If you’ve not heard the name of Chris Ducker, you are going to be glad you have by the time this interview episode of The Amazing Seller podcast is over. Chris is an online business guy who’s made it big in many different areas, and on this episode he’s joining Scott to chat about how he would go about building a business independently of Amazon after successful sales on Amazon. Scott’s been interested in this possibility for a long time and Chris has the business experience to help him think through the issues involved.
Why Chris Ducker doesn’t like the Amazon platform for building your business.
Scott Voelker has long encouraged everyday people like you to build their own real business on the Amazon platform. It’s an unprecedented opportunity. But his guest today, Chris Ducker, doesn’t like the model for a very specific reason. It’s something you’ll hear from him over and over and it has to do with building on your own platform instead of a platform someone else owns. You can hear all the details of what Chris things, and why, on this episode of The Amazing Seller.
The power of Customer Service for your Business.
One of the biggest mistakes that business owners (including Amazon sellers) make time and time again is to get a customer and then forget about them. But if you think it through, you’ll realize that it’s much easier to serve an existing customer well so that they become a repeat customer, than it is to get a new customer. On this episode Chris Ducker shares a couple of powerful stories about what customer service can do for your business, both in terms of customer retention and increased revenue.
When is it time for you to outsource some of your business workload?
Scott’s guest on this episode of the podcast is Chris Ducker, a pro at outsourcing And business building. Chris knows what it takes to get the Right outsourced team working on a business and you also know the great big mistakes that can be made. On this episode Scott asks Chris about his recommendations for figuring out the timing of adding a virtual team to your business. This section alone is worth you listening too, so make sure you set aside the time to do it.
The vital question for you to ask about hiring a virtual assistant or team member.
If you've been considering adding a virtual assistant do you business workflow, this episode is one you really need to listen to and take some notes on. Chris Ducker shares his insights about when it is time to add team members to your business and why you would want to do it. For him, it comes down to one final question that you need to ask yourself. It's a question that provides incredible amounts of clarity and direction for you and your business moving forward. Be sure you take the time to listen, it's a powerful lesson in outsourcing and hiring.
OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER
- [0:04] Scott’s introduction to the podcast with Chris Ducker!
- [2:40] How the episode is going to flow (a backwards Hot Seat).
- [3:25] What would Chris do to move a product from Amazon into an independent site.
- [4:30] Why it’s a good thing to sell on Amazon, but what about it scares Chris.
- [7:21] Scott’s perspective on that difficulty and what Chris would do to build his own brand outside of Amazon.
- [11:45] What to do if you don’t want to be the “face” of the business.
- [15:24] How Chris would advise a new person about determining a market to enter.
- [22:30] What are the ways businesses need to improve in order to stand out?
- [25:33] The power of customer service for building your existing business.
- [33:52] How Chris has specialized in outsourcing and when you should consider adding help to your team.
- [40:35] How Chris’ business – virtual staff finder – works.
- [43:52] Chris’ last nugget of advice for business owners in 2016.
TRANSCRIPT TAS 166
TAS 166 : Ask Scott Session #47 – Amazon FBA Questions
[00:00:03] SV: Hey, hey, what’s up everyone? Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller podcast. This is episode number 176 and I am really, really excited today to share with you my next guest. His name is Chris Ducker. You guys may or may not have heard of him before but he is also the co-host of the 1-Day Business Breakthrough that Pat Flynn and him do together. I got to be honest…
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…I really love that show and I wanted to have him on to get him to put me in a hot seat, that’s kind of what I did which was awesome by the way and you guys are going to be able to hear this. I just wanted to see what he would say about taking a physical product business on Amazon and then what to do moving forward.
I also wanted to pick his brain about virtual assistants. Now, you guys may or may not know but he runs a company called Virtual Staff Finder that helps people find virtual assistants. If you don’t know what a virtual assistant is, you’re going to learn what that is and he gives some really good insights as far as when and how you go about doing this. It really did foot that light bulb on for me when he said one thing and it really does make a lot sense but you got to wait to hear that inside this interview. He gives a lot of great advice and some really funny stories as well, I have to be honest.
Also, I guess I need to let you guys know that if you’re listening to this and I sound a little different, my voice sounds a little bit different, you may or may not notice it, I’m recording this at nine o’clock, P.M at night, my time. The reason is because we are about 11 or 12 hours’ difference, I forget what it is. He’s in the Philippines so we wanted to do it morning for him and I agreed to do it early evening for me. This way here we could do it where we’re both not at early hours or late hours so we can really make it work.
I just wanted to let you guys know that my voice sounds a little different right here, that’s why but I think it’s going to be totally, totally worth it, you guys are going to love this. Chris is an awesome guy. I’m going to stop talking now so you guys can enjoy this interview with Chris Ducker.
[00:02:02] SV: Hey, Chris Ducker, thank you so much for hanging out with the TAS community, what’s going on man?
[00:02:07] CD: Thanks for having me, everything’s great. I’m pumped to be here, I’m looking forward to seeing how you rip me to shreds, really great.
