18 Nov Building Customer Trust Among All The Fakes With Josh Elledge
The most important thing about marketing is trust. That is why marketers need to focus on building trust. No one is going to buy a product that has 1-star reviews or is from a sketchy merchant. With so many fake marketing gurus out there just waiting to take your money, trust is the name of the game. In this episode, Matthew Sullivan brings on Josh Elledge, the Founder of Up My Influence and host of a podcast of the same name. Today, they talk about building high-level relationships with your customers. Trust your customers, and don’t beat them over the head with your marketing. Learn how to market correctly today!
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Building Customer Trust Among All The Fakes With Josh Elledge
I’ve heard of those guys, desert trip. Otherwise known as old chiller. I saw Paul McCartney up on stage.
There’s a good podcast. SmartLess, have you heard it?
It’s hilarious. It’s probably my favorite podcast. It’s Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and then the other guy from Will & Grace. They interview celebrities and they’re so hilarious. They interviewed Paul McCartney. He said something. He goes, “A lot of times when you talk to someone like, ‘How are you doing?’” They go, “I’m tired.”
Paul says, “When I hear people say I’m tired because everyone’s tired. That’s good. You’re halfway there. When you lay down a bad deal, you go right out.” I was talking to my wife about this. It’s like business owners, entrepreneurs and stuff. Sometimes we say, “I’m tired,” that’s a bad thing. It shouldn’t be bad. Being tired is normal. Embrace that.
I used to have this ex-SAS captain for a boss when I was a stockbroker. He would say, “Sleeping is practicing for dying.” He was 50 something. I was in my early twenties and I was a stockbroker in London. I would turn up at 6:30 in the morning. It’d be like a chilly November morning, so I’d be wearing my gloves and he’d look at me and he’d say, “Did you use a mirror to shave this morning?” I said, “Yes.” He’d say, “Next time, try using a razor.” That was old stuff, but he was the guy.
I’d said, “Good morning, Bridget. How are you?” He’d say, “Still this side of the soil.” All these great things. Podcasting is amazing how we know we still get excited by finding good podcasts. You are the podcast guru/king/expert. Podcast is such an amazing tool that is beginning to get traction. Is that all of your life or is that a part of it? I remember when we met, it was at a podcasting conference years ago.
2007, I was taking my radio segments, hard coding and RSS feed and getting those episodes out for The SavingsAngel. I officially started The SavingsAngel show proper years ago. Back then, it was nothing to start. You can start any podcast. You had some wherewithal, you could easily get 1,000 downloads a day. It’s easy. There are so many more options in the podcasting world that are a little tougher to get up to those numbers. Outside of doing it for the audience, which is important, there are so many other benefits and reasons why podcasts are one of the absolute best activities that any business owner could do, particularly if your business thrives on high-level relationships.
Networking and building relationships. Podcasting, when you lead with generosity and platform, it’s almost like with your magic wand and like, “What do I want to create and who do I want to build a relationship with?” If you’re using your platform and you’re okay with investing in relationships, you can with a podcast. You can build a relationship with anyone you want. I don’t get into the technical in terms of how to do it, perform great, be a notable host, and ask great questions. After over 1,500 episodes, I’m starting to find my voice. That is all we do for business without my influence.
I just run a podcast and I get unlimited clients because of that podcast. That’s all I do. Most people, when they hear what I’m talking about, they’re like, “He’s got a lot of listeners and those listeners hear him and then they call them up.” I get very few clients out of the listening audience. The same thing, what I noticed when I’ve spoken at a lot of events is that I would get some customers from the audience. I make some relationships and that thing. Honestly, my best clients, I built relationships within the green room. That was interesting. There is this amazing energy that develops when you are in service with somebody else. I’m here, you’re here. We’re serving your readers.
We know we’re here in a united cause to do something good for a couple of other people out there. You and I have this experience together like there’s cool energy that comes about. It attracts the right people, you do something together. It’s like, “We broke bread together. We did this cool thing together.” Now what? If you’re constantly worried about building up your audience so that you can have sponsors, for the average podcaster, you are tripping over stacks of cash to pick up pennies.
