Ken Moskowitz is an accidental pilot, father of five, has fostered 19 kids, is a career creative director turned serial entrepreneur, bestselling author, voice over actor, 3X cheater of death, and a hotel bathroom aficionado.
Ad Zombies – Tell your story. Use promo code FIRE and get a 15% discount on anything you order!
3 Value Bombs
1) Focusing on selling sets you up for failure because too many businesses are focused on the conversion. Creating a relationship with your customers is essential.
2) You can find the most valuable feedback from your customers because they will tell you everything that you need to know about your business.
3) Give without expectation of getting anything in return.
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Stop Selling. Start Storytelling with Ken Moskowitz
[1:10] – Ken shares something interesting about himself that most people do not know.
- He almost relocated his family to Dallas because he was a runner-up to be the voice of Barney the purple dinosaur.
[3:05] – What does it mean to be a hotel bathroom aficionado?
- Ken discovered that when you are traveling, the best bathrooms are the 5-star hotel bathrooms.
[4:24] – Why does focusing on selling set you up for failure?
- Focusing on selling sets you up for failure because too many businesses are focused on the conversion. Creating a relationship with your customers is essential.
- Story-telling through messaging is the most powerful way to connect with your audience. It builds trust and relationships.
[5:36] – Why should you build relationships, not funnels?
- Funnels are great for capturing an audience, answering their objections, and converting them into a customer
- Story-telling creates memorable touchpoints; it helps expand your network. It is no longer a funnel, but it becomes a web of sales.
[8:36] – Can a little guy or gal build a big brand?
- With all of the tools and resources that are available nowadays you can absolutely build a brand.
- A brand is a touchpoint that every consumer sees; you create the impression that people get with every touchpoint along the way.
- Your brand is not just your logo and your name. Your brand is the experience you deliver for your customers.
- Any business can build a brand, you just have to invest time
[10:47] – What does “Listen to your gut, not your gurus” mean?
- Your gut will never fail you – listen to that inner voice.
- The Gurus know what they know, but you know your business better than anyone else.
[15:48] – Where can you find the most valuable feedback?
- You can find the most valuable feedback from your customers; they will tell you everything that you need to know about your business.
- The comments you get on your ad creative and the engagement that you get from your audience will tell you the direction you need to point your business.
[17:19] – How can you tell your story the right way?
- The way to tell your story is by sharing your truth with people.
- If you share the journey of your successes and failures from the heart, people will see that, and it will develop respect. It will create a deeper connection with your brand.
- Keep your audience involved. Bringing your people along on your journey creates a deeper connection.
[19:08] – How can you best speak your truth?
- Do not hide your failures.
- Be real with people. Share your journey, and tell them what is going on.
- It is okay to be raw and be yourself.
[22:35] – What is the one mistake creators must avoid?
- You have to avoid falling in love with your creative.
- Creative is a variable of success; however, not everybody experiences your creative the same way you do.
- Let your audience fall in love with your creative.
[26:28] – Ken’s parting piece of guidance.
- Give without expectation of getting anything in return.
- Ad Zombies – Tell your story. Use promo code FIRE and get a 15% discount on anything you order!
JLD: Light that spark Fire Nation. JLD here with an audio master class called Stop Selling, Start Storytelling. To drop these value bombs I have brought Ken Moskowitz on the mike. He is an accidental pilot, father of five, fostered 19 kids, career creative director turned serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, voice over actor, three times cheater of death and a hotel bathroom aficionado. And Fire Nation, today we’re talking about why focusing on selling sets us up for failures, how to build relationships not funnels. The one mistake creators must avoid and so much more when we get back from thanking our sponsors.
Ken, say what’s up to Fire Nation and share something interesting about yourself that most people don’t know.
Ken: What’s up Fire Nation? Well, let me start with something that I wasn’t gonna bring up but my wife and I talked about it at dinner and she’s like you gotta share this. So, for Fire Nation listeners you have probably heard my voice on hundreds of TV and radio commercials and never knew it was me because I have probably 45 to 50 voices in me from Kermit the Frog, Yoda, Bill Clinton, I can do any of those and pretty much on demand. But here’s the one thing that only five people know about me. I almost relocated my entire family to Dallas 20 years because I was the runner up to be the voice of Barney the purple dinosaur.
JLD: Come on, the runner up? Oh, man.
Ken: The guy who was playing Barney was retiring and they needed someone to replace him and so they went through this national search and I was gonna be the runner up but this other guy beat me; I was the runner up this other guy beat me out and next thing you know life moves on.
