EFP 78: Leveraging Storytelling In Your Business – Interview With Sean Buvala

Justin Cooke

January 16, 2014

Sean BuvalaHow can you leverage stories in your business? They’re for kids or liars telling “stories”, right? They’re not for entrepreneurs who want to make some cash.

Why Facts Tell and Stories Sell with Sean Buvala

Turns out business storytelling is a versatile weapon that can be used to attract the right crowd, make people believe in your product, and of course, make you money. This week, we’ve got Sean Buvala talking about the benefits of business storytelling.

Just a warning that the beginning is a bit longer than it should be, but the episode definitely picks up a lot of momentum as it goes on. Stick it out because you won’t want to miss out on the energy and the information.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

Direct Download – Right Click, Save As

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Recent breaking of our Marketplace record.
  • The importance of being genuine and dangers of dishonesty.
  • Differentiating your company from competitors with your story.
  • Real examples of more money being made thanks to a story.
  • How to make people remember your company months from now.
  • How to make a story when you “don’t have a story.”

Mentions:

Quotables:

  • “You have enough internal resistance fighting you that there’s reason to be positive and show the upside.” – Justin – Tweet This!
  • “Doing something instead of nothing is better than doing nothing at all. Don’t wait until you have the perfect story.” – Sean – Tweet This!

What do you think about business storytelling? Is it something you want to try or are you still not sure? Leave us a SpeakPipe message or comment below and give us your thoughts.

 


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Speaker 1:           Welcome to the Empire Flippers Podcast. Are you sick and tired of gurus who have plenty of ideas, but are short on substance? Worried that e-book you bought for $17.95 won’t bring you the personal and financial freedom you long for? Hey, you’re not alone. Join thousands of others in their pursuit of niche profits without the bullshit. Straight from your hosts, Justin and Joe from Empire Flippers.

Justin:                   Welcome to episode 78 of Empire Flippers Podcast. I’m your host Justin Cook and I’m here with Joe “Hot Money” Magnotti. What’s going on business partner?

Joe:                        Hello everybody.

Justin:                   Joe is remote today, so we’re recording this podcast remote. Got some updates, news and info for you, but I’ll mention that the heart of this week’s episode is an interview with a guy named Sean Buvola. Basically how it was put to me is that he’s a story teller, business story teller. I was first introduced to him through our apprentice Vincent who said, “This guy’s really interesting. You should talk to him.” And so we had a really interesting call about what it’s like to tell a story in your business, whether you should, what types of stories to tell, the difference between story-telling and elevator pitch.

                                So some really interesting stuff. I’m happy to share it with you. Before we do that though, let’s do some updates, news and info. We’ve got our first five star stitcher review buddy.

Joe:                        Hit me up man.

Justin:                   Here’s the deal. It says “Spot on niche site education.” Comes in from Damon. Says, “Great show, entertaining and informative. Heard about it from listening to the Tropical NBA podcast. Now they’re my top two listens each week, not to be missed.”

                                Appreciate it Damon. Thank you for the five star review man.

Joe:                        Very cool.

Justin:                   Second thing we’re gonna talk about is we just had the double dribble in [inaudible 00:01:37]. Joe was, basically went all out, set up a basketball tournament here in Duvall. We got a bunch of sponsors. We had other entrepreneurs sponsoring teams. Sean over there at Badlands Resort, we’ve got the Outback guys here in Duvall. The DC, Tropical NBA, just a ton of sponsors, and had a blast. So it was all weekend. We had the regular season on Saturday, and the finals on Sunday. Joe why don’t you talk about it a little bit. How’d you do buddy?

Joe:                        Well, we came in second. So congratulations to Philippine, Carl Center Services, Daniel Christian’s team. They won the championship, which Daniel and I have a little back and forth competition, so he finally got the best of me. But, yeah, it was a lot of fun. Uniforms came out awesome. So much thanks to Knight’s Tailor here in Duvall for putting that on for us. Then everybody had a great time. I really enjoyed it. Everyone’s looking forward to the next time around. We might make some rules changes next time, but yeah, it was a lot of fun. Looking forward to maybe expanding it and inviting more people next time.

Justin:                   That’s cool man. So that was the guy that you beat in the boxing event. So it’s his chance to, his chance at a comeback, and he crushed it. He had a guy on his team, man, that was just ballin’. This guy, I mean at one game, they put another team, they destroyed them basically with the mercy rule. If you had 21 points, they would end the game. Yeah, he scored 20 of the 21 points. That game was crushing it man. But it was fun to watch. It was fun to watch everyone out there having a good time and to get everyone down here in Duvall for a bit so we could do something cool.

Joe:                        Yeah, I hope you’re going to post some of the pictures in the notes.

Justin:                   Yeah, dude, definitely. I’ll do that, and I’ll put it on the Facebook page as well.

                                The next point we’re gonna cover is that we sold the premium medical site. This is our largest sale so far, which is really exciting. Just sold for $55,000. We got the wire in, so we’ll be helping with the transfer to new buyer here shortly. It’s a really interesting site, and I think he’s got a lot planned for it to expand it.

                                The other thing is we’re also listing two more premium sites in the marketplace so I’ll make sure to link to those in the show notes, but they’re both really interesting and we’ll have more individual listings you can take a look.

Joe:                        Yeah, I talked to the buyer yesterday. He went ahead and wired the money, and I saw it this morning. Was a very happy camper, so congratulations to the buyer and the seller. The seller being our best seller on our marketplace, which you know, we’re even talking about having on the show one of these days.

Justin:                   Yeah, that’s kind of our last point I want to mention this, and we really wanted to share feedback as listeners what you think about this, but the idea was to possibly do interviews with site sellers and site buyers and ask them about kind of the site that they’re selling. Let’s say that they’re actual sites are listed in the marketplace, how they come to create the site, how they went to monetize it, some failures or pitfalls along the way, and then their plan for building the site out. What they would do if they were keeping the site to expand it. So I think it’d be kind of interesting both if you’re looking to buy the site, cause it’d kind of give you a roadmap on like a plan of attack in buying it. But even if you’re not planning to be a buyer of the site, just kind of hearing the story of how they’re building these profitable niche sites might be of value.

                                So we’re thinking about doing that either through blog posts once a week or possibly doing kind of like a in-between podcast on Tuesdays or something. So I’m really interested to hear what you guys think about that. I think that’d be interesting to you, let us know in the comments so we’ll see what we can do to get this started.

Joe:                        Yeah, I even think maybe a mash-up of a couple of different interviews might be very interesting, both a builder, buyer, and seller perspective.

Justin:                   Yeah, well it kind of goes along with this week’s episode actually, is like telling the story. I think someone that did a great job of this is Andrew Udarian when he listed his truly motor site recently. He had been talking about that so much over time that the buyer kind of knew exactly where the site was coming from, how he was going to expand it. He knew about the niche just by reading his blog and kind of his blog posts on the subject. I think it’d be interesting to do something similar for the sites we have for sale, and also for our builders so they can listen in and say, “Okay. So they’re monetizing with this, I want to try a lead site through this particular lead company.” Or “I see how they’re targeting those sites, that appeals to me.” And they can find out more information about if they’re thinking about it.

                                So, I don’t know, I think it’d be really interesting and I’m really interested in hearing your feedback about it before we get started, but enough about that, man. Let’s get right into the heart of this week’s episode.

Speaker 1:           This is the Empire Flippers’ Podcast.

