Authentic Conversations for Relationship Marketing with Adam King #038
Adam King is “The Captain of The Ship” at Growth Marketing Consultancy Think Like a Fish, where he helps established B2B and Professional Service Firms implement a simple, scalable growth system in 90 days that gives them the platform to grow their business from 6 to 7 figures (and beyond).
He’s also the Host of The B2B Growth Think Tank podcast, where each week he and his expert guests share a tonne of marketing strategies, ideas and tips, as well as masterminding actionable solutions to specific challenges sent in by real business owners.
Two personal notes here, firstly I was very kindly invited recently to be on that very show, which I think it’ll be out in another couple of weeks. It was tremendous fun and it’s it’s a brilliant format and very clever.
But the other thing is, Adam was recommended to me by one of his clients who I happen to hold in very high regard, so it’s a pleasure to have Adam on the show.
- Why so many people dislike marketing
- Focus on the right things
- People don’t like to be seen as a transaction or ‘walking wallet’
- Take a more respectful approach
- The power of changing one question, like Jay Abraham
- It’s all about starting conversations, even if they’re just in the head
- Find the few things that work well and build a process around them
- Beware of getting too tactical too early
- Values first, then strategy and only then tactics
- Do the things that actually feel right to you
- The weary traveller at your door, being welcomed by a hot meal
- Articulate the problem better than they can
- Be preeminent, put their interests above your own
- What’s already working? Do more of that!
- Doing client hot seats on his new Think Tank podcast
- The collaborative and community aspects
- The lessons from things not going quite right
- Do the process with the failures before you can do it with the successes
- Adam King’s free book, ‘Conversational Relationship Marketing’
- “People don’t pay me for information, they pay me to implement”
- You don’t catch fish with chocolate
Al McBride 0:00
All righty so welcome to the dealing with Goliath podcast. The mission of dealing with Goliath is to sharpen the psychological edge in business leaders with skin in the game, who want to be more effective under pressure, uncover hidden value, and increase profitability.
Al McBride 0:21
With expert guests across the business spectrum we deliver gems of wisdom, delving into their methods, their thinking and approach to business life and problem solving. This is the grand a cup of insight, long form podcast interview, where we take the time little bit more time to delve into our guests experiences stories, and get all those prices little nuggets for you. So I’m your host Al McBride, and my guest today is Adam King.
Al McBride 0:48
Adam King is the captain of the ship at growth marketing consultancy. Think like a fish, where he helps establish b2b and professional service firms implement a simple, scalable growth system in 90 days.
Al McBride 1:02
That gives them the platform to grow their business from six to seven figures and beyond. He’s also the host of the b2b growth Think Tank Podcast, where each week he and his expert guests share a ton of marketing strategies, ideas and tips, as well as masterminding actionable solutions to specific challenges sent in by real business owners.
Al McBride 1:26
Two personal notes here, number one, I was very kindly invited recently to be on that very show, which I think it’ll be out in another couple of weeks. Right. And it was great fun. And it’s it’s a brilliant format. It’s very clever. We might discuss that in a few minutes. But the other thing is, Adam was recommended to me by one of his clients who I happen to hold in very high regard. So he came with a lot of esteem. So it’s great. Great to be in touch with you again. Adam, great to talk to you and great to have you on the show. Yeah, well,
Adam King 2:02
thank you very much. It’s great to be here. And I do hope I live up to that billing. Thank you very much very kindly.
Al McBride 2:08
First question straight out of the gate just to, to mix things off of it. Why do so many people find marketing distasteful?
Adam King 2:19
Why do they find it distasteful? Well,
Al McBride 2:22
or just unpleasant, marketing?
Adam King 2:25
Yeah, I, I think a lot of it comes down to exposure. And it’s like, it’s like, we are exposed to so much of it. And it just increases with all the ways that marketers pesky marketers, like us can can reach the population and the masses.
Adam King 2:45
And I think a lot of it comes down to when it’s done badly. And unfortunately, I think the majority is done badly. And I don’t think it’s always down to the individual that creates it, I think a lot of it is down from above. It is what it is. It’s kind of like what are the objectives that are being set by the business.
Adam King 3:05
It’s all about, we need sales, we need to make money, we need to blah, blah, blah, and it doesn’t necessarily put the client or the customer in the center of that marketing, right, which is totally the opposite of what effective marketing needs to do. And my entire business is built around that very metaphor, the think like a fish metaphor,
Al McBride 3:25
that’s really interesting. So and it’s a really good point. There’s a weird parallel here, I was listening to a piece on Harvard negotiation yesterday, I was talking about the difference between deal maker mindset and implementation maker mindset when they’re doing a negotiation.
Al McBride 3:43
And it’s exactly what you’re saying, to deal maker mindset is you need when you need to get scores on the board, and all of this kind of rah rah type of attitude, which they make a lot of deals that seem really good on paper, and they’re flashy and impressive. And they’re often very dominant and aggressive.
Al McBride 4:01
Whereas they often don’t work in, in practice, and loads. These things fail spectacularly are hugely underwhelming, whereas the implementer mindset is much more like what you’re talking about where they actually go, Well, what are we trying to build here?
Al McBride 4:13
What value are we trying to create here? And how will that work in practice? So it’s much more as you said, looking at both the long term but also what you’re standing for, really, if we’re not getting too deep on that one, it’s got a values based or something in it. I think
Adam King 4:28
there’s also a thing in there around the different way of thinking you know, you’ve got people that have growth mindsets, people that have scarcity, mindsets, abundance, mindsets, all that kind of thing. And I think when you see that sort of stuff like and don’t get me wrong when I say this, of course, there is a place to make offers and promote and all the rest of it.
Adam King 4:46
But if that’s all you’re doing, that’s that’s coming from a point of very short term transactional processes and marketing and messaging and all that kind of thing and and by the very nature of conducts In that type of marketing, you are communicating to your market what you think of them. You see them as a transaction as a walking wallet. In other words,
Al McBride 5:10
it as you said, and people don’t really like to feel like, because most people can tell isn’t that that’s really the bottom line? Absolutely. We’re not really counting anyone.
