094 Meridith Grundei on Effective Speaking

If you prefer the video…

Meridith Grundei

Meridith was the shy kid in class who didn’t want to speak up. Someone suggested she take acting classes, which meant she got to use a script and be someone else, so she didn’t feel like she was being judged, which built up her confidence. She even got into improv, and taught at Second City. Improv forced her to bring herself into the conversation, and to realize that “messing up” is part of the process. Eventually, she got good enough that she started teaching others to speak. (Although even now, she notices flaws in her delivery– it’s not about being “perfect”.)

Special Tips for Zoom

  • Don’t be lazy– be engaged. (“everyone has resting bitch face”)
  • Show up well-let, alert, nodding, acknowledging, etc. Look alive and engage.
  • If you’re taking notes, tell people.
  • Keep it interactive (this goes for all speaking engagements, but especially Zoom, where there are so many distractions).

A Talk is a Story, Not a Data Dump

Especially for technical people– make sure you’re telling a story. People will only care about the data if they care about the story. But don’t make the story about you, make the audience the hero.

Frances Frei of Harvard Business School talks about the “Triangle of Trust”– Authenticity, Empathy, Logic. You need these 3 things in your communications. Too often, people get stuck in the logic, and neglect the other 2 pieces. (This is similar to Aristotle’s Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.)

Don’t overemphasize your slides! Work on your slides last. (Same thing goes for visuals, props, etc.) For every one, ask yourself if you need it. If they don’t support your story, skip it. You should know your talk well enough that if all the tech fails, you can still deliver your presentation.

Delivering Your Talk

  • It’s your party– host the party you want to have. Want music, colorful visuals, lots of shouting out? Do that…
  • Have a pre-presentation ritual to ground yourself. (Meridith does up to 35 push-ups.)
  • Do not stand behind the podium (try to move the podium to stage right — your right– if possible, so you can occupy center stage) or hug the curtain at the back of the stage.
  • Move with purpose to convey changes in thinking or circumstances, not just fidgeting.
  • Record yourself, if you can. (Don’t practice in front of the mirror– it’s distracting.)
  • Devote as much time as you possibly can for practice. (And practice out loud. Practice the transitions.)
  • You can break your presentation into chunks– for example you may want to practice a 45 minute presentation in 15 minute blocks.

End on a Strong Note

Be as simple as possible with your call-to-action. (“Please find 30 minutes on my calendar. Here’s my QR code. I’ll give you a moment to grab that on your phone.”)

Don’t give them multiple things to do (“go here to connect with me on LinkedIn, here to get on my calendar, here to get my freebie, etc.”)

If you do a Q&A session after your main presentation, don’t let it just fizzle out. Wrap up the Q&A and recap the main idea(s) from your talk and give your call-to-action.


The Wine

Reuben has a glass of Chateau Franc Bigaroux St Emilion Grand Cru 2019, while Meridith, living in New York City, and having consumed her bottle of wine the night before, goes dry.


Where to find Meridith

Catch Meridith’s wonderful podcast that she co-hosts with Joseph Bennett, Are You Waiting for Permission?

Connect with Meridith on LinkedIn and TikTok.

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

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 so you can hone and share your unique perspective with ideas from a page of content headlines that could serve as a basis for your talk.

Plus, Mimiran makes follow-up a breeze, so staying on top of those busy editors is easy. And lead magnets let you convert your exposure into leads and conversations.


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

093 Alistair McDermott on becoming a Recognized Authority

If you prefer the video…

Alistair McDermott on Sales for Nerds

Alistair’s first job out of school was writing assembly code for IBM mainframes, then went to Sun Microsystems to work on their Solaris operating system. (He may be the nerdiest guest we’ve had.)

He didn’t like working for someone else, and started an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) business. (He started a couple of projects on the side, before he quit his job.)

He also took a course on starting a business, and reached out to the teacher, who gave him a hook up for a cheap trade show booth, because another business had backed out at the last minute.

He got a lot of leads at the tradeshow, but didn’t know what to do with them. So he asked for help again, and learned to create offers. (Some of the leads needed SEO, and some needed a website.)

Alistair ended up calling this business Website Doctor (a brand he still uses).

However, he realized he had no specialization. Every project was different. Everything required word-of-mouth.

