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EE020 – Episode 20 – Tom Ross

“It’s nice to be nice. it’s great marketing but also everything comes out these days eventually. Your reputation, your brand is everything and if you’re not being nice it will come back to bite you”
Tom started out as a freelance graphic designer and over time built up his business to 16 full time staff and a team of additional contractors, and multiple 7 figures in revenue. In the meantime, he put himself in the hospital when he worked himself too hard,
His company is known worldwide for it’s stellar customer care and going the extra mile.
The Honest Entrepreneur show on YouTube and iTunes
You can check out his Honest Designers podcast episodes here: https://www.designcuts.com/honest-designers/
Instagram @TomRossMedia
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Transcript:

Tony: Exceeding expectations. Episode 20

Welcome to exceeding expectations . The show about creating exceptional experiences for your customers. The guests on the show typically have a mindset of loving to over deliver and give their customers a great experience and they try to think of ways and creative ways of how they can do that with all of the customers that they work with. (Inaudible) far better testimonials, lots of great referrals, and therefore they’re spending less time and money on marketing and advertising. In this week’s episode, I talk with Tom Ross who gives some very interesting insights from a design perspective. So here is the interview with Tom Ross.

In this week’s edition of exceeding expectations, I am sitting here with a guy called Tom Ross. How are you Tom?

Tom Ross: Yeah, I’m great. Thanks for having me on Tony.

Tony: That’s fine. It’s unusual actually as we were just speaking before we started recording to have a fellow Brit because most of my guests seem to be American and Tom also has a podcast, so most of his guests seem to be Americans.

Tom Ross: As I mentioned, I’ve got three co-hosts and one of them is from England too, and I think we deliberately conceive that just show, we’d outnumber the others.

Tony: You mentioned it to me that you’ve got two podcasts. Do you want to tell us about the two podcasts you have?

Tom Ross: Yeah, sure. So you probably will know a commonality here. The older one is connected to my main company, which is in the graphic design space, design cuts. And the podcast is the honest designer show and that’s where we speak really candidly and transparently about what it is being a designer. So everything from like client headaches to the ups and the downs and the in betweens and the journey and practicing and finding your style and even stuff like burnout and mental health. People really appreciate the kind of candidness there. Then with my personal brand stuff where I’m more in the entrepreneurial marketing space, the show is called the honest entrepreneur. It’s much the same where my whole ethos beyond just exceeding customer expectations is authenticity, transparency and just being very candid and real with your audience. So that’s the kind of common thread between the two shows.

Tony: You were saying that you’ve got some sort of a fellow hosts on the one of the podcasts?

Tom Ross: Yeah, on the design one, it’s four of us. We’ve had a few guests on where they’ve admitted after they’re like, I thought I’d come on and with four of you it would be an utter nightmare. It works really well. Four kinds of different characters so everyone just brings a different angle. Um, but yeah, normally it stirs up some good conversations and I’ll spin generally ridiculous.

Tony: I can imagine that must be- so with four of you and then you will always have a guest as well, as well as the four of?

Tom Ross: No. We have a guest maybe…25% of the time. Although we are getting more and more- I can’t believe it, Tony. I just looked out the window. It’s chucking it down were quite heavy snow.

Tony: Yeah.

Tom Ross: Wow.

Tony: Okay. How long have you been doing podcasting?

Tom Ross: It’s been a couple of years or so. I don’t know if you’ve found this and start in yours, but I love it for so many reasons. I think it makes you a better speaker. I think it makes you more aware of your speech as well. Did you get this before you did yours? Where your voice, if you hear a recording sounded terrible, you’re like “Oh I can’t sound like that. What a nightmare.” When you hear it every single week listening back, then the disconnect vanishes. Now when I listen to my voice it’s exactly what I hear coming out of my mouth.

Tony: Well I guess I had a head start ‘cause I worked on radio for seven years, so I kind of got quite used to it. I think that’s probably why I got into podcasting because of doing that.

Tom Ross: I was gonna say you sound very natural with it. For me and my co-hosts when we started, we had all kinds of stuff like we keep talking over each other because we just hadn’t found that rhythm. Sorry if you can hear someone honking, by the way, there’s maybe an out on the road in the snow by the sound of it.

