The Freelancers’ Show 066 – Unconventional Marketing with David J. Soler
Panel David J. Soler (twitter blog) Curtis McHale (twitter github blog) Eric Davis (twitter github blog) Jeff Schoolcraft (twitter github blog) Reuven Lerner (twitter github blog) Charles Max Wood (twitter github Teach Me To Code Rails Ramp Up) Discussion 01:04 - David J. Soler Introduction Relationship Marketing & Sales Podcast davidjsoler.com 01:54 - Building Relationships and Getting Referrals Trust, Likability, Credibility + Value (TLC+V) Handwritten, Personal Notes 13:39 - Trust Integrity Reputation Consistency 23:52 - Unconventional Marketing ‘Wow’ Factor Before, During, and After Items of Value 30:11 - Referrals 32:10 - Meet Your Clients 34:31 - Appreciation and Encouragement 36:37 - Relationships Over Business Picks Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money by Rabbi Daniel Lappin (Curtis) Ladda Buttons (Curtis) Freelancing Rules of Thumb (Eric) Apple Developer: for WWDC Videos (Jeff) Mac Pro (Jeff) httpie (Reuven) Reversing PDF Documents (Reuven) Explore It!: Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing by Elisabeth Hendrickson (Chuck) The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy (David) Next Week Freelancers Show: LinkedIn with Wayne Breitbarth Transcript DAVID: Are we live on the show? Are we broadcasting...or just setting up? CHUCK: I'm just doing some quick sound checks and then we'll get going... DAVID: Okay, great! CHUCK: Which is just me watching the volume meter while everybody talks. So, go ahead. REUVEN: Ohh! Is that what secretly happens? [laughter] REUVEN: And here I thought you're just trying to get us to be friendly. [Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net.] CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 66 of The Freelancers Show! This week on our panel, we have Curtis McHale. CURTIS: Good morning! CHUCK: Eric Davis. ERIC: Hello! CHUCK: Jeff Schoolcraft. JEFF: What's up! CHUCK: Reuven Lerner is trying to connect. I guess the wiring in Atlantic Ocean got cut; somebody wrong it over or something. I'm Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. This week, we have a special guest and that's David J. Soler. DAVID: Hello everybody! Thanks for having me! CHUCK: No problem. Do you want to introduce yourself really quickly? DAVID: Sure! My name is David J. Soler, I am the host of the Relationship Marketing and Sales Podcast. You can learn more about me at davidjsoler.com. I am here to share and answer new questions that I can that you guys want to ask! CHUCK: Awesome! Now, I know David because we're in the same Mastermind Group, so we talk twice a month and he has helped me with quite a bit of marketing stuff. The thing that really kind of got me excited about getting you on the call besides your podcast, which is awesome, you've had some great guests, too. I think my favorite is the one with David Siteman Garland. DAVID: Yeah, it was blast. He's just a real smart guy, online entrepreneur, and just lot of great helpful tips. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's been a blast to interview people like him. CHUCK: Yeah. Anyway, you did something that was a little bit kind of outside the box that got me thinking, so I thought we'd bring that on and have you talk to us a little bit about some of the, I guess, less conventional things that you do. What you did was you sent 'Thank You' cards out to everybody in our Mastermind Group. I have to say, I don't usually get Pay-Per-Mail unless it's Pay-Per-Mail that says, "You owe us money." [David chuckles] CHUCK: So, I thought that was interesting! I was just wondering, what other ideas or techniques or ways of coming up with things like that, that we could do in our freelancing businesses to kind of make a connection? DAVID: Sure, definitely! Well, the thing about it and approach that I'm trying to take you say unconventional, really,
DAVID: Are we live on the show? Are we broadcasting...or just setting up? CHUCK: I'm just doing some quick sound checks and then we'll get going... DAVID: Okay, great! CHUCK: Which is just me watching the volume meter while everybody talks. So, go ahead. REUVEN: Ohh! Is that what secretly happens? [laughter] REUVEN: And here I thought you're just trying to get us to be friendly. [Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net.] CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 66 of The Freelancers Show! This week on our panel, we have Curtis McHale. CURTIS: Good morning! CHUCK: Eric Davis. ERIC: Hello! CHUCK: Jeff Schoolcraft. JEFF: What's up! CHUCK: Reuven Lerner is trying to connect. I guess the wiring in Atlantic Ocean got cut; somebody wrong it over or something. I'm Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. This week, we have a special guest and that's David J. Soler. DAVID: Hello everybody! Thanks for having me! CHUCK: No problem. Do you want to introduce yourself really quickly? DAVID: Sure! My name is David J. Soler, I am the host of the Relationship Marketing and Sales Podcast. You can learn more about me at davidjsoler.com. I am here to share and answer new questions that I can that you guys want to ask! CHUCK: Awesome! Now, I know David because we're in the same Mastermind Group, so we talk twice a month and he has helped me with quite a bit of marketing stuff. The thing that really kind of got me excited about getting you on the call besides your podcast, which is awesome, you've had some great guests, too. I think my favorite is the one with David Siteman Garland. DAVID: Yeah, it was blast. He's just a real smart guy, online entrepreneur, and just lot of great helpful tips. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's been a blast to interview people like him. CHUCK: Yeah. Anyway, you did something that was a little bit kind of outside the box that got me thinking, so I thought we'd bring that on and have you talk to us a little bit about some of the, I guess, less conventional things that you do. What you did was you sent 'Thank You' cards out to everybody in our Mastermind Group. I have to say, I don't usually get Pay-Per-Mail unless it's Pay-Per-Mail that says, "You owe us money." [David chuckles] CHUCK: So, I thought that was interesting! I was just wondering, what other ideas or techniques or ways of coming up with things like that, that we could do in our freelancing businesses to kind of make a connection? DAVID: Sure, definitely! Well, the thing about it and approach that I'm trying to take you say unconventional, really, the approach that I'm trying to take isn't all about building relationships. When I first started out my career, I was actually a computer consultant or manager consultant for Ernst & Young in Manhattan, and I was working in the corporate world. I didn't like the corporate world, I want to get it out of my own, and basically quit the job. I went and became a mortgage loan officer and kind of built my way up there; that's basically a sales position. So, there was two sides: one was the technical knowledge of trying to learn all about mortgages and real estate and buying and selling homes; the other is the marketing and sales process, which you guys can probably relate to being freelancers. In that, you have your expertise and your skill set in doing the job, but then you got to go to your customers and then you want to make your customers happy, do repeat business, and refer you. It's always trying to figure out what's the dynamic and how we can bring through those together so we can have what I call "An Enriching Business" where we're able to really provide service to our clients and do the thing we love and really be good at it on the technical side, but also have the money to feed our family and food with our meals kind of thing. So, it's always been trying to figure that out. When I went through in this side, it seems like I was always going, I was doing like all the conventional stuff; the direct mail, telemarketing, all the things that people kind of have their teaching in yellow page ads and all of that kind of stuff. It always seem like I'm always chasing the customer. As you got one customer, you got a good job, you would outright chase the next one. Or, you got a bunch of customers, you got a