Today on the More Cheese Less Whiskers podcast we have a wonderful episode with Vanessa Shaw and Vanessa is a top level coach helping people from various backgrounds.
She's been in practice for a long time and has a lot of experience working with many different types of clients so we talked about some of the really great opportunities she has, offering high level programs, and about how she can use a book as a marketing tool.
I think you're really going to enjoy this episode especially if you're in a situation where you have a lot of experience helping people, and you can craft that into offering some high-end.
Want to be a guest on the show? Simply follow the 'Be a Guest' link on the left & I'll be in touch.
Download a free copy of the Breakthrough DNA book all about the 8 Profit Activators we talk about here on More Cheese, Less Whiskers...
Transcript - More Cheese Less Whiskers 138
Dean: Vanessa Shaw.
Vanessa: Steve Jackson.
Dean: How are you?
Vanessa: I am very well, very excited to speak with you. How cool is this?
Dean: Well, it is all very exciting.
Vanessa: It is.
Dean: It's very exciting. So, where in the world is Vanessa Shaw today?
Vanessa: So, Vanessa Shaw today is in a place called Corpus Christi in Texas because I'm actually speaking to some female attorneys after we get off this call so normally I'm in Scottsdale, Arizona but I'm on the road at the moment.
Dean: How nice. I'm going to actually be in Scottsdale next week. That's funny. Very cool.
Vanessa: Oh, there you go. I think I'm going to California next week, so we may be missing one another.
Dean: That's so funny. Me, too! I'm going to California, too. Going to Marina del Rey, too.
Vanessa: Well, you and I are going to see each other there then. That's wonderful.
Dean: Oh, are you going to talk about the event? Okay.
Vanessa: Absolutely, yes.
Dean: Oh, perfect.
Vanessa: That's where we bumped into each other last time, so we'll be there. There you go. Our worlds keep colliding.
Dean: That's right. Well, I'm excited that we got our whole hour here to hatch some evil schemes. So, let's start with the Vanessa Shaw story so far as we know it and what we want to focus our attention on today.
Vanessa: Yeah. Perfect. How much of the Vanessa Shaw show did you want to go into?
Dean: Well, exactly. Whatever you think's relevant to set a context for what we're going to talk about, kind of where you're at.
Vanessa: Okay. Okay. So, obviously I was born in the UK. Actually haven't lived there for a long time, moved to Switzerland when I was about 23. Lived there for 21 years. Also, I was a stay-at-home mom but probably the thing you don't know about me and many people have forgotten, don't have a background in business. Supported my husband, Robert, in his global career at the UN for 10 years. Then, decided it was time for me to get back into workforce and trained as a coach. I trained as a life coach back then, which is probably getting on for about 15 years ago but rapidly got myself a kind of my lucky break. Honestly, it really was a lucky break. It was a client's husband that heard me speaking and said, "I love your passion and your enthusiasm for what you do. I'd love to work with you." Then, he said, "I'd like to bring you into my firm." He happened to be running or managing partner at the time as Europe's largest law firm.
Dean: Oh, wow!
Vanessa: Yeah. So, I kind of was catapulted into this world that I knew nothing about. Part of that journey. I think it's all coming back today is I worked with them. I probably put together the first virtual coaching program in a major law firm. I don't think I realized that then but looking back, I think that's what I did and was working with the top senior partners, equity partners, all the way through to their sort of people on a partnership track.
Honestly, I was kind of coaching them do big, bold things in their careers and they were struggling with many things at that level. It got me questioning what the heck was I doing. I'm coaching all these people to do these amazing things and look at me. I'm the coach that's feeling envious. That was the piece that drove me to take a deep dive into what I was doing and to realize that I wanted to pursue my own dream of coming to the States and spending time here. I find it a lot more entrepreneurial than Switzerland was.
So, I closed everything down six years ago and did a blank canvas move. Moved my family across to the States. My kids were 16 and 11 then. My husband actually stayed behind in Switzerland whilst he finished out his UN career and joined me two years later. That was my big, bold move into pursuing a dream and starting my business.
Dean: Yeah. What started that dream? Didn't sound and hear any real context for the US being a part of that. Was it just the land of opportunity kind of thing?
Vanessa: Right. Yes. Honestly, it really was. I mean, my husband's actually American, so I've been coming to the States with him and the family and kind of doing things on the personal level.
Dean: Got you.
Vanessa: The more I studied inside of my coaching career, I actually found myself coming to the States for training. I just was feeling pulled here and what I became exposed to was precisely that. It was this land of opportunity and an entrepreneurial kind of a mindset. I felt that that was a massive difference from the market that I was in in Switzerland. Everybody was very gung ho and everything was possible. That's what I was attracted to. Interestingly enough, Dean, back then, the world was kind of giving me my signals. I started to get feedback from my local market in Switzerland. People actually started to say to me, "You know, you're becoming a little bit North American, Vanessa."
Dean: Oh, as if that's not a good thing.
Vanessa: It wasn't a good thing. It was not a compliment. So, instead of receiving it as an insult, I was like, "Well, perhaps that's a sign that I really need a bigger pond to go and play in." That was a big driver. I wanted an adventure. I wanted to do something different, but that was a big driver.
