22 Jun June 22, 2020 – Traffic Secrets Russell Brunson and Sports Super Agent Steve Herz
There is so much opportunity right now. I have seen people make more money in the last couple of months then they made in the decade before.
Russell Brunson is a Best-Selling Author & CEO of $100M software company ClickFunnels. He has built a following of over 2 million entrepreneurs, sold over 450,000 copies of his books and popularized the concept of sales funnels. In 2014, Russell and partner Todd Dickerson launched ClickFunnels, which became the fastest-growing non-venture backed software company in the world and currently has over 100,000 users. Russell is also the host of the #1 rated business podcast, Marketing Secrets, where he shares his biggest “a-ha moments” and marketing secrets with complete transparency. In 2018, he was awarded ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in the Utah region by Ernst & Young. Russell has written several successful marketing books including DotCom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online and Expert Secrets: Find Your Message, Build a Tribe and Change the World. Russell is also regularly sharing market-tested strategies on driving traffic to your online presence during troubling times via his YouTube channel, and tips on how to help your business stand out from the crowd and attract the right customers.
Steve Herz – President at The Montag Group and Founder of IF Management – Read interview highlights here
ABC. Always Be Connecting. The more that you listen, the more that you ask probing questions, the deeper your understanding of someone else’s business, that leads to more possibilities that you can help them with.
Steve Herz, a 26-year industry veteran and one of the most influential voices in the broadcasting space, is President of The Montag Group; a sports and entertainment talent and marketing consultancy. He is also a career advisor to CEOs, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and young professionals. Prior to joining TMG, Steve was the President and Founding Partner of IF Management, an industry leader whose broadcasting division became one of the largest in the space, which later merged talent operations with The Montag Group to form a joint broadcast representation business. The agency represents some of the biggest names in sports and news media, including NBC Sports Mike Tirico, ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt and Dan Shulman, and CNN Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward. Steve is also the author of the forthcoming book, Don’t Take Yes for an Answer: Using Authority, Warmth, and Energy to Get Exceptional Results, scheduled to launch in June 2020. Packed with inspiring success stories and featuring insider anecdotes from some of the most popular entrepreneurs, the book provides invaluable suggestions and practical techniques for upping your AWE in every aspect of your life.
Highlights from Russell’s Interview
I think in today’s world, there’s a lot of fear that people have, but there’s also so much opportunity. I’ve seen more people make more money in the last couple of months than they made in the decade prior. So I think to understand this opportunity, money is still out there, it’s just shifting. It’s understanding what are the types of businesses and the types of industries that money is going into, and figuring out how to get into those? How to work there? How to start a company of that? How to plug into the companies that are having success in this crazy time? If you do that, you can have a great job even though the economy is crazy right now. To give you some examples of businesses and industries that are thriving, any kind of online education is huge. We’re seeing people who are doing courses and teaching courses are really big. Anything in the survival space is thriving. I had a friend who has had a really big survival company for the last decade, and they’ve done more in the last two and a half months than the last five or six years prior combined. So that’s doing really well, obviously. Those are the ones that I spent a lot of time in and that I really enjoy personally, but I think anything tied to online education and online learning, things like that, it’s the best time for that right now in the world.
When we are working with businesses and investing in them, it’s front-loaded. So the very first thing, we spend a lot of time and energy getting the sales process and the sales funnel right. Like when we did the Traffic Secrets book, I spent a lot of time getting that working. So it was definitely front-loaded there. Once that part is done, you don’t really have to touch that again, it kind of works. Then it transitions over to everything being about traffic and PR and all those types of things. So I would say, initially it’s 80-20, where 80% of the time and money is focused on building out the sales funnel and 20% on marketing and talking. Then that shifts to where it’s 95-5, where the majority of it is traffic and PR. I spent the last two and a half or three months talking about this book, doing PR, running ads, doing Facebook Lives, and all sorts stuff to promote it. We aren’t doing anything on the funnel side, it’s just there to work, it’s just consistent. So it shifts through the lifecycle of the project as well.
