01:03 – As if no time has passed
06:38 – The attraction of longevity
09:47 – The bedrock that is email
14:31 – A long-term view of things
19:28 – What Dean actually does
21:12 – An algorithm lesson from a 10-year-old
24:14 – The cow that milks itself
38:26 – Delaying gratification
40:32 – When you’ve gotten the low-hanging fruit
46:15 – Saving people from the gutter
47:26 – Starting with the single-target market
50:06 – Are you aligned with your client?
52:50 – The secret to scaling
57:25 – Conducting the orchestra
01:00:53 – Would Richard Branson do this?
01:05:20 – Getting rid of steps
01:11:11- A big challenge for people
Grow Your Business in just 2 days – Click HERE
Dean: Imagine that. Works perfectly with my annual journey to Australia.
James: It does.
Dean: At this same time each year.
James: So, welcome back to Manly.
Dean: Thank you.
James: We’re in a nook.
Dean: We are in a nook. This is part of the nice thing about coming back to Manly again and again, is I’m discovering layering on top of each experience, insider knowledge that gives me a more enjoyable experience each time I come.
James: I was speaking to Noah Kagan on a previous episode, and he goes and orders the exact same taco every time, because he knows what he’s getting. You come back to the same place, however, you are willing to explore.
Dean: I like to explore.
Dean: I have my favorites, that’s why I call it layering.
James: For example, you could go to a different state or territory over five years, get five completely different experiences. But you have commonality with one core, but you’re sort of fleshing it out.
Dean: That’s true.
Dean: That is true.
James: We had an amazing discovery this morning as well.
What doesn’t change
Dean: Yes, finally. We found the breakfast place. I mean, you know, that’s part of it, is when you come back…That’s part of being an insider, I think. That’s the feeling. I come to Manly now, and this is the fourth year, fourth time in a row, and I look forward to the arrival ceremony that we start with the exact same thing. I fly overnight, arrive early in the morning, Jesse picks me up at the airport, we have a nice visit, connect, you know, haven’t seen him in a year but it’s just like I’ve never left. Then we arrive at the pantry in Manly, in the same seats, at the same time, and start, that’s the official entry into the journey. And it’s as if no time has passed.
James: It is.
Dean: I think, have I seen you at all in the last year between…
James: No. We’ve had a couple of exchanges on Facebook.
Dean: Right, of course.
James: If I see something hilarious that I feel compelled to share with you, or you’ve got an innovation, you’ve added ellipsoids to a sequence that doubles responses, something outrageous like that.
Dean: Yeah. So we keep in touch via Facebook.
James: Part of it might be that for me, the familiarity might be that you always seem to be in the same clothes.
Dean: That’s true.
James: You’re either a vagrant…
Dean: I like your hat, by the way.
James: Oh, thank you. It’s Dean Jackson black. And I actually didn’t wear it the other day out of a courtesy to you, just so we weren’t, what do they call it? Twinning. It’s a big deal in some cultures.
Dean: Oh, really?
James: Yeah. I think in Korea, they have matching phones, matching clothes, boy and girl. It’s a thing. Like, matching rose gold iPhones. Anyway, you’re either a vagrant or you’re more of the Steve Jobs type where you don’t want to burn decisions.
Dean: Right. It’s absolutely true. I tell you, that has been the biggest thing. Like, I didn’t realize that I was gravitating towards wearing the same things, and that freedom within not ever having to decide what I’m going to wear, and my closet is easy, my packing is easy, so easy that my assistant Courtney can pack for me. How many days am I gone, we make up these day packs with a shirt, underwear, a pair of socks, and then I pack several pairs of shorts, I’m good to go.
James: You’ve mixed it up a bit with the shorts.
Dean: I have. I’m off a little bit.
James: I was curious about that.
James: At what point do you say, “I’m going to innovate here with my wardrobe?”
Dean: I innovate a little bit, slight changes. Like there’s been three or four different versions of the official black t-shirt.
James: Is it like you’ve gone for a front zipper where it might have been a full pullover top, or you over innovate stuff like that?
Dean: Oh no, this top, this vest, the only place I really wear this is Toronto or London or here, because in Florida it’s usually…
Dean: Too warm, yeah. But I just like to have my little vest.
James: Very nice.
Dean: Yeah, it is. There’s something freeing about having things locked in where you don’t have to make a decision, you know? And I think it goes in a lot of ways. Like you see, we talk about watches, like I think there’s something about, you know, I have a nice watch that I’ve had now for almost 20 years, and I got my watch situation handled.
Dean: I’m not constantly thinking about or requiring variety in all of my…
James: I’m exactly the same as you. I had mine for 12 years, before it got stolen. But my immediate reaction was I’d just like to replace it with the same again. But then there’s other areas where I feel like the correct number of… say the correct number of surfboards is n+1, n being the current number in the quiver.
Dean: Yes, right.
James: But that’s a passion. It’s exciting to get another one and to roll an old one back in, let someone else go and ride it.
The lure of longevity
Dean: I got you. I just think that there’s something about that consistency. I’m quite attracted to longevity, and I’m quite attracted to things, like I watched a great documentary, and I think it was since the last time we talked. A movie called Helvetica, which was about the font, Helvetica.
James: It’s been around for a while.
Dean: It has been around for a while. And when you think about that, that font was invented a long time ago, and you see the movie, it’s really the perfect font. I mean, you can basically express anything that you need to express with Helvetica.
James: I’m on the same page as you. It’s our SOP, Helvetica. And I friend of mine, actually one of the people I coach, I’m not going to say his name just because it would embarrass him, he was deriding me for being so boring as to use Helvetica. And I’m like, in his case, it’s almost like he goes out of his way to make his stuff look ugly.
Dean: Well, I think that there’s something about it that… Dan Sullivan has really good influence on me in this longevity thing. My eyes have been opened to it, it’s a natural thing that I’m attracted to. But then when I see now, we had a conversation one time in one of our workshops, and Dan was asking, we were sharing who our influencers are. And most of the people have influencers that are contemporaries. It’s what’s going on right now. And Dan is talking about things like going back to Euclid, and to Bach, and to Shakespeare, and to the founding fathers that created the constitution. And when you think about these things that have lasted for hundreds of years, it’s not timely stuff, it’s stuff that is fundamentally, there. That’s why I’m so attracted to it.
