EFP 160: The Value Of A Steak Dinner

Justin Cooke July 22, 2016

Running an online business, most of your focus is built around driving traffic, converting that traffic to customers, etc. You’re reviewing funnels, split-testing your offers, and generally taking a less engaged approach to doing business.

But that’s NOT the way business was done in the “old days”.

Steak Dinners and Relationships

Lately we’ve found ourselves much more focused on relationships than funnels and we wanted to talk about that on today’s show.

In this episode, we look at our methods for breaking down the value per customer and then look at four ways we use in-person meetups as part of our marketing efforts.

Check Out This Week’s Episode:

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Topics Discussed This Week:

  • What Is A New Customer Worth?
  • What Networking Approach Is Worth It?
  1. Community Events
  2. Community Meetups
  3. “Steak Dinners”
  4. Setting up our own Events/Meetups


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“It’s not always directly tied to a deal. Sometimes it’s just strengthening the relationship.” – Justin – Tweet This!

“You gotta give yourself enough money to be able to fail a little bit.” – Joe – Tweet This!

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Speaker 1:           Welcome to the Empire Podcast, episode 160. Running an online business mean spending plenty of time behind the laptop, but that’s not the only way to do business. This episode, Joe and I going to look at the way we use networking events, meetups, masterminds, and steak dinners to get deals done. You can find the show notes and all links disgusting. This episode of Empire flippers.com/steak all right, let’s do that.

Speaker 4:           Sick of listening to entrepreneurial advice from guys with day jobs wants to hear about the real successes and failures that come with building an online empire. You are not alone from San Diego to Tokyo, New York to Bangkok. Join thousands of entrepreneurs and investors prioritizing wealth and personal freedom. Oh, under the oppression of an office cubicle. Check out the Empire Podcast and now your house, Justin and Joe.

Justin:                   I was digging into our business expenses about a week ago when I was looking for things to cut. Remember this Joe, we were talking about, are we overspending in certain areas? Are we blowing more money than we should? Like are there other ways for us to cut back on our business? And I came across quite a few of those like $200 to $500 expenses to places like Morton’s to places like the butcher’s club. And I thought about this and I was like, are these excessive? Like are we, is this a good spin in our business?

Joe:                        Yeah, no, I’ve looked at that before too. And I just think that where we’re at in this sort of price range, it’s going to be hard to just defy not having those kinds of expenses on customers.

Justin:                   What do you mean by price range? You mean by the, the price of sites we sell, but the volume or the size of the deals we’re doing.

Joe:                        Yeah. Exactly.

Justin:                   All right, so, we talked about this and we said, can we cut these back? I’m not really sure that we should. And so we said, let’s do some math on that. And in doing it, we said, look, this is a probably be a pretty good podcast episode. I think people will get some value out of this. And, we started talking about like what is the value of a steak dinner, right? What does it with customers, what is it with partners and what does it, even if we sit down with our competitors, like how much business does that draw and what’s it worth to us? So, as you said Joe, we’re in kind of a weird position in that, we sell very high dollar items. If we were selling, you know, $50 products on Amazon, I’m not sure to make as much sense.

We’re also strange and the strange position because a lot of like business people, and I say business people, older business people that are like doing more traditional business rather than online business. They used to doing stuff in person. So they’re used to going to these types of events. They’re used to doing the steak dinners to get deals done and, they’re trying to figure out how to scale online. Like how do you scale your business on the Internet? Right? We’re actually the exact opposite. We’re up from this online background and were like, “Hey, how can we sit down and do these steak dinners and get more deals done?”

Joe:                        Yeah, I definitely think, I don’t want to be taking people over steak dinners for a $5,000 website, that’s for sure. And you know, we did the math and I think we figured out exactly where the price break is when we really, should I invest that sort of time and money into a customer. But then there’s the subjective thing, right? If you look at somebody like the real estate game, people that sell high end luxury houses, they’re taking their clients out, they’re driving a nice car dear doing these kinds of little extras in order to network with their customer base.

And I think we’re in a similar position. A high end car lot would be the same kind of thing. Sure. We have the, the budget cars as well and we’re not taking those guys out to steak dinners, but we still offer good value over there. We still offer solid piece of machinery, but you know on the other end, on the high end, it’s just a different sort of sale.

Justin:                   I’m hearing you say that Joe and I, it sounds a little Dickish, right? You’re like, “Oh, how big is your site? I’m not taking you out for a steak dinner. Oh, this guy. Yeah, big Clients. Sure. I’ll take him out,” And you know it, it sounds that way because it is somewhat true, right? Like you do look at it like how much opportunity do I have out of this? But we’re going to talk about some of the non direct ROI stuff that you get out of this. But, I think it’s true in general that as we do larger deals, we’re finding that in person connections are key.

And key to doing business as a key to kind of our growth and getting word out about what we’re offering and what we have available. And it’s not just with buyers and sellers, right? It’s not just with customers or potential customers. It’s also with partners of ours is also with allies and business, right? Other people that we work with are we connect with that could kind of share our message and we can share theirs. There’s volume in doing that too.

Joe:                        Yeah. And you kind of had the flexibility to be wrong, right? Just like in marketing, when you spend some money on something and it didn’t work out and you maybe you didn’t get an ROI on it, it’s not the end of the world. I mean, if you do it all the time, of course it’s a money sink and you shouldn’t do that, but you have to have enough money in the budget, whether it be sales or marketing budgets to try these things out and say, “Okay, you know, it doesn’t work out every time, but when it does work out, we attract a big client. So the table.”

