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Episode #24

Episode 024: The one with more cheese and less whiskers

  • Dean shares a simple but life-changing discovery
  • The 2 prime directives of your very best prospects
  • How to effortlessly attract more prospects with “cheese”
  • PLUS: How to make sure you don’t lose before you start

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Dean: Hey everybody, it’s Dean Jackson.

Joe: And Joe Polish.

Dean: And Joe about to cough up a lung Polish.

Joe: No, no. I’m actually eating cherries right now. First off, everyone, welcome to I Love Marketing. This is going to be a very special episode, because we’re going to start off with me talking about how I’m eating organic cherries while we’re doing this call. Let me just talk about what irks me about sort of food in general. First off, I’m extraordinarily grateful that we live in a wonderful country where you can actually go into grocery stores, and there’s tons of food, and you have all these options. Now, the flipside, so I can complain about something, is I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that you can go and buy like a Big Mac for a fraction of the price of like organic blueberries or broccoli. Like I’m eating these organic cherries right now, which probably cost more than gold, actually, at this point.

Dean: Per ounce, yeah.

Joe: Yeah. The point is, though, you want to eat as healthy as you can. You don’t want to eat crappy fast food. A lot of people do. I think, statistically, 10% of all meals in the United States are actually consumed in a car.

Dean: Only 10%?

Joe: It might even be more. But I think the stats are 10%. I don’t know. If anyone knows the accurate stats and can do a Google search, and post it on, I Love Marketing, just to make me look like an idiot, that’s completely fine by me. But the point is while you’re listening to I Love Marketing and getting the very best marketing advice, suggestion, tips, banter, whatever you want to call this, you should also be eating healthy food. That’s all I’m saying. That’s all I’m trying to say.

Dean: Cherries make it better.

Joe: Yeah, cherries are alright. You don’t want to overdo it on fruit, but for the most part, cherries and lots of green, leafy vegetables. Everybody should buy like a Vitamix, and they should make green smoothies, and eat good stuff. Having said that, what are we going to talk about today, Dean?

Dean: Here’s a nice segue. Let’s talk about cheese.

Joe: Yeah, yeah. That is a nice segue, cheese, which is not a food that I would recommend anyone eat, however. The point is this is not about talking about cheese for consumption by you; it’s talking about an analogy of understanding marketing and positioning, and all kinds of neat things that I’m going to let Dean describe. This is going to be real valuable, if you kind of get what Dean is going to share with you. This could make a gigantic difference in the way you do everything: from how much money you make, to the way you interact with your clients. This will stay with you the rest of your entire business and marketing career, if you take it to heart. So, I consider this to be a very important episode of I Love Marketing. So, we want your full and undivided attention.

Dean: Now that you’ve got your snack food and you’re ready to pay attention for an hour, this is going to be well worth it.

Joe: Exactly. It’s kind of like at the movies with cherries, instead of popcorn.

Dean: Right. It’s probably better for you.

Joe: Much better.

Dean: You’ve got to plan ahead, though.

Joe: Of course.

Dean: Alright, enough of the silliness. Let’s talk about cheese and how it relates to marketing. Recently, I was out in Phoenix with you, at your 25K group, and one of the things that we talked about, a shared concept that I’ve really been developing over the last few years now. And it’s really become crystal clear to me, especially over the last year, that the dynamics involved in you trying to start a relationship with somebody who doesn’t yet know you, like you and trust you, which is essentially anybody in your before unit, anybody who is new to you, new to your business, new to your service, new to your product. Whatever it is, there’s always this uncertainty when people are getting started. So, I’ve been really thinking about how that dynamic comes into play, especially when you’re trying to get somebody to start something for the first time. I’ve read a lot of articles about psychology and the human interaction dynamics, and one of the things that I read and found very interesting is the reason that mice are used as test subjects in scientific experiments is that their brains are very similar to our brains.

They’re much smaller, of course, but as far as it comes to their automatic reactions to things, their biology, they’re very similar to the way humans interact. I started thinking about that. You’ve heard other people talk about how people are afraid and you’ve got to kind of visualize your prospects as mice that are afraid of you. It really struck me that the 2 prime directives of a mouse, that they come preprogrammed with, are 2 things: 1) to get cheese, and 2) to avoid cats. If you boil it right down, that’s the 2 prime directives of a mouse. And they go about their whole lives just looking for the cheese and being hyper-vigilant and avoiding the cat. And that’s how they live the longest possible life.

Joe: Wait, wait! Hold on a minute, too. Hold on a minute, Dean. What I’d like everyone to do is write down those 2 prime directives if you’re in an area where you actually are not driving, so that you can kind of keep this in mind, because prime directives would be the motivation, the drive, what is happening at the core of the mouse’s being, using that analogy, cheese and cats. Because this apply to everything with your prospects and your clients, and what is their motivation, and how you approach them. Because if you take away from this, I Love Marketing episode, if you change your approach into a manner that is more approachable for your prospects, for your clients, that will shift everything about how you do business.

