085 Tom Jackobs on selling with storytelling

Tom Jackobs

Tom Jackobs never set out to be a sales coach. He started a fitness business because fitness had made such a big difference in his life.

Unfortunately, he almost went broke because he didn’t know anything about sales.

Learn how he turned sales from a weakness to a strength, without becoming “sales-y”, by connecting via storytelling.

Storytelling isn’t a new topic for Sales for Nerds, but you’ll appreciate how Tom guides you to find the right stories for you, and how to tell them.

Tom joins from Taipei, where a 2 day layover turned into 3 years and counting, thanks to COVID.

In this episode, learn:

  • How to make sales about solving people’s problems. (No one wants to exercise, they want to lose weight, get in shape, etc.)
  • How he became a sales coach for the company that he hired to coach him in sales.
  • How having a process let him sell without stress and much more effectively.
  • How to use your story and your clients’ stories to help prospects.
  • How you can succeed in sales as an introvert
  • How to pick a story and tell it the right way.
  • Don’t forget to have 3 versions of that story– from about a minute, to about 5 minutes, to a 10-15 minute version, for different situations.

P.s. Here’s part of Tom’s story that made him good at selling personal training:

And if you’d like to watch the episode, here’s the video:


The Water

Due to scheduling challenges between Austin and Taipei, we are both drinking water. 😉


Where to find Tom

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Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”.

It also has a “mad-libs” style wizard to help you lay our your mission and positioning, including your origin story and customer stories.


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084 Steve Buzogany on Client Appreciation

Steve Buzogany

Steve actually started his career in sales– as a real estate agent. One of his mentors told him he was working too hard and being too transactional instead of focusing on the relationship, limiting his referrals. But as an introvert, Steve felt awkward calling people up to cultivate referrals.

To get around this, Steve started sending gifts to people to give him a reason to call someone. This led to organic conversations about real estate, without the ickiness. (It was also much more fun.)

Using this gifting strategy, Steve got his business to 73% referrals, and made good money while taking a month off. He didn’t have to chase cold leads, and he won business in about half the time it took the average agent. Other realtors asked him how he did it, but complained they did have time to give thoughtful gifts. Steve had the insight that he could provide gifts as a service for other people.

Steve’s first gifts were “cheap”– like little bottles of vodka around the holidays. Not always appropriate, and even if it was, it was gone quickly.

Over time, he developed a more intentional gifting strategy, that you can implement by following his 6 Rules of Gifting:

  1. Focus on the client, not you. This is a gift, not a promotion.
  2. The gift must be high quality.
  3. You must personalize the gift.
  4. It must provide deep emotional impact (painting of client’s dog?)
  5. It must have staying power and not be a one-time use item.
  6. It must increase your connection (come with a handwritten note, video, etc)

Here examples of bad gifts:

  1. Thank you email. This is just a transactional item.
  2. Consumables like food and wine, flowers, or events, which are one-time events. (This means don’t give a bottle of wine, or don’t just give a bottle of wine– give a personalized corkscrew or some fancy wine glasses.)
  3. Swag bags
  4. Promotional items
  5. Gift cards (lazy)

Here are some other tips:

  • “Attack the kitchen.” Things like ice cream scoopers, pizza cutters, etc get used repeatedly.
  • Take time to get to know your best clients and partners. Trying to figure out a great gift is a good perspective for asking good questions and getting more connected.
  • Focus on the top 20% of your clients and partners who provide 80% of the referrals.
  • Plan to spend 5-10% of the revenue these clients generate on the gift. Gift 1, 2, or 4 times per year.
  • Have fun doing radically nice things for your best clients and partners.

And if you’d like to watch the episode, here’s the video:


The Wine (& Beer)

Reuben enjoys Para Maria Syrah/Petit Verdot blend from Santa Barbara county. (The second half of the bottle from the Wayne Mullins episode.)

Steve has a UFO American Style White Ale.


Where to find Steve

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Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”. (It also tracks referrals and how much business you get from them and makes it easy to follow up and have conversations, just like Steve suggests.)


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083 Wayne Mullins on Full Circle Marketing

Wayne is the founder of Ugly Mug Marketing and author of Full Circle Marketing: Transform Your Marketing & Turn Customers Into Evangelists.

