Keynote speaker and business coach, Jeffrey teaches entrepreneurs how to attract their ideal customers by speaking their Secret Language. He’s the host of Creative Warriors podcast and author of LINGO: Discover Your Ideal Customer’s Secret Language and Make Your Business Irresistible.
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- Your Big Idea: Successful Entrepreneurs have One Big Idea. Follow JLD’s FREE training & you’ll discover Your Big Idea in less than an hour!
- Lingo Review — Jeffrey’s Gift for Fire Nation
3 Key Points:
- Compare and despair. Whenever you compare yourselves to anybody or anything, you’ve got despair on some level. You should compare yourself to one person: YOU, yesterday.
- It’s best to say NO to people who undervalue your work – believe the mindset that some money is no better than no money
- 9 out of 10 customers – if not 10 out of 10 customers – are your ideal customers in providing you the lifestyle you want.
- Billy Gene is Marketing: My friend Billy Gene has a completely free training that will teach you exactly how to use paid ads to get more customers in any niche. Visit WatchBillysVideo.com to access his free training today!
Audio Masterclass Show Notes
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
- Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Make Your Business Irresistible with Jeffrey Shaw
- [00:01] – Jeffrey shares something about himself that most people don’t know
- “Am I where I want to be in my life?”
- John shares the one person you should compare yourself to…
- [05:58] – Why wouldn’t avatars and buyer personas be enough to gain someone’s business in the future?
- Jeffrey shares the ultimate compliment you can get from your marketing efforts. Tune in to hear it!
- [09:46] – Jeffrey shares his perspective on the 80-20 Rule – he believes it’s outdated way of thinking for today’s entrepreneurs.
- The Pareto Principle—DEBUNKED!
- Tune in to find out what the most efficient way to have a profitable business as an entrepreneur today is!
- [12:37] – What made Jeffrey’s photography business successful.
- Jeffrey talks about the “average sale”
- Focusing on working only with his ideal customer got Jeffrey to where he wanted to be financially.
- [16:05] – How do we define an ideal customer?
- It begins with us. We have to define our innate characteristics.
- Tune in to hear some of the questions you should ask yourself when working towards defining your ideal customer.
- Identify who would be greatly served by who you are, and what you have to offer. That defines your ideal customer.
- [24:50] – The 5 Steps of building a secret language strategy.
- 1st step – Perspective
- How Jeffrey determined what the customer’s perspective would be before building his business
- Jeffrey also shares some real-life examples for understanding others’ perspectives.
- 2nd step – Familiarity
- The biggest emotional cue in human nature is underrated in terms of business.
- The power of familiarity—explained.
- 3rd step – Style—the decision-maker
- The style of your branding allows people to make a quick decision as to whether they want to know more about you.
- Jeffrey shares a story about his interview with Tamsen Webster….
- 4th step – Pricing psychology
- How does pricing give you power?
- Tune in to hear about Jeffrey’s biggest light-bulb moment – it’s all about cost consciousness
- 5th step – Buy Jeffrey’s book Lingo: Discover Your Ideal Customer’s Secret Language and Make Your Business Irresistible!
- 1st step – Perspective
- [44:17] – Jeffrey’s parting piece of advice
- Lots of businesses are still focused on niche marketing
- The niche that you want to find yourself in is an area of authority.
- The best way to connect with Jeffrey — JeffreyShaw.com
JLD: Boom, shake the room, Fire Nation. JLD here with an audio masterclass to, literally, knock your socks off. Well, actually, to figuratively knock your socks off. And we’re gonna be talking about how to make your business irresistible with Jeffrey Shaw.
So, who is Jeffrey? Well, he’s a keynote speaker and a business coach, and he teaches entrepreneurs how to attract their ideal customers by speaking their secret language. He’s the host of Creative Warriors podcast and author of Lingo: Discover Your Ideal Customer’s Secret Language and Make Your Business Irresistible. Now, I know you wanna make your business irresistible, Fire Nation. I do, too. So, I’ll be taking notes to the audio masterclass, which we will be diving into when we get back from thanking our sponsor.
Jeffrey, say what’s up to Fire Nation and share something about yourself that we’ll find interesting.
Jeffrey: I had a birthday recently. I won’t say it was a huge birthday, but I turned 54, which still shocks me because in my own mind, I still think I’m 28. I think we all have this age caught in your mind. Unusually, for me, as I was having this birthday, I started thinking about – which is so unlike me. I started comparing myself. Am I where I wanna be at this point in my life? Do I have the amount of money set aside that I want? Am I ready for retirement the way I want? Is this where I should be? And all this stuff is going through my mind, which is totally unlike me. I’m not usually like that. But I guess, maybe, this happens as we get older.
And making myself feel a little bit better, I think I found something that I think was kinda unique, and that is that not only have I always been an entrepreneur – I was selling eggs door to door at 14 years old. And I went from that entrepreneurial adventure to another one to another one to becoming a professional photographer by the age of 20. And I realized, not only have I been an entrepreneur my entire life, but that, in fact, I actually have never shared expenses with anyone.
I’ve never had a roommate. I’ve never had a long-term relationship with someone who also had a job, that was contributing to the finances. I’ve had several long-term relationships, but none of them were actually contributors. And I realized, I truly have managed to create every dollar that has ever come into my life.