JLD: Well, you did say on command. So, would you in Bill Clinton’s voice ask Fire Nation if they’re prepared to ignite?
Ken: Fire Nation, are you prepared to ignite? Now, I’m not talking about the way I ignited in the White House because that was a completely different, you know what I’m saying, that was with interns.
JLD: PG, Ken.
Ken: I’m keeping it clean. Anyway, so yeah I’ve been doing that so many years as a kid. I used to walk around mimicking. I would watch the Muppets and I would go hi, ho, Kermit the Frog here, and I would just start doing it and I discovered I had a really flexible voice.
JLD: So good. Oh, I love it. Well, we have a lot to cover today and I want to get into it but I first have to ask this question because I had the question while I was reading your introduction and I know Fire Nation probably does as well. What the heck does it mean to be a hotel bathroom aficionado?
Ken: Okay, so many, many years ago I discovered that when you’re traveling the best bathrooms to use are not gas station bathrooms, they’re not convenience store bathrooms. No. Hotel bathrooms are the best especially when you go to five-star hotels. And so, the bathrooms are always clean, they always smell good, they always have amazing hand towels.
JLD: Two-ply toilet paper. I mean it’s incredible.
Ken: Right. And so, I have really gotten all of my friends to start when they travel, no matter where they are they just stop and use hotel bathrooms. And so, many, many years ago I was with a buddy. We did a guys weekend in California and we went to the Hotel Del Coronado and he’s like, “Spanky, where you going?” I’m like, “I gotta use the bathroom.” He’s like, “Just stop here.” I’m like, “No, hotel bathrooms.” And I broke Larry into using hotel bathrooms and now he texts me whenever he’s traveling – this was the best thing I ever discovered.
JLD: He just like texts you a picture of his feet and that’s the only thing he texted you.
Ken: Oh, God.
JLD: I love it and Fire Nation, by the way, Ken’s nickname is Spanky if you didn’t catch that and today’s audio master class is Stop Selling, Start Storytelling. So, we have a lot to cover. Why, Ken, why does focusing on selling set us up for failure?
Ken: I think too many businesses are so focused on the conversion they forget to create the relationship with their customers and that’s what storytelling does. When all you’re focused on is that conversion click or that buyer, you’re not building relationship you’re building a transaction. And I love building relationships so I tell stories and storytelling through messaging is the most powerful way to connect with your audience, to build a customer base that becomes very loyal. You know, if you think about it cavemen used to draw in the caves pictures, hieroglyphics of these scary animals eating people.
They were storytelling and it’s such a powerful way to communicate but it builds trust, it builds a relationship and if businesses stop focusing on just the conversion, just the bottom of their sales process and focused more on relational storytelling, they would do so much better further down the sales pipeline.
JLD: Fire Nation, focus on selling is setting you up for failure. And to me this is just segueing perfectly into why we should be building relationships not funnels. Can you expand upon that?
Ken: Funnels are great for capturing an audience and moving them from a cold audience that knows nothing about you to warming them up right, answering their objections and then they become a customer. But funnels tend to have a problem. Unless you have a follow up offer you’re just burning and churning and for us storytelling is creating these memorable touch points that not only as they become a customer they’re seeing your stuff but after they become a customer they’re seeing your creative, they’re seeing your stories.
You know, my No. 1 job for my business is when we’re creating ads we want to entertain and engage the audience at all times. If our ads aren’t making people laugh, think creatively, if they look at our ads and they go, that’s boring, they’re never gonna do business with us right? So, we do things that grab their attention but that entertain them. I love making people laugh with our ads and that’s what we do. And because of that people share them and when people share them they tend to share them with their friends and their friends typically are people in similar industries or similar businesses so it really helps expand your network. It’s no longer a funnel, it becomes a web of sales.
JLD: Fire Nation, there’s so much value here. I mean I want to be honest with you right now. I’m a big huge fan of funnels but there’s a key thing here. All of my funnels start by first building a relationship with you Fire Nation, you. That’s why our funnels work because I don’t drop individuals in the funnels that have never heard of me where I’ve never delivered value to first. It’s at the end of the show I’ll share with you about my free podcast course or about my big idea course or about this or that. The calls to action into my funnels but only after I’ve built meaningful relationships with you my audience Fire Nation.
