Ep101: Johnny Hempen

Today on the More Cheese Less Whiskers podcast we're talking with Johnny Hempen from Tacoma, Washington. I've known Johnny for several years, ever since he was a client of our real estate programs despite being a contractor, a painter. 

He’s been in business for a long time, and we had a great conversation today about how to really maximize his experience, how to turn it into something that’s unique in the marketplace.

He's really a student of direct marketing and the 8 Profit Activators, and he has a real love for the before unit, the lead generation and getting people to think new thoughts and raise their hand.

He loves the idea of narrowing his focus and we ended up having a conversation about turning what he does to generate painting leads, into a competitive advantage for car dealerships.

You'll love how the conversation evolves to that point and the thinking process of elevating what it is you do, into something that’s beyond a commodity. Helping people actually achieve the result they're hoping to get.

If you can attach your product or service onto something they're already seeking, and they look at you as an advantage to achieving that, that's the big lesson here.

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Transcript - More Cheese Less Whiskers 101

Dean: Johnny Hempen.

Johnny: Mr. Dean Jackson, how's everything?

Dean: How are you? Oh, good. I'm excited.

Johnny: I want to tell you something. I am too, and I want to tell you my cellphone sometimes cuts out at my house. So what do we do if that happens?

Dean: Dial back in.

Johnny: Okay, it's as simple as that.

Dean: Yeah, I'll be here.

Johnny: It'll be very good.

Dean: This is it, we're recording right now, and everything that happens, happens. Sometimes it happens. That's all right. But I'll be here.

Johnny: I gave you a nickname a couple of years ago, my momentous marketing man crush.

Dean: Wow. That sounds serious.

Johnny: Yeah it is serious. I think I've forgotten more than you've taught me than I can remember.

Dean: Oh that's so funny. Well, let's let people know the Johnny Hempen story so far, and then where we can jump off, and hatch some evil schemes today.

Johnny: Okay. I started out, my brother-in-law taught me how to paint, in 1988, and so I loved the freedom that I saw him have, and I was really attracted to that. And so, when I moved back up here to Washington, I grew up in the restaurant business, so I got back into restaurants, and then I decided to start my own painting business, so I went to Sherwin Williams and I bought $300 worth of supplies and tools, and just picked up the phone book, and started calling apartments starting with A, and here I am, 26 years later, with no system in place.

Dean: All the way up to the K's. Are you all the way up to the K's? As far as the A's. Just turning the page on K.

Johnny: So that got me started 26 years ago, and here I am with no system, I'm winging it every day, and part of it is because my brain doesn't work well with systems, and part of the reason you and I are talking is I saw your real estate system, and I was attracted to that, so I tried to learn a system, and I liked how it worked, but I don't have the support people to back it up to do it. Because I was doing it, and I was like, I don't like this. I know it works, but I don't like systems.

But I know that I got 50 years left on this planet, and I'm trying to make an impact.

Dean: Right.

Johnny: I think the biggest thing I finally realized was, I only want to do what I'm good at, and I will pay everybody else to do this other stuff.

Dean: Yeah.

Johnny: That's what I'm ready to do, I'm ready to pay people to do the things that I don't want to do, they know 100 times more what I do, and they can set this thing up, and let me be the brand of it.

Dean: Perfect, so how many people are you paying right now to do the things that you don't know how to do, or want to do?

Johnny: Well, the only person that I have in the, I guess in the queue is Sony. Sony's going to do a lot of the back end stuff for me, she's going to do the many websites through all clients.

Dean: Okay.

Johnny: And, then I talked to a copy writer she referred me to, but she focuses on health products, and I didn't think she'd be a good fit. Nice enough but just wasn't a good fit. I'm looking for next is thinking that we take this call, we come up with some really good ideas, and then I get ... And I have a remodeling book that I've been using since 2009, but I got to switch it to painting, because I'm not going to focus on remodeling anymore.

Dean: Okay.

Johnny: I'm going to focus truly on painting, on a specific target. I went through and I bought like 20 websites of we paint. We paint restaurants, we paint hotels, we paint coffee drive thrus, we paint hospitals. So I'm picking one, I'm going to start with it, and that's where I'm going, and I don't know if I need to take this remodeling book and tweak it to painting, or make a new book, and then I need someone to write my emails.

Dean: Yes. Okay, perfect, well, I mean, we can use this. We've got Sony Jackson on the team there, so my ex-wife Sony, who is a ... we know she knows stuff, so that's good. So you've got a good head start there. Now, okay, so what ... I didn't realize you guys were working together, that's awesome. So, the thing that you want to do if we could just paint the ideal scenario for Johnny, is what does your life look like? What are we trying to achieve here?

