In this episode Josh talks with Ron Tite, author of Think Do Say. They discuss humor, authenticity, and what you can do to differentiate yourself from the competition.
He is Founder and CEO of Church+State, an agency that helps global brands unify content and advertising and Editor-in-Chief of The Business Casual. He has written for television. Penned a children’s book. Wrote, produced and performed a hit play. Created a branded art gallery. And was Executive Producer & Host of the award-winning comedy show, Monkey Toast.
In demand as a speaker on disruption, innovation, creativity and content marketing, Ron speaks to leading organizations all over the world about “Think. Do. Say.”, his own take on modern business.
In today’s episode you will learn:
- How to use humor in public presentations?
- How comedy makes better conversations?
- How do you get people to pay attention to you?
- How do you get them to trust you so they’ll actually give you their business?
- Why you should read “Think. Do. Say.”?
Narrator: Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hey, how are you today? This is Josh Patrick. You’re at The Sustainable Business. My guest today is Ron Tite. Ron doesn’t remember this because he never actually met me, but I saw him speak at a couple of Michael Port’s Book Yourself Solid.
Actually is a heroic public speaking things that Michael did. Michael’s great at teaching people how to do public presentations. Ron was talking about how to use humor and boy was he good at that. I was just so impressed. He’s just written a book called Think Do Say.
That’s what we’re going to be talking to him about today. Instead of me wandering on about time of how wonderful Ron is, we’ll let him talk for himself. Let’s bring him on.
Hey, Ron, how are you today?
Ron: Thanks, clearly, I’m very wonderful.
Josh: Well, being very wonderful is really good. Before we get into your book, I have to ask you my favorite comic question.
Ron: Okay. Sure.
Josh: Are comics smarter than the average bear?
Ron: I don’t think so. But you know, what I think that makes it seem that way is that they play the outsider role. They eliminate the BS that typically gets in the way of having real conversations. I think they take a really fresh perspective on things because they don’t get caught up in politics. They don’t get caught up in what they should say or what they shouldn’t say. They observe something. They have an interesting take on it and they voice it.
Obviously there’s some craft in terms of how you present that and how you make it funny. But I think that’s the most important part about it. That they say the things that you’re not supposed to say. I think more these days that sparks conversation around the idea of social change, and we should be doing as a community and as people.
My friend Mitch joins it as a podcast. He called it Six Pixels of Separation. Mitch point of this great observation that it used to be the musicians who are anti-establishment who are poking at all the holes and in the government and public policy and everything. Musicians don’t do that anymore. I think it’s comedians. We need comedians now more than ever.
Josh: I would agree with that. Comedians were doing that. I mean, I remember comedians in the 60s. Lenny Bruce, George Carlin and those folks poked a lot of— [Laughs]
Ron: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, totally.
Josh: So any rate, tell us about Think Do Say. What’s the book about and why should I want to read it?
Ron: Well, for your audience, I think there’s an interesting metaphor in there. It’s like every consumer is standing in the middle of Times Square. And on the top, they’ve got all these big, established organizations with just wall to wall promotion. They have no idea where to look. I mean, it’s really expensive to compete at that level, to buy a billboard in Times Square.
So if you’ve got a home based business, it’s really difficult for you to compete financially with the people who are buying the billboards up top. But down below, it’s even worse because down below, you have people who are coming up very aggressively, more direct into your face.
You got somebody telling you the end of the world is coming. You have somebody else trying to sell you illegal merchandise, someone selling a fake Gucci. On one level, you don’t know where to look, but on the other level, you don’t know who to trust. For people at home based that’s really, really critical.
How do you get people to pay attention to you? You emerge from the clutter and more importantly, how do you get them to trust you so they’ll actually give you their business? That’s what the book is about.
Josh: Okay, so how do you go about doing that?
Ron: Well, because the title may indicate it’s based on what you think, what you do, and what you say. The thing part is around belief. If you’re a plumber, there’s a million plumbers out there. There’s a million plumbers who do the exact same service for probably close to the exact same fee. What is it that you believe beyond that? What is your philosophy about the business? What do you firmly believe in?
