Bryan: Hey, everyone. Bryan Whittington with this episode of The Talent, Sales and Scale Show. We have Casey Jones. And oh my gosh, you don’t even know what she’s doing. Whenever you look at her LinkedIn she’s doing so many crazy things. But she’s from “A Better Jones” in our galaxy which is pretty cool, because they are talking to ambitious business leaders. And you know, it’s kind of funny. You would think that most business leaders would be ambitious. But so many times they just fall down and they get into status quo and comfort zones.
So it’s some rare air to find people that I wouldn’t say are ambitious, but who are willing to act on that ambition and get outside of their comfort zone every day. So it sounds like that’s a little bit about what you’re doing, Casey Jones. Is that right?
Casey: Yeah, that’s exactly right. So what we do in our galaxy is a community and kind of an educational platform that’s all around helping ambitious business leaders, business professionals and entrepreneurs learn how to build powerful and authentic personal brands and become thought leaders in their industry. And you nailed it because that process is an uncomfortable one. You’ve got to be willing to kind of put yourself out in ways that I refer to. Our target audience and our people I often refer to as being aggressively humble.
Bryan: Oo-ool! I like that!
Casey: And so they struggle to put themselves out there in that way because they worry that it’s going to come across as narcissistic or self-aggrandizing, or as I usually put it, icky. (Laughter) And so, you know, we work with them on how to do it in a way that feels really true to yourself and feels powerful and feels decidedly non-icky.
Bryan: Non-icky, all right. So question #1 then, how we can feel non-icky, is that the topic is going to be why and what we do so we don’t get overwhelmed and lose focus on the day-to-day execution while we’re really working on building up this brand, and really the personal brand. So I guess the first question, Casey, is why should we listen to you? I mean, what makes you an expert on this?
Casey: So there are a couple reasons. One is that if you would have told me four or five years ago that I would be like a personal brand, (I don’t love the term “expert” because I also tend to be aggressively humble), but that I would be coaching people on that, I would have scoffed. I was not very active on social media. And it’s really over the last couple of years that it’s dramatically changed for me. And it’s dramatically changed my life.
And I can tell you that I was growing up. And throughout my twenties I was not someone who had a ton of friends. I was a little bit of a loner. And I tended not to kind of put myself out there on those public forums.
And I went through a divorce. And I don’t know. I started to bear myself a little bit more publicly. And I would realize that there was something that I kind of needed to get off my chest. And I would put it out there, being absolutely terrified when I would. And then every single time someone—and usually lots of people—would come back and say, “Oh my gosh! Thank you so much! I’m going through something really similar. And I thought I was the only one.”
But I started to realize the power of this. And it just kind of transformed my life. Now I would say that most of my really, really close friends are people that I met through this whole personal brand exercise.
And on the flip side of that, and why I’m so passionate about it for founders and entrepreneurs, is that for the last four years I’ve coached and consulted early stage entrepreneurs on how to grow their businesses. And with zero exceptions the businesses that I see grow the fastest are the ones where at least eh founders, if not the entire leadership team and many of the employees, have put intention and work into building their personal brands and becoming the leaders in their industries. And so I think it’s just one of those things that has helped me very personally. And I have seen the impact that it can have on growing your business and having the kind of life and work that has a real impact and that you dream of.
Bryan: Okay. So let’s unpack that a lot, because I can hear the people right now going, “Listen, I’ve got to run this show. I’m working sixteen-hour days, eighteen-hour days already as the founder. I’m getting my boss breathing down my neck about making more calls, making more attempts, having more sales conversations, doing more for pipeline management. I mean, I don’t have any more time in the day. And you’re telling me that if I spend more time on LinkedIn or building my own social brand, where I can just hear right now my boss going, ‘Oh! No, you’re on my time!’”
Bryan: How does that help them grow? I mean, how do I balance this?
Casey: So there are a couple things. First of all, there’s something that I’ve noticed, particularly with these aggressively humble people that I’m talking about, and especially with entrepreneurs, right? With entrepreneurs, to your point, you’ve got to learn how to do damn near everything for your business as an entrepreneur.
Bryan: That’s right; yes.
Casey: And the way you do it is that you do your research. You learn and you kind of build these systems on the back end of your business. You treat it as this problem that you need to solve. And so you learn about it. You kind of develop your own way of doing it. You oftentimes kind of learn from others. And then you put it into action and then you tinker as you go, right?
And there’s something about personal branding where I see with many people that this is the one area of their business where they don’t apply that same problem solving kind of methodology, right? They think, oh! I have to magically find time in the day to post on social media. And I’m just going to learn how to do it by instinct.
