In order to get important work done, you need to understand the difference between action and progress.
If you have ever asked for an introduction or been referred by someone, you need to understand what a referral really is.
At the minimum, a referral is saying “I vouch for this guy”, or basically, I endorse this person I am telling you about.
You need to understand the importance of a referral. And you need to understand what you are really asking for when you ask someone for an introduction.
I have two stories about introductions one bad and one wonderful.
I love connecting people when I know they can benefit each other. But I am also deliberate about introducing or referring people. I know everyone I refer is a reflection of me. Call it selfish, but I only want to make introductions where the two parties involved will be glad I made the introduction and welcome the next introduction I might make. I want people to know if I am referring someone, which they have my backing and they will reflect my quality standard. So if you ask me for an introduction to someone, I might not do it. Not if you are not ready for it. And I might not refer your work to someone else unless it meets a high-quality standard. But it delights me when I connect two people, and it works out for both of them. I win because they won. We all win. What a perfect situation.
In this episode, I highlight two examples of introductions, one with a bad ending and one with a wonderful ending.
In the introduction with the wonderful ending, Bryan Buckley did two things that made a big difference;
It worked out well for Bryan. After exchanging some emails, Bryan had the opportunity to meet Jeff at Podcast Movement in Chicago. They had a great conversation. The home work paid off. Handling an introduction the right way paid off.
So there are two stories about introductions. One handled poorly where no one benefited from the introduction. And one that was handled with excellence where everyone benefited from the introduction.
Not long ago, someone asked me what I do to get the most out of a conference. That question is again on my mind since I am here at the Podcast Movement conference and I want to share with you the 8 things I do to make sure I get the most out of a conference;
On this episode of The Jody Maberry Show, we examine how you can go the extra inch to recognize solutions to problems your customers are facing.
Do you remember the movie Castaway with Tom Hanks? If you saw the movie, you probably remember Wilson, right? Wilson was the volleyball Tom Hanks always talked to. If you haven’t seen the movie, let me catch you up without spoiling anything. Tom Hanks is stranded alone on an island for a long time. If it were not for his volleyball sidekick, Tom Hanks would not have been completely alone. It was a compelling story, even though Tom Hanks was the sole character for most of the movie.
Chances are, you would not be entertained or fulfilled if you were alone on an island. Yet, too often, we put ourselves in Tom Hanks’ position, feverishly rubbing sticks together to start a fire and shouting aloud to no one once we reach our goal.
To avoid being a Castaway, you need to add what Tom Hanks was missing in the movie. You need a cast of characters to build your story. If you want to live your life as a rich, fulfilling story, you need a cast of characters. If you want a thriving workplace where work gets done, and people enjoy being there, you need a cast of characters.
I will tell you now, that I stole this cast of characters idea from Chris Guillebeau. In the back of his book, The Happiness of Pursuit, he lists the cast of characters of the people from the book. When I mentioned that the cast of characters idea could be applied to networking, he recommended I run with it and turn it into a blog post or a book.
I didn’t turn the idea into a book, but I did turn the idea into a podcast.
To get an idea of what a cast of characters is, I want to tell you two stories.
Lee Cockerell explains, At Disney World, they are putting on a show every day. Each day is a new performance and employees have a deliberate role to play in delivering the best performance possible. This is why Disney employees are called cast members. Disney uses a cast of characters to put on a show for their guests. And you can’t put on a show without clearly defined roles for the cast of characters in the show.
Now, let’s look at one more story involving a cast of characters. I mentioned New York Times bestselling author Chris Guillebeau and his book The Happiness of Pursuit. In this book, Chris uses case studies of real life quests people have undertaken. Each quest is individual and unique as the person who is doing it. At the same time, each quest is weaved into the greater whole of the story of the book.
At the end of the book, Guillebeau included a cast of characters appendix. The appendix lists the name of an individual, their quest, as well as the category and status of their quest.
Your career or business life is no different than the story in the book or the show they put on every day at Disney World. You can apply the cast of characters concept to build a better team, build better relationships, and build a better project.
Let’s begin by looking at team building.
You can use this concept for team building. Whether you are a supervisor or a front line worker, you can build your team by viewing the in individuals as a cast of characters in the show you are putting on every day at your organization.
How to apply the cast of characters for team building; Keep a list, perhaps a spreadsheet, of all of your team members. Keep track of the one big thing each team member is working on at work. Also, keep track of the one big thing they are working on in their personal life. Make note of important personal information such as birthdays, work anniversary, the name of spouse and kids, hobbies or any other relevant information.
If you work for a small organization, this will build deeper productive relationships with your whole team. If you work for a large organization, building a cast of characters will set you apart, help you stand out, and move you closer to the promotion you have your eye on. You can also use this approach outside the walls of your office. Build a cast of characters for vendors, suppliers, contractors, or anyone else outside of your organization that plays a role in the work you do.
You can also use the Cast of characters to build relationships.
Networking has been a hot topic for a couple of years now. There are books about networking. There are podcasts about networking. The contemporary view of networking has moved away from handing out business cards and trying to get new business. Modern networking, thankfully, has turned towards adding value, noticing others, building relationships, and connecting with other people.