He started planning a podcast in July 2014 and he launched in April 2021. He didn’t know what audience he was trying to target.

Alistair groups business development strategies for consultants into 3 buckets:

  1. Referrals (how most consultants operate)
  2. Outbound sales (yuck)
  3. Inbound (the Holy Grail for Alistair)

Alistair has worked with a lot of coaches, but Philip Morgan, author of The Positioning Manual for Indie Consultants (great book, btw, and I need to have Philip come) was a key influence that Alistair reached out to ask for help. Phillip helped him niche down, from “Marketing for Consultants” to “the Recognized Authority”.

If you’re a local brand, you don’t need as much differentiation, because you only have local competition. But if you want to compete globally, you need to niche down and become the “recognized authority” in that niche. “If you’re everything to everybody, you’re nothing to nobody.”

If you pick the right niche, there are more than enough clients.

When you niche down, you can become known for what you do, unlike being a generalist. You avoid the blandness of generic content. You avoid the constant learning curve of being a generalist. As a specialist, you can go beyond the surface level, and the people in your tribe, know that you get them and their issue(s). You want to be like the doctor or lawyer who deals with your particular problem all day, every day.

(Don’t like the idea of “niching down”, try “niching up”, the great turn of phrase from podcast guest Ellen Melko Moore.)

Most common specializations are horizontal (problem-based) and vertical (industry-based). Ideally, you do both.

David C. Baker says you should have at least 200 businesses in the market you’re targeting.

Note that you can experiment with your positioning with test campaigns or even just testing when you speak to people.

List your past projects. What was the client’s ability to pay? How much did I like working on the project? What patterns emerge? This is how Alistair figured out how to zero in on consultants.

Alistair’s 5 Steps for better Positioning:

  1. Past Client Analysis
  2. Skills & Interests Assessment
  3. Small Scale Research to validate ideas
  4. Craft Test Positioning (“I help these people solve this problem” or some variation on that, but keep it simple. This also makes it easy to keep a history of your evolving positioning)
  5. Validate and Iterate. Every time someone asks, “what do you do?”, you get a chance to do this.

Then create content, in whatever format you like, aimed at helping your niche solve the big problem you help them solve. This is a great way to market for an introvert, and it lets people arrive “pre-sold”.


The Wine Whiskey

Alistair enjoys some Jameson Crested Irish whiskey (quite a solid pour, I might add, although I didn’t really give him a chance to drink it during the episode).

Reuben has a glass of Rokkosan 12 year old Japanese whisky.


Where to find Alistair

Catch Alistair’s The Recognized Authority Podcast (and check out this episode on Creating Stress-free Consulting Proposals, with yours truly)

LinkedIn.

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

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 so you can hone and share your unique perspective. Plus, Mimiran makes follow-up a breeze, so staying on top of those busy editors is easy. And lead magnets let you convert your exposure into leads and conversations.


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

092 Reuben Swartz on the 2 Step Sales Process for Consultants

If you prefer the video…

For the past few years, I’ve done a December episode where it’s just me, talking about things I’d like to make sure I pass on, because I found them so useful (and because it typically took me way too long to figure them out).

In this episode, I talk about boiling the complexity of sales and marketing down to a simple 2 Step Sales Process.

This is specifically for folks in relationship business– if you’re in ecommerce or groceries or other more transactional markets, this is not for you.

If you’re in a relationship business, you’re in a conversation business, because conversations are the building blocks of relationships.

So if you’re in one of these businesses, here’s your 2 step sales process:

  1. Figure out exactly who you want to have conversations with.
  2. Have conversations with them.

That’s it.

If you do that, good things will happen. If you don’t, it will be more of a struggle.

Check out the episode for more details, naturally, and check out these additional resources.

Give it a shot and let me know what happens. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised…


The Wine

Reuben has a Loire Valley Pinot Noir from Domaine Vacheron in Sancerre.


listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

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 so you can hone and share your unique perspective (in other words, figure out exactly who you want to talk to). Plus, Mimiran makes follow-up a breeze, so staying on top of those busy editors is easy. And lead magnets let you convert your exposure into leads and conversations.