Look, it’s a science and a discipline. Yes, it’s art too. But it’s a science and a discipline just like everything else, just like sales. And so my biggest recommendation is to develop the systems. Develop the habit and the routine. And it won’t take you that much time and energy and effort.
Bryan: Okay. So let’s go through that, because you laid out a couple of things.
Bryan: One is problem solving. And #2, the science, discipline, routine. So maybe walk us through some of the tactics, because let me be just brutally transparent on this.
Bryan: I look at some people and I go, “How in the world do they even have a voice? What have they done?” Yet they have a massive following.
Bryan: And they’ve never done anything. But because they’ve put themselves out there they’ve gained notoriety. They’ve gained this recognition. I don’t know if they’re turning any revenue off of it, but what’s the old saying? Even bad p.r. is good p.r. So it seems like it would be worthwhile. But whenever we’re so busy, if we’re used to that tactical execution, how do we pull this into day-to-day? What’s some advice whenever you’re talking to these (what do you call them?)
Casey: Aggressively humble people.
Bryan: Aggressively humble people. What do you say to them from a mindset standpoint?
Casey: Well first of all, it’s bull-**** that those people that are out there haven’t done anything.
Casey: They’ve built a massive audience, so they’ve done that. And that’s impressive.
Casey: And the other thing that I would say is that I don’t care where you are in your journey. There is somebody out there that is two steps behind you. And you talking about how you made it to where you are or what you’re learning, or how you’re trying to get to the next level, that might make the difference between them quitting and them moving forward. And so this idea that you have to be an expert in order to share, that’s b.s. We learn from people who are willing to be transparent about the things that they’re learning, but also the things that they tried and that they didn’t get right.
Casey: And one of the number one things that entrepreneurs say to me when we talk about this, especially in this aggressively humble category, is that they’ll say, “Well no; it’s not really for me. I don’t like to brag.”
And let me tell you. Okay, I can guarantee that you’ve got at least a handful of people whose blog content or social media content or whatever, you occasionally enjoy and you think it’s kind of interesting. And if you think about them, do they ever brag? No.
Casey: No, they don’t. They share. You know, they say, “Oh, here’s something that I learned,” or “Here’s something that I wish somebody had told me,” or “Here’s something I tried and it didn’t go well, and here’s what I’m thinking about it now.” It’s all about sharing your learning process, sharing your journey. It’s not about bragging.
And when it comes to the revenue side, let me tell you. You know, whether you’re an entrepreneur who’s looking for fund raising, whether you are a salesperson that is reaching out to a perspective buyer, or anywhere in between, usually when you are reaching out to somebody, they’re going to look you up.
Casey: And if they find things where they’re like “Well, that’s pretty interesting,” or “Wow, that’s a really cool point that person made,” or if you’re an entrepreneur, “Wow, they have a big following!”, it lends credibility.
Bryan: Yeah. So let’s unpack that a little bit. So one of the questions I put down there is how do you do it? So really what you’re suggesting is that one how is being authentic. And I really never thought about that. So I liked your point about you sharing in your authenticity and where you stumbled and where you’ve messed up. That might help prevent somebody from just giving up or quitting. And having the authenticity, the humanity, the caring of others to be able to put yourself out there, because that inner strength, if I might be so bold to say that, that inner strength to put yourself out there, and even having the naysayers, because you see it all the time. “You’re stupid! You’re horrible! That doesn’t work!” And you’re going to get all of these detractors.
And I can’t remember if it was (oh shoot; I can’t remember his name!) But there’s another guy that I follow for his marketing stuff. But he talks about how there are so many people that were naysayers until people started crawling out of the woodwork going “No, that makes sense.” And he has built his business and his brand off of that.
Bryan: So is that right?
Casey: Yeah. And I will say that you’re going to get fewer naysayers than you think you are.
Casey: You might get a few. But the vast majority of people will say kind things. And I will also say that when you put yourself out there, what’s fascinating to me is that I’ll have posts and end up getting very few comments and likes. But I’ll get five direct messages from people saying, “Wow, that really spoke to me!” And I’ll be like, “Well, you could have commented; I would appreciate that.” (Laughter)
But no. And literally I have a call lined up this week with a potential client. I posted something on LinkedIn about how as entrepreneurs, to your earlier point about working sixteen-hour days, what our business usually needs is for us to do fewer things—to subtract, not to add more.
Casey: And she sent me a message. And she goes, “Oh my goodness! That completely spoke to me. I’m early in my entrepreneurial journey. I think I need help; I think I need coaching. Can we talk?”
