KBA Monthly Meeting: May 2016 Presenter: Mike Saunders | Christian Business Branding


Jim: Our session is on branding and this was going to be a joint presentation between Mike and I, but I was telling Mike yesterday that for one of the first times as I was getting ready he said, “Well, what are you going to talk about?” I said, “I don’t know, God doesn’t give me anything.” I take that as a cue that Mike’s supposed to do most of the talking because normally I have no problem filling up all the time that’s available, which is okay, but he did give me one thing, just a real quick thing that I’ll do the intro to and then Mike can add the meat to it.

As I was thinking about branding this morning is that at the end of the day as a Christian and trying to bring God and His character and nature into the marketplace, really our primary first priority brand is to be His brand. I know that we all know that intellectually and sometimes we’re able to execute that but it renewed my enthusiasm and my dedication as I thought about it to make sure that the brand that not only I’m marketing, but that I’m actually bringing forth is His brand.

In the best scripture that He led me to in this area and I hope this relates to you, because it did relate to me as, where Jesus in John 15 is talking about the vine and the branches. It’s just the very first part to that, just as a reminder in 15:1 it says, “I am the true vine and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” I just felt that somebody here, I did, needed to hear that every branch that He prunes He’s doing it so that you’re even more fruitful.

I hope that we can all embrace that pruning process that the Father does with us. Even at our deepest heart level, because again there is always something inside of us that the Father can work on to bring that deliverance and bring healing, and to allow us to be more fruitful in His kingdom, to be more selfless, more caring, more giving, more loving, more serving. I just felt that from a branding standpoint, that’s what I’m going to try to focus on and I hope we all can do that.

Now Mike’s got a wonderful presentation. Let’s welcome Mike up on branding.

Mike: Good morning. You know something interesting happened, I think during Jim’s prayer. I was thinking one thing that I wanted to make sure that I said at the very beginning was, “Everyone think of one thing during this teaching that you can takeaway and implement,” and the moment that I was thinking, “Do that,” my mind was right as Jim was praying that. Take that as a super encouragement that there’s no way in both sides of this that everyone’s going to get it, implement it, and be down the path to success. It’s just not ingrained in us to just get something the first time. Be watching for and listening for one thing that you can just get and implement.

Just as a matter of introduction, my name is Mike Saunders. My company is Marketing Huddle. I help people with authority positioning, which is taking this branding and helping your target audience understand exactly what you do, but from a position of credibility so that when they look at competition you’re the obvious choice.

Let’s just start off with Christian Business Branding, in reality it’s branding from, like what Jim just said from having the right heart attitude. Because I think we can, as Christian entrepreneurs have almost like a selfish and prideful approach to our business, where we just want to get more and do more and have more, but why do we want that? If our focus is set correctly then the branding that we’ll talk about today will fall into place.

Secondly, branding is not your logo. It’s not picking colors. It’s not how your logo looks. It’s the ethos of your company. It’s your brand positioning. It’s what your prospects think of you and your company when someone says it. Think of it like this, BMW cars, safe or not? High-end or not? They spend a lot of money to make sure that you know that. In fact, last night I was reading the back page here, this top graphic comes from the book Fascinate and I would encourage you to get it. It’s a really, really good book, but one of the examples in there is how the jewelry company Tiffany’s had spent so much money over the years on their elite brand.

Well, a few years back they came out with a low-end brand that a lot of teen girls were getting into and it was some bracelet or whatever that it was, but the point was it took off really fast and Tiffany’s didn’t like that, because they did not want their brand to be so easily accessible to everybody. They wanted it to be elite. They started raising the price to kind of make … and they did it strategically because if something is available to anybody, then it’s not exclusive and that’s what their brand is known for.

Let’s start off with looking at the first verse here, Ephesians 3:20, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,” and we’ve heard that before. One word that I circle that jumps out at me is “able” and I think we know that God is able, but the thought that came to me was, “What can we do to make sure that we are setting the stage as much as possible for God to be willing and able to work in us, in our business?” The thing that jumped into my mind is Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God.”

If we are seeking first the kingdom of Mike, or the kingdom of whoever, your business, it’s kind of like, “God, come on, keep up. I’m barreling down the road.” You need to make sure that God is in it and you need to be that human being, not that human doing, and you need to be still and know that He is God, but if we keep Matthew 6:33 in mind, “Seek first the kingdom of God,” now when we read Ephesians 3:20, it seems like it now will fall into place. “Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

Look at that word “think,” maybe we need to expand our thinking, maybe part of our impact is, “I want to succeed in business so that a portion of all of my revenue and profits and proceeds can go to benefit,” and fill in the blank with your passionate charity or nonprofit. Maybe you need to expand your thinking to go, “I really want to benefit them even more. Lord, if I can do this project I’m going to give even more.” It’s not so that I can get my eighth boat or fourth vacation house, it’s for this bigger purpose. I think that that expanding of our thinking for the purpose of benefiting others, the community, with the mindset of seeking first the Kingdom of God.

