Weekend Favs January 18

Weekend Favs January 18 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • WP Landing Kit – Easily create a landing page via WordPress for any special projects or marketing campaigns.
  • Popsters – Collect insights across 12 social media platforms (now including TikTok!).
  • Press Hunt 3.0 – Discover and connect with journalists who want to write about your business.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

Banking on KC Podcast – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur

Banking on KC Podcast – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

John Jantsch stops by the Banking on KC podcast and sits down with host Kelly Scanlon to discuss his latest book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur.

When some folks hear the term “self-reliance,” they think that means going it alone. And while those who are self-reliant certainly do know how to trust themselves and have faith in their own decisions, they are not solitary people. No entrepreneur can build a great business without lots of support, and so this book reframes the idea of self-reliance to help you understand that what it’s really about is deepening your mind, body, and spirit connection and using that to learn to trust yourself while still relying on input from others.

Jantsch talks more about the philosophy behind the concept of self-reliance and what all of that has to do with entrepreneurship in this podcast episode. Follow the link below to give it a listen!

Listen: John Jantsch on the Banking on KC podcast (he appears on the January 15 episode)

Using AI with Human Touch to Create Great Social Content

Using AI with Human Touch to Create Great Social Content written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Kate Bradley Chernis
Podcast Transcript

Kate Bradley Chernis headshotToday’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Kate Bradley Chernis, co-founder and CEO of Lately.

Bradley Chernis started her career as a radio DJ, then started a marketing firm, and it was there that she identified a unique problem: Businesses need to create tons of social media content to get noticed online, but your content will only really stand out if it’s high-quality.

And that’s why she founded Lately. The tool uses AI to turn long-form content (think: blog posts, transcripts from webinars or podcasts, or even chapters from a book) into short-form content (AKA social media posts). Marketers can then take the content created by Lately and finesse it with a little human touch to create dozens of social posts in a fraction of the time.

Bradley Chernis and I talk about some of the biggest social media marketing trends today, and how Lately helps marketers stay ahead of their competition.

Questions I ask Kate Bradley Chernis:

  • How did you go from being a rock and roll DJ to founding a social media writing tech startup?
  • How does Lately work?
  • Do you find that the AI works particularly well on any social platform, or do you need to personalize content for each channel?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to strike the balance between automation and human touch.
  • The difference between basic automation and AI.
  • Why storytelling is an important element in social media.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Kate Bradley Chernis:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. If you’re looking to grow your business there is only one way: by building real, quality customer relationships. That’s where Klaviyo comes in.

Klaviyo helps you build meaningful relationships by listening and understanding cues from your customers, allowing you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages.

What’s their secret? Tune into Klaviyo’s Beyond Black Friday docu-series to find out and unlock marketing strategies you can use to keep momentum going year-round. Just head on over to klaviyo.com/beyondbf.

Transcript of Using AI with Human Touch to Create Great Social Content

Transcript of Using AI with Human Touch to Create Great Social Content written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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Transcript

Klaviyo logo

John Jantsch: This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo is a platform that helps growth-focused eCommerce brands drive more sales with super-targeted, highly relevant email, Facebook and Instagram marketing.

John Jantsch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Kate Bradley Chernis. She is the CEO of Lately, an AI-powered social media writing software, that can be found at TryLately.com. We’re going to talk about social media, and maybe AI, and just, who knows what else?

John Jantsch: Kate, thanks for joining me.

Kate B. Chernis: Hey, John, thanks for having me. How are you?

John Jantsch: Great. I said you were the CEO of Lately, but, like most people that come on this show, you had a life before Lately. Maybe tell us, how did you get here?

Kate B. Chernis: Yeah. It seems so long ago, doesn’t it?

Kate B. Chernis: In another, other life, I was a rock and roll DJ, John.

John Jantsch: Well, I had a little hint, because I think I was looking up your Skype handle, and it had music in it. I had a little hint, there.

Kate B. Chernis: Ah. Outlandos, right? Because I’m a huge Andy Summers fan, so this tells you how old I am, I’m in my mid-40s, and I’m a ginormous Police fan. Andy Summers is a great guitar player. I opted, or co-opted Outlandos for the name of my first marketing agency.

John Jantsch: Awesome. So, you ran an agency? Well, you were a rock and roll DJ, you ran an agency. Did you, like a lot of people, stumble into Lately because you needed a solution for something?

Kate B. Chernis: Yeah, exactly right. How I got from … I was actually at XM, so broadcasting to 20 million listeners a day, crazy town. How I got from radio to marketing is a little bit of a longer story, so I’ll just jump into time.

Kate B. Chernis: Here I was, with a marketing agency, and my first client was Walmart. It was an interesting collaboration, because it was Walmart with United Way Worldwide, National Disability Institute. They had AT&T involved, and Bank of America, and the IRS, and 10s of thousands of small and mediums businesses. Suddenly I was like, wow, this is a complete, giant mess. I built us this monster spreadsheet, and my boss was like, “Oh, you’ve got to show that to the team.” I had just built it, at first, for my own brain, to sort this out. The spreadsheet system that I built ended up getting us 130% ROI, year over year, for three years.

