THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST
As the founder of Up My Influence, Josh been fortunate to generate over $10 million in revenue over the past 15 years, and he is eager to share some of the strategies that have helped me achieve this.
In his experience, consistency and predictability are crucial to generating consistent and predictable sales activity. Building relationships and participating in whisper networks can be incredibly valuable.
At Up My Influence, they've launched over 200 podcasts to make guests feel significant and serve audiences. Josh believes in connection's power and the importance of making every interaction meaningful.
Sales numbers can sometimes be viewed negatively, but Josh believes it's crucial to approach sales with curiosity and a genuine desire to build relationships. When meeting with a potential client, the focus should be on being genuinely curious about the other person and exploring ways to help each other.
In dealing with demanding clients, Josh advises being selective and not taking on clients who may be toxic or not a good fit culturally. A bad client can have a negative impact on the business and team morale. It's important to set boundaries and ensure that your team only works with good people.
One of the most critical lessons Josh learned is the power of generosity. Showing up positively in people's lives and being thoughtful can lead to unexpected opportunities and connections.
Key Points from the Episode:
- Importance of consistency and predictability in sales
- Building relationships and participating in whisper networks
- Importance of curiosity and genuine interest in potential clients
- Building strong relationships with leaders and treating them as intelligent individuals
- Potential downsides of relationship-building selling and how to overcome them
- Selling a personalized service and providing value to potential clients
- Avoiding the traditional “lead” and “salesperson” dynamic
- Dealing with difficult clients and the negative impact they can have
- Josh Elledge's journey as an entrepreneur and the success of Savings Angel
- Adapting to new innovations and disruptive technologies
- Using platforms to celebrate others and build meaningful relationships
- The power of generosity and leaving a positive trail
About Josh Elledge:
Josh Elledge is a seasoned entrepreneur and business leader dedicated to helping thoughtful business leaders maximize their sales potential. With a focus on leveraging authority and building meaningful relationships, Josh guides businesses away from traditional spammy lead-generation tactics.
As the founder of SavingsAngel.com, he achieved seven-figure annual sales without relying on paid ads, emphasizing the importance of standing out in a crowded market.
Inspired by the belief that advertising is the price of being unremarkable, Josh emphasizes leading with generosity. His extensive experience in PR led him to co-create UpMyInfluence in 2014, initially a media consulting and PR agency.
Recognizing the impact of their approach on sales and revenue growth, the company evolved to help clients achieve consistent and predictable B2B sales by harnessing authority, generosity, and platform. Josh's innovative strategies have enabled numerous businesses to succeed in the competitive landscape.
About Up My Influence:
UpMyInfluence is a revolutionary platform empowering entrepreneurs to enhance their sales through cost-effective PR solutions. Offering step-by-step tools, coaching, and PR hacks, they guide clients to attract their ideal audiences.
Membership perks include online tools, webinars, and personalized coaching, covering diverse topics like kickstarting sales funnels and achieving social media prominence. Services encompass media monitoring, PR authority audits, press kits, and personal podcast host introductions.
Distinguishing themselves, UpMyInfluence provides Platinum Level clients with 100-120 media and influencer connections and 1,800 press release media placements annually.
UpMyInfluence collaborate with PR and marketing agencies, offering a-la-carte services like marketing, SEO, social media management, creative work, and event PR.
Catering to entrepreneurs, startups, e-commerce, and business owners, UpMyInfluence's unique approach, operating as a lean startup with affordable monthly services and no contracts, sets them apart in the competitive PR landscape. Founder Josh Elledge's firsthand experience ensures tried-and-true methods for success.
04:14 – “If you give enough value and if you share enough trust and vulnerability with your audience, you'll get everything you want and need.”
04:26 – “What you need to do is put other people's needs first, and the other stuff will happen.”
52:57 – “Generosity is the gift that will keep you in business and will allow you to thrive and scale like never before.”
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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. Hey there, thoughtful entrepreneur listener. I have a very special episode for you. It's not often that I do this, but I thought it would be pretty valuable. And this is kind of a what, Joe, I guess you would call like a solo episode where it's primarily going to be me talking to you, and I'm actually taking this audio from a podcast interview that I did with a panel of gentlemen from Taco Technologies.
Josh (00:01:23) - You're going to find out really quickly that I do a lot of talking. And so if you like the kind of stuff I talk about occasionally about on the podcast, you're going to love this episode if you don't care so much. For me, I don't think this is going to be the episode for you anyway. Here we go. I hope you enjoy this. And and again, I just want to say thank you again so much for being a listener of the thoughtful entrepreneur. As always, always looking to celebrate great leaders. If you know someone that deserves to be celebrated, send them our way. Just go to up my influence and you'll see where we've got an opportunity there where we can celebrate you to over 100,000 great business adults. Is is kind of how I refer to them. And additionally, maybe you are B2B, maybe you are a service provider, maybe you're a consultant, coach, agency owner, B2B service provider of some sort. Generally, working with you is a little bit higher ticket.
Josh (00:02:16) - If you are in a position where you would like more consistency and predictability with high level introductions and conversations and you know, and you believe that that is the best way to grow business, hey, come talk with me. You can grab 30 minutes with me. It's cool. And again, you can just find that. Just go to again my website up my influence and I'd love to meet you, if nothing else. You know, just grab some time with me and just say, hey, I listen to the podcast and, you know, whatever. I would love to build a relationship with you. Thanks so much and enjoy the episode.
Speaker 2 (00:02:51) - So, Josh, as I ask, you know how you landed here, how this podcasting happening? What inspired you or what was the inner story behind this?
Josh (00:02:59) - Yeah, so my background is I was in the United States Navy and I was actually a Navy journalist, and I specialized in radio. So I really just love serving audiences, connecting with audiences. It's just being 100% in service authentically.
Josh (00:03:18) - You know, here in the United States, there was a movie back in the 80s called Good Morning Vietnam. Robin Williams was in that movie, and he played a character called Adrian Cronauer. Adrian Cronauer was one of my mentors that I got to learn from. Not, you know, he came in for a couple of days, but but it was those couple of days that forever transformed my life because he really instilled that love of being in service to audiences. Don't worry about selling. Don't worry about you know, what you want and what you need. If you give enough value and if you share enough trust and vulnerability with your audience, you'll get everything you want in need. You don't need to worry about that. What you need to do is put other needs, other people's needs first, and the other stuff will happen. And if you know the story, he actually got in some hot water during the war because he chose to be honest in a time when he was told to not be truthful.
