Paul Higgins sits down with Tom Jackobs, Consultant and sales experts from ‘Impact Pilot’.
He shares with us how he helps small business owners convert the leads they receive into the best clients they could ever want.
Welcome to Build Live Give Podcast. If you're a first time listener, great to have you here. If you love what you hear, please subscribe. If you're a long-term listener, I'm so happy that you continue to support this podcast, but most importantly, learn things and apply them. And if you'd like to give me an example, Love to hear about it. Just [email protected] So today our guest, well he's been an entrepreneur for over 20 plus years. And he also has an acting degree which he mentioned partway through. And that sort of makes sense when you look at what he does now. He's put the two together and he helps people with personal stories, how you craft it. But most importantly, how you use it in particular, webinars. And I know that for most of us at the moment webinars become very popular given what's happening in COVID.
Why should you specifically listen to our guest today? One is that he gives you the importance of personal stories and gives you great context. Two is he tells you how to structure it. And then three, he gives you the best approach to really pull out that emotional appeal. So, as I said it's really relevant for webinars, but the framework that he gives and the way that he does it, is brilliant. And also he's given a great asset, or he gives you a great asset at the end of it as well. So please stay tuned for that. So I'll hand you over now to Tom Jacobs, from Impact Pilot. Welcome Tom Jacobs from Impact Pilot to the Build Live Give Podcast.
Great to be here. Thanks for having me Paul.
Long time, no see. We haven't seen each other since November of last year so I'm very excited to have you on today and a topic that is very close to my heart, but also a lot of my clients that I work with is how do you tell great stories in particular, in today's day and age? How do you tell them on webinars? So Tom, let's start off. What do you know about telling personal stories that many of us miss?
Well, first of all, everybody has a personal story. And what kind of my take on that is, we can always tell stories, but a lot of times those stories that we tell are real snoozers. So nodding off halfway through because we just don't have that structure in place. And then a lot of business owners are like, "What does my life have to do with my business at all? Why should I even share who I am? I just want to sell my stuff" and what really is needed and especially now in this day and age is that we need that connection with the person that we're buying from. And it doesn't matter if you're selling widgets for a corporation or you're selling your consulting services. People are buying from people. And if you're just treating it as a transaction, well, you're probably not going to go very far. But the moment that you bring your own personality into it, you're going to attract the right people and you're going to repel the wrong people and you're going to have a lot more fun as well.
Yeah. And look I work with B2B businesses in normally consulting. They run a consulting business, they're consulting business owners. And it's all, people are people and you're right. Yes sometimes I'll buy something purely off online, but that's normally a purchase less than 3000. I've done my homework, et cetera. But when you're buying services that are worth tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, guess what? You need to talk to a person. And so take me through what makes a good personal story like you said, one not to get people to fall asleep listening to.
Yeah. Well, I use a framework called the Heroes Framework. So it's a traditional methodology that's story and filmmakers use all the time. So what that does is it gives a framework just how to structure the story, but we always want to start off with a bang so that you grab the audience's attention. And a lot of people ask, "Well, when should I tell my story in that webinar?"
And, "Do I just start?" I was like, "Yes. You just start with your story on the webinar" and nothing bothers me more than being on a webinar. It's supposed to start at 5:00, it's 5:05 and the person... "Oh let's just wait a few moments for somebody else" and they're just gabbing. I'm like, "I was here at 5:00, start the webinar at 5:00."
So start it off with a story and grab your audience's attention because a lot of times when you're looking at those stats, the webinar attendance drops off very quickly in the first five to 10 minutes.
And are you using slides for that Tom? Or to camera?
Yeah. Straight to camera, full frame and a lot of people like to hide behind the slides. But with Zoom these days, you can do all the touch up. You can add a beard, little lipstick or whatever you want to with the side effects that they have on there. But it needs to be full frame so people get to see you and who you are, because again if you're just a little dot in the corner and there's a slide, it's not getting really personal with them.
And there's no pictures, no words that would go along with a personal story for the most part anyway.
Yeah. So would you indulge us with maybe your personal story and then we can back engineer how you built that story?
