Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Unlocking Your Leadership Potential: From Hero to Human Leader with Empathy

Unlocking Your Leadership Potential: From Hero to Human Leader with Empathy written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Hortense le Gentil, a world-renowned executive leadership coach, speaker, and author. With over 30 years of experience across various industries, including media consulting and advertising, Hortense guides CEOs and senior executives on their journey from hero leaders to human leaders.

Key Takeaways

Join Hortense le Gentil on a transformative journey as she discusses the evolution of leadership in today’s world. Learn to identify and overcome mental obstacles, embrace authenticity and vulnerability, and lead with empathy. Gain actionable insights into unlocking your true leadership potential and thriving in both your personal and professional life. Whether you’re a seasoned executive or an aspiring leader, Hortense’s expertise will empower you to inspire and connect with others on a deeper level, driving sustainable growth and success in today’s rapidly changing landscape.


Questions I ask Hortense le Gentil:

[01:08] What is a mind trap and how does it impact us?

[02:06] How is a mind trap different from a limiting belief?

[02:48] Tell us the personal case study of when you were stuck 15 years ago?

[04:46] What do you do when you can’t trust that inner voice?

[06:41] Explain the concept of transforming from a hero leader to a human leader ?

[08:58] What does the process of unlocking yourself as a human leader look like?

[13:54] How does a leader help their team adjust to their embracing empathy?

[16:25] Is there a level of self awareness needed to embrace empathy as a leader?

[16:56] Do you get some pushback from experienced leaders who deny the relevancy of developing their consciousness?

[17:47] What is the one tip you have for beginners looking to start unlocking their leadership potential?

[18:45] Where can people connect with you, learn more about your work and pick a copy of your book?


More About Hortense le Gentil:


Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn


This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Work Better Now

Visit mention the referral code DTM Podcast and get $150 off for your first 3 months.


John (00:08): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch, and my guest today is Hortense le Gentil. She's a world renowned executive leadership coach, speaker and author. She guides CEOs and senior executives on their journey. From hero leaders to human leaders guided by 30 years in business, working across industries, including media consulting and advertising. And as an entrepreneur, she's the author of a book we're going to talk about today, the Unlocked Leader, dare to Free Your Own Voice, lead with Empathy, and shine your light in the world. So Hortense Bienvenue.

Hortense (00:49): Thank you for having John. Happy here.

John (00:52): That's all of the French that I'm going to attempt today, but I nailed that one, didn't I?

Hortense (00:57): Oh, you did great. You just love this one.

John (01:01): Alright, so in the book there is a concept called you call Mind Traps. That's a big part of the book. So let's start there and let's define what a mind trap is and how it impacts us.

Hortense (01:14): I'd like to say that the mind trap is, it's a mental obstacle that is on your way to move forward. This is something that holds you back. It can be something that you used to be, for example, like I used to be perfect or to try to reach perfection. It was a driver for me, but now I feel like it doesn't work anymore. So when you feel like something is hold you back, holds you back, and you can even feel unhappy and satisfied, you cannot be completely yourself and journeys happen to everyone. I dunno if it happened to you, but every moment, a lot of moment in our life, it happened to us and it happened to me and I remember it was more than 15 years ago.

John (02:04): So let's get into that. But I want to clarify how is that different than excuse, than a limiting belief? I'm not good enough to lead or something. How is it different from that?

Hortense (02:14): So let's say that can be cousin. They can be cousin because mine trap is really for me, it's where you are stuck. So limiting belief when you think I'm not enough, for example, yes, that could be because this is a consequence, let's say because you are trapped somewhere and then you begin to think, okay, why do I think like that? What is behind that? The scene. So behind the scene you will find the real reason, and this is what I call the mind trap.

John (02:48): So let's use your example that you were starting to bring up there from 15 years ago to maybe even help clarify that further.

Hortense (02:54): Okay, yes, no, I just wanted to explain that. 15 years ago I felt completely lost and stuck in my life, personal life and professional life. And then I was lost, John, I didn't know what to do. And then of course everything went south and I went stuck in bed for months. So I had plenty of time to think. And then at that time I had the dream. I had the dream. And my grandmother, it was a grandmother that I just loved and she came back in my dream and she told me something very simple. She told me, you have to find the bus of roses. And I had no idea it was a pass of roses. So I asked her in my dream and I said, okay, where is that and where is it? Because more important, where is it? I want to find the rose.

