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You’ve just retired from your career. You decided to start a company. You’re now self-employed. Now WTF? Mike Kawula discusses the three things you must do to succeed and a simple four step system that will make you a success as quickly as possible, disrupting your competition, and winning.

Mike Kawula

Mike Kawula

Entrepreneur ★ CEO ★ Inc 500 Alum ★ Top 100 Marketing Influencer ★ Author

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Self-employed Disruption: Now WTF?

Mike Kawula

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Mark S A Smith: My guest today is Michael Kawula, you may have heard of him before. If not, stay tuned. He has been a guest on the Selling Disruption Show in the past, where he talked about how to kill it on Twitter. And he has helped me double the number of people that have followed me on Twitter since we first began working together, I highly recommend him for that.

But today, we’re gonna talk about something completely different, which is about his brand new book, which drops in three days from the release date of this show, Self Employed, Now WTF. Welcome, Michael.

Mike Kawula: Feels great to be back on your show, thank you so much for having me.

Mark S A Smith: It’s a delight, Mike. I always appreciate the insights that you share. You’ve been doing this for a long time. You’ve built and sold three companies, you’re working on your next one. This is your latest venture in how to help entrepreneurs make more money faster. So what is driving you to drop this book now?

Mike Kawula: I’ve helped so many entrepreneurs throughout the years. So, the very, very first business I ever bought was a franchise where I helped other individuals buy franchises. And the reason I did that, is because when I was in corporate America, I initially started working in a very small department. I bounced around Wall Street for a long time, and my last seven years I worked for a company called Alliance Capital. It was a handful of guys, and we started a small department that the higher-ups in the company thought would never make it. They gave us the power to do it, said we would fail, and within a couple of years we turned it into a billion dollar department for Alliance Capital.

This was through electronic wholesaling, so this was the beginning stages of it. We were doing fax marketing, email marketing, cold-calling, dialing and smiling. And we just turned it into a huge, huge revenue source for the company. And I got burnt out, I hate playing that game with corporate America, so I was like, I gotta become self-employed. But I just didn’t know what they I wanted to do, and didn’t wanna rush into anything.

So, I bought this franchise, it was a small investment, it was like $50,000. And I figured by helping others go through this methodical process that the franchise taught me in a coaching model, that I could in turn low so much about every other business out there that I would find the one that matched up with my goals and objectives. So I gave myself a two, three year timeline, and I said, let me help as many as I can, and then go out.

Well, this business exploded. And the reason for that, is I got into some outplacement firms. This was during a time in the economy where a lot of folks in senior level positions, right after the late 1999 era, if you remember the dot com bust?

Mark S A Smith: Oh yeah.

Mike Kawula: Well, a lot of folks were like, what the hey am I gonna do? And so, outplacement firms, their job is to take these higher-up folks and find them another J-O-B. A lot of these folks did want a J-O-B, because they had been burnt, they were 40 plus years old, couldn’t get a job that would pay them what they were worth. So I was cold-calling these places, and I got myself into the three largest outplacement firms within the Manhattan area.

And so, I went in once a week and would speak in front of 20, 30 folks who had just been fired, and spoke to them about, listen if you’re unsure about how you’re gonna another J-O-B, well let me talk to you about franchising as an opportunity.

Mark S A Smith: Tell you what Mike, there is no tougher crowd than sitting in front of a bunch of people who used to be extremely successful, but the all just got fired. That’s the toughest audience in the world.

Mike Kawula: 100%. Hey, I’m 45 now, so looking back to back then, yeah I look like a little kid in front of them. But they all had kids, and they had a mortgage and what have you. And they also had a big severance package, most of them. So they were ready to say, you know I’m ready to do this for myself. And most of them were, again, in high positions that they knew how to follow a system and succeed, so they were perfect candidates for franchising.

