J.J. Peterson [Marketing]

J.J. Peterson – StoryBrand Chief of Teaching and Facilitation at StoryBrand and Co-Author of the Book, Marketing Made Simple

He talks about:
• How to get the customer interested in brands
• How to pique someone’s interest
• Why it’s important to obsess over your customers’ success
• The importance of empathy and authority in storytelling

The person who has influence J.J. the most in the past year:
Beth (Friend)

His note to all customer service professionals:
“Don’t play the victim.”


Nick Glimsdahl  0:02

Welcome to the Press 1 for Nick podcast. My name is Nick Glimsdahl. And my guest this week is JJ Peterson. JJ is the story brand chief of teaching and facilitation at story brand and co-author of the book marketing Made Simple. JJ, welcome to the Press 1 for Nick podcast. Thanks for having me. Very excited. You bet. So one question that I asked every guest at the very beginning is what’s one thing people might not know about you?

J.J. Peterson  0:30

So here’s a funny thing is that with our staff when we could all be together, in the office, every Wednesday, we had staff lunch together, and the staff would always make me tell a story. It was Wednesdays, Wednesday story time, because I have like very, I’ve lived a very unique life like grew up in Africa. I was an improv comedian for a while I toured. I’ve been to every continent, except for South Africa. So like, kind of, I have a lot of kind of wild stories. But I was trying to think of one that like, nobody really knows about me, because I put a lot of stuff out there.

One interesting thing about me is that because I’d never put this out, there’s that when we lived in Kenya, there was a leopard that would leap over our 10 foot high fence and pace outside my brother and eyes window to try to hunt us.

Nick Glimsdahl  1:27

It’s funny that you’re actually laughing, because I would I would freak out.

J.J. Peterson  1:34

. Yeah, I mean that we had a 10 foot high fence to keep the leopards and the lions out. And we’d wake up in the mornings, and there would be footprints. And there was this one leopard that evidently stocked my brother and I and even like would, even during the day, like be outside of our fence, and we could see it occasionally. And so that’s just not you know, there’s not a lot of people who have been stopped by a leopard and live to tell about it. But that’s one of the stories I don’t think I’ve told anywhere else. So that that is amazing. That’s like in the top five stories that I’ve gotten so far. And I have a million I played with a black mamba in a bathtub thinking it was a lizard like, there was two holes in our bathtub where a soap dispenser used to be. And I named this lizard, our lizard friend and we would like hold its head and stuff when it would stick its head out and my brother and I had pet name for it and everything and then one day, it stuck its neck out about three or four inches and realized it wasn’t a lizard because it didn’t have shoulders. And my dad killed it and it was a black mamba and someone with a black mamba for like six months.

Nick Glimsdahl  2:41

I feel like we don’t even need to talk about anything else. We just hear stories of JJ.

J.J. Peterson  2:47

I was in a Missy Elliott music video. I mean, there’s just like, I have like story after story. So I’ll keep it short to those things. I almost died by Black Mamba and leopard. That’s so awesome. I mean, not awesome that you almost died, but awesome that you had this story. So yes, that is cool. I should have opened it up by saying jumbo then instead of saying hello. Yeah.

Nick Glimsdahl  3:12

There you go. So with your book marketing Made Simple, co authored, of course. Yeah. But what made you write the book before we get in? I have a whole lot of questions. You saw all the notes that I took, and you’re like, oh, man, it’s gonna be a six hour podcast, I got a bed, I need another cup of coffee. But what made you want to write this book? Yeah. So story brand, what we do is we really help people clarify their message. And we use a story framework to do that, because so many companies are in individuals. And, you know, entrepreneurs are so close to their products and services, that they have a hard time explaining what they do in a clear and compelling way. So we help them, we teach them how story works, and then help them because most people are telling the wrong story. So Teach them how story works, and then teach them how to use that to create their their story that they can invite customers into a beautiful story, and then put it in their marketing. So we for my dissertation, so I was studying narrative theory and narrative marketing. And I decided to do my dissertation on the effectiveness of narrative marketing. And so I started to study does this actually work when people use and create great stories for their marketing? Does it work? And the quick answer was, it does work. It works for anybody who is an entrepreneur all the way up to fortune 500 companies, you know, b2b, b2c, everybody, it works. The only thing that had an influence on whether it was more effective or less effective was if people actually implemented it throughout the organization. So it really was like is there you know, did they create a did they put it on their website? Did they put it in their emails? Did they incorporate it in