Dean: Very nice. Then, what are you focused on now? How does the business look now?
Vanessa: Yeah. Exactly. So, what happened is in that move across the Atlantic. That was what? I set up my company actually in 2013. I really went full in in the entrepreneurial market so people that were solopreneurs like me at the time that were passionate, wanted to grow their business kind of product ties, their IP and things like that and get them started. So, that was where I started.
Then, today, that business has grown into a significant business. We've got seven people on the team now, employees. We serve people in our program. Each year, we've got different levels of programs that we work with. So, the business has grown significantly from that start-up mode. Today, I'm honestly in the what's next. I'm really in that. Now we've achieved the initial dream, the five-year plan. We've done it. Now, it's, "Okay. What does that bigger, bolder plan really look like," like, the bigger dream now that we're here.
Honestly, that's why I'm so excited about today because that's taken me in multiple directions of this, feels like there's so many things that I could do, we could do, that we keep bouncing around ideas and creative ideas but not landing on something long enough. In fact, the event that you and I, I think we're both at with Taki. It may have been the one afterwards. Taki was really challenging us to go after this one target market. I was like, I said, "You know what? I tell my clients to do the same thing and I've got to look myself in the mirror here and say, 'We've gone with market creep.’"
Dean: That's very funny because that's actually what I'm going to be speaking about at Taki's event.
Dean: It's single target market and getting people to raise their hand. So, that's good. So, we can have a little prelude to that right now. Okay.
Vanessa: Exactly. Exactly. Yes, so that's why I mean, I think we've such a great place. We've got so much to offer, so many different tools. I mean, it's like we're never stumped with helping our clients. We get them great results. They're very loyal. As I say, now it's almost that, "Oh, my gosh! If we really want to scale this next, where do we put our energy in," right?
Vanessa: "So that everything's not getting messy and over-complicated?"
Dean: Right. Well, the question that I would ask in helping to guide maybe the thinking around that is I always start without thinking the economics of it or what might be a good kind of fit or what people would pay for it is what's the best result that you, with all of the experience that you have, all everything that you've done up until this point has prepared you uniquely to be able to deliver this level of result to somebody? Often you get to a point where you start out attracting a target market that is a little bit ahead of what your capabilities are, in that you figure stuff out and you get to a point where you can help them solve a problem. Let's say that initially the problem that you're helping people solve is to get to a six-figure business.
Vanessa: Exactly. Yeah.
Dean: Now, you've solved all of those problems. You've got that. Your capabilities are so much more that you want to keep moving forward there. So, I always start with that and think, "You know, what's the best thing that you could do for somebody if they would just get out of your way," regardless of what it costs, if it was just that your responsibility was to provide the highest level of result that you're capable of producing for people right now?
Vanessa: Gosh! I know. That's such a great question. Again, I'm going to answer it but I'm ducking out of the question here because there's so much, right?
Vanessa: Because, again, in those early days, I felt like it was limited to a certain amount whereas now, I mean the promise and I get it, this marketing speakers. We can really create really great revenue breakthroughs for people, right?
Vanessa: They're in business and really keep constantly helping them break through their upper limits. So, that's one thing.
There's the other side, where we have visionary people. They want a bigger impact. They want to touch more people, impact might mean they're building their team and their company, right, as they're providing jobs.
Vanessa: We can help them with that as well. We can help them with leadership. That's often not something that we're thinking about necessarily in the six-figure world but really who do they need to be? That's probably one of my favorite places to coach, at those higher levels is who do you need to be in order to drive that vision, right?
Vanessa: So, because we believe that, in order to grow your business, you as the leader in the business have to grow, right?
Vanessa: And it starts with you.
So, we know as well that if somebody just gives us free rein and wants to listen to every bit of goodies that we've got. I mean, they can transform, I mean, every aspect of their life and their business. I mean, it becomes a holistic system that keeps building on itself.
Dean: Yes. How would you measure that in terms of the transformation that you'd be able to create?
Vanessa: Again, great question. I mean, we do measure in terms of metrics, money and profit and particularly with our higher-level clients. I mean, they have to report in their metrics there for us, so those are easily, easily measured. There's most definitely the happiness quotient, which is far more the subjective but the clients that just report back. I mean, so often, we'll get those ones that report in, "My god. Like, I just love my business. I'm loving what I'm doing. I love actually growing my business now," whereas before, it may have been a mystery and a pain in the butt, right?
Vanessa: From what they felt they had to do on the side. I know that when they're starting to say, "Oh, my gosh, Vanessa. Like, I really want to be the CEO of the business now. This is really cool." Those, for me, are those subjective measures.
Then, as well, some of the stories, the client recently I mean, and this is never part of her goal when we started out but all of a sudden, her husband is resigning or retiring, early retirement, I think it is and she's becoming the breadwinner and he's pursuing his passion but he's always wanted to do but he never felt he could because he was dependent on a job.
So, we've got lots of those anecdotal, what I call more lifestyle outcomes that happen as a result of being able to grow that business.
