Succeeding With Kindness: Talking with Robert Middleton About Marketing With Heart

I was under the impression, for quite some time, that certain things belonged in the world of business and other things did not. It was made clear in the books and courses and expert speeches that business is one thing and life is another thing.

When this turned out to be a bunch of B.S., I started thinking about how blurring the lines between who you are, what you do and the people you serve and removing the artificial boundaries we’ve been taught to believe in can make decisions much simpler and more clear.

In this episode of the podcast, I talk with consultant to independent buisness-to-business professionals, Robert Middleton, about succeeding with kindness.

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Jason: Why don’t you tell everybody, if they’re not familiar with Robert Middleton, who you are?

Robert: Well, I am a 67-year-old guy who has been self-employed for 35 years. My company is action plan marketing. What I’ve been doing is working with self-employed professionals and helping them all kinds of ways to attract their ideal clients. There’s a lot to that. There’s all the technical things about networking, and speaking, and the sales process, and writing, and million things. I’ve often found the most interesting things about my business is the psychological things related to the marketing yourself and selling yourself.

Robert: What I’m continually fascinated with is the incredible fear that people have of other people, the fear that we have of reaching out, the fear we have of having conversations with people, the fear we have of being rejected, the fear we have of doing it wrong, making mistakes, looking bad, all that kind of stuff, and helping people get to the other side of that, and just finding ways to naturally express themselves and communicate about what they’re excited about. Everybody is different. Everybody does their marketing their way. It’s been interesting. We get a lot of very interesting conversations. I just got off the phone with a guy in Dubai. I have two clients in Dubai right now and one in India.

Jason: Wow.

Robert: They’re all connected. That’s how I got them. How do you ask to connect to other people? That’s a big conversation I’m having these days. I call it connecting your bubbles and just …

Jason: It’s odd in this day and age. We have more ways to connect and far less connection probably than ever in certain ways.

Robert: Yeah. I think an interesting thing has happened, I started on the internet in 1996, my first website.

Jason: Wow.

Robert: It’s funny. I thought I was late to the party, but I wasn’t very late. I found out recently that in 1996, there was only something like a quarter million websites then.

Jason: Amazing.

Robert: You know how we always feel behind in some ways. Now, there’s 1.9 billion websites. That’s 2000 time and a quarter million. That would be 8,000 times as many websites as there were when I started. If you work diligently at SEO, you could get found online a lot easier than it is now. The thing is, with this proliferation of emails, social media, et cetera, it’s like a minnow in a gigantic sea and it’s very hard to be found. The good thing about that is I think I’m finding it helps people to get back to let’s just create relationships with people, let’s just connect with people, let’s just have conversations with people instead of 10 kazillion messages. You sign up for an email newsletter, and I’m not saying anything against what you do because what you do is barely different.

Jason: That’s okay. That’s okay. I can take it. You don’t have to be aware.

Robert: You send something every day, but it’s always readable. It’s always a thought piece. Whereas you sign up to people and every day they’re promoting something. It’s promoting this and promoting that and you just get sick of it. It gets wearing on us. We get tired of that. It’s like, oh … Anyway, it’s this overwhelming assault on our sense. Now you go into LinkedIn and everybody is showing you, here’s how to connect on LinkedIn, but they don’t know how to do it themselves because it’s all spam, spam, spam.

Jason: Yeah, it’s difficult. Well, that brings us to the front door of what you suggested we talk about, which is a business topic that probably won’t win us any awards with the title. However, I think that depending on how you view your business and why you think you’re here in it, it’s a pretty profound thing to think through for yourself. That topic is kindness, like you mentioned earlier. Why don’t you give me a little backstory of … I read that article that you mentioned on your website about Mr. Rogers. Just tell me how you came to that, and where you think that fits in, and what we’re all doing here for a living.

Robert: Yeah. Well, what triggered this was the Mr. Rogers movie. I went to the Mr. Rogers movie. It blew my mind.

Jason: I haven’t seen it, but go ahead.

