The Marketing Book Podcast – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur

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

John Jantsch appeared on The Marketing Book Podcast to discuss his latest book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur.

This is Jantsch’s sixth book, and while the others have been focused on marketing strategy and tactics, this book is designed to be a daily devotional for entrepreneurs of all stripes who are looking for guidance in running their business and living their life.

Jantsch has been an entrepreneur himself for over 30 years, and shares wisdom he’s learned from his own journey throughout the book.

Check it out – John Jantsch on The Marketing Book Podcast

The Chase Jarvis Live Show – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur

The Chase Jarvis Live Show – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

John Jantsch appeared on Chase Jarvis’ podcast to discuss his latest book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur.

The book is a series of daily meditations, centered around curated readings from transcendentalist authors of the 1800s. Jantsch identifies the transcendentalist period as one of the first eras of counter-culture in the United States. That’s why he feels this period of writing resonates with today’s entrepreneurs, who must learn to go against the grain, listen to their intuition, and take risks while pursuing their dreams.

Check it out – John Jantsch Featured on the Chase Jarvis Live Show

Featured Article in Inc. – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur

Featured Article in Inc. – The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

John Jantsch’s latest book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, has been featured in an Inc. piece by Shama Hyder, founder and CEO of Zen Media.

Hyder outlines the premise for the book—a daily devotional of 366 meditations, meant to guide any entrepreneur through their journey of building, growing, and managing a business—and shares why it’s important that Jantsch chose to focus on writings from the 1850s as the basis point for these entries.

Check it out – What the 1850s Can Teach You About Being an Entrepreneur Today

How Leaders Can Create Inclusive Cultures

How Leaders Can Create Inclusive Cultures written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Jennifer Brown
Podcast Transcript

Jennifer Brown headshot

Today’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is speaker, author, and inclusion expert Jennifer Brown.

She is the president and CEO of Jennifer Brown Consulting, where she helps leaders drive organizational change and create more inclusive cultures and diverse teams at work. Brown has worked with multinational brands like Starbucks, T Mobile, Walmart, and Microsoft.

As a speaker and author, Brown champions the concept of creating cultures of belonging where everyone can succeed. She is the best-selling author of Inclusion: Diversity, The New Workplace and The Will to Change and her latest, How To Be An Inclusive Leader: Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive.

In this episode, Brown discusses the importance of becoming aware of your workplace’s deficits in inclusion and taking ownership for your role in them. It’s only then that you can learn to move towards becoming an advocate for diversity and inclusion, and create a more welcoming, happy, and healthy culture within your organization.

Questions I ask Jennifer Brown:

  • Why are we seeing a renewed focus on inclusiveness and belonging today?
  • What are the benefits businesses are seeing from creating an inclusive culture?
  • What are diversity dimensions?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How and why unconscious bias still permeates many organizations.
  • The difference between intent versus impact.
  • How to implement greater diversity and inclusion in your organization, step-by-step.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Jennifer Brown:

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 Intercom. Intercom is the only business messenger that starts with real-time chat, then keeps growing your business with conversational bots and guided product tours.

Intercom’s mission is to help you provide simple, quick, and friendly service for your customers. When you can give your customers the one thing they’re looking for, you’ll generate amazing results for your business.

Want to learn more and take advantage of a 14-day free trial? Just go to

Transcript of How Leaders Can Create Inclusive Cultures

Transcript of How Leaders Can Create Inclusive Cultures written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast


John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Jennifer Brown. She is a leading diversity and inclusion expert, keynote speaker, author, and host of The Will To Change Podcast. We’re going to talk about her book today called How to Be an Inclusive Leader: Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive.

John Jantsch: So Jennifer, thanks for joining me.

Jennifer Brown: Thanks John.

John Jantsch: So really inclusiveness belonging has always been important, but sure seems like there’s a heck of a lot of emphasis on it these days. So has something changed? Why now?

Jennifer Brown: By now, I’m grateful that we’re actually there is… something has changed and the energy I’m getting back is palpably different than it used to be. I think there’s a bunch of reasons for it. There’s more awareness that there is a problem, there’s inequity in the workplace, there’s a lack of representation of really in the workplace it’s a lack of the representation of the diversity of the world that businesses do business in.

Jennifer Brown: So that’s like essentially the business case. We talk about the fact that really, in order to know a market and to sell into that market with cultural competency and respect, you need to understand that market inherently inside the company. And when you have a workforce that doesn’t look like that world, you’re in at a lot of risk of falling behind and kind of losing that edge and you don’t want to make mistakes.

Jennifer Brown: You don’t want to put out a PR campaign that gets pulled because you offended people. Yeah, so there is a lot of change. Millennials and generationZ, which is coming up behind them of course are also bringing that valuing of inclusion into the workplace in a very, I think louder way than generations before. And saying, look, I want to bring my full self to work and these are all the pieces of my full self and I expect them to be seen and heard and valued and hey, I love that attitude. I wish I had had that attitude. I’m not sure if you ever really felt that you could do that, but boy, if they are able to do that, that will bring a sea change from a demographics perspective.

John Jantsch: So a lot of organizations are taking this approach of, okay, yeah, this is important. We’re going to create an officer of that and we’re going to have a department of that. Is that really the way to handle it or does that just turn into a really hard job?

Jennifer Brown: It is a really hard job. It is honestly one of the hardest. If you don’t have a team or a person or a team, if you’re lucky enough to have a team, unfortunately, we say what gets measured gets done. And that team is really there to educate, to inform to, they certainly can’t hold accountable necessarily because they’re kind of a support function. But they can definitely inform that accountability and driving this and keeping it top of mind.