J.J. Peterson  5:00

Customer service where every time you implemented it into a different area, basically, your effectiveness and like you saved more time and you made more money, plain and simple. So what what I wanted to do was write a book that then said, All right, if, if implementation is the number one reason why people find success with this, then we need to write a book that helps people implement. So that’s really what again, we wanted to keep it really simple. How do you write like, you know, for anybody who’s in, in particular, like marketing, or trying to really pitch any idea at all? How do you create a speech? How do you create emails? How do you create a website around one singular message? So we wrote the book, because and we actually had a different book planned to release? And we were like, nope, we want our customers to succeed. And if if implementation is the number one way to make that happen, and let’s write a book to help them implement. Yeah, I love that. Because there was so many things inside the book.

Nick Glimsdahl  6:03

Like you said, it’s it’s obviously the books name is marketing made simple, but it is the it’s the kiss method. It’s keep it simple, stupid. And I’m like, Yes, I can follow this. Yeah, I can follow this. Yeah, as I’m turning the pages, I continued to look at it. But um, you know, everybody says, Don’t read your reviews, like on, you know, Amazon and stuff. And we got a lot of really good reviews. But of course, I went to the negative ones. And my favorite negative one was, this book is not for the professional, it’s for the amateur. And that was a critique. And I was like, yeah, that’s professional, you don’t need me, like, you don’t need this. And even professionals do, I think, but if you’re an expert at marketing, you might this none of this is going to be rocket science for you, it’s going to reinforce the things you already know. But this genuinely was written for people who don’t know how to write good emails that stay focused and don’t know how to create lead generators and don’t know how to do websites. And you don’t have to pay $100,000 to somebody else to do it for you, you can do it yourself. Right? And so, instead of opening Pandora’s box, in giving all of the answers, I’m only gonna ask a handful of them. And so making everybody else read the book, too.

So how can my listeners to get started? How can my listeners get more people to be interested in their brand?

J.J. Peterson  7:20

The biggest mistake I think most brands make is they make all the story about themselves. So when in particular, when it comes to marketing, or even, you know, on calls with customer service, like, it really is all about, we’re the focus of the story. And what we teach people is that every day everybody wakes up as the hero in their own story, right? Like, I have a certain number of things I’m trying to accomplish today, I’m trying to survive, and I’m trying to thrive in my own life. So if I’m, as I say, I’m a customer, if I’m living my own story, that I’m the hero of a story. And a brand comes along and creates a marketing message, or any kind of message that goes out there with that positions them as the hero in the story, then we’re in competing stories, right? I can look at you and go, Man, that’s an interesting story. You’re living brand, you know, that’s great. But I’m looking to be the hero of my own story. And so if if brands tell a story, where they’re the hero, you are positioning yourself as outside of your customers journey. And what you need to do is understand that, in even in your story, as a company, the customer is the hero of your story, not you. And so any marketing you put out there has to be about the inviting the customer into a beautiful story, where you get to play the guide. So you are helping the hero win the day. So you are Gandalf, you are Obi Wan Kenobi, you are Yoda, you are haymitch. You know, in all of those great movies, there’s always somebody there that has more experience, more knowledge has been through the problem that the hero has is experiencing, and they help the hero win the day. That’s how brands need to position themselves. They are the guide in their customers story. And when you make yourself the hero, we’re great, and we’re wonderful and focused only on the features that your product or service offers versus the benefits. Then what you’re doing is you’re making yourself the hero of the story and you’re excluding your customer.

Nick Glimsdahl  9:26

That is so awesome. How can I get my listeners to be the Gandalf? Yeah, their story? I think that is it’s a I might have to change my email signature to Gandalf Glimsdahl.