James: They’re not fads.
Dean: That’s exactly it.
“People get distracted with new innovations.”
James: I think partly because you’ve been fad-resistant. As I am, to a large degree. I think that’s been a strong reason for us to cut through. People get sidetracked easily, they have the ability to get distracted with new innovations. I mean, you at some point thought it would be a good idea to be able to collect email addresses on a website page, a long time ago.
Dean: A long time ago. It still is.
James: And you still do it. But you haven’t really gotten too carried away with all the different ways that you do that, I suppose. You’ve stuck to your knitting.
Email as a baseline
Dean: Yeah, well, that’s it. I mean you realize that that’s over all of the things, kind of the common baseline of internet history, has ridden along the baseline of email. Email has been the thing that has survived for the life of the internet, and for the foreseeable life of the internet, and we’ll see that there will still be email. Even though there’s all of these new social media platforms and texting and all of those things, which ironically enough require as part of the joining process, an email address, which is your unique identifier, your constant, on the internet. You use your email to create your MySpace account.
“Technology follows the same way we communicate with our friends.”
James: The only reason my kids have email is to be able to get access to messaging services. I like something that Ed Dale said, that technology follows the same way we communicate with our friends.
Dean: That’s a great thing.
James: And I think we are shifting a bit to messaging, which is why now, and I’m probably still, it’s several years since Ed was talking about this at my own event, four years ago, I’m now getting into push notifications and messaging capabilities within my own communities, because I do see email being kind of like the guarantee or the bedrock. But these other devices are pretty powerful.
Dean: And that’s something that one of my little secret weapons is taking that thought, that the way we do communicate now is through text and messaging, and taking that thinking and executing it by email is how the nine-word email and “Hi James…”
right into the message as opposed to paragraph style for emails.
James: And also, I think going back to what you’re talking about, having old mentors, most of the people that I’ve learned from are not with us anymore.
James: A lot of the people, like Peter Drucker and Eli Goldratt and so on, General Patton, all those guys. You’re still around, which is great. I’ve got contemporary influencers as well, but probably 80 percent of them would be older than that. I’ve learned, especially from Patton, that history repeats itself. He was a student of studying the battlefields, and knowing all the wars that had taken place in the exact same place.
The future of mail
James: And what I feel is important is to have a look at how retro stuff seems to be able to come back. It won’t be uncommon that you’ll have cut through with an email in the future as you do with direct response now. I’m watching the post man walking around here with a very small backpack, and I get hardly any letters now. Mostly they’re gifts from people sending me a book, or a card.
Dean: It’s funny, because as I pass through to the Airbnb where I was staying, there’s all the mailboxes, and every one of them has a little sticker on it that says, “No junk mail.” No junk mail. No junk mail. It’s a sea of stickers.
James: Oh, you don’t have that?
Dean: Not like that.
James: Culturally, we’re not a sales-welcoming culture. As I would say, North America seems to be more, they’re more like, “Hey, OK, sell me, what have you got?”
Dean: What have you got?
James: We’re more like, “Piss off. Stop trying to sell me.” We’re probably more of the English conservatism, and the same is true with our banks, our telco companies, they all say, take the paperless option. Mail is just declining massively. But if you want somebody to open your mail, just send them a letter.
Dean: Exactly. It’s such an occasion.
James: It is. It’s special. You know, I wrote a card today by hand, and it’s got cut-through. It’s better than sending someone a text message.
Dean: Yeah. When you’re saying “cut-through”, what do you mean by that?
James: Cut-through, impact.
Dean: Oh, I got you. OK.
James: Does it mean something else?
Dean: No, I didn’t understand. I was thinking of a physical…
James: Well, it’s probably the same.
James: It’s got multiple metaphoric applications there.
Making things that last
Dean: I was fascinated by just getting back to Helvetica for a second. In the movie, a couple of things that they show are the New York City subway system, which looks as contemporary as ever, has all those signs, all those things made in 1966 and have not changed, and they look absolutely contemporary today. They showed airlines, all the airlines that have consistently had to change their logos to adapt with the times. Only one airline has not had to change in the entire – since they redid their logo using Helvetica, and that’s American Airlines. Exactly the same today as it was in the 60’s when they redid the logo.
James: It probably is the nemesis to a marketing agency.
Dean: Well, it is, and that’s the thing. That’s part of the movie, is the resistance.
James: It must be also like well-made objects are the nemesis of the consumer market. They’re making things that fall apart now.
Dean: I just love the idea that, I feel and love to think that I’m creating things that are going to be here 25 years from now, and I revere it like that, to wrap it in a wrapper that’s going to be as relevant 25 years from now as it is today. A lot of times we can look at things and know that they’re dated to the 80’s or dated to the 30’s, because they totally embraced the fad of what’s…
James: I’d almost say a lot of people approach their business with dated tactics that have a one-day, one-week, one-month expiry. It’s like walking around with a caveman club and hitting people with it.
Dean: But you know, when you start adopting that mindset, when you look around, there’s something comforting about that consistency, that you can count on that, that you start to see, it’s like a hidden, I don’t know, it’s like a magic principle that you see people looking for the long-term view, and you see people like Warren Buffett saying, you know, he never invests in anything that he can’t see who the clear winner is 20 years from now.
Dean: Jeff Bezos. I was just going to say.
James: I just wanted to get in there first.
Dean: He said, and I just heard this year, that people always ask him what’s going to change in the next 10 years? Like, as if he has his finger on the pulse of the future. And he says, “Nobody’s ever asked me what’s not going to change in 10 years. Because that’s what we’re building the company around.” He says, “I don’t know what technology is going to be here, or even exist 10 years from now, but I know that 10 years from now, people are going to want as wide a selection of products as they can get. They’re going to want them as cheaply as they can get them, and they’re going to want them as fast as they can. And every technology that they adopt is only in service of those three things.” I mean, talk about consistent looking at what that is.
“What’s the thing that’s going to be here 25 years from now?”
It’s really, what’s the thing that’s going to be here 25 years from now? I call those bedrock things, bedrock principles. I look at my eight profit activators as a bedrock operating system. I say I’ve been working on it for 25 years, the first 10 years unconsciously, and the last 15 years consciously. But when I backdate them, every one of them was absolutely true 25 years ago and will be true 25 years from now. But the way that we are able to deploy them, or the technology we have available to further them is going to constantly change.
