S: If you want to surprise and delight your customers, especially over that critical first 100 days of the customer relationship, then this episode, number 128, is for you. Our guest today is Joey Coleman. He helps companies keep their customers. An award winning speaker, he shares his first 100 days methodology to improve customer experience at organizations around the world including the Hyatt Hotels, NASA, and Zappos. His new book, Never Lose a Customer Again, just came out and tells you exactly how to turn any sale into a lifelong customer. Joey, welcome to the show.
J: It is a blast to be on the show. I love getting the chance to reconnect, you and I have known each other for years and the chance to be on your show is a real treat, a real honor. Thanks for having me.
S: Yeah, of course. You’ve already been on The Optimized Geek, on my other show, and we talked about some different things. We’ll talk more in depth on your new book in this episode here on Marketing Speak. The book is now officially out this week.
J: It’s live, it’s real. Exactly, it’s out this week. I’m super excited to share what is really the culmination of about somewhere between 15 and 20 years of work—I quit counting—put together into a single book. I’m super thrilled to have the chance to be on your show, especially on what is a pretty exciting week.
S: This is your first book?
J: This is. Yes.
S: So the next book will come out in another 15–20 years? Is that how this works?
J: I think so. It’s interesting. Leading into this, I had a lot of thoughts about the book writing process. I sat down, and I tried to write this book a number of times. It wasn’t coming out the way I wanted it to. What happened is I met a guy by the name of Tucker Max who would become a good friend of mine.
S: I just saw him last week.
J: Oh! Nice. Tucker runs a company called Book in a Box that basically helps entrepreneurs, speakers, business people who have a book in them to get it onto the written page. I worked with Tucker and his team, and what we did is 12, one-hour phone calls and that produced the first draft of the book which if anybody, any of your listeners who know me, and I know you know me, getting me to talk on the phone for an hour is pretty easy. It’s a skill set that I have and I feel very comfortable exercising. I’m a professional speaker so I spend a lot of time talking. I talked the book and it was amazing what a difference that made. If you’re the kind of person listening who has a book in you, hasn’t written that book yet but really wants to, and when you sit down in front of a blinking cursor on a blank white canvass,a Microsoft Word document or a Google Doc, and that feels daunting, check out Book in a Box. It’s a non-inexpensive proposition but neither is waiting 20 years to get your book done.
S: This is true. Actually, I had Tucker Max on this podcast talking about the process for taking your book out of your head and putting it into written form. He goes through his process. We talked about the different tips and tricks to get a book into printed form when you’ve been thinking about it for a while. I’ll include a link in the show notes to that episode with Tucker Max. Also when you were talking about, as a professional speaker, it’s easy for you to speak the content of a book, whereas it might be more difficult to write it, especially if you’re just looking at a blank page. That’s true for me, for sure. I do a lot of writing and I don’t like it.
J: Yeah. Here’s the thing, I actually enjoy writing, it’s getting started. I’m much better at editing and adding onto something that’s already there. I think when we were done with those 12 one-hour phone calls, we had a first draft that was about 250 pages, the final book is over 350 pages. We added a lot more afterwards but it was just really nice to have a foundation to work from. This process is great, highly recommended. I am like Tucker. I believe everybody has a book in them, everybody has life experience, and information, and things that they’ve gleaned, that they could share with others. I often liken this to breathing. If I were to ask you to make a list of the 100 things you are best at in the world and you were given some time, and you write all those 100 things down, and then I were to take the list—I’ve done this thousands and thousands of times with audiences, and breathing is never on the list. Yet, it’s the skill set that you have that you have been doing the longest. Literally, it was the first thing you did when you came into the world. You really haven’t missed a breath, really, since. You do it without thinking. You’re actually pretty good at it, right? Everyone is. The crazy thing about our knowledge or our expertise is often we see it as breathing. We don’t understand why other people don’t see the world this way. With your expertise, for example, in SEO, I’m sure you look at a website, and without even getting into it, you’re like, “Oh yeah! This website has huge problems.” It’s like an intuitive hit about what’s going on because it’s so clear and it’s so obvious to you. It’s where your 10,000 hours of expertise are. I think being able to capture what your area of expertise or what your “breathing” skill is, and then share it out with the world, is something really important. Hopefully, it allows folks to feel positive about the work they’ve put in. I’m holding a physical copy of my book in my hands saying this is the culmination of 18 years of running an ad agency and helping companies to create remarkable customer experiences, and my goal is to really transmit everything I know into this book.” This isn’t one of those, “Oh, buy the book and for $1000 more you can get this extra thing.” It’s some lead gen upsell tool. My goal is to have people read the book and potentially never have to call me and be able to implement everything that’s in the book and dramatically improve the operation of their business. We poured everything into the book that we could and are pretty happy with the end result. Hopefully, the listeners and readers will be too.
S: Yeah, that’s awesome. I think that’s rare to be so generous. A lot of people will hold back, maybe even not intentionally. For example my book The Art of SEO—one of my books that I co-authored—is 1000 pages, well, 994 pages, and yet we couldn’t put everything in a 1000 page book so there’s stuff in there that’s not in there. I guess I held back, not really intentionally, but there’s certain things that make me uniquely different and more qualified than other SEOs to go in and audit a website. You’re not going to learn everything about the craft from my book.
S: You’re going to get very good fundamentals but then the stuff that makes me world class, that’s not in any book, that’s not in any presentation I gave. I do hold back a little bit.