[00:02:13] SV: No, no, no, no, no. I kind of talked to you a little bit before we got recording here. It’s really, really awesome to have you on, I love what you and Pat do with the 1-Day Business Breakthrough, you jump on, you do some hot seats. Just to give you a little story, the TAS community, we’re actually doing a live event. We’re having just 30 people, very small like you guys have done and I was inspired by what you guys did and we’re doing 10 hot seats, kind of similar to what you guys did when you started. We’re already booked, we’re already doing that. I want to kind of twist a little bit here and put it back on you and say, and I’m going to be a little selfish here, and say let’s do one of those hot seats today because you are a branding expert, you’re great with virtual staff and all of that stuff. Maybe what we can do is give you a scenario and say, “What would Chris Ducker do in this situation?” so you can help us in maybe take our business to the next level, how does that sound?
[00:03:06] CD: Sounds good. Yeah, I love this stuff. Yeah, let’s do it.
[00:03:09] SV: All right, cool. Most of our listeners are brand new and they’re either just starting or they’re getting sales maybe in the range of 10 to $25,000 a month, which sounds like a lot but there’s a lot of cost in physical goods in Amazon, it’s not just profit like a digital product. Let’s just say for example, let’s do hypothetical here, again, we’re kind of bringing it over to me. Let’s say I’m doing between 25 and $50,000 in revenue per month, we’re doing about 35 to 40% margin, not too bad but we’re only on Amazon. I started building an authority site and that’s kind of a slow process and everything but what would Chris Ducker do? Maybe we can dig into that. What would you say if you were in this situation?
[00:03:55] CD: Yeah, look, full disclosure, I’ve never sold anything on Amazon…
[00:03:59] SV: And that’s okay.
[00:04:00] CD: I have no idea how the Amazon marketplace works other than obviously seeing how Virtual Freedom, which is my book, ranks and how we did on launch and all that sort of stuff. I know that they update their sales records regularly, I think it’s every hour on books and all of that sort of stuff. In terms of what you can and can’t sell, how it works, how the fulfillment is and all that sort, I have zero idea on that stuff so I want to put that out there up front. But you know what? Regardless of that my level of experience would be, my answer would actually be identical anyway because, what I don’t agree with … Let’s talk about why I agree with selling on Amazon or building anything on someone else’s platforms.
[00:04:45] SV: Okay, sure.
[00:04:45] CD: I think it’s a good idea to maximize opportunities as an entrepreneur no matter where they present themselves to you. Obviously with Amazon, you have a built in infrastructure, you’ve got a built in client base, you got a built in review function and all the rest of it and if you’re selling your physical product of any variety, you need all those things, you need them all. It’s a no brainer and I know people that do sell on Amazon, some people have done very, very well on it. But what scares the bejesus out of me is ultimately building my house on rented land. This is one of the reasons why with youpreneur.com, which is my mastermind, my online mastermind community, this is why we built the community function of that on our own service with a private member only forum and we didn’t go the routes or the routes as you Americans would say. This is going to be a fun one.
You mentioned Pat, me and pat go back and forth on that stuff all the time. This is actually the reason why we went with the private forums and not with a Facebook group because, once again, I will be building my community house on their rented lands. Ultimately, yes, it’s a good idea to utilize opportunities as and when they come your way but, but, at the end of the day you’ve got to look at building your own house on land that is not rented, that you own, that you operate, that you control. Regardless of what you’ve got selling on Amazon, you should also create your own online hub, you should also create your own website.
I don’t know what the rules are exactly in regards to selling things on Amazon and whether you can sell them elsewhere or not, is that allowed? Can you do that or not?
[00:06:41] SV: Yeah, yeah, you can totally do it. The problem is that you can’t direct people from your Amazon listing to go buy over on your own website, that’s the thing. Even like with list building, there’s a little grey are there as far as getting your email list because they don’t give you your email list, they match it out and understandably so. They don’t want you to take their infrastructure and all of their stuff and just start driving people away from their platform, I get it. But, I’m a big believer and I know you are and I know Pat is, everyone that knows anything about business, the email list is going to be the life blood of your business.
I guess what my question is, is this, it’s like, Pat’s new book, Will It Fly?, I think really does lend a hand to this right here. Here’s my philosophy and I’ve done both models, you go ahead and you build a website. You hope that people are going to come, you try to drive traffic, you do all this stuff and then you’re hoping that you’re going to be able to sell them something, I get that. Now, with Amazon, you go out there and you see what’s already selling and then you can create your own thing and test it, validate it, we’re doing a validation thing here. Start building up and make some pretty good money, 25, $75000 a month, whatever. That’s not all profit but it’s still a business, it’s like ecommerce business on their platform.
Now, I guess my thing is once you validate it, once you start getting the stream of income and revenue, what would you do? What would be your first plan of attack to go ahead and say, “Okay, this thing, these products are starting to sell, maybe I should build a brand around it,” because I know you’re the branding expert as well. What could we do to build a brand so this way here we can start to build our own house on our own property?
[00:08:22] CD: The thing that drives me nuts as well as just building on rented land is the fact that you can’t get those email addresses and there’s, for all the reasons that you just mentioned, you need to do that. Building your own brand, I think, regardless of what industry you’re in, regardless of what products you’re selling, I think it’s very, very important. Whether it’s a personal brand or whether it’s just a brand, it can just be a brand name of some variety, I think it’s very, very important because people want to do business with other people, people that they know, love and trust.