Tom Ross: Like there’s endless benefits I think. Beyond just making you more self-aware with your speech and so on. When we started out, we were saying “like” every other word and”um” and “uh” and all that kind of thing. I think it can make you a better public speaker. Hold better conversations in everyday life, but it’s been so good marketing wise and that wasn’t even the real intent with that. We get so many emails, we get more correspondence and social media messages about that than anything else where people reaching out and saying nice stuff and it really is kind of got our four names out in the industry.

Tony: Are all four of you designers?

Tom Ross: Yeah. I mean, it’s such a weird industry if you’re not in it because we’re even more niche. People who aren’t designers kind of get the concept of a graphic designer. My co-hosts create digital products. That’s kind of what our company sells as well. So these are people who make a living doodling bunnies, one of them, uh, illustrate bunnies and then turn them into graphics and sell them. Uh, we’ve got other people who create fonts for a living and is that kind of career where you tell someone outside of the industry and they’re like, “Oh, uh what? that’s not a job” . It can be really lucrative and they’re doing really well.

Tony: What is it that you specialize in?

Tom Ross: My journey has been simultaneously, creativity and design and entrepreneurship from quite a young age. I’ve learned them in tandem. That makes sense with what my company does now because we are a global marketplace that helps people creating these digital products to sell them to the end customer. I hate to use the analogy, but we’re kind of like Amazon in that respect. We’re like the Amazon of design products. So we helped with the marketing and distribution and we cultivate a lovely community around that and treat our customers very well, which I believe we’re going to touch on today.

Tony: How long have you been doing sort of- in the design world, I guess?

Tom Ross: Right from the start. So as I say, I learned that and marketing simultaneously and I was about 12 years old when I got into it all.

Tony: Wow. Okay.

Tom Ross: I remember the moment as well. My oldest friend, a American guy called Nick, we would sat at his computer, we are 12 years old and this was like early stage into that compared to now. A lot of things were very fledgling and he right clicked on a webpage and hit view source if you know where it- obviously then

Tom Ross: Its power or code behind the website. It was like the first time I saw the Matrix I was like.

Tony:

Tom Ross: “Oh, don’t you mean people do these things. That’s nuts.” I had to get my head around that. But then I just got hooked and stay from 12 years old. We started basically creating websites together, just be endless random projects and a lot of them didn’t see the light of day. Some of them did some of them brought in some money. Some of them we sold, not for huge amounts but it was just this kind of perpetual hobby as we were growing up that we fit it around our lives where we would just be dabbling and learning, getting better at building these things.

Tony: Is there any sort of particular area of design that you prefer doing now?

Tom Ross: I’ve done a few over the years. I ran a fairly popular blog back in the day teaching Photoshop and that dealt with a lot of photo manipulation. I had a lot of fun doing that. You could create some pretty cool works of art. My specialist subject tended to be web design and a lot of stuff around conversions, which doesn’t sound very sexy, but it’s quite cool where you get really interesting clients. Like I had the biggest electric bass teacher online for example, was one of my clients where you can work for a few weeks with someone, launch a new website and then suddenly he’s making twice the sales. He was previously overnight as I’ll get a real kick out of that kind of thing. I would say like heavy in photoshop heavy with the web and marketing side of design.

Tony: From what I understand of the kind of web design world, I mean WordPress’s is pretty huge. So or you sort of creating themes and such or do you just do your own bespoke site?

Tom Ross: We are more on the product side than services. We could sell themes. We don’t currently, we probably will in the future, but we actually run off WordPress ourselves even though we’re quite large established market based now WordPress is so powerful as a CMS you can apply it to all types of businesses and really kind of scared out and bolt bits onto it. I’m a WordPress fan for sure.

Tony: As far as your clients are concerned, I use, niche any name particular area of clients or do you just kind of go across the board?

Tom Ross: We’re more across the board now. I’m a huge fan of niching, I think, especially when you’re starting out, but it’s just been over, we’ve been over five and a half years now as we’ve scaled out and we’ve attracted more disparity in our customer base. We’ve just launched a procreate section this week, which brushes that you use on the iPad for any non-designers that’s quite weird name for a product kind of sounds a little bit dodgy. But they, um, so yeah, we’ve launched that and so we’re attracting, a lot of people were doing calligraphy on the iPad for example. We’ve got people getting corporate stuff, we’ve got people buying funds, we’ve got people into the cute illustrations. We’ve got people who love something called digital scrapbooking, which tends to be people who are retired and pieced together and there’s pictures of their babies and their family, in kind of digital collages. There’s so many varieties, like when you really go deep in the design world, there’s endless niches in there and we do try and cater to as many as possible.