Robert: Well, I highly recommend it. The being of this person, Mr. Rogers, Fred Rogers is extraordinary. He’s an example of what you see is what you get. Who he was on the TV show was really who he was in real life. He was very gentle, very kind. He was an ordained minister, ordained Presbyterian minister, but his major in college was music. He was a musician, very talented, very smart guy. He started in the very early days of television in the … I don’t know when TV really started, but on the late ’50s. He saw a kid’s television programming and he says, “What is on is just disgusting.” People throwing pies in each other’s faces, slapstick comedy and stuff like that.

Robert: He said, “I think maybe we could do better.” Anyway, he pitched his ideas and he got onto this public broadcasting station in Pittsburgh. Ultimately, that evolved into Mr. Rogers. His message was of accepting people as they are. He had a song and you talked about that all the time, he ended his show with that all the time. I like you just the way you are, which is the essence of spirituality, accepting what is and accepting you as you are. There’s not a lot of that these days. I think we need a little bit more of that. The Democrats hate the Republicans, the Republicans hate the Democrats. It seems to be more polarized than ever before.

Robert: We need more tolerance and more kindness. I think there’s always something to look at there. It’s like how are we treating the closest people in our lives? I saw the movie that I read a bunch of articles, this is what I want to get into something. I saturate myself with it. I watched the documentary on HBO about him. I bought his little book about important things in life. It’s basically a bunch of quotes. All of these quotes, some of them make you cry. They’re just profound. They’re so simple. I asked myself, well, how can I bring more kindness and caring into my business? It’s tricky. It’s challenging. What does that look like? What does that mean?

Jason: Yeah. I think the Jason of 10 years ago who was trying to put food on the table would have had a hard time wrapping his head around how that vibe could possibly connect with what my pressing priorities were at the moment. However, I think that we were also in a weird time in internet land probably for the last 20 years where it was almost like this arbitrage make-believe world that we got all these new tools that made us think that we use them to do things to people, and we could actually do that. As time has gone by, those tools are less new, more widespread, more known, and therefore things are reverting back again to the way it’s always been, which is you stick around people you like.

Robert: Yeah, exactly. If you look at the basic nuts and bolts of kindness, what is kindness? It means being considerate to people. It means listening to people who is listening these days. When you look at some of the basic nuts and bolts of marketing and selling, what we always hear is, well, it’s your message and communicating this and telling people this and da, da, da. Whereas in the “selling process” … By the way, selling in sales is the worst possible word in the English language. It has so much terrible baggage attached to it. Selling simply means an exchange of something.

Robert: The real selling process, the most important part of the selling process is being interested in listening and trying to let go of the agenda. I say when I have a potential client that I’m having a conversation with, is exploring doing my program, I think to myself, right now, I have nothing to sell to this person because I don’t know what they need yet. How can I have an agenda unless I know what their situation is, what their struggles are, what they’ve done before, what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, what their wishes are until I can see that there’s some kind of a fit. Even then, I’m simply asking questions, what do you want and what’s getting in the way?

Robert: That’s a very kind process. It’s almost a spiritual process, is the “selling process” or the non-selling process, whatever you want to call it. It’s communication. Often, people call it’s a seduction, but a seduction in the most sincere way. It’s like you’re really getting to know somebody and seeing if you can play together.

Jason: Well, and it’s a seduction that you aren’t orchestrating. It’s actually because of who you’re being and how you’re approaching the person you’re speaking with, the seduction is happening in them and they’re doing it. It’s not the marketing …

Robert: They’re letting their self be seduced, so to speak.

Jason: Well, yeah. You’re showing up not needing anything from them, which if you want to be completely practical about what we’ve been told to be called selling, that’s an effective way to do it especially when it’s real. It’s to show up and start giving without want or expectation of return and that you could also call kindness. Now all of a sudden, we’re talking about very practical strategies where all these things come together and you can be this and still have success.