Getting to the point where you’re creating some content on a regular basis, you’re putting yourself out there, maybe you’re podcasting like your good self, maybe you’re doing a YouTube show where you’re reviewing your products on video, possibly maybe you’re doing something on Periscope or Blab or one of the other live video apps that are out there. Just building your own brand based around who you are, what you’re story is about, what you want to do, who you want to work with, why you want to serve those people, etc, is very, very important for longevity of your business growth. I can’t put a dollar amount on how important my personal brand is to my business. It has opened up more doors of opportunities than I can possibly count, naturally.
I think it’s very, very important. What I would do is I would launch a website, I would start blogging, I would probably start podcasting because I’m actually more of a talker than a typer. I would build a nice visual brand around what I do and what I’m all about, get active on social media, Instagram, Snapchat, like I said, Periscope, Facebook and really just get it out there. And start building that email list at the same time, create a nice, strong, optin magnet that you know it’s going to solve very easy problem for somebody, kind of a quick win. I think Pat uses that term quite a bit, the quick win scenario of, I’ve got a problem which is A and the solution is B, you give it to them for free you’ll have a fan for life, they’ll stay on your list forever.
Just work on that, really and focusing on creating rapport with the people that come and check you out and get on your list and all the rest of it. The beautiful thing about doing that is that unlike with Amazon where you don’t control the client flow, the customer flow, all you can do is just produce and sell products that you feel people want. You’ll never get any real feedback other than your reviews whereas if you’ve got somebody on an email list that is consuming your content, that is conversing with you on social media over a period of time, eventually, their guard will drop and they will genuinely tell you what their problems are, what they’re experiencing, what products they really need from you. Then you earn the real money because now you’re producing products for people that you know they want rather than you think you want and that’s a big, big difference.
It takes a while to get there but once you’re there it’s definitely more profitable.
[00:11:22] SV: Yeah. I guess the one thing … I’m going to play the role of because I don’t mind talking, obviously I have a podcast, you know what I mean? I don’t mind being in front of the camera, I do Periscope, I do all that stuff and I enjoy it actually. But there’s people that don’t want to be the face, they don’t want to be out there. Again, we can talk a little bit about hiring a VA or hiring people that could do this work for you or find people that can do the work for you. What would you say to the person that doesn’t want to be the face of the business? They’re not selling something that’s technically a problem. I always use for us…because in the Amazon we don’t really disclose our products because it’s one of those things that if you do then everybody’s going to start selling it kind of thing.
I always use garlic press, let’s say I’m selling this beautiful, stainless steel garlic press and it’s just … I’m thinking about Italian cooking and that type of stuff would be my market, people that are into cooking, maybe a chef, maybe a home, a person who just loves to be in the kitchen and just loves to be in that cooking environment, gets a lot of thrill out of it, so that would be my kind of avatar that I would go after. What kind of stuff could we do? I guess I just threw a bunch at you there, but let’s address the one about I don’t want to be the face. I’m a little shy, I don’t want to get out there, I don’t want to be the face, I just want to build this business and I want to take my garlic press business to the next level.
[00:12:43] CD: Obviously if you’re not comfortable being the face of the brand, that’s fine, you just create an unfaceless brand. It’s a brand’s name rather than your personal name, put it that way. You can do that with great design, with great logos and all the rest of it and yes you can hire people to help you ultimately create the content that you need to be able to build up the buzz about your garlic press. You can’t get much more … You probably could get unsexier in terms of a product than a garlic press.
I always say that the sexier your product the more content you’re going create about it. There’s a lot of different ways to skin any cat. The most important thing is you catch the cat in the first place. You’ve got to go after with something like that, like you say, chefs, foodies, home enthusiasts that are all about cooking at home instead of going out to restaurants, housewives, maybe chefs students, that sort of type of thing, culinary lovers, whatever you want to say. You’ve got to find them, you’ve got to find them.
With social being as hash tag heavy as it is nowadays it’s not that hard to find any particular niche of followers. You can just write on a hash tag on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere else for that matter and see what people are talking about and what they’re linking to and what they like and the people that they’re following. You build up alliances, maybe you hire a virtual assistant to research the top 100 home food prepping bloggers, for example. You get your VA to reach out to each and every single one of them and say, “Hey, I’ve got this great new garlic press that I think you guys would like. If I send you one for free, could you review it on your blog?” That sort of type of thing.
Some people might see that as a lot of work but I say that doing the leg work on something like that and really protecting that customer base that you end up building up is way more powerful than just riding on the back of say Amazon’s algorithm and that sort of type of thing.
[00:14:58] SV: Sure.
[00:14:58] CD: I’m more of a long… I’m definitely more of a long game type of entrepreneur, don’t worry. I love making money, you won’t meet anybody who likes to make money more than me, trust me.
[00:15:11] SV: Of course.
[00:15:13] CD: I do it what I call in a long game approach because that’s the best way to build the business.
[00:15:20] SV: Yeah, I agree 100% on the same way. Okay, let’s do this real quick. Okay. If we are just starting and we’re going to use Amazon as a validation tool in a sense, what kind of markets, I guess then, should we be looking at? I guess that would be the next important question, if you haven’t really picked a brand or maybe you want to start a second brand or maybe you want to validate another product or products or a market. That’s one thing I do tell all my listeners, I think it’s all about the market and then what products you can serve to that market. It could be a physical product, it could be a digital product, it doesn’t really matter but in the end it’s the market, the hungry market, the ones that are going to be your buyers.