bunch of work, but then all of a sudden, once that work dried up, you were back out trying to get another customer. It just seem like this rat race, so there's hamster wheel, you couldn't get any kind of stability. I don't know if you guys can relate to that or not, but I was in that motion. I was like, "Man!" When I get a referral though, it was like, "Wow! That was just totally awesome!" It was like, "Wow! That person came to me, they already liked me. They knew who I was, they respected me, they appreciated my work," and they were like, "Whatever the price is, as long as it's fair," they're not really going to price gouge me or beat me up on price. And so I was like, "Man! Just having referrals, that's just so awesome! Well, how can I get more of those?" I started and went on a journey of trying to figure out. I started reading books and asking people, just researching and testing all things out, putting stuff in place, and seeing how I can actually get people, get all my customers, to come by referrals. In other words, when I would show in the office that day, people would be calling me saying they want to do business with me. They want me to, in that case, refinance their home or finance their new home. When I did that, I started learning that, "Hey, if you're going to do these things, these are the things you have to do." That's where, partly, all these different strategies that I came up and then developed was the reason was - all about getting referrals. The first thing that I learned about getting referrals is that you'd have to have relationship; you have to have business relationships in place. You have to have people that, what I call the "Core Four". They're going to know you, they're going to like you, they're going to trust you, and you're going to add them value. The way I remembered it, it's called "TLC+V", it equals referrals and building relationships. The "T" represents "Trust" and how often do we need to, in our businesses, know that people need to trust us. When they trust us and they know that we're not going to take advantage of them, they kind of let their guard down and there's a relationship that starts forming. And whether it's with our spouse, with our significant other, or with a business relationship, another business partner, it comes down to building trust with that person knowing that you're there to serve them and make their life better and help them add values in them. If you can't do it, then you can't do it and you move on. But you're not, say, you're going to take advantage or take money from somebody because they don't know what's going on. Or you're just there to take money, to make money; it's all about your gain and not about a mutual gain. It's about knowing that you're there for everybody's mutual gain, not just your own. When you start building that into the relationship or into that business friendship or whatever that relationship, that's where referrals start coming from. The second thing that I've noticed that you need is "Credibility". You could have somebody that you trust; you can have a family or, "Hey, I really trust the person, I know they're going to do well," but they don't know what they're talking about. So, I can't hire them; I'm not going to trust them with whatever my widget or wadget is. I'm building my widget or wadget because I like them, they were good person, I trust them, but they don't know what they're doing; it's going to mess up, it's going to take forever, it should take a week, I don't know how competent they are. So, it's all about building competency. Also, knowing that they trust you, that they know you're going to treat them well, but also that you're competent in your field of expertise. The next thing, explaining "Likability", is that you can trust somebody, you know they're not going to lie or cheat, you can know that they're really the best in the business, but they're just the jerk to work with; they're just awful. And you always hear a lot of times from customers like, "Man! That guy is just awful! Yeah, it pays, but it was just awful to work with them." So when you can start building Likability, what I call "Likabiliy", goes from becoming somebody that you like all the way to loving them. Man, I just love working with them. I relate that to like a restaurant. And how often do we go to a restaurant? We go there, we have a great experience, great meal, great service, and you start advocating for them. And when you leave, you start calling, "Hey man, I went to this restaurant, it was so good and they treated me so well," and you start liking that place, that service, that business. The more that you liked that because you built the trust, credibility, the more that you liked them, the more they want to go out of their way to recommend you, which is referring you to other people. The last one, the fourth option, the fourth corner stone is "Value". What that means is that people can trust you and know you're going to treat them well and you're going to have integrity. They know that you're credible and you know what you're doing, and they can really like you. But all of a sudden, you could be twice the cost to somebody else. Now, there's a difference between "Price" and "Value", I want to get into that. But before I do that, the idea with Value is that, if I take 2 people and I trust both of them -- they're both very credible, they're both very good and I like both of them -- who am I going to go with? Well, the value, who's giving me the best bang for my book kind of thing? Who's going to go with it? That's where value comes into it. Sometimes, I have people come to me and like, "Wow! I do this, I do that. They don't like me, and they went with somebody else," well, let's look at the value you're offering. Maybe the value is not there. So, when you do a marketing plan, when you do a business plan, you have all 4 pieces of these in place with your client base, with your business referral partners, you're going to have it raining referrals. You're going to have people calling you left and right just storming in with referrals. They're going to want to do business with you, they're going to love doing business with you, they're going to want to continue to do business and repeat business, and they're going want to refer their friends and family to you. With that in mind, that's where it came back to "How do you do that?" "Okay, David, it's all great and fine deep stuff, I appreciate it," I didn't know that, or maybe I did know that, how do I do that? Well, you got to grab and build relationship; you got to care for people. One of the ways that I found to do that and I found this from mentor of mine is that, "by writing handwritten personal notes", is a great way to connect with people. When I was in grammar school -- probably you guys are a lot of technical savvy guys -- there was a time before they had all these computers and high-end phones and digital equipment, we actually had to use pen and paper. Do you guys remember that? CHUCK: Pen and paper? Well, it's been a while... [crosstalk][laughter] DAVID: I'm updating myself here for sure. But there was a time way back when I was like in 8th grade, maybe you guys can relate to this, maybe you can't, but I'm going to tell you there was a time before computers and all that stuff where they didn't really have computers in the classrooms, you didn't have phones, nothing like that, you actually had to use pen and paper. So how the kids, the 12-year old girls and 14-year old girls and boys, how we used to communicate was writing little notes to each other. They used to call them love notes or what-you're-doing-after-school notes or what-you're-doing. So instead of being able to text each other, you had to write a little note, scribble it down, and kind of fold it up to little pieces and hand it over to each other. CHUCK: Yeah, I remember those! Check 'Yes' or 'No'. DAVID: [laughs] So back when I was in grammar school, what I remember is these girls used to always do this stuff, used to write these long notes, and used to say how bad the teacher was, or whatever they wrote on these notes; some of them weren't very nice. Well, the teacher would find them and the teacher would be upset and they would get up