KYC 7 | Customer Relationships

 

World-class entrepreneurs make a point of building really good customer relationships. Such relationships don’t happen automatically; you have to push them to the customer. Transportation and logistics expert and podcast host, Joe Lynch, stresses this point as he joins Betsy Westhafer and Tony Bodoh in this episode to talk about building customer relationships, the importance of face to face meetings, trust and vulnerability in relationships, and keeping your brand focused on personal relationships. Joe runs The Logistics of Logistics, a sales and marketing firm that helps transportation, logistics, warehousing, and technology firms grow their sales. From his rich experience, Joe knows very well the importance of a two-way relationship between customer feedback and the constant improvement of services.

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This Is How We Become World-Class With Joe Lynch

I Really Want Your Honest Feedback

I am here with Betsy and with our guest, Joe Lynch. Joe is the Founder of a consulting company in the logistics industry. I’m going to let Betsy tell you a little bit more about him.

Joe is the Founder of The Logistics of Logistics. He’s got an amazing following on LinkedIn, a huge group, over 100,000. It’s a sales and marketing firm that helps transportation, logistics, warehousing, technology firms understand how to grow their sales and marketing. Joe started his career in the automotive sector and completely focused on transportation in logistics industry. Joe, we are very happy to have you here.

Thank you, Tony and Betsy. I’m looking forward to it. We had some great conversations before and I learned a lot just from those conversations.

I hit the highlights, but tell us more about your early career and how you got to where you are now?

My dad owned a small engineering business in Michigan and I went to work for that and my dad at nineteen. I started working as an engineer and a design engineer. I was in product development for many years. Honestly, for many years I thought, “This is it. I’m never doing anything else,” but then I slowly moved to the supply chain side. What’s crazy is for so many years, when someone would bring up logistics, I was like, “I’m not going to your stupid logistics meeting.” I completely ignored it. When somebody would say, “Joe, you have to go,” I’d say, “I will have one of my guys go because I’m not going. It’s 5% of the cost. I don’t care.” When the great meltdown happened in 2007, 2008, I found myself out. I was doing a lot of work for Chrysler and with an outside company and we didn’t get paid.

I ended up getting in the logistics business. I went to work for a great small company. It was in trouble like everybody was at that time. We tripled the size of the company and I learned so much. I learned how much I love the industry because it is so entrepreneurial. Along that same time, I started writing a lot of articles about logistics because I was a blogger. I started doing more webinars training. I do a lot of sales training on my podcast, The Logistics of Logistics, which reaches a lot of people and I do webinars. For me, everything I do is helping transportation and logistics companies grow their sales. Except I also advise some shippers on how to manage their third-party logistics. As this industry of transportation, logistics, warehousing technology becomes more and more important to the supply chain, you realize that we don’t know how to work together. A lot of people probably looked at logistics much like I did and that needs to change because we all depend on it.

KYC 7 | Customer Relationships

Customer Relationships: If you’re a provider of some business and you find your customer holding you at arm’s length, you’re going to lose that customer at some point.

 

One of the things that stands out from our prep talk was that you know your customer. You’ve been in the logistics side and you were served by the logistics side for so long, that struck a chord with us. You talked so much about trust and how important trust is, how we have to dive into that relationship with the customer. It goes two ways. There are a lot of things we talked about that got me thinking after and I wanted to dive into some of those with you. One of the things that I know, Betsy typically loves to go down, is understanding who your customers are today.

My customers are third-party logistics companies and that could be transportation companies. When you say transportation, that could be trucks, boats or planes. There are lots of different ways to transport stuff. It could be at less than truckload. It could be a small parcel. I work with a lot of those companies either asset-based or guys who don’t own the assets who are just brokering it. I work with a lot of technology companies who provide the software that connects the shippers to the logistics space. I work with a lot of warehousing companies, fulfillment companies. Everybody wants home delivery now. That’s our new business with a lot of cases.

What I do to help them is, I started off just doing some sales training. I dabbled a little bit in marketing. I have a web partner. I’ve done some websites. What I’m enjoying is I have a podcast and Betsy was on it. I love the podcast because what we’re doing, I enjoy that. I listened to a lot of podcasts and I started realizing, “This is a great platform.” I now have some sponsors who are reaching my audience, which is big. Also, my audience. I can target customers. Any way I can help people connect with my audience, connect with their audience, that’s what I do. There’s an integration now between sales and marketing that just wasn’t there before, and I think it’s so important.