Casey: And let me also say that there are a lot of ways to do this, and social media is definitely one of them. But one of the things that I think is actually one of the most powerful and kind of shortcuts to this whole personal brand and thought leadership thing,--
Bryan: Warning! Shortcut: pay attention!
Casey: That’s right; yeah. It’s doing what I’m doing right now—landing podcast interviews. So because, if you think about it, look, what is a podcast interview? You are having an intimate conversation with another person who is an influencer and a thought leader in your space. You get to talk for 30, 45, 60 minutes about your expertise and what you’re passionate about. You can just show up as yourself and have this very real one-on-one conversation. And you get to connect with an audience that someone else has already built and is probably your target audience, your ideal audience if you play it right.
And it’s actually easier to get these interviews than people think that it is. You know, I’m a podcast host as well. And the vast majority of the people that reach out to us to come on the podcast are a horrible fit and have no clue of what our podcast is about. They don’t know anything. They’re just like “Oh, have me on; I’m a really smart person” that talks about stuff that isn’t even remotely related to your show.
Bryan (mocking): I was a “New York Times” bestseller; you really want me! (Laughter)
Casey: It’s like okay. But the few times when people reach out and they say, “Hey, I really like your show because of this. This is one of my favorite episodes. I’ve noticed that you really haven’t covered this topic. And I think that I could really add to it. Would you be open to exploring it and having me come on as a guest?”
Bryan: Yes. So let’s hit on that too. So you said that coming on to a podcast is a really good way of doing it. Now how about the other side of that?
Casey: Oh, yeah.
Bryan: From you helping and coaching and mentoring people, how has your time as a podcast hostess worked out there?
Casey: Oh, I think that it’s been super helpful. And the reason that I say “going on other people’s” is that there is less of a heavy lift in going on someone else’s show than starting your own.
Casey: And seriously, my biggest recommendation for people that are thinking about starting their own is doing a bunch of interviews, because you’re going to learn that oh, maybe I don’t like this. Or you’re going to know that wow, I loved doing this one because we talked about this kind of thing, or he asked me these types of questions and I want to do something similar. You learn about it.
But I think that starting your own podcast can be incredibly powerful. You’re creating amazing content. You’re making connections with guests. And also, on the flip side, it’s easier to get people on your show than you think it will be early on. And you can reach out to people where you’re like wow, I just think that person’s really interesting!
And I don’t know if you’ve had the same thing; I’m hoping this will happen with us too. But some of the people that we’ve had on our podcasts, I didn’t know them before. And they’d come on the show, and now I consider them good friends. It’s the most amazing start to a relationship.
Bryan: It’s the COVID coffee, right? I mean, it’s way better than showing up to the old coffee place, because you really get down. You know, it’s the pre-show and the post-show comments that really make it a lot. So I wholeheartedly agree with that.
All right. So podcasts is one way of doing it. And we also want to have authentic sharing; that’s another thing that we really want to watch for.
Bryan: Now how else should we do this? You talked about the discipline to it. So will you talk to us a little bit about what discipline should come into play here? Because keep this in mind. When we’re talking about discipline, remember that discipline equals freedom. If you have the discipline to do this, you will gain freedom from it. So can you walk us through this? What disciplines do we need, please?
Casey: Yes. And I’ll walk you through my exact process when it comes to particular social media.
Casey: And personal brand stuff. So I have fifteen to twenty minutes. I block out thirty minutes, but usually spend fifteen to twenty minutes every single morning commenting on other people’s posts on LinkedIn. What I’ve done is, I have a bookmark folder. And in the bookmark folder is a link to the Posts section of maybe, I don’t know, 25, 30 different people’s kind of LinkedIn content. I’m constantly adding to it. And not as often, but I will sometimes remove people where I’m like wow, you haven’t posted in three weeks! I can stop checking your beat.
And so this is what I can say. If your nervous about creating your own content, just spend some time engaging with other people’s, because what I guarantee will happen is that first of all, you’ll start. People will comment on your comment. The person whose post you commented on will respond and you’ll start to see some traction there. And what will happen is that you’ll be like, oh wow! That person’s post really made me think about this other thing. But if you just jot down that idea, I have a journal where I create a new page every single week, where I jot down ideas that I have for content that I can create.
So be insistent about engaging. The whole thing is about consistency.
Then too, what I do is that I’m jotting down those ideas. And then once a week I like to do it on Sunday mornings. I know lots of people who do it Friday afternoon. I will go through my notes and I will create my content for the week.