(03:46): And she said, you just look at me and smile. And she said, you know where it is. And then I woke up. Of course I was furious. She didn't give me the answer, but I will understand later what she meant was very important. She meant that I had to listen to my inner voice. And very often this is why we are stuck somewhere because we are not listening our own voice. We are not confident enough because it can be risky, it can be difficult. You need to be courageous to take sometimes difficult decision. And then this is what I learned and when I began to listen to my own voice, yes I could do that. Yes, I could change my life personally and professionally. Yes, I could do that and that this is what I did and I began to free myself.

John (04:35): Alright, so what if you can't trust that inner voice? I mean there's a lot of things that we call an inner voice that are telling us things that aren't together altogether positive. I mean, how do you tell the difference between yeah, that's the right guidance as opposed to that's just continue to keep me locked.

Hortense (04:51): Interesting. Okay, listen. So what we know, I think it's more a feeling. So when you want to take a decision, whatever the decision is, I think we know the decision. And when it's a hard decision to take, we need someone with who that shares this decision. And you're looking for someone who say yes, do it. But sometimes you can wait a long time before anybody is like, I agree with you. So I will say that this voice is the one that you feel. So we all know exactly what we should do and sometimes we are not ready. But one day when you are stuck, it's time to face that and to listen to that voice. So what do you really want to do and not the voices behind that because of course when you are stuck somewhere, you need to track the source. So who said you that, for example, who said that you cannot be a CEO, for example. I had a client like that and who said that it was a professor, it was a teacher years ago, this professor was told that young person that you will never be a CEO because I can see all the emotion on your face.

(06:12): And so it was so surprised. So we are making association because we are living with the voices that the community authority, whatever the voices around us and also our brain is cooking voices for us because we are looking for meaning. Okay, why? Yes, I should do that. No I don't all the time. So silence,

John (06:38): I think I read it in your intro, but it certainly shows up in the book, this idea of taking people from the hero leader to the human leader. Explain that concept.

Hortense (06:49): You know that we need to free ourself from those mind trap to become human leader. And what should we become human. It's because the world has changed and the expectation has changed. Also, people now they want to connect with you. They don't need another hero like said, no, we don't need another hero. We need someone with who we can relate, we can understand, we can connect. And the only way to do that is by being human, by using your secret weapon. That is the empathy. And you need that. And I think that every leader know that because a lot have been said about why we should lead with empathy. But when it comes to the how do we do that and you need courage to do it, it's very courageous because you have to unlearn what you learned. But it's another dimension I would say. So now you have to inspire and take care of people. It's completely different.

John (08:00): And I think a lot of leaders fall into the trap of believing I have to have this strong front that I'm in charge of everything, I have all the answers. And that's probably an aspect that right or wrong holds a lot of people back, doesn't it?

Hortense (08:14): Exactly, exactly. Because we are raised like that. Your education at school, I'm sure everyone was telling you, oh don't show your emotion, right? And how all the answer, but who has all the answer? John, tell me. Who could predict a pandemic? Who can predict every, can we say that we are living in a crazy world today, every day something happen? How can you alone have all the answer? That's absolutely not possible.

John (08:48): So the core concept of the book of course is unlocking yourself as a leader. What does that process look like? Obviously it's very drawn out in the book, but give us the high level. What is the process of unlocking yourself as a leader look like?

Hortense (09:01): So it's going to this process of, okay, be aware that we are locked and okay, are we ready to start this journey? Because it's a journey, it's not a destination. And how we do that. So we face our fears first because we are afraid. Maybe we are used to do another way. You need to change. And then we go to, okay, where am I trap? Where I am stuck? And you track the source like who said? And then when you track the source, you found the source. Then you go to what I call the mind shift. So you change your mindset and with some questions, powerful questions you ask yourself. Okay, so you track the source and you said, is it true? Is it relevant? Is it helpful? What I'm thinking right now? And then you're let go and then you are free yourself and you are able to write your own story.