If you notice there, “The Lord can help us make branding decisions that will give us favor over our competitors.” What I would even say to is, I went through a study a few years ago that was really good, it’s called Blueprint for Life. If you guys ever want to do just a goal-setting personal development study, just Google Blueprint for Life, it’s literally $25 for the study. It’s really expansive with CDs and workbook and all that, but one of the things that jumped out at me was the timeline. They give this example of the eternal timeline.

Let’s say that we use 85 years old as the end for us or 90 or whatever the number is, but we tend to think of, 90, 95 years old, working backwards, retirement, getting married, kids, high school, college, things like that, but what they challenge in the study was think of our timeline in light of eternity. What are we doing right now in business and life, maybe even this morning, but what are you going to do in your business at the end of the day today, tomorrow, next week, that in light of eternity makes an impact? I think that that sets the mindset.

Literally last night, it’s just interesting how things come together, like I mentioned with Jim’s prayer. Last night in church we were doing a study on Daniel and I pulled up my phone and I e-mailed myself to make sure that I added this to my notes here. Look at that line, “The Lord can help us make branding decisions that will give us favor over our competitors.” Then last night the teaching was on Daniel 6:3. “Daniel was preferred over the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in Him.” That is favor over competitors, over opportunities. What is going to make someone choose you? Has anyone ever said to you, “You know, I just … We just really feel a good connection?” Sometimes that’s just part of your personality. Sometimes it’s just how you approach business but that comes from how … Daniel was given preferential treatment over who? Presidents and princes. If you want that same power, you know the Jeremy Camp song, “That Same power that rose Jesus from the dead lives in us.” It’s not just some pipe dream God wants to bless us, but He needs us to have that right perspective.

Let’s look at Proverbs 9:1 there, “Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars.” Having sound wisdom is indispensable for navigating the branding process. I want to bring your attention to that word “process.” When you talk about branding or re-evaluating things in your business it’s a process, it’s not a checkbox. It’s not a worksheet that you can go, “Did that, did that, check, and then okay, good. Now let’s go on to my accounting problem.” It is a process of building and re-evaluating because everyone in here has a business plan and re-evaluates that every year. I’m being fictitious because I know that so many people don’t but you need to have that business plan and the subsection of that business plan is a marketing plan, and then that’s where this branding would come into play.

What are the things that are working now? Remember those things called yellow pages that people used to advertise in, that people now use as a doorstop? I’ve got a picture of if your computer screen isn’t high enough they put two yellow pages in there and put their monitor on that. Well, if you never re-evaluated your marketing plan or business plan you would never know what’s working and what’s not working. Every single customer you got in the past 6 to 12 months, do you know where they came from? Do you know where your money went to bring them in, and maybe you’re spending a lot of money here but they’re coming from over here? That’s part of that re-evaluation, that gets back to that word “process.”

Let’s look at John 16:13, “He will guide you into all truth.” When I think of that I’m listening to the Holy Spirit when we’re looking to optimize our brand. I think of things like guide us into all truth, yes, from a spiritual sense but from a business sense, what truth do we need to know about ourselves and our business that would project positive brand integrity to our target audience? I think that sometimes, have you ever had that idea that comes to you and it’s like, “Yes!” It’s like nothing really revolutionary, it’s not something some patent that’s going to change the world. Sometimes it’s just, it was there and when it came to you you’re like, “Yeah, yeah, that’s going to work.” Now you can run with that idea, maybe someone just mentioned something to you in passing and it just falls into place because it was already there. You had that propensity but now that concept or that idea, you’re ready to bring it in to action.

I think that that John 16:13, “He will guide you into all truth,” think of brand integrity, brand loyalty. You get a lot of people, there’s some case studies out there where someone that’s 25 years old is driving X brand of car. In fact, there’s a commercial out there right now, I think it’s for Infinity where the son’s talking to the dad, he’s like, “I just can’t believe you’ve taken this direction.” The camera pans over to the picture of dad and son in front of their BMW, and the concept there is, “He’s deviated from the BMW brand, I can’t believe that.”

Well, what brand loyalty do you want your customers and clients and prospects to have about you? But you can’t develop loyalty until you’ve got it figured out your own self. I think that’s where we’re going to take that wisdom and guiding into all truth, and if we’re seeking first the kingdom of God and watching for, “Lord, how do You want my brand to be perceived?” Here is the other thing, when you start down that path, and we’re going to get into just some practical things that you can use to develop your brand or reinvent or create your brand, you’ve got to keep it up.

Have you ever seen someone with a Facebook page and you go there and the last post was February of 2011 or something and it’s like, “Haaa,” or this new idea that you have and it lasts for a week or two? You have to be prepared when you start thinking of branding, that’s a direct reflection on your company and what you value, so you have to keep that going, moving forward.