Johnny: I want to disrupt the market in this type of marketing that niches down to these different niches in painting. I want to pay the help, to put the systems in place, and in five years, I can be producing two, $3 million in sales, and then I've got proof, now I've got something to sell to other contractors.

Dean: Okay. So, you're going to focus this initially in, you're in Tacoma, is that where you are?

Johnny: Yes, yeah, just south of Seattle.

Dean: Okay. And so, we're going to look at Tacoma as your market, and the idea is that you've niched down to all the different types of painting situations, right. All the different types of residential, and commercial, and restaurants, and whatever else. So what when you look at one of these, which one is the one that will be the jump start? Starting with residential.

Johnny: That's a good question, okay. So since growing up in the restaurant business, I was attracted to repaint restaurants, I was thinking that's where I'm going to focus, but then I realized, restaurants come and go, and if they're closed up, and my list isn't clean I'm sending a post card every month to a closed up restaurant, so. Then restaurants don't tend to own the buildings, but here's who owns the buildings, and here's who takes care of the buildings is banks.

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Johnny: And banks have interior painting in the winter time, because you can't do anything in the winter time here.

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Johnny: Because of the rain. And, the things that I want to do up front, I'm a giver, I grew up ... My nature, my mom even said, fastest way to get something is give something first. So, I came up with three things that I'd like to give up front to the market that I choose, which was probably banks. So one of them is free concrete cleaning in the front area by the doors. The second is I put together a really clean maintenance checklist of things that they need to do every three months to go through their building, because painting is not important.

HVAC, plumbing, heating all that, electrical, that stuff is what costs the dollars. Roof leaks, so I made this checklist for them to go through their building, and make it easy, say look, do this first, because your paintings not going to last if you got a roof leak, or siding leak. So there's the checklist, and then the last thing is a free touch up kit, I don't even know if that means much, but those three things, I'm doing something first to go here, and then the painting guys. Something that they can read to learn how to be the best painter.

Dean: Okay, so part of this I mean ... As I'm listening to you here, part of this thing, the maintenance checklist, all of these seem like a very sort of circuitous route to getting to doing some painting, you know.

Johnny: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dean: And, it seems like a, I don't know, there's something about this, as banks as the target audience, that it seems like that's going to be done by committee in a lot of ways. Or, that there's a maintenance manager, or building manager, we're not talking like banks are not mom and pop or entrepreneur led things, they're institutional. And the leases that they have, or the buildings that they own are going to be under the umbrella of their maintenance arm. So I wouldn't even know where to start with who do you reach out to with that, because in typical things, the bank manager is probably not the guy tasked with maintaining the building.

Johnny: Right.

Dean: Does that make sense?

Johnny: Yep, makes a lot of sense. So this is good, this is why I'm ... Yeah this is why we're brainstorming.

Dean: Yeah exactly, and it just seems like that whole ... they probably already have somebody who's doing that, but it would be the right person, wouldn't be the bank manager per se. I don't think. But the other thing was that, the way you were talking about these like with the maintenance checklist is like, that's not solving the problem for them, that are giving them homework. That's giving them something else that they have to do. Now I got to go through and check all this stuff. I'm busy running the bank, we got to meet our numbers here, and we got to get depositors, and on the list of things that he's thinking about, or she's thinking about on a daily basis, the maintenance checklist is not probably the thing.

Where it would become a problem is if there is something, and part of the thing is that there's never a painting emergency. Oh we got a painting problem, we need to call a painter right away.

Johnny: I get that.

Dean: Yeah, but it's a proactive thing. And, in most cases, if the need for painting is not acute onset, it's not something that all of a sudden something happens and we got to paint. If there is something that happened, the painting is pretty much the last step in the restorative process.

Johnny: Yeah, and it's in a budget, it's usually in a budget for the following year or whatever, yeah.

Dean: Exactly, and somebody who's handling that whole project, if there's a mold issue, or if there's a flood, or if there's some damage, everything else is being repaired first, and then the final step of that is painting, right.

Johnny: Gotcha.

Dean: In most cases, the acute onset painting need is going to be limited to the repair area, it's not going to be like we're going to repaint the entire facility, right. Unless that's part of a remodel, or a design. Paint is mostly interior wise, low maintenance. There's never really, it doesn't go bad. In theory, almost never have to repaint, if it's just paint on walls in a room, right.

Johnny: Right. Where are you going? You're talking me out of it, which is great, because I see it.

