Why Your Business Needs to Be a FLOP

badge-jay-saysI had the pleasure of interviewing David Newman, a fantastic marketing consultant, coach, and author of Do It! Marketing: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits, and Crush Your Competition. The book is all about taking a tactical approach to marketing and offers actionable ideas that you can implement today. David reveals his reasons for writing the book, what tools are most useful for him, and why you need to make your business a FLOP in order to succeed.

Jay: I see your book over your shoulder, and rightfully so. You are the author of a fantastic book that continues to sell day after day on the Amazons. It is called “Do It! Marketing: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits and Crush Your Competition”.

The book has been out almost a year. In fact, you’re having a book-iversary, so to speak. It is a book birthday this week, right? Is it the book’s birthday?

David: It is, yes, yes. June 5.

Jay: I was very delighted to work with you when you put the book together. I’m so happy that it continues to sell so strongly. It absolutely should because it’s a barn burner. We talked about 77 sort of instant-action ideas. What do you mean by “instant-action ideas”?

David: Well, there are a lot of books out there that talk marketing theory. They talk about the why, they talk about the how, but they don’t talk about the “Okay, now what?” So what I did, and this is similar to both of your fabulous books, by the way, I wrote the book that I myself wanted to read.

I was like, “Man-oh-man, why isn’t there a book that is the handbook and the manual? When I get up in the morning, what do I do? What do I do online? What do I do offline? What do I do with speaking and publishing and social media and the Internet and referrals, and all these different sorts of things?”

It’s the action-oriented ideas that I use every day to market my business, sell, develop an audience, etc.

Jay: You talked about the offline and online. I think that’s really fascinating. Do you find that people who read the book, or people that you work with on a consulting basis, have more of a struggle with the online tasks or the offline tasks?

David: Well, they probably have a struggle just with sales and marketing. One of the key things that I put into the book is I don’t care what kind of executive or entrepreneur you are or what you do or the core of your work. Our job, job number one is to be marketer-in-chief and salesperson-in-chief of our career, of our company, and of our business.

I think it’s even a step before what you’re asking about. People have a hard time embracing this concept. They say, “Well, I’m not a marketer. I’m not a salesperson. In fact, I don’t even like marketing. I don’t like selling.”

Again, I quote you, my friend, with the fabulous Youtility concept. It’s not about being hype-y or pushy or jerky. It’s about being helpful. It’s about being radically helpful and radically generous. If you can convert the marketing and the sales and the business development
activities, redefine those in your mind, and say, “Well, how can I be radically helpful and radically generous?”

All of a sudden, the marketing and the selling yucky-ness disappears.

Jay: Yeah, well said. I know you work with a lot of entrepreneurs and advise them and help them get good at this, both through the book and
through your consulting program. God bless that you’re doing this, because I have always felt that entrepreneurs are sometimes a difficult client, a
difficult audience. They feel like they kind of have it figured out, or they feel like, “Well, yeah, I could do marketing. I just chose not to.” Or
you get the, “Well, I’m the idea guy. Somebody else should be in charge of this execution.”

Because the reality is, as per the book, there are at least 77 tactical things that you could or should do in terms of sales and marketing. I feel that a lot of people who are entrepreneurs, use the title “entrepreneur” as an excuse to not be good at tactics.

That’s got to be interesting for you. Sometimes you probably put down the phone and say, “I would like to smack this person in the head.”

David: Yes, yes, yes, and amen. I think you and I should do, we should just go on the road. We’ll do a show together. You’ll say, “Here’s what’s
wrong with entrepreneurs.”

Wouldn’t it be cool if you and I put our heads together and figured out, from a marketing and a sales and a social media perspective, what big
companies can learn from the small companies and the entrepreneurs, and what can the entrepreneurs learn from what the big companies are doing?

Jay: Let me make you a question. Let me craft you a question. So when entrepreneurs say to you, and I know they do, “David, this sounds great,
but I don’t have time for that.” I hear that a lot from executives on my side. I don’t work with too many entrepreneurs, but a lot of executives.
They say, “Well, I don’t have time to be doing all that Twitter. I got a girl to do that.” What do you say to them?

