This week, Pete talks to Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid, and recently the Illustrated version of the same book. Among other topics, they discuss the importance of knowing your target market and of staying in touch with people.
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Staying Booked Solid with Michael Port
Dom: Hello, everybody, and welcome back to another weekly episode of PreneurCast with me, Dom Goucher, and him, Pete Williams.
Pete: How are you, mate. How’s things?
Dom: I am pretty good, I have to say. Pretty excited about this show, given that the guest that you have had one of your conversations with. We’ll talk about that in a second.
Pete: Absolutely. A little bit of a fanboy, are we?
Dom: You know I am.
Pete: Love it, love it.
Dom: Cool. What’s happening this week?
Pete: Oh, mate, plenty of amazing stuff going on. Getting a load of sleep, much to the chagrin of most of my friends without telling them about their life. But so far, so good, which is awesome.
Dom: Excellent. Excellent. Glad to hear the family is well over that side of the world. We’ve still got a couple of these projects looming around in the wings that I’m getting right on the edge of talking about. But we just can’t quite talk about it just yet, which is somewhat disappointing, but very helpful in that the interview we got this week is a little bit longer than usual.
So, I’m going to cut this intro short – not that I’m the one normally to cut anybody short, Mr. Williams. But I do want to ask you, because we had a lot of interest since we picked up asking about your Book of the Week. I do want to ask you if you listen to anything interesting this week on your audiobook collection.
Pete: Well, it’s probably a little different than usual. It’s a biography on Thomas Edison, which has been really cool. It’s a two-part Audible audiobook, so it’s quite long. But it really goes through Edison’s life, everything from earlier-on days all the ways through to the end of it.
It’s really quite interesting to see how poor a businessman he was. He was a great inventor, but not a great businessperson. And that was really a key thing I took away from that.
Dom: Sounds like it is interesting.
Pete: The book’s called The Wizard of Menlo Park because Menlo Park was where his factory-studio-laboratory was. It’s a really cool book. I’ve spoken about one of my favorite books last year [The Secret Life of Houdini], a biography on the world’s most famous magician. This is along the same line, so it’s been pretty cool.
Dom: Excellent. I always like you when you bring out those non-standard ones out of your collection because. As we always say, there’s always something to learn from everything. And it was interesting. I think a lot of people would reflect that Edison was an incredibly successful person, but it’s interesting to see that the book puts across that he wasn’t that great a businessperson.
Pete: It was interesting because he was very good friends with Henry Ford. Henry Ford (I think it was Henry Ford, from memory) basically just kept throwing money at him and just helping him out, which was really interesting.
Dom: Yeah, it’s interesting. That story I came across through Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, because it’s referenced in there. So, cool. Folks, as we do recommend, Pete pretty much listens to everything on audiobook. We get our books from Audible, the audiobook company. And as always, the offer still stands.
If you’re a PreneurCast listener, you can get a free trial of Audible, if you’re not already a member, by just visiting AudibleTrial.com/PreneurCast. We recommend this week that you go and get hold of a copy of The Wizard of Menlo Park. I certainly will be doing because that sounds really interesting.
So, I’m very excited. I’m sorry, mate, I’m going to push ahead to this interview because it’s a big thing for me. It’s pretty much an accurate description of this, actually. You managed to have a chat with Michael Port, author of Book Yourself Solid and quite a few other books, by the way, but most famous for Book Yourself Solid. But it was a bit of an ordeal all around really, wasn’t it?
Pete: It was, a little bit. He was living it up large on his boat during the time of the interview. But a storm hit as we were chatting, so it made a lot of work for you this week to edit up the audio. We had a couple of, I call them ‘hiccups,’ throughout the process of having the conversation recorded.
So you had to edit and clean up a fair few bits and pieces. I think it comes out really, really nice. There’s a lot of great value in the conversation I had with Michael, but it was a bit of an ordeal for you.
Dom: Yeah, but it was absolutely worth it. So, I won’t hold people up anymore. Let’s get right into your conversation with Michael, and we’ll come back and have a chat about it after everyone’s listened to that.
[Pete's conversation with Michael Port starts]
Pete: Well, Michael thanks for joining us, mate. Really appreciate it.
Michael Port: Oh, it’s my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Pete: We’re almost around our 100th episode, and I do think it’s probably going to be the first conversation I’ve had that my wife’s actually going to listen to. She’s a huge Sex and the City fan, so I mentioned that I was chatting to Mike from Sex and the City, and she thought that was very strange.
Michael: 1997, I recorded that episode.
Pete: I know it’s completely irrelevant to the meat of what we’re going to talk about, but for people who don’t know the story about your background and how you were an actor on Sex and the City for an episode as a late character, in that particular show. Can you tell a bit about your background, and then we’ll get into the book and all the good stuff?