And then guess what? I continue like Ken was saying to build that relationship trying to entertain and engage you the whole way through and I can completely vouch that Ken’s videos make people laugh. I mean actually Ken, I haven’t told you this yet, but myself and Kate were both watching the video that you have on your home page and we both were just sitting there laughing. We’re like why can’t more people just understand that this is what’s gonna make people watch a video. Not just like this talking head. I was wondering what was coming next with your video, like what is happening and there’s all these different things and anecdotes that are just so funny.
There’s like these little hidden gems and jokes as well that’s just saying like I need to keep seeing this through until the end. Critical stuff Fire Nation. You can learn a lot by studying from others in this area.
Now, let’s be honest. Fire Nation, some of them are solopreneurs, they’re on their own, maybe they have one virtual assistant. You know, some people have big teams but can the little guy or the little gal can they build a big brand?
Ken: Absolutely. First of all, today with all of the tools, the resources that are available to us as business owners you don’t necessarily need a team. What you have is to invest time in creating what your vision is. There are tools like Canva. You don’t need to be a Photoshop expert today. Melody Perkins the woman who founded Canva, she’s created an incredible online design platform that allows anyone, like I am graphically challenged. JLD, I have zero skills when it comes to design right? It’s just not in my wheelhouse. But I can do things with Canva that make me look like I have graphic design skills. And so, there are lots of tools that allow us to build our brand.
Now, let me dig into what our brand is. A brand is really the touch points that every consumer sees. Every little connection, every little nuance about your business, you’re creating an impression that people get every touch point along the way. And so, your brand is not just your logo and your name or your logo and your positioning statement right? You know, people think that for my business they’ll go Ad Zombies, Words That Sell Anything. That’s not my brand. My brand is the experience that we deliver for our customers, the humor, the entertainment. That’s part of what builds your brand right?
Nike doesn’t have to put the word Nike on any of their shoes. All they need is the swoosh because you have this idea this vision of what their brand is just from that little swoosh. Any business can build a brand, you just have to invest time to build it.
JLD: Your brands is the touch points that every consumer sees. I mean think about that Fire Nation. What are consumers seeing with your brand? Like what touch points do you have? This is a critical point for you building, not just of brands but of big brands. It’s totally possible but you have to follow the process. And you have a phrase that I love, Ken. Listen to your gut not your gurus. What do you mean by that?
Ken: You know, I think as entrepreneurs, and I remember early on when I left the corporate world I was always seeking advice and seeking guidance and seeking help from people who are experts and I’m using air quotes which you can’t see but experts in their field. And I knew instinctively what to do but I never trusted my gut early on. Early on I felt like I needed that reassurance. I needed someone to say, “Yes, you’re doing the right thing.” But your gut will never fail you and if you’re listening to me and if you can hear my voice you know deep down inside your gut has never led you the wrong way. And so, listen to that gut, that inner voice that tells you, yeah, this is the thing to do.
How many times have you had an idea about creating a product or something and then six years down the road you see an ad for it on TV or you hear something and you go, “That was my idea.” Right, but you didn’t listen to your gut and you did nothing with it. We all have those gut moments and I really made this discovery this year. I realized that I’ve been seeking for years advice from gurus when I knew what I was doing was right and I just needed that affirmation. But you don’t need affirmation. Listen to your gut. The gurus know what they know, but you know your business better than anyone else.
JLD: Fire Nation, the reason why you’re hearing Ken’s voice and my voice and the fact that we as humans have evolved and survived for 70,000 plus years is because our ancestors listened to their guts and they didn’t go out of their cave at 2:00 a.m. at night to walk around the corner where there might be a sabre tooth tiger like they knew they might be out there, listened to their intuition and guess what? They survived to fight and reproduce another day. So, listen to that gut, that intuition, that guiding force that has stood by us for all of these tens of thousands of years, it’s real.
Oh, my goodness. We have so much more value coming up. We’re gonna be talking about the one mistake and all creators must avoid. How to actually speak our truth and so much more when we get back from thanking our sponsors.
So, Ken we’re back and before the break we were talking about listening to your gut, not your gurus. At the same time we still do need to get feedback. We still need to learn from others. So, where in the world can we find the most valuable feedback?
Ken: I believe your customers will tell you everything you need to know about your business and the comments you get on your ad creative, no matter what platform you choose to advertise on and the engagement you get from your audience. That feedback is telling you which direction you need to point your business. And I can share this. I have so much data because I’m a little bit of a data nerd. Actually, okay that’s a lie. My business partner is the data nerd; I’m the creative. I always live in the clouds he is well grounded so we balance each other well.
