Bula! Minute 002 – The Value Of An Outside Voice

microphone on stand

The credibility of an outside voice can grow our business

The value of an outside voice can mean a couple of things.

One, it can mean the objective appraisal of how we’re doing. “Hey, can you tell me what you think of this?”

The other can mean the value of having somebody else tell our story. It can be in the form of a recommendation. These can be very personal where we tell our next door neighbor about this great experience we had when we bought a new car, a new backyard grill, or a new pair of shoes. It can be far less personal, but equally powerful in the form of an Amazon review where complete strangers read what we say and put stock in it.

Businesses have long sought after having loyal customers who will tell everybody they know. Faithful, happy customers are the most effective sales teams. From casual conversations with all their friends to passing along our business card, loyal customers help evangelize our business.

The Internet affords us multiple ways to get the word out about our business. The value of an outside voice now has some new meanings. It’s commonly called “content marketing.” That simply means we try to make meaningful connections with prospects and customers by giving them valuable information. There’s nothing new about it really. Sales has historically been all about educating, answering questions and providing free information.

When I was a teenager working in a stereo shop, people would come in everyday seeking information as they navigated the prospect of purchasing stereo equipment. “What makes those speakers $200 more expensive?” Shoppers had questions. Lots of questions. A big part of my job was to answer their questions while I guided them through the process of making the most of their stereo buying dollar!

Back then my value as an outside voice was limited to people who walked into the stereo shop, or people who may have called on the phone. Today, we can all tell our story and have it broadcast 24/7/365 via the Internet.

I hope you enjoy today’s Bula! Minute.

Randy

Episode 165 – Two Big E’s: Enterprise vs. Ease

David LIndley

David Lindley is an accomplished musician

This is David Lindley. I took this picture with my phone when I saw Jackson Browne and David play together. For years he has played with Jackson Browne. If the instrument has frets or strings, he can play it. He’s a remarkable musician. He’s been working at the craft of music his entire life. You don’t become a world-class musician like Lindley without spending hours and hours practicing. When it comes to music, enterprise has ruled his life.

Rocky snoozing

Rocky enjoys a life of ease

Contrast David with Rocky, one of my White West Highland Terriers. Rocky lives a life of ease. This is his daily posture. He sleeps about 23 hours a day. The richest people on the planet don’t have it any better than Rocky. Of course, they earn a lot more money than he does. I’ve never figured out a way to monetize Rocky.

Today’s show is about two big E’s:

Enterprise vs. Ease

While they’re not mutually exclusive, it seems people prefer one over the other (usually ease trumps enterprise), or they pursue one (enterprise) so they can enjoy the other (ease). Too many people want the rewards of enterprise, but they want to pay the price of ease. For good reason.

The interwebs are full of people who claim the ability to teach us all how to do it. Cha-ching, money making passive income – resulting from passive workload. They’ll often site the recording or publishing business model. Write a hit song, record it once – get paid over and over and over. Yes, that’s a terrific business model, but it’s not reasonable for most people. Besides, it’s a lot of work to just be a one-hit-wonder!

We mock them, but how many of us have one hit? And like most things that we don’t understand, we under estimate the amount of actual work done…even by a one-hit-wonder. Just this morning I exchanged emails with a longtime professional acquaintance who is doing as well as he’s ever done. Books being published, speaking gigs lining up nicely…he started his company 20 years ago! I jokingly told him his overnight success only took 20 years! A lifetime of enterprise paying off after taking longer than expected and filled with failures along the way.

I’m not sure we should compartmentalize enterprise and ease. They may be like living a balanced life, fictitious! And I’m pretty sure ease isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.

I cite this YouTube video in today’s show.

Thanks for listening!

Randy

P.S. Yes, I called Jack Bauer, Kiefer Sullivan! Listen for it. I even think I did it TWICE. Kiefer Sutherland.

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Episode 164 – Show ‘N Tell Your Way To Success

Showing and telling a grandchild

Showing and telling a grandchild

In 2nd grade I used an opportunity afforded during “show ‘n tell” to tattle on my neighbor. We lived on some acreage with horses, ducks, a cat and a dog. Our neighbor would ride his lawn mower around – not mowing necessarily, but using the mower like you might an ATV – drinking beer and tossing his empty beer bottles over the fence onto our property. I’d watch him through the woods. I don’t think he ever caught me catching him.

My mother was horrified that I shared that with my entire 2nd grade class, but it seemed noteworthy enough to me. I don’t remember any reaction from my teacher or the class. But it was off my chest and I know I felt better for telling on our beer swilling, bottle throwing neighbor.

Show ‘n tell is cool. And fun!

I still love it. I’ve got one neighbor still who is very show ‘n tell worthy, but it’s not quite as becoming to tattle on adults as it once was.

Businesses desperately need to learn how to show ‘n tell. It’s not much different than me reading “I Love School” to my granddaughter. It’s a story. With pictures. And everything. When you’re not quite 2-years-old, you need more than words to keep your attention. And Kinsley, my granddaughter pictured in my lap, won’t let me linger on any single page for much more than 5 seconds. Thankfully, I’m a speed reader (and page flipper) so I can maintain her interest.

Your customers and prospects have very similar attention spans. Then again, don’t we all? I guess we’re all battling the ability to maintain focus. We may be smarter than 5th graders, but most of us aren’t able to concentrate any better than a 2-year-old.

This makes the skill of storytelling even more valuable. Many businesses, especially what many called “traditional” businesses, don’t do enough work in crafting their story. I didn’t say in manufacturing a story…but in crafting a true, genuine story that is worth telling.

In the 2nd grade I knew I had a story that I really wanted to tell. It was interesting to me. My classmates were much like me so I assumed they might enjoy it, too. It had some classic elements. A main character – my neighbor. An illicit behavior – drinking beer. Another illicit behavior – tossing empty bottles into somebody else’s yard. That made the main character, an adult, the villan. Even better when you’re a 2nd grader!

Let’s talk about telling a more compelling story so our prospects are engaged enough to do business with us! Jay Leno’s Garage is a YouTube channel that does a great job of telling stories about the cars.

Randy

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