Today’s guest on The Successful Pitch is Jim Palmer, who is the author of several books, the most recent one being on the power of decision, and he has a special offer for people at the end of the episode, where he shows you a link that you can actually get the book for free. Be sure to listen to that. He said, “If you want to be successful, you need to be a good listener to find out what problems there are to solve out there.” And, “Under promise and over deliver to keep your customer’s happy and with you all the time. That’s how you keep customer’s sticking to you like glue.” Finally, he said, “Delegate or stay small forever.”
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With Jim Palmer
Welcome to the Successful Pitch. Today’s guest is Jim Palmer, who is an entrepreneur, and author, a speaker, and a coach. He’s a marketing and business building expert and in demand coach. That’s for sure. He’s the founder of the Dream Business Academy, and Dream Business Coaching and Mastermind Program. He’s the host of Dream Business TV, the hit weekly web TV show watched by thousands of entrepreneurs. He’s also the host of Stick Like Glue Radio, a weekly podcast based on Jim’s unique brand of smart marketing and business building strategies.
He’s known internationally as the newsletter guru and the creator of No Hassle Newsletters, the ultimate done for you newsletter marketing program, used by literally hundreds of clients in nine countries. Jim, welcome to the show.
John, thanks. Thanks for having me on. I love your format, I love your show. It occurs to me Stick Like Glue is a good name, because we’ll be talking a lot about stickiness today.
Yes, indeed. We certainly will. You’ve done so many interesting products, including a new book you have, which is called DECIDE – The Ultimate Success Trigger. Let’s take people back to, how did you decide you wanted to become an entrepreneur, and become known as this newsletter guru? Tell us a little bit about how you became such an expert in helping entrepreneurs?
John, in 2000, I was a VP of Marketing. I’ve always work for entrepreneurial companies, and I always thought that someday I am going to have my own business. I think it was part of my DNA, so to speak. But at the time, I had four teenagers and married, mortgage, and all the different things. I thought, “Now is not probably the time to do that.” After being unemployed for fifteen months and one year into the unemployment, I was first had a battle with cancer and so I got to a place in my life, cutting a fairly long story short, John, I got to a place where I was very low, my self-esteem was not very high. I thought, “There’s nowhere to go except up.” I felt really near the bottom.
I decided in October of 2001 to start a business and I knew I’d be probably some sort of a consultant or coach or marketing guy. I also knew, that’s kind of a hard road to hoe getting started, but I’d always done newsletters. I created my first newsletters when I was 21, when I used to manage a bike shop, and everywhere I went from then forward, I was doing newsletters.
I started offering newsletter services to local companies and chambers and associations and nonprofits. That really took off. Five years later, I had a multiple six figure business, I was doing well, starting to get myself together financially again. I reached the point when I had about somewhere around 20 or 22 clients where I had no more time, I felt like I was hitting a ceiling, John, and just kind of maxing out. The question came, sometimes called the question that rocked my world.
My wife asked me, “Why don’t we go on vacation? We haven’t been on vacation in five years.” Although we could afford a vacation at that point, I couldn’t understand how I was going to take off because I was my business. Like so many small business owners, you start with your skill or your talent, you open a business and you just do everything that’s required. Even as you grow, you’re still the chief cook and bottle washer to a large degree, and that’s the trap I fell into.
Crap, that’s not the life I want to have. I decided to start it over. I got immersed in internet marketing, direct response, copywriting, really focused a lot on retention in addition to leverage. I ended up creating my second business, which is one of my core businesses today, No Hassle Newsletters, branded myself the newsletter guru, just for the whole celebrity expertise type of marketing. Off we went, and quickly fast forward again, I have, I think, five different internet businesses. I do a live event called Dream Business Academy and I have my Mastermind and Coaching Program, as you mentioned, called Dream Business Coaching.
There’s so much I want to dive in there with you, Jim. One of the things is coming up with a dream business that investors would want to invest in. It’s something that’s scalable and typically investors are looking to have somebody pitch them where they can answer these two questions. Why you? Why are you uniquely qualified to execute this? Secondly, why is now the right time? Under your expertise of what a dream business is, can you give us some descriptions of how somebody who is looking to pitch an investor could think about that?
The investors are always looking for ROI. Why would he invest in a business, in a product, in an app or whatever if he can’t make money? He could stick it in the stock market and do fairly well. I suspect that if he’s going to invest with a start-up of some sort, he’s going to probably assume doing some due diligence. Obviously there’s always risks. But he’s going to want to make some sort of ROI.
