Announcer: Please note disclaimers at end of show. Welcome to Creating Wealth with Jason Hartman. During this program, Jason is going to tell you some really exciting things that you probably haven’t thought of before and a new slant on investing, fresh new approaches to America’s best investment that will enable you to create more wealth and happiness than you ever thought possible.
Jason is a genuine self-made multimillionaire, who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. He’s been a successful investor for 20 years and currently owns properties in 11 states and 17 cities. This program will help you follow in Jason’s footsteps on the road to financial freedom. You really can do it. And now, here’s your host, Jason Hartman, with the Complete Solution for Real Estate Investors™.

Jason Hartman: Greetings. This is Jason Hartman and welcome to the Creating Wealth Show, Show No. 129. I’m glad to have you with us today. We are going to have an interview for you here in just a moment from Shane Gibson, who is a fantastic internet and social media guru. He also talks to you about increasing your sales size so you can sell larger, more expensive products and make more money. So it’s fun.

Be sure to join us for the Masters Weekend on the real estate investment side. The Masters Weekend – we have reserved that date for March 2010, and you definitely want to get in early because we have a very, very good early-bird price now of only $697. So be sure you go to www.JasonHartman.com and sign up for that. We already have a few people that have signed up this early, so it’s great to see that you’ll be joining us in March for another Masters Weekend.

Before we get into the interview with Shane, I want to play for you just a couple of little sound bites here really quickly from some of our clients so you can hear what some of our clients have to say, and then talk to you about building a personal media empire. And then we’ll go into the interview with Shane. So listen to a few sound bites real quick.
Clients’ Testimonials

Female Speaker: I’m so pleased with the level of service with Platinum Properties, and I’ve invested with other organizations. But the difference is amazing. The level of communication, the availability of my agent, was always so available, returned every phone call, and made everything so easy and so clear. It was amazing.
Female Speaker: And what I love about it is not only when you listen are you entertained, but you’re informed and in a practical way where you can just go home and really apply it. I think Jason and his group are just doing a wonderful job and you should be here.

Female Speaker: I was so surprised to find that any problem that I have is taken care of immediately, No. 1, and No. 2, that Platinum Properties really has this huge network of people to deal with, so instead of me trying to spend the time of building my own network, the network was already there. So those were the two points where I was so surprised and the reason why I will continue to buy three or four properties a year from Platinum Properties.

Female Speaker: Everybody, I just call – they all have time for me, so that’s what I love about Platinum.
Male Speaker: When I do have a problem, I can consult them and because of their massive base of potential investors, they’ve probably seen that problem before, they know how to handle it appropriately, so basically, it’s like an encyclopedia of problem-solving people.

Jason Hartman: For 12 years, we’ve been doing great things here at Platinum Properties Investor Network, so be sure to take advantage of all of our different products and services.
I want to talk to you before we go into the interview with Shane. You know that we’ve added an additional area of competency to the Creating Wealth Show and we’ve had a couple of shows on the topic now, and we’ve recorded several more that are coming up. And this is one of those on our new topic area. You know, folks, this is really all about increasing the size of your audience, your tribe. Most everybody listening nowadays has some level of insecurity about their job and their employment prospects and their career, and most people nowadays, at least the smart ones, have some sort of Plan B. They have a little home-based business they’re working on, or maybe you’re a full time entrepreneur, like myself.Whatever level you’re at, whether you have a small business, a medium-sized business, or you’re a solo-preneur, meaning you’re just working solo – and usually that’s in a home-based type business – if you’re pursuing the four-hour work week and that’s really relying on a more automated business, which I think is a fantastic thing to do – lots more about that on the show and some of that today – it’s really all about increasing the size of your audience and increasing your credibility.Many of you listeners have said to me, Jason, I want to do what you’re doing for my business. I want to have a big successful podcast or even a few different podcasts, as I do; a few different shows and an audience from around the world that will be interested in joining my cause, buying my products, buying my services. Whatever that is, we all want to build, as Seth Godin talks about in his book, Tribes, we all want to build that tribe. And so that’s what today’s show is really about, building that tribe.

But what I think it comes back to is what I call – I sort of coined this little trademark term, called a Personal Media Empire or a PME, a Personal Media Empire. We’ve identified 22 areas so far that this personal media empire comes out of, and we have built a coaching program around it, a six-month program that will help you build your personal media empire. These actions items include the following 22 things:

