Andrew is the founder of Fangled Group, a strategy-first multilingual Global Marketing and Sales Consultant, and has successfully driven business growth in more than 120 countries, driving revenue in the 10s of billions of dollars. He's also the host of the Fangled Cast podcast where incredible guests take deep dives into relevant topics for the business world.
Let's talk a little bit about brand. What do you mean by converting every touch into ferocious advocates for your brand?
Well, one of the things that gets missed is that in the business world, everybody talks about this idea of the mission statement, we talk about your brand story. A mission statement is that thing that goes up on the wall that people talk about to sort of prime themselves before a planning meeting, whereas a mission statement is really who your company is and the brand is what are they saying about you when you're not there? So when we talk about converting every touch, most companies talk about converting customers into brand advocates and I think it falls short. So when you think about the number of people who don't do business with you but love your company. I mean, if you go to like a luxury brand, how many people out there love Ferrari but could never own one? So what we talk about every touch is every person who comes in contact with your employees, your company, your products, your services, leaves going, "I wish that I could do business with them, and not only that, I love what they do so much that I'm going to tell people about it." That's what we mean by every touch becoming ferocious advocates.
Another area that you really focus on is, as opposed to competitors, you talk about alternatives. What exactly is the difference?
It's a fun one to get into because sometimes people say, "You're just splitting pairs," but I'm not. So imagine that you're a manufacturer of construction nails and you get asked who are your competitors and your answer would be all of these other guys that also make construction nails. We say, well, a construction nail is a solution to bonding two things together. So your competitors are nails, yes, but the alternative solutions could be screws, it could be adhesive, it could be tape, it could be making products that snap together, it could be twine. All of those are alternative solutions to the problem that the person who's buying a nail would see. So when we do a, quote, competitive landscape, it's not just other people who make what you make, it's other people who make solutions to the problem that your product could solve.
How can people turn boring video meetings, which we are all having today into memorable events?
When you look at the typical zoom meeting, it's a bunch of heads in a box and occasionally people will do some sort of weird background, they don't have their lighting right, you're looking up their nose, they don't have the camera angle. So phase one of being better in terms of video in terms of meetings and things like that, is getting all of that correct. But then there's the next level, there's how do you, for example, share your screen in a way that you're really giving the person the impression that you're in the room. We use open-source software that we teach people how to use, that literally creates a TV studio on your computer, that shows up in your zoom meeting and your blue jeans, with your Teams meetings, so that you can truly control the environment, you can shrink yourself down, put your PowerPoint up, and grow back up if somebody asked questions, you can re-engage and all that type of stuff. The same tech works if you're making videos. So when people get to see you almost as a performer, the same way they would if you were in the boardroom with a PowerPoint or a video up on the screen, you can recreate that. But it came out of somebody asking the question, "How the heck can I be in the room, but I can't be in the room?" We've looked at all these techniques and started teaching how to do that as a side project within the Fangled groups division we call innovation. All of that stuff, if you're a lousy presenter will make you a lousy presenter with gimmicks, but if you're a good presenter, it'll really be able to enhance and give you a creative edge so that when three different companies pitch your customer, you're the one they're going to remember.
Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
So it was about I would say three months ago, I was in a very odd networking group. I was experimenting trying to see how people would see the video course that we do so I went into some networking groups I wouldn't normally join. There was a gentleman in that networking group who I would put on the scale most people would have some not nice things to say because he was a very odd guy and it got to the point that people were like private messaging each other, "What's what's with this dude?" Well, I found it interesting and looked at what he did and what company he was within that networking group, and connected, because I wanted to talk to him just to see a little bit more. He ended up introducing me to a very good client that we just took on board. So one of the things that I always talk about in networking, and almost all of the success stories that we've had from truly being able to land clients, or getting people to introduce us to important people, is don't look and judge, ask and listen and recognize the value of folks, because it's a powerful, powerful tool to get through doors if you would never get on a cold call.
As you continue to reach out and connect and meet new people, how do you stay in front of, invest, and nurture these relationships?
It's about communication and I use two methods. One of them is something I learned back in the days before computers were on our desks, called backdating. What I'll do is if I meet somebody, and I know that there's going to be the next step, I throw something on my calendar based on the day, not just making it a to-do list so that I get to it. So I sort of automated that way. The other is I do have marked on my schedule every day, early in the morning, a 30 minute period of time where I go through all of the notes that are in a special place that I keep them to make sure that I'm not letting any of the opportunities where the connections that could lead to opportunity slip. I'm not above sending somebody a note going, "I was in the meeting yesterday talking about something that related to our conversation, we should get back together and take it to the next level." People, people don't get asked questions that really dig into who they are as people and everybody likes to talk about themselves. So if you take your notes, and you keep tracking away, that you're not just looking at the data, but you're also looking at the person behind it, so they can feel like you care and you're interested, it always helps build those relationships. Sometimes, people I've met, every six months or so we touch base, and then three or four years later turns into something.
What advice would you offer to a business professional who's really looking to grow their network?
To make sure that you're connecting with people and not names. If you send me a connection request on LinkedIn because you think that I should be in your network, I probably won't respond to it unless there's something in there that's meaningful, either mutually beneficial or, "Hey, I saw your podcast, we talked about this topic, I'd like some more information on that," something that tells me that you're interested in the person, not just a guy with a title that you want in your network. Then once you connect, don't just pitch somebody. It's fascinating to me, you connect with somebody and within two seconds, it's, "We have this and you need it." I always respond with, "How do you know?" Then I disconnect.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
Back when I was in my 20s, I was extremely adventurous and bold which is what took me overseas and all those kinds of things. I would probably tell myself to be a little bit more cautious financially in terms of putting money away than I did in those years. But I wouldn't have cut back on any of the bold moves that I made that created my career.
We've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with? And do you think you could do it within the sixth degree?
Unfortunately, the people I'd like to connect with most are no longer on the planet so it would be six feet, not six degrees. There's a guy Ian Brenner, who's with the Euro group, who I would love to have a conversation with. He's a brilliant expert in the global community. It would either be him or Marshall, Goldman, the author of What Got You Here Won't Get You There, one of the most influential books I read in my early career. I think I would just try to reach out directly to them and tell them why I want to connect.
What would be your final word of advice for our listeners about growing and supporting your network?
Make sure that you always lead with the idea of service and being kind and remove all of those detractors from your network so that you can really grow and be of value and get value from your network.
Connect with Andrew:
Check out Andrew’s Virtual Presenter Course at https://virtualpresentercourse.com/
Danielle is the leading authority on the science behind caffeine and energy drinks, the best-selling author of How To Get Shit Done When You Feel Like Shit, the host of the Caffeine at Midnight podcast. As the founder of GEG Research and Consulting, she helps people who work long hours and use caffeine to get through the day. Green Eyed Guide (GEG) has helped workers, nurses, college students and small business owners beat burnout with caffeine science.
So you say you help people beat burnout with caffeine science. What does that mean?
Essentially, caffeine is the number one coping mechanism when it comes to stress or sleep deprivation. During the last survey that Forbes did, which was before Coronavirus, 67% of employed Americans said they struggled with burnout in the workplace. I imagine that it's more than 67% since Coronavirus, but that's the best number that we have. So essentially what this means is that people are using caffeine throughout the day to help them juggle all their roles and responsibility and there are certain situations where caffeine can actually backfire, it can actually make your mood worse and your anxiety worse and your sleep deprivation even worse. So what I do in my workshops is I go through my system called the five levels of fatigue. I teach people how to identify every level of fatigue and then we talk about the ways that you can beat or manage that particular level of fatigue with and without caffeine. Ultimately, what it's doing is it's teaching people how to drink caffeine strategically so that you get the benefits of caffeine like improved focus and improved mood, but you also know when not to have caffeine and that way you're not compounding that anxiety and that burnout that you have because you have that caffeine strategy. So it's a comprehensive plan that addresses the caffeine as well as you know, your physical and your mental health.
What's your favorite caffeine-related tip to share with the coffee drinkers listening right now?