J: But it’s sometimes difficult to capture that too. With respect my friend, a nearly 1000 page book doesn’t feel like you held back anything, right? I know you well enough to know that yeah, there’s a lot more. You probably have 100,000 pages of knowledge but at some point, the book has to stop and you have to keep sharing things. I know we originally connected through Tony Robbins. I’m a big believer of some of the messaging that he espouses which is you put your best work out into the world and everything else takes care of itself. We were talking before we started recording about impact and about giving of our time and our talent to help those that are less fortunate than us. Why else are we here? I know you’ve been given a lot of wonderful opportunities and gifts in your life. I know I’ve been given a lot of wonderful gifts and opportunity in my life. The ability to hopefully, share and give back wherever we can, I think, is what actually makes the journey fun and enjoyable.
S: I agree. To close the loop on this speaking a book into existence and using a service like Book in a Box, our conversation reminded me of Bob Allen, Robert Allen is this huge bestselling author, he’s co-author of The One Minute Millionaire.
J: Sure. Yeah.
S: He’s the author of Cash in a Flash and Multiple Streams of Income, and just all these huge, bestselling books.
J: I love The One Minute Millionaire by the way. Such a creative book. That’s the one where you read the left side of the page and you get the business book on the right side of the pages, the narrative story about the characters in the book, as I recall.
J: Yes. Super cool.
S: He’s awesome. I’ve had him a few months ago on Marketing Speak. One thing that I learned from him that’s super powerful is either you are a speaker who writes or a writer who speaks. If you’ve identified that you’re a speaker who writes, then use a service like Book in a Box. For me, to get a blog post or an article written, I would speak that into existence by having a conversation with one of my assistants and having that person write up a draft and then having something that I can quickly edit, review, and tweak. Then that gets published rather than starting with a blank screen and a flashing cursor. It’s so much more powerful, I’m more in my gift, and more in my element. Speaker who writes versus writer who speaks. If you’re a writer who speaks, then write a lot of the stuff that you want to write about, and you do have to speak as well. Have help in getting that turned into the speeches, whether you have a coach to help you do that, or a team of assistants, or whatever to create the metaphorical images and condense that down into bite sized chunks for powerpoint slides and all that, the flow of the story, art, and everything in a presentation. Start with your gift and then transmute it into the other form that you also need to do but you’re not as gifted at.
J: So true.
S: Let’s start digging into your book because it is such a momentous effort and completion of decades of your expertise and experience. Let’s talk about your methodology that makes you you. There’s certain things that you’re known for, like your First 100 Days methodology. You’re known for your Eight Phases. Let’s talk through some of these frameworks.
J: Absolutely. Basically, the premise of the book is as follows. Most businesses spend a ton of time, effort, and money acquiring new customers but they spend very little time, effort, or money keeping their customers once they have them in the fold. In fact, in the typical business, somewhere between 20%–70% of new customers will quit doing business with you before they reach the 100 day anniversary. The craziness about that is you’ve spent all this momentum and effort trying to get them in the door and they’re running out the backdoors as quickly as you get them in. From a business economics point of view, all of your cost of acquisition, it’s very difficult to recoup those if they don’t stay past day 100. The book outlines a premise for how do we get them to stay? How do we successfully onboard customers? I identify the eight potential phases that a customer can go through in the customer journey. Each phase, how long a customer spends at that phase depends on the type of product or service you’re offering but every customer needs to go through those phases if you want to get them to the last phase which is all about referrals and lifelong customers, and the dream client or customer that everybody hopes for. The problem is we try to rush to that conversation way too fast without acknowledging that there are many steps that come before that.
S: Yeah. These eight phases is an evolution that might take weeks or months to get through?
J: It depends on your business. For example, if you sell Altoids at a grocery store next to the check out is like an impulse buy. Somebody might move through those, the first six of those eight phases in a matter of a minute or two minutes. If you sell a big SEO assessment and implementation, it might be a multi month process or maybe even an ongoing annualized process. It really just depends on the product or the service that you sell. But what holds true is if you sell to human beings, which I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t sell to human beings, even those who sell to the government and believe that they don’t, or sell B2B and believe that they don’t. The fact of the matter is there’s a human on the other end of the transaction. In fact, there’s multiple humans on the other end of the transaction and they’re going to go through these phases whether you like it or not. The questions is are you going to meet them in the phase that they’re at or are you going to trust that they’ll just power through to catch up to whatever you are? I will tell you if you sit back and wait for them to catch up with you, you will lose a boat load of customers because they just never will. They need you to hold their hand, they need you to let them know what comes next, to take care of them, to make them feel like they’re a part of the family, and they’re well provided for. It’s not enough to just say, “We gave them a direction booklet.” Or, “We gave them a proposal that outlined the phases of the project and they should know where we’re at in the process.” No. It’s the requirement of everybody who’s selling anything to make sure that they’re meeting the customer where they’re at, at every step in the customer journey.
S: A lot of the focus is on just landing that client, closing the deal, using the various close techniques, like the Assumptive Close, the Ben Franklin Close, all these, and then okay, we got the deal. We got the signature, we got the prepayment, we’re not as excited now anymore.
J: Exactly. Yes.
S: Its a let down like, “Okay, Yay! Now we’re going to do the work.”
J: Totally. I think it’s like most things in life. Businesses are really good at the chase, they’re not as good after there’s been a catch. When you mention the different type of closes, it’s really interesting in researching the book, I did some analysis of the number of books that have been written on the topics around marketing, the number of books that have been written on topics around sales, everything that happens before they sign the contract or hand over the money. And then I did some research on the number of books that have been written on customer retention, customer account management, customer experience, all the things that happen after the sale. If you were to go into Amazon for example and search all the marketing and sales book and add up the numbers that come up, and then you were to search customer retention, account management, customer relationship management, all the phrases you would associate with post-sale-behavior and you add up all those numbers, and then you compare the two numbers, It’s a 43 to 1 ratio of books that have been written on what happens before the sale compare to the books that have written for what happens after the sale. I think it’s a singular piece of evidence that offers more proof of just what a huge problem this is in the corporate world today than anything else because if there are all these books, conferences, trainings, and speakers that help you to get customers but not very many of us that help you keep customers, it’s no wonder that that’s not something that gets as much attention or focus.