Wayne’s parents got him some Zig Ziglar CDs (he still needs to ask his parents why they got him this gift) and wanted to get into sales, but wasn’t very good at it. But he realized that sales provided instant feedback, if you could separate the emotional response. He got better at sales by focusing on the prospect’s perspective, rather than his own.

As he got better at sales, he decided to start his own firm, in the only other skill he had: lawn care.

His lawn care clients started to ask him for marketing help because they were impressed with his growth. When he sold the lawn care business, this turned into Ugly Mug Marketing.

The Ugly Mug name comes from David Oglivy, who said, “I would rather you show me an ad that’s ugly and effective over one that’s beautiful but isn’t.” Wayne wanted the ultimate goal to be client results, not beautiful ads or creativity awards.

His first clients were clients of his landscaping company, who wanted to know how we was growing so fast.

Here are some of his tips:

  • He started by creating a Top 100 prospect list by driving around town.
  • Then he brought dozens of boxes of donuts to those businesses about once per month. When the manager would complain about the lawn, the staff would refer Wayne’s company. (He had a big sticker with his business info on the top of the boxes.)
  • He picked up the phone and called. Don’t hide behind your inbox. The best way to connect with humans is face-to-face, then video, then phone.
  • Don’t think of marketing and advertising as the same thing. Advertising is a part of marketing. So is the way your lawn looks, the way you answer the phone, etc.
  • What are you doing to create raving fans for your business? Buying donuts and birthday gifts created evangelists. Taking care of your customers and ignoring the fads is much more cost-effective than trying to get new customers.
  • Your customers carry a contact database and social media access in their pockets. What are you doing to encourage them to use that on your behalf?
  • Create great experiences for your customers. (Wayne does this for clients based on not only their direct spending with his firm, but their referrals and referral potential.) The idea is to make people feel special.
  • Educate your customers to help them succeed in adjacent spaces. (One client would send a single email follow-up to leads that included phone numbers.)
  • Focus on the problem, not just the demographics of “who”? If we focus too much on “who” instead of the problem, we sometimes target the wrong people. What problem does your offering solve?
  • Magic Journal Exercise… you should know your ideal customer so well that you can write the journal entries for them.
  • Full Circle Marketing: move strangers to friends to clients to evangelists.
  • Opportunities in print and direct mail, if you can personalize it.
  • Eugene Schwartz: “enter the conversation that is already taking place in the mind of the prospect.” Look for places to tie your messaging to what they are already doing. (Breakthrough Advertising: https://breakthroughadvertisingbook.com/)
  • How do we turn customers into evangelists? What does a reasonable person have the right to expect. Expectation Litmus Test. On the left, right down all the steps someone goes through doing business with you. What should a reasonable person expect during each step. What does it look like if we don’t meet expectations? Now you can test if you’re actually meeting expectations.
  • Bain surveyed 4,000 small businesses and 92% of the owners said they provided the highest level of services. Then Bain surveyed the customers. Only 8% of the customers agreed with that assessment.
  • You have to hit those expectations, at a minimum, to turn customers into evangelists.
  • Call those evangelists and ask them if they know other people who are dealing with the same problem you helped them fix.

The Wine

Reuben enjoys Para Maria Syrah/Petit Verdot blend from Santa Barbara county.

Wayne is sipping on his trusty water bottle.


Where to find Wayne

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Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”. (It also tracks referrals and how much business you get from them and makes it easy to follow up and have conversations, just like Wayne suggests.)


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082 Jay Kingley on Referrability

Jay Kingley on Sales for Nerds to talk about referrals

Jay was a chemical engineer who went into management consulting, because he loved solving problems. His family was in business, so he grew up with this.

He joined a firm that had spun out of Bain in London and loved the work. But as he moved up and became a partner, he had to sell, which he didn’t find interesting at all.

He looked at what the other partners did– they entertained clients. Jay didn’t want to do that.

He wanted to solve problems. So he’d read about what was going on in his clients’ industries, then he’d call the CEO and talk about what was happening.

Jay decided to start helping smaller companies. He tried the networking groups and all that. It worked but was not a good use of time.