  1. Book publishing. Authors have a lot of credibility, folks, and it’s usually not the book that really makes you the money. It’s the ancillary stuff that comes from the book, speaking fees, consulting fees, other products you sell, coaching programs, etc. So book publishing, that’s one big area of competency and that includes print book publishing and ebook publishing.
  2. Print and online marketing.
  3. Video and audio publishing.
  4. Repurposing content into multiple streams of marketing that produce multiple streams of income.
  5. Attracting top-tier guests to your show.
  6. Outlining specific strategies to do all of this.
  7. Content creation and tactics for distributing your content. Everybody is an expert in something, folks, and you might as well take that expertise that you have and you should repurpose that and you should make it known to the world. Build an audience with it. Help people. Better people’s knowledge base, better their skills, and create extra income for yourself.
  8. Developing a foundational philosophy for your Personal Media Empire.
  9. Producing a show and getting the right editing equipment on the technical side of that. So there’s the creative production side and the technical production side. We’ve done all that for years here and we can help you do it, too.
  10. Hiring and managing voice-over talent.
  11. Video mogul marketings. If you want to dominate all of the different “tube” channels, like YouTube – and there are many others, not just YouTube, out there; Google Video and about 50 other “tube” channels – if you want to dominate those “tube” channels and get views and viral videos, that’s a great thing to do.
  12. Software consulting, understanding what software you will need to run your Personal Media Empire.
  13. Launching multiple shows and topics. So for example, I have the Creating Wealth Show, the one you’re listening to now. That’s really been my biggest core show. I have well over 300,000 downloads. I have listeners in 26 countries, and it has brought my firm a lot of business. It’s just a fantastic thing to do. So what else do you want to do? Do you want to create other ancillary shows? And they might have related topics that are directly related, or they might have kind of tangential or totally different, unrelated topics.
    So for example, I have the Creating Wealth Show. That’s the audio version you’re listening to now. Then I have the Creating Wealth Video Show, which is totally different video content. Then I have the Speed of Money Show, which is a short, quick, two-minute show, just quick tips on investing and finance and business. And then I have the Holistic Survival Show, and I’m just about to launch another show called The Jetsetter Travel Show. So these are all passions of mine. These are all topics I’m really interested in. What are you interested in? Do you think other people are interested in the same things? Do you have a hobby, a talent, an idea, a cause? Do you want to turn that into something that can create multiple streams of income for you? That’s what your Personal Media Empire is all about.
  14. Email marketing. So when it comes to email marketing, when you want to do this in a big way, we have about 174,000 people on our email list, I believe, and there, you need to use an email service provider. How do you pick one? How do you increase deliverability of your emails? How do you comply with all the can-spam or anti-spam laws? Have to make sure you do this stuff right. How do you do the coding of the emails so that they show up and the images show up on multiple browsers and email clients? There’s a lot to this stuff.
  15. Hosting live events and developing your speaking skills so that you can be a polished, persuasive, professional speaker.
  16. Becoming a guru in whatever field it is that you’re interested in.
  17. SMS or text marketing. Text marketing is really, really growing. That’s a pretty hot field right now and you can do a lot with it, and it’s very inexpensive.
    All of this stuff I’ve talked about, by the way, is something anybody can do. This is something the soccer mom can do just part time. You can build a little following, a little media empire, to help sell products, services, ideas, causes, whatever it is. All of this stuff is very inexpensive, and the best thing about it is it’s very, very scalable. What does scalability mean? That means you can start small and you can scale it up without hiring a bunch of employees, buying a bunch of equipment, leasing a big office, or horsing around with any of that big commitment type of stuff. Very high profit margin business. Once you get the basics down and you get your distribution channels established, it’s all gravy. It’s all profit after that because your sum cost is very minimal and it doesn’t increase when your scale and your size and your influence and your distribution increases. So text and SMS marketing – big new field.
  18. Identifying the right target markets.
  19. Webinars and tele-seminars and conference calls. Do you want to do webinars? What program do you want to use, WebEx, GoToWebinar, GoToMeeting, lots of different things here? Or do you want to do audio conference calls? You might be surprised at the effectiveness of those different things that might kind of surprise you. There’s a lot to that field as well.
  20. Marketing to the public versus to the trade. So is your idea, your business, your cause – is that B to B, meaning Business to Business? Or is it Business to Consumer, B to C? So how do you market differently to businesses versus consumers? There’s a whole field of study there and a whole bunch of discipline that you need to know about there.
  21. This is really the best kind of personal media empire is Infopreneuring, or Infopreneurship. So being an infopreneur means you can create information products, and those information products, especially nowadays, can be sold digitally. So there’s no marginal cost increase as you sell more and more products. You don’t have to print them, you don’t have to mail them, and you don’t have to ship them. They’re just delivered digitally over the internet.
    There’s a lot more to this folks, so we’ll keep identifying new areas of targeting here and new multiple streams of income.
  22. eBay businesses. A lot of people have little sideline businesses that they conduct on eBay. It’s a great thing. A lot of opportunity has certainly been created from eBay, and there’s just a lot of good stuff here.

So remember folks. You don’t need to make it big in this. You don’t need to turn this into a multi-million dollar business. You can just do something that increases your income by $800, $1,000, $2,000 a month. Think about that. For most people around the world, a little bit of extra income from a little sideline business could make all the difference in their life. It could help you buy rental properties with that income. It could pay off your credit cards or your student loans. It could buy a nice extra car for you. It could save your home from foreclosure. It could give you a much nicer lifestyle.

Now that’s the basic part of it. But what if you want to do it in a big way? I mean there are infopreneurs that have built personal media empires, establishing themselves as gurus that bring in tens of millions of dollars per year. And these are very, very high profit margin businesses because remember, you create it once and you can sell it an unlimited number of times. So that’s what a Personal Media Empire is about. That’s what becoming a local celebrity or a celebrity in a certain niche is all about. And that’s what my book that I published eight or nine years ago, nine years ago now, entitled, Become the Brand of Choice, is all about. I’ve been teaching people this stuff for many, many years, and in the past few years, I’ve really sort of been more interested in teaching people about investments and finance.

But what’s so exciting nowadays is that with all of these new internet products and services available and all of the social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, all of the others, you can just do this stuff for virtually no money. It’s almost free. Everyone should have a tribe. Everyone should have an audience. Everyone should establish themselves as an expert in something. It can be a hobby, a cause, a business, a passion, a political ideology, whatever, but why not develop an audience or a tribe that follows you and takes advantage of your influence, your expertise. This is something that anybody listening can do and it’s pretty darn exciting because you can basically do it for free nowadays, or almost free.

So we have a coaching program built around the PME or the Personal Media Empire. You can call us and inquire more about that. Our number is (714) 820-4200, and learn more about it. The bonuses we include with this are helping you define your brand, your logo, your trade-dress, and the positioning here, a social media strategy and positioning there on social media, and then creation and launch of your own podcast show.