James: The same could be true of Jay Abraham’s three…
Dean: That’s it. Three ways to grow a business. Yes.
James: Or some people extrapolate that in five. The five is what I use, the five levers is what I use for a lot of what I’m doing. And specifically focus on two of them, because I know they have much greater impact.
James: And they don’t change, because they’re like gravity or a law. A power law.
The definition of what Dean does
James: So you’ve sort of arrived at this definition of what it is that you actually do, which must be quite comforting.
Dean: Yeah. It’s really interesting that I came up with words for what it is. And what I create are scale-ready algorithms. My settling on those words was really interesting for me, because it was a number of things that kind of led to that. And I’ve heard the word algorithm before, and I’ve always discounted it in a way because I’m not a technical guy, and I always thought of it as a programming or a developer thing that you put algorithms in your code.
And I thought, well, I don’t need to worry about that, I’m a marketing guy. But when I met Salim Ismail, who wrote Exponential Organizations at Peter Diamandis’s Abundance event, the thing that happened was I was exposed to the broader definition of algorithm as a recipe, basically. A series of steps that produce a predictable outcome. And so that I look as a direct response system, like send this postcard and get sent to this landing page, and this sequence of emails, and get this result. That’s a scale-ready algorithm. That’s something that can be deployed across all kinds of different areas.
10-year-olds and algorithms
James: It’s funny how you mentioned how you used to think of algorithm and how you changed, and I remember having the exact same thought when I first heard of algorithm applied to something other than the website development. And it was from my 10-year-old son. When he was solving Rubik’s cubes.
James: Because I said, “How do you do that?”
James: He said, “I’m just applying an algorithm.”
Dean: Ah! So your 10-year-old taught you about algorithms.
James: Yeah, my 10-year-old taught me about algorithms.
Dean: Right, right.
James: That’s the word they use to describe how they solve Rubik’s cubes, it’s what you apply to the cube to get it finished.
Dean: That’s awesome.
James: And he can apply it to any cube.
James: Any of the different types, he can solve them very quickly.
Dean: Yeah. And once you know the algorithm, it’s like it’s predictable, right? And that’s kind of the thing. But the thing that distinguishes, the rest of the words is “scale-ready” algorithm, is my unique ability is figuring out something once, cracking and creating the algorithm, but not scaling the algorithm. That’s not my unique ability.
Seen this film?
James: Probably common for high-level entrepreneurs is to be good with the ideas. You’ve seen The Castle?
Dean: The Castle.
James: An Australian film.
Dean: No, I haven’t.
James: Oh Dean, you’re an ideas man.
Dean: Uh huh. Yeah.
James: We’re going to have to watch it.
Dean: We have to watch The Castle. OK.
James: After you watch it, I’m sure it’s going straight to the pool room.
Dean: OK, perfect.
James: And it’s hilarious that you don’t know what that means. It’s a good Australian movie. We’ll put a link to it.
Dean: Straight to the pool room?
James: Yeah. That’s where you put all trophies and good things to show off to your visitors.
Dean: I got you. OK, OK. Do you have this movie?
James: I think it’s probably even on YouTube by now.
Dean: Well, then, let’s watch that. We’ll go straight from here to there.
James: We will. We’ll get an update on that in the next episode.
The Kanban system
James: Thank you for explaining that. We also, I guess we swapped a few ideas. One thing that I think maybe not everyone’s aware of is the Kanban system of to do, doing and done.
Dean: Yeah, I know you mentioned that.
James: A lot of people know about Trello boards, that’s the digital version of the card system to move projects.
Dean: That’s why it’s so appealing to me, because before Trello came along, that was my system. I had index cards, envelopes, I had bulletin boards. I mean literally.
James: And they still are in a lot of manufacturing facilities. I came from the manufacturing world.
James: I learned about it from the guy who referred me to one Filipina to interview to employ, about seven years ago. And he was using that in his business, and he had a software subscription business. And they were using Kanban and it just made sense for us to set everything up as to do, doing, done. And you can even do it with three columns on a piece of paper.
Dean: Isn’t it funny, you say, “to do, doing, done”, it just hit me how we’ve set up our Trello boards organizationally.
A self-milking cow
Dean: I have the concept of the self-milking cow, so realizing that entrepreneurs, that’s the frustration is that they’re trying to be a self-milking cow, trying to do it all, and so we look at organizationally setting up the whole organization to allow me to be a cow. An idea cow, creating the milk of what it is, only doing the things that only the cow can do.
Dean: And so we have Trello boards that are set up, we have the pastures, which is to do, that’s all my staging area, I can explore, play around with all the ideas that I want to, all the evil schemes that I’m hatching, I kind of peek through my journals, formalize them a little bit, and then when I’m ready to actually do those, we have another area called the milking shed, which would be doing, if you’re thinking about the Kanban there.
Dean: And so the milking shed is reserved only for the things that I’m actually contributing to right now. I’m getting milked for these. And then we have the processing plant, which is where the whole team takes everything that is not milk-making, all the farming part of this, is done in the processing plant, and I’m not allowed in the processing plant. We almost treat it like I really am a cow, that we have the red lights go off if there’s a cow in the processing plant, you know? I don’t see or know what happens back there, I just stay in the pastures, I come to the milking shed, and then straight back to the pastures.
James: As it should be.
Dean: As it should be!
James: I talk about being one layer back. One of the filters for me for how I want to run my business, and how my customers should be able to access my business, is the phone filter. If it can be done on a phone, it’s OK. If I have to do it on a desktop, it becomes an issue.
James: Like, even this. We’re recording this content with a phone, and a Lav mic. Just one.
James: And after this, it gets sent up to the team. So this is like the milking.
Dean: This is, we’re in the milking shed, yeah.
James: In my business, I’ve got a little one document called New. That’s where I put my things. That’s my idea incubator.
James: When it gets deployed, it goes into the Slack machine we’ve built, which has things like conveyor belts.
Dean: I love that. I love the idea of Slack. My team uses Slack. I’ve never seen it, I’m not on any of the slack channels.
James: I’ll use Slack, but I don’t log into WordPress or my shopping cart. I do log into my forum, and now via an app on my phone, and I mostly dictate. So I’ve managed to get it leveraged. So the to do is my New folder, which is on an Excel or a Google Doc. The Slack is the doing, and done is it’s published, it’s on the website, or it’s in the forum or whatever. It’s out in the world, it’s off the charts now.
