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Why it is important to model after successful people and their principles [PODCAST]


PreneurCast is a marketing + business podcast. Each week, author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.

This week, Pete and Dom discuss the topic of modelling successful people and principles, and how important it is to understand why something is being done, and if it’s still a fit for you and your business, rather than just copy it blindly.

Pete and Dom discusses about successful techniques and if it fits to your business

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Episode 017:
Cutting the Ends Off the Roast

Dom Goucher: Hello there.

Pete Williams: Hi, buddy. How are you?

Dom: Good and you, sir?

Pete: Mate, back, ready and raring for another PreneurCast episode.

Dom: Indeed. Hello one and all to PreneurCast this week. I’m Dom Goucher.

Pete: And I’m Pete Williams. Speaking of one and all, do you know what I realized? Yesterday, I was kind of being the nerdy self that I am and was looking through FeedBurner which is the Google service we use to track and analyze listeners. It’s basically the Analytics for podcasts is probably a good way of putting it. It looks like we’ve almost doubled our subscriber base in the last week and a half.

Dom: Awesome.

Pete: Just very, very cool. So hello to all you new PreneurCast-ians.

Dom: PreneurCast-ians, I like it.

Pete: Does that work?

Dom: It does, it does. I like it. Hello one and all. As you’re new, please give us some feedback on the iTunes Store. Let us know how you’re finding the podcast.

Pete: Yep, absolutely. Are you enjoying it, topic suggestions and all that sort of stuff. It’s been great. Twitter has been good, email’s been great the last couple of weeks. It’s getting more and more. So don’t forget to stay in touch and tell us how good we are or how bad we are.

Dom: Excellent. So what’s on your mind this week then, Pete?

Pete: Plenty of things in my mind; one random thing that I saw again today. I actually had a couple of meeting around Melbourne, so I had to help [inaudible 0:01:38] a bit of a drive. I saw this one guy and I just see it too often, far too often. This guy he’s a plumber or a window guy doing some sort of blue-collar trade. He had his car sign written, all that sort of stuff, all the good things and then two huge ‘Find me in the Yellow Pages’ stickers on the back of his car.

The reason for my hatred for those stickers is not because of the Yellow Pages. I think the Yellow Pages isn’t the best ROI you can get for your marketing dollars these days. There are plenty of other places. AdWords is obviously, clearly, the new place people are spending their previously spent Yellow Pages dollars. Obviously historically, when people wanted a solution to a problem, they’d usually go to the Yellow Pages to find someone.

They go to ‘plumber’ and under P, they’d find some plumbers. Now it’s going to Google and typing in ‘plumber melbourne’ and your ads come up. It’s a much better spent, so it’s not about that. There’s definitely some businesses that can still have a very positive ROI from the Yellow Pages. The thing that bugs me is that this guy has basically told his prospective customers to go and look in a place full of ads from his competition.

It’s like, imagine doing a direct mail campaign. Imagine buying a list of prospects, doing a direct mail campaign with your three-fold brochure and all that sort of stuff, and stuffing the envelope with your competitors’ pamphlets as well. You wouldn’t do it, would you?

Dom: It’s a very, very good point. In this day and age, yeah, that’s a very good point.

Pete: It’s just like why would you go and tell your prospects to go to a resource that is full and just awash with your competitors’ ads and contact details. Make it easy for them to get three quotes, why don’t you?

Dom: That in a way, bringing it back to a more modern-day thing, that is a fantastic example. Yeah, that’s great. It’s actually also putting an extra step between the client and you.

Pete: Yep. Exactly.

Dom: It’s like, ok. You could ask them to call you, you could ask them to email you, you could ask them to go to your website, or you could ask them to find a copy of the Yellow Pages, thumb through it to find you.

Pete: It’s insane, isn’t it? I hope you got some ridiculously cheap or big discounts from these Yellow Pages rep for agreeing to put that sticker on your car. There’s been some photos that are sort of floating around the web and stuff. Now there’s window decals that are being handed out particularly in the US, ‘Find us on Google Local, Find us on Yelp, Find us on Trip Advisor.’ It’s the same sort of thing. Those resources are designed to send you traffic, to send you new business, to send you new prospects. Why would you go and push people to those places?

