Billy Boughey helps organizations improve company culture and increase their team performance. He also has an ambition to own a major US sports team one day.
In this episode we learn a lot more about his wide array of talents and experiences.
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Tony Winyard 0:00
exceeding expectations Episode 77. In this week’s show, my guest is Billy Boughey and he talks about helping organisations improve company culture and increasing team performance. And he also has a pretty cool ambition about one day owning a major sports team in the states that we’re going to find out about that very soon. This is the podcast where we aim to give you ideas how you can give your customers a better experience and so you enjoy it more as well. why not subscribe on iTunes, leave a review for us to share the episode with someone who you feel would maybe benefit from some of the stories that you hear in this week’s show. I do hope you enjoy the show today.
Exceeding expectations My guest today is Billy Boughey. How are you Billy?
Billy Boughey 0:56
me? I’m doing so well. Really, really excited to be on the show.
Tony Winyard 1:00
You’re in Atlanta, Georgia,
Billy Boughey 1:02
Atlanta, Georgia, they call it the Dirty South. So we’re down here in the south of south of the states born and raised here and loving for my city and and I’ve never had the chance to go to London before. So I’m excited to learn a little bit, maybe about London on this podcast as well.
Tony Winyard 1:21
For people who are listening and maybe not so familiar with Atlanta, what was it famous for Billy?
Billy Boughey 1:25
So Atlanta is home to a lot of great businesses that are international businesses now and it’s become really a, a hub for a lot of great organisations. So if anyone’s heard of the Home Depot, or Chick-Fil-a, or Coca Cola, or Delta, those are kind of the four big hub groups here in Atlanta. It’s the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, which was the civil rights movement here in the United States and just a lot of great food, a lot of great nightlife. We have some fantastic sports team so I’m a my ambition in life is to own the Atlanta Hawks which is our professional basketball team. So, my activity from a business perspective, everything that I do I map towards How can I be the owner of a professional sports team. So that’s my goal. And it really lines up with the exceeding expectations idea. And I’ve seen a lot of great sporting arenas and different sports, from to football, to American football, to basketball to baseball, and looking at stadiums that really exceed guest expectations. And I’m looking forward to owning a sports team when I can really do that for the fans that come so that’s that’s one of my little goals in the beginning, but But yeah, Atlanta, we have mild temperatures. Beautiful, beautiful place. So if you want to come visit, you guys look me up and I’ll give you a tour.
Tony Winyard 2:40
Sounds good. There’s so much to explore and what you’ve been telling me so let’s start from what you mentioned just now about your baseball career. Did that start from school?
Billy Boughey 2:53
Yeah, it’s really fun. You know, in Atlanta, particularly baseball is is a massive sport. So throughout the year, there’s teams that play And as a kid, I could always throw the ball really, really hard. And through high school I threw 93 miles per hour which is, which was fairly fast for a high school student and got drafted by the Florida Marlins, which is a professional team decided not to sign with them, I went to college. And then when I finished up college, I signed with the Philadelphia Phillies for their minor league teams. So they have the big league team, which is where the big dogs play and get paid a lot of money. And then you have the minor leagues, which is where I was so it didn’t pay a lot. But I had a chance to play a game and get a paycheck for it. It was really fun. Did that for two years. And then in the offseason, which is really where my MC, playing guitar. I’m a freestyle rapper as well, where the music and culture and entertainment part came in because the off seasons of baseball’s where I started really hosting events and creating experiences for people. So that’s a mini snapshot of my baseball career.
Tony Winyard 3:55
And so the events that you just talked about, so how did that come about? What was the instigator for that?
Billy Boughey 4:01
you know, I believe in serendipity, I believe that every life on the planet has a story. And when you collide that story with somebody else, your story either gets better or worse. And I’ve tried to put myself in the position of having my story collide with really, really great, fantastic people that are going to help me propel what I’m doing, but also encourage them to do what they’re doing. So I met a gentleman during my first offseason of baseball that was, was running a production company. And he was doing a big corporate of it was actually a wild wild west country western event. And he asked me if I wanted to come DJ. So that’s where I really learned how to play music. What song do you play at the right time? How do you make sure the audience is engaged, and I watched the way he did it, and I was hooked. That was in the year 2000, which was 20 years ago.
Tony Winyard 4:45
Did you have any previous DJ experience before that?
Billy Boughey 4:47
No, I play guitar and I sang and I really learned how to freestyle rap through college. So I knew a little bit but that was my very first, get behind the turntables actually figure out what environment you’re trying to create. And as you know that environment you create with music is so beautiful. I’m such a huge fan of all types of music. But it’s something special when you can create a fun environment. So yes, that’s where it started.
Tony Winyard 5:10
And then so what happened from there on in?