Look at these two quotes there at the bottom on page one, “Corporations don’t create brands, people do.” What do you think that means? You can say anything you want on this side, but if on this side of your business you’re doing something totally different, people see that. What you do or don’t do, the subtle things, the unconscious things that you or your brand do, that’s what your customers and the market are going to say about you, because everyone has pocket power. Who has a news publishing device in your pocket? We all do and whether it’s … How about this, “Well, I don’t use Twitter,” fine, but you use something and I don’t care if all you had is text. You can text that person and that person and that person and you just hit three people that brand didn’t have connection to.

When you think about people creating brands, that mindset that’s out there about your company is created by things you’re doing or not doing. I think that that’s the mentality that we need to keep in mind, and another thing is sometimes people will not call you up and say, “I noticed this about you and I am not going to come to you because of this, and I noticed this online and I noticed this in your store and one of the employees did this to me so have a nice day. I’m not going to give you business.” They don’t do that, right? You wish they would because then you could fix that and say, “Okay, I lost a customer or 10 because people talk about negative things a lot more than positive.” But the problem is you never know when those things happen. They just, the calls don’t come in or the contacts don’t come in.

We need to be doing as much as we can to make sure that the story that’s being told about us and our brand is a positive one. We can guide that story and it’s not fabricating the story, it’s guiding the story, the branding story. Then look at the second point there, “Different is better than better.” That’s not a typo. If you want to be better than your competition, maybe you can’t be better than them literally, but you can be different. Maybe that different is just enough to make you stand out in the mind of your prospect. Maybe there’s a brand out there that’s just a monster brand and people just fall at their feet and just going to give them business, but in reality, in your little sphere of influence, in your world, maybe being just enough different is enough.

As an example, let’s say that you, whatever, sell widgets or you provide a generic service and your big competitor does it just so huge and well and they’re all over the internet, but you have a background in whatever, let’s just call it trucking. I don’t know. You start going, “You know what, I know the lingo of trucking industry and I know how to talk to them. I know what they need, what they don’t need, in my service of or my product of, I’m going to focus on them.” Well, now you can become different than that competitor because that major competitor is all things to all people. Different is better than better. You can’t go in there and say, “Well, I’m better than so-and-so company,” because maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re not worst but maybe you’re just not better than them but you can be different.

Part of an elevator speech is saying, “You know how, typically people in the,” whatever industry, “do XYZ, you know what, we do that but where we’re different is,” and it’s kind of like you need to have that mental divider line in someone’s mind to go, “Yeah, they’re different because they focus solely on the trucking industry, aha.” Does that mean you can never take on a client that’s not in the trucking? No, but for that specific vertical and niche, maybe you’re going to join an association that has a lot of the trucking executives in there. You might join another association six months down the road that’s in a different vertical but you can be different and that can be better than trying to trump or be better than someone because … Have you ever heard of the concept of “don’t compete on pricing”?

Well, that ties into branding and here is why. If you lower your price and your competition sees that and lowers their price, and then you see that and you lower your price and you see that and … all of a sudden your margins are so thin you can’t buy a pack of gum. There’s always going to be someone that’s going to, like for instance, I used to say this and now it’s really in the news but I used to say, “Do you know that Trump has a water company?” I used to give the example, “Well, let’s say that each of you had a water company and you wanted to compete on price. If Trump wanted to put you out of business with his water company, he would pay people to take his water, put you out of business and then raise his prices right back up. Because people like that have the resources to just lower prices down to where you can’t survive, and he can last it out a lot longer than you.”

You never want to compete on price, you want to compete on what? Starts with a V, value. Well, if you can add to value, value/brand integrity/brand loyalty, what is that value you’re bringing to your client base that you want to compete on? Well, doesn’t that tie in to “different is better than better”? You want to be just enough different that you want people to know that about you and you want them … You don’t want to have them dig through your materials or online or flyers to go. What in the world did they do? Sometimes I go to people’s websites and I’m like, “What exactly are you doing? I mean, you’ve got all the … but what do you do? What do you want me to know about you?” You have to be super clear about that, but that branding comes into play because that becomes your value proposition. The branding is the foundation, the value proposition then is the tangible thing that you’re going to provide to them and then that creates the brand loyalty.

Let’s turn over to page 2 on the back. I’m going to start on the bottom graphic and we’re going to talk about the two boxes on the left, because once you know your competitive advantage, and that’s a business term for what makes you different or better in that sense, once you can articulate that and maybe that’s a tagline, maybe that’s a unique selling proposition, maybe that’s your 6-second elevator speech that makes people go, “How do you do that?” Then you can give them your 30-second elevator speech and then they go, “Oh, we need to get coffee,” and then you can talk. Well, too many times people just get, “Hey, how are you doing? I’m Mike,” and just tell everything about everything about your company and they’re like, “I just wanted to ask you a quick question.”

You need to have those little hooks in there, that competitive advantage, when you can zero in on that languaging, that becomes a function of your branding, because you cannot articulate your competitive advantage until you yourself know what your brand message is, your brand story, your brand being is. Once you know that now you can articulate a competitive advantage that teaches your prospects and customers why you’re different and why that’s better than being better than the competition.

