Branding Matters

Alan Weiss - Build a Thriving Consultancy

August 26, 2022 Branding Badass Episode 71
Branding Matters
Alan Weiss - Build a Thriving Consultancy
Show Notes Transcript

My guest today is Alan Weiss - one of the world's most highly sought-after consultancy experts. Alan's impressive list of clients include such well-known brands as Mercedes-Benz, Merck, Hewlett-Packard, New York Times and over 200 others. 

Alan is also a best-selling author of 64 books. One his most famous books - “Million Dollar Consulting” - has been through five editions and appears in 12 languages around the world.

I invited Alan to be a guest on my show to discuss how to build a thriving consultancy.  I wanted to get his POV on what role branding plays in that process. And I was curious to learn about value-based fees and why more businesses should adopt this concept.

𝗕𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗠𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗶𝘀 𝗯𝗿𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝘁𝗼 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗯𝘆 𝗚𝗲𝗻𝘂𝗺𝗮𝗿𝗸 - 𝗢𝗻𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗡𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗵 𝗔𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗮’𝘀 𝗺𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗰𝗵 𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝟰𝟬 𝘆𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘀.
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Joelly Goodson :

Hi I'm Joelly your Branding Badass, and welcome to Branding Matters - a podcast I created and host to help you create brand equity. Branding Matters is brought to you by Genumark, one of North America's most trusted branded merch makers for over 40 years. Branded merchandise is one of the best ways to create brand awareness. Whether with your team or your fans, there's no better way to show your appreciation, connect with your audience and build communit than by combining thoughtful design with great products that tell your brand story. When you partner with Genumark, you get more. More personalized service, more creativity, more innovative solutions. And more importantly, you get it all from a talented team of branding experts who have the experience and know-how to make your job easier and best of all more fun. From promotional products, custom uniforms and clothing to sports co-branding, web stores and warehousing, Genumark makes it happen. And being ISO certified, you can rest assured ethical sourcing and sustainability are front and center. Genumark is big enough to matter, but small enough to care. So if you're looking for the right partner to help you create brand awareness, email brandingmatters@genumark.com to start your next project today. My guest today is Alan Weiss, one of the world's most highly sought after consultancy experts whose clients have included such brands as Mercedes Benz, Merck, Hewlett Packard, New York Times in over 200, more, Allen's also a best selling author of 64 books. And one of his most famous books "Million Dollar Consulting" has been through five editions and appears in 12 languages around the world. I invited Alan to be a guest on my show today to talk about consulting. I wanted to learn what role branding plays when you're a consultant. And I was curious to learn about value-based fees and why more people should adopt this way of doing business. Allen, I am really thrilled to have you with me today. Welcome to Branding Matters!

Alan Weiss:

Thank you. Thank you for the invitation. Happy to be here.

Joelly Goodson :

Oh, it's great to have you here. So where are you right now?

Alan Weiss:

East Greenwich, Rhode Island.

Joelly Goodson :

Oh, that's nice. Are you from New York originally? Where are you from? Originally?

Alan Weiss:

I'm from just across the river in New Jersey, right opposite the Empire State Building.

Joelly Goodson :

Okay, cool. I love it there. Okay, well, let's get right into it, we have a lot to cover. I'm super excited to have you here. So Alan, tell me about the day that you decided that you couldn't spend another minute doing anything else other than what you're doing right now?

Alan Weiss:

Well, it's probably the day I got fired. And, you know, I was I came up to Rhode Island to be president of behavioral consulting firm. And I did that for about 15 months. And then the owner of the firm was a multi multimillionaire W Clement Stone, he and I just didn't agree on anything. And so he fired me abruptly and my wife said, What do you want to do? And I said, I never want to be fired by a moron again. The only way to really create something is to own something. And so I'm going at my own and she said to me, okay, I support you. I mean, we had a mortgage, kids and private school, we had very little money in the bank. She said I support you, but get serious? I said, Okay, fair enough. And so I did.

Joelly Goodson :

Okay, so what were you doing there? And do you? Why did you get fired? Did they tell you,

Alan Weiss:

W Clement Stone was a guy who sold industrial insurance during the depression for a penny or two a week, he went through factories, five, six floors climbed the middle of no elevators. And people give them a penny to a week for industrial insurance, which meant that if they died, they wouldn't be buried in the corporate field and get a separate gravestone for the family. And he made a fortune doing this. And then he found a consolidated insurance, he got some smart financial health. And when I knew him, this is back in the mid 80s. He was already in his 80s. And he was worth $450 million. And he would go around preaching on positive mental attitude. And I said to him one day, you know, his etiology was off, which you know, that's the science of cause and effect. And I said, you don't have $450 million, because you had a positive mental attitude. You have a positive mental attitude, because you have $450 million. And if you, everyone $450 million, they'll all have positive mental attitudes you have Right, right. He didn't like that. So he fired me.

Joelly Goodson :

Wow. So what was that day like for you? You went home, you said, That's it. I'm done with this BS and I want to go on my own.