So, regardless of where I am and all those should – am I where I should be? Do I have the money set aside that I should have? Regardless of all that, I have to say, I realized that it’s kind of a unique when someone can look back at their life and say that – and I don’t see this changing. But it’s an unusual journey when you can look back at your life and say, “Wow, I actually created every dollar I ever made.” And regardless of whether I’m where I should be, I’m damn proud of that. I’m really proud that I have figured out how to generate my freedom and every dollar I’ve ever made. And I think that’s probably a pretty unusual path.
JLD: Yeah, yeah. I can’t say the same. And that is definitely a story that is interesting and unique, and I appreciate you sharing it. There’s definitely a wonderful lesson in there, Fire Nation, that I hope you’re taking away. One lesson that I kinda wanna add to this, as you’re talking about being 54 and comparing and yada, yada, I’m such a big believer, Jeffrey, and this is for you too, Fire Nation, is that compare and despair is right next to each other.
Whenever we compare ourselves to anybody or anything, we’re gonna despair on some level. And that goes for everybody across the board. Somebody can compare themselves to Jeffrey, and Jeffrey can compare himself to somebody, and somebody can compare themselves to me. [Inaudible] [00:03:45] compare myself to Donald Trump or – that was a horrible example, actually. Mark Cuban or Richard Branson or somebody who I actually admire and has amazing success and has done some really cool things. It never stops.
And so, I’m a believer, Jeffrey – and I’m curious on your thoughts on this – that you should only compare yourself to one person and that’s you, yesterday. Because if you’re winning that comparison, you’re winning at life. So, guess what, if you’ve set more money aside today than you did yesterday, you’re winning that comparison. And you’re not always going to win that comparison. You’re gonna gave some bad days. But if you’re winning that more often than not, you’re trending in the right direction. What are your thoughts?
Jeffrey: Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more. Like I said, what took me by surprise is that I even having this thought process because it’s so unlike me. I’m not someone that’s ever really gotten caught up in comparison. And in a way, I was comparing myself to myself. But you’re right, I wasn’t looking at just compared to yesterday, I was looking at this vision that maybe I had set in place 30 years ago of where I thought I would be at, turning 54. Which was already a mind-bending concept for me. I was 20 years old when I went into, well I’ll say, official business as a photographer. So, I thought I’d be retired at 50. And actually, in some ways, I was.
And my son actually reminded me of this recently where – because he remembers growing up, hearing me say that I planned on retiring at 50 because I thought I was gonna be independently wealthy and have everything I needed by 50. When I got to 50, I actually found that several years ago, eight, nine years ago, is when I stated transitioning out of being a professional photographer and towards being a coach and an author and a speaker. Although, I still do some photography today, I do very, very little.
So, in a way, I actually did retire, in a way. And my son pointed this out to me. He goes, “You know, in a way, you did retire from photography. But what you just didn’t see coming was the fact that there’d be a whole second chapter to life that I wanna pursue, and that I feel I can contribute in the world.” So, I think, maybe, sometimes these ideals are implanted in our head so long ago that at some point – and for me, it was a huge surprise that this year that I started facing those questions like, am I where I should be or want to be, etc.?
But I agree with you. You can only compare yourself to yesterday. And if you’re taking steps in the right direction, you’re putting more money away today than you did yesterday, if you’re working harder towards your goals today than you did yesterday, then you’re heading in the right direction.
JLD: Well, deep thoughts for the first four-plus minutes of the interview, Fire Nation. I hope you’re still with us here, and you’re doing your thing. I actually just realized, Jeffrey, you never actually said what’s up to Fire Nation. So, say what’s up?
Jeffrey: Hey, Fire Nation. Glad to be here with all of you.
JLD: And Fire Nation, Jeffrey’s here today because he’s gonna be dropping value bombs on an audio masterclass called “Make Your Business Irresistible.” Who doesn’t wanna make their business irresistible? I don't know if that person exists because it’s just an amazing phrase for a number of ways. And Jeffrey, let’s just dive right into this. Why won’t avatars and buyers’ personas be enough to gain someone’s business in the future? We’ve heard this over and over again about avatars and buyers’ personas. Why isn’t it enough to gain someone’s business in the future?
Jeffrey: Yeah. I love that you’re starting with this because there’s so much passion about this for me and in my writing book. Well, and you’re right, these have been the buzz words in marketing: buyer personas and avatars. And the reason I don’t think it’s gonna be enough anymore is because people want to feel – as a business and a brand, they want to feel that you have a deeper connection with them than you just know their demographics and their stats. Buyer personas and avatars are at best, they’re kind of a projection of who we think the ideal customer is. And we kinda paint it out and maybe were even clever, we give them a name. But what the recipient wants to feel – and I say the recipient of your marketing, of your promoting towards them.
What your ideal customer wants to feel is that you totally get them. And that you get not only their lifestyle and their behavior – and of course, that’s how buyer personas and avatars, especially in the today’s technology, it’s as if that has kind of advanced to – we know a lot about people’s behavior. Amazon and Facebook and Google, they know a lot about our behavior.