Yeah, absolutely. Cool. So imagine this. It's a Sunday afternoon and in Houston, Texas. Super hot because we have two seasons it's hot or hotter and humid as well. And I run a fitness centre. I sold it a year and a half or four years ago I sold it, but I had it for nine and a half years. And this was about six months into owning this fitness centre. And my office was in the back. And really it wasn't an office, it was more of an electrical closet because the transformers were behind me kind of buzzing and craning.
I'm surprised I don't have a third eye growing on the back of my head either for all the time that I spent in there. But it's at Sunday afternoon, super hot. I turn off the air conditioners just to save money and I'm staring at my computer screens and tears just start streaming down my face. And I'm looking at my bank account and here it's Sunday and on Friday, rent and payroll are due. And for any entrepreneur that's out there, you've either been in this situation or you've heard of this situation, or you're close to becoming in this situation.
It's very difficult to run a business if you don't have a place and you don't have employees. So it's really important to pay rent and pay payroll and with cash flows, it happens. And this was a particularly hard time because one, it was six months into owning the business I was completely tapped out on all my credit lines. My credit cards were gone. I'd already asked clients to pre-pay for their services. So I was even further into debt with that. And I had to make the hardest phone call of my life. And that was to call dad for money at 40 years old. And I don't know about you, but calling a parent for money is a very humbling experience.
So that's kind of how I started.
Nice story. Great. I'm just thinking the most humbling moment I had, I wasn't aware, but I called my dad and mum and I was coming out of a major operation and I was still having lots of drugs and any way something happened. But I had a moment where I thought reality was that they were trying to kill me. So I've called my mom and dad and said, "Hey, I'm in the hospital. They're about to kill me. Nice knowing you."
I was so convinced. I was acting rationally and I was convinced I was doing all the right things, calling my parents, calling the police, calling my wife because I thought they were going to kill me. After that Dad's like, "Please don't ever do that again."
Oh my gosh. That's crazy.
So that's an amazing story. And you had me drawn in and I'm sure if you're watching it the same thing. So let's back engineer it. How do you create such a compelling story like that to kick off your webinar to camera?
Yeah. So the first is taking an inventory of all your stories that you have and finding the ones that really have the most emotional impact to you. Because that story, I could use that for talking to fitness entrepreneurs. I could use it to talk to consulting people, sales, any number of entrepreneurial type of formats, I can use that story and then relate it back to what I'm selling. So a lot of people worry, they're like, "Well, my story doesn't have anything to do with my business." That's okay. That's not the point. The point is that you learn something and you want the audience to learn something from your experience as well. And so we always go through kind of this whole process of detailing out the stories of your life and then picking the ones that have the most emotional response and then tie it into the business. That's the easy part, is tying it back into the business.
And that emotional response Tom, who gauges that? Is that the person telling it? How do you gauge whether it's emotionally connecting?
Yeah. So I take people through an exercise, it's always fun to do, especially on a Zoom call or something like that and have them write down all their stories and then take two minutes in and put themselves back into each story so each little headline. And just think about that time. And then I go, "Okay, when did your heart start beating a little bit faster? When do your palms get a little bit sweaty? When did the tears start?" And I can, sometimes I can see it on their face. I was like, "Okay, which one are you on?" They're like "Number three." "Okay, we're doing that one" because you can just see. And some people are embarrassed about some of their stories, but it's in the past. We've learned from a lot of things that we've done in the past and it's who you are today, not who you were yesterday. So it's okay to use those.
I always get a bit because mine is a life-changing moment. 2018, I nearly lost my life. I've told a little bit of that story before. And then I had a transplant from my best friend and et cetera. And sometimes I hear certain podcasts and in particular in America often it's, "Yeah, I've had this near death experience", et cetera. I'm thinking, do people get sick of those stories? So how do you make sure that you're not just another person that it seems like you've made up a story?
