Thirty or forty years ago, boring was acceptable. Not anymore. In this era when multitudes of businesses like yours are competing for your avatar’s attention, you have to step out of the confines of your business, reimagine your client experience and stop being boring once and for all. It turns out that even podiatrists can take cues on how to do this from the man in the yellow tux. Listen in as Jesse Cole shares an interview he had with Dr. Tyson E. Franklin of the Podiatry Legends Podcast, where he discussed how something as serious as a health business can apply the 5Es of the Fans First Experience to give its clients an experience they will never forget. Whether you’re a baseball team owner or a podiatrist, the principles that turn your business from “fine” to “fun” are the same. It’s just a matter of thinking differently and putting your best foot forward.
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Bonus 3: How To Stop Being Boring & Reimagine Your Experience
I’m pumped to share this episode with you. This was a show I was on, The Podiatry Legends Podcast with Tyson Franklin. I am not a podiatry legend, but we got into some cool things that are applicable for any business. I shared the five Es to create an extraordinary experience. I talked about how to create a frictionless experience and make it remarkable for your customers. How to think about your 2.0 version? Why speed matters and how we measure different metrics with our team? Most of all, I shared how to stand out in 2021 and map your journey to create remarkable moments. Why do we need to stop being boring and start standing out by re-imagining what you do for your customers and your team? It’s fun, it’s fast–paced, so buckle up. I hope you enjoy.
With me is another legend who is not a podiatrist. You are going to love this guy. His name is Jesse Cole. He is the Owner of The Savannah Bananas baseball team, and also the author of this amazing book, Find Your Yellow Tux. I’ll have him right in front of me. He looks just like the cover of his book, which is fantastic. Jesse, how are you doing?
I am fired up to be back with you, Tyson. It’s great to talk with you and have some fun.
You were on It’s No Secret with Dr. T a while back. Your energy and how you think on that particular podcast gets me fired up. I‘ve listened to it a few times, and I thought, “I need you to talk to The Podiatry. Once they listen to you, they’re not going to see the world the same way again.”
That’s a lot of pressure right there, but I’ll do my best. I’ll bring energy. I’m just a crazy guy in a yellow tuxedo who was forced to think differently. I’ve learned that it works well. That’s what we do every day here in Savannah, Georgia.
What made you decide to think differently? I think we are born to think differently, but at a certain point, we notice everyone is doing boring crap, so we decided to do something different.Success is the biggest thing that holds back innovation. Click To Tweet
I was forced to. The biggest thing that holds back innovation is success. Many of the podiatrists here have been successful. They have a good practice. Why would they change things? I didn’t have that luxury. I didn’t come into a good baseball team. Before there was even the Savannah Bananas, there was a team in Gastonia, North Carolina that only had 200 fans coming to the games, and $268 in the bank account on my first day on the job. It was failing. I quickly realized by talking to people in the community that there was some serious friction. People didn’t like baseball. It was too long, too slow, and too boring. They didn’t like the experience. I had asked myself, “What business am I in, but what business am I really in?”
I would challenge every single business owner, no matter what industry you’re in, to ask that question. Often you may think you’re in this business, but you’re in a completely different business. When you re-imagine it, it makes it very easy to change the experience. For us, we’re not in a baseball business. We’re in the entertainment business, 5,000%. I would challenge every business, even doctors, that the definition of entertain is to provide enjoyment and amusement. Doesn’t everybody want to be entertained? You’ve got a question and don’t just think what we do is what we do, and then look at what are all those friction points in our industry and try to change them. I was forced to. As you know, I was sleeping on an air bed. I had to sell my house and empty our savings account. We had serious challenges to try to overcome. Once we did that, we’ve had some success that we never thought was imaginable.
Do you still have the Grizzlies there?
We sold that because Savannah became so big. The Bananas became bigger than we imagined. After only selling two tickets, running out of money, and selling our house, we’ve now sold out every single game, have a waitlist for tickets in the thousands. We are now taking the show on the road, taking it to new cities and playing year-round. It’s become a huge operation that we’re very fortunate.
Do you love yellow, and then that’s what became the Savannah Bananas? What came first, the love of the color yellow or the name?
I don’t know if I necessarily love the color yellow. I love standing out, what it means, what it stands for, and giving people permission to have fun. The yellow tuxedo is my uniform. When I put it on, it means it’s showtime. I’m on stage. That’s what it means. The greatest leaders learn from outside of their industry. Fortunately, you’re having me on a podcast. I have never talked to many podiatrists. That’s not my specialty, but the reality is I don’t talk to many people in the baseball industry. I learned everything from PT Barnum and Walt Disney when I first started. They weren’t in the sports industry. They were in the circus industry, showbiz industry, and entertainment industry. That’s where all of my ideas came from and that’s where I still learned.
