It's choosing the right business at the right time - Talk Marketing 013 - Danny Lee
It’s choosing the right business at the right time – Talk Marketing 013 – Danny Lee
Good morning, Mr. Lee.
Danny Lee 0:12
Good morning. How are you?
I am extraordinarily well, thank you. How are you?
Danny Lee 0:18
Listen, I could be in a much worse position in life like you. I’m enjoying the benefits of being relatively self employed and looking after my own needs, which is good.
Fantastic. Excellent. Thank you so much for agreeing to spend this time with me, with us today. I know you’re very busy man there in the greenbelt.
Danny Lee 0:40
Yeah, well, I would like to be busier. Everyone wants to be a little bit busier. But my life plan changed four and a half years ago. I’m not somebody who wants to do 60 hours a week again, I’ve been there and I’ve stepped right off that treadmill. So we’ll cover that later on.
Okay, cool, but I thought I was under the impression that you didn’t want to be busier. I certainly don’t want to be busier. I’ve also done the 60 hours a week.
Danny Lee 1:07
I think what my needs are relatively small, but having a little bit just ticking along so yeah, there’s always a bit of capacity to be a bit busy and my busy is more about doing stuff online, writing the new blog, doing a new journal, a new handbook rather than client busy.
Okay, cool. Yeah, no, so I’m definitely there. That’s why I’m on this mission with this content, is because I’ve done a lot of for clients. I’ve done a lot for a lot of people. Now I feel like I’m kind of discharging my responsibility. So I’m busy sharing everything I know. I think it’s gonna take me a couple of years to do that. I’m dragging in interesting people like you to get some of what you know, as well and then hopefully, I can just discharge myself entirely in two years time. I will have given the world everything I know. I’m going to go and do something that interests me more in future. Not that I’m not interested in marketing.
Danny Lee 1:57
Altruism is something that grows on us as we get older I think, I’m very much, slowly, heading down the altruistic route of what do I know, what can I give back, where there is some value for other people that I don’t need to hold on to that anymore – I just give it away. It’s a nice thing to do occasionally.
Yeah. Well, the way I think of it, you’ve seen Oliver Stone’s Platoon, have you?
Danny Lee 2:17
Yeah. So this is like my Platoon. I spent my time in the trenches. I saw the horrors. Now I’m here telling the world about it.
Danny Lee 2:26
You loved it when you were in it, really. You and I go back 15ish years I guess. Yeah, 10 – 11 years, maybe before then, when you were in the thick of the trade, you didn’t know there was a different life outside of that.
I didn’t know that, the thing is, I launched myself out of bed for those nine years that I was running Effective Marketing properly and I absolutely loved it, I was presenting to hundreds of people a week, and I really fancied myself, at the time, as the small businesses marketing champion; and it took me a long time to realise they don’t deserve a champion.
I still feel like I want to be with the little guy against the world. That’s why I’m producing the content. I can’t help people on a one to one basis, they haven’t got the money, I haven’t got the money; it takes time, energy and money to make these things happen – but I can give them the information, I can give them great insights from people like you, so that’s how I’m hoping to change the world this time around. Okay, so that reminds me of how I know you, I don’t know if you remember Elaine Smith?
Danny Lee 3:34
So some time around 2006 – 2007, she’s like Martin, there was this amazing guy at our networking, he stood up today and presented for 20 minutes, he didn’t have any notes, nothing. I have to tell you, I was a little bit unhappy about that because that’s what I had been doing for the three years previous. Now people were raving about you. So that’s how I know you. Which brings us to question number one, which is, how are you qualified, Mr. Lee, to talk to us about marketing.
Danny Lee 4:02
One, I think firstly, just sort of reminiscing on that 20 minutes, give me a stage and I’ll perform, that’s what I do. Those networking events in the morning, they became my lifeblood, absolutely, they were really a great time. So yes, hats off to Elaine for introducing you and I all those all those years ago. How am I qualified? I think marketing qualifications are a bit of a anathema really, aren’t they? I think you can go down the university route, go to whichever University you want and do your degrees and do anything else. Ultimately, it’s a learn it, burn it in, have a go at it, see what works. bleed from the best. Look at the worst. And so from what I am, I’m an old man now, I’m closer to 60 than 50, way closer. I’ve been selling or getting people to listen to what I’ve got to say, for 48 years since I was a kid. That is all marketing all those little things you do; whether it be that the pester power of kids trying to tell their mother to buy them something, get into market, why they need it, right through what we do today, which is just supporting whatever you’re trying to offer. So I don’t have any qualification as such, I’m not formally qualified. what I’ve got is 30 to 40 years of owning and operating businesses, selling businesses, building businesses for other people and just being in business. That’s my, that’s my marketing background.
Okay, do you consider yourself to be a marketing person or a sales and marketing person or, or
Danny Lee 5:45
In business, they’re very defined but I think a really good head of sales must understand how, where that sales come from and how it’s created and I think a really good marketing person needs to understand the journey of the salesperson, otherwise, there’s gonna be a real conflict. So I would put myself in the camp of a blended sales and marketer, I enjoyed both sides of the the game of sales and marketing.
Okay, but you are not supposed to are you?
Danny Lee 6:15
No, that’s the thing and that’s, this is where I think, when you love what you do, and I’ve loved most products that I’ve sold; there’s been a couple of products, that I won’t bore you with. I’ve sold some intangibles, which are horrible to sell, and they’re tough, marketing them was quite easy, they were sold on it on a fear, or the strategies that people use, that fear of missing out sort of opportunity, but selling the product is very difficult. So the journey for me has flipped, that I’m now marketing myself and my new business more than I’m trying to sell it because either people want it or they don’t. It’s one of those things that, it’s I’ve rested into a comfort zone that says, well, here’s what, here’s what I’ve got to offer, I provide the right, the right messages, the right call to actions for them, give them the right ingredients to make a decision. And it’s their decision. It’s not for me to change that.
Okay, so that’s cool. So if you’re in sales, you’re supposed to hate the marketing people and blame them giving you what you need. And if you are in marketing, then you blame the salespeople for not being able to …
Danny Lee 7:24
Close the deal.