Justin:                   So I’m really excited today to be talking to Sean Buvola. I was actually introduced to him through our apprentice Vincent, and he was telling me that he had a guy that has been focused on business story telling. When I first heard that I was thinking to myself, I don’t know, story telling sounds a little odd to me. Like story telling, like you’re making up stories, like you’re bullshitting, like what’s the deal with that exactly?

                                So I talked to him about it a bit, and he said Sean’s a really sharp guy, you should talk to him. We had a call, and we talked to him a little bit about how businesses can help craft their story based on actual events and what’s going on in their industry and with their company. I thought it was really exciting, so I wanted to have him on the program. I know that we did a rebranding earlier this year, and I know some others that have done something similar, and coming up with your story based on kind of a new perspective on your business and industry is great. Sean is over at Seantells.com. He’s also started a storytelling101.com, and howtowriteanabout me.com which is basically about how to write an about me page.

                                Sean, welcome to the show man.

Sean:                     Hey Justin, thanks a lot. You know what, I was looking at your Skype thing, waiting for you to get on the call here. You have a great quote in there. It says, “It’s easy to start a business, but, excuse me, It’s easy to start a shop, but it’s hard to start a business.” I gotta tell you, that was perfect man. You know, and people in story telling have known that for years. Do you know the story of the boy who cried wolf? Do you know that story?

Justin:                   Yeah, of course, yeah.

Sean:                     Well of course you do. Well you know what, a lot of people don’t know the old stories, and in that story there’s a shepherd, he’s watching sheep, right? And day after day after day he watches these sheep out in the field and nothing exciting is happening. He’s just a bored little kid. So one day he decides he needs some excitement, so he calls out and he says, “Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!” Well, all the people in the village, they hear him. So they grab their pitchforks and their knives and their sabers and they all come running out to beat on the wolf. Well, when they get there, there’s no wolf out there. So the kid is like, “Oh, you know how great that was, all that excitement.” They said, “Look, you better not do that again.”

                                Well, the next day he’s bored again, but he likes the excitement. He likes the attention. He likes all that energy, you know supposedly. So he does it again. He calls out and he says, “Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!” And all the people, “Oh my God, a wolf!” So they grab all their stuff and their weapons and they come running back out. And they get there that second day, and you know what, there’s no wolf again and they said, “Look kid, you gotta knock this off. This is not gonna happen.”

                                So the third day, the kid is like, “Oh man.” It’s like, you know he’s an adrenaline junkie. Like information marketers. He’s an adrenaline junkie, right? So he does it again. “Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!” Except this time there actually is a wolf on the field. He sees this wolf coming and he yells it again louder. “Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!” Well the people in the village, oh man, they know this kid. They know this junk that he’s trying to sell them. He’s like, “I don’t, we’re not gonna listen to him.” So the wolf comes in and he eats his field of all the sheep while the boy hides in the tree.

                                I gotta tell you something man, if that isn’t about internet marketing, I don’t know what is man. Easy to make noise, but it’s hard to do something of substance.

Justin:                   It’s so funny, a lot of people explain that. What you need to do is you need to create more products. Create more products and more noise. I think that probably ties in to the boy crying wolf. When you actually do come out with something that is heartfelt that you know very well, but if you’ve been putting out all these crappy info products all along the way they’re going to assume, “Ah, it’s just another one of those crappy info products.” I think it has a lot to do with how you position yourself, which is what you’re getting to Sean.

                                Tell me a little bit about, cause it seems odd, like as a niche. How did you get into story telling. What was the career path that led you to story telling?

Sean:                     You know as a story teller, I was doing a lot of work in youth services, and family services, and counseling, and those kind of project based things, and family activities, and working for a youth services organization, and I had a group of eighth graders. I would go into these classrooms and do like values education, what we used to call it way, way, way back 30 years ago. So we did this values education stuff, and I had this one group of eighth graders that I would go into every week, and they were tough kids, man. It was a tough neighborhood, tough kids. One day as I come into the classroom, the teacher would leave and go do her work, as she walks past me she looks at me and under her breath she looks at me and she says, “Good luck.” She walks out the door, right?

                                So these kids are ready to kill each other and me. They’re like, oh my god, these kids were incredible.

Justin:                   You’re walking into the lion’s den here, right?

Sean:                     I was walking into the lion’s den, and I got so desperate, I’d been reading about this story telling thing that stories are a way to communicate, blah, blah, blah. So I started to pull the kids, not roughly, but gently out of the chairs and they became all the parts of the story I just started telling. It was desperation, man.

                                So they all became part of the story I was telling, and they were the people in the story and the houses and the trees and the fences and the dogs, they became the whole story. So the next time I go back in the classroom, about a week 10 days later, these kids say to me, “Sit down.” Okay. “We’re gonna tell you a story.” They had worked on their own time on telling their own story, another story that they wanted to tell. And they presented the story for me. Even though it gets all cliché right about now, where it’s like, oh and from that point forward, but it’s true. From that point forward, these kids were totally converted to learning the stuff we were talking about through actual stories and what have you.

                                so that’s when I knew back in the mid ’80’s that this was really powerful.

Justin:                   I get the idea, Sean, that working in an eighth grade classroom, or even in schools and churches, I know those are the some of the organizations you’ve worked with, even in, I get it with like large corporations, a really large company where they need to kind of craft their message, but how does this apply to a small or medium sized business? How does this apply to solopreneurs that are out there? Shouldn’t they be just kind of sell their product? Like why do they need to get into story telling? Why is that important for them?

Sean:                     Well here’s the thing. Right now the world has shrunk, right? You know it used to be here you and I are talking across the world right now, and it sounds to me like you’re next door. So the world has shrunk, and so with that, the availability of products has also shrunk and become larger. So no matter what widget you are selling, whether that’s insurance or website development, whether it’s the-shirts, whatever it happens to be, whatever your thing is, your widget thing is, there are another pile of people out there doing exactly what you offer.

                                So if you want to buy insurance then you can get insurance any where you want. If you want web developers, you can get web developers anyway. What separates you as a provider of services is what makes you different, is your story, your background. So people now, unless you make the only widget in the world that’s like your widget, you don’t need story telling if that’s all you do. But if what you do is web development, then I need to know from you, I need to know about you. Cause I can get a web developer anywhere who probably will do fine. But I want to be in a relationship with you, and I get that through your story. Why are you where you’re at, how do you view the world? How have your other customers come across that?

                                See it’s easy to do a testimonial. Now we treat our customers like family. That’s not a story, it’s a testimonial. So, but if you tell me that once upon a time, you know, that you got this client who was developing a website and they had been cheated out of $1000 by a developer, so they called you and they’re desperate and they say, “I really need this developed.” and you came along and you developed their home page and their landing page, you did it as a gift to them just to help them out as a human being, and from that point, that customer was so delighted with what you did for them that they became this long term customer and they moved six sites over to you, that’s more of a story about what you’re doing. That tells me something about the work that you do.

                                I certainly get that in insurance sales. A lot of my coaching clients are insurance sales, because frankly their all selling the exact same product. The difference is about how they will do their work and when insurance agent can tell you the story about how the first person that many of her clients talk to is her five year old daughter because the phone number she gives to people is her cell phone, the insurance agent’s cell phone, the insurance agent and her cell phone, that’s the number she gives out, and her kid sometimes get to it first. See that’s when we start to develop the story and the motivation.