Robert: Yeah. The crazy thing is it’s the … I was teaching this process to one of my clients a few weeks ago and say, basically, it’s a series of questions where you’re worth discovering. He’s had 100% close rate and everyone has talked to him. It’s not like I manipulated them into working with me. It was like we discovered that this was the right thing for them and they’re excited. He’s highly committed to making a difference in the life of the people that he works with. I remember in the early days of Amazon, and I’m still an Amazon customer. It’s crazy how much we buy from Amazon. It’s convenient. It’s good. They have all these reviews. Their service is fast. I know there’s problems about Amazon in terms of how they take care of their employees.

Jason: Sure, yeah.

Robert: It’s impressive that a company just tries to figure out how can we delight you, how can we surprise you, how can we deliver for you, how can we really do that? Now, that’s a hard thing to do, to really, really do that well. Kindness is … I don’t know if that’s the perfect word, but it’s related to real service, real service.

Jason: Yeah. I think the vibration of that feels like in you. I don’t know that you can hold that vibration and still need something from someone. You either choose one or the other that’s in you. When you come at it with the vibe that you’re describing, the service vibe, the kindness vibe, whatever you want to … Wholeness, I might describe it as that is something that doesn’t allow any more space for fear, or I have to pay the bills, or this is my eighth call this week and I only close to. It just puts you on a completely different wavelength that people feel whether or not they know it consciously. That to me is the true alchemy. If you can show up and be able to do that and be that type of being, amazing things happen, 100% close rate, a ridiculous stuff.

Robert: Yeah. There’s a lot in there. Back to Mr. Rogers, I got a real sense that he was very present with people. Very centered, very there, very involved. The whole story of the movie is a writer from Esquire magazine has given the assignment to write about him. He’s a major character in the movie. The thing is, is this writer has interviewed these people and done hit pieces on a lot of people. No one wants to be interviewed by him anymore. For some reason, the magazine reached out and Mr. Rogers said yes. Mr. Rogers investigated this writer that as he learned about him and what he was, and it was almost as if he was saying, it’s not that what is this writer going to do for Mr. Rogers, but what can I, Mr. Rogers, do for this writer.

Robert: It transformed his life. He became this mean person, very constricted in his life in many ways with a terrible relationship with his father. Mr. Rogers end up meeting his father, and his wife, and his family. Really, put a lot of … I read the original article. I read the article that he wrote before the movie that told about the story and I was like, there’s something magical happening here. That is something you almost never see, I mean, really a rare occurrence of somebody. Not for Mr. Rogers’ benefit, for just … Then he starts to talk to him about what’s the stuffed animal you had as a child and what was that relationship. It got him back to his primal connection to just loving something. Mind blowing.

Jason: That’s profound. I mean …

Robert: Yeah, it was very, very profound and yet fun at the same time. Mr. Rogers is this guy that does these puppets and all that are part of his sub personality, the little Daniel, the striped tiger, the meek but kind person that he uses for certain voices and stuff. There’s a lot of depth to that. It made me think a lot about this. What does that mean to have that level of kindness, and caring, and acceptance? It also had me look at my relationship with my wife. Am I as kind to my wife as I could be? The answer is, abso-freaking-lutely not. I won’t get into it too personally.

Robert: We had a situation with family members with [inaudible 00:20:20] and some of her relatives that is a very, very … A lot of upset. Actually, even before the Mr. Rogers movie, I decided to take on the thankless task of being a peacemaker and really having these deep conversations with the relatives and my wife and trying to get them together. It’s amazing how much we hold onto grudges. Something happens, and man, if they don’t apologize, I will not forgive them. I don’t care what. We have these divisions in families that … I’ve gone through that kind of stuff with people in my family. We probably all have to some degree or most of have. I think we’re lucky if we’ve had wonderful relationship with everybody in our family. It’s a rare thing.

Jason: Sure.

Robert: How can we heal these rifts, these resentments, these things?

Jason: See, that to me, what you’re describing there, when you went around to all those family members, that to me is what marketing is. You took something that wasn’t from a book. It was coming from your heart. You were focusing it through your mind. You were using your tools in a very smart way. By the energy that you chose to bring to a situation, you can transform it. Whether you’re sending daily emails or your weekly newsletter that just for everyone listening, Robert probably invented the whole weekly email newsletter. He’s been doing it that long, but that is the same thing. You …

Robert: I’m in my 22nd year, once a week.

