Making Things Happen: The Bricklayer’s Guide To Life And Business With Steve Sims
Your life and your business go hand-in-hand. As an entrepreneur, you need to know who you invite into your life because they will make a difference. Steve Sims was a bricklayer and a doorman before he became who he is today. He learned a lot from the different people he would talk to and he would iron out his skills. Now, he’s the author of the bestselling book called Bluefishing, and the host of his award-winning show, The Art of Making Things Happen. Join Mitch Russo as he talks to Steve about his career and how he approached the business. Learn a thing or two about marketing and branding. Stop focusing on yourself and start focusing on the problem.
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Making Things Happen: The Bricklayer’s Guide To Life And Business With Steve Sims
I have something special for all my coaches in the audience. As a coach, I have been spending about 30 minutes between sessions on admin. It’s at the worst possible time of the day. It’s my peak cognitive time when I’m sitting there collecting from five different applications on screens, how to create my homework email, which has my accountability questions, my goal tracking, my Zoom link, my calendar link, all of my notes and all of the homework completely detailed for my clients.
I decided to do something about it. I couldn’t find coaching software that would contain all that material and, at the same time, be easy to use and low cost. I did what all good entrepreneurs should do when they find a problem that hasn’t been solved. I solved the problem. I created a software platform called Clientfol.io. What I’d like for you to do if you have a chance is to go to GetClientFolio.com and check it out. If you’re a coach, I promise you, you will love it. Now onto my guest and his incredible story.
After three generations of bricklayers, at the age of fifteen, he found himself broken disgusted so he left the country at the age of 21 and went to Hong Kong as an apprentice stockbroker. He lasted all of 24 hours before being fired. That was the beginning of a new life, which you are about to hear soon. You’re going to meet a guy who’s worked with Sir Elton John and Elon Musk. He’s the author of the bestselling book called Bluefishing. The host of his award-winning show, The Art Of Making Things Happen. He’s known as the guy who gets things done sometimes achieving the impossible. A master strategist and business leader, welcome to the show, Steve Sims.
It’s a pleasure to be here. Thank you very much.Great things happen when you're in great rooms. Click To Tweet
My pleasure. Steve, as we started the chat, I’ve known of you and heard about some of your work for a long time. I’m thrilled that we got a chance to talk. Let’s get into your origin story a little bit. Tell us how this all began for you.
It started the same as every other entrepreneur. You start off from a point of being disgruntled as you said about your software at the beginning. I left school at the age of fifteen. My family were all construction workers, bricklayers. It wasn’t a case of, “Son, what do you want to do with your life?” It was a case of, “There are some old tools. You’re on the building site tomorrow.” That was it. I remember after about a year of this, I’m thinking, “Is this my life?” There was a major pivotal moment in it that I’d landed at the building site one day. My dad said, “We’re short on laborers,” which are the guys that lift up all the bricks and the cement for the bricklayers. He said, “You’re going to have to labor.” I’m like, “Okay.”
I’m climbing up a ladder with a big pile of bricks on my shoulder. I’m not quite sure health and safety would allow that nowadays but then, it was acceptable. I climb up this ladder, get to the top of this ladder, turnaround and there’s my dad, who was in charge of the building site. Next to him was my uncle. Next to him were my two cousins. One was 19, the other one was 25 and my granddad was in his 80s. I suddenly saw my life tree. I suddenly saw every chapter of my life. I could see where it was. It was on this building site. I remember the whistle blew for a tea break. We all pile into this car van to warm up out of the vein.
As I walk in there, my granddad’s huddled over by a fireplace. I squeezed past all the other sweaty, smelly bricklayers to get in front of my granddad. I knelt down because there were no chairs. I said to him, “Granddad, did you ever think you’d be doing this when you were this old?” In fairness, that was a very rude question to ask. My granddad was a massive wall of an Irish guy. I’m surprised I didn’t get a slap. He didn’t even look at me. He was blowing into his teeth, trying to warm up his tea. He said to me, “Son, if you don’t quit today, you’ll be me tomorrow.” The entire room went quiet. I couldn’t hear anything. I was so in that moment. The bell rang again and it was time for us all to get out of the building site.
