Ken: Hey everyone. Welcome back to “Today’s Growth Growing Business Today.” This is Ken Courtright, hosting a podcast that covers a few different dynamics of growing business today. I actually want to dig into the tagline of the podcast, growing business today, and talk for a minute about those three words. Growing, if you’ve heard any of our podcasts so far, you’ll know that we are all about growth. Company name is “Today’s Growth Consultant,” we’ve been growth consulting firm for, we’re now in our 24th year.
Just Learned We Yet Again An Inc 5000 Company
Just found out last week that it looks like we are an Inc. 5000 company for third time, so we’re pretty excited about that. We have 3100 clients and we have 700 revenue generating websites under management. Good stuff there. Growing business, growing, obviously when you keep the word business in that same sentence, you’re talking about growing numbers, and my podcasts are dedicated, excuse me, dedicated for growth. Let’s talk about the second word for a minute, business. If you were to ask me 10 years ago to talk very simply on the word business, well, I did for years, do a stump speech that business centers on the four M’s. You need a nice market, you need to prove that people are willing to buy something, you need a good working model, the letter M for model. You have to have solid management, people that have been there, done that, and then, you’ve got to have some money. You don’t need money to start with, because good ideas are magnets to money, but four M’s, you could make a case, are the centerpiece of business. I would not answer that way today. I would say that the four M’s still play a part, they’re still deep anchors, but I think the more I dig into what grows businesses today, I’m going to switch my vernacular and my stump speech to content and relationships.
Content And Relationships Are Vital Pieces Of The Puzzle
Spent a lot of time watching the Super Bowl commercials this past Sunday, and every commercial was content. Every single commercial was telling a story, or taking someone deeply into something through content. Then, business transactions that involve a dollar sign, most of them, and especially the significant ones that are over $100 transaction, which is 95% of all revenue transactions. They involve relationships. They’ve got to know you, they’ve got to like you, they’ve got to trust you, and we live in a scared society. The internet allows a lot of pervasive thought and people are running scared today. Let’s flip over to the word today. This podcast is called “Today’s Growth Growing Business Today,” and some of you know, I’ve just finished my third book, “Gorilla Marketing Today.” First ever book not co-authored by Jay Conrad Levinson, so it’s going to be a hopefully pretty good seller. It’s going to be in all the book stores, I believe in April or May, but the point of why we partnered up on that book is our whole mindset, our whole mantra at our growth consulting company is today’s growth mechanisms are not the same as yesterdays. 18 months ago is like eternity, when it comes to the internet. We’re living in dog years. That’s like 10 years ago. One of the things that we are caught doing a lot, not just myself, but our whole management team, we hold a couple conferences a year, they’re called “Digital Footprint,” and anything that comes off of our stage must be a case study. We never teach theory, we don’t teach hyperbole, we don’t bring in subject matter, experts that tell you what worked 10 years ago.
Forbes Names Digital Footprint As A Can’t Miss Conference Of 2016
The only thing that comes off our stage three days in a row, twice a year, is case study, provable evidence that, “Hey, this is what we did, this is how the site grew.” I think that’s why Forbes recognize us as one of the “Can’t miss” conferences of 2016. All right. The reason I set that as the template for this podcast is this one’s coming out on Monday. This is Monday the 15th, maybe. This is episode, oh boy, not sure, but this episode, the next one Wednesday and the next one Friday, this whole week is dedicated to case studies. What’s cool about these next three is you can hear them over and over. These are real life questions or things or events that came to us, either at a conference or as part of a growth contract, so I get to play for you a little bit of what came to us and our recommendations. We’re going to start off, this one is centered around I was at a conference in Vermont and a gal asked me the following. Basically, she says, “I’m a 55 year old jewelry designer. I’ve been designing jewelry my whole life for other companies. I made a decision. Next month I start my own company, I’ve already filed the paperwork, and I’ve got a guy to do my website, although it hasn’t been started yet, so my question to you is,” she’s talking to me, I’m on an expert panel is, “If you were me, where would you start?” This one was set aside for me. There was other people on the panel, but this was solely mine, and I said, “Well, number one, you have to recognize that even though your jewelry is going to be custom designed, it’s jewelry, and jewelry is a commodity, and I think you might want to look at the case study ‘Tom’s Shoes,'” and I asked the audience, “Anybody here ever bought from Tom’s