Transcript of Making Sales Prospecting Fun and Easy

Transcript of Making Sales Prospecting Fun and Easy written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast


This transcript is sponsored by our transcript partner – Rev – Get $10 off your first order


John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by AXA Equitable Life. That’s, advice, retirement, and life insurance.

John Jantsch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Tom Martin. He’s a speaker and author. In fact, Tom was on when his book, The Invisible Sale, came out. You could go back … In fact, we’ll have that in the show notes. He’s also the founder of Converse Digital, and he’s got a new course that he’s been working on called Turning Conversations Into Customers: The Sales Prospecting Method for People Who Hate Sales Prospecting. Welcome back, Tom.

Tom Martin: Hey. Thanks for having me back, and thanks for saying the name of the company correctly. I think you are one of the few people. Everybody always says it like converse, like the tennis shoes, so thank you for that.

John Jantsch: Well, I do love the tennis shoes, so maybe that’s why I made sure I studied it.

John Jantsch: Let me ask you this, though. Who doesn’t love sales prospecting? I don’t understand if there would be a market for this, even.

Tom Martin: There’s actually, in some of the research I was doing, they recently had a study that came out that 43% of sales people are afraid to make a cold call. I think in general you have people like myself who are introverted or shy who really don’t like the idea of prospecting. Maybe not so much they don’t like it, but it’s really uncomfortable. They really have a hard time at a conference or a trade show or a networking event just walking up to someone, sticking their hand out, and saying “Hi, I’m Tom Martin,” and starting a conversation. They tend to be the person that’s got way too much email to do on their mobile phone at the side of the room like an eighth grade dance.

John Jantsch: In case it wasn’t obvious, I was being facetious. I don’t know anybody who likes prospecting, to tell you the truth.

Tom Martin: I don’t know, I’ve seen you prospect, I’ve seen it in action. (sarcastically)

John Jantsch: A lot of people’s dislike or disdain for it is because of the way they have been prospected, and what we think of as cold calling today. Would you agree?

Tom Martin: Absolutely. This whole course came out of I gave a talk locally recently in New Orleans, and it was one of those where I wasn’t getting paid. I was doing a favor for a friend, and thought it was a perfect time to tryout new material. Basically, I gave an entire talk about just that. People hate prospecting because the way frame this concept of sales prospecting is in a way that’s very selfish, and it’s self serving, and people don’t like that. It’s not what we are taught to do when we’re children.

Tom Martin: If you reframe it, that it’s not only fun and enjoyable and works… I was blown away by the audience reaction after the talk. And I was like, “Okay wait, I think I might be onto something here. I think I might not be the only guy in the world that doesn’t like to do this.” Exploring a lot of these schematics and various talks and blog posts and different things, are implying that people are hungry for, especially entrepreneurs, freelancers, solo printers, people like us, they know they have to prospect for a living. They only eat what they kill, right? They’re really searching and looking for someone to show them a way that is palatable, maybe even enjoyable, versus some seven step process that has them sending out cold, LinkedIn invites right after somebody connects with them – which is everyone’s favorite thing in the world to receive.

John Jantsch: It’s interesting. I think anybody who starts a business, you talked about freelancers and solo printers. I mean, an accountant, a lawyer, they start their business thinking, “This is great. I’ve got my website up. Here we are, I’m in business.” Then come to realize that 50% of this job is selling. I think those people come to the realization kicking and screaming. Then they have to go and figure out how to do it. I think that that, maybe, is sort of the reluctance. It seems like they’ve got to learn this whole new skill. What would you say to those folks in terms of how they should frame this idea of Everybody Sells Something?

Tom Martin: What I try explain to folks is they really don’t need to necessarily learn a new skill. One of the things that have really come into light is this whole concept of social selling. I hate the term because it’s really [inaudible] that people talk about social selling as how do I sell using LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook, these platforms. It’s a very platform based training, selling theory.

Tom Martin: What I do is talk about is social selling is actually great, but what you have to understand is what social selling means is you sell by being social. And that you know how to do. You know how to be social, you know how to have a conversation with someone to engage them, to try to find some common ground that you both can stand on. From there, you can continue to have a conversation and find things you know about each other that you have in common. That’s how you sell. You create this connection between you and that prospect, then that connection point, maybe not in the first conversation, what you do will come out.

Tom Martin: The basis of your relationship with them is that you formed this connection, this bond if you will, and that gives you something you can build on. Then when they need your service, you’re the top of mind preference. You’re the person they want to call, and they’re pretty sure they want to do business with you as opposed to just do business with somebody. That’s how you prospect. That’s how you build thing flywheel of leads that takes while to get going, but once you get it going the leads just kind of come in because you’re that person people enjoy being around. You’re that sales prospecting they actually welcome into their life versus running, screaming buying technology to avoid etc.

Tom Martin: When you help them see that, a little lightbulb goes on. It could be a little bit more strategic than just talking, but that’s the core. Be social. Be someone people want to talk to.

John Jantsch: I think that’s one of the things that really is the promise of social media. Again, as you said, a lot of people have ruined it, but there’s so much data there. There’s so much information to help you derive a sense of propinquity. Only the second time that word has been used on this podcast, and the first one was when I interviewed you for the invisible sale. It’s getting a long day, I’m tripping on my words. I had that one queued up too.

John Jantsch: Explain that concept. It is what you just said, and I’m surprised you didn’t use the word.