front and they'd say, "Okay, whenever they'd catch your notes, somebody who wrote them, we'd make them read it out loud -- get in front of the classroom and read it out loud as a source of punishment for doing this behavior. I just remember over and over seeing how people would write a note and they would go in front of the classroom and have to read it. Whatever they said in that note, it was like a dagger - good or bad. If you said good stuff about people, it was like, "Wow! Raving fan," that person, raving fan of yours. If you said something hurtful to them, you literally really hurt them. And it was just amazing. The power that the pen and paper had, and in essence taking that time and doing it and having that impact because there's no denying. You can't say, "I didn't write it," they just caught you wrote it. You can't say, "I didn't mean that," when you wrote it, how did you not mean it? So, it eliminates a lot of the, when you hear or say, "Oh, I didn't mean it," or "I said it this way, it was misunderstood," it's written there; there is no misunderstanding. It's right there, written. So what I found, and I was learning this from other people is that when you write down encouragement and kind words and greetings to people on pen and paper, it just has a lasting effect with them. It really impacts them on the deep level, especially on a positive levels, when you give them positive encouragement. In an instance, it helps you build that relationship, makes that connection, and there is no denying. If you say, "Hey, I really appreciate your work. I really admire this and this about you," there're really no denying. If that person takes it as, "Wow! This person really admires me. Wow! This person went out of their way and said they really admire how I run my business, they admire how I lead my employees, they admire my professionalism," whatever it is on a professional level that you write, that's like really impactful that I found. So, that is one of the ways that I reach out to people to build relationships. There's nothing in or that to get; it's all authentic. It's stuff that I really mean and I respect and I appreciate and admire about people. I just choose to put it down on pen and paper, send them a little handwritten note saying, "Hey, this is what I admire about you; this is what was great about it," whatever that experience was and I share it with them. It tends to build that relationship and build, again, that Trust, number one, it builds Likability, and it just builds a friendship. When you start building friends out there in your business, it's great to do business with friends. And when you have any friends, it just makes your life much better to do business, and your business is more enriching when you get to hang out and do work with all your friends. Look at this show! You guys are all on here doing some great stuff and you're all pretty much friends. Isn't that great just being able to work together with people you know, like, and trust, so you can provide value and help others? Isn't that a great experience? CHUCK: Yeah, it really is. And not just the guys on the show, but all of my shows. It's really awesome to be able to work with folks that, in fact, they meet all of the criteria that you're talking about here. DAVID: Yeah! And so when you just start developing those relationship with your clientele and building a community of people that know, like, and trust you, and you're providing value to, wow! It's just like you're playing all day long instead of actually what we feel commonly as working. We can change that dynamic and say, "Playing is working. I'm out here doing the stuff with people that like me, value me, and I get to benefit and provide value and support my family." CHUCK: One thing that kind of came to mind while you were talking is, you talked about trust and credibility and likability and value, and it seems that for the most part, the Credibility and Likability, you can kind of build those pretty easily. The credibility, when somebody sees your work and it's something that they want, then you gain credibility; the blog or the podcast, obviously, helped with that. With the Likability, people, they listen to the shows or they call you up and chat with you, and you can get a feel for whether or not you're going to work well together. But building that trust, that's the one that I really kind of struggle with a little bit. It's not that I don't think I'm necessarily good at it, but you really don't know until you actually hire somebody and pay them to do something whether or not they're worthy of that trust. So, how do you convince people that they can trust you? CURTIS: Especially when how many clients that you get to talk to, they got burned by their last developer, right? CHUCK: Yeah. CURTIS: I hit that all the time where the last person had no idea what they were doing. I'm basically on a clean up project for something that's terrible. CHUCK: Yeah, I'm about to pick one up. DAVID: Well, great great question. Before I go into trust, number one, which in your field of expertise, credibility is usually the easiest piece; and for different businesses, it's different. But because you guys are so knowledgeable and you're so technical, the credibility is quite a piece that you guys say, "Hey, it's not a big thing for us, we build that all the time." Likability, that you're saying you're able to do, that's great, too. The other way for folks that want some quick advice on that, it's really just being more transparent, showing the fun side of you, keeping things a little more fun, being easy to work with, not being so confrontational or just a pain to work with; just being a pleasant person, a pleasant business experience, things like that. But jumping over to Trust; what happens in "Trust" is that it takes time to build trust that you can't tell somebody to trust you. Like if I go to you and say, "Hey, trust me," right there, the reply I'll get is, "Don't trust that guy." Here's a quick thing: if someone says, "Trust me," don't trust that person. Because, why would they say that? The trust isn't inherent; it has to built over time. That's where the power of referral comes in, and why it's so important to build your marketing around referrals. Because when they referred to you, the trust is there because they're coming to you from a reliable trusting source. And so how you do that is by being a trusting person. Number one, having integrity - always doing what's right for the customer no matter what. Even if it cost you money, do what's right. There's always times when we make mistakes -- let me explain what I mean -- because there's always going to be times when we make mistakes, nobody's perfect, we're going to be in our job making whatever, in this case, you guys do some programming, you're going to make a mistake! The question is, who's going to own up to even say, "You know what, I made a mistake. I'm going to eat that cost. It's going to take me an extra day, it's going to take me extra few hours, even take me an extra week, but it was my fault, I'm going to fix it. And just so you know, that's how I do my business. You don't have to watch me all the time; I have integrity. We're going to do what's best for you no matter what. I'm always going to be looking up for your best benefit and do what I agreed to do. I'm holding myself accountable to that." People appreciate that. And there's a series that happens throughout when you're working with your current clients that you are building that trust. People are going to say, "Hey man, that's going to hurt; that's going to cost them a lot of time or money, but he's still sticking to it. Wow!" When people are starting to say wow, that's different. "Wow! That's somebody that he or she is more about, doing what's right and taking care of that customer. That's what it is." So, in essence of how you do and build trust is being the person they can always rely on; setting the expectations and then delivering on those expectations. If you say, for example, you're going to show up at 8 o'clock, show up at 8 o'clock. If you say you're going to work for 8 hours, work for 8 hours. I know in the podcasting roam and things like that, if you say you're going to put