Michael: Sure, interestingly enough, it’s not irrelevant. It’s, I think, very relevant, certainly to the work I do now and to the topic at hand, which is how to get as many clients or customers as your heart desires. I started my professional life as an actor, so I went to college and I studied acting.
Then I went to graduate school and I studied acting. Then I came out and I had a modicum of success, meaning I was doing all right. I was on, as you said, Sex and the City, Law & Order, Third Watch, All My Children, and a number of other shows that you would’ve seen, or films.
I did a lot of voiceovers to pay the bills. But I was not so mature at the time. I didn’t really like the idea of waiting around for other people to give me jobs. It also just didn’t fit my personality. I’ve never been accused of being patient. So I decided to leave.
I was able to talk my way into a job in the fitness industry, and I was very fortunate. I had some success there because I’m very strategic in the way that I think. I’m very process-oriented and systems-based in my work. And the work that I went and did really needed an overhaul in that department.
Pete: And it was selling memberships to gyms?
Michael: No, at first I was running group exercise for a company. We had nine different, very high-end 150,000 square-foot clubs throughout the country. And then I went into operations and senior management for another company. Then I left, and I went back into entertainment as a VP of a small entertainment company.
Then I went out on my own. But the reason I say that the acting is relevant, and even the fitness, because a lot of what I was responsible for managing were experience-based events. Same thing when I went back into the film industry on the production side or exhibition side, really.
So, performing is all about creating experiences for folks. As an actor, you are always trying to achieve a goal. As an actor, when you’re working on characters, you’re trying to identify, what does my character want? What do I want? What do I want? What do I want?
And then your job is to go and get it in the confines or structure of the script. If you think about marketing and copywriting, etc., getting people to take an action of some sort, you’ve got to be really clear on what you want, what you’re trying to achieve, what’s the goal.
And you’ve got to be very creative about how you get people to take that action so that you achieve that goal. That’s very similar to what actors learn how to do. And in the process, an actor is creating an experience for other people to watch. The experience should be relevant and entertaining in some way, either in a dramatic way, a comedic way, etc.
When you’re marketing a business, when you’re trying to sell products and services, you want to create an experience for the people that you’re trying to get attention from so that they want to pay attention.
If you know how to do those two things – create experiences that are really relevant to the people you want to serve, and you know how to analyze your work, just like one would analyze a script to figure out, what actions am I trying to get people to achieve?
How am I going to go about achieving those while creating an experience for the people that I want to serve that’s relevant to them? You’ll start to find new ways of being as a marketer.
Pete: Absolutely. Something you write about that came out to mind as you were speaking there, in your books you talked about why people buy what you’re selling. It’s, I guess, a bit of a bridge to what you were just talking about to that topic. Can you talk about that a little about what you write about when it comes to why people buy? What it is that you sell as a marketer, as a businessperson?
Michael: Sure, absolutely. In order to understand why people buy what you’re selling, you need to start with a very specific target market. Now, I’m sure most of your audience knows what a target market is. Many of them probably have a target market. Some of them think they have a target market, but don’t.
Pete: I think it’s more of a latter for most people that I come across. It’s strange. People understand the definition. But when you really try and delve into it, when I do consulting sessions and things like that, it amazes me how often people don’t have pure clarity on what a target market is.
Michael: Yeah, agreed. There’s a few reasons I think. I understand why people have a hard time often making this very specific choice to serve a very specific, seemingly narrow group of people. One of them is because they’re afraid that if they make this seemingly narrow choice, then they’re going to miss out on opportunities.
The opposite is, in fact, what happens in reality. If you’re all things to all people, people don’t generally pay attention to you in the same way that they would if you are dedicated to serving them. If you think about it, here are three reasons you need a target market.
Number one, so you know where to do your marketing. Because if you know where to do your marketing, then you can get very intentional about the work that you do. If you’re doing your marketing in the same places, the aggregate of that work produces a lot of attention.
But if you are doing a little bit here and a little bit there and a little bit everywhere, you don’t build up enough marketing material out in the world to get any attention. When you have a very specific target market, you know what associations they belong to, what clubs they belong to, who their influencers are, what they read.
You can start showing up in those places. You can connect with those influencers. You can speak or write for those associations, those clubs. You can go to those events. As a result, you can be very focused about your marketing and produce a lot of more in fewer spaces.
Number two, when you show up there, they know you’re dedicated to them. That’s critical because who do they want to work with? With the person that’ll work with anybody who’s got a pulse and a checkbook, or the person that’s dedicated to somebody just like them, knows their world, knows their field, knows their industry, knows them like the back of their hand?
And then, finally, number three, they already have established networks of communication. They’re already talking to each other. So, they can spread your messages for you. They’re talking to each other through these groups, through these influencers, through these very specific, specific places that they hang out.