Tom Martin: Nobody can everybody pronounce it, but they love it. It’s a great conversation word. But really, it’s defining how relationship are goaled. It’s really like dating. When you met your wife for the first time, you met her and learned a few things about her you liked, then you had another date. You had more conversations, you found more things you liked. Propinquity is all about that. It’s about making sure there is a connectivity between you and the person you want to do business with. That connectivity might be you in person. It might you as content. It might be you as you’re on a podcast and someone listens it. It might be you social media touching.

Tom Martin: You want to create a proximity between you and your prospect where they can continue to learn new things about you. And that’s the key, they have to always be learning something new about you. Because, what they’re doing is filing all those things away and maybe half the things they find out about they actually like. Eventually Mathematics takes over and they find enough things they like about you they decide, “Yes, this is my preferred provider. Or in a social world, this is a person I want to be friends with.” That’s the way it works in life.

Tom Martin: I think it works the same way in sales and marketing. But you know, the key is you can’t just have that proximity. You’ve got to be present in those moments. That’s probably the biggest thing that trips people up, is that they just can’t be present in the moment while they’re having conversation. Or, while you’re being interviewed on a podcast, be wholly present in having this discussion with the person interviewing you versus thinking about, “Oh I’ve got this other thing going on, I’ve got to do this call later.”

Tom Martin: That part is key. If people can get to that, where they can truly be present in that moment, really focusing on “How can I connect with this individual? What is our common ground? There has to be some common ground.” That’s when the magic can take off, and they can really a) be very successful touching, but b) leave a real conversation, feeling like “Wow that was really fun, I enjoyed that, I really liked that person. I don’t just like them as a prospect, I kind of like them as a person, that was kind of cool.”

Tom Martin: As soon as you can get people to understand that, then they’re won’t mind sales prospecting. Yes, you don’t. You just don’t like it the way you were taught to do it because the way you were taught to do it just feels self serving and selfish. When you were a kid, your mom told you to share your legos, not keep them all to yourself.

John Jantsch: This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by AXA Equitable Life. It’s time we start giving life insurance the credit it deserves. That’s because life insurance can be so much more than protection for you and your family. It also helps you live, keep, and potentially build more cash value over time. To learn more, go to

John Jantsch: Obviously an essential part of this is what you just said is kind of that proximity, having that common ground. That’s probably not hard for people to get. Are there some consistent, sort of core activities, you have to surround that with so that it does ultimately lead to, “Hey this is a smart person – or a person that can solve my problem?”

Tom Martin: That’s where those of us who are trying to prospect, especially with trying to prospect outside of our local geography, that’s where content can really play a big role – both your own content resident on your own site to the internet or world via podcast, posting on relevant blogs, or third party media platforms, speaking at the right conferences… things of this nature. In that content, at the same time, you have to build the content where you are finding that common ground. You’ve got to build content that someone can read and say, “Oh, this was written for me.” Granted, obviously you didn’t write it for a single person, that wouldn’t scale very well, but it should feel like, “Hey, this was written for me, this person understands my pain point or my frustration, or more girdle.” Like they get me.

Tom Martin: When you can do that. And look, I wish I could say I’m the greatest person in the world at that, I’m not. If I was, I’d be even more successful. But, that is the key. If you can do that, that’s you having that connection with them even before you’ve ever met them. To me, if you can get to that, the sky’s the limit. You’ll always have prospects.

John Jantsch: I wrote a book called Duct Tape Selling, and essentially I was encouraging sales people, and anybody who had to sell, that it really is marketing in a lot of ways. Obviously there are some core belly to belly kind of things that were not included in there, but in terms of how you raised your expertise and became the welcome guest… I went out and spoke on that book quite a bit, and I would have a lot of sales people and folks in the audience say, “Yeah that’s great, but that’s a lot of work.”

John Jantsch: I’m sure you hear that all the time, too, because we’re talking about building a long term pipeline here. What do you say to that person that says, “I’m just trying to sell something today.”?

Tom Martin: I think you can look at a sales prospect in one of two ways. You can look at them as a transaction, or you can see them as a relationship. If you see them as a transaction, then yeah, you’ll close the deal today. But, that means you have to go close another deal tomorrow, and another deal tomorrow. It’s always with new people. You’re spending all your time meeting and finding new people, and that’s a lot of work too, frankly.

Tom Martin: Instead, if you can build a relationship with a person, you can see them as a person and realize this person can be a relationship, and that relationship can be a series of deals. Not just deals between you and that individual. If you can find somebody who you can convert into what I call a social agent, somebody who not only refers you but takes invested interest in you. They want to refer you, they want you to be successful, they kind of passionate about how they refer you? Holy crap. That is gold, because now you have an army of people out there doing your heavy lifting for you. They’re not just referring you, they’re basically telling the person on the other side of the conversation, “You’d be a damned fool if didn’t hire this guy, or this gal.”

Tom Martin: And what is that worth over the lifetime of your business? You’ve got to invest in that. Nobody is just going to step up and go, “Hey, I want to sign up to be a solider in your little social agent army.” You’ve got to invest in those people. You’ve got to invest in those conversations. You’ve got to find that common ground. You’ve got to make that connection. When you do, it’s beautiful.

Tom Martin: For me, it’s all about long term. I want to create deal flow for years, not just today because man, that’s really hard.

