Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to The Blogger Genius. Can I ask you a favor? If you are liking this show, would you head over to iTunes and rate us? It helps other entrepreneurs like you find the show and helps the show grow, so that I can continue to get awesome guests like today’s.
Today, my guest is Spencer Lum. He has a company called ExtraBold. He is a copywriter. What is cool about Spencer, is he teaches you how to sell without being salesy. Don’t we all want to do that?
What he shows is how to get people to want what you’re selling by meeting them just where they are, and nudging them along the way to figure out how awesome your product is, how awesome you are, and you get them to buy it by serving their need and it not being about you.
I learned a tremendous amount from this episode. It really changed the way I think about selling, like selling MiloTree or selling whatever. I think you will get a lot of really powerful takeaways.
So without further ado, here is my interview with Spencer Lum. Spencer, welcome to the show. I’m so glad you’re here on the podcast.
Spencer Lum 1:37
Thank you. Really glad to be here.
Jillian Leslie 1:38
Okay. You are somebody who helps entrepreneurs sell things without being salesy.
Spencer Lum 1:47
Jillian Leslie 1:48
I love that. I love that. Okay, so tell me a little bit about your background, kind of a short and sweet kind of synopsis of, you know, where you were and where you are today and how you got there.
Spencer Lum 2:01
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, really, I’ve been a serial entrepreneur my whole life. It goes way back, like I got out of law school and decided, you know, I don’t really want to do law. It’s like, what else do I do? And I’m like, well, actually, honestly, I had no idea and just kind of fell into it and I started a business.
So accelerate through all this, I had a branding business, I had… I mean, I’ve had so many businesses. I had a video production business. And eventually, the one I fell into was a photography business. And this is one of those things, most people don’t really know it but I was a wedding photographer, and it’s actually a shockingly hard job.
I mean, it really burns through your body, because you’re standing there maybe 14 hours a day on the weekends, or sometimes like three days a week. And it was great when I was young. I loved being there. I loved getting out, getting to know people and seeing kind of having, you know, celebrate with them.
But as I got older, I started to realize that I could only do this for so long. And it’s kind of a young person’s game. Because there comes a point where if you’re showing up at people’s weddings and, let’s say, I don’t know, you’re 50 and everyone else there is 25, it starts to feel really weird.
So I’m thinking, Okay, what can I do? What can I do? And everyone, I don’t know, where I came across this, it’s one of those things where I always think in my head was probably like an ad on Facebook or something like that.
But one day, I come across some sort of ad and it’s one of those like get-rich-instantly sort of things. And I’m like, “This is amazing! You know, in six weeks, I’m gonna have a million dollars, so this is what I’m going to do.”
Anyway, fast forward, I start this blog, takes me about six years instead of six weeks, so it’s a little bit longer. But I just decided this one point, I’m going to go all in. And so I run this webinar, and you know, I’m super anxious about it thinking who’s possibly going to show up to this thing.
Jillian Leslie 3:48
Okay, wait. What’s the blog about?
Spencer Lum 3:50
Oh, yeah, I didn’t even tell you. So that blog was for photographers at that point. And so it was supposed to teach people like how to do photography, maybe some marketing tips, etc, etc.
And I guess my big push was, I’m going to do this workshop, it’s going to be a big to-do, and I’m going to get all these people in; it’s going to be really high ticket, and that’s going to launch my new business.
So here I am in this webinar because everyone told me, you know, webinars, that’s the thing to do. And I’m seeing people. People actually start showing up. I mean, this is back when, you know, you would run a webinar, and people would not kind of roll their eyes and think, “Oh God, not another one.”
And so, I’m looking at the numbers and they’re going up, up, up, and I’m super excited. But I get to that point, you know how there’s always a midpoint in every webinar where you have to switch over to the pitch and actually sell.
Jillian Leslie 4:37
Spencer Lum 4:38
Well, I get to that. And you would think I would have thought about this ahead of time, but I did not. I realized I have no idea what to say or what to do. I guess I just kind of pictured in my head, I would just say, “Hey, everyone.”
And I got this thing and everyone would just sign up. And so, you know, I start getting really anxious and I start talking about it. And I’m watching those little numbers because you can see how many people are there and you’re just watching, it’s just like dropping like a rock.
And then you start getting more panicked and in your head thinking, What am I doing wrong? And I’m doing my best to get through it. It’s horrible. It’s a train wreck in slow motion. And until finally, there’s just one person sitting around. And that’s it. But I’m like, Okay, I’m going to go through this, maybe this person is going to sign up, at least I’ll get some sort of win.
And then I get to the end and the person, he’s like, “Hey, yeah, I just I just wanted to see if you could give me that link for that free PDF you talked about?” And that was it.
Jillian Leslie 5:30
Spencer Lum 5:32
It was crushing. That was it. And really at that point, I had, like, I shifted over. I was only taking like half as many weddings. So I’m in a panic now, because my income is taking a big hit. But my big plans, they’re not, you know, it’s not coming together.
And so really, I mean for the next six months and actually ever since then, I stumbled across like one of my friends… not he, a she. Anyway, she works at Stanford. But she explained to me, there’s this little part of the brain, it’s called the nucleus accumbens, and I don’t wanna get too geeky about this.
But basically, that’s the part that is responsible for all desire, like, any type of desire. Like if you want to splurge on something, and you’re at a store, and you’re like fighting against yourself, you’ve probably had that feeling at some point, right? It’s like that’s the nucleus in action when you’re looking at some food that you really want to eat.
Jillian Leslie 6:23
Spencer Lum 6:24
Chocolate. Yes, exactly. Or when you fall in love. I mean, whenever you feel, there’s a reason that feeling is always the same. And that’s because it’s the same part of your brain. And she explained to me, she’s like, “Well, look, you know, you’re telling people, that you’ve got this great thing for them.”