What I will say, Dean, when you mentioned you were out in Phoenix, at my 25K meeting in my office, actually in Tempe, Arizona, everyone that was in the room was completely bought into this. And they were like, “Wow! That makes total sense.” And we’re talking there’s some very high-level people there. Best-selling author David Bach was there, Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, Dr. Daniel Amen, Jeff Walker, Dean Graziosi, the infomercial guy, John Jantsch, who’s the author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine. Who else was there? We had Tellman Knudson was there.

Dean: Tellman was there, Fabienne and Derek.

Joe: Yeah, Fabienne and Derek Fredrickson.

Dean: Tim Larkin.

Joe: Oh yeah, Tim Larkin, Target Focus Training. There were very high-level people there, that were some of the top in the world at what it is they do. And when Dean explained this, everyone like, “Wow!” like totally got it. So, I just want to reiterate that, so people place as much importance as I can convey how important this is on that. So, write down the prime directives. And what are they, again, Dean? Just say them again.

Dean: Get cheese, avoid cats.

Joe: There you go.

Dean: If you sum it up, those are the 2 prime directives. Interesting, Joe. I had lunch with Dan Sullivan on Saturday, and he was telling me that company-wide, in their marketing department now, they’ve completely embraced the chief theory here. And I’ll explain how they’re doing it. But they’re completely embracing it. It’s great. It’s funny. When you look at that, that is really parallel to what our human drives are. If you look at for the mouse, the cheese is pleasure. We’re all kind of motivated by pain and pleasure, and the cheese would be the pleasure and the cat would be the pain. So, we’re very similar, as humans. We’re driven to focus on the cheese, if you want to call it that, for our life, which are all the pleasurable things, the good things that we want, the things that we are attracted to, and to avoid the cats, which would be the painful things; getting ripped off or getting hurt, or losing money, or taking risks. All those kind of things, we’re naturally averse to risk, and we’re naturally attracted to pleasure.

There was a couple of really anchoring experiences that I’ve had over the last year, that have really kind of tied this into place for me here, so I’ll share a couple of examples here, and you can see how this is in play. One of the things that I did this winter, I worked with a company in Florida that does all of my postcard printing, they do all of the fulfillment for the World’s Most Interesting Postcard, they do all of the fulfillment for our Getting Listings program. They’ve got these great digital, variable printers, and they can prints lots of volume, high-speed. You can completely personalize every single postcard and every element on the postcard. One of the things that happened is I was in their office and just kind of as a sidebar, one of the people who heads a division of their company that they do birthday marketing. They do personalized birthday mailing postcards out to people whose birthday it is, for restaurants to invite people to come to download a gift card for that restaurant, for their birthday.

One of the things that they were doing was emailing to a list of restaurant owners or restaurants. They got this list from a supplier. They had 3,600 names on the list, and they didn’t know whether they were the restaurant owners or the restaurants front desk, or the management, or whatever, where these emails were going. But they sent out an email to this group that was a lovely-looking HTML email that was sort of all about their company and how they can help you fill your empty tables.

So, they would send out this email, and they sent it to 3,600 people, and got zero clicks of people to come to their website. They were kind of confused, looking at the email. Everything looked great. But when you really looked at it from the perspective of the mouse looking to avoid the cat, or to get the cheese, this email was all about the cat. It was all about them. It was saying, “We can help you fill your empty tables. We send out these postcards,” and it was very clear that this was a commercial message, that the intention was to get the restaurant’s owner to spend money, to buy these postcards, to send them out to fill up their empty tables.

So, what I said to them was, “Let’s try and send a message to them, that is completely 100% focused on what they really want.” This is going to sound sort of simple. It’s going to sound incredibly unusual for a business-to-business email, but here’s what we did. I said, “Let’s send out a message. Just put the name of the restaurant in the subject line. And in the body of the message, all I want you to do is I want you to put one sentence, and let’s call the restaurant “Dominic.” So, the message would say, “Dominic’s” in the subject line, and then the body would say, “Do you do birthday parties? Jim.” That’s it. That was the entire message. So, we sent that out. I said, “Don’t send that to all of them, because we want to see what happens.” But they went ahead and sent it out to 3,600 people and got hundreds of replies back from people saying, “Yes, we do birthday parties,” or “Of course, we do birthday parties. How big is your party? How many people are going to be coming?” All these different variations on that theme of “yes, we do birthday parties,” and them pursuing him.