Kate B. Chernis: Lately is the automation of that. It’s the idea, to give you the ability to do what I did for Walmart, through the use of AI, for way less money and a fraction of the time.

John Jantsch: Yeah. Let’s talk about the AI part. Everybody is talking about AI, but I think everybody has a different idea of what it means, how it actually works. I mean, is it really a computer, or is it just a bunch of people in a building somewhere, that are spitting out this stuff to look like artificial intelligence? I think we’re in a transition period, where all of that’s on the table.

John Jantsch: At the risk of sounding like an ad for Lately, I do want you to explain, how does it work?

Kate B. Chernis: Yeah, for sure. You’re right, in the scope of AI, just to back up, we’re at the baby, baby, baby steps. If AI was a human, we’re not even toddlers, we’re infants, here. There is autonomous AI, which is true machine learning, and then there’s pseudo AI, which is where the machine still needs a human to move things along, which is really where we are, as a race, for the most part.

Kate B. Chernis: With Lately, the way it works is we … First of all, when you connect all of your social channels, we go ahead and we look at a year’s worth of content, and this happens instantly. We’re looking at everything you’ve published, and we’re analyzing all the words, all the keywords that resonated from your highest engaging posts, and we’re looking to replicate that model.

Kate B. Chernis: We extract short form content from long form content. Short form, in this case, being social media posts. Long form could be anything that has text. It could be a book, a newsletter, a blog, a press release. It could also be anything that we transform into text for you, like a podcast like this, or a webinar, or a video. As we’re looking at those long form content, we’re looking for similar patterns and keywords that we found already resonate with your audience. We also, then, start to learn from your analytics, and suggest additional keywords as you go forward.

Kate B. Chernis: So, there’s a coupling between the human and the AI. It’s very much a partnership where we give you the opportunity to not only curate what words we’re looking for, but then enhance the content with that magical human touch, that only you and I, and the rest of the humans have, John. So, putting that emotional component in there, so that gets you to that one plus one equals three, magical scenario.

John Jantsch: Yeah. So, the problem then is, let’s say I have a transcript of 3000 words of this podcast. The promise, then, is that the tool, the platform, can actually turn that into a bunch of tidy little social type posts, and put it in a platform that would actually allow me to schedule those posts. Is that a good summation?

Kate B. Chernis: Yeah, exactly. From this podcast, you might get 100 social posts. They’re drafts. We start you at third base, and about 60% will be ready to go. The other 40% requires a little human touch, so you might want to trash them, or you might want to be like, I just want to finagle one word here, and it’s going to be ready to rock. Then, we do give you the ability to publish those posts, across your various social platforms as well, yeah.

John Jantsch: Let’s say I’m a person that likes to read lots of blogs, and news sources, so I’ve actually aggregated them into some sort of reader. Theoretically, could the tool, then, take that feed, and produce a lot of content from other people’s content?

Kate B. Chernis: Yes. We do that automatically, so you can add an RSS feed. Every time a new blog is posted there, it automatically generates a pile of content, just waiting for you in a holding pattern. So, whenever you come back to the platform, it’s ready for your eyeballs.

John Jantsch: Okay. I’m sure there are a lot of listeners who are thinking, oh, this is great. I can just automate everything, I’ll have hundreds of posts that I can just spray everywhere. I can also see, from my standpoint, five years ago I would have thought, yeah that’s how I’m going to get all this stuff out there.

John Jantsch: I think people, because there’s a flood of content now … How do you make that type of practice useful, today? Instead of just, yeah I can schedule this stuff for two years out, and never have to think about it, there’s no real thought of engagement. It’s just, publish content. How do you stay away from that trap, of just producing stuff that nobody actually looks at?

Kate B. Chernis: Sure. Well, a couple of ways.

Kate B. Chernis: Number one, this is not just automation, it’s AI. It’s actually compelling, relevant content. We’re researching specifically what your audience is already raising its hand, saying I want to engage with this content, and analyzing that for you. It’s high quality content, and that’s the big difference. This is where everyone’s been making the mistake, in the past.

Kate B. Chernis: More is unavoidable. We all have to do more, we want more, more, more, more, we’ve already gone down this path. The only way to be good at more is to cut through the noise with quality. Doing what I did for Walmart as a human, alone, no one could possibly do what I had done 10 years ago, now. Everything is just growing, growing, growing. You need the coupling of the AI. That distinction of the quality is an important thing.

Kate B. Chernis: Lately is not a social marketing tool, Lately is a content writing tool, an AI powered content writing tool. We focus on making marketers better writers, and we help them do that at scale.

John Jantsch: Let’s use … I’m sure you’ve seen lots of ways that people have used it very effectively.

Kate B. Chernis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

John Jantsch: Let’s talk about a couple, and I already mentioned this. As a podcaster, I produce a transcript of this show, it produces 3000 to 5000 words per show. We do publish that, in a lot of ways, for SEO purposes. But, I could certainly see a tool like yours being able to turn around the quality bits of that, in a way that would actually help a podcaster attract more listeners. Now I’m putting words in your mouth. How would you see a podcaster effectively using this?

Kate B. Chernis: Yeah, exactly. You got the point.