Dean: Yeah. I love that.
Pamphlets and books
James: Let’s talk about pamphlets and books.
Dean: [Laughs] I brought you a couple of my latest pamphlets.
James: Well, you brought me some books, which is lovely.
James: You make some very good points, and I think it’s worth talking about.
James: I think one of the main points is the difference between an idea that – I think we’re really talking about perfection.
Dean: It could be, absolutely.
James: I think we’re talking about, do you hold back an idea and let it build, and build, and grow…
Dean: Yeah, let me ask you this. That’s one of the questions, like if I didn’t cherish our friendship as much as I do, I could say, how many books have you written, James?
James: Exactly. I’m not exchanging my book here.
Dean: Exactly. I don’t have an autographed copy of your books.
James: I’ve written three, and they’re still sitting in digital format.
Dean: And they’re not. And meanwhile, you look at the books that I’ve made, have made millions of dollars.
James: That’s it.
Dean: That’s my point, is that the only reason about making a book, in my estimation, the way that I look at this, is that it all depends on what your purpose for the book is. And what I really like, got down to it, in Profit Activator 2 for me, which is getting people to raise their hand, the book is the most powerful tool that we have available. But here’s the thing – when you take into account the mechanics of how it actually happens, there’s also a really great principle called the minimum effective dose. And when I looked at this, when I really started embracing…
James: Flash of irony approaching.
Dean: Yes. When I looked at it, that part of it is that, and I always have to say, when I say minimum effective dose, I always have to asterisk that by saying, the emphasis is on “effective,” not “minimum.” I’m not doing minimum just to do the minimum.
James: You’re not saying “crappy” or “lazy.”
Dean: At all! Like, those books are nice-looking.
James: These are lovely. And I’m actually not saying you’re wrong.
James: I’m saying, I want to highlight for our audience that there are multiple approaches, and I often led to the book approach, but there’s a lot of people who haven’t published their book.
Dean: That’s exactly my point. I’ve got all these books out there.
Dean: And you’ve got three books sitting in your closet, that are not out in the world making any impact.
James: True. I mean, I’ve got a lot of podcasts.
Dean: I’m saying to people, if I could just spread that word to people, this is the thing, is that people, what I learned now is those books, I could change that book in an instant. The barrier to entry to creating a book now is so low. You could print those off one at a time for $2.10, right?
Dean: So there’s no, like, sense of chiselling them in stone tablets, with there’s a sense of permanence around it. You can start as Version 1 of a book, and I’d almost treat it like, I was thinking about it on the way over here…
The minimum viable book
James: Well, there’s also a minimum viable product.
Dean: Well, that’s exactly it. Let’s get that out there. The thing about using this minimum viable product as a book, it’s a minimum viable book, when you look at the mechanics of how it’s actually going to be used, OK, so the things that matter in order for a book to work as a lead generator, which is the most important reason that somebody could be using a book right now in my estimation, is that three things you have to have. You have to have a book, you have to have a title that upon reading it, the person that you want to be in conversation with says, “That’s the book for me. I’d like to have that book.” And then you have to have a way for them to get it. And once they’ve asked for it, the book has done its job.
So when we create the 90-minute book, this whole idea, and I even used this in the email sequence that we send to explain to people that the fact is, nobody knows or cares how many pages a book is when they decide that they’re going to order it. When they see a copy of a book called The 90-Minute Book, that is intriguing enough that they want to know, well, what is this? How can I get it? Or they make the decision that they want it, and they can raise their hand for it, and it doesn’t really matter whether it’s 50 pages or 250 pages, and that’s where I get to that minimum effective dose. Once you’ve got enough to do the job of work that you’re hiring the book to do, which is to turn invisible prospects into visible prospects who are wanting to have a conversation about that topic, the book has done its job, and now you can go into a dialogue with them. You’re engaged in a dialogue.
James: Well, my perfect process with a book is to strip out all the coal and make the diamond fall out.
Dean: That’s what this is. I think it’s respectful to people, if you can’t convey your idea, like you honestly, when was the last time you read a 250-page book, that all 250 pages were riveting, new information that was just stacked on top of it?
James: Well, this morning. But it’s cheating. It was Mr. X.
Dean: OK. Yeah, six. That’s a thousand pages.
James: It was 300 and something, the version I had. And it is a student’s decades of experience condensed into one book. That’s just a smart-ass answer. I know what you mean.
Dean: You know what I mean.
A helpful page
James: This page here, four to nine of your profit activator score card, this is what I’ve been looking for, for the last week. Now I actually know what the eight profit activators actually are.
Dean: There you go.
James: And this kind of worksheet is super functional.
Dean: Absolutely. I found that people, when they do that score card, they have a sense immediately where they are.
James: Well, it’s not even that. It’s just knowing what they are, and see I apparently, according to my DNA test, I have the worrier gene, and I like to make lists.
Dean: Not the warrior gene, the worrier gene.
James: The worrier. You’re either a worrier or a warrior. Probably more likely to defend myself than attack. But having checklists minimizes mistakes.
Dean: Yeah, absolutely.
James: And having this list here, it’s comforting to see this.
James: And the great thing about this book in its convenient size, it’s going to slip nicely into a little travel bag to go to the Maldives.
Dean: [Laughs] Perfect.
James: This algorithm’s going to get scaled across a whole crew, and it gets accredited, because as you’re going through it…
Dean: Because I wrote the book.
James: Yeah. There’s Dean Jackson on the cover.
James: That was a useful distinction. I think the metaphor is that we’re all trying to get the perfect log for our fire, and we’re not getting the kindling.
Dean: Right. And when you think about the reality of what the purpose of a book is, and I would much rather get engaged in conversation with somebody and then lead to being able to solve their need or their desire on a bigger scale than just in a book.
James: I have a theory about it. Ego.
Dean: I agree, 100 percent. The question I always ask to people, I ask people, “Do you want to be rich, or do you want to be famous?” And I always say, it’s far less expensive to get rich than it is to get famous, so let’s focus on that first and then we can spend all your money on getting famous if you still want to.
Dean: And that’s, it’s very funny, you know. You’re so right, though, I think maybe there’s a thing that some people who have that worrier gene are concerned that well, I need to have the Book, big Book, capital B Book, and they’ve been polishing it and working on it for years, and here I’m coming along saying, well, let’s just get the essence of it out there in 90 minutes.