David: In my speaking, I talk to some sort of medium-sized companies, and some non-profits, and so on and so forth. I remember I was at a non-
profit conference up in Connecticut. All these non-profit executives were totally befuddled by anything with marketing, selling, social media, fund
raising, development, cause marketing. All this stuff.

I said, “Listen. You guys run organizations. You walk into an office. You have people. You could delegate. You could outsource. You could bake this into what everyone is doing.”

I show them my dog’s Twitter account. My dog has a Twitter account. Her name is Woofie. She’s a black Labrador retriever. Her Twitter account is @whereswoofie. Her website is also www.whereswoofie.com. I say, “My dog has more Twitter followers than your organization.” My dog doesn’t even have opposable thumbs. If you go to Woofie’s little Twitter account, it says, “Dog-approved, human managed tweets.”

Because, obviously, I’m doing it for her. But the point is, as a solo-preneur, I know you’re running an empire, so you’re not solo anymore.

As an entrepreneur, I’m doing all this stuff and I’m running my business, and I’m doing service delivery and I’m traveling and I’m working with clients. So I love these guys that have 10, 20, or 30 full-time employees who say, “We just don’t have time for social media.”

Jay: I think the answer is, it’s hard to say this, but the answer is you got to work harder than you think you do.

David: Well, and this is the work. That’s what I told the non-profit guys, and that’s what I tell everybody. People always say, “Hey, David, this sounds like a lot of work.” I say, “It is a lot of work, but you know what? So is fundraising. So is marketing. So is sales.”

You could spam the world. You could send out your 10 million emails. You could paper the wall with your direct mail and your postcards, and your campaign letters. But every single day, those kinds of old-school tactics are getting less and less and less effective. The stuff that you teach and the stuff that I teach with some of the online components is getting more and more and more important.

You can say, “Well, the old stuff was easy. I would just push a button and we’d mail out 100,000 postcards.”

“Yeah, it’s easy, but how is that working for you?” Right?

You have to ask the Dr. Phil question. I love the Dr. Phil question, because as soon as you turn around and say, “Well, what kinds of results are you getting from that these days?” They go, “Oh, it’s not like five years ago.” It’s like, “Yeah, that’s right. It’s not like five years ago.”

Imagine five years from now if you don’t get on the bandwagon and don’t start getting your house in order, now.

Jay: Right.

Nobody ever promised that social media was going to be easy. They just promised that it was going to be awesome. (tweet this)

You’ve probably heard the saying, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time to plant a tree is today.”

So if what you were doing five years ago isn’t working, well, why would you wait another five years to do something about that?

David: “Ancient Chinese wisdom is correct,” says Confucius.

Jay: What is your advice, both in the book and in person, if somebody comes to you, “David, I really need to get going on all this.” What do you tell them is the first step? What is the very first thing you should do?

David: Well, first they should read your books. Second, they should read my book.

My philosophy both in the book and in real life is, number one, focus on the who. You can’t boil the ocean. You can’t market and sell to the world.

So, figure out who is that sub-niche, who is that slice of the world, who – whatever your product, your service, or your program is. Who needs it more greatly? Who suffers from it more deeply? Who is going to value it more highly? Because that’s the slice of the world, that’s the slice of the universe that you can own and dominate and penetrate and identify, and start to serve.

Second question is, really figure out. Don’t just say, “Well, here’s the solutions. Here’s what we do. Here’s our product, here’s why it’s
great. Here’s our service, here’s why it’s great.” Figure out, for that population, for that specific group, figure out what are the pains,
problems, heartaches, headaches, challenges, and gaps that your product and your service and your program are brilliant at solving.

Because one of the things I believe, just like the Confucius quote, is, and I love the whole “20 years ago, plant the tree”. Second piece of
Chinese wisdom, “If you’re going to sell fire extinguishers, first show the fire”.

No one buys products. No one buys services. Everyone wants to solve a problem. (tweet this)

They’re not going to pay money because “Oh, it’s a great product, it looks really good.” or “Oh it’s a great service, it looks really good”.

People buy things to solve problems.