I don’t know that I’ve met a better connector than you, Joe. As soon as we met, you started introducing me to people and those were very valuable introductions. I appreciate that you do that because that’s a very generous thing. Because of the size of your network, it helps a lot of people.

That’s another thing. All my customers, whether they’re marketing customers or I’ve made a website or they come on my podcast, I always say the same thing, “I’m going to get you business. If I can’t get it through you being on my podcast or building a great website, I’m going to introduce you.” What’s interesting is I love to connect people. That’s a personality type, Ann Holm talks a lot about this. The challenge sometimes though is when you make a great connection, I love doing it. Sometimes I’ll look at my list of things to do and go, “Will I go and make ten introductions over the next five days?” I feel like now I’m getting good at it. I’m like, “Get on LinkedIn.”

No matter how big your business gets, it’s still a person-to-person relationship. Click To Tweet

You have taken that to a whole new level.

Tell us a little bit more about your perspective of the two-way street here in customer trust and building a relationship. We typically talk about knowing your customer and the side of the responsibility of the business or the business owner to get to know. You have just an interesting approach of how that two-way street goes. It’s not just a one-way street.

I’ve had some interesting experiences and sometimes the only way you learn is to see it. I worked with a very large shipper. Ed Blackford is a great guy. He was a Vice President of a logistics company, but he didn’t come initially from a logistics background. When working with a whole slew of logistics companies, he said, “I don’t know logistics. I’ve been a consumer of logistics,” because he’s down the hall in the other departments. He said, “I’ve got guys, Joe and a few others who are helping me develop my network of logistics companies. I don’t want you to treat me like a customer. I want you to treat me as a partner.” He works for a Japanese company. He said, “This was an extension of their beliefs.”

He worked hard to say, “We’re going to build a relationship here.” I love that. If you’re a provider of some service, you find your customer holding your arm’s length. We all have had that where they say, “I can’t do lunch.” “No, don’t come over. We can just do it by email.” “Send me an email. I don’t want to have a meeting. Everything’s fine.” At some point, you lose that customer or you don’t do as much for that customer as you want. It’s because they don’t want the relationship or you haven’t pushed it. It’s important because I think that’s an experience that we’ve all had.

Joe, one of the things that when we were talking, you mentioned that struck me was with regard to feedback. Having the trust in the relationship and the open heart to hear the feedback, whether or not it’s good or bad, how that responsibility goes both ways. Can you talk a little bit more about that?

This somewhat goes back to what I’ve said about Ed Blackford was this way. I would also say I’ve had this experience where this provider says, “Be honest with me. What do you like? What do you don’t like?” “That’s great. I just want great service and a good price.” It doesn’t seem to go any deeper. There’s another piece that’s very important in logistics, which is if there’s a late shipment, something damaged, something lost, if the big project is going to be late because my logistics provider didn’t get it done, couldn’t get a truck, these are difficult times. I want my provider to be able to say, “Joe, I screwed up. What can we do to get this back on track?”

If I say, “This is strike two. This is it. You’re in double, triple probation.” That guy is not going to tell me anything anymore. The whole idea of visibility and transparency, which is so almost cliché in our business. It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It means I have to trust you if I’m going to provide it. I have to trust that when I tell you a bad news that you’re not going to shoot me. I have an old saying that, “If you keep shooting the messenger, he’ll stop coming around.” I want that messenger to say, “You know where it keeps breaking down? Right here. Can I come over and can we work on that?” If we don’t ever get that opportunity because I’m afraid to say it and you’re angry to hear it, then we screwed up.

You used an interesting phrase there. You said, “Pushing the relationship,” and that sounds so counter to the typical way of dealing with customers. Go deeper into that. What does it mean to push a relationship? What does that look like? Maybe an example from your career and your past there?

Maybe this is one way to look at it. Not everybody are connectors or relationship builders. There are lots of different kinds of people. If you have somebody who’s very quiet or introverted. They don’t want that kind of relationship, maybe they’re like, “No. I love technology because it allows me not to talk to people like you.” It’s getting other people pulled in who do want that relationship. Maybe it’s moving people around. It’s probably just like being in a relationship as a spouse, a girlfriend or boyfriend. You’ve got to talk about it. You’ve got to say, “The only way this is going to work is I have to know you and you have to know me.” Stephen Covey wrote that book, The Speed of Trust. If I’m providing something for Betsy and Tony and we’ve gotten to be good friends. We’ve met many times and had conversations. I know about their families. I know about what they like and dislike. I’m going to be able to know what you want. I say, “They’re not here and I can’t reach them right now, but I know what they want because I know them and I know exactly how I’d want to be treated if I was them.”