Kate B. Chernis: One of the things that it touches on, whether it’s a podcaster or any other kind of use, is that the beauty of Lately is giving you, let’s just say, 50 social posts from your podcast that are all different, still point back to the link of your podcast. This is important, because …

Kate B. Chernis: There’s that old marketing adage, about winking in the dark, right? Not marketing is like winking in the dark, get it? These days, actually, the similar equivalent is marketing once or twice, meaning publishing one Twitter post, you might as well be winking in the dark. Who the heck is reading that? Never. Really? You have to publish multiple, intense, 10 or 20 a day, to hope that I’m going to see that. What are the chances, right?

Kate B. Chernis: Similarly, if you think about marketing in radio, back to radio, we used to play the same … Not saying this is good, but this is how it was. We played the same song, 300 times in one week, with the hope that you would absorb it, and listen to it, and remember it. In marketing, that used to be seven times you would have to hear, read or see an ad for you to absorb it. These days, it’s 12 to 14 times. I have to hope that you somehow see my ad 12 to 14 times, before it’s going to sink in with you.

Kate B. Chernis: Again, the only way to do that is through quantity, but then you have to have the quality as well. If I just sent you the same 40 social posts, pointing to your podcast, I’m spamming you. We hate that. If I give you 40 different access points, what we’ve found is that not only are you able to reach new and greater audiences, because different messages about your podcast resonate with different people, but even the same people will start to share your content in a greater way, because they start getting excited about it.

Kate B. Chernis: One of the ways that we found our customers are using Lately to grow their audiences, and to get that impact, is by, literally, tagging the person you’re interviewing. If you, John, were using Lately to auto-generate content from this podcast, you’re going to get all these quotes. It’s look for the most compelling quotes of what you and I are saying, because there’s some gold in here. Then, it’s going to automatically add a short link to your podcast, on the back of it, plus a hashtag, or whatever. And, you can automatically tag me, as well.

Kate B. Chernis: Here’s the beauty, is that if you publish those 40 posts, once every week, for the next 40 weeks, the chances of me retweeting your post are super high.

John Jantsch: I want to remind you that this episode is brought to you by Klaviyo. Klaviyo helps you build meaningful customer relationships, by listening and understanding queues from your customers. This allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages. There’s powerful segmentation, email auto responders that are ready to go, great reporting. If you want to learn a bit about the secret to building customer relationships, they’ve got a really fun series called, Klaviyo’s Beyond Black Friday. It’s a docu-series, a lot of fun, quick lessons. Just head on over to Klaviyo.com/BeyondBF, Beyond Black Friday.

John Jantsch: Yeah, even if you have a smaller following, that really actually reads your Twitter posts, I think the compelling idea, here, is that you’re actually … Let’s say they catch five of them, they’re catching a story as opposed to, there’s another read my stuff.

Kate B. Chernis: Yeah, totally. We had a customer, David Allison. He wrote this amazing book called Valuegraphics, which is the death of demographics. It’s the idea of grouping people by what they value, which is brilliant.

Kate B. Chernis: He used to have a marketing team, he would pay them $3000 a month. He fired them, he purchased Lately. When he released his book on a Monday, by noon he was number one on Amazon’s Best Seller global list, and he gives Lately all the credit. That was his book, he was running the chapters through the generator.

John Jantsch: He ran the actually PDF of a document through?

Kate B. Chernis: Yeah.

John Jantsch: Yeah, that’s awesome. Awesome.

Kate B. Chernis: It’s amazing. By the way, we have customers now, who are actually optimizing their content for the generator. So, they’ve asked me, how do they write a blog so that more posts will get picked up, which is interesting. They want to game the AI, I love it.

John Jantsch: Let’s talk about another use case. I’ll give you an example.

Kate B. Chernis: Sure.

John Jantsch: This is going to be a hard one for you, but let’s say a remodeling contractor. It’s a local business, but they’re a pretty good size. They’ve got 50 employees, and do millions of dollars worth of remodels in their community. Is a tool like this something that could benefit them?

Kate B. Chernis: For a contractor? You know, I’m going to probably say no, unless they happen to be a thought leader who is producing a ton of content. If they have a website with tons of content on resources for home buyers, and the content is long form, so blogs, videos, podcasts, then they’re going to be a great candidate for us. If they don’t already have pieces in mind, what we’ve found is that …

Kate B. Chernis: It’s so interesting, John. People hate writing, marketers hate writing, which is also kind of interesting. They just don’t want to do it. There’s this strange thing, where they want to do nothing so bad, they just want to be able to push a button and be done with it, but marketing cannot ever work that way. Marketing only works when there’s an emotional connection tied to it. You like me, you buy my things, that’s the end of it. There’s some kind of liking happening, or sympathy, empathy.

Kate B. Chernis: It’s funny, because people buy QuickBooks, for example. You sit down, and you have to do some work to get QuickBooks to work for you. But, with marketing, people are like, well why can’t I just push the button and have it done? You’re like, no. There is a reason people have a degree in this.

Kate B. Chernis: That’s the way we’ve learned to filter out our customers, by the ones who understand. They have a team in place, they’ve already educated themselves to the fact that the work is part of the deal.