Well, I am a huge dog lover and so I have something called the barks doggy law, which is really a law about moderation. Essentially, what happens in this barks doggy law is that if you're bored, or you're tired, one cute little doggie can come along and then your mood goes up a little bit. Then maybe another dog comes, another dog comes, another dog comes and then you're surrounded by like, 50 yapping dogs, and it's no longer cute, it's no longer improving your mood, and it's actually making your mood worse and is actually making it hard to focus. That's because performance improves to a point with increasing stimulation, and then you become overstimulated and your performance decreases. That's what happens when you have too much caffeine. So there's a sweet spot in this Barks doggy law and essentially, it is finding your sweet spot where your stimulation is just enough to improve your performance, but not enough so that you're overstimulated and it pushes you over the cliff. This is my favorite tip to give caffeine drinkers because the amount of caffeine that you might need to get you to that sweet spot might vary day to day based on what other stimulation you have in your environment. If it's a relatively low-key day, maybe one cup of coffee will do. But when shit hits the fan, you might need more caffeine, but you also need to make sure you don't fall off that cliff where it makes you even more frazzled. So that's my favorite tip, find your caffeine sweet spot by nursing your caffeine and being extra aware of how stimulated you feel.
How do you connect with your ideal clients?
It really does require me to be a chameleon, because it depends on who I'm talking to. I've learned this the hard way, if I'm talking to someone like an HR rep, they might not care so much about my background in biochemistry and food science, or how many years I spent studying caffeine. They want to know how they can keep their workers happy and safe and how can they keep them from quitting because that's all the stuff that's going to hurt their bottom line. So when I'm networking, I do the best I can to identify the pain points of the person who I'm talking to. My target audience is usually someone in operations or human resources, someone that has the power to book me for a workshop with their employees to walk them through the five levels of fatigue. Certain people want to know that I am a published author, and I've published research papers and I've got degrees in biochemistry, blah, blah, blah. Other people don't care and they want to know that I've been there on the manufacturing floor, that I've worked nightshift, they want to know that I can actually relate to what their day-to-day struggles are.
Can you share with our listeners your most successful or favorite networking experience that you've had?
So one of my most successful networking experiences was actually me stalking different food science groups on Instagram. I would go through Instagram and be like, "Oh, I see you have a speaker, did you know I also speak I speak about caffeine and energy drinks, could I be a speaker for your food science group? I've got quite a lot of gigs that way. But one of them in particular was actually with the California State University of Long Beach. California is my home state so I'm happy to have that type of connection. So stalking the Cal State University of Long Beach Food Science group connected me with a food science professor there and since that initial interaction on Instagram, I've done four guest lectures for her class and we've actually submitted research papers together. So she's one of my favorite connections, my favorite source of referrals and I just love working with her as a scientist. So I never would have met her if it wasn't for me reaching out to people on Instagram.
As you continue to build your network, how do you stay in front of and best nurture these relationships?
Well, it is a struggle. I find that I go too long without calling my grandma. So for a long time, I was looking for a system like, "How do I remember to call my friends and my clients and my customers and my own relatives?" So what I found is that Zendesk has an app called Cell and in it, you can load your contacts and you can load tasks and reminders. So that's probably been the most effective system I've found for helping me stay in front of my network and keep track of leads as well as keep track of previous clients as well as keep track of my best friends, who are great supporters of my work and supporters of me as a person. That app is kind of my go-to for staying in front of my network.
What advice would you offer that business professional is really looking to grow their network?
Not all networking groups are created equal. When I first got started, I joined a specific chamber of commerce organization, which had a very high fee to join. Every other week, they had breakfast meetings, and you were supposed to say who you've done one on ones with and what I found after a year of being in that group was I got zero leads, but I had 60 on ones. Because they put so much pressure on doing these one on ones with people that became the goal. So you ended up having a lot of disingenuous meetings that were just a waste of time or people that weren't trying to help you, they were just trying to turn you into a customer as opposed to a source of referrals. So I found another networking group that was free and already being part of them for like three months I've made $1,000 in book sales and workshops, and caffeine treat boxes. So it just goes to show you that the networking group that might work best for you might not be what works best for your friends. So look around and try something out and be wary of the ones that require a heavy fee upfront because that may or may not work for you.
If you could go back to your 20 year old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
I would definitely tell my 20 year old self to go to a different college, study a different major, do a different thesis. But aside from those life changing decisions, I would just tell myself to do more speaking gigs and to get more pictures and testimonials. Essentially, I've been speaking about energy drinks since 2004, but I didn't take a lot of pictures, I didn't get a lot of quotes or testimonials. I could have used that to prove that I really have been doing this for decades. We didn't really have cell phones back then and energy drinks have changed a lot, and so has cellular technology. So I really wish I would have gotten more quotes or pictures or testimonials from all the speaking gigs that I did back then.
We've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with and do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?
I would love to connect with Pierre Bouvier, who is the frontman for the band Simple Plan who are one of my favorite bands of all time. I would love to do a caffeine and fatigue workshop with musicians that have been through tours and endless road trips where it's exhausting and you've got to perform. They're drinking a lot of caffeine, there's caffeine everywhere. I would love to do a workshop with bands that I admire. I might be six degrees connected with Pierra, but that would be a dream come true.
Do you have any offer to share with our listeners?
So if your listeners enjoy drinking caffeine, then I have a free download, which is called the energy drink report card. This is by far my most popular download and what it is it's a PDF that has not just energy drinks, but also the top selling coffees like Starbucks doubleshot and also the top selling teas like Arizona iced tea or Honest Tea, different things that are ready to drink, not the not the type of keys that you brew in a cup or the type of coffees that you have to make in a machine. But where do the top selling energy drinks, coffees and teas fall on a scale of you can drink this every day versus avoid this at all costs. So in this download, you can see where the different things fall in a red, yellow or green category. So ultimately, this is showing you like how good or bad this is for your health. You can get the energy drink report card https://greeneyedguide.com/freebies/
Connect with Danielle
Ted is a Safety Operations Executive from Appleton, Wisconsin with a passion for people development. He has been in the construction industry for 20 years and has built multiple high-performance teams. Ted has a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and has been a CHST Board Certified safety professional since 2008. Ted was on the National Safety Council committee and Mobile Crane Safety and the past President of Fox Valley Safety Council and Wisconsin Tripartite Safety. He has been published in multiple research studies with CII Research Team 284 and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks on leading indicators. Ted adds value and mitigates risk to organizations by monitoring, mentoring, and developing high-performing teams through active leadership and innovative learning.
How long have you been in the safety world?
Well, I've been in health and safety for approximately 25 years. The majority of it's been in construction and as I've gone through the years, I kind of started out in the field, as that person learning about construction, because I really didn't know, I learned a lot of interesting stories, I should say while working with a lot of great construction people that kind of mentored me in health and safety. As I went through my career, I was fortunate enough to be able to go through and become a safety director and watch out for companies on the worker comp, make sure the training is done. So a lot of that type of stuff that I've done for the last 25 years, and I just am very passionate about keeping people safe and keeping families together.
How did you get into safety?
Well, I graduated from Oshkosh, as you were saying in the introduction, and I wanted to be a law enforcement officer. So I became a police officer and wanted to be the Barney Fife of the area if you will and it just wasn't the right fit for me. As I got out of law enforcement, I got a job as a safety consultant for a local safety company here in Appleton and I was learning all these different regulations, and I kind of found myself enjoying them, and being able to go into some of these companies and help them along the way. So just understanding safety and behaviors, how to work with people, but also I really enjoyed learning the business side of safety, which is also very crucial within organizations. So I think it was kind of a unique story, I started off in college on one path and didn't like that and found health and safety.
When did you decide to start Total Health and Safety then or why did you decide to start?
One of the reasons why I wanted to start Total Health and Safety was because I believe that there's a lot of companies out there right now, small to medium size, either manufacturing or construction companies that really don't necessarily have a safety person that they can rely on. A lot of times its human resources or somebody else that's filling in a little bit, but their main role is something else and I believe that we could come in at low overhead and be able to help companies grow their organization, and really get that return on the dollar for the services that were performed by keeping their worker comp down and more importantly, keeping their families together, and their employees happy at work.
Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking stories that you have?