Again, a lot of good opportunities out there, folks. These are trying times for many people, but trying times and tough economies are when some of the best opportunities are created, whether that means picking up assets on the cheap, like good income properties, or it means starting a new little business that turns into a big business later. You have to take advantage of these times because when the boom times occur, the opportunities, in many ways, really aren’t as great because there’s so much noise out there and there’s so much competition out there and it’s so hard to get the attention of your audience. It’s much easier now, so don’t miss the opportunity. This is the time that great things occur.

All right, enough of that. Let’s go to the interview with Shane Gibson. I think you’ll really enjoy this. We have a lot more gurus and experts coming on this topic and we have a lot more coming on the finance, investment, and real estate topic as well. I just interviewed a couple of people today. One of them was the author of The Dollar Meltdown; fascinating interview. We’ll have that one coming up for you soon. Anyway, keep listening to the Creating Wealth Show. There’s a lot of great stuff coming up. Be sure you’re listening to the Holistic Survival Show, the Speed of Money Show, and the Creating Wealth Video Show as well. Those are all totally free on the internet, www.JasonHartman.com, www.HolisticSurvival.com, and also on iTunes. Just type in Jason Hartman. You’ll find them all.

Let’s go to the interview with Shane Gibson and happy business, happy Personal Media Empire building, and of course, always, happy investing. Here’s the interview with Shane.

Interview with Shane Gibson

Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Shane Gibson to the show. He is an expert on Closing Bigger, thus the name of his website, www.ClosingBigger.net, and a real expert on social media marketing. He has a great podcast. I’m a listener, and just wanted to bring him on the show from Vancouver today to talk to us today about how you can earn more money and increase your income and your contact list and so forth through his methodology. Welcome, Shane.

Shane Gibson: Thank you very much.

Jason Hartman: Tell us a little bit about what is the hottest, newest thing in social media marketing.

Shane Gibson: The hottest, newest thing in social media marketing, it’s such a new business or new type of marketing really. Social media marketing, from my perspective, as we know it, is really only been around for 36 months, although the beginnings of it started with blogging close to around 2001 – 2002.

The hottest thing right now in social media marketing, as we’ve seen, is micro-blogging, which is still Twitter. Twitter is the dominant micro-blogging tool. I think one of the reasons why is that executives today don’t have time to dig down individually, dig down and read entire blog entries, but they sure like 140-character updates. That’s a rapid way to connect with people, as well as find information. And if you use it effectively, it’s also an incredible business intelligence tool.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, it sure is. People are now getting their news from Twitter. It’s pretty amazing that that’s become a major news source, too. You know what’s interesting about Twitter – I’m just wondering – I guess there are, since you mentioned the character count, there are 160 characters available, and some people, I guess, are thinking that they’re going to use that additional 20 characters for advertising. Do you know anything about that? I’m just kind of curious.

Shane Gibson: No, I don’t know. There are many different, I guess, concepts of the business model floating out there, both within Twitter and third parties looking to use it as a marketing tool. I think that Twitter is more like a telephone than it is a billboard. The really good social media marketers understand this, the ones that are really profiting. In other words, they understand it’s a bi-directional communications tool and that, in fact, if someone wanted advertising, they would probably go to Google and scroll down the side of the search for ad words and click on what they want to see. But in most cases, people within Twitter, what they want is real dialogue. They want engagement.

And just as you mentioned earlier, they want news and they want updates on current and unique events by the second. Advertising in the format of pushing it out of the tweet is not that powerful. Now, getting through word-of-mouth advertising people on Twitter to endorse your product or promote your website is very powerful.

Jason Hartman: Sure it is. What does someone need to do to be a really good micro-blogger? The goal is to acquire a lot of followers on Twitter so that you have a larger area in which to influence and to engage people and prospects. What are some of the best practices there?

Shane Gibson: Well, I think we’ll start talking about that last word you used, or one of the last words, engagement. Twitter and all social media is not a video game and I think you’ll see that there are a lot of ways to have robots follow people, to speak for you, to send auto messages, to build a big following. But a lot of these big followings are big followings of people just like them, who aren’t listening, but just broadcasting. So it’s great to say you have 10,000 Twitter followers, but what’s more important and what really makes it work is back to that word you used, engagement. An engagement isn’t just listening. It’s actually making people feel heard.

So, yes, you want to build up a great Twitter following, but one of the best ways to build up a great Twitter following is to really give really good value-added content. So let people know you’ve heard them. If people are talking about your brand or talking about a topic or talking about your industry, actually get involved in that conversation, suggest things, thank them, promote what they’re doing, and what you’ll find is you’ll build up a lot of good brand equity and personal equity and trust. Just like you would if you were networking at your local Chamber of Commerce over a year or two and contributing to the community, you’ll become highly referable.

From my perspective, the best way to build a good following – yes, you need to follow people to be followed, but also, you need to create really good value-added content.
The other thing, one of the things I talk about in our seminars, and Stephen Jagger and I talk about in our book, Sociable, is the fact that everybody today has the ability to broadcast, which is both a good and a bad thing. It’s a good thing for a marketer, but it’s also a bad thing because there’s so much noise. So to be a leader, to be a true spot leader, we can’t sound like everybody else. Not only do you have to add value, you have to add it in a unique way, if you want to stand out amongst that noise once you have followers.

So that’s really the big challenge is not just getting people to follow, but also, getting great at writing headlines, getting great at adding value in a unique way.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, I certainly agree with that, Shane. Can you give us some examples of creating unique headlines, unique content, so that people stand out in the crowd, if you will?