That’s one of the things because whenever you read about podcasting, it’s almost like podcasting is polluted to a certain extent because the drive is sponsorship, it’s monetized, all of this stuff. “I will teach you how to monetize your podcasts. I’ll teach you how to get those sponsors, how to present yourself.” It feels like all of this is missing purity. We’re going to sit here and we’re going talk stuff.
For the next five hours.
My toes curl when I listen to podcasts or when I go on podcasts. You know that everything is fake because it’s generated to create this false momentum for sponsorship or something like that.
We have great relationships. SavingsAngel, very much. We do work with sponsors. That’s the business model there. It’s very much a Josh-to-consumer type of content. That is appropriate for that. I have used The SavingsAngel show as well as a platform to ask myself, “Who would I like to build a relationship with for a specific purpose?”
There have been instances where I’m like, “I live in Orlando. I love this theme park brand, restaurant, hotel or whatever. I’m going to do you a solid get in the room with you. I’m going to give value to you.” I recommend everyone read the book, The Go-Giver by Bob Burg because a lot of what I’m talking about is foundational to leading with generosity.
I don’t think there’s a better gift out there than platforms. The platform is win-win for everybody. It’s super easy and inexpensive. Everybody wins. It gives you a certain panache. You’re this pseudo member of the media if you do it right. I’ve done this with PR folks. I find out that they represent a hotel brand like, “I’d love to interview them and talk about what makes their property great. What’s in it for families?”
Podcasts are one of the best activities that you could do, particularly if your business thrives on high-level relationships.
It’s that third-party validation. If I tell you what I’m good at, you go, “Whatever. When is this going to end?” If you listen to someone else asking the question, you’ve got that validation to a certain extent, which means you’re likely to listen more. That’s what you were saying about his concept of platform. If I am going to bring out the best things in your business and if I’m going to act as your evangelist or your ambassador, then as you said, it’s a win-win because the restaurant wins and you win because you get extra.
It has to be great content. Otherwise, I’m not going to do that thing. I’m going to produce content that’s interesting for the listener that they’re going to find valuable. That’s fundamental. I do believe that everybody has a message that can positively impact the world. Let’s say you are a small business owner and you would love for the world to know about what you do.
I come along, I’m like, “Can I grab ten minutes with you? Have you talked about what makes you great? What do you do? What’s your impact?” How much do they appreciate that opportunity? It might only get out to two listeners. Someone would take time out of their day, give first into that relationship. Here’s what I’ve noticed. When you’re the one that leads with generosity without any big ask on the back-end, you’re just a cool person. You will get lots of stuff.
It’s the law of abundance.
Reciprocity, a little bit of that as well. People feel like, “You did all this stuff. Is there anything I can do for you?” You have to begin with the premise. You cannot be selfish about this. You cannot be Machiavellian about it because people will suss you out. If you’re just doing it because you want some in return, you have to wake up in the morning and say, “Who do I get to serve today?” If you do that, sales will become the inevitable outcome for you. If you wake up in the morning, you’re like, “Who am I going to sell to today?” Everyone’s going to feel it. You’re going to keep banging your head against the wall and you’re like, “I don’t get it. Why doesn’t anybody want to do business with me?”
Are you a fan of Yellowstone? Which is this fantastic TV series on Paramount with Kevin Costner.
I’ve heard of it. I haven’t watched it yet.
There’s this great quote where Rip, who’s one of the characters, says to this young kid that he’s adopted, he said, “Don’t ever think that you deserve it.” It’s that concept. If you go out there and you put energy into the atmosphere, there is this Newtonian effect, the supply-demand, the energy in versus energy out.
I could spend a good hour talking about consumer skills. With SavingsAngel, my persona is I’m the guy that can tell you how to get a good deal, upgrade or hook up on about anything in life. That’s what I’ve been doing for years. A lot of it is that same thing. If you want a great outcome from customer service, don’t treat a customer service rep as the man or a company. This is another human being. If we start with empathy and, “You and I are having a conversation. If you were in my position, what would you do?” This sucks. That thing resonates well. We want to get people to become our advocates.