Dean: I'm talking about the things like who is excited about painting, or do you have access to research, or information about who consumes painting? Like of all of the paint, if you had that stuff, how much of it is done by home owners? How much of it is done by professionals? How much do people spend on that? How often does the typical household repaint? I just look at it, I'm sitting here in my library at my house, and I'm looking at this paint on our walls here that, I moved into this house in 2002, so it's 16 years, and we've had that house repainted one time, so I haven't had the house painted in probably 14 years I would say.

But nothing looks ... It's not wearing or anything like that, it's neutral colors, so it's not on my radar that we need to repaint this. The other painting that I have had done was I had a roof issue, and had some leaking on the roof side of the house, some of the ceiling repaired, so the ceiling has been repainted, but that's it. So I'm just wondering how often do people paint?

Johnny: Well up here in Washington, the exteriors just because of the weather, we recommend every seven years.

Dean: Perfect. And there's a lot of wood homes, and a lot of things that have wood siding and soffits, and eaves, and all that stuff right.

Johnny: Yeah, and banks do that. I'm thinking exterior in the summer, and interiors in the winter. But, here's the thing. There was a guy, don't quote me, I really thought I heard he came from Tacoma, and this is why I was thinking restaurants, but I was thinking restaurants like franchises. He painted a Jack-in-the-Box up here, and before the economy tanked. Jack-in-the-Box would repaint their restaurant every two and a half years, on the exterior.

Dean: Yeah.

Johnny: They would power wash every six months, all the concrete, rinse the building off, and this guy ended up doing such a good job, he got every Jack-in-the-Box in Washington, then they gave him everything in Oregon, and then California.

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Johnny: He would just revolve, he would be down in California in the winter, and work his way up north in the summer.

Dean: Yes.

Johnny: Then he did such a good job, they asked him to start busing and cleaning tile floors in the entry ways.

Dean: Yeah.

Johnny: Then the economy tanked, and Jack-in-the-Box does not take care of their buildings any more. I mean I see them every time ... I don't know what's going on, but they stopped.

Dean: Right. Yeah.

Johnny: My point is, that is huge numbers, and that's why I wanted to focus on restaurants, not just mom and pops, but the commercial side of them. Because they understand I've got tons of research on this because I did it from Cornell University, the deal about restaurants is cleanliness. They understand the importance of walking up to a clean building.

Dean: Yeah. Mm-hmm (affirmative). So there's a difference in what you're describing there, is he essentially got a job with one company.

Johnny: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dean: Or a contract position with one company, where maybe he hired other people underneath him to help do the work, but it was essentially one client, one thing.

Johnny: Right.

Dean: So what I'm wondering is, what's the exciting part about this? If we could just wave a magic wand, do you want to have, like if I owned a bank, and said hey, I want to paint all of our banks over the next two years, and they're all kind of the same size, same building, probably take you a week to do each one, and we want to hire you to do that, would that be a dream come true for you, that you know that you've got your painting lined up? Would you go and do the same thing?

Johnny: You just described heaven.

Dean: Okay, so you want to actually ... but there's the thing, you want to do the painting, right?

Johnny: Oh no, no. Dean I, after 26 years of doing this, I'm a paper contractor since 2009 when the economy crashed. Everybody I do, I sub out.

Dean: I got you.

Johnny: I got relationships with tons of subs in all different trades that jump when I call them, because I pay well, I pay quickly, and I pay well. Oh yeah, this is all about paper contracting, and I would dig that. You just described heaven to me.

Dean: Right, that's what I want. Okay. So part of that might be looking at who are the people that have multiple properties like that? I think about either you were talking about with apartments, or with strip plazas in a way, I think about maybe something like that, where either you're at that level getting these strip malls under management in a way.

Johnny: Can I just stop right there?

Dean: Yeah.

Johnny: Here's the deal with that. I wrote this down in bold letters on my notes to you. Get away and go around from management companies. They're awful.

Dean: Yeah right.

Johnny: They're not loyal to anybody.

Dean: I got it, because they're-

Johnny: Of any people that are loyal.

Dean: That's the thing. So part of it is, the dreams are almost in opposition of each other in a way, right? You want to have one scenario that is a big client with lots of stuff, but the odds of them not having a management company are very slim, wouldn't you say? I mean there's not one person making that decision, I don't know.

Johnny: Well, let me just describe Jack-in-the-Box. So they're not franchised, they're all corporate owned. So one person at the top is making all those decisions, or certain people, whatever. McDonald's on the other hand, there's a guy here, he owns 16 of them in one town, and so he makes his own decisions of how to take care of his property.

Dean: Yes.

Johnny: So that, you like that guy because he makes his own decisions, he can say yes, you're not going through any red tape to get to him.

