In this episode Josh talks with Trish Saemann. They discuss mistakes business owners make when creating a marketing plan.

Trish Saemann is a quick-witted, no-nonsense marketing professional who loves to talk business.

Between her two companies, Trish is working as a fractional CMO, Marketing Coach, Educator and Entrepreneur and loves connecting with small businesses.

In today’s episode you will learn about:

  • What are the three mistakes business owners make when creating a marketing plan
  • How sales and marketing work together
  • Creating experiences about your end-user, not you
  • How to pick the right medium for marketing


Narrator:             Welcome to “Cracking the Cash Flow Code”, where you’ll learn what it takes to create enough cash to fill the four buckets of profit. You’ll learn what it takes to have enough cash for a great lifestyle, have enough cash for when an emergency strikes, fully fund a growth program and fund your retirement program.

When you do this, you’ll have a sale ready company that will allow you to keep or sell your business. This allows you to do what you want with your business, when you want in the way you want. In Cracking the Cash Flow code, we focus on the four areas of business that let you take your successful business and make it economically and personally sustainable.

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 and allow you to be free of cash flow worries.

Josh:                      Hey, this is Josh Patrick. You’re at Cracking the Cash Flow Code. Today, my guest is Trish Saemann. Trish has two companies, which are kind of interesting. We’re going to let her tell you about them as we go through the conversation today. One is a digital marketing agency if I’m not mistaken, and the other helps you become a better business owner. So I’m going to bring Trisha on. I want to start off with a question that I have about here. So let’s bring Trish on first.

Hey, Trish, how are you today?

Trish:                     I am well how are you, Josh? Thanks for having me.

Josh:                      I’m doing well, too. I always ask people, what are the few things that we can talk about? Sometimes I pay attention to them and sometimes I don’t, but this time, I’m going to pay attention to it because you have a something that just has me intrigued, which is what are the three mistakes business owners make when creating a marketing plan?

Trish:                     Oh, that’s a good one. I like that. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is they create their marketing plan because they believe that their product or service is effectual for everyone.

Josh:                      Ah, okay.

Trish:                     When you market to everybody, you market to nobody.

Josh:                      I think I’ve said that once or twice in my life.

Trish:                     Well, it’s true. It’s a really great and fast way to go broke.

Josh:                      Yes.

Trish:                     I would think that if you’re having a hard time understanding what I mean, look at how you present information to even your own family. For those of you who have children in your life, whether they’re you’re a parent or you have nieces and nephews, if you say to a four year old that we’re going to go out for ice cream after dinner, that child is going to talk about the ice cream the entire time.

However, if you were to say to your mother, father, we’re going to go out for ice cream after dinner with the grandbabies. They’d say, “Okay” and they take the information and they’d wait, whereas the four year old would not. How you present that information is going to change based on your target audience. So whenever you’re trying to come up with your own marketing, you have to consider the need and the desire and where that person is from a headspace standpoint.

Josh:                      Okay, so my experience with that is I have tried to talk people out of this. I serve everybody sort of thing for like a zillion years. I’m mostly unsuccessful with that conversation. I have finally figured out the reason mostly unsuccessful at conversation— I call myself initial hawk by the way, is because they’re scared.

Trish:                     No, they’re absolutely scared. I’ll tell you what they’re scared of if you’re interested at least in my experience what they’re scared.

Josh:                      Sure.

Trish:                     A lot of people make the mistake of thinking and they conflate sales and marketing. I’m going to use an analogy if I may, you’ll appreciate this, Josh. Let’s say you own a hair salon. You’ve got a bunch of ladies in that hair salon they’re getting their hair dyed. They want to hide their grey. They want to make their curls show up or they want to straighten their hair.

You have somebody walk into your hair salon. You’ve got all your product up on the side. You’ve got shampoo. You’ve got hair tonic and whatever else. The person who walks in wants to buy a lot of your hair product, but they’re not a woman. They don’t have hair.

In fact, they are a bald man and they want to buy all your hair products. Okay? Are you going to sell to them? I’m going to ask you, Josh. Would you sell shampoo to a bald man?