If we lead with empathy like, “What did they want?” Give first have the courage to do that. You’ll find that professionals and people who are decent human beings are almost always going to reward you more so than if you were to lead with an ask. If you lead with an ask, 99% of marketers out there have ruined so many platforms for good business owners like you and me because they go out and slide into DMs. It’s the same old crap. They’re using AI and bots because they don’t give an F about people. All they care about is a stupid, insert all of your favorite swear words right there, because all they care about is the stupid sale. They’ve over-fished the waters. As a result, marketers ruin everything.
On that topic, there are a lot of discussions and has been for a couple of years or so about transparency and this horrible word vulnerability. Say, “What are your thoughts on this vulnerability,” it’s where, “I would like you to practice vulnerability.” That vulnerability translates into people oversharing on social media details of their lives that frankly are of no interest to anyone.
You’re also talking to someone that close to a decade has been doing media training and consulting. I’m the guy who is like, “I’m not buying it.” If I can tell a mile away that you’re not being sincere here, we all feel it. Here’s the interesting thing, another good book, Marketing Rebellion by Mark Schaefer. There’s a number of good books that have hit the nail on the head of where consumers’ minds are and that is we’ve never been more protective and cynical about being sold at because we live in a world where we are constantly being barked at by the carnival barkers out there trying to sell their stuff at us.
The American Marketing Association estimates that the average American is exposed to thousands of brand and advertising messages every single day. When you live in that world, what do you become? That is probably the customer that you hope to build a relationship with. That’s who marketers have forced them to become. That’s the world we live in. To the readers, you guys are the good guys. It’s other people who have ruined it. What do we do? You have to be genuinely a good person, not over this phony vulnerability stuff.
You need to say, “I am now going to put myself in the shoes of my dream customer. What do they want? What do they don’t want? What can I give them? How can I treat them in a way that is respectful so that I can start to truly build an authentic relationship with them without the salesy stuff?” It takes a lot of courage, Matthew, to do what I’m talking about, but companies that do it well are the ones that are thriving.
Courage is one thing but also an enormous amount of effort. I receive video messages from you, which are personalized messages. These aren’t messages that have been created by some AI bot. These are messages where you sit down here, “I’m going to send a message to Matthew. This is what I’m going to say because it’s relevant to the conversation we had last week.” It’s a video message because that means it’s much more likely to be engaging because I can see your facial expressions.
I can see that what you’re saying is something that you mean in that nanosecond. It’s a combination of these things. It’s stripping away this idea. You cannot pretend to be genuine because there’s so much noise out there. What happens is that there’s so much training that’s gone on to the consumer. The consumer has been trained to spot this engineered genuineness.
I hear this a lot in certain marketing subcultures. It’s like a rotten ammonia smell to me. How can we manipulate the market? How can we convince more people? It’s not that hard.
They’re selling this to a B2B2C transaction. The poor bar of this BS is the guy that’s got their few thousand dollars that they want to spend on a course to try. That’s the annoying thing about all of this.
I have been to events, Matthew. I know exactly what they’re doing. I’m going to explain a cult tactic that is effective and we’re all susceptible to it. I’ve been fascinated and studied cults for quite a while now because there are many warnings in that. We’re all susceptible. The human brain is predictable in how to work with. It’s important for us to all be educated about how our brains work and how easily we can get manipulated by politicians, movements, influencers and conspiracy theorists and all that thing. I haven’t named any particular names so lay off me. I’m not talking about your guy. I’m talking about the other guy. Here’s the cult tactic and I’ve seen this work.
When you’re in the cult, you’re getting all this love and positive energy. What they want to do is send you out into the world where you are not understood and you are constantly rejected because you’re sent out with bad tactics. Again, I’m not going to name any names or get too specific on this, but you are intentionally set up to fail for the reason that you will come back where you are not rejected and you are loved unconditionally. There are certain churches that do this to great success. That experience is not for the potential convert ease. Someone with a megaphone on the corner telling people to repent, how much good does that do? It doesn’t.
I’ve got to be careful here. I don’t want to offend anybody. I was at a business event. This guy put up this script, he goes, “Everybody, I want you to pull out your phone and I want you to call someone on your prospect list.” I want you to take them through this script. This script was the phoniest and fakest. If someone called me with this script, I’d be like, “What are you doing?”