Josh (00:04:14) - So history ultimately vindicated him. And I would say to marketers, please follow the example of Adrian Cronauer. Play the long game here. Always be honest. Stop worrying about what you want and need. And I know that's hard. I know that's really challenging when you might be faced with cash flow instability. But I promise you, if you play the long game, you can get out of the hamster wheel. You can stop with the silly sales funnels and marketing and the ads and all this other stuff. This is the quote. I think it was Robert Stevens, the founder of Geek Squad, who said that advertising is the tax you pay for being unremarkable. And I just again, do what you got to do to keep, you know, keep sales coming in or whatever. But you got to do stuff like focusing on content, focusing on building relationships. And, well, I think we're going to talk about a lot is how you can participate in what I call whisper networks. In other words, you're not having to worry about the showy stuff, right? So I'll give you a great example.
Josh (00:05:17) - So right now we're collaborating together on this great content. I'm a leader. You guys are all leaders in your respective fields. I hope that when we're done, we'll have an opportunity to chat in the green room. And now that we've done this cool thing together, right, we've built this relationship and we've got reciprocity going on either side, right. I hope that maybe we'll chat, and maybe there's going to be some way that we might work together. I don't know what it is, but I'm open and that's historically my experience. So I've had the opportunity to speak for the Tony Robbins organization, social media marketing world. A lot of podcasting conferences and I historically have always done this is going to blow some people's minds. I know some people like, I'm going to be a speaker and I'm going to sell a lot of things from the stage. Cool. Go for it if you want. I historically just personality wise, I generally serve my heart out from the stage and then afterwards, that's when I form meaningful connections with the perfect people that resonate with my message.
Josh (00:06:19) - Right? I do more business in the green room than I do on stage, you know, to kind of put a point on that. And that's exactly like what we've evolved, what we do today up my influence. We've launched over 200 podcasts. We do that because we want to do good in the world. We want to make other people feel significant. And when I say other people, I mean our guests, right? And we together with our guests, we want to serve audiences. We want to do that and help our guests make an impact in the world. But you know, what's amazing is, again, that most valuable, guaranteed relationship is between the host and the guest. This is something that we figured out a number of years ago, and it's been it's truly amazing. And so anyway, so that's kind of my zone of expertise or zone to genius, if you will, and happy to provide any kind of guidance. I'm also you'll know this like I'm a give it all away kind of guy.
Josh (00:07:13) - I'll tell you anything. There's nothing I will hold, you know, kind of under the table or whatever. I'll share with you anything that we're doing and what's working today.
Speaker 2 (00:07:21) - Oh, gosh. You have an amazing, you know, energy. And that's really impressive. That's really impressive. So, Josh, you talked about, you know, how you can give values to your client without thinking about numbers and all those stuff selling stuff. Right. But whenever we are in sales, people are in sales. In subconscious mind, there are numbers. Ultimately we need profit. Ultimately we need numbers. Right? How you are making sure that those on subconscious mind are not affecting your talk, your relationship ultimately as. You mentioned that you are doing more business in green room, so you figure out a way that first you will give something and then you will get something. But ultimately, your goal is also getting business in green room, right? So how it's not controversial.
Josh (00:08:03) - Yeah. Yeah yeah. Okay.
Josh (00:08:04) - That's a really, really great question on kind of the psychology because I think sometimes sales screws us up. Now I will say that our typical people that we work with are generally they might look at sales as almost a necessary evil. What they really want to do, what they love more than anything is they're a leadership consultant. They're a designer. They are coach that that helps people break through big challenges in their life. Or maybe they're selling a product and B2B that truly is revolutionary. That's what they're passionate about. You know, sales or marketing they might view is just kind of like something I have to do so that I can do what I really love. All right. So let me give you an example of how this might sound or how this might feel. And I think that it will start to become far more natural. Okay. So imagine that you're on stage. You're on a panel. Right? So there's let's say three other panelists, and you're one of the four people that are being interviewed on stage.
Josh (00:09:05) - You're there to answer the questions and deliver a lot of value for the audience. Your co-panelists that's their job to answer questions, deliver a lot of value, and hopefully create a great impact for the audience. Okay, you and those three other individuals are probably going to get to know each other just a little bit, just a little bit. But when you start to observe the individual work that you're doing, you start to have this mutual professional respect for one another. And then because of that, you recognize, you know what, we're pretty similar here. Sounds like you care about the things I care about. And I'm really interested to learn more. And so then you might say to one of your co-panelists, hey, I really enjoyed what you had to share. Look, I don't know if you have a break right now or later, but I'd love to grab coffee and then you go and you just hang out. Now, if you show up to that meeting and you start pitching them, wow, that would be awful.
Josh (00:10:07) - Don't do that right. Every potential sales conversation or a partnership, a collaboration or you know, you're chatting with an investor or an influencer or whatever, you got to, you know, it's kind of like dating, right? If you go all out on your first date, it's not going to work real well for you. And similarly, I'm sure we've all been to those mixers where you have that one dude who's got a bunch of business cards in his hand and he's like, oh, he's just like on robo sales mode. Everyone avoids him like the plague. He's like Pigpen from Charlie Brown, right? It's just like no one wants to be stinks. Right? And so you don't want to be that dude, and you don't need to be. That's. Listen, and this is really, really critical when we also talk about buyer personas. If you sell high ticket, you do not have the luxury of selling it people. That's not how leaders buy leaders. Decision makers are generally pretty bright.
Josh (00:11:05) - Okay. Now I'm not talking about, you know, kind of a very transactional RFP process. Most of the clients that we work with, those that sale tends to be very relationship oriented. It tends to be very consultative. Right. So your obvious next step when you're getting coffee with this person that you mutually respect should be this word. And please write this down. It's curiosity. That's all it is. If you are curious about this other person. And obviously one thing we're going to explore is, is there a way for us to help one another? And that's all you have to do right now. Here's the thing. Right. You may need to take the lead in driving this curiosity and how this engagement could look. But someone says, what do you want to talk about? I don't know, but I'd love to find out. I can share with you what my superpowers are and kind of what I do. I don't know, that might be a topic of conversation. I know a lot of people maybe that might be helpful.