Joe, I’d like to get into a little bit of the tactics of how you do this. Do you have a system where you keep track of all of the relationships you have? Is it a little more ad hoc? How do you manage many relationships? Tell us again how many people you have in your LinkedIn group.

There are 104,000 people in my Logistics of Logistics group on LinkedIn. I can’t claim to be close friends with all of them. As far as managing the relationships, I don’t have a system. One time I saw on TV, I think it was John Rockefeller, the moguls’ great-grandson. He had this enormous Rolodex stacks. I was thinking, “It’s good for you, but that’s just not my personality type.” A lot of times I’m on LinkedIn. Betsy, when I introduced you to a few people, I do it via LinkedIn. I try not to let LinkedIn become a numbers game. I do want to connect with some of the people who are on there. I don’t think you can do it without making the phone calls. I don’t think you can have a relationship and say, “That’s it. Officially you have a relationship with Tony because we talked for 6 minutes on Friday, 9 minutes on Thursday. We’re all set, a relationship built.” It is what it is. Everybody’s different. Every situation’s different. It’s probably no different than how you keep your friendships alive with all your friends.

I’m glad to hear you say that because I know there’s been a lot of talk about these automated LinkedIn things and how a lot of people do view it as a numbers game. Tony and I both agreed that it’s about building a relationship. It’s not about how many people you know. It’s like your friends and how do you maintain those relationships?

I read somewhere that you can only have 150 relationships that are actual relationships, beyond that were their followers or acquaintances. We’re going through that Coronavirus thing. I live alone. My kids are grown. I’ve been going crazy like everybody is. You say, “I want to leave the house. I want to do things, but I’ve decided I’m going to make phone calls.” I’m calling friends who I haven’t talked to in a while, which is weird. I have their numbers and I haven’t called them. I feel like women are much better at this than men, but calling and saying, “I haven’t talked in a long time. How are you doing? How are you surviving this time?” Some are like, “Thank God you called.” Others, even friends are just like, “Why did you call? Did somebody die?”

KYC 7 | Customer Relationships

Customer Relationships: One of the ways to develop a relationship is to have a regular meeting.

 

I’ve been doing the same thing where I’m intentionally reaching out to people that I have lost touch with. It’s the same thing. You get various reactions, but more often than not, they truly appreciate knowing that someone’s thinking of them. Somebody cares enough to pick up the phone or shoot them over a text. Sometimes it’s both. It depends on who it is. I think as horrible as this Coronavirus thing is, there are a lot of good things that are coming out of it. Lessons that we’re learning about the importance of building relationships, especially as it relates to your customer. One of the things that Tony and I were talking about that we wanted to hear more from you about is the need to always be doing this versus waiting until there’s a crisis and doing it. Can you dig into that a little bit?

I’m a logistics and transportation guy. There are always problems in that. Even if 99 out of 100 shipments go well, the 100 doesn’t go well and sometimes this can be a business of exception. The only time they’re calling you is for that one bad shipment. You don’t talk about those other 99. They call and say, “Joe, what happened on this? You guys screwed this up again.” I hate that. What I always have done if I’m working with customers, I say, “We’re going to meet every week. We’re going to go over KPIs.” The KPIs are very basic. I always say Key Performance Indicators. “Don’t go over a hundred metrics, go over the key performance indicators, 4 or 5 things.” What I’ve always thought sounds very boring. We’re going to go over KPIs and see if we met the target on time. “Performance should be 95% or 96%. Is it? Go down the list.”

What happens in those meetings is you do eventually get into a rhythm and somebody’s like, “Do you guys see that game last night? How did that grandchild come out? “Congratulations on your engagement.” All of a sudden, the meetings become so much more than just going over KPIs. We are to that point with logistics where we have a lot of technology and it’s easy. I always think of the techies. There’s the techie among all of us who says, “You don’t have to call me ever. We don’t have to talk. You get an automated report to your email every morning.” I always think like, “Yes, but we don’t talk about it.” That’s the challenge. It’s numbers, metrics, KPIs, it’s data but it’s not knowledge. It’s not improvement or relationship building. It’s just, “I sent you that.” I feel like one of the ways to have a regular developer relationship is to have a regular meeting.