I ran to my dad. My dad hated being called dad on the building site. I’m running out. I go, “Dad.” He’s looking at me and I get up in his face. I’m like, “Dad, I went up there and I saw you and uncle and granddad.” I went down to the ground and said, “I’ve got to quit and I’ve got to quit today.” He looked at my granddad and me to get it in perspective. I’m 245 pounds of ugly. I’m 6-feet tall. My dad is 5’6”. My granddad was 6’9”. My dad somehow lost out on the height pool completely but when my granddad was anywhere near you, you knew it because he’s like an oak tree that walked into the room.
He was a big mammoth of a man that had massive hands. He walked behind me. I knew he was there. My dad looked into my eyes and looked up even further. They did some nod or something like that. My dad went, “All right, you finish Friday.” That was it. The downside is I never got to tell my granddad how pivotal his moment was in my life. He died shortly after that but that was it. I went out to try and find out, “How can I be better? How can I get this?” When you’re 16, 17 years old, you look at wealth and success as a red Porsche, fancy suits or flying around the world. You look at it like that and predominantly monetary.
How stupid were you when you were young, you turned around and you went, “I want to be a millionaire,” until you get to a millionaire and you go, “Crap, I’m still broke.” $1 million in Manhattan wouldn’t even get you anything above a one-bedroom apartment in fact. It changes over time. I went out on a journey to try and find out how I could change my room. We were talking about and we were mentioning Jay Abraham and a whole bunch of people we know. Great things happen when you’re in great rooms. I realized as a British biker, every single room I was in was full of British bikers and we were all broke. To give you all the B’s, I’m in a room full of British broke bikers.
I, therefore, could never be different to the combination of that room. I went out to change the room. I wanted to get in rooms full of affluent, powerful, successful, motivated people that creatively disrupted stuff. I failed on everything. I tried to become a jet charter. I tried luxury cars, door-to-door, show in sales, financial advisors, all of these different things, which I failed on every single one of them. Although, rather than failing, I realized I was educated on what I couldn’t do or what I wasn’t built to do. A friend of mine got me an apprentice job in Hong Kong. He’s like, “They’re looking for stockbrokers. The Asian market in Hong Kong loves British stock brokers. Purely because you’re British, you’ll do well over there. You could be an apprentice.”
I flew out to Hong Kong. I landed on Saturday. I got drunk with him on Saturday night because I’m qualified to do that. I got drunk with him on a Sunday night, still qualified. I did orientation on Monday and was pulled into the room on Tuesday morning and let go. That was it. I’m now in a completely different country. The funny thing about entrepreneurs, we’re propelled by aggravation. What bothers us? What doesn’t exist? What’s not there? I remember having a conversation with Elon Musk and said he couldn’t understand why it took five days to wire money from one bank account to another when it wasn’t physical cash. It was nothing more than a series of numbers. It was an email. Why did it take five days? We know the answer because the bank gets to play with it for five days at no payment to you.
He invented PayPal to get over that. One of the banks done, you’ve got everything from Zelle, Venmo. You got all these other different platforms now because they’ve had to follow suit but it started with aggravation. I was now in Hong Kong. Could I have looked at that failure, that being fired, throw in the towel or could I take the aggravation and have it as more fuel to go, “I had the balls to get out of England. I’m now in Hong Kong, I changed the room. I’ve changed the country. Surely I can change the room?” I went off after every possible thing I could to try and find a way of being able to fit into the room that I wanted to be in.
Steve, it’s interesting because we all have our pathway that, in a sense, ends up the same way. I was in Northeastern University studying Electrical Engineering in 1975. I was learning tubes and vacuum tubes but my co-ops were designing multipoint microprocessor transmission systems through infrared radio for smoke detectors. When it came time for me to go back to school after co-op, an engineer said, “Why don’t you stay?” I said, “I got to go back to school. My mother will kill me. I got to get my degree.” This is like the thing your grandfather said to you. He said, “Mitch, never let school get in the way of your education.”
At that moment, the whole world changed for me because I had always taken it that if you don’t get your college degree, you are nothing. That’s what my parents taught me. I didn’t go back to school. My life evolved from that point on in a way that it could never have, had I. Steve, it’s these pivotal moments like your grandfather saying these things and like the stockbroker firing you at 24. That was perfect. It couldn’t have been set up even better. Now, here you are. What’s what happens next?
I went off and go, “I want to be around affluence.” I want to get a job selling cars or yachts or traveling or stuff like that. I couldn’t get anything. I was banging my head against the wall. One night, I’m in a bar and quite simply drinking my sorrows away. Here was the thing, I had a plan that night because I was now out of money. The funny thing was because the bank had fired me, they owed me my accommodation for three months. I had three months I didn’t have to pay for my apartment. I shared it with a bunch of other stockbrokers that quite simply hated me because they thought I was a fraud.
