Speak to Sell (But not in a salesy way)

Public speaking has often been referred to as being more scary than death. Yet speaking is one of the most powerful ways to get your message out to many and attract more of your ideal prospective clients. Listen to my interview with Davide Di Giorgio and find out “the right way” to do it.


Dylis: Hi there, this is Dylis Guyan from, international sales marketing leader, coach and speaker. But of course you don’t have to be international to work with me. And I am really excited today to introduce my guest to you and in fact, just give me one second, there we are. Davide di Giorgio, I mean what a fabulous name is that and he is as fabulous as that name.

He’s a long-time theatre producer, creator, educator and audacious entrepreneur.  And his rich experiences has positioned him as the go to creative expert for speakers and entrepreneurs who leverage weaken in their business. And Davide takes an unapologetic creative approach that shatters the mould of following those usual blue prints, you know the usual formulas and systems and instead he uses you as the blueprint to create real success. Your vision, your mission and your passion as the foundation for world class, word changing signature experiences that convert audiences into raving fans, revenue and repeat speaking engagements and make you unforgettable. And so I’m absolutely delighted. Hi Davide, I’m thrilled that you joined me today.

Davide: Thank you Dylis.

Dylis: Especially with your wealth of experience and not just in helping people be speakers but that really rich past experience that you’ve had that you can drew on and really make what you do stand out and be very special for speakers.

So we talk about speak to sell. Could you just explain that to us and expand on what you mean there.

Davide: Yeah, so speak to sell you know, it’s unfortunate that it almost has the wrong name and so because the problem when we say the word sell is a lot of people have blocks about selling things.

And so I really try to encourage people to instead is replace the word sell with attract for intrigue or speak to add value but speaking to attract is much more, it’s much more rooted in allowing you to be able to just be you. And not to have to know the business model or the selling blueprint of someone else’s right. Because the fact of the matter is we are master and rollers, actually my latest favourite way to say this is speak to enrol.

Dylis: Right, okay.

Davide: And here’s the trick, we’re not trying to enrol anybody in our own vision. Technically what we’re doing and what makes sales so simple to speak to enrol, it’s speak to enrol people in their own vision. Help them to realize that they want something so big and that they can’t do it alone.  Because we can’t, we have to do it together so when you’re now speaking to enrol people in their vision and your vision may be in alignment with their vision and when that happens, well you have the stampede.

Dylis: Yeah.

David:   of people who can’t wait to work with you and can’t wait more importantly to tell the world about you and to tell others about you. And that’s what it really is all about. You have one shot when you speak. You’re either going to try to sell something or you’re going to enrol the audience into your vision and that’s where you start to create a movement.

Dylis: Yeah. so it’s about attraction really

Davide: Absolutely, absolutely. Attraction or repulsion and I feel that the two things that you know because there’s no attraction without repulsion and so people are either going to love what you have to say or they’re not. Now the beauty what I love to empower speakers and entrepreneurs with is this. If you don’t give an audience, an audience can be a singular person you’re talking to or ten thousand in a stadium. If you don’t give an audience a reason to reject you, you don’t give them a reason for them to accept you.

Dylis: Yeah.

Davide: And so what do you really want to say is a question I like to ask a lot. You know I hear these perfectly crafted chunks of talks and pitches and sales conversations and I’m like what do you really want to say?

Because when I ask that question and they start to get more passionate and if I could I would really say this. And then I ask well why aren’t you saying that? Because that causes an emotional reaction, what you really want to say and that reaction sometimes you’re going to be, get their back up and say well what is that?  What do you mean? I don’t agree with that. But if you don’t give people an option to choose well I’m not sure about that then it doesn’t, you’re noise, you’re joining the family of Google and becoming content, wallpaper. Bad wallpaper in fact, you know.

Dylis:   So can you give us an example Davide. I know we’ve spoken about this in the past about a particular example where you were talking to a lady and was she standing outside Arbonne or something like that?

Davide: I love this example. So yeah, it was in one of the network marketing companies Arbonne, you know, beautiful Swiss products.

Dylis: Yes.

Davide: And so as I said, this is a friend of mine that I’d gone to school with and now she’s doing this business and I said, well tell me how do you sell? How do you build rapport. Because rapport is the most important part in the attraction game.

And she said oh you know… I said, so try to sell me your favourite product, pick your favourite product. It happened to be a face cream for women but I said that’s fine I’m going to pretend. She said, oh well this product is vegan and it’s you know responsible for the environment.

And I said okay well, I eat hamburgers so…you didn’t even find out if I cared about that. And it was really interesting that she wasn’t even able to get passionate about this product and I said to her, look the reality is when we went to high school I knew that she used Oil of Olay products. I don’t know why I knew that but I just knew that because my mom used to, so it’s kind of like a running joke. So why did you switch? What was it, because she actually loves the products, she really does. She’s not just trying to sell anything she loves it. You need to light up about what you love and just speak naturally about it.

You know I’m a legacy ambassador for the company Lulu Lemon yoga clothing and whatever. I don’t get anything from them, nothing.  I got a photo shoot when I was an ambassador and that was it pretty much.  I don’t get commissions, I don’t get anything.

But especially for men, because men have this thing about yoga clothing like, oh no you know and I said you just need to try it out and their marketing is, there is none basically it’s all through people and I tell everybody about it and I have converted more people into Lulu Lemon lovers and I’m not getting paid, it’s because I just love it.

So I myself before I started to do what I do, had a block about selling anything and then I started to look at my life and I’m like well I think I’ve sold all my life I just don’t call it that. I attract people, I inspire people, I intrigue them. And when they’re intrigued they’re like tell me more about that you know. Just before our call I was talking about my partner and how he said to me, it’s like there’s something I’ve been going through, a coaching program and he’s seen me offer it to other people, not even offer it just say talk about it with interest and then kind of enrolling them.  And he said why aren’t you offering that to me?  And so it’s just you become magnetic and when you become magnetic…

Dylis: That’s the word, yeah.

Davide:   Absolutely.  And when are magnetic you become unstoppable and unforgettable.

Davide: Yes.

Davide: And that’s what I’m interested in.

Dylis: So just tell us about your lady from Arbonne. What was it she loved about that, that you recognised, her then lighting up about her product.

Davide:   Well what’s so funny is actually, it was a very difficult conversation because she almost felt like I was attacking her.  I said look, she had kids too.  I said what do you love about your teenage boys and she couldn’t even get excited about it. And I said look I’m going to give you homework. we cannot talk about Arbonne anymore until you go to your homework.

And I said you need to go find out what you’re passionate about why you love life, what you know and get excited about it. I hadn’t heard from her in three weeks and the other day this past week I just got a bunch of sample sent to me and she actually said Davide since our conversation my business has blown up.  And I I just got goosebumps by saying that right. Because I didn’t actually coach her necessarily I just invited her into realising when you get passionate that’s when you become magnetic and we all know a magnet can repel or attract.

Dylis: Yes.

Davide: And before she was repellent.  Nobody cares that the face cream was vegan, I’m not going to eat it. So I actually have a call with her later today. I assume what happened is that she just started getting real and authentic but not like what digital marketers are telling you to be authentic.  That she loves the product and that’s it, she really enjoys it and when she wears that people tell her she looks younger and she feel sexy and it feels like under skin. Nobody cares that it’s vegan, nobody cares that it’s made in Switzerland, no one.

Dylis: I’ve got a great example of this actually Davide. When I I became a financial adviser in 1986, my word, that’s a long time ago.  It didn’t take me two minutes to realize nobody wanted a life insurance policy, critical illness, a pension, income protection. What they wanted was a financial safety net of security so that if their income stopped for whatever reason they could still pay their mortgage, the kids could still go on the school trip, they could still have that Nike trainers and the Levi jeans  you know.

And that was what people wanted and honestly I was like an evangelist. I was like an evangelist out there getting this safety net in place for individuals, for businesses, to make sure that they could manage because it’s bad enough if faced with an illness, a critical illness or there’s a death you know and there’s no money on top of that.

Dylis: And what is so beautiful is that you, I’m tingling all over because what you realised you discovered on your own what I just recently started, like the wording, I’ve started to figure out the actual wording of this is true enrolment. Because you are no longer selling anything.

Dylis: Yes

Davide: You are now enrolling them in their vision and their vision is if I get sick or something happens I want my family to be taken care of.

Dylis: Exactly right.

Davide: That’s real. I want to be able to retire without having to worry. That’s a vision. A life insurance policy is not a vision.

Dylis: Exactly.

Davide: For our life. The result of it is the vision but we try to sell things widgets and widgets and whatever when in fact all you need to do is connect it to their vision and when you connect something to somebody’s vision it doesn’t matter how much it costs, it doesn’t matter what the barriers are and whenever someone brings up the barriers you remove the barriers and you go back to vision.

And that’s what I tell speakers all the time you have to go back to vision. Keep them in their vision. What is the vision of their life that they want that connects to your message and they will become followers for life.

Dylis: Yes that’s absolutely it. So that’s been really a great explanation of speak to sell because a lot of people don’t like the sell word and I love enrolment, I love attraction.

Davide: That is, so if I try to sell too soon, so I call it’s so hilarious I love this. This is why we’re such great friends. I call it, you know you’re asking for marriage before the first date which by the way is what happened in my situation it happened to work out. But that’s a one in a billion shot. However, I was very clear I had a vision but this is the problem with it, you can experience some success if you’re very persuasive but nobody likes to be sold to.

Dylis: Yeah.

Davide: The thing is that’s my vision, my product is not my vision and when I force my vision on to people it’s hit or miss. It’s not a consistently successful strategy it’s just not. When you’re magnetic that is consistent.

Dylis:   Yeah absolutely.

Davide: Continue to attract.

Dylis: Yes and I talk about taking someone with you on that journey where they themselves without you product pushing, where you’re taking them from a position of interest to position where they want to enrol with you, they want to buy your product.

Davide: Right, and so sometimes when people think, because sometimes this is the question that comes up often but I have to enrol them sometimes people don’t know what their vision is, no problem then you tell them, you share with them what your vision for them is and then they start to think, it’s like oh. you think that’s really possible?

Oh wow, okay. That’s okay too because you’re not being out of integrity if you truly believe it and that’s where you can take them along with you. Look I believe this for you,. I want this for you.

Dylis: We can even ask those enrolling questions at the beginning of your talk and really sort of light their fire can’t you.

Davide: Right, yeah. You can get people to think about their vision basically is it to let them understand what they want or maybe have forgotten what they’ve wanted.

Dylis: Yes

Davide: That’s always a great way to do it.
Dylis: Yes brilliant. So my next question is why is this so important? Why should people consider speaking as part of their marketing strategy, as part of their marketing mix?

Davide: One, I like to joke and say you’ve been speaking your whole life and you’re good at it.

Dylis: Yes.

David: And when you get intentional about it that’s when you really change everything. The fact of the matter is this, you, me, we are the most compelling marketing tool, funnel advice for your system in your entire business and it’s free.

You are the magnet, your products will change, your programs will change, your services will change. You will evolve but if you can as a speaker take your stand and everything through which you deliver to the world goes through your lens, I call it your lens as a speaker through your speaking empire, your enterprise.

People know what you’re about then you remain, you are the funnel, right.  I’m so tired of all these digital funnels out there where you know, it’s like lots of people at the top and have to funnel them down. I want to turn the funnel upside down and as speakers that’s what we do.

This is the funnel it starts here from our heart and it goes out and there’s only abundance and openness available. We’re attracting people in not because we want to try to get them down to one, it’s the other way around, the funnel goes out that we want as a speaker to project out. My vision for you is that you reach millions and billions.

I actually had someone, it’s the first time it’s happened in my business, someone said to me, so I said what’s your vision for your business and it was a husband and wife team. We want to impact billions and I was like oh, that is audacious.  And that’s what it should be as opposed to like well if I can get to the billions and then I can get just a few that I want to work with. No, you can impact billions when you turn the funnel upside down and realize as a speaker just like what do you call those things, megaphones?

Dylis: Megaphone, yeah.

Davide: It goes out right. Project your message out that is the funnel. Stop trying to weed people out. You want enrolment, you want to be magnetic for as many people as possible, not from a place of black but from a place of, I believe so strongly in my vision and in my vision for you and them out there that this stuff is too good not to share.

Dylis: Absolutely. And that’s what resonates with me in terms of your internal belief in what you’re talking about. I talked about being an evangelist when I was selling financial services. I’m an evangelist now with my sales and marketing helping people to attract, convert and retain ideal clients but because they are giving the many the opportunity to benefit.

And you have to be passionate and fully believe in what you’re doing and in the benefits that people can gain from enrolling with you and using your product or service or whatever. Because if you don’t people won’t.

Davide: And I think most importantly you hit the nail on the head there too is that it has to be about them out there

Dylis: Absolutely.

Davide:  Not even just your own client because imagine whatever it is that you can do for your client. Imagine what’s that going to do for their family, their friends. That ripple effect, it’s about them because when you think bigger, look the only reason why people don’t buy or don’t invest is their vision isn’t big enough.

That’s it, if they say money is a problem, time is a problem you know the Big Three; money, time relationship. There’s something about that that always stops because of the big three things right. Your vision isn’t big enough if you’re letting money get in the way. Now I’m not saying, I’m talking with integrity right.

Dylis: Yes of course.

Davide:   We’re not tell a thousand, ten thousand dollars for one hundred.  Because there’s a lot of that going on out there but if you do it with integrity then, if the vision is big enough there are no barriers. So when there are barriers you just need to have people think bigger. Who says that, Apple? Think big, think bigger, is that their slogan, one of them right?

Dylis: I’m not sure.

Davide:   And that’s what it’s about if you get them to think bigger about them out there and the impact that they can have in their immediate circle and beyond I mean sign me up for whatever that is.

Dylis: And so you incorporate that within what your clients craft if you like and in terms of the talk.

Davide: Yeah, it’s everything, it has to be.

Dylis: Yes. And I’m going to flip this the other way because one of the things that gives me the passion and the commitment to be getting my message out is that because I see business owners, I see sales people who struggle to bring in enough clients on a consistent basis and so they struggle with cash flow, they get frustrated, they feel quite ill, they’re working far too many hours, they’re stressed, all of those awful things and this takes me right back to when I was sixteen and my father went bankrupt.

Now he was expert in what he did but he wasn’t expert in bringing clients in on a regular basis. And eventually the bank foreclosed and he went bankrupt and we had the official receivers in. It was beyond hideous and I didn’t appreciate the stress he was under at the time and as I got older of course, then I did. But it sent him over the edge and so, he was always a little bit aggressive anyway but this really sent him over the edge and we ended up, we lost the house, he lost his business, everything and we ended up going into what we call a council house here in the U.K. where you pay rent to the Council.  And he ended up in my grandfather’s garden shed for a week and in a caravan for three years.