John Jantsch: If I’m listening to this, and I’m thinking, “Okay, the ideas of this sound great.” You want to kind of lay out what they can expect looking into the course turning conversations into customers, how is it constructed?

Tom Martin: What we’re going to do with the courses is doing it a little bit differently. I’m building it as a series of small video classes. They’ll come in, they’ll have a short video class. It might be five minutes, it might be fifteen… but something that is relatively consumable with a lunch to make it easy. Then with that will be some additional reading or homework or other things they can read to round out that course module. Then they’ll come in and move onto the next module, the next module, the next module, and so forth and so on.

Tom Martin: They’ll also be able to come into a private Facebook group where they can not only ask questions and meet with other people who are kind of going through the same thing they’re going through and struggling with the same thing they’re struggling with, and they can be a community, but also where we are going to do some live one-to-many coachings. Where they can explore further applications. You said this what you really and it will give me the opportunity to, you know… If you’ve got the questions, everybody else on the call has a question too, or at least a bunch of them. We can do that sort of coaching and everybody can learn.

Tom Martin: Then if they really want to go down the pipe, they can sign up for more individual coaching and smaller master class type programs that we’ll offer, but those will probably trail the initial launch of the course. In the Summer of 2019, we’ll launch the coursework, then the rest of the stuff will probably come in Fall 2019.

John Jantsch: Dependent upon when you’re listening to this show, Summer 2019 or Fall.

John Jantsch: Let me ask you one question that I’m sure you get. I don’t know if this is a great place for us to end or not, but there are people who just aren’t good at conversation. I’m not that great at it, quite frankly. I’m sure there are people that truly aren’t great or not practiced at it. How do you get better at that aspect, which is central to what you’re talking about?

Tom Martin: I’m really the worst networker in the world. I actually tell a story in my workshops that I was at a speaking gig and some people came over. They just wanted to meet me, and I actually stepped backwards and removed myself from the space so the circle of people standing next to me would close and shield me. It was completely subconscious to me, but the people next to me all noticed it. One of my colleagues I was traveling with was like, “Seriously? They wanted to talk to you. What’s wrong with you?”

Tom Martin: Basically, what I’ve had to do is, you just have to step up to the plate and do it. Just do it. And just keep doing it, and doing it. What I’m finding now is its getting easier to do it. I’m still not nearly as good at it as some people, but what happens is you end up having a good conversation. Not always a sales prospect, there’s plenty of people that you meet that there’s no opportunity for anything, but at least you have a nice conversation, and you did it. You broke the ice. That’s all you’ve got to do.

Tom Martin: I think it’s just like a hitter in baseball being in a slump. There’s no way to fix it except get back in the batter’s box and take another swing. That’s what you have to do here. Just make it a point at every event, or any place you’re at that you don’t know everybody, whether it’s a party or networking event or conference… make it a point to just say “Hey, I’m Tom Martin.” Get comfortable doing it with two people? Go for four.

John Jantsch: I know, especially for people it’s not natural, in fact maybe they’re even a bit uptight in that situation. I always find that having a plan, going in ahead of time thinking “This is what I’m going to do,” so that when the moment hits you, you’re not just flustered.

Tom Martin: If you’re going to, especially a conference, where you can see who attendees are, or at least speakers, go find all the speakers. Using social media, LinkedIn, and stuff to create a mini dossier that you can put in your phone, in your contacts or address book, take a picture from the web and put it in there so you have their face. On the airplane or car ride to the event, study it a little bit. Then when you’re there, you’ll see those people. Then go, okay, John wrote a book called Duct Tape selling, he likes this and that… Then you can go in and say, “Hi I’m Tom Martin,” and you’ll already feel like you know them a little bit.

Tom Martin: You already know some things that, even if they’re not a great conversationalist, you can find a way to work the conversation towards subject matter you’re pretty sure they’re interested in because you already read about them. That’ll get them more comfortable, they’ll start to talk a little more, and once they do you’ll feel more comfortable.

Tom Martin: I’ve used it really effectively at lots of conferences, and I’ve taught a lot of salespeople this trick. It works really well, especially if you’re going strategically to prospect and you do it to the people you plan to prospect. Even if you don’t know anybody, just do it to the speakers. Speakers are notoriously introverted, believe it or not.

Tom Martin: Especially if its a conference that is not really their core industry, like I recently went to a conference that was the sailing industry, I didn’t know any of the other speakers, I didn’t know anybody at all in the whole conference. If anybody came up to me, I thought “Oh thank God, somebody talked to me.” A lot of speakers still do it. It’s crazy. Then you get to meet the speakers, learn something, and it’s amazing how that can create a new conversation. Good, easy little trick to use, especially for conferences and stuff, but even networking events and parties.

John Jantsch: Speaking with Tom Martin, author of The Invisible Sale, and the course coming out Summer 2019, Turning Conversations Into Customers. Tom, thanks for joining us, and hopefully I’ll bump into you out there at one of those conferences.

Tom Martin: Thanks for having me, and I definitely hope we do.

Making Sales Prospecting Fun and Easy

Making Sales Prospecting Fun and Easy written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Tom Martin
Podcast Transcript

Tom MartinOn today’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I chat with Tom Martin. After 20 years in the advertising industry, he founded the digital strategy agency, Converse Digital.

Martin is also a speaker, blogger, and author of the book The Invisible Sale: How to Build a Digitally Powered Marketing and Sales System to Better Prospect, Qualify and Close Leads.