Once you get outside of your bubble and start branching out, that‘s when you can come out with great ideas and put that into your field. That’s how you stand out. There was no one in baseball wearing a yellow tuxedo and a top hat. You don’t dress like that, but I’m an owner. If I dress like that and say, “Let’s have fun,” we give our staff permission to have fun. We give our players who dance every single game permission to have fun. We give our male cheerleading team, the Man-nanas, or now referred to as the Dad Bod Cheerleading Squad, I give them the permission to have fun. That’s what it’s all about. Yellow came into play and it obviously fits very well with the bananas.
I must say you look good in yellow. You can’t say that in every person.
It’s bright. That’s the one thing I look about it. Before COVID, in the challenges of the states and all of the country, I was traveling and speaking a lot. I wear this tuxedo in the airports and people are like, “What is wrong with that guy?” People are taking videos and pictures, but most people smile and laughed. They think it was silly. It’s hard to take this too seriously. Sometimes as leaders, we take ourselves seriously, wake your work seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Be able to experiment, have fun, and joke around. It goes a long way and it helps connect with your audience, your customers and your people.
As I said before, Podiatrists sometimes have got these blinkers on thinking, “I have a medical degree. I have a Bachelor in Podiatry,” whatever qualification they have with Podiatry. There’s this lockbox that they put themselves in. They put these blinkers on. They think, “I must act professional all the time,” but they don’t realize people do come back for good podiatry treatment. If they’re getting bad treatment, it doesn’t matter what color of tuxedo you’re wearing. It’d be like going to a baseball game. If it’s boring crap and bad, the person running around in a yellow tux is not going to change things. Podiatrists need to learn that it’s an experience when people come to their clinic. It’s what they’re experiencing from the time they arrive to the time they leave. What are they going to talk about when they leave the Podiatry clinic?
It starts with a different lens. You’ve got to look at it from a different lens. I understand medical professionals. There’s a reason for it. They’ve been successful but I’ll tell you, I don’t know anybody who comes home at the end of the night and says, “I met the most professional person today. He was so professional.” They don’t say that. They talk about how you make them feel, the unique experience, what was different about it, what was fun, and what stood out. We realized that we needed to be remarkable. We didn’t sell any tickets. We only sold two tickets in our first three months in Savannah. We had to stand out and get remarkable. The way we did that is we said, “How can we map the experience so every touchpoint is remarkable?” From when they first buy tickets to when they’re coming to the ballpark, to what do they see when they first walk in, to even our bathrooms which are 1926 stadium bathrooms, which aren’t that nice. We found ways to make them remarkable. I can share some of that.
When you think about your customer journey, is it the same as everyone else? You make your appointment. There are friction points to making an appointment. It might take for a while. It might take away to get through. You show up, you wait, you fill out a form, you wait some more, you sit then you wait, then they take care of you. The doctor might only see you for a few minutes. That whole process, is that remarkable or is that friction? That’s why we think of the five Es to create an extraordinary experience starts with eliminating the friction. That’s number one. I would challenge everyone to do a friction audit with your own experience. How many points of friction are there for your customer? Put yourself in their shoes, not just from you.
That’s from whether they’re calling your clinic, making an appointment, how easy it is, or if they’re booking an appointment online right through to, can they find a car park? How easy is parking when they walk into your clinic? Do they have to go up a couple of stairs? Do they have to push open a door? Does the door open automatically? All these obstacles even before they’ve even seen one single person in your business.
There’s a reason why Amazon is dominating in the world because Jeff Bezos says his number one thing that he’s focused on is customer obsession. They began the first one to invent the one-click. They said, “How can we make it so frictionless to buy and so easy that you can buy something with one click on Amazon?” What’s your one-click experience at your office? What is that one click that is easy? If they’re trying to book an appointment, put yourself in their shoes. How many steps does it take for you to solve their problem? We look at whatever business. Even as crazy circus baseball team, we’re solving a problem. People need fun. They need joy. They need to feel like they’re a part of something. How quickly can we get them where we’re solving their problem? Is it like, “I got to pay for my ticket, there’s a ticket fee, there’s a convenient fee, I can’t find parking, I’ve got to pay for this, etc?” It keeps going and going.