S: Okay. What’s the solution here? Because that sounds like a very broken system.
J: Yes. The solution is a couple of things. I think there needs to be a shift in mindset and belief around the importance of the post sale. There needs to be a systematized process because we have all these systems and processes for presale, what does our outbound marketing look like? what are our email sequences? What are we doing to fill the funnel and drive attention? But when we get to the post sale, it becomes a lot more haphazard. Sometimes we take really good care of the client or the customer if we really like them or if we know them, other times it falls through the cracks. What’s interesting to me is that by creating a system to walk your customers through these eight phases, it allows you to deliver a much more consistent experience.
S: Consistency is key because then you’re not going to inadvertently or purposefully treat one client better than another. Everybody gets your best service, the best version of you.
S: Let’s walk through these eight phases.
J: The eight phases all start with the letter A and who knows, maybe that’s because we hope to get straight As, that you’re doing a great job in each category. The first phase is Assess. This is when a customer considers whether or not they want to do business with you. They’re looking at your marketing materials, they’re checking out your website, they’re trying to decide, “Is this the company that I want to hire, sign up for, or buy a product from?” That’s phase one. Then they move to phase two. Phase two is Admit. This is the point where the customer admits or acknowledges that they have a problem or a need that they believe your product or service can solve. Then almost as quickly as they’ve made the decision to do business with you and they’re excited that they found the product or the service, they start to feel buyer’s remorse. This kicks them into phase three, Affirm. This is where they’re not sure about the decision that they just made and we need to be doing everything we can to counter those feelings. What’s fascinating is everyone listening to this podcast episode has heard the phrase buyer’s remorse and yet, 99.99% of businesses do nothing to address their customers buyer’s remorse or they certainly don’t address it in any meaningful way. Huge, huge opportunity right there. We then come to phase four, Activate. I call this phase Activate because I want you to feel the energy behind the word. This is the time to really kick the relationship off. This is when they get the product in the mail that they ordered from you online, or they get home from the store and they open the product, or use to have that kick off needing, or you start to deliver on the service they signed up for, those first impressions really matter. What we need to be doing in this phase is showing our customers that doing business with us is going to be unlike any business experience they’ve ever had in their lives. We’re going to wow them, we’re going to astonish them, we’re going to surprise and delight them. By doing this early in the relationship, we built a really solid foundation for what is to come.
S: Would you say that Dan Kennedy’s Shock and Awe box would be part of that Activation process?
J: Absolutely. I’m not entirely sure when in the process the incense that box, but if that’s the first thing you get, that’s absolutely it. Where it leaves you saying, “Holy cow! I’ve really signed onto something special. This is going to be unique, this is going to be different. I’m going to get a ton of value here.” You want to put some of those Shock and Awe moments early into the relationship.
S: Yeah, for sure.
J: Those were the first four phases. Now, we get to the latter half of the four phases and to be frank, this is where the wheels fall off. The fifth phase is Acclimate. This where you help acclimate the customer to what it’s going to be like to do business with you. It requires a lot of hand holding, a lot of explanation. You’ve sold your product or your service hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, maybe even millions of times, but this new customer, this is the first time they’ve ever used it or this is the first time they’ve ever done business with you. While your team is thinking, “Of course, obviously, after we do the audit of their website, the next thing we’re going to do is make recommendations to what they should do to improve it.” You know that coming next but they may not know that, that’s coming next even if you wrote it in the proposal because the fact that the matter is, folks, you sign proposals that you don’t read all the time.
J: Anybody who’s sitting there going, “Well, no, I don’t.” I would ask you do you remember what the agreement you signed last time you rented the car or the little thing that you clicked last time you installed some software and said you had read the terms and conditions when we all know that you hadn’t? We don’t do this in our own lives, yet we somehow expect our customers to be fully informed of all the operations of our business when we know for reality they aren’t. This phase is where most companies fall apart. Depending on your business, this can be the longest phase of all because you’re really working them through the process, getting them towards their goal which brings us to the next phase which is Accomplish. Accomplish is when the customer achieves the goal that they had when they originally decided to do business with you. This is an interesting one because most businesses never stop to ask the customer what their end goal is. Take for example somebody buying a pair of shoes. Let’s say they’re buying a pair of shoes in a store. Lots of times the sales person will say, “What are you looking for?” They’ll say, “I’m looking for this shoes to do.” They help fit the shoes, they buy the shoes, and they leave the store without ever asking the customer, “Where do you intend to wear these shoes?” These are special shoes. Are you wearing them for a wedding? Or a funeral? Or a graduation? Or some type of a special occasion, or this is just everyday walking around shoes? Because if you know and he customer tells you it’s for something special, you have a built in reason to reach back to them after that special event has occurred to see how it worked out. Lot’s of times, the customer has forgotten what their goal was when they originally decided to do business with you. How are we supposed to acknowledge and celebrate the fact that they’ve accomplished their original goal, if we don’t know what it is and we don’t take the time to tell that they reached the finish line? This is a hugely important phase that, again, most businesses completely miss. Then we shift to the phases that everybody gets really excited about, phase seven, Adopt. This is where the customer becomes loyal to you and your brand. They’re not going to do business with anyone else. They love you, they’re excited about doing business with you. They are a loyal fan. And then finally, they reach phase eight, the holy grail. This is when they reach the phase of Advocate. They become a raving fan, referring their friends, colleagues, and family members to you. This is great to your business because you now have a non-commissioned, unpaid sales force that is driving new business to you all day, everyday.