So how do you get started? How do you pique someone’s interest to get them to even acknowledge that you exist or that hey, it makes sense to continue that first line? Yeah, well, in marketing Made Simple. One of the things we teach is called a one liner.

J.J. Peterson  10:00

A one liner is basically a quick, easy way to explain what you do or what you offer to somebody who might be interested. And it’s formulaic, it’s like you said, it’s easy. It’s it’s keep it simple, stupid. And the one liner involves three parts. And so it involves first stating the problem your customer is experiencing. Second, it’s offering the solution that you have to solve that problem. And then third, it showing, explaining what the customers life is like after they purchase your product or service. So problem, solution success problem, solution success. Now why I bring that up? As an answer to your question is, that’s also a better way to be thinking about positioning your customer as the hero most companies, like when you say, so what do you do? Like if somebody came up to me at a party? And they say, what do you do? I would go, Well, I’m a, I’m a marketing consultant, or I help companies with their messaging. That’s about me, right? That story is about me. So now I’m saying everything I do. When you are about the customer, what you do is you start with their problem. So you say something like, you know, so many companies out there, I said this earlier, so many companies out there struggle with their messaging, and they have a hard time explaining what they do. So now I’ve positioned I’ve given context to your story, not my story. So many companies struggle with their messaging, because I have a hard time explaining what they do. Then I say, we created a seven part framework story framework that helps people clarify their message. So that’s the result. I mean, that’s the solution to the problem. And then I say, and when companies use it, they save time and money and their business grows. So their solution, their result. So problem solution results. So I’ll just say that a little quicker. In in. So if you pretend like so, JJ, what do you do? Let’s say, Well, you know, so many companies really struggle with their marketing and messaging. And they have a hard time explaining what they do to customers in a way that engages them. And at story brand, we’ve created a seven part framework that helps companies clarify their message, so that customers are more engaged in their business grows. That is a quick way of just changing my mindset of making the story about me and making it about my customer, I’m still they still think I’m talking about me, but I’m not I’m talking about them, and invites them in. So then any time that they feel like man, my messaging is confusing, or they hear one of their friends go, man, we’ve grown so quickly that everybody from customer service to the sales is telling a different story. And all of a sudden, they they go, Oh, I have somebody who fixes that story brand. Right? We position we have to position ourselves as brands as the aspirin to somebody’s headache, it is all about the customer problem. The only reason why people are actually coming to you is because you solve a problem for them. That’s it. Otherwise, they don’t need you. So you have to be talking about your customers problem all the time, how you solve that, and then what the customers life looks like after they have bought your product or service. You know, when you’re in the middle of that networking event, and somebody doesn’t say I’m a marketing consultant, and at story brand, instead you tell them that story.

Nick Glimsdahl  13:24

It it’s Yes, you’re talking about them. But immediately they go to what is the best case or worst case scenario that I’m in today, or that I just heard recently. So they’re there, you reframe them, but you now have tunneled their, their focus, where they’re saying, JJ, I’ve been working with this organization for the last 10 years, they’ve given me no results, or I just heard this story. So immediately, they’re trying to respond back to what you’re trying to say. And I love that how you reframe that? Because all it is, is it’s a very simple thing. Stories give us context and meaning, right? So it’s a lot of times like, imagine a conversation where somebody says,

J.J. Peterson  14:07

you know, so what do you do? And I say, marketing, consulting, and then they say, Well, what does that mean? Like, who do you work with? And I go, but let me tell you a story about this fortune 500 company I just worked with, right? So I tell the story to give meaning to the first part of the conversation. Or somebody said, you know, like, we this year, this year, our customer service rate is like our customer satisfaction is at a 99%. And then you go, let me tell you a story from one customer that I talked to that illustrates all of these numbers, right? The story gives context or gives meaning to the numbers to the facts. And we do that all the time naturally. But when what we don’t think about it is in terms of how we talk about ourselves. Don’t just talk about yourself.

about your company, give your company context to your customers story. Right? That stories that your customers living and invite your customer into the story. You are trying to help them win.