Dom: Yeah, unless you go to a store that’s closed; walking up to the store, looking at the window and the sticker says, ‘Find us on Google Places,’ who is actually going to do that outside the store?

Pete: It’s insane. Let’s talk online. Let’s actually make this digital and make it even more apparent at how bad this is in business. I was looking at a website the other day for something. On their site, they’re an e-commerce site and they use a lot of the shopping.com and Google products. ShopBot is one here in Australia. The aggregators that you can go to and say, “I want to buy a Canon 500 Mark III camera,” and they’ll give you the price comparison, top service.

On this person’s website, on the actual camera website, they had links back out to all these comparison shopping saying, “Hey, find us on these comparison shopping sites.” Again, unless you are definitely the cheapest and you’re making statement on how cheap you are, again, why would you send people away from your store to a place where they can see all your competitors’ prices?

Dom: Wow. That somebody has not quite got that concept.

Pete: Maybe they’ll try and do it for sort of recognition and endorsement, authority-type stuff. But really, your website is like where you want to get them to, and all these other things are simply designed to drive traffic to you not to send traffic away.

Dom: Exactly. And this links directly to something that I really wanted to talk to you about. It’s pretty much the same point. There’s a twofold thing here. One is just general hatred and the other one is a level of not quite getting it. The first thing is, in print, so many people are now putting the little F, T or whatever, the little YouTube logo to imply that we’ve got a Facebook page, we’ve got a Twitter page, we’ve got YouTube channel, right?

Pete: Yup.

Dom: But these people are in markets that, well, honestly your clients aren’t going to go on Facebook or Twitter or YouTube. And if they were, you want to at least give them a hint of where your Facebook, YouTube or Twitter channel is rather than just put some pansy little blue F in the corner of your poster or business card, and expect somebody to actually do a search on Facebook to find you.

Pete: You’ve got to have a call to action. A big thing that we talk about a lot in our office, the various things we do is what’s the CTA or where’s the CTA? As much as we don’t like TLAs (three-letter acronyms), we use them quite a bit with the CTA which is a call to action. Definitely a call to action. You’ve got to give them, why go to Facebook? What’s the benefit of when you try to get them on Facebook.

Dom: But this is my point. This is the second point. My first hatred is the arrogance that somebody just puts the Facebook, the little F, and expects somebody to work out what it’s for and do something with it. What a waste of space. But second and back to your point about the Yellow Pages and everything else, what do you want that person to do? If you want that person to contact you, buy your service, in any way, do something directly, why on earth would you send them to some information portal like Facebook or Twitter or YouTube?

None of those places, well, I suppose Facebook can be configured to take a sale or have some kind of product catalog on it. But in general, they’re traffic sources. So why take somebody who’s got your collaterals, your literature, your business card, why take them round the houses to get back to you?

Pete: Exactly right. It doesn’t make sense.

Dom: No. And this is one of those things. Yes, Facebook is amazingly effective traffic source at the moment. Twitter can be an effective traffic source. And I really should say this given what I do, You Tube is an effective traffic source. But it’s not somewhere to send somebody if you actually want them to do something.

Pete: Yeah. I see a lot of the big brands saying, “Come and head to our Coca-Cola Facebook page,” and stuff like that. Look, the only logical reason I can justify for doing that is so once they become a fan of yours on Facebook or a fan of Coca-Cola, you can then continually get their eyeballs by, I don’t want to say spamming their Facebook feed, but communicating to them via their Facebook news feeds. So you are continually getting eyeballs.

It’s still going back to that old-school marketing mindset where it’s all about billboard advertising in getting part of eyeball share. That’s the only real thing I can think that’s the benefit of Facebook. There is the whole seven impressions before you make a sale and that sort of stuff. There’s some validity to all of that. I’m very much from the direct response background, but that’s the only real benefit of the Facebook sort of stuff – so you can continually market to them where they are.

Dom: Absolutely. And I am in no way against that. But the thing that I’m trying to emphasize here because Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and those places all are ways of getting your message to people. When they choose to subscribe to you, there are all different ways of getting your message in front of them and on regular basis, in the hope in doing enough touches that they actually come back and buy something from you. Great.