S: Yeah. These are the raving fancies of the evangelists.
J: Exactly. Those are the eight phases. As we were going through them, my imagining is some of your listeners were saying, “We’re really good at this one. Oh wow! I didn’t even know that that was a thing. Shoot! We need to probably work on that.” What the book does is it outlines these eight phases, describes emotionally what is going on for the customer in each of these phases, and then gives you a series of case studies that illustrate the best examples that I’ve been able to find of companies that are delivering in this phase. Across the book, there are 46 case studies showing you exactly how to implement this into your business because I’m a big believer that folks learn well from stories. I’ve already started to get some of the people who got advance copies of the book before it was released, came back to me and said that they shamelessly borrowed some of the ideas and implemented them in their businesses to huge success, which is just music to my ears. I believe there are three types of speakers and increasingly I now understand three types of writers. They’re those that make you think differently, those that make you feel differently, and those that make you act differently. While I certainly want people that read never lose a customer again, to think differently about how they’ll run their business and feel differently about their interactions with their customers. If they don’t act differently and make the changes in their business to enhance the customer experience, then I failed in my goal. I’m really excited about people who are going to take this book and actually act on it which is why so much of the book is devoted to very specific action steps. It’s not a book of theory, it’s a book of reality and a book of action.
S: How are you going to apply your own methodology, these eight phases, to your book project? Because I just heard you say that your goal is to get people to act differently from reading the book. How do you know that you’ve reach that original goal and how are you going to celebrate when you reach it?
J: In the book, right at the very beginning, I offer people the opportunity to sign up for a fun experience that I call Experience The Book. The idea is you’re going to fill out some information and I’m requiring or asking my readers to trust me. I’m going to ask for your email address, obviously, but I’m also going to ask for your physical address, and your phone numbers, and what your goals are, and what you’re hoping to accomplish in reading the book, and how fast do you think you’re going to read the book, and where you think you’re going to be able to apply it in your business before you’ve even started reading. I’m going to have all this information. And then based on your answers, you’re going to experience the book. You’re going to receive communications from me and I don’t want to give it away too much but you’re going to receive communications from me in very different formats that are designed to keep you excited and keep you engaged as you go through the book, and to reward you for completing the book. I don’t want to give away too much more than that since the book is just out, but if you get the chance, you definitely want to, when you get the book, go and signed up for that because I’m going to be tracking along as you read the book.
S: I love that. That is so cool, and I think it’s quite original too. I don’t recall that being something I’ve seen in other books.
J: I don’t know if anyone’s ever done it and I will tell you the behind the scenes logistics on it are bordering on nightmare, I think, could be an accurate way of saying it because lots of times what I’m trying to do is practice what I preach. Because a lot of times people say to me, “Joey, you don’t understand with our business, we sell to someone else so we never meet the end user of our product.” For the first time, as a speaker and a consultant, I always knew who my audience was. They were the people in front me, or as a consultant they were my clients. Now with this book, there are people who are going to buy this book in bookstores all over the world who I will never meet as much as I would love to. What I want to do is try to create a connection to me and to the work by asking them if they want to go on this journey, if they want to have this experience. It’s a little meta, it’s a book about customer experience that you get an experience from reading the book, that’s what we’ve tried to create. The book is filled with visuals. There are not many business books that have pictures in it. We’ve got a bunch of pictures, we’ve got examples of how to create these experiences, there’s little icons that help you navigate the book very quickly but then we’re going to have this external things happening and you might imagine if I’m asking for your email, your phone number, and your physical mailing address, you might be able to somewhat imagine what type of touch points I’m going to be creating.
J: We’ll see. We’ll see. It’ll be fun.
S: That’s awesome. I don’t know, I don’t want to rain on your parade here, or whatever, but just to be a little more realistic about this, I think you’re not going to get the same level of interaction that you would hope because I did something along those lines with The Art of SEO. I had on the very back cover, you can’t hardly get more in your face about it that there were amazing free bonuses for readers—videos and things like that. All you had to do is send an email to certain address and you would be opted in for all those really cool video content. It’s like a free online course and almost nobody.
S: We sold tens of thousands of copies.
J: And very few have opted in.
S: Like a handful of people have sent an email to that email address. It’s on the back cover. You don’t even have to buy the book.
J: Right. You can just get it while you’re in the store.
S: You just go to Amazon and you look inside the book and you go to the back cover and, “Oh, there’s the email address.” It’s not hard, and yet a handful, like fewer than 10, I think, have sent an email to that address. It’s crazy,
J: I agree. Here’s the interesting thing and I totally appreciated it. To give some insight in this, some conversations I have internally with my team, throughout the book and throughout the marketing efforts leading up to the launch of the book, we had two different approaches. We had approaches of giving away things that required you to give us an email and then also just giving away things. For example, normally, if you want to get an advance copy or an excerpt of a book prior to its release you have to give your email and then guess what, because you’ve given your email, they’ll hit you up afterwards and say, “Hey, are you going to buy the book?” And suddenly you’re into a sequence. You can actually download an excerpt of the book from my website for free without giving an email. You get three chapters—chapter six, seven, and eight—which in some ways give you the full overview about the significance of the problem in the First 100 days, the Eight Phases, and the Six Tools you can use to enhance the experience in each of those phases, and then the full chapter about the very first phase, Assess. You can get an idea of how I approach the telling of the stories and sharing of the tips and the techniques to enhance your customer experiences. When I did this, my team was like, “Joey, we need to make an email opt in.” I’m like, “Yeah. I understand why but no, we’re not going to do that.” And they’re like, “You’re going to leave so many emails behind that we could be marketing to.” I’m like, “Yup and I don’t care.” Because I don’t want anyone who’s listening to this podcast or who comes across my work and says, “I want to take a little taste. I want a little appetizer. I want a little bit of an experience of what it might be like if I decide to give up my hard earned dollars to buy the hardback book, or the ebook, or the audio book. I want to get a taste first.” I want them to be able to have the taste for free. This is the free sample and a real taste. Not just like the BS first chapter of the book where it’s like, “This is why I wrote the book,” or anything like that, the typical book gives. No, I want to give meaty chapters from the middle of the book that leave people going, “Holy cow! There’s stuff here I can implement.” There’s enough in what I give in the free sample that you don’t actually even need to buy the book. I hope that you do but you don’t need to because from that alone, it should give most businesses enough information to dramatically enhance their business.
