How can you create a lasting impact to your target audience or prospects? Jesse Cole and guest Raymond Aaron give us the answer to this question. Raymond is a New York Times bestselling author and has written eleven books, including Chicken Soup for the Parent’s Soul and Branding Small Business for Dummies. Today, he teaches us some rules on creating wow moments. You got to be unexpected, memorable and positive, and extra irrelevant. His tips may seem strange to some but Raymond shows us how we too can make it work for our branding.
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How To Create Wow Moments With Raymond Aaron
Our guest is Raymond Aaron. He is a New York Times bestselling author. He’s written eleven books, including Chicken Soup for the Parents’ Soul and now he’s writing his new book, The Power of Wow with Jack Canfield. Creating wow moments is one of the most important topics in business and our guest has become an expert in the field. Raymond, I’m excited to have you on the show.
I’m honored to be on your show. I love creating wow moments and Jack Canfield loved creating wow moments. You are a master. That’s all you do every day. You create wow moments. If it isn’t a wow moment, it isn’t a good day for you.
I appreciate it. I’m glad that we connected. You reached out as you’re working on this book and I love sharing this. Working with companies, it’s a challenge to try to how to create these, but before we get into that, I want to know your wow story. Tell me about how you came up with writing books, speaking, working with companies all over the world. Share a little bit of how you created these wow moments for yourself.
All I do is think about how I can blow people away. It’s all I do in my personal life and my business life, with my family members. I’ll give you one example in my personal life. I was dating a girl that I liked and we live in Toronto. I invited her on an all-expense-paid one month, a first-class business trip to the whole continent of Australia. She accepted and we were going to fly from Toronto to Los Angeles to Sydney and sure enough, I didn’t get a speaking gig in Los Angeles the day before we were supposed to have arrived there anyways.
I asked her and she agreed and I said, “We’ll fly the day before to Los Angeles, give my speech and I’ll wait for you at the airport and we’ll fly on together.” Meaning she has to fly to Toronto to Los Angeles by herself. She said, “Fine.” I said to her, “Don’t arrange your ground transportation from your home to the Toronto airport. I’ll take care of it.” The allotted time comes and there was a knock on the door. She comes running to the door because she knows I’m going to do something crazy like a stretch Lamborghini or horse-drawn carriage. She flings the door open and there I am. I flew back from Los Angeles to Toronto to drive her to the airport. When we split, I didn’t marry her, she said, “That’s the nicest thing any man has ever done for me. It caused me to raise the bar of the kind of man I’ll look for.”
You made it tough for every other guy after.
You’ve got it. No one’s getting there.
How did your career start? You went into speaking, writing, but you had to start creating these wow moments in your professional career to start growing and making the impact that you’ve made.
I graduated as a physicist from the University of Toronto. I am rated as a genius in the field of mathematics and I have a Mensa IQ. That’s the top 2% of IQ in the entire world’s population. When I graduated, I didn’t want to be a physics professor. I wrote a calculus textbook, which allowed me to teach at the University of Toronto but I didn’t like it. I didn’t know what to do. I wandered around lost for another twenty years until I was 39 years old. I was $100,000 in debt. I was 50-pounds overweight. My boss had fired me. My wife kicked me out of our marriage and I learned something.
I learned that getting divorced and fired on exactly the same day are extreme forms of market research. What the marketplace was telling me is I was doing everything wrong, nutritionally overweight, matrimonially dumb, vocationally fired. I was depressed and I was a $100,000 in debt. I wasn’t creating wow experiences for anybody. I got a message, truly a message inside my head, “Raymond, you’re a teacher.” From that moment on, I earned extraordinarily well. I’ve helped millions of people around the world. I’ve written eleven books, one in New York Times top ten bestsellers. I have friends who are half of the most famous people in the entire world. It completely changed my life. My life is a wow because of how I intend to teach, how I do teach and change people’s lives. I help them write books, understand the spiritual universe, and buy real estate.
I put everything into my teaching and indeed I have a rule. Do you know how people have a to-do list? They have fifteen items in the to-do list and even they know, they’re not going to get them done. In fact, most of the items under the to-do list were copied from yesterday’s to-do lists that they didn’t get done. I have a different thing. I have the most important, critically important, unbelievably strategically important thing to do one every day and nothing else. I don’t look at my useless fifteen items like to pick up the laundry and pick up milk on the way home. I have to do those things but they’re not the purpose of my day. I don’t take the most important of those fifteen useless things.