                                I start to learn that you’re a family person, I start to learn that because of what you said in your little story about how your kid answers your phone I know that you’re always available for me. Those pieces of story, they go from “I’m always available for you.” Go from a slogan to an actual situation. And that’s true in every single thing that we do.

Justin:                   One of the things that I love about this is that, you know, you’re using it as a differentiator. We talk to a lot of people that try to differentiate their services based on price, and we say that’s a race to the bottom. Right? If you’re trying to differentiate based on prices, always gonna be someone cheaper in their mom’s basement in Kansas or Pakistan or India, the Philippines that’s gonna do it cheaper than you. So that’s probably not the best position to take. But if you’re able to tell a story.

                                I mean the other bit of that, we talked about this in previous podcasts, when you’re putting yourself out there, is that you’re attracting the right clients. Right? People that are on board with what you’re saying, they know where you’re coming from. In fact, it’s an opportunity for you to dissuade clients that aren’t a good fit. So you can say this is not, these are not the people I’m talking to, this is not the kind of customer I want, and those people will self select and go away, and it brings in the customers that are I think best. So I agree with you, especially for solopreneurs, especially for small and medium sized businesses, being able to craft the story that attracts the right customers is key.

                                We’ve talked to other people about elevator pitches. You’re 30 second kind of this is where my business is coming from and this is what we do. How is business story telling different from an elevator pitch?

Sean:                     Well I’m a firm believer that the elevator speech is dead, and at that point people’s heads explode. But here’s why I believe that. When you are in a relationship with people there’s three things happening all the time, even if you just met the person.

                                The three things that are happening are you as the teller, as the talker, as the person, as the business person, as the entrepreneur. There’s the person that you’ve just met, and that person you’ve just met is very different than the other people that you know or have worked with or clients, et cetera. And the third thing you have is your story, or the situation.

                                When you change any one of those three things, you absolutely change the communication strategy. So if I’m working, if I’m selling insurance, now let’s change that. If I’m selling website development, okay, and I have a story. Here’s my elevator speech. But the person I’m talking to is an entrepreneurial grandmother who’s got the money, who’s got the product, et cetera. But you come along and you do your spiel that you do for people, and you just lose her. That spiel needs to be adjusted to what she understands.

                                Now, if you are also, if you’re doing that same type of discussion, but your client now has been changed to one of these 25 year old wiz kids, well then you can speak a different language to them about the work that you’re doing. And so you changed your elevator speech, your story to match the person that you’re speaking to cause you answer what they need. When I’m talking to people, and I’m talking to them about their solo business, their entrepreneurial business, their one person house or two person house, that’s way different than if I’m talking to one of the major pharmaceutical companies. And I have both as clients, right.

                                so what person A over here needs, the entrepreneurial person who’s just trying to keep their web design company open is way different than what the pharma people need over here who have people from all over the world. But if I just come in with my one prepared memorized two minute elevator speech, I’m going to miss both of them.

Justin:                   It’s funny Sean, we just changed some of our messaging in our auto-responders email, email auto-responders, and we’re doing it by interest. So if someone’s interested in buying something they’re gonna get different messages. Selling sites, different messages, building sites, they’re gonna get different messages. And basically, I was doing that based on interest. The idea was that I want open rates to be higher, I want click through rates to be higher. But I want to deliver the right message at the right time to the right people. And I think that’s important.

                                You know, what I’m hearing from you though, is that not just message and interest, but approach and like their level of understanding is different too. So I’m thinking about this, I’m thinking about like the build sites track, and thinking I should probably go through and take out some of the jargon. Because these are people that are brand new, that are brand new to our kind of brand, and like want to understand how to build sites. So maybe taking out some of the jargon. I notice that’s something that we caught up in a lot, is we start talking about jargon, and you follow that trap of thinking, “Everyone understands what I’m saying. We’re all in the same kind of niche, everyone gets it.” So I think your message to outside people is gonna not resonate as well as it should as if, you know you were speaking at their level and with their language.

Sean:                     You know the argument that I get a lot of times is if I don’t have a speech prepared then I’m going to lose VC’s or angels or avenger capitalists and things like that. Even those people, they all want to hear different things, and it’s part of my job as an entrepreneur to know what those people are interested in, to have done my homework to know whether this VC, for example, if I’m looking for money is motivated by my charity work or is more motivated by the bottom line. It’s a bad assumption to assume, as you just said, that everybody knows what we know. No they don’t, and when we start working as story tellers versus kind of the, getting out of that used car sales approach and actually start getting into relationships with people, then I think they find the story telling works better. The problem is it’s hard work. It’s really hard work to be a good story teller about your own business. It’s hard work because you can’t just say here’s my two minute spiel, now I’m done, let’s move on.

Justin:                   So my business partner Joe recently had me reading a book called “The Advantage”. And it talks a lot about business health. It talks about how to improve the team, and improve your management team, your company overall, the health of your company, the outlook of your company, the message, the internal messaging. And it seems like one of those things, and I’ve always felt this, especially when I was reading the book, or when I started reading the book, that it’s one of those nice to haves. Right, it’s like, “Oh, that sounds really nice, and it’d be great to have great company culture. But really I need to get back to my spreadsheets and kind of start working on the business.” And I feel similarly about business story telling. Is this one of those nice to haves. Give me an example of why this is critical for a business and not just, you know, an addition that’d be nice.

Sean:                     It depends on your clientele. If your goal is to deal only with the small percentage of people who are facts and figures based people in the world, and that’s all you want to deal with, you know, more power to you and now you’ve found your client base. However, people think, and we know this from lots of research. It doesn’t take long to find this kind of stuff on the internet. But we know from lots of research that people think in stories. And so what story does is it frames the facts and information about your business and your work. It doesn’t replace it, but it frames that. And again, just going back to, just because it’s been on my mind lately with the numbers of clients I’ve had, the whole insurance industry. You know when somebody’s selling, I don’t know, throw it out there, you know XYZ insurance, right, it’s the same policy.

                                I can take a dart board with pictures of insurance agents, throw it, throw the dart and whatever agent I hit can sell me that policy. But it’s about which person I want to be in relationships with, and which person do I want to know is gonna be there when my house floods, so I have that agent’s cell phone number cause that’s how she operates her business, and I know that one o’clock in the morning when my house floods I know I can call her and get her because her story told me that.

Justin:                   That’s so cool. Yeah, it’s so funny because I think insurance agents, some of them, try to confuse the issue and make it seem like there’s all these, you know, a gazillion options, I’m the only one that can help you weed through the madness, when my experience has been that they are similar policies. They’re all similar, you’re going to pay a similar price, so why not just tell me that? And this seems like a great opportunity to disrupt the industry a bit where everyone else tries to confuse each other, it’s similar to the SEO business. Why not just say, “Look, it’s all kind of the same. Here’s what you do. Here’s where I’m coming from.” I think that’s into strength.

                                Let me tell you this though, let me ask you this. When you’re crafting your stories and you’re targeting different audiences, I see like a ton of potential for that to be manipulation, right? So it could be manipulation of the truth of the story to point where it’s harmful to your business. You have guys like, for example, Ryan Holiday. You’re familiar with him, but he wrote a book, “Trust me, I’m Lying.” All about media manipulation through stories. Is there any ethical points here? Are there any things that could harm your business through story telling? How far can you take it?