What kind of advice would you give like to say me? If I wanted to start a brand new brand and I knew nothing about markets and stuff, what would you say would be like a good market or things to look at when choosing a market?
[00:16:12] CD: You’re going to look at where … Like you said, you already do it yourself with Amazon, you see what products are selling and then you go out and sell something similar, it’s similar sort of type of situation. You can look at say go to your local Barnes and Noble and have a look at the magazine rack, see what particular industry is represented well in terms of magazines. Things like cooking, things like health, things like fitness, hobbies, those sort of types of things. If you see the type of industry that’s got tons of magazines then you know that that’s a big market for you to grab a hold of.
Likewise with things like live events, I love looking through live events websites. You can see lots of directories where they list all the live events through this month or that month or in this country or that city, have a look at live events. If people are spending money to go to a live event, a lot of them traveling in from out of town, maybe even out of the country to spend a couple of days listening to other people speak on stage about a particular subject that, they’re interested. That’s a very captive market right there. I love live events, I love looking at that sort of type of thing as well.
Also just talk to people, you’ll be amazed just on social media alone. I can put something off on Facebook and in a matter of a few hours I’ve got 40, 50, 60 comments from people giving me their feedback on what they think about this particular subject. I think it’s a combination of sort of following your own gut as well as obviously utilizing the tools that we have in 2016 as entrepreneurs to sort of try and find the right kind of ideas. Then when you do, you got to validate, you can’t spend weeks and weeks if not months and a ton of money sourcing products, repackaging and rebranding them or maybe even creating them from scratch, to sell just on a whim, you got to validate these things.
What I would suggest a lot of people do particularly in the digital marketing space is to create landing pages, pre sell what they are going to source, pre sell what they are going to sell. “Hey, I’ve got a new course coming up,” or “I’ve got a new product that’s coming in, it’s going to be available in 30 days from now. If you’re interested these are the benefits, this is why you should have this product, here’s some nice photos. Click the buy now button and place your order.” If you get a certain amount of orders, then you go ahead with the product, if you don’t you refund and you ditch the idea.
That as a testing platform is nothing new. Before I became an entrepreneur I was in the infomercial space for a couple of years. That’s exactly, when you turn on the TV, if you’ve not seen an infomercial before, because you see them, the same ones popping up all the time, they just buy video left right and center once they know it works. But if you’ve not seen an infomercial before and it’s the first time you turn on the TV and you see a brand new product being pitched, the chances are that’s a dry test, that’s an industry term. What they basically do is they run the show, they run that 28, 30 long form or the two minute short form infomercial. They run it and they want to see how many times people actually pick up the phone and dial in and try and order.
When you usually see something along the lines of shipping and handling time of 45 days, the reason why that's in place is because of the fact that they’ve gotten out if they get enough orders, order it from the distributor of that product, which is usually being made in China, they’ve got it make it in China, they’ve got to cut it and package it in China, they’ve got to slam it on a container, put it on ship and get it over to America. That’s the reason why that period is so long, 30 to 45 days for the dry test.
Now, if it works well, they’ll buy a crap ton of media and get behind it. But if it doesn’t work well the chances are that show will never be shown again on TV.
[00:20:17] SV: That’ interesting. I think, like you said, it’s very similar to … I think an easy way too, I’m just thinking out loud here. It’s like if you ran a Facebook ad to some type of offer that said basically you’re going to be launching this new stainless steel garlic press and it’s state of the art. You position it to a fan page or fan pages that are all about Italian cooking and if you can get 20 orders, 100 orders, whatever it is, that can almost validate it before you even go ahead to market.
[00:20:48] CD: Absolutely.
[00:20:48] SV: I love that.
[00:20:48] CD: All you need for the Facebook ad … Very, very cost effective, particularly if you’re retargeting a page, obviously. That’s why I love Facebook advertising, the retargeting and the demographic choosing that you can make when you’re placing the adverts, it’s just crazy, it’s insane. I’m doing a one day mastermind event in London in May. I put $120 into adverts and sold 30 seats at 200 pounds each off of one Facebook ad because I just targeted people that had already liked or new people who had liked my Facebook page but were in the UK, demographically.
[00:21:29] SV: That’s awesome.
[00:21:29] CD: $120 and I’ve made myself over eight grand or whatever it was and it was kind of crazy. The beautiful thing with that is you don’t need a lot of numbers, you don’t need a lot of visits to figure out whether or not that’s going to work. If you get 500 people click through from Facebook a certain percentage of them should be hitting that Buy Now button and if they don’t you dump the product and you move on to the next one.
[00:21:56] SV: Yeah. Didn’t Tim Ferriss do something similar to that? Like he did that with a Google ad or something to sell a shirt or something like that?
[00:22:02] CD: Yeah, that was for title of The 4-Hour Workweek, that was for his first book. He was testing a ton of title, either the title or the subtitle, one of the other, he was testing with Google ads. I’m sure he would have loved to have had Facebook adverts to play around with back in 2007 I think, when that book first came out.
[00:22:25] SV: Yeah, well, that’s awesome, that’s awesome. Okay, let me ask you about this. Let’s say for example now, again, our business is doing okay but we have competition, everyone has competition. How can you see a business just doing better, whether it’s customer support or whether it’s enhancements on the product? What would you say to stand out from your competition that you see other businesses or brands not doing?