Alan Weiss:

He fired me in the Admirals Club at O'Hare Airport where you could call the meeting because he lived in Chicago. And I called my wife and I said, I told her what happened. She said, Well, we kind of figured that was going to happen, it was something like that happens to you. You either get very angry, or you get very depressed. And I got really angry. And I said, you know, I Why would I allow myself to be in this kind of position? And so it was this freeing feeling that now I was on my own And my victories will be mine, my defeats will be mine, but I couldn't blame anybody else. And that was wonderful. And so I started calling everybody I knew, telling them what I said, just as I advise all my coaching clients globally today, I tell them the same thing. Call everybody you know, and say, I am launching exciting value for people in this direction, whatever your specialty is. And at the time, I said, I am dramatically improving individual and organizational performance. I was a fortune 1000 consultant. And I called everything I knew, and what do you know, one of the earliest leads I got was at Merck Pharmaceuticals where I knew people from the training companies to be with, and Merck became a client for 12 years, and I made probably $3 million from Merck, and another $3 million for referrals, because Merck was, you know, America's most admired company five years in a row. And I started to make all this money. But you know, when I first went down there, in 1985, I bought a $2,000 suit in 1985. And I traveled first class, and I got a limo to take me to these places. And my wife said, you know, we have no money. And I said, Listen, I am not showing up in a buyers office perspired and rumpled and late on sale pays for all this. And that's what I've always done ever since. And it paid off, you have to invest in yourself, people have a scarcity mentality, you need an abundance mentality.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, I love that. That's great. And it's so true, because perception is everything. So let's talk about consulting, because that is obviously your area of expertise. And so I like what you said earlier, a consultant to define as someone who adds value. So how do you define value? Because I hear that word all the time, you hear it all the time in business, and everyone talks about value. So how do you define value

Unknown:

Value is an improved client condition. So it could be monetary and quantifiable, qualitative, or it could be non financial, I mean, for example, greater security, greater peace of mind, less stress, more time with your family, and so forth. But what we do is we improve the client's condition, when we walk away, the client had better be better off. And so you know, the doctors say, first do no harm, right? That's not good enough. We can't just not do harm, we have to improve the client's condition. And so the the quid pro quo here, the equitable exchange is, I improve your condition and make you happier and better off and you give me money. That's how it works. Would you say subjective though, value becomes in both some in both subjective things, you know, I want to be less spend less time playing a referee among my teams, and objective things, I want our sales to increase so we can measure that. So some things are scientific and measurable by metrics, you know, turnover and profit. Some things are not so measurable, except they're anecdotal. And I can tell, so I can tell if I'm feeling happier, I can tell if the aesthetics around me are better, I can tell if I feel safer. And as long as you can tell, that's good enough for me.

Joelly Goodson :

I love that. And I've heard you talk too, about coaching versus consulting. And I'm curious to know, what's a difference? And if someone is thinking of, you know, I want to be a coach or I want to be a consultant. Are they mutually exclusive?

Alan Weiss:

No, they're synergistic. They're not exclusive at all. And the fact is that, you know, I'm probably going to annoy a lot of you readers here. But I don't believe in coaching universities and coaching certifications and all that. I mean, who certifies the certifiers, right? So here's the point. I've been consulting for 30 years, and all over globally. And I've also been coaching for 30 years globally. And yes, but to do more of the latter. Today, I've moved from Fortune 1000 firms, to entrepreneurs and boutique firm owners. But the fact is that when you are a consultant, and you are creating organizational change, you also have to commensurately coach people in how to maintain the change and how to sustain the change and how to work with others to convince them to change. So that's a coaching ramification. So every consultants a coach, however, if you are a coach, specifically, and you help people, let's say, deal with the media or handle confrontative conversations, or you help them select talent, and so forth, you're not necessarily a consultant to you're looking at a smaller microcosm. So my feeling is that people are better off being consultants who also coach than just coaches, because there's not there's nothing that says a coach who's helping you change your behavior really knows much about organizational dynamics, or strategy or greater change and things like that. I have a book called Million Dollar coaching and the first thing they ask in the book is this. Has anyone ever come to in your life and asked for help? And if so, did you get them help? And if so, did it work? And if you answered yes to all this, congratulations, you're a coach.

Joelly Goodson :

But what about the idea that so I know a couple of coaches and they have to go through extensive training and courses and they spent

Alan Weiss:

so much No they don't? No, they don't they choose to

Joelly Goodson :

do okay, sorry. They do they choose to to get accredited. So today they do these coaches, they do these courses, and they do all these things. They pay a lot of money. But then I've heard a lot of people who told me that they're consultants without any without that same sort of investment as financial financially goes.

Alan Weiss:

So it's a great point. That's a great point. The fact is spending money to be certified as a coach doesn't do anything. It doesn't make you a better coach. And moreover, executives and companies don't say I need a coach get me a certified coach for this coaching University. They never say that. Human Resources says that and human resources HR stands for hardly relevant. Sorry, say that again. Relevant. Yeah, so who cares? Okay, but you're right, you're exactly right. The thing about consulting is, there is no barrier to entry. So that means the good part of that is, it's very easy to get into it, you're gonna have to pay people money and get certifications and all that crap. But the bad part is anybody can hang out a shingle say they're a consultant, and they could have complete slug, right? I wrote million dollar consulting the original book, it's in its sixth edition now. But in 1992, when I first wrote it, I felt we were Atlantic City gambling on the beach. And so I found that there was a palm reader on the beach in Atlantic City, she required more licensing to read palms on the boardwalk in Atlantic City than a consultant needed to go to work in Atlantic City. So you raise a good point and that, therefore, Caveat emptor, the buyer has to be aware, but you don't want to say to the consultant, well, who did you pay to get certification? Where's your certificate? What you want to pay for the consultant is with Whom have you worked? What kind of results have you generated? What kind of intellectual property Do you have? Those are the questions that somebody's certifying you.