Sean:                     Sure. Yeah, absolutely. You know, can stories be used to manipulate people?  Yes, absolutely.  One of the big government agencies, DARMA, or DARPA, excuse me, is trying to, is doing these big conferences about how governments can use story telling to manipulate people’s lives. So can you use story telling for that? Yeah. On a much more practical sense of that, let me tell you my experience of it. I call those things lure stories, when you’re trying to tell people how great and wonderful you are.  I do a lot of conferences, so I had to book a service that most conferences use, and cause I don’t want to get into this person’s particular line of work, it’s a very common service and there’s lots of people out there who provide it.

                                So I went to these different companies and said, “Look, I’m looking for a new person to provide this. Tell me about your company.” And I had one company tell me a beautiful story. I mean, the work that they were doing and why they were doing it and, I mean, I was really impressed. I tend to be more into that, you know, how do you serve the world type stuff, and this company was all about their charity work and how they build that and how all their employees are family, and they’re all, everyone’s focused on this, so I hired this company. So that’s the story I got.

                                Now, when it came down to have this company into my conference, multiple times throughout the conference to do their job, they were terrible. They were terrible. I had employees who either wouldn’t look at me, these people that would come from this company, who wouldn’t talk to me, who wouldn’t answer my questions, or who would just say, literally said that cliché, “I just work for them.” So what happened is they lured me in with this beautiful story about what their company is about, and who they worked for. But then my experience was echhh.

                                So what happened is, I called those lure stories, like lure stories when you’re fishing, a fishing lure. So they did. They attracted me. And they fooled me. They completely fooled me with their story.

Justin:                   That’s so bad for the company. Sure, right, like it’s interesting. Okay, they got you in, but any company that’s worth its salt is looking at lifetime value for their customers. So if I lure you in, and even get you to pay me the first time, and you’re not going to come back, and you’re not gonna be an advocate, you know, singing our praises, then I’m missing out on a ton of opportunity. So I definitely get what you’re saying with missing out on some lifetime value with the clients there.

Sean:                     But even moving into, moving into even like the internet marketing world and things like that, where a lot of your folks are coming from, you know when somebody writes this beautiful sales page, they’ve paid $4000 for, right, and this beautiful sales and all of that stuff, which a lot of that is just plain old manipulation. When it comes down to, when on the forums people are saying no one’s called me back from your company, or you didn’t refund my money, you didn’t answer my questions, it’s broken here, your service people don’t know anything, see somebody’s gonna tell your story one way or the other. They’re gonna tell your story, they’re gonna come back and do it.

                                So that’s more of that lure story. So you can write the most beautiful story out there, and pay someone all kinds of money to talk about how great you are, but if your experience, if your delivery of that isn’t matching with your story, I don’t think, I think not only will you fail on that particular project, but people overall are going to stop working with you. And they’re going to say let me tell you this story of working with that company.

Justin:                   Yeah, it’s overpromise under deliver problem, where a lot of times, and this happens definitely internet marketing where people spend so much time and effort and energy on the sales page, on the copywriting, and they forget, “Oh yeah, product. What product? Yeah, no, no.” This is a sales page. This is where we need to sell. Let’s get in the door, but they’re missing I think such a much bigger opportunity that once you have them in the door delight them. Right? Like make it an amazing experience, and I have to say that we’re not the best.

                                There have been times where one of our employees, you know I have messaged something to a potential customer, and on the back end our employee said, “Oh, you know we don’t normally do it that way.” And I’ve caught that and gone, “Oh my God, that’s so horrible. What a horrible customer experience is that.” I’m on the front end saying, “Oh yeah, we can absolutely do that.” And they’re saying, “Yeah, no we don’t do it that way.” So I think making sure that you have your front end and back end message in lock or in sync is really important or you can really piss off some customers.

Sean:                     Yup. Yeah, absolutely. I agree with that.

Justin:                   Okay, so what can story telling save? And some people are going to say this, they’re going to ask you Sean, they’re going to think to themselves, “Well, this is ridiculous because as long as I have a good product, people are going to buy it.” If I’m creating the MacBook Pro, people are going to buy it cause it’s a MacBook Pro, cause it looks amazing, the design is fantastic, and it’s functional. I don’t need to craft a story around it. What do you say to that? I think that’s probably not true with MacBook Pro. They definitely have a story, but can you just have a product that’s amazing and not worry about the story?

Sean:                     There are a couple of answers to that question. Apple is all story. Apple is all story, and Apple for the longest time was all Steve Jobs. Not only was he, was he a great story teller in himself, but he was the product. So people put up with a lot of odd things from iPhones, you know iPhones re releasing stuff every six months, so iPhones or computers. You know what I’m talking about, they have a story. Again, it comes down to how rare is the product that you offer. If you are the only person who produces what you produce, then you can just sit back and say, “Well, they’re gonna come beat a path to my door because I’m the only person who does that.”

                                I find that most of the people that I deal with, and from what I know from your work and going through your websites and listening to your podcast, a lot of your people are dealing with stuff that everybody else offers, and it really does come down to, it really does come down to what separates them, and what separates us is our story.

Justin:                   Well, generally Sean, getting into a niche where there are no other competitors can be a scary prospect. There’s a lot of education that comes with that. So even if you do find the magical niche that no one’s on, that you introduce to the world, you can bet your ass that weeks, months later you’re gonna have competition. So people will be joining it once they see it’s profitable and that you’re crushing it. So I don’t, the idea that there is no competition, it may happen, but it’s pretty short lived anyway. So you’re gonna have to differentiate yourself from the competition. Maybe they’re not there now, but they’re coming, right?

Sean:                     Right. If you’re writing, let’s talk about some of the latest fad movements in internet marketing. Kindle books, right? When people first started in Kindle books they were taking PLR and doing nothing to it except stick it in a Kindle and selling it. Well, what happened is that Amazon figured out what was going on and they killed people’s businesses because people were cheating on it. They were just producing junk.

                                Then we cleaned up our act a little bit, collectively, and we started to create some better products. What’s happening now is that people are onto this idea that Kindle books are getting produced in your sleep, right. You know, soccer mom makes $6000 selling a Kindle book. What’s happening now is we’re finding that people are connecting to the authors better, because they’re learned to trust those authors. So when you’re putting out a Cajun cookbook, you need to actually have Cajun stories. You know what I mean?

Justin:                   Yup.

Sean:                     So you either need to create a persona or a pen name that has those, but I’m finding in my own experience with my own clients, that when people are putting out genuine products about things they’re genuinely passionate about, people can’t get enough of it. There are certainly big names in internet marketing and Kindle stuff who have discovered that when they put out something legitimate that they have more followers than they know what to do with.

Justin:                   So I love that. So okay, in our business Flippa is the biggest buy and sell auction house, marketplace type as you can go to buy and sell websites. And so the sellers there that have a story behind them that have long experience buying and selling sites are gonna get a lot more auction viewers. They’re gonna get a lot more people watching their auctions, watching them as a seller for when they get new listings, they get people that are just brand new. And you see this in internet marketing too, where someone tries to sell a course on how to buy and sell websites, and they don’t really know what they’re doing. They’re rehashing someone else’s stuff, and that’s not even close to being successful if someone, toot our own horn here, but if we had a course on that or Thomas over at Flipping Enterprises had a course on that, because he’s got years of experience behind it, and that’s known. He’s got a story that backs that up.

                                Let me switch gears on you for a second Sean. Have you ever, are you familiar with best of on Craig’s List?