So, I think, as consumers, we know that businesses are studying us in a way. They might know our – they may have developed a buyer persona and avatar. They may even know our behavior. But what we really wanna feel before we surrender our hard-earned money, before we become loyal to a brand or to a business, what we really wanna feel is that that business gets us. They get our essence. They get our value system. That they understand how we look at life.
I always say, the ultimate compliment that we can receive from our marketing efforts, the ultimate compliment we can get is when somebody says to us, “Wow, it’s like you’re in my head.” I love that. I love when somebody says to me, “Wow, it’s like you’re in my head.” That means I’ve done the work to really imagine that I am them. That I’ve really, with empathy, have really understood how they’re walking through life. And I believe in the future that consumers just continue to get more and more sophisticated. Of course, we’re getting more and more used to being marketed at, and that creates a little skepticism.
And I just believe that people will, in the future – it’s here already. I believe people are demanding a higher level of knowing by businesses and brands. I want you to know what makes me tick. I want you to know my values, not just my statistics and my demographics and even my behavior. I want you to know more about me and what makes me unique.
JLD: Wow, it’s like you were in my head. Fire Nation, that’s a phrase that you need to strive for, that you need to be working towards. And not just once every now and then, but on a consistent basis because if your clients, customers, avatars, listeners, viewers, whatever that might be, if they really feel that way, you’re winning. And you’re going to continue winning at a very high level.
So, Jeffrey, one thing that we hear all the time, I feel like it’s in movies, it’s in books, it’s on this show, is about how everything in the world follows this weird 80/20 rule. Where it’s 80 percent of one thing, it’s 20 percent the other thing. 20 percent of the people have 80 percent of the money. 20 percent of the flowers have 80 percent of the reasons why there’s more flowers. Whatever it is, it’s just this 80/20 rule for everything in life. Explain what that 80/20 rule is, and then share why you think it’s outdated or an outdated way of thinking for today’s entrepreneurs.
Jeffrey: Yeah, and what you just said there is really key. I believe it’s an outdated way of thinking for today’s entrepreneurs. I’m not gonna say there isn’t truth to the theory. That would just be too big. And there’s truth to it. Our country’s economy is largely – greatest percentage of taxes paid by the smallest percentage of people. And in fact, many people put – they work 80 percent on only what gives them 20 percent of results.
So, there’s a lot of places in which the 80/20 – also known as the Pareto principle. There’s a lot of ways in which the 80/20 rule is true. But I think it’s an outdated concept for entrepreneurs because what the 80/20 rule is really saying, if in fact 80 percent of your income comes from 20 percent of your customers, what that’s really saying is that 8 out of 10 customers are a waste of your time.
Now, I don't know about you or the entire Fire Nation, I don’t know how many of us can afford, today, for 8 out of 10 customers to be a waste of our time. Because every single customer is a whole lot of effort. Every follower, every reader of our blogs, every listener to our podcasts, every customer that walks in our door, there’s effort; there’s expenditure of energy and money for every customer.
Now, I’ve been in business long enough. I can tell you, in the ‘80s, it was like people were throwing money at you like spaghetti against a wall. You just didn’t feel that you had to work as hard for every dollar because money was circulating so heavily. There wasn’t a high value. I always said, there wasn’t a high bar for quality in the ‘80s. It was a very label, brand-driven culture. If you had a brand image that made you prestigious, you could command any price and people would pay it. And there wasn’t as high a standard of quality. Where now, there’s not only a high standard of quality, there’s a high standard for transparency, ethical behavior.
So, the barriers to entry and what it takes to get a customer today is so much more significant than it ever has been. We don’t have time to only have eight – to have 8 out of 10 customers a waste of our time, to say nothing of how hard it is to stand out above the noise. So, all that is to say, it is a crazy amount of effort for every customer, that the most efficient way to have a profitable business, as an entrepreneur today, is for all or almost all your clients to be ideal customers. And that’s really the goal of my book, Lingo, is I wanted to give people a strategy where they were calling forward only their ideal customers.
JLD, this is what made my photography business successful for over 30 years. I only worked with my ideal customers. And so much so that years ago, I ditched the term “average sale.” I’m a business guy, and I’m a number’s guy, and when I look at my business, I always wanted to look at, well, what’s our average sale? Which was substantial. In my photography business, my average sale was between, say, $6,000.00 to $8,000.00 per portrait session. There was some fluctuation to that, but that was that midrange that we were aiming for.
But I ditched the terminology “average” years ago because an average sale implies the mathematical formula of a high and a low, which are usually pretty extreme. And that’s when people see evidence of the 80/20 rule in their business, when they start averaging out the high and the low. I reframed it to being I wanted to know, what is the typical sale?
If I draw in, which was my goal, my ideal customer, the client who made working with them easy, they valued what I did, they were the easiest to work with, and they spent the most amount of money. They’re the most profitable customers. That’s my ideal customer. If I had put all my effort into creating systems and promotions and marketing to attract that ideal customer, then I could expect a pretty typical sale. I didn’t have to run my business on the average of an extreme high and a low, but that it could be typical.