Jennifer Brown: I think without a team it is difficult to continue to make it a priority to help people understand how important it is that needs to be something measured just like every other business initiative as measured. And so, yeah, so I think without a team it falls off the radar and I think that’s actually kind of more dangerous. But there’s other unintended consequences of having a team.

John Jantsch: There have been, I have noticed it, this initiative or this movement is creating a lot of creative job titles though, isn’t it?

Jennifer Brown: Oh my goodness, yes. We have the office of innovation and belonging. We have all sorts of interesting… people are really-

John Jantsch: Head of hugging.

Jennifer Brown: Yeah.

John Jantsch: Exactly.

Jennifer Brown: Yeah. Yes, yes it is. But it’s good though because-

John Jantsch: Absolutely.

Jennifer Brown: … belonging is a very, I think it’s a word we can all and a concept we can all relate to that takes it beyond perhaps those negative associations that the word diversity might have for some people. It’s something we can say, look, belonging at work is the ultimate. If we had people that felt they belonged, they would do their best work, they would be so comfortable that it would be like, I have tons of creative energy.

Jennifer Brown: I have a lot of problem solving energy and sort of bandwidth to dedicate and not just that I want to dedicate it because I feel comfortable and valued and seen. And I think that’s the gap we’ve got to fix so that we can get workforces that actually feel that way about being at work, which would, boy, would that be a change.

John Jantsch: So, so a lot of organizations of course are approaching this idea because they feel it’s the right thing. But what are sort of the unexpected benefits that you’re seeing companies are actually deriving by taking this seriously?

Jennifer Brown: Well, I think it’s an argument for recruitment, honestly, in the war for talent. Our unemployment is an all time low. We really need to think outside the box about attracting talent. And we have so many open jobs. So I think it’s a prerogative of our companies to say like, look, I’ve got to attract the best and brightest and not just bring them in by the way but keep them, which is a whole different equation.

Jennifer Brown: Because the question of retention is more about the workplace culture and it’s very expensive to bring people in only to lose them two years later because they don’t see anyone that looks like them or shares their identity. They feel like the only lonely and the company’s not talking about anything related to belonging or inclusion. So I think it’s an imperative that companies take this seriously and invest in it.

Jennifer Brown: And I think they know that losing people is dangerous. It’s bad for their reputation, it’s bad for their brand, and they’re also going to make mistakes if they don’t have the right people at the table being listened to when they make marketing decisions, product development decisions. And, and it’s very difficult these days to come back from an embarrassing release.

Jennifer Brown: An embarrassing communication, a leak, a statistic that’s all of a sudden public about your gender pay gap or the fact that you’re enduring a class action suit because you have sort of systemic inequalities in your company. So these days are very transparent and it’s important that we do the right things on the inside because that’s very transparent to the outside world.

John Jantsch: So let me ask you about your job as a diversity and inclusion expert. Obviously, when you put that in your title, certain things are expected of you. Does your credibility ever get stereotyped? Does anyone ever say, “Well, you don’t look like diversity?”

Jennifer Brown: Well, interestingly, yes. I make a joke in my keynotes that I walk on stage and at some point I say to the audience, “I know what you were thinking when I walked up on the stage. They were like, what is this woman going to possibly teach us about this topic?” But I have some challenge around a few of my identities which I share on stage.

Jennifer Brown: Being a woman in business continues to be difficult and I don’t need to go into that unless you want me to. But also being a member of the LGBTQ community since I was 22 so several decades ago, it’s still been a journey for me of being out and bringing my full self to my brand, my audience, my corporate executive clients who may be in parts of the country or industries where this is a really rare thing.

Jennifer Brown: So it’s important for me to share those things on keynote stages. I like to say, even if I’m uncomfortable talking about them, it’s important that I do because it’s part of the normalizing effort, which is to say, hey, I have a diversity story. You made assumptions about who I am based on what I look like.

John Jantsch: Which is really perfect. I mean, right.

Jennifer Brown: Yeah, I know, I know. But we also suffer from identifying ourselves too because that triggers stereotypes, bias. It impacts our credibility in front of certain audiences. And so I still, I think I still navigate a really careful line to make sure that my credibility is strong. That my expertise is solid, that I’m kind of more perhaps formal than I might be normally because I need to be taken seriously.

Jennifer Brown: But that’s exhausting for me. And it’s exhausting for a lot of other people who are kind of doing this double work of not only being great at what you do and really belonging in that room, but sort of stressing out about whether you’re going to be heard for all the expertise that you have.

John Jantsch: So some of the rooms that you end up walking in, especially at the highest level where people are saying, hey, we need to make change, but we got here a certain way. And so how much unconscious bias really… what’s the role of that first and foremost?

Jennifer Brown: Yeah, it still permeates organizations at every level in every function I would say. I mean from the resumes that get screened out, to the interview slate that we put in front of candidates, to the promotion and advancement process where you might have slates that are being evaluated that have no diversity on them and nobody’s even noticed.

Jennifer Brown: So, and this is still a common occurrence and if there’s not a woman or say a person of color in that room, usually the topic doesn’t even get addressed or brought up because nobody notices it. So anyway, it’s everywhere. It’s really difficult to figure out like. It’s 15 ways I would tackle it, if I had a magic wand, but all of those… if we could fix all of those and turn people into inclusive leaders who are sort of on the lookout for this in themselves and in others, we can actually interrupt it as it happens.