The business took off. But what happened was, is because I had so many clients coming in, and I was helping so many go through the process, I kept working with this one franchise called The Cleaning Authority. And I was working with them over and over again. And here’s the thing, the reason also why I wanted to become a franchise broker, was that by law you are not allowed to tell an individual how much they could potentially make as a franchisee. But as a franchise broker, they could tell me everything because I’m not the client.

I ended up buying this, worked very well, within three years I worked myself out of a job. And the reason for that is that I had management in place, full staff, there’s was just nothing for me to do. It was time for me to do something else, so I started on my business, drop shipping. And we started off with a handful of products, three years later 200,000 products. We were ranked the 144th fastest growing company by Inc. Magazine. And again, same position, I had worked myself out of a job because I put all these managers in place.

And so, I started coaching again. And here’s the thing, to answer your question, I wrote the book because in all the years of all the experiences I’ve been through … and I’ve also had several businesses we haven’t spoken about that didn’t win, they were more big lessons to me. And I don’t want to say failures, because I learned a lot from them.

Mark S A Smith: Absolutely.

Mike Kawula: But why I call the book Self-Employed WTF, is because it’s the face I see from so many entrepreneurs when they start the business, and they sell their friends or family or get that first few customers coming in the door, but then they’re like WTF? What do I do now to get more customers, number one. And number two is, they came into entrepreneurship for freedom, right? So where’s the freedom, where’s the future? And so that’s why I call it WTF, that’s the true meaning behind it is, where’s the future?

And in this book, I go through the complete outline I’ve used in my last three businesses to build them to seven figures, each in under 36 months. One was an online business, one was a local customers service based business, and one was a software business. All completely different businesses, each of them I used the same fundamental system to grow it.

Mark S A Smith: I can’t wait to dig into the system, Michael. This is my third company too, and I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, as you have. And I’ve worked with entrepreneurial organizations, as well as corporate Fortune 500 companies in the 28 years that I’ve been a consultant. And WTF shows up everywhere, big companies, small companies. It’s a combination of what do I do next, and where do I find more customers, and WTF another fire. I’ve got to put another fire out today.

You have put together the systems you’ve learned through your ups, downs, your wins, your losses, helping build a billion dollar business for a Fortune 100 company is not something small. And along the lines, you’ve put some things together to help people figure out how to avoid the traps, and to create success in the midst of all this chaos. So, share with me, what’s your number one tip from the book?

Mike Kawula: The first thing is, we as individuals, and whether you’re still in a corporate job or not, we need to get out of our own way. With the book we’re launching a podcast also, it’s called Entrepreneurs GSD. And what GSD means is, we all know get you-know-what done. But it also means, every entrepreneur out there grinds. Every entrepreneur is sacrificing, and sacrificing could mean time with friends or family, or opportunity cost of what you could be making by having a J-O-B. Because in the beginning, you’re not making any money, so you’re sacrificing current income. And last but not least is D, determined.

So every entrepreneur is grinding, sacrificing, determined. But not every entrepreneur GSD, gets stuff done. And why is that? I believe there’s a couple of things. One, imperfect action beats perfect inaction. Or, said another way, hesitation is the enemy of success. Too many of us, when we are in business already, and we’re about to launch a new part of our business, or we’re about to get in business, we’re always so worried about perfection. And perfection is the enemy of success. So that’s number one, you gotta get that out of the way.

Number two, you gotta kill to the naysayers. My editor for the book actually wanted me to change it to eliminate the naysayers. But let me be frank, you gotta kill the naysayers. And a lot of time, that could be friends, family, or it can be the individual in the mirror. When you start going down you’re social media feed, and if you’re connected to a lot of other entrepreneurs, you only see the highlight reel, so you think that their life is perfect, right? And then, you start comparing yourself and all the, as you said before, the fires in our business. And it’s like, what am I doing? So you’ve gotta kill those naysayers, and you’ve gotta make sure that you have a healthy mindset, in my opinion.

