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Transcript of How to Integrate Chat Into Your Marketing

Transcript of How to Integrate Chat Into Your Marketing written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: This episode is a Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, and is brought to you by pixelz.com. You’ve got to make those images look great. If you want them to pop, if you want them to represent your products, this is a retouching service to make your images look great.

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Mike Yan. He is the CEO and co founder of the messenger marketing platform known as ManyChat. So Mike, thanks for joining me.

Mike Yan: Thanks for having me.

John Jantsch: I wonder if you could give me a little bit about your origin story, how you…I do a little research obviously for these, and your work history on LinkedIn is a little brief. I’m almost guessing this is one of your first kind of big ventures?

Mike Yan: We actually have been doing startups for over… Close to 10 years. So for the nine years we’ve been doing different projects and it’s anywhere from eCommerce to entertainment, consumer websites, to kind of like a mix between the messaging apps and a almost entertainment app. And then went into messenger marketing.

Mike Yan: And the reason we started on messenger is because in 2015, Telegram Insta messaging app, similar to Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, just popular in different countries, opened up their API in 2015, and we saw an opportunity to help 65 million monthly active users, be connected with businesses they want to be talking to and help those businesses achieve better business results by using this new channel.

Mike Yan: Because, at that point, it was 2016, nobody was talking about bots. There was… Like nobody had any idea about how big this was going to get. So we started with that. And yeah, in 2016, transitioned to Facebook messenger because Facebook messenger opened up your API, and now very honored to be the number one platform on Facebook messenger. You know, we power over 800 thousand Facebook pages in over 190 countries around the world. So…

John Jantsch: So the growth has been pretty astronomical, then, from… I actually followed ManyChat from the very beginning, and tinkered around with it because I tinker around with everything, as part of doing this. Not only has the platform changed, but certainly the landscape has changed, hasn’t it, in terms of how people are using chat and bots?

Mike Yan: True. That’s true. People started… People thought about chat bots at first as this shiny new thing, as this, kind of like a toy, that’s interesting, but not very valuable. And when everybody… When every other company was building chat bots for the sake of building chat bots, we were actually… We came up with this term “messenger marketing” and now it seems like everybody’s using it. But if you go to messenger marketing.com you will actually reach our blogs.

Mike Yan: We believe that messenger is a great way to actually drive business outcomes and to help you with marketing, with sales, with support, to help you convert better, and not just, “Hey this as something fun, that has this novelty, but doesn’t have any value.” And that’s why I think… I think that’s the part of the ManyChat success.

John Jantsch: Well, so my first experience with the bot at all was… I don’t even remember the company… But I ordered something and they communicated through Facebook messenger with me about the… When it was going to get there. So really a service kind of a function. And this is a few years ago.

Mike Yan: Yeah.

John Jantsch: How are people using it? You mentioned some of these things, that you can use it for marketing purposes. I also see a lot of really bad uses of it, I mean, that I think are kind of annoying. You know, unfortunately marketers ruin everything. Right? But, what are some great uses of… If you were talking to businesses in different industries, how would you tell them to use messenger bots? Cause I think it’s pretty easy to abuse them too.

Mike Yan: Yeah, it’s true. I think the marketers will abuse any channel that they get their hands on. I think this is a bit of a generalization. I would say bad marketers will abuse any kind of that they get their hands on. If you think about a marketer’s job, and a marketer that has good intention, their job is to understand customer needs, and to match the customer needs with the products that the business has, if there is any match, and to create that value, that transaction where somebody wants something and they get it and they feel empowered and they feel like they’ve achieved, they moved closer to their goal, with the help of the product or service that the business provides. I think it’s all about that communication.

Mike Yan: So when you think about good marketing, it’s based on… It actually follows similar… People think that marketing is this… Like some really esoteric type of discipline that you have to learn, that is really complex. It’s really not. He just wants to be helpful to the people that you’re talking to. You have to figure out what are their needs, and you have to present your products and services in a way that actually speaks to that. And actually given the fact that your products and services can address those. So you should… I think that chat marketing, specifically, creates this… It just becomes a more intimate and personalized channel, where businesses start to understand, that actually it’s more like friends talking to each other. And it’s more… Marketing is much more about understanding what the customers like.

Mike Yan: You’re, for example… Let me give you an example. You’re talking about the best uses of marketing. Usually when people think about the bad use of marketing, they think about spammy deals, for example, things that people don’t want. But actually, turns out, there is a cohort of people that actually really, really want those daily deals.

Mike Yan: So the question is, not about the content itself. The question is always about the match between what the person wants, and what the marketer and what the business does, in terms of their communication. And those people who really, really want one of those deals, they will be actually angry if one day they did not receive their daily deal message.

Mike Yan: So it’s more, much more about segmentation and it’s much more about being smart about who you message, what that message is, what the channel is, what the timing of the channel is. And I think that’s why ManyChat is so powerful, is because we, in comp… Like we started with messenger, but right now, just a few months, like one and a half months ago, we’ve announced that we actually going beyond messenger, we’ve just added SMS. So text marketing. And we also added email, because those are the two of the biggest channels, marketing channels that’s we see in the world right now. And people are… Our users are… A lot of them are using email in this mass marketing, and we under… We saw that it’s actually becoming… It’s actually really hard to merge those systems, and to make sure that they are working together as an orchestra. Like playing their notes at the right time, if you have different platforms.

Mike Yan: So we decided to build a omnichannel platform, that allows you to seamlessly go from one channel to the other. But the fact like… Our origin from messenger allow… Like, we’ve been born into the interactive world. So when we went into, for example, SMS marketing, we instantly were much more capable than even the best of breed solutions. Because the best… When people thought about this mass marketing, usually it’s a one way communication. So you have a message, you send it out. Maybe there is segmentation, maybe there is something that allows you to send us a message at the right time. So maybe there’s some triggers, but that’s like the furthest that you’re going to get. But what about inter activities? How about actually having a conversation with a person, and not only a manual conversation but also an automated conversation? And yeah, that’s something that wasn’t done there before. And then, but the more important part is how do you actually also triangulate between these channels?

Mike Yan: So say for example, you have something to say to your people. You can start with an email. Email is usually noninvasive, because usually people do not check their email at the point of receiving it. People expect that you can check your email, not that often as messenger. Messaging apps and text messaging are much more invasive because people usually respond to those notifications faster. So if it’s an irrelevant notification, then actually, let’s say, it creates more frustration for the customer.

John Jantsch: Yeah. Cause we feel like we have to respond to that.

Mike Yan: Exactly. Exactly. So how do we decrease that? How can we, for example, communicate with people who want to be communicated through email, and communicate with people who want to be communicated with a text messaging, and the ones who want to be communicated with through Facebook messenger, differently? And how do we make it easy for the business to do that?

Mike Yan: And given the fact that there is many more channels that are coming up. So WhatsApp is coming up, Instagram is coming up, iMessage is coming up, Google RCFs and also the cross carrier messaging initiative that’s coming up. It used to be that you could be doing only one channel, only one digital channel, that has direct marketing, which is email.

Mike Yan: And now you’re entering into this world where 2.5 billion people around the world use messaging apps and is the defacto standard, of how people talk to each other. How does a business and SMB thrive in this environment where there is all this complexity? And we believe that our mission is to simplify that by bringing all those channels into one place, and by helping the SMB just by saying, “Hey, you don’t need any other marketing automation platforms or direct marketing platforms. Or all your customers are inside ManyChat, no matter what the channel is. And you can create beautiful orchestrated campaigns, where it actually respects the choice of the channel with a customer, but is easy for the people to not get swamped by messages and also it reduces your costs and increases our line.” So yeah, that’s, that’s how we’re thinking about this.

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John Jantsch: So let’s talk a little bit about the conversational aspect. As you said, a lot of these are automated. We probably all have gone on and the little bubble pops up and says, what do you need today? And you tell it what you need and then you… And hopefully in a very fluid conversation. But I also see a lot of those that don’t end well, that they haven’t been written well, they haven’t been thought out, and it’s… So, where do you strike the balance between this idea of a bot, if you will, and a human being responding.

Mike Yan: So I think it’s up to the business to decide what they want to start with. Some people actually start with a full human agent, and some people start with a full automated solution, and depending on what their task at hand is… So if you’re, for example, if you’re doing lead generation, I would start with an automated solution because lead generation is something very, very repeatable. You can ask the same questions. Basically it’s filling out a form through a chat interface, which is more interactive and more engaging. Like the… Usually the convergence to actually filling out the form go higher, when you use a chat interface. But then when… If you are doing something that has a much more diverse in terms of what the customer intent is, then you can actually go out and start with live chat. And this is a really good point because, for example, what we do, we don’t believe ads in one way or the other.

Mike Yan: Like I think that the best customer experience is created with a mix of automation and human touch. And it has to be because automation is really, really helpful when it works, when it’s responsive, when it actually does what you want it to do, and it gets you to your desired results.

Mike Yan: A human agent is a great addition, when you have a certain question and you want somebody to talk to, that can understand your specific inquiry and can help you out, and for more complex queries or just sometimes you just need a person to talk about the thing that you have at hand. And so I wouldn’t say that there is a specific path that you should take as a business. I think there is… You should look at your task that you’re trying to solve, at your goal, and ask yourself “How is that… Like, what is the best way to solve that?”

Mike Yan: And, and again we are seeing in terms of our customers, we have both solutions on the platform. So we do have the automation part, obviously, and we do also have the live chat part. And we see that from our customers, is that, people usually automate the things that are easily automate able, and then they also go through the live chat, when somebody, for example, for some reason, somebody could fall out of the conversation flow. They started to type something, they ask a question or something. That’s actually, at ManyChat, that will open up a conversation and, as an admin, you’re going to be notified that somebody is outside the automation and you should pay attention or maybe respond to them and bring them back into the flow, or actually continue the flow manually. And so we tried to reduce those costs. We tried to make sure that things that could be automated are automated, but then also give you the option to do human manual responses.

John Jantsch: Well, I think you made a really good point that people need to really, I think, focus on. Automation, when it works, is a beautiful thing. When it doesn’t work, it’s really irritating. And so I think that that’s… I think people need to understand that. Tell me a little bit about AI’s function in this. I mean, are we in a world… Because a lot of the responses are, that are currently available are, it’s almost like a database. I mean they’re built in, pre-written, so they can only respond to a certain thing a certain way. How far are we away from a world where a chat bot for example, can understand the intent of a question, and make its own answers up.

Mike Yan: Yeah. So I don’t think that the chat bots will be able to… So first of all, the chat bot can already understand the intent, that just depends on the technology. So, ManyChat tends to [inaudible] dial workflow. So you could actually use something like Dial-A-Quote from Google, that understands the intent of the person and can be much more flexible in terms of how you set up those automations. So it’s not just like rigid keywords, where “Hey, this is… If this word is mentioned, then reply with this message.” It’s much more if the person’s intent is close to… Like asking about the working hours, then respond with this message. But you’re still responding with a message. What you’re talking… When you’re talking about actually responding with a message that is generated by the AI. So, that’s actually further… So there is already a artificial intelligence model that can generate… Like they can generate a picture, they can generate music, they can generate text.

Mike Yan: So there is already a lot of progress technologically in that. It just doesn’t feel like… There’s not a lot of use case for that, at this point, for types of FAQ questions, or let’s say for types of asking questions about a certain missing information. So for example, if you’re, if you have an AI model that gets reservations. So an AI model is just a really fancy way of saying like, if there’s a type of algorithm to, for example, take reservations, automatically, the person could say, “Hey, I want to book a table for two people.” Like okay, so we know that you need it for two people, but we don’t know the dates. We didn’t know the time. So now we need to ask for the missing info. So you have the intent, you need those two parameters to start asking, “Okay, what’s the date, what’s the time?” And also maybe for some other additional info, like an email or a phone number to reach out to the person.

Mike Yan: So, and for those types of things, you don’t really need a generative model that will actually… You can actually static program those texts. And staying with the FAQ, once we know what question you’re asking, it’s actually… You don’t need a different response every time somebody asks in a different way about the working hours. Are you open today? Are you open right now? You can actually respond with the same message of, Hey, we work from this to this, et cetera, et cetera. So you don’t need to generate that message. But I think in the future, in a few years, there are a lot of cases to make chat bots more natural in terms of what they can be talking about, and to make those conversations more unique, that will also listen to the context of the conversation. And in that regard, yes, those models will be very valuable, and I think it’s a matter of a few years to actually be implemented. So in terms of capturing intent, that’s available right now in terms of generating texts, I think we’re a few years out.

John Jantsch: So if you’re a small business, and I’m sure that a lot of small business owners are hearing a lot about this, and they’re thinking, is this for me? How would you tell somebody who maybe was… Maybe not as digitally savvy, who’s thinking, “How can I try this out?” Where would be the first place that you kind of say, “Hey, here’s a use that just about every business could use?”

Mike Yan: That’s a great question. I was wondering, if we went into this AI wormhole and I’m wondering, are the small businesses even interested in the technological details of this? I think all of this seems very complicated and very techie, et cetera. Like, the simple fact is, that 2.5 billion people are using messaging apps. Everybody is using text messaging. Every b… In the U S for example, 55% of people use iPhones, and iPhones have not only text messaging but also iMessage installs, which is a messaging app. If somebody was wondering what are… What is the difference between those green bubbles and blue bubbles. So, the blue bubble means that you’re sending this over data and not over the carrier. And basically, that’s a messaging app that’s just built into the messages application. And actually, what I’m trying to say is that, all your customers are using messaging apps and most… Probably you’re also using messaging apps when you’re talking to your friends and family, your children, and your colleagues.

Mike Yan: Slack is growing really fast. Microsoft Teams is growing really fast. Those are the two messaging apps for the work force. So, the number one thing that businesses have to realize is, messaging as a form of communication, is here to stay, and it’s growing rapidly. So that’s number one point. And now the question is, “How can my business benefit from adopting messaging apps and chat as the channel of customer communication?” Let’s say, I’ve been using email. Should I be starting to use SMS? Should I start using Facebook messenger? And what is going to be the benefit? And to be honest, for different businesses, it’s going to be a different use case. Most businesses actually, will have to start using messaging apps in the next three to five years, because all the consumers are going to expect that they can actually message the business on any platform.

Mike Yan: Like you know how everybody expects that you have a phone, and you have a website. It seems a bit strange to a lot of people, but it’s actually, for me, it’s not even a hypothesis, it’s a fact. In three to five years, everybody is going to expect every business to be able to text any business. You, as a consumer, you’re going to be pissed off, when a business will not have an option to text them, and to not have a phone conversation, because phone conversations are actually, in terms of their popularity as a customer communication channel, they’re dying. They’re very much declining. And the reason, if you look at the data, I can send over some links of the research, but if you look at the more senior people, their approval, like their preference for voice communication, is 60 something percent. It’s really high.

Mike Yan: But if you look at the people from 18 to 34, their preference for voice is 20%. So it’s three times lower. And the same goes… And the same transition happens for text, but other way around. The text communication for people 65 and older, is 20% preference. But for people… And this one actually covers two age groups, so it’s not from 18 to 35 it’s more… It’s from 18 to 44, and their preference for text communication is 61%.

Mike Yan: So as a person, you want to be able to chat with a business, but that business has to be responsive. That business has to be able to reply fast, automate some of this stuff, manually process the other stuff. And you’ll be doing all of this because you don’t want to live like… You don’t want to be wasting your time being on the line with a business that is scrambling to answer all the phone calls.

John Jantsch: And I think phone support is actually gotten worse too, maybe because of this. But, speaking with Mike Yan, he is the CEO of the messenger marketing platform ManyChat, and you heard it here; Three to five years, you better be in the text game, or you risk the… You run the risk of being obsolete. So Mike, tell people where they can find, and I know you’ve got lots of great resources and education there as well, but tell people where they can find out more about ManyChat.

Mike Yan: Sure. So if you go to ManyChat, M A N Y C H A T.com, you will find we have a free plan. We can start building out your messenger and SMS automations and chats. And we have a great beginner course on YouTube. It’s free for everybody to watch. It walks you through how to build this out, what is it for, et cetera.

Mike Yan: And if you’re somebody who is not like into the whole marketing thing though, that’s back to the question, “Why are you listening to this podcast?” But, maybe you just want to be… Stay on top of the technology stuff. Then we have a bunch of agencies who are really, really good at building out of these types of experiences, and you can also find a partner that will build this out for you. And we have a list of certified experts on the websites and you can talk to them, you can ask them all sorts of questions.

Mike Yan: So I would go to ManyChat, either find a partner or just register for a free account and go through the YouTube course. It’s all free. And once you’re convinced, then you can actually convert to a Pro account, and it’s going to be… We’re very aggressively priced, and because we want to build the most ubiquitous platform on the market, that’s why we start with… Even the Pro plan. We have all this stuff for free, but if you convert to the Pro plan, it’s like $10 a month.

John Jantsch: Awesome. So thanks for stopping by, Mike, and encourage people to check out ManyChat; We’ll have the links in the show notes. So hopefully we’ll catch up with you next time I’m out there on the road.

Mike Yan:  Thank you. Thank you.

Transcript of Paving the Path to a Purposeful Hustle

Transcript of Paving the Path to a Purposeful Hustle written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Deanna Singh. She is an authority in building innovative opportunities within underserved communities, and she’s also the chief change agent and founder of Flying Elephant. She’s also the author of a book we’re going to talk about today called Purposeful Hustle, Direct Your Life’s Work Towards Making a Positive Impact. Deanna, thanks for joining me.

Deanna Singh: Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.

John Jantsch: Hustle is a pretty popular topic right now. In fact, there are a number of books that I’ve seen over the last couple of years that have that in the title. How does Purposeful Hustle differ from hustle hustle?

Deanna Singh: Sure. I love this word hustle, but I have to tell you that when I first was writing the book and I shared it with my editor, she’s like, “I don’t think you should use the word hustle.” And I’m like, “No, I’m absolutely going to use the word hustle,” because there is a very specific meaning to me. When I think about the idea of purpose and the idea of purposeful, for me, that’s the why. Why do you do the things that you do? So what is that? And the hustle part is how. If you know what your purpose is and why you show up in the world, the hustle is how do you show up in the world, and how do you get through some of the challenges that you will inevitably face if you are living in your purpose? So those two words together meant a lot to me, and I think really got at the crux of this idea of making it through life and moving through things with a purpose in mind.

John Jantsch: Well, I do think that unfortunately I think hustle has a very positive connotation, but I think it’s taken on a negative connotation in some circles because it does sort of imply get there however you can. Sometimes hustle in that vein is not altogether healthy or positive.

Deanna Singh: Absolutely. Absolutely. And this really is this idea of get there but do it in a way that is going to make the world around you better.

John Jantsch: So you define, I’ll read this directly from the book, Purposeful Hustle is directing your life’s work towards intentionally making a positive impact in the world. So let’s talk about impact. How do you define impact particularly say in the context of a business?