Joelly Goodson :

Right? Okay. So I find that really interesting. I started my podcast January 1 2021, because there was a lot of forest entrepreneurs. COVID, a lot of people started their own business, and a lot of people became consultants, right, they decided, okay, this is what I'm going to do. And so I love that you're on here today, because I have a lot of consultants that are listening. So what does it take to be a good consultant? And what role do you think branding plays and leveraging your now consultancy and growing your business as a consultant?

Alan Weiss:

Okay, so first of all, if you're gonna go into consulting, you have to understand immediately, this is the marketing business. And I'll stipulate you're good at what you do. I'll stipulate you're a good consultant in terms of pricing, or finance or healthcare, whatever it is. But the fact is, and I tell everybody, I coached this, this is the marketing profession, and very few of us have been taught marketing, even MBA people, MBA students haven't been taught marketing. So that's number one. So you better realize that you have to reach out to buyers. That's, that's if you don't like reaching out to buyers, go into another line of work. Okay. Number two, the kind of skills you need a critical thinking skills and processes. The reason that I had clients and almost every kind of a business, from Merck, to Citibank, to airlines and so forth, is that processes are transferable. And so you don't have to be an expert in the auto business, to consult with an automaker, but you do have to know the processes of how to provide better service, better responsiveness and so forth. When I first walked in, walked into Mercedes Benz in the United States, the president of US Operations says to me, what do you know about cars? You know, a lot of consults wait while I drive one, you know, and I say to him, I know anything about cars, you know about cars and Mercedes. He said, Well, how can you help us? I said, Well, you don't need another car expert. You got car experts laid in the hole out there, and I walk over them to get to your office, but Lexus is eating your lunch on service. And I know service. That's what you need. And so it's a process thing. That's how you become a great consultant. And then the third thing you asked me, which I like to respond to resist, you're exactly right. Branding is everything. And most people think of a brand as a uniform representation of quality. You know, McDonald's is McDonald's. Mercedes is Mercedes, you know, Briony is Briony. But pragmatically a brand is how people think about you, and you're not around. And that's what you have to create. So that people say, you know, just like if they want a strategy, they say, get me McKinsey. They've got to say, I need this, get me her, get me him. And so it's never too early or too late to build a brand. And the ultimate brand is your name. And so while it's nice to be in a hat that says, Get me a strategist, and I'm in the hat, it's much better for them to say get me out otherwise, right? Because that precludes competition. I started out as a contrarian when I was fired, I simply disagree with everything. And that got me into the media. And today's people still call me the contrarian. But you know, my, my international, my global brands base, my name,

Joelly Goodson :

I love that. I love that. So there are so many good nuggets, or that you just said one thing that I love when you said about you don't need to be the expert in that particular field to be a consultant. And I think that's true for so many service businesses, and especially in marketing, like you said, because, again, I have a lot of clients who they know their business better than anybody else, right? Like, again, we'll use the car industry, they know the car industry, but what they don't know is how to create that brand awareness how to elaborate on their brand promise and all about their branding, which they don't know anything about. And that's where I've had people come to me and say, I don't know how to do this. All I know is how to build cars. And so I love that you said that because I don't think you have to know necessarily but that particular industry is just how do you get them to grow? Because isn't that back to what you said about adding value and solving their problem as a consultant is when you can have those metrics to Matt. And that's how you create that value.

Alan Weiss:

Well, that's right. And, you know, the great thing about professional services is that they're fungible. In other words, you can deal with anybody and accounting firm doesn't just deal with construction firms, they can deal with chemical firms, they can deal with retail department stores, they can deal with coffee shops, same thing with attorneys, you know, same thing with designers and architects. And so as consultants or coaches, we can deal with anybody if we choose to.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, yeah, no, I love that. So a big part of obviously, branding and marketing and building your business is creating trust. Right, Utah, I think it's really important. It's all about relationships, whatever business you're in. So what are some ingredients for how a consultant needs to build trust with their consumer or their new clients?

Alan Weiss:

Well, let's take a prospect of future buyer, right

Joelly Goodson :

future buyer.

Alan Weiss:

Okay. Yeah, I think that's most appropriate for most your listeners. And the fact is that you actually have to slow down to speed up. And so you can't rush it. When somebody says pitch to me, I tell them, I hope they're talking about baseball. Because if you're talking about pitch, and selling, and marketing, you're in the 1950s, you know, you lost in the 50s. And so it's not about a pitch, it's about creating trust, by having a conversation, not a presentation, a conversation, and the conversation has to provide value, it has to know show that you know something about the client, I don't think you need to be an expert in the industry, as I said, but if you're talking to a banker, conversely, you should know what a loan depot location is, you know, it's a key banking term. And so you read the Wall Street Journal, you know, what's going on in their environment, you know, what's going on in their industry from reading the Wall Street Journal, and you have a conversation with them, and you begin to ask them questions. You know, what do you think about this? Or have you reacted to that? And now there's a there's a trust building, and I'll tell you how you can tell it's trust. If the other person starts asking your advice, if the other person shares things that are confidential, you know, we're thinking get rid of environment, thinking of getting rid of our marketing vice presidents confidential, but what would you if they said, you know, that happens. If they don't accept interruptions, the Secretary the phone, email, they don't accept interruptions. And if they, if they share humor with you, if they tell you something funny, or if they think you said something funny, hopefully, deliberately, you know, these are all signs of trust. And then that's the signal for you to start to move on.