So, when you think about that, 3,600 of the same people who got an email a week before, and paid zero attention to it, now got an email that was completely focused on only one thing: the cheese to that restaurant. And the cheese, to a restaurant owner, is more people coming in to the restaurant, or anybody in that restaurant. Those emails, we had no idea who those emails were going to, whether they go to the owner, to the manager, to the front desk receptionist. It could be going to anybody. But what I really discovered, what that cemented for me, was this idea that on any level of a business, especially if you’re doing business-to-business marketing, and even if you’re doing business-to-consumer marketing, but particularly on business-to-business, on every single level of the business, every employee, frontline, middle management at any level is 100% authorized to bring money into the business.

But spending any amount of money, taking money out of the business, often requires approval from 3 levels up and forms in triplicate, and is to be avoided. So, when you think about that, by focusing completely on the cheese, the mouse who’s opening that email, maybe on the frontline, maybe one of the hostess people or the manager of the restaurant, or the assistant manager, or somebody was getting that, and they looked at that as an opportunity to get cheese. So, they were all over it, because there’s a reward that comes with bringing money into the business. And there’s a hassle factor involved in spending money out of the business. So, people look like, “Well, I don’t want to make that decision,” or “I don’t want to be the one to spend that money,” or “Eh, we’re not going to be interested in that,” or “We tried that.” All kinds of different dynamics are at play. But when you focus their attention only on the cheese, the thing that they really want, they become much more responsive. So, let’s talk about what happened in that first interaction, Joe. If you think about it, even in your business, or my business, or anybody’s business, would you say that everybody on your team is fully authorized to sell stuff, to bring money into your business?

Joe: Yes. And if they do that, it makes me very happy. And if they do not, it’s quite annoying.

Dean: When you say that it makes you very happy, how do you express your happiness?

Joe: I buy stuff.

Dean: You buy stuff for them, to make them feel good?

Joe: No, no, no. Like how do I express it, meaning what do I do with the money or how do I express it to the team?

Dean: How do you express your happiness with the team, if they bring money into the business?

Joe: I say nice things to them, I let them know that they did a great job, that I appreciate it. I reinforce the fact that every time someone purchases something from my company, we’re helping them, and that they’re doing a great thing to encourage and equip people, because I think, really, what we sell at Piranha Marketing is direction, confidence and capabilities. For instance, if one of our professional cleaners buys something from us, what they’ve done is they’ve equipped the person to be more capable, to communicate more effectively their services, to get their services in the hands of more people. And all the way around, it just makes the world a much better place, from our perspective. So, we’ve helped someone. We’re serving people.

Dean: When you think about that, is there anybody on your team who’s not authorized to sign somebody up to join your $10,000 Platinum coaching program?

Joe: It’s $1,000 a month. But, no, everyone is completely authorized to sign up anyone that fits the criteria and would sign up, absolutely. If someone wants to join my $25K group and they make $1-million a year or more, yes, there’s a process we take them through, but everyone is completely authorized and empowered to do that.

Dean: Is there anybody on your team, on your frontlines, who’s fully authorized to spend $25,000?

Joe: Yeah. At that level of money, the only one in my company is my assistant, Eunice. Anything over $1,000, there needs to definitely be a conversation about. There’s a couple of people in my company that I know, like and trust, and that are authorized. We have like accounts for office supplies. We’ve got a pretty substantial purchasing of stuff. But yeah, it’s not free rein, like it is with cheese. We are open arms, when it comes to cheese. When it’s open arms with everyone that can spend money in my company? No. We have lots of, I guess, restrictions.

Dean: Exactly. And that is not unlike any business in America. There’s far more attention paid to spending money than there is to bringing money into the business. Everybody joyfully has an unlimited budget for bringing money into the business.

Joe: Yes.

Dean: So, I just want people to really get that on a really deep level, that there is no restrictions, there’s no budget limits, there’s no maximum allocation for bringing money into the business. Everybody is fully happy to bring money into a business, and fully happy when anybody on the team brings money into the business. When you really get that on a deep level, especially if you’re going to have somebody making a decision that’s going to involve thousands of dollars, it’s very, very important that you focus, first of all, on the cheese, on what that money’s going to get. Now, when you look at it, part of the thing that makes this really work is if you do have something that is going to help them make more money. If you’re in a business that helps people get something that’s going to bring them more money or something that’s going to bring them a lot of joy, it’s a consumer item, if you get them focused completely on that first, that is the #1 way to get the most interest involved with people.