Dean: Yeah.

Johnny: This is where I need to find, I'm not going to do it, pay someone to do the research of who's the contact person?

Dean: Yeah.

Johnny: How do I find that contact person?

Dean: Yeah. That's the thing right. Like getting the point where you recognize like who are the people who could potentially be that multi property client for you?

Johnny: Yes.

Dean: Then how do you appeal to them? Which is very different by the way and that's the different sort of sales and biz dev type of situation then consumer marketing in a way, right, where you're dealing with home owners who are going to be doing outdoor or indoor painting, you know. Where that becomes, there's an opportunity really for ... you're talking about all of the trades, and all of the things that you have access to of this idea of the homes under management in a way, that is something I've been talking about for a long time that I kind of wish existed.

When you talk about the other trades, are there other things that you do aside from the painting?

Johnny: Yeah, as a GC about 60% of my work is buyer seller transactions. So, home inspections repairs, because the buyer won't buy it until the seller does it, or seller does a pre inspection, or not, and just says I need these things done before we can put the home on the market. Then the other 40% is repeats and referrals or sometimes somebody will buy the house and go hey, remodel it before we move in, something like that.

Dean: Yes, got it. Okay.

Johnny: But those are, here's the reason I want to move away from that. There's so many ... I'm not moving away, it's going to keep doing its things, but so many moving parts. And, painting is just painting.

Dean: Yeah, I got it. So part of the thing ... Let's just focus on the bigger things then, right. Like when you look at it. So, I get it, the commercial gives you that opportunity. Do you talk about like apartment complexes as well, do you consider that in the same vein of what you're talking about?

Johnny: Yeah, but here's the problem. One is they don't pay very well. Two, all those people-

Dean: It's a commodity right?

Johnny: All those residents that live there, it is so difficult to do the right job, a good job, at the price they want you to do it, with all those people involved.

Dean: Yeah.

Johnny: And, again yeah, too many moving parts, I'm trying to get my jumpstart on simplifying this thing down to the simplest person and just nailing it for five years and going wow, I got a system.

Dean: Uh huh.

Johnny: I've got other things.

Dean: The reality is that if you do it right on that way, you wouldn't call what the guy set up with Jack-in-the-Box as a system, what he had was a unicorn. I mean, that's the truth right.

Johnny: Sure.

Dean: That's the reality, the thing that you're pointing to as your desired outcome is something that wasn't through a marketing system, they landed one client that created all of this stuff. And there's nothing wrong with that, but you need to be able to identify who are the unicorns, right. That takes some thinking ahead of time, and it's okay that we're eliminating them as we go, if we take Tacoma, how big is the area? What are we talking? What's the population and what's the geographic area there, if we delineate the boundaries?

Johnny: Yeah, the whole county's 400 something thousand people, but Tacoma itself is in the 100's, maybe 200 part of that. I don't know, Tacoma is booming, people from Seattle are moving here now, it's crazy.

Dean: Okay.

Johnny: But here's another thing. When you talk about the unicorn, that's a big unicorn. Let's go back to a simple person who owns their own buildings, and that's dealerships, car dealerships.

Dean: Yes.

Johnny: Especially the big ones.

Dean: There we go.

Johnny: Yep, they own those, and they're constantly making them pretty.

Dean: Yes, now there's something interesting here. So let's talk about the car dealerships for an instance here, that everybody's looking for an edge right. So, if there was a way, like if you could show and do research, Robert Chaldene has a book called Presuasion. He's the guy that wrote Influenced, I don't know whether you've read that book.

Johnny: Yeah, I've read Presuasion, I have it.

Dean: Okay. So the interesting thing is that in that book, some of the research that they did was showing that if you play Italian music in a wine store, that sales of Italian wine go up. And that if you play German music, sales of German wine go up. And, all that stuff happening in the background, then they did the studies on the environment for school children, putting certain posters in the area, or whether there's any ... the psychology of the way things are colored. Is there any advantage in car dealerships kind of thing that the paint could have an impact. I don't know, just thinking like positioning the conversation as a different thing, as opposed to just painting the walls.

But if you were to paint the walls, and included in that had some words painted on the walls, or some imagery painted on the walls, or some that just by being in that environment, raises the sales just like in Presuasion, he talked about the websites where the website with clouds raised the sales of the most expensive beds, where the website with pennies increased the sales of the lowest price beds, that kind of thing is really an interesting thought, that even if that were to provide the slightest of edges, demonstrably, that could be a ... you could be the secret weapon to the paint environment in car dealerships.

Johnny: Yeah. That's brilliant, I just wrote down I'm going to pay a researcher to research that for me and find out.