Dean: Yes. You know, it's an interesting combination when you can combine all of those things. One of the things that I've done recently, I'd say, in the last two years on the real estate side, we have our kind of the philosophy or the group that we're building or people who are attracted to the idea of the listing agent lifestyle. That's the foundation of the things that we're doing.
So, we've identified eight elements of the listing agent lifestyle. Five of them are measurable, quantifiable business elements like getting listings and multiple eye on your listings and getting referrals and converting leads and finding buyers but three of them are qualitative lifestyle things that are daily joy and abundant time and financial peace that all of those, when you put a sort of quantitative measurement on a qualitative thing, people get clarity. I think that that self-assessment of those things is a great motivator that people can feel like they're making progress on something but you have to show them how to think that way.
Vanessa: Absolutely. Absolutely. As I say, that's why I think our confusion is coming right now because it seems like these are big, bold promises, right?
Vanessa: Depending on where somebody's starting from, but we've got the tools. We've got the system. We've worked things out. We're good role models as well, so for actually what we're teaching. So, I've always been about yes, grow the business but where there's a certain lifestyle and calm and happiness, if you want. I want to be able to still go out and walk my dogs every day and be on the tennis courts and those other things, not just it all be about business.
Dean: Right. If you can help people identify those things, really, the clarity, that's a great deliverable for them, too, to have that.
Vanessa: So, I mean, I love the way this conversation is going. My head goes into the how.
Dean: Well, but I don't think we're done with the what yet. That's part of it, is to identify the outcome that you're able to create.
Now, when I always then couple it with what level of that result are you so confident that you would stake your compensation on it? Not that that's going to be the approach that you ultimately take to the market but when I ask people, "You know, what would you do if you only got paid if your client gets the result?" So often, the challenges that people have is not being able to clearly articulate what the outcome is in a way that makes it easy for people to make a decision about whether this is the right thing for them. When you're going into the higher level things, there's a temptation to sort of hide behind the sort of intangible elements of that they're happier and that they're feeling less stressed but that doesn't necessarily have a monetary outcome or a measurable outcome.
Vanessa: Absolutely. So, and again, love that question. It's interesting how it causes me to really think more about that target market as well because they're so intrinsically linked. I know full well that when we're really working with the right people, right?
Vanessa: That are committed, that are serious about growing their business and they want that guidance and they're going to apply the tools, we do get some very impressive revenue breakthroughs.
So, again, it's very measurable. We not only work, again, with those higher level business owners. Again, we know it's not about revenue, per se. I mean, revenue is those bragging numbers and they're great, let's say, in marketing but ultimately, especially if we're looking at lifestyle, we're getting them to measure profit as well.
Dean: Yes. That's perfect.
Vanessa: Because, again, it's like yup. One of my clients last year, she was really bummed because her revenue numbers were down and A, I had to remind her, by the way, that wasn't the goal. It was about profit because we wanted to build a nest egg of profit because we've got other things that you need it for. Her profit was, I think it was three or four time previously what it had been and it was a very enviable number. So, those are definitely some very clear measurables.
Honestly, as well, again, if people were really applying it. The only reason I say this one's tricky because it's almost like I would need to handcuff people and not get them to their computers and time off. That's something as well. In those higher levels where we're saying it's not about the hustle. Where is that time away, that creative space that you're just nurturing yourself? So, again, that's something we really drive.
So, I would say, certainly those have become very measurable and it’s difficult in terms of the client. I think you know, in terms of the clients, it's not necessarily about more clients, right?
Vanessa: At that level, sometimes it is. My head's jumping around all the different businesses we work with. Sometimes, it is because they are more of a transactional-based business where they're kind of filling the time or there are teams that are filling the time, but other of our clients, it's about actually having less clients that they're actually working with over longer periods of time and those clients are actually paying them more.
Dean: Mm-hmm. Yeah, no. That's a great outcome, too. So, part of this, being crystal clear on the exchange, on what it is that you're actually going to deliver. Then, who the best person to deliver that result is, too, because when I ask that question of what would you do if you only got paid if they get the result, part of the prudent thing that you would want to think of is that you would only work with people that you are certain that you can get that result for.
Dean: Right, which would make it easier for you, too, to identify them. You have to force yourself to get crystal clear but also then realizing what is going to be your role in this because we have to identify your outcome. That's really the whole purpose that you have a business or anybody has a business is to really facilitate their life, what they really want. So, you got to figure out where this fits with what your goal and role is going to be in it. Is this going to be something that you're able to get this result through other people, where it's a self-managing and growing organization that you're not the driver of, or is it going to be you as the star with some support and that allows you to actually be the one doing the result getting?
Vanessa: Mm-hmm. And obviously that's been changing, particularly in these last couple of years from a business that was 100% dependent on me, me, and me to do everything to now having a team. So, my own mindset is really evolving around that and in an ideal world, I think, looking at what is my dream version of this looks like, I certainly would love to work with a handful of wonderful clients because I still love the practice of working with the clients because it keeps me close and it keeps it all real, right?
Vanessa: And not removed from it.