So, to me, this whole 80/20 rule is a way that we have to rethink being in business. I think a lot of entrepreneurs set themselves up, right from the beginning, buying into this principle. Because they go into business, and they’re really prone, in the beginning, to take whatever work comes along. And when you start taking whatever work comes along, it’s really hard to get out of that cycle. It’s really hard to get out of the “some money is better than no money” mentality. And it really isn’t in the long run.
The better, the fastest road, it might be a slower start, but to get to the end conclusion – not that there’s an end – but to get to where you wanna go, financially, and you wanna get the ball rolling and have the most profitable business, I believe it’s best to say no to people that undervalue your work and believe the mindset that some money isn’t better than no money. And instead, focus on only working with your ideal customer so that you’re no longer buying into the 80/20 rule. And in fact, every one of your customers is an ideal customer, most profitable customer.
And we all know this scenario. I talk to entrepreneurs every day and hear all the time how we jump through hoops, we go through the greatest amount of effort for people that are the least rewarding financially. And then the other side, we’re shocked at how easy it is to work with somebody, they were the most profitable, and they made the most amount of money. Why not have more of them? So, that’s what I mean about kinda busting up the Pareto principle. Reorganizing your business so that 9 out of 10 customers, if not 10 out of 10 customers, are your ideal customers and providing you with the lifestyle you want.
JLD: Well, Jeffrey, this is a perfect segue to getting to the core of who our ideal customer is. So, break it down for Fire Nation. How do we define this ideal customer?
Jeffrey: Yeah. It’s funny. So, I’ll tell you a little aside here. I spent several months writing my book. My entire, written, it was in the hands of the editor, and of course, that’s when I started a podcast tour. I did 53 interviews in 3 months. Prior, I did a handful of them before launch and a lot of them right at launch. But of course, as you know, they’re recorded way in advance. So, that’s why the timing was off. The book was written. It was just in the early stages of being edited, and I’m already out there talking about my book, Lingo, on podcasts.
And one question kept coming up. So, I’m having all these conversations about, as we just had, about only working with your ideal customer. And host after host would say to me, “Well, how do we know who our ideal customer is?” And I realized this was a gaping hole in the book. I wrote an entire book assuming people knew who their ideal customer was. And then every host is saying, “Well, how do we know who our ideal customer is?” And I realized, wow, I thought people knew that.
So, of course, I went back and rewrote it, and it became chapter two, just after the introduction. So, in a way, it’s kind of chapter one, in a way. It’s chapter two, technically, but it’s how the book starts. The real of the meat of the book starts is helping people define who their ideal customer is. And I think my method about going about this is the opposite of what most people think. Because when we first ask ourselves the question, who is our ideal customer? We think about the other. We think about the customer. We think about the buyer persona, the avatar.
When, really, it begins with us. Who are we? What are our innate skills? What are our skillsets? What’s our talent? What is it that we have to bring to the table? That’s, of course, important. I also think it’s really important to look at our innate characteristics, just what makes us who we are. And this is, I think, completely undervalued as far as people seeing that as a leverage point on determining who their ideal client is. If you kind of use and leverage your innate characteristics, it also is what makes being in business pleasurable.
So many entrepreneurs, particularly creative entrepreneurs, they love the creative side, but they don’t like the business side. Or they don’t think they can be good at the business side. And I think it’s often because we think we have to depart from who we naturally are. Where if we tap into what are our innate characteristics – the title of this chapter, by the way, is called “Who Will Love That?” Which I know should be “Whom Will Love That?” but I decided to go real English, not grammatically correct. The foundational question here is, who will love that? What makes you who you are? What are your innate characteristics? What’s your skillset? What do you have to offer people? And then ask yourself, and who would love that?
So, that what you’re doing here is you’re building a business for your ideal customer by starting with kind of a self-study first. I’ll give you an example. I am a complete neat and organized freak. I know where everything is in my life. There’s no clutter in my life. I’m extremely neat and organized, which might explain why I’ve had multiple long-term relationships.
JLD: I’m glad you said it and not me.
Jeffrey: I knew what you were thinking. Everybody has the same reaction. It drives people crazy. It’s not easy to live with somebody that’s so button-down. I’m also not a procrastinator. Everything gets done ahead of time. And it’s not because I’m better than anybody else. It’s actually because I’m incredibly insecure, and I don’t like to not to be ready. I live in fear of being asked, where is something, and I don’t know where it is. So, I’m just innately, ridiculously neat and organized.
Well, if I were to ask myself that question, well, who would love that? Well, you know who loves that? Really affluent people that I photograph. The affluent people whose families I photographed, they love that – that was probably my number one selling point to them because they knew, as a photographer, that they never had to worry about their clothing not being perfect in the photograph, their hair being out of place. They knew I saw everything. I saw mismatched socks. “You know, your socks don’t really go with your slacks,” I’d have to say to some men and make them change their socks. There’s nothing I don’t see. And I’m incredibly neat and organized.
They never had to worry about the fact that I would be sending very expensive gifts on their behalf to family members and friends. They didn’t even have to see it ahead of time. They just never had to worry about everything being, I’ll say, perfect, but it wasn’t so much as perfect as much as it was highly organized. So, that innate characteristic in me, while it served no purpose in my childhood, it drove people crazy in my personal life, I found a place in life and a huge market of people that saw tremendous value in that innate characteristic of who I am.