Billy Boughey 5:13
Yeah, I realised that a lot of people in the industry were not exceeding expectations. They were really doing the bare minimum to get by you work with a hotel or Conference Centre, and they had an audio visual person that was usually pretty ballsy and we’re very excited and, and you would hire a keynote speaker, they would come in and their slides usually didn’t work with the screen or the projector you had and there was just a lot of complications. And so I figured, gosh, how can we make a fantastic seamless experience for the client and charge a premium price for not just putting on the event but creating an experience I went to went to a concert by Justin Timberlake. I’m sure you’ve heard his name. Justin’s an artist based out of Memphis, Tennessee, and I was at his concert about five years ago and what he said really crystallised for me. Why Do what I do. He said, I don’t want my music to get in your ears, I want it to get in your blood. And I realised when you put on a really great event and it becomes an experience, all the guests are leaving raving, they are inspired to be a better human. They love the brand that they went and saw that much more. So it really started for me one client at a time doing a good job and my website was a very good the internet really had just sort of came out when I was starting. So there wasn’t a lot of chances for PR other than just loving people and serving people well and I love there’s a book called Matthew, it’s in the Bible. It’s chapter five, verse 41. It says somebody asked you to go one mile go with them too. And, you know, whatever face someone is for me, I just believe that so much if someone says go one mile go with them, too. So I’ve just sort of built my career by going the second mile for my clients and really figuring out what would that mean for them. So that’s how it grew. And 20 years later, I’ve got an agency in Atlanta called elevate experiences and we help the best brands in the world. Make the ribbon so awesome. So that’s what I do now.
Tony Winyard 7:05
Something you said just then kind of piqued my interest. You talked about how in your very early days of doing the hosting and the events and so on, and many people would just simply turn it up and just about meeting expectations. And It seems like you sensed quite early on that’s what they were doing. What was it do you think in your background, where did that come from that you realised people shouldn’t simply be meeting expectations?
Billy Boughey 7:28
It’s so interesting. It’s a very intuitive question. As I look back to my childhood, and I always had a lemonade stand. I don’t know if you know what that is particularly but I would stand on the side of the road with lemonade and try to sell it for 25 cents. I wouldn’t buy blow pops and try to sell them to my classmates. I would sell baseball cards. I was an entrepreneur from the very beginning and so I paid attention to what kind of marketing was working. And I would really look at what tree do I want to put my sign on for my eliminate I’d watched the eyes of the people Driving by see where they’re looking. And so I pride myself on paying attention. And I begin to pay attention to what the event space was doing. And it’s always morphing. It’s always changing. But here’s something everybody wants, every client I’ve ever worked with, is begging for someone to ask these questions. So for the listeners out there, not just if you’re in the event world, but if you’re in any kind of customer service, Client Services thing, these questions will help you number one is what does your client need? I went to a negotiation seminar you love this years ago, and we did this activity where two people got together, and they both had different sheets of paper, one was blue and one was yellow. And the things that were on your sheet of paper were so different. So the things on my paper, is I really need to buy a refrigerated truck. I’m going to go out of business. If I don’t buy one, I’ve got to get my groceries to the grocery store. I will pay $45,000 for it. On the other person’s paper it said, I’ve got to sell my truck. I’m gonna go bankrupt. I’m gonna lose my house. I will take as low as $15,000 for this truck, and then the negotiation happened. And it was interesting to see the different ways that that negotiation took place. And what I think about always is I think about what is on my client sheet of paper? What what’s what’s there when, you know, when an event planner, like, how could I make this a fantastic experience? So question one is, what does your client need? Number two is, when does your client need it? And that third question that comes in is, how can I exceed their expectations? How do I say if a proposal is going to come next Thursday? What if I sent it this Tuesday? What if I told them I was going to bring six people to an event or fulfil what they’re paying me for? And I bring eight? What if I were to write them a handwritten note on their birthday the next year just to say thank you, and remind them specifically of what we did. So that was really, from the beginning. For me, I’ve always valued paying attention to other people. And for me, I’ve always valued how do you create a remarkable experience for others. So I think that’s sort of just bled into the way that I do my business now.
Tony Winyard 10:01
So when you started to take that approach when you were doing the events and so on quite early on, I guess you were getting very different results to other people that were doing similar things?
Billy Boughey 10:11
That’s the goal. You know, I would say that our clients rave about our service. Our clients rave about how we follow up with them and have better conversations and really help them think through how they how they do their thing. There’s a lot of great companies out there, I’m very, I’m very quick to say there are some wonderful organisations that are doing similar things that we do. I use the phrase a lot that we play really well in the same box with others. So sometimes we’re brought in underneath another company to just be the emcee for the event. That’s kind of my trade. We have 15 MCs on our team that at anytime could go and host that event. Sometimes they don’t need the event planning. They don’t need the ideation they just want somebody to execute that. Sometimes they need a brand ambassador, someone that’s going to come and high five guests as they arrive. So depending on what level of service we provide a client, if it’s turnkey, we do all of it that’s one thing. Or if it’s we come in and were working under another company, my goal is not just to please the client, who you know the brand the event is for, but also please that person that hired me and really think about how could I, how could I have them when they think about their next event, the only thought they have is we have to have elevate because they just went above and beyond so so I would say we we get really, really good results for our clients. But we’re always learning we’re always getting better.
