Scott Petersen 16:26
Yes. And there’s a couple of caveats on to that, too. It’s true. And we all know this, I always say that the customer isn’t always right. But the customer is always still the customer. And so even though it’s possible to have the same fence experience, and in the case of Amazon sellers, you know, you’ll have one reviewer that gives you five and one reviewers that gives you a one, and essentially you did exactly the same thing. Well, one of the things that I instituted from the beginning of the company We started with a list that was probably about maybe a half of a page of different things that we would run through with our customers to make sure that we didn’t have misunderstandings. And over the years, every time we had a misunderstanding, we would write down and develop processes that were designed to overcome those challenges before they ever started. So by the time that we sold the business, we had, like three pages of small fine print that we walked all of our customers through, to make sure that they understood exactly you know, what they were agreeing to and what we’re agreeing to. And, and then we set up a whole review system. We, every time, we had a project that we didn’t get, you know, a five on we would go out to find out What we missed in their minds, because in our minds, our processes were so tight, that it was really, really hard for someone to honestly say that we didn’t do this because we have all of it documented. But I like the fact that even now, you know, more than 10 years later, 13 years after the sale, you know, we have them following these processes that we instituted from the beginning of the company, and perfected by the, you know, or certainly got to a very refined place. By the time we had sold the business. And they followed exactly what our playbook called for, to document every step of the way phone calls, recorded phone calls, actual, you know, verifiable practices and events as they actually took what you know, took place because working with kids tumors can be tricky, and emotional, emotional, and people they see the world sometimes through rose-colored glasses. As businesses, we have to make sure that we really do have repeatable best practices that ensure that we are creating raving fans, people that will talk about us in a positive light. And to your point, whenever they look online and see a review like that, they’re actually going to penalize the customer and praise the company because they can see that the company really did look after the best interest,
Eric Stopper 19:46
right? They have their processes, in order. So in in actual practice, right. What you’re kind of talking about, it almost sounds like expectation setting is is like running defense. for selling to the wrong customers, and I think that lots of people have that problem where they may be advertising for a keyword and someone will click on that keyword that should not buy their product. one specific example that comes to mind is there’s a brand called I walk free and they sell like you kneel on it’s almost like a pegleg brace and you kneel on it, and it kind of like walk around on this on this pirate looking leg and your leg is backward. There’s a lot of ways for the wrong customer to buy that product. So they’re listing you can go check it out. It’s just filled with like, Don’t buy this if you do this, don’t buy this if you do this, like if you’re over this certain way, if you’re this tall, like don’t do it, don’t do it. Don’t do it. Scott, do you feel like that’s almost too much and that’s a necessary part of it because it almost seems like they’re trying not to get sales. You know what I mean?
Scott Petersen 20:59
Yeah, that’s caveat, that company flex leg was born out of our center. It’s no longer called flex leg, but it actually was born out of our center. Oh, yeah. I think that you have to basically look at it this way. I, you know, before I started my own companies back in 1988. So it’s been a number of years, obviously. I ran sales teams, you know, for about seven years prior to starting my first business. One of the things that I learned was, there’s only so many objections and, and people will say, well, there’s really an unlimited number of objections. And I, I come back to you and say, No, there’s really not. There’s really a handful 567 maybe 10 objections. And so you just simply have to learn the answers to all of those objections and be able to present those answers. In such a way that it’s very, very compelling. So and when I’m marketing products, I remember that I’m custom, like with customers, it’s like sort of herding cattle. So the whole idea is that I am going to lead the cattle along and close the gates that I don’t want them to walk through, meaning I don’t want them to bring up this objection. So I’m actually going to answer it about the time that they’re expecting to hear it. And, and then finally, when I get to the close, it’s sort of like coming to my parlor, whether that be the slaughterhouse or, or the branding or whatever else. And, and so I think you can overdo it. But I think that you have to make sure that you are able to answer any questions that objections or challenges or problems in advance so that they don’t come up in the buyers. The journey of someone and their product selection.
Eric Stopper 23:04
I yeah, I think that’s great. So, you know, if you’re going to design your listing on Amazon or on any website or any sales interaction, you’ve got to be prepared. You need to know your product for those VPS of marketing out there who haven’t interviewed their CEOs and their top salespeople as to what they talk about with customers face to face. What are you doing? Right like that’s, that’s your whole marketing strategy is learning the objections that they deal with and then being able to design an excellent listing around those points. Scott, a good part of the listeners who are, who are on this podcast, they’re looking to get into the Amazon Marketplace, but they need an idea. They need a product. Now, for those of you who don’t know and you can look this up me and Scott were actually on a magazine together at one point. It was really fun. Fine, we started this nanotechnology business. We did a ton of validation for this business. But I was hoping that you can help the listeners understand kind of the best practices when validating a new product before ordering in mass quantities just kind of a quick run-through of Lean Startup methodology.