Deanna Singh: I think that impact obviously has a lot of different ways that you can break it down. When you’re thinking about purposeful impact, what you’re thinking about is what are the ways that by me being in business, by us being in business, that we are moving forward this human agenda. Moving forward this idea of being able to connect more with one another. When we think about impacts, there’s this larger sort of a requirement I think that’s on all of our lives, which is how do we connect ourselves to one another? That to me is this impact. Are we creating more connectivity and are we creating more positive connectivity?

John Jantsch: Yeah. I don’t think… Sometimes people get bogged down by that because they’re thinking, oh, I have to go start a nonprofit agency and save the world-

Deanna Singh: Absolutely not.

John Jantsch: … to have impact.

Deanna Singh: Absolutely not.

John Jantsch: I think that’s a healthy message. I guess any business that is making one or a hundred or a thousand people’s lives in some fashion better, that’s impact, isn’t it?

Deanna Singh: Right. You think about all of the businesses that are operating, well, they’re all being operated by people. And so whether it’s in the direct work that you’re doing or the service or product that you’re putting out into the world, and you can find the purpose connection there amazing, that is where you get some of these social enterprises and nonprofits. But also just in the way that you’re treating the people who are part of your team. Are you giving them the opportunity to go out and make the changes in your communities? Those are all important questions and I think really all come down to the heart of what a business is.

John Jantsch: If somebody writes a book with the title purpose in it, or the word purpose in the title I should say, I guess it’s fair to say, how would you define your purpose?

Deanna Singh: I am so glad you asked. I always tell people, if you stand still long enough, I will happily tell you what my purpose is. I define my purpose as shifting power to marginalized communities. What that means to me is that, I’ve had a lot of amazing experience with a lot of different factors. I’ve been in leadership levels and have seen all of these different things. But one of the things that I’ve noted in my career and also my personal life is that the minute that somebody feels like they have the self-efficacy, they feel like they already have all the things that they need, but they see it and they recognize it in themselves. That’s where real power, that’s where real change happens. For me, it’s about how do I help companies? How do I help individuals? How do I help communities find that inner power so that they can thrive and really reach their full potential?

John Jantsch: All right, so I do have to ask what’s up with the Flying Elephant?

Deanna Singh: Sure. Really, the concept of Flying Elephant there’s a funny story behind this. My husband and I have been best friends since we were 10. We’ve been married 15 years. For my 10 year anniversary, he gives me this beautiful, ornate elephant, and I was like, thank you. But why an elephant? He said, “Well, to add to your elephant collection.” And I was like, “I don’t have an elephant collection.” Then he gently took my hand and walked me through our house. And I have an elephant collection, John. I have elephants from all over the world and didn’t realize it. You have to have sometimes people who are so close to you that they can actually see you more than you can see in some respects.

Deanna Singh: But the idea of the Flying Elephant really comes from this notion of how do you take something that is heavy and big and majestic and it has all of those beautiful characteristics and put wings on it? And so for me, the idea of Flying Elephant and working with the clients that I have and the individuals that I work with, what are the big, heavy, majestic, amazing ideas that you have and how do we put wings on them? How do we get them off the ground so that everybody can see them and can benefit from them?

John Jantsch: So I’m sure you run across people, I do all the time, when we start talking about this idea of finding your why and your purpose, that a lot of them say, “That’s great.” I don’t know what it is. I can’t find it. You know, I’m searching for it and I don’t think I’m living it. Is there a way that you’ve been able to help people discover their purpose?

Deanna Singh: I’m going to tell you something that I tell people all the time. It’s going to be so simple. It’s like such a simple thing. I’m always shocked by how little leaders do this, which is schedule some time to do some absolute reflection where all you’re thinking about is your purpose, and you don’t have people who say, I don’t have the time for that. I don’t have… I’m like, yeah, maybe, maybe. But what’s happening, because you’ve haven’t scheduled some time is that it’s just nitpicking in the back of your head. It’s making that noise, right? So it’s kind of just like buzzing back there. When you actually schedule… It’s always there, and it’s kind of distracting you, but if you schedule some time to really sit down and then ask yourself some important questions. In the book I give a whole list of questions and things you can go through, but there’s some big ones.

Deanna Singh: Number one, what is something I could talk about endlessly? What is something that keeps me up at night? What are the things that are skills that I’m like the go-to person for? People will say, “You know, I’m going to go to Jennifer. I’m going to go to Deanna for this,” and are things that they’re really easy for me to do but might be challenging for other people. What are some things and maybe even individuals or experiences or events that have happened in my life that have shaped my character that make me really unique? Because when you start to go through those things, you start to see them and especially if you put them on paper. I always require any client that I’m working with to put it on paper. You’re going to start to see some themes. It’s not so much that you don’t know what your purpose is. I always tell people, you just haven’t uncovered it. It’s there. You’ve just got to sweep off some of the dust so you can get to it.

John Jantsch: Well, do you also ever find that there are people that maybe don’t want to discover it? And I don’t mean that they don’t want what it might bring them, but they might not want what they would have to do to live it. So in other words, there’s some fear of like, “Okay, if this really is my purpose, then I’m going to have to make wholesale changes in my life, and I’m not ready to do that.”

Deanna Singh: Absolutely. You know, one of the things that I do in the hustle section of the book is I talk about four characteristics that every purposeful hustler needs, their initiative, curiosity, courage, and resiliency. And so what you’re getting at, really, is this idea of courage, because a lot of times people are like, hey, I’m really comfortable where I am. I’m not necessarily aligned with my purpose, but I’m comfortable. I like my title. I like my pay, I like my… and I am not ready to give it up. It’s kind of along the lines of what you were mentioning before about do I have to start a nonprofit organization.

Deanna Singh: A lot of times it’s really walking through what are… Would it be a complete change of your life for you to get into purpose? Maybe 10 years from now, 15 years from now that’s maybe what your life looks like. But maybe right now it’s just a small change. Maybe now it’s like, “I’m going to take 15 minutes a day and I’m going to focus on my purpose.” And that doesn’t really change the dynamics that are going on around you. I tell people that that’s an excuse, and it’s a challenge that people see often, and they allow it to just stop them as opposed to them saying, “Well, that’s not tomorrow. “Right? Or maybe it’s never, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t take little bitty steps that are going to get me closer to what that purpose looks like.

Deanna Singh: I will say, too, just full disclosure, one of the things that I’ve realized is that people are afraid of it because it’s something new and it’s different and we’re always kind of afraid of something new and different. But the minute people start to kind of be in that space, I mean realize the joy and the rejuvenation that they’re getting from being in that purpose, one of the things I hear all the time is, “Man, I wish I would’ve done this X number of years ago. Man, I wish I would’ve done this. I feel more complete.”

John Jantsch: Don’t you think a lot of people suffer from being comfortable? That’s what I find. It’s like, why shake up the apple cart? Everything’s okay. It may not be great. It may be mediocre, but it’s okay. I feel like a lot of times when people really decide to go on this search, it’s because something dramatic has already happened that has kind of given them the wakeup that they’re just sort of wandering through life.

Deanna Singh: Absolutely. I definitely think so. But you know that’s a really bounded way to live. To be living in a state of comfort is okay, but state of fear of something else, I don’t know. At least to me, I can’t see how that could ever be stress free or ever be acceptable.

John Jantsch: Well, again, I’ll go with I think a lot of people… I think some people recognize what they should be doing, but it just looks like a lot of work. And the fact that nothing’s really wrong, even though they’re not kind of maybe living the life they should be living, I think that resistance is greater than some of the fear of can I actually do this.

Deanna Singh: Absolutely. Because it looks like… And I think the other challenge that I hear all the time is people say, “Well, I’d like to do that thing, and it’s so far away to the top of this big mountain. How would I ever climb up that big mountain?” They’re just looking at that mountain top, but they’re not looking at the next step and the next step and the next step. And so we take these really big things, they are big and audacious sometimes, and kind of like, “Whoa, could I do this?” or, “Oh, that’s just too much work, or, “I don’t have the time,” or whatever the challenge might be, but instead of looking at it in just these little bitty tiny steps. One of the strategies that I talk about a lot is what could you do in 15 minutes?

Deanna Singh: Could you just commit to yourself and give yourself a gift for the next 30 days of 15 minutes and say every day I’m just going to do 15 minutes that are just going to be… Maybe it’s just some reflection time. Maybe it’s making a phone call. Maybe it’s listening to an amazing podcast, right? Maybe it’s whatever. But what could I do in just these 15 minutes? And then see what that feels like. Is it overwhelming? Have you learned something about yourself? Because once people get into this space, then it’s really hard to get out because you’re like, “Wow, this is a whole different way of living my life and I feel so much better.”

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John Jantsch: You have chapters on specific words. You talked a little bit about this idea of being courageous. I know as an entrepreneur just rather you’re living your purpose or not just getting up and going out there everyday takes a level of resiliency. But you spend a lot of time talking about curiosity. I tell people all the time that’s kind of my super power. I think it is what I bring to the world is that I’m just really curious about stuff and I break it down and bring it back and say, “Here’s something interesting.”

John Jantsch: How in your experience does… Why is that such an important trait in your opinion, about being this idea of purpose?

Deanna Singh: I think that being curious is incredibly important in all aspects of life. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a business leader, whether you’re just a human being, just being curious, it is part of the thing that makes us human. I think it’s just an important skill and characteristic to nurture. What I talk about in the book is actually it’s directed at people who are like you and I who are curious, but thinking about how you take that curiosity and add it into some kind of an action plan.

Deanna Singh: Because one of the things that I see will happen is people will say, “I’m really curious,” and then they go down a rabbit hole. I did this all the time. So let me talk about myself. I’ll go down a rabbit hole. I love this rabbit hole. I find so many things in it, and then I find another one.

Deanna Singh: And then by the time I’m finished I have this whole little city of rabbit holes, but I don’t have any action underneath it. One of the things that I talk about a lot is, yes, it’s important to be curious. And here are many of the reasons why it’s important to be curious, and here’s some different ways to push yourself into some places where you can learn something new and kind of expand what your comfort zone is. But here’s also some ways that you can make sure that you tie that into an action. So it’s not just curiosity for the sake of curiosity, it’s curiosity with some movement behind it.

John Jantsch: So it’s curiosity that doesn’t just look like attention deficit disorder.

Deanna Singh: You said it, I didn’t.

John Jantsch: Do you want to talk about some of the projects maybe that you’ve worked on with people particularly in underserved communities?

Deanna Singh: Absolutely. There’s a couple of companies that we’re running out of Flying Elephant. One, is we do coaching and consulting specifically for women and people of color who want to go into the social enterprise space. For your listeners who may not know what social enterprise is, it’s really organizations that are created to solve for a social issue. So really trying to make sure that that sector has a lot of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Deanna Singh: Another company that we run out of Flying Elephant is called Story to Tell Books, and there what we do is we focus on making sure that there’s books out in the world that feature positive images of children of color. Right now, children of color, and we’ve got more than 50% that are school age kids, but are represented in less than 14% of books, which is a real problem because you ask a reading teacher, “How do you get a child excited about reading and, therefore, excited about learning?” And they the number one thing they’re going to say, “Help them find themselves in a book.” So we have this book in print that does just that, and it’s really trying to get at changing the narrative.

Deanna Singh: The third company that I run is, I’m a doula. I started with a business partners a company. Doulas are people who will coach birthing people through the birth and labor process. We started a company called Birth Coach Milwaukee, which is where I’m from. The whole point of that company is to try and eliminate the disparities in birthing outcomes. The research shows, again, you introduce a doula or midwife, you can really eliminate those disparities.

Deanna Singh: We have a one-to-one model for every person who is able to pay full price we’re then able to provide services to women who otherwise could not afford it. So those are three companies that we’re working on specifically out of Flying Elephant. A lot of diversity there, a lot of fun, super amazing. Looking at some of the impact, it makes for incredibly interesting days if you can imagine.

Deanna Singh: Some of the other companies that we’ve helped with really kind of run the gamut, but a lot of them have to do with economic development. Creating new economic development opportunities for individuals who might not have the same kind of access to social capital, actual capital, network, and those things. And really trying to create the environment that allows for them to take their ideas and put wings on them.

John Jantsch: If somebody was… I know we talked about you don’t have to start a nonprofit, but I do think there are a lot of businesses, a lot of entrepreneurs, that actually would like to help in, as you described them, underserved communities. I’ve heard from people say it’s actually kind of hard to know where to start. Any advice for somebody who’s listening who thinks, yeah, I would like to reach out and maybe help entrepreneurs that are having trouble getting started, that I’ve got something to give there. What are some ways that you kind of figure out how to do that?

Deanna Singh: I think that’s an excellent question. A lot of cities will have places where there’s economic development boards. They call them different things in different places, but looking at where are the agencies or organizations that people who don’t have, again, those networks or those experiences, their own personal wealth to be able to get their ideas off the ground. Where are they going? And if they’re not going any place, one of the things you could do is create that space. Create that conversation or that space where people could come to, but hopefully… My hope is that there is something like that that exists in a lot of different communities and then reaching out to them and saying, look, this is my expertise. This is something I’m really, really good at, and I would love to be able to share that expertise. What’s the best way for me to connect with the people who are coming through your organization? So you don’t have to start anything, but you can bring your expertise to bear.

John Jantsch: I have to tell you a story about the word underserved. It makes me nervous every time I see it. Early in my business, I was doing a directory for a nonprofit. Actually, it was United Way. I somehow in the text turned underserved into undeserved, and gosh darn, it changed the meaning-

Deanna Singh: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. It was actually… I see that.

John Jantsch: The problem was the thing got proofread about eight times, but that was a normal word. It just wasn’t the right thing. It was just a couple of characters mixed around. But boy did it change the meaning. So every time I see that word now I get a little cold shiver. So apologize, I had to share that.

Deanna Singh: Yeah, no, I just got a bad shiver for you, but you survived.

John Jantsch: I did. I did, I did. So Deanna, tell people where they can find more about what you’re doing there at Flying Elephant, and, of course, how to pick up a copy of Purposeful Hustle.

Deanna Singh: Sure. Purposeful Hustle can be purchased on any of the normal avenues that you go to, Amazon or Barnes & Noble or any of those places. But you can also get it directly from our website, which is Deanna, D-E-A-N-N-A, Singh, S-I-N-G-H dot com. Deannasingh.com. You can get the book. You can see the children’s books. You can kind of see all of the different things that we’re doing and sign up to get the weekly blog just to hear how other people are really living in the Purposeful Hustle. And then also any social media platform. Almost any social media platform. Love to connect with some of your listeners.

John Jantsch: Well, and we’ll have all those links in the show notes both to the site as well as links to Flying Elephant. Deanna, thanks for joining us and hopefully keep up that great work, and hopefully we’ll run into you out there on the road.

Deanna Singh: Awesome. So grateful to be here. Thanks.

Transcript of Make Pinterest Your Marketing Secret Weapon

Transcript of Make Pinterest Your Marketing Secret Weapon written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ManyChat.com. 1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger every day, ManyChat is how you reach them.

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Alisa Meredith. She is a social media consultant, also the content marketing manager at Tailwind, an Instagram and Pinterest scheduling tool. We are going to talk about social media in general, but we’re going to focus on one of the platforms in particular, Pinterest. So Alisa, thanks for joining me.

Alisa Meredith: Thank you, John. Thanks for having me on.

John Jantsch: We’ve been doing this social media thing really over a decade now, and how would you describe kind of the state of where we are in social media? Consider I got on Twitter in 2006 and Facebook opened up in 2008. What’s the last decade for social media been like, good, bad, and ugly?

Alisa Meredith: Wow, how long do we have? I think it’s gone from … I remember the days when everything on Facebook was free, and you could assume that when you posted something on your business page, all of your followers would see it. That seems like it doesn’t even seem possible right now, does it?

John Jantsch: I get like 5% reach, maybe, and I have a client that’s a remodeling contractor that everybody just loves these people, and they get like 50% reach. It’s amazing.

Alisa Meredith: That’s wonderful.

John Jantsch: So it can be done, I guess.

Alisa Meredith: It can, but it’s pretty rare. I think that’s kind of what we’re seeing on most social is that ads are becoming more important, and that makes sense. They have to make money too.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I mean I know when we’re recommending social for a lot of small businesses, we are talking about the organic aspect of it, but a lot of times increasingly we’re just lumping paid right into part of that plan.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah.

John Jantsch: So kind of maybe set the landscape for small business owners. Where does social fit in? And obviously different businesses, different uses, but generally where does social fit in today you’d think in somebody’s marketing plan as a small business?

Alisa Meredith: I think it really depends on which network you’re talking about. They all kind of have their own place. Facebook is the place you go because people expect you to be there. If you’re not there, I think there’s some suspicion. Like, “What do they have to hide? Why are they not on Facebook?” Instagram is where people get to know you personally, which is a wonderful thing, and it can be really good for sales. Pinterest, which I do not classify as social, but I understand that it does get kind of lumped in there, is more of a search engine. There’s a place for most people on most networks, it just depends on what you’re trying to get out of them.

John Jantsch: That’s a great distinction. I don’t think I’ve heard anybody talk about it as a search engine, necessarily. I mean, I think a lot of people lump YouTube into the social networks, and I wouldn’t necessarily call YouTube a social network, but it kind of gets lumped in that same way.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, I agree, and I think that they both have some social elements, but primarily the way people use them is for their own information. So I think of Pinterest as more like the introvert’s network. It’s about me, it’s about where I go to plan. It’s not where I am going to present myself in a certain way like you might on LinkedIn, or Facebook, or Instagram. It’s a very different intent, and the way that people use it is different too. So something like 90% of all activity on Pinterest happens in search, which is definitely not the case on other networks.

John Jantsch: Yeah, in fact there’s a lot of content in say LinkedIn and Facebook that you would never turn up organically searching, say on like Google or something, but that’s not the case. I would guess 50-75% of the traffic to Pinterest comes through organic search outside of Pinterest. Would that be true?

Alisa Meredith: I think it’s probably lower than that now. It used to be that Google showed a lot more Pinterest results in their search results, but I think eventually they got wise to the fact that, “Hey, we’re basically sending their traffic to another search engine,” so there are fewer results from Pinterest on Google right now than there used to be. There certainly still are some, but Pinterest itself is very much a search and discover engine. In fact, there are about 2 billion searches performed every month on Pinterest.

John Jantsch: So let’s talk about the social networks, then. You’ve mentioned Facebook, and I think you mentioned LinkedIn already, and Instagram, and Twitter I guess, still out there as a social network.

Alisa Meredith: Yes, it sure is. It’s had a little bit of a resurgence lately.

John Jantsch: Well in fact, that’s what’s kind of interesting. I think LinkedIn has had a huge resurgence in terms of its-

Alisa Meredith: Oh, yeah.