Justin:                   We started thinking about this too, because aside from the steak dinners, just like what is the value of these kinds of in person meet ups and networking events and you know, that kind of thing. And one of the reasons for that is because we’re throwing our first event. So we have an event going on August 16th through 19th it’s going to be in Ketchup, Thailand. I know it’s very little notice, but you can click on the link in the show notes on this episode to find out more about it. We’ve already rented a Suite villa. I, by the way, I’ve had my eye on this place, this Airbnb property for a while and I’m just stoked that I finally got to rent it because this place is awesome.

Joe:                        It does look pretty good for the pictures. I’m excited about getting over there as well.

Justin:                   Yeah, so the idea is that we’re going do a mastermind one day, were new workshops the next day and we’re going to have a bunch of events in between. So I think it’d be fantastic. And, in kind of thinking about the steak dinners and thinking about these networking events and start thinking, what’s the value, what’s it worth to us? And I think, that’s one of the reasons we want to test the ESOP, but we’ll get into that a bit more before we do that. Buddy. Let’s talk about the featured listing of the week. What she got for us?

Joe:                        I was talking about listing 40542 this is an Amazon and click bank monetize site that was created back in September, 2013 it’s in the kind of how to sports niche. I’ll just leave it at that. It’s a very interesting high school sort of sport, a college sport that’s played throughout the United States. It’s making just over $4,700 a month net profit and there’s not much work required as there usually isn’t with a content site and we have it listed at just short of $132,000.

Justin:                   That’s an interesting track record like it did well in December, did badly in January and then February, March, April, May, and June. It’s continuing to do well. Hey you, what’s the deal with that?

Joe:                        Yeah, I mean, it’s typical of these Amazon sites. They’re going to have that little Christmas bump where people are buying, searching for those items, wind up, landing on the page and going through to Amazon and not only buying the particular piece of sports equipment that they’re talking about, but also other items so they buy the laptop computer, you compensated on the whole entire cart and that’s going to happen a lot during the holiday season, so any Amazon site is going to see that sort of lift and of course a sports since she’s also going to see in their lift in the spring and summertime.

Justin:                   Gotcha. Buddy. We got almost three years of history on this one. There is a seller interview, so you want to check it out. It’s listing  40542, you can click over on the show notes, just go to the marketplace and take a look from there. All right, but enough about that. Let’s dig into the heart of this week’s episode.

Speaker 4:           Now for the host of this week episode.

Justin:                   All right, Joe, we’re talking about the value of a steak dinner. That’s the title of this episode. And before we even get into it, man, I should clarify that this stuff is super hard to quantify, right? When you start looking at the numbers here, it’s really difficult and particularly difficult for us. And the reason for that is, we do a lot of business via word of mouth or referrals, right? So if we go to an event, we talked to someone who talks to someone who talks to someone who ends up, buying a $200,000 business from us, like yes it happened from that networking event most likely.

But like how do we attribute it to that? It’s difficult. There’s also a problem of there being a very long sales cycle with us, right? It’s not like, you find out about us and next day you’re it a $300,000 business just doesn’t work that way. And the variance in deal size, right? We may talk with someone who, you know at an event that they go and they buy a $12,000 Amazon affiliate site, and the next person we talked to you bought a $600,000,  FBA business.

So you know that that can make big differences. It also is sometimes about just strengthening relationships with our current customers and not necessarily adding new customers. So we have customers that have done business with us, we want to strengthen that relationship with them so we take them out or we do something with them and spend a little money, spent a little time and it’s not directly tied to a deal or to potentially getting their business is just strengthening that relationship.

Joe:                        I love that last point because that’s a really big one. I mean we’ve had people come in sell us, a $25,000 site with us and we’ve spent the time, effort, energy with them to meet them in person. Not to go out of our way, but maybe they were coming through Midland. I took them out to lunch or something like that. And they like that personal touch. And, they came back to us when they were ready to sell. There are $100,000 site and they sold that with us and absolutely the money works out.

I’d also say that, it’s very hard to resist the temptation to try to track these things on a really myopic sort of level. And I think you have to avoid that. You’re not going to be sitting handing out business cards with little codes to everyone so you can track how many referrals they give you and stuff like that. This is not really about that. I think this is more napkin math. Does it work out at the end of the day?

Justin:                   Yeah, just to get an idea. And besides, if you’re that guy that goes to conference and I was like looking around with like the terminator glasses on and like this person’s worth, 3.2 million to me this person’s worth, you know, 300,000. You’re just kind of an asshole. Right. Stupid’s with it. But it’s worth thinking about. It’s, we’re talking about, it’s actually kind of, I don’t know, it feels awkward to talk about a little bit. Now that we’re doing this episode, man, it feels a little odd to talk about, but I think it’s helpful because you do need to think about it this way. So let’s get into the numbers, man.

Let’s get kind of a Napkin math approach to this and talk about what a new customer is worth to us. And, for our listeners, they’re going to have to figure this out on the road, but we’ll show you how we do it. So we basically work backwards. We say that in 2016 or average deal size is around $80,000 right? And that’s about right. And our average customer, the number of deals their average customer does is more than two. So we’re going to cap it it too, right? And so the customer to us is worth $160,000 in deal value, right? So out of $160,000 in deals, two deals at 8,000 each, there are fees of $24,000 so that’s empire flipper fees as their fees. We collect on doing the deal right.

Joe:                        At 15% commission.