This is the 21st century. We don’t do it like that anymore.
We intentionally have everybody fail. He goes, “How did that go? What you need now is you need my $5,000 training program. It’s the only solution to your problem.” Be very concerned about people who describe a problem and they have the only fix for that problem. “I don’t have the only fix for your problem. I have a solution. I have some demonstrable success doing what I do and talking what I talk about.” Be careful about that. These gurus who intentionally give you bad practices, “You’re not successful. All you need is our next training program,” they make a lot of money with it.
That is interesting because the moment you say things like that, then you can think, “You’re right because I went to this event and it didn’t seem right for some reason.” You’re right. It does play to your natural desire to be wanted and accepted.
It comes down to, “How would you honestly respond to this?” Would you click on that ad and download that white paper or sit through that webinar? Would you honestly do that?
Marketers ruin everything because all they care about is their sales.
This brings it back wonderfully to this concept of podcasting and how we interact. It’s not just podcasting. It’s how we interact with people. The successful approach is not this over-engineered, scientific, data-driven sledgehammer. It’s a personal, one-on-one, effort-driven, and failure-prone approach that is the basis of human interaction. In other words, “You may not like me, but I have to live with that.” It seems with everyone that I speak to their successful marketers. The people that don’t have all of these scientific approaches. It’s the one-on-one approach.
I see this stuff, “A hypnotic copy is all you need.” People are going to like you, they’re going to like you. If they’re not going to, like you, they’re not going to like you. I chat with fifteen people, amazing six to seven-figure business owners, every single week. All fifteen of those are potential business partners. We’re going to collaborate in some way. I’m always open. I know that when you come into a relationship, open to the best good for these two people. Sometimes it’s going to mean a sale for you or them because you’re like, “I need their book.”
You joint venture on something and share referrals. There are all kinds of stuff that you can do. I know about the biggest strategic alliance type relationships and the business in the marketing world. These are genuine people who go into a relationship with no expectation. They’re just open. That’s what I do. What I know then is the numbers. I know that generally, a 20% to 30% ultimately are going to pay me for what I do, but they don’t have to. When someone says, “It’s not a fit for me.” I’m like, “No problem. What else can I do for you?”
Either way, it’s fine. They’ll never even know that I have an offer if I ask him some questions. If they say, “I have all the business I need.” I’m like, “You don’t need what I have to offer. How else can I help you?” You don’t ever want people to walk away from a conversation feeling bad. It’s like dating, don’t go for the kiss this early. Some folks don’t have any sense of reality on what they should be doing and that, unfortunately is a lot of marketers. They go for the kiss way too early.
This is important stuff. We’re not talking about mass consumer products like lipstick. We’re talking about how relevant this is to B2C, where I need to build a relationship so that could be like an investment or financial product where I need to build that relationship. Everything you’re saying is a very driven-successful formula based on the fundamental construct of how we interact as people. That’s why it’s successful because you put the effort in, so there’s the energy input of speaking to a minimum of three people a day, five days a week.
Mass-market consumer products also have a lot to learn from what we’re talking about because people don’t do business with products, services, brands and companies. They do business with people. If it’s not people, what do you stand for? What is the association? What is Patagonia? What is Coca-Cola? What is Xenia?
Mike Sievert, the CEO of T-Mobile. I remember this from way back, but much to everyone’s surprise, he became much more involved on social media. In other words, you could see what he was doing at the weekends.
That’s so cool.
It wasn’t fake. In other words, it was a risk that he was taking. This was a few years ago, but it was an incredibly positive experiment where he said, “We need to do exactly that. We’re a mass-market offering. We have this relationship with customers on the technical and billing side, but in ultimately, to build the brand, it has to be human-based.” He took the risk of letting the cameras into his home.
It was a huge success because it was genuine and no holds barred, and it did create this human face of something that you’d never imagined like Sprint. My point is that, what you’re saying is that these fundamental constructs are as relevant to products where that doesn’t appear to be a human interaction because people want to buy those things because of the people behind the company.
There are some influencers that do a fantastic job at this. Here’s what I love in the influence market, which we have a lot of experience with as well. I’ve done a lot of work with USAA, for example, great brand alignment with SavingsAngel. I’m a military veteran. I’m all about being a smart, proactive consumer. Great alignment. One thing I learned about USAA, if you want to be in their influencer world, they vet you. They want to make sure that your connection with your audience is very real.
It’s not fake. You can have that go sideways so bad on you. One thing I’m a big fan of is when we’re talking about how products and brands are like, “We’re not people. We’re just a widget.” Celebrate your customers. Make your customers the star of the show. Let’s say you’re a lipstick company or whatever, why not on your Instagram, everyone that used the hashtag and you’re like, “Great,” create a wall of love on your front page.
It’s all about the people who use your product or are involved and how you do what you do. Products and features and stuff like that, cool. People buy based on emotion and it’s like, “Do I resonate with this energy? Do I resonate with who this person is and his lifestyle? What do they stand for, their mission, purpose, values?” That’s what matters.
Your business is primarily built on guiding and advising people on how to benefit from all this experience you have so that they can become more effective marketers.
Let me be very specific on this framework that works. Number one is you have to have authority. What I mean by that is that anybody who hears what I’m talking about, like, “He talks a little fast sometimes. He’s passionate about it. He’s a geek.” That’s great. This is the awareness stage. You’re getting to know me. Your next stage, you might go to my website or google me. Regardless, you’re interested, but you’re probably still a little bit skeptical. You’re probably going to check me out. What you’re going to look for are those indicators of authority because right now, you might be at the no, yes and maybe. Trust? Not yet.
We’re at the beginning stages of trust. Where am I going to earn your trust? When you start searching me out. I know what you’re going to look for. Because I know what you’re going to look for, I’m going to make sure that I help deliver that. Most of us are quite competent at what we do. We’re good people. It’s like having a dating profile. You might be the best person in the world, but if your dating profile is awful, I’m sorry. You’re probably not going to be very successful. Things like LinkedIn, your vanity search results on Google, your press page or your about us page, people want to check and see who you are and what do you stand for?
We want to look for those authority indicators. Authority indicators can come through authority through association and authority through social proof. Authority through association, you might start looking me up and like, “This guy has chatted for the Tony Robbins organization. He’s been on the media over 2,000 times.” What I’m doing is I’m earning your attention a few seconds at a time.
That’s all I could get. When you hear certain things about me and it checks out okay, it’s basically, “Keep on going.” No red flags yet. That’s the idea, you got to have that authority because consumers, when we talked about skepticism and stuff like that, they’re going to look for honest reviews. They want to know what other people have to say about you.
They’re going to look at social media numbers. I’ve paid my dues. I feel like I’ve played the social media game generously for quite a while. As a result, we’ve got over 130,000 combined, which isn’t huge. It gives some indication of authority, which probably earned me a few more seconds of attention. Here’s what we’re aiming for, is in every person out there, this is in business and marketers, what you want is proximity. You want consumers or potential customers in your world, the more time that you can earn, the more that you start to build up familiarity.
Familiarity, then ultimately, here’s the cool thing and so why I’m such a big fan of the platform is if you can get someone to spend some time watching your videos and stuff, we start to build up what’s known as familiarity bias. If you were walking down the street, you saw a celebrity, you’d run up to them. I met Huey Lewis in the green room, for example, one time. It was so freaking hard for me not to fan boy, like, “Be cool, Josh.” I was, I don’t know. I still asked for his photo. He does know me, but because I’ve spent so much time listening to Huey Lewis’ music, when I finally meet him, I feel like I know him way more than he knows me.
Major familiarity bias. This is good if you’re a marketer or growing your business. Think about this, Matthew. If you’ve had a sales call, one person is like, “I’m looking for RPs or whatever. Shopping around. I’m talking to five agencies. What do you got?” versus, “Matthew, I listened three hours of your podcasts. I’ve been binge-listening. I watched your video. I spent some time on your YouTube.” Which sales call would you rather be on?
That’s true because that has happened to me. I’ve had people saying, “I wasn’t expecting to speak.” “That’s very kind of you.” It does work. When people see you on the small screen, whether it’s their mobile phone, laptop or whatever, they listen and hear your voice. It’s not projected in an advertising slogan. It’s in normal conversation. They do feel like they know you, which does create this bond which is incredibly powerful. That’s what you’re talking about.