But if you actually are paying for an advert in a newspaper, print ad, or if you’re doing business cards, that’s the time you actually want somebody to take a direct action. And if you send them to your website onto a page focused on the actual offer that you’re advertising; if there they see a Twitter, YouTube or Facebook link, and there they decide, “I’m not ready to buy. But hey, you know what, I’ll find out some more about you and maybe…” It’s just another version of signing up to your email list at that point.

Pete: Yeah.

Dom: But a lot of people say this. When you try to sell something, reduce the number of options, preferably down to one.

Pete: Exactly.

Dom: Because too many choices means somebody won’t make a choice.

Pete: Yup. You’re exactly right. They’ll get distracted. Send someone to Facebook, they’re going to get distracted by their friend’s photo from Saturday night out at the nightclub. They’re not going to be thinking about calling you, they’re going to easily hit Home and head to their news feeds and start looking at their friends. I guess this is not we’re initially going to talk about, it wasn’t in the plan for this episode.

But there’s so many times people just do what other people are doing without really thinking through why and not really knowing what the actual outcome was. There’s a classic story that I do love that a lot of people have probably heard. It’s a story that’s been told in so many different ways in the first person and the third person. It’s essentially a story of a woman, Christmas Day and they were cooking the roast, the Christmas roast at lunch.

And the mother of the young lady whose house the Christmas party was at, was there cooking the roast, and they cut two ends off the roast and put it in the roasting pan, and went to the roast. The young lady said to her, “Mum, you do cook a great roast. But why do you cut off both ends of the roast before you put it in the pan every time? I know you’ve done it for years and it tastes beautiful. But what’s the reason for it?”

And the mother said, “Well, actually, I don’t know why. My mother, your grandma always did this, so I just do that too. That’s why she cooked roast, so that’s why I cooked roast.” So they went to the living room and thought, “Well, grandma’s here. It’s Christmas; the family’s together, so we’ll go and ask Grandma.” She’s here in the corner with the brandy and having a good old Christmas chin-wag and stuff like that. So, “Grandma, why did you use to cut the ends off the roasts and cooked the roast that way all the time? I know it makes the roast tastes better.

But what actually causes the roast to taste better because of that?” Then Grandma said, “Look, I don’t really know. My mother, your great-grandmother used to do that.” So they thought great-grandma is here. She’s a bit dithery and she’s a bit old, but we’ll ask her. She might remember. She has sporadic memory as old folks do. So they went back into the TV room where she was, watching the old A Christmas Carol and that sort of stuff.

“Great-grandma, great-grandma, we’re cooking lunch and it’ll be ready about half an hour. So just a quick question. Why do you used to cut both ends off on the roast? Because grandma does it and my mum does it. I was just wondering why that actually is?” And great-grandma just sat there, looked a bit dazed and confused. They thought, the poor dear, she’s kind of forgotten what the hell we’re talking about. But she started laughing and turned to her daughter, the granddaughter and great-granddaughter and said, “The only reason I cut the ends off the roast is because my roasting dish and oven was too small.”

It’s an interesting story. It’s just like people just do stuff they see other people do because of them doing it, not the reason why. It wasn’t about making the roast taste any better or the juices flow or the heat gets in, or all the other sort of possible reasons you’d cut the ends off the roast. It was purely because the oven was too short to have the roast that they used to buy from the butcher. It’s just about thinking through the why. Like why would you go and put a Yellow Pages sticker on your car? Why would you send people to Facebook?

And there’s definitely reasons and justifications for everything you do in marketing and in every business. But just the outcome of one person doing this doesn’t necessarily going to give you the right outcome you want for your marketing. Another thing I love about this whole thing, another little anecdote and tale that I mentioned, I think I wrote about in my first book. It’s about the whole ‘25 words or less’ contest. I think Robert Cialdini talks about it in Influence, the awesome book which we’ve spoken about it before in the book episode.

Dom: Yeah, we did.

Pete: He talked about this ‘25 words or less’ thing. The main reason you do ‘25 words or less’ contests, you know when you read a magazine, some sort of contest is out there and they ask you, in 25 words or less, answer this question. Things that are like, in 25 words or less, why you like macaroni and cheese, or 25 reasons why you should win this holiday, or tell us in 25 words or less the craziest accident you’ve ever had. You know that sort of contests?