Yeah, no. I mean, it's that emotion that comes through it. I mean, I used to it for them. I just recorded a video about this, on my YouTube channel. But I, I worked for this guy and he'd tell the same story. And it was kind of a near life. He had cancer stage four and all this stuff. And the way he told it was like, "yeah, I had a cold the other day." You had stage four cancer and you're treating it like it was just a wart on your scanners. And I was like, "No, you need to put a little bit more emotion." "I said that story a hundred different times or a hundred times and it's getting old." And there's some techniques that actors use to make sure that the scripting doesn't get old. And so I've worked with him a little bit in terms of just putting himself back into that situation and then reliving it for the audience and it became so much richer. And so I think that was a roundabout way to get to your question.
It's, it's all in the delivery.
Yeah. Yeah. Great. So you've got the inventory of stories then what happens?
We, then we go through the story and we've tried to find that impact. Well, I call it an impact moment. It said do or die situation. Right. In my story, it's Sunday and rent and payroll are due on Friday and I have $10,000 short That's you close the doors, you pack it up, go get a job or figure it out. Right. So that's that do or die moment. So we want to figure out what that is, and then craft a really good opener that grabs the audience's attention. So a lot of times I'll just go, I'm staring at my screens and tears are coming down my face. Yes. And then do a little backup, see I'm in my office with the transformers behind me. And I sometimes I'll go back that way, but for a podcast or for a webinar, I like to do a little warmup first and then hit it with the impact moment.
Yeah. And the pause was compelling that really when you pause at that moment, it was like, "Yeah. Okay. I can remember my moment when it was like that." Right.
Yeah, and that's part of the performance aspect of it. So the first is obviously coming up with your presentation. Then the performance aspect of it. And I have a degree in theatre, so which I've never used it except college where I got the degree, but now I get to use it because there's so much parallel between acting and presenting. I mean, it is because everybody uses a script that's in the play it or in the movie, but they don't seem like they're using the script. They're in the moment. And that's what I work with my clients on is how do you get in that moment so that it becomes a really compelling performance and your audience is just drawn into it.
Yeah. And actually scripted word perfect. Or as a bullet points.
Yeah. We definitely were scripted completely out. It's not read as a script. So I have some techniques. I take people through to really solidify that scripting and the important words in their talk. And that story that I just told you, it was different than a half an hour ago when we were pre-show. But the words were different. But the overall feeling was the same.
Cause I've read quite a few memory books. Actually. I remember the first memory book ever read. They said, "Don't rely on your memory." I'm like, hang on. I didn't buy the book for this. But I said, the quick analogy is if you're at a party, you've got kids every time you see an item discarded, go put it with your car keys because if you're going to drive out, you got to have your car. And therefore, you don't have to remember where everything is. You just remember where your car keys is. I'm like, okay, that's great. That makes my memory easy. Right. But, they also talk about that house technique or something where you're putting an item in each room of your house. And that's how you can remember certain things. Like are those type of techniques good to have to help you remember that at any moment?
I'm trying to find that analogy between the two, but what I typically take people through is just speed reading it super fast and just over and over and over and over again. And at that point, they've read through their scripts so many times and very quickly that there isn't time to just kind of mess up. So part of that process is just solidifying the words in their brain. And then when they go and talk it flows naturally. Now some people might need a little prompt in terms of little bullet points of parts of the story to make sure that they bring out. And that's fine that you can put that on a little teleprompter, card or something like that.
Great. And do you use the story in other elements leading up to the webinar, during the webinar, after that start or at the end, how does that story reappear?
So not really leading up to the webinar because the whole point of the story is to keep people on the webinar. And if you give away the candy, you're not going to sell the store. So start off with the really good story at the beginning. And then again, in the middle, you want to start to re-reference that story back. Especially for people that may not have joined the webinars straight at the top of the hour or when it started, so that you're re-talking about that story again, so that it catches the rest of the audience up. And again, that just kind of solidifies some of the learning that you want your audience to have and that connection between you and them.
Yeah. And how long should a good story be in a webinar?
It varies. I mean, if you take the time, you could actually craft your entire story through the entire webinar, an hour long webinar, half an hour, long webinar, and you're inner mixing in there the learning points with the story. Or, if it's just an intro story and you want to grab people's attention, two to five minutes would be fine. I help people that are doing webinars. A lot of times we'll come up with that two to three minute version, we'll come up with a 15 minute version and we'll come up with a longer version. And then that's the full presentation along with the sales pitch at the end.