Joelly Goodson :

I love that you said that about humor, first of all, because I think humor is such a great icebreaker. And it's a great way to connect people. But I want to go back to

Alan Weiss:

stress. Yeah,

Joelly Goodson :

I love it. I use it all the time. And when I talk to people, but I want to go back to pitch for a second, because you still I know you said that it's a 1950s term. But you still hear that a lot today. And I work with RFPs a lot of the times and I used to be an advertising in my prior life. And we did RFPs all the time. And so businesses still want you to pitch and they still want you to pitch for their business. So how do you get around that

Alan Weiss:

when they don't know they don't know they don't executives don't want you to pitch and that no one should respond to an RFP. RFPs are stupid. RFPs are created by low level people who ask you stupid questions. You know how long you spend on site where you eat your lunch here? Do you cut the crusts off your bread? Those are the questions they ask it RFPs are stupid because they're low level people. If you want, if you see

Joelly Goodson :

my boss is listening to this right now. I don't care. No, I love it. Because we get our and we say this. Listen, full disclosure behind the curve whenever we get a request for an RFP. And I know we're not the only ones every company says this. I hate RFPs. They mean nothing like why did they do them, but still everybody

Alan Weiss:

does them. That's because not enough people are coaching with me. The way you get around an RFP is you provide a sole source alternative. And by providing sole source alternative, you escape the bidding process. Okay, so I don't want to hijack the conversation. But RFPs are dumb and want to get back to the point. No executives expect you to pitch executives expect you to provide them with value. And if you provide them with value they will choose now tell you something. A lot of people think that the more you pitch, the more you advertise, the more you use social media, the more business you get all that crap. The statistics are over the last decade, executives and corporations, I'm not talking about mom and pop stores here, but executives and corporations make important decisions based on peer level reference. I had a guy from Wharton, John, Jonah Berger, he wrote contagion and invisible influence. He's a great, great guy. He spoke at one of my events, and he's researches this and he found that only about 4% of this kind of pure level influence comes over the internet, everything else is in person or it's like this and zoom. And so if you think about it, people ask people they trust you know, a good realtor, do you know good Doctor, do you know good vacation spot? What kind of car should I get? And we reciprocate, we do the same thing because when I help people executive speak to each other that way, I need a good consultant to you know, one. And that's how you get business. You don't pitch anybody.

Joelly Goodson :

I love everything you just said and I agree with everything you just said. And I think and I'm kind of challenge you on this because I agree with what you're saying. But I also know in that reality in my experience to especially bigger companies, like really big corporations that we work with, they have to be they've said like we have to be transparent and we have to go out for an RFP every three years every five yours. And it's all done very systematically. So

Alan Weiss:

ends whether you're dealing with procurement, and people like that who are in the basement of the building, or the executives who are on the 40th floor. And if you establish trusting relationships with executives that are going to go through procurement, and they're every executive can circumvent that RFP process is not written in law. There is no federal mandate for RFPs, except in rare search situations. Even the federal government, which uses RFPs has passed something years ago called The Far act. And the far Act says, You do not need to choose the least expensive option, you can choose the option with Guess what? The highest value.

Joelly Goodson :

I love that. I love that. And that brings me to my next topic that I want to get into, which is value based fees. I know you're not a big fan. I wrote a sorry, sorry, sorry. Sorry, I met you did not

Alan Weiss:

drink this early in the day. I want to.

Joelly Goodson :

Don't you just give away my secret? No, I love that. I know I love it. So I want to read a quote that you said because I so you said lousy service providers build a time unit as though their presence and their time is a value. And you call that form of billing unethical? Right? So can you elaborate on that? Yeah,

Alan Weiss:

it's simple. If you are paid based on how long you were there, but you accept the fact that client deserves a speedy resolution that inherently is at odds with each other. In other words, the longer I stayed, the more I get. But the quicker a problem is solved, the more the client gets, you have to eliminate it's totally unethical. And so you do that by charging based on value. And I'll give you the language I use the clients is what your billing model, I say based on value. And the client says well, what does that mean, everybody I've used as charge me by the hour. And I say, I create a very dramatic return on investment for you. For which I expect equitable compensation. That's how partners act. And I provide clients by the way, with at least a minimum of a 10 to one return. And you can't get a 10 to one return unless you bought apple stock about 20 years ago. So that's how I organize it. And that's how I communicate it. And 95% of every client I've dealt with in corporate America or among SMEs or with individuals, except that because it's highly rational. So I don't believe in the hourly billing, I don't believe in attorneys, you know, charging $4,578.57, the 57 cents being a stamp, they had a bite. And I don't believe in lawyers contingency fees, where they take a part of the proceeds, often most of it, rather than the client getting it the courts were never made, the justice system was never made to operate that way. So this is the most ethical and equitable form of interaction.

Joelly Goodson :

I you know what you're speaking with someone who went through a divorce and had to pay my divorce lawyer. And so you know, when you have to pay for, like you said, every email and every phone call and every stab, you're right, I hate that. And I totally agree with you. There's a company in Calgary, they're actually Klein mine. So I'm gonna give them a shout out. And they're called good lawyers. And they've totally done that whole value based fees concept and the way they do their billing versus the old way, because of everything you just said. So do you find more and more companies are starting to do that?

Alan Weiss:

Or try to imagine the insane person who got who left you? Or who used throughout?