Josh:                      Well, I’m a bald man and I use shampoo so sure.

Trish:                     Okay. I would too. I don’t care if you’re Telly Savalas. I don’t care if you’re a [inaudible 00:04:22]. I’m going to sell to you because you would like to buy it. No problem. What I’m not going to do is craft a marketing plan to target bald men because that’s not my target demographic. So you would like to sell shampoo to anybody go right ahead, but if you want to spend all your money on marketing and target bald men, because they might come in, no.

So what people are afraid of is that they will alienate the outliers, the people who might buy from them. They’re like, “Well, sometimes I have bald men that come in, they want to buy shampoo.” I was like, “That’s awesome, but you should not be focusing your marketing efforts on them.” You should be focusing your marketing efforts on the people who are most likely to buy.

Those people who come in to your hair salon to buy hair products even if they don’t have hair. They know what they’re getting into. You have defined yourself so well, who knows why that person was buying them? Maybe he’s buying for his daughter’s, who knows?

Josh:                      That’s a good example. By the way, you are one of the few people who understand that marketing and sales are completely two different activities. different activities.

Trish:                     Different activities and then the mentality is different. They work together. They’re like peanut butter and jelly, but they are not the same thing.  Josh: One of my concerns I’ve seen these days a lot, especially with the new age businesses, the online world is they say that you have to combine marketing and sales. I actually disagree with that vehemently. The reason is, is that the purposes of each are very different. In my experience, marketing is to create awareness and sale is to create customers.

Trish:                     I’d even push even a little further within that. Marketing doesn’t only just create awareness. We’re aware of certain products and yet they still have marketing platforms around them. [inaudible 00:06:07] creating desire, creating awareness, top of mind awareness, you’re creating desire. You are giving people the emotion behind the sale. Sales happen emotionally. Why would somebody spend and people do, $500 to $1,000 on a handbag?

Because it comes with status, it comes with emotion. You feel better. You treated yourself. You’ve got now a $700 handbag on your arm. Is it because it’s really that much better than a $20 handbag? No, it comes with an emotion and a status. That’s where the marketing comes. It’s awareness, but it’s also creation of desire.

Josh:                      Right. The other thing I just want to kind of go a little bit further on your example with a hair salon, is that I tell people all the time when I say, “You really need to develop a niche.” They say, “Well, I’m scared to do that.” They don’t ever say I’m scared of this I can’t do that because I’ll be turning people away.

There’s no rule in the world that says you can’t sell to somebody if they’ll walk in your door. Well, one of the things I would say is you have to make sure you control your sales department so they’re not selling to the wrong customer. In other words, you need to have a very clearly defined definition of what that A customer looks like, then only let your sales department call on that customer.

Trish:                     Right.

Josh:                      If a B or C customer calls you up on the phone, you can make a decision whether you want to deal with them or not. But if you have your sales department out there, and you allow them to call on B and C customers, they will never call on A customer because they’re hard to get in front of. 

Trish:                     Right and you’re setting them up to fail. You’re selling the client. Now again, it depends on what you’re selling. Is it a product? Is it a service? Is it a B2B is it B2C? There are lots of different quadrants that we can put it into. Ultimately, what you’re doing is rather than and I like to use this turn of phrase in my own line of work, which is I don’t really like the idea of closing a sale but rather opening a relationship. Now again, that’s much more B2B, it’s much more of—

Josh:                      I actually like that a lot. That’s a really good way to put it in my opinion is that even in B2C, you’re opening a relationship.

Trish:                     You’re opening a relationship and you are putting forth an experience even if the experience is buying toothpaste, something that simple. You’re putting forth and experience. When you’re setting somebody up, and you say, “I’m going to give you this wonderful product. I’m going to give you delicious. It’s toothpastes going to make your mouth clean. It’s going to be minty fresh.”

Then you give them bland baking soda, even though it’s toothpaste. That’s not what they expected. It’s like, “Well, I told you it was toothpaste. Did I tell you it’s toothpaste?” They’re like, “Well, you did, but this isn’t what I mentally agreed to.” So you sold me and then didn’t deliver.