In this episode, Martin and I discuss the art of prospecting and his upcoming online course, Turning Conversations Into Customers, where he will share the secrets to creating meaningful connections and relationships to make prospecting easier and more enjoyable.

Questions I ask Tom Martin:

  • Why do people dislike prospecting so much?
  • What is propinquity and what does it have to do with prospecting?
  • How do you get better at conversation?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How being fully present can help you win business.
  • Why content should feel like it was written for an individual with the pain points your business addresses.
  • Why to see a sales prospect as a relationship rather than a deal.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Tom Martin:

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


This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by AXA Equitable Life.

It’s time we start giving life insurance the credit it deserves. That’s because life insurance can be so much more than protection for you and your family. It can also help you live, keep, and potentially build more cash value over time. To learn how, go to

Disclosure: Life insurance is issued by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, New York, NY 10104 or MONY Life Insurance Company of America (MLOA), an Arizona Stock corporation with its main administration office in Jersey City, NJ and is distributed by AXA Distributors, LLC.

5 Steps to Effective Keyword Research

5 Steps to Effective Keyword Research written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If you want to rank well in search results, you have to undertake keyword research. This is the process of researching the search terms that users actually enter into search engines.

The way that you think about the solution your business offers might be different from the way a prospect thinks about their problem they’re looking to solve. This disconnect can lead you down the wrong keyword path and keep you from finding the most interested prospects.

That’s why keyword research is so critical. It gives you real-world knowledge, which empowers you to show up in the right searches. Not sure where to start? Here are my five steps to effective keyword research.

1. Brainstorm on Your Own

Any good research project grounded in the scientific method, begins with listing out your hypotheses. Brainstorm a list of the words, terms, and questions you think people are searching for when they’re looking for your business or the type of solution you offer.

These may be terms that are related to what you do or sell, they may be based on your location, or they may be questions people could have about your area of expertise.

Let’s say you’re an electrician in the New York metropolitan area. What are the kinds of things people who need an electrician might search for? They might have a question like, “How do I install a hanging light fixture?” They might also search for your services more directly, using the phrase, “electrician near me.” Or maybe it’s something more specific to the kind of service you offer, such as, “same day service electrician NYC.”

Once you’ve come up with your own list, ask your team to do some thinking, too. They might have a different perspective that opens you up to terms you wouldn’t have hit upon on your own.

2. Let the Googling Begin!

Next, you want to open things up to the broader world. You can start getting a sense of how people actually search by going to Google and seeing how it auto-completes your terms.

Sometimes you find something interesting or unexpected. Going back to the electrician example, say you type “lighting installation” into Google. What you find as you begin to type in the search term is that two of the suggestions are about lighting inside cabinets. Perhaps you were thinking of that as more of a niche request, but it actually seems like a pretty popular search term. If this is a service you offer, maybe you want to think more deeply about trying to rank for that term.

You should also check what search terms you already rank for using Google Search Console. This will help you identify the terms that are working for you and how you can improve them further.

3. Narrow it Down

Now that you have a healthy list of potential terms, you want to create your short list. Ideally, these are approximately five foundational phrases and eight to ten long-tail phrases.

The foundational phrases speak to the heart of what your business does. These are the keywords that you want associated with your home page and with specific landing pages related to your most popular offerings or areas of expertise.

How you select the foundational keywords should be strategic. They can’t be too narrow (that’s what the long-tail keywords are for), but going too general means that it will be harder to rank for that term. Returning to the electrician example, “electrician” is likely too broad, but “electrician with expertise in kitchen appliance installation in NYC with quick turnaround time” is likely too narrow. Aiming for something in between the two, like “same day NYC electrician,” is best.

Long-tail keywords are about intent. The person who Googles “NYC electrician” likely has a different intent than the person who Googles “how to install recessed lighting.” With long-tail keywords, you want to target the second type of search, one with a clear intent and specific problem. These keywords will link up to detailed, related content you have on your website. In the above example, that might be a blog post or explainer video about the work involved and costs associated with installing overhead lighting.

4. Use Google’s Keyword Planner

Now that you have a list of 15 or so search terms, you want to run them through the Google Keyword Planner. This is a free tool that allows you to check the popularity of the keywords on your list, find new keywords you hadn’t thought of, and get bid estimates.

At this point in your process, nothing should be set in stone. You might find that one of the keywords on your list is highly competitive (and therefore costly), so it might be back to the drawing board. Alternatively, you might happen upon a great keyword you hadn’t thought of on your own—don’t hesitate to throw that into the mix.

The thing about keyword research is that it’s an ever-evolving process. Once you do select your final keywords, you should revisit your Google Search Console once a month to see how things are going. If you find that one of your keywords remains unsuccessful month-over-month, replace it with something else.

5. Aligning Your Keywords with Content

As I said earlier, these keywords are page specific. While you want to use your broadest keywords on your homepage, you can get more granular on the other pages of your website.

That being said, you want to make sure that the content on the page aligns with the keywords you’ve selected. For example, if you’re that electrician and you have the long-tail keyword “how to install recessed lighting” for one of your web pages, you better be sure there’s detailed information about recessed lighting front-and-center on that page! If someone clicks through a search result and finds information about appliance installation crowding out the top of the page, they’re going to be confused and frustrated. That’s not what they were looking for, so they’ll bounce right back to the SERP.