Eventually they got back together but he actually died in his sleep at 52. It was so horrendous and if I can save one person from going through that……I have to be on a mission and think big!
Davide: Yeah. Oh absolutely because when you make it so big everybody can resonate with what you just shared because it’s still connects to the big vision.

I don’t want that for my life, I don’t want that for my family, I don’t want to hurt the people that I love and that’s big, that’s big you know. And those personal stories and those experiences show humanity.

Now there is an epidemic of really bad storytelling going on and a lot of these speaker coaches out there who are encouraging people to tell stories
Davide: But they’re the wrong story.  So, if you’re telling a story just to get people emotional it’s completely out of integrity. But when you’re telling a story that drives your every day and it’s connected to your product or service and I mean to say that like ten times right, connected to the product and service
Davide: Not abstractly connected that it really makes sense. It’s like I believe you know, you believe that a business owner should have consistent income.  And it comes down to the way that they market themselves and talk about themselves that’s it’s a key.

Dylis:  Yeah

Davide: Right and you’re so you’re an expert at that and the reason is because you witnessed what happens when they don’t.

Dylis: Exactly

Davide: So it makes complete sense. Now if you’re trying to sell me like face products

Dylis: Yes some Arbonne.

Davide: So that’s why you have to have the right story.

Dylis: That’s right.

Davide: However, we see that happening right now in the marketplace out there is people telling their sad story of their childhood and then say, oh I sell Arbonne or whatever. I sell you a beach body and it doesn’t, it just doesn’t add up.

Dylis: Yes

Davide: There needs to be a through line and integrity in the messaging all the way through.

Davide: You’d be a star client Dylis. You hit it on the head with your story there you know like it’s the perfect example really.

Dylis: Yeah.

Davide: You came fully in alignment but you’re also and, this is probably why we get along so well too, is you are so in alignment with what you believe you’ve identified, what matters to you in your life and you’ve made it your mission, your vision, your passion, your obsession in your life that all of your work has revolved around that. Because you were in the financial industry before too so you were like this is no more, not on my watch.

So you see I look at you and I saw your vision was so big based on just your dad that you were like this is not going to happen again.  It will not, I’m taking a stand for it for those people out there.

Dylis: Yes.

Davide:  And that’s why you have success.

Dylis: Well thank you. But I’m sharing that because I know that this is one of the elements. I know we’ve spoken about that.  And so just based on what you said I thought that was a good example to highlight that for the listeners or the viewers of this.

Because I see it so often, I could say to you so what are the key elements? And you could say oh it’s just………But really it doesn’t give a good enough example just giving that whatever the element is and you are brilliant at being able to expand that and really have people understand what it is.

Davide: You just identified the first two parts and the first two parts for me is before anybody writes anything of their talk and I also help people design experiences, retreats and whatever. It’s the same thing. We get excited and we’re like, oh I’m going to talk about this and I’m going to tell this story and this is the offer and I’m like oh no no no.  We’ve jumped too far ahead, too fast. Marriage on the first date, what is yours, peeing too soon?

Dylis: Peeing too soon, that’s product dumping, yes.

Davide: And you do this as well we just have a slightly different way that we attack it. So is my first part of my system is called discovery. And in discovery we talk about the why and the who. And why is about the desired results, getting so clear. Why is what you so beautifully just showed us with your story. You are so clear in that why that it really has become the blueprint of your life and the blueprint for all the work that you do. So we get clear working on that because not everybody is as clear on what that actually is and we bring that into alignment. Then it’s who, who are you and who are they out there.

A lot of times what I see entrepreneurs and speakers doing, it’s like I call it like they violate the audience because you’re trying to teach us something but you haven’t even asked if I already know that.

Now I’m not saying ask a question when you’re speaking necessarily because you have to be very careful what questions you ask, when you’re speaking. But what I’m saying is do the work know who you are talking to, what they know, what they don’t know, what they need, what they don’t need, and of course, what’s their vision? What’s your vision for them that they can enrol themselves in, right.

Because otherwise we’re just wasting our time. So the why and the who are super, super important to understand that and get that really in alignment before you put pen to paper or fingers on the keyboard to start devising your content you’re crafting the talk itself.   Then we can jump into the what and here’s the best part because people like, oh I finally can tell you about stories I want to tell. No you can’t.

The next step with the what is it you need to figure out what is the measure that you’re going to know that they’ve actually gotten anything out of your talk or out of your product or service.

So where do you have to take them, how do you have to move the needle if you will. So you have to figure out, because when you know what that is, what they actually need, then you can start to pick your content and craft your stories and you’re going to start to see it’s like oh that story actually doesn’t work here or that I don’t need to teach them that, I don’t need to share that with them.  I’m going to connect ideas so that they get exactly what they need to move.

And oftentimes speakers think I had one speaker that I worked with she’s a personal stylist. Amazing at what she does and she said to me, oh Davide my talk didn’t work out so well you know nobody bought.  And I said well but hang on a second, tell me what else happened? And she said well you know I got 40% of the room signed up to be on my list and get a free call with me.  I said okay,

They’re not, I mean it’s five thousand dollars services, five thousand dollars You cannot consistently expect or ever that from an audience and the first time they’re seeing you speak for them to enrol themselves in your product for five thousand dollars. They don’t trust you yet.  Getting 40% of the room to get on the phone with you is staggering.

Dylis: Absolutely.

Davide:  I mean so that is successful. Now, so the next thing so the what, if we were to reverse engineer this now, so her next step is, I realise that maybe I need to come up with smaller packages that they can step themselves into, that are a little bit less like marriage. Let’s have a drink first you know and maybe so for her that service looks like a two hundred fifty dollar Skype consultation where she will do this or whatever or a free consultation that leads to a $250 consultation that leads to let me do your closet make over, you know what I mean in the business section model but actually makes sense.

And then the final part of it is to discover and to craft the how and the how is how do you present it. The stories, the content that is the last part but always thinking to yourself what do they need to know, what do they already know, who are they, who am I, how do they connect together and why am I speaking in the first place?

Why am I selling this thing in the first place? And look, here’s my thing that I’m going to give you so that you can possibly reject me so that you can accept me. I imagine that there’s going to be some people who hear this interview and are probably selling the wrong thing.  So I invite you to step into the right business then and it’s never too late I don’t care how young or old or how deep into your business you are make the adjustment now if you realise like I actually don’t fully believe in this.  Because that repels people and it will keep repelling people and you will be limited on the amount of success you are going to have in your life.

Dylis: Exactly. Oh I so resonate with that and I remembered working with a group of sales people and we were talking about this belief and I said it is so important that you fully embrace and believe in your product or service.

This was a product that these group of people were selling. And I said let me give you an example. It could be that I am the best cigarette sales person ever, ever. (Particularly when I was a smoker. I do hasten to add I’m a non-smoker now and have been for 12 years. I’m one of those you know.  Holier than thou.) So I said I could be the best cigarette sales person ever.  But then let’s say that my company, my cigarette company introduce cigarettes with marijuana in and I absolutely do not believe in it.  Now I was top of the league, I was the top earner in the company all of a sudden I’m falling down the league table because I do not fully believe in what I’m selling. Now that’s an extreme in a way but it just gives an insight in how your belief system can impact on your actions.

Davide: Absolutely. If you are not in alignment I don’t know if you have the Ikea commercial.

Dylis: Oh yes.

Davide: In the U.K. where they start the car commercials?

Dylis: Yes.

Davide: Right. If you are not in alignment start the car and run. And I have a very similar situation that happened just this week and I connect with a friend of mine that I haven’t seen for twenty years and she is about to sign a deal with a major television company, a global multi seven figure deal it’ll be and, but there’s a catch.  And the catch is that this is a network that is targeted to the cannabis market.

And not even just the cannabis market like a very specific section of that population. And she said I have a real strong aversion to signing this deal now.  And I said look, I mean that’s probably not good. If you don’t believe in, this is your television show, if you don’t believe in your network nothing good is going to come of this because you’re always going to have that holding you back it’s very similar to your cigarette marijuana example. You don’t buy in fully people smell that a mile away.

Dylis: A mile off. Yes, yeah.

Davide: It’s the emotional compass that we we’re talking about right before

Dylis: Yes.

Davide: Like they get it, they feel it.

Dylis: That’s right. And so this, the belief in the why is just so so important just in your everyday work but particularly speaking, because you can see when people really mean it or they’re faking it.

Davide: And getting specific. Look believing in your why isn’t about like one of the speakers that I work with is the why is “I want to free the oppressed because I’ve been oppressed.”

Dylis: Right.

Davide: Well now you sound omnipotent. That’s not that’s not a real why, it has to be specific. Your example is specific.  There’s an emotional connection to it, there’s humanity in it, you took a stand for it for other people and you may not have realised that.

I actually don’t know that part of your story like that it was actual like us an idea that you came up with. Because of this I’m going to do this. But now as you look back, who said I connect the dots for, I think it’s Steve Jobs who said we can’t connect the dots forward, we can only connect the dots when we look back.

Dylis: Yeah it absolutely right in fact.

Davide: You know but what’s so beautiful is when you find out like oh wow I’m so in alignment with my whole life and my story, right that it just makes sense. And that’s beautiful but like I said if you look back at the dots of your life and realise I’m not totally in alignment that’s okay. Get yourself in alignment because as soon as you do you and I know, we’re experiencing this right now. It’s like winning the lottery every day. Winning the life lottery every day.

Dylis: And you’ve got this attraction going on where people are coming to you…

Davide: Even over the Internet, right? We’re both experiencing this. Like why are these opportunities happening? They just do, you know.

Dylis: It’s just amazing! It’s just great. Okay. And all of that, of course engages the audience doesn’t it?

Davide: Yeah absolutely

Dylis: People in the audience are connected to you so you are creating that magnetism just in the content of what you have to say.

Davide: So here’s the thing. A lot of people, speakers, entrepreneurs, we believe that we have to do, to have, to be.  , I have to craft my talk and write my talk in a certain way so that I can have big audiences and have sales so that I can be successful, and be free and want and be a leader and be a visionary. No. The difference is you have to be first, you have to be connected with your audience. You have to be in alignment with your message.

You have to be, people don’t take action they don’t even hear what’s coming out of your mouth. They take action and are moved by and move into action for themselves based on who you are being on the stage. And it could be in a personal conversation on a Skype, on a stage in front of ten thousand people like I said, it doesn’t matter. Who you’re being makes a difference and that’s how you engage an audience. You have to be there for them and not only for them, for all of their families, and all of the people that are connected because when you show up with a big vision, look at you Elon Musk. The man is certifiable, his vision is so big with Tesla and electric cars everywhere, it’s so big that people are like, I mean he’s raised billions of dollars for the projects and so he’s just being it.

And I can tell you this for sure and this is not second hand because I, we own a Tesla and we, my husband is a tech geek so he’s like we must go to the Fremont factory to pick up our car. And he called me the day before when the car was ready and he’s like were booking a flight to go and I was like okay. When you walk into the factory where they make cars, where you think it’s going to be like this dingy place, you feel the vision that Elon has for the world. And you get on this tour and they show you how they’re going… You are so, it’s like Disney World going to the factory right.

Dylis: Yeah

Davide: And when you show up and be the vision and you be a stand for other people it’s the automatic magnetism, automatic engagement.

Dylis: And you know there’s two things you’ve said there Davide, it’s making a stand. But the other thing you said when you went to the factory it blew your mind.

Davide: Oh, yeah.

Dylis: So they have created a client experience and you are now relaying that experience because it impacted on you in such a way and this is a real message for people is you know you have to make that experience memorable

Davide: Right.

Dylis: And wow! And you can do that by having this greater vision for people.

Davide: Absolutely. And you know, just to fill out that answer a little bit more too about how to keep an audience engaged right is we talked about, the diagnostics. Find out what they want, do the research. Find out what people want and give it to them. Don’t give them what you think they need because nobody likes that, nobody likes you teaching and shaking your finger at them. If you get this you will have this.

Find out why they want it that’s the vision piece right. If you say, be repetitive. You have to say the same thing in many different ways.

A lot of times speakers put so much content in because I want them to, no, no.  Beyonce is successful because she has five words in every song and she repeats them over and over and over and over again.  And that’s just, that really is the magic. We are very hard headed and dense we don’t hear things right. We need that repetition and reinforcement, say the same thing in multiple different ways. Show it, be it, share the story whatever that is. Show it in many different ways, be it so that people will take action on it and realise, I do need this.

Dylis: Yeah. So how would you suggest then because I have seen many times where people have done a great talk but then it gets really uncomfortable because it moves into this next phase of selling.  What’s your take on that?

Davide:  Right. So it’s an invitation, there’s nothing to sell so we just invite you know the next step is to give people an opportunity to be invited into their vision.  That you can support them, we don’t need to help anybody they’re not helpless. Support them in achieving their vision. And if you make that invitation that you know hey and the invitation can be a product. This is the product that is going to support you in your vision to get this in your life, and for your families and whatever it is that’s how you create the stampede so to speak, that we’ve all witnessed at some events, right. Some people are so good at it because you don’t even know, you don’t even care how much it costs, it’s not about that. It’s about, oh my goodness, I really need that.  And some people don’t make the invitation they turn it into a sales pitch and they put false barriers in place and oh there’s only six available. Well that’s completely out of integrity.  If you said I can talk to six people for an hour today right now, that’s real. Because you know time. I only brought fifty special gifts for the first fifty people to sign up and that gift connects to their vision, be very careful I don’t want some, I don’t want junk you know.

Dylis: Yeah, yeah.

Davide:   Then that is a real limiter that causes people to go into action, right. If you want to talk about the actual the sales techniques right.  The invitation is all it needs. When you are invited, I learned this and when I was a high school teacher for ten years. So I was a music teacher and a performing arts teacher. The problem is we never had enough males in the program.

Dylis: Okay.

Davide: So this was at the age of Glee, Glee had just come out on television and I thought this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to create that and we called it Glee! exclamation point because my teaching partner at the time she said maybe we should call it Musical Theatre Troupe or whatever and I’m like we’re going to call it Glee! exclamation point just like the T.V. show because they’re going to understand it and boys want that.

Right well we weren’t attracting anybody and we thought what this is very interesting, we had posters of the marketing and announcements daily. And then we tried something very different.

Her and I would stand, we had an area a locker bay where we could see all the students in the school hanging out before school and we would hang out and we would look and say hah, that’s a good looking kid they’re dynamic, there on the wrestling team, people like them.  And we went to talk to them and we invited them to Glee!.  I always laugh, it actually had two exclamation points because there’s just so simple. And what we started to find is we had conversion rate of 100%. These boys needed permission through an invitation personally into this thing, this vision that was bigger than them that they didn’t know how to because it wasn’t cool to sing and dance.

Our carrot which worked out very well was this and it wasn’t out of integrity it actually was a logistical thing for us that we took a stand for it.