Almost like they should do it. You’re trying to explain how great your program is, but you’re not explaining what people are going to get. And you’re really not doing nothing to entice them.
And the way “want” is created is, it’s physiological. It’s a part of the brain, and either you trigger it or you don’t, but you can’t just tell people like they should love what you’ve got. And that was kind of the thing, that was like the big epiphany. That’s the moment I’m like, I’ve got to figure this out, like, how does this work? How do I make people, you know, how do I trigger that part of the brain.
And that was kind of… I mean, so the webinar was a huge failure. But without it, I don’t think I ever would have understood or really kind of, well, yeah, I don’t think I really would have put together the pieces to understand how you connect with people. And so I feel really lucky that that happened, although I sure didn’t at the time. It was horrible.
Jillian Leslie 7:30
Okay. Because I am with you on this, which is I want to know how to create this want without it being go do, you know, like you’re a parent saying “go do this” or “this is good for you.” Or those kinds of things. Like, I want people to want stuff that I’m selling. I want people to want to try MiloTree. Like what do I do?
Spencer Lum 7:56
Right, exactly. I mean, the parent thing is perfect. I call it the “eat your vegetables marketing”. Because if you look at like so much of what people do, that’s exactly what it’s like. For example, I was just looking at something. I’m going to paraphrase this because this comes from someone who’s a friend. I don’t want to pick anyone.
So I do a lot of work with a lot of photographers still. And I remember I was looking at some of this content and it says, in the middle it says his images are relaxed and true, guided. I’m kind of stumbling because I’m trying to paraphrase this as I go, so I’m kind of making this up.
But it’s really close to what he actually said. So his images are relaxed and true. Sorry, my voice is going. Guided by the vision of an artist in his element and knowing that a picture is so much more than a picture. It’s a sense that goes beyond lighting and the pose and composition. It seeks the undertones and nuance of mood and the flow of the universe and our place in all of it.
Okay, so that’s kind a pretty close to how the content reads. And the thing is, when you read that, it’s hard not to see that as marketing. It’s hard not to see that as like, I mean, you know, if you kind of look at that, well, what’s the undertone, what’s he trying to do. And what he’s kind of trying to say probably without really thinking about it, is he’s kind of trying to say, I am really deep.
Jillian Leslie 9:19
That’s what I was going to say: yes, this is all about me, and how in touch I am with the universe.
Spencer Lum 9:25
Jillian Leslie 9:26
That I’m so spiritual.
Spencer Lum 9:28
Right. And, you know, it’s like, well, no one hires anyone for them to be spiritual.
Jillian Leslie 9:33
Spencer Lum 9:34
I mean, it’s like, it is completely 100% in his own sandbox. And I know what he’s thinking, right, but it’s kind of, I call it, proofy. I mean, “eat your vegetables” marketing, it’s always proofy because it’s based on this idea that if I show you how, like, amazing I am, you’re going to want to work with me because why would you not want to work with someone who’s amazing.
And I think that’s kind of a natural thought. Like, I think everyone does this at some point.
Jillian Leslie 9:57
Spencer Lum 9:58
Yeah. But I was looking at like purple beds, because I’m looking for a bed and I was looking at the website. And I remembered like, basically, it said something like “sleep better, science proves it,” or something like that.
And I’m like, yes, that’s exactly what I want. I want to sleep better. And if you can convince me that you’ve got some sort of science, which is going to intrigue me and tease me that, you know, you’re doing something different with your bed, then that’s going to get me interested. It’s almost brain dead simple, but I feel like it’s so hard to do to, to kind of boil something down.
Jillian Leslie 10:30
Right. Don’t you think though, I’ve read this, again, as like an evolutionary thing we are obsessed with ourselves. Because if I focus on me, I’m going to survive, and my genes are going to get into the next generation.
So therefore, my whole view of the world is all about me. And I don’t mean that in a conceited sort of way but like, even though yes, I love my daughter, my husband, like I am on some level looking out for a number one here because I am programmed to do that.
So therefore, I think that the difficult thing for marketing is to say, “Oh, I got to step out of myself. This isn’t about me. This is about you.”
Spencer Lum 11:10
Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly it. It’s like you have to let go of being able to say it’s all about you. And yet, I feel like on one hand, we all know this. And then on the other hand, we don’t do it because exactly, like you said, we’re kind of hardwired to sit there and see the world through. I mean, how can you see the world through anyone’s eyes but your own?
Jillian Leslie 11:31
Spencer Lum 11:33
There’s no choice. There’s no choice here. You’re stuck in your own head no matter what. And that’s why I think like, it always feels to me, whenever I teach people, the more I go, the more reductive it gets because the more I realize, well, you can teach all the strategies in the world and I am all for the strategies.
But if you can’t get someone to see the world like their audience, nothing is going to happen ever. And so, I mean, that’s the thing, right? How do you create desire? And I guess the thing about this whole “eat your vegetables” approach is it’s kind of like, if you’re dating somebody, what do you do? Well, if you want to do it in a way that’s going to guarantee that you’re going to get no results…
Let’s say, I know, dating from a guy’s perspective, so I’m going to frame it that way, right? Let’s say you see someone and you’re really attracted to them. Well, I mean, are you going to get them to fall in love with you by handing a resume showing all your qualifications that says how amazing you are and all the things you’ve done, and maybe showing a picture of you with your really great car. Something like that.
I mean, no. That doesn’t make someone fall in love because it’s all about you. Like, what makes people fall in love? Well, first, I mean, I kind of think there are two things.
And maybe in a way, all of marketing, you can bring down to two things. Although I’m notorious for saying like it’s just one thing. But somehow like that one thing is always like, they’re like 50 different one things that I pick from.