I tried to explain it to them, but no, they wouldn’t have it. It was a very tense room every time I went in there. I would come in the door, go in your room and out again. This night, I had no money. I had gone through all the money that I had been given. I had the apartment and I this wonderful plan to get completely drunk and run away from the bar. That was my plan. I was going to drink until I couldn’t drink anymore and when the bar tab came over, I was going to leap over the fence. Imagine doing that when you’re drunk. I was going to run down the road and escape a bunch of Chinese guys in a shady bar.Marketing is what you say about your product. Branding is what people say about you when you're not in the room. Click To Tweet
I obviously had not thought this through but I’m drinking away. This lady came up to me and she said, “You better get your guys out or we will.” I was like, “What do you mean my guys?” “Your guys are in there. If you don’t get them out, we’re going to get them out. We’re going to hurt them. You got to go and do it.” I was curious as to who she thought my guys were. I walked up to the door, I looked through the window and there were these three White British guys around a table being a bit levy in that. I said, “They got nothing to do with me.” She said, “You get them out or we will.” I said, “Girl, I’m telling you, they got nothing to do with me. Knock yourself out. I don’t care.”
She turned around and she said, “You get them out. I’ll pay for your drinks.” Now she had my attention. I got the guys out. I had a little chat with them and I got them to walk out all nice and sweetly. She said, “I’ve got another club opening up. I want you to be the doorman.” I ended up becoming the doorman of this nightclub and thinking, “I’ve gone from a skilled profession as a bricklayer, masonry and now my job description is to punch people.” It was a complete downgrade but I discovered something. That door taught me all I needed to know about psychology. It taught me all I needed to know about body language. I literally had people walking up to me and in my head, I’m thinking, “Are they out on a first date? Is this a celebration of a contract? Are they on a hen night? Are they on a stag night? Are they not got together?”
I’ll be like, “Folks, what are we celebrating?” “I got this contract.” “Let me make sure Sarah gets you set up in nice booze.” I was able to collect from the body language, see what was going on. The funny thing was I got to see how people interacted with each other. You see, these people that have money do act a different way to the people that pretend they have money. I started to see that. I wanted to have a conversation with these guys. I started to strike up anything I could and I realized I’m in a club. They like nightlife. I’m now a doorman. We didn’t have Google at the time. I technically was the Google of the nightlife of my area.
I could go up to them and go, “Are you going to that private party Thursday?” “No, we’re not, Steve. We don’t know how to get in.” “Let me see if I can do a favor for you.” I was doing this to primitively be able to have a conversation with them. That’s all I wanted to do. If I could satisfy your problem, I now have your attention. That was how basic it was. I started sending people to these parties then I started throwing my own parties. I was taking over penthouses and yachts. I was only inviting rich people, never poor people. Why? It’s because I was poor and I knew what it was like and it stinks. Why should I invite those people?
I invited anyone who was rich. I started becoming this party promoter, party planner and it got bigger. People were like, “I’m going to Monaco. Do you know people in Monaco? By the way, I’m throwing a party in Abu Dhabi. Can you handle it for me?” It grew but the funny thing is anyone that ever meets me will realize I’m probably the last person you expect to be walking down a red carpet or hanging out with celebrities. It ended up launching the world’s leading experiential concierge firm. My job was to satisfy your desire to give you an amazing cocktail story to get me to be able to have a conversation with you.
I was able then to walk around with people and go, “Johnny, did you enjoy playing drums with Guns N’ Roses? Did you enjoy being backstage at the Milan Fashion Week? Did you enjoy X, Y, Z? By the way, I’ve been meaning to ask you. How do you look at opportunities? How do you look at relationships? How do you value your staff? How do you do this?” I was doing basically what you’re doing now, the show back in the early ‘90s. I was doing it with some powerful people and it grew. Several years ago, I got asked if I would write a book and it got released. I didn’t think it would do much because I thought everyone must be doing that. I was flabbergasted of how many people were not doing simple stuff. That’s got me to my coach and my media now.