Scott Petersen 24:18
Yeah. So in a quick run-through number one, I always want to know who my competitors are, there’s the old saying that you’re going to stay close to your friends and closer to your enemies. So you truly want to understand the competition, their feature, advantages, benefits, you don’t want to take them for granted. You don’t want to under you know, appreciate them. You don’t want to over appreciate them. But you want to make sure that you have a balanced view of your competitors. And then developing when I think about product ideas, I always think about, you know, the profit process of sort of like ideation. And so I start with Well, what is a big problem? And then I say, All right. Let’s get my team because usually products are born in teams. And we go into our war room and we have our whiteboards and we are listing and brainstorming and throwing up every single product idea that we’ve got or every feature, every advantage, every benefit. And then we’re thinking about innovation because we’re thinking about bringing into existence, something that hasn’t yet existed before. And then the sort of the third step is that ideation, how we’re going to bring some form to this, these scattered ideas and build it into a product. And then we’re going to iterate that’s step four on that product. So you can see it going from a wide funnel to a narrow, you know, finished product that’s gone through numerous iterations. And then I build-out. I call them virtual prototypes, but in this case, you know, you’re going to do 3d printed models. You’re going to take them out to customers, you’re going to point out the features, the advantages and benefits. In fact, I always walk them through these holes or gaps. And I’ll say, you know, Mr. Customer, today, you’re able to do this. And this is the value that you’re getting today. But tomorrow, you’re going to be able to do this. And the advantage of doing this and proof process over this that you’re currently doing is this. And the economic benefit is this. So I’m connecting the dots. And by the time I’ve done this with anywhere from three to five or six new features on a product, then I really have something that I think that will catch the attention of a lot of consumers, a lot of customers, and I’m always thinking about, you know, what is the job to be done? The old Clayton Christensen model of the innovators’ dilemma, and basically what that says I will, you know, I’m 61 years old, so I always ask people, they never know what age I’m at. But I asked them how they think I consumed music when I was a junior high schooler and they’ll say, oh, probably Apple iPod or, or
Unknown Speaker 27:16
some other mp3 player. It was the first
Scott Petersen 27:21
Apple iPod the Sony Walkman. And I say no, no, actually it was recorded and you must be ancient.
That’s it and then said no, I’ll challenge you to a push-up contest.
Eric Stopper 27:36
By the way, for those listeners that that aren’t looking at Scott, he just had he had brain surgery. How long ago Scott, two months, two months ago, his hairs barely growing back and I saw you doing push-ups with someone with like your shaved head. I believe crazy.
Scott Petersen 27:52
Actually, that was just probably about a week before sorry. And it was a student who thought he might be able to beat me but it didn’t turn out well. But at the End of the day, what I’m saying is that you know, when I was in high school, it was eight-track tapes and right I was in the early 80s. It was cassettes. And then by the time, it was the 90s, it was CDs. And then it was your Sony Walkmans and your Apple iPods, but today, we consume music through Spotify, and other streaming, you know, methods. So the point is, you know, the job to be done. Now, we know what that means. And we know that that job to be done doesn’t generally change in many cases. But how we do that job has changed over time. And so when we think about developing products, we always have to think about how are we doing it now versus how has it been done in the past? And what real, you know, improvements because you can see the evolution of how much easier it is to consume music today than it was when I was a teenager. Right? And, and that’s what they have to think about when they’re developing new products. So once they’ve developed, you know, the 3d models and they’ve taken them out to the marketplace to take a look at, you know, then I’m going to come up sort of with my finished version. And by that time then I think I’m ready for a Kickstarter, you know, then I’m ready for other versions of Kickstarter. And I can then take it to the Amazon store and then I could take it into bookstores and you know onto you know, bigger box or other retailers
Eric Stopper 29:24
And if the product validation is good enough for me, you can try to approach someone to actually invest I know you’ve directed me to family, friends, and fools when I was first getting my business started and that’s where most of our funding came from. And then we actually did the competition circuit at BYU and got hundreds, hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund our venture.
Scott Petersen 29:47
Yeah, there’s definitely
when you have done the work right, number one year mitigating your risk because the whole idea is to build a company that won’t fail. So if you do your, your testing correctly, so that it actually reproduces itself, when you go to sell, you can quit before you start. In other words, if if you can’t get real validation, you just move on to the next business idea, the next product. Otherwise, if you do get all of that real validation, you can take that validation to your friends and family instead of them being fools. You can demonstrate to them.
You know, because you’ve gone through the process.
