When you think about your favorite places to shop, there are likely a few things they all have in common, like polite and friendly team members or being quick to help when you have a question or concern.
It’s also likely that these reasons keep you from looking at their competitors. After all, you’ve been happy with them – Why look elsewhere?
In the same way, providing an exceptional experience for your clients can keep them coming back again and again, and in this episode, we’re joined by CX expert Shep Hyken to talk about just that.
A New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, he’s the author of 8 books, including his latest, “I’ll Be Back: How to Get Customers to Come Back Again and Again.”
Put simply, for the last 30+ years, Shep has helped countless organizations build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. Here, he explains how you can do the same.
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Show Notes 📓
✅ Check out Shep’s CX articles and weekly podcast: https://hyken.com/topic/sheps-articles/
📷 Watch the video version of this episode and subscribe for updates on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYAr3nGy6lbXrhbezMxoHTSCS40liusyU
🎤 Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/
🚀 And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/
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Intro: You know those moments when you’re doing what you love in your business, maybe it’s standing on stage or creating content, whatever it is, you’re totally immersed, and time just seems to slip-by? This is called The Flow State. At Speaker Flow, we’re obsessed with how to get you there more often. Each week we’re joined by a new expert where we share stories, strategies, and systems to help craft a business you love. Welcome to Technically Speaking.
Taylorr: And we are live. Shep, the myth, the legend. We are so excited to have you here today, man. Thank you so much for joining us.
Shep: Well, thank you. I love you, guys. And I don’t know about myth and legend. Legend implies old. I guess I’m old. I don’t know.
Taylorr: That’s right.
Austin: It’s funny. One of the beautiful things about Technically Speaking is that we get to meet lots of new people, some that have large platforms and following, some that may not. Not every guest that we bring on when we tell people like, oh, John Doe’s coming on next week, do people jump out of their seats? I’ve mentioned that you’ve been on our podcast schedule to a few folks over the last couple of weeks and people get unbelievably excited about that fact.
Shep: Well, I’m excited about it.
Austin: It means a lot that you’re here.
Shep: Maybe they’re picking up on my enthusiasm. So, thanks for having me.
Austin: That’s good.
Taylorr: Yeah, totally.
Austin: For sure.
Shep: And let’s deliver the goods today.
Taylorr: Let’s deliver the goods, that’s right. Let’s just back up for a moment here. You’ve taken your customer experience, let’s call it passion or obsession, whatever your preference is there, to insane heights; hall of Famer, New York Times bestseller, the list just goes on and on and on. At what point in time in life did you decide that this was your calling to help people sort out?
Shep: Great story there. And that was 40 years ago this year. I’m out of school for less than a year.
Taylorr: Happy birthday.
Shep: Well, thank you. Thank you. Yeah, it’s a cool milestone to be in the speaking business for 40 years. My very first speech, I booked it in July or August, but it didn’t happen. So, I actually had three big clients that year. The first was Anheuser-Busch. The second was Enterprise Rent a Car, proving that you can mix drinking and driving, I guess. But there’s.
Taylorr: Oh, boy.
Shep: No joke. And the third was General Motors. But we’ll talk about them because that, even though they booked me in 2000, I’m sorry, in 1983 to do a speech, imy first gig with them was in 1984, but with Anheuser-Busch and Enterprise. It was July or August of that year. And my first speech came in September and the second one came shortly after that, even though Anheuser-Busch was the first contract. The first speech was for Enterprise. But I delivered my first customer service speech in 1983. I was less than a year out of college, as I mentioned. And I saw a couple of great motivational speakers, Zig Ziggler and Tom Hopkins. And I love these guys.
And I said, we can also go back even further that I could jokingly say my first paid presentation, getting up in front of people and doing a presentation was when I was 12, when I was hired to do a birthday party magic show for about, I don’t know 20 some odd screaming little six-year old kids. Hardest audience by the way I’ve ever had. I don’t know if any of the most difficult audiences in the corporate world would match-up to those little six-year olds, but I digress.