Nick Glimsdahl  15:16

When people buy, is it emotional? Oh, heck yeah. It’s almost. Here’s the thing. I mean, there’s so many. Here we go. I’ll give you a story for context.

J.J. Peterson  15:27

So here’s just an example. I’m looking outside my window right now and my lawn is overgrown. Okay. I mean, that is a fact, I do not like to mow my lawn. However, if I’m not embarrassed by that, or I am not overwhelmed by that. I’m not paying somebody to do it. The driving force for me to actually make a buying decision is the emotional piece that I’m overwhelmed that I’m embarrassed, like, Yes, I need my lawn mowed. But if I’m not emotional about it, no, I’m not paying anybody to do it, it doesn’t matter. So people are driven by what we would term in store brands term, the internal problems. So I just talked a little bit about how you have to solve your customer’s problem. Well, the primary thing that most companies do is focus on solving an external problem. So my lawn needs to be mowed, right? That’s the external problem, and people go shopping for that they go looking for that. But ultimately, they’re making the buying decision on an emotional decision, which is an internal problem. So you need to recognize in your marketing and in your customer service, that you are not just solving an external problem. If you only solve an external problem, you are going to miss out on an enormous amount of business. You have to articulate and speak back to an even shift your mind to think we solve this external problem. But we really are solving an internal problem. And it’s a trick from screenwriting. Really. So you know, I said that everything we do is based on story. Well, screenwriters use an internal problem to connect to the audience to any kind of situation. So you know, if the lead character in a movie is trying to disarm a bomb, the majority of us have never disarmed a bomb or have never rescued our daughter from terrorists from being kidnapped or never had to destroy the Deathstar. Right or ever played with the black mamba? Yes. Very few people have done that.

Those are all external problems that you have to solve, right? Well, what screenwriters do is they they focus the storyline on the internal problem that the hero is facing as well. So the hero often doubts themselves and doesn’t know if they have what it takes, or are trying to prove they are a good father, or they’re trying to prove they’re a good son, because maybe their dad died in a bomb blast, you know, a while back. So the story is driven by that internal if we if they were just solving an external problem, we’re bored, we don’t pay attention, because we can’t identify with those external problems. But when we identify with Luke Skywalker, not knowing if he has what it takes to destroy the district, not knowing if he has what it takes to be a Jedi. But all of us have felt that. So they ramp up that internal struggle, that internal problem in order to connect with the viewing audience, because we’ve all thought that not the destroy the desktop? Well, it’s the same thing in your messaging. If you only focus on the external problem, it could be kind of interesting, and people might buy it. But really, you have to solve their internal problem recognize, what is the emotional pain that is driving this purchasing decision, and solve that problem? or speak to the fact that your problem that your product solves that problem in all of your messaging?

Nick Glimsdahl  18:56

So what happens if we are trying to hit quota at the end of the quarter, and we are pushing a customer No, make a sale? Yeah. Then you just one, you need to have a clear call to action. Most people in their messaging and in their conversations, kind of leave it up to the customer. And the principle behind this is that most people in movies in particular, heroes don’t act on their own. There is a moment that like, that’s why there’s so many bombs that are going to go off in movies or like you have 24 hours to get your daughter back. It’s because if there was six years before the bomb went off, then it’s like, Okay, well, I don’t need to run. Like, everything is about them running to it. Because it’s so don’t know, if we have six years before this bomb goes off, we’re fine. There’s no urgency. And yet we do that all the time. And our messaging is we just kind of go Hey, so if you have any more questions, feel free to reach out. Well, there’s zero urgency there. Right and so you have to actually create a

J.J. Peterson  20:00

In your customers story, you can do that in email form by just even asking questions like, Are you tired of feeling like this? Are you worried about this coming up, that creates a sense of urgency, it creates what we call stakes in the story, that if they don’t act, something bad is going to happen, which is same thing that happens in movies, if you don’t disarm this bomb, the world will explode, and everyone you love will die. So in a very less forward way of just asking questions in your messaging, like, Are you worried about this? Are you struggling with this? Are you tired of feeling this way? Call now schedule an appointment now, by now, you know, offer up a little bit of language that shows people you need to if you don’t act, something bad is going to happen. And you need to do that now. And give a clear call to action gets people to move.

