Alan is a best selling author, international speaker and marketing expert. He also tells a great story and we hear a few in this weeks episode.
Spoken in more than 10 countries in 2018, including speaking in Spanish
Giving a personalised gift from Etsy after each wedding
How listening to customers helped him realise he needed to create audiobooks
What do you need 4 Bourbon tasting experience?
Bryanna’s attitude at McDonalds and why they need more like her
How Alan’s book “Your attitude for success” had reviews which included people stating “it changed my life”
The difference between a Liam Helmsworth donut and a Chris Helmsworth donut
Alan’s website reviews to help your site perform better
Here are links to some of Alan’s books:
Alan Berg – Attitude for success
Alan Berg – Why Don’t They Call Me
Alan Berg – Shut Up and Sell More
Alan Berg – If Your Website was An Employee Would You
Exceeding Expectations Links:
How to leave a review for the podcast
Note: some of the resources above are affiliate links, meaning I get paid a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use that link to make a purchase. This all helps fund the show costs.
Tony: It’s a new year and a new edition of Exceeding Expectations Episode 15, Happy New Year.
In this episode, I speak with Alan Berg who is an international speaker on marketing and is mostly specialising in the wedding industry. He speaks in many different countries. Just this year alone, he’s spoken in more than 10 countries. He also speaks in Spanish as well as English. He does website reviews. In this episode, we talk about doing personalised gifts for some of your clients, audio books. How an employee at McDonald, knocked him out with her attitude and the way she did things. Scones in London, about books, doughnuts and much, much more. So episode 15 with Alan Berg.
This week’s edition of Exceeding Expectations, I am speaking to someone called Alan Berg, how are you doing Alan?
Alan: I’m doing great Tony, how you doing?
Tony: I’m very good. Thank you. Alan and I have met a couple of times where a few times before. Alan’s a speaker and he specialises in the wedding industry and he travels all over the world. when I say all over the world, just before we came on air, he was telling me about his schedule over the last few months and I was getting tired just listening. I mean, how many air miles as you say you’d racked up?
Alan: By the time this year is up, I’ll have 125,000 this year alone on United. Then I’ve flown American, Delta, Southwest. A little bit on those, I’ll figure about 130,000. I’ve been to Colombia, South America, Mexico, India, the UK, Ireland, Canada. That’s this year.
Tony: Wow. so what is it, so when you’re going through all these different countries, what typically are you doing? So I know that you’re speaking about, so to wedding professionals and you speak on various different subjects, like about websites and marketing and do you kind of limit it to that or are there many other things that you may speak about also.
Alan: So I’m a speaker. I’m also a sales trainer and a business consultant. So they’re different things. When I was down in Cartagena, Colombia, it was a conference for wedding professionals, probably more wedding planners than anything. But there were some other suppliers there. I spoke about websites and I spoke about sales in Spanish. Then when I was in Mexico, I did not speak in Spanish, but I was at a five-star luxury, all-inclusive resort and had me come down for two days. I only spent part of the time with their wedding team and I spend part of the time with their travel and tourism team and part of the time with their people that will sell to the convention and visitors bureaus.
So that was more of a business consulting part of it and sales training part of it. I did sit with their team for a little bit about their website as well because I have four books that I’ve written and the first one is a website book called If Your Website was An Employee, Would You Fire It? Which was not written for the wedding industry. As you and I have spoken about before, I actually don’t speak about weddings. I speak to people who do them, so this hotel does weddings but also does other things. So we were not just talking about weddings, we’re talking about a lot of different stuff.
Went over to India and I was speaking to 300 wedding photographers, specifically a wedding photographer conference, so I was talking to them about sales and marketing and then I did a workshop. So I do small group masterminds and workshops and we were diving deep into their business. What I call The Four Steps to More Sales, and this doesn’t matter what you do this is for any business. The first step is getting people’s attention. If you don’t have their attention, nothing else is going to happen. They just don’t know you exist.
The second is getting some sort of an inquiry. That inquiry could be a text, it could be a contact form, it could be an email, it could be a Facebook message, it could be a WhatsApp, it could be Hallelujah, they pick up the phone and call you, it could be one of those. Which interestingly I was consulting with a guy in Romania who’s got a venue in a restaurant in a hotel and 80% of his website traffic is mobile, but 80% of his inquiries come in through telephone. So unlike in the UK where you’re getting a lot of digital in the US and a lot of most other places in the world I go, here’s a guy in a town of 50,000 people in Romania and most of his inquiries come in via telephone.
In the UK, I spoke at the Bride Luck symposium and I was talking about, they were talking about increasing your, what was the wording that they put for it? You’re trying to increase your client base. So I talked about social media, but my take on social media is called Can Your Business Survive Without Social Media? That’s…
Alan: It’s about, because most people don’t have a strategy. They don’t understand how to do it. They’re just doing stuff and getting no return on it. I was just in Ireland and I did a day for a masterclass for wedding venues and we dove deep into those four steps. So talking about how to respond to inquiries, talking about how to improve the conversion on their websites and talking about how to close more sales.
