Chris Brogan On Business Growth Through Authentic Relationships

In this episode, we chat with Chris Brogan. Chris is a LEGEND in the industry. He shows businesses how to grow their revenue and the loyalty of their customers & clients by infusing authenticity into everything they do. In this interview we talk about ways to do that, stories from his past and how to do this in your business to create an authentic culture that creates loyal, raving fans!

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Jeremy Reeves: Hey what is going on guys and girls. Jeremy Reeves here with another episode of The Sales Funnel Mastery Podcast.

And on the line today and on video as you can see, we have Chris Brogan. Chris is basically (inaudible 0:27.9) in one word, he is a rockstar. When it comes to you know, growing businesses and especially kind of focusing on using the social aspect of doing that, he is a total bad ass.

Really quick kind of couple bullet points of him. He is a sought after speaker. He has spoken for, I mean, all kinds of different you know, all kinds of different people which of course he can talk about in a minute.

He is a New York Times best-selling author with 8 books and is coming out this night —

Chris I want to talk you about that one because I am actually a big gamer myself, so I am going to be interested in that one.

He has spoken — consulted with everywhere from you know, small brands all the way to big companies, Disney, Coke, Google, GM, Microsoft, and about a thousand other big names like that.

He has appeared on the Dr. Phil Show. He has interviewed Richard Branson for a cover story for Success Magazine and we can go and on like this for the next like half hour.

But Chris, how are you buddy?

Chris Brogan: Jeremy, glad to be here. Thanks for having me on your show.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, yeah. It is my pleasure. I have known about you for years now. I have followed your work for a long time and so it is kind of cool to you know, to get you on video and you know, see and kind of dig into your mind a little bit and see how you work.

Chris Brogan: Thrilled to be part of it and it is kind of fun because you know I have been doing my research about you and making sure that you are the Jeremy that I thought you were because that name is really familiar and I go ahead to dig a little bit, I am like, oh yeah, okay.

It is interesting because a lot of what you have done with copy but also then with the mechanics underneath it. I am always the higher end of the sales funnel not the lower end so (inaudible 2:09.9) how people convert you know.

A lot of my shenanigans are nonsense. So I think that is really cool.

Jeremy Reeves: Nice.

Chris Brogan: It is a complimentary pairing one might say (inaudible 2:18.2).

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah. So you know, tell everybody like what, you know, what it is you do basically you know. If someone were to say, Hey Chris, you wake up in the morning and you are going to help us solve you know, grow — basically grow a business you know, what is the approach that you take. What is your philosophy on helping people grow?

Chris Brogan: Sure. I mean a lot of it really boils down to is helping people connect with what they already have and who they already are and then really leveraging that to find the people that they most want to serve and then helping them find out how to grow the capabilities and connections to do that.

I find that a lot of times where we go a little (inaudible 2:52.7) in business is we kind of try to be someone who we are not. We try to go after people that we do not really know or do not understand and we try to you know, spend a lot of our calories and our time in fields where we do not normally spend our time in general.

So it comes off in authentic. It comes off as a struggle. It comes off as — there is some kind of a disconnect and there is a little lack of integrity there. If people use integrity in the wrong way, they tend to use it to (inaudible 3:18.6) something very noble, but it just means integratedness.

Hitler had a lot of integrity. He just you know, put in the direction we did not want it. When I say that people are lacking in integrity, I really mean the integratedness of what they are saying they are into and where they spend it real time.

And so a lot of times you know, when I speak to a company for instance, if I go into a healthcare company one time right around the time President Obama just got elected, they said to me we want what he had. How do we get more people to talk to (inaudible 3:50.3) he had people talking to him via social channel and stuff and I say, well, first off, you have to find ways to invite people that want to have that conversation. You have to talk to them about what they really want to talk about which is likely (inaudible 4:03.2) know what you want to talk about. You have to kind of get him there.

And so it become a messy business. What I do with the companies and/or you know with individuals because a lot of times I am calling them on the parts that they want to hide or I am calling them on the — it is like having a weird relative over for a dinner. You know they are going to say something weird. You know they are going to offend somebody, but they actually have some value to them and I guess what I am trying to show everyone is that their weird relative might actually be the winner in their experience and that in all businesses in all sizes the do not lie.

If we could be a lot closer to who we really intend to be then we might have a lot better swing of it instead of kind of living underneath. The fear that we have to fake our way through something.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, yeah. I love that.