When you focus your sales on those B and C, those tertiary, potential maybe they sort of fit kind of. You’re setting the salesperson up to feel kind of like a jerk. You’re also setting up the person who actually purchases to not trust working with your company or buying your product. You’re completely deflating the experience. I much prefer opening a relationship and closing a sale. It’s focused on the end user and not on your quota.

Josh:                      By the way, this is one of my pet peeves around websites. If you have a website would you please stop using the word I and we start and using you and yours.

Trish:                     The experiences about your end user. It isn’t about you. Baby, baby, baby. It is not about you.

Josh:                      The only place you should talk about you is on the About Me page.

Trish:                     That’s exactly right. Here’s the thing is most of the time people are interested to learn about you, after they figure out that the product or service you offer is what they need. Once that box is checked then they want to learn like, “Alright, well, you deliver that how good are you? Let’s learn a little bit about you.” Now they know about you.

Josh:                      Actually we have a thing we call the alignment conversation, which is our sales conversation before I’ll agree to take a client on and step six is the first time I mentioned anything about me.

Trish:                     Right, right.

Josh:                      First five steps are all about you. Actually, that’s not true. The fifth step is one question, which is about me.

Trish:                     [inaudible 00:10:14] find me or something like that like?

Josh:                      No, I say, would you like some help on this solving this issue? The answer is yes. I said, “Would you like me to help you?”

Trish:                     Right. That’s legit. That’s a legitimate question.

Josh:                      That’s my very fancy clothes.

Trish:                     Fancy all the bells and whistles.

Josh:                      Yes. Yes. That was number one, what’s number two and three for mistakes that they can make?

Trish:                     We actually just covered one of them, which is making the copy all about you or in this case, like making the copy all about me and coming to the table with the mentality that you have to sell right away. That you have to— it’s really, and I love the kind of emotional psychology behind it, but it really does speak to a self consciousness and not a natural confidence. Natural confidence is relaxed. Natural confidence lets a conversation just happen. When you lead with your resume and I went to this college and I drive this car. I married this person. I make this much money, what you’re doing is you’re conveying that this stuff is important, when you have no idea if it’s important to the other person.

It’s funny, because in networking meetings, and this is another— I love analogies. This is one of the things that I use is when you’re writing your copy for your website, or you’re writing content, or you’re writing a blog or whatever it is that you’re doing, to kind of position yourself as an expert.

Think about yourself going to a networking meeting, or even meeting a new neighbor, do you immediately start telling them about yourself? Do you say, “Hi, how are you? What’s your day like? What’s your name?” As opposed to, “Hey, my name is Trish and I’m fabulous for all these reasons.” You don’t lead with that. Frankly, you’re alone after that. Nobody wants to talk to that guy. Nobody wants to talk to that guy.

Josh:                      Absolutely.

Trish:                     That’s one of the things that we that we cover there.

Josh:                      So what’s number three on your list?

Trish:                     I’m trying to think because I actually have several. I’m picking the wrong medium, making the assumption that your medium and the mediums that you use are mediums that other people use. That’s one of the biggest mistakes that I see that people will come to the table thinking, “Well, I tried using Facebook, and it didn’t work.” It’s like, “Okay, well, why didn’t it work?” Well, because Facebook doesn’t work. I think Facebook works.

Josh:                      Facebook works for some businesses. For some, it doesn’t work so well.

Trish:                     Right, part of the reason why because they don’t look at the holistic process. They don’t close the loop. They’ll blame one thing, one external medium as opposed to taking the opportunity to look back and see if their target market was right and if messaging was right. Now that you’ve narrowed down who it is you’re speaking to, and what motivates them.

Now, figure out, if you figured out what motivates them, how should you motivate them? What kind of language should you use? How best to deliver that? Is that that’s delivered in an email? Maybe it looks where it’s at. Maybe there’s so nervous. I find this a lot with bookkeepers that you may find this in your own mind work through. People are very scared to talk about money. They get very, very nervous talk about, “Oh, I made this mistake. I made that mistake.” They’re very anxious to share that information.