Oh, one other thing. The other thing I do throughout the week is that I take screen shots of when I see a Tweet that really made me think, or a blog post, or anything that just kind of got wheels cranking in my brain, so that when I sit down to write my week’s worth of content I can go through all those screen shots. I can go through the notes that I took throughout the week. And I’ve got all the ideas I need to create a full week’s worth of content. I write it all out. And then during the next week I just go on to LinkedIn. I just go on to Twitter and post it live.
Some of the times I use a tool like Buffer for LinkedIn. I really like Hype Theory for Twitter. And I’ll just go and I’ll schedule it all in advance so I don’t have to rely on my memory to put it out there.
And when you get into the routine it becomes much easier. And so I spend maybe two hours a week. And keep in mind that I spend a lot of time because this is what I do for a living. And this is what I’m passionate about and I’m kind of obsessed with it.
You don’t need to spend that much time. But if you can figure out a way to be consistent with both engaging and kind of putting yourself out there, it will build. And you’ll start to see traction and you’ll start to build relationships.
Bryan: Yeah. I mean, no offense. But if you’re sitting there going, “I don’t have time,” Let me just call it b.s. right now, because everyone has the same 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s really what you prioritize.
Bryan: Two hours and twenty minutes over a seven-day period or a six-day period or a five-day period, whatever you want. I mean, shut off the sitcom. Shut off Net Flicks, right? We can absolutely do this.
Now a question off of your writing.
Bryan: Were you always a strong writer? Was that something that came naturally to you? Do you have to worry about this? How much should we worry about—I don’t want to say the accuracy, but the literary content, the right punctuation? What all should we be worried about as we’re writing this stuff?
Casey: Yes, so it’s funny. I’ve always been a strong writer. But I’m not actually a strong writer in this way. I am very wordy. I use seven adverbs when I really don’t even need a single one. (Laughter) I am not naturally good at this kind of punchy writing.
So the one thing I will say is this. Write it like you would speak it.
Casey: So think about this, especially if you are a person who occasionally likes to have a beverage. Think about this. If you were talking through this idea and you’re with a friend, and it’s not in pandemic and you’re actually sitting at a bar and you’re two drinks in. You’re not drunk, but you’re feeling a little loose. How would you say it?
Casey: And you probably know this too. That’s always how I kind of coach salespeople on how to write an email, or how to deliver your elevator pitch. Think like you’re in a really good mood and you’re super excited. Tell yourself about it. How would you put it? It’s similar to that.
And then when you write it, the biggest thing that I continuously work on, (and I literally posted something right before we hopped on.) And I had it all there and I looked at it. And I was like oh, those three sentences in the middle where I was talking about the first time I read Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle in college. (Laughter) I don’t need to say that because I sound pretentious. People’s eyes are going to glaze over. So I deleted that part. So—
Bryan: That was probably a good edit. (Laughter)
Casey: I like that. And I really thought that was clever; I wrote it on Sunday. So that’s the other thing. Take a look at it and edit yourself.
Bryan: You know, I think that’s key there, because if you write it one day, and then a couple of days later you go back and look at it, what was that fluid, seemingly endless stream of thought? Whenever you go back you think, “What in the world was I talking about there?”
Bryan: Exactly. And the other side too is that there was a book. I think I gave it to somebody. It talks about thinking like de Vinci. Anyway, that’s the book—Think Like da Vinci. I can’t remember who the author was.
Casey: It’s on my list.
Bryan: There you go. So they specifically suggest what you did there, Casey. Have a drink or two, right? Just loosen up a little bit. But, you know, you bring up a good point. Don’t have three because then all kinds of craziness comes out. So make sure that you edit.
Casey: My recommendation is always with friends who are Internet dating for the first time is that when you write your profile, have two drinks, because you’ll be feeling like yourself; you’ll be in a good mood. You’re a little more likely to be playful and fun. And yes, edit if you’re embarrassed by it. But be willing to be like that it felt good when you wrote that.
Casey: So I’m going to put it out there. And some of it is like leaning into the discomfort. And what’s amazing about it is that when you make yourself just a tiny bit uncomfortable, (why am I doing these things?) But you’re like okay, I’m going to do it. I’m going to push Send; I’m going to push Post and see what happens. It gets easier every single time. And you get just a little bit more confident and it feels a little bit better.
And you’ll see that people will start to connect with you because of it. They start to reach out because of it. And I mean genuinely that some of my closest friends in the world are people that I connected with because I was posting videos on LinkedIn. And they were like “Oh my gosh, I love your videos! Can you show me how to do a video?” And then we’d do a video together. And then they started creating twenty of them.