Now, when you look at what happened there, that’s not enough; because now, you still have to think like you’re thinking this all the way through, that you’ve got to know how this is going to turn into money for your business. Let’s just continue the example of the birthday postcard guys, because what they have is they have a product that helps people get more business for their restaurant. What we did is I sat down with these guys and said, “What would you say would be the minimum acceptable requirement that somebody would have, as a business owner or a restaurant owner, to invest in doing birthday marketing? If they spent money to get people, what would you expect would be a reasonable return, that they would be completely okay with?” A lot of times, we try and over-state what the benefit is. When you look at your best-case scenario, there are people who are spending $500 and bringing in $5,000. You look at that as like a huge ROI, and you start talking about that as the potential benefit.

But if you look at it as a business owner, most business owners, for something like a new customer acquisition program, would be content to continue, or at least explore continuing, if they were doubling their money. If they were going to spend $500 and bring in $1,000, there’d be a pretty good chance that they’d want to continue doing something like that. Does that make sense?

Joe: Yeah, totally.

Dean: What I said to them was, “Let’s look at the psychology of the way people want to start these things. Most people don’t want to commit to a long-term thing. They would hope to get people to sign up for a 6-month program that they would do 500 birthday cards for $3,000 over the 6 months. The thing is that most businesses, especially when they’re starting something, getting something going, most people want to test something on a small level, and make sure that it actually works. That’s the dynamic that’s naturally in play, especially if there’s any kind of resistance at all. Most people, if they’re not familiar with it or they’re not familiar with the way that you do business or what your business offers, they want to kind of take their time in making those decisions; unlike bringing money into the business, where they can make that decision on the spot. That’s why everybody replies, “Yes, we do birthday parties.” And now, they’re kind of pursuing you, because they view you as cheese.

So, you have to think, now, 2 or 3 moves ahead, to know how this is going to translate into that business, taking their first step in starting a business relationship with you. But we’ve crafted some email messages that would be done in a dialogue method, where when they replied, “Yes, we do birthday parties,” we would reply back and say something just like this: “Perfect. I’ve been working with Roy’s Restaurant here in Sarasota, on some birthday marketing, and I’m looking for somebody to work with in Phoenix. Could you accommodate 5 or 6 birthday parties next month?” That was the whole email. So now, we’ve got somebody who does birthday parties. We’ve introduced the idea that we’ve been working with another business just like theirs, in another part of the country. We are looking for somebody to work with in Phoenix, and can you accommodate 5 or 6 birthday parties next month.” More cheese. Can you accommodate even more cheese?

And people would reply back and say, “Yes, we can do 5 or 6 birthday parties. We’ve got 6 different restaurants or 6 different branches,” or whatever, “6 different locations,” and they were very interested in pursuing this, and you’re showing them how you’ve been introducing the idea that you’ve been doing some birthday marketing. And now, they’re even more invested in this cheese, and we haven’t asked for an order yet. We’re using email, in this situation, to engage somebody in a dialogue, just like we would if we were having a real conversation. That’s the best analogy that you can use for email, is to think of it as a conversation, just a really slow conversation, where you say something and then I say something, and then you say something, and we are engaged in this dialogue.

So, we only want to reach one objective at a time. “Do you do birthday parties?” “Yes, we do birthday parties.” “Perfect. We’ve been working with Roy’s Restaurant in Sarasota. We’re looking for somebody to work with in Phoenix. Can you accommodate 5 or 6 birthday parties next month?” “Yes, we can.” Now, we would go in and introduce the idea of how we work together. We put together a video that shows them exactly how the birthday marketing process works. Here’s a video of what we’ve been doing with Roy. Take a look, and find out exactly how we work.” And introduce them to the whole concept, then. So, they would go, and they could look and see how everything works. And then, the next day, would follow-up with a message that basically said, “We’re putting together our birthday mailings for July next week, and what I’d love to do is do a small test with you, where we’ll mail to 200 people who have birthdays within a mile or 2 miles of your restaurant. And the test is $199. If you don’t double your money, we’ll give you your money back.” That was the offer.

Rather than making somebody commit to a long, 6-month process that they’re going to spend $500 or $1,000 a month for 6 months, why not go with the dynamics that are already naturally in play, go with their natural tendency to want to go slow, to want to test something? For small business owners, for a small restaurant or for a salon or a café, or any kind of small business, spending $200 is a reasonable thing, especially if you’ve seen that this really works for the other people that you were shown in the video. All of that stuff really helps people make a decision that, “You know what? It’s probably worth a test.” But we started out, remember, with a list of people who were unresponsive just a week before. The same people, with a different offer, nobody replied.

And then we send the simple all-cheese message, and that’s where I was saying to them, this is where I’ve really been sort of clarifying this whole concept, is that when you are initiating something like this, the very best thing that you can do is to avoid highlighting your whiskers. Avoid letting people see that you’re a cat. That’s the thing. It’s like as soon as you see an ad or a business or an email or a website, or anything that’s trying to attract people right away, and the first line is, “We’ve been in business for 15 years, doing blah, blah, blah,” it’s like the cat speaking.

