Marketing Podcast Weekly is the show where we discuss strategies for marketing (with a particular emphasis of our area of expertise – marketing in the retail trading industry.) In Episode 003, your hosts Rob Booker andJason Pyles talk about a natural and effective approach for establishing trust with those to whom you’re marketing. We discuss our full-time missionary service and what we learned from trying to push an infamously tough-sell: religion. Don’t worry… there’s no proselytizing here, but we will explain howsome successful missionaries in Italy got from closed doors to new converts! Join us!
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Full transcript for Episode 003:
Rob Booker: Mr. Pyles.
Jason Pyles: Rob Booker, good morning.
Rob Booker: How you all doing?
Jason Pyles: I’m doing great, what about you?
Rob Booker: I had a question for you.
Jason Pyles: Okay, let’s hear it.
Rob Booker: Did you have a good experience when you were on your mission in Tucson, Arizona?
Jason Pyles: Yeah, I think for the most part I did, yes.
Rob Booker: Yeah, me too. For the most part I did too. I went to Rome, Italy. For those listeners that don’t know this, both Jason and I served missionsfor the Mormon Church, the LDS Church. Jason in Tucson and I was in Rome, Italy. Because I have a theory Jason, and I was hoping that you wouldhelp me prove this theory incorrect, or correct, who knows?
Jason Pyles: Okay, I’m ready.
Rob Booker: Alright, what was the basic, I hate to put it in these terms but, what was the basic strategy or what the basic method or what were theinstructions given to you before you went to Tucson, about how to talk to people about religion?
Jason Pyles: Specifically speaking, there was, build relationships with trust. Build on common beliefs, things like that. Love the people in general. Yeah, that kind of thing. Is that what you were looking for?
Rob Booker: Yeah. I was looking for whatever you wanted to say.
Jason Pyles: Okay, I wondered what angle we were looking at, because …
Rob Booker: Yeah, no. Yeah, it’s kind of what I remember too. It was the first thing that jumped out of my mind, was to build a relationship with trust andthen ask people to make and keep commitments.
Jason Pyles: Yes, I miss that really good one.
Rob Booker: Those two things really stand out to me. Nowhere in there was anything about convincing someone that they’re wrong. There wasn’t any ofthat inside of the instructions. In fact, there was a whole guide book, I think they called it The Missionary Handbook, or I can’t remember what they calledit anymore. Inside of it were entire paragraphs and chapters even that seemed like they came right out of a Stephen R Covey, Seven Habits Of Highly Successful People book.
Here we were, ostensibly talking about a religion, but almost non of that training that we got in how to build relationships had anything to do withthinking with this sale in mind. It’s not like everybody was like a walking customer that we couldn’t wait to convince that they were wrong or whatever. Some people, that was some perspectives. I just want to tell you a story, and then we’re going to bring this all around back to marketing.
Jason Pyles: Okay.
Rob Booker: I want to tell you a story because this is one of those stories from my formative experience as a 19 year old, or a 20 year old, that hasaffected me for the rest of my life. I’m down in the city of Naples, the birthplace of pizza. By the way, if you haven’t watched these videos of Chris Bianco baking pizza with Aziz Ansari or Jimmy Kimmel and Billy Crystal, you’ve got to go to YouTube and check those out. They’re absolutely spectacular.
Jason Pyles: Okay.
Rob Booker: I’m Italy and I’m down in Naples, Italy, and I’m having what we would refer to on the mission as no success, like zero success. Now, ofcourse I was in a country full of Catholics, and if you for a moment set aside your notions that what is a church doing sending people out to baptize people into different religion, if you set all that aside for a minute and you attribute to Jason and I the best of intentions, if you just do that. I’m sitting inapartment as a missionary, feeling pretty sorry for myself, that I haven’t had any success and no baptisms and no one really listens to us.
I’m not having a terrible experience as a missionary, in fact I’m having the greatest time of my life. I’m on my own, I’m learning to spend and budget myown money. I’m in basically what is the most dangerous city in the world at the time. No exaggeration, regularly we would have SWAT teams running upthrough the streets. I’m in the city were Diego Maradona, basically the world’s second most famous soccer player of all time, is playing football. I’msurrounded by wonderful people and some of the people who are nearest and dearest to my heart still to this day. But in terms of my religion and myrelationship with God at the time or whatever, I was having zero success. Now, across the bay of Naples Jason, there was a group of missionaries atthis time that are basically running wild. I don’t know if you had this in your mission at any time.
Jason Pyles: Yes.
Rob Booker: But these guys aren’t wearing their suits, they’re not wearing their tags, their missionary tags. You know that name tag that they come tothe door with when they knock on your door. They’re not wearing their name tags, they’re wearing jeans, they’re wearing t-shirts. There’s a whole groupof them out there. I think it was 12 of them that went to open a city called Castellemare. They are out there, opening this city, or starting the first groupof missionaries that have ever been in this city, and they’re about 40 miles away at the foot of Mount Vesuvius. They are not even getting ready in themorning. They’re laying in bed, they’re listening to Rush records and playing cards with people all day long in the streets.
Jason Pyles: Interesting, interesting.
Rob Booker: I don’t know if this is the way it happened in your mission, but in my mission everyone was so far away from each other and so far awayfrom central command, that a lot of this stuff ends up seeming like a rumor. It doesn’t seem to be true, like the White Walkers in Game Of Thrones, untilyou see them for yourself you don’t really believe it’s happening.
Jason Pyles: Yeah. Yeah, that’s funny.
Rob Booker: It’s urban legend at the time, until all of the missionaries in that region are invited to go to Castellemare, because the mission president wants to know what miracles is happening there. All of us are dumbfounded at the news that they are regularly, in a country where no one is basically baptizing anyone, no one’s joining the Mormon Church in that city, they are regularly baptizing up to 10 or 20 people a week.
Jason Pyles: Interesting.
Rob Booker: I’m dumbfounded. I’m dumbfounded. Everything’s being done … all the rules are being broken. They’re basically running amok, who knowswhat they’re doing? I heard one of them got a job, like went and got a job, so they could make money.
Jason Pyles: Which is a no-no, for the listeners out there.
Rob Booker: [crosstalk 00:07:16] I end up deciding that instead of … what was happening at the time, when this came to light, basically the reaction ofevery obedient good missionary in the southern part of our mission was upset that someone else was having success. What they did was they wouldread these passages of scripture that said, If it’s not done in the way of the Lord, then it’s done some other way, suggesting that they were even eviland that the ends never justify the means.
I decided that when I heard people talking like that, I thought to myself, Well, we’re here for a purpose. We’re here to build relationships of trust. We’rehere to as people to make commitments about the way they lead their lives and these missionaries seem to be having an extraordinary amount ofsuccess doing that. They’re not living their lives in any way that would be contrary to a regular member of the church, they’re just not acting likemissionaries. The words came out of my mouth, or the thought came into my mind, They’re not acting like missionaries. It still to this day seems to meJason that the most amount of success in missionary work or marketing or sales or whatever you call it, comes when you’re not acting like asalesperson.
Jason Pyles: Okay, interesting. Yes, I could see that for sure, because yeah, then people, they put their guard down, right?
Rob Booker: Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah.
Jason Pyles: Your audience, yeah. Your intended audience, they might not be so suspicious of you. Because if you have that used car salesperson approach as you approach someone, then they might put the guard up right away.
Rob Booker: Or the better-than-you approach.
Jason Pyles: That too, yeah, maybe.
Rob Booker: Where you live in a city where people can’t afford to wear nice clothes and all you do is walk around all day wearing nice clothes, or youlive in a city where basically every human being during the day, because many of them didn’t work, are playing cards in the central plaza and you don’tplay cards. Now you’re setting yourself apart, you’re setting yourself aside, you’re basically putting yourself in a position that you’re better than thosepeople. How in the world are we ever going to get anything done if we’re better than those people?
It occurred to me that Elder Combs, Nathan Combs, I remember he came home and started a mechanic shop, I have no idea what happened to himafter that, and a bunch of other guys, these guys all came home and had great families and got married and stayed in the church. At that time whatthey were doing was, they were just … I don’t even know how to stay it Jason, they were just getting the work done. They were accomplishing thepurpose. In our industry, in the industry of marketing or in my specific industry of online marketing of trading related products and services, there’s somuch jealousy when someone else has some amount of success. There’s a guy in our industry, his name is John Carter, and he trades options.
Jason Pyles: On Mars, just kidding, sorry.
Rob Booker: You wouldn’t believe … that’s hilarious.
Jason Pyles: Sorry.
Rob Booker: You wouldn’t believe the things that people talk about him. They talk about him like … and I think the reason they talk about him is becausehe’s had so much success. Behind his back, they wonder if it’s for real. All that he’s ever done is make money and take care of his family. Or if you lookat a friend of mine, Tim Sykes, he trades penny stocks. The hatred and the vitriol that is flung in his direction, for basically breaking all the rules, notdoing it the way that you’re supposed to. It’s astounding that the reaction is, to someone who’s successful isn’t, Hey, how can I learn from this person? It’s, What can I accuse this person of having done wrong because I’m jealous of the results they’re getting?
Jason Pyles: Right. Yeah, okay. I can see that. Yeah, in fact Rob, I’ll confess, as you told me the story about these missionaries, I’m like, my first instinct gut reaction was like, Yeah, but how were they tricking them? Were they teaching them the whole thing? I was trying to find some kind of problemthere. Isn’t that interesting.
Rob Booker: Alright, well let me … Man, you and I are a great partnership because this is exactly what I was hoping we could talk about.
Jason Pyles: Okay, great.
Rob Booker: If you’re sitting there and you’re acting like you’re a regular citizen, or it seems like you’re acting like you’re a regular citizen, how do youever get to the point where someone does make a commitment that they want to change their lives and follow Christ, or whatever you want to say. How do they make that decision? How do you get from here to there? It’s shocking that the journey from playing cards in the central plaza, to a baptismon the beach, is much shorter of a journey than the journey from knocking on someone’s door, interrupting them at dinner, and asking them if they wantsome information on changing religions. Let me share with you how it would go.
Jason Pyles: Okay.
Rob Booker: For those of you listening and you’re doing online marketing, think about this. Think about the way that you talk to people. Think about theway that you converse with your subscribers in emails. Think about whether are you speaking from above them? Are you interrupting them? Are youbanging on their door at dinner time? Or are you finding them where they are and are you building a relationship with trust and are you taking the timeto build a uniquely interesting friendship with them? Even one to many, but can you come to their level? Or will you allow them to come to yours? Elder Combs, or Nate Combs, and the group, Mike Brooks was in this group. He started a pizza place in Salt Lake City, Settebello.
Jason Pyles: Mike Brooks.
Rob Booker: With our other friend, Brad Otton, who played quarterback at USC. Okay, so they’re playing cards with these folks in the plaza. As they’replaying cards, and I met Nathan later on, he and I spent a day in Naples together doing missionary work and he taught me all of these things. But hesaid, So we’re playing cards with them, and they say, ‘Why are you Americans here in Italy?’ But I never brought it up myself, I waited until they askedme. I waited until someone asked me the question. Then he said, Well, I’m here for my church, but I just wanted to get to know the people.
Basically, once again, throwing off the pressure, throwing off the … first comes the relationship, that’s what the book said, build a relationship of trust. It’swhat it said. So he said, Well I’m here … And they said, Well no, really, what church is it? He said, Well, it’s the Mormon Church. They’d say, invariablyin Italy they would say, Well, is that the church where you have more than one wife. And he would say, No, and then they would say, Well then I’m notinterested, but everybody would laugh and it was a big joke.
Jason Pyles: Right.
Rob Booker: Then, before you know it, they’re in the plaza and they’re laughing. They play cards and then they play cards again, and then he says … this is what happens in Italy, they say, Well, we’d like to have you over for dinner. And so he says, Okay, well we’ll come over for dinner, of course. It’srude not to accept and now they’re in someone’s home and they’re having dinner. They’re telling stories about where they come from and who they areand what their families are like. They’re showing pictures of their family. They’re showing pictures of their family and they’re pictures from the missionary training center in Utah, where they’re standing near the temple.
As an online marketer, imagine speaking to your people with the things that come with success surrounding you, but not drawing attention to itnecessarily and not making it the biggest deal in the world, but conveying a message without yelling at people or telling them they have to pay attentionto what you’re saying. These people, once again, now they’re learning about where these young men come from, who they are, what their families arelike. They have trust. And then they say, Well tell me more about the church, and then he said, Okay, I’ll tell you more about the church. We have a whole group of these conversations that we do. Could we come back and do that? They say, Okay, we’ll come back and do that. He goes, Well, let’s geteverybody here.
At that point, it doesn’t seem odd. At that point it doesn’t seem like what he’s doing is trying to convince people to join a church. What he’s doing is he’sallowing people to hear what he has to say because they’ve asked. In some cases he would say no. In my mission, a lot of people who wanted to hearfrom you weren’t really interested in the church and weren’t in a position to really know what was going on. Sometimes, missionary, you would find themteaching, in my mission you would find them teaching mentally disabled individual and all kinds of stuff. But in this instance, Elder Combs is sitting herewith a family, he’s sitting here with his ideal prospect, for lack of a better word.
That’s the question I have to ask myself now, I still to this day, I ask myself, Am I speaking to the people who are interested in what I have, or so interested that they’re asking me for information, or am I continually trying to get them, am I trying to prod them? Am I trying to trick them? Or are theycoming to me out a genuine interest in a genuine relationship that we have together? The other thing is, what I did when I was up in the city of L’aquila, which is north east of Rome in the mountains, I was always getting sent places where missionaries were doing bad things and then I would have to goin and clean it up or whatever.
I knocked on probably 25,000 doors in L’aquila. Having not learned my lesson, I probably knocked on 25,000 doors and no one ever came to church. While in Castellemare, in the southern part of the country, Elder Combs and Elder Brooks and those guys would play cards with one group of peoplefor three weeks and then they would meet all of the extended family and friends. When the time came that these good individuals would ask if theycould join the church, Elder Combs would say, Yes, and we’ll do a baptism, and we’ll do it at the beach. We want your whole family to be there. Moreoften than not, they’d have to delay the baptism because other members of the family would then get the conversations or the discussions as we callthem, and then they too would want to be baptized. You know what kind of people stay in a product, a service, a religion? People who participate withtheir friends.
Jason Pyles: Yes.
Rob Booker: That’s who, right Jason? That’s not so hard to imagine.
Jason Pyles: Absolutely. That’s true, because you have that whole support group and other people who are into it.
Rob Booker: I’ll never forget the sight, this time I go down there for a baptism, of these missionaries running up and down the beach, yelling, We’redoing one of the seven sacraments, we’re doing one of the seven sacraments. Everybody come on. We don’t do the seven sacraments, we didn’tanyway in the Mormon Church. He’s running up and down the beach, speaking to them in a language they understand. If you’re listening to this andyou’re a marketer, you got to hear what I’m saying. You got to hear the message without just coming out and blatantly telling you. He’s speaking thelanguage of the people that he’s meant to serve.
They come running to the beach to see what’s going on. Then he’s got a group of … It just blows my mind. This is in a nation where you could, if youwere lucky, you could schedule one baptism in two years of work in the country. One. On that day, the family of the person that was getting baptizedwould rent their cloth and that person would be dead to the family. This is the equivalent of in any other country a million people coming to a baptism. Itwas an astounding sight. You’d have 150 people on the beach, and then the missionaries would spread out at the end of the ceremony and they wouldask people if they could come over.
They would say, We’d like to come tell you what this was all about, and then that city exploded with growth and happiness. Were these missionaries breaking the rules? Yes. Do I remember them using colorful language? Yes. Do I remember feeling jealous that they were having success and I wasnot? Yes. Did I think that maybe what I could do is maybe learn a little bit from them? No, it took me almost all the way until the end of my time in Italyto be bold enough, courageous enough, brave enough to be obedient with a personality. Which is exactly the way that he described it to me on that daywhen we were out doing work in Naples. He was taking my under his wing to try to teach me a lesson or try to help me understand. He said, It’s notabout disobedience or obedience. It’s about being obedient but having a personality, not forgetting who you were and who you are, and then notforgetting who it is that you’re talking to. Anyway, I don’t know Jason if that, if any of that made any sense to any of our listeners.
Jason Pyles: Yeah, well, it’s definitely fascinating. Yeah, setting the whole religious angle out of it, those are some seriously amazing principles forgetting behind the walls I guess. That’s interesting.
Rob Booker: Yeah, and whenever we have this conversation there’s this element of discomfort, that, Oh well, you’re selling a religion. Okay, hold on aminute. I’m not even a member of the church anymore and all I have are fond experiences of asking people to make and keep commitments aboutbeing honest and trustworthy and committing their entire lives to the service of a community and to each other and their families. Okay, so if you’regoing to sell something, that’s a good product. We can all hold on a minute before we get uncomfortable, but then again you’ve got to remember thatthis is how your prospects, when you sell online this is how they feel. They’re waiting for you to punch them in the mouth and take their wallet. That’swhat they’re waiting for.
Jason Pyles: It’s true, yeah.
Rob Booker: When you don’t do that and you choose a different path, you take the long road, you’re not talking to as many customers at once, you’renot … I don’t know, you’re taking the long view of, let me genuinely help a few people, instead of trying to make a buck and help a lot of people.
Jason Pyles: Yeah. I love that whole concept of where it ends up being their idea. I think that’s one of the great strength. I remember that TV show Lost, there was a character on there, and I hate to make a parallel here with this but, his name was Sawyer and he was conman. He was really good at thelong con. The whole point of the long con was you end up just through very, very, very subtle ways, you end up planting the idea in their head, wherethey’re asking you. It’s almost like they believe it’s their idea, they come up with it. Not that what those missionaries were doing was the long con oranything, they sounded really genuine, but I think that’s fascinating when the people that you’re targeting, they come up with the idea of, Hey, I’d like todo that, or learn that. It’s interesting.
Rob Booker: Yeah. If we forget for a minute words like con or sales or whatever, and you focus on relationships, all of this can be used for good or evil.
Jason Pyles: Yes.
Rob Booker: All of these skills.
Jason Pyles: True.
Rob Booker: And the tools are in the hands of the listeners now to do with what they will, but there’s always a choice about whether we use those toolsfor good or for bad. This all comes from a place in my heart that is so disgusted with and tired of optimizing funnels and A/B split testing and testing aheadline, so if I use this headline will more people sign up?
Instead of saying, Am I telling the truth in everything that I do? Am I letting people see my faults? Am I openly sharing and communicating genuine information with people? Am I talking to them on their level, at their stage in their lives, in the language that they understand, and then waiting for themto ask me for more information? Or am I in this for the short term and do I want to make something out of it so quickly that I don’t have time to get toknow them?
These are the questions that matter and I’m so tired and exhausted and offended by so much online marketing that basically says, subtly, that if youcan build a set of web pages that look like this, you’re going to basically trick X percent of people into buying your product. Hopefully you’re a good person, but nobody feels comfortable doing any of that. No one’s happy doing that. Some people are. Some people really get into building the pagesand whatever else. I have a friend, Dan Henry, that teaches Facebook Ads and he genuinely loves what he does. He genuinely also … but I’m sure heloves tweaking the headlines and stuff like that too, but it all comes from a place that he’s so in love with what he’s teaching and what he’s doing andhow he’s helping people. He’s so ready for that kind of stuff. He just moved his wife and him into some multi-million dollar house in South Florida, orwhatever, and he basically, when he shares it with people, when he shares these videos, touring through the house, it’s just pure glee. It’s just pure happiness.
None of it is ever presented as, I’m better than you. It’s all presented as, he just can’t believe where he is. He’s a high school dropout. I don’t know. Thatkind of stuff, I just love the crap out of that kind of stuff. There’s so many good examples that we could talk about. Maybe next time when we come onwe can talk about some of those good example, Jason, of people telling a genuine story in language that their people understand, and talking about aproduct that people race towards because they’ve built a relationship with trust.
Jason Pyles: I like that. Yeah, let’s do that Rob.
Rob Booker: Sweet. Do you have anything? We’ve got a few more minutes here. How are things going over at the Movie Podcast Weekly, or the Horror Movie Podcast?
Jason Pyles: Yeah, it’s going really well. We’re starting to wrap up the summer now, the summer blockbuster season. It’s a good time. Have you been going to the movies lately Rob?
Rob Booker: I see them all on iTunes now. Do you have a recommendation?
Jason Pyles: It depends on what you like. Have you seen Dunkirk for example, that one?
Rob Booker: Not yet. I can’t wait to see that.
Jason Pyles: Yeah. That’s something I would certainly recommend. It’s Christopher Nolan and it’s a beautiful film. I would try to see it on the biggest screen you possibly can though, if you’re able to.
Rob Booker: Okay.
Jason Pyles: Yeah, that’s an amazing-
Rob Booker: Did you see Beatriz At Dinner?
Jason Pyles: No, I didn’t. Tell me about that.
Rob Booker: There’s a claim that it is the best movie of the Trump era, I don’t know what that means. Honestly, I don’t know what that means. I rented it, Nikki and I watched it. It’s not … Don’t, please. I wanted them to lock all of them in the room and walk away and start another movie. I can see why itgets those reviews.
Jason Pyles: Okay.
Rob Booker: That was the most interesting movie of the year that I watched, meaning the oddest, strangest story being told. Definitely worth renting tocheck out Jason.
Jason Pyles: Interesting, okay. Thank you.
Rob Booker: Where can people find … No, go ahead.
Jason Pyles: I would say, I always like your recommendations Rob. You bring some good stuff to me sometimes, so this is intriguing.
Rob Booker: There haven’t been a lot of great movies this year that have stopped me in my trackers, where it ended and I thought, What the heck just happened? I watched The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu and that disturbed me. That’s a show based on the book by Margaret Atwood. That disturbed. Iknow it’s good when it disturbs me. That’s a television show.
Jason Pyles: Yeah, that’s what I hear. I hear that it is pretty good. Excellent.
Rob Booker: Yeah, I wish I hadn’t watched it but yes.
Jason Pyles: Right, there’s some things you just can’t unsee, right Rob?
Rob Booker: Yeah, exactly. Okay, I want to make sure we get people over to your podcasts though. If you haven’t hear Jason on his other podcasts, please take a moment. You’re already in iTunes. Do a search here and look this up. Okay Jason, which one’s do you think people should listen to?
Jason Pyles: Movie Podcast Weekly is like a comedy show where we discuss new movies that are in theaters, so there’s that. And recently on there, inepisode 250, we went through the entire IMDB, Internet Movie DataBase, top 250 movies of all time and thought a lot about that. That’s pretty fun.
Rob Booker: That’s great. That’s awesome.
Jason Pyles: If you’re into horror movies, on Horror Movie Podcast we recently, in two episodes we did seven hours and 45 minutes about all theStephen King film adaptations. So if you’re into Stephen King … Serious.
Rob Booker: Oh my gosh, that’s awesome. Okay.
Jason Pyles: There you go.
Rob Booker: Thanks Jason.
Jason Pyles: Thank you Rob. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Rob Booker: And thanks everybody for listening. We’ll see you next week.