So my topics don’t change much when I travel around the world. I do adapt of course a little bit. But it’s interesting how the social references or the cultural references I should say, they’re so prevalent all over the world. When I was in India, they were having a party. We were at The Hard Rock Restaurant in Bangalore, India, and Journey, Don’t Stop Believing comes on and everybody is singing at the top of their lungs. Here I am. I could be at the hard rock in Vegas, right? It just doesn’t matter. The same thing could happen in Columbia in English, and they could be singing that even though most of the people there don’t speak English well, but if Journey, Don’t Stop Believing comes on, that room is going to be just packed with people singing. Don’t Stop Believing.
So I wrote an article on my blog about that, how we have so much more in common than we have differences and that’s the same that with business, right? There’s so much more in common with what we talk about in business than if we’d say, oh, it’s the wedding industry. Everybody likes to say, oh, it’s different for me. No. No, it really isn’t. It’s really not that different. It’s nuanced, but it’s really not that different. If you’re at the high end of the price scale, you still have to fill your calendar. If you’re at the middle, you have to fill your calendar. If you have the low point, you fill your calendar and I don’t care what you’re selling. That’s what you have to do. I was talking to a speaker yesterday and he said his family had a business that did, slate tile roofing, like high-end stuff. During the recession here, his business had a 12-month waiting list to do work when his competitors who were half the price of him, were starving for work. they’re like, how are you so busy? He was marketing and he was doing stuff and people were saying, I’ll wait. I’ll wait 12 months to get you to come and do that work for me. Crazy.
Tony: The thing is, there’s no doubt that what it is that he’s doing, there are so many other businesses could probably learn from some of the things that he’s doing, but other businesses probably wouldn’t look at it because they think, oh well he’s doing slates, it’s nothing to do with what I do.
Alan: Right. So I was on a podcast yesterday and we were talking about that exact thing is, look outside of your industry. Take your blinders off and start paying attention every day to the things that people are doing, marketing to you. Whether it’s a billboard or whether it’s a, you know, on the TV or radio or walking down the street or, like when I was in the UK, the recently for Bride Luxe.
My flight was an overnight flight typical from the US so 10:00 PM gets at 10:00 AM and I get in, of course my hotel room’s not ready, so I’m tired, but I’m walking around Piccadilly Circus and I passed this doughnut shop and it was this tiny hole in the wall doughnut shop. I’m looking in the window and I have these ridiculously decadent doughnuts, which I was not going to have one because it’s probably a week’s worth of calories in one of these. But their marketing was great. I mean the names of them at the funniest was they had this doughnut with all kinds of stuff on, it was called the Liam Helms Worthy Doughnut, Hemsworth doughnut.
Then above it was one that was four times the size and it was the Chris Hemsworth doughnut. So, but I love their marketing. But what it did is it made me hungry and I said, you know what, I’m in London. I need a scone. I just have this thing. I love a proper scone in the US, what they call a scone is not a scone. It’s this triangle sugared thing and I’ll eat them, but I like a real scone.
So I go onto my phone, I go into trip advisor and I type in scones near me or something like that. It sends me to this place and I walk in, there are baked goods in the window. I don’t see any scones, but I walk up to the young man at the front and I said, I’d love to have a scone. Do you have these? Do you have proper scones? Said, you know, we get asked at least five times a day, but you know, we don’t sell scones. But if you look down the street, you’ll see some blue awnings. If you go to that hotel, that restaurant has as wonderful scones. My first thought was really, well I get asked five times a day and you don’t sell stones.
Tony: Why don’t you sell them?
Alan: Right? Then I start thinking, I remember when people asked me about whether my books came on audio and I’m thinking, why would you want it on audio? Right? Here’s the book just by the book right here at the table or Kindle, you can get it on kindle. I didn’t understand because I didn’t listen to audiobooks so I didn’t understand the draw. when the 20th person or 12th or 20 whatever it was asked me if it was available on audio, is like, hey stupid, your audience is telling you that they want to throw money at you here. They want it in a different format. Just like when I went from DVD to CD, from CD to flash drive, right?
So I recorded the first audiobook and of course, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. So I did it wrong and then I fixed it. Then the second one went smoother and the third one when even smoother. The last one was just seamless because I knew exactly how to do it. You know, you don’t know what you don’t know and until you know it. Now I started listening to audiobooks and I totally get it. I read and I’m doing air quotes. I read so much more than I ever did before because I do it. I’m in the car driving to my dry cleaner. I’m listening to an audiobook, I’m walking through the airport, I’m listening to an audiobook.