In this episode, learned what Jay learned, including:

  • How the 98% Typical elevator pitch (I solve these problems, for these types of clients, by providing this type of service) differs from the 2% elevator pitch, which makes the client the hero. This goes back to the great Christmas movie of all time (Die Hard– this is why Jay and I get along)– you have to be able to identify with, and root for, the hero.
  • Don’t confuse marketing (1 to many) with sales (1 to 1).
  • How to get someone to really listen to your advice.

Plus the 3 stages of marketing:

  • 0: Spray and pray (“random acts of marketing”)
  • 1: Targeted outbound prospecting. Can work quickly– in about 90 days, but not efficient.
  • 2: Referrals. (Introductions are often a waste of time. Referrals are a bit better, but if you are one of 3 referrals, you’re going to waste a lot of time.
  • 3: Provocative Perspective. Offer a contrarian perspective that people can tell to their network. Then the people who find the story resonates want to talk to you. Simon Sinek is a great example of this strategy.

Why should people help share your Provocative Perspective? Because these people know they need to nurture their relationships and provide a lot of value, but they need something to say.


The Wine

Reuben enjoys Sorpasso Italian red.

Jay has a (giant glass of) California Merlot.


Where to find Jay

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Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”. (It also tracks referrals and how much business you get from them.)


Get alerted when there are new episodes (1x/month):

081 Michael Roderick on getting people to talk about you when you’re not in the room


Michael Roderick on Sales for Nerds

Michael went from a high school english teacher to Broadway producer in 2 years, powered by a network that he not only created and nurtured, but empowered to help him.

He read Seth Godin’s book Linchpin, and realized he was part of a system for churning out factory workers. He realized he needed to pursue his Broadway dream, and “it not now, when?”

Later, he deconstructed how he’d been able to pull off this transition, and he realized it wasn’t just that he met with a lot of people– he empowered these people to talk about him (in a good way) when he wasn’t around.

He codified his learning in a set of easy to remember (and mention) frameworks. For example…

Why do people refer you? To make themselves look good. Use the S.U.R.E. framework to assist:

  • Shortcut– make it easy to process and use
  • Utility– make it useful for the person hearing it
  • Reputation– make the referrer look good
  • Expedient– make it easy to mention

Don’t think of your offering, think of the problem your ideal prospect wants to solve, and help them solve a small piece of it, like a magician showing how he does one of his tricks.

This could be an assessment or other useful, actionable piece of information. For example, Michael often talks to experts who have valuable intellectual property that they deploy on behalf of their clients, but they don’t package it the way Simon Sinek or Brené Brown did. So he says that if you know an expert who’s far more obscure than they should be, fill out the “Jargon Grid” to get ideas for packaging your ideas.

I call this a “verbal Lead Magnet that your network can deploy on your behalf”, which Michael says is right on.

To get people talking about you, follow Michael’s 3 Principles of Referability (A.I.M.):

  • Accessibility— can people understand it outside the “Echo Chamber of the Enlightened”— anchor in something someone already knows
  • Influence— will people share it without you asking— make them look good
  • Memory— make it easy to retell the story— focus on L.E.S.S.

Expanding the L.E.S.S. framework:

  • Langage— have your own way of saying things that carve out mental space for you (“venti coffee”)
  • Emotion—illicit emotion to access memory
  • Simplicity— don’t share a 27 point checklist. Keep it simple.
  • Structure— provide order to process information– short lists, quadrants, etc.

What are you going to do to get more people talking about you (in a good way) when you’re not in the room?


The Wine

Reuben enjoys Chateau Jander from Moulis-en-Medoc, Bordeaux.

Michael has a Sales for Nerds first: Whiteclaw Ruby Grapefruit.

Books

Linchpin: Are you indispensable? by Seth Godin


Where to find Michael

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Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”.

It tracks referrals and helps you grow and nurture your network. Plus, the “Mission and Positioning” screen will help you refine your message, and give you lots of ideas for catchy phrases that will make you more referable. Meanwhile, use Lead Magnets to help turn those referrals into leads and conversations. Get a list of 25 Consulting Lead Magnet ideas here.


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080 Franklin Taggart on creating a creative (and profitable) business

Franklin Taggart

Franklin Taggart, host of the “Your Own Best Company” and the “Daily Virtual Coffee Break” podcasts, coaches freelancers, solopreneurs, and artists on how to connect with audiences and find clients, in a way that suits their skills, personality, and lifestyle.