So you put them on blast and say, “Here are all the mistakes that you’re making.” They’re going to shut down. You want to figure out is the medium designed to educate them? Is it designed to titillate them? Is it designed to give you a phone call? What is it designed to do? People make the mistake of thinking that their medium is where they’re falling short, or that the medium itself doesn’t work.

I assure you, there’s not a medium on this planet, including and yes, including Yellow Pages and newspaper. There are still people that pay attention to those mediums. If they’re your target market, there’s a spot for them. I believe that all mediums work when worked properly.

Josh:                      I won’t say all mediums work, I would say the right medium works when work properly.

Trish:                     I guess my point and I’ll push back on you and that they all have their place.

Josh:                      They all have their place, yes.

Trish:                     Yes, I wouldn’t take a bicycle into the ocean and hope to float. It just doesn’t work, but the vehicle works it just doesn’t work on the ocean.

Josh:                      Right, if I’m trying to do one to one sales, probably not going to use Facebook.

Trish:                     No.

Josh:                      I’m probably going to use LinkedIn if I’m in the B2B world. The reason is, LinkedIn is really designed to have one to one conversations, whereas Facebook is not—at least from a marketing and advertising.

Trish:                     Yeah, especially now with groups and stuff like that. Niching down, that’s actually where the genius in Facebook is right now. It’s those niching down with groups. I mean, if you want to target underwater fire prevention basket weavers. I don’t know if there’s group for that in Facebook.

Josh:                      There is a group for everything on Facebook.

Trish:                     There is, indeed there is.

Josh:                      The other thing Facebook has done really well is they made it easy for people to use groups.

Trish:                     Yes.

Josh:                      All the other platforms that have groups. It’s just, it’s not as easy.

Trish:                     No, it’s not. They are highly efficient. It’s one of my favorite mediums when the kind of marketing you need to do is very demographic and psychographic focus. Obviously with search in SEO and Google ads, it’s completely contingent on behavior. Whereas Facebook, the only behavior really have to rely on is them actually going Facebook. You can still target highly demographic and psychographic targeting. It’s really a neat medium for that reason.

Josh:                      I want to pivot to another one of your things out here because I find this interesting too. See if your reason for not scaling your business is the same as mine. Why are people having trouble scaling their businesses?

Trish:                     There are a couple of reasons. One is because they’re taking on the wrong clients. Scalability is tied to— for me anyway, process. If you would like to scale your business, you need to dial in your process. If you look at companies and I know you’re up in Burlington, I’m in the south. It’s a company called Chick-fil-A. There’s another one called Five Guys.

They are all food service companies. Regardless of where you feel about those companies politically, they are highly, highly efficient from a process standpoint. Domino A hits Domino B hits Domino C hits Domino D and you have your outcome every single time. What happens with a lot of particularly smaller businesses is in the honeymoon phase, they’re willing to take on any business. All of a sudden, they’re willing to do things that are outside the scope of their genius, just so they can bring in the revenue.

Then what they end up having are clients that are a poor fit and outside the scope, and they can’t build a process around that. What they end up doing is focusing an inordinate amount of time on those clients as opposed to the clients that will help keep that system moving forward. So from a scalability standpoint, you can’t have one client take up more time or more product or more resources than they’re paying for. It’s akin to selling one hotel room but giving them the entire floor because that’s what they’ve decided to wiggle into. That’s not going to work so one of the things that get in the way of scalability is not taking on those proper clients.

Josh:                      We call that staying away from the one offs.

Trish:                     Yes, stay away from one offs exactly right.

Josh:                      You basically want a customer base where you go wash, rinse, repeat.

Trish:                     Yeah, wash, rinse, repeat.

Josh:                      Those are called head and shoulder customers.

Trish:                     Head and shoulders, exactly right. Here’s the thing with the repeat. That’s the other part with scalability is, I’m lucky enough that my first company does have some project work, but it’s almost always tied to recurring revenue, because then there’s additional work that happens after the fact. Most of my clients are on a retainer, and they pay me a certain amount of money, and I build from there.