Steven, in my opinion, it all starts with having a basic desire. You might’ve been very happy. There are people who take jobs and learn their job in six weeks and say, “Good. Now, nobody can bother me. I have my little job and I do my work. I’m happy. I get my paycheck.” There are those of us who get uncomfortable when things don’t seem to amplify. They don’t grow and evolve. Therefore, we don’t either. Steve, what I perceive you’ve done is you’ve found ways to amplify yourself. I have a feeling that that’s part of how you conduct your life and how you help others as well. Teach us how do we amplify ourselves.
It’s funny because amplification and amplify is our keyword on Sims.Media. I didn’t realize that a lot of things we end up doing and we go, “Why isn’t anyone else doing it?” We suddenly realize that that’s our unicorn. A lot of people now focus on marketing advertising, boosting, spreading that word. That’s great but if you’ve got a weak brand then you’re marketing a weak message. The first thing you’ve got to do is focus on your brand. You’ve also got to understand what a brand is. Marketing is what you say about your product. Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. What I did was I realized I wasn’t good-looking. I didn’t sound like Hugh Grant. I wasn’t Brad Pit. I never had any of these things.Stop focusing on yourself and start focusing on the problem. Click To Tweet
I still can’t spell very well. I’ve got too many earrings, tattoos, a bald head, a goatee, beard, all that stuff. If those people can’t see me on this show, I’m not the guy you want to bump into in a dark alley at 11:00 at night. I’m that looking guy. I’m no trouble but you know what I mean. I realized this was too much to get over in order to try and market myself as some suave connector. What did I do? I ignored it. I focused on the solution that I provided. Here’s the thing, 3:00 in the morning and you’ve got a bad headache. You go to the kitchen counter. You get out your headache tablets. When was the last time you looked at that box and went, “I don’t like the logo?”
You’ve never cared about the packaging of a headache tablet because it solves a problem. I focus my brand on, “Steve Sims, he’ll get you the story you want. Steve Sims, he’ll make you more interesting. Steve Sims will introduce you to the people that you need. Steve Sims can get you to do stuff.” I focused on them and my brand became them. In order to do that, once you’ve established your brand of what you stand for and your position in your business then the amplification becomes paramount. How do you get more people to talk about you? How do you get people that do business with you to become your frontline of marketing?
Let’s be honest. If I put a Facebook campaign together whether it’s a pretty video of me going, “I’m the best coach in America or in the planet. I’m fantastic. I’m wonderful,” that me. That’s my message. If you had someone that spent money with me that went, “Steve Sims, he’s the guy,” that’s what it is for. Here’s a little game I play at coaching events that I do. We do these events called Speakeasy. This is a little game that we play every now and then. It seems to do well.
I’ll play it with you. I urge any of your audience to play the game with your team. I walk into the bar, Mitch. I walk up to you and I go, “Mitch, how are you doing? Steve Sims. I worked with Sir Elton John, Elon Musk and the Pope. I’m a big deal. How are you doing?” I go to shake your hand. You’ve never met me before. That’s how I introduced myself to you even calling myself a big deal at the end of it. How do you feel?
I want to take a shower and leave.
It’s repulsive, isn’t it? Let’s play a different game. We mentioned a mutual friend of ours, Jay Abraham. I walk into a bar. You’re in the bar with Jay Abraham. I walk up to the end of the bar. I order my old fashioned and I’m there alone. I’ve ignored you. Why shouldn’t I? I don’t know who you are but Jay taps you on the shoulder and goes, “Do you see that guy over there? That guy works with Sir Elton John, Elon Musk and the Pope. That guy is a big deal.” Now, what do you want?
The information hasn’t changed. The wording hasn’t changed. Nothing has changed apart from the source of information. Amplification, the first thing you’ve got to understand is what’s the source. Is it a Facebook advert or was it someone else talking about you? Is it testimonials? Is it videos? Is it podcasts? I’ve naturally got credit and credibility by being on your show because you’ve done your searching to make sure that I am the man that says I am. I’m walking in on your credibility. You’re the source for people to go, “I’ll put up with him. I’ll listen to him.”
In my world, when I work with people, the first thing I do is look to find out that brand, what is the solution they have and how to amplify it to get maximum reach. You get ten people talking about you. Those ten people have ten people. It is not long before you’ve got 1,000 clients. Amplification starts not with marketing but with understanding what are you the solution to and who has that problem.