Josh (00:12:07) - I'd certainly love to learn more about your offer. And I might say, well, you know, I've interview a ton of people. We've got over 200 clients. I might have some connections, I don't know. Right. And similarly, they may not know either. But so now we're approaching this because you don't want the other person to feel like you have an agenda. If they feel like you have an agenda, good luck. Because number one, here's what happens psychologically. We're emotional creatures, right? We're all emotional. So you know, I mentioned Tony Robbins earlier. I remember the sales training from Tony. Tony talks about urban and suburban emotional reasons for buying now logical reasons for buying now. Right. And we make our decisions emotionally first and then we back it up with logic. Well, the same thing happens with first and. Or what somebody feeling about you might be. And then what they're going to do is they're going to look for evidence to support their inclination, what their belief is.
Josh (00:13:01) - Right. That's all they're going to do. So in other words, if they're like, I don't want to grab a call with this guy, he's just going to sell something at me, right? Somehow you gave that impression, okay. Already they're coming in looking to be disappointed. And that, believe it or not, they would much rather be disappointed to confirm that they are a smart person and perceptive, right? Because that gives them validation of their ability to read people. So what you want, it's inappropriate at this point. We don't know yet. We cannot assume if they are going to be a good fit for our product or service. We don't know that yet. And to assume otherwise. It's not only is it audacious, it's inappropriate. And I can tell you right now, leaders are not going to like that. And in fact, they may actively hate you for it. So don't do that. Play the long. Just trust me. This is how leaders by leaders by. So two leaders who like each other are going to find ways to do business together.
Josh (00:14:02) - They just will. I build a relationship with someone. There's some trust there. We've each gotten to know each other. Right. It's a saying. It's like I only do business with the people that I'm already doing business with. Or at the very least, I only do business with the people that I have a really good relationship with. No like and trust, you know, that sort of thing. And that's how leaders by leaders are generally pretty bright folks. There is a reason that they've gotten to the position that they are, and if you treat them as anything other than exceptionally bright, they've got some wisdom, they've got some experience, they're going to know it. And by the way, this is another thing you should write down to our friend listening. You broadcast your intention before you ever start speaking. We know what you want. It's your energy. It's the way you're looking at us. It's those non verbal cues that communicate everything and you have no way of preventing your desires from. We know we can all read it audiences today.
Josh (00:15:03) - And I know this from my 15 plus years as a consumer expert. Audiences today have never been savvier. They know what your intention is before you ever open your words. So that's why it's really important to go into this conversation in curiosity. You're going to outsell robo sales guy 10 to 1, especially if you're talking leader to leader. You don't need to worry about that. And you know what? If you guys have a great conversation and you decide that there's really not a path forward to engage, okay, you're still a friend for life like that is a darn good consolation prize as opposed to some robo sales guy, the amateur, the guy who's lurking in the DMs, the guy that's sending out cold spam. Okay, leaders know that persona, and we avoid them. Just like we avoid Pigpen at the at the mixer. Right? It's the same thing, right? And I don't mean I don't want to say this and have you feel bad if you've been engaging in that sort of behavior, please don't feel bad.
Josh (00:16:03) - It's not your fault. That's just what some guru told you to do. And they got rich selling you that thing or that idea that doesn't work, so that you keep going back to the well and keep buying more things because that thing's not working, when in fact, you know it works. Relationships. We do business with the people that we like. We do business with our friends. Leaders who like each other, will move heaven and earth to try to find ways to do business together and listen. Maybe you don't sell them your big ticket thing, but maybe you partner on something. Maybe you get referrals back and forth. That's what leaders who are friends do for one another. I am set for life, believe it or not. You know, check us out of my influence and kind of see what we do. We have been 100% inbound since November of 2019, so as of when we're recording this, it has been nearly four years. I don't do any advertising. I don't do any marketing other than just very natively naturally sharing the content that we do.
Josh (00:17:00) - That's it. There's no sales messages in nearly anything we do. We just don't need to do that. I would much rather earn trust and, you know, and just really connect with people at a human level and then treat them like an adult and let them figure out where we go from here.
Speaker 2 (00:17:18) - Oh, okay. So I have a bunch of questions now. Right. And yeah.
Josh (00:17:21) - Sorry. That was a long.
Speaker 3 (00:17:23) - It was great. It was amazing. You pulled a very.
Josh (00:17:27) - Long string on my back, and it took a long time for it to wind back up in there.
Speaker 2 (00:17:32) - This is my favorite part of jaws, you know. And I'm really sorry for not giving you a chance, but I have lots of questions. The first. George, I'm also a relationship builder. Right. And I follow this method also. So whenever I'm going to talk to a client and try to find some connect point, maybe someone whom I'm working with or their friends with or any connection or any city, any school, I try to find some connection.
Speaker 2 (00:17:52) - The problem with this kind of relation building, selling that it's take lots of time. The sales cycle increase, right? Because you are not on driving seat, you are sitting in a bag, you are giving time to make relation and then somehow you pitch for your product or something like that. And this is the major problem. It's not with me. It's I believe a lot of the people who are going out and doing relationship building and doing relationships selling. Right. So how and you can make sure that they are selling fast with building this kind of relationship. What's your advice on that?
Josh (00:18:21) - Okay, that's a really great question. I suspect that there are a lot of people that are concerned about that. So let's talk about where money comes from, okay? Money comes from you engaging with clients and they give you money. Okay. To get to that point, you have to trust the old adage that some will, some won't. So what what that means is two caveats. All right. Number one, you do need to know how to lead in a relationship.