Boys don’t join the musical because maybe there’s only one of them, they feel awkward or like they’ll get bullied or whatever it is. So we said this, you’re going to join this group, Glee!!  And for every boy there will be a girl.  Which means you are going to be partnered up for the entire year. Now that was an irresistible offer, right. And we’re going to teach you how to dance, we’re going to teach you how to sing. We go out and do field trips and experiences and you’re going to have a great time.

Dylis: And it’s all about them.

Davide: It was all about them because we knew what they wanted and you know the funny tag story we realised the wrestling team, we had a very strong wrestling team, they would tell their boys if you want to meet girls join the wrestling team that was their whole marketing thing.
We went to one of the wrestling tournaments and checked it out the only girls there were like they were in the audience kind of watching and boy did it smell bad let me tell you. So we flipped it on its head and we said, if you want to , I mean that’s just, that’s like funnel right you’re trying to funnel girls.  We’re going to give you the girls, they’re going to be in the group, you’re going to be paired up with them right.

We found out what they wanted, what they needed, we taught them how to dance, how to sing, how to be confident, and how to be leaders.  It was 100% enrolment every single time.

Dylis: Fantastic, fantastic.

Davide: So do that in your businesses.

Dylis: So the what, the who, the why, the belief.

Davide: Yeah.

Dylis: Relevant.  And be focused on your audience.

Davide: Absolutely, yeah. And it always comes back to the why, the vision. What is the vision? And realize it takes time to build rapport. You know peeing too soon.

Dylis: Exactly and go for a drink before you get married.

Davide: Yes please.

Dylis: So you know rather than here’s my wonderful product. It’s got this feature and this this, this, and this. Going for a drink it could just be a call or it could be a free offer of some sort.

Davide: Yeah something simple. And stop talking about yourself.

Dylis: Yeah.

Davide: I’m a bestselling whatever, like you know, you’re giving yourself platitudes. Nobody cares because we all know that you could get a best-selling status by selling three books at 3 a.m. on Amazon you know what I mean.

Dylis: And everybody becomes a bestseller don’t they.

Davide: It’s just a joke. Let’s talk about reality, let’s talk about them and why you wrote the book in the first place if you want to talk about the book right.

Dylis: Yeah, yeah.

Davide: Not just to become a bestseller which is unfortunate that people do that. It can be a tool that’s useful if you do it in integrity.

Dylis: And that’s the thing again coming back to the integrity.

Davide: Yeah.

Dylis: Brilliant. Davide we’re going to have to have another call at some time and talk more about this because I just love the way you explain things and what an expert you are and the success that you’ve had has in fact reflected your experience and so on and you really are a true magnet and it’s a delight to speak to you.

So if any of the audience who are either watching or listening would like to get in touch with you how can they do that?

Davide: Get on a call with me it’s all about them. So yeah if you want to chat, so two ways check out, I have a free magnet that shows you if you want to become a better speaker, and it tells you how to get speaking opportunities. It teaches you and you just need to tell everyone how to pitch yourself and how to get focused and in that is my link which is . I love to chat with people to find out what your vision is and how if I can support you in getting there great, if I know someone who can support you in getting there I’ll make that connection. It’s such a joy to hear what people are up to in the world.

Dylis: Fantastic. So let me just make sure I got this right

Davide: Yeah.

Dylis: Brilliant, brilliant. David thank you, as always it’s a great pleasure and I look forward to speaking to you again soon.

Davide: Absolutely. Thank you for having me, I hope your audience gets a lot out of it and I can’t wait to see you again. We always have great chats.

Dylis: We do, I’ve loved every moment. Thank you so much, thank you so much bye for now.

Davide: Bye.

Find out more about what Davide is up to here;

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How to successfully get referrals

Would you like to get introductions to the type of clients you love working with, avoiding gatekeepers and the lack of response to your emails and voicemails. Getting a positive response from these potential clients, inviting you to meet.


Then listen to my fabulous interview with the leading authority on referral selling,  Joanne Black…….I promise these are strategies you can implement today and start to fill you diary with “hot introductions”

Interview with Joanne Black


Hi, there this is Dylis Guyan from, International Sales and Marketing, leader coach and speaker. And as always, of course, you don’t have to be international to work with me. And I got a super guest here today I just absolutely can’t wait to hear from this lady and without any further ado;

I must just introduce you to Joanne Black. And Joanne is America’s leading authority on referral selling and she’s not bragging when she says this. And in fact, her publisher gave that moniker and she’s taking it 100% and so she should, she’s absolutely an expert in her field. She’s written two books and you’ll love the titles of these. The first one is ‘No More Cold Calling’ as you can see from that.  Is that your book Joanne or is it a board you have there with ‘No More Cold Calling’?

Joanne:          Yes it is a board, my book is a little smaller than that.

Dylis:              I thought that. It’s fantastic. Anyway, ‘No More Cold Calling’, the breakthrough system that will leave your competition in the dust. And the second one is ‘Pick Up The Damn Phone Have People not Technology Seal The Deal’. These are books that I have read and I recommend them to all of my clients and everybody absolutely loves them. So you’re in for a treat today so please join me in welcoming from San Francisco author speaker and sales contrarian Joanne Black. Hello, Joanne.

Joann:            Oh Dylis thank you.

Dylis:              You’re Welcome. So Joanne referrals, now there are a lot of sales people who have massive misconceptions about referrals and referral selling. So, first of all just let’s cover what those misconceptions are, that you come across, and then what’s your definition of a referral.

Joanne:          What happens is a lot of sales leaders say to me, “Well I tell my people to go get referrals.” Okay well, of course, because we all know that’s the best business but that’s not how to change behavior. You don’t just tell people to go and do something and have it happen.

And so my definition of a referral is you receive an introduction to exactly the person you want to meet. It’s not just the name in the misconception today especially is that oh you know I can research, I can look at all these trigger events. I know what’s happening in a company maybe they’re expanding, maybe their contracting, maybe they’re going into a new vertical, maybe they’re launching an international presence; whatever it is and so I know these trigger events. I’ll just write an email and I’ll give every reason why they should talk to me.  That’s cold, I don’t have an introduction.

Dylis:              Absolutely.

Joanne:          Or sometimes people will say well just call and so Dylis you might say to me, “Joanne I really know you really well and I’ve spoken to someone here in the UK and here’s her name just give her a call and tell her I told you to call,” right? Well sometimes that works I’m not debating that but the power of you making the introduction with the business reason why she should talk to me, like that. We get the meeting, right?

Dylis:              Yes.

Joanne:          That’s a referral. So the misconception is I could just get a name, the misconception is I’m just going to send her a trigger event, an email. The misconception is I could just tell my team go and ask.  None of that is a referral.

Dylis:              I absolutely agree and I’ve got a great example of that just this week in fact, it’s not B2B but the concept is exactly what we’re talking about here and it’s my daughter and son-in-law. And they have a building carpentry business and a prospective client that he didn’t know had been getting quotes so they were in that “ready to buy space” and they’ve been getting quotes and they had other builders go along and they were really dissatisfied.

So they were talking to a colleague who said, you really need to speak to Andrew Harris, he is the guy who will do a fantastic job for you. So they actually called him.

They called him and they arranged a meeting and Drew went along and the very words they used were “I am thrilled to have had this referral and a referral to someone as good as you.”

Because she was open, because of what this guy had said to her, she was just open to taking him on board and because this guy had said that, that Drew is really good, which he is. She didn’t need any more than that, powerful!

Joanne:          It is, I mean it’s amazing and in the consumer world we see it all the time. Somebody will say to you I read this fabulous book you need to read it. Oh, look at this film that is out you need to go see this film.  People don’t just walk into an accounting office off the street, always going to get a referral, to a hairdresser to whomever. We’re always asking and giving in the personal space so we know about it but now the challenge is to translate the personal space to the business space.

Dylis:              I absolutely agree. And referral selling has been around for ages really hasn’tit? I mean its common sense, if you think about it, that a referral is going to be better and easier business for individuals.  But why is it more important today than it’s ever been in the past?

Joanne:          It’s because of technology. So there are two really great things about technology: one we have the opportunity to research to find out about things we never had before, before we ever talk to someone.

So as an example, I had lunch with a colleague, actually who I met in London last year, and he is American and from San Francisco. So we met there and he offered to refer me and he gave me the person’s name of the company.

So what’s the first thing I do, I go to LinkedIn check his profile, pull out some interesting thing and then I’m going to send an email to my colleague who’s offered to refer me and I have some nuggets in there about what I found out about him, right?  So that’s the wonderful tool we have today.

The flipside of that is the dependence on technology. But what’s happening is most of the world is just typing away and that’s how we spend our days isn’t it? A lot of time in front of the computer, we type right and we’re not talking to people.

Dylis:              Yes. Oh, my goodness that is my hobby horse.  I was working with the sales team yesterday and I said pick up the phone, in fact, I used your words, Joanne, pick up the damn phone.

Joanne:          Yes and it’s not to cold call but it’s to have the conversations that matter. So the reason I think referrals are even more important today is because everybody’s typing away and those of us who were having the conversations were getting in early and he gave me an example of this buyer who was ready.

Many times they’re not and that’s fine I talk to everybody because you don’t know when they’re going to be ready, you don’t know when you talk to them what their issues are and even if they’re not the right fit, then they can refer you to someone else.

So I’m in there having the conversation really building and cementing those relationships and when that prospect is ready to move I have the inside track. They tell me things they don’t tell anybody else, they tell me who’s on the buying committee if there is one. They’re going to tell me about budgets, how decisions are made, who to watch out for, who the influences are. You can we get all this information, the competition doesn’t have a chance.

Dylis:              Yeah it’s absolutely fantastic and I remember years ago I was Region Director for Barclays Financial Services and we got this particularly huge target one year and we were debating as a region how do we reach this?

And one of the areas I saw that was missing, was referral business and it wasn’t that they didn’t want it, they just forgot to ask.

So we used to have printed fact finds come into our office and I used to have them put an ‘R’ where the signature was, where the client had to sign there was a big ‘R” printed on there to remind them to ask for referrals. And of course, this was with people who we had done business with.

And I know that we’re going to talk about other opportunities to get referrals. But what a difference, because when that referral was made and they asked the client, “would you let this person know that I’m going to be calling”, the door is half open. That made a huge impact along with servicing our existing clients I might add so there’s those two elements.

Joanne:          But there is something else that happens when you’re asking someone for a referral, think about it from a client like you just mentioned, that a lot of people don’t talk about this or even realise it because it’s rather subtle but if you’re looking at your bankers behind a desk, that client really comes behind the desk on your side. So they are thinking about your business as you think about it and they’re becoming an advocate for you. Sothey’re really internalising what you want and it’s subtle, it’s different and that makes a huge impact.

Dylis:              So often my clients will say, well why don’t people just give me a referral? Why don’t they refer me all the time? They are really happy with what I’ve done, we’ve got a great relationship but they’re not referring me and they say this to me all the time. So what’s your take on that Joanne?

Joanne:          They’re running a business and they don’t care about us. We’re not top of mind for them and they don’t know what they’re supposed to do. So I mean it’s our job as salespeople to educate our clients and guide them and ask for what we want. They just don’t know, I mean okay, occasionally we’ll get a referral from somebody who said, like your son’s case, so and so told me I should talk to you. And that’s great but if I’m a sales person I’m not sitting back and waiting for that to happen, I  wouldn’t be very successful if they did that.  So they don’t know what to do and we need to be asking.

Dylis:              Yeah and then, of course, you’ve got the people who say well I do ask but it doesn’t work.

Joanne:          Yeah well, there’s quite a few reasons for that.

Dylis:              Come on and enlighten us then Joanne.

Joanne:          They will ask you this way, “Well you know, if you know anybody who could benefit from my services please let them know.”  Yeah so all that does is they check “asking for referrals” off their list and it does nothing because it’s so broad it doesn’t mean a thing and we’re never going to get a referral that way.

So that’s not what we need to do, that’s not getting a client or a colleague on our side to represent us. And so as an example, I got an email this morning from a colleague of mine and he has just offered to refer me all the time. He loves what I do and he’s used my system in his company and so this morning he made an email introduction and it was someone he met with yesterday.  And it was a former colleague of his and he said to this person all about referrals and how it helped him. And he said, “my colleague was so impressed that he wants to meet you.”  And so sometimes that will happen but this person and I have had detail conversations about the best way he can make a referral and what signs to look for when it will be right.

Dylis:              So it’s about asking in the right way and we will talk about that in the moment, the right way but it’s also educating the people who are going to refer you and looking after those referrals.

Joanne:          Absolutely, yes. So we need to take care of those referrals because it’s very personal.  So if you refer me you have to be absolutely 150% confident that I’m going to take care of your contact as you would.

Dylis:              Yes, absolutely.

Joanne:          And so there’s a huge amount of trust that goes into that relationship.

Dylis:              And also you have to look after the referrer, the person who has made the referral. It’s important just from listening to what you were saying there that you’ve had a relationship with him. He loves referring you, so he is confident in what you do. He is confident that you’ll look after his client that he’s referring you to and he’s created a habit in a way of doing it, because you obviously you look after him in a way that raises your credibility and his respect for you.

Joanne:          Well I know it’s important to thank the referrer and so I had it in the past, people have said to me, “Oh thank you so much for referring, fill in the name.” We’re working together, I never heard from the person that I referred so do you think I’d ever refer them again?  No. So we need to say thank you. That’s us human being, that’s what we want, we need to thank a person. It could be an e-mail definitely a phone call but a hand written thank you note. How many of those do we get today?

Dylis:              Absolutely, like none.  I share this with my clients and they think it’s a great idea but I just wonder how many go and do it because it’s creating that habit again. So so powerful and of course in our earlier days, we didn’t have social media or anything like that, so referrals really were very important.  And with social media how can we use those tools to help us with referrals?

Joanne:          Well, social media to me and I’m going to speak about LinkedIn specifically, is a place to begin a conversation and begin a relationship. And so we can have all of these online conversations which I have and then we can say let’s talk offline and then we pick up the damn phone and we have a conversation.

I had a client write to me and this is after we worked together with her team and she said, “Here’s the email I want to send asking for a referral.”  No, because we need to have a conversation. If I’m going to refer you Dylis I need to understand what the business reason is for me to make the introduction, right? I need to understand a lot about what you do and we don’t get that by typing, we get that by having a conversation.

Dylis:              That’s right and I’ve got a great example. Recently, through LinkedIn, I connected with someone, he accepted my invitation, I sent him a really valuable infographic which he thought was great and I’ve got some figures around some research that I’d done and I asked him if he would just give me ten minutes of his time to validate this research because I knew that he would have some really valuable insights from his knowledge and expertise.

And so we had a great call, we actually had a Skype call and then he said let’s meet.  I met and as it happens because I had been looking to connect with people who were within a fairly short distance from me, we weren’t very far at all away from each other so we met and he has referred me into his company.