(09:57): But maybe let me share very quickly an example. So I have this client, he was considered to be the next EO of the company. And so he went through a process in front of a panel of their leaders in order to be the next CEO. And then out of nowhere, out of the blue, his behavior changed and he became very talkative. He was talking all the time, didn't listen, he changed completely. So he was surprised. Everybody was surprised. And of course he didn't get the job. Then we had this conversation and he told me, I don't know, I don't know what happened, tto, I don't know. I said, okay, so let's figure out. And then revisiting his life, he remembered that years ago he had to pass an exam, not to pass an exam, it has to be in front of a panel of teachers.

(10:54): And then one of the teacher didn't let him talk. So he was shocked. It was a trauma, one of the cos when what is behind it became a trauma. And then it was the same story that I shared before. This teacher told him, I don't know what you're going to do young guy, but you will never be a CEO because I can see all your emotion on your face. Young guy, very smart, begin his life thinking that you don't have to show your emotion. And second, he was not aware. He forgots his conversation, but his unconscious didn't. And the way the day, the first opportunity that unconscious has to remember that talk in order to not have the same situation that he had before. So going through this process of you track the source, where it's coming from, it was coming from there. In this case there were trauma and voices.

(11:58): So they are the two main families, the source of your mind trap. So he found the source and then I asked him is the three question, is it true? Is it relevant? Is it helpful today that you cannot be a CEO and you don't have to show your emotion? He said, no, I know. I said, okay. So we let go. So we walk on, let go. And then you begin to write your own story. What is important for you? How you want to be? Remember, how do you want to show up as a leader, what difference you want to make in the world or around you and all that? What have your values? And you begin to write your own story because you don't. You live your own life. You don't live the life that someone wants for you.

John (12:48): And now a word from our sponsor, work better now. Work better now provides outstanding talent from Latin America, hand matched to your business with over 40 roles across various industries, including marketing. They're a reliable partner for consistently finding the perfect fit for your business. Simply tell them what you need and they'll handle the rest hassle-free. We have two work better now, professionals on our team, a marketing assistant and a marketing coordinator. And we've been blown away by their abilities, responsiveness, and professionalism. They've really become an essential part of our growing team. And to top it off, each dedicated and full-time work better. Now professional is 2350 per month and there are no contracts to schedule a 15 minute consultation with a work better now rep and see how they'll support your business growth goals, visit, work better Mention the referral code DTM podcast and you're going to get $150 off for your first three months. That's work better And don't forget that DTM podcast code. So after you've worked with somebody or somebody goes through this process and they are embracing empathy, they are becoming maybe more human, but that's not how their team has experienced them to date. Is that a bit jarring? It's like, where's the old John? Or does it just take consistency and proving that you mean it

Hortense (14:16): So good? Of course, but what I recommend very often is it's difficult to change how people think about you. So what I always recommend is to share with your team. So at fun point you say, okay, my name is, and I want to work on being a better leader and connect better with yourself and have more empathy, whatever it is, or communicate better with you. And then your team or your environ is aware, oh, oh great, she want to change, okay. And you ask for help and say, and I need help. And then everyone wants to help you. No worries about that. And then they say, okay, so let's do it together. Then it's faster for two reasons. First, they're aware that you're doing something and they appreciate the fact that you want to be better. Then you give the tone so they can also be, okay, I can walk also to be better.

(15:17): It's all right to not be perfect. Then you set the tone and also they help you because you are in the middle of a meeting and things like that. And after you maybe you ask for feedback and said, what feedback do you have for me? Maybe not every day, I mean, but when you feel it or when you decide and then it's all together that you're going to work on that. So on your side you do your homework of unlocking yourself and in fact of telling, be sure of the message and vision that you have and really who you are. Connect with yourself because empathy begin to start with yourself first. You have to connect with yourself. Who am I? What do I want? Can you really say how you are to yourself? Can you say that? Who are you? And then when you are very clear on that, because that is a personal walk, when you're very clear on that, you're ready to practice, you're ready to do it. And after, again, it's a journey. It's not a destination. So every day we learn something and every day we evolve and then it's, it's wonderful because it changed everything.