Joe: The whiskers have just shown up.

Dean: Your whiskers have just shown up. So, the best thing that you can do is to get your whiskers out of it. If you can focus only on the cheese, that’s the thing that’s compelling to people. I did this drawing for Frank Kern, several months ago, maybe a year ago now, because I was back here in Toronto. I’m going to put it up on I Love Marketing, under this episode, but the picture basically shows everybody’s kind of focused on their 4- step process or, “This is how we work” kind of thing. And when you look at it, they’re showing, essentially, the path to get to the cheese. But the thing is the mouse doesn’t really care about that process of getting to the cheese, of how you get there. What they really care about is that you get to the cheese.

So, the closer you are to getting to the cheese, the easier it is to get people to accept your message. So, I’m going to put up this picture here, because it’s kind of a great little illustration. Frank laughed and laughed, when he saw it. But that’s really what’s kind of been clarifying this idea here, that when you look at anything you do, how can you avoid looking like a cat? How can you get the whiskers out of your sales message, and just focus on more cheese and less whiskers. If you can initially present your thing only focused on the cheese of what it is that your prospects really want, the better off you are.

Now, we do this in the real estate situation, too. Like for realtors going out to get new listings, one of the things that the whole evolution is, realtors, for years, would send out and do send out personal promotion postcards that have their name on them, their logo, their picture, and they’re saying, “Thinking of buying or selling? Call Joe Polish.” Or, “Thinking of moving? Call Joe and start packing.” All of these things where “Joe Polish is selling Phoenix, one yard at a time,” all those things where you’re the star of these ads, people mail these to homes in an area where they’d like to get more listings, and that is all about your whiskers. Right? You’re saying, “Sell your house with me,” because you’re the cat. Now, one of the things that we’ve done with our Getting Listing program is focus only on the cheese. So, if you are thinking about selling your house, Joe, what’s one of the top things on your mind? Like what’s the question that pops into your mind when you contemplate maybe selling your house?

Joe: How much can I get for it?

Dean: How much is my house worth? That’s the #1 thing on somebody’s mind. So, when I really discovered that and made a postcard campaign completely geared around that thought only… What’s the name of your neighborhood?

Joe: Mine?

Dean: What neighborhood or area of Tempe are you? Not your little subdivision.

Joe: Yeah, because I’m trying not to disclose where I live.

Dean: I understand. Pick one in Tempe that would be like close to your office, or something.

Joe: Well, like the Hayden area.

Dean: Hayden. So, when you look at Hayden, if you live in Hayden and you’re thinking about selling your house, the #1 thought that you have is, “How much is my house worth?” So, if you look at how Robert Collier would say, “Enter the conversation that’s already going on in somebody’s mind,” if you were to get a postcard in the mail that offered you not “Thinking of selling your house? Call Joe Polish,” but somebody sent you a postcard that had no picture of you, no logo on it, no indication that there’s a cat attached to this, but was just a simple message with a picture of a homes or homes in Hayden, or the gateway entry to Hayden, and the offer was, “Free June 2011 report on Hayden house prices,” and you could call or go to a website and get this report on all the homes that are for sale and have sold in Hayden in the last 6 to 12 months, to get an idea of what your house might be wroth, that would be very interesting to you, because that’s the #1 thought on your mind. You’re not – by calling this – committing to anything.

The first thought that people have, when they’re thinking about selling their house is, of course, “How much is my house worth?” The truth is that they have that thought 90 days, 6 months, 9 months before they ever decide to actually do something about selling their house, that, if they’re going to sell their house, is the primary thought. That’s the thought that triggers the whole process. So, by identifying people who are interested in knowing what their house is worth, that is identifying people who have a high propensity for selling their house in the next 12 months. So, that has been a tremendous thing that we’ve been able to do by just focusing completely on the cheese. So, the cheese to a person who’s going to sell their house is, “How much is my house worth right now?” That’s the thought. They don’t want to get involved with a realtor right now, a cat, because they know that the cat’s going to try and come over and get them to list their house with them right now, and they’re not ready to list their house right now.

Joe: I want to make a distinction here, too. I totally get what you’re saying on all this, and I love it. And I hope everyone is kind of fully engaged here.

Dean: That’s why I want to kind of use different examples, to kind of illustrate it.

Joe: One thing I want to say is like because the cat, in the analogy of a mouse, is usually trying to attack and eat the mouse, one of the things that I don’t want people to get mixed up on is the cat is showing up as if you are victimizing your clients. We are saying all of this – well, Dean’s saying it all – under the assumption that you, as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, a seller of a product or a service, what you’re selling is actually providing value and is delivering what people want and preferably are going to get. It’s going to be a win-win situation, meaning that if you are selling something that does truly, indeed, take advantage of people, and you’re going to trap them, then that is not our objective here. Our objective here is to understand how, if you really have something that can create value for people.