[00:22:52] CD: It’s customer service all out, customer service all out and your team, those two elements right there. Your team ultimately becomes an extension of you as a business owner whether you’re public or not. They’ll work the way that you train them to work, the way that you want them to work. Customer service is something that … Nobody puts any real importance on it still to this day and it’s stupid, it’s just stupid. Stop spending so much time and money and effort trying to find new business and start spending time, money and effort keeping the business that you’ve already got. It’s way easier, way easier to close somebody a second, a third, a fourth, a fifth time than it is to close them for the first time.
[00:23:43] SV: Yeah, I know it’s true.
[00:23:45] CD: Somebody asked me a while back, I think it was about a year or so ago. I was on stage, it was the end of my keynote, we had about 10 minutes of Q&A and somebody asked me what they should be focusing on from the business growth perspective. I put the question back to them, because I like to get into the heads of entrepreneurs, that’s my kind of kink. I asked him, I said, “What do you think are the three things that you need to be focusing on in your business to grow your business?” He said, “Number one, I got to be focusing on bringing on new customers. I need new customers all the time. Number two, then I need try and come up with new more products and services to cross and up sell my existing customers. Then number three, I really need to build my team and make sure that my team is working well because…” and he stated, “Because they’re an extension of me as the business owner.”
I turned around and I ripped him to shreds. I said, “I’m going to ask you to turn that around on its butt, right on its ass, you got to turn it right round.” Number one, your team is your most important part of your business. That should be where you’re focusing above and beyond everything else. Number two, your existing customers have already paid you a certain amount of money already for whatever it is you’re selling, it’s going to be easier to get money out of them again and again and again than it is to bring on board a brand new customer. That is why number three is your ongoing, what I call the triple M, that Maintenance, Marketing Mode of any business where you’re just constantly pushing out a certain amount of advertising and marketing regardless of what it niche you’re in to bring on board new business.
He kind of just stared at me with an open mouth because I think the penny dropped and he knew I was right.
[00:25:30] SV: Of course, yeah, that makes total sense.
[00:25:34] CD: Customer service is something that I think that people know they need to do it better but they just don’t … maybe it’s just not sexy enough, maybe they’re just not excited about it enough. Marketing is more exciting, sales is more exciting, but for me I’m all about the customer service, all about that.
[00:25:53] SV: It’s funny, I’ll share a little story. I like coffee, we have Dunkin’ Donuts around here, Starbucks and I’m always grading how I get asked for my coffee. My daughter, she’s an eight year old, I got a daughter, eight years old, I got kids that are older too but she’s my youngest and she’s awesome. We’re in the back of the car, we pull through and she'll be like, “How did they do dad?” It’s a simple thing, it’s like, “Hi, welcome to Dunkin’ Donuts today, how can I take your order?” like that, inflection of a voice is better than, “How can I help you?” Right.
[00:26:25] CD: “How’re you doing? What do you want?”
[00:26:27] SV: Yeah and it drives me crazy and I’m like I can go in and be like an undercover for these big businesses and probably do better because I can go in there and expose all of these holes in their customer service like, “Why is that person at the window if they’re not into talking to people?” It’s the simple things in business, like you said. In the Amazon space, if you get a refund, yes, Amazon handles it. But if you get someone that contacts you, you better get on that and if not your team better get on that, it’s like instantly. I have my saying, as you know, they’re going to be happy one way or the other so if they are not happy for whatever reason they get their money back, they keep the product and I’ll do whatever else I can to make them happy. I want them to be happy because, number one, they’re on Amazon and they leave those reviews publicly. Even if those reviews weren’t there I know that if I can treat that customer, that one customer, they can tell more people in, they can come back.
It’s simple. Right. Like you said, it’s not as sexy, going out, getting new business, “Oh I just got 100 new leads over here, and this, that and the other thing. I definitely think that the customer support is huge.
[00:27:38] CD: It is, it’s massive. To bring up your prompt on coffee and donuts, I got a couple of quick stories on both of those niches that have been … When you do something well and you do it for the right reasons, people talk about it more than they do when you have a bad experience with them, I think. We’re used to hearing bad customer service stories, we rant and rave about it and then we never talk about it again or very rarely will we bring it up again, whereas if you do something well for somebody, if you give somebody a good customer service experience, they’ll talk about it over and over again to the people that they know.
I’ve told two stories consistently live on stage all around the world when I’ve been keynoting, one of them is in regards to Starbucks and the other one is regards to Krispy Kreme. The Starbucks one actually includes our before mentioned mutual buddy, Pat Flynn where … Pat and I are very competitive people, both as individuals and … When we’re together our competitiveness goes up through the roof, it’s kind of insane, like it’s going to get us in trouble at some point. We will have competition on anything. It doesn’t matter, throwing water balloons, who can drink a cup of steaming hot coffee quicker, you name it we’ll have a competition on anything.
One time we were outside Starbucks, we’re in San Diego, there for a couple of weeks. We were hanging out and he says to me, “Want to get some coffee?”