Really, I mean, you can almost think of it like this. Marketing is two things. It is understanding what your audience wants. And it is breaking it down into a series of stages where kind of it’s like flirtation, as opposed to handing over a resume.
Your goal is to take people from, you know, to kind of meet them where they’re at, with whatever’s on their mind, and then nudge them just a tiny bit to the next level of interest. And that’s it.
And then it’s kind of like one thing I heard with copywriting. What are you trying to do? And they say, you’re just trying to get someone to the next sentence. If you can get them to the next sentence, you’ve done your job, because then they’ll read that sentence and the next and the next. And eventually, they’ll read it all.
And that’s what marketing is like. You have to come in and meet people exactly where they’re at. You talk about what they want. And that nudges them to the next stage, and that actually changes where they’re going to be because now they say, Well, I’m interested. Whatever. I mean, you know, you come in and you say, Well, are you interested in blah, blah, blah.
And then someone hears that and they think, “why, yes I am.” Well, now they become willing to listen. But if you just walk up and you say “here’s blah, blah, blah, why don’t you buy it?” no one’s gonna do anything. No one is going to respond to that.
And so it’s this process of creating kind of this slow tease or this flirtation, where it’s a lot like romance. You have to take people from one thing to the next to the next and keep elevating the stakes, until they’re finally interested.
And if you kind of do that, combined with meeting them where they are as in with what they really deeply want, and stop talking about yourself, everything else starts to fall in line, and it’s super reductive. But the more I do this, the more I think basically, those are the two things.
Jillian Leslie 14:41
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Okay, so if we were to go back to your spiritual photographer, and you were to be coaching this person. He sounds like a guy. Is he a guy?
Spencer Lum 17:01
Yes. He is a guy.
Jillian Leslie 17:03
How would you say to him? Let’s take you out of this picture and let’s start putting that teasing want in there. What would you say to him?
Spencer Lum 17:13
Well, there’s kind of a long answer and short, so I’ll give you the short answer. I’ll throw the long answer out super quick and then just dismiss it. But I’ll give the short answer. The long one is what most people are going to say, which is you spend a lot of time talking with your audience.
And the only thing I’m going to say on that because I think probably your audience has heard this plenty before, but with that said, I think a lot of people don’t take it far enough because you know how sometimes you have a really good friend, and you get to a point where you can almost predict what they’re going to say. And like when you say something, you know exactly how they’re going to react to it. And it’s because you know them back and forth.
And the one way you can get out of your head is to know your audience so well that you just instinctively know how they’re going to react. That doesn’t stop you from like, putting yourself first and kind of seeing the world your way. But what it does do is it lets you kind of pause very quickly and say, No, you know what, they’re going to think this and they’re going to feel this way, so let me talk about this.
And so I think a lot of people, they kind of do a surface level. Like they go out, they research and they hit the surface level stuff. But they don’t dive in deep enough to actually learn the exact language or kind of see the patterns where they get so good with their audience that they can predict what they’re going to say and how they’re going to feel.
And I think that’s a really, really big deal. And the only way you can make that happen is you go out there and you spend time with people until you get to know them that well.
Okay, so that’s all I’m going to say about the audience research part, which is that I feel like how you just don’t want to be at that dangerous middle where you put in just enough time to kind of know them, but not enough time to really know them.
But my quick answer is this. People are so much more basic. And I don’t mean this in a bad way.
Jillian Leslie 18:47
Spencer Lum 18:49
People are simple, like with most businesses. I mean, I’ll just break down like a few different examples. With most businesses, what’s any business owner going to want? They’re going to want to get rich quick. Now they may not say it that way. Maybe you can’t use those words. But that’s basically the one, right? Maybe their version of get rich, is if it’s a life coach, is to have impact.
But still, yeah, money is helping connect themselves to impact, right? You might not say you’re going to make lots of money. Maybe you say you have impact but you get clients, you get business. Right?
Or for other people, like, get rich. What it means is I can live the life I want. For other people, it means success. So you got to sit there and translate with it.
Jillian Leslie 19:30
Right. It means I want to have enough money I can give back.
Spencer Lum 19:33
Right, exactly. Okay. So you know, I don’t want to put it like in this, like, it’s not really about greed. It’s just understanding kind of the base level. People, they need money. I connect to something else, but they need money.
So what else? Obviously everyone wants things easier. I mean, who doesn’t want things done faster and easier, right? I mean, almost every product in the world of any sort has something to do with getting things done faster and easier. Yeah, if you’re a fitness coach, faster and easier is the big play, but looking good. I mean, looking good.
Or maybe if you’re dealing with an older audience, longevity and being in shape. Being in shape, for example, translates to longevity. But still, I mean, these wants are super basic. Like, there’s this thing we do.
And because once you know it, you kind of become like my friend. What happens is you kind of become elevated. You see this world in this whole different way because you’re a convert.
And now you think that like you realize all these great things that whatever it is that you do and specialize in, what it can do for other people and how powerful it is. And you kind of want to share that. You want people to see this life-changing effect of whatever you do.
If it’s fitness, it’s not just like you work out and you get, you know, you look good. It’s like you change your whole life and you’re more balanced and you become a better person.
But the problem is people, they’re not ready for that. Your job is to lead people to that conclusion. But at the time people have the problem, if they’re having a problem, that means they haven’t gotten to where you are. And so you have to go to the very basics and start off with those understanding. I always tell people like I always have a note somewhere in my desk on this big sheet of paper. It says like seven deadly sins.
And the reason I have that is because it’s a reminder to me like these are the basic things that people react to and respond to. And I’m not saying that you have to make all your marketing about, let’s say, greed or whatever.