So my new book is Traffic Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Filling Your Websites and Funnels with Your Dream Customers. With the whole pandemic situation, we’re definitely seeing huge changes in computer usage habits. For ClickFunnels, we’ve seen pre-pandemic, we’d get about 15,000 people a day finding and using the software, now we’re getting over 30,000 a day that are in there actually doing stuff; so a lot more people who are trying to start businesses. But then on the other side, it was interesting, over the first couple of weeks, ad costs had dropped to almost nothing, which was really nice for those who were taking advantage. So many people were scared, they pulled their advertising budget. I think now it’s normalizing where ad costs are similar, but I do feel like there’s so much more attention out there that wasn’t before. There are so many people who are at home, who are bored, who are on their phones scrolling through Facebook or through Instagram, they’re searching and they’re googling.
So I feel like in the markets that we participate in, that we have the ability to see, there is just more attention now than there used to be. I know it’s true for myself, I used to be way more distracted. I had a million things I was doing, and now there’s one or two I’m doing. Then the rest of the time, you’re trying to figure out ways to keep sane. I think that the businesses that are creating content and creating ads and doing things that are engaging and entertaining to connect with people are seeing tons of success. Our podcast downloads are 2.5x or 3x what they used to be. All those things were already out there, people just have more time to consume it. So I think that’s been one of the big blessings for online marketers during this time. For those who are putting out good things and capitalizing on it, there’s just more attention now than there’s been in my lifetime, which is fun.
I don’t think most businesses think about what their ideal target market is, they just go out there and start selling their product, hoping for the right people to come. I learned this seven or eight years ago that the first thing to do when you’re starting a business or when you’re re-visualizing the business is really stepping out and saying, who is your dream customer, who do you really want to serve if you could pick a customer? I think a lot of times we’re just like, “Well, these are people that came to my funnel or came to my website. These are people that showed at my store.” Well, you’ve to understand that you can actually reverse engineer that and say, “I want people who actually have money coming to me. I want people who are going to be good clients or good customers coming to me.” If you reverse engineer that, it changes everything.
I had a friend who’s a dentist. For a long time, she was running ads for just everyone in Boise, Idaho. She was like, come into my practice, and come get your teeth cleaned. Then she started realizing, “I don’t want everybody. My dream clients are people who can spend more money, who can buy cosmetic surgery or Invisalign, or things that pay me more.” So she came back and said, “I know my target customer, my dream customer is going to be this specific person.” Then from there, she said we’ll target online. She said, “Just show my ads to these neighborhoods that are more affluent, show my ads for my Invisalign funnel over here”, things like that. So what happened is it got a higher quality person to raise their hand and to come in. All of a sudden, their dream customers were coming in as opposed to just anybody locally who happened to need their teeth cleaned, and that totally transformed the metrics of their business.
Even if you don’t have a clue of who your customer is, you can find them where they’re already gathering up, that’s the coolest thing about the internet when you think about it. If you think about your own personal stuff, we all do this, we gather together online and we congregate based on the stuff that we’re really excited about. So if you’re interested in fitness, there are fitness blogs where hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of people congregate together to read these blogs, or they’re congregating on these Facebook groups, or they’re following these Instagram influencers. Maybe you’re interested in fitness, maybe you’re into couponing or cooking or whatever, but whatever you’re interested in, you self-congregate yourself with other people who are like you. So because of that, that’s the first question is who’s our dream customer?