You tap into that idea that we talk about in knowing your customer because it’s about knowing what matters to them from the KPI perspective, how to improve those KPIs. That’s why we’re in business as consultants or in whatever field we’re in. At the same time, it’s about knowing them as people. There’s something I’ve taught for years and made sure my clients understood. Knowing about your customer, which is what CRM systems are for. All the data collection and data analysis we do, we know about them but that doesn’t mean we know them. Having that conversation, being able to talk about the kids, the family, their favorite sports team, whatever it is, and going in some depth where you mean that is interesting.

I’m curious, we’ve done broadcast or I speak on stage, the more I’m out there in front of people. What I’ve noticed is people feel like, because I often open up and talk a little bit about my family or if you’re connected with me on Facebook, which I allow business people to usually connect with my personal Facebook, Betsy knows. I put stuff up about my family all the time. I’m an open book that way. People feel like they have this relationship with me and I may not know them, but it makes the business side of things so much easier. What’s your take on that?

I totally agree that people start to think they know you because they listen to your podcasts. They go to your webinars and less so from articles. I’ve probably written a thousand pages of articles and website pages. Maybe if you’re a great writer, I always sound prolific, not great but there is a sense that people start to know you. Every once in a while, I’ll get some letter. It’s usually English as a second language where it will start off and say, “Uncle Joe,” which I was like, “Okay, whatever.” I have lots of nieces and nephews, but this guy isn’t one of them. I think they want to say, “I like what you do,” but they say, “I love you.” I was like, “You like my podcast.”

To that point, they feel some sense that they know you. I think it’s great. We all have to make phone calls to people we don’t know. Years ago, I did a webinar with a company which is a cross border shipping to Mexico. Fifty people signed up for our webinar and I always like to call ahead of time the people who I want to talk to because after the webinar, they don’t take the phone calls as readily. I called this girl and she was short with me. It’s not unprofessional but like, “I don’t need your help right now. No, thank you.”

The next morning, I woke up and there was an email and it said, “Please call me as soon as you get this message.” I called and it was the girl I talked to and she said, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize when we were talking who you were yesterday.” She felt she knew me, but I think she also felt like, “I owe you.” She was completely open and forthcoming but still didn’t get the business. At least she was like, “Let me tell you how we do things here.” Getting out there made her feel like either, “I owe you or I want to help you because you’ve helped me.” It’s worth getting out there, doing the videos, doing the podcast, audio, whatever you want to do.

It’s interesting that you say that because that storylines up with a lot of what Betsy and I talked about in our book, ProphetAbility. One aspect of what humans are seeking at our core is this human connection, this relationship. You’ve talked about it the whole time that I’ve known you that we’ve talked. One thing that stands out to me is the essence of connecting as a shared experience. When they hear you or they see you, the more the senses that we can bring in, the more of this immersion experience. You’re reading this but you get a sense of who we are. There seems to be this element of, “I know this person.” As they’re talking to me over the phone, I can see their facial expressions because I’ve seen one on a video or something.

I love the comedian David Spade. He has two audiobooks and I listen to them both. They’re funny. He’s got that Lights Out show and I heard him say at one of his shows or maybe on a podcast, “I’ll be walking around sometimes with big stars. People run up to the stars and it’s like, ‘Can I have your autograph?’ They’re very formal and because they’re meeting a movie star. They’ll turn to me and go, ‘Joe Dirt or Dave, how’s it going?’ I’m the guy down the street.” I guess that’s a good thing. I was thinking, “Yes, that is a great thing.” You’re not that guy on a pedestal. You’re the guy like, “I don’t want to talk to that guy.”

When we were talking about video, we’ve used video for years in our business and almost all of our calls are done via Zoom. What I hear now with everything that’s changed in our business world is how many more people, including kids who are doing Zoom calls with their friends or with their school or whatever. It’s how much more of a commonplace that’s going to be. It does make a difference when you can sit face to face with somebody versus hearing their voice. I personally see that as one of the many good things that are coming out of this crisis is that people are going to get more comfortable with these kinds of technologies that enhance the relationship. It’s still not the same as being face to face. It never will be, but at least it being face to face versus just an audio-only is a good step in the right direction for business. Also, getting people comfortable with the idea. I know the first time I started doing video calls, I was uncomfortable with it, but it’s one of those things that’s going to be our new normal. It enhances the experience.