And I often make the comparison with comedians. Some comedians are clean, some are really foul-mouthed, and you realize that no one’s for everyone. Some people have a tolerance for the foul-mouthed comedians, some don’t. So, you wanna kinda – what is your style? What is your innate characteristics? What makes you who you are? That’s a big starting point to determine who would love that, which then determines who your ideal client is.
Of course, what is your skillset? What is it that you have to offer? What is that people are gonna benefit from your skillset? That, of course, is a really important part of defining who your ideal customer is. So, I think the way I go about this differently, as I said, so often, when posed with the question, who’s my ideal customer? People look towards the customer first. And what I suggest is look towards yourself first, identify who would be greatly served by who you are and what you have to offer. That defines your ideal customer. Now, you can begin to build a business for them that speaks to them, that speaks their lingo so that you’re being found, if you will, by your ideal customer.
JLD: Fire Nation, one simple sentence in, who would love that? It can go a long way. And if you think Jeffrey’s done dropping value bombs, we’ve got the five steps of building a secret language strategy coming up after we get back from thanking our sponsors.
So, Jeffrey, we’re back, and I’d love for you to break down those five steps that I mentioned before the sponsor break. Those five steps of building a secret language strategy. Go through those one at a time, break them down for us.
Jeffrey: Will do. I also wanna preface, I guess, by saying that I’ve been using this terminology “secret language” because this was a huge awareness for me when I was shifting my business. At 23 years old, I had a failing business on my hand. I’d been out there for three years trying to make a photography business work in my hometown. It wasn’t working. I realized that. I could say I was barking up the wrong tree, but really, I was speaking the wrong language. I was speaking the language of long-term value and having portraits to hand down from generation to generation. And I was speaking that to a community, which I grew up in. You’d think I’d know this.
But I was speaking that to a community that didn’t know if they’re gonna be able to pay their rent or mortgage that month. They can’t think long term. There was no value to them in thinking about handing down photographs and preserving their children’s memories. They’re worried about paying their rent, their mortgage that month. I knew I needed to make a shift. And what I realized is that I needed to – that I was a luxury product. And I had never seen myself, as a family photographer, as a luxury product because, to me, it was something you had to have. But the fact of the matter is nobody really needs family photographs. It’s not a must have.
Once I determined that I was a luxury product, at 23 years old, I knew I needed to completely reinvent this business. And I realized that with the affluent market, the problem was I knew nothing about the luxury or affluent market. Absolutely nothing. I grew up lower-middleclass at best. So, I set out to understand the mindset, the value system, the essence, and, you could say, the lingo of the luxury market. And so, I went to Bergdorf Goodman, I tell that story in the book, so that – a lot of flagship stores are very high-end brands. Not so I could so much study the brand, but I wanted to study what brought people there.
And I did this with a great deal with empathy, and that’s what I’m stressing here. Because when I use the terminology “secret language” because I realized, man, when I entered the world of high-end brands and affluence, I’d entered a brand-new world, and I realized, there’s a secret language going on. There’s a secret language to the way high-end brands connect and communicate with their affluent clients. Just as there was in my childhood, going to low-end department stores, different language.
But I think what’s important to understand here, as we go through these five steps, is that is coming from a place of empathy and a deep desire to really understand, with empathy, your ideal customer’s world. So, as soon as the word “secret language” is introduced, I think people can say, “Well, is this conniving? Is it messing with people’s heads?” No, not at all. It’s actually done with empathy.
So, the five steps. The first, which explains why I went to Bergdorf Goodman, the first of these five steps – which, by the way, need to be done in order. The first is perspective. So, perspective is having a willingness to understand the world perspective, the perspective of your ideal customer. So, in my case, I had determined, by looking at my skillset, looking at my innate characteristics, looking at the fact that what I was offering was a luxury product I had determined that my ideal customer was affluent and a luxury buyer.
Like I said, the problem was I didn’t know anything about them. So, my job then became, if I wanted to build a business for them, if I wanted to build a business that spoke their lingo, step number one is to understand their perspective. What does the world look like for them? If you’re not from that world, how could you possibly know what the world looks like? That’s why I went to high-end brands as a customer. So, I wasn’t studying the brand. I was being the customer to the best of my ability with what limited money I had. I was being the customer in that world, so I could look around and see what it looks like, what it feels like. And that’s how I unearthed all the other steps that we’re gonna through.
But it has to start with the willingness to have a perspective. And here’s something I think a lot of people don’t understand. Almost all businesses, whether you’re building a product or creating a service, almost all businesses are serving people that they don’t necessarily share that exact same perspective with at this point. So, I’ll give you an example of that. Let’s say you’ve created a technology that solves a problem. Well, you created that technology because you previously had a problem that you wanted to solve. But from where you are today, you no longer have that problem because you created the solution. But you created it for people who still have the problem.
Millennials, of course, there’s a lot of conversation in business today about the psychology of millennials. As a business today, if you don’t take the time to understand the perspective of millennials, you’re in big trouble. They’re a unique generation. They have a different perspective of how they look at things, what they want. And if you wanna serve your business well, well, you damn better take the time to understand their perspective. Without judgment and without assumption, by the way, which we hear a lot of.