The second question is, where are those people already hanging out online? I don’t have to go create traffic, I’ve to just find out where’s the traffic already at. So we find like, “Okay, here’s the blog with 30,000 of my dream customers who read it. Here’s a Facebook group. Here’s a podcast they listen to.” So we can find those different congregations. Then our job is just come out and say, “Here’s a congregation, here are 100,000 people that are interested in business or cooking or couponing or whatever your thing is. How do I get my message out in front of them? How do I buy an ad? How do I something to get those people’s attention and get them coming back to me and into my funnel?” That’s the power of the internet, is that people self-congregate. When you realize that, it gets really easy to say, I just got to go find my customers and then go put my ads and my message out in front of them to get their attention, get them to want to come back and visit me and my website.
So I visualize my dream customer sitting at home, they’re on their phone, they’re bored out of mind. They’re on that blog scrolling through, they’re on Facebook or whatever. They’re hoping and praying something grabs their attention and takes them out of this boredom. That’s our job as business owners, is we need to create these hooks that are going to grab their attention. Back in the day, when I first got started, for me to create a really good ad, I had to go get it produced, I had to hire videographers and it was this big huge deal, so I could never afford that. What’s interesting in today’s world is what works the best is not highly produced as it’s very simple stuff. My iPhone is literally my video production company and I carry it with me everywhere. I’m looking for things that if someone’s sitting on Facebook scrolling, what’s going to grab their attention and make them stop?
So I do this with my kids all the time. Like, I’ll be at my daughter’s soccer game and I’ll say “Ellie, we need to make an ad right now to get someone’s attention. So she’ll sit there with her soccer ball and she’ll do a kick or something and I’ll start the video on my phone. I’ll be like, “Hey, I’m here at my daughter’s soccer game, she has scored two goals today, which is amazing. Now, I’m here today because I want to tell you about my new book”, or whatever that thing is. So I throw out these videos and I call them hooks. Their goal is to grab someone’s attention, to get them to stop scrolling through Facebook, just long enough that you can tell them your story. So I’m making these ads all the time. For example, the other day, we were walking down the street and we saw this hotel. In the lobby of the hotel, there was this big, huge green Rhino, which I don’t even know what it was for, it was super-random. But I was like, if I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw that big green rhino, I would stop and I would say what is that? So we ran in there really quick, I got my phone out, I clicked record. The audio was horrible because I was in this hotel lobby, but I was like, “Hey, I’m Russell, and I saw this green Rhino. It was kind of random but it made me think about whatever”, and then I start telling my story about my product or my service. That ad has been one of our best top ads three years in a row, it just keeps running. Because it does such a good job of grabbing someone’s attention, hooking their attention just long enough that I can tell them my story.
So for us, we’re going out there and we’re saying, “Here’s my dream customer. Where are they hanging out at?” Then you create ads and videos and themes to grab their attention, just long enough that I can tell them my story. If I tell them my story in the right way, then they’re going to want to come back to my website or my funnel. So that’s the next step in the process, is creating these ads and creating videos you can go out there and get someone’s attention and get them to come back to you.
So I would grab your attention, you’re like what is this green rhino? You stop and obviously you hear me say something like “Hey, my name is Russell. I was outdoor French cooking in the rain and then I saw this rhino. I had to come in to gather rain really quick. But for those of you who are outdoor French cookers, I want to tell you guys my three best secrets for blah blah blah; number one, number two.” I go through that, and then “If you want to find more information about this, come back to my rain French secret blog or the thing over here”, and I push them back to my blog. So the hook is about grabbing their attention, just long enough for you to tell them your story about your product or about your service. That’s kind of how it works.
My biggest goal is I always think about with my product or my service, why am I so excited by it? There’s something that happened in my life, some emotional experience that made me excited about the thing that I sell. So my job and my goal is to tell them a story, with the goal of getting them to have the same emotional experience I had. So like, why am I so passionate about funnels, why I’m passionate about wrestling, why am I passionate about the thing I am? So a lot of times after I get their attention, the story that I’m telling is my story, it’s the story of how I found out about singing. Why I’m so excited and why you should be excited too? So I’m telling that story with the goal of getting them to have the same ‘aha’ vibe. “Oh my gosh, this is cool! I do need a funnel in my business. Oh my gosh, this is cool. I do need to get that book. I need to go and subscribe that newsletter”, whatever it is. So that’s usually the story I’m trying to tell. Sometimes that story is based on fear, maybe it’s anger, maybe it’s excitement. It’s just like, what was the emotion that got you excited about the topic you’re talking about, and it’s getting back to that and telling them that story to get them in the same emotion as you were when you got sold and bought into the belief system and the thing that it is that you’re telling them about. So it just depends on what was the emotional thing that got you excited, then bringing that to your customers as well.