Tony Winyard 11:32
And so now, Elevate is obviously a lot bigger from where you started. What type of events are you doing now? What kind of clients are you working with?
Billy Boughey 11:40
Yeah, we get a chance to work with a lot of different brands. And the the phrase that I use a lot and this could be something that’ll help your listeners as well is I like to make our brands think about a couple things. How are you making my team members smile? And how are you making my customers rave? And so some of the events we do are for internal I had an event last week with a brand here in Atlanta called IPA. They had 120 people in their company. And they did a town hall kickoff. So that event was sound DJ slides. I spoke for 45 minutes and did a keynote talk about how do you build a great culture. And then we did 15 minutes of q&a had some interactive games, that’s one kind of thing we do is internal for their team. Another thing we do is for brands like Delta Airlines, or for a food company, here in Atlanta based called chick fil a, is we help them tell their story to their customers, and how do we help them launch new restaurants in different places, and that’s more of a customer facing. So depending on whether we’re doing an internal event for a company, or a customer facing event, it’s a bit different approach on how we do that. But those are just a couple couple ideas of clients we work with, we work with clients that are massive all the way down to, clients that are local and small and just want to do a really good fun event for their team.
Tony Winyard 12:58
You talked about brand experiences. So what do you mean by brand experiences?
Billy Boughey 13:04
We’re all a brand, right? every person’s a brand, every brand we interact with my favourite four brands of all time are Disney, Apple, Nike, and Lululemon. Those are my four favourite brands of all time, those kind of brands want to make sure they put on an event that is fantastic. We decided to switch our name from Elevate live events to Elevate experiences about three years ago if you go to our website, and actually if you type in Elevate Live Events, it’ll redirect to Elevate Experiences. We decided to not just say we’re not just a live event company, because there’s a lot of live event groups, we really want to create that experience where and the first question to ask a client when we’re kind of in a sales meeting or trying to present what we’re doing is also Hey, what do you want your clients to be? Or what do you want your people that come to your event to be thinking about? What do you want them to be feeling and that For us that brand experiences when they engage with your brand, when they see your logo when they interact with something online, what do you want them to be thinking? What do you want them to be feeling, and the live event that you have is a really good chance for them to think about your brand and to feel it. And I think that’s the the big element that I’m trying to get across when we put on this experience for them, is we want somebody really, really feel what that’s all about.
Tony Winyard 14:22
And you just mentioned Disney; you’ve got a story about Disney?
Billy Boughey 14:25
Well, I love I love Walt Disney. There’s a ride there he put out in New York City at the World’s Fair in 1964. called the Carousel of Progress. And there’s a ride. It’s very, it’s not a really fast ride. It’s more of a story that Walt Disney was telling. But there’s a song that they play as you ride on that ride. And the song goes, it’s a great big, beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day. Man has a dream. That’s the star he follows his dream with his mind in his heart when it becomes a reality. That becomes a dream for you and me. There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow and the reason I love Disney so much as they’re always trying to think about what does tomorrow look like what is the next step look like. And I have a five year old daughter named Piper. And Piper was there and she loves going to the stores there at Disney and begging her dad begging her dad to buy everything there. But she picked up something and she dropped it and she broke it in the middle of the store. Just imagine the scene. It’s like, it’s like the record scratched and everything stopped and she dropped it and broke into 1000 pieces and she looked up with me with a big tear in her eye and and you know, I did my best as a dad not to shame her or get frustrated. I said alright Sweetie, well, we’ve got to go tell them that we broke it. We’ve got to go pay for it. And she said she said you know what, let me go tell them and she walked over there by herself. And she told the lady at the register that she had broken this item. It was about 4040 American dollars. So it wasn’t cheap. And the lady from Disney came out from behind the counter, got down on one knee and look Piper right in the eye and said thank you for telling me that your honesty is going to take you a long way in life. I want to give you one of those to say thank you. And she gave it to her for free. Now, that’s an $80 decision that a frontline team member was able to snap their fingers and on the spot make. What does that mean? What does that mean for this podcast that everybody’s hearing this story? What does that from mean for me when I’m wanting to buy season tickets and take my family back over and over and over again, I’m never going to forget that story. and empowering your frontline team members, the ones that are actually executing on what your brand’s doing to do things like that is literally everything. So that’s my story of Disney. I’ve got a lot of different ones I’ve I’ve seen team members at Disney World when a when a young boy or girl drops an ice cream on the ground and they’re crying. They’ll go get them another one to bring it to them. So they’ve got something within their system at Disney. I’ve actually been to the Disney Institute got a little behind the scenes of how they do their thing. And they really empower their people to exceed expectations person by person. And on the ground, not just in their big marketing campaign
Tony Winyard 17:04
How did your daughter react when that lady said that?