James: The tale of two cities here is that my first book came out in two versions. One, as a, I hired someone to help me to create it, and we did interviews, and I compiled information from various sources, and she wrote it out. And I was ready to go about four years ago, however she completely flaked on me, and I didn’t follow it, and you know, things started to change, and I never got back to it. At the same time, I published a minimum viable product, which I published one module per week for 10 weeks, called Wealthification, and I’ve given that away thousands of times. And I sold it, and it’s the core training that answered a lot of the questions that was solving problems for people in SilverCircle at the time.
I would say that as recently as today, I’ve leveled up my mindset to be able to serve my high-level customers at an even higher level, because of the induction of information in the last week. Your workshop, stumbling across some new resources from an old mentor, and also having more time to sharpen my mind around some concepts, and tests, and stuff. We opened up our cart today, and tested some new stuff and it’s working really well.
On delayed gratification
Let’s talk about vision boards and goals, and delayed gratification. Got any thoughts on that?
Dean: Well, I think there’s a lot to be said for delayed gratification. The longer you can hold out for the reward on things, especially if you’re looking at the exchange of money with a potential client, is if you’re thinking long-term, if you’re looking at the long-term lifetime relationship, commercially with somebody, the fact that money’s going to exchange hands is inevitable. But the longer that you can let them be ahead of the game, and then one of the term I always use is I want people to be playing with house money.
James: Explain the house money.
Dean: Well, you know like, people when they go to Vegas, and they get on a winning streak in the very beginning, they get all comforted and happy, because even if they lose, they’re playing with house money. It’s kind of like the term that they say, it’s like, I haven’t lost. They’re ahead of the game.
James: So like, just to make this even simpler, someone takes $100 to the casino…
James: They get a $1,000 payout.
James: Then you’re saying $900 is house money.
Dean: Is house money. Yes. So now they can be more aggressive, or be more, they feel freer, because it’s not their money. They’re not digging a hole.
James: A student of mine paid $1,500 a month, and within six months had a windfall in excess of $200,000.
James: Does that mean they could keep doing the program for a while out of money they didn’t even have in the first place?
After getting the low-hanging fruit
James: You have a philosophy on that. You stick with programs long after the initial early low-hanging fruit’s been gotten, and there would be an argument that there’s a diminishing return…
Dean: I don’t look at it that way at all.
James: I know you don’t. That’s what I want to ask you.
James: But I’ve experienced students who did this. I was actually doing a case study today in preparation for a podcast that was supposed to happen, and it was one of the most ungrateful students I’ve ever had. And in this case, the lady launched a membership with 700 members within the first two weeks, and I helped her engineer this. Her first reaction was to quit the program. And for me, that’s confounding. For her, it’s like she got her low-hanging fruit, and then she quit.
Dean: Cut your winners.
James: Yes. It’s cut your winners. Got the big stag, so she’s now feeling like, I’m ahead.
Dean: Yeah. I won, where else now am I going to go?
James: Yes. And it was that situation that caused me to switch to a six-month minimum buy-in now, because it disappointed me to get a result like that. But you’re a different type. You’d be saying, hey, hallelujah, I’m a lifetime customer.
Dean: Yes, exactly.
James: That’s the difference between those two.
Dean: Well, I look at that as stacking winners. Stacking environments. Like if you think about that as a stock, OK, that you invested $100 in the stock, or $1,500 or whatever it is, in a stock and that stock is going ahead…
James: Like Richard Koch’s star principle.
Dean: Yes. You’ve got a star. If you’ve received an ROI, then let your stars run. And so I look at it, and that’s only going to amplify over a long period of time. You know, in a compound interest table, all the real benefit is exponential at the end of that as it compounds. And so I look at it that I’m constantly aware of, and I train people to have this awareness in everything that they do with me.
And we even have charts, we graph it out, like an axis that shows the length of time, months along the bottom, and the money at the top, so we see on the, going up at about a five-degree angle to the right, the cumulative spend. If you’re saying somebody in SilverCircle is spending $15,000 a month, or if it works out that way six months at a time, then you’re looking at what is the outcome above and beyond that.
James: Exactly. That’s funny you should say that, because the other thing that I did was I do an exercise now, whenever we set our actions, we nominate a value for that action. I’ll give you an example. I’ve got a business customer who does one million dollars a year, and the action item is to put a shopping cart abandonment sequence into the business. We conservatively estimate that it’s a minimum of a 10 percent win. And probably an outer up limit of 30 percent.
James: Let’s call it 20 percent. On a million-dollar business, that is worth $200,000, that action. See in my mind as a coach, I think that would justify me being around for at least another year.
Dean: Yes, I think so too.
James: But the temptation for some is well, I’ve done this cart abandonment now, give me another trick, or I’m out of there.
Dean: What have you done for me lately?
James: Yes. How do you combat the what have you done for me lately?
Dean: Well, that whole thing is…
James: Putting a value on it and showing the value?
Dean: You set up a different way for people to evaluate things. And we constantly do this for everything. For our money-making websites, for our real estate agents, for everyone who goes through our program. First year results, we show how much did you spend, how much did you make, and why would they if they’re getting a 17 times or a 34 times ROI? We celebrate when they reach what we call escape velocity. When they reach this self-sustaining, now it’s like it’s in perpitude, it’s like you found this oil well that is a gusher, and it’s going to perpetually pump out oil, and it doesn’t cost you anything to keep that oil well pumping.
“Celebrate lack of drama.”
James: One of the things we celebrate is lack of drama. A lot of people come to me just all over the shop. They have emergencies, putting fires out.
Dean: Like insurance value, right?
James: It is. And we’ve made that a culture now. If someone comes along to a call and they say, well there’s nothing really major going on here, everything’s working as it should, we’re still making a lot of profit.
James: We celebrate that.
Dean: Yeah, that’s valuable, right?
James: Very valuable.
Dean: When you look at the kind of thing like, one of the things, like you look at things like a home security system, or auto insurance, or life insurance, you continue paying and celebrate the fact that you haven’t had to use it. There’s something about that too.
Bowler rails and train tracks
James: I agree. It strikes me how many entrepreneurs around me, it’s just tank slapping from side to side, out of control, and I think that’s what I fix. Haven’t got a special name for that, yet. But I’d say I’m putting bumper bowler rails on for people.