Well, it's kind of funny, I think the one that I just had today was a good example. I met with a person several months ago, on a different networking thing and we were just chatting and we got to know each other a little bit more and more and I found out that his brother actually owns a construction company. Through all that, his brother came in here and I just got done talking to him for an hour or so about safety. So you just never know where any of those networking conversations are there. They are so important to a small company like ours to be able to go out there and talk to people and get to know about them.
How do you stay in front of or best nurture your community?
That's one question that I'm always kind of asking myself because it's tough. In a small business, as you know, and I'm sure a lot of listeners know, there are so many things that can distract you away from it. But I really find that there's such great return on networking, that you have to stick with it, and you have to stay honest with it because, as I said, you never know where it's gonna go and you want to make sure that you're making good quality connections that will last your lifetime.
What advice would you offer those business professionals looking to grow their network?
I think, one thing that I'm very passionate about is that any opportunities you have to network with people, even though you may not be in your area of expertise, that you still take advantage of those and grow from them. One thing that I've learned is to ask a lot of questions and ask for referrals when you're talking to those people because people want to help people, and with networking, that's what allows you to be able to keep on growing is because people want to help each other, you want to help other people they want to help you. So it can really become a very vital part of your business.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
I think if I go back to my 20s, I think the first thing that I would probably do is start the business a little bit earlier. But also, I think, really learn networking, because that is so vital in whatever you do, especially for my business and just talking to people. Networking, to me, is everything vital to both relationships, and the business.
We've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you would love to connect with and do you think you could do it within the sixth degree?
I think if there was anybody that I could, it would probably be Scott Geller. He's a safety professional out of Virginia University who's done a lot of behavior-based safety so he'd probably be my choice. I would start it probably on LinkedIn and try to connect with him there. If I was successful there, then I would try to schedule something from there like a short chat just to get the norm a little bit. Hopefully, that will grow from there. If for some reason that didn't work, there's always this thing that a lot of people forget about, it's called the US mail. I think mailing somebody something and maybe not an envelope, maybe a box or something to make it a little bit unique and different to get their attention so they actually read what you sent them.
Do you have any final word or advice that you'd like to offer our listeners with regard to growing and supporting your network?
I think you've got to get out there and do it. Some people sometimes are a little nervous about meeting people and talking to people, but you have to realize people want to help people. Once you get to know somebody, they're going to bend over backward to help you so I think networking gives you that ability. Kind of like Lori was just saying about being able to reach out and have people in your back pocket to help you accomplish things. Also, just remember, you're giving them a good feeling when they're helping you too. So just get as involved as you can in networking. Network, network, network is what I always try to say!
Connect with Ted
Sam has been an ERP thought leader in the digital transformation space for nearly two decades with a primary focus on financial systems and ERP. He has been part of large transformation initiatives for Fortune 500 corporations but now spends time consulting with SMEs as a principal consultant at ElevatIQ. Sam regularly speaks at industry conferences and contributes his experiences through many popular blogs and publications. He also hosts a podcast called WBSRocks.
Why are manufacturers not exploring these marketing opportunities right now?
When we look at the manufacturing landscape, especially if we talk about the SMB manufacturers, their business model, traditionally, if we look at the manufacturing supply chain, we had the manufacturer, we had the distributor, and we had the retailers. So just going back 20 or 30 years, manufacturers never had to worry about building their brand, because they had distributors who could actually sell for them. But now things are changing in the world, right? The skillset that they needed to develop, to be able to market, to be able to educate their distributors, they never had that. They were selling through distributors, they always had sort of the sales mindset, they had salespeople who were really good at talking about their products, but they never had to worry about marketing and that is the primary barrier, in my opinion, for manufacturers in understanding why they should worry about the marketing aspect and why they should pay attention to marketing to be able to create the opportunities they already have.
With that being one of the key barriers, what do you anticipate how this next phase of growth can happen and what can these SMB manufacturers do to get to the next stage?
I don't know whether you want to call this as next phase of growth, or the next phase of disruption. So there are some disruptions happening in the startup space, right. We have a lot of startups that are really good at marketing because they were never good at let's say the traditional manufacturing just because they had to compete with some of these established channels and their relationships. They had to figure out how to do the marketing because otherwise, they cannot compete with the traditional manufacturers. So disruption is happening in the startup space. Now, their products are going to be slightly more superior and the reason for that is because they are better at manufacturing as well. Just because they are utilizing the newer technologies, they are slightly more innovative. Looking at the traditional manufacture, they are going to face tremendous competition from these startups just because their products are going to be easier. They are going to build let's say the b2c channels which are going to be direct to consumers as opposed to going through the distribution channel. So manufacturers are going to face tons and tons of competition from these startups, plus, the lines are really blurring between your distribution and manufacturers just because some of the manufacturers are directly marketing to the consumers and the distributors, what they are trying to do is they are trying to develop their own in house capabilities to be able to develop these products. Now, they have competition from their own distributors, who were supposed to be their sales and marketing channel. So it's going to be a very interesting play overall and I think manufacturers need to think a lot more about what they can do to make sure their market share is protected.
How do you see the buyers and the decision-makers play into this?
Well, let's look at the buyer types depending upon the kind of products. If we are talking about some of the spaces such as food and beverage manufacturing, in that case, the buyers are going to be slightly smaller overall, in terms of their buying power because of the way they buy their product, and the dollar amount that they spend on a specific product is going to be far lower as well. But if you look at the b2b space and the industrial buyer space, the buyer there is going to be completely different, because the products that they are trying to buy are going to be slightly more sophisticated. They are going to spend a lot more time researching these products before they can talk to the salesperson. Again, going 20 years back, if any of the industrial buyers really wanted to buy the product, what they would do is they'll go with word of mouth. If they are already working with somebody, they'll ask them if they know someone who sells that product and these channels were already developed. But now, the way the buying cycle looks at this point in time in the manufacturing space is if anybody wants to buy anything, they are going to research on Google first. There is a saying that I think they performed roughly 80 clicks before they talk to any salesperson. So this is happening on Google so somebody needs to be selling this. So either you could be selling this, or your competitors can sell. So that's why the whole buyer mindset is changing, the buyer behavior is changing overall, from the marketing perspective for the manufacturers.
Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking stories that you've had?
I'm actually going to talk about some of the things that I have personally done pre-COVID, versus what I have done post-COVID. So before I wanted to really network, what I would do is, I would try to find some of the physical channels, and I did not post as much on LinkedIn. But now after COVID, what I'm really doing is I am posting a lot more on LinkedIn, just because when you have the follower accounts on LinkedIn, what happens is that is actually going to increase the visibility of your post which is going to increase the overall influence over LinkedIn that is going to help develop your personal brand. I am actually personally trusting a lot more on LinkedIn networking pos- COVID and I think that is going to continue overall, as we move along. So I don't know if I have any specific story from the networking perspective. So when I used to network, let's say if I go to my physical events, sometimes I used to be afraid when I was not comfortable talking about the subject. But now, after I mastered whatever I want to speak about, then typically, I am very confident.
How do you stay in front of our best nurture your network or your community?
The best way to nurture for me would be how I can stay on top of my buyers’ minds is how I like to define. So these are going to be either buyer, or these are going to be the people who are hanging out with my buyers. So there are multiple channels that I typically like to follow. It could be from the social media perspective. So as I mentioned, the only reason why we are doing LinkedIn is because that actually gets us in front of the buyers. They are always seeing that I'm always present on LinkedIn. We don't necessarily get a lot of leads from LinkedIn directly, but that actually helps in creating this brand presence that people are calling us and that actually helps overall in strengthening the brand and also in terms of visibility.
What advice would you offer the business professional who's looking to grow their network?