For example, the only thing I have to do is to totally blow you away and blow away all the people who are reading and have them so excited that they want to go to the Savannah Bananas and they want to change their minds so they can create wow experiences. I have to do other things. I’m doing some coaching, I’ve got some chores to do, but this is the centerpiece of my day. This is the only thing that I have to do and that’s how I construct my life. If I’m doing a three-day course, the only thing I have to do on day one is to create the best day one of that particular course that I’ve ever done. That’s how I conduct my life.
It’s one step at a time but my question is, how do you make that determination? This is a show and I’m honored and flattered that you were making this the big part of your day, but how does someone make that decision?
It’s not a big part of my day. It is the only part of my day. It’s the only thing I have to do now. In my time zone, if I get this done by noon, I can take the rest of the day off. I can play with my cat and my wife, go for a jog or watch a movie. I do have other things to do. I do have coaching calls to do and I will do a great job on them. If my wife asked me to pick up milk, I’ll pick up milk, but this is what I’m focusing on. This is the only part of my day.
As I’m looking at this, Raymond, all of us, we have many things that we’re doing. When you have made the decision the night before, the day before, this is this one powerful thing, this one thing that I’m going to commit to, what helps you make that decision?
It’s easy because my life is a wow life. If I did this interview like you interview other people and you only interview people that have the same style, craziness and goofiness. They’re good people anyways, but many of the people you interview give ordinary interviews. I’m not putting them down. I’m saying they have a list of ten things they have to do that day. You are one of them, they do it, and they do the best job they can. I don’t want to do the best job I can. Most people, if you went through their year, day by day, they’ve done something incredibly critically important to themselves and to the world maybe three times in the whole year. I’ve done 365 times. Right there, I’ve made 100 times the impact they have and I could earn a hundred times more than they do. That’s the secret.
This is a whole new way of me looking at things because we’re constantly looking at all the things we do, not that one important thing. You’ve got me fascinated, Raymond. You’ve started this, you’ve set the expectations for this show high, which I like. The origin is you started it and you became a teacher. You started teaching and there’s a lesson in there in the sense that everyone should look at themselves as a teacher no matter what you do.People shouldn't keep thinking about writing a book, they just need to do it. Click To Tweet
Maybe as someone who’s making an impact in the world. During my first twelve years of teaching from 1983 to 1995, I was teaching real estate and how to buy real estate. I have people coming up to me and I’ve been teaching for 36 years on stage. I had people coming up to me, saying, “My name is Raymond.” I said, “That’s a coincidence.” They said, “No, it’s not. My father took your course 30 years ago. He talked about you every day.” He swore to his wife that if they had a child and there was a boy, they named him Raymond because of the impact that I made on their life. Thirty years later, he shows up and I didn’t know. I had been asked to be best man at a wedding, be the clergy at a wedding and the kids were named after me. It’s because I pour everything into the most important thing that I have to do every day.
When you teach, you get purpose because you hear about the impact that you’re making, which is so powerful. I do want to get into the origin of the book and the wow moments. People have been talking about this for a while. It used to be above and beyond, now it’s creating wow moments. Tell me where the origin came for you.
Before I answer your question, I want to tell you, my daughter, she was on a volunteer mission to The Bahamas to clean up after a tornado. She meets a local guide and she likes him and she says, “What’s your name?” He says, “Wow.” His name is Wow. The first thought in my daughter’s mind was, “I’ve got dad’s approval.”
Is she still with him?
No. It lasted like a vacation romance.
That’s hilarious. His name is Wow. That’s a whole new way of naming people. Now, go to the origin of the book because that’s fascinating as well.
I learned from one of my coaches, Dr. Nido Qubein of High Point University about wow experiences. His entire university has a wow experience. I hired him as my coach and he told me the most important thing is to create wow experiences because anything south of that is forgotten and ordinary. I started creating them and one of the things that he said, which was startling, “If you want bookkeeping done, you have to hire a bookkeeper. If you want marketing done, you have to hire a marketer. If you want wow experiences to occur, you have to have a director of wow.” I was fascinated by that and I looked into it and I studied it. I am on the board of directors and I’m a founding member of the Transformational Leadership Council. It’s a nonprofit and a closed group of about 100 of the greatest transformational leaders in the world, like Dr. John Gray from Mars Venus, Jack Canfield from Chicken Soup. The movie, The Secret was filmed at one of our club meetings because all the professionals and transformational leaders in the world are a member of our group.