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

090 Erica Holthausen on turning expertise into authority by publishing in magazines

If you prefer the video…

Erica Holthausen on Sales for Nerds

Publishing a book is a great way to turn your expertise into authority (see this episode with Rusty Shelton for more details), but you don’t have to go all the way to a book to gain many of the benefits.

Erica Holthausen will show you how to publish articles in magazines and journals to raise your profile and attract ideal clients.

Erica was a recovering lawyer, turned marketer, who realized with the help of a business coach, that her true passion was helping her clients get published. She talked to other editors and consultants and realized that this could be her business.

In this episode, Erica outlines her methods so you can get published.

First, who should try to get published?

  • Anyone in an oversaturated market who needs to differentiate themselves.
  • Anyone who wants to build a reputation and personal brand.
  • People who have an idea that they want to spread.

Why don’t people do this?

  • Publication guidelines tend to be clear as mud.
  • Most online resources are for freelancer writers, not experts trying to publish.

And some people should not pursue this path.

  • If you need revenue ASAP, don’t waste time trying to get published– it’s a long term play.
  • If you’re only trying to publish for the SEO boost. There are more effective ways to boost SEO rankings. (Although SEO improvements are a nice side benefit. Note that if SEO is an important focus, look for publications that give you an author blurb with a link on every article, not just a link to your author page.)

If you do want to pursue publishing, (in magazines and journals), here’s what to do…

  1. Consider your goals. Publishing will not magically make money fall from the sky. It’s a part of your business strategy. (One of Erica’s clients wrote articles in an industry journal for individual prospects. Others write content that they don’t even expect their prospects to read– but the credibility boost opens doors. Others want to interview key players in their industry.) Your target publications will depend on your goals, and of course who you’re trying to reach. Often, industry publications are more effective for reaching prospects than more widely known media properties.
  2. Figure out the rules and guidelines for your target publication(s). Everyone has different guidelines. Some are published (Google “write for us [publication name]” or “author guidelines [publication name]”) and some are not. Some have lots of detail, some don’t. But make sure you understand what you can (for example, Inc lets you do interview-style articles, while Entrepreneur does not). Do not be “high maintenance”. Editors are already too busy. Consume the content in your target publication(s), which you’re probably already doing.
  3. Write your article. Yes, before your pitch it. This has several benefits.
    1. You know what you’re actually pitching… the ideas may evolve as you write.
    2. You avoid writer’s block and you can submit the content quickly if you get a “yes”.
    3. Unlike a freelance writer, whose business is getting paid to write, you can use this content elsewhere (even your own blog) if editors don’t want it.
    4. Make sure you fact check everything. Be clear and specific. Don’t write “studies show…”. Link to the actual study. (Which of course you have read and understood.)
  4. Submit your pitch (depending on the publication, you can pitch an article and/or a column). Be clear and concise, not clever. These folks are already overworked. Have a subject like “article pitch: [title]”. (Have a good working title.) Explain why this story matters, and why you should write it. The editor doesn’t care about you, but about the audience.
    1. Show how your piece adds to the conversation already happening for that publication. Look for ways your perspective lets you build on other pieces, with “yes, but…”, “yes, and…”, or “no, because…”. Editors are starving for great content and they can’t afford to pay for it. (Just don’t make your article pitch a pitch for you and your services. That doesn’t serve the audience.)
    2. Include relevant credibility boosters– other publications, quotes in other people’s articles, podcast appearances, industry experience, degrees, etc. You don’t need to list everything, but provide third-party validation of your authority to write on this subject.
    3. Conclude with something like, “If I don’t hear back from you, I will reach out to you in 10 days.”
  5. Follow up. Building on the last point– follow up when you say you will. Editors are busy. They inundated with pitches. They may be sick or on vacation. Give the benefit of the doubt. Follow up by forwarding back the original email, so everything is in one place. After 3-5 attempts, conclude with something like, “If I don’t hear from you in 10 days, I’ll assume you’re not interested and will pitch elsewhere.” (Always pitch one publication at a time.) If you get any response at all, call it a win. (“Nice piece, but we’ve got too many article about XYZ for now…”) If you keep getting no response, get help with your pitch. Would you want someone coming on your podcast with that pitch?
  6. Submit. If you actually get a “yes”, submit your article. You can also ask questions if you need help with guidelines at this point.
  7. Leverage your article(s).
    1. Send a link via personalized email to the key circle of people you wanted to read the piece, including mentors, other experts you cited, key prospects, etc.
    2. Send to your newsletter, on social media, your podcast, YouTube, etc. Multiple times. It may be old hat to you, but not everyone will see it each time.
    3. Put an “as seen in” logo on your site. Just make sure it links through to your article or author page. Erica will assume you’re lying if the logo doesn’t go anywhere.
    4. If you got published via pay-to-play, that’s fine, just don’t pretend that you’re the next Brené Brown. That will cost you credibility instead of gaining it.