So here’s one of the hooks I had the most fun doing, I actually saw one of my friends had done it. He’s an author as well, so he did an ad where he literally lit his book on fire and he was like, “This book is literally on fire! It’s so great, you need to go get a copy of it.” So I called him as they do that, I said, “That is so good. I want to do that.” He’s like, “Sure, go for it.” So we did the same thing where it was late at night, we got my book and we soaked it in kerosene, and then we lit it on fire. It was dark outside in the ad of book burning. The gas from the book is dripping down my hands, so I’ve got a flame on my hand, but I was like, “My book is literally on fire, if you want to get a free copy of it. That’s kind of what we did and it was so much fun to film. It hurt a little bit getting burned, but that ad did so well for so long. Because again, you’re scrolling through and you’d be like, “Why is Russell burning this book, what is the theme? So then they come back and I’m like, “This book is literally on fire. You have to get a copy of it right now before it’s too late.” That one was probably the most fun to produce and it did really really well.
If you look at every step in the funnel, from the ad to the landing page to the sales page; the three things to always look at, if something’s not working, it’s always either the hook, the story, or the offer. With a landing page, the biggest thing is you got to hook them really quickly. So the landing pages that do the best for us are really simple. Traditionally it’s a headline, and that’s it. Maybe a weird picture, something to grab their attention. But it’s a hook, and then, “Give me your email address in exchange for this thing”, that’s the offer. But the primary focus on the landing page is a hook that’s going to grab their attention, just like in a video ad or something like that. So most of our landing pages nowadays are literally a headline with a picture of the thing they’re going to get if they give us their email address. That’s kind of it: hook, story, and offer. With landing pages, it’s mostly the hook and mostly offer, and the story is usually pretty brief. Traditionally, the story is told in the initial ad. So that’s kind of what it is when we’re driving them into that page, where they give us their information. Most of the times people come in, they’re like, “My landing page isn’t working.” I look at it and it’s too complicated, they’ve like 500 things, they have a video and this and that. So I’m like, “Let’s just simplify it. Let’s make it easier. The more simple, the better.” I had a friend who called it the deer-in-the-headlights strategy. Think about your customers like a deer and they’re creeping towards the pond in the middle of the night to come get a drink of water. The pond is where you want them to go. But if they step on a stick and it snaps, it’ll freak him out and it’ll run away. So the more things you have on your landing page, the more potential ways you can freak someone out and make them run away. So it’s about making it really simple. Here’s the headline about what the thing is, here you’re going to get an email address. That’s traditionally how the best landing pages work for us today.
But it also depends on what you’re trying to sell, obviously. If you’re trying to get someone’s email address, you want as little as possible. If you’re selling a $1,000 product, then you do need more obviously to sell the product. It could be a really good sales video that’s maybe 15 to 20 to 30 minutes or an hour-long in length, or maybe a long-form. So those can work well, but that’s if you’re trying to sell a product. Traditionally, I always tell people, the more expensive your product, the longer the sales letter, the longer the copy needs to be, to be able to cover that. But each step in the funnel is going to be a little bit different. So the landing page is going to be the shortest possible, sell phase may have more stuff depending on what you’re selling, the price point and things like that.