More broadly, you want to ensure that this content is the voice of your strategy. Yes, the keywords and content should line up, but the content should also speak to your larger strategic goals. If your business doesn’t make much money on installing recessed lighting and you’re trying to get away from offering those services, don’t include those keywords and content as a focus on your site, even if it is a popular search term. Or, if it is a popular search term, perhaps there’s a way for you to restructure your pricing and offerings to make that service more profitable for you so that you can meet the demand in the market.

As with all things in marketing, keyword research really about something much bigger than just picking out some search terms. An effective approach to the process will take your larger strategic goals into account and will help you to reach your broader business objectives. By being systematic about your keyword research approach, you can find the terms that give you the best shot at ranking with those prospects who are most in need of the products or services your business provides.

How to Integrate Influencer and Emotional Marketing to Improve Your Content Program

All the digital channels and bells and whistles aside, your success as a marketer today still stems from using emotional marketing that understands consumers’ needs and preferences. Now, with the emergence of influencer marketing, we can combine these two approaches in our content marketing to reach deep into our desired … Read the full article at MarketingProfs

Weekend Favs April 20

Weekend Favs April 20 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.

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

Transcript of How to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers

Transcript of How to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast


This transcript is sponsored by our transcript partner – Rev – Get $10 off your first order

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Donna Cutting. She is the founder and CEO of Red Carpet Learning Systems and she’s also the author of a book we are going to talk about today called 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers. Donna, thanks for joining me.

Donna Cutting: Hey, John. It’s really great to be here. Thanks for having me.

John Jantsch: So, 501 ways. Don’t you think it would be great if you will just do one thing?

Donna Cutting: Oh, yeah, definitely for sure. It’s funny to me how people picked up on that 501 ways and find that amusing but what I’m trying to do is give people enough action ideas, tangible ideas that they can actually take right from the book and implement into their company or at least being inspired by some of these ideas so that they can raise the bar in the service in their organization.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and I think there are a lot of books that have a lot of theory in them and there’s certainly a place for theory and strategy. But I think there’s also a real need for these books that just … Give me a couple of ideas, give me a couple of things I can go out and do and see how I could do that in my business. And so that’s one of the things that really attracted me to want to have this conversation today.

Donna Cutting: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. And you’ll know in the book there’s actually a chapter called Get Red Carpet Ready and that’s because that theory is important and it is really important to have a strong basis if you truly want to give consistently excellent service to your customers. You got to be looking at who you’re hiring and how you’re encouraging them and all of that. But today’s midlevel manager or entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily have time to be as creative as they want. So why not look at what other people are doing and go from there.

John Jantsch: Before we get too deep. You are in Asheville, North Carolina. Is that right?

Donna Cutting: Yeah.

John Jantsch: I just visited there with my wife and we canoed the north broad right through Biltmore and went up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a beautiful, beautiful country.

Donna Cutting: Yeah. The French Broad River, is that what you’re-

John Jantsch: Yes.

Donna Cutting: Yeah. Beautiful, beautiful area. Oh, I’m sorry I missed you but I’m glad you had a good time.

John Jantsch: A lot of companies think in terms of departments, marketing, sales and service. And I really think … It’s probably always been true but I really think today when there’s really nowhere to hide. If you have bad service, we’re probably going to see a YouTube channel dedicated to it at some point. I’ve come to believe that there really is no room for these departments anymore, that service quite frankly needs to run through the entire sort of outcome with the customer, doesn’t it?

Donna Cutting: Yeah. Customer service is so much more than a department. It really is the … Well, for one thing, there is a direct link between sales and marketing and service especially today because of the experience that you’re giving your customer, they have more choices and louder voices than ever before. Regardless of how great your sales and marketing is, you could lose that customer the minute they walk in the door if the experience they’re getting is not fantastic.

Donna Cutting: They have so many other places to go. And so customer experience is really part of that whole marketing and sales as well.

John Jantsch: Because you sell training that has a cost associated to it and certainly doing customer service well has a cost associated with it. How do you help people make the leap to being an investment rather than a cost, so to speak? What’s the value? How do you measure the value of good service. I think we all know a pissed off customer is a bad thing but how do you measure that doing the basics right?

Donna Cutting: Yeah. Well, I think it varies from the company. But it’s really understanding the lifetime value of your customer. And so understanding that we’re not just talking about one transaction here but how many transactions could they potentially do with you in a year’s time, in five years’ time, in the lifetime of that customer.

Donna Cutting: And I would even add to that how many new customers could they bring to you because they’re having such great experience. I don’t really see that in the typical measurements of lifetime value but I think that belongs there as well.

John Jantsch: Great point. I think that … We all know people that I’m sure you run into them and every company … Hopefully, every company has one or two of them. That person that is … They’re just nurturing. They’re just, “How can we serve you?” They’re just wired that way. But I suspect that you do a fair amount of teaching people that are not wired that way. Is it possible?

Donna Cutting: Well, first of all, you do have to have a heart to serve people to a certain extent. And I think when it comes to the customer experience, making sure that you have the right people in the right roles is very important because depending on the position, it is more important in some positions that you have the people who are the warm, fuzzy, going to make people feel good. And then in other positions, it may be more important that they have the technical piece that they know that job really, really well but they just have to have the ability to be friendly and caring to the customer.