Adam King 5:19
I mean, there’s the, you know, the old adage that a lot of people will have heard, it’s people don’t love, you know, don’t want to be sold to, but they love to buy. And that is absolutely true. And you just put yourself in a situation when you’ve walked into a shop, when you could, when all those non essential shops were open. And the first thing that happened is days of walking.
Al McBride 5:38
Adam King 5:40
yeah, the first thing that happens is a sales assessment, you know, comes up to you and says, we have a special on these blah, blah, blah, blah, you know, x, y, and Zed. It’s like, I didn’t even come in for that, like, thanks very much, you kind of back away, you might shuffle around for a couple of minutes, and you’re uncomfortable, you walk out the shop,
Al McBride 5:58
Adam King 6:00
The different approach, and actually approached them and said something along the lines of, you know, Hey, how you doing just to let you know, I’m over here, if you need me. If you’re looking for x, y, and Zed, it’s over here. Or if you want to let me know what you come in, that you’re interested in. Let me know and I’ll happily direct you where you’re going. Otherwise, welcome to the shop. And please feel free to browse at your leisure.
Al McBride 6:22
It’s almost word for word, what I used to do in the gallery, my art and the art gallery back in the day, not even. It’s exactly that you just very quietly say it as well and be all right. Okay. And then then they can approach you, which I suppose is actually I never thought of that it is almost the difference between outbound and inbound marketing. Because at that stage, okay, they’re in this in your gallery in your store or whatever the equivalent, but it’s still them than deciding to engage, they’re choosing to say, oh, excuse me, and
Adam King 6:53
you go, yes, certainly,
Al McBride 6:54
can I help you? Rather than you going, Hey, we’re going to special and or what do you want to buy from us? Are you looking for a present for someone or you assume you mean, it is very much the market equivalent of a lot of people do that online, don’t they in particular online.
Adam King 7:09
And I don’t want to sort of go down the rabbit hole of this one too much. But there is a really quite well, I don’t know how famous it is, but I’m a marketing geek. So I know a lot of these sort of things. But anyone that knows Jay Abraham, he’s a great example. And he uses the example of a furniture store.
Adam King 7:25
And it’s the it’s an example of markets, or the type of marketing you wouldn’t necessarily consider is marketing. And how one question or changing one question that you ask people, when you’re when they walked into a furniture store, it had a dramatic increase in the sales that they made. And they tried all different variants of it, and all the rest of it, but the one that they hit on, that made the real difference was Hello, how are you doing?
Adam King 7:49
Which advertisement or which promotional? or What was it that you saw that brought you into this store today? And that made all the difference? Because that then informed? The person that’s asking the question, what they’d seen, indicated what it was that they were looking for, and allow the conversation to open.
Al McBride 8:08
Okay, that’s interesting. Yeah.
Adam King 8:12
And that’s a form of marketing. It’s not sales. It’s, it’s, you know, you’ve you’ve got your process, your client journey, you’ve got someone to come into the store. And if someone’s just walk past, then obviously, that’s what they’ve done. And then, you know, they were trained, obviously, in how to handle that situation. But it opens the conversation. And that’s one thing that I believe in massively that marketing really, is there when it’s done? Well. It’s purely there to start conversations.
Al McBride 8:41
It’s an interesting point, it’s it? Yeah, it’s a very good. It’s a very good perspective. I mean, is that to me, do you feel that that’s, the underlying principle of all about it is that something that’s sorely missing, again, from the majority of people,
Adam King 9:00
I think it’s, it’s, it is missing from quite a number because a conversation is different than a marketing isn’t. You’re not going your marketing is not there to sell, does not there to sell your marketing is to generate awareness around the value that you provide your client or your customer, until they get to a point where they are interested enough to think about doing business with you.
Adam King 9:28
And that’s when, obviously the other side side of things come in. I mean, I’m talking mainly from a service perspective here. But this is applicable to products and all the rest of it as well. And when I say conversations, it’s there to start conversations. It doesn’t always necessarily need to be between two actual people, actual human being. It’s a conversation that’s going on inside the mind of your client or your customer.
Al McBride 9:51
Adam King 9:52
It’s to start that conversation almost with themselves. Yeah, okay. That’s interesting. I wonder But what more? You know, it’s almost like they’re saying, Well, why don’t you tell me a little bit more about what you have to offer? Or why don’t you did it all?
Adam King 10:06
Thanks very much for helping me there, I’ve actually got this other problem is there anything else that you can help me with, and that will, that kind of approach and journey will go on and that conversation will be going on in people’s head all the time.
Adam King 10:18
And you can, you can take and apply this thinking to almost any situation, whether it’s, if you’re building one of these funnels, which I hate that term, but I have to use it, because that’s what people generally know, know it by, or if you’re having conversations with somebody, whether you meet at, you know, at an event, or if you’re conversing over social media or something like that, it’s, it’s a conversation.
Adam King 10:43
It’s asking about the other person, it’s finding out what they value, it’s helping them understand how to maybe reach a point where they’re in a position to find a solution to a problem, or at least uncover the real problem that they’re facing, and then potentially help them with a solution that you offer.
Al McBride 11:04
In the taps into a lot of the difficulties, I think that the COVID, global COVID situation has, and lockdowns and whatnot have thrown up, which is, I don’t know, you hear a lot of people, particularly smaller level professionals. You know, maybe they’re not in massive companies. often they’re either have, as I say, I use the phrase skin in the game, or they actually run their own little companies and whatnot.
Al McBride 11:30
And they were doing great, or they’re doing okay, and it say things like, Oh, you know, I can I can just sit and have a conversation with someone for 20 minutes over a coffee. And then, you know, if in any way they need my service, they’re gonna buy my service. And it feels right feels like there’s a value transfer, you know, and it’s all honorable. And so they said, and he said, but then they get to the marketing side, and they’re like, oh, how do I? How do I funnel that into, as you said, getting that conversation going?
Adam King 12:02
That’s interesting, because the way I sort of talk about, you know, the kind of people that I really can help and really love working with, it’s, it’s the kind of people when I say to them, Do you ever ask yourself this kind of question, or do you ever say this to yourself, which is, we’re absolutely brilliant when we’re in front of people, and we make sales when we do.
Adam King 12:21
But we’re not getting enough of those conversations, or we’re not getting in front of enough of those people to really make the difference to take our business to the next place and the next level. And that’s the marketing piece. That’s the piece that a lot of people have, that they struggle with. Because let’s be honest, there’s so many options out there that you can market your business with.