So, when I came home that night, my mom said to write a thank you note. And there’s a whole story behind that evening, and I’ll never forget it because, it was a Wednesday afternoon, it was before I did my homework, I had to write the thank you note. My dad at the dinner table that night said, great idea, next week, call the parents, make sure they were happy with the show, and then ask them what tricks they liked. I go, okay, and if you do this enough times, you’ll start to hear some of the same tricks mentioned. But you’ll also notice certain tricks aren’t mentioned. And you should get rid of those tricks and replace them with tricks they talk about, which is great advice for the stories that we tell in our speeches.
If you’re a musician, and you’re doing a set or doing a concert, which songs do people remember and talk about the next day or later on? It’s great advice for any type of business. It’s if you’re selling bicycles, which bicycles are selling and which ones aren’t. You can tell because of inventory. And what we sell is kind of invisible. By the way, I jokingly say this, are you ready for this? This could get deleted, I don’t know if you’re going to include this or not.
Taylorr: Oh, no, no. We have the explicit label so we’re safe. Whatever’s coming next is good.
Shep: Our business is like a person that sells themselves. As two guys are walking out of the house of ill repute, okay? And one says to the other, what a business that they have. And he goes, what are you talking about? He says, they got it, they sell it and they still got it. But isn’t that?
Austin: It’s true.
Taylorr: Wow. What an analogy.
Austin: That’s so funny.
Shep: But that’s what our business is. It’s kind of like, we sell time and it’s not a product. Even if I go to get my, we used to get my haircut, there’s a finite time I sit in the chair and I look at it, I go, yeah, I like it. And right there, immediate feedback. But in our business, we hear the applause; the client’s busy doing something else and we say thank you. And we follow up a week later to find out, were they happy? Did we see feedback forms and get the results that we want? But anyway, my dad unbeknownst to me was teaching me about feedback and operationalizing the feedback by making a better show, which is called process improvement.
My mom was teaching me about showing appreciation to customers and all of that falls under the guise of customer service and experience. And I had no idea that’s what it was at age 12. And by the way, I continued to do my magic shows. I was very successful. I grew into nightclubs. I worked in my first nightclub when I was 14, at 16. I was doing comedy and magic at the Playboy Club, which was unbelievable for a 16 year old young man. I probably worked like, I don’t know, a dozen engagements in my junior and senior year of high school there. Plus, I did my corporate work in comedy clubs and when I got out of college and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I looked at these two speakers and I said, I can do that because of the entertainment business. And when I went to the bookstore the next day to determine what it is I wanted to talk about it, I thought, I’m going to go see what business books were out there.
Shep: There was one shelf in the whole bookstore devoted to business. Now, we know that’s not the case anymore today, that there are many, many books, many bins of books, shelves and shelves of business books. But I landed on three books, all three tied to the same topic. Customer service and excellence. And it was Tom Peters’, In Search of Excellence. This was 1983. Service America or America at Your Service by Ron Zemke and another Carl Albrecht and Ron Zemke book. And I don’t know, I was just drawn to that. And as I read it, I said, this is exactly what my parents taught me. This is what I’m going to talk about.
And I remember my first speech that I created was called Back to Basics. What do you do to make sure the customer loves you after they choose to do business with you? And I always told my clients, I’m not a salesperson, so I’m not going to teach you how to get people in the door. I’m going to teach you how to keep them coming back. That’s what I’m going to do. And that’s what I’ve been doing since 1983. I’ve not deviated from that. I really focused on the terms customer service back then. And then I learned about internal service by understanding that employees also had to have a good experience.
And then somebody smart one day called it customer experience, which morphed into a much larger type of thing where they talk about anything related to customer’s interactions, regardless of the people-to-people conversations that you might have with customer support or in a selling situation. Even though I’m not teaching sales, I’m teaching how to sell and create a great experience, but not necessarily sales techniques. Anyway, so that’s morphed into where I am today. And here I am 40 years later, still going strong.
Somebody asked me, when am I going to quit? I go, what do you mean quit? I don’t know, that’s not in my DNA, it’s not in my language. I do think I understand what the word means, but I’m the antithesis of quitting to the disappointment of some of my colleagues who go, you know what you can do for me. Because they say, Shep does anything for you. And I go, what would you like me to do for you today? He goes, retire.