We try to eliminate that so it’s frictionless. We do it by going undercover. Every night someone on our staff goes undercover. We put ourselves into our fan’s shoes. I park, walk, sit, eat with the fans. We write notes on all the friction experiences. I challenge a Podiatrist here. If you went into your experience now, would you go home and say, “That was remarkable,” or would you say, “It was fine?” Fine is the F-bomb of customer experience. If you deliver a fine experience, you may be out of business in 5 or 10 years. There’s a reason why Disney is still flourishing years after Walt Disney passed away. He was in search of friction every single step of the way. He said, “Whenever I go on a ride, I’m always asking what’s wrong with this thing and how can it be improved?” How many times do we go in our business and say, “What’s wrong with this step and how could it be improved?”
I used to have staff members constantly complaining to me because I was always changing things. They go, “It works well.” I said, “I know it works well, but it might be able to work better if we tried this.” We do it and some will go, “It works better.” A couple of months later, I’m going, “I’ll be making another change.” They’ll go, “Why are you changing it?” I said, “Because it could be done better.” Your practice from one year to the next year is never the same practice. It is an ever-evolving beast that needs to be tamed a little bit.
The question is, how much does your staff look at that? They’ll say, “That’s fine. We’re doing a good job.” How much do they push the envelope? I’ll tell you one thing. Every single fan who buys a ticket or merchandise from us, we call and say thank you. It’s crazy. There are thousands of people. We spread out spreadsheets. When we had an intern start with us, I said on first day on his job, “What ideas do you have?” He said, “What do you mean?” I go, “You’ve been a fan. You’ve been to games. What ideas do you have? You’ve been through this whole process of interviewing with us. What do you have?”
He goes, “The thank you calls are good, but they’re not that fun.” I go, “What do you mean?” He goes, “They’re boring. You thank them and that’s it.” I go, “What would you do to make it better?” He goes, “I thought about this. I’d make it a rap.” I go, “What do you mean a rap?” He goes, “A rap where we rap a thank you song to them.” I go, “Rap it?” He goes, “Yes.” His name is Austin. I said, “Perfect, Austin. You’ll do a rap by the end of the day.” He goes, “No. I’m socially awkward. I’m not going to be good at this rap.” I go, “You’ll be Austin, The Awkward Bananas Rapper.”
All-day, he’s writing down and working on a rap. The nerve was out of his mind. At 4:00 on his first day, I walked into his office, I say, “Austin, it’s time to make a rap. Someone had bought merchandise.” He calls, a person answers and he goes, “This is Austin. The Bananas Awkward Rapper. I’m here to fill your day with fun, joy and laughter. I hope you enjoy your merch. Thank you so much for this perch.” He gives this ridiculous rap. At the end of the call, the guy goes, “Thanks.”
He turns to me and he goes, “That wasn’t bad.” I go, “Of course not. We had fun and we tried it.” The reality is he started making raps and that was a better experience. Now, since people don’t answer their phones because it’s unknown numbers, when I call, I’ll do a video. If they don’t answer, I’ll say, “This is Jesse Cole from the Bananas here at the Stadium.” I send a video to them. That’s an enhancement. What’s your 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 version? Often, we get stuck on the 1.0, and think that it’s good for a long time and that’s when you lose customers.
I was talking with a group of Podiatrists. I started this group coaching program called the 12-week Podiatry Business Reboot. One of the things I did in there, I said, “You’re trying to connect with other health professionals and you want to get referrals from them.” Sending them a letter saying, “I’m Tyson. I have a Podiatry clinic.” That is boring. I was showing them how they could use a program called Loom. I said, “You could use that program. Shoot a video, send an email to them with a link saying, ‘I’m Dr. Franklin, I’ve set up this clinic here. I’m shooting this quick video to introduce myself.’” In the video, you’re saying, “How are you doing?” Tell them a little bit about yourself. You might show them a little bit about your clinic. The reason I liked Loom was once they watched the video, Loom will send you a message saying they’ve watched the video. It does things differently.
The challenge here is that boring was acceptable 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago. We didn’t know any better, but what’s happened with the speed of entertainment, attention and distractions, we are constantly getting noise in front of us. If you’re boring, good luck breaking through that noise. That’s the way we accepted it back. We could be a Podiatrist, we could have a retail, restaurant, store, and we’re in business. We might do a few ads here and there and we’ll be okay. If you are boring throughout your experience, you will get left behind. Business owners don’t talk about boring like you did.
You don’t need to be a crazy personality like me in a yellow tuxedo, but look at your business. Do you want to go have a beer with your business? Is your business fun enough that you want to go hang out and have fun with your business? Is your business like, “He shows up, it doesn’t bring much to the table, doesn’t have great stories, doesn’t have a great experience?” Picture your business as a friend. Do you want to hang out with that friend? That is key. Look at all those experiences. What does your business ad that value points that entertain you? That’s a game-changer if you changed that lens of how you’re looking at your business.