Adam King 12:43
There’s there’s lots of promises, and hacks and shortcuts that are touted out there that you need to be on every social media platform, you need to pay for this, and that and all the rest of it. But ultimately, you just need to find the few things that work well for you, and create a process and a system around how you consistently implement them over time, in order to achieve the outcome that you’re looking to achieve, because that’s the only hack or secret that you know.
Adam King 13:10
If anyone wants that secret, I’ll tell you, it is the secret to growing a successful and established business is to develop a strategy that’s based on proven principles of human behavior, that will be proven to generate the kind of demand that you need to get more conversations going with the right kind of clients over time, and you consistently execute the chosen tactics that will help you get there.
Al McBride 13:34
It’s, it sounds like you’re, you’re replacing what a colleague of mine calls random acts of marketing, I this sort of tactical, kind of, we’ll try this and we’ll try that mantra as not a bad idea to experiment with things.
Al McBride 13:50
But as you said, you’re bringing in what I was gonna say an overarching was maybe it’s a more underlying strategy structure that that can that can slot into. And it’s also interesting that you’re saying, you know, you do, you don’t go straight into the, into a particular channel.
Al McBride 14:08
So you haven’t sort of said, Oh, you need to be blogging once a day, every day, or once a week, or doing YouTube or doing a podcast or doing whatever it is people do, doing Facebook ads, or Twitter ads, or whatever. It’s for instance, I don’t know for me that there’s also that principle of ultimately people only consistently do what they want to do. 100%.
Adam King 14:36
And I think the challenge out there is that when you then go out and look for ideas on how to market your business, and all the rest of it, you’ll come across people that sell certain things and all the rest of it and, you know, with all the respect to everyone that works in in my industry in any industry, I refer to them as the marketing hammers, because you are very good at what you do and therefore your solution and your tool to get the job done. is a hammer.
Adam King 15:01
And so everyone else out there, everyone out there looks like a nail. And so if you just sell a shop, you know, you had a shop and you just sold hammers and someone walks in, you’re going to try and sell them a hammer, even when they need a screwdriver for the job that they need to do. So it’s kind of like, Why on earth would you want to say to someone, well, you have to do this, and only this and all the rest of it, because it might not be right for them.
Adam King 15:24
That’s why the strategy piece is so important. It’s the strategy piece is the key strategy over tactics every single time. And it’s the thing that people hate to think about. They hate doing because it’s the hard work. It’s the understanding the customer, it’s doing a bit of soul searching and understanding why you enjoy doing certain things. And I found over time, and I’ve been doing this 18 years now, I don’t necessarily look like it, but I am in my 40s. And you’re looking well for your Thank you very much.
Adam King 15:57
But it is It baffles me when people try and do things that don’t feel right for them. And don’t feel comfortable. Because ultimately, you’ll do it for a bit. But it’s a bit like trying to exercise doing something that you hate. If you’re gonna get in shape and you’re gonna die, you’re going to exercise, don’t do something you don’t enjoy doing. I hate running, for example. So I don’t run I don’t do running, but I do the things that I enjoy. I play football.
Al McBride 16:24
Like, let’s be honest, there’s a lot of running, but you’ve changed the whole context of the run.
Adam King 16:30
Exactly. So it
Al McBride 16:32
better helps your sprinting and stopping and spreading. Sorry. So yeah, so the point is, it’s extra probably more beneficial than if you forced yourself to go out for Yeah, two K or five K or 10 K,
Adam King 16:44
or whatever. Yeah, yeah. Okay. And that’s why I think it’s more important to focus on principles now actually focus on focus on principles before strategy before tactics. And the principles are all about what are the fundamentals that have worked since human beings stood up? And those principles are that we are social animals.
Adam King 17:11
We like communicating, we like to feel valued, we like to be felt as part of a tribe. We like to collaborate. We’re the only species on the planet that can collaborate to the level that we do to achieve the same why we became the
Al McBride 17:23
Adam King 17:25
Al McBride 17:26
Because we realized we were weaker than a whole lot of others weren’t right. Oh, yeah. Are you read sapiens, for example? And form teams? That was fun? What did I suppose Yeah, read
Adam King 17:35
sapiens, the book and I caught that he’s an Israeli author, I can never pronounce his name. But that’s a great read around. I can see you’re looking for it.
Al McBride 17:45
No, Harare. Yeah,
Adam King 17:47
that’s a fantastic insight into the way that human beings evolved, and why we would do some of the things that we do. And you need to understand that at least a basic level to be able to then create, as you know, when you’re bringing it into business and marketing and all the rest of it does create a strategy that is going to communicate, because that’s what we’re doing with marketing, we are communicating, we are influencing behavior, we are not necessarily persuading, we are influencing behavior to pay attention to, to think, to feel valued to be welcomed.
Adam King 18:23
I always say that your your marketing should make people feel like a weary traveler has come to your door. And you’re well you’re welcoming them with with a hot meal. Right, it’s like the ultimate solution to a problem that they’ve been struggling with. And you you you deliver that marketing in a way that makes it easy for them to understand that actually, I can solve this problem.
Adam King 18:47
But I have you first of all, you need to know what that problem is. That’s one of the things that you really need to understand the problem that they’re facing, or the result that they really want to achieve. And you have to present that in a way that is easy for them to understand that you understand what that problem is, sometimes you can articulate that problem better than they can.
Adam King 19:06
That’s when you really get inside their head. That’s when you really learn to think like the fish. And that’s a thing from a famous copywriter that you know that that term? You want to enter the conversation that’s already going on inside your prospects head
Al McBride 19:20
for the classic marketing phrase. Yeah, I think people often sort of scoot over that and go Yo, but of course, it’s what a colleague of mine says, you know, is it do a lot of presentation training, where the principles are actually quite similar, and they tend to run all the way through, whether it’s marketing or negotiation or a presentation. And it’s one of the key things is you have to meet the audience, whether that’s an audience of one or an audience of a million.
