PreneurCast is a marketing podcast. Each week, author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.
Pete Williams talks to Dom Goucher about pitching to potential JV partners and affiliates, and gives out some awesome tips for making your proposals stand out, whoever you’re making them to!
Pete and Dom discuss successful business pitches and proposals
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Episode 012: Pitching, Proposals and Chat-Up Lines
Pete Williams: Hello, Mr. Goucher.
Dom Goucher: Greetings, Mr. Williams.
Pete: How are you on this fine Wednesday evening?
Dom: Very, very well.
Pete: We’re a little premature this week. We’re recording a day early, which is exciting.
Dom: Shh… Giving secrets away, shh.
Pete: Oh, okay.
Dom: It’s Thursday…
Pete: It’s Thursday. Fair enough. So what are we going to talk about tonight? Let’s get into it. Let’s get to some juice.
Dom: I want to say thank you. I want to say thank you to everybody that has put fantastic comments all over the world of iTunes in every store – in the UK, in the US and Australia. People have actually just gone on and given ratings and comments. Great feedback over the last week. So I just want to say thank you to everybody.
Pete: Absolutely. It’s been a phenomenal response through the first couple of weeks of release, which has been great.
Dom: Cool. That said and done, as you said, let’s get into it. We’ve had a bit of feedback. People are happy with the timings. But hey, let’s just try and keep it relatively short. I want to talk to you today about something that occurred to me. It’s a little bit of a build on our mastermind chat a couple of weeks ago. I want to talk to you about working with people. You and I work together. But in the past, I’ve been a kind of a supplier, a contractor, an outsourcer even. I don’t really want to go too deep into outsourcing in this chat because that’s a huge topic.
I know you know loads about it and I do want to pick your brain on that one. But you’re a man that’s kind of well-known in the industry, and I imagine quite a few people want to work with you – do JVs, deals, things like that. And JVs are a big thing for people who are getting into internet marketing, for example. So I just wondered if you’ve got any tips, or any stories, or anything about how you choose who you work with or how you go about finding people to work with. Can we just talk about that?
Pete: Yeah, absolutely. I’m happy to share a lot, and I guess it’s a pretty big can of worms in that space. So where would you like to start? Is there a particular point you want to start? We can talk about how to approach people like myself to cut through the clutter; the criteria. Where would you like to start, sir?
Dom: Let’s start at the beginning. Let’s say somebody wants to work with Pete. I think you’re a pretty approachable guy, but you know. Let’s say there’s somebody that somebody wants to work with. How would you go about it and how would somebody go about finding people to work with and just getting the ball rolling on that?
Pete: There’s a number of different ways, and I think it comes down to how you define ‘work with.’ Because in the marketing space, in any business, there’s obviously the joint venture, host-beneficiary partnership-type stuff, which is another term for it, where simply you just try to, for want of a better word, ‘leech’ of someone’s database or list. And leech can be in a positive connotation or a negative connotation, depending on how it all fits together.
There’s trying to just do, “Hey, I’ve got a product your list would love. Can you please send emails on my behalf and I’ll give you checks as a commission?” Affiliate marketing is fundamentally what that is. But that’s definitely one part of doing a JV. There are other parts of doing a JV where you’re willing to do a project together. You might want to co-author a book, or you might want to co-produce a product, or you want to produce something for that person’s list specifically.
So it comes down to, firstly, know what you’re outcome is. If you’re willing to try and, for example, approach someone to say, “I’ve got a product. I need a list of people to see that product so they can actually go and purchase it. I want someone to help me with promotions.” And fundamentally, to cut to the chase, it comes down to your credibility, the quality of the product and the numbers. We spoke about numbers last week and this is numbers in a different context.
Credibility is, okay, who am I going to work with? I don’t want to work with someone who’s going to have bad connotations to me and my list. Because if I’m recommending something, I’m not only recommending the product but I’m also recommending the person too. And it’s really important for me, integrity perspective, that you just don’t go and market and promote everybody’s products. In the past, I’ll put my hand up, I’ve been known to do that as a list owner in the marketing space.
I’ve done a lot of promotions for the sake of doing promotions. And in the last couple of years, I’ve pulled back from doing as many as I used to and really want to make sure that I not only know the person, but know the quality of the product. In the last 12 months, I can remember where I’ve promoted a product I haven’t actually seen and gone through myself. So I’ve actually said, “Look, I want to get a good inside understanding of what this product’s going to be before I go and promote it, and not just promote stuff cold.”