Jason: That’s amazing. That’s amazing.

Robert: At least once a week.

Jason: You showing up not demanding anything on a consistent basis with a vibe that gets a message from you to me. It just works magic. For anybody listening to this, that the Jason of 10 years ago that wants some actionable techniques. Well, that’s it. That’s what you do. Because when you go out into the world being this type of a person, whether it’s email, webinar, or whatever, people feel it. You will attract them like a moth to a flame because it’s that bright given what we’ve got out there right now.

Robert: Yeah. People are looking for that. People are looking for light, and kindness, and honesty, and all of that stuff. This is why I think, and I pray, that Trump will lose the next election in a landslide because people are really sick of it. People are really sick of this division. You never know what will happen. Presidential politics is an insane thing, anyway. I think people have a longing for that.

Jason: How do you think things went so crazy over the years? Look at what the average business person is told that marketing is or that selling is. At some point in humanity, we just had people together. How did things go so crazy that this way that we would be with our grandmother or our best friend isn’t so different than the way we’re supposed to be to get money to provide for ourselves?

Robert: Well, I think in some ways the accessibility of the internet and the cost of the internet, which is virtually zero. I pay my email company 50 bucks a month. For that, I can send tens of thousands emails every week for virtually no cost. It’s the proliferation. It’s so easy to do anything in any way. The cost of any promotion before the internet was relatively high. I used to send a regular newsletter every other month.

Jason: Via the mail.

Robert: It cost me to however many people cost $600. Now I can send to kazillions of people for a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of that. We can post anything on YouTube. We can post anything on Facebook, anything, anything, anything. We take basic marketing concepts, wishes, talk about your benefits and what you do in the value. There’s a tendency in marketing to exaggerate, and to hype, and to lie, and to go overboard. Trump steaks, the best steaks in the world. We just think that’s the norm. I see what people write sometimes and I say, it just feels like hype. It feels like BS. Of course, I’ve fallen into that myself.

Robert: It’s very easy to do that because part of me wants to convince you that this is something really good. You have to unlearn that and just talk very straight. You can talk about benefits without hype. You can talk about real examples of clients without hype. You can talk about really how it works without hype. It’s tricky not to do that. It’s easy to fall into the dark side of marketing. It’s so easy. You can just send a zillion emails. It’s easy to manipulate.

Jason: Well, and it’s so accepted is something to do. I remember when I was starting learning reading all the books and I would read about someone having a promotion where, oh, we have extra inventory in our warehouse and this is the reason we’re having a sale. They were giving this as a great marketing idea.

Robert: It’s just a lie.

Jason: It’s a lie. Everyone was like, “Wow, you guys are marketing wizards. How much did you make on that promotion?” I was still a few years out from saying this is a total BS. Because if my grandmother came around and ever found out that I was doing this, I would be embarrassed. Maybe that should be my guide. That was the point at which I started saying, I can’t do this garbage anymore. Because ultimately, all of that is just from such a deep insecurity. I mean, that screams insecurity to me. Those people, maybe they thought it was smart. To really know those folks, that is a deep-seated issue that would lead someone in a direction like that where their life could become such a way that those things coming out of their mouth or onto the paper that weren’t real could be okay. That’s nuts.

Robert: Yeah, well …

Jason: Unkind, the opposite of kind.

Robert: Yes. A great day in my life came when we stopped broadcast television.

Jason: When you canceled it.

Robert: We canceled our cable a number of years ago. I find commercials interesting because as a marketing, I was like, what are they doing here? What’s the message they’re getting across? I’d say to my wife, “That’s a good commercial. It’s saying the benefits, it meets the need. It’s interesting, da, da, da, et cetera.” Then there’s some stuff that’s like, “What the hell is that?” You’re watching a television show and every 10 minutes, there’s three or four commercials. We get numb to it. It does something to your head. We’ve all been watching television since we were kids. I’m basically a television addict. I still watch a fair amount of television.