But what if you viewed networking completely different?
What if you considered you’re a life a story being told in a book or a movie? Wouldn’t you pay more attention to the characters in the story? Wouldn’t you take the time to build depth and meaning for each character?
Just like a good book, when a new character is introduced, you don’t know what role she will pay in your story. Will the person you just met be a hero in your story? Will he introduce you to an idea or person who will change your life? Will he become a friend who brings you joy and comfort? You never know, but by using the cast of characters approach, you can build a network of relationships as you have never known.
How can you apply Cast of Characters to building relationships. Begin by creating a spreadsheet of those closest to you. Add the one big goal or dream you know they are working on. Add other important personal information, such as birthdays and other important dates. Add a section for contact information. When was the last time you were in contact with them?? Did you correspond through email, phone, face to face, or handwritten note? What new information did you gather during the correspondence? With each new conversation or interaction, you can build depth to their profile.
When you meet someone new, add them to your cast of characters spreadsheet. Include how you met them. Don’t leave out new online contacts. You will meet some new people on Twitter or Facebook you will want to include. Perhaps you will want to start a cast of characters list strictly for online contacts.
If you work independent like I do, there is another way to use the cast of characters concept. My work is project based, as I do a series of projects for different people, or different projects for the same people. Either way, it takes a cast of characters to do great project work. You don’t complete projects by yourself. There is a cast of characters who play a part in every project. If you are a freelancer, entrepreneur, coach, or someone else who mostly works by yourself, using the cast of characters concept will help you keep track of progress and who is playing each role in a project. I work out of an office in my garage, but I have a cast of characters who help me get work done.
How to apply; Create a spreadsheet listing everyone who has a role in the project. List their name, role, and include a section for highlights, milestones, and correspondence. This can be critical to help you keep track when you have multiple projects going, which many of us do who work independently.
Aaron Walker helps men live extraordinary lives. After a successful career, he now focuses on helping others reach new levels in their personal and business lives.
In this episode of the Jody Maberry Show, Aaron shares his personal story and delivers three key points that can help any business or personal brand;
Focus on Significance
Be Clear on Your Message
People Buy Confidence
Aaron is offering three free resources for you, which you can find here.
Recently, my next door neighbor had a new roof installed. During the process, the roofing company (let's call them ABC Roofing) stacked some roofing material on my lawn. They didn't ask if that would be OK. It was on my lawn for only a day. No big deal, but it was a missed opportunity.
Had ABC roofing knocked on my door and explained they were installing a new roof next door and would like to stack some material on my lawn for a day, they would have left a good impression. They would have been first on my mind when I need a new roof, and everyone needs a new roof eventually.
Doing so would have been Collateral Marketing. Collateral Marketing are the small things you do that promote your company and you work you do. Usually, it is not direct marketing, and these opportunities are usually overlooked.
In this episode of the Jody Maberry Show, we will take a look at what Collateral Marketing is and how you can take advantage of it.
Also mentioned in this episode;
If you want to sell more, you need to understand why people don't buy your product.
People don't buy your product or service, they buy the result or the feeling the product gives them. For example, people don't buy a drill, they buy a hole in the wall. They don't buy a shovel, they buy a hole in the ground.
When you understand what it is people are actually buying, you can tap into it and sell more.
Tommy Spaulding is the NY Times Best Selling author of It's Not Just Who You Know and The Heart Led Leader. On this episode of The Jody Maberry Show, Tommy talks about the important of sending handwritten notes, why Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People does not go far enough, and how opening a restaurant fits his mission.
On a recent trip to Nashville, I stopped at Dave Ramsey’s headquarters to visit Eric Anthony, the producer of the Entreleadership podcast. I had met Eric at the Podcast Movement conference last year and had worked with him a bit when Lee Cockerell was on the Entreleadership podcast. So I stopped in to say Hello and spent time chatting with Eric and Ken Colemen, who hosts the show. While I was there, Dave Ramsey was recording his radio show, and a couple was waiting in the lobby to do the Debt Free Scream. Do you know about the debt free scream?
I didn’t want to miss a good debt free scream, so I hung out in the lobby to watch. The couple did a short interview with Dave and finish with the scream to announce their freedom. When they were done, Dave Ramsey came out into the lobby to say hello to them in person. Since I was in the lobby, I had the chance to meet Dave.
This was not the first time I met Dave Ramsey, though.
I have paid attention to Dave Ramsey for years. Even when I did not take his advice, I was paying attention.
Dave Ramsey helped transform my kid’s attitudes and actions towards money through Financial Peace Junior. My wife and I are students of Financial Peace University, I have listened to Dave's radio show, and read a couple of his books.
Although I don’t remember how I heard Dave Ramsey was looking for volunteers for a Seattle event, when I heard he was looking for volunteers to help his team I did not hesitate for a moment.
I have organized many events; concerts, Sea Stories, puppet shows, Hispanic Heritage Celebration, and the Scandinavian Cold and Flu Festival. Working as a volunteer for Dave’s event would be an opportunity to experience, first hand and behind the scenes, how professionals put on an event.
