Episode #33

The one with John Jantsch (DuctTapeMarketing.com)

  • John shares the number one obstacle to referrals
  • How to create your clients dream come true experience
  • Dean and John trade referral getting strategies
  • PLUS: what to say up front to set the stage for referrals

Dean: I’m Dean Jackson. He’s Joe Polish and this is the I Love Marketing Podcast. Hey everybody, it’s Dean Jackson.

Joe: And Joe Polish.

Dean: Joe, we’ve got a very exciting guest today, don’t we?

Joe: We have an awesome guest today and what’s kind of cool, we were all together in New York at one of our 25K groups together just a few days ago. And our special guest is one of the sharpest friggin marketing people in the world and his name is John Jantsch. And so just a real quick background on our guest and then i’ll ask him to say hello. His name is John Jantsch. He’s been called the world’s most practical small business expert for consistently delivering real world proven small business marketing ideas and strategies and he is a marketing consultant. He is an award winning social media publisher and the bestselling author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine.

He’s the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing System and Duct Tape Marketing Consulting Network that trains and licenses small business marketing consultants around the world. He has a really awesome blog that was chosen as Forbes favorite for marketing and small business and his podcast is a top ten marketing show on itunes and was called a “must listen” by Fast Company magazine.

His take on small business is often cited as resource in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Times and CNN Money. I just wrote all that, right, before I just read it by the way. I’m kidding. I didn’t do that. That’s actually who John Jantsch is. John, first off thank you for being on the I Love Marketing episode today because I know it’s going to be awesome. How are you doing?

John: I am doing great. You know, I got to believe Joe that your listeners and Dean listeners get tired of you saying, we have a really special guest on this show, because every time I listen, your guests are pretty cool.

Joe: Yeah, yeah. You know, and plus, I think even if we don’t have a guest, the mere fact that me and Dean are so darn special, I think makes our listeners even that much more excited to hear it from our special guest. Yeah, but no what I will say about I Love Marketing is we’ve had some pretty awesome people that we have had as guests on the episodes, and I think it’s super cool because we’re getting literally the best in the world. And one thing I do want to say about you and Dean Jackson, not only are both of you phenomenal marketers in the direct response world but the both of you are two of the top experts on referrals in the world.

Dean created a whole model called Before, During and After which we’re going to be talking about at the I Love Marketing conference here in a couple of weeks. And he’s done so much in the referral world with by referral only and you, your recent book, The Referral Engine which I found out about it by, from an email from Seth Godin who highly endorses the book and it’s awesome. And so you both are not only marketing experts but you have a real deep understanding of the psychology and application of getting people to refer, so my purpose here with having you as a guest is twofold.

One, to introduce you to the I Love Marketing community and talk about marketing, and the second is to have both you and Dean actually talk about referrals so that all of our listeners can leave this episode with some real good takeaways in mindset and understanding about how to really just make it happen. So, I mean, Dean, I know you have a million.

John: I can’t wait to hear what he has to say. This is great.

Joe: Yeah, of course. I’d like to ask you right from the beginning like, you’re a marketer and our podcast and our episodes are called I Love Marketing and I’d like to ask you either to define marketing in your opinion or describe why you love it.

John: Well yeah, i’ll give you both. I’ve been using a definition of marketing for about the last ten years because I found the textbook definitions were very lacking. And unfortunately they’re still teaching those in colleges today, but my definition of marketing is getting someone who has a need to know, like and trust you. And again as I said i’ve been using that for about ten years and I think it’s become truer with each passing year, particularly for the typical small business that doesn’t have a million dollars to spend on advertising to build, know, like and trust.

They’ve got a really, the subject that we’re going to talk about today referrals is certainly a great way to build, know, like and trust but to do it without spending a whole lot of money. The second part of that question why I love marketing, certainly I love marketing, and in fact I think every business is whether they will ever come to realize it or not is truly a marketing business.

But the folks that I work with, so many of the kind of traditional small business mom and pop’s even, their businesses are sucking the life out of them and, you know, I get to really the opportunity through marketing and through showing them how to take a systematic approach to marketing. I really get the chance to help them get their life back, so what’s not to love about that?

Dean: Yeah, I have to say that Joe and I have talked about this too but, you know, like Duct Tape Marketing is really one of the best brands i’ve heard. It says all the right things, it says practical, it says it’s not necessarily going to be expensive. It says, you know, things that you can put together and makes it seem kind of doable for small businesses.

John: Yeah, I mean I think you hit on all that I use in all my positioning, you know, it’s simple, effective, affordable, doesn’t always have to be pretty, but it always has to work. And I mean obviously it also has the added benefit and I’d like to say I spent lots of time and research on focus groups on this but it has the added benefit of just really taking advantage just in three words. Sort of people’s entire association with all things Duct Tape and happens to be a very positive association, so when I started using it I really did it because I wanted to turn marketing into a product and create a system and show small business owners that you could just actually follow a very set path.

So I hope to give it a name and I thought that that sounded like a better name than John’s Cool Marketing system, but it was amazing that the first three or four times I uttered it, I thought, “Are people going to think this is really stupid?” I come to find out that most people had the exact same reaction that you, you know, they’re just like, “I get it from a marketing standpoint.”

Dean: You get it.

John: From a marketing standpoint, if somebody can get what your whole brand’s about in three words, that’s pretty special.

Dean: Yeah, you know, can I also, can I just ask you? Like we’re going to spend some time talking about referrals but I would like to have you throw out just some recommendations, some advice for people about what you’ve learned. And I mean you’ve spent a lot of time of figuring out and learning and simplifying what is very complex to a lot of people which is how to basically use marketing that works. What are some things that people need to have in place in order to make their marketing work in their small companies? I mean what are some fundamentals that you teach?