Billy Boughey 17:09
You know, it’s formative years, you know this when you’re five years old, it made everything and to watch her eyes light up. And I saw it in her face. She connected that because she was honest. She got something great. For me, that’s literally everything. You know, if you can raise up someone that’s making good decisions, and then you have a brand that rewards your child for making the right decision. I mean, I would tell I was totally expecting them to say Okay, thanks for telling us. Hey, Dad, you know, that’s $40 you know, I would have gladly pay for it and would have not have been that we broke it. But they wouldn’t. They went above and beyond those like, not only are you not charging me for it, you’re giving her one for free. I literally couldn’t believe it. So watching my daughter’s face and her smile nuts. That’s not her favourite toy. I mean, she sleeps late every night. It’s a little, little princess doll. She sleeps with it. We talked about that. story so that $80 decision for Disney planted a story in Atlanta Georgia that will go on I’ll tell my grandkids about it, you know, it’s it says long lasting stories and so exceeding expectations is not just a smart business move. It’s just a great human move. You know it’s just a great way to do something that’s going to last beyond when you die.
Tony Winyard 18:22
One of the things about it is exactly what you’re doing now, you’re telling the world about that story. And because Disney do that so consistently, I’ve heard so many people say great stories about Disney and so that’s why people flock there because they know that they’re gonna have an amazing experience.
Billy Boughey 18:41
Yeah, and even even if they don’t, right even if it’s not the best experience of all time. They don’t they don’t win every single one of them but gosh, they win so many more than most of them. There’s so many wonderful stories about it. So not to say they have it perfect but they charge a premium price for their tickets. You know, there is no discount, stressed me out There are a lot, but uh, but it’s worth every penny.
Tony Winyard 19:03
Yeah, absolutely. So I’m also intrigued about something you mentioned before we started recording about you on the Jimmy Fallon show?
Billy Boughey 19:11
Yeah, so I got a really fun opportunity. Jimmy Fallon is one of my favourite MCs of all time, and he’s got a show obviously called The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. And you can get tickets to go to the show. It’s totally free. It’s in New York City right there at Radio, City Music Hall, Rabbi, Central Park. And so my wife and I got tickets, we went to the show, and they do this skit on the show called freestyling with the roots, and it’s where Jimmy goes up to the crowd with a card and he asked an audience member certain questions, he writes it down and then one of their singers named Tariq will freestyle rap right there on the show about what you just said. Now, I did a TED talk a few months ago, about how every every leader needs to freestyle rap, and it’s about the things I’ve learned about freestyle rapping and how’s that? leaders can take those principles and put them into their life. That’s probably a totally different podcast. But I really talked about how to read from the roots took that moment he freestyle wrapped. It was amazing. But what happened for me on the show is I was scared out of my mind because I had this knowingness that he was going to stop at me. My wife was pointing at me, Jimmy saw me caught my eye. I stood up and it was like I was in a dream. I literally didn’t know what I was gonna do next. And he said, Hello. shook his hand. He grabbed the mic. He came in the mic, and I answered his questions, but then at the end, right before Tariq was about to wrap, I said, Hey, Jimmy, I can freestyle rap. And there was this moment where Jimmy looked at this producer and his producer just shrugged her shoulders. And Tariq said, I guess we’ll just let him rap about his own situation. So instead of them doing it, they let me do it. And they put it on the show and I traced it back to I was able to create $348,000 worth of revenue because of that one moment. I had so many calls and emails of people saying, hey, if you have the if you have the balls to say that and rap like that on Jimmy Fallon, then I want to work with you. So, but that only happened because they exceeded my expectations by actually letting the rap now I had to, I had to say this is what I can do. Jimmy easily could have said, Okay, cool. We can’t You can’t do that today. But I love that. Okay, terrific. Why don’t you? They didn’t do that. They said, Hey, okay, great. Let’s go for it. So I think exceeding expectations, there’s a bit of improv that you have to have, you have to have this. Trusting in your ability, there’s this, I’ve got to come with a plan and also have to have a way to engage with the crowd. So just like this podcast, you know, just like we’re asking questions, it’s very fluid. I think we have to exceed expectations by taking what we know, but then being fluid in the situation. So that that moment was an amazing moment for me and it led to a lot of business and lead to a lot of really fun impact.
Tony Winyard 21:54
And is that on YouTube or anything? Is there a link of that?
Billy Boughey 21:58
Yeah, you can go to Facebook. If you type in freestyling with The Roots, Bruce Willis, Bruce Willis, the famous actor was on the show that day, and it’s on Facebook. Now I got to preface this. It was not my favourite rap of all time. I was extremely nervous it’s one of my worst ones I’ve actually ever done, but it counts for something. So if you go watch it, don’t laugh at me too hard, but I had to get on.
Tony Winyard 22:22
And on that whole freestyle rap, so how did that come about? How did you get into that?
Billy Boughey 22:27
So I love music, and I love stories. And so I wrote a blog series last fall called hip hop raised me. So growing up in Atlanta, outcast and a lot of the musical movement here down in Atlanta was a lot of hip hop, r&b spoken word. And I just fell in love with it. And so I learned that I was really good quick on my feet. good communicator. I had a friend of mine who actually taught me how to freestyle rap. He said, Take a plain table with nothing on it, and then just put one item in front of you and just think of everything you can say about that one item…
Tony Winyard 23:02
At what age were you?