Dean: You need it.
Vanessa: Right? But I definitely, we've put a lot into team this last year. It's now seeing that, again, especially on thing like the revenue and the profit, we've put systems in place whereby I've got a team member that can go in and quickly do an analysis of somebody and build a financial model, for example. I don't have to be involved in that at all but it gives me everything that validates my hunches. So, I might be intuitive to think, "Yeah, there's something up here. We need to change this." I've got somebody else that goes in and does that financial modeling, for example.
So, I'm definitely seeing that I would be leading more out front, more visible on the marketing side of things, working with a handful of clients but really having more of a team approach but actually drives this result.
Dean: Yeah. Now, what would be the way that you would like to do that? How long would you like ideally to work with someone and how much would you love to be able to charge for that?
Vanessa: I know. Great question. So, I've actually really enjoyed having long-term clients and that's something I've actually had from the beginning, a lot of long-term clients. So, I enjoy that. I enjoy the energy of that and the relationship and deep and there's just a trust level where I find it so lovely to work at that level. So, ideally, I do want to have some of those clients for life where we just keep going and going and going.
One of the things I really have been thinking about a lot for myself recently was around what would it look like to be charging six figures for a year? That's something that I've actually invested myself. It's something I've actually done myself where I invested at that level.
Dean: Yeah, and you say you've seen an experience of what you get at that level. Mm-hmm.
Vanessa: Exactly. Exactly. So, I've been on the receiving end of that. Now, I have been toying with the wow! What would that look like?
Interestingly enough, though, where I kind of got stuck in my own thinking was it feels like it needs to be me that delivers. So, when I start to think of it at that level and that, "Oh, I'm not sure if that's really what I want to do." So, I'd love creatively-
Dean: That's part of it is having any reluctance, when you have to be kind of willing to set things up so that you do the things that bring you the most joy and challenge you at your best.
Vanessa: So, that is where I need to allow my thinking to go on this, is in that program, not falling into a trap of thinking it's more stuff and more than ever but it's, as you say, it's more joy, more challenge.
Dean: Yeah, and especially if you're creating results that are something that you maybe haven't done before or something that is you're completely suited for but that it's still the part of it that you really enjoy.
Yeah. I enjoy this kind of conversational consulting, coaching, dialogue like this. So, almost everything that I do is around that. Everything is around keeping me in the highest-level conversations that I can be in and knowing that, through those conversations, I can guide and direct and outcome that has a tremendous financial impact on people and that I can charge accordingly for that. So, I like that kind of thing.
I've had this past year around Thanksgiving, I decided I was looking through everything that I do. One of the things that because I'm also a big believer in investing in being in environments that are challenging to you. So, I'm part of Dan Sullivan's Game Changer program. So, that's a $50,000 investment, but one of the mindsets that we've had through that is thinking about collaboration as the winning move. For me, that's really the best things is being able to take the things that I know or things that you know and that you're collaborating with people in a way that you are bringing the who, which is you or me, to a situation rather than focusing on teaching people how to do something.
It's based on this idea that the power question for entrepreneurial progress is really about thinking who, not how and instead of hearing an idea and then figuring out, "Well, how do I do that," is to immediately think, "Well, who knows how to do that and who has that capability that I can join into my world here that would now give us that capability," rather than learning how to do anything.
When you look at so much of the time that we spend in our businesses, one of the great exercises is to look and see how much of the things that you are doing could be done by somebody else, by a who and how much of what you're doing could only be done by you.
The things that I do like these, and I've been pursuing this for a long time, this idea of removing myself from everything that doesn't require it to be me. So, I look at when we did the math on it, that I realize, we calculated that my total involvement in my base business, in running everything, my contribution to it was 417 hours over the course of the year that that includes doing the things that only I can do, which is doing the podcast, doing my breakthrough blueprint events, doing the coaching calls or the consulting that I'm doing with people, one-on-one or through our group calls but all of that amounted to 417 hours. Then, we have a whole team of people that do every other thing in the organization.
So, to the point where these podcasts, for instance, the only thing that I do is I push the shortcut button to get me into UberConference. I talk and then I hang up the phone and I'm done. Everything else will fall in behind it, the audio will get taken down and sent to get transcribed and then processed and put up onto iTunes for the podcast and the emails will go out. All of that stuff, all derive from this conversation.
So, when I looked at that, I had this surplus of time that I have available, investible hours. One of the things that I talked about with Dan Sullivan was kind of quantifying that and putting sort of a currency on it that I have available, a thousand investible hours that I could spend on collaboration or on joint ventures or on doing whatever I want to do.
So, the goal was then to look at it as a, if that's my asset to look at a capital allocation kind of model for it is what's the best place for me to allocate this capital of a thousand investible Dean hours? I made the decision that I would allocate 20% of it, 200 hours, to a private coaching group where I would work with people one-on-one.
So, I would take 20 people and work on that basis. I just sent out an email to my list, to all my people and said just that. "I'm going to be working with a handful of people one-on-one next year and we're going to focus on applying the eight profit activators to your business. Would you like to work with me?" Just that short level of invitation was enough to get the people who already know that that would be a good idea to raise their hand and just send them the details and then enroll in a collaboration with them.