John: Well, the absolute number one, above all to the point where, you know when occasionally people do stick the gun to your head and say just, “You only get to tell me one thing.” It’s strategy over tactics. So many businesses they read about something, they go to a conference, they get an email from somebody saying, “Oh you need to do this,” and they’re just fumbling around with the tactic of the week.

Occasionally, some of them do some good but, you know, they don’t ever build any kind of brand, any kind of momentum, any kind of awareness in the market because they’re just all over the place. So that idea of creating a marketing strategy before you ever really determine what methods you’re going to create, know, like and trust with is probably the most important.

Now, I always have to kind of add on to that though that, you know, because so many people have heard strategies, like, what does that mean? Everybody says it, nobody knows that it means. The absolute number one thing from, in terms of strategies you have to find a way to differentiate your business from every other business that says they do what you do. And as simple as that may sound, it is life or death I think for most small businesses because the market thinks that one plumber, one accountant, one software person is just like another and if you don’t show them a way that you clearly are different in a way that matters to them, then they’ll default to price every single time.

Joe: Yup. That is one thing I discovered and that’s when I first really learned back in 1992, I think was the first time I actually learned about unique selling propositions, and that gets overused a lot and when I say overused meaning different people talk about it. Most people don’t really quite understand it and even to this day, fast forward 20 years later that, most people that I still meet with that are business owners, they have universal selling propositions but they really haven’t differentiated themselves from pretty much anyone else and any unique or compelling or clearly understandable way, although I think a lot of people they have but they really haven’t.

Strategy, going back to strategy because I think that’s really important what you said, “Strategy over tactics,” so a little deeper with that. What do you mean by strategy?

John: Well just, for me, it’s just what you started to talk about, there are really two components to it of discovery and then of course the idea of communicating it in everything you do. But first off, who makes an ideal client for you? There are so many businesses try to be all things all people. You know anybody, if I’m an accountant and anybody who needs anything related to accounting is my ideal client, and I think in many cases of course, that’s how one of the challenges why many businesses can’t differentiate is because they’re all over the place with their message.

So if you can get this very clear picture of almost like a drawing or a painting of your ideal client so that you can go when we start talking about referrals. So that you can go out and tell somebody, “Here’s how you spot my ideal client.” That you really start then all of your language, all of your materials, all of your content on your website. You start talking to that person, that hopefully very narrow really defined person and it starts the process of differentiation right off the bat because you are honing in on somebody who says, hey, you’re talking about me and my specific problem or my specific demographic or my specific need.

Now, the other side of that that I already started to talk about then is though this differentiation because there are a whole lot of people out there after that same ideal target market. And you have to find a way be it through your product, through your package, through your price, through your delivery, through the way you provide service, some truly meaningful way to demonstrate how you’re different.

The example I use when people ask me about Duct Tape Marketing is everybody else at least in my market at the time when I created Duct Tape Marketing was selling marketing as a service very much in a it’s a strange science and you tell us what you need and then we’ll go back and we’ll give you a proposal for marketing consulting. And what I said is, what if I were able to walk into a small business and say, “Here’s what we’re going to do. Here’s the path we’re going to take. Here’s what you can expect. Here is the results you can expect and by the way, here’s what it’s going to cost.” All of a sudden changing the entire paradigm about how marketing consulting was purchased as a service and that was a clear differentiator, because the great thing about having a strategy like that and having a clear point of differentiation is that people either said yes or no right away. And frankly, either answer was just fine because you were able to laser in so simply and so differently that the people that got it, the people that wanted it, that that differentiation resonates with are coming to you and saying, “When can we start? And by the way, I’m willing to pay a premium because I can’t get what you’re offering from anybody else.”

Joe: And they know what they’re going to get.

John: Exactly.

Dean: It’s so amazing. That’s one of the, I mean we talk about the very first profit activator that we talk about is select a single target market and, you know, what you’re just describing there is exactly that. Narrow it down. Get a crystal clear picture and the biggest obstacle and you probably run into this too but the biggest obstacle that most small businesses have when they narrow is they don’t want to just limit themselves to one target market and that’s not at all what we’re talking about

You know, it’s not, it doesn’t mean that you’re only going to be limited to this one ideal client. You could have three or four different ideal clients but you have to speak to them differently because they have different needs.

John: Yeah, I often talk about people, instead of, you know, instead of thinking in terms of being an okay solution for 1,000 people, be the absolute best solution for 100.

Joe: Yeah, well you know what’s so funny about that and that’s great. And Dean, you know, that’s exactly what I was thinking. We have a report that we let people download for free on Ilovemarketing.com which is called Breakthrough DNA and it kind of literally goes over the 8 Profit Activators that have to do with the before, during and after unit of any business.

And the very first one starts with strategy before we go into tactics, and our thinking is so aligned which is why it’s so great for us to be doing this because it just reinforces. That’s why everyone needs to read Duct Tape Marketing and pick up a copy of The Referral Engine and all that stuff and I think it would serve everyone swell.

John: Oh what the heck, get a couple.

Joe: Buy them for the whole family. I mean I think you should even put them in safety deposit boxes for the grandchildren 50 years from now because books won’t even exist 50 years from now.

John: That’s right. Spoil yourself. Get a couple of copies. You’re worth it.