I’ve always believed on projects that you’ve got to have that first. If you’re going to be working on a consulting project or you’re going to be the logistics, you’ve got to get on a plane. You’ve got to get in the car. You’ve got to go and spend a day or two. That starts the relationship. After, a lot of us want to work from home or work without traveling. This is a big step up from phone calls. That’s been an issue. We can’t do a whole bunch of Zoom meetings if we can’t go to the barber or the hair salon for weeks. Betsy, you were the one that says, “Within a few weeks, we’ll know what everybody’s hair color is.”

Maintaining relationships with your customers is no different from keeping your friendships with your buddies alive. Click To Tweet

I can’t take claim for that. I’ve seen that meme going around all over the place. We’re going to find out a lot about each other.

I love it though. I think it’s a great way to go. My mom called me and said, “You missed the FaceTime call with your sister and your daughter.” I was like, “What? What a cool thing.” My mom is stuck in the house. She’s 85 so in this Coronavirus thing, she shouldn’t be leaving. My sister was down in Florida and my daughter who’s down in Portland. My other daughter and me somehow missed it. I was like, “What a cool thing.” We’ve got to use that. We’ve got to deepen this relationship. I have a friend of mine. Steve and I talk quite a bit and sometimes he gets very mercenary where he’s like, “I’m going to go in. I’m going to do this. I don’t care about the friendships. I don’t care about this.” Two weeks later, it’s like, “It’s all about connecting with people.”

I’m like, “You were like Jekyll and Hyde that way.” More and more he’s saying, “Stop me if I go down the path that business isn’t personal because it is. We have always had this idea where this is my business life and this is my personal life and there are no overlaps. As we’re all working from home, when the catwalks by in the screen and the baby’s crying in the background, the idea that you go, “No, this isn’t personal. I don’t have a business relationship with Tony and Betsy, but that’s it.” I think we’re limiting ourselves. We’re limiting our depth of those relationships and those conversations. If I don’t understand you completely, how can I ever serve you the way you’re supposed to be served?

I saw a meme and it was a pie chart of people logging on Zoom calls and had little slices of different things that happen on a Zoom call. It was like 23% wanted to see what their coworker’s home office look like or something like that. You start to see a bigger picture under these kinds of circumstances where people are working from home.

I’ve got to figure out the lighting because in the other room where I normally record my podcasts, that wasn’t working and I was like, “I need a studio.”

I feel too that people are getting a lot more forgiving of imperfection in this modern era that we’re in, in the midst of the Coronavirus, but hopefully soon in the post Coronavirus era. People are a lot more understanding and I think that’s going to help the relationship development as well. It’s an imperfect world. Maybe people are starting to understand that a little bit more deeply and being a lot more gracious in things when they don’t exactly go according to plan. Do you agree with that?

Yes, I for sure do. I spent some time with the Sandler sales guy one time. I didn’t take the course, but I remember to start the meeting, he said, “You notice I was here ten minutes before everybody else and that I’m best dressed in this room.” We’re all like, “Yes, right.” He said, “It’s because that’s what a sales guy is supposed to do. He’s supposed to come in. He’s supposed to be 6 foot tall. Ideally athletic, good looking, well-dressed and well-spoken. Everyone agrees?” We’re all like, “Yes, sure. That’s what a sales guy supposed to do.” He said, “That’s not what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to connect with people. We’re supposed to relate to people.” If I’m coming off as perfect and you say, “I’ll come in here and I’ll be George Clooney super well-dressed and I just drove up in a Rolls Royce. We’re all going to connect.” There’s getting that glimpse of the cat walking through the screen and go, “Yes, that’s my life too.”

It’s interesting to see all of this unfolding as we talk about COVID-19, and what’s happening. It’s the shift that is making in our lives, our connections, the humanity that’s coming through. I think that’s such a critical thing for us to recognize. In my mind, we’ve got to grasp this and recognize how we’re behaving now and take that forward with us so that in business, we can develop a deeper sense of trust and connections. The people we’re connected during this period of time, we’re going to develop that relationship with. Are we going to take that learning forward when we’re no longer in this situation because this is temporary? Are we going to develop those relationships at that level? When we first talked on the prep call about the importance of visibility and transparency, we had an interesting conversation around that. To your point about being on video with Zoom, there’s a whole lot more visibility, a whole lot more transparency involved.

What was your quote about transparency and visibility, Tony?

“Visibility is about seeing and transparency is about understanding.”