Al McBride 19:48
You have to meet them where they’re at, not where you’re at. And again, it’s one of those things where it’s, that shows empathy, it shows being able to actually try and project yourself into their situation, not yours. And it’s what you were saying earlier about the equivalent of selling free for me to make a sale, not for me to sort your problem out or help you gain value in some format. You know, the print, you know, as you said, it’s an attitudinal difference. And I think, yeah, I think you’re right. I think it’s absolutely key.
Adam King 20:28
And now, you know, I’m a big fan of, and I’ve mentioned it already, Jay Abraham, and he talks about the strategy of preeminence
Al McBride 20:34
Adam King 20:38
Yeah, I mean, for anyone that doesn’t know, just Google, his name he is, is He’s incredible. And that strategy of preeminence is all around being the preeminent authority or advisor or provider of value to a specific group of people that you actually want to help. And that sometimes means recommending somebody to somebody else, actually telling them not to buy from you. And that sounds a bit weird.
Al McBride 21:04
No, it will. It does. But it’s, as he says, it builds on that fiduciary responsibility, which supposedly accountants and lawyers and other professions have, where they’re meant to put the economic or the best interests of the client ahead of their own. And that’s the difference is that, instead of saying, Yeah, I can build you this website for 10, grand or 100, grand, whatever.
Al McBride 21:27
Rather than say, actually, you don’t need loads of those things. You just don’t from your needs? You just don’t I know you’re asking for them. But I’d be it would be irresponsible of me to take care of one. Yeah. Whereas most providers actually just go, Oh, that’s fine. Yeah, I just you asked what the price is, there’s the price. And they know you don’t need it, but they don’t care. Yeah.
Adam King 21:48
Well, that’s why I think that when it comes to sales, when you’ve done your marketing, right, it doesn’t necessarily become it’s not sales, it’s it’s a discovery process to ensure that what you have is right for that person. Exactly. It’s a discovery, right? are you dealing with this problem?
Adam King 22:05
Is this the best? What have you tried before? What resources do you have? etcetera, etcetera? And is this you know, is what I offer you? Is my hammer, what you need to build your fence? Or do you need to start with a spade because you haven’t even dug a hole yet?
Al McBride 22:22
That’s a good analysis there. I will just loop back one moment to how do you think people because people obviously want they want to have a problem they want to fix? So that as you said, they they’re looking at lots of tactical stuff. Oh, I’m not. I hear loads of people are getting great traction with Facebook ads. And then they go, Oh, no, they’re much more expensive than they were three years ago, oh, no, I missed the boat there. I’ll jump on this next shiny object over here.
Al McBride 22:49
Because they’re, they’re terrorists, I was desperate for a result desperate for an improvement, and they feel they’re missing out the whole FOMO thing. isn’t doing the deeper work, the more difficult work or there’s often even introspection and you’re really having to ask what you’re about and what you stand for, what you don’t stand for? And, you know, what are your little red lines? And all of these tricky little issues, which one wouldn’t maybe associate immediately with marketing?
Al McBride 23:21
But how would you help someone a client work out whether it’s that kind of that feeling in the Gosh, whether it’s a moral thing going, Oh, you don’t like this buddy, or whether it’s actually just that discomfort for doing, you know, pushing the comfort zone, maybe it’s a level of exposure of vulnerability more so that they’re not used to? Maybe they feel like if they’re going to do a, say, a podcast, that they think, oh, but I’m no good as interviewing or public speaking, or whatever.
Al McBride 23:52
So how do you help them through that idea that when they’re choosing some channels, they have their principles, hopefully worked out to a greater or lesser degree, they’re developing that strategy, and in that they’re looking for actionable channels. So you know, a lot of this is new to people. So how do you maneuver them from the difference of things that they’re just won’t do long term because they don’t fundamentally like them, or they don’t fit them? versus things that are just new and difficult or a little bit challenging?
Adam King 24:23
Well, assuming that they’ve done the work on on, as you say, the foundational pieces and all the rest of it, because initially listening to that question, it’s the same response that I have in sort of 80 to 90% of the questions around that sort of thing. Like, oh, should I be doing Facebook ads or bla bla bla bla bla, it’s kind of like, Well, you could, however, what about the foundations?
Adam King 24:49
Because if you’re telling me that you’re doing Facebook ads, for example, and they’re getting more expensive and they’re getting harder, then is that the Facebook ads themselves, or do we need to go back a few steps and actually look at it The offer, the target market, the message, all of that sort of thing, because those are the but you know, advertising any kind of advertising will only amplify what you’ve created at your foundational level.
Adam King 25:13
Right? Now, as we as you know, we’ve got a very interesting saying here that is, you know, you cannot put lipstick on a pig, or Polish a turd. And, you know, the best marketing in the world cannot help a bad offer. So you always have to go back to that, before you start blaming the channel or the tool or whatever else it is. But when it comes to, what would I say to someone in terms of helping them to choose the channels or choose what it is they want to do?
Adam King 25:44
That’s what I think the question was really at the core of it, ultimately, that it’s a question of what’s working for you now. What have you done in the past that produce results, but you’re no longer doing? Because we’ve all gone, you know, myself included, I am totally, totally fallible to this as well, I get distracted as much as anyone, because I do this for a living, and I get interested with it.
Adam King 26:14
And I’m a geek and all the rest of it, and I can go down rabbit holes like nobody else. There are things that I have forgotten in the past that were just like, no brainer, like, why have I stopped doing this? Why am I not telling more people to do this, etc? So I’d start there and be looking at what’s working? What do you enjoy doing? Like, what is it that actually you like to do?
Adam King 26:36
Now, I personally, as an example, I hate the whole idea of cold calling, and all that sort of thing. I’ve never liked it or that kind of thing. Now, not a lot of people do, some people do. or any kind of that, you know, I always felt like I was being a bit of a pest when I was reaching out to people. I always thought it was a sign of desperation.
Adam King 26:58
Because I’m a marketer, I should have people coming to me all that kind of thing, right? It’s it’s a story that’s in my head. However, I realized that one of the things that I really enjoy doing is having conversations, meeting really cool people, interesting people, and collaborating with them, which is why I started the podcast.
Adam King 27:18
And that, to me, has been an amazing channel that allows me to reach out to people and start conversations, whether they come on to the show or not, but it starts the conversation off for them to come on the show. Now this could be someone that I’d ultimately love to work with as a client more of the time, it’s someone that I’d love to collaborate with, in some way, and help spread the word about their business, my business, expose them to the audience, all that kind of thing as well. I don’t feel any kind of apprehension about doing that anymore.