And those are two different people who are super close friends of mine. And so there’s something amazing that happens. And I think this is the biggest thing that we forget when it comes to the personal brand stuff. It’s not about shouting into the ether. It’s about building relationships.
And there’s something about the social media component where you’re kind of building relationships at scale. I know that sounds like b.s., but that is really what it is.
Bryan: So it’s kind of curious, right?, because with closest relationships you might be able to have about 150 to 230, right?
Bryan: Whenever you’re in sales it’s about 200 to 500 relationships. Believe it or not, you’re a better salesperson with that 200 to 500. Mike Montague from Sandler Training did a social selling podcast. And he said that if you’re in sales you actually need less. But if you’re really looking to grow your brand you need four-to six thousand at a minimum. And so that takes time to do, right?
Bryan: Now I haven’t reached this yet. But my sense is that it’s almost like a fly wheel. And I think the key to it is consistency, right?, because most people have fits of greatness. “Oh, I’m going to do all this activity and I’m a great person!” And then they peter out because they don’t see the instantaneous results, right? We’re this instant gratitude type of society. And this is kind of a slow march. Is that the expectation I should have? Or is that just me being self-taught, a someday kind of thing?
Casey: No, that’s exactly it. I had a call a week ago with Dominic Vocal. And he’s a guy in the cyber-security world. And he started getting active on LinkedIn a little over a year ago. And he and I were talking about it. And it’s funny. We were connected for a while, and I hadn’t looked at his profile in a while. And he went from I don’t know, two or three thousand LinkedIn connections to where he has over thirty thousand followers.
Casey: And what he said is that he’s very consistent about this. He posts regularly, but he’s also very consistent about engaging with other people’s content.
And what he said is that it was kind of slow, incremental growth for about six to eight months. And he said that all of a sudden everything just started to take off.
Casey: And he just kind of blew up. And what’s amazing for him is how often his business gets a new potential customer. And they’ll say, “Oh yeah; I’ve been following you on LinkedIn for a while.”
Bryan: Yeah. That’s curious, because in our day job with what we do people are constantly asking, “How do I vet you? How do I make sure that you’re legit? How do I differentiate you from everyone else?”
Because let’s face it. No one is out there going, “You know, the reason I’m cheap is because I’m horrible. You know, that’s the only way I can schlock this stuff. Customer service? Forget about it. You know, I own the joint and they won’t even call me back for goodness’ sakes, right?” No one out there is selling like that. So how do you show authenticity in that they can trust you?, because that’s why people buy. Their biggest fear of purchase is risk.
Bryan: Yeah. If you can show consistently that look, I have 30,000 followers. I have – followers. I have all of this content out there. I’m not just saying this to sound good. That’s what we truly believe and deliver on. So I would think that would pay tenfold if you do it consistently enough, right?
Casey: It totally does. But there’s a component I think that you’re missing. It’s not just that oh, I’m always putting stuff out there and I’ve got a bunch of followers.
What winds up happening is that when you get to that point, and especially when you’re consistent about engaging in other people’s content, what winds up happening is that you start to build relationships with other thought leaders and other leaders and influencers in your industry. And so what winds up happening is that not only is someone like “Oh yeah, they’re always talking about these values, or the way they do things.” But they’re also like “oh, I really respected and admired that guy.” And that guy is friends with that woman. And so that means that she must be pretty cool, too. And I’m going to trust her a lot more easily.
And so there’s this way. It’s about building trust and credibility just that much faster. And I think that to your point, I don’t care what anybody sells. You’ve got a competitor that basically sells the exact same thing! (Laughter)
Bryan: That’s true.
Casey: And so truly what is the differentiator? The differentiator has something to do with the experience that you give them. And the experience is the human side. And you can make clear what that human experience really is by putting yourself out there, and also by empowering the people on your team to put themselves out there, and to kind of build their own brands.
And if you’re thinking about it from a leadership perspective, I know there are tons of leaders that are like, “Oh, I’m so worried about what my lower-level employees are going to say,” and they’re going to screw it up. But an employee sharing an article from your company, it gets something like 560% more reach than if your company shares it.
Bryan: Yeah. You know, that’s very true. So let’s talk about a couple of things there. So I’m the business owner, I’m the manager, I’m the leader.
Bryan: How do I deal with my person putting content out there that has nothing whatsoever to do with my business? You know, he’s on my time. She’s under my management. How do we speak to that person?
Casey: So look. I think there are a couple of ways to think about this. One is like yeah, they’re putting out stuff that is offensive to your brand or is kind of butting up against your company values. Then that might be something to look at.