Yes, so there is definitely this, because I’m also a sales and marketing person. I did 10 years in sales before I started The Effective Marketing Company. So I really think I’m both like you and I think everybody should be a bit of both, but not the way the world works, unfortunately,
Danny Lee 7:46
, I’ve seen a few of your broadcasts, you’ve done a few of these podcast things you’ve done, and there is very much, you speak to some of the people around you, and they’re very much down one line. I’m a marketing person and it may be they’ve got a fear of the sale or fear of rejection, those sorts of things. From my point of view, it has to it has to work together, I can’t see how you can have any, anybody….. Let’s take an SME, standard owner operator, four or five staff turning over 1.5 or 2.5 millions as an average type SME business. If that owner doesn’t understand what the salesman needs, and if his salesperson can’t relate to the boss and say, Look, we need to do this message or put the message over there or some, then I don’t know how they’re gonna operate. Obviously, you scale that up, when you go to corporate level they become quite defined roles. For SMEs, which are who you and I have tended to work with in the past, generally, they need to have their feet in both camps.
Right, absolutely do but in my experience of working with probably much smaller businesses, by the time they’re turning over a million, they’ve worked out. But, I think of the, Lord knows, I invoiced a 1000 different businesses in that nine years that I was running The Effective Marketing Company, I would say a handful of them were anything more than hand to mouth, you might be employing 40 or 50 people, but it’s like every month, they’re just working to get that done. I think it’s because they don’t get the whole sales and marketing thing. They don’t get it. They don’t actually get that being in businesses is about having customers profitably. That’s why I think I mean, by the time you’re turning over a million or a million and a half, I don’t know what are you employing them maybe 30 people, I think they start to get it and that’s when they start to bring in marketing management. But the amount of times I’ve been in in pitches, and the person will say to me either we’re going to guide you to generate some leads or we are going to employ a salesperson. It’s like that’s not how it works. So I don’t think I mean, I think This is part of my mission now is understanding why people don’t understand marketing, and don’t like marketing, and don’t want to invest in marketing because it seems to me that’s the one thing that will make them successful.
Danny Lee 10:12
Marketing. You and I have both gone down the telesales route before with both cold cold or, I lived and breathed telesales for many years as a passion, I’m absolutely a great believer that good old fashioned picking up a phone speaking to somebody telling them what you got, seeing if they’re available; that to me is that is the whole perfect cycle, from start to finish. But a lot of, the, the entrepreneurs, you’re talking about those one man bands or those, very small companies, their their route to market was, early on, very quick. So they had a product that a group of friends associates colleagues that they reached out to. they became the first base customers. with a bit of sort of network and referral working, and then the pipeline dries up because you’ve done that first line of sales, that’s where they then get stuck and go, I need to bring in a Danny or bring in a Martin or whatever it is.
Then they realise they can’t afford it, as you say, because they wanted the immediate sale, the immediate profit in the bank, which you and I know, is never the perfect recipe, it’s never gonna happen. So why the the SME doesn’t then get the marketing side is they think it fails. I had somebody in for a week they made 100 calls, I didn’t get a sale, therefore marketing’s bad.
Yes. And the amount of times I’ve heard that, like we tried telemarketing, we called 10 people no one was interested. We did email marketing, we emailed 50 people, nobody responded, somebody complained, we stopped. Yeah, yeah. So that’s interesting. Let me change my name, because it’s got my email address on it and I don’t want that. Good. Okay. So I think it’s interesting. Yeah, I’m doing it now. So I think it’s interesting that people are, you will have heard this before, I say this all the time. For me, it’s a little bit like gym membership. It’s like when you speak to them for the first time, they’re really excited and enthused, and they will do anything to get it to happen. Three weeks later, they’d prefer to stay at home and eat cake. it
Danny Lee 12:26
Because it didn’t happen.
Because it didn’t happen in three weeks. And it’s exactly then, like these Quick Weight Loss plans, which don’t work, it’s got to be a long term investment. So then this is why I think the industry is in trouble because it allows these charlatans to come along and say, look, do this one thing. And that is going to make you incredibly successful, and then it doesn’t so then there’s more resistance, ?
Danny Lee 12:51
So this is kind of interesting. But in the conversations, people aren’t telling me that this is the challenge that they’re faced with. I mean, they’re kind of agreeing with me, but it’s not the challenge I thought it was, or I found it to be, I don’t know.
Danny Lee 13:07
What part the not getting sales instantly. They’re not they’re not admitting that what what are you saying has change.
People, businesses, businesses, small businesses, not understanding that they need to invest in sales and marketing, and not thinking to do it and being resistant to it.
Danny Lee 13:27
I think every single one of them believes that they have to do some marketing activity, I honestly believe that they, in their heart, they know it’s an important criteria. The block comes with fear of the unknown, which means there are the charlatans who can go in and absolutely rob them blind, of course, because that’s what the unknown does. Go back to the old days of getting a website bill, how much did that cost? Because we didn’t know how to build a website, these SMEs don’t understand what the marketing channels are, what are the secret algorithms behind Facebook or LinkedIn?, what is the pipeline they got to get and how they do that data it’s no longer just banging an advert in the local newspaper and hoping the phone rings, there is a bit more science than that and a lot of people are frightened of that. Certainly, it’s a generational thing to a certain extent, the young entrepreneurs seem to be a lot more savvy when it comes to what platforms to use, what demographics they’re chasing, how to target those demographics, and the older generation have a great fear of that.
Yes. Okay. And so, so I think from the bottom to the very top, I don’t think the industry is kind of supportive of people investing in marketing, like you said, with these platforms with their secret algorithms. Well, why does it have to be a secret? Do what I mean?, why does it have to why does there have to be this dark, mysterious, risky thing, why does it have to be like that? I mean, the risk, surely should be if you don’t do this effectively, then you’re not going to sustain a business. That’s the harsh reality.
Actually, what I’m trying to do with what I’m telling people is just …. I feel like the Wizard of Oz, I’m a cross between Oliver Stone and not the Wizard of Oz was it Toto the dog?
Danny Lee 15:22
Are you gonna bring a lot of film references today.