Joanne:          Oh, that’s fantastic!

Dylis:              So that follows exactly what you said about LinkedIn, make the connection, develop the relationship and move it to an offline conversation. For the very reasons where he could then get to know more about me, then we have the meeting and then from there, he was really very happy. So, Joanna, I’m flying the flag for you, I really am. I’m so on board with everything that you’re saying, it’s great.  Here’s a question for you then, how do you think the old school way of selling, you know that sort of relationship building and referrals, trumps the new technology driven way of selling?

Joanne:          Well, I think we know the answer to that question. Okay, so if we sell a commodity then it doesn’t matter but most of us aren’t. For those of us who are selling services who have more complex and longer sales cycles, people buy because of the relationships they have.

We’ve all been in a situation where maybe a sales person approached us and we love the product and we needed it but they were in your face, pushy, arrogant no way we’re ever going to buy from them.

On the flip side, we may have been approached by a salesperson and they were just the greatest person and listened, they were empathetic and we just like them and we had no use for their product so what do we do? We refer them to someone else.

And the research has shown this, and there’s so much today, research about emotional intelligence, mindset and connecting. And if we don’t connect with somebody person to person we’ll never get the business ever.

And we can use this through email, I had an example the other day where someone wrote me and apologised for something that shouldn’t have been online and she wasn’t notified by her team. I could tell she was very frustrated so I wrote back to her and she pulled the link so that was good. And I wrote back to her and I said, “That must be very frustrating for you not to have your team inform you that this was done.” And she sent the nicest e-mail back, it was that one sentence right but I knew, of course, I’m thinking if I’m in her situation I’m frustrated. For those of us in sales and in complex sales obviously we have to have the right solution, obviously, our product has to be the right fit but unless we connect person to person we just don’t get the deal.  And I mean that’s it.

Dylis:              And I’m sure that we are the same in this respect too. A lot of people, prospective clients, and salespeople that you come across, business owners are spending too much time on  technology but they don’t complete the circle and they don’t take it offline to have that personal relationship and that really is the key isn’t it?

Joanne:          It is, when you think about it sometimes I mean I’ve read a lot of posts and we know this. We’ve been in sales cycles and we’re this close to getting a deal and then we hear you know it’s not going to happen because of our head of whatever.  A good friend of his has the same thing and we’re going to go with him. It’s always about the relationship.

Dylis:              Yes that’s right. So give us your, in fact I’m going to take us back a step to when people say, so are you happy with the product and so on, would you refer me if you get the opportunity, would you just mention my name to people and that’s it? So what should they be saying?

Joanne:          They need to if they are working with a current client.  So those are our best source of new business and nobody is asking. I ask all the time when I speak and I do webinars and work with clients.

Have you asked every single one of the people you came in contact with during the sales process for a referral? You can guess the answer is no,. Sometimes they’ll put a hand halfway up but that doesn’t count, it’s either yes or no.

So that’s not happening and there are quite a few reasons why and part of it is they think that, oh you know that person wouldn’t know anybody so they discount people especially with complex sales.

Another is a way a lot of companies are organised that you’ve got sales people especially in software sales. They sell a deal they hand it off, they move onto the next one but they’re the ones that have the relationships. And so when you’re working with a current client it’s important to check in with them and get their take on the business impact of your solution. What it meant for them, where they were, what the problem was and where they are now and how you actually close that gap. 

So they make the business case for working with you and that’s the foundation for the introduction. But if you’re my current client Dylis and we work together and you’ve got this huge benefit from the program I did with you then I would in a way interview you and find out that you went from having not enough qualified leads in your pipeline, your sales people weren’t calling high enough, they weren’t making quota, your sales were down. To, after working together you have your salespeople getting meetings in one call, you’re having them get meetings with the right person and their conversion rate has soared to well more than 50% and your pipeline is full of only qualified leads.

I’ve taken you from where you were to where you’ve gone. And so that’s the case and therefore I’m going to ask you, but I’ve also researched on LinkedIn who you might know. I’m going to ask you, given what we talked about and the issues that you faced, who else should I be talking to?

And the question is who, because you can’t say no to that question.  It’s not do you know anyone, I mean that’s just so vague and it could be if you’re in a large company it’s who else in the enterprise so it’s your counterpart in other divisions. It could be other companies’ people in your role in other companies obviously you’re not going to refer me to the competition and then people in your network. What do you do?  Who do you know?

Dylis:              And, of course, there is the supply chain too, isn’t there?

Joanne:          That’s right. So you look at who are your suppliers, who’s in your company, who’s in your network and then who are your customers. So it’s the whole supply chain like you said. And we are going to have that conversation and then you’re going to think about people you know.

I’m only going to ask you for one or two for now because they’re going to be great and then I’m going to thank you tremendously and I’m going to let you know we did business or whatever happens. And then, of course, you’re now thinking on my side of the desk, right? So you’re going to be thinking and coming across more and if I’m in a sale situation in an enterprise you’re not the only buyer so there’s going to be other people in the committee that I’ve had touch points with during the buying process. I’m going to be asking every single one.

Dylis:              Perfect, perfect and then what’s your next step?  So you’re asking me and I say yes I know who I can refer you to Joanne I really think you should be talking to David Jones.

Joanne:          So I would say well tell me about David. What made you think of him?  And again an open question, a question that starts with what or who are very powerful because I want to know as much about David, what the business issues are something triggers that for you. And I also want to know what he’s like as a person, how should I interact with him.  So I want to know that I’m going to get as much information from you as I can in our conversation and then I’m going to ask you to introduce me.

Dylis:              Perfect you are a real expert in this Joanne honestly, I recommend particularly ‘No More Cold Calling’. When I do workshops, that’s the one I write up and say you must get this book.  The private coaching clients, that’s the book I recommend to them, you really are the top of your game. So for our viewers and listeners how might they find out more? Obviously, they can get your books on Amazon but how can they find your website.


Dylis:              Love it.

Joanne:          Go to the website and I encourage you to click on the link about referral insights and my quiz. So I have a fourteen yes/no referral quiz and people find it so valuable because it’s yes/no.

So the quiz is fourteen yes/no and it’s very fast to complete and you’ll see the gaps because these are the fourteen steps, the things you need to do to actually implement a referral program.

And you’ll see the gaps and then I have suggestions there depending on what your score is, so that’s one on my website

I love getting e-mails

I’d love you to follow me on Twitter @referralssales

and of course, invite me on LinkedIn but not with an automated introduction.

Take a minute and say I heard this interview with Dylis whatever else you want to say and we start to make that connection. And then of course because we are a global community I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’m on Pacific Time and so if you’re out of the States it is a plus 1 and my area code is 415-461-8763.

Dylis:              Yes it indeed we will. Joanne, I can’t thank you enough it’s been an absolute pleasure. I love talking to you and getting your wonderful insights. And as I always say, it’s not the information it’s about implementing the information. So people who are listening to this get Joanne’s book. Download the fourteen yes/ no questions and so on and start and implement it and commit to it. And they will see their business just go through the roof.

So Joanne, once again thank you so much, been a great pleasure.

Joanne:          Same here Dylis, bye for now.

Dylis:              Bye for now.

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Are You Delivering a Remarkable Customer Experience?

The big thing around customer experience is that what we human beings fail to recognise is that we are emotional beings, that 84% of our buying decision is based on emotion and it’s about how we feel about the service that we have received. 

Listen to Marie talk about how to have our clients talk about you,  refer you to others. It’s just accepting that it’s not rocket science it’s about help people to feel good about the engagement they’re having with you.



Hi, everybody, this is Dylis Guyan from international sales and marketing leader coach and speaker, but of course, remember you don’t have to be international to work with me.

I’ve got a super guest for you today, Marie Cross. I would call Marie the queen of customer service. She’s customer service extremist, she’s passionate and some in fact say she’s obsessed about developing the talent of front line teams and leaders so that as brand ambassadors, they can enhance their customers experience of the organization that they represent.

And Marie has an impressive track record which has earned her an excellent reputation both as a professional speaker and a first class trainer and coach within her specialized field and she’s worked within the customer service industry for a lifetime really over thirty five years from entry level as a telemarketer for Bupa to running her own customer service training company, First Impression Training aka FIT.  What a fantastic acronym that is.And she’s been doing that for the last sixteen years so there is

very little that she doesn’t know about what it takes to deliver remarkable customer service and ensure a PME, a positive memorable experience another fantastic acronym. And I heard Marie speak recently and she talked about how to create purple Cow Wows and I think you’re already getting the feel of how fabulous Marie is at communicating.So this talk that she had was about how to create these Purple Cow Wows and it’s based on Seth Godin book Purple Cow and Marie waxes lyrical about all things, small things that we can do or we can say that can really make a big difference to our customers’ experience so that we are able to show up and stand out like no one else in our field just like a purple cow.

And after a lifetime of working with blue chip companies Marie has decided to make her wealth of knowledge and experience available to small business owners solopreneurs and congratulations to Marie because I know just yesterday she launched her first ever Online Training Programme, which has been uniquely designed for the individual learner and SME market. And I know that this programme will be top notch and I’d like to touch on that at the end if that’s okay Marie, just so that if people are interested you can tell them where to go to find it.  So welcome!


Thank you so much Dylis, thank you for that amazing introduction!


Well you’re pretty amazing Marie! I couldn’t say anything less than that really and I am delighted to talk to you today. I know that you’re an absolute expert in enhancing the customer experience within companies and we know that that’s really important. Could you tell us exactly what you mean when you say creating a great customer experience.


Well you know Dylis, it’s interesting this one because it should be common sense that if you’re going to experience customer service it ought to be a great experience, otherwise why would you choose to go back to that organization.

I think the big thing around customer experience is that what we human beings fail to recognize is that we are emotional beings that 84% of our buying decision let alone our experience, 84% of it is based on emotion and it’s about how we feel about the service that we have received. And so when we talk about delivering a great customer experience and ensuring that your customers have that PME, that positive memorable experience so that they remember you, they talk about you, they refer you to others, it’s just accepting that it’s not rocket science it’s about help people to feel good about the engagement they’re having with you.

Help them to feel good about the interaction, the communication that’s taking place because 84% of that experience is going to be around how they feel because as we know, people will forget what we have said to them. They will even forget what we’ve done for them as a service provider even if we have been a real gem and gone the extra mile, but they will never ever forget how we made them feel.


That’s exactly right and I know that you would have  experienced this yourself because there are a lot of places, businesses that you deal with where you don’t get that wow experience and there are so many times I’ve been in shops, particularly shops, stores and it’s like you’re an inconvenience.


Yes, Yes.


Or, if I could take another example where you call a call centre, for some help and they don’t listen to what you’re saying.


I think for the call centre environment in particular which of course, has been fixed bad for the last 16 years, we have been very much focused within the call andcontact center environment, from line teams and leaders and I think the challenge that these guys have working on a front line is that much of the work that they do is very process driven and screen led and when you are in that kind of environment where you are having to process the call you’re always going to be at risk of processing the caller.




And I think that’s really where we have come in when we have worked with frontline organisations within the call and contact center industry as recognising that you need to separate the need to transact business, which of course, you have to do, otherwise you’re out of business.


Of course.


So to transact business you have a process that call, you have to deal with that situation but not at the expense of actually building and developing the relationship because as you and I know, Dylis people buy and buy into people that they feel as though they know, like, and trust/ And we’ve got to make sure that that relationship is built and developed first before and in order to transact the business i.e. process that call.


And what I’m really loving is the fact that you’re bringing your experience to the SME market, to the solopreneur.  And this is one of the ways that people can really make themselves stand out, because there is a lot of competition out there and this is an area that can really enhance your reputation as a business


So true Dylis, it’s so true and for most of us I would imagine most of the SME’s that you and I come across and the solopreneurs, most of us are operating within that competitive marketplace. There are lots of other organizations large and small who are offering very similar products and services at very similar prices with very similar terms and conditions and so our prospects and customers are choosing who they’ll do business with and remain loyal to, based on the differences that, that organization provides. And as you and I know there is actually only one true differentiator and that is you the people and the service that you and your people provide, that’s it!




You and your people truly are the kind of vital ingredient in your recipe of success when it comes to delivering remarkable customer service.


Completely and a lot of my clients have this misconception that people buy the cheapest and they don’t. And if you are by far ahead on price people will still buy because of the experience, because of the feeling, because of that service.


That is so true Dylis and I always use our very own example we’re actually quite, well some would say that it’s the fairly arrogant statement to make, we think it’s a very honest statement to make which is that, when it comes to providing world-class customer service training we are most definitely not the cheapest in the marketplace.

In fact, I will go as far as to say we are probably one of the most expensive in the marketplace. We’re definitely excellent value for money although we do not come cheap. And what we know is that we have built a business, First Impression Training has been built for the last 16 years on personal recommendation and referral when our great clients move organisations and as soon as they moved organisations they are back on the phone to us.

So yeah, you have to be half good to be getting that kind of recommendations and build a business purely on recommendation, to begin with. But on top of that it’s kind of living proof that actually it isn’t only ever about price. Sure, price has to play its part but that’s about the return on your investment that you’re getting from it




As opposed to the actual price itself. So I think that is so true, I know there is that some research, quite recent research around customers paying or prepared to pay 25% more for a better customer experience.




That’s kind of proof that it’s not all about, it’s not all about the money.


Yes, yes quite right. And one of my clients has a very high ticket product. It’s not a client that I would normally work with, because this is a high-end glass product actually and it is fabulous but also to go along with that it is a fabulous experience when you go into their gallery. It is mind blowingly good.  And people go back and back and back.  So when you’ve got a great product and a great service, wow!  You really can lead the way and I know that’s the case for you.




And really I suppose you have to demonstrate that when you’re working with clients especially as that’s your service.


Of course, absolutely. And I think it’s also about recognising some of the ramifications of not doing your best to show up and stand out like nobody else in your competition. The ramifications are huge, they are massive and it is just recognizing that even though those ramifications of not showing up and standing out like nobody else in your competition, even though they’re huge, they’re massive, actually what you can do to set up and stand out like nobody else can and does are actually very small things.




They aren’t massive, they are actually very, we call the one percenters, they are small things that can make a really big impact on how your customers feel about the experience that they’re getting from your organisation. Remembering of course that 84% of their experience is all around how they feel.


Absolutely.  So let’s just go back a step then, Marie. Something you mentioned there about the ramifications of not giving a great service, what is the impact of that? What are the consequences for businesses?


Well. Some of them are dire.  In that when you experience, as we all know, when you experience great service sadly, it’s slightly improving with the explosion of social media and things going viral.  When we get great service we do tend to tell more from a viral perspective but we do tend to tell more people now but traditionally we know that when we get great service we tell between 5 and 10 people. When we get bad service of course, apart from the fact that social media has ensured that literally we go viral within seconds there, I think the latest research from the Institute of Customer Service showing that 48% of people who are complaining about poor service are doing so via social media and expecting a response from the organization within sixty minutes so within the hour they want it sorted, they want it resolved.