I saw a good quote and it was talking about business. It said, “It’s not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow.” That is brilliant because I’ve seen that not just in the Podiatry industry but other businesses with big companies. Everyone is going, “Those big companies are overtaking all the small ones.” It’s not the big companies overtaking the small ones, it’s the fast companies that are taking over the slow companies. The ones that aren’t willing to change. There’ll be Podiatrists listening to this now who have already turned off or they’re thinking about pressing stop. They’ll go, “I don’t need to listen to this. This is rubbish. I’m a health professional. I don’t need to do anything different,” but there are younger Podiatrists coming through now who’ll be eating this stuff up saying, “That’s exactly the type of Podiatry business I want.” They’re the ones that are making the fast changes. The slow guys that are sitting there are going to get devoured.
I couldn’t agree more. The great Herb Kelleher who ran Southwest Airlines. He was interviewed by a reporter when he first started out. He said, “Talk about your business strategy.” He said, “Our business strategy is called doing things.” It’s as simple as that because he realized that by doing and learning, and doing things more, that would lead to speed. Speed would lead to better decisions. It would lead to moving faster than the competition. Now, we sit back, we wait, we watch, we’re too afraid to jump in the deep end. We’ll take baby steps after someone already went in. That’s when you’re left behind.
I agree, a lot of this maybe doesn’t work in the medical field but what if it did? What if it made you stand out? I’ll give you an example. We changed our invoices. Everybody has invoices. The reality is every pay point is a pain point. When we start looking at every single time that we pay, that’s a pain point. No one likes to pay for anything. What if you made it fun? What if you made it different? When your customers, clients or patients buy from you, how much friction is involved? Can you make it enjoyable? We ask ourselves that question and here’s our invoice, “Congrats. This is your day, the day you’ve been waiting for. Today is the day you get to pay. You may think you’ve had days like this. The day you bought your first house or your first car or maybe your first all-inclusive vacation but nothing is quite like Banana’s payday. Pull out your money order, savings bond, Bitcoin, gold, cash, credit card or check and make that payment like we know you can. We believe in you. This is your moment. Seize it. Your life will never be the same. Love, Jesse Cole.”The greatest leaders learn from outside of their industry. Click To Tweet
This is the membership for the year.
When someone buys tickets, they buy a membership for the year, they’ll receive that. If they do a group outing for their company, they’ll get that. If they booked me to speak for their company, that’s something they will get. That’s how we do it from the Bananas. It gets chuckles. It makes paying a little bit more palpable. That’s the right word. I hope it is.
With our receipts and invoice we’d send out, we’d have something preprinted on the back of it. It wasn’t funny or amusing. Thinking back now, it would have been good if we had put a funny joke on the back. We used to promote something. We promote a product, a service, or something that we’re doing. They’ll get the invoice or a receipt anyway, the one that we promote something that we were doing. To go back a step about doing things differently, I used to have my guitar sitting in my consultation room. Anytime a kid came through, if they play the guitar, they’ll say, “Do you play the guitar?” I said, “Yes I do. Do you play?” They’ll say, “Yes, I do.”
“When you come in next, I’ll block an extra five minutes and we’ll have a little bit of a jam. You show me something, I’ll show you something.” He goes, “Okay.” I used to have these kids coming through and we’d play the guitar sometimes for ten minutes afterwards. I remember my wife saying to me one day, “That kid will never let his parents take him anywhere but this Podiatry business. That will stick in his memory for the rest of his life. He will always talk about the Podiatrist that used to play the guitar with him.”
It’s those moments. If you think back as a kid, those places that you went that made you feel special and you did things that weren’t normal, those stand out. How does your business do that? We all have a handful of those. I remember a few that I’ll never forget. How do we create those moments? You’ve got to get out of the box and say, “I’m going to do something that some people would think is crazy.” Jeff Bezos said, “You have to be willing to be misunderstood.” People will misunderstand you. I get misunderstood every single day. The Bananas are misunderstood every day. What’s crazy is for a team that’s misunderstood, we have more followers on TikTok than any Major League team, more than the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox because we’re playing a different game. What happens is we often always play the same game, and companies are focused on best practices within their industry. The key is to focus on the next practices and get outside of the industry. That’s where you get misunderstood.
Going back, you said the first thing was eliminating friction. You said there were five.
Do you want me to go through them?
In Podiatry, we’re very structured with what we do. If you said five and you only give me three, I will get phone calls.
We don’t want that to happen. I usually do the whole five in a virtual keynote. The one is Eliminate Friction. On that, you have macro friction and micro friction. Macro is industry level. To us, baseball is too long, too slow, too boring. You get nickel and dime. That’s why every ticket for us is all-inclusive. That’s why we have non-stop entertainment. Micro friction are things like your voicemail. How you come into your office, invoices, all those little pieces are micro friction. The number two E is Entertain Always. The definition of entertain is to provide enjoyment and amusement.