S: I’m sure you will deliver on that promise. I’m excited to read the book.
J: Thanks, buddy.
S: Yeah. Let’s go through a case study or two. What would be for the Affirm phase where the buyer’s remorse kicks in, instantly, after you assign the statement of work, or the proposal, or contract. What do you see as some of the best examples of alleviating or ameliorating that buyer’s remorse, inoculating it?
J: There’s eight different examples in that chapter alone that talk about ways to affirm the purchase decision and alleviate that buyer’s remorse. One that I found particularly interesting when doing the research is a networking group in Washington D.C. called CADRE. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a member of CADRE. I’ve been a member since the beginning and so it was really easy for me to write this case study because I have a pretty clear understanding of how the organization works. CADRE is basically, for a lack of better way to put it, a pay to play networking group. You pay a monthly fee that allows you to be in this networking group, that is high level executives from businesses in the greater Washington D.C. area. Basically, they bring everyone together once a month. There are learning lunches, there are larger events where they bring in guest speakers to present on topics that they think their audience would find interesting, but the cool thing that CADRE does in the Affirm stage is after you’ve signed up to become a member, and this is not an insignificant contribution, it’s a $6,000 a year membership. Once you’ve signed up to become a member, you receive a welcome call. Many businesses do a welcome call, that’s not a big surprise. But the interesting thing here is you get a welcome call from a member of CADRE, not the organization itself but from one of the veteran members of the group. CADRE has a welcoming committee that is made up of some of their most zealous and ardent fans, myself included, in the interest of full disclosure. We call new members and welcome them to the fold and tell them a little bit about what we’ve learned from being in the group for the last few years, how to get the most out of your membership, answer any questions that they may have had but felt weird asking the owners of the business or the staff of the business. It ends up being a 20 or 30 minute call but it has huge impact on affirming the decision that they’ve just made. Not to mention, that now, when they go to their next live in-person event, which could be the following week or maybe a month away depending on when they actually join, they know someone at that event. I don’t know about you but it’s always great, I think, to walk into an event knowing at least one person because you feel you’ve got that first conversation taken care of. They put this in place from the beginning, Derek and Melanie Coburn, the founders of CADRE. It’s a husband and wife team and it has had tremendous, tremendous success, so much so that year on year they retain more than 90% of their members. I should say it would be 100% except they actively will remove people from the membership who aren’t a good fit. But year on year, it’s a 90% retention rate for a $6,000 membership. I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty smart business to me.
S: Yeah, that’s great. That reminds me of another example where ConvertKit, I think, is the company that does this. They onboard or welcome their new customer with a Bon Journo message. Bon Journo is a tool where you can send a short video and the account manager will send a custom video just to that individual, mentioning them by name, welcome them, tell them that I’m here as your account executive, to answer any questions, feel free to reach out to me any time. It’s just a really nice touch. It’s not a lot of work, it’s maybe 30 second, one minute maximum long video and get a sense for the humanity of the organization just from that one short video. That has had a huge impact on retention and customer satisfaction.
J: Absolutely. That reminds me of a story that I tell in the book about a company called Zogics. Zogics is a company out of Massachusetts that sells supplies for gyms, spas, health clubs. They got their start selling gym wipes, the thing that you would have in the gym to wipe the sweat of the person who works out before you off the machine before you get on it. It’s not a really sexy product, it’s a very utilitarian product but boy do they make it sexy and how they do it. It’s an online ecommerce offering and when you purchase a product from their site, later that day, you get a video and the video shows one of the Zogics employees holding a little clipboard that says, “Thanks, Bob.” “Thanks, Sue.” Or whatever your name is. Then, there’s a little thing that allows you to click it to start watching the video. What is pretty obvious, I think, to anybody when they receive something like this is if it says your name on it, you’re going to click and play the video. It’s now the case, prior to including this little video and the thing that said their name, about 20% of their new customers actually watch the video and this is kind of the order confirmation video. Now, more than 60% of people who receive this watched the complete video. I don’t know about you but if I could be sending videos to my customers and guaranteeing that 60% of them would click through and watch the whole video, I’d be all over that, especially this early in the relationship. Adding that personalized thumbnail dramatically included the number of people that would watch it. I just think it’s really a tremendous way to connect in a way that your customers won’t expect or won’t see coming.
S: Yeah, that’s great. That reminds me of another company that does a similar thing, SixthDivision. They build out Infusionsoft sequences, and funnel builds, and so forth for clients and they eat their own dog food. They apply this sort of stuff of personalization—personalized thumbnails and things—in their own marketing materials too, pretty cool. Do you know what the software is that does this?