Josh (00:18:49) - And we could talk about what that looks like a little bit later. Right. So you do need to do that. I mean you're going to need to have some basic ability to lead in this dance. And I'm talking about stuff like booking the next call, keeping the conversation going, asking the right questions, stuff like that. Right. Suggesting maybe or presenting potential paths forward. Right. It's just stuff like that. All right. So that's sales okay. Then there's your offer. Right. So chances are, you know you're probably okay at sales if you're listening to this. Secondly, now unless the market has drastically changed, chances are if you've already sold your product before, that's probably not your problem. So again, if we're talking about inconsistent cash flow, it's going to come down to one thing. You aren't talking with enough people. And when I say talking with enough people, I'm talking about building meaningful relationships. Okay. Now you're also addressing the topic you brought up about sales cycles. Sales cycles.
Josh (00:19:55) - I have some, some ideas, some solutions on that. Right. So let's say that you're selling a product that is a $3,000 a month engagement. That's our pricing, right? For people for whom that is a meaningful budget item. I'm sorry, but it's going to take a long time for someone to pull the trigger on that. Most people are not that risk averse. If I'm saying that. Right, right. They're going to they're going to need some time to process that and think about that. The number one thing you could do, if you're in that position, if you want to speed things up, is you have to be able to allow for some sort of test trial product. You can call it first time offer. You can call it a proof of concept, a validation product, make it priced really inexpensively. But you have to sell something. The quality of that product, you're going to lose money or you're going to break even on this thing, right? You cannot degrade the quality of the product.
Josh (00:20:54) - In other words, if you're selling a high level concierge level service, you can't say, well, why don't you join our group or buy my e-course? They ain't going to do that because that's a different buyer persona. You have to be willing to sell a piece or something that can validate the concept of working together, right? You have to give them a lot of value in this thing. You can't just say, oh, I'm going to give you a free audit. Maybe, but that might not work. And you're going to really have to do a lot of research with your client as well. You have to give them value so that when you tell them what you're going to give them for like 500 bucks or something like that, they're going to be like. Am. Why would I not do that? That's a no brainer, right? And what you want is you just want the opportunity to begin that relationship as a service provider or consultant or B2B or whoever you are, right and client, you need to step into that relationship so long as you are.
Josh (00:21:49) - And I hate this word lead and salesperson. Those and I hate that word to those are by the way that is a that's a yucky dynamic. You want to get out of that. You want to stay in the friend zone. People don't ghost friends by the way. You want to stay in the friend zone, and then you want to naturally, collaboratively make a decision on where we go from here. What makes sense for us. Right. Well, let me make it really easy for you. I would be happy to completely validate this concept to a proof of concept. And here's what I'm going to do. And by the way, I'm going to do this nice thing for you and this nice thing and this nice thing for you. And I just, I need a little budget so that I can afford to do this. And by the way, you know, let's say that and we still want to say if collectively we decide that it makes sense for us to work together, I'll give you a full credit for this 487 to any future work.
Josh (00:22:41) - But you don't need to worry about that right now. That's not a today decision. Let's figure this out together. That right there is probably the greatest. And I'm talking this is very relevant to 2023. And at the beginning of the year we noticed because again, we have over 200 clients. We were getting a lot of feedback from people, sales cycles getting bumped out. Usually people customers start doing that when they feel like the economy is a little shaky or there's too much disruptive technology. There's something that's disruptive in the market. People tend to be a little bit more conservative. They don't want to have too many things going at once. And so you're just going to have to make it a lot easier for them to just get started working with you. You can't do it for free because then they don't value it. And if they're not willing to give you 500 bucks, they're not a client for you. I mean, their their risk aversion is so high they were never going to move forward on your big ticket thing to begin with.
Josh (00:23:33) - So you may as well just go for a win where you can get them. Now, what I'll tell you is that we started doing this exact process that I'm talking about about three months ago. We have tripled, tripled our overall conversion rate. I have three times as many people buy something than before. Now, of those who get started in fast start, which is, you know, our kind of limited scope, proof of concept thing that we'll do. By the way, I won't take any client. In fact, if someone enrolls and I haven't talked with them, I won't begin work until I've talked with them because some people are just not a good fit for us. That's really important to we could talk about that. That's a really critical part of this. But what I can tell you is that overall, we have doubled our conversion rate on our big ticket offer because we were able to start more people into our ecosystem. They start working with us and they're like, wow, I thought your free stuff was good.
Josh (00:24:25) - Your team is amazing. Plus, we deliver results. If you can't deliver results, you might want to work on that first. But if you can deliver results, then what do you what are you so scared of? If you could truly provide great outcomes for clients, why don't you find ways to absorb some risk so that your client doesn't have to absorb or shoulder all that risk? We have a lot of guarantees in how we work together. But that said, I don't take every bet I have to talk with someone. I need to make sure there's values, alignment, they fit, the right demographics, psychographic profile for us. They have to be very relational in their approach. They have to sell big ticket and they have to have some authority behind them. If they don't have those things, I wouldn't be able to help them. And it's not them, it's me. I just, I really I'm good at a certain persona and I'm just not good at some other things.
Speaker 2 (00:25:14) - Yeah. Josh.
Josh (00:25:16) - Another long answer. I'm sorry about that. Hopefully that was super valuable.
Speaker 3 (00:25:20) - That's amazing.
Speaker 2 (00:25:21) - It is. And that's the way you are putting it out as feeling like, you know, dating a girl, right? So here's my next question. I'd like to go deep in this. And definitely it's it's amazing to know that when we are dating the way we are, you know, starting a relationship with a client, it seems everything goody goody, you know, it's it's a nice picture. Starting a good movie first off is totally good, right. We are having a good conversation. Late night messages. All the relations are very good. Right. But after a certain time when you are proposing for any deals or maybe something like that, then real things happen, right? You talk about delivering the value, right? Sometimes what happened? Clients become toxic. You are not able to deliver the product, but still you don't want it to ruin the relationship. Cause this relationship took too much effort, right? It's took 3 or 4 meetings.
Speaker 2 (00:26:06) - So what you will do in that situation where you don't want to spoil the relationship, you wanted to keep that relationship, but still you are not capable of doing things which your client is asking.