Tony: It sounds like when someone comes to, you’ve got such a wide range of things that you can offer them. Probably a lot of things they had no idea that were even possible.

Tom Ross: Yeah, I think the discovery process can be quite fun. Designers are quite an interesting breed. I know because I am one, but almost like wine, they can to an extent collect resources. So especially funds people geek out over a beautiful fonts so much and people were literally hoard them even if they’re not buying it. Cause they’ve got a suitable project yet. They’re buying it because they think one day, hopefully they might. But in the meantime it looks pretty. So they want it on the hard drive.

Tony: What tends to be your customers’ expectations and how often are they realistic?

Tom Ross: In terms of the company right now, we would not actually be someone the client would use. Imagine there’s a client who needs a website, there’s a designer who’s going to build the website. The designer would get the tools, he needs to build a website from us and then he would go and create it for the client, if that makes sense.

Tony: Alright.

Tom Ross: If the designer is building out a nice WordPress website, maybe they need some graphics for the background. Maybe they need a font to help create the brand and the logo. They’d get those kinds of resources from us. So we actually sell the assets, the graphics, the font, that kind of thing rather than the actual service or the, uh, the website creation bit.

Tony: But you are offering a range of different designers.

Tom Ross: No. We’re not even offering, the designers were literally just offering the tools that the designers use.

Tony: Oh. Okay.

Tom Ross: Our audience, they’re all designers. They’ve got their own clients, they’ve got their own customers. There’s even people selling physical products, so people might be creating T shirts, they might be selling mugs on Etsy or something like that. The stuff that they would use to create the designs to put on the mugs in the T shirts, they again would get from us.

Tony: How were you able to deliver more than they expect?

Tom Ross: I think customer service is huge. Product quality is huge. And I’m obsessed with this. This is one of the foundations of the company, to be honest. When I started it, it was just pushing it to the absolute hell. And that’s something I’ve tried to now disseminate down to the team as we’ve scaled up.

As I say, product quality, you’ve got to start there because no matter how good your customer service, no matter how well you treat your customers, if the product sucks, then you’ve got a problem. So for us, we’re highly curated. We only want to accept the best products available on the market. We don’t want to open the floodgates to kind of subpar products. So there’s a whole duration process. It’s very, kind of unscalable and arduous, but that’s how much I care about this. It’s like the team will literally go through and hand test every element of some very large complex products just to check it is up to scratch. And so when you’ve got that piece in place, then I believe you exceed expectations mainly with your customer service and that can be woven into your marketing as well. But essentially getting back to the customers in a timely fashion and then trying to go above and beyond and something I do for the team here as part of their training historically I will draw a little timeline from zero to 10 and then I will try and put examples of how you treat your customers on that scale.

I’d be like, a minus one might be being horrible to the customer as zero would be not getting back to them at all. A two might be getting back to them with a very average kind of response. A five, in our timeline is what most people would consider exemplary customer service. But for us that is like nowhere near good enough. I really like to see how far you can push it. I’ll give you an example. This is something I did myself in the early days. Let’s say a customer drops you an email because they’ve got a minor problem or a question about a product. You then respond, you’re super warm and chatty and friendly and all this stuff, which we know to be good customer service, but you take it a step further, you open up a conversation so you’re not trying to close off a support ticket or something like that as quickly as you can. You’re trying to help them upfront, but then you’re trying to open up a potential relationship to form. And you can do that all kinds of ways. You can do that by paying an interest, by kind of picking out threads and their email and running with them. And another cool hack is if you see they’ve got an email that has their own domain in it. Imagining, it’s Tony Winyard.com, for example. They could then go to your website because they’ve seen it in your email. Check out what you’re doing. And then as a little aside at the bottom of the email once you’ve helped their main problem, cause they, by the way, just checked out your website. “I love what you’re doing. I’ve dug through it there. I’m huge fan and maybe we could support you in this way” or maybe you just encourage them with their creative work or something like that. That opens up a whole different level of conversation.