John (16:25): I imagine a level of self-awareness, or at least a desire to uncover some self-awareness is really the starting point for all this, right? I mean you can't really do that. You can't do the work you're talking about unless you discover some level of self-awareness. Exactly. I mean, would you say that's accurate

Hortense (16:41): If you don't know where to start? Yes, that's absolutely accurate, right?

John (16:45): So a lot of the leadership I have, a lot of people have written books on leadership. I speak with people that have development programs and a lot of them really try to focus on competencies and skills. Do you get some pushback when, I mean you're literally telling people that they have to develop their consciousness. So do you get some pushback from people that feel like, how is that relevant?

Hortense (17:08): Not that much in fact, because I think if we are honest with ourself, all of us, we know where we have to evolve and we know that part is very hard and we don't know where to begin when to start, as I said. So no, I don't think so. And because most of the leader that I know, they know after you need courage to come and to ask for that. So if you're not ready, if you, but most of the leaders, they are courageous so they can do it, but it's because you did courage.

John (17:42): Alright, so I'm going to invite people or ask you to invite people where they can connect with you. But what's one thing, if somebody came to you and said, give me one thing I could start doing today to really unlock my leadership potential, what would that be?

Hortense (17:56): The first thing I think

John (17:57): Everybody always wants the one tip, right?

Hortense (18:00): I know. So the one tip would be, okay, reflect and do the three colon exercise in your life, personal, professional, whatever, both of them is even better. And do first colon, what do you want to keep? What is good in your life? What gives you energy? Second colon, what do you want to drop? What you drain? You don't want that anymore. And third colon. So what do you want to add to live to your life today? And then begin your journey. What is the first step? Look at that and begin your journey to the process of maybe unlocking yourself.

John (18:41): Love it. Well, I appreciate you taking a few moments to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Is there anywhere you'd invite people to connect with you, learn about your work, and obviously pick up a copy of The Unlocked Leader?

Hortense (18:51): So I have a website, so it's my name, And also we can on LinkedIn, everywhere. On LinkedIn, on social Instagram. So I try to be active.

John (19:05): The book is, we'll have a link to your website in the show notes, but the book could be purchased pretty much anywhere people purchase books. Again, I appreciate you taking a moment or dance and hopefully we'll run into you on these days out there on the road.

from Duct Tape Marketing

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

From Generalist to Specialist: The Blueprint for Vertical Market Domination

From Generalist to Specialist: The Blueprint for Vertical Market Domination written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch

In this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interviewed Corey Quinn, former CMO of Scorpion and now a dedicated agency coach, Corey specializes in guiding agency founders to scale with vertical market specialization. At Scorpion, he played a pivotal role in growing the agency’s revenue 8x in 5 years to a remarkable $150M. Corey is also the author of ‘Anyone, Not Everyone,’ a comprehensive guide for agency founders looking to move beyond founder-led sales. He is currently on a mission to empower 1,000 agencies to become vertical-market specialists, leveraging his extensive experience and insights.

In this episode Corey provides a comprehensive blueprint for agency founders looking to transition from being generalists to specialists in their field, paving the way for vertical market domination and sustained growth.

Key Takeaways

Corey Quinn underscores the significance of vertical market specialization in transitioning from founder-led sales to scalable growth for agencies. By honing in on a specific vertical, founders can position themselves as experts, differentiate their services, and attract ideal clients. Corey outlines actionable steps for identifying the right market, validating its potential, and building relationships with key influencers. With a focus on long-term success, agencies can leverage vertical market specialization to achieve sustainable growth and dominance within their niche.

Questions I ask Corey Quinn:

[00:57] Explain the concept of anyone, not everyone

[02:52] What is vertical market specialization and how is it different from picking a niche and getting specialized?

[05:45] How does one position themselves as the go-to agency for a specific market?

[10:00] Tell us about the strategic gifting outbound approach

[12:58] What are your favorite platforms or tools for building the ultimate list of who to target?

[15:57] How important is it to network with big names in the target industry and how is it done?

[19:24] Is it advisable to repeat the approach with other markets or stick to one?