Of course, if you want and/or need help with any of this, connect with Erica. (See contact info below, including how to register for her free monthly Pitched to Published sessions.)


The Wine

Erica enjoys some Pfeiffer Wines Rock It Like a Redhead Cabernet Sauvignon (“The Rebel”).

Reuben has Chateau Galateau from St Emilion, Bordeaux.


Where to find Erica

Catchline Communications (prices are public). Check out the free monthly Pitched to Published mini training and Q&A, the 2nd Wednesday of the month.

LinkedIn.

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

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 so you can hone and share your unique perspective. Plus, Mimiran makes follow-up a breeze, so staying on top of those busy editors is easy. And lead magnets let you convert your exposure into leads and conversations.


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

089 Rochelle Moulton on not avoiding conversations

“The sooner you can get to a niche, the faster you get to a sustainable, vibrant business, and we don’t feel like we’re on the hamster wheel. Niching is king.”

Rochelle Moulton

If you prefer the video…

Rochelle Moulton

Rochelle Moulton started her career in a big consulting firm, becoming a partner, then left to start her own firm.

She had to learn to consult without having a big name behind her, and then sold this firm to Arthur Andersen (until the Enron implosion destroyed Andersen).

Within Andersen, Rochelle had been coaching accounting partners on selling. She helped subject matter experts build relationships with clients, not just spout off their expertise.

Here’s why they weren’t good at sales:

  • Too focused on their knowledge, “being right”, and sounding smart.
  • Not paying attention to building a genuine relationship.
  • Not putting yourself in the clients’ shoes
  • Talking too fast, too much, or insisting on pitching your pitch regardless of the conversation

Sound familiar?

Later Rochelle went back to work for herself, and started coaching other consultants like she had internally at Andersen.

She had a client who ran a financial consulting firm who kept hiring people who “couldn’t sell”, because the owner wanted people who could listen. They were amazing at winning deals.

“Introverts can be really, really good at sales because they listen.”

Rochelle helps people build market authority– positioning your expertise in a niche with a powerful message. The idea of building authority is that people seek you out, and you do more of the qualification than sales.

Rochelle likes to think in terms of an Authority Spectrum– from low authority, where you have to do a lot of work for each deal, to high authority, where ideal clients are eager to work with you and seek you out.

This is a spectrum, and it’s not that you ever completely stop reaching out to people, but you get more leverage out of higher authority.

This improves sales efficiency, but does not mean avoiding conversations– just that you have conversations with the right people.

If you really don’t want to ever talk to anyone, have a business model that lets people buy by clicking a button. If you want to do high end consulting, you need to talk to people.

If you do this right, you make low to high 6-figures per project, or even low 7-figures, as a soloist.

If you have a good network of referral partners, you can have high-leverage conversations with them, which leads to a stream of high qualify referrals. (There is a danger of over-reliance on a single referral source, so keep building other options.)

Your niche is a combination of your skills, and how you ideally help with those skills.

Often the sophomore year of a consulting business is the hardest, because the initial flow of referrals dries up, and you have to figure out how to get clients and what your niche really means.

“Do not try to avoid having really conversations. It may feel risky or intrusive, but if you have something to offer them, they would probably love to have a conversation, provided it’s not a pitch. You just have to ask…”

Talk to your Authority Circle– the ~150 people who want to help you and you want to help.

If you’re nervous about having these conversations, start with low-hanging fruit, even your next-door neighbor.

Have conversations and listen. Listen to their concerns, their pain points.

Humans are pretty simple.

Reuben: “figure out exactly who you want to talk to, and have good conversations with them, and good things will happen.”