I stopped doing a lot of that general cold promotion because I want to make sure the product’s good, I know the person himself has got integrity and has got quality content and has value, and then also that the product itself is of high quality. So that’s the first two things. You need to position yourself and prove to the JV partner you’re approaching that those two boxes are ticked.
And then for the third thing, it’s a numbers game. Obviously, if you are a list owner, you don’t want to just continually pull from the bank account of trust and relationship points that you’ve built up with your list overtime. So when you do mailing out, whether it’s for your own stuff or for somebody else’s promotion, you’re taking a withdrawal from that equity or that relationship equity that you’ve built up. You want to make sure that mailing is actually going to give you a financial reward.
You want to know that historically, when this has been mailed to a list, how many people actually opened that based on the subject line that you recommend we use in the email? How many people actually purchased? What is the conversion rate? If I mail this to 10,000 people, what is a good guesstimate based on historic numbers that’s going to actually create sales? How much dollars are going to be put into the bank for this partner? For a lot of people, they make business decisions purely based off numbers, which is not always smart.
You want to make sure you have those first two criteria ticked, but you also want to make sure that the numbers actually stack up. So if you can take those three elements, and clearly and easily communicate that as a starting point, I think that’s a great first step to really open the eyes of the partner, saying, “This is the product. Here’s a free trial of it. You can log in here. Here’s the numbers it’s done historically. Love to have a chat if this fits your criteria.” Very simple. Very, very easy.
Dom: Says Pete Williams.
Pete: But does that make sense?
Dom: The three points you’ve given are spot on and totally clear. I get the justification. But I’m just going to drill down into them a little bit. Because as I say, so says Pete Williams. Easy for you to say. A big thing to highlight here is that whatever you’re doing, and let’s stick with the affiliate marketing approach for now, approaching somebody to market your product as an affiliate. But you made a really important point, which is that relationship of trust. If you are approaching somebody who is a person of influence in the industry, that person really should be respecting the relationship of trust that they’ve built up with their list, that bank account.
That every time you sell to that list, you’re taking a withdrawal from that account, which is a great metaphor I’ve heard a few times. And as somebody approaching them, you really need to be aware of that and be aware of what you’re asking them to do. And that should really form these three criteria, and that’s a really big thing to pull out. But as far as credibility, if Pete Williams turns around and goes to somebody, “Hey, I’m Pete Williams,” a little smile and a wink. “Hey, I’m Pete Williams and I’m doing something. I’ve got this thing.”
They could Google you, or you could do your little press pack thing, “I’m the author of a number of books on Amazon, and I’ve produced this audio book, and I have these websites,” and things like these. But what kind of things could people put across or what kind of things can they do just to give that evidence of credibility? This is an obvious question with some apparently obvious answers. But what things for example would you be looking for from somebody if they came to you?
Pete: Well, definitely, proof in terms of testimonials, referrals, endorsement-type of stuff. It’s probably not a perfect example, but a project I did two years ago now I think it might have been, was with Neil Strauss and his Stylelife Academy. Now, Neil is the author of the book called The Game, which is the secret society of pick-up artists; New York Times Bestselling Author for seven times, I think, he is now in a number of different areas; written for Rolling Stone and The New York Times itself.
The book The Game is all about his journey from going on the road with Mötley Crüe for a couple of years to write their autobiography and not getting laid the whole time, to becoming known as the world’s greatest pick-up artist. So that journey he went through, self-discovery and all that sort of stuff. It’s a really interesting read whether you’re a single male wanting to learn how to approach females, or just anybody willing to know how social engagements and social interactions work. It’s a very good read.
But off the back of the book, he started a project, a program or a business, if you will, called the Stylelife Academy. It’s basically a training program that helps people implement some of the stuff he spoke at a high level in the book. Now, you can go and check out www.stylelife.com. Anyway, I had an idea to do an iPhone app, a Stylelife iPhone app. Basically, you can open up the application, you can read a bunch of negs or openers, which is sort of like conversation starters. Not pick-up lines, but conversation starters.
So if you’re in a bar, you can open up the iPhone app and then just randomly shake it, and it gives you a good opening conversation line. It’s a pretty cool iPhone app, I think there’s a space there in the market. I actually built one myself and just branded it up. It’s called Openers, and I tested to see how it went in terms of what was the actual penetration and response just from a basic app to add some numbers and get a feel for what it was like, and then put together the idea or a bit of a pitch, so to speak, to Neil.