I would imagine very much like you see on Shark Tank, for example, when you do your pitch, really first of all, you have to know your numbers, you have to exude extreme confidence, and you have to be able to explain what you’re going to do with the money, how quickly you’re going to grow and therefore let them be able to recoup and things like that.
I think by and large, most entrepreneurs don’t get that. They don’t get that it’s not about them. I think too many people focus on them, what their needs are, what they’re going to do, and it’s the kind of the me language if you see what I’m saying. Especially in the pitching arena. I’m preaching to the choir here, John. In the pitching arena, it needs to be about them.
Yes, I always still like to tell my clients, “The more you show empathy for the investors and the more you can show that you have empathy for your customers’ problem you’re solving, the more people are going to want to fund your start up,” which is exactly what I think you were saying there.
Yes, there’s no shortage of opportunity, there’s no shortage of ideas, there’s no shortage of people who need money to either start or to increase the pace of their start up. But there is to some degree a shortage of people willing to invest. You don’t have too many chances, you don’t have too many bites at the apple before you get your stuff together.
One of the things investors look for when they decide whether they’re going to fund a startup or not is there any traction and how much income, is there proof of concept. You have some really insightful strategy on how to create more income. Can you share that with us?
One of the things I’ve been able to do is create multiple streams of revenue, and now I teach other people how to do it. The secret sauce, so to speak, is being a really good listener and keeping your eyes open as to what problems and what challenges. Frankly, just things that people, AKA your customers and prospects, are asking for. I’ll give you a quick example of how I did that. When I started No Hassle Newsletters it was originally a program where I supplied a lot of content. A number of articles that people who already had newsletters could use in their newsletter. For lack of better description, filler content.
I started doing well. I wrote my first book called The Magic of Newsletter Marketing. I talked about newsletter design and the type of content and how newsletters should be laid out, the type of paper, all that stuff. People started to say, “I’m not big enough to necessarily have a graphics team. Who do you know can design some templates for me?” I said, “I do templates.” I curated some templates which can be quickly and easily adapted to any business. I started with four different templates. That was adding value to my program but it also increased my revenue.
You could make an argument, it wasn’t a new revenue stream, it was just growing my current one. Then someone said, “Jim, I know in your book you talked about how they should be printed and folded, etc. Can you recommend a printer?” It was right about that time, John, when I started thinking. I like to be helpful. I referred people, but I also came up with an expression. I said, “I can keep referring people or I can create a new revenue stream.”
I partnered with a buddy of mine who actually is a printer. I said, “I’m going to feed you tons and tons of jobs. Some might be small, medium, some might be pretty large. But all together, it’s going to be a nice new chunk of business for you. I’m going to get the sale, I’ll collect the money, you bill me and obviously there will be a markup for me on what I charge.” That’s what we did. My third online business was Concierge Print and Mail On Demand Service.
I kept going from there. The next thing was Article Marketing. “Jim, you got a lot of writers that are producing all your content and things like that. Can you recommend a good writer?” I said, “No, but I can create a CustomArticleGenerator.com.” That’s what I did it. It wasn’t me like thinking about, “I wonder what’s the next business I’m going to start would be?” I was actually thinking about, how can I solve my customer’s problems? Instead of just referring them somewhere, how can I make them happy by solving their problem?
Love it. It’s really, listen to what’s your customers need, figure out a way to solve that and that can be an extension of the current revenue that you’re doing. One of the things I thought was interesting since you’re such a newsletter guru, is when founders are pitching investors, typically there is more than one investor that funds around. They’re looking for let say a million dollars, maybe they get four different people who put in $250,000. During that whole process, they need to keep these investors up to date with the progress they’re making, either with new customers or possibly some press they’re getting, whatever it is, on a regular basis. Do you think startups would be wise to create a little newsletter that would go out to investors that they’d met with as a way to stay in touch versus just an email here and there?
Absolutely. By the way, email it’s convenient, it’s inexpensive, but it’s getting completely ineffective because so much email is not even getting through. But that will be a whole other topic. Yes, the answer is yes. When should you start? You start when you get your first client. If it costs you $5 to run off one newsletter and mail it, that’s what you should do. The thing is, people, when they want to repurchase or when they want to refer, you have to be top of mind. If you’re not top of mind, they’re going to go with somebody who they’re thinking about seeing an ad for, maybe they’ll ask somebody else.