So I’m a cross between, actually there’s three. So I’m a cross between Oliver Stone, Toto out of the Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins just trying to expose the geezers behind the scenes turning wheels, trying to make the magic happen. It seems to me like the whole thing, the big thing at the top is why a sales and marketing people so bad at selling and marketing themselves. Yes,
Danny Lee 15:56
That’s at the top, and then below that, like, let’s just say that’s by accident, because they’re not very good but how can they sell and market anything, if they can’t sell and market themselves. And then below that it creates this whole swamp where people end up getting ripped off. That’s what happens and then, I mean, maybe this is just human nature at work. I don’t know,
Danny Lee 16:18
I think, since since the early days, my first foray into marketing, probably what the greatest teachers I had to go right back to the beginning of this was when I I came out of the army. I fell into this tiny little company based in Newbury, I think there were 18 or 20 employees, 1985, called Racal Vodac and they had this invention called the cellular phone and they wanted to try and sell to people. They employed people like me to just do some cold calls into Lloyds Bank, and BP whatever to try and sell this incredible invention that you could use all the way from London to Swindon on the M4. Seriously, that was that was my cold, call pitch to PA’s is in London. What they did, they showed us the power of marketing, they burst onto the marketplace, with these incredible adverts. predominately newspapers and Business, Business magazines and all the inflight magazine stuff and we had a marketing team there who would then tell us what the marketing message was going to be that week or that month, we would then build scripts around it, work with them to tell them if our telesales didn’t work with that script, they would then adjust it. So there was this hand in hand relationship working. I just think that, it’s okay, people being told they’ve got to do marketing, and then people get told what they’ve got to change to make marketing, then you get the outside the algorithms, and then you get the professionals and the experts who come in with a consulting, but actually, people just need to have a good message, a good product, keep the message simple. and engage your customers. It’s not rocket science, any of it really,
None of it and actually what it is, is common sense. Yeah. And actually what it is, is just a case of doing it. So I was away, I haven’t, I haven’t been marketing The Effective Marketing Company since 2014, I’ve kind of been away, and now my situation has changed. So I don’t have the monster to feed, I don’t have people sitting at desks that needs salaries that, paying rents, buying computers, software’s subscriptions, all of that stuff. So my situation is really different now and I’m kind of blown away by how easy it is. Like, I’ve taken on a client, I’ve got a few clients that I work with, I take on a client, I do the work, it happens. There is no there is no mystery. I don’t think beyond do the work and the and the only thing that actually makes it difficult, I think is that the whole thing is mired in bullshit. Like whether you want to deal with Facebook, or you want to deal with your telemarketer down the road, or your local SEO company, whatever it is, they’re all just propagating this, this bullshit that make it difficult for people to invest and actually makes it difficult to achieve results for them. So yeah, so I think that’s kind of interesting and it’s interesting that you came from a telemarketing background, because that’s where I started. I started in media sales back in the early 90s just hammering the phone all day, every day. There’s people who are ready to end it all, because they make 100 calls in a day, but they’ve got no idea what Yeah, what the outcome of those 100 calls has been but if you just actually take the trouble to tally it. So okay, I made 100 calls for through to 35 people managed to get a media pack out to 20 of those people. 10 of those people agree to a call back in the future, couple of them said they were quite interested, their framework to come in the next day and say, Well, at least 10 of these calls I’m gonna make today, or 20 of these calls are of people who’ve agreed to speak to me, so at least 10% of my day isn’t going to be cold calling.
Danny Lee 20:15
Yeah. You and I have very similar backgrounds in that in that regard and I think every single SME, every single owner, operator, every single business can in some way, shape or form, afford marketing. There is no, minimum spend, got to invest in a contract that doesn’t exist, you can spend £20 pounds on Facebook, and still get 2000 people engaging in a quality post, if write the right post.
Danny Lee 20:50
Well, if you write the right post, and I mean, I’m not a huge Facebook fan, I’ll be honest with you. I’ve got like a LinkedIn course that I sell, which demonstrates that you can invest 15 minutes a day, if you haven’t got 15 minutes a day, you’re bang in trouble already. Yeah, who hasn’t got 15 minutes a day to invest to just reach out to 10 people, if your business to business? Or if you’re selling high value stuff. To reach out to 10 people, that’s 50 people a week, that’s 200 people a month?
Danny Lee 21:25
That’s some marketing happening. And it’s literally 15 minutes a day, so they could, but they don’t. So, on my telemarketing courses, I used to say, the first thing I would say to people is well done for being here. Because my experience is that if you have to absolutely have to do telemarketing, people would rather go and clean the toilets than pick up the phone and talk to somebody. So it is the case that people don’t want to do it. They can do it, but they don’t want to do it.
Danny Lee 21:56
Everybody can speak to their mate down the pub about what they do in business. That’s very easy.
I don’t think they can.
Danny Lee 22:02
Do you not think so? I think that most, most people that have started their own business, they are able to talk about it in a in a competent, not always confident, but competent way to the people that are there that their close circle of friends and family because there’s that confidence that they’re not going to be judged.
Maybe when they have had a few.
Danny Lee 22:27
The fear comes with that judging that being done with a phone put down on you. There’s that rejection thing and rejection is horrible. You and I are quite, we’ve got broad shoulders, we’ve had enough rejection that we don’t mind.
Yeah, but I don’t think the rejection is even the issue because then just don’t be a dick. Do what I mean, it’s like, I’ve called it, I can’t count, I’ve made 1000s of, 10s of thousands of calls, I’ve sent hundreds of thousands of emails, I’ve done a shit ton of marketing. I could probably tell you about 10 times where I’ve actually I’ve upset someone to the point where they’ve rejected me, like go fuck yourself?
Danny Lee 23:05
I completely agree. Totally.
It’s just about presenting yourself, putting yourself forward in a respectful, responsible kind of a way, here I am, here’s what I’ve got and this is what I learned on the phone it’s like, you’re not, you don’t waste your time trying to convince someone to buy something they don’t want to buy.
Danny Lee 23:25
Marketing is literally about finding the people who who are going to take some value from it.
Danny Lee 23:30
And have some interest in actually thinking about it right now. So it’s just about finding the right people, at the right time in the right place. That’s it.