Billy Boughey 23:04
I was 20 years old again. So I’m 43 now. So 20 years old, I started just looking at that. And then I would drive down the road. And I would just tell stories about things that I saw and connected the dots. And there’s a wonderful 60 Minutes interview with Eminem, famous rapper, and he gives this illustration of how he creates freestyle. So it’s anderson cooper does the interview. It’s a really great concept about freestyle, but I fell in love with that art form. And now, I use it at different speaking engagements. So I’m a keynote speaker, I do a lot of talks at different organisations, and I’ll use freestyle rap as a way to provide some levity provide some fun, but also sort of confound the audience a little bit.
Tony Winyard 23:48
I’m intrigued as to how you use it in your talks; when you say it confounds the audience, in what way? Is it that they’re not expecting it to come from you?…
Billy Boughey 23:59
Good question. So I have a book that’s called culture reconstructed. And I wrote about these 14 essential building blocks for remarkable culture. And these 14 blocks is kind of like when you’re building a Lincoln Logs or Legos or everything fits together, you have to have these 14 blocks. Some of them people neglect. Some of them, you don’t really necessarily need until your company’s bigger, but I let the companies that I work with choose which blocks they want me to talk about. So most of the time, I will speak on communication, collaboration and systems. Those are the three most important building blocks of every great culture. And then what I’ll do is I’ll show them how, at the end, we can collaborate together. And so I hand out these white cards with Sharpie markers, and I have them all write down one really big word on a piece of paper. And then I have them all hold them up in the audience, and then I’ll freestyle rap about all those pieces of paper that they wrote down. So it’s a way to show how you have to have your system and understand how Do things, but then how you also have to be in the moment. So it’s a fun little way that I do it and get some handclaps and some fun smiles at the end of it. But it’s a way that I demonstrate and use my talent and my gift to collaborate.
Tony Winyard 25:15
The book you were talking about, what is the book about? And what was it that inspired you to write it in the first place?
Billy Boughey 25:24
I was inspired to write it simply because all the events that I was doing, I noticed that people were doing events because they wanted to build culture, that whether it was they’re doing it for their internal team or externally, they wanted to build a culture, they want to improve their brand. And so every time I would turn the microphone off, I would come off to the side of the stage. The president or an HR director, or VP of something would come up to me and ask me, Hey, this events awesome, but I’ve noticed how your team that’s working with you are on the same page and they’re smiling and they’re enjoying each other. Hey, there’s there’s something you’re doing with your team. That’s awesome. Can you come and speak to my company about communication Can you come speak to them about working together? Can you come speak to them about various things? So I just started saying yes. And then I realised I need to write a book about this. Because there’s a lot of great books out there about culture, but there’s nothing really practical. And this is the subtitle of the book is a start, where you are a guide to building a culture of impact. And so most people start where they were, or start where they want to be, they don’t start where they are. And so the book is really designed for wherever somebody is, if they have two people in their company, up to you know, they’re making $2 billion a month, whatever size they can always go back and look at these building blocks and start where they are. So it’s a it’s really a guide to say, here’s, here’s where I am, where do I go from here? And you can go piece by piece and really grow your organisation and grow the blocks. And he talked about you would say him about those positive comments you were getting about it same. So when you first started employing people, did you Was that something that you really sort of stringent, about about like a kind of tough, rigorous interview system. Omaha, were you on the lookout for specific people on a specific time. percent. So when somebody joins your company, their company changes and that person is now the DNA of your brand, and will forever be changed because of that person. So I take that pretty seriously. The top two traits, if you were to boil it down to me, hey, Billy, what are you looking for? I’m looking for somebody that’s positive and nimble. Those are the two, you got to be positive and you got to be nimble, gotta be willing to change. Gotta be willing to grow and you got to be positive. I don’t deal too well with negativity. I don’t think there’s too much room with it. Now. I want to be real when things are going well. I want to be honest, but there’s always a brighter day tomorrow and I started looking for people like that. Really, I trust a lot with assessments. I’m certified in one called Colby. I’m sure some of your listeners have heard of Myers Briggs Strength Finders, some of these different assessments. And I started taking them and learning that I love risk. I am very systems averse. I don’t really like a lot of data. I just want to go full speed and try a bunch of stuff. Alright, cool. I’m probably probably pretty good at sales and building a business. Yes, but I’m really not great at sustaining much. So the first couple of hires that I look for I wanted people that were the same DNA that were positive that were nimble that were awesome. But also were wired very differently so they could actually not just be a promise maker but be a promise keeper. So I’m looking at every position of how can I hire people that are promise keepers not just promise makers.
Tony Winyard 28:26
Did you need to do much training with the people you hired? Or were you just so good at spotting the right people in the first place?