Joe: So John, I mean let’s talk about referrals. I mean there’s a good opportunity, you know obviously we could talk for two weeks on all the different stuff we know about marketing. Let’s hone in on one method of, kind of one strategy and one method of generating business which is going deep with referrals. I’d love to have both of you just kind of talk about it because I’m not really in the mood to talk to you guys anymore. I mean i’ll just kind of sit here and occasionally pipe in and act like I’m smart but for the most part, you guys know referrals inside and out and I’d love to have our listeners walk away from this episode with some killer understanding of referrals.

John: Well let me just jump in to first set the table. Because I wrote this book, I can’t tell you how many journalists, you know, the first question is, “Why did you write The Referral Engine?” And so i’ve answered this question a lot and it’s because in speaking with small business owners for over 25 years now, I would love to ask them, “How do you get most of your business? How do you generate your business?” It was always the same. “Well, I did a little good work for somebody. They told somebody. They told their brother and next thing I knew, I was getting a fair amount of my work by word of mouth or referral.”

And I still pull audiences that I speak to today and I ask people commonly, “How many of you got 50% of your business by some fashion of word of mouth or referral?” And half the room, you know, hands go up. But then I always turn around and say, “Okay, how many of you are actually doing something systematically to make certain that you can even amplify that number or maybe even have a target of 100% of your customers referring business?” And you know, rarely does a hand go up at all and I always found that fascinating that people would readily admit and know a tactic, a specific tactic worked extremely well and yet they did nothing to try to make it work better.

Joe: You know and it’s so funny, you and I talked about this John but the same thing with audiences asking about referrals because everybody, every business, every category, if you’re doing something right, you’re getting referrals. You’re getting people who tell their friends and they show up on your door step ready to go. But when you look at it, I always put them in two categories that people end up in, the types of referrals that they end up getting. Either passive referrals meaning somebody shows up on your doorstep and says, “Hey John, my friend told me that you really helped his business, I’d love for you to help mine too.” That’s a passive referral. You didn’t do anything to make that happen and they just showed up on your doorstep and you feel great about it.

Then the other type is a reactive referral where somebody calls you up, one of your client says, “Hey, I was telling my friend Bob about how you were helping my business and I think you could really help him. He’s probably ready now. You should call Bob.” And I call that a reactive referral because now you have to react to it and actually make something happen. And both of those happened out of the blue for most businesses, because just like what you said, they don’t really think about that you can orchestrate that

John: Or worst, there’s actually some, you know, I can’t tell you how many business owners tell me, “Well I don’t want to do that. I don’t want it.” It’s like I’m begging, you know.

Joe: And then you get into the whole mindset, right? That that’s I think you’re absolutely right. That people don’t feel comfortable asking for referrals or they don’t feel comfortable going down that path because it feels like they’re begging.

John: I have probably alienated a few people in audiences because my immediate reaction to that is then you don’t feel 100% sure of the value that you have to offer, because if you did then wouldn’t you be doing a disservice to your client by not allowing them to bring that value that you can produce to their friends, neighbors and colleagues, or you put in that frame.

Joe: It becomes a moral issue.

John: Yeah.

Dean: Now let me ask you guys that. I don’t want to pass over that because I think it’s such an important thing. You know, Dan Sullivan who we all know, he was with us last week he has this term called the Unique Ability which is someone’s number one skillset and what they’re really skilled at and what a lot of people kind of take for granted because they’re so good at that, that they don’t even notice it.

It’s kind of like trying to tell a fish that he’s in water, they just are not aware of it. And the whole comment of when someone, doesn’t really believe in the value they offer, how do you actually, well for one there may be a business that really isn’t selling a good product or service so therefore they don’t have confidence in it. But there are a lot of people that actually do deliver really good stuff but they get weird about it. Like you just described, they’re worried about asking for a referral, they don’t have the belief that they deserve it. And a lot of times they’re not aware of the value that their delivering.

If people are giving you money for something and they’re happy with it and they would tell other people about it but you don’t believe you can ask them or you can engage a great sort of referability in that client then there’s a problem there. How do you get people to see that? Do you have kind of a process John?

John: I actually do. I mean it’s, I make a lot of audiences laugh when I tell them, look, you don’t have to read the first half of the book because all it tells you is you just need to be more referable to get referrals and because that really is absolutely the truth. And so part of that, the companies that get lots of referrals, they get over that mindset because it becomes an expectation and the way that you, I haven’t seen a business yet that follows this path, that doesn’t come around and say, “You know what, we are actually not only hurting ourselves, we’re hurting our customers if we don’t take this advice and take this path.”

You guys use the before, during and after and I use something called the marketing hourglass but it’s kind of my same approach, that if marketing is getting someone to know, like and trust you then you turn know, like and trust into try, buy, repeat and refer. And the sort of repeat and refer starts and ends almost with having a process where you’re actually meeting with clients and I know not ever business model can do this. But where you’re meeting with clients or have some way to measure the impact after the fact, I call it the results review.

Whether it’s 90 days after you finish a project or some period of time after you provided support or sent out a product that you actually have a very specific process, and I’m not just talking about just sending out a survey and hoping they fill it out. I mean a real process where you are helping them understand the value they received as well certainly demonstrating that and measuring it on your part too. Because when I get people that really take that idea to heart and they start realizing that they’re actually producing value that’s five, six, seven times maybe what they’re charging in a very short period of time. All of a sudden, not only do they get really confident about asking for and seeking referrals, a lot of times they raise their prices.

Joe: If you’re marketing hourglass and Dean’s before, during and after unit were like physical creatures and they had to get in a physical fight, which one do you think would win?

John: You know, I’m sure mine’s prettier. That’s all.

