Michael: Hi there, I'm Michael Redman.
Kathryn: And I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: And this is the HaBO Village podcast, where we work with small business leaders to build Passion and Provision companies so that they have ...
Kathryn: More profit, more purpose, and more legacy.
Michael: And if you want any of those three things, this is a podcast for you. We want to be here to help equip, train, encourage, and all that kind of stuff. Today we're going to talk about the challenges some small business leaders face in marketing themselves and their company. We have seen this a lot, haven't we?
Kathryn: Yeah we have, and it was interesting, we actually guess podcasted for somebody a couple days ago, and it was a leadership forum, and because of our background in marketing, he wanted to take the conversation in the direction of why is marketing and promotion and self-promotion so difficult, and what do you do kind of to get through and overcome that. So because you know that wasn't our podcast, it was his podcast, we want to talk about that a little bit on our podcast because it was a really fun conversation.
Michael: It was a good conversation. So what are the things that we hear on a regular basis? We hear things like, "I just hate self-promoting."
Michael: "I'm going to bug people. I don't feel like we're bragging."
Kathryn: No, I don't want to feel like we're bragging.
Michael: I don't want to feel ... No, I feel like we're bragging.
Kathryn: Oh, there you go.
Michael: Yeah. I feel like we're bragging. I feel like that's going over.
Michael: Now, If you're new to the podcast, we've been doing this for over 17 years, working with marketing, advertising, and business consulting. We've been working with small business leaders with two, three employees, mom-and-pop shops, to family owned companies that are a couple of 300 employees, and a few companies larger than that. And we understand the family dynamics, we understand the small business dynamics and we realize that there's a lot of different stuff. You were scrappy, you created this company, or a family member created the company and now you're running it, and there's a lot involved and there's all these different hats you have to wear, and there's all these different things you have to wear, and we talk about all of those on this podcast from leadership to finance, to marketing, to management.
Michael: But in today's process, it's kind of a combination of dealing with the leader, you, and dealing with this idea of some of you struggle greatly with self-promotion. And you may be saying, "That's not me." Hold on a minute because we're going to walk through a couple of things that maybe it is you a little bit, because I have found that none of us are 100% comfortable. I'd say 99.9999999%, there are some unicorns out there.
Kathryn: There are.
Michael: All of us struggle a little bit with self-promotion, especially at the level at which it requires to be effective.
Michael: So let's talk about what that looks like. Let's talk about the first thing that people say. They don't market at all. They're like, "I am so overwhelmed by any of these ideas and thoughts. I don't want to do it. Like that's my idea," so now it defaults to, "I'm not going to market at all."
Kathryn: Yeah. So the first question always is, "So how's that working for you?"
Kathryn: Because typically if you've shown up in my office, it's because you need more customers. You're not actually being effective. And one of the first questions beyond how's that working for you that I always want to ask people is, do you believe in your product? Or do you believe in your service?
Kathryn: So is what you're offering people something that solves a problem, makes their day better, changes their life in some way that's meaningful? And invariably someone will be like, "Well yeah." So tell me how, tell me how your product makes somebody's day better. Tell me how your service makes somebody's day better. And they'll go through their spiel, and I'll be like, "That sounds amazing. Why aren't you telling people? Because it sounds like you're holding back on them."
Michael: Well, I just don't ... You know, we do referrals.
Kathryn: We just do word of mouth.
Michael: Word of mouth, and that's our primary focus.
Kathryn: And again, how is that working for you? Because you're sitting in front of me.
Michael: Well, and at some level, folks, if your answer is, "I don't invest at all in marketing because I've got word of mouth and stuff like that," is your company ... let's ask the litmus test question. Is your company, does it have the amount of revenue that you want? And does it have enough coming in on a regular basis, monthly basis that everything's fine, you're financially comfortable? And are you achieving the growth goals or growth dreams that you have? Because if you're not, then is word of mouth really doing it for ya? I mean-
Kathryn: Is it enough?
Michael: Is it enough? It might be.
Kathryn: We will always tell our customers, always, word of mouth is the best way to get a new customer. I mean I, we love it when somebody walks in the door, sits down in front of us and says, "You've been recommended to me by three people. I'm not even talking to anyone else because I know you're what I need." Bam. Okay. Those are my people.
