Derek Halpern has been doing business blogging for only a year and a half, but has a massive audience and is recognized for his business training material. Tune in as he shares some of the secrets behind his success.
In this episode:
01:54 – What Derek does
03:14 – Getting hold of research
04:15 – A background in persuasion
08:08 – An authoritative personality
11:47 – Picking a name you can grow into
15:18 – Restarting podcasting
19:13 – Lessons from the celebrity gossip world
23:26 – The effect of style
27:47 – Should one prune old content?
29:09 – Derek’s biggest mistake
33:47 – Why money isn’t the main offering
38:27 – Build an audience with this free email series
There’s a gap between what science knows and what business does. [Click To Tweet].
Pick a name that you can grow into. [Click To Tweet].
Podcasting is dumb if you don’t take it seriously. [Click To Tweet].
People identify with improvement. [Click To Tweet].
You can’t have light without shade. [Click To Tweet].
James Schramko here from SuperFastBusiness.com. Welcome back to the show. Today I’ve got a super authority in the blogging niche, Derek Halpern from Socialtriggers.com. Welcome to the call.
Derek: Hey what’s up, man?
James: Well, I’m down in Mexico so I’ve sort of rigged up a little bit of a microphone here. But I don’t let travel stop me from getting the good discussions going and that’s why I hit you up. I know you’re in a similar time zone. You’re over there in New York?
Derek: Yes I am. New York City, baby!
James: Do you travel much, Derek?
Derek: Yeah, people always ask me this question and it’s funny because I have the freedom to go wherever I want. I can leave right now and go anywhere I want. But I don’t travel at all. Nothing makes me happier than just being able to wake up, walk to the park, stare at the sky, read a book and just chill out locally.
Actually, I avoid travel so much that I just got my passport like three months ago. So, I was one of those 80% of Americans that didn’t have their passports until they were adults.
James: Right. So, you know what I’ve found with travel that it’s been really interesting to observe different cultures to find out the way that people deal with business, with social stuff transport. And it’s been interesting for me to incorporate that into my business. But your main business thing is observing research documents and then talking about that on your show. Is that a summation of how you would see what you do?
Derek: Sort of, right. My whole business genre is about helping entrepreneurs just get ahead in life and I found that Dan Pink said it best in one of his Dan Pink Ted Talk. It was Dan Pink in the Ted Talk. He said, “There’s a gap between what science knows and what business does.”
He said this in a 2009 Ted Talk for his book “Drive” and what’s very interesting is, when he said that, I remember my eyes lighting up because how many times do you know the right answer of something and see people do it wrong anyway? And that’s what my whole business is: Finding people who are doing things wrong and trying to show them the right way of doing things. This happens to be rooted in using research, personal tests, and stories of other entrepreneurs to help bring that to life.
You know what I mean? So, research is part of it. But really it’s about helping people find the right way of doing things.
James: Well I think you’re probably talking about the why and the how, right? With this research stuff, is it hard to get access to the documents?
Derek: So it’s not as hard as you would think. You have to look for it obviously and it’s different. You know these things like Google Scholar where you can find it, but to get the new research, the stuff that’s just coming out every quarter published in the periodicals, in the journals and everything like that, I actually donated money to a university in New York City just so I can gain access to their library.
Because their library, they have access to all the research documents you ever want so I donated money so I can basically borrow books from the university library. Kind of nerdy if you think about it but that’s how I did it.
James: Well I like that. I like the aspect of getting yourself an advantage of figuring out… I guess that’s kind of like a 4-Hour Workweek hack isn’t it? Just that little thing, it’s like a membership card to a club that cost a little bit more but gets you so many more privileges.
How much did you know or how qualified were you about persuasion and this sort of topic and field that you’re studying now before you started publishing it on the Internet?
Derek: Yeah so actually, when I went to college, I was one class away from a major in Psychology. So I basically majored in Psychology in college. But, to be honest with you, I actually forgot everything I learned right after I, you know, as I was learning it. I was just going to college to learn Psychology to learn to take tests, that’s it.
However, where I really got my, you know, gritted my teeth in the persuasion speech was two different spaces. I used to play a lot of poker and I played a lot of poker; I’m saying hours upon hours of poker. We’re talking like 10 hours a day. So I learned a lot about persuasion at the poker table. That was the first place.