Yeah. Someone wants to work with me to say, "Okay, you're going on a TEDx tomorrow, what's your presentation? What are you going to say then?" So, if you are looking at something like that, which has longer 60 minutes, if you've got any tips on how you do that different to a five minute stories.
No, it's actually the same process, which makes it really nice. You don't have to change the process. You just change the words and the duration. I think it gives you a lot more freedom than to take the dramatic pauses, to emphasise a point, a learning point and integrate into the teachings that you want to have people take away from the talk.
Great. And you briefly spoke about the hero story. Most movies, I suppose out of that we watch are about that. Just if you can just give us a quick take on what you see as the hero's story and the format.
Yeah. So it's a circle of life and, and there's a lot of different points and it can get a little confusing. I break it down into there's, there's an impact moment of do or die. There's something that happened that you have to make a decision and do something about. And then you have people or things or something that helps you along. And that's your mentor. And that mentor could be an internal, it could be external, it could be a person, it could be a book, it's just something that helped you. And then you have the saboteurs as well. So somebody that's trying to keep you from getting to where you want to go. And again, that could be yourself. It could be internal, it could be external, it could be somebody, it could be something. So figuring out those, and then there's a point where you either get what you're wanting or you've changed what you want to get. Yes. And then the realisation of the learning that you had from going through that experience and how life is different now.
Yes. And, and I suppose I don't know if you can think of any movies where it doesn't turn out all good. I suppose, or right. Normally the hero always wins at the end.
Not a Hollywood movie for sure. I think some European movies, for sure. I don't remember the names of them, but that is like, " Huh, that's interesting." And then the hero dies. It's like, what?
Well, I could talk to you all day on this when they get to the other sections in a moment. But just on webinars themselves, you are helping your clients with them all the time. Are they becoming more popular, less popular is Live better? Evergreen? Just give us some quick views based on your experience around webinars at the moment.
Yeah. I mean, obviously webinars if people can't get together or social distancing and all this going on right now, webinars are the best and easiest thing to do right now. It's definitely easy. You can get an audience. It's hard to get people on the webinar. Even if they've said "Yes, I want to be there." And it's actually another one of my businesses is a call service to get people to actually show up for the webinars. So we do a phone call to make sure that people show up for their webinars.
And is a phone call better than a text?
Absolutely. Two times. So do a metric of voice confirmation. So actually talking to somebody versus leaving a voicemail message. And it's two to three times more likely to a voice confirm will show up to the webinar than if just a voicemail. Incredible. So getting people to show up and all that, and then you have kind of the logistics of the webinar, which can be a little tough sometimes. Internet speeds and all that, the camera and all that. But the idea is it's easy, so anybody can do it and then just grab the audience's attention. There's just little small little techniques. So I do like webinars. It's easier to do easy setup. However, in person is by far the best. Because now you have interaction with your audience. You get instant feedback on what they're doing.
It takes a lot more work on the backend to make a really good podcast or webinar, I'm sure you know that, because it's, it's only your voice and you don't get feedback. There's nothing on the other end. And I like to crack jokes every once in a while, all the time. And I laugh at them, but I'm not getting anything from a blank screen. And it's really weird. And when you're live in front of an audience, you're getting that instant feedback. You can feed off their energy. So it's a different amount of work that you do when you're doing a webinar. It's a lot harder actually to have a really good performance on a webinar than it is a live performance.
For sure. And I think that interaction chats, your favourite friend. There's nothing worse than you talking away thinking, am I connecting? Like are people still listening to me, all of those things that we as humans go through. So look up and just reminding everyone that we're talking to Tom Jacobs and it's Jack, O, B, S is the spelling. So I get some letters in there. They get some approval from that from Tom. And you can find out more about Tom at tomjacobs.com and he's got something special for you at the end.
So please stay for that. But before we enter the live section, I'd like to know, or if more importantly, if you would like to know if you've got a sale system that's going to help you get at an additional million dollars in recurring revenue, I've got something for you. It's a pulse check. There's nine questions you can answer. And around three minutes. And then at the end of that, there's the opportunity to either, if you've got everything sorted, come on the podcast like Tom, or if you've got areas of opportunity, you'll know exactly what they are, and we'll go through a plan together in a call. It won't be face to face, but it'll be close as there'll be or close to that video. So just go to paulhiggensmentoring.com/pulse to fill that out today. So Tom, the live section, so what are some daily habits that help you be successful?