Michael: And folks, that happens periodically for us, so we get it.
Kathryn: But here's the thing, those are not always going to happen. So what happens when you don't have a pipeline? What happens when there's not enough word of mouth? Yeah. Well then you have to turn to some sort of way of getting the word out about who you are, what you do, and why it matters.
Michael: Yup. And that's what marketing really is. Marketing is a process, and when it's done in a healthy way, a lot of times when folks go, "I'm uncomfortable with this," their paradigm around marketing and advertising has actually been twisted and tweaked by some pretty unhealthy examples in our society. But that doesn't mean that that's what it is. So let's talk about defining marketing and advertising real quick so we kind of have a base of what a healthy one is.
Kathryn: Do it. Tell me, what is healthy marketing and advertising, Michael Redman?
Michael: Healthy marketing and advertising is when you actually, as you said earlier, you actually do have a product or service that's helpful. It helps solve somebody's problem, and help them save time, so it increases the speed at which they can accomplish something. And so it's faster, cheaper.
Kathryn: Yeah, it saves them money, or it saves them time, or it improves the quality of their life in some way.
Michael: Any of those kind of things. Those are some clear examples of how it changes their life. And then what you're doing is you're offering a service. I am a firm believer since before we started this company, and for over 17 years, that one of the things that gave marketing and advertising and sales a bad rep was that these people who looked at it and it's like, "Well, it's snake oil." It's people who had no integrity, and they said, "You can buy this, it will do X, Y, Z," and it doesn't even do ABC. I mean, it doesn't help at all. And people associate that with sales.
Michael: So I'm going to try and grow my company, and I'm going to try and tell people about it and get customers without doing sales and without doing marketing. Some people have been successful, but they're struggling, and it's hard, and everything else. And if you want to take your company to the next level, it's like, okay, right, you were scrappy, you did that, but you've got to deal with some of these things. Or maybe your company's small, and you're just struggling to get moving farther. You've got to have a system that works for your personality, it works for who you are, but it moves you forward.
Michael: So the first challenge in the midst of this is when people say, "I'm uncomfortable with promoting and self-promoting of my company, myself," is they don't do any marketing. The second thing-
Kathryn: Is that they do some marketing, and they say, "Well, yeah, I market." But then the question is, "Well, what are you doing?" "Well, I send out an email once a month."
Michael: What happens with those folks? What happens when we run into a client who says, "I do it," and maybe they even have a budget, right? They even have a significant amount of money they're putting towards it, but they're having problems getting the numbers, getting the conversions, getting the growth they want, and we see that they're not doing it enough. What's going on there? I mean, what are some of the attitudes that we hear from folks when they're talking? How do they describe that? How do they justify not doing enough?
Kathryn: Yeah. Well, there's no way I can afford to do more. I mean, I'm paying, and it's not paying off so I can't really do more. And you know what? I don't want to bother people. I don't want to be that person who shows up in their inbox every day or three times a week or something, because they're going to just be annoyed and they're going to not like me, and I'm just going to tick them off. I mean, there's a hundred reasons why people don't market enough.
Michael: Yeah. And it's amazing how that's really, quite frankly, with the folks that struggle with promoting themselves or their organizations through marketing and advertising, is not that they're not doing it, it's that they don't do enough of it.
Kathryn: Yeah. Or it's diluted, and they're doing some in a multiple places, but not enough in any single place.
Michael: Which sometimes that gets over to our fourth one that we're going to talk about today, we'll get to that in a minute, that's talking about thinking that it doesn't work at all or it's too confusing. And this one, a lot of times they don't want to bother people. They don't want to be that annoying marketer. We've got some clients that are like that, and with those clients, oftentimes they have good intentions, they think about it, but what they're doing is they're wrestling with attention, often with what is a good strategy, and I feel uncomfortable about this, so I'm willing to push myself out there a little bit, a little bit, a little bit. It's like somebody learning to swim by saying, "I'm going to put my foot on the first step in the shallow end of the pool."
Kathryn: I'm on my way.
Michael: And I'm there, and then they sit down and have a drink. It's like, that's not going to help. It's not going to help at all.
Kathryn: That's my ideal pool party.