But it’s being presented in a way to where they feel threatened, or like you had talked about with the team, there could be people showing up at my company and talking to my staff, that have something that could truly benefit me, that I would love to have in place in my company, if I only knew it would benefit me and all that. But if they’re approaching everyone in my company not with cheese but as a cat, then they’re never going to sell anything to me, or the conversation starts through me or whatever. So, the point is that I don’t want anyone to feel like, “Oh, taking advantage of someone, watch out for the cat,” if the realtor’s really not going to help someone, yeah, it’s not going to be a good fit. But if that person could really help them, but they never get hired by that person because of their approach, then everyone loses.

Dean: Right. That’s exactly right. And the primary assumption in all of this, that I have with all of our listeners, is that they really do have something valuable. That’s got to be the #1 prerequisite. You’ve got to have something that is a dream come true for your prospect. It’s the ideal scenario for them. I’m trying to help our listeners get over this natural tendency that people have, to view you and label you as a cat, because they don’t know that you’re a good one. They don’t know that you’ve got something that’s going to be very valuable to them. So, it’s safer for them to assume that you’re a cat.

Joe: Can I say something about that, too? And then, I want you to continue on. I think this is such an important thing. I believe it’s human nature to whatever you’re not up on; you’re down on. Meaning if you were to go to someone and say, “Oh, I really think you should go to this seminar because it’s really going to help you,” most people are not going to say, “Oh, really? I could really use some help right now. Tell me all about that seminar?” Typically, they’re going to pooh-pooh the idea; they’re going to be reluctant, they’re going to be skeptical. You’re going to have to sell them, in the traditional sense of the word, on what this is and why you think it’s great, or whatever. People have a tendency that, if they don’t understand anything, they don’t view it or accept it with open arms and curiosity. They usually approach it as I don’t want anything to do with it. It’s negative. So, the point is if people are not up on your company, they’re going to have more of a tendency to view you as a cat, not as cheese.

Dean: That’s exactly right.

Joe: Even if you offered nothing but cheese, the point is like there’s this great overhead that I used to have that, based on a conversation I had with Dan Kennedy years ago, that said, “There’s no relationship between being good and getting paid. There’s no relationship between being good and getting paid.” And it doesn’t matter how good your product or service is or what it does, until after somebody’s bought it. So, there’s a lot of people that are running around, that are really good people, but they never get paid. And the reason that they never get paid has nothing to do with the fact that they don’t have good products or services, any more than when I was a deadbroke carpet cleaner, I knew how to clean people’s carpets. We provided a great service. But if I couldn’t get anyone to hire me, it didn’t matter. And it wasn’t until I changed my approach to “buy my carpet cleaning services” to “free consumer’s guide on how to choose a carpet cleaner, or how to choose a carpet cleaner, those sorts of things where I started shifting the message before I ever met or heard you explain this analogy.

Dean, it wasn’t until I learned how to position myself as cheese that people started. Who wants to go out and hire a carpet cleaner? Everything about that is cat. Let’s wake up today and figure out how we’re going to bring something scary into our lives. Anyway, my point is I want everyone listening to take this in the positive sense. We’re not trying to say, “Here’s how to sneak in and sell something that’s not going to help someone,” to somebody by repositioning yourself. This is about if you are good, if you create value, if you have a process that’s going to help restaurant owners put on birthday parties and get a lot more clients, and make a bunch of people happy, you’ve got to position it in a way where it’s appealing to them. Because if it’s not, they’re never going to do business with you and they’re never going to get the benefit of doing business with you. And that’s the point. So, carry on, my friend.

Dean: You’re absolutely right. When you look at that, when you look at that as the opportunity that you have to really differentiate yourself by making your product actually work, that’s the biggest thing. Your prime directive should be to only do things that are going to create incredible value. If you don’t do that, you don’t deserve to get paid; you don’t deserve to have a business that thrives. Because in order for you to have long-term success, you’ve really got to have that mindset, that your business thrives to the degree that your client’s business thrives, or your clients’ lives are enhanced, or they get the result that it is that they’re looking for.

One of the biggest marketing ideas around is risk reversal. It’s taking the chance, taking the risk and putting it on your shoulders, instead of on your prospect’s shoulders. We talk about reversing risk by giving people guarantees, and knowing that your clients or your prospects or your customers, or your patrons are not going to be damaged in any way; that there’s zero risk that things could go wrong. So, one of the easiest things for you to do, to just get into that mindset, is to really look at the service or the product that you deliver, and ask yourself, “What would happen if we only got paid if our clients gets the result that we’re actually showing them here?” So, you look at if you’ve got something that helps business owners make more money, or you’ve got something that helps people achieve a certain outcome. What would happen if you only got paid if they actually achieved that results?