[20:37] Where can people connect with you and grab a copy of your book

More About Corey Quinn:


Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

Connect with John Jantsch on LinkedIn


This episode of The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by ActiveCampaign

Try ActiveCampaign free for 14 days with our special offer. Sign up for a 15% discount on annual plans until Mar 31,2024. Exclusive to new customers—upgrade and grow your business with ActiveCampaign today!


John (00:08): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Corey Quinn. He's a former CEO of Scorpion and now a dedicated agency coach. He specializes in guiding agency founders to scale with vertical market specialization. At Scorpion, he played a pivotal role in growing the agency's revenue eight x in five years to a remarkable $150 million. He's also the author of a book we're going to talk about today, anyone, not everyone, A comprehensive guide for agency founders looking to move beyond founder-led sales. So Corey, welcome to the show.

Corey (00:47): John, it is a real treat to be here.

John (00:51): So let's start with the title. I find myself always doing that because authors picked every word of a title so carefully. What's the big picture you're trying to imply with this idea of anyone? Not everyone.

Corey (01:03): So the big promise or the transformation that I wrote the bill to really help agency founders with is this idea of escaping founder-led sales, which is a challenge that many agency founders will go through in the sort of the lifecycle of their agency. And the way that I've personally seen this happen, both in the work that I do as well as in dozens of other agency owners I've interviewed, is one way to become sort of independent of sales and also to help scale your agency is to get really clear on who you're targeting. Not only just get clear but specialized in serving a specific vertical market. And the funny thing is that title did not come day one. It was a much different title, and it wasn't until I was working back and forth with my editor and I was saying we were using the term, it's like something around you could do anything but not everything type of thing. And that's where it was born from.

John (02:07): Well, if you don't nail this getting out of founder led sales, I mean you'll never be able to sell the business. I mean, to me, that's kind of job number one, isn't it?

Corey (02:16): Correct, absolutely. And there's a saying that I love somewhere that I think is super interesting, which is that you want to build a business that everyone wants to buy that you don't want to sell, right? And that's a business that probably creates the freedoms in your life as a business owners that you want to have. So a hundred percent if an acquirer is looking at your agency and you are instrumental to the growth of it, that is not as interesting of a value proposition versus otherwise.

John (02:48): So I know you go very deep into this idea of you actually, I think I read it in your vertical market specialization. How is that different from the sort of well-worn advice of pick a niche and get specialized?

Corey (03:02): Yeah, I think it's a good question. The idea of niching down is very common. There's a great saying, the riches are in the niches, and I think there's a lot of truth to that. I think the challenge is that it's today it's a very vague idea of what does that mean exactly? Does that mean I'm targeting females between 35 and 50, who like donuts or am I targeting flight attendants or what does that exactly mean? It's very vague. And so what I wanted to do is be much more literal and specific about when you want to scale an agency. One of the great ways to do it, it's not the only way, but one of the great ways to do it is to specialize in a vertical market. So in a way, vertical specialization is a type of niching down by the way, you can specialize in what you do, like SEO, that's another type of specialization. But I personally like to help agencies and I'm really obsessed with this idea of taking a vertical market approach and I really care about helping people get there.

John (04:04): So one of the challenges I think is I think a lot of people hear that advice and they're like, okay, where's the opportunity lawyers or dentists? And having never worked with those markets, they just charge into 'em. And sometimes it works. Sometimes they realize, I hate working with Dennis. No offense, Dennis, but how do you make sure that you're making the right sort of decision because it is a decision to send your business down a track

Corey (04:30): A hundred percent John. And there are situations where it makes sense as an agency founder to start down that road on day one, but generally that does not the way it works usually it is an agency owner who opens their doors and does business with their family and their distant family in the local chamber of commerce, and they say yes to a lot of different businesses. And I think that makes a lot of sense. As you're launching your new business, you want to have revenue and you want to get it off the ground, but it is only until they realize that they can't get beyond a certain point because they're serving a wide variety of clients. They're a jack of all trades, and they lack expertise in any one area, which has a direct impact in their ability to do things like operationally scale, but also their positioning becomes very watered down. The market doesn't see their true value for what they are. They compete on price and they lose deals to lesser firms. And that all of that results in slow and inconsistent sales and all of those aspects bring the founder right back into sales because when the sales isn't happening, that's the founder's responsibility at the end of the day. Right?