Am I going to give transparency to somebody who is going to punish me for it? There has to be some understanding that I can share all the problems we had with the shipments or with whatever we’re doing. Only if I know that’s we’re going to have a constructive conversation. I heard some people say it this way, “I appreciate you taking these problems to me. I completely understand. We just started. This is how we’re going to become word-class.” It’s you sharing the problems. Ideally, I don’t want you sharing the same problems week after week. I want to see a progression, but this is how we’re going to become world-class. If I don’t trust you, I don’t have a relationship with you. If I’m going to be punished for my transparency, it’s not going to happen.

One of the things that bring me great joy in the work that we do in our company, The Congruity Group, with customer advisory boards is watching our clients take in all this feedback from the customers because they’re not going to fight back with the customers. You’re not going to get defensive and shoot the messengers when the messengers are actually your customers. It’s good to see. The ones that do that well are the companies that explode because they are listening with an open heart to the feedback from the customers. Plus, that builds the relationship because the customer trusts the provider as well. That two-way relationship is built when the walls come down. It’s not a defensive posture, but rather a welcoming posture for the feedback. Sometimes it’s not easy. You hear some feedback that punches you in the gut. It’s not always easy, but it’s what helps your company propel forward.

It’s interesting you use the term open heart, Betsy. It means you’ve got to be a little vulnerable. It means you’ve got to open yourself up to criticism. Open yourself up to, “I’m not perfect,” and I have been talking to you a lot. I’ve been developing this sponsorship for my podcast because my goal is to do 100 podcasts. I realized how much time I’m spending on, I was like, “I need sponsors.” I’ll be living in the street because of my podcast, it’s an expensive hobby. As I was developing these sponsorships, I talked to you and I remember saying to you as I gave a proposal, “I want your honest feedback on this proposal.”

You send a proposal and you’re like, “Feedback, welcome. Is that always true?” It’s what we write at the bottom of an email. I said, “I want this to be a great relationship and it won’t be if I’m not providing something. If it comes to you in a week or two weeks, I’m going to ask you over and over again, what do you want from me? What can I provide? Tell me what’s your biggest problem.” It’s important that we open ourselves up to that because if you say, “Here you go, world-class proposal. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. I’ve been doing this for a long time. I’m great. Try not to cry as you read through it.”

I heard and I can’t remember who did this, but I thought what a great idea that when you send a proposal, you also send a video with it too, so that you can say exactly what you just said. It’s like, “I want your feedback. If I don’t have it, this isn’t going to go as well as it can.” You speak openly to the person as you’re delivering the proposal via email. I thought, “That is not rocket science, but what a great idea.”

There was a copywriter I talked to and he said, “As I’m on your webpage and I’m redoing my website. Right on the front page, it should say what you sell, but then right below it there should be a video. What they’re buying, Joe, is you’ve got this big following, they are buying you. There should be a video of you speaking. It doesn’t need to be slick graphics or anything. You speaking directly to the camera saying, ‘This is what I’m selling, this is the value. I’m here. I’m selling this to you.’” I thought, “That’s not hard.”

You can do it with your mobile phone. I thought, “That’s where we’re all heading.” That’s not something that you get a spokesmodel for. It’s not something that you get slate graphics for. If you saw it, it’s like, “They must have spent $50,000 on that.” You’re like, “I don’t need that.” That’s one of the things that people seem to like about this new age where it’s not old Hollywood where you’re seeing Joan Crawford. She is, “Is she like royalty?” There’s a photoshoot with the right lighting and everything. There’s a place for that, but there’s another place for a selfie, “Here’s me on vacation or here’s me serving a client.”

That speaks to the whole transparency element of things of Facebook Live and in these Zoom calls. They’re unedited and we’re live. We get to see people as they are, as they’re going to show up in a meeting if we were to meet them in a meeting. The first time I did a training, a business partner of mine was listening to the recording and it was the post edit. He’s like, “That doesn’t sound like you.” The reason it didn’t sound like me is because the editor took out a lot of the space between the words where as I’m talking, I naturally stop and think as I’m speaking. There would be a little pause between the words or I slow down and all those patterns were gone, so it didn’t sound like me.