And you know, there is a lot of — I know a lot of people that are, that are overweight for example and instead of being ashamed about it and you know, they kind of try to cover it up, they just owned it, you know what I mean.

Melissa McCarthy is a good example of that. The actress, you know, she just owns who she is and she is — I love her movies. She is so funny. I think that is a good example, but take that and use it for business you know.

Whoever you are as a person, whatever your personality is, do not try to hide that even it is you know, negative thing you know, I think the more that you can really understand that and bring it to light, that is what makes people attracted to you, you know what I mean.

I think especially — there is a term in copywriting called the damaging admission you know, essentially just taking something that is perceived as a bad thing, but you twist it into a good thing you know, I think that is huge you know.

Is that what your you know, when you are working with companies and helping them with their social strategies is that basically what you help them like uncover, is what those pieces are and then how to you know, bring that to the community, to people who are serving?

Chris Brogan: I have not done anything social with the company since I think 2010, but a lot of times when I work with companies, it is bend down to sort of their sale strategy, their business strategy, their content mostly. A lot of times, content marking which I guess some people lump into social, but I see it is a sort of blend.

I am not a direct sales copywriter. I do not believe in you know, I am never going to have (inaudible 6:22) killer anything (inaudible 6:24) and I agree on a lot of things, but I do not ride his way.

So I would say that what I am often doing is trying to just to spill out you know, we rush the tactics or we rush the ways to you know, sort of leverage parts of our business. I am trying to find is there more holistic way sometimes. Is there a way that you know, it is how we love you in spite but we love you because kind of stuff.

So with that, I might make that in the content. So I might say here is — here might be a good editorial calendar to lay this out. I might talk about email marketing strategy, that is one of my favorite tools of all the business tools is email marketing pain because I feel like you know, it was done so poorly for a lot of the less 20 or 30 years. There is nowhere to go, but up and so I help with that.

A lot of times also it is you know, how do we harness the word of mouth type stuff that is going on in a much more organic way. How do we do something that is a lot more experiential as opposed to stuff that fits nicely on a spreadsheet.

And you know, pretty much if I did not think about it Jeremy, 80% of what I do is make people who like spreadsheets unhappy.

(inaudible 7:35.7) because a lot of it does not fit nicely in a column, but then it shows up you know, the revenue does show up. I mean, I only have 2 measures in any kind of business project that work with people. I only have 2 measures, one is dollar signs and one subscribers you know.

That is a pretty baseline kind of business to run in a world that still thinks that this is somehow good or useful you know.

I check with my bank and they do not care what my klout score is. That is why I do not do a lot of social media stuff such as they were. I just need those tools to make business move forward.

Jeremy Reeves: Okay, I got you.

So you are going after the you know how to actually turn into sales and not just — I totally agree you know, a lot of people are, Oh, I got you know, 300 likes or you know, 20,000 likes or whatever it is, like okay, well how many sales did you make you know. How many beliefs did you change you know, that are going to turn into sales, those kind of things.

So tell me about your new book. I am kind of excited to hear about that.

Chris Brogan: Yeah. One of several — it is funny, as you were saying that, give me a sec, hmm.. I need to edit my bio.

Jeremy Reeves: The video game book.

Chris Brogan: So this idea it will probably morph a little bit. I am very (inaudible 8:46.1) in the video games. I play a lot on Xbox for my platform. I have no particular preference that is just (inaudible 8:52.3). I was a Halo guy, (inaudible 8:53.8) who had the platform.

But in the process when I was coming from, what I was learning was, there is a lot of ways to see what it comes out in video games that you can then graft onto real life business pursuit you know.

There is a lot of people in business that just kind of show up to work. There are trying to figure out how they are going to get their 3% every year. They are just you know, everyday is the same as the last day.

So they do not work with this concept of objectives. They do not work with the concept that there are systems in scoring in place that they do not even normally see because work feels like an open world environment.

Like if you are a sales guy, you know, all you are seeing is did I or didn’t I make more sales, but they are not taking of what if I give you 20 cold calls a day or whatever you know, cold call is everyone’s most hated thing. What if I made it 20 a day instead of whatever you are doing now, 2, 5, none.

So that idea comes from video games, because in video games, there are things like bounties or objectives or you know, today you are going to get 5 kills with a shotgun or something.

For me, it is so — if you pull the shenanigans of video games into the real world, I still see that there is some really cool overlays that you can do that will make business work a lot better.

And so I am always excited to try to extrapolate that kind of life lesson and advice. I also think that there are ways to make your own game.