Austin: Oh, man. Well, we love the mission you’re on.
Shep: I do think business will change over the next 10 years, 15 years, I’ll probably just focus. I’ll probably get back to what got me into the dance before. Because prior to 2001, everything I did money-wise was made onstage or by selling a book. Okay? And I think that’s a very simple business model for the speaker. I’ve complicated it because in 2001, 9/11 hit, it was, I thought, we get another terrorist attack. Nobody’s going to be sending people to a resort to have a meeting, I better figure out a different way. So, I created training products based on my speeches and started to not just me deliver the training, which I found out I’m not really that good at, even though the content’s good. But I hired other people to deliver my training.
So, that kind of opened up another idea. I can scale myself through these trainers. And then from there I have several different business models that I’ve used, when I say business models, ways I’ve generated income. And then COVID hit 2020, which is just a few years ago, a couple of years ago, I guess, two and a half years ago. And that took everything I ever learned over the last 30 some odd years. And I put it into that year to figure out how to make money except for the one thing I wasn’t allowed to do anymore, which was travel, get up on a stage and talk to a bunch of people for about a year or so. And it turned out that 2020 turned out to be almost as good, if not even better than most other years that I’ve had.
My best year was probably 18, 19, somewhere around there. But it just, how did we do it? Well, we just took a look at all of the different ways we’ve ever made money and probably came up with a few more all tied to the speaking business. I started creating more videos. I host podcasts for companies. I did my own podcast since 2014. Why not get paid to be a host on somebody else’s podcast? If you’re going to be sitting around and not on a stage, you might as well be figuring out a way to present something to somebody, even if it is virtual.
Austin: Man, isn’t that the truth.
Taylorr: Well, I think there’s something, I don’t know another word here except Meta, a little behind the scenes maybe. But what was interesting about what you’ve kind of outlined for us is 40 years to stick with one topic, master it, and deliver it in a ton of different formats. You’ve gone really deep, you’ve picked the niche and you just kept going down and down and down, it’s going to continue happening over time. And I can imagine that wasn’t always the easiest thing to do. Did you ever find yourself wondering if you should pivot, change direction? Were you ever enticed by those distractions that we often hear in the industry? Because what it sounds like is you’ve really gone deep over these last 40 years and that’s created this tremendous reputation that you have. And sometimes, as you know, we see that people change course and they all just restart, and we only get this deep as far as expertise goes because we’re touching all of these different things. Can you talk more about that?
Shep: Sure. About the only thing I do that doesn’t look like I normally do onstage is occasionally I’m asked to do that true motivational talk, which, by the way, is just taking my existing content about building relationships with customers and I make it a little more generic and I’m very entertaining when I speak. So, maybe once or twice a year that happens. But I never change lanes as far as content goes. I’m known for something and I don’t want to be known for anything else. I think it would be dangerous to become that jack of all trades because they assume you’re master of none.
Although, there are a few that are really good at a number of different trades. I’ve just chosen to stay in this. But one of the reasons I’m able to do that is because the topic never lost relevance. If anything, it gained relevance over the years. And I believe that the topic today of customer service and CX, customer experience may be far more important today than it was back in the 1980s when I first started.
Austin: Why do you think that is? Do you think it’s just the mediums where it’s relevance has increased? Or is it that we are less prone to do it naturally, given the current state we’re in or? Yeah, why?
Shep: I don’t think people thought how important the experience was back then. Companies like IBM had figured it out. And one of the greatest events I ever did was when I got to speak at an IBM conference for a bunch of IBM people talking about customer service and thinking, aren’t they the best at what they do in the B2B world? Then I got hired to speak at Disney to talk to cast members about customer experience or guest experience. Now, how does that happen? So, I think that some organizations recognized the importance of it way back then. And there are, boy, all of the predictions from McKinsey and Forrester and Bain and all of these different companies were saying customer service and experience is going to be the only differentiator we have. Because companies have figured out they’re commoditized.
