How To Recruit from Jay Abraham

The Great Resignation has not made hiring any easier, but it has made it far more important. Almost every business I work with is spending more time, energy and money on hiring than they were last year at this time.

One was paying $22 per hour for summer workers in 2019 and struggled to fill those same positions at $35 this year. Another hired a technical manager away from one company only to have that same company recruit them back by bumping the annual salary by $25,000.

But escalating the pay race only gets you mercenaries, that’s why I loved this email I received from Jay Abraham. Jay is trying to recruit believers in his cause and the opportunity he has for them. Not just those in search of a bigger paycheck. Here’s the email:

Nathan,

If you aren’t “a flake” read on.

If you are an unproven aspirant who’s never made any significant deals happen – NOR EVER MONETIZED ANYTHING MEANINGFULLY – stop reading!

I’m searching for someone to structure JV deals for me.

We’re talking about finding influencers to promote programs for me.

We’re talking about structuring co-branded mastermind groups for me.

We’re talking about persuading different media sources and online platforms to run rev-share ads for me seeking six-seven figure clients.

And a lot more.

You need to be truly adroit at connecting with decision makers of every type – influencers, authors, CEOs, consultants and the like.

You need a monster-impressive history of success, selling high ticket intangibles.

You MUST have made a minimum of $250,000 a year doing it – heavily based on commissions or profit shares (and be able to prove it!)

You must have at least ten great and appropriate references I can check.

You must be exceptionally resourceful and exceedingly self-motivated; because, I’m not going to provide the databases – you have to source them, though I’ll pay to acquire them for you – once you do.

This is either a turn on OR turn OFF!

I tried attracting pure performance based people six months ago from my list and got 100 people, most who were either flakes, misrepresented their abilities or just plain were “play acting” at making big things happen.

I wasted tens of thousands of dollars trying to nurture these “inauthentic actors” and worse, I wasted HUGE opportunity cost in the time and energy I had my team devote to people who did not perform!

So I’m offering to write a check every month to give you a very comfortable base.

I’m offering to lay out opportunities EACH potentially worth tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit shares to you.

I’m offering the ability to interact, learn and develop unimaginable deal-making abilities to add to your current impressive skill sets.

But I WILL NOT waste my time or energy on ANYONE replying who is either NOT well-suited or who cannot produce verification they satisfy my rigid criteria.

If I hate anything it’s people who waste my, my team, or sales staff’s time or opportunity cost.

So please DO NOT do that to me.

Anyone unqualified who does waste my time will be immediately and permanently removed from my database!

Qualified and seriously interested candidates feel free to apply c/o: Desiree@abraham.com

Use subject line: I’m NOT a flake!

Deserving applicants will be contacted IMMEDIATELY.

Undeserving responders will have their email deleted.

Jay

What I learned from Cancer.

The day before Thanksgiving 2021, I was diagnosed Cancer.

It shook me, as you can imagine.

Upon processing this – emotionally, mentally, physically – I took action, almost immediately.

I help people solve problems for a living.

Now, I had the biggest problem of my life intruding my body. My tongue, to be exact.

So, I dug in and researched.

I read five books in two weeks.

I changed my diet from already healthy to everything being natural foods, as I had learned that cancer primarily feeds off of sugar. I added several healthy foods, spices and supplements to that healthy diet.

The actual PET scan that was given to me weeks after my surgery is, in simple terms, this:

Step 1 – pour a solution filled with glucose into your body.
Step 2 – wait to see if it binds to any cancer cells.
Step 3 – wait.

I was CLEARED.

Me and my beautiful girls

For now, I am cancer free.

I can’t control as much as I would like in this life, but I can control what goes on between my ears, what goes into my body, and how I choose to live every day.

Today, I’m reading again.

Today, it is not about cancer.

Today, it’s about the Experience Economy, a book that changed my life and drove me and my partners to start FiveFour.

For a short time after the surgery – my first ever – I learned what it’s like to live with chronic pain. That gave me a new empathy for people that live that way all the time.

It made me realize what a blessing my health has been.

Life is a beautiful thing.

My wish is for the experiences ahead to be breath taking, as I’m now acutely aware just how special those breaths are.

Consistent & Deep

In 2021, my One Word was CONSISTENT. I knew how important it was to be consistent – in schedule, in how I showed up in every life role, in results.

That word served me well. I had consistency gains in my morning and evening routines, my reading and learning, and the results for my business and clients.

As always, I see the ways it could be better: consistent time with the people who matter most to me, more consistent exercise, consistent leadership, the usual things.