They used to either not hearing back, getting a crappy response or (inaudible) and it’s a done deal. Whereas you’ve now helped them and now you’re just chatting and there’s a relationship build. From there you can chat on and on and some of our customers, they’d been chatting to us essentially. It’s not like they’ve got technical issues every week. They’re just chatting with us every week for the last five years. That’s awesome because now they’re friends as well as customers. That breeds loyalty. That blows their mind. No one has bothered to do that. But that’s the bedrock of what the company was founded on. And there’s something I really, really believe in and it’s really rewarding. We’ve heard customers fly from all over the world and pop into the officer’s here and hang out with us for the day.

We’ve had staff where they’ve actually befriended the customers outside of their working hours and their mates on Instagram. We’ve had team members meet up to like go for down in London with a customer who happens to be in the country. And that stuff is amazing to me because all of those instances could have just been a support ticket that got closed off at the first interaction.

Tony: Yeah. Do you have a lot of competition?

Tom Ross: Yeah, we’ve got a ton of competition. Particularly I think it’s dying down a little bit now and now as we’re growing we’re kind of, we’re entering a space where I guess we’re competing against some bigger players, which is scary but also exciting. But a few years ago when we were really taken off about a year or two after we kind of grew like a rock- the rockets growth, that’s quite a bad example I don’t want to say grow like a weed that sounds negative, but you know what I mean?

Tony: Yeah. I know.

Tom Ross: Like a year or two after we saw that tremendous growth, people started following us into the market because they thought, oh, they’re doing well. We can do it too. And because there’s quite a low barrier to entry with a lot of online businesses, you know, there’s a high barrier in terms of doing it well, but a low barrier to doing it at all. At one point we were getting one new competitor per week and I remember that. I was like, oh, this can’t be good. Um, you know, the market is going to get saturated very, very quickly. But what is, um, what’s interesting is how many of those people fall by the wayside because they haven’t got the longevity. And as I say, I don’t even look at competition, to be honest with you, Tony. Not a huge amount. I mean, yes, I keep an eye on the market to some extent, but I don’t spend my days obsessing about it. I know some people, they’re all consumed by it. They spend half their day having anxiety attacks because they’re constantly looking at what the competitions are doing. I tend to try and look forward and look where we can take things next. I feel like if we keep moving, we keep innovating and iterating, that’s the best way to distance ourselves from the competition. If we’re constantly looking back and just seeing everything they’re doing, that’s only going to draw us closer to them and we’re going to lose.

Tony: It’s funny you say that because that’s a very common thread from a lot of the people that I’ve interviewed on this podcast have said things very similar to what you just said there. It seems that people who have the mindset of trying to give their customers an amazing experience so often also that therefore don’t see…other people doing the same thing as them as competition.

Tom Ross: Yeah, I think as a healthier mindset. I mean, I did it when I started the company. I don’t know if you know this example, but David Bauer, apparently, when he used to write his lyrics, he would sit on the floor probably on some cocktail of drugs, I’d imagine. And he would put a loader, random words and kind of cut out in a big circle around him and it would look around and he’d sort of pick out words at random and try and combine them and use that to come up with innovative lyrics. I almost did a similar thing when I started the company in that, I printed out and made notes on the whole state of the market and all the existing competition before we came on the scene. I analyze them and I sat and I put it in a big circle like that and systematically worked out how we can be the best in our industry.

I would look at everything from like their logo and branding and their website and their level of customer care. I knew of two competitors were outsourcing their customer support to China and neglecting their customers in the process. We had to beat them on that front. There were about 10 pillars which, as I said, I systematically went through them and found a way for us to be the best in every single pillar and therefore be the best option on the market. That is something I’d advocate for anyone to do. If it’s impossible, I would advise you, pick a different angle or niche down because there are always these little pockets, these little niches where you can be number one.

A very bad mistake I made back in the day is, I would look at bigger businesses in my industry and I’d think, well, if they can bring in $1 million a year, then if I’m 10% as good as they are, that must mean I’m going to make a hundred grand. Obviously that’s complete nonsense because why would anyone pay me to be 10% as good as someone else? They just go and pay for the option that was the best and 100% good. The answer is to try and be the best option. I think when you really more systematic and set your mind to it and you stand and so on, I think it is more than doable than people realize.