Joelly Goodson :

Ah, well? Oh, you're very nice. Thank you. I appreciate that. But what was your next question here? Now you caught me all flustered. Well, I was just talking, I wanted to kind of elaborate on value bases. So as a consultant, so I'm starting a business and I actually want to ask you something else in conjunction with that, but as a consultant when you go to somebody new or prospect, like you said, when do you bring up the actual fee when you're talking to them? Because you obviously never, never, never, until they get your bill

Alan Weiss:

until they get the proposal. Okay, so here's what happens. I get, let's just say you're the you're the buyer, I get conceptual agreement with you about three things. What are the objectives, the business outcomes that we're going to achieve? Right? A business outcomes are better communication, a business outcome? Is it less turnover, more revenue, more profit, better brand, and so forth? Number two is what are the metrics? How will we know we're making progress? And number three is the value if we hit these objectives, then what's the value for us. So if you take something like profit, which seems in and of itself to be value, if we have greater profit, we might have higher salaries, we might have a better bonus pool, we might have better investors, we might be able to pay down debt, we might build new facilities, I can go on and on. So I explore and exploit that kind of profit. I talked about options that you can engage in. So I never say take it or leave it. Here are three ways we can work together. And then only when they see the proposal until they see terms and conditions. So I don't want them worrying about fees in the corporate world at large corporations. You don't have to worry very much in smaller companies, especially privately held closely held companies, you often have to say look, this is going to be a minimum of because these are the people who say, should I spend money on this? Or should I put it toward my kids? orthodonture you know, family vacation, but somebody's working, you know, in Boeing isn't concerned about that. So people make the mistake of talking about fees way too early. And if the client if the prospect says, Well, what would your fees be? What will this one be? You say? Well, I'll tell you why. If I can ask you a few questions, I'll have a proposal on your desk tomorrow with all the fees and all the options. Is that good enough? And they said, Well, yeah, okay. But why can't you just give me a range now, and you say, it would be unfair to you, for me to quote something off the top of my head, I need to sit back and reflect on what you're telling me. So it's always in the buyers best interest?

Joelly Goodson :

Okay, so where do you come up with your fees? Like, how did you come up with your so how do you decide, okay, I'm going to charge, you know, whatever, 50,000 or 150,000, for this and this, like, how did they just pull them out of thin air? Or you need to pay for your son's University? Or where do you come up with the fees?

Alan Weiss:

I have a funny story about when I first got into coaching, but in any case, I promise at least a 10 to one return, all things being equal. And so if it's a million dollar project, that's $100,000 fee, at least. And so that's what you want to look at. And people in my experience, dramatically over deliver and under charge, because they have low self esteem, charge enough. And when they can, well, as long as I'm here, can I do the windows for you, you know, that kind of stuff. So and they're always getting taken advantage of. And that's why they're not making a profit. And by the way, I say this very slowly and carefully. But women are worse than men. So okay, hold on.

Joelly Goodson :

I gotta tell you why.

Alan Weiss:

I'll tell you what I've observed. Women are naturally better consultants than men. Because, okay, well. Men tend to look at a single Bullseye kind of an issue where women think in more web like terms, and if we walk out of an office together, I'll say, Okay, I think this is what he needs to move forward. And you'll say, Yeah, but didn't just see what he had on the walls, he has an interest in. And so a woman takes more into consideration. And men have much more to unlearn than women do, which makes it harder for them. However, women don't argue enough for themselves. And they don't put forth a strong enough case, there was a study done by USA Today that showed that the intended show that women weren't receiving the raises and promotions that men got. Now I'm sure that's probably true. I'm not already with that. But when I looked at some of the reasons, a lot of the reasons I found in these tests subjects was a man would get an evaluation and argue about it, and a woman would just accept it, a man would get a raise even a decent one and argue to get more and a woman would just accept it. There's a woman named Helen Fisher, who wrote a book I think, called the Second Sex, you know, run a speaking platform together. And she taught me all these things. She was fascinating, just fabulous. And I think it's something to consider. Now, not all men are like that. Not all women are like that. No, of course, yeah. But I do see these kinds of these kinds of differences. Interesting.

Joelly Goodson :

Okay. So I interrupted you, we're gonna talk about how you pick your fees. And you're going to tell a funny story.

Alan Weiss:

So well, okay, so first of all, the fees are the one return. And so so that's the basis. So if it's a $50,000 project, it's probably going to be a 5000 fee around there. But you know, I encourage consultants, you know, to look for six figure projects, and so they have at least five figure fees. If you do 60,000 a month, you gotta have million dollar a year, you know, works like that. That's how you have to think. But here's the here's the story. But here's the real truth. When I got fired, you know, I struggled, I struggled, I started to do very well. Then my fourth book was million dollar consulting. And that was a big hit. It's still it's in the sixth edition today. So people started calling me for free advice. And I got a really big head. And I said, Oh, my God, they're calling me for all these consultants calling me for review advice. And so after about six months of this, after the book came out, I said, I'm dying here, I'm spending more time giving free advice. I'm trying to make money. And so my wife said, What are you going to do is I'm going to charge them if they want to buy the charge, and my wife says, I don't think people are going to pay you to give them advice on the phone. And I said, No, but if I have a charge, then they will bother me. So she said, What are you gonna charge? And I said, $3,500. And it'll be for six months. And she said, we had to come up with that number. Is that research? I said, No, it's the monthly fee on my Ferrari lease. I can pay them for the Ferrari for a year. Well, I didn't get to help people. I got 35 people right off the bat. Okay, I'm onto something. And I started this gradual change from the corporate market to the individual market.