There’s a lot of really angry 50 and 60-year-olds who think the millennials are just entitled and blah, blah, blah. I don’t think that at all. I, personally, think millennials are – by the way, I have three of them. So, maybe I have a little favoritism towards millennials. But I think they’re the first generation to have the audacity to not settle. If they don’t like a job that’s available, they’ll make a job. They wanna travel the world. They’re not gonna stay in relationships that don’t personally fulfill them. So, I think they’re an amazing generation. Maybe the first generation to really have the balls to not settle and say, “I want it all.” And wanting it all might seem entitled from somebody else’s perspective, but from their perspective, it’s not about being spoiled and entitled. From their perspective, it’s, “Hey. We only live once.”
Something that fascinated me early on about the millennial perspective was the whole Snapchat mentality. And then, along came Instagram stories and Facebook stories. And I remember asking my kids. I’m like, why are these stories disappearing in 24 hours appealing to you? And again, this is coming from the perspective of a photographer who’s all about preserving memories. Why is suddenly temporary good? And yeah, they’re like, “Because we’re living in the moment. I don’t need to hang on to this moment forever. This is just a moment I wanna livestream and share with my friends. I’m at a concert. That’s all.”
JLD: And there’s a realness to it, as well. There’s a realness to the fact that you know that whatever you’re looking at happened within 24 hours, maybe within an hour, and that’s real. I remember when Hussein Bolt had just won the 100-meter dash and he was holding up his phone. I was like, “That dude’s doing a Snapchat right now.” I went on and, boom, I was like in his phone like a second later when he was on Snapchat. So, it was like a better view than the TV had. And it was all through Snapchat. So, Jeffrey, take us to number two, which is familiarity.
Jeffrey: Familiarity, which I think is probably one of the biggest emotional cues of human nature that’s underrated in business. And what I mean by that is familiarity creates comfort. So, if you understand, as you need to by now, you first need to understand the perspective of your ideal customer. Once you’ve got that, you then can figure out, well, what emotionally feels familiar to them? You’re not copying other brands or other businesses. But if what feels familiar to them is high-end simplicity, you don’t wanna create a website that’s cluttered and noisy. So, you want them to have the opportunity because familiarity, like I said, not only creates comfort, but it also stands out.
I challenge anyone. If you’re traveling in Europe, try to not see a Starbucks logo, try to not notice it. You can’t. It’s so familiar. There are certain icons that are so familiar. The story I tell in the book was actually a couple years ago, I was coming back from Podcast Movement. I don’t even remember where it was. I think it was in Fort Worth that year. Coming back, get on the plane, I go to sit down, and my seat mate, on the plane, next to me is reading the book of a guest that was just booked on our show. The day before, my team had let me know while I was away, “Hey. We just booked this guest. He’s kinda hot right now. Here’s his book.” I hadn’t read it yet. And I go to sit down, and the guy next to me is reading the book.
So, of course, that’s sparks up a conversation because that book is now familiar to me. A day before, I would’ve paid zero attention to it. But on this day, that was familiar to me. It’s like, “Hey. How’s the book?” That sparked up a conversation, and to this day, we’re good friends, we became business peers. And all from the nature of familiarity. And I think I said, I think it’s an underutilized and extremely powerful emotion in marketing and branding is to create an atmosphere that’s familiar to people.
I recently moved to Miami Beach, two and a half years ago, from Manhattan. My first appointment with my accountant, I said to him, “Well, so much for saving money. My rent is the same here in Miami Beach as it is in New York City.” Which a lot of people think they’re moving to Florida to save money. And he says, “Well, you do know that you moved into the neighborhood designed to attract New York money?” I’m like, “Well, what do you mean?” He said, “Well, the park is modeled after Battery Park in New York City. There’s a Smith and Wollensky in the park,” which is a well-known steakhouse in New York City.
And when he said this, I was like, “Oh, my gosh. I was duped by own strategies.” I bought into this area, this neighborhood, entirely because it felt, for reasons unknown to me, it felt ridiculously familiar to me. And if I’m gonna move away from home, I wanted to bring a piece of home with me. And that’s the power of familiarity. When it comes to marketing and strategy is, what can you create in your business, when you understand their perspective, that isn’t copying but gives them the feeling – they’ve landed on a website, or they’ve seen marketing materials that, “Gosh, this just feels really familiar and comfortable to me. This is where I belong.”
Some people might be more familiar in Home Depot than a high-end store or vice versa. But you have to understand their perspective so that you can, then, present yourself in a way that feels familiar.
Third step is style. Style is the decision maker. It plays in the area of familiarity, but it’s also very different in that style is just a little more surface level. But style is actually – the style that you present yourself, the style of your branding, the business that you present. If you have a brick and mortar, the style of your brick and mortar, your email marketing, whatever it is. The style in which you are presenting your brand allows people to make a quick decision as to whether they wanna know more about you. And it is kinda a little more surface level, but we just have to face the reality. This is how people make decisions.