Justin:                   At 15% commission. So now we can’t end it there, right? Because one customer is not worth 24,000 we have two customers in that deal. We have both the seller and a buyer. So we actually have to split that up. So for all purposes here, we’re going to split it evenly. I don’t think it’s evenly, I think sellers are probably worth more to us, and we’ve talked about this, but I’m going to split it 50/50 so that means a buyers were 12,000 and a seller’s were $12,000,and then I also have to take into account profit margin, right?

So let’s say a 50% profit margin that gives us a new customer being worth approximately $6,000 in profit in 2016 now, like I said, this is very back of the Napkin math, but this is the math that we came up with and I think it’s close.

Joe:                        Now, hopefully you didn’t crash the car thinking about all these numbers that we just threw at you, but basically you can figure this kind of stuff out in your own business. I working backwards from your average deal size.

Justin:                   Yeah. What’s, they basically how to find out the lifetime value your customer. Right. And that’s, how many months did they stay coming, how many payments do they ultimately make? Once you’ve got lifetime value that you can then apply your profit margin to that, find out the profit and then you can determine how much new customer’s worth in profit on average from your current traffic sources.

Joe:                        Yeah, and I think this is a good number to have because this doesn’t make you the terminator Guy at the conference. It can make you do some quick math and see if it’s worth flying into, the middle of nowhere to meet somebody in person. Stay at a hotel room, paid for the airfare. Yeah,

Justin:                   Let’s get into that Joe. So, okay. We know that a new customer to us is worth approximately $6,000 in profit. That tells a few things. Number one, if we’re going to pay $10,000 for you and I to do a conference for a trip and a conference to the US, right, we’re in Asia, it’s a long trip and we’re going to spend some money on that. If we’re gonna spend that 10 grant, but it’d be worth at least two new customers. That’s kind of our minimum, right? If it’s not worth to customers to us, then it’s probably not worth it. If we’re going to be spending, let’s say $300 on steak dinners to break even on that six grand, we need at least 120 of those steak dinners to convert to a customer.

Joe:                        I like that conversion ratio, by the way.

Justin:                   Yeah. Well, it gets that you like that. Now that’s kind of a minimum. So if we’re paying $10 for a new email subscriber, we better be closing at least 1 in 600 so for every a, you know, 600 email addresses we’re buying at $10 per, we better get one customer that is on average were $6,000 in profit. So, so those are kind of the minimums, right? But that’s not actually what we want.

You know, if we spent 10,000 to get $12,000 in profit, I don’t know. I mean you also have to account for all the time, right? If we’re flying out to the US and we’re taking time away from the business, I mean there’s some opportunity costs there and some time involved on our part that, makes it not so interesting. So let’s look at what we’re actually looking for, which is more of a 3x  to 4xROI.

So if we’re going to be spending $10,000, we want to get 30 to $40,000 out of it. So using those same numbers, let’s say you know we’re going to take a $10,000 trip to some conference. We want 6 to 8 new customers out of that to make it worth that $10,000 spent. If we are doing the $300 steak dinners Joe, and we want 3 to 4 times, we’re going to need to close 1 out of 5 to 7 new clients. Out of those $300 steak dinners. If we’re spending $10 on an email subscriber, we need to convert to a full customer between 1 in 150 and 1 to 200 of those email subscribers. Does that make sense?

Joe:                        Yeah, it does. Let me just go through these points real quick because I do have comments on all of them. 6 to 8 new customers from a 10K trip or conference. If we’re not speaking at those events. If it’s just kind of go out there and do some handshakes, I think that’s very tough. I think we could do a, a conference and get zero customers very possibly. And if you traveled halfway around the world, you can easily easily spend 10k, getting set up with all different kinds of fees, hotel rooms, entrance fees, that kind of stuff. So[crosstalk 00:15:01]

Justin:                   Let’s talk about that one. So yeah, that $10,000 trip, right? I think if we went in cold, like we have no idea what this is. We see there’s some kind of conference. I know one person going to it, it’s a New York or whatever. We got to fly out there and we’re just going to go, “Hey, let’s just pop in and see what happens.” Yeah, dude, that’s probably not going to get us there, right? I don’t think we have to be keynotes and maybe even necessarily need to be speaking, but it has to be a particularly tight, a potential customer space.

Like if we just went to some random internet based, a meetup or event, that wouldn’t be terribly helpful if we went to one that was specifically about let’s say, Saas businesses or whatever and people, we’re building these Saas companies and that might be a bit more interesting. So it really depends on the event. It depends on kind of like our approach to it. So if we want to get, six to eight customers out of it, we’re going to have to take a different approach than just, hey, let’s hop on a plane and see what happens.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think speaking or having a breakout session is going to be necessary to get you to the six or eight, but even then,  it’s not guaranteed and you definitely could go over on one and it would be very disconcerting. So you might have to try a couple before you worked out the average. That’s a lot of money to spend.

Now. Number two, I definitely think that, that’s an easy number to close. I mean, heck, I do that on the phone without meeting them in person. But here’s the problem is I feel like we do a lot of $300 steak dinners on people that are already customers to get them to the second time, not to the first time. So we do, do some first time steak dinners, but we do a lot of second time steak dinner.

Justin:                   So I was fine and we’d better have a higher close ratio. I would imagine if we’re doing business with them a second time, we’re probably closing one in three or something like it’s pretty common. So yeah, I mean I think that’s totally reasonable. I’m not having the $10 per email subscriber converting 1 in 150 to 200, that’s a little aggressive. They’d have to be particularly good email subscribers.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think it’s very aggressive. But here’s the great thing about it is we can track that down to a dime, I think really, because it’s all online, it’s all trackable, right? You know, there’s no physical touch there. So.