If you think about it, if I’m ever talking to you face-to-face, I have a really unique ability to ask you questions and be like, “Well, why are you interested? What are you looking for?” When we’re selling online, we don’t traditionally have that luxury of being able to get initial feedback. So you’ve got to create a sales argument that’s going to address everybody’s concerns as a whole, as a mass population, which is definitely harder. I think a lot of people definitely do it wrong, where it’s just repetitive over and over and over again. If you do it correctly though, those long sales pages can work really well. Again, it comes back to hook, story, and offer. You need to have a really good hook of like, why should they read this thing or watch this video? Then you need to have a story that builds the perceived value of the thing you’re trying to sell and you tell the story in a way that’s captivating. It’s like a good book, if you give them a good book, they’ll read a 500-page book in a sitting because it’s captivating. So if you tell the story in the right way, people will read it. Then if you make an offer that helps solve their problem, it’s the right problem for them and the right offer for them, then it will work. If you’re just repetitive and going on, then it’s not going to be that effective. It’s going to be annoying to people and they’re not going to want to come back and read your stuff in the future. But if you do it the right way, it’s something that can provide value and get people closer and more connected to you.
So many people are asking these days about the best practices for an online class. Like, what’s the proper length of a video, how many videos should an online class have? I think so much of it depends on the market. I’ve seen people who sell courses that are for $1,000, it’s like a 3-hour video and that’s it. But it teaches one thing, you watch the process and it gives you a very specific and a very certain result. I know people who sell at $27 a course, and it’s got like 300 videos. So I don’t think it’s so much the length or whatever, it’s more of what’s the big result you’re trying to get for somebody. The price is typically tied to the result. Obviously, if I created a course that’s going to show you how to cure cancer, that’s worth a lot, even if it only takes 20 minutes. If the result is worth it, people will pay whatever for a 20-minutes course or a video. But if the big result is you’re going to learn how to do something a little bit better, no matter how much content or how many videos or how much training, they’re going to spend a lot less money on it. So I think it’s more tied to the result. If you can get some results in less time, that’s traditionally better. I think most people would rather watch a 1-hour long course and get the result than six days of training and videos to eventually get there. I think nowadays, people will spend more for a shortcut as opposed to just more fluff and more content.
But again, it depends on the market and your target audience too. For example, the financial market, which traditionally is a more educated and older audience, I’ve seen some of their videos sell, they’re like an hour and a half or two hours long, and they kill it with those things. Then there are courses that are huge in the news or something like that, and that’s the other things that are targeting Millennials or more of the influencers, those people’s attention is like three seconds. So that’s definitely targeted towards people who are like, “I’ve got a three-minute break before the commercial is over, what can I consume really quick before my show is back on?” So it definitely depends on each market. That’s what’s so vital, is to understand who’s your customer. Because when you understand that, you use a way to make sure you’re speaking to them. I had a supplement company a few years ago and the supplement that we sold would help people with diabetic neuropathy. The first version of the sales funnel we made had these really cool videos. I thought they were amazing, but it never sold. Then we came back and we made this long, long-form sales letter. We found that the majority of our audience were definitely an older demographic, they didn’t want to watch a video, they wanted to read, they wanted to research and see the stats. So they wanted the longer form thing because that’s how that generation consumes things differently; they’re the people who used to read newspapers, that was demographic. So I think it’s understanding who your market is and then speaking to them in the way that they want to listen to. I think my diabetic neuropathy crowd would not want to register for a webinar, that’s not something they would have done. But they’ll sit there and read a 100-page sales letter because that’s how they consume their content.
Anybody who wants to get a free copy of the book, right now we’re in the middle of the pre-launch, so you can get a free copy at TrafficSecretsBook.com. Obviously, you’ve got to pay for the shipping and we’ll cover the printing cost. If you pay for the shipping, we’ll ship out a hard copy of the brand new book.