Sean:                     No, I am not.

Justin:                   Alright, so let me tell you the idea. So best of, you know Craig’s List is where people list a bunch of stuff for sale.

Sean:                     Yeah.

Justin:                   It’s personals, and whatever. But a lot of times they’ll have a story. So for example, a guy is going to sell his truck. Instead of just listing his truck in the details he’ll give this story about how his, him and his wife have fought over this truck, and it’s absolutely crazy, and he feels like less of a man giving it up, but he has to to appease his wife. And it’s this whole story behind selling the truck. And it’ll go on best of and get a lot of views. Some of them are really funny. They’re really interesting. And I think they get a lot of attention. Sometimes it’s the right attention, sometimes it’s not. I was thinking about how this relates to, or relates to copywriting when you’re selling a site. So for example if you’re listing a site on Flippa to sell, adding a bit more story behind it, not just laying out the details, but adding the story of how you came to create it, why you’re selling it, the reasons behind it, and like, you know, getting a bit personal, I would imagine is gonna do a lot better than just, “Okay, here are the details, here’s what it is, buy it or not.” Right?

Sean:                     Yes. And I know, I mean I can tell you two things on that. I’ve been messing around a little bit, as a total side kind of niche piece and giving some other people to do, this concept of the-shirts are becoming, are the newest fad on the internet right now, right, everybody’s selling t-shirts. But I will tell you something, when I take 20 minutes and I produce a short video about those why I made the shirt look the way it looks, my sales go up. And I can almost time it by the numbers. I’m trying to think if I have any of those available. I can almost time it by the numbers, when I put the video up I can watch the the-shirt sales go up. Because I put the story behind it.

                                Another interesting thing, and I wish I had this at my fingertips to give you at the moment, but there was an interesting thing done with Ebay probably five years ago, that they took the same item and they sold the same item on Ebay. And they were all little, kitschy things. Okay, just little ceramic, kitschy things. And for one thing they put up the facts and the figures and they, on Ebay, and they said, “Here’s this. You can buy this. It’s six inches tall, blah, blah, blah.” On the other one, they wrote this whole copy about, “This used to belong to my grandmother.”

                                So they did this whole thing, and every one of those items that had a story written about it sold for higher prices and faster than the one that had no story. So, maybe by the time we get this podcast posted I can have the link for you on that. It was a very interesting study. It’s exactly what you’re talking about is that, you know, “Oh, I’ve got to get rid of my car. My wife’s making me, but damn, I love that car.” Same thing, brother.

Justin:                   So we know a guy, Andrew over at ecommercefuel.com, he recently listed an e-commerce site he had for sale. And he did the whole story behind it. He gave all the statistics, all the information, but had a story behind creation. And people have been following along his journey, and he had been talking about this site for quite a while. So when it came up for sale, he ended up selling it for a much higher multiple than I think your average site seller, or your average e-commerce guy would have sold it for because there was so much history behind the site. I mean, he built kind of his brand, his online brand around talking about that site, so it had a ton that came with it.

                                I saw someone mention that. Maybe someone just bought it to be internet famous. Like they bought Andrew’s site, but I think that’s important. We did a podcast panel in October in Bangkok where we mentioned, and this is true for other people we know too. Like we have people buying 10,000, 15,000 dollar sites from us without much conversation beforehand. And I know other people that struggle to sell $8 ebooks on the Warrior forum without getting a ton of questions beforehand. People want to know all this information. I think it has to do, part of it has to do with people listening to our podcast. Right, when we’re in their earbuds and they kind of know how we operate, and where we’re coming from, and our story, and the story behind our sites, they know what the deal is, right? Where if you’re just some random dude selling some weird $8 ebook, well, my investment going to be wasted, is my time gonna be wasted on this, I have all these questions beforehand. I think getting your story out there, there are different mediums. You mentioned video, which of course is great as well, but video and audio I think is particularly helpful. Probably more helpful than blog posts.

Sean:                     No, I think so. And as our client markets are younger, you know we keep getting older but our client markets are young. When you look at that 25ish group, that’s really starting to be able to spend money now, they think in video. That’s what they want. I mean, you’re better probably at that, kind of finding these facts and figures on this, but as a general rule, I’ve been reading stuff, people want video. Young people who are coming into spending money, and young family people and those thirtysomethings do, they want video. They want to see it on video first, so video isn’t story telling, but it’s a way to prevent, to present stories. And it’s very effective and it works well.

                                Because people remember the stories that you tell. You know, six months from now you might say, “Oh I interviewed Sean Buvola about story telling.” And somebody’s going to say to you, “Who?” And you’re gonna say, “You remember that nut job who told the story about the wolf at the beginning of the podcast?” “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh yeah, him. He talked about.”

Justin:                   Oh, that guy.

Sean:                     Yeah, that’s right. That guy. So what happens is is that I’m not, nobody’s going to remember my name. You know what I mean? Sean. Okay, that’s great. Nobody’s going to remember the name. But they’re going to remember the stories that we’ve talked about. They’re going to remember what we talked about with the company that came into my conference and gave me a lure story. They’re going to remember that. They’re going to remember the story about the guy with the eighth grade kids who were going to kill him. They’re going to remember those things, and all of those stories help to define what I do for people.

Justin:                   Yup.

Sean:                     You know, that does all of that. Whether they see it or they hear it or they read it, for me, I went and looked at your materials and your website, and we’ve talked before, and I went and read the transcript for the one where you guys produced your story. For me reading is better, but that’s just me cause I’m old. So reading is better for me, but you know what I learned about you guys, it’s something that I don’t know about other flippers, and it seems to me that you guys are much more customer centered than a lot of these people who are just trying to create the internet lifestyle by flipping websites. I’m much more interested in working with you guys, because it seems that you guys have a lot more fun. It seems that every encounter you have starts with beer, which for me is fine.

Justin:                   There’s some truth to that for sure. I think I’m turning red right now, but yeah, no, I mean we started our mortgage business originally in Thailand over a beer, so, that’s just definitely true.

                                What would you say to someone, Sean, that goes, “That’s great. You know, Justin and Joe, they flew halfway around the world and they started this business in the Philippines or whatever, blah, blah, blah. Sure, they’ve got a great story. But I don’t have a story. Like there’s nothing all that interesting. I kind of work in a job, I’m trying to get my blog going on the side. I started a podcast.  I sometimes publish. There’s just nothing that interesting. I’m married.  Like that’s it.  There’s no story here.  What do I do?” How does someone without a story get one?

Sean:                     I think everybody’s got a story and one of the first indicators is if people are saying to themselves I don’t have a story, moving into the metaphorical metaphysical for a moment, maybe people need to look at their lives. I don’t mean that in any negative sense at all, but it’s like if your life has produced nothing, which is not really true for most people, than take a look at what you’re doing because you’re only here for that long. A snap of life. So start grabbing some stories.

                                On the other side of that, you also, to be a story teller, you have to be intentional about it. You need to start keeping track of the stories that happen.

Justin:                   That’s a good point. I like that.

Sean:                     I don’t want this to sound like a spiel, but in one of the books I put out we talk about the idea of trigger words and going back and using the trigger words process with your friends and your family to think about. You have more stories than you think you know. And I think that’s true.

                                The other part of that is if you really don’t have a story, then go to the world tales, the tales of the world that talk about what you want to be and use that story to help define the business. Whether it’s the boy who cried wolf or the sculptor and the lion, or Cinderella, or whatever it happens to be. Find some stories in the beginning that you can use to latch onto that, and don’t be afraid to use them.