The second place I learned a lot about persuasion is actually, I did this really horrible job when I was 18 years old. I worked for a sign company. It was at the sign company that I would make the signs and then they would hire installers to install the signs and my job there, I was getting paid like you know, maybe 10 bucks an hour or whatever.
My job was to find people in different states around the United States who would install our sign for like 800 bucks. I wanted to find who would install our sign in a local location for $800. So I’ll do a lot of phone calls trying to give people business. But they said I couldn’t spend more than $800.
I turned it into a game, where I always try to see how much people would want to do this for. What’s the least amount of money people would do it, and still do a good job. And I somehow convinced people to do it for like 500 bucks or 400 bucks. Just by, like, practicing talking on the phone.
So that’s kind of like where I really got my, you know, gritted my teeth with poker and this in sign installation thing. Very weird.
The Business Of Games
James: Right. So you’ve taken a sort of a… I guess it must have been… well maybe I’m assuming… but it must have been a slight interest for you have taken course in it, of all the courses you could have taken. You’ve then found a commercial application, you’ve got some in the field experience. Do you treat business like a big game?
Derek: Yup. Yes, that probably stemmed from the fact that I was very competitive chess player when I was in my teens. I was also… poker was the same thing. Poker was a game to me. I played another.
I played these things that’s called collectible card games. Are you familiar with this at all?
James: Ah like baseball and stuff. Trump cards?
Derek: No, no, no, like Magic: The Gathering.
James: OK, yeah. I’ve heard of it.
Derek: Very weird. So I used to play games like that and I play that very competitively as well, like I did this one game called… I’m probably making people think I’m like the weirdest dude in the world right now. But I play…
James: Well, I think so far they’re not going to engage in a game of poker with you, or chess.
James: So you’re kind of limiting your options if you want to be entertaining yourself out there.
Derek: Yes. So I play this game called The Spoils and I did that competitively where I travel around the United States to 44 states in three months where I was getting paid to play like a child’s card game essentially.
James: Yeah, interesting. When I was selling, I used to play Gran Turismo and I love that car game on Playstation and I love the aspect that you had to win races to reinvest the price money into developing your car so that you could win a better race to get more prize money to develop your car or trade it for better. I saw the analogy and it was really also a nice relief for me to be able to let some steam off.
Sales and Marketing
James: Now in your sales and marketing, I’ve noticed that you use a certain tone or I guess a leadership positioning. You have quite an authoritative style. I guess I would call it directive. I think I’ve even asked you about it before.
You are very, very clear and firm about what your reader or what your listener should do and you do ask them to do a lot often. Go and write this, or click on this link or go here and do this or submit this entry. Could you talk a little bit more about that and the sort of results that it’s been getting?
Derek: Yeah, so, let’s just be clear for a second. I am from New York City. So if you paint a picture of what you think a New Yorker would look like, I’m probably that person. I’m loud. I’m a little brash.
Some people hate me. Some people love me. That’s just my personality and I let that show through online. And it tends to be this directive, authoritative personality.
I just always had that. And I do that for a couple of reasons, especially as it relates to business.
I’m of the mind, that if you go… like my site, Socialtriggers.com, you go there, you find that I give out a lot of free content. I do weekly videos. I do podcasts. I do all those great stuff for people.
Now this content I am releasing into the world because I honestly want to help people get ahead in whatever they’re trying to do. Nothing makes me happier than getting an email from someone telling me that I helped change their life. However, I make it very clear that even though the content they get doesn’t cost them anything, that it’s not free, you usually got to do something for it.
Now it’s not like required. I don’t tell people you have to share this article to unlock access to it. It’s more like just doing the right thing, “Hey since I did this for you, it’ll be cool if you do this for me.” And I don’t track it. I don’t require them to do it.
But since I’m being helpful, people want to do it. Do you know what I mean?
James: Yeah I think that it could be described as a reciprocation and you’re just reminding them of that. So, how often do you come across a piece of research and then have a “whoops!” you know, I’ve been doing something wrong or “wow! There’s somewhere I could really improve or change the way that I’ve running my own business?”
Derek: Yeah so that was a good question and a lot of people say… they always want to know where do you research and then they would also want to know does research actually help? But it’s funny because I might read a hundred articles, a hundred academic papers, I might read 20 books before I’ll finally find something that would change my life.
So to find these good stuff, the stuff that really matters is very hard and it requires you to be very scholarly. However, when you do find it, it’s a different between you know making a thousand dollars and making a million dollars. It’s just that’s the type of impact this stuff can have on your business.