That’s a very mind-expanding thought. Because for some people, that might be a really scary thought. When you think about it, I think back, Joe, in January, when you were down in Florida, and we had lunch with an information marketer who couldn’t understand why people weren’t really buying his stuff or getting the results with his stuff. It turns out that he didn’t have something that was so sure-fire, that he would stake his life on it working. And he was almost surprised when I asked him that. “Do you have something that you would stake your life on, that if they just did this one thing, that it would work?” He was kind of surprised by that. But that was the bottom line. You’ve got to have something that actually gets the results, before you can expect to get paid for it.

Joe: Exactly. What’s even funny is like how can someone expect to have confidence in building and growing and growing their business, or expect your clients to have confidence in you, if you literally don’t have confidence in what it is you’re selling, or you’re not clear on it. Because in that particular individual’s case, I was almost sitting there going, “I believe in what you’re selling, not because I have this blind faith in it, I know people that have made money and have had results using what it is he’s selling, but he himself could not articulate it or hone in on it.” And it was like this fog to him. When you were taking him through the question process, he’s like, “Huh? Yeah?” It’s pretty weird. And don’t be one of those people that live in the fog.

Dean: Right. That’s the first place to start, is to look at your business and say, “How can you make it so ridiculously easy for somebody to get started, that there’s 100% upside, it’s all cheese for them, and your whiskers don’t even come into play?” They don’t even notice your whiskers, because they’re so focused on the cheese and how readily available it is for them. They see only the cheese, and they don’t see that there’s any possible way that they could lose in this arrangement.

Joe: I’ve got a funny exercise that everybody can do. This is not a useful exercise, it’s just going to be a ridiculously goofy, funny exercise, but it will still prove a point. You know how you have the question in the email that says, “Do you do birthday parties?” for restaurant owners? They’re going to be like, “Yes, cheese!” I sat and wrote a little note here like, “Do you eat pizza?” I think everyone should go to Facebook and Twitter and just literally type in, “Do you eat pizza?” And I bet you; it will start a gigantic thread. And perhaps, I will be known. We’ll have to give you credit, because it stemmed from you, so it’s really your fault. And I don’t ever really recommend, from a health standpoint, that anyone, per se, should eat pizza. But what the hell? If everyone just wrote, “Do you eat pizza?” you will see tons, assuming you have any friends, you will see tons of comments of people. And why? If you wrote, “Do you like pizza? Yes or no?”

Dean: I’m doing it right now. “Do you eat pizza or do you like pizza?”

Joe: Yeah, yeah. So, if everyone listening to I Love Marketing posted that from this episode on Facebook, and put “From Joe Polish, a question,” whatever, they have to do it, and they have to promote I Love Marketing in the process and say, “Well, if you want to understand why I did that, you’ve got to go and listen to this episode.” It will create a viral thing. But the point is tens of millions of people, perhaps, at this episode. It’s a viral thing about eating pizza. But the point is people are going to respond to that as cheese.

Dean: I know. I just posted right now. “Do you eat pizza?”

Joe: Obviously, it’s such a simple, obvious cheese question. You know what I mean? What are your favorite ingredients?

Dean: That’s the thing. There we go, Paul Reddick almost posted in 3 seconds. Oh, my goodness.

Joe: We’re not even selling anything here. But the point is that’s the thing. Well, that’s why the I Love Marketing conference that’s coming up is going to be all about how to position the cheese. So, if you want to become a master deliverer of your cheese, then come to the I Love Marketing conference in September, in beautiful Arizona. During that time of the year, it’s awesome. Okay, so how do we wrap up this? From my perspective, you absolutely delivered on what I hoped we would do on this particular episode, which is really give people the perspective of how to look at how they position themselves.

And I can assure you that if you really start understanding, as Robert Collier says – Robert Collier, years ago, in the 50’s, wrote a book called The Robert Collier Letter Book, that you want to enter a conversation that’s existing in your prospect’s mind. Like you have so eloquently explained with the cat-and-mouse analogy, the mouse’s prime directive is to get cheese and avoid cats. So, in your own world, how do you position what you say, how you say it, the marketing, everything, if you want to sell more stuff, you want people to not see you coming at them with whiskers and teeth grinding. You want to set it up so that you are as appealing as humanly possible. If you do that, your entire business is going to change for the better.

Dean: You hit it on the head. What’s more appealing to a mouse than cheese? Nothing. What’s more appealing to your prospects than their dominant thought, the thing that is most on their minds? If I’m a carpet cleaner, the thing that’s most on my mind, by the way, just in this little time here, we’ve got 4 comments and 3 likes already.