Shane Gibson: Well, I’ll give you sort of one of my first experiences with Twitter and this goes back quite a while ago – not that long ago. I’ve been on Twitter for 27 months.

Jason Hartman: Quite a while ago in the social media world.

Shane Gibson: It is; 27 months is, but it’s funny because I did one Twitter update and then didn’t do anything for 12 months. It wasn’t until Stephen Jagger and I sat down and he just basically laid it out for me, actually a podcast interview I did for ClosingBigger.net, and then I started my Twitter experiment, so to speak. Or at least I thought it was. And in my first month, I then did a blog entry for my 30 days in and here’s what I thought of Twitter. And so the title of the tweet I put out to link back to my blog entry was, “Social Media for Sales Professionals,” and I put a link there. I had over an entire day, maybe one click.

So I realized there were a lot of people talking about that, so one of the parts of the article was actually how I got a Martha Stewart ironing board through Twitter, which was part of the story. It was about connecting and meeting with people. I put up on Twitter how I got a Martha Stewart ironing board through Twitter, and all of a sudden, I got 80 clicks. And I realized right then that borderline bizarre or engaging – if you look at some of the best direct email headlines even that you get – those are also great headlines. You have to think about writing headlines. Asking a question, like, “What do you think of the recent FTC ruling about bloggers?” and a link. Or “Are you paying too much for your mortgage?” and a link. That’s going to do a lot better than just a statement like, “Best mortgage rates” or “FTC ruling.”

And so, asking questions, or one of the things that I found that works really well is the headline, for instance, one of my most recent updates is, “The Ten Personality Traits of a Guerrilla Social Media Marketer.” Lists are really popular things that you can promote on Twitter. And so just from a headline running perspective, that type of stuff works really well, is asking questions.
I think if you take a step further back, anything to do with social media is that whether it’s a blog entry, whether it’s a YouTube video, whether it’s a Twitter update, I’m always looking at what are the core challenges and pains my target market is having, and what are the pills to those challenges? What are the solutions? And what I’m going to do is I’m going to blog, I’m going to Tweet, I’m going to make videos about the solutions to those challenges because that’s what my target market is Googling for right now. That’s what they’re searching on YouTube and that’s what they’re searching Twitter for. That’s something you might want to think about when you’re putting together what type of content you’re developing.

Jason Hartman: Right. That’s definitely a good idea because you know what’s topical. And you know, I may want to go back to the social media tips there in a moment, but I want to ask you about something else on your site, those ten personality traits. I found this interesting. It is the counter, the Gary Hayes Social Media Counts. That gives people, I think, Shane, an idea of how big this world is becoming and how important it is to engage people here because it’s just such a giant channel. Talk about that, if you would.

Shane Gibson: I think that one of the things – I guess there are two things. That counter is quite interesting. I guess he set up as an algorithm that tells you how many people at this moment have joined Facebook and have joined Twitter, and blog entries have gone up and YouTube videos have been uploaded and viewed, and it’s by the second. It shows you, since you’ve opened the browser, how many people have gotten involved in social media or opened new accounts or created new content. So there’s amazing amounts of content being created online, and if you roll back, it goes back to an adage I recently heard that says, “There are no more marketing gurus, only consumers with megaphones.”

Jason Hartman: Oh, interesting.

Shane Gibson: And those consumers with megaphones is that you can craft and create a beautiful brand about your product or service or the latest book you’ve written, for maybe a real estate development you’ve put together and are selling. And you think, okay, I created this brand. Well, no, actually, someone sees that. They link to it on Twitter. They write a blog entry. Someone else makes a comment. Another person drives by and videotapes how they’re actually constructing your facility before it goes up. Someone else tweets or does an update about how they dealt with your development company in the past. And all these conversations are actually creating your brand, so you no longer own your brand.

We’ve grown from last year in August from 150 million to 250 million people on Facebook now, 300 million. Twitter has grown astronomically, especially internationally, it’s really on the grow now, and what’s occurring is that, No. 1, our customers, their eyeballs are now shifting from traditional media to a highly interactive two-way media called social media. So there are two reasons why you want to be there. No. 1 is any great marketer wants to be where the market is. No. 2, they’re having these conversations about your brand, so you need to be able to listen for those conversations and gauge them, and really invite them back to your home base, which is your blog or your social website.

But the key is that, literally, the growth of social media is not going to stop and it’s going to be part of our daily lives. People are going to go for advice on Twitter versus hit the Yellow Pages when they want to find a lawyer, a developer, a contractor, a realtor, you name it, and they’re going to talk about us, too.

Jason Hartman: It’s interesting when you say that, Shane because I notice how much my own habit and my own life has changed. I really rarely turn on the television anymore. Everybody prefers, at least those who have tried it pretty much, prefer the engagement and the two-way dialogue that goes on in the social media world because everybody wants to be heard and they want to have influence. Television is a monologue media, where social media is dialogue media obviously.

But where do you think this is leading to? When I look at the Gary Hayes Social Media Counts, and you just see this amazing number of blogs being posted in the last day, over 900,000 blog posts, 601,000 members added on Facebook – this is mind boggling, it really is, and it just makes one think that there is only so much time and attention span to go around. So where does this all lead to? I’m just dying to know how social media will look in five years, in one year, in ten years. Where do you think this is all going?

Shane Gibson: Well, a couple things. We look at Seth Godin’s book, Tribes.

Jason Hartman: Which I read; that was very interesting.