So I totally get it. But I listened to my audience and this is exactly this kid I’m thinking, so I pulled out my calculator and I said, all right, five times a day, 365 days a year, let’s call it £3 for a scone, right? Whatever, whatever. It was, it’s £1,000 in scone sales that we know. that’s only because of the people that ask the five a day that ask how many people came in looking for one and couldn’t find it. So what is your… What else can we learn just by keeping our eyes open and saying, huh, what other promos are there? What other things? Cause I’m always doing promotions or emails or stuff.
So I love a good email promotion. Most people hate spam. I love a good email promotion cause I’m looking for, hey was that a good subject line? How did they format that? What was good about that? What was annoying about that? Just learn from all around you instead of just trying to copy a competitor because just trying to copy a competitor is a fool’s game because you can’t be them. You can copy their marketing but you can’t be them. That guy was successful slating at twice the price or three times the price of other people, not just because of his slate work. It was also the way he positions himself branded himself and he owned that price. He didn’t apologize for it. That was the price.
Tony: What would you say, what was it that he was doing that was different? So you know, about his branding and his positioning and so on.
Alan: You know, I don’t know enough about it cause it was like a side talk that we were having. But let me give you an example with myself. So when I first started as an independent speaker consultant, when I left, I was with theknot.com. So if anybody doesn’t know it’s in the states, it was the largest wedding website in the world, still one of the largest, if not the largest. I was there for 11 years. I was vice president of sales.
So when I left, I didn’t know what to charge because I had been free. I would go out and speak as vice president and I didn’t ask to get paid. We paid for our own travel. We took a booth at their trade show and I spoke. So people wanted me to come and speak, but now I needed to get paid because I didn’t have my sugar daddy. You know, I didn’t have anybody paying me a salary and all my expenses. So I looked at what other people charge and I said, well, I want to charge more. I believe I’m doing this at a very high level. So I’ll charge more.
So I think I was like 15 at 50% or 100% more than what I thought or could find out what other people were charging. I did that and I was really busy, but I wasn’t making enough money and I realised I was pricing my service based upon someone else’s price. You can’t do that. You have to price based upon you, your availability, your needs. The first rule of economics, anybody has ever taken economics 101 is supply and demand, right? I have a limited supply. Tony, you have a limited supply. Everybody listening has a limited supply. So whether it’s time, products, services, right, we have a limited supply.
So I said, all right, I need to raise, my prices so I raised my price. I was busy again. then my uncle, who’s a, he’s 89 now who, it’s funny, I have one uncle in the world, never tried to follow him and he’s a speaker and an author and I never tried to do anything like him. He’s an author. Exactly what I ended up never, never saying I want to be a speaker or an author. It became both of them and he told me it was the end of my, I think it was the end of my first full year self-employed again this time cause I had been self-employed in the past. He said, “You know, you’re pushing too hard. He said, pull back on your availability and let it come to you. That’s, you know, people that are believing the universal energy that we share. You know, the laws of reciprocity, or you know, you give good, you get good, you give bad, you get bad, The Secret and all that kind of stuff. If you believe that kind of stuff, then you’ll understand right now.”
I understood, I said, okay, I’m trying to make something out of nothing. I would go to you and say, Hey Tony, you know what? I don’t have anything in London but let’s do something. I was doing that, but it was, you know, was pushing and I realised, just let me, if you’ve laid the groundwork, if you’ve planted the seeds, right, if the farmer has planted the seeds and sew and watered them and whatever, let them grow. I did and I went up 40% the next year in business. I raised my rates and I went up 40% the next year in business.
I found myself doing that again about two years after that. I pulled back again and I went up 25% the next year and that’s 25% of a higher number. Right. I found myself this year a couple of times starting to push a little more pulled back. Every time I pulled back, you know, there might be a day or two where it’s a little quiet, then all of a sudden an email comes in, the phone rings, you know something’s happening. That’s how my calendar has been full. I’ve been doing all that work, but it’s not one thing. I’m doing social media, I’m doing email, I’m doing direct mail, I’m going to conferences, I’m networking, I’m not, sitting back. I’m just allowing the things that I’m doing to work.
Tony: Something I was thinking about when before we started recording and you had spoken about how you are so well known for niching, you know, so you obviously niche in the wedding industry and something that occurred to me. So obviously, the subject of this whole podcast is about over delivering and giving great customer experiences. It occurs to me that if the more you niche in a topic and a subject here an industry, wherever it might be, the more of an expert you can be in that subject and therefore it’s probably easier to over-deliver in whatever is that you are doing. Because you know so much about that one thing. You can give them much more than they ever expected.