Tony: I get the impression from what you were saying. The customers that you’re dealing with, when they first come to you, they’re maybe not used to the level of customer service they’re getting from you that they’ve been receiving previously.

Tom Ross: Absolutely not. We’ve had five plus years of people literally telling us they got gobsmacked with how we treat them. We have people shouting about it, telling their friends. People shouting on social media saying things like “This is why I love designing cards”. “This why I love these guys”. It’s so powerful. I just fully believe in it. Like I say, quality product first, but this is like a very close seconds that run in tandem.

Tony: Where do you see the future for your company? How will you expand from where you are now?

Tom Ross: It’s a very tough question. I’m not one for like three year plans. And to be honest, the market online in general moves so quickly that they’re not actually that useful. Where I’m at now, we’ve now built enough infrastructure and enough team out that we are executing like never before. We’re getting stuff done in a month that would have taken us two years before. That excites me because it means we come up with a plan for the near future, we execute on that, we tear through it and then we come up with the next one and the next one and we just keep executing. And that for me is exciting.

Yes, like within that I’ve got some kind of bigger picture aspirations. In an overall sense, I want us to be the no brainer go to place for designers. For me we are hands down the best option in our market and therefore just more people need to know about us because when they do, they tend to not want to go anywhere else. I’m not saying that, like I said at the start, I’ve got no interest in this being a pitch fest for my company. It’s probably not super relevant anyway, my company for a lot of your listeners. I want it to be a good example of how to think about these things hopefully.

Tony: What would most designers who come to you, what would be…say the most popular product? What are most people were looking for?

Tom Ross: Fonts. Probably. It’s evening out a little bit, but historically fonts are super popular. As I alluded to earlier, people literally collect them, they jump all over them, a beautiful font. You can almost never have enough, even if they’re only slightly different, you just see one and you’re like, oh, that’s just got a bit of edge. Like I really want to use that for future projects.

Tony: Would a designer, for example, come to you and say that I need a font for this project and explain what the project is and then ask you to recommend something? Is that how it works?

Tom Ross: Sometimes, but most of the time it’s more…think of, you’re shopping on Amazon. They would literally search around and browse around and find the one they like and then grab it.

Tony: Just kind of go back to the podcasts. The other guys that you’re working with. What kind of things are you discussing the different episodes that you have?

Tom Ross: It’s been all kinds of stuff. It tends to be honest, hence the name of the show. Most important to me is not having this glossy highlight reel. I don’t think- if we jumped on- not that any of my co-hosts are this arrogant, but if they jumped on and were just like “Yeah, you know, we’re super successful”. “We’re flying high”. “Like it’s all going really well and here are some examples of “-that wouldn’t be very relatable for people. What got the show off the ground is that these very successful co-hosts of mine would jump on and they’ve got thousands- tens of thousands of people that look up to them and what they’re doing. They would open up and say “I go through a lot of the same stuff as you guys listening at home. I will get the anxiety, I will get the creative blocks and things of that nature”.

People just jumped all over it because they said, “Oh, I thought it was just me and this makes me feel so much better”. The same way we can just be silly and show more of our characters. For me, that’s almost more important than the topics. The topics are arbitrary, where we talk about whatever we feel like each week. Everything from like, how to work with clients, to how to sell physical products, to how to price itself correctly and all kinds of stuff with guests as well. But the common narrative is one of openness and transparency.

Tony: On the whole kind of subject of exceeding expectations. We talk sort of briefly before about sort of stories. Can you think of any stories where you have really exceeded what someone was hoping to get from you?

Tom Ross: Yeah, I’ll give you a couple. With my company, we like to try and surprise and delight and reward some of our most loyal community members. For me, that often is going very specific and very deep and very personal.Instead of a generic email, it might be getting them a gift and instead of being a generic gift like some of our merchandise, we might see what they’re obsessed with on social media and then go on Ebay. Lets they’re into, I dunno, a particular musician. We go on Ebay and get like a signed poster from that musician and send that to them with a handwritten note of appreciation. I love to see how far you can go with that stuff and it can do some really interesting stuff.