So, it was really kind of effortless, that what I would encourage for you is to think that way about it, to think what would be the best way that you would love to work with somebody that would also be a dream come true for them and then just invite them.
Vanessa: Mmm. Love that.
Dean: It's just, you've got already a reputation and you've already got a group of people who know you, like you, trust you, and would just love to have the opportunity to work with you on the highest level possible, if you just ask them.
Vanessa: Mmm. Yes. I love that. It's interesting because when we first met in, I think it was Redondo Beach and you'd given a talk, which I just loved, which was the moos and the whos.
Dean: The self-milking cow, yeah.
Vanessa: Exactly. I just absolutely loved that because I sat there going, "Oh, wow. Yes. Oh, I have got way too many things on my plate."
So, I actually have been going through that process. I'm in Dan Sullivan's signature program as well, so, again, these same things are coming up. Yeah, it's really that place right now where I've got to train myself to get more of those things off of my plate. Honestly, I love what you're saying there. Some of the smallest things off your plate. It's like, "Yeah. Let's do the podcast but we don't even have to do anything else." Somebody else can pick it up exactly at that point.
Dean: Exactly. So, I've been for years now doing that. That's the first step of it, is to really evaluate all the things that you're doing right now because all of the bigger aspiration things that you want to do are all going to come from freeing yourself from all the things that don't require you.
Dean: Yeah. Dan Sullivan has really taken to this who not how idea. It's become the foundational principle of strategic coach. All of the programs are kind of based on this idea of who not how, and that we've got a whole vocabulary around things like that, so that the first goal is to create a thousand who'd-up hours, is what we call it, where we're removing you from a thousand hours of stuff that you're already doing that can be replaced with a who. Once you replace yourself with a who, you've who'd yourself up from that activity and you have that hour now available to invest in the bigger future items, you know?
Vanessa: Yes. I love that. It's so interesting because right at the beginning of this call, I even said to you, "Oh, gosh. My head's immediately going to the how," right?
Vanessa: I think we are all so conditioned, right?
Vanessa: It's that immediate to how and certainly if somebody's got a business off the ground, everything was dependent on me, so that next level of thinking to really see, "Yes. What are all of those things that somebody else can do, and frankly can do it even better than I can because-"
Dean: Because it'll be done more reliably. That's part of it, you know.
Vanessa: It is.
Dean: And more thoroughly that you can even go above and beyond what you would do just because you have limited time to do it but if somebody, if their whole responsibility is doing one particular thing, that makes a big difference.
Vanessa: Mm-hmm. Absolutely.
Dean: How are you doing in that sense of abundant time? Would you say, like how much of your time do you feel like you have free or available to invest?
Vanessa: Yes. So, this one right now, this month my COO just said to me, she was like, "Whoa! Your calendar is crazy." So, what's happened right now is we've shifted me out of certain things and freed up time, so that, now, what's happened is new things have gone into that time. When I say, "New things," and this is honestly where I have been thinking, "Wow! I've just got to make this easier or simpler and not get bogged down in the details," because, as the business has grown, we haven't been as consistent, especially we haven't been as consistent or as kind of exciting, frankly, in our marketing efforts as I would like to be because, again, I haven't had the creative space to really sit down and kind of go, "Well, what would this look like if it was different and I was," as you say, "More joy and excited by it?"
So, there's a couple of pieces, things that I already do want to get going. One of them actually is inspired by you and frankly is inspired by this show was the and I love conversations like this. This is what I do all day along as well, right?
Dean: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
Vanessa: And it was like, "Well, why don't I just make this my marketing but I'm good on video, so we could do an equivalent," right?
Vanessa: "Where we do a business makeover and a bit of a mindset shift on YouTube."
Dean: I love it.
Vanessa: That would become our marketing, which frankly, I think would be so much more interesting than just trying to think about fancy copy that we're sending out. It's like, "Let's do something that's real."
Dean: Well, that's part of it, that there's so many. When I look at that this is the source for all of our marketing. I mean, this is what I do is I do these podcasts. Everything that we say is recorded and we get the transcripts of these. Then, I have a writer who takes the transcripts and finds three to 500-word articles that become the content for my three-email-a-week strategy. We send out three emails a week to all of our subscribers. They're all valuable content but they're based on things that I've said on the podcast, because often, when I, say, talk about a concept, I'll tell a story or I'll tell an example or I'll share a philosophy or an anecdote or something that can be turned into that three to 500-word item that drives those emails. Then, the email is always the carrier for my super signature, where every email that goes out offers people the opportunity to get help with whatever it is that they want because I say it right to people every time plus whenever you're ready, here are more ways that I can help you grow your business.
Vanessa: Yeah. I love that. So, yes. So, coming back to it is, right now, what's been the time that has been sewed up is with some of these creative ideas and wanting to move them forward.
Then, the other one that I really do feel is way overdue is getting a book going. Again, being super honest, being honest with this and my community, I procrastinated. It’s like, "What book?" It's, "What's this?" I've got so much to say. Now, I'm back to, "You know what? This just needs to be a short book and, like, forget the whole 50,000 word thing."