Alan: Right. One of the stories we were talking about is when you and I did a mastermind with me, in the UK with 10 DJs and it was just 10 of 11 of us in a boardroom the whole day. at the end of the day, we’re walking out and one of the other DJs said to me, so Alan, how long have you been a DJ? I said, Barney, I’ve never been a DJ. He looked at me like, what do you mean? I said I don’t know how else to say it, I have never been a DJ. He said, but you know my business better than I do. I said, yeah, I do, but I’ve never been a DJ and I can’t be a DJ. Because being a DJ and having a DJ business are two different things. I can walk into Barney’s office and sell his business today. I could sell a customer on having him deejay for them, but I couldn’t be the DJ. It’s a different skill.
So what niching allows me to do is, I have so many stories and I have so much experience where I go from one business to another, and I’m not talking about sharing industry secrets. But when I was in Ireland and I go to this venue Bally McGarvey and I’m telling him, hey, you know, I have a client in the states who does this, what if you did that? Right? So I’m not giving him his competitors secrets, but I’m able to do that.
So one of the things talking about over delivering, he was looking for other ways to make it special. I said, well, people love experiences and these are the things I’ve learned again in the industry. What kind of experiences can you create while they’re trying to get people to come from the states because they’re booking with local couples already doing a couple of hundred weddings a year. What can you do to get couples from the states to come over and make it special? I said, well, I was in New Orleans recently and I was talking to this one venue, and then she said, they’re coming up with a bourbon tasting experience and they’re going to have different bourbons and they’re going to charge a premium for that.
I said, well, if you’re going to do that, you want to have these special whiskey glasses, these Glen Karen glasses to do that and make it into a special thing, right? So she was like, oh, that’s great. That makes it even better. Well, here I am in Ireland now, and Irish whiskey being, you know, the mother’s milk. I said, you know, you want to make something special, why don’t you do an Irish whiskey tasting and get some of these Glen can glasses and do that. Right?
So now I’m giving him that idea. But then what I did, because he had brought me in to do a day of training, I went to Amazon and ordered him six of those glasses and I sent it to him and I said, here, let me get you started on that Irish whiskey tasting. I said, and if you end up doing it, just save them. When next time I come, we’ll do a tasting ourselves. That was a way for me to help him over deliver. But I also wanted to over deliver as well. For what you paid me for the day and for what those glasses costs, there’s no question it’s worth it. But it’s, that difference. It’s that he didn’t expect me to do anything. That’s when people appreciate it. When they expect you to do something, it’s not special.
It’s, we have three possible outcomes with every, in every interaction, we can fall short of their expectations, meet it or exceed it. When you fall short, of course, that’s unacceptable. When you meet it. I find it unacceptable because every day people meet your expectations and then they just fade away and you don’t remember that interaction, whether it’s the coffee shop or whether it’s lunch or whether it’s the dry cleaner or the petrol station, right? You just don’t remember.
So you have to exceed and I’ll give you a great story. I was in Las Vegas earlier this year and it was at a conference and you had to go from a hotel to the convention centre and you could have taken the bus. But I had a car rented, so I’m walking out of the hotel and some other people were heading towards the bus and I said, hey, listen, if you want, I’m driving over. I have room in the car. They’re like, oh, thanks. All right, so great.
So we get in the car, there’s four of us. I said I’m kind of thirsty. There’s a Mcdonald’s on the corner down the street from the convention centre. Anybody else wants something to drink? they said no. I said, do you mind if I go in? They said, no to go ahead. So I pull in now, what’s your expectation at the drive-through window, right? Not Pretty High. Right. So we pull up and a very friendly voice comes out and says, welcome Mcdonald’s going to take your order. Oh, that was nice. Right? I said, well, yeah, I’d like a large diet coke, a couple of pieces of lemon in it. She said, will, that be all? I said, yeah. She goes, that’s $1.80, pull around love. I look at the people in the car and I said, “Did she say pull around love?” They say we think so, but we didn’t have a rewind button, right? We’re so used to the rewind on the telly and that right, we don’t have a rewind button.
So we pull around to the window and there was this young lady with a big smile on her face and she said, diet coke? I said, yes. She goes, “$1.80. How’s your day going?” I said, “My day’s going great. How’s your day going?” She said, my day’s going great, thanks for asking. I give her my money and she gives me my change. She says, “You have a great rest of your day.” I said, “With that smile on your face I definitely will, thank you.” Pull up to the next window. They give me the receipt and they give me my drink. I said, what was her name? They said, Brianna. I look at the bottom of the receipt and what’s always on the bottom of the receipt these days, Tony?
Tony: Just, it’s a date and details or…
Alan: The telephone number to call with your [inaudible 21:14].
Tony: Oh! Yes, Yes.
Alan: Who calls that number?
Tony: Right. So you called to say how good she was?
Alan: Who normally calls that number?
Tony: Oh, normally about complaints.