So I think that the ramifications are around how quickly bad news spreads and that kind of that furnace is fueled by others who then jump on the bandwagon about, wow you think that’s bad listen to the bad experience I had the other day. And before we know it as we know negativity breeds more negativity. So I think just from that point of view the fact that we cannot ignore, to me that’s the positive of the likes of social media of when you receive bad service you absolutely have the right to go viral on it to make that organization accountable for all the experience that you have encountered.

But I think where there is value in doing something about those ramifications, is for me, what was in the research that I did last year around complaining customers. We’d done a few projects in the last twelve months, I’m not quite sure how that’s worked out but have been around complaint teams and around how they can improve, not just the complaint handling process within the organisation but how they can handle their customer’s experience around the complaint once it’s got to that stage in a more effective way.

And the research that we that we concluded or that we took to the market that we got back, was when you have a customer who has received very poor service, perhaps that has escalated into a complaint because the front liners haven’t been given those little one percenters and they kind of keep the lid on things and deal with things. We call it, get it right the first time. When that hasn’t happened but those customers have gone on to their complaint to become public that they then have their complaint resolved, they actually go on to become four times more loyal than customers who have never had cause to complain. And I think that’s quite interesting!


Wow, that’s interesting.


And I think the reason why it’s so interesting is because it’s about giving those customers an opportunity to voice their concerns so that the organization has the chance to put it right,  we always say that it’s 68% of your customers who are choosing, it’s that word again, who are choosing to move their business elsewhere or move their loyalty elsewhere or choose a different provider to buy from are doing so due to a, and this is the actual terminology used in the research, due to a lack of care or contact by the provider.

And so if you have a complaint that’s been brought to your attention you’re clearly in contact with them so you’ve got some engagement going on and as we say, a tiny little one percentre. Create a purple cow wow around a complaint by thanking that individual for giving you the opportunity to put things right. Thank them for the feedback about the poor service that they’ve received and thank them too for the opportunity that you have been given as the brand ambassador to do something to put that situation right.


Yeah, and that’s absolutely right I’m just thinking of a personal experience where we had a decorator in and I don’t know what would had happened when he had done the staircase it was actually starting to come off when scraped with your fingernail, but when I rang him he said I would be around this afternoon, I will come round and have a look and from there he was brilliant. He rubbed it all down and it may have been something on the original paint work, whatever it was it didn’t matter he dealt with it immediately and I really appreciated that and respected the fact that he had enough respect for me to come and put it right. So, in fact, I sing his praises because we do know that humans will make errors, processes can sometimes break down but you’re absolutely right it’s how it’s dealt with following that.


Yes, absolutely.


That’s brilliant. So Marie, I’d like you to give us the secrets. What’s the secret sauce for remarkable customer service? So for anyone listening what are those one percenters that people can just put in place today?


Yeah, sure.  Do you know Dylis, you spoke earlier about us bringing our wealth of knowledge and experience around what it takes to, you know what are the secrets of remarkable customer service to the SME markets. We launched yesterday and in our programme which is called the Ultimate Customer Service Training Programme there are in fact 21 secrets that we share in that programme. I’m going to give you our top three today.


Right, brilliant.


That you can share with your listeners and with your followers to say that the great news is guys it isn’t rocket science. It’s common sense. I know that that isn’t very common having said that. Back to those small things that can make a big difference. So for example, one good example was that thanking a customer for bringing something negative to your attention and giving you the opportunity remembering that people buy or buy into people first before they buy into anything that you are trying to sell them or tell them, they have to buy into you.

So recognise secret number one is recognise you are the difference that makes the difference. You can make or break your customer’s relationship with your organization, all dependent on how you come across whether that’s face to face or over the telephone or indeed even through the written word. So for us that is super secret number one about ensuring remarkable customer service is flaunt every positive ingredient that you have in your makeup and your behavior because you are the difference that makes the difference. You are the brand ambassador of your business.

Linked to that super secret number two for us is around use of the customer name and it seems like such an obvious one but there are so many little one percenters attached to that big one percentre about use the customer’s name not just to build rapport because when you know someone’s name you use it, It is a nice way to build rapport but it’s also a really nice way to control the conversation in a very assertive yet not interrogative way.

So if a customer is going off on one, trying to interject  whether that’s over the phone or face-to-face then actually when you hear their half of breath, then you could jump in with the use of their name which will catch their attention immediately and then you can take back control. But of course, when I say lots about the one percent is linked to that it is also recognising that getting the customer name wrong can disable rapport as quickly as it can build rapport.




whether that’s in writing or whether that’s been spoken.


And Marie, I’d really just like to make a point on that because I know when we very first met, I called you Maria at one point and actually I knew it was Marie  but people get my surname wrong so my name is Dylis Guyan and without exception they get the surname wrong, so I’m Goo Yang, Goo Chin and so on but if people call me Phyllis or Glennis or Denise it really hits that raw nerve  doesn’t it and it is just a one percentre, it’s a tiny little thing, but it has such a big impact if you get it wrong


It really does and it also has, the great news is it has a very big impact if you get it right.  Just remember guys that over use is as bad as no use at all.


Yes, I’m glad you said that.


And using it inappropriately is also a good way to disable rapport.  I always use the example of me that when I asked my name especially in a B2C environment if I’m asked for my name I would say it’s Marie Cross.  I would expect the person whether across the way or the other end of the phone to ask me is that Miss or Mrs.  I would say it’s Mrs., but please do call me Marie. But I would wait, I would not expect them that it would be okay for them to assume it was okay for them to call me Marie until they checked that was okay. So that’s a little one percentre of use of a customer’s name.

They’re all kind of rules around it but it is a great way to both build rapport and of course to keep control of the conversation to say whether you’re face-to-face or over the phone. And as I said, there are 21 one percenters in total but I think my third most favorite has got to be the little one percentre of what FIT refer to as the Tape Technique and it’s where we have to deliver a little bit of bad news, in inverted commas, to a customer.

So perhaps as a good example, we can get our customers order to them, because they’re phoning very late in the day. We can’t get it to them but we’ve obviously missed the run for today to get it processed so it will actually be on the van first thin tomorrow.

It is normal and natural to focus on what we can’t do when we are in a customer service environment.




That kind of comes, it trips of the tongue to say in all that what we refer to as RIP language. Unfortunately, I am ever so sorry, I’m afraid to tell you that the process has already been completed today so it won’t be on the van tomorrow, but I can definitely get it on the van for you first thing where are we today, Tuesday, first thing tomorrow yes Wednesday.

So it’s kind of normal and natural for us to focus on what we can’t do before than or rather than focus on what we can do. And so the way the tape technique works it uses reverse psychology, so it’s about making sure that you get your customer’s good news tape playing first so that when you go on to deliver the bad news it actually gets delivered on to the good news tape which just kind of lessens the impact of the bad news.

So I can certainly get your order processed for you today and ensure that it’s on the van for delivery for you tomorrow, although the van has already left the yard for today. So it’s same message that you’re delivering, you’re just doing it in a much more positive way.  That for me has to be my favourite third one percent.




There are twenty one in total in our new programme the Ultimate Customer Service Training Programme.


Fantastic, I love that one, about what you can do and not what you can’t do. It’s brilliant!  And I am certainly going to get your 21 secrets to remarkable customer service and I am very aware of it as well, but we are always learning, there will always be something that we can add to what we already do.  So Marie that has been absolutely super, thank you so much and if the listeners would like to find out more or just engage with you where they can find you?


Yes, sure. Well you can always give us a ring so on FIT at, email us so as in give us a call, or you give us a call on 01622761321. Please do link up with me, follow me, find me. Let’s become friends and yeah we would be delighted to engage with your listeners and your followers Dylis. There is a link that will be on the First Impression Training Facebook page.

If you want to find out any more there is a free preview of the Ultimate Customer Service Training Programme that your followers can take advantage of at absolutely no cost to them whatsoever to see whether or not it would be suitable for their particular business and if not that’s fine and if so well that’s fantastic too.


Great and also they can download the 21 secrets, is it seven secrets or 21 secrets


We have a free guide called the 7 super secret to become remarkable customer service. So how to become a true brand ambassador on your front line. That is a free giveaway or you have to do is go to our website to do that and if you take the tour once you’re there Dylis of our website as I say


That’s call as in C-A-L-L


Yes, Then on the website you will find if you take the tour there are all sorts of success resources, lots of blueprints that you can download completely free and just some really great little one percenters across the site that will help you both stay on track and keep positive when we are in this space of ensuring a PME for every prospect or customer, day in day out. Because sometimes it can be a hard slog.


Yes indeed. But sometimes Marie, it’s just bringing these one percenters to people’s notice and them say well actually we can implement this easily.  And I think there’s another thing I would like to add It’s about keeping it live.




It’s about implementing. I call this keeping the red paint red so that everybody has got the message and it stays that same depth of red, in other words, the same message just going down from top to bottom and that it is kept live and people continue to do it and take that responsibility for it and say actually how can we make this even better?




And actually we could have Marie in and that would make it even better.


Yes. Yes we do that too. But I love that analogy Dylis.  I love that analogy because it is so true what we say about FIT. FIT was built on fitting in with each individual organisation that we have worked with over the last 16 years and prior to that, I was a freelancer for 10 years and I was all about fitting in with each individual front line too. But it’s recognising that every single one of those one percenters that we share in the Ultimate Customer Service Training Programme can be quickly contextualized. It’s not about theory I mean I’m fascinated as a psychologist I’m fascinated with theories and concepts studying psychology. But having said all of that, actually I am also a pragmatist having worked on the front line, I want to know how does that little one percenter work in practice. And the great news for anyone investing in the Ultimate Customer Service Training Program is that each little one percenter, you get the opportunity to contextualise it into your specific environment because that what keeps it real.


That’s fantastic, Marie thanks once again it’s been super I absolutely love talking to you and I hope that the listeners have got lots from this too. So until I see you again bye for now


Thank you so much Dylis, great talking to you as well.




Bye for now.


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YOU Must Be The Difference!

Most people come into selling with the vague idea that if they know their product and have a bit of the old patter, they are likely to get drowned by the amount of sales they make. If only that were the case. Unfortunately, this is only two of the many essential factors that are going to win the day. As much as you need to know your own product inside out, you also need to know your client.

Here’s why.

In your sales training you will have been pounded with all the wonderful features of your company’s product. You will have sat up at night revising it until you talk about it in your sleep and begin to see it in your dreams – if not your nightmares… You will know all of its cool benefits and how it will help the average man on the street.

But you are not meeting the average man on the street.

You are meeting a real person who is representing a real company which has a unique profile, mission, needs and requirements. This company will perceive your product (or service) totally differently from any other organisation. It is this unique difference that you need to work on.

By understanding which features and benefits of your product will be most appealing to your buyer, you will be able to adapt your conversation to his exact requirements. Now you are not just hawking a product – you are fulfilling a need. You have the client’s solution – the chances of winning the pitch just trebled!

So, the difference between the data about the product and the info about your client, is (unless that information is already held by your company) you are going to have to do some personal research for the latter. Time-consuming may be, but the benefits could be astronomical.

That information isn’t difficult to find now we have the internet at our fingertips. Here are some pointers as to how you can gather that all important information you need:

Are they known to your organisation?

It may be that your prospective buyer is not only known to your company, but they have actually bought from you before. This is a great source of information. It is likely that your company will not only hold a rich background knowledge of the organisation, but also data about what they were interested in and why. If the latter is difficult to track down, consider finding who made the sale. This person, will be a mine of useful information as to how to approach your prospective buyer and what to focus upon.

Previous sales

You are now also aware of something very important. If the buyer has bought from you before, they have built a certain amount of trust in your company. During your sale conversation, you need to make them aware of previous sales and how you hope you can successfully meet their needs again.

First contact

If this is a new contact, refer to how they made their first communication.  Is there a contact form which states what their primary needs are? Can you approach a colleague who took the initial call?

Read their website

The company website should give you a good idea as to what the organisation is about and how they fit into their industry. There may also be mission statements and about us pages which will offer ideas as to their goals.

Social media pages

Social media is not only fundamental to communication in the 21st century, it is also essential for business marketing. Facebook may offer company pages and LinkedIn will have a profile and company page. The latter especially gives insight into size of the company, employees, networks and company history.

Use google to dig deeper

Time to be a little inventive. You can put anything into Google and you will get a million solutions back. Try putting in their company name first and see what you get. Then add a few words to the search phrase like “[director] says” “latest figures”, feedback, or “bankruptcy” – you may get a few surprises.

Add company name to Google alerts

Google alerts will feed back any news about the search phrase you input into it. Won’t you look good when you roll up totally knowledgeable about their current promotions!

What is happening in their industry/ read industry magazines and newspapers

They maybe in a different industry to you so understand the sphere they work in. By reading popular industry magazines (these are also often available online) you can get a feel for prevalent issues, an idea of organisational infrastructure and a handle on cutting edge news stories which will be great to drop into your pitch!

Benefits to all

Differentiate yourself from your competitors. At the same time create a situation where your clients can’t do without YOU never mind your product or service because of the valuable insights you bring.

Not only will you find you will be attracting more clients more quicker and easier than ever before but they will also be recommending you to others.

Now you are not just hawking a product – you are fulfilling a need. You have the client’s solution and you can bring valuable insights that will challenge your client’s thinking – the chances of winning the pitch just trebled.



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Is your CRM system a waste of time and money?

Listen to my interview with Australia’s leading CRM expert Gill Walker. She will open your eyes to the huge opportunities your CRM system will give you to develop more business. Which all of your Sales People will love!

Do you have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool in place, that enables small business owners to identify; a decline in sales, loss of existing clients, identify your best clients, the position of the decision maker, where your best sales are coming from and much more?

Or is your CRM tool seen as another irritant which takes up too much of your time?

Listen to my interview with Australia’s leading CRM expert Gill Walker. She will open your eyes to the huge opportunities your CRM system will give you to develop more business. Which all of your Sales People will love!



Hello everyone. This is Dylis Guyan from and I’m really excited to introduce my guest today. This is a lady from Australia and her name is Gill Walker, Gill is known as the CRM fix it woman. Brilliant title, I must say. Anyone that’s got issues with CRM implementation, then call on Dr. Gill to diagnose the issues and then prescribe a solution. And Gill says, I especially like making esoteric information easily understandable for everyone even if they know nothing about CRM, technology or IT.

You are just my kind of lady, Gill.

So Gill is a CRM thought-leader who’s been featured on Business Online TV, interviewed with big thought leaders in Australia. She’s appeared on Eagle Waves Radio and she’s been published in Source and Family Business Magazine. And she has a fabulous blog on a range of topics relating to CRM and especially Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Hello Gill! I’m absolutely thrilled to have you on the podcast today.