John Jantsch: … usefulness, and in fact I hear more and more people talking about LinkedIn as a search engine. So in other words, not just participating groups and comment on things but actually go there to find articles. Because so much great content is now getting put on LinkedIn.

John Jantsch: If you were advising small businesses, and again I know the consultant answer is going to be, “It depends,” but generically do we need to be on all four of those that I just mentioned?

Alisa Meredith: I think for the most part, yes there’s a use. I think on Pinterest specifically, it can be difficult to get a lot of traction if you are strictly a local based business. If you’re a brick and mortar in let’s say Ontario, Canada, and that’s the only place that anyone can go to buy from you, it’s going to be really hard to get qualified traffic from Pinterest. You’ll probably get a ton of traffic, depending on what you’re selling, but it may not be the place to spend most of your time. Instagram will probably be better for you in that case.

John Jantsch: I had a client a few years ago that was just getting massive amounts of traffic, and we were like, “What?” I mean, they were a local lawn service, and we’re like, “What is going on?” And apparently they had written some blog post that Google decided was like the number one to talk about grass or certain seeds or something, and so like 90% of their traffic was coming from outside of their community, but it was still kind of fun to see.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, well they should probably start selling grass seed or something nationally.

John Jantsch: I know, I know.

Alisa Meredith: Make something of that traffic.

John Jantsch: Something to do something with it. Okay, so a lot of people look at Instagram and Pinterest, or maybe not a lot in your world but a lot in my world, and kind of see them as the same. They’re both very visual, they’re all about pictures. How would you tell somebody how they differ?

Alisa Meredith: Oh, so so different, practically opposite. Instagram really is like a curated view of a person’s life or a business, really, and it’s like showing the best of yourself, showing an intimate portrayal of yourself so people really get to know, like, and trust you which is great, it’s wonderful. That’s kind of external. When a person is on Instagram, they want to know about you. They want to know about your unboxing. They want to know about your company party because that helps them feel more comfortable to buy from you and feel like they know you.

Alisa Meredith: When a person is on Pinterest, they do not care about that. They really do not. So to have a Pinterest board with all of your company photos, it’s not going to go anywhere. What people care about on Pinterest is, “How can you help me make my life better? How can I become a better mom, teacher, marketer? How can I make my house the way I want it, my body the way I want it, my diet?” It really is the introvert’s network. People don’t go on there to share generally. They go on there to collect and then to get inspired to do.

John Jantsch: I’m going to pretend that my listeners don’t really know much about Pinterest other than what you’ve just shared. So break down, if I’m a business owner, how would I start looking at Pinterest? Maybe not just like how do I do it, maybe just how do I start thinking about it in the context of marketing my business?

Alisa Meredith: I think the best way is to get an account and use it. You might have zero interest in Pinterest, you think, but everything that you’re interested in is on there. Trust me. I would choose something that really gets you excited and just create one board and look around. Search for ideas that get you excited, and see what is it about a particular article, or topic, or what is it that made you click this pin over that pin? How are you behaving on Pinterest? Just get inside of the mind of a Pinner because marketers, we always look at things a little differently. Sometimes you just need to be a consumer for a while.

John Jantsch: So in a lot of networks that people might be used to, and again you’ve already pointed out that that’s not what Pinterest necessarily is. The point is to build a following, but that’s not really the behavior on Pinterest, is it?

Alisa Meredith: No, it’s not at all because like we talked about, most of the activity is happening in search, about 90%, and so your content is potentially going to reach way more people than ever will follow you. Followers are important in the sense that Pinterest serves up your new pins to your followers first because those people should be the ones who would be most engaged with your content.

Alisa Meredith: So then they watch like how your followers engage with that content as it comes out, and that has an impact on how far it will be distributed, or how often it will show up in search, or how high up it will be in search or related pins. So that’s where they’re important which is why it’s even more important on Pinterest than maybe anywhere else to make sure you’re attracting the right followers rather than going for numbers.

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John Jantsch: So if I’m building some boards, and I’m posting some things, and maybe Pinterest is showing them for certain types of searches. How do I make business objectives there? I mean, ultimately we want customers, so how does Pinterest allow me to do that or help me do that?

Alisa Meredith: Pinterest is all about the traffic. It’s the one place that I know of that is very happy to send you off of their platform to yours. It can be a huge traffic driver, and sometimes I’ve had people call my agency and say, “Hey, I wasn’t doing anything on Pinterest, and I just happened to notice that I’m getting a ton of traffic from Pinterest so I feel like maybe if I put some effort into it, I would get more,” and yes usually that is the case. It is already the number two driver of social traffic, right behind Facebook. If people put more energy into it, it could be a lot more.

Alisa Meredith: But among content marketers, anyway, only about 28%, 27% of content marketers are using Pinterest which is kind of amazing to me when what we want really kind of all starts with traffic, and that is where Pinterest is incredibly powerful.

John Jantsch: Would I be incorrect in assuming, though, that you’ve got to show up with some visual chops there, that that’s what people are looking for, or can you have a checklist of things as long as it meets something I’m looking for?

Alisa Meredith: Well you know, I have seen some ugly pins do really, really well. I have one from an old agency of mine that I still get emails about it being my most popular pin, and it is ugly. It has like Lego characters on it. It’s bad. So sometimes that happens, but in general you do want high quality, professional images with some compelling text on the image, which partially works to help people know what the image is and to click through. It also helps with search. So Pinterest actually reads the text on your image, Pinterest can actually tell what the items in your image are, and they assign keywords based on those items.

Alisa Meredith: You do need to give some thought to your images, but you don’t have to … There are apps out there that will help you. There’s Easel, there’s Canva, there are all kinds of things. You don’t even have to know Photoshop to make a beautiful pin.

John Jantsch: So I’ve written a book recently called The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur, and every day it has a new page and new entry, and I anchor all of those daily pages with quotes from some mid-19th century literature. Just using myself as an example, this is my way to get free consulting by the way.

Alisa Meredith: It’s brilliant [inaudible 00:13:49].

John Jantsch: But would quotes taken from some of those pages be a good Pinterest?

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, quotes on Pinterest are unbelievably popular. I was just looking this morning at audience insights and looking at what the general Pinterest user is into. Quotes, let’s see, 26% of the general audience on Pinterest is interested in quotes. So we have 322 million monthly active users. 26% of those people are engaging with quote pins.

Alisa Meredith: So yes, I would do that. However, I would also say that infographics can be very popular on Pinterest, but they don’t always get clicks. I’m suspecting the same thing might be true of a quote pin. So what I would say is, “Yes, absolutely you should try this,” but also put some kind of call to action on your image itself. So like, “see how to use this in your business,” or just like whatever, you know. I don’t know what the quotes are exactly, but.

John Jantsch: Well, so it’s like Thoreau, and Emerson, and some of that kind of writing that people would be familiar with, but what you’re saying is don’t just leave them as eye candy, make them something more useful to the user, or at least [inaudible 00:15:07].

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, like how to use this in your everyday life, yeah.

John Jantsch: All right, so are there some tips and tricks for getting organic traffic then? So in other words, just like there are tips for Google. Are there tips for showing up higher in Pinterest searches?

Alisa Meredith: Yes, absolutely. Something that has changed fairly recently, and people are noticing it, is that it used to work that you could pin the same image to the same blog post over, and over, and over again to the same boards, and that worked to increase your traffic, but Pinterest doesn’t want that. They want every time you or I go back to Pinterest, they want us to see something new and exciting so that we want to keep coming back. Makes sense.

Alisa Meredith: So with that in mind, that’s not working anymore, to pin the same thing over and over again. So what a lot of people are doing is making multiple images for the same blog post. Right? So more opportunity to show up. I asked around to some of my friends, “Have you done this? What are the results?” and a friend of mine who has a Teachers Pay Teachers store where they sell writing checklists for third grader teachers, for example, she had a pin, it was a couple years old, and she was still getting almost 2,000 link clicks a month from it, which I’ll take that from one image on Pinterest.

Alisa Meredith: But she thought, “Let me make a new image, just freshen it up.” It’s a very simple image with just some text overlay on it, probably took five minutes to make. In the same month where she got 2,000 from the old pin, she got over 10,000 link clicks from the brand new pin.

John Jantsch: Hm, wow.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah. Yeah, so this is working.

John Jantsch: Does video work in Pinterest?

Alisa Meredith: Yeah.

John Jantsch: That sounds like a really basic question, but.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, native video is fairly new to Pinterest. It seems to be most effective for awareness and engagement as opposed to traffic. There are ways to get it to work for traffic, but kind of the intention is that people will watch it on Pinterest and learn more about your business. So especially if you’re looking at ads on Pinterest that are video, a lot of them are the bigger brands. So they’re paying for that awareness, but yeah they’re very prominent in search on Pinterest right now because they’re new, and Pinterest wants people to use them. So they’ll be right at the top of your search results. Of course they’re very eye catching as you’re scrolling through on mobile. Like one of the videos in the frame will be moving, which is pretty great.

John Jantsch: Yeah. All right, so let’s move to the inevitable: paid Pinterest or promoted pins, I think is the term for that one.

Alisa Meredith: Promoted pins, yes.

John Jantsch: How does that work?

Alisa Meredith: The coolest thing, to me, about promoted pins is that when you advertise a pin on Pinterest, even after that promotion is done, that pin lives on, and then people because your distribution has been so much greater because you paid for it, people will have been saving it all this time, right, so now it’s on their boards, and their people are seeing it, it’s showing up in other searches. People keep clicking on these secondary pins that came from your promoted pin, and you’re not paying for that. You stopped your ad, but you’re still getting more traffic because you promoted the pin. It’s pretty cool.

John Jantsch: Yeah, absolutely. How does the function of purchase, how does the targeting work, how does the bidding work? Again, I guess I’m really saying, “How does it work?”

Alisa Meredith: How does it work? Well, it’s somewhat like Facebook Ads, although the targeting options are not as extensive. It’s a smaller platform, it’s a newer platform, but they are pretty cool. You can do things like you can instead of a lookalike audience, you can do an act alike audience which is similar, but instead of having similar demographics it would have similar behavior patterns. Like Pinterest would look at say your paying customers and say, “All right, these people tend to be interested in this sort of thing, they tend to pin this sort of thing, they have boards about these sorts of things,” and then they can target those people.

John Jantsch: So going back to my quoters, people that typically pin quotes could be an act alike.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah.

John Jantsch: Yeah.

Alisa Meredith: Well I mean, an act alike would be more like you have an audience.

John Jantsch: Oh, I see. I see.

Alisa Meredith: Like your website visitors.

John Jantsch: So you provide that, you provide that. Got you, okay.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, or your email list. But you can do also what I think is pretty cool is an engagement audience where if I pin something, and then you pin it. Like you pin something that goes to my website, and someone else clicks on your pin that goes to my website, I can then target that person because they have engaged with content to my site even if they don’t know me at all, but I know that they’re interested in my content.

John Jantsch: Are there industries or types of businesses that this is just a no brainer for, that do really well in Pinterest? What would those be?

Alisa Meredith: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, so travel does really well. We have a lot of recipe bloggers that get a ton of traffic from Pinterest. Fashion and beauty, bloggers, even finance does really well. I think it all comes down to if you can frame your product or service the right way, like the Pinterest way, just about anybody can make it work. Because like with finance, I use this example like on Facebook it might be something like, “10 Things That Will Get You Audited This Year,” right? That works on Facebook, but on Pinterest you want it to be aspirational. So it’s going to be like, “10 Ways You’re Going To 10x Your Business This Year.” It’s different content. Sometimes you can reframe existing content to have it work on Pinterest, but it’s just a very different feel.

John Jantsch: So Alisa, I’m going to give you the advertising moment for the show today.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah.

John Jantsch: How would I use a tool like Tailwind to make this job of … I know Tailwind also does Instagram, but specifically for Pinterest how would I use a scheduling tool like Tailwind to make that job smoother?

Alisa Meredith: Pinterest really wants us to be consistently adding new content. If you are creating multiple pins to your content, and we should be if we want to get the most out of the traffic we can get from Pinterest, it’s great for scheduling. We have what we call Smart Schedule which looks at when your followers are most likely to be engaged on the platform, and we’ll send your pins out at that time, just to increase the changes that they’re going to see and engage with your pins.

Alisa Meredith: Life happens, right? We could go a while without pinning anything, but Pinterest really wants to see those consistent signals that you are a reliable content creator, and they will boost your distribution in the search and in the feed.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and while I think we want to stay in the moment and do things that are interesting that happen in the moment, I do think if we have a plan for our editorial, we should schedule things out. I remember when social started, people were like, “Oh, that’s robotic. You’re not being truly social,” but I think if we’re looking at social media and we’re looking at search engines and platforms like this as just a part of our overall marketing plan which is what we should be looking at them as, I think then scheduling just makes sense because it’s basically our editorial plan. So we stay focused, and we stay on track.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, and really, I don’t know how you do business without batching anymore. If I created five pins, and I had to try to remember, “Oh, I want to add a new one every week so that Pinterest knows that I’m creating great, consistent content,” I’m not going to remember. What, did I pin that? I don’t know.

John Jantsch: Well, you do like a lot of small businesses and you go find a Gen Z person to-

Alisa Meredith: Oh, is that what we do?

John Jantsch: … tell them to do that.

Alisa Meredith: I guess you could have a Gen Z person or you could have Tailwind. Whichever you prefer.

John Jantsch: So where can people find out more about Tailwind? And I’m pretty darn sure there’s a free trial, even.

Alisa Meredith: Oh, there is a free trial. It’s tailwindapp.com or the blog is blog.tailwindapp.com where you can learn a whole lot more about Pinterest and Instagram marketing. Yes, and there is a free trial. If you sign up, you get 100 free pins to use as you would like, and you can try all the cool features of Tailwind.

John Jantsch: Awesome. Well Alisa, thanks for stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Hopefully we’ll run into you again out there on the road. I know we spoke at the same conference in Maine a few months ago, and maybe we can do that again.

Alisa Meredith: Yeah, I’d love that. Thanks for having me, John.

Transcript of How Meditation Can Change Your Life (and the World)

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John Jantsch: This episode is a Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, and is brought to you by pixelz.com. You’ve got to make those images look great. If you want them to pop, if you want them to represent your products, this is a retouching service to make your images look great.

John Jantsch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Tom Cronin. He is the Co-Creator of The Portal movie and book and is leading a global movement to inspire 1 billion people to meditate daily. He’s on the road right now touring with the film on his way to Taos, New Mexico as we record this. So Tom, thanks for joining me.

Tom Cronin: It’s good to be here. Sorry about if there’s any background noise, but we’re moving from city to city taking the film on the road.

John Jantsch: So, your background was not meditation. You had another career that you spent a great deal of time in and I wonder if you could lead us up to what brought you on this path in your past.

Tom Cronin: Yeah. I spent all [inaudible] as a 26 year career in finance on a trading room floor. So we were trading swaps and bonds on international finance markets. So if anyone has seen the film Wolf of Wall Street, just imagine that trading room floor that they depicted very, very well in the late 80s. I started my career in the same year as Jordan Belfort, actually in 1987 and it was a fun, furious, fast, hectic time and it wasn’t what I was prepared for or expecting, but it was one of the things that I just sort of slipped into.

Tom Cronin: And so, I spent and ended up 26 years in that career. But the first few years of that I very much fell into the lifestyle that was late 80s, early 90s and that was a lot of drugs, drinking, partying, and working really, really hard. So, that combined and escalated into showing up a lot of stress symptoms in my body. And that’s what led me to eventually meditation because it got so extreme that I had to find another alternative to what I was doing at that particular point in time.

Tom Cronin: And that was about 10 years into my career that I learned to meditate. And that was, the shift that started to happen.

John Jantsch: So you didn’t necessarily just chuck what you were doing, you just changed your lifestyle.

Tom Cronin: Yeah, and that’s an important thing for anyone that’s listening in business or entrepreneur is that, it wasn’t the job that was the problem. It was the way I was relating to the job, the way I was behaving in the job, the way I was thinking about the job. And that was the variable. So, 10 years I had a very extreme stress response to the job and that’s where symptoms show up. And if you think of symptoms, I like the analogy to a red light on the dashboard and that red light is really just a signal that there’s a problem from under the dashboard … Sorry, under the bonnet that you need to look at. And that’s what was happening to me. I was getting all these symptoms, but I was ignoring them.

Tom Cronin: And once I started to change my lifestyle habits and started to learn to meditate and bring meditation as a part of my day, then things really picked up in a big way and my life started to become calmer, smoother, more fluid, and I just got better in my job. And so, I sustained another 16 years in that job without having as many of those stress responses.

John Jantsch: So, let’s talk a little bit about the Portal Movie and book. But I guess maybe the first step is what is the Portal? Why is that the name?

Tom Cronin: Yeah, the Portal is, it represents a couple of things. Firstly, it represents that personal experience that I have when I’m going into stillness into meditation. And it’s that experience of moving away from thinking and feeling and moving away from the forms of the world and moving away from the future, and in the past and then going into this stillness and silence. And then, the Portal also represents on a macro level, what does it look like for humanity in our way forward as we sort of step into this new space, that’s a possibility for us to go forward? And I’m what’s on the other side of that?

John Jantsch: So one of the things that you propose is that meditation is one of the keys to maybe changing the trajectory of the world. I don’t think we probably have to go into what wrong trajectory I might be on. So, how do you profess that that is the solution.?

Tom Cronin: Well, in the film, Mikey Siegel discusses how most of the world’s problems are created by humans. And if that’s a state of mind, it’s creating the problem, then it’s the state of mind that can solve the problem. But the thing is, we can’t solve the problems of the world with the same state of mind that’s creating the problems. And what I saw changed significantly in my life as I was just continually doing the same thing over and over again, nothing really significantly changed until I started to get out of that program that I was in, that indoctrination, but also my own program and my own belief systems and get into this clearer state of just awareness without the condition thinking.

Tom Cronin: And then what happened was I started to be able to watch my actions or watch my thoughts and then have a very different set of ideals about the life I wanted to live and the life I could live. And I see this and we see this happen in the film as well. All these stories, six stories that had really diverse backgrounds, but very challenging experiences in their life and this ability through the use of meditation to be able to shift the trajectory of their path of life and start to create something that was new and more profound and more, I guess progressive and more harmonious.

Tom Cronin: And if we multiply that into 100,000, a million, 1,000,000,007 billion, then we start to see a significant change on the planet. And I think where I come from with the inspiration for the film and the project is to start to have our shifting states of mind, our level of awareness, our sense of interconnectedness, not just with other humans but also with nature itself. And then what happens is a very significant shift will start to prevail I think on the planet.

John Jantsch: How much, again, those are all very practical as far as I’m concerned, but sometimes people need something more tangible. How much connection between mind and body? In other words, how much of a role do you feel meditation can play in some of the physical ailments that many people are fighting with nothing but drugs today?