Michael: Right? Well you know, you know how to swim. At least you went out, learned to swim and came back. But the self promotion stuff is hard and you and I have worked through this. This has been difficult at different levels of talking about us and everything else.
Kathryn: Well, and I think we're going to end up hitting whole new levels of it when we have to promote our book, right?
Kathryn: So we'll talk about that coming up.
Michael: For those of you that have already heard that, we've been talking about it a little bit, we're writing a book on Passion and Provision for small business leaders. It comes out in hopefully the spring of 2020, and there's going to be a whole new level of promotion. Right now one of the things that I'm wrestling against, I am a extrovert. You're an extrovert. We talk to people, and love to talk to people. As some friends said recently about their introverted son, "I mean we think as he goes off to college, he's more of an extrovert than he thinks. He's more of a people person than he thinks, but when he's around us," they're referring to themselves as parents, "he doesn't have a chance." And that was Bill and Christie. And they were the same in many ways. You know, we have large personalities and-
Kathryn: Yours is much larger than mine. I'm just going to say that out loud.
Michael: Yeah, all right, fair enough. And so that said, we have struggled ourselves with self-promotion. We have struggled with doing some things. We've struggled with investing in the budget. We've struggled with, "What are people going to think of me?" I've got a list of short videos that I need to do for social media. Oh my goodness, it's so hard to get to because every time I start doing it, I start getting, and I coach people against this, but I get stuck and I'm like, "They're not going to like it. It's not going to be okay. People were going to get annoyed with me. They're going to ... Why are you putting so much stuff in our inbox?" You know?
Michael: But it turns out when we kick into those modes, actually very few people are ever bothered, and the people who say something are just easily annoyed oftentimes, when you're doing it at a healthier amount. And so we want to encourage you that you might be one of those people saying, "I don't want to bug people," when really the, "I don't want to be annoying marketers," and you think you're in a healthy middle, but what you're not doing yet, is you don't have enough repetition. You don't have enough frequency for it to really be helpful. You have to realize that it's not going to bug people.
Michael: Now, when a technique comes to you and more people buy, it's amazing how many people will say kind of in this category, "Yeah, but I don't like that technique. That's too forward." That's actually ... And you know what? For some of you, too forward is, "Hey, bet here, bet, bet, bet. Come on over. I got you a deal for you," and you don't want any of that. I don't want any of that. But for some of you, going too far is actually saying, "Hi, I think that you might like my service. And would you like to try it and buy one?" It's crazy.
Michael: You know what? This is a perfect example. We're watching that cop show, the detective show that's from England.
Kathryn: Oh yes, the BBC on Netflix.
Michael: And there's this sub-plot story that's really short about this counselor, this therapist, and the therapist is now, she's passed away. It wouldn't be a crime show if somebody wasn't dead. And they're talking about her, and this other therapist is going, "Yeah, some people didn't like her, she was kind of harsh and everything else, and she could be really mean." Well, they're all in England, and you're going to laugh in a minute because Americans don't do this. It's like, "Yeah, could you give us an example, ma'am?" That's the cop saying. "Well, if somebody was overweight, she would actually tell them that they should eat less, and things like that." I'm like, "What? They actually gave them a solution straight out?"
Michael: Some of you are so frustrated and so wrapped up in some of these inhibitions that you have about marketing and promotion that you're stuck in the place where you're like, if you just make the simple straightforward offer-
Kathryn: And stop tiptoeing around it.
Michael: ... would you like to buy my product, that you feel like you've gone too far? You haven't gone too far. There are some basic principles in marketing, and one of the ways that I want to encourage you to grow is to really learn and understand some of those things. You can find more in our podcasts, you can find more on our blog. There's lots of great information out there on the internet, and we teach a lot about that of what it is that is a objective way of looking at marketing so that you know you have enough. And you have to be bold enough to actually offer your product.
Michael: One client with a small bakery and she's really wrestling with it. She knows she's wrestling with it, but she finally ... coming to us was her first step of trying to get help because it was all she could do, was to walk through our door and say, "I need help with marketing." It terrified her. So that's number two.
Michael: Number three is I'm an introvert. I can't do that. That's not my personality. We don't do that.
Kathryn: You know what the good news is?
Michael: What's the good news?