a show out every Thursday, put a show out every Thursday. So people can know and it's the little things that build trust; it's the stacking of so many little things. If you say you bill for something, bill for it; don't bill for anything more, don't surprise people. Set your standard and explain your expectations, both for you and your client, and then hold that accountable. It's always when people aren't looking, that you really need to do the right thing. And remember, people are always looking. Even when it seems like people aren't looking, they are looking and they are noticing. They may not say it to you, but they are noticing and they are looking because they know, everyone knows, "Oh man, that thing happen. If I was going to mess up, what's going to happen?" In fact, I had someone just the other day doing some graphics for me, and they promised me something and it messed up and mostly what's they're going to say, "Wow! It's going to take me more time. You got to pay me some more." He came back and said, "You know what, I'm just here to make sure you're satisfied and I'm going to go back and redo it and do it this way and make sure you're satisfied." I'm like, "Wow! That makes me want to refer him!" That makes me say like, "This guy stands up from beliefs on what he's doing. Wow! I'd love to share him with other people." Those are the things, I think, a few of the things I can help. Is that sound pretty good? You want some more things? How does that sound based on your experiences? CURTIS: That matches what I've done. I had a client, my wife had a few minor health issues that turned out to bit minor, but I was really about to end a project. I just emailed a client yesterday and said, "Hey, this is what happened. I haven't really started, I can give your money back or we can keep going. It's totally up to you." He came back and said, "No, you're wonderful! Let's keep going." Because it's the best step to say, "Here's the problem, I have to review it. I'm not charging you for the extra time, we're still on the original billing cycles. Or, I'd just give you your money back." DAVID: Great example and a great demonstration of it without a doubt because you say, "Hey, there's a problem, it's out of my control. If something happen, what can I do? So I just pretend like it didn't happen?" The customer knows something's going on. So by you going back and communicating, "Hey, this is what's going on, I'm not perfect, but here's the option: you can get your money back, or you can work with me." And here they are, "Yeah, this is great." Now, he's thinking, "Wow! This guy really is looking out for my interest; he really cares. He wants what's best. It's not just in his best interest, but what's in my best interest," because he knew and realized that when you went back to him, you literally could lose that business. There was a risk of you of going back to him, giving him that option and he realized that, and that's what makes it a wild thing. Because in real life, you could easily say, "No, I'm going with someone else, see you later," and you lost that job in this case, but doing the right thing. Sometimes, you will lose that job because it's just how life is. But over all, you'll get rewarded more for integrity. There's less and less people that work and build their business on integrity. So, just by doing that helps you stand out from your competition. CHUCK: Yeah, I've ran into the same issue that Curtis had, except it was my health issues and not my wife's. I went to the client and did the same thing, and they actually went somewhere else. They basically said, "Look, we're going to bring this back in-house because we have to get it done." CURTIS: Which is fine and they run a business, right? CHUCK: Yeah. CURTIS: And if he said, "Hey, we just have to get this done," and what I said, "Here's the issue; we're behind by a week and here's why. If you want to go ahead, I have this afternoon; I'll get this much done this afternoon so we can move forward in the rest of the week." DAVID: Yeah. CHUCK: Yeah. CURTIS: Honestly, I was totally, when I sent it out -- I had kind of been avoiding it since Friday -- I was nervous when I sent it. I find that 100% of the time, you're nervous when you send them. And then when you got them, no matter what the answer is, it's just the way to early relief. DAVID: Yeah. And not every time will you get what you want, which is they'll stay with you. But the idea is that you're working with integrity, it's going to help; people will find out about that, number one. Number two, it's little fuzzy within yourself. You will start becoming congruent saying that, "I respect myself for doing that. It hurts, but I'm keeping that high level of integrity and that's what I'm about." Now, when you go and present that with another customer, or you're building relationships and you have no problem, and you're already congruent saying, "Yeah, I hold my standards very high, whatever the case maybe. I'm here looking up for our mutual interest, not just mine." That comes across and people can sense that. REUVEN: I had something like that a few months ago, where someone who's working for me, actually, not me personally, but someone who's working for me on my team, did some work that was just embarassingly bad; it was just really horribly ridiculously bad. I called the client and I said, "I'm telling you straight out, this is embarassing, this is bad, this is not up to the standards that I hold myself to," I said, "There are basically two things that I have to work with in this field: I have my time and I have my reputation. This bad work has burned me on both sides." Now, he didn't stay with me; he went to someone else. But, he was willing to, at least, pay me for the work that we have done, or the decent work that we have done and he said he really appreciated the integrity and really appreciated the call and the honesty. As I said, that's basically what I have to work with. And I expect that some point in the future, maybe 6 months or maybe a year, maybe 2 years from now, I will get a call from someone who said, "Yeah, I spoke to this guy. And he said, I should talk to you." DAVID: It will happen. Even not you know in your heart that that's how you are, by having that standard, people notice that. For some people, they don't want that scenario; they just want you to give them the cheapest price and that's fine, let them go. But for the other people that really respect and appreciate that, which are most people, they will be willing to pay more and they'll go out of their way and they'll wait for you for when you're ready. Like there's times when you say, "Hey, I'm too busy for a few weeks here. I'm not be able to get to your project until next week," they're going to say, "You know what, I'll wait. I want to work with you." But not all the times because it depends, ike you said, they have their business, they have deadlines. But for the most part, people will say, "You know what? I can go with this other guy that I don't trust and see what happens, like plan rules out here." Or, "I can wait the 3 weeks. Yeah, it's a little delayed, but I'm getting the person that I want to do the work that I can trust, that I know it will get taken care of." And then, you'll start seeing that happen, but it does take time. It's just like building a relationship with a spouse or significant other. When you're going down that path, it takes time. It just takes time to keep doing that and showing that reputation. It's basically what it is; building that reputation that "This is how you do business, this is who you are, this is what you're bound", it just takes time. And there is times where you got to make touch decisions and it is times where it's going to hurt your pocket to make that tough decision, but it's about being consistent and that's going to build that trust long term. CHUCK: We've talked about being consistent, having integrity, and we've talked about, maybe, some of the things that we can do that are sort of unexpected or outside the box. Are there any other things that you do, besides the handwritten notes, that are kind of unexpected that people get or see that they really don't expect to get or see from somebody in your