Grow Strong Leaders Podcast
Episode 002: Why You Should Focus on Big-Tickets Clients
You can dramatically grow your revenue without killing yourself when you focus on clients who can easily invest in your high-end programs. Dr. Pelè is the author of the Amazon bestseller, Big-Ticket Clients: You Can’t Catch a Whale with a Worm. In this episode, he explains how to use content marketing to position yourself as an authority and lay the groundwork for building solid relationships. Dr. Pelè shares how one of his clients started a podcast that opened the door to conversations with top executives he hadn’t been able to reach in the past.
- How you can use narrative psychology to connect with your ideal clients
- Why most marketing advice you get only works for small-ticket clients
- A big-ticket strategy that’s so powerful your ideal clients will welcome a conversation with you
- Why the principle of reciprocity works so well…and how you can apply it
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Read the Transcription
Welcome, everyone to the Strong for Performance Podcast. This is Meredith Bell, your host, and with me today is Dr. Pele. Welcome, Dr. Pele. I’m so excited to have you with me.
Hi, Meredith. Same here. Thank you for having me on your podcast.
Well, one of the reasons I’m so excited to have Dr. Pele with me is because I know him well. We have been in some mastermind groups together. He is so creative, and he has wonderful things to share with the folks who are watching this podcast. He also works very closely with consultants, coaches and advisors, and he has such an interesting and unique background. I just love all the things that you have done, Dr. Pele.
He is a speaker, he’s a coach, a consultant, he’s the bestselling author of this wonderful book called Big-Ticket Clients, which we’ll be talking about today, and he is also a musician, a talented songwriter and singer, and I love your voice by the way. You’ve got just some great upbeat songs. Dr. Pele is here to share so many great ideas with us, but before we jump in, would you give us a little bit more of your story, Dr. Pele, and tell us more of your journey so people will understand how you got to where you are today?
Oh, thank you so much, Meredith for that very flattering introduction, and I’m going to have to live up to that somehow now, but no. I appreciate that question because whenever someone asks me what my story is, they’ve opened up a can of worms because I love the word story. I think it is everything. It is who we are. It is what makes us successful in business and life. It’s all about our story, and my story began really in the jungles of a war zone in Africa.
I was in a makeshift refugee camp with my mother in 1967, I think it was, when my father was in the States, and I was just with my mother, and we were hungry, running around, trying to survive. The bombs were falling. You know those kids with the big stomachs and the flies buzzing around their mouths? Okay. Well, I was one of those kids.
We had no hope, we had no money, and we were afraid every second, but my mother did a very interesting thing. Even though we had no food and we were afraid to die in every second, she would sing to me. She would sing to me, and she would tell me stories. The magical thing is that these stories and these songs would completely wipe away my fear, take away my hunger, and just make me happy, and somehow, that lesson in my beginning has driven me all the way until today. I don’t do a thing without writing a song about it, or writing a book about it, or a way of explaining it, the story of that thing to me, and so you’ll find that for me, and I write songs and books as much for myself as I write for others.
That’s how I got here. I got here struggling from nothing, and I’ve fought every inch of the way to get my PhD, to make friends like Meredith Bell, and to be on your show. I just feel like every day is a blessing because of the perspective of how far I’ve come.
Well, you really have. It is such an amazing journey and it’s interesting. Your PhD really laid the groundwork for your book that we’re going to focus on today, and it was in narrative psychology. Tell us what that really means.
Well, I know it’s a big word in a sense, but it really just means story, right? That’s all it means. I’ve always found it funny how a lot of us go to PhD school. We spend years and years and hours and hours studying something that’s like very simple. It’s very intuitive, right, but no.
Narrative psychology is all about how we can use the way the mind, the cognitive processes of the mind, the way the mind accepts things, to understand meaning. What do things mean? What is the narrative of this business, or this life, or this situation? When you bring sort of storytelling and psychology together, you’re really finding a way to explain the world, and how valuable is that when you’re thinking about marketing, and sales, and communication, and leadership? I mean, it’s really all about, “How do I explain the world so that I can help people achieve their goals?”