By the way you don’t ever want to say, “Well, you know my competitor they,” you never want to name your competitors. You just want to say, “You know some in the industry, you know they will do and they will have and they’re great, but let me tell you what I … I kind of notice a gap in the industry. I wanted to fill that gap and that’s why I started my company. That’s why my service is such a unique offering.” There’s a lot of power in certain words and if you’re ever interested just do a quick Google search on “marketing power words,” things like, here’s an example, discover, “Discover the blah-blah-blah.” I heard an example once where discover is such a powerful word because it incites curiosity. Well, Discover Card, there’s that kind of mystique of, “Discover, oooh, really?”

When you can get your brand message correct and you can articulate that as your competitive advantage then look at the box right under that, target audience. If you … I don’t think there’s any car dealers in here but if you sell cars, is your target audience anyone that drives? Maybe, but it should be, like you zero in on a niche or a vertical. In your business who is your target audience? Now that doesn’t mean you can never do business with someone else that’s not in that, but it’s just that it becomes something where you want to attract mainly people that are in, whatever that it is.

I did an interview with a lady a couple of weeks ago that helps her clients with females that are in sales. Women selling, I think it was like Women Getting Big Sales. Well, she has really niched down her target audience to women and the sales, not just success in general, not just women that want to get success, it’s women that want to get success in sales. Does that mean that if some guy comes and goes, “Hey you know, I’ve noticed that your book or your principles that you’re teaching, those will probably work for me. Could you help me out?” She’s not going to say, “No,” it’s just that what’s going to resonate in a certain vertical, certain target audience is going to be that. If we look at those two boxes there, what is our competitive advantage? Which is our branding that makes us different that we could communicate clearly to our target audience.

Now going up to the last box and this is where we’ll spend the remainder of the time. This is right from that book Fascinate, again, this is one image that talks about the 7 language of fascination. The whole point of the book Fascinate is your brand needs to say something and it needs to fascinate people, and it needs to be something that’s interesting and how can you do that? What the author talks about is this 7 kind of languages and then how you can communicate using those languages.

Well, we’ll go through these 7 and I wrote out some things on my notes here that you can write down next to each one, and think about as we go through here, I know that each one of you have a business or a product or a service, and maybe even it’s like Mary Kay or a national branding, you’re not going to re-brand them, but guess what you can brand, the way you present this to your target audience. Even if you’re working for a company or working with a national brand you can still use these principles, but if you’re trying to figure out, “Why you know, I want to give a little bit of a refresh to my brand.” Look at some of these words, “Do you want your brand to be known as or do you want to shoot for your brand building the concept of innovation?” The author calls this the language of creativity. The words here are forward-thinking, bold, surprising.

Could your company be thought of as innovative? I think that we can all think of people that, some of the tech companies or some of the firms out there that are known as being innovative. Maybe your company is not one, “You know, I sell widgets and it’s not all that innovative.” But you know what? Innovation is sometimes thought of as like this, “doing the same old, same old but doing it just a touch better or different”. That gets back to “different is better than better”. That is actually an example of innovation. You don’t have to think of innovation as some technological advance, sometimes innovation is innovating a process or a system in your business so that … Here’s another new in the marketing world, it’s the customer experience.

Do you know what, my daughter is graduating high school in two weeks and they’re going on their senior trip tomorrow and they’re going to Disney. Well, guess what? She’s going to see Disney in Florida, all of the employees are on stage. Have you ever heard of a company that’s like, “Oh well, our associates or our partners,” they’re not employees that punch the clock. They’re being thought of and they’re giving that brand perception as something a lot different. For instance, you could just go to … Think of it like this, which ticket costs more, a hometown carnival or Disney? Obviously. How did Disney get to be Disney?

In fact, I was talking to my mom on Mother’s Day and we were talking about my daughter going to Disney and she said, “Do you remember back in, you know whatever year it was, but we drove from Virginia to Florida in a Volkswagen Beetle.” Remember those little things with the engine in the back? It was my sister and I in the backseat and and we’re all just cramped up. Well, the point is, she said … I think gas was 25 cents a gallon and I’m not that old so I mean, boy, gas is going right up, but tickets to Disney I think she was saying that it was like $4. How does it go from that … it goes there because of the experience, and you know what else? If the experience is good enough, people talk about it.

You want your experience of working with you from the moment someone talks to you on the phone, just your confidence even. The next step, when they meet with you for the first time, when you onboard them as a new client, if you’re in financial services or accounting or whatever that your business is, there are steps throughout the process, there are touch points. What touch point can you think about and maybe once a week … Have you ever read the book E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber? He talks about working, taking time to work on your business not in your business. Maybe the first Friday of every month or the first Tuesday of every month or the third Thursday, it doesn’t matter, but you take a day where you go half a day, and you don’t just sit in your office and turn the phones off because you’ll get right back into it. You go somewhere, go to a park, go to a Starbucks, you know your “second office,” but think about things when you’re working on your business not in the business, because you’re working in your business, you’re fielding calls and putting out fires.