Adam King 27:53
Because I’ve you know, over 100 episodes on the show now. The old show the client catching podcast, and actually, we’re doing the live launch of the show the b2b growth Think Tank next week. So by the time this goes out, it will be the b2b growth Think Tank right now. It’s still the client catching podcast. But the whole thing is done. Because of this very question that I asked myself. What do I love doing? Where do I want to take this show? What do I want to do differently?
Al McBride 28:19
And that that’s something that we mentioned at the very start where, you know, you had me on as a guest. It was it was great fun. And it was a really quite a novel approach to podcasting. And just just for people to know what, as I understand it, what you have is we you know, we had a chat about certain stuff that we wanted to chat about, and that was great.
Al McBride 28:41
And then at least half of it then there was a common question that you got, or maybe it was specific from a particular client. And we basically just workshopped it, we basically just threw it out there and had a conversation back and forth or how to address it.
Adam King 28:57
It’s like one of those virtual hot seats. You know, if you’ve been to a mastermind, and you get 5 or 15 minutes on the hot seat, and you stand up or you sit down or whatever it is, and you say, this is what I’m dealing with in my business right now. This is the challenge I’m facing. This is what I’ve tried to do to fix it.
Adam King 29:14
What would you suggest I do next, like that kind of thing and then the people in the room or around your table or whatever that is masterminded. Now obviously it’s a virtual one and you are not in the seat so you we don’t get to ask clarifying questions or all that kind of thing. So we have to go on certain assumptions but really it’s it’s me and the guest or panel of guests as the future will be panels as well.
Adam King 29:35
So multiple people on the show at the same time and the live event go and watch the replay if it’s now but past guests three at a time. We’re just literally doing this for it’ll be a three hour live event but we’ll break it out anyway. But yeah, I I came up with the idea. I can’t I don’t know why I just felt that. I think one of the one of the conversations that I had on the show it almost felt like this and I remember feeling so energized after the after the show that I thought why wouldn’t I do more of this?
Al McBride 30:05
Absolutely, yeah. And as I said, Great, and just, you know, working through a set of questions on a podcast, which, you know, I mean, I’ve heard plenty of very good interviews where people just just do that. But, ya know, it’s a, it’s a very good idea. And I hope it works well for you. As I said, I certainly enjoyed it, I can see the, the marriage and also for the listener,
Adam King 30:27
collaborative piece, it involves a community aspect to it. And ultimately, I want it to become that repository of real solutions to challenges that real people are facing right now in their business. So that if if there’s people in the future, let’s be honest, we all go through similar cycles in our business.
Adam King 30:47
So there’s going to be some variant of a challenge that somebody is facing along each path and each stage of their growth. So why not just what the nuances for somebody individual, and sometimes it just takes a repetition to hear something in a slightly different context for you to go?
Al McBride 31:04
Adam King 31:04
That’s me. That’s what I need to do.
Al McBride 31:07
It seems like it’s a great resource, as you say, for people who are stuck it out either because they don’t feel they have many options. And that’s a terrible phrase. I’ve tried everything. It’s like, by definition, No, you haven’t. Or as you said, it’s the opposite. There are, you know, a fork in the road? And they have to or, like, 100 options? I don’t know what to do.
Al McBride 31:30
Yeah, do I, you know, limit us down? Either way, as you said, I think it’s a great idea. It’s a great idea, it was a great energy there. And I can imagine, as I said, when you build up a library of those, it can be quite quite a resource for a lot of people. And so, just so you know, full credit for for thinking it up. And then and then trying it out. You know, I mean, I’d imagine it would do very well.
Al McBride 31:56
But and I know from you that you as you were talking before we hit record there that you think of these sort of grand plans and events and projects and to get a bit of it gets the energy going. And it is great. And on that note, I don’t mean to be negative, but it’s just to it is to put it in a context of, you know, you have to be ready to be underwhelmed or even fail. And I just wonder, what failures are you most proud of? Or did you find most valuable or most instructive?
Adam King 32:29
I mean, there’s been there’s been plenty of failures.
Al McBride 32:34
And I use failure. Failure is very negative.
Adam King 32:38
Yeah, no, no.
Al McBride 32:41
backs or disappointments
Adam King 32:42
are whatever. Our I think we need a healthy relationship with failure, I think more or less do I think that we need to actually embrace it? Because failure is an opportunity to learn? Like, what do we learn, like, in a way, for example, what I’m doing with this podcast, it’s almost like I don’t, I almost don’t want it to work brilliantly straight out the gate.
Adam King 33:03
There’s something in me now that understands the lessons that come from things not quite going according to the way that you want them to go. Because you don’t then go and analyze and learn from them. You just get lucky. I say this to people all the time,
Al McBride 33:17
you win, or you learn but you because because inherent in that you win or you learn, you know, it means that if you win, you don’t learn anything, but I would think you’re still needed to go back. And you know, a lot of the some of the top athletes or top sports people, and again, some some of them do it in a very negative, unhealthy way. But a lot of them do it in a seriously healthy way where even when they when they’re not okay.
Al McBride 33:44
They can take it in balance of lock versus likelihood, if you will, you know, and actually look at it in a broader context. You know, there’s this idea of resulting resulting fallacy, where just because you got an outcome doesn’t necessarily mean that you made the right or most optimum choice, there may be an element of luck or good fortune involved.
Adam King 34:09
I mean, athletes are a great example of that. Was athletes a great example of that, because if you listen to some of the top ones talk, I mean, Mo Farah is a good example. When he’s asked about a victory or or a win or anything like that. He spends very little time in that kind of spotlight of celebration. Yeah, a very quickly turn almost instantly after he’s won a race. He doesn’t bask in it. He talks about Yes, it was great. I worked hard. Now what? What do I do different? What do I do better? How can I improve? It’s always that tone in his in the way that he talks?
Al McBride 34:48
Yeah, and I think that the tone is, is the thing rather than even the self talk. And our mutual friend Nina cook reminded me of that when it’s you know, people think mindset And self talk is the words. And it is to a certain extent, but it’s also the emotional resonance behind the words.