But I use it because it reminds me that I have to speak the language of my audience. And I constantly forget that myself because I want to say whatever I feel like saying.
Jillian Leslie 21:33
Okay, wait. So what you’re saying to me, so the seven deadly sins are things like gluttony and greed, and I don’t even know what they are. Jealousy. I don’t know if that’s one.
Spencer Lum 21:44
Jillian Leslie 21:45
But the idea is you want to tap into these to elicit emotion?
Spencer Lum 21:50
Well, I mean, yes, part of it. Like, if you’re looking for an actual strategy, you can literally do that. You can go through and, I mean, I don’t mean to make this sound manipulative. It’s just, like I said, I mean, to me, the way you honor your audience is you respect what they want as they are.
And so if I come in and I tell people this is how you should live your life, like eat your vegetables, I know better than you. It’s not respecting my audience. And it’s funny, because a lot of times people say, Well, I don’t want to say it that way or talk about it, even though that’s what their audience wants.
Like, if you’re dealing with a teen male for fitness. I mean, you’re gonna say six pack abs somewhere along the way. And someone might think, Well, you know, fitness means so much more than that.
Jillian Leslie 22:27
Right. It’s spiritual. Yeah.
Spencer Lum 22:29
it’s spiritual. I’m like, you know, if you’re trying to hit that teen male and you want him to see more in fitness, you’ve got to build a connection.
Jillian Leslie 22:37
And be where they are.
Spencer Lum 22:38
Right. You have to go where they are. That’s what respects them.
And so again, like with the seven deadly sins, yeah, exactly what you said. I mean, I never remember all seven either. But let’s take greed. Well, greed is kind of get rich, right? Or let’s say, I don’t know, I mean, whatever angle. Like let’s say you’re talking about anyone.
Like, let’s say someone’s talking about vanity, right? I mean, you have to understand, since you talked about my friend, the photographer —
Jillian Leslie 23:04
Right. Because I want to go back to him because I want you to help his business. I’m worried about him.
Spencer Lum 23:10
Right. Exactly. We want to get him some business. You want his business to work. And so, well, you know, what’s going to be the worries of someone in photography who’s getting their picture taken? Well, one big one is vanity, right? I mean, you want to look good? Who doesn’t?
I mean, I don’t care how arty you are or whatever else, if you look really bad in the picture, unless you’re trying to make some statement saying like “I’m so cool, I can afford to look bad and not feel bad about it.” That’s one of those ironic things or something. No one likes looking at a picture where they look bad and and no one’s going to hire people whose goal was to make it look bad, right?
And so vanity and being able to look good, that’s like the core one. Now, it’s kind of like it is to photography as getting rich might be to a business. So what would I say? Well, first, let’s figure out like what is this core desire.
And so that’s why I have the note of 7 deadly sings. It’s kind of to remind me. And those aren’t the only things you can think about. But it kind of reminds me it’s like, think about people’s most basic wants. And they’re a good guide because if you look at them, those are kind of the primitive like lizard brain wants that most people have, right?
Jillian Leslie 24:15
Okay, so let’s say, I’m a bride. So yeah, I want to look good. I want to look thin, I want to look tan, I want to look great. Because I’m going to look back on these photos for the rest of my life, and not only that, I’m posting them on Instagram. So you better believe I want to look good.
So how would you then create a message for this photographer. I don’t necessarily want to kind of expose that those are really what I want, like, I almost don’t want to say it to myself.
Spencer Lum 24:50
Right, yes, exactly. I mean, I would never sit around and say it too.
Jillian Leslie 24:55
Like, if you said to me, well, you’re going to look good on your Instagram because I’m going to take really good photos, I’d be like, “Ew, I don’t want to hire you. If that’s all you think I care about.” I don’t want to admit that.
Spencer Lum 25:10
Exactly. Right. I mean, and that’s kind of part of the translation process, too, because it’s like, so the first level as I see it is okay, just get clear in your own terms like you don’t have to call it the seven deadly sins. You can call it whatever makes sense to you. But get clear in your own terms, what is the basic want that someone wants, what are they after.
Because if you can’t get clear about that, then nothing else is going to work. And so, you know, you kind of have to let go of what you want them to want or what you think they should want, which again, sounds really easy, but it’s not. And then say, Okay, this is what they want.
And the next stage is you have to translate that to what it means to them. Like saying with business, you can’t say to the life coach, do you want to get gobs of money. That’s not why someone becomes a life coach.
And so same thing here. If you sit around and you said to someone, hey, you want look smoking… Well, I mean, maybe.
Jillian Leslie 26:02
Maybe. But still, I just want to look good, but I kind of don’t want you to even say that. But I want you to infer it. I want to know that you got my back.
Spencer Lum 26:13
Well, there are all sorts of ways you could do it. Actually, it’s funny. Right now, that was perfect. Right. You said if you put it as a quote, let’s say you have a testimonial. And I mean, this isn’t usually the route I go. But let’s just suppose the first thing people see is a testimonial and it said something is that simple.
It’s like I just wanted a photographer who would make me look good. And then blah, blah, blah, blah, right? I mean, because it’s a testimonial, we don’t treat it as the photographer saying, this is what I think of you. We treat it as this is how someone else feels. And if it’s exactly how we feel, then what do we think? Yes, that’s what I want too.
And then as soon as that person says, and that’s why I decided to work with John or Jane Smith, because they got that. And they didn’t try to make something that they didn’t try to take control the day and turn it into their own vision. They just tried to make something that fit me and that made me look as good as I wanted to or something like that. But you get the idea, right? And so that’s one example.
Another one, you hit like, if you sit around and you say like “do you ever feel awkward in pictures?” right away? Like if someone feels awkward, what do they think? It’s like, “Yes, that’s me. I totally feel awkward in pictures.”