Jennifer Brown: We could stop ourselves or call somebody on a comment or a decision that’s made. And we could through all of our efforts together kind of change the culture. But it’s difficult because it’s so pervasive.

John Jantsch: So I don’t think anybody sets out to create a toxic culture. I mean obviously they exist and, and certainly there are exceptions. There are people that are just not nice people. But I think it kind of happens sort of in this insidious way. So, and I don’t… as you just talked about it, I think people don’t even see it happening.

John Jantsch: So in your view, how do you get people to actually see that it exists first? I guess is going to be… I’ve got a second part to this question, but I want you to answer the first part.

Jennifer Brown: Yeah. Well, I think data really helps, especially for our left brain business world. So I often show data from like McKinsey and Deloitte and Pew Research about climate experience in the workplace for different communities of identity. I think the big aha moment for people is, wow, I might be comfortable in this work environment, feeling like the deck isn’t stacked against me.

Jennifer Brown: And I’m comfortable and I work with my friends who also I hang out with socially. It’s kind of my world. I think when you realize and you’re shown the kind of focus group data we collect from the very same workplace and sometimes in your same exact team, somebody may having a very different experience. It’s one of those aha moments where you’re like, well wait a second, am I a part of creating that culture and environment where that person that I really am fond of it doesn’t feel comfortable. Was that my doing?

Jennifer Brown: And I think if you can set up that cognitive dissonance, most people their empathy will be stirred or they will see the data and say, well the data is undeniable, so I need to act on this. And the other piece I want to bring up is, we are all very well-intended, there’s a huge difference between intent versus impact. And so I can be very intended to be gender progressive on how women experience in organization.

Jennifer Brown: And I can say I have daughters, of course I get gender equity, but that’s not enough actually. It’s actually cultures are created to be inclusive and if we don’t do anything they will kind of slide back into that unaware world. So I just, I’m like, okay, I appreciate your well-intended, but the thing is this is about action and this is about impact and I hope that sort of stir people’s motivation in that way.

John Jantsch: So I am a white male baby boomer who has four daughters.

Jennifer Brown: Oh my gosh. So you know something about that.

John Jantsch: Well, I’m attuned. Am I good, I don’t know.

Jennifer Brown: Yeah, yeah. Read the book. [crosstalk 00:00:12:31].

John Jantsch: So that’s really I was so interested in having you on today because this is a topic that I’m behind.

John Jantsch: And now a word from a sponsor. There’s no room for idle chat in business, so if email is your only moneymaker, make room for something new. Intercom. Intercom is the only business messenger that starts with realtime chat, then keeps growing your business with conversational bots and guided product tours. Take Intercom customer Unity, in just 12 months, they converted 45% more visitors through intercom’s messenger. Make room for a new revenue channel. Go to, that’s

John Jantsch: So I want to give you two push backs that I suspect you get a lot and again mainly so that you can deal with them. One, I’m sure you hear all the time, is that the pushback from people that don’t believe in embracing a diversity is, oh, so we’re just going to have quotas and we’re just going to take somebody because they are X.

Jennifer Brown: Yeah, I hear that a ton. You’re right. Yeah, that’s probably the A, number one. It’s the meritocracy argument. I honestly, first of all, I don’t think it’s ever really been a meritocracy. I honestly think that people have hired and referred for jobs, people from their networks. That if you know someone, if you went to the same school, I’m vouching for you.

Jennifer Brown: So that honestly kind of wasn’t a meritocracy. It was really kind of grab your points of contact and fill that job quickly with somebody you trust who went to the right school and who somebody else knows and by the way, you may golf with on the weekends. So anyway. So to apply that then to now is not really true. It’s just not accurate.

Jennifer Brown: I would say the other thing is when you look at your workplace and you’re like, wow, were out of kilter with the world, meaning that our demographics are not reflective of that world, we’ve got to sort of, I think over-correct for awhile and introduce some targets in terms of really being proactive about rebalancing because it’s been out of balance actually.

Jennifer Brown: And it gets more out of balance the higher up you get in an organization to the point where it’s mostly white and male at the top of organizations. And mostly it’s largely there’s gender parity at the bottom and there’s also a ton of different ethnicities and represented. But then it all kind of winnows out as people move up the pipeline. So what we’ve got to do to rebalance or even bring some sense of balance to this because we’re out of balance now, is we’ve got to, I think, and this is a bit radical, but we’ve got to be really mindful of who are we bringing in the job interview filter in the promotion pipeline.

Jennifer Brown: How can we be extra mindful because it’s not going to be enough to just include one woman in the candidate pool. That’s not actually going to change the demographics of your organization fast enough. And she’s, by the way, she’s going to feel like a token. So that’s not that comfortable to feel like you’re being sort of identified as the one, and people are checking a box with you basically. So that’s I think the business case of wanting to reflect the world you do business in and also to be able to attract talent who literally look up and say, I don’t see anyone that looks like me. What’s up with this company? They’re not going to stay… they may not come, and if they come they may not stay.

John Jantsch: The other argument then is the sort of, well this was the best person for the job. I hire based on resume or experience. I’m a big fan of Tom Peters, I don’t know if you’ve… he’s a management consultant, a little couple of decades ago, really was his heyday. And I remember reading one of his books and he wrote a lot of these kind of short, very impactful things at 47 things.

Jennifer Brown: Yeah, I know he loves the lists.

John Jantsch: Yeah. And one of them that always attracted me and again, this isn’t probably the most sensitive term these days, but he used to talk about hiring freaks. And really his whole point was that he was saying diversity really. And he meant it in a very caring, loving way. But the thing that I think really gets lost on hire the best person for the job is I don’t think we can determine the best person for the job because diversity brings so much innovation and so much creativity and so much different thinking that it kind of tips the whole best person for the job argument.