Narrative psychology for me is just, it’s psychology, but it’s just the kind of psychology that has a lot to do with storytelling, story listening, story meaning and so on and so forth.
Well, and that’s so relevant when I think about the work you’re now doing with coaches, consultants and advisors, and helping them position themselves in telling their stories. There were so many things in your book that I feel will be helpful to our listeners today as we explore just a few key points that are in this. I love this Big-Ticket Clients: You Can’t Catch a Whale With a Worm.
I want you to talk a little bit about where that title came from and why is it you’re advocating going after big clients, instead of small clients?
One of my favorite storytellers on the planet, bar none is Jesus. The way He taught people was through parables. He would tell you a parable or a nice, pithy saying, and from that, the parable would make a point, and so I actually strive in my books or my songs to paint a small picture, a parable, and then from that, allow people to imply a point. It’s funny because narrative psychology, we human beings like to do a little bit of work sometimes to crack open the little nugget of truth, and then learn what it all means. That’s why I say something like, “You can’t catch a whale with a worm.”
It’s like first, you go, “Well, what is that?” Then, you go, “Oh, I see,” when you learn more about it. What that means for me is a lot of us coaches, and consultants, and advisors, usually small businesses or entrepreneurs, we end up learning when we first got into online marketing, a lot of strategies that are not focused on relationship building. They’re focused on transactions. They’re focused on, “Hey, click this funnel.”
“Give me this upsell. Give me that down-sell. Watch my video, and then buy my course,” or something like that, and you don’t learn how to connect with people at a human level. Some of that has been lost in the translation of going online, and so I call all of those transactional strategies for marketing and sales, I call them small-ticket strategies, because they’re fine for small products, $7 course here, $57 course there. Sure, you can do that, but when you’re trying to sign someone up who you’re going to provide a great deal of service to, and maybe they’re going to pay you 5,000, 10,000, $20,000 dollars, you need to get to know them.
You need to get to know their challenges. They need to get to know you. There has to be a relationship, and I call those folks big-ticket clients, okay? The whole point of the book was you can’t use small-ticket strategies to connect with big-ticket clients. They just don’t want to hear that.
You can’t use a worm to catch a whale because you know what, whales don’t eat worms. They eat tons and tons of plankton, so you’re like completely in the wrong market. If you remember the story of Moby-Dick, where Ahab took his sword, went out into the open sea, or his harpoon, I should say, hired the best men and women, and the best boats, and he tried to get that whale, but as it got closer and he did everything he could to get that whale, he couldn’t. Why? One simple reason.
The whale represents that thing that you need to address in a specific way, and if you use the wrong tools, the wrong methods, it’s just never going to work. What got you here can’t get you there. You have to know what gets you there very well before you can do it. That’s what Big-Ticket Clients: You Can’t Catch a Whale With a Worm is all about. It’s about teaching coaches, consultants and advisors the right strategies that builds relationships, that’s the key word, in order to close deals with big-ticket clients.
I know that that’s something, because I’ve worked with hundreds of coaches over the last 20 some years, probably thousands when I think about it, and one of the key things that they struggle with is the idea of finding and acquiring the new clients because their favorite part, of course is delivering their services.
They love having an impact, and so many of them talk about this high, low, up, down kind of thing where when they’re in the middle of engagements, they’re not really thinking about marketing, and so I was especially intrigued with your book because you do have some very specific strategies that are to me, more natural for the people who are in those kinds of professions than going for some of these online, funnel-building approaches that are just sort of like foreign to them. Tell us a little bit about say one or two of your strategies, and maybe give an example with case studies of some of your clients who’ve used them so people who are watching can get a sense of what that really looks like.
Yeah. No. Absolutely. One of the main ways to be noticed in a noisy, crowded field, which we all operate in nowadays online, one of the main ways is to be recognized as an authority, right?