Retention and I think a lot of people focus their marketing and sales on acquisition activities, which they should because that is part of the scaling formula. I think where they forget where they drop the ball is the retention component of it, and when they start losing clients, and one of the things that happens when you take on those one offs is that, that extra customer service component is being focused on them.

You’re burning out your staff. Your staff is not focusing on retention activities and keeping your existing client base happy and satisfied or using them as a means to upsell. It takes so much more money and effort and resources to take on new clients than it does. This is somebody coming from a marketing firm, we’re hiring me helps you get new clients. I’m telling you as a marketer, make sure you’re focusing on retention as well then you don’t necessarily need a company like mine.

Josh:                      Well, you do need a company like yours. We also need to say as you’re developing your marketing plan or your sales plan is you have to realize the first sale is just the first sale.

Trish:                     Exactly right.

Josh:                      The real profit comes in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth sale, not the first sale. The first sale, you generally lose money on no matter what you’re in. If you don’t have a way to get a second, third, fourth and fifth sale, you’re in deep trouble. Now, I would say for me, the reasons the most people don’t scale their businesses. Again, I work with blue collar businesses that tend to have between five and 25 people. In that world, the reason they’re not scaling is because the bottleneck is the owner because the owner hasn’t learned how to delegate.

Trish:                     I got to tell you as an owner, you are correct. It was one of the hardest. Take the lesson on the chin, particularly as a rookie, when I first got started, that what I realized is I needed to surround myself with people who are more talented and brighter, or at least brighter and more talented in a different discipline. I’m not trying to be self effacing when I say that, but just people who came to the table with not only the ability to take what I do and run with it, but maybe even better than I know how.

Fill in the blanks on where I’m especially weak and stop limiting their expertise and their genius because I sign off on a yes or a I’m going to let you make that decision kind of decision. I didn’t think of that one but you’re 100% correct, Josh. That’s definitely a big one.

Josh:                      In my experience that is the roadblock to keep small businesses small. If you can’t learn to delegate, and there’s a real challenge when you delegate is nobody does it right the first time out of the box.

Trish:                     [inaudible 00:20:11] neither do you.

Josh:                      It took me three years even get mediocre at it.

Trish:                     I don’t even mean you specifically. I mean, neither did the business owner, the business owner didn’t even do it right. I would guarantee that any person you’re not letting make those mistakes, I guarantee if you would look at the first time you took on a client, the first time you executed what it is that you do well, that you do it differently now and probably better now. You’ve got to give your staff the opportunity to have that learning curve.

Josh:                      It goes to two things that keep people from delegating. One is that many business owners have a low propensity for allowing mistakes. The second is they don’t really trust the people they work with. You have to fix both of those before you can become competent at delegate. Because the truth is the first time you delegate you’re going to do a terrible job of it.

You’re not going to go back and check in the work. You’re going to wait months and months and months. You’re going to go back. There’s not been done, you’re going to blow your top because it wasn’t done right. It wasn’t their fault, your fault because you never got around to inspecting.

Trish:                     Exactly right.

Josh:                      The truth is, is 345, 150 times before you get to be even mildly competent at delegating.

Trish:                     Well, I’ll put a little egg on my own face from a mistake that I made from a delegation standpoint, if I may share, which was I started to delegate too late. I was already in overwhelmed. I was so willing that I was like, “Fine, just take it.” Not only was I not following up, I didn’t even have time to follow up. I didn’t even give myself the space needed to train appropriately.

Then my staff is frustrated, I’m frustrated, my client is frustrated. I waited way too long when I first started delegating because I didn’t delegate effectively. I didn’t give the lead time enough to make the mistakes and learn and let the client know like, “Hey, I’m going to delegate this off. Please let me know if something comes up, we lost client because of it.” That was 100%, this girl’s fault right here.

Josh:                      That’s part of the game, if you’re going to grow your business, you have to learn how to delegate. You have to look yourself in the mirror and say, “A lot of these problems are being causing my business or my problems, not somebody else’s problems. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a business that stays at 15 to 20 employees. You need a different strategy for how you’re going to leave your business. But there’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

If you want to have a business where you don’t get burned out, where you actually enjoy going to work every day, and you can do it for 30 or 40 years, if you know how to delegate effectively, you’re never going to make it. That’s just been my—  I’ve been doing this for a long time. That’s my experience. You can tell by the lack of hair and gray on my side.