Rochelle: “I’m not gonna argue with that.”

There you have it, folks. Keep talking to people. And make sure you’re listening.


The Wine

Rochelle enjoys some Fess Parker chardonnay from the California Central Coast, while Reuben has some Domaine Guion Cuvée Prestige Bourgueil, a nice cab franc from the Loire Valley in France.


Where to find Rochelle

Soloist Women Podcast

The Business of Authority Podcast (with co-host Jonathan Stark, whose Sales for Nerds episode on ditching hourly billing you can check out here).

Don’t forget to check out her book, The Authority Code: How to Position, Monetize and Sell Your Expertise.

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

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. And great ways to help you have more conversations, as Rochelle recommends.


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

088 Bridget Hom on hiring and firing the right mental team

“When you’re feeling out of your mind, you’re probably in somebody else’s. And when you’re in someone else’s mind, you’re out of your own.”

Bridget Hom
Bridget Hom

Bridget Hom’s mom was in public relations, her dad was in sales, and they had scheduled family meetings every Sunday, so you might think she was destined for entrepeneurship.

But she started her career as a journalist. And then got a masters in theology, planning on going into the ministry. She realized later that journalism, ministry, and marketing all share a similar theme.

In her twenties, she lived a self-described “bougie” lifestyle with 3 nannies, house cleaners and traveled the world as a stay-at-home mom (“domestic engineer”).

But she got Zoom-divorced and moved into a small apartment with her 3 boys.

She got certified as a coach and met a man while salsa dancing who became her business partner in a placement agency, but that dried up with the pandemic.

Fortunately, that dance partner gave her the best advice she ever receieved:

“Wherever you go, just be you.”

In this episode, learn:

  • How Bridget showed up and started her “Bridge to Freedom Coaching Program” and how you can apply her techniques to your program(s).
  • Why being “Stuck on Ready” (the title of her book, btw) is so important for an entrepreneur. In other words, always be ready to take (imperfect) action, instead of waiting for perfection.
  • To hire and fire the right mental team, before you try to sell your prospects your own limiting beliefs.
  • Why feelings aren’t your friends– action is your friend.
  • How to create empowered referral partners. (Hint, it has a lot to do with some of the core concepts about referrals and conversations in Mimiran.)
  • Why having an ideal client profile is important, but why you shouldn’t get wrapped up in that idea when you start. (And how to figure it out. Hint, it’s really easy, especially with the right (anti)CRM.)
  • Why you need to look and feel “the part”.
  • How to stay accountable and on track (and why a 1% deviation from your course will lead you miles astray). (You do have a destination and a course, right?)
  • To make sure your actions are moving you towards your destination.
  • To address your headspace every single day. Be intentional. Brain dump. Hire and fire the right mental team. (See video below that Bridget mentions.) “As entrepreneurs we’re typically in relationships with our thoughts about people, versus people themselves.”
  • Why if you have an endless todo list, if it’s not digestible each day, you’re going to think you’re a failure every day. Set a 2 minute timer and write for 2 minutes (pen & paper). Then hire & fire the right mental team. Shift negative ideas to positive, with action. For example, if you’ve hired “resentment” on your team, fire that and hire “motivation” or “serenity” and then do something in line with that team member.
  • How to know if and when to actually change course.
  • Why you need to keep having conversations.

“As entrepreneurs we’re typically in relationships with our thoughts about people, versus people themselves.”

What do you think I do? Let people tell you…

Look at your day– do your actions line up with revenue– clients, prospects, prospecting, and content creation.

Is there an even exchange of energy? Especially with collaboration partners. If you’re not talking about profit in your collaborations, you’re not being serious.

Put that energy into your business development.

Be problem aware and solution seeking. Be aware of anything that keeps your from limitless potential. A lot of entrepreneurs have the wrong mental and they don’t reach out to anyone.

Here’s the Juggling with the Jenkins– if my brain had a morning meeting video.

The Book

Stuck on Ready Bridget Hom

Stuck on Ready: Master the Entrepreneur Mindset, Break Free from Self-Sabotage, and Access Your Limitless Potential


The Coffee & Tea

Bridget is in recovery so we’re not drinking alcohol today. Bridget has some coffee, and Reuben having already had his coffee, has moved on to tea.