Dean: Imagine that. Yes! You're singing my songs now that that's really that I love books as the start to a conversation because it's the ultimate. We revere books as a society, that it's where people who write books are viewed as an authority. It's the highest converting front end offer that we have for starting the conversation. That's the way I look at attracting somebody's email address is really about starting a conversation. That's how I frame it. I want to build my list of subscribers who are filled with people who want to be in a conversation that we've started with a book.
So, if I use, as an example, on the real estate side, again, I model this exact thing for the real estate agents that I have a book called Listing Agent Lifestyle that is specifically attractive to people who are optimistic about the future of real estate and want to take a listing-centric approach to their business and have a lifestyle, have a nice life, too.
So, when I offer that book, I'm able to engage in a conversation with people who want that for their life. Why would somebody download a book that is called the Listing Agent Lifestyle: The Future of Real Estate is Better Than You Think? That's the person I want to be in conversation with.
So, we've started that. Then, each week, I have a Listing Agent Lifestyle podcast, same model as More Cheese Less Whiskers where each week, we're talking with one real estate agent and focused on applying the Listing Agent Lifestyle elements to their business. So, you don't need for the book to say it all.
What I've learned about book marketing as using a tool to start a conversation is that the things that really matter like to trigger that I want that response in people are that you have to have a book. You have to have a title that as soon as they read it, they say, "That's the book for me," and you have to have a way for them to get it which is just a simple landing page, right?
Dean: The offer for them to get it. Those three things are 100% of what drives the success of your book marketing offer, you know?
Dean: Because what they don't know at that point is how long it took you to write it. That doesn't matter. How many pages it is. They don't know that or care, because you're offering it to them for free, and how cleverly you've phrased the third paragraph of chapter two. Nobody cares about that.
Vanessa: Yeah. Right. Exactly.
Dean: Even though people slave over all of these things, right?
Vanessa: Right. I know.
Dean: It's really about can you get the conversation started? So, you look at the best titles of books that you see out in the world. If you see a book called The 4-Hour Workweek.
Vanessa: I know, right?
Dean: Right? Like how great is that title that Tim Ferriss came up with? I mean, compared to what it could have been, which was drug dealing for fun and profit or whatever one or the other titles was, it says so much I call that a name-it-and-claim-it title that people, they see it. They say, "Oh, I want that," and they grab the book.
I think about Dave Ramsey's book Financial Peace as another one of those that for somebody in financial turmoil, it feels like just holding that book to your chest is going to lower your blood pressure.
Vanessa: Right. I know.
Dean: Financial Peace just holding it, you feel the peace washing over you. That's all It's everything, the title, and the fact that you have a book. There's so much that triggers this automatic response that people have of wanting what you're offering. So, that's why I have a whole team at 90minutebooks.com. That's all we do is help people write and publish those books.
Vanessa: Yeah. The truth is as well today, so I kind of like, and this is this week's epiphany. In fact, it happened because I was actually out playing tennis and I got injured on the tennis court. Those things do it. I just couldn't move. I had to cancel things, had to enter therapy, so it was one of those moments of actually just as a gift because it showed me how to streamline some of these ideas and make them simpler. The reality is, what other wonderful title like Nobody Reads Your Shit, a recent one, like, again, none of us have time to read these long books and especially my audience of business owners. They don't have time to read, so I love the idea of it's like this show for me was like, "Well, that's easy. I do that all day long anyway." There's no skilling up to be done there.
In fact, it's just my joy zone. Honestly, with the book, I love what you're saying there. You're giving me some clarity to think about, is just creating that thing that's going to be, "Yeah, that's what I want," right?
Vanessa: It's sorting that initial desire enough for them to say, "Okay. It's a free book. It feels inherently valuable because it's got the title book," you know?
Vanessa: It's like a book, and I'll download it.
Dean: And it is a book. Yeah.
Vanessa: It is a book. Yeah.
Dean: Yeah. The difference between the way that people react and respond to books is that a book is something you can gather right now to bookmark a future intention of I want to get this benefit so I'm going to get this book. I don't have to consume it right now but I can just by them asking for it, they've indicated their interest in it, which is all we really wanted the book to do in the first place, whereas if you're using a webinar or you're using something that the price is not only their name and their email address, but they have to commit to watching it right now or at a specific time. It's a bigger thing, you know?
Vanessa: Mmm. Mm-hmm. Absolutely. So, the good news is, I know who my who is for the book because I know it's you and your organization.
Dean: Oh, yeah, yeah. Absolutely. We got you covered.
Vanessa: Exactly. I was like, "Okay. I've got a who there."
Dean: Yes. Now, you just imagine now that if you have that book that now it's easy for us to find people who want to be in that conversation because all you're doing is getting people to raise their hand for the book.
Vanessa: Mmm. Love that.
Dean: That's all that. Yeah, so now when they do that, now you're engaged in a dialogue and it's not about waiting for them to read the book because they're not going to. You have to let go of that idea.