Hello Dylis. All the way from, well not sunny at this time of day but warm Sydney in Australia. It’s great to be here. Thank you.


Well, it’s a pleasure to have you on. Gill, just really to get started, just give us a bit of your background, a bit of your story, how you got to where you are today.


I’ve been playing in the CRM space for about twenty years and focused on dynamics since 2001 since before it came to Australia. Although I am now Australian and live here, I am actually British. I don’t come from all that far from you. I am originally from Liverpool.

I’ve been working in what I’m doing since 2004 but also with other CRM solutions. I do what I’m doing and it’s very much a melding of different ideas. I got into CRM by accident from training and consulting, then I moved into Clarify and Seable then I got head hunted to come to Australia. That’s what brought me here.

And once that came to an end, I set up Opsis, my own company and that’s been keeping me out of mischief since 2004. It’s very much business focused and training focused.


Just for our listeners, could you describe to us what is CRM exactly.


It’s many things to many different people. Start from the basics. It stands for Customer Relationship Management. Although unfortunately in a lot of instances it becomes more customer record management because there is a lot more focus is on the data than on the people themselves or the relationship.

To take it a little bit further, what it should be is a single source of truth for all of the relevant customer information that is made centrally available so everybody who needs it can access it when they need it rather than having to go into the office or having to ask somebody who’s not working today or having to do whatever they need to do.

It should make a lot of information readily available so that the relationship with that client or customer can be managed by a team.


And it’s about the right hand knowing what the left hand is doing, isn’t it?


Absolutely! Well, of course the right hand could be in one location or even one time zone and the left hand is in a completely different location or time zone but you can still jointly serve the client.


And the other thing that I see as being a huge benefit is the ability to grow your business; so to use it as a business development tool.


It’s massive! One of its key points is one of the best ways of predicting the future is to create it. And you can do that by looking into the history and seeing what worked, what didn’t work, maybe what type of people made good clients and equally what type of people made less good clients. And from that, you can make strategic business decisions as to where you should invest your effort and money. Obviously, once you start investing your effort and money in the productive profitable areas, your growth will just happen.


I think it’s absolutely invaluable and yet over all of the years that I’ve been working with business people and salespeople whose companies have got a CRM system or not, they are muddling along without this huge asset, which can literally change the face of their business. So what in your view are the biggest challenges that businesses and salespeople face when they’re working without a CRM system either a basic version or a more professional version?


The biggest risk is the loss of information and there’s fundamentally two different aspects to that loss of information. There’s the sort of trickle loss of information that can be viewed almost like a dripping tap or a tap that’s been left running a little bit where people think: I’ll remember that. I’ll remember to get back to that person. I’ll remember to send that proposal, do that email, whatever. And then they just forget. And there is a degree of that, that is almost bound to happen.

But the bigger risk is when a key salesperson, maybe not even necessarily a salesperson but a key person leaves, voluntarily or otherwise. Maybe it’s a planned departure, maybe not and they take with them, maybe their laptop if they were using a private laptop and all of the data that they’ve been working with. And depending on what proportion of their sales force, it could be if you are very unlucky, 100% of your pipeline and future revenue walks out of the door when that person walks out of the door.

So if we use our dripping tap analogy, that’s not a dripping tap. That’s the tap coming off the wall and a complete disaster.


Absolutely! And that can be devastating to a business.


I’ve seen businesses go under when that happens. because if we take it even further, if the salesperson in question is malicious, they might even go and set up in competition and you’ve got the overhead and the infrastructure. They’ve got the pipeline and the clients. You go under and they are the Phoenix that rises from your ashes.


Yes, absolutely. I cannot really get why anyone wouldn’t have a CRM system. However, having said that, one of the other issues I come across is that people are reluctant to complete it, to add the data. And I’ll say this very politely, rubbish in, rubbish out.


You’ve led me beautifully into my sausage machine story.


Oh, please share!


You could have the best sausage machine in the world but if you put sawdust, recycled paper and a few slops of lard in the front end, you are not going to get good quality sausages out of the other end. And it’s not the sausage machines fault. That same sausage machine once it has been cleaned up a bit, given some good quality meat, bit of onion and all the other things, and I’m not a sausage maker, that same sausage machine will produce glorious sausages that will win you awards.


Yeah, absolutely. So why do you think there is this reluctance to put accurate data in on a daily basis, to give you those good results? What is it that’s holding people back?


It’s probably two things overall. The first and the biggest is that when the solution was designed and I like to use the word solution rather than system because system has a very technology feel to it. Solution acknowledges that CRM includes technology but also the includes very much the people who need to use it.

When the solution was not designed thinking about the needs of those users, typically salespeople, so it was made too difficult, those users are thinking very much what’s in it for me and they don’t see any personal benefit. They see that the system/solution has been put in for their managers, for their boss, for the CEO to spy on them, to get reports and all they have to do is key in the data. There’s nothing in it for them. And that comes down to the original scoping of the system and whether it’s designed just for report or whether the data input user was considered as well and the training.

Let’s face it. None of us, including me, were born knowing how to use any CRM solution and so many companies just don’t bother. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “my team are bright and will pick it up” I wouldn’t be on this podcast now.


Exactly! And I think also it’s explaining why and the benefits to them. Like we spoke earlier about how you can develop your business from the data that they’ve collected.


That’s very important and all users need to understand that why and part of that is knowing not only how to do the job they need to do but understanding where that fits in to the entire business process of the organization and specifically the data flow that is an integral part of that business process.

So the data entry should be seen not just as, I have to sit in front of this screen and use this keyboard with my fingers which I hate doing and type this in there, it should be taken above that. Yes, that might be the technique that has to be used, but it is done so that the information is captured and managed to serve the customer, the user and the business more fully.


Absolutely! The other thing that they can use it for is to identify strengths and weaknesses. Where I’m I doing well, where I’m I not doing so well, where do I need some development here? Managers can use this system in that way with the salesperson to help the development of their people to become more expert in what they do.


Like anything, once you can measure it, you can manage it. So depending on what particular data you’re talking about, you certainly can watch trends. Maybe one particular sales person does really well in one type of business or in one geography or if we look at the particular buyers they are selling to, it might be particular personality types. That can be used in a couple of ways. We can take the flip side of that and say, well, this person doesn’t do particularly well in these industries, these types of people these geographies, so give them some training to help them in whatever those areas are. Alternatively, we can take that and say, well, this person is good in the areas that they are good and allow them to pass this expertise on to other members of the team.


Oh, I agree with you wholeheartedly, Gill and this is just missed so often and I’m sure you see this too, that you have people in companies and businesses where there are individuals silos of information. There isn’t enough sharing of skill, of knowledge, of business intelligence, sharing of knowledge in a particular market place and if that was implemented, it gives the opportunity for such business growth and of course the CRM system is the platform to discover that.


It absolutely is. It eminates from fear, where you’ve got a sales group and I don’t want to use the word team, but a sales group who all have very individual targets and no group or team level target, you are asking for that sort of behavior because people feel threatened. They don’t gel as a team, so they don’t work as a team, they don’t look at helping each other because it’s all about, I need to get that sale because I need to make my targets with my clients and my my my.

Whereas if you could turn it on its head and encourage support and sharing of information, that then will help the customers. So customers can be helped potentially 365 days in a year if that’s appropriate without any one person having to work those sorts of numbers.


Yes, that’s right. And of course there’s another angle to this as well in terms of motivation because people have this idea that individuals won’t share because of the very things you’ve just said. But when you give them the opportunity to maybe speak at a meeting or to share with a group or to be a mentor or a buddy to someone, it’s really motivational for them and they blossom in that space. But again, the leaders have to create this.

And back to what I said, it’s all information that you can gather from your CRM system. It’s a wonderful tool that will give a wealth of information and so underused. So Gill, what would your top tips be for any business owner or salesperson or leaders in big businesses who want to introduce a CRM system? Tell us what your top tips are first of all and then we can talk about any added benefits. We’ve talked about a lot already but we can look at any further ones. So your top tips for introducing a CRM system.


My top tips for introducing a CRM solution anywhere in an organization, whether it’s organization wide or just to one department team within an organization is, well the top tips are three fundamentally.

Tip number one is scope the project correctly. Scoping is the design of the solution and make sure that the design meets the needs of both the reporting in other words the data that you want out and the people that have to put the information in. That is always step one.



Sorry, Gill. That’s like you begin with the end in mind.


Yes. Then we need to go into the design, the building development phase. In that phase, this is one of my top tips, I would say stay as close to vanilla as is feasible and that will depend on the individual business.

Top tip number two is testing. Make sure that before you roll that system out to a large or larger number of users, it’s been tested thoroughly.

Top tip number three which cuts across the whole of your project is the training, not just end user training but training at the beginning of the project so you know what your selected technology will deliver out of the box. Training so people understand how things are developing. Make sure that your technical people really do understand the technology that they are developing.

And then your end user training, make sure that all of your users get training that focuses on their job and not just the how but the why of their job and shows them where their role fits into the process, the flow of the organization as a whole.


Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! And if people put this, forgive me, I use the word system and I love the fact that you are referring to it as a solution, are there any additional benefits that we haven’t touched on?


I think we’ve touched on the important ones in that you can grow your business, you can get people working much more as a team and one of the things that you do see in some businesses is you’ve got marketing and sales working as two completely siloed bits of the business.

A properly implemented CRM solution can get the marketing and the sales people working perhaps not as one team but singing from the same hymn sheet like four-part or two-part harmony, both different but nevertheless the two together make much more than the two working as individuals. And that comes out from a whole range of ways.

We can then take it further into the people that are doing the customer service or the implementation of whatever goods or services the organization in question supplies and sells and then we can move the loop around further so every part of the business can feed intelligence into every other part of the business.


Going back to what you said about sales and marketing, the number of times I see sales on the seventh floor and marketing on the fourth floor and never the twain shall meet. They don’t even talk to each other. They are linked. You can’t have them divorced one from the other.


When you put that social divide from the fourth floor to the seventh floor or even just either side of division in the office, you then hear: These leads that marketing provide are useless. We never get any sales from them. And marketing will be saying: We put all this effort into brochures and product development, marketing and lead generation and sales never want to take our leads. They want to do their own thing. They just throw rocks at each other.

But if you get that flow where marketing follow a process where they are involved in the early nurturing and then can get to the point where it’s a qualified lead that gets handed off along with a whole load of information to a sales person who can then start delving much more deeply into those qualified leads, needs and desires and craft a solution that works, all the while of course maintaining the information management within CRM so that intelligence is gained and feeds back. So that we can do the whole lot all over again without having to completely reinvent the wheel every time we want to take the car out of the drive.


Exactly. For me, a CRM solution is essential to every business no matter how big, no matter how small. It’s absolutely essential. Gill, honestly, that has been such fabulous insight and I hope that the listeners have gained a lot from that. And if there is anyone listening who would like to talk to you further or would like to find out more, how can they get in touch with you?


Probably the best place to start is from our website which is That includes full contact details or if anybody can’t wait that long to get to the website the phone number is Australian so it is +61282123480.


Brilliant! Gill, thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure to speak to such a thought leader on this subject and you’ve given us some absolutely superb insights into the reasons why and the benefits of having a really good CRM system in place. So thank you once again and have a great day.


Thank you. Good night.


Bye for now.


Thank you so much. Bye for now.


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Are you feeling lost and confused?

Failure comes in many different guises in business, but there is one factor I see again and again. So many marketing and selling campaigns fail simply because even astute managers and leaders struggle to understand the difference between tactics and strategy. So, welcome to strategy central. This article is meant to help you stop falling into the same trap.

Do you feel lost and confused?


Are you ConfusedFailure comes in many different guises in business, but there is one factor I see again and again. So many marketing and selling campaigns fail simply because even astute managers and leaders struggle to understand the difference between tactics and strategy. So, welcome to strategy central. This article is meant to help you stop falling into the same trap.

Let’s take a look

A client of mine – who we shall call Phil – had just begun his career selling commercial printers. He was given a desk, a phone and a computer and told by his absent boss to sell, sell, sell! Very helpful. You can imagine the panic set in. He had to prove himself day 1 or he would not have his feet under the table for very long. Monday morning he started dialling numbers, he found in yellow pages, he thought would be interested and started his spiel. Sometimes he got a sale. Most times he didn’t.

The end of the afternoon he was lost and confused. He wasn’t sure which numbers he had rung or where to go next and he still needed 5 more sales. He was tired and had little passion for repeating the same script and he knew that boredom was coming over in his voice. Phil didn’t make the sales he needed, things got worse over the next 3 days and eventually he handed in his resignation.

Where had things gone wrong?

This is an extreme case and it is certainly not all Phil’s fault. But basically, he was given the tactics to make a sale and not a strategy. It also suggested that his boss, even if he had a company marketing and selling strategy – did not share it with Phil.


“Tactic are the tools you implement in a marketing or sales campaign. A strategy is how you use and organise those tools to reach a set goal”


Phil only had tactics. He had no real strategy or goal. This prevented him from:

  • Assessing the effectiveness of each activity he was using
  • Without any real goal, or understanding of the payback from the tactics he was using he quickly lost motivation
  • A known goal would have allowed Phil to be more creative in the tactics he was using
  • A strategy would have enabled him to organise his time and activities so all his energies could be effectively driven towards a clear goal for himself and the company.

Harvard business School has completed a study on how businesses implement their strategies. The results suggest that unless that strategy is dissipated throughout the company and there is commitment to it on all levels of the corporate hierarchy, there is a danger it will collapse. They clearly show that unless over-arching strategies are implemented, processes and campaigns will not work at full capacity:

  • Only 65% of organizations have an agreed-upon strategy
  • Only 14% of employees understand the organisations strategy
  • Less than 10% of all organisations successfully execute the strategy.

source : Forbes/Larry Myler


Why do people with their own businesses regularly make such a bad deal of something which should be so easy? These are the primary reasons:

  1. Businesses do not feel they need to dissipate strategies throughout the whole company so those goals are not intrinsic to everyday procedures
  2. When there is no pay off realised from a specific marketing or sales technique there is a tendency to change approach even though the strategy in reality has proved to give real results in the long run
  3. When there is a huge choice of tactics to implement, a salesman or marketing executive can end up fritting from one to another in the desperate hope of some kind of result.
  4. If marketing and sales are not given the importance they deserve, no central framework is constructed and the result is a scatter-gun technique.
  5. When things are going good, sales and marketing are often put on the back burner (especially in SME’s), when things are bad it is too late to construct a robust framework for marketing and sales.

So how can a strategy be quickly put in place?

  • First of all, you need a clear goal and plan. What do you specifically intend to achieve? Make sure you write these down. This is important as once it is in black and white it has real focus and has boundaries which must be adhered to.


  • Understand your client and the world in which they operate. Where will you find them and how do you access their world? Understand what their problems are and why they need your product or service.