So for me, it means whether I’m in a great mood or not, I still, every morning, I’m out doing an hour walk. The first bit of it I do listen to a podcast, but the last half an hour on my way home, there’s nothing, it’s just silence, it’s just thinking.

Mark S A Smith: Good for you. Absolutely correct on that Mike. In the Executive’s Strategy, Skills, Success Summit, we talk about how there’s more on an entrepreneur’s to think list, than on their to do list. If we don’t think this through ahead of time, we’re just gonna be reacting, versus being proactive. That morning routine is an important part of the discipline of success. You and I are absolutely in alignment with that in our experience and with what we share with others. I love it.

Mike Kawula: You have to take action. Number two, you gotta eliminate the naysayers. And the last one is, don’t be a fool-preneur, a word that I coined for the book. I lost of folks have heard of what I want-trepreneur is, right? So a want-trepreneur is that individual that maybe is trying to create a side hustle, or they have that J-O-B and they’re thinking about what kind of business they want to start. But, what’s worse than a want-trepreneur is a fool-preneur, and that’s the individual that quits the J-O-B, starts a business, now they have no income coming in, they don’t know what to do, and they’re fooling themselves. And that’s why I say fool-preneur, they fool themselves that they’re working on the business, when in reality, to what you had just said, they’re working in the business, because they don’t know what to do. So, are you familiar with the Eisenhower Matrix?

Mark S A Smith: Yes, absolutely. Let’s just reveal that to the audience. The Eisenhower Matrix talks about the difference between what’s urgent and what’s important.

Mike Kawula: Exactly.

Mark S A Smith: It was made popular by Stephen Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. But the Eisenhower Matrix is critical to helping us understand what to do next. Carry on.

Mike Kawula: They speak a lot about it in the E-Myth. If you’re familiar with Michael Gerber, he just talks a lot about how folks work in the business instead of on the business. Here’s what I mean, in the very top quadrant, you have what’s urgent and what’s important. And what I mean by that is, we all have fires in the business that happen. No matter how good you are in business, fires happen, right? And you’ve gotta be there to put those fires out. But what you need to do, is monitor how often are fires happening in my business, to make sure that it’s not things that you could have prevented. Meaning, more training for staff and employees. It could mean creating SOPs, Standard Operating Procedures that folks follow.

So, I always tell folks, watch that, but you can’t avoid it. No business can, because we all have fires.

Mark S A Smith: Yeah, fires happen all the time. But a solid Executive only allows a fire to happen once, and then there’s an SOP, training, or something. So if you’re putting out the same fire more than once, you’re a fool-preneur.

Mike Kawula: Yes. And so, I talk about that in the book. But then, if you look going down the four quadrants, you also have what’s urgent, but not important. And what I mean by that is things like, is it important to have a social media presence? Heck yes. Is it important to answer your emails? Heck yes. Is it something that you need to be doing? In the early stages of business, sometimes yes, we use our time and energy to create money. But really successful business owners learn how to use their money to buy other’s time and energy. And that’s where outsourcing comes into place, or bringing on team members.

So a lot of us should look at repetitive tasks that we do on a regular basis and say, how can I delegate this and delete it off of my list, so as that I can work on the top right side of the quadrant, which is things that are right now I don’t need to work on this, but it’s important for the growth of my business, I have to. I have to do this because long term, these are the things that will move the dial on my business, and that’s where I’m most powerful, because I’m working on my business and not in my business as Michael Gerber says.

Mark S A Smith: I love this conversation, Michael. It’s absolutely in alignment with my philosophies and the things that I teach too. It’s just fun to hear your spin on it. The thing to keep in mind, is urgency is driven by a scorekeeper. Importance is driven by your vision of what’s important. When you go to this place where it’s important but not urgent, urgency just means, in that quadrant, you’re the only person that’s paying attention and find it important. As an entrepreneur, if you make the shift from entrepreneur to an executive mindset, what you think about it, you’re the scorekeeper for your own behaviors, nobody else is. And it makes it a whole lot easier for you to work on that quadrant, because you’re driving the ship, you’re the one that’s deciding what’s urgent versus what’s not urgent.