Joe: Yeah. No, you’re right. From literally a sexy stand point, I think the hourglass would look probably physically better which means that the before, during and after would probably go for the kneecaps to take them out.

John: Well I already have created, I use that concept so much that we’ve created this giant poster and my consultants will actually, for a sales call in some cases? Will actually walk in with the poster and say, “What are you doing here? What are you doing here? What are you doing here? What are you doing here?” And they find that, well, okay. I’m doing one and a half out of the seven things, you know, when can I hire you?

Because it just so simplifies the whole process of marketing. You just have to fill in these gaps and all these touch points and have a product or a service or a process that makes sure that you’re delivering an elegant experience along the path and pretty much the rest will take care of itself.

Joe: Yeah, that’s awesome. So Dean, what do you have to say for yourself about that?

Dean: You know what? I’m speechless.

John: That’s right. On your next I Love Marketing podcast, you guys will be talking about the Marketing Hourglass like you invented it right?

Joe: Actually, no because I never try to claim anything unless I really do, but when someone else invents something I think they should always be credited for it because that’s just what a smart, cool, ethical person would do.

John: Oh I know. You know I’m just kidding.

Joe: Oh no, of course.

John: No one’s going to accuse you otherwise Joe.

Joe: Exactly, exactly because I’m known. So how do, how do the listeners of I Love Marketing start the process of becoming more referable and what should they do? I mean if you only had a limited amount of time and you wanted to really give a group of people some of the best thinking processes strategies for creating a highly referable business and making it work, what would you tell them to do?

John: There are kind of two things. Two separate exercises i’ll give you. The first one that I love to do is we so often think we’ve got this great product, let’s go sell it. And so what’s the marketing copy got to look like? And what I like to do is try to get people to work backwards, all the way from the point of you getting a referral from a happy customer.

So, you know, what happens 180 days after the sale? What happened 90 days after the sale? What happened 30 days? What happened two weeks? What happened at the actual transaction? What happened a week before? What happened you know, six months before? So in other words working backwards and really paying attention to what are all the touch points? You know, what are all the ways that we could or should be actually providing a nice touch? You know, a nice experience keeping the experience, everything that we’ve promised on the front end because that’s where really people drop the ball.

I think is a lot of times marketers think in terms of getting a sale. We do such a great job at creating this enticing copy, maybe in creating great products and certainly coming up with ways for people to refer us. And where the ball sometimes gets dropped is at the point the person says, “Bye.” And, you know, what do we do after to keep that experience? Even the transaction, they thought we were so incredible before they bought something and then really it’s not because we’re unethical or doing anything that we’re just trying to just take money and run. But we so often are so wired for the hunt and really, the referral comes in that whole period, you know, 15, 30, 45, 90 days after they gave you their money.

And so if you start that process of working backwards all the way from the referral and then working backwards through that whole path of what that great experience is going to be. A lot of times, I think you fill in the gaps and you say, “Hey, you know what? We could do this process here. We can make sure they get this email,” or, “We could send out this video that gave them more education and I think that’s where people,” people that do that are the ones that get the referrals.

Dean: What’s amazing is that, because it’s so similar the way you think about things and the ways that we think about things, and you start out with identifying that single target market and then our next step in that process is then to jump forward and answer the question, “What would be a dream come true for that person? That question right there. I heard that from Derek Sivers. The guy that started CD Baby. And that, when you really think that question, I think that elevates your thinking, right. It’s not just like what would be the least amount I could do to transactionally get this done for them?

What would be a dream come true for them? I mean that’s a more exciting approach to take. And when you start thinking about your service delivery or whatever it is that you do. When you start thinking about it in terms of going just like you said, 15, 45, 90, 180 days out after you’ve already delivered the service. It’s like there’s almost this dividing line that most of the time people look at their during unit, they look at the actual transactional part of their business as ending when the job is done and you get the check and everybody’s happy. That’s kind of traditionally the end of the transaction.

But if you’re taking that lifetime view, you’re taking the view that you’re going to build and nurture a lifetime relationship with this person and orchestrate referrals, something magic happens when you do something after you’ve already in their minds done your job and been paid for it. Because everything that you do up to and including the moment they give you the check is all under that umbrella of you’re doing that because I’m paying you.

But as soon as you get the check and as soon as you’re done, everything that you do above and beyond that is now something that they weren’t expecting. It’s something that is setting you apart. It’s really demonstrating that your intention is to build a lifetime relationship with them, and the big benefit of that is in almost every situation, if it’s something that somebody buys or something, some result that somebody’s got from working with you, they’re most excited about it immediately after.

I mean it’s going to be in the first 15 or 30 days but they’re telling all of their friends about this cool, new thing that they just bought, showing them their new car, inviting them over to their new house. Talking about their marketing plan that’s working so well. Whatever it is you do, that’s when they’re going to be talking about it, so you’re really setting the stage for being introduced to all those people that they’re telling about it. And, you know, our expectations as consumers have been so lowered because, nobody’s providing anything. It’s probably one of the easiest ways. You want a simple trick? Send somebody a handwritten note after they buy something from you. They’ll be floored.

John: Yeah, can you imagine?

Joe: No, no, you’re so absolutely right. I mean Dean interviewed me on like, you know, the process of people, or he was asking how I meet everyone and so we did an episode called the The Magic Rapport Formula which is, Fabienne Fredrickson who you know. She actually interviewed me on how to meet people and stuff and one of the suggestions which, you know, you’ve heard a million times probably in the past, people that are younger haven’t really kind of heard this advice as much but the whole send 10 postcards a day to people and if you simply do that and you did it for like a year. Literally a handwritten postcard or a note or a card, I mean your network will be so dramatically expanded, the bonding you have with people. And this, not just business, it could be friendships personally, I mean whatever.