It got me thinking about how we’ve got to be more authentic in what we’re delivering so people do feel they have that connection with us. If it doesn’t feel like us, it doesn’t sound like us, then it’s not us. The human brain is so interesting because we’ve got this pattern recognition thing that happens within us. I’ve seen you a few times. I could probably pick you out of a crowd because I’ve seen you. I’ve got your mannerisms down just from watching you, but at the same time, I don’t know how tall you are. I don’t have a picture of that. This happened to me with a client one time. I showed up at their office after two years of doing video calls. He walks in and I’m looking a little bit down on him and he’s like 5’10” and I’m 6’2”. He’s looking at me like, “You’re taller than I thought you would be.” I was like, “You’re shorter than I thought you’d be.”

We’re all the same height on the video camera. We didn’t know that it would be different. The age we’re living in, where we’ve got so much more transparency, everything is visible, but now we’re being transparent. That’s such a valuable thing. You talked about reciprocity. You talked about giving this call before you went on your webinar and this woman, once she understood who you were, she needed to at least call you back. That’s an element that in relationships, it’s not a, “I’m going to hold this over you.” It’s this sense of, “I’m truly going to give to you.” What you do with that is yours. If we do it in the right spirit, most often people are going to come back and it’s not a sense of owing, but a sense of like, “I want to do something for you now.” That’s reciprocity. In the whole conversation we’ve had here, what stands out to me something that’s been unsaid probably, but I wanted to pull that out there. It’s an essence what a trust-built relationship is founded on.

I create a lot of content and I always have. I’ve always felt like I’m going to give as much away as I can, while still building a good business. There are a lot of people who are along those lines. I love that. There’s a guy, Seth Godin, who’s one of the best marketing writers, maybe the best marketers out there. He’s got the largest log and all he does is send email every morning. If you follow Seth Godin, you’re getting an email from him. Sometimes it’s like somehow, he knows what’s in my head. He writes stuff that is just dead on. He said, “When I write a book and I tell my audience that I’m writing it, a lot of them buy it without looking at it. They buy it and I said, ‘Because I want to support you because you’ve given me so much over the years.’” I probably bought every one of his books and if somebody said, “Seth Godin is writing a new book.” I’m like, “Yes, I’ll buy it.” It could be on something unrelated to what I’m interested in, but I’m going to support Seth Godin because he provided so much free stuff. It’s not even at this point about me being reciprocal. I just want to support the guy who has done so much for me.

Joe, I know that you have your podcast and your LinkedIn group. What else is on the horizon for you and your business?

I’ve got this podcast and my goal is to build a sales platform. It takes time. You guys are doing it, you know that. I love to sell my own stuff, but I like the idea of partnering with people and having them be my sponsors. What’s interesting to me is listening to podcasts, I fast forward sometimes through commercials. I’m like, “I’m not going to do that.” What I’m going to have is my sponsors be on my podcast and they’re experts. I was thinking to myself, “I don’t want to work with just anybody.” I don’t want to have just anybody as sponsors because I don’t want to sell something that I don’t believe in. I was like, “I want to find guys who are transforming this space.” I don’t want to work with everybody. I want to work with 10, 12, 15 companies that I really like. I like the people and the product they’re bringing.

We all know Matt Collins. He always says “I don’t want to be part of any bad stories. I only want to be part of good stories.” If I don’t believe in their product, we don’t have a relationship that makes sense to me, I don’t want to do that. Maybe I’m getting old, my kids are grown up, I don’t have to do anything. I don’t want to do it anymore. Maybe it sounds corny to say I want to live more authentically. Having those relationships and doing work is valuable. Partnering with people who I like and trust, who I believe in their product, that’s what I want to do. That’s my goal. However we should be doing it, whether it’s writing articles or webinars, which I still do, but less. Now podcasts, who knows? Maybe I’ll do a book. In my podcast, I can do a video like you guys do. I have avoided it because of this thing going on. That’s where I’m heading.

KYC 7 | Customer Relationships

Customer Relationships: The companies that really do well are those who listen with an open heart to the feedback of their customers.

 

I’m thinking there have been a couple of key themes here that I wanted to pull out for the readers because we want them to take action on what they can learn from. Number one, build that trust and build it early. It’s not about starting now. If you haven’t done it yet, start now. If you build those relationships, you’re not going to need to worry about it when you have to deliver a bad message. We all know there’s going to be a failure in business. If you have, keep them growing, keep them going. Think about alternative ways to build those relationships. We’re talking about the video. You’re doing Zoom calls.

It’s a great way to do it by necessity right now. It’s something that works out or when we can’t get there in person, when we’re allowed to do that again, we can get back on the road and travel. The other element of this is recognizing that business is something Betsy and I talked about. We talked about this in the book too. Business-to-business is person-to-person. You’ve got to remember that in your connections and your relationships. Is there anything else that you’d like to put out there? It’s a final word, another lesson that everyone should think about.