But when I thought about how I could build on my consistency gains, it led to my One Word for 2022:

DEEP

One way to define deep is:

“Extending far beyond the surface, to a great depth, not superficial.

I want to go deep in 2022. I want to deepen my important relationships, my marriage, my business partnerships, my faith.

I want to make a deeper investment in the few things that make a difference in my life and not force them to fight for my attention with the trivial many.

What’s your One Word for 2022?

What parts of your life need your deeper involvement?

How can we go deep together?

Let’s make 2022 the year we all make a deep, meaningful difference where it’s most needed.

The Persistence of the Founder

Persistence > talent, genius, education.

I watch very little TV, so I might be the last person to watch the Founder on Netflix. I enjoyed that the movie portrayed Ray Kroc in a way that felt unbiased, highlighting both positive and negative behaviors.

But there was one aspect of the movie that really stood out to me. That is how Kroc credited his success to his persistence:

He needed a lot of it. Even as it was exploding, his business faced bankruptcy as a real possibility. I read a lot of business biographies and that is a recurring theme.

When we see today’s successful companies, we tend to see their success as a foregone conclusion.

But many of today’s great companies had near-death experiences that their founders have written about: Tesla, Nike and lululemon are some recent examples that come to mind.

This is important for current business owners to know. When you encounter tough times, that’s not weird. Business is difficult.

I once worked with a founder who thought business was all about the idea. He believed that if your concept was good enough, the business should practically run itself.

When he encountered difficulties he started tinkering with the concept. If he could just get the concept right, everything would be okay.

But there was nothing wrong with the concept. Could it be better? Sure. But was it good enough? Yes. It just required a lot of hard work to make it work. All businesses do.

He eventually lost his business because he was trying to perfect the idea.

He didn’t have the persistence of Ray Kroc.

Do you?

“Nobody else knows how to sell!”

That’s what one of my clients said to me when we were talking about his business development strategy.

This owner-operator had been CEO of his business for multiple decades but was frustrated that sales always seemed to depend on him.

He’d spent years on what I call the “sales/fulfillment teeter-totter.” When they were running short on cash, this very capable and charismatic CEO went out into the market and generated a bunch of new business.

But because he was out selling and not fulfilling, things broke down back in the business and customer complaints grew. That drew him back into the day-to-day operations of the business…and away from sales. Which made them run short of cash and, well, you get the idea. That’s the “sales/fulfillment teeter-totter.”

This CEO had a very clear sales process…that only existed between his ears. He had never taken the time to document it so that anyone else he hired could execute it with similarly predictable results.

Drive Results is the fourth step in my proprietary 4D Transformation method. It’s fourth because we don’t want to dump a bunch of new sales into a fulfillment system that isn’t ready for them. That’s a recipe for more customer complaints as your existing customers get less attention and new customers get off on the wrong foot.

But with a defined culture, a remarkable customer experience and a culture of continuous improvement, he was now ready for a business development strategy that would generate predictable, repeatable results for his business.

Here’s what we are doing, primarily pulling years worth of information out of the CEO’s head and updating it with the most effective, modern techniques:

  1. Identified their ideal customer. They had several kinds of customers, but one clear category who paid them for their expertise. We designed the rest of the process around that customer.
  2. Created a lead generation strategy with repeatable activities and the metrics the business development team would be accountable to perform.
  3. Compiled a sales tool kit of case studies, testimonials, email templates, call scripts, differentiators and power statements that would connect with their ideal customer. This business had a history of delivering value for clients, but hadn’t put it together for use in their sales process.
  4. Documented their five-step sales process based on the training we did with their leadership team. Those five steps are the same ones you’ll see in most sales systems for service-based businesses: Introduction, Assessment, Demonstration, Close, Follow-Up. We listed the questions to be asked at each stage, the actions to perform to move the process forward and how to answer objections earlier in the process so they don’t cause problems at the end.
  5. Customized training for their team. The last step is to create the virtual, interactive training that will allow anyone on the team to learn and perform these steps with predictable results, whether they’ve been with the company 30 years or 30 days.

I talk more about how we help our clients Drive Results in the fourth phase of our one-year immersive training with them in this video:

If you are an owner-operator and you’re on the “sales/fulfillment teeter-totter” of your service-based business, I might be able to help you Drive Results. To find out, just take this short assessment and book a strategy call with me at the end.

All you have to lose is an hour of your time. But you could be the one thing that gets you growing your business again. Growing from the inside out.

Should we slow down?