John (05:40): Yeah. So what are some of the key steps? If I've decided maybe I've been out there, I've had some success, I have some ideas about markets that I like, I've been able to serve, I've been able to add value. What are some of the key steps to really kind of positioning myself as the go-to

Corey (05:55): Absolutely. So in that case of that generalist who's been around for a while, you have a lot of sets and reps. It's important as you're going through this process of verticalizing your agency to look at your current book of business and see who do I like working with? If I was going to fill my business with dentists as your example, what kind of life would I be enjoying at that point? Right? The whole outcome you're trying to create is you want to fill your practice with a whole bunch of this type of business. And so first thing you want to do is you want to look at your experience. You want to look at, like I said, who you like working with, what problems are you really good at solving for them, and are they willing to pay for those problems? That's number one. You want to look at your current business.

(06:38): Number two, you want to look at the market because you don't want to target an audience that is too small or maybe too big. If you're targeting an audience that says that, let's say that has a small budget inherently then, and you charge $10,000 a month, and on average the average business owner in that industry makes a hundred thousand dollars a year, you're going to have a hard time finding clients. And so there's an aspect of it where number one, you have to feel like you're good at it and you want to do want to work with these folks. But then number two, that the market that you're going after is what I call, you have to validate it. You have to validate it's not only large enough, but that it is a good fit for the kind of business you want to create.

John (07:22): I have people come to me all the time and say that I want to work with X, and I'm like, well, they don't spend money on marketing at all. That might be a slog for you.

Corey (07:31): Yeah. The number I like to use as sort of a benchmark is when you're doing the market research, does the average business in this vertical make a million dollars a year? This is specifically in the context of marketing agencies, and the math is if they make a million dollars a year and they spend 10% of that revenue on marketing per year, which is a hundred thousand dollars, you divide that by 12 months, that's $8,333 per month. And you think about marketing today, you have to have a website, SEO content, PPC book, reputation management, do a podcast. All of a sudden you're stretching that $8,000 pretty thin. And so depending on the type of service you have and the type of revenue you want to generate per client, a million dollars is a good barometer to make sure that they actually do make enough money for you to justify targeting them.

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(09:32): Now, this offer is limited to new active campaign customers only. So what are you waiting for? Fuel your growth, boost revenue and save precious time by upgrading to active campaign. Today, we have worked for years with various agents or various industries and certain industries, certain verticals are just getting hammered by people that have taken this approach. Remodeling contractors, for example. I mean, get 10 pitches a day from somebody that says they're an expert in their industry. You have an outbound approach that uses gifting as a kind of unique approach to really stand out, right? They get the 10 emails. How are you different? Yeah, talk about that approach.

Corey (10:13): Yeah, absolutely. So the prerequisite is number one, you have a vertical market that you specialize in, that you position your agency around, and then what you do is you want to, and this is based on my direct experience of working at an agency where we sent literally millions of dollars of cookies to attorneys. Another one of these markets that is oversaturated that you could argue, but the way that I teach my clients, what you do is, number one, you build up a 20% lead list. And what I mean by that is out of all the attorneys in the us, let's say you are targeting personal injury attorneys, you want to take that list and then you want to qualify it to identify what's the top 20% of this list that if I can get them on the phone, then I have a very high likelihood that they're going to be a great fit.

(10:59): They're going to want to work with us. And so you create that list that becomes your lead list for this gift based outbound. The next thing you want to do is you want to identify a gift that would be unique, it would be striking, and it would leave a positive impression. You don't want to send a ballpoint pen with your logo on it because that's too easy to ignore. And as a result of this 20% list, it's not very much of a spray and pray approach. It's much more of a quality over quantity. I've done things, everything from sending gourmet cookies to sending alcohol to attorneys, to sending flowers to dentist office, you name it, video brochures. We've sent books. We've written books. Lemme share with you the impact of this. When we sent cookies to attorneys, this is again an industry where there are gatekeepers whose primary job is to prevent me from getting in touch, talking to the attorney.