I call that the blood spurting problem that you solve. When I work with my clients, I ask them, “The clients you’re working with, what is their blood spurting problem?” Like you said before about looking for the headache remedy, where they need a solution and you happen to have it. Most of the time, for many people in business, there is no blood spurting problem. They had an idea. They built something or they opened up a business and maybe one or two people bought it. They now think that they’re a company. In my experience, it’s not quite that way.
You can get lucky. I’ll talk about my own luck. I started a software company in my twenties. Years later, I grew it to 250,000 clients and sold it for eight figures. I got lucky. I made a couple of moves that turned out to be okay but the bottom line, like you, I had no experience. I was only lucky but I did know that there was a lack of something in a market that needed to be filled. That’s where I started.
The funny thing is you say about blood spurting problems, a lot of people don’t realize they have problems. A lot of people are ignorant to the issue. That’s when whenever we do any marketing and put forth to the solution, we turn around and ask questions that we know the answers to. We turn around and go, “Do you have problems with this? Have you ever wondered how this could be escalated? Have you ever sitting there going, ‘How come this isn’t happening?’” You put forward the problem. Probably the best marketing campaign ever on the planet was, “Tense? Nervous? Headache? Take aspirin.” Here’s a problem. Here’s a solution.
If you start by showing off what the problem is, you can’t people to go, “Do you know I’ve often thought that? I never realized it but yes. That’s me. This must be the solution.” Establish the problem. Find out if they have it and provide them with a solution. The worse thing in the world is to go, “Do you have a problem with this?” Someone says, “Yes.” You go, “Sorry about that,” and walk away. That’s going to aggravate the crap out of them. Make sure you have the solution to the problem before you establish the problem.
That’s what I did at the beginning of the show when I talked about Clientfol.io but we call that a missionary sell. Missionary sell is I first have to tell you the problem you have before I can tell you what the solution is. There’s nothing wrong with that except that it’s two steps. Think of the pyramid. The top 2% of the period is people who have this desperate problem that if they think they might even have a hint of a solution, they want to buy right away. Below that, the next layer is maybe 15% or 20%. Those are the people who have the problem but don’t quite understand what their problem is but they know something’s wrong.
The whole idea in my world is I like to find people at the top of the pyramid or close to it. If I have first to tell them what their problem is then they’re not close enough to make a buying decision in a short period of time. My perspective is instead of wasting our time doing stuff with people who don’t know they have a problem. Let’s find people who are searching for a solution to this problem. That’s where my approach has helped me in the past because ultimately when people are searching for a problem, they are interested in what you have to say. It’s like, “You don’t want to be advertised.” You don’t want to see ads in your feed about ladies’ makeup. Maybe you do, Steve but I doubt you do.
That’s a Friday and I don’t want to go in now.
The whole idea is that if you showed me ads for high-end camera gear or guitars, now I’m interested. I’m paying attention to ads, for heaven’s sake. This is the art of marketing. To me, it’s knowing first whether or not your service fits the target market. I love the way you said it too because it all makes sense. Let’s go back to amplifying oneself. I want to follow your strategy. Now, I am telling people in advance. I’m saying, “If you have a splitting headache, I have the solution. It’s called aspirin.” Where do I take that? If I have to talk about myself or my aspirin solution then I’m marketing. How do I go about the distinction between what you’ve talked about marketing and branding? Where is the branding? How does a person begin the process of branding something, someone a product or service?Focus on who you let through your door and into your life to avoid 99.9% of the headache. Click To Tweet
There’s something that’s caught on as a term called edutainment. You don’t have to do a video going, “My name’s Steve Sims. I’m the greatest guy,” that kind of stuff. You could do a video and go, “I got this question come into me about this. We were able to go through these five steps to be able to get the client to the position they wanted to meet. I’m letting this put out there that if you have that same issue, you can follow the same steps.” You’re not focusing on you. You’re focusing on the problem. That’s why you could potentially get other clients. I’ve started a series. It’s not even released yet. I don’t even have a pitch day or anything like that where I’ve got a private group called Sims Distillery.
If you are a member of that, you get the chance by lottery to be coached by me for 30 minutes online. I take that video and we’re going to do a series of it on YouTube, where you’re going to see me coaching other people’s problems. Every single video doesn’t announce me and where you can go and get coached by me. It doesn’t do any marketing for me. It focuses on the person’s problem by exampling how I look at an issue. It gives you a real-life view of this is how he looks at things.