Nick Glimsdahl  20:58

So on, in the book, you talked about something called a grunt test. And I enjoyed the the grunt test and what it means, but maybe explain to my listeners, what is the grunt test? And what questions do you need to ask yourself? Yeah, so we’re all so close to our products and services that we, we project our knowledge about our product and service onto our customer. So we’re actually confusing them and overwhelming them and not giving them the information they really want. And from a website perspective, and really even an email or anything, you have about three to five seconds to grab people’s attention. That’s what the studies show, depending on the studies, you have three to five seconds. So if somebody comes to your website, and you are throwing a ton of information at them, that confuses them or overwhelms them, they’re done, they’re out.

J.J. Peterson  21:49

And this is everything from an FAQ page to your front page on your website to something that explains how to return a product, anything like that, right? It, if you are confusing people, they will, they’re out, you have three to five seconds. And so in three to five seconds, you need to be able to answer three questions. What do you do? How does it make my life better? And how do I get it? If you can kind of focus on those three and make sure that every section of your website, or or every website, every email at least contains that information? What do you do that the customer could ask that and get these answers. What do you do? How does it make my life better? And how do I get it, then you’re gonna see an increase in engagement. And why we call it a grunt test is because we want that language to be so simple, that people the caveman could grant it back to you, you know, and so called grant, do you pass the grunt test. So we do this with our own websites, we create an even we challenge other people do it is like when it’s COVID safe, go to Starbucks or go to a coffee shop, open up your website, and have somebody look at your website for three to five seconds. And then close the website and ask them those three questions. What do I do? How does it make your life better? And how do you get it? And if they cannot answer those three questions in three to five seconds, then you need to get more simple with your language and more clear. It’s so simple to go to a coffee shop and ask a stranger is as weird as it is. But going over and saying, hey, JJ, I’ll buy a cup of coffee. Just look at this for three seconds and tell me what I do. And it’s invaluable information. So what happens if a customer or the Starbucks person is confused when interacting with your company, then change the language? I mean, and that the beautiful thing about kind of even the framework that we use is it’s really all about words. It’s not, you know, you don’t need to change the color scheme of your website or your logo or even your tagline. Your tagline. This is where thing. One area that people get a lot of very confused on. tagline is not marketing. tagline is branding. Marketing is basically answering those three questions. What do you do? How does it make my life better? And how do you get it? It’s educating people on that through your messaging. Branding is how you make people feel. So you’re so a lot of people come up with this great tagline like Nike comes up with just do it, which is an amazing tagline. And it works for $500 million plus companies because they don’t really need to educate people on the shoes. Coca Cola does not need to educate people on their drink. They don’t need to say what it is. They are all about branding and about feeling. That’s what branding is about. Marketing is about education and memorization memory, helping your customer memorize the problems you solve and how you solve it. That’s really it. Marketing is about memorization. Branding is about feeling and so many people skip over marketing to go to branding. So they create these amazing taglines

They go out there. And they’re really proud of them because they’re very cute and clever, but they’re not clear. And if you’re not clear, then you’re going to miss out on a ton of revenue really, and customer engagement. So the beautiful thing about this, you find out that your website is confusing people change the words, don’t worry about your logo, don’t worry about the pictures, don’t worry about the colors. Don’t leave it unless your pictures are confusing people to this is one thing drives me nuts. Somebody sells T and their website has a picture of a mountain on it. Now they’re trying to say is like, you know, you’re going to experience serene or mountaintop experiences. People in three seconds, we’re using our squirrel brain. So if you’re selling tea, and you show me a mountain, my first thought then is, man, that mountain would be beautiful to go to. It’s not this tea would be wonderful to taste or, Oh, you know what, we should plan a trip to Colorado, you’re immediately taking people in their mind off of the story you want them to know. So you put up an image that’s confusing, when you should literally just put a picture of somebody drinking tea and being really happy. That’s it. So then go on, I want to be happy like that person will buy the T unit. So that’s what you know, when you go to Starbucks and you find out you’re not as clear as you thought you were. Just change the words maybe an image but don’t you don’t need to like redesign your whole website. You don’t need to change your colors. You don’t need to change your tagline even leave your tagline. Just make your marketing more clear.