If you’re an authority, then all of a sudden, people want to come to you. There’s some kind of magnetic force around you. If you’re just another person in the crowd who’s, I’ll be honest, copycat marketing what all these other folks are doing with the funnels and all that stuff, you’re going to be lost in the crowd, so building your authority is one of the most important things we can do as coaches, consultants and advisors and so on. The question is, “How do you build your authority?” If you want to build your authority, you could write a book, you could start a blog, you could do a whole bunch of things, but here’s the problem.
Here’s what you’re going to find out again. You’re going to get lost in another crowd of lots of people who have written blogs and lots of people who have written books, and it’s almost like, “Is there any way out of this?”, and there actually is. The way to be noticed in a crowd is to be your most authentic self. People love people who are just people. Like Meredith, when I watch your videos, and you’re just Meredith, and you’re just teaching us your stuff, I love it, and it’s not just me.
So many people say good, nice things about your little, those short videos you make. You’re just being Meredith. When you say, “Okay, this is me. This is my authentic self,” and you expose that in such a way that you can create content from it that you can send out every week or every month or whatever, that content will help to build your authority in the marketplace. Now, here’s the second strategy that actually uses the authority that you’ve built, and that is a lot of us, when we do what is normally called lead generation, whether we’re sending Facebook ads or doing automation on some platform or the other, we are only getting the business of 3% of the people we meet. This is research from, I believe his name is Chad Holmes.
He talks about … Yeah, Chet Holmes.
His book is The Ultimate Sales Machine.
Exactly. That book talks about the fact that of all the people we meet, only 3% will be ready to buy when we first meet them, and there’s another 67% or more who are not ready to buy, and we ignore them. We don’t have a strategy for them. We just basically say, “Okay, fine. I didn’t close that deal. More lead generation.”
“Let’s go for more of the 3% again.” When you have content that is evergreen, that is authentic, it’s you … Look, people watch my videos on LinkedIn. I’m playing the guitar. Who plays a guitar on LinkedIn? Me, and only me, and I’m going to get away with it, and guess what?
When someone finds out who I am, they’re going to be like, “I can’t forget that guy. He’s the one who plays guitar on LinkedIn.” See, that stuff is the content that separates you from the crowd. It’s you. Once you have that content, you make it evergreen, you put it out there all the time so that you can address the 67% who were not ready to buy the first time, because every time they run into your content, they go, “Oh, it’s that guy again with the guitar,” or whatever it is your thing is, right?
Over time, you warm up the relationship with them without you having to do anything, so that when you finally do connect with those people, it’s like old friends having a conversation over coffee or tea, or something like that.
That’s so true because I’ve had that exact same thing happen with some of these short videos on LinkedIn, where people feel like they’ve gotten to know me already because of the stories I tell about my own life. Again, like your parables having a point at the end, I think that what I’m hearing you say is these folks who are our audience, they need to think about what is their most natural way to connect with people that they would like to do business with, because some people are naturals in front of the camera, others are more writers, and so what medium makes the most sense for a given individual, and why is that content marketing from your perspective such an integral part of how a coach or consultant should think about their marketing efforts?
Great question. If you think about the fact that we live in a very noisy world where people show up online and behave very differently than they behave in real life, okay, like in real life, if I saw a stranger on the street, I would probably politely say, “Hello, how are you doing?” I wouldn’t go up to them and say, “Hey, I’ve got a brand new product. It’s a coaching tool. Click over here.”
“It’s only $5,000. It will solve all your problems. Buy now.” That’s the kind of messaging that we use online. It’s like the translation from real life to online life has made us forget normal human interaction. The role of content marketing is that, especially if you are authentic as we’ve discussed and you are building authority, it can go instead of you, and allow people to sort of at their own pace passively consume your authority, without you pushing it in their face, without you trying to make them a sale.
Look, it’s funny, everyone wants your solution, but they don’t want to be sold. They need what you’ve got, your ideal clients that is, need what you’ve got, but you will drive them away so fast the minute you come out and say, “Will you marry me right now? I think you and I would make a great couple. Right now, let’s get married.” It doesn’t work.