At one of those sessions, I gave a talk on the director of wow. I talked about if you want wow experiences, you have to have somebody in charge and a director of unwow that has zero tolerance for any unwows. I have a funny name for unwows. I call it the sales prevention department. I gave the talk and Jack Canfield, whose brand is bigger than mine, asked me if we could write a book together on wow. He does wow experiences. At his events, like Breakthrough to Success, he’ll have several hundred people in the room. When they finally open the doors at the beginning of the first day, he personally greets, hugs and chats with every person coming into the room. He doesn’t care if it takes 1 hour or 30 minutes, he doesn’t care because they talk about that. At the end of the five days, when they list their feedback, they talk about hugging Jack at the beginning. He does those things and he loves it. We had interviewed some of the most amazing companies in the world and create wow experiences and one of them is yours.
You’re speaking our language. What you share with Jack Canfield is whatever’s normal, do the exact opposite. When you have someone that’s built a celebrity like Jack has to be able to be out there in greeting people. It’s such an opposite impact than what people are used to. When you talked about Nido, and I’m interviewing him for the show, it’s coming up. I’m excited to talk with him on these wow experiences. We know it’s important but the question when we’re working with companies is, how do we do it? Maybe share a few of the other stories that you’ve come through the book. You had the Power of Wow Conference where I know you brought in some businesses. Share maybe some of the stories that are like, “How can we do that?”
I will share the stories, but I want to share first the rules for creating them. When you understand the concept, the examples fit into a framework. There are six rules. The acronym is BUMPER. B is Big. If it’s small, it will be forgotten. U is Unexpected. You can’t invite a girl out for dinner and a movie and expect her to get excited that she got dinner. It’s big, unexpected and M is memorable. If it was not memorable, it’s obviously forgotten and you’ve ruined the whole purpose of it. P is Positive because when you meet somebody, you slap them in the face is big, unexpected and memorable, but it’s not positive. E is Extra. It must be extra. If you sell ice cream, you guarantee people that they get two scoops of their choice of flavor on a regular cone, and you give them a sugar cone with sparkles. That’s extra. Unfortunately, 99%, actually way more than that, of all merchants think that the transaction is over when the goods are provided. That only breaks you even, nobody talks about that. No one goes home and says, “A merchant said that if I gave him $5, he’d give me two scoops of ice cream and he gave me two scoops of ice cream.” R is Relevant. It has to be irrelevant. I ride a five-foot-tall giraffe unicycle.
Do you ride a giraffe unicycle? Did you get it custom made?
No. You couldn’t buy five-foot-tall unicycles.
Do you ride it around town?
Yes. If I can ride a regular unicycle, I can ride a five-foot-tall giraffe unicycle.
What I love about this and I want to get back to it, but when you do things like that, it becomes camera-worthy. We talk about, are your people and employees camera-worthy? Are they doing things that people want to take pictures of because that’s shareable? If I saw someone riding down the street in that, I would take a picture and that is a wow moment because it’s different, unique and shareable. You’re living your brand.
In your work, if all of your baseball players came out riding a unicycle, that would be relevant. If I’m teaching a course on how to write a book and I write about unicycle, it’s not relevant. It would be relevant for you, but not for me. It’d be noticeable but it’s not relevant. If they go home and they say to a friend, “I learned how to write a book but he rode a unicycle.” They’re like, “I don’t get it.”
It didn’t fit. Unless your culture is completely unexpected and our players have taken the field on segues. They’ve taken the field on bikes. If you create a culture like that and our culture is expecting the unexpected. We want people to expect the unexpected, which sometimes if it doesn’t make sense. If you’re not like that, it’s, “This doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t fit.” I get that. It makes sense. Let’s go into some of these ones that you love talking about. We’ve got big, unexpected, memorable, positive, extra and relevant.
For you, there’s nothing that is not relevant.
I like it.
You’re going to be crazy.
Let’s put those into play with some companies that you’ve worked with. Examples will help people and give a guide on how they can utilize those.
Ritz-Carlton is world-famous for these wow experiences. Believe it or not, every single employee in a Ritz-Carlton hotel has a budget that they can spend on any guests. That budget you think would be $20 or something like that. It’s $2,000. It’s beyond belief. They don’t spend that much on every guest, but the point is they can, and the examples are legendary. One case where a woman fainted and, I don’t know who it was, it might’ve been a bookkeeper, was right beside her had called the ambulance, went in the ambulance with her and stayed in the hotel without sleeping in the bed or on a chair beside this lady until her relatives could show off from another city.