Nick Glimsdahl  26:35

So when it comes to storytelling, though, why is empathy and authority so important?

J.J. Peterson  26:42

So empathy and authority are two characteristics of a guide. So in movies, when you’re watching Star Wars, you’re watching anything so let’s let’s use Hunger Games as an example. haymitch and Katniss. So Katniss is the hero of the story. Yes. I am the Mockingjay. You know, you, Katniss is the hero of the story. And haymitch is her guide. Now the reason why haymitch matters in the story, the only reason he’s in the story is because he has empathy for Katniss, he has been where she has been. And he won the Hunger Games. So he has authority, empathy, and authority. If Katniss wants to open a bakery, haymitch doesn’t matter in the story at all, doesn’t matter why he’s a drunk in the town that is annoying and angry, because of the story that, oh, it’s this clever little fact that he won the Hunger Games doesn’t matter. She’s trying to open a bakery. So as the guy when I was saying earlier, the brand has to position your company has to position yourself as the guide in the customer stories. When I say don’t talk about your story, the only way you talk about yourself. And your story is if you talk about it in terms of empathy, empathy and authority, we understand what you have been through or the problems that you’re facing, because either we faced them ourselves, or we’ve seen other people face them. And we have solved that problem. So that’s it. Um, you know, and so for huge companies, you know, you can say that you’ve been in business for a long time, but only if that matters to your solving your customers problem. That’s it. For small individuals. One of the things that drives me say entrepreneurs or small businesses, one of the things that drives me crazy, is when people create BIOS on their website that say, their favorite ice cream color, and that they won the three point contest in junior high, and blah, blah, blah, right? None of that matters. That once again, if you’re putting that stuff, now you’re getting people to think about their own favorite ice cream, their own favorite movie and the three point contest they lost, you’re not engaging them in the story you’re trying to create for them. So it that it you won’t talk about anything that has that. That is, let me say that again.

You won’t in your BIOS, you don’t want to talk about anything that isn’t directly related to your customer story. So I kind of jokingly earlier I mentioned that I was in a Missy Elliott music video, which I was I danced next to Missy and Missy Elliott video of channeling. When I am doing a workshop or I am doing a strategy session with people we go in and do like private sessions with companies and teach them how to do this. I don’t mention that I was in a Missy Elliott.

Now, if I was more insecure about what I offer, I would because I want people to like me, right? So I mentioned Oh, yeah, oh, I was in a Will Ferrell movie, and I was on the office and all this stuff, which all of those things are true. But that’s about getting people to like me. If I want people to actually engage in the product and service. I don’t talk about that stuff. I talk about the fact that my PhD is in communication that I studied narrative marketing that

I’ve worked with 1000s upon 1000s of companies, including, you know, all the way up to the White House, Ford, you know, and all the way down to laundromats and bakers, you know, like, that’s what I talk about. Or I talk about how I used to be really frustrated as a because I used to work for a nonprofit, and I did fundraising. And so I would say something like, I used to get frustrated every week, when I had to sit down and write a new email, I didn’t know you know, I’m staring at a blank page trying to figure out what to write. That’s empathy, because most people who are in marketing or fundraising also do with that, and I say, but then I discovered this framework that actually helped me every time I sit down, know exactly what to write. And not only that, but it’s more effective, I make more money for the nonprofit when I write it this way. So it’s just empathy and authority. So for everybody listening, you want to be thinking in those terms, from every place, literally from the person on the phone call that that starts, you know, when somebody first calls in to talk to the company, all the way through salespeople and marketing people and the CEO of the company, you need to constantly be thinking about yourself as the guide in your customer story, if you want your customer to win. The only way then that you can talk about yourself in that context is with empathy, and authority. That’s it, everything else. on the first date. Let me just clarify all this stuff that I’m talking about here is really like first date, first impression kind of stuff. Once you get down the road and be in relationship with customers, you can definitely go deeper. But in that first initial thing, they need to have context for why they need to do business with you.