This is how we handle things. I don’t know what the problems are. I don’t know what the questions are going to be. This is how he thinks on his feet. This is how he views a situation. I’m giving real-life examples but I can take that video of somebody else’s problem, put it on YouTube, even boost it on YouTube. “Do you have this problem? We spoke about this for 30 minutes,” but I’m focusing on the problem.
You said about the top 2%. If you acquire how many people are in the planet and you get 2% of those as clients, you are not going to worry about it. That is called better segmentation. Whenever I did parties and I used to throw these big parties in Asia, I would go through the social magazines and the new job announcement, “So-and-so’s now the president of so-and-so. Mr. So-and-so has come over from Germany or India and is now the Senior VP of this.” I would invite those people. I would always target market those people. I would always focus on those in my room so that if I had millionaires in my room, they, apart from me, were the poorest people in the room. I focused on the marketplace.
One of the things I had as a doorman and it’s weird how this has constantly crapped up in my life. Anyone reading this, make a note of this because this is a mic drop moment. I told you that I would play games with who was coming towards the door so I could suss out what they were getting involved in. Sometimes, you’ll get a bunch of goals in there that were looking to get a rich boyfriend. Sometimes you’ll get a bunch of guys that had a few beers then that was looking for a fight. If you got either of that communities in the room, it started a toxic reaction. I learned very early on and this is why I was such a good doorman.
If I controlled who I let in my room, I removed 99.9% of the problems. My manager used to yell at me going, “You turned so many people around.” I’m like, “When was the last time you had a table turned upside down? When was the last time you had a fight?” Control your front door. This is when it comes down to clients. Don’t accept a checkbook. Accept a client. Focus on the person, on the problem, on you being the solution. If all of those things are right, the checkbook is a swipe. That’s the means to an end. Focus on who you let through your door and into your life to remove 99.9% of the headache.
I want to go back to something you said earlier about edutainment. I want to share an experience. I had a client and a great product. Their primary method of selling, which goes back some years, was trade shows. They would go to the trade shows and spend a lot of money. They’d come back with hardly any sales but they cobbled together enough leads that they could barely break even and pay for the next one. I said, “Let me go and see what’s going on.”
I go to the trade show. They have these booth babes in the front who are trying to drag guys out of the aisle way and put a brochure in front of their faces. After about three hours of watching this, I called the manager over and said, “Do you mind? I’d like to rearrange the booth. I’d like to get to something completely different.” He said, “Yes. Whatever you want. Nothing is working here so might as well try that.” What we did, Steve is we emptied the booth out of displays and we put in chairs. We had about 60 chairs in the booth. We put up a screen and a sign that said, “Next training session at 1:00 PM.”
This was a software product. All we did was run hourly training sessions and we filled 60 seats. Every single person sat down. They wanted to see what was going on. By learning about it, they got to know how to use it. By getting to know how to use it, they wanted to buy it or subscribe to it. We were converting about 25% of the people on the spot who would sit through the training. That, I thought, was the greatest example of edutainment I’ve ever seen. That’s why it works.
You bought in a real-life working example of who you are, what you stand for, even the voice. That’s one of the things about amplification that a lot of people don’t understand. You’ve got to amplify your voice and your tonality. These are key things. I could say to you something like, “Mitch, tomorrow at 8:00 PM.” It sounds boring but if it were, “Mitch, tomorrow at 8:00 PM. Be here.” That excitement changes the complete message. It’s very hard even for J.K. Rowling and a top copywriter to get tonality in words and text. That’s why now I’m going to worry about it. You got video. If you can do video and podcasts, you can get that tonality across. Tonality emphasizes the message and the reason behind what you are doing.
Steve, once we have our branding and we know that our goal is to get others to say things about us and share what their experience has been with our product or service, what is the next step?There is a difference between being easy to understand and impossible to misunderstand. Click To Tweet
Continuation. It’s a snowball. Every time I’m interviewing someone, I go, “During this interview, I may find a couple of bits in there that I feel helpful to my clients. Would you mind me taking a snippet of that?” “No, that’s fine. Steve.” “We’re working on this project. If we find a solution that works well, can I take that and mention that we worked on it together?” “Yes. That’s fine.” You set it upfront that you’re going to do this. I know we’re doing a podcast and you’re going to promote it. You’re going to put it out that. I’m aware of that. You should be the same with your clients.
When you’re working with your clients, don’t ask for a testimonial after the event. Tell them at the beginning, “If this works, I’m going to look to get a little soundbite out of you so I can show other people that this is a solution that works. Are you okay with that?” Line it up at the beginning. It also lets them know that you value the outcome to benefit them in order for you to be able to get that testimonial.