So that even if the game systems says, the way you win is to get you know, more tags than the other team or whatever it is, capture the flag more often, whatever it is.

There are other ways for you to win because you can say, well, you know, I am not ever going to be the number 1 guy. I am just not that kind of a player. I am a good support guy or whatever it is. So then you start saying well, what if I did 7 of this or whatever you know.

I think that there are so many ways that we can improve ourselves using the systems in the (inaudible 10:41.5) inherent in the video game that we do not even think about. Anything is boring with Pacman and Tetris, it has systems in it.

And I think that if we talk about systems you and I some of us will fall asleep, but if we talk about video games then I can sort of sneak the broccoli inside the cake (inaudible 10:58.5) this is broccoli cake.

Jeremy Reeves: Nice. And I actually wrote — this is several years ago, but probably like 3 or 4 years ago, but I actually, if you have ever follow the launches of games. They are absolutely brilliant marketers in the way that they just — they create such engaged fans and like, you cannot wait — I know like there is a couple of games that I cannot wait to come out coming out in September and October right, and like I am so excited I am like sitting you know, I cannot wait until they come out and it is because of the way that they pre-launched their games and it is like — a lot of times it is like a 6 to 9 or 12 month you know, it is like a little drip here and there and then they show and they do previous of the game and they have like, they will have discussions about it about what is going to be new and all that.

So there is a lot to learn even from the way that they launch the games too you know and then once you get inside there is even more.

Chris Brogan: Absolutely.

Jeremy Reeves: If anybody likes video games like you know, the geeks that Chris and I are, definitely look at them and while you are playing, you know, you might as well pull some marketing insights from it you know.

So if you have to you know, you have worked with all types of companies you know, small businesses, huge businesses, all that kind of thing, if there was — if you are going into a business and you could look out like if there was 1 factor that helps people grow that it is like, okay, you are going to do X and that is your like, it is kind of like a guaranteed win, what would you look for in that kind of company whether it is — and if you can do it, maybe it is different for the small and big companies, but you know, what are your thoughts on that?

Chris Brogan: You know what, to me Jeremy, it is always the same, any size company and I think I might have stolen a little of this from the perspective of Richard Branson or rather when I write this book (inaudible 12:50.1) I had this realization that wow, this thought that I had that I thought it was wrong for thinking, that is what he says and you know, sometimes it happens where someone outside of us will verify or you know, validate us and will go, ahh.. I am (inaudible 13:06.4).

So the idea is really simple. This is exactly what Branson said. Branson said, this can work on all scales you know, a business idea can work on all scales and that is why I stole.

And so the idea is just to connect and serve and so you know, you see on the side of police car is to protect and serve. So I think you know, to connect and serve because I think that what is most missing in most businesses of all sides, little guy doing a lawn you know has his you know, little (inaudible 13:36.1) and he wants to mow more lawns all the way up to Viacom and Sony electronics USA.

We fall behind the mechanics of systems. We fall behind the idea that you know, if I do this enough times in a row, I am going to expect this kind of scenario and when it does not work, we do not know what to blame so we blame the systems or we blame processes way outside of us or whatever you know, whatever (inaudible 14:00.8) guide is not working, the real (inaudible 14:03.7) about any diet is it works if it is the right diet for you, you know, because you apply, you have to do the work and so when it comes to this idea of connect and serve, service is the basis of all good business, all good business.

100% of business is based on service. I will say a really random example. I like watches from this company Shinola. They have a bunch of other business lines as well, but they started with watches in Detroit. So I got this watch, it is not a whole lot of money, it is like a $500 watch you know, I never going to wear this and someone go whoo.. (inaudible 14:38.2)

But if people know the story, it is a story of sort of revitalizing Detroit and this company is American made. All the parts are American and like all the you know, good stuff about taking in a city that has been on its back feet and putting it back together again.

This is so random. I twit yesterday, dear Shinola, I love you. That is all. They twit back. Dear Chris Brogan. We love you too.

I did not expect much. I just wanted to say it because I was (inaudible 15:06.1) because I was looking at my watch which is strangely not in my wrist during the (inaudible 15:09.7).

But you know, I love just that little piece of touch and that little piece of touch stretches me a lot further.

My buddy Steve Garfield, he runs the He said, I was travelling back to Portland, Maine. I was just up on a vacation with my fiancé and he said, oh, you got to go to this place. I think it is called the Slab it is a pizza place. He goes, “Man, I love it. I had a great time. I shot some photos. I had them up on my Facebook. The guy who rans it came over and said, (inaudible 15:36.6) on my Facebook page” or whatever.