Danny Lee 23:38
Yeah, it’s like you say, and they need your product as opposed to making them want it is a big difference. There are too many companies that I think create a product because it was in their head, a product or service, whatever it may be, and then they try and bang it out, and flog it, knocking on doors without thinking did anybody want it in the first place.
Danny Lee 24:03
Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Good. So people should do but then they end up selling something they don’t want to, they don’t want to sell.
Danny Lee 24:16
I’ve done that, you must have done that. You must have either taken on a client or had a product and thought aaagh, this is gonna be a tough one. You got, it is there a passion in me for selling health insurance? Probably not, it’s not the greatest thing in the world. I’m going to have a cup of coffee, I haven’t been talking this much during lockdown believe me, I think your the first person I’ve got to talk to Martin.
Okay, cool. So I think you’re right, people get it wrong. So people yeah, like if you watch Dragon’s Den, they exacerbate this sort of stupid message, which is if they’re going to invest then it has to be completely unique, it has to be unreplicable, and it has to be, what’s the other thing, no competition whatsoever.
Danny Lee 25:00
No competition, fully scalable. Of course, all that does is frighten a lot of the young entrepreneurs with some good ideas, make them think I can never do it, I can never make one of those. Actually, replication, there’s nothing wrong with replication if something’s really good, and you can tweak it or make it better. Going back to my old days, I formerly was involved in the mobile phone business, as I alluded to earlier and I remember the days when you would walk down the high street, and you would see a row of mobile phone shops all together now. They are still marketing, their marketing exactly the same product. There’s nothing unique about what they’re doing that just comes down to good quality service and the message in the window. So I don’t ever be afraid of offering what other people are doing if it’s a good, if it’s a good product.
Yeah, so this is the thing is like, it’s not the way the world works. None of those people are sitting there next to those piles of money are our wealthy because they came up with something that was completely unique, something that was completely on replicable, and something that had no competition whatsoever. Duncan Bannatyne sold ice cream.
Danny Lee 26:17
Yeah, and started caravan parks, I think Peter Jones made leather cases for mobile phones, nothing unique in any of that of course.
It’s just all part of this myth, which is actually not the way the world works. Actually, what you what I think what you need to do, is really quite simply is pick something that there’s definitely a market. So the only way Something’s definitely got a market is because there are people making money in that already and then just do better than everyone else, roll your sleeves out and compete, it’s like, yes.
Danny Lee 26:50
Do what you say you’re gonna do and deliver it on time, be there when when you say you’re going to be there all those good old fashioned, ways of thinking that we should all be doing, it’s just normal courtesy in business, really.
But is it any more complicated than then come up with something that adds value to the world, that people gonna find value in and then let people know you’ve got it? It’s like …
Danny Lee 27:13
It’s not like, I think the guy that the guy called Li ka Shing in, in Hong Kong, super wealthy, billionaire. He decided, he went out on his own and selling combs, just normal combs for your hair because he realised that everybody walks around combing their hair all the time, back in the 70s. He saw, I’ll sell combs on the street, and he did and now he is super wealthy for many other businesses. But nothing’s very new, few ideas are that unique that they blow your brains away. Very few. Very few, like, what was the last one? Well, you could say Tesla, but then I go back to my childhood and at 12 years I was on electric milkfloat at five in the morning. So I don’t know where the difference is.
How old? Was it legal for you to be on a milk float at that time in the morning?
Danny Lee 28:05
Of course it wasn’t. Yeah, what is? it? Yeah, very difficult.
Okay, so Tesla is an interesting one as well, because, like, I thought it was well established that actually the environmental cost of motoring was caused during the manufacturing process.
Danny Lee 28:30
Somehow Tesla have now managed to come out and convince everyone that as long as they’re electric, that’s good for the environment.
Danny Lee 28:38
Yeah. All we’ve got to do now is generate an awful lot of electricity with these huge, huge carbon footprint batteries that I understand are a monster chewere of energy to produce in factories that are megalith factories out in the middle of desert somewhere. But apart from that, they are super, super economical and great for the environment.
Danny Lee 29:02
Great for the environment, of course. Yeah. though. Yeah, we might only time will tell on that one might like I think the winners are the shareholders so far.
Yes. Yes. So I think the only secret is just do some marketing, .
Danny Lee 29:18
Just try it.
Yes. Elon Musk is an exercise in marketing. he is an exercise in PR, in, I mean, look what he’s doing now in crypto and stuff.
Danny Lee 29:30
Yeah, it’s Yeah,
He’s driving markets. Okay, good. Well, we went a long way down that road.
Danny Lee 29:40
From what I know in marketing we’ve got to Elon Musk, not a bad twist somewhere. No. Even he’s got us talking about him he’s not a bad brander is he really
Not bad at all. So what did I want to say? What I want to ask next is so you, obviously feel pretty positively about marketing and sales.
Danny Lee 30:03
It’s positively that if you do it, if you if you bother doing it, and you do it with some consistency, you will, you will get results. So yeah, I’m positive that marketing has a benefit to mine and any other business of course.
Yes, of course. And that’s, I mean,
Danny Lee 30:22
What you’re what you’re doing now, these broadcasts, you’re doing these nice little sort of, montage is an hour and a half of whatever you’ve done with some really, Ed Carr, fantastic, Tim Fifield absolutely superb, and some great characters that you’re getting on. It’s all a level of marketing, it’s all a level of branding, telling people what, however you do it, and this is a cheap form of marketing, putting together a video and there’s some time and effort involved but it’s not paying for load of off the page stuff, or bang an ad on Facebook or LinkedIn adverts. It’s just creating something that somebody hopefully was listened to and if they walk away with a little nugget of information, you’ve done your job.
Yes. Well, no, I don’t agree with that.
Danny Lee 31:04
No, what do you think?