I’ll give you another example. Christmas is just gone last year and I thought we need to do something for our suppliers that we work with. Outside of just sending them gifts. Why don’t we do a video? Then I was like, but it would be kind of lame just to have me record a one minute video and send that to all of them. Why don’t I do a personal video for every supplier?. We worked with about 400 suppliers at this point. This thing took like at least a couple of hours. I think my voice was hoarse by the end I could barely speak. It took like two days for our video guy to edit an export and upload them and do all of that. Then we had to email them all out individually. The response was phenomenal, though. People loved it and they couldn’t believe that we’d gone to the trouble and they’re saying no one does this. My company. (Inaudible) devote that much time just to do a little gesture like this and it’s just going that extra mile, isn’t it? Doing the stuff which no one else does. I’m obsessed with that differentiation and that respect.

Tony: Are you familiar with a book called Giftology?

Tom Ross: Oh, I haven’t read it. I’m pretty sure I’ve been told about it in the past.

Tony: From what you’ve just described, I think you should read that book.It’s exactly what you’ve just been describing over the last few minutes. That’s what the book is all about. It’s about giving gifts to people that are not just to stand a generic box of chocolates box of..Christmas hand product. The boring gifts that people normally give. It’s about trying to do something for a client. There is relevant to them that is really mean something to them rather than just a box of chocolates, which doesn’t mean anything.

Tom Ross: I’ve made a note, as you mentioned it. I’m going to order a copy for the office for myself and our customer care team. I love that. I appreciate the recommendation.

Tony: Well, I’m actually hoping to have the author of the book- is a guy called John Ruhlin. I’m hoping to have him as a guest on the show in a, sometime in the future. We’ll see whether that comes up for now.

Tom Ross: Yeah, that’d be amazing. Let me know if you hook that up and I’ll definitely have a listen. I can give you another example if that’s helpful. Not so much the gifting but that providing more value.

Tony: Yeah, of course. Go on.

Tom Ross: I’ve talked a bit about my company. On the side of that, I’m doing the personal branding and that was basically me loving helping entrepreneurs. I love doing it for free. In a world where everyone’s kind of charging and all the rest of that. I love doing it for free. Something I always push out there is, if you want to help people, then help them. If you want to bring them value, you bring them value. So many people talk about that, but they kind of withhold the good stuff. I think there’s endless ways you can do this. Something which I’m loving doing is, I’ve got a little community around what I’m doing on Instagram and social media and I organized the weekly call to basically be a show of gratitude for some of my most engaged and ardent supporters. As busy as my schedule is, I jump on a two hour call every Friday to give them free consultancy for their businesses and anyone can do that. I’m trying to encourage my personal trainer to do that with his clients. It’s such a good way to deepen that human connection and to have fun doing it. If you really care about your customers and your clients, you should enjoy that process. It’s one of the highlights of my week. So I jumped on. We all have a laugh, like you started setting them homework and they’re starting to see real strides forward in their business and I get such a kick out of that.

Whether you are an entrepreneurial mentor or say personal trainer, the tennis coach, a life coach, it doesn’t matter. You will have some kind of fledgling community around what you’re doing and the best way to get them to stick around and care more about you is to give and to give and to give and not to worry about what I am immediately going to get back from this. Everyone’s so obsessed with the RRI, with closing the sale, with extract in that immediate value.I know it sounds a bit airy fairy, but I’m more a believer in the calmer approach. When you’re constantly doing and executing and just putting out good into the world doors tend to start unlocking themselves as serendipity tends to happen more. It might not be immediately from that person that you’ve helped, but maybe they tell a friend who tells a friend or maybe that’s just how you grow your brand and that opens up other doors. However it works. I just believe in it.

Tony: Now that’s a great tip. You have some really good advice. How do you do that. on something like Facebook live or how do you go about actually doing that?

Tom Ross: I do that on zoom actually. I have started doing more lives and obviously that can reach a wider audience, but this is literally like a little private.

Tom Ross: We’ve all become like good mates we’ll literally jump on. We’ve got all these silly inside jokes and we egg each other on. I just love it and I couldn’t care less of it. It’s highly unscalable and that could be better uses of my time for scaling my brand out and stuff because I genuinely like to help people. I guess I’m just tired of everyone saying “I love helping others”. Then I test them and be like “Oh cool, do you mind answering this question?” And they’re like “Yeah, but only if you go and buy my premium course”. And it’s like, you’re kind of full of it.