That was the question posed by the leadership of a highly successful business that I recently started consulting with. 

They had recently come through a period of rapid growth. 

And that growth exposed some missing systems. A few client engagements had gone off the rails. Salespeople were chasing the wrong deals. 

And the leadership team was spending a lot of time putting out fires. We’ve all been there. 

The fires started the way fires do. Not enough clarity. Lack of accountability. Poor communication brought on by different behavioral styles. 

They were particularly disturbed by the misfires with clients. The business had exploded because of what they accomplished for their customers. They took pride in their customer experience. 

It was in that context that the question surfaced, “Should we slow down?” 

They wanted to know if a pause – to let systems and people catch up – was a good idea. 

I understand where that question comes from. Many of the owner-operators I work with run back and forth between sales and fulfillment.  

Revenue’s down? Go sell.  

Sales growth hurts the customer experience? Jump into fulfillment. 

Business starts to feel like a teeter-totter. In that environment, a slowdown can sound like a great idea. 

In some circumstances, a pause may be necessary. But I don’t believe you have to stop growing to build your systems. 

It’s what I call, ‘Growing from the inside out.’ 

It starts with the culture. That’s what I talked about last week in this video.  

When a business is small, everyone can pick up the culture just by hanging around the leadersThat closeness disappears once the business starts rapidly expanding. That’s when maintaining culture requires a new level of intention. 

After the culture, the next thing you must get right to grow from the inside out is the customer experience. 

Again, when a business is small, and the owner-operator is highly involved with every customer, you can grow without defining every step of the fulfillment process. 

But without that defined process, the customer experience will suffer once you grow beyond the leader’s capacity to be involved in every step. 

Growth from the inside out requires a world-class customer experience. That’s what I talk about in this video: 

What’s the experience like for those who do business with you? Find out by taking my customer experience assessment. At the end, you’ll be able to book a strategy session with me where we will discuss the results of your assessment and the biggest opportunities for improvement. 

Your customer experience may be great today, but if that’s because you’re involved in every interaction, it will become a barrier to growth. Position your business for growth from the inside out by taking this assessment today. 

Asking (and answering) the Ultimate Question

In the Ultimate Question, Fred Reichheld tells the story of Intuit, describing a problem that FiveFour regularly helps businesses solve. Co-founder Scott Cook had built a successful company on the mission “To make the customer feel so good about the product they’ll go and tell five friends to buy it.”

When the company was in the start-up phase, the employees learned how to fulfill that mission by observing Cook’s passion for taking care of the customer. “They could all hear him working the service phones himself, talking to customers. They could see him taking part in Intuit’s famous “follow-me-home” program, where employees asked customers if they could watch them set up the software in order to note any problems.”

But growth in the number of employees and locations made learning by following the leader impossible and “Cook was hearing more complaints [from customers] than in the past. Some market-share numbers were slipping. For lack of a good system of measurement and for the lack of the accountability that accurate measurement creates – the company seemed to be losing sight of exactly what had made it great: its relationships with its customers.”

To solve the problem, Cook started measuring customer loyalty through our favorite measurement tool: the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which asks the Ultimate Question: “How likely is it that you would recommend Company X to a friend or colleague?” Respondents score their likelihood on a scale from 1-10, with those answering 9-10 classified as promoters, 7 or 8 passives and 6 or less detractors. Your NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from your percentage of supporters. A positive number means you have more supporters than detractors.

While measurement is an important first step, measurement alone won’t solve the problem that Cook faced at Intuit. The challenge that leaders of growing companies face is how to scale the culture and customer experience that led to the growth to begin with.

That’s what FiveFour calls the battle for better business. We help companies capture that original vision for their culture and how the customer is cared for. But the next step is maybe the most important and what really differentiates FiveFour: we create a customized, ongoing system of learning and development that, over time, transforms the business through increased employee engagement and continuous learning.

Do you resonate with that description of Intuit? Are you noticing more customer complaints and employee disengagement? Take our assessment of your customer experience and we’ll give you some tips you can use to improve your employee and customer experience.

Want to get started measuring your NPS and eNPS (Employee Net Promoter Score)? Just email me and I will give you access to our free, online course showing you how to implement both.

Intuit was profitable and growing at the time they addressed these flaws in their employee and customer experience. But they saw that those flaws were starting to impact their growth. What happened after they addressed them? They now have an NPS of 45 and a market cap of $82 billion, which isn’t bad.

Paying attention pays off by creating raving fans

(This is one of our weekly FiveFour emails. Sign up to receive these here).