James: And saving them from the gutter.
James: They’ve got momentum, they know they’re going for the pins and they can knock them down, but often they just get into the gutter, and they can’t get out, and they don’t score.
James: It’s surprising how many businesses crash to the ground.
Dean: That’s true.
James: They had everything lined up and it was looking good and they got that skill. So maybe I’m just a bumper bowler rail guy. I’ve got to come up with a much more eloquent description. Train tracks is one I thought.
Dean: That’s what I was going to say, you’re train tracks.
James: I make train tracks for people. Is it OK if we sort of cherry-pick a couple of themes from your three-day workshop?
Dean: Of course, yeah, I’d love to hear your take, because this is the first time that you’ve come to one.
A single-target market
James: It is the first time. Thank you for inviting me. It was an experience. I think this concept could really help a lot of my audience, and it’s to start with a single market.
Dean: Single-target market.
James: Yeah, right. Let’s talk about that.
Dean: OK. You know, this is the big thing that when I start out with people, anything that you’re doing, I bookend it with first of all, a single-target market, meaning who is your ideal client? I’d like to even start at the top, you know, start with the most valuable client. But you have to kind of bookend that with what’s the result that you can deliver? So I always ask the question, when I have people go around and describe, you know, I just give them the instruction, tell us who you are and what you do. And without fail, when people at the first go-around, what they’re talking about is the mechanics of what they do. I do this, and this. But they very rarely ever talk about the result that they are…
James: So they’ll say, “I’m a drill.”
James: Not, “I deliver holes.”
“Figure out the very best result that you could deliver.”
Dean: Right. That’s exactly right. So when I have people start this process, is I have them first of all, let’s figure out what’s the very best result that you could deliver. Right? What’s the result that you’re uniquely situated to deliver, regardless of the logistics or the history or the current model that you’re delivering things? Because a lot of times, people get constrained by a pricing model or a delivery mechanism. “I sell digital products,” or “We do this much of a monthly membership,” or “this kind of consulting.” So I strip all that away and start with, “What’s the very best result that you could deliver so well that you would be confident enough to only get paid if people get a result?” That they get that result first. “What results are you so confident that you could deliver that way?”
So that is terrifying to people at first, right? But that’s the barrier to entry in anything. If you’re not overtly making an offer like that, the confidence that ultimately you have to deliver a result to have a long-term sustainable business.
James: Well, just even a slight subtlety there, and it was actually my first notes. Used slightly different words, which I think is even more succinct, I was really quoting you, so still clever.
Aligning with the customer
James: “Why are you doing this and what is the result a customer wants?”
Dean: That’s it.
James: Not even what you deliver, but what is it a customer wants.
Dean: What would be a dream come true?
James: And are you aligned to that? Fascinating how many people are selling something that’s not in line with what the customer actually wants.
Dean: Sometimes there’s a gap. I use SEO as an example that often people, their goal, their outcome is misaligned with what the client’s’ actual outcome is. I use the example of a dentist looking at, you know, working with an SEO company, the SEO company does all the work, gets everything ready, they come to the dentist and go, “Ta-da, we got you on the first page of Google for these five search terms, congratulations!” And they’re celebrating the success of that, but the dentist is looking at the chair, and there’s no new people in the chair, and he’s not quite as thrilled with the outcome as the SEO practitioner is.
James: And sometimes, even the customer doesn’t know what, they’re not even wanting the right thing for themselves.
Dean: Right, yes.
James: A classic example would be the sales training requirement. They want sales training, so they’re shopping around for closing techniques.
Dean: Yeah. Interesting, right?
James: Or in the SEO example, the dentist is asking how many backlinks they get, which can throw someone off the scent.
James: And a good SEO would say, “Well, what’s the goal here? Are you trying to get people in the chair?”
James: “Let’s have a look at your AdWords campaign and see which phrases convert, maybe we’ll start there.”
James: “We’ll get you ranked for those phrases so you can have more real estate in the top of that search engine for the phrase that actually gets someone into the chair.”
James: “Let’s have a look at the page you’re sending them to, see if that actually does something to make the phone ring, to get someone into the chair.”
James: That was good. And you always talked about done-for-you is always in demand. A lot of people in my community are service providers, and they’re trying to decide, “Am I do-it-yourself? Am I done-for-you? Am I done-with-you?” And I’ve had great success founding, growing, scaling, and selling service businesses. It’s certainly not for everyone, though. My goodness, it can be hard, because it involves people.
The secret of scaling
Dean: I shared with you something that I had heard Gary Vaynerchuk say this week for the first time.
James: He wants to buy the Jets?
Dean: No, no, he always says that. But the secret to scaling from a million to a hundred million is people.
Dean: That’s it. That is absolutely that’s the secret.
James: I actually think that’s really been my advantage. So much time working with people.
James: And I take it for granted, probably.
James: But it’s very hard for the dorm room guy selling potato guns to know how to run a business.
Dean: That’s exactly true.
James: You make a lot of mistakes on the way through.
Dean: Yeah. So let me circle back to the target market.
Dean: It starts with what’s the dream come true result that your client wants, and just even asking yourself silently the question, can I deliver that result if I was only going to get paid if they get that result? Then, that is the biggest clue then to helping you decide who the target market is, because now you get to stack the deck in your favor, and say, “Well, if I was going to guarantee this result, who would be the ideal person, who would I eliminate, first off? I’d make sure that I didn’t take these people.”
James: What’s the 80-20?
Dean: Yeah. Who are the ideal people for this? And that could become your target audience.
James: And quite often, we already know, because we already have customers.
Dean: Right. And you could go back and look at who are the most successful customers that you have, who are the most successful outcomes that you’ve been able to…
James: I lead score my clients. I give them points when they buy something.
James: I just emailed out about my live event, which will actually be in this building that we’re in now. And I’m not surprised, but the first orders coming through are the high lead score customers. Who knew?
Dean: Who knew?
Do you take notes of yourself?
James: OK, so this is crazy. I actually made notes of some of the things that I said. Do you do that, where you say something that sounds quite clever and you write it down as well?
Dean: Yeah. I do, because that’s my thought.