Tom Cronin: Yeah, it’s ground zero. It’s the basis for change I think on a physiological and biochemical level and that’s a result of the body. For me particularly, this was the state it was in and for most people on the planet currently I reckon, which is this state of fight, flight or sympathetic nervous system state. And it’s a system within the nervous system or a system within the body that is a defense mechanism to protect us from dangerous situations. And we think it’s normal to be on our phones and to be using technology as much as we do driving through lots of traffic and lots of meetings and lots of busy sort of lifestyle. But if you look at our history over thousands and hundreds of thousands of years what we were doing in the last 10 years or 20 years is just exponentially overwhelming for our nervous system.

Tom Cronin: And so, what’s happening is we’re in this constant state of fight flight and when we’re in fight flight, what happens? Our brain starts contracting in the frontal region of the brain, which is the CEO type region of the brain. Our biochemistry starts changing where we’re shifting a lot of cortisol, adrenaline are pumped into our blood and we’re reducing the production of melatonin, oxytocin and serotonin, which are biochemicals that help us sleep, feel happy and feel love because we’re in this fight or flight and about to go to battle or run from a side to a tiger. And so, there’s no levels of compassion and empathy and love and no ability to sleep well. And so, all these symptoms are arising from a society that’s overwhelmingly stressed or in a stress response.

Tom Cronin: We start storing fat cells because we might be on the run for days. We’re getting a lot of obesity. We start coagulating our blood because we don’t want it gushing out. If we get stabbed, which is leading to heart disease. We start converting high blood sugar levels because we might have to run from the saber tooth tiger, which is why we’re getting a lot of diabetes. Now, all this is just an anomaly. It’s simply a result of many people’s bodies being in sympathetic nervous system state.

Tom Cronin: Now the beautiful thing is what meditation does is it shifts the body out of that state very quickly and into parasympathetic nervous system state. And think of parasympathetic P for peace, which is the rest state that the body goes into when it feels safe and secure. And there’s a calmness that prevails and all of those anomalies of the sympathetic nervous system state to suddenly reverse themselves and we start producing melatonin and oxytocin, serotonin, the brain that’s function getting better. We get better creativity, we have better relationships, we get better productivity, we have better energy levels. Our body starts to restore balance and optimize itself. And that’s what meditation can do very, very quickly.

John Jantsch: So one of the challenges I think with, I hate to say it, but a solution that’s not pharmacy based is that there aren’t any great trials and studies and science and money put behind some of those. But at what point will the science be there to where traditional Western medicine will start prescribing?

Tom Cronin: I think what we should do at this, and at that point of that level of conversation is we should look at the science of the current research that’s done on the pharmaceuticals. And what we find is that generally most pharmaceuticals run on a success rate around eight to 12%, which is fairly successful for a pharmaceutical. And it gives it the green light to say, “Yes, this will work, let’s put it into the system.” And it doesn’t really have a lot of deep [inaudible] into what are the longterm ramifications of that because the people that are doing the science experiments are the people that are funding the development of the drugs. So it’s not in their interest to spend a lot of money doing research on what are the longterm ramifications and negative ramifications of using those drugs.

Tom Cronin: Now, if we look at placebo effect, placebo affects generally works on a level of 60 to 70% consistently, that is where you take a pharmaceutical drug that has a proactive and active ingredient in it, and you take a sugar pill that has no active ingredient in it and you tell the person that they’re taking something that’s going to make them feel better. 60 to 70% generally across the board of all placebo studies has been proven that that’s worked effectively, which is far superior to any pharmaceutical studies done. So, this is other areas that we have to start exploring. Now, it’s not to dismiss anyone that’s using pharmaceuticals, it’s not what we’re here to do is suddenly say, “Just stop taking them.” That’s not the way at all.

Tom Cronin: There’s definitely role and relevance for these and in life itself, but what we want to do is do our own individual personal research. That’s what I always say to people, is that if you do your own personal research, there’s no harm in trying. There’s a reason why it’s been around for five to 10,000 years and stood the test of time. There must be something in it, and in the tens of thousands of books that have been talked about it, and in the film, what we didn’t do was give you a lot of information about why you should do it. What we did was we showcased six personal stories that validated for them their personal experience of why it was effective. And that’s what I usually use in my own sort of, I guess not promotion of meditation, but wanting to inspire people to meditate. It’s just simply use my own personal story because it was clear as day that that was effective way of me changing the way I was living my life.

Tom Cronin: And so, we use personal stories a lot because it’s something you can’t invalidate. It’s true for that person and therefore it’s true black and white. And it doesn’t mean it’s going to be true everyone, but it’s definitely true for them.

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John Jantsch: So talk a little bit about the making of the movie. I’m assuming you don’t have a Hollywood background and had to figure this out. Is that an accurate assumption?

Tom Cronin: Yeah. I’d never been involved in film at all, so it was just an idea that we had that we’d use film as a device to showcase the power of meditation. But for anyone in business listening and the entrepreneurs listening that you had a lot of time, you’re reaching new ground and you’re having to go into areas that you may not be familiar with. And what we did with film or what I still do to this day is just draw on people that have walked that path before me. I have consultants and advisors and people that come on the project that can not just hold your hand but really be part of the vision and the project and I guess the facilitation of you getting to your end goal and it’s not like you need to know everything, but there are people out there that can support you with that.

John Jantsch: So you want to share a couple of the stories about who we’ll meet in the Portal?

Tom Cronin: Yeah, we’ve got some amazing stories. We’ve got six individual stories, very diverse backgrounds and Booda is a veteran who was in the army in Afghanistan and Iraq and he had some challenging experiences in his childhood and also has some very extreme PTSD symptoms after going through some challenging times serving for the US. We have Amandine who was from France and she was the United Nations Human Rights lawyer and she as well also had some extreme PTSD after serving in some extreme situations around the world.

Tom Cronin: And Heather, she was a US track athlete and she just won the US Nationals and the 800 meters and not long after that had broken her back on a training sort of run where they were jumping off some clips into water. So, and [inaudible 00:14:43], he’s a Vietnamese refugee who had a very challenging upbringing in Philadelphia in a very poor and then got to Harvard and she faced some challenges getting to Harvard thinking that was the ticket to freedom, but just faced new confronting challenges of being in a very challenging environment that was not something she was familiar with.

Tom Cronin: So, they’re just some of the glimpses into the stories, that are all quite moving and intimately filmed. And me and Jacqui, we’re directors, she is a phenomenal director that really who co-created the project with me, just really brought this intimate experiential process for them, which is really profound. The way of making the film was very different and a unique way of making the film. As someone said last night when we’re at one of the screenings in Santa Fe. “Wow. That was just not a linear film, I was used to linear films.” And that kind of wasn’t linear at all, but it just all fell into place and worked. And I think that’s the power of what this is.

John Jantsch: So, before we started recording said you were going from Santa Fe to Taos, I think right now, and you are on the road screening the film. So, tell me a little bit about that adventure and maybe how if somebody is listening and they want to bring the film to their town, is there a process for that?

Tom Cronin: Yeah, absolutely. So we’re filming in quite a few cities around the US. We were in Santa Fe last night, Taos tonight. Then we go to New York, which starts on the 15th through for a week I think. But we’ll be in New York from the 15th through to the 17th doing Q&A’s and that’s it. Village East, or East village, I think it’s called. And then, if they can’t see, so all the cities that are screening at our on the website, but if people can’t see it in their city, we’ve got this wonderful facility where people can actually host their own screening and they can just apply for that through a website. It costs them nothing. And we provide the cinema, the film, marketing materials, Facebook, event ticketing. All that sort of stuff and just make it a really simple process for them to be able to actually, yeah, experience the film in the cinema and that’s where we want to keep it for a while.

Tom Cronin: The option is obviously go straight to digital [inaudible] run, but we’re really, really interested in trying to keep it in that communal experience as long as possible. It’s going to the universities, the high schools, prisons, until eventually it might even be 12 months, who knows? We’re just going to keep playing it by year and keep having that experience for the community in that shared space.

John Jantsch: So I’m sure that you in your travels and your Q&A’s, I’m sure this question has come up, either somebody has said, “I tried meditation and it just didn’t work for me or I couldn’t stick with it.” Or I’m sure you also have people that just say, “How do I start?” So, if somebody was either tried it, couldn’t make it work, is thinking about it, what’s your best advice for, how do I start?

Tom Cronin: Yeah, I mean, it’s a great question and I think it’s time for a lot of people to start exploring that because the world seems to be getting more and more stressed. I think they can go into their local area and just Google Meditation Center in their local city and find a community where there’s a teacher that’s going to be able to teach them. And there I put into four categories, there’s the concentration meditations, which are more like the Buddhist style focusing on the breath or the third eye where you’ve got to really focus on one thing.

Tom Cronin: We’ve got the contemplation meditations, which are like guided meditations where you might listen to that in an app or YouTube or something like that. And that’s where you’re using the mind to proactively create a scenario in your mind to facilitate an outcome of calmness or an intention you want to manifest.

Tom Cronin: You’ve got chanting meditations where you might do it in groups in your local community, it’s called kirtan or at the end of yoga. And then you’ve got these transcending star meditations, which is where you have vedic meditation or transcendental meditation and they can look up some of those centers. Primordial sound technique is another one of those techniques where they have a sound that you repeat inside your head.

Tom Cronin: So, the first step would be trying to find somewhere in your local community. The second step would be you can go to my website, tomcronin.com, has got some meditation programs they can learn. We disrupted that transcendental meditation and … Not disrupted but I guess offered an alternative for people that couldn’t access it where they can learn to use those deeper style meditations through a 21-day meditation program and they can get that at Tom Cronin or Stillness Project and it’ll be on the Portal website soon as well. So, that’s another option where they can learn it with me. But in a digital sense where I’ve got a nice video I send to them every day and they can listen and share that meditation journey with me.

Tom Cronin: And then otherwise, just go to YouTube. The next option would be go to YouTube and where they can learn it. There’s a lot of free meditations on YouTube.

John Jantsch: So, we’ll have tomcronin.com, The Portal.

Tom Cronin: Enter the Portal.

John Jantsch: Entertheportal.com, we’ll have all those in the show notes as well. So Tom, thanks for dropping by, safe travels.

Tom Cronin: Thank you

John Jantsch: And I look forward to … I think right now you’re, you’ve been on the coast, but maybe you’ll have to bring this to the Midwest before too long.

Tom Cronin: We’d love to make it across that way. So thanks for having me on. It’s been great to be here.

Transcript of Staying True to Your Core While Growing Your Business

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John Jantsch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Yaniv Masjedi. He is the chief marketing officer at Nextiva, which is an industry leading cloud communications provider headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. So Yaniv, thanks for joining me.

Yaniv Masjedi: I’m excited to chat, John. Thanks for having me.

John Jantsch: Well, let’s just start with the, you know, if somebody met you at a cocktail party, what is Nextiva?

Yaniv Masjedi: So Nextiva, we started off as a cloud phone system years ago, 11 years ago, but our product and company has evolved more recently to where Nextiva has become more of a truly unified and integrated platform. So we bring together business phone service and a number of other ways to communicate all together so businesses can prospect, engage, and manage their customer relationships in one place.

John Jantsch: So when did you join the firm?

Yaniv Masjedi: Since day one.

John Jantsch: Since day one, okay.

Yaniv Masjedi: Yeah.

John Jantsch: So you were selling VoIP to people that didn’t know what that was.

Yaniv Masjedi: Exactly, in the early days we were essentially educating the market on moving away from traditional PBX, expensive, clunky, difficult phone systems to the cloud or VoIP back in 2008.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I remember actually having one of those closets with the thing and it, because I’ve had my business for 30 years, and it was kind of a mystery to me that I think the last one I gave three grand for, or something like that, that was this thing that made the phones work. And so when services like Nextiva came along, I mean, that was giantly disruptive and all of a sudden it was like we were getting this stuff for $300 instead of $3,000.

Yaniv Masjedi: Exactly. Yeah, when we started, the idea for Nextiva came from an experience we had at a previous company where we needed a phone system for ourselves and just the phone system for our team cost us $250,000, a company with 300 people back in 2006, and that was just for the phone system. If we wanted customer service, it was an extra $110,000 a year for annual support. And that’s when Thomas, our CEO, had the idea to essentially come up with Nextiva because if we had that problem, unquestionably other businesses did as well.

John Jantsch: Yeah, I wonder how many companies through the years have made that statement. “We couldn’t find what we wanted, so we just made it.” I mean, that’s… I can’t tell you how many times I hear that.

Yaniv Masjedi: Yeah. And it’s a special and probably one of the best ways to disrupt and create a creative business, right? When there’s a problem and nothing out there to really solve the gap.

John Jantsch: Are you able in hindsight to say, “Well, here’s how things have changed.” Or… And then also the flip side of that, what’s kind of remained the same? I mean you guys have grown so much that maybe you can’t even remember what it used to be like.

Yaniv Masjedi: Oh trust me, I remember. I remember. I mean we, Nextiva was an interesting… the founding of the company was quite interesting because Thomas had the idea, and then we got a tiny office with really like no room to walk, and we just put a desk in there and a few of us started to research the market. And pretty quickly we just, you know, day by day. Great things, it takes time and work. Obviously we’ve come a long way in 11 years, but a lot of work and no shortcuts. It’s just daily work. But yeah, I definitely remember the first, the early days.

John Jantsch: Well, so what of that have you retained? I mean, I think a lot of times people lose that closeness of, “Hey, we’re changing the world. We’re starting something that doesn’t exist.” And to, “Did we hit our number this quarter?” So what have you been able to retain, you think, from that kind of original, “Here’s what we’re trying to do.”?

Yaniv Masjedi: I hope that we’ve been able to retain the good things and we’ve removed the not so good things. So at its core I would say I think one thing that’s really special is most of the people that were in the room, or with Nextiva in the early days, are still working nonstop every day at Nextiva. So being together and obviously the company’s grown a lot, but the principles and just the passion and values around growing a business the right way where there really, truly is no exit strategy and we’re in it for the long run and focusing on our customers and our employee experience. Those two things, I would say the customer experience and the employee experience, I would say we’ve only strengthened since the start and it’s been so super key to us.

John Jantsch: So I think you told me early on there was a decision not to take venture capital and maybe that just was because you never felt the need to, but you want to kind of riff a little bit on whether or not that, you know, what that meant to the company, how that changed your path?

Yaniv Masjedi: Yeah. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with necessarily taking venture capital or funding, but when Nextiva started early on, we felt like there was no need to necessarily do that. We can grow and scale a business quite effectively in a self funded manner where essentially our customer revenue and our growth funds the future of the business. And that’s been the approach that we’ve taken thus far and it served us quite well. But I think it’s also a blessing, right? Because when there’s not an abundance of money, you’re forced to make the tough decisions, but also be very cautious and careful around where you put your focus, where you put your money, where you put your energy.

John Jantsch: Are you able to think about a time, a moment when maybe you collectively, you all kind of said, “You know what? I think this is going to work.” Or was it just kind of like, “Hey, let’s put in the work.” And year after year you just felt like you kept growing and evolving?

Yaniv Masjedi: You know, I think we realized the problem pretty early on that there was… we were on to something, and that was because we had the same problem as well, and we were using the service for ourselves, and we realized it’s great and it could be better and other businesses just need to know about us. And once they know about us, it’s almost like a no brainer. But there were some interesting moments definitely in the early days where we also thought there was going to be a bright future in residential phone service, so Nextiva was selling business phone service and we had a small kind of division that was selling residential, and we learned pretty quickly that the future and there is a ton of opportunity on the business side of things, but home phones are not a place to focus.

John Jantsch: Probably just as much work to get one into a home.

Yaniv Masjedi: If not more.

John Jantsch: Is that right? Yeah. Yeah.

Yaniv Masjedi: Yeah, no the residential market, you’re spot on. Acquiring a customer on the business side was sometimes often less expensive and easier than the residential side. And the customer experience, just delivering an excellent customer experience was far more challenging on the residential side.

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John Jantsch: Putting your marketing hat on, if somebody was new to your marketing department and said, “Okay, what problem are we solving here?” How would you answer that?

Yaniv Masjedi: Traditionally with Nextiva it’s been around the business phone service, so I’ll answer it in two parts. When we’re looking at kind of the legacy kind of business phone service side, the ways of communicating of have evolved, yet the traditional PBX, that PBX that you once bought or have bought multiple of, they’re difficult to use, difficult to manage, expensive. Calling the local phone company for help was going to take two weeks for them to visit you onsite between the hours of 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and they’ll give you a… they’ll ring the doorbell once and if you don’t answer they’ll leave. It was just very difficult to really use, and again, expensive. But also when we look at Nextiva kind of where we are today and where we’re headed, the complexity of customer relationships are growing, and the pressure to get them right are increasing, and it’s become really difficult for businesses to manage their customer relationships. So we’ve, in the age of Amazon and Uber where customer expectations are higher, we’re trying to bring the integrated and effortless customer experience to businesses of all sizes.

John Jantsch: As a growth strategy, there’s a couple of ways to grow, get more customers or do more with your existing customers. And I’m sure there’s a real temptation once you had the phone or once you had the customer contact point, is there a lot of… is there a lot of pressure to say, “Well, look at all these other things we could do for them.” And how do you kind of balance that and with staying true to kind of your core offering?

Yaniv Masjedi: Yeah, so first and foremost I think marketing is only successful if there’s growth happening. Like you said growth can happen multiple ways either acquiring new customers or keeping and growing your existing customer base. In our case we’ve been immensely focused on both ends, but I would say not as much oriented around the traditional like upsell methodology and much more around, “How do we continuously add value and keep the customers happy with Nextiva?” Because the number of options and the simplicity [inaudible] has in some cases become easier than it has in the past. So we know that we just can’t take our customers for granted and need to provide value always.

John Jantsch: Where do you fall as trying to offer this unified approach? Because I’ve worked with other software companies and so they take CRM, and email, and shopping cart, and SMS, and these kind of like, “Yeah, let’s connect it all together.” And then you end up not having best of class maybe of any of those, if that makes sense.

Yaniv Masjedi: Right.

John Jantsch: Where do you fall in terms of where we stop? Because you, I mean, you could start doing SEO for your customers frankly, you know? So where as a platform do you feel like communication ends with kind of you developing more offerings?

Yaniv Masjedi: Yeah, so you bring up a great point because it seemingly could never end, and we’re not trying to be an expert in practically every single type of, kind of channel. But there are a number of core ones that we want to bring together and simplify. So whether it’s on the phone side, which I believe we’ve quite become quite excellent at. But aside from the phone, CRM, chat, and really bringing that together with like survey, and analytics, and SMS, we view… business communication is changing quite rapidly and we know we can’t be a master of all, but we want to make it as easy and effective as possible for businesses, because the reality is most businesses are just using a spreadsheet or pen and paper in many cases because most of the technology that’s out there is just too difficult or expensive.