Shane Gibson: Jay Conrad Levinson is the author of Guerrilla Marketing and I’m working on a number of guerrilla marketing products for social media with him right now. We talked about something that Jay talked about, which is called nano-casting, and nano-casting will become more important than ever and it’s really broadcasting or nano-targeting even parts of a tribe, not even an entire tribe. So in the past, we have broadcast. Then we kind of narrow-casted. Then we niche-casted, so we’re not just hitting everybody in a certain area who owns a home over a certain value. Now it’s they own a home over a certain value and they also like NASCAR and they voted this way.

And then, today, you go even deeper and you’re nano-casting. And nano-casting is going to become more important than ever. It’s identifying a very small, specific group of people, and having a very personal conversation with them in a very custom way. A good example of that would be Blends Coffee here in Vancouver. Blends Coffee has actually got more coffee shops than Starbucks does, but Starbucks is their major competitor here in Vancouver and that says something because there are 80-something Starbucks.

And what Blends has done is their Twitter strategy is to use search.twitter.com to find people within a couple kilometers or miles of each of their stores, who talk about coffee, talk about Starbucks, or talk about Blends, and directly involve those people in conversation, invite them in their stores, award them things. But they’re no longer broadcasting. They’re actually following and listening to a very small micro tribe in their immediate area.

I think that’s one of the things as marketers, is a lot of noise, but it’s going to be able to really dominate block-by-block using tools like this. Now, it might not be block by block geographically. It might be people with a very specific interest, but because social media is so trackable and it’s so easy to find these conversations, good marketers are going to be able to really nano-cast.

And so that’s one of the big trends I feel is going to happen more and more. Secondly, the other big one, from a social media perspective, is the importance of the thought leader will be greater than ever, and the reason why is because there is so much noise out there that to go online and search for the term “real estate” in L.A., if you think it’s noisy now, try it in three or four years from now. There will be even more noise as every single realtor is involved in social media. So what people are going to look for or their style in real estate development is they’re going to look for thought leaders in the real estate sector. These are people who consume this information, are respected, have built a large following of people, and who help disseminate that information and really cut the maybe not-so-great data and really provide the core crux of what we’re looking for.

So more than ever, we’re going to be searching for trusted advisors online, who are specialists, not just in their sort of overall demographic area, but really specialists in a nano-target. I think specialists in specific areas are going to be very, very sought after and that’s how we want to position ourselves as marketers, as authors, as content providers moving into the future.

Jason Hartman: So Shane, on the first point there, the nano-casting point, I find that very interesting because it almost flies in the face of the old paradigm, and it’s not very old really and it’s still current to some extent, too, is every businessperson wants to scale up. They want to develop a larger scale, a larger audience, more followers, more listeners, whatever it is because they have a larger distribution channel for their ideas, their products, their services, whatever. But it’s almost like if you want to get big, you need to think really small in a way.

Shane Gibson: And that’s talking about when Stephen and I wrote Sociable. We kind of looked at each other and said, okay, the book is called How Social Media is Turning Sales and Marketing Upside Down. That’s the tagline. But if you dig it deeper, we sat back and thought about it. It’s a bit of a play on words, but social media, good social media marketing, is teaching big companies to think small and showing small companies how to have a big impact. And it really is how you can be scalable and the important part of being scalable is a few things. No. 1 in your business, you have to get good at outsourcing or automating anything that you could possibly outsource or automate in a process.

Now you can’t outsource your brand, but one of the things you can do is you can turn over content creation to your target market. So great social media marketers are able to create platforms where fans and advocates and people who share similar values create and share content about your product or service. A great example of that would be Chris Patterson with Interchanges, which is an interactive social media agency out of Jacksonville. He created a portal called In Social Media.com. And what he did was versus trying to scale up and connect with thousands of social media marketers individually and try to have a dialogue with them, he created a main site, which is like a white label type of Facebook, but only for his target market, where people can join, connect, make friends, share information. And he led the conversation, but the content was driven by his fans and his advocates.

So great social media marketers, how you scale is actually to get out of the content game and into the leadership game. So most of what you’re going to be doing is, yes, some content, but facilitating other people creating viral type messages for us. That’s one of the major ways that we can do it.

Jason Hartman: So would you suggest that businesses have an open blog platform on their websites where people can just kind of say whatever they want? I know every businessperson is fearful about that. They sort of think that could backfire, right?

Shane Gibson: Well, the funny thing is that it’s naïve to think – and most marketers will think this – is that if I turn the comments off on my blog, that will stop people from saying bad things about my company. But actually, what you’ve done is you’ve really asked them don’t say bad things about my company where I can have a dialogue with you, where I can change your mind, where I can get other people, who are fans, to respond to you and balance the conversation. Have that conversation in a forum that I have no control over. People are going to say negative things about your brand online. They’re going to make YouTube videos about what they didn’t like about your customer service.

Jason Hartman: And I have to tell you, Shane, it just cracks me up how they have all these hate sites or “suck” sites, like VerizonSucks.com or whatever. I don’t know if that one exists actually, but I just heard about them. It’s interesting how people have taken to criticizing corporate America, and it’s a good thing in a way. Some of it is unfair criticism for sure, but the consumer really has a voice nowadays, more than ever.

Shane Gibson: They have those megaphones.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, they sure do.

Shane Gibson: And you can make your blog versus being a polished controlled brand, be a transparent, accessible brand, and begin to realize that a brand is now a conversation and to host that conversation on your blog. I’ve had negative comments on my blog and I thought they were a bit spammish and maybe they were a bit negative, and maybe they didn’t even read the blog entry properly, but at least they made a comment on my blog where I can respond to it. And I have to give also, my consumer and my readers credit that they are actually able to discern those as well, and I think sometimes we think the consumer is dumb.