There are very, very few companies, and I’ll even say very few speakers where if you can’t hire Shep, you can hire 10 other speakers that do what Shep does. Okay? But if you are going out to buy a pair of blue jeans in the mall, there are probably 10 different stores that you can go to. One, you want to like the merchandise, okay, just like a speaker. You have to like the speaker, watch the video. And then, why would you go back to that speaker after you’ve bought something before? Maybe the experience was great. If there is a part two and hopefully, for many speakers, there is a second or a third speech that they can do for the same client.
And if you’re a trainer, well, of course, you can go on for probably weeks with new content and facilitation. But my point is, if you go into this store in the mall and you buy a pair of jeans and you like the jeans and you like the person that took care of you and when you go back you feel like you’re connected to that person, you’re probably not going to go to the other stores in the mall.
Okay? But if you don’t like the way you were treated, the next time you need a pair of jeans, you’re going to walk right past that store to the next store to the one that might treat you as well. So, I believe that we’re in a sense all commoditized and the only thing we have for the most part to differentiate ourselves is the experience that we create for our clients. And I believe part of the reason that any speaker gets hired, a typical client’s going to go through what I call the pre-booking stage. They’re going to do their research.
You can go on Google, you can call a speaker’s bureau, you can get a list of half a dozen, 10 speakers. I always tell my clients that are just looking, be careful not to get too many, you’ll get analysis paralysis. You won’t be able to figure out what’s right and what’s good and what’s bad after a while, because it’ll all start to run together. But one of the things that we have is a website and a video. And I believe that those are used starting out to exclude us from the list, not get us booked. And what I mean by that is, if we get narrowed down to a group of 10 people, 12 people, they’re going to look at the first 30 seconds, 60 seconds of our video and decide whether they want to put us in the A pile or in the B pile.
And the A pile is what they want to consider for later and the B pile is delete, disappear, in the trashcan, whatever it is. And so, we have to do what we can to separate ourselves early. So, let’s assume we have a good website. Let’s assume we have a good video. What’s next? The experience. They contact us, how fast do we get back to them? Do we give them the information? Are we accessible? Are we professional? And when I say that, of course we’re professional, because we’re paid. But do we act in a sense of a high level of professionalism? So, that’s what we want to focus on.
Austin: Yeah. Well I think that what’s so cool about this is, well, for one we’re getting to see this from behind the scenes because we know that you apply this to your own business. But I love this conversation because it’s connected to the ultimate goal that so many people have for their business, which is to grow to make more revenue. But it’s from an angle that nobody talks about. I keep thinking about the stat as we’re having this conversation, which is that somebody who’s purchased from you once is 85% more likely to buy from you again than somebody who has not. And I’m sure that stat is true, but it has to be within the context of what you’re talking about here, which is creating this experience that makes somebody want to come back, right?
Shep: Yeah. Hence my last book was titled I’ll Be Back: How to Get Your Customers To Come Back Again and Again. And I really was hoping Arnold Schwartzenegger would endorse the book and I came pretty close. I had no idea that I was going to, I didn’t think about him when I first wrote the book, at least for the first two or three sentences. Then I realized, wait a minute, there’s a guy out there that made this line famous. Again, I digress. Let’s go back to your comment about 85%. That is true in retail types of businesses. It may even be true in some B2B. In our business, the speaking business, we need to make sure the client knows we have a second product that we can sell them. Hence a part two, a part three, ongoing training to support the speech that you just hired me for. Books to come after the speech or to be sold with the speech.
So, there are lots of opportunities to sell again. I don’t know if the 85% stat, and I tell this to my clients all over the world because I talk about the research we do here in the US and we love working with NSA people. Jason Dorsey, one of my favorite people in the world, helped me learn how to do research, then eventually I got smart and switched to letting him actually help me do it. But when I go to other parts of the world, I tell them these numbers from the US may not apply to what’s happening in this country, but a lot of the world is becoming westernized as far as business goes. So, while the numbers aren’t exactly the same today for you, the concept behind the numbers is. So, 85% are easier to sell to a second time may be true in general. Maybe it’s 50% or 60% for us or 40%, it doesn’t matter, just know this. It is easier to sell the second time to the same customer than it is to bring in somebody brand new.