Shoes?” A couple of people raised their hand, and I said, “Why?” They said, “Well, if you buy a pair of shoes from Tom’s, they will, of course, send you a brand new pair of shoes, but they will also send a brand new pair of shoes to a child somewhere in the world who’s never worn shoes before.” I said, “That is correct.” I said, “Tom’s Shoes is the fastest growing shoe company in history, and when you open up Tom’s Shoes website, you can’t find any shoes, at least the times that I was on that website.” The last time I was on Tom’s Shoes, prepping for a presentation, it was a picture of the founder sitting on a mountainside and it was just telling the story about Tom’s Shoes and why he started this shoe business, and it was never about the shoes. It was about putting shoes on kids all over the world that have never worn shoes before, so they could stop disease and live longer, and be healthier. He is not in the shoe business, and there’s a reason Bing Capital just gave Tom’s Shoes $735,000,000 for 35% of their shoe company. It had nothing to do with shoes. What I said to this woman, I said, “You have to recognize that jewelry is a commodity,” and back in the day, and I’m going to say prior to 5 to 10 years ago, most of the growth consultants, if they were posed with that question, including myself, I would have immediately got out a piece of paper, somewhat like an old fashion Miller Heiman blue sheet for those of you that know what that is, and I would have got out a piece of paper, and I would have peppered this lady with questions like SWAT analysis. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, of her even starting her own business. What is her right to succeed? I would have asked all of these technical questions, and instead, I said, “Number one, I have no doubt if you’re good at what you do, and you make sure that whatever you do, you do not sell jewelry on your website,” I said, “I think you’re going to succeed.” I’m telling you, she gave me the ultimate “Who farted?,” look. I don’t know if you guys know what the “Who farted?,” look is, but that’s where somebody cocks their head to the side, squints their eyes and just holds perfectly still. She’s like, “Huh? I don’t get it.” I said, “Okay. Let’s just back up a little bit.” Prior to 5 to 10 years ago, whether it’s Eccentric Consulting, Frost & Sullivan, or any of the major growth consulting firms, if you had a commodity, a product, their first goal would be to get in your head and get your personality and give your product a life. They would ask you questions about if your product had to be a cartoon, what would it be? If it had to be an animal, what would it be? They knew they’d have to give life to an inanimate object, especially if it was a commodity. What they would do is they would run that lady through an exercise of the four P’s. The product, the price, the positioning, and the placement. Here’s what I’m here to tell everybody on this podcast. It is 2016, the four P’s are out. If you talk product, could you imagine, would Tom’s Shoes, if you open up Tom’s Shoes, it was just shoe after shoe, after shoe, after shoe, after shoe, would it ever, ever have been giving $700,000,000 by Bing Capital, 735 to be exact? No. That would have been a commodity based website. It might have made some money, but it’d never be the Tom’s Shoes. Tom’s Shoes is a brand. It’s now a pretty soon to be Harvard Business Review case study.
Price Doesn’t Sell In Fact Cheap Scares People
Back in the day, we’d have to give a product life. I’m here to tell you today, in 2016, what sells is not products. Are you ready for this? What sells is not price. Not price. Matter of fact, lower pricing, once people do a little bit of research, lower prices scare people today. They’re starting to get a feel for this. Let’s go … I don’t want to talk about price. If I’m going to talk price, I’m going to always tell everybody, “Price it way more than you think you should, and justify that.” Let’s go to the third P, positioning. I can’t even imagine how much money people have spent trying to position their product in a marketplace next to another product, and I don’t mean shelf space, that’s placement. I’m on the third P of positioning. I’m talking about marketing position, advertising positioning, where you even sometimes still catch people today comparing their product and naming another product in a commercial or an ad, so here’s what I’m here to tell you. If you ever catch yourself trying to position your product next to another product, that means you have no storyline, you have no tagline, you don’t have much. We’ll talk about that on another podcast, but let’s go to number four, placement. This is really back in the day, before the web, of how critical shelf space was, how critical even lobbying or quite frankly, extorting, in the alcohol business this is huge. Trying to get into a major, like a Binny’s or a national alcohol store. You would literally come in with a brown paper bag, and I’m not saying the store of Binny’s, but with five restaurants in the family, I’m very aware of certain stories of how wine brands broke in, how beer brands broke in. You would literally buy your way onto shelf space in certain communities, and low and behold, you’d get a toe hold and then a foot hold, so now watch this.
Being the Best Is No Longer The Differentiator
As of a couple years ago, we’re starting to find evidence that being the best is no longer a differentiator. Now, being the best is fantastic. Excuse me. You’ve got to find a way to say it, but if your website or you personally are stating you’re the best, it’s not only not a differentiator, it’s a deterrent, because people don’t necessarily trust sales people, and a website, or a business, what do they call them? Spokesperson. These are the sales people for the product, and what we have just found out in the last five years, that doesn’t work anymore. What works now is social proof. If you say it, and you’re a salesperson for your company like the founder, the CEO, or the executive, the leader, well, they know you’re going to say because you’re going to make more money if you sell more product, but now here’s the thing. If the world says it’s so, it must be so. That’s called social proof. What you want to do, if you’re going to move jewelry, is you’ve got to make sure you’re not focusing on product, pricing, positioning, placement, being the best. “I have the best design.” Nobody cares. You can’t say it. You’re a salesperson. They don’t believe half of what you say anyway, however, if you can get endorsements, testimonials, media, the press, if you can get other people to say you’re the best, now you have something. Let’s stay very, very deep. I want to keep this podcast on a very psychological space, because this podcast is more about selling and how people buy, than it is about jewelry. If this woman’s specific question was, “Where do I start?,” I want to make sure I am very clear that I don’t put out a misrepresentation that if she puts up a great website built by a great web design team that the world’s going to flock to her. That will never happen. It never has happened. Nobody has ever built a website where the world just all of a sudden found it. People don’t find websites. Website marketers bring websites to people through marketing.
You bring a website to people, You do not bring people to a website
You bring a website to people. You do not bring people to a website. You’re going to do link building or marketing or infographics or whatever you do in marketing. You’re always marketing that in another place, so that people could find you and then come to your website. You bring people to your site. You’re building things off your site, so Google can notice them and go, “Wow, we’re finding this website over here, over here, over here. Wow, lift them up in the rankings.” People then find you from the Google search bar. They go to your site. Does that make sense? They only go to your site because you first brought your site other places. I want to stick with the psychology of this question, “Where do I start?” I told this lady in no uncertain terms that you start with a story. You start by understanding and accepting, a-c-c-e-p-t. She has to accept that she sells a commodity, and when she jumps into the jewelry world, with all of these people that have been in jewelry space and custom design jewelry for hundreds of years longer than her, she is a tiny, tiny little fly on an elephants backside. What you have to do is start what is called “separation.” The way Tom’s Shoes started separation is with a blue ocean strategy. Don’t play with them, play in a different pond, play in a different lake, play in a completely different ocean with no competition, and that’s what Tom did. My suggestion to this woman was, you’ve got to go blue ocean strategy. You’ve got to find a way to separate yourself so that you don’t ever get positioned as custom design jewelry. I said, “Here’s what I want you to picture. What if you could partner up with a worthy cause, just like Tom’s Shoes? What if you could find, I don’t know,” I said, “Make one up.” I said, “But could you just imagine, just imagine for a minute, that when someone receives your custom designed jewelry, let’s say for their daughter, and it was custom designed with her initials or this or that, not only did she get the jewelry, but what if she got a little, maybe even a half a page handwritten letter from a kid in a village in some small town as a thank you for partially funding the iPad or the tablet that her family now has so they can go to school and study and advance themselves? What if a portion of every piece of jewelry went into a pot and every 50 pieces of jewelry bought somebody an iPad?” Something like that. I mean, there’s so many different things. Could you imagine opening the jewelry, and in it is a letter of thanks from someone thanking them for buying that piece of jewelry? I mean, how emotional is that?
Three Levels Of Selling
Let’s go right into now what are the three levels of selling. There are three levels. Number one is, I want you to picture we’re selling cars. We sell brand new cars, we sell used cars, and these car sales people see a couple walking into the dealership. Trust me, the best, absolute best salespeople that sell automobiles know the three levels of selling. Level one, they have first got to get that couple to sit in a vehicle. They’ve got to get the people see themselves, physically see themselves in the car, touching the steering wheel, smelling the leather. They’ve got to open the doors on brand new vehicles and get them to sit in. They know, if they can’t get them to sit in, they’re not going to get it to phase two of selling. They then have to move this over to a more tangible aspect. They’ve got to get them to see themselves driving, meaning test driving that vehicle. How many times have you felt the pressure from a salesperson? “Hey, why don’t you just take a quick seat, see if it’s comfortable, see if fits?” Then, it moves right onto, “Do you have time for a quick test drive? We have a little track built around. You go two blocks, take a right, three blocks, take a right. You’re back here in 3 minutes. Give me your ID and I’ll put a plate on that car for you.” That’s level two selling, is getting an individual to not just see themselves in the vehicle, or replace it with holding your product, holding your jewelry, but now you’ve got to get them to see them driving the car physically. You’ve got to get someone to see themselves wearing the jewelry, right? They’ve got to drive the jewelry. Level three selling, and this is where most major sales are made. Level three selling is can that cars salesperson, through purely content, through purely verbiage, get that couple to see themselves pulling into their driveway with that brand new car and seeing their neighbor see them pull up in the driveway? Let me say that one again. Excuse me. The best salespeople can get that person to see themselves driving off in the car, pulling into their driveway, and watching the neighbor, not their head up and down, like “Hey, great job. Hey, way to go,” and see them pulling in, in the brand new car. Can that salesman get that business person to see them driving that 7 Series BMW into their next business meeting and/or on the golf course, and three of the people they’re golfing with can go, “Oh, Tom. Nice job. Way to go?” That’s level three selling. The biggest companies in the world today, the biggest ad agencies in the world all sell level three selling. Think of the next time you’re watching television, I want you to watch for the car commercials, and the beer commercials and see if you don’t almost at least 70% of the time, at least 70% of the time, see that beer commercial, or that car commercial where other people can see other people watching them have fun, control things or lead or have at the deepest level. Does that make sense? It’s basically about being in control, or having. If you can get other people to see other people seeing them in control, or other people seeing them have, you are selling, right? If I were going to get into the jewelry business, especially the custom jewelry design business, I would tell anybody to read the book, “Barefoot Spirit.” I’m partnered up on a website with the people that wrote that book. Phenomenal book. Their story is actually in the famous business book, “Blue Ocean Strategy,” but this is about the story of worthy cause marketing, Mike and Bonnie literally started that industry 20 some years ago. The point is, if you’ve gotten yourself a commodity like Mike and Bonnie had with the Barefoot wine brand, how did they become, from nothing, how did they go from nothing to the biggest wine brand in the world and sell it to Gallo in 20 years? They had no money, never once spent a dollar advertising. How did they pull that off? The story is in the book, “The Barefoot Spirit,” so what they sold and what Tom’s Shoes sells is the cause. They did not sell the commodity. If you can get each piece of jewelry going out with a cause, you’ve got something. If you’re selling jewelry, it’s going to be a really, really tough road to hoe, and I’m going to drop one more little nugget here, and I can’t remember if I mentioned this to the lady or not, but I certainly would today if I was asked that question again. I would ask yourself, in your current business, or can you add to whatever you’re doing now, what I call a “Zappos.” One of the things that made Zappos famous is Tony Hsieh decided early on that if somebody orders regular shipping, one out of three people that order regular shipping, they were going to overnight the product. They couldn’t do it every time because they couldn’t afford it, but one out of three times, they surprised people with a next day overnight, and guess what happened? A lot of those people went onto social media and said, “You’re not going to believe this. I ordered standard 7 day shipping for $2, and they overnighted it to me for $24. Can you believe it? This company’s amazing. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.” Is there something that you can interject into your current business model, that is what’s called “super-duper service?” Let me back up here. Back in the day, when UPS was going head to head with the United States Post Office, one of those two entities, which was UPS, said, “How do we get a foothold?” One of them was, “What if we get a foothold on two day delivery?,” and that’s where they started. Then, the Post Office battled back and said, “Well, you know what? We can do two day delivery, but we can guarantee it by 10am in the morning.” Then, UPS and FedEx at the same time came to the table and almost in the same couple year period of time said, “You know, we’re going to do next day delivery, guaranteed 5pm.” Well then, guess what? That’s super service. Then, one of the big three stepped up and said, “Man, how do we beat super service? Next day 5pm, that’s super.” One of them said, “What about super super service? How about noon the next day?” Then, one of them said, “How about super super-duper duper service? How about 10am the next day?” I think a lot of us listening to this podcast know what came next. “How about same day? How about if you get it to one of these major hubs in these major cities by 8:30-9 in the morning, we will have it to your office across the country, same day 5pm.” Well, that’s nothing more than Tony Hsieh did at Zappos. Zappos did a little bitty super service. Not super-duper, nothing out of this world, didn’t hurt their bank account, but it was just a little extra high touch and if you remember that famous Bill Gates Time Magazine article, I think it was 2005, Bill Gates said the companies that can mirror and literally melt together high tech with high touch are going to win forever. Tony Hsieh did that with the next day service when you paid for regular. I’m going to stop it right there, and I think this one was pretty good, pretty thorough. What I’m going to say is, I am Ken Courtright with Today’s Growth Growing Business Today, and we’re going to do all week long case study podcast series. If you liked it, do me a favor and subscribe, or if you’ve really got the energy, open up iTunes, throw me a review, and you guys are awesome. Talk to you soon, bye.