The advice I'm going to offer is number one, you need to be super comprehensive in your strategy. So you cannot rely just on one channel. Identify which channel is the right suited for your audience. Sometimes what people do is they will simply go for either LinkedIn or Twitter or let's say Instagram, but they don't really know where their buyers are hanging out. So understanding where your buyers are, figure that out, and then figure out what kind of message they are going to understand and then understand the nuances of the platform as well. Those three are going to be equally applicable in terms of actually creating the posts on LinkedIn. That does not mean that everybody's seeing your post and you are investing your time in the right direction. Sometimes your best angle could be just the cold calling. Just because you might have let's say five buyers in the market, if you are approaching the masses and if you are targeting a lot of people, then you need to figure out how to how to approach each customer and each message as well.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
I did not respect inbound marketing at all to be honest, because the space that I'm in has very expensive purchases. So we used to be very outbound very sales focused, and one of the misconception or misunderstanding I had, and I still argue with a lot of marketers, what we used to tell them is, "I'm cold calling my CFOs on a daily basis and they are not really listening to me," so I know who is going to buy for me, I'm already in touch with them and they are not really talking to me. But you are telling me that this is the same CFO who's not talking to me over the phone, this CFO is going to come to my website and will read my content and then going to ask me to show my product, which did not make a lot of sense. So after COVID, what happened is everything changed, because we are not getting as much result from our outbound efforts. So we had to find ways to be successful in the market. We started doing a lot more content, just because we had time. Now when I talk to my customer, the whole perception changed. It was the same pace that I was doing in the album scenario, but now they want to trust me, just because they know my brand. So if I were to go 20 years back, one of the things that I would do is I would start from marketing, and I would take a marketing-driven approach, and I would take a community-driven approach, as opposed to a sales-driven approach.
Do you have any final words of advice to offer listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
The only thing I would say is just to figure out how to be a thought leader in your space. I know that this term gets thrown around a lot, the best way to be a thought leader is just open up yourself, go out there and talk about whatever you know. It could be a very small thing or it could be a big thing. Just open up and either start a blog, podcast, YouTube channel, whatever! Just open up yourself, be transparent, and put your content out there. Trust me, people will trust you.
Connect with Sam
Check out Sam’s podcast! https://wbs.rocks/
Visit Sam’s website: https://www.elevatiq.com/
Sam’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samguptausa/
Matan is the founder of Fit Hit, an Inc. 5000 fastest growing company in the US. As a former special-ops Krav Maga Warfare Officer, and after training 1000s of special ops pro athletes World Champs and regular folks, Matan recognized that empowerment to training is key to success, not just in violent situations, but in general. Fit Hit helps people tap into their potential, develop a healthy lifestyle, increase mental fortitude, and learn how to handle themselves.
What would you say to entrepreneurs who simply can't find the time to invest in their own well-being?
That's a great question. A lot of my students are entrepreneurs and high-level managers, creators, people that rely on their creativity to succeed. So we actually have a little in-house joke that we say and it's called more abs, more money! We're basically connecting your personal well-being and fitness level, to your levels of income and how much money you make. Now, most people can't see the direct line between the two. But I can tell you, there have been several researchers on the subject that have looked at over 1500 CEOs, and what they found was that CEOs that take the time to train, hold themselves up to higher standards when it comes to their nutrition level and their well being overall tend to have more successful companies, better returns to their investments, and more profit. It's not that hard to figure out why right? It's because really, how you do anything is how you do everything. So when you start putting your own well-being as not as important as something else, you don't actually show up in their business as the best version of yourself. If you're an entrepreneur, your capacity to create is what's gonna make or break you, how much drive do you have? Do you think that you'll be able to do more when your health is on point when you have energy that lasts through the entire day, and you're not bogged down by 6 pm or 7 pm, when you just bounce out of bed right in the morning, right? Because your body can carry you like that and you're gonna spending the first 30-45 minutes doing morning scrolling in your bed because you don't have the energy to get up. So what we tell entrepreneurs is that if they're not putting their own physical well-being first, their business is taking the hit, not just their own physic. I recommend to a lot of entrepreneurs to do it that once you get into the process of actually taking care of your body and being aware of what your fat percentage is and so on, I've actually mapped out my fat percentage put it in a graph over time because I keep track of it and my bank account, and what I've noticed is that the two moves kind of like in the same pattern. When I'm at my fittest, my company does really well and if I let go, I can see the changes in the company. If I can show for myself, that means that I can also show up for my business and for my employees. But if I don't even show up for myself, are you really giving the people who depend on you, your team, your staff, the best version of you, or a run-down version of you?
What can entrepreneurs do to beat the stress eating and some of these other bad habits that we've all picked up over the last year?
I can tell you that one of the reasons that so many have gained weight during COVID, and I'm looking at entrepreneurs, specifically, is that we are a breed that is driven by control. We have our own business because for better or worse, we like to control the outcome of things. Some are more successful than others, but even when you talk to people that are not that successful in business, and they're business owners, they'll tell you, I'd rather be here than get a job, right? They like the ability to control their successes and even if they fail, it’s still something that keeps them motivated keeps them going and they're very much connected to it. Then COVID happens and what happened when COVID happened is we lost a significant amount of control of what we can do in our lives. So in the first few months of COVID, with lockdowns, and all this other stuff, if you are any type of retail business, you couldn't operate it all, the way that you used to. We lost control of who we can meet, we lost control of where we can go we lost control of our late we can stay at night, whether I can get food from this place or that place. What happens to people when they lose control? What happens to anybody that loses control? There are direct emotions that go right with it like anger, sadness, and fear which are all the result of loss of control. So what we've seen, because we interview everybody that trained with us, is that when people lost control of things, it made it easy for them to just give up control on everything else, even on things that could be under their control. So even though you have full control of your nutrition because you lost control over everything else, it feels comfortable to just flush down to drain your habits, and then you talk to people. Now for entrepreneurs, if you are sad, and afraid, anxious, and angry, that doesn't work for the business, you have to mitigate those emotions if you're going to show up for the business. So what I recommend to entrepreneurs that are finding themselves in this emotional roller coaster that 2020 has brought in is that anytime there is a lack of control, which is to become very aggressive with taking control where you can. There are actually four aspects that every entrepreneur must take control of all the time. The first one is nutrition. What you put in your body has a huge effect on how you feel and if you're not feeling at your best, you're not gonna show up as your best, you're not going to have the best ideas, you're not going to have the best execution and you're not going to have the energy. So where most people basically turned to junk food and fast food, alcohol, we recommended to our community to go even more hardcore on clean nutrition during this time. You're not going to find comfort in bad food because that just leads to a whole other can of worms with your body and your mind. So the first thing that you want to control these your nutrition, the second thing you want to control is your fitness level. Now gyms got closed down. So what? "Well, if the gym is closed, I can't do anything." No, there was a lot that you can do. You can train at home, you can train outside, you can be active, there are a million things that you can do. But you have to first admit to yourself that you need to take control of your physical fitness. When you do that, you're already starting to make movement in the right direction. Then the third thing is that this is an opportunity for you to gain control of your knowledge base. So you can spend the time just aimlessly scrolling and getting angry at everything that's happening in this country, or you can start seeking out advantages. Seek out the knowledge that would make you better at what you are, that will inspire you, that will move you forward. Then the fourth element is I always recommend people to also take control of hobbies of things that are not directly related to their business and just grow in other directions. So when you force yourself to take control of these things that you can, you are no longer a victim to those horrible emotions that come with the initial loss of control because you continue having control over the things that you can. So your nutrition can be up to par you don't have to go to junk food and alcohol, you don't have to sit on your sofa all day even in lockdown, right? You don't have to be immobile just because the gym shut down. There are options, take control over that! You don't have to be a mindless zombie even though all your friends may be mindless zombies right now, and people around you are mindless zombies right now. If you take this time to get better, create better offerings, become more professional, find a new market, find a new niche, the whole experience of loss of control becomes way easier.
How did you take Krav Maga, this kind of aggressive approach, and make it something that is accessible to women?