I submitted a volunteer application and was delighted to be accepted as part of the team.
The evening of the Living a Legacy event, ten volunteers gathered before the event and received instruction from Dave’s team on our assignments for the evening. I was selected to work the Back Stage Experience, where I got to meet Dave and his lovely daughter, Rachel Ramsey Cruze.
I learned plenty from hearing Dave talk to the small backstage crowd. Of course, I learned watching Dave on stage. But the biggest lesson I learned was from a member of Dave’s team.
Before the event, before the volunteers had done any work, Pete, one of Dave’s team members, gathered us together to explain how the evening would unfold.
As Pete explained the importance of the volunteers greeting guests as they enter, he said “The first few minutes set the tone. If not, Dave will not be able to connect with the audience”.
Listen to that again. “The first few minutes set the tone. If not, Dave will not be able to connect with the audience.
Imagine if we all viewed customer service that way.
What if we took responsibility to set a tone to ensure anyone in our organization will connect with the customer?
How would you change the way you answer the phone?
How would you act when a customer interrupts when you are busy?
How would you treat the opportunity of being face to face with a customer?
What if your biggest role was to make sure the next person is able to connect with the customer. Let’s take a doctor’s office. The receptionist sets the tone for a nurse to make a connection with the customer. The nurse sets the tone for the doctor. This makes front line the most important part of an organization.
In your case, front line could be the person who answers the phone. The person who greets people at the door, or checks people in as they arrive.
Once we can connect with customers we can build relationships.
Once we build relationships, then we can get work done.
Perhaps you have heard me mention that I used to be a park ranger. During my eight years as a Park Ranger, only once did I see an event that shocked everyone who saw it. Children gasped. Parents turned their heads. A baby cried.
You wouldn't believe me if I told you that a Park Ranger caused the commotion.
The shocking event happened at the end of an interpretive hike on a trail in the Little Spokane River Natural Area of Riverside State Park. Twenty kids and their parents joined Park Ranger Joseph Felgenhauer and me for a hike along the meandering river.
Ranger Felgenhauer led the group using words to guide their steps through the forest. He talked about trees. He talked about the river. He discussed the native history of the area. He pointed out signs of wildlife. He encouraged kids to touch leaves, trees, rocks, and bugs.
He explained the value of connecting to the natural world.
At the end of the hike, as we approached the parking area, he pointed out deer droppings to the kids. He explained how to tell what type of animal the scat had come from. Ranger Felgenhauer then reached down, picked up two deer droppings, and popped them in his mouth.
“It tastes nutty” was all Ranger Felgenhauer said about it before leading the group down the short trail to the parking area as he finished his interpretive hike.
No one in attendance heard another word after “nutty”. The crowd was still buzzing with what they had seen as they climbed into mini-vans and SUVs.
Here is what the crowd did not know.
For several weeks, Ranger Felgenhauer and I had it on our calendar to do an interpretive hike with a group of school kids. Left up to me, I would have conducted the hike based on my knowledge and experience in that area of the park.
Ranger Felgenhauer took a different approach. Joseph is a champion interpreter and he would not give an interpretive walk without knowing every turn and curve that his guests would walk. He wanted to see what they would see before they saw it, so he could tell a story about it.
The morning of the scheduled hike, Joseph and I had visited the Natural Are where the hike would be. We walked the trail and Joseph took note of interesting trees, plants, and rocks. He planned what he would say at each viewpoint along the river. He paid special attention to coyote scat alongside the trail, knowing it would present an opportunity for a story.
When the kids arrived we lead them on the predetermined route along the river. Ranger Felgenhauer hit each practiced point right on queue. He stirred enthusiasm in the kids and answered every question.
At the coyote scat, Ranger Felgenhauer had each kid examine it. He explained what you can learn from scat; what the coyote ate and how long ago the animal had been there.
Finally, towards the end of the hike, Ranger Felgenhauer discovered the deer scat under a young Ponderosa Pine tree. The kids leaned in to hear what then Ranger would teach them.
And then Joseph ate deer droppings. It was something that none of the kids, or their parents, will forget.
Joseph Felgenhauer and I worked together only a few months. I left Riverside State Park for another park and soon after Joseph moved on to another career. Even after I left, the way Joseph conducted the interpretive hike stuck with me.
Joseph knew knowledge does not have the same impact as preparation. Preparation was the key to delivering a great experience to families who took time out of their day to go on a walk with us.
Joseph did not just lead a hike and talk about what showed up before us. Each stop was a deliberate effort to educate the kids. Each viewpoint had been pre-selected to offer the best opportunity for a story. Interesting trees and large rocks had been chosen as highlights because they would create the most curiosity from the kids.
And the coyote scat played into the story of the day. It offered an educational stop and made the kids consider what they can learn from scat.
It played right into Joseph’s finale of eating deer dropping.
You see, the finale was deliberate, just like the rest of the hike. Joseph knew by doing something that would WOW the kids they would remember the hike. The precise spot and timing of that event had been planned.
Earlier in the morning, when we had walked the trail, Joseph had sprinkled Raisinets on the ground under the pine tree.