John Jantsch: Yeah. And probably one of the biggest challenges for a lot of businesses is that the consumer wants to communicate in whatever’s convenient to them at the time in the certain… for certain things, we want to handle them with SMS, for certain things we want to talk to somebody live, and I think as businesses, the real challenge is we have to be nimble in all of those.

Yaniv Masjedi: Yeah. And the pressure to get it right is increasing, right? Customers want to communicate the way that they want to communicate with you, and businesses, I would say for the most part, have been struggling to keep up, but Nextiva is really focused on simplifying that.

John Jantsch: So Yaniv, what does your team, your marketing team look like today in terms of division of labor, how many people, how do you structure your marketing team?

Yaniv Masjedi: Yeah, so the organization is about 50 people today and it’s organized by really route to market. So we have a number of ways that we go to market and we, so we have an inside sales leader on the sales side and then an inside sales marketing leader. We have a partner marketing division, so a partner marketing leader on the sales side that kind of works interlocked with a partner marketing leader on the marketing side. And the same goes with enterprise and all our other channels. So we essentially route… we structure our team by route to market and then the rest of the marketing team, whether it’s content, design, video, everyone kind of serves as an agency supporting our sales organizations and our leaders. Because kind of really one of the things I’ve been super passionate about is, since day one, marketing is only successful if there’s sales. If we’re not marketing and driving growth, almost every other activity, not to say it’s worthless, it’s just probably not where I want to see us focus.

John Jantsch: One of the things that… I’ve interviewed so many business owners, folks in your seat, and hiring… when you grow, particularly if you grow rapidly, hiring and managing talent has seemingly turned into the biggest challenge most companies have, particularly if they’re trying to retain kind of the culture of what they stand for. Do you have a particularly useful nugget to share with us today about how Nextiva finds talent, hires talent, retains talent, and kind of keeps that culture where people want to work there?

Yaniv Masjedi: Many, but I’ll share one that has been instrumental for me, and I think Nextiva as a whole, is I look for three things in every marketer and it hasn’t failed. The first is looking for… you want to work with someone that’s absolutely passionate about their area of marketing. So if we’re talking about video production, this person, the candidate, needs to be absolutely obsessed with video and video production and has a kind of burning and a strong desire to always learn and be great in their area, their subject.

Yaniv Masjedi: Second is working with people that really just have an attitude of moving forward, work is never done. There needs to be a healthy balance between our life outside of the workplace and in the workplace. But you want to do as much as possible, and push ahead, and accept the fact that, and embrace the fact that work can always be better, and there’s always room to improve because that’s contagious. And third is being around people that are just really good people, have values that align with you or the company, and take care of themselves, respect others, respect themselves. Because when you have those three things, I’ve just found it to be super powerful and allows us to grow fast.

John Jantsch: Do you mind sharing maybe a little bit of your hiring process then? Because while those, I don’t think anybody would disagree with those three points you just made, sometimes figuring out if somebody is a good person, figuring out if they have that move forward attitude, I mean, how do you get that in the traditional kind of hiring environment?

Yaniv Masjedi: Yeah, most of my questions tend to be focused around going a few layers deeper, so if, let’s just use a common question like, “How do you keep up to date with marketing?” That’s a very common question that I think people will ask in an interview, “How do you keep up with marketing?” And then the common answer is, for example, “I listen to the Duct Tape Marketing podcast.” And if someone says that-

John Jantsch: That’s probably a universal answer, I’m sure.

Yaniv Masjedi: Exactly, so then from there you would want to ask just a few layers deeper, like which episodes, and why, and what sticks with them, and really trying to go, like peeling an onion, getting a few layers deeper to really understand the person, and kind of how they learn, and why are they so passionate about their area of business, or just having a conversation about them as an individual and not as much about the work itself to really understand them, and their values, and what they are, what they’re like outside of work.

John Jantsch: Tell me a little bit about if, and again, this may or may not fit into the culture, but I know one of the things that sometimes is a challenge for companies, even if they very much want to embrace this, but in today’s workplace hiring for diversity, is that… do you find that that’s a challenge, or do you find that that’s something that’s just really very natural for Nextiva?

Yaniv Masjedi: I would say we’ve been, it’s been something that we’ve been mindful of. I would say more and more when we first started in 2008 I think the early days it was just, “Let’s move fast and do what makes sense.” But I think diversity of thought, and just experiences, and being more mindful of that has been something that we’ve definitely practiced and focused on a lot more because as the team grows and the company has expanded the way it has, it’s just something that it’s foolish to neglect.

John Jantsch: Yeah. Well, and I think there’s many, many companies that have realized the longterm benefits, just like you said, of getting new ideas, getting people to feel they’re welcome and safe in any kind of environment I think just benefits everybody.

Yaniv Masjedi: Exactly.

John Jantsch: So I listened to a video that I stumbled on of you being interviewed and I found one element that was really interesting because I don’t know that I hear enough people saying this, but you were talking about focus of individuals, getting them to focus on what’s important to them. And you talked about this idea of identifying one metric, kind of almost like everybody in their job, the company was like top line revenue maybe or profit, but that everybody in their position, whatever their position was, could identify a metric that would kind of say, “Yeah, I’m moving forward in my job.” You want to talk about that? And I’m assuming maybe it’s almost something that you do formally.

Yaniv Masjedi: Yeah. Yeah, because, and I think probably people listening to this, we all kind of struggle with the kind of, like the game of whack-a-mole, right? There’s so much to take on, there’s so much opportunity, a lot of noise. Where do you… What really moves the needle? And for us, as a marketing organization, we try, really for quite some time we’ve tried to identify what is the… what is that most important metric that’s key to us as a business, as a unit? And then each person on the team has their defined kind of metric that in some way leads to impacting that top number that we pretty much obsess over every day.

Yaniv Masjedi: And by being organized like that, I think it helps us as an organization, staying focused and making the right decisions, but also it brings a level of accountability and just, I would say energy, because there’s visibility and our work is always tied back to a number. And it’s not to say become insanely obsessed over metrics to the point where there’s like… you know, data is important, but also I think just one number really simplifies it. And sometimes it’s really tough to choose one number. So in certain cases we, one number for a certain, like let’s say one month, and then for someone, that number may change the following month.

John Jantsch: Yeah. I think one of the important things about it is a lot of times, once somebody is, maybe a couple layers deeper in a department or something like that, or a part of the company, sometimes it’s harder for them to feel like I’m making a difference in the number that everybody seems to care about. And I think it’s like playing a game without rules, there’s no way to win.

Yaniv Masjedi: Right.

John Jantsch: And so I really love that idea because I think somebody whose job it is to grow the newsletter list, knows that that metric is an important metric, it’s hyper important for them. But it then gets translated up to the importance in the big number, and I think they feel like, “Yeah, I did my part.”

Yaniv Masjedi: Exactly. And it’s… And there’s also clarity, right? Because the people around that person responsible for the email newsletter lists, like everyone knows what he or she is focused on and what’s most important. So it just brings a level of visibility and transparency in the organization that I think is super valuable too.

John Jantsch: Yaniv, I really appreciate you stopping by and sharing your thoughts on Nextiva. Do you want to tell people where they can find more about your work and obviously take a look at the product there at Nextiva?

Yaniv Masjedi: Yeah. So nextiva.com, I really enjoyed talking to you, John. Been a fan of yours since Nextiva started, so glad we were able to finally connect and have a chat.

John Jantsch: Yeah, this is great. All right.

Yaniv Masjedi: Thank you.

John Jantsch: Hopefully we’ll run into you next time I’m down there in Scottsdale.

Yaniv Masjedi: Hope so.

Transcript of What Brands Need to Think, Do, and Say to Stand Out

Transcript of What Brands Need to Think, Do, and Say to Stand Out written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by SEMrush. It is our go-to SEO tool for doing audits, for tracking position and ranking, for really getting ideas on how to get more organic traffic for our clients, competitive intelligence, backlinks and things like that, all the important SEO tools that you need for paid traffic, social media, PR and of course SEO. Check it out at semrush.com/partner/ducttapemarketing. And we’ll have that in the show notes.

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Ron Tite. He is the Founder and CEO of an agency called Church+State. He’s also the host and the executive producer of a very short-run podcast called The Coup and the author of Think Do and Say, a book we’re going to talk about today, how to seize attention and build trust in a busy, busy world. So welcome Ron.

Ron Tite:  John, thank you for having me.

John Jantsch: So we’re recording this in mid November, depending upon when people listen to this. This may or may not make sense, but I think that I’m going to close my office on Black Friday. Are you with me?

Ron Tite: Yes, I think you should.

John Jantsch: So, you tell a story about, and I’m a huge fan of this, of REI and I’m a huge fan of what they did with this. And so why don’t you, because I think that, well, you gave this story so much space very early in the book. So I’m going to at least assume that, to you, it sort of frames kind of the entire book in a lot of ways or at least the point of the entire book. So, you want to kind of unpack the REI Black Friday story and kind of contextualize it for Think Do Say?

Ron Tite: Yeah, it is such a great example of the model and it’s a great example of the model delivered in that first launch spot in 30 seconds where you get to know everything about the organization within 30 seconds. And so the model of Think Do Say is that the ‘think’ side is that… Well, sorry, I’ll back up. Given the world that we’re living in, people don’t know who to trust. They don’t know where to look and they don’t know who to trust. So with that, and that’s at all levels of the organization, that’s consumers, that’s B2B clients, they don’t know where to look, they don’t know who to trust. So how do you respond to that and how do you bubble up to the surface where you can win attention, sees attention and build trust along the way for having a business with longevity?

Ron Tite: Well, I thought REI did such a great job of that in that on the ‘think’ side, what do they think? Well, they believe in something that goes beyond what they sell. Because what they sell is outdoor equipment, hiking boots and tents and stuff like that. And other people sell that stuff. It’s not like they can claim to have the best sleeping bags, the best hiking boots. Other people sell that stuff. So they have to believe in something that goes beyond that. And the original CEO of this initiative says this line, “We believe that a life lived outside is a life well lived.” So they believe in something that goes beyond what they sell. Secondly, he doesn’t just believe it, but he actually acts with intent. He takes decisions that reinforces that belief specifically.

Ron Tite: So one of the things that REI did was they closed their store and all eCommerce channels on Black Friday. So we believe this, this is how we behave to support that belief. And then the third part is if we believe in something more important and we behave in a way that reinforces that belief, that’s not only worth talking about, it’s something that people want to hear about. But so if we are going to talk about it, then we should talk about it in a really authentic way. And they do that. They talk about it in their own unique voice. And so that initiative of #optoutside started in 2015 but it still exists today. They will be closing this Black Friday. And it has grown. They’ve increased other partners. But I think it’s such a great illustration of this is what we believe, this is what we do to reinforce the belief and this is how we talk about it.

John Jantsch: And I think it’s even maybe a little deeper, because it’s what their clients believe. It’s what their customers believe too. I think.

Ron Tite: Yes. And what’s really interesting about that is that, I mean, we can say it’s their customers. I think what’s important about it, it’s who conceivably would be their customers. Because if you just say what you believe, what your customers believe, then well, that’s a little opportunistic, right? That you’re aligning your beliefs with the people who give you money opposed to saying we’re going to align with people who share our values and our belief. We know that enough of those people will convert to being customers. And those that don’t, that’s totally cool because that’s not where our alignment is. But I think there has to be a confidence that when you align on values and beliefs, enough of those people will convert to being customers and clients.

John Jantsch: Over the last couple of years, and I know you do a lot of work in retail, but over the last couple of years, REI is really transitioning their business. they still sell the clothes and the tents, but they seem to be moving just kind of headlong into travel and experiences. And would you see that, and maybe you’re not aware of that, but would you see that as a transition of retail for them or do you see that as an expansion of where they think the world’s going?

Ron Tite: I think that what it is, is it gives them the opportunity to diversify their portfolio in a way that still reinforces their brand belief. So if you’re General Motors and all you do is sell cars and your brand belief is that you should make the best car in the world, that’s amazing when people are buying cars. But with ride sharing and autonomous vehicles, well, now what do you do? Your product-focused brand belief is useless and doesn’t protect you from the dynamic forces of the economy or from cultural interests.

Ron Tite: So when REI were saying, “We believe in a life lived outside is a life well lived,” that immediately set themselves up to broaden their horizons, diversify their portfolio because the new services of travel and they’re also doing classes of teaching people how to canoe, that still reinforces their belief. So yeah, I think, I mean in culture a great example is Lady Gaga who doesn’t believe in being the best singer in the world. Because if she did, she’d never be an actress. But she believes that people should be free to express themselves. And she lives that through acting, through music, through choreography, through visual arts, and now through a fashion line.

John Jantsch: So one of the threads that runs through your book, and quite frankly a lot of books over the last couple of years, is this idea of, tell people what you believe. Do we have to state what we believe in order to connect today? I mean, is that just we just have to get over it and do it?

Ron Tite: No, I think that what’s getting confusing is that brands and leaders representing those brands are thinking that we have to align corporate purpose with social issue. And that’s just wrong. Now in some cases-

John Jantsch: That sort of leads people to doing stuff that sounds good, doesn’t it?

Ron Tite: It really does. And they go, “Well, what is everybody talking about?” “Oh, they’re talking about the environment.” “Okay, yeah, yeah, we believe that too.” Which is fine if it’s strategically aligned with what you sell because what you sell is your do. So if you’re Nike and you say that everybody’s an athlete and your purpose is to support those athletes in their pursuits, you’re morally obligated to run that Colin Kaepernick ad. But if you’re Pepsi and you say that the world should come together in unity and you hire Kendall Jenner to be a spokesperson, you’d be like, “What does that have to do with pop? There’s nothing strategically aligned there.” If you’re Audi and you say that the world should… we should experience gender equality in the workforce, that’s not why you may need cars. I mean, come on. It’s not that those issues aren’t important.

Ron Tite: But I don’t think so. I think if you do a good enough job like REI to say, we believe in this thing, which is strategically aligned with what we sell but is elevated, then I don’t think you have to say that whether you’re a Trump supporter or not or whether you support Title IX, whatever, all those things, all those public policy things, which can be divisive. So no, I don’t think they have to.

John Jantsch: I was in New York recently and I was speaking at an event that was right in Times Square. I stayed in Times Square. I hate Times Square by the way. But you actually have a quite lengthy explanation of, or kind of using Times Square as sort of a metaphor for our times today in the marketing world. So you want to kind of unpack that.

Ron Tite: Yeah. I think I agree with you that if I’m in New York and I have to stay in Times Square, something has gone wrong, but I certainly have done it. There’s two sides to Times Square that I think represent the modern marketing landscape. The first side is up top and up top there’s nothing but promotion and it’s really expensive to be there. And it is filled with legacy brands who have big budgets, who can afford the billboards and the video boards and they’re really slick and they’re polished. Of course, they’re really slick and polished. They had to spend all that money to buy their space. Of course, they’re going to make it absolutely perfect.

Ron Tite: And so it’s filled with opportunity. 400,000 people walk through Times Square or drive through Times Square every single day. It’s really expensive and everybody wants to be there. But to the consumer, to the person that that entire ecosystem has been built for, they have no idea where to look. They have no clue where to look. Nothing catches their attention because everything is screaming. And so all those brands up top are paying a lot of money to just contribute to the noise. Now, that’s one on level.

Ron Tite: The second level is down street level. At street level, that’s a whole other type of entrepreneur. That entrepreneur, they don’t have the funds to live up top, but they can be more nimble, and they can be more authentic, and they can be more aggressive, and they can be more targeted, and they don’t have the baggage of those big legacy brands, but they also don’t have the credibility of those big legacy brands. And often they have new business models. You’re not exactly sure who’s making money, what, where, right?

John Jantsch: Yeah, those guys handing out like the tour pamphlets, I’m always leery of them.

Ron Tite: Yes. Yes, so you’ve got the pamphlet guys, you’ve got somebody else selling you a fake Gucci, you’ve got somebody telling you the end of the world is coming. You have someone selling street meat, you’ve got someone selling watches. And the street meat guy, that may be the best sausage or hot dog you’ve ever had in your life, but he’s stuck down on this entrepreneurial level with all these nimble folks where you’re not exactly sure who’s valid and who’s not.

Ron Tite: So up top you don’t know where to look, down below, you don’t know who to trust. And so in the middle of marketing is the sweet spot that can we bring with us and dial up legacy aspects of credibility, responsibility and history with the nimbleness and the authenticity that a customized and personalized delivery can bring us. That to me is the sweet spot where most brands and most leaders need to live.

John Jantsch: Okay. It sounds exhausting. We’ll get back to that. There is a term that you use throughout this book and you kind of said that you didn’t make it up and you weren’t sure who did. So I coined the term pitch slap just so you know.

Ron Tite: It was you!

John Jantsch: It was me. So what the heck is that?

Ron Tite: A pitch slap is any overt or subtle pitching of your product when the sole focus of a piece of communication or a series of communications is to actually pitch your product or your service. And often we can smell this coming. It’s the person who connects with you on LinkedIn who says, “Oh John, you’re such a brilliant person. I’ve been following you for years. I read all your books. It must be so enlightening to just breathe the same air as you.” And in your brain you’re going, “I know where this is going. You’re blowing smoke up my ass because you just want to pitch me your thing.” Right? And so opposed to, “Look, John, I’m going to connect with you and I’m going to add value over time until it gets to the point when you like what you hear and you ask me how you can hire me.” Those are two very different things.

Ron Tite: Now, I think a pitch slapping is the result of people gaming the system because the promise of digital communications was that we’d be able to put the right products and the right services in front of the right people at the right time by being able to produce communications never before, cheaper than we’ve ever been able to do it and distribute that in ways to people all over the globe. And what we’ve done or what a lot of people have done is they’ve tried to game the system by going, “Screw it! I’m not going to customize this. I’m just going to blast a million different people and I’m going to pitch slap everybody. And I don’t care about the innocent bystanders who are offended or who get frustrated or who hate me for doing it, because two people are going to convert and that’s fine for me.” And I think that’s the problem with modern marketing communications. This was supposed to be the promised land and instead it’s a wasteland.

John Jantsch: So, correct me if I’m wrong, but you do some standup don’t you or have?

Ron Tite: Well, yeah, I spent 20 years as a standup and then hosted a comedy show up until the point that my wife and I had our first child just close to two ago. But it’s weird. It’s speaking… There’s this diversion of standup when I do about 70 keynotes a year. So kind of.

John Jantsch: And obviously it comes through in your writing as well. In fact, I didn’t realize what a literary researcher that you were and you turned up some new quotes from Confucius and John Rockefeller that I really was not familiar with. So listeners, you’re going to have to get the book to enjoy those. But let me ask you to share, since we’re kind of picking on the people’s use of some of the digital tactics, you spent a lot of time talking about LinkedIn in general, so you want to go through some of the various characters that we might mean on LinkedIn.