Donna Cutting: Having said that, can you teach empathy? I don’t know that you can. I think that that comes with how they grew up and whether they have an empathetic heart. However, what I have noticed is that there are people out there in organizations that have empathy and they have a heart to serve but the leadership has not necessarily been really great about defining what the service experience looks like. And giving them the tools and the training that they need in order to deliver on that service experience.

Donna Cutting: A lot of times people said to me, “Oh, well, it’s just common sense.” Well, not necessarily. If you’ve got a young person who grew up in a home where they may have … In fact, I’ve met many, many people. They were warm, very warm caring heart but they didn’t grow up learning about the importance of eye contact and smiling and giving a good handshake and caring phrases and all of the things that you can teach if somebody has an open heart to receive it. Did that make sense?

John Jantsch: Yeah, absolutely, and I think that you kind of hammer home a belief that I have that is that service, good service, red carpet service is really kind of culture. And so, I think organizations that it seems to run throughout. They hire for it. That’s a qualification for the job is to maybe measure the idea of empathy but then they also empower folks.

John Jantsch: I was on a flight this week, Southwest Magazine always has stories about their people doing good and then we all know companies that really tend to empower their employees to do things. There was a layover that the person wasn’t changing planes but they’ve laid over ironically in my hometown, Kansas City, and the person was … Their son really wanted a Royals’ baseball hat but they just didn’t have time to get off the plane. And the flight attendant heard, went in, bought a Royals’ baseball hat at a shop, came back out, gave it to him.

John Jantsch: And of course, then the person wrote a letter talking about how great it was. I think that that flight attendant is empowered to make that kind of thing and rewarded for doing that kind of action. And I think that that has to run really deep, doesn’t it?

Donna Cutting: It definitely does. And it is. And getting back to that whole chapter in getting red carpet ready, that really is all about culture. The question that’s asked of me a lot is, “How do you get an hourly employee who maybe has never received the red carpet service to give that?” Yeah, you have to model it for them by the way you’re treating them and empowering them and encouraging that kind of behavior. So what a great story, I love that.

John Jantsch: One of the things that I think a lot of companies, they get it. Okay, customer service is great. We got to do something to really be over the top and it comes out sort of robotic. I think the best customer service is something like that story I told but it’s often very personalized and I think that’s even trickier, isn’t it?

Donna Cutting: Yeah, I think it is. And also, I wanted to say, I don’t necessarily think that it has to be over the top. To me, there are three areas of customer experience to pay attention to. One is that technical piece, so that is what the customer is buying for, the service or product that they’re purchasing that it works the way they expect it to work, all of the logistical things that go along with delivering that product and service. And you obviously want that to be proficient.

Donna Cutting: Then the next piece is warmth and hospitality, so how are you delivering it? Do you have a team of people who have that empathetic heart and are warm and hospitable. Really, if those two things are rock solid, people are going to feel like they have a great customer experience if it’s consistent, so meaning every employee is delivering that to every customer at every opportunity, every single time or close to it.

Donna Cutting: And then the third piece would be that wow or I call it movie moment, those moments you remember and want to repeat from the movies, making those kinds of moments for you customer. But to be honest, the first two have to be rock solid but before that over the top, wow, really makes a difference. And I think you’re right. That has to come authentic and that comes from just allowing your employees to come up with their own ideas about how to do that.

John Jantsch: Yeah. And I’m not sure you’re really saying this but I think you make a good point. In some cases, the bar is not very high. Just getting the basics right. Returning phone calls, doing things that people expect or unfortunately have come not to expect. That kind of part the basics are so important and many companies miss that even.

Donna Cutting: That’s exactly right. It is surprising to me when I ask my audiences, “Tell me about the best service you’ve ever received?” How many times people will just tell me a story about how they walked into a hotel or a department store and everybody was friendly and smiling and they’re bending over backwards to do what they can for you. I think that’s just what customer service should be, never mind the over the top stuff but that’s what people are wowed by today because unfortunately, we’re not receiving that as often as we could be.

John Jantsch: One of my favorite and I’m not even sure this is customer service. This certainly is marketing in my mind, but one of my favorite things is when somebody surprises me, when they do something I didn’t expect. I ordered some shoes from a running store and got some powerbars and socks thrown in there. And that had me targeted. In fact, you’re probably about the 10th person on air that I’ve told this story to. And I think there’s almost a product roll for that type of thing.

Donna Cutting: Oh, definitely. And I love … That reminds me of … I’m trying to remember the name of that company. One of the examples in the book is Retrofit and they are a company that sells sportswear. I’m sorry, RecoFit compression gear. And they sell compression gear for cyclists and triathletes and runners. And one of the things that she does is she came up with the idea of just thinking about that crackerjack box and remembering how exciting it was as a child to get that crackerjack box and while the caramel corn were delicious, that’s not really what we’re excited about. What we’re excited about are the free stuff, the little prize.

Donna Cutting: And so she does exactly what you were just talking about. Susan Walton, the owner of the company, she’ll just put something, a free little gift that people aren’t expecting in every single box. And that’s what people get excited about. That’s the little extra. I love it.

John Jantsch: Seth Godin actually had a book, you probably remembered called Free Prize Inside that really kind of talked about that whole concept. To give you a moment to define your red carpet phrase, how do you go about making people feel like stars and should you be looking at it as that over the top, kind of roll out the red carpet approach?