Josh (00:26:16) - Okay, so if I understand your question right, I think it's really, really critical. So there's two things that we obsess on about my influence. Right. And let me know if I answer your question correctly here. So number one, we obsessed on our customer persona. I can tell you everything about I can tell you about the things that keep him up at night. I can tell you about the things that they question their own self-worth over. Right. I do this right, and I have a backstory in this, right. They they feel and I'll just I'll just share with you. Here's what we've learned about our customer. Right. If you pay really close attention to the emotions about what's going on in their life, here's a very, very common customer. Now, we've a couple of other customer personas, but this is our most prevalent one.
Josh (00:26:57) - They are at the stage in their business professionally where they feel like, you know, I thought when I got to this part, I wouldn't have to worry about cash flow. I thought when I got to this part, I wouldn't no longer have to worry about where my customers are coming from. Here I am, I'm in my 40s. I'm in my 50s and. I have to go out and drum up business on LinkedIn or social media, and that feels beneath me. To do that, I would much rather just be genuine and warm and giving on social media. I don't want to feel like I'm like tricking people into my sales funnel, because that feels unethical to me, right? So that's our buyer persona, and it's demoralizing. I'm not saying that that's always the case, but listen, almost everybody has cash flow issues of some point. Like if you're growing, you're going to have cash flow issues. I mean, it's just it's just that's just a part of business. Okay. So what we do very specifically is provide consistency and predictability when it comes to that issue.
Josh (00:28:01) - But getting to your point about who is not a fit. Okay. In the beginning, you will probably be tempted to take any client who is willing to throw money at you. I understand that that I would say is just part of the evolution of business ownership. Now I see all through you're kind of like shaking your heads like, yep, been there, done that. Right. And anyone who has got the wisdom, who has been around for any length of time, I just did this yesterday and someone had a conversation and afterwards I told my team, I said, let's not bother following up there. I don't think he would be a good fit, culturally, very red personality. No thank you. Don't I don't have time for it. I have enough clients, like at this point. Now, I'll tell you, there are a lot of consequences to having a bad client. Number one, it's going to impact your love of your business. And if you start losing love and you start resenting the work you do, my friend, it is going to be really hard for you to sell.
Josh (00:29:07) - You cannot afford to bring a bad client on. It's not worth it. It's fool's gold and worse than fool's gold. You are going to develop dysentery. If I'm using kind of a panning for gold metaphor there for thinking back to Oregon Trail. Yeah. So now, not only that, how valuable is your team and your team's happiness to your success? If your team is miserable, if your team resents coming to work, guess what's going to happen to the success of your product and services and your client relationships? Do you know that? Right? It's like one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. That is its poison. Avoid the negative awful hard. You got to avoid them. Don't take that money. Please don't take. Here's what I want you to call that. I want you to call that dysentery money. You grab that cash and all of a sudden, don't even know what dysentery is. It's. I think it's a number two problem. But if you take that dysentery money, you're going to get it and it's going to run throughout your whole culture.
Josh (00:30:18) - It's going to affect your other clients. And all of a sudden, you know, it's just a it's it's it's a bad time for everyone and it's going to stink everywhere.
Speaker 2 (00:30:29) - True, true. And this is really, you know, we have faced this issue. We have onboarded one client, which was, you know, totally messed up our working and we were not happy. And at the end, we have to say no to that client because it was impacting our culture and our team was not happy with that client. Right. That that happened. And we have experienced that. I would like to know about saving Angel. What is that what you are doing? What's what's happening there?
Josh (00:30:52) - Okay. So I had had six business failures in a row. And I won't say failure. I mean some of them did okay, like paid the bills sort of thing. But eventually I exited all of them and some of them pretty abruptly and pretty poorly. Savings Angel was my seventh business venture, you know, after like, leaving the Navy, right? That one did.
Josh (00:31:13) - Well, we became a six figure a month company. And it's interesting. Right. So the things I've learned by the way, I gained a every business you do, whether you succeed or you fail, you're gaining wisdom. And that wisdom is something you never lose. You shouldn't lose anyway. Right. And that is more valuable oftentimes than the money you make is what you learn and what you gain. So savings Angel, we really skyrocketed with the interest in in back in the day, in the early 2000 or mid 2000, it was extreme couponing, right. And so we hit that trend right at the right time. We already had a great website. I mean, we had a good customer base. Then Extreme Couponing hit TLC and we became I mean, it was awesome. I grew that company with zero ad dollars. I grew that company strictly by serving in the media. So I approached radio stations, magazines, newspapers, you know, everywhere that I could. I started working with influencers, bloggers back in the day, right? And I said, listen, I don't have any money, but I would love to create content.
Josh (00:32:17) - Here's what I could do for you. And by the way, I will do anything for you, for the opportunity to be of service to your audience. And enough of those outlets showed mercy on me. Not everyone did, but enough of them said, sure, you'll work for free and provide this great content. Okay, it's a win win. And then we would oftentimes do a rev share based on the activity that we would get. So that's how we grew. We paid out over $1 million in commissions to our partners. But interestingly enough, kind of with that rise of interest in couponing to save money. Now, listen, I was able to cut at a minimum, we were able to cut every one of our members grocery bills in half. That's a big deal when you're spending eight, $900 a month back then, right? If I can cut that down to $450 a month, that means all of our members were getting a $450 pay raise for 20 bucks a month, which is we were a membership based website.
Josh (00:33:10) - But interestingly, the market started getting tired and exhausted and and soured on couponing. The economy started improving, which was not good for me. And that's okay, because sometimes products and services have a life cycle, and you just have to know that that's totally normal. New innovations come along disruptive technology comes along, and again, you have to skate to where the puck will be. Now, thankfully, I had built savings Angel using PR, and so because of that, I kind of got good at that. And as a result, I started helping people and I was doing pro bono work in our local community, the local startup community, working with entrepreneurial organizations, people, color organizations, a lot of women owned business owners, that lot of veteran owned. That was because of my shared background in that. So I was just going serving on boards, hosting workshops, mentoring, and I worked with our local Sbdc, you know, small business development center, just like, hey, here's what my superpowers are.