Then you have to start all over. We have to build that engagement and trust and relationship and get them comfortable enough to want to say, let’s do business together. And I have to tell you as a meeting planner, I’d be worried, if I make a bad choice, it could be my job on the line. I’ve had, I will never forget this client came up to me before I spoke and said, I sure hope you do a good job. I go, what are you worried about? He said, my job. Because if you fail I get fired. I went, well, thanks for letting me know 10 minutes before I walk on to the stage. Here. No, I really didn’t, I said, you have nothing to worry about.
As professional speakers, many of us, and NSA I think would agree with this, that on a bad day, because we truly are professional and we’re good at what we do, even on a bad day, we’re pretty darn good. We may not hit Grand Slam home runs every time we get onstage. But as a professional speaker that cares about their craft and delivers and practices and makes a living at it, we’re probably always going to get on base, we don’t strike out.
Taylorr: Yeah, that’s right.
Austin: So true.
Taylorr: One thing I’ve noticed as we’ve kind of gone through the conversation here. As you mentioned, the website and the video thing and when they contact you, how fast are you to reply and are you accessible and are you guiding them through the process? And are you talking about the ways you can help them after the initial work that you do together to bring them back? It sounds like customer experience is more than just after the sale. It sounds like it starts at day zero.
Shep: It does.
Taylorr: Is that right?
Shep: A hundred percent. We referred to it as, at the beginning, selling with service. So, that’s why I get in front of a lot of salespeople because I teach them how to create an experience, not how to use closing lines, to get people to move forward. I teach people how to create the experience that makes people want to take their next call when it gets them closer to that sale. And that’s salespeople. I do a lot of work in the support center world as well, where I’m talking to leaders of when we call and we’re put on hold and then we’re talking to somebody we can’t understand and we have to talk to a supervisor and start all over again. That’s friction. And I get up in front of all of these call center leaders and I tell them, this is why a percentage of people that we serve at, I think it’s 30 some odd percent would rather clean a toilet than call your 800 numbers.
Austin: That’s a hardcore stat.
Shep: I know, it is. And I get it. I have a whole slew of these, just for fun, I’m just going to do this because it’s time to inject a little tiny bit of humor into what we have here. This is one of my favorites. 56 and by the way, you’ll be able to appreciate it. 56% of the consumers, we, and we do over a thousand consumers in our study. 56%, they admit to screaming agent or representative over and over again out of frustration before hanging up on them. 32% of people have yelled at a customer service agent. 24% have cussed at a customer service agent, which means that 76% are lying. Just kidding about that one. But 47% are more interested in dating somebody that delivers great service. So, the single people have a chance. And here you go, 38% would rather go to a dentist than call customer support. And 38% would rather clean a toilet than call customer support, which by the way is down from 42% last year, so maybe we’re doing better.
Austin: Wow. Progress.
Taylorr: That’s a true benchmark.
Austin: Very motivating.
Austin: Yeah. Oh, man.
Shep: Well, we have to create this experience that when we are one of the lucky people that they called because of initially seeing whatever it is we do to promote ourselves, we have to handle ourselves in such a way that is in alignment with what they’ve seen on that website. The personality that they think we are based on what we’re trying to project on that website and in our video. And we have to deliver over and over again. There is the pre-booking call and then there’s what happens after the booking is made. And I believe that once you get to that point, you’ve created the experience, they say let’s go forward. Okay, they trust you.
You now have a whole new experience to work on and that is, let me make sure that you’re so comfortable that you’re not worried about me anymore. And I even will say to my client, I am the last thing you have to worry about at this point as far as your meeting is concerned. Because even if after today you gave me no more information, I’m going to get up there and I’m going to get a speech that’s going to get people excited and get a high rating for you, but you don’t have to worry about me. And I do little things like the week before we send an email; this is so standard, looking forward to seeing you in a week. I land; Shep is on the ground heading to the hotel.