Justin:                   This is interesting Joe. So like I can go right now and by email subscribers by the shit ton. Right? I can just go get thousands and thousands of email subscribers through and there are a bunch of different ways to do it, but the quality of those email subscribers, especially from those sources is going to be suspect. Right. And so, we’re saying that of our current sources, the way we’re currently getting email subscribers, we’d be willing to pay $10, 150 or 100 200 closed with those sources that might be significantly different.

So it all comes down to the source, the quality, the source, and that kind of our connection to them when they sign up. And do they know what they’re signing up for it? Do they know us? Are they familiar with it? And I think, but that applies to the others too. Right? So it applies to the steak dinners, it applies to the conferences, right? Do we, do people know who we are when we’re going there? Is this someone in our space that we have connections? Are we doing a workshop where we’d putting something on there? We speaking at the event.

So those things I think all come into play. And the more there is to that, the better it is. We just got a quote from someone, right? It was one of our guys, Mike was looking around at some conferences looking to sponsor this one conference and I forget the name of it, but it was like, like the minimum packages were like five or six grand and there’s like a $12,000 package and $15 dollars package and these were conferences where we’re going in thinking about necessarily going to, we’re thinking about how to get an ROI on that and it seemed outrageous. Do you are reading that Gel and be like, no way.

Joe:                        Yeah, absolutely. Especially for not going to go. I mean it just really doesn’t make sense to go ahead and sponsor these things and just have your logo up there and then I just, I don’t know these businesses that are doing that and making it work out for them. I wonder if it’s just part of a broader marketing budget that they have. They spend it and they just see overall marketing. They spend $100,000, they get 1.2 million back. They feel like they did their job.

Justin:                   I think you know, it’s, I’m hub spot and I want to be known in this space on a wide scale and I have a fairly wide range of customers that may is my product. So maybe it’s such an them just from a branding perspective. But in our position today, that seems like not a great move. I mean it, it would help us to get our name out there, but I don’t know, man. I’m, I can’t stomach that one.

But that one’s rough for me. And I think if we were going to do that and we were going to the conference and we’re doing some kind of breakout session and we’re going to do the advertising to hit them in a bunch of different ways, I think that would be much more valuable than, “Hey, here’s our money.” Yeah. Put Our logo on some, you know, the back of the brochure or whatever.

Joe:                        Right.

Justin:                   All right man. So let’s talk about, what networking approaches are worth and we have like four we want to cover. One is community events, one is community meetups. The third one, steak dinners, and the fourth one is kind of running or setting up your own events and meetups are two, the first one in community events. Let’s talk about, uh, the dynamite circle meetup in Bangkok. We’re going use that as the example. So these community events are generally, there’s kind of like some online community are kind of some networking group that you’re a part of and they may have some kind of like annual conference and let’s say that you are a part of that community.

You’re connected to them and you kind of want to go to their annual event. Right? And that’s kind of the case for us with the dynamite circle and they’re DCBKK event. And one of the upsides of, or some of the upsides of going to an event like this is it’s a large crowd. It’s a community that you’re connected with. For us, this event, there are a bunch of customers, there are a bunch of partners that are there, and it’s great exposure for us, for our company on a larger scale than a steak dinner.

Joe:                        Yeah, absolutely. I definitely think that there’s some downsides to that as well. But the appeal of these big events make it the ideal setting for a kind of getting out there and pressing palms and putting your face in front of a lot of different people.[crosstalk 00:20:58]

Justin:                   No, these are people you work with are ready. I mean we’re already in that space. It’s a community we’re a part of, we’re members of and we contribute to. So it’s great to go to an event like that. Right? Whereas if we didn’t know anyone just tried to roll up, it might be a little, well, I just don’t think it’d be as valuable.

The downside of going to this type of community event or larger event is that it can be a bit overwhelming, right? So there are people I want to meet with and don’t really get a chance to. You don’t really get a great in depth conversations and a lot of instances, like I know we do it a little differently, Joe, with like you’ll meet a ton of people and all talk to a lot less people.

I’ve talked to maybe a third of the people you talk to, but I have more in depth conversations with them just because that’s, I hate the kind of glad handing like brief meetups. I really don’t like that. So I’d rather grab a few people take a corner of the room and chat.

Joe:                        Yeah. Well I think it also, because you travel and like you go to, you were to DC, Barcelona, right? And you see a lot of these people in person where these people don’t get a lot of face time with me. So they’re interested in hanging out with me for even for a brief period. And so am I with them because it’s the one time a year that we get to hang out.

So I liked that part of it as well. And I think it can be very valuable to get some face time with people, especially if you’re on the phone with them multiple times during the year doing business. Now you spend some extra time over a beer or something like that or maybe discussing a breakout session in the event. It’s well worth your time.

Justin:                   Another, I think downside to it though is that it does take quite a bit of time away from your Biz or it can, right? So it can be a bit of a distraction for us. I mean we’re spending a full on week, away from our normal stop everything that we’re normally doing and we try to fit it in. But it’s really a week long event. Right? It’s, you know, it’s over the weekend but it’s really a week long event.

A lot of these things are because they are like pre event meetups and dinners and drinks and, even after the events that people are doing some things. So you know, we can take I think quite a bit away from our day to day and I think the upside is worth it. But I think it’s something to consider if you’re going to be away from your business or what you typically do on a day to day basis for a week, what happens? What other things could you be doing with your time over that week that would have grown your business?