I know Neil now. Ed Dale, who I’ve spoken about previously in this podcast, is good friends with Neil and obviously, very good friends with me. I had a bit of a connection, a name to drop. So I had that referral, testimonial, endorsement, so to speak, from working with Ed for so long. And obviously, I was able to drop that in part of the introduction to Neil. But what I actually did was I put together a PowerPoint presentation where it was six or seven slides long and just some sketches out of what the proposal or what the application would look like, how it would actually work, some numbers, how the actual JV could be structured as an idea.
And then put the Keynote on my computer screen, grabbed ScreenFlow on the Mac, which is a screen-recording software, and then just talked through this PowerPoint presentation. So in the same sort of fashion you would if you’re doing a pitch in the boardroom and all that stuff, a bit more succinct. I think the video was maybe three or four minutes long. Nothing too crazy, but just covered all the points and emailed that through to Neil and said, “Hey, I’ve got an idea for an iPhone app. I put together a quick video overview of how I think it could work. Buzz me back if you think it’s interesting.”
And I think about 12 minutes later, I got a reply saying, I can’t remember the exact words but it’s something like, “Love the idea. Was blown away by the presentation.” Something along those lines. So it stood out to him because it was different. It wasn’t the same sort of, “Hey, Neil. I’ve got a business idea. Here’s a 45-page document of why you should read this,” or “Hey, Neil. I’ve got an awesome business idea. Give me a call.” It covered a lot of bases in terms of hot buttons; we can go into that. But also, it was just different. It wasn’t the usual stuff that he experienced. It was a video.
It stood out. It was unique. Not many people get pitched by a video. So that was a great little thing to actually get the JV off the ground. That app went relatively well. But Stylelife has gone on to a bit of different direction and the app sits there. It still makes sales and we’re looking at actually revamping it at the moment. I’ve been having discussions with the team over the last couple of months to look at revamping and putting some new content into that. But the app itself is good and the product was fantastic. So does that even at all, answer the direct question you asked me?
Dom: That answered it and more. Little secret, folks, little secret for you. While we record these podcasts, you know that I’m a bit of a mind map freak. I’ve said it before. What I do is I make a couple of notes of what I want to talk to Pete about before the call. I don’t show him, by the way. And then on the call, I make a note, sometimes to write the show notes. I note down the links. But I also make a note of the stuff that Pete talks about so that I can write the introduction. And this is absolutely, absolute flattery, folks. I make these notes as if I’m listening to a podcast from somebody I don’t know.
Because every time I ask Pete a question, I’m learning something. And I’m scribbling notes like absolute crazy at the moment. Pete, that answer, first of all, yes, it totally touched on everything that I asked and then some. And if people don’t really get the value of what you just said there, they should rewind approximately five minutes, listen to it again with a pencil and paper. How did you get your credibility? You did it by referral, okay, to a point. And then you’ve got your history as well and stuff like that.
You could do a lot more about ways people can get credibility, and I know you’re big on that with your offline promotional stuff that we talked about, the Going Analogue products and things like that. So maybe a couple of tips, we could come back to that one. But the big thing here: one, you actually built the app. You didn’t pitch somebody on, “Hey, I’ve got a great idea.” You actually built one and had a go, which got you a prototype. It got you some knowledge about the industry, and it got you some of those real numbers so you could take them back.
You took your referral from Ed, which is a valuable thing if you can get one. And very often, you can get a referral from a lot of people. No trouble at all to get the introduction. But what you did with it, I think, was amazing. You took the PowerPoint, you storyboarded the app, you put your numbers, and you put your proposal in. And then to get your airtime, you compressed it into that video, that screen presentation. Yes, it stood out. It meant the guy could choose when he looks at it, and look at it again and show his mates, or his business partners, or whoever he needs to think about these things.
You did everything for him. You gave it all in a package. All the numbers, the proposal, the app design, everything, and gave it to him in a way that he could elect to look at it. That’s just gone beyond this entire conversation. That’s just a fantastic way to put anything across to anybody that you’re trying to reach that you don’t know.