He was a professional guitar player, and still teaches and also helped kids with anti-gang interventions. He fell into coaching accidentally, after a friend asked him to help facilitate a coaching retreat.

In this episode, learn:

  • How Franklin fell into coaching, and why he didn’t even think of it as “coaching” (plus, why he’s still suspicious of coaches, and what’s a sign of a good coach).
  • Why you’re not a “thought leader”, and why humility is important for successful work.
  • How to ask the right questions to find the people you really enjoy working helping (and the questions Franklin asks).
  • Why “following your passion” is not good advice, and what to do instead.

The Wine

Reuben enjoys Prodigal Pinot Noir while Franklin is still working on his coffee.


Where to find Franklin

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Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”. It tracks referrals and helps you grow and nurture your network. Plus, the “Mission and Positioning” screen will help you refine your message, and give you lots of ideas for videos.


Get alerted when there are new episodes (1x/month):

079 Mark Firth on YouTube video marketing

Mark Firth is a traveler of both virtual and physical worlds, moving from London to Bogota and now on to Florida. In Colombia, he realized his Spanish wasn’t good enough for local business, and his attempts to teach English were getting commoditized by the web.

He started a remote digital marketing firm, focused on LinkedIn. Initial results were good, but as the platform got flooded with spam (and LinkedIn services became more commoditized), Mark realized he needed to have more control over this destiny.

In this episode, learn how:

  • The YouTube algorithm is different from other social media sites
  • To get started producing video, without fancy equipment
  • To combine online video and your existing mailing list
  • Be patient and “find your voice”
  • To grow beyond the control of anyone else’s platform
  • The best way to show that you can help people

Of course, we had to put the YouTube video here. 😉


The Wine

Reuben enjoys some Devil’s Corner Tasmanian Pinot Noir (never tried wine from Tasmania before– quite nice– a lot of cranberry), while Mark has some cold green tea.


Where to find Mark

And the book Mark mentioned: The YouTube Formula: How Anyone Can Unlock the Algorithm to Drive Views, Build an Audience, and Grow Revenue, by Derral Eves.

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Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”. It tracks referrals and helps you grow and nurture your network. Plus, the “Mission and Positioning” screen will help you refine your message, and give you lots of ideas for videos.


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078 Michael Buzinski on Doubling Your Business with the Rule of 26

Michael Buzinski didn’t take your typical path to digital marketing. He was a professional jazz trombonist at age 13. He realized he could go as far as he needed in sales without a college degree, but not in marketing, so he joined the air force. He started a recording studio in 2005, but realized that starving musicians were not great business prospects, so he pivoted to serving business owners.

He grew a multimillion dollar agency, with hundreds of clients. Yet growth and scaling are two different things, and the rapid growth caused more problems than it solved, especially because they weren’t charging enough.

So Michael created a new virtual agency, helping small businesses grow beyond word-of-mouth. Michael is the author of The Rule of 26, which shows how a 26% increase in 3 key metrics leads to a doubling of revenue.

(The math is straightforward: 1 x 1.26 x 1.26 x 1.26 = 2.00. This is the magic of compounding.)

Listen to the episode for more details, but here are the 3 KPIs:

  • Average revenue per client
  • Conversion rate
  • Traffic

In this episode, learn:

  • Why you want to start with average revenue, then work your way to conversion rate, and then traffic.
  • How to get pricing advice from your best clients.
  • How to make your website better at converting visitors (and why most websites are not set up to do this).
  • And much more…

The Wine & Rum

Michael has some Kona spiced Hawaiian rum. And I’ve got some Brave Cellars pinot noir from Willamette Valley Oregon.

Books

The Rule of 26 For Service-Based Businesses: Three Steps to Doubling Website Revenue, by Michael.


Where to find Michael Buzinski

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Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”.

It tracks referrals and helps you grow and nurture your network. And it can help you implement Michael’s ideas about converting visitors to leads and conversations. (Get a list of 25 Lead Magnet ideas here.)


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077 Jonathan Stark on Ditching Hourly Billing

Jonathan Stark is a former software developer turned consultant who hates hourly billing and helps people “ditch hourly” and do value-based pricing.

And somehow, I didn’t know about him until recently. (Jonathan made the observation that we’re climbing up the same mountain from different sides.)

