub and spoke strategy to try to make an analogy that small business folks can can relate to. And that’s if they start thinking about digital tactics, they think about the website as being the hub.

The various digital tactics that they can employ are the spokes and then their messaging strategy, content strategy, their you know, what they say, is the rim that holds it all together. Then you have something that’s very powerful because the power comes from the from the connection and the connection is how you create a wheel out of those three disparate parts. When I, you know, pre-pandemic, when I was doing a lot of public speaking, I would stand there with a bicycle hub in one hand and a handful of spokes and another hand and there’ll be a rim sitting on the table in front of me.

And I’d pick that up. And I’d say, okay, each of these pieces is fine. But they don’t have much value on by themselves. Right? Right, you put them together, and you’ve got a wheel, which is kind of a fundamental thing in the evolution of mankind, and a very powerful tool that you can use to create value for your business and for your customers.

Strategy From The Beginning

Roy Barker  05:39

Yeah, I would imagine that, you know, kind of starting at the beginning that developing a strategy, so we can, you know, center our website to make sure it has that material that it needs to have to be the center. And then also, think about each one of those spokes and how we want to deploy that.

James  05:58

Right, how they, how it interconnects with the website, how it interconnects with the brand, the brand messaging strategy, the product, whatever it is that you’re doing, these concepts are universal, it’s there doesn’t matter what business you’re in, these concepts will apply. And the other piece is that in the shiny new things syndrome, pick a couple of things. Do them well, right. You know, avoid the tendency to Oh, my God, I got to do this now.

Oh, my God, I have to do that. I have one customer who sells a very specific kind of orchid. Not orchids in general, not house plants in general, but a very specific kind of orchid. He’s followed this strategy, and he’s picked organic social media is his main spoke and email marketing as another spoke. And he’s generating a significant six figure income using this, these simple strategies, but but the power comes from tying them all together. Right. Right, not treating them as disparate bits and pieces.


Roy Barker  07:11

Exactly. Yeah. And that gets back to the, you know, chasing the new and this, the latest is we sometimes we don’t give the things we have in place, the proper attention or the time and, you know, always try to just to reiterate that, you know, marketing is a long term play, you might get lucky and fling something out there tomorrow, and it blows up. But for most of us guys, it’s grinding it out every day. It’s doing it, it’s getting better at what we do.

James  07:41

Right? Listening to customers. And, you know, the many years ago, a business reporter was interviewing Peter Lynch, who is managing the Magellan Fund for Fidelity, very large, very successful mutual fund. He asked Peter Lynch, what was the key to his success, and he expected a complicated financial kind of response that, you know, ways that he picked stocks and that sort of thing. Peter Lynch came back with a very simple statement, he said, “water, the flowers, prune the weeds?”

Roy Barker  08:23

No, that’s great. Yeah, you know, because a lot of times, too, you know, what I’ve seen is that somebody says, Well, you know, I spent $50 on a, on a Facebook ad, and then that didn’t work out. So we went over and did this. And you know, that for I think it gets back to the strategy and thinking about, you know, how we’re going to deploy our resources, all of our resources are limited. And, you know, we we have a certain amount that can go, but I think really sitting down and figuring that out before we you know, jump off into the deep end is a probably a pretty good strategy. Would you agree?

James  08:57

Absolutely. And patience is also important. You know, $50, on a Facebook ad in the, in the absence of anything else that you’re doing, is $50. That makes Zuckerberg richer? Yeah. But doesn’t help you, but $50 in the context of a larger strategy, where I, I’m using this money to drive traffic back into the website, I’m using the facebook pixel to understand what that traffic looks like. And then using that understanding, to send ads out to people who look just like the people who came back to my website, suddenly, it starts to become part of the plan. And the hub and the spoke are working with each other and supporting each other and it increases the value of all of the pieces,

The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Roy Barker  09:50

right. So what are some components of a good hub website that we want to really think about?

James  09:57

Well, that’s a great question. I use a concept that I call the five-second rule. Every page on a website needs to do three things in five seconds. That’s not a lot of seconds. And that’s quite a few things, right? You need to make it clear to the visitor, that they’re in the right place. You need to give them a benefit-oriented reason to stay. This is an outside in statement, not an inside out statement. What’s your problem? And how am I going to solve it?

And then you need to make it crystal clear what they should do next. A website is like an onion, it has layers, websites that I see where people have put everything they can think of on the homepage, right? Accomplishes nothing other than confusing the visitor. Now, am I in the right place? I have no idea. What am I? Why should I stay here? I have no idea. What should I do next? I have no idea. So that concept of the five-second rule, when applied to a website is is really important. Another piece of this is what’s the primary objective of the website?

It’s a seems like an obvious question. But more often than not people have an asset of themselves. And I’ll ask that question to somebody that we’re working with, I’ll say what’s the primary objective of the website, and I will get a litany of things that they want to accomplish, then we’ll have a little chat about the movie Highlander. There can only be one that’s a reference that you probably have to be of a certain age to

Roy Barker  11:46

recognize, well, I was racking my brain, I think I’ve no, I’ve heard of the movie, but I just can’t, I can’t place it, I’m sure I’m seeing it. But

James  11:55

the concept was that these were all immortal folks. And there could only be one, so they went around chopping each other’s heads off. But at any rate, with the objective, there can only be one. And in a business to business situation, which most small biz, many small businesses are business to business, professional services, that kind of thing, coaches, you know, lawyers, accountants, that sort of thing. There are basically two objectives that are common. It’s either confirmation or conversion.

And if you’re most of your business is coming from word of mouth, which is very common with professional services, businesses, then the confirmation objective makes all the sense in the world, I often hear this, well, I don’t get any leads from my website. And I’ll respond and said, Well, perhaps, but perhaps it’s because you’re not seeing the null set. You’re not seeing the folks that go to your website, look at it, think my God, this was built by a teenager, 20 years ago, these people can’t be serious, and they don’t even bother to call you.

That’s the null set. And that’s what happens when you don’t have a proper website, even when you’re getting most of your business or word of mouth. Because executive a tells executive B about this great resource, this, you know, marketing consultant or business consultant that they heard about or that they’ve worked with. So executive B goes to that business consultant’s website to confirm that they have the skills and knowledge and expertise that this guy’s looking for, then they’ll call you.

So that understanding that primary objective is a really key piece of creating an effective hub, within the hub and spoke method. And then is your messaging clear? That’s the rim? Are you being consistent about what you’re saying to people? Are you being consistent about how you’re saying it, and then the spokes are the various media that you use to get that message out to the right people?

Check Functionality

Roy Barker  14:10

Yeah, I’m back on the, on the website for just a minute. One thing I was gonna kind of add to that is, you know, thinking about what we want it to achieve, but also make sure that it whatever you have set up on it is functional, I have run into more websites, you know, sign up for this, and then the button is either below the screen where you can’t get to it or, you know, you hit it and it doesn’t do anything. So it’s always good to you know, periodically, like just run through the process. And sometimes I think we lose sight of thinking like our customer and right you know, we need to take that time to do that. Think Like a customer go through the process just to make sure that everything’s working like you want it to

James  14:54

exactly correct and the words are very important on a website. Picture Tell copy sells. And having those words be from the customer’s point of view. I see this often that all kinds of features and attributes being listed on a website, on the assumption that the customer is going to figure out which one of these things works for them, as opposed to making a bold statement about the problem that the customer likely has, and then providing your solution to that problem, and then providing reasons why the consumer can believe that your solution will work, right? It’s exactly the same information.

But it’s presented in a very different way. And the way I’ve just described will actually generate interest and involvement from the consumer, because it’s, they don’t care about you, they only care about their own problem. Exactly, you know, what’s in it for me? And if you recognize that and craft your words, appropriately, and of course, everything needs to function as well, but part of function is the third part of the five second rule, what do I do next? Right. Right, if I am a, you know, it’s a clear call to action, like a typical, you know, response, we have built a website for a business consultant in the Boston area.

You’re sorry, this guy was in New York, that’s different one in the New York area, and he works in government. He was a New York congressman. And and he was now he’s working as a consultant. And his website is all about confirmation. So there’s clear branding, there’s a clear benefit statement as to what it is he does. Then there’s a clear call to action that says learn more about the founder. And that’s where you can see his deep credentials. What makes him valid choice. Right? I mean, he’s, I mean, he’s, he raves about the impact, that just eliminating lots of stuff from his website has had on his business.


Roy Barker  17:14

Yeah. Yeah, sometimes less is more. And you know that that goes to the the sales portion, we won’t get into that. But, you know, sometimes we can talk ourselves out of business if we’re not careful. That’s right. So tell us a little bit about the messaging, I want to skip the spokes for just a minute. But let’s let’s talk about messaging and how we can get that consistent and concise, you know, across all of our channels,

James  17:42

right, I, I counsel folks to use to create an avatar of their ideal customer. That avatar has four components. There’s the demographics, the physical characteristics of the the, the customer, then there’s the psychographics, there, what what’s their attitude? You know, the, how do they think about things, then there’s the problem, what do they need, and then there’s the ideal solution. So if you’ve mapped out your ideal customer in terms of those four components, you’ve got a very clear understanding of who it is you’re talking to, and what it is you need to be talking about.

The other piece of this is mapping the customer’s journey. You know, they go through any consumer of any product goes through a series of steps from, I call it the interest curve, it looks like a bell curve. Out in the far left area of the bell curve, there’s, they’re just not thinking about you. So doesn’t matter what you say, honestly. Then, as they’ve identified a need in their life, that needs to be solved, they go into the consideration phase, and they start climbing the left hand side of the bell curve, in terms of their interest.

That means they start to see the advertising, they start to see the messages from various potential solutions, then they get into the consideration phase, where they’re actually picking, you know, their top three potential solutions. And then they make the purchase. While their interest doesn’t end. When they’ve made that purchase. They’re just at the top of the bell curve, you’ve still got the whole right hand side of the bell curve that you can take advantage of.

So having a consistent messaging throughout this process, but continuing that messaging, and this is where the hub and spoke starts to get involved. They’ve made the purchase there in the website. What do you do with your email marketing? After they’ve made the purchase? Is your messaging consistent? Are you reinforcing how smart they were to make this purchase?

Are you giving them additional information on how to take full advantage of what they’ve just purchased? You know, those that that understands the bell curve that is interest, and it with a consistent messaging strategy, then you can start to apply that across all of these touch points. So that makes sense.

Roy Barker  20:22

Yeah, yeah, does. And, you know, to the last point, I wish I could think of what I bought, it’s not been long ago, but I actually got an email like, Hey, thanks for your purchase, how’s it going? You know, and I wish I could tell you exactly what it was. But it was, it was very, it was very nice. It was a surprise number one, because we don’t take the time to do that.

But I think that we miss a lot of opportunity, because it’s like, you know, we make the sale, and we’re done. But with this follow up, we may actually sell more, you know, we have more offerings. That are, it’d be like, you know, being able to tell my friend like, Oh, my gosh, can you believe it? They You know, this was that process and my journey? Why don’t you provide?

James  21:09

absolutely the most important sale is not the first sale? It’s the second sale, right? Because if they’re purchased the second time, then your chances that they’ll purchase the third time go up exponentially. Right. And that’s, that’s super important for the lifetime value of customers. You know, I spent, I did a training session with our staff this morning, where I was talking about the importance of transactional emails. People forget about it, they just they, it’s, you know, not terribly exciting.

It’s not terribly sexy. Right? They may not see any email that they sent you send to them, but they will see the transactional emails. So take full advantage of that. That’s another one of your spokes is the transactional emails. Is the messaging in that spoke consistent with your brand? Are you taking full advantage of the fact that they’re high in the interest? bell curve?

Current Customer Opportunities

Roy Barker  22:12

Yeah, yeah, cuz somewhere along the way, you know, we’ve gotten and we, we don’t think about our current customer, it’s always, hey, I made a sale, I’m moving on to the next one. But typically, in the cost of acquisition, or the you know, the cost to get that your current consumer to purchase that next product is infinitely lower than trying to go out and attract that next new customer.

James  22:39

Absolutely. There, there are five ways that current customers can generate value for you, the longer they stay with you, the more return you’ve had on the investment that was required to get them in the first place. Right? The longer they stay with you, the more they know about your product and service, the less expensive they are to service, the longer they stay with you, the more likely they are to buy additional products and services from you.

The longer they stay with you, the more likely they are to recommend your product to other people just like them. Right. So we’ve got five different revenue streams that are generating from an existing customer. Yeah. And that’s, that’s a it’s an often overlooked fact, that that your current customer is your most likely source of new business.

Roy Barker  23:34

Yeah. Yeah, definitely take some time and provide care for them. If we’re going to nurture you know, continue to, you know, we always think about nurturing up into the point of purchase, but we always need to continue to nurture, you know, our present customers as well.

James  23:49

Right. And that’s, that’s is why I’ve talked about the the interest curve, that bell curve that they’re interested in, stop at the top of the curve when they made the purchase, it’s still very high, this is your chance to move the relationship beyond transactional into something that has some more equity. Yeah.

The Spokes

Roy Barker  24:11 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

So let’s talk about that. Excuse me, let’s talk about the spokes for a minute. And so how we connect these, you know, we’ve got our website as our hub, we’ve got our messaging as our rim out on the outside. So how do we connect these with our spokes? How do we make these decisions on you know, what, what ones we want to employ?

James  24:32

Well, the key to this is avoid shiny new things syndrome. You want to pick a few things and do them well. The example I was talking about before was with a guy who sells a specific kind of orchid. He uses organic social media, he has built his presence in Facebook and Instagram, and he uses that aggressively and he uses email marketing to maximize The traffic back to the website and do actually generate sales.

Occasionally he will pay for some Facebook advertising. But in the end, it’s very profitable for him, he might spend three or $400 and generate $3,000 to $4,000 in sales. While can’t really argue with that, but it’s not a didn’t come by accident, it came because he’s been very careful about maximizing the impact of the channels he’s using. Email Marketing is an extremely valuable and important piece of this, I know people, all kinds of myths out there about email marketing is dead and blah, blah, blah.

None of it’s true. Even if they just see the subject line in preview text and the email that you’ve sent, you’ve once again reminded them of the positive experience they’ve had with your company. And keeps keeps you in mind. So when their need arises, again, the interest curve we talked about earlier, when their need arises, where they’re going to think about. Yeah. And it’s this, it’s just that it’s an underutilized tool, transactional emails, and then ongoing what I call the lazy river. Now, ongoing emails that are designed to create value are very important. spoke in the hub and spoke strategy.

No Stone Unturned

Roy Barker  26:35 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, and I think you the, the point you made was the call it the lazy river. Because, you know, what, when I see a lot of times now is like, I sent James an email and he didn’t buy. So again, I’m off to, you know, whoever the next person on my list is, and there’s, you know, kind of the myths you talk about, there’s always, sometimes you hear salesman, like, Ah, you know, they’re just lying, or this, you know, they always have all these different reasons, but really, maybe James just didn’t need my product at that particular point in time.

And, you know, there’s a lot of things maybe couldn’t afford it, maybe saving up maybe looking around. But I think we, again, we lose the value in our prospects by sending out one, maybe two emails and calling it quits what my strategy has always been, I want to educate, so I’m not just hounding you, James, are you ready to buy we talked last week, and we go ahead, right, let’s do let’s get this done. Let’s get you know, whatever that is. But to take something, you know, a simple strategy for me as if I’m, you know, I do trying to read a lot of articles. So picking an article and saying, hey, James, I saw this article, this might be interesting, here’s three points that I found.

But I try to continue to do this over time, because like you just mentioned is, I want to be at the forefront of somebody’s mind when they actually need it. Because, you know, it doesn’t, it’s not a reflection on me, if if we haven’t talked in 10 years, and you’ve, you know, somebody else just reached out the other day, it’s like, oh, this other guy’s Top of Mind, it really doesn’t have anything to do with whether I’m better or worse or anything like that. It’s just, I haven’t taken the time to be in front of you.

James  28:21 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

And I need to solve my problem. And the timing for when I need to solve my problem is, as you said, I mean, it’s up to the individual. So you just want to have a constant stream, there’s a generally accepted idea that with this kind of, what kind of content do you send out? And is I got the 70/20/10 strategy? You know, 70% of your communication to customers should be just value creation, give stuff away, give them information, tell them how to use the product better.

Tell them about what’s going on that sort of thing. Be friendly. 20% is the kind of thing that you’ve just very well described, which is you’ve curated content that you’ve discovered elsewhere, that nothing to do with your brand, but you think your consumers, your target audience, your list would find value in this and then the last 10% is more sales. Hey, we’re introducing a new product. Hey, have you heard about this?

You know, how did you know about this and they can be combined, for example, with website’s privacy policies and having a privacy policy is extremely important. It’s again, states are God bless America. Every state is different. And every state is writing their own privacy rules. The issue with a website is not where your website is located. It’s where the consumer is who visits Your website. Okay. So if you’ve got a form on your website, then you need a privacy policy published on the website. How many small business owners have that?

My guess is not very many. Right? Then there’s the added problem of every two weeks it changes. Because every state’s publishing their own or changing them or adjusting. So it’s, it’s complicated. Yeah. So now there are resources and tools that you can use to create privacy policies that are dynamic, that are adjusted automatically. And that’s where, you know, folks, like, you know, our company gets involved, because we know about these tools. And that’s the sort of thing that we build into our, the websites that we build for our small business owners, were thinking about what they need before they realize that they need it.

Roy Barker  31:00 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah. Yeah, because so many times we don’t realize we need it until we’re in trouble because we don’t,

James  31:07

right. And this is the value creating communication that will send out in emails that say, you know, Hey, I know it ain’t sexy, but you really need to pay attention to this, because these are the things that are going on, you should be aware, you know, this, there are multiple ways you can do it yourself, you can hire your lawyer to do it, you there’s a number of resources online, where you can download templates, or you can use a dynamic, dynamic service, that will maintain the privacy policy for you dynamically, and then you don’t have to worry about it. But be informed.

Yeah. And that’s a good example of that kind of relationship building ongoing communication that you can send out in the lazy river. It has all three components in one, it’s it is informative, and creates value that way it does share information about other people who are solving this problem, if you want to take advantage, and it has a sales component, because we offer that service to Right,

Discovery Questions

Roy Barker  32:11 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

right. No, that’s an awesome ideal, I just think that, you know, we have to, we have to take the time to make these thoughtful. And, you know, the other part of that is the gathering of information. So you know, about our clients, so we can know, what might interest them or what we need to send out because, you know, again, try to ask, you know, as many discovery questions as possible, not overloading somebody, but you know, we do want to do a little bit deeper discussion.

Number one, it shows interest that I’m interested in you, not just, you know, I need to book your business, so I can move on to the next guy, but, you know, tell me about yourself, because I want to make a lifetime, you know, the goal is to make that lifetime customer.

James  32:58

Right, and and have that customer beat. I mean, more than half of our current sales are coming through customer referrals. Right, you know, suggest you’re doing something right, exactly, you know,

Roy Barker  33:14 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

yeah, no, that’s, and that’s really where you want to be you want those referrals, because it’s your, whoever made the referral convinced the new prospect that you’re the one that you can get this done, you know, that you’re trustworthy. So, I mean, you’re probably 80% through the hardest part of the sales process once you get that taken care of. exactly correct. Yeah. Alright, James, well, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to be with us. Tell us a little bit before we get out of here about Inn8ly.

James  33:49

Okay, innately is a small business website subscription product. We provide an alternative to the Wixs and Square Spaces of the world, which are also small business websites, subscription products. Our key differentiator is, and you will probably laugh when I say this, we answer the phone.

Roy Barker  34:16 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah. Oh, yeah. You’re one in a million if you actually do that.

James  34:21

Yeah, we hear all the time I signed up for this. I signed up for that. And you know, the fashion model and the TV ad lied to me. It’s not that easy. Our debt were more expensive than they are, but we do it for you. Yeah, we are training content specialists to actually build these websites for the small business owners, and that’s included in the subscription cost. And we’re here for ongoing support requests. Most of our customers, they don’t want to be webmasters.

It’s not cost effective for them to try to figure it out. How to make a change on a page. Right? So they just email it, the change to us and one of our content specialists makes the change for them, and then we send them a bill. And they love it. Because it’s so much more cost effective to have our folks do it quickly and efficiently.

Because they know how, versus the small business owner trying to Okay, now I need to stop being a dentist and I have to figure out how to be a website guy, right? I mean, seriously. So that that’s our key differentiator is we build high quality sites, they’re well designed, they, they have a strategy, we spend a lot of time educating our own staff about the difference between can and should.

We frequently get requests from clients, and we’re like, I really like to take your money, but that’s a really bad idea. This is why it’s a really bad idea. Here’s another way that will actually cost you less. That will get you where you need to be. And they just love it. Because they know we’ve got their back. Yeah, we answered the phone.

Roy Barker  36:14 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, that is such a big deal. You know, because everything is not as simple as, you know, an expert can make the example for an expert on that. But you know,

James  36:25

we are an expert makes it look simple.

Knowledge Transfer

Roy Barker  36:27 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

And trying to transfer that knowledge. And, you know, like myself, I was reading through something the other day, and it wouldn’t work, it wouldn’t work finally emailed support, and I got this, it was like a whole new plan, that it wasn’t even included, where it would have been awesome to pick up the phone and say, Hey, can I get this done? For sure. Right? Exactly.

A couple points to just, before we move on that, you know, I like that, you, you know your marketing on value, which I think that we have to rethink about that we are not always going to be the price, the lowest price leader. And we’re we shouldn’t be scared of that if we have value to offer, we have to stand up and say you know what we we aren’t. But this is the value that we can provide.

And, again, I always think about things in relation to my time, like standing at one of the at one of the bigger big box stores that tell you that they save you money, but yet you spend 30-40 minutes trying to go through the line to check out so I’m always like, well, you saved me 10 bucks, but you cost me you know, another 100 standing in line so really unproductive is that.

James  37:41

Right? And and you know you’re an expert in whatever it is that you do. You’re not an expert in this kind of digital marketing and digital advertising. And what makes a website work. I mean, the concept of the five second rule, it’s a very simple thing to explain. And anybody I explained to goes well build that makes a lot of sense.

And it does make a lot of sense. But yet I see over and over again. navigations on websites with eight or nine or 10 different choices. What am I supposed to do next? I don’t know, I’ve got all these choices. Oh, my God, I have to think about this, then they’re gone. Right? Or this? They get to a page. And there’s, you know, a whole list of things that you do, but I don’t know, how is does it solve my problem?

The Secret Sauce

Roy Barker  38:34 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Right? Yeah, the other thing, you know, you talked earlier about, you know, maybe talking about the process or given things away. Another misconception I’ll get your opinion on is that sometimes I hear people are scared to you know, we don’t want to give away the secret sauce. And we don’t want to say this. I found just the opposite.

If it’s a complex issue, sometimes when we explain to somebody what we do and how we do it, they’re like, Oh, I can’t I couldn’t do that, or I don’t have the time to do that here. Just take it over. So, you know, I think we have to be careful. We have to be smart about it. Let’s put it that way. We need to be smart about it. But it doesn’t hurt to give information away.

James  39:21

You said something earlier, which I think is very important is that with regards to word of mouth sales and references and the fact that the trust factor has already been established. That sharing of information being clear and honest and upfront about what things can and can’t do. Even the can’t do part builds trust. And ultimately, people buy people and they want to know that they’re going to be working with somebody that they can trust that will have their back that is not their you know in It’s not there to sell them something they don’t need. Yeah. But is there if there is something that they do need?

Roy Barker  40:07 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Right. And most consumers are willing to pay a premium for that. That’s the other thing is it’s I guess it’s a, it’s the comfort of knowing just like you that, hey, I can reach out make a phone call. That’s It’s incredible. It really.

James  40:28

I had a call from one of my customers, his name was Joe. And I saw on caller ID who was calling. So I picked up the phone and I said, Hi, Joe, how can I help you? Then it was silence. And I heard some ruffling and shuffling around in the background. And then he came back on. I said, Joe, what happened? What’s the matter? And he said, James, I had to sit down. Why did you have to sit down? Joe? You are literally the first web developer I’ve ever called, who answered their phone?

Roy Barker  41:00 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, and didn’t have to go through a phone tree three miles long to exactly right.

James  41:09

And because our core business builds large corporate sites, we have a whole support infrastructure in place for those large corporations. So we have a support desk, and we have support software and all that sort of thing. We have a process. So that, you know, even if they don’t want to phone and a lot of people don’t. There’s still there’s an email process that is monitored and maintained, and and responsive to whatever it is that they need.

Take Care of Your Customers

Roy Barker  41:38 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, and I’ll just, I’ll tell you one horror story on the way out for another service. I emailed support. And this was like on June, 5, or sixth, got a response. August, the ninth or something, it was just over 60 days? To answer a question. I realized there’s a lot of stuff going on with labor and supply chain and all that, but still 60 days it because what I take it as a consumer, it’s really how important is my business to them? And right, not very much.

James  42:16

Yeah, that’s a that’s a pretty clear message. And, and, you know, it comes into the business executive said something to me when I was a young, bright-eyed kid, explaining why something hadn’t happened. He looked at me and he said, James, I understand your problem, I don’t care. And, you know, I appreciate that there’s stuff going on pandemic, labor’s supply chain, all that stuff. Now. I understand your problem, I don’t care, I need an answer. And even if the answer is we’re working on it, or it’s in the queue, or I mean, communication is so important. Right. Right. Because their interest is high. Yep. Take advantage of it.

Roy Barker  43:11 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Yeah, and the other thing, you know, I look at the underlying, you know, isn’t an excuse or reason, because we’ve been in this for 18 months now. Right? Most companies that are anywhere near flexible, you know, they figured out obstacles, you know, and some of us, you know, maybe we’ve had to sacrifice profits because of service in our customers.

But you know, to me, it’s a short-term problem that we’re going through that you know, you have to do everything to preserve your customers and your integrity through this and then be okay, on the other end. Right. Exactly. Right. All right, James. Well, tell me one couple things before we go first off, what is the tool or a habit? What is something that you do every day, that really adds a lot of value to your life, personal and professionally, the one

James  44:00

I’ll tell you, my favorite utility is a little utility called text expander. Okay, and what this is, is a little keyboard macro that you can add, so that those things that you have to type every day when it’s the same thing every time like your email signature, or your whatever it might be with text expander I can just type semi colon si g for signature, and my whole email signature gets typed out for me.

Oh, nice. It is you know, I’m we use a lot of Greek and Latin in as placeholder copy for websites and that sort of thing. So I have two little things s l o r for short. lorem ipsum and l l o r for long, lorem ipsum. And it just types it out for me. I don’t have to do anything. It saves so many keystrokes every day. It is the best.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  45:02 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

I’ll check that out. Which brings up another good question Why? Why do why do people use Latin? On you know, on the web, when you see them under construction or something like that? You see, I have I have no idea. So great question. I’ve never asked that question. I have no idea. I didn’t think about tea brought it up. But it’s usually, you know, pretty much the same thing. Yeah. Same copy. Let’s use lorem ipsum. Yeah. All right. Well, James, tell everybody, you know, who do you like to work with? How they, how you can help them? And of course, how can they reach out and get a hold of you.

James  45:38

We love to work with small businesses that are serious about their online presence, that want to work with a professional resource that want to maximize the power of the online space and digital marketing. It starts and ends with a well-designed, well-built, managed, secure website. And that’s what our product is@inn8ly.com i n n number eight, l y.com.

That’s what we’re offering is a reliable, powerful resource. And then using that like a website as a fulcrum. We’re using that to provide services to these small business owners. We’re not providing the services, we are vetting, marketing communications professionals, and making their services available to the small business owners who subscribe to innately where we want to stay focused on the technology. I happen to have a background in in this.

So I’m pretty good at vetting. Folks, there are a lot of snake oil salesmen in the space, sorry to say, but they can’t get past me. And so if I’m making a recommendation to a small business owner, you need to hire these guys to do your local SEO, you can be assured that you’re getting a good recommendation. And that’s so that’s what we’re looking for is small business owners that are serious about their online presence who want a professional website, but they don’t want to have to look after it themselves.

Roy Barker  47:21 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Okay, great. Yeah. Tell us a website one more time.

James  47:24

inn8ly.com, I N N number eight, l y.com. Okay, great. And our little tagline is websites without worry. So we got a few little puns going on there. We’ve got the N like I N N, we take care of you. And we have websites without worry, which is of course www.

Roy Barker  47:44 The Hub and Spoke Digital Marketing Strategy

Oh, nice. Nice. I didn’t even put that one together. Like that. All right. Well, y’all reach out to James see how they can help y’all. And maybe he’ll answer the phone, give him a call. If you’d be happy to. Alright, that’s gonna do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcast.

Of course I am Roy. You can find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. We’re on all the major podcast platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, Google, Spotify. If we are not on one that you listen to reach out, I’d be glad to get it added to make your listening easier. Also, we’re on all the major social media platforms, we tend to hang out on Instagram a little bit more reach out there, we’d be glad to interact with you. And a video of this interview will go up when the episode goes live. So go to our YouTube channel. Check it out in some of our other interviews that we’ve previously had. Until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

Red8Interactive Website

Inn8ly Website

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Want More? Seven Steps to Building a Smarter Business Engine

Business Podcast

Want More? Seven Steps to Building a Smarter Business Engine Featuring Luke Fatooros

Want more? Is your business working for you or are you just trading your time for dollars? Most of the time it’s because your business structure is all wrong. Its always better to consider these seven steps in the initial phases of setting up a business, but It’s never too late to implement these strategic changes to see changes in your fundamental business ops

About Luke

Luke Fatooros: Ideas Into Business – Smart Business Coaching

Luke co-founded his first business at the age of 23. Starting out in his fathers shed, together with his partner, he turned an idea and $800 into a $12 million retail company with 65 staff within 5 years.

He, unfortunately, lost this entire business because he was making the same everyday mistakes most businesses make. His business was not structured correctly. He was exchanging time for money and was focused on tasks to get through the day, not to set himself up for the future.

Therefore, burnt out and learnt the single most important lesson in business – the difference between being Self Employed and being a Business Owner.

He took 7 years to regain his confidence and try again. This time, however, he did things smarter.

Based on his real-life lessons, he created a smart business system that does the work for you while adding value to your business. He applied this system to several new ideas, created a business valued at $3.5 million after just 2.5 years, and sold another business to a publicly listed company on the Australian stock market for $820k after 14 months.

Luke is now a successful business coach who over the last 12 years, has helped over 1000+ business owners implement his smart business system into their businesses, helping them create a valuable asset to set themselves up for life.


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 Ideas Into Business Training  (this will be set live for the podcast)

Free 90 min Master Class and downloadable blueprint of the 7 steps covered.

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Full Transcript Below

Want More? Seven Steps to Building a Smarter Business Engine Featuring Luke Fatooros

Estimated reading time: 40 minutes

Thu, 8/5 6:36PM • 50:35


business, people, business owners, step, customers, optimize, set, buy, niche, money, sell, businesses, staff, salesperson, structure, stress, marketing, computers, build, sales, Want More, Seven Steps to building a smarter business engine


Luke, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:05

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. Of course, we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests that can speak to a diverse set of topics. Hopefully we can find something that you have thought about. Or maybe even if you have something keeping you up at night, the material we provide, and the experts that we bring on, we’ll be able to help you get past that. We just really want to see everybody be successful. And hopefully, we’re giving you some tools and ideas to do that here.

So today we’re excited to have Luke Fatooros. He is with Ideas Into Business, which is Smart Business Coaching. Co-founded his first business at the age of 23. started out in his father’s shed together with his partner. He turned an idea and $800 into a $12 million retail company with 65 staff within five years. Unfortunately, he lost the business because he was making the same everyday mistakes most businesses make. His business was not structured correctly, he was exchanging time for money he was forced on, he was forced on tasks to get through the day, not to set himself up for the future.

He there ever burned out and learned the single most important lesson of business, the difference between being self-employed and being a business owner. He took seven years to rein in his confidence and to regain his confidence and try again. This time, however, he did things smarter. Based on his real-life lessons, he created a smart business system that does the work for you while you add while adding value to your business. He applied this system to several new ideas created a business valued at 3.5 million after just two and a half years. And sold another business to a publicly listed company on the Australian Stock Market for $820,000, after 14 months.

Luke is now a successful business coach who over the last 12 years has helped over 1,000 businesses owner 1,000 business owners implement his smart business system into their businesses, helping the creative value, build assets to set themselves up for life. Luke, thanks for taking time out of your day to be with us. Certainly do appreciate it.

Luke  02:27

Thanks for having me, Roy. It’s fantastic to be here. Yeah,

Roy Barker  02:30

it sounds like quite a roller coaster ride. You know, before we get into, you know, before we get into the meat of this discussion, tell us a little bit more about this journey, you know, how you got it sounded like, you know, you created a heck of a business. And then, you know, kind of went through some stumbled a little bit and then came back figured it out that structure is really the key.

More About Luke

Luke  02:55

Yeah, so what you mentioned earlier, I guess, starting out it, my father shared 800 bucks to young kids taking on the world, we’re gonna get rich and do everything. Everything. A person who wants to build a business, all the big desires. But we had no idea what they were doing. We just hope we wait. And yeah, that there was a, you know, we struggled for 14 months not buying anything was just pure will desire, we just got to make this thing happen.

So it was no brains was pure stupidity, just going forward, going forward. And eventually, we worked out a few things. I learned how to do my first joint venture, I did a little bit of bad marketing. And the business took off like it took off like a rocket and we created a $4 million business in five years. And we won so many awards, and we thought we were so marvelous. Looking from the outside, you want to say wow, scars are incredible.

They’re so successful. That success at a young age and happening the way did they actually set us up for failure. It did. We lost the whole business. And you know, reflecting back, it took me five to seven years to just get the confidence to Hey, let me try again. Because obviously, it was a life-changing disaster that happened and what happened on that reflection was those three life-changing lesson which you touched on in the intro and the first one was really to understand how money works. And that was stop trading time for money.

I learned the difference between unlimited earning structure and an unlimited earning structure and working hard. I mean you got to have a good work, work ethic that’s different to just working hard and killing yourself and drop drive yourself into the ground which ultimately What happened to Gary my partner? Now we work so hard, we drove ourselves into the ground, because our business was just not structured correctly.

It wasn’t doing the work, which led me to the second most important lesson I learned on this reflection of failure. And that was the difference between being self-employed, and a business owner. So, when Gary and I started, we thought, this is how many business owners think they think, well, I’m just going to make profits, the business can make profits. And that’s how we’re going to get rich, and we’re going to work hard. But that’s not how you do it. That’s just setting yourself up for burnout, and exhaustion, which happened to us, what you want to be doing is, you want to be creating a structure that actually creates a valuable asset, you want to create a business engine that ultimately does the work for you that you can step back from.

So there was like a huge mind shift, understanding the difference really, between what is a self-employed person and a business owner. And so to give you like an example, my first business, I had 65 stops, was going for five years, and it was a poor million-dollar business each year. And so someone would say, well, there must be worth a lot of money. The truth was, that had very little value. Because if Gary and I stepped out about sequence drop dead, the business just couldn’t work. So it has very little value, even though it’s perceived, well, amazing.

The second business I created from an idea in a home office, and it was me with a notebook. I’ve set up distribution of East retailers, distribution retailers around the world, it was just me one person with a notebook at a home office working to two days a week once that thing was set up. Obviously, there’s a lot of groundwork setting up, but there was barely the three and a half million dollars after three years. That’s, that’s the difference. When I’m talking about now. I had to learn this on my journey. Most business, I just don’t know this exists.

That’s very powerful knowledge. And so the question is, well, okay, well, how do you do that? How do you go from an unlimited limited structure, how do you get an engine working? How do you step back so that your business actually worth something that you can sell? And you can have a life not be equal for your business, which is, you know, most business owners are stressed time or? And the intent or the purpose of the business is just not what they set out? It’s a complete opposite. Yeah. And which leads us to the chat with you today, the seven steps, the sequential steps, and the sequencing is like, the key, which I learned, because, no, you can’t build a house with the roof first and put all the fancy chandeliers and if you don’t have structure, so it’s all a collapse.

And that’s really, our businesses, people want to build a website, or let’s give them a Facebook page. That’s like your chandelier or your roof. Well, who is it? What’s your what’s your resonating message? And you know, how are you going to scale this thing without killing So? So that leads us into race discussion, the seven steps, how did they come about? It came about through my lessons, and the first one is optimizing your mindset.

Now. When you speak to most people about success in business, they will say well in sales and marketing strategies, growth strategies, negotiation products and services, websites, digital marketing. All the cool stuff, and you do need all that. But there’s a piece next to that. Call you and if you’re not straight upstairs in the head. Or you’re not sorted out in your brain Well, you’re going to sabotage your business no matter how good your sales and marketing negotiation, or whatever. And that’s really what happened to me my first business because every one of us has self-sabotaging traits. No, no, no one’s exempt.

And, you know. The people who think they they don’t have any losers or prohibition, you know. Which often you hear and that was me, that’s the voice of my younger man speaking. I the ones who needed that the most they need the help the most. But they the ego says not nurturance not me. I’ve got it all worked out. And you know. These self-sabotaging beliefs usually stemmed from our childhood, you know, the way we were raised the beliefs installed stillness. You know, my biggest problem was my ego. For Success. No one could tell me what to look around them would kill me. Where I couldn’t see was my business. Some sort of train racing towards the water 300 kilometers out. No charge, not anyone’s going to tell me the difference.

So I had a crash, burn and things like people have have issues with money is very common in business. The way they’re raise. The teachers, the church, the parents, whatever, you know. If they told rich people evil, or no, you have a low self-esteem or low value of money. If your services say $150 that you charge for the service. But you have this thing with money. Where you don’t believe people will actually pay for that, because you’re not worth it or whatever, you’re going to start selling your service for $40 or $45.

And so that’s what you call self-sabotaging traits. It doesn’t matter how much time energy and effort you put into your business strategies. You’re an entrepreneur wise, your mindset, your business actually doesn’t have a choice. Yeah, so that’s why step one is, hey, you gotta fix your brain. You need help?

Whos In Control

Roy Barker  11:01

Yeah, yeah. And so many times we, we let the business start driving us instead of us driving the business. And I think you know, you’re right. Because when we trade that time for money than it, all that means is we just have to work more, to earn more. And then, of course, like you said, it leads us down that path to burnout.

Luke  11:22

Correct? It’s a vicious cycle, you know, because cash flow gets tighter, okay, we need to work harder, but you got no time. And then you get exhausted and you just can never get over that grudge. Right? That’s a structural problem. Yeah. And so the second piece is optimizing your niche versus step two. So here’s a very common mistake in business, people try to sell the products and services to the wrong customers. You can’t sell meat to a vegetarian. Doesn’t matter how fancy your sales pitches if the meats been blessed by the Pope.

How many times you practice your pitch, how many energy put into your presentations, you can change the price that doesn’t matter what you’re trying to do a vegetarian is just not going to buy your meat, they’re not your real customers. Right? What you want to do is spend your time finding meat lovers. So they’re not trying and convince and spend energy trying to convert a vegetarian that’s just not optimizing your energy and time sales. So the lesson is, stop trying to waste your time trying to sell to the wrong people.

And what I find is dealing with lots of businesses over the years, most businesses are tortures to sell, sell, sell, you know, the sales managers setting budgets and targets and they slam the hell out of the sales teams. Get on the phone, you want to make 100 calls today, blah, blah, blah. That’s not really smart. Because first of all, who wants to be a salesperson being told to go to hell every five phone calls and maybe you have 250 phone calls you get a break?

What is it doing the brand of your business where your pack the hands, selling, counting customers, chronic onboard customers the wrong decision, pressure tactics, manipulation tactics, which is if you know what I’m talking, you get the sales phone calls all day handling you no one enjoys that and doesn’t have a good reflection on the brain. So what should you be doing? This is where I think a lot of marketing companies get things wrong. There’s a difference between your ideal customer and your real customer.