Pete: Absolutely. The way you put a proposal together, because that’s what a JV deal is, it’s a proposal. So whether you are an accounting firm trying to get a company’s business or let’s say you’re a roof tiler trying to get someone’s business, no matter what sort of industry you’re in, adding a video into the way you propose stands out so much. You could say, “Here’s the proposal as a video.” I know a lot of local marketers, people who are helping small businesses with their online marketing, taking them and getting them a Google Local listing, and helping them with their new website, are actually doing video pictures and it’s working phenomenally well.
And what they’re doing is, they’re literally opening up their web browser, going to the person’s current website, a couple of Google results based on the keywords that people probably search for this business, and then a Google Maps listing. And they’re literally going, “Hi Tom Jones, you roof tiler, you. Look, we actually work with small businesses to help them increase their web presence. I was actually online just now. You can see my Google screen here.
And I just typed in ‘roof tiling Melbourne.’ I’ve also typed in ‘roof fix Melbourne,’ and those are two terms that I’d think a lot of people will be searching for in your business. In fact, last month according to Google, 13,312 people actually searched for ‘roof tiling Melbourne.’ And I couldn’t actually see your website here. So I think there’s a potential to get a lot more leads into your business. I’ve also got a screen here of Google Maps. You can see here that again, if I type in ‘roof tiling Melbourne’ in Google Maps, your business doesn’t appear at all.
So this is a service that we can offer you as a business owner to help get you more leads and help your phone ring more. And also, if you want to, we can have a chat about your website. Because if you look at your website here, there’s no phone number above the fold, there’s no request for a quote, and it’s all about what you have in terms of skills and the background. But people don’t really care about that, they only care about how you can give a 30-day satisfaction guarantee on your roofing, and you guarantee the color will last for 15 years.
So here’s a quick little video I thought could be helpful. If you’re in this sort of space, pass it on to your web designer. Otherwise, give us a call because we can help you out and this is what we do as a business. Thanks. Bye.” Whatever that might be. That’s very off-the-top, rough pitch. But that stuff is working extremely well for a lot of small SEO marketing companies out there to actually get clientele. Because if you get a video review about your business, it blows you away.
If you’re a roof tiler, the email is, “Hi Julie. Thanks for letting me quote. I took a couple of quick videos of your roof when we were up there. And if you check this link out, it will have a download to the proposal and the quote for you, but also a quick little video.” Very, very cost effectively, for a couple of hundred bucks a week, you can have a full-time video person in the Philippines cutting up these videos, before and after-type stuff. You can have a video that you shot on your iPhone of the house attached with, “Here’s what your house looks like right now. Here are some samples we’ve done previously.
Here’s how to understand the quote. Here’s why you want to buy from us,” in a nice quick three-minute video. It’s going to make you stand out so much more than every other roof tiler. Yeah, you have that sales videos on your website, but incorporate them into your quote to reinforce that, to reinforce your market leadership. Doesn’t cost a lot, but will skyrocket your conversion rates because it stands out. It’s different.
Dom: Okay, folks. If you rewind to about 14 minutes, get your pencil out again. Pete just gave you an amazing sales script. Mate, you’re absolutely spot on. You know me, I am video crazy and all I do all day long is video stuff. So you’re preaching to the choir with me. Although I am guilty of not using videos in proposals as much as I could. I’ll put up my hand up and say it. The power of just, as you say, opening the browser and talking about what’s there, or opening the Word document or the PDF, or whatever it is, and just talking for a minute or two minutes.
One, it saves you actually either being on the phone or physically going to see that person, which if you want to do 50 at least in a day is pretty handy. And two, yeah, it absolutely makes you stand out. It’s something that you say in your Going Analogue presentations and course. People like us are in the internet marketing space or some way are online, anyone listening to this podcast in some way has some internet savvy. Yeah?
Dom: And the thing that you forget is that you can walk out your front door and talk to 10 people in a row about the internet. And none of them will know as much as you do or even close. And if you went to just about anybody, anybody at all and presented a video to them, they would think you are some kind of highfalutin media producer type because most people believe that video is in the realm of the rich and famous, and yet it’s not. It’s not.
As you say, quick, get your iPhone out. You can get your iPhone out while you’re still on top of the roof. As you said, that tip for the roof tiler, be it a video or photos, or both, absolutely no trouble. And we are so far off topic and it’s not funny, but amazing value.
Pete: So where do we start? Bring me back, mate. Bring me back.