Joe:                        Yeah. If you don’t have staff in place to help out with customers, that could be an issue for sure. If you don’t have the ability to clear your schedule for a time period, definitely going to be a problem.

Justin:                   So let’s talk about what DCBKK the annual event in Bangkok costs us, what we’re looking for in terms of ROI to say that it’s worth it. And then this is just an example, but for example, I’d say that in terms of business expense, Joe, we’ve probably spent about $3,000 on the DCBKK event and we spend about a week, right? A week of my time a week, your time in a week, uh, of our staff time as well. So there’s quite a bit of time involved on this. And to earn an ROI on an event like that, we estimated it would take at least two clients to get four times our ROI.

Joe:                        Yeah, I mean I think the key thing is there, do we need two new clients or two clients just to repeat that wouldn’t have repeated elsewise. You know, I guess if they rebuy and it was directly related to meeting us at DCBKK than it was worth it. Right?

Justin:                   Yeah. And Joe, so here’s the thing that seemed trip though to the US right? Probably adds probably in terms of costs, it’s probably three times the costs, right. And it adds another couple of days just from traveling and like recovery time. So we’re talking like 10 days at about 10 grand in costs. So we’d need at least six clients to still get our 4X ROI on that deal. So it’s easier for us to go to an event in Bangkok then it is one in Vegas for example.

Joe:                        Agreed. I’ll keep it in Asia, man.

Justin:                   Keep it man. Sure. Second thing, I want to talk about our community meetups and this would be something like, a Saigon, Facebook group is having a meetup or, nomad dot. Io is having kind of a local meetup and you will, you happen to be around there. We’re talking about meet up with somewhere between eight and 25 people. Normally it’s dinner or it’s like after dinner drinks or something like that and you’re connecting, you’re talking about business, you’re connecting, but it’s a social event to the upside of something like this is that they’re smaller and they’re much more intimate, right?

So you can have more in depth conversations. It’s not just, 400 people there and you’re just trying to say hello to everyone and your head’s, on a swivel and you get tired. So it’s easier to kind of like keep it slower, keep it mellow, and it’s a lot cheaper and easier to do. Right? There’s not nearly the time commitment for something like this that there is for these larger events and larger events they do take, especially if you’re presenting, they’re going to take quite a bit of time for you to put your presentation together and make sure everything’s good. You’re working a bit at the event, right?

Instead of just having fun. So, one of the downsides I’d say about these kinds of community meetups, the eight to 25 group meet ups is a lot of times they’re less focused. So there’s, depending on the crowd and depending on the meetup, it can be a more social and less business and there are also smaller. So it’s less likely that there’s gonna be potential customers for your business there, right? Just because there’s simply less people, it’s less likely that you, meet up with a partner or potential partner, that kind of thing.

Joe:                        Yeah. I think if you’re starting out somewhere and you haven’t done either one, the community meetups is probably the place to start. Get your feet wet with interacting with people in person and kind of this sort of environment. But I could see how, especially if you’re not a traveler, the community meetups would lead to you hanging out with the same group all the time. So, how would you get new blood into your sales pipeline in this way? It would be tough.

Justin:                   Yeah. I’ve got a different offense. So like you’re a part of meetup, port of earth and go to events that are similar but not exactly the same and try to find somewhere, there is value in that, that there’s some value in going to those meetups where you know, they deal with other industries and you’re in your industry and you guys can cross promote.

So if you can find people in like three or four different meetups that are willing to do that with you, you can build a nice little network of people that can, send business here, some business there. So when talking about the cost and the ROI here, I mean, community meetup may costs anything from as low as a hundred bucks to three, four, 500 bucks and you’re going to spend probably two to four hours. It’s not that much money.                It’s not that much time. You know, you may buy some drinks for you, buy dinner, maybe by dinner and drinks for someone else, or at least by round a drink for people that are there. That’s about it. I

t’s not terribly expensive. And in terms of getting an ROI on this. I mean, we get one client every few meetups like that and it’s worth it to us. So this is a really easy one for us to do for us to attend. And really, Joe, when I was writing up this podcast and doing the notes on this, I was thinking like, this is a no brainer. I don’t do enough of this and I’m the traveling guy, right? Like I’m all over the place. I should do more of these. It makes sense.

Joe:                        Yeah. I feel when I’m, since Saigon, and we do a lot of these and it does give me the ability to sit down and like you said, intimately interact with somebody and get to know their business problems and see if it’s something that we can help with. And that’s hard to do at a community event. Whereas a meetup, like you said, as much more one on one.

Justin:                   Yeah. I think that’s one of the reasons to the dynamite circle guys are moving to kind of the workshops, right? They’re moving to, it’s this big event with lots of people, but they’re trying to push everyone to these smaller rooms. So you get that intimate feel, and you get to know people’s businesses and get to know them more closely rather than this just kind of like big event where you don’t know anybody. So I think that’s, that’s an interesting thing that we’re doing.

So the third one we’ll talk about and which is the title of this podcast, is the steak dinners, right? So this is taking actual or prospective clients out for dinner and drinks and generally something pretty nice treating them a bet. The upside of a steak dinner is that it’s very specific and very focused, right? So if you’ve set this up and you invited them and you and, pick them up and you took the pick the place and you got it all set up, I mean it’s very hyper focused on them and it allows you in conversations get super in depth right into their business and to what they’re working on, into your product and to your service and to how you can help them, how they can help you.