But the data shows us and the number of engagements and the comments on our creative right, that tells you what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong and what’s working and the feedback you get back from your clients in terms of customer reviews, satisfaction surveys. All of that feedback is gonna tell you which way to point your ship.
JLD: Your customers will tell you everything you need to know about your business. And a question that I love posing to my audience that has worked so well over the years is what’s your biggest struggle right now? Like when my listeners, when my audience, when my customers tell me what their biggest struggle is it’s my north star. It’s what that next project is, that next book, that next course, that next fill in the blank. Your customers will tell you everything you need to know Fire Nation.
So, you’re a great storyteller Ken, but how can we Fire Nation tell our story the right way?
Ken: The way you tell your story the right way is by sharing your truth with people. You know, I believe that if you share the journey of your experience as an entrepreneur, if you share the ups, the downs, the hardships, the successes and failures, if you tell your story that way from the heart and people see that, there’s a lot more respect and a lot deeper connection to your business, to your brand. So, telling your story the right way is simply sharing what’s going on and keeping them involved. It’s funny. Sometimes people will say, “Oh, you were like an overnight success.”
Yeah, it took me 40 something years to become an overnight success right, and it wasn’t until I hit my 50th birthday that I really took off. So, you could say I was a 50 year overnight success. But when Ad Zombies specifically started, I documented the entire thing from start to finish including when we gorilla marketed at the Infusion Soft Icon Conference in Phoenix and I hired zombies to roam the streets giving out bags and you know, I documented that and I shared it with my very, very small tribe at that point. It was like 100 people that followed me and what we were doing because I had just started the business a few months before; not even a few months, a few weeks before.
And so, from that that documenting and sharing and bringing people along on your journey is so valuable and it creates a connection that’s way deeper than just the business. It feels very personal to them.
JLD: So, this ties in pretty beautifully with telling your story but let’s really kinda dive in and break down how we can best speak our truth. How do we do that?
Ken: Don’t hide your failures. Don’t celebrate your successes by buying a jet and a Ferrari and posing on Instagram. Just be real with people. Like share the highs, the lows and tell them about what’s going on. You know, I’ve had dark days. I think entrepreneurs tend to go through this journey alone. I remember I shared in my book the story about how I was so dark and despondent that I contemplated suicide at one point. I think everyone has gone through that or some level of darkness, but when you share that, when you speak that and you take away its power right, by communicating that to the world you’ve completely eviscerated it’s power.
And sorry, using an SAT word there, I apologize, but you really do because you take away the power because it’s no longer a thought. It’s been communicated out into the world, everyone knows it, it’s there for the world to see. It’s just like a few months ago I was having lunch with a very dear friend of mine Pamela, and at lunch she was struggling with something and we started talking and I shared that I never got my high school diploma. And she was like, what? And I shared this story with her about how I came back from my exchange program credit deficient and I was gonna have to repeat twelfth grade and I just couldn’t do it because I needed to get out of there.
I just was done. And I walked and I never told anyone this and I held that secret for 34 years, JLD; 34 years. It was like an albatross and I panicked after I told her this because I realized my wife didn’t know. So, I told a very close friend of mine something that my wife didn’t even know and I had to go home and tell her and I shared it with her. And there was no judgment and it didn’t surprise her, which I don’t know if I should be shocked or happy about that.
JLD: I think you should be happy. You married the right person.
Ken: Exactly. But sharing that and freeing yourself of things like that is so valuable. That’s what I mean about speak your truth. People tend to pose a lot these days. They show their best self on social, their Instagram feeds. It’s okay to just be raw, be real, be yourself. My wife doesn’t like when I go online and I show pictures of me or a video of me talking and I’m in a T-shirt. She’s like you look like a slob. I’m like it’s okay.
JLD: I am a slob.
Ken: I can be me with my audience; it’s all right.
JLD: And I’ll tell you, this is straight truth as well. When I meet Fire Nation at events they don’t come up and say, “Oh, JLD, like John, like great work with that six figure book deal you signed with Harper Collins. That was so awesome.” What they say is like, “John, thank you for that time that you shared that epic flop, that failure you had of a launch just a couple of months ago because man, you’ve been doing it for eight years, seven figures in annual revenue and to know that you can still fail at that level just gave me the courage to try something knowing that I may fail too.” But hey, everybody fails.
Even people that are achieving wild success, and in fact, that’s probably the reason they’re achieving success is because they are failing. And that’s what people remember Fire Nation. That’s what people care about is you being truthful, honest, open, transparent. And let’s really go strong on this one because this is a mistake that creators must avoid. So, Ken break it down for us.