                                Now when I work with business people, I don’t say I’m going to tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a boy who was a shepherd.  Are you kidding me? You know, I don’t tell the stories like that, but I will use those stories on the story telling 101 site. We use the story about the sculptor and the lion and how the chisel that we hold is story telling. And so I use those stories to define the work.

                                So there’s plenty of stories out there. There’s 9,000 Cinderella stories in the world or more. And so there’s plenty of stories out there to latch on, to carry you through until you start developing more of your client stories. It can be done. They’re out there. The work is out there.

Justin:                   I think if you have customers right now, a great thing you do is ask them why they purchase from you? What was it that interested them originally to your brand? What separated you from them? And going back and talking to your customers and ask them. And if you don’t have customers yet, if you’re really new, like you said, friends and family, and try to get some ideas as far as what they think your story is. Because your story is known to other people. They have a story for you. If you can figure that out and help to craft it yourself and use it to your advantage, I think that’s helpful.

                                I want to go back to one thing you mentioned, we talk about this a lot where we say, “Be the blah, blah, blah guy.” And blah, blah, blah, we mean be niched down enough to where you can be known for being that guy with that thing. And yours obviously is the story teller guy. You’re the story teller guy that we had on our podcast, right? Other people are, our buddies the office auto pilot I know are called Ontraport guy. Another guy we know is the copywriting guy. Right? And you want to be that guy because it’s so easy to refer people to you. “Oh, you need a copywriting guy. I got that guy for you.” You know what I mean? Like it just makes it so much easier, and it makes the leads cheaper and everything. So I agree. And if story telling helps you determine what that blah, blah, blah means, I think it’ll be good for your business.

                                If you had to give any like tips for someone that wants to figure out how to craft a better story for their brand, business, or product, where you send them? What would you tell them? What are things that people can do to get better at it?

Sean:                     Well I’d send them to my books of course.

Justin:                   Yeah, yeah. Tell us about your books a little bit.

Sean:                     But really, part of being able to speak a story, or to write a story, is having heard or seen good stories. And so, think about the people that, I mean you just said it so clearly. Think about the people who are that niche person, you know, the copy guy, whatever. Think about those people and say what is it about their stories that really attract me about that, and look at how those stories have been formed. I don’t, Justin you and I have talked twice on the phone, I don’t know you, but from reading your transcripts I have a better idea about you. And so I feel some of your story, and I get a sense of what’s the beginning, what’s the middle, and even what’s the endpoint for you so far. So knowing that stories have to have beginnings, middles, and ends, that’s critical. And say to yourself, “Where did I start this experience?”

                                So I had a customer who did this. So where did that start? How did they come to me? That’s the beginning. And write that down. Then, what kind of happened in the middle? How did we relate to each other? That’s the middle. Write that down. Then, where did that relationship go? Write that down. Then you go back through those, that beginning, middle, and end, and you fill in some of the pieces. You can even call the client and say, “You know, I’m thinking about, remember the first time we met? Where was that?” And that’s where you start to find those details. You start to find that. They’re gonna say, “Oh no, that wasn’t the first time we met. The first time we met was.” And they’ll fill in more of that story.

                                So be willing to listen to other people. Be willing to read other people’s work. Let go of some ego a little bit, and go to people and say, “What do you know about this?” None of us have the full story about every story we think we have. So let go of some of that, and go to people and say, “Do you remember when we booked that company for the conference and they had all those crazy employees? How did I find them?” And somebody says, “Oh no, you didn’t find, you talked to them live.” Somebody will remind you of those things. So go back and really look at that.

                                I guess I would say is remember the stories have beginnings, middles, and ends. And really work towards finding those three pieces. Then you can fill in the spaces from there.

                                I would say that doing something instead of nothing, which is like a mantra for me, right, doing something instead of nothing is better than not doing it all. So rather than wait until you have the perfect story, put something out there that’s legitimate. Don’t fall into the $4000 copywriter trap and say, “Oh, it’s got to be perfect.” No. Put some story out there that’s true about you and your work. And then those stories will fill out and build.

Justin:                   On a related note, Sean, I was talking to a guy named John Meyers recently about design, right, and not kind of just the designing your website, but as a holistic approach to design. Like really capturing your brand, your business, and bringing your customers together under that design. I thought it was really interesting, and one of the things he mentioned was that you should have a folder where you keep, as you’re going through your regular business and you see design that you like, that seems to really encapsulate the brand, this is fantastic, just put it in there. Use Pinterest or use resource, whatever. I think you do the same thing with story telling where you go through and you go, “Okay, I love this story. I love how this is crafted. Let me put this in my folder. Let me put this on Evernote or whatever, and I’ll come back to this and I can use that as a template, or I can pull the pieces out for my business that will help.”

                                I really like, so there’s a guy, and his name is Andrew Warner on mixurgy. He’s a great podcast interviewer. I love the fact that how it seems like every interview he does has this kind of like crafted story. Like he kind of sets the tone, and he has certain things that he follows, hero’s journey or whatever. Where can I find out more about those types of stories and what resonates in general? Is that just a trial and error, or are there stories that are generally more popular with people that you can kind of fit it into?

Sean:                     No, I do.

Justin:                   Like for example, sometimes somebody’s interviewing, and they’ve got this whole life story and how they started their business or whatever, but that’s not the interesting part. What he’ll do is focus in on six months of this entrepreneur’s life and their business, and that is the story, because he sees the rise and fall or whatever he’s looking at in that section. How would you go about learning more about that?

Sean:                     Part of it is I wouldn’t obsess too much about those complex, next level ideas of story structure. It’s real popular right now for people to talk about all my stories have to have the hero’s journey, or the mythic structure. And just being totally blunt here right now, a lot of that is just crap and is an excuse for people to not actually write stories. And it’s very popular in the C-Suite level of large companies. You know, you get all the executives together who talk about these concepts about how our company is like all this, and so, and then they never actually do any story telling. So I would first say to people, you can let go of some of that. There is a mythical structure out there. However that, for most business people, I would say, I’m trying to think over thirty years of doing this how many clients I’ve talked to about mythical structure, and it’s pretty darn slim if at all.

                                Now I go to schools and teach, I mean I teach story telling in college levels and masters classes and stuff, but that’s a different thing. For working in the business world, I think the truth is more powerful. The truth about your business is more powerful than worrying about the actual structure of that. I guess my point I’m trying to say is don’t get caught up in that.

Justin:                   Don’t use that as resistance. Right? Like don’t allow that to get in the way of telling your story because, “Oh I don’t have the exact right template and it doesn’t fit everything that it’s supposed to.” Screw that. Just get started, tell your story. And it’s going to evolve over time, right? And you’re gonna kind of figure that out. I totally get where you’re coming from there. And this is, I’m gonna be selfish Sean, I’m gonna ask you. So what are your thoughts on our story? What do you like? But like more importantly, what do you think we could improve?

Sean:                     I thought, looking at your story, I thought there were a couple of things. A lot of your story is facts. And you’re talking about this is where we went, this is we went, this is where we went. I’d like to know more about the whys of what you do. I would like to know, I’d like to know more about your charity organization, and I’m sorry the word has escaped me at this very moment, but you talk about your charity work at the end of I think it’s your about us on your bio. I’d like to know more about that, because for some people, they want to know that the people they’re working with see the bigger picture. There’s lots of gurus out there who you just know from the beginning are just out to take your $7.17, $9.97, whatever course, right? You know how that goes. So I’d like to know more about that. I think those would be some interesting stories.