Which brings us to Bridget’s version of the Serenity Prayer:

“Give me the courage to accept the people I cannot change… the courage to change the people I can, and the wisdom to know that that’s me.”


Where to find Bridget

BridgeToFreedomCoaching.com

LinkedIn.

Brigethom.me (direct calendar link)

https://www.bridgetofreedomcoaching.com/about-4

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

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. And great ways to help you have more conversations, as Bridget recommends.


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

087 Kevin Whelan on selling your expertise, not your labor

Kevin Whelan

Kevin Whelan was a philosophy major, but he had created a website about computer security in high school, just as a hobby.

Later, that experience led to creating websites as a freelancer and then a job in the marketing group at a law firm, where he saw how digital agencies operated from the client’s perspective.

He also started building an agency in his “spare time”.

Hear how Kevin:

  • Got his first clients
  • Moved from building 4 figure websites to 5 figure websites
  • Increased his productivity and effective hourly rate (without having to bill hourly)
  • Used specialization helped him get better, bigger projects
  • Moved from charging for implementation to consultation to advisory services (actor to director to producer)
  • Handles outsourcing pieces of project delivery, and why he doesn’t take a cut
  • Handles scheduling conflicts between different clients
  • Gives away as much of his expertise as possible, to attract people who appreciate the way he thinks

If you want to move from selling your expertise, to selling the results, don’t miss this episode, and connect with Kevin for more info.


The Wine & Whisky

Kevin is enjoying a Nikka Japanese Whisky (on the rocks).

Reuben has a glass of Youngberg Hill Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.


Where to find Kevin

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

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.


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

086 Richard White on Taking Good Notes

Richard White, CEO of Fathom.video

Richard White is founder and CEO of Fathom, a Zoom plugin that helps you take notes, and that I use every day.

He solves problems that he has and ends up forming companies around the solutions… He started UserVoice, to get customer feedback at scale, because at the previous startup, they had more feedback than they could digest. At that company, he noticed that while he thought he took good notes, he often didn’t know which notes went with which calls, and he had trouble sharing notes with teammates. This lead to Fathom…

Fathom plugs into Zoom, and provides a transcript, and also lets you easily highlight a section of a conversation. (Since Richard and I spoke, they also released an AI Summary feature, which is amazing.)

Here are some notes best practices:

  • Rewatch highlights and last 3 minutes of the previous call right before you go into the next conversation.
  • Don’t obsess with what note-taking framework to use… just have a system that works for you. It’s hard to change your style, and very hard to change someone else’s style.
  • Some people take short notes and then fill them in later. Some people block out 10 minutes after each meeting to take your notes. Pick the system that works for you.
  • Richard has bad handwriting like me, so he used to take notes in Google Docs, with headings and indentations to organize.
  • He uses mnemonic to help remember things via single keywords. (If he’s focused on typing, he’s not fully listening, so it’s helpful to use these shortcuts that you can flesh out later.)
  • Use Voice Memos on your phone, if necessary, to capture key points from a meeting before you forget.

Here are Reuben’s Fathom highlight options:

Reuben's Fathom Highlight Options

This makes it easy to highlight key points for reference and/or future review. It also means that if I need to follow up with tasks, search later for introductions, or write a proposal, I can pull up the relevant info easily.

Just for reference:

CRM: is for when someone tells me what they’re doing for CRM now. You might want to have a different flag for your particular line of work.

D: Decision-making. (“I need to talk to my spouse”, “I’m reviewing these things with my marketing agency on Thursday.”, etc)

ICP: Ideal Client Profile. Helpful for making introductions.

ID: Ideal solution. (“What I’d really like is to be able to follow up and never forget someone.”)

NS: Next step. (“I’ll send you the info to book a time to be on my podcast.”)

P: Problem statement. (“It’s driving me nuts that…”, “I wish I could avoid…”, etc)

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


The Wine & “Athletic Beer”

Richard has an Oktoberfest “Athletic Beer”, because he’s in a clean living phase.

Reuben is not, so he had a glass of Brave Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.


Where to find Richard

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

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.


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

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

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

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.)


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

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

listen-on-apple-podcasts-sales-for-nerds

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.)


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