Ron Tite: Oh, I would absolutely love to.

John Jantsch: Like the gopher for example.

Ron Tite: Yeah. Yeah. Well, there’s a… I’m going to call them up here because I want to make sure that I do them justice. So the groper. Yes. The groper is the person who right out of the gate, it’s like they’re all over you, right? They’re all over you with that invite to connect [crosstalk 00:16:03]-

John Jantsch: Yeah, I was going to say, I actually get some invitations that they don’t even wait for me to accept. It’s like in the invitation they’re pitching me.

Ron Tite: Yeah. Yeah. They’re saying like, “Are you available for call next day between 12:00 and 14:00?” And you’re like, what? I mean that is just so aggressive and I don’t know who is teaching this.

John Jantsch: My favorite or actually least favorite is the ones that always have in there somewhere, “I’d like to learn about your business.” I’m like, “If you don’t know everything about my business that has been on for 20 years online, then you’re not trying very hard.”

Ron Tite: Yeah. What I love about that is, what I call in the book the Howdy Partner, right? Which is the, “Not only do I want to know about your business, but let’s partner John. I mean I’m a real estate agent and I can send clients your way and you can send clients…” Like, “What? I don’t partner with well-established organizations because there’s not a fit. You think I’m going to partner with some random person. That’s ridiculous.”

John Jantsch: Unless there’s synergies.

Ron Tite: No, no. The other one that I think is really funny is what I call the Stumble Upon because I don’t know if you get this a lot, but it just seems like every third invite is people going, like, “I stumbled upon your profile and thought that we should connect. And like, “Really, you just stumbled upon my profile,” and it’s like, “I think I want to connect to people who are a little bit more targeted in their browsing. Go home and StumbleUpon you’re drunk or you’re supposed to be on [inaudible 00:17:36].”

John Jantsch: I used to love to StumbleUpon then. I don’t know if you remember that app.

Ron Tite: Yeah.

John Jantsch: It was in the early days of the internet. You’d basically say, “Show me your website.” But things have changed.

Ron Tite: You know what though, I think we’re in need of [inaudible 00:17:52]. Don’t you think StumbleUpon should make a return, but it should be StumbleUpon for TV shows, right? StumbleUpon, here’s a Netflix show that you never thought… We need that curated experience.

John Jantsch: Yeah. Well, that’s a good point. I actually got a pitch from somebody who’s creating an app for podcasts that that’s kind of the idea where they’re going to, based on your interests, curate a whole bunch of stuff and then just give you like one minute snips so that you can decide. I thought that was clever.

Ron Tite: I was chatting with our friend Jay Baer last week and we were discussing this thing of like, “Oh yeah, jeez and me, where do you go for stuff because there’s so many shows and so many good things?” And I said to Jay, “I think we need to start a magazine called TV Guide.” Like, we could just find out what the heck is on all the different streaming services.

John Jantsch: Yeah. It’s amazing, I’ll go out to dinner with somebody and they’ll say, “Oh yeah, we just started watching this show,” and it’s like, “I never even heard of it [crosstalk 00:18:57].” All right. So we got knocked off course here a little bit, but I really wanted to come back with the money question. What should we be doing that we’re not doing today?

Ron Tite: What we should be doing is I don’t think we’re putting enough emphasis on the foundations, especially on the two ends of the spectrum. So really, really large organizations where kind of the bureaucracy has come in and said like, “Let’s just check a box. Let’s just check a box and say that we did the thing and see if we can pursue those metrics even though it has no foundation to growing our business whatsoever.”

Ron Tite: The second thing is that, within entrepreneurial mindset, where people are like, “I want to get to the thing that allows me to beat my chest and say I’ve got the thing.” And often that means we’re chasing these vanity metrics and we need to play the long game. We just need to play the long game. And this is not rocket science. If we believe in something more important that allows us to diversify our portfolio and be nimble and pivot and all those things. And then we actually focus on what do we actually do to reinforce it. And that can be products, but that can also be based on who we do it for and what they want us to do. What problems can we solve for people and how do we acknowledge who we do it with?

Ron Tite: And then the third part, I’m like, “Look, let’s just talk about it in an authentic way. Let’s have real conversation with real people.” There’s nothing that’s brilliant about that. There really isn’t. But it takes a commitment and it takes focus on business foundations and slowly over time you will build the business. You will build your profile.

John Jantsch: It’s in the subtitle, but we haven’t really talked enough about it. I mean, I think the real game that we’re all involved in, maybe always have been, but it’s gotten harder and messier, is trust, isn’t it?

Ron Tite: It most certainly is. And as marketers, marketers have spent a lot of time, and I’m just as guilty by the way, of saying, “How do we cut through the noise? How do we cut through the noise? How do we get people’s attention?” It’s a goldfish universe above all those things and it’s like, look, if you just want to gain attention, kill a puppy. Just kill a puppy. You’ll get attention. People will talk about you. But if you want to grab attention and build trust so that that new business cost, that acquisition cost decreases over time, then that is about trust. And trust is based on actually delivering. And it’s actually delivering in a way that people in one way expect because it aligns with your beliefs and another way don’t expect because it goes well beyond what they’re used to getting from brands.

Ron Tite: And when you can do that, I think you know what, you’ll be good. You will continue to grow the business. If you’re a thought leader, you will continue to grow your influence. Now, are you going to get that massive spike in traffic? Maybe not, but incrementally you will continue to grow over time and where it should be the long game or in Simon Sinek’s new word, The Infinite Game, that we really should be focused on.

John Jantsch: Amen to that. So Ron, where can people find more about Think Do Say and some of the other work you’re doing there at Church+State?

Ron Tite: They can go to the Church+State website, churchstate.co. They can go to thinkdosay.com or rontite.com because I’m an equal opportunity URL giver.

John Jantsch: I’m assuming you’re in Toronto today?

Ron Tite: I’m in Toronto. I’m on my way to New Jersey and then to Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati and then Arizona. No, back to Toronto and then Arizona.

John Jantsch: But the book is available in both Canada and the United States. Isn’t that an amazing world we live in?

Ron Tite: It’s part of the North American Free Trade Agreement or whatever we’re calling it now.

John Jantsch:  It’s certainly not that, I’m sure. Ron, great catching up with you. Hopefully we’ll run into you soon out there on the road.

Ron Tite: That was good, John. Thanks so much and thanks everybody for listening. Really appreciate it.

Transcript of How to Attract and Hire the Best Talent

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

John Jantsch: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Dr. Sabrina Starling. She’s the author of How to Hire the Best, and the CEO of Tap the Potential. She also goes by the moniker of the business psychologist, so that’s probably my first psychologist on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. Sabrina, welcome.

SSabrina Starling: Thank you, John. I’m honored to be the first psychologist on the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. There’s so much commonality with marketing and psychology.

John Jantsch: There’s no question there. But we have to answer the burning question that I am sure you’ve been asked many times: what is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?

Sabrina Starling: Well, the simple answer to that used to be that psychologists don’t prescribe. The basic difference is that psychiatrists go through medical school, years and years of medical training, and then they specialize in psychiatry at the end of medical school. Psychologists go through graduate school and don’t go to medical school. The majority of our training is focused on understanding people, and how people function in the world.

John Jantsch: Well, certainly small business owners could probably use a dose of that. I know over the years working with thousands of business owners, I’ve have at times felt like I was providing … certainly wouldn’t call it psychology, but I would provide some sort of talking them off the ledge, or …

Sabrina Starling: Yes. Yeah. I always say that people are so complex that I decided I needed to get a PhD in psychology just so I could understand people. As small business owners, we need to understand people because that’s how we grow our businesses. People are the heart of these businesses.

John Jantsch: Well, I have talked to many, many entrepreneurs and I will say that … I’ll bet universally, I know a lot of people say, “Well, gosh. Marketing’s hard.” But I bet you universally there would be agreement on hiring and managing people is probably the hardest part of growing a business. Because most entrepreneurs, it’s just not their strength.

Sabrina Starling: No, it’s not. I think what’s interesting is once we’ve cracked marketing and we figured that out, then we need to know people. Because we have to add team to scale with all the new business that we’re bringing in because we’ve learned marketing.

John Jantsch: I sometimes find that people learn from the negative side before they’re ready to embrace the positive side. I think a lot of the hiring that people do, and where they’ve had it not out, is because they were hired a certain way and they’ve seen other people do it. They’re just kind of copying what they’ve seen done and what they think is supposed to be done. How are business owners getting it wrong in the hiring process in general?

Sabrina Starling: Yeah. Well, I mean, that’s just exactly it. We don’t really know what we’re supposed to be doing. We just kind of copy what has been done to us in the past and what we’ve experienced. The typical hiring practice, if we follow that, that sets us up to mis-hire about 75% of the time. What I mean by the typical hiring practice is we get really busy and we decide, “You know what? We could use some help around here. Let me write up a really quick job ad, and put it out there everywhere, and see which applicants come in. I’ll pick from the best of that group, and then I’ll invite some of those in for an interview. Then out of those that I interview, I’ll pick the best person.”

Sabrina Starling: Well, the reason that causes us to mis-hire is because that is out of alignment with A-player behavior. A-players are not on job boards reading job ads. They’re not sitting at home in their jammies doing that. They’re employed elsewhere right now, they’re probably very busy in their other job that they have elsewhere, and they move from one opportunity to the next. We have to use all of our good marketing skills to figure out how do we get in front of the right A-players for our business, and then attract them to want to work with us.

John Jantsch: Okay. Obviously now I need to say, “Okay. What should we be doing?” You kind of set up the … I think you’re absolutely right. I mean, the people that we really are after are not looking for us. How do we kind of turn the tables then and attract that person?

Sabrina Starling: Yes. It’s about being very, very intentional and setting ourselves up to really differentiate ourselves as employers in the marketplace. Again, using everything we know from good marketing, we have to be different and we have to stand out. We need to know what it is that the A-players we want to attract would value about us, and what are we … and rather trying to create that and just … “I’m not doing this now, so I should go out there and do that.”

Sabrina Starling: Start with what are we doing well. We can ask our current team members, who are our better team members, what is it that you appreciate most about working here? What’s different and unique about this role versus any other jobs you’ve done in the past? That is going to start cluing us in to how we as employers stand out.

Sabrina Starling: What’s, I think, really surprising for a lot of small business owners is we don’t have to do grand things like have pool tables, and let our kids … our team members. I’ve just been talking about kids recently. We don’t want to have to our members playing pool for them to feel like, “Wow, this is a great place to work. I get to play pool on my lunch breaks.” It’s the simple things, like just being respectful, and having a respectful work environment, treating team members like family, giving them flexibility to take care of work life balance and family needs that they may have.

Sabrina Starling: We as small business owners kind of take that for granted. It’s just kind of how we do things and how we roll, and we don’t realize that that’s very different than corporate America. If we’re talking to somebody who’s had a corporate job, it could be a breath of fresh air for them to come to work in a small business.

John Jantsch: I think you’re absolutely right. A lot of the small businesses just do that because they think that’s the right way to do that … do things. That’s who they are. How do you actually communicate that in a way that then starts attracting? I mean, you can’t go out there and necessarily say, “Oh, we’re like family here.” I mean, to me that doesn’t play very well.

Sabrina Starling: Yeah. And it kind of can sound kind of empty. The best thing that we can do is getting our current team members to talk out there about us, and get the word on the street about the business going. With social media now, we have really simple tools at our disposal. First, we need to understand A-players hang together. If you have an A-player on your team … and by A-player, I mean someone who is highly motivated, who’s a get go-getter, who solves problems, and doesn’t just stop, and give up, and wait for you to tell them what to do.

Sabrina Starling: Those kinds of people know other A-players. John, look how you and I connected. You commented on Mike [inaudible 00:07:57]’s post, I commented back. I like to think I’m an A-player. I like to think you’re an A-player. I think Mike [inaudible] is an A-player. That’s how A-players work.

Sabrina Starling: Our team members are like that too. If we have some sort of … something they do that we’re really proud of, and we feature them in our social media and we say, “Joe really went out of his way for this customer this week, and look at what he did. I’m so proud of Joe,” and you tag Joe in that post. Well, Joe is going to want to share that post with all of his friends and family because he’s feeling really proud. Now all of a sudden, your business is getting in front of all of Joe’s A-players in his network.

Sabrina Starling: When you have an opening later on and you start sharing your job ad, and you ask Joe, “Would you mind sharing this with your network?” Well, now Joe’s network is like, “Oh, yeah. Joe has that boss who brags about him all the time. That’s very different than my boss who gripes at me all the time.”

John Jantsch: Yeah. And the beauty of that too is that’s … yes, that’s attractive to maybe a potential hire. But that’s also a really pretty attractive message to the market in general about what kind of company you are.

Sabrina Starling: Absolutely. That’s the beautiful thing is the things that we do to really position ourselves as a brand that our ideal clients and customers would gravitate towards. We just need to be a little bit more mindful of incorporating our best team members in that, and pulling them in whenever possible, and letting them take center stage in our marketing.

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. This allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages. There’s powerful segmentation email auto responders that are ready to go. Great reporting.

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 klaviyo.com/Beyond BF, Beyond Black Friday.

John Jantsch: So, your most recent edition of How to Hire is the contractors edition. I know for one that right now in that particular industry … and I’m sure there are others like that, but it seems to me like there’s such a shortage of people that want to do that kind of work. That are going to school to get into those trades. What’s a company … I mean, I guess on one hand what we’re saying is that it’s makes us even hyper important in that industry. But what do you do when it’s not simply a matter of hiring A-players? It’s: how do I get anybody that’s interested at all?

Sabrina Starling: Absolutely. We have to understand that in any population, about 10% of the population is going to be A-players. When you have a shrinking labor pool like the construction industry is dealing with … because for years, kids were encouraged to go to college instead of go into the trades if that was their inclination. Not only have we had a lot of people leave the construction industry when the recession happened, they never came back. Now we also are missing an entire generation of workers in that industry.

Sabrina Starling: It’s a very small labor pool, and we have to really get resourceful when it comes to filling open roles in our businesses. It is not about hiring skillset. It is much more important to hire for fit with our core values or our immutable laws. The A-player personality, that resourcefulness, as well as to excel day in and day out. Skillsets can be trained, and there may be entry level positions that we’re going to have to look at in our businesses and create apprentice programs.

Sabrina Starling: I know for a contractor looking at doing that, you’re working 90 hours a week to keep up with the demand as it is. You’re like, “What? This lady’s telling me to start an apprentice program? Who has time for this?” What I would really encourage you to consider doing is niching down. Get a very specific niche that you focus on, that you have the opportunity to be the best in the world at in that niche. Because the projects that you do will be very similar over time, it makes it much easier for you to train somebody … because they’re doing a lot of repetitive work, and that makes an apprentice program much more doable.

John Jantsch: Well, I actually have a client in Kansas City, Missouri that did just that. They were a pretty good size remodeling contractor. They actually partnered with a couple local schools, and are running six or eight apprentices through a semester, and a couple have turned into really great hires.

Sabrina Starling: Absolutely. I really think that’s going to be what a lot of contractors are looking at doing. In my book How to Hire the Best, I include sample job ads. One that I included this time around that I didn’t include in the previous edition of How to Hire the Best is a job ad that is positioned for hiring for growth. That would specifically target someone who has come out of a trade school program … even at, like, a six to eight week program, and now you’re bringing them in the business. Here’s what you expect them to be able to do right away, and here’s what you expect them to be able to grow into doing.

John Jantsch: I mean, one of the ways you get A-players is you take them from somebody else. I mean, let’s face it. That happens, right? How do you kind of skirt that potential sort of community scar?

Sabrina Starling: Oh, yeah. Here’s the thing. Poach is a bad word, so we don’t say poach, we say ‘attract.’ If we are going to become employers of choice and really be that leader that is respectful of our team members, that creates a good work environment, that’s going to be attractive. When you’re out on job sites, and you’re dealing with the other trades, and they see how you conduct business and how your team feels … and really thinking about what is the word on the street about your business?

Sabrina Starling: Like, when your team members are at a barbecue on Friday evening, are they the ones saying, “You won’t believe what my boss had me do this week. He had me work all this overtime, and then this happened, and then he yelled at me.” Is that going to be the word on the street? Or is it going to be that your team member says, “Oh my gosh, my boss is so nice. He told me thank you for doing this simple thing the other day. It was really no big deal, but he actually stopped told me thank you.” Is that going to be the word on the street? Because if that’s the positive interaction with team members is the word on the street, you are going to be in a much better position to attract great team members to your business.

Sabrina Starling: In the book, one of the resources that I share is a very simple method of having a business card, and it says on there, “I see you doing a good job. I want to acknowledge you for that.” On the other side of that business card is: if you’re ever looking for an opportunity, come talk to me. You can just hand that whenever you’re out in public, or you’re on a job site, and you see someone doing a good job. You’re just simply acknowledging them for doing good work. They’ll hang on to that.

John Jantsch: One of the things that happens amongst businesses when things get competitive is they start lowering prices. The flip side of that, I suppose, in hiring is at what point is sort of offering the highest salary play a role, or is that just like lowering your prices? Is that a bad practice?

Sabrina Starling: It’s a bad practice. I advise against it, and I think all small business owners everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief on that one. When we think about it, money only goes so far as a motivator. Once our base level needs are met … and depending on where you are in the country, it’s about $75,000 is the annual income that someone needs to just feel covered and taken care of. Once our base level needs are met, money quits being a motivator. What is motivating is how we are treated, how we feel a part of something, and having a larger purpose that we’re taking part in.

Sabrina Starling: That’s really what we want to be building in our businesses is the story of the business, and what is it that we do that has an impact, and the work we’re doing as a team member with us. How were you the hero in that story? And the piece about what to pay to attract great employees is you want to be above the 50th percentile. The Bureau of Labor statistics has this data on their website for pretty much any role that you can think of in a small business.

Sabrina Starling: You can see what the 50th percentile is, the 75th percentile, and the 90th percentile. I suggest … I like starting at the 65th percentile. And saying, “You start out here, and if you do really well and you hit these results with us, then at three months time we’re going to bump you up here, and that’s going to put you in about the 75th percentile of pay.” And then gradually bumping them up over about two years time, and showing them how if they deliver the results you’re looking for, you’ll have them at the 90th percentile.

Sabrina Starling: That in and of itself … if you put that on paper, that really differentiates you. Because most large organizations and small businesses will say, “We offer opportunities for advancement.” And it’s lip service. They don’t do anything to back it up. But if you document it, now you’re different. And if on the other side of that piece of paper you put team member comments about why they appreciate working for you, and their pictures, now you’re standing out again. If you really want to stand out, I recommend bright orange paper and scratch and sniff. When they leave the interview with you, they have this big, bright orange piece of paper. It shows their opportunities for advancement, how they’re going to get to the 90th percentile. Translate that into dollars for them so they really … don’t just say 90th percentile, because that means nothing to a candidate.