Alan: Right. So we have like one block to go from the McDonald’s to the convention centre, but I had the Bluetooth already connected to my phone and we called that number and then that one block. A woman answers, you know, that McDonald’s, whatever. I said we were just at the McDonald’s on Paradise Road in Las Vegas and we had an absolutely fantastic experience with the young lady named Brianna. She was smiling, she was happy, she was a credit to your organisation and I just thought that you should know just how good this experience was. There was silence on the other end.
Tony: Yes, because hardly anyone would do something like that.
Alan: Right? So there’s this pause, and I’m sure it wasn’t as long as I’m making it sound like [inaudible 22:03] pause. she goes, thank you for calling. As you can imagine, we don’t get many calls like this. I said, well, if you had more people like Brianna working for you, you would. So here’s the thing, it was $1.80 okay, right? So what is that about 70 pence. It’s $1.8 and I’m telling you, everybody listening, I’ve been telling this from the stage, it didn’t take her any more time. It didn’t take any more money. It didn’t take anything but intention on her part to say that I, Brianna, am going to have a better day and I’m going to make other people’s day better when I’m here at work.
It didn’t cost anything. That’s a lesson to all of us that if she can do that for $1.80 what can we do to our customers to look them in the eye, smile and make their day better from the interaction that we just had then they would have been before.
So here’s the follow-up. The next day going to the convention centre, getting in the car, got the same people, cause I told them if you want a ride, meet me. I wasn’t even thirsty. I said we’re going to McDonald’s. we went to McDonald’s and we pull up and a man’s voice came across the speaker. It’s like Ah, he was nice. He was I would say he was above average in terms of niceness pulled around and he was nice and it was better than average, but it wasn’t her. What did she do? Right. It didn’t take any more time. All she did was she looked at us, she looked me in the eye and she said diet coke. I said, yes. She goes, how’s your day going? Smiled when she said that. It changed the dynamic cause I wasn’t expecting that.
I will say this, I’ve had really great and really bad experiences at McDonald’s drive-throughs and it makes it sound like I eat fast food all the time. I had a diet coke. I was coming out of Connecticut one time, coming back home to New Jersey and I stayed overnight at this hotel and in the morning I’m driving, I want to get a cup of tea.
So I pull into this McDonald’s and there were two ladies and I would say they were, they were every bit of in their forties to fifties. One was working in the order taking window and one was working the, you know, giving you the food window and they were a great team. They were like your favourite aunt, they’re your favourite aunt that just, you know, you just love her and she’s just so gregarious and just so loving. They were like your favourite aunt and if I lived in Connecticut in that town, I would go there just to experience that.
It’s the same thing again. It didn’t take any more time. It didn’t cost any more. Whatever the price point, you can do that, you can exceed someone’s expectations, not by saving them any money, not by giving them any more product or service. Just by giving them better attention.
Tony: It’s funny you say that because one, I think the thing that almost every guest I’ve had on this podcast has had in common, that when they’ve often been talking about how they over deliver and you know, giving customers a great experience, almost I would say 90% of the stories hasn’t been about anything that’s cost any money whatsoever. It’s been about attitude, it’s been about being happy to make people happy, you know. To when they see they do something that makes their customers happy, that just gives them a great feeling. It’s just about the attitude they have.
Alan: Right. that’s the thing. I remember when I was a salaried employee and when, if I would get a bonus, I would buy something for my wife and each of my sons. That gave me more pleasure than buying myself something because if I needed something, I would have bought it already. So I didn’t need anything. So I didn’t get pleasure by buying that thing that I didn’t need. really for most things, if I wanted it, I could buy it. I’m not talking about a Ferrari. Right. But if I wanted and I could probably buy it. So, it’s that whole, again, it’s that intention thing. It’s that just paying attention. What does the customer need? What can you do to make their day better? What can you do to exceed the expectations of whatever it is? Does it take money? Sometimes, but not a lot.
I’ll give you another story. A friend of mine was looking for her wedding venue and she’s down in Florida. She had family coming in from out of the country. In her words, they like to drink. So she wanted it to have it at a hotel so everyone would stay there. So the only thing they would be riding would be the lift. She didn’t want them to ride in any cars. So every hotel before she went there, and this is how we shop these days, had the same checklist. the checklist was valet parking. They had a ceremony site on the premises, they had a beautiful ballroom. They had good food, good service, good reputation, right? So she didn’t go to any place that didn’t have that same checklist. But that’s the what? Not the why.
So every place she had a similar experience. You pull up, the valet takes the car, she goes inside with her fiancé, they’d go have a good meeting and they see the hotel, they see the ceremony site, et cetera. They talk and then they go back. The valet brings the car around and they leave. Except for one time they go in, everything is the same. But when they go to leave the valet brought the car around and on the passenger seat was a box of chocolates with a handwritten note from the person they had just met with thanking them for coming.