That means she had the right to not go to work and phone in and say, “I’m staying with this lady until her relatives come.” That’s the one I love. It’s probably the most famous one. A family got to the airport after they stayed at Ritz-Carlton and they noticed that they have forgotten a little stuffed animal that their child left there by mistake. The kid was crying in the airport. The father phoned and they said, “We’ll get it to you, but it’s the weekend so we’ll send it to you on Monday.” What they did is, they took pictures of the little stuffed animal beside the swimming pool, at the bar on the lounge chair with dark glasses on. They took pictures and made a beautiful album. They sent it by courier, the album and the doll back to the kid. I stayed a few extra days because I liked it so much. That scrapbook is now world-famous.
That story has been told by many people and it’s brought in so much business because people were like, “This is Ritz-Carlton care. They are about doing things that are extraordinary.” That’s why every company needs to have stories that back up these. If you say, “We’re doing things that are fun and we’re caring.” What are the stories that back those up? I love what you said that they’re world-famous. How many companies consider themselves world-famous for something? You look at Pike’s Fish Market, they’re the world-famous Pike’s Fish Market. They call themselves that and they deliver a world-famous experience. If you put world-famous in front of your business, are you doing something that’s world-famous? That’s a great level to push this. You’ve got me thinking here. What other companies are doing things that are world-famous? Ritz-Carlton, that’s a world-famous experience. I’m going on a tangent here. I’m intrigued by some of these other companies that are doing world-famous things that maybe are unexpected, memorable and that maybe surprise you when you heard the stories as you started doing research for this book.
I noticed that some companies become famous and eliminate all the need for advertising by coming up with funny names. There’s a laundromat called The Lost Sock. Why would you go to any other laundromat if this one is called The Lost Sock? It’s hilarious.
They named themselves The Lost Sock. Did they carry it off with anyone? Do they have anything fun that continued or was it just the name that’s getting them the business?
You and I should buy that laundromat and continue the metaphor. You don’t stop at the name.
What were some of the other best wows? You mentioned that there were some other best wows that you found.
There’s a barbershop called Shearlock Combs and funny puns like that. Another example from Ritz-Carlton is a family who was checking in. The girl was inconsolable crying and one of the staff members found out that her goldfish called Ralph had died. What they did is they ran out and got a goldfish. She didn’t pretend it was Ralph. She came up with another R name like Reginald and put this goldfish in a bowl in their suite and said, “Hi. My name is Reginald. I am Ralph’s cousin. In fact, he has cousins at every Ritz-Carlton wherever you go, one of us will be there.” The kid was happy and that’s in the file. Whenever they register to go to a Ritz-Carlton anywhere Slovenia to Singapore, there will be a cousin of Ralph in their hotel room. They never go to any other hotel in the world. They couldn’t do it.
We have the framework. You’ve got to think big, unexpected, memorable, positive, extra and relevant. Where does a business go from here? As you’re working through this book, what’s a quick win? What is something that a company can do now to start creating wow?
There’s something that you do and I do, which most merchants never do, and that is typically called a Mystery Shopper, where you have someone on your own staff or maybe a friend come in and use your service and report to you how badly you do. What’s shocking is, most companies make rules for a good reason. People aren’t morons. They do something for a good reason, but they don’t know the ramifications of that. When their ramifications get complained about, they think back to the reason why they did it, the good reason and ignore the ramifications. I saw many examples under the sales prevention department and they’re completely ridiculous.
I was in one of my favorite hotels, the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Maui. They have a glass off area for a convenience store. I was walking towards it to pick up a soft drink or suntan lotion. It’s all glass off. The walls, the door and everything is glass. I saw a sign, “Back in ten minutes.” I noticed there was somebody inside. I walked in and I said, “Are you open?” They said, “Yes.” I’m like, “There’s a sign on the side saying, “Back in ten minutes.” Beaming with pride, she says, “Yes. That’s my idea. There’s no washer inside this little store and I’m the only employee. Sometimes I have to go outside to go to the washroom and I have to lock this little convenience store. Sometimes I forget to put up a sign. I leave it up all the time, so I’ll never forget.”
She had no idea what she was doing for business?
She had no idea, she solved your problem.Create experiences that are big, unexpected, memorable, positive, extra and relevant. Click To Tweet
I want to look at this. The sales prevention department. If someone was to go into a company and say, “What are those friction points?” “What are those things that are preventing sales?” What are the things that you’re noticing? I realize that policies and the way you say can’t do this, don’t do this, don’t do that. That’s upsetting people, that’s hurting people, but what are the things you see that people may not be aware of that they’re preventing sales?