The point that you make is, urgent but not important, is the things that must be outsourced. Keep in mind that the job of a manager is arbitrage. You buy wholesale, sell at retail. Which means, you buy other people’s services that cost less than you to perform that service yourself, and then resell those services, either to yourself or somebody else. That’s a really important idea, and one that I wanna really pull out so that our listener really nails that concept about the Eisenhower Matrix and how we use it as both an entrepreneur as well as an executive. Thank you for letting me pull that out.

Mike Kawula: You and I are talking right now, I believe on Skype.

Mark S A Smith: Right.

Mike Kawula: I listened to an interview today with Anthony Robbins, where he was interviewing the Founder of Skype. It is a phenomenal story, because this guy’s background is amazing. He’s started so, so many businesses. He even said, whatever business you go to sell in the future, it will not be the same business, or even close to. It might be in the same niche, but it’s not even gonna close to what you envisioned day one when you started it, because you’re gonna adjust to the market, and you’re gonna get feedback from you’re paying customers, or even those that don’t pay you, you’re gonna get feedback from them. So you gotta take action, kill those naysayers, eliminate them, and follow the Eisenhower Matrix.

And so, that brings us into, so if I’m doing all of that, how do I grow my business? And it’s really a four step system that I use, traffic, activate, number three service and delight your existing customers, and then four how do you create word of mouth and virality in your business?

So let me start with number one, traffic. Two or three different ways max, that I’m going to focus on for X amount of time, to drive traffic to my business. You’ve gotta give it enough time. So if SEO, for instance, and creating content for your website, is one of the strategies, you need to realize that at minimum maybe you’ll see a move in the dial for your business within six months. But really, you wanna give it 12 to 18 months. Say, I’m gonna gie it 12 months, here are the KPIs that I’m going to measure to make sure that it’s moving in the right direction.

But realize, if that’s one of your strategies, that is one of the two, if you say you’re coming up with two, or three. And you’re not going to focus on all these SOS, Shiny Object Syndrome, that’s was gonna pop in. And then you start hearing, oh Instagram is a great way of driving traffic, and you’ve already got your three, well don’t go focusing on Instagram too. And this is why 90% of entrepreneurs don’t last 10 years in business, is because when they jump around and go after all these Shiny Object Syndromes, they can’t focus in on that one core, or two core, or three core strategies. So real important, pick three strategies for traffic, have your KPIs of when you’re gonna measure its success metrics, and shut off everything else.

Mark S A Smith: Right on. It’s so important for people to understand this idea that traffic is a long haul, long tail approach. Unless you’re paying for traffic and you’ve got somebody who knows what the hell they’re doing helping you find that, it takes a while. And the reason why, is because all the search engines, specifically Google, doesn’t look at flash in the pans as something that’s relevant. They wanna see you posting regularly for 12, 18 months before they say, yep this is a legitimate source of information, yep, you’re gonna get high ranking on our machines. You have to earn it with Google, you can’t fool Google into giving you high rankings, that’s just not possible anymore.

The other aspect is that, as the entrepreneur in the business, about the time you’re sick to death of your marketing strategy, is about the time people are starting to take notice. This is a long tail approach. And that’s the reason for most of us, as entrepreneurs, we have to start off with target marketing, where we reach out to people that we know, and then work that list as hard as we possibly can, or as soft as we possibly can depending on the product, and reach out to those who trust us to begin with as the beginning point, versus reaching out to total strangers, that’ll come over time. But that traffic is a real interesting strategy.

I wanna add one more little element to that, and it all depends on whether what you’re selling is high consideration, considered to be perceived risky, or low consideration, something people go, I’ll try it, if it doesn’t work out no big deal. But there’s a massive difference between high consideration sales and low consideration sales. And if what you sell is high consideration, where multiple people are involved or a customer considers that it’s possibly risky, what you sell is the conversation, not the product. If it’s low consideration, you sell the product.