(11:57): So that's their job is to weed me out, screen me out. And so what we would do is we would send the cookies into the law firm, and these are again, not generic cookies. These are amazing mouthwatering cookies. They would be put in the FedEx box, sent to the law firm, addressed to the lead attorney. Of course it would go right past the mail room. It's a FedEx box, it'd go right to the attorney's desk, it'd be sitting there. The attorney would open it up, be this amazing presentation of cookies which would end up in the break room. And then people would be eating these cookies and everyone's saying, gosh, who brought these amazing cookies? And it was like, oh, this company's scorpion. And everyone's like, well, who's scorpion? There's this buzz all of a sudden about this company that sent this amazing gift. By the time a salesperson called, which was right after the gift arrived, the gatekeeper would, the energy would be shifted from who are you and who do you want to talk to? Oh, you're from Scorpion. Let me put you through, he wants to talk to you.

John (12:51): So this may be a little in the weeds, but your research piece, like the list targeting the top 20, and do you have some favorite kind of go-to list sources or platforms or tools?

Corey (13:04): Bring up a really great point, which is that the list is typically thought of as a check the box, go do Apollo or go to ZoomInfo and download a list or just use their interface. The list is the strategy, meaning you have to spend some additional time on the list than you otherwise would. And so what I recommend doing what I teach people to do is to source a list from these third party list vendors like a ZoomInfo or Apollo download leads into your own software like Excel or Google Sheets, and then you want to qualify those leads even further from what they gave you. You want to look for things like what are some objective signals that I could see that would indicate that these businesses can afford my services, that they actually have the pain point that I saw? And you need to go through these on a very manual basis.

(13:59): Unfortunately, I know we all like to go super fast, but if you're planning on sending cookies, and by the way, it's not just sending one gift, it's sending gifts for three years. It's not a one and done. It's an ongoing event. Every quarter you send 'em a gift. So that's even more reason why you want to just slow way down on the list on list build. So that's kind of how I do it. Another place where you can find a high quality list is every vertical market has associations. They have conferences. And as you begin to target these folks, you'll be going to these events and you'll begin to build lists from those experiences where you tend to get really high quality leads from.

John (14:38): And I tell a lot of people, there are a lot of agencies out there, like 10 more clients, good clients that would move the needle significantly, but they're trying to a list of 5,000 as opposed to that's list of a hundred. Let's spend 500 bucks on each of them as opposed to $5 on spray and pray approach. Approach. And

Corey (14:58): That focus, and I think the focus is kind of the thing that helps you to stand out. The fact that you are sending a thoughtful gift, it can be a personalized gift to them. As I said, it's not just once. They may ghost you on the first gift and that's okay, but then the next quarter comes, you send 'em a second one and the next quarter comes, you send 'em another one. Eventually you've built up all this reciprocity and they're going to at some point say, okay, I got to talk to John over there at Duct Tape Marketing, because clearly they want to talk to us and they're being very persistent in a meaningful way. And we also know that people, every attorney, every dentist, they're going to shop for a new agency once every three years, let's just call it that. And that's why the time horizon behind this strategy is it's a three year program. By the time that every single person on your list has been gifted over a three year period, all of them had an opportunity to go back to market, and you want to be on that list.

John (15:57): So every industry has key people. Everybody knows maybe their authors, they're big consultants, they're advisors or accountants or something in the industry. First off, how important is it to get into some relationships with those folks and then second part of how do you do it?

Corey (16:17): Yeah, great question. So the part of the strategy, once you become a vertical market specialist, the benefit of targeting a vertical or one of the unique benefits is every vertical is kind of like a village and everyone kind of knows everybody else. There's definitely a gossip train and so on and so forth. And in any one of these type of social circles of a vertical, there are going to be people that Malcolm Gladwell calls Mavens, and these mavens are people that everyone else looks to make a decision on who to hire. And so as a vertical market specialist, as you're trying to build your reputation and visibility in that market, it makes sense to try and build a direct relationship with these mavens versus just going out to market and talking to anyone. I'll give you an example. One of my clients was focused on the chain restaurant industry, the industry of restaurants that had multiple chains, and there was a maven in that industry.