J: I’m not exactly sure to be candid which software they used. I think, there’s a number of softwares out there, Bon Journo, BombBomb, VDR, there’s a number of different ones that are doing it. I actually don’t know off the top of my head which platform Zogics is using. But what I do know is they don’t worry a lot about the quality of the video. I say that because lots of times with some of these suggestions, I’ll have listeners, or audience members, or clients say, “Joey, that sounds fun and dandy but we don’t have an on staff video person. We don’t have a soundproof room to set up and shoot these videos. Oh my gosh! You don’t understand, we get so many orders, there’s no way that we could actually do personalized videos for this.” Zogics just has a room in their office that is not a particularly uniquely set up room, it’s just a private room with the door that closes. They’ll go in with two people; one two shoot the videos on the iPhone and the other one to hold the clipboard and thank the folks for their orders, the various orders that have come in that day, and then they just upload all those videos. They batch them and the total run time of the video is like a minute. They can crank these out pretty quickly but the impact that it has on the customer is tremendous.
S: What you’re describing is actually creating a personalized, unique video for everybody and that’s what ConvertKit does with their Bon Journo videos from the account managers but what SixthDivision does is a little bit different. They use software that takes text that just does a mail merge of the person’s first name with a white blank area on the image. Let’s say that the person is holding up a white sheet of paper. It actually puts their name and does it with a mail merge type of capabilities. It’s personalized but there’s no human involvement in creating that.
J: Yeah, which is another great way to do it and especially if your business is larger to do at scale. I like for most folks, their businesses are small enough or not acquiring customers at a fast enough rate that they can do the personalized videos or the personal touches. Especially in the beginning, I highly recommend that because remember when we were talking and you said, “Joey, how do we go about doing this?” I said, “It’s two things, it’s a mindset and a system.” Part of having all of your employees buy into this concept of creating remarkable customer experiences and that everyone in the organization, regardless of their role, is responsible for the customer experience, is to get them involved in the operations. Get them involved to sending emails, sending text messages, shooting videos, packaging up goods that you send out and doing little care packages and surprise gifts. The more you can involve your employees, the more excited they get, which ironically enough leads to huge increases in employee retention. That’s one of the most exciting things that came out of putting this book together and doing the work. What I found is that many of the companies that I interviewed, while they could point to double digit increases in profits, double digit increases in customer retention, many of them also noticed that their employee retention skyrocketed. There’s some bonus case studies that we created for people who sign up for that experience, the book thing, where they get new case studies.
S: Very nice. Very nice.
J: This was a wellness firm out on the West Coast that previously had some challenges with employee turnover. They have massage therapists, acupuncturist, and different folks that provide more holistic health services and they would have some turn over in their practice. Since they implemented this First 100 days approach to business about a year and a half ago, not only have they dramatically increased customer retention—I think it’s 28% increase in retention—and a dramatic increase in referrals, but they haven’t lost a single employee. The impact financially on the business of not losing an employee is often something that business owners don’t fully appreciate until it’s too late, until they are dealing with needing to rehire, retrain, and re-acclimate an employee. That can be a real burden, not only on the bottom line of a business but on team morale. Being able to keep your employees as well as you’ve kept your customers is a nice insular benefit of this type of process and thinking.
S: I love that. I’m curious how you are addressing buyer’s remorse in the Affirm phase with your consulting clients, with your keynote speaking clients. How do you do that within the first few minutes or first day of them signing a contract with you?
J; Couple things, I definitely as soon as somebody has signed a contract with me, they’re getting personal communications, personal videos where I’m letting them know how excited I am. I don’t want to give away all of the secrets but they get some things in the mail from me that thank them for hiring me to come meet with their team. Very early on in the process, I move from the prospecting sales conversations to more of a, “I’m going to be speaking for your event, what I’d like to do is get a really good understanding of who’s going to be in the room. Not only do I want to talk to you, but I want to talk to some of your members or attendees at your event in advance of the event to see what’s the most important to them.” Right out of the blocks, the client feels like I’m customizing my speech or my presentation to their audience. I’ve never given the same speech twice, and never will give the same speech twice because every speech is customized to the people who were in the room. I try to let them know that that’s going to happen very early on in the process.
S: That’s awesome. This whole methodology gets me thinking about something I learned recently. If you want to get more of your podcast guests to share your episode, to put it on their media page, their interview page on their website, or to maybe email it out to their newsletter list, if you ask the question maybe right before you start the recording of it, what would make this interview the very best interview you’ve ever had?
S: That’s such a powerful question. If you can deliver on that, they’re going to share that far and wide, they’re going to be so proud of that episode. How many people actually asked that question before they do the interview?
J: In my experience as somebody who’s been a guest on dozens, and dozens, if not well over a hundred podcasts at this time, it doesn’t get asked.
S: Yeah. I’ve never heard it asked either.
J: Yeah. I’ve never heard it ask, I’ve been on a ton of shows. The other thing that I would offer is, and this ties into that. Everybody wants the raving fans, they want the referrals. One of the things that I talk about in the advocate phase is to make it easy for your customers to refer you. Make it easy for them to do the thing you want them to do. One thing that happened recently for a podcast I was on, after we did the recording and leading up to the promotion of the show or the show being released, right before the show was released, two days before, the podcast host sent me imagery and text that I could just copy and paste into Facebook and Twitter. As it turns out, I slightly tweaked it, but the fact that they sent me the tools necessary to do that social promotion made it a lot easier than just what I normally get, which is the email saying, “Hey, your podcast launched this morning, make sure you tweet it and promote it.”.
S: That’s what I send.
J: No, there’s no problem with that. It’s certainly better than sending nothing. But if the goal really is to get your guest to promote, give them a little bit of advance time because what the average person listening to a podcast may or may not know is sometimes these shows are recorded a week, two weeks, a month, two months in advance. With all due respect to the folks that are hosting the podcast, and I host a podcast, so I get this. The challenge is the guest has moved on to other things and I’d be lying if I didn’t say it, and I’m not proud of this but let’s meet our customers where they’re at, let’s acknowledge our humanity. There are times where I’ll get one of those emails and I’m like I don’t even remember fully what we discussed on that show. Then I want to go back and re-listen to it before I start promoting it because I hope it turned out well and I think it turned out well but I’m not actually sure. That delays the promotion. I think there are a lot of different things that podcasters can do to make guests much more likely to promote the shows which at the end of the day is the goal of the podcaster and why wouldn’t a guest want to promote their appearance on the podcast? Let’s just make it easy for them.