And people just, it’s so simple and it’s so easy and you can automate that process with technology in so many easy ways and people don’t do it. I mean i’ve got carpet cleaners that are doing some of the most “sophisticated” not difficult but sophisticated in the minds of the client ways of follow up and communicating and everything simply because they just do a little more than the next person. And you don’t have to be a genius in order to get ahead in business. You just got to do a little bit more than everyone else and like you just said, most people are not doing squat so there you go.

John: Yeah, you know a lot of it comes with a mindset too and I think Dean, you were hinted on this too, and I wrote a blog post I think that the title was the sales not final until the customer gets the result. And I mean you can’t always make that happen but I remember when I first started selling, I have a system that people can buy. The typical buy and doing audios and that kind of stuff and I remember when I first started selling that and we had been doing it for about six months and we weren’t getting any returns or anything but we also weren’t getting any hey this is the greatest thing i’ve ever bought emails either.

And so we reached out to a handful of customers, imagine that, there’s another tactic you might actually jot down for folks. So we reached out to a couple of customers and asked them, we just wanted to survey and find out where they getting results. And about the first three that we called, “Oh, you know, it’s sitting on the shelf. We haven’t really done much with it.”

And I think that a lot of times even if we make a great product, that doesn’t mean that the customer’s going to get the value. And I think that some of the follow up and some of the touches and certainly some of what’s going to lead to word of mouth and referrals is for you to really study and put together processes and education and whatever it takes. Like you said so much of it can even be automated that really makes sure that they get the result a well, because even if they thought the price was fair and you did exactly what you said you were going to do, what leads to that referral is when they actually get the result so that they can go up to somebody and say, “Wow, this is incredible.”

Joe: Yeah, totally. I want to ask you about, you know, it’s one thing about creating referrability in your own clients and getting people to refer you but to go out and do joint ventures, strategic partnerships. You have a chapter, chapter nine in The Referral Engine which is the strategic partner network. Can you talk about that?

John: Yeah, I probably come at it from and again my background is really more the traditional business and not necessarily the online business. And so a lot of the folks that I’m dealing with, even the term joint venture might not even mean as much to them, but the way that I talk about it and I think it doesn’t matter if you’re online or offline is to think in terms of your customers. And just visualize every other product or service that they might need to get what they want out of life or out of their business, whether it’s related to yours or not. And think in terms of building a team of kind of best of class providers for all of those services.

And I talk about how you identify those and things like that in the book, but the idea is to adopt this mindset where you become the go to person for your clients. And so when they say, “Gosh do you know a plumber, do know a copy writer or graphic designer?” You’re able to say, “Yes, I do and as matter of fact, let me introduce you.”

Because if you start with that point of view, because a lot of times what happens is people get this idea of, oh yeah, we need to do joint ventures, or, we need to get some strategic partners. And the mindset’s always, so they’ll send us business. And I think if you flip that around and say, what if I can build a team so that I could actually be seen as so valuable to my customers they would never leave, oh and by the way, I would start sending referrals to these folks.

Well, you know, of course the end of the story, right, is that team they all should be on the team and they all want to enjoy that relationship, they’re going to start sending business to you just by virtue of that process. Now there are a lot of things you can do to formalize that, to create content opportunities and to really turn that into a real machine for you. In fact, i’ve taken some small businesses over the years to the point where that will network of eight or 10 businesses are basically driving all of the business to each other.

Joe: Yeah, that’s amazing. You know, there’s, it’s almost like you take the role of being an advocate for your clients realizing that they’re going to need all kinds of other things that you don’t do. And if you’re the one that is sort of advocating for them and taken their best interests under your wing and making sure that they get the right service, have you ever read The One to One Future, do you remember that book was written in maybe 1996 Don Peppers and Martha Rogers.

So they wrote a book, Don Pepper and Martha Rogers in 1996 called The One to One Future, and back then this whole idea of thinking about your clients and about the relationship that you can have with people and sort of taking that advocacy role of introducing them to the people who can provide the services that they can need was so so far out of the box at the time and a little bit more difficult to execute.

And I think about it now in today with the Internet and with email and with all of the advancements that we’ve had in technology. How much easier it is to really execute the things that they were talking about and building those relationships.

John: Yeah, and I think you hit on the key things there too. I mean what you end up doing is you ultimately generate referrals, but the first thing that you do is you make yourself more valuable to your clients. I mean Joe, I know a lot of your listeners, you talk about the 25K group. I’ve got to believe that while there are tremendous ideas that come out of every session, I got to believe that some of the people stay because they know that they can be introduced to X or to get this resource or to know that they’re going to have what we have used to call rolodexes. You younger people look that up. They know they’re going to have access to that and that’s a tremendous value.

Joe: Yeah, I mean actually I think that’s one of the primary reasons people are actually in the group is just the access to the relationships. And I think a lot of people, I am their go to person and I provide access to things that, and most people in 25K are very, very accomplished so it’s not like they don’t know smart people. It’s just I am a conduit and that’s one of the roles that I want to play so I truly do become valuable to them.

I mean even with my carpet cleaners, going on along the lines that this is, you know by referral only did this, having a homeowner’s rolodex so teaching them that, hey, you’re already in the home doing a service and there are lots of other people that you know that are great companies. And going back to what you were saying, you know someone, definition of marketing; if someone has a need to know, like and trust you.