But the idea that, you know, who wants to do business with a company where it’s just a bunch of robots that all basically say and do the same thing and have no individual personalities? I mean, that sounds really creepy and not really an ideal thing. And so this idea that you can make it clear, that you empower your employees to be whole humans and show up as their whole and complete selves, that’s powerful!
And you might want to do a little bit of work, kind of coaching your team on how they can think about how their personal brand aligns with the company brand, and the values that the company espouses, and all of that. But the idea is to give people the freedom to express themselves and to be themselves, and trusting that if you’ve created a strong culture, and if you’ve supported these people in a positive way, and they’re a good fit for your company, they’re only going to make you look good. And they’re only going to make your business look impressive, because you’ve got all these impressive people on your team.
Bryan: Yeah; I love that. Now let’s flip it to the other side. I’m the employee. And I as the business leader, I as the manager, am really asking our employees to get out there.
Bryan: To put themselves out there, to do this personal branding because yes, it’s important to the company. But you know, candidly, it’s also extremely important for that individual to continue to grow and learn. So how do we get that individual contributor more comfortable in actually taking this seriously?
Casey: Well, I think the big thing is helping them cart out the time, and giving them some of the tools and the resources so they can think about this stuff. If you’re just like yeah, get out there and don’t really spend any time talking through how you can do it, and ways that you can think about it, and kind of supporting them in that journey, it’s not going to happen.
Casey: It will happen for a couple of them , but most of them won’t do it. And instead, it’s just like anything. We’re seeing this especially kind of in the sales world.
You know, for a while sales teams would talk about mindset and things like that. But it was kind of mostly talk and not a lot of action. (Laughter) And now what we’re seeing is sales teams spending the first five minutes or the first fifteen minutes of every day meditating as a group.
Casey: Find a way to make it a group journey, a group activity. You know, I did a little bit of coaching with one company where they wanted to kind of teach their sales and marketing teams how to build personal brands. I helped to put together kind of a plan where they would do what I think was about forty-five minutes to an hour of training once a week for a six-week period. And they were on this kind of journey together.
And it wound up that people got super excited about it. It wound up being kind of this amazing bonding experience. And by the end of the six weeks the vast majority of the people on the team were all in and super excited, and it kind of took off. And so there’s a way to do it that supports and inspires your team and empowers them. And there’s a way to do it that’s again just going to be all talk and no action.
Bryan: Yeah. And so that’s a hard lesson that I’ve come to learn. If you’re the business leader, if you’re the entrepreneur, you can’t just tell people to go out and do it. If they were just going to go out and do it, they wouldn’t likely be working for you, right? You need to help them along, to build them up to where they can go and thrive and flourish.
So I think that’s really good advice there, too. You know, you can’t just say, “Go do it,” or just throw a bunch of tools at them. You have to almost walk them through a building-block process, it would seem to me. Is that the right understanding?
Casey: Yeah. I mean, it’s like anything. Okay, again, to use the sales example, let’s say that you have a new sales development rep that starts at your company. And he’s never been an SDR before. Are you going to be like “Okay! Go to it; have fun!?”
No! You’re going to train them; you’re going to teach them. You’re going to give them advice; you’re going to give them coaching. We all need coaching to learn how to do anything well. And creating an environment where you’re coaching people to excellence, or you’re coaching your team on how to learn how to do something new, and putting themselves out there and stretching their limits and all of these things.
Yeah, it’s going to help with the personal brand stuff. But it’s going to help with everything because learning something new, literally learning something new, creates new synaptic connections in our brains. It produces gray matter in our brains that makes us better in all of these other ways.
And so whether it’s personal branding or whether it is literally anything else in your business, create a plan, create a program. Create a whole kind of system of how you learn as a group and how you empower people to kind of get to that next level.
Bryan: Yes. And I would think this too. I mean, we employers are constantly worried about our glass door, or our indeed refused, and things along those lines. And then we’re also worried about tenure and turnover, and all of those key performance indicators that we’re looking for. But I would think that if you’re teaching your people how to do this, and you’re allowing them to grow, even if they’re not going to a different level per se, if they’re growing and learning and challenged every day I would think that they’re going to stick around a little bit more. And if I can get them to stick around another month or two or three, that is a massive differentiator for most organizations. And they’ll likely be able to grow up through your organization, because if they‘re sticking around for another two or three months they’re going to be pulling more people in. We’re all going to be developing together and we have this culture of growth, instead of this breaking rocks in prison mindset of just do more!, right? So yeah, I think it all ties together nicely.
Casey: You know, I completely agree with you. And the memory that just came to my mind while you were saying that is that years ago I led a team of SDRs. And for years the company had been saying that they were going to create an inside sales role so that there was actually a pathway to career development. They created the inside sales role. They brought up two SDRs. Two months later they fired the SDRs and canceled the inside sales role.