Now, what did that take? Right? Not a lot of money. What did it cost them maybe you know, £5-£10 for the chocolate. Right. So what did it cost them? Not a lot, except they had to write the note ahead of time. The chocolate had to be kept, not in the car cause it was Florida, so it’s hot. So the valet had to know that chocolate and that note has to go in that car when it comes back. So it took some coordination. But what that speaks to is the coordination of what could you do for me on my wedding if you can do this.
Alan: What could you do? Another experience. I go into a Marriott hotel in Springfield, Massachusetts. My host had made the reservation. So I pull in and get out of the car, go inside to check in, and they said, oh, Mr Berg, we’ve been expecting you. We have a room with two queen beds. I said, do you have a single bed? Do you have a king? Because it’s just me. I’m by myself. I don’t need two beds. So she’s typing and then she asks the person next to her behind the desk points to something on the screen and says this, okay? She said, sure. Then that other person went away.
So she checks me in and gives you my keys. I go to my car, I go to the car park, I parked my car, I go in the lift, I go up to my room and I go into my room and there’s one bed and in my room is a large basket that my host had had brought for me. I think wow, this is really nice. Then it dawned on me, that wasn’t my room. My Room had two beds. That basket was in a different room. When I was at the front desk, that other person went away from the front desk and moved that basket from the original room to the new room. I don’t know if they were next to each other or on different floors or whatever or if there was somebody around the corner panting out of breath because they just random basket down or whatever. But they did it. They made it happen. when I realised that they made it happen, I was like, they could have just knocked on the door five minutes later and handed me the basket and it would’ve been nice. But they wanted to make sure that when I got to my room, the basket was there. What does that say about that hotel?
Tony: Absolutely. Yeah. I want to touch a bit about some of the books you’ve done. So I know you’ve done, is it four books you’ve written?
Alan: Four working on number five right now?
Tony: Okay. What’s the new book going to be about?
Alan: The new book is actually based upon the articles that I’ve been writing for the last seven years. I’ve been writing of this content that’s just stuff that’s very applicable to my audience. It’s going to be called Wit, Wisdom and the Business of Weddings.
Alan: I’m going to put together out of the hundred plus articles that I’ve written over the last seven years, I’m going to put together a bunch of the best content, update it and put it together. So each chapter will really stand on its own, but they’re gonna be in groups. So there’ll be a section on sales, a section on websites, a section on inspiration, you know, so probably three or four sections like that. I actually may or may not sell the book Tony. I’m considering doing a marketing effort with it so you tell me what you think about this and I’ll let the people listening see what they think.
Tony: Oh, okay.
Alan: So I was going to make two versions of the book. One is going to be a book itself with about 30 or 40 chapters in it with all the content. Another version is going to be for marketing. The marketing version is going to have about five chapters in it but it’s going to be laid out with the same cover and the same table of contents to show the 30 or 40 chapters. But in between those other ones will be noted page lines. I’m going to, I’m intending to send it out to businesses and say to them with a note on the top, you know, here’s a little preview of my latest book. If you’d like me to fill in the blanks for you and your team and teach these things, contact me. when you do, I’ll bring a free copy of the full book for every one of your people.
Tony: Wow, that sounds like a great, great marketing exercise.
Alan: So, and the idea is you’re going to get some of the content, not all of it, and I can teach you the rest. So…
Tony: Of course.
Alan: … and I’m not going to sell them on Amazon. I will tease it though and say if you’d like to get a free copy of this book contact me about having me train your sales team or do a mastermind or something like that.
Tony: Well I mean that sounds like a great idea. I mean it kind of strikes me about having both versions because you know for some it’s the people that you’ve got to possibilities of training and then for our who just wants a book read the book, and who maybe would never be in a position where they’d be bringing you in to train and people. So yeah, maybe both.
Alan: one of it would be if I do a workshop or something, I might say if you come to the workshop, you get a free copy of the book that’s not available on Amazon. It’s not available anywhere else. So the idea in the book that… and because the content is already out there, it’s already on my blog and other people’s blogs. I’m not sure if I want to charge for it in a book form, even though I think it’s great content. So that’s what I might do with the next one. The book after that that I’m already [inaudible 32:09] about is the follow-up of my first book.
So I have four books. The first book is called If Your Website was an Employee, Would You Fire It? The subtitle is Five Things You Wish You Knew Before You Made Your Website and How to Fix Them. Now that book applies to anybody with any type of website. It’s how to think about a website, not how to build one. The follow-up book, that’ll be book number six will be called Five Signs It’s Time to Fire Your Website. So that’ll be the follow-up and that’ll be things you should do and not do on your website.