Dom: Yeah.

Pete: A lot of people are doing these contests and you see them everywhere. But if you really sit down and analyze what the main reason and why those ‘25 words or less’ contests were initially used as a promotion tools, it comes back to an influence aspect and almost NLP to a certain extent. It’s that whole commitment and consistency thing. When you sit down there and write, “I like Johnson’s Macaroni and Cheese because of these reasons,” you’re verbalizing to the world why you like that product.

You’re going to be more consistent with your commitment the next time that you’re in a supermarket buying some food. But running a contest as a brand, maybe your brand might be, let’s think of a brand. Let’s have a good example. Let’s say you’re Robitussin. You do Robitussin, aspirin or something along those lines, something in the health area. And you run a contest to say, “Tell us in 25 words or less, the craziest accident you’ve ever had.”

So that kind of fits with your brand because Robitussin, aspirin or Band-Aids or things like that fixes accidents and helps people get over an accident. You can see how it ties in. But realistically, talking about in 25 words or less about your crazy accident makes you no more fonder or no more likely to become committed to and consistent with the Robitussin brand. A better thing would be, “Tell us in 25 words or less the craziest accident that Robitussin fixed,” or “Why do you think Robitussin is the best cure for headaches?” Something like that.

Whoever will verbalize that it in their answer, they’re going to be committed and consistent to it. So that’s the real reason of the 25 words or less questions. But so many people go and model that, and they go and actually model that without even knowing why that was originally there. They go, “Oh, that’s a pretty cool idea to get an answer from people and make them actually jump a few hurdles.” But it doesn’t give you the main reason that ‘25 words or less’ contests were invented.

Dom: That’s actually a really good example. Once you explain it, it’s obvious just like the whole Influence book by Cialdini, by the way. But once you explain it, it’s obvious. But if you don’t explain it, it’s an easy mistake. Oh, well this guy did a ’25 words or less’ competition and it worked for him, I’m going to do the same thing. But you know the one place relevant to our audience and relevant to what we normally talk about, the one place that this is the worst, the most rife where people just look at somebody do something or hear that you need to do something, and go ahead and just do it like in a rote manner, is SEO, search engine optimization.

Pete: Absolutely.

Dom: Just thinking back over the years the conversations that I’ve had with people who maybe own their own business or even call themselves search engine optimization, SEO consultants. And these guys have got… Well, we used to have a saying. You’ve heard the saying, ‘got hold of the wrong end of the stick.’ Well, very often, we used to say certain people got hold of the wrong stick. It’s even worse when you realize how simple the basic rules of search engine optimization are by sitting down and working out what it is that Google is trying to do.

When you work out what Google is trying to do, it’s actually obvious that whatever it is that you were doing isn’t going to work. Things like choosing a keyword. So many people try to do search engine optimization on their own will sit down and go, “What do I want to appear in the search engines for?” And I saw this the other day, this company. They say, “We are number one for this phrase.” It absolutely describes their business 100% perfectly. Sadly, the number of people searching for that phrase in Google was a big fat zero.

Pete: Yep.

Dom: This shocked them. It’s age-old advice. It doesn’t matter what you want to sell. If you nobody wants to buy it, you’re out of luck.

Pete: That’s it. It just comes down to, before you implant something understand the why behind it. It’s all it comes down to, really. Take stock, take a moment, and take stock of what you’re doing in your business and working out what’s the true outcome we’re trying to achieve with this particular piece of marketing? It’s not always about making sales. There’s various other ways. But why am I going to run this ‘25 words or less’ contest?

Why am I going to put this banner on here? What’s the actual reason? How is this going to affect sales and why is it going to affect sales? What are you trying to think of? That’s why testing is important. Modeling is great to a certain extent and modeling is a great place to start. If you’re trying to start something up and you want be like somebody. Whether you want to do an Ironman for example, we go back to that analogy we touch on regularly.