Okay, I’m checked in that next morning. I am showing up early at breakfast regardless of what time the sound check is because I want them to physically feel and see me there. And if I have time, I’ll even get in. If there’s an opportunity to say hi to them the day before, by the way, I will tell them, I never take the last flight. There are times that they go, we really want you. And I say, well, the only way I can get there is because there’s a last flight. Are you willing to really risk it? And many of them say no. I go exactly. But the ones that say yes, I make sure it’s in the agreement that they know that it’s the last flight. And there is always that chance.
And I’ll always tell them, I will do everything I can to get there. Financially, you have nothing to worry about. There will not be a financial loss if I don’t show up due to the airlines. Okay. So, I’m happy to at least put that kind of a guarantee out there. But, again, I’m trying to get them as comfortable as possible. Are you guys familiar with Joey Coleman? I have his book right here.
Taylorr: No, I don’t think so.
Shep: Never lose a customer again. And what he talks about
Taylorr: Ordering now.
Shep: Ordering now. Is the first 100 days are crucial in almost any business because this is where you confirm that, that client made the right decision to engage with you. And if you can’t give them that confirmation so that they’re so comfortable, they’re going to be uncomfortable the day you show up to do your speech. And that concern that, I’m not going to call it distrust, but I think it is concern and uncomfortableness, carries forward regardless of how good you are. You need to never let them feel uncomfortable about the decision they made to hire you. And that’s what gets you close to that second booking. That’s what makes that 85% number that Austin shared with us a few minutes ago relevant in our business.
Taylorr: That’s awesome.
Austin: That’s so good. You’ve dropped so many little golden nuggets too. I hope people are starting to build an itemized list of all of these little moments that you can just make somebody over the top happy, exceed their expectations and put them at ease, and I see how these things line up. I’m curious to look at this from the opposite perspective. These are things that people can do to improve the customer experience. What are some areas that, or what are some ways that people tend to get in their own way as it relates to creating a great customer experience? Where do people fall down?
Shep: Well, I think the biggest area is response time. I think everybody is guilty of probably not responding to an email as quickly as they should have or returning a call as fast as they could. I think that’s probably the biggest problem. In a different industry, but a related kind of question. I was doing some work for a major law firm and it was their partners meeting and anytime a law firm has approximately 500 partners. They’re a very large law firm and one of the executives said, so, what are you going to teach us today? What’s the number one thing we need to do to deliver a better client experience?
I go, you’re going to laugh, but I think if you just return phone calls a little bit quicker, you’d make your clients happier. And the guy says, that’s what you’re going to show us today. I go, well, I’ll talk about some other things as well. Before me, they had one of their top clients, millions of dollars a year in billable hours for this law firm. And somebody raised their hand and says, is there anything you could think of that would help make us give you a better experience? And the guy says the one thing that drives me crazy is you guys don’t call us back fast enough. And I looked over at the guy that was questioning me and he had this huge big look on his face and then he said, okay, I lose you win. And it wasn’t about that, but it’s like he was challenging me. I would say on several occasions, I will always ask, why did you choose the other speaker instead of me? And I learned, it’s often nothing I did, it was just a choice.
But when I ask why did you choose me instead of the other speakers? And they will tell me who else they’ve looked at often and I hear this a number of times over the years, they don’t respond quickly enough. And if they don’t respond quickly enough, we wonder how credible are they, are they going to show up? We need that trust factor. And I think it’s so important. If nothing else recognize this, respond quickly. Jimmy Johns has freaky fast and that was one of my slides at a recent NSA conference, when I was asked to speak about what I do in my business. One of the secrets is I respond, Jimmy John fast. Freaky fast.
Taylorr: Heck, yeah. I think it’s such a, one, it’s a simple thing. Nothing you’ve said is out of the realm of possibility for someone to do.
Shep: t’s all common sense.
Taylorr: It’s just all common sense. But you think about the emotional tie to responding quick, you just feel taken care of. Even if we can equate this going to urgent care, we’ve all been there, we feel like we’re dying and we’re waiting for five hours to get taken care of. Do we feel good about that situation? No. It applies to our businesses just the same, it feels like.
Shep: Yeah. I think it’s, again, common sense sometimes is not always so common.
Shep: By the way, if I do not respond to you quickly for some reason if you email me and you don’t hear from me in 24 or 48 hours, call 911.