So I don’t find it that often and when I do, I tend to share a lot of it as content. And I also tend to figure out how to apply this research directly to whatever it is I’m working on for myself and also show people how to apply it to themselves.
Brand Name vs Your Own Name
James: Yeah, that makes sense. OK, so, you’ve started out this blog, you call it Social Triggers. How do you feel about having a brand name like that versus putting it under your own name? I mean, interesting that you prefer to stay at home.
You know, so you’ve got some different viewpoints on some of the other people in the Internet business space but you did take a business-y sort of decision to have a blog brand instead of a personal brand like johnchow.com for example. What’s your take on naming?
Derek: Yeah, so I think you have to pick the name that you can grow into. Now depending on what you’re trying to do, using yourname.com, is a great way to do it. I mean, my friend Marie Forleo, she does marieforleo.com and that’s great for her because she has a lot of different passions and she can talk about everything that she wants to talk about on to her name and she’s never going to be pigeonholed because how can you be pigeonholed into your own name?
You know what I mean? So I think using your name is a great idea! On the flip side, I chose socialtriggers.com because when I first started it, I always had in the back of my mind that what I was doing could be bigger than me.
James: Right. So…
Derek: It’s not bigger than me yet, but I thought what I was doing could be bigger than me. So I gave myself an opportunity to pursue that if I want it. If you go to socialtriggers.com, I got a picture of myself in every blogpost. It’s really the Derek Halpern show.
So yes. But I have the option to expand.
James: Right. So is that what you advise people to do with their own site?
Derek: No. I advise them to look at themselves and figure out what they’re trying to do. I think if you want to build a lifestyle brand, where you’re travelling the world living the life, usingyourname.com is a great way to do it. And the best part is, as your interests change, so can your website.
If you use a website like socialtriggers.com, you’ll find that it’s much harder to expand or change your interests. However, when I picked that as an example, Social Triggers is a site that I can grow into still. I’m not pigeonholed into talking just about psychology and blogging.
I can really talk about the psychology of everything, from fitness to health, anything, just out to do anything right. So I’m actually right now, after being known as this blogging marketing guy for a while, I start to talk more about things like productivity and social skills and other types of things that make people better people.
James: How long is the blog been going so far?
Derek: Actually I just passed the two-and-a-half-year mark. I launched it March of 2011.
Derek: So it’s now 2.5 years ago. I can’t even believe it actually. I can’t even believe time flies like that.
James: Yeah well it’s interesting. You know I was speaking to Noah Kagan about Appsumo and he was telling me that, you know, he’d expect it to be going broader but he started in a startup niche and it’s just so big. So it’s interesting you’ve lasted a few years in that part of the sphere where you’re at and now you’re going broader and you can definitely do that under your brand. I think that that’s a great brand for that.
A lot of my listeners have a website. They’re probably doing blog posts and some video, perhaps audio like I teach in OwnTheRacecourse.com and I’m interested in some of the behind the scenes stuff. I noticed that you recently restarted podcasting?
Derek: I did. So I got to tell you, you’re going to laugh. I think podcasting, straight up is one of the dumbest things in the world if you’re not going to take it seriously. However, if you do take podcasting seriously, and you actually want your podcast to be, like, one of the best podcasts in the world, you want to take it seriously, I think podcasting allows you to do something that nothing else allows you to do. And what is that?
It allows you to create content that you upload to say let’s say iTunes or whatever, but as you get bigger and you build an audience, you can have your podcast syndicated. Now if you can get your podcast syndicated, like, a radio station or many radio stations, what does that really mean, syndicated? That means a radio station is going to pay you to air your content to their listeners. They’re going to pay you to build your brand for you.
James: I love it.
Derek: You see that’s why I’m going back into podcasting.
James: Yeah. The part I like is that you state the customer’s question out loud for them and then answer it. You got such a style there.
Derek: Yeah. Let’s just talk about that for a second. I know it kind of like sound self-serving, but a lot of people here who have listeners for, they are in the business of building their own business. So I say this because that’s like the benefit to the listeners. But now the benefit to the listeners of my podcast, that’s the other benefit of the podcast is the fact that we live in a very mobile world.
People are travelling to work, people are going to the gym. Right now, when people are at the gym, I don’t have any way to communicate with those people. You’re not going to read an article while you’re at the gym. You’re going to pop on a podcast for 40 minutes while you workout.