Joelly Goodson :

That's a great story. I love that. You know, it's funny. I mean, at the end of the day, our time is worth something right. And I was guilty of that, too. I was when I started my podcast and it started to grow. I actually started get a lot of people reach out to me to ask me and say, Hey, I'm looking starting a podcast. Do you have advice and I was giving free advice to friends. But then I started getting friends referring people and referring other people. And then I saw I literally was like, I can't do this anymore. And so I thought, Okay, well, my time is worth something. So yes, I'll give you an hour of my time, but I'm going to charge you Given that they would say, okay, no thanks. And they said, okay, and then they didn't I'm like, oh, okay, you know, so which was kind of interesting, but I'll ask you a question here. So we've talked a lot about service and helping people and value and everything else. What about people like myself and a lot of people who sell products, you know, or have worked for a business and they have different products that they sell. So me personally, I work for a company we do all swag, right? So T shirts, hats, all that kind of stuff. Casey, my T shirt. This one says feeling fabulous. It was for women's group. But I also consider myself a consultant. Because of my background in marketing and advertising. When I work with my clients, I help them with their branding, and it's all under the umbrella of how to create brand awareness and brand equity and you know, swag is a part of it. So when you're selling products, and there's pricing specific, how do you then work in your fees? Because it isn't necessarily value based fees, because they pay for, you know, whatever, 500 t shirts or this how do you work that in, and I want to get your advice on that. Because a lot of conversation by industry about that.

Alan Weiss:

It's interesting, you know, you speak as fast as I do. We're gonna get more into this attribute. And you know, people take it get into hours. During the height of the pandemic, a lot of retailers went under a lot of Main Street stores went under. But a lot of those that didn't did an interesting thing, they raised their fees, they raised their product fees. And when they raised their product fees, it creates the perception of more value. So normally fee follows value, right. And so the higher value you see, the more fee you're willing to pay for it. But there's a point where the lines cross, and so value follows fee, which means I believe I'm getting what I pay for. And so if you look at a Brioni suit, you don't need a Brioni suit to have a tire. You don't need a Bentley to have transportation, right? You don't need a Boulangerie watched until the time, but you're emotionally engaged in these things because they satisfy your ego. You know, I needed a wrench A few months ago, I know nothing about wrenches, but I needed when to put something together for my wife. So I got to the hardware store. And then there were three wrenches that look alike. And once $2 ones $4 was $12. They all look exactly alike, except different manufacturers, I took the $12 wrench, I figured it must be better material. That's how people think. And I didn't want to try to put something together have a break in my hands. So you cannot be fearful of high prices because they purvey a certain value to the buyer. And you also have to realize why you can make a living undercutting other prices, your margins continue to diminish, and it means you have to work harder and harder. And this goes back to a point you you mentioned just when you went into this about time, I'm gonna tell you what real wealth is. Real wealth is discretionary time. It's not money. And a lot of people chase money so hard that they erode their wealth.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, I love that. And I love what you said about the ranch. And I want to go a little bit more into that. Because what about if there's that ranch and it's at, you know, you can buy it at three different places, let's say right one place, you go in, you're treated super well. The service is phenomenal. And they know your name. You walk in there like hey, Alan, what can I do for you today versus you walk into another store where huge lineups and nobody's even paying attention to you. And it's a pain in the ass every time you go? Which one? Are you more apt to go to? To get your wrench?

Alan Weiss:

You go with a better services? Right? Right? Well, you walk into a restaurant, Are you happier when a hostess? So nice to see you. You know, let me show you to you see, is this okay? I have a great meal here your menu somebody's with you shortly. Are you happy when when you barely get a smile out of the hostess? And she says follow me. And she puts us somebody say you know, can we sit somewhere else? And she says no. This is our seating chart. I mean, come on. It's a competitive industry. And you're exactly right service is a large component of the emotional makeup of people in determining where they spend their money.

Joelly Goodson :

Ya know, we talked about that so much. And you hear it all the time. And it's interesting, especially today, when there's such a more competitive market than ever before. You don't feel that they care about your business. Okay, I want to talk before we go on talk a little bit about a phrase that you trademarked the no normal. What does that mean? And how did you trademark that? Well, you

Alan Weiss:

can trademark anything that's your intellectual property that isn't in prior use, and you are using in commercial use. And so, but just so you know, American Express used to say, don't leave home without it. That's a trademark phrase. But then it got really smart because during the pandemic, nobody was leaving home. Now American Express says don't live life without it. That's brilliant. So no normal is a registered trademark, which is the highest form of protection. And the reason I came up with is this, as we went through the pandemic, I noticed, you know, I'm the contrarian, right? Everybody's talking about the new normal and the return to normal. There isn't any new norm. You know what normal means. Normal means average. Normal means typical. You really want to be typical and average. I don't. And I don't think my clients do so consequently, I said, we might see see new realities, but there is no normal. And so I trademark no normal and appears in my books and it appears in my speeches. And it's a different way of looking at life. And then I say to them, you look at volatility and you look at disruption and turn them into offensive weapons. Don't be scared of them. Don't get defensive. But you don't want to find me today. You know, this whole phrase, you know, If life gives you With lemon turning to eliminate, I see a lot of people who have lemonade and turning it into lemons. Can

Joelly Goodson :

you elaborate a bit more on that, though? I mean, you touched on no normal and everything. But can you give an example?