Mike Kawula: What’s your hook? Last night I put a post up on LinkedIn. This morning, I spoke to this lady, she was at my daughter’s cheer, she was like, I heard you’re an entrepreneur. And she was saying my whole business [inaudible 00:17:37] this discussion. And so I was like, okay what do you do? And pulled up her website on my mobile phone. And it just said something like, I help women succeed in corporate America.

And so I said, tell me how you do this and why. And we started talking, and I started Googling while she’s talking, and I’m just looking at my phone doing some research. I find a great Forbes article that says, 4.2% of women have the top role in a Fortune 500 company. Women make 77% of what men do in their same role. And so, I started seeing all these stats. When I was looking at that, I wrote it out in LinkedIn and I told her, I said, listen to this now, and it was like four or five bullet points that I made. And she was nodding her head the whole time. And I said, stop right there, do you see how you’re listening and agreeing with me? You understand this so much now. Now if I listed that out and then at the end say, I help solve this for women, do you think that’s gonna resonate more with folks who hit your website? Or just, I help women succeed in corporate America? You sound like everybody else.

Get inside, be able to really understand their pain, and let them know that you understand their pain. Because once you know it, and you talk to them about the pain, and tell them a good story, they’re there already. They wanna give you money, they wanna open their checkbook right away.

And so, when I see that over, and over, and over again. So I talk in part two of the book a lot about knowing your who, what, when, where, why, and how in your business. Who is your customer?

I went to a networking event and I met a realtor, we all meet them at networking events, right? Oh, I’m a realtor, I sell homes. I’m like, oh okay. And I met this guy and he said, I work with millennials in helping them buy their first time home. Okay, sounded a little bit different, but at least he stood out, maybe.

Mark S A Smith: Right on.

Mike Kawula: But then, at that same networking even, I’m talking to some lady, and she’s called The Naked Realtor. I’m like, Naked Realtor? She ends up selling homes in nudist colonies. So [inaudible 00:19:42] or niche. But here’s the thing, most of her business is outside of nudist colonies, but because she’s so honed in and zeroed in on this niche, she’s the first one when somebody hears realtor, because they just remember her. She ended up being on TMZ, and she had a reality show, she wrote a book. But she niche found in 2008, when the market was falling apart on the real estate side, and she foresaw that in 12 months, if she didn’t make a change, that she was gonna be like every other realtor, and most likely making nothing.

Instead, she niche found and it got really hard for three, four months. But then all of sudden she went from making 70 thousand a year to over 400 thousand a year. And that’s the power of when you’re able to say who, what, where, when, and how for my business. And be able to communicate it so well. And so, whether it’s in networking, whether you’re doing it in your website, or your brochures, or a billboard, or whatever it may be, it has to hit home so well. People have to have that, as an entrepreneur, very early. And even if you’re not an entrepreneur, when somebody hits your LinkedIn page, do you resonate with them, or do you look like every other Joe Schmo that does what you do? I mean, you gotta get to that individuals heart.

Mark S A Smith: Right on. And that’s all about the activate step. And Mike, you’re absolutely square in the heart of things here. And as you pointed out, your last example about the realtor, is the realtor says, I sell homes. No, realtors don’t sell anything. That is such a narcissistic thing. Versus the one that says, I help millennials buy their first house. Yes, now we’re getting a whole lot closer to the heart of things. And then you got to even closer which is, I help naked millennials, nudist millennials, buy their first house. The more targeted you can get, the more that you will connect with people, because sales is all about matching identity. People can only buy something from you if they see you as being part of reinforcing their identity, or helping them more their identity to a new place they wanna be.

Sales is 100% about alignment of identity. And so, your conversation, you’re activation, your outreach, has to always be in an alignment with the people that you wish to reach, so that you nail their identity or improve their identity.