Robert: The quality has gone up and there’s no commercials. I feel that I’m watching stuff that at least is really interesting, and fun, and fascinating. I just watched the TV show on Amazon about the torture report. It’s almost like a documentary about how the CIA tortured people after 9/11. They tried to bury it and all the stuff. Anyway, not exactly …

Jason: Lighthearted entertainment.

Robert: Lighthearted entertainment, but I found it very, very powerful. I like to watch various things, but it’s so nice to divorce ourselves. They say that in any given day, the average person is subjected to 5,000 marketing messages or even more. At least by not having a TV, I don’t listen to the radio, but I do get bombarded with email. I’m continually amazed at how bad most of these emails are. I spent a lot of time talking to my clients about emails, how do you just come across as real? It’s very hard to let go of all that crap and just be authentic. It’s very hard to do. I still find it very challenging when I’m promoting something.

Robert: It’s easier to write my essay than to promote something, because I don’t want to … If I’m saying, well, I have a new program coming up and this is who it’s for and if you have these kinds of issues and challenges, it might be right for you. A year or so, a guy worked at putting a little more humor because it’s a little different into what you’re doing. To do it well, after all, you do want to get attention, you do want them to read it, you’re competing with those other 200 emails a day that are in their inbox. How do you stand out in a way that’s not offensive?

Robert: There are people that say, I’m so glad you sent that because I need this and they sign up for your program and it really does help them. You come back to basic principles. How can I just be authentic, and real, and tell a true story, and something that I wouldn’t be offended getting? Every once in a while, I get an email saying too many emails. Well, I don’t send as much as Jason Leister does.

Jason: That’s right. You can always use me. I think the most helpful switching perspective that I had, I can’t remember when it happened exactly, was that marketing to me went from something I did to get things. Because for a while, marketing to me, the definition was any action I could take that would make selling obsolete or unnecessary. That was my …

Robert: Selling in the ordinary sense.

Jason: Yeah. It takes the need to have to do that off the table. That to me was marketing for a while. It was still about maneuvering me towards what I wanted to get. Then eventually, it became, okay, let’s get rid of that idea all together because that was everybody’s idea. That means the masses are all stampeding towards someone’s awareness and attention to have their priorities met. I was like, that couldn’t be healthy or sustainable. I just flipped it around. Instead of marketing being things that I do to get stuff, marketing is something I do to give things.

Jason: Whether that’s insight, empowerment, encouragement, knowledge, whatever, now my whole internal motivation has shifted. Number one, there’s no shortage of ways I can try to help someone. Coming up with ideas is easier. Number two, it still takes selling off the table because after people realized, oh, this guy’s actually real about this, it’s not just a show, their fear goes away that I’m trying to corner them or NLP them into a corner so they’d click a button.

Robert: I know.

Jason: Now, it’s an act of giving. Whether or not there’s a price tag attached, it doesn’t matter.

Robert: Yeah. Well, that’s a pretty radical shift of perspective, isn’t it?

Jason: It is. It’s the opposite. That’s usually the only way I get realizations like that, is I’m so freaking frustrated that I couldn’t break through the other way because all the alpha dudes, I would see them. I’ve worked with them. They’ve been my clients, but that never worked for me. I had to figure out a more human way of making this work.

Robert: Yes. Jason, I’ve worked with a lot of clients who their clients are bigger companies and corporations. Then sometimes I ask myself, well, I’m just empowering people to make evil corporation successful. With the Trump era, with the global warming, with the ocean full of 10 billion pounds of plastic that we discard, I think what’s the way forward? The thing is, you and I both have to make a living. You have kids to support. I have a mortgage to pay. It’s tricky to live a life in complete integrity. Just living in society, it’s hard to live a life in complete integrity. I look at the plastic we throw away and it’s like, but I have to buy spray cleaner to clean my sink. It’s our way of life. The way we’re living on the planet is so absolutely unsustainable that it’s insane. It’s always about more, more, more. If you have more, then you will be happy.

Jason: I agree.