Jennifer Brown: You just gave me a great talking point. I love it.

John Jantsch: Sorry, I answered your question.

Jennifer Brown: No, no, it’s… yeah, you did. And that’s a beautiful answer though. You’re right, because one of the things we’re really encouraging people to think about is outside the box of the job description even. How many years do you really need to have spent in a job that prepares you for this job when the world, when the nature of work is changing so fast. What you really need is agile thinkers, thinkers who don’t have a conventional background for the role.

Jennifer Brown: Because you’ve got to see around corners that you’ve never had to see around before. And so how are you going to do that with the same old, same old people with the same education and the sort of group think and the homogeneity. That’s dangerous. We joke and we say maybe if it had been Lehman Sisters or there had been a few more Lehman sisters, we wouldn’t have had a Lehman Brothers scenario.

Jennifer Brown: And it’s tongue in cheek, but there was a collective blind spot in the financial crisis. So you’re right. I think that we really have to, we’ve got to expand our criteria. We’ve got to make ourselves uncomfortable as often as possible because that’s a sign that you’re actually growing and you’re doing things differently. And honestly, try not to hire folks that look like you because that’s just.. if you’re in the quote unquote majority group.

Jennifer Brown: If you’re not, then I think you’re probably many women and people of color, but not all are on the lookout for hiring decisions through their lens. And they tend to hire more diverse talent perhaps because they understand the value. So innately of doing that, but we’ve got to help all of us to kind of think outside the box on that. So thank you for that point.

John Jantsch: So let’s talk very specifically about some of the practical aspects of the book. We’ve been talking really very maybe globally why this is important, but now a company says, hey, I need to do something about this. You talk about stages of you don’t do this overnight. There are stages to doing this. You have an assessment tool to help companies do this. So kind of unpack your stages so that somebody gets maybe a sense of the progress of this.

Jennifer Brown: Yeah, I just thought when I wrote it and developed the model, I thought people really crave knowing where they are. And I think it particularly in times of fear and hesitation, which honestly is the world we’re living in right now about saying the wrong thing and intruding and not being welcome and being called out potentially publicly for making a mistake.

Jennifer Brown: So I really had that in mind because I think that we can’t afford to lose people from this conversation make now more than ever. So it’s a four-part model, the first stage is unaware, the second stage is aware, third stage is active and the fourth stage is advocate. So unaware is, I don’t see the problem. I don’t think there’s a problem. This what this sounds like might be, oh women love working here. There would be no difference if I asked this whole group of people like how they feel from an engagement perspective.

Jennifer Brown: There would be no difference at all. Like that kind of that is unawareness because usually there is a difference, I can tell you because I’ve been looking at this data forever. So there’s not a problem or the diversity team is taking care of that. So I just need to send everybody to unconscious bias training and then I’m done for the year.

Jennifer Brown: So that is like a total unawareness. And I think it’s unaware to say, I know nothing about diversity. This is not my job. So we moved from unaware to aware, which is the second phase, which is, okay, now I know there’s a problem, there’s a challenge, there’s a gap. I know that now I want to know the hard truth. Like I want to know the facts.

Jennifer Brown: And, and in aware, the goal is to learn, it’s to yourself into positions where you’re maybe the only one so that you can do a lot of listening about different cultural experiences, different identities that lead to covering behaviors in the workplace. They break that belonging piece, so that awareness is like, I know what I don’t know and I’m going to go pursue that.

Jennifer Brown: And I think that these are kind of stage one and stage two are kind of private. And then for active stage three, it’s really that next step with awareness to say, well, now that I’ve learned it, how do I practice it? How do I start to use my voice? How do I… what do I say when I have the microphone? How do I bring attention to the things that I’ve learned?

Jennifer Brown: And this stage is really one of, I might make mistakes, I need to experiment, I’m going to have to apologize. I’m probably going to use the wrong language and I’m going to yet I’m still going to persist. I’m still going to take that feedback and I’m going to come back again and I’m going to try again.

Jennifer Brown: And this becomes more public. So I think that the reason you said earlier, like this should take a while, you don’t want to jump into the deep end when you haven’t been taking your swimming lessons. You don’t want to run a marathon without having trained with shorter runs for six months. Otherwise, you’re going to injure yourself. And injuring in the corporate in the workplace context means that you may get criticized, you may get questioned, and that may happen in front of a room full of people as you try to exercise your voice.

Jennifer Brown: So get feedback, prepare yourself, build your muscle, practice in small private settings first. Get the go ahead from people you trust that have your back and then as you start to use your voice, you become more comfortable, even more fluent. And you won’t kind of pay a cost to not doing it wrong, to doing it wrong. Sorry, you won’t kind of damage the trust that you want to have because you want to be an inclusive leader.

Jennifer Brown: But you’re not going to do it perfectly. I can tell you this. And then the fourth stage is advocate, which is literally the person who’s done all the stages, they’re like, I’m bold, I’m brave, I’m going to use my voice. I’m fearless. I’m not going to ask for permission. And I know where to target my efforts. This is powerful. There’s not a ton of advocate level folks. I mean I know a bunch of them, but I think if we could sort of pull people up this model, we could see more.