You got to go to have coffee first or something before you talk about marriage. That’s what content marketing does.
Yeah. Yeah. Tell us a success story or two of some of your clients who have used content marketing to help them acquire more clients.
Excellent question again. I’m not going to use names, but I will-
Yeah. I will share with you one particular client who works in the corporate field as a consultant regarding quality, so he’s a product and process quality consultant. Now, I know that’s a big bunch of words and maybe it doesn’t make a lot of sense, but bottom line is he goes to very big companies that are just mired in quality problems, and leadership and all kinds of problems, and he helps them save millions of dollars by just teaching them new ways of doing things, okay? He started out by struggling with how exactly he was going to connect with the leadership of these companies, which is those are his buyers. Always the leadership.
We tried LinkedIn at first when we first met, but the leaders weren’t on LinkedIn. It was an interesting thing because a lot of people think, “Oh, if you’re B2B, just go to LinkedIn and that’s where it is, and if you’re B2C, which is business-to-consumer, go to Facebook.” B2B being business-to-business. It actually is not that always that way because only certain people have conversations on LinkedIn. CEOs, CxOs aren’t always on LinkedIn, so the kind of companies he wanted to connect with, these people were not on LinkedIn. I mean, they had names on LinkedIn, but they were not looking for a conversation.
In order to reach those people, we had to develop a new and a different strategy, and so what we did was we decided to create content, whereby the content featured those CEOs, featured those CxOs. We created a podcast for him where he invites his target audience to come on his show, talk about their successes, talk about whatever they’re doing, and in the process, he builds a relationship with them, and in the process, they enjoy what the conversation did for them, and so they share it with their community of CEOs or their company of CxOs and so on, and before you know it, we now have a, sort of a viral product in his podcast that is doing the work of content marketing for him where he could never connect with these people on LinkedIn to have a conversation. That’s a very important shift that we had to make from the standard lead generation stuff everybody does to, “How do I create content that builds my authority?”
Well, that is an awesome strategy. Let’s talk a minute about why that works so well. For one thing, as I was listening to you, I thought, number one, the access is so much easier when you’re contacting someone to invite them on a show versus trying to have a sales conversation. It is a whole different positioning of yourself to them as an authority, as a celebrity.
Not only that, if they are somewhat of a celebrity because of their position in their company, you become one by association, right?
Yeah. I love that, and would like to have you talk a little bit about what are some of the other benefits of doing that because I think some of our audience ought to really consider that for themselves, setting up and putting together a podcast?
Yeah, no. It goes back to a saying that I have in the book, actually something that I coined called CCC, which stands for content creates clients. The reason why I coined that or created that, I TM’d it. We have this fun thing where we go around TM’ing things, “Oh, that’s a good idea, TM. Good idea, TM,” so I trademarked, I IM’d that idea, but the whole point is that if you can wrap your head around the fact that, you should really let your content do the creation of your clients for you, right?
It’s actually a shift in viewpoint or philosophy, a sales philosophy, so if you start with that, then you start to think, “Okay. Well, how do I get people to the table to create that content, to create the relationship that comes out of that content? How do I do that?” That’s where something like a podcast comes in. We talked earlier about all the psychology that’s out there, and I won’t go into any, but I’m going to give you one, and it’s the psychology of reciprocity.
That simple psychology trigger, if you will, is so powerful. What it does is it says, “Hey, Meredith, if I give you something and ask nothing of you,” Meredith is going to go away going, “Wow, that Dr. Pele, he sure gave me something. I got to give him something back.” You’ve created reciprocity, and that tension, that desire for us to do good for each other that I have created by simply giving, not asking, but just giving, that’s what creates relationships that become potentially referral partnerships or potentially clients. Podcasting, as you said correctly, Meredith, is not the only way to do this.