Al McBride 35:07
So, and that’s why I said, you know, some athletes are quite unhealthy, they can’t enjoy the victory. Not that’s not psychologically good. But a lot of them. If you hear them, they can kind of take a step back and sort of go, Oh, I did that. Well, I did that. Well, okay, more of that. That could be improved. That was that was lucky. I got away with that one, you know.
Al McBride 35:29
And as you said, it’s that much more objective way of Okay, we did well, you know, and we came through, and we got the result we wanted. But you know, there’s still plenty of improvements that can be made. But it’s not in a blame frame, if you follow me. And so that that tone is the key is, as you pointed out, it’s a lovely one,
Adam King 35:48
I think the last thing to sort of bring out around that, though, is that you don’t get to that level without going through the failures. And doing that process with the failures before you can do it with the successes. Mo Farah didn’t break a world record the first time he put on a pair of running shoes,
Al McBride 36:05
Adam King 36:05
right? He’s obviously sort of embedded that process of learning from the failure. But if you try something once and you know, imagine the first time you pick up a golf club, and you swing it, and by absolute sheer luck, you get a hole in one. Do you think you can go? Yeah, do you think you’re gonna compete on the PGA Tour on the next on the next week?
Adam King 36:26
No, of course, you’re not you just got lucky. And sometimes that can happen. But what do you learn, you know, unless you actually learn from access and look at it and go, Okay. Did I just get lucky? Was there something in there that it was just right place, right time something happened, blah, blah, blah, I just got lucky. Or did I do the work to prepare and all the rest of it? And actually, my hypothesis proved to be correct.
Al McBride 36:55
Exactly. It’s, it’s, as an artist, friend of mine says, most people give up on their art when they’re becoming artists. And they’re in this curve of development. And it’s not a straight line, you know, the average goes like this, but it’s actually like that. But most people give up, because they have taste. And what you means by this, which I thought was interesting was because you want to create right up here, that’s what the vision is, what your result is here. So you keep comparing, and you’re like, the reality is falling way short of the vision. And a lot of people just either get stuck, and they can’t prove more, or they just get too down on themselves, rather than, as you say, taking it as a more objective and going okay, we’re higher than we were last year, or last month, or last week.
Al McBride 37:43
I suppose the same with any business function as with a lot of other business functions. So I think it’s a little bit easier. It’s more difficult when it’s very much of you.
Adam King 37:53
Hmm, Oh, absolutely. Because, you know, when you start your own thing, it is you like your, your, your entire kind of identity is wrapped up in a lot of it. And it’s kind of like, if the business succeeds, then I’m a success. Or if the business fails, I’m a failure. There’s a lot of that in there, because it’s you that started it, especially around a skill or expertise and, and providing a service that has been honed, or the ability to provide that service has been honed over years of practice.
Adam King 38:24
If you then go, because if you go from doing that service, when the people are brought for you, and you just perform it to actually then running a business where you have to go out and get the clients, it’s a very different thing. Because you feel that your ability to actually do that marketing piece, labels, you potentially is a failure not to grow the business.
Adam King 38:41
Whereas actually the reality is, you spend all your time honing your craft, which is the thing that you do and the thing and the way that you provide value to people, which is exactly what you were supposed to do. nobody teaches you then how to generate the clients in the business because there’s no score for that necessarily. It is in of itself, as much of an expertise as everything that you’ve put in to get great at what you do. So you’re not expected to be brilliant at it.
Al McBride 39:13
Beautiful point, it reminds a little bit also, you know, David Hockney, his idea of the poetry and the craft, that you know, you need that hard graft of the of developing that craft with methodical discipline over time. And then you can do all the poetry you like, but often with a lot of industries. You need this deep discipline. It’s a discipline in the sense of just perseverance and returning to whatever Canvas you’re working.
Adam King 39:50
Al McBride 39:52
It always sort of resonated with me. Just to change tack for a minute. I know you have a you have a book The conversation relationship marketing. And you’ve done an interesting thing, because most marketers, and the standard thing is to have it so that people have to give their email, which is a fair exchange and email your book? Well, you’ve decided to try a different route on that one. And it’s a very interesting book. First of all, I just say, Can you just tell us a little bit about the book? Because I know it sort of sums up a lot of your philosophies. A lot of your approaches.
Adam King 40:27
Yeah, so the book itself is called conversational relationship marketing. And it talks about 10 golden rules that service professionals can use to essentially market themselves attract clients, and ensure that they don’t run out of work, and that feast or famine, and all the rest of it.
Adam King 40:45
So it’s, it’s based on a strategy and a philosophy that I think I’ve probably brought out a bit here, which is, I believe that if you focus your marketing activities on a daily basis, and it comes back to some of the questions you’ve asked, like, what would you say to somebody, if all you’re doing is simplifying what the activities you’re doing in your business to market your business, and you focus purely on activities that will start and continue conversations with people you can either add value to do business with or collaborate with, for a mutual Win Win, those are the things that you do.
Adam King 41:20
And that’s why I say that marketing is there to start conversations, especially when you are the expert, when you are providing a service, where you work with other human beings. So it is 10 ways. And the book itself sort of focuses on using LinkedIn. Because right now, depending on when you’re listening to this, we can’t go out and do the networking all the rest of it. It’s like how you start those conversations when the the the event hasn’t been put on for you?
Adam King 41:50
How do you go and get into the event that’s already going on, which is LinkedIn at the moment. But it’s applicable to pretty much any platform where or any environment where your potential clients would be hanging out? And it’s, how do you present yourself? How do you talk about what you do? How do you deliver your message? How do you initiate a conversation? How do you continue that conversation just
Al McBride 42:11
to interject a lot on that that’s a really, and that loops back to pretty much the start? where, you know, a lot of people on LinkedIn are going, Oh, yeah, LinkedIn is great. And all but I don’t want to be one of those spammy people, you know, a lot of that since COVID, you get a lot of these things, where again, you’re just like, you don’t care about me, you’re literally just trying to flog me something? Yeah.