That was the challenge when I set out to create Fit Hit. I come from the military world and when I started training, my clients were for the most part, within that world. Police officers, security companies, special ops, and government agencies, were the clients. But when I was in New York, even within the very first year, I started getting more familiar with violence against women, and how prevalent it is in the United States. It was much worse than I thought it would be, like one in every six women is going to get sexually assaulted in her lifetime. That's like one roll of the dice. You start talking to women, and everybody either has been assaulted or knows somebody that has been assaulted. I was just thinking to myself that I have all this knowledge and I have this skill set that is completely transferable. The beauty of Krav Maga is that you don't have to be the strongest person to be able to do it, they're teaching it to kids straight out of high school in the military because that's what Israel is. So how do you turn these 18-19-year-old kids to be very efficient with a striking, you have to give them a system that is not reliant on size or strength. So if you give women a system to defend themselves, not relying on size and strength, you're actually giving them a power that they can then use to not be a part of that horrible statistic that just kept creeping up. So for me to be able to create an environment to attract these women, I couldn't just come out and say, "Hey, ladies, I'm about to teach you the most aggressive self-defense system in the world, it's only being taught at special ops and law enforcement these days, so let's go," because most women, right off the bat, are not attracted to that concept. I know it because that's how I started, that was my first Google ad! I created a great school for Krav Maga, but women were only maybe 15% or 20%. From day one, I wanted to attract women, but I just didn't know what was the right message, what was the right way to put it all together. But I knew what problem I wanted to solve in the world and it was the problem of victimization especially for women because there was nothing like that. So most women, even though the solutions are out there just don't do that. So I had to bend their reality in order to make it happen and the way that I did that is that I didn't come out with so we create a new product. It is an upscale fitness experience that has nutrition built in, community, mental fortitude, it is one of the most beautiful spaces you would ever go into in New York City right now. We put on music and lights, and we build a whole fashion line to go along with it and we put females in the forefront of it so the women that are teaching the classes are all these badass women and they're also beautiful and feminine at the same time. But they're also very strong and very accomplished, very powerful, and they have conviction in what they do. We put all of that together and on the way, you're going to learn a little Krav Maga! We didn't lead with Krav Maga, we lead with, “You’re going to lose 25 pounds, let me show you how.” That became the draw for the female population and the beauty of it is that it didn't take long because women fell in love with this type of training. See, the problem was it's not that this training is not for women, it's just that women have been falsely convinced over the years that they're not supposed to be a fighter, they're not supposed to be aggressive, they're not supposed to say no and are not supposed to hit back, and all it takes is one hour for us to break all of that. What we did is we created these human-like punching bags so instead of hitting other people, they're hitting a thing that looks like a person. Within like 10 seconds, they feel that they have an impact behind her punches. Fighting is in our DNA, fighting is not a male or female thing, it's literally in everybody's DNA. It's part of our survival mechanism, but because we don't need to survive that much these days it just stays dormant. So all we did is we gave a more attractive offer and then when we exposed women to what we knew that they would in their core being would be attracted to you because we all have an aggressive side. No matter how quiet it is, no matter how silent it is, no matter how many years other people have tried to squash it, it's there. The end results are instantaneous, we probably have the highest retention rate of any gym in the country, because once they try it, they don't want to go sit on a bicycle to nowhere! What if you even burn more calories, but you also learn some new skills your body moves in us in a different way and when you leave the class, that information stays with you? You leave the class you go out into an NYC street and some guy looks at you weird. You're no longer paralyzed, which was the case for most women before they started this training.
Can you share with our listeners one of your favorite networking stories that you've had?
This was a long time ago when I didn't even have a location yet, I was just like a hired gun and I would just be hired to train for certain things. I wanted to open up a facility so I was looking for investors, partners, anything that can give me a leg up. So I was talking to somebody who is a poker player and she just mentioned she knew I was looking for investors and that there was this illegal poker game that was going to happen that night at some random location in New York City. She gave me the name of one person to look for and if I got him on your side, he will find you. So I was like, "Okay, great," and I to my girlfriend I was like, "Hey, listen, dear, we are going to an illegal poker game, I've never played poker in my life, I don't know how to play, we are just going to be social and nice and see what's what." We get to this building and there's this guard, his security guard standing out there and he's like, "Can I help you?" I told him I was here for the game, he asked for my name, and when I told him my name he said I wasn't on the list. Then I give him that one guy's name and they let me in. So we go in there and there's like, this social gathering, which was very small with everybody sitting around the poker table. We're just sitting like a sofa and I don't know who that person is that I'm looking for, but I figured by being there, I'll be able to see what's going on. So for like, 30 minutes, I'm just sitting there, not even talking to anybody. Then at some point, this guy raises his head and he's like, "Hey, you're Matan?" I said yeah and he was like "Oh yeah, this woman told me that you're gonna be here. Hey guys, this is Matan, he's like the baddest Krav Maga fighter ever so if anybody wants to train, we'd like a super commando guy, that's your guy!" I was like, "Great, man I thought you and I will be able to talk later on," and he's like, "No, I don't have any time for that, but thanks for coming." But then there was another guy at that table and he was like, "Oh, you teach Krav Maga, give me your card, I'm doing this charity event if you want to donate a couple of classes that might open you up." That little social gathering and social conversation that guy didn't just put me in this huge charity event that gave me huge exposure and huge opportunity to go over it, he became my client. Later on, he also became my first investor. So just taking advantage of the fact that I could get into a room with a bunch of people, be able to get the conversation even though the original guy that I came there for, didn't even want to have a conversation with me. Just being exposed to other people that could make a difference in your life got me, my first investor. From there, it was pretty easy to open up my first location.
I would say if I could go back to my 20s, I would work way harder on getting access to mentors, and getting mentorship from people who have walked the walk. The interesting thing is that super-successful entrepreneurs are more likely to take on a younger person to mentor than an older person or mentor because there's a certain sense of pride when you take somebody who doesn't know much and you start giving them tools and then they go out and kill it. I started looking for mentorship way later in life. I was in my mid-30s and I ended up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the mentorship and it always paid back and dividends. Paying for mentorship is great, but when you're super young, a lot of times you have access that you don't even know that you have just because you're young, you're hungry, and you're ambitious, and you don't have all the answers and nobody expects you to have all the answers. So I would say if anybody is that super early age, work on connecting with mentors. You never know when you're going to run into them so you have to make yourself available to run into these people. I would tell myself and there anybody that may be in the position that I was is you want to recognize success when you see it early and get close to it because it gives you shortcuts. It can save you years of trial and error, not to mention money.
We've all heard of the six degrees of separation. Who would be the one person that you'd love to connect with and do you think you can do it within the sixth degree?
I would say a person that I've been completely fascinated with over the past five years, Elan Musk. He doesn't build businesses, he creates industries. Most people would be lucky to be very successful in just one aspect, but he seems to innovate in completely different industries. I heard him say something and I think as an entrepreneur you need to hear it. There are two things that he said that really stuck with me and I'm happy that he said it because it makes a lot of the emotions that you may feel as an entrepreneur and during hard times, that's really kind of find their place. He said, "Being asked for nor is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss: You have to be prepared for long periods of difficulty before you make it on the other side," and then the second thing that he said which was in reply, somebody asked him, "What can you tell young entrepreneurs that need to be motivated?" He said, "If you need somebody to motivate, you should probably not want to be an entrepreneur." I just love the idea that you have to find the motivation from within all the time as an entrepreneur. There's not going to be anybody there, that's going to push you to be the best that you can be in your business unless you hire them to do it. But our voice will always tell them to look deeper, listen to that part of you wants to push forward. So I would say that without a doubt if I had stronger social skills and networking skills than I do, that would push hard to get on the circle with Elon Musk.
Connect with Matan
LeTeisha was born in Richmond, Virginia, she graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in 1994. She is a serial entrepreneur and has been self-employed for over 17 years. LeTeisha uses her life experiences to motivate and to find ways to help others. She's the Founder and CEO of A Better Day Than Yesterday Initiative Program, where they help families rebuild their relationships during and after incarceration, divorce, and deployment. She specializes in re-entry and family reunification.
How did you get started in the work that you do?
I was invited to a five-day event to speak on a panel for entrepreneurs about entrepreneurship and it was a Father's Day event. On that panel, it was me, other invites, government agencies, and returning citizens. So the guy asked me, "How do you rebuild a relationship with someone that's been incarcerated?" When he asked me that, it took everything out of me. On that ride home, God said, that's your purpose because two weeks prior to that I asked him, "What is my purpose? What am I here?" I know I'm here to be an entrepreneur, I know I'm here to help people, but I'm not being fulfilled, I'm not feeling successful in any of it. After that event, he let me know that was it because my dad and I weren’t talking at the time and he had been home at that point for 16 years. We had a terrible disconnect when he came home, trying to rebuild our relationship. So that's how I got started and I've been affected by incarceration since I was five years old so it actually started way before I realized I was here for this purpose.