Several years ago, I was out doing a ton of speaking around this topic. There’s a story I would say. I refinance our home. I’m going back 20 years, but it doesn’t matter. It was Sunday, I was looking in the Sunday paper under the real estate section, looking at a big grid, mortgage rates. I called three or four different people. Only one guy actually returned my call and he was super professional and said, “Mr. Palmer, I know you’re busy, how about if I can drop the forms off at your office, I’ll pick them up when you’re done. We’ll get you approved. By the way, for settlement, you don’t have to plan on an entire day, we’ll get you in and out in about 90 minutes or less.” The bottom line is he did every single thing to make it easy for me.
I started retail when I was fifteen. I’m just a student of good customer service. I started referring him. I probably sent at least three or four people, friends and a neighbor, because it was when interest rates were really dropping. Then there was about six or eight months went by, one of my neighbors said, “Interest rates are starting to tick up. Who was that guy that you used?” I said, “Honest to God, I can’t remember his name. “What was the name of the company?” I don’t know. I said. “I can get my car and take you there but I don’t know. I’ll look it up and I’ll get back to you.”
Now, it’s a true story, but imagine if that mortgage company was sending me a two page, even something as inexpensive as a two page black and white newsletter once a month, saying, “Hey, here’s a tip.” It doesn’t even have to be mortgage, because who refinances? Most people refinance every eight years, I came to learn from him as a client. What if there was some tips? How to save heating oil in the winter, or utilities, or if it’s the summer time, here’s some things you can do with your kids to get through a long car ride. Anything. By the way, a big key, it has nothing to do with the mortgage business. It has everything to do with making it fun, interesting and informative for the reader and therefore they’ll read it, and therefore they’re remember you.
Now, it’s almost counterintuitive, especially if you’re in the tech world and you think everything is email, I don’t send anything in the mail. But everyone is zigging and you zag and you actually sent somebody a hard copy of something as opposed to just yet another PDF to open up in an email. You’re talking about an actual physical newsletter, correct?
Yes, that is correct. Now, one of the examples I’ll give, let’s say you got a thousand people on your customer list, nice round numbers. This is just for easy math. Let just say five years ago you could get a ten percent deliverability or open rate, which is pretty darn good. Nobody gets that today. Let’s say you did. That means a hundred of your customers are actually opening the newsletter. Now the flip side to that, if I was a nightly news person, I had to put a negative spin on everything I would say, “90% of your customers are not hearing from you.”
By the way there is a statistic from Direct Marketing Association that says every 30 days that goes by when your customers don’t hear from you, 10% of them will forget about you.” Right then and there, it’s like people say, “Jim, I can do email and it’s free.” That’s true, but if it’s only 10% effective at best … There are two numbers you need to know so you’re not so cheap, lazy and or cheap, is that if you know the lifetime value of a customer, it can obviously, John, vary by different businesses. Let’s just say an average customer is worth five grand or let’s just even go $2,000, low side. Would you not invest a dollar a month per customer when the return is likely to be that huge? Now, that doesn’t mean every single customer is going to come back and buy and buy and refer and refer. But how many does it actually take before you completely pay for your newsletter?
Exactly. I can see where you’re going. It’s a really smart use of your time and money and it’s going to separate you from the competition.
One of my longest clients is an attorney and he’s a trusted estates attorney. He does not only some financial planning but retirement planning, all things like that. He does a newsletter. I gave him so much credit because I think he mails about 3500 or 4000 newsletters. It’s a big bill every single month. Once in a while I touch base with him and, “Thanks for being a client.” I said, “I always marvel because when I see your order coming through, it’s sizable.” He goes, “That’s nothing.” He said, “Every time I mail that newsletter, I get at least two new customers by way of referral.” I said, “No way.” He goes, “Jim, clockwork, at least two. We can’t wait to get the newsletter out because I wonder who our two new clients are going to be.” I said, “What’s an average client worth to you?” He said, “Probably $25,000 to $30,000 when they get with us and stay with us.” There’s all kinds of things going on nefariously. Doing services for wills and they do some other things. Could you imagine, that is incredible ROI.
