Focus on WOM – Featured Interview with Joe Calloway
Business Author, Consultant and Speaker
- The importance of committing to make every business experience to be a positive one for all involved
- How to get more positive WOM (word of mouth)
- The single most important strategic asset for many companies and how it relates to your relationship with your customers.
- What he said to correct a misunderstanding, even when it came at significant out-of-pocket expense to replace 600 of the wrong title books sent to the meeting planner
Click to Read the Show Notes
1:03 Calloway recounts his childhood experience with entrepreneurship despite growing up in a small town with a father who was not, by any means, an entrepreneur.
1:53 “From an early age I was into selling stuff. I mowed a million yards, I raked a trillion yards. I think part of that came from my dad…if there was something special that I wanted, he would say ‘That’s great, how much money do you have saved up?’”
3:00 How Calloway transitioned from an interest in politics to a career in business.
3:49 [Recalling a stint in a real estate agency] – “The way I got paid was based on how much all the agents made, it was based on all the revenue generated in the firm, and that’s where I got big by the bug of ‘What can I come up with or what can I pass along in terms of ideas that will help other people be more successful?’ Because the more successful they were, it had an absolute direct impact on my own income.”
5:00 “I just am really good at paying attention. And that was my technique and my method, and I do it to this day, my job is to study the marketplace, and to look for individuals and organizations, businesses large and small, across the board, every kind of industry, and profession, and business you can imagine, and what I look for is quite simply this: who are the ones who are the market leaders who are successful and able to sustain that success?”
5:55 “What is it that top performers do that any of us could do if we just chose to?”
6:18 “It’s not easy to succeed in business, but it’s not a mystery. I don’t believe there are any secrets to success. I think the ideas that work are right out there in the open for all of us. So it’s a matter of getting intentional about using those ideas and doing the hard work necessary to execute on those ideas.”
7:58 Calloway describes why it’s important for people in this industry to stay relevant.
8:17 “I have to stay relevant, which means I’ve got to stay current on what is working in the marketplace.”
8:31 [On being hirable as a speaker] – “I work really hard at having a deep understanding of who is in my audience.”
9:04 The significance of tying what you’re speaking about to the audience you’re addressing, regardless of whether or not you’re an industry expert.
9:26 “You can have what you think is the greatest idea in the world, and be very passionate about it, but if other people don’t want it, if they don’t see the need for it, then you’ve got a hobby, you don’t have a business.”
11:00 Calloway asks the question: What’s the competitive advantage of being easy to do business with?
13:05 [On how to address people in an industry you’re not an expert in] – “What I can do is help make the link between ‘Here’s the principle, here’s the illustration of it, and here’s quite clearly what it has to do with you and your business.’”
14:20 “I perceive myself as being more of a facilitator than a speechmaker, because…I want to facilitate their thinking in a way that’s useful when they go back to work.”
14:50 [On what small businesses all say] – “How do I get customers, keep customers, and attract more customers?”
15:25 “It’s not what you say about yourself that matters one way or another, it’s what other people are saying about you, it’s what your customers are saying.”
16:08 [On using the internet and social media to you’re advantage] – “My biggest energy isn’t about what I post on social media, it’s about being intentional about creating a customer experience that is so compelling that my customers are saying things that drive new business to me.”
16:35 [On the worth of positive word of mouth] – “The biggest force in being magnetic is passed through word of mouth.”
17:25 The story of Western Water Works California and what they’ve done to become a market leader.
19:58 “The single greatest competitive advantage out there is satisfied customers.”
21:30 [On not apologizing to customers] “A lot of businesses [who] find themselves apologizing frequently to customers – well, hello, that’s a clue that you need to back up and solve whatever’s causing you to have to apologize.”
21:50 How a humble response to an honest mistake – but a big one since he sent 600 of the wrong title books sent to the meeting planner – kept chaos at bay and even made the situation better than expected.
23:14 “The point though is this, you don’t argue with a customer, you make it right, and you make it right so overwhelmingly that they say, ‘Ok, you just knocked my socks off. I’m going to talk about this.’
25:28 A nod to Warren Buffett and a discussion of the importance of using “no” to narrow your focus.
26:30 “Over the years, little by little, I’ve learned that it makes me a lot of money over the long haul to stick with what I do best and let other people do what they do best.”
27:45 How having a low tolerance level for jerks can be an effective filter in creating new business.
28:35 “I think it serves people really well to say ‘No’ more often, because it actually creates opportunity for the right things.”
29:20 Why you should say no to or walk away from those clients whose philosophy is in conflict with your philosophy.
31:15 [On saying no to clients who will be a drain on your energy] “Even though it’s money, it’s not good money.
32:35 The story of the Saint Paul Saints and how the owner’s dedication to hiring great people and getting out of their way makes the organization successful.
34:48 [The Saint Paul Saints method] – “If you hire the right people, you can totally turn them loose as long as they understand the direction that the business is going, you’ll be successful.
35:07 [The Saint Paul Saints method cont.] – “Fun is good.”
36:51 Pig-asso the baseball delivering pig.
37:10 “If people like doing business with you, that is a competitive advantage.”
37:55 How Old Dominion Trade Line simplifies their company language to encourage personal responsibility and ensure employees’ high performance.
40:00 [Paraphrasing Steve Jobs] – “If you can make things simple, you can move mountains.”
41:27 [On how expanding focus can lead to losing magnetic mojo] – “One trap that’s easy to fall into is to say ‘We could also do this, and we could also do that, and we can also this service, and we could also offer those products.’ Which might be the right thing to do, but we often stretch ourselves way beyond where we should be in terms of trying to do too many things.”
42:16 “For every ten ideas I have, for nine of them the market says ‘No, I don’t think so.’”
43:19 “You have to change to stay relevant. You have to improve, you have to innovate. But you’ve always got to create value in the eyes of the customers, otherwise it won’t work.”
43:45 [On reevaluating inventory] “We all need to periodically sit down with ourselves or with our teams and ask ‘Where are we spending way too much energy?”
46:02 Calloway’s daily rituals for productivity and success.
47:28 “You have to work at constantly being sure that you, and everyone else, are focused on what is most important.”
Joe Calloway is a business author, consultant, and speaker who has served Coca-Cola, Verizon, and American Express among other well-known corporations. He also works with medical practices, law firms, and a range of professional services groups. Joe is the Executive in Residence at the Belmont University Center for Entrepreneurship.
Joe is the author of Be the Best at What Matters Most and five other business books that have been well-received by publications like The New York Times, Retailing Today, and Publisher’s Weekly.
His latest book is Magnetic: The Art of Attracting Business.
For more information, visit Joe’s website.
Contact Info for Joe Calloway
Web address: www.JoeCalloway.com
Travels from: Nashville, TN
Phone: (615) 429-7600