Trish:                     I think you’re right though. I think it’s wise words. I hope that people hear you because again, from somebody in the trenches, you are 100% correct.

Josh:                      Cool. Finally, we have just a couple of minutes left. Let’s talk about retention. We’ve already touched on retention versus acquisition marketing. I think you have to do both. I think you have to sort of have a balance between the two.

Trish:                     Right. I think that it’s certainly a balance between two. A lot of times you think of it in terms of courtship versus marriage, and a lot of courtship, it’s a lot of a lot of putting your best foot forward a lot of it is dazzling them, and letting them know what a future might look like with you. That’s a lot of what courtship looks like, whereas retention is much more of accountability and collaboration and recognizing that we’ve been doing it this way for a while, we might need to pivot because our goals have changed.

We’re going to move in this direction. I feel that the activities are much like marriage. People make the mistake of putting all of their efforts in the beginning. Then they’re Wyatt Peters out later. I would venture to say that retention is actually more important for a lot of reasons. One, these people are investing in you either on a repeat basis, or for a long term. They’re looking to grow their own business or they’re looking to work with you in some way to relieve some pain— again, whether it’s a B2B or B2C.

They don’t necessarily want to make a change. They want to continue with you so long as you make it valuable for them to continue with you. So while I may feel like it’s a lot more expensive, and all the things you’re doing in the beginning from an acquisition standpoint, I would venture to say it’s more valuable to do the retention component of it especially if you have recurring revenue like I said, my first business does. The other thing is, is the language that you use.

You’re educating more in the beginning in acquisition mode, whereas it’s much more collaborative on a retention based. It’s more value driven whether you’re sending out a monthly newsletter or whether you’re upselling them, but not upselling them for your benefit, but rather for theirs. Let’s say that you sell roofing and you know that there’s a hailstorm coming.

You reach out to the people that you’ve worked with in the past and you say, “Just a heads up, you might want to pay attention to the fact that there’s a hailstorm coming, just letting you know if you need anything, give me a shout, blah, blah, blah, here’s some things you can do to prevent your windows from breaking” or something along those lines that has nothing to do with a sale. What these people now see is that you value them and now they value your opinion and the information you’re offering. It’s much more of a relationship, whereas in the beginning, it’s much more courtship—again, my love of analogies.

Josh:                      They’re good. Unfortunately, Trish, we’re out of time. I’m really hoping that some of the folks listening to this episode today decided to contact us I think you have a wealth of knowledge, how would they go about finding you?

Trish:                     Well, I think the best way to find me right now is to go to I’ll say I also have another company called Go Beyond SEO, but you can get me from either one of those. I also do free consults so give me a shout if you do have a question. I’m happy to do that, too.

Josh:                      Cool. I also have an offer for you. One of the things that we’ve been working on around here is a thing we call the Financial Freedom Project. That’s all about how to become financially free from your business. The first step, and that is to say, Are you on the road to financial freedom? I had this thing I’ve been doing for years and years and years called The Four Boxes of Financial Independence.

I finally made it into a little quiz. If you go to, that’s You’ll spend about seven minutes putting some financial information in at the end of that seven minutes, you’re going to get a sense for whether you’re on the road to financial freedom or you’re not. Either way, you might want to have a conversation about us because I actually have some interesting ideas about both. This is Josh Patrick. We’re with Trish Saemann. You’re at Cracking the Cash Flow Code. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.

Narrator:             You’ve been listening to the “Cracking the Cash Flow Code” where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around a hundred years from now?” If you’ve liked what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick   at   802-846-1264   extension   102.   Or visit us on our website at   Or you can send   Josh an email at   Thanks for listening and we hope to see you at Cracking the Cash Flow Code in the near future.

Topics: customer experience, sustainable business podcast, Marketing, Sustainable Business, sales and marketing, trish saemann, marketing mistakes, reaching right customers, choosing right medium, marketing plan

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