Dom: Let’s bring you back, let’s bring you back. So guys, seriously, about 14 minutes and 30 seconds, go back and write that script down. Get it done. Get into local marketing. You’ll wipe the floor with them. Just a little tip before we move on to full-blown joint ventures. On the affiliate marking thing, you’re trying to reach somebody, quite likely somebody that you don’t know. Is there something that if you are relatively new to the game that you can do in terms of credibility, building your credibility? Not making things up but making an effort to just… Sorry?
Pete: Definitely, don’t lie.
Dom: Yes. Never, ever, ever lie. You will be found out. There’s absolutely no point and no value in it. You mentioned a couple of things. You mentioned testimonials and referrals. Testimonials are relatively straightforward to get if you’ve are already been selling the product. Yeah?
Pete: Yeah. Testimonials from other affiliates is important too. So if you’ve had other people who have promoted your product and things like that, then obviously, those sorts of testimonials will work extremely well as well.
Dom: Looking at what you said, there seems almost to be a path that you might take if you were doing this. You’d start out and maybe you’d try and sell the thing yourself directly. You wouldn’t do this without selling it yourself first.
Pete: Absolutely, you’ll sell it yourself first.
Dom: Yep. Sell it yourself. So yes, that’s your data, that’s your conversion data. That’s also you getting some experience with your own AB testing of sales letters and things like that so that you can get your numbers up and you know what converts, so that you can support that affiliate.
Dom: And you’ve done some sales. These sales should give you testimonials. And then you can maybe go look for some kind of general affiliates, maybe using the different affiliate marketplaces, and then try and get some referrals from those guys, their successes at selling your product, their conversions and things like that.
Dom: And you can use all that and just build it up, accumulating all that stuff. Then you can take those pieces to go for the bigger fish when you want to get to those bigger lists. Is that a good path from starting from nowhere?
Pete: Yeah, you’ve got to build up that credibility, you’ve got to build up that trust in the marketplace and the history, and also for your own sake too. You want to make sure that you’ve ironed out all your own bugs before you do a huge launch to a big list. If you’re in the internet market space and you’re trying to do a launch of a product to a couple of hundred thousand people in a big list, you want to make sure that your systems work, that the links work, and that the sales copy actually converts. You only get one shot in a lot of cases. It’s also about testing everything on the way too before you do the big roll out. So it’s definitely important to put the cart after the horse or the horse before the cart, or whichever way you want to go.
Dom: One of those. The other thing I just want to pull out in that was the quality of the product. Absolutely, you have to be prepared to either send the copy or give access if it’s online, or whatever, to the person that you want to do this with. They need to be able to see it. Because you get to a certain level, but nobody will do this blind.
Pete: Definitely. Exactly right. You can have runs on the board and you’ve got a track record of doing amazing content with amazing feedback, and you’re about to do a live training program, different story. Because obviously, you have a track record of proven credibility and proven results when you’re doing programs. But obviously, if it’s a product that is actually already out there in existence even in digital form, you make sure you give people a chance to play with it. Absolutely.
Dom: Cool. I’ve picked up some stuff from that from the affiliate side of things. Any tips on actually reaching these people? Because for an affiliate, really, when you’re starting out, what marketplace? Like ClickBank or something?
Pete: Well, ClickBank is definitely a good place to get a lot of low-level affiliates. If you’re in that sort of internet marketing space, go into a place like ClickBank, PaidOnTime I think is one, PayDotCom is another one. And there are people out there who are professional affiliate marketers who are looking for products to promote to their list, so it’s definitely a place to go. In terms of trying to get some of the bigger people in any sort of niche, I think it’s all about giving first.
To get what you want, you have to give people what they want first. Go into their forums and offer some value. Offer to do some free content for their particular program or podcast or blog or something like that. Actually give something of value to them first to let them see how you deliver, prove yourself. And then potentially, after you’ve given so much, you can then ask for a little bit in return.
Dom: Very good tip. Very, very good tip. Yeah, it’s all about building that relationship before.
Pete: Exactly. To try and get someone in any space to mail for you or market for you, it’s going to be very, very tough. You’ve got to do your groundwork. You’ve got to actually put in your history, so to speak.
Dom: Yeah, I heard somebody say it’s almost the same way as you just said which is, if you’re trying to approach somebody whether it’s online or whether it’s at a conference or somewhere else you might meet these people, walking up to them and going, “Hey, I’ve got this great thing for you to sell. Go, here, look, bye,” is the fastest way to get somebody to turn around and walk away from you.