Dean: Yeah, like-

Johnny: Colors and buying behavior.

Dean: Yeah. So anyway, that's an interesting thing that now it's like instead of putting their paint job out to bid, let's get some bids, they're probably in a meeting with the general manager of the dealerships, and we got to repaint here, get some bids, and then they come back and they're going to pick the lowest quote, where it's a commodity. You're not talking about that, if you're talking about paint that increases sales, that maybe it's like for a whole paint architecture, whole paint strategy that the public areas, and the atmosphere creation of the big spaces in the dealership, compared to the bathrooms, and the public spaces, and the individual offices of the sales people that, what is this whole collective paint strategy, paint blueprint that is the secret sauce or secret formula that automatically kind of raises sales?

Johnny: Yeah. Or the FNI room office. Where they're actually signing papers, yeah.

Dean: Yes, what are those things? What are the things that can impact the dealership? So we're looking at those things, how do you differentiate, right? What would be a thing that would be a better conversation to be having with the general manager of the car dealership, or the owner of the car dealership than the pay? Let us bid on painting your showroom.

Johnny: Sure, I think the words if you could paint a wall, what if you could paint a wall a color, and just have some simple mural of a few words, or five words on it?

Dean: Even for subliminal, or some, you know what I mean? That it's like imperceptible almost. Those kinds of psychology things.

Johnny: Thank you.

Dean: Just the word you painted on a wall. What impact would that make, right?

Johnny: Yeah.

Dean: Those kinds of things are really a ... can make a difference.

Johnny: Yeah. I was just picturing sitting, god forbid I ever want to go in an FNI office again, but sitting in it, facing the person, and then the wall behind them just says thank you.

Dean: Yeah.

Johnny: Yeah, isn't that something?

Dean: Maybe right, in a subtle way. I mean, there's just, yeah, I don't know. But it's kind of an interesting thing that even when they show the ... maybe you couple the things with actual imagery or painting, art work selections, or poster selections, or picture selections that go along with it, that create that whole environment. So now it's even elevating a little bit where it's making it, not just the painting, it's the entire environment around it, the surfaces.

Johnny: When you say picture, I'm sorry, when you say picture, are you envisioning like part of the mural, or I pictured two hands together, like you're not praying, but just two hands together, and then the word thank you, is that what you mean? What did you mean?

Dean: Could be. I don't know what the impactful pictures are, right. Like when you look at it, if I were to re-read in Presuasion, I would look at the things about what experiments they did in classrooms where with the kids they would have just posters on the wall that showed people cooperating on something, right, without any real mention to it, and then when they did the pencil experiment, where they would knock the pencil off someone’s desk, that the kids were more helpful to when they were surrounded by imagery of cooperation.

Johnny: Yeah.

Dean: So if you build that kind of story around it, that now it's like you're not ... you could be the most expensive painter in Tacoma, but you've got the highest ROI that you are moving into the reassuringly expensive, you know. That maybe could be the same thing with furniture stores, or big furniture showrooms.

Johnny: Oh yeah, yeah.

Dean: If you start looking at what else is sold in a big public space.

Johnny: Yeah, okay, that's brilliant. So here's the thing. When I pay someone to do the research on this color, and maybe even write a summary on it, how do I take that and put that out? Do we make a 90 minute book based on that?

Dean: You could, depends what you find, right. It depends what you find. When you look at it, if you show enough research that you can show these things, if you were to go with one, that gives you a conversation starter to walk into a dealership, and have that higher level conversation with the general manager, and say here's what I'm thinking.

You got to be honest up front, that you got to ... because right now what you have is the beginnings of a hypothesis, right. We've got an idea that I wonder if there's anything to this, right. And you're going to look into it, and rather than thinking about like hiring a researcher to do this initially, is what if you just spent 10 hours, or let's even start with a couple of hours, seeing what you can dig up around this, that because I think that the things are going to come from not even, you don't know what you're looking for until you start looking in that direction. And a researcher is not necessarily going to have that intuition.

It feels like you like to look down those paths, and the spot will trigger an idea for you, that you're heading down the right path.

Johnny: Yes. They're not on the same path as me, they're left brain, going okay I'll research but their emotions aren't involved, yeah.

Dean: Right, where they would be great is research and get me the name of every car dealer in the greater Tacoma area. That's where you hire a researcher where you're finding things that you know exactly what you're looking for, and you just have to like roll up your sleeves, and go do it.

Johnny: Yeah.