If you’ve ever stressed about pricing a project proposal, don’t miss this episode, where Jonathan shares:

  • How he had an epiphany when he worked for a consulting firm about why hourly billing had to go. He spent weeks trying to figure out why his “best” consultant was the least profitable.
  • Why the problem was hourly billing.
  • How he started his own firm because he needed to get rid of hourly billing, and made more money in his first year.
  • How hourly billing transforms your client relationships.
  • Why hourly billing goes sideways (and why it tends to start sideways, because you ask different questions in the initial meeting)
  • How to do things in the right order– figure out the value first, including the success criteria (and can you even satisfy them?), then the price, then scope.
  • How to let people unburden themselves– let them brain dump, then ask the structured questions, as needed, to fill in the details.
  • How do paid roadmapping sessions to gather information
  • How to get 100% payment upfront (and what to do if you can’t)
  • Fixed price is not the same as cost-plus
  • How do deal with unknown scopes (and the real scopes are always unknown), v
  • How to use explicit guarantees to reduce risk for the buyer, without changing how you operate.
  • How to ask questions like a doctor. (Doctors don’t tell you to jump on the operating table when they first meet you.)

The Wine

It’s a California Pinot Noir kind of episode, with Jonathan enjoying some La Cream and Reuben having a glass of Grevino.

Books

Hourly Billing Is Nuts, by Jonathan.

Value-Based Fees: How to Charge and Get What You’re Worth, by Alan Weiss. (Catch Alan’s Sales for Nerds interview here.)


Where to find Jonathan Stark

  • LinkedIn (he doesn’t really do LinkedIn)
  • valuepricingbootcamp.com— 6 day free email course
  • JonathanStark.com (by the way– check out this website not just for the awesome info, but the awesome example of how to create a great consulting website.)
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Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”. It tracks referrals and helps you grow and nurture your network. And it can help you implement Jonathan’s ideas about offering different options, crafting a value-based story in your proposal (you can get a free proposal template, too).


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076 Corrie Loguidice on starting a new business

Corrie has a “very expensive piece of paper that says she can draw well.” An art degree. So instead of waiting tables, she came to join the family electronics reseller business as a graphic designer.

Instead of getting disintermediated by the internet, Corrie was able to use her graphic design skills to promote her customers, the mom and pop electronics dealers.

Corrie realized she was in an abusive marriage and got a divorce with a 5-month-old. Then she realized she was commuting 20 hours per week and paying someone to watch her son part time, just for the commute. Then, she lost her post-divorce partner to suicide.

At this point, she knew she was strong enough to keep going, but she decided to reevaluate her life.

She knew she had to leave the family business, but this was harder than all the other trials.

But Corrie got clients, a social media following, and, within a year, was on a TEDx stage. So now she teaches other people how to start their own consulting businesses.

In this episode learn:

  • That websites don’t get you leads (I disagree!), conversations get you leads (I agree!). “Conversations are what lead to revenue.”
  • How to set yourself up for financial success and handling the stress of starting your practice.
  • How to figure out who you help, what you do for them, and why they should care, including how to hone your niche, and even how to pivot from one niche to another.
  • How do this with conversations, because if you can’t do it in a conversation, how will your website do it for you? (And stop worrying about colors and brands and logos– focus on the real conversations.)
  • Why you shouldn’t discount, and what to do instead.
  • Why the gold is in the follow up.
  • How to feel confident when having conversations with prospects and partners, including sales conversations.
  • Why you don’t need to waste time and money on expensive marketing campaigns.

The Wine (& Vodka)

Corrie enjoys a cocktail of vodka, water, and watermelon juice.

Reuben enjoys a Contina di Montelcino sangiovesi. Yumm, tastes like Italy.


Where to find Corrie

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Where to find Reuben

@Sales4Nerds, @Mimiran, Mimiran.com.You can also  listen on Overcast, or Subscribe on Android, or Player.fm.

Want a way to make sales and marketing fun, without being “salesy”? Try Mimiran, the CRM for elite solo consultants who love serving clients but who hate “selling”. It tracks referrals and helps you grow and nurture your network.

(Including the more powerful than ever Free Edition.) Mimiran can help you implement a lot of Shaily’s ideas not only more efficiently, but more effectively, including telling your Origin Story, coming up with your Superhero Name so you’re unforgettable and more referrable, and much more.


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