They can be emotional problems, intellectual problems, financial problems, problems with my kids, problems with my car, problems with my hair.
I no longer have a lot of hair problems but anyway. It’s pretty simple. I wake up, little bit of mousse, little bit of you know, whatever.

But seriously, start to speak in the vocabulary of problem-solving and then resolve those problems. Solve bigger problems, you get bigger checks. That’s true whether it’s a product, or a service, any sort of business-to-business, business-to-consumer, etc.

If they were starting from square one, the two first things I would do are, identify your “Who?” identify the who, critically important, and then identify those urgent, pervasive, expensive problems, because that’s going to open the floodgates to the marketing conversation and the sales conversation. Then, more importantly, you’ll never be at a loss for words, for what to say or how to say it, because now we’re in a conversation. Now we’re just talking. “I need to enter the conversation that is already going on in your mind so that we resonate.” The only two purposes of marketing, in my opinion, are to convey two, and only two, ideas.

Idea number one, “I know what you’re going through”. Idea number two, “I can fix it.”

Jay: It’s funny, two things that you mentioned there really resonate with me. I was giving a presentation yesterday in Utah. I was talking about that same principle of understanding what the real need is. The real need is not usually your product. Your product is a means to an end. What I said was that, “Nobody in the history of the world has ever needed socks. But everybody in the history of the world has needed their feet to be warmer.” That’s the kind of thing that you were talking about. You have to understand what the big picture really is.

There’s a great Zig Ziglar premise, which is that the most effective kind of sales and marketing thing ever is the similar situation sale. Right?

If you can say to somebody, “I know what you’re going through and I have solved this problem for people in the same situation in the past.” They’re like, “Well, then you must be the guy. You must be the one that we should hire.”

Part of the challenge, I think, and I’m sure you see this, is that a lot of business people, especially entrepreneurs, want to try and attack too big of a section of the market.

They want to try and sell some stuff to everybody as opposed to, “Why don’t you just be the best solution for this group of people?”

And the same thing is, frankly, true with content. I tell people all the time, “Look, if you want to have an effective blog. If you want a blog that gets traffic, be somebody’s favorite blog in the world.” (tweet this)

Figure out who the people are in the world who will say, “That is the best blog. Of the 500 million blogs out there, that’s the best one.” Who are the people that would say that, and write for those people. Don’t write for anybody – you’ll get some other people, but only write for those people.

That’s really, really hard to do, because the intellectual exercise you have to go through to do that requires you, requires you, to pull in
your own dreams. To say, “Here’s where I want to be, but to get there I actually have to start here.” That is really, really hard to deal with, especially for entrepreneurs.

David: Absolutely and amen. I’m just going to take this part of our interview. I’m going to replay about that last two and one-half minutes that you just said to every single one of my clients and audiences. And say, “Hey. Don’t listen to me. Listen to Jay Baer because he’s smart.”

Jay: It’s a dual-purpose. I want to ask a little bit about your own usage of these things. You’re very active, very adroit in social and digital. In fact, we first met through the National Speakers Association a few years ago when you lassoed me into a social media workshop, wearing costumes and
it’s has all been downhill since.

In addition to your dog’s success on Twitter, you are active across a number of social networks. I’d like to know what you feel has been the most
effective social platform for you in your career, and why?

David: Wow, what a great question. Well, I’m also a firm believer, when you say, “Kind of rein it in and be the favorite blog for this kind of thing”. I’m not a big believer in “Dominate every social media platform”.

So I’m active on a very small handful. I’m active on Facebook. I’m active on Twitter, and then also on LinkedIn. Now, I have a presence on all the rest of them. So, yes, I’m on Instagram. I’m on Tumblr. I’m on Pinterest.

LinkedIn is great for direct prospecting. It’s really about targeted prospecting, so I love LinkedIn for that.

Facebook is a humanizer. Anytime I try and do something straight business, like promote a webinar, even if it’s free, even if it’s free. Promote my blog, promote the webinar, Facebook couldn’t care less. It’s just like, “Nah, we’re not doing that.” If I say, “Hey, guys, I’m going to my in-laws in Reading, Pennsylvania and I’m doing a yard sale. Do you have any tips?” I’ll get 30 likes and 57 comments. Everyone wants to help David with the yard sale. No one cares about David’s webinar or David’s coaching program or any of it.