Al McBride 42:34
Where are you gonna, there’s not like, even a How are you? Or maybe there is, but it’s, it’s just, you’re just waiting for the marketing boss to hit you, you know? And then you’re getting like the fourth message, they haven’t replied to going, Hey, I thought we had this. Ah, go away. You’re terrible. But a lot of people go, Oh, God, I don’t want anyone to think I’m like that, and rightly so. But I presume in the book, then you help them move that to a more what would you say authentic
Adam King 43:02
or genuine humanities how to have the conversation. You know, I almost felt like I was being patronizing at times writing it. But as you’re right, there are so many people that I don’t know if it’s them, learning from others, or getting others to do it, or they’ve seen
Adam King 43:21
Well, I can automate this and just put messages into bots. That’s the problem with LinkedIn. And when it comes to that, it sounds the entire platform when people do the automation thing. And I know it’s being cracked down on. But LinkedIn is not an autoresponder. And yet, people treat it as such they dripping campaigns or an email sequence into somebody’s message. inbox. That doesn’t work. What about instead, if you just started a conversation?
Al McBride 43:50
Yeah, I mean, it is that simple.
Adam King 43:54
People, a lot of people when I say that, it’s like, Yeah, but that takes a long time. Well, yeah. But it also takes a long time to sift through an awful lot of people by pushing crap at them, and it hurts you in the process?
Al McBride 44:05
Because exactly, because when people then might be exposed to you in a better way, if you’ve done that, there’ll be Oh, no, you’re that guy that’s, you know, was just trying to sell me crops that I don’t feel I need. As I said, You soured your sourdough potential relationships down the line.
Adam King 44:23
Yeah. But yeah, I don’t want to go into the weeds of it because no, as you say, there is a free copy available. There is not even an opt in to get it and there’s the audio version that you can get your hands on as well. So there is no opt in there is nothing there. It is literally, the the premise behind it.
Adam King 44:40
This was like my weird like I have I have full blown, ADHD, right? diagnosed in my late 30s. It opened my eyes to so many things that defined me in my past for example, and a lot of things in the bar, my God. But this was my ADHD locked down moment that happened right at the beginning of the lockdown in the I started writing a bit of a call that I was going to do a podcast episode around. I then literally wrote a book in 10 days, and not 10 solid days, in 10, half days within doing work around the same things.
Adam King 45:12
Because my work days were cut in half with childcare between my wife. Some of the content was from other places and all the rest of it, but it was 10 days, I went into hyperfocus. Brilliant, and I created it. And I was like, right now, what do I do with it? I’ll maybe I’ll just, you know, do the whole blah, blah, blah. But then I just thought, you know, what? Why don’t I just give this away?
Adam King 45:35
Because it was at that point of the lockdown where obviously there were people struggling, they weren’t sure what to do the conversations that I were having with clients, prospective prospective clients, and and hearing from people that we’re talking to on the podcast as well. They’re all going through the same thing. What do we do? Like, what do we do differently? How do we adjust to this new normal, which is the term that really irritates me now?
Adam King 45:57
But hey, it’s, it’s like, what could I do? So I just thought, well, I’ll just put everything I know how to, after doing this for for quite a while and helping a lot of people do it successfully. I’m just going to give it away because people don’t pay me for information. They pay me to implement. So I would rather allow as many people that I’m never going to be able to work with actually have that information and use it.
Al McBride 46:26
It’s a very good point. It’s very good, very generous as well.
Adam King 46:30
And there will be a certain number that read it and think this is great. You know, what more can you do?
Al McBride 46:37
Of course measure it’ll also it’ll also, as I said, I don’t mean to sound too business aggressive. But it also means that people who will sort of go, Okay, this is the guy I want to work with, because you know, you set out your stole, and then you know people get a sense of you.
Adam King 46:53
Yeah, there is a strategy behind it. I’m not I’m not gonna lie. But the virality of that happening, because it’s given away. People like the whole idea of opt ins and lead magnets and all the rest of it, it’s, it’s great at certain point in your client journey and all the rest of it. But if you can’t get someone to consume your content by putting friction in front of people, if they’re not ready yet, to learn from you to see what you do, and the first thing that they see when they come across you is well give me your email address what everyone’s fed up with being bombarded in emails these days.
Adam King 47:37
So we are far more protective of what we do with our information. I removed the barrier. There are points within the book that yes, you can go and find more resources that do require that. But that’s if they want to, is kind of like, you know, if you want this resource, then absolutely come into my world properly. But you don’t have to. And there’s templates and workbooks and everything that will literally allow you to step by step, implement this whole system, a process that works incredibly well.
Al McBride 48:09
Excellent. And just imagine there’s a lot of parallels from what you just said in. In the last, however long we’ve been on. Just to focus attention more into human relationships, which I get the sense of how you see marketing Anyway, what advice would you give someone around dealing with people in the sense of making agreements or winning people over to your way of thinking? Because that’s really, you know, anytime we do negotiation, or persuasion, or influence, and where we’re trying to get people to see more of our worldview. I’ll never wait for them to go.
Adam King 48:48
The weird thing is I’m never I’m never trying to win somebody over to my way of thinking, exactly. I’m simply showing them what can be possible with a particular path that I can help them tread, if that’s where they want to go. It’s different from saying, This is my hammer. Can I hit you with it?
Al McBride 49:10
Exactly, exactly. And as you said, it’s, again, with the negotiation analogies, because I tend to think in these terms a lot. It’s exactly like that, like a lot of people. There’s almost an adversarial, even with marketing where you’re meant to be serving the customer or serving the client is almost an adversarial relationship, whereas as you just beautifully described, right off the bat, you’re moving it into more of a, an alliance or Absolutely,
Al McBride 49:39
and also which is the key thing with the preeminence back to Jay Abraham against the
Adam King 49:43
preeminence but I think that sometimes one of the one of the pushback that I get from this is well, it’s all very touchy feely, it’s all very, you know, softly, softly and all the rest of it well, if you only ever did that, of course, there are times to make offers The key thing is that during this conversational process when you are doing it consistently, and you have a number of people in your pipeline, etc, that you’re having conversations with the right time to make the offer, it could be right at the beginning.
Adam King 50:14
But you have to understand the nuances of that particular conversation. And you have to develop your, your systems and your processes that will allow people to self identify when that period is when they are willing and open, receptive to hearing an offer. Now offer doesn’t have to be literally like by my staff.