I rented a car from Avis and I asked for it for a week. On the last day of the week, I said, “I decided I needed it for another week.” I took out the contract, I called the 800 number and a guy came on the line and I said, “I don’t understand. I’m not able to renew it.” He said, “You didn’t reserve an advance. You only walked in.” I was like, “That’s right.” He was like, “You can’t extend if you walked in.” “Why? Is my money not good enough? I paid exactly the same amount as other people reserve in advance.” He was like, “You can’t renew if you walked in.” I was like, “How do I know that? Why are you making me a bad guy?” I said, “I’ll keep it for a week.” He said, “No sir. After two days we’ll send out a warrant for your arrest.” I said, “Excuse me, maybe you don’t understand the point here. I’m trying to give you money. I agreed to give you a certain amount of money, say $200. I’m now going to give you $400 and your response is you’re going to issue a warrant for my arrest so I’ll have a criminal record for giving you more money?” He didn’t get it. It’s shocking.
The framework is easy if you want to start creating wow moments, you’ve got to start with the unwow. You’ve got to start with the means of preventing sales, we talk about the friction points. I remember that I was calling a restaurant to do a takeout order and what they said is, “You have to make your orders online.” It was a simple thing and I called. One simple question that everyone can ask is, “How do you make it easier for your customers?” Amazon has won the game on this. They’ve made it a one-click ordering. How can you follow in those footsteps? That’s a lot of times how you’re unwowing people or taking away sales. You’re making it harder for your customers to do business with you. I’m sure you’re finding that as a great starting point going into the more of the wows. You shot me an email about some free wows that you have. I’d love to know what some of these free wows you have because these examples are key.
You’re ahead of me. Let me give you another sales prevention department. I went with my daughter somewhere and we had to wait for an extra hour. It was lunchtime, so I said, “Let’s eat.” I looked around and there was a store that I didn’t quite understand the name of the store. We walked in and it looked Middle Eastern, but it was Syrian or something. I was a little embarrassed. I said, “Do you have falafel or Baba Ganoush?” She said, “No. That’s Middle Eastern. We’re this other country. People ask us all day long for Middle Eastern.” Meanwhile, the restaurant was empty at lunch, and people come in all day long asking for falafel and they tell these buyers and people with money in their hands to go away.
What should they do?
They should listen to the customers. They should open up a Middle Eastern section and say, “Go have all the falafel you want.” My ex and I were in a touristy town and we had been looking for a dining room table and our budget was about $15,000. We weren’t thinking of that table. We were walking through this little touristy town in the summertime. Two blocks ahead, we saw a table out on the sidewalk and we said, “That’s it,” and we ran to the table. It was exactly what we had in our minds. We ran into the store and said, “How much is the table?” The guy went crazy over it. He said, “This is a knick-knack store. We sell knick-knacks. Isn’t the size of the lettering of the word knick-knack on the side big enough for you? We sell knick-knacks for $1 each. The whole store is filled with knick-knacks. People come in here all day long and want to buy that table.” He issued us out with the direction of his finger. People come in all day long to buy $15,000 tables and he yells at them because he wants to sell $1 knick-knacks?
Don’t trip over quarters for nickels.
Your wows can be expensive but they can be free. You gave an example where you might have to pay for something like the segues, but you’ve got a company to donate them. This could be costly, but you can get them donated because the company wants publicity. Sometimes you have to pay like your yellow tuxedos. You wear a different one a day and you have to pay for all this money for dry-cleaning. Except I understand that the dry cleaner gives it to you. Sometimes they’re free. It’s like the example I already gave you, Jack Canfield was hugging every person. There’s no charge for that.
It’s the thoughtfulness that does it and people are impressed by it. For example, I was teaching a small class that each paid $15,000 to be there and there are only fifteen people. I said, “I’ll give them a gift.” I chose a book that was relevant and when they weren’t looking and doing something else, I sat at the back and I autographed it to each person. I put them in order so I can hand it out in order. I said, “You paid a lot to be here and I want to give you a gift,” and I handed each person a book and said thank you. One person said, “It’s autographed to me. You figured out how to put it in order so you could hand it out in order.” They were more shocked that I could put fifteen books in order more than they were that I bought the book.
A heart is when you do something with heart and do something that’s thoughtful. That’s all you need to think about. What will wow them? You sit with your board of directors, advisors and friends. Let’s say you run a restaurant, you give courses, you run a baseball team whatever that you can do and say, “What would wow you? What would blow you away? What would make you smile? What would make you take pictures?” You think of anything. The crazier, the better. The biggest ones typically don’t need any money.