Dean: But where you're looking intuitively into things, I would start really testing this hypothesis, and saying to yourself, what creates selling environments, right, and so there's a book that I remember from 20 years ago called Why We Buy, and those are retail consultants that talk about the flow of aisles, and displays, and all of those kind of things in retail environments, that they get into the psychology of why we buy, and they put hidden cameras, and track people to see their path through a store, and all those kind of things. Just that retail science kind of stuff, there's probably some clues there. I would read Presuasion, and think about it like what they said about the imagery in the schools, look for the underlying message there, and say that.

If you coupled it with the sensory environment of the paint, the imagery, the sounds, meaning the soundtrack, the music that's playing in the background, the scents that are in the showroom, and all of that combined, that's more than being a commodity painter.

Johnny: Yeah right. And that's brilliant, because I know I'm different, I mean you're different, we always have felt different our whole life. I don't fit in with most people, because I'm different. So I don't want to be just a painter, and this is just going down the right path for me to figure this, and I love, I'm a research nut, so the only reason I said hire someone is I thought, I'm going to hire everybody to do everything, but I get that part if I need to do this part, and I'll re-read Presuasion again. I got it on CD and the book.

Dean: Yeah.

Johnny: Okay, that's good. I wrote all that down.

Dean: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So then if you start thinking about what else has high stakes, like large scale selling environments? Could be car dealers, furniture stores, what else?

Johnny: You know what else is going to happen Dean? Here's what's going to happen. I'm going to start doing this research, and realize I'm going to run into things of here's the best paint colors for restaurants, because people eat this, or whatever it is. I'm going to run into all kinds of other stuff.

Dean: Yeah.

Johnny: Okay, that's, all right, I'm all set for that.

Dean: How you can influence things, people's decisions.

Johnny: Yes, make them look at paint color a whole different way.

Dean: Yes, yeah.

Johnny: I've never even thought of that.

Dean: Right.

Johnny: Yeah. Never even thought of that.

Dean: It's that whole thing, now the general manager is more interested, if they could raise sales by 10% just by changing the environment, that would be a big win.

Johnny: Yeah.

Dean: Who knows? Even 5%, where would it make sense?

Johnny: Yeah. Well and also just sharing the sound, and the scent. Well I guess the scent would be the food, but the sound of the music changing, we already know that, that they change the music and sales go up in a certain direction.

Dean: Yep.

Johnny: And I'm really good at the government and the educational websites. I mean there's just a ton of great information on those things.

Dean: Sure.

Johnny: So that's where I'll start. I don't necessarily go straight to Google, I go to gov, USA, and usa.gov, and the educational, yeah. I'm all for that kind of, okay good, so we got that. Have I missed anything, or is there anything?

Dean: No I think that's really the thing, like really, you're in a situation where you're elevating the conversation, you know. Where it's not just about hey you want to paint your showroom?

Johnny: Yeah. You just reminded me of some guy I walked through Chicago back when I was in the Army in '84, and I was killing time, and walking down this long aisle, and here comes this guy with a long trench coat, and I said that guy's going to say something to me I guarantee it. And he opened up one side of his coat, and he goes you need a watch?

Dean: You need a watch, exactly.

Johnny: He had like 20, 30 watches inside his jacket.

Dean: Yeah.

Johnny: Oh my god, want to paint?

Dean: Amazing right, well yeah, that's kind of the thing. So, I think that, as a situation to start, and maybe define that's the thing, that starts the conversation, at least that you're making conscious decisions about the paint showroom, that if you were to think about that as a, to think about yeah, absolutely doing a book or a study, based on a study that you're doing.

Johnny: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dean: Once you have that, if you've got all of this research, and you befriend a car dealer, and you're having that conversation with him about, let's test this out. I mean, that's kind of an interesting thing, rather than the, just because anything you're looking at is going to be more involved than what a normal painter is going to do.

Johnny: Well, and what's that old cliché of what do people like? New.

Dean: Right.

Johnny: Something new, something I've never seen before.

Dean: Yes.

Johnny: And, I'll tell you why I love profit activator number two, is I love making the phone ring, I love people going I love people going, what the hell is that?

Dean: It is.

Johnny: It is, and I can tell you it's my nature, I remembered doing things as a kid, and getting people to do stuff, and getting a reaction going, I'm not as a comedian, but just getting the reaction, and that is in my blood.

Dean: Yeah.

Johnny: And I think that's why I never really have fit into this business, even though I've had a good life and a lot of freedom, I don't fit in, because I'm just not a painter or a contractor, I'm different, I don't know how to explain it.

Dean: You're an idea guy, yeah.

Johnny: Let me ask you this. If I take this research, here's my goal was to talk to you, put something together, and then come down to Orlando, and then take that, and then go to Sony.