Josh (00:34:13) - Put me to work. I'm here. I make okay money, I got my bills paid, I'm here to serve, and I did that enough. Then I started getting people wanted to hire me for PR, and I remember I was like, well, I didn't go to school for that. I don't know if I could do that. So I called. I called one of my buddies who was a PR professional. I'm like, this person wants to pay me money for PR, but that's not what I went to school for. He goes, brother, take the money. And yeah, do you believe you can get them a good outcome? I said yes, then that is a fair exchange and you don't need a license for that. You're good to go. I really I thought the PR police were going to come after me, so. Yeah. So that was actually, believe it or not, the very first iteration of up my influence. Up my influence was an unintentional accidental company. And good thing because while up, my influence was starting to grow and my kind of independent work was starting to grow, savings Angel was we had to wind it down.
Josh (00:35:08) - It was too bad because I really loved that work. Now, interestingly enough, I. I've been a syndicated newspaper columnist now for 14 years. I'm an 11 newspapers. I've do I've done over 2500 media appearances. I just did another TV segment this morning. I don't get paid for it. I do it because I love it. I do it because I. Know that I have a valuable skill that I can share with the world, and I have a big place in my heart for consumers that just want to get a deal, hook up, or upgrade. Right. They're struggling financially. That's my persona for savings Angel. Yeah. So today I just do it for free. Totally pro bono. I don't mean I get some benefits here and there, some PR invites and stuff like that, but I don't make any money on it. I do it because I love it.
Speaker 2 (00:35:56) - Josh, you are not getting any dollar, but you are getting lots of love and that is better than dollar, you know?
Josh (00:36:02) - Yeah, there's something to be said for love.
Josh (00:36:04) - You can pay me in love.
Speaker 3 (00:36:08) - Yeah.
Speaker 2 (00:36:08) - Josh, you know I really liking the way you are talking, you know, and that's really fascinating. And one thing, you are definitely making sure that you are building a brand and that's giving you a sales, right? As you mentioned that most of the deals which are coming inbound, right, you are not doing any outbound processes. Right? So if anyone wanted to start a career in sales, how anyone can become Josh, how and you can build a persona like you, how anyone can build a brand like you.
Josh (00:36:34) - Well, okay, so those are big questions. So what do they say? Like answer the question you want to answer and said, sometimes the one you were asked, let me try because I want to deliver. It's important for me to make sure that I can answer something, that I can deliver a lot of value. I cannot tell you. I just don't know, like life coaching or emotional. Like, I just don't know that stuff.
Josh (00:36:54) - But what I can tell you is about how you can let me give you. I want to give you another example. I want to tell you another story. And it really has to do about the power of platform, because here's the deal. All right. Right. Now, let's say that in the business world you're a solid four, like on a scale from 0 to 10, you're a solid four. Like you've got some momentum going. You get you're all right. Right. But you want to sell to six is okay. What that means is there's this perceived authority gap. And so it's going to be a little challenging for you to get time with the sixes because you're a four. And we have to be very honest about where we are. Right. So how are we instantly able to punch up a couple of levels? Here's how you do it. I want you to get the book, The Go Giver by Bob Berg, and read that book before you read anything else. Okay, amazing.
Josh (00:37:49) - That is the number one book on sales on the planet for today, right? Back in the day. You know, maybe I'd recommend Tom Hopkins or something like, you know, fancy closing techniques. You don't need to worry about that stuff anymore today, because what wins the day now is generosity. And one of the tools that we all have access to is platform. So I'd say that the one part where Bob, Bob lays the foundation, lays the philosophy down. And then tactically, I'd say maybe it's a little light right on. What do I give away? Right. And he has some ideas in there. But we've tested a lot of stuff. I mean, we really have hundreds of thousands of dollars into tests, years of failed experiments. Right? Here's what we found. Leveraging platform is your fastest path to give away something of value that also earns you proximity. You have to spend time together so that you can build that relationship with that decision maker. So also when I'm talking about platform, I'm talking about right now, we all have social media, or maybe you're part of a group and you have access to social media, right.
Josh (00:39:01) - So you can use that platform to enrich yourself. Or you could use that platform to celebrate others. You get to decide and what I can tell you. Let me ask you, do you have friends on Facebook that are constantly like, sell, sell, sell, sell, sell, sell, sell, sell, sell? How does that come across?
Speaker 2 (00:39:25) - Sometimes I have to unfriend.
Speaker 3 (00:39:27) - Yeah.
Josh (00:39:28) - Yeah. Listen, I know where they're coming from, and I don't say this in judgment. I say this in empathy, but it feels icky. It feels like old school MLM type of behavior.
Speaker 3 (00:39:39) - That's true.
Josh (00:39:39) - Yeah. I mean, again, this is just my opinion and I know this that what I just said right there might be really painful for somebody here. And they may really not like me because of what I just said. I want you to know that I'm sharing that in empathy. Right. Because I remember what it was like. But I believe you will get to some point professionally where you will no longer have to sell to your family and friends all the time on social media.
Josh (00:40:02) - And it's when that day comes I think you're really going to enjoy, you know, how much fun social media can be, right? When it's just about being a nice person and connecting and loving and keeping up with people and that sort of thing. But I will tell you this, your your feed is going to change a lot. When you start, you're going to see more of what you put out there. So, you know, if you want to be sold at on your social media and you don't care, that's okay. You know, you can keep doing what you're doing. Whatever. Okay, so getting back to platform, let me give you an example of how you can leverage platform to build a meaningful relationship. And listen you might say, well, I don't have a big following. I don't have much of a quote unquote platform. Right. And by the way, when I'm talking about platform, I'm talking about, you know, you live streams, I'm talking about your social media, I'm talking about YouTube podcasts, like creating content, you know, on a platform.
Josh (00:40:53) - Right? That's platform, a blog, your email, that's all a platform, right? You can use that to enrich yourself, or you can use it to celebrate others if you are willing to use your platform, whatever it is to celebrate others, this is the fastest hack to go from a four to allow yourself to navigate and connect with and circulate with sixes, right? This is what I learned as a journalist. As a journalist, you could talk with some really important people that make a lot more money than you are, way more successful than you. But because you have those journalists credentials, it gets you places. Here's the story. All right. So I was at this event, not my event. It was in support of my wife. My wife is a very, very gifted couples therapist, a licensed couples therapist and sex therapist. She's very, very good at what she does. She works with a very unique audience of people associate or previously associated with Mormonism. They've either left the church one one person or the other has left the church.