Get into this thing with the idea of, what can I do to this person, how can I help them, how can I help their list, what can I do for them or give them that’s going to see me as a person of value, and also what’s going to increase their account of trust, their relationship and trust with their list, then you‘ve got more chance to build a relationship with that person. But if you walk up to them and ask them for something straight out, it’s not very realistic. You’re not going to get anything back.
Pete: Exactly. Absolutely.
Dom: If you’re cool with people, they’re usually cool with you. I found that certainly in this industry. A lot of people will be very surprised how easy it is to walk up to somebody and offer to help and add value to them. The easiest way, as you say, is on their blog or on their Facebook page, or whatever. Just join in in the conversation and become known that way and add value that way. A lot of people appreciate that. I know you do.
Pete: Well, the way Ed and I sort of built our relationship up over the last five or six years was, we met at a conference. And just as we were talking, I gave him a copy of my book and said, “Hey, here’s a copy of my book. You may find it interesting to read. Otherwise, it makes good firewood. Enjoy.” And that was how we started a more in-depth conversation off the back of that at this conference here in Melbourne. And from there, I went on to learn more about Ed and started getting involved in The Challenge community in the spare time I had at the time.
And it was around the second or third year that The Challenge had been run, and at that point, as it is right now, it’s completely free. A lot of people were in the forum having a conversation about, “Ed, how can we say thanks? How can we give back?” Because it was growing very, very fast. There was a lot of scale costs involved and the hosting of the videos and the bandwidth, and that sort of stuff. A lot of people wanted to support that. And Ed was like, “No, no. The whole idea of this is for me to give back, say thanks, give back to the community.
And I came up with the idea and said, “Hey, why don’t we just run like a charity auction?” Ed can pick a charity and then we’ll get some stuff. We’ll give it away and the money that’s raised can go to Ed’s favorite charity. So that way, people can actually give back as a way of saying thanks to Ed and the team and everyone behind The Challenge, and Ed isn’t actually directly getting money for it. So it’s a win-win for everybody. And I just shot Ed an email one day or gave him a phone call and said, “Hey, buddy. I had this idea. Do you think it’s something we should run with?”
And he said, “Yeah, I’d love to.” So myself and some of my team coordinated all of that and did so for a couple of years. So that’s how we solidified our relationship and we’ve gone on to do a number of different things together since. I had the referral, so to speak, being a book because I was a published author. And the book was very much a business card for me as well and it was a great leverage tool to say, “Hey, I’m a published author by one of the largest publishing houses in the world.”
It was a great credibility endorsement factor that I had with him. And then I just said throughout getting to know him, talking about business, “Hey, I had this idea of how I can help you and give to your community you’ve got there. Can I do this with nothing in return?” That’s the two-step path that I took with Ed as an example. Because I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with Ed and Challenge.co as it is today.
Dom: Yeah, I think it’s kind of similar to how I also kind of started to know Ed. The call went out, the second year I did The Challenge. The call went out to people on The Challenge, “Could somebody help out doing the transcripts?” which is a massive job if you look at the amount of information that everybody who’s involved in Challenge.co produces year on year, or was at that time producing year on year. Ed really believed in providing a fully quality product, not some thrown-together thing. And you can see that across the board with the course, the videos and the site that Nez builds and looks after, and all the material that is contributed every year.
So I said, yeah, sure. I have some background in producing that kind of stuff. Let’s give it a go. And I’ve been doing that for a few years now. It’s built my relationship with that team. It started out just as a kind of a volunteer, a contributor. Just like as if I’ve done a guest post or provided some guest content into one of the products, or whatever, the suggestions you’ve already made. It was a start. It was a beginning of a relationship. And by producing that, I showed them what I could do, and I’ve showed them the skills that I’ve got, and just built a relationship.
It also gave me a great starting point. These people I’ve never actually physically met. The next time there was a Challenge conference, I got to actually meet them. And I got to really interact in a big way. When you go to a conference, the person who is running the conference is in front, you kind of think, “Oh, well, I’m not going to get a lot of airtime with that person.” And you shuffle around in the bar and maybe say, “Hi,” and then run off quickly. But because I’d already worked with these people and built a relationship with them, it was great.
I was involved in conversations, and just had great long chats with people like Robert Somerville. I had to go and stick my head in the fridge to cool it down afterwards, but it was great. But that’s it. You give. You give something as a starting point and you get something back. So that’s the important thing to take away from us. And I know you’re a big believer in that. You’re a big believer in giving something first, not asking for something. And I think it’s really important.