My second book is called Your Attitude for Success. Interesting story with that. It was never intended to be a book. It was a keynote speech. Most of my speeches prior to that had been just business-related sales, marketing, websites, conversion communications, things like that. I was asked to do a keynote speech and I wrote this speech and a friend of mine videotaped it and this speech, I gave it to a hundred wedding planners, but they were all members of this group Association of Bridal Consultants. You had to be a 10-year member or a master bridal consultant, which is, there’s only, I think, 36 in the world now. There were only at the time, 25 in the world and these hundred people were my audience.
Out of those hundred people, I received three handwritten notes in the mail afterwards telling me that I have changed their life. That was tough. That was really hard for me because I don’t think I have the power to change anyone’s life. I think I could be a catalyst. I think I can help you take action, but I can’t change your life. You can change your life. I can’t change your life. So I really, it hit me hard. Like, whoa. No, I help people with their businesses and stuff. I don’t change people’s lives. But in our first note, then the second note, then the third note, and then it’s a very personal story. I had some health challenges in my past and I talk through that and how I’ve gotten through that and how other people have gotten through business and personal challenges. That’s what’s called your attitude for success.
I say to people that succeed don’t have more ideas than others, they just take better action. So I gave the speech one time and a guy came and he said, you know, I saw you were coming and I love hearing you speak. He said, my family is all upside down, my sisters dying of cancer and, and we’re just really out of sorts. He said you gave me a sense of clarity. I was like, whoa. I said, but did I share too much of myself? He said something. It was really, really poignant. He said, “If you hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been listening the same way.”
I realise that the vulnerability that I showed by telling my story allowed them to connect with it, allowed them to jump in and say, hey, how does this relate to me? So that turned out to be a speech that just resonated with people in such a different level than anything else I’d ever done that I turned it into a book for what you just said before. So someone who can’t afford to hire me to come and speak or train could get a copy of this book and I actually use it when I hear someone’s having a challenge, a health challenge or their child or their is having a challenge that they’re having a personal challenge. I’ll send them a copy of the book, I’ll just write a note in it and send them a copy of the book saying, listen, I hope this gives you some sort of clarity or some sort of a positive outlook that you can help you get through what you’re going through.
So that’s book number two, book number three, and my most popular book so far is called Shut Up and Sell More Weddings Events. Really, it should just say, shut up and sell more because I’ve sold so many different things in my life and it’s what I’ve learned and when I’ve taught in doing this. So I say weddings and events on the cover. This is because I’ve niched in my market of weddings and events so that someone can go on Amazon and search for sales book on weddings and events. My book’s going to come up.
I recently did a consultation with a guy in Romania who found my book on Amazon because of that. Had me do a two-hour remote consultation. Then he flew over to Dublin and saw me speak at a conference just last week. So, Shut Up and Sell More is from what I learned where my manager in a previous life, told me to shut up and listen and people will tell you what they want to buy. That’s what I teach people.
Then my latest book is called, Why Don’t They Call Me: Eight Tips for Converting Wedding and Event, Inquiries into Sales. Which really should be converting inquiries into sales is not weddings and events. It, this is, I’m a digital immigrant, right? Tony, you’re probably a digital immigrant or on the border there, but I’m definitely a digital immigrant and my sons are digital natives. They’ve never known a world without today’s technology. They’ve never known that our house without a personal computer, they’ve never known a world without cell phones. So they’re digital natives. They’re used to having conversations without talking on the phone. I am used to having conversations on the phone, but I’ve learned how to have the digital conversations. In doing so I’ve adapted to my customers.
So when I’m in the UK, I’m using WhatsApp actually outside of the US I’m using WhatsApp. Inside the US I’m using email and text and the Facebook messenger I’m doing with people all over the world as well. So I’m using today’s technology. I love technology. I have an iPhone 10 I have an Apple watch and a MacBook Pro. You know, I like my technology but the technology’s just a tool. I’m using the tool based upon what my customers want to do and my customers want to email me and Facebook message me on WhatsApp and text me. So that’s what I’m doing. So that book is teaching people how to have those real conversations and convert those inquiries now into conversations and sales.
Tony: Well listen Alan, I can’t believe how time has flown and I want to be respectful of your time, but I know that you could probably tell me and have a million stories and I think we’re going to have to have you back at some point because I know there are a lot more stories. But before we finish, what would you say about people listening, do realise that it’s a good idea to try to over deliver to try to exceed their customers’ expectations? Would you have any kind of suggestions or any thoughts about that?
Alan: Yes. I think if you’re doing this on a mass scale or on a micro scale, it’s going to be different. So on a micro scale, think about that individual customer and how you can add value to them. So when I sent these six, Glencairn nosing glasses to the client in Ireland so he could start his whiskey tasting. That was very specific to him and to what we had discussed as opposed to macro where you’re trying to exceed on a level to two more people, you know, in a group or something like that.