And if your clients need a plumber, a pool service company or a painter or an electrician or a pest control company or a roofer, you have all of these different service businesses that you know, like and trust and they know, like and trust you. And if you could just become that connection for them you’ve made yourself infinitely more valuable than just the guy or the gal that cleans their carpets. And I think any way that a company can identify that sort of service that they can provide is critical for longevity.

I do want to ask you though, about the this and I am, I want to say this as serious as it can be. In order for people to setup and have a business that is very referable, do they have to work harder? I mean in the scheme of things are we recommending things to people where they’re just going to have to work harder than they already are right now in order to make this a reality and make this long term or is this more of the setup isn’t that difficult compared to the results that it will produce, And in the scheme of things, companies that actually do what you suggest actually don’t work as hard as companies that don’t have in this place? I mean how would, how.

John: Well, I mean it’s like, you know, it’s like a lot of things. The farming is such a great analogy, it’s a lot of hard work to plant the seeds and till the dirt but you do that and then you enjoy harvest without having to work so darn hard going out there looking for food. And I think that that’s probably an analogy that maybe makes some sense.

However, having said that really doing a few simple things in your business, changing your mindset about expectation. I’ll give you a real simple example that we coach people on doing all the time and it’s so stupid that it works I think. It was so simple that a lot of people look at it and go, “Are you kidding me?”

I can’t tell you how many thousands of referrals I have been able to help people generate by just telling them to introduce the concept of referrals in the lead conversion process, in the actual selling process. Rather than most people wait to sell, “Oh good. Are you happy? Do you know anybody who, you know, who needs what we do?” What if on the front end when you’re selling somebody, you said, “You know what? We know you’re going to be so thrilled with what we’ve proposed here that at the end of 90 days, we’re going to come back and we’re going to make sure you’re thrilled and at that point, we’re going to allow you to introduce us to three other people who you know should get this result.”

A sales person that adopts that phrase and that mindset will get five times the referrals of somebody that waits until after the fact and goes back and asks. Now, obviously, you have to thrill them, you have to go back and ask, but the thing I love about just that one simple thing is that first off it plants the seed, it sets the expectation. They know you’re going to come back and ask, but you’ve also said I mean think of the marketing message, we know you’re going to be so thrilled before we even start this project that you’re going to want to give us referrals. That is a pretty strong statement, and so again you can do simple things like that and if you’re doing nothing right now, that’ll change your reality.

Joe: You know what that is worth the entire price of somebody listening to this podcast. Oh wait. The podcast is free so.

John: Well that’ll take care of the people that want to refund then, won’t it?

Joe: Right. Exactly. Well, no, no, no but let me, let me highlight what you said. Now you said if someone does this, if they introduce the referrals into the lead conversion, they’ll get five times the referrals. I mean you said that statement, but is that really true that.

John: Well obviously, obviously mileage is going to differ for everyone, depending on what they’re doing, what they’re selling, how good of a job they’re doing, because you can say it but if you don’t make them happy then you don’t have a process to go back and collect those, it’s not going to happen. But I can tell you this right now, the folks that are getting some level of what I call the accidental referrals right now, meaning that they just show up on their doorstep without them doing anything, will easily see three, four or five times if they start introducing this simple process.

And again, you have to follow through. You have to make sure that all of those steps have to happen. But just the fact that you set the table, you set it as an expectation. I haven’t had anybody yet that came back to me and said, “You know what? They’re telling me no, no they’re not going to refer.”

Dean: You know what? That’s so brilliant to set that up. I mean we’ve, Joe Stumpf who’s the founder of By Referral Only. I mean i’ve worked very closely with him for about 14 years. We did lots of big seminars for realtors and big coaching program, but he is perhaps the most brilliant referral wordsmith that I know. And I got to experience that and listen to him talking about it, and one of the things that he always advocated is bringing it up appropriately when people are asking a question.

Like in a real estate situation, sometimes people ask, “Well, how much do you charge?” And so if you skillfully can turn that into a referral dialogue where you’re talking and planting those referral seeds right at the beginning by saying, you’re taking that question and you say, “That’s a great question,” and we get compensated in two ways.

First of all, we’re going to take on all of the expense of marketing your house. I’m going to go through all the time. We do that on a contingency basis and when it sells, we get 6% of the sale. But the second way we get compensated is that we’re going to deliver such an incredible experience for you that you’re going to want to refer your friends and your family to us throughout the transaction.

So by presencing it right there that it’s not just a, you know, it’s not just a I’m in it for the transaction and to get out, but we’ve got a higher sort of standard that we’re shooting for. It’s that you’re going to be so thrilled and you’re setting that up, you’re future pacing that you’re going to be so thrilled that you’ll want to introduce your friends and family. And that’s kind of a fantastic way, whenever you can bring that referral conversation right up front.

Joe and I talked one time about Paddi Lund the dentist from Australia. I’m sure you’re familiar with it John. And it’s setting it as an expectation that he truly has a by referral only dental practice where the only way you can get in is to be referred. And one of the prerequisites for getting in is that you understand that in order to be in, you’re going to have to refer two people and that’s kind of a, you set it up as a requirement for doing business.

John: Yeah, and you know, a lot of people though because I mean i’ve heard that story and a lot of people tell that and they almost have that kind of have this, oh that’s a snobby approach, or we do good work and people refer us because they feel motivated to do it without us asking them. And I think that in many cases it’s all about positioning. That you provide and we’ve been talking about this. You know they’re going to be thrilled, you know that they get value so I mean you have to understand those two things. Those two things have to be true. Once those two things are true then you’ll have no problems and no issues at all taking that mindset because you know you deliver value. You know you can only work with so many people. You know you can only chase so many leads and so it’s really in everybody’s best interest.