                                You know some fun words, and especially in the interview, you talk about there’s very few typhoons. I think you could really play with that. I think you could really have some fun with, you’ve brought to an area, the energies of the typhoons. And these are why customers like you, because we’re so responsive, you know. So there’s really ways to play with that.

                                I’d like to know more about, I’d like to know more about what happened in your head to get you to move from, besides I hate my desk job, I’d like to know more about what got you guys to pick up and move. There’s something gotta be happening there that I think, I don’t know, I think there’s more to the work that you do than facts and figures and pictures of you with a tiger.

Justin:                   Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Sean:                     Know what I’m saying? I don’t mean this in any negative way at all.

Justin:                   No, no. I totally hear what you’re saying. In fact, so I wrote a guest post on Flippa. It was about kind of our getting started in the Philippines, and I was scared to get off the plane, knowing like it’s up to me, you know if I screw this up I’m screwing up my own life and my business and everything. That really resonated. It got popular on social media. It got a ton of comments. We don’t, it’s funny, cause I was a guest post on someone else’s site. We probably don’t mention that enough on our own. So I do hear where you’re coming form.

                                Funny enough, I was just reading earlier today actually, where someone was saying, “Oh, that’s, it’s just too positive.” He was talking about moving overseas and doing all these things. I think the default position on moving overseas or taking a leap or a jump like that is that it’s scary enough. You have enough internal resistance fighting you that there’s reason to be positive about that and show the upside. And it’s not like selling a dream, it’s showing people that there’s opportunity. I think once they start, you know, being honest and laying out, “Okay, here are some of the concerns and the worries that you have.” But I think most people need to get over that internal resistance of doing something like that.

Sean:                     You’ve really hit on something, and I think, for me, from outside looking in, the fact that you picked up your work and actually created new work overseas, I mean, balls of steel, brother. To me that’s astonishing. But I find it really interesting what you just said about getting on and off the plane. Boy, there’s a whole piece about that. And your clients and your customers who are starting a new business who are building their own empires and things like that, everyone of them relates to “Oh my God, should I get on the plane?” And you have a whole hook there in your own story.

Justin:                   Oh yeah.

Sean:                     You have a whole hook there in your own story that could be used to connect with people because the ideas about overcoming fear. And you know what I’m talking about. You and I know this because we both had clients like this who, you know, they work a nine to five job that they despise, and they get home at six o’clock and they eat dinner and they get up and they look at their computer and they’re, “Hey, start your own business.” And they are scared shitless to do that. You know what I’m talking about?

Justin:                   Yeah, absolutely.

Sean:                     So your story about, okay you want fear, here’s fear. I’m picking up and moving to a foreign country. And why you did that, to me, that critical to me because I can do plenty of research on the internet and find out the facts and figures about your company should I need to do that. I mean it’s all out there. You can’t hide anymore. So you tell me your story. Don’t hide the facts, of course, you know you’re still gonna say here’s how long we’ve been in business. But you tell me your story. Let me know who you are.

Justin:                   That’s awesome Sean. I really dig it. We’re getting close to the end. Let me ask you, do you have any examples of like great entrepreneurial story tellers from, you know, in business, what are some of the business stories and the story tellers that you really like and appreciate and admire?

Sean:                     You know, just talking about one of those other types of gurus out there, are you familiar with Jay Boyer?

Justin:                   No.

Sean:                     John S. Rose and Jay Boyer, they do a lot of products and launches a lot of Kindle work and stuff like that. Jay has a great story about being a carpenter, and not that many years ago, basically doing some of the story I just told you. He has a great story about how he went from essentially being a working man, a construction person, not knowing jack about the internet and moved himself forward in what he’s doing with his family. And how he’s incorporated his kids into his Kindle projects. You know, whenever I get an email from him, I open it. I want to see what he’s up to. And every time he does a webinar I listen to it, either directly if my schedule allows directly, or I listen to the replays.

                                Those two are doing some really powerful stuff. Beyonic Silver does some really interesting work. His work is very interesting. I like that fact that he’s about the transcendent stuff about business because I’m up to my ears and twenty something internet lifestyle, I’m on the beach working. I am done with that crap, cause most of them are sleeping on mattresses in their building. You know, I’m done with that. But the real people who have something transcendent, bring those. Bring those people to me.

Justin:                   Yeah, the lifestyle design cry, I hear ya. It’s like the glorified backpacker, right?

Sean:                     Yes.

Justin:                   So we thought that whole crowd was entirely that way. I gotta tell you this, so a couple years ago, you know we were talking about maybe you could find a good product for them, and somebody said, “No, screw that. Those kids don’t have any money. Everyone’s broke and they’re on a beach in Thailand, but they’ve got sand all over the place and they’re dirty, and whatever. They don’t have real businesses.”

Sean:                     Right, right, right.

Justin:                   So, we started connecting with some other ex-pat entrepreneurs, then a couple more, then a couple more. We said, “Well, there’s definitely that crowd. There’s the digital nomad crowd that really are the sand in your crack crowd. But there’s a whole nother group of people that are building real, interesting, valuable businesses, and they happen to travel a bit.” Maybe they’re in Southeast Asia or Australia, or whatever, but they travel around a bit, because they’re mobile. And that, that’s an interesting crowd. So that was a crowd that started to attract us because it felt closer to home for us and something that we could relate to.

                                Yeah, it’s weird, like you know, I had the whole idea, and I still think there’s a ton of those guys out there you’re mentioning, the backpackers, but there’s a whole nother ex-pat crowd. I think that word is starting to get out. Hopefully we could help spread it, cause I think it’s a really interesting movement. I think it’s really interesting what some of these people are doing.

                                Sean, is there anything that I didn’t ask you that I probably should have? Anything that you wish I would have asked?

Sean:                     No. I think you asked some really great questions. I think you have to be honest, as you have done, about people who will listen to something like this and go, “Oh yeah, I don’t need that story telling stuff.” I like the opportunity to be able talk about, “Yes you do.” I mean, don’t just fall into the fact that I’ve got a hire of overpaid copywriter to write beautiful words. We all have that ability to create that. I think the truth, the truth goes a long way in business. If people are just trying to build an internet business and they’re moving from flash in the pan to flash in the pan, you can’t sustain that. You really can’t. I’ve been around long enough to know that, that flash in the pan is really cool cause it puts some money in your pocket, but it’s not sustainable.

Justin:                   Yeah.

Sean:                     So telling the truth is really important.  Develop your story, learn to tell your own story, quit hiring voice over actors with accents to tell your story. Tell your own story, and use your real voice and your real accent. Be true. Be true about the work that you’re doing.

Justin:                   It’s so funny, it’s so funny that you mention people going around and getting fairly good at picking up clients, and then just dropping the ball with them, cause aside from the fact that first off, a lot of people that try to do that are not gonna get the customers in the door in the first place. And then the ones that do, they’re missing such an opportunity. Right? Cause if they can attract the attention, and then not deliver the value, God, if they just delivered the value they’d make so much more. Their business would be so much more successful. So, yeah I think if you’re able to attract them in, by actually delivering they’re gonna get a ton more value out of all the customers they’re bringing in.