But I mean, you also see the opposite. You see the opposite. I mean, there are some people, let’s say, they look really good and they do want to look smoking hot. And no, you can’t sit around and say, do you want to look good for your Instagram feed. But we see this all the time with luxury goods.
When you say something like an exclusive, you know, exclusive experience because you deserve the best. I mean, I would never put that exact copy. But what I want to point out is it does work for some brands.
And the reason it works is because it’s coded language for really saying I’m going to let you show off, right? Unless you feel better than all your friends. But you can’t spell it out that way. Because no one wants to think that. But that’s what it’s saying, right?
Jillian Leslie 28:01
Right. So it’s kind of like you need to be stealth, you need to communicate the message of, like, you’re going to get to feel better than everybody else. You’re going to look so hot in your Instagram that your friends are going to be jealous, or whatever it is. But then you have to couch it in language that almost tricks you the consumer into, like, well, that’s not really what I want, but it is what I want.
Spencer Lum 28:27
Pretty much. I mean, I wouldn’t use the word trick. I mean, I honestly do. I mean, I kind of have two sides to that in my head. I do think of it is I, really, actually think that the best.
Okay, I’m going to talk about Steve Jobs a tiny bit. He’s always my example. Because I think the thing that really made him remarkable, I mean, there were a lot of things that kind of made people love him despite the fact that from all accounts, he was kind of a jerk, as far as his personal interaction goes.
But I think the thing that made him so successful is he’s one of those rare people who blended with his business, a very purpose-driven approach with a lot of salesmanship. Like usually it tends to be one or the other. If someone is all salesmanship, they’re great at selling, but it’s a little repulsive. Because it’s not appealing when someone is only about the sell.
And if someone is all purpose-driven, kind of like my friend, they become too esoteric and distant. No one really wants, what they’ve got. And they also tend to focus a little bit too much on themselves.
And what was unique about Steve Jobs, is that he was very purpose-driven and always thinking about, like, how can I use technology to kind of elevate people and make things that are really human.
And yet at the same time, he had no problem selling it constantly. People think of these as two opposites, like, either you’re really selfless and purpose driven, or you’re really salesy sleazy, but I actually think they complete a cycle.
It’s the selling that gets your products out there; it’s the selling that makes people connect with you, and see what they can get out of those products and how they can change their lives. It’s the purpose that lets you actually serve people and make sure that what you’re doing is meaningful for them and it’s not just about you getting a bunch of money.
It’s kind of this process of understanding people’s basic wants. It’s kind of like that first step, like when you when you’re flirting with someone, yes, of course you’re interested in them. There’s no doubt that the reason you’re flirting is because of some interest in that person and something you want for yourself.
But I don’t think anyone really thinks of romance as this thing where it is purely, I mean, it’s something that, I mean, mostly it’s how people work, but you’re not doing it. And people don’t think of romance as, oh my gosh, every time you flirt with people, or you kind of try, or when you’re dating, it’s so manipulative.
It’s not. Because you’re not doing it to take advantage of the other person. Actually, you’re doing it, you actually fall in love and care for that other person. But of course, you want something yourself too. And that’s how we are.
Jillian Leslie 30:55
Right. In fact, you’re doing it to elevate both of you.
Spencer Lum 30:59
Exactly. So with that said, I mean, you know, I don’t take offense, like if you sit around and say the goal is to trick them. What I would say is as a marketer, if that makes it more clear in your head for you need to do, I would say you do it.
Jillian Leslie 31:14
Go for it. Use the word.
Spencer Lum 31:16
Be as honest as you can with whatever works in your head, because it is really hard to get it out there and get that clarity and say “this is my process”.
But in truth, I see good salesmanship as a way to help people. Yes, of course, you got something in it. People are like, “Oh, you know, I want business.” Of course I do. Why else would I be doing this? But it’s not the only reason I’m doing what I do. I like it and I want to share it.
Jillian Leslie 31:44
I like that. And when I think about the brands that I really respond to, I do feel their purpose. And I also know that they want my money, but because somehow they do have a higher purpose. I’m willing to hand over my money because I also think I’m getting value, but I’m also kind of connecting to the brand.
Spencer Lum 32:05
Yeah, it’s kind of like when you see that… I love that. I love what you said so much. It’s like when you see that their purpose is kind of aligned with yours, suddenly, buying and being part of a brand becomes kind of this extension of yourself, and you even start saying I like spending money on them.
Because it’s almost like for me, it’s not just like, Oh, I’m buying a thing. It’s kind of this value of saying this is what I believe in in the world, and they have those values. I’m kind of endorsing that. And it’s like, you know, they want my money, of course. But that’s okay, I don’t mind.
Jillian Leslie 32:33
Right. Yes. I feel good. I feel I love these shoes called Allbirds, and I’m happy to buy them.
Spencer Lum 32:39
I have Allbirds too. They’re so comfortable.
Jillian Leslie 32:41
Exactly. They’re almost now like a little like extra hip because everybody seems to have them. But like, there’s a little bit like in the beginning, where you would find somebody with Allbirds and you’d be like, “I’ve got Allbirds! I’ve got Allbirds.” And it was almost like you are part of this weird exclusive club of geeky awful-looking tennis shoes that are cool, you know.
Spencer Lum 33:00
Yes, I know exactly how… I think that’s perfect. And that’s exactly it, right? I mean, and Allbirds I remember, actually, it’s funny. I used to use them as an example. I’m trying to remember… no, I can’t remember. I think it was like the most comfortable shoes in the world because they’re made of wool or something like that.
Jillian Leslie 33:18
Spencer Lum 33:19
It’s kind of reminds me of what I said with purple. It’s so simple, but it’s exactly on point. And like that’s not the whole sell, but right away, you go to the website, and you see it’s like, “oh, this is what I’m looking for. This is for me.”