S: It just got me thinking when we’re talking about this that I don’t even tell my guests in the email that the episode’s gone live. I don’t mention that there’s a transcript. I don’t mention that we create a checklist, a PDF, downloadable, based on the takeaways and the action items from the episode. Those are difference makers.
S: That’s part of my unique point of difference from my podcast, I don’t know of anybody else that does it.
J: For what’s it’s worth, there are definitely podcasts I’ve been on that they’re like, “There’s a transcription of the show.” But usually, it’s buried in the show notes and it’s not downloadable. The fact of the matter is what amazes me is—I do a podcast with a good buddy of mine, Dan Gingiss, called the Experience This! Show. One of the things that we do is we have the transcription. I recently got contacted by three separate listeners in a random confluence of events who all mentioned that they download the transcripts and read them. They don’t listen to the show, they read the show. Some people may look at that and say, “That’s just crazy. What do you mean you read a podcast? That’s just silly. You’re stupid.” They come from a place of judgement. What I try to encourage all of my clients to do is just accept your customers for who they are. While I have some customers who love listening to the podcast, there are some customers that like reading the podcast. Let’s make it easy for them. Let’s do it anyway. We’re in the process of making some tweaks on our show notes to allow a single button click download of a PDF of the show notes because even if that helps one or two listeners to have a better experience of our show, it’s worth it. Once you get these things up and running in automated, it’s easy. And the checklist you do, that’s fantastic. I don’t know about you, and I don’t know if something that maybe consider doing because I haven’t seen this in any of your promotions yet, but maybe I just missed it. Say to people the first thing you should do is to download the checklist and read the checklist, then listen to the show. It’s like reading the table of contents of a book to know where things are going. Everybody who will talk to you about retention of information and things like speed reading will say that first you skim it really fast to get the layout and then you actually dive in. The brain science shows us that we retain and we act on a lot more information when we take those steps. One of the things I’m going to do is read through the checklist from this show and then listen back to the show to see what new ideas I get from some of the stories we’ve shared and talked about.
S: I like it. Just thinking along the lines of making it easy for these listeners or consumers of the content, meet them where they are and the way that they’ve most want to interact with your show… There’s this really cool tool, I just interviewed Hani Mourra who’s the creator of Repurpose.io and also another tool called Simple Podcast Press plugin. What that WordPress plugin does, wherever you have timestamps—in your show notes or in your transcript—it turns it into a clickable link and then the player will start playing that audio right at the timestamp point.
S: You don’t have to do anything, it’s just you plugin that plugin into your site and then it finds all the timestamps everywhere and turns them into links.
J: Oh wow! I have to check that out. I hadn’t seen that before.
S: Isn’t that cool?
J: That’s super cool.
S: We don’t have a lot of time left so I wanted to move from the eight phases which are awesome and that’s part of the first 100 days, going through Assess, Admit, Affirm, Activate, Acclimate, Accomplish, Adopt, and Advocate. What are the six tools that you cover in the book that help you maximize and optimize those eight phases?
J: I believe that there are six tools that you can use to communicate with your customers and most businesses are using maybe two or three of these tools and if they would just be willing to use more of them, you create an entirely different experience. The first one is in person, the old fashion way. How can you create in person interactions? The second one is email, which is what most businesses are using but ironically enough if you ask your customers, do they wish they were receiving more email?
S: For sure. Yeah.
J: Very few of them will say yes, they don’t want that, and yet that’s what we do. If we’re going to use emails—and I see benefit of email—let’s make sure it’s an email that they’ll remember. Let’s make it a remarkable email. The next tool is mail, like direct mail, snail mail, actually sending something via the post to your customers. This is probably one of the top opportunities available to businesses today because very few businesses are going to the trouble to actually send their customer something in the mail. I don’t know about you, the mailbox isn’t as full as it used to be. The email inbox is over flowing like the old mailbox used to but the physical mailbox is a little more quiet. It’s easier to stand out there. The next tool is phone. Actually using that device that you carry around in your pocket, or in your purse, or have on your desk for its actual intention which is to talk to people, to actually pick up the phone and call a customer. Let them know how much you appreciate their business. Then video, which we’ve talked a lot about. I think this is the biggest opportunity for businesses and there are a lot of businesses that are starting to dabble on this. I think we’re going to see even more. Your customers want to consume your content via video. They want to interact with you via video. It’s the closest thing to an in person experience we can give without being in front of them, so huge opportunity in video. Finally, the last one, gifts and presents. Actually, giving your customers surprises, gifts, unexpected things. Let me say this at this point, a coupon for 20% off of future business dealing with you is not a gift.
S: That’s not a gift.
J: It’s not a gift. It’s not a gift! If your grandmother gave you for your birthday a coupon for 20% off her next batch of chocolate chip cookies, you’ll be like, “Grams, are you serious? That’s not a gift. Give me the actual cookies.” And yet, this is what businesses do. I’m not opposed to giving coupons, I’m not opposed to giving you promotional items that have your logo on them, but don’t think that those are a gift. Those are a gift for you, the business, not a gift for your customers.