Ranger Joseph Felgenhauer knew how to deliver a memorable customer experience. Jeff Noel talks about going the extra inch beyond what customers expect. For Joseph Felgenhauer, the extra inch was as simple a couple of raisinettes.
Joseph Felgenhauer taught us that preparation is the key to delivering a memorable customer experience to your customers. You can prepare like a park ranger, too. Here are the three steps you can learn from Joseph to deliver some WOW to your customers;
Jeff Noel introduced me to the idea of going the extra inch, but I am so taken by it I am going to adopt this idea. Isn’t it encouraging to know you don’t have to go an extra mile to delight people? All it takes is an extra inch. And we can all stretch one more inch, right? One inch is all that separates you from the competition. And when you go the extra inch enough times, you are a foot ahead of everyone around you.
Preparation is key to show you have mastered your message.
I know what question you probably want to ask me, so I am going to go ahead and answer it. No, Ranger Felgenhauer did not tell the group that it was raisenettes he ate. Everyone went home thinking he had eaten deer droppings.
Recently, I visited the Burke Museum at the University ofWashington. Although the museum is full of fascinating fossils, one important piece that is missing is the Manis Mastodon. The Manis Mastodon is not at the BurkeMuseum because the University of Washington missed anopportunity with the way they answered the phone.
You could be missing an opportunity with the voicemail greetingon your phone. The often overlooked voicemail greeting is thesecret to getting more attention.
In this episode, we examine the elements of a great outgoingmessage and how it gets you more attention. Jeff Noel presents theelements of a proper voicemail greeting.
Pricing is more than what a customer pays. Pricing informs a customer what it will be like to do business with you. When it comes to price, you should be delivering so much value your customer should feel they got the better deal.
Kirk Bowman joins the Jody Maberry Show to discuss the pricing, value and how they connect to marketing your message.
Kirk is known as the Visionary of Value. His podcast, The Art of Value, offers weekly conversations centered around the concept of value pricing.
Have you ever heard the phrase "you get what you pay for"? It is true. You do get what you pay for. But you also get what THEY pay for.
What does that mean?
When you try to compete on price and offer prices lower than you should, four things happen;
You know the customer's mindset is Cheap. The customer is looking to pay the least amount possible and squeeze as much as possible from the purchase or transaction.
Customers don't value what they get. If their mindset is cheap, they will believe what they got is worth what they paid, which means it is not worth much.
Customers won't trust your work. When someone is paying as little as possible, they are going to assume you are cutting corners, just like they are. Because they don't fully trust your work, you will find they ask for more, or watch over the project, more than a high paying customer.
People willing to invest in themselves see the world different. Someone who is willing to pay more will believe they are worth more. And they will expect your work to meet their expectations.
I am going to come right out and tell you this show is a bit different. It feels different to me anyway. Last week was a tough week. At the end of the week, we had to put our dog to sleep.
Bridger was a beautiful chocolate lab. He had been my best friend for the past 14 years. Since he is what I have been thinking about the past few days,I thought I would use an episode of The Jody Maberry Show to talk about what I learned from the situation.
Even though it was an awful event for me, I noticed how good the veterinary clinic was at delivering vulnerable customer service.
Upon arrival, they let me and Bridger go to a private room. I didn’t have to fill out paperwork in front of other people and it gave me more time with my dog.
Treated my situation as unique. They perform this process every week. The see individuals going through the sadness and distress of losing a dear family pet every week. But they treated me as an individual and my situation as unique. They understood I had not been through this situation before and it was difficult for me. The treated it as such, not like it was no big deal.
The doctor showed a human side. It was clear it was not a transaction. He asked questions about my dog. He told me stories about losing a dog himself. He made me feel like a human facing a difficult situation and he also showed he was human.
Everyone at the clinic made the transaction portion of my visit as minimal as possible. I only had to fill out the absolute necessary paperwork. Steps of the transaction were removed to make it as easy on me as possible. For example, they allowed me to pay shortly after I got there while my beautiful was still sitting at my side. Can you imagine standing in the lobby trying to pay after losing your pet? Taking care of the payment beforehand allowed me to exit the building quickly once it was all over.
They understood my needs even before I did. Since they see people in my situation often, they understand what customers going through this process need. There was Kleenex in the room. If they would have asked me when I got there if I needed Kleenex I would have said no. But I did indeed need Kleenex, and they knew it. There was already a box sitting quietly on the counter next to the chairs where customers sit. They also let me stay alone with my dog as long as wanted to when the process is over. As a business that makes money based on appointments and number of customers seen in a day, it could be tempting to move people in and out as quickly as possible. But they let me stay with my dog to say goodbye and grieve as long as I needed.
I will never forget the kindness and care shown by Pet Townsend. In fact, just today, I received a notecard in the mail from the vet clinic. All of the staff signed it and the doctor wrote a message to me. You don’t get caring service like that often. You can be sure I will recommend them and return if I get another dog.
But here is the thought I had about how great they treated me, why can’t we treat everyone like that? They treated me well when I was vulnerable, but every customer could be vulnerable, even if you do not serve them during situations where they are obviously vulnerable. If your customer is a dog owner who just lost his best friend of 14 years, it is obvious your customer is vulnerable. But consider the rest of my day. I was still sad when I went to the grocery store. I still felt lousy when my family went out for burgers and fries for dinner. I was vulnerable the rest of the day. The same is true for every one of your customers. Everyone you interact with has something going on you do not know about. I promise that is true.