Billy Boughey 28:33
Yeah, no, definitely we hire for character, we train for skill. So I’m looking for people that have high character that have those things we’re looking for. But the skills we have an onboarding process called flight school, obviously, our brand name is called elevate. So it’s pretty cheeky to say flight school. So we have this video series with quizzes they have to take. There’s a whole onboarding process that people go through and then when they graduate, they get their wings. Sorry. logo if you go the elevat website is a actual wing. So you get your wings once you go through flight school, so we spent a lot of time, what do they need to know? But then you and I both know in the event creation industry, there’s so many variables. So once you get a certain baseline of knowledge, then we start putting them in the fire and having them learn as they go. So not all of it is systematised, but we’ve tried to systematise as much as we can.
Tony Winyard 29:25
You mentioned before you are involved in the FIFA World Cup.
Billy Boughey 29:28
Yeah, so I had the opportunity through our relationship with Coca Cola in Atlanta to be a host of the FIFA World Cup trophy Tour, which travelled all around the US and around the world. I didn’t get to travel around the world, unfortunately, but did a lot of the US sites. And one really fun exceeding expectations story with that is I was in Atlanta on a Friday it was hosting their event. And it was at the Coca Cola world headquarters and did a really great job and how a lot of fun and people were engaged in the meeting planner came up to me and said hey, Billy, too. days from now, we’re going to be in Los Angeles, and our emcee that was supposed to be there. Just got in trouble with the law and literally can’t be there. Can you fly out tomorrow to Los Angeles and host an event for 30,000 people? And I said, Sure, why not? So I went behind the stage, I called my wife and said, Hey, am I able to do this? And that was actually Easter Sunday. It was actually a big, big holiday here in the states and, and she said, Hey, whatever, you’re going to charge them just add a zero to it and see what they say. So that’s what I did. They said, Yes. And I flew out there. But the exceeding expectation part for me was not that all they hired me to do was to be the emcee between bands and sort of keep the energy up. One of the major bands couldn’t make it. They didn’t show up. So they had an hour and a half on their schedule. Well, they didn’t have anything that they could fill. And so they came to me and they said, Hey, Billy, we’ve got already Here at La live right there at the staples centre. I mean this massive Coca Cola FIFA event, they came to me and said, Hey, Billy, we’ve got a band that didn’t show up, is there any way you can just DJ play music, get people dancing, having fun, we’ll pay you whatever we need to pay you, we’ll do it. And I looked at my client and said, Hey, you don’t owe me anything. I love your brand. I want to work with you guys for years to come. I’m not going to charge you anything else. But I will make it the best. I’m making the best hour and a half of this entire event. Now, can I do that always? No. Was it a smart business move? Well, I probably easily could have said a number and they would have said yes. And I could have made more money. But for me, that relationship led to so much more business and I talked a lot of time to people when you exceed expectations, you really have to view playing the long term game and playing the legacy game versus the make money in the moment and that’s really hard when the bills are due I get it. But in that moment, for me it was really fun to do that and exceeded expectations and it was a really fun event and they’ve they’ve raised since then.
Tony Winyard 32:01
And what was it you did for 90 minutes?
Billy Boughey 32:05
In my 20s I spent a lot of time, actually, I cut my teeth doing a lot of weddings. And I know you’ve been there in the past just, you know, playing music for folks during weddings and making sure it’s fun. So I took a lot of my wedding knowledge of what songs to play, how to get people dancing. I do a lot of interactive games. Actually, if you go to our YouTube channel, at Elevate Experiences, we have a lot of interactive games that you can play with the crowd there how to videos on that website. So we’ve created a lot of games, how we do that. So I’ve played a lot of fun crowd interactive things, gave a lot of things away, but really got them dancing and excited. So it was a fly by my seat of my pants. I didn’t have any script. It was definitely an hour and a half of Alright, let’s entertain these people. So that’s just some of the things that I did.
Tony Winyard 32:52
And so where has that led? What else have you done with FIFA since then?
Billy Boughey 32:58
I love FIFA, I’ve got a chance to host probably 10 to 15 more events with them with the FIFA Women’s World Cup. And whenever they come back to the States, I get a chance to host a lot of their events as well. So probably 8 to 10 to 12, somewhere in that additional events with him. And it was just a lot of goodwill with the event company that put it on to do more things with their other companies that work with you, because I’ve learned that in this game is that if you’re working for a production company, if you do a really good job with them, they’ll bring you to come work with our other clients as well. And so it’s led to some other really fun events not just with FIFA or with Coke, but with other brands too.
Tony Winyard 33:40
At the start of the show you were talking about how much you love sports teams and sports in general and your ambition is one day to try and own a team. How do you think you’re going to go about doing that?
Billy Boughey 33:59
So It’s gonna take about $2 billion to do it. Mm hmm. So my ambition is to leverage everything I can online with courses. With Instagram Live Facebook Live Tik, Tok, LinkedIn, I love social media, leveraging as much as I can to add as much value as I can with my skill and my talent to sell courses, speaking engagements to them, but then also build an agency that becomes a worldwide brand that is helping the best brands in the world tell their story. And so that’s where I’m headed right now. That’s the things that I’m thinking about. We all know that book sales are not going to do it. We all know that whenever we just trade time for money. That’s not the smartest thing. So I’m figuring out how to gain multiple streams of income by adding value in different ways. And I think it’s gonna begin by having a relationship with some of the people who own the team now, and it’ll start with a partial ownership not buying the whole thing. Having partial ownership and then figuring out it’s probably gonna take till when I’m about 70 years old for it to actually happen. But that’s where I’m headed.