How do you have entertaining touchpoints throughout the journey? We map it from the first time they buy on our website, to the video they get, to after they leave the Stadium. What happens as they’re leaving the ballpark? That’s completely mapped. Number three is huge especially now, experiment constantly. I’ve been to Jeff Bezos quote but he said, “Our success is a direct function of how many experiments we do per year, per month, per week, per day.” I challenged Podiatrists, how many experiments are you doing this year, this month, this week, this day?
This is testing different things with their patient and business. Try something a little bit different and see what reaction you get. If it’s negative, then don’t do it again.
Our rival is the Macon Bacon. That’s our rival baseball team. In our men’s bathrooms, we put Macon Bacon urinal cakes. Our fans are peeing on a rival. We just tried it. Our fans started laughing hysterically when they heard about it. We bought Macon Bacon toilet paper and we’re selling it for $10 a roll. Fans are buying Macon Bacon toilet paper. It was an experiment but we tried to make it fun. What are those experiments? We have big ones. We’re challenging the way the games are played. We invented a new game, the Banana Ball. We played it in two hours. We played it in front of fans and fans loved it. They didn’t leave the ballpark earlier. We started showing games on drones, and mic our players, and letting fans vote for who was going to pitch during the game. That was all big experiments we all did in the past years. Three is experiment constantly.
Four is Engage Deeply. That is a huge opportunity because the reality is when you look at most businesses, they barely engage at all on social media. If anybody talks about you, respond back. If they say something, respond back. The question is to engage deeply is when you can take it a step further. If someone says something kind about us on Facebook, I’ll grab my phone and I’ll do a personal video to them and say, “That made a difference.” That’s the second step of going from literally, “I’m talking to you. We’re engaging in a conversation to engaging in a deeper and closer relationship, a meaningful one.” The final one is Empower Action. When I look at this, we are so afraid to try things and test things because we’re afraid of failing.
That’s what it comes down to. In empowering action, we have to look at how do we let our customers be a part of the experience. That’s crazy but we let our fans determine our jerseys. We let our fans pick our team’s name. We let our fans pick our mascot. How can you involve your customers in your experience? “We’re coming up with this. We’re doing this. We’re thinking about this for our lobby. We’re either going to have massage chairs, a putting green or this. What would you guys like to see most?” That’s not only entertaining and eliminating friction, but now you’re empowering them to be involved, and then you can engage. There are ways that we ask questions to our people to get them part of the whole process.
That’s why we let our fans pick who was going to pitch during games. That’s crazy in baseball standards, but now they take ownership. How do you get people in your clinic or your office to say, “I want to wear their merchandise?” Imagine, Podiatrist people are like, “I’m rocking Dr. Joanne so-and-so because I love her experience so much. She let me do this. I’m a part of that.” If you had merchandise where people buy it, they only buy it if they believe in the brand. I believe that’s how you follow the five E’s: Eliminate Friction, Entertain Always, Experiment Constantly, Engage Deeply and Empower Action. You do those fives, good luck. You’re going to have people talking about you. You’re not going to spend money on marketing because you’re going to have a remarkable business.
This is why I enjoy talking with you so much because I’m thinking on the same wavelength except, you’re on steroids with thinking, legal steroids, nothing illegal going on. Especially when you talked about that number four, engage deeply. I was doing a marketing workshop. We got onto the social media side of things. I said, “Put your hand up if you follow your physiotherapist on social media.” What about, who follows their dentist? Anyone here got a proctologist that like to put their hand up for? What makes you think your patients are going to want to follow you?”
Podiatry is boring to them. It’s something they went to when they have a foot problem. They saw you 1, 2, 3 times. You fixed the problem then they left again. Why do they want to follow you? What is it about you that’s different to the other podiatrists? Do you have a unique skill or do you love scuba diving? Are you a runner? Do you do magic tricks? Can you bring that into your social media pages? People want to follow the magic tricks, they want to be entertained, or they want to be educated in a different way, then they’re going to start following and they’ll tell their friends.