It’s thoughtfulness. The question you can ask your people is, “What are you big fans of? What companies are you big fans of? What people are you big fans of?” Go why. What is it that they do? Do they consistently show up? Are they there for you? They do little things like sending a personalized video. They write a handwritten letter. All these things that cost little but it shows that you care about. I think about the people and companies that you’re fans of and you know what to expect. They’re always going to be there. They’re going to be doing the same thing, but they’re going to have maybe one unexpected that wows you. I’m constantly thinking about that. That fascinates me. Raymond, I want to do a little wow showdown. We’re going to have some fun. I’m going to name an industry and you can give an idea for something that they can do.
Why don’t you start with a hardware store?
There was a hardware store in Toronto that was opening. They had $5,000 to have an opening day special. They brainstormed. If they put an ad in the paper, it would be gone the next day and nobody would ever remember anything. What they did is, this was in the days when Canada had $1 bills. We now have $1 coins. They decided to get the $5,000 in 5,000 $1 bills. They had a company to bring a crane for free because their name is on the crane and it would be captured in every newspaper. They announced a few days before that they were going to give away 5,000 $1 bills. On that day at 10:00 AM, the place was jammed and there were thousands and thousands of people. The media and everybody were there. The owner climbed up to the top of the crane and dumped 5,000 $1 bills. They can flutter down everywhere. People were racing, running and screaming. This was the days before the internet so there was no Twitter or Facebook, but there was a videographer there to capture the whole thing. That video has been running in that store for 30 years.
The 5,000 $1 bills that remind me of Bill Veeck, the famous baseball owner from back in the day. Instead of giving one fan of free beer, he would give 1,000 or 5,000 free beers to one fan. Bill Veeck figured out how to make it creative. He gave away twelve live lobsters to one fan during a game. Whatever you think that everyone gets it, but to give it all to one person, it makes it creative and everyone talks about it.
Did he give 5,000 beers to one person?
He made a lot of friends that day.
He always thought about that. What would be the normal way to do a giveaway? What would be the opposite way? If you do a giveaway the opposite way, you get more people talking about it and it creates a better story. What’s your story? That’s fascinating. Throw an industry at me for the showdown and I’ll see if I can do it.
That’s way too broad. I’m going to call it manufacturing. I’ve spoken to manufacturing companies. Manufacturing is challenging because they’re more B2B. They’re not B2C as much. What you have to think about is what are those relationship-building techniques that you’re doing? You may have one vendor. It’s not they’re coming in and you create an experience. Going to the thoughtful route, we’re getting to know their people, spouses, significant others and the kids. You find out what those certain things that they like and know and then surprise. Three months later, maybe it’s a toy for the kid or it’s a book that someone is looking for. Send those little gifts but not when they’re expecting it. Don’t send it during Christmas when everyone is expecting. Emily, my wife has done six-month birthday cards. She’ll send a six-month birthday card to someone, which is the unexpected route.
On B2B, we always think of those thoughtful, thankful, find those out, and ask those questions early, “Here are some things,” or maybe send a little survey, but they’ll forget about it. Months later, they’re like, “You remembered that.” I have a connection list and it’s on an Excel sheet. When I meet with people, I talk to people, I write down their family, what their hobbies are, what their kids like, and try to remember those things. When you bring it up, it’s like, “I can’t believe you remembered my son’s name.” It’s those little things that in B2B, that’s the best way to do it because it’s hard to do over the top customer experiences. You have to go a thoughtful route. Can I throw one more at you?
Throw a book writing at me. I teach people how to write a book and I tell them they get branded. One woman came up to me and said, “I’m unemployed. Should I write a book?” I said, “Absolutely.” She’s probably spent out hundreds of resumes and probably didn’t even get a reply. She had it tough out there. It’s tough because you’re not branded. I said, “Write a book on marketing and here’s what you do. You have to be careful who you apply to because you’ll get the first job you apply for.”
Here’s what happened. The boss comes in on Monday morning, drags his ass in and says to a secretary, “I want to read all the resumes.” She says, “There’s about 100 in your email and in-basket but there’s one who came in personally to hand in their resume, printed out neatly and tucked in her book.” The boss is like, “Her book?” She says, “Yes. She wrote a book on marketing.” He goes, “She did? I want to speak to her.” She says, “She’s sitting in the waiting room.” They walked in and he hired her within minutes. He didn’t ask if she was any good at marketing. He was blown away that she’d written a book, just like I predicted. She got the first job she applied for because she showed up with that book.