Now I have the opportunity to give people more content that they love while they’re at the gym or driving to work or going for a walk. This, I was unable to reach those people until you have a podcast that you’ll release every week. But the business side was the syndication.
James: Yeah, I think if someone has a good message and they believe in it, they should be podcasting with a real show and certainly, in my case it’s been phenomenal. It’s by far in a way the best traffic source for my business because of the accessibility. And I’m pleased to see you’ve re-started that and also I think you just hit number one in the business category.
Derek: Yeah! So I hit number 1 in business for a couple of days. There’s no way I would be able to keep that because the guy who has number 1 is syndicated across like hundreds upon hundreds of radio stations.
James: Right. That’s the Dave Ramsey show?
Derek: Yeah. So he’s there syndicated and let me tell you, I want to be syndicated.
Using Paid Traffic
James: Well that’s good. You know my audience are super familiar with podcasting and the reason’s why, but I think you’ve really added some dimension there with the syndication part because that’s not something I think we’ve discussed on this show before. Do you also do paid traffic?
Derek: I do. I do a lot of Facebook traffic. I do remarketing like retargeting, where you have your ads follow people around on the Internet, which is usually I do that through the Google Adwords.
Derek: I’ve also experimented with buying one-off ads on random websites that I think might convert. And I’m going to be going more into paid traffic over the next six months. But mainly Facebook has been my target.
Blog That Converts
James: Right. Yeah. It seems that it’s a pretty popular format and of course you sell courses. And do you think that’s the best way to monetize a blog/video/podcast show, is to have courses? I don’t think you put sponsored ads on your surrounds and stuff like some people’s monetization. I had John Lee Dumas on here and he sells advertising on his show and we were talking about how much more he can make if he had his own courses and stuff.
Derek: Yeah, I don’t believe in advertising. I don’t know if you know this; did you know that before Social Triggers I ran a celebrity gossip website?
James: I did know that just because I’ve heard you talking about it. I have actually purchased your course which is, it is Blogging That Converts or something?
Derek: It’s Blog That Converts, yeah.
James: Blog That Converts. So, I did purchase that because of the material. But I knew that you, you’re good at this discussion marketing or the comments. You get a lot of comments. You get talked about and I think that’s where the value might be for our listeners.
Derek: Yeah so what’s interesting is just back on that is before what I’m doing now, I basically had a celebrity gossip site. In that celebrity gossip world, you live and die by two things: one thing is how much traffic you can generate. The best way to generate traffic in that industry, you can’t buy it because the traffic isn’t really worth that much money.
So you can’t buy it, but you have to get people to talk about you for free. It’s the only way to get traffic in that industry essentially. So that’s the first thing.
The second thing is you live and die by how much money advertisers are willing to pay you. I’ve discovered that ad rates have plummeted over the last six years or so because impressions are unlimited on the Internet essentially. So ad rates plummeted and I found out what in that celebrity gossip world, I wasn’t in control of how much revenue I can bring in to my company.
I was always at the mercy of the ad rates. So I hate advertising because I never want to be at the mercy of some ad buyer for some other company. You know what I mean?
James: Ah, totally. I’m on the same page. You know I’ve stopped my affiliate program at the end of last year. I decided to… I did your course. I did some conversion work on my site and I really decided to start earning my listenership.
I mean you’ve heard about me from several people now and that’s the long-term goal, is to be remarkable in an industry where a lot of people are just pimping stuff as an affiliate, or they’re doing the sponsored ad thing which is really kind of selling. It’s selling out part of your real estate because you don’t know what to do with it in a way.
Popularizing The Feature Box
James: Now I like to promote my own products and services from my own website. I’ve got the entire end-to-end system, a lot like Steve Jobs had with his own ecosystem. That’s the ideal for me and I think you are very, very strong and that’s a great contribution you’ve made to the market and you also, I think popularized this opt-in box on the top of every single website.
Derek: Yeah. The feature box is what I called it.
James: The feature box.
Derek: It’s so funny that no one did that before. I mean, I talk matter of factly about stuff, when I can talk matter of factly about stuff right?
Derek: And I can say that the feature box will increase your list size. If you don’t have a feature box on your website, and you’re trying to use your website to convert, I think you’re a m****. Because it just converts so well. I had this one friend of mine, that I told him to put a feature box on his site for six months, he didn’t listen to me. Then one day he emails, he goes, “Derek, I got to say I’m sorry.”