James: I take the best notes in my weekly mastermind call, of any student. One customer last week, he said, “What you said was perfect. Do you record these calls?” And I said, “Not with audio, but I do take notes. And here’s my notes for your session.” And I gave him a succinct, eight bullet points that precisely explained the solution I offered. He said, “Oh, thank you so much. That’s exactly what I wanted.”
OK, so here’s something else we arrived at through different paths, but you say it really well. And that’s your why, what, how becomes something else.
James: I’m going to teach on this tonight in my monthly training.
James: Because it’s so important and it is such an easy trap for people who are starting out to make. And even experienced people. We sort of hinted at it with the phone rule. Let’s talk about that. Most people go, “Why do we need to do this? What is it? OK, how do we do it?”
Dean: Yeah. And that’s where people get caught up, is that we’re spending our time trying to figure out how to do something that somebody else could do. One of the greatest things that I heard, Wyatt Woodsmall shared the idea of technical challenges and adaptive challenges, that we’re faced with those things. Technical challenge is that the answer is known, and you just need to know how to do it, which means that somebody knows how. And there are adaptive challenges, where the answer’s not known, and you’re forging new territory. You got to figure out how to do something.
James: That would be a Johari window.
Dean: Oh, OK. I have never heard those words.
James: Four quadrants. It’s that which you know which someone else doesn’t know, it’s that which they know that you don’t know…
James: …it’s that which you both know, and then it’s that which neither of you know.
Dean: OK, very interesting.
James: It’s very ancient.
James: Japanese tool. It’s basically helping you quickly find out what you don’t know. Either you know it, or you don’t know it. Someone else does, or they don’t.
Setting the direction
James: So that’s like being the conductor of the orchestra. You want to have an idea which song we’re going to play, how many songs we’re going to play, what experience is the audience going to get tonight?
Dean: And so I look at this that the why, you’ll start out with a why, why are we even having…
James: You’re going to make a great concert experience.
Dean: OK. So then, that sets the tone for the options of what we could do. What would make a great experience for the orchestra? We could do this, we could do this, we could do this.
James: We could play these songs or that song, bring in more of the cymbals in this section, have an interval here.
Dean: If we’re looking at a business context for this, we might say the why is, how can I create a before unit that gets more prospects for my business? Well, that’s the context, now we can expose ourselves to what we could do. One what that we could do is we could run a Facebook campaign. Or we could run an AdWords campaign. Or we could do SEO, or we could do postcards or videos. We’re exposing ourselves to all the whats, the possibilities.
Now, where people get bogged down is once they’re convinced that this is the right what, the next step that they take is to try and figure out how to do all of that. And so committing to how sets you off on a tangent that now you have to burn units of time to figure out how to do something before you ever get to the time where you can now spend the units of time it takes to actually do something to get to done. Whereas if instead of asking yourself how, you immediately see what you want to do and you start immediately seeking who could do this for me. And as soon as you find the who, they’re going to bring the how with them, so you immediately cut out all the time that it takes you to learn how to do it, and you can immediately get to done.
James: So you mean it’s like the conductor of the orchestra could hire a violinist.
James: And a percussionist.
James: And a piano player.
James: Because they’ve already done the how. They put in their 10,000 hours. And now, you’re just getting the who. We want to make some music, who are we going to get?
James: When I interview an expert like Tom Breeze for YouTube videos or Ilana for AdWords, we do why do you need to know about this, what is it, how do you do it, and what are the next steps. And I always say, “You don’t want to be doing this yourself, you really should just hire Tom or Ilana. Go straight to the source. They’re the experts at this.
James: So we do a courtesy how. That’s not really my market.
What would Richard Branson do?
Dean: And that’s part of it. It’s almost like moguling up, you know? It’s like being a mogul. Moguls don’t actually do anything.
James: I used to have a Post-it note on my computer, and it said, “Would Richard Branson be doing this?”
Dean: Well, there you go. Exactly. And Richard Branson, on the I Love Marketing podcast, said those words very similar. “What does it take to run 300…”
James: Oh, does he have a Post-it note saying, “Would I be doing this?”
Dean: That’s brilliant. That’s funny. No, what he said was, because Yanik Silver asked him, how do you run 300 companies, or whatever, and Richard said, “Well, the first thing is, is that you have to realize that you can’t do anything.”
Dean: I mean, that’s pretty profound. You can’t do anything. You can’t be a who in your business. You got to surround yourself with the right people that can do what the thing is. So all Richard Branson, when you get to the highest level, he’s why and what, you know? And even on a lot of levels, he’s got people bringing the whats to him.
James: And you just can’t hear this enough. Like I heard this last week, it was really profound. I’ve heard you say it before, but because we were in a workshop environment, it really stuck. Today, I was just preparing my slides for my training, and I pulled out my progress form, and along the bottom, it’s what, who, when. I mean, that’s how we get stuff done in our business.
Dean: Yeah, yeah.
James: It can’t be me.
James: And not because I’m lazy, it’s just like, I remember this point when I was a salesperson, and I got promoted to sales manager. I remember the panic that I had when I started to get out of touch with the new models. As a salesperson, I knew not only every single thing about every single car that we sold, but I knew every single thing about every competitor we sold against. As a sales manager, starting to learn the five levers and really going the next level of systemizing the whole business and working with multiple departments in the dealership, I started to let go of that product knowledge and now I didn’t know the latest engine size, or capacity, or torque, or boot capacity, and it was kind of like, wow, I’m becoming redundant.
But I was becoming redundant as a salesperson, because I was becoming a master as the general manager. This is my Tarzan metaphor here, sometimes we have to let go of the vine to be able to swing to the next one.
Dean: Yeah. True.
James: And what I specifically focus on is helping people go from six figures to seven figures. That is a sweet spot for me, and this is such an important point. Because most of them are still trying to run their own AdWords, still trying to run their own Facebook, still trying to build their own website. My goodness, in 2016, if you are still even logging into WordPress, you have to be insane.
Dean: Part of that, I mean you’re so right. I shared with the group our whole process that is, I like your idea of using the phone. I say that whole thing about being the cow, it’s, “Could I do this if I had hooves?” I mean, it’s really, it’s that simple.
James: I even took it to an extreme where I got a windscreen mount for iPhone, stuck it on my whiteboard at home, put the little magnet, the metal plate on the back of my iPhone cover. And now I can just stick my phone on there and record a video. Instead of the DSLR, the memory card, the battery, the lights, the mic and everything. Here we are, I walked into here with a Lav mic in my pocket and an iPhone, and we’re up and running. So it passes the test.