It is. You talked about sticking around if you get a new client. That’s one of the key things investors really look for, is not only if you’re selling dog food they want to see the dogs eating the food. But they want to know that those dogs are going to come back and keep eating the food so that you’re not having to start from ground zero every month on getting new customers. What are some of your tactics for this book, Stick Like Glue, to keeping customers happy? I’m assuming a newsletter is one, but there must be others.
There are. Really one of the most important things to recognize with any customer relationship is you have to successfully manage their expectations. I think Dell Computers does a wonderful job at that. I’ve been a Dell guy for twenty years. Whenever I order, almost every two years because it starts slowing down. That’s like ten years in dog’s ears or whatever. Every two years I get a new Dell and get the most powerful one I can and it’s good for a while and it slowly slows down. Whenever you place an order with Dell, they give you an expected delivery time because they build it and they ship it to you. Most of the time it’s pretty fair. It’s going to be there in seven to ten days. I can deal with that. They’re going to build me a computer. It’s not something in a box off the shelf. Don’t you know, what I’m thinking on low side is seven days. That thing arrives in four days. Let’s say I purchased probably eight Dell Computers or ten maybe over the course of my business. I know they do it, but I still smile when that thing beats the delivery date.
It’s really all about under promise and over deliver to keep customers happy. I think that’s what we’re we going to tweet out from this episode.
It is. There are things that I do for my customers. When someone with the No Hassle Newsletter, when they’re a client for six months, I will take my art team and we’ll custom design a masthead for their newsletter. Now, some people will say, “I want to start out, can I get that ahead of time?” Now, I normally charge $150. What we’ll do is we’ll charged it but we refund it so we can get it to them early. Sometimes when they order the masthead, we might send him $100 in print coupons to actually save on printing and postage.
That makes people incredibly happy. Now, I’m sharing now with however many people listening to your show. That’s what we do. It is standard operating procedure. If somebody said, “Could I do this?” and we just simply said, “Yes, sure.” You’re going to do it and that’s good, but it doesn’t make it special. One of the thing you want to do is make whatever you’re going to do seem special. I know in my heart I’m going to do it anyway because I really know how much I value relationships. It’s about the power of reciprocity and things like that. I know I’m going to do it, but you always want make it seem in a way like you’re going above and beyond, going out of your way. Because people just totally dig that. Again, that increases the chance that they’ll feel the need to reciprocate.
I love it. Since you’re so busy and running so many different things, and entrepreneurs like you can really relate to the challenges, especially before they get funded or even after they get funded, they still have so much on their plate. Do you have any secrets you can share on how you get so much done?
Yes, I delegate. I think it’s chapter four in my book DECIDE, which I appreciate you mentioning. The chapter is called Delegate or Stay Small Forever.
Wow, that’s a great tweet right there. I love it.
Truth of the matter is, when you are doing work that you could hire somebody, whether it’s an employee, an actual W2 employee, or a 1099 contractor. When you yourself as the owner of the business are doing task oriented things, you are worth what you would pay somebody to do that. I’ll give you an example, let say you’re having somebody do follow up phone calls to new clients. “Hey, thanks for coming.” Or you’re doing database management, or you’re actually sending out books for people that ordered books, what happens every day. If you’re doing any of that thinking, “Nobody can do it as quick and as cheap and as fast as I can. I might as well do it myself so I don’t have to pay somebody else. I’ll keep all the money.”
If you’re doing that kind of work, you’re worth about $25 to $30 an hour because you can get somebody, you can get a virtual assistant, very good, to do that for that kind of money. Now to help illustrate this, again just for easy math. If you want to earn a million dollars a year, let’s say you’re going to work 50 hours a week and you’re going to work 50 weeks a year, you’ll take two weeks off. That means you have to earn $400 an hour. If you do that, you’ll earn a million dollars. Now, if you’re doing work that’s worth $20 or $30 an hour, you are woefully going to fall short of your target.
We only have so many hours, don’t we?
I have a team of eleven people that help run No Hassle Newsletters and also social media, the print business, the custom article business. I have somebody that schedules all my interviews like this. I have somebody that specifically takes care of all my coaching clients. All I do pretty much, and I do it three days a week, I am on the phone from 8:30 to 6:00 and I go from either interview to coaching client to interview to coaching client to prospect, but they’re all scheduled. They’re all scheduled calls, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I take off Monday and Friday. Excuse me, I don’t take off, especially in the winter, but I don’t have any interruptions. Actually, Monday and Friday are very good production days. Whether I’m writing a book or producing content or doing anything, I can just sail through it for as long as I want. I don’t have to stop and refocus.