I was like, “Why do you say you’re sorry?” He said, “Well, for not listening to you for six months, I finally put the feature box on my blog and I’m getting like 700 opt-ins a day now.” And I was like, “Don’t apologize to me. Go look in the mirror and apologize to yourself! It didn’t hurt me.”
James: Yeah. Well, yeah, you know it’s one of those things you might not have been the first person to do it but you’re certainly the one to give it some priority and talk about everywhere and get associated with it which is one of the things you teach in your course. I thought that was fascinating.
James: It’s kind a lot like what I’ve done with my OwnTheRacecourse, is put forward this idea that you want to control all of your asset because that’s a huge mistake I see people making. They’re putting out as much content as you or I but they’re putting it all on Facebook or YouTube and not even having a website which I think is just crazy. I mean you can’t put the feature box if you don’t even have the website.
All About Attire
James: So, let’s just talk… interesting you and I have done something that I think the listeners would get some value from. I started changing what I was wearing a little bit for my audience after getting some comments about attire. And I noticed you’ve gone through, certainly from some of the older videos I’ve seen and then now the videos with the stethoscope which I think you call a tie.
I joke with you because you don’t do it up which I don’t understand but tell me about why you’ve gone through this change in style? Is this to get syndicated?
Derek: Did I tell you that I tested my clothes? Did I ever tell you about this? I might have talked about it in a video. I don’t know if I ever published this video yet or not.
But I tested my clothing. I went to conferences where I showed up wearing a T-shirt and jeans and sneakers, right? And I kind of gauged the audience. I showed up to another conference wearing a suit, wearing a T-shirt and sneakers. Tested the audience.
I tried a full on suit with a button down and a tie. I tested the audience. And I tried a suit without a tie, with dress shoes. I basically tested the audience.
And then I discovered that when I wore T-shirt and jeans and sneakers, people looked at me and they were like, this guy is kind of smart but he’s like a young punk. Because I’m there. I’m definitely in my late 20s and people would look at me as, this guy’s loud, a little bit obnoxious and brash. He’s a punk but I kind of like this stuff a little bit.
When I wore the suit with the button down, the frame of mind people had was completely different. It was more like, this guy’s a professional and he’s going to say what he means with authority. Look at him. So I actually saw people change the way they talk to me based on how I dressed. When that happens, I decided to start talking to a stylist.
I hired a stylist, I asked him some questions about this and they told me and I quote, “Derek, you’re already loud, brash and obnoxious. If you show up in a T-shirt and jeans, yeah, that fits you but it’s kind of expected. However if you show up in a suit and you’re the same way, it creates this contrast that makes you a little bit more memorable.” That’s what they told me.
So they first wanted me to start wearing ties all the time. And I was like, oh my God! I hate ties. You call them the stethoscope, I call ties like a little animal on my back trying to pull me off my feet. That’s what I think a tie is; it’s like choking me down.
So I was like, I don’t want to wear the ties, I think that’s a little too buttoned up for me. So he said, here’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to have a tie but we’re not going to pull it up all the way. You’re going to leave the top button open and in your videos, I want you to roll up your sleeves.
That way you’re going to have this look that you’re being professional but not so tight and buttoned up about it. You know what I mean? That was the reason why I went that clothing wrap.
James: Gotcha. I think… I mean this is interesting for you because you’ll pick up more of an Australian audience from this. Certainly with private schools, with corporate. I came from a corporate like Mercedes-Benz arena and to have your tie down, we used to call that half mast, then it was considered very sloppy and unprofessional.
For me, when I see that, I don’t get it. If you’re going to go with the tie, you wear it properly or don’t wear it at all. And that could also be something to do with the English heritage here but also I’ve been through the same styling exercise. Not with the stylist but by putting trial by audience where they… we had a big debate and I did a test on my video.
I actually did one video in a T-shirt and hoodie, unshaven and then in the other half of that video, I shaved and had a nice shirt and my audience said, this is the outcome, if they didn’t know me, they thought I was scruffy and then when I start talking, they started to feel that what I was talking about was sensible and then they were OK. Once they knew me, it didn’t matter anymore what I wear, they just want the content and it’s great.
Curating Old Content
James: But when I look back at some of my older videos, I see now why they thought I was a bit scruffy or whatever. And that sort of leads me to this next question, do you ever go back and prune some of your old content or wished that you could reshoot it or do you curate it yourself?
Derek: What do you mean?