Then so, finally, I find that Twitter is a huge driver of traffic. It’s not good for sales. In fact, there is no social media channel that is good for sales. I write about that and you write about that. The most idiotic thing, Jay, that I ever hear is, “Instantly grow sales with social media.” It’s like “Hmmm, no, no, no.” We’re not going to instantly grow any sales with social media.

So, Twitter is a great source of traffic, for me. You look at your web stats to see where your traffic is coming from. Some is organic. Some comes from Google. Some is from Twitter. 15 to 20 percent of my traffic on my website, on my blog comes from Twitter. That’s because I am just a Twitter machine. I use great tools like Buffer, TweetAdder, and some of these tools to automate. My belief in social media, by the way, is automate and humanize.

Number one, don’t be everywhere. It doesn’t make sense to invest and spread yourself so thin that you’re everywhere. Take your two or three social media platforms and figure out which ones are best for which application.

Again, in my world, a lot of people would use LinkedIn for targeted prospecting and targeted outreach. A lot of folks would use Facebook just to kind of humanize yourself. Another great quote about Facebook is people say, “Well, I want to sell. I want to move my products, move my services, so I want to use Facebook to sell.” We can advertise and do all kinds of great things on Facebook. As far as your personal Facebook profile, the sound bite I endorse is, “Don’t worry about being a good salesperson. Just worry about being a good person.”

If you’re a good person, show me your kids. Show me your dog. Show me your favorite brownie recipe. Show me you at the yard sale. Ask questions. Invite engagement. Encourage a conversation. And go, “Oh, I like that David Newman. He doesn’t really sell much on Facebook, but he always has these cool posts and funny quotes and interesting questions and so forth.”

If you’re in a certain niche, if you’re going after a certain demographic, yes of course, Pinterest is great. Instagram is great. Tumblr is great. Snapchat, Vine, all that stuff is great. But don’t let the tail wag the dog, is the other thing.

Figure out strategically why are you there. What do you hope to accomplish? “Sales” is never a good answer, by the way. Then just figure out, what, as a small business owner, as an entrepreneur even, as a corporate entity, figure out what is the best fit for your goals and that platform and that audience. Because if your audience isn’t there, you shouldn’t be there if you’re hoping to develop business.

I see this a lot. People say, “Well, we’re everywhere and none of it is working.” Well, do less. Do less marketing, less social media, and you’ll get better results if you focus it on where your folks are and you use it more strategically and more programmatically.

Jay: You’ve been in business for a while. I’ve been doing this for a while.

Looking back, what do you wish you knew then, that you do know now? What would you tell young David Newman about business and marketing?

David: I just recently figured this out, last two or three years. I’ll be totally up front about that, and part of it is us doing this interview.

What I would tell young David Newman is, “Stop being a lone wolf”, and that, “The more that you feature and leverage other people, collaborate, shine the spotlight on other people, because, you know what? Experts and expert companies shine the spotlight on other experts and on other expert companies.”

I’m a huge Tom Peters fan. One of the first things he implemented is a little feature on his blog called “Tom’s Cool Friends”. I was like, “Oh my God. What a great idea. Tom’s Cool Friends.” He would specifically and intentionally shine the spotlight on other experts, shine the spotlight on other thought leaders.

So, this is why, for example, the awesome Jay Baer has a guest chapter in the “Do It! Marketing” book, and thirteen other of my really smart friends have a guest chapter. I said, “You know what? I don’t even want this to be my book. I want this to be our book.”

I have a blog post out there called “Why your business needs to FLOP”. FLOP is an acronym for Feature and Leverage Other People. So, my business FLOPs. Your business FLOPs.

Whether it’s a company of one or a company of 10,000. Figure out how can you FLOP, how can you Feature and Leverage Other People, because that’s going to raise your profile, raise your expertise, raise your level of trust, and raise your level of Youtility.

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