position? DAVID: For sure, and I purposely plan that out. So when you sit down and you develop your marketing plan or you're trying to build your marketing plan, you want to specifically put things in that are going to wow people. You have to sit down and think like, "What would really wow somebody? What's different about me? What am I going to do in my business that's going to be different?" For example, you guys are into freelance doing programming stuff, when you first get an offer -- I guess a contract, or however you guys are doing it and assume you get a contract -- but you get a job, you get a gig. What happens next for every client? Do you end up sending them a personal note? Do you end up sending them a little thank you basket? Do you end up sending them a little something - something that can say, "Wow! I give this guy some business or this person some business, wow! They got something!" What can you do for them? What can you add value? What constantly looking at that? What you want to do, too, is also add to those 4 things: not only add value, add wow, but add trust - do things in a trusting way - build credibility. I'll give you an example. For a lot of people, what's very good is to actually be delivering stuff. There's a process I call "Before, During, and After". The "Before" process, it's going to be more when you're building relationship, you're not working with them yet. The "During" is during the transaction, so during when you start working for them for that particular project until you completed. And then the "After" is from that completion date all the way to, hopefully, they usually again are going to refer you. And you want to have different things going on so you're constantly cultivating your relationships and building those relationships to ask for and get referrals. Now, people don't automatically go out and refer. If you just do these things, people will refer you, but there's a key thing that you have to kind of ask and remind people. We're all busy doing our own thing, we're all busy with life. We all have our own families, we all have our own problems. We all have our own situations, we have our own goals. So the last thing that we're doing is always, unfortunately, is thinking about everybody else. I try to do it and I think a lot of people tried to do that, but we're always dealing with our own personal issues or personal goals, and things like that. So the idea from business standpoint that we want to do is, how do we constantly stand in front of our clients and business referrals and business partners? How can we add value and things like that? Some of the things could be sending out some information to them in a way that's credible. So you send out some expertise information that builds your expertise. Maybe some fun stuff that just keeps people liking you. There's different ways to do it; there's not a one way to do it. There's many different ways, depending on your personality. But the idea is, we consistently doing stuff. To give you a specific answer, what we can do is -- I know when I was in the mortgage business, the things that I used to do was send out something, an item of value once every two weeks. When I caught an item value, because we don't want to say, "Oh, it's a letter," it's something that's valuable to the client, whether it's building some expertise in the area or sharing your expertise with them; it's sharing something personal about yourself. For example, when I was in the mortage industry, maybe it was something like "Here's 10 Things on How to Lower Your Utility Bills", like doing things around the house that reduces your utility bills. So it's like, "Wow! That's pretty helpful; that's pretty valuable," and it's not pitching them on who do a loan; it's just helping them with all the things in real estate, anything to do with their homes. I would maybe send them an interview on all the ins and outs of a homeowner's policy. So I'd go out and interview the insurance agent that I referred to and referred back to me. I would interview them and say, "Okay, tell me all the ins and outs of the homeowner's policy. What's important about that? What are the biggest mistakes that people make with their homeowner's policy? What have you seen?" And then they start sharing, just interviewing and giving them that information. Now, I send that audio to the people, to my client-base, and they're like, "Wow! This is great. I didn't realize that I got to get on my insurance advice. I got to call this person to get myself a quote." Or, "I got to realize that Flood Insurance, if my house gets flooded or something like that, it's not going to be covered. I need to get a step or little addendum or something like that for it." Little things like that, they're nothing to do with like just me pitching them with, "Hey, do a loan with me," it's just doing things that they're saying, "Wow! This guy really knows he cares, that he's sending these other stuff he knows, and he's building that relationship." I would also share stuff with the family, "Hey, we went to such and such. I went with my daughters and we went somewhere for vacation," and I have a little picture and 3 things that I really found great about Disney World, let's say, and have a picture of me and the kids and the family at Disney World. And so how would they be able to relate with me directly? Hey, they've got kids, I have kids. Great!Now, when they see me, it's like, "Hey, how was Disney World? I saw your thing. It was so great! It was so awesome! I remember, when I went to Disney World," or even with their kids 20 years ago, "When I went..." or "We want to go for the next 5 years." It's conversation starts as it helps build that relationship. Most people are not doing that, and that's what I would encourage you and your fan-base to do. What can you do to start building relationships that (a) doesn't take up a lot of your time and it doesn't take up a lot of your money, but it shows that you care and you could put it on the system that automatically goes on. So you could say, "Okay for the next 12 months, what am I going to do?" and you set up like an editorial calendar or an Item of Value calendar where you say, "Okay every 2 weeks, I'm going to put out something. What can I do?" Like you guys, you have this podcast here that you're adding a lot of value in your community. What else can be done? Can we send out a personal note? Can we make phone call and just checking with people? Not to pitch them on, "Hey, you have a job for me," but, "Hey, just checking how things are going? How's your business going?" With the guys, for example, that you brought up the scenarios early on where he really appreciated it, but he had to move on because he couldn't wait, follow up within a month, "Hey, just checking in with the ad. Did the project get done? Eveything worked out? Good, I'm so glad it did," or if it didn't, "Hey, I'm still here to help you. I'd love to fix it for you because I coudn't take here over that time, but now I'm able to. Let me get in there and help you out and get it resolved and get it working again." Or, if it's already resolved, "Hey, great! I'm glad it worked out because my most important thing was seeing you get your need or your want," or whatever it is that they want to built, complete, and fixed. And, "Remember, obviously, life happens, but I'm still here to serve you. If there's anything I can do in the future, let me know." The last thing to do is to always Ask. An Ask is, when you are interacting with your client-base to ask them, "Hey, this is the thing, my business is built on referrals. I'm going to be out here, I'm going to be working hard, I'm going to be programming, I'm going to be doing the projects that you want me to do, I'm going to be here serving you, which means I have less time to market my business. So I really depend on having my clients that know, like, and trust me, and that I'm really serving and doing everything I can for, that you're going to come across people that need my services. I just want to earn the right or earn that respect that you would refer me. I'd love for you to refer me to other people that you know. I know it may take a little time, but that's what I'm working for. I'm going to