Tony Winyard 35:09
Well that’s a great ambition, that’s not something I hear very often. Also before we started recording you were talking to me about something that happened in Pearl Harbour.
Billy Boughey 35:22
So Pearl Harbour, obviously is a very famous place started, you know, a world war. There was a bomb that went there, US Japan, like all this stuff happened. And now it’s a historical site. There’s a lot of peace there. There’s a lot of it’s just a beautiful place. And so one of our partners Chick-fil a was doing a big, basically a watch party for the Army Navy football game. And it was a massive screen chairs food on the Pearl Harbour Pier, basically. And we went out there and helped them activate it. So we worked with a local Production Company, they’re in Hawaii and hosted it played the music, make sure the cable TV was working and the game was on. And so the game was actually played in Philadelphia on the other side of the US, but they did a watch party for all the military people that were there. And what was really unique was we went there three or four days early. And all we were really paid to do was to make sure that the day of the event was really awesome. But what we decided to do as a team that was there, we decided to spend just about every hour of the days leading up to it there on the pier with our client, doing pretty much everything we could to make the event awesome. And I say that not bragging, but I just say that’s, that’s our modus operandi. That’s how we do things. We figure out what our client needs, and then how can we just exceed it? So it was it was fun for us that they actually needed us. I mean, there were there were several things that happened, logistically that if we would not have been in that posture, we would have been a lot different places. So just just for the guests that are listening and your your listeners here is think about how you could exceed someone’s expectations at the current thing that you’re doing that will lead to future things. Now, your motive has to be pure. It can’t be I’m just doing this so I can get future stuff. Like that’s not the goal. But if you really just do what’s right by people and treat them the right, right where you’re at, I promise serendipity, the universe God, whatever you believe in is going to lead to better things for the future. I just think that that is a spiritual law we should all follow is treat other people the way we want to be treated. If we do that really well now, then it’s gonna lead to stuff in the future. So Pearl Harbour was a very good indicator of that, because there’s a lot of other things that are coming up with the USO and with Chick-fil-a that are happening because of that posture.
Tony Winyard 37:42
That leads me on to thinking what your thoughts are about exceeding expectations? and what you think many businesses approaches are regarding that whole area?
Billy Boughey 37:56
Yeah, so my key phrase, and this is sort of a “Drop the mic” phrase, I believe this with all my heart. What gets celebrated, gets reproduced. Meaning what you talk about what you find valuable is what gets reproduced. So as a leader in a company, whatever you’re deciding to celebrate, your company is going to see that people are going to say, Oh, that’s what they like, I’m going to do more of that. And if just meeting expectations is what gets celebrated, then you’re never going to get there. I would spend time at my meetings, giving out awards, telling stories, having conversations about what it means that what we promised and how we over delivered. And so we do a thing at my company called the Mad props, awards. Mad props is kind of just like giving credit to people that do something above and beyond. So after every single event we do we gather in a huddle and we say, okay, what’s up, what’s our mad props, awards, and everybody goes around and they get to highlight things that went on, that weren’t necessarily on our invoice that weren’t necessarily on the things we had to do. That’s just something practical that, that we do as a team, we make sure that we gather and really tell those stories, because that’s what celebrated. We know at the next event, that’s what’s reproduce. So that’s, that’s what I would say from a from exceeding expectations is, goodness, some of the best brands in the world like, Amazon sent me this $300 audio speaker that I had, and I wasn’t really happy with it, I was gonna mail it back. And they just said, Hey, tell you what, keep that speaker still worked, actually was great, because we, we still use it. Keep that speaker Well, we’re going to send you another one for free. And I said, goodness, that, that that’s exceeded expectations. That’s why I love Amazon so much. I think about the best brands of the world have a budget line item that says I’m going to try to exceed your expectations with this. So there’s some brands out there that just try to meet them. I just think it’s a better business plan. I think if we can celebrate the right things, but it’s got to reproduce the right things.
Tony Winyard 39:52
Why would you think it is that so many companies do just simply try to meet expectations?
Billy Boughey 39:58
Because they’re bored! Because of what they’ve been told is, I’ve got to do what I’m told, I’ve got this system that says, here’s my invoice, here’s what we say we’re going to do. Here’s the scope of work. Here it is, and I understand that I really do. But in that scope of work, I think if we can just add a line item at every single event, there’s going to be five to 10% of more money and more time that we’re going to spend to blow this client’s mind to have them not just be, oh, that was good, thank you to you would not believe what they did for me. I use that phrase a lot when I’m training, customer service and training. Expectation management with clients is how many times you have to ask your client to post about you on Instagram or Facebook. If you have to ask them it’s not authentic. But if they’re just posting because they want to it means they really love it. Right? So don’t don’t look at the has to do look at the get to do and if you can get to some of those questions. I just think that it’s a better business plan. Now is there a lot of companies out there that just meet expectations that are making a lot of money. Absolutely. So it’s not a bad thing to just meet expectations, I just think there’s a better way to exceed them. And I think you’ll you will have more happiness, more money and more impact if you do.