Now, if you still feel like, I want to be all things to all people, I don’t really want to make this choice. Yet you absolutely can do it, and you can get booked solid. I’m not saying you’re not going to, of course. But generally, it takes a lot longer. It takes a lot longer. Look, I’m on my boat right now, and I’ve got two Cummins diesel engines.
When I have someone work on the boat, I have a Cummins-certified mechanic work on those engines. I don’t have a regular mechanic. That regular mechanic might be able to do just as good, even not a better job. But I’m not going to give them the chance because his specialty is not Cummins. I want someone whose specialty is Cummins.
Pete: Absolutely. It is all about that specialty skill set, or at least specialty positioning, anyways, is the big thing.
Michael: Yeah, so there’s two things. There’s the target market, and then there’s the specialty that you bring them. If I was that Cummins mechanic, I would choose a very specific target market, a very specific boat owner with specific size boats, types of boats, region, etc.
My closest friends here at the marina all have boats similar to mine, and three of them even have the same brand. My slip neighbor right next door to me, his boat right now is down at a service station about 20 nautical miles from here, and it’s the first time he’s been there. But guess why he’s there?
Michael: Of course. I said, you’ve got to go over to Eric’s shop. You’re not going to get messed around with. He’s going to tell you straight. Blah, blah, blah. And that’s where his boat is now. It just makes it so much easier for people to refer because I know these guys are specialists, and will be able to do exactly what Andy needs.
Pete: Absolutely. Well, referrals are a huge part of marketing your business and putting yourself in a position so referrals can happen. Something else you talk about, which I do love to help increase business and revenue for something, is this keep-in-touch strategy.
I really love that. You talk about it in the books and things, and I want to get into the illustrated version of Book Yourself Solid [Illustrated], which just comes out a little bit later. But can you’ll talk about the keep-in-touch strategy a little bit and give people a teaser for what they’ll get when they grab a copy for the book?
Michael: Sure, of course. So, there’s two aspects to your keep-in-touch strategy. You’re keeping in touch with past clients, so they become current clients. You’re keeping in touch with current clients, so they stay current clients. You’re keeping in touch with potential clients, so they become clients.
But you’re also keeping in touch with your network, and your network is generally where many of your referrals come from. In fact, often I’m told by very successful service professionals that the majority of their referrals come from other professionals.
Now, the first assumption somebody might make is, well, that means that their service is not pretty good because their customers or their clients aren’t recommending them. Not necessarily. A few friends I have in this town that I live in, they’re not generally moving homes a lot. It happens once every five years.
As much as I love my realtors, I don’t have a lot of referrals for them. So where do they get most of their referrals? And, certainly, they get some from clients. I think I sent them one or two over the past eight or nine years, but they’re going to get most of their referrals from other people that serve their same target audience.
We need to make sure that we’re spending as much time developing deeper relationships with the people in our network as we are on keeping in touch with past clients, current clients, and future clients. We look at these strategies in slightly different ways.
Let’s look first at keeping in touch with the people in your network. When I think about networking, I think of it from that perspective. Keeping, making, developing deeper relationships with people in your network; people you already know. That’s different than trying to go out and meet people that you do not know, but would like to know. I call that direct outreach.
You’re trying to get to people. Maybe they’re potential clients, but maybe they’re people who can open doors for you: referral partners, want to get you booked to speak somewhere, or an editor, those kinds of things. So I think that the way that you deal with those people is slightly different in the way you deal with people who pay you, will buy from you.
There are four things I recommend you do every day, and it takes about 10 minutes, so it’s not a big ask here. So, the first thing I suggest you do each day is introduce two people who do not yet know each other, but would probably find each other relevant, either personally or professionally.
You know you say, “Hey, Steve, meet Stan. Stan, meet Steve. I know you guys are both scratch golfers always looking for a fourth, and you’re never going to like me because I suck. So, maybe you want to connect with each other. You never know, play some golf. Peace out. See you later.”
That’s it and it’s not your responsibility to make sure that they connect. If they do, great. If they don’t, fine, no problem. Now, it might be something professional. You might introduce a realtor and a mortgage broker because there might be a good connection there.
You might introduce two people who recently opened similar businesses, but in different parts of the country, because you just happen to know these people. Look, if I could take the word ‘marketing’ out of the dictionary, I would love to. I’d love to replace it with the word ‘relevance’ because all you’re trying to do is be as relevant as you can possibly be.
That’s what you’re trying to do. If you’re introducing people who might find each other relevant, then you’re relevant. It shows that you’re thinking about them, that you care about their future, their well-being, the things they’re interested in, and of course, that you know what’s relevant to them. And that’s pretty cool because most people don’t pay attention to others.
Pete: Not at all.
Michael: And if you do, then you really stand out. It’s amazing that that would make you stand out, but it does. That’s the first thing I suggest you do. The second thing I suggest you do each day is share some information with at least one person in your network. By way of an article. Maybe do two people.
Let’s just do two for math, and I’m going to do the math in a minute, so I’m building to something here. You share an article with at least two people each day. So, Pete, you have a particular hobby?
Pete: Yeah, triathlons. I run and swim, and all that stuff.
Michael: Let’s say I’m reading The New York Times and I see an article about triathlons and I find it pretty interesting. It’s about some new technology that people are using on their bikes for triathlons. I send you an e-mail saying, “Hey, Pete, I saw this article.” Now, mind you, maybe we did an interview a month or two ago, right?
We just met each other, so we don’t know each other outside of this. But now I know that you’re interested in bikes, in triathlons. So you’re interested in bikes if you do triathlons. But I send you this note saying, I remember that you said you did triathlons. I saw this interesting article about triathlons. Have you seen it? If not, here’s the link. What do you think?”
Pete: Something I do, a slight tweak on that, which I think has been molded off reading your book years ago is using services like Help a Reporter Out, HARO, that you might be more familiar with. I read that every day for our own exposure opportunities. But then if I see something in that daily HARO’s opportunity list that I think could fit with a colleague or a friend of mine, I’ll send them that media opportunity.
It shows them I’m caring what you’re talking, but there’s also extended benefits for them in their business because they might end up getting exposure and some publicity off the back of it as well. It’s a variation on that technique that I use quite a bit.
Michael: It’s brilliant. It’s exactly what we’re talking about. Yup, I love it. Basically, anything that you can do to be relevant to the people that you want to develop deeper relationships is the key. So, if you’re sending articles, or you’re sending opportunities, “Hey, I just noticed this thing. This might be perfect for you.”
Or you’re introducing them to others. And here’s the third thing, you’re showing some compassion that’s I say, “Hey, Pete, I heard you got into a bike accident. I’m so sorry. I hope everything’s going well. Anything I can do, let me know.” You find at least one person in network to do something extra special for.
Send them a card, send them a gift, send them some brownies as long as they eat brownies. Someone sent me brownies recently. I don’t eat sugar. Everybody who knows me knows that I don’t eat sugar, so that was an easy one to find out. Then I’ve got to give the brownies to somebody, and I’ll feel bad that next time I see them, they’re going to realize I don’t eat sugar.
They’re going to be like, what? I sent you the brownies. Shoot. It’s one of the things where you just do your best to try to find out what’s relevant. Every day you’re trying to be as compassionate and supportive as other people as you can be. But go out of your way to do something extra.
Now, let’s say you introduce two people, you share articles with two people or you share an article with one and a HARO thing with another, and then, you share some compassion with one. That’s five people a day. Over the course of five days, that’s 25 people.
Over the course of a month, that’s a hundred people you’re keeping in touch with. You think, if you had a hundred people that had some influence in your industry that you kept in touch with every single month in this way, that was very relevant, it’d be good for you getting business?
Pete: Undoubtedly. It’s such an easy thing to do, which is what I love about it.
Michael: But, here’s the thing. Even though it’s super easy, a lot of people don’t do it. I’ve been so discouraged over the years, and I don’t get easily discouraged, but this is one of the things that I felt like, man, if I could just get everybody that I serve to do this, they wouldn’t have to worry about too much marketing.
This alone can get you booked solid and help you go beyond. But it wasn’t happening. So, I worked for two years on creating a software program. I paid for the whole thing myself. I had two developers working on it. Then I got approached about five, six months ago by a company called Contactually.
They said, “Hey, we love what you’re doing. We want to take your protocols, your Book Yourself Solid networking and direct outreach protocols, and we want to put them in our software.” Now, they had 25 programmers, millions in investment capital.
I said, “So you’ll put those things in your software, and you’ll run the whole thing?” They said yes. I said, “Absolutely. Brilliant.” Their software is a phenomenal keep-in-touch software. But now, what you can do is make introductions, you can share information, you can even catalogue all your articles inside the system, and you can categorize people in these buckets based on the way that I describe and define in Book Yourself Solid Illustrated.
Each day, the system will send you the five people that you’re supposed to stay in touch with, and it’ll remember it. The algorithm will cycle them through into the appropriate number of days, etc. It’s $19 a month. I think that’s where it’s at now.
Michael: But you can get a 30-day free trial if you go to Contactually.com/BYS. But, you have to go to that link to get the Book Yourself Solid protocol: Contactually.com/BYS.
Pete: Love it. We’ll link that in the show next, as well, so people can get to it for sure.
Michael: I always tell people, I’m not making a fortune off of my association with this. I’m making a couple bucks a month off it if you decide to use it, so this is not where I’m generating my revenue. I want you to use this. I want everybody that I serve to use this because it’s going to help you get booked solid.