So what would be different if you treat a customer’s situation as unique even if it is the 100th time you have seen it this month?
What if you eliminated unnecessary steps from a transaction so your customer could be on their way sooner?
What if you took the time to hear your customer’s story?
What if you treated a customer like the special person they are? Won’t it make the situation they are dealing with that you don’t know about a little better? Yes, of course. So why not do it?
There is one more aspect of vulnerable customer service I want you to think about. There are times when a customer is in a situation where they have no alternative. You have all the power. Think of when you are not satisfied with a product but are not certain if you can get a refund. The power is with the company. Think of trying to accomplish anything with the cable company. They have all the power. When I was a park ranger, I often dealt with a customer where I had all the power. When someone broke a rule or even broke a law, the customer did not have many options and the power was in my hands. Usually, in these situations, the customer caused whatever happened. How do you handle it? Do you talk down to the customer? Do you tell the customer it is policy and you have no choice?
You know who comes to mind as one of the worst in handling these situations? Barney Fife from the Andy Griffith Show. Did you ever watch this show? I did not watch a single episode of The Andy Griffith Show until a couple years ago, but as you can imagine, I have heard Andy Griffith jokes most of my life with a last name like Maberry.
Anyway, Barney Fife was the deputy of the town of Mayberry. Barney could get carried away with law enforcement.
In one episode, Deputy Barney Fife arrested an elderly citizen, Emma, for jaywalking. When Sheriff Andy Taylor found out he explained that they never stop Emma for jaywalking and “we figure if she can save a step or two here and there, why, she will just be with us that much longer”.
Sheriff Taylor understood customer service.
Deputy Fife protested. He reasoned if Emma got away with her crime, people would soon be “jaywalking all over the place and disregarding Keep of the Grass signs” and soon Mayberry would turn into a regular Sin Town.
Unfortunately, many organizations take The Barney Fife approach. This is a missed opportunity. It ensures that the organization will not turn into a regular Sin Town, but what image does it leave with customers? Seth Godin points out that in the moment when you have the power, you will establish the way customers feel about your entire organization.
I think Sheriff Andy Taylor would agree with Seth Godin. If an organization works hard to provide a positive experience when the customer has no choice, the benefit of the doubt earned is worth more than it costs.
I will add to that and say if you work hard to provide a positive experience when your customer is vulnerable, the benefit of the doubt is worth more than it costs. Vulnerable could mean they are in a vulnerable situation like I was when I was with my dog at Pet Townsend. Or vulnerable could mean you have all the power and the customer has no choice.
Also, remember, at any point in the customer process, if you can save the customer a step or two here and there, as Andy Griffith suggested, they will be with you that much longer.
Which direction does your organization lean? Do you have the Deputy Barney Fife approach to fend off Sin Town? Or do you have the Sheriff Andy Taylor approach to making sure customers will be with you that much longer?
If you were to ask me about the best podcasters, Jeff Brown would be at the top of my list. Jeff is the host of the Read to Lead Podcast. After 26 years in the radio business, Jeff brought his broadcast skills, and buttery voice, to podcasting.
It is not just a dreamy voice that makes Jeff a great podcaster. Jeff's preparation, interviews, and production quality make Read to Lead one of the best independent podcasts you will hear.
In this episode, Jeff offers some of his secrets on how to make a good podcast great. But it is really no secret. Jeff Brown is so generous he is willing to share his knowledge and experience to help other podcasters make their show great.
Have you ever asked yourself, "Should I have a podcast?" Podcasting is not for everyone, but it may be for you. Often, people will ask me if they should start a podcast.
Podcasting may be the right option for your business, but wouldn't you like to have a better understanding of how a podcast can help you? In this episode of The Jody Maberry Show, I will examine whether or not you should start a podcast. I also get insight from some of my favorite podcasters including Jeff Brown, Dan Miller, Lou Mongello, and Lee Cockerell.
Podcasts I am currently involved with as a host or co-host:
Jeff Noel spent 30 years at Disney World. The last 15 years Jeff was a speaker at the Disney Institute and spoke to over 1 million people. Jeff understands what makes Disney World so successful, from the big picture of leadership and customer service to the very smallest items, like trash.
Jeff joins the Jody Maberry Show to talk trash. Disney World is one of the cleanest places you will visit. How do they do it? More importantly, why do they do it? What does Disney obsess about the cleanliness of the park?
One of the key's to making Disney World so clean is Cast Members understand what their priorities are. First, Cast Members make sure Guests have a great time. Second, Cast Members pick up trash. Third priority is the job you were hired to do. Imagine the impact it has on the culture for every cast member to understand picking up trash is so important, you should pick up litter before you tend to the job you were hired to do. That is how you create excellence through priorities.