What keeps you motivated to keep doing what you're doing?
I know there's a need for it and I'm surrounded by it. My son just came home which made it more personal other than my father, my brother, my aunt, my uncle, and my mother. So my son came on July 13, 2020, last year during a pandemic, and he was incarcerated for 18 months. Just being around the kids that are in our programs, and how they talk about their relationship with their father or their mother who are incarcerated, it touches your heart. So, you know you have work to do, and you just have to keep doing it so I just feel that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Do you work with the families that are anticipating the re-entry on how to best prepare, or what does that relationship look like?
So the idea of it is to get with the family before the person is actually going to be serving the time so that we can navigate the family through the system throughout their journey. Before the pandemic we were going into the institutions, bringing awareness to the unintentional victim, and the father wound. So now during the pandemic and we're reconstructing our program, we're waiting right now on IRB approval for a study to do on six families to help them navigate after incarceration, how to start rebuilding that relationship and that's the 12-week program. During that pro 12 week program, they were there in life skill every week. Every Monday they will do a debriefing with a social worker and an intern, and then every four weeks, they will do a family engagement activity. Then on the 12th week, they will do a weekend retreat from Friday to that Sunday. So right now, this is the first time we're ever doing the family as a whole because before we were doing it as pieces, like we were talking to the parent and do something with the parent, but it would not be their child that's in the program. So now we're doing it while we're selecting the whole family that was affected to participate in this 12-week program.
How many years has it been since you started this work, and does your program serve across the US, or mainly locally?
This is the fourth year now. You have to find your niche, but when it all boils down to I never strayed away from the point of the family. The only thing that we added on that just became part of our initiative is called Operation Freedom Package which is open to anyone that's been incarcerated, regardless of conviction other than sex offenders. Now that we are going virtually we're able to assist all across the world. That's the best part about it, because we were just limited to Virginia and now we have a family in Delaware, and we have that Father’s house in Petersburg. So I can't wait to make that connection when visitation opens back up and we're able to make that connection happen between the children and their parents.
Can you share with our listeners some of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
One of my favorite networking experiences was when I was looking for a motivational speaker to speak for our Build a Dad workshop and it was through word of mouth and I was meeting everybody on the phone. Just so happen I came across this guy named Vincent White, and he was busy that weekend that we were having the event. I had met the guy that gave me Vincent's number at a networking event, and I just so happened to talk to Vince and he gave me another person's number whose name was Mr. White and his wife actually sent him the flyer earlier that day and asked him if he knew me and he was like, "No, I don't know anything about it," So when I called him, I had known that his wife had forwarded him that flyer and he said, "Hey my wife just showed me your flyer," and then we laughed about it and we and he's been my mentor to this day.
How do you stay in front of and nurture the relationships you have created?
So I attend networking events, virtually or in-person by just keeping people in the loop of what I'm doing, forming groups where we can share our information on what we're doing so that we can stay connected. Also, just by partnering and doing events and things, which helps to keep the relationship going, especially if they have turned out good events and everybody's taking a group interest in what we're doing and growing their business as well as mine.
What advice would you offer that business professional is really looking to grow their network?
I would suggest they join different networking groups, social groups. Then somebody is dependent on what that professional is, there's always a Facebook group, there's always a group that's going to be doing free workshops that you find on Eventbrite. You can always look for hashtags to find a networking group in your city or state. I just think, drawing in different groups is what helped me and then once I started joining these different groups, I got to see what type of person I needed to connect with, and then I got to know who to connect with.
I would say that I would have wanted to party more! I mean, I party, don't get me wrong. I would just say, I am glad that I did party when I did, I'm glad I had my kids when I did because now I have grown a lot more and I'm more mature and more focused now. So back then, when you're growing up without guidance, and if you're not that focused person, you will tend to not think about the things you should think about and I'm glad it happened how it happened, and I'm glad it's happening now. Because now my kids are grown and now I'm able to put my focus on my mission and I'm happy about the journey. So I really wouldn't change anything, I just think I would have partied a bit more!
Connect with Lateisha
A Better Day Than Yesterday’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abetterdaythanyesterday
LeTeisha’s email: email@example.com
David launched his first web business in the year 2000 and his first podcast in 2006. Since then, he's worked on the agency side as a Head of SEO, in-house as Head of Digital Marketing, and for a trading company as a Digital Marketing Course Producer. He's built his own podcast, Digital Marketing Radio up to 20,000 downloads a month, and in 2019 he founded his own podcast production agency for b2b brands called Casting Cred. You can find David over at castingcred.com!
So you were way ahead of the whole podcasting trend, weren't you?
I was! It was only a bit of fun for me back then around 2006 or so. I published a few shows then and got quite a few listeners and didn't really think too much of it. I just thought of it as a bit of fun rather than actually a serious marketing channel, which I probably should have done.
What mistakes do you see big brands making with their podcasts in 2021?
Oh, there are a lot of big mistakes. There's just horrific quality that you actually hear. There's just not a lot of thought that goes into podcasts by many b2b brands. I compare it back to how brands used to actually think of their websites back in about 2004, 2005, 2006 because back then, brands used to get the intern or a junior person within the business to design the website for their brand and this is a multi-million dollar brand you're talking about here. They just didn't appreciate that digital presence can actually relate to how your brand is perceived in its entirety and actually switch people off from using that brand. So as I said, back then, about 15 years ago or so, brands used to get these lowly paid people to design their websites for them and think nothing for it and the senior people didn't even look at the websites. Exactly the same thing is happening with podcasts nowadays, in 2021. Even in the upcoming years, what brands are doing is they're getting these people who are interested in podcasts, junior in the business, but probably don't know that much about producing professional quality audio, probably don't know that much about brand identity, what needs to be said, what doesn't need to be said to produce the shows in their behalf and they're producing amateurish sounding shows. These reflect how their audience perceived these brands and it's just not a good idea.
What are some of the equipment that you recommend for podcasting?
Sure, and for many big brands out there this probably the biggest mistake, to begin with, is that they just go with the microphone that they've already got kicking around the office or in someone's home. In general, if a business does webinars, then they've got a big condenser microphone sitting in front of them in the middle of a boardroom table and a condenser microphone is good in that it picks up the full frequency of a human voice. However, it also picks up everything else that's going on around the room. It picks up the air conditioner unit, it picks up a computer fan noise, it picks up someone shutting the door two rooms away from where you are it's not an ideal microphone to use for a podcast. Condenser microphones are wonderful if you're in a professional studio environment if you really have a decent soundproof room that you're operating in. Otherwise, I highly recommend the use of a dynamic microphone. So a dynamic microphone is less sensitive and it means that it needs to be closer to your mouth, it needs to be roughly three or four inches away from your mouth and 45 degrees away from your mouth so you're speaking over it just to get the best quality from that microphone. But if you do that is not gonna pick up all the rest of the noise from around the room. So then the question after that becomes, okay, what type of dynamic microphone that you use? There are very few dynamic microphones available that have both what's called an XLR and a USB out. So if you are looking for your dynamic microphone to easily connect to your computer, you're looking for a USB out from the dynamic microphone. So if that's the case, then you're looking for either a Samsung Q2U or an Audio-Technica ATR-2100x. So those are the two main microphones, there are a couple of small up-and-coming brands that are just in the process of launching similar microphones. But those are the two main microphones that I would highly recommend. In addition to that, you need a windscreen. So something to go on top of the microphone to stop sudden bursts of air going into the microphone just to make your sound a little bit more pleasant for the user and you want a boom arm. So something to hold the microphone right next to your face, rather than actually you having to duck down, or have the microphone too far away from your mouth.
Let's switch a little bit here to talk about the six steps of publishing a podcast to publishing a book. So I'm really curious about what you've got to say about this?