The title of the book, Don’t Take Yes for an Answer, is metaphorical. Certainly, there are many areas of your life that you want to get a yes, and there are certainly opportunities where the yes is the right answer eventually. But the problem that I’m targeting in this book is this metaphorical yes that we get to a lot of questions that we’re implicitly asking of other people, and we’re getting what I would call a fake yes. For example, “How do I look in this in this dress? How did I do today?” “Oh, you were great! You were great.” That’s the yes I’m talking about. I think that in my book, I talk about these three things that have happened in society, which have created what I call the ability to put someone in the vortex of mediocrity. Those three things are, A: this great inflation that’s happened over the last 30 years, B: we’ve had this whole idea of the participation trophy, which is morphed into an MVP trophy for everybody, and then C: you have HR departments not wanting to fire people. They give you all these euphemisms, “It wasn’t you, it was me.” So there’s nothing you think of that you could have done better. That’s why I say don’t take yes for an answer. It’s getting even worse now. Just about every kid in America in college, the last semester just got an A, this May. There were no B’s or C’s given in America in the last six months amid the pandemic and Zoom University.
The bottom line is this book is written for an individual, and the question I think that one should be asking him or herself is, am I reaching my potential? Do I think there are things that I could be doing differently? Are there blind spots that I have for my own weaknesses? That’s what I’m trying to get out of this book. If you start asking the right questions, maybe you’ll get the right answers. But right now, if you just keep taking yes for an answer, you’re not asking any questions of yourself or at least the right ones. For example, are you doing well in your career? “Yes, I’m an Executive Vice President.” “Really? Maybe you should have been CEO by now if you’d been more aggressive.” But if you’re happy being the EVP or you suspect that that really is your potential, then great. Even if it is in your potential, but you don’t really have any desire to have all the responsibility and the extra work of the CEO, then that’s great too, this book is probably not for you. But the book is for that whole swath of people who are at the EVP or VP or whatever level and they know they can do better, even the CEO who knows he could maybe be running the company better or running a bigger company or whatever it might be. It’s just a question of looking at yourself in the mirror and saying, am I reaching my potential? That’s really to me the most operative question we should all be asking ourselves, if we fit into this bucket of people like I think I am, that are maybe not always the most balanced, but very ambitious people that find the pleasure in life of reaching your potential.
I personally have started two businesses in my life and I’ve done it pretty much the same way; a relatively conservative approach. I’ve built my businesses on positive cash flow without leveraging debts or other people’s money. I’m a small business owner that makes money and pays the bills. The first one has been around for almost 25 years and the second one for a year. So I’m not swinging for the fences in terms of the risk-reward portfolio. But again, I think it’s a personality type who can take that kind of risk/reward and loves debt and is okay with it. I just wasn’t raised that way, I was raised in a very conservative home. My dad had a small, single-person law firm and he just ingrained this mentality into my head, I think in a good way because life has turned out pretty good so far after 54 years. I think the bottom line is that people that really are okay with debt, I think there’s a great value and a great role for debt in some businesses. It just depends on how much debt and whether the business can sustain that if someone turns off revenue for three or four months.
I think it’s interesting if you talk about the present, Tom Brady, I think it is the embodiment of Don’t Take Yes for an Answer. Because not only in my view is he the greatest football player in the history of the game, and even though he wasn’t the most talented, he wasn’t the highest-drafted by a longshot; he barely even made the Patriots when he first came into the NFL sixth-round pick. But the bottom line is that he still, to this day, is considered to be the guy who wants to be coached the hardest. So his mentality is if you don’t beat me up and teach me something that I could do better every day on the practice field and after a game, then I’m not growing. I think the point of my book is to say to you, the reader, let’s take a different look at how you’re surrounding yourself in your life. So if somebody says, “Hey, I listened to your show and I think there are three things you could have done better with that interview with that guy”, a lot of us would be offended by that. “Who the hell are you to tell me? I don’t need you to tell me that. I’ve already got a great show going on.” On the one hand, you’re right, nobody should tell you that because you didn’t ask for it. But what I’m saying to the person who reads my book hopefully is, be the guy that says what could I do better? End every day with some feedback from someone, that you know there’s something you could have improved upon. Then you’ll know you’re on this path to greatness or at least reaching your potential.