It makes these Book Yourself Solid networking and direct outreach strategies really easy so that you do them. Because our job is not to sell stuff, our job is to get people to consume the stuff we sell them.
Because if I sell Book Yourself Solid to somebody, if they buy it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, Chapters, or wherever; then, that’s great. I made a sale. But if they don’t do something with it, if they don’t read it, then there’s virtually no value to them, and there’s virtually no value to me.
Pete: I know you’re absolutely right because the book is, for most authors, it’s a lead-generation tool. Let’s be transparent about it. You want people to consume the books, and they continue on with you for whatever, the next book, the next program, the workshop, the lecture, the seminar, whatever it might be. So you want them to go through that.
Michael: Absolutely. And for all of what we do, every product and service that we sell, we should be focusing as much on getting them to consume it, getting them to use it, to do something with it, as we do getting them to buy it. And I think that’s where you get the big referrals.
That’s where you get the satisfaction from the people you serve that compels them to want to send more people. Because if somebody says, “Hey, Pete, I read that thing that you wrote.” If someone says, “I read that thing that you wrote, and I loved it. It was awesome. I’ve been using it.
It totally works, and I got, like, seven people that I’m going to introduce you to because they’ve got to use it.” That’s exactly what you want to achieve. But what also happens is somebody buys it and reads it and goes, “That was awesome. I love it.” They put it down, don’t do anything with it, they’re not going to refer.
Pete: Not at all.
Michael: Because they’re not going to be able go to people and say, “Oh, my God, it works.” They might be able to say, “I like it, but I didn’t really do anything with it.” That’s why getting people to consume, that’s really the key.
Pete: Let me ask you a question about that though, about the consumption stuff. Because I think most marketers always have in their world view is lead generation, not about this consumption mentality for back-and-repeat transactions. So, as an information marketer because as an author that’s technically, somewhat what you are, what are some things you can do to elicit compliance and consumption?
Michael: Sure. Okay, this might surprise you. But if you’re doing something that requires work from a client, they have to do things to produce results. I recommend not having a money-back guarantee, and here’s why. I read some research that suggested that when people have an option to get out of something, push comes to shove, they generally do.
But if there’s no option to get out, push comes to shove, they make it work. So, here’s the study, a very simple study. The study was based on the sale of ceiling fans. They sold the fan for a certain period of time to a certain number of people with a full money-back lifetime guarantee. Then they took the money-back guarantee off, and they sold it with no money-back guarantee, all sales final, same number of people.
And then they tracked these people over time. What they found is the group who could not get their money back made a stronger psychological commitment to that particular product because they go home, they put it in, and they look at it and say, “Hmm, give yourself a pat on the back. We made a good decision, excellent fan.”
Then they get a new appliance, six months later. They look at the appliance and the fan. They go, “Hmm, these work very well together. You made a good choice.” But if you can return it at any point, you might have been a little quicker to buy it. So, buyer’s remorse may be a little more likely.
But also, you might not make a psychological commitment to it in the same way because you know you can get out. So, you put it in, you go, “Is that the right one? I’m not sure. Honey, you were really pushing me on this one. I don’t know. Well, we’ll see.”
Then, six months later, they get an appliance. They look at the appliance and they look at the fan, and they go, “It doesn’t go. It just doesn’t work. It doesn’t go together. You should not have pressured me to get that fan.” So, they’re not making the same kind of commitment.
Pete: The first initial reaction I see from that, working with people, is that they are going to turn around and go, “Well, it’s going to reduce my revenue. It’s going to reduce my sales upfront. Money-back guarantees make me more money.”
Michael: Sure. Yeah, right. You also have more people you have a higher attrition rate. And even for people who don’t opt out and try to get their money back, you have less people generally finishing, and successfully finishing. So you have less good word out on the street. Now, for low-price-point products, for things that are quick, I do a money-back guarantee. But for long term programs, year-long mentioned programs…
Pete: Yeah, coaching, consulting.
Michael: Yeah, exactly. For my Book Yourself Solid School of Coach Training, the year-long training program – no money-back guarantees. If someone’s on a payment plan and they stop paying, I’m not going to take them to court for the rest of their payment, even though they’ve signed the thing saying they’ll pay.
I’m not going to do that. So, that’s happened once. Once. Literally once. I’ve been doing this for a decade. That’s happened once. Not that I took him to court, I didn’t take anybody to court. Let me clarify that. So, that’s a start. Yes, it may take longer for people to say yes.
But if your sales cycle is really good, if you are making sales offers that are proportionate to the amount of trust that you’ve earned, if you’re having sales conversations at the right time, then the business that you book is the right business, they are right for the offer that you’re making to them, and the offer that they’re buying; then they are more likely to be satisfied with the purchase and to continue their work and to fulfill all of the obligations associated with it.
So, that’s one place we start. Second thing, we track everybody that works with us. I mean, we stalk them. We have these massive spreadsheets. Every single week, different people in the organization are filling in these spreadsheets with different areas, like different people are responsible for different things.
One person’s responsible for tracking all the interactions from a particular coaching program in the Facebook group, so we know exactly how many times somebody is participating in the Facebook group, every week, from that program. Same thing with the calls, how many calls they are on every single week, every single month, etc.
Which events they go to, how many events they go to, so on and so forth. As soon as we see somebody starting to drop off, we call them, figure out a way to make sure that they stay engaged. I spend more time doing this than I do doing marketing. And the people you serve love it. Now, again, I’m a coach.
Part of my job is to get people to do things that they really know they need to do and really want to do, but they’re not doing. You may not be as relentless about this if you’re a landscaper. But nonetheless, that relationship you have getting people to consume the work that you’ve done with them is so incredibly important.
Pete: Something that came to mind as you’re talking here that I’ve heard you say before, which I think is extremely relevant right now and I’d love you to expand on it, was this statement you made in a conversation you had recently. I’m probably going to get this wrong a little bit, but it was something along the lines of, “A lot of business problems are just personal problems in disguise.”
Michael: Yeah, that’s exactly what I said.
Pete: There you go. I take good notes.
Michael: Yeah, and this is true really for most people, no matter what you do, but especially if you have your own business. Your business is going to be an expression of your personality, your way of being.
Pete: Which can be dangerous for some people.
Michael: It could be absolutely, very dangerous. It could be dangerous for me if I let certain parts of my way of being, certain parts of my personality run the company. It’s certain parts of my personality that need to be managed so the company does well, or else I’ll screw it up.
If you have a real problem with organization, the company’s generally going to be disorganized unless you’re managing it very well and have somebody else in there to manage all of the organization and keep you to task. But what problem is that? That’s a personal problem.
You have a problem with organization. It’s not pathological, necessarily. Meaning, you don’t have to go into therapy because you’re not organized. You just have to make sure that you understand that that is a personal problem. You either have to figure out a way to overcome that yourself and/or get help so that business stays organized, and you manage against that weakness.
If you have a really, really strong problem, if you’re not making enough sales because you’re not making the offer consistently and strongly enough, that might be a personal problem. The fear of rejection. That’s a personal problem. If you look at most of the things we run into in our business, if you don’t want to look at all your numbers, your financials.
If you find it annoying to go look at P&Ls [profit and loss] and stuff like that, that’s a personal problem. What’s your issue with looking at the money? That’s always where I go first. When somebody’s not working in my business, I don’t look first at the tactical aspect or the strategic aspect.
First, I look at, is this something that my personality or somebody’s personality inside the company who’s running that particular thing, is getting in the way of? And if the answer yes, then we try to deal with that first. If the answer’s no, ‘no, I don’t think it’s that,’ I think this is a tactical problem. Let’s see what we can do to fix it.
Pete: It’s something that I’m just thinking through; in some projects and businesses that I’ve been involved in over the years, is that you’re absolutely right. So many times, it is a personal thing that’s manifesting itself in the business. But because it’s in this shell of a business, people are looking about tactics and strategy, not about the underlying side, which I think is very, very important.
Michael: Yeah, absolutely.
Pete: The other thing I wanted to get onto was the book, Book Yourself Solid. You’ve had a number of books, The Think Big Manifesto and others since then. But you’ve basically come full circle now, and Book Yourself Solid is being rereleased, or is rereleased now, as an illustrated version, which I love. I’d love to hear the story about how that came to be and why it’s different from the original book.
Michael: Yeah, well Book Yourself Solid came out in 2006, and I did a second edition of it in 2010. It’s always been really, really popular, and I’ve been so grateful for that. I’ve had so much gratitude. But I still meet people who say they bought it and didn’t read it.
Or they started it, and they liked it, but they didn’t finish it. Again, remember, I’m all about the consumption, and that drives me nuts. So I would always ask why and people would say, “Look, I’m busy, and it’s 90,000 words. You know I don’t really love to read, frankly.” Pete, I’m not writing the great American novel.
This is a book that is designed to offer a particular solution to a particular problem. So you want the information in it, and you want to be inspired in the process, no doubt. But you would not be reading Book Yourself Solid, or Good to Great, or The E-Myth, if you are not a business owner and needed the information in it.
Pete: Unless you’re a really crazy insomniac, and it’s a good thing to put you to sleep.
Michael: Yeah, or you want to read books that would put you to sleep. So I said, we’ve got to solve this problem. I discovered that 85% of people are visual thinkers and learners. So, I said, oh, my God, why don’t we try to illustrate all these concepts? I hooked up with this strategist, a visual strategist name Jocelyn Wallace who did these extraordinary illustrations.
We cut a half to two-thirds of the text and represent all the concepts visually now. I’m not talking about boring graphs. I’m talking about really fun, creative, funny illustrations.
Pete: Some really cool stuff.
Michael: Yeah, and then the text is used to support those illustrations.
Pete: I love it. I think it’s fantastic.
Michael: It’s been a huge, huge hit. I’m just thrilled. I feel like I can brag on it a little bit because Jocelyn did most of the work. She’s the one who illustrated it.
Pete: Fantastic. She was, what, at an event you were speaking at, and then came up to you and approached you afterwards with the idea? Is that the story?
Michael: Yeah, I don’t remember it that way. But that’s the way she tells me, and I’m sure she’s 100% right. I thought that I went up to her because she went to this event and she was drawing on her computer what I was saying in my speech, and it was showing up on a screen.
Then I thought it was so cool that I went up to her afterwards and said, “Hey, this is really cool. I think we should do something together.” She says that’s not at all what happened. She said that she went to the event because she wanted to meet me, so she offered her time to do that.
She knew somebody who knew me a little bit, and asked him to make an introduction. She said, “Hey, I’d like to talk to you about an idea,” and I said, “Okay, great. Sounds cool.” Then we ended up doing this book together. But I think it’s a representation of a great partnership where each person thinks that they had the idea and they got the better end of the deal.
Pete: That’s exactly what I was going to say. Absolutely. Couldn’t agree with you more. Well, Michael, I really appreciate your time. So let me ask you a final question, and this is a questions that our listeners know that I ask every single person we have on this show. What’s the one question I haven’t asked you that I should have?
Michael: What’s the one question you haven’t asked me, but you should have? Is everybody a loss for words at first?
Pete: Absolutely, absolutely.
Michael: Maybe they try to come up with something really clever?
Pete: Yeah, exactly.
Michael: I would say why I do this. Why do you do all this stuff? Why do you write these books? Why do you try to go and teach this stuff? Why do you even care about this?
Pete: Fantastic question. So, why do you do all this?
Michael: Well, first, I know that I want to help people think bigger about who they are and what they offer the world. That’s almost pathological for me. I just have this deep desire every time I’m talking to somebody. I see that their small thoughts are leading the way for them.
But I want to take those small thoughts and just crush them and replace them with big ideas, big thoughts. That’s always been just the way that I’ve been. So, it’s not some special gift or some utopian thing – not utopian, some benevolent thing that I am doing for people. I want to do it for myself also.
That’s the way that I want to live, and I want all my work to be based on that. That’s number one. Number two, I fully believe that the best marketing for service business owners is full self-expression because I fully believe that, if you started your own business, you did so in large part because you want to be fully self-expressed.
You want to express yourself in your work. You want to be connected to your purpose. You want to have a reason to get up every day to do the work you do. And if you feel self-expressed in your work, you’ll feel self-expressed in your marketing. And if you feel self-expressed in your marketing, you’ll feel self-expressed in your work.
There are certain people you’re meant to serve and others that you’re not. People know you’re meant to serve them when you are fully self-expressed. That’s how they can see that you are meant to serve them. And if you water yourself down, they have no idea who you are, and they don’t know that you are meant to serve them.
Pete: Love it. Very, very cool.
Michael: Pete, you are clearly a fantastic guy. Thank you so much for the opportunity. If you ever need everything, just give me a shout. I’m here for you, and thank you to all who have been listening. I never take it for granted. No matter how many opportunities I have, I always feel so thankful.
Pete: Michael, well, thank you much for your time, mate. Enjoy the boat. I’d say enjoy the storm, but that’s counterintuitive. But we’ll chat soon.
Michael: Actually, the storm’s kind of fun.
Pete: Love it.
Michael: All right. Thanks, Pete. Talk to you soon.
Pete: Cheers, Michael.
[Pete's conversation with Michael ends]
Dom: Okay, folks, I hope you enjoyed that as much as we did. Pete certainly enjoyed himself during the call. I’ll let you into a little behind-the-scenes thing. Pete mentioned before the interview that I had a bit of a job editing it. I’ll tell you there was one point in there that I had to edit out a good maybe two or three minutes of real serious weather noise.
There was a serious storm going on there, outside that boat. I think he did a really good job of not giving it away. He was very calm and collected despite the fact that he was on a boat in the middle of a pretty major storm, wasn’t he?
Pete: It was quite funny. At one point he had to stop the interview, and go and tie certain things down and sails down, and close certain windows, and lock certain things. It was getting pretty crazy. I’m sitting here going, oh, my God, he’s going to die while I’m talking to him.
Dom: But he was so calm about it, wasn’t he?
Dom: He was very calm, very, very matter of fact. “Would you mind if I stepped out for a moment?” And then he came back and carried on. Brilliant. But there’s some great stuff in there. I love his perspective, and I could almost hear it in your voice, his perspective about don’t offer refunds.
That was quite a different perspective on something that we talk about a lot. But there’s definitely some really good takeaways out there. That was well worth the wait and well worth him persevering through his storm quite literally. Excellent. Well, just like last week, this week we have another bit of feedback from a listener.
You know we started picking out our SpeakPipe messages from over on PreneurMedia.tv. If you’ve got something to give up feedback on from the show, you can pop to PreneurMedia.tv any time and leave us an audio message. Donnie Price [of ADC Hardscapes] from Oklahoma left us a message recently, so let’s have a quick listen.
Donnie Price: Hello, Pete and Dom. This is Donnie Price. I’m from Oklahoma in the United States. I just wanted to call and say thank you very much for the entertainment that you guys provide, and the educational value as well. I’ve learned a whole lot. I’m only about halfway through your podcasts that you’ve done thus far.
I was just going to give a shout and thank you guys. Keep up the great work, and I look so forward to seeing what you guys are doing in more of a real-time fashion. Great days.
Pete: Well, thank you, Donnie. I really appreciate you listening to this show and taking the time to connect with us over on the website. So, mate, rock on, and get through the rest of those episodes.
Dom: Absolutely. You’re not alone, Donnie. We get a lot of people saying that they’ve gone back and they’re catching up. There’s a little bit to catch up because we’re now over a hundred episodes, but keep going. It’s worth it. We’d like to think so, anyway.
Pete: The thing I was going to mention is when we had our 100th live show a couple of weeks back, we asked the audience who was there doing the live recording what their favorite episode was. It still stands out to be the 7 Levers episode. So, if you haven’t heard the episode on the 7 Levers, make sure you do that. But either way, we’ve got a full report now.
We’ve turned that whole framework into a report people can download and start implementing in their business straightaway. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, it’s available at 7LeversReport.com. Just throw your e-mail address in there, and you can get the download version. I’m going to be working on an audio version over the coming few days as well.
So hopefully, within the next couple of weeks I would say that’ll be roughly available as well. We’ll let you all know how you can get a copy of the audio version of that report, too. Amazing feedback so far on that. People have been spreading that and sharing that because they’re seeing the value in it, which is really, really cool.
Dom: Cool, and hopefully, you’ll check the weather outside before you start recording so it’s easy for me to edit that, Pete.
Pete: Very true. Very true.
Dom: Okay, folks, couple of standard stuff now. We’re getting pretty regular with some of these things. First of all, a reminder that you can always join in our current competition, whatever’s going on, over at PreneurMarketing.com/Win. It’s whatever’s going on at the current time.
Whatever deals we’ve got. Whatever we’ve been able to get from the authors that have been on the show as giveaways. You can enter there. Do check back regularly because the contest changes as we get new things to give away, and more chances to win if you share the contest with your friends.
So, definitely pop over and do that. And as always, we are eternally grateful for everyone who listens to the show. We love that audio feedback that people are starting to leave more and more regularly now on over on PreneurMedia.tv. So, do pop over there.
PreneurMedia.tv is the home of the podcast where you can find all the back catalogue of shows. You can listen to them online. You can download them. You don’t need to have iTunes. You can listen to them online or download them directly. We work through and put transcripts upon there, and also video versions of each show.
Pop over to PreneurMedia.tv. Try that out. Of course, all the links for all the shows are available there too. Also, the podcast is available on iTunes. You can leave us a review on iTunes in your particular country. As we mentioned last week, I still don’t think we get anybody from Greenland or North Korea in our listener base, Pete.
Pete: We’ll get there one day. We will reach all corners of the globe.
Dom: We will reach all corners of the globe. But for right now, we’re very happy with the audience we have. Thanks, everyone, for listening. We’ll see you all next week.
Book Yourself Solid Illustrated – Michael’s book
http://contactually.com/bys – Customer relationship manager tool based on the Book Yourself Solid strategy
http://audibletrial.com/preneurcast – Free trial with a free audiobook download
http://preneurmarketing.com – Sign up to receive Pete’s audiobook and get our weekly updates on cool stuff
http://adcokc.com/ – PreneurCast listener Donnie’s decorative concrete business in Oklahoma, USA
http://7leversreport.com/ – Sign up to download the 7 Levers Report in PDF
Previous PreneurCast Episodes:
Episode 052 – 7 Levers of Business Redux
We are now regularly receiving copies of books from the authors we feature (and other goodies) to give away to PreneurCast listeners.
To enter our current competition, just visit: http://www.preneurmarketing.com/win.
Keep checking back for the latest competition and prizes!