Taylorr: Yeah, right.
Shep: Something’s happened.
Taylorr: Yeah, for sure. I’m curious, so we’ve talked about leading up to the sale, we’ve talked about up to delivery of it. One of the things we’ve seen just time and time again is this kind of one and done kind of mentality that’s laced throughout the industry, right? I’m going to get onstage, I’m going to collect a check and I’m going to go find the next client, basically. What are some things you do to stay in touch with people after you’ve delivered and create an amazing experience? And is that important?
Shep: Yeah, the one and done is kind of a, it’s a good approach if that’s the way your speaker model is. Ira Hayes, many years ago, oh, you may not know who that is, but probably back in the seventies and eighties and nineties, Ira Hayes was known for saying it’s easier to get a new audience than it is to do a new speech. His model was find a new client and make it work. And that was his model and it worked well for him, as it’s worked for many other speakers. And it probably worked for me up until I realized in 2001 after 9/11, the change I had to make. And, by the way, I had clients that used me for several years in a row and some clients would book me for multiple dates, different divisions.
So, I got that repeat business. Most important was even if I knew I couldn’t get repeat business, it would be referral business as well. So, some things that I surround value, and I’m going to get to your specific question which is what do I do after the gig, after the speech. But I surround value in my speech. I feel that the pre-booking call has value to it because I take really good notes and I reflect back to the client what they told me. And I know and I make it clear. I’m going to send you this short little summary and these are the things that I heard you say and I hope you book me because I understand this and you agree with me and we’re in alignment. But if not, this is the information you gave me and that might be relevant for someone else to have, which is kind of nice.
But once we get to where it’s now the pre-speech call, there’s a lot of value in me understanding what they do. And what I try to tell them is I’m going to give them a speech that ideally, and by the way, I think this should be any type of speaker, unless you’re straight-up entertainment and no value from content is expected, you should tell them the tools that I want to share up there are tools that should be implemented. What I’d like to have after our speech is set up two weeks from now or two weeks from the speech, excuse me, a call, ideally a Zoom call. And I’m going to tell you why.
One, I want to hear your feedback; I want to get your feedback. Number two, I want to discuss the ideas on how to take it further. By the way, it’s not a sales call. Everything I’m going to suggest to you does not cost you anything extra. It is how to use what I’ve done and what I’ve shared and make it work. So, I will also allow us to record that call and you can start asking me questions about it and I’ll edit that recording and give it to you so that you can hand it off to someone. Or it could be a Q&A session that follows the speech that you can handle and send it to everybody that was in the audience. It’s a great value piece. I call it the reverse podcast because I tell them what to ask me and then I answer the questions and they become the host of it all. It’s kind of fun. But that’s been a huge value and it allows me to show how to get this thing going forward.
And then as a result they go, okay, what are you going to teach us next year? I love it when they ask me that. And I will tell them, if it’s appropriate, say, is it okay for me to put my salesman’s hat on for 60 to 90 seconds? Because I’m not here to really sell you. But I do want you to know there are other options beyond Shep being onstage that you can utilize. We have on-demand training, we have trainers, we have, it sounds to me. And by the way, we find this out early in the game. Two questions I ask. I ask number one, what are the three outcomes that you want people to remember? The three ideas, the three messages related to customer service.
You know what I do? You’ve watched my video; we’ve had this conversation, now you need to tell me the three things you want this audience to remember. That’s the first question. That’s why I came up with three. The second question, and I’ve talked about this from the stage before at NSA; is, if we were to get together a year from now, what would have to happen for you to feel that this was the best speaker investment you ever made? And they’ll tell me if I get that information, both questions give me success criteria, what I need to do to be successful onstage. It also gives me an idea of maybe what they want isn’t just a one hour speech or a half an hour speech from a main stage.
Maybe they really need something bigger, longer, better than that. I’ve had people say, well, we want to change our whole customer service culture. And I’m going to say, well, I can kick it off, but we’re not going to do it in an hour. I’m happy to share with you the tools and I will let you do it on your own, but if you want our help, I’m happy to discuss those options as well.