Kathryn: There's things like email. I don't know, you don't even have to like be in front of a human. Just like social media and email is really good for introverts actually.
Michael: Right? It's one on one, it can be. Introvert, look, here's the deal. There are very, very, very successful small businesses, small business leaders that are introverts, and what they've done, and they say it regularly is you learn the skills. And we've worked with them. You learn the skills. There are skills you can do. And there are two or three great books on sales that talk about different personalities and different sales approaches for those personalities. And right off the bat, I can't remember a couple of them, but one of them is, it was like Sales Dogs: What Kind of Dog Are You? And it would come into these different approaches.
Kathryn: I'm a Golden Retriever, "Please help me, please love me."
Michael: Please love me. I'm a bulldog, "Buy my product. Buy my product. Buy my product."
Kathryn: That was really great, there.
Michael: I mean, these are, depending on who you are, there's different ways of doing it. And sometimes folks, comedy is useful if that fits you, being sincere and just being honest and kind, sometimes that's a great technique for some people. But you have to talk about people's problems, how you solve their problems, and then you have to give them a call to action. And if you buy my product now, you will see results. It could possibly, even if there's no guarantees, like there's a good chance, we've helped lots of other people, we might be able to help you. Buy our product and find out if it works for you. Do those kinds of things, but you have to have those three pieces. Tell them about the problem, tell them about your solution, call them to action. And there are introverts styles that can work, but you cannot use that as an excuse.
Kathryn: Can't hide behind that.
Michael: You can't, or you're going to end up closing your doors, or barely ... as we say, you're going to be exhausted from just treading water. And you don't want to do that. That's not a Passion and Provision company. It's not.
Michael: Fourth. The fourth one here is marketing doesn't really work, or you say it doesn't really work or it's confusing. And again, all of these are underneath, you're uncomfortable with it. It's part of your value system that self-promotion is a bad thing, that you believe it's not being humble, or it's just uncomfortable, socially uncomfortable. There is a, "I don't want to upset people." But we're running with these challenges and these lies that are underneath us that are stopping us in a mindset way from getting marketing.
Michael: So when we say marketing doesn't really work, or it's too confusing, or I have no idea where to spend the money, what do we do?
Kathryn: Yeah. And you know what? I'll say, if the struggle is, "I'm willing to market, but I'm confused and I don't know where to spend the money," then it's time to talk to a marketing consultant. It's time to talk to somebody who knows more than you do, who can advise you and help you see the strategies that might work for you.
Michael: And if this is just a smoke screen, you're only partially believing that, but it's really to hide the fact that you don't want to do it because it's really uncomfortable, then you have to go, look, we're taking away that excuse right now.
Kathryn: Yeah. Absolutely.
Michael: Our goal is to take away all four of these excuses today.
Kathryn: Oftentimes when someone says marketing doesn't really work, it's because they've done some, and I alluded to this earlier, right? They've invested money in marketing, but perhaps their strategy wasn't quite what it needed to be. So one of the things we see often is, "Well, I think I have to be on all the social media platforms, and I think I need to be doing email, and I think I need to be blogging, and I think I need to ... " and there's so many things that that one person is trying to do that they're not doing any of them well.
Michael: Well, and it occurs to me that when we're struggling, not you, you, them or you, anybody, when we are struggling with those things and like "I don't want to go into that promotion state, I don't want to move into that. I feel like it's uncomfortable, ucky, whatever," well, one of the things when we're trying to solve that ourselves, we can get into this, "Oh well, to solve it, I've got to do all these things, and use all those things." And then it gets overwhelming, and we don't make any action. We don't even take the basic step to work through it.
Kathryn: Yeah or you take a step, but it's kind of like-
Michael: The bad step reinforces-
Kathryn: ... the bad step reinforces it because you try something for a month and it doesn't work, so you abandon it. You try something else for a month and it doesn't work, so you abandon it, you try another thing. And there's this sort of shotgun approach, automatic sub-machine that you're just like ... across all of these different things, and nothing is actually making an impact.