“Yeah, okay.” So we walk in and he goes, “I dare you to ask for a discount.” I said, “It’s Starbucks, they don’t do discounts.” He said, “Yeah, but you got to ask for that, I dare, I dare, I double dare you to ask for a discount.” I’m like, “Aw, God. Okay, fine.” We’re queuing up and I walk up to Starbuck and I say Americano and whatever lady drink Pat was drinking, some chai latte thing or something like that, I don’t know. Then the lady says that’ll be six bucks or whatever it is. I turn around and say in my absolute, best Hugh Grant British accent, I turn around and I say and I say, “Do you think it would be possible to have a discount today?” and she said, “We’re Starbucks, we don’t do discounts” it’s six thirty, or whatever it was. I said, “I know, but you know I’m English, I’m visiting,” I’m trying my best to sort of yada yada yada, and she says, “Wait right here, I’ll be back.”
She walked into the back room, she came back with this guy who was probably six four, the brother should have been in the NBA, he was huge, this dude was huge. He comes out and he says to me, “I understand that you’re looking to have a discount today, sir?” and I said, “Yeah, that’s right.” I’m looking at Pat and I’m thinking, “I’m do going to punch you in the balls.” This is gone beyond the day. So I say, “Yeah, I’m English, you know we’re a bit cocky as you probably know and I’m in America and I thought I’d ask for discounts everywhere I go today and you happen to be the first stop. So, can I get a discount please?” The guy looked at me and he just sort of paused for a minute and he said, “Well, sir we’re Starbucks, we don’t do discounts but we do smiles. Welcome to the United States,” and he pulled this huge grin on his face. Here I am telling the story again and it just gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling that this is the place I don’t want to drink my coffee, you know what I mean?
[00:31:21] SV: Yeah. That is funny.
[00:31:22] CD: We didn’t get the discount but I got my coffee and got a smile and we had some fun about it. It’s such a great customer service experience. Krispy Kreme, totally different situation. I went in with my son, a brand new Krispy Kreme opened up here in the Philippines, in Cebu where I live, we go in there about a week or so after, all the fanfare is dropped down. We walk in and my son at the time, I think was about four years old and this girl comes right out from behind the counter, this young girl and she says, “Would you like to go and see how we make the donuts?” My son and my wife put on a little Krispy Kreme hat and they go to the back there, they’ve always got the glass where you see the donuts rolling around on the machine and everything.
I’m just sitting there, I get my phone out and I start videoing it, I think it’s kind of cute, he’s got a cute little hat on and everything and she’s showing them how they iced the, where the donuts come out and all this sort of stuff. The girl’s name was Gem and she served us, she took our order and everything was great and I had a great time. Because I had video footage of it, I went one step further. It was a great time and all Charlie, my youngest, talked about for the rest of the day was Krispy Kreme, Krispy Kreme, Krispy Kreme. He went to sleep with a long, green Krispy Kreme balloon that they gave him in his arms. I am not joking. He became the biggest Krispy Kreme fan on the planet.
I wrote a blog post about it and I put the video up on YouTube and I tweeted it out and I went to sleep. The next morning I woke up and I had the VP of franchise marketing from America replying to my tweet thanking them for the great, positive customer service experience. Then I found out about a month later when we went back to Krispy Kreme for another donut excursion that that blog post and that video was now inserted into the Krispy Kreme franchisee Philippines training manual.
[00:33:22] SV: That is amazing.
[00:33:24] CD: And Gem, three years later now, is the manager of that store.
[00:33:28] SV: That is an amazing story. I love that, that is great.
[00:33:31] CD: That’s why I love telling it. Like I’m saying, here we are here, talking about positive customer service. I don’t care what you’re selling , to who, in what niche, what industry, what country, start investing your time in customer service and more money, quite frankly, because it will pay dividends for you for a long, long, long time.
[00:33:52] SV: Yeah, I know, I love that. All right, I know we’re going to have to wrap up here soon. I got one last little topic here, it’s not little but we’ll make it smaller, outsourcing. I know you are …
[00:34:01] CD: There’s no way you can make that a small topic!
[00:34:04] SV: I don’t want to keep you up, help us out. We’ll give people the resources to go over and check out your book and all of that stuff but give us like the overview and what and when, I guess, should we be considering? When is the right time to start thinking about a VA, a virtual assistant?
[00:34:25] CD: When overwhelm hits, I think that’s the time where you start to get stressed out, where it’s not fun anymore, where you’re losing sleep, where your health is suffering maybe, when you’re spending a little bit less time with your family or just with a social life in general. I hit burnout in the late 2009 and I talk about this, it means reduction of Virtual Freedom but I’m not going to go through the whole story. It was a very, very tough time for me. I decided very abruptly after being in hospital on antidepressants and valium to make me sleep for a couple of weeks. That ultimately, my business had started running me and I was no longer running my business.
That overwhelm needed to disappear first and so I decided to start really delegating like a mad man and that’s exactly what I’ve done ever since. There’s no other single thing now that lands on my desk or in my inbox or my side channels where I don’t ask myself the very simple question every single time and that is, “Can someone else do this?” I speak as I built up the team now, I built up the team of marketing assistants, of admin assistants, of SEO people, of web developers, of what designers, graphic designers, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It’s not really a matter of when is the right time to start outsourcing, it’s more the question of can you afford not to, as a business of doing business in 2016 and beyond. I guarantee you, the vast majority of your competitors, regardless of what industry you’re serving, are already doing it in some capacity and if you’re not you will be left behind, it’s that simple.