They may also be inspired. I see the picture behind you with all the feet there. I know it’s a fun picture but I immediately think about like, “Leave only your footsteps,” and “Take the path that no one else takes.” All those are powerful quotes that are needed to be able to walk. You need to take steps. You got to walk. There are so many inspirational quotes. Your feet are so important in a way that if you can think deeper on what that brings, there are ways that you could be like, “This doctor inspires me. I think bigger than just getting my feet fixed.” I’m like, “He makes me think about what I can do, and the power that I have, and be grateful for what I am.” That’s powerful. You’ve got to re-look at who do you want to be and what’s that impact that you want to make. It could be a lot of fun. I would love to see some Podiatrists thinking differently, and not being afraid when their first few decisions don’t go over that well.Fear beats the crap out of creativity. Click To Tweet
I said to you, in my Podiatry clinic, instead of having consultation rooms 1, 2, 3, 4, we themed every consultation room with superheroes. I remember when I first came up with the idea and it worked, I said, “I got this idea. We’re going to theme each consultation room. In fact, we’re going to theme the whole clinic with superheroes.” What was funny is when I first said that, my whole team that I worked with went, “I love it.” All of a sudden, everyone got behind it. Whenever a team member went on holidays, they come back and they’d bring back a calendar that had superheroes.
We’re having patients coming in who would notice what we’re doing. They’d bring us little ornaments or something that related to that particular room. I remember one particular patient sitting in the room saying, “This is silly.” I said, “What do you mean it’s silly?” “I think it’s silly.” I said, “Every single person has a superhero they like. “I don’t. Not at all.” I said, “You must have one.” “The Incredible Hulk. I think he’s cool.” Everybody relates to some type of superhero because they see themselves in that person.
It’s so good because what you touched upon that very few companies are touching upon is, how do you become relatable? What do you stand for? What do you believe in? What are those things you like? Get outside from the office and share who you are. In the States, when we were dealing with lockdown and shelter in place, our entire team got behind the camera, literally in front of the camera and started doing Cooking with the Bananas. We took it into each other’s homes, our whole staff and we cooked. We did music videos, Dancing With Myself. We did music trivia and we got to know the people. The brand that stands out in the future, we’re going to be able to connect with them. People brought you gifts because they knew what you were about.
People send me PT Barnum and Walt Disney. My son has been sent three yellow tuxedos. He’s a baby. Three baby yellow tuxedos because we’re out there and we’re having fun. People want to be able to connect with each other, but you have to give them a reason to connect. If you’re promoting the same things, “If you’re having foot problems, come here.” No. Talk about things that you may not think doesn’t matter, but to other people, it does because it makes you relatable, familiarity and connectivity. It’s going to be the key as we move into 2021 and beyond because that’s who we want to do business with.
I want to point out the quote on the back wall here. It says, “Your next connection could be the one that changes your life.” The reason I have that on the wall is because Podiatrists need to step outside of Podiatry. Not all your friends should be Podiatrist. You shouldn’t be inspired by just Podiatrist except the Podiatry Legends Podcast, it should be inspiring you. Meet people and get to know people outside of the industry so you can be inspired just like how I met you. We’ve never met in person but it was through social media and mutual friends that we had. It was Jason Pfeiffer and Jeff Peterson that are connected with you, this friend of mine in Perth that I had never met. I met him through social media but eventually I was in Perth and caught up with him. He introduced me to the whole micro storytelling where you sharing a little bit about who you are, what you like over a period of time so that after a number of years, your patients think they know so much about you, but you’ve only shared with them what you want them to know. They don’t know your deep, dark secrets and your skeletons in the closet, but they know more about you than the guy down the road.
We all need to have a voice. The challenge is we think if we’re going to talk, it’s about us. No. Every time you talk, it gives people permission to find ways to be able to connect with you. It makes it easier. The more we need to have a voice, we need to share what we believe, what we like, what we love, and what we’re a part of, anything. That makes it so much easier to connect. I know I’ve been talking about this, but back in the day when I was single, I would go out to the restaurants and bars, I would wear funny outfits like crazy shirts and wild things. I’d wear bizarre stuff. People would come up and they would start conversations with me.
I think about how hard is it sometimes at a restaurant or bar to go up to have a conversation with someone when you don’t know anything about them, and you don’t know how to connect with them. Give them permission to connect by sharing something about yourself and doing something a little differently. I love when fans come to our games with crazy Banana hats, Banana accessories, and wild outfits because immediately I want to go talk to them. I want to compliment them for doing that. It builds a rapport. We need to be able to jump outside of our shell and say, “I’m going to have a voice. I’m going to share more.” It’s not about you. It’s about the other people. That’s what we need to give ourselves permission to do.
We have so much in common. I remember when you were talking about wearing wild shirts. When I was at university, if I walked past a material shop and there was material that might’ve had Goofy, Daffy Duck or some crazy cartoon character, I’d buy the material. I’d go to my mom who used to do sewing, “Mom, make me a pair of shorts.” She’s like, “What is that?” “I need a pair of big baggy Goofy shorts.” I’d go out, I’d wear my Goofy shorts, and I‘d wear it in the university. People would go, “I can’t believe you’re wearing them. Who made them for you? Can I get a pair?” It was surprising how many people want a pair of my Goofy pants, or my Bugs Bunny shorts, or my Porky Pig ones. Even to this day, I still will wear shirts that you probably shouldn’t wear in certain places.