So several times, I've been crazy enough to host an eight-hour live stream, and have 100 plus guests on there at the same time, and a lot of other people say, "Well, how on earth do you do that? Do you think I should do something similar for my brand?" And my immediate answer is no! You don't want to do that, it's just too much hassle. Another reason that I say no, is that it's actually too difficult or you're juggling too many balls when you haven't done audio podcasting, videos, live streaming, and steps like that beforehand. You really want to work up towards being able to host multiple people at the same time, be on there for a very long time, look into the camera, or deal with the audience at the same time. So I recommend working up towards doing that. And obviously, you talked about publishing a book. So one of the last big live streams I did I published a book, as a result of doing that. I figured out having an eight-hour live stream, you end up being able to produce roughly 60,000 words of transcripts, and then you can turn that into a book. It's just about as much work turning out a 60,000-word transcript into a book by rewriting it because obviously, people don't write in the same way that they actually articulate things verbally. So it's not necessarily easier, but it's just a path that is a relatively slightly more convenient way to publish a book. But in terms of the steps towards doing that, I highly recommend starting off with an audio-only podcast and starting off with a fairly basic podcast equipment-wise using the microphones that are recommended. Then when you're started, focus on the audio podcast, get comfortable with using the microphone, get comfortable with what your show structure is going to be like, and then you'll hone that naturally over the first 10 to 20 episodes or so. Then when you get comfortable with doing that, you can start to do things like you do Lori, which is to record the whole show as a one-off, have your intro, have your outro, have your midsection recorded as part of the whole show. That way, you're doing less editing afterward so it's easier to produce. You don't have much editing to do afterward at all. Then move on to video after that, and move on to pre-recorded video. Don't do live video straight away if you're doing your show, do it pre-recorded so you don't have to think of an audience and if you make mistakes, you can restart and you don't get so nervous in front of guests. Step four is live streaming while you record a podcast. The whole additional challenging element to that is, of course, the audience. If you've got people watching live, if you've got questions coming in. Ideally, you can listen to what the person that you're interviewing is saying, but at the same time, see what the audience is saying. Bring their questions into the mix at the appropriate time, engage with him at the same time, or perhaps even type back to them at the same time. You don't want to be doing that if you're not comfortable using a microphone, if you're not comfortable with podcasting, or if you're not comfortable even with looking into the camera, to begin with just to do the intros and the outros and to acknowledge people at the very beginning of your video. Then simply you get to that big summit that I was talking about, that's like 12 live streams all in one take. So once you're comfortable with the live streams, it's bringing everything together, it's doing it for a longer time, it's having 100 plus guests involved in a single project. So it's just a case of making those relationships which is obviously what this show is all about and the wonderful thing about doing a podcast, apart from the fact that you get people listening to your content is the quality of the relationships that you make with the guests that you end up talking to. You can ideally maintain those relationships by doing things like hosting a virtual summit and getting people back on with you perhaps on an annual basis.
Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
I think networking is all about the quality rather than the quantity. You can talk about some articles that have been written like 1000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly, and similar advice has been shared by Seth Godin. If you get to that number of people that engage with you and like your content on a regular basis, then you're going to be successful. But in my experience, the number is even less if you put in the effort to really ensure that the relationships that you build are of high quality. That's why I love podcasting because it's such a wonderful way to build a relationship, to begin with, and then it gives you that opportunity to maintain the relationship because if you go to networking events, I know we're talking in COVID times it's a little bit more challenging to meet face to face, and perhaps even meet new people. But if you imagine a conventional face-to-face networking event, you'd do really well to have five minutes uninterrupted with anyone. It's challenging sometimes just to discover what someone else does, and make them aware of what you do, and then remember them afterward and then get back to them and really build any kind of meaningful relationship. The internet, podcasting, or just online discussions that aren't even necessarily broadcasted online give us a wonderful opportunity to have a higher quality conversation or lengthier conversation. So I think if you can aim to have 10 of those conversations a month on a regular basis, and then maintain the relationships with people that you think would be beneficial to you and your business in the future and you could be beneficial to them, then that would be probably a wonderful use of podcasting as a wonderful way to network and build maintain those relationships.
How do you best nurture your network and stay in front of these individuals?
I used to think in the past that what you had to do was published on a regular basis. But to a certain degree, that's just one-way communication so it's good to try and maintain those relationships. I've been very fortunate to as well as host bowl and podcast, host podcasts for other people, and produce podcasts for other people so it gives me a reason to get back in contact with these people. So the people that have been probably the best guests or the people that have been the most valuable in terms of potential relationships have been the ones that I've kept in touch with. I think initially going back to about 2015 when I did my first big online live stream, and I had about 60 people join me for that one. I just went back into people who have been guests before and I viewed it as a great piece of content to produce. But then thinking about it afterward, I suddenly realized it's not about the content, it's about relationships, it's about the network, it's about maintaining that. So that's why I try and do an annual basis, I give myself a reason to get back in touch with people and I encourage people to do the same. To think of a reason to reach back to who you've had conversations with in the past, and help them. So not necessarily even to produce something of value to what you're trying to do, but just to see if there's anything else you can do to assist them. I think you need to be really aware of what they're currently doing, and maybe suggests something specific that you could do to help them or a reason to have a follow-up conversation. I liken that to messages that I receive on LinkedIn, and probably 1 in 50, I reckon have actually really looked at me and my business and what I do, and crafted message based on that. The messages that I get saying something like, "Oh, it would be great to find out more about Casting Cred and what you do, shall we arrange a call?" No, I ignore those messages because it's so blatantly obvious that they've just taken my company name from some automatic script and added it to a standard intro message. I'm not interested in having a conversation if you haven't taken the opportunity to check out what I do. Check out what I do and demonstrate that you've actually looked at what I do and then we'll have a conversation.
What advice would you offer that business professional who's really looking to grow their network?
It doesn't happen overnight so you've got to accept that it's a long-term game. It's easy to reach out to people and get disappointed if they don't engage with you, but have you actually published anything and demonstrated that you are likely to be of genuine interest to the person that you're trying to reach out to? I go back to podcasting because I'm a podcaster and I think podcasting is a wonderful way to do it. I would quite often publish a podcast based upon the quality of conversations that I have with someone and be willing to publish a podcast, even if it didn't have any listeners, because of the quality of conversations that I'm having with people. I know people that I'm interviewing wouldn't necessarily be happy to have the conversation published to no one, but I think that's a good way to approach podcasting. I would encourage anyone listening to consider starting a webinar series or a podcast or some kind of content series that gives them an opportunity or reason to reach out to people. Maybe an initial starting point even before that is a blog because most people have a blog associated with a website. Put together an article about a particular topic and ask 10 moderately successful people within certain niches about their opinion on the particular subject. I say moderately successful because you're never likely to get someone like, let's give Seth Gordon as an example to actually contribute. But if you have someone who's moderately successful in a very niche industry, then they're really happy to contribute. So you can probably get 10 people to contribute to blog posts, you don't even have to speak to them, you can have a contact form for them to fill in and share their advice. Then you can promote what they do afterward, you can connect with them on LinkedIn, you can maintain that relationship. That's probably a great starting point to building a decent network.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more of us have or differently with regards to your professional career?
It's very easy to look back with hindsight saying you should do this, you shouldn't do this. I've done lots of different jobs in my time. I'm in my 40s now so I was probably too old to just work in digital marketing or in the digital world. So as a first career, I actually managed restaurants and pubs, and hotels. It was a great experience to have because as a 20-year-old I was managing teams of people. So I got great managerial experience to do that. Perhaps maybe I treated life a little bit too seriously. I would say just to relax a little bit as well and try more things. I think that back then I felt that you had to try and have a career and I think that I grew up as part of the generation that was still told you go through school, you try to go through university, and then you try to get yourself a profession, and you stay with that profession for life. Life's not really like that nowadays. I would certainly tell myself to try different things, don't take life too seriously, work hard, but also play hard at the same time.
Any final word of advice to offer our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
Success and building a big network is really a long time coming. Don't measure what you're doing with short-term measurements, like how many followers have I gained in the last week or a month or even year? It's all about the quality of relationships that you make 10 years down the line. So if you're not bothered by time, what would you do differently now if you knew that the numbers don't matter and it's all about quality?