It can start with simple things like getting your product shots together. I’m trying to bring this back to Amazon sales if possible, helping you write your product descriptions, helping you with price research, helping you with products research and development. All these different things where they can spend a lot of time doing the leg work that you need to. You and I both know that there’s a process to pretty much everything. You put that process down in black and white or you put that process in a video training document or whatever and you hand that off to somebody else and you teach that person how to follow that process well. Yes, you might have to go through that process two or three more times with them until they get it down pat but guess what, once they do, you never have to do it again.
You can start spending… I mean, you should be doing. For me, outsourcing is just … and it’s not really even just outsourcing anymore, I think that word as a whole is slowly dying as the world becomes more and more global. We really are in a global economy and you and I both know that…
[00:37:26] SV: Totally, yeah.
[00:37:26] CD: … and people listening and it’s not enough to know that as well. It doesn’t just stop with customers, it can also mean team members as well. Like my web designer is in Australia, my web developer is in Croatia for Christ's sake. They work together just fine and have done for a number of years. I have general virtual assistants who are in the Philippines, I have transcriptionists in America, in the UK, I have another audio editor that works for me in the UK, I have a video editor and video animator that works for me over in the United States. It’s all over the world. Ultimately, just sit down and make a list of all the stuff that you hate doing every day, make a list of all the stuff that you struggle, that you kind of know how to do it but you struggle with it. Then make a third list of all the stuff that you feel that as the business owner that why you shouldn’t actually be doing. If you put those three lists together, ultimately you have a delegation blueprint, a road map for one of the better term that you can then follow to start delegating these tasks and these roles out.
Once you do that, the freedom that comes your way from a time perspective, which is by far our most valuable commodity, way more valuable than money or anything else. Once you do that, all that extra time you get, oh my God! You can do what you want with it. You cannot do anything and just sit and binge on Netflix and have fun with your wife or your husband and pick up the kids from school for the first time in three years. You can do all those things if you want or you can actually spend more time developing more products, developing events, developing anything you want and that’s the beautiful thing about buying time.
[00:39:10] SV: Yeah, and I think I’m probably one of those guys too that it’s hard to let go, one of those things, and I’m sure that you’ve felt that in the past and that’s why you were doing it. It’s kind of like no one can do it better than me. I mean, I know what needs to be done and I can do everything. I kind of know how to do everything but I might not be the best at it but I can get it done and I can get it done in the right time and I don’t have to wait for someone and I think all of those things come into play. I’m getting a lot better at that and I have hired some VAs and stuff and it is… But it’s a process, it is a process. Like you said, it is getting them educated and it’s going to take some time to get them up to speed and all that stuff. Once it’s done, it’s like you said, it's kind of like almost set and forget, where you can almost pretty much not worry about that task being done, it’s going to be done and moving on.
I think the product research for people to that are either launched or ready and they have a product or two running but they want to continue to scale their business. I think that’s a huge one because I know myself personally, I want to have all of that stuff done and then have them bring me like the top five. Now let me look at the top five. I don’t want to look at and sift through all of the stuff, I just want you to give me the top five but meet my criteria. Then, boom, I can make the decision on which one I want to go with.
I love it. Outsourcing obviously, people can pick up your book and I will leave links to all of that stuff as well. I know you have Virtual Staff Finder as well which people can then use that service to go ahead and find these VAs. Maybe you can talk to us a little bit about that real quick, just Virtual Staff Finder, like what is it and how does it work?
[00:40:48] CD: Virtual Staff Finder is a company that I launched in the middle of 2010 following a blog comment actually. Another perfectly good reason to build your own website and start creating content is to get feedback from people. It’s now a multi, multi, multi six figure business for us on an annual basis. Basically what we do is we bridge the gap between the busy entrepreneur and high quality virtual assistant here in the Philippines. We’re matchmakers, ultimately. It’s a onetime recruitment fee that you sign up with then we get to work. We do all the leg work in regards to collecting applications and going through them, doing background checks, IQ tests, a whole bunch of other tests that we give you all the results, all the rest of it as well.
Then we actually select the three strongest candidates based on your job description document that you submit and we set up interviews with them for you to do via Skype. Once you’ve interviewed those three people instead of 130 people you go ahead and pick the one that you like the most and you get to work with them. At that point, we’re out of the picture there, they're a direct member of your team, they’re on board with you in your business, you pay them directly and our job is done. It’s a great service. We’ve helped now… We’re going to be… We’re coming up to our sixth year now, it will six years in September. We’ve helped … I think we’re just about to eclipse four and a half thousand entrepreneurs on that time.
It’s pretty incredible that that would come out just of a lonely little blog comment from somebody called Michael, with the avatar of Johnnie Bravo, I will never forget.
[00:42:33] SV: That is awesome.
[00:42:33] CD: I will never forget this guy. His name is Michael and his little avatar online was Johnnie Bravo. I’ll never forget it because the guy’s made me well over a few million dollars.
[00:42:43] SV: That is… Isn’t it funny though how things happen though? I’ve done my story on the podcast where I walk people through since when I was a 19 year old construction worker, a kid that didn’t know anything and then how my path kind of how it turned. Every door opened because of one decision I made and chance or a risk or a failure or whatever. I love hearing that because, like you said, it’s like … Even like the Krispy Kreme thing, that happened and then all of a sudden you’re now in their handbook. It’s just…
[00:43:15] CD: Incredible.