Jason Hartman: Well, what’s interesting is sometimes one of your other followers comes up and defends you if the person is unjustly critical, so that happens. But here’s the other thing. To take it back to the old paradigm of sales, the worst prospect, Shane, is the indifferent prospect. A prospect who’s raising objections means that’s an indicator of interest, isn’t it?

Shane Gibson: Absolutely. From a traditional sales perspective, a rejection is only an unanswered question, and 99 percent of the time, unless you’re pushing them too hard in the sales process, they’re throwing whatever they can at you to slow you down. In most cases, you’re right. It’s just an unanswered question.

Jason Hartman: Here’s a question I have for you, Shane. Some tips on building trust within your audience, within your tribe or your market. I certainly think just providing useful information coming from the perspective of being of service, of being a contributor, rather than an advertiser, that has to be a real paradigm shift, especially for people who have lived in the corporate world and are sort of into the old style of advertising. We’re going to go to an ad agency, we’re going to spend a million dollars, we’re going to push our message out there through what Seth Godin called “interruption marketing,” and people are going to come and buy products. This is a major shift, folks. It really is.

Shane Gibson: It is. It’s funny because I’ll talk to – they don’t quite say it this way; I’m being a bit facetious, but I’ll talk about engagement. Someone will sit in the audience at one of my seminars that I’m giving to a forum or whatever on marketing, and they’ll come up and say, “I love that thing you said about building trust and engaging customers online and creating fans. Who do I pay to do that for me?”

Jason Hartman: You’re right. Can I hire someone?

Shane Gibson: Unfortunately and fortunately, what you have to do – and this goes back to the scaling side – is No. 1, let’s talk about trust, a big part of trust is consistency. It’s not perfection. People know we have faults. No consumer believes there is a perfect product or a perfect service, so don’t over promise. And be there consistently. This is the key is that mediocre consistently will outperform brilliant inconsistently. Of course, now I’m quoting Jay Levinson on that. But that’s really the key to social media. It’s actually being there on a regular basis and creating value, and being real and not over-promising, and really, again, going back to what I said before, asking myself this question constantly and even better, asking people on Twitter, asking people on my blog, asking my customers “where does it hurt and how do you need help?” And then creating content and information around that.

The great thing is in the past, going back to the traditional marketing paradigm, traditional marketers say we’re going to collateral materials, we’re going to create the message, we’re going to create the brand. We’re going to push it down into the sales and service and production, and you guys are going to march with our colors and our slogan and go with it. It’s a very controlled thing.
Social media marketing is a bit different in that what people want to do is they want to connect intimately with people at all levels, whether it’s production, service, sales. And today, marketers, really they are sponsoring the brand so to speak, but instead of them pushing up the collateral or marketing delivering all of the marketing to the marketplace, they’re training sales, service, operations, executives, or bringing third parties in, in the best practices of social media marketing and how to have a great brand conversation with customers. And that’s a bit of a paradigm shift in that everybody, not in every company, but in most companies, you’ll find that there’s a large portion of people in your company which can actually be mobilized to be part of your social media marketing team.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, very interesting. It’s a real shift. There’s no question about it. Well, what else should people know about social media? And then I want to kind of shift gears after this and talk about some sales stuff.

Shane Gibson: Absolutely. I think the most important lesson is that Stephen Jagger and I developed seven steps to launching a social media plan. I think it’s really quick. It’s seven things that you should have in your social media strategy and I think No. 1, to start, you have to know your goal. Don’t get on Twitter because your competitors are. Get on Twitter because you have a business goal and Twitter fulfills that goal. No. 2, you have to really know your target audience right down to the nano-target. No. 3, then pick your platforms you’re going to use.

Jason Hartman: How do you know your audience, before you go on?

Shane Gibson: Well, I think from this perspective, this is actually what starts before all of this is listening, getting on online and using Google Alerts. It’s using search.twitter.com. It’s asking your customers, doing your research, and using tools like SocialMention.com, which will search all the major social media platforms to see what people are saying about your industry, your brand, and where those conversations are happening.

So then I think the next step that’s really important is really mapping out a plan on how you’re going to engage because Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogging all have best practices that you need to understand.

The fifth is then to really implement a strong listening strategy. No. 6 is make sure you know that market’s pains, and then, of course, No. 7 is to consistently communicate solutions to those pains. I think those are really the seven things that people need to do.

And the most important part, and this is where I’ll wrap up and we’ll let you move into sales, is you need to get real. And that means that social media is not a video game because it has to have an end game, and so what Stephen and I do is we have events, whether it’s through Meetup.com or through seminars that we have where we may take all those connections we made through our blog, through Twitter, through LinkedIn, through Facebook, and we either get them to connect with us more intimately through a webinar, or even better, in the cities we do seminars in, we invite them over in person to meet them because once you’ve met someone in person, that relationship is so much deeper and it actually helps promote and make things happen online after you separate and go back to doing your virtual relationship even better.

And so always have an end game in social media and that’s to get them in the door of your store, to get them into a webinar, to get them into an open house. Whatever it is, I think you need realize end game to make it really work.

Jason Hartman: Let me ask you a question about that. I totally agree. You combine the high tech and the high touch, very powerful. When you do your seminars in the various cities, are those seminars that you’re charging for or are they free, these seminars where you’re promoting something else?