I love what you said there, Jim, that’s the key, that’s it right there. You have scheduled your time, so you’re not constantly context switching between projects. This is my time to do interviews, this is my time to write a book and I’m not crossing the tube back and forth. That’s how you are so productive.
I was on an interview yesterday, as you and I are doing this. The question was, “You’ve written six books in six years. How in the world did you get that done?” Anything that is a high enough priority, you will find time to do it. I wrote my first book in eighteen months, I wrote my last two in 60 days and that includes editing. I actually wrote the book in about five weeks. The way I was able to do that, because I am fairly busy, I can’t jam too much more into three days a week, for sure. But what I did is, I said, “For about five weeks, maybe six weeks total, I’m going to get up even earlier than I normally get up.” I’m usually up and going by 5:00, something like that.
When I’m in book writing mode for example, I might get up at 4:00. Sometimes I don’t even need to set an alarm just because my brain doesn’t shut off. I get up at 4:00 or 4:30 and I don’t shower, I don’t do anything, I don’t eat, I don’t look at Facebook, I don’t open email. I come into my office, it’s dead quiet in the house, obviously it’s still dark outside. I open up a Word, my file, and I start typing because I’m very focused on writing. Let’s say I’m writing at 4:30. I’ll write until about 6:30 every day. At 6:30, I’ll shower, walk the dog, get some breakfast and start my day, ready for my first calls. That’s a commitment.
Now, I always find some people, “Yes, Jim, but you don’t understand the value of sleep for your health.” I totally get that. I think five or six weeks, if you were to do that, you’ll survive. Again it’s placing a high enough priority on it. The other thing I don’t’ do much of, I do a little bit, but I don’t watch a ton of TV. When I go to events or even sometimes I’m out with family, “Have you seen The Walking Dead? Have you seen this? Do you watch this?” I have no idea what any of those show are about. It’s not that people don’t need some down time. I’ll watch ten hours of football on Sunday. But generally, I just think it’s not a good use of your time.
You’re not the first person I’ve heard say that. It’s really about your priorities and what’s important to you and what you decide. The name of your book, again, is DECIDE – The Ultimate Success Trigger. We’re going to put that in the show notes for people to be able to buy it, go to Amazon or whatever their preference is on how to consume that kind of content. Jim, is there any last thoughts you want to leave our audience with on how to run a business that makes you irresistible to investors?
Yes, I’ll do that. Right before I give that though, I appreciate you mentioning DECIDE, I’d love to give your audience a free copy, if that would be okay.
My goodness, what a gift.
We’re on launch mode. If you go to Amazon, you’ll see it’s $20 and approximately $5 shipping. If you go to www.DecidedForSuccessBook.com, that would be my website for the book. You can order it there, it will be free. We just ask you to pay $6.95 for shipping and handling. I even ship internationally. I think we just shipped a book to New Finland for $28, it’s okay. It’s $6.99. Every order goes out of here in 24 to 48 hours. This book will change your life as far as the thinking, because it’s all about your mindset.
Now, the tip I’ll give you is this, John. No matter what you do, whether you have a product or service, whether you’re an entrepreneur or an investor, whatever it is. You need to understand that you will earn significantly more revenue for who you are than what you do. The amount of money you can earn is not tied to the deliverable. It’s tied to how people perceive that you are the expert, you are the one that’s going to get it done. If that’s good, I’ll leave it there.
I can give you an example, if you want.
You’re the newsletter guru. You’ve been on TV doing that. I’m known as the Pitch WhispererTM. I’m all about getting people to know instantly who you are and what you do and how that differentiates you.
That’s exactly right. Imagine if somebody, “I got to pitch this to a bunch of investors. I could work with a coach. I could work with a communication expert. Wait a minute, the Pitch WhispererTM?” I don’t know your tag line off the top of my head but I’m sure it’s pretty cool. Therefore, “That’s the guy that actually does this for a living.” They’re going to call you.
My tag line is “How to go from invisible to investable.”
I like that. You see, that tells people exactly what the benefit is of working with you. When that happens, 90% of the heavy lifting is done.
That’s fantastic. Thank you so much, Jim. It’s been a pleasure. I can’t wait to get this out so people can really dig into your wonderful book about the power of decision. DECIDE – The Ultimate Success Trigger. Thanks, Jim.
My pleasure, John. Thanks for having me on.
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