And guess what wound up happening. It was like over the next six months that 80% of the SDRs quit and went somewhere else because all of a sudden it was like this sign that no, there was going to be no growth. All of their hopes of getting to that next level were dashed.
And you know, we’re not always going to be able to have this really clear career development plan for every single employee. But if in the meantime you have a clear plan of how to just become a better version of yourself, and how to learn and how to grow, you’re going to stay longer and you’re also going to be more passionate about the work that you’re doing.
You know, as humans we all strive to be better. That’s just what we do. And so if you give people the opportunity to do that, and you support them on the pathway to that, they will be grateful to you. They will be happier; they will be more fulfilled. And they will be more likely to show up every day and work their heart out and give it all they’ve got.
Bryan: Yeah. And that’s really it, because as good of a company as you have, and we deal with a lot of entrepreneurs, a lot of business owners who think, “People are going to work for me because it’s me. It’s my company, right?”
Well, guess what. No, there is a whole lot of competition out there. And to use the Queen’s English, you ain’t that great, right? So if you’re not going to give them ways to grow and reasons for being, they’re not going to be engaged. That’s why the national engagement over the last three decades, I think, has been about 34%.
So, I mean, you have to do something different. Well actually, you don’t. Keep doing what you’re doing. Those listening to this podcast are going to figure it out and crush you and buy your company. So just keep doing that, right?
Casey: You’re ruthless; I love it!
Bryan: Yeah, right? So you said a couple of things. I want to make sure I have this because oh my gosh, this is going so fast! So we want to take about fifteen to twenty minutes a day posting on other people’s comments to gain some ideas, jotting down those ideas from other comments, creating relationships off of that. And #2, creating contents at least once a week. Take an hour or two—ideally two—to where you’re writing these things down, going back and reviewing it before you do it, leveraging some technology like Buffer for LinkedIn. And I missed the one for Twitter.
Casey: It’s kind of a new one. It’s called “Hype Theory.”
Bryan: “Hype Theory.”
Casey: Yeah; it’s really quite good. And you can use Buffer for Twitter also.
Bryan: Okay. So you can use that for both. So Hype Theory. I like the name.
Casey: I know.
Bryan: So Hype Theory for Twitter. And then is that it, or do I need to do other things for my daily routine of fanatical discipline?
Casey: Honestly, I think that if you can be consistent about the engagement piece, and engaging with other people’s content, (and I want to be clear.) When I say engagement, it’s not hitting the Like button. (Laughter) And it’s not saying, “Great post!” It’s actually saying, “Oh wow, that’s really interesting! That made me think about this.” Or :”Wow, do you know who would love this?”, and tagging a friend who you think would enjoy it as well. It’s actually engaging.
And also it’s building relationships off of it. So if it’s someone for whom you just really like their content, be willing to reach out and connect with them on LinkedIn and say, “Hey, I think your content is really amazing; I’ve learned a ton. I would love to be connected.” You know, it is about building those relationships, and so figuring out all the ways that you could do it.
But truly, if the only thing you do is spend fifteen minutes a day engaging on other people’s content and leaving thoughtful comments, that will get you very far. And I promise that if you do it for a while you will start to naturally find ways to do more.
Bryan: Love it. It’s consistency, consistency, consistency.
All right. Now help us to avoid some challenges.
Bryan: Let’s be authentic here. What mistakes, what challenges? Where did you mess up so we can learn from you and not make the same painful learning lessons?
Casey: I’ve made lots and lots and lots of mistakes; I could give you a lot. But I’ll just focus on the personal brand stuff. And that is don’t overthink it. Don’t get obsessed with the numbers. Don’t get obsessed with how many likes you get or how many comments you get. Don’t worry too much. Do the stuff that feels good that you enjoy doing, that you get excited to do and just stick to it.
It is about being authentic. I know it’s an overly used word. But seriously, it’s about finding your groove and having fun doing it.
Bryan: Get in your flow.
Casey: Get in your flow, without a doubt, yeah.
Bryan: All right; love it. All right, so that’s easy enough. Be authentic, get in the flow. Yeah, okay. Now you’ve laid out a lot here. Any suggestions for a hack for how we hire good talent? What should we be looking for in an interview of people who are going to do personal branding?
Casey: So maybe, and it’s definitely worth giving a look. But the biggest thing that I would say—and a lot of people don’t talk about this—the other thing that is awesome for finding amazing talent is having a really public, out-there team and leadership. There’s a young man that I mentor. And he looks up to all of the people that work at Drift.