You could do a simple guest blog where you ask someone questions over the phone, and you transcribe it, and you make that a blog featuring their name and their picture. That’s not a podcast, but it’s the same concept, but you have to build a relationship over the phone, and you have to follow up with a way of allowing them to know you’re sharing their content to build that reciprocity. However, I will say my favorite, and you already know this, Meredith, and we already both kind of agree, My favorite is video. Look, if you can get on video and you can be coached or practice, it’s almost like if you want to be a speaker, go speak, go to Toastmasters, learn it, do it because that’s how you do it. Video is the same thing.
Video is the, I think it’s like 85% of all internet traffic is going to be video by 2020. I got to get that number right, but Cisco is the company that says it’s about 85%. That’s amazing already right now. If you look anywhere, video is what people pay attention to. The return on investment for video is so much higher now than blogs, or written content, or any other type, so that’s why I encourage audio and video in terms of podcasting.
Yeah. There’s that element of visual because many people are visual, and getting to see the interaction is helpful. There’s a certain percentage, of course that really liked the audio only because they’ve got a long commute, or working out, or some other method where watching is not really ideal, so being able to give people choices I think is really valuable. Of course, the challenge, when you think about busy coaches and consultants who are delivering is like, I don’t have time to learn how to do that. It’s intimidating, and so what’s your answer for people …
I know there are services that you offer, so talk a little bit about what are some of the options people have if this idea does intrigue them and they’d like to follow through to see what the next step might be?
Well, Meredith, you really hit the nail on the head with the point of time.
There’s a lot that has to go into creating a podcast, and content in general, even just writing a blog. I can remember, I would have sleepless nights because I didn’t want to follow my content calendar. What you should have is a calendar that says, “On Monday, I’m going to write one blog, and on Tuesday, I’m going to …” Something like that. I would have sleepless nights because I just didn’t want to write anything new. Time, the desire to do it, all those things are a problem for a lot of people, so …
Also, they don’t have the interest in learning it. They want to get to be doing the skill using the skills and talents they have, not getting diverted into some other area that’s not their area of genius.
Exactly, and so there’s been a shift. Podcasts are going up. Lots of people are listening to them, and now, businesses like coaches and consultants and so on are finding out that they can reach a lot of people in a very authentic way by doing podcasts, but the question is, “Can you handle the technology? Do you have the time?” As you said, all of those … “Do I even have the interest, and can I come up with new, fun things every single week?”
After a while, you’re like, “I think I’m all dried up. I have no ideas. I’m done.” The idea of a podcast, that is done for you is what I do, and it’s what my company does. In fact, Big-Ticket Clients is not only the name of my book, it’s also the name of my company. We are what you might call a podcast agent.
By the way, I’ve registered that domain name. Thank you, TM, TM, TM. Podcastagent.com, yeah. We are like an agent that helps busy executives, busy companies, busy coaches and consultants to do everything that’s involved in launching a podcast from the attracting the guests to recording the interviews, to branding it. I mean, literally, all they have to do is show up 30 minutes a week or a month if they’re just being once a month. Just show up for 30 minutes, have a great conversation with a guest, and we do the rest, so all the follow up marketing, all the editing and the production, all of that stuff.
I mean, to get a high-quality podcast up, you need professional tools, editing, audio recording, video, all of that stuff, so we just do it for them, and that … I’ve done a lot of little businesses here and there. That’s becoming my sweet spot because it lets me do all the things I love to do. I’m a coach. I love to coach people on speaking, on storytelling. I’m also a developer, a technology geek, so I love-
Yes, I know you are.
I love to put together all the technology for people, so it’s just fun for me. We really have a blast, and the customers that I’m working with right now, they’re just really enjoying this idea that they get to interview really interesting people every week or every month, and that’s what creates their content. Now, their email lists are populated with content every week. Their social media is populated with interesting content. Not that they had to invent, that their guests helped them bring, and all of this uses them as the authority.
They’re borrowing the authority from their guests. It’s amazing.