What’s the lesson for someone that’s writing a book?
A book brands you. You no longer drown in the sea of sameness. You climb up onto the island of individuality and people notice you. When my daughter was switching from elementary school to high school, we switched her to a brand new school, and during that summer I taught her how to write a book. She wrote a book called #Success: How Teens Can Create Their Own Brilliant Future. When she got to the school, every teacher had ordered and read her book. When she walked into the library on the tour, there was a pile of her books on display. Everybody knew her the minute she stepped on the campus because of the book.
There’s a lesson there in the sense that people shouldn’t keep thinking about writing a book, putting themselves out there and thinking about sharing their story. They need to do it. It’s not necessarily everyone who will read the book. Hopefully people do, but the fact that you did it shows that you followed through and you care. You’re going to put the steps in to help. That’s powerful.
The truth is, at the beginning of this show, you said, “I like to introduce you to Raymond Aaron. He wrote one of the New York Times top ten bestsellers.” They don’t even care what it is. They’ll probably never read it.
I want to finish with a little bit of rapid-fire. We’ve talked about some of the challenges, the unwows that you had. This is what I call service. What is an experience that has blown you away, some experience that you’re like, “This was special?”
This is 40 years ago, and I’m still blown away by this. I’m in a restaurant and I have my girlfriend there. I was canvassing with the waiter and after I paid, she handed me two tickets to a movie theater. I was like, “What’s this?” She was like, “Do you see the movie theater across the street? They give every waitress a pair of tickets and we give it to whoever we think is the nicest customer we had.” I still remember that restaurant and that movie theater 40 years later. I don’t remember what I ordered, I don’t remember the name of the waitress, but I remember that. The restaurant was helped because lots of people would come because of that crazy issue. I was helped because I got three tickets to the movie theater and the movie theater had to give away two tickets, but I bought popcorn. Everybody was helped. It was crazy and 40 years later, I’m still telling the story.
I love that so much because it’s such a great lesson there. When you are paying for something and you think the experience is over, that’s when it can be started. For you, that night was starting and it’s because they thought, “Can we add this extra touch?” There was a small bar-restaurant I went to in Boston. I’m finishing up my meal and they gave me instead of a bill, it was a thank you card signed by all the employees and everyone that was in the entire restaurant that night. I was like, “This is a thank you card.” There was the bill in it, but I was like, “They sent me a thank you card.” They said, “We’d love to have you and sign inside it.” What do you think they got for a tip? It was outrageous. I wasn’t tipping that one person. I was tipping the whole staff. I was keeping the whole experience.
When you think about when someone buys and someone pays for something, we have our servers here, what could they give them? The Olive Garden has done the mints but what are those extra little touches you could give, whether it’s even a nice message like Johnny the Bagger. I’ve shared that story before or something along those lines. That is a powerful wow moment that people can leave this and say, “What is that last impression?” As I’ve heard before, the last impression leaves a lasting impression. That’s special right there. I like that. We’re going to go for a few more things here. Flip the script. You are now the host of Business Done Differently and you can ask me one question. I told you I’m mixing it up a little bit.
What is the weirdest, most surprising unwow that you discovered that you didn’t realize you were hurting people?
At our stadium and this one is easy for me. It’s a quick story. Every stadium, you compare yourself with everyone else when you first start. This is how it’s supposed to be done. At every ballpark, stadium and show, you can’t bring food and drinks inside the arena. That’s pretty common. I didn’t realize when we had a Chick-fil-A night, where people could get Chick-fil-A at the store and come to our game. We didn’t allow them to bring their Chick-fil-A into the stadium because there was a policy, you can’t bring food or drinks. We had families in the heat. This is our former team and Gastonia coming in with Chick-fil-A and we said, “You can’t sit in.” There were no seats outside. They were sitting in the parking lot on the ground eating it. I’ll never forget how I felt. I felt like a terrible person, leader and manager. I said, “This can’t be right.”Thoughtfulness can wow people. Click To Tweet
What my wife, Emily and I did is we said, “We’ve got to see how Disney handles this.” How does Disney handle food and drinks? We went down to Disney on “research” because Disney is always research and fun together. We walk up and we’re putting water bottles in her purse. We’re going to see how they handle us bringing water bottles into the theme park. The person in front of us had a giant cooler. It was a family. They had a giant cooler with tons of food and drinks. It looks like they were going to feed a family of 30. All of a sudden, the security guard looks at their cooler and says, “Have fun. Enjoy the magic.” It was something along those lines.