Nick Glimsdahl  31:42

Yeah, why is it important to obsess over your customer success?

J.J. Peterson  31:49

Well, because it’s their story, right? You know, like, you’re you’re trying to, the only reason you exist is if they win. That’s it. You know, if they win, you win, obviously. So it’s not just this, you’re not a nonprofit, you know, you’re, you’re in to make money. Most of us, you know, there are some nonprofits out there. But most of us are in this because we’re there to make money. And we’re there to build the lives that we want, and not be capitalistic and crazy, but just like literally, no, this business exists for a profit so that we can pay our people and we can build the lives we want, they can build the lives they want. So, you know, if you, if you obsess about your customer success, then every time they get a win, you get a win. And, and but if you obsess about your own success, then often what that will do is put you in, in competition with your customer. And I think this is really so this is one of the things that just very honestly really bothers me about a lot of

customer service people that I talk to, because let’s and specifically I’m going to talk about large companies here, because once you get large, you have to develop some systems and processes because you can’t deal with every case on an individual basis, or you’re just going to be wasting so much time and money. So I get that I 100% understand that. But most customer service for large companies are designed to mitigate loss for the company, not get success for the customer. And if if I think if there was a slight mind shift, it will take more time I get it when you start treating people as individuals versus numbers. And versus cogs in a system, it’s going to take more time in the factory floor does not work as well, when everybody is doing different things, I get that. But I would bet that ultimately that the the rate of return on that investment on treating people like individuals and helping them succeed, is going to far outpaced the loss that you’re going to experience by adding more manpower and hours.

You know, we have never been punished for being a generous brand. Ever, you know, that’s our goal, because we always go, we’re gonna go above and beyond and, and punished in the terms that have we lost some money or had to return some things that probably we didn’t need to 100% like revenue line might have been affected. But ultimately, I think the revenue line is affected because of word of mouth, and people are going to talk about us more, they’re going to spread the word. You know, some of our products are not cheap. And so people are investing $10,000 we want them to get a return on that investment. And the more they get a return on that investment, the more people that they’re going to invite into our system, and we’re going to win. So you know, I think that’s why when you obsess about your customer success, like it drives me crazy when I call like a rental car company or an airline. And I know this is a simple fix, but it doesn’t fit into their system. And so because I have a number of Twitter followers, I don’t have a ton

But I have a number I have enough to get people’s attention. So I will talk to two customer service people. And they I know it’s an easy fix. I know it is because I’ve had this fix before. And they just fall into their line of system of protecting the company and not the customer. This is the way we’ve always done it, though. Yes, exactly. And then I go to Twitter, and I go, Hey, this rental car company, I meet your your customer service, people messed up, then now it’s public. And now I don’t feel great about my experience, and they’re not looking good. And so now they solve my problem they do. But I feel I’m still not happy about the situation. Because I didn’t when I had to go public with this and almost shame them in order to get the $100 back that they were going to give me anyway. And but that first level of customer service was not it was not focused on my success. It was focused on the company’s success. And both of us hurt because of that, and I’m no longer a customer with that company.

Nick Glimsdahl  36:02

Yeah, it’s very well put so I could listen to another 100 stories of you being in with World Pharaoh and the office and, and a black mamba and a leopard, and Missy Elliott, Missy Elliott, and everything else. So but I wrap up every podcast with two questions, JJ. So the first question is, is what book or person has influenced you the most in the last year. And then the other one is, if you can leave a note to all the customer service and all the customer experience professionals, it’s going to hit everybody’s desk, Monday at 8am.