And so it’s about you, the the user and the viewer. It’s not about them saying, you know, we believe in a better world through, I mean, they get into the thing… you know.
Jillian Leslie 33:44
They’re like sheep, and it’s cute, and it’s geeky. And I’m geeky. And they’re colorful. And there’s so many things and they’re soft. There are so many elements that I go… and they’re not super expensive. And they are really comfortable.
So I feel like they deliver on their promise, and then I’m willing to buy them. And then, I do feel like I’m part of this like little club where especially, you know, my yoga studio when I would see somebody wearing Allbirds, and we’d have to have like a five-minute conversation about how so comfortable they are.
Spencer Lum 34:21
I know because I feel like having a five-minute conversation right now about how comfortable they are.
Jillian Leslie 34:25
Yeah. So anybody out there, get them. They’re good. They’re really comfortable.
Spencer Lum 34:27
I know they are really good.
Jillian Leslie 34:28
They’re becoming a little too trendy, but yes.
Spencer Lum 34:31
Yeah, little bit trendy, but still super cool.
Jillian Leslie 34:33
So comfortable. I know.
So anyway, so I get that. Okay, so let’s say then I am going to sell a course or a product or something like that, and I’ve got a landing page because this is the internet.
What do I do on this landing page to communicate all that you’re talking about, to tap into that whatever set, you know, whatever deadly sin I am tapping into, without telling people I’m really tapping into that.
Meeting this person, my potential customer, where they are, and leading them on this journey, like holding their hand and leading them on this journey, what are some highlights that I could add?
Spencer Lum 35:13
Well, I’m going to throw in two things and I’m going to get fairly specific. So I’m going to jump into my like my copywriter hat on here. And I’ll talk about some actual things people can do, even though I love kind of going more high level.
Okay, so here are the two things that I see that I think most people don’t nail on their landing pages. And they’re super simple, but they’re not at the exact same time. So the first one is understanding curiosity.
And so, you know, let’s go back to the idea of flirtation. Apparently, that’s my model for for today. It’s not always my model. It’s one of the many things but I don’t know, every time I have a conversation, it always seems like something comes out, it’s like that’s the model for the day.
So let’s take that idea, right? I mean, well, what’s the whole idea behind flirtation? The whole idea is that you don’t give everything away at once. You don’t sit around. I mean, it’s a small little thing. You give a hint of something that someone wants and is interested, you know, and is attracted to.
And then you just kind of let it linger and you let it sit. And then you give another little something, whatever it is — a gesture, a look. I mean, a touch on the shoulder. I don’t know. But I mean, it’s funny that I use this model because I really suck at flirting.
Anyway, I mean, I’m like, “Oh, my God, I’m just so happy I’m married” because, yeah, it’d be a disaster.
But anyway, so the first thing to understand is that the tease, the ability to tease is everything. And I think some people, they kind of have this guilt mindset that goes with it because they feel like “oh, it’s not good to tease. It’s not good to kind of create curiosity,” they kind of want to give value.
But, you know, if you do it in a way where you’re doing it, and people see you’re having fun, and you’re engaging, and you’re likable, people don’t see it as “Oh, this is horrible.”
They see it as this is so fun to read.
Jillian Leslie 37:02
Spencer Lum 37:04
You’re right. It’s intriguing.I was reading The Da Vinci Code not too long ago, because I saw there wasthis coursefrom Dan Brown on writing. And so it was one of those, I can’t remember, what is it, Masterclass or something, where it’s like 99 bucks. And I was like, all right, I’m curious to hear from what Dan Brown does.
And so I started rereading the Da Vinci Code. And it’s just one of those things where it’s nothing but a tease all the way through the writing. Brown’s books are just like… and as are kind of most of the pageturners.
There’s really nothing but a constant tease, and you love it. It’s the most fun thing in the world, because who doesn’t like like having a page turner where you can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.
And so I would say number one thing is to understand that the goal is not to give value, it is not to prove you’re good, kind of like the example I gave from my friend. The goal is to kind of hint to people, I’ve got something that I think you’re really going to like, and it’s going to do amazing things for you. And you want to do blank like in order to take the next step towards getting that thing.
And so it’s really important to have that mindset from the get-go. And so I would say kind of even though that’s not a specific tactic, it makes all the difference in the world when you sit around and you say not that this is good for you, but you kind of you make it clear. It’s like, this is something, it’s kind of like you say…
I don’t know, yeah, I was actually, if you go up to a friend and say, you know, I’ve got something that I think you might be interested in. And then you kind of pause like, no, no, you know what, nevermind. I mean, what happens after that?
It’s so much better take that approach to them to say, “Hey man, you gotta go do this, because this is going to completely change your life, and this is good.” This is what you should be working on.”
Jillian Leslie 38:45
Well, that’s so interesting because there’s the other school of thought for marketing, which is tell people what to do, how to take action, what button to press, where to put their credit card in — and do it.
Spencer Lum 38:55
And and I’m all for that at the right time. Once you get to a point where you really want something, tell them exactly what to do and tons of detail.
Jillian Leslie 39:04
Okay, but not the top. So on a landing page. So not at the top going “this will change your life, do it now. Credit card here.”
Spencer Lum 39:12
Exactly. Because I mean, everyone’s got their BS meter on like high alert, right? So okay, so on landing page, I mean, it’s going to depend on the size of the landing page. If you’ve got like a quick, okay, this is the lead magnet, for the most part, all you got to do is sit around.
And, you know, we’ve all seen the classic formulas, but you know, 3 steps to lose 32 pounds in 24 hours and blah, blah, blah… get the PDF. And so if it’s a longer one, though, I think one of the things that you’ll see, like, I mean, there are kind of two schools of like sales pages in general.
And I think both work, but I think the one that gets overused disproportionately is people go straight for the benefit like. okay, you know, in 30 days. It’s exactly like that, you know, in 30 days, you’re going to have an all-new body and a completely different life, and it’s going to be amazing, and you’re never gonna have to work again. Or you never have to exercise again, I guess, or whatever it is, or whatever.
And I’m not saying that, I mean, I use benefit-driven headlines all the time and they can work. But actually what I like even better is when kind of like that example, I said as was my friend is like, Do you ever feel awkward in photos?
I think one of the most famous headlines ever, I always forget the exact wording, but it was something to the effect of “Do you ever feel…?” What was it, it’s not awkward. But do you ever get tongue-tied at parties?
And if you think about a headline like that, it implies the benefit, but it doesn’t actually deliver it. And what I like about that is that if you’re going to have this, if you’re having a landing page that, lets say has a little bit more content, maybe it’s got a headline and a paragraph of actual description or something or two, and then it has a call to action of some form.
I like that approach better because it meets people closer to where they are. And it doesn’t announce to people. It’s kind of like saying instead of sitting around saying, Hey, why don’t you buy my stuff right away, which can work and can be done, so I’m not saying it can’t.
But it’s kind of like saying, it sounds like you’ve got a lot of problems working on this. And people will say, “Oh, you get me.”
So something as simple as like you get tongue-tied at a party, do you feel awkward in front of a photo? I mean, even it’s weird, you know, it’s a canned format that people say like who else wants. And you know when you phrase something like that? It takes a little bit of the edge off the cell.
Jillian Leslie 41:26
What do you mean who else wants?
Spencer Lum 41:27
People will say like, who else wants to build a business to generate steady income?
Jillian Leslie 41:34
Got it, yup. Like join me in this group.
Spencer Lum 41:38
Right. And so I think it’s really, really underused. Because benefit-driven headlines where you just say “this is what I got, and go get it,” they’re their tried and true, and they work. But the problem we’re facing right now is we have a market that is hyper-saturated.
And I think the level of execution you need for a really good benefit-driven headline, especially if you’re selling like if you’re selling a low-ticket product, let’s say it’s, I don’t know, a $19 entry, you know, an entry point.
Yeah, you can go straight for it and say, this is the thing, it’s going to change your life because people are gonna think, “well, 19 bucks, why not? Let me go try.”
But if you’re trying to give people something that’s either a little bit more esoteric, like maybe it’s a small step, but it’s something that’s not quite as obvious. Or you’re trying to hit something that is going to lead to like a high-ticket sale, like maybe a coaching program or whatever, I think it’s a lot better to meet people where they are because the bar is a little bit lower when you try to meet people where they are.
Jillian Leslie 42:31
And isn’t it also this idea that we we want to belong? And the way to get people to belong is to say, Hey, are you like this? Kind of inferring like, I’m like this or you’re not alone in this. So getting them to go, Yeah, I am awkward at parties. You know, it’s like, oh, my God, you know, my secret, and you’re okay, you know, you’re going to help me with this. Makes it feel more human.
Spencer Lum 43:00
Yes, absolutely. And I always tell people, right, I mean, there’s this weird effect where if you describe people’s exact problems, they just think you know the solution. It doesn’t matter if you do know the solution or not. It’s just if you can describe specifically enough this is your problem, people think, “oh, you exactly.”
Jillian Leslie 43:19
You know me, yeah.
Spencer Lum 43:21
You know me, so you must know how to fix this.
It’s funny because it creates so much trust that people actually just let go, and they say, “Oh, you know, I’m going to stop seeing you with the most cynical lenses and stop thinking that you’re trying to sell me because you seem to actually really get me and I want to know what you have to say.”
And so something as simple as starting with a headline and a little bit of copy at the beginning that lets people understand that you know them and you can relate to them, and really, that you see them for who they are, and you’re like that too.
Jillian Leslie 43:56
Exactly. I was just going to say I was listening to a podcast about parenting. And this expert said something that I thought was really interesting, which is our kids, you know, they want our approval and things like that.
But the truth of what they really want is they want to be seen for who they are. And they’ll do stuff like work hard or do cartwheels or whatever. But really at the core, all we want is to be seen.
Spencer Lum 44:26
Yeah. Right. I think that’s wow.
Jillian Leslie 44:29
And weirdly, even that photographer and spiritual photographer, he’s wanting to be seen. He doesn’t know that that’s why he’s writing that copy. But he’s kind of saying acknowledge how freakin’ awesome I am, see me. And what he’s missing is no, no, it’s not about him. It’s about him seeing you.
Spencer Lum 44:48
Yes, but you’ve cut straight to the truth of it. Right? I think you’re dead on right. That’s exactly what’s going on. He wants to be seen. And we all do. I mean, who doesn’t want to be seen?
W was reading how this was about the whole kind of weaponization of social media, which is kind of like one of these topics I’m fascinated by because it’s just so interesting how perception works to me.
But one line that really stuck out is, I read this quote about the fact that it used to be that someone had the quote that you could choose your opinion, but you can’t choose your facts. And what’s changed in the modern world is that now, you can only choose your opinion, but you can choose your facts, too.
And so when you’re hitting a landing page, and you’re thinking about, okay, how am I going to grab people’s attention? And how, how am I going to relate to them? You want to ask yourself, like, what are those facts? What is the world they want to see? What’s the world they live in?
And I mean, in social media, why is it an echo chamber? Because people like confirmation. They like seeing their beliefs echoed back. They like seeing that they’re right. And once you know how to talk about what makes people feel like they are safe being who they are, and that they’re seen, suddenly, and this is kind of one of the keys to selling without being salesy.