That is — to me, the social media tools are (inaudible 15:41.1) is the fact that an owner can reach out to customer and validate his enthusiasm for a place and then turns that guy into a full on raging fan.

So that works at huge companies as well as small companies you know. I had a problem with a regional pizza company around here because my son wanted desperately for me to order from there as many times as I have told him we have had horrible times in the past and he was like, no please, I really like their food and I am like, I do not care that you like it, it is just that, they never going to come to our hose.

So against my better judgment. I call. I make the order. 40 or so minutes go by and then (inaudible 16:19.1) 30 and I call them. They say, yeah, we ran out of — I forgot what it was like buffalo wings or something that we order. We ran out of them so we are going to call you back and ask you what you want as a dip.

I say, well first up, it is 40 minutes. You are like, you are 10 minutes past when that food should be in my mouth, but second like you are going to call me — again, regional pizza company who is like 100 of stores and advertises (inaudible 16:47.7) what a bunch of poop heads, right.

So (inaudible 16:51.1) this story on stage forever. So, Jeremy, that is such a long answer, but I want the passion to show like I wanted to show that any size company can do the simple as be and connect with the people that it hopes to serve and to serve them.

My needs are not met by this giant regional pizza company. The local guy across the street who makes far less superior pizza will actually bring it to the house for my kid. So that is how it is going to go.

So I guess if you could (inaudible 17:20.0) then none of that is a tactic. It is just pure commitment. It is commitment to the people who are going to give you their money and it is commitment to say, I am going to keep being there for you like a bad 90’s Bon Jovi song and I am going to just keep delivering on the promise that I made to you and I think that it is such a fundamental to business Jeremy and so many people are failing on that and going after should I or should not I implement the content marketing platform.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, yeah. I love it.

Yeah, it is a brilliant words you know and it is very true you know what I mean. It is just the amount of caring that goes into a lot of businesses anymore it is just you know, subpar. It is too transactional you know what I mean versus actually caring about who you are serving in trying to help people you know and that is what business is all about you know.

Chris Brogan: And you travel Jeremy? How many times — do you have a bad airline experience? How many —

Jeremy Reeves: Every time.

Chris Brogan: How many times does the hotel not the way you wish they would be. I mean, there is a whole system of experiences that you touch in your day or you can say to me, I am sure those people do not care about much about me.

And I think that if I have made in my life work to keep helping companies figure out the way they implement that, that I will have a long career because so few companies are doing it.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, yeah. It makes you stand out. Even if — it is kind of just you know, being a good person if you just do the basic things that you know, apparently, parents used to teach, but they don’t anymore. You know, I am just being polite, being you know, curious, being on time you know, it is just it stands out just doing that. I mean, I think that should be like just the basic minimum threshold, but apparently, it is not anymore you know, and the same thing with business you know, everything that you just mentioned you know. Yeah, it is not rocket science. It is just the — just do it.

Chris Brogan: And you know, it does not always fit into a nice graphic or it does not always look great on a slide somewhere, but I think that, there are ways to implement it in day-to-day and I think that that is another thing that sets it apart from some of the advice that were being given out there Jeremy.

Look at some of the other episodes of shows, not yours, but around the space and look at the sort of — you just got to hustle. You just got to go for it you know.

I have nothing against the word hustle. I just think that that is like saying you have got to have rubber tires on your car or it will not move anywhere.

I think there is a lot more of having a car than — and I think you need a really good engine.

Jeremy Reeves: Yep. Absolutely.

Well, hey, we are coming up on time here. So you know if anybody wants to reach out, what is the best way to get in touch with you to you know, work with you, to buy your books you know, which book would you recommend, I know you have a bunch you know. Let us know how to you know, how to get more Chris Brogan.

Chris Brogan: Thank you. I just published a brand new book called Find Your Writing Voice. It came out a couple of days before you and I recorded this.

The easiest way is either or if that sounds hard to spell go to either way I can help you and connect in.

I always tell people the same thing which is grab my newsletter because if you connect with my newsletter, if you feel like that makes sense to you and resonates with you then you like what I do and if you don’t you are going to not like anything I do, so do not bother.

Jeremy Reeves: Yeah, yeah. It is a good point.

Alright, well, hey, it was a pleasure having you on and I kind of e-meeting you here and you know, good luck with everything you are doing.

Chris Brogan: We will do it face-to-face sometime Jeremy. Thank you so much.

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