Tony Winyard 41:10
Well, and what you just said their happiness; I think sometimes it’s a case of some of these companies because they’ve never tried to exceed their customers expectations, so they’ve never seen that gleeful response, that just amazed response, and therefore the word of mouth that spreads because they’ve gone out of their way to please someone, and so they don’t realise what benefits, what results they could get from adopting that kind of approach.
Billy Boughey 41:18
100% and it’s scary. It’s basically saying I’m putting out more money or more time than I probably quote unquote need to. So I understand the reasoning I know it’s scary, but I would say for for people out there that are listening, just take it in bite sized pieces. Try just writing a handwritten note to thank your client after the event, try to maybe I have a company that sends me chocolate chip cookies after every event we do just to say thank you. There’s a handwritten note. And they send us cookies. That means so much to me that and they’re paying us. This is a client that we work with. And I’m thinking goodness, they’re paying us and they’re sending me cookies and a card after every event we do like that is that is truly remarkable. So I think about, you know, regardless of whether you’re the one who’s paying or being paid, just gratitude, just just being grateful wins. I just think one of the most underutilised weapons that we have is gratitude, and it gratitude assaults, all the pride, ego, arrogance, greed, all the stuff that we deal with on our own hearts, just having gratitude for where we are, and then learning how to express that to our clients that will exceed expectations and they’ll want to work with you. They’ll spread the word they’ll tell more people about you, it’ll grow your business and grow your bottom line. But but not to say it’s easy because it’s very easy to get back to the blocking and tackling and the basics of business.
Tony Winyard 42:59
If people want to find out more about your book and the courses you do where would they go?
Billy Boughey 43:04
Two really easy places. One is www.BillyBspeaks.com/book And then www.BillyBspeaks.com/microphone Those two places you can go to find my book, and then find my online course called “More than a microphone”. And our goal is to really with the book. It’s a fantastic read. It’s actually a really quick read, it’s only 130 pages, but it’s a power packed on how you can grow culture. And then the course is I put everything that I’ve learned about communicating in boardrooms and communicating on stages and one course that you can follow. So those are two places to go and then obviously, to follow I love to go to Instagram. That’s where I spend most of my time. It’s @BillyBoughey Just go there. And yeah, hit me on a direct message. I do my best to respond to every single person that comes through. So yeah, Instagram would be the best place to follow. And then those are the two links.
Tony Winyard 44:02
And the book, you were saying was only released a couple of months ago?
Billy Boughey 44:06
Yes, January 14 of 2020. So I call it a new decade for a new culture. And launching a book was really fun and interesting. That’s probably a whole nother podcast we could do I learned so much about storytelling and connecting with people and how do you get the word out and we’ve had a lot of fun of of getting the book out to folks and I do a lot of speaking so it’s all sell books when I go speak. And so it’s been a lot of just kind of step by step learning and getting a lot of good feedback. So yeah, we’re new to the launch. I have no idea what I’m doing. Is this my first book, but I’m having a lot of fun.
Tony Winyard 44:43
Well, Billy, I believe you’ve got both a quotation and a book that you recommend to other people.
Billy Boughey 44:49
Yeah, my favourite book of all time is “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. There’s a lot of books that I read that have helped me in my journey but Good to Great is by far the best chapter by chapter It’s just got great things you can apply to business in life. And my favourite quote is by Walt Disney is “We keep opening up new doors, going down new paths, doing new things, because we’re curious, and curiosity is what leads us down those new paths”. So Walt Disney said that so I hope that curiosity and actually going out and trying these baby steps of exceeding expectations would be what your listeners would do.
Tony Winyard 45:23
And actually I just realised we also didn’t mention your podcast so if people want to listen to your podcast what is the name of it and was it about?
Billy Boughey 45:33
It really focuses in on this word experience and people I have on my show really examine their life experience and how it impacts their future so we have a lot of fun on the show. We talk about music we talk about things they went through as a kid we get to some really fun topics and the title of that podcast is “Created for experience” Find it on Spotify or iTunes and yeah, stop by and take a listen.
Tony Winyard 45:57
Billy I really appreciate all the great stories and value given to our listeners. So thank you for your time.
Billy Boughey 46:03
It is an absolute pleasure and thanks for having me on the show.
Tony Winyard 46:09
Next week Episode 78 is with Theresa Cifali. She’s a Productivity Strategies & Coach and she has shamelessly smart productivity and helps you to save time and make business easier. She started a digital craft magazine some years ago which blew up way beyond her expectations and she’s about to start a podcast and some online courses as well. So you’ll be hearing much more next week about Theresa Cifali Hope you enjoyed this week’s show. Please do subscribe, why not leave a review, share the episode and have a fantastic week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai