Module 2: Secrets 1-5
GREG: Welcome back to Part Two in Uncle Frank’s 21 Secrets of Creating a Money-Making Customer Experience. Today we’re talking with Tracy Myers. He’s a a 7 time best selling author, an award-winning small business marketing and branding solutions specialist and also the owner of Frank Myers Auto Maxx.
In the first part of this course we gave you and overview of the 21 secrets and really why you need to be creating a customer experience and the importance of the customer experience.
In this second module we’re going to be talking about the first five secrets in the 21 overall secrets. Tracy, when we break it down your first secret is really all about telling your story. Why is your story so important to deliver that great customer experience?
TRACY: Well, Greg, I believe that storytelling is as important to businesses as it is to Disney. Stories help people learn to build relationships and move beyond the idea of selling. My dad told me it’s easier to sell something if you’re interesting, and the best way to be interesting is to be interested.
Now, while that’s true, I like to take it a step further and say that it’s easier to sell something when you get people involved with stories.
When people know your story they start to feel like they’re part of it, and when people feel part of something they’ll naturally move in the direction that you want them to go.
GREG: I love that, and I really buy into the whole storytelling mentality. I think a lot of business owners can think about where their story came from, but one of the biggest questions and something you’ve been able to do with your business and your employees is: How do you get your team excited to tell that story and when should that story come out and really deliver an experience to the customer?
TRACY: Our team gets excited about our story because they see that it excites our customers, and of course that always makes it easier. However, I will admit that when you tell that same story a dozen times for several years it can be hard to put on a happy face and share that story with the same enthusiasm day in and day out.
We have to constantly tell our team that they’re like a world-famous rock band and when the doors open, they’re playing another encore every time they speak with another customer.
I kind of relate it to the band Kiss which was one of my favorite bands growing up, and forty years later I can’t imagine what it’s like for them to play “Rock and Roll All Night” every night, and at every event they play.
It must be excruciating to a degree, but I know that kind of liken our sales staff and our team members feeling the same way. When they talk to that customer it’s their encore, it’s their time to play “Rock and Roll All Night” one more time.
GREG: That’s great, and that’s another great analogy because I’m sure from you, from a fan’s perspective, if you went to a Kiss concert and they didn’t play the song, it would be disappointing, wouldn’t it?
TRACY: Of course it would be, because they always end a concert with “Rock and Roll All Night” and that’s what they’re best known for. They’ve got to tell their story and essentially, that three and a half to four minutes, that is their story. “Rock and Roll All Night”, word for word, is the story of their career and of their band, so they have to play that song.
GREG: I love it. I love it. Now, moving on to the second secret, and that is to create characters and you are a great person to talk about characters in your business. First, let’s get started. How do you create characters and how can other business owners create characters in their business?
TRACY: Sometimes our characters are created as natural extensions of our personality and our brand. For example, I went to radio and TV school and I grew up in an era when radio disc jockeys were still fairly relevant.
I dreamed of being a Casey Kasem or a Rick Dees, or even a Wolfman Jack, you know? I was just drawn into that old-fashioned radio DJ persona, and that’s kind of the character I portray in our commercials and our marketing. It’s an extension of who I am, but only bigger, kind of like an alter-ego.
At other times, characters are created entirely by accident, like the Uncle Frank character. I remember when that character was created; we actually were filming a textile commercial and my father was dressed in an Uncle Sam costume.
When he walked out- by the way, getting him in the Uncle Sam costume was always a struggle- but he came out and the videographer, who was knew, said, “Oh, you know, they should call you Uncle Frank, not Uncle Sam”.
A lightbulb went off at that moment and I didn’t own the dealership then but I looked at him and I said, “You know, that’s a great idea. We’re going to call you Uncle Frank.” Well, the commercial came out and it took off; not necessarily the commercial itself but the Uncle Frank character.
People actually started walking into the dealership asking for Uncle Frank, so we knew we were onto something. That was created entirely by accident. So how have characters impacted our customers in our own business? You know, as our business got bigger and bigger and we started growing, it was becoming almost faceless.
The characters that we created in marketing, it gave us a personality in a sea of sameness with all the other car dealerships in town. It gave us a personality and made people feel it was easier to have a relationship with us because we were real people and all the other car dealerships were only logos.
GREG: That’s a great, that’s a great explanation. Again, I encourage everyone listening to have that action guide in front of them, be taking notes, and see what you can learn from this.