Jennifer Brown: And I’m literally at this stage asking why do we do it this way? Why is this happening over and over again? Why haven’t we changed that policy or that process so that this bias doesn’t happen in hiring, et cetera. So I’m asking kind of these systems questions that are deeper questions and often I have the power to ask those questions because I’m maybe a C-suite executive or I’m somebody that has identities that sort of protect me. And so I’m an insider and if I’m using my inside status to challenge the status quo, I would say that’s very much advocate level. So those are the four stages.

John Jantsch: There’s a term that was new to me. It may be a commonly used term, but it was new to me that I’d love for you to explain and that’s understanding diversity dimensions.

Jennifer Brown: Yes. So there are so many diversity dimensions that I define as making up all of who we are. So, and many of them we hide in the workplace, so that could be military background, a disability, it could be a cultural difference. It literally could be introversion and extroversion. If you’re an introvert on an extrovert’s team, you know the unique pain of that diversity dimension because you’re freaking exhausted at the end of every day.

Jennifer Brown: You have to behave as if you want to hang out with everybody endlessly at the bar, but you really don’t like you’re really depleted, but you may hide that. And then there’s of course, gender identity. In the LGBTQ community, you are deeply in the closet. 50% of us are closeted in the workplace. So we are wrestling with that diversity dimension in terms of how it’s going to trigger stereotype and bias and literally hurt our careers. And by the way, we can still get fired in 30 States for being LGBTQ because there’s no federal protections.

John Jantsch: Yeah. So it’s not just a matter of saying, okay, we’ve got this inclusive program. Look, we’re diverse. It also has to be a culture that allows those dimensions to come through.

Jennifer Brown: Exactly, because if I have Brown skin, you can put me in a community and you might actually wrongly identify me, but you at least can see that you can see my gender. Although you may be seeing the way I express my gender, you may not be seeing my true gender. And then you can kind of guess my age, but there’s so many other… in fact, there’s many more dimensions I’d say under the waterline as if we are icebergs.

Jennifer Brown: There’s so many under there and I think that the role of leadership is to think about where do I set that waterline at work for my iceberg and is it serving me to do that? Is it or am I kind of managing, downplaying, hiding who I am, how much energy is that taking? And then also am I depriving others that are looking to me to maybe see themselves.

Jennifer Brown: And meanwhile I’m an executive who’s doesn’t talk about most of my personal life or the difficulty I’m going through with a kid who’s struggling with addiction or I’m struggling with mental health and depression, or I’m a caregiver and I can’t, I’m really struggling with somebody called it, not just the sandwich generation, caring for elderly parents and kids, but they called it the club sandwich generation because there’s literally so many layers going on it’s just, I loved that.

Jennifer Brown: And so anyway, we’re all wrestling with something and that’s a commonality that we have and we all kind of deeply sense when things are not accepted or going to be celebrated in our workplace. And therefore we put tons of energy towards not talking about it and not getting what we need in the workplace. And that is what’s causing people to leave because they are so exhausted from doing this every day.

Jennifer Brown: Maybe they’re the only black person in a team or in a business unit or they are closeted and tired and they want to go work for a company that’s really pro equality and inclusion. So people make decisions and they leave because they’re tired and they’re not feeling supported and it’s never talked about and they don’t see anyone that looks like them and they just feel the bias sort of they or microaggressions.

Jennifer Brown: It isn’t even sometimes overt like concrete bias. It’s honestly a lot of those little microaggressions that they hear. And I could go into a lot of those. So there’s a lot of examples of those in the book. But those add up to, I say it’s like death by a thousand cuts.

John Jantsch: Speaking with Jennifer Brown, the author of How to Be an Inclusive Leader. So Jennifer, where can people find out more about you and your work in the book?

Jennifer Brown: Yeah, thanks for asking. So this is my second book. It’s called How to Be an Inclusive Leader. It’s on Amazon and in independent booksellers all over. I’m getting a ton of orders from bookstores, which I’m really excited about. My first book was called Inclusion from a couple of years ago and it’s also a good read if you want to understand the why.

Jennifer Brown: So [inaudible] identify which one they might want to start with. I’m on Twitter @jenniferbrown. I’m on Instagram at @jenniferbrownspeaks and then Jennifer Brown Consulting is the name of my company. We’re on LinkedIn and Facebook and as you mentioned, I have a podcast called The Will to Change. And I also encourage folks, if you can put this in the show notes, John, the assessment that goes along with the book.

Jennifer Brown: You can find it at and you can just put in your info and get right into the assessment and you’ll get a PDF report. And I honestly think you could either take it before or after or even during your reading of the book. It’s all helpful and there’s no right answer for it. But please do take the assessments so you can kind of understand where you are in your learning journey. I think it will really help.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Thanks, Jennifer. Hopefully, we’ll run into you out there on the road somebody soon.

Jennifer Brown: I hope so. Thanks for this opportunity.

Building a Personalized Connection to Win Ideal Clients

Building a Personalized Connection to Win Ideal Clients written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Bill Cates
Podcast Transcript

Bill Cates HeadshotOn today’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I sit down with referral coach, speaker, and author Bill Cates.

Cates is one of the leading experts on how to acquire business through word of mouth, referrals, and personal introductions. He does training with business owners and corporations on the art of referral marketing, he speaks internationally on sales and marketing, and he’s written three books as well.

He stops by the podcast to discuss his latest book, Radical Relevance: Sharpen Your Marketing Message, Cut Through the Noise, Win More Ideal Clients. Today’s customers expect even higher levels of personalization and attention, and Cates shares tips on how to create a meaningful connection with prospects—one that can help you win new business.