It’s important as an Ironman to go, “Well, if I’m going to do an Ironman, let me go and find successful people who have done an Ironman before.” Figure out what they did to be able to complete it, training-wise and recovery-wise and that sort of stuff. Then model what they did and do the same sort of thing. Act as if I was them. That’s really important. But at the same time find out why somebody did something. Maybe looking at someone’s training schedule is a bad example. They did an indoor cycle class four weeks out of the 20-week training campaign.

If I start doing that, that’s fine. But the reason that they probably did that is because it was raining for those four weeks. I don’t know. Just getting someone’s training schedule is not enough just to model off. You’ve got to understand why they chose to do certain things on certain days. Maybe they had to do a swim session on a Friday because they had a business meeting at 6am every Friday morning. Is that the optimal way to train for an Ironman? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. It’s a very analog-type of example. It’s all about understanding the why of what you’re modeling. It’s not just modeling for the sake of modeling.

Dom: Absolutely. I think that is a good example. But you’ve just there gave a little bit of an example of the fact that you know something about the subject so you already know some of the questions to ask in some areas that you need to dig into. But for example if you look at it from my point of view from the Ironman training, we talk about the things that you do. If I take what you do on face value, you explained why you do it.

You explained that you have to train regularly. You explained why you’re taking time off. You explained that you’re cycling, that you’re doing the running and the swimming. But you don’t necessarily tell us everything that you do. It wasn’t for weeks until you mentioned that you just had a sport massage. But I imagine that if you didn’t have a sport massage, you wouldn’t be anywhere near as effective as you are.

Pete: Oh, not at all.

Dom: Exactly. But it’s not again something that’s obvious to somebody just observing from the outside. Somebody who isn’t interacting with you, isn’t asking you questions and isn’t finding out the reasons why.

Pete: That’s the question you sort of mentioned before. If you don’t know about the topic, you don’t know the questions to ask. But really, once you see what that person’s doing, just find out why, ask why. Go back to the four-year-old kid that used to annoy the hell out of your mum. “Why? Why? Why?” I used to remember my dad saying to me, “Because I’m your father and that’s what I said.” I was in Grade Six. It’s sort of grade school or primary school, depending on where you are in the world.

And I remember my Grade Six teacher putting me on a question limit a day. I remember this like it was yesterday. I was allowed to ask him about four questions a day. He said, “No more than four questions, Pete, because you ask too many questions.” He actually put me on a limit, on a daily quota of how many questions I could ask him. I think I’ve bugged him too much by asking why so often.

Dom: Wow. That is a complete opposite to me. I have done a great deal of teaching over the years at various levels, various topics, in the last few years mostly toward the creative work that I do with the video editing, audio editing, site creation and things like that. One of the first things that I tell a group of people that I’m teaching is that there is no such thing as a stupid question, except for the one you didn’t ask.

Pete: And I could not agree with you more. Definitely. If you go and invest in someone’s course, use that damn helpdesk and bug the hell out of him. That’s what you’re paying for. I think my teacher, Jim Trotter’s corner, I’d say the reason he probably did it if I ask why is because when a 12-year-old or an 11-year-old kid asks you why five times a day for 40 weeks of the year or how ever long you’re at school, it probably does start draining on you a little bit.

But I couldn’t agree more. You definitely want to be asking why for everything. Don’t be afraid to email us or send us a message on Twitter and ask us why we’re doing certain things and why we do whatever we do. We’re happy to help you guys out and give you the advice that I can.

Dom: Absolutely. Already a couple of people have asked us our production sequences. How we get this podcast out. In fact one of those questions was the origin of a little magnum opus that you did, Pete, about how you produce so much content so quickly.

Pete: Ah yeah, the video you and I worked on together. You’re the guy who does the mechanics, so to speak. It’s probably the main topic that I wanted to chat about on today’s sessions but I think we’ve been railroaded by this other discussion which is very important and definitely worth touching on. We’ll keep the mechanics conversation to the next episode or a future episode.

Dom: Yeah.