It’s fun and different. I did all my shopping with my friends in high school at Goodwill. We got the Burger King shirts, Cracker Barrel vests, and Lion King shirts. We got the weirdest things we could get because it was fun and we wanted to have more fun. All of us could use a little bit more fun these days.
When I was in Disneyland, I absolutely loved it. It’s the happiest place on Earth. I had two goals when I went there. I wanted to get myself a Goofy shirt and I’m going to get my photo taken with Goofy. Many of them are off the list. I remember when Goofy turned up and all these kids started lining up, and I created a different line. I said, “Sorry, kids. The line started over on this side.” All the kids pulled around and went to the other side. All of a sudden, I’m in front of the line. My wife is going, “You pushed in to get a photo taken with Goofy.” I went, “I did. I’m sorry but I had to do it.”
When you were talking about sharing things about yourself, and you said that when you start doing that, your customers start coming wearing Banana hats and they’re starting to relate more to what you’re doing. I do think patients will do exactly the same thing. I have noticed that even with the podcast. Most people in the podcasts now like hamburgers. I have a big photo collection on my phone of hamburgers. I got a message from this Podiatrist Jason and he sent me a message. He said, “I’m on the Gold Coast. Can you recommend any hamburger places?” The more you put yourself out there, the more people can say, “I relate to that person. I want to go back there.”
It’s not easy. I didn’t start talking about my childhood and the challenges I had. My mother has drug problems and all of the issues that I had back then as a kid. Once I started doing that, people started connecting more deeply with me. One thing I still haven’t done, I love craft beer. I’m a big craft beer fan. I love it for so many reasons. I’ve hosted beer festivals but I’ve been afraid to share too much of that love because, “Should I have a beer or should I be talking about this?” It’s who I am. If I enjoy craft beer and eventually, I’m going to start a Savannah Bananas brewery at our Stadium with specialty Banana beers. If I’m going to do that, then I need to be talking about it and not be afraid that some people think, “You’re a leader. You’re supposed to be a role model. You shouldn’t be drinking beer.” I’m like, “That’s who I am.” I don’t cuss. Some of the leaders that we know cuss and they swear all the time. I’m not like that. Sometimes, you have to give yourself permission and do it. Don’t think it’s the end of the world if you do get a little criticism. I don’t think anyone who did something special or epic wasn’t criticized.
This is when I was talking about micro storytelling. When I give that example to people, I said, “Most people have seen the Law & Order TV show. You might have Detective Stabler. In the first episode, he says, “I’m Detective Stabler. By the way, I’ve been married twice. My wife hates me and my kids don’t talk to me. I have an alcohol problem. I used to take drugs. I was arrested when I was fourteen.” He doesn’t blurt that all out in the first episode. Over a number of seasons, you learn a little bit about him. Over a decade, you go, “This is his story. You can understand the character.” Podiatrists need to do the same thing. You share a little bit about yourself over a number of years with your patients.” It’s all about that whole get to know, like and trust you.
We’re on the same page and again, the way to do it is to do small bets. Put a little bit out here and see what happens. You’re going to realize it doesn’t hurt that bad. You get a little wet, a little messy, it won’t hurt and try it. If everyone had a goal for 2021 to be the year of experiments, how many experiments can you do? Quantity leads to quality. If you only try two new things in 2021, there’s a good chance both of them won’t work. If you’re constantly trying new things, you’ll be like, “This made a better experience. This made my life better for our employees.” That’s why we challenge. We don’t evaluate our team based on their revenue and sales. Every quarter, we evaluate our team on the experiments that they’re doing for our fans. We talk about the Fans First moments. That’s what we’re talking about. What are you doing to create those? Not, what are you doing to bring in revenue? That’s a by-product. That’s what I challenge people do. Try some new things.
Have you ever heard the Red Queen Hypothesis?
No, but I’d love to.
The Red Queen Hypothesis is all about different organisms in nature competing for the same space. Turtles for example, there will be 1,000 eggs that will hatch. Only 1 in 1,000 turtles will survive to adulthood because it’s competing against many other organisms fighting for that same space. If every turtle lived with the season before the turtles, we couldn’t handle it all. They’d be killing themselves. In the forest, trees are all fighting for the same space. When it comes to having ideas, a lot of people will say, “I’m not creative. I don’t have any ideas.” It’s not the case.