Then secondly, what do you do? The do part is, what unconscious behaviors do you take to reinforce that belief? Then the third part, and this is where the say is the part that can really help you cut through and compete with big established organizations. The say is, how do you talk about it in a really authentic and honest and compelling way?
Again, people trust you, and that’s where we see a lot of disruption happening is that the big organizations are flashy, but they’re scripted. They try to be enact to perfect, whereas more nimble businesses are a little bit more authentic. When you show your imperfections, which is why I think authenticity is, is just being comfortable with your imperfections. You show those imperfections. Now, I trust you.
Josh: Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. I recently just did a talk to a bunch of financial planners. I spent the first five minutes of my talk telling about all the horrible things I did in my life that were not especially the right thing to do if you’re running a business. It’s table that I wasn’t all that different than they were. Frankly, you can probably learn from some of my mistakes.
Ron: Yeah, I think it’s really interesting in the personal finance, where again, if we look at the big [inaudible 00:05:46] eyes, and they’re just thrilling, scripted big productions out to try and grab a share of personal investing. Then on another level, you’ve got all these startups who people are like, “Well, this is sounds really cool. But are they going to be around tomorrow?” I really trust this new robo-advisor that just got series A funding, but they’ve never been profitable. I don’t know. That space is so, so interesting to me.
Josh: Yeah, my suspicion is the financial services industry 15 years from now is going to be a very different place than it is today. I think it’s going to take about 15 years to get there, but that’s just my opinion.
Ron: Yeah, I agree with that.
Josh: So the things stuff, which I think is really interesting. I’m reading a book by the Arbinger Institute right now. They’re talking about mindset is being an outward thing versus inward thing. Meaning that if your mind says about what I can do for others, I’m going to be more successful than if my mindset is, what can I do for me? Does that make any sense to you?
Ron: Yeah, the line I would do use is put purpose before profit. I may have used this when you saw me, but there’s an expression called “the pitch slap.” Pitch slap is when you try and disguise a sell job by some other, “Hey, I just want to connect on LinkedIn. I really just love the work you’re doing.” You’re like, “Oh, shut up, I know what you’re going to do.” You’re just blowing smoke so that you can—you’re setting me up for the eventual pitch lap that I know is coming. I think when you do that, you show that you are in service of the individual. You’re not in service of your bottom line. Again, that leads to trust because like, “Oh, you have my best interests at heart.” You don’t have your best interests at heart. You’re not just here to make money.
Josh: So instead of doing a pitch slap, what would it sound like if I was doing something in service of others?
Ron: There’s information that people need to make decisions. There’s inspiration that people need to make decisions. You can serve your customers in that way with all the information they need in order to make a decision. You can help inform them and when you’re the person who’s at the front, helping them make that decision, lo and behold, you’re often going to be the one that they call when they eventually need to buy that service.
The thing I hate most— if you walk into a restaurant, and they say the washroom is for customers only. I’m going like, “Oh, so you only going to let me use your washroom if I give you money.” Basically, I have to pay to use your washroom. I’m not coming back here. As opposed to like, “Hey, we understand that you may not be in a position where you need to buy a muffin today, but you’re a human being and you need to use the washroom. Come on in, by all means use the washroom. It’s all there.”
When people do that, I’m more apt to go back to that establishment because they’ve proven to me that they’re lovely human beings who just aren’t in it for the sale. It was an interesting thing. I don’t know if you remember this, Josh, but 15 years ago, now we’re approaching the 15th anniversary of this. Jon Stewart appeared on a show called Crossfire. It was [inaudible 00:08:48] from the left and Tucker Carlson from the right. They always detected an issue with two speakers, one from the left and one from the right. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to get uncomfortably political for your listeners. On this night, they had Jon Stewart, 15 years ago. He had a book out. He had the show.