Donna Cutting: Well, to me, ultimately red carpet service is about making that person in front of you right now, so whether they’re physically in front of you or on the other end of the phone or even the other end of an email, feel like the most important person in the room or the most important person in that transaction.

Donna Cutting: And so it really does just start with being 100% present fair for them, making people feel like you … Even if you’ve heard and this is the challenging part. Even if you’ve heard this question 15 million times from every customer, delivering service in a way that I would consider the illusion of that first time. So like in the theater, we have people do the same dance steps, the same speech, the same lines 20 million times depending on how long that show goes on. And yet for every audience, it’s a new show. And so really looking at it that way. It is finding the fun things that you can do to really make them say, “Wow, you know I didn’t expect that.”

John Jantsch: So, I warned you about this before we started with the book 501 Ways, I’m going to ask you to pick maybe four or five of your favorite ones that you can tell us a little vignette about just to give people a sense of the abstracts of each of these kind of ways.

Donna Cutting: Sure, absolutely. Well, I’ll start it with Ruby Receptionists. They’re a company I actually give business with for many, many years. And I’ll start with them because there’s such a great example of those three areas that I talked about. They are a voice answering service but so much more than that. We referred to them endearingly as Call Ruby.

Donna Cutting: When they would pick up my phone messages, technically, it went perfectly, 99.9% of the time. They would get my message. They do their transfer right to the person it needed to go to on my team or we would get a voicemail and a followup. And it just worked perfectly. If it didn’t work perfectly because they were having software issues or something, they were communicating with us every 10 minutes until it was back up and running was amazing.

Donna Cutting: That piece is really perfect and then the second piece is I never had to worry about the receptionist that was answering the phone. They had many, many people working for them but they were all upbeat, friendly. I certainly secret shopped myself. My customers would talk about what friendly people I had working for me. It was just amazing. They had those two pieces rock solid. But then, they would add the wow and this goes back, John, to your whole piece of empowering employees because every person that works for Ruby Receptionists is empowered to practice wowism is what they’d call it but make these surprising delight moments for their customers.

Donna Cutting: For instance, when I had my dog, Snowball, one time they sent me a little package of dog treats for Snowball in a little frame with a picture on it that looked kind of like Snowball. And they would just do little things like this on a regular basis. I know other people who use them as well and that we’re always comparing the little gifts that Ruby Receptionists send us out of the blue. So, there’s such a great example of those three areas of service.

Donna Cutting: And then one that I was thinking of when you were talking about your airplane, the Southwest Airlines example, is this gentleman who worked in Tampa airport. And I loved this. When this little boy left his beautiful Hobbes, his precious doll, if you remember the old Calvin and Hobbes. He had a little tiger and he named him Hobbes and he left it at the airport, and one of the employees picked it up. And of course, they let him know, “Absolutely, you can come pick it up. Hobbes is here. He’s fine.”

Donna Cutting: But in the meantime, they took all kinds of pictures of Hobbes doing things at the airport working in the control room, working in flying the plane, all of these things. And they put it together in a little album so that when the parents came and they actually picked up Hobbes, not only did they get the doll but they got this album of memories that Hobbes shared. That’s such a great example again of an employee just taking responsibility and wowing the customer.

John Jantsch: As I hear you say that and after reading many of the tips or the ways in your book, I think a lot of ways the underlying thread or theme is fun. I think a lot of the companies that do this stuff is because they’re having a good time and so they look for ways to bring a little bit of fun and joy into people’s lives regardless of what they’re selling. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that might be … If you’re going to nail sort of one emotion, that might be it.

Donna Cutting: No, I think you are … Absolutely, you just hit the nail on the head. I mean the next one I was going to share with you is the Village Coffee House in Boulder, Colorado. If you are there for the first time and somebody gets wind of it, you’ve been dubbed a village virgin and they announce that there’s a virgin in the house and everybody applauds and everyone’s kind of in on the fun even all the customers that have been there before. And then of course, there’s ways for you to earn prizes if you bring in new virgins to the coffeehouse. So, it’s definitely a marketing tool but it’s also just like you said, having a great time with your customers and for your customers.

John Jantsch: I’m visiting with Donna Cutting. She is the founder and CEO of Red Carpet Learning Systems. And she’s also the author of a book 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customer. Thanks for joining us and hopefully we’ll see you out there on the road somebody.

Donna Cutting: Thanks for having me.

How to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers

How to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Donna Cutting

Podcast Transcript

Donna Cutting

My guest on today’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Donna Cutting, CSP, Founder & CEO of Red Carpet Learning Systems. She is also the author of 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers.

Think about how much time you spend trying to get clicks, drive traffic, make the phone ring. Now, compare that to how much time you spend making sure your customers have an amazing experience every single time they interact with your company.

See any gaps? We’re all so busy trying to generate leads that we forget the most potent source of new business is a whole bunch of very happy customers.

Donna knows all about providing exceptional service. She leads a team of experts that train organizational leaders to turn prospects into delighted customers and delighted customers into raving fans. Today, Donna and I discuss what it means to give your customers the “red carpet” treatment.