Questions I ask Bill Cates:

  • What is the meaning of radical relevance?
  • How do you develop a value proposition that is appealing to your ideal client?
  • Can a salesperson create radical relevance in their own discussions, even if their marketing team hasn’t caught onto the concept yet?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • What three challenges we all face in trying to grow our businesses.
  • What the difference is between your value proposition and your value positioning statement.
  • How getting too creative in our messaging can actually lead to confusion and reduce relevance.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Bill Cates:

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

Klaviyo logo

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

Transcript of Building a Personalized Connection to Win Ideal Clients

Transcript of Building a Personalized Connection to Win Ideal Clients written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Back to Podcast


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.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Bill Cates. He is an internationally recognized expert and keynote speaker, author of Get More Referrals Now. And a book we’re going to talk about today, Radical Relevance: Sharpen Your Marketing Message, Cut Through the Noise, Win More Ideal Clients. Bill, welcome back.

Bill Cates: Hey. Great to be back with you, John. I have so much respect for the work that you do, so it’s an honor.

John Jantsch: Thanks. That’s kind of you to say.

Bill Cates: You bet.

John Jantsch: I’m going to read one sentence, and then I can probably shut up for 20 minutes and you can just talk. Radical Relevance is about bringing the right value proposition to the right market, communicated with the right message through the right medium at just the right time. That was a mouthful.

Bill Cates: Yep.

John Jantsch: I really do think we can break each of those ideas down. But give me kind of the overview of that, what the meaning of that is.

Bill Cates: Yeah, sure. I wrote the book because there’s really three challenges that we all face in trying to grow our business. And one is the fact that everyone is experiencing marketing message overload, right? The wonderful internet, all it’s done is pollute all our brains and minds with all kinds of stuff coming at us all the time. And the brain doesn’t like that. I have a chapter in a book on the neuroscience of all of this. There’s so much noise out there. So, how do we cut through all that?

Bill Cates: That’s one of the challenges. Another challenge is because it’s so easy to gather information on people, all the big data that’s out there, and people are listed on all types of platforms. Our prospects are really expecting us to come with a more relevant message. They’re expecting us to know a little bit about them and have empathy for their situation, and not come at them cold. And then the final challenge is this concept of inertia. That’s one of our biggest obstacles and objections that we get in a sales mode, is how do we move someone to look at something differently and move in a different direction than where they’re moving at the time? And so the key of course is to be as relevant as one can possibly be with a message with the target market, with the bullseye, that persona within that market, from a strategic standpoint and a tactical standpoint.

John Jantsch: Does that necessarily mean that we have to greatly narrow our focus? Obviously the more relevant we get, we’re going to be less relevant to a lot of other people. Is that kind of the message?

Bill Cates: Yeah, it is. The mistake a lot of business folks make … Not everybody, but a lot of people, they don’t want to exclude people. They say, “Well, let’s make the tent a little bigger. Let’s word this headline and website or whatever, just a little bit so we don’t exclude some people.” And of course, what that does is it weakens the message.

Bill Cates: We can have more than one target market. We can also have more than one bullseye within a market. I have three bullseyes, or personas as it’s often called. What we want to do is make sure we send the right message to the right person, as you said at the right time and the right method. How does this person want to consume it? And what do we say to this person that’s going to resonate with them? And it may resonate differently with someone else. It’s sometimes dividing our market up into a few different personas and not trying to put a global message out to everybody. That weakens everything.

John Jantsch: I think it’s almost gotten to the point where if you’re going to do that, you have to then steer people or guide people to, “Oh, you’re this kind of person, you have this kind of need, you go this way. Here’s what we’ve built for you over here.” We almost have to kind of segment, don’t we?

Bill Cates: We do have to segment. One of the simplest ways to think of this is … And when I do my coaching consulting with folks, it’s often we start with a website. It’s more than the website, but that’s not a bad place to start because it gives me at least a sense of what they think about their value and how they communicate it.

Bill Cates: And so on my website, there’s three different personas. If you are an individual looking for our online video coaching, whatever, click here. And then all the pages that follow are related to that individual. If you’re an executive with a corporation and you’re looking for something, then click here. If you’re looking to hire a speaker for a conference then click here. Those are our three main personas so people come to the website. Rather than trying to create a message that’s broad and will strike everybody, which is almost impossible. Yeah, so segmentation is key these days. Critical.

John Jantsch: So we’ve been talking for a long time about the idea of a value proposition. That’s not a new concept. However, I still find very few people nail that.

Bill Cates: Yeah.

John Jantsch: How do you really get … And again, not one that sounds good, but one that actually is appealing to your ideal client.

Bill Cates: Yeah. There’s a lot to talk about here, but real quick. First of all, I don’t believe a value proposition is that elevator pitch, that short thing that we say. We need to have short ways to talk about what we do, don’t get me wrong. I believe the value proposition is really the totality of what we bring to the market, what the value we bring to our prospects, our clients, our suppliers and resources. Everybody, you name it.

Bill Cates: And then the elevator pitch, or what I like to call a value positioning statement, just reflects that, reflects some of that value proposition. And in developing this value positioning statement, we have to understand how the brain works. There’s a chapter in my book about the neuroscience of relevance and what the brain is looking for. Well, one thing we know is that, and Antonio Damasio approved this with this technology called magnetic resonance tomography. Say that three times fast, MRT. But with the subject, the part of the brain was damaged that feels emotion. They couldn’t make decisions. No ability to feel emotion, no ability to make decisions.