Robert: That is simply not true. We’re addicted to this way of life. I like to be comfortable. I like to live in a nice house and everything. I pay $350 a month for my power bill. It’s very expensive to live in this crazy world. It takes marketing and endless marketing to get da, da, da, da, da. I don’t have any answers for this. I’m not so optimistic about how civilization is going to work out. I don’t know how long it’s going to last.

Jason: I think it takes the ability maybe to go through our lives with a real hefty dose of cognitive dissonance because you’ve got what’s going on out there, which in one way we feel very victimized by not that we are playing a victim, but that we can’t see our contribution to making it happen. We feel like we can’t control it. Then we also have this way that we want to be and we can choose to be okay anyway now in spite of all that. You put those two things together and it’s like rubbing your stomach and patting your head. It takes a little while to be okay with both of them.

Robert: Yeah. After all, going around in anguish and despair every day is not the answer either.

Jason: That’s right, and I would say is very unkind to yourself.

Robert: Yeah, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do our best to conserve, and to recycle, and do this and that, and to be kind to our fellow beings. I’ve had a kind of shift in what I’m working with my clients these days. Most of my clients, I don’t work on … What you’re doing, I really admire. I said I’d like to be Jason Leister when I grow up.

Jason: You might be the only one, Robert.

Robert: I love what you’re doing. This whole thing of creating a platform, that’s what I’ve done. Obviously, you’re doing it. That’s not what I hope most of my clients do. Most people aren’t up to that. Writing an article for some people is …

Jason: Is a big deal, yeah.

Robert: It’s a big deal. It’s like how long does it take you to write an article? 11 hours. I just laugh. They say, “Oh my God.” When I interviewed the other day, it’s like, “Yeah, it takes about 20 minutes to write one of my articles.” That’s the way it should be, if you could get to that. That’s not what I do. A lot of what I’m doing right now is I read this article called Fifty Coffees. I found this in a social media thing and I read this article. I said, man, this is just brilliant. It says, whenever I want to do something new, start a new project, do something. It says, I meet 50 people over coffee, 20-minute meetings. Some of them are in person.

Robert: I don’t have anybody local to meet with, but it can be by Zoom like this or by phone. You say, I’m looking for ideas and insights, resources and connections. Here’s what I’m working on. I wonder if you can help me and then who can you connect me with. It’s a way of what I call … I wrote this article called The Amazing Fable of Bubble City. We all live in a bubble. We all live in this bubble and within our bubble are particular comfort zone of certain people. It’s very hard for us to go outside of this bubble, but we can connect with other people in our bubble and they can connect with other people in their bubble. Who else could I have a conversation with?

Robert: I started to do this. I realized my marketing has been perfect for an introvert like me. I sit by myself. I write articles. I send them out to the world, and that works for me. I’ve never been a great networker. I started to reach out to people that I hadn’t talked to in a long time. My old friend, Joe, that I met in San Francisco almost 35 years ago and some people I haven’t connected with in 10 years. I said, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about you and I love to chat with you.” Then within a week or so, I’d had 10 conversations with people. It was 100% response. What marketing do you get 100% response to? I’m starting to discover how this can be an amazing prospecting strategy.

Robert: Even the word strategy is a terrible word because it sounds manipulative, but it’s like I’m renewing the relationship. There are ways I can help them, they can help me. Then asking, “Hey, who else do you know I ought to be talking to?” Ultimately, that’s going to lead to people that can use you …

Jason: That’s right.

Robert: … and that you can help. Who else can I help? I’m really having fun. I’m calling it the bubble marketing strategy, connecting bubbles. That’s complete opposite of any social media or anything and just getting people to write these emails. Last week, I said, “I’m going to try something that I’ve never done before.” I just had this revelation the day before and I said, “I’m going to try.” I said, “Okay, well, here’s the strategy.” I wrote this article about it. I said, “Here’s what I’m going to do. Write down the name of one person that you could connect with. I’ll find their email. Now, write that email right now. I’ll give you a few minutes.”