I heard a story recently that’s a real-life demonstration of the principles we follow at FiveFour.

It’s a coffee story, which got me interested right away.

Mmmmmm, coffee.

Susie Patrick owns the Breadsmith stores in Sioux Falls.

Mmmmmm, bread.

And while Susie runs a fine operation in her own right, this isn’t a story about her, though she is a prime character.

Susie stops at the Scooters Coffee at 33rd Street and Minnesota Ave. every morning for a latte. Recently, she ordered two, hers and one for an employee.

Wouldn’t you know it, the espresso machine was down. The staff at Scooters offered a cold drink but hot espresso wasn’t going to happen for another 20 minutes or so.

Susie, though appreciative, declined any substitute.

Inside the small shop, Travis Rhoades was working diligently to get the espresso flowing. Travis isn’t just a repairman, he’s also the franchise owner of the nine — soon to be ten — Scooters locations in the Sioux Falls area.

The Scooters staff noted the customer didn’t order anything else.

Travis asked if they knew the customer’s name. They did not.

“It’s the Breadsmith Lady,” one employee said. “She gets a latte every day.”

That was a signal to Travis. As the owner, he’s been able to grow his business due to a commitment to his customers. He trains staff to observe customer behaviors in order to pick up on small cues.

“It’s how to engage in a meaningful conversation in 30 seconds,” he says.

Even in the drive-up.

Window stickers, hats, sports bags in the seat – they are all openings for conversation that can lead to actionable information.

It might be a quick “Go Vikings” written on the side of the coffee cup.

It might be remembering their kids play on a traveling soccer team and they are always trying to get out of town.

It might be that lady who works at Breadsmith. Or, as it turns out, owns them.

Travis noticed the opportunity, not just to shore up a customer relationship, but to model that behavior for the team.

So, once the espresso machine was back up and working, he whipped up a couple lattes and drove down 33rd Street to the Breadsmith store with a special delivery.

He still didn’t know her name until we connected the dots and told him.

“I just know her as the Breadsmith Lady,” he says.

Susie was thrilled to get the delivery and to learn she’s got a nickname.

“It’s a testament to his crew that he recognized me and my drink,” Susie says. “It’s customer service you don’t normally see anymore. I hope that people refer to our service at Breadsmith the way I was treated.”

You can find different customer experience touchpoints in this story. But the one that struck immediately is Surprise.

Yes, it was surprise for Susie to get lattes delivered. But that’s not the lesson.

What’s important to focus on is the culture, the intentional strategies that Scooters reinforces. They pay attention to customers as individuals, so that they can personalize the experience.

Travis says he’s always looking for opportunities to reward and demonstrate the customer-centric behavior. They are intentional about who they hire. And he preaches common sense over policies and procedure.

“It’s not the Breadsmith Lady’s fault that our machine is down.”

It would have been easy to write it off as just another face in another car in a stream of cars every morning.

That’s not what they did.

Because what goes better together than coffee and bread in the morning?

What I read in May

My reading slowed a bit in May as I hired a business coach to help me with some changes in the business. It’s something I hope to write more about at a future time, but it required a lot of my time and attention, so reading decreased a bit. But learning did not. I was learning by reading a lot of their resources, working through video-based training and interacting with my coach on weekly calls.

Still, there was time for reading. Here are the highlights of what I finished in May, 2020:

Who – The A Method for Hiring

Most business leaders and entrepreneurs have run across the famous concept popularized by Jim Collins in his seminal book, Good to Great: “First who, then what.” The idea is that those who build great organizations focus first on getting the right people on the bus and in the right seats before they figure out where they’re driving the bus. But most don’t know how to do this. They follow what Geoff Smart calls some method “of voodoo hiring” like scanning a resume, conducting a short interview, calling a couple of references and going with a gut instinct. Smart instead gives a system for hiring that involves a scorecard rather than job description and a series of interviews designed to determine if the candidate is a fit for the mission, has the competencies to do the job and can achieve the agreed upon objectives. The ultimate goal is to hire A Players – to get the who decisions right. I’ve started implementing some of these concepts in my business and, if you don’t have a hiring system, you should, too.