Alan Weiss:

Sure. The normal denotes that you can predict what's going to happen together tomorrow, in a given setting situation, you simply can't do that anymore. There's too much fickle normative pressure among the public. There's too much disinformation. People don't trust the traditional institutions, like the medical community, they never trusted politicians. They don't trust higher education anymore. That mean, the New York Times has such a strong political slant, they almost fall over when you read it. Oh, my gosh, consequently, right? So you can't say Okay, tomorrow, this is going to be how I approach marketing tomorrow. This is how I'm going to implement over here, you have to take into consideration changing economies, changing demographics, right, changing technology, changing competition, changing globalization. I mean, just look at social justice, for goodness sakes, it's changed the way we have to look at so many things. And every day we learn something new and we adapt differently. So please don't tell me about normal. It's not what we want.

Joelly Goodson :

So no normal, what would be another way to describe that when you meet with I mean, do you say to them no normal? Or do you come up with another term that they should be?

Alan Weiss:

People say, Look, we're looking forward to the new normal, I say there is no normal, right? What we have a new realities, and the new realities shifts every day. They change every day. Here's an example you'd like examples. I do. The Wall Street Journal, you pick up a major newspaper, and COVID and Ukraine and supply chain problems, all this run inside pages, you know, it's on the front page inflation. You know, what's going to affect this election in November the most inflation because it affects everyone, no matter who you are, if inflation goes down, and the market is going up right now. And unemployment is way down. And there are jobs to be had. I mean, if this is a recession, there's a recession different from any other. These are the new realities, we have to stay light on our feet about this, we have to be flexible about it. People would say, you know, here's the here's the here's the normal, oh, it's a recession, take your money out of this and put it into that. But this isn't a typical recession. And so you can't do that. If you're smart, you shouldn't do that. Then there'll be some other kind of issue coming up. We have to be like on our feet.

Joelly Goodson :

No, I love that. You said all that. And it, you know, kind of goes full circle, because what you talked earlier about when we talked about fees and value based fees, and a lot of consultants are concerned about not knowing what to charge and especially when people when what's going on with the economy, they're worried that they're charging too much. But there actually is, it's now a time I think, where people want consultants and are willing to pay more to get that help to help solve their problems. Right.

Alan Weiss:

I agree with you. Yeah, I think you're right.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah. Okay. Wow, we've kind of covered a lot of ground here.

Alan Weiss:

We'll talk the best I told you.

Joelly Goodson :

I know we should do. Okay, so you are still I want to get a little bit personal here. If that's okay with you. I mean, I love talking business. But I also like to talk personal so

Alan Weiss:

you're still getting a boyfriend, right?

Joelly Goodson :

I do. But he's he's he's not jealous. It's okay. And you have a wife, so it's all good here. So you're still working, then you're not retired?

Alan Weiss:

Retirement is an artifact that makes no sense. Right.

Joelly Goodson :

So I want to talk a little bit about retirement. So do you mind sharing how you're engaged with us?

Alan Weiss:

Oh, no, I'll tell you and I'm not going to do the stupid thing. Like Oh, guess how old I am. 76

Joelly Goodson :

Okay. 76 Well, you look amazing. And you have a lot of energy, which I love. And I think humor helps keep us young if you I totally agree. And so you obviously keep yourself physically fit and mentally fit to so what do you do to keep yourself I mean, I'm assuming you probably work out and everything to keep yourself physically fit, but I want to know what do you do to keep yourself mentally fit? Because I find as I'm getting older, because I'm getting older too. Now Oh,

Alan Weiss:

wait fairplay. How old are you?

Joelly Goodson :

I guess no, I'm just getting 55 Wow. Yeah,

Alan Weiss:

that's that's that's at least 10 years more than I would have said.

Joelly Goodson :

Wow. Thank you very much. But you know, I'm pretty healthy. That's why I want to talk about health before we go because I'm very into health and fitness. So what do you do to keep your mind healthy? Woody, I read that you practice every day to do keep your mind healthy. So what do you

Alan Weiss:

absolutely, yeah, well, I do like three times a week physically and I so far, I've done this without having to kill my trainer who I want to kill each time but I managed to do that without a crime.

Joelly Goodson :

Three to three times a week. You've worked out physically. Yeah. Monday,

Alan Weiss:

Wednesday, Friday. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, but what I do every day, seven days a week is this I do a cross this at night. And acrostic is a type of crossword puzzle. It's kind of complicated how the the clues come out, but it's great challenge to your mind and acrostic so I do those I do Wordle every single day and I've never failed to solve it ever made. I write all the time and writing requires intellectual generation. Right. And I also would you

Joelly Goodson :

write Sorry, do you write like a journal personally or do you write your books or what do you write

Alan Weiss:

I have for college? Once a month, I have a weekly column. I do a weekly podcast, I have a monthly video. I mean, I could go on and on. And so doing all this, though, really stimulate you because you have to come up with ideas and you have to talk about them. And I'm not a big preparer. I mean, I don't I don't I never rewrite, I never edit, I just do things. So consequently, it really keeps you sharp. I never shy away from something. I mean, people ask me a tough question. I get into it. I'd say I'll get to that later. You have a whining? And that's why I said to you, I don't want anything in advance, right? You know, I do. I didn't maybe two interviews a week, I never, ever want to question in advance, I want to handle them on the fly, because that gets you used to handling things in the buyer's office on the fly as well. Right. So the other thing I would tell you for mental stimulation is this I love to travel. And when you travel, I mean, you can see pictures of the Great Wall of China. But until you stood on it, and you feel like an ant, you don't appreciate it. When my wife and I are going to Australia, in October, it's my 19th trip to Australia since the 70s. We're going to London in December, we just came back from going to kawaii and then on the way we stopped in LA both ways to see my new grandchild. So I think travel is very intellectually stimulating. If you don't close your eyes to what's going on around you and eat pasta every night, you got to be able to try. So you know life's for living, I wrote a book called three scoring more and three scoring more talks about the fact that retirement is a silly thing to even consider. And I'm not saying you have to stay on a job, but I'm saying is you have to continue to contribute. And it's up to you how you do that. But I mean to sit back and collect a pension and collect social security and be content with you know, watching flowers grow. I mean, that's just waiting around to die in my opinion. Yeah.

Joelly Goodson :

Wow. I love your attitude. And you got such good energy and outlook on life. And you almost should I don't know if he's still alive the gentleman? Probably not, I guess because he said he was in his ease when he's, yeah, but But I mean, it's almost like you want to go back and thank him for firing you. Because it's probably the best thing ever happened

Alan Weiss:

to, you know, something. I've worked with Dan Gilbert up at Harvard, he writes books on happiness, Stumbling on Happiness and everything else. And he spoke for me at one of my events. And Dan talks about I call synthetic happiness. And that is this legitimate happiness. You have a birthday and anniversary get a promotion. But synthetic Happiness is when you hear people say, you know, I broke my arm, it's the best thing ever happened to me. We missed our flight. It's the best thing ever happened to me, I got fired. It's the best thing that ever happened to me. And his research shows that people who use synthetic happiness like this are as happier, happier than people who are only happy about these major events.

Joelly Goodson :

Yeah, I believe that and you know, in a weird, twisted way. And you and I've heard this a lot lately, and you tell me what you think is, you know, no matter how tragic the whole pandemic has been, and horrible, it's been for so many people. It's a lot of good has come out of it, I think on a personal level for people because it's really making people look inwards at their lives and make big changes and do things they maybe wouldn't have done before.

Alan Weiss:

I think you're exactly right. You know, they talked about this great resignation. It's not a great resignation. It's an existential jailbreak. Yeah, right. Let's say, Hey, I got the keys. Let's get out of here. Yeah,

Joelly Goodson :

yeah. Well, this has been a real pleasure. I've really enjoyed talking to you. I'm guessing you really cherish this. If people want to learn more about you and about where all your books, what's the best way to find you? Are you on social media?

Alan Weiss:

I am on Twitter, and I'm on LinkedIn, and I'm a regrettably on Facebook. I can't stand it. But I post on Twitter every day, my tech people put something on LinkedIn every day. But go to Alan weiss.com, ala NW eiss.com. And they were free newsletters and free podcasts and free video and free audio. I'm not selling your thing. If you have listeners who are in Australia or the UK, be there too. At the end of the year. You'll find those those opportunities on my website as well. Well, thank

Joelly Goodson :

you, Alan so much. It was so great chatting with you. Do you have any parting words before we sign off?

Alan Weiss:

Well, first of all, you fabulous. So thank you for inviting me. And what you shirt says is true. We feel fabulous if we allow ourselves to feel fabulous,

Joelly Goodson :

right? I love that. Well thank you again, and I wish you all the best and I hope we're gonna stay in touch.

Alan Weiss:

I hope so too. Please, you know, let me know if I can be of help.

Joelly Goodson :

And who knows if I ever come to New York? Well, I actually plan on coming to New York. I'll look you up.

Alan Weiss:

Please do that. I'll buy you a drink.

Joelly Goodson :

Do you mean that I made it? I you come across as someone who you don't hold back and you say exactly what you think I love that? Yeah, well listen, life's too short not to. Yeah, absolutely.

Alan Weiss:

If you don't like what I talked about, that's fine. My goal isn't to convert people. My goal is to force them to think and it's

Joelly Goodson :

all about being authentic. I know that word is used so often but so many bullshitters out there pardon my French and I really appeal or I'm attracted to people that are just like cut to the chase and are who they are. Where are you in Canada? Well, I am living in Calgary but I'm originally from

Alan Weiss:

Montreal. I used to run Canada for a consulting firm. I played mints run Canada

Joelly Goodson :

because we could we could use a new leader.

Alan Weiss:

I mentioned you could meet twice a year Hamilton. You name it. I've been all over. But next year we're taking on Australian Australian with next year and taking an Alaskan cruise and I wind up in Vancouver. But you've never been there. I've been to Vancouver five times. Start Do you have okay? If you find out, you're gonna be in the neighborhood, I'll buy it.

Joelly Goodson :

Okay, keep that in mind. All right. Well, thank you again. And let's stay in touch.

Alan Weiss:

Please. Thank you so much. Okay,

Joelly Goodson :

bye. And there you have it. Thank you so much for tuning in. I hope you enjoyed the conversation and maybe learned a few things to help you with your branding. This show is a work in progress, so please remember to rate and review on whatever platform you listen to podcasts. And if you'd like help creating brand awareness for your business, please reach out to me on any of the social platforms under you guessed it, Branding_Badass. I promise you I reply to all my messages. Branding Matters was produced, edited and hosted by Joelly Goodson - also me. So thank you again and until next time, here's to all you badasses is out there.