James: So hooves, you were saying?
Dean: So that’s the whole thing. We were talking about emails.
James: I have a better memory than our waiter the other morning.
Dean: What’s that?
James: The waitress. Remember, she forgot your order?
James: I like your quote, it was a classic. You got one thing to do.
Dean: One thing to do. She took my order, and then she didn’t bring it in, and it was like, I had, we had a time, I had an appointment.
James: Which is rare.
Dean: Yeah, which is rare.
James: So, hooves?
Dean: So I look at things like, I try and eliminate all the steps of things. Like, when we look at, when I talk about the things we draw, we process out every step of something that has to happen. Like sending an email broadcast is, there’s many steps involved in that, including, you were saying, logging into WordPress. We’ve been logging in to GoGoClients, logging into the dashboard, selecting the people, clicking Send an email, loading it all up, testing it, all of that. There’s 30 or more clicks and steps to sending out a broadcast, but none of that is milk. None of that is only the stuff that I can do as a cow.
James: And there’s many machines that can do it better than you.
Dean: So I look at it that we get to where we’re trying at all levels to only have the most technical thing that I use be Gmail. So I go in and type the email into Gmail, and send it to the Trello board to be broadcast. Are we talking about my podcasts? I do them all through the iPhone.
James: Right. On the same note, my email is just sent out by the team, and by my bookkeeper, of all people.
James: But they’re compiled by my little publishing team, which they take from the content. I actually don’t write the emails. They get constructed using an SOP and a framework, which is wonderful. The things that I hang on to for too long. Like in the beginning, I held off buying information, and I learned how to build my own website. They’re two things that I would change. The more recent ones, in the last few years, letting go of email, I thought that was a big responsibility. Very pleased not to do that. And editing my own podcasts. I don’t want to listen to myself again for another hour.
Dean: Yeah, I mean, I like listening more to the finished product, but not from an editing standpoint. I like being done. You know, we set up everything, so I just dial into the conference line, it’s automatically recorded, as soon as I hang up, it’s automatically emailed to the Trello board, and I don’t have anything else to do with it.
James: Want to drop a tool name there? Because it was a good tool.
Dean: So we use UberConference, which records in hi-def audio, and I pay $10 a month for a pro account, so we have no PIN codes to dial in, so my entire technical process of creating a podcast is to say, “Siri, call UberConference.” And that’s it.
James: You could even do that with voice. That’s a no-touch.
Dean: Oh, yeah, if I had the Hey, Siri… Yeah, that’s true. I don’t even have to push anything, I could definitely do that.
James: It saves you one click.
Dean: You may have. Thank you.
James: I taught my dad Siri the other day. He says it’s changed his world.
Dean: Oh, yeah?
James: Changed his world.
Dean: Of course it has.
James: Because it’s hard for him to use the phone.
Dean: I’m going to turn on Hey Siri right now, because I remember that sort of thing.
James: Siri often responds to me when I’m doing mastermind calls, so it must be switched on.
James: We talked a lot about emails, and I won’t go into that, because that’s the secret sauce that someone would come to this event for, and get very quick wins. I’m just going to see what else we got here, and then I think we’re good. We talked about house money, and I think that was important.
Dean: Yeah, I think letting that, and celebrating with people. So first of all, paying attention to it, I set up the parameters for them. I’m monitoring it along with them, and we’re looking for it. And documenting it, you know, and setting up that longevity of it. I constantly show you things. Look at charts that people have been running for four years to show a 34X ROI over…
James: I think that’s my note, is I keep it in my spreadsheet. I’ve got a journal of every call I’ve ever done.
James: In my spreadsheet. What I should do is visually graph that as a tool…
Dean: Sure. And I think it’s a good discipline as an entrepreneur to really document the outcome of the decisions that you make, to really see your improvement in your ability to decide what to do.
James: What I’m going to do is I’m going to ask Dave Wooding to create a profit graph that the user can update within SilverCircle.
James: And I’m just going to ask him to listen to this recording rather than send him an email.
James: And he’ll probably create it, because he’s a genius. And a legend.
Dean, it’s been fun.
Dean: It has. I love how much changes in a year and how much stays the same.
James: And what doesn’t change.
Dean: I love that we do this as 3 of 25.
James: Yes. I think it’s appropriate.
Dean: It is, I do too.
Dealing with success
James: I think one of the last things we talked about was the fact that a big challenge that I’m starting to see more is people needing to learn how to deal with profound success in a rapid timeframe. That’s a very common outcome with the stuff that I’m doing at the high level, and I’m looking for resources on that. If you’re listening to this and you know where I can send people who have trouble recalibrating with profound success, then I’d love for you to comment right near this show.
That’s about it. I liked that after the event, we were able to decompress, talk about the experience. We’ve also since made some introductions for people who were at the event. I’ve seen one of the participants has changed the way he communicates via email as recently as today, and I saw another participant post a lovely tribute, I suppose, to how much value he’s gotten. That was lovely, the mood just changed.
James: We’re in night mode.
Great comments about the value they’d gotten, and how it’s made a big impact.
Dean: Yeah, that’s nice.
James: We’re lucky that you keep coming over here for the event. If you’re interested in coming to Dean’s event, you should get onto the mailing list.
Dean: That would be super.
James: Would that be ILoveMarketing?
Dean: Yes. Go there, or the best place for the things that we talked about, those books that you’re holding, is to go to BreakthroughDNA.com, and download a copy of the pamphlet, and get on the list so that you’ll know when these events are. I do them in the US, and Canada, and London, and Amsterdam, and Sydney.
James: Am I your least tactful friend?
Dean: It’s funny. I just have to tease you about it. But I love that you’ve come around.
James: Oh, no, I don’t get it.
Dean: In this podcast, I think you’ve acknowledged the results of, you know, a book in the hand is worth three in the closet, right?
James: That’s true, and the closet’s probably not the first choice of phrase I would use, but a lot of things you say are very smart. Probably all of the things. And even from way back from our first meeting, I’ve always prospered from your advice.
Dean: 10 years now, we’ve known each other. Amazing.
James: It has to be, yeah. So thank you. We’ll catch up on the next episode.
Dean: Thank you. Look forward to Episode 4.
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