Bill Cates: And so that demonstrates what a lot of us have already known, at the heart of every decision is an emotional response. Now, it doesn’t mean the facts and statistics and all those things don’t play a role. Of course they do. And then ultimately what they do is they elicit an emotional response, which then leads to someone taking action. So with all that said is the preamble. I have a formula in the book I talk about, I call it the miracle formula. But it’s essentially my expertise is in, where I am an expert in and my expertise is in. I work with who want to, For example, let me break that down. I don’t like to have people start off with their title, their formal title. “I’m a financial advisor, I’m an accountant, I’m a whatever.” Because people have preconceived notions about that, and you don’t want to feed into that.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I’ve had one of those before. I don’t need another one of those.

Bill Cates: Yeah, exactly! Or maybe I’ve got one, I don’t need to talk to you. Or you say I’m a financial advisor, they’re thinking, “Oh, I’m getting another Bernie Madoff.” Who knows what their context is. Right? Relevance is all about context. And so I work with, what that does is define your market. You work mostly with B2B business owners. You can get more narrow than that if you want.

Bill Cates: And what do they want? Whatever they want is the benefit you bring. So it’s a very short, succinct way to communicate a lot. And then you always want to have that for example, which brings the rest to life. There’s usually a story there, a short one. People listen, the brain listens to a story differently than it does the left brain stuff. It’s a nice little formula. I work with who want to, for example.

John Jantsch: So let’s jump to another one. We know who our target market is, and we’ve got that value proposition, the right medium. I think that one of the things that’s caused the greatest amount of stress right now with particularly small business owners is like where … It’s online, it’s on the platform here. I still need to network at this event. How do we decide where we can spend our precious time?

Bill Cates: Sure. A couple of decisions here. First of all, how would your next great client or customer, the perfect fit customer or client prefer to meet you? What is their preferred method of meeting you? And as you know in a book that you’ve written and the several books I’ve written, it’s a referral or an introduction from someone else they trust. I’m a huge believer in making sure that the first thing we do is build that referral culture within our company. Because the straightest line to relevance with someone, the straightest line through all the noise is an introduction from someone else they already trust. So certainly we don’t want to see referrals and introductions as icing on the cake. For a lot of businesses, they really are the cake, and people need to double down on that and not just see it as an afterthought.

Bill Cates: And beyond that, where do your ideal customers congregate? And when I say congregate, it could be in person, it could be in industry trade show events. It could be a networking event, it could be Facebook, it could be LinkedIn, it could be Instagram. Where do they congregate? And of course, that’s where you want to reach out, and that’s where your message is best sent. And then we shouldn’t overlook the mail, because it’s amazing how few businesses are using that in combination with the digital.

Bill Cates: I call it tradigital. It’s like traditional and digital together. And we found that when we mix together, when we mail, we call, we mail, we promote through an email, LinkedIn, that variety of methodology. And usually our target market, we can usually identify one or two mediums that seem to work the best. But we also want to create a bit of variety, because you never know exactly where someone’s going to hit. Where do they congregate is the best way to think.

John Jantsch: And I think for some folks, some get this, some don’t, that even referrals have become more complex. I totally agree with you, that introduction. Especially high trust services, like you mentioned the financial advisor or an accountant or somebody. You’re really going to go out there and look for that somebody you trust to make an introduction. But there are a lot of businesses that, yeah, they want an introduction, but it’s not life or death on who they choose for that. And I think today they are going online and checking us out. Even when you get that referral today, I think a lot of people underestimate how much access to information people have, and that we’ve got to clean that information up too.

Bill Cates: Oh. Yeah, there’s no question. Quite often it’s your LinkedIn profile is the first thing that shows up, if not your website. And there’s got to be congruency there. So as an example, I was interviewing a financial advisor who decided to double down really in his commitment to the optometry industry. He’s the financial advisor to optometrists.

Bill Cates: And quite often when I see that, I’ll see maybe their website reflects that, but their LinkedIn profile doesn’t or the other things they do. But he’s totally congruent through all of that, sending the right message to the right people in the right way, where they get that. And you know as a marketer, that one of the most powerful dynamics or energies in marketing is empathy. People want to know that we have a sense of who they are. And when we narrow our focus and we target and then we bring in the right message to the right people in the right way, then we create that empathy. They get a sense that we have a sense of them through the questions we ask and the things that we teach, and that’s what creates that resonance where we earn the right to their attention.

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 cues from your customers, and this allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages. There’s powerful segmentation email autoresponders that are ready to go. Great reporting.

John Jantsch: You want to learn a little 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, beyond black Friday.

John Jantsch: So, there are a lot of salespeople particularly that work for organizations that maybe haven’t gotten around to this notion of radical relevance in their marketing. Do you believe an individual salesperson could take this upon themselves to become radically relevant to the market they’re trying to serve, irrespective of the company?

Bill Cates: Absolutely. I’ll give you a couple for examples. In our book, I talk about strategic relevance and tactical relevance. And so even the sales person could have some impact on the strategic relevance. So for instance, I know a printing company that has 11 different salespeople, and each one of them is going after a different vertical market, a target market.

Bill Cates: I’m consulting with a CPA firm in the Washington DC area, and they have six vertical markets. And so we’re working on how they talk about their value, and how they reach out to these people and communicate to these people in each individual market. It’s going to be different for each one. It’s much more effective when they’re targeted. So that’s the strategic side. But then the tactical side, there’s too many easy ways to make sure you can learn a little bit about that person before you reach out to them.

Bill Cates: And gosh, how many people, John, do we get contacting us thinking they have the solution to our problems? They don’t even know who we are, and they don’t know what we do and they have no clue. If someone says, “I read your blog post or I read your book, or I saw that you went to the university of Maryland,” all of a sudden now I’ll pay attention because they at least took the time to get a sense of who I am.