do all these extra things, I'm going to be working harder for you. I just want you to know that I need your referrals; that's what thrice my business. That's what makes my business go. That's what helps me keeps me going. So I want you to know that I'm going to be working hard, to here for you serving you, but I want you to know that you matter to me, your business matters to me, and your referrals matter to me. So if you find that you want to help me out or anyway, sending me other people that would benefit by, that would want to use my services, please send them my way. Thank you so much." Now, every time you do something, you correspond with somebody and you do that, you send them a personal note. "Hey, it was great working with you. Remember, I'm always here for you," if you want to ask those questions and correspond with people if there were a client party. Even if you did an online consulting session, you gave out a free consulting session, and you bring 10 people and ask questions or 10 potential clients and ask questions. You serve them and you help them, and you say, "Hey, listen, this is what I do. I do this on a monthly basis. I bring people on, ask questions, I answer their questions. The idea is that, when you guys can use my services and really appreciate to use me, and also very important on this, you got to know other people that can use my services, please refer my way. That's what keeps my business going; that's what I need to stay in business." CHUCK: I like it. And there's a lot there that you can kind of pull apart and put back together in your own marketing funnel. DAVID: Definitely! Now, depending on your audience, I'm assuming like a lot of your audience, you guys are freelancers, you're programmers, you're sitting behind the desk in front of the computer many hours a day, it's very hard probably to get out and meet people. The biggest thing, probably, to do is to get out and meet people; get away from your desk, go and meet your clients. If you're travelling so far as your clients were all over the world or all over the country so you just can't get out and go across town, for a lot of people, they can literally go across town and meet with their client. It's not like you're going to go and hang out with them, take them out to lunch and get to know them that way. Schedule a lunch once or twice a week with different clients. Go out and just stop by, do like stop by, "Hey, just checking in with you and drop off a little item," it can even be a candy bar, "Here, something to sweeten your day. I just want to let you know, I appreciate your business. Thank you so much. If anything I could do for you, let me know. I know you're busy, I'm not going to stay long. I just wanted to drop by and let you know that I appreciate your business,” and move on; go to the next one. And people are like, "Wow! That's different! Wow! I really matter to that guy. It's really important. Wow!" You start making and building that relationship with people, that happens. Now, it's a little tougher when you're across the country. That's where personal notes coming. You brought that in earlier where people always get billed, but they didn't really get too many nice things in the mail. And the biggest thing when you do a lot of marketing research right now is that everybody is getting crammed with junk emails; being pitched on emails. Ten years ago, it was opposite. We were getting jammed with junk mail in the mail so no one want to go to the mailbox because there was so much junk mail. So when someone send them an email, they would be like, "Oh, I got an email!" and they were running and then read it and everything else, and they couldn't wait to get another email. Well, here we are today, we're getting hundreds and hundreds of emails a day probably, and just getting crossed with email that most people are like, "Oh! Not another email again," like 5 different email addresses, they hide themselves and protect themselves on all the junk email. So now, you can actually send somebody a letter and it'll get right through to them because people go to the mailbox and actually read the mail once again and check it up because a lot of the junk mails stopped because most people are doing it online now. So the mail has stopped, so far as a lot of junk mail. Like I said, sending a personal note would get through. It has helped me tremendously with reaching out to people that I thought were unreacheable and building relationships with people that were either celebrities or power celebrities in the niche I'm in, whatever niche it was, and just reaching out and getting through them. I found that people, no matter who we are, how much money we have, what walk of life we come from, what part of the world we're from, there's two things that we all really need, want, desire, and that there's a lack of it out there. One is "Appreciation". So giving people appreciation, just saying, "Hey, thanks so much!" it's just a big deal. We're such an underappreciated society and there's so many good things happening, but we're so failing to recognize that and recognize that with others. To me, if you just go around and say, "Hey, you know what? Thanks so much for whatever you do," like specifically tell him what to do, never say "whatever you do", but "Thanks for doing this," or "Thanks for doing that," that's a big deal. The other thing is "Encouragement". We're such so lacking encouragement. Just saying, "Hey, you know what? Life's tough for everybody. We're all going through tough things, tough time, tough situations," and we don't even know about it. People, a lot of times, we're just trying to put on or do the best we can on what we have that we don't even share a lot of times what we're going through, and you just never know who you meet and what they're going through. So just to encourage people, let's say, "Man, you're doing a good job. Keep up the good work. Wow! This is really good, keep up the good work," those two things: encouragement and appreciation will take, I think, anybody anywhere they want to go. It doesn't matter how much money they're making, how famous they are, anything like that, if you give people those two gifts of appreciation and encouragement, you'll be able to build relationship with people. You have to do it authentically; you can't just throw it as fluff and things like that. People see through that. But when you authentically look for things that you can encourage people for, if you can be appreciative of things, that will take you to high levels. CHUCK: That's crazy [laughs]. Just listening to it is just, for me, I'm just like, "Whoah! There's a lot of that that I could have done that I think would have paid off, and there's a lot of that that I could be doing that I just don't." Most of the time, it goes back to what you said before. Most of us are just kind of caught up in our own thing, we're all focused on keeping our business running, doing whatever it is that we're doing, we don't really think about other people. And, building those relationships is really -- that's what's going to make the difference. Honestly, what really came to mind, there was a fellow out here that worked for Adobe when they got acquired by Omniture, or Omniture got acquired by Adobe, and he was pretty high up in the company and I'm pretty sure he came out of it with a fair bit of money. He talked to me and he talked to few other people, he did decide to go with somebody else who was a little bit less expensive per hour, and that's fine. If the price is the clincher, then that's fine; I'm pretty well convinced you get what you pay for either way. But anyway, at the same time, his product was really really interesting and I realized that even though I wasn't the one that got hired, I could still build that relationship and probably get referrals from him even though I never actually worked with him. DAVID: Great point. That is exactly right. Sometimes, when you don't get the business, you actually get the relationship, which is more important. And how you interact with people, especially after, they may not give you the business, tells them more about you. I could tell you, there's several times when I was in the mortgage industry -- I'm sharing this