Mike Kawula: With that, as you nurture the lead, online we call it a funnel system, telling that story and really tugging at their heart. And the more that we do that, every business online or offline, has to have an activation process in place. So meaning, if somebody walk into your store, what’s your way of activating that person? And it could be as simple thing like, oh is this your first time visiting our store? Not over their shoulder making them uncomfortable.

This weekend I was helping my daughter pick out a dress, and every two seconds somebody was coming up to me. It made a very uncomfortable situation. Whereas, then we were a different store, oh do you want some champagne? Or they have a little food tray. It made such a difference in the experience. It’s that activation process. Because now when you have that traffic, and you’ve activated them, and finally they become that customer.

When I hear businesses come to me and they’re like, Mike how can I grow my business? And I find out that they already have a handful, or 100, or whatever customers, or customers that are no longer customers, the fastest way to grow a business is your current business.

Mark S A Smith: Right on.

Mike Kawula: Take care of those customers. Wow them. Over deliver, over service. When I had my cleaning company, we over serviced them. When we started out online business, we were one of the first people online that was actually reaching out on the phone the day a package was delivered, even if it was like a $10 package, just building that relationship. Why? Because we were able to tag them in our system and see, if this is being delivered to a business address, if they ordered staples, you know what, they’re gonna need staples next month, they’re gonna need paper, they’re gonna need paper towels. They’re gonna need a lot of things.

And they were so wowed by the fact that, not only did they get a product at a discount … by the way, I talk about that in the book too, on why you should never sell on discounts.

Mark S A Smith: Right on.

Mike Kawula: Leave that alone. They were so wowed by the fact that we reached out online and just wowed the heck out of them, right? I [inaudible 00:23:43] the Sales Department. And if you’ve ever heard of Chet Holmes?

Mark S A Smith: Yes, absolutely. I knew Chet when he was on this planet, yes.

Mike Kawula: Unfortunately he has passed away. His daughter has taken over the business. I got interviewed in 2012 by Chet Holmes and Tony Robbins, and they tore apart my business. It was the most humbling, awesome experience in the world, because we were at the high of just getting ranked by Inc. Magazine, as a top growing business here in the US, and then somebody from their team reached out, they were looking for some of those folks to see, could we help them improve even more.

I didn’t have a Sales Department for an online company. It was just something called a blind spot in my business. I wasn’t paying attention. So we developed a Sales Department, and my business expanded. So, this third step, is create so much delight for the customer that, number four happens by itself, which is word of mouth virality. Meaning, they’re going to go out and tell other people. And then, when they create that viral loop, what happens? You start getting more traffic, your viral loops becomes number two or three depending on how much you’re doing. And those existing customers will grow your business, because with your existing customers, you can get them to buy more frequently, you could upsell them, or you could just get them to tell other folks about you.

And so, that’s a big part that I’ve always focused on, is creating virality whether I’m an online or offline business, inside of the business itself, so as that becomes my best traffic source for the business.

Mark S A Smith: Well let’s talk about that for just a second, the traffic source versus taking care of people, the sales team. A lot of online businesses are willing to pay an awful lot of money to acquire a customer, because they look at the lifetime value and the cost of customer acquisition, LTV and CAC. CAC and LTV, the frequently thrown around. They’re not willing to put a similar amount of money into servicing and loving up those customers to keep them. You flip that equation. You decided to put more money into the customer service, which means it’s a whole lot easier to keep them, sell them, and create this viral loop.

Now, the reason why we get to delight is very simple, they admire us. And Tony Bodoh has done a lot of work in there, and he’s been on the podcast, I recommend everybody check out Tony Bodoh’s work. But he shows you how to create admiration. And that admiration is what triggers this desire to share widely with other people. We like to share what we admire.