So he had all the time in the world to sell people on what he was selling. The book, the show, his humor, everything. That’s what comedians normally do. They take a conversation and really what they do is they just manipulate the conversation so they can use their best bits. They pitch slap us. On that night, Jon Stewart said to those guys, “What you’re doing is harming America.” Tucker Carlson said, “Geez, Jon, you’re not being funny.” Jon then said, “I think the nine words that fundamentally changed comedy and business” and he said, “No, not going to be your monkey.”
So in choosing that he basically said, “Look, there’s a foundation, there’s a soul to what I do. There’s a reason I do this. Yes, I sell jokes like everybody else, but there’s a soul behind that.” When we put purpose before profit, we have to do that even— to quote the Nike ad, believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything. There are far too many individual business owners who say they stand for something until it means that they have to lose a sale. It’s funny how integrity goes out the window and they’re actually just chasing the sale. So that I think that’s really important.
Josh: Yeah, I unfortunately have been questioning the integrity of many business owners these days for a variety of reasons. I find that really distressing. Eventually, being [inaudible 00:10:31] does come back and bite you in the head.
Ron: It totally does. I think what we’ve lost is we’ve lost the willingness and the ability to play the long game. That more and more and I’m talking from the massive corporations who have shareholders who are expecting quarterly dividends and quarterly numbers all the way down to a single contractor who feels that they just need the quick hit like a heroin hit from a Facebook like or for some vanity metric. We kind of forgot that we can play the long game here.
We shouldn’t be trying to game the system in our favor. We shouldn’t be trying to chase Amazon reviews for our books because we need 100 of them by the time we launch. Because that puts us in the best set. All that stuff, why not just build a business slowly over time incrementally that gets better and better and better. We’ve lost the ability to do that.
Josh: I’m part of that. I think I have a reason behind that is that we have a society where immediate gratification is where it’s at. If we don’t get gratified within 10 seconds, we’re off on to our next tangent.
Ron: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I see it in the speaker’s world where people want to leap at the hand and say like, “Geez, why am I not getting the number of gigs that you’re getting?” I go, “I spent 20 years on stage as a comedian. I’ve been honing this craft for years and years.” Instead of focusing on the product, let’s just continue to develop an amazing speech or an amazing presence.
People are trying to gain the system by using social media, by just chasing metrics, by constantly pitching themselves. It gets tiring. It’s been contributing to the Time Square metaphor. It’s just wall to wall promotion, nonstop.
Josh: I own a plumbing company, I’m just making this up.
Josh: I want to get more customers obviously. Under your system, what would you be recommending they do?
Ron: Well, the first thing is some sort of point of differentiation around the belief. We kind of work with clients through a really long process that helps identify what that is. That could be almost a creative exercise as well. Let’s say you’re a plumber, you feel that one of the biggest complaints that consumers have with plumbers is that they’re always late.
We’re sitting at home and we’re waiting for three hours for the plumber to show up. That if you were to solve that problem then you could make headway. What do you believe? You believe that people’s time should be respected and that you should show up on time. Okay, that’s what you believe. That goes beyond what you sell. What do you do to reinforce that belief?
Now, you have to act with intent. One, you always provide a half an hour buffer between appointments. Two, you say to your customers that if people aren’t home when you arrive for the approved time that you’re going to be starting, that they have to reschedule and respect for your other customers. You have an app where people can track where you are and how soon you’re going to get to their house. Those are just three quick things that you can add to your service to reinforce your belief.
Josh: I’m going to add one more thing to your list, put a guarantee in place for god sakes.
Ron: There you go. Exactly.
Josh: I mean, if you say you’re going to be there five o’clock and you’re there at 5:15 then my time is worth something so you should be reducing your bill.
Ron: Exactly. It goes both ways, if somebody has another customer has delayed your departure from their place because of something they did. They need to be open to either penalizing or walking away and scheduling it. You respect people’s time and you want them to respect yours as well. Yeah, the guarantee is a great and very easy thing to implement.
The safe part is, well, how do you reinforce that in a really honest and transparent and authentic way? Well, the tone of what you’re saying should reinforce all that. Also, within your branding, maybe you call yourself the on time plumber or second by second plumber or whatever. That how you describe your services is really articulating what you believe and how you live it.