story because I think your audience can relate directly because it was kind of professional/unprofessional -- some of them would come, "Well, I'm going to go with somebody else because they had a better price." "Okay, Sir. Well, I'm still here to serve you. I want you to know that I feel that my price is fair and valuable for what you're case is. And I actually think that sometimes, other people drop their prices just to get the deal and then end up not being able to get it done. So I like to stay in touch with you, if that's possible. I'll follow up in a few weeks or a month and see how it's going, just to see if I can help out. If everything's going great, good, I'm happy for you. If not, I'd still be here to serve you, just want you to know that." Sure enough, couple of weeks would happen. Sometimes, the deal will fall through and they were like, "Yeah, I can't believe this guy wasn't all fluff and smoking mirrors kind of thing. I definitely want to use you," and I get the business. Sometimes, it was, "No, the guy did a good job. For whatever reason, they just dropped the price and they did a good job and they got the work done." At the end of the day, "Hey, good!" because if I'm focused on that client, no matter what, if I'm focused on that client, I should be happy. If they went and got the same deal and got a better price, "Okay, good for you. Congratulations! Best wishes! If I can ever do something in the future, great." But at the end of the day, it shows that I was truly interested in him, not just about the deal. Where this people end up, where if they don't get the deal, for lack of better terms, "Screw you! I don't care about you anymore." Well, how can you say this to somebody if you really care about them? But if they don't do business with you, screw you. Well then, you don't really care about them. "You know, yeah, I'm disappointed I didn't get the sale, but I still want you to get whatever that problem is resolved. And if someone else does it better, great. Obviously, it doesn't help me, but it helps you and I'm happy for you." That's where you have to come back and look at it. Are our prices too high? Is somebody just discounting for one reason or are we not adding value? So this comes back to that value question, not price, but value. So if I'm charging $100 an hour, for example, what am I doing that's worth more than the person charging $50 an hour? It's not that, "Oh, he's just being cheaper. But wait a minute, he's doing the same services and he's providing the same value." What I mean by that, let's say you're doing a program and it's going to take you 30-minutes to do, it's going to take another guy 2-hours to do. You're charging $100 an hour, he's charging $50 an hour. When we run the math, technically, he's going to end up being billed, the customer's going to billed $100 for that person to come up with that specific program. If you do it, even though you're charging $100 an hour, you're going to get it done in 30-minutes. Your customer's only going to get billed $50. So even though you're charging more per hour, because you're professional, you're adding more value, you'll get things done faster because you're smarter, better, or whatever the case maybe, it's going to save the customer more money. So technically, that value is with you. Even though your price is higher, the value is with you and they should go with you. As a freelancer, as a business owner, you need to share that with people and explain those things to them, and understand coming from that position, what is your value. You need to explain that from a situation. It's if I'm the buyer, me personally, David Soler, here on the show, here with you guys talking to you right now, if I come to you and I say, "Listen, I need this program built. How much is this going to cost me?" Well, ultimately, that's the first thing: price. If I don't know anything about you, the first thing I have to do is price. And that's what we avoid in that referrals. We want to know, can I trust you? How long it's going to take? Or, are you going to do what you say because, like we talked about earlier, if they don't have those other things, the only thing that can go off of comparing you to other people is price. So the idea is to get to the other things in place. How do you that? You build the trust, the likability, get referrals, you ask for referrals, you go through their place, you give references. So you're saying, "Here are ten --" if you don't know somebody, like I don't know you personally coming in, not you Chuck, but let's say a programmer, what can you do? Well, here are some references: call some customers that I've done work with so you know what kind of work that I do. Here's some demonstrations. Look at some of my work or programs that I've been on, if that's the case. Or, demonstrating some stuff that I've already done. Putting stuff out there is adding value. Here's the guarantee: "If I can't deliver, I'd give you your money back," or something of that sense. Or, "I guarantee I will deliver this, this, and this, or you don't pay." When you start adding those things, that's all very valuable. And when you start adding all these extra value, maybe bonuses, maybe some written work, maybe some audio, depending on who your clientele is, maybe they can benefit from information, if you're just a service where you're doing it for them, you just kind of think outside the box of like, "What can be valuable?" Maybe it's referring them to some other businesses, maybe it's getting them some other stuff. But whatever that value is, you just start adding that up. At the end of the day, if your value is there, they will pay for it. Now, there are going to be some that the bottom line is price. If they only have $50 to work with, it doesn't matter how much value you have. In other words, if I have $10,000 to buy a car, I don't care how great the Ferrari Testarossa is, there's no way I could spend $250,000 if I only have $10,000; I just can't do it, I can't get along. There's no way. So I don't care what that sales guy does, I don't care how much he likes me, loves me, serves me, there's no way to buy it; I just can't afford it. I'm not in his market place. I'm not in his target market. I'm not the customer for him. However, if I can afford a Ferrari or Testarossa, and I'm in that market place and I'm searching sports cars, it's up to that sales guy to identify what it's going to make his sports car more valuable than the other sports car - the Porche or whatever, the BMW, or whatever the other one that kind of compares with it. Why should I go with his car versus of the other person? So that's where it's identifying. What's more valuable? I know a car salesman, what he does is he gives out free carwashes. He gives referrals to detailers. He gives referrals to oil changes. Not referrals, but free things. So when you buy a car from him, anytime you have a problem with your car, you call him and he'll hook you up with whoever you need to know. If you have a problem with a mechanic, he'd get you some mechanic. You need a car detail, he calls you and he gets the detail to your house to clean your car or to your workplace. Those types of things are going to be like, "Wow! That's really good! What sales guy is doing that?" Not many. That's why he's a top sales guy because he's serving his clients more than just getting a transaction from them. He's adding all these other things. Now, what does this really cost them? Not much because he builds his relationships, he actually refers these guys get more business. So, he takes car detailers, mechanics, the oil change guys, like Jiffy Lube, and things like that, the carwash places, all those types of people. Now, he sends them business so it makes him more valuable to them, which now they want to refer more people to him because he's referring to them and starts his positive spiral. When you do that, it didn't cost many things. It's just knowing the right people and getting those people in touch. But to me, as a business owner, I'm busy, but I got my car over said, "Man, I got to get this thing, oil change." Or, I got something that engine light came on, I don't know what it is, I don't got time, who can I call that I know, like, and