Josh (00:41:58) - She's one of the I believe she's one of the best in the world at what she does with that very niche particular audience. So we're at a conference. This is not my world, right? This is some, you know, Mormonism conference, right? I'm a former Mormon, so I have that. But other than that, this I'm not doing business there. Okay. But I'm just sitting around because I'm waiting for her to speak. Right. And so I see the organizer, the whole event. I know who she is. She's wonderful person. She's contributed a lot. And she really wants this event to be successful. Like she's really emotionally invested in the success of this event. Okay, I have access to a group of Facebook group that has a lot of members in it, and those members are her people. They're not my people. They're her people. Also kind of my wife's people, right? Not mine. So I have nothing to gain. I have nothing to lose. So I grab my phone and I say, listen, I'm just kind of sitting around.
Josh (00:42:59) - Would you be interested in doing a live stream to this particular group and love to kind of share what you're doing here? What do you think? She said, of course, I'd love to do that. So I said, great. Well, let me create a post really quick and then I'll push go live and I'll just ask you about, you know, this conference. And so that's what I did. I hit record, I said, okay, we're live or whatever, I'm not. You don't even have to be good at this. Because if you're the interviewer, that's not your burden. That's your guest burden to kind of talk about the thing that they want to talk about anyway. You just have to share the the conversation. Right. And so kind of like this conversation, geez, this asked me one question. A guy talked for like 20 minutes long.
Speaker 3 (00:43:45) - No, no, no, this is amazing.
Josh (00:43:46) - Let me finish my story here okay? Okay. So so I go live and I say, okay, you know, we're here, no doubt.
Josh (00:43:51) - Tell me about this event. She talks about everything, right? And I ask her a couple more questions. And then I'm looking around and I see we're starting to get attention. And all I'm doing is just holding a phone and we're talking at it, right? Isn't that amazing? But all of a sudden people are like, oh, what's going on over there? And so we see the vendors kind of crane in their necks to see what's going on over here. And so I said, would you mind if we talk to some of the vendors that are here in her mind? I know what she's thinking. Like, those are the people that give me money. Yes, I know this, right. I know that I'm. It and not only make her look good, help her get more attendees to the event. Now I'm going to help her get renewals for those booths for next year. What does Josh have to gain with this? Nothing. But what am I doing anyway? Nothing. So I may as well do some good while I'm sitting around.
Josh (00:44:40) - And this ain't that hard. Anyone could do what I just talked about. So when we go to the different vendors, we talk with each of them. She's like loving it. The vendors are loving it, and I'm just like holding the phone and they're just doing all the talking. And then like, you know, finally I just hit stop and I'm like, man, thank you for that. And she's like, are you kidding me? Thank you. Who are you? And and it was awesome. I said, well, you know, I'm just I'm here to support my wife. I don't know if you know Jenny. She goes, no, I don't think so. So I said, well, I can introduce you. She works with Natasha and I just go, oh, I know Natasha. And so then I get those three talking together. Bam bam bam. I mean, you know, again, I don't have anything to gain out of it, but I love the fact that I was able to help build and bridge some relationship there.
Josh (00:45:28) - And, you know, also, oh, I got to say this the last thing and then I'll let you wear and this is another thing to write down where you plant your seeds is not necessarily where you will reap your harvest, but you have to always be planting seeds. If you stop planting seeds, you got no harvest in the fall. Always, always, always invest into relationships and plant those seeds. Because once you get to a point, you're not one funnel away from success. You are 200 meaningful relationships away from everything you've ever dreamed about. That's it. Right?
Speaker 4 (00:46:10) - Right. I'm going to quickly summarize this. What we have gone so far like. First we started from the vision. Like the vision how it's going to look like. What is your dream client, by the way? We never asked you like, what do you think we asked about the what are the things going to happen? What are the.
Josh (00:46:23) - I can't even remember that first question you asked me.
Speaker 3 (00:46:26) - Really know.
Speaker 4 (00:46:27) - Like the we were talking about like, what are the clients that going to be taking care of? And then Patrick asked the question, like, sometimes there are clients that we don't want to proceed with, but we are stuck in between.
Speaker 4 (00:46:38) - So you said we should have set boundaries, right? What are your boundaries? What how do you see your dream clients would be.
Josh (00:46:44) - Yeah. No, we've we've let clients go. And I'll tell you here a couple of things. If you are rude to my staff, we're going to have a conversation. And I am never going to allow you to do that. I love making a great impact in the world and creating great outcomes. But if you are rude to my staff, you can't do that. That I have an advocate personality. You're not going to do that. And so we're going to have a conversation. And if you're not willing to adjust and treat my staff or my team with kindness, we're done. And that's up to them. You know, we'll politely and professionally off board them and stuff. But I have no patience. I have no room for that right now because I love who I get to work with. Every single one of my employees. I think my newest employee has been with me for one year over one year.
Josh (00:47:26) - Most of my employees have been with us for a long time. And, you know, there's a couple parts. I mean, I'm just, you know, we culture is really important, even though we're 100% virtual and remote. You know, we're very, very mission cause driven. And I work my tail off to make sure that they only work with good people if I have a say. You know, I'm constantly like, people are vetting me in a sales process. I'm vetting them. And here's the thing. As a sales professional or as a leader, if you state what your requirements are, people will either shift to your requirements or they'll choose not to move forward. And you get to trust that filter that process. And by the way, what I sell is a filter that 497 product. That's a filter. I know that, in fact, there are people that buy the 497. We say, okay, well, thank you so much. You know, we had some successful results from that.
Josh (00:48:19) - I'm going to recommend you kind of just kind of take the ball and run with it. We're not moving forward. No, I don't think it's really a question for us.
Speaker 3 (00:48:25) - Yeah.
Speaker 2 (00:48:26) - Just to add here, Josh, you know, and in India, there's a one saying for client that that means clients are just like God. Right. So you cannot say no to God. And similarly you cannot say no to clients. And that's that's why we are focusing more, more on this part because we wanted to understand your psychology and the way you are working. And that's why, you know, there's a more question around this only. Yeah. Now, Harpreet, over to you.
Speaker 3 (00:48:52) - Yeah.