Mike Kawula: To that point, it’s simple things. Let’s say you’ve got 500 customers, what could I do? Okay, well there’s 365 days in a year, what if just every morning, as the owner of the company, just a little bit under two a day, what if you were to just either pick up the phone and call those two people a day, or one point whatever? Or what if you were to send them just an email, or even better, something that we don’t get as much anymore, is handwritten notes?

Mark S A Smith: Right on.

Mike Kawula: What if we were to just write them a note or send them something to show them that we care? Or, I use the CRM that I have all the notes about customers and all. And if you knew this person like butterflies and all of a sudden you were reading an article and you saw butterflies, what if you just sent them that article? Imagine how many other folks they know that like butterflies that they’re gonna reach out and tell other folks about the kindness that you did. And maybe they’d be an opportunity for you, maybe they won’t. It doesn’t matter. What you’re doing now is delighting that customer so much that, if the average customer is spending five, six months with you, you know what, they might spend eight, nine, ten months with you.

I was listening to an interview with the head of Dev over at Click Funnels. And here’s a company in the last four years that has grown to 55 thousand plus customers. It’s going to be a billion dollar company, they’re well over 100 million right now. And they send out t-shirts to their tribe. It’s Funnel Hackers, or I’m a Hacker, whatever. But when they send this out, what they notice by tracking … this is real important, track your numbers … is that the average person, if they were ready to terminate or cancel, would stay an extra two months if he’s gotten a t-shirt.

Mark S A Smith: You spend 15 bucks to bring another 4 or $500? Hell yeah, absolutely.

Mike Kawula: The more reciprocity.

Mark S A Smith: Robert Cialdini, Robert Cialdini is the man. He is the monster of persuasion.

Mike Kawula: Everybody has to, not only just read it once, but read it multiple times.

Mark S A Smith: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini. It’s spelled C-I-A-L-D-I-N-I, probably the most important book I’ve ever read. He talks about the six factors of persuasion. I use all six all the time.

Mike Kawula: It’s key. So, that’s why I think it’s important to even paste it somewhere and look at it all the time, because it’s not just in the online world or whether it’s offline. When I was working at Alliance Capital, pre self-employment, while we were building up that department, one of my marketing ideas was, every time somebody hit X each month in revenue with us, let’s send them Y at the end of the month. So for a million dollars in business, you got cookies from this lady that made homemade cookies. And then for five million dollars, you got Omaha Steaks. This was back before the industry was regulated, now you’re not allowed to send gifts for a business ina financial or pharmaceutical business.

But I used to have people at the end of the month saying, how much do I got in with you? How much? Yeah, okay. My wife wants those Omaha Steaks. And when I would go to conferences, people were coming up to me and just being like, this guys sends me Omaha Steaks every month. They loved us. It didn’t cost us really anything. Eventually it was copied everywhere, everybody started doing it.

Mark S A Smith: I think the point here is really pretty simple, and we’re getting back to Cialdini. The concept of reciprocity is, if I give you something, you feel compelled to give me something in return. We’re also using another Cialdini principle which is consistency. And that is, if we build up a pattern, people want to retain and repeat that pattern over and over again.

Although you may not be able to send steaks to people in the financial and pharmaceutical world, you can give them attention. You can send them information. You can send them things that are valued zero by the court, but valued very highly by that individual. So we can still use this concept, and I really love the idea and want people to really nail this down. Entrepreneurs take 15 minutes a day to go through your customer list, and reach out to a handful of them sequentially. Whether it’s sending a postcard, picking up the telephone and saying, hey I was just thinking about you thank you for your business, I’ve got some cool things coming along, if you’ve got a few minutes let’s put 20 minutes on the calendar and have a quick conversation. Or sending them some sort of a gift, as you point out.

Mike Kawula: It doesn’t have to be expensive. I have a buddy who’s a top pharmaceutical rep over at Novartis, I believe. But very competitive niche that he’s in. Eight, nine, or ten of the largest doctors that spend with them, using his drug. And the reason for it is, when he goes into an office, he looks around at the walls and really tries to get into, who is this individual? And he takes little notes, and then when he goes to see them each time, whether they’re a customer yet or not, he brings them a little something.