Pete: The great guys over at Noble Samurai, the guys who made the Market Samurai, the awesome keyword research tool, Domain Samurai and also Article Samurai, which they’ve just released as well, an awesome new product. They asked me to do a video piece for them about leveraging your core content and the system that I use. I mentioned it not that long ago at a workshop, like a private fundamentally closed-door workshop that I ran with Davey J, Dave Jenyns, that most of the Noble Samurai team came to actually. They asked me to kind of share it with their list because it fits in very, very well with their new product. So we did a video which was about 40 minutes long. Is that right Dom, about 40 minutes long?

Dom: Yeah.

Pete: Talking about how fundamentally I produce content using systems and leverages and a team, you in this instance. It’s been great. It’s been out there so far. It’s got some awesome feedback and it’s available on the Noble Samurai Dojo, their support center. No opt-in, nothing to buy, there’s no sales pitch in there at all. It’s just 40 minutes of raw content that I did for them as favor. I’ve known Eugene for 10 years, I think. Way before Noble Samurai. We were both very much in each other’s past lives actually.

We sort of go on full circle. As a favor to them, they asked me to do a piece of content. And Davey J has done a piece of content for them as well about outsourcing, how to hire and train and manage your staff. We’ll put some links to that in the show notes. It definitely goes down the whole track of how to actually leverage your time and produce a huge amount of content across multiple mediums very, very quickly and very easily using a system and a process.

Dom: Yeah, And really leverage is one of the big things that we’re all about here, about getting the most effect to the effort, the most return on investment whether it’s advertising spend, marketing effort or just in general day-to-day business. That was good example of us talking about one of our processes. We’re not hiding anything here.

If you folks want to know how we get this podcast out every week despite the fact that I am in sunny Spain and Pete’s chattering his teeth away there over in Melbourne, ask us. We’re happy to put something together either as a podcast episode if it’s suitable or Pete will produce one of his videos. We are here to help you folks get the most out of our experience.

Pete: Let me give you my quick take from my side on how we get this podcast out. I open up Skype and talk for half an hour. That’s my involvement. Let’s be completely frank about it. And then Dom does all the mechanics very well. We can talk about how those mechanics work. Even Dom has leveraged himself and his own time to make this streamline for him. It’s not about just one person leveraging their time and making someone else dig the ditch themselves. It’s about finding the tools to actually help you and help your team get the most leverage as well, which really important.

Dom: Absolutely. Cool. Well, we are about out of time, sir. We were nowhere near on topic from what we discussed we would talk about. But it was definitely very interesting. I really liked that little story about cutting the ends off the roast there.

Pete: Definitely. We’ll try and get back on topic next week. I think we’ve mentioned in every episode that we come up with a new podcast episode idea. We’ve definitely got a lot in the pipe. If anyone has some other suggestions, some ideas or some questions that you want to delve into about the stuff that we’ve spoken about previously, then by all means shoot us an email, send us some tweets or leave a comment on iTunes.

That’s where we’d love you guys to say thanks to us, by leaving some positive comments on iTunes so we can continue to beat our podcasting friends in the rankings. I had dinner on Monday night with Ed Dale and Danny Batelic and a few other people as well. But Danny and Ed do Dominiche, which is an awesome podcast about buying and selling, definitely worth listening to.

They’ve got quite a high ranking in the Australian iTunes charts. But when I looked yesterday, we’re ranked third in the US at the moment for marketing podcasts, which is pretty cool. Obviously, the charts fluctuate a fair bit. Yesterday or maybe Tuesday or Wednesday, we were ranking three in the US iTunes charts for marketing podcast. Please continue to help us out guys who are listening. A good positive review and stuff like that always helps.

Dom: Yeah and thank you to everyone who has downloaded the podcast, listened to it and given us feedback. It’s that downloading and listening and giving us feedback that’s giving us the rankings, which mean hopefully more people get to find out about what we talk about. Hopefully, some of them find them interesting.

Pete: Well, exactly. If you have Twitter or Facebook account, please say thanks if you can just and give us a bit of a tweet or a Facebook shout-out so your followers and friends who might be interested in this sort of stuff can get on board the PreneurCast train and enjoy it as well.

Dom: Indeed. Ok, buddy. I’ll catch you next week.

Pete: See you next week.


Market Samurai – Awesome keyword research tool by the Noble Samurai team
Leveraged Content Creation Video – Pete’s video (and other bits) about our content creation process
Influence – Robert Cialdini

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