Ken: Guys, don’t fall in love with your creative. When you create a message for your business, whatever it is a landing page, an email, an ad, don’t fall in love with own creative because too many times we write an ad or we create something we go, “Oh, this is the best piece of sales copy. This thing is going to crush it.” And you put it out into the ecosystem and it flops and you get depressed and you’re sad and you’re like I don’t understand. These people don’t have a sense of humor. They don’t understand. Creative is the variable of success. However, not everybody experiences your creative the same way you do.
So, think about this. If you’re scrolling through a feed, LinkedIn, Facebook and a funny ad is served to you but it’s the day that your dog passed away, you’re not gonna experience that ad the same way you would have if you woke up and found out that your great aunt that you never met left you $10 million in an estate right? You’re gonna have a different experience of it that way.
Don’t fall in love with your creative. Create lots of variables of the creative and let your audience fall in love with it and they will tell you what works and what doesn’t work for them. And you know, I’m shocked. There are days where I look at how our ad’s performed and I go, “Wow, I didn’t expect that.” And a great example of this. So you mentioned that hero ad that you saw on our website. That ad has had in the last four months over four million views globally and drives a lot of sales because it’s in the funnel world, right? That’s a mid-funnel ad. It answers objections, it does all these things, but that ad gets tons of comments, tons of engagement, tons of shares and people love it.
But to get to the point of loving it we split tests seven different front end visuals. We split tests right? We try things because we want to see what the audience likes, what they resonate. I learned this from Daniel Harmon from Harmon Brothers. Take your thumbnail image, it’s the cheapest thing to split test and test it. We tested seven to find the winner and the winner was the actress with the KFC chicken leg in her hand eating the chicken wing. Don’t fall in love. Don’t be precious about it because your creative quite frankly might suck and it might be amazing too.
JLD: Fire Nation, don’t fall in love with your creative. This actually reminds me of a documentary I recently watched on Apple TV. Epic documentary is about the Beastie Boys and whether you used to like the Beastie Boys or you never heard of them or somewhere in between. Like I’ve heard of them and I know a couple of their songs but I was never like a big “Beastie Boys fan.” But man, it was such a good documentary and one of the things about it was after they had some early success they kind of went on hiatus for awhile but then they decided to come out of that hiatus. And they just spent an incredible amount of time pouring themselves into that next album they were gonna release and they were so in love with that next album.
And then it came out and it flopped and it crushed them because they had just fallen in love with that. But you know, they had lost touch with their audience, they had been gone too long. A lot of things played into it. But long story short, they were able to recover because they were able to put it away and their next album after that absolutely crushed but you know, a lot of people can’t come back from a situation like that and never do come back and never have that later on success. So, it’s so important to not fall in love with your creative. Let your audience guide you on this process.
And Ken, we talked about so much great stuff. Really take this home for us. What’s the one thing that you want to make sure Fire Nation gets from everything that we’ve talked about today. Give us a great call to action that I know you have for us and then we’ll say goodbye.
Ken: First and foremost, give to your audience without any expectation of getting anything in return. What do I mean by that? One of the things that I learned from Gary Vaynerchuk who’s been an incredible mentor for me over the last several years is jab. Jab, jab, jab right? You go into groups online, you give value, you help people. Do it without any expectation of anything in return. Think of it like Christmas right? You give without the expectation of receiving. And it’s amazing what happens to you and to your business. It will open up your business to so many new things when you give without expectation and that’s what you gotta do. You gotta do it.
JLD: What is your call to action for Fire Nation?
Ken: Fire Nation, if you want to try Ad Zombies, if you want to experience what we can do for your business in terms of telling your story, writing the words that sell anything, your product, your service, your business, go to adzombies.com, use promo code Fire at checkout and we will takt 15% off of anything you order, even if your ordered multiple things, we will hook you up, Fire Nation.
JLD: I can vouch, Fire Nation, for Ad Zombies. I mean they are doing some great work over there and in your business sometimes there’s just one thing that’s missing and a lot of times that one thing that’s missing is actually having words that can sell, words that move people, words that touch people’s core and we have to know our own strengths and we have to know our own weaknesses. So, if this is of interest Fire Nation, head over to adzombies.com. Use promo code Fire on checkout for 15% off.
And Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out with KM and JLD today, so keep up that heat. And Ken, I want to say thank you for sharing your truth, your knowledge, your value with Fire Nation today. For that we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
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