J: Be more creative and get personalized gifts. So many businesses, what they do—this is crazy because it is almost worse than sending no gift—a business will have, let’s say 50 clients that they work with, and it’ll come to the holidays and they’ll send all of them a fruit basket. There’s nothing wrong with a fruit basket but what’s wrong is when you send the same fruit basket to every client at the holidays, so that it can go along with all the other fruit baskets they received from all the other vendors that they do business with. Set yourself apart. Do something special, make it a unique gift. Listen to what your customers are telling you so that you find out things they’re personally interested in so that when you give them a gift, it’s a really meaningful gift, and a special gift. Something that doesn’t have to have your name on it but they will remember who gave it to them because it was so thoughtful.
S: I love that. That reminds me of a couple things, I have experience from various TV appearances. I have been taught to give the TV producer who booked you on the show a gift as a thank you at your end after you’ve done your TV appearance on them. Also, to give them one or several pitches like segment proposals for future TV appearances and it tends to work. It works pretty well. One of the things you don’t want to do though is give a copy of your book. That’s not a gift, just like giving coupons are not gifts. The book that you wrote is not a gift. It’s just cheesy and self-centered, and is not at all focused on what that TV producer or the recipient in general would want to receive. One example that really comes to mind, the TV producer at The Morning Blend in Tucson, it’s ABC Tucson. He’s a really funny guy, really entertaining, and one of his things that he really enjoys a lot is gourmet hotdogs. He’s a big aficionado of hotdogs.
S: I learned about this from my coach who’s been on that TV show a number of times and any of his clients have been on that show. He gave me this insider information that gourmet hot dogs was one of his things. I’m a vegetarian, I had to go into the meat isle of the grocery store once I arrived in Tucson, which I never do, and found some Nathan’s famous hotdogs and wrapped that up in a nice wrapping paper and gave that to him as a thank you gift after I finished the TV appearance and he loved it.
J: I love it. Exactly. Here’s the thing, let me ask a question. Ballpark, what do you think that package of hotdogs cost you?
S: Maybe $5.
J: Maybe $5. Here’s the crazy thing, everybody always thinks that gifts have to be really expensive. And yet if I were to ask you to sit down and make a list of the top three most meaningful, best, awesome gifts you ever received in your life, statistically what we would find is that each of those gifts cost less than $20. It’s not about the dollars, it’s about the thoughtfulness. It’s about the intention, it’s about the impact. What you showed that producer with those hot dogs was that you had taken the time to investigate what mattered to them and to give something that they would find valuable. What I love about this is you’re saying this not only is something that is not in my wheelhouse but it’s actually something that’s in the opposite of my wheelhouse. It’s something that I would never eat a hotdog and go get a hotdog myself. The fact that you were willing to go outside of your own comfort zone and find a gift for them that was meaningful to them shows the kind of guy you are, which is no surprise to me as someone who knows you but I think that’s what we should be striving for in our interactions with our customers.
S: Yeah, for sure. You know the expression, “People don’t remember what you told them, they remember how you made them feel.”
S: I made an impact on him. I’m sure he remembers receiving the hotdogs even though that was in 2016. Right after he received them, he posted a picture of the hotdogs on his Facebook, on his personal Facebook and I found that, I’m like, “Wow! That is so cool.”
J: Yeah. It worked.
S: He didn’t mention my name or whatever but he’s like, “This was such a cool, out of the ordinary gift, I got from one of my guests on my TV show. Check this out, I love hotdogs and this is just so cool.” He posted it into his Facebook.
J: Exactly. I think there’s two great things that come out of that story. Number one, don’t give gifts with the intention of needing public accolades for doing it. Give the gift because it feels like the right thing to do. That being said, often it will lead to great things, it will lead to that social media post. If they don’t mention you by name, good news is you know that they like it. If they do mention you by name, wow, you just got free press and publicity. This thing that we’re all seeking, which is other people to share our stuff or promote our stuff, it’s like just try being a decent person. Lots of times the rest takes care of itself. It’s amazing. Somebody asked me about the book and they said, “Joey, what’s the secret sauce in the book? What’s the magical thing in the book?’ I said, “It really boils down to this, I just want people to treat their customers the way they would like to be treated.” It’s not rocket science. There’s nothing here that people are going to read and be like. “Oh my God! That one thing, that’s the key to all my problems. We’ve got it.” Because that’s not the way customer experience works. However, there’s enough ideas in the book that will, maybe, spark you to think about your customers in a different way and say, “How can I treat them so that they feel well taken care of, so that they feel that they matter?” Because I think we live in a day and an age where that’s really what people are seeking in desperate, desperate ways. They want to feel like they matter, they want to feel like they’re important, they want to feel like they’re significant. As businesses, we have the opportunity to deliver on that by the experiences we create for them. Especially during this first 100 days of the customer on board.
S: We’re out of time. Where can people find you, and maybe learn more besides the book, of course, and to give the URL for the book, and site if they want to hire you to train to their team, if they want to hire you for a keynote speech for their conference. What’s the next step to get a hold of you and work with you?
J: Yeah, I appreciate that. The best place to find me online is my website, joeycoleman.com. There you’ll find all kinds of information about not only my services, but you’ll find lots of free videos and downloadable stuff that you don’t have to give your email to get access to. There’s some that you give emails to get access to but there’s some that you don’t, it’s totally up to you. And then you’ll also find the information about the book there. We’ve got the ebook, the hardback book, the audio book. They’re available, every bookstore you want to shop from either in the physical world or online, it’s out in a lot of places thanks to the great effort and work of my publisher and I hope people enjoy the book. I hope they enjoyed the conversation and definitely, reached out if I can ever be of assistance in helping you enhance the experience that your customers have.
S: Thank you, Joey. Thank you, listeners. Now, it’s time to take action from all this awesome information. Download the checklist at marketingspeak.com. Go through the transcript and start applying this stuff in your business and your life. We’ll catch you on the next episode of Marketing Speak. This is your host, Stephan Spencer, signing off.