On a recent trip to Nashville, I told Dan Miller a story about my son playing violin on the street corner in the small town where we live. Dan enjoyed the story so much he did a short interview with me on his podcast about my son swinging the bow on the street corner. I realized if Dan found the story interesting you probably would as well. You can hear Dan Miller's interview with me here.
On a visit to downtown Port Townsend my, son saw someone playing music on the street corner.
What caught his attention was not the music, it was the guitar case. It was open in front of the musician and had several bills and many coins in it.
What my son saw was money Money. Someone was Playing music on the street and in return people were giving him money.
It was a new concept to his eight-year-old mind. I was quickly bombed with several questions.
"Why is he playing guitar on the sidewalk"?
"Why are people giving him money"?
And then he asked the big one.
"Can I play my violin on the sidewalk"?
He had quickly connected the dots. He realized playing his violin on the street corner could get him money, which could be used to buy Legos.
My kid wants to be a busker.
My first reaction was "no". I was not going to let my son play violin on the street corner in a busy tourist town. I may think he is the best eight-year-old violin player in our house, but is it a good idea to let him play in a place where people expect to hear experienced and quality musicians?
After considering it for a day, I decided it would be a good idea for him to be a busker. Here are the six lessons he can learn from being a kid busker;
Have the courage to do something that can be criticized. He is not as good as other musicians playing on the street. People may laugh. People may say he is not very good. People may ignore him. But consider the lesson he will learn by standing tall and playing his violin anyway.
Realize not everyone is your audience. The one or two people or even the ten people you connect with are your audience. Mike Loomis believes you can be successful by reaching three people, and you can accomplish lots of great stuff with a twelve person tribe. Do not worry about the masses. Connect with your audience, even if it is only three people.
The thought of doing something is often harder than the actual doing of that thing. Doing one intimidating act, like busking on the street corner, can build enough confidence to take on another, bigger, and scarier project.
The only way you will ever know is to take the risk. At the age of eight, my son can take a step to eliminate a regret, so many of us have. He may play violin on the street corner and not do well, but he will know. How many of us adults wrestle with the regret of not knowing how something would have worked out if we had only been brave enough to try.
The value of making a ruckus. Rather than waiting for someone to tell my son how an eight-year-old should act, he could be on the street corner making a ruckus. Making a ruckus, rather than doing what others expect you to do, is how you get things done. Listen to this episode of Starve The Doubts podcast with Jared Easley to hear Seth Godin talk about making a ruckus.
The difference between contributing and spectating. Theodore Roosevelt said "there is no effort without error and shortcoming. (A Contributor) at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and at worst, if he fails, at least, fails while daring greatly". Colonel Roosevelt even called spectators "cold and timid souls."
I realized, If my son wants to dare greatly and play his violin on the street corner, it would be wrong not to let him.
And he did play on the street corner. He picked the busiest corner available and set up shop. He dressed nice and even slicked his hair back to look the part. He understood, even at eight years old that he was putting on a show.
At the time he only knew how to play a few songs, so he played them over and over. I usually stood against a nearby wall to not only watch him play but to watch the interaction between him and the people who passed by. Many people dropped money in his violin case. And many people slowed down or stopped to hear him play. In a busy tourist town where buskers are common on every corner, it is one thing to drop some money; it is another thing altogether when someone stops to watch and listen.
In the end, August played for 62 minutes and made $47. Consider what that means to an 8-year-old. Rather than get an allowance, my kids earn commissions. He would have to take the trash out to the corner 47 times to earn $47 dollars. He would have to shred 23 stacks of paper to earn $47. He has a good week when he earn $10 in commissions. And now, in 62 minutes he earned $47 from something he created, not from what someone told him to do.
To me, the $47 is not really the big deal. What excites me the most is the possibility. How important is it for my 8-year-old son to learn the possibility of doing things differently. If you learn as an 8-year-old that you can earn money playing on the street corner, does a job in a cubicle even look appealing once you are an adult?
This is where the most important lesson comes in, the lesson I want to stick with my son, and the lesson I want you to hear.
If you create value, people will put money in your violin case.
It is that simple. That is the secret to business. Create value and people will give you money. Creating value is part of mastering your message. You need to understand what you do and how it will create value for other people. In the case of my son on the street corner, the music was the message. It created value for people because they enjoyed hearing it. Buskers create the unique atmosphere in downtown Port Townsend that people like so much. Without buskers, downtown Port Townsend would feel, and sound, different. An 8 year old boy playing violin on the corner creates value because of the music and because people like having buskers on the corner.
Bob Burg once said people will not buy from you because you need to buy groceries. People will buy from you because you create value for them.
Even if you are not an entrepreneur, the secret to success is the same. Forget about sticking to your job description. Create so much value in your position that your organization will not want to be without you.
To give you a little update on my son, after the first time playing violin on the street he did not return. I know it would be a better story to tell you he went back to the street corner and earned 40 or 50 dollars every week and bought a car before he was 10 years old. It did not happen though. At the time, he saw it as an opportunity to earn enough money to buy the lego set he wanted. After he had the legos in hand he did not return. But after hearing this story again on Dan Miller’s 48 Days to the Work you love podcast he declared he would be a busker again this summer.