Sabrina Starling: Then on the back of that, they see team members who currently work for you. They look like they’re having fun, which that’s kind of different too. Maybe this maybe this is really an opportunity I want to pursue. That’s what it’s going to take to get an A-player who’s employed elsewhere, who may be is having a few bad days at work. Maybe I’ll stay because it’s always easier to stay where we are than make a move. We have to show them that making the move is really going to be something good for them. That is going to be enough to convince them. This is a real opportunity.

John Jantsch: Just like all things today, there’s so much information out there and transparency. You know who’s good and who’s bad. But what do you think about sites like Glassdoor? I know a lot of small businesses … they don’t have a lot of employees and like a lot of things in life, the employee that that was disgruntled for some reason leaves a terrible thing on glass door. Now I’ve got to deal with that. What do you think about … not necessarily what you think about the sites, because you know they are reality. It doesn’t matter what you think of it. But how should a small business address sites like that can maybe damage the story that’s real?

Sabrina Starling: It is really about doing the work on the front end, and showing up, and being authentic. By that, I mean if you’re having regular one-to-one conversations with your team members, then you’re going to ward off a lot of what would be put on Glassdoor as a negative review about you. If you are doing good things, team building activities, and dinners with your team, and pizza parties, and fun things … that is going to ward off a bad review. If you get a bad review and you have plenty of positive PR going on about the company, it actually can be … kind of like what they say to us, John, about book reviews. If somebody leaves that one bad review, it’s more authentic. Because now it doesn’t look like all your friends went on and left you a good review. It gives some context, and I think most team members that we would want in our have an understanding that not everybody is going to be a great fit for our businesses.

John Jantsch: I know you do a lot of coaching on businesses, so that they can get free of having to be there all the time. You talk about the four week vacation, things like that. What are the hardest roles to fill and the ones that … if you’re going to get that four weeks vacation you must?

Sabrina Starling: Yeah. Yeah. It is that it … the construction business project manager really seems to be a hard role to fill, or the person who will do the sales in the owner’s absence. Actually, the sales in the owner’s absence is not as hard to fill. It’s getting the owner to let go of doing the sales. That makes it harder. But project manager overall is a harder one to fill.

Sabrina Starling: The critical roles in the business that pertain to serving the top clients around the most profitable product or offering need to be filled. It’s not just a business owner themselves who needs to be able to take a four week vacation for that business to be healthy. But every single team member deserves the opportunity to be able to leave, and go on vacation, and not have their work pile up while we’re gone. If the work is piling up for a team member and they feel like, “I can’t leave. I have too much of a critical role here.” That is a sign that work needs to be spread out and there needs to be additional training for other team members, so that things can be handled in that team member’s absence.

John Jantsch: Great point. Sabrina, where can people find out more about you, and your work in How to Hire the Best?

Sabrina Starling: Thank you, John. My business is tapthepotential.com. If you want to get How to Hire the Best, you can go to tapthepotential.com/book. If you want to know how you’re doing with getting your business lined up to be a highly profitable, great place to work that lets you take a four week vacation, you can take our assessment at tapthepotential.com/assessment.

John Jantsch: Awesome. We’ll have a as always a those links in the show notes. Sabrina, it was great having a chat. Hopefully we’ll catch up with you soon out there on the road.

Sabrina Starling: Thank you, John.

Transcript of When and How to Sell Your Business

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John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by SEMrush. It is our go-to SEO tool for doing audits, for tracking position and ranking, for really getting ideas on how to get more organic traffic for our clients, competitive intelligence, backlinks and things like that, all the important SEO tools that you need for paid traffic, social media, PR and of course SEO. Check it out at semrush.com/partner/ducttapemarketing. And we’ll have that in the show notes.

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. And my guest today is Chad Peterson. He is the founder of Peterson Acquisitions and the author of Swinging Doors: A Guide to Selling Your Company. So, Chad, thanks for joining me.

Chad Peterson: Hey, thank you for having me, John.

John Jantsch: So, it’s not often I’ve speak to people… I interview people all over the world. My last guest was in Sydney, Australia. So, it’s kind of fun to interview somebody in Kansas City.

Chad Peterson: Yeah, we are local. We’re probably not 15 minutes away from one another but we’re broadcasting everywhere, and isn’t that phenomenal?

John Jantsch: It is pretty fun. So, let’s just get right to it. Should everybody who starts a company have the goal of selling it?

Chad Peterson: Absolutely. The problem is this. And I’ll be very concise with my answer. Absolutely, you should plan on selling it. Doesn’t mean you need to be working every day to make sure it’s sellable but you should have an exit strategy in mind because you’re not going to live there forever. There’s a chance you could but it’s a very small chance. It’s kind of like somebody buying a starter home. Are you really going to live in your starter home forever? Probably not. You’re probably going to move up. So, I think, yes, you’re going to move on. It happens all the time.

Chad Peterson: There are builders of businesses; and there are operators of businesses. I find that people that start businesses are more entrepreneurial; and I find that people that operate businesses are more managerial. And those that are looking to buy a business are more managerial, otherwise they would have started the business themselves to begin with.

John Jantsch: Great point. So, and you’ve probably seen, I know I have, people that toiled their whole life, maybe they paid for their house and they bought their food and stuff, but then they came to the end and it was just like, “Close the doors.” I mean, that’s pretty sad, isn’t it?

Chad Peterson: To me, it’s especially sad. I think it’s absolutely terrible if you’re not able to sell your business and walk away with a severance package, so to speak, as being self-employed. So yeah, it really puts a sour taste in my mouth whenever I see somebody’s business die on the vine and they just shut the doors. And really, I think most of the time, it’s because they had bad advice along the way because somebody could’ve stepped in and said, “Hey, this is how you do this,” and walked them to a strategy to get them out of their business with some compensation.

John Jantsch: So, I’m sure that most business owners think that their business is worth more than somebody will pay for it. How do you go about valuing a business? I mean, what are the just nuts and bolts in it?

Chad Peterson: Well, how you value a business, bottom line, is just the cash flow or what we call “seller’s discretionary earnings,” which is… Let’s just say there’s a river of money coming through the door of your business, and you stuck a net in that river. Whatever the owner can pull out of that river is seller’s discretionary earnings, and that comes in the way of salary or a pass-through earnings to the corporation, in distributions, your car, your car insurance, fuel, cell phone, meals, entertainment, 401(k), travel, things of that nature. Anything that your company does for you adds up to that seller’s discretionary earnings number. And we’re going to use that number to price it to make sure that it debt-services at the bank because there’s going to be a loan on it. And so, those numbers have to make sense from a banking perspective.

Chad Peterson: But more importantly, John, I would say whenever you want to go and sell your business, and I know you have a lot of business owners in your audience and many of them have probably built great businesses, but what I really try to drill into people is watch maybe less than the profitability of your company, watch the passion that you have for your business because when you start to lose passion is when it’s already over. The bell’s already been wrung and game’s over. It’s just you’re hanging around for no reason. So, when the passion’s gone, be quick to be ahead of that. So, if you think you might be losing passion for it, you probably already have. And a year from now is going to be more painful. And two years from now, it’ll be even more painful. And so, if your passion is waning, then it’s time to sell. Get out of your own way because without passion, there is no profit.

Chad Peterson: And if you wait too long, profits fade, the value of your business goes down. And so, that big payday, which is what you were talking about earlier, is whenever you just shut down the doors, is because the passion left the building three or four years ago. And now, your numbers are showing it. And now, nobody wants to buy it because the numbers aren’t there.

John Jantsch: How often do you find that businesses… It’s difficult to sell a business because the truth of the matter is the business is really the owner. I mean, that person’s relationships, their ability to sell. I mean, how big a problem is that when it comes time to sell?

Chad Peterson: You’re never going to hear [inaudible] answer [inaudible] another broker but I’ll tell you the answer. Anything above $120,000 in earnings, it doesn’t matter whether it’s owner-operated or not. And here’s the reason why. You can go get a job in corporate America, making 60, 70, $80,000 a year. You can’t, or you wouldn’t rather, go buy a business that’s only making $80,000 a year, and get a bank loan on that business to only go to work for yourself and make 80 grand a year and pay debt service on it.

Chad Peterson: The threshold that I see psychologically is $120,000. So, if you’re an owner-operator of your business and you’re making north of six figures, somebody will go buy that business. And what they’ll try to do is find the deficiencies in your business, thinking that they can, and most likely they can, build that business from there. In other words, if you’ve got a 12-rung ladder, if you’ve gotten it to the fourth or fifth rung, and you sell it, and let’s just say it’s [inaudible] 120 grand a year, you sell it, they’ll take it from there and they’ll try to make it to $250,000 a year. There are buyers out there like that. But if you’re an owner-operator and you’re making 80, $90,000 a year, it’s very hard to sell those types of companies.

John Jantsch: Sure, yeah. That makes sense. I’m sure a lot of people that you… business owners… I mean, is it just the balance sheet, the P&L, the tax returns? Or is there a way to get value out of, I don’t know, potential, or an asset like web traffic or something like that? Or is it really just come down to dollars and cents?

Chad Peterson: It really does come down to dollars and cents. The extenuating factor there would be if somebody’s really passionate about something and it brings them a lifestyle, then you can get more for it. The catch is always the bankability.

Chad Peterson: So, let’s just say, for instance, I’ve got a business that pays you $400,000 a year; you’ve got 23 employees; and you’re going to have to work it. And you’re going to own it but it’s going to own a piece of you too. Well, that’s worth X amount. But what if I said, “Hey, here’s $400,000 of income. Here’s a laptop. Here’s your login. And here’s your cell phone. And you can be in Australia or you can be a beach bum somewhere and you can run this business.” Well, that’s worth a different amount, right? So, those are both truths. I mean, they’re so far from one another, but really they’re bringing in the same value. But one has lifestyle potential and one doesn’t. Here’s the problem: The buck stops at the bank.

Chad Peterson: So, the bank is not going to put an exorbitant amount on lifestyle; they’re only going to put the amount that they will lend on the actual business, which sends us into a different stratosphere, “Well, we have to talk about, okay, if you want more for your business because it’s a lifestyle business, we have to find more of a cash buyer or somebody who has more money to put down on it.” Because a bank would say, “Well, okay, I see your value, but I’m only going to give 80% of that value.” Well, now we have to have a buyer that comes up with 20%, maybe even 30%, if the business is priced with a lifestyle component.

John Jantsch: Where do you see people who come to you and say, “I want to sell my business”? “I hear you’re a business broker.” I mean, where do you see that they… What are their challenges typically, when you… How do you have to get them in shape?

Chad Peterson: Well, are you talking about if they come to me and they’re just not really ready to sell yet? Like they’re not really ready for market [crosstalk 00:09:12]?

John Jantsch: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I’m sure a lot of people just think, “Oh, I just sell this thing. I’m done now.” I mean, and I’m sure you’ve learned that no, there’s some things you got to clean up. You’ve got to show, what, better cash flow, whatever it is.

Chad Peterson: Yeah. The biggest thing really… I’m going to go back to that passion subject because the main thing is that they wait too damn long to call me. And by the time they call me, they are so exhausted. They think it’s like a lemonade stand. “Oh hey, Chad, I’m ready to sell. Go ahead and get rid of it.” Okay, well that’s not how it works. You have to come to me; I have to put together a package; I have to understand your business; we have to market it to the right buyer, not just any buyer; I have to get that through a very rigorous process, called the SBA underwriting process, at a bank. I mean, this isn’t selling candy bars; this is selling a business. And so, that’s the first problem.

Chad Peterson: The second problem is they’re often not ready from a marketing and a management standpoint. I would say the three M’s, that everybody has a marketing problem, a messaging problem and a management problem. And those three things, marketing, message and management, within those three things, those three things have probably made them tired in the first place. And that’s probably why they’re calling me in the first place. If they had really strong, strategic marketing, they would probably be doing better. If they had a clear, bottled-up, concise message, a brand, that they could yell through a bullhorn and the market could hear them, they probably wouldn’t be getting tired. If they had a good management system in place where people were motivated rather than being managed, they probably wouldn’t be getting tired. So, it’s the three M’s. And that’s why they call me. So, I would say that number one is their passion and then the three M’s that I just mentioned.

John Jantsch: I’m sure different businesses, different industries are different, but are there kind of people… Should business owners be thinking about who they want to sell it to and maybe even start courting maybe existing employees or maybe a really good customer? Or are there things that business owners should be doing in that sense to kind of, before the thing is for sale even, start sort of courting or grooming somebody?

Chad Peterson: No, that’s the last thing they should do. An employee is never going to buy it. The reason is, most of the time, they don’t have the money. And people have their own dreams and passions. It kind of segways into another conversation, which is, “What about my son taking over? What about my daughter taking over?” That never happens either. Whatever a son or a daughter or, in this case you’ve mentioned an employee, they’ve seen the hell that you’ve had to go through to build that business and somehow, the sexiness has worn off of it. So, that doesn’t happen. As far as talking to competition, you don’t want to do that either. And all of those buyers are very unlikely.

Chad Peterson: What’s so counterintuitive about selling a business is that the most unlikely buyer is the one who’s going to buy it. Somebody who just walked out of corporate America; he’s got six or seven bosses; he’s miserable; he’s in a cubicle, that’s probably your buyer. And I have about 3,000 of them right now. And so, it would more than likely be somebody like that, much over competition or an in-house employee or a partner.

John Jantsch: So, let’s talk about the types of buyouts. I’m sure a lot of people just assume “somebody buys it from me, and they give me a check, and I go on my merry way.” But buyouts are not really structured that way, are they?

Chad Peterson: Well, are you talking about a buyout like a partner buyout? Or [crosstalk 00:12:54]?

John Jantsch: No, I just mean… not necessarily buyout. That’s probably the wrong term. But when somebody sells a business, are they sometimes on the hook to finance it? Are they sometimes on the hook to stay there and earn out what they’re going to buy? Or is it typically like I get a check and I go on my merry way?

Chad Peterson: Well, I would say maybe 10% of the time, maybe 15% of the time, somebody gets a check and they walk off into the sunset. But it’s very rare. The reason goes back to the subject of bankability. So, if the bank wants more security or collateral, then the bank can use that as human collateral. They can say, “Okay, We’ll do the deal but we want the seller to do a 10% seller carry.” So, let’s just say you were to sell your business for a million dollars, the bank might ask you to carry $100,000. In other words, at close, you’re not going to get 100 grand of your million. That’s a wonderful thing for all parties. It’s just that sellers clam up and get tight whenever they hear about that because they’re like, “Oh gosh, I’m not going to get my money.” But the truth of it is that it never fails. I’ve never seen one fail. Not only that, but it’s on a promissory note and it’s usually at a good interest rate.

Chad Peterson: Right now, if you were to do a seller carry, you’d get paid 8.5% on that money. And it’s mailbox money. So, you close the business and you’re getting mailbox money for the next 36 months. Every month, you get paid. So, it’s good for the seller. It’s good for the buyer because the buyer has a feel good on the whole deal because he knows that the seller is going to stick around and make sure it’s a smooth transition. And it’s good for the bank because they have the same mentality, that they want to have a good transition for success.

John Jantsch: How often is the seller contractually obligated to stay and run some aspect of a business? How often do you see that?

Chad Peterson: Well, everybody is required to stay for 90 days. And everybody is required to leave at 12 months. So, it’s mandatory 90 days transition. That’s standard. But with that being said, let’s just say it’s a business that doesn’t require a full 90 days. Then the language is written up, “Hey, for the first month, I need X amount of time; second month, this amount of time; and then for the last month, by phone, as needed.”

Chad Peterson: But let’s just say you sold the business and the seller is hanging around after the 12 months. After the 12th month, it’s actually a SBA violation because there’s a possible litigation matter there and the SBA can’t have it. So, everybody has to agree that after the 12 months, you got to be gone.

John Jantsch: All right, let’s flip the tables a little bit because you mentioned that you work with a lot of… you represent a lot of buyers of businesses. So, if a listener’s out there thinking, “Well, maybe I’ll just buy a business.” What should they be looking for?

Chad Peterson: Well, this is the truth of the matter. This is some real nitty-gritty stuff that nobody else is ever going to say to them. But I’m one of those brokers that’ll just hit you right between the eyes with it. I don’t have any time to give you any fluff. I want to give people the real deal. The truth of it is that if you want to be a buyer of a business, you have to get close to a broker. And you have to pay that broker.

Chad Peterson: Here’s an example. And John, this is good for your listeners because it’s so important and, like I said, they get wrong information. There’s a lot of misinformation out there. I’ve got 3,000 buyers right now. Let’s just say that a good business lands on my desk. Let’s just say that a business that’s making [inaudible] dollars a year. You can run it from a laptop and a phone, which I just got one of those today. As soon as I get it, as soon as I package this up and I send it out to 3,000 buyers, it’s like throwing a T-bone steak at a pack of walls. It’s going to be eaten up really quick. So, there’s a lot of people, and this is so important, there’s a lot of people that are out there calling brokers and saying, “Hey, what do you got?”

Chad Peterson: Buying a business is not like buying toothpaste. You can’t just see what’s on the shelf and go pick it out. If it were that easy, it would be that easy. And it’s not. So, this is the thing. If you wanted to come to me to buy a business, I’m going to evaluate how rare of an animal that you want me to go get for you. If it’s a rabbit, something that’s really common, I’m going to charge you $20,000. If it’s a deer, harder hunt but common, could be 40,000. If you want an elephant, I could charge you 75,000. If you want a elephant with pink feet and purple toenails, I could charge you 100,000.

Chad Peterson: It depends on what you’re going after because a lot of people will call me and they’ll say, “Chad, I want manufacturing and distribution. I want to be making $3 million a year. I want it to be in this region. I want this amount of employees. I want this amount of EBITDA. I want… ” It’s like, “Okay, great. Do you really think that I have that laying on my shelf right now?” Okay? And so, what they do is they waste their time. That would probably be like somebody calling you, John, and saying, “Hey John, get me to the top of Google. Can you do that tomorrow? Get me on the top of Google search rankings.” And you’re like, “Man, if it was that easy, it’d be that easy.”

John Jantsch: A lot of people do ask for that though. You’re absolutely right. So-

Chad Peterson: Right. And the truth of it is you have to pay.

John Jantsch: Is that the typical arrangement? The buyer pays your fee? Or is a typically a business broker compensated kind of like real estate agents? If you’re representing both parties or you’re representing one party, you get a commission? Or how is a business broker compensated?