We’re only two secrets in and you already should be thinking about ways to tell your story and ways to get your employees and team members excited to tell your story, and thinking about characters in your business. There’s a real importance there and you can see the longevity of it in Tracy’s business as well.
The third secret is to learn from outside of your industry. What are some tips, or strategies to learn from other industries that then you can kind of take and mold and bring them into your own business to make it better?
TRACY: I have a good friend by the name of Jimmy V and he has a great saying that’s really relevant here: it’s “Same is lame”. My dad told me that I wasn’t going to beat out my competitors by doing the same things that they were.
It’s a common sin of most businesses to borrow from within their own industry, but one of the most powerful things I ever learned was to look for inspiration everywhere else. Figure out how to adopt and adapt them and make them unique to me and my business.
GREG: That’s great. As we move on, number four is to create a powerful cast. Start to explain what a powerful cast can look like?
TRACY: I believe this cast actually looks different to everyone depending on what type of business they’re in. For example, my cast at the dealership is probably not the same cast as someone would want at a retirement home.
However, there are three common denominators that I look for in all my cast members: character, charisma, and heart. I think all business owners should look for cast members or team members with those three characteristics.
GREG: That’s great, and now what are some of your best tips to now take those characteristics get your cast to perform and show up for their performance every day on their job?
TRACY: Greg, that’s a great question, and I struggled with that answer for many years. There’s a book named The Experience Economy and I love the subtitle: “Work is a theater and every business a stage.”
I agree with this statement 100%. Like I shared earlier, we have to constantly tell our team that they’re like a world-famous rock and when the doors open they’re playing another encore every time they speak with another customer.
GREG: That’s great, that’s great. It’s a great book and a great reference for everybody that’s looking to get that cast to perform and show up and do a great job and deliver that customer experience day in and day out.
Now, the fifth secret, you say, is to follow a script. Why is what we say to our customers so important and what are some ways to get our team following a script when they’re dealing with customers and different interactions throughout the day?
TRACY: Sure. Well, you know, even the guy sweeping the streets at Disney has to follow an exact script when someone asks him for directions. What we say to people can make a huge difference to the impression we create.
It’s worth making sure that your people know what to say at key moments. The way someone answers the phone has a big impact on how people perceive you. As far as how to get your team to follow a script, the first step is to make it a part of the culture, which means it’s like breathing and it’s a part of who you are.
To be successful at it though, it’s all about P-D-R: practice, drill, rehearse. Scripts have kind of taken a bad rap because most people are really bad at them.
We’ve all heard the telemarketer that’s called us at home that sounds like they’re reading, and you know why they sound like they’re reading? Because they are. They didn’t practice, drill, and rehearse that script.
GREG: That’s great. That’s a great analogy and as we close out this second module in going through the first five secrets, I was really hoping you could share an example of an interaction that delivered that moneymaking customer experience when one of your team members used these defined scripts that you’ve ingrained into their culture to overcome some customer objections or questions and they got the deal done and at the end of the day, everyone walked out happy.
TRACY: Of course I can. In the automotive industry there are lots of variables. Folks go shopping at a dealership and may want a full-size SUV, but they need a monthly payment of $250 a month.
The person they speak to at the other dealership foolishly tells them that the payment on a full-size SUV will be around a $400 a month, but can buy a Ford Focus for $250 a month. So the customers say, “Oh, we’re going to think about it,” and they say thank you, and then they come to my store to shop around and what kind of car do you think they ask for?
Not the SUV; they ask for the Focus. Now why do they ask for the Focus? Because they think that’s the car that will work for their budget, and this may or not be true. So we’ve made it a point to ask every customer: Other than the car you came in looking for, what other types of vehicles have you been looking at?
It’s amazing the range of vehicle types you get when you ask this simple question. It’s scripted and it helps an additional fifteen to twenty folks drive home in a nicer, newer car from my dealership every month with one simple sentence.
GREG: Wow, that’s just really an incredible statement that you just shared. Really, it’s the little things just like that: having that script, that one scripted line, that question, that thing that’s going to get you to get your customers talking and opening up about their problems and their fears and the things that they need to make their life better, and scripting can be a great way to do that.
What I encourage everyone doing now in this second module is to look back at secrets one through five, all the way from telling your story to following a script, and see how they can apply to your own business and see how you can utilize these five secrets to really help you deliver that great customer experience.
In module three we’re going to go through the next set of secrets, secrets six through ten. Thanks again for reading Part Two, and we will see you again in Part Three.