trust? Well, I'm going to call my buddy, George. "George, who can I talk to?" He's going to give me this guy. I'd go there, the guy handles it; he gives me a good price. I trust everything is good, it ends up being a great experience for me, and I move on with no headaches. That's where a lot of the value comes in, too, not just in price. When you stop thinking about price and start looking at the overall value picture, and what you can also add value to your clients, it's not just the actual transaction itself that makes sense. CHUCK: Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. Alright, well, we're running pretty close to our time here. Are there any other pearls of wisdom that you can share with us before we wrap this up? DAVID: Understand the mentality; the mindset of it. So instead of just giving you a fish, I'm trying to teach you how to fish here, from the old saying. And what we're trying to do is understand that, "Hey, when you go out and you serve other people and you care about them, in turn, they will return that favor and serve and care for you back. The way I kind of look at it is, you can go out and you can scavenge the land -- let's say, a referral or your customers' a piece of fruit -- you can go out and scavenge the land and hunt acres all day long trying to find some fruit and berries. Or, you can turn around and start growing your own or plant your seeds - fertilize, water it, and grow it. It does take some time, it does take some energy, but in a few years, in the case of a fruit orchard, 5 years to take for an apple tree to start giving a fruit. But after that, year after year after year, it's going to get bigger and give you more and more fruit, and then more and more fruit trees, and you're going to have a whole orchard with more fruit, then you know what to do with it. That's where you start growing your business, bringing on more people, bringing on as big as you want to go, and knowing that all those customers love you and respect you and want to do business with you and continue to stay loyal to you. That's the keys that change your mindset from going out and chasing a customer to attracting a customer. What's going to make a customer want to do business with you? Why are you different? Become friends with them. How do you become friends with them? What can you do to add extra value to them? How do you use the tools out there to do that? For example, a telephone, I could use a telephone. I'd call you and pitch you on why you should buy my product. Or, I could use that same telephone to call you and say, "Hey, how's life going? How's things going?" and listen. See how their life is going, see what's going on in their business, see what they need in your business. When you help them get what they need, they will become loyal fan customers. Even if it has nothing to do with your business, they will then turn around and give you business and find you people because you've helped them and you've solved their problems. It's not always about just solving their problems for your expertise, but just solving people's problems, they will in return want to help you and get you more business and help you succeed as well. CHUCK: Awesome! Alright, we're just about at a time. So, I'm going to go ahead and push this over to the picks. We'll make Curtis start this off with the picks. CURTIS: Alright. I've got 2, the first one is going to be a book, which I haven't read but I've heard a ton from the author and interviews and stuff. It's called "Thou Shall Prosper" by Rabbi Daniel Lappin. It talks a lot about, I guess now, because you've served someone, you've given them value, they give us money-back; and money is not a bad thing. So, that's really interesting, every talk I've heard. The second one would be the "Ladda Buttons", which is a flat UI that puts your ajax response or your form response right in the button as opposed to somewhere else on your page. CHUCK: Nice. Alright, Eric, what are your picks? ERIC: My pick today is "Freelancing Rules of Thumb", it's a blog post; there is 10, I think, that is 10 Rules of Thumb. Some of them are standard advice you hear all the time, but there's a couple of little jokes based in there that's pretty interesting. By this, I came across this past week and find us a good funny read. CHUCK: Alright. Jeff, what are your picks? JEFF: I have two, and they're both WWDC-related for the iOS nerds out there. One is the videos; if you have a developer account, or you want to spend $100 for developer account, Apple is releasing videos from WWDC everyday starting yesterday, or maybe starting today, and they have the Keynote and a couple of other videos out. But every day, they're going to release videos from WWDC if you didn't make the 71-second sell out time. That's pick one. Pick two is a new Mac Pro just because it's the new Mac Pro. That's my picks. CHUCK: I have the old Mac Pro, I want the new Mac Pro. JEFF: Yeah, I have the old Mac Pro. I think you just have 4 of them, and that's based that my old one takes up. CHUCK: Yup, a lot smaller. Reuven, what are your picks? REUVEN: I got two picks this week. The first is, because I was debugging some of the apps over the last few days, last week or two, and I need to make also some HTTP requests, I found this great little library written in Python or actually saving a library, let's say, take a band line tool called "httpie", which is, as they say, HTTP request for humans. The idea is basically, it does the same stuff as Perl, but makes it way easy to do that for passing parameters and looking at the results. The second thing is, I do heck a lot of lecturing and teaching, and one of the companies that I teach through always wants to print out my slides for the people I'm teaching for. I tried convincing the programmers to actually don't want them printed out; they're just okay with the PDFs, but go figure. Anyway, I used the keynote sort of default or white text on black background, so the first time I sent them the PDFs and my slides, they call me up a little upset because I was going to like use up all their toner in one set of slides. So ever since I've been reversing my slides and reversing them back, it's kind of annoying. So this week, I found a recipe -- and this might be a small thing -- but recipe for reversing it using image magic, so I don't have to actually go and reverse my slides; I can just print them the PDF and make them white on black, or I guess black and white, and everyone can rest happily that way. Anyway, that's it for me. CHUCK: Nice. My picks this week, my first and only pick is the book "You Explore It!" by Elisabeth Hendrickson. I've been reading it for the Ruby Rogues book club, and really really been enjoying it. So, that's my pick! David, do you have some picks for us? DAVID: Sure! I'd like to recommend a book called "The Compound Effect", it's by Darren Hardy. The awesome thing about it is just ultimately what we're talking about, in this case, we're talking about marketing. But in this case, he's talking about just high-performance; how the little things compounded over time just generate tremendous success in your life, whether it's your health or your business or whatever. So, I highly recommend that book. CHUCK: Awesome. Alright, we'll go ahead and wrap up the show. Thanks for coming, David. Terrific episode. DAVID: Thanks for having me. If anybody wants to reach out to me, they can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, they can check out some of the other episodes. If they like some of the information, I have plenty of other episodes I think you mentioned in the podcast earlier and great stuff that they can -- interviews, like you mentioned, that I've done with other folks and there's really good stuff that can help your audience. CHUCK: Alright! Yeah, I think so, too. Yeah, go check out his show! It's really good. You got, what, 10 episodes now? DAVID: I think 13; 13. Yeah, move it along. CHUCK: Alright! DAVID: Well, thanks so much for having me here. Good luck for you all! Keep doing the good stuff that you're doing. It was really honor to be here, I appreciate you having me. CHUCK: Yup! We're glad to have you. Catch you all next week! CURTIS: Ciao! REUVEN: Bye everyone!