Kathryn: So we often talk to clients about, "Okay, based on your budget, what is a strategy or two that we can afford to do with the right consistency, repetition, and commitment over the next year to actually begin to move the needle?" Right? So we talk about brain chemistry, how the brain works, the fact that you really need to be in front of somebody three times a week in any specific medium to begin to make a shift in that brain and have that person remember who you are. And all of the opportunities you have to build trust with people, to begin to position yourself as the expert in the arena that you are the expert in, all of those things, if you're spreading yourself too thin budget wise, that is one of the reasons marketing gets the, it doesn't work rep. Right? Because you're not investing enough in any single place to make a difference. So that's a critical error that happens, and it happens a lot, and then you end up reinforcing this sense that, "See, I've done it, and marketing doesn't work."
Michael: Yeah. And we want you to be encouraged because as you're building a Passion and Provision company, for those of you who are like, "Yeah, I want to try. I want to do it. You know, it's just hard," I just want to say I know it's hard. I just want acknowledge that for many of you, that we all have strengths, and we all have places that we need to grow. We all have, in the overall scope, in the larger plan of running a small business, we have natural competencies, natural skills that sometimes get us above minimum competency, and then we gain knowledge and experience, and we have minimum competency for the level of business that we do and we're good. That area is great, whether it's leadership or accounting or whatever.
Michael: And then we have areas where we're not, it's really difficult. And as a friend of mine said recently, reminded me that we're all like this, "When I am not good at something, when it's hard or I'm not getting the results I want, or it's uncomfortable, I oftentimes will go gravitate and do all the hard work twice as hard, 10 times as hard that I'm good at because I can get results. I enjoy it. It's the work I enjoy. I'm going to do that." Our friend actually loves doing spreadsheets, and solving problems on the computer, and doing that kind of stuff, and building really complex stuff. And there are other things that he said, "Yeah, I need to do that, but I just, I hate it." He hates management, he hates managing people. And he needs to continue to grow, and he has grown a lot in the last few years, but these are challenges. And so I just want to acknowledge, I get that.
Michael: So the way to accomplish that is instead of just trying to will yourself forward, is finding a strategy that's going to work. We have been working with very clear strategies and plans and techniques that can actually move you forward in all the areas of business, and marketing is one of them where there's some basic things. So you want to learn a basic format, and we have blogs and podcasts on the value journey. And understanding, I want to encourage you to start to understand the anatomy of promoting and building relationship, because part of what marketing is, is taking somebody from they're a stranger that has a problem and they're struggling with that problem and they don't know how to fix it.
Kathryn: And they don't know you exist.
Michael: And they don't know you exist, to, they've tried your product, they've used it, it solved their problem, and they're ecstatic. There's an actual methodology, an eight step process to walk you through, walk a stranger through that to becoming a raving fan.
Michael: And first of all, I'd love for you to understand the basic concepts there, and how relationships are built so you can put away the myths on marketing, and sales, and self-promotion, and then over here, figure out the truths. Then you can understand that model, and then you can start understanding, "Okay, how do I work in each one of those steps? How do I bring my personality, my personal truth and wisdom, and my experience in my market to that place? And how do I do it in a way that fulfills the need of that step while working within my personality? Which means I use my strengths and I have to deal with some of my weaknesses so that I'm at least at a minimum competency." Then if you do that, you're going to start moving forward. So the value journey is really important.
Michael: Then from the value journey, you're going to understand the pieces and parts of the value journey. The very first one is how do you make strangers aware of you? Very second step is how do you engage them, both offline and online? How do you engage them with your blog? How can you create content? And as an introvert, if you're concerned, you put an ad out, you draw them to your website, and then they look at a blog and they start seeing what you do, and you can take your time and nurture them, and you can do this in a way that is instead of, "I am awesome, nobody else is any good," is there are lots of great options out there, our option may fit you for a couple of different reasons.
Michael: One, if you're a restaurant, "There are lots of great restaurants, but our recipes are unique, and that doesn't make them better or worse, but they're good and our service is unique. Nobody else has a group of people like we do. And nobody else has our location," and there are going to be people who actually value those things. And that's not out there bragging, it's just saying, "Hey, come over here. We have this great corner lot," and, "Hey, we're open for breakfast," and, "Hey, we have great biscuits and gravy. Our recipe for our biscuits comes from great grandma, and they're super fluffy and awesome. And the gravy is, ooh, nice sausage gravy. It's real sweet." That right there is like, "And we would love it if we had the opportunity to serve you," and, "Come on in and enjoy our such and such culture." That's not bragging. And being able to do that and set systems up, now, it may take courage for you, but we want to say that you're not being ucky, ucky salesy, you're not being overly promotive, you're not being prideful in doing these things.