Joe: Oh, that’s fantastic.

Dean: This is cracking me up. But here’s the thing. One of the things that you can do to get yourself into this, and this is one of the things that Dan Sullivan said they’re doing, is they get a piece of paper, and they divide a line down the middle, and they look at every message component, everything that they’re doing. And on one side is cheese, on the other side is whiskers, and they divide that line right down the middle, and you look at every component of your marketing message and ask yourself, “Is that cheese or is it whiskers?” The whole idea is to completely focus on the cheese and completely eliminate the whiskers in the messaging. So, here’s a little hint: anything about you and your experience and your competency, and your interest is whiskers. Anything about the result and about their desires and their hopes and their dreams, that’s the cheese.

So, if you just do a cheese audit on all of your marketing materials, all of your marketing messaging, that’s going to be an incredible place to start. I’ve got this whole analysis and this whole exercise that we’ll be able to do at the I Love Marketing conference in September, and where to go with that, what to do, and how to take it so that it becomes the backbone of all of your marketing.

Joe: That is what I’m trying to say. It’s true. Doing a cheese audit would be a very good exercise for everyone. You said something I want to point out real quickly. You talked about what could be your skills. Your greatest knowledge and capabilities in your mind, could also be perceived as a threat, and you perceived as a cat with whiskers, coming at the mouse, if you don’t talk about what’s in it for them, if you don’t think about it. It’s one thing to be a person that really is not delivering anything of value, and you really don’t care, and all you’re trying to do is make a quick buck. That doesn’t require any sort of empathy or compassion for people in order to have a scammy sort of business set up like that. To be a person that really cares, like when I was a broke carpet cleaner, and I was certified, I went and got trained on how to clean carpets properly; I understood pH levels, I understood chemistry. I really cared about my clients. I didn’t do bait and switch advertising. I worked really hard, and I provided really good service.

And it’s really frustrating to live in a place to where you’re like, “I’m doing everything I know how to do – why am I broke? Why is this not working?” According to the Kaufman Foundation, I think it’s like 94% – it might be higher, it might be 95% or 96%, but it’s a tiny percentage of people that make good money – I believe, of entrepreneurs never make more than $50,000 a year in their entire careers. The vast majority. You’re talking like hardly anyone, relative to the amount of business owners out there, actually does well. And it’s frustrating, because these are some of the hardest-working people in the world. And part of it is not because they don’t have cheese that they can offer people, part of it is because everyone perceives them as a cat.

Dean: That’s exactly right.

Joe: So, we’re not doing this episode because it sounds cool and it’s a neat analogy. This is really to be taken seriously. This could really change your life. This could really allow you to get the freedom that you became an entrepreneur for in the first place. And what we would like you to do is you know lots of business owners out there, you know lots of struggling people trying to make a business work, start a business. Out of all of the things that they can learn about the technical side of their business, the management side of the business, if they don’t get this part right, the chances of them having any sort of success are virtually slim to none.

So, I would encourage you to share this episode of I Love Marketing with anyone that you feel needs to hear it, especially people that are always trying to sell things to you but they never approach you with, “Hey man, set it up, so it’s appealing to me. Don’t come at me with these manipulative sales pitches and stuff like that. What’s in it for me?” Because you’ll be doing them a favor. In a lot of ways, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. I certainly don’t like doing business with people that are always coming at me with whiskers, even if they have stuff I may like.

Dean: Nobody likes whiskers in their cheese.

Joe: Exactly. Next episode, we’re going to talk about vegan cheese and maybe stuffed cats. I don’t know.

Dean: There we go. But this one, we’re going, to sum up with your prime directive is more cheese, less whiskers. That’s the thing. That’s what we’re looking for from you. I’d love to hear your comments. I hope we were clear on that. This concept is still kind of evolving. I just started articulating it, just in the last little while. So, I’m anxious to hear your feedback on it. I know that if you get it, like Joe said, we’ve been in rooms with people at the highest levels, who just get it and see how profound it is. I’d love to hear your comments on that, too.

Joe: Yes. So, please, please, put your comments at Share this with everyone. Go and post, right now, “Do you eat pizza?” or “Do you like pizza?” on Facebook, just so you can kind of see how simple questions, simple words can evoke a response, because that’s what we all want. We all want positive responses. And let us know how you’re using it. If you’re using any sort of verbiage, put it on, because everyone that listens to I Love Marketing will probably find it really valuable. Let’s use this as a jumping-off point for you to dramatically improve the way that you position and package yourself to your customers, clients, prospects, etc. So, until next time, anything else, Dean?

Dean: No. That’s it. That’s good.

Joe: Alright, man. Everyone have a great day. Thank you, Dean. Goodbye.  

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