                                Sean, I’m gonna invite our listeners to, if they have any questions about story telling and want to lay out their story, be critiqued, I’m gonna invite the to do that in the comments. I really hope you guys do it. Where can our listeners get in touch with you if they want to find out a bit more about you, about the books you have available?

Sean:                     Sure. My main website is at Seantells.com, and Sean is, so it’s S-E-A-N-T-E-L-L-S dot com. I don’t have the best website in the world, that’s not where I’m getting most of my people. Social media now has taken over my life, and that’s where all my new energies are coming from. But I do have a couple of products out that I think are very helpful for people. Storytelling101.com is an e-book, is an e-workbook, and covers that. But every, I mean I’m giving it away, and I don’t mean hype giving it away, I mean it’s like 47 bucks and includes 25 minutes on the phone with me. So, people should look at that. They really should, because it really is a basic thing.

                                If people are just looking to fix their bios on their websites, howtowriteanaboutme.com is like a 17 dollar book. Is an e-book and videos and what have you. I’m not a big hype seller person. Both of those things are really valuable for people and are good place to start. I’m @storyteller on Twitter, which is also a great place to find me as well. When you adopt early in electronics you get great names like @storyteller. So those are the places to get started with me.

Justin:                   Cool man. Yeah, I’m a follower of yours on Twitter and checked out your site and your products a bit too. You were telling me about really, I’ll just mention it briefly, but was it the story teller for fathers, so you were explaining how fathers should put down the book and start being creative with their children. I thought that was kind of interesting.

Sean:                     Yeah, that’s at daddyteller.com, and that’s also a book. There’s, I think there’s 14 or 15 training videos that are just like just come and get them. I don’t have the perfect funnel built, so you can actually get my stuff for free right now. I’m a [crosstalk 00:58:09]

Justin:                   Some of our tech, they’re gonna be like, “Okay, I can get all those books. I’m gonna put it all over the crazy forums. It’s gonna be free everywhere.” You’re in trouble buddy, you’re in trouble.

Sean:                     So daddy teller is good, and daddy teller is that when we start talking about parents interacting with their kids. That’s a fun thing, and when I get to get off of the business and the internet marketing and all of that, and I get to go do workshops for parents, boy that is, that’s brilliant. The opportunities to do that are wonderful. But, you know what, they come from my work on the internet. That’s how people find me, so, you know, we use all the formats we can to find our clients.

Justin:                   Absolutely, that’s, Pat Fun says, “Be everywhere.” And I think that’s a good policy to take, or good approach to take.

                                Sean, I just want to thank you so much for being on the show, man.

Sean:                     Yeah.

Justin:                   It’s been fantastic. Great talking to you. You are a fantastic story teller. Thanks for helping us craft ours. Appreciate it.

Sean:                     You’re welcome man, no problem.

Speaker 1:           The Empire Flippers Podcast.

Justin:                   All right, so that’s our interview with Sean Buvola. I really hope you enjoyed it. It was great talking to him. He’s a really super sharp guy, and hopefully you can take some of the tips that he shared with us in our business, you know, heading into 2014.

                                So let’s get right into our tips, tricks, and our plans for the future.

Speaker 1:           You’re listening to the Empire Flippers Podcast with Justin and Joe.

Justin:                   All right Joe, for our first tip, we had a mastermind this last weekend as part of the double dribble tournament in Duvall. We also mixed in a mastermind on Friday. And in the mastermind you kind of, you shocked me a little bit. You mentioned something that, you know, I know we talked about before, but it was, it was a good one. So why don’t you mention that buddy.

Joe:                        Yeah, so I mean, I was just talking about some of the clients we have and following up on the outsourcing side and how it’s distracting from our main business of buying, selling, and building sites, and it’s just not in our wheelhouse anymore. And the mastermind came up with the idea of just selling the outsourcing company in general. I thought it was a great idea. It excited me, in fact.

Justin:                   Yeah, well here’s the thing, right, I mean it is, yeah, it’s a little further from our main goal. We’re not expanding on that business. We’re not actively seeking new outsourcing clients. So, I mean really it’s gonna sit there, and we’ve had long standing relationships, years with these clients, but they’re just kind of gonna sit there. We’re not gonna grow that side of our business. And it’s a real opportunity for someone else to come step in and expand it or continue to grow it, whereas it’s not a focus of ours. So we’ve got this asset that’s kind of sitting there. If we don’t do anything with it, it will dwindle over time. Why not sell it off to someone who’s interested in actually growing that side of the business? It would include, obviously, our Philippines corporation and some other things. I think we need to work out some of that. I know we’ve got kind of a mixed financials, right? So we’ll have to separate out the financials from the outsourcing company and separate out from Empire Flippers, but, yeah I think there’s a real opportunity for there.

                                And really, just to keep our focus on where we see kind of our long term vision is. It’s not with the outsourcing company, so it’s a really interesting idea. I don’t know, we still have some details to work out, but it’s something that we’re definitely seriously considering. So if we have more information on that in the next couple of weeks or months, we’ll definitely be sharing in this podcast and on the blog as well.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think you and I need to sit down and, like you said, go through those details, but I see it as a perfect buy for someone that has business experience, but is looking to make a move to the Philippines and wants to have some steady, relatively passive income with something that they can grow at the same time because they have maybe outsourcing clients or business connections back in the US. This gives them the infrastructure to just grow the operational side almost instantaneously.

Justin:                   Yeah, strategic purchase, someone already owns an outsourcing company and they’re just looking to pick up the contracts or kind of expand, that would make sense. I also think possibly like a lifestyle Larry, so someone who’s got the cash, maybe they’re looking to retire or come out to the Philippines or something anyway.  I think it would help if you’re on the ground. You’d have to have someone on the ground here due to the requirements of the business, but yeah, it’ll be interesting man. We’ll definitely talk about that more soon.

                                The second point I want to mention is that, you and I have been talking about this for a few weeks now. We see a lot of opportunity in the marketplace in 2014. We want to own the 10,000 to 100,000 dollar site selling range. I think we have a real opportunity to do that. To do that, though, I think we’re going to need a marketplace manager. So we’ve been kind of hashing out the details on what that job position would entail, what the skill sets required are, and we should have more on that in a couple of weeks. I think we are going to go ahead and open up a position. I think it’d be a little bit different from our interns or apprentices in that we want this to be a longer term position with us. It should be more, less of an internship, and more of a full time position. So, it’ll be interesting.

Joe:                        Yeah, I love the idea of having someone that owns the marketplace. It’s their full dedicated job. They don’t do anything else. For both vetted sellers, for our own sites, for fires, it’s just one point of ownership.

Justin:                   Yeah, I think it’d be good. As we continue to grow, it’ll take some of the work off your plate, some off our managers, our niche site managers plate, and a bit off of Vincent’s plate as well. Yeah, I think it’d be good. Plus they can give that extra white glove touch and concierge service we’ve been talking about for buyers and sellers, and really kind of help walk them through the process even more so than we’re able to do today.

                                Well that’s it for episode 78 of the Empire Flippers Podcast. Thanks for being with us. Make sure to check us out on Twitter @empireflippers and we’ll see you next week.

Joe:                        Bye-bye everybody.

Speaker 1:           You’ve been listening to the Empire Flippers Podcast with Justin and Joe. Be sure to hit up empireflippers.com for more. That’s empireflippers.com. Thanks for listening. 

 

 

Photo Credit: Betsy Weber – Flickr


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