Dean: Yeah.

Johnny: Is that the steps, is that the right steps?

Dean: Yeah exactly, I mean you've got to have the, once you get the plan in place, and you've got to execute, you know. That's half the thing is like, your thing about doing this is, it's what, I follow the model that was kind of introduced to me by Dan Sullivan, that the three step kind of progression of make it up, make it real, and make it recur. And that each step in the way, there are ... there's definite steps involved in saying your favorite thing is to make it up, to visualize, and think about what do we actually want to have happen here right? What am I thinking? And that involves all the research, and that involves the thinking and strategizing, and mentally testing, and coming up with a hypothesis for something, and maybe when you go down a path of having you come on a vein of research to have somebody now research all of the things about that particular facet of it.

That could be some help there, once you realize what you want, having somebody help you do that is valuable, but then making it real is about the idea of how do I take this idea and make it something that I can present to people, right? Which could be a deck, a slide deck that shows your research, and that you can give that kind of a presentation about it, or a video about it, or a standalone slide deck that shows this idea from your hypothesis of does paint make a difference in sales and environments? And everything about that, percenting all of that finding. That's certainly something that you can get help with, and Sony's great at that, certainly helping you take something and make it real.

Then the recurring things are how do we now get you in front of all the car dealers in greater Tacoma, and then all the car dealers all over? That means, once you've cracked this code, that's going to be something that they're all going to be interested in, you know.

Johnny: Yeah. Yeah, okay. So I got a little lost in the research, and then going to Sony. So just one more time, if I start this research and I start finding a little bit of a-

Dean: You've got to build your case. And so making it real is doing it one time. You've got to now have a proof element, right. You've got to have a real manifestation of your idea to point to. Making it real would be, I've got this idea, it turns out that if you paint these dealerships mint green, or my office upstairs in my office building, I have two units, I'm upstairs, and the rest of the team runs from the second unit. That the walls in my place, I felt immediately like attracted to it, and I never knew why, but I started looking into the color of the walls is like this very light sort of mint green, like a very light green that is actually like an elementary school green.

It turns out is one of the most focusing, common colors. And so, that's why I've always felt good there, like you've heard, you know that we're on the right kind of in the neighborhood, because you know that it's proven that colors can change your mood or the way things work, right. So if you look at that red walls are reds a very jarring, high energy color, versus yellow, versus a calming robin’s egg blue, or the effect of color on mood is very well documented.

Johnny: Right.

Dean: So we know we're kind of in the right vein there, then you take something like Robert Chalvene's research that shows how certain imagery affects behavior. And so if we couple the color research with the imagery research, with now we're kind of building a case that if we painted the dealership, the public areas this color, and we have this kind of imagery on the walls, and we painted the individual offices this color, with this kind of imagery on the walls, or these words, or this kind of stuff, that, theoretically, could affect sales.

Now if you've got all this research, and you're armed with it, and you're presenting it in a way that you could have a conversation with someone who would be open to testing it, then now you've got your proof potential. Now you've got to be able to test it. You're looking to be able to syndicate something, you know, so I look at everything that I've done in the real estate world is based on proving that something works in Winterhaven. And then, syndicating it out to the rest, but it had to start with that one case study.

Johnny: Okay, so now I was getting a little lost, but okay, so when I do that research, and then I put it in some simple summary, so it's easy to understand, do I then, the next step is take it to my guy Phil, who owns a dealership?

Dean: Do you know a guy who owns a dealership?

Johnny: Oh yeah.

Dean: Perfect, well there it is, yes, that's exactly what you do.

Johnny: Now I've got more proof, okay.

Dean: If you can't convince Phil, you're going to have a very hard time.

Johnny: Okay.

Dean: You need someone who's willing to play, and who's willing to debate with you, and tell you I don't know about that, or willing to-

Johnny: Right.

Dean: Or at least experiment with it, right.

Johnny: Yep.

Dean: If you can build a compelling case that, why wouldn't this work?

Johnny: Okay. So then let's say Phil goes, let's go for it, let's try it, so then we do it, we take some before and after photos, but then Phil doesn't want me to go do it to anyone else, right?

Dean: Well I mean you're, yeah. You're going to have to be able to do that, but you could give him the area exclusive for that. Maybe that's the thing right, that there's very exclusive for his dealership, but I'll do that if you introduce me to all of your dealer network, so that we can do it for all of them, otherwise I've got to do that for all the dealers in Tacoma, or whatever.

Johnny: Okay. So then I do that with Phil, I've got something, and then the next step is to put together a 90 minute book or whatever.