They let them go and they barely looked at Emily’s purse and the water and said, “Have fun. Have a great time.” We were like, “What?” Disney realized that the first impression is not worth it if it makes people upset. It’s not worth it to say no. Make them say yes. Make them excited and they realize that, don’t turn it away. After that moment, we said, “We’re allowing food and drinks in our stadium from now on.” If you want to bring food and drinks, bring it, enjoy it. We want people to have a great experience and not tell people no on the first impression. Those unwows that we created for a few years, they still devastated me. Seeing those families sitting on the hot pavement in a parking lot, eating their meals, and telling them they could not come into our stadium. We’ll never do that again.
Jesse, you’re a kindred spirit.
I appreciate it. Thank you.
I love you. I don’t get to talk to many people.
We’re talking about the same things and we love it. I want to finish with a little rapid-fire. It’s question time. If you want better answers in business, you’ve got to ask better questions. You’ve worked with companies and you’ve talked to all over the world. What are some of the best questions you’re asking these days?
I read a book called Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, it’s a genius book about negotiating. He was the lead negotiator for the FBI worldwide. He never says no when a terrorist asks him a question. He always says, “How can I do that? How do you expect me to do that?” What it does is, it invites the terrorist to solve your problems. You’re basically saying no, but you’re not upsetting him by saying no. You’re inviting him to solve your problems and he may come up with a better solution than you do.
As a leader, when you’re asking your people, it’s also setting the expectations because you’re saying, “How do you expect me to do that?” What are the expectations? It’s a powerful question. Have you started using that with groups?
I use that all the time. The book is funny. For example, the title Never Split the Difference comes from his conviction that any compromise is wrong. Don’t go for a compromise, go for success. He says, “If a man comes out of his dressing room and he’s wearing a suit with blue shoes, and his wife says, ‘You should wear brown shoes.’” The compromise is you should wear one blue shoe and one brown shoe and that doesn’t work. In a terrorist negotiation, let’s say bank robbers have ten hostages and he’s threatening to kill them all. A compromise would be, “Why don’t you release five and kill the other five?” No, that’s not a good compromise. Don’t split the difference.
It’s great advice and a great book. I highly recommend it. Final four here, Raymond. What is one thing that you’ve done to stand out in business or in life?
I give everything that I’ve got to the one thing that I decided to do that day. Everything, no matter what.
If you were to give advice to someone younger, someone coming up, maybe your younger self to stand out and be successful in business and in life, what would you tell them?
Write a book.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I have a confidant. Her name is Wendy, and she works with me. I respect her judgment and every time I like a girl, I come up with some reason why I have to drop into the office so Wendy can chat with her. Wendy said no to every single woman I brought in. It was twenty in a row until I brought Karen and she said yes and I married her. That is by far the best advice I ever got.
How do you want to be remembered?
As the world’s greatest teacher.
How will you do that?
I’ve been doing it for 36 years.
Raymond, is there anything else you want to leave the audience with? You’ve shared your wisdom, you showed up fully intentional. Is there anything else you want to share on either creating wow moments or something that can help someone be great or different in business?
One of my favorite lines is, “Snowmen fall to earth unassembled.” You and I know how to assemble the snowman, but most people see the snowflakes and they see the backaches and the traffic accidents. See those snowmen and create positive snowmen.
Raymond, we’ve learned from one of the world’s greatest teachers sharing everything on how we can create great moments and be a better person and a better leader. Where can people learn more from you and connect with you?
We’ll check that out. This Wow book is coming out sometime. The Savannah Bananas will be featured, but also a lot of other great stories. Raymond, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your time, wisdom, and making an impact with us.
Jesse, I’d like to grow old with you.
Thank you so much.
- Chicken Soup for the Parents’ Soul
- Jack Canfield
- Dr. Nido Qubein
- Transformational Leadership Council
- Breakthrough to Success
- Power of Wow Conference
- The Lost Sock
- Shearlock Combs
- #Success: How Teens Can Create Their Own Brilliant Future
- Never Split the Difference
- Double Your Income Doing What You Love
About Raymond Aaron
Raymond Aaron, the nation’s number #1 success and investment coach, has committed his life to teaching people just like you; how to utilize his powerful goal
setting strategies and life management tools to dramatically change your life for the better.
Plus, using his own innovative techniques developed over the last two decades, he shows you how to—step-by-step—take conscious control of your world so you can double, triple, even quadruple your income doing what you
love to do.