We walk down Main Street, USA. We walk down malls. An example I like to give is we go to a discount store, like TJ Maxx, and we flip through all the medium size shirts on one rack, but there’s a mixture of designers. So, we’re not buying by label, we’re buying by style. Well, flip through that rack of shirts, and what causes us to stop is when we feel like, wow, that shirt is speaking my language. That’s my style. It resonates for me. That’s how we make decisions.
So, when people come across your marketing materials, your website, anywhere that your front-facing branding is being shown, you wanna get people quickly. You don’t have a whole lot of time. You have a matter of seconds. Generally, making that decision, whether to stay or not based on whether we feel like that style resonates for us. An example I give in the book, I interviewed Tamsen Webster, who’s a brilliant marketer, if you will. She has a thing she called “the red thread,” where she helps people pull out their red thread, their core message, their singular line in a talk, if you will. She trains a lot of people for TED talks.
She almost always publicly is seen wearing a Diane Von Furstenberg dress. It’s something she’s well know, you can – but Diane Bon Furstenberg is a designer who has a very specific look. And when I was interviewing Tamsen, I was like, “Well, why are you so focused on that designer?” I wanted to understand the brand loyalty. And what she came to realize in our conversation is that everything, as she had said in our conversation, the descriptors that one would use to describe Diane Von Furstenberg designs is exactly the way she wants people to describe her work. It’s smart. It’s a good choice. It’s well styled but gets to the point. There’s a level of sophistication about it.
And I always say, Diane Von Furstenberg is like a designer for intelligence. You imagine women wearing her dresses, sipping a cocktail in a wood-paneled library. There’s an intelligence about her style. And that’s exactly how Tamsen wants her work to be described, as intelligent. So, we choose styles based on what’s speaking on our behalf, which is why people make such quick decisions about whether to do business with you or not, based on style. Ready for the fourth?
JLD: Pricing psychology, baby.
Jeffrey: Yeah, gosh. There’s hardly anything more powerful than pricing psychology. And what people have to understand is that pricing creates perception, and it gives you a – I could actually just as easily say pricing gives you power. Because you actually have the power to decide where in the marketplace you want your business positioned based on pricing psychology. Because we all know we form opinions about prices. If something is priced too low, we assume it must not be very good. If something is priced high and there’s evidence that people are buying it, we just assume, well, it’s for somebody, it’s just not for me.
You can literally decide where you want your business positioned based on how – and I give the example in the book about restaurants. What’s the perception we get if we go to a restaurant that doesn’t have prices on the menu? The perception is that it’s very expensive. What’s the perception of a dollar meal at McDonald’s? Very different. And pricing psychology is not only the dollar amount itself, but it’s also how it’s presented, visually.
It’s very interesting to see how we get a different impression of the price of something whether there’s a dollar sign in front of it or not, whether it’s followed by decimal points and zeros. Because if it’s just a 3-5, $35.00, let’s say, for the price of steak. If it’s just a 3-5, that’s a different impression than $35.00.
Which brings up, then – this is one of my biggest awareness is when I was at – the story I told earlier about being at Bergdorf Goodman. This was one of my biggest lightbulb moments as I walked around this high-end store and was flipping over prices and realizing they were all just these vague rounded-off numbers: $500.00, $1,000.00, $3,000.00. There was no 1,997. It wasn’t 1,435. That’s a cost-conscious mentality. That would be the Walmart psychology of pricing because that’s who they are speaking to. They’re speaking the language of cost consciousness.
So, if you’re speaking the language of cost consciousness, you wanna be very specific with your prices. If you’re speaking the language of value, then you wanna be kinda vague about the prices. Which is why when people ask me, should I put prices on my website? I say, it depends on who you wanna speak to? If you’re selling value, if you’re a value-based business, whatever you’re doing is transformative for people, then I wouldn’t put prices. If what you’re offering is a good deal, then put a price, put it specifically.
So, when you understand that the minds – the biggest breaks, what drives me crazy, but I see it all the time is entrepreneurs that come to me for coaching and the break in their business is that they feel like their customers are constantly trying to get a discount, complaining about the price. But then I’ll look at their pricing structure, and their pricing structure will be a classic 497, 197. It’s like, well, if you gotta call attention to the fact that $3.00 makes a difference, you can’t be surprised that people are going to ask you for a discount. Which I know is a popular thing to do because somehow, we think 197 is cheaper than 200. But the good $200.00 client already sees through that. So, what’s the point?
Does that make sense? So, the more you draw – the other example I love to give or just the position of cash registers, which is a literal display of pricing psychology. Because if you go into your typical department store, Target, Walmart, their cash registers are lined up at the front of the store like cattle corral. The first thing you see. This is a transactional experience. We’re focused on the exchange of money here. It’s cost conscious. As opposed to you go into a high-end store, a Neiman Marcus, a Bergdorf Goodman, a Ralph Lauren flagship store, you won’t find a register. They’re hidden. They’re tucked away behind merchandise or sometimes even in separate rooms.
The same thing with diners. You go to a Greek diner, there’s gonna be a register and a bowl or mints greeting you when you walk in. You go to a nice, fine dining restaurant, there’s not gonna be a register. There’s gonna be a hostess stand, not a register when you walk in because you’re not bringing consciousness to the transaction and to the cost.