James: Do you ever go back and delete old videos or update them and you know, lift the whole brand value?
Derek: Yes. So there are some videos that I actually unlisted on my YouTube channel or whatever, but I don’t recommend people delete videos. There’s no reason to really delete them. But I do understand why they do it. People kind of like to see the evolvement of what you’re doing as well.
A lot of people think that they need to show off this great, perfect persona online so people don’t judge them but you’ll find that if people see improvement, they’ll actually identify with the improvement more than being completely perfect.
James: Well I guess it shows in there you are just a normal person after all.
Derek: Yeah. Absolutely!
James: And especially in your words, brash, loud, then they might want to also see that humility of the journey because it would work in your favour.
Biggest Mistake: Joining Corporate America
James: OK, so, what’s… we’ve got a feel for what you’re doing, got a feel for where you came from, and you’ve even shared with some of the stuff of what you’re going to be doing in the future as well. What do you think is the biggest mistake you’ve ever made would be that you would not do if you went back?
Derek: If I went… so, in hindsight as 20/20 right? But the biggest mistake I made was in the end of 2007, I was making a killing online. I was killing it with my celebrities site, I have a fashion site, I had a make-up site, I got really depressed though because I didn’t wear make-up. You know I only wore a dress once in college and I really hated celebrity gossip. So what did I do?
At that exact moment, I was depressed. All my friends were working in corporate America, I decided to walk away from my web business, I got a job at a Fortune 100 financial company.
Derek: I earned in a year what I basically earned in like two months online. And I did that because I didn’t know better. And I thought that the answer was to become professional. So that was probably my biggest mistake because I went into the corporate world.
I lasted there for two years and don’t get me wrong. I was in the dream corporate position. I was in the finance company, I reported to a VP that reported to a C-level executive.
There I was, 23 years old at the time, yeah, well, 23 turning 24. And I had already had the opportunity to give a presentation on several occasions to, like, the Vice Chairman, C-level executives. I was great place for a corporation. I got promoted. I got hired December 2007, I got promoted in, like, six months.
Most people waited two years for their first promotion, I got it in six months. So I was in like the dream spot but I still think this is my biggest mistake because I could have done so much more had I just changed my path in the Internet business world.
James: Well, I suggest that it gives you great context to be able to help people who are in that situation as I was on a great job 300,000 a year running Mercedes-Benz dealership and I quit that to build my own business. And a lot of people ask me about that journey, about the mindset of starting a second business while you have the first job and I think that could really serve your audience if you share that story.
Derek: I think one day I will. The reason why I haven’t, because even though I started working for that company, I kind of outsourced my entire web business at the time. So I was still earning money. I wasn’t earning as much.
It kind of spiraled out of control because I wasn’t doing anything for it. But I think more than anything, you’re right. It does help me get perspective and it also helps me understand because between me and you, after two and a half, I was like there for about two,two and a half years, I watched my income go down every year because I was just earning so much more money online than they could have ever paid me.
And then I realized, I looked at my boss, who was 10 years older than me exactly, and she was earning you know, significantly more money than I was and I looked at her boss who was about 15 years older than her. And I looked at what he was doing. He was a C-level exec. And I knew how much money he was making, you know, about.
And I thought to myself, I have to wait 25 years to get to that level? And then I started looking at my income, I looked at my boss’ income. I said, you know what I’m really good at this. Maybe I could do it in 10 years.
Then I started thinking about that 10 years to get to that level? I was already at that level with my web business! So, I wanted to restart the web business. But here’s what’s so funny: There I was, I graduated college making more money than I knew what to do with it.
I had a proven track record of success but it took me like five months to pull the trigger on actually quitting my job and pursuing the web business.
Derek: Because by the… I noticed something that I would never have noticed had I worked for corporate America. Corporate America has a weird ability to sap your confidence from you to be an entrepreneur. Because corporate America tries to make you fit in a round peg to a round hole. And that’s what you’re learning how to do.
It’s all about politics. It’s all about getting ads. It’s all about doing good work. But being an entrepreneur is the exact opposite of that.
And doing corporate America for awhile, you have to just reframe your thoughts and that took me awhile to pull the trigger again before I quit.
James: Oh well, congratulations. And you know I think you’re probably a better person for that. You can’t have light without shade, my grandma used to teach me.
Derek: That’s a great quote. I might have to requote your grandma at another time.