  • Create a multiple contact strategy that will give you access to your target market and enable you to appear as an expert in your field. This may be social media, blogging forums, emails, phone calls, business visits or whatever, but you need to feel comfortable with the approach and understand what can be termed positive results. For instance, social media posts may not get hundreds of new sales but it can be great way of exposing your brand and creating top of mind thinking.


  • Track and measure your results against your goal so that you can identify was is and isn’t working and adapt your strategy accordingly. It is utter madness to continue doing the same thing and expect different results.


  • Keep client focused throughout implementation and keep the thread of your client’s problem central to your posts in all of your channels.



  • IMPLEMENT You can think about doing something for as long as you like but if you don’t take action nothing changes



Click here to watch a video and listen to a case study which includes this exact strategy.


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Why discounting in sales and in marketing can have negative results

There is no doubt that discounting is a powerful and effective tool for drawing in the crowds and increasing sales. No-one can argue with the fact that when it is done well, strategically and methodically, it enhances a brand message, leads to a higher return on investment in the long term and enhances customer relationships. But…

price-cutThere is no doubt that discounting is a powerful and effective tool for drawing in the crowds and increasing sales. No-one can argue with the fact that when it is done well, strategically and methodically, it enhances a brand message, leads to a higher return on investment in the long term and enhances customer relationships. But the key point here is that it needs thought and method. When discounting is not given the due diligence it deserves for long-term sales, or used simply as a quick lever to close a sale, the fallout can be catastrophic.

A client comes to mind who came to me for advice soon after he had begun getting his company off the ground. Let’s call him Jack.  It had been tentative steps at first. As a writer, he created business articles for companies on the internet and as we all know the web eats this stuff for breakfast. By lunchtime it’s hungry for more.  So, it was a great little niche – there was a big opening for on-going work and a chance to put a lid on constant marketing by supplying on-going articles with clients.

Highlight value over and above the discount

But he was just getting one-off sales. An article here and an article there and he was barely making ends meet. What he decided to do was to invest in a new online brochure which would be the centre of a Facebook and email campaign.

The point of the brochure would be to encourage companies not just to buy one article, but enter a contract to buy articles over a period of a year. If they signed up, he gave them a discount.  He decided on an enticing-looking discount then started his hunt for a not-too expensive online marketing company to get the message out there.

The marketing completed and paid for, he sat back and waited for future work to flow in. But nothing came back. Zilch.

So why did he fail to receive one opening for new on-going work? It was at this point Jack, troubled and a little out of pocket to say the least, asked me to take a look at his system and at what may have gone wrong and, funnily enough, the factor which had been presented as the perfect tool for tripling his sales had sent sales through the floor. In fact, he was lucky he did not get any sales at all! But we’ll come to that later.

The point was, instead of putting the main feature across as “consistent quality articles throughout the year (targeting consumers, his industry and ISP etc.) and the consequent positive effect on the search engines and brand awareness – ultimately, attracting more clients and getting more sales – the main reason for signing up for a contract would be they would get a discount!

Let’s look at this a little closer.

A loss of trust…

The first thing Jack had lost was trust. At the beginning of the brochure he outlined all the factors he would include within the article (such as research, optimisation, interaction with the website, graphics and distribution to social media) and then continued to clarify the article fee. At the same time, he made clear that part of the reason for having his product on-going was essential to maximise online marketing and SEO to increase sales. Why then should a discount be offered if the prospective buyer bought articles over a period of a year? Wasn’t this the whole point of the exercise?

Are you devaluing the product?

The two concepts did not sit together. After getting his readers on board by clarifying reasons for the original price he suddenly devalues it!  The message in the brochure therefore looked confused, his professionalism was tainted, and his audience took one step back. He did not spend enough time streamlining how it would all configure because he just saw it as a clever and quick way to close a sale.

Lack of confidence will not win the client

The discount also ultimately highlighted his lack of confidence in his product and that is the death knoll in any sales transaction. If this was such an excellent product, why was there a need to bribe his audience with a discount? If you do not have confidence in your product, your client will catch it on the wind and run a mile. If Jack was sure that his product and service and concept was worth the money, he had taken pains to elucidate at the original fee – why was he suddenly reducing the cost? As a salesperson, you should keep on track selling a product’s value rather than bribe the client with quick discounts.

Net profits had not been calculated including the discount

Why in a sense was Jack lucky that he did not get any sales?

Because the most important issue here for Jack was the margin. He failed to take into account those extra marketing costs before considering what effect the 15% discount he was handing out like sweets, would have on his profits.

Remember, a 1% discount on a £100,000 product/service = £1000.  If the margin is only 10,000 then that is a 10% discount on the profit. A discount can have highly positive effects as long as margins are seriously calculated.

And this point is particularly relevant to the sales guy who uses a discount, on the fly, in order to close a sale. You not only devalue overall profits, you could be devaluing brand, the business relationship, and trust.

But what if a client asks you for a discount?

The client is asking for a discount so there is a definite interest in your product – they are almost sold. It is at this point in the sale that there is a real temptation to offer the discount and close. Don’t forget you are trying to build an on-going business relationship which will hopefully lead to further sales. Allowing for a discount may set a precedent which you cannot get out of in the future. More than that – any referrals coming your way from this sale may tie you into the discount for everyone!

Don’t crumble – don’t give in. If asked for a discount now is the time to clarify exactly why they are asking. Some people ask to test you out. This is your chance to offer all the reasons why the features, advantages and benefits of the service/product will meet their unique problems. Use case studies and testimonials and especially quantifiable results (i.e. % increase on ROI or monetary value) to make your point.

Know your product, be confident and passionate about your product and your client will be too. A discount can have fantastic short term results but can cause chaos if not thought through properly.


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Do You Have A Financial Safety Net In Place?

Are you really busy finding new clients, completing paperwork, making sure your business is running like clockwork?

Are you so busy that you’ve not had time to make sure that you and your business are financially secure? In other words, if you were unable to work and your income stopped for whatever reason, would your business be able to continue?

Are you really busy finding new clients, completing paperwork, making sure your business is running like clockwork?

Are you so busy that you’ve not had time to make sure that you and your business are financially secure? In other words, if you were unable to work and your income stopped for whatever reason, would your business be able to continue?


Without having a financial safety net in place, this situation can have tragic consequences but it is easily avoidable.

Listen to what my guest Pete Matthew has to say!






Hi there! This is Dylis from  I’m absolutely thrilled this morning to be talking to my guest Pete Matthews. Let me just tell you a little bit about Pete first.

I know that Pete’s a really great family man, he’s married, he’s got children. But what really impressed me and the reason I want to talk to him this morning is because he’s a Chartered and Certified Financial Planner and he’s the Managing Director of Jackson’s Wealth management in Penzance where he helps his clients enjoy their money by him taking the burden of financial management from them.

And in 2010 Pete launched Meaningful Money and this is a website dedicated to educating ordinary people about money. This is a brilliant site. You must go and have a look at it.  It has over 300 videos on a range of topics and his podcast which he launched in 2012 in fact won the UK Podcast of the year in 2015. And just wait for this; it’s been downloaded over 600,000 times. That is absolutely incredible!

And the reason that I really wanted to speak to Pete this morning is because as you know, I work with business owners who sell to other businesses and I help them to attract, converge and retain more of their ideal clients.

But what I’ve seen so many times over the years is that business owners are so busy working on the businesses and they often don’t get around to putting  financial safety nets in place for both themselves and for the business and this can have really devastating consequences.

I am so delighted to talk to Pete this morning. Hi Pete!


Hi Dylis! How are you doing? Great to be with you. I appreciate you having me over.


No, it’s absolutely my pleasure. Pete, I know we’ve spoken in the past about the sort of businesses that you come across where they are so busy and they haven’t got this financial safety net in place. This is something that you see as well, isn’t it?


Absolutely! And I get why. I mean if you are say new in business, right at the start, you’re excited about the plans that you’ve got and there’s a million other things to do. Websites to set up, wages to make, your suppliers to sort and obviously customers to find, court and win. So there’s a million things to be doing and I tend to use the illustration of building a house. As I am building an extension on my house, this is very close to home but if you don’t put the correct foundations in, you can have the most beautifully elaborate, fantastic to look at building but all it’s going to take is a heavy downpour and something’s going to shift and pretty soon it’s going to come crashing down. And we can never predict when or even if that sort of disaster is going to strike but knowing that if it does come, then there is a measure of protection in place brings incredible peace of mind and actually it stops that nagging doubt. It’s not there anymore because you know that that is sorted and that even if it happens there will be some sort of protection in place. So I totally understand why people don’t get around to it but it’s incredibly prevalent, even with very well established businesses. It’s surprising how long some people leave this stuff before dealing with it.


Yeah, exactly. So you’re talked about foundation. What are the sort of things that you see that are not in place?


Well, I mean some relevant sort of foundations. Let’s talk about protecting against disaster. It’s one of my three pillars of financial planning really. From a personal perspective, those three pillars are: to spend less than you earn, to protect against disaster and to invest wisely. It’s not any different from a business perspective but that protecting against disaster is certainly a core pillar.

The most obvious one is how important you are to the business. If you are the founder, you are the original partner or shareholder-director of the business and you are the one doing the bulk of the work then you are obviously singularly important to the business.

If the business is a little bit more developed and you have more staff and maybe you have some particularly important people, maybe the person who brings in the most sales, the person who runs the shop floor for you, there will be people in the business who are very important to it. We used to call them key men but that’s not acceptable anymore so we call them key persons.

As business owners, we need to think about what the implications might be, to the business first of all, if those people are not there anymore. So let’s sort of look at it from a small business perspective. If I have a business, what will happen to my business if I can’t function, if God forbid I get a cancer diagnosis and I need to take two years out? The obvious answer is, well if it’s something like that, who cares about the business? Well, maybe if the business is funding your lifestyle and paying the mortgage, is that going to stop? What’s going to happen then? We need to think through the financial implications. Or if the business a little bit bigger, what happens if that shop floor manager or the key designer that you’ve got is unable to work for whatever reason? What financial impacts will that have on the business? Will the business continue?

I think once we answer that, we can start to think about what we might rather do to fix it. So there is such a thing as key person insurance. So you can insure. The business pays the premium usually and you can insure if a key person dies (that’s the worst case scenario) or is off sick for a long period of time and those policies will pray a sum of money into the business. The idea is that they can either fund that person’s salary for a few months to give them the space they need to get better or more often than not to pay for a replacement person. And if it’s a bigger business then it makes a little bit more sense to pay to bring somebody else in to replace the person who’s sick or has passed away. But if it is a small business, then maybe that key person is you. There are other ways you can skin the cat if it’s a smaller business but that’s essentially what we’re talking about. Making sure there is some money on hand to make sure the business continues in some form at least if the worst is going to happen.


And you know, earlier on I talked about having devastating consequences if business owners haven’t got these financial solutions in place. And of course I’ve got my own personal story because my father, when I was sixteen, he was ill and subsequently went bankrupt because he didn’t have any money to bring in a manager. He didn’t have any financial solutions in place to replace him, to bring someone else into the business whilst he was ill.

And the consequences of that were that he went bankrupt and he lost everything. He lost the business, his vehicles. We lost the house and we ended up in fact going to a council house. And the stress on top of him being ill just absolutely sent him over the edge. To be honest, it was absolutely horrendous. So we left this house that had a thirty-mile view across the valley, across to Durham. There’s nothing wrong with council houses by the way but there it is when you’re forced to go.

And I remember the officials. I don’t remember them coming but I remember my mother telling me that they’d said if she could borrow £300, she could buy back some of our stuff because everything had to go. They came and they valued every single thing in the house and she managed to borrow £300 from a relative and bought back some of the things that she wanted and we went off to the council house and my younger brother and sister had to change school. It was horrendous. It was absolutely horrendous! And in fact even all these years later which there are many years that have passed, it still has an emotional effect on me because I can feel how traumatic it was at the time.


These are life changing events for your father and mother but for you even all these years on, you’ve nailed it really. Are most people listening to this likely to be small business owners, maybe sole traders or is that not the case?


They’ll be a mixture but also there will be sales people who are listening to this too.


You’ve hit sort of the next knock on really because the talk about what the impact on the business world and just hinted. One of my earliest bosses when I first became an IFA told me that really the point of his business was to throw off money that he could then put in his own name for pensions, investments, properties so that he wasn’t solely dependent on the business. And so if the business obviously isn’t functioning, then that has a knock-on effect on our personal finances which is far more severe in a sense.  But there is things you can do also to protect yourself against these things happening. Obviously, life insurance is generally extremely cheap and provides a lump sum or a regular payment to the family if you are no longer around to provide for them. Critical illness insurance does a similar sort of thing but it pays out not when you’ve gone but when you’re still here but have been diagnosed with something nasty. Cancer, heart attacks, strokes.


And you never know when this might just come across. You just never know what’s around the corner.


Insurance is a funny thing. You pay it hoping that you never need it but when you do need it, it’s an absolute godsend. I mean for instance and quite frequently, a critical illness insurance policy is quite an expensive CI but I quite often set it so that we worked out say three years worth of mortgage payments and bills were paid per client. So it’s like say 1500 quid a month, it’s 18,000 a year and three times of that’s 54,000. We would take out a critical illness policy for 54,000 and they know that if anything happens, they just need to take time out to get better, fight the disease or whatever, then they don’t worry about paying the mortgage for three years. At least it’s a little bit of a buffer zone.

I think probably the most underused kind of insurance and arguably the most valuable is called income protection. We used to call it the old days, permanent health insurance which was a ridiculous name. Income protection makes more sense. This will pay a regular income to you if you are unable to earn your income due to illness or accident. And there is usually a waiting period called the differed period. Let’s say I have this insurance and I got sick now, it could be for anything. If I put my back out and need traction for a year, whatever. From the point of which I put in the claim, the waiting period clock starts ticking and you can set that to be one day, four weeks, six months for really good sick benefits to work. So it is a very sort of flexible way and you can make it bespoke to whatever you need. Obviously the longer the differed period, the less likely it is to pay out. If you’ve got six months’ worth of money in an emergency fund, maybe you don’t need a short deferment period.

We can all think of better things to spend our money on than on insurance but I tell you what? I had a phone call from a client who was actually divorcing from his wife and they’d taken out a pretty comprehensive set of life insurance policies. But after the divorce, she had lapsed on the critical illness policy and despite repeated reminders and implications, she lapsed the policy and four weeks later was diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s a £400,000 payment that wasn’t going to pay out. And you know, she’s weeping on the phone, telling me, can we put this back in place? We wrote to you and let you know what the implications were. There’s nothing we can do. And it had significant financial implications for her and her kids. Yeah, we never need but when we do, it’s important.