It’s also very personalized, right? Where you may have kind of your spiel when you talk to, 5, 10 people in this one you can actually get hyper focused on their business hyper focused on yours. You can get into real depth, right?

Joe:                        Yeah. This is my favorite one, not just because I like steak, but it’s also because I think that you can take the time to get to know them a bit outside of their business and personally connect with them and figure out if there’s going to be another way for you guys to help each other, other than just doing business together.

Justin:                   It’s funny, Joe. So like I always find myself on kind of the giving into this. Like I prefer that. And it’s not like I feel bad. I wish she would take him out of the steak dinner. No, I like, I prefer like that’s what I want to do. And that’s kind of, you know, just how we operate.

But I had, when I was in Rome, I had a guy, we went out to dinner, paid for everything, absolutely refused. Like snatch the bill before I could even see it or whatever. And I remember that guy, like next time we meet up, like I knew him a little bit before he’d bought a site from us, but I remember him now quite a bit. Like if I’m in town, I’m gonna look him up and be like, “Hey, you know, hey, let’s hang out. I want to meet up with you again.” Right?

And, and I think things like, he, he snuck it for me. It did to me, but it’s something that’s memorable to me. Right? I’m going to remember him. So I think it just gives you a chance to really connect with someone and outside of the noise of the kind of provider, customer relationship.

Joe:                        Yeah, exactly. And then remembering you is, it’s a great way to do that.

Justin:                   A downside of the steak dinners though is that you have very limited audience, right? So maybe you’re taking one, two, three people out. But generally if it’s one customer or potential customer, it’s just not a very wide audience. So if there’s not a connection or, you don’t see a way for you to help them or for them to help you or that there’s just not much of a connection, that’s kind of it, right? You don’t have much of an audience. Whereas if you’re at a meetup or you’re in an event, I you can, you know, move on and talk to someone else and connect with them.

So I think that’s a bit of a downside. It’s also pretty expensive when you view it on a per person cost basis. So the community meetup, I’m spending, let’s say 200 bucks or 300 bucks or let’s say a minimum, like 50 bucks or 40 bucks. And when I get to talk to 12 people, right? Cause we’re really connect with like two or three of them. Like that’s pretty cheap. Or dollar per person, right? Where’s the sake dinner as much more expensive. So you want to reserve, I think you want to reserve a steak dinners for bigger opportunities without, that’s easy man. Because a lot of the deals we do are big enough where they’re worthy of a steak dinner. Right?

Joe:                        Well also I think, I have built a little bit of a relationship with them. So you know, the other thing I think you have to remember about the steak dinner option is that you can’t skip right over to it. It’s not like you, you get one email and say, “Hey, how about we meet for a steak dinner?” It’s like,-

Justin:                   That’d be awkward as shit. It’s funny that you mentioned this. This is everything. It’s the same as the community events, right? We’re like, “Hey, yeah, we’ll pay 10 grand in sponsored this. Even though we’ve never been to your event and don’t know what it’s all about. Sure. No Way. I’m not going to do that.” Same thing with the steak dinner. You know, I’d be like, “Hey, I’m taking you out to the nicest steakhouse in town, and they’re like, wow, you know, I just wanted to say hi or whatever.”

You know, like it’s a little much, but I think you know, on a per person, it’s expensive. You want to reserve this for and you need to look at your business and like what a steak dinner is worth to you, how many clients you need. If you need more than one per one steak, that’s probably not a good approach for you. You can serve a steak dinner and you can do, I dunno, burgers or fries or something. You can do something like that.

The cost and ROI, me a steak dinner anywhere from 150, 200 bucks to $500 in costs and time, two to four hours. Again, it’s pretty limited. Just like the community meetups, maybe a little bit more than those, for us, we need one client per five to six steak dinners. So we do five or six state dinners and we get one client out of it that’s worth it. And again, it can be not just a client, but it could be a customer to come back and be a client again, right. For them to sell their next business with us or for them to buy another one from us. Right. And I think, you know, as you mentioned before, that’s kind of a great opportunity for a steak dinner. You already have a business relationship, why not extend that?

Joe:                        Yeah. And it gives you the ability to talk about anything else that’s going on with your business, with their business and some synergies you can find in order to work together again in the future.

Justin:                   So the fourth point want to talk about is setting up your own events or meet ups. Right? And in this case we’re talking about things like the empire workshops we’ve done previously in cities where we through a workshop together just for the day. It was a good, you know, half day, and then we did dinner drinks afterwards and the upcoming food cat retreat that we’re doing.

So in Bobcat we’re doing a meetup. I had a B. You know what does a three night events? We’ve got the villa rented, we’ve got a bunch of things planned, and this is our first kind of event that we’re throwing. The upside to hosting your own event or putting on your own meetup is that’s a super focus group, right? You’re the one who gets to choose and select the people that you want to have there. So if you want it to particularly be about entrepreneurship, it can be about entrepreneurship.

If you want to be about whatever your industry or niches, you can make it about that, and it includes people that are in your network. You’re probably not going to get to these kind of workshops or to these events. You’re not going to get people, I’ve never heard of you. They’re not going to just like, “Oh yeah, I’ll go to this thing. I don’t know these guys are,” No, you’re going to get people in your network. So these are people that you already know are somewhat connected to, which I think is fantastic.

The downside is it’s something we’ve been talking about this as we set up this event Joe is that can be super time intensive. Right? And it can definitely take away from regular business. So we’re throwing this event and pocket, you know, I’m involved in that. Mike’s involved in that. I mean there is some man hours being expended and there’d be a lot more as we get closer to it. Is it worth it man? I think so. I think, I think you’re going to love it. You’re going to be stoked.