Pete: Absolutely. It’s what you have to do, really. As much as you hear people on stage, get rich quick, get rich quick; it’s a lot of hard work. They say what is it, 10 years to make an overnight success and all those sort of typical clichés? But it’s true in anything, particularly when it comes to trying to find people to work with and help support you.
Dom: Yeah, I do. It’s funny, I was just thinking the same thing. Anybody who sits down and thinks, tomorrow I’m going to make a million dollars or whatever. If you look at what we talked about, even if you’ve got your product, your product idea or your product’s built or whatever, you’re ready to go; if you want to approach somebody, you need to look at the fact that they’re going to look at your credibility. And if it’s your first product and you’ve not sold any, well, you’ve got no credibility possibly. Although in your own industry and your niche, you might have some credibility.
You might have published in a blog for a while or something, which is part of that. You’ve got to look at the quality of the product if this is your first product. Is it something that somebody else would want to sell? And then you need to get some numbers from somewhere. You can’t go to somebody, if it’s you’re first product and you’ve done nothing, etcetera, etcetera. It’s going to be a very, very hard push to go to them and say, “Well, I haven’t sold it myself yet.”
Dom: So you need to think about those things and have that in mind as you go along. And it’s good. Whoever is thinking about starting out, if you’re just starting out with these things, think about these things as you go along. Other people at the moment are talking about the concepts of market leadership, about building a presence in your own industry. And that’s important both for direct sales into your niche but also, as what you said, to go to other people if you want something from them. If you’ve built a position of authority in your niche, you’ve got a lot more clout when you want to go to somebody and do a deal with them.
Pete: Oh, absolutely.
Dom: So it’s important. You’ve touched on some good points there. I’m going to pull the plug on this one this week, because I’m really, really interested in doing joint ventures and the bigger, bigger things. But I think that’s a really big conversation.
Dom: So you did this app with Neil, yeah?
Dom: Which is in itself is, wow, Neil Strauss.
Pete: It was good fun. It went relatively well. There’s a whole another conversation about the app, what worked and what didn’t work with the app, which I’m happy to have a conversation about if people are interested in iPhone stuff. I’ve done a handful of apps now. Nothing amazing like Angry Birds, but had some success with that, and I’d be happy to have a conversation at some point. But it was an interesting learning curve, definitely.
Dom: Definitely. But this is just a fun thing from the app. I’m not going to ask you if you used it, because you’re a happily engaged man. Did you get any feedback on the lines from anybody? Did you get any of those introduction lines? Did you get any feedback from anybody saying whether they worked or not?
Pete: Oh, look, the content, we might as well touch on it now. The biggest issue, the feedback from other people that we got, which I do agree with, is that there wasn’t enough content in the app, which unfortunately was out of my hands. So we might as well put that out there so people can go and check it out on iTunes. And feel free, it’s still available. I’d love your feedback if people are going to go and buy it. But the overlying feedback was app’s great, needs more content. And the lines, they do work. And they work in any sort of context.
One that isn’t actually in the app that I love because it’s an awesome opener is going up to a bunch of people… I’m going to try to get this right. You go up to a bunch of people, and the whole idea of an opener is just a way to start a conversation. “Hey, so I need your opinion on something, I was out with my buddy this afternoon and this little kid came up to me and asked me if Santa Claus was real. Now, I think the kid was about eight or nine.
How the heck do you answer that? Do you say, ‘Yes, he’s real?’ Or do you say, ‘No he’s not real?’ How do you answer that sort of question when some kid comes up to you and said, ‘Is Santa Claus real?’” It’s so indirect. It’s not like, “Hey baby, nice shoes,” or anything like that. It’s just a general conversation starter. And there are a lot of other ones in there that are really interesting and great ways to start a conversation.
And you can use that type of openers in the app in any sort of social setting, whether it’s trying to pick someone up at the bar or just starting a conversation at a business networking event. There’s definitely some of that stuff that’s applicable. And it’s really, really cool to see how it just starts a conversation. It’s definitely not a direct pick-up line because they’re just cheesy and they don’t work. But this is an engaging way to start a conversation and get to know somebody.
Dom: Cool. And all of that content came from the book, right?
Pete: Yeah, exactly. The content directly in the app, some of the openers were in the book. But a lot of that was just content that they had as part of the Stylelife Academy and in their reference material and the more in-depth training stuff from that perspective.