Mark S A Smith: Right on.

Mike Kawula: And so he’s standing out, and standing out. And it’s not anything terribly expensive, like a $10 book on golf that they could put on the coffee table. It’s like, maybe I’ll give that guy a little bit of business. Imagine if I was a customer, and then all of sudden then he starts doing all this other stuff. It’s standing out and it’s being different.

Back to Alliance Capital, we used to send fax every morning. The night before I would come up with a sales idea for these financial providers on how they could grow their business. And how I learned is, I would make 100 dials plus a day. I would ask others how they’re growing their business, find what’s working the best. I would compose it into a newsletter and for anybody that was doing business with us, they would get this fax every morning. They loved the fax. And what was funny is occasionally, to break Cialdini’s consistency, I would send a fax to see. And you know what? I would have a ton of phone calls saying hey, what do you got for us today? Because they wanted a sales idea.

Mark S A Smith: Right on. Consistency just absolutely nails it. Let’s just do a recap of this. How do you grow your business? Number one is you have to generate traffic. Your best traffic source are your existing customers. Number two, you have to activate the relationship. And everything we’ve been talking about right now is about building relationships. And in all businesses, relationship is key. So you have to activate that relationship. Number three is you gotta delight your customers. And that simply means delivering more than they expect, based on what they have paid for you in the moment, knowing as an entrepreneur that they have a lifetime value of doing business with you over and over again. If you can extend it by one or two months, over and over again, you will be extremely profitable. Then number four, this generates word of mouth and virality. It makes it really easy for people to then drive more traffic, who already have a preexisting relationship thanks to the relationship with your customers.

And this is the simple cycle that generates enormous amounts of business. Folks, this work business-to-business, it works business-to-consumer. Mike, you’re absolutely brilliant in boiling this down to the simple four steps. So, how can my listener get a copy of I’m Self-Employed Now WTF?

Mike Kawula: First off, head over to my website which is Mike Kawula, M-I-K-E-K-A-W-U-L-A .com/success formula. And there you’ll get 100 plus current marketing ideas that work real great. And then in the thank you will be a way to grab the book. The book will be free on Amazon starting May 9th, for five days, and then after those five days are up I will be putting that book also on my website. Thank you so much for your tips on ways that I could offer the book on my website in a print edition outside of Amazon. We spoke about that folks before the phone call and he offered me a ton of advice that I am going to implement ASAP. So super excited.

Mark S A Smith: It’s just part of that relationship thing, right Mike?

Mike Kawula: 100%.

Mark S A Smith: I love it. We’re gonna get that link up on the website. As always, I’m always delighted. Friends, I do have to tell you that I have paid Michael for advice, and his advice has always been good, and has always helped me accelerate. So I’m delighted to have him as a colleague, as a friend, and now a repeat guest on the Selling Disruption Show. Thanks so much Mike. And closing idea for our listener?

Mike Kawula: If anybody is just like, wow we covered so much, or what have you, hit my up on Twitter, I’m very active on there. If you’re like, hey look at this for me or whatever, I’m not looking for money. I honestly have a very, very strong passion for seeing entrepreneurs succeed and cut through all of the BS that’s out there. There’s a lot of folks who are faking it and saying that they’re experts. And I know all experts were once beginners.

As an entrepreneur, if you’re going to pay for something, and then you don’t get that delivery that you were looking for, that hurts me so much when I see that being done now. If you just have a quick question on something and you’re like, hey Mike have you heard of this? Do you think it’s good? Hit me up on Twitter, ask me, because I wanna see that 90% of businesses that aren’t in business after 10 years, I wanna change that number if I can, one business at a time.

Mark S A Smith: Right on. Thanks for being on the Selling Disruption Show.

Mike Kawula: Thank you, sir.

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