Joe:                        Yeah, I mean that’s up in the air. I guess we’ll do the numbers afterwards, but I mean if we want to use the workshop, the examples that we did, we did our little travel more shops did one Saigon, one in Thailand last, couple of years ago. And then we did one in Vegas too. And, and the one in Vegas, I mean I closed the deal right there. Right at the workshop. So yeah.

Justin:                   Yeah. So let’s talk about the workshops. Right? So we, we did them in Saigon. We did one in Chiang Mai, which is the one in Vegas. It basically the cost without robot, I thought 1500 bucks. Right? And this is because we ultimately didn’t charge, I think one of them we charged and then paid everyone back of the door. That was really weird. But we gave them a refund of the door. It was just to make sure they didn’t not show up. Right?

And then the other, I think we didn’t charge for it all. So it is a bit of money and where it really cost us was time, right. Putting those workshops together, both the content material, prepping it, putting the slides together, getting the space right. Like that was pretty intense in terms of time. And we were doing the math on that. So look, I think we probably need to clients, especially when you take our time into account for the workshops.

So if we get two clients out of a workshop, it’d be worth it. We’ve got anywhere from I think eight to 20 people to those workshops. So that was it was cool man. I was glad we did it. I think this event is going to be even more intense. I’m really excited about it. We are charging for this one, so we’re charging 1000 bucks to come out to the event. But that’s all inclusive.

So we’ve got like a 10 bedroom villa. It’s like what is it? I Dunno, 8,000 square feet overlooking the beach. It’s beautiful infinity pool. All the food’s included, the villains include, so we were talking about this, like we break even on it. I don’t particularly care if we lost a little money. I wouldn’t care. I like to have some of the funds be paid for and we’re just to make it super, super easy for the people there to knock it out and get involved with other entrepreneurs that are there and mastermind and 10 some of these workshops. I think it’d be great.

Joe:                        Yeah, I’m looking forward to it.

Justin:                   All right. But I do a wrap up on this episode. First thing is, you know, before you’re going to get into steak dinners, before we’re going to get into these events or these meetups, you need to work backwards to determine your numbers and metrics. Like what is a customer worth to you? What are you willing to pay for a lead and what do you need your close rates to be on those potential leads now soon,-

Joe:                        Super and important, but don’t overanalyze it. Like if you’re going to sit there on a spreadsheet and try to work it out to the penny, I don’t think that’s gonna work.

Justin:                   Yeah, and it’s not the, you don’t know, like a lot of the numbers, you don’t know. That’s why it’s better is not can Matt just to get an idea. So you kind of know going in  what it takes, right? What it takes to make it successful for you or not. So, if you go into this and you’re like, uh, for example, like the one that wants to pay like 10 grand just to sponsor, right? Do we want to pay 10 grand a sponsor? We don’t plan on putting that much time into it. We’re not going to go out there. We’re not going to all this other stuff so easily not worth it to us.

Joe:                        Yeah, no, I definitely think that’s the case and I think this is not something that you could try with a new business. It has to be something that, it doesn’t have to be many years old, but it has to be a little bit more mature than something you’ve just opened up.

Justin:                   I’m not convinced of that. I don’t know why. You know? Let’s say I start a podcast editing company or whatever. I don’t see why I can’t roll up to a meet up and say, “I’ve got a podcast and setting a company, here’s my website. I’ve got a buy button on there. This is what I do.” I don’t think so. I don’t think you have to be doing a lot. Why? Why do you think so?

Joe:                        Yeah. Because I think you don’t know your cost. Sure. You can go to the meetup, you can go to the conference, but to use it as-

Justin:                   To do the numbers,. Yeah. That makes it difficult. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I’m with you on that. I think you can do these. I think you’re not going to know kind of like what it’s worth you yet. You can do this as like a hustle math. It was like a, a hustle and hack some new business out of it. But yeah, you’re not going to have an idea. They’re so second thing to do is to make a list of things you’d like to try. So you know, I don’t know for our listeners particular business, like what events or meet ups would be good for them, but they can start to make a list and you know, kind of start to categorize and look.

Now they have the numbers, they can start to look at what they need out of that event based on their costs, on what they need different to work. And this is sort of looking at their best options, right? So what has the best chance of bringing in some business? Right. And by the way, this whole time we’re talking about direct ROI. We’re not talking about goodwill or branding. And those are real benefits, tangible benefits that you get out of these. It’s just harder to attach a value to them. But as you go through these, this list that you’ve created, start to estimate which ones are your best options and then the last step, just try it out. Give it a shot.

Joe:                        Yeah, I think we said, I said that in the beginning. It’s so true. You got to give yourself enough money to be able to fail a little bit. So if it’s too big of a chunk for you to say, “Oh my God, if it doesn’t work out, then I lost too much money,” Then don’t try it. But if it’s, you know, a few hundred dollars either way, it should be something you can afford.

Speaker 4:           You’ve been listening to the empire podcast now some news and updates

Speaker 1:           are just some news and updates. First off, you spent a whole month with our new guys in Manila. Man, I left Saigon to go to Europe. They went to Manila and meet up with you. How’d that go?

Joe:                        Great. Talking about some steak dinners. I spent some money on those boys.

Speaker 1:           I heard you were, you were really trying to, you’re just trying to show off the Philippines the love, but that’s what I heard.