Well, I just think all this little nugget of information stuff is just more BS. It’s like, there are no nuggets, there are no secrets, there are …. here’s the message in all of these conversations is that if you do marketing, you will be successful, there is actually no other way of being successful. Even if you never pick up a phone, or place an advert, do whatever, if you are winning customers, marketing is happening, people are finding out about you, they’re finding out about the value that you deliver, and they’re actually buying from you. So marketing is the only way to be successful. That’s the message of this and it’s not a nugget, it’s the truth. The whole thing is mired in bullshit but actually, it’s the only way to do it. So what you need to do is just cut through the bullshit and get to it, and do it as efficiently and effectively as you can because there is no other way to be successful in your business.
Danny Lee 32:01
I know your your your life, ambition now has gone very much down the cutting through all the bullshit on your WTF broadcasts, and bits and pieces. The strategy of marketing will remain the same from from when they were selling, harlots in Jerusalem through to whatever they’re gonna be selling in the next 100 years. Ultimately, you’re going to tell people you’re there, you can have the best shop, you build the best shop and put on the moon, if no-one knows its on the moon, no-one is going to go there. So yeah, you’re right. There has to be, everything you do is marketing but you will still I still, at my age, still pick up something I hadn’t either thought about, or hadn’t realized that I could do that. So I’m still picking stuff up without a doubt.
Okay. But I think either what I think is that people will sell the courses, like the marketing courses and then people will come expecting there to be, I don’t know, I just don’t think this is useful. The idea that there are nuggets, that there are, like the difference between picking something up, and you might pick something up, I don’t know, I just don’t, I don’t agree with the framing. That’s what I don’t agree with, because it feeds into this idea that there are a number of secrets and if you get the answer to the number of secrets; it’s like the secret to losing weight is what? Eat less, do more. The secret to marketing is do more marketing as cost effectively as you possibly can, and rinse it, do it mercilessly. That’s how you’ll be successful. there is there is no secret other than maybe the secret is that it’s all buried in secrets. I don’t know.
Danny Lee 33:41
Now listen, I go back to the days of websites being built, I was petrified to even touching the internet incase I broke it. Web designers were charging tens of thousands of pounds for a two page brochure ware website; and they got away with it for years. You and I probably know people in the industry, who are sitting in their great big, ivory towers, on the back of people like us who didn’t know what we were doing necessarily. Marketing has still got that stigma, without a doubt, there are marketing directors at some major PLCs who get away with blue murder, in in the message that they tell their teams about how, how hidden the message has got to be, the subliminal messaging in the marketing they’re trying to do, when actually all they’ve got to do is a product, it’s quite good, do you want to buy it. That’s the simplicity of marketing
That is the simplicity of marketing and then …. I don’t know, I mean, I don’t know how much further I want to go with this. I can speak about this for a week. I think that’s the message that I want to pay out is that there is space for you to develop something that adds value to the world. You will then find people who will benefit from that value and then you will be successful. It seems to me that so much of what’s going on in the world is that people are foisting products and services on people that they don’t need or want, they are having to lie to them to get them to buy them, and then it’s letting them down, and then they feel like shit, and then they go and spend money on the next thing to try and feel better about themselves, maybe. So I think philosophically, in the world, there’s something going on around this supply and demand, and especially this scarcity model, where people are made to feel bad about themselves, they buy some shit, it eventually makes them feel worse about themselves and so they go and buy more shit. I think that’s just kind of going on and I don’t know how far removed that is from what you and I do, which is work largely with small businesses who deserve to be successful, I think, because they’re adding value to the world. I don’t know, I’m having an issue reconciling the revolutionary communist in me with the marketeer.
Danny Lee 36:02
It’s a challenge for you, because you’ve, your life has changed fundamentally over the last few years, as mine did back in 2016 and we both unbeknown to each other, as it happens, I was, I was almost on your doorstep three years ago, I could have knocked on it and said hello. The reality is, we made these big life changes, through those life changes we are then able to breathe, and look at the world in a very different way without the baggage of the mortgages and the bills and everything else you were carrying, as I used to at the time. We can be more cynical in a way because we can afford to be, a lot of people don’t have that luxury. A lot of people who are starting their business have their mortgage, they have a kid, a couple of kids in school, they do have other issues going on financially in their life. That’s where the the the fear comes in about spending yet more money on something that is an intangible, isn’t it? Buying marketing, you can’t feel it and touch it, you can’t put it in your pocket and carry it around with you. You’re spending some money on a hope where you and I don’t have that burden anymore because we can afford not to.
Danny Lee 37:19
So you can’t be too cynical anymore because you used to be that man, the same as I did.
Yeah, I don’t know how, to what extent I was that man. Whilst we’ve been changing, also the world’s been changing so I think things have changed, but I think change is the human condition. So I think that’s okay, what do I want to say? I want to say about, is it a hope? Are you investing in a hope? Is it intangible? Because I don’t believe it is, and if that is the case, then surely it’s our job as marketers to make it tangible, to make it not a punt, to make it something that people are confident to invest in because when they see other people invest in it, they have success. But that’s, not what happens in the world.
Danny Lee 38:07
That’s where the SME themselves, has got to find themselves a trusted partner, find a trusted route, find a trusted method. That’s really hard, going right back to the beginning, this cutting through the bullshit of the charlatans that are out there, of which there are hundreds of them. At the moment, the pandemic seems to have created a greater number of people out there who just want to take your money from you, with a download of this, or an app of that, or whatever. Again, that creates more fear, because you might have been stung once before, you might have wasted that money before, because somebody charged you something and you got no return. So every time you hit that fear barrier, it puts another brick in the wall to not wanting to do marketing. Going to what you were saying earlier you just got to do it, and you have got to do it relentlessly and you absolutely have to bleed it dry when the goings good.
Yes. So for me, it’s just literally a puzzle that you have to fix, you have to find the formula, when you find the formula, you just apply that formula relentlessly until you retire. That’s fine.
Danny Lee 39:19
I think the charlatans aren’t only at the bottom, they’re not just bottom feeders, I think they’re also at the top. What’s happened with social media, for example, we came through it, it was a phenomenon, it was great for marketing for probably five, six years but now what’s happened is that those corporations are just helping themselves to a significant percentage of people’s marketing budgets.