Could you think of one touch point in your business that you could brainstorm and go, “How could I make this exceptional for the customer or the prospect? How could I make this worthy of being talked about?” I’ve heard it like this, “How do you want to be remarkable?” Well, being remarkable is being worthy of being remarked about and you don’t want the remarks to be negative. You want the remarks to be very positive. With innovation don’t think that, “Well, I own XYZ company and we can’t afford all the new equipment to have innovation.” It could just be part of the process that’s innovated. It could be part of your delivery of the solutions. It could be just enough different that people go, “That’s interesting. I’ve never heard it that way.” Because people in your industry, whatever industry that you’re in, sometimes they use the same old, same old, “Traditionally we provide this,” and it’s almost like, “Set them up, knock them down.” How can you be a little bit different?

The next one is passion, the language of relationship. The words there that you could use to either formulate your brand message or even using your marketing. Think of some of these things like, this backs up innovation. Let’s think of forward-thinking. “Our forward-thinking executive team spent months of research and development in coming up with a new solution to,” fill in the blank to your target audience’s need, “and we now are excited to announce you would … and through this innovation …” Wait a minute, we’re talking about forward-thinking, innovation announce, “You will discover,” using some of these words where that’s like a one, that’s one sentence. You put that together and people are like, “Oh, interesting.”

How about the next one? Passion, expressive, warm, social, optimistic. Do you want your brand to be known as passionate? You think of that like maybe with some social causes, corporate social responsibility, maybe your business is to the point where you’re ready to give back or maybe you want to grow to the point where you’re ready to give back and, “To him who is faithful in the little will be given much.” You don’t wait until you’ve got a $100 gillion in revenues to give back, give back now. If it’s $20 bucks, give back to the community, to something where it gets you into that habit and then it primes the pump to where that becomes easy. Could you become the brand that is known as being passionate about something in your industry? Could you use words such as these or could you display being expressive, warm, social, and optimistic?

Look at power. When you think of power, what types of brands do you think of? What types of person do you think of? Probably in your mind you’re thinking of some type of person, the power broker, some of the movies you see on TV, The Boiler Room, things like that, but the language of confidence, they’re assertive, they’re decisive, and they’re purposeful. I think the language of confidence is really key. Because if you’re presenting a solution to a client, whatever your business is, if you said, “You know what, I heard what your need is and you know, I really think this is the solution?” How confident are you to go set me up? Because you’re, I don’t know, you’re not very confident, but if you’re like, “You know what, I’ve got a lot of clients that had your exact need. This is exactly what you need and here is why. One time I had a different client that had this and what the experience was and you know, there’s some research out there that tells you exactly what this will do for you and I’m confident.”

Literally, why not use the word? “You know, I’m so confident this is going to work for you, that this is exactly what I would tell my brother or my parents.” What I want to do is explain how this will benefit you and if it seems to fit that’s fine, but confidence, the language of confidence, be assertive, be decisive, don’t be “the bull in the China closet” assertive, but just be assertive and confident.

How about the next one down? Prestige. The language of excellence. Ambitious, respected, and elite. There are some brands that I know we can think of that are the prestige brands, maybe even they use prestige in their name. Think of some of these ones where, the classical music is playing, there’s the nice furniture, you walk in the office and it’s just opulent and that’s prestige. You want to be careful in the sense that you want to be talking to the right target audience when you are projecting those things, because if someone that’s not your target audience walks in and they see this, what do they think about your service and your price point and your value? Maybe they think, “That’s just way above what I can do,” now that becomes not wrong, but if you did that it’s just, you’re not spending your time as wisely as you could.

You need to, we need to have our brand so dialed-in in our own mind that we know how to communicate it, project it to our target audience so that when someone sees that or hears that they go, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, tell me more.” If your brand, depending on what your business is, could do with a little prestige, and you know what? That’s not the be-all, end-all solution to every brand out there, because there are some services that you don’t need to be prestige. My sewer line backed-up, I just want to get some plumber that’s going to come help me out. I don’t care if you pull up in a Rolls Royce or a limo, right?

All of these techniques and talks don’t apply to everything, that’s why you need to know your brand. Now guess what? We’ll probably use that plumber example in the very next one because let’s look at trust, the language of stability. Is your brand, would you want your brand, would messaging about your brand be served well by being thought of us trust? Stability, stable, dependable, comforting, predictable.

Let’s think about that plumber. They want to be dependable, meaning timely. There’s some company that, like Benjamin Franklin, I don’t know, 24-hour … Which one of the biggest complaints about service companies you know? “They’re never on time, and they give us this window and they’re …” What some companies have done is, “I’m going to go identify that that’s a problem and I’m going to use that as my competitive advantage and say, ‘We guarantee that we will be there within,'” whatever, “10-minute window,” or whatever the case is or, “If we’re late we will …” Remember Dominoes back in the day? “If we don’t deliver within 30 minutes, we’ll give your pizza for free.” That was the competitive advantage of … How about FedEx? “When it Absolutely, Positively has to be there overnight.”