Joe:                        Yeah. We had a good time. It was good to take the guys out, show them around, show them how I live here and get to know them better, you know? After spending just a brief time with them and in April, now that I’m back here, oops. Nice to spend some exclusive time with them alone.

Justin:                   Yeah. They said it was exclusive time wow. About it. So yeah, they said it was great actually getting to talk to you. They got to listen to you and some of your sales calls. They got to talk to some customers. I said that was really exciting. I got a month. I didn’t take it off, but it was off ish. Right?

I went to Europe for a month. My first time in Europe. Really exciting. Went to the, uh, the event in Barcelona. I met up with a ton of people there. I got some really good ideas. Then traveled to Paris, went to Prague. We went to Venice, went to Rome. I did it all, man. It was a good, at first trip, I think I got a good feel for Europe and while we were in Paris I got engaged. Man.

Joe:                        Congratulations Buddy. I just wonder where you’re going to bring that up.

Justin:                   Yeah, man, I’m engaged now, so that was a, it was just an amazing trip. I had a beautiful time. I love Paris by the way. Can’t wait to get my butt back out there, but it was really fun. All right man. I, the other thing is we’re looking forward to our get together in Blue Cat. First off, our management team is going to be there as of August for, so August 1st to August 29th our entire management team will be meeting up [inaudible 00:41:44] We’ve got a couple of villas were going to be by the beach.

We’re going to be working and playing together for the month. In addition to that, we’re doing the empire retreat and Blue cat. That’ll be August 16th through the 19th we’ll have a bunch of other people out though. You masterminding. We’ll be barbecuing. We’ll be drinking beers and talk in business, so I think that’s going to be fantastic. If you’re really a good and intense month like they often are.

Joe:                        I’m looking forward to it, man.

Justin:                   Our brothers do. Some listeners shouts also known as the indulgent ego boosting social proof segment. First up, we’ve got some Twitter mentions. We’ve got Cassandra said, empire flippers. I had a great time working Costa Rica last summer. The wifi is great and available everywhere for free. This is based on a question I put out on Twitter saying like, where are some great places to work abroad? And she’s saying Costa Rica is hot. I visited it. You’re like over a decade ago. Briefly for fun. I’d like to get back.

Joe:                        Yeah, I would. You know, I’d been to Panama in Central America. Obviously I lived in Brazil for a year. I would love to get down to Latin Americans. Just a, that’s a long way to go.

Justin:                   Its a long way to go. Johnny FD on Twitter, said the nomads summit is going to be February 4th, 2017 they did a no bad summit last year in Chiang Mai. I hear it was a great event. We sponsored that event actually and like one of the premium sponsors for that. I heard him. What really? Well, I was really, by the way, bomb that we didn’t send anyone. I couldn’t go and you couldn’t go and like for whatever reason, we didn’t send anyone to that or we weren’t able to go ourselves. That sucks, I’d really like to make it this next year. It’s in Chiang Mai in February. I’m going to try to cross out those dates man and be there.

Joe:                        Yeah. Unlike us, he’s definitely giving it an enough notice, so-

Justin:                   Oh right, good. Get on Johnny. We also have the Twitter buses from Phil said I just bought the Dan Norris book content machine after hearing him on a podcast. The Empire Flippers look, content marketing works. It definitely works for Dan Norris or WP curve man. His content marketing shops are highly honed. Man, that guy is a boss. I content marketing. I love what he’s doing. That’s great to hear. His marketing chops worked on Phil because Phil about the book, so thanks for letting us know Phil.

Joe:                        Content marketing definitely works. We are prime example number one, well maybe the number two after Dan Norris

Justin:                   Got a couple of mentions buddy I got to mention on all business.com talking about the best ways to travel and work. That’s something that you and I both know a lot about. I’ve been doing quite a bit of lately. I’ve got a guest post and a case study on the Shopify blog about selling an $80,000 Shopify store. I haven’t got really interesting, I’ll link to that in the show notes. Our buddy Kyle grade, you know Kyle?

Joe:                        I don’t.

Justin:                   Oh okay. Kyle used to work for Dan Norris. WP curve used to be their content manager. I used to tease him about uh, I need to find myself a Kyle. But anyway, so Kyle profiled our old apprentice, you know Vincent’s for a piece on Founder Mag and I’m going to put a link to that as well. It’s a really nice piece on apprenticeship overall, the value of apprenticeships, how to get a position like an apprenticeship. And then a Kyle also has a book out now called the college entrepreneur.

I got an advanced copy and got to check it out. He did a nice profile on Vincent in there. I think it’s really interesting, so if you’re interested in kind of, I say apprenticeships, if you’re interested and you know how college students can become entrepreneurs, you have someone that might be an interesting target for a book like that. I definitely check it out.

Joe:                        Vincent reached out to me on Skype the other day, so it’s funny how things line up that way.

Justin:                   Yeah, man,  I Richard reached up to me like out to me too, and then I didn’t it back to him. So back to you, Vince, if you’re listening I’ll get back to you soon.

Speaker 1:           That’s it for episode one 60 of the Empire podcast. Thanks for sticking with us. We’ll be back next week with another show. If you can find the show notes for this episode and more@empireflippers.com/steak and make sure to follow us on Twitter at empire flippers. See you next week.

Joe:                        Bye Bye everybody.

Speaker 4:           Hope you enjoyed this episode of the empire broadcast the Empire podcast with Justin and Joe, hit up empire flippers.com for more. That’s empireslippers.com. Thanks for listening.

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