Tony: I imagine when you’re doing it as well, the people that are on the call with you, they’re all designers and some of them are now sort of made new connections because of that. Would that be true?

Tom Ross: Yeah. Like it opens up so many connections. They’re not just designers. This is like I say, this is my side thing around my day job. So my day job is connected more to the creative space. The side that is helping any entrepreneur that needs it. A lot of the group are creatives.All these friendships and these connections form and before- like some of them even- there’s a couple of them where now they’re providing products for my main company cause I’ve gotten to know them and I’m like, you’re already talented. Let’s do something here. You never know what doors going to open up.

Tony: Absolutely. Well listen, Tom, time has flown. It’s gone a half an hour already. So just before we finish, What are your thoughts about over delivering and why maybe people should think about that as a business model? Any thoughts on that?

Tom Ross: Yeah, I think there’s several reasons to do it. I think do it because I believe it’s the right thing. I think treating people well, being a good person, that all plays out well as I just said with the karma thing. I think that’s the main reason for doing it. It’s lucky that a side benefit is, it’s incredibly good marketing and it’s good marketing because- well, for a few reasons. It’s good marketing because it’s the best differentiation because hardly anyone else does so if you do it you stand out in your marketplace. It’s great marketing because it leads to a high percentage of word of mouth and referrals, which is the best way to get new customers better than any other channel. From both sides, from being a nice person and from growing your business, you can do both just by over delivering to people.

Can I give a couple of books shout out? They’re not mine.

Tony: Yeah.

Tom Ross: They’re just the ones that I’ve read.Two of my favorite books in this area are delivering happiness, which is by the founder of Zappos who are now in the shoe company

Tony: I’ve got that book.

Tom Ross: Great book right?

Tony: Yeah.

Tom Ross: By fellow Tony Actually I believe.

Tony: It is.

Tom Ross: Also the thank you economy by Gary Vaynerchuk, which is leased selling, but my favorite of all his books and just gets really deep into this stuff. It kind of takes you back to the roots of small town living where everyone knew everyone. So the local Baker had to be nice to everyone because otherwise he got out of business. It kind of argues how we’ve lost a lot of that over the years, hiding behind keyboards and going online but now with the transparency of social media, it’s come full circle and now is the time to actually be super nice. That’s reason number three actually, Tony. It’s nice to be nice, it’s great marketing, but also everything kind of comes out these days. I think eventually your reputation, your brand is everything and if you’re not being nice, it will come back to bite you.

Tony: Okay. Tom, How would people get in contact with you if they want to find out more about you?

Tom Ross: Yeah, sure. My main company, the design side of things is designcuts.com. What I’m really obsessing on the side of that right now, I’m in my spare time is personal bit helping fellow entrepreneurs. I do that through my weekly show on Youtube and Itunes, the honest entrepreneur show. Feel free to hit me up on Instagram at Tom Ross media. If you drop me a DM mentioned that you listened to the show and reach out with anything you need help with, anything you’re struggling with, with your marketing, I guarantee I will get back to you and I do everything I can to help cause it’s been a pleasure jumping one with Tony today.

Tony: Fantastic. Okay. All of those links we’ll put in the show notes. It’s been a real pleasure Tom. I really appreciate it.

Tom Ross: No, likewise. Thanks so much for having me. It’s been fun.

Tony: Okay. Cheers Tom.

Tom Ross: Cheers.

Tony: Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of exceeding expectations. Next week in episode 21. It’s the first time I have two people on the show. It’s two ladies called, Kelly Tyler and Helena Holrick. They run various things. They’ve got so many businesses between them. I don’t know how they find the time to do all the things they do. They specifically try to help speakers, authors, and coaches. Help them in a number of different ways. It’s a really interesting episode, and even if you’re not an author, speaker, coach, I think you’ll find enormous value in next week’s episode. I hope you do tune in next week. Please do join the Facebook group, leave a review. You can find Facebook group just by searching for exceeding expectations, and I look forward to seeing you next week.

2019-05-21T23:28:06+01:00

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