There was a big New York Times story on the Kindle and Kobo data because all the electronic books are tracked and the numbers were astounding. Well, the number that blows your mind is either 56 or 58% of books that are bought are never opened.
Dean: Pretty amazing. Then, when you look at, of the ones that are opened, only 22% of people get past the first 100 pages.
Vanessa: Wow! Yeah.
Dean: So, and all you need to do to prove that for yourself is just look at your Kindle books.
Vanessa: At your own Kindle.
Dean: You see that, when you look at popular highlights, it's all chapter one. It's a little bit in chapter two and then flatline from chapter three on.
Vanessa: That is so funny, because I have a Kindle myself on my iPad, so I can also track my own to see which ones have grabbed my attention.
Dean: But you look at your own habits.
Vanessa: It's true.
Dean: Do you think there are any books on your Kindle right now that you bought and have not opened yet?
Vanessa: No, Dean. I'm the exception.
Dean: You're a reader. Okay. Good.
Vanessa: No. No, no, no. I'm joking. No. Of course.
Dean: Yeah. Of course.
Vanessa: Of course there are. Of course. There's probably some, if we're being honest, I even forgot to download, right?
Dean: Yeah, right.
Vanessa: It's even worse.
Dean: How many times have you bought a book at the bookstore and gone to put it on your bookshelf and realized that you already had it. I mean, that's-
Vanessa: I have done that several times.
Dean: Yes. Of course.
Vanessa: Of course. Yes. Totally.
Dean: So, when you realize that and you get past it, that's where the real stuff begins. The only purpose of the book is to turn an invisible prospect into a visible prospect and now to start the conversation. I would start from the point that I assume that they're not going to read it and just keep moving forward helping them get the benefit that I know that they really want because that's what the promise of the title is.
So, we just keep moving forward and engaging people in the dialogue and maybe and I'm not down on webinars. I love webinars but the place for webinars is as a lead conversion tool, not a lead generation tool. It's a very inefficient lead generation tool.
Vanessa: Mm-hmm. As we have found through practice and a lot of money spent testing, so yes, I can totally verify that.
Dean: So, If people start the conversation with downloading a book, it's easy to then engage in a dialogue with them and see all we're looking for are the five-star prospects, the people who are willing to engage in a dialogue from the cooperative, know what they want, ready to get it now and would like you to help them. If it's not now the only other time frame is now or not now. That's all I worry about, right?
Dean: So, I just assume that I want to be there when the time is now. For every person, every time I send out an email with the super signature offering ways to help people, every time I send out an email, different people take the first step. Take different offers. It means that they've gone from not now to now. I was right there when it's now.
Vanessa: I'm curious, Dean. I mean, when you say something like the book and obviously we're just looking for people to raise their hands, right, and show that they’re visible.
Vanessa: What does that look like in your world? Does that mean a response to an email? I mean, does somebody pick up a phone and actually speak to them?
Dean: Yeah. No. It's doing Facebook ads to offer the book, so that somebody is opting into download your book or responding to a postcard or a print ad or AdWords or whatever mechanism you're using to get in front of your potential prospects with the offer of your book. So, that's all what I call profit activator two, compelling people to raise their hand.
So, often, the first step that we look at is what would be the most compelling thing for your invisible prospect but often, you're one or two layers removed from what the real outcome's going to be. So, what I mean by that is if you look at where are people in the process and they may be blinded by some distracting element, something else that is one step away or two steps away from what you really want to help them with.
So, an example in Toronto, I did some work with party rental company. They help people with all the things that you would need for an event like tables and chairs and linens and dishes and all the things that you would rent if you're having a reception or a big party. So, the conversation that I had with them was in selecting a target market. "Well, let's start with your dream come true. What's the biggest possible outcome you could have? Who would be the very best clients that you could work with?" They said, "An outdoor wedding is like the jackpot for a party rental company because you get tents and generators and Porta Pottis and tables and linens and all so many things," but nobody who's getting married, it's not a sexy thing to choose a party rental company but what is sexy is choosing a venue and where are we going to get married, right?
Vanessa: Mmm. Mm-hmm. Absolutely.
Dean: Very early in the process. So, I had him put together a book called 100 Great Places to Have an Outdoor Wedding in Toronto and offer the book completely unrelated to party rental right now, but everybody that wants a book called the 100 Great Places to Have an Outdoor Wedding in Toronto is highly likely to be planning an outdoor wedding in Toronto, which makes them your ideal prospect.
So, it's not about how to choose the best party rental company or all of those things that are kind of often slanted to, you could title it, The Seven Reasons You Should Choose Us, you know?
Vanessa: Yes, yes.
Dean: That's really what those are really all about, but completely outwardly focused on what is the one thing that your ideal prospect would really love to have right now? You provide that in exchange for knowing who they are. Now, you start that conversation with now that they've got the directory, here's a timeline of all the things you need to do to plan your outdoor wedding and all the decisions that you need to make and all of the things. By the way, we can handle the whole thing for you. Now, you're in conversation with somebody that you're the who to provide all of the solution that they're going to need, you know
Dean: So, that way of thinking is what will be helpful for you to think about who's your ideal client and what's the thing that would encapsulate what their big desire is in a book, even if it's once removed from what you're going to ultimately help them do.