On social media and to my email list, I go soft when it comes to selling. I don’t do a lot. People are smart. You can trust that if they’re interested in what you have to say, you don’t need to hit them over the head with sales messages.
ABC, Always Be Closing.
Let Facebook, for example, be a platform. I’m not the expert on Facebook so take what I say with a grain of salt. There are some things I’m quite good at and most things I’m not. My belief when it comes to most social media is to keep it in the friendzone. Be a cool person. People will figure out who you are and what you do and they can always click through and look on your profile. They’re one click away if they like what you have to say.
The amount of low key selling that I see on Facebook and other social media platforms, to me, it smacks of like desperation. It’s like when you ask, “What’s the best book that you’ve read this year?” Lo and behold, you got a couple of authors that can’t help themselves. They jump on to promote their book. That’s not what I asked. Thank you for promoting. We all know what they’re doing. I’m sympathetic, but it’s a little too on the nose.
I know exactly what you mean. There’s a time and a place and there’s nothing worse than this shameless promotion of a book.
Here’s the thing, Matthew. You did that. That’s beautiful. Matthew was holding up his book and he’s pointing at it.
That’s the only one that’s ever been printed. It’s a huge sentimental value.
Self-effacing humor and going meta. That almost always is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. When I talk about do media training with folks and they’re like, “I got to sell a ton of books here.” I’m like, “Let me tell you how you can do that and how you should not do that. The way you should not do that and say something to the effect of page 84 on my new book, you too can be a winner. You’ll discover the three secrets. If you do that, I promise you, you will be blacklisted from that podcast or TV station, whatever it is. You cannot do that. Instead, be generous, give it all away.”
If your customers are interested in what you have to say, trust them. You don’t need to hit them over the head with sales messages.
This is a very important point about how much information you give. All the things you’re saying here, these are all hugely valuable points that you’re mentioning. They’re real. It’s stuff that you’ve learned and stuff that I know works. You want to share that because what people realize, I’d love to hear your view on this, is the more you share with people, the more people realize how difficult it is, the thing that you’re doing and how good you are at it. They were lucky for you to do it for them, then they have to try and learn it from yourself.
If you want to learn exactly how I do what I do and how I generate seven figures a year in big-ticket sales, I will teach you exactly what I do for free step-by-step. I’m cool with that. If you look at that and go, “I’m going to build that myself. I’m going to do it.” You’re probably not at the level that I’m looking to work with. I’m so happy to have inspired you.
If however, you look at everything that I explained you go, “I’m not going to do that. I’ll hire this guy.” I’ve earned your trust because I’ve given it away for free. I trust you that if you look at that and you decide that you want to do it yourself, you are never going to buy my product because you’re not yet at that level where you’re willing to make those big investments in your business or where you’re able to. That’s okay. For you, I’m giving it away free. I’m okay with that.
As a pet hate number 44 is when you click on something that says, “Click here to find out how to do this for free.” You scroll down and you have, “Click here.” It keeps scrolling down. There’s no information. They give you all of this stuff to find out the bit that you want, “Please, send $45,000.”
Honestly, marketers who are reading, how do you personally feel? I don’t care if it’s successful for you or not. Yes, you might get a 1% conversion on that. Cool. You made a sale. What about the other 99%? How much viral lift are you going to give? How much word of mouth are you going to get from that? None. You’re going to have to pay for every single person that you want to get.
You’ll never get people to share that with you because you’ve delivered no value. Until you start giving value that people could, “I’m going to share this podcast. That was great. That’s a great video.” I share a lot of videos from people who dispense very valuable information. I talk about books all the time that were incredibly valuable. A $12 audiobook. If you want to learn it, cool. I will spend $12 to spend a few hours for you teaching me that stuff.
My book was about $7.50.
You could charge more. At least $12.
That’s the most promotion I’ve done of my book in the last years, by the way.
Good for you.
The only thing about that is after that you have the author’s remorse the moment you get it printed, “This is a load of rubbish.” You then do inverse marketing to prevent anyone from buying it because you’re so embarrassed about what you’ve written. It’s that strange thing. Now would be potentially a good time to change gears, as they say. I’m going to ask you ten of my show’s quick fire questions. This could be career defining. Question number one. What is your favorite word?