Most of us know we don’t know it all. Perhaps you know enough to realize how much you don’t know. If only you could get a leg up. If only you could get an advantage or a little head start, we could do so much better. If only we had a mentor, right? You have thought that before, I am sure. If you had a mentor to show you how to do this or that. If only you had a mentor to help you avoid mistake, or point you towards this shorter path through the woods.
A mentor can be a big factor in shaping and evolving your message and be a jumpstart when it comes to marketing, mobilizing, and mastering. Holy Crow, that was a lot of Ms.
From my experience, there are five types of mentors.
Classic mentor. A Classic mentor is likely what you think of when you think of a mentor. A classic mentor is a single person who invested in you and your development. When I first became a Park Ranger, I was lucky enough to have a classic mentor. Jack Hartt, the Park Manager, took an interest in me and devoted time and attention to my development. He would spend lunch breaks with me. Jack would answer my questions almost any time. He exposed me to situations that were above my pay grade and helped me think a level or two above where my current job was. We would even play quick rounds of trivial pursuit in the office. I am pretty sure I won every time.
Academic mentor. An academic mentor is someone who mentors you through the content they produce. Books are an obvious way to connect with the academic mentor. For only $20 you can spend hours with a mentor and get some of their best advice. Don't discount this idea. Pick a book and take the words with the same weight you would with a classic mentor. If you take a book with the idea of consuming the words, not for entertainment but to learn and grow and change, it can have the same impact as spending the same amount of time with the classic mentor.
The best part of an academic mentor is there is one out there for any topic you want to learn about. Do you want to build a strong foundation of personal accountability? Spend time with John Miller and the book QBQ. Do you want to get better customer service? Spend time with Lee Cockrell and the book The Customer Rules. Want to help lead your team through changes spend time with John Kotter in the book Leading Change. Those are three examples of academic mentors through books to consider. I have spent time with Seth Godin, Jack Welch, and so many more mentors through books.
Books are not the only way to connect with an academic mentor. Content comes in many forms. A podcast can connect you with a mentor. Let’s use the Brand You Podcast by Mike Kim as an example. Each week, Mike Kim gives you a valuable, personal lesson on marketing or branding that will enable you to take action. Or, Mike Kim will have a guest on his show. This gives you an opportunity to sit in on a conversation with someone like Ray Edwards or Pat Flynn who is going to deliver their own valuable lesson. It is like you are right there at the table with them. Whatever topic Mike covers that week, you can spend that week working on it. A podcast can be just as good as a weekly session with a classic mentor, although not as personal. Just like with books, there is nearly a podcast about any topic you want to learn about. One of my other podcasts is called The Park Leaders Show. If there is a show out there for park rangers, there is also going to be a show about whatever industry you are in or the topic you are interested in learning more about.
Situational mentor. A situational mentor is someone who mentors you for a certain situation. If you need to improve a skill, perhaps you can find a situational mentor to help you only with that skill. If you are having a tough time with an employee, you can find someone else who has been through a similar situation. If you are hiring an employee for the first time or going for a promotion yourself, you can find a situational mentor to help you out. I think you get where I'm going with this. You can find a situational mentor to help you out in that situation. It could be a short time mentorship lasting only for this one situation. You do not even have to use the word mentor, just ask for help. The word I like to use this counsel. I don't ask for advice. I don't expect someone to tell me what to do. I want counsel as I work to the situation.
Shadow mentor. A shadow mentor is simply someone you observe. For example, you want your supervisor or someone else in a leadership role with a deliberate eye towards how they handle situations and how they deal with people. The key here is you have to be deliberate in watching and analyzing what they do and how they do it. You can take a step further than just watching; you can ask to be involved in situations and learn in their shadow. You can ask your supervisor to let you attend a meeting with her. You can ask to help with staff scheduling for the month or something else you are interested in. Find a way to get yourself in her shadow so you can learn.
If you are self-employed like I am, fear not. You are not out of luck. You may not have a supervisor or a leader in the organization to shadow, but you can reach out to anyone. Find a local businessman and ask if you can just shadow them for a day. Find someone you respect in the online world and ask if you can help them at an event or training just to shadow and learn from them. Let them know you want or expect nothing in return, you just want to shadow them.
Anti-mentor. Having an anti-mentor may sound strange and like something you want to stay away from. But if you find yourself working for a bad boss you can grumble about it and have a lousy time, or you can use a bad boss is a mentor and anti-mentor. Let a bad boss mentor you on what not to do. Trust me when I tell you to use an anti-mentor like a shadow mentor and don't tell them you're using them as a bad example. If you tell a bad boss you are using him as an anti-mentor it will make your life a bit uncomfortable. Watch them and be deliberate about understanding what they're doing that you would not want to do. Some things I learned from an anti-mentor include the importance of doing the work. Let your team see you working with them. I learned the value of inclusion. If a team member does not feel like they are part of what is going on things will begin to crumble. I have learned about customer service, time management, people management and so much more from one bad boss. Some of these lessons are just as valuable as what I could've learned from a classic mentor. In fact, the lessons stick more because I understand how it made me feel.