Connect with David
David’s website: https://castingcred.com/
David’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidbain/
Gina is a leader in the women in sales movement. Gina's career in sales started very early in life when she would pitch your parents on important issues like her version of how grandma's vase ended up on the floor in a million pieces! She would routinely beat out her competition (aka her six siblings) for best storytelling in a dramatic role. Throughout her 20 plus years in sales and marketing in the US, Europe, and emerging economies, Gina has continued to employ those same storytelling skills in selling and other persuasive arguments.
So talking about women in general, what are some of the things that you think are holding back women from getting into leadership positions?
Well, it's not for lack of trying and it's not even for lack of perceived opportunities on the part of the companies. Many well-meaning corporations want to bring women up through leadership, and really give them opportunities. What they are kind of unaware of is that they're still environmental issues and cultural issues within companies that don't promote the same kind of allegiance to opportunities. For instance, there's like this disconnect, companies will tell me that they want to elevate women into leadership, but the women just don't speak up in meetings, they don't share their ideas. So it's hard to get sponsorship opportunities for them to give them big promotions and things. Whereas the women will tell you that they don't feel heard or seen, or they try to speak up in meetings, and they try to share their ideas and they get blank stares and then Bob will say the same thing five minutes ago and they're like, "Oh, yeah, way to go, Bob!" My apologies to all Bob's listening, that's just the name I use. It's just these kinds of underlying cultural anomalies that happen, and they keep women from actually feeling like they are heard and seen. It's really a problem because it stops them from asking for what they want, asking for the positions they want, or letting their employers know that they want those positions. Whereas a guy will say, "I am going after that VP role," and he will make it known to everybody that he wants it. So that's where the disconnect is. Companies feel like they're giving opportunities to women, and they're not taking them, but women don't feel the same way. They don't feel that they are given the same visibility and the same opportunities to share ideas and that's really holding women back.
Let's talk about actions that can be taken to help women in the workplace. How can women help themselves achieve their career goals?
Well, there's a lot of things and this is where it sounds easy, right? So if you're not getting hurt in meetings, just speak up more? Well, if you don't perceive that there is support for your ideas, or if you have tried to speak up in meetings, and you're shut down or ignored, or dismissed almost which I have heard from many women, then it's harder to go ahead and just speak up. So that's where mentors, coaches, sponsors come in and we can talk a little bit about the difference between mentors and sponsors. But where these things come in, because once you get someone who you can be as your sounding board, and you can talk through how you can handle this. Also, women can help women. If you see something happening in a meeting, if you see that Bob said something that Mary just said a few minutes ago, and Bob's getting the attaboys say, "Wow, Bob, that was great and you know? Mary was just talking about that five minutes ago." Have your sisters back! Do these things that really can help both you and her get heard better because it puts people on call that you were aware of what just happened, and you're not going to just sit there. So that takes getting used to, it takes practice. It's not something that comes all the time. But I would say one of the biggest ways that women can help themselves is to get a mentor and be honest about what it is you want to achieve, what your career goals are, where your aspirations lie. Do you want to go after a leadership position? And if so, how might you do it? How might you get around these things that you see as holding you back?
On the other hand, how can employers help women on their team?
That is one of the places that I try to coach employers on a little bit. Be aware of these things. It's not enough to say that women aren't speaking up, why aren't these speaking up? What's actually happening in those meetings? If you stop and look around, and really start to appreciate the dynamics that are happening, if women are getting elbowed out of the conversation, or one person is always dominating, you are the person to put a stop to that. That's kind of a trickle-down thing, if you're the CEO of a company, and you aren't meeting your equity and inclusion goals, then you need to start having meetings with your managers and your directors and ask what's going on? Why aren't we recruiting more women? Why what's happening in meetings? And if you're the person running those meetings, make sure you give women not just a moment where you suddenly say, "Barb, what do you think?" Because if the environment has never really been supportive, or open, to just turn the spotlight might leave them frozen in their tracks. So I would say, think about what's going on in your office in your meetings, and make sure that there is an open and inviting opportunity to speak, and that the follow on isn't just kind of, "Are you done? Is that it? Okay? So Bob, what do you think about this?" That doesn't do it, so really work on those things. Then one of the things that I preach all the time is to make sure that they have professional development opportunities because that is such a crucial piece of one; letting them know that you actually are behind their career development. It's a vote of confidence, it will buy you some allegiance too and it will help strengthen your succession plan. So doing those few things, which is just a little bit of time and a little bit of investment can make a world of difference.
Can you share with my listeners one of your favorite networking experiences that you've had?
I will say honestly and like everybody else I so miss being in person and it's unfortunate that you are not in the DC area, but one of my favorite networking events is The Institute for Excellence in Sales. They have had and will have again monthly programs and the great thing is the networking is awesome. You meet other salespeople in this instance, but they're from all kinds of companies, tech companies, government contracting companies and you meet really interesting people. Then you get treated to a phenomenal speaker who presents on the art and science of selling and I have met some of the most wonderful people through that program. Now, of course, we're expanding who we network with because of COVID in this virtual world and it's really opened up a lot of things. One; we are really leaning on platforms like Linkedin and through LinkedIn, I have done some exceptional networking and I probably would not have given it that much time if we weren't in this situation. I have found great organizations and networking opportunities in that way and I have people reaching out to me all the time too and there are just so many ways to network these days that are a heck of a lot less frightening than walking up to somebody at an in-person networking event which I know can be scary, especially when you're new, straight out of college, or new to a new industry or something because you have to go up and make small talk and do all those things that maybe don't come easily to you. So it's a brave new world when it comes to networking if you haven't tried it before, but it is such a crucial piece of your career growth and in sales.
How do you best stay in front of and nurture your network?
This is an interesting question because content is king as they say and people put so much time and energy into their content now. I have to wonder sometimes if the return on investment is actually there in terms of how much time it takes. Now, if you have a whole team making content then it might be. I like to do a lot of commenting on what interests them. I will do content too but I feel, at least for myself that the thing that works best for me so I can stay in front of people that I want to do business with and that I admire is to really engage in a conversation over the content that matters to them. So I will put my own content out there but I make sure that their content is seen and heard and shared and liked so that we have an engaging conversation around things that really are of interest to them.
What advice would you offer that business professional who's really looking to grow their network?
In this virtual time, I would see who's doing business with the companies you want to do business with, and connect with them, and then connect with those companies and businesses. It's a multi-step process and then look for associations and organizations that are in the field of business that you are selling to, and make sure you join them and get in those conversations. When we can do things back in person, go to those events, muster up the courage to speak to people. After you do it a few 100 times it's easy. But really professional organizations, not just in your particular line of business, but in adjacent ones. Think a little broadly and then find those organizations and get involved and build your network with a wider base. Try not to be too narrow.
If you could go back to Your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
It's interesting that you asked that because, as you know, I run The Women in Sales Leadership Forum. I bring in all these amazing women to talk to all the amazing women that go through it and they talk about mentors and sponsors and programs. One, I think to myself that I wish there was more of this for women when I started my professional career, which there wasn't. Two, I have always been a little bit of an adrenaline junkie, I get off on new and exciting, and I like to do things that are super challenging and I get bored kind of easily. It's gotten a little better as I've gotten older, but I would get bored with the situation, or I would get frustrated for many of the reasons that we talked about earlier of how I was treated, or how all women were treated in a company and so I would leave, rather than figuring out a way to fight the fight. I realize now that there were some really great opportunities that I walked away from so that I would not walk away from those interests. If you have a job you love, but you're not crazy about the company, find that mentor, and figure out if there are things that you could be doing differently, or how you can ask for what you need, what you want, and what you deserve instead of getting fed up and walking away. So that would be my advice and is the thing I wish I could change.
Any final word of advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
Really think about ways to help support other women. What can you be doing? What do they need? And make sure you never let something get said or done and wish you had said or done something about it because it's those micro situations that kind of build and they take the wind out of people’s sails. So just make sure you have somebody back all the time, and then someone will have yours.
Connect with Gina:
Visit Gina’s Website: https://i4esbd.com/
Connect with Gina on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ginastracuzzi/