Robert: I said, “It’s just something simple like, hey, I’ve been thinking about you. I remember when da, da, da or whatever. Hey, I’d love to get together with you and chat with you and catch up.” I’ll send it. In that meeting, everybody thought of a person, got the email, wrote the email, and sent it. I’ve already heard back several of them got responses and conversations already. How hard is that? How hard is that? It’s the simplest thing in the world, but it’s like, I’ll think about it later. I’ll get around it later. When I’ve wrapped my head around actually just reaching to somebody. It’s so funny. There it is.

Jason: Yeah. It seems to be there’s so much fear …

Robert: So much fear.

Jason: … on so many levels that just keep people very isolated in their own business bubble.

Robert: Exactly. Exactly.

Jason: They start to build this reality of isolation that matches what they’ve tricked themselves into believing is real.

Robert: Exactly. When you reach out to people, it’s like, oh, someone is reaching out to me. Not to sell me, but to have a conversation with me. Then the next level of conversation is so and so thought we should talk. That does happen. I can’t tell you how many people have connected me and I haven’t made the connection. I’ve been terrible at that, because of what? I don’t know. It’s more not fear. It’s like, oh, this might be a waste of time. I don’t know if I’m going to … Blah, blah blah. I read this one article. He got it from someone else, a guy named Peter Thompson. I looked up again and read his article about it, what he did. Then I looked around.

Robert: I found someone wrote a book on it. She had a somewhat different approach. This was reaching out to her networking contacts, and wonderful heartfelt book about these conversations that she had. One of them she hired is a coach that really helped her in business. Some of them led to this, led to that, that ended up being the best client she’d ever had in her business. Then I looked on the web, there was another website called Fifty Coffees of this other person had just met with all these people. She tells these stories. You can look it up, just fifty, F-I-F-T-Y Coffees. It tells about these all friends from high school that she’s reconnecting with them, what she’s learning and discovering. It’s like, man, it’s a magical kind of thing. It’s just amazing.

Jason: That’s probably one of the things that was hardest for me to work through after brainwashing myself with all the how to do business literature was it’s crazy in the business world to say, I’m going to do all these things, not because I think they’re going to get me this or this make this happen or I’m going to do them because this is what I do. I’m going to do them because it’s going to add light over here. Then to trust that long enough to see that what actually happens is results well beyond anything you could ever plan. It does take a little bit of trust between that time. Once you prove it to yourself, it’s like, holy crap, if I can just set my focus out there on adding light, whether it’s marketing, whether it’s emailing, whether it’s meeting in … Whatever, it builds this momentum that grow things.

Robert: Yeah. Whether it’s sending email every day or just reaching out and having conversations with people on how you can help them. The ultimate intention behind it is I do want to grow my business. If it didn’t grow your business …

Jason: You have to make an adjustment.

Robert: … there’s something wrong with your model there as well.

Jason: It is very hard not to have good things come back to your business when you’re out there solving problems in a way that is not demanding things in return in a way that’s adding value to other people’s lives. It’s really hard to fail if you do that really well.

Robert: Yeah. I’m thinking of doing a webinar in which I do just what I did with my group where I want to show you how to get 100% response to your marketing in a way. There’s a sense of humor to it in a way. It’s like every person you connect with is not going to be a client, but it expands your network in an authentic way, which leads to the next person. I want to show how easy this can be, as simple as can be. You remember the American advertising has come up with some pretty good slogans that are actually authentic and the one was from AT&T, reach out and touch someone.

Robert: They used to do commercials that brought tears to your eyes of reaching out to a family member or something. Brilliant stuff. It’s like they want to make money by people talking on the telephone. Okay, that’s fair enough. We’ve got this amazing technology. Why not use it to actually connect with your family? There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a wonderful thing. All this technology we can use for good or for evil. Look at Donald Trump in Twitter and all his crazy stuff that he posts, but not everybody … It’s just a communication medium. As you say, I love that, bringing light, bringing kindness, bringing something that uplifts instead of divides.

Jason: Well, and to me, that is selling. What you’re doing there is you’re directly affecting the way someone feels in a way they will not forget and then you’re laying out before them a solution to their problem. That’s the selling process.

