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/