I got into this business in the early 90s, doing some of the basic work; representing the athletes and recruiting basketball and baseball and football players. But I quickly segued out of that, because I did feel that it some of the depictions you hear about and some of the stuff in Jerry Maguire were pretty accurate. So I moved into this area of representing retired athletes and coaches and sportscasters. Our clients are really intelligent. Almost all of them are college-educated, some have graduate degrees. They’ve all pursued this career because they have a passion for communication, a passion for sports, a passion for news. So I think I’ve been very lucky, in that it’s been a very genteel business for the most part over these last 25 years. So you can say, I’m in a niche of the niche. But when I first started the business in 1995, it was originally just representing sportscasters, and that was the niche of the niche of the niche. Then when I realized I would be calling up these local television stations in Chicago, Boston, Philly, wherever, and saying, “Hey, I own a company that represents sportscasters. I have these 10 clients looking for a job, do you have any openings?” Invariably, they’d say, “Well, actually, we only do sports two minutes a night. But what we also do is weather three minutes, and we do business reporting, and we do anchoring, and we do crime reporting and all these other things. Do you have any of those other five things?” That’s when I decided to start representing also newscasters and weatherman and business reporters. Because it seemed silly just to stay in that tiny one little niche.
In my book and the new business that I’ve started this consulting practice, one thing I talk about is, there’s a million media trainers out there. If you wanted to go on TV or you had to make a presentation in front of an audience of 1,000 people, you’d go to a media trainer. That’s public speaking. My book and my new business is teaching what I call in the book, private speaking; so someone who’s making a presentation to one person or has to learn how to win the room of one or two people. To my knowledge, I don’t think anybody else is coaching that right now. So maybe someone else is going to jump into the field, which is fine, but that’s the new niche that I’m trying to really exploit right now. To me, the more interesting area of communication is private speaking. Because, of course, there are people like Tony Robbins and a handful of others that make their livings speaking publicly in what I would call a monologue; mostly monologue. But 99.9% of the people never do that for a living, but they still have to communicate. I think it’s very overlooked, in terms of when you talk to a kid who graduated from college and you start talking about communication, they say, “Oh, I know how to do that. I took a public speaking class.” But it doesn’t cover everything that they have to do in terms of their communication. Because going into a room like that, the biggest part of communication is listening and learning what your audience is thinking.
In my book, I talk about this idea of ABC. It’s kind of a knockoff of Glengarry Glen Ross Always Be Closing, I talk about in my book, ABC: Always Be Connecting. So I think maybe we’re saying something the same, but in different verbiage, which is, I’d say that the more that you listen and the more you ask questions, the deeper your understanding of someone else’s business, and the more possible opportunities you could help them with, and also problems that you could help them solve. As part of this consulting business, I was working with a company today that’s working in the health science field. They’re trying to solve a problem for a company that might spin off a business. I didn’t know anything about this, but after a half an hour of asking questions and really understanding what the industry was, what the challenges were, I was able to really give them a lot more guidance that I wouldn’t have had without that understanding. So I do think listening is very important.
What I think is interesting is that you have certain people that have a Don’t Take Yes for an Answer mentality in one area of their life; it could be sports or whatever it might be, and then they lack it in another area. The area that they lack it might be something that’s going to really hold them back. So I would say that if you think you already have that quality of wanting to get feedback and pushing yourself and being open to that constructive criticism, and you have what I would call in the book, aggressive humility about yourself, then maybe you do not need to read the book. But the book is also about your communication skills and how large of a correlating and cause/factor that is in your success.
The book’s title is “Don’t Take Yes for an Answer: Using Authority, Warmth and Energy to Get Exceptional Results”. You can find out more at StevenHerz.com.