Questions I ask Donna Cutting:

  • How do you measure the value of good service?
  • What are some ways that companies can go above and beyond to deliver a memorable experience?
  • With the title of your book starting with “501 ways,” can you pick a couple of your favorite ways to roll out the red carpet for customers?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • What actionable and tangible ideas you can use to raise the bar in service for your organization.
  • How the customer experience is directly related to your sales and marketing.
  • What the three components of great service are and why consistency is critical.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Donna Cutting:

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

How to Make Storytelling Work for Your Brand

How to Make Storytelling Work for Your Brand written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Kyle Gray
Podcast Transcript

Kyle Gray

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Kyle Gray, founder of The Story Engine. He and I discuss insights from his book, The Story Engine: A Busy Entrepreneur’s Guide to Content Strategy and Brand Storytelling Without Spending All Day Writing.

Gray has helped dozens of startups and small businesses succeed in content marketing. He writes content that educates entrepreneurs on how to build their businesses with content marketing, manage remote teams, and scale up their businesses.

Gray got his start as the content manager for WP Curve and helped expand the blog from a single contributor to a multi-person team of guest writers with documented systems and strategies. He helped the startup grow to nearly 1 million in annual recurring revenue.

Questions I ask Kyle Gray:

  • How has your personal story influenced your approach to storytelling?
  • How important is visual storytelling?
  • What role does your audience play in your story?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • Why storytelling is a central part of marketing today.
  • What people misunderstand about storytelling.
  • How to do storytelling well.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Kyle Gray:

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


This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by AXA Equitable Life.

It’s time we start giving life insurance the credit it deserves. That’s because life insurance can be so much more than protection for you and your family. It can also help you live, keep, and potentially build more cash value over time. To learn how, go to

Disclosure: Life insurance is issued by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, New York, NY 10104 or MONY Life Insurance Company of America (MLOA), an Arizona Stock corporation with its main administration office in Jersey City, NJ and is distributed by AXA Distributors, LLC.

Why Being a Podcast Guest Is Your Secret SEO Weapon

Why Being a Podcast Guest Is Your Secret SEO Weapon written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

We all know that there’s a lot of SEO value in generating your own content. Blogs, videos, webinars, and podcasts are all great ways to build your brand’s online reputation, drive more traffic to your site, and boost your SERP standing.

But creating your own content takes a lot of time and effort. Fortunately, guest podcasting allows you to generate the SEO benefits that come from content creation without all of the legwork of building the content yourself from scratch.

Want to learn more about how being a podcast guest can supercharge your SEO? Read on!

Build Your Reputation

When you’re a guest on a podcast, you immediately gain trust and credibility. Someone who produces a show invited you on as an expert in your field; that means something!

Not only does this help you build trust with your audience, it gets your name out to their audience. People who are listening to this podcast are likely already loyal followers of the show and the host’s brand. They trust the host’s opinion, and the host’s endorsement of you is noteworthy for their audience.

Plus, appearing as a guest helps you gain credibility with other podcasters. With each guest appearance you do, you should turn around and pitch other podcasts hosts—those who have even bigger followings. As you continue to be a guest on more shows with a greater reach, your reputation will grow and you’ll attract more and more attention to your business’s online assets.

Collect More Backlinks

With each podcast you’re on, you’re generating more backlinks for your website. Podcast hosts often post show notes and transcripts on their website to accompany each episode. You and your business’s name will be tagged in all of the content for your episode, creating backlinks and driving more traffic to your website.

And again, this has a cumulative effect. For each podcast you are a guest host on, you generate more and more backlinks (with more and more reputable websites) which is an important ranking factor in SEO.

Increase Social Media Mentions

It’s not just about directing more attention to your website. Being a podcast guest also gives you the opportunity to generate more traffic and attention on your social media pages.

Podcast hosts are excited to promote each episode, and will tag you and your business in their posts. You want to get involved, too. Share the link on your own social media, tagging them back. Interact with fans who are responding on social media, either on your page or the host’s page.

Engagement on social platforms can help you generate more followers and increase the SEO rankings for your social pages as well.

Generate Additional Content for Your Website

The great thing about podcasts is that, like video, the audio can be a jumping off point for even more content. You can easily transform a podcast transcript into a blog post about the topic at hand. Or you can generate a series of tweets based on quotable content from your episode. You can even use the audio to put together a video with relevant infographics and slides.

The more meaningful content you can generate on your website, the better off you’ll do in SEO. And repurposing that podcast episode is an easy way to generate additional content with minimal effort.

Get Visitors to Stick Around Longer

Google likes to keep all the specifics on how they calculate SERP rankings under wraps, but there is a strong indication that dwell time—the amount of time visitors remain on a given page—influences SEO.

Embedding your podcast episode on your website is a great way to get someone to stick on that page for a long time. While they might skim a blog post or watch a quick explainer video within a few minutes’ time and then bounce away to another website, a podcast episode requires that they stick on the page for 20 or more minutes.

Reap All the SEO Rewards with a Fraction of the Work

The best part of all this is that guest podcasting allows you to get all the benefits of SEO with very little work. Producing your own podcast requires a lot of time and effort. You have to record, edit, create accompanying blog posts and transcripts, promote it with your audience, and worry about building a following for your show.

If you’re a guest on someone else’s podcast, they have to handle all of that. You simply show up, share your expertise, and use the results to generate more attention for your brand. Yes, there is work that goes into being a podcast guest, but it is a fraction of the work you’d put into creating your own show.

Being a podcast guest is a great way to increase your exposure with potential customers and to boost your SEO. From creating more content for your own website to generating backlinks and building your online reputation, the benefits are many.