The more personal you can make it, the better. Because that’s what people notice. They notice that you took the time, they notice that you paid attention. They notice that you took your notes and you’re mentioning something or there’s this little extra thing that you can do specifically for them as opposed to, you know, generically for them. Like for instance, if you want to get more reviews, all right, that’s a big thing for everybody’s business these days. You could say, I’ll give you a Starbucks gift card. Okay, that’s generic.
Or You could get a gift made for them specifically. Like one of my clients goes on Etsy and has a personalised gift made for each couple after the wedding and sends it to them and maybe it has their initials and their wedding date or something like that on it. I think it’s a pillow or something. Then they send it to them with a note thanking them and asking them, you know, to please post the review.
Well, that’s much, much better than saying, here’s a Starbucks gift card. Please post the review. Yeah, that’s, does it cost more? I would say no because the return is better. They get six to ten of their clients posting reviews, whereas typically one out of five will post if you ask one out of three if you remind them and they’re getting 60%, six out of 10 doing it. So that personalisation I think is really when you’re going to get people to notice.
Then if you’re in a face to face type business, just think about that McDonald’s story. You know, are you smiling? You know when somebody walks in and you’re smiling, thank you for coming. A personal pet peeve of mine are the words, no problem. Why is it that I walk into a store, helped myself to the product, walk up and if I don’t check myself out, which you can do these days. You walk up to the cashier and you give them the product and then you give them the money and then they give you the change and you say thank you to them and then they say, no problem. Really, that was no problem for you?
So I went and did all the work and it was no problem for you for me to come here and you just stand here and wait for me to give you the product and the money. Again, a personal pet peeve of mine, it will be nice if they would say, thanks so much for coming. Please come back. You’re welcome. You’re very welcome. Just say it with a smile. Just look at me. Look, right. Eyes are here. Look at me.
Tony: It’s funny, I’ve read that same sentiment in a book. I’m trying to remember what book it was, but yeah, someone knows. But I think it was John DiJulius, What Customers Crave. I think it was that book he said almost the same thing.
Alan: Attention, attention, attention is just not there. You’re right. I want to be respectful of the time as well. We could be talking all day here so, let’s do this again.
Tony: Well, and just before we go, because one thing that I do want is to tell the listeners is, I mean you, you mentioned about your book If Your Website Was An Employee and you give people lots of information about websites. I know you also do website reviews because you did one for me about four years ago or something and it was, it was excellent. So one thing I would suggest to anyone who’s listening, if you’ve got a website, and I would imagine you, obviously you normally do this just for wedding professionals, but you’d probably do it for any business. I would guess.
Alan: Yes. Many of the people I deal with have other businesses as well and sometimes they’ll have more than one website. So yeah, I mean if you go to my website, which is www.alanberg.com. A-L-A-N-B-E-R-G-.com. There’s information there about my services, speaking, training, website reviews, and whatever country you’re in. If you go to Amazon, my books are, they’re usually in paperback, Kindle and audio. It is in my voice in the audio. Definitely done. I always prefer authors who read their own books most of the time.
Every once in a while I’m like, you should have had somebody else read that speakers. So people expect to hear my voice, but you can definitely get it there. Any questions you have right on my website, there’s my email, my contact form, my phone number is right there. I answer my own phone, I answer my own emails. Any questions you have I love helping people, you know, just follow their passion into a successful business.
Tony: Well, and that’s great. All that information. So I would urge people, if you do have, if you want your website to be performing better, go and have at Alan’s website for a start. You know, take him up on a website review possibly. Also, have a look at the way he uses his testimonials, his reviews on his website because that’s really good as well.
Alan: You can’t say anything that’s as good as what people are saying after they’ve done business with you. That is the reason why they should engage with you because of what other people said their experience has been.
Tony: Well Alan, it’s been a pleasure speaking to you for the last 40 minutes. As you say, we’re definitely going to have to have you back at some stage in the future. So I know you’re going to be flying around probably and I’m a million miles in the next couple of weeks, so enjoy your flights and I look forward to speaking to you again in the future.
Alan: Sounds great, Tony. Thanks.
Tony: Thank you. Hope you enjoyed today’s show with Alan Berg. In next week’s episode, episode 16 is with Gerry Brown, who bills himself as the customer lifeguard, and he’s the chief customer rescue officer. He has a book called, When a Customer Wins, Nobody Loses. That’s in next week’s episode. Please do join the Facebook group, Exceeding Expectations. Start some conversations in there, do some reviews talk about things that you’ve heard. It’d be fantastic if you can leave a review on Apple or Stitcher or any other sites and yeah, please do get in touch if you have suggestions for someone that you would like to hear on the show.
I hope you have a great start to 2019 and a fantastic year and I look forward to speaking to you next week.
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