Danny Lee 39:44
People aren’t necessarily doing the calculation to know if they’re getting value from that or not. Like me, I’ve done nothing for six years, It was 2014 I walked away from The Effective Marketing Company, I’ve been teaching, I’m a lecturer with the Digital Marketing Institute, I’ve been traveling, I’ve been doing these things, but essentially, the website hasn’t been touched since 2014. I tell you how badly it hadn’t been touched is that in 2013, the world decided that digital marketing was going to be called digital marketing as opposed to internet marketing, or web marketing or nnline Marketing. I was still marketing on my website, internet marketing, courses, internet marketing services, all this stuff. what, in the last three, four months, not in the classiest way, I haven’t spent any money, but I’ve just started doing a bit. And yeah, even with the tiny bit that I’m investing, like, two, three hours a day, I’ll do some stuff it’s all started working again, like resurrecting Frankenstein or something.
Danny Lee 40:57
You still remember the username and passwords?
Well, eventually, but this is also part of the issue as well. When I spoke to Jim, he says, look, I put all this stuff together, he’s a printer, he’s not a marketeer, he put it all together and comes back six months later to tweak it and the whole thing’s changed. He can’t cange it because he doesn’t know how it works anymore. So Yeah, I think there are some big issues. Here’s a question for you then; given your time again, would you have a career in sales and marketing with what now about sales and marketing? Is it actually a good way to make a living? That’s what I’m interested to know.
Danny Lee 41:43
It’s a heart attack waiting to happen most of the time, certainly during the 90s for those, for those of you who are blessed enough to remember the 90s. It was halcyon days in the 90s, you almost couldn’t put a foot wrong and money was just falling on top of you, wherever you walked, it was a great time. It caused its own problems, of course, because you went mad, know, trying to build more or buy more or own more or whatever, or the whole capture system that was created that was, a massacre. So given my time again, not withstanding, I would probably have found a way to stay in the army an awful lot longer and come out with a great pension, would have been the nicer route to take probably, I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve had an absolute roller coaster, I can’t imagine what else I would have done. I wanted to be an actor when I was a kid, that never happened. My passion and love of my own ADHD drives me every day, which keeps me going. I think that’s a salesman’s best tool is ADHD that really helps.
Danny Lee 42:50
Marketing. I love and loathe marketing. I loathe it because there are some days when you do something new that you personally think is a really great bit of copy, or really great, pushed message out there, and you get nothing, you get absolutely no traction at all for yourself or your clients. You think what have I done wrong, what didn’t work there. Other days, you’ll do something and you’ll celebrate, because you get the most amazing contact with a brand new but a pipeline client business or whatever. So I don’t think I would change it, I might change some of the routes I took. Some of the routes I took were quite precarious, sometimes. Financially, and, from a risk point of view, but no, it’s been it’s been a good fun life.
I think that as well. I do think it’s a ridiculous way to make a living because you’re dealing in people’s hopes and dreams. Especially if you’re in the networking that we did when I started my business, where you started your business, you’re dealing with people who are coming from that situation where all their friends have bought and told them they’re amazing.
Danny Lee 43:55
And then they come to a networking and then they come to see me and it’s like, well, do that anyone in the world wants this and yet they’re like, yeah, cause this is amazing, because my mom told me it’s amazing, so make me a millionaire.
Danny Lee 44:10
It sounds like the Britain’s Got Talent child whose parents told them thet they’re a great singer, there’s a reality that kicks home.
Yes. So I do think it’s a ridiculous way. I’ve also had a great career. I’ve worked on different continents, I’ve been to World Cup, I’ve had amazing nights out. When I was working in South Africa my job was to make sure I got my clients on the golf course, so I was on the golf course once a week at least.
Danny Lee 44:36
What a tough game.
Yeah, it was awful. It was really hot and sunny in South Africa. I don’t think people realize that.
Danny Lee 44:45
It’s a hard one. I think the the benefits of sales again during the late 80s, that 90s stage, the money that was being thrown at you by manufacturers, by suppliers, everybody. There was no such thing as as the blackmail laws with regard to bribery with regard to, you could you could give somebody a £500 pound Christmas hamper and they would say thank you. Nowadays you give them a pain and they got to write it in a book and tell their line manager they’ve been given a pen. So, nowadays and we were doing business all that was marketing all of that corporate dos, long lunches, the golf course on a Friday, was all marketing in whichever way you did it. I loved all that.
Yeah, I miss that corruption, man.
Danny Lee 45:34
Yeah, Happy Days.
Happy, Happy Days. So where are we in this? You’ve got a new thing are you still are you still offering sales and marketing you doing that for people?
Danny Lee 45:48
So I stepped away from the physical telesales marketing, the SME support, when we went traveling in 2016, which was pretty much four years out, I did, I did a couple of clients, I worked for that I agreed I do some stuff for them, whilst we traveled, and like, sitting on a beach, doing some marketing wasn’t the toughest gig in the world. So that was okay. Through traveling, both my wife and I, really kind of a huge cultural, moral, mental shift in who we are. My wife has gone very much down a yoga route, taking a yoga instructors course to learn more and more about the breathing techniques, and mindfulness techniques and yoga stuff. And I went very much down a coaching, life coaching, mindfulness, coaching, that sort of stuff. Whilst I’m always happy at any networking event I go to, to discuss and impart anything that’s inside me, they can have that for nothing. If I can help them in any way, give them something that helps absolutely no problem at all. Now I really want to help other people that need support. I’m a digital champion for people who are less fortunate and don’t understand how to use IT.
Danny Lee 47:07
I offer free Internet training through a digital championship through Brighton and I work with ex military, Ex-military who are looking to start their own businesses, I’m a mentor to them. That’s more of a one to one mentoring thing. My business is really about employability support, career support, life coaching, support, helping people that have got to make some new choices with their work, life, careers, and people are making different choices. What I want to try and help them with, through the experience I’ve had over the last four years so it’s a blend. I still have to market myself, but I’m supporting them in their change.
Okay. So that’s interesting because this is where Ed has got to.
Danny Lee 47:49
This is kind of like the big question, which is, if you’re great at sales and marketing, then you shouldn’t actually be offering sales and marketing as a service. You should be selling and marketing something of your own. Yeah, I think that. That never occurred to me before. I mean, just before I stopped in 2014, Ed, and I had a conversation and he told me that’s what he was going to do.