(17:15): He's the editor of a magazine called QSR, and he is prolific on LinkedIn and he's at the keynoting, the conferences on the stages and whatnot. He's everywhere. Well, as a result of identifying this person as really a maven that people look to as a tastemaker, we made a decision to try and find ways, genuine ways to build a relationship with that person. Of course, we did that over time, and that resulted in a lot of opportunities for my client. That's number one. And then number two is what I call influential brands. And influential brands are effectively the same as a Maven, but it is sort of a big brand in that vertical that everyone else looks to. If it's good enough, if this company's going to hire this agency, well, they're probably good enough for us. And I saw this firsthand at my last company when we were getting into the franchise world, multi-location businesses, and we landed the biggest, the most well-respected, multi-location franchise business in the industry as really our first client. It was through a relationship. And as a result of that, that led to a lot of really almost frictionless introductions in the franchise space, which ended up being a big growth engine for us.

John (18:29): It's funny, over the years, I've targeted manufacturers that have distribution networks, and the same thing is bring them something, build a relationship, provide value, and they're very motivated to help their distributors. And so all of a sudden it's like you're the person. And as you mentioned, it's a layup to get the business because in some cases they even had co-op dollars to give them.

Corey (18:53): Yes, yes, exactly. The reason why these things are important is you need to focus first. Once you get clear on who you're targeting, marketing becomes a whole lot easier. Which keywords to target, which conferences to go to, what associations to get involved in all these things become super clear. It's those agencies that haven't made this decision to narrow their focus on this vertical market that are challenged with this things I said, the water down positioning, the ineffective marketing.

John (19:23): So is it safe to say once you get good at one market, you can actually repeat this approach, or should you just stay narrow?

Corey (19:32): It completely depends on the founder and their ambitions. I'll give you an example. The last agency I worked with where we ran this play, we started off with attorneys, and then it was home services and then franchise. And I think the way that I coach agencies on how to approach this is, number one, you want to get to about 3% of the total addressable market. So if there are a thousand businesses in this market, once you get to 30, that's a signal that you probably have enough momentum in that vertical that you as the founder, could lift your head and go find another adjacent vertical. What I mean by adjacent is it's a business that has the same problem that you're already solving, or it's a vertical that has the same problem but is not well-served. So the example, my last company was attorneys, local service businesses, and then home services, local service businesses, both depended on Google for new leads, both needed a great website, reputation management, all of those things. That's what I mean by adjacent.

John (20:32): Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, Corey, it was great having you stop by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. Is there someplace you want to invite people to connect with you and obviously find a copy of anyone? Not everyone.

Corey (20:43): Gosh, John. I appreciate that. So the best place to get plugged into more of this type of content is my book, which is called, as you mentioned, anyone, not everyone. I have the website, anyone, not, where you can go and learn more about the book. So I invite you to go there.

John (20:59): Awesome. Well, again, appreciate you taking a few moments, and hopefully we'll run into you one of these days out there on the road.

from Duct Tape Marketing

Weekend Favs February 24

Weekend Favs February 24 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but I encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one I took on the road.

  • Assembly – Assembly is an employee recognition and rewards platform that simplifies how teams celebrate achievements and milestones. It integrates with your existing tools to streamline acknowledgments, making it easier to boost morale and foster a positive work culture. Whether you’re looking to recognize individual contributions or team successes, Assembly offers customizable options to fit your company’s needs.
  • – Air is an AI platform that powers 10-40 minute phone calls, mimicking human interactions with perfect recall and action across 5,000+ applications, available 24/7/365.
  • Copyleaks – Copyleaks is a cutting-edge plagiarism detection and content protection tool designed to ensure the originality and integrity of your work. By scanning for similarities across billions of web pages, academic papers, and documents, it helps educators, students, and professionals uphold authenticity in their writing. Whether you’re looking to safeguard your content or verify the uniqueness of submitted work, Copyleaks offers a comprehensive solution to keep your intellectual property secure and plagiarism-free.

These are my weekend favs; I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

If you want to check out more Weekend Favs you can find them here.

from Duct Tape Marketing