Now, one of the things it certainly does is it makes you elevate your game too, so if you’re not ready to do that then it’s a little tougher approach to take.

Dean: And if you turn it into a benefit for them, you know one of the other languages that we would use to say people that most real estate agents spend 80% of their time prospecting and looking for new business. And how we’re different is we focus all of our time on actually working with you and serving the people that we’re serving right now and know that we’re able to deliver such an incredible experience that you’ll refer your friends and families so we don’t have to spend our time looking for new business.

John: Absolutely, yeah.

Joe: You know, can I highlight something also which is such an obvious but a lot of people don’t always think about this. All customers, clients, prospects, patients, whatever it is they are to whoever’s listening. All of them are not created equal. Some show up in a much better positioning than others, and in the pursuit of where most business owners attention goes which is new customers, new customers, new customers they sometimes forget that some are infinitely better, more profitable, more pleasant, more endearing than others. And a referred prospect or a referred client is infinitely easier, better, more profitable in almost all cases to have than someone who is not.

And so where all of the different things that people can do in order to generate business, really getting this area of their business handled in my opinion is critical and you talked about harvesting in the setup, Dan Sullivan through my many conversations with Dan, you know, he has like a process where you think about the conditions that you want to have in your life, and in order to have the conditions there needs to be a setup. Because, you got to set it up or you’re not going to get what it is you want.

And so I wanted to ask both of you before we kind of wrap up, like what is the conditions that someone will have if they set up their business where clearly better clients, more profitability, you know in many businesses you eliminate slow seasons and stuff because you kind of have an engine. I mean you call it a referral engine for a reason. It sort of runs.

But what is the setup? I mean we’ve talked about some of it where you have to have the mindset and stuff, but I’d like to ask you guys in order for our I Love Marketing listeners to have the best conditions that they can in their business, what are the setup that they really need to have so that they can walk away from this episode and have the desire to go out and read your book The Referral Engine? Really go out and put it into place these things, because obviously we’re doing this because we want all of our listeners to succeed and have great success with this so I wanted to just have you guys give your perspective of it.

John: Well I’m not sure if this is going to answer your question fully but I mean if you’re talking about what should I go out and do tomorrow to start getting this this referral engine built? The best piece of advice and I would give this to any business owner of any type, any industry, any size, is to go out and identify 8 or 10 of what are your ideal clients, because we all have some that maybe aren’t ideal, so the ones you want more of.

Your ideal clients and get them on the phone or sit across the desk from them or do something where you can engage them for 15 or 20 minutes and just ask them why they buy from you or how they found you in the first place, why do they keep buying from you, what do you do differently that other people in the industry don’t or maybe even their past vendor for what you provide. Really try to get at the heart of how you’re different and how you’re unique and maybe you’ll discover some gaps too where maybe you could provide better service.

But one of the things i’ve found is that if you take the time to do this exercise and don’t let people off the hook, don’t let them say, “You provide good service.” I mean that’s, everybody says that, so what does good service look like to you, tell us about a time when we provided good service. Get those stories out of them because to me that is probably the most important way or most powerful way for you to actually get a handle on how you are different. How your business is unique because my experience is 90% of the business owners out there are wrong about that part.

What they think customers value is generally speaking not what the customers really value and when you can get that right out of their mouth, the actual phrases and words right out of their mouth it will be absolutely gold to you in terms of kind of repositioning and differentiating your business.

Joe: I like it. I like it. Dean? Do you have anything that’s going to sound better than that?

Dean: I agree with everything that John just said and in addition to that, I think that if you understand why it is that people are buying from you and what would be, that old question that we ask, what would be a dream come true for them? I think when you focus on the actual service that you deliver or the product that you deliver and making that the very best that you can for whatever category you’re in, that is really where it all starts.

I mean, the number one thing, John said it earlier on the call. The number one thing to improve the number of referrals you get is to be referable, and what makes you referable is that you get a better result than anybody else. And when you really feel that and you can quantify it and point to it and know in your heart that anybody who’s thinking about doing anything in your category would be, like we said it becomes that moral issue that you really owe it to them to make sure that they get that need met, and that’s the most referable thing. If you have that kind of starting point, it makes it easier for you to feel comfortable asking people to help, you know?

John: Well also and one other last little thing since we’re trying to entertain a little bit is stop being so damn boring too.

Dean: Right.

Joe: i’ve been telling Dean that the whole time we’ve been doing I Love Marketing.

John: Nobody refers boring businesses. Do something that makes people talk and your life will be a lot simpler.

Joe: Me and Dean, I think the referability strategy with I Love Marketing is we just continually insult each other.

Dean: That’s true.

Joe: I mean you’re absolutely right. You cannot bore people. Well, you know, David Ogilvy said, you cannot bore people into buying, and it is so true. We have something new with I Love Marketing that’s our free episodes and everything. What and how would we need to, and this is almost like a conversation that I’m making public that would be typically be something like, John, if we’re just on the phone talking. It would be like, “Hey, I want to get more people that listen to I Love Marketing to refer it.” What would if you were advising me, what would you tell me to do?

John: So not only are you putting me on the spot. You’re putting me on the spot on tape, huh?

Joe: Yeah, yeah.

Dean: We’re getting free consulting. It’s perfect.

John: You know, the thing that we probably all could do a lot more is to be more shareable. Make it a lot easier for people to put tools in their hand. Give them tangible stuff. On the I Love Marketing website, and I know you have a little bit of this but make lots of ways to very easily pass the content on to other people and maybe even figure out a way to make a game out of it. I think that that aspect, that behavior has really become so engrained in kind of this social media and social networks world that I think we all have to find ways to that with a push of a button 10, 12 people now have been invited to be a part of the show.