Danny Lee 48:19
Yeah, and he actually sold sold himself and his his brand very, very well. I mean, really, he became a good name across the industry that he was pushing. From my point of view, and my mine, the brand, is the name of the company, and it’s all about change. It’s all about developing change over a period of time because I think that a lot of people are so busy being busy worried about life, I think they forget just to stop sometimes, and take that timeout, take that five minutes, just to reflect, do a little bit of mindfully breathing, take some time out of the business, pre appointment post appointment, have a little break for two minutes. That’s what I’m trying to bring to people. So within, within the CV writing support, the LinkedIn support, and the employment support, tagged on to there is choose the right job, don’t just chase the pound anymore. Choose the right career path, so many people are in the wrong career. I’m trying to say to market yourself in a different way, go right back to what you loved as a child or as a young adult how can we nurture that into something that you can monetize and become good at? Changing that, that’s where marketing their own self comes in.
Yes. Okay, and how are you marketing that business? You say you’re not selling it is just a marketing exercise?
Danny Lee 49:46
At the moment, I pretty much soft launched it six, eight weeks ago, just to get some feedback on the collateral I’ve written on the workshops that I’ve put together and this sort of stuff. That’s really key for me is to get feedback really and outside of the the friends and family circle is actually putting it to test with some real customers. So that worked. So, we’re pleased that we’ve got the feedback, and the testimonials of what I’m doing is quite good. Then it’s just a decision really, when do I want to press the button on putting those those key hours as you say that that time every day and say, right, put a marketing strategy together, write a social, social media post calendar, or, what am I gonna do to promote myself through what channel through LinkedIn, through Facebook through, blogging through supporting other communities, whatever that may be. I’m just now trying to build from today, tomorrow, this week, is really the building platform starts and we start reaching out, I’ve just changed, on LinkedIn, I’ve just changed a few bits and pieces on there to to get a bit more traction and that’s working. So that’s really the build starts this month.It’s very new.
And what is the business it’s 21 days of change?
Danny Lee 51:08
Through the meditation, the mindfulness, the yoga that we did when we were abroad and that cultural change that we found, just realizing that a lot of the tourists, not backpacker tourism, proper, two week holiday tourists that we met, they would get off the plane, they would still have their mobile connected, they were still picking up their emails, they were still were doing, and there was never a rest period. What we’re trying to say to people is that change takes time, if you actually want to change your life, or your career or your habits, or, is it weight, what is it that you’re trying to change? We will walk you through some programs to help you do that. At the same time, it’s built around the employment side. For eight hours a day, people are at work, give or take, that’s most people’s average work day, I want to make sure that they’re in the right job, work with the right people, and happy doing it. So it’s all about coaching, mental coaching, mindful coaching, and life coaching, to get them into the right position, get the round peg into the round hole as opposed to having the square pegs sitting in these round holes which is what most people do in their jobs. You musdt have heard I don’t know if I’m doing the right thing in my career, I don’t know if I’m doing the right job and most people aren’t. So it’s really trying to see if I can help them come to some decisions if they want to, to look at how they can change that through some roles that we’ll do together.
This is coaching is it you spend time with them every one of those 21 days?
Danny Lee 52:41
It’s, it’s obviously all online these days and again, thank you, thank you COVID in a way for bringing Zoom to people’s attention. Without it, how would the world have done what its done. It’s really going to benefit people like me, because I can deliver my programs in group workshops, or just one to one sessions, really three sessions is where people want to start on a 21 day thing. I guide them through some handbooks and it’s advice and guidance, what they choose to do with it has to be their choice, of course. If they pick up on on the conversations we have, if they follow some of the advice that we have together, they can make some some really positive changes. It might not be a massive career change. It might be a routine change that changes how they feel in their day and that’s important.
Yes, so some people would say that this is an interesting time to launch a business?
Danny Lee 53:48
Every day is a good time to start a business, whether you’re the deepest recession, the, there’s some great investors, Warren Buffett would always say what everybody’s selling, go and buy, and I’m pretty much the same. There’s a pandemic, well, it doesn’t stop me trying to launch a business, I just got to launch it in a different way. I’ve got to, I’ve got to make it stand out in a different arena than I would have done. Would I go into building office space at the moment as a business probably no, that wouldn’t be my first go to business idea. It’s choosing the right business at the right time.
Yes. That brings us to the last question, which is kind of what is your recommendation for people who are functioning in this particular situation that we find ourselves in right now?
Danny Lee 54:39
As a furloughed home based, COVID person is what that was alluding to there? Or just people who are ….
Danny Lee 54:53
The biggest thing for businesses out there that have been trading, if you are a trading business, whether online retail whatever you might have been, physical or not, go right back to basics. What got you that starting position? What was the passion? What was the drive that made you create the business? Go back to your old customers and just start talking again. You and I know so many companies who make that sale, they celebrate the sale and they move on to the next one and they can sometimes forget that customer. I do think that however you do it through, going through an old Rolodex, if that’s what you’re using still or your old Filofax, whatever it is you’ve got, go back and just get back to networking and talking. I think the world has become a bit more compassionate these days, when it comes to people reaching out to you, we seem to have a bit more time for each other. We seem to listen to people’s stories a bit more than we necessarily used to. So, absolutely, if you’re if you’re out there wondering, what can I do to get my business back on track? I would say get back out and talk to your customers without a doubt.
I think that the situation is …. the situation’s evolving now. So people aren’t as closed as they were previously, they’re not as restricted as they were previously. I think it almost doesn’t matter what happens you need to be marketing and selling as as efficiently and as effectively as you can. For me, marketing is about identifying, the opportunity, the things that are going to add value to people’s lives, and get out there and communicate that with them. So I think the best answer that I’ve had to this question was Jim, who’s not a marketing person, and it’s not what he said, it’s what he did. He just immediately opened up this all day, Zoom call, and just put out a message to everyone saying, look, if you fancy a chat, you’re stuck at your desk, I’m stuck at my desk, let’s have a chat. I dropped in a few times. I was working, people were going people were having conversations. That benefited him because he was talking to essentially the market, he was understanding what was going on for people.