VC – An American History

One of my businesses is owned by a private equity company, which is not exactly the same as venture capital, but in the same vein. So I was interested in this history of venture capital in America. It started long before California became a state and has been tied to the entrepreneurial story of America since its founding. Wherever there has been the promise of out-sized returns at great risk, financial intermediaries (venture capitalists) have arisen to mitigate that risk. It started with whaling industry and was made famous by the Silicon Valley firms that invested in the tech giants Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, Uber, etc. etc. In between those two points in history is a fascinating story where the industry was kept alive first by wealthy families, military investment and universities. I was especially interested in his take on where the industry goes in the future. Nicholas mentions the innovative approach of Andreessen Horowitz to offer its portfolio companies a slate of services (HR, marketing, etc.) in addition to investment. Nicholas sees that as a sign of the industry returning to a long-term focus of building companies for public markets rather than short-term returns. Time will tell if that approach wins out, but what’s not debatable is that venture capital will continue to be part of America’s story.

Free Prize Inside!

The only way to win in business is to become remarkable. That was the message of Purple Cow. But how do you make a purple cow? That’s what this short book is about. In fact, that’s what the subtitle says. According to Seth Godin, he had to write this follow-up because business was all wrong in how they were going about their search for a purple cow. They were seeking the big. Big innovations. Big marketing campaigns. But a Purple Cow is much more likely to be a small, soft innovation that customers love – a Free Prize inside their offering. Writes Godin, “Most free prizes have two essential elements in common. First, they are the thing about your service, your product or your organization that’s worth remarking on. Something worth seeking out and buying…Second, most free prizes are not about what the person needs. Instead, they satisfy our wants. They are fashionable or fun or surprising or delightful or sad. They rarely deliver more of what we were buying in the first place.”

One of the most obvious free prizes is customer experience. It’s not more of the product or service. It’s something unexpected during the delivery of the product or service. Something that’s worth remarking on. And late in the book, Godin gives a fitting example. He tells the story of his interaction with Jose who worked in a taco shop in the Denver airport. What was remarkable about this interaction? Jose chatted with Godin for an extra minute while he ordered, got him a special condiment from the back. Later, he asked Godin how his meal was. In other words, Godin had a great experience with Jose. And as he points out, the cost of that experience was zero, but the value to Godin was “enormous.” Your customer experience can be a free prize for your guests. It can cost you nothing while delivering enormous value.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Great teamwork is the exception and that exception almost always means that a team has overcome five specific things that cause all teams to misfire. Patrick Lencioni has identified those five dysfunctions in this fantastic little book. I’m a huge fan of Lencioni. The first two-thirds of almost all of his books are a fictional account that makes his point followed by a non-fictional explanation of that point. I’d read the non-fictional third of this book many times, but never the fable that comes before it. I think both are his best work. Here’s a quick listing of the five dysfunctions (as I plan to write more about this book later):

  1. Absence of Trust: The fear of vulnerability prevents the building of trust within the team.
  2. Fear of Conflict: The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive conflict.
  3. Lack of Commitment: The lack of clarity or buy-in prevents making decisions the team will stick to.
  4. Avoidance of Accountability: The need to avoid discomfort prevents team members from holding one another accountable.
  5. Inattention to Results: The pursuit of individual goals and personal status erodes the focus on collective success.

I recently listened to Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, which Lencioni calls the field guide for implementing this book. I can’t recommend both highly enough to anyone managing a team.

More

I read The Vision-Driven Leader by Michael Hyatt, which would be a great book for someone looking to establish an organizational vision for the first time. Also read Visioneering by Andy Stanley, which I blogged about here.

What should I read next? Leave a comment below if you have a recommendation.

Paying Attention to the Obvious

Because I consume a lot of content, I frequently read things that overlap with other things I’m reading, podcasts I’m listening to, blogs I’m following, etc. I try to pay extra attention to those things when they happen, believing that those serendipitous moments often happen for a reason.

Recently, that forced me to pay more attention to…attention. At the same time I was reading Finding Flow, which I blogged about here, and learning about the importance of attention to achieving flow, I was also participating in a class at my church called The Journey. In preparation for a recent session, we read Jesus’ Parable of the Sower and the Lamp Under the Jar.

The Parable of the Sower is all about the different ways that people receive the Word of God and what kind of fruit it allows them to bear. And it turns out that the difference boils down to one thing, and it’s Jesus’ instruction from Luke 8:18a: “Pay attention to how you listen!”

The message was the same to each individual. The difference was in how much attention the recipient paid to it. This made me think about the importance of paying attention. It’s so easy to get on auto-pilot in our busy, distracted world and fail to pay attention to everything happening around us.

It reminds me of the famous Kenyon College graduation speech from novelist David Foster Wallace, this is water. Click here for full transcript and audio. But I really like the shorter clip from this video:

Stop and pay attention this week. See how it causes you to order your life differently.