John Jantsch: Let’s talk about the platforms, then. Have you found that … We already mentioned Twitter, I’m going to go with Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, maybe even YouTube. You can throw anything else in there you want to, Pinterest maybe. Have you found that your tool does particularly …

John Jantsch: Well, let me ask this two ways. Do you find that your tool, the AI, does particularly well on certain platforms? Or, do you just merely find that you need to personalize for the platform?

Kate B. Chernis: Yeah. The AI will work on any platform, because the learning capabilities are the same across the board, and they’re applicable no matter where it is. It’s learning for that specific audience, of that platform.

Kate B. Chernis: But, there certainly are tweaks. You can have it create content for the different platforms, or you can say, I want to clone this thing that I made for Pinterest on LinkedIn, and that kind of thing. You have a lot of options, where the AI is letting go at that point. That’s where the human is coming in, and making those decisions.

Kate B. Chernis: For sure, LinkedIn is having a moment with the world right now. If you’re not actively doing social organic on LinkedIn, you are missing out. I can’t even believe it. This is how we got Gary V. to be our customer. Thank you, Jesus, that was a super awesome day. We’re actively pushing our customers to really enhance their LinkedIn, and to promote and publish more there.

Kate B. Chernis: Then, it’s interesting because … I heard somebody say, “Oh, Twitter is dead.” It is not dead. It’s just as mighty as before, it’s just different. Really, the SEO capability of Twitter, I feel, is as powerful as ever. It’s a little bit different in Instagram Facebook land, because that’s so image driven, and that’s not where our forte is. You can add images to Lately, for sure, but we’re focused on the writing.

Kate B. Chernis: Yeah. We’re definitely watching this across, we have data across all of our customers. We’re watching to see, even across the industries of our customers, whose having greater uptick against which channels. There is some ebb and flow, and again it relates to either photos, specifically, or like I said, just trends, like LinkedIn being a great place for organic.

Kate B. Chernis: You know, John, the other thing I should say is, one of the requests we used to get all the time, and we don’t so much anymore, is when are you going to integrate with paid advertising? Of course, organic and paid is connected. We just stuck a stake in the sand, and we stopped doing our own paid ads. We do 100% organic, all dog fooding our own product. Dog fooding, for those who don’t know, means when you use your own thing to do your own thing. We decided to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak. We’ve seen an incredible uptick in our own sales leads, and ability to generate sales.

Kate B. Chernis: We have a 50% conversion from trial to sale. The reason we do is because, by the time we pitch our leads, they’re already warm, because we only pitch leads who like, comment, and share our social. We use the social to get those people, because we’re able to do it at scale. I’m just a little company.

John Jantsch: Yeah. Let me ask you one more thing, about, say, a larger organization. Are they able to segment? In other words, they may have different product groups, or different service offerings, or different target markets all together. Have you been able to effectively allow them to meet all those objectives?

Kate B. Chernis: Yeah. One of our favorite features is called campaign tags, and it allows you to tag all of your content any way you like. This comes from my spreadsheet days.

Kate B. Chernis: Secretly, on the outside I’m a rock and roller, but on the inside I’m an organized nerd. I think that Martha Stewart and Marie Kondo are the end all, be all. I’ve been doing my underwear drawers for years, long before Marie came along. So, organizing is really big for us, and we found that it was our second most used feature, was this ability to literally tag your content and organize it.

Kate B. Chernis: So, for example, say you wanted to see all of your social posts pertaining to your Easter blog campaign, you can literally click a button, and it does that for you. It’ll even, actually, roll up every piece of content by campaign, so you can see all the social post links, images, videos, whatever you want, that went along with Volvo’s end of the year sale, for example.

John Jantsch: Awesome. So, Kate, tell people where they can find out more about Try Lately? I know that you have a trial period, I think, that they can actually kick the tires a little?

Kate B. Chernis: Yeah. We actually just 86d that in the new year, sorry. Anybody can always ask me for a favor, and I’ll probably say yes.

Kate B. Chernis: It’s www.TryLately.com. The best part, John, is on Tuesdays, at 2PM Eastern, we do a free webinar. It is super duper fun, it’s open to public, where we go over some of our top features. There’s an open Zoom channel, so there’s lots of chat, there’s lots of marketing advice. Then, once a month, actually, I get on and I do a writing class, showing people exactly how to get that 70% increased engagement, by adding a little human touch to their Lately AI. It’s super fun, so I hope everyone will come.

John Jantsch: Awesome. We’ll have, obviously, links in the show notes.

John Jantsch: Kate, thanks for stopping by. I know it took us a while to get this one on the books, but I appreciate it. Hopefully, we’ll run into you next time I’m up in the Hudson Valley.

Kate B. Chernis: John, you’re cool as heck. Thank you so much, rock and roll.

The Sales Podcast – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur

The Sales Podcast – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

John Jantsch stops by The Sales Podcast and sits down with host Wes Schaeffer to discuss his latest book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur.

Salespeople, entrepreneurs, and business owners know that they need to work on themselves before they can grow in their work life. Jantsch wrote this book recognizing that our lives are works in progress and we sometimes need some guidance to develop trust in ourselves and a sense of self-reliance—two important attributes to have in sales and entrepreneurship.