Robert: Yeah. There are a lot of products and services in the world that are great that help us, that contribute to life on earth, civilization, our daily comfort. I think we’ve got to look deeper. We’ve got to look deeper to the ancillary harm that some of these things do. The automobile is one of the greatest inventions of all time, obviously, but look at the pollution it causes. I hope we get through it. I hope we survive.

Jason: Well, I think we’re in a situation where everyone has an amazing suite of tools right before them. You can wake up every single day and decide to use those to build things or to tear things down. You can build things and create wild success. You can tear things down and create wild success. It really comes back to what journey you’re going to choose to go on. That’s a big responsibility. Everyone has to make that choice.

Robert: Yeah. How can we do the least harm is one thing I think we have to ask ourselves. When a business like mine, I don’t produce a product that gets thrown in the garbage, so that’s nice. I just talk to people for a living. Every interaction we have, I’ve tried to help clients. In some cases, I’ve probably done more harm than good. When I started out, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I tried things, I experiment with things. I try to be as creative as possible. The intention there is, what is something that you can do so that you can in turn make your contribution to the world? That’s what I’ve always been about when I’ve been in business. I start to think in a wider way. My business focus over the years is narrowed, narrowed, narrowed. When I first started, this was my brilliant marketing message. “What do you do, Robert?” “I’m a small business consultant.”

Jason: It probably worked well then too. How was it now?

Robert: Well, not that well, not that well. I helped them with their marketing. I help them attract clients and now it’s professional service businesses. Now it’s pretty much only B2B service businesses. It’s also now B2B service businesses who are committed to making a real difference in the world. It’s funny. The narrower the message, often the better response you get because it really speaks to who do you want to work with, what’s the difference you want to make? What’s the thing that will make the biggest difference on the planet? It’s a tricky thing because it’s so easy to be selfish. What am I going to get out of it? We do have to get something out of it. We have to make money. We have to live. Yet as you say, how to put more focus on giving than getting?

Jason: Yeah. To me …

Robert: How to do that? It’s a balancing act every day in a sense.

Jason: I’ve gone to the extreme as I do in some things and that when you get way down to like my focus is only on solving your problem. In one way, I view it as the most selfish thing I could do because I know that everyone will derive the greatest benefit if that’s all I care about including me. It’s crazy to wrap your head around. That is kindness. That can make money and make successful businesses and put food on the table for your kids. I have to leave this person better off than when I found them. I have to leave the world better off than I found it. It’s like the same principle. You wake up every day and do it. That’s what Mr. Rogers did.

Robert: Yeah. He was on for … Was it 30 years?

Jason: A long time, amazing.

Robert: A long time. Every day, he brought that to children. You said his main mission was to help children deal, in a positive way, about their emotions. Because there’s a million other things. That’s the tricky thing, because upsets, and this, that, and things happen in life to deal resourcefully with that stuff in a way that it’s saying.

Jason: I’ll have to see that movie. That sounds great. All good. Well, thank you so much for coming on. I’m sure we’ll do this again at some time in the future. It’s nice to talk about things that don’t have zeros, and ones, and …

Robert: Really, yes.

Jason: … addition signs for a moment. Why don’t you tell people what are you up to now? Where can they find out more about you? How can they get your newsletter?

Robert: Just go to my website, and it’s

Jason: 22 years of weekly email newsletters.

Robert: Yes. I’ve missed a couple of weeks here and there but pretty much a steady thing. Action is the URL. I’ve recently written a report called Get More Meetings, Land More Clients. It’s all about meeting people.

Jason: Awesome.

Robert: That’s the focus. It’s all about all the different ways you can find ways to meet people. Because I find if you meet more people, even that …

Jason: Amazing things happen.

Robert: … ultimately turns into more clients.

Jason: Yeah, very good. Well, thank you so much.

Robert: Thank you.

Jason: I wish you the best.

Robert: I really appreciate you doing this. Thank you.

Jason: You’re welcome.

Robert: You’re my last meeting of the year.

Jason: That’s good. Happy new year to you.

Robert: Thanks. Bye, Jason.

Jason: All right, take care. Bye-bye.

Robert: Merry Christmas, bye-bye.

Jason: Bye.