We have many options available to us: old-school marketing, online. There are many different social media platforms. What we’re going to do is throw the ideas out there, kill them as fast as we can if they’re not working, and move onto the next one. The other part of the Red Queen Hypothesis is all about if you’re standing still, you’re falling behind. If you’re not constantly pushing yourself to move forward, if you think, “I’ve made it. I don’t need to do anything else.” If the Savannah Bananas went, “We are now successful, Jesse Cole can sit back, smoke cigars and drink craft beer,” then your competitors will catch up. If you’re standing still, you’re falling behind.
At the end of every one-minute boost I do every week, I said, “Stop standing still, start standing out.” I’ve been saying that for years because it’s true. When you talk about creativity, everybody is creative. Fear is beating the crap out of creativity. It’s the fear of the failure, the unknown, and what people will think. If you can grasp your fear, put that down here and let creativity rise above, you win. We have to look at it. What are we afraid of? Often I ask, “What’s the worst-case scenario?” When we came up with Macon Bacon toilet paper, we played a game in kilts. When we came up with our grandma beauty pageant, we brought a Luchador wrestler as our intimidation coach on board, or we came up with our break dancing first base coach. What’s the worst thing that could happen? When you realize that, that’s not that bad, you realize that you’re like, “Why don’t we try it?” A lot of times, the best thing that can happen is even bigger than you could even imagine. We’re so worried about the worst thing.
People are afraid of what other people will think. What they don’t realize is the other people aren’t even thinking about them. They’ve got other things to do than sit there and think about what you’re doing all the time. When I came up with a membership group for Podiatrists, I got the shirt on at the moment. You see the shirt, the Podiatry Business Spartans. My daughter went, “Why do you call yourself Spartans? That is so ridiculous.” I said, “That’s exactly what I was hoping you’d say.” The people who were in the group, we call each other Spartans and they love it. The reason we’re Spartans is that Spartans were unkillable. I said, “The idea is to get your business to a point that it doesn’t matter if you try something new and you make a bit of a mistake. It’s never going to kill you. It’s just a mistake and you move on from it.”Be very clear about who you are not for. Click To Tweet
What you’re creating is you’re creating belonging as well. We all want to belong. When you’re a part of something with a special name that you can connect, this goes back to everything we were talking, everybody wants to belong. Do they feel like they belong to your business, to your tribe, to your people or not? We’re so fortunate. We’re selling merchandise all over the world to people that have never seen us play, but because we share our voice over and over again, “We make baseball fun. We think baseball is long, slow and boring. We are crazy. This is who we are.” People connect with it. They’re like, “I’ve got to wear a shirt.” What would it take for people to wear shirts of your business? That’s when you know you’re creating up along in that connectivity. You’re sharing enough of who you are, what you stand for, what you believe in, and you’re having fun. That’s how you win. We’re still learning every day, failing and experimenting, but it’s a fun journey because every day it’s like, “What’s going to happen next.” That makes it exciting.
Have you heard the game Cricket?
They have the big bash here. It’s the same thing where Test Match Cricket went for five days. They brought it down to one day games, which totally changed the way the Cricket was played. They started wearing colorful uniforms. They’ve brought it down to think of the big bash, which is twenty overs. It’s a fast game, lights flashing, played at night. It’s a far more exciting game, but you’ve got your traditionalist that go, “That’s not Cricket.”
Do you know what’s the answer to them? It’s not for you. The reality is we all have to be not for somebody. We are not for baseball traditionalist. We do it and we want to have fun. I’d ask everyone, “Who are you not for?” We even ask our people and be very clear. We’re not baseball traditionalist. Who are you not for? If you want a long baseball game the way it’s always been, you’re not going to fit in here.
The next time I can get to the States and if I can get down around where your area is, I will be there and I will have my yellow shirt on for sure.
We’ll have some fun and I’ll tell you, at some point, I’m going to say it right here, we will play a game in Australia. We are starting our One City World Tour and we’re doing it in Alabama, then we’re going to take the show on the road. I believe more people need joy and fun. We don’t know how we’re going to do it, we’re not worried about that. We’re going to do it and we’re going to learn, fail, experiment, and we’re going to have challenge. We will come to Australia. I’m saying it here first. We heard from people that wanted us to come to Australia this 2021. We heard from countless fans. At one point, we’ll be there and I hope you can make it.
You let me know when you’re going to be here. I will move things around to make sure I’m there. Jesse, I want to thank you for coming on one of my shows sharing your knowledge. I could talk to you for hours. Your enthusiasm is infectious. To remind people, get a copy of the book, Find Your Yellow Tux. It is a great read. Thank you once again for coming on the show.
It’s a pleasure. Thanks for sharing and making an impact.
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