There’s something else very important about what you said. What you’re doing when you pre-frame the outcome that you’re looking for is you’re aligning people to it even before you start. That’s a big deal. It’s like going to a webinar. Remember when webinars were like a surprise at the end they try and sell you something? We’ve got past that by now but what we used to do many years ago, we used to tell people in the first five minutes, “This is a free webinar. We’re going to share a lot of great content with you but in the last 25 minutes we’re going to basically offer you a chance to go even further. If you like what we share with you, would you mind sticking around and at least hearing what we have to offer?” That changed everything. It increased our closing rate by over 10%.
We’re getting into a different subject now. We’re getting into the world of clarity. I speak a lot of events and I’m sure you do. Any speaker, the first thing they do is they’ve got that presentation and all these things but before they go on stage, a good speaker will usually hang around in the back or even behind the scenes but look through the curtain and watch the previous speakers speak to get the temperature of the room. You’ve got to know who you’re talking to and the temperature of the prospect. Here’s the bottom line.
Years ago, like the webinar, buying a car and buying a watch, this salesman would start the spiel and start walking you down a funnel of, “My God, sir. You’ve got exquisite taste,” and they would start walking you down this. You know you’re being sold and being funneled down to a point where you got to get your credit but half of the time, you found it quite amusing and you were quite comfortable with it because you knew where it was going. We’ve gone through 2 to 3 years of distortion and distraction. People are screaming manipulations and conspiracy. We’ve got big conversations, Black Lives Matter, Asian Hate, #MeToo. There’s so much noise going on at the moment that we’re aggravated.
When someone stopped and say, “I would like to talk to you about this webinar,” you’re going to go, “I know you want to sell me something.” Canceled. We’ve got into that. If you can be crystal clear, “I’m going to talk to you for twenty minutes. In the last 5 minutes, I’m going to tell you about a service I’ve got that’s going to benefit you in the long run but it’s going to cost you a couple of dollars but I’m telling you that upfront.” Now, the person is going, “All right. No surprises because I’ve had surprises for three years and some of them are not fun.” We’re in a world now where we’re aggravating. It’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We won’t be cloudy. “I believe you’ve got this problem. I’ve got the solution that’s $2,500.”
It couldn’t be more simple. People now want clarity. Framing is very important in this world. Less is more. Brevity is king and be crystal clear. In fact, to quote a friend of mine, Brian Kurtz, “There is a difference between being easy to understand and impossible to misunderstand.” You’ve got to make sure that every single bit of your copy, direction social, website, marketing and branding is impossible to misunderstand. In order for it to be impossible to misunderstand, it’s got to be accurate.
The worst industry in the world as a culprit for this is realtors. Realtors are still using photographs from a photo shoot that they had from several years ago. You think there’s this 30-something blonde girl who is going to turn up and it’s a 65-year-old grandmother who does. You don’t care because you’re buying a house. Straight away, that was a fraud. I was lied to. I was expecting that and I got this.
No confused client or prospect will ever give you that credit card. You have to go back to your brand, social, marketing and go, “Is this crystal clear who I am?” If you meet me in a bar, see me on stage, hear me on other podcasts, visit my social and website, I will be the exact same person on every single one of those platforms because I want to be impossible to misunderstand.
That’s why I went through a complete rebranding of my own company. We redid everything because of what you said. By the way, the situation you described with the realtor, that’s the state of affairs on every dating site in America these days, unfortunately. Steve, this has been an incredible conversation. Readers, if you’ve enjoyed this, first of all, I’d suggest you reread it with a notepad and a pen because there are some real gems here from Steve. I would hope that you capture those.
Steve, we’re going to transition to the next part of the show where I get to ask you some questions. Some call them silly questions about you. I have a feeling you’re going to enjoy this. It might be fun. It might not be but nonetheless, we’ll get through it together. Here’s the first question. Steve, who in all of space and time would you like to have one hour to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?
I’ve been asked this before and I don’t know if it’s going to upset you with the answer. I don’t care because it was my answer, Hitler.
I’ve heard Hitler as an answer before. Tell me why.
I want to find out what he was so scared about. We’ve got a man and he built up a country to go to war to breed the ultimate human being of blonde-haired, blue eyes when he was short and brown-haired. He was building up a nation that eventually, we’d have to eradicate him. I want to know what he was terrified of that he did the stuff that he did. There must’ve been some fear behind it. I want to know what that is.