Dean: Yep.

Johnny: Okay.

Dean: Watch what happens.

Johnny: Okay. That's it, the research will start, I'll have somebody put it in a summary, maybe two pages, and then take that to Phil, take him to lunch, there we go.

Dean: Yes.

Johnny: That's how it starts. I make it up and then the next step is what?

Dean: Make it real. Yeah.

Johnny: That's what I'm doing by taking that research to Phil is making it real.

Dean: You're taking it to him so that's the bridge, that if you can convince him to let you do it, now you've made it real that you've got one place that you've done this for.

Johnny: Perfect.

Dean: Yeah.

Johnny: That's brilliant, man I cannot believe we made all this happen in 50 minutes.

Dean: Then you've got to document it all, you know.

Johnny: Yeah. There's no doubt about that, and pictures are I guess I don't know if he'd reveal his sales going up or down, but we'd take before and after pictures for sure.

Dean: But it'd be interesting for him to see just because it's going to be very difficult to directly attribute, but if you look at the overall, that if it's going to rise the tides, you know, if sales go up, there's a good thing. I mean, yeah.

Johnny: But it really comes down to grabbing someone's attention by creating something new, something they've never heard of.

Dean: That's exactly right, so now it's not just, we're going to repaint anyway. Now they're looking at it, and if you can make the argument that their environment right now is not scientifically thought out to enhance sales, it's just they're trusting it to the lowest bidder.

Johnny: Can you imagine getting that research done and then getting it for the dealerships, but then finding something to tell a restaurant, your exterior colors are all wrong?

Dean: Could be.

Johnny: Or your interior colors are all wrong, can you imagine? That'd be great to find something else that has to do with painting, even with ... But I'll start with the dealership, that's exactly, especially since I know people.

Dean: Yes, exactly.

Johnny: This is refreshing, because I need that person that helps me drill it down, and this ... I've drilled it down in this one hour, it's taken me ... That's where I'll start, I got step one, step two, step three. After step three, who cares what happens, he let me paint it, then I come back and go all right let's put this together.

Dean: Yeah. That's the whole thing, put your hypothesis to the test. And just see how people feel about it, even if you can affect the mood, and the things of the sales team, and the people that work there. Even if they have an increase in their happiness level, you know. There are so many peripheral things that are going to really raise the bar.

Johnny: Well, it's a good thing that I bought we paint showrooms.

Dean: Yeah. I love it, that's a great name, we paint showrooms.

Johnny: I was almost going to call it dealerships, but then that was too vague, and I really wanted to narrow it down. You can get the exterior painting if you start on the interior.

Dean: That's it.

Johnny: So showrooms, that could go for furniture stores, anything.

Dean: Yes.

Johnny: There we go.

Dean: I like it. I think we got an evil scheme.

Johnny: Every time I tell somebody that they laugh, that was a great thing you came up with up, evil scheme hatchery.

Dean: I like it.

Johnny: I do too Dean, you've been a big help and it's really nice to kind of half meet you on the phone.

Dean: Yeah. I'll see you in Orlando soon.

Johnny: Alrighty sir. Tell Joe I said hi even though I haven't met him.

Dean: Okay I will. I'll talk to you soon, bye bye.

Johnny: All right bye.

Dean: There we have it. That was a really great conversation. I mean, the science that we talked about of really turning something into a uniquely different offering that turns something that could be a commodity into a competitive advantage is a great way to think about anything, but on the top level, the conversation that we had about turning an idea into something that is real meaning you've got an idea for a new business, turning it into the first thing, which could be a proof element about that, and then making it recur by setting up the system to find other people who want to do just that. That's really the progression that we need to focus on, and there's no real shortcut to the recurring element of something other than through the path of coming up with the idea and making it real once.

Until you've done that, that should be the total focus, is to figure out how to do it one time. Which you're investing way over investing time, money, research, thinking, effort into creating that prototype that you're then going to clone as the business system, or model that you're going to take out to the world. That's really what we ended up having such fun thinking about in this conversation, so I hope that's valuable for you. Awareness is really the biggest key in all of this. One of the great places to start with awareness for your own business is to think and look at where do you stand with regard to the profit activators in your business right now that we talk about?

Great place to start with that is profitactivatorscore.com, which is an online profit activator score card, that shows you where the opportunities are in your business right now, or where you need to kind of spend your attention, and effort for the biggest reward. So I encourage you to check that out if you'd like to be a guest on this podcast, you can go to morecheeselesswhiskers.com, and click on the be a guest link, and we'll be able to hatch some evil schemes with you, so that's it for this week, have a great week, and I'll talk to you next time.