Shane Gibson: Two things. Yes, we do free seminars. Steve and I use Meetup.com and like, we did a real estate technology meet up we did in Toronto recently. Here in Vancouver, we do a Vancouver Sales Meet-up. If I’m going to a city, I’ll find some of the Meetup group that meets my demographic and I’ll offer to come in and do a 20 – 30 minute free speech. And my goal there, of course, if the target market is right, is I’m going to be selling books, tapes, or even keynote seminars. So I’ll bring up people that are looking to hire me for conferences as well to there.
Now, we do some free stuff, mostly through Meetup.com or through targeted conferences where I know that 80 percent of the audience is my target.

Jason Hartman: Question for you: Have you ever done paid events through Meetup.com, or do you find it doesn’t work well for the paid ones?

Shane Gibson: Well, it smacks in the face of the culture of Meetup.com.

Jason Hartman: Right, which is free.

Shane Gibson: We interviewed Scott Heiferman, who is actually the CEO and founder of Meetup.com for our book, and his whole thing was Meetup is about, No. 1, that everybody has something to share. So it’s about people sharing best practices and it’s about community and contribution. There are people who use it for paid events, but I’ve found that the rooms that we actually got the biggest ROI out of were the ones who really were packed with tons of energy, with really good community, who were really into promoting each other, and those typically aren’t the paid events.

Jason Hartman: And how many people are usually showing up?

Shane Gibson: It depends on the meetup. Our sales performance meetup is between 80 – 100 people per event.

Jason Hartman: In any given city?

Shane Gibson: In Toronto, we’re looking at 42 and that was our first event. When you get into a place – we did a meetup of Meetups, where we invited several Meetup organizers together quarterly, and our last event was 450 people. Our book launch event will be here in Vancouver with the help of Meetup, as well as a group called Ideas on Tap through Success Marketing, and our goal is to have 1,000 people.
But again, and this is actually another part of social media, is versus trying to be a thought leader for 1,000 people, why not connect with five people, each who get 200 people in a group, who have great influence, and together do something. And that’s another example of social media, or as Jay Levinson would call it, “fusion partnerships.”

Jason Hartman: Good, very good. Anything else on the social media before we move to the next stage?

Shane Gibson: Just a couple things for those listening. Obviously, if they want to connect with me directly and ask me questions, they can follow me on Twitter at @shanegibson and I do answer and I do follow back, and I’m looking forward to the conversation. Or they can visit me at ClosingBigger.net if they have more questions. And lastly, the third one, if you want more information when the books comes out, and we won’t market at you, we promise, but you can register to get some information at sociablebook.com.

Jason Hartman: So speaking of Closing Bigger, one of your fellow Canadians that I know and I recently interviewed on the show is Dan Sullivan. You may be familiar with him. And he has a principle called “The Biggest Check.” In that, he’s talking about how any businessperson can raise their biggest check, their largest check, so that they’re getting better clientele, they’re doing bigger deals, and they’re increasing the size and power of their business or their sales. How can people move up in that world, if you will? And this is really what Closing Bigger is all about, so I wanted to ask you this.

Shane Gibson: Absolutely. I think the key is we really look at there’s three levels of selling. I won’t go into great detail into each of them because that’s a full seminar unto itself, but the first level of selling is “transactional selling,” and that’s order taking. That’s the person who may call up our cell phone company and ask what cell phone should I buy, they ask us five questions, and they use the alternative close or whatnot, but it’s very quick, memorized lines, order taking, high-pressure selling, and that’s sort of the first level of selling. And we’ll get that in a lot of retail environments, a lot of once-off consumer type sales.

The next level is “relationship-based selling.” This is where, in a lot of cases, insurance falls in; investment instruments will fall in at the lower end of investments. This is where a lot of auto sales will come in. This is where a lot of more affluent selling will come in in the retail environment.

But Closing Bigger deals, really large transactions, move up to the next level, which is really what we call solution-based selling, and more than that, it’s partnership, and versus being a product-peddler, you’re a trusted advisor. And what necessitates there is you have to move from a pitch artist or just a relationship builder to someone who is fantastic at helping the clients really identify the challenges they’re in at this point and asking the right questions, and facilitating them really creating the ideal solution, versus you pitching a product. It’s very much a cooperative solution development process.

And you’re really, in any industry, you’re no longer a salesperson, who sells real estate. You’re actually a real estate expert, who happens to sell. You’re no longer a telecommunications salesperson. You’re a telecommunications expert, who happens to sell. You’re a businessperson who happens to sell. There has to be that real switch in the way we operate, on how we ask questions, and back to that word, how we engage customers.

Jason Hartman: Very good point. So what else about closing bigger deals?

Shane Gibson: Well, one of the things I like to say, and this is actually said right off in the beginning of the book, is the one thing you have to know about closing bigger deals – and you might want to write this down – is there’s more than one thing you have to know.

Jason Hartman: I’m writing.

Shane Gibson: And so what happens is it’s a process, not an event. Trevor Green, my co-author for Closing Bigger, and I went out and interviewed people who closed bigger deals. And when we talk about bigger deals, if you’re used to closing $5,000 deals, then maybe a $25,000 deal will be a big deal for you. But for the sake of the book, we went out and interviewed people who closed deals for $1 million and said what do these people do differently. And the common message was No.1, and of course, we’ve all heard this, is sales is a process, not an event.
The real definition of closing that we came up with is that closing is really about creating an environment where an act of faith can take place. So closing is creating an environment where an act of faith can take place.

Jason Hartman: That’s a great quote. I like that.

Shane Gibson: If we go back to the social media, that’s what that’s about. You can imagine someone, instead of not knowing anything about you, they read your blog entry, listen to your podcasts, they see what your own customers have to say about you, and the YouTube videos they’ve created for your last contest online. And when they call you, there’s a lot more faith than someone who just gets a blind cold call from somebody.