Chad Peterson: Well, I represent the seller but… And in 95% of the case… and I don’t even want to give your audience that label. I don’t represent anybody, okay? I mean, that’s just the improper way to say it. But if we’re talking in legal terms, that’s how it’s positioned. But no, I get paid by the seller but I very much so hold the hands of the seller and the buyer, more so the buyer, and I get them to the bank. So, I’m working equally for both sides.

Chad Peterson: But in the scenario where somebody wants to go buy a particular type of business, I charge them to go hunt for that particular type of business. And then, that’s a different fee and it’s separate from the transaction. That’s simply a consulting fee. And then, I’ll arrange with the seller for the seller to pay me for the actual transaction for the seller.

John Jantsch: Got it. So, I get pitches every now and then from business brokers. And again, a lot of it’s just they’re just cold-calling. But if somebody’s listening and thinking, “You know, maybe I should go talk to a business broker,” are there certain things they should be looking for? And I realize you are a business broker, and a lot of the other business brokers out there don’t do some of the things you do, but if somebody’s considering, what’s kind of the checklist of things that they need to make sure that they check off?

Chad Peterson: Man, honestly… I know the question you’re asking and I’d like to answer it as you asked, but I’m going to answer it a little bit differently just because it’s the truth. You really don’t want to go with a business broker; you want to go with the owner of a brokerage. And the reason is because most brokerages… and I refuse to do it. By the way, I’ve employed over 1,000 people and there’s not enough Aspirin on the shelves for that much unemployment. So, I just don’t want the headaches. But a lot of these brokerages, what they do is they’re hiring people to simply call you. They’re hiring glorified telemarketers, so somebody else that actually knows what they’re doing inside those walls will then handle it.

Chad Peterson: So, if you’re getting cold-called by a broker or you’re searching for brokers to sell your business, I hate to be such a bad guest and bad-mouth my industry, but I don’t have the respect for the people in my industry. They don’t have the knowledge, the expertise, the intentionality. Most of these people in the brokerage business are just looking for a paycheck and you have to be careful with people that are in deals because they just need a paycheck. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t need to make money, because I’m not Jeff Bezos just yet, but I don’t need a paycheck. So, if you call me and you want to sell your business, I’m not doing it just to get paid; I’m doing it to do good work. And I can’t say that for a lot of people. Does that make sense to you?

John Jantsch: Absolutely. Great answer. So, Chad, tell me where people can find out more about you and maybe get a copy of Swinging Doors.

Chad Peterson: Oh yeah. Please contact me if you have any questions about selling your business. Please contact me at petersonacquisitions.com. And go to my site and get the free download of Swinging Doors. It explains step by step how to sell your business and any and all details of it. And my website has a lot of blogs too, full of information. But again, petersonacquisitions.com. I’m very responsive. And if you just leave your information there, I will get back to you.

John Jantsch: Yep. And we’ll have a link in the show notes, as we always do. So, Chad, it was great to visit with you and maybe we’ll bump into you here in town soon.

Chad Peterson: Okay. Thanks a lot for having me on, John.

Transcript of Investing in Small Businesses to Do Good for the Community

Transcript of Investing in Small Businesses to Do Good for the Community written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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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, and my guest today is Amanda Brinkman. She is the chief brand officer for Deluxe, and the host and producer of the very fun, Small Business Revolution TV series, which is in season four currently. So, Amanda, thanks for joining us.

Amanda Brinkman: Thank you so much for having me.

John Jantsch: So, start by setting up the premise of the show for people that are not familiar with what you’re doing.

Amanda Brinkman: So, the small business revolution main street is a docu series, where each season we revitalize a different small towns main street through its small businesses. We really believe in the thesis of the show is that if you have a strong, small business core that any community or town can thrive. So, each year we ask people to nominate their favorite small town. And then the Luxal invest half a million dollars in revitalizing that winning town’s main streets, and they’ll be featured in that season of the show.

John Jantsch: So, where can people tune in if they want to find both past seasons, and follow along with you right away?

Amanda Brinkman: Lots of different places. So, they can watch it on Hulu, or it’s on Amazon Prime Video. Amazon just picked it up, or it’s streams online @smallbusinessrevolution.org. So, if you don’t have Prime or you don’t have Hulu, you can watch it online for free @smallbusinessrevolution.org.`

John Jantsch: Awesome. So, let’s talk about the town. So, I love this concept of marrying the two things. Not only the small businesses, but just as you suggest, the impact that that has on the overall community. And some of these small towns are hurting, I think in that regard. So, talk about the process for choosing the town, because I know you get inundated with people that say, “Oh, come to our town.”

Amanda Brinkman: Yeah, exactly. Well, I think that’s because small towns are all struggling with the same thing, no matter where they are geographically. All small towns are struggling with… Big box retailers are moving down on the edge of town, which is putting pressure on their mom and pop shops. They’ve got online competition, which is a problem for small business and across the country, no matter what size community you’re in, you’ve got restaurant chains moving in.

Amanda Brinkman: It’s really hard for these small businesses to compete. And when you think about a small town, and when you tell someone to either visit your favorite small town, or where you’re from, you talk about the small businesses. Small businesses are what make a town or a unique, or a community, or a neighborhood, even in a large urban area, these small businesses are what make it unique. You talk about the barber shop, or your dad used to get his hair cut, and you got your first haircuts, or you talk about that diner where they know your order, or the local coffee shop where you see people that you know from the community.

Amanda Brinkman: You talk about these gathering places that small businesses are, and small businesses also give back to their communities in disproportionate ways. They are the ones who are spending their tax dollars are seeing within your community, they’re hiring employees from your community. They’re certainly the ones who are sponsoring the local little league team. And so we need to see these small businesses be successful in order for towns to thrive. Because again, that’s a differentiated small town is their individual small businesses.

John Jantsch: So, my father was a manufacturer’s representative. So, we’re talking about 50 years ago, and he would go to these small towns, and there he’d always have three or four clients on now on the square on every one of them. And my favorite was… I used to go with him sometimes when I was growing up on these trips, and my favorite was always the hardware store, with the worn wooden floors and everybody working there had worked there for 35 years, and they knew they had one of everything, and they knew where it was. Still, today there were a few of those around, aren’t there?

Amanda Brinkman: Oh absolutely. And you know, what’s so special about small businesses is that they often say to us, “How do I compete with online pressure? I can’t compete with those online prices or their distribution.” It’s like, no, you can’t. But what you can compete on is that personalized customer service. The fact that when you go into those local hardware shops, they know how to fix the thing you’re trying to fix, and they’re going to spend time with you getting to know exactly what that challenge is, or that problem is that you’re trying to solve.

Amanda Brinkman: And big box stores can try and emulate that same service experience. But when you’re not from that community, or you’re not the owner of that business, it’s just hard to get the average employee to treat the customers at that same level of personalization. And so, we always tell small business, compete on what you can be differentiated around. And that is that service, and knowing your customers, and knowing their unique needs.

John Jantsch: All right, so you roll into town, you’ve chosen a city, and you have a fun way because you reveal it. They don’t know they got picked. So, you’re all in, you pick that town. How do you pick the individual businesses in that town then? Because, obviously there’s a whole lot of people that would love help.

Amanda Brinkman: Absolutely. So, each year we get about 200 businesses that apply to be one of the six businesses we feature each season. And we do work with all of the small businesses within the community, Deluxe hosts, marketing seminars, and financial seminars. So, we go door to door and help the small businesses. So, we can really only feature in depth, six of them within each season of the show. And so, a couple of things we’re looking for is, through the series we’re really trying to show them what a difference marketing can make for small businesses. And so we’re looking for a business where maybe marketing is a challenge for them, and where we think it will make the biggest difference. We’re looking for businesses where people-

John Jantsch: So, basically every business.

Amanda Brinkman: You know it, that’s true. So, you can help us narrow it down. We’re all set. And so we also are looking for business owner stories that are going to resonate with the audience. And because the whole part… One of the main reasons we do this show is because there’s something about that affirmation.

Amanda Brinkman: So, the large base of our fans are other entrepreneurs and small businesses because they want to learn from what we do in the show. But we also are striving to affirm the viewer that the things that you’re struggling with as a small business owner, aren’t unique to you that other people are struggling with this too. Because, it can be very lonely to be a business owner. And wonder if other businesses are struggling with the same thing, and why don’t you have the answers. And so, we want to find stories where the viewers can see themselves in those struggles, and see themselves in the stories.

Amanda Brinkman: And the whole reason again, is a seriousness because through that story time we’re also trying to inspire non-small business owners to support small businesses. So, when you hear a family story, and why they run the business, you put a face to the business, you want to go out and support them. So, we’re trying to find stories that resonate both in a business level, as well as a personal level. We’re also trying to show a great diversity of businesses, not just diversity in the business owners, but that’s a very important factor for us throughout the seasons. But also diversity of the kind of category or vertical of business.

Amanda Brinkman: So we don’t want to just do a restaurant makeover shore, or just retail, we want to show very niche businesses too. So, in past seasons we’ve featured a dog groomer, or a boxing jim, or a barber shop, a daycare center. We want to show as many different kinds of business too, to make sure that the advice that we give in the series is as applicable to as many kinds of businesses as possible.

John Jantsch: Now you have a co-host on the show, and first couple of seasons it was Robert, oh gosh, I’m forgetting his last name.

Amanda Brinkman: Robert Herjavec.

John Jantsch: There, Herjavec there we go.

Amanda Brinkman: From Shark Tank.

John Jantsch: And now you have Ty Pennington on the show with you. And I will say, you’re a much sharper dresser than he is.

Amanda Brinkman: [inaudible] I got to tell you, I don’t mind you saying that.

John Jantsch: So, tell me this, what are some of the universe… You already mentioned it, marketing, but what are some of the kind of universal problems that you see, that you walk in, you go, [inaudible] here we are again.

Amanda Brinkman: The two things we seem to struggle with the most, are the marketing. Not understanding how to use marketing to grow and differentiate their business. And the second thing is their finances. So, not necessarily having a handle on their numbers, or what the numbers are telling them. And so that is why those are the two things we focused on most in the show, because those are the two things you need to have a handle on, to really run your business and those are two things that most business owners start their business to get into. They don’t come naturally to a lot of people for good reason.

Amanda Brinkman: People start a bakery because they love to bake, not because they can’t wait to build a website, or to figure out what the heck SEO is, or to balance their books at the end of the month. But none of the important factors of the success of your business. So, every episode and in real life, we just come in to walk alongside those businesses and help them with the resources, so that they can get back to doing what they love about their business. We never have to invent the passion for this business. We never have to convince them to try a different kind of bakery. And they’ve got those pieces of their business nailed. We just try and help them with the things that don’t come naturally, because we want them to be successful.

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 it allows you to easily turn that information into valuable marketing messages. There’s powerful segmentation, email autoresponder that are ready to go. Great reporting. 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 klaviyo.com/beyondBF, beyond black Friday.

John Jantsch: Some of the shows have some drama. There are tears, and there’s joy, and there’s anger and frustration. What’s been the most touching story for you?

Amanda Brinkman: Oh my. I think this season it’s hard, because we in real life are so close with all these businesses, and I think all of their stories have such emotional elements. So, I think that one of the stories that we’re seeing really resonate with people, and certainly did with my team and I if Whilma’s Filipino Restaurant, it’s episode two of season four. The [Forgosa] family is from the Philippines. And so, Whilma who owns the restaurant, and her husband moved their family from the Philippines to Searcy, Arkansas. It’s the great American dream with literally $100 and two suitcases. And they moved their four children who are all under, I believe the age of 10 at the time. All in pursuit of creating what they perceived to be a better life for their children, or more opportunities for them.

Amanda Brinkman: And how brave to not only do that, so she as apparent on how sacrificial, and then also to them start a business and being a business owner from the most briefings you can do. And we saw her be… What I talked about before. She has a passion for cooking. She’s an amazing cook. She has this incredible sense of hospitality, which is inherent to not just her Filipino culture, but just her as a person. But things like cost of goods and marketing, and interior decor, and some of these other things we’re seeing in her way of actually being a profitable business. So who should have been in business about 10 years and had barely paid herself and some years maybe not at all. And working that hard, you want to see people be able to… There’s nothing wrong with making money from the business when a business is meant to do and provide for the family.

Amanda Brinkman: And so we were just so proud to see what marketing and the publicity of the show, and helping her with some of those operational things like quantity sizes of menu pricing, and some of those less fun things to talk about, but how they could really impact your bottom line. And so that was a very emotional, I think probably because she just sat in such a space of gratitude throughout the entire process. And it’s always wonderful to see a family come together and move themselves forward. It’s very rewarding.

John Jantsch: So, I’m freely will admit, I’m a fan of the Queer Eye series and there is a little bit of that for business. It feels like there’s a lot of hope you’re focused on businesses as opposed to individuals, but there’s a bit of a makeover aspect to it, isn’t there?

Amanda Brinkman: There really is. And I think the other thing we have in common with Queer and they wish more shows for following this is. This is really a makeover show with heart. We aren’t there to make the business owners look stupid, or to look like we’re the saviors we’ve certainly had distribution partners, not the existing ones, but others that we’ve talked to that want to dial up drama,or different things like we’re not just not going to do that. Yo don’t need to invent drama. When you run a small business to be antagonists is, in a business like that there is no need to pretend or dial that up. We’re truly just there to help, and there are certainly dramatic moments in every episode that come out just naturally, because that is the nature again of being an entrepreneur.

John Jantsch: It’s very personal. So, you’ve got a few seasons under your belt now. I suspect you’ve probably checked back in with some of your folks from past seasons. Have you seen real impact in bottom line impact? They have a different business now?

Amanda Brinkman: Absolutely. Every business is certainly far more profitable. Some of the greatest success stories are a season two Annabella Italian restaurant and Bristol borough has tripled their sales, and hired a few more people. Ellen’s dress and bridal from Wabash, Indiana season one went from being $100,000 in debt, and never paying herself to certainly paying herself in doing well.

Amanda Brinkman: Well first of all, the fact that all 24 businesses are still in business, is actually a statistical anomaly in terms of business. Seeing this is being able to stay open and those open rates. But no, they’re all doing extremely well and in different ways. Some have more work life balance, which was a goal for them. They’re all more profitable. Some of them would be able to hire people, which was a goal. So, all of them had certain goals going into it and those have been met.

Amanda Brinkman: And the funny thing that we do is, each season we actually kick off the season with a return to episode from the previous season. So, we did a return to all [inaudible] a few weeks before we just launched season four, which is in Searcy, Arkansas. And it’s so fun to see impact on the whole community. Some of that half a million dollar investment from Deluxe also goes to the town. We gave aesthetic improvements to the main street, and invest in different things within the town as well. And it’s just fun to see the ripple effect. It’s more than just those six businesses. The whole town is really on a different trajectory on the other side of the small business revolution.

John Jantsch: So, your publicity team, when they were lining up this interview said that you were going to use this occasion to announce season five’s winner.

Amanda Brinkman: Well, that was very preempted on themselves. Here’s where we’re at actually in the process. So we’re actually, [inaudible]

John Jantsch: I was going to stay silent there as long as you needed.

Amanda Brinkman: We’re actually in the process of narrowing down the season five nominations. So, over the course of the five years, we’ve received 35,000 nominations accounts. So, every year we get thousands and thousands of towns nominated. So, we’re not even close to announcing that, because what we do is, we narrow down to the top 10, we go out and visit them, boots on the ground, and then we announced the top five, which we’ll announce on January 14th, and then it is up to the public, the public votes, where we actually end up going. And once we identify the five, it’s out of Deluxe is hand sending it up to the American public to vote. And then I’ll pop out on someone’s stage. I believe it’s scenery 28th.

John Jantsch: Okay, awesome. So, your title is chief brand officer. I’m guessing there’s a day job beyond the show involved in that?

Amanda Brinkman: Yes, there is. Over the years, it’s been nice that I’ve been able to focus more and more in the series producing and hosting, and show running a series is an all consuming full time job. And so my team and I are quite focused on the series itself, but we’re very proud at Deluxe that we not only do the small business revolution, but it’s truly our brand purpose turned into a brand action. And so we very much as a company look at this as the leading efforts that we do to really get our brand out there. And it’s making a difference beyond just selling small businesses, marketing services. We’re actually going out and putting our money where our mouth is, and helping these communities and businesses. And so, much of what I do is focused on that brand pieces is how this is leading us as a company.

John Jantsch: And really this is going to sound like a commercial for Deluxe, but here it goes. Deluxe is such a great example of one of these companies that is a very old company that was in a very old industry, that was very entrenched in a very old industry that said, “Wait a minute, at some point people are going to stop buying checks. Maybe we’re going to have to do something else.” And I think a lot of companies died because the golden calf was there and they hung onto it.

John Jantsch: I think Deluxe probably earlier than a lot of companies pivoted to,”Hey, we have to be something else to our customers.” And we got into marketing. You were one of the first companies to really get into content, as a lot of us marketers started talking about it 15 years ago, and now maybe just briefly. What are, what are the offerings at Deluxe look like for small business?

Amanda Brinkman: So, we can help a small business with anything they need to market their business. So, whether it is designing your logo, building your website, securing your domain, email marketing, promotional items, apparel, business cards, email marketing, the list is long. Anything you need to really market your business. And we’re really the only company that can do all of those things for small businesses. We certainly have a lot of competitors that just focus on email marketing, or just business cards, or just domains. But it’s really nice to work with one company that not only has the heart that Deluxe does, but that can do all of those things for you, because it’s just easier than having to try and go and work with a different company for [inaudible] marketing needs.

Amanda Brinkman: And again, we really do it because we recognize that marketing just isn’t something that comes naturally to small businesses, and we want them to be able to focus on what comes naturally to them. So, why not work with a company that can walk alongside you in an affordable way where you can focus on what you want to do in money in your business, rather than trying to figure it out, some of these marketing things that keep evolving and changing over time.

John Jantsch: Speaking with Amanda Brinkman, she is the host and producer of the Small Business Revolution Main Street, currently in season four of that you can find on Hulu and Amazon prime, and Amanda, tell folks where they might also find more information about the work at Deluxe and the show itself.

Amanda Brinkman: So, we encourage people to either visit Deluxe.com, or smallbusinessrevolution.org, and smallbusinessrevolution.org is a really great resource to hear more behind the scenes of what we work with the businesses on. So, especially if you’ve seen an episode maybe on a different platform like Hulu or Prime, it’s a great place to go and find out more about how we built out that website, or why we recommended a certain marketing solution, or a certain financial solution, gives a little bit more in depth. Because as you can imagine, needs to be scenes that ended up being about three minutes in an episode or actually, two hour conversation. So, we really want to provide small businesses with the resources to understand the strategies that we recommend.

John Jantsch:  Awesome. Thanks so much for showing up, and sharing your time and information with us, and hopefully we Will run into you soon out there on the road.

Amanda Brinkman: Thank you so much.

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

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Transcript

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.

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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 inclusiveleaderthebook.com 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.