Josh: Yeah, absolutely. So in the same portion, you know, blue collar businesses, I have this conversation all the time. Our customers are checking us out before they ever pick up the phone, the calls. They check us out online through reviews, our website. I don’t think many people go to Facebook pages to check people up, but I do think that check out websites. So what do you recommend to people to have on their sites that say, “I’m real, I’m authentic, you can trust me.”
Ron: One is that a video message from, if it’s an individual person a video message from the person so that we start to see your personality and the authentic being that you are. That’s the first thing. Second thing, if you do have testimonials, don’t ask people to write a testimonial because then that just appears too scripted, appears too perfect.
We don’t trust that. But if somebody has said something and social just without being asked even if it sounds a little imperfect then share that out. Also, I think it’s really important to not hide behind negative reviews. Not to make excuses. We know that nobody’s going to hit at 10 out of 10 every single time. If there are no negative reviews, we start to go,” Uh, I don’t know what happened there.” I don’t know whether they’re just hiding this and whether I trust them.
Josh: If I see all five star reviews, there’s a shoe company that has only five star reviews on their site. I know they’re hiding the negative reviews.
Josh: I know that.
Ron: Yeah, exactly. You just need to, don’t hide behind them. They even justify them like, “Yep that one didn’t go so well. Here’s what we did to ensure that that client needs were met.” The other thing is that, and this is where it takes a lot of work. You can’t check this box, but in social that you need to communicate. Again, in a really honest, transparent and authentic way. That’s the part like just don’t continue to respond with, “Thanks for your comment.” It’s just like it’s over and over and over again.
We know that when people look to social, here’s what they typically do more and more is they might check you out, but know that they’re going to their friends in their feeds and saying, “Does anybody have a good plumber?” It’s happening more and more and more.
Actually, my friend Tara wrote this on Facebook. She like, “Does anyone have a good furnace maintenance company? i.e. one that will clean it if that’s all that’s needed versus charging me a grand for an unnecessary part just to make money.” That was her question. Basically, does anybody have a for space company that doesn’t lie?
What I love most about my favorite Facebook response was her friend who said, “I have a guy.” We should all want to be the guy. I don’t mean that in a gender specific way, but we should all want to be that guy. We should all want to be the person that our customers say to other people. You got to use my guy. This is amazing. She’s amazing. And you only get to that point with honesty and transparency, because that’s what leads to trust.
Josh: Yeah, absolutely. There’s no question about that. Ron, we are unfortunately out of time. I would love to have people read your book. How would they find it? What would you like them to do?
Ron: They can find the book wherever they get their books, both in store as well as online. All the major retailers, they can do that. I’ve have a podcast called The Coup as long as they don’t turn away from this podcast. One aspect of the book is that disruption could be seen through the lens of political coup d’état where the established being taken out.
Josh: [Laughs] Oh, it sounds like it might be a fun podcast. That’s always a cool thing to talk about.
Josh: It’s even timely today, we might say. We’re recording this on October 1. You’re likely not going to hear this for a while, but it fits in well with what’s going on right now.
Ron: I won’t comment, but that’s a Canadian.
Josh: Yeah, I love my Canadian Francis. It is so much fun to talk with them about the way they see our country which is really kind of an interesting lens. Anyway, I have an offer for you too. We’re in the process of changing the name of this podcast. We may have actually done this by the time you hear it from The Sustainable Business to Cracking The Cash Flow Code.
Cracking The Cash Flow Code is all about creating excess cash in your business. I have this little quiz that you can take, which will help you figure out whether you’re on the road to financial freedom for your business or not.
It’s called https://thecashflowcode.com/. It’s https://thecashflowcode.com/ with the “the| in there. Just go there and you’ll get a chance to click on the big orange button. Take the quiz in seven minutes. You’re going to find out whether you’re on the road to cash flow freedom or not. This is Josh Patrick. We’re with Ron Tite. You’re at The Sustainable business. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around a hundred years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.