James: Yeah. She was legendary. Alright so one thing I’ve noticed. You’ve done this really well. You don’t make money or revenue or dollars or get rich the real core of your offering which is kind of a normal thing that people are doing online. How did you manage to avoid that temptation?
Derek: Well you know I always thought about this for a second. Well actually, it’s rooted in psychology right? If you talk about how much money you make, like a lot of these other Internet clowns, it actually makes people want it, yes? But it also helps make people resent you for it, secretly.
And it might be motivating, it might help you get the sale. But I also hear that refund rates for some of these other guys in the Internet space are like 20 or 30 percent.
James: I’ve actually seen some of the… over 50 percent.
Derek: Yeah, so they got super high refund rates, they’ve got now, mind you, I’m a sales guy. I know high refund rates is good because… not good..but it’s also evident that you’re selling people on buying your product. A high refund rate in the 15 percent or 20 percent range is not bad. It means you’re converting the maximum amount of sales into your product. Right, so that’s great.
James: Well, I don’t know. My refund rate is less than one percent and I’m quite comfortable with that.
Derek: No I know. So there’s like two different mindsets right? But if you look at a refund rate of 1 percent, that means every person who bought your product was the exact right fit for your product.
James: And I think that too. In my marketing, I don’t use a lot of hype or manipulation or… I could use a lot more pressure or sales techniques. I don’t but I love my customers and they stick with me forever and they get results. I think I stand out for all of those reasons and that’s why after you have a certain amount of money, there’s no real need to put pressure on people and get that discomfort happening.
Derek: Exactly. So that’s one example. Like you want to basically, you want the exact right customer that’s the perfect customer always. Now I’m of a little bit of a different mindset. I don’t use hype but I do want the perfect customer.
Three Types of People
Derek: The person who’s going to get results is probably going to do really well but I’m also of the mind that there are these other, there’s three types of people: There’s people who are going to love you forever; there’s people who are going to hate you forever. Then there’s a third type of person; a person I like to call the sideliners. These sideliners might make up 80% of the people who follow you.
These are the people who don’t know if they should love you or if they should hate you yet. I want to turn those sideliners into people who love me or into people who hate me. And I know to do that, your refund rate will go up a little bit higher.
James: So you want to polarize some people?
Derek: Yes. So I want to get people into the course of the sale knowing that I want to help them and if I don’t help them, no problem. Take advantage of the refund rate, no hard feelings. If you think that you end up hating me for this, you know what, that’s fine. I’ve got thousands of people who love me.
But I want to turn those people in the sideline over. And I think I want to focus on those people because I remember corporate America. I remember how hard it was for me to quit something even though I knew it was the right decision for me, and at that very moment I was personally a sideliner. You know what I mean?
And I needed that kick in the ass to make me into someone else. You know what I mean? So I want to give those people, because I believe it’s the right thing to do to help people help themselves, and I can’t do that without making sideliners turn into super fans as they would say.
James: Cool! Well you get to use your story after all.
Derek: Yeah, right?
James: Yeah. You’re a natural salesman, Derek. Alright, so, if you were recording this podcast, what sort of call to action would you ask your listeners to do? If you were me, since I’ve got the expert of brashness of decisive calls to action because we’re going to wrap up this podcast now so, firstly I want to say, thank you so much for getting on the call. I know you have a busy schedule and I appreciate you taking the time out to share this with listeners.
I also want to say to my listeners that I have done the Blog That Converts course and it was good and I think that that would be useful for you if you’re interested in building up an authority like Derek has, because as he just mentioned, he’s only been doing this for a couple of years, in this space in particular.
James: So Derek, what sort of advice would you have or suggestion would you have for this particular post?
Derek: Yeah, so if you were in the position where you would like to build a super raving fan base of people who actually want to buy what you sell, talk about you, etc., I’ve got a free email series that I can make available to your listeners and they could access that by going HERE and you’ll get put in to a nice email sequence where you’re going to learn how and why you should build an audience. You should also learn the psychology behind why people fail.
You’re going to learn a proven strategy that you can start using immediately to start growing your audience and a whole lot more. So that’s what I would do for people who are still here listening.
James: Nice! But I’m sure it would be everybody of course. Thank you, Derek. It’s been wonderful having you on the call. And there you go, listener, Derek is offering you some gold there. Hopefully we’ll have a follow-up call sometime in the future and find out what you’re up to because I’m sure it’s going to be fascinating in the future for you, Derek.
Derek: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.
James: You’re welcome. Thank you.
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