Well, do you know the story of FedEx? The owner did a case study or a paper in college and the professor gave him a C, he was like, “That’s the dumbest idea ever.” Let’s see, it’s FedEx now. Guess what? Don’t take to so much negative word, if you feel like you’ve got something, some new initiative or new venture. Don’t just jump into it. Don’t throw a bunch of money at it blindly. Pray about it and all of those things, but if you really feel that you’ve got something, don’t let your comment or your comment or your comment dissuade you. Be persistent with that.

Let’s look at that trust. Many brands are going to do very well and most brands are going to do very well with developing that feeling of trust, because sometimes you’re giving advice to people that you’ve got to have some trust. In the financial services, in any kind of a field, I really don’t care … how about this? Car. We got two automotive and we’ve got financial services. Which industry needs to have more trust? Car industry or financial services? Thank you, that was a trick question by the way and Ed wins. They’re both the exact same, because have you heard horror stories about financial services professionals giving bad advice, and have you heard the same type of horror stories with people in the automotive? “Oh, we replaced this part and they didn’t replace the part …,” whatever the thing is or, “Oh, your money is safe,” and it’s not. Trust transcends so much in every vertical and if that becomes part of your brand messaging and you use some of these words like stable, dependable, comforting, predictable, you know what? Let’s compare the word predictable up to our first one, innovative.

Being innovative is not “being predictable” but it’s not being reckless either. Being innovative is always having something fresh and 9 out of 10 times that fresh idea is going to pan out and work, but it’s always like, “I’m going to stick with that person. I want to see what they’re going to come up with next,” but being trustworthy and predictable is the opposite, but is that a bad thing? Nope, because sometimes people just want to … How about this, when you and I think, yeah, we used Dominoes. When you order your pizza, do you want it to be one way one day and … No, you just want to go in and go, “Give me my pizza and I want it to taste the same way.”

How many times do you go to a restaurant, the same restaurant? Pick whatever one is your favorite. Have you ordered every single thing on their menu? What’s your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant? How many times do you pick that? Because we go to whatever restaurant and I’m like, “Don’t need to give me the menu. I’ll take the …” My favorite is Spaghetti Factory, “So I’ll take the Half-Meat/Half-Mizithra Manager’s Special, Thousand Island on the Salad, Done.” That’s being dependable, because guess what? Every time I get that it tastes the same and it’s like, “Yeah, that’s Spaghetti Factory.” How can you make your business, your brand, your products and your services deliver in such a way that your customers and clients and prospects realize that you’re dependable, you’re trustworthy, and it’s going to be solid delivery?

Now, you can make little enhancements in being, you can touch on innovative, kind of like, “I majored in and I minored in, in college.” You can major in your brand being trust but you can minor in innovation because you can make slight little differences in how it’s being delivered without changing your dependability.

Let’s look at mystique, the language of listening, private and curiosity-provoking. There’s some brands that want that kind of velvet rope, behind closed doors, backstage kind of a mystique and that incites curiosity. It gets back to some of those things that drive us and pull us because it’s like, “Oh, wait a minute, if I pay a $100 I get to get early access to something and I get to have backstage whatever. I get to have lunch with the speaker.” Has anyone in here ever paid money or extra money because you got something a little bit extra for something you were doing? Could you think of something that way?

In reality it is kind of like … How about this? Has anyone sat in line for the latest iPhone? Wait a minute, they just came out with a new one, right? Has anyone waited in line, even overnight, but waited in line because, “I want to get,” and you’re in that bell curve, that’s called you’re the early adoptor. Then up here is where everyone comes in and then down here it’s like, “Okay, you know my phone is still the Galaxy S3. It’s like, I think it still even works, possibly.” But if you are one where you want the stuff now, why do you want that? Because did you buy that latest version of the iPhone and put it in your pocket and when you pull it out and use it you never, or what is the first thing you did when you got it? You tweeted it out, “Just got my new iPhone,” or, “Check this.” Because you want that, you want to be seen as someone that is in the know. That is because you are responding to that mystique.

Then the last one is alert, the language of details. This could, again, we could probably think of through our introductions, we could think of some of the brands that would fit into this, organize, efficient, precise, detailed. If we really got, went deeper we can go, “Hey, you know what alert ties in with trust, because if you can trust me why is it that you’re trusting me? It’s because maybe I’m really organized.” Have you ever dealt with a business where they missed the appointment or were late or they took calls in between or they’re shuffling papers when you’re, and you’re going, “Really? I’m here to do some business.”

Can you be organized, efficient, precise, and detailed, which when you accomplish that, that also accomplishes building that trust? Can you use some of those phrases and words? Even in your one-to-one conversations, “You know what, let me just tell you one of the things that makes us very different than our competitors out there, is we tend to have and we tend to really focus on,” right? You know like, “In our auto shop you can eat off of our floors,” not necessarily literally but the point is when they see that, if you’re precise in that then you’re going to be precise in this and this and this as well.