This is very personal. It’s horrible because it’s misused as you pointed out. Someone once said to me, you ooze genuine authenticity. That honestly was one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received. If your heart is in the right place, authenticity comes very easy for you. Some authenticity might not be the right word, but I’m going to go with it. I want to be genuine with people.
Not the studied authenticity. Question number two. What is your least favorite word?
Phoniness. When I am around somebody and I don’t feel like I’m getting the real them, it is painful for me. I feel ripped off when they feel pressure to be someone they’re not or sell their thing. I genuinely feel ripped off because I’m like, “I wish I could get to know the real you.”
I was on this podcast and the guy was very serious and I was doing my company thing. He was asking me all these standard questions, “Let’s talk about genesis and your journeys.” Every person says the same thing. “What were you doing before you set up your company?” I said, “For about fifteen years, I was a swimwear model for Speedo.”
I said, “I’m kidding.” He said, “I don’t know. You could be serious.” I said, “I’m not a swimwear model. Do you think anyone would buy Speedos? It would have been the death of the company.” It’s that thing. I was trying to create some humanity. Question number three. What are you most excited about?
I’m excited about the impact that my team, my community and I have in the world. I’ve been in the entrepreneurial world for over twenty years, formally. I had no regular job. I know the pain, stress and that up and down. I know the struggles we all go through. For me to say, “I can fix that problem.” To then be able to deliver on that good, that’s the greatest feeling in the world. “I’ll make money. I’m all right.” When I hear a client testimonial story or success story, someone shared, “I went from one sales call a month to a ten in one week because of what you told me to do.” This is why I’m on the planet.
As an entrepreneur, I’m a business owner. I’ve been a business owner pretty much my whole life. My dad is a business owner. My grandma owns a health food store in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Her father owned a five-and-dime store. My great, great granddaddy Amos Elledge was a proprietor of ice. He sold blocks of ice. He had an ice factory.
For me, it’s in my DNA. I have such a love for people who are willing to risk it all and work 80 hours a week so that they don’t have to work 40, but they do it because they have a love of doing their thing and making that music and make that impact in the world. For me to make an impact to that community, I’m so grateful to be able to do that.
My next question, what turns you off?
Read the first half of this interview. I laid it out pretty clearly. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad actors and gurus that have misled you. I want you to know that I’m very sorry. Also, you’re not alone. I’ve blown so much money on bad things. Twenty-five thousand dollars to a bad PR firm who I got one good introduction to report her. I got to speak at a Lawn and Garden show. That was my $25,000. I’ve been there, done that. I’m sorry if you’ve dumped a bunch of money into hopes and promises of guru that didn’t deliver. Bad actors out there are bilking the small business community and the entrepreneurial community. That bugs me.
My next question, number five, what sound or noise do you love?
I love a good funk with a deep bass resonance.
A drum beat or something?
Something falling. Maybe something I picked up in utero, I don’t know.
It’s that tight bass. The opposite then, what sound or noise do you hate?
My tinnitus which I’ve had since my five years in the US Navy, we were out with the Marines and they were doing like a paintball exercise. I was a journalist. I had a video camera and I was trying to shoot the video. This sergeant or whatever, he goes, “Go in this little cement building.” This guy’s going to hit this tripwire and he’s going to have a flashbang go off and you’re going to get footage of it. It’s going to be so funny. I’m like, “Okay.” I go into the little cement building. Guess where the flash bang was? It was inside the building with me. Sure enough, a guy walks in. I didn’t hear anything for three days. My gift from the United States Navy is a gift that keeps on ringing. Not my favorite sound.
Which leads nicely onto question number seven? What is your favorite curse word?
Whether you care for her or not, I loved Kamala Harris’s answer to this one. I heard her interviewed, again. I don’t care one way or the other. She goes, “It begins with um and ends with uh, not err.”
You can make that stretch. You can accentuate it. Question number eight. What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?