And so creating an environment where an act of faith can take place has to do with trust, and trust is really based on credibility. Now, here’s the challenge. What I think is credible you might think is incredible, if that makes sense. Each of our customers has a different credibility model in most cases, based upon industry, culture, their experience, what they need, and it goes back to we need a solid needs analysis process. We need to be able to ask the right questions in the right order, get the customer to open up, and really help them see what their core needs are, and even help them describe and define what credibility is for them before we can even sell a product. The last thing we want to do is start off selling a product or service because if the product or service doesn’t work, they never get to know us or our company.

If we sell ourselves, we sell really what our company can do. When we sell a solution that you’ve co-created, closing the deal becomes easy. And that’s the real differentiator between a pitch artist and a trusted advisor. As a trusted advisor, yeah, sure, they know the story, but they get their customer to narrate the story through asking great questions.

Jason Hartman: And I would say that a lot of – there’s a certain part of the sales field, Shane, that is definitely focused on scripting and it’s all about the scripts, all about the scripts. And I think that just leans to the transactional side of selling versus the understanding side of selling, when you talk about that hierarchy that you go up. Would you agree with that? Is scripting completely something that should be done away with or is it –?

Shane Gibson: I don’t think it should be done away with. Scripts are horrible if it sounds like you’re reading a script. You might as well just get one of those machines, which I think are illegal in most states that automatically dial people and a robot talks to you.

Jason Hartman: Or you can have the call center in India.

Shane Gibson: Yeah, and again, with that said, there are some really great call centers in India and there are some great call centers in the Philippines, and there are other ones where it’s obvious that the person who outsourced it did for the dollar savings and not for the service.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, it’s like they’re following a flowchart, and you ask a question that’s out of the box and they don’t know where to go.

Shane Gibson: Yeah, and one minute, they’re selling timeshares and the next minute they’re selling contact lenses. So I think that’s definitely the quality of outsourcing you do, and even if you’re going to work with outsource partners, make sure it’s an outsource partner that takes the time to train their staff effectively, that even get you involved in the process, and you’re going to pay more. But for $1,000 an employee per month with an outsource partner in the Philippines, you’re going to get someone with a university degree and a good grasp of the English language. But if you’re paying $400 per month, you’re going to get what you pay for.

Jason Hartman: Yeah, no question about it. So what else do people need to know about moving up? Just give us kind of some final thoughts on closing bigger deals. I know you say there’s more to know and I certainly agree.

Shane Gibson: Well, I think some of the things to realize is that, just like marketing, good sales is often abandoned well before you get an ROI, return on investment. That is that often you’ll find – I’m just going to pull some stats to make sure I don’t misquote myself – but on the first call to 100 of your competitors’ customers, you only convert about 2 percent. By the time you’ve called them four times, or contacted through meeting them at an event, driving that value-added interaction, comparing apples to apples, you only convert about 10 percent.

It’s on the fifth call and onward that 81 percent – onward might mean 30 contacts over three years, and I’ll get back to probably a question that’s going to come up, how do we not harass them? But on your fifth call and onward is where 81 percent of all conversion business happens, whether we’re dealing with consumers or corporate buyers.

Now, statistically, and this is coming from the American Dry Goods Association, who’s studied them quite a while, but statistically, only 12 percent of sales professionals continue beyond the third call, only 12 percent. Yet those people are responsible for 80 percent of commissionable incomes earned. So it’s so important, as a big deal closer, that No. 1 – this is how we don’t harass people – we brainstorm all the ways and all the mediums we can utilize to contact a customer and add value with every touch, every single touch. Never pick up the phone and make a call, or go meet with a client, unless you know what’s in it for the client.

In addition to that is most salespeople and entrepreneurs are consistently inconsistent. So what I suggest is really use a good CRM tool, and the most important thing in that CRM tool is scheduling a recurring appointment with that customer every three weeks. And every three weeks, when their name pops up, do something different. So it might be sending a quick thank-you letter. It might be sending a white paper. It might be sending them a link to someone else’s blog, who had a great article that could help their business, or one of my favorite things, I invite clients out to a wine tasting or a scotch festival for the ones that like that, whatever it might be.

But again, having sort of reasonably good touches consistently is better than having a couple great touches. I think that’s where most people miss is that a lot of times, closing big deals, some of these cycles can be 12 – 18 months, and it’s actually a battle of attrition over your competitors.

Jason Hartman: Sure it is, and you know, Shane, that is so true because when I train salespeople, my famous quote is, “If you want to be different, be consistent.” That’s really, really different. There’s so little competition when you’re actually consistent, when you follow through, and you’ve been around a while. No question about it.
Well, very good stuff, Shane Gibson. Excellent advice just kind of wrapping up the social media and the sales. People know where they can find you. Anything else you’d like our listeners to know today?

Shane Gibson: No, absolutely not. Just one of the things Dak Molnar, one of the guys I interviewed in the book Closing Bigger, when Trevor and I asked him – he was sort of a big producer for Colliers Commercial, and I think there were a couple things. In Closing Bigger, I think one of the pieces of advice he said was, “You know what? All you have to do is start thinking with an extra zero because a big deal takes just as long as a mediocre deal to close.” So start thinking with an extra zero.

And back to social media is that the most important thing is social media is a brand conversation and it is more about listening and contribution than it is about pitching. I think if we can remember those two things, we really can get ahead of the pack.

Jason Hartman: Very good advice. Shane Gibson, thank you so much for joining us today. We really appreciate having you on the show.

Shane Gibson: Thank you for the invite. Have a great day.

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Duration: 55 minutes