So, pricing psychology, again, has to be aligned with whom you’ve determined your ideal customer to be. That’s why perspective comes first, so you can then say, well, if I were they, how would I perceive the pricing? When I’m working with coaching clients and they wanna determine the pricing, the first thing I ask them is, how do you want your business to be perceived? And let how you price yourself support that.
JLD: Fire Nation, we’re going over the five steps of building a secret language strategy. We’ve already talked about perspective, familiarity, style. Number four is pricing psychology. And a little teaser, if you wanna get to number five, you’re gonna have to get Jeff’s book, Lingo. And he’s also gonna be diving into the difference between the old niches and the new niches. Mindsets and practices for success and so much more.
So, Jeff, let’s really kinda tie this audio masterclass up with a bow. Give us kind of an overall parting piece of guidance from this masterclass. And then, give us the best way that we can connect with you and any goodies you might have for us, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Jeffrey: Awesome. So, I think my parting wisdom would be kind of what you touched on, the difference between the old niche and the new niche. And I love brining this up because it always creates some controversy because a lot of businesses are still focused on niche marketing and find the one – but typically, in the old niche definition, it means determining the one thing that you do and probably even to one audience.
And here’s how I believe this has shifted. And quite honestly, that can be, in today’s business world, that can be a very restrictive model because, God forbid, if you picked one thing to do to one audience, what if that shifts? What if that audience shifts? What if technology comes along that changes your positioning? You could be completely out of a business. To me, it’s a risky business model, and it is restrictive. Now, I’m not saying it’s not effective for many people and that it can’t – perhaps, choosing a clearly defined direction is a great place to start.
But what I define as the new niche is the idea that, really, what you wanna – there’s a niche you wanna find in yourself is your area of authority. What is the area of authority for which you can become known? And that’s how people recognize you. Imagine you’re walking down the street and you walk past two people having a conversation, and one person is saying to the other, “Oh, you know, that John Lee Dumas, he’s the go-to expert for blank” Or, “Oh, yeah, that Jeffrey Shaw, I’ve heard about him. He’s the go-to expert for blank.” That’s when you become known for your area of authority.
So, when you’ve got that, then you’re looking at what I consider an expansive business model. The old model would be – the classic phrase was “inch wide, mile deep.” Well, what I say now, in the new niche model, is maybe an inch wide, maybe six inches deep, and a mile wide. Because when you define your area of authority, you can then start identifying multiple audiences that can benefit from that authority. So, now, you’ve got an expansive business model. And it may be that you start with one audience, but you see that you can expand on your business because you could say, “Well, this is another audience that would be served by that. Oh, and here’s another one that would benefit from my skillset and my innate characteristics.”
So, I love introducing, for those that are kind of still feeling the weight of pressure to pick one thing and to one audience. I love to open up the possibility that when you can define for yourself and market to others your known area of authority, that what you find is that it’s an expansive model, and there are multiple audiences out there that can benefit from your area of expertise.
JLD: And what’s the best way we can connect with you?
Jeffrey: I would say the best way to connect with me is I’ve put together this idea. I’m doing an ongoing video series about lingo, where I’m going to review people’s websites and give them some feedback on where their lingo is working, where it’s broken. I’m gonna do this through a whole video series. Obviously, I can’t – yeah, and I’m really looking forward this. I could talk this stuff all day long, as you can probably tell.
JLD: Yeah, we can tell.
Jeffrey: I can’t serve everyone, but all the applications that come in, those I can’t do on video, a select number of them I’m going to invite to a personal call, a 30 minutes – let me hope on the phone with you and show you where you’re lingo’s working for you. And more than likely and more importantly, where it’s broken. Because that’s usually the bigger problem. So, we’ve put this together, an application to submit your website for consideration at jeffreyshaw.com/fire.
JLD: Fire Nation, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, and you’ve been hanging out with JS and JLD today. So, keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com, type Jeffrey in the search bar, and his show on this page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today, all this great stuff. And yes, we even are gonna put in that fifth step of building a secret language strategy in there that you can see once you go over to eofire.com and get to Jeffrey’s page.
And of course, take Jeffrey up on this, Fire Nation. Take him up on this. You might be one of the lucky people who get that video strategy of what lingo you’re using correctly, incorrectly on your website. This is incredibly valuable stuff. Or you might even be meeting on a 30-minute phone call with Jeffrey, which is near priceless. So, head over to jeffreyshaw.com/fire and apply. This could literally be your lucky day, which could take your business, your website, everything to that next level. And we’re always looking to go that next level.
Again, going back to the beginning of the theme of this episode, if you’re comparing yourself to you yesterday and you’re winning that comparison, you’re winning at life. So, just make that happen, Fire Nation. And Jeffrey, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Hey, Fire Nation. I hope you enjoyed our chat with Jeffrey today. And are you ready? Are you ready to discover your big idea in just three hours? Well, I’ve created an amazing system that will get you there in three hours and, then, the sky’s the limit. The best part is it’s $1 million. Just kidding. It’s free. It is 100 percent free. So, visit yourbigidea.io. Yourbigidea.io. And I will catch you there, or I’ll catch you on the flipside.
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