I’d love to do voiceover work. That would be a lot of fun. I’ve done improv comedy a little bit. A complete amateur classes for a year and did a couple of stage shows. I’d love to write comedy. I certainly wouldn’t be very good at improv, but it’d be fun to say, “This is my job.” Again, maybe one of those things I may end up doing. I love that creative type stuff.
Did you ever watch that movie Good Morning, Vietnam?
Do you know the significance of why you asked that?
I wouldn’t know because I was thinking of the guy who took over from Robin Williams, who was temporarily fired as the host of the radio show. I can’t remember his name. He was a great actor who came on and he had this squeezy horn thing.
“Guys, nothing but laughs and jokes over here.”
They should have somehow incorporated that into radio shows or videos.
Adrian Cronauer is the gentleman that the film is based on. That’s Robin William’s character. I was got to be mentored by Adrian Cronauer in journalism school. That was the moment that I went from, “Journalism sounds fun. I can do that. Hopefully, I can play some music and stuff. I like music.” When I heard Adrian Cronauer speak and he spent some time with us and did some mentoring, he instilled in me the love of serving audiences. The sacred duty that we have.
You might have other motivations like money or a chain of command that tell you to do something. Maybe it’s not always the right thing to do is to tow the company line and that’s what he got in trouble for was like, “I could say this, but people are going to die if I do.” You had a crisis of consciousness and short-term had some blowback from it, but long-term, he was vindicated. It was the right call and the right thing to do.
I will be re-watching Good Morning, Vietnam.
When we side with our audience, I feel like we always win.
That, again, comes back to your point about doing it for what you feel. Question number nine, what profession would you not like to attempt?
I was thinking about this. Ninety percent of my work is over Zoom. I never have dreams about being on Zoom. Two and a half years working in Corporate America, I still have nightmares about working in Corporate America. It’s like an office or whatever, cubicle and office politics and all that other stuff. I still have nightmares about that. That’s how deeply impacted I was.
Before COVID, you go into an office and you hear the sounds of the office, the sounds of the keyboards going and the conversations. There was this show in the UK called The Office.
The more time that you can earn, the more that you start to build up familiarity.
I love Ricky Gervais’ version.
You can’t help but think that you spot all of these different characteristics. That to me, I agree, is completely hell on Earth. Going back into your cubicle where someone peers over the entrances, “Matthew, could you get that report to me by tomorrow morning? Do you think?” You go, “Yes.” Josh, my almost final question. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
That’s James Lipton’s question.
It’s originally from Priest.
Thank you for having the courage to listen to that inner voice when there were so many other voices trying to convince you otherwise.
Josh, it’s been such a pleasure having you on. Final question, how should people get in touch with you? What’s the best way for people to reach out to you?
If you are rocking it in business, particularly if you’re in the B2B world, I’m always looking for great guests for The Thoughtful Entrepreneur, which is a daily podcast, commercial-free, twenty minutes a day. My website is UpMyInfluence.com/guest. Please, I’d love to have you as a guest on there. If you’re earlier stage in business, you go to
If you hurry at least through the end of 2021, I’ve got a free course where I will teach you exactly how I do what I do, how I’ve created a system where I’ve had unlimited high-level sales conversations for the past two years, 100% inbound. I book out fifteen calls a week and I’m scheduled for the next ten weeks in advance to talk with these folks. Some of what I said doesn’t even make sense, when I explain it to you be like, “Generosity stuff works.”
Josh, thank you so much for being our guest. It’s been fantastic talking to you. I can’t wait to be back in touch and follow your progress and all this stuff.
Thank you so much.
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About Josh Elledge
✅ Now booking guests for our daily podcast The Thoughtful Entrepreneur: https://UpMyInfluence.com/guest/
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✅ WHO I AM: I’m Josh. 14 years ago, I embarked on a one-man quest to stop spending so much freaking money on groceries and so transformed myself into America’s coupon-crusading “Savings Angel.”
With a little bit of my own PR fairy dust (thanks to my U.S. Navy journalist experience), I became an influencer with my digital consumer advocacy & lifestyle brand, SavingsAngel.com – which has grossed more than $6 million in sales with zero paid advertising. (I’m just not that into ads).
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✅ CONTACT ME:
🌐 UpMyInfluence.com | SavingsAngel.com
📞 (321) 209-5999