So one of the first things you always hear is that what is your ideal avatar? What is your ideal customer what they look like? The truth is I’ve found a lot of businesses not all of them have worked as you know what I’ve found over the years and on the business, I mean that when you actually go out there and you start selling and doing things, your ideal customer who you thought was gonna buy your stuff very rarely ends up being the person who actually hand you cash in hand.

And so what you want to do is you want to like hone in on your niche and optimize your niche you want to find out over time you all these real customers are the ones that are actually giving you the cash and stop trying to chase ideal customers you probably know it’s like the wrong marketing This is the wrong currency trying to give these people aren’t your real customers and service them go ahead No, no,

Roy Barker  14:48

no, I was just gonna say because you know, even marketing we if we don’t really niche down to our buyers, you know, we end up spending a lot of money casting this wide net Over people, like you said, you know, we’re the meat salesman, and we’re throwing a wide net over vegetarians as well. And even if we, you know, maybe we it’s something that they may not know that, that it’s not for them, then we can waste our sales team’s time we waste You know, a lot of time and energy, talking and dealing with people that ultimately aren’t our customers anyway,

Luke  15:25

True and then what happens in that situation is the manipulation, the pressure tactics, and some people are polite, and they given to the pressure and they buy other stuff, but that that leads to resentment, resentment of the salesperson presenting to their company’s brand online because no one likes to be sold under pressure or manipulated into into selling something you want a customer to walk away saying, this is the right product, love that salesperson love the company, I’m going to refer my friends to them.

Roy Barker  15:57

Yeah, because sometimes it’s even not as defined as just like, you know, the vegetarian in the meat lover, but it can be maybe not even the right time. Maybe it’s an age thing. Maybe it’s a stage in life. But now I’ve made you upset. And so when it is your time to be my customers like, Hey, I remember those guys. I don’t want anything to do with them.

Luke  16:20

Absolutely. Yeah. Bang on this like a short term view Elliniko cash in the bank today, there’s no long term transit the transactional value today not live value of the customer.

Roy Barker  16:32

Right, right.

Luke  16:34

And so that leads us to step number three, which is optimize your sales now. I’ve been building business for 25 years. And I’ve sat through dozens and dozens of just about every sales training under the sun conferences, whatever. And they all tell you this a sales cycle or sales model, and find the leads, connect qualified present, overcome objections, close the deal nurture in all these fuzzy terms.

But there, I believe that the sales cycles are missing out on the, you know, the most important pieces to be successful in sales. I’m talking long term view. And I believe there’s two secrets that every sales process needs to be successful themselves. And the first one is, what I before becoming a master salesperson, without all the tactics and pressure, and that is let your customers buy don’t sell. Right.

And it’s quite hard for people to imagine, but there’s a process. You set your framing and a property and you just allow the customer to be in control of the equation. They put them at ease number one, because they can make the choice to bet caught on not genuinely, they’re more inclined to buy from you when they feel in control, or they buy.

And the second the second thing I’ll actually ask you question is what is the thing that number one thing more that you are subconsciously scanning for? When you’re going to buy something from someone? That is?

Buildign Trust

Roy Barker  18:23

Well for myself? Usually, it’s trust

Luke  18:27

thing on it. Okay, that is not many people get that right. That’s actually that’s exactly it. That’s trust, when you grant a boss or buy something from the salesperson, you only look at a product or service, they haven’t even opened your mouth. You’re scanning for that one thing, do I trust this person. And if you buy like that doesn’t matter how good your your sales pitch or how fancy product is only five stars, it’s good. I don’t like you don’t trust you. Gonna go and find someone else. You may even have inferior product or whatever it may be me or sales person, but they got integrity, where they got their personal branding of trust. So me to optimize your sales. That’s what you need to do is just average those two critical things.

Roy Barker  19:22

Yeah, it’s so important on the trust, because I’ll be honest, I will pay a premium for somebody’s product or our service where I trust them. And I know that they’re going to be there you know, sometimes they’re one off purchases, but usually it’s it’s usually going to lead to more purchases and I want somebody that I trust is going to be there to take care of me after the fact and what I don’t get a lot about these.

You know about the high pressure sales is there are people that you can bend into buying what you want, you can manipulate them, you can trick them, you can pressure them, you can do all that stuff, but well I found over the years is that tend tends to make a bad customer that, you know, they don’t get what they thought that trust isn’t there, there’s no follow up. And then now you’ve got somebody who purchased that may be upset. And it’s gonna end up costing you more money and time to deal with that in the long run.

Luke  20:21

Absolutely. That’s like taking a longer term view, as opposed to, like, let’s get some cash on the top today. And that’s, that’s the thing, most salespeople I mean, I’ve had worked in corporate environments. And most salespeople are they just got managers on the back of the managers, you got the CEOs on the back on the board, and it’s slam those targets, get those targets, sell, sell, sell.

Now that takes care of that, you know, the sales managers bonus and the salespersons. commission, or that doesn’t take care of your customers. Right. Right. So that only takes us then to optimize your marketing as the next step, because why is marketing? And step four? Well, the first few steps is who are boom? Are your customers who are really selling to who’s gonna buy from you the quickest and easiest. And then when you work out when you’re selling? What products will they buy from you the quickest and easiest, as opposed to what do you want to sell? And who do you want to sell to to different scenarios, once you work that out through the steps?

Well, that’s when it’s time to now market. Because, you know, if you try and talk to everyone, connect with no one. And yet, in my first business, we, we we sold computers, we’ve started out selling personalized software programs, which was a disaster. No one bought it, we thought it was, you know, your search engine was gonna change the world. But it was just an army, we were not in a lucrative niche. This is a classic example, I spoke earlier about our ideal customers where, you know, businesses are going to buy our software, improve the profits and efficiency and blah, blah, blah, no one bought our stuff. And real customers actually ended up being families.

Selling buying computers are both two different worlds apart. That’s where the money led us. And that’s ultimately, when the business started taking off. This is what I call you follow the cash flowing. We had stuck our heels in and had a chart on the wall about your customers will still be there today with no money. And so this is where connect chronotope day run connector, no one comes in. So when we started selling computers, customers will start asking us cars and last cars, but just software’s not interested. But however, do you sell computer audio?

There’s what I call following the money shifting from non lucrative niches to niches customers just asked us we weren’t even trying to sell something they’re asking us Can we buy? Yeah, so we started selling computers. But if you take computers, that’s a huge niche, right? You can have it managers and they can have larger businesses, property owners, who have bigger budgets, you can have small little companies, Home Home operators with tiny budgets, families, bargain hunters gains, all by computers. But you have to have a lot like every one of those, you have a separate resignated message. That’s where you have to find out what he wants to buy from you.

And what do they really want to buy. So in our business, when things went from struggle to rocket taking offers, is the process I’m sharing with you the first few steps, we found that these people were buying, but he was buying from us the quickest and easiest, he was our most lucrative niche. And that became families. Family. Wasn’t that those back in the 90s internet precursor computers were not mainstream. Right, right. So we tapped into this and then we started honing our messaging offering towards families.

And so targeting a message or resonating message. Shorter family is very, very different to an IT manager of a corporation. And so this is what I say like, optimize your marketing, create that resonating message. Now one of the natural things that comes up at this point is what? Surely if you are targeting lucrative niches where the money’s flowing, you’re going to have more competition. Yes, you are. And this is quite a hard concept for many business owners to cross I’ve found over the years. I say, well, there’s no competition. So I’m going to put my business is smart businesses go to where the money’s flowing.

So if you find a niche An opportunity where there’s no competition, but chances are, that it’s a more liquid niche, it’s like trying to find gold in the leg might gotta go to where the money’s flying and where the money is flying is going to be competition. Right? That’s not about what you got to do in that situation is you just got to go through the steps on site, because what you got to do in that situation in their crowded niche, lucrative niche with these money, is you’ve got to stand out. And the way you stand out is you’ve got to create your X Factor on Create your X Factor your resonating message, if you haven’t, the what we did was who we actually talking to, what are the radio on the vibe from you?

And the third part of that is, well, what is your competition thing wrong? So that’s becomes more then plug the gaps. That secret you extract in your resume the message, that’s how you optimize your marketing. That’s a very, very powerful technique that I learned. And that’s only when you get to that point, can you start to scale marketing. And this, I think, is probably one of the most important pieces on the call today. What most people do in business. They start off with a website. I mean, just about every client I have.

First thing I do is like a corporate website. And I say but what about step one? Step two, and step three, like we’re talking about? What is your message? What they spent $10,000 on Facebook ads, and they got a digital marketing agency, and they got an SEO company do all the stuff. And I’m saying what are the marketing niches? If you can’t tell me on this call? What is your resonating message? So why are you standing up? First of all, what niche are you in? Right? And why our customers come to you not competition? If you can on that?

How are you spending all this money? What are you actually marketing? Just noise and confusion? You’re hoping? Many do that? Well, if we market our customers, we’ll work out why we are different I can buy from us, which is ludicrous. Right? Yeah. And that’s what happens. And so that’s one step pause. happens then not before? Yeah,

Who Are You Marketing To?

Roy Barker  27:06

you know, the other part of that, using computers as a good example that when you What do you? When we think about that, what are we going to mark, if we don’t know, our nice, what are we going to market because if we’re marketing to all computer users, that’s a lot of inventory, it’s a lot of different configurations, it’s a lot of, you know, screens, it’s a lot of inventory. And so knowing that, you know, we pick one out, maybe, you know, it’s the family, like you said, this typical setup is what works for most families versus, you know, the gamers or the business people.

So it helps us to, you know, kind of on that back end as well to, to have the product that they’re gonna want not, you know, somebody calls you, again, recalls you out of the blue. And that’s just not the target. It’s easy to say you’re not, you know, you’re not in our customer base. But this these people are,

Luke  28:03

right, this is what our church is optimizing, like optimizing your business engine, so that you’re not wasting time doing all these wrong things, you you process that I’m explaining the steps as what I call the fastest route to passion, just go with the cash flowing, your objective of businesses to be profitable, give yourself time and money in a lifetime, your choice not chasing datings and killing yourself, all the wrong bits and pieces. And this is where the optimization strategies come and missteps. which then leads us to point five.

And this is not optimizing your efficiency. So you’ve got all the stuff going, you worked out what you sell, and you’re selling to your marketing is kicked in your neck, your message, well, then you need to start optimizing your efficiencies, your workflow processes, because obviously, this steps you out of the engine annoys you forever in that engine. And, again, this was a great lesson, I learned that the real money is not in your products and services. It’s in your ability to leverage your time, energy and resource to selling your products and services. And one of the best ways to do this is through adventuring, tapping into others, already got everything out.

They just happen to learn to joint venture with other businesses so that you don’t have to reinvent the process. They want all the infrastructure, their customers, they’ve got everything going on. And so one of the ways is through joint venturing, but great joint ventures, you actually have to have time to set up a joint venture and do a proper job. And the more efficient you’re inefficient you are in the business, the less time you have. The reason why it’s because you’re so busy chasing your tail. You are doing all the work, not your business, right.

So there’s four ways to become more efficient in your business, the first one is stop trading time for money. The second one is create an unlimited earning structure. Third one is systemize your business. And the fourth one, which I mentioned is use joint ventures, to grow your business independently of you. When you do this, this is like the foundation, this is the formula, right? It creates a business engine that does the work for you, your business starts to grow independently of you. This is how your business, creates value in that.

And this is how you create a valuable asset to set you up for life. When you build a business this way. Which is how I build my second business and all my subsequent businesses, you work for less hours, you under way less stress. And of course, you can build an asset that you can cash out on which I’ve done a few times. I mean, the success in this was the biggest lesson I learned all the assets that you can sell. Don’t just keep working on that post every day to profits.


Roy Barker  31:18 Do you want more in your business

Yeah, yeah, it’s tough. You know, if you, if you don’t systemize like you said, if you end up having to touch everything that goes out the front door, you become limited by their 24 hours in every day. And so, you know, setting that system up to where we can really make it happen without us having to touch every unit or be a part of every service.

That’s how we really grow exponentially. And you know, you brought up something else will earlier about, you know, what would the business be worth but it’s the same thing, if if this business is dependent upon you touching everything, typically, your business, if you want to go sell, it will be valued much less. Because if you remove yourself from the business, and this other person that’s buying it, they’re typically not wanting to buy a job, they want to buy a business.

Luke  32:08

Absolutely. Absolutely. You have to demonstrate that they are buying something that runs because if they put themselves in trying to figure out everything you’re doing, that’s not very attractive for me. Right, right. And so you got to demonstrate this is like a machine that they just turn the key and indicate and put the lights on. That’s what they’re looking for. Right, exactly. And so the next piece is, okay, so you’ve got your flow processes your systems, the next thing is you want to optimize your team. And what most people do is they do this the other way around, they get a team, and then they try to systemize the business?

Because I don’t know that’s what they do. And I guess it’s a natural part of business evolution, how ever a problem is if you have staff and no system, what are you doing? Just creating more headaches yourself, because staff don’t really know what they’re supposed to be doing many of them trying. But there’s there’s gray areas, there’s all sorts of things they’ve dropped, the boss may drop the stock man and staff leave because they get frustrated renting the proper leadership. And that’s because just inefficiency says business has not been occupied, it’s not ready yet to actually take on staff.

So the staff are there to help the boss but what they actually do is drag the boss nuts, and try and drain more of the time, put stress on the complete opposite of why you employed someone in the first place. And so step six is optimize your team. And your chains only as strong as your weakest link. Now, it’s very common for business owners and managers to blame stuff shut and scream carry on when things go wrong. But often, you know, screaming and shouting and carrying on doesn’t really fix the situation.

Right. and managing, motivating, getting staff to operate at peak performance. That’s a challenge. I think any business owner would realize that and acknowledge that. And it’s no good promising the world your customers are good your if your staff keep letting you down. You know, one of the reasons they’re letting you down as well, because you probably don’t have systems in place for them to execute.

The busier you get, the more messy things become. And so you know, this happens every every day. Usually staff staff are the biggest overhead and managing staff are the biggest stress points for our business owners and managers. I think everyone agrees that’s not us. So how do you go about optimizing your staff? Well, I had 65 staff my first business and systems and they were very foreign territory for me stick and understand the stress and pails I went through. But through that I did learn a lot of things. And there’s actually eight points but the time is short. I’m going to give you three Three ways of how do you go about optimizing my team and the first one is ensure your staff understand how they contribute to the bigger picture.

So when our employee employee is engaged and made to feel that they’re part of something bigger than themselves, produces a sense of value and belonging. And listen turn, makes him perform better and produce more favorable, favorable results compared to employee who’s just given a task and a manager looking over the shoulder and shouting and screaming. Second one is structure first staff second.

Think you want to paint your business to fit a stock was 10. From tempers, demands personality, or, you know what they’re good at or what they are not good at, which most businesses do this, and they create a structure to fit this in. Now, that’s, that’s a recipe for disaster. What happens when a staff member leaves or you suddenly have a huge crack in your, in your business structure. So every position should have a set of responsibilities to optimize the performance of their position. And then what you do is you then go and find the right store staff member to fill these positions that optimize your business, not any staff member.

The right staff member. And the third one is don’t be held ransom. So many business owners are held to ransom by staff members, they live in fear that the staff members will leave. And then what are they going to do? And so they pander to staff, the morons to the detriment of, of the business. Or if you are clear on the positions and make your company work that needs to function, and inside each of those positions, you crystal clear on the responsibilities that make their position optimal?

Well, then you you caught comfortable to go out and find the right people to fit your profile your tasks not depend on someone jumping and screaming and only ransom. And so after the specific action, I just did it three for the time. And then so did you want to say yes, I

Don’t Fail Your Staff

Roy Barker  37:26 Do you want more in your business

was gonna say, it’s very important because before you got into that, I was gonna say, you know, we need to step back to that last step to the systems that we create, because a lot of businesses that I work with, it’s the business or the management has failed the staff, not the staff failing the business. I think that we get that wrong, because we’ve done one of two things, we haven’t hired the right person to put in that seat.

That’s number one. And then number two is like. I think you said in your, in the first step of that is that we don’t tell them how they are an integral part of this business, what they do. And it can be as simple as a receptionist that you’re the first person that people talk to, and the first person that people see when they walk in, you were one of the most important people in this business, because if they come in and you’re sour, you’re out the door.

So, you know, but just working with people like that, like you get a bad phone call and it makes you upset, walk away, get somebody to cover your desk for 15 minutes, clear your head, don’t sit there and talk to that next customer with the you know, the hangover of being upset. customer. So, anyway, I feel like that a lot of times that, you know, we look at staff and that person is not a good, they didn’t do a good job. And I just think we set them up for failure a lot of times

Luke  38:58

100% agree, right? Yeah. Okay, so the final step of building your business engine is optimize your wealth. And, as I said, as I mentioned earlier, when I first started in business, I didn’t even understand what this meant this concept of building a business to create wealth. It was just what are you? What do you own it, it just didn’t exist. And, like I said, the mistake that Gary now made me first time around which most businesses I work with are doing the same thing.

They would just fold throw to the wall. And they’re trying to make as much profit as possible because they think this is the way that they’re going to build lifestyle of their choice. They’re going to get financial freedom, whatever. But this is, this is like I said, the first step is like changing your mindset, optimizing your mindset. There’s two ways you build a business. And the first the first mistake most most business owners did like I didn’t know First business was working to make profits today by creating wealth for your future.

So what cost you do everyday in your business? Is it hit through dying by the bolts, or you working to set yourselves up for the future. And that’s the concept. It’s, it’s a mindset. It’s two different strategies of how you build your business. And it goes back to the point when I first started, this is the difference between being self employed and being a business owner.

I see business owners, they exchange time for money, this sort nothing to do with how fancy your turnover is, or how many staff you’ve got, or you know, you’ve been in business 30 years, it actually doesn’t matter. It’s the structure of your business, and how you go about building your business every single day, that is ultimately going to determine whether your business achieves what you set out in the first place.

We also had a build business to give us a lifestyle about choice, freedom at some time freedom, money freedom, lifestyle, less stress, whatever. What the truth is, I think it’s like 96% of businesses go about building the business the wrong way. Like I did. And you ultimately pay the price, burnout or your dreams disappear. And it just becomes just become inside this engine. It just kills you.

Handle Your Business

Roy Barker  41:27 Do you want more in your business

Yeah. And it you know, one thing a lot of people don’t think about is, their, there are businesses that go out of business, because they don’t have business. But there’s a lot of businesses that get hurt, because they actually have too much success. And they haven’t walked through these optimal optimization steps, they don’t have structures, they don’t have systems in place, and then you know, they kind of just get drowned in their own success.

And, to me, that’s the very worst thing to see. Because even if we have a little side hustle that we’re starting, if you want to grow it, you really have to think about this stuff from the very beginning from day one, because you can get too far down the road. And then it’s not that you can’t do it, but it’s much more difficult to stop a move and train to move it over to another set of tracks.

Luke  42:23

Like that. Yeah, that’s, that’s correct. That’s a good. Yeah. So the final final piece I have for you, Roy, is just to reflect your three stages of building your business that, you know, I can bring to business owners attention, or people building the business. And the first one is, you know, building your business engine, the first thing is the doing, you can’t get rid of the doing in the first stage. And that doing is you’ve got to prove your concept.

So you can’t scale something or, you know, become independent, but if it’s not proven, you got to prove a concept, it’s got to work, it’s got to get results for your customers, whatever that means. it’s got to be profitable, that’s the first piece then what you do is you move to the managing stage. That’s of course, putting your your flow processes in your systems. And then your staff putting in management, you know, structure KPIs, budgets, targets, etc, that’s managing it.

Then the final stage is, of course, that engine is now running, you step back, and your business is producing independent of you. That’s your investment, that you keep nurturing and looking after, for for your future. Yeah.

Roy Barker  43:39 Do you want more in your business

Yeah, so important, because that’s the one reason what we most of us want to step out here is to give ourself a better life, you know, at some point in the future. So it actually takes care to set ourselves up to be able to do that to achieve that goal. Alright, Luke, any other words of wisdom you want to leave us with? Before we wrap up?

Luke  44:01

I just want to thank you. It’s been a pleasure. Hopefully, you found it useful.


Roy Barker  44:07 Do you want more in your business

Yeah, yeah. I mean, these are great seven steps to optimization that, you know, we all need to keep in mind. And then I think, you know, you stress to that the order, there’s a certain order that we need to work these down in order to make to make it make sense for our business. So before we wrap up a couple things, one, first question is, what is a tool or a habit, something that you use in your daily life, either professional or personal, that you feel like adds a lot of value?

Luke  44:43

One of the things I found when I was like, again, the biggest lesson was my first business, I had little peace of mind. So sort of an oxymoron. You’re desperately trying to work. Give yourself, freedom and call that freedom is peace. Mind free of worry and stress. And it in my first person said for a large portion of my life, because I’m a business owner, I was always stressed, stressed dismissed, as you know, this is this never ending stress.

And one of the ways I found to manage that was, I take time in the morning, I live near the beach here in Australia. I take time out in the morning, but 20 minutes each morning, I get up early, and I just go down there and just spend quiet time just reflecting on life and things and things that worry me and try to this late post going. And, you know, this is I guess, being my saving grace, because when I’m, if I don’t do that, what happens all the stress builds up, builds up, and eventually you start freaking out, you get sick, you get run down.

And your brain becomes like a washing machine is not healthy, don’t make good decisions. You’re not good to your family, your friends, and you have to learn to manage the stuff. Because there’s no one business is not stressed. I mean, anyone who tells you that’s mad. How do you manage the stuff and I found it’s a discipline. So whatever brings you joy, like walk with the dog in the morning, or the evening, I found morning is better.

Set yourself up for the day. But some people might want to diffuse at the end of the day, maybe you can do both. You got to have that precious time that diffusion or setting your priorities. That’s what I found is against my sanity over the years as being a business owner, because, you know, it’s never easy.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  46:40 Do you want more in your business

Yeah, it’s, it’s, it does wonders, to start your day out right with the little you know, for us, we just take a little walk around the area where we live, and then hopefully in the evening, you know, we can do that just to kind of clear our head and be done with today. We can move on to you know, having family time and then also to restful sleep. So I think it’s very important, different for everybody. So you know, I just always say, try to find your happy place, wherever that is.

Sometimes it’s just setting and being with yourself. But that’s kind of another part of that is we need to be comfortable with ourselves, too. So we can actually do that. Yeah, that’s great. All right, Luke. Well, again, thank you so much. So tell everybody, you know, what kind of businesses do you like to work with? How you can help them? You know, where can they come to, you get to get more information and training on the seven steps to optimization.

Luke  47:38

So I typically work with business owners who pretty much found themselves trapped in an engine, like how do they they exchanging time for money, they need to learn how to leverage? And how do they How do they unstrap themselves and give them you know, freedom, freedom, free of worries, they want more time? And how did they get the business working for them?

How do they put the infrastructure in place that this thing is becomes a valuable asset, that they can cash out one day or give to the kids or whatever. So that is, anyone is in that frame of mind, who has, you know, been struggling once once that outcome, that’s what I’m very structured, we put you through the seven steps. And I’ve been doing this for over 12 years, many, many businesses all around the world have got incredible results. That is, you obviously have to do the work. And so there’s two ways, you can either just go to my website ideasintobusiness.com.

And contact me on the contact page. Or if you want some free training, or a full 90 minute masterclass of what we’ve taught today with the downloadable blueprint of the seven steps. Just go to ideasintobusiness.com/free training. And it’s all free. There’s no catches. And you can check it out and see if you like it.

Roy Barker  49:13 Do you want more in your business

Okay, great. And we’ll include all that in the show notes as well as on the web page so people can reach out. Very important to build yourself some structure, take the take the time to do these optimization steps. You can’t go wrong and you won’t be sorry, you know, at the end when you do have some freedom. And when it’s you’ve built a sustainable business that can last for years and years.

Luke  49:38

Thank you, Roy. It’s been a real pleasure speaking to you. And hopefully your audience. found it useful. Thank you so much.

Roy Barker  49:45 Do you want more in your business

Yeah, it was very useful. Thank you so much, Luke. We appreciate it again for your time. that’s gonna do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. You can, of course, find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com we’re on all the major your podcast platforms iTunes, Stitcher, Google Spotify for not a one that you listen to please reach out I’d be glad to get it added so you can listen easier.

Also, we’re on all the major podcasts excuse me, all the major social media networks usually hang out on Instagram a little bit more than other places. So reach out, we’d be glad to interact with you over there. Also, you can find a video of this interview live on our YouTube channel when the episode goes live as well. So until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

Ideas Into Business Website

 Ideas Into Business Training  (this will be set live for the podcast)

Free 90 min Master Class and downloadable blueprint of the 7 steps covered.

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Business Podcast

Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect With Your Audience

Business Podcast

Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect with Your Audience Featuring Ashleigh Chanel

Authenticity is a great way to connect with your audience. There’s an old saying, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”. How true is that saying? When we try to be someone we arent it really hinders our connection with others. It can also make us uncomfortable with what we are trying to accomplish. Be yourself, you will resonate with those you need to resonate with!

About Ashleigh

Your friendly, virtual, neighborhood Marketing Genie here to make all of your marketing dreams come true.

I’m Ashleigh Chanel! A world-traveling gadgets addict and Expert Digital Marketer. I am also the CEO of Make Your Mark Digital Marketing Agency.

I’m passionate about helping women business owners to market profitably through innovation, creativity, action, and implementing strategic digital media strategies that transform their business.

Through my over a decade journey, I have consistently added monthly 5 and 6 figure revenue to my client’s top-line — product, service, and local businesses alike. This is all done through organic and paid advertising. This positions my clients as authorities in their industries, gain the trust of their ideal audiences, and builds highly profitable business.


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Instagram – @ashleighchanel

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Business Podcast

Full Transcript Below

Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect with Your Audience Featuring Ashleigh Chanel

Estimated reading time: 37 minutes

Thu, 8/5 12:13PM • 43:37


marketing, clients, people, business, messaging, audience, hire, Ashleigh, pay, buy, reach, ad, important, vanity metrics, influencer, run, bit, knowing, speak, stepped, Authenticity is a great way to connect, connect with you audience


Ashleigh, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:03

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. Of course, we’re the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests. That can speak to a diverse set of topics. Hopefully, we can shine the light on some things that you may not have thought about. Or at the very least. If you have something that’s keeping you up at night, we can provide you some information and some professionals to help you out.

Our main goal is that, you know, we want to see everybody successful. And today we’re excited to have Ashleigh Chanel. She is your friendly virtual neighborhood marketing Genie, here to make all of your marketing dreams come true. She’s a world traveling gadgets addict, addict and expert digital marketer. She is also the CEO of Make Your Mark digital marketing agency.

She is passionate about helping women business owners to market profitable through innovation, creativity, action, and implementing strategic digital media strategies that transforms their businesses. Through her over a decade journey. She has consistently added monthly five and six figure revenue to her clients top line. Product service and local businesses alike. This is all done through organic and paid advertising this. She positions her clients, as authorities in their industries. Gains the trust of their ideal audiences and builds highly profitable businesses. Ashleigh, welcome to the show. Thank you so much.

Ashleigh  01:32

Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.

Roy Barker  01:34

Oh, great. Great. Yeah, we’re excited to talk to you about, you know, getting into marketing and the authenticity aspect. But before we get there. Tell us a little bit about your journey. Is marketing something that you you know, you just have always wanted to do you’re always in that? Or is it kind of been one of those long and twisted roads getting here?

More About Ashleigh

Ashleigh  01:55

No, it has not been a long interested road, it has been a straight shot. My mom was an HR all my life. And she gave me those assessments, you know. Those like career assessments, and I took one and we kind of figured because I actually use my brain equally like the left side and the right side. So I’m creative, and I’m analytic. We figured that, you know. Marketing would be a great opportunity for me and I went and my undergrad was in entrepreneurship and marketing. And then my MBA, I got my MBA in Italy. That was a double concentration in global marketing, global finance. So it was a straight shot.

Roy Barker  02:38

Wow. And got to study in Italy, too. I did. Wow, I’m jealous, I’m jealous. Well, you know, we had a pre show conversation. And, you know, we want to talk a little bit about authenticity. And you know, you were saying that you’ve really seen a lot of changes from to, you know. Around 2018 2019 coming into today. Can you tell us a little bit about, you know, what you’re seeing?

Ashleigh  03:02

Yeah, I think because of COVID. Because of the pandemic, because of the shutdown, everyone kind of lost connection from, you know, family, friends, and sometimes within themselves. But what I’ve noticed was that people were craving connection. They were craving authenticity. I even asked my audience one of the questions. I sent them a survey and I was like. What is something one of the questions was, what is something that you cannot stand when it comes to marketing and marketers?

And they said, once I like they all say that, you know. This can happen overnight, or it’s one size fits all marketing. And I hate that because they know it’s not true, you know, our buyers, our customers, our humans, they are not dumb. So if you’re going to sell to them, sell to them in a way that makes sense to themselves, to them in a way that connects with them. Because what what was going on in 2012, 2016, 2018-19 is not gonna fly now. Because they’re just over it. So.

Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

Roy Barker  04:11

Yeah, and, you know, there’s an old saying that, you know, you have to be yourself because everybody else has taken and so yeah, I think that we, you know, we miss that we look at there’s so much stuff coming at us all the time. We, you know, we think, oh, look at this guy, what’s he doing? And, you know, should I do that, and sometimes we just have to, basically, you know, we had to run our own race standard rule and do our own thing.

And, you know, kind of back to what you said to about one size fits all is that that’s one thing I kind of warn prospective buyers about is if somebody comes to you and says, I got you know, this plan is work for everybody. It’ll work for you. Typically a huge red flag because they don’t know who you are. They don’t know what your product, your service. You know, we have to have somebody that takes a lot of money. interest in that,

Ashleigh  05:00

yeah, it’s such a red flag. I it, you know, what’s so important to me is integrity. And one of the things that I tell my clients is that I’m never going to do a rinse and repeat for you I’m, I’m always going to analyze, what are your clients saying? What do your clients want, because my job is to help your clients connect with you, right. And to do one size fits all to do the same strategy I did for one of my clients doesn’t make sense for another one. Even if you’re in the same industry, even if you have the same business model, your audience is different, your messaging is different. And you’re like yourself, you’re the personality of your business is different. So using the same strategy across the board does not make sense,

Roy Barker  05:45

right. And let’s talk a little bit about marketing as a long-term strategy versus short-term and just that, you know, it’s a marathon. And you have to, and I think it’s interesting, you say, you know, we don’t do the same things for you know, each and every client. But also, as you get started down this path, you may need to tweak what you’re, you can’t just say, in January, this is our plan, and this is what we’re doing, but never really review what the results are that are coming from that.

Ashleigh  06:16

Absolutely data driven. Marketing is extremely important. Understanding what your clients are saying and, and what their actions are, is, is extremely important. I think it’s when when you are looking at what your audience wants, and what they’re saying to you, you can absolutely tweak in marketing, like you said, it’s a marathon, it is not a sprint, and what the marketing community, the online marketing community especially has done, they have done a disservice to, to business owners everywhere, in my opinion, because they made it seem like this one thing can help you move forward, or this one hack is going to transform your business.

But you have to look at what the data is saying if like for as just like for apps specifically, if someone if you have ads running and somebody is clicking, but they’re not buying, there could be a disconnect between your messaging from what you said in the ad versus what they see on the landing page, they could, your load speed for your page could be really slow, and they’re clicking out of it. Because who has time to wait, you know, point 03 seconds to load in a hurry, I gotta go. Exactly. So looking at the data and making decisions based on what is my data telling me.

So if people aren’t clicking on your ad, it could be your targeting, which means you may need to figure out some new targeting. Or it could be your messaging, you may not even be connecting with the with even the right audience. So these are things you have to look at and tweak. Don’t tweak them all the same time. Because then you’ll never know what what worked. But you really have to pay attention to what the data is

Test Your Entire Path

Roy Barker  08:00

telling you. Yeah, and you make a good point about the the disconnect between the click throughs. And what happens maybe once you get to your website, and it’s It sounds very simplistic, but it’s a step that is often overlooked is to test your path through there. Because there’s nothing more off putting as a consumer than to you know, either be signing up for an email or trying to sign up for a product or whatever. And maybe the send button, it’s not there. It does it.

Ashleigh  08:33

Yeah, because the page wasn’t optimized properly. And it’s like underneath this scroll, but you can’t scroll and click at the same time that has happened to me that

Roy Barker  08:42

you’re reading my mind. Yeah, and it’s just and then that sets a bad tone for that person or that that company, it’s like, because I look at things this way is that if you’re not really interested in getting my business or getting my money, how interested are you going to be in me, you know, for that follow up. And I think it’s so important that we really have to give our prospects are those that are in that between being a prospect and a client, we really have to give them a lot of attention to show them that we are interested, you are a value to us.

Ashleigh  09:14


Roy Barker  09:16

Yeah. And we can talk we were, you know, talking a little bit about authenticity. And it’s interesting, because I hear a lot of times like, Oh, this guy’s got, you know, million followers or whatever, and I don’t but there’s a lot that goes into that. Number one, we don’t know how long they’ve been out there. But the other thing, I guess I saw this one thing, it’s like, you know, they show when called train wrecks or people have in, you know, confrontations and things like that. And, you know, unfortunately, people like to click on train wrecks and see what’s gonna happen. But that doesn’t translate to my business. I mean, I could go out and do a train wreck video of my own, but it’s not going to it will probably not attract People who are going to do business with me, right?

Ashleigh  10:03

Or maybe not even the people you want to do business with?

Roy Barker  10:08

Yeah. And so I think that gets back to, you know, running our own race. What is good for us? And that’s take that next step back is that this is why when you have somebody come in to help you with your marketing, they have got to ask these questions like, Who are you? What do you want to try to attract here? Are we just attracting views? Is that our main thing? Because if it is different than trying to attract for a high price service, maybe,

Ashleigh  10:34

right, I know that there’s a lot of a lot of disconnect. I think the the internet kind of makes you feel bad about yourself or your business sometimes. And people think because like, initially, a lot of people and I’ve done it before, when I first got started, you start doing what the gurus are doing. You don’t pave your own way. And I realized that people started hiring me because they liked me. I was like, oh, okay, well, then let me show my personality a little bit more.

And like, really enjoy what I’m doing. Because initially, I just wanted my work to speak for itself. But to be honest, your work can’t speak unless you do. So I needed to get out there. And I needed to show people who I was, what my values were, what mattered to me. And also letting them know what kind of clients I work with, and who likes to work with me.

Because once I started being authentic, I started loving my clients, because initially, I was working with people who they were the reasons why I have certain things in my contracts now. So just knowing you know, what you want, what you want out of life, what you want out of your business, is going to I feel like catapult you into a direction that you’re actually going to love and into a business that puts life into you instead of sucks the life out of you. Yeah,

People Buy People

Roy Barker  12:04

yeah, definitely. And you make a great point about, you know, your work speaking for itself, but people wanted to work with you, because I really liked you. And that’s so important. When we think do pictures and do videos, write our stories, that we have to be authentic and tell our true story. Because people tend to buy from people that they like, or people that they maybe see a little bit of themself in. And so when we’re trying to be somebody, we’re not like you said, we will attract people that we really don’t want to be doing business with.

Ashleigh  12:40

Right, I had, I was so scared to tell my story initially, because I didn’t have a rags to riches story. Like, I grew up in a great neighborhood, I had a great job. You know what I mean? And I didn’t have like, I haven’t been homeless, you know, so I was like, well, who’s gonna buy from me because I haven’t, like, pulled myself up from the bootstraps or from the mud. And I was really self-conscious about.

But when I realized that I have another story from corporate that was that, that I know, so many people can relate to, and that I really have a vision and a grand goals for myself that I know that people can relate to. And my goal is to help get them to their goals. So when I figured out that my story matters, that’s when a lot of like, I was just able to show fully.

Roy Barker  13:36

Yeah, yeah. And I think you’re right, that sometimes even that’s overdone, and because we really don’t know if those other stories are true or not. But you know, it’s like, I’m the same way I came from a great family, you know, had a great childhood growing up. But, you know, it’s taught me lessons, just like, you know, everybody’s story has taught them lessons, how to relate to people. And, you know, the other thing is listening, is you mentioned that earlier, but we really have to listen to our client, you know.

Not only who are they, But who are they trying to reach and, you know, setting down I guess, and trying to figure out that the avatar, you know, who is that person that you’re trying to reach out to with your product or service. Important for a lot of reasons, the messaging, if you’re trying to reach somebody of my age versus you know, a 20 something gonna be a lot. The stimulus will be a lot different. The verbiage will be different. But you know, we have to really know, you know, where is this messaging going?

Ashleigh  14:38

Absolutely. I think the buyer persona or customer avatar, they’re the same thing is the foundation and that’s something else that I realized that the online marketing space has done everyone a disservice in and they don’t teach marketing, which was crazy to me when I finally You know, realized, like, got over being starstruck and and saying, Oh my goodness, they’re doing this, they’re doing that when I really took a step back and was like Ashleigh, you know you like in our in the marketing, or in my entrepreneurship program, it was the number one entrepreneurship program in the country.

We had, you know, business owners and millionaires coming in every Tuesday doing lunch and learns, telling us talking to us about things and showing us their business and how things work. And I was like, Ashleigh, you know, what you’re doing. And all of this stuff was not rooted in marketing. It was rooted in hats. And it was rooted in. I don’t know, some, some of it was fear mongering some of it was, you know, do this, because it worked for me. And I’m like, that’s not how you run a business, you have to have a foundation that’s rooted in marketing.

And the number one thing is knowing your audience, knowing what not only what age they are, what their sexual orientation is, what their marital status is, like those, okay? But sometimes those only matter if they matter. But what really matters is what makes them buy, what is it? What do they value when it comes to buying your product or service, what is it that’s going to actually excite them?

What are they freaking out about, what is wearing them day and night? And what do they what goals do they want to achieve? What do they want their life to look like, after they hire you or purchase your product or service, you know what I mean? So that is so important. And once you know that you’ll never run out of content, you always know how to talk to your audience. And you’ll always know how to reach them and where they are.

Authenticity Shown Consistantly

Roy Barker  16:48

Right? Yeah, and talking about that a guy told me a long time ago, if the influencer to make the purchase may not be the same person that’s taking the money out of their wallet. That’s another thing to think about. And this, this guy did a, he had Taekwondo studio for kids. And so you know, what he, after advertising to the adults, because they’re like now that the, you know, the kids will never do it. Not much traction. But when he shifted to, you know, running videos of kids breaking boards, and all the cool stuff that they were doing, he says, it took some time, but the kids just wore the parents down, like, I want to do this, I want to do this. And that’s really when they picked up some traction.

Ashleigh  17:37

Yeah, that’s so important, knowing who the influencers are, as well. And also, knowing when to when to speak to them. So I mean, I think that’s awesome. I mean, good job for him. Because a lot of people don’t realize that sometimes, you know, especially like, you know, what’s interesting going into this new era of having partnerships in your relationships, and listening to children and allowing them their opinions to matter.

This is something that was not the case, in my mom’s generation, she raised me and sometimes not even in mind, but she raised me in a way that she asked for my opinion, and my opinion actually mattered. I know that I have a lot of friends who did not grow up like that. And I know a lot of people who did not grow up like that. But we’re, we’re in a new era, and you have to pay attention to that there are, you know, Generation Z, they are challenging their parents and their parents thinking, right.

So when you are learning to market, that one of the things about being a marketer is that you can’t be judgmental, you have to take what’s that? So right now, we know that generation Z’s are challenging their parents, how can how does that affect your marketing? How does that affect them showing up? And are they the influencer? Or are they the one who can actually you know purchase?

Generational Differences

Roy Barker  19:03

Right? Yeah, definitely. And that’s something else, you know, there used to be some good, good information on the different generations kind of what they were about what they wanted. And it’s, it’s an interesting background to really think about that not only for the communication part, but also for the, you know, what do they need out of this?

Because there’s some times when, you know, we can talk about employment that, you know, the younger generation now, they want the, the company to be more philanthropic, philanthropic, thing, you know, like environmental issues, or maybe they want some time off, once, you know, every month, a few hours a month to go work toward a charity or something that they really believe in.

So, again, it really affects our messaging. Another thing I think is important is that whether you bring this in house or whether you hire somebody From the outside, like yourself, the business owner still really needs to be involved, there has to be communication back and forth for a lot of different reasons. But it’s not just like, Oh, I finally got somebody do marketing. Now I can just not even think about that anymore. There still has to be. And I’ll let you talk about, you know, kind of what do you need from your client to actually help them be successful?

Ashleigh  20:25

Yes, I’m so happy you said that. Because I cannot work with people who do not want to be involved in their own business, I can’t, I can’t work with them. Because they think that, Okay, I’m going to toss it over to them. And I don’t have to do anything, which maybe if you’re an enterprise, that is true, but when you are a smaller business, or even a medium sized business, you still need to be involved.

Because you know, your client better than anyone. I mean, I do some in depth research, okay, I talk to their clients. And I do research on you know, their, their buying patterns and things like that, and go deep into their financials and things like that. But you still know your client, best your salespeople are the ones going out, or your front of house are the ones speaking to your clients. So you still have to be involved in some way to help shape and, and build a path to to the goal that you’re looking to build.

I mean, in those who don’t want to be involved, I don’t think really understand business, or they don’t take their business as seriously as I think that they should. Because when I have stepped out of my business, things do not run the way that or when I’ve stepped out of certain pieces of my marketing, things don’t run the way that they should. Right. And you have to be involved in it has to matter to you.

Lots of Feedback

Roy Barker  21:54

Yeah, because I think there’s there needs to be a lot of feedback. And this is where, you know, what I see a lot of times from, sometimes even the smallest of companies, if they have one person marketing, one person selling, there’s no communication. And so, you know, you start a plan, something is not right, the wrong people are calling me if I never communicate that, how, how can we ever tweak our plan?

You know, that’s part of it is, you know, if I’m, if I used to do a lot of work in the senior living industry, and one example that I use, there is like, if you run marketing campaign, and you get 1000s, of inquiries, that’s awesome. But if they’re all 20, something, people with kids that you know, not your customer, not looking for a parent or grandparent, then it really doesn’t matter. You know, the, to me, the success is that if we can convert all these leads that we generate into actual clients, which takes some, you know, back and forth to, to get that messaging just right,

Ashleigh  22:57

right. And, you know, marketing, no piece of marketing works by itself, you can run ads, but if that’s all you’re doing, ads are only there to generate leads, they are not there to sell for you. And that is a big misconception. You know, your your landing pages cannot work. If nobody sees them. You’re you know, you can’t follow up with people if there’s no one in your pipeline. So all of these things cannot work by themselves.

Marketing is a full and complete system. So you have to know who your audiences what your messaging is one of my clients, we, we honed her messaging. And then after that she started getting more clients because they aligned with the messaging that then the new messaging, right, because before she was speaking a little bit more generally. And when you’re speaking to everyone, you are speaking to no one I’m sure

Be Aware of Vanity Metrics

Roy Barker  23:50 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

your audience has heard that before. But I mean, it’s it’s so true. Right. And we talked a little bit about earlier. Well, we talked pre show about vanity results. And I always like to bring this up because, you know, there’s a huge difference in in, I’ve got 1000 likes versus what what am I getting for business and this kind of translates back to the train wreck stuff is that, you know, I could do outrageous stuff to get views.

But if those people are, you know, now they may be thinking this guy so crazy. I don’t want to do business with you anyways, it’s like, you know, you have to be careful. And, you know, like I’ve said before, is that you can we go to this Mexican restaurant quite a bit. And I always tell like, you know, one time I went in there, and they brought me the bill and I gave them a Facebook page and said, Well, can you just take it off these 1000 likes that I have and you know, they look at you like you’re crazy. So there’s a huge difference between getting some likes versus getting the dollars in the door.

Ashleigh  24:53

Right? I would say always mind the business that pays you and likes don’t Pay likes are vanity metrics. And they may look good because I mean, I have a story where someone didn’t hire me, because I did not have a lot of followers. And he was like, Well, how can you make me money if you don’t have a lot of followers, and I was like, Oh, sweetie, how sad that that’s what you think, is going to make you money instead of me knowing the fundamentals of marketing and getting you in front of your audience. But which is also interesting, people don’t want to pay money to make money.

Yeah, and sometimes, you know, you can start a business with little to no money. But typically, you do have to spend a little bit of money to make money. But when it comes to vanity metrics, I don’t have a lot of followers now, on social media. It’s not a priority for me to build my following, but I absolutely can make money. Because of what I know about my clients. And because I’m positioned properly, and because I have a great front facing offer to get people in to my pipeline. And I know my conversion rates, and I know all of these things about my business and my clients business and what they inherently want, which is to be able to do what they want, when they want how they want.

I can speak directly to that. I know not all marketers have clients who want that. Some people say some of my friends clients say the first thing that they say, I want to spend more time with my family. My clients don’t say that. But it’s involved in the doing what they want, when they want how they want. But the first thing that they really just want the truth freedom, that building a business can can give them, right, but there are steps you have to take in order to scale your business to that point.

Marketing and Advertising Are Marathons Not Sprints

Roy Barker  26:42 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

Yeah, and it gets back to the longevity and the marathon that, you know, that’s this is kind of extreme. I know, but I can’t give you $25 and say, Can you just buy me a Facebook ad? And then, you know, we’re done. Right? I mean, it takes a lot of it takes, you know, there, there used to be formulas that said, if you want to increase it by this much, this is what your ad spend should be. But you know, the the I think the reality of this is that it it’s over time, because the first time I see you, and your product or your service.

If I’m not needing it, I’m just moving on, I don’t even pay attention. But now I’ve seen you 10 times A times 30 times. Well, now today, guess what I woke up this morning, and I need what you’re selling. So you’re top of mind, because you’ve been there, right, you know, period. And, again, I think it’s a misconception with the internet. And with our short attention spans, you know, we think we can just throw a couple dollars out run one ad and be like, we’ve done are really in there.

Ashleigh  27:51

It’s so interesting, because now, you know, I know a lot of people know, or have heard that it takes you know, seven times for somebody to buy from you seven to nine, and that’s active selling, right? That is like somebody coming to your house or calling you and you know, having a sales call with you and things like that. But on the internet, it takes upwards of 12 times for someone to even trust you 7-12 touch points.

So meaning them seeing email saying add watching a video, looking at your content, and up to 24 times for somebody to touch points for someone to buy from you. Yeah. So how are you reaching these people? Do you have the content out? And is? Is it the content that makes you money? Because I have people who find me who have never heard of me before and book a call because I have all of my touch points available for them.

Yeah, and I and my content speaks directly to them. So I don’t need 5000 people to like my video, I need five right people to watch my video. And so when you’re talking about vanity metrics, like you said, vanity metrics, they don’t pay bills, your views don’t pay bills, you’re the only time your views and likes may or may pay bills as if you are an influencer, like your job is to partner with brands and give them that brand awareness. But other than that, awareness doesn’t always it doesn’t typically pay the bills for most businesses.

So what you need to do is get in front of the right audience and speak their language speak to their problems or fears or goals or pain points and whatever challenges they have. So that when they like it, they’re actually going to take action on it not, you know, just having 1000 likes and then nobody does anything with it because it’ll

Marketing Strategy

Roy Barker  29:44 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

Right, right. Yeah. And I’m sure like an all inclusive strategy. You tell us what components of that typically look like because, you know, we may have one sector that performs better than others, but we really can’t just ignore different parts of the marketing process, right?

Ashleigh  30:04

So what I say is, I help my clients in a way where I build funnels for them. And a funnel is just a marketing and sales system. That’s all a funnel is because I know the word funnel kind of freaks people out sometimes. But it’s just your sales process. It’s just how you get someone from point A high to point B, why buy, right, so they’re not knowing you and then buying from you. So the components of that are, you need a traffic system, a conversion system and a follow up system. These are the only components that you need.

And within that, within those three components, there are many things. So your traffic system is your social media, which is organic, or you can use paid, which is like Facebook ads, or Google ads or something like that, then within your conversion system, you need a great front facing offer. And what that looks like, is some type of lead magnet, which does not necessarily have to be free. Your lead magnet is what engages them so that you can get some piece of information from them, whether it’s your phone number, or their phone number, their email address, messaging with their messenger, some way to contact them outside of them looking at your your page, right.

So once you have your front facing offer, whether it’s something free or something paid, then you can move them in and figure out what is your ascension model, how are you going to get them from just giving you their you know, phone number or their email address to purchasing whatever it is that you want them to purchase. So that’s where your convergence system comes in and you understanding what they want what they need, as your as your customer or potential customer. And making sure your messaging is on point.

Because like you should always be paying attention to your messaging, always be paying attention to what your clients want. And then the last piece in your follow up system can be retargeting ads, it can be your email, it can be your SMS, text, message marketing, but all of these things only work together, they cannot work by themselves. So if you have their their phone numbers or their email address, and you email them, but you don’t send them anywhere, because you don’t have anywhere to send them, what is the point?

And then they’re on top of mind when they first sign up. But then you go three months, because I have done it before I have gone months without speaking to my audience. It’s kind of like crickets, so then you have to re engage them or go find new people. And that is Oh, my goodness, it’s annoying. And you have to start over. So in order to keep yourself from starting over. You have to stay engaged. And that’s also where automation comes from.

Roy Barker  32:46 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

Yeah, yeah, that’s a that’s a hazard for, you know, US entrepreneurs, solopreneurs people that, you know, we don’t have large staffs is like you market market market, and then you while you’re fulfilling, you know, yes, all your time. So no marketing, and, you know, that’s the best thing that people like yourself can do to help us is to, you know, show us how to level that out where, you know, we can have an enough marketing to fulfill our needs and not get overwhelmed, because what I was gonna say after, you know, you talk in through the system is that this is where, you know, great marketing advice can help you because what, it’s more about that I’m placing an ad or we’re writing a blog, or we’re doing whatever, it’s what is that follow up?

And what does that look like? Because Do I need to have people in place? Do I have to have, you know, is there is an automated follow up, I need to have this already, you know, we can’t wait until they’re like Holy smoke decided to do an awesome, alright, a lot of traction, but we’re not doing anything with them. They’ve fallen through the cracks, because, again, I’ve had that happen. With with more personal follow up where you reach out to want to talk to somebody, nothing. You know, I know, today COVID. I know we’re have some supply chain and staffing shortages.

But you know, discounting that this has happened long before COVID ever came around, you know, people just not getting back with you. And this can be this is something I think that has to be disclosed up front is not all businesses fail, because they don’t have any business. Sometimes businesses can fail because they have too much business. And they’re not handling it in the right way. Or they have too much too many inquiries or too many people wanting to do business. They don’t handle it correct. And then the next thing you know, they’re viral on the internet, about how poor they are, and then it kills their traffic.

Ashleigh  34:45

Absolutely. I think getting your client fulfillment and your customer experience is so important. And again, all of this is marketing because we have all read either on Yelp or Google some awful, and maybe sometimes hilarious reviews. And those things matter. Like the reviews matter the way that you make someone feel about themselves, even though this is business, we are all humans. This is human to human every single time. And when you remember that you are marketing to people who have feelings, who have things going on in their lives who have, you know, children, you know, business struggles, whatever, you. You can relate to them on a more human level and get them to trust you in a way that makes them comfortable and want to buy from you.


Roy Barker  35:43 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

Yeah, I know, we’re running short on time. But one thing just off of what you said, is reviews. And people think that this doesn’t happen. But it just happened the other day, I was looking at a thread, where a lady just said, Look, we had problems with this company. I’m trying to find somebody to reach out to because they won’t return my calls or I can’t talk to him about it. That was it. Simple to say, I’m sorry to hear that. Ma’am. I will reach out, you know, however, let me know.

Oh, no, this business, I don’t know if it was the business, somebody within it how it happened. But this guy came back with this. Oh, you’re the worst customer ever. And you know, I’m sure you know, your husband waited in the car, because I’m sure he knew that you were going to be all crazy when you walked in here. And your something about it took so long to because your credit was terrible. I mean, they will go on. And it was you know, this lady had like three sentences.

And this guy wrote like, you can see that he wrote like this long response that was just terrible. I mean, in my opinion, is if that’s all you have to say, you’re better off being quiet. But absolutely. problems happen in businesses. Not going to say you’re ever going to be 100% error-free, but it’s how we handle it. And I think people look at that. It’s like, if somebody would have just stepped up and say, Hey, sorry, you’re having get in trouble. And I’ll reach out, we’ll work this out. I want to make you happy. That goes a long way to that next guy saying, Well, look, they’re at least trying to work with these people. But now, they just showed what kind of a business they were to a whole lot of people out there. It was crazy.

Ashleigh  37:27

Wow, that’s awful. Yeah. I have seen some like that, too. I also, I, because of my market, I look at how a couple companies do respond. And I love seeing the ones that are so gracious and so nice. Their response even if people aren’t so nice. It’s hard to do. Maybe it’s not you who should leave the response. Maybe you should get your friend to say something nicer, or you know, a different company to go through your reviews and respond. But yeah, that’s terrible. Because

Roy Barker  37:58 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

that, you know, to me, that just backfires. They didn’t make the lady look bad. There’s no way that’s going to happen. They just made themselves look bad. And again, no response to me is better than something a crazy one. And you know, we take like a match flicker and turn it into this huge flaming bonfire that was totally unnecessary. Yeah. Well, I appreciate you taking time out of your day. Before we get away a couple questions. First off, what is a tool or a habit? What is something that you do every day that you feel adds a lot of value can be professional or personal.


Ashleigh  38:37

Um, my most, the thing that I I’ve done is self-development. Knowing myself and being self aware has been one of the things that has tremendously helped me, I took this test. It’s called the Kolbe assessment, K O L B E. It told me that my follow through game was pretty weak. I loved hearing that because it made me realize that, Oh, this is why I look, I’m quickstart I’m quick to start something, but I need someone else to implement. And then I can come back and make it beautiful, make it better.

But that showed me that I needed a team and that there was nothing wrong with me because I was like, why do I start all of these things? And it’s taking so long to finish. Why is that? It’s because I need someone else to intervene and help me do do these things. So I need a team. And so when I figured that out, I was like, oh, okay, well, let me do this. And I know for a lot of people that might be a little difficult because you need cash flow, to hire a team. Right? And so that’s where all of the things that we were talking about earlier, the systems and the automation come in.

But me having a team helped me propel my business forward because otherwise, me me thinking that there’s something wrong with me, was hindering me and it was it was you know, low vibrational energy. And now that I know that I’m like, okay, so I just need to hire somebody to do this or hire Someone should do this or outsource this piece, you know, maybe not a full time member of the team, but someone who can help me do these things, and get me over the hump, so that I can make them as grand and as wonderful as they need to be. So I would say self development.

Roy Barker  40:14 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

That’s awesome. I think you make a good point is that those things aren’t necessarily to point out our flaws. But they are to point out, where we can take action to make those things better. And it doesn’t, you know, everybody has their everybody is good at one thing or another are better at one thing than they are others are finding those pieces to plug in to help us be better across the spectrum. invaluable. For sure.

Ashleigh  40:41

Right. And it helped me hire better. Because if I know that I’m a visionary, I can’t hire another visionary, who has low follow through game, right. So I need somebody who’s great at implementation, to take my vision, do something with it, and then I can come back and make it as as amazing as it needs to be.

Roy Barker  41:01 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

funny you say that, because I depending upon, you know, some of the way the responses or interviews, that’s one thing I have to sometimes make clear is that I’m not looking for somebody to re engineer this. I mean, I know, you know, in the beginning is like, I know what I want and what I need, and I’m trying to hire to that not somebody to come in here and you know, re engineer the whole process where you know, they can be the visionary. So

Ashleigh  41:25

Right, exactly. And that’s also when it comes to hiring. What I want your audience to know is that if someone’s trying to do that, I think that’s a red flag also.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  41:35 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

Exactly, exactly. All right. Well tell everybody who do you like to work with? How can you help them? And of course, how can they reach out and get a hold of you?

Ashleigh  41:44

Okay, I love to work with people who know that marketing is a process who have something that has already worked. So you’re selling a product or service and you know that it works. You just need users looking to scale because you want that true freedom. And you want to be able to do what you want, when you want how you want. That is my absolute goal to help you get there. And you can contact me at theoffice@Make Your Mark consulting.com. And that is a tribute to The Office the show. I wanted to find email address that made me happy.


That’s good. That’s good.

Ashleigh  42:24

And you can find me @AshleighChanel on Instagram, or you can send me an email.

Roy Barker  42:29 Authenticity is a Great Way to Connect

All right. Well, thank you again, so much for your time. It’s been a wonderful conversation, a lot of things to think about a lot of great ideas as well. So y’all reach out to Ashleigh Chanel, let her help you get your marketing going. And that way you can have a little bit more of that free time to do some things that you want to do. that’s gonna do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcast.

Of course, I am your host Roy. You can find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. We are on all the major podcast platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Spotify, and if we’re not a one that you listen to reach out, I’d be glad to get it added. So make your listening easier. Also, we’re on all the major social media platforms, we probably tend to hang out on Instagram a little bit more than others. Reach out be glad to interact with you there. You can also find a video of this interview when it goes live on our YouTube channel. So go check that out in a lot of our other great guests. Until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

Make Your Mark Consulting Website

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Business Podcast

How to Increase Sales and Generate More Income Through Storytelling

Business Podcast

How to Increase Sales and Generate More Income Through Storytelling Featuring Tom Jackobs

How to increase sales and generate more Income through storytelling. Start 2020 off right. Work on your sales process and give storytelling a try. It really helps you connect with your prospect. Storytelling will help put them at ease and increase trust immediately. It’s really amazing the connection you can build. Step up your entrepreneur game in the new year. It will be working the extra effort to learn. We all have a story, why not use it to make more money and increase your success. 

About Tom

Tom Jackobs  – The Impact Pilot

To say Tom has been through a few things in his 30+ years of being an entrepreneur is an understatement. He’s definitely had more failures than successes, but wouldn’t have it any other way. He sold His fitness business which he owned for 9 years a year ago to become the Impact Pilot, helping entrepreneurs generate more income through better sales strategy and using stories to sell.

Tom has a BFA Degree in Theatre from DePaul University in Chicago and holds his private pilot license for single-engine airplanes, which was a lifelong dream he achieved in 2013.

He’s been a contributor to CBS Radio in Houston, a guest on Great Day Houston television show, Univision Television, Fox 26 News, KPRC Channel 2 and The CW Houston. He is also a presenter at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Houston.

Special Gift for your audience or 3 Keys to Doubling Sales:


Tom Jackobs Website

Instagram – @impactpilot

Twitter @tomjackobs

Facebook Tom Jackobs

YouTube www.youtube.com/c/tomjackobsoffical

LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/trainertom/

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Business Podcast

Full Transcript Below

How to Increase Sales and Generate More Income Through Storytelling Featuring Tom Jackobs

Estimated reading time: 41 minutes

Wed, 8/4 7:05PM • 51:55


people, story, sales, presentation, business, salesperson, prospect, Tom, sell, question, struggles, listen, years, buy, audience, talk, empathize, day, absolutely, entrepreneurial journey, how to increase sales, How to Increase Sales and Generate More Income Through Storytelling


Tom, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:04

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. Of course, we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests, I can talk to a diverse set of topics and today is no different. We’re excited to have Tom Jackobs with us today he is the Impact Pilot. To say Tom has been through a few things in his 30 years of being an entrepreneur is an understatement.

He has definitely had more failures and successes but wouldn’t have it any other way. He sold his fitness business, which he owned for nine years to become the Impact Pilot helping entrepreneurs generate more income, through better sales strategy and using stories to sell. Tom, thanks for taking time out of your day to be with us today.

Tom  00:49

Roy, good to be here. Thanks for having me.

Roy Barker  00:52

Yeah, yeah. First off, before we get to too far got I got a lot of questions, a lot of thoughts running through my mind. But tell us a little bit about your journey, you know, kind of how you got here. In through, you know, how did you discover storytelling and what kind of an impact that it can have on our sales? sales process?

Tom  01:16

Yeah no, that’s great question. Good, good lead-in as well. You Know, I started

Roy Barker  01:23

I’m gonna let you tell us a good story that, in fact, oh, yeah.

More About Tom

Tom  01:29

couple good stories. Like, I started my entrepreneurial journey when I was 16 years old. And not not the typical lemonade stand that that most kids and that in dealing drugs. But I was actually a mobile DJ. And I also had a string quartet. So I played violin. And so a couple other my orchestra buddies from high school would rent ourselves out for weddings and things like that, and Christmas parties and stuff in play, and then I would DJ homecomings, Bar Mitzvahs, and, and weddings as well.

And remember, this is just in my head, just how important sales became at that point, but kind of lost that feeling I get sort of the skill set after a while. But I would go through the Sunday paper when there was a paper and look at all the engagement announcements. Okay, I’d write down all of the brides to be a little ladies that got engaged. And then I would look them up in the white pages.

Roy Barker  02:50

Yeah, you’re dating yourself.

Tom  02:54

Get there. This is when phone number address was all public information. And, and then I’d send them a letter with a call to action and a demo tape. That was I didn’t realize I was doing direct response marketing and sales. And this one, this one time this lady calls up and she wants to do a consultation. So I go when I do that kind of what kind of music do you want? Because go through the whole intake process. She was like, Oh, well, What school do you go to?

I was like, Oh, I go to Northmont. And she’s I haven’t heard that college. Like, no, it’s it’s high school. It’s just like, it was after she gave me the check the deposit. It she’s like, you’re at high school is Yeah, my high school. And actually, my mom’s waiting in the car to take me home. So can we wrap this up? Yeah. So that and at that point, and in telling that story. Now, it’s it’s relating to what you kind of everybody’s journey. At some point, you start somewhere, right. And, you know, fast forward 20 years from that moment, I started my fitness business.

And I was in corporate work for 10 years. I always had a side hustle. So I always had that entrepreneurial kind of bug. But finally, you know, the fitness center was my one entrepreneurial journey are that up until that point where I had no safety net. So no day job or in like that, so burned the bridges and went all in. And I thought, you know, in corporate America, I was a mid level manager, you know, making good money, managing millions of dollars of freight. And I thought, like, if I could do that I could certainly run a small business and within six months, I was broke.

Roy Barker  04:59

Oh wow

Tom  05:02

you know, financially, broke, mentally physically, it’s just really took a toll on on my life and I bought an existing facility dumped out my entire 401k after 10 years of working in oil and gas, so you can imagine what that might have looked like. In all the Apple stock I had 19 are in 2006, which, again, shoot me. And it was what six months in and I was looking at my shoes, I remember it was a Sunday, Sunday afternoon, and I was I was looking at my computer screens, and I was looking at my my bank account, and just tears started streaming down my my face and and you hear it, it was I was 40 years old at the time and and I was like, What the heck am I doing?

I was looking at my bank account, and rent and payroll. This was Sunday rent and payroll were due on Friday. And anybody that’s been in business, you know that, you know, employees like to get paid for and landlords love to get paid. As like, am I gonna have to shut down my business. And I had to make the hardest phone call of my life. I had to call dad for money at 40 years old. No. And I don’t know if anybody’s done that before.

But it is an extremely humbling experience. And I’m on the I’m on the phone with dad and you know, love my parents. They’re awesome and very supportive. They’ve never worked for themselves. I mean, my mom’s done some consulting work, but never like had a business. And so he’s trying to help me like, well, so I’m Have you tried Facebook ads? Now I’m just kidding. But is you just kind of trying to help out like Dad, look, I know what I need. It’s $10,000.

And I need it by Friday. Can you wire that? Or like, how’s that work? Yeah. And he’s like, Well, look, I’ll go ahead and loan you the money. And the emphasis there was on loan, right? Because it came with a 12% interest rate. And I had to mortgage my house with him with my father. I like wait a second. I thought you were very entrepreneurial. This is not bad at 12% interest. That’s good. That’s good. I’ll give you six month interest free.

The first six months. And at that moment, I was like, This is definitely the low point of my, my entrepreneurial journey. And, and I was like, okay, so I obviously paid rent, I paid my employees. But it also took some of that money. And I invested in learning. Because at that moment, I realized I didn’t know everything that needed to be done in business. I didn’t I didn’t know sales. Sales was one thing that just like completely went away from me. And I invested in a sales program. It completely transformed my business.

And I was able to pay my dad off in three months. Wow, that’s really true. Yeah, completely turned around, you know, the first year of business. You know, even with the first six months of being a complete disaster, I squeezed out about $100,000 in gross revenue. In the second year, I did just shy of 500,000. I was all because I learned how to sell, but more importantly, how to sell with story. And it’s not just my own story, but stories of clients and things like that. And that’s why, like I got really passionate about, about, you know, selling from store, selling with story, doing presentations on stage to build a business.

It just became kind of that that thing that I did and over the years, it’s just grown and grown and grown. So now I I teach people how to sell from stage how to create those presentations, how to bring in their own personal story. So one it’s kind of info-taining. And, and it’s not just like a chronological story that bores people’s to tears, but rather moves them to tears, oftentimes, so and then relate that personal story back to whatever they’re selling so that they ultimately sell. Yeah.


Roy Barker  09:42

Yeah, cuz a couple things. It sounds like that, you know, I’ve got limited knowledge. So I’ll place these more as questions and statements, but, you know, I think we need to be relatable people tend to buy from people that they like or people that they maybe see themself in a little bit. So if we can take these personal stories, I think that probably goes a lot further than me saying, well, I used to know, Joe, you know, live down the street from me. And here’s Joe’s story. Sometimes I’m sure that’s helpful and appropriate. But when we get the chance to tie our story into it, it probably exponential.

Tom  10:19

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And a lot of lot of people that work with there, and I was this way, as well, as, you know, why would I tell my story, it’s not about me, it’s about my client. So yeah, it is about your client, your client needs to relate to you. And we need to find that story. And it doesn’t have to be a tragedy, you don’t have to be in a car accident in your life to death experience or anything like that. But everybody has a journey, and, and struggles along the way.

And, and also, it doesn’t mean we even need to be struggles, it could be like one of the most joyous occasions of your of your life, you know, I’ve couple stories about moments in my life that were just super, super amazing. And sometimes I dropped those stories in as well as a way of inspiring others.

Roy Barker  11:09

Yeah, because there, there used to be an old theory to that people bought on emotion and justify that with logic. And so absolutely, I guess, you know, again, as a question, part of what we want to do is try to get that emotional hook in, absolutely, to not be relatable, but also to start building a little bit of rapport.

Tom  11:34

Absolutely, that’s it. And that’s not just a theory, that’s the reality. Some people do buy on emotion, and then back it up with with logic,

Roy Barker  11:44

right. So what are some good elements? I mean, I’m a, I’m a non writer, writer. I mean, I love to write, I wish I was better at it. So, you know, what are some good components of, of the storytelling, you know, whether we’re writing whether we’re up on stage, or, you know, sitting down across the desk from somebody in a sales presentation?

Hero’s Journey

Tom  12:07

Yeah. Great, great question. So I use the Hero’s Journey Framework. Okay. So it’s kind of public domain theory. And every good put the emphasis on good I like a good movie is is it goes back to the hero’s journey. And I break it down into just a pretty simple framework. The first thing that you need to do is started off with what I call an impact statement. So it’s just a one or two sentence, intro that hooks the audience. So he’s kind of started off with a bang. When I tell the the fitness center story, I always start with, you’re sitting at my desk on a Sunday afternoon, looking at my computer, and tears started streaming down my face.

Automatically with that. It’s a hook because people are like, That’s odd. what’s what’s going on. Then, and then you can back go back in time, and what led up to that moment, and then how you resolve that moment. And then within that, you have people that help you, and then or people things or thoughts that help you, and then people things or thoughts that hurt you. And create that, and that push and pull that we often go through. That’s really that’s the that’s the structure. And, you know, we go through that. And whether you’re writing or speaking, the story structure is still the same.

Roy Barker  13:46

Yeah, and I think the other thing it, it humanizes us because if I’m, if I’m in the audience, and, you know, we, I think we all do, we, we never want to admit that we’re, we’re struggling or that we failed. You know, we keep that to keep that to a minimum to our, you know, close, close family. I guess this, you know, this kind of opens that up to say, Oh, you know, I empathize with you. I know exactly how you feel because I’ve been there and and vice versa. You’re telling the audience that I can empathize with you. I know exactly. You know, how you may be feeling?

Tom  14:24

Yep, you know, exactly. And it and again, people buy from those that they know, like and trust, right, if they can relate to you. Yeah. And this is what gets me you know, current day, kind of the Instagram influencers. And just people give out their sizzle reel all day long, you know, seven days a week, and nobody see sees kind of that the other real of life and what they’ve gone through to achieve what they have, even if they even have achieved anything.

Some of the some of the. But it’s it’s, you know, the old saying it takes 10 years to be an overnight success, right? We don’t see the struggles a lot of time. And I think it does a disservice to people just starting out in business or in life and wanting to achieve something, if they don’t understand what the struggle is and how to avoid it.

How To Increase Sales Storytelling

Roy Barker  15:23

right. Yeah. And kind of take a sidebar there for a minute about, you know, the internet, social media, it’s awesome. And there’s so much good to it. I don’t be negative Nelly. But I think as a beginning entrepreneur, as somebody that may be struggling, you know, we look on there, and somebody just got the new car, the, you know, they’re standing from this yacht, and like you said, We don’t even know, if they were even within 10 miles of that yacht. It could have been photoshopped and dropped right in there. You know, we don’t, we don’t talk about or we don’t understand. On the flip side of that, it’s like, you know, who’s Tom, he’s all over the place.

Now. I mean, this guy just came on overnight. But he realizes that Tom has been working hard, you know, for 10 years or more, building this and the other good, I think it’s a meme of like an iceberg. You know, where 90% of it is below the surface, all we see is a small, you know, 10% at the top. So I think we have to always have to be careful of comparing ourselves and judging ourselves. And it’s, it’s hard. But I think the, you know, kind of a new mantra is like, stay in your own lane, run your own race, you’ll be much better off by not getting hung up and all of that.

Tom  16:44


Detials to Set The Sceene

Roy Barker  16:47

So when we’re doing a presentation in front of an audience, it could be sales. I mean, sometimes we have a tablet or a computer we get to use as a prop. But more thinking about when we’re on that stage. You know, so many people get so nervous, like, oh, even if it’s their story, it’s still nerve-racking to talk to other people about that. So what are some tips to, you know, number one, make sure we got this thing put together correctly. But number two, just take a deep breath, relax and just tell our story.

Tom  17:24

Yeah. I’ve seen some train wrecks. And I’ve been a train wreck. But yeah, yeah, the first step is in this may seem counterintuitive, but I actually have my clients write out their entire story longhand, or on the computer, but but written word for word. Yeah. So then we can really wordsmith it, to make sure that we’re using the like words that are going to have an impact with the audience and with them. And so we go through the whole whole process, and then find the details. Because that’s where you create the imagery in people’s mind. You know, I could say, you know, I was driving my car, to the gym. And I don’t know what type of cars popped into your head.

Roy Barker  18:20

I guess mine Nissan.

Tom  18:22

Yeah, and everybody’s gonna have a different car in their head. Right? But if you want to bring them into your story, then you need to tell them what car you’re driving. So that it’s like the little things in the detail. Right? So you know, I was, and I had one client that said, You know, I was sitting in my gray, seen better days 1985 BMW in the parking lot. And then goes on with their story. And now you’re there in the parking lot and a gray beat up BMW. Yeah.

So. So we go through and just kind of longhand, write that out and practice it word for word, and just go through it multiple times. Because that’s, that’s where you get the confidence is just doing the rehearsal and going through over and over and over again. And then once once you’re up on stage, and that’s, that’s where I have this thing called the three P prop process. So presentation to performance for more profits. So then the performance part is where do you stand on stage when you’re in front of people? How do you just move intentionally? Because a lot of speakers it’s like, you know, a tennis match, right? They’re just pacing back and forth. And there’s and there’s no reason for them to move on stage. It’s really annoying.

And that actually takes away from from the story itself, or they’re stuck behind a podium reading. And again, that’s that’s a big, no, no, to do. So. But that comes with practice. And that’s, you know, There’s nothing that that will get by with with just winging it. Right? You have to practice you have to have time to practice. And that’s going to take the nerves away as well, you’re going to be pretty confident. That’s your story. So you better not forget it.

Roy Barker  20:15

Yeah, and I think that’s a great point about the details. Because, you know, something a lot of us wouldn’t even think about is like, Hey, I drove my car. But I think that really puts us in that car to where, you know, you can visualize, either you’re in that situation, and like, yeah, I get that, or I’ve been there before. I remember that, you know, my old gray car. It really ties that together.

Tom  20:39

Yeah, yeah. And that’s that, that’s the whole point is to bring the audience into the story with you. There was a study done by a Princeton University professor, where they they did a fMRI, so functional MRI machine, that’s where the magnetic stuff, and they did a brain scan. While on I think it was three people. One was the storyteller, and two are the receivers or the listeners of the story. And while they were telling the story, the same areas of the brain were lighting up in the receivers of the story. As with the teller of the story, interested, there becomes this neuro connection between the teller and the in the receiver of the story. It’s so powerful.

Use of Props

Roy Barker  21:28

Yeah. So what about I hate to say props, but you know, we have PowerPoint, we have the, with the technology today, it’s easier now I was telling somebody the other day, like, I was actually trying to explain to them what an overhead projector was with, you know, with those little clear things you put up there and wrote on. So I said, you know, we’ve come a long way, because there was so much wrong with those. But it’s all we had. Anyway, you know, today, we’ve got so much, so much access to technology, but it can be a deterrent in some if we don’t use it correctly, or we use too much too little.

And there’s also other things and I know this is long, probably the longest question ever. But the other thing is using visuals now, instead of just words, you know, basically what you’re saying, sometimes, you know, we say yeah, I know better. I don’t want to stand at a podium and read this thing. But sometimes what we do is we have it written on the projector behind us. And we’re just reading it look in the other direction. You know, we’ve memorized it, we’re we’re still reading off our slides. So tell us a little bit about you know, how the links, the the props we may want to use and then also, visuals versus text?

Tom  22:44

Yeah, yeah. And that’s the same for webinars, as well as live presentations as well. So webinars, you can get away with a little bit more text. But you know, most people are visual, right? So having a visual representation of what you’re talking about is going to go a lot further than having text. And as much as people love to think that they multitask, people do not multitask. They’re either reading the text on the screen, or they’re listening to you, right, it’s much better to have them listen to you than to have them reading text.

So you want to minimize the text as much as possible. If you can have a not really a teleprompter, but a prompt in front of you like the screen of what’s going on behind you. So a small screen in front that shows what’s on the screen that goes a long way as well. I think they call it confidence projectors that are up in the front of the stage. And that, that way, you’d never have to turn around to see what’s on the slide deck. And that by the way, slide deck, the term slide deck that came from creating all those slides on plastic because it became a deck right onto the overhead.

Back there, right? Yeah. Yeah, but yeah, visual is visual imagery, whether it’s, you know, graphics or pictures, but less is more when when, when you’re doing the telling of the story. And then when you’re doing the teaching as well. You just want to have like really simple bullet points.

Know The Technology Used

Roy Barker  24:35

Know your technology and I’m gonna throw myself under the bus here and say that, you know, this has been like it’s been a few years ago. So it wasn’t yesterday, thank goodness, but I’m good with I was good with, you know, PowerPoint and computer. I knew what was going on. So I was doing some webinars and for some reason, at this point, I was in a place where I had my external monitor hooked up.

What happens if you’ve done this is when you power that PowerPoint up, when you have an external monitor, your slide deck goes to the external monitor, and you’re left with that, you know, the thing that you were talking about kind of your guide on your computer. And so here I am trying to do a webinar. All they’re seeing is this thing that’s on my computer. So I think, yeah, yeah, no.

So basically, it’s like, you know, we even though we are good with stuff, we still need to kind of do a few run throughs make sure everything is set up the same, and then also checking out a room if we’re going to a room, because there’s nothing worse than showing up, you know, 15-30 minutes early, and there’s no, there’s no screen in this room. There’s no projector, there’s no cord. I mean, there’s a million things that can go wrong.

Tom  25:55

Oh, absolutely. I spent three years kind of traveling around the world, doing presentations for a marketing company that sold an educational program. And I had this big Pelican case that had the projector, all the learning materials, everything that we would hand out to the crowd. Generally, we’d have like 20-30 people in the audience. And I flew up to Toronto, and I get good. Yeah, I’m waiting for the bags. And my Pelican case didn’t come off the plane, Oh, my gosh, nor did my suitcase with my suit and all that that would be wearing. I just had what was on my back.

Working with the airline to try like, Where is it? How’s it going to get delivered? Is it going to be delivered by eight o’clock in the morning? So I go there to the hotel, and I’m like, okay, where’s your printer? Where’s your Where’s your business center? I need to print. But I tell you what, that was one of the best presentations that I ever gave without any material without any projector. And I closed more than half the room. Yeah. Because I think they they emphasize empathize with the fact that I didn’t have any, any materials.

Roy Barker  27:25

Well, I can empathize on the luggage, because it wasn’t quite that bad. But, you know, I’ve been, you know, back in the old days, if something went bad, if you’re on a, you know, an overnight or fly in fly out, it was you were just stuck, because seems like the world’s open 24 hours a day now. But you know, you go somewhere and you run a shirt, and it’s just like, you have to kind of walk in with your hand over the spot, or whatever’s wrong.

And it was kind of cool. The very first time when that happened, you know, had a something got on it at dinner one night, I was actually able to go to a 24 hour, you know, Walmart and it wasn’t the best of shirts, but it was at least it was clean, and you know, be able to go out and replace that. But, you know, it things have, things have become much better over the years that, you know, for people that travel and not just being stuck and not having any access to you know, replace or get something like that.

So, yeah, that kind of takes me back to to the being, you know, being embarrassed to have to stand up in front of people with the big, you know, like, a barbecue stain. Yeah, one thing I was saying in like a red sauce with, you know, Italian meatballs, were some big variable down your shirt.

Tom  28:40

Yeah, but I mean, that’s the moral of that is you always want to get in early. I always check the room out, make sure that the AV is working. Like if I’m doing a presentation. And and if I’m not the organizer of the event, I will always go the day before and just kind of check the room out. Kinda. I called mark in the room. So I’ll just like walk around the room and just kind of get the feeling of like, how much do I have to project? You know, what type of AV am I gonna have? It’s a headset, it’s a lav mic and just just kind of play. Right. And you have the time so you’re not rushed? Yeah,

Roy Barker  29:17

yeah. Yeah. And making sure even like a projector, or the screen is big enough. You know, I’ve been in those situations where it’s, you know, they give you a screen or something that’s about as big as your laptop and, you know, the people in the front row can’t even see what you’re doing. So it gives you an opportunity to make some changes to adapt, you know, if you can either find what you need or change your presentation to, you know, fit what you’ve got.

Yeah, exactly. So, a couple things I want to talk about is more. Let’s take more of an intimate setting where either in somebody’s home, giving them a sales presentation, you know, typically the salesman And maybe husband and wife, or even at the office, somebody sitting across from me where it’s a smaller group? How are they? How is that different than, you know, playing to the larger room? What are some?

Tom  30:16

Yeah, I mean, the biggest thing is the dynamics are switch now, in terms of who’s speaking. So when you’re in a sales situation, one on one or one on two sales situation, the prospect needs to be doing the talking, you know, 80% of the time, and you need to be asking questions. So that’s all the salesperson should be doing is asking questions. And then when it comes to the presentation of the solution, that’s when the story can come in.

Yeah, it can be there, you know, your own personal journey through why you started the business in the first place, and why you want to help them, or it could be a success story from somebody that you’ve helped with, so you can pull in a client testimonial as well. And when I was doing the fitness business, I always, always always had like, six different testimonials, you know, their picture and kind of their story. And while I wouldn’t go through every single one of them, but I would pick one of the people that testimonies that I had, that was most like my prospect.

So if I had a 45-year-old woman had two kids, sitting across from me, for the prospect, I would pull up my 40 something woman with kids testimonial, and then tell her story and her journey. And that always just made that connect. They’re like, Oh, if she can do it, I can do it, too. Yeah.

Details – What Too Much

Roy Barker  31:44 How to increase sales Storytelling

Now, one thing I was going to ask you is details. You know, how far do you go? How when is it become too much information? You know, kind of, where is that line that we need to watch? Because, you know, it’s, it’s tough, we need to share some details like, you know, the gray 1985 BMW, but there may be more personal things that, you know, we need to really stay away from.

Tom  32:12

Yeah, well, there doesn’t have to be a line. Right. So it’s all in what you’re trying to get to get across in the story. And what you want the audience to feel, and how that’s going to serve the audience to the best, right? So if you go through, and you’re just making this up, but it go through and talking about, you know, the the three days you spent in jail, and you got that DUI, blah, blah, blah, it has no impact, unless you put some con. Unless you’re an attorney that gets people off from DUIs, then it doesn’t have any impact

Roy Barker  32:53

at all, or your bail bonds. Yeah.

Tom  33:00

I mean, I’ve had clients that that talk about their suicide attempt said, you know, talk about if one one client that was a bodybuilder, are fairly well known in the strength industry. And, you know, she was in saying, I don’t know, if I want to talk about my steroid use. I was like, I think you definitely need to, because, you know, it’s something that I wish she wasn’t doing now, but felt bad about, and wanted to kind of go through that whole transformation. I think I was like, no, that I think, I think we need to, like really lean into that. So it’s a case by case, you know, but but if you’re just doing a shock, for shock sake, then it’s not it doesn’t make any sense.

Roy Barker  33:45 How to increase sales Storytelling

Yeah, I think the relative part is kind of the keyword there. And the only reason I asked because I had a very specific situation I was sitting down. I was the prospect and the lady was, for some reason, she just opened up with her divorce, how bad her husband was to her how it took getting away. I mean, it was this, this bizarre story that did you know, it’s like, I hate hated it for her. But it didn’t have anything to do with the product or the service we were trying to talk about.

So off putting because yeah, I just felt it was like a sympathy play that that was, what she had learned is, you know, let’s get the sympathy vote. And anyway, so I just, I felt bad for after this whole thing. I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I can’t believe he just told me all that because I didn’t he didn’t need to know it didn’t really want to know it and had nothing to do you know, with me trying to get out there as fast as I possibly could.

Tom  34:41

But she was trying to get the commit. You know, like you said, a guilt trip about I need this commission because now. Yeah, yeah. So


Roy Barker  34:53 How to increase sales Storytelling

you know, one thing too, when we’re talking and maybe it works in a big room too, but I’ve been told for it. You know, when we’re in that sale situation that instead of saying, hey, Tom, let me tell you something, because that is kind of a inferior, superior type of relationship. But the key term was, let me share something with you. And it’s such an easy turn of a phrase, but it’s just not something a lot of people think about.

Tom  35:23

Yeah, no, that’s, that’s great. Yeah, yeah, you want to, and that’s where the word smithing comes in, when we’re going through the story and the presentation and in the sales pitch, is because words matter. But what really matters more is how you say stuff versus what you say. Yeah. So that, that that’s more of the emphasis that I go through. But um, there’s some phrases like that, that definitely bring you down a notch. And you definitely want to be in the power position, when in the sales situation, whether on stage or one on one. Yeah.

Don’t Forget To Listen

Roy Barker  36:02 How to increase sales Storytelling

Yeah. And it’s so I think, like you said to, you know, when we’re in that one on one listening, you know, we we want to get our story out, we want to listen, but sometimes we could talk ourselves out of a sale, because I’ve, I’ve listened to kind of monitored, you know, it was a sales presentation, I was just listening to the recording of, but it’s like, Okay, I’ve got this story I’ve memorized or I’ve got this presentation, you know, that contains my story and all this. So we get started, and like, maybe it’s six minutes long, and within a minute or two minutes, the people are like, Oh, man, that sounds good. Okay, well hang on just a second, let me keep telling him.

And in this one instance, there were like, three or four stop signs that the salesperson just I mean, they just kept going through because it’s like, I got 6000 words here. I’ve got to get out. Before you can tell, you know, before you can tell me you’re ready to buy. And these people like, Oh, that sounds great. We want to really, how do we sign up? Well, let me just go ahead and tell you a little bit more, you know, read through this whole thing. Like, okay, they’re gonna say, you know, by the time you get through, they’re gonna say, Okay, forget it. We’ve tried.

Tom  37:15

Yeah, no, that’s your you brought up a really great point. And that’s like, when I’m coaching salespeople, I like I’ll be listening to their calls. And I had a couple that, you know, this. The, the thought process was, I need to ask all of these questions. Yeah. And the prospect was like, I am sounds good. Sounds good. And then oh, well, let me ask you another question. Okay. And that’s, I was like, close the sale, take the money. What are you waiting for, like, all these other questions, they they’re serving you. And they aren’t serving the prospect, you’ve already you’ve already convinced them, or they’ve convinced themselves more likely that your solution is the solution that they want. So sign them up.

Roy Barker  38:01 How to increase sales Storytelling

Yeah. Yeah. Because it’s a it’s a real true danger of talking yourself out of this sale. And people think that’s a joke. But I’ve actually seen it before. I’ve seen it where somebody was ready to sign up. And they just kept on talk until the people were like, Oh, yeah, and no thanks.

Tom  38:17

Well, and I’ve done it myself. It comes down to that, you’re you’re going into, most likely the people are going into more of the the features of what they’re going what they’re going to give to the prospect, rather than focusing on the benefit of the program to the prospect. When you go through the features like this typical in car sales, I go in a car, like, it’s got a v-8 that’s got this, like, does it have an engine? And does it go? Like that’s what I you know, it doesn’t look cool. That’s what I care about. When I’m buying a car, I don’t care. The gas mileage, you know, you have to fit the presentation to the prospect and where they’re at, and focus on the benefits versus the features. And when you get too technical. That’s where you lose people.

Roy Barker  39:16 How to increase sales Storytelling

Yeah. Yeah, that’s like, my, this is where I think we have to listen and start where our prospect is because I had a car dealer that I’ve been with, you know, for, I don’t know, 10-15 years or more. And I told the lady when we first started, I said, Look, I’m not your typical consumer. I don’t need to smell it to sit in it to feel it. I’m not going to fall in love with it. I’m like you it’s got, you know, protection where I’m not getting wet. When I’m driving.

It’s got four wheels and it moves, you know, forward and backwards turns left and right. That’s all I need. I don’t care if it’s gray, green, red, blue, whatever you’ve got that has all the you know the option I want, but she listened. And she never tried to, you know, kind of force me down that path. And she made a customer for, like I said, for about the last 12 years we’ve done, I don’t know, five or six car deals together. Because she listened to what I needed as the customer prospect, whatever.

Tom  40:19

Yeah, no, that’s great. Yeah. And then you get car car salespeople have kind of a bad rap sometimes. I think they’re, they’re coming coming up. Definitely. I mean, there’s one dealer, I was buying a BMW and I go in and I was like, well, I want you know, this blue BMW 325, litre, blah, blah, blah. And it goes. That’s, that’s, that’s, it’s, it’s good. But I’ve got this red 328 it’s got more power, or you post more power. Done. I like to drive fast. And I think he realized that when when I walked in, he was like, yeah, we’re not gonna do it at 325. You’ve got to have the 328. Right. Yeah.

The Power of The Pause

Roy Barker  41:13 How to increase sales Storytelling

I know, we’re running long on time. One more question. And I’ll we’ll start a wrap up. But pauses, you know, people keep speakers let me say speakers can be very scared of pauses, or they can actually we can use them to our benefit.

Tom  41:31

Mm hmm. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that’s the power of the pause. Yeah. In that, and that’s one of the very first lessons that I learned in sales is to shut up. Yeah. So the moment that and, and for, for storytelling as well, it’s good for dramatic impact as well. Because at some, you know, if you’re going into a heavy story, you got to give the audience a little time to catch up and can process their emotions. So having a pause. And typically, that’s when I have the speaker move is we don’t walk and talk at the same time. That’s kind of my rule.

So you, you lay down something, give the audience time to kind of adapt to that, and then you’re moving on stage. And then in the sales situation, like one on one. The moment that I that I asked the closes like okay, well, great. Did you want to put that on a Visa or MasterCard? Yeah. And, you know, the old saying the first person that that speaks is by hearing them by their excuse, or either buying your program,

Roy Barker  42:38 How to increase sales Storytelling

right? That’s what we always said the first one that speaks is the loser. Yeah, hopefully nobody loses. Yeah. Well, the, you know, the No, name forgot where I was going. 15 Wait, yeah, that that, you know, that. Again, it just gets back to, you know, give them a chance to process this. And, you know, see what the answer is, we can always come back and address objections if they say no, or I’ve got this question. But if we’re like, you know, credit card or debit, yep. And then, you know, we have the pause. But yet, we just keep jumping right in, you know, we don’t give them a chance to really process this and give us the answer again, we’ll end up talking ourselves, probably out of sale.

Tom  43:29

Yeah, exactly. And you don’t know what that person is thinking in their head, either. Because I had a one of my very first sales when I learned the power of kind of asking questions, consultations. I said, you know, this lady down, and, you know, went through the whole presentation, at the end, I was like, you know, based on what your goals are, you really need that our 100 session program, and that’s $5,200. Granted, I’d only sold like, 10 session packages worth like $600 before. And now to go to 100 site. I was so nervous. I was just like, Okay, my coach told me to shut up, shut up, Tom. And I was and then she was the lady was just kind of sitting there kind of looking.

And I was like, Oh, she’s not gonna go for it. She’s like, I should offer her 50 session. Oh, no, I should just do a free session for her. And this is what my, my thought process was. And she was just kind of sitting there. You know, it probably went on for a minute. And my head is just spinning. I was like, Oh, I shouldn’t have done that. I’m gonna lose the sale, blah. And then she goes, Okay, yeah, I’ll put that on my MasterCard. I was like, are you sure? Like, how do I charge $5,200 I’ve never done that before.

Don’t Auto Discount

Roy Barker  44:52 How to increase sales Storytelling

And I think the other thing too, is, you know, a lot of times people will be like that, you know, you want to do the 100 And then instead of giving them that minute to think about it, and process, it’s like, the very next thing is, I’ll discount that 20% for you, if you’ll, you know, we just like, right, right to the discount. And, you know, we say, if we run specials or things like that, that’s one thing, but you know, we should never discount the value of our service that needs to be priced. Right?

Because there’s also this reverse psychology and that, if you come back to me and say, you know, I’m really need 20% offer this or I don’t want, you know, whatever the features may be. Sometimes it’s just as beneficial to say, you know, what, this, my service may just not be right for you. And I would rather part friends, and have you come back to me when it is right. And you’ll be surprised? Well, you wouldn’t be but some, you know, people that don’t do this every day would be surprised how they will. Now they’re trying to sell you on why they should be your customer?

Tom  46:00

Oh, yeah. I mean, that’s the takeaway, right? So when you when you take something away from people, they wanted even more anxiety that is powerful. Like I do that all the time, I probably should stop doing the whole, what kind of discount Can you give me? But yeah, I like it this time. I like to test the salespeople. And I gotta tell you, I have so much more respect for people that say, No, there is no just in the car that the BMW that I bought this, like 10 years ago.

I was like, Oh, you know, go ahead and knock off like 2000. He was like, No, no, because if you don’t buy it, somebody else will think Oh, damn, like that. That is like, Okay. He’s right. Because at the end of the day, I mean, everybody kind of wants a deal, I think. But if you’re showing tremendous value, then they’ll they’ll accept your price.

Sell From A Point of Value

Roy Barker  46:56 How to increase sales Storytelling

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, cuz that’s where I always tell people, you know, we want to sell from a place of value. If you’re, Well, again, this is my opinion, if we’re trying to be a price leader, there’s always going to be somebody that’s going to come in below us that just, it never fails. But what we want to do is we want to sell them value, why am I you know, I may be higher than the next guy. But this is the value that I’m bringing to the table, my experience, the quality, you know, whatever that value proposition is?

Tom  47:27

Yeah. And it’s really the value that they’re the prospect is going to get out of it. And, and that’s, that’s where the focus needs to lie. is, you know, yeah, and you’re gonna, you’re gonna benefit this this way, this way, in this way. That’s why it’s valuable to you. Yeah.

Roy Barker  47:42 How to increase sales Storytelling

Yeah. Because, you know, from my point of view, I have paid more for a product or service, because I like the guy. And we trust it’s like, you know, I felt like the service, or the maybe the service after the sale, if it was a product or whatever. And I paid more money, and I know I did, but it’s because I valued the relationship with that salesperson.

Tom  48:08

Yeah, absolutely.

Roy Barker  48:10

That’s why I just can’t stress enough do your homework. Listen. And if you do the process, right, not a lot of times, you know, more than not, you won’t get beat down on on price, you know, they’ll buy the value.

Tom  48:24

Yeah, exactly.


Roy Barker  48:26 How to increase sales Storytelling

Well, Tom, again, like I said, I apologize, we’re waiting. I think, my fault I like to talk No, me too. This is so exciting. I don’t get, you know, a lot of people want to talk sales on here. And so the storytelling and the sales, you know, such a great combination, but I appreciate you taking time out of your day to be with us. Before we go a couple things. First off, do you have a habit or a tool, something that you use every day that you feel adds a lot of value? personally or professionally?

Tom  48:58

Yeah, so the the habit that I do on a regular basis, it’s just, I write in a journal every morning, that may sound weird or woowoo, but definitely the gratitude journal. So and that I do that in the morning, because that sets my day off to be really good. And, you know, I think a lot of people, myself included, you know, wake up with love, like negative self talk. And by doing what, what I’m grateful for in my life, it just snaps it out and sets a day off right now. That’s

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  49:36 How to increase sales Storytelling

perfect. And, yeah, you know, there’s an old adage that if Are you going to have a good day or bad day? And the answer is yes, it’s whatever you whatever you believe that you’re gonna have. You’re gonna you can make that come true. That’s awesome. All right, Tom, tell everybody. How can they reach out get a hold of you? Who do you like to work with? How can you help them?

Tom  49:58

Yeah, so it’s Definitely for the storytelling, people are interested in learning that whole process I actually have a little free gift. So it’s the the process of taking your own personal story and putting that into the Hero’s Journey. So I have a little download PDF that I’d love to give to folks. That’s on my my website, Tom Jackobs.com/storybook. And it’s J A C K O B S. So Tom Jackobs.com/storybook. They can download that and learn a little bit more about not only just learn, but actually put their story together in there as well.

Roy Barker  50:35 How to increase sales Storytelling

Okay. Great. Yeah. And we will we’ll include all that on the in the show notes as well so they can reach out and get a hold of you. All right, awesome. Well, thanks so much. Again, we appreciate it. And y’all reach out to Tom let him help you learn how to tell a good story. It will definitely change your life in both the marketing and the sales part. There’s just don’t think you can find anything that beats a good story when you’re trying to, you know, in trying to get somebody to do business with you for sure. Thanks for praying.

So that’s gonna do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. Of course, I’m your host Roy, we can be found at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. We are on all the major podcast platforms iTunes, Stitcher, Google Spotify for not a one that you listen to. If you’ll reach out, I’d be glad to add that for you. Make it easier for you to listen also on all the major social media platforms probably hang out on Instagram a little more than others. So reach out there we’d be glad to interact with you. Also, a video of this interview will go up on our YouTube channel. So go check that out as well some of our other episodes. Until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

Tom Jackobs Website

Instagram – @impactpilot

Twitter @tomjackobs

Facebook Tom Jackobs

YouTube www.youtube.com/c/tomjackobsoffical

LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/in/trainertom/

Listen to more great episodes of The Business of Business Podcast here

Business Podcast

Business Exit Planning, A Guide to a Successful Conclusion

Business Podcast

Business Exit Planning, A Guide to a Successful Conclusion Featuring Chris Younger

Business exit planning. It’s really never too early to start thinking about your business exit plan. This is one of the most important parts just after starting and being successful in your business. For most, it’s their retirement plan. Some entrepreneurs are asset-heavy and cash short. Please don’t wait until the last minute to handle this. It can make a huge difference.

About Chris

Chris is the co-founder of Class VI Partners (fka CVA), a Denver-based financial services firm providing investment banking, wealth management, and business exit preparation services for middle-market companies. Class VI’s mission is to Enable the Entrepreneurial Spirit by helping business owners get the most of out their investment of time, energy and money in their businesses.

Class VI developed CoPilot, an online assessment application, to help business owners better understand how an investor would view their business. CoPilot’s patent-pending algorithm prioritizes the different risk factors in a business and suggests ways to resolve those risks to increase value.

Unlike online valuation tools which provide only a high-level analysis of a business’s value (which can be dangerous), CoPilot reveals the specific factors that help or hurt a company’s valuation and a roadmap to help guide the business owner.

Class VI utilizes CoPilot as the first step in its own program to help business owners prepare for a sale (Pathfinder), and as part of Class VI’s unique 12-month “boot camp” called Exit University that helps business owners learn more about mergers and acquisitions. These programs are available to interested and qualified companies.

Prior to founding Class VI in 2005, Chris co-founded and was the President of the country’s largest communications equipment value-added reseller (Expanets), which he helped grow through acquisition (27 acquisitions over 2 years) and subsequently sold to Avaya Communications. Chris also practiced law at the law firm of Wilson, Sonsini in Palo Alto (he is a “fully recovered” attorney), and clerked for The Honorable Jesse E Eschbach of the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

He is a graduate of Miami University (Ohio) and Harvard Law School where he was Managing Editor of the Harvard Law Review, and he attended the London School of Economics. He is also the co-author of Harvest: The Definitive Guide to Selling Your Company

Chris lives in Denver with his wife of 25 years, Maribeth. They have three children in college and high school. Chris is an avid mountain biker, golfer, and tries to get up to the Colorado mountains as often as he can.


Class VI Partners
Listen to more great episodes of The Business of Business Podcast here

Business Podcast

Full Transcript Below

Business Exit Planning, A Guide to a Successful Conclusion Featuring Chris Younger

Estimated reading time: 37 minutes

Tue, 8/3 12:08PM • 42:42


business, business owners, buyer, transaction, businesses, sell, money, deal, people, typically, work, roy, entrepreneurs, acquisitions, capital, revenues, question, pandemic, risks, online, Business Exit Planning, Successful Conclusion


Chris, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:07

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host, Roy. Of course, we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests. That can talk to a diverse set of topics. Hopefully, we can shine a light on something maybe haven’t thought about. Or at the very least provide you with information and professionals to help you solve some problems that may be keeping you up at night.

Today, we’re excited to have with us Chris Younger. He is the founder of Class VI Partners, a Denver-based financial services firm providing investment banking, wealth management and business exit preparation services for middle-market companies. Class VI’s mission is to enable the entrepreneurial spirit by helping business owners get the most out of their investment of time, energy, and money in their business. Chris, thanks so much for taking time out of your day to be with us.

Chris  00:57

Well, thanks for having me, Roy. And thanks for doing what you’re doing for your listeners. It’s a it’s a great service to him.

Roy Barker  01:03

Well, I appreciate that. It’s so much fun, I get to meet awesome people like yourself from all over the world. So it’s a you know, it’s kind of the best gig in the whole world. I love it. That’s terrific. So um, let’s start off with a little bit about your history. I’ve got so many questions, I don’t even know where to start. Let’s start from the gate. Let’s start with, you know, kind of your history how you found yourself here. And then you can also tell us. I like the explanation of Class VI, you can tell us about that, too.

More About Chris

Chris  01:30

Oh, you bet. Happy to do it. And, you know, in terms of history, my wife accuses me of having a little bit of career add. I started out as an attorney. Worked for a Federal Judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals for about a year. And then spent a couple years practicing corporate and securities law in Silicon Valley, a firm called Wilson Sonsini and quickly figured out that I didn’t much care for the law. And I have to be careful because my wife’s an attorney.

But um, and so I left legal practice to start with an investment group. It was a, an investment group that was funded by utility. They were investing in unregulated businesses. And so at a fairly young age, I was able to help them develop a consolidation strategy in the communications industry. I was the lead acquisitions person. And so I would go out source acquisitions and then manage the acquisition process. So it was a pretty intense experience, we completed 27 acquisitions over about 25 months. So yeah, it’s

Roy Barker  02:47

a heavy schedule.

Chris  02:48

Yeah, lots of travel. And as you might expect, when you do that many acquisitions in that short period of time, you make your fair share of mistakes. Like, I always like to joke, I, for about a third of those deals, I looked a lot smarter than I am, about a third of those went exactly as planned. And then about a third of those, I probably should have been fired for doing. But so I I did the acquisitions and then moved into an operating role, I became the chief operating officer and the president of that business. At that time, we had grown it to over a billion dollars in revenues, and was responsible for the integration of the businesses.

We did a big systems conversion. Then we sold that business to Avaya, which is a large communications company back in 2003. And then I actually tried to retire about a year and a half. And it was after organizing my wife spice drawer that she told me I needed to go find a hobby, maybe in a little bit more colorful language. But yeah. And so with my partner, we started our investment bank, and we originally started it as a hobby, really just to do a deal or two a year. We really like working with entrepreneurs.

And but as the business progressed, we got busier and busier. So we were fortunate to be able to hire a lot of really, really great, smart, talented team members. And today we’ve got a team of 23 people across our across our business and like you I feel like I’ve got the best job in the world. I get to talk with entrepreneurs every day, we get to help them with a really meaningful and important transaction in their life. And with the advent of our wealth management for a lot of those entrepreneurs, we get to work with them in their families, you know, for the rest of their lives, and hopefully the rest of their families lives as well.

And so it’s a it’s been really, really rewarding and we’ve worked with I think we’ve completed almost 100 transactions In that, you know, in the 15 years since we started 16 years since we started, and it’s like I said, don’t get me wrong, I love doing transactions, but it’s really getting to know these entrepreneurs and call them friends, once we’re complete is, it’s been really gratifying.

Roy Barker  05:18

Yeah, that’s an awesome transition, because you know, selling a business, especially a smaller one. I mean, that’s somebody’s baby, that’s somebody’s child that they’ve nurtured and grown. And, but I think that’s an awesome transition, once you’ve built that relationship and built that trust, and you can help them on the wealth management side, you know, once they decide to retire.


Chris  05:40

Yeah, it’s when you think about for an entrepreneur, to the point you just made Roy. It’s their business is usually their largest investment. And prior to selling their company, they’re usually I call them asset rich and cash poor, right. Most of their cash is going back into the business. And if we can get involved with them two or three years before they’re gonna sell, you can actually do a lot of things. From a tax standpoint, from an estate standpoint, from educating their kids about money management, budgeting.

That you can have a much more significant impact than what typically happens. An entrepreneur might sell their business, come into a bunch of cash. And not necessarily know what to do or how to do it. And you know, at that point, you’ve got every wealth manager in the, in the world trying to get their money. But it’s usually too late to really accomplish a lot of the things that we can accomplish earlier on, if we get involved before they actually transact.

Roy Barker  06:42

Yeah, and it’s, like you said, when you’re when they’re in that position, the unfortunate part I’ve seen as you know, they have kids and family members that they end up giving all their wealth away, and still have a quite a ways to go in life to make it in, you know, I’ve seen some they’ve had to go out and get the, you know, menial jobs just to try to live in that.

So it’s so important. I think it’s also, the other thing that’s always on my mind is people that may think that they want to sell or we’re getting close. And I’m gonna let you answer this, but you can’t wake up on Monday morning and say, I’m ready to sell and put a for sale sign out in the front yard. And it’s just, it’s a lot more preparation that goes into that.

Chris  07:31

Yeah, it’s, uh, you know, for our clients, they kind of fall into three buckets, right? You have one bucket are folks that they’ve been approached by somebody. For whatever reason, I mean, they, a lot of business owners get approached quite a bit for people wanting to buy their business. And for whatever reason, this particular one, they’ve decided this is the one and I want to go sell my company. We’ll get that call just to help them navigate that transaction.

It’s a, it’s a fairly complex process. So you have about a third, you have another third, who know that they want to sell their business, but they want to run, you know, full process, they want to go talk to multiple buyers that want to put their story together and tell it in a compelling way. And so they run a traditional investment banking process. And then you have this other third, I call kind of the intentional planners, they know, hey, in five years I want to sell.

So what are the things I ought to be doing today, in my business, whether that’s, you know, building my management team, diversifying my revenue stream, you know, taking certain risks out of my business, what are those things that they can be doing today, that set them up such that when they do go to sell, they get the most out of it, and you know, get the most money and the best transactions? And I can tell you, in those thirds, we, we can get very successful deals done in each one of those buckets, but those business owners who are really intentional and plan ahead, by far the most successful transactions that we work on. Yeah.

Preparing To Exit A Business

Roy Barker  09:04

Yeah. Like, I can only imagine, you know, trying to clean up an income statement balance sheet. And then also, you know. If it’s the right size business, where the owner whose name is maybe even on the business, but he’s the guy that’s at the top, there’s always a sustainability question. And I really liked the point you brought up. Is that if you’ve got that five year time horizon, you can actually bring some management in and kind of start slowly stepping away where you can prove to buyers that hey, this is a sustainable business without me coming in every day.

Chris  09:38

Yeah, what’s interesting is for business owners who undertake that effort, to bring in a team to start to delegate their day to day responsibilities. A couple of things happen, which all of which are positive. One is that that business owner starts to get potentially more of the life that they want outside of the business. They’re able to, you know, most business owners are typically type A. And so this allows them to actually either spend more time on the things that they really liked doing in the business. Or get more free time for them and their families.

And so that has the corollary benefit of increasing the value of the business. As you said, if that business owner is the key revenue generator. Or has their hands in every facet of the operations. For a buyer, that’s really risky. Because as we all know, you know, that business owner cashes a nice check, their incentives are gonna change, and that creates risk for the buyer, if they don’t have a good team underneath them. But having that team kind of correspondingly decreases, potentially the need for the owner to sell.

Because if they’re generating good cash from the business, and they’ve got a good team, you know, they may have a perfect life for them, which is great. That’s that’s the position you always want your business owners in, we would call it being indifferent to whether a deal happens or not, you know, if they’ve got a great company, and they’re comfortable continuing to own it, that means that any deal that they do is going to be the very best deal possible, because it has to be so compelling, as to convince them that yeah, that’s better than continuing to own and operate my business.

Business Exit Planning

Roy Barker  11:25

Right. So let’s go back to the beginning just a little bit. Let’s talk about what what’s the difference in the ways that we, as a business can get money, you know. We have a loan, we have the underwritten by SBA. But we also have, you know, investment bankers, angel investors. Wonder, can you just briefly touch on all these different types? And then, you know, kind of what space that y’all feel there?

Chris  11:54

Yeah, you bet. You bet. So, if you think about, we call it a capital stack, and you, as you said, you start at the least expensive, but the most restrictive is, you know, a bank loan. Right? The bank loans today have relatively low interest rates, but they’re gonna have covenants and restrictions on the business in terms of what it can and cannot do with its cash flow. And at the very top of the equity stack is common equity, which is the most expensive, it’s gonna dilute the business owner the most in terms of their ownership.

But it’s the most flexible, right, it typically doesn’t come with covenants or restrictions on what the business owner can do. In between there, you have in that debt stack, so you start with bank debt. And then you might have third party debt that aren’t banks, but are more flexible lenders, interest rates are going to be higher, but they’re more flexible in terms of what the business can do with the capital. Then as you get into equity, you might have a preferred equity, which could have a dividend or what we call liquidation preference, meaning their money comes out before a common shareholders money comes out. And there are different players in terms of investors at each one of those stages.

So, for example, for a young business, you obviously you know, about banks and SBA loans, those, those are traditional commercial banks that can lend money. There are also mezzanine lenders, which are those folks that provide debt that may be more expensive, but more flexible. And then you have venture capitalists that provide capital, usually in the form of preferred equity, to businesses that are relatively young, maybe that’s prior to when they actually have revenues or prior to when they have earnings.

And then you have private equity, that typically like to invest in businesses that are more mature and have free cash flow, where they like to typically either provide growth capital, or they may actually provide a majority of the capital and what we call recapitalize the business. Our job as an investment bank, is usually at the later stages of a business, which is when a business is ready to raise capital, not necessarily venture capital. I think venture capitalists, a lot of times have sort of an allergic reaction to investment bankers being involved.

But we typically get involved when they’re looking to raise growth capital from private equity, or they’re looking to sell or to recapitalize their business, and we’ll help them put their story together, identify the biders, manage the transaction process, help them get ready for diligence, and then manage that that whole process to closing.

Complicated To Do Right

Roy Barker  14:46

That is so important to you know, maybe you’re good at running your business. But this is a very complicated process. And I’m sure that the larger, more complex businesses it gets even more and more complicated. You know, each one of these, you know, debt or investors, you know. They have different things that they want, you know. Of course debt, they want you to pay it back. Paid back in the scheduled time. But you know, at the investor part, you know. The sometimes people want to invest the money, and then they want to get out within a couple years. Sometimes you have these groups that maybe they want to come in and perform a little bit more of the management oversight or send their people in.

So, anyway, that’s one reason why I just advise people seek out a professional that has the understanding. Because, you know, I’m sure it’s like, my house that, you know. I get probably two or three calls a day. Hey, I really like to buy your house. And of course, they do you know. About half the price. So, you know, assume businesses are probably in that way trying to get squeezed out. That’s the other thing. I’m assuming you can help with, is that valuation cleaning everything up. Saying This is what it should be worth?

Chris  16:07

Yeah, it’s, you know, it’s a fairly, as you said, it’s a fairly complicated process. It takes a lot of kind of expertise and experience. And there are lots of different ways, right, that the transaction can go off the rails. And so having someone you under really understands. Hey, hear the train wrecks that could happen. How do we prevent those right? But also, as you said. How to tell the business’s story. In a way that’s going to maximize the value of that business.

Because we have found entrepreneurs and investors, they may say the same words, but their language is a little different. Entrepreneurs think about their business in a certain way. And investors think about business in a different way. And so helping to translate that story so that the investment community really hears the story. In the way that you want them to hear it is, is important.

I liken it to, it’s like any other business process. If you were setting up a new manufacturing line for your business. Most times, you’re you’re probably not going to try to do that all on your own. You’re going to require you’re going to require somebody who has done that before. Who understands the equipment. Who understands what you need to accomplish with that equipment. It’s no different, right. In a in a transaction. You want somebody who understands that process to help guide you. Because it’s a, you know, the stakes are very, very high. And mistakes can be really, really expensive.

Tell Your Story

Roy Barker  17:42

I think they like the story part, because we all have a story. You know, things look one way on paper, but when we can tell the story. But the second part of that is who’s telling the story. If it’s somebody that you trust, and you know. It’s in this business. Then a lot of transactions would probably sit there with a lot more ease than, you know. If I’m telling the story of my business and how great it is. It’s always better for somebody else to tell people how great you are. Than to have to tell people how great you are.

Chris  18:17

Yeah, it helps in it. I think it’s also good, right? I think business owners, oftentimes are very comfortable with their business. And they’re comfortable with the risks in their business, right. So in in sometimes that creates blinders for the business owner, they may not see their business the same way an outsider is going to see their business. And so having a third party, objectively look at the business and identify, hey, you’ve got an every business does.

You’ve got some soft spots here that we need to shore up and make sure that we’re prepared to address. It’s not just like sales, right? You want to know, hey, what are the objections that I’m going to hear when I go talk to this prospect? It’s the same with selling your company only the stakes are a lot lot higher. So kind of anticipating those objections and being able to explain them and position around them. It’s critical. Otherwise, you’ll leave money on the table.

Roy Barker  19:17

So what is our climate right now? Are there? Is there a lot of money chasing a lot of businesses? Is there a lot of money chasing few businesses? What’s that look like?

Chris  19:27

It’s got a little crazy Roy. We’re as busy as we’ve ever been. I think we have 16 active deals right now that are trying to get done before your end, which is kind of crazy when you think about it. And that’s created by a couple of different dynamics. One is, there is a lot of they call it dry powder in our industry, but there’s a lot of capital sitting on the sidelines right now looking for homes.

So it’s it’s over a trillion trillion and a half dollars, not including the debt financing that they typically use, so maybe double or triple that in terms of cash. capital that wants to invest in businesses. During the pandemic, there was probably a six month period where almost none of that capital got deployed. And for those managers of that capital, you know, they get paid when that capital gets deployed, so they’re anxious to get it to work. So you have that on the, on the kind of the demand side. And on the supply side, when Biden announced potential tax increases for capital gains, you know.

His proposal, which we don’t think will pass at this level, you know, 43%, on capital gains, that drove a lot of business owners who may have been thinking about selling, to conclude, I gotta get out before year end, right, because the increase in taxes, you know, if your deals a $20 million deal, and the taxes went from, effectively 20-23%, up to 43%, well, that’s a couple million dollars to you $4 million to you, which is, you know, that’s meaningful. And so that on the supply side has drove in a lot of driven a lot of business owners to conclude, if I’m going to get out, this is the year to go do it. And so I don’t know what that holds for 2022. But at 2021, it’s crazy.

Pandemics Effect

Roy Barker  21:11

So the something I just read this morning is that you know, product businesses and product-focused businesses, you know, had been really under the gun through this pandemic, everybody was staying at home, we weren’t doing anything. So we’re buying stuff. And then now, they were saying that you know, we’ve got supply chain issues, but we’re kind of moving out of that, because now people are going out trying to have experienced. So is this something that we need to take into account, like how this pandemic affected your business? And that, you know, if you have time, of course, it may not be the right time to do it, we may need to, you know, take that two or three years to, let’s get out of it and have some sense of normalcy?

Chris  21:57

Yeah, it’s a great question, because I think businesses fit into one of three buckets. During the pandemic, you had businesses suffer greatly, where they couldn’t do business, right, restaurants are a great example. Or gyms, where, you know, their business discuss shut down, and a lot of them couldn’t make it out. You also had businesses where there may not have been much of an impact at all. Software sales, businesses where he didn’t necessarily need to be in person to execute the transaction, you know. Those, those did pretty well.

Then you had businesses and we’ve represented a few of them, were actually COVID, in the pandemic dramatically increased their sales, we had a business that was in online training, in the real estate sector of business called a The CE Shop that we sold late last year. That business did very well during the pandemic, because students, instead of taking their classes in person all moved online. And once they figured out just how convenient and cost-effective taking those classes online was, you know, that’s a permanent shift, that’s not going to go back to, you know, somebody taking an online class.

So that business did very well, we have another business that was selling home fitness equipment, and, you know, they, they literally would sell out, as soon as they got inventory because everybody wanted to stock their home gyms. And that’s also a trend that we don’t necessarily see, going backward. People, that that convenience, the safety, and just the ease of being able to do your workouts at home, you know, it was a big boon to their business.

And so, you know, there’s, for each one of those businesses going back to the importance of being able to tell your story, hey, if your business really suffered, you’ve got if you want to sell, you’ve kind of have to be able to normalize for that hit to earnings. And that’s, that’s a story for those businesses that did well. You also have to be able to convince buyers, that that wasn’t a COVID bump.

But it’s a new plateau for that business that they’re going to continue to do well, and so it’s, you know, that it really depends on the business on the industry. And now that we’re out of COVID you start to get some proof points. Is the business continuing to do well, or is it recovered? And those will be helpful to be able to kind of tell the story in the right way.

Move To Online

Roy Barker  24:27

Yeah, yeah. No, it’s very industry and product and service-specific. But in your opinion. Do you feel like we’re gonna remain like 75% of what we’ve been doing on the internet. Or is it going back to 50%. You know, and I’ll use me as an example is you know. We ordered some stuff over the like groceries, you know. We’ve ordered we’re pretty prolific orders of other stuff. Always because the convenience of coming to your house and not getting out. But groceries, we were still always going to the store. But now that we were forced into it. We’re staying with it. We’re not, we’re not gonna I’m not going back to the grocery store.

Chris  25:09

Yeah. I. To your point, I think the jury’s out, we, we have some clients that have a mix of online and retail-focused business and the retail has come back pretty strong. And so I do think there’s a subset of consumers, just like you, Roy, where, hey, the online convenience, it’s going to stay, I think you have another set where they enjoy the the shopping and the store experience. And you know, and those, I think those businesses will do pretty well. But overall, I would expect probably a more permanent trend towards online purchasing. Because people experience just how convenient that is, you know, for those of us that have an Amazon addiction, you know, it’s, it’s pretty easy to get on your phone, you know, when you order things and haven’t delivered the next day. So it’s

Roy Barker  25:57

Christmas every day, you know, I was trying to find something in my order history yesterday, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I’ve had something delivered just almost every day, the last month or so.

Chris  26:08

Yeah, it’s my wife gives me a hard time about the box to show up. So.

Roy Barker  26:15

So um, you know. I know that when we go through these transactions. It’s important, you know, people are looking at what is the profit margin. You know, what are the revenues, expenses, things like that? What are some other things that people take into consideration? That business owners really need to think about. That may not be, you know, on an income state or balance sheet?

Chris  26:39

Yeah, if you think about how businesses are valued, it’s really mean, you can have two identical businesses in terms of their revenues and cash flow. But if one, business is a lot riskier, right, their revenues might be more volatile, their management team may not be as deep there, they may only have a few big customers, you know, they may have litigation issues or environmental issues, that business is going to be worth less than the business that doesn’t have those risks. We we use an application.

And I think I mentioned we’ll make this available to your listeners for free. It’s called Copilot, which allows a business owner to really self diagnose, they can take this assessment, and it asks about 120 questions, but it’s designed to uncover those risks, to be able to help educate the business owner, hey, here are the things that an outsider looking in, is going to see that makes my business less valuable. And we use it in our own business, just to help us quickly assess the business to know, hey, here are the things that we’ve got to either explain our way around, or if we’ve got time, go fix, because that’ll make the business more valuable.

But there’s, you know, we break it into six value drivers, you have the financial value drivers, you’ve got operational and organizational value drivers, you’ve got customer value drivers, you’ve got your team or employee value drivers, you’ve got strategy, your strategic value drivers, and then you have market value drivers, and you want to look at each one of those to really understand, Hey, where is this business situated? Does it have you know, what Warren Buffett calls a moat around that business? Or protects it from competition? Or is it just I’ve got to run faster and jump higher type business, which is, you know, more risky?

Due Diligence

Roy Barker  28:29

Yeah. You know. Assume that at certain levels, you know. There there’ll be a team. Either from your company or from the buyer. That’ll come in and do a lot of due diligence. Walking around kick, you know. If we say in the old days, kicking the tires, and, you know. Seeing if that if there really is a plant here. We really do have employees. That kind of stuff.

Chris  28:51

He had due diligence these days, typically takes between 45 and 60 days, and I I really try hard to condition our clients as much as I possibly can just how intrusive, how challenging how frustrating that process can be it is explained to him. It’s like having your three worst medical exams all at once. It is it’s very painful, because they, you know, sophisticated buyers, I mean, we we’ve closed deals where the buyer has spent over a million dollars just on the due diligence process.

So that’s their lawyers, their accountants, they’ve got environmental people, they’ve got insurance people they’ve got, you know, Employment and Labor practices, people, they have all kinds of outside advisors. Their whole job is to come in and assess that business to see where the landmines what issues are, we’re going to have post closing. And it’s it’s truly remarkable how many different players come in to do this due diligence. And so, as a business owner, you’ve you’ve got to prepare for that. If you’re not prepared. Paired life is going to be really, really challenging and odds are your deal will probably bust, because they’re just going to be too many issues that the buyer uncovers. And you know, how this goes is.

If you’re negotiating a one off transaction where somebody has approached you and they want to buy your company, you’re going to put your best foot forward, right. You’re going to try to tell your story, the best way that you can, they may make an offer on your business based on the story that you’ve told them. And as that story starts to unravel, during diligence, as they start to learn the truth, the price is going to come down, you’re going to feel like they’re trying to nickel and dime you. And ultimately, that transaction will fall apart because the trust breaks down. So being being prepared. And really, you know, if you’ve got an issue in your business, you kind of have to lead with that. So that the buyer understands that and prices that in so that it’s not a surprise later.

Roy Barker  30:55 Business Exit Planning

Yeah. You know, in? Well, it’s hard, because like I mentioned earlier, this is our baby that we’ve you know, we’ve raised and brought up and live with for many, many years. We don’t want some, even if we know we’ve got a kink in the armor, we don’t want somebody else calling that out. But like you said, if we don’t know, and somebody else funds it, I think, you know, we can almost have to look at that as a free opportunity that, you know, somebody pointed this out, we can fix it and make it better for us, and may change our mind, we may well be like, Oh, well, this isn’t so bad. Now that we fix this, or, you know, we just need to spruce it up a little bit to you know, engage the next buyer.

Chris  31:34

It’s interesting, we had a deal, three or four years ago, and it was a business that had a lot of revenues, they were utility services company. And so their customers were utilities, well, their biggest customer was probably 70 or 80% of their business. And when we first took them to market, we knew this was going to be an issue. But it really it actually prevented any deals from happening because that that risk with that big customer was too much. And we did get we got one bid, and then we the owner said, hey, let’s take a step back. And so what we did was we worked on that relationship, we instead of having one contract with that main customer, we broken into four contracts. Instead of having a one year contract, we got it into five and seven year contracts.

Instead of having the relationship just at the CEO level, we built that relationship all the way through the organization. And then we were able to take them back out to market. And the value of the company probably doubled, just by taking care of that risk. You know that and and it was, it’s a great story to your point of pay, if your first deal busts, it’s not the end of the world. It’s given you great feedback on the things that you can do to drive more value in your business. And usually it mean, like I said, we’ve had a story after story like that, where, you know, the second time around the business has just been worth a lot more money. And it’s been to the owners benefit.


Roy Barker  33:04 Business Exit Planning

It gets back to time, if you have the luxury of time. Get out ahead of this because I think the people, again, that get hurt the worst are the ones that maybe it’s not the maybe it’s a health issue, or maybe it’s just like, I’m just over this. You know, there could be a lot of reasons not necessarily financial, or that have to do with the business itself. But you know, you can take a huge risk, a huge hit on the price just trying to get out too soon without handling stuff.

Chris  33:37

No question, no question. We we see it all the time, there’s, there are risks that you can do a lot to fix and or alleviate. And if you do that, you’re, again, your business is going to be more valuable. And to the point that you made earlier Roy. It’s it’s going to make the business more fun to manage. Right. Yeah. We’re not dealing with all those risks.

Roy Barker  33:58 Business Exit Planning

Yeah, it’s like, Hey, thanks for taking care of that. I think I’ll stay around. It’s fun now. Yeah, I actually I actually enjoy it. Right. So I know we’re getting short on time. But one more question is like, what about owners staying around is, I guess it can depend on the business, the size, a lot of variables, but just in general, is the are these transactions where it’s like, just we’re done, you’re out and you got your money? Or did they have these consulting contracts where they want him to hang around for a year or something like that.

Chris  34:33

So there, again, I’m gonna use the three buckets, okay. The first bucket are business owners who maybe they’re younger, and they want to stick around and grow the business to the next level and maybe sell it again. We’ve had a lot of instances where a business owner, you know, they may have sold 80% of the company, but they reinvested 20% with A new buyer. And then they stuck around, they were the CEO for that next sale right three or five years later. And they may have made more money on the second sale than they did on the first sale.

So, you know, there’s that type of owner who can successfully transition from being the entrepreneur to working with an outside investor, and managing for that investor. That’s probably maybe 30 to 40% of the time. The next bucket are business owners who they want to transition, but they’re willing, and ideally, they want to stick around for two or three years, because that will help ensure the best transition for the business that takes best care of their team, it cares for their reputation, it’ll, it’ll just make that transition smoother. Then they work with the buyer to find the next CEO.

And that’s maybe another third. And then you have a third of business owners who they just want out when the when the transaction closes. Now that tends, that tends to decrease the value of the business, because it’s now riskier, right, because if that business owner were really involved, and they’re now gone, you know, that makes that business much more risky. So it’s, you know, we always advise business owners, if they don’t have a really strong team, you should plan to stick around for at least two or three years after the deal just to make the buyers comfortable, because that’ll add a lot of value to the deal.

Roy Barker  36:27 Business Exit Planning

The guy that comes to closing in his tennis shoes and kind of down in the track blocks, you know, getting ready to jet out probably probably makes a buyer a little nervous. Definitely. So one more thing I thought about what we’re talking about that is what about like clawbacks or, you know, I’m sure this isn’t just as like, it’s a done deal. And, you know, buyer beware in some of these transactions, or are there actually causes written into contracts? Or how does that work in general?

Chris  37:02

Yeah, so when you sell a business, you’re going to make a series of statements about your business in that purchase contract, you’re going to state that you don’t have any environmental issues, you don’t have any litigation issues, you don’t have any, you know, your financials are accurate. And usually, there’s probably 25 or 30 reps and warranties, we call them, which are the statements that you make about your business. And in some deals, the buyer will take 10% of the purchase price, say and put that into an escrow account.

So if you’re sold your business for 20 million, they might take 2 million and put that into an escrow account. So that when you if you if you sell your business, and it turns out that one of the statements that you made was false, right? Whether knowingly or unknowingly, about your business, then the buyers got recourse against that 2 million. And if it’s, you know, big issue, they could come after you for more than that. Typically, it’s typically it’s limited to the escrow. But that’s, again, it’s it’s kind of like providing a warranty on the car, right? You’re representing this business as a sound business. It doesn’t have all these different issues.

 I don’t know about any surprises that you might find as a buyer. And if there are surprises, you know, that’s where the contract come in, comes in to determine is that going to be on the buyers nickel? Or is there going to be on the sellers nickel? And so, back to the complexity? You know, that’s where you want a great transaction attorney who knows how to protect you as best he or she can, you know, as it relates to that transaction?

Behind The Name

Roy Barker  38:39 Business Exit Planning

Alright Chris what the other thing you were going to tell us about Class VI partners, I think, I think that’s an awesome name. But where did that come from?

Chris  38:47

So during COVID, we decided we had we needed to do a rebranding and Class VI is a classification system, right for rapids. You know, we have whitewater here in Colorado and Class VI, or, you know, those rapids that haven’t been navigated before, and are treacherous. And so as we like to say, as you’re as you’re going down this process of potentially selling your business or raising money, it can be quite treacherous if you’re not familiar with the river. And so as a guide, right, hopefully will reduce your chances of something really bad happening.

Roy Barker  39:24

That’s a great visual. I love that. Yeah. Yeah. Well, Chris, we appreciate you taking time out of your day to talk to us. It’s been very informative, and we’ll have to get you back on we could talk for another couple hours. I’m sure. You know, this is an exciting, I can see your passion for what you do really shines through. So I think that’s awesome as well.

Chris  39:43

Well thank you so much for having me. And likewise, it’s great that you’re doing this for your listeners and always, always happy to help entrepreneurs.

Roy Barker  39:52 Business Exit Planning

Alright. So before we go, a couple questions. First off, do you have a tool or a habit, something that you do every day that you feel like adds a lot of value personally or professionally,


Chris  40:03

I will tell you that, for me, it’s exercise. You know, in our careers, things can be pretty stressful. And so, you know, my, my morning starts out with a little bit of reflection on kind of what’s important. And then usually, you know, 45 minutes to an hour of some type of exercise. That just helps me kind of level set and clear my head. It’s, I’ve done that for probably 15-20 years, and it’s worked out really well.

Roy Barker  40:30

Yeah, I like that even during the day, if I get blocked up, just taking a you know, 10 minute walk outside just really clears your head and come back. And you’re like, wow, that that problem wasn’t as big as what I had made it into just getting a little getting a little air.

Chris  40:45

Yeah. 100% 100%.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  40:48 Business Exit Planning

All right, we’ll tell people who you’d like to work with, of course, what can you do for them, and how they can reach out and get a hold of you?

Chris  40:55

Sure. So our ideal client is really it’s an entrepreneur, typically, with a business that’s, you know, probably more than five or 10 million in revenues. And, and the best clients for us are really what I call lifelong learners. You know, these are folks who love to better themselves, they love to better their businesses, they want to learn more, you know, we’re going to be a great fit for them and, and they’re going to be a great fit for us.

And we said, we love working with those entrepreneurs. If they if they have an interest, they can reach out to me My email address is Chris, C H R I S @ Class VI Partners. That’s Class VI Partners.com and happy to happy to help anybody whether we get formerly engaged or not. Like I said, Our mission is to enable the entrepreneurial spirit. And so even if we don’t get engaged, I love talking with entrepreneurs.

Roy Barker  41:49 Business Exit Planning

Awesome. Yeah. And we’ll include all those of that in the show notes as well. All right, Chris, I hope you have a great afternoon and thanks so much for stopping by. That’s great. Thank you so much. You bet you bet. that’s gonna do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. Of course, I am your host Roy. You can find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com we’re on all the major podcast platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Spotify.

If we’re not a one that you’ve listened to please reach out I’d be glad to add it to make your listening easier. You can also find us on all the major social media platforms we typically hang out on Instagram more than others so we’d be glad to engage with there. Also a video this interview will go up on our YouTube channel so go check it out. Till next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

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People Buy People: Trust Is the True Currency of Sales

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Business Podcast

People Buy People: Trust Is the True Currency of Sales Featuring Rob Elliott

People buy People. Trust. The internet has contributed to sales becoming a lost art. We have gotten use to a consumer selecting a button on a website we have forgotten how to talk to them. This may work for more transactional products and services but for high ticket items, you still need to be able to convey how you add value. Be patient, follow up, and develop trust with your prospect.

About Rob

Being brought in the family hospitality business exposed Rob to sales and the importance of community at an early age. Watching his parents navigate difficult customers and the expectations of people while at the same time run a profitable business ensured that when he moved to full-time sales roles, he had all the tools needed.

Those same tools have enabled him to become very skilled in public presenting, training as well as giving back to his community through volunteering and raising much-needed funds for charities close to his heart. Roberts mantra is “Just be you”


Rob Elliott Website

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Full Transcript Below

People Buy People: Trust Is The True Currency Of Sales Featuring Rob Elliott

Sun, 8/1 2:39PM • 36:43

Estimated reading time: 33 minutes


people, business, person, sales, pubs, buy, sell, rob, find, call, customer, big, sit, day, coaches, bit, hang, watch, little bit, important, People Buy People, People Buy People: Trust Is The True Currency Of Sales Featuring Rob Elliott


Rob, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:04

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. Of course, we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests, I can talk to a diverse set of topics, hopefully, we can shed the light on something maybe that you haven’t thought about, or if something’s keeping you up at night, and we can definitely provide some information and professionals to help you get that worked out.

We want to see everybody be successful. And with all this technology and code connectivity across the world, there’s no reason why we can’t all be successful and find the information that we need. Today, we’re excited to have Rob Elliot he is a sales and business coach, a speaker and a podcaster. He was brought into the family hospitality business, and expose Rob to sales and the importance of community at an early age.

Watching his parents navigate difficult customers and the expectation of people while at the same time run a profitable business ensure that when he moved to a full-time sales role, he had all the tools needed. Those same tools have enabled him to become very skilled in public presentations, training, as well as giving back to the community through volunteering, and raising much-needed funds for charities close to his heart. Rob’s mantra is just be you, Robert. Rob, welcome to the show. Thank you for taking time out of your day to be with us.

Rob  01:31

I thanks very much. Thank you so much again for the interview.

Roy Barker  01:34

You bet you bet. So we’re excited. You know, we we don’t get to talk about sales a lot here. And I think it’s a lost art in the last few years in this digital world. But before we get into that kind of tell us a little bit more about your background, you know, the family business, kind of how you navigated through that to get where you are today.

More About Rob

Rob  01:55

Look, I was always born in pubs, as you know, in Australia, a huge thing and my dad was actually a electrician by trade. And he was he was looking for something slightly different. And you got offered a traineeship. Back then to I get in the pubs and I think I was probably five or six I was just a little fella running around upstairs and the dad ran and owned hotels for like 25 years with mum. And you like any family business you got brought up in it.

And my mum and dad were very opposite. There was a big man, gentle giant and bless he was pushed. And mum was more of a call a spade, a shovel type of person, she was black and white. So it was the Ying and the Yang. And it was actually great because I pubs in those days in Australia, especially with tough places, you had to through what you would call putting out a persona out there, you had to be able to throw people out of a bar without attaching them and now are bigger and stronger than you.

You had to make someone feel when they walked into the pub, that they were the only person they know they were the most important person. So I watched on our loan. And it was amazing. I don’t think I realized how much I learned until we finished. I mean, we saw their power mom passed away. And we got out of the industry and I would have loved to stay in. But I stayed in the liquor industry. And I went into business with my father and his partner and we worked what we call a bottle shop.

Over here we come and buy takeaway liquor that you don’t buy anything else. So and that was interesting as well, because I was put between two best mates who never should have gone into business together. You know, and that’s and that’s so true. Yeah,

People Buy People

Roy Barker  03:37

yeah. Yeah, it’s interesting. Because you know, that bar business or pub, you know, it’s, it’s challenging, because you have to feel very welcome. I think that’s why people continue to go to the same place because it’s that welcoming. And I think, you know, we had a show years ago, cheers that probably was a little bit over the top. But I think the concept is that, in that environment, people want to go where they’re known where they feel welcome, where their other friends and mates are hanging out, you know? Yes, not a lot of people just want to go and drink over at the end of the bar in solitude.

Rob  04:13

Nah, look, in Australia, there’s no such thing as solitude if you’re standing there by yourself or someone’s likely to walk up and say get a in over chat. You right there, you’re right there in cheese. I actually use cheese when I’m doing training, the actual theme to it and people listen to it. I say now tell me what’s in the theme. Everybody knows your name when you feel welcome and all that I said, you can take that and put that into any business. Right?

It can be a sandwich shop, it can be a bed store. It can mean accountants firm. Yeah, you take the same principles that they built cheese around, which is what they build every successful business around. And all of a sudden every member of your staff is selling. Yeah, all of a sudden, every time it doesn’t matter who they come in contact with. Too many businesses today have forgotten that everybody in the business is part of the sales chain, as we call it, right?

We Buy From People We Like And Trust

Roy Barker  05:08

Yeah. And we go to a little restaurant not far from the house, and that’s fine. We go this, you know, it was a lady that started this business after her. Her husband had passed away years ago. We go in because her and the staff, they, they treat us like we’re going to our friend’s house to eat. Yes. And it’s just so pleasurable.

And I think, some of this, I don’t know, I, I’m older. So sometimes I wonder if I’m just starting to talk like an old man, like, you know, this digital age has taken a lot of that person personable, touch away. You know, I’ve spent a, we were always taught to speak to everybody on the street, hey, how, you know, nothing but more, Hey, how you doing? And, you know, I said, hated this person one day in a store.

And then I, what do you want, they were so defensive about just, you know, just like, a little, you know, just a little bit of greeting basically was nothing more. But I think that we, you know, because on the flip side of this, we do business with people who we like, I think, we maybe see a little bit of ourselves in them, and we want to see them be successful. So it’s kind of funny that we’ve lost that, that personal touch point when that is so important to the sales process.

Rob  06:28

Look, there’s a mantra that we all go live by, and then his people by people, right, they don’t buy the product, they don’t buy the price. Yes, if it’s a transactional sale, that’s fine. But if you’re doing somebody that, that purchases important to you, it doesn’t matter how good the product is, it doesn’t matter, the price doesn’t matter, the company, if the person you’re dealing with or the person’s website you’re dealing with, or the telephone person you’re dealing with isn’t up to scratch or you don’t like it, you won’t buy it. Right, right.

Roy Barker  07:01

Yeah. And always think about the follow-through because I think, I think if you don’t give me enough effort to even try to take my money, what is it going to look like after I buy the product or service if something goes wrong, or if I need support. And so I don’t think we think through that enough that we have to give enough attention on this front end to make people feel comfortable that we’re going to be there on the back end as well.

Rob  07:26

All look so true. I want to buy a new mobile phone about 12 months ago, and I’ve been with the same carrier in Australia, probably 10 years. So there’s three main carrier carriers in Australia and I went down to the shop you know, those beautiful branded shops and all it is all lovely, it’s all this little that and I walked in and saw some of the phones and I said the one of the guys you know, can you tell me what the phone is? And his eyes lit up and he started rattling off this and that and stories and this and everything? No, I I never once asked me was my plan out. never asked me what I wanted. Or a kid watching all the people will pass out the front.

Roy Barker  08:05

And I just went thank you and walked out around the corner to the opposition. Yeah, he never engaged never asked a question never did anything. Now. We used to do a lot of mystery shopping and I would have that going into the establishment and they wouldn’t even ask my name or contact information which was you know, strange because I feel like we need to know people’s names at the very least even if I’m not gonna write it down. Just so we can engage on a personal level not just Hey, you

Rob  08:37

I think a lot of the kids today have been spent too much time with their heads on the phone, right too much time on their laptop and forgotten the art of communication. And it are not saying that you know what, they they shouldn’t be on their phone and that’s fine. I’m on my phone to your on your phone. You know, that’s how we do communicate. But if they can’t turn around and communicate to people in business, what the hope Do they ever have of getting married and having a family right what are they gonna do text the girl or guy across the bar their name, but they don’t know their number. So you know, that falls over here. Right? Right.


Roy Barker  09:13

Yeah. When if you’re going to be in a successful relationship you bet. Well, as a man, you better learn to communicate, but you need to do a lot of listening. Listening. Yeah. No, I saw you know, one of the funniest memes I ever saw was this little kid laying in bed and she texts her mom, would you text me a bedtime story and it’s, it’s funny, but it’s sad in the same respect that you know, we’ve kind of moved to that point.

Rob  09:41

I was I was sitting back before COVID Hill sitting with my wife Rachel down at Darling Harbour which is the big harbor next to Sydney CBD so it links into the beautiful Sydney Harbour and it’s where all the restaurants and the pubs and the bars and the lovely shops and we were sitting there looking at over Sydney Harbour the most It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. And a seafood restaurant. Great view. And we looked out at the table makes to us there was two, there was three millennials. I think they spoke five or six times the whole time or on the phone. Yeah. They weren’t, they weren’t experiencing life. They weren’t watching what was going on around them. Yeah. So sad.

Roy Barker  10:21

And when we go out, that’s one of our experiences. As you know, that’s time we put all the phones away, and we get to set and interact, enjoy the environment, and everything around us, it’s so important to me, let me just say that it’s important to me to feel fulfilled in life. And I guess that I’m like, you, it’s hard to see people go out to eat and, you know, they’re just both on their phone text and, and not even paying attention to each other, you could have stayed home and had TV dinner for that.

Rob  10:47

Well, I might as well I’ve seen staff in shops doing the same thing and saying, hang on a minute, I’m just finishing my text.

Roy Barker  10:54

So, um, you know, this. The other thing I think that the internet has brought us is instant gratification. And I see this a lot in the sales process. But, you know, there, we used to kind of use the agrarian model, say that you had to plant the seed, then you had cultivated, and then you harvested. And I think all the times that we’ve skipped from really not even planting the seed, we just go straight to the harvest, like, you know, are you ready to buy? Oh, can I get you to sign up and think that, you know, we’re missing so much in the middle there.

Rob  11:31

I think there’s two sides of the story, the customers, especially the younger customers, do have a shorter attention span. And so if you don’t get them very quickly, you don’t get them at all. And that’s the way they are. But when someone shows him as what we call a bit of love, they respond very quickly. I if you get a someone who’s never been in sales before or just started out, and they get hung up to get this sale inside them, they jump from the start to the end, they forget is what we call discovery. They forget to ask the person Why are you making the purchase?

What is it is this important about the purchase, and you can do that in a five-minute transaction in a shop that sells shoes, or you can do it in somebody’s gonna buy a car, right? It just comes down to practice, and it just comes down to opening your eyes and your ears. And when we were given two ears, you know, we’ll give him you know, one mouth for a reason. And that’s exactly how much you should talk. Yeah,

Don’t Information Dump

Roy Barker  12:27

yeah, no, I love that reference about the two ears and one mouth, because a lot of times as sales, you know, we think we have to do an information dump. And if I see your lips moving a little bit, I need to talk faster, because I gotta get, I gotta get all this stuff man, and Hatcher be detrimental. I‘ve listened to some calls that you hear salespeople, you know, what I call run through a stop sign. And this was the this was like a senior living community where the goal of the phone call was to get somebody to come visit.

And so the salesperson was going through and you know, after a couple minutes, she’s like, Oh, yeah, this sounds good. We really need to come visit. You know, I mean, that’s like the answer. Okay, well, if you could just hang on just a minute, I want to tell you, and she kept going. Yes. And then the customer or the prospect again said, Yeah, you know, all this sounds fantastic. We just really needed to set a time when you’re going to be there and come visit. Okay. And you know, we also offer this and she just kept ongoing.

And so I think we have to, again, this gets back to that good listening, that we have to listen for the signs that they’ve got the information that they need or feel like they need and a lot of it depends on our goal. But like in this, she was wet, ready and willing to come in where we could be face to face. But salesperson had a script, I’m sure that they were just felt like if I don’t get through the script, I haven’t done my job. We call it overselling.

Rob  14:00

We people, a person stops listening, just keeps going. And I think we’ve all been guilty of it from time to time, especially when we first started out in the industry. Yeah, you just get excited. You just keep going. I’ve got to tell him this, I’ve got to tell her that. I’ve got to do this. And all the time the person is just saying I’m ready to buy.

Roy Barker  14:19

Right. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. You know, I’m talking about discovery. It depends. You know, I think if we’re selling lower price products and services, people are willing to gamble. I would, you know, I would buy a $10 product or service and take a chance that it’s going to be okay, but when we start talking about, you know, 5000 10,020 $5,000 products and services, typically not a one touch, you know, close the deal type scenario.

And so, when we talk about discovery, it’s not only so we can win my opinion is not only so we can kind of pitch our conversation to the needs and the wants of the individual. But if we’re thoughtful enough, we can get some good information for follow up, because the chances that we’re going to need to follow up with the phone call or an email is highly likely. And instead of just saying, hey, Robert, this is Roy, talk to you last week, are you ready yet? You know that, and I still get those calls to this day.

But we can say, Hey, you know, I know that you go out the you know, you go out to eat by the harbor, you’d like to go out down there and sit and have dinner, you know, we have a little bit of personal information that we can actually have a conversation with. Look, the best people that do this are the real estate agents if they’re trained, right?

Rob  15:45

If you ever watch like million dollar listing New York or LA, they have guys and ladies on there that are different levels, but most of them are multimillionaires themselves. But a well-trained real estate agent will turn around and say to you if you’re visiting your home, so what do you like about the home? And you’ll start saying this, but automatically, Simon also what they don’t like, and people don’t realize is what they’re doing is they’re not trying to do anything wrong. They’re qualifying you. So if you don’t like this home, I’ve got this other one, right.

Give us your email, give us your name. I’ll send you over the details. And if you want to have a look at it, let me know. And we’ll put you in, that means he doesn’t lose the sale. She doesn’t lose a sale. Right? And it’s exactly what you’re talking about. You get that little bit more information. We call them open questions. Never a closed question in sales always open never yes or no. Right. And unless you’re closing.


Roy Barker  16:44

Yeah, and I think this even plays into if we lose the opportunity up front and talking about a real estate. You know, I’ve got a great example that happened a few years ago, where I was selling a house, I interviewed a couple of agents found one I like she was young. She was an older person, but young in the business. And she just seemed very hungry and very eager. So I ended up going with her. And things just didn’t work out. It was a total disaster. But there was one lady, one of these five people that I had initially talked to, when I told her, you know, sorry, I’m going with this other person, she never quit.

She never called me and said, You don’t need to take this over. But she would send me information. Here’s some information about the market in your area. I thought you might find this useful. And even would send me like a recipe. You know, this was around the holidays. So she had sent me, you know, like a cider recipe or something. But this lady dripped on me every week. And guess what? When this other deal blew up? She was top of mind. She’s who I called him, she can market herself to me like this. What can she do with my home?

Rob  18:01

Look 100% right, they made the best way to sell is not to sell? Yes. She didn’t sell. But she sold. Right. She put she kept herself in front of you. Yeah. It also means that when you went to sell, you’re going to be looking for something. Guess who was the first person you’re gonna call to help you find a new place? It’s going to be her.


Roy Barker  18:22

Yep. And I think this resonates through a lot of industries that maybe I’m just not ready. I may love your price on a love your product. But you know what, it’s just not the time for me, I’ve got either other expensive things that I’m purchasing or the thing that you’re selling. Mine is not worn completely out yet. But and so what I guess where people you know, they make the one phone call, and then they quit.

They’re not there. And that’s one thing I try to teach is that it’s so important just to keep dribbling because you never know when they’re going to be ready. We can’t anticipate but they’re gonna go with who their top of mind with not. Remember you may be from six, eight months or a year ago and try to think back on who that guy was.

Rob  19:10

Well, if anyone listens, especially your American audience, Tom Brady, he was the third quarterback when he started out and all he did was hang around, kept training. He did the stuff before and after he picked up after everyone. He just hung in me. Yeah. And when the opportunity came and the number two was was was couldn’t do it. He got in and look at he Yeah. You just got to hang around without without going over the top without being a pest.

Patience and Hard Work

Roy Barker  19:40

Right. Yeah, we just lost a an awesome musician who’s actually from here in Texas. Dusty Hill with ZZ Top. I don’t know if you if you’ve ever heard of them but so anyway, he unexpectedly passes away and there’s a guitar tech it’s been his his He has been his guitar tech for 30 years. Wow. And that was dusty, evidently from raw I have read that was his last request is that my guitar tech take over this position.

So 30 years as a guitar tech behind the scenes, and now one day, you know, they’re not as big as they weren’t my youth. But still, it’s a pretty well known name that he has stepped up to be on stage. So I think that you know, the perseverance and just never giving up. But also having that knowing where the middle is, of being a pest, and being consistent, because there is a fine line in between there.

Rob  20:40

I mean, if you want to, we’re now we’re in the middle of the Olympics. At the moment, you’ve only got to look back to the Winter Olympics two years ago with Steven Bradbury from Australia, who was sitting fifth in the ice skating, and everyone in front of him fell over. And he skated through and got the gold. Yeah, he was good enough to be there. He just waited for his opportunity. And that’s no different in sales or business. Right?

Roy Barker  21:04

Right. So what is your strategy? If you’re reaching out to people cold? Are you? Are you more of an educator, I find myself being more trying to educate people, not only in the beginning, but also, you know, as we go through time.

Rob  21:21

Look, I, when I first meet someone, I just asked a few questions how their business is going, and they got new challenges, and I listen, and I never take a client on that I can’t help. But I’ll help them find someone who’s best for them. Because we’re coaches and advisors, coaches aren’t experts. But what we just like the casual football side, or a cricket side, or whatever your sport or business you’re in. The person who knows their business the most is the person who and they know how to cook the cake.

They know how to do the books. So what we do is we sit there and listen and watch, and then help them discover the best solutions for what they’re doing. And then if we can’t find it, and they can’t find it, we go out and find it for them. So I like to find just one thing that they need help with. Yeah. And it’s and it’s like, I suppose you call it the chink in the armor. But if I can help someone just fix that one thing that can turn their whole business around, well, that’s I’ve done my job and actually puts a big smile on my face as well. You know,

People Behind Successful People

Roy Barker  22:24

and sometimes we just need somebody to talk to and talk things through. I think it makes a there’s a couple big, larger than life personalities, you know, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that they had other people that they worked with, in the beginning, they kind of rose to the top and were the public figure. But you know, for me personally, it’s always good to have somebody I can trust to bounce ideas off. Or, you know, when you get down say, well, this thing is really crushing me. You just get a little bit of a lift. Anyway, it to me, it’s very important. They’ve all got couches. Yeah.

Rob  23:10

People behind the people, right? They’ve all got mentors, coaches and advisors. Every single one of them. Yeah. Even Tony Robbins. He’s one of the best known coaches in the world has got coaches. Got a coach? Yeah. Because as we say, in Australia, you got to have someone that’s willing to call you out. We say a little bit differently, but I’ll keep up the polite version. You got to have someone and it can be a maid that just sits you sit there and talk to Yeah, it can be a friend, it can be another business person in the same business as you and you become each other’s Yeah. And then and then that’s when you start to after that you’d start looking for getting professional coaches in that really can save you time and money.

Roy Barker  23:53

Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s an important point that you make is you don’t want somebody that’s just a yes man or not, you know, you’re the best You’re doing great. Keep on I mean, you know, we need that cheerleading for sure. But, you know, if I tell you that, you know, I want to sell ice cream, you know, down around the equator, you know, with no electricity, the keep the stuff frozen. You need somebody that’s going to say is that really, you know, the best use of resources?

Rob  24:24

I’ll look, I’ve said I’ve had people come to me complaining about their opposition, doing so much better than them. And I said, so why? And they start making excuse after excuse now, it’s a setup because when we asked a user word why a person goes into what we call justification mode. So if you’re doing one on one personally, personal coaching you don’t use that word. He is what made you or you will use other words, so either internal or inside of them, so they’re obviously doing something you’re not what is it and you know, Watch the blood drain out of the face. And I get why I get a bit clammy. Because we’ve called him up. And there is always something else.

Sell On Value, Not Price

Roy Barker  25:10

Right? Right. Yeah, cuz like we were talking about earlier, if even if you’re dealing, if you’re dealing with somebody that you like, and you trust them, I’ll tell you personally, I’ll pay a premium for that, because it’s hard to find. And because I see a lot of, you know, most sales, people that are struggling, the first thing they talk about is, well, this other company is undercutting me. And so, you know, typically, it’s always pricing-related. But, you know, what I say to and I’ll get your opinion on this is, if you’re competing on price, you’re, you’re in a losing situation, because there will always be somebody trying to come along and undercut you, we have to try to sell on value, what value do we bring to this problem that we’re trying to solve?

Rob  25:56

will look, if you want to look at analogy there, I completely agree is cars. If that was the case, you would only have cheap Chinese Kia, ion di cars around, and Mercedes and BMW would be out of business. Right? So they all do the same thing. They all get you from one place to another. Right. But, you know, it’s it’s a case of you get what you buy, you get what you pay for. Right? And it’s got nothing to do with price Really? In the end? Yeah,

Roy Barker  26:26

yeah. Yeah, it’s usually typically what I’ve seen. And it’s our messaging is that, you know, we, we need to really take the time to explain our value proposition, what we bring to the table, how we can help you, and then how, you know, if your follow up, what your follow up is, anyway, a lot of room in there to work besides just what’s the price,

Rob  26:47

and you’ve also got to be willing to walk away, if a customer’s fixated on price, he’s gonna want your best of everything for nothing. So I tell people walk away. Yeah,

Roy Barker  26:57

I was just fixing to bring, I just jotted that down when you earlier, when you said you’d like to, you know, the people you’d like to work with is that it’s important that we have people that are on our same philosophy level. Because if not, what I find is it just you can make a bad customer, you can make a customer that drains your time, drains your energy, and you end up firing later in the process anyway. And so, you know, like the price thing, I find this interesting, because of the law of, I guess of scarcity is that sometimes when you say, maybe this just really isn’t for you. And then all of a sudden, you know, when it’s about 50% of these people, then they get their backup? Well, I’ll prove to you why it’s for me.

Rob  27:49

Look, people do attract people who are very similar to them. Yeah, that’s natural. And we can call it nation, you can even call it you will want to do business with people who are close to who you are. And I’m not talking about selling your hammer and getting those, you know, those small transactional sales, but you will find people in any type of service business. Normally their customers are aligned very close to who they are and what they stand for without them even knowing it. And the universe has a funny way of delivering to you those who see. Yeah.

Roy Barker  28:27 People Buy People: Trust

Yeah, it’s interesting that and I guess the converse of that is, we also need to be careful who we surround ourselves with, because, again, I’ll let you speak to it. But typically, we are the, the average wage earner of everybody who we surround ourselves with,

Rob  28:49

how lucky you are and all you’ve heard it so many times you are the five people you surround yourself with. People think it’s a cliche, it’s actually not it’s fact. Yeah. You can learn so much if you’ve got a good support group around you, you can learn so much and support each other. And I said to someone was Annie the other day, they were talking about our had a really good week, and I’d went down to the pub and all that and one of the guys was a bit of a negative Nelly. And I went I said, you know, what was his point knew I Oh, you’ll never be any good.

This is as good as you’re gonna get. I said dumping. So what do you mean, it’s a dumping? I said, All he is is a black hole. It’s sucking all your positive energy out and leaving you with negative, right? I said, you don’t need him in your life. I said, He’s your he’s putting self-doubt into you. And that’s the same in business. You can have your personal friends and your business friends. Your Business friends are there to support you. If they’re not being that way. I know it’s brutal, but you need to surround yourself with people who are gonna lift you up.

It’s an assignment to add basis if you’re working with people. Don’t hang out with people who sit there and moan and groan at the office cooler about how everyone’s bad Hang out with the guys who are quietly sitting down the back, getting their budgets, having a good time. And with a big smile on their face.

Roy Barker  30:08 People Buy People: Trust

Yeah. Yeah, definitely good advice. So we’re getting close on time, what are some other tips that you’d like to, you know, give out to people in the sales area?

Rob  30:22

Look, I believe in also giving without expectation. And I looked at two ways, don’t be afraid to provide value to someone, even if they’re not going to buy for you. Because that person that may not buy off, you may refer, right? Someone tunes Hello, this guy’s honest, he’s good guy to him. Yeah, I also believe strongly being part of your community. And I don’t mean picking a charity and donating money, just so you can put it on your website to say hi, right? Find a charity or cause it can be helping out the local baseball club, it can be helping out homeless youth, it doesn’t matter. Yeah. Get and be part of your community.

But if you do it very quietly, people will notice you might not think so. Yeah, but they they look over, they say you know what, he owns a local bead store. And he’s Danny helping us give out meals and look after the homeless, but he’s not seeking anything for it. And without, you will get back three or fourfold without a blink. So that’s just one of my mantras. And the last one is, of course be you don’t try and be someone you’re not.


Roy Barker  31:32

That’s one of my favorite sayings is be you everybody else’s taken. You get it? You know, I think that, you know, the bigger point of what I just heard you say is that, you know, we kind of even getting back to the people, we surround ourselves and we, we really are that energy, you know, we we whatever we put out in the world, that is what we get back.

And that’s kind of careful to, to pick that. But the other interesting thing about, you know, even providing value to people that may not be your customer, because I hear people scared, like, Oh, I don’t want to give this away, you know, the secret sauce and don’t want to tell them too much. They may do it themselves. And you know, my point always is, if they’re going to do it themselves, they’re going to do it themselves.

Whatever you tell them, they help them a little bit. The other thing though, at giving information is we may actually educate somebody why they shouldn’t try to do it themselves that, you know, if there’s little intricacies or, you know, like myself, I’m a do it yourselfer. But when I get jammed up, you know, I think about the people that have helped me along the way, you know, and I call them to come, you know, clean up this mess that I’ve, unfortunately, we’re all guilty of that from time to time, right.

But we don’t like to admit it, we mean, yeah. Thanks. Rob, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to be with us. It’s been awesome speaking with you. What is a tool or a habit? What is something that you use in your daily life that you feel adds a lot of value?

Rob  33:12

I think one of the most important things is is I call it taking time for yourself. Everyone should take 10 minutes every day, turn the phone off. Fine. I’ve got a favorite spots and a couple of parties, I can just sit turn everything off radio, put a little bit of music on and just chill. Now, I call it a reset, especially if you’re having one of those days where things just aren’t going right. Right? Or take the time to celebrate a good week. But take five to 10 minutes to be you to look after you every day. And I’ll tell you what, within a month, you’ll be a different person. Yeah.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  33:54 People Buy People: Trust

Self Care is so important. You know, a lot of us are guilty of, you know, being givers we want to give and get but we can’t give our best if we’re not at our best. So 100% 100% All right, awesome. Well, that’s good advice to those out there. So I certainly do appreciate that. So tell everybody, who do you like to work with? How can you help them? And of course, how can they reach out and get a hold of you.

Rob  34:20

I like to work with people who are open, who are willing to be honest, who just want to improve and be better at what they do. Doesn’t matter what their business is. I like them to be able to come to me and go, hi Rob. This is where I’m at. How can you help me or how can we work together? And that means more to me than anything. He then after that? Look, I say look can look my website, you know Rob Elliott.com.au have a look on my Instagram, you know, see what you do. And then come back to me with four or five things that are concerning you in your business or concerning you in sales. Okay, and then we’ll sit down work through But pretty relaxed, very chilled. But also I’m not here to be your friend.

Roy Barker  35:06 People Buy People: Trust


Rob  35:06

But I mean, that’s where people use You said yourself before you can employ anyone to, to buy smoke to tell you how good you are. Or you can sit say with someone and go, what do I need to improve? And the very what we call brutally honest. Right, right. And you’ve got to be brutally honest and being brutally honest to me. It’s showing love. Yeah. And I do I everything I say to someone comes from the right place. So that’s how I look at people and I manifest them and they come to me.

Roy Barker  35:35 People Buy People: Trust

Yeah. No, I think that’s the important the outlet that we come to you with that, you know, we have to be wanting that help and want really get to the root if, if all I need to know is how good I am like to go see my mother. She’ll tell me that. She’ll tell me that every job. Yeah, my mom was also good at telling me the other side. All right, Rob. Well, thanks so much for taking time out of your day y’all reach out to Rob see how he can help you.

You know, get your business on track help you in that sales process. I know he do work wonders for you. So again, thanks so much. that’s gonna do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. You can find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. We’re on all the major podcast platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Spotify, we’re on all the major social media platforms, as well hang out on Instagram a little bit more. And then also a video of this interview will go up on our YouTube channel. So go check that out. Until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

Rob Elliott Website

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Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important. Being self-aware is key to a lot of things in life. We also need to be very aware of others we are wanting to communicate with and build relationships with. We have to take into account the individuals, cultural differences, surroundings, social, emotional, and behavioral theories to be successful in relationship building.

About Salman

Salman is a Biomedical Engineer by qualification, an Auditor by profession, and a reformist and visionary at heart. He has lived on four continents and worked in thirty countries. The diversity and experiences afforded him an insight into working with different cultures, values, and personality types.

He leads trainings and workshops on the enclosed subjects; meeting and teaching a thousand new people every year. With decades of experience, Salman’s work provided him with a better understanding of our various emotions and behaviors. Now these practices are found in one place


Razalution Website

Salman Raza Website

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Full Transcript Below

Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important To Being Charming and Disarming Featuring Salman Raza

Sat, 7/31 2:36PM • 54:59

Estimated reading time: 39 minutes


societies, ego, business, countries, people, culture, absolutely, personality, vision, world, china, individual, important, book, higher, smiling, lead, index, understand, Houston, Self-Awareness, Self-Efficacy are important, Charming and Disarming


Salman, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:03 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. Of course we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests speaking to a diverse set of topics. Hopefully we can shine a light on something maybe you haven’t thought about to help you be successful or if you have something that’s keeping you up at night.

We’d be glad to hope you can use the information that we’re presenting and rely on our professionals that we have to help resolve that we want to see everybody be successful. Today we are pleased to have with us Salmon Raza, he is on Well, he’s the owner of Razalution which awesome name by the way, but he’s also the author of “Life’s Non-Conformities: An Auditor’s Tale of Practical Application of Social, Emotional and Behavioral Strategies.” He is Salman is a biomedical engineer by qualification, an auditor by profession, and a reformist and visionary at heart. He has lived on four continents and worked in 30 countries.

The diversity and experiences afforded him an insight into working with different cultures, values, and personality types. He leads trainings and workshops, meeting and teaching 1000 new people every year with decades of experience. Salman’s work has provided him with better understanding of various emotions and behaviors. Now these practical prac now these practices are found in one place in his new book again Life’s Non-Conformities. Salman, welcome to the show. And thank you for taking time out of your day to be with us. Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important.

Salman  01:47

Thank you, thank you for having me.

Roy Barker  01:48 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

So you’ve had a long and long and winding road, like for you can’t tell us you know, how you got here from a biomedical engineer to to an auditor? That’s quite a leap.

More About Salman

Salman  02:01

It isn’t it is not. Because I I’m in medical device regulations. So biomedical engineering led me to medical device regulations. And then I became auditor, a medical device regulatory auditor. that enabled me to travel the world and interact with different people, different sized companies from billion-dollar company to a one-man-band. So, and all sorts of emotions along the way.

Roy Barker  02:34 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Yeah, four continents and 30 companies. I mean, that’s four, and I’m sorry, four continents in 30. Countries that so that’s quite expansive. Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important. And I’m sure that you know, making that journey, the different cultures, just like you said, the personalities, the practices, I know that you have to be very careful, because we have a reference of our country and our practices, but when you step in somebody else’s country, they may have a whole different protocol.

Salman  03:03

Oh, yeah, absolutely. And, and a lot of focus in the business world, remains on the technical side of things, and the functional side of things, and a lot of soft skills and soft aspects of human interaction. After all, we are all human. And that, unfortunately, get overlooked. A lot of times, we don’t achieve our business goals because of overlooked soft skills. And that’s what we are trying to bring to the forefront that we should focus a little more than what we have.

Roy Barker  03:42 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Right, right. Yeah. And, you know, it’s my reference point is, I’m not even gonna tell you how many years back but we actually had to do a, we had to do some research and a presentation on doing business in different countries. And it was a, it was one of the best exercises that a professor could have ever assigned to us. Because, you know, I think it’s gotten worse today, we’re a lot more casual than we were. But even back then, just all the different rituals and things like that. So different, you know, we have to be careful who we talk to do you look them in the eye, do we look down? All these different things?

Self-Awareness, Self-Efficacy are important

Salman  04:26

Yeah, absolutely. The interesting thing on this journey as I learned, we as a human you can you can see in a triangle or pyramid, the base of it is very The most common the base of a triangle is human nature. So the nature across the globe is exactly the same. We all get hungry, we all need some water, we all need some low end care. So that is the human nature. We all have the same globally. difference.

But then when we move up towards the apex of the pyramid, in between, there’s a layer, which is culture where we bring we are growing up, that is learned. So all these things happening around us, we are consciously and subconsciously, we are learning that trait. That is, because we don’t even realize because we are growing in that environment, but it still, it’s not the human nature, it’s taught and learned. And then you go further up in the triangle that’s unique to individual, that’s personality, that’s my personality I’m born with.

And of course, my personal experiences, my my family and my culture, combined with my personality combined with my exposure in life, that creates me individual. So there is a few layers that we need to understand. And that that makes us complicated. human being.

Roy Barker  06:06 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Right, exactly, yeah. And brought to mind that sometimes, when we’re discussing things, especially with people may be of a different culture, even if we’re on friendly terms, I might say to you, oh, that’s just your perception. But I think what we have to realize is that your perception is your reality, if this is what you’ve lived with, it could be totally different, you know, from my life experiences, even inside of the US, even inside of different cities.

And, you know, I was just thinking, you know, you’re located in Houston, and I’m up in the Fort Worth area. So you know, two of our reference points, if you come up here, you’re gonna eat some barbecue, and some beef for sure, you know, being down in Houston, you may run into, you know, the more the the crab boil, and things like that. So, even within a state, there can be, you know, a lot of nuances across that.

Salman  07:07

Absolutely. And then, and if we are not engaging or interacting with people from different, different cultures and different environment, that gap of awareness increases a great deal. So let me give you some examples. And it perhaps might open up the conversation a little, though, so I follow the Hofstede insight model for the cultural awareness. So that model describes society in six different dimensions. There’s one, the first one is power index, so how societies respond to power.

So if I’m your boss, or I’m at higher hierarchy, how the society see that store, the higher index societies, boss or upper up in the higher management is to God, you don’t talk to them, you respect them, you bow to them, you basically they are like your God, but in low power index societies, yeah, you may have the right you may have the title, but you’re not better than me, you are just like me, so. So countries like China and Russia, they’re really higher on the power index. However, if you are in Scandinavia, I don’t care if you are the CEO, you will stand with me in the same line for food as as I would, and they will talk to you such a such way.

I don’t have any special privilege. So it just society and the expectation, how they respond to power is different. And if you’re ailing from certain culture, where power is important, then you For example, if you are in a chain classroom in China, or in a meeting room in China, questioning or interrupting the presenter is its inaugural you cannot challenge your presenter, he’s your higher up he’s your teacher whereas if you are in UK or in us or any low index society, they will say no, this is why I’m here ask me question and they will encourage you.

Similarly, if you are different, the next dimension is individualism and collectivism. So some societies they believe that individuals are responsible for their own welfare The United States is one of them the one of the highest index on individualism, you are responsible for your own welfare and, and you are not expected to interfere in anyone’s affair. However, if you’re living in a collective society, a lot of Latin America, a lot of Asia, their collective societies, so you are no Carrying yourself only you are carrying your community, your family.

So these expectations within the social norms are very different. So in Japan, people don’t leave jobs in us is, if it serves me, my family, my objectives, I will move on. But in Japan, if you lose, leave the job, you bring insult and dishonor to the company and community. So, there are several layers of culture that we don’t realize that when we interact, right, exactly,

Global Society

Roy Barker  10:33 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

yeah, and that’s interesting. You know, because we don’t want to get too political. But you know, we’re dealing with that here, in the US, as I assume, probably across the world with this pandemic is, you know, where do the individual responsibilities versus the collectivism, you know, it’s a very blurred line. So even though we can make the two distinctions, it’s still not that easy, you know, going forward, and especially, you know, we run into all these different things, as we try to do business across the lines. And as we become a global society, you know, it’s not the same as talking to your next door neighbor, you know, trying to sell them an item versus, you know, taking all these different things into account as we do business across the world.

Salman  11:21

Absolutely. In business, well, for example, yeah, you do a lot of things out of courtesy, you do a lot of things out of norm, not because you agree with them, but that is the normal that country right. So let me give you an example of contract law. When we write a contract law in Western Hemisphere, we we go to the every single possibility is written on it.

And after 1000 page of details, you say force majeure, oh, then you come to force majeure, that we don’t know what else we can ride on. If you’re writing a contract law in, in Asia, in Japan, in particular, China, force majeure will probably won’t be fifth or sixth line. Because that culture deals with trust. And if you don’t have trust, then what’s the point of dealing with it? So if you want me to write that sort of possibilities, and in eventualities, that means there’s lack of trust in between parties?

And then if you don’t trust me, then what’s the point dealing and doing business with me? So there is a different perspective, the intent on United States or UK point of view is not that they don’t trust you, it just, they liked everything to be written on paper. Whereas in China, in Japan, and a lot of countries, they say, No, you have to trust me to move forward. Right? It’s same breath. normal practice in Western Hemisphere, we do business during the day. And then you socialize in the evening, you go for dinner, you go for drinks, or whatever. In China, when you go to do business, before you talk business, you will socialize.

And one of my client approached me, and then they asked me, we’ve been drinking for last three days, when we’re going to talk business. And I thought, okay, if you’re drinking for last three days, that means you will not talk business because they haven’t established trust level they’re looking for. So they socialize, first, establish the trustworthiness. And if you are deemed trustworthy, then they will talk business as if the other way around in United States. So it’s all about perspective and how things proceed. And,

Roy Barker  13:43 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

and it makes a big difference. Because if you come on too strong in those societies and tried to skip that socialization piece, they’ll basically just cut you out and say, we’re not going to do business with you, not only because we can establish trust, but you obviously don’t understand, you know, our cultural need to establish that trust moving forward.

Salman  14:06

Oh, yeah. And similarly, if you are going into some Latin American societies, that trust is built, not necessarily directly, it almost always is through an intermediary. You need a reference that someone can trust. So I, if I’m looking for a service, I will ask within my circle, do you know someone trustworthy and then I will go on recommendation, it works in the greater extent at all societies, but a lot more in certain societies. So we need to understand the dynamics of those cultural upbringing and cultural values to penetrate in those situations.

Charming and Disarming

Roy Barker  14:51 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Yeah, we we tend to forget that, you know, there are a lot of other cultures out there. And, you know, we live in our own world until we Don’t. And then sometimes it’s too late if we haven’t done our homework on that. Yeah.

Salman  15:05

And it is very relevant in these cosmopolitan societies. Because, yes, we are in the United States, but it’s a Global Village, we are interacting with people who have come to and from all across all corners of the world. And even though they speak the same language, they dress like ourselves, but they, subconsciously, they have a cultural value that we are not aware of. Right? Certain things can be perceived very differently. And so it goes both ways.

Roy Barker  15:36 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Yeah. So what of the 30 countries that you’ve worked in? What was the most difficult cultural environment that you’ve been in?

Salman  15:48

I wouldn’t say difficult, because they all are. They have the different values, and they are. But you just need to be aware and mindful. So the experience of I had a lot of countries that I have traveled, you have to adjust your expectation, and you have to adjust your routine to certain extent. For example, once I was working in Scandinavia, I think Denmark, it was, and I came back from work, stay in my hotel room start working again, before I knew it was already almost 830 in the evening, and as Oh, I better get out and eat something.

So by the time I got out, almost everything was shot. And I thought, Oh, I need to be careful, you know, I shouldn’t make it to that late for the week, I was working in Barcelona, and I was okay, I’ll make sure I’ll go for my dinner in time. So 730 went out, and almost everything was shut again. And then they said, Come back at 930. Because we don’t open for dinner that early. So and if you’re Brazil, it’s going even later, so.

So it’s not only the behavior is to society, how they the common language, the terms, I used to say, we’ll do that after lunch, we’ll do that before lunch. That lunch, is my perception was 12 1230. In Barcelona, it was 230. So, so I had to say no, I should be more specific in terms of time, rather than just a generic term after lunch, because after lunch means different things in different places.

Culture Differences

Roy Barker  17:42 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

And, you know, I’ve run into that before as well, you know, hearing where I’m from five o’clock, six o’clock, latest, you know, we’re sitting down to have dinner and you know, being in a place like New York or LA, you know, I’d be ready to go back to my hotel and go to bed at like, nine or 10 o’clock, and they’re like, hey, let’s go out and have dinner, you know, they’re just kind of getting their night started. And it’s, it’s, it’s, sometimes it can be kind of hard, you know, like to keep up if you’re not expecting that.

Salman  18:15

Yeah, absolutely. There are several layers of it that that goes and and this is kind of informal setting. But when you get into the formal settings, within the organization, the organization, culture and the practices and in negotiations and managing teams and working with a different person that may have a different cultural background or personality type, it gets very difficult. So we have to be a lot more aware and mindful.

Societyal Differences

Roy Barker  18:53 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Can you the first one you mentioned was the power index, I guess the, you know, like you were saying, maybe what China and Russia have a little bit different thoughts of their leader. So when we’re doing business in those countries with that culture? Do we start at the Do you have to start at the bottom and work your way up as far as you know, talk about, you know, maybe having a conversation about your product and if there’s interest or is it expected that you start at the top?

Salman  19:26

It depends what we are dealing with here. So for example, the higher up person, the boss has the ultimate responsibility and subordinate expect to receive clear instructions from the top. So if, if, for example, a boss says, I want to do this, I want some ideas, bring in your ideas.

He, in a lot of cases will lose credibility, because you’re the boss, you should tell us what to do. If you don’t know Why you’re the boss, they are expected to lead they are expected to give instructions. Whereas if you are, if you are in low index societies, Scandinavia is one of them. If someone is giving instructions to their subordinates, so well you hired me to do the job, then trust me, let me do the job. Why?

Why are you bossing me. So so there is a difference. And, and again, you don’t have to be in those countries to feel that, right. You can feel all those things in Fort Worth. And in Houston in New York, because we do come across those are those instances where people feel, and it goes all the way up to personality, some personalities, they like, specific things, and very, to the point things and some personalities, like reassurances and validation of what they’re doing the same time. So it’s, it’s a very mindful thing that we need to be aware of.

Roy Barker  21:01 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Yeah, and I think it’s a good point to, you know, remind that, even though, even though we’re in the states and you know, Fort Worth or Houston, that just because we hire the hire individuals, they are definitely that individuals. And that’s why we have to get to know them, because we have to, we have to understand, you know, what are the cultural differences, because it affects the way that we manage and our expectations, and I’ve got a great examples, I had a young lady that worked for me for a while that she was great at her job, but she was very, she was very quiet and reserved.

And so you know, I’m I asked her, can you research a couple things for me, get me some, you know, tell me about this more. She would do it immediately. But she was so reserved that she wouldn’t speak up. And so you know, maybe two, three hours later, I’m like, have you had time to look? Oh, yeah, I’ve got it right here. So you know, it’s something I had to learn to manage about her is that, number one, it’s okay to interrupt me and let me know, you know, when you get through, or that, I just have to know that, you know, I have to keep coming back to her to ask her when I’m ready for the information, and she will have that.

But there are some other individuals that, you know, you kind of have to pump the brakes on them. They’re like, they got the inflammation, and they’re fixing to get started on something. And you’re like, I have to go back. So, you know, again, I think this is why it’s so important that we get to know our teams. So we know how to manage each individually that we can’t manage a 10 2030 man team, all this exact same way.

Salman  22:46

Exactly. And to get the best out of right, we need to we need to find the ways that what takes them what what makes them feel assured and confident. And so that’s all the managers or to do to give them confidence. Yeah, into my showrooms and security, that whatever their style, whatever their preferences, you’re secured in a short and you have element.

Value Comes In Many Ways

Roy Barker  23:10 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Right, exactly. Yeah. And that’s another thing, you know, like that different things make different people feel valued. Again, we can’t just apply one method to everybody, we really have to take the time to get to know and that’s not a bad thing. I don’t think I’ve always suggested that we think, I don’t think we take that time nowadays. And you know, everything has gotten shortened up instead of even on emails, you know, good morning, how’s your day, you know, having a few pleasantries, it’s like, bam, it’s like, I need you to do this, or, you know, it’s just right, Kurt and to the point, and we’ve lost a lot of that social interaction, you know, in this digital world that we live in.

Salman  23:51

That is true. Again, it’s probably is generational, but it is happening. Yeah. So managing those expectations, understanding the requirements. So, there are several ways that we need to be mindful of

Roy Barker  24:10 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Yeah, for sure. So we got to the individual versus the collectivism, what what are what’s the number three on our list?

Salman  24:18

They are they are six as I said. So the two we already spoke about the turn one is, so we did power we did individualism collectivism. And then there is a uncertainty avoidance. So how societies respond to uncertainty. So that’s one so some some societies they they don’t mind. They just, they find themselves resourceful, innovative, and they said, No, I don’t need to know the details. I can just wing it, as we call it.

We all just go along and then find a way to do it. I don’t need to know the precise details, because other society to say, No, no, no, I need to know if there is a plan if there is a contingency and all that. So that’s another the third one, which is very important is the Hachette insight model describes them as masculinity and femininity, but it’s not the general masculine and feminine. It’s the competitiveness, how societies responds to competitiveness.

So do I celebrate my success and brag about it, or some society says, No, I don’t need to brag my overall harmony of the society is more important. So a lot of countries that we deal with, they have they scale, some are higher, some are lower, very competitive, we play hard, we celebrate odd and that sort of thing. And some, for example, Scandinavian countries, they are so low in that masculinity call, you can call them feminine, they care about harmony. So they don’t like to be differentiated because of the success.

So society is willing to pay more tax to bring the gap between rich and poor to bare minimum, whereas higher competitive societies, there’s no I have worked hard for it. And I, I want to be sending out so there is one, one of that. So we have seen these four, then this fourth, fifth and final, fifth and six were fifth is long term orientation against short term orientation. So some societies, they like to plan ahead, they like long term planning in their planning. They think, for example, in China, the business plan in as compared to us, we have a five year plan, or, you know, mostly three to five year plan business plan.

In China 50 year plan, it’s 70 year plan. Their long term orientation they don’t think of today and tomorrow, they are thinking long term, even the emergency plans for two, three years. That brings a different attitude, in expectations. So because I don’t expect results tomorrow, because my plan is for 50 years, so you can invest earlier, but in that duplex, reflecting society. in us, we are relatively short, term oriented, we like nicer house bigger house, it doesn’t have to be full brake, it can be relatively lighter, that can sweep away in one fluid, but like that nicer, shiny thing, whereas in other societies they want pure brake doesn’t have to be big, but it has to be solid that last generations, you know, in a lot of countries inherit their homes from the great, great grandparents.

So that’s the fifth dimension. The sixth one is indulgence. how society responds to pleasure. Some societies are very expressive, they like to express when they’re happy. They like to display emotions in public. Some societies don’t like that. Some, some societies are reserved. So if you are in Latin America, or Mexico, in particular, the life part like expressing the like expression, expressing the emotions. But if you are in other countries, such as Asian countries, in China, in particular, they’re very well preserved.

They don’t like to display their emotions in public even. Not much anymore. But if you go few years back, even family pictures, everyone appears very serious. They don’t like to smile because it’s a public image. They need to be seen as serious. in the same breath, if you are a professional meeting in some countries, if you’re smiling, you’re not taken seriously. Because you you are you are perceived to be joking around. You’re not expert, why you’re smiling. Yeah, doing serious business. Whereas in us in Western Hemisphere, you cracking a joke to break the ice is is traditionally very well received. So you should be behaving in that fashion. That is the cultural expectation. So these are the six dimensions that that culture brings into

Roy Barker  29:51 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

play. Yeah, and you talk to the long term versus short term and something in and you’re very generous to say American cup. Knees look three to five years, because a lot of the public companies, if they can look three months out to the next quarterly earnings, that’s long, it’s long term for them. You’re right. And we make some really, you know, I speak from a little bit of experience that I work for, you know, a huge corporation for time.

And in the beginning, things were different. Because, well, you know, we’re basically kind of a monopoly. So, while we were still public, you know, focus was on service, and then some things happened in the industry. Then all of a sudden, you know, we were a smaller company. And we, we live quarter to quarter. I think the thing that that really killed me about it is, you know, we would spend, well, we would do some, we would take action to save $1 today, that cost us $5, in seven months from now, but because this affected the quarterly earnings, now, you know, somebody made a decision to not do it the right way.

So when you look at the different businesses, you know, the longer term planning, you know, 50 to 70 years, I mean, that’s a lot. But basically, you know, in general, do you find that they put in to place better plans, more manageable plans, when we’re looking at 10 years versus, you know, three months, six months or a year?

Salman  31:28

Yeah. And that’s a good question. And that the important thing, in that we are coming into the pure business territory now. That aspect, I personally, strongly believe a business should always be very well aligned with the vision. What is your vision where you want to go? Where are you heading? If you lose sight of your vision, and you are distracted by numbers, then you will lose sight. So if you know, this is where, for example, we are going, I need to go from Houston to fourth word.

And I know this is what I need to go. Now if right comes along, most amazing car in the world that is the best ever made. I can be tempted to write on it without realizing that he’s not even going before. Right, right. So he may well be going to San Antonio, or even know. So if we lose sight if we distracted by anything technology, competition, and lose sight of our own vision.

That’s where the problem occurs. So if we need to decide, what is my vision, where I want to go, where I want to lead, once I have that clear part define, then it helps me identify my strategy. Okay. Yes, it is short term, but it will move me away from my ultimate goal. So the decision making becomes a lot easier if we somehow businesses find a way to continuously assess against that vision are we aligned.

So a lot of times in small to medium sized, even corporate world, when you get distracted and bogged down into numbers and quarterly performance, because you want to win because you want to earn a bonus. The likelihood is you’re moving away from your vision. And when you’re moving away from your vision. And there we have tons of stories what happened, you know, quote, what happened to Kodak? You know, what happened to Blackberry, there’s so many business case studies where you can say, You are the gods, what happened to you?

Pay Attention To Others

Roy Barker  33:50 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Right, right. Yeah, you know, not to get too far off track, but you can look at Kodak as an example is they had the answer, right on the shelf. And, you know, they just would not pay attention, because, you know, and some of that, I think lassis more as a question, but a lot of that gets back to ego is we think we’re a leader. And we think we will set the pace. But there’s always a disrupter looking to disrupt.

Salman  34:22

Absolutely. And and this is where the blind spot occurs. Ego you hit the nail on the head, ego in a business environment. It can put you in a blind spot you don’t see what’s coming along your way blockbuster did to Netflix, it’s all the boys just trying to sell door to door. They can’t come beat. That’s what happens to. That’s what Netflix is it the blockbusters. The ego is equally even more important in personal. So our ego, restrict us to achieve even more because ego, start competing with people, we shouldn’t be competing people. I personally believe every single individual in this world has something to offer.

And there is something for me to gain from my ego will restrict them because I get distracted by the obvious behavior and obvious tone of voice or body language I’m seeing, forgetting that there is a wealth of benefit this person has for me, we can benefit from so the ego management, we get threatened easily, we get distracted easily. Let me give you an example of ego. very slightly personal example. And I use listen might find it useful A few years ago, my five year daughter was sat together and she she said to me, daddy, you look ugly and fat. I looked at her, and then I smiled. And of course, everyone else allowed it.

She there was surprised, but I because I was smiling. Everyone was and then I started reflecting on it as to why I’m smiling. Why I’m smiling to a common which in in a general terms is a very rude and disappointed. What say, you know, it’s a spectacle and disappointing. To cut long story short, hopefully, you’ll get to read the book, it has a whole chapter on it. Because my heart is at peace with my daughter. She was not at competition at any level, any psychological level, she is not posing any threat to me, psychologically, is consciously subconsciously, I’m at peace. She’s not threatening me. However, that comment if said, but anyone else in the world would have triggered my ego?

How dare you say that? How dare so my inner even though I may not have uttered those words, but my heart, my mind is thinking, and that happens every single day in our lives. We don’t have awareness of the ego triggers what triggers my ego. And once the ego is triggered, I’m not rational self make decision that I will regret. So the whole point of ego is same. It happens in company settings, business settings, and it happens in personal life every single day, several times a day. Yeah.

Ego Differences

Roy Barker  37:45 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Yeah. And speaking of that, so throughout the different countries that you’ve worked in, how do egos compare? I mean, you know, as far as like, Americans have bigger egos, it’s more involved versus other countries. How is what did you observe there?

Salman  38:04

It is, it is, it is a combination. So you cannot drill down to purely on culture. Because there’s so many other things at play. So it’s not purely dependent on culture, it’s very much on personality types and the settings. However, the high PDI countries, they may behave differently, they have more, they are kind of they grew up in a society where they can take a lot more from their hierarchy, hierarchy.

So if boss is yelling at you, the chances of an American losing control a lot higher because they are not used to taking it. Whereas its bosses giving you hard time, the those societies, those individuals, they have learned to tolerate a little more, that doesn’t mean that it’s right or wrong. We’re not talking about the moral morality of it, we’re just talking about in terms of taking it how do we respond.

So, the term I use in my book quite frequently, never react always respond, because reaction is impulsive. And response is measured. So, if certain societies and certain personalities and certain awareness we are able to minimize the reaction and maximizers plants, so, so this is what leads and it’s a combination of a lot of things.

Roy Barker  39:50

Yeah, and just had a guest on that was a therapist that deals with the lot, you know of emotions, and the workplace and that was one thing we were talking about is that difference between reaction and response? And, you know, a lot of the literature out there says, you know, Count 125, it’s okay to have a reaction. I mean, that’s who we are we are, we react to certain things certain stimulus. But it’s the response, if we will count to five, we will have a much more measured response than what we normally if we would have just, you know, blurted out.

Salman  40:30

Yeah, so that doesn’t mean that we don’t want to communicate the displeasure or the seriousness of the issue. The response may well be strong. Yes, response may well be potent and formative. And However, it’s, it’s more appropriate thought through rather than impulsive.


Roy Barker  40:53 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Yeah. Yeah. Because what I’ve noticed is impulsive tends to, to lead to more personal responses, instead of a response on the issue, you know, target exactly, you know, we can have a very productive, hopefully conversation about something that we disagree. But the minute I say that, you know, I don’t like you, because you have a shirt on that’s, you know, it’s hard to it may be gray or green. But you know, I don’t like you know, the pattern of your shirt, your bad dresser, you know, we start it, we just start going off the edge instead of being on to the issue of, you know, what the, what the discord is actually about?

Salman  41:37

Absolutely. And it is built out to the ego management. And it’s so important because my ego is triggered, I’m losing sight of what is what is the issue? What are we talking about? I’m, my ego is kind of leading me in a non rational direction, where it’s getting personal, I want my ego at any cost me to win? Yeah, is to have the upper hand.

Roy Barker  42:04 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Yeah. And I think it’s, I don’t know, for my opinion, I’m not a scientist or in you know, in the behavior around, but it’s also my, it’s that the willingness is after if I can make you feel bad. Or if I can say something bad about you, then all of a sudden, it makes me? Well, in theory, they think it makes them a winner, or bigger, or better or whatever, when really, it just is the opposite. You know, people see people react that way.

You just have to shake your head and say, you know, what’s up with that, because, guess what, we still got the same problem we had before we deteriorated into this personal thing. And if we’re at work expecially, or well, even in a family environment, we need to solve the problem. And the way that we do that, I feel is through communication, we have to, sometimes we have to just say, you know what, we got to agree to disagree. Leave it at that. But you know, in a work environment more or less, you know, we may have actually come to a solution that we can both live with.

Importance of Communication

Salman  43:10

And it’s communication is important. You don’t even sometimes you don’t even need to solve the problem. Just hear hear them out. Yeah, right. Give them assurance that what you’re thinking is not wrong, necessarily. Know, however, you can lead the conversation that so you’re not suggesting the other person is wrong triggering their ego. it’s valid. It’s correct. However, we have mitigations, or will do blah, blah. So how we communicate is is very important.

Roy Barker  43:46 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Yeah. Yeah. And I think that’s another big point, too, is that if you have a feeling about something that we can’t say that that you’re feeling is wrong, I mean, you have that based on your lived experiences. So we have to, you know, we have to see what that’s all about. But then we get back to that perception issue is that, you know, your perception of whatever this is that is based in? Well, it’s your reality, but it’s based in your life experiences. That’s why you know, you perceive that

Salman  44:20

and that is possibly possibly is due to the personality types that we have several personality types, some personalities, we call them Myers Briggs terminologies they are. They’re driven by the feelings of rather than logic, so doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. We need to understand that the individual in front of me, may be driven by feelings. So I need to give them assurance, not logic, because logic will not go well. Give them assurance, right, that makes them feel comfortable rather than rather than giving them a logical judge. A note that we think will solve the problem. No, it won’t, because they are looking for emotional validation that what they had felt was correct, right? Because for damage,

Gender Differences

Roy Barker  45:14 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

yeah, and you mentioned this, I can’t speak culturally, I can speak to male, female, you know, a huge mistake that I’m guilty of in my relationship is, sometimes she just wants to talk, she doesn’t want an answer or solve the problem as hard. You know, the males, we, when we hear things, we always want to solve the problem where women, they’re pretty good about just like, letting us vent and listening to it.

Salman  45:39

Absolutely. And funny enough to hear there is a bias. And there’s a gender bias and feeling type and perceiving a logical type in males and females, however, it’s not guaranteed I have known males who have feeling types and females who were logical. So I agree with you, but just we need to understand. So just because they are male, they will be logical and the female they will be feeling during it’s not always true. Yeah. I have seen other way around as well. And but you’re right, if there are different personality types, we need to understand.

Roy Barker  46:19 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Yeah, and again, it gets back to understanding and taking, being present. Being mindful, taking the time to understand because, you know, it can drive a real wedge, and you know, now, I don’t have any problems saying, Are you just mitten? Are you looking for an answer? That way I can shift to just listen mode, or I can be, you know, the wheels be turning about do we need to try to solve this problem. And so, again, it I try not to be quite that abrupt, but sometimes we if we don’t understand the situation, it never hurts to just ask, it can save us a lot of heartache. Absolutely. Yeah, I agree. Yeah. All right. Well, it’s certainly appreciate you take the time to be here. Is there anything else any other points that you want to leave us with? Before we wrap this up?

Salman  47:09

I think the biggest takeaway for me too, for your audience is to become lifelong learners. Don’t take things for granted. There’s a lot of soft skills, that we should be aware of personality types, there are different types of people, value individual, every single person in this world has something to offer, it doesn’t matter who that person is, what their title is, they have something to offer. And if we have that attitude, it doesn’t matter, the race, color language culture, if I somehow believe I truly believe, to the core of my existence, that the person next to me has something valuable to, for me, my attitude will change. And I will have a different personality and outlook to the world.


Roy Barker  48:01 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Now know, I can’t say how strongly I believe in that, that we just, you know, we just have to be kind to each other. And know that me trying to put you down is not going to make me any better of a place and vice versa. That, you know, we have to understand that everybody has that value to offer at some point. Absolutely. Yeah. All right. Well, thanks so much for being with us. So do you have a habit or a tool? Is there something that you use in your everyday life that you feel adds a lot of value?

Salman  48:35

Absolutely, there are a few. So there are a few. So the one of the things I speak in detail in my book is, as I said, always respond, never react. And the other ones, I say, always find honest, be honest to yourself, be honest, you can mislead others, but never be misleading your own self. So be honest to yourself, and find your balance. Whatever you do, it has, you have to find the right balance, whether you want to whatever you do find the right balance of managing expectations. And finally, the third one is whatever you do whatever you enjoy doing, you have to be consistent. Do it consistently. Just doing once. Being nice, once is enough. To be nice. You have to do it day in, day out. minute in minute out. So honesty balance and consistent.

Roy Barker  49:39 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Yeah, and then that consistency thing too. I think we have to we have to look at our results over a long period of time. We can’t just do that thing once and if it doesn’t work out or and we don’t get the reaction that we’re looking for. That doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. It just means that it didn’t work. In that instance, and we can’t get discouraged, we still have to still have to keep doing that.

Salman  50:05

They keep doing it until we get it right. Thomas Edison says, I haven’t failed 700 times, I just know 700 times it doesn’t work.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  50:15 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Right. Exactly. Exactly. All right. Well, thanks so much for being with us. Also, tell us a little bit about I love the name of this Razalution that’s your company name. Tell us a little bit about Razalution? how, you know, who do you like to work with? How they could reach out and get a hold? You know, what you could do for them? And of course, how could they reach out and get a hold of you and the man we’re looking at?

Salman  50:38

Well, so resolution is primarily focusing on three fundamental aspects of business. We believe that there are three fundamentals that any business enterprise need to have in in sync to succeed. So the first one we touched upon it is vision, we need to have a clear vision, what we want to do what we want to achieve, and that drives the correct strategy. So vision and strategy.

That’s one, then the second piece in the any enterprise is your infrastructure, how you’re going to do it. So first bit is what, and then the next one is how, so you need to have a system, you need to have infrastructure, procedures, process, the infrastructure that you need to make it happen. And then the third, and the most important of all, is people who will do it. So your team, you need to have a team that can deliver your vision, using the process that you feel that works.

So these are the three fundamental aspects of any successful business enterprise at resolution. We give that advice, all three, what we call it, 360-degree services, fine-tuning the vision and strategy, putting in place the infrastructure in relation to process and then training and making your team competent through cultural awareness, personality awareness, team building and oral leadership. So that’s what we do at resolution. We can be reached@resolution.com. So the book that we have written is purely focusing on the human side of things. And hopefully, we will contribute on other aspects in the coming future.

Roy Barker  52:41 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Okay, great. What’s your website that they can reach out there?

Salman  52:45

Yeah, it’s a razalution.com. Okay, our R A Z A L U T I O N.com. And we’ll be happy to be at your service.

Roy Barker  52:57 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Yeah. And I’ll be sure to include that in the show notes. And can they find information on the book there as well?

Salman  53:03

Absolutely. So there is book information, but there is an additional website, which is SalmanRaza.net, which is specifically for the book. So again, S A L M A N  R A Z A.net. And this is primarily dedicated for the book and they can find a lot more about the book and how to get in touch.

Roy Barker  53:31 Self-Awareness and Self-Efficacy Are Important

Okay, awesome. Yeah, reach out, get a copy of this book, for sure. I think. My opinion again, it’s that, you know, with the digital age and texting and this, you know, it’s like we, we get further and further away from this human interaction. But I think that we really need to be conscious of everybody comes from a different place in how we treat people, how we react, how we have discussions, it’s very important, not only in business but also in our personal lives as well.

So reach out also, you know, if you’re needing some help with the vision, your infrastructure people, let salmon in his group tie that all together for you, put you on the right path to success. that’s gonna do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. Thank you for listening. You can also find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. We’re on all the majors, podcast platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Spotify for not a one that you listen to please reach out, I’d be glad to add it and make your listening easier.

We’re also not on all the major social media platforms probably tend to hang out on Instagram a little bit more, so please send us a message we’d love to interact with you there. A video of this interview will go up when the episode goes live, so you can check that out over on our YouTube channel. Until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

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Develop a Replicable Framework of What Makes Your Business Successful

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Develop a Replicable Framework of What Makes Your Business Successful Featuring Alicia Butler Pierre

Develop a replicable framework. When you find something that works, stick with it! Develop the framework in order to use your successful processes in order to scale and grow your business. We should always be in a continual improvement process, but that doesn’t mean we are running and changing everything at one time. Be strategic, consistent, and success will follow.

About Alicia

Alicia Butler Pierre is the founder and CEO of Equilibria, Inc., a 15-year-old operations management firm. She specializes in increasing bandwidth for fast-growing organizations via business infrastructure.

Alicia has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Louisiana State University, an MBA from Tulane University, and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification. Combined, her content has over three-quarters of a million views across various online platforms. Alicia hosts the weekly Business Infrastructure: Curing Back Office Blues podcast.

She’s also the author of the 2x Amazon bestseller, Behind the Façade: How to Structure Company Operations for Sustainable Success. Committed to doing the right things the right way, Alicia’s mantra is “to leave it better than you found it.” 


Alicia Butler-Pierre Website

Equilibria Website

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Full Transcript Below

Develop a Replicable Framework of What Makes Your Business Successful Featuring Alicia Butler Pierre

Sat, 7/31 11:37AM • 1:02:08

Estimated reading time: 48 minutes


business, people, roy, company, Alicia, process, literally, started, book, methodology, documents, New Orleans, listening, find, customer, months, product, businesses, day, Monsanto, Kasennu, Develop a Replicable Frame Work


Alicia, Roy Barker


Roy  00:04 Develop A replicable framework

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host, Roy. We are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests. That can speak to a diverse set of topics. And try to either you know, maybe help you look at something a little different than you hadn’t thought about. Or if you have something that is keeping you up at night. Maybe we can provide a solution or a professional that would be able to help you out.

We all we want to see everybody successful. And we try to give you you know, as much insight and tools to help you do that. Today, we are excited to have Alicia Butler Pierre with us. We are supposed to be on a couple of months ago got delayed. Alicia, welcome to the show. Thank you for your patience and for being here. Alicia is the founder and CEO of Equilibria Incorporated, where she first formulated the Kasennu, and you’ll have to help me with that if that’s wrong pronunciation methodology for her clients develop A replicable framework .

She has since successfully applied this methodology in over 30 different industries and counting. Alicia has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Louisiana State University Go Tigers, and an MBA from Tulane University. She is also a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and has authored over 200 articles, case studies, videos and white papers in areas of business infrastructure, process improvement and operational excellence. Combined, her content has received over a quarter million views on SlideShare.net alone. And Equilibria is the world’s largest repository of subject of business infrastructure.

And for small businesses. At least her ability to blend scientific business and mathematical methodologies to solve complex operational problems. Enable her to bring a unique, tactical and realistic perspective to her clients. Who have also included larger enterprises like Coca Cola, Lowe’s, Shell Oil. She lives in Georgia with her husband and committed to doing right things the right way. Alicia’s mantra is to leave it better than you found it. Alicia, thank you so much. And welcome to the show. 

Alicia 2:22

Thank you so much for I’m glad we were finally able to make this happen, develop A replicable framework

Roy Barker  02:32

I know. So I’m sure that I butchered Kasennu, as much as he said it correctly. Does it now No. Perfect, okay. And if you give me enough tries. I’ll get it for I First off, I gotta say, you know, I want you to talk us through this journey. Because, you know, you started out working in, I guess in oil and gas and chemicals. Kind of in some chemical plants. It’s an interesting journey that, you know, kind of like for you to tell the readers.

But I want to say what an amazing book Behind The Facade. That’s one of the books that you’ve put out how to structure company operations for sustainable success. And I love it because it talks about two of my favorite things business and the Wizard of Oz. So planning to talk about the meeting was about your journey here. And, you know, kind of how you ended up in the business consulting. And then how you develop this methodology and about the book a little bit of everything.

More About Alicia

Alicia  03:39

Okay, sure. Let me give a cliff notes version without boring your listeners to tears. My my journey professional journey, as you mentioned, Roy, it started with me working as a chemical engineer. And my very first job out of college was at Monsanto. So I always tell people don’t judge me, because I know there are a lot of opinions about Monsanto. And, you know, when I worked there. For those who are listening chemical engineers, we typically work as either process engineers or design engineers. And because I was working, this was a location right outside of New Orleans in Louisiana.

I was pretty much working as a process engineer. And so literally as different batches of roundup were being produced. It was my job as a process engineer to figure out what went wrong or what went correctly. Even sometimes in the process of producing a particular batch of roundup that might have caused it to not meet the specifications. So that’s kind of that was part of our quality control checkpoints. That’s really what I did. As a process engineer. You’re constantly just monitoring. And if you ever need to design a new manufacturing part of the process. As part of improving it or even expanding your your capacity.

That’s the type of work that I did. And what I noticed Roy. When I was working as an engineer at Monsanto, every single unit within the plant was assigned an accountant. And that accountant would come over to your unit once a month, and have a meeting with all of the engineers and the unit leaders. And I have to tell you, Roy, that those accountants may as well have spoken Greek.

Because it was like a completely different language. Talking about assets and liabilities and profitability and revenue. Top-line growth, bottom-line growth. It was, it was completely over my head because my training was as an engineer. I didn’t know a lot about business. Which is why I’m so excited to be on your show The Business Of Business Podcast. I knew the technical aspects of engineering. I didn’t know the business of being in an engineering environment.

And that’s when I realized I needed to go back to business school. So I actually, I eventually left Monsanto and I started working at a small engineering consulting firm that was family-owned. This was also in New Orleans. And at that moment, that’s when I enrolled in Tulane’s Professional MBA program. So I would work full time during the day, go to school at night. And I have to tell you, Business School, opened my eyes up to it was like exploring a whole new world.

I did not look at anything the same again. Even things I’ll never forget one time I walked inside of a Target. And I don’t remember what I was learning at the time in business school. But I just remember taking it all in the logo, the color scheme, the layout of the store, the customer service, the uniforms that the employees were wearing. Things that would have completely been background before. Became came to the forefront because of what I was learning in business school.

And so eventually, I fast forward, I graduated with my MBA in December of 2004. January of 2005, I just had this hunch that I needed to leave New Orleans quick, fast and in a hurry. And I relocated, I relocated to a city where I knew only one person. So I left New Orleans, relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. This was February of 2005. And six months later, Hurricane Katrina happened. But when I when I came here to Atlanta. Roy and not to compare the two cities to each other. But it it was, it was like a brave new world. You know, seeing all of the Fortune, the companies that had a fortune 500 presence, or excuse me, their headquarters were located here.

So companies like Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Chick Fil A, Home Depot, UPS, they all have a presence here. And I thought for sure I was going to get a job. Here I am with this engineering background. Newly minted MBA. I was not going to bang down my door to hire me. And that did not happen. My friend, Josh, because there are a lot of really smart people here.

And so I decided after about two months of what seemed to be endless job searching. I decided to redirect the time, effort and energy that I was spending toward looking for a job working for someone else. And redirecting that to creating my own opportunity.

And that’s when I started my company equilibria. So I don’t know how far how much, you know, if you want me to kind of go down the journey of how Equilibria started. And how it evolved into what it is today. But that’s that’s kind of the backstory of how I even came to start my consulting firm.

Develop a Replicable Framework

Roy Barker  09:01 Develop A replicable framework

Okay, no, that’s great. And, you know, it’s an interesting journey that, you know. I think of New Orleans as you know, it’s an entertainment town kind of town and then going to Atlanta. You know, it to me, Atlanta is just like a shiny penny. You know, when you get there. There’s just so much that’s so much going on. And there’s so many new buildings and everything going up. So, right, I’m sure that was quite a culture shock not only not knowing anybody that makes it even harder. So you know, I have to give you kudos for being self-confident enough to do that. That’s really amazing.

Alicia  09:40

Yeah, and you know, it’s funny, you mentioned not knowing anyone and how, you know, that takes some bravery. I it also was a huge plus, believe it or not, Roy because I didn’t have distractions. Not that you think of your family and friends as distractions. But you know what I mean, you when you’re here, and you’re by yourself, you have to make it work, right.

And so I because I, everything was so new to me, learning my way around navigating meeting new people. So I didn’t have these hangups I didn’t have people around me to say, What on earth are you doing? So in some ways, it was actually a really good thing. But of course. Obviously, you get lonely and you want to have your your close family and friends around you for the for that support. But I think in terms of having the discipline and the rigor, to get up every morning, and just go for it and go after it. It helps a lot, I think if you can have a change in surroundings.

Roy Barker  10:49 Develop A replicable framework

Yeah, certainly. And like you said. Just, and I don’t mean this negatively there. But the distractions of all the. Hey, let’s go do this. Let’s go do that, you know. Because that’s an easier choice, I’d much rather go have some fun, then Exactly. Try to figure this out.

So that can be a plus. The other thing I was gonna tell you is, you know. You’ve done this long enough now. But when you walk into the businesses and start evaluating, you know. That is an affliction that you will never ever get over. Because, you know, I’ll get caught doing that looking around thinking, how does this company make money? Or, you know, what is this? What How does this work? You know, what is their process? And, you know, Terry, my, my partner, she’ll be like, Hey, where are you at?

I’m like, I’m trying to figure this place out, right? It never goes away. Like, is this a cover for something else? I have asked that question more than once. Like, how does this place make money? Think, you know, what is the rent for this building, or this space that we’re setting in? And then they’re charging, you know, $3 for a product, and I’m sitting there thinking, how many $3 products do you have to sell to pay this $12,000? rent every month? Yeah. So So what led you to creating? And I’ll try it again, Kasennu? Is that close?

Developing Kasennu

Alicia  12:03

That was perfect that you hit the nail on the head. So you know, you How long were you consulting before you decided to create this methodology? Is it something that, you know, it kind of been accumulating as your process as you walk through businesses? And you know, it was just more documenting your process and getting it together? How did that come together?

I’m glad you asked that question. And thank you for asking that question, Roy. So the way it happened was very organically. When I started my company, as many people who I’m sure are listening right now. You’re just so grateful for business. They you just kind of take it all on? Well, hi, Alicia, can you do this? Yep, I can do that. What can you do this? Yep, I can do that, too. And I just started taking on all of this work, Roy, and about two to three years in. I had a friend. She’s still my friend, actually. She was one of the first people that I met when I was in it. When I moved to Atlanta, Louisa and Louisa told me one day, she said, Alicia, you’ve got to figure out a way to package your services, you’re all over the place.

And I was like, Well, how can I do that? I don’t know how to do that. It’s not possible. No, no, no, no, no. So one day, Roy, I decided to the great thing about Atlanta is, you know, it’s it’s close to a lot of other states that are that have mountains. And so I decided to travel up to the northern part of Georgia. I remember being in a bed and breakfast in the mountains.

So no cell phone coverage, no internet, it was just me in the woods. And I appreciate that so much because I had an opportunity to really think, and here’s what I did. I wrote down every single service that I had performed for a client up to that point. Again, this was about somewhere two to three years into the business. I wrote each service on an individual index card.

And I spread everything out. As I started to look for similarities in some of the different things that I had done for these companies, seven unique services emerged. Then I started to put those services in sequential order. And I said, You know what, this is a framework. And no matter how many times without me even knowing it, I was doing certain things with certain clients over and over again, regardless of industry. Regardless of sector And it worked every single time.

And I said, Oh my goodness, this is the package. This is what Louisa was talking about. And so those seven different services became what I now refer to as seven elements of this customer new framework. So I knew I had the bones or the structure for a framework that was repeatable, that could be documented that could easily be shared with other people, but I knew it needed a name.

And Roy, I’m a student of ancient civilizations. So one of my favorites, of course, is ancient Egypt. And I had been to Egypt before, actually, I hadn’t been to Egypt at that point. But from my studies, I was in contact with a few Egyptologist, and I reached out to one and I said, You know, I have this framework. And the idea of it is, once you apply this framework to your company, it really, in essence, helps you to clone or replicate what makes your company so successful.

So as you start growing, and you want to open additional offices, or if you even want to offer your company up as a franchise, you can do that, because you figured out what your company’s unique formula or secret sauce is, and you know how to replicate it over and over and over again. So I knew I wanted a term that has its that spoke to cloning, if you will. I also wanted to talk about cloning the spirit or the essence of what makes your business so special and so unique.

So I knew that the ancient Egyptian word for spirit is Ka K, I didn’t know an ancient Egyptian word that would represent clone or cloning. And so I reached out to an ancient Egypt, in Egyptologists that I know. Dr. Charles Finch, and he was the one who told me the word Sindhu, which is S II in in you and it means twin or similar similitude. So basically the spirit of cloning, and I said, Okay, I’m just going to put those two words together. And that’s going to become the name of this framework. So kasungu is, is how that name came about. Interesting.

Roy Barker  17:18 Develop A replicable framework

That’s really cool. But it comes, taken the Egyptian terms, I really liked it, I wasn’t sure of the origin. But that’s awesome. And it has a good meaning because we’ll kind of like fast forward into the book that you know, that you spell this out. And what a great I want to talk about that for just a minute. Because, like I said, I’m a huge fan of business and a huge fan of the Wizard of Oz.

And one thing I had been told many years ago that the basis of the Wizard of Oz is actually financially rooted in a struggle back around the turn of the century, I think, between those that wanted to go with the gold standard versus those that wanted to go with the silver standard, you know, the yellow brick road that led to nowhere, and I think originally, Dorothy shoes were silver, I think they had to make them red to give it a little punch for TV. But anyway, it’s interesting, because I had heard that many years, but cannot find any evidence.

And that one time, I actually thought my professor was just kind of, you know, Shawn in the song a little bit, basically that hey, you know, he told us some kind of made-up story that he thought about was probably snickering when he told it. But, you know, after I read your book, I went back and looked again. And sure enough, there’s a lot of documented evidence out there now that that is probably you know, where this did come from

So, but it’s interesting, you know, we talk about the, you know, the man behind the curtain the facade, but on, and that is what, you know, I think he took he married the methodology with business. And with storytelling, because it again, it’s been a few months since I read the book, so please forgive me, but I think there are three distinct stories if I’m not correct. I mean, if I’m correct three distinct instances, and you kind of walk through how you use the methodology, well, a fictional person, how they use that methodology to help a not-for-profit and a couple of other businesses, is that right?

Alicia  19:29

Yes. So there’s, there’s six unique stories, okay. And, and you’re right each, each of those stories, it actually focuses on one of those seven elements. So you have these different characters and those characters Roy, I don’t know if we talked about this before, but those characters are actually loosely based off of people that I’ve actually worked with. So I would say each character is really like a composite of four to five different People that I’ve actually worked with. And so, to your point, yes, there’s a nonprofit that’s represented.

There’s another company where they, they primarily work in the government space. There’s another retail company, there’s a company that’s a food distribution company. So I tried to have a fairly good representation of the different types of businesses. So not just strictly service based businesses, and not just, you know, retail related businesses. But to have a, it was important to me to have a cross representation, again, to show that the application of this framework really is industry agnostic.

But the one thing that is the one thing that is common across every character, and his or her situation is the fact that they have found themselves the victims of very good marketing. Yes. And now they have a different type of problem, right. So in the beginning, when we’re first starting our organizations, we have to focus on marketing and branding and PR and publicity we because we have to attract customers to our respective organizations. But what happens when you’ve done such a great job of attracting attention to your business or your organization, that you now have a different issue, you now have more than you can handle.

And that’s usually when people that run these different organizations that run these fast growing small businesses, that’s usually when they are ready to have a serious conversation about operations. And those back office processes, which I know Roy year, you also specialize in. So that’s why it’s so important. That’s really what the book is about. And I wanted it to be a true how to book there’s no, there’s no funny business or monkey business here, right? Where there’s, there’s no cliffhangers that intentionally leave you as the reader hanging so that you can now be routed to the website and hire my company to help you actually implement it.

The whole point is, pick up this book. Don’t read it from cover to cover, because it’s it’s it can be very overwhelming to scan the table of contents, see what jumps out at you what what speaks to you right away, read that particular chapter. And it’s literally going to tell you step by step. This is how you implement this in your specific company.

Developing Success

Roy Barker  22:29 Develop A replicable framework

Yeah, I think that’s a good point, before we go much further to talk about is that a lot of people think businesses fail, because they don’t have any business or because there’s mismanagement with funds or things like that. But in reality, you know, I’m sure as I do you do, we talk to a lot of people who are struggling and having, you know, businesses that are fixing to go out of business, develop A replicable framework, because they have too much business.

Today with our reputation with the online reputation, unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on which side of this coin you’re on, you know, that word starts to travel very fast, that, you know, ordered something. And, you know, it took three months to fulfill the order or the service that you know, I’ve told you, I’m going to give you x, y and z, but I keep answering phone calls, because I don’t want to turn anybody away, and then we just get jammed up. And all of a sudden, you know, we’re in a lot of trouble.

I actually had a great example yesterday, not necessarily of the management part, but it’s a product, I use that as a turn in a support question to their support June 8 of 2021. June 8, and we’re, we’re taping this on July 31. I got an answer yesterday, almost 60 days after Wow. Well, I was not very nice. When I wrote back. I’m like, really 60 days. I mean, like, Do you not like to cash my checks every month when I don’t get that and you know, they’re luckily they’re in an industry that not a lot of competition yet.

But you know, believe me, develop A replicable framework, customers remember things like that. It’s like, you know, if I if my cheque or my debit card failed for 60 days, am I still going to be one of their customers? No, I guarantee you, if my debit card, credit card didn’t charge the day of they may give me a couple of days, but they are not going to hesitate to cut me off after that. And, you know, I feel like we vote with our dollars and so when we when we have these experiences with businesses, people take their dollars elsewhere.

And you know, I guess we’re lucky in some respects if somebody will nicely speak up and say hey, you know what, love your company, love your product, love your service. But I had this little issue. And if they take it the right way and say you know what, we’re working on that too. Thanks for bringing it up. It’s good because A lot of times businesses may not even realize what they’re missing out on with, you know, different operational processes that fall through the cracks. Amen to everything you just told you, I just don’t I can’t even you know, get on my soapbox and don’t know when to quit. Develop A replicable framework. But anyway,

Alicia  25:19

no, but you know it actually, there’s something else that you said that reminded me of something that I think is very timely for us to bring into the conversation, if I may, and that is labor shortages. So I’m wondering, I’m curious if the reason you received you know, such there was such a delay in responding to you is, I’m wondering if that company is experiencing some type of a labor shortage. That’s a huge issue right now, because of the pandemic. And then we have all of these, these increases in prices, because there’s so many supply chain bottlenecks in the supply chains have so many different companies, bottlenecks that they never experienced before.

So everyone is trying, literally trying to figure it out on the fly, right at the same time, so so right now is a particularly challenging time for so many businesses. And again, you know, as we’ve been discussing, not everyone is struggling. I don’t know about your ROI. But I, I feel like I’m drinking water from a fire fire fire hydrant, right? Every single day ever since COVID, the COVID, lockdown started, and you know, I would listen to some people. They’re like, Oh, I’m so bored. I don’t have anything to do. I’m, I’m constantly bingeing on Netflix, and I’m like, Oh, my God, I can’t I feel like I can’t come up for air. Right? Yeah, it’s just been crazy.

So So that’s something that’s something that I think is worth mentioning also. But something else that I talk about quite a bit in the book. And it’s the reason I, I named it behind the facade is this idea that there’s there’s there seems to be this battle between marketing and operations. And so many companies focus on marketing. Again, we erect this facade, whether intentional or not, in its, that’s not a bad thing, by the way. My argument is, just make sure that you operate on the inside as good as you look on the outside.

So if you’ve, if you’re presenting this mighty lion, and that’s what people see on the outside, and then very similar to the Wizard of Oz, when if a todo happens to pull back the curtain, and they see you’re just a little kitty cat, then that’s a that’s an issue, because marketing is all about making a promise to your customer or your client operations is how you actually deliver on that promise.

So if you make the promise, but you can’t deliver on it, that’s that’s a clear indication that you need that business infrastructure in place, you need to have a focus on operations to make sure that you can fulfill these customer orders, respond to your customers in a timely manner, and make sure that your product and service is consistently delivered or produced.

Good Time Can Cover Up Poor Operations

Roy Barker  28:19 Develop A replicable framework

Yeah, I think there’s, there is a slight window in there where you know, enough business can cover up some operational issues. Then one of two things happens, either the growth is exponentially and then it really exposes them to the point of crippling us. Or things slow down enough that we just can’t seem to, you know, get any traction and catch up.

And then that’s when everybody’s like, Oh, you know, there’s something that’s wrong here, even though it’s been wrong for quite some time, you were just in this zone, where, to me, my opinion, is that there was just enough business that you know, and enough money coming in that it could cover some of the shortcomings that we find. Then I guess the second part of this is. As an entrepreneur as a solopreneur, smaller business, it happens to larger ones, but we tend to focus on, you know, smaller business. Here is that we have, you know, we have egos, I don’t want to call Alicia and say, I’m struggling.

Yeah, that’s the first step we’ve got to take. And, you know, we have to realize, I think a lot of businesses struggle doesn’t you know, you can be very smart, you can have a good product, good service and all that but it happens and we have to be able to recognize that sooner rather than later.

Alicia  29:40

I completely agree with you, Roy. And if just to add to that. Another challenge for us as small business owners is that if we are proactive and we do go out and seek support and help in the area of operations, we usually find one of two things. One All the information that’s out there is reserved for manufacturing companies, or to the information that we come across is really targeted toward the large enterprise Corporation type organizations.

So where do you go? When you are you have this fast growing small emerging business that has the potential to become a Facebook, for example. But you don’t it finding those resources are so challenging. And I remind people this all the time, it’s no accident that Amazon has become the behemoth that it is. Jeff Bezos is an engineer, he understands operations and operational excellence in business infrastructure and having those processes.

And even though people like fat may not verbalize it, you better believe they definitely value it. And it is ingrained in their culture and the way that they do things. That’s what’s helping to drive, the innovation, and the continuous improvement. And unfortunately, ROI. We do such a disservice to small businesses by not talking about these things, because it’s so easy to talk about social media, and how to give a great presentation, and how to have nice websites and search engine optimization.

And don’t get me wrong, all of those things are incredibly important. But we also need to bring into the conversation, the things you and I are talking about the processes, the procedures, the quote unquote, not so sexy stuff. Right? Right. But the things that will make sure that your company runs, you know, it doesn’t skip a beat.

Create A Plan, Then Use It

Roy Barker  31:50 Develop A replicable framework

Yeah, and a lot of times people create a plan, or they write it down, and then you know, flowchart it, but then it goes on the shelf, and months, years go by and things change. And I can also emphasize enough that, you know, these are living documents that need to be revisited, because we had a supplier change, or we added a product or what you know, whatever the cause may be, maybe we added another person or you know, new person comes in.

And it’s it’s important, because we always want to be revising our plans to be better, you know, find out where is the end, it struck me. Be honest, it struck me as odd that you started out with the, you know, with a product that is really fairly mature. But yet you are still watching over that process very carefully. And, you know, I would have never suspected that I would have figured that they had that down that, you know, you know, unless there was just a total meltdown of a procedure piece of equipment that quit or we ran out of liquid that, you know, that would product would be consistent through time.

Alicia  33:05

Well, actually, that brings up an excellent point, Roy, I’m so glad you say said that. Because that that kind of ties into some things that we’ve seen unfold in the news lately. But you have to constantly test, you have to constantly monitor a process. So the only wait reason you’ll know that, let’s say for example, when I was at Monsanto, the only reason you may know that a section of pipeline, for example, needs to be replaced is because you’re constantly testing the end product.

And if it does not meet those specifications, that’s when you know, Okay, wait a minute, something has changed, something’s wrong. Let’s go into the process and figure out what it is is it? Is it because of a piece of equipment needs to be replaced? Is it some pipeline, maybe there’s some corrosion that’s taking place on the inside and it’s, it’s causing you know, that again, the the product to not meet the specifications? Let’s think about what has happened recently in I think the city is sunny inside, Florida. It’s right outside of Miami, we have this this condo building that collapsed.

You better believe someone sounded the alarm? Yeah, that’s why we have things like inspections. Don’t ever think that something is just done. Nothing is ever done. Whether you’re building a structure or building a business, it’s never just complete, we have to continuously maintain it. And so part of maintaining this building just using it as an example is doing that performing these inspections.

And so if red flags are raised up raised on these inspections, yet no one acts on it. Right? Look at what happened, all of that loss of life for no reason, right? So you know, that’s obviously a much more extreme thing that can happen but it just goes to show the importance of having these checks and balances having these quality control check points. But then acting on those things. When people find that there are errors or defects or something’s missing, something’s wrong, something’s not quite right.

Don’t wait for your customers to have to be the people to tell you, wait a minute, this is wrong. You want to be able to figure that out before it even gets to your customer. Because once it gets to your customer, things can really get ugly, especially from a public relations perspective.

Roy Barker  35:28 Develop A replicable framework

No one I think that, as tragic as that is, it’s an example because they continued their sales and marketing process. It because I think the red flags went off a year or two ago, you know, when things were brought to light. But through this time, they continued their sales and marketing process to try to, you know, bring in new people.

So, you know, it kind of gets back to what you were saying earlier that, you know, we we all want to focus on that marketing and sales, but then are we listening to our employees that are trying to say, hey, there’s something going wrong internally.

And and sometimes maybe what goes unsaid, like employees leaving, you know, because a lot of retention work as well. And that’s what, you know, we noticed is that, hey, you know, I’ve been telling these people for six months about this, or about that. nobody’s listening. So I’m getting out, you know, sometimes it’s because they’re just tired of the frustration, but sometimes it because it could be harmful to other people.

Alicia  36:36

Yes. Yes. And and it’s, again, it’s it’s really unfortunate, and you just have to be so careful about the culture that you’re creating. Right. And your company, do you have a culture? Are you have you created this culture of fear, where people are literally fearful? You know, that if they find that something has gone awry, or amiss, do they? Do they feel comfortable bringing forward that information?

You know, there’s Oh, my gosh, there’s so many examples, recent examples that we can look to with this type of thing. Another one that always comes to mind is theranos, with Elizabeth Holmes. And for those who are listening, who may not be aware of this, this was a young lady who purported to create a device that could test with just the prick of a finger could run up to 250 blood blood tests. And, you know, of course, the the technology did not work. But she put up this elaborate facade, she was on the cover of Forbes, named time Person of the Year she did. She spoke at the main TED event, she had all of this coverage, all of this press on paper, she looked great.

The company was revolutionary. Sure, her her her board was like a who’s who, of people and all of this money that she attracted all of this fame, all of this fortune, the company at one point was actually worth 10 billion, and that is with a B dollars. And it was all built on a lie. The technology never worked.

But here’s the thing, Roy, there were people who tried to say something, hey, Elizabeth, this this doesn’t actually work. They were threatened, they were threatened with lawsuits. They were some some employees actually reported being followed. Wow, wanted to make sure that you did not say anything outside of company walls. And you know, eventually she you know, the company was exposed.

It’s it’s now defunct. But my point is, we can spend so much time again, erecting that facade and looking great on the on the outside, we look like the shiny golden apple. Right. But once that Apple is sliced open, is it rotten to the core, right? Does your technology actually work? You know, just yesterday, I’m sorry. I keep coming up with these examples. But just just yesterday, there was you know, I’m sure you heard this story about this billionaire who purported to have created a completely electric 18 Wheeler size truck.

Roy Barker  39:23 Develop A replicable framework

No, I haven’t heard that story. Okay. Develop A replicable framework.

Alicia  39:25

And so there was a video that he produced showing this truck driving along the highway. It turns out, they actually intentionally chose an area where they could place this truck at the top of a hill and it literally oh my gosh, it literally so it wasn’t there was no pressing of a gas pedal.

Okay, inside of or pedal excuse me, not gas pedal a pedal inside of the truck. It literally was rolling down a hill. Oh, my thanks to gravity. And so he’s been caught this this is like breaking news. Literally hot off The press the story just broke a few days ago. But again, it just it just goes to show this is a man who has now defrauded investors out of several hundreds of 1000s of dollars.

And, you know all because I think we see people like that they, they have these great ideas, once they realize that their idea actually can’t work. They just keep the charade going. Yeah. And they keep the facade going. And, again, just for cautionary tales, for everyone who’s listening, just make sure that you operate as good on the inside, as your company looks on the outside, and you won’t have anything to worry about.

Roy Barker  40:40

Yeah, because it eventually comes to an end, whether it’s, you know, devious like that, or whether it is just not paying attention, just, you know, where there may not be any criminal criminal elements involved. But eventually, it just comes to a stop, it cannot go on, right? for a lot of reasons Develop A replicable framework.

Either business dries up, your nobody wants to work for you, or there’s no money, you know, to continue the facade. Correct. And, yeah, it’s there’s just so much to talk about, Develop A replicable framework, I knew we were gonna have trouble with time. And I know, we’re running way long. But I wanted to see, can you talk to us just quickly, can you tell us what are the seven, you know, the pillars of the methodology that you were talking about a little earlier?

Business Parts Analysis

Alicia  41:29

Sure. So it starts with what I call a business parts analysis. And that’s when you that’s where you are actually identifying all of the tasks and activities that have to be performed in your company, you group them into departments, and then from there you assign, ideally, the perfect the role, or the position or the title of that role or position that should ideally perform those activities.

So that’s step one, or element one, element two is then taking that information and putting it into an organizational chart. Now, in this instance, for the sake of the methodology, I refer to it as your business design blueprint. So you’re literally almost think of it as your company’s vision board, even though you may not have all of the resources that you need right now, to make this plan of action, you know, put put that plan of action in place, it’s still a good idea to actually commit pen to paper and see what it looks like because it gives you so much more focus and clarity. The third element is what I call paper records management.

These are the physical records. Now that you know the departments that make up your company. This is how you start to organize your physical records. Some people may say, Well, I have a paperless office Elisa, that’s fine. But there are still some documents. Especially when we’re talking about legal contracts. Where you still have to maintain a hard copy. So for situations like that. You just want to make sure that you have a filing system in place that everyone understands and can easily access. fourth one is what I call the electronic records management system.

So this is literally the digital version of what you’ve put in place physically. If we have the workspace logistics, so again, once you know the people, that departments, and how work should ideally flow within your company. That’s how you want to set up your physical workspace. Even if you are a solopreneur. Listen closely, you should still set up your workspace so that you have different zones.

One quarter, you might say you know what this is where I keep all of my HR related information. Another corner, this is where I keep all of my accounting, legal and it related information. And this corner over here, that’s where all of my sales and marketing stuff is. Then finally in the other corner, this is where all of the operational and day to day things that need to take place in the company.

That’s where that’s what this zone represents. But just start getting in the habit now. Because as you start to expand from out of your home office and into an brick and mortar space, you can still you’re just going to take that idea and just scale it. The sixth one is what I call a service delivery blueprint. So what does that process look like at a high level? From the moment a customer places an order or says I want to? Yes, I want this particular service? What does that look like from the moment that customer or that potential lead?

If we’re talking about a service based business, from the moment you first have an interaction with that person, or that other business to the moment that product or service is delivered? What are all of the steps? What is the technology that’s involved? Who are the people that need to be involved? And what are the metrics? That’s what’s going to help you figure out where potential bottlenecks may exist in that in that you Your effort to deliver products and services on time.

And then finally, the big kahuna is the business process manual. That is the final element that is literally you identifying all of the processes that need to be captured in your company. And then actually documenting those. And quick caveat, don’t think that every procedure or process, excuse me has to be documented in that standard old school way of, you know, standard operating procedure. Step one, do this step to do that.

You can use video, you can have checklists, you can have little short job aids, you can get really creative, whatever it’s takes for people to understand how to perform a particular job or task at your company. That is the primary goal in documenting your processes. And they are living breathing documents, don’t just put it on a shelf to collect dust, as Roy and I have talked about,

Roy Barker  45:58 Develop A replicable framework

right. Yeah, develop A replicable framework, don’t see, and there’s dust. All right.

Alicia  46:02

That’s right. So I want to mention, Roy really quickly is this amazing tool that my team and I started using, as of about six or seven months ago, it’s called Notion, Notion.so, please, everyone look into it. It’s very inexpensive. It’s only I believe, like $4 per user each month.

But here’s what notion does. It’s part wiki, part, database, part knowledge base, and part project management tool, it has replaced so many other tools that we were using. And it’s literally brought all of that information into one place. It’s very visual. And so now that’s where we have all of our processes. And again, those processes take different forms. Some of them, one of our processes is literally a calendar.

And just based on that calendar, different people know what they need to be working on. Some processes are videos, some processes are just checklist. And then of course, we have the you know, those that are the standard, you know, standard operating procedure format. So I just wanted to make sure I I left that little nugget with your listeners

Roy Barker  47:15 Develop A replicable framework

That’s a great point to make. Number one, I’ll check this Notion out. But back to the others that, you know, we need to make this interesting. And so and in-depth instead of the written I’m very visual. So I would rather see you do this on-screen than have it written down. And so we’ve got, you know, products like Loom, awesome.

Yes, zoom, even you can do just the self-recording of what you’re doing to capture. If you’re working on a computer, it captures the movements and so much easier for a process than for me to look down and see step one, you know, click here, steps two, and I’m like kind of landed on the page wherewith with one of these screen captures, you can actually watch that physically, where does this guy move this mouse to to make this happen develop A replicable framework.

And I’m looking at the same screen as what’s on it’s, there are so many great ways that we can, I guess, enhance these processes and procedures that we’re putting out, and then also to make them searchable? Because I know some people that have some great processes and procedures took a lot of time. But the employees don’t know where they are. It’s not, it’s not like onboarded?

Well, there’s not a common space where you can go when you need answers. And then it just becomes tribal knowledge like, well, instead of trying to find this thing, you know, I’ll just ask the guy next to me. And he may or may not know the correct procedure if it’s been updated. So a lot of things that we need to think about, we have so much access to digital steps to make it not only better, but also easier for people to find and you know, have it consolidated somewhere.

Alicia  49:02

Absolutely. I’m sure you already knew that I would agree with everything, right?

Roy Barker  49:10 Develop A replicable framework

Yeah, that’s kind of like, you know, similar situations, like, you know, we always talk to elderly people need wills and trust, and you need all these documents. And what we always say is that, if nobody knows where to find them, it’s just like not having them. So you’ve got to make things where people can actually reach out and use that to, you know, better themselves and a couple things.

Again, I’m gonna say I know we’re running late. I’ll try to make this quick but to you know, that’s what I like about the book, because he actually gives you examples and the couple that sticks out are the the one with the not for profit person that if I’m recounting correctly, she’s probably fixing to lose her job. It was something that she started it was her baby, but when once you take the step to put a board of directors

Then all of a sudden, it’s really not yours anymore, the board has decisions to make has the power to make decisions over who’s running, and she was fixing to lose her job. But they sat down and figured out, like, all of the stuff that this young lady was doing, it was just crazy. I think they either use like a post-it notes or the three by five cards to write down, you know.

What this process is, and once and then then they were able to basically group all of those into, you know, different positions, they didn’t actually have to end up hiring anybody, but they were able to redistribute some of these roles to give her time to be more creative at the vision and the mission of the not for profit itself. Is that pretty close?

Alicia  50:48

That’s, that’s, that’s very close. And I think it also highlights, one of the outputs of this framework is being able to have those succinct job descriptions, because a lot of times people I mean, how many times have you and I both heard Roy, we just can’t find them. The people they just aren’t out there. Well, are you being as descriptive as you possibly can be? When it comes to crafting your job description, because there really isn’t. It’s part art and part science, right when you’re coming up with these job descriptions.

But when you go through an exercise, like what’s described in the book, and what the character you’re referencing, her name is Emily Miller. And so when you go through the same process that Emily went through, that’s when you start to realize, Oh, wait a minute, okay. Now I understand why I may not have been attracting the right people to even interview, right yet alone hire.

So so it gives you even more. I don’t want to say ammunition gives you, it gives you because that’s not the word that I want to use. But it basically arms you or equips you with the information that you need to really go out and make sure that you are recruiting, interviewing, and ultimately hiring the best people to fill those open positions at your company.

Roy Barker  52:09 Develop A replicable framework

Yeah, because I have seen that before, where we advertised for a position that, you know, it’s a general position, but then we are asking them to either be very heavily analytical, or heavily creative. But the person that came in thought, I thought I was just going to be answering the telephone and, you know, making some appointments, I didn’t realize you’re going to ask me to, you know, make a proform of where we’re going to go with this new product, or are either bad or to be, you know, rat, you know, our creative blogs or something.

So, then what we do is we spend all the time and energy hiring that person, they get discouraged because it’s not what they wanted. You get discouraged because they’re not able to give you what you need. And then we start this process all over again. That’s exactly right. Yeah. And then the second one that I wanted to talk about was the thinking was two sisters that were in like a healthcare business.

Yes, they hired the new guy. And he’s like, Oh, my gosh, they had like, I don’t know, I just had this visual of, you know, he opens the door to this room, and there’s nothing but filing cabinets all through. Develop A replicable framework. Nobody knew what was where they were trying to, they had a couple of locations, they wanted to open up some more, they were just trying to get everything in order.

So then it got that kind of overlap into the digital storage looking at, you know, what they could put digital, making sure, the most important thing I got out of that was vetting the provider to make sure that they could give you you know exactly what you need them to be able to provide you. Because it you know, I think they were scanning in documents, they were moving stuff that they wanted to keep to some off site storage, and then, you know, put trying to scan everything up again for accessibility.

Alicia  53:58

Right, and another big point or lesson to learn from their story in particular, they were in New Orleans. And so New Orleans floods very easily. For everyone who’s listening right now, we another thing that so many of us in this just isn’t confined to smaller companies, even big companies get caught off guard when it comes to disaster recovery. So if most of your records are in a paper-based format, you probably don’t want it stuck in a bunch of file cabinets in a city that is prone to flooding.

They had to come up with these creative ways of distributing these old files into and strategically placing them as far away from the city of New Orleans as possible. Just to make sure that in the event, another catastrophic hurricane comes through or tropical storm that those records would not in fact be lost. That’s something that’s that actually happened to so many organizations just from Hurricane Katrina. alone.

I mean, you have courts, you know, all types of court documents were lost just when you think about the number of things that are still held in a paper format. I know a lot of us to like to think that everyone has gone digital, but there are still so many organizations that are very old school. A lot of old information has not been digitized yet. And so all it takes is a bad snowstorm, tornado, you name it, any type of natural disaster, something unforeseen, unexpected to happen. And now all of a sudden, all of that information is compromised.


Roy Barker  55:37 Develop A replicable framework

Yeah, and, you know, it’s just even like, we had that bad winter storm here back in February, and people ever thought that there would be water pipes breaking so rapidly and shooting water, you know, like you said, early, like a fire hydrant through the house. And so, our small business where all of these paper files were just ruined, and, you know, for some things, they can be recreated.

But I think in some instances, especially like, the the story in the book, you know, they had to produce these records to, I think it was, you know, like state agencies for billing and things. So they needed access to them frequently, it’s not like that they had time, and they would have been totally out of compliance. And, you know, would have lost probably all of their income had that happened to them. So something to think about for sure. Hmm. The other thing, just to mention quickly, is that, you know, these are all things that we need to think about from the beginning.

We can’t, if we wait to we’ve got 235 10 employees, we’re probably going to be behind the eight ball and take a lot more time. Whereas if we would just think this through from the beginning, make some notes, how are we going to do this, it makes it easier when we add number two, we’ve already got things in place to share with them. We’re not having to take time out of our day to create these job aids, our processes and procedures, you know, for a new person that’s sitting here, tapping their finger on a desk wondering what they’re going to do tomorrow.

Yes. Develop A replicable framework. And then we can also capture the, you know, we could just capture more in depth. And like we said they need to be living growing documents as we go through time. All right. Well, I certainly do appreciate it, Alicia, you’re giving of your time. I know that you mentioned this, notion but one of my wrap-up questions is always what is a habit or a tool? What is something that you use in your daily life that really adds a lot of value? slack? Oh, my

Alicia  57:42

Slack, Oh, my gosh, Slack in Yes. Sack has significantly reduced the amount of emails that I receive in my inbox, because it’s so easy for things to get lost. And I was I was starting to drop the ball to be honest with you Roy on some things simply because I couldn’t keep up with the volume of email coming into my inbox so by by forcing everyone to start using Slack, and now we all love it, we absolutely love it. And the great thing about Slack is that all of your communications can be organized according to different projects or according to, you know, however you want to organize your conversations, actually. So it’s it’s been a lifesaver. You can attach files, Slack actually connects with Zoom. It’s, it’s such an amazing tool. And Slack also integrates with Notion.

Roy Barker  58:35 Develop A replicable framework

Oh, okay, interesting. Yeah, you know, I like those, I use one in teams a lot similar to Slack. But the nice thing is, it’s like you don’t have the volume of emails, you don’t do that forget to copy this person. Or if the you know, it’s a cc person that, you know, may not be paying a lot of attention, they can easily go back and find you know, the information that they need. So, yeah, great tool, check it out, and put it to use for you for sure. All right, tell us how can Who do you like to work with? How can you help them? How can they reach out, get a hold of you, and then also tell us where we can pick up a copy of the book

Wrap Up

Alicia  59:16

Sure. The The, the people that tend to attend to come to us are usually almost always in the same position. They they have been in business at least two to three years. So they’re not startups. And they have a different type of problem. They’re growing rapidly, and they desperately need to take a look at their operations and their put a business infrastructure in place to make sure that they can sustain the growth. So those that’s who we typically work with the best place to find out about me and the company and the book. I recommend that people just go to my personal website, which is Alicia Butler Pierre.com and my first name is spelled A L I C I A Butler, Pierre and Pierre is spelled P I E R R E.com.

So go there. And Roy that really, that site really serves as a hub for everything that I have going on. So they can find out more about the book, which is also on Amazon. By the way, they can also find out about my I have a podcast as well a weekly podcast called Business Infrastructure. And they can also find out more about my consulting company Equilibria. And it can link them to all of those different sites. But rather than reciting a bunch of different websites, I always like to send people to that one hub first. And then you know, if you want to connect on social media, links to all of my social media profiles are there as well.

Roy Barker  1:00:39 Develop A replicable framework

Okay, great. Yeah, we’ll include that in the show notes as well as the book and the company sign just to help people find you a lot easier. Again, I cannot say thank you enough. Love the book. It was such a good, easy read. I mean, I could not put it down once I got started. And, you know, great. Yeah, yeah, I love the whole reference to the well, to the Wizard of Oz, couldn’t have tied it in better. So anyway, thanks a lot. Y’all reach out, see how Alicia can help you out and go pick up the book. It’s a great read. It’ll sure help you a lot, you know, help you get started on making some positive changes.

And then I know Alicia and her team can help you, you know, drive that across the finish line. Until next time, that’s going to do it for this episode of The Business of Business Podcast. Of course, you can find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com we’re on all the major podcast platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, Google, Spotify. We’re also on all the major social media platforms tend to hang out on Instagram probably a little bit more than others. So we’d be glad to interact with you there. You can also see a video of this interview live on youtube when it when the episode goes live as well. So until next time, take care of yourself and take care of your business.

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Quit Pitching Your Prospects, Try Story Telling To Get Your Message Across

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Quit Pitching Your Prospects, Try Story Telling To Get Your Message Across Featuring Ted Janusz

Quit pitching your prospects. Are you still using old sales pitches? Give them all the facts and figures and then squeeze them for the close? Try storytelling as an alternative. Develop a story that involves their problem and then how you solved it. This should be based on past experiences you have had with other clients. This will put them at ease and work magic.

About Ted

Ted Janusz is a Certified Speaking Professional and a Certified Virtual Presenter. He has facilitated over 1,100 workshops (over 6,500 total hours) in 49 of the 50 United States (lone exception: Wyoming), in Canada, Australia, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Janusz’s work has appeared on BusinessWeek.com, MSNBC.com, and has been invited to appear on the Fox News Channel. He is a member of the National Speakers Association and earned his MBA in marketing from the University of Pittsburgh


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Full Transcript Below

Quit Pitching Your Prospects, Try Story Telling To Get Your Message Across Featuring Ted Janusz

Wed, 7/28 7:07PM • 52:37

Estimated reading time: 46 minutes


book, people, roi, roy, postcards, write, fact, speaker, day, client, videos, speaking, image, presentation, linkedin, marketing, talk, kindle direct publishing, story, called, quit pitching your prospects.


Ted, Roy Barker


Roy Barker  00:05 quit pitching your prospects

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. I’m your host Roy. Of course, we are the podcast that brings you a wide variety of guests that speak to a diverse set of topics. Hopefully, we can point some things out that maybe you haven’t thought about or haven’t been on your radar.

Or if they’re things that are keeping you up at night, we can actually provide some solutions and some professionals that can help you. With that. No, we just want to see everybody be successful. And today we have awesome guests. We’ve been waiting to get on Ted Janusz is a certified speaking professional, and a certified virtual presenter. He has facilitated over 1100 workshops, which is over 6500 total hours in 49 of the 50 states, with the lone exception being Wyoming across Canada, from Halifax, to Vancouver, and in Australia, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

His work has appeared on BusinessWeek.com, mMSNBC.com. And he has been invited to appear on the Fox News channel. He is a member of the National Speakers Association and earned an MBA in Marketing from the University of Pittsburgh. He’s also the author of Superpower Marketing and Branding, No Cost To Low Cost Resources To Propel Your Business. Ted, thanks for taking time out of your day to be with us.

Ted  01:29

It’s a pleasure to be here, Roy.

Roy Barker  01:32 quit pitching your prospects

So tell us a little bit about how you got here. I mean, is speaking been something that you’ve done, you know, since your early days, and that’s just kind of the path you’ve always been on? Or is it kind of been that long and winding road like a lot of us have had? quit pitching your prospects

More About Ted

Ted  01:47

Well, it’s definitely been a long and winding road, right. But I actually started the day before 911. I didn’t know it was the day before 911 until the next day. I started speaking when I still had a full time job. And then I enjoyed training so much in that corporate environment. I went out on my own. And you know, you just told about the results. But yeah, it was a long and winding road. I wish I would have started many years ago. But my wife said and all of us can take hard on this. You weren’t ready. Yeah. You weren’t ready yet. So

Roy Barker  02:22 quit pitching your prospects

that’s a hard lesson. I’m still trying Yes. On some things is like Yes, in due time with your reading. But we all want it yesterday. Yes. So yeah. And speaking is I think a lot of people may not realize that speaking can also be a great form of marketing. Excellent. Yes, we used to, you know, utilize that at professional trade shows, kind of you get to be the speaker presenter at one of the little breakout sessions, talk about your, your discipline. And you know, it’s not, again, I’m gonna ask, I’ll ask that as a question. Not really supposed to make it a commercial are more of a sales pitch, but you present your information about what you do, or what you know. And then of course, people are interested after Listen, tell us a little bit about how that works. Quit pitching your prospects. Sure.

Ted  03:15

Well, during the recession, during the housing crisis, I had to give up what I love to do and get a real job. So what I was doing was I was selling training for community college, and I was smiling and dialing and that just wasn’t working well ROI.

So what I decided to do was something totally different. I made up these postcards, and I sent the local businesses and said, Hey, let us come in for lunch, we’ll provide a meal for your employees. And we’ll give a little educational session all free of charge, you know, just just invite us in.

So the very first one I went out on, we gave a half hour presentation on time refuses to be managed how to manage yourself instead. Well, unbeknownst to me, there was the CEO of the corporation sitting in the audience now. What would have been the chances ROI of me connecting with the CEO if I made a cold call?

Roy Barker  04:05 quit pitching your prospects

Yeah, quit pitching your prospects problems, the 00. But

Ted  04:08

because, yeah, she was in this environment where she didn’t feel threatened. You know, in fact, if we didn’t know she was the CEO, after the presentation, she came up to us and said, you know, you were talking about some things I think we need some help with. Could you assist us? And we got a $50,000 contract out of that first lunch handler. So yes, I agree. Because people are looking for not speakers, for instance, they’re looking for experts, right? People who know things, you know, they want to get information. And that’s a that’s a very good no cost or low cost way to get in to see potential clients.

Roy Barker  04:46 quit pitching your prospects

Yeah, and I like that because of that education factor. Right. Like you said, my you know, one of my biggest marketing techniques even with the mail and newsletters is to provide information not always be just Are you ready? by you. But, you know, one of the things I do is like, you know, if I find a good article somewhere, you can put little tidbits of that in an email to say, Hey, I thought you may be interested. I think, number one, we take the time to educate, we’re giving something to our audience in our company. But we’re also it’s a form for us to present that we really are expert, we really do have this information that’s valuable to you.

Ted  05:28

Oh, I agree totally. As matter of fact, before coming on this podcast, what I did was I had an article printed in an association publication, and I ran off copies. And I sent it out to other associations. And all I had on their ROI was a post it note that said, Could this information be valuable to your members, right. Then on the very last page, I had information about my breakout session at the conference.

But I didn’t say hire me, I’m a great speaker. Here’s some information for In fact, we teach that with newsletters. So many of those email newsletters are just veiled product pitches with maybe a 10% discount. That’s not what people want to have a successful e newsletter, solve your buyers problems once a month, make it be about them, or, for instance, a success story, you know, some clients you helped, in fact, the formula I would suggest, is talk about the problem. And you tell a story about the problem.

Because your potential client could see themselves in that story. You don’t Pitch Anything, you don’t try and sell anything. You just say hey, you know, Roy had this issue. And and maybe you’re experiencing something similar. Let me tell you about what was going on with Roy. Then you talk about how you solve the problem. And then at the very end, have the client come in and talk about how well ROI serve me in his own words.

Because they’re going to believe that that client far more than your own marketing puffery or a salesperson? So yes, like you were saying, we’re always looking at ways to solve people’s problems, be a problem solver, or if you’re a speaker, be an expert who speaks?

Quit Pitching Your Prospects

Roy Barker  07:12 quit pitching your prospects

Yeah, and I think you hit probably three or four topics of, you know, some podcasts that I’ve done in the past. First off, education. You know, to me, again, that’s my personal choice for the best thing of marketing, storytelling. It’s always good to, you know, have the story. The problem solution is awesome.

And then the well, the other person coming in that you work for coming in to substantiate not only substantiate the story that you just told, but I think people are prospects would much rather hear quit pitching your prospects. Roy is great from Ted, tell us why is great, more credibility, right step number, because it’s easy for me to tell everybody how great I am.

And I’m okay leaves me, you know, right next to you believe me. But you know, there’s just so much more validity to it when we actually have that client step up. So yeah, I love the way that this ties everything together. And another key point us, I think, that really encapsulates all that is make it about that process Exactly. out there,

Ted  08:24

the protagonist. In fact, that’s the reason you tell stories. It’s not so people can learn about TED or Roy, it’s so they see themselves in your story. It’s like when I give presentations, I talk about my wife and my kids. Not so you get to know about my wife and kids. But so you see your spouse or your children.

Relatable Story

Roy Barker  08:41

Right, right. Yeah. Yeah, tell us a little bit about that. Because I think that’s important, we have to, we have to make that story relatable, like you just said, kind of where they can see a portion of them in the story, or at least the story, the problem of the story is something that I’m experiencing, but we can’t make it too long to draw, and we can’t make it to get rid of the fluff, get rid of the details,

Ted  09:10

because their only concern, but everybody listens to the same radio station, right? And it’s called letters or wi I FM. What’s in it for me, anytime you give a presentation, you have to think as you do about the listener, the viewer, because they’re sitting there thinking so what, who cares? What’s in it for me?

Roy Barker  09:30 quit pitching your prospects

Right? Yeah, and the sooner we get to that exactly, the better off that we are. And yeah, and and the the other thing is not making it overly complex with I mean, we may want to have some data that we can throw out but it should be easily understood and not like, you know, if you multiply you know, 1000 times four and a half and then you divide it and then you square root that and then do the you know it just Because after about the second or third number, a lot of people aren’t that numbers oriented. And you know, you can basically see their eyes roll back up in their head. Exactly.

Ted  10:11

Yeah. In fact, I’d like to talk about a book, not my book. But I don’t know, Roy, if you’ve ever read the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, you’d know it because it has an orange cover and duct tape on it made the stick? I’ve actually got it on my show. Okay, well, let me let me give you the Reader’s Digest version of the book. They studied marketing campaigns to find out which ones stuck, which ones were most successful. And they boiled it down to six factors, which is the word success without the last.

So the first test is just when you were talking about ROI, you have to make it simple. Don’t talk about 10 things. Talk about one thing in detail. Now, the U stands for unexpected. Why do we laugh at jokes, because the story is going like this and all of a sudden the punch line goes off to the side. Now, if you’re selling industrial screws, this could be a challenge. But if you take a look at the YouTube videos that have been most popular, they all do something unexpected. Like one of my favorite business, YouTube videos that went viral was Dollar Shave Club. If you ever seen that video,

Roy Barker  11:21

I quit pitching your prospects don’t get so.

Ted  11:22

Okay. That’s your homework assignment, right? The reason the reason I mentioned it is because the gentleman who produced that video, he ultimately sold his company, which he created off of one YouTube video to Unilever for $1 billion be with because all he All he does is sell razors. Okay, but it doesn’t look like a Gillette commercial. Let me just leave it at that, though. The whole thing is unexpected. You have to keep watching, like what the heck’s he going to do next?

The C stands for concrete, you have to make it very easy for people to grasp the idea. The next C is credible. Why should I listen to you? Why are you the authority? In fact, we’ll be talking about books. If you write a book, you are the trusted member of the community. And we’ll talk about how easy that is. The next letter is E. emotion. ROI. People spend billions of dollars each year in a normal year going to sporting events going to movies, nobody’s ever spent a dime to see a PowerPoint presentation. And what’s the difference?

People want to get emotionally involved, they want to laugh, they want to scream, they want to boo, they want to yell even pay hundreds of dollars to cry to see their football team lose. All right. So they want to get emotionally involved. And the last letter we just talked about s for story. Dale Carnegie said a good 30 minute presentation is 15 two minute stories woven together, they won’t remember like you said the data and the statistics and the facts and the charts. But they will remember a story especially if it’s emotional.

Right. So take a look at your presentations. Take a look at your marketing campaigns. And do they have success meaning simple, unexpected? credible, concrete and an emotional story?

Roy Barker  13:20 quit pitching your prospects

That’s awesome. Yeah, I’m gonna have to pull that book off the

Ted  13:24

may just stick by Chip and Dan Heath are brothers. One’s a professor at Duke the other one a professor at Stanford. So pretty smart,

Do You Need A PowerPoint Deck

Roy Barker  13:31 quit pitching your prospects

guys. Okay. So, um, do you use props? Or do you use a deck when you use when you present? Do you use something or just mainly just speaking?[

Ted  13:43

I do use PowerPoint. And there’s been some discussion among speakers whether you need to have a PowerPoint deck. And I say you don’t have to, but then you have to be visually interesting. Yeah. You know, because, as you know, there’s three types of learners. There’s the visual learner, there is the auditory learner. And then there was the kinesthetic learner, the person who learns by doing. If you if you, you never know who you’re going to have in your audience.

So if you have a visual learner, and all you’re doing is auditory, you’re just speaking, they’re tuning you out. So you have to make sure you have something for everybody. And by PowerPoint, we don’t mean tons of bullet points. We mean visuals, visuals that will reinforce your story. It’s like I’ve heard speakers say I’m not funny. We have a saying in the National Speakers Association.

Do you have to be funny as a speaker? And the answer is no. Only if you want to get paid. Okay, so you can put up a funny image. It doesn’t have to all be on you. But make sure that the PowerPoint is reinforcing you. It isn’t the presentation. You’re the presentation. That’s your prop.

Roy Barker  14:56

Yeah. Well, awesome. And so I guess Out of all this, you decided to write the book, the superpower marketing branding professional for with the no cost and low cost resources to propel your business, which I assume is gonna help us with this quit pitching your prospects.

Writing A Book Voice To Text

Ted  15:16

Yeah, in fact, that’s what I did. I didn’t really write the book. Because I didn’t know Roy, if you tried to write a book, yeah, yes. Okay. Yeah. How tough that is. You know, you get out your piece of paper, you get the pen and you write a sentence, and then you start correcting it. Ernest Hemingway same age Moksha. Exactly. Exactly. And in fact, Ernest Hemingway, the famous author said, right, drunk, edit sober. Well, you know, maybe he didn’t mean that exactly. But you know, I’m saying. So the way I got my book was I happen to give a presentation, an hour long presentation to a chapter. And they put on social media, how wonderful was, so one of the members sent me the video of my presentation. I uploaded to a site called Rev. Are you familiar with rev?

Roy Barker  16:03 quit pitching your prospects

Yes, I used to use them. Yes, yeah.

Ted  16:04

R e v.com. You upload it to that site? For $1 a minute. They’ll transcribe what you said. And in a few hours, you’d get it back. Now, obviously, you write differently than you speak. Okay. But it was a huge 80% of the work was done right there. Right. Right. You know, because I love to edit, I hate to write, you know, so it was easy. I had 11,000 Word document already done. I just had to go in and, you know, clean it up. And so that would be a recommendation I’d have for speakers and trainers just have somebody, either audio or video, record yourself, upload it to a site called Rev. RTV. Calm, and then within just a few hours, you’ll have most of the book right there.

Roy Barker  16:45 quit pitching your prospects

Yeah, well, that’s good advice. And I never really thought about that. But it is much easier for a lot of us to speak and you know, the, if you’re not a good typing guru that you know, we can spend, I spend more time correcting spelling, spelling errors, and I do actually get words on a piece of paper. Well, I

Ted  17:04

like what you said the paper just sits there in mocks Oh my god, it’s like I am blank. put something on me.

Roy Barker  17:10 quit pitching your prospects

Well, even like Ratan blogs, even if you’re only trying to get you know, 800, 1000 1200 words, it’s like, well, I’ve got this awesome idea. You sit down, you know, crack the knuckles, get your dream, you know, all set up. And it’s like, you get maybe two sentences out. It’s like, we’re just going no way.

Somebody. Yes, yeah. That’s a non rider rider. I guess it happens to real riders. But yes, non rider riders is an affliction for Yes, I agree. But you know, and you mentioned this earlier, is that having a book, even if you know, and I think one mistake that I make a lot of times is, you know, we think about these 200 250 word books. Oh, you know, and it, it really doesn’t have to be that way.

It just needs to be something that makes good sense for whatever you’re doing, that you can put in somebody’s hand. And it Yes, really has a huge effect on people. Definitely.

Ted  18:08

Yes. I don’t know if you’re familiar with a survey study that Microsoft did. Roy, they said the average attention span of American adult is now less than that of a goldfish. Yes, yeah. goldfish is apparently can focus for nine seconds, the average adult eight seconds. I don’t know how you measure the attention span of goldfish, but Microsoft’s pretty smart. So like you said, keep it short, right? No, I don’t know about you ROI. But if I’m interested in something, I don’t want to go to Amazon and find a 300 page book about it. Just give me the top 10 tips, the eight keys, the five secrets that you’re not. I want it right now, just don’t have the time. I don’t have the energy, I don’t have the attention span to labor over something like that.

Smaller Slices Of Text

Roy Barker  18:52 quit pitching your prospects

Yeah. And, you know, one thing I’ve looked at two is just making multiple modules. You know, you can have one, you know, 50 pager that talks about one part and just break that up. Because I think it goes with our attention span again, that somebody is more apt to sit down and breeze through 50 you know, again, I wish that have been this is you know, when we have regrets from our childhood, and my mother, I know that she’ll be glad to hear me say that wish I had finally.

Yeah, finally, I’m admitting it. I wish I had more books. Because, you know, it’s a it’s a, I guess it’s like, training for to run a marathon, the more you because like now, I love to read but I’ll lay down and read two pages and, you know, fall asleep if they’re so rusty like me, you know, I can like get through the 50 100 pages pretty quick. But you know, once like you said, if it’s too daunting, it just sets on the nightstand.

Ted  19:49

And here’s another key ROI. You have to be a good date for the reader. What does this mean? If you’re not enjoy writing it if it doesn’t flow, the reader isn’t going to enjoy reading it. And they probably aren’t, you know, it’s too laborious on their end. Like you said, you’re gonna fall right asleep. So you got to be having fun so that they can have fun. Yeah. And here’s another thing, just start someplace doesn’t have to be at the beginning, start in the middle, you know, because of course with Microsoft Word, you can move things around, just get started.


Roy Barker  20:17 quit pitching your prospects

Yeah, yeah, that’s a good tip for a lot of things is just get started that momentum you’ll be, you’ll be amazed at what just that first step, how easy it is for the second third step to come after that. So once we get it, you know, through Reb understand that process, we get it back. And it’s usually in either, you know, like a Word document, we’d write some more edits, but how do we actually get that to be an E book?

Ted  20:45

Oh, I’m glad you asked Roy. Yeah, well, unlike when I wrote my first book, I mean, back then it was just a real tedious process, you know. But now there is a free resource, because that’s what we’re talking about free reuse of resources. Take that word document that you’ve added, you know, after rev give you the file back, you got the Word document, you edit it, and you upload it to a site called Kindle Direct Publishing. Kindle Direct Publishing is part of Amazon. And they’ll make it look rather than a Word document, they’ll make it look like a book. And it’s totally free. Now, the only thing you’re missing. And one thing you’re missing in that process is what right?

Roy Barker  21:22 quit pitching your prospects

I don’t know. I don’t know enough to even know what we’re missing. The cover. Oh, cover. Okay. All right.

Ted  21:28

So this is the only cost. All right. Get yourself cover. Now, are you familiar with the site Fiverr, Roy, f fi ve RR com, you know, where there’s, there’s fantastically talented artists, but they primarily live in and we used to be able to say third world, it’s now called developing countries where maybe they can live on $5 a day. So it doesn’t mean they’re not professional. It doesn’t mean they’re not creative doesn’t mean that they’re not courteous. It doesn’t mean they’re talented. It’s just, you know, they have a different economy.

Right. So now the site is hit or miss. Alright, so always go with a recommendation. But one of my favorite artists is the guy who creates my ebook covers. So for instance, let me show you my book here. I do not think this looks like a self published book. Not Not at all, what one of my biggest pet peeves with Self Publishers is their books like that look like they’re self published. We judge a book by its cover. So make, you know, make it look professional. But he put together the cover for my ebook for just $5. Wow. Yeah, yeah. And let me just if I could just tell quick story.

Roy Barker  22:39 quit pitching your prospects

Yeah, quit pitching your prospects, sure.

Ted  22:40

part of the process is he asks you to choose an image. So he gives you a library and you go through and you choose images, and you get to choose five. And I kind of thought he would use this one. But he, of course, is a graphic artist, I am not. Instead, he chose this one, which is far better than the cartoony type image that I came up with. And again, you know, $5 Oh, so let me give you his name, his ebook cover, underscore

Roy Barker  23:09


Ted  23:10

ebook cover underscore x p, e. r. So you can go to Fiverr F I V E R R.com, look them up and see some of the great work he’s done.

Roy Barker  23:20 quit pitching your prospects

Yeah, and I’ve had some logo work done over there. And it’s it, it’s a surprisingly good experience for the amount of money that you pay, you know, there, it’s not just a one time exchange, you know, like the people I work with, there is a back and forth and them actually trying too hard to get what you want, you know, the representation that you want. So, like you said, you just need to be careful to go with somebody that’s got this right. negations because, you know, it’s with the feedback in that civically feedback means a whole lot. And there’s no feedback. Sometimes. That’s right. There’s a reason.

Ted  24:02

Yeah, so at this point, you have the E book. Now, some people of course, like the paperback book, that’s something that could actually hold. So you can actually use Kindle Direct Publishing to create a book. So they’re on Amazon, for the millions of people use Amazon and we’re looking for a topic that have a choice. Either they could download your ebook, you know, use their Kindle reader, or they could order a paperback. And the nice thing there is when I wrote my first book, right, in order to get a decent price on the book, I had to order 2000 copies, you know, a 2000 copies of the book look like? Yes, it came on a pallet.

Roy Barker  24:42 quit pitching your prospects

Yes. Yeah, I

Ted  24:42

had to store them in my basement, attic and garage, my neighbor’s basement, attic and garage. They got moldy. Alright, you don’t have to do that anymore. With Kindle Direct Publishing, you print on demand. So you know, let’s say you were going to give a presentation. You could sell you could order and sell 25 copies back of the room. And what I like about it is, you could probably, for this book, I could order author copies for $2.15. I mean, that’s less than a price book greeting card. Exactly. Yeah. So you can order author copies, use those as market, what I do is I use this as marketing material, because like you said, It educates. It’s not selling anything. I’m trying to show myself as the trusted expert.

Roy Barker  25:25 quit pitching your prospects

And, and hold that back up. Again. The other thing that is even if people don’t read it, it’s a huge business card. I mean, it just tells your story is got your name. And even if it’s laying around on somebody’s coffee table, it’s still a presence in front of people, which That’s awesome.

Ted  25:43

I remember the first, when I wrote my first book, I was giving a presentation on my books there. And the lady bought a copy. And she looked at me with all because apparently she’d never met a published author before. She said, will you sign my book? Oh, yeah, there’s, we, well, you kind of have to organize your thoughts, you know, you’ve you’ve gone through the process. And so therefore, you have this this aura of credibility.

But someone else who has all the information in their head, but doesn’t have a tangible, doesn’t have tangible proof. This can make all the difference. And like I said, doesn’t matter what, you know, you’re a plumber, you could write a book about how to fix your drains or whatever, put it in a book, it’s going to cost you $5. And you could give this out to potential clients, whatever your expertise is, set yourself apart. I know you talk about employee retention.

And that’s a huge issue right now, of course, as you know, but I think the second biggest issue for small businesses is how do you set yourself apart from all your competitors? an E book is a book is a great way to do it.

Roy Barker  26:52 quit pitching your prospects

Yeah, we talk a lot about just the noise level out there now as you have to do, you know, back in the day, if you had a website that was now it’s like, everybody’s got one and everybody right, this level. So we’ve got to take that next step. Which basically, you know, the other cool thing about this is, you know, kind of taking a step back, is, you know, once you get your rev copy edited before you submit it. What a lot of great social media posts. Oh, yeah. Found up right there. Take the chunks. Yeah.

Ted  27:29

In fact, I don’t mean to interrupt you, right. Try not to do that. I just get so excited about talking about this. But it’s very key to chunk your information, chunk your information. So what I usually do my classes, I asked somebody to write down a random nine digit number, any nine numbers of doom as low as long as they’re not sequential. So after they do that, I’ll say, Roy, if I were to see you next week, first of all, thank you for allowing me to be on your podcast. And then ask you could you recall that nine digit number? Do you think you could?

Roy Barker  27:59 quit pitching your prospects

Probably, oh, you could, I couldn’t. But you could say I can you remember what I have for lunch?

Ted  28:07

Well, I’m going to give you a little trick, a little tip, right? After the third digit and the fifth digit. So after the third number in the fifth number, put in a dash, put in a hyphen after the third number in the fifth number of now, if you can visualize that. What does that look like in your mind’s eye? No.

Roy Barker  28:23

I was saying like Social Security now.

Ted  28:26

We’ve gone from nine pieces of information down to just three, we’ve chunked the information. See, a confused mind never learns a confused mind never buys. That’s why for instance, there are the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People that some of the Habits of Highly Effective People, in fact, you know, I just used that on you a little while ago, by talking about that principle from May to stick. It was an acronym, they chunk the information. So it’s spelled su cc e. s, that’s how I’m able to remember it. If I didn’t have that acronym, I couldn’t tell you, you know, but when we chunk the information, it makes it really easy for people to remember.

Roy Barker  29:04

Yeah. Yeah. And you know, we work. Sometimes it’s like that, you know, the blank page mark in us that we talked about earlier. It’s like, Okay, well, we want to sit down and schedule some social media out. And it kills me because I know people, you know, or bloggers or good writers, they’re like, Ha, quit pitching your prospects. I don’t know what I’m gonna put out. And I’m like, Oh, my gosh, you got three pages of information, you know, you just pull from it. Right? You’re able to do the same thing. Like you said, chocolate, but you’re still educating your engine to yourself. So I mean, that this is an awesome tool that we’ve just created for ourselves. Mm

Ted  29:40

hmm. In fact, I want to give you an alternative to blogging. This is one of my favorite tips. You’re on LinkedIn. Right? Right. Yes. Correct. Yes. Either and LinkedIn, okay, so on the homepage of LinkedIn, the top, middle, there’s either a button or a link that says write an article. Okay, okay. So click on that link, it’ll take you to a three part template. At the top of the template, they’re looking for an image. So kind of like what’s behind you, for instance, now one of my favorite sites to get images is pixabay.

Have you ever used pixabay? No, p IX, a BA YPIXAB. Ba, why? Now one of the reasons I love going to that site is you were talking about web websites. I happen open up my PO Box, and I got a letter from Getty Images. unbeknownst to me, my webmaster had unauthorized use of one of their images, and I got a bill for $1,000. You don’t want to do that. Okay, but pixabay these are our images from amateur photographers. Now, it doesn’t mean they’re not good. Because, you know, with our iPhones now, I mean, they’re so sophisticated, you know, anybody can be of what looks like a professional photographer.

And what I also like about it is it doesn’t look like stock photography normally looks so prim and proper, and perfect. I mean, these are real images. And it’s a search engine. So for instance, if you wanted to do an article about employee retention, you could type in employee, and it would show you images of employees, okay? no cost. Now you can give attribution, you can give a contribution, if you like, one of the things I always do is I at least like the image, you know, to give the whoever provided some feedback. So I get an image from pixabay.com. The next part is the headline. And so what I do in the headline is I think about how people would be looking for the information in my article, you know, what do people type into Google?

And the reason I do that is, you know, when Google is looking for answers, they go to a credible site like LinkedIn, and they’ll look for information there. You know, so I want my title, my headline to match what they’re typing in the search engine. So that’s the second part of this template. The third part is the body copy 500 words or less, remember their short attention spans, there’s a little blue button in the upper right corner says publish, hit that, and it goes out to all your connections.

Now, I’m very particular as to who my friends are on Facebook, like, for instance, if I get a request from a half naked female, I think I probably shouldn’t go there. But with LinkedIn, it’s just business. You know, I never know when I could help you. Or you could help me. So I always say, I always say yes to those connections, and I have 1300 connections, and I ever do anything to promote it. No. So as soon as you do that, your article goes out to all of them. And then what you can also do is take that link, and use it on your other social media sites, use it on your, on your website.

And it what it’ll say is the the title of your article by Roy Barker doesn’t say by Roy Barker, it says linkedin.com this information is coming from linkedin.com. Alright, you’re an authority now. Yeah, you know, so at least get started there. If writing an E book or a book, it just seems too intimidating to you start with a LinkedIn article. It’s another one of those no cost resources. All it does is it takes up a little bit of your time. And you can prove yourself to be the again trusted member of the community. The real authority on your topic.

Roy Barker  33:14

Yeah. Yeah. And because LinkedIn is such, they have such a high domain authority, it really boosts your I think it really boosts your credibility as well.

Ted  33:26

Definitely, definitely. And the other thing you could you can do, of course, is post videos 80% of what we’ll be consuming it online will be videos, and keep them short. Again, very, very short, within 10 seconds to according to tubemogul. Within 10 seconds, 10% of your audience will be gone by the half minute mark, or third, by the one minute mark a half by the two minute mark three quarters. Wow. So keep them short. Keep really short, again, because of that short attention span, but you can you can post videos, put your videos on YouTube on LinkedIn as well.

Roy Barker  34:08 quit pitching your prospects

Yeah, videos or they used to reference it. I’m sure my audience gets tired hear me say it. I say it all the time. But it used to we talked about pictures were like breadcrumbs to your article, where videos were like chocolate covered your article that, you know, they just have so much more impact. And, you know, we talked about this to the importance of using a picture or video.

One of the reasons that was explained to me it really made a lot of sense at one time was that when you write even just a post on LinkedIn or Facebook, you take up, you know, maybe an inch, half an inch of real estate, where if you have a picture, now all of a sudden you have widened out that real estate because it’s easier to scroll back up the lines of text than it is that picture makes at least it visible. Then if you have a great image, it gets somebody’s attention, you know, whatever you’ve posted there. So

Ted  35:06

definitely, if a picture’s worth 1000 words of videos probably worth a million.

Roy Barker  35:09

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And I’m like you I like, I like things that look more real. I tried to take pictures, you know myself to use, I don’t, you know, there’s times we have to use the stock image you can’t get around it, but not my choice. also depend on what we’re writing about. If it’s our company, or our service, quit pitching your prospects or something that’s more personalized a picture of you, goes a long way to people can identify you with the company name with the service makes people feel more comfortable.

Ted  35:38

Yeah, and that’s the thing about social media marketing, you want to make it real, make it authentic.

Roy Barker  35:43

Yeah, yeah. That’s why it’s different. Yeah, see a lot of these websites, it’s, you know, I was helping a young lady and they had a bunch of equipment, trucks and some manufacturing equipment that they were showing stock pictures of something that looked kinda like, I’m like, Well, why are we doing that? Why don’t we do a real thing, you know, right worker have a real worker standing by this thing. And people can tell the difference, just like you can. Exactly. And so anyway, I think it makes such a much better presentation. But so I was just reading down through here. The, you’re talking about forget the rejection and the stress of cold calling.

Ted  36:25

Oh, okay. Yeah. Well, I already told you a little bit of that story. I send out postcards. You know, I had, I was working for another speaker, and he had me doing some cold calling ROI. And I kept track. That day, I made 49 cold calls. I talked to a machine 45 times. I mean, I remember, maybe you do too, back in the old days where people would actually would answer their phone. But now on my iPhone, if I had a number I don’t recognize it’s not one of my contacts.

I never take it, right. As a matter of fact, if they don’t leave a message, I automatically block the call, or they don’t call back. Yeah. Okay. quit pitching your prospects So anyway, I made these 49 calls. 45 times I talked to voicemail. The four times I did talk to an actual person, they told me go to Hell yeah. And I thought there’s got to be a better way. And I also, I listened to a podcast from the National Speakers Association and the host, like you was talking about? Well, he was interviewing a meeting professional.

And she said, I get 10 unsolicited emails each day from speakers as 50 a week. And one of the keys to success. I got this from the book, what they didn’t teach you at the heart at Harvard Business School, by Mark McCormack, he said, take a look at what everybody else is doing. And if you want to be successful, do just

Roy Barker  37:45

the opposite. Right.


Ted  37:47

That’s why send postcards and on the postcards. I don’t talk about how wonderful and great I Am. I’ll talk about things that are of interest to the meeting professional, for instance, do virtual trade shows work? Or should my virtual conference be pre recorded? Or how to get the shy expert to speak things like that? Because, you know, if it looks like an ad, what do we do?

As soon as we get advertisement in the mail? We don’t even look at it. Right? You know, and so unlike the cold call, where somebody listen to the first two seconds, and then delete, or you know, they may only look at the subject line of an email, they can tell it’s coming from a speaker or you know, some solicitor with a postcard you can’t help but at least spend three to five seconds with it. You know, like, what is this?

And what you want to do is make it look like it’s coming from a friend. Because I gave this tip to another speaker. She said, Oh, great. I’ll print off 100 mailing labels and slap them on that. No, no, no, no, no. You want to handwrite In fact, sometimes I’ll even write something that looks like a personal note. Yeah. You know, in fact, just recently, I spoke here in Columbus, for an association that makes chocolate candies. And the executive director said, you know, why had you come speak?

And I said, No, she said, because I loved your marketing materials. They’re just so so different. So that’s what I do. I send out postcards. And so I use another artist on Fiverr. Let me give you his name. His name is Balu ba elegoo. But he has the handle of blufor 12 ba l UBA One, two Beluga. 12 on fiverr.com. He’s in India. And every time he sends me back a PDF of my new postcard ROI, I get excited like a kid at Christmas. I mean, he does what I would do if I was creative. You know, I give him the general idea. And he just works magic.

And then I go to vistaprint and have these printed up. By the way, anytime you’ve used vistaprint, haven’t you? Yes, yeah, I mean, never pay full price. I always do a search on Google for vistaprint postcards, promo code or discount code, and I can usually say 30 to 50%. But that’s what I do to be different, you know, because I don’t want to blend in with everybody else I want to stand out. And I think that’s what a lot of your listeners need to do running small businesses. You know, we don’t have the marketing budget of a Gillette or Procter and Gamble, you know, so so we have to use these guerilla marketing tactics in order to get noticed.

Roy Barker  40:23 quit pitching your prospects

Yeah. And it’s funny, because even no matter what age you are, I still like to get stuff in the mailbox. And now I’m not so excited about getting emails that that’s that’s a no,

Ted  40:32

no, the average white collar worker sends and receives 115 a day now. You’re just gonna blend it with everybody else. Yeah. But

Roy Barker  40:39

when she comes down with the male says, hey, that’s something male. I mean, my ears kind of perked up, like, what is that? So, you know, I’m a lot more apt to give it a read. And I think the other good advice you just gave is to, you know, don’t, don’t stamp it like, No, no, you know, Mike, in fact, they

Ted  40:56

laugh at me at the postcard at the post office, because I say, hey, what what fun stamp Do you have this month? Right? So like, I’ll put Star Wars stamps on there, or, you know, something to make it stand out. So it’s fun. Yeah. And distinctive. In fact, we we had the part of the reason I got the idea. We had somebody come speak to our National Speakers Association chapter.

And like we said, the average white collar worker sends and receives 115 emails a day. How many pieces of mail Do you get now? Maybe, I don’t know. six, eight, something like that. You know, so yeah, it’s kind of a break your day, you’re going to take a little time to go through the mail. And, you know, try yourself. See, see if you you get an interesting I don’t even know if you get interesting postcards, but if you do, could you not

Roy Barker  41:39

look at Right, exactly. Yeah. And that’s well, that’s another key I think you have to get it you have to design it. To where it is an interesting enough. Somebody’s gonna flip it over and say Hey, what is this?

Ted  41:50

And to make it be about them? I mean, so many postcards again, males, mee mee mee mee mee mee mee mee mee mee mee mee mee mee mee it’s like when I was getting information in the mail for my daughter, for colleges, it’s all about us, us, us, us, us, us, us. No talk about my daughter are people like her and and how you’ve been able to help people like her and how much they enjoyed the experience? Or what type of job they got is resolved about, you know, make it be about the recipient, make it be about your client, not about you.

Roy Barker  42:22

Yeah, yeah, one more tip, we’re getting kind of late. I know one more thing I wanted that this kind of brought up that it was an old. So what this is a way to get a really good free mailing list or low cost mailing list to people that really care about what you’re sending them. This was a jewelry store and this jewelry store, what they had figured out is that 50 to 70% of their clients were repeat clients. So if they come in the door to make the first purchase, you know, about a 750 to 70% chance you’re coming back for a second purchase.

What they did is they went to a local dentist, and they said, Look, I’ve got this deal, I want you to send out a letter to your clientele, and say, thanks for being such an awesome customer of our dental service. And because of that, we have arranged a you know, whatever discount and this particular jewelry store, you know, they said it at cost. So basically, this first purchase was going to be you know, they weren’t gonna make any money, they want to make money off of you the next 500. Right.

But what they did is they said, you know, we don’t want to touch your mailing list, we’re not asking right client’s name, we want your secretary, we’ll give you the form letter, she can type it out, she will send it out on your letterhead and say, thanks for being a client, we’ve arranged, you know, 30% discount on this purchase, send it out to all their clients. And then you know, one, one good thing to do is you may fund an hour to the secretaries time that has to, you know, get the data and send it down pay for post. Is this not a student say it’s no cost?

It’s low cost. But yeah, yeah. But now you’ve got an engaged audience, because they are current clients of this dentist. They’re excited because he’s saying thanks for being a client. And I’ve figured out how you can get a discount at the store. And now the jewelry store, you know, they were just saying, Hey, you know, this first one is going to be breakeven for us. But you know, think about if even 30 or 40% of these people come in and make repeat customers. I’ve always thought that was such an awesome

Ted  44:39

kind of Oh, it is ROI. In fact, it even has a name. Oh, does it Okay, yeah, that’s called fusion marketing. Okay. Yeah. In fact, the former CEO of ups said, you know, used to be if you can’t beat them, join them. But But now used to be, you know, you try to beat your competition. But if you can’t do that, then join them. Yeah.

And then you both can’t be beat. Yeah, yeah. It’s called fusion marketing. In fact, I’ve heard, for instance, a car dealer and a carwash owner got together, or a sporting bar, a sports bar, and a sporting goods owner got together, or a hairstylist and a clothing boutique. You know, each one had a display for the other. Yeah. Because again, what does it cost you? You know, and it makes both of you look good. So it’s a win win win?

Roy Barker  45:32

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Love the ideation marketing. Okay, great. Yeah, we put them after all these years, I can put a name to that. Cool thing. All right, Ted. Well, any any other points you want to put out to the audience before we wrap this up?


Ted  45:50

Okay, well, this one is a little bit more philosophical. Okay. But it’s a tip that I picked up from Brian Tracy. Okay. It’s something that I’ve instituted the last few months. And he said that one of the best things you can do when you get up in the morning, is to write down your goals. What are you trying to accomplish today? You know, personal goal, maybe a physical fitness goal. professional goal, and then that will keep you focused for the rest of the day.

And because you know, most people have no clue as to really why they’re here what their purpose is. So define what’s most important to you. In that way, you’ll stay motivated toward those goals throughout the day. And then each day as you rewrite them, you’ll refocus yourself. You’ll be amazed at how this will keep you on track and what you can accomplish.

Roy Barker  46:47

I love that. And I was just fixing to ask what is a habit or a tool that you and if that’s it, that’s understandable if you have something else that you do every day that really adds value, if you want to show there,

Ted  46:59

there is something else. But this this is I mean, sometimes I tell people this and they just kind of shake their head, but I am a runner last year, because like many of us back in March, I lost all of my engagements for the rest of the year. And I was under huge stress, like, what the heck am I going to do? So one of the things I did to deal with the stress was I increased my running.

And by the end of the year, by the end of 20. I had run 2020 miles. But what that enables me to do is just to let my mind go. And I think about things like this helps me plan my day. It’s just been a huge, tremendous stress lever reliever for me. In fact, last time I was seriously sick, was right after I got married. first month we were married, my wife had to convalesce me back I got mononucleosis.

And that was 38 years ago. So it is it’s really helped me to keep my energy up, keep me healthy. So you know, running may not be the thing for you. But but find some sort of physical activity, because it will help you in multiple ways. Not only will it help you with your energy in your physical fitness, but it’ll help you with your creativity as well.

Roy Barker  48:14

Yeah, yeah. And I’m not a runner, for sure. But just even for me getting out and taking the 10 or 15 Oh, yeah. And I’ll probably do that tonight when we’re done. Yeah. And if you get stuck, if I get stuck in a problem, you know, something I can’t solve or if I am writing in and get caught in a block, just instead of trying to power through Yes, because I easily end up rewriting that. Just get up, take a walk, it clears my head.

And then, you know, talking about the creativity, you know, there are studies that say that, you know, like our kids and this extrapolates to adults that were so overscheduled stimulated, that we have lost the creative edge in some cases, but taking that walk or even just sitting with yourself and trying to calm your mind can really help those creative juices start flowing again.

Ted  49:03

Yeah, the other thing that helps me and of course, this isn’t gonna help everybody but I have eight grandkids. So when they come over again, this is one of my goals. I want to be the best grandfather I can possibly be. I become like a kid. Yeah, I get down on their level. I do the same crazier, zany, are you they love it when you act like them.

And you’re allowed to be you know, as I go out and play tag with them and chase them around and we ride go karts, and they think it’s fantastic and i’m doing i’m working on one of my goals. I want to be a good grandfather you know so that when I get done I feel energized I feel like a kid I get that energy back and if so that’s that’s serious work for me is is to be a good granddad.

Roy Barker  49:42

Nothing like being a grandpa and not really having the rules and constraints as write up the kids by word is here to have that can make your job and eat your vegetables at all night.

Ted  49:55

That is your job. Yeah, yeah. It’s just to be as much fun as you possibly can. cannon, it takes a lot of energy. You know, sometimes they come over and go, Oh, geez, I’m I’m up for today. But then after they leave, I’m so glad that I did expend the energy.

Roy Barker  50:09

Now they are blessing for sure. Yes. Well, Ted, thanks so much for taking.

Ted  50:13

Oh, my pleasure.

Wrap Up

Roy Barker  50:15

It’s been awesome conversation. So tell everybody a couple things. Who, how, who do you like to work with? How can you help them and then how they can reach you, but then also tell us how we can get a copy of the book?

Ted  50:28

Oh, certainly. Well, if anybody’s struggling with writing the book, I’ve already written mine. This is everything I know, Roy. So I can’t I’d love to write another. But that’s all I know. So if somebody needs some assistance with their ebook or book, I’d be happy to help them out. You could reach me at Ted T E D @ Janus J A N U S presentations.com. So, Ted @ Janus presentations.com.

That’s all one word, obviously, my website is www.Januspresentations.com. And I’d be happy to assist you in any way that I could. Once again, the name of my book is Superpower Superpower Marketing and Branding. I wrote it specifically for professional speakers and trainers. But just like the tips we talked about here, I think it spills over to other small business owners. And we discussed No Cost and Low Cost Resources to Propel Your Business and the ebook and the paperback book are available on Amazon.

Roy Barker  51:27

Okay, awesome. Y’all reach out and pick up pick up a copy of the book to get started and then give 10 a call. Let him help you with your presentations with your speaking or least writing your next best seller.

Ted  51:41

was indeed a pleasure, Roy. Yeah, I’m sorry. It’s over.

Roy Barker  51:44

Yeah, me too. Yeah, it was a great conversation. And I learned that it is fusion marketing. So learn something every day.

Ted  51:52

You didn’t even know you were a genius. But maybe you did. But that’s just more proof.

Roy Barker  51:55

Right? Exactly. All right. Well, that’s gonna do it for another episode of the business of business podcast. Of course I am your host Roy. You can find us at thebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. We’re on all the major social media networks, hangout probably on Instagram a little more than anywhere else. So reach out there be glad to interact with you also on all the podcast platforms, iTunes, Stitcher, Google Spotify, if we’re not a one that you listened to reach out to be glad to add it to make your ears listening easier. A video of this interview will also go up on our YouTube channel. So go over there and check us out till next time. Take care of yourself and take care of your business.

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