Michael: And when you say, "Well, what if I upset a few people?" You know what? Sometimes we do upset a few people. And I love the saying, love me or hate me, there's no money in the middle. If we try and make everybody happy, we're going to actually persuade far fewer people. So say who you are.
Kathryn: Yeah, I think we have a rule of thumb when we're creating ads for our clients where we basically say like, "Don't talk to me until you get 20 complaints."
Kathryn: Because if you get two complaints, I don't really care. It's real, okay.
Michael: It's actually good.
Kathryn: Yeah, it just-
Michael: It's starting to make some movement. People notice it. And some people throw out our content. We put so much content out. There's people that love us, they'll see a piece of our content and they'll tell us, "I really didn't like that content. It didn't do anything for me. I didn't appreciate it." I remember when we did the documentary, a friend of ours that we've had for years who listens to this podcast, you know who you are, he said to me, in the room where everybody loved the documentary that we did, he's like, "I watched it. It was okay, but I would never watch it again."
Kathryn: Like, "Thanks. You can leave now."
Michael: Yeah, I was like, "Well, he was honest." But he still appreciates us, and what we do and a would've hired us if there hadn't been a conflict of interest in his market. So these are just things we want to really, we get it, we understand, but these are four things that stand in the way of you kind of using them as excuses to say, "I'm not afraid," but really what you are is you're uncomfortable at some level with promoting yourself or your company.
Michael: Again, as a reminder, you just don't do marketing. You just avoid it. Or two, you market, but you've convinced yourself that you're not marketing enough, but you convinced yourself that you actually have found the balance between offending people and not offending people and it's an appropriate balance, and so you're standing on a moral high ground. But it really is an excuse to not push out farther. I mean, it's great when we all are saying, "This place that I'm at that isn't enough, it's the only moral place to be. I'm an introvert. I can't do that."
Kathryn: Yes, you can. We believe in you.
Michael: And, "Marketing doesn't really work," or, "it's confusing." Those four things are just four of many potential things that are standing in our way and get into our self talk and everything else. We want you to say, hey, we want you to confront those things, maybe get a coach, maybe get a marketing consulting company, or continue to pay attention to this podcast and the blogs. And then, HaBO Village is coming back soon, and you'll be able to join that membership site, and be able to get in on that as one of our listeners that provides some instruction, training, and coaching. That'll be great. And that'll be coming in the fall of '19.
Michael: So is there anything else that you want to add to this marketing stuff?
Kathryn: Nope, I think we got it.
Michael: I love our clients that are like this. I love our clients that are willing and brave enough to say, "I need help."
Kathryn: Yeah. And remember, if you have a product or service that solves a problem and changes people's lives in some way, however small, you're actually doing a disservice when you're not telling them. You're actually doing a disservice. So it is your job, it is your duty to take what it is that you have created, what it is that you offer, and get it out into the world. That's your job, so that you can do the work you're supposed to do for the people you're supposed to do it for.
Michael: And as one of the leaders in this area that we follow and listen to recently said at a conference we were at, you have a sacred duty to bring your best self and what you offer to the marketplace. And quite frankly, if you think you deserve to be in business there, then you have a right and a duty to tell people about what you offer.
Michael: And so we just want to encourage you, go get them, go do it. You can do it. Absolutely. That pretty much brings us to the end of today's podcast. We just really appreciate you all listening. And if this has been a value at all, we would really love it if you would go to iTunes and hit subscribe, and tell some other people about it, tell 20 people about it. We would love to spread the word because we have a mission of helping 10,000 small business leaders build Passion and Provision companies that impact 100,000 workers with Passion and Provision jobs. It's a big bold thing and we're committing the rest of our lives to it, and we would love it if you would help us and be part of that community.
Michael: So for the HaBO Village podcast, I am Michael Redman.
Kathryn: And I am Kathryn Redman.
Michael: And we just really appreciate you being here today. Thank you so much, and go get them! Market and promote yourself, and say it's okay. Bye-bye.