Well, the other thing … There’s one other skill you have that you didn’t mention, and that is the intro and outro music for the podcast, so there’s all these original things that they can get, but you know what I was thinking is I was listening to you describe, the only thing they have to do is show up and do the interview. The beauty of that is doing an interview is just like they do now with coaching and consulting inside a client organization. They’re asking good questions, they’re listening, and they’re going deeper with the clients, so they really don’t have to stretch at all in order to envision themselves doing a podcast in the interview part because it’s what they already do and they love to do. The fact that you have a service that removes all those other elements that are not part of the fun of what they do, and that you have the expertise in every one of those areas, it’s just a fabulous offering.
Given our time, what I think I’d like to ask you to do now is let people know how they can find you and learn more about your services. I’ll put a plug-in again for your book because that’s one of the things they ought to do. Dr. Pele was a number one Amazon bestselling author of this book, Big-Ticket Clients, so you can grab a copy on Amazon, and then if they’d like to know more about the services you offer, how can they find that out?
Thank you so much, Meredith. You’re too kind. I love it.
Thank you. Thank you. Yes. The best way to get ahold of me is either LinkedIn. Just search for Dr. Pele. I think it’ll come up that way. If not, yeah, I think you’ll probably provide a link on the show notes.
Yes, we have a show notes page both on YouTube, as well as on our website with your contact information.
Is that correct? Yup. The other place outside of LinkedIn to find me is my website, which is www.drpele.com. That’s D-R-P-E-L-E.com.
Great. Just as one other piece, I know that if somebody were interested in learning more about podcasting, but they weren’t necessarily ready to go to that step of having you manage everything for them, is there some intermediate step that they might, or option that they might consider?
Great question. There actually are two options before that.
I have this little thing. It’s actually at the very end of the book. It’s called DIY, DWY, and DFY. What that means-
If you want to do it yourself, DIY. I have a training course that teaches you everything you need to know about designing, launching, and maintaining and marketing your podcast, that is a podcast-driven marketing strategy, not just the podcasts.
That’s another thing that people should remember. The purpose of these podcasts we’re talking about is to get you more clients. It’s not just to have fun. We actually are very strategic about the people you talk to and the follow up. Do it yourself is all about you learning how to do it, and then taking it, and doing it yourself.
Then, there’s DWY, which is done with you, and in the DWY approach, you learn all the same things that you would do it yourself, but we coach you, so we have weekly coaching meetings where we listen to what you’re trying to do, we advise you and we support you as you launch it. That’s a popular option because a lot of people who are DIY just want that extra support. Then, DFY, which is done for you is where we really listen to your entire marketing situation. We understand the psychographics and the demographics of your ideal clients, we target them for you, we send out automation for you, we do the podcast for you, we send follow-ups for you, everything. When after this foundational setup period of three months, you literally should only be able to show up for 30 minutes a week, and you have an entire content marketing strategy rolled out.
What you just described sounds like heaven for many of the coaches and consultants I know. It’s like, “Oh my gosh, one person or one team could do all these things for me,” and typically, those are the things they really don’t enjoy doing. I just want to let our audience know that because I know you so well and I have such faith and trust in what you do and your follow through in delivering on your promises, I highly recommend that you contact, at least connect with Dr. Pele, get his book, and then follow up with him because he is delightful. Also, one of the things I know you’ll do, Dr. Pele is let them know if they’re a good fit for your program because it’s not like you’re trying to sign everybody up. There are certain criteria you have.
People who are already successful, for example, have a thriving business and aren’t just necessarily starting up initially. That seems to be your sweet spot again.
Yeah, and also, people who do not have the internal resources to launch something like this, they’re the ones who may need the done-for-you.
As you said, there are people who may just want to learn, which is a training thing, not a coaching thing.
Yes. Well, thank you so much for being with us today. Again, go get his book, Big-Ticket Clients, and I will see you soon. Dr. Pele, thank you so much for being a part of this program.
Thanks, Meredith. My pleasure.