J.J. Peterson  36:38

And so the person that probably has influenced me the most this past year, is this and this is gonna sound a little odd, maybe I don’t know. But as my friend Beth, and Beth

lost her husband, tragically right before the COVID experience, and, and she was pregnant with their first child. And

her story is so unique. And so interesting. And like her husband was one of my best friends, like actually worked with me and was a co worker, we shared an office together. And there have been and watching the way that she has had to fight through being a single mother and then experience COVID on her own and all that stuff. There are moments where, and I’m and I don’t want to be too cheesy about bringing this back to the focus of this podcast. But it she affected me in so many ways, period period, just like watching the way she walked this journey and her grace and her strength. It’s been unbelievable. But there have been actually so many times where I’ve wanted to go like tell other people who have created, say hustle for her and go, do you not know her husband died, and she is a single, you know, wanting to yell at them. Like, you literally could have just dropped it at the front door. And you created this, you know, and what that has focused me on when dealing with my own customers is recognizing that everybody is living a unique story. And I need to be have my eyes open a little bit more and pay more attention to, to those things have more empathy, and work really hard to solve their problems versus trying to fit them into my system that we’ve always used. And so that’s Beth has really been the biggest impact in that. And then, you know, the note that I would leave for all customer service professionals, I would say this, don’t play the victim. That is probably the biggest thing that I would say is I know that a lot of customer service professionals, specifically on the back end of things who are dealing with people who are angry and frustrated and yelling at them or dealing with a lot of that kind of stuff is that it’s really, really, really easy to go into a victim mentality. It really is. And here’s an interesting thing about about stories is great stories are never written about victims, people who stay in the victim space and respectively, victim mindset. There are really four characters and types of characters and every story. There is the villain, the hero, the victim and the guide. And the victim literally only exists in the story to give or take energy from the hero or villain. They make the villain look bad and the hero look good. And that’s it. That’s it. That’s the only reason the victims exists. No stories are written about victims who stay victims you have to transform and become a hero in order for the story to be written about you. And victim villains. Often your villains and heroes have the same kind of backstory, a backstory of pain. And the villain tries to revenge the pain and the hero tries to redeem the pain. That’s really like what all the still you’ll even see villains with scars on their face to literally show you, this person went through a painful experience. And so often when we get wronged or we get somebody comes at us or, you know, things didn’t go the way we thought they would we either move into the victim mentality or worse, we move into the villain, and we tried to hurt other people who hurt us. And so for every customer service professional out there, I would say, never play the victim and work really hard not to play the villain.

Always work to be the hero in transforming yourself and then ultimately become the guide who helps transform others, redeem your own pain redeem the pain of others, and help them move forward in their story. And by doing so you will move forward in your own that was that was deep love. I love that answer man. I appreciate that. JJ what’s the best way for my listeners to get a hold of you? You know we have a little thing if people are like heard some of the stuff I was talking about story and are interested you can go to five minute marketing makeover comm five minute marketing, makeover calm. And there’s just a few short videos there that help you kind of overcome some of these problems in your own marketing and branding. So just go five minute marketing makeover comm you can either use the number five or spell it out. And you can kind of get some free videos there that help you move your marketing and messaging forward. Perfect. JJ, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I’ve learned so much and now I know that we need to reconnect just so I can have a fireside chat with you of just your conversations in general. I’m gonna bring you in once a week just to have a storytelling like you said to me I man.

Nick Glimsdahl  41:47

Thanks, man. Hope you have a great one. All right, you too.


The Press 1 For Nick podcast is both educational and engaging, and each episode offers listeners a dynamic blend of insightful stories, best practices, and invaluable lessons.

Nick’s guests – each with a unique wealth of knowledge – include leaders from a variety of backgrounds and industries. Some of his guests include:

  • Customer service & customer experience leaders
  • A hostage negotiator
  • Award-winning authors
  • Home Depot’s Senior Director of Customer Care
  • Former VP of Disney’s Magic Kingdom
  • Lyft’s Head of Partner and Customer Engagement
  • Deputy Chief Veteran Experience Officer from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

On every episode Nick asks his guest two questions:

  1. What book or person has influenced you the most in the past year?
  2. If you could leave a note to all the Customer Service and CX professionals, what would it say?

You can find all the podcast guests’ answers under their episodes below.

If all you want is the guests’ book recommendations, you can go here.

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