I am not sure if all of the listeners know that I was in financial services for many years as a financial advisor and as a regional director. And honestly, I was like an evangelist. I was like the Bill Graham of life insurance. You know, making sure that people have this financial safety net in place both for themselves personally and for their businesses. But if we take just income protection for example, people would say I’ve got it at work. I am covered at work. And in many cases they were covered for three or six months. But if they had a longer sickness, it literally stopped.


Yeah. Nobody is going to any favors. It will stop and then you have to wait for statutory sick pay for an agreed period of time and then that’s it.


And then of course you’ve got the business owners who would say, well my business is my pension.


Don’t get me started on that one. I hear that all the time. My property is my pension; my business is my pension. I get that. A business is an asset. I’ve got wealth tied up in my business here in Jackson’s Wealth management in Penzance. But my old boss was right. Get the money out of the business. There is plenty of tax efficient ways you can do that to build wealth for yourself outside the business in simple exit baskets. Don’t put all your trust in the business. No matter how strong or robust it is, there is plenty of things that can go wrong. Why take that risk if you can diversify, take money out of the business and put it into a pension? There is lots of things you can do to get money out.


Yeah, yeah. And some of the things that can go wrong in a business, to reduce the value of that business, do you want to cover some of that Pete?


Yeah. I mean there’s all kinds of things and all of them are entirely outside your control. It depends on what market you’re in but, if you are exporting, you can be massively at the mercy of exchange rates and the recent shenanigans I’m sure will impact on that. The world moves on incredibly quickly so it might be that whatever it is you’re selling or making becomes obsolete. We’re globalized as a world now so probably somebody in China or Vietnam can make what you are making more cheaply. The world is moving online. This is a conversation I frequently have with my guys and colleagues in another country who tell me that they’re convinced that the last of us will never be replaced by computers.

Am telling them you see well, it’s the hybrid form. You don’t need to see clients face to face eventually because the whole generation of people growing up is sort of a snapshot generation who really don’t want to sit in an office. They would much rather do this from home, via their iPads or whatever. So there are a wealth of things which can change a business. A good business owner will be looking for these things and looking to prevent them. But that’s not always easy when you’re in the trenches grasping at everything. One thing that you can do is to diversify your wealth outside your business into other things and the obvious one is a pension of course.


Of course! And the other thing of course is often business owners don’t realize that they can be depending on selling their business and they might get a good value for their business. But how long is that money going to need to last them?


Yeah, sure. We are now in the realms of financial planning proper. So if anybody asks me what I do, I always say I am a financial planner. I do that for two reasons. The first is because if you tell people you are a financial advisor, they very often back off inase you are selling a pension or endowment. Most people in this country really don’t know what financial planning is. If you ask somebody in the states what a CFP (a Certified Financial Planner) then most people wouldn’t know.

So here is the thing. Very often, if somebody is setting up a business or if they’ve got a strong healthy business they will have a plan for that business. We have one here, so we’ve got our cash flow planned out for the next five years. We’ve got assumptions made, estimates on cost and things like that so we can have a sense of where we’re going to be in the future. Now obviously, the further out into the future you go, the more dependent you are on those assumptions being correct. But any good business has a plan in place, okay? Hopefully not just a dusty document sitting on the shelf but a living breathing plan for what the future might hold. So I know for example, that when we get to a certain point, I’m going to need to take on another person here, another advisor that’s going to cost me so much, that will have this impact on cash flow. That’s just good planning, right?

A lot of businesses have that. Maybe not most but a lot of businesses do but hardly any families have that. And it’s often the case where we get fantastic business owners who run an incredibly tight ship and yet they get home and their personal financial plan is sort of stuffed in an envelope in the third drawer down on the left. It is never looked at but essentially, the premise is the same.

So I spend a lot of time with clients doing what we call cash flow modeling which means nothing to clients. For clients we call it financial forecasting. Cash flow is basically taking a snapshot of where you are now financially, what you’ve got in pensions and IFA and what your business may be worth, projecting that forward into the future and then building some scenarios. What happens if you sell your business for X amount on this date? And we can use that snapshot of where we are now, some assumptions about things like growth, inflation, earnings growth and stuff like that and try to build an intelligent guess, an educated guess of where people may be at certain points.

We’ve used that moneyl in the past to help people understand what they need to get for their business or if they’re in the negotiations. We can say, well look, this amount of money is enough for you to live the lifestyle you want, to live the rest of your life.  We’ve had experiences where somebody selling a business has actually accepted a lower amount because they know it’s enough, that they know that the lower bidder will do a better job of looking after their staff and clients and so they’ve been able to make that decision on the framework of their own personal finances. They know that this amount of money that they are going to get from the business sale will be enough and they only know it because we’ve run the numbers. And using some conservative assumptions they can say, well, okay, if my lifestyle costs me 75,000  grand a year and I’m going to sell my business for this, this means I can do that and live for the rest of my life comfortably in the manner in which I have become accustomed. And financial planning does that. It is not about offloading pensions and ISA’s. It’s about helping people construct a decision making framework so that they can make day to day financial decisions in life. It’s a super powerful system. Most business owners don’t do it though. Or they do it in the business but not for their personal finances.


Yeah. And this is the thing. It’s two pronged, isn’t it? It’s looking at the business and looking at your person to make sure that you’re not subjected to those devastating consequences.


Yeah. It’s great to see your personal wealth build over time. The problem if you want to call it that is our businesses become our babies and I totally get that. I’m a business owner myself and I live and breathe this company and I want it to succeed. We’ve been in business for 90 years and I want to be in business for another 90 years. So it is a massive part of what we do but obviously given what I do for a living, I’m actually more concerned about my own personal financial planning, how I draw money out of the business tax efficiently to sort of sock away for my future so I can look after my kids and all of the stuff that I want to do.


Yeah, absolutely. So what are the steps then that a business owner needs to take?


From day one?


Well, from listening to this, there will be business owners who will recognize themselves in this, what are the first things that they need to stop and think about?


Okay. That’s a nicely constructed question. First of all, do what I mentioned earlier on. Consider the financial impact of anything happening to you. Or if you’re in business with somebody else, your partnership or co-directors and shareholders of limited company, what would happen? We’ve talked about insurances you can put in place to mitigate some of the impacts. Don’t neglect the importance of a shareholder partnership agreement which clearly lays out what would happen. We have one here. If I die, the shareholder agreement says that my colleagues here will buy my shares off my widow and there is a life insurance policy in place to enable them to do that. It’s very simple but it’s laid down in black and white. There’s nothing worse than uncertainty for completely screwing up a company or family which is why it’s important to make wills and stuff like that.

So understand the implications of the worst case and put things in place both legally in terms of shareholder partnership agreements and your wills and stuff like that. And don’t forget powers of attorney because if you’re a shareholder you’ve got decision making powers or if it’s your business obviously and if you’re incapacitated, knocked down by a car and suddenly can’t function, then somebody is going to have to do that for you. So the power of attorney gives somebody you trust the power to make decisions on your behalf if you are not able to. So I would bare those things in mind and consider the insurances which will help financially as well.


Yeah, brilliant! And then of course there is the pension side to consider and investments.


Sure. And so once the foundation is in place then setting up a pension ought to be a no brainer. I mean if it’s a requirement of the law, certainly if you’ve got any employees, the auto-enrolment system, that’s in the process of rolling out now. I think by the end of next year that will be a fully enforced in all companies in UK. I mean it’s an extra cost, if you’re planning something you need to think about it. It’s not already in force for you but a pension is just such a massively tax efficient way of getting money out of the company or a partnership. The company pays money into your pension for you. It’s yours for your retirement, super tax efficiently. It grows tax free once it’s in your hands in the pension and it comes straight off the top line of the business. This is about a tax efficient way of doing it.


And many people, if I could just say Pete, many people say, I’m not putting money into a pension because I might die before I get there and so on and so forth. But the pensions now are much more flexible.


Yeah, much more so. And if you die before retirement, before seventy five that money passes tax free to your beneficiary that you nominate. If you die after the age of seventy five, it is still incredibly flexible. It used to be that there was punitive taxation, if you died after retirement. It is much less the case now so they’re actually a brilliant way of executing some inheritance tax planning. That’s probably a subject for another day. Clients with big pension plans now, we are advising them to touch them last because there is inheritance tax payable on your property or any money in ISA’s  in the bank. If pensions are IHT free, most of the banks are just holding pensions. I can understand that pensions have a bad rap but pensions these days is just another kind of savings pot. It is a piggy bank with some tax advantages. That’s basically what it is. They are a lot simpler than they used to be.


Excellent! Pete, that’s been fantastic and I hope that the listeners have found that interesting and it’s prompted them to think, I need to go and speak to someone just to get the plans in place. Look at where they are now, where they want to be, what are the gaps and what they need to do tofill those gaps.


One of those things is that it’s easy not to get around to, isn’t? We are all busy. If anybody does this as a result of listening to this and says, I’m going to pick up the phone and ring my advisor or am going to ring my accountant and get a recommendation for a good advisor, If you’re going to see advisor, I would urge you to look for a chartered or certified financial planner. Generally, those are the ones that are at the top of their game. They spend the time getting the highest level of qualification and they are the ones which will consider your finances in the round, particularly what we call CFP which is a Certified Financial Planner. There is over eleven hundred of those in the UK and those are the cream. So I would urge folks to look for those guys because they are the ones looking at things holistically.


And of course you’re a certified financial planner. So if anyone would like to get in touch with you Pete, how do they do that?


You can get a sense of how I think and what I believe about financial planning by going to Meaningful Money which is kind of my life’s work really. Getting decent financial information out to the world thanks to this incredible medium of the Internet. My company is Jackson’s Wealth Management. So you can just Google that but it’s Don’t forget the “s” at the end of Jackson’s. So Send an email via and I’m happy to answer any questions.


Fantastic! Do excuse me Pete. I’ve got a bit of hay fever this morning. That has been absolutely superb and I know that you are as much an evangelist as I was in financial services, in terms of getting people to put that financial safety net in place and give them the security that they need in the future, in the case of….that money stopping for whatever reason but also getting money out of their business and into a very tax efficient vehicle like a pension or ISA’s  or to looking at other investments. And as a charted financial planner, you look holistically at the whole situation and the financial planning. So thank you so much Pete. That has been brilliant


My pleasure, Dylis. Thanks so much for having me.


Thank you very much. Bye for now Pete



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How Your Pre-pitch Behaviour Can Boost Sales

It was 3 o’clock on a cold wintery Friday afternoon and I was just about to see a new client for the first time. Great. Tired and longing for a big fat armchair and a cup of tea, there couldn’t really have been a worse time for me to deliver a magnificent sales pitch.

Everyone else in tpitchhe office was having a P.O.E.T.S day and demotivation was beginning to knock on my door as I started cramming in all that client research and honing my product knowledge before trying to summon up the energy to be pitch-perfect. Seeing a new client so close to the weekend is sometimes a task best left to Achilles (or at least Monday!), but the results from this pitch were about to change my sales behaviour forever.

The pitch was mediocre to say the least – I just didn’t feel I was putting over my best. There is no doubt I covered all the areas I had to as far as product features are concerned, made a good relationship with the client based on his needs in relation to the product and even though I had the clock on my mind, I felt myself steaming along from the off.

But the strange thing was the client was hanging on every word I said… 

From the very beginning I felt the client was with me, understood and related to the USP almost immediately. It just seemed a matter of time and that was propelling me forward. I almost knew I was going to close the sale from the moment I started my pitch.

What had I done? 

Experts in selling like to put a name and proper procedure to everything great sales people do. This way we can highlight that behaviour and streamline it for future use. But there is sometimes a behaviour we carry out that just seems to slip unnoticed – that has no name, but one we tend to repeat sub-consciously simply because it just seems right. There was something I had done that had helped get my client on track. I wanted to foster that behaviour – but I couldn’t pinpoint it or put a name to it.

Then I found the answer thanks to Robert Cialdini

I am an addict for foraging for the latest effective sales techniques. As a society we are always progressing and moving forward and with those new advances and a better understanding of psychology which triggers new concepts in salesmanship or enlightens us as to methods we may be using to streamline our own performances in order to fulfil client performances.

It is very rarely we come across an article that is startlingly innovative – it immediately shows us how we can streamline our skills and expertise and makes sense of expertise we may already be using but previously have not identified as a factor for success. Having read an article on Pre-suasion by Robert Cialdini I knew I could see I was using the same methods myself in some form but Robert had taken it to the next step and streamlined the whole concept.

The power of Pre-suasion! 

This is about putting your client in the right mind in the now moment.

As Robert Cialdini says:

“…the key to pre-suasion is bringing attention to the concept that is the central feature of your offer as early as possible because it makes people ready for, receptive to, other information related to that concept once they encounter it in your message.”

Dr. Robert Cialdini’s Technique That’ll Get Buyers Interested Before They Ever Meet You

In other words, if the USP relative to the client is “a need to save money” then you need to use subliminal messages to highlight the fact that your product or brand is focussed on value for money before you even start your pitch. This can be enhanced through the sales environment, anecdotes or body language before the pitch begins. In this way your client is on board from the outset.

In my experiences I had been doing this with clients I had researched well and, in the Friday afternoon example above, I was honing in on what I knew were trigger points for them saving money long before the pitch itself. I knew what was important for them and littered my introductions with reference to the company’s past achievements in lowering costs – unbeknown to me I even had posters on the wall which backed this single factor up!

As Robert Cialdini points out in his article, some may see this as unethical. Kind of putting your client into some weird trance. But how can it be when you are simply recognising and fulfilling your clients’ needs in that moment in time? It’s a win-win situation which allows both of you to access what you are looking for.

Using this technique in your sales pitch 

I now use Robert’s Pre-suasion techniques consciously whenever I am selling and the difference is remarkable. Instead of spending time and effort just getting the client on board, I can feel their interest from the very beginning. Simply because I have honed in their specific needs pre-pitch.

“Communicators don’t achieve their greatest success by changing a recipient’s mind with a clearly crafted appeal, but rather by changing the recipient’s state of mind, in the moment before the appeal — specifically, so that the recipient becomes more sympathetic to, more readied for, the cleverly crafted message that we have waiting for them.”

Dr. Robert Cialdini’s Technique That’ll Get Buyers Interested Before They Ever Meet You

All clients are unique and maybe looking for benefits other than money savings (this is largely at the basis of all transactions but it may not be what is most important). They may be looking for reliability, comfort, longevity, peace of mind or many other benefits that your product or service may bring.

For instance, technology salespeople may find clients who simply want the latest and the most state of the art gadgets – whatever the cost. You therefore need an environment that promotes all the latest tech toys. The computer you are working from should be top of the range. Treat and delight your client with chat about all the latest stuff before you get down to business. Pepper your sales talk with language that sparks that interest with words such as “state-of the art”; “latest must-have”; “cutting edge technology” etc.

Take my advice – the next time you are going to make a big pitch – think of that precious time beforehand. Don’t waste it – if used properly it could create a template which will boost all your sales in the future.


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