Bill Cates: Here’s the way I look at it. From a tactical standpoint with salespeople, if in retail the keywords are location, location, location, the tactical side of relevance for salesperson is personalization, personalization, personalization. That we have to tailor to those specific people, and not be lazy and take those extra few minutes.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I get so frustrated myself. Every day, I get a reach out on LinkedIn or something that says, “I’d like to get on the phone with you for five minutes and learn about your business.” And I’m like, “If you can’t do one search and learn more than anybody should know about my business, then you’re not trying.”

Bill Cates: Exactly. They even ask a question like, “What’s your biggest challenge?” Well, if you knew a little something about my industry, you might be able to guess, and even that would be better. It’s taking the time, it’s not being lazy. Part of it is knowing the value and what a difference that makes.

Bill Cates: I’m using a tool now where I’ll send a video email out to people, and I just sent one to a guy I’ve been trying to reach for a long time. Finally sent him a 52 second video, and I just heard back from him. He says he’s interested in working with me. That’s a personalized way of reaching out to people. In fact, he says, “I’ll open up the email right now.” He says, “Very well done on grabbing my attention.” When you personalize, people appreciate it and you get complimented for doing it.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I’m a big fan of one to one videos, I’m calling that. Maybe a year from now people will be like, “Oh, I hate getting those personalized videos,” but right now it does allow you to stand out. So I totally agree. One of the things that I’ve been saying for for a while, and I think you say in this book, maybe in a little different manner. Is I think a lot of times we focus on what it is we sell, what solution we have as a company.

John Jantsch: And really the only thing that the buyer cares about is solving their problems. Half the time they wish they didn’t have to buy what we sell, but they’re just trying to solve their problems. I think if we started realizing, I think part of our relevance can be, “Hey, we can communicate what your problem is. We get your problem.” I see a lot of marketers start talking. Basically their entire marketing message starts when the person’s actually considering buying. And I think we have to actually start before they even know how to solve their problem. They just know it hurts.

Bill Cates: Yeah. And I think it also depends on where you reach them in the cycle, because context is everything when it comes to being relevant. If they come to you, they may be a little further along. They’ve done some research, you’ve got to find out what research have they done, where are they, what brought them to us? And so we gain context. On the other hand, if we’re reaching out to people, we don’t know where they are. The brain wants to solve problems. The brain wants to be safe. The brain is scanning six times a second. Am I safe? Where am I? Am I safe? Where am I? Am I safe? Three times a second it’s scanning, is there an opportunity? So the brain loves an opportunity. The brain loves to take action, but only when it feels safe.

Bill Cates: Guess what? When we start our message focusing a little bit on the problems, the mistakes people make or problems they might have, the brain resonates with that a little better. Then we can move on to the opportunities, because the brain likes that. And if we present ourselves as someone who knows their problem, can solve their problem, we’re making the brain happy, which is a very unconscious, subtle thing. But it’s very important.

Bill Cates: That’s how we display the empathy. Sometimes it’s through the questions we ask. Are you finding this the challenge, or how are you handling this? And that displays that we understand their world a little bit, and the brain wants to take action if it feels safe. The brain, by the way, I’ve got a chapter on neuroscience of relevance. One of the other things is the brain’s purpose is to keep the organism alive, and to expend less energy or the least energy as it possibly can.

Bill Cates: And so when we get too creative and we come up with messaging that we think is kind of clever and cute and we put a couple of words together that don’t really belong together and all that, all we’re going to do is confuse the brain and the brain is going to be off on something else. It doesn’t want to work very hard to understand our message. We want to start with concepts that the brain understands first before we introduce anything that might be a little bit more clever or complicated.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I see that all the time. And I’ve been guilty of it, probably. You think, “Oh, well, let’s offer him three different versions because then they can decide.” And all they end up doing is shutting down because they don’t want to decide.

Bill Cates: I’ll tell you. Donald Miller, who’s a master at this part of the clarity part, says, “If you confuse, you lose.” And it’s true, and there’s physiological evidence around that for why that happens. And so I’ll tell you this whole concept of clarity, John. If you can help people get clear on where they are, what their context is, and where they want to be related to what you do and how they’re going to get there.

Bill Cates: Just that clarity of where they are, they’re here, they’re there and what it’s going to take to get there. That is so valuable and so rich in building trust. And then you also want to make sure that you’re clear on how to work with you. You can’t make it hard or complicated. There’s a concept called cognitive fluency. Look it up. It’s very interesting. If how you explain things or navigating your website or anything that you put out there is complicated and the brain doesn’t grasp it intuitively quickly, it automatically assumes that working with you is going to be complicated. Many people will abandon, so that whole concept of clarity is huge.

John Jantsch: Bill, tell people where they can find out more about your work. And of course, pick up a copy of Radical Relevance.

Bill Cates: Sure. Oh, I appreciate that. Well certainly Amazon has all my books, or wherever you may be in the world. It has Radical Relevance. It’s paperback, it’s Kindle and it’s an audio book. And then my website is I’m not leaving the world of teaching people how to get more referrals and introductions. I’m just expanding part of the toolkit that one needs to bring in more clients. So, referral

John Jantsch: And relevance obviously is just as crucial in the world of referrals as it is in an email marketing campaign. So, absolutely necessary.

Bill Cates: Yeah, absolutely.

John Jantsch: Yeah. All right, Bill, great catching up with you. Hopefully we will see you soon someday out there on the road.

Bill Cates: Sounds good, John. Thanks.