When you are very, very organized in that experience that the customer has from the first moment that they call in to you, and let me tell you, if you have companies that are big enough where you have employees and people that answer the phones, you’ve done a lot of work to create your brand, to do some marketing and advertising. They’re calling in to you to say, “I want to learn more. I need to come in.” All of that can be ruined if the person answering your phone is not as helpful as they could be or how about this? If they don’t answer the phone at all.

For instance, if you have a lot of incoming calls, don’t just let it roll to the machine and pick it up later. Hire a service for sometimes extremely effective … not expensive, extremely affordable and have somebody answer the phone, “Okay, good, thank you for calling. What is it that you’re looking for? Super, okay, well Tom’s going to be back, getting back to with you. I’m taking this call because he’s out on appointment and now what’s the best number? Okay, super, hey, we’re looking forward to connecting with you. We’ll talk to you real soon.” “Okay, cool.”

Now Tom gets that and maybe he’s out in the field doing whatever Tom does and maybe he can even take a moment and call right there, because you know what? Boy, you did a lot of work to get that person to even notice your brand and then pick up the phone, whether it’s a phone or filling out a form on your website or an e-mail. I think this might be industry-wide but has anyone heard of the Sunset Policy? I don’t know whether it is just the company I used to work for years ago that had the Sunset Policy. If you get an inquiry before 3:00 PM, you get back to them that same day and if it’s after 3:00 before noon the next day, because how many times have you … Have you guys ever seen those little chat boxes at the bottom of a website? How many times have you chosen to do that rather than sending in an e-mail? Because nobody’s going to answer an e-mail, in theory, or open up a support ticket, right?

Why do you want that chat? There’s been times, like for instance Amazon, they’re Amazon because do you know that back before Amazon was Amazon, what was in Amazon? Why did they pick … What’s a Google? Now it’s like a verb and it’s part of, “Oh you know, just Google it.” But back then, what was a Google? What was an Amazon? They built their brand to be what it is today, but to give you the example look at organized, efficient on the alert and look at trust, and even let’s look at, just tie in innovation.

Who in here has a website? Most everyone. Who in here has to talk to a customer before they do business with you? Do you just wake up and you have money just come in because they found you and they just paid you money? Uh-uh, because whatever you do you’ve got to have a conversation. Sometimes in some of your businesses it’s a longer sales cycle because it’s a complicated process. If you were selling pencils, “Do you want red or blue? No. 2 is 10 cents. How many do you want?” That’s easy, but most of the time you’ve got to have conversations with people.

Can you or how can you, on your website make yourself super accessible? “Well, I’ve got a contact button right there on my website. My phone number’s right there.” But they’re on, they’ve got their finger on their mouse. Have you ever heard of this concept of you want to respond in kind? Have you ever been in a heated discussion, argument with someone and when you kind of raised your voice and they raised their voice and then it gets raised? How about, wow, Proverbs what says, “A soft answer turns away wrath.” Maybe in a heated conversation, what if you just kind of, “You know you’re right.” Does that just diffuse it? Where I’m going with that is people respond in kind.

If they are on your website and you have flashing at the top, “Call us today.” They’re probably on their phone or on the website, they don’t necessarily want to talk to you, but guess what? They might want to click on something and here’s … I’m not even recommending a product but there’s many that do this for very cheap, like $10, $15 a month where it’s a chat box. It’s a little thing down the bottom right and it’s either just a box and maybe it will fade in, you’ll, “Hey, how can we help you today?” Maybe whether they’re opening up a support ticket or e-mailing you they go, “You know what, I’m just wondering about …” What if you were out in the field? You could have those programmed to ping your phone and you can stop right there and say, “Someone’s right on my website live, real-time,” and you just answer right back. It’s kind of like a text.

Why not set that up? Because some of these basic questions that people have before they pick up the phone and call you or come in, could be answered, and you know what? There have been times that I, myself and I’ve had clients of mine say, “We got that piece of business because we responded quickly. Maybe even a competitor had a better deal than us and we had a higher price but they chose us why? Because 9 questions later we were answering the questions and responding and the other guy was still back on questions number 1 and two weeks haven’t responded. But they knew that we,” whatever firm that you’re in, “we were responsive.” That goes a long way in that branding process.

In conclusion, if we take a look through both of these pages and this whole process, think of that one thing that you could take away and go, “You know what? I don’t have the exact answer but I’m going to focus on this one thing in the next one week and the next week.” Take a two-hour block of time to work on your business not in your business, because that’s huge. If you can take scheduled times that way in your business to work on specific parts and I would say to you in the branding aspect, work with what you already have, clarify that competitive advantage and then work with … You might not need to get 200 more customers a day. You just might need to go, “All right, the X number of customers that I do currently have, how can I really make their process of working with me, just amp it up a little bit?” Which then goes into that innovation, “How can I innovate my process?” Just from even the delivery like the chat box thing, “Ooh, that’s kind of nice.”