Dom: Cool. Alright, mate. As I say, we veered wildly off topic to your absolutely ninja tips for local marketing there and the use of video.
Pete: I hope people, if they’re in a weird niche, whether they’re a social media marketer or whether they’re a roof tiler, think about how you can make your proposals stand out more. So many people just give their usual, “Here’s an A4 sheet of paper, here’s my pitch and my proposal.” I think the bigger thing is how can you make your proposal stand out? Be colorful. Be more about the outcome the person wants out of the experience than the raw numbers. Because what you should be delivering is more than just raw numbers.
Dom: Again, fantastic tip, mate. Fantastic tip. That’s it, isn’t it? It’s like how can it be about what that person gets from it more than just the numbers?
Pete: Well, in our telco business, in Infiniti, which is the biggest of the companies I own, our industry, historically, has been very much about you’re getting a quote on a phone system and the provider sends you a one-page Word document with, you’re going to get three Citronix, you’re going to get four ATAs, you’re going to get a PABX with PSTN line integration card, you’re going to get a four-port digital ATA card, whatever it might be. Just jargon of all the hardware and a double figure.
And to the user, it’s like, “Well, I don’t want to buy ATAs and PSTNs and ISTNs and four-port extension cards and stuff like that.” They just want to buy a phone system that’s going to give them benefits like being able to easily transfer a call, being able to put people on hold with a professionally recorded message, being able to actually have the system over-flow to the receptionist’s desk to her admin team if she can’t answer the calls in four seconds. They want to be able to know that there’s voicemail, that those voicemails can be redirected to the email.
They want to see pictures of the handsets. It’s all about the end result. It’s not about the piece of plastic and the hardware and the circuitry, which is in so many industries, that’s what they quote on. That’s what they’re selling. But it’s about making a proposal. And our proposals are about seven or eight pages long with bright big pictures of the handsets, big bullet points of what the system is going to do for them. It’s about buying four handsets of this model and three of this model, and getting these features and functions. It’s not about the ATA card or the VMIB board or something like that.
Dom: Yeah, I’ve actually seen one of your proposals. They’re awesome. I’m like, people don’t put that much effort into their actual sales collaterals for their products in half the time that you guys put into your actual proposal that gets sent to the client. But in a way, what you kind of mentioned there, just to close it down a bit, you kind of were talking about the old idea of benefits versus features. Only in this case, it is features and benefits versus stats, figures and serious numbers and things like that, and you translating it into human readable form.
Pete: It’s making the proposal in the pitch, whether you’re picking a JV partner to do a mail out for you, whether you’re pitching or proposing a client take up your service, whether you’re trying to pitch and propose to someone to go out for dinner with you after you’ve had a conversation in the night club, it’s all about the way and the context and how you frame that pitch.
It’s not about the pitch itself, it’s about everything that goes around it. It’s the frame and the context. A video is a great way to frame a proposal because it’s different and it stands out. It’s engaging. A very color-driven written quote is very, very engaging. A conversation about whether who lies more men or women, is a better conversation starter and a better way to frame an introduction than, “Hey baby, can I buy you a drink?”
Dom: Very good juxtaposition there. I would never have thought those two things being related to each other. But yeah, that’s great. You’re big on framing. You and I have talked about framing in the past and I think we’re going to talk about it again. That’s great, that’s fantastic. Some very specific stuff about approaching people for affiliates, marketing of your product. But I think probably for me, I got the most value of the bits about those proposals, the generic stuff. Because as you just say, it’s applicable whether it is approaching somebody for a JV or an affiliate deal, or whether it is just having a conversation, somebody trying to build a relationship, whatever that relationship is.
Pete: Absolutely. And next week, I want to talk about context and framing. I want to tell you one of the best stories I’ve ever heard about a violinist. Very, very cool.
Dom: I’m popping that in next week’s mind map.
Pete: It’s an awesome, awesome story.
Dom: Alright, I’ll catch you next week.
Pete: Sounds good, and we’ll talk violins
Dom: Looking forward to it.
The Game – Neil Strauss’ Book
StyleLife.com – Neil Strauss’ Style Life Academy
StyleLifeApp.com – The Style Life iPhone App
Clickbank.com – Affiliate Network
PayDotCom.com – Affiliate Network
PaidOnTime.net – Certified Affiliate Directory
GoingAnalogue.com – Pete’s course about using offline marketing for online results
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