[00:43:15] SV: It is, it’s incredible. I tell people that all the time, you get out there, you got to do stuff, you got to take action and then from there you got to pivot, you got to learn from these experiences and then just keep moving forward. The outsourcing thing, I think for anyone that is doing those things like you said, you got to ask yourself, “Could someone else do this?” I think that’s a big one because there’s a lot of things you’re probably doing that you don’t really have to do but you think you have to do. I think that could free up some time and make you feel like you are creating that business for freedom because that’s what we’re doing here as The Amazing Seller podcast is where we’re trying to create these freedom businesses so we can spend more time with our family and do the things that we want to do.
Chris, I want to thank you for taking time, I know that you are a busy guy. Maybe you can give us some last little bit of advice for a new business in 2016. What would you suggest? Maybe one nugget that you could give them in 2016 with everything that we have available to us for a business owner, what is the one thing that you say that should be definitely doing?
[00:44:15] CD: Wow, that’s a good goal, that’s a good question because there’s so much…
[00:44:18] SV: There is, there’s a lot and sometimes it’s too much, right?
[00:44:21] CD: Yeah. I’ll go back to my initial piece of advice and say you got to build your own hub. I think that if anybody is wanting to do business today, three years from now, five years from now, 10 years from now, having your own website, your own online home, your hub, is going to become more and more and more important with every passing year because social will continue to grow and develop and the rest of it. The fact of the matter is you will always need somewhere to bring people back to, to be able to capture that email, to be able to serve them, to be able to help them out and support them through content and things like that.
That’s why, no matter what platform I’m on, you will always hear me say, “If you liked what you heard today, I want you to head over to chrisducker.com and hop on my mailing list. I promise you nothing but the old value bomb and that’s exactly… That’s my signoff, that’s exactly how I signoff every Periscope broadcast, every podcast, anything that I do, it’s always directing people back to chrisducker.com because I know that I ain't going nowhere because I control of 120%, 24/7.
[00:45:29] SV: Now that’s great, great, great advice. Again, I want to thank you so much for coming on, I know that a lot of people are going to get value from this. I really enjoyed the stories that you shared with us today as well, I love it. What’s the best way that people can get a hold of you? I know what you’re going to say, but go ahead and say it anyway.
[00:45:47] CD: Have a guess, go on. Have a guess. You can go to chrisducker.com, simple as that.
[00:45:52] SV: I love it. All right Chris, thank you so much, I appreciate it. Tell Pat I said hi and yeah, keep crushing it man.
[00:45:59] CD: Thank you brother, it was a pleasure, you’re an inspiration.
[00:46:02] SV: Okay, so there you go, was I kidding? Right. Awesome interview with Chris and some of those stories that he told were just amazing and I love hearing different stories from different entrepreneurs. They were just really, really insightful but also you can see the power of customer service. I’ve told you guys this time and time again, if you want to be different, if you want to build a brand and be different, really, really focus on the customer service, it’s not about just acquiring that next customer, it’s about taking care of the customers that have already paid you and then from there making their experience even better or making sure they get what they were agreed to receive. Just make sure that you definitely don’t ever lose sight of that.
The other thing I want to mention is he talked a lot about not building a business on rented land and I do agree with that. You guys have heard me say that time and time again but, I’ve got a little bit of a but here, but in the beginning when we are validating a business, I believe that Amazon is a great place to validate and verify a business. I don’t think that once you start running and you start producing revenue that you should not create a website. Again, we’re talking about like a major website, we’re not talking about just like a three page website that you’re building to get your brand registered. Yeah, we know that we got to have that stuff in place, but I’m talking about like an authority blog where you’re going to be blogging on a regular basis, you’re going to be building an email list, all of that stuff.
I don’t want you to get side tracked with that, I’ve told you guys that in the beginning, because you could be building all that stuff for nothing if you haven’t validated the products that you’re going to be serving or selling… It’s serving, you’re going to be serving the market with – that you’re going to be selling and serving to that market. That's what I’ve said before too and I’m going to be stressing this over and over again because we need to think about the market that we are serving and then we can decide what they need and then we can give it to them. It makes it so much easier all the way around if you’re trying to build a real brand.
You’re not just playing for the short term, you’re playing for the long term and that’s really what it comes down to. All right guys, I want to thank you guys again for taking time out of your day, I don’t know if I say that enough but I really do appreciate each and every one of you for listening and for tuning in and telling your friends about this podcast and about the blog and all that stuff. I truly, truly appreciate it and I want to thank you once again. Also, if you are brand new or if you haven't attended one of my live workshops where I walk you through the five phases for picking a product, sourcing a product, launching your product, promoting it, all that stuff in between and I also answer live Q&A, you can register for an upcoming one by visiting theamazingseller.com/workshop. Once again, that’s theamazingseller.com/workshop. All right.
There you can register for an upcoming workshop, I’d love to hang out with you for the evening and we can go ahead and answer any questions that you have as well. All right guys, that’s going to wrap it up, remember I’m here for you, I believe in you, I’m rooting for you, but you have to, you have to, you have to do one thing for me, and what is that? Come on, say it with me, say it loud and say it proud, you should know this by now, “Take action.” Have an awesome, amazing day and I will see you I the next episode.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
- The One Day Business Breakthrough Podcast
- Chris’ book: Virtual Freedom
- Chris’ website: www.ChrisDucker.com
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