To learn more about the format of the book and what Jantsch hopes you’ll get from it, check out this podcast.

Listen: John Jantsch on The Sales Podcast

Incorporating Storytelling Into Your Sales Process

Incorporating Storytelling Into Your Sales Process written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Livesay
Podcast Transcript

John Livesay headshotToday on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I visit with sales keynote speaker, author, and pitch whisperer John Livesay.

Livesay is a sales expert who coaches teams on how to become irresistible to their prospects. He’s also the author of the bestselling book Better Selling Through Storytelling: The Essential Roadmap to Becoming a Revenue Rockstar.

While some teams are still out there selling, others have learned to tell stories about what sets their business apart. It’s not enough to simply present your past work and current offerings. Today’s best sales teams are learning to build connection, express empathy, and stand out with storytelling that includes four elements: exposition, clarifying the problem, sharing the solution, and providing a surprise twist for the resolution.

Livesay goes into detail about how any business can learn to create compelling, attention-grabbing stories about their offerings and their team in order to win more new business.

Questions I ask John Livesay:

  • How would you describe storytelling in the sales environment?
  • Is there a way to use storytelling to get your foot in the door with prospects?
  • What is the surprise element you can introduce into your story to help make it more intriguing?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How storytelling in sales can help prospects understand their problem.
  • How to improve your storytelling if you’re not a natural.
  • How to link your story up with objections.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about John Livesay:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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Gusto is making payroll, benefits, and HR easy for modern small businesses. You no longer have to be a big company to get great technology, great benefits, and great service to take care of your team.

To help support the show, Gusto is offering our listeners an exclusive, limited-time deal. Sign up today, and you’ll get 3 months free once you run your first payroll. Just go to Gusto.com/TAPE.

Transcript of Incorporating Storytelling Into Your Sales Process

Transcript of Incorporating Storytelling Into Your Sales Process written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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Transcript

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John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Gusto, modern, easy payroll benefits for small businesses across the country. And because you’re a listener, you get three months free when you run your first payroll. Find out at gusto.com/tape.

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is John Livesay, he is also known as The Pitch Whisperer. He’s a sales expert and storytelling keynote speaker on sales, marketing, negotiation and persuasion. He’s also the author of a book we’re going to talk about today, Better Selling Through Storytelling, the essential roadmap to becoming a revenue rockstar. So John, welcome to the show.

John Livesay: Thanks for having me, John.

John Jantsch: I think a lot of marketers, even increasingly small business owners are kind of getting into this idea of story telling as a great marketing tactic. But how would you describe storytelling in the sales, purely sales environment?

John Livesay: Well, the old way of selling is to push out a bunch of information, hope some of it sticks. And it just doesn’t work anymore. So what storytelling does, is it allows you to be memorable and magnetic because we’re wired to listen to stories in a very different way than we do when someone’s giving us a bunch of information of features and things. And stories pull us in and also our defenses go down.

John Livesay: When you tell a good story of a case study and turn that into an interesting story with a little bit of drama or personal story of why you became a lawyer or an entrepreneur or an architect, whatever it is you are doing, that’s what people remember about you. And when you’re going up against competitors, if you really want to be memorable, people say, “Oh well, we hope to go last if it’s a final three, but you can’t control that. What you can control is telling a good story.”

John Jantsch: Would you say that this is sort of new to selling? That it’s not the way that maybe was taught in the traditional sales training of 10 years ago?

John Livesay: I would say it is a relatively new awareness of its importance. Traditional selling was, tell them what the features are and then tell them what the benefits are and show how it solves a problem. But there was no story there. I was working with an architecture firm and they traditionally would go in for these final three, one hour presentations, pitches, interviews, whatever you want to call it. And show their work and think, well whoever has the best design to remodel a law firm or an airport, will get the business.

John Livesay: It was all about … Or an ad agency goes in to pitch to win new clients, “Well, here’s our work.” There was just no story about them, or how they came up with the concept or another story of somebody they helped. And so this awareness that whoever tells the best story is going to get the yes, is something that a lot of people are going, “Wow, we really need to learn to become better storytellers.”

John Jantsch: This is off the topic a little bit, but in researching your work in preparation for this interview. I stumbled upon a YouTube video, of you being interviewed by Larry King. And so I’m curious how that came about. Just because I don’t think of Larry King interviewing sales authors.

John Livesay: Well, he has a show called Breakfast with Larry King. And a friend of mine is one of the elite group of people that gets to have breakfast with him on a regular basis. And one of them is named Cal Fussman who was a journalist for Esquire Magazine and Cal’s also a keynote speaker. And he had said, “I’ve got to learn how to sell myself as a speaker and I’m a journalist, I don’t know how to sell.” I said, “Oh, but Cal, you know how to tell great stories and you know how to ask great questions. So let me show you how your journalists skill of storytelling can help you sell yourself.” And that was a big light bulb moment for him. And then he said, “Oh, I want to have you on the show with Larry King.” And I did my research, as you could imagine, Larry’s done over 60,000 interviews.