Josh (00:48:52) - Not everyone is your client. Not everyone is your client. Like they may have given you money, but when the relationship ceases to be useful, that's they're no longer your client. They've gone rogue on you. Let's say you sell them a car and they misused the car, right? And then they crash the car, right? They're no longer your client.
Josh (00:49:10) - They used to own your car, but they misused it. So just like, I don't know, you know, it's. You could pray to any god you want if you want, but that may or may not be your god. And so similarly, that's how I would interpret that. Not to be blasphemous, please forgive me, but would say in the sense of a client, if they stop being my client and they go rogue on me, they're no longer my client. And they made that choice. I told them, and we agreed on how this dynamic was going to be. And when they decided to do something different, I have the inability to serve you effectively.
Speaker 3 (00:49:46) - All right. Great question.
Josh (00:49:47) - By the way. I don't get to talk about that very often. And I'm so grateful that we're having this conversation about that.
Speaker 4 (00:49:54) - That's the thing. Right. Like there is another question that I was saying that was the filtering out. I think you already answered it. So I'm not going to ask that.
Speaker 4 (00:50:01) - But there is one question that, you see, you started from 16 years ago, like 2007 January, right? You started podcasting at that time, right? And it's been 16 years. What is the difference that you see like at that time how Josh looked like, but how what what now? What what are the things that you have gained so far. So like if you can tell it.
Josh (00:50:23) - I mean everything, right. You know, again, I'll say that the biggest thing you know, I've been at this a long time. Your generosity will make your life so much easier. And if you are really thoughtful about I mean, I didn't not believe this earlier, but it's been confirmed for me since, you know, for that length of time, 16 years or whatever is if you continue to show up in a positive way in people's lives, trust that people are smart, they know what to do and always come back. Anyone who's been in business, any length of time has a number of stories of like someone that just calls you out of the blue or contacts you out of the blue, or books an appointment with you out of the blue.
Josh (00:51:07) - Well, how did you get connected? How do we know each other? Well, so-and-so recommended you. Well, I don't even know so-and-so. How do they know? And you find out it's like six degrees or five degrees of Kevin Bacon, right? Where it's like, okay, apparently somewhere I did something nice for somebody. And then they referred me to. They watched all my content. They didn't engage, but they connect me with someone else who connected with someone else. Just trust that that's all out there. We're on the internet like people know how to find you. And also that's really important too, is always be one of the good guys or good gals, right? Because you leave a trail about you everywhere you go. It's all over the internet. If you Google my name right now, it's, you know, you're going to see evidence of my work and my you know, what I've been focused on. There's also another Josh Elledge who was on The Bachelorette. That was not me.
Josh (00:51:58) - I've been married for 28 years.
Speaker 4 (00:52:01) - So people know you better.
Josh (00:52:03) - Two days in two days is my 28th wedding anniversary with Mrs. Elledge.
Speaker 4 (00:52:07) - Oh, okay. Well, congratulations. And we should we.
Speaker 2 (00:52:12) - Should we have a podcast on that day also with you and your wife.
Speaker 4 (00:52:17) - That would be different.
Speaker 3 (00:52:19) - Different?
Josh (00:52:19) - You got to. You got to talk to her. She's a smart cookie.
Speaker 4 (00:52:23) - So last question, last question, last question.
Speaker 2 (00:52:25) - I'm saying this. I am sure that she's smart. That's why she's keeping you.
Josh (00:52:31) - Well, that's awfully kind of you, but I promise you, I married up.
Speaker 3 (00:52:36) - All right, so.
Speaker 4 (00:52:37) - We don't have that much time. I would love to talk more questions, but I have only two minutes left. So I would say, like the last question, Josh, three things from your life learnings, what you would like, what would you like to share with our audience that they should take care of, of these things? It could related to your sales, like your mindset or your life learnings.
Speaker 4 (00:52:56) - Anything. Three things.
Josh (00:52:57) - Yeah, yeah yeah. Develop 200 meaningful relationships. Put it on the board. Start listing it out, keep a spreadsheet. Who are the 200 people that have a deep, meaningful relationship with that can collaborate with? That's number one. Number two, you have to use generosity to increase the rate of conversations that you're able to have to discuss whether or not you're going to work together. Number three use platform. Generously use platform to celebrate others. Quit tooting your own horn. Make it all about other people. Because right now, generosity is the gift that will keep you in business and will allow you to thrive in scale like never before. Do what other people are not willing to do so you can have the results that they never will.
Speaker 3 (00:53:41) - That, you know, you just you.
Speaker 4 (00:53:43) - Summarize everything means everything that you could have got it okay. So like okay. So first one way is like do the meeting with a 200 people with then generosity. Then we got the leverage the platforms that are available on social media.
Speaker 4 (00:53:56) - Right.
Josh (00:53:57) - Yeah, I think so. Is that what I said. It's already gone.
Speaker 4 (00:54:00) - Yeah, yeah, simple as that. As simple as that. Yeah. If you have any question I think that was it for me.
Speaker 2 (00:54:07) - My, my diet is full. So for you, you fill up my entire stomach with lots of a lot of thoughts and all those things. So by the way, I'm one of new fan you have added in your list. So yeah.
Speaker 3 (00:54:19) - He's thank you.
Speaker 2 (00:54:21) - So so so I have listened so many, you know, sales gurus as you as you quoted, you know, and they all are filled up with lots of, you know, different kind of bookish knowledge. But I can definitely feel that what you are feeling and your word have emotions that that's impressed me a lot. I'm going to put a content with you on LinkedIn tomorrow morning. That's great. And I'll I'll tag you. And yeah, within a week. We are also going to put this video on on YouTube on Saturday.
Speaker 3 (00:54:50) - That's great.
Josh (00:54:50) - Sounds awesome. Thank you guys for having me. It's been a real joy. Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence slash guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our listener Facebook group. Just search for the Thoughtful Entrepreneur and Facebook. I'd love, even if you just stopped by to say hi. I'd love to meet you. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day. Together, we are empowering one another as thoughtful entrepreneurs. Hit subscribe so that tomorrow morning. That's right. Seven days a week you are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed. I promise to bring positivity and inspiration to you for around 15 minutes each day. Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur movement.