Danny Lee 57:22
Two or three really nice opportunities came out of that, he could have rolled over and said, okay, no one needs print, no one’s going to exhibitions, anymore, no-one’s going to networking, they don’t need business cards. He picked up I think, some really good opportunities out of that, and strengthened his relationship with a lot of people through this.
Danny Lee 57:45
Jim has just done a fantastic job. If you notice his creativity with his camera work, makes me laugh anyways, very inventive with, with his four or five different zoom cameras, he’s got sat around his desk.
Danny Lee 57:58
Which is quite fun and he’s done a great job. He’s had to really work hard to come through the other side, to be creative, with what he has done. Without doubt, he will succeed because he’s he’s absolutely driven to succeed. He’s seen recessions, I’ve been through four recessions in my lifetime, I guess you’ve been through three or four the same. He’s resilient, and he will come through the other side, because he’s determined to and that’s the difference, isn’t it between the winners, and those that don’t necessarily want to push there is you’ve got to make the decision that you’re going to survive and you’ll work through it somehow.
Yes, yes. And I think that’s absolutely the truth. And I think Jim is an inveterate marketer, I think he is probably the most marketing person I know who isn’t a marketing agency.
Danny Lee 58:43
What he gets is that he has to do it, and this is how business works and I think that’s what most most businesses don’t get. How do they get hold of you, if they are interested in changing in 21 days?
Danny Lee 59:05
I’ve got LinkedIn, they can get me through the 21daysofchange.com website, they can email me through there all the details are on the LinkedIn profile, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, I think there’s a 21 Days of Change pretty much everywhere they want to find it if they want to find me. Of course, I can always go to you through Effective Marketing and you’ll put them in touch with me, which is nice and easy.
I weill put them in touch with you absolutely no problem.
Danny Lee 59:29
But no, it’s for me, it’s good to have a chat with you, it’s been a long time since we got together. I’m sure at some point, certainly within the next 18 months, I’ll be in your neck of the woods.
Sure man we can go for a coconut.
Danny Lee 59:44
Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. 100%. 100%. Yeah. And other than that, it’s just a case now of finding my market, finding my voice finding my marketplace. I don’t know if it’s gonna be high end executives. I don’t know if it’s gonna be executives are unemployed or furloughed people or just career change people. So at the moment, I’m test marketing a few ideas to see who where my pitch should be. And that’s, goes back to Marty, you got to test things.
Yes, you’ve got to test things. And the thing is, I think you’re onto something, because I think people are making changes now, they’ve had, change thrust upon them.
Danny Lee 1:00:25
And it’s causing people to think differently about, what their worth is, and what it is that they actually want to be spending their time doing and how they want to be conducting themselves. So I think you’re onto something, I think you’re really onto something. Like you say, a lot of it is quite positive, just that two or three hours a day that you don’t spend commuting that is that your time again, it’s and yeah, I think, I think change throws, it’s change that throws up opportunity.
Danny Lee 1:01:00
I didn’t expect to be sat where I’m sat today doing this, my life took a big change, on March 20, last year, when I was living a halcyon life in India, I was loving my life in India. I was living in a coconut plantation, it was wonderful. But, I say, change, forces change and through that came a lot of other stuff, which I’m really pleased has happened, because I wouldn’t have met the people on the X forces stuff that I mentioned, I wouldn’t have been asked for those. I wanted to become a service champion for the armed forces. So lots has happened that through COVID, has actually bought, a brought a lot out of me, which I’m really pleased with.
Yes. Good. All right. Cool. Is there anything you wanted to say that we haven’t spoken about?
Danny Lee 1:01:42
Well, I think you’ve covered everything, it’s very much about, and your attitude now is, is, it’s quite a refreshing one now, because you are just basically saying to the world, just get on with it, ignore the bullshit that’s out there. Just get on with it. If you’re not sure, just ask somebody. Yeah.
Yes. And, and I do think it’s the issue, maybe, I’m speaking to marketing service providers, so maybe they can’t be as honest about it but like you must have been to dozens of pitches. I went to a pitch one time, and a guy said to me, Martin, you need to understand is that you will slide much further on bullshit than you will on grass. Yeah, so lie to us a bit. The issue with with lying to people is then that that lie gets found out and I don’t want to be in that, I’d never wanted to be in that situation. I’ve been to dozens of pitches where, I’ve lost out because somebody told them something that isn’t true, and isn’t going to happen, but they believed it. I’ve been to meetings where I’ve told you the absolute truth, and they’re like, yeah, but the last people said that, and then they just didn’t do it. So I do think there’s something I don’t think you can ignore the bullshit, I think you have to cut through it, you have to understand it, see it for what it is, and be able to make good decisions about what you’re going to do with your marketing, I think and yeah, that’s my mission. So hopefully, it will help people. I mean, I’m helping about 80 people a day through my videos currently, so maybe …
Danny Lee 1:03:23
I’ll get my wife to watch as well so that would be 81.
Danny Lee 1:03:26
That would be phenomenal if you could get your wife to watch.
Danny Lee 1:03:29
She’s got nothing else to do, she’s doing yoga, they just sit down all day, that.
Exactly. Yoga teacher, easiest job in the world. I never said that in case I ever meet your wife. wife.
So 21daysofchange.com is it?
Danny Lee 1:03:50
Yes nice and easy the number 21, change .com, everything is on there and that’s it, everything is on there and new content is going on there, blogs and information so keep an eye on that as well.
Fantastic. And you are Danny Lee on LinkedIn. People will find you on LinkedIn.
Danny Lee 1:04:09
Danny A Lee I think because there’s somebody else, some guy in Hong Kong stole Danny Lee for some strange reason. So is its Danny A Lee.
Danny A Lee. Okay, cool. What I will do is I will link to your stuff, I’ll transcribe this and I’ll link to your stuff and we will go from there. Thank you so much, man. This has been really cool.
Danny Lee 1:04:31
You enjoy yourself and we will catch up on the other side somewhere.
Danny Lee 1:04:34
Fantastic. All right. Thank you, Danny.
Danny Lee 1:04:36
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