Joe: Right. I like it. Okay. And, well and until then, with a difficult referral sharing strategy we have, I would really hope that everyone listening, as soon as they’re done with this call, calls their grandmother and tells her to listen to I Love Marketing. Go and tell all their friends. Literally mail, snail mail postcards telling everyone, I mean forget the whole email thing just send everyone postcards. That would be awesome. That was a joke by the way, that was for entertainment purposes only.

Listening to this what’s kind of cool about doing this is I think in terms of the stuff we talk about on this podcast, I even in the midst of being on it and doing it, I always get so much out of listening and some of highlights that I got here, I got a bunch of notes, the definition of marketing, someone who has a need to know, like and trust you. Every business is a marketing business. Strategy over tactics. Not just the tactic of the week but find a way to differentiate yourself from everyone else.

You know, the marketing hourglass try, buy, repeat referral. Think of ways to be the go to person for your clients and be so valuable that they will never leave. Introduce the referrals into the lead conversion system, that will increase five times the referrals. Your process of identifying eight to 10 ideal clients on the phone. Speak to all of them 15, 20 minutes. Ask them why do they buy? What do I do that others don’t? Get at the heart of why you’re different. Don’t let people off the hook. Get the stories out of them, because the stories when it comes to copying, communication are critical. Your own existing happy clients will create better marketing for you than you can in many cases ever hire a world class copywriter create and share it. Make it a game.

So those are just some of the many things that we talked about on this particular episode so I want to very much thank you John for taking the time to do this. And I want Dean to kind of say anything that he wants to say. I do want before we wrap up though, I want to give people an opportunity to get a copy of your book.

I think everyone really needs to get a copy of The Referral Engine. Seth Godin said that, “This book will pay for itself in one day.” So it is a great book. It will be very valuable and also Duct Tape Marketing too and anything else you want to say?

John: Finish that, they cut that quote off because Seth probably said, “This book will pay for itself in one day or i’ll pay for it.”

Joe: He should actually pay for it. I personally think that Seth should buy everybody a copy of this book.

Dean: Right.

Joe: But we’ll take that up with him later.

Dean: Years ago, I picked up a book about eight or 10 years ago. Guy Kawasaki had written around a blurb on the back of the book and he actually wrote, “Buy this book. If you don’t think it’s wonderful, send it to me and i’ll send you your money back.”

Joe: Right. Really?

Dean: Yeah.

Joe: Wow. When I have a book come out because I’m going to be co-authoring a book with Dan Kennedy and possibly with someone we won’t mention yet but a very, very, very well-known dude. And I think if I ever do it without Dean, because me and Dean are probably going to do a book at some point. I’ll have it say, “If you don’t like this book, please send it to Dean Jackson and he will give you your money back. And even if you do, please send the receipt to Dean and he will pay for it.” Because I think that would be cool.

So Dean, why don’t you finish this up wish some smart stuff and then we’ll have John give out any information so people can continue to follow him, read his stuff, all that sort of thing.

Dean: Well I love every time I talk to John, I like him more and more, and it’s kind of nice to get to know you a little bit better John. And I love how there are ideas that are so parallel, it’s kind of they’re complementary, so everything that we talk about, you’re really onboard with.

There’s nothing, you know, radically different. I love it that when you find somebody like you who is, very passionate about marketing and about how it all fits together, it’s like all three of us we’ve spent our whole careers really studying marketing and getting our own perspective on it and applying it and. And even though we’ve got different ways of articulating the things at its core, they’re all very harmonic, they’re all very complimentary to each other. And it’s just another view point, another layer and I just love hearing about it and I’m really looking forward to getting to know you even better, so thank you for being on with us.

John: Oh absolutely. Absolutely and thank you very much.

Joe: John so how do they get a copy of your book?

John: I have as we have mentioned the blog and podcast and traditional kind of weekly email newsletter and all of that good stuff can be found just at ducttapemarketing.com. The book of course, that you mentioned fortunately can be acquired pretty much anywhere where people sell books but certainly, the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, those kind of folks as well.

Joe: Awesome. Hey, and one thing I got to say, I registered and still own the website tapeofthemonth.com because when I used to have my Genius Network interviews on a monthly tape like audio cassette tapes and I know some people can’t remember those. I had tape of the month but I never used it, and now I’m trying to think well unless I sell it to a tape company that has like a continuity program where they deliver duct tape or something every month, they’ll send you new colors or something. I don’t know what the hell to do with tape of the month so, you know, maybe we should just, we should like get rid of this duct tape brand and just maybe we could just change it over to tape of the month or something.

John: i’ll consult my marketing team here.

Joe: Talk to your sales prevention department about that one. I’m kidding. So everyone, go to Ducttapemarketing.com. Do get a copy of John’s books. They’re great. They will, like Dean said, they will totally be in alignment with everything that we teach, and as usual we’re going to continue to bring really smart people and great strategies and great capabilities to all of our I Love Marketing listeners, we want to thank you all very much. Some of you at the time of this podcast are going to see us live in Arizona here in just a couple of weeks, and if you are still not registered for our I Love Marketing event, then go to Ilovemarketing.com and read about it.

Also, download the Breakthrough DNA report which is there. It’ll totally be aligned with some of the things we talked about today. And if you want to get the recordings or videos of the event or watch it live via webcast you can do that too. And so thank you all very much and John, again, thank you, appreciate it, and Dean you’re handsome.

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