Here’s all the competitors, here’s what they’re doing, look at what I’ve done. I need just a little bit of support to bring this to reality. And, and people will back you because of the thoughtful approach that you’ve taken and the fact that you’ve mitigated the risks.
Eric Stopper 30:57
Yeah, I think just apply most of the principles. That we’ve talked about in this episode as far as like closing the gates before they even get to them and leading them down the path to the only choice for them is to do it right, it makes the most sense.
Scott Petersen 31:13
Yep, write the check, you know, click the button, get the credit card information taken, and go on and deliver fantastic service and value and get repeat customers and build a big brand and, and then sell it, sell it. achieve your dreams.
Eric Stopper 31:33
Scott, I’ve got one more question for you. And when you’re mentoring me, you said and you actually prompted me on this before we set up this episode, but that success reaches beyond the bottom line. Could you could you talk to me a little bit about that?
Scott Petersen 31:52
I can. In fact, you know, I remember one of my old mentors. I had sold my first business so it wasn’t like I was As a novice, I’d already made a significant amount of created a significant amount of wealth. And I actually started to contribute to an organization that provided microloans and business mentoring and training to two small micro-businesses in third world countries.
Eric Stopper 32:24
Mentors International. Right? Correct.
Scott Petersen 32:27
And my the founder of the company, Menlo Smith, who today is in his 90s, and still vigorous and healthy. He said, Scott, we’re not trying to make knaves richer knaves, meaning that we’re not trying to take, you know, people without character and make them wealthy. He said we want to take people who have character and make them wealthy because they’ll know what to do with it. And so well by itself is really quite empty and meaningless. When I think back about the things that I’m most proud of it really is the fact that I have an incredible family, a wife of 40 years and five children that, you know, have had their own children who all five of them have successful careers, and successful families. And they all value character, they all value integrity, they all value hard work. They all value their faith. And, and then moving past that, you know, it’s not just about you know, what we can consume, you know? Yep, I do. I live in a big house and I drive nice cars. But I like to limit the amount of consumption actually. And I’ve invested and I put my money where my mouth is, so to speak, by the past 20 years. Giving hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars to these micro-companies, and then helping the rising generation. So I, as you might imagine, I don’t make very much money and I didn’t come here for money to Brigham Young University. I came here to give back to the rising generation. I want to make them successful, but I want to make them successful in the right way. So that when they do become successful, that they haven’t sacrificed their family and they haven’t sacrificed their faith, they haven’t sacrificed, you know, giving back to society. And by doing that, I think we build something that’s sustainable. And I think that’s something that a lot of non-entrepreneurs don’t realize is that you know, most of the people that I know that are successful, desperately want to help others who aren’t And to figure out ways to do it that are correct. just handing people money never works out very well. Because believe me, I’ve tried it. And it doesn’t usually provide very much long term benefit. But what does create long term benefit is teaching individuals how they can be successful on their own. And when you do that, long enough, and with enough people, you’re not just not building individuals, you’re building communities and states and nations and making it sustainable. So that’s my end goal. That’s the end to which we started the, you know, the global business model competition. It’s the end to which you know, I’m working with hundreds and hundreds of entrepreneurs, young aspiring entrepreneurs here at Brigham Young and elsewhere in the community, and giving back really in every way that I’m capable of to Help others achieve their own dreams because it’s hollow when you’re winning alone. So my advice is don’t get caught up in the dollar. And don’t get caught up in thinking that when you do become successful that you’re better than anyone else, because, frankly, you’re not. If you are born, you know, I’ve just used the term mentally handicapped. Is it your fault? And I obviously say, of course, it isn’t. And then if you’re born Einstein, is it your fault? I say no, I don’t think so. So, the giver of the gifts, you know, is
God Himself. And so it’s pretty
arrogant to draw too much attention to ourselves. Instead, just do everything we can with the gifts that we were given, and help everybody else along the way. And we can Have a much better society than the one that I see in front of me.
Eric Stopper 37:04
Thank you for that, Scott.
Eric Stopper 37:07
A lot of you listening are going to make a lot of money. It’s going to happen. You’re you live in a world of opportunity and especially on Amazon, there’s there is no. So far I haven’t been able to find a ceiling for most of the brands that we work with and they’re already making a whole bunch of money and their investors are happy and their CEO is getting, you know, paid a lot of money. Stay true, right and make sure that you know you are why. If you want to check out what BYU is doing, go to miller.byu.edu to check out some of their Competition Series. You can also look at the Marriott school few if you Google that they come up with the rolling center of entrepreneurship and technologies. Scott, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Scott Petersen 37:54
My pleasure. Thanks very much, my friend or have a great one.
Eric Stopper 37:59
Thanks for listening. To the Buy Box Experts podcast, be sure to click subscribe, check us out on the web and we’ll see you next time.