Those are the five types of mentors but don't overlook the value of friendships. If you are hanging out with the right people, you are going to be smarter and get more done. There you have it my friend, my take on mentors. The good, the bad, and where you can find each type. As I mentioned at the top of the show, by the end of the day you can have a mentor identified, maybe for all five types of mentors. And you have an opportunity to be working with a mentor by tomorrow. With the opportunity to work with an academic mentor, you can have one of your major problems solved by the end of the week.
Have you had a mentor who impacted your life, your business, or career? If you want to share the story, send an email and tell me about it. I am always curious to hear stories about how someone used the knowledge or experience of someone else to improve.
Have you ever thought you could get further along if someone would come along and notice you, partner with you, or promote you?
The truth is, the big guys and guys do not want to partner with you. Kary Oberbrunner will explain why. And he will tell you what you can do about it.
Kary is an author, podcaster, and coach who is willing to tell you the truth about what it really takes to connect with people. In 2015, Kary published an episode of his Igniting Souls podcast explaining why the big guys and big gals do not want to connect with you. Kary shares his secrets to connecting with high influencers. In that episode, Kary reached through the podcast and virtually slapped me in the face. In this conversation on The Jody Maberry Show, Kary will share the same bold information about partnering with "Big Fish".
Kary Oberbrunner will explain how you can connect with anyone.
In preparation for an upcoming trip to Nashville, I decided to order some new business cards. I know there are people who don’t order business cards. That is fine. I also know at least one person who will not accept business cards. That is fine too, even though it can be a little awkward. But I can think of one situation when I ran out of business cards and decided not to order new ones. Who needs them, I thought. Then I gave a presentation for a home builders association. After I was done, I had someone tell me they wanted to talk about doing some work for them. They asked for a business card so they could follow up. I did not have a card, and I never heard from them. A business card is a simple, cheap way not to let that happen again. Some people like business cards and I want to make it as easy as possible for them to contact me. If 99 of your cards are thrown away, but the 100th person follows up with you, isn’t it still worth it? I think so, and I wanted to get some cards made for my trip to Nashville.
I ordered the cards through Moo.com because I have always been impressed with the quality of their products. This time, I got bold and ordered square business cards. More likely to get throw away I thought, but also more likely to stand out. So I quickly designed the front of a new card in Canva, uploaded my logo for the back of the card and submitted my order.
The cards arrived a few days later, and I was excited to open them. As soon as I slide the square white card out of the box I realized I had made an error. The logo on the back of the card was not centered. There was no way I was going to give those cards out to people. I was lamenting my error to Scott Barlow when he suggested I contact Moo. He claimed they had an outrageous satisfaction policy. Not a chance, I thought. This was my error and Moo was not likely to help out.
I was curious enough to check the website. On the Moo website, I found what they call the Moo promise, which is;
We've never thought 'satisfaction guaranteed' was the most inspiring phrase. We'd like you to be satisfied of course, but we'd prefer it if you were absolutely thrilled beyond words with your order. We take great pride in our work, and we want you to feel the same about yours. So, even for the tiniest of typos, we’ll move heaven and earth to make sure you get exactly what you want – or your money back!”
My call with Moo proves they back up their promise. They do make sure you get exactly what you want.
Here are the three things you can learn from the exceptional service Moo delivers on the phone;
If you would like to try Moo, you can get 10% off your first order by clicking here.
Lee Cockerell is the former Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World. Lee joins the Jody Maberry Show to offer lessons from Disney you can apply to your business.
"It's not the magic that makes it work; it is the way we work that makes it magic."
In this episode, Lee explains what it looks like for small businesses and entrepreneurs to create magic. Creating magic is easier than you think it will be. Have a great website, answer your phone, return calls, look professional are just some of the simple things Lee offers as a way to create magic.
If you want to figure out how to create magic, get feedback from customers, colleagues and friends. Feedback will help you figure out what you do best and where you need to improve.
Lee also explains why a podcast is an important tool to mobilize your message. And if you want to master your message, Lee suggests you study and practice. First learn, then practice, and then teach to master your message.
When I was a park ranger, I had the opportunity to help a lady who was camping solo for the first time since her husband died. Her grand adventure took an unfortunate turn when she was not able to set the tent up by herself. In 20 minutes, I was able to set her tent up, and in the process, I learned some lessons on how you can be a park ranger to your customers.
Here are the points you need to remember from this story so you can be a park ranger to your customers.
If you can apply those five lessons into your business, you will be strutting around like a park ranger. And you will serve your customers better.
Do you ever wonder if there is a magic formula for marketing? Should you just copy what other people are doing? How do you stand out?
In this episodes, Mike Kim will explain how you can market yourself like no one else can. Mike Kim is a marketing consultant, communications strategist, and copywriter. After a couple of career pivots, Mike has set himself apart by leveraging his personal story to connect with other people.
During this interview, Mike Kim will give you the exact steps he uses with his clients to market yourself like no one else can. The key to marketing yourself is to uncover the elements of your story that make you unique.
If you want help setting yourself apart from the crowd, check out Mike's Brand You Blueprint. The Brand You Blueprint will give you a strategic overview on what it takes to a fun, fulfilling, and profitable personal brand business. You can get the Brand You Blueprint here.