The other person, it was brought up one other time in a show and I believe the angle there was how does one man end up controlling an entire population? The idea was that the person I was interviewing would love to ask him how he did that and what he did. In some ways, it’s obvious now in retrospect but it also would have been an interesting conversation.
There’s a great program. It’s on Netflix called Tyrant. That shows you all the different tyrants through our world and how they’ve done that. In fact, that question bothers me. How do you control the world or control the country? That question scares me because he’s not what he wants to do. It’s a very interesting program, shows you how all of these people did it and manipulate their way through it.
I’m going to check it out. It sounds interesting. What is it that you’re doing now or would like to do that truly has the potential to change the world literally?
I want people to stop thinking. That may sound something stupid in a world where everyone’s telling they want to be woken, be more educated but the situation now is we overthink everything and we don’t overdo it. We mentioned Jay Abraham a few times. Jay said to me once, “I have a great I can than an IQ.” I’m going to think of doing something and before the end of that thought, I’m going to start doing it. I will become educated whether or not it works or doesn’t work. A brilliant idea with no action is a wasteful moment. I want people to start doing more, thinking less and actioning more.
As a side note, the first time I met Jay was at one of his conferences. I attended his four-day workshop and I felt like I needed to see a doctor after taking 36 pages of long-form notes. When I came home, I took scissors and cut those notes up into pieces and started distributing them around my team. I said, “You do this.” At that point, everything changed. The information was amazing. Jay is brilliant, as you know. We were able to take action that made a huge difference. People, take your notes, listen to what Steve has to say and take action. It will change your life as well. Steve, we’re about at the end of the show but I have one more question. It’s you fulfilling a promise you made to me before the show. You said, “Mitch, I have an incredible gift for your audience and it’s free.” Tell me what that is.
I wrote this book, Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen. When we started writing the book and we didn’t think about it, at the back of every single chapter, we started off by putting these bullet points of what the chapter was going to be. In fact, those bullet points ended up becoming the cheat sheet of the chapters. When we sent them up to our editor and went, “This is what we’re looking to doing,” they love the idea that there was a cheat sheet at the back of every chapter. We continued it. If you visit SteveDSims.com and you subscribe to my newsletter, you’re going to get two things. You’re going to get the cheat sheet that you can download. The link will be sent to you. You’ve also going to be given free access to my private Facebook Group, An Entrepreneur’s Advantage with Steve Sims. You can get both of those things and unsubscribe. I don’t care but that will help you with a free cheat sheet and access to hearing more from me on a regular basis.
It is. The funny thing is I had to audition to read my own book. I hadn’t read the contract very well. I won the job. This is me that reads my own book.
I tend to consume more books now on audio than I do in written form. That’s where I’m headed. I highly recommend people do that as well. My only two books that are published now are also available on Audible as well. People say they enjoyed them too. Steve, thank you so much for hanging out with Mitch and sharing your wisdom with us all. I look forward to the next time we get a chance to talk again soon.
I appreciate you. Thank you very much for having me.
- The Art Of Making Things Happen – Podcast
- Jay Abraham
- An Entrepreneur’s Advantage with Steve Sims – Facebook Group
- Audible – Bluefishing: The Art of Making Things Happen
About Steve Sims
I teach you the art of communication so that you can gain and utilize relationships to accelerate your business goals.
I speak at the highest-level events teaching entrepreneurs the art of communication in every sector of business. I offer limited spots for 1-on-1 consulting and specific courses to aid you in making the next step to a more efficient and profitable career. I make use of MY connections to help you in whatever it is that YOU may need through my exclusive Speakeasy membership.
WHY TRUST ME?:
Entrepreneur Magazine labeled me as “The Real Life Wizard of Oz” because I have developed a reputation for making the impossible, possible. I founded the first high-end luxury concierge, through which I’ve arranged things like private dinners at the feet of Michelangelo’s “David” while being serenaded by Andrea Bocelli. I published a best-selling book, “Bluefishing”, documenting how I’ve built a business on social currency. I have spoken for Harvard, The Pentagon, and Fortune 500 Companies. All coming from a young lad that was only qualified to lay bricks at a construction site. I’ve spent 20+ years falling on my face to learn the lessons that you can implement into YOUR career ambitions.