Adam King 50:32
It could be take the next step, an example exactly what that book is the free stuff, here’s my next offer, because an offer is simply the opportunity to take the next step on their journey. And maybe that journey will end with working with you, but it doesn’t necessarily.
Adam King 50:49
And sometimes you can leave with offers, because you talk about how do you win someone over to your way of thinking, well, if you know someone so deeply, and you know, their struggles, you know, their problems, you know, the thing that is keeping them awake at 3am and driving them nuts. And they’re just saying, If only I could get more Ah, and you can put an offer that says, Do you want more? Yes, please tell me more. Of course, you can put that straight in front.
Al McBride 51:16
I used to have that question in kind of inverted commas when people over to your waiting. So no, I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was in any way a trap. But it was to point out, that’s often when people ask me about negotiation, it’s the how do we win people over to my way? Because that’s kind of a common phrase. So it is exactly that it’s,
Adam King 51:39
it’s more I think the better the better way of sort of like thinking about it is how can I understand what somebody wants so well, so that I can show them? How, with my help? You’ll get it?
Al McBride 51:51
Exactly. I mean, this is, you know, the covi Seven Habits stuff, what’s number one is seek to understand before you’re understood. Same with any sort of a business relationship person, oh, tell me about you know, tell me about your business. Tell me how you do business.
Al McBride 52:08
Tell me about or your marketing, in your case, whatever that might be. And as you said, then when you it’s diagnosis before prognosis. Yeah. It also means that when you’re then giving a suggestion, or indeed an offer, that it fits far better into their how they see the world and they see themselves and their problem and the customers or the clients and so on.
Al McBride 52:33
And it can just be far, far better fit. So yeah, I don’t know, I certainly have a good chat with anyone who said it’s very softly, softly, because imagine if it’s not, if doesn’t have that actual heat, softly, softly as in humans having conversations. Rather than you know, as I said, hitting people with hammers, which is quite a good analogy, and a lot of ways Yeah,
Adam King 52:57
well, sometimes easy analogy of, you know, because I use the fishing analogy, which is the whole thing like a fish, you got to understand your clients so well that, you know, you understand that you cannot catch a fish with chocolate cake. Even if you love it, they like worms, so don’t stick a big fat chunk of chocolate cake on the end of your hook, because it ain’t gonna work.
Adam King 53:14
Right? It’s it’s really understanding that that client and all the rest of it and being able to put yourself in their shoes, to the point where it just makes sense, like you’re talking their language, and they are, they kind of see you as an equal. And that’s where the whole I don’t work with clients anymore. I work with partners. Gotcha. And we we sit on the same side of the table. And I know that’s a phrase that you like, it’s like you’re sitting
Al McBride 53:44
at a table when when you say it, people immediately get it that you’re not an adversary anymore. I mean, you’re you should definitely shouldn’t be an adversary. But I just said a lot of a lot of companies providing marketing, whatever professional service they tend to act with was far more distance than they should. And then they wonder why their clients go to other options. And, you know, the lifetime customer value isn’t very long and this kind of thing.
Adam King 54:10
Well, I sharing the risks and the rewards of working with somebody with a partner. So there is an investment in the partner as much as the partner is investing in me. So the majority of that 90% of the cost of ultimately working with me, is all linked to actually results.
Adam King 54:27
But that means that I can select the kind of people that I know, I’m going to enjoy working with. I know I can help I know can make a difference to their clients when we actually work together and help them help more of them. And it means that we share the risk and the reward because there is that thing around marketing.
Adam King 54:47
It’s like Well, how do I know this is gonna work? Well, if anyone tells you they know it’s gonna work. They can’t because they haven’t worked with you yet. Yeah, I can guarantee your result because The majority of the investment to actually achieve the result is based on you actually achieving it.
Al McBride 55:08
Yeah, and a
Adam King 55:09
lot of people don’t put their, their, their money where their mouth is, I think in this game, and that’s why it’s a bit tarnished.
Al McBride 55:15
I mean, I use the term skin in the game because yeah, it’s really is that is that? Yeah, I mean, Nassim Taleb wrote a whole book about, you know, don’t trust anyone without skin in the game.
Al McBride 55:27
Simple as that as a rule by there are exceptions, of course. But, you know, sometimes you do want a third party opinion, for a fresh perspective. But other than that, yeah, I think you’re right. I think you’re right. And on that note, we might pause the conversation there until our next job.
Adam King 55:48
Yeah, I love talking to you. Because it’s Yeah, there’s so many ways they can go and and, and it says, Yeah, I’d say the ADH brain can can go off in so many directions. So while I’m talking so thanks very much for joining.
Adam King 56:00
Yeah, for having me here. It’s great to have you on great to have you on and as always, I will of course have the link to your book, under the podcast and under the video. What I’ll do to make it easy for people if they want to check out the book and the podcast and all the rest of it is if you go to think like a fish.co.uk slash, Allister.
Al McBride 56:22
Yeah, that’s al is E AR.
Adam King 56:26
Shall I make it even easier? I’ll make it even easier. Think Like a fish.co.uk slash owl.
Al McBride 56:34
Adam King 56:36
And that means that there’ll be all the resources on there that we’ve discussed the book, the podcast and all the rest of it. So easy to remember. Thank you so much in there as well. So
Al McBride 56:46
Adam King 56:47
Take it easy.
Al McBride 56:49
Bye. The way
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
- Free video training “Discover How I Could Help You Add as much as £500,000 of Revenue to Your Business in 12 Months, www.thinklikeafish.co.uk/al
- Predictable Sales Training: Build a pipeline of new, ideal client inquiries using a simple framework www.thinklikeafish.co.uk/al
- Think Like a Fish Podcast / B2B Growth Think Tank Podcast: https://www.thinklikeafish.co.uk/podcast/
- Adam King’s Free Book, Conversational Relationship Marketing (No Opt in Required): https://www.thinklikeafish.co.uk/freebook/
Connect with Adam King
- Adam King on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mradamking/
- Adam King’s B2B Growth Think Tank Podcast Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheB2BGrowthThinkTank
Ready for more:
If you’re interested in more, visit almcbride.com/minicourse for a free email minicourse on how to gain the psychological edge in your negotiations and critical conversations along with a helpful negotiation prep cheat sheet.
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