John Livesay: And I read that he does not like small talk. I had some things ready to go that were about him and not about the weather or anything. And one of it was, he got his big break interviewing Frank Sinatra when he was just as a radio DJ and not a television personality. And I had mentioned to him off camera, I said, “I really love that story of you interviewing Frank Sinatra caused you to get your big break.” And he smiled and said, “That was a good night.”

John Livesay: On camera, he’s looking at my book and he said, “Your book is called Better Selling Through Storytelling, what makes a good story?” And John, I don’t know what made me have the courage to say this. I said, “Well, you have such a great story of how you got discovered by interviewing Frank Sinatra, would you mind telling that story? And then we can break down the elements of that for the audience?” And he goes, “Sure,” so he told the story and then I broke it down into the four elements of what makes a good story, which is basically exposition, painting a picture, there’s a problem and there’s a solution, and then the secret sauce is resolution. And I’m happy to share that story if you want to hear it, but that’s how that all happened.

John Jantsch: That is fun. You mentioned and maybe we can weave the story in there, but I want to also get into some of the other elements of the book. You mentioned one of favorite words, problems. It’s not really a favorite word necessarily, but I’ve discovered that a lot of times people searching for a solution don’t actually know what the problem is or can’t really articulate it. It’s just, I don’t have enough sales or my business just doesn’t feel right.

John Jantsch: And what I’ve found is that storytelling, a lot of times, or at least telling the story of how they maybe got to this point or something, a lot of times helps them actually understand the problem. And I think there’s such a strong connection, at least I’ve discovered the person who can actually describe or articulate or, you mentioned empathy, have empathy with what the real problem is. I think a lot of times has such an advantage, don’t they?

John Livesay: Well, they really do John. I always like to say that the better you describe the problem and show empathy for the people experiencing the problem, the better the potential buyer thinks you have their solution. That’s when you get that aha moment where someone says, “Oh, you get me or you are in my shoes.” And if someone isn’t able in psychotherapy when people come in for therapy, they say, “Oh, I’m here because I’m having trouble sleeping.

John Livesay: And that’s known as the presenting problem. That’s not really the core problem. The problem is they’ve got money issues or whether something else is keeping them up besides sleep problems. So I think the same is true. As salespeople, we need to think of ourselves as almost doctors a little bit, where we’re asking questions and not just accepting the first problem somebody says is the reason they’re here.

John Jantsch: Yeah, because so often they’re not ready to even hear a conversation about what we sell, because they can’t really connect their problem with our solution. I mean, isn’t that kind of a lot of the danger of just showing up and going, here’s what you need.

John Livesay: Yeah, until you realize you have a problem that needs some help, it’s the difference between Advil for a migraine versus you need a vitamin to prevent you sick. It’s like, I don’t really need an Advil, if it’s just the vitamin. But that’s what storytelling is so great at. If you describe another person that’s very similar to the person you’re in front of, and here’s what I found out. You tell the story, two years ago they came to me, they weren’t quite sure what was wrong with their business, they knew they needed more sales and the problem was just sort of hazy for them.

John Livesay: And after working with them, we define that there’s really three obstacles, and here’s what those three obstacles were and here’s the solution we came up with. And now a year after using my product or service, their life is so much better. That’s the resolution. Their sales are up 10%, they’re not stressed out, they feel better. So you’re giving all kinds of … And if that sounds like the kind of journey you’d like to go on, then we might be able to work together. Now you’re closing question is, because that sounds like the kind of journey you’d like to go on, not do you want to buy my product?

John Jantsch: You just showed me how to structure a story around a problem. What about the what’s every salesperson’s initial problem? I don’t get a chance to tell the story because I can’t get my foot in the door. Is there a way to use storytelling or, I know you talk a lot about elevator pitches for gaining trust. How do you get that kind of first chance to tell the story?

John Livesay: Well, I think a lot of it is to be aware that people have three unspoken questions before they let you come in. Or even when they’re on the phone or in person with them. And the first one is, it’s a gut thing, do I trust you? And that’s really whether it’s a fight-or-flight response came. Is it safe to talk open this email? Is it safe to even have a conversation with you? And it moves from the gut to the heart, do I like you?

John Livesay: Are you showing any empathy, likability? And then it goes into the head and you might be telling a story about how you’ve helped other people. People are thinking, “Well, would this work for me?” And if they can’t see themselves in the story, they still won’t do it. So I think getting your foot in the door, especially if you’re here to, let’s say a networking event, a good elevator pitch is not an invitation for a 10 minute monologue.

John Livesay: I tell people, make it very conversational. Literally start out with, “You know how a lot of sales teams are struggling to make themselves be memorable and not just be selling on price? Well, what I do is I help people go from invisible to irresistible and I’m called The Pitch Whisper.” And that’s all I say, and that usually intrigues people enough to say, “Huh, what’s a pitch whisper?” Or, “How do you go from invisible to irresistible?” But you described the problem of, “Oh yeah, I’m struggling with being memorable,” or “I’m struggling with only being seen as a commodity.”

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John Jantsch: We’ve all probably seen that person that just holds a whole entire dinner party wrapped with their storytelling. They just seem to be really good at it. Is there a way for … Because I’m sure there’s a whole lot of listeners out there going, “Well, I’m just terrible at it, I can’t think of a story to tell. I stumbled through the details,” or whatever they’re thinking. Is there a way to get better at it?

John Livesay: Yes, it’s like any other skill. You practice it, the awareness of what makes a good story are those four elements that I talked about earlier. Don’t just start in describing the problem. Give us some perspective, in order for us to be in the story, we have to paint the picture. And have a little bit of drama in your problem.

John Livesay: Don’t make the problem seem so easy that it’s not interesting, and there’s no conflict or it’s a suspense of whether it’s going to get solved or not. And a really great story has a little resolution bumper surprise to it that makes people go, “Oh,” and you know, you’ve told a really great story John, when other people want to share it with their friends.

John Jantsch: Do you think of readily of an example, that bumper surprise element?

John Livesay: Yes. Let’s go back to the Larry King example. So Larry King gets the opportunity to interview Frank Sinatra at a time when nobody … He wasn’t doing any press interviews because his son had just been kidnapped. This is in the 60s and he was really mad at the media because they were saying it was due to Frank Sinatra’s mafia connections. So Jackie Gleason is a friend of Larry King’s from an interview and offers to set up the interview. Goes really well and Frank brings up the kidnapping and so it was great. And then he invites him to bring a date to come here and sing the next day.

John Livesay: And Larry’s thinking, “Oh man, this is great. Whoever I bring is going to think I’m really hot stuff.” And Larry didn’t have a lot of money at the time. And they’re sitting at the front table by the stage and Frank calls his name out. And, so Larry is just like, “Oh, the evening couldn’t have gone better.” And he’s driving his date back to her place and she’s like, “Oh, stop here and buy some coffee for tomorrow morning, I don’t have any.”

John Livesay: And this is before a lot of ATMs, and credit cards were being used and Larry didn’t have any cash on him. He didn’t want to blow the whole cool guy image, so he walks into the store, comes back a few minutes, she’s like, “Where’s the coffee?” He goes, “They couldn’t change a hundred.” That’s the resolution of the story. Now, he just had the story of, “I interviewed Frank Sinatra, I got my big break.” That’s interesting, but it’s not nearly as memorable as that whole journey of the date.

John Jantsch: Yeah, so how do salespeople … I mean, how do you suggest, because again, that was a great story. Even people that have things like that, that happened in their lives sometimes don’t connect all the dots to that being great story. How do we kind of unearth those great stories? Because I think, obviously with salepeople, sometimes it’s a client thing or, but I always find the best stories or stuff that happened to us.

John Livesay: Well, I can tell you an example of I’m helping Gensler the world’s largest architecture firm, win $1 billion sale renovating the Pittsburgh Airport when they were up against two other firms and they were literally told, “Look, anybody can do … You’re all in the final three. You can all do the work. We’re going to hire the people we like the most.” And that’s when they went, “Whoa,” these soft skills actually make you strong. Soft skills of storytelling, confidence, likability, empathy.

John Livesay: The story that I helped them turn their case study, which they basically had some great before after pictures of another airport and another airline that they had helped, but there was no story there. So we use the same structure, we’d said, okay, two years ago the exposition is, JFK approached us to renovate the waiting for Jet Blue. And the problem was during that time we had to rip up all the floors in the middle of the night, and get it all done so that the stores could open at 9:00 AM the next morning without losing revenue.

John Livesay:  We had all our vendors on call during the night and sure enough at two in the morning, a fuse blew and we had somebody there in 20 minutes to fix it. And at 8:59 the last tile went down and all the stores opened. And then a year after the design, sales are up 15% of the retail stores because people are spending more time shopping because of what we’ve done with our design.

John Livesay: That is hitting all of the elements. The exposition, we know what airline, when all of that. So we’re there, we see it, then we know the problem. Got to rip up all the floors, there’s a little bit of drama. And so instead of just saying, “We used critical thinking when we do a project.” They showed it in a story instead of telling it. And then the solution is the store is open on time, but the resolution of that story is sales are up 15% because of the design a year later.

John Jantsch: Yeah, the value. All right, so I’m telling the story and it’s going really well. I’ve got a great story, but then the objections come. And maybe it’s a different skill, but it’s going to happen. How do we link the story together with maybe the objections?

John Livesay: The two most common objections are, we don’t have enough money or, this isn’t a good time for us to make a decision, correct? So your question is, how can storytelling help overcome one of those kinds of objections?

John Jantsch: Yeah, maybe. Because I’m thinking people get good at this story part, and it paints a good picture, but there’s still quite often in the sales process going to be objectives. And that’s my objections, I’m sorry.

John Livesay: Let’s take the most common one, which is your price is too high. And we can use a story along with the concept of, our client Jet Blue or JFK, when we gave them the bid, they felt that, “Gosh, this is more expensive than we thought.” And we explained to them that when we did another airport in Toronto, that the reason that we needed to have this budget higher than expected. And then they just went on to tell another story, where they describe a problem and a solution and they were so glad they had that money budgeted, so that they didn’t have to go fixing something in advance is much less expensive than having to fix something that you didn’t even plan possibly going wrong.

John Livesay: That sometimes money you invest in things prevent problems now, and all that good stuff. So again, storytelling is a way to handle objections. You just say, you don’t make them feel crazy for bringing up the question. First of all, you listen and you look at it as a buying sign and then you say, “Let me tell you a story of somebody else who felt the same way, and here’s how they ended up justifying the cost or where they found the money or whatever it is.”

John Jantsch: I’ve always been a big fan of case studies. Showing somebody, “Oh yeah, your kind of business, here’s a result we got for them.” I mean in a lot of ways, couldn’t you use this idea of storytelling more effectively in written documents and webpages as well?

John Livesay: Yes, I think you can certainly with … You don’t have the opportunity to present your case studies in person or on the phone. Make sure that the case studies you have on your website use the same story telling structure just went over so that people are taken on a journey and that’s not just a bunch of before and after pictures with no story.

Speaker 2: Right, which is the typical sort of, here’s the problem, here’s the solution. Do you think in terms of companies equipping their salespeople or just a salesperson going out there and training themselves. Do they need to be looking for new skills, different skills?

John Livesay: I think we’re always needing to keep our skills honed and practiced. And when you get to the place where you think you know everything and you don’t need to practice anymore, is when you really are not at your best. If Tiger Woods still gets coaching and actors who’ve won Academy awards still rehearse, we as salespeople definitely need to keep practicing.

John Jantsch: I’m assuming you do consulting on this very idea because you’ve talked about a couple examples of that. Do you have a process when you walk in? Do you have to start unpacking, finding, unearthing these stories and then say, “Yeah, that’s something that you guys ought to be using.” What’s your process for finding those with a company?

John Livesay: Well, if I’m helping a company prepare for this one hour interview against competitors, the process is, we reverse engineer the ending of the presentation. So many endings are, “Well that’s all we got, any questions?” Horrible ending. We work on, what do you want the audience of the [inaudible] buyers to think, what do you want them to feel and what do you want them to do? We develop answers for that and that’ll be our closing. And then I said, “Okay, what’s going to be the opening?” “Oh, thanks for this opportunity, I’m excited to be here.”

John Livesay: Ugh, nobody cares that you’re excited. It’s not about you. Let’s make sure that the opening pulls in our understanding of the problem and why we’re the right people to solve it. And then we look at the team slide, make sure there’s some really interesting stories about why you became an architect or a lawyer or whatever it is you’re doing as opposed to, “Hi, my name is Joe, I’ve been here 10 years.” Nobody cares.

John Livesay: But when I was 11, I played with Legos and that’s what inspired me to become an architect. Now I have a son who’s 11, I still play with Legos and I would bring that passion to this job. Well that’s personal, memorable, all that. And then I work with, as we said, the case studies, turning those case studies into stories. That’s my process, that helps people win because, the problem remember again, is they’re not memorable, stories making memorable and instead of pushing out information, stories make you magnetic that you pull people in.

John Jantsch: Yeah, the process you just described doesn’t sound terribly unlike, you might prepare a keynote speech does it?

John Livesay: It’s very similar, and people have to realize you’ve got to practice it and has structure and there’s pauses and timing. Once we have the content down, then we start working on the delivery.

John Jantsch: Speaking with John Livesay, author of Better Selling Through Storytelling. So John, you want to tell people where they can find more information on you and of course, pick up a copy of the book.

John Livesay: Right? If you text the word pitch, P-I-T-C-H, to six, six, eight, six, six, I will send you a free sneak peek of the book. Or you can go to my website, John Livesay, L-I-V-E-S-A-Y. Or if you can’t remember any of that, just Google The Pitch Whisper and my content will come up.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Well, John, it was great to finally getting this recorded and hopefully we’ll run into you soon, out there on the road.

John Livesay: Thanks John.

What Megatrends Will Shape Your Business?

What Megatrends Will Shape Your Business? written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Rohit Bhargava
Podcast Transcript

Rohit Bhargava headshotOn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I sit down with marketer, author, and speaker Rohit Bhargava.

He is an innovation and marketing expert and the founder of the Non-Obvious Company, which has spawned a number of books under that title, including the latest: Non-Obvious Megatrends: How to See What Others Miss and Predict the Future.

This is the 10th book in the Non-Obvious series, and it’s going to be Bhargava’s last. Each year, he’s re-written the book with new trends and updates. Typically, he has a year-long horizon, but since this is the last one, he’s going for broke and reflecting on the big themes over the past decade that will dictate what we must do in the future to survive as business owners.

Today, we take a look at how these megatrends are changing life right now—this isn’t a purely academic exercise—and how they’ll continue to influence the future. Bhargava is hoping that this book will inspire entrepreneurs and business owners to not only stay ahead of the trends he’s identified, but also learn to spot their own trends that will shape their industry.

Questions I ask Rohit Bhargava:

  • Did you ever have a hard time coming up with trends for books each year?
  • Are there hits and misses on your list of megatrends from the past decade?
  • What do you do differently in your life now because of this work?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • What content curation trends Bhargava predicted (and why those trends are still relevant today).
  • What the process is for identifying seedlings of trends before others notice them.
  • How someone can profit from the ideas outlined in the book.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Rohit Bhargava:

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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