How about when someone hangs up the phone with you and maybe completes a piece of business, what do you do? Hopefully, you send something out to them, a thank you e-mail. How about if you jumped on, and there’s some little tools this way where you can do, even just like a quick audio or a video message using your webcam, maybe it’s just an audio, maybe you’re like, “Aaah, I don’t even comb my hair until noon so I’m going to do a quick audio message.” “Hey, you know what, thanks Tom for that quick chat that we have.”

Here’s another tip on innovation and customer experience and we’ll close with this one. How many people in here are getting inquiries from people and you have to go over like a proposal or a report or something with them to go over, details right?

Sometimes when I ask that question, all the time no matter what industry it’s in, and sometimes you like to do it in person but maybe before that in-person meeting you give them this, maybe just a one-page summary document and you pull it up on your computer and you push this button that starts recording what’s on your screen, not you, but what’s on your screen, and you’ve got the microphone on your computer, maybe just a quick external mic and you go, “Hey, you know what, Betty, looking forward to talking to you next week. I just want to show you this real quick. This is some initial findings that I have and we’re going to go in a lot more detail because I’ve got about seven pages that I want to show you exactly, but point number one here is … I think what we can do, and point number two … hey, looking forward to talk to you then.”

45 seconds and you send them a link and go, “Hey, looking forward to next week. Here’s a quick little video overview for you.” They click on that and it opens up and it’s your voice and you’re just talking about some specifics but it’s not giving away everything, because you still want to develop what? Look at passion, the language of relationship. You don’t want to push people away by only phone and e-mail and electronic. You want that relationship but kind of like, the Bible says a little salt, it will increase the savor of a food but too much, and a little honey, but too much … Well, maybe balance in business is you don’t want to just live on the techie apps and instant chats and all that, but maybe that it’s just enough flavor to go, “Ooh, that’s right, okay, good, that’s helpful.” Then when you get together you feel like you already know that person, client-wise, and they feel like they know you. Then you’re now going over what you’re presenting.

I hope those were some good ideas on just how you can take concepts that are business concepts and let’s wrap it right back up with going to the first page, look at through some of these verses and see where we can, number one, Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God.” Number two, Proverbs, 9:1, “Wisdom has builded her house.” Guess what? There’s another verse that talks about “Seek wisdom and wait outside wisdom’s gate.” What does that mean? It means that seek is an action verb, we have to do a little bit of work. We can’t just go download and cable in the back of our neck and we’ve got wisdom and we’ve got all these. It takes work.

We have to desire to build our brand based on Godly principles. We have to desire that wisdom and we have to look for it. So many times it’s like, “If that was a snake that would have bit me. It’s right in front of me.” So many times throughout our day there are opportunities and maybe we have filled our day so much that we are just flying and we fly by, and maybe if we could look back on it and the Lord would show us, “Hey, you know what, yesterday, look at this. This was perfect right and you just missed it.” Maybe this way to give someone a word of encouragement was just something that would have made you pause and go, “Oh, that’s what it’s all about.” Not zipping off to do the other 14 things that, because you know what? At the end of everyday, does everyone have their to-do list to done and you’re sitting there twiddling your thumbs going, “When’s 5:00 o’clock to come because I am done?” Never.

When you do sit down there’s always stuff that can be done. Be organized and diligent so that the next day you can get right to it and work through your list, because that personal integrity and that personal diligence and organization will show through in your customers and prospects and they’ll see that.

With that let’s close in a word of prayer. Lord, thank You for just your word and thank You for how timeless Your word is and how we can apply things to our daily lives today, through our business today, and help us to see through Your eyes and wisdom and just give us the favor that we need each and everyday to know that we can rest in You. That we can just watch for Your hand of leading and open doors and opportunities and just help us as we give advice and execute on plans and deliver on services that we do for our clients each and everyday.

That we would do it with diligence and joy and passion and innovation, and just to be able to tie all of this things into making a better business for ourselves so that when people ask us, “What makes you so different?” That we can point them into Your direction and say, “Well, we feel like we are doing this for our customers but at the same time for the glory of the Lord,” and we just pray that you would give us these types of opportunities and clarity of thought. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Just remember … I forgot to put the actual website but if you put Kingdom Business Alliance, it’s kingdombusinessalliance.com, make sure you check out our website from time to time because all of the events are on the Event Calendar. Also, like Jim mentioned  Joyco does our filming and typically within a week we will have this video, so that if you didn’t get every single word you can re-watch this video. I’ll post the notes here on there, in case you spilled some orange juice, this will be up there. You can re-download it or how about this? Do you know someone, you know that one thing that you were going to take away, do you know one person that could benefit from this message or other messages? Go through the media page and see through our past meetings and see if you can recommend, “Hey, you know what, let me e-mail the link over to my friend. They would really benefit by this.” Maybe that’s the way you can minister to them.

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