Vanessa: I mean, I certainly know, I mean, in those early stages, I mean, overwhelm, right?
Vanessa: I mean, overwhelm, lack of focus, lack of time, kind of classic barriers. It is. They want to grow their business but they're not working. It's a bit classic. "We don't have time to think about the business and even what I want the business to do, because I'm so stuck in the day to day." So, those become and yes, there could well be that entrepreneurial dream. It's like, "Well, why did you go into business in the first place for," right?
Vanessa: But those dreams, they're on a back burner. They definitely need dusting off because they've just got stuck in the weeds. So, we probably need to really think about, yeah, what are some of those time tools and ways to get through overwhelm, right?
Vanessa: Because, of course, it's difficult to sell the dream lifestyle when you're kind of running around with your hair on fire.
Dean: Right. That all you want to do is you want to hand somebody something, a bucket of water that's going to help them put out this fire right here but then now, you're in that conversation about, "You know what? Let's go upstream a little bit here and see what's causing these fires."
Vanessa: Yeah. I like that.
Dean: It's all very exciting. Yeah.
Vanessa: It is. It's very exciting. I get super excited because, again, I really believe that entrepreneurship is the path to ultimate freedom. It's highly creative. We get to have these conversations periodically. In fact, they should be more regular about what does the dream client look like? What role do you want to be playing in the business?
Vanessa: How many hours? It's all of those really, really cool things that we can speak about in the entrepreneurial world. Yet, so few people are exposed, I think, regularly to those conversations and realize that it can be a different way. So, that's the piece that I get. That's our big passion and the much, much bigger vision is we really want to bring that level of thinking and creativity to the masses, you know?
Dean: Yes, yes.
Vanessa: Otherwise, frankly, some people, they probably would be better off getting a job than working for themselves because it would be less hassle if they're approaching their business in the wrong way.
Dean: Agreed. Yes.
Vanessa: So, I love this, Dean.
Vanessa: Yeah. It's just giving me so many cool things to think about.
Dean: I guess. What's your big takeaway? What's the thing that you think you'll focus on here?
Vanessa: I really want to sort of show, we were actually had a meeting with my whole team last week to kind of advance that. Frankly, I think that's just to get it started in Q2. I just do it. It really doesn't need to be any more complicated than that because I'm a firm believer that if we do 10 of them or learn some of the lessons, then we can improve upon. I mean, I am a quick start. I'm a nine quick start so I'm just like, my energy's like, "Let's just do this."
The second piece that, actually I'm going to circle back with you and your team on anyway is the book because, again, the quick start in me is like, "Let's just get it done." Like, "Let's just get it done." We've got a fabulous marketing manager as well who's like, "Let's build a book funnel." Yeah. We can build the funnel. We need the book.
Dean: Yes, exactly. That's part of it. That's true.
Vanessa: So, I feel like from a marketing perspective, getting those two pieces going and frankly getting them going really quickly. It's like I want those going in 90 days, not worth spending 18 months to think about this and work it out.
Dean: Perfect. I like what I'm hearing.
Vanessa: So, as I say, let's just dive in, do something exciting, and then the one that definitely I need, I want to give a little bit more thought to is, yeah, that dream come true outcome for a client and then really what that would look like in terms of deliveries so that I feel really excited about it because that is, right now, I haven't quite landed on it, but something tells me an exotic location is involved.
Dean: Oh, well. There we go.
Vanessa: That's what I'm thinking. I'm thinking, "Yeah, let's go outside the box and do something gorgeous." Yeah.
Dean: I love it. Perfect. Well, I'm looking forward to seeing you next week, then.
Vanessa: Me, too.
Dean: Yeah. We can have another conversation about it. We'd love to have some time to think and I'd love to carry on the conversation.
Vanessa: Totally. Well, how lucky am I? I get to get your brilliance today and then I get to see you in person next week, so yes, thank you so much. This has just been super, super helpful today.
Vanessa: My energy's definitely high around getting this implemented, as well.
Dean: There we go. All right. Well, go knock them dead in Scottsdale and then I will see you next week.
Vanessa: See you soon, Dean. Take care. Bye-bye. Bye.
Dean: There we have it. Another great episode. Thanks for listening in. If you want to continue the conversation or go deeper in how the profit activators can apply to your business, two things you can do. Right now, you can go to MoreCheeseLessWhiskers.com and you can download a copy of the More Cheese Less Whiskers book, and you can listen to the back episodes, of course, if you're just listening here on iTunes.
Secondly, the thing that we talk about in applying all of the eight profit activators are part of the breakthrough DNA process. You can download a book and a scorecard and watch a video all about the eight profit activators at BreakThroughDNA.com. That's a great place to start the journey in applying this scientific approach to growing your business. That's really the way we think about breakthrough DNA as an operating system that you can overlay on your existing business and immediately look for insights there. So, that's it for this week. Have a great week. We will be back next time with another episode of More Cheese Less Whiskers.