I mean, part of it is understanding that if you get people in the right mood, they love being sold, they enjoy it. But only if you get them in the right mood first. And if you don’t take the time to do it, then it’s offensive.
Jillian Leslie 46:24
Spencer Lum 46:26
So that’s the first thing I would say with a landing page, is look at that headline and look at that first piece of information, and focus on relating to people, so you create curiosity and interest before you move into the actual pitch.
And I wouldn’t say, you know, again, you know, not 100% rule. If it’s a quick and dirty one liner where it’s just like get something for free for an email benefit driven, I probably wouldn’t take that approach. I’d go with the straight benefit.
But when you have something that’s a little heavier duty, yeah, that’s where I start.
But I’ll tell you the second thing, and this is a little easy. It’s just getting really specific. Like it makes so much of a difference, right? We see this type of headline all the time or not headline, even we see this type of thing all the time, but it makes all the difference in the world if you say, Here’s something that’s going to get you to X more results, versus here’s something that’s going to get you 232% more results.
You hear 232% but you think that must be from some study, or it must be legitimate, whatever, yes. And it’s it’s a small little twist, but it makes a huge difference.
Or let’s say, I was writing something, and I wanted to talk about where it came from. It’s one thing to say that it sounds totally different. And this is so weird, but it sounds totally different.
If I say, Okay, here’s something that was invented by a marketer a long time ago. And here’s something that was invented by a dead marketer from 1922. And that second one, it just makes you believe it more, it makes you wonder, it’s like what’s that about?
Jillian Leslie 48:03
By the way, you said it. You go, this comes from a researcher from Stanford, a woman. And I’m like, “Wooh!” and I went to Stanford. So I’m like, Whoa, okay, I totally will believe her. It’s like, you totally got me there that I will die believing what you said.
Spencer Lum 48:20
And that’s exactly what it is. It’s going into that level of detail. Really, when you’re in a rush, when you’re not thinking about it, it’s really easy to skip over that stuff. But those little things, that’s what makes people get to the next line.
And that’s what makes people, I mean, what’s the first choice anyone makes when they hit a landing page? Should I bother any page, right? Any page. Do I want to waste my time on this?
And so like, you have to pack it with those little details, they don’t add to the length of the copy, not by much anyway. But they completely change the feeling. And so you’re looking to tap into that undercurrent to let people know you get them, you relate to them, but also to kind of create that implied trust and to show and to give that feeling that, hey, maybe I got something to sell you. But this is for real.
Jillian Leslie 49:08
And it might be science backed, you know. Something about that. I really like that, like, I am going to after this interview, go back to the MiloTree landing page. In fact, you can see I might make some tweaks to it based on our conversation today.
Because you’ve gotten my wheels spinning. So, you know, I’m like, whew, I can add some numbers. You know, we have some data, I need to add more data, and I need to bring people in more. So you’ve already gotten me thinking about this.
Spencer Lum 49:39
Oh, awesome. I love hearing that.
Jillian Leslie 49:41
Totally. Okay, so Spencer, if people want to learn more from you on how you think, because I think it’s really interesting, and I think that you’ve got, I think it’s very human, is how I would describe it, tapping into our humanness and how to sell to people in that way. I think, you know, you’ve really gotten me thinking. So I’m sure you’ve done that to my audience.
If people want to reach out to you, what is the best way to do that?
Spencer Lum 50:12
The best thing to do is, so I created a little something that’s actually for your audience, so that’s the best way to actually find out more. And so actually, I’m going to tell people exactly what they get and then I’ll give you the link.
Jillian Leslie 50:24
Okay, wait, I want you to put your copywriter hat on while you sell this.
Spencer Lum 50:33
Oh, that’s harder, it’s so much harder to do in real time. The pressure. So what’s gonna happen, okay, people are going to walk in, and they’re going to get a free course. And the free course is going to go over a lot of the things that we’ve talked about today, like how to kind of create influence that is subversive, but really at the exact same time honest and respects your audience.
And so it’s going to break it down. And I’m going to give people the exact steps that they can understand like there’s a distinct… there’s a three-part process and there are three phases people have to go through.
And I’m going to show people how you get your audience to go through those different stages. But here’s my favorite thing. And this is the part that I always have to tell people about because otherwise, they won’t. Like I mentioned it over and over in the emails, but not everyone sees it.
There is this guide, this is kind of the super secret guide, because this isn’t one that there’s no link anywhere in the world where you automatically you just get this guide.
But if you join, it is one level deeper. And the only thing I asked for people is that they share it and there’s a little button, you just got to click on the button, it gets shared, it’s super easy. Like I don’t track like whether anyone responded or anything like that.
So there’s no other hurdles. You just click on it, you share it, and then you get the link. And this one is actually a full-on guide, it was something that I constantly think about taking down because I’m thinking about making a paid-for program out of it, but I have not yet. And so it’s still there right now.
And so it walks through exactly like the whole mental process of creating influence and changing people’s minds and really kind of so that you can literally plant thoughts in people’s heads, but benevolently and kindly.
And so I mentioned that because people, you’re going to get that first email, the link is going to be right there. And you want to click on it. And it is a full-on guide; it is not like a one page thing where you look at it and say oh, that’s it. It’s like a full course in itself. And so definitely for everybody, don’t just get the course. Go and get that too.
Okay, here’s the link. So it is over at www.goextrabold.com/bloggergenius.
Jillian Leslie 52:36
Perfect. Oh, terrific. I am going to go get that and I will click the link.
Spencer Lum 52:42
Jillian Leslie 52:43
Oh, well, Spencer, thank you so much for being on the show.
Spencer Lum 52:47
Well, thank you for having me. It was really good talking.
Jillian Leslie 52:50
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