Daily habits love it. So I exercise every single day. So that's definitely,
That's surprising to hear that from you.
Well, not right now, we're in a little mini lockdown, so no gym. So I go run and do some type of exercises and it's a really good kind of meditative, cause I'm not a traditional meditative type of person. So I tried that doesn't work. So running, just having that day set up and planning the day out and then just executing. So yeah.
Yeah. Great. And the next section's the give section. So, what's a charity, or a community that you're passionate about and why?
Yeah. So the Houston Food Bank, and even though I'm not living in Houston right now, but any food bank for that matter so important that people have the right food and nutrients to support their lives. And if people can't afford it, these food banks are always there to help support the community. And especially if disasters happen and economies and all that. So if it's just an event and it's an easy way to donate. We do a food drive or when I had the gym, we did a food drive every year and I would just clean out my cupboard. So canned goods that I was like, "Why did I even buy this? I'm not going to eat it."
Yeah. Brilliant friend. Well, the next section and the last section is the action fire section. So I'm going to ask you some questions and then get you to give me rapid responses. So the first one is what tech technology is essential to running your business.
Sales pipeline software keep track of the metrics.
And sorry, is that Pipedrive?
I do use pipe drive.
Okay, great. A bit of a memory flash from November last year. What the best sales tip you can share?
Asks for the sale, ask for the sale.
Brilliant. And what's the best source of new ideas for you?
For me, it's listening to podcasts and reading or listening to books.
Great. And what speed for podcasts?
Usually one and a half.
Great. And the last question is a big question is that we leave it to the end for that reason, but what impact do you want to leave on the world?
Yeah, that's a really great question. For me, it's helping individuals make a transformation in their lives and that transformation can come in many different ways. So when I was in the fitness industry, obviously it was a physical transformation, health transformation. Now that I'm helping entrepreneurs, it's transformation in their business so that they can live the life that they love.
Brilliant. Excellent. Well, firstly to you, Tom, thanks for sharing all your wisdom today on Personal Stories. I've certainly taken a whole page of notes down. Some of you might've seen me writing, that are watching it on video, but yeah, it was wonderful to hear your personal story, but also how you construct them and where to use them. And I think webinars are really important. So you can find more about Tom at tomjacobs.com, as I said. And also if you go to tomjacobs.com/storybook, he'll give you that structure and the framework on how you can go and create your stories. As always, there's nothing better than working with someone like Tom. That's a great resource to get you started. So Tom, fantastic to have you on the show today. And I look forward to, to sharing my personal story with you and getting your feedback soon.
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for your call. Thanks. Thank you.
I really loved that. And I must admit I was a little self-indulgent because there's lots of tips that I can take to improve my personal story. And I love the way that Tom put it together. Also, make sure you go and grab Tom jacobs.com/story. I'll just make sure I've got a right storybook. That's it. And that's a great framework that Tom's given for us. So if you'd like to know if you've got that sales machine to make an additional million in annual recurring revenue, please just go to paulhiggensmentoring.com/pulse. And there is all the show notes are going to be there for you. And I should have said that at the start of the podcast, we also transcribe this as well. So you'll have all those. And the links that Tom mentioned will be in the show notes as well. Please take action to build live give.
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To say Tom has been through a few things in his 30+ years of being an entrepreneur is an understatement. He’s definitely had more failures than successes, but wouldn’t have it any other way. He sold his fitness business which he owned for 9 years a years ago to become the Impact Pilot, helping entrepreneurs generate more income through better sales strategy and using stories to sell.
Tom has a BFA Degree in Theatre from DePaul University in Chicago and holds his private pilot license for single-engine airplanes, which was a lifelong dream he achieved in 2013.
He’s been a contributor to CBS Radio in Houston, a guest on Great Day Houston television show, Univision Television, Fox 26 News, KPRC Channel 2 and CW Houston. He is also a presenter at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Houston.
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