This is from a branding perspective. I’ve enjoyed being on your show. You’ll notice the biggest brands, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Jeep and all those, they aren’t trying to make the point that, “Look how big and successful we are.” They all want to make it about the local kid working at Burger King who’s going to college and that one-to-one relationship. What’s interesting is sometimes we as small business people, and I think there are many of us out here who feel like, “I’ve got to puff myself up. I have to make myself look like I’m mega-corporation.” A mega-corporation is saying, “We want it to be that one-on-one relationship. Even though we’re super big, it’s all about person to person.” We don’t have to be embarrassed about where we’re at or what we’re doing. No matter how big you get, to Tony’s point, it’s still a person to person relationship. If you’re working at State Farm, they don’t want you to say, “You’re working with the Fortune 500 company.” No, you’re working with your local State Farm guy who’s down the street. It’s the relationships and the people.

Joe, thank you so much. We are honored to have you as a guest on our show and you’ve brought so much value to this conversation and your insights will help all of our readers take action. We’re very much about this show being a place where people can come and learn from our guests and then leave with some actionable insights.

Thank you both so much. I appreciate it. I enjoyed working with you, guys. I learned quite a bit when we were prepping and doing this.

Thanks, Joe.

Joe was a wonderful guest. His perspective on how to build relationships with your clients and how they’re two-way street and that foundation of trust stands out to me as something to think about. Know your customers, our show and we usually talk about it from the perspective of the business knowing the customer. As Joe says, it’s also about the customer knowing the business, the vendor and how that goes both ways.

He truly is a master at this. I speak from experience as I mentioned. As soon as we met and got to know each other a little bit better, he started figuring out, “Who can I introduce Betsy to?” It’s not just saying but actually doing it. We all know those people that are like, “I’ll introduce you to so-and-so,” and then it never happens. You have to follow-up three times and ask them, “I like that introduction.” That’s not how Joe goes about it. It shows because he has some phenomenal relationships. What’s cool too about that is the people that he’s introduced me to have all said, “Any friend of Joe’s is a friend of mine. Let’s talk.” When you get that respect and influence on relationships, it’s priceless.

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I agree with that, the insights that he pulled out for us. I want to encourage the readers to take your notes, look at your notes and figure out what is it that you can put into place? What type of things can you add to your relationship-building practices that you may already have? If you don’t have them, what could you do? We talked about a number of things like, do you have a video? Do you jump on a podcast? Even if it’s just being interviewed on these things to start with, that’s a great place for you to build a bit of rapport with people that don’t know you yet. You can share that with your existing clients, people that you may not have phone calls with or regular meetings with so they get to know you a little bit better. Several years ago, I started being a guest on podcasts and now, here we are doing our own because people want more. People want to learn more from me and it’s a great thing to do. Building that relationship, even if it’s to a camera or to a microphone, it lets people get a little more transparency into who you are, how you work, what your belief systems are and your passions and that helps them buy into you as they’re doing business with you.

Tony, doing these shows and he said, “We just get to learn from many great people.” I feel like this is our field and yet we’re still learning a lot and I learned a lot from Joe.

Thanks for joining us. We are delighted to have you as guests and would love to hear from you. Reach out to us and let us know who you’d like to hear from on the show next.

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About Joe Lynch

KYC 7 | Customer Relationships

Joe Lynch is the founder of The Logistics of Logistics, a sales and marketing firm that helps transportation, logistics, warehousing, and technology firms grow their sales. Joe hosts The Logistics of Logistics podcast, which is one of the leading logistics industry podcasts.

Joe’s significant experience in logistics and supply chain has given him unique insights into the challenges and opportunities facing companies that outsource some or all their transportation and logistics functions.

Prior to founding The Logistics of Logistics, Joe was the COO and General Manager of Rock Solid Logistics, a non-asset based 3PL in Michigan.

Earlier in his career, Joe led a supply chain consultancy, which focused on the automotive sector. His consulting engagements included: value stream mapping, supply chain optimization, lean product development, module strategy, and quality improvement.

Joe started his career as an automotive engineer and eventually rose to program launch manager for Jeeps built in Thailand and China. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration and from Cleary University. Joe also earned a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Michigan. His master’s program was specifically designed for facilitators, trainers and consultants.