Casey: Because of their personal brands, both the leadership and also the employees. So much so that he is obsessed with getting a job at Drift. He literally would do anything to get it because of the way he connects with their content and their leaders and how they put themselves out there. That’s one thing that we don’t talk about enough—impelling your team and your leadership to build powerful and authentic personal brands.
It’s not just about more brand awareness. It’s not just about more revenue. It’s also about attracting really amazing talent.
Bryan: It’s really interesting that you said that, because that’s why there’s this podcast—Talent, Sales and Scale, right? That’s an employer branding exercise, because the people are participating and actively doing this in their own personal brand. Now I have a pool of talent that wants to work with me. Drift has now gotten mentioned two, three, four times on this podcast without paying for it whatsoever.
Bryan: Because the employees are engaged because of the culture that we created so we can better scale. And sales come as a result with it. That’s why it’s all interrelated. You can’t just focus on one thing; these are so vitally integrated. But for some reason—I don’t know why—people haven’t been able to figure out how to put these together. So that’s a great case in point right there.
Bryan: Okay. Perfect; love it. Okay, so how about other resources that you might recommend—different podcasts or books or guides. I mean, how can we get as smart as you, Miss Casey Jones?
Casey: I don’t know. Be an obsessive reader. I just read a ridiculous amount. I also think that one of the best things that all of us can do is also to read stuff that has literally nothing to do with our work.
So read fiction. Find things that just get your brain moving. And also practice really good social media and content hygiene. Get rid of the stuff that drags you down. I know it is incredibly hard right now because there is so much negativity out there, and rightly so. But it kind of sucks the soul out of us. And so find things that make you feel good and that get your brain cranking.
And I will also say that I will share with you so you can share with everybody listening. We’ve put together a 100% free guide on how you can pitch yourself to podcasts. So if you want to think about doing that, I’ll give the link so that people can also use that if they want to kind of test going down this path of learning how to land those interviews to kind of grow their personal brands.
Bryan: Okay, perfect. And we can put that in the notes as well. Love it.
Okay, so the future. What does the future hold? What do we need to pay attention to? What’s going to come down and bite us in the butt?
Casey: You know, it’s really hard to make predictions. (Laughter) Because the last year of our lives has been really crazy. Look, I think that more than anything, with the new abnormal we’re all craving connection. And that’s not going to change. And if anything it’s now actually easier to create these virtual connections because we’re all open to it in ways that many of us weren’t before.
And so what I would say is seize the moment that we’re in right now. And if there’s somebody that you just think is cool or interesting online, reach out to them. Make them your friends and treat them the way you would treat an in-person friend. Think about ways that you can amplify their voice or how you can support them, or opportunities that you can send them. And really focus on all of the ways that you can leverage this new digital reality to build real meaningful relationships, because it will pay off for your business. It will pay off for your career, your bottom line. But it will also just make life more enjoyable.
Bryan: Yeah. I love it. So reach out there. Be authentic. Be nice, right.
Casey: Please be nice.
Bryan: Have some fun for goodness’ sakes. Yeah, right; crazy, crazy thought. So Casey, I really enjoyed this. I hope people are taking copious notes and really will do this, right? So I’ll have some action items that I’ll need to do out of this, so thanks for that.
So who should reach out to you, Casey? How should they do it, and why should people reach out to you?
Casey: You can find me on social media. I’m literally on every platform. My handle is A Better Jones. And anybody who wants help in learning how to do these things, especially entrepreneurs. You know, I work with a lot of entrepreneurs, helping them to carve out that plan to become thought leaders in their industry, but also how to build the high-growth businesses with a real impact.
So I am always down for a conversation; I’m always down to talk. So just reach out and we can start that whole digital friendship thing that way.
Bryan: I love it. Reach out to Casey Jones if you’re Jonesing for A Better Jones; get after it. So hey, thanks so much, Casey; I really appreciate it.
Casey: Thank you so much.
Bryan: You have some good posts and some good reaction; it’s my pleasure. And I’m glad we were able to talk.
You didn’t know this, but Casey has such a crazy schedule; we had to re-schedule this a couple times. So—
Casey: Sorry; it was my bad.
Bryan: No no no, I love it! That means that she’s busy doing her stuff. So I really appreciate you carving out some time and joining us today.
Casey: It was so fun!
Bryan: Some great conversation. Yeah, thank you. So on behalf of The Talent, Sales and Scale Show with Casey Jones, get after it. Let’s have some fun. And my goodness, let’s make the last quarter year in 2021 way better than what this craziness has been. So see ya.