42. Sales, Marketing & Startups with Mickeli Bedore

[Intro]

[00:00:29] Hugh: Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening to Thoughts of a Random Citizen. Today we've got a really good interview with Mickeli Bedore. We cover things such as sales, marketing, and how they all tie into entrepreneurship and startups. Without further ado, I hope you guys enjoy the interview.

All right. Mickeli, thank you so much for coming on to the episode today, man, and the podcast. I'm very excited to get into the extreme importance of marketing and obtaining revenue streams at the start of your business. That being said, I typically like to have the guests share a bit of their background as you know far more about the important things that you've done and accomplishments that you've had throughout your life than I do. Can you tell us a bit about your background and coming into what you do now?

[00:01:14] Mickeli Bedore: Yes, I would love to. Well, first of all, thanks for having me on the show. I'm a big fan. Just our conversation, before we clicked record was invigorating. I'm excited for this one, but-

[00:01:23] Hugh: Sweet.

[00:01:23] Mickeli: My name is Mickeli Bedore. I've been involved in sales since I was about 16, 17 years old. It was a job that I didn't pick, it kind of picked me. I was a terrible student in high school, ADHD, the whole deal.

[00:01:43] Hugh: Same.

[00:01:43] Mickeli: Always talking, hanging out, getting in trouble, and my uncle, John, who inspired me to play guitar and get my black belt, he was just inspire me to be the best I could be, happened to do sales. Before I could drive, he brought me on a ride-along. People were high-fiving him, it was free lunch, it was pop. He had like a cooler in his thing of pop. I was like, "What is this job? This is ridiculous. You get paid for this?" He's like, "Oh, Mickey, it's sales," and so that was what I jumped into. Because of sales, I've gotten a chance to live all over the country, in the US that is, in New York, in Philly, in Columbus, Ohio, in Denver, a little bit in California and in the twin cities. Then once I hit my 40th birthday, we retired from life for a while to move out to Montana.

I did corporate sales for about 12, 13 years for big companies like IBM, Verizon, Oracle,. I was always ranked in the top 1% to 3%. I worked very hard to do that. Then about the last eight to nine years, I think, I've been a full-time entrepreneur. Took the winnings from a successful corporate sales career, launched a handful of companies. Two product companies, two service companies. Most recent, Closers Media, which is a cross between a media company that produces revenue growth content through our shows. One of the most known is Coffee & Closers. Then we also implement a sales system and coach on that for companies within the kind of $500,000 revenue to about $10 million in revenue.

Then I'm also a business broker, which is my retirement gig now. I get to help people, not only build the revenue up to grow and be successful as a business owner but also if they choose to sell their business, I can help them with that too. It's been a good run and we just decided to take it easy about nine months ago. It's been good balance, good life balance. A lot of adventure, little bit of work.

[00:03:51] Hugh: Good time to do that. Good time to do that, for sure. [laughs]

[00:03:54] Mickeli: Totally.

[00:03:56] Hugh: What exactly gave you the idea? Obviously started a few different businesses and we can dive into that in a moment, but specifically, Closers Media, what was the idea behind that and how you formed that?

[00:04:11] Mickeli: I've never been a man with a plan, unfortunately. When I was leaving my last corporate gig, I had turned a territory around. That's what I was known for, it's taking under-performing territories and turning them into profit centers. I was at a big company and in 18 months we made it the top-performing territory in the Midwest. I just got bored. I'd been doing it forever. It was the same day every day for the last 12 years or whatever. I had enough winnings, we call them commission, or whatever you want to call it, to take a few years off, if we wanted to and not work, but that's not my style.

What we decided to do was I always wanted and thought it was cool to be an entrepreneur. I married into an entrepreneurial family. I just thought it was cool, but I had no plan. I started two companies at the same exact time. One was a products company, called Otium Outdoors. It was an outdoor software app company. Then I launched BBG, which was just my last name and business group, so Bedore Business Group.

[00:05:09] Hugh: Nice.

[00:05:09] Mickeli: We just called it BBG to be cool. What that did was officially help the people that while I was at that last corporation, it was a remote gig, so we could work from anywhere. I worked for the co-working space, which I am at today. Every business we've launched has been out of a co-working space, we love them. But I met people, entrepreneurs that I didn't know what that even meant.

I couldn't believe people could come up with an idea and then make money off of it. I know it sounds ridiculous now, but back then, my parents had the same job for 30 years. I had the same job for 12. We didn't think outside the box. Then I started meeting these people and I was like, "Man, these guys are-- wow," but none of them can market or sell their products. It was they could build them, code them. They could anything, but they couldn't sell it. I'm like, "Well, that's easy." I started to show them how while I was employed at this other place. Then I thought, "Well, man, I wonder if I could get paid for this?"

We started BBG literally. Then what happened there is, "Yes, we could get paid for it," but the problem was I built it all around me. I was the seller and the product, so we capped out. I can only take on three or four clients at a time. We started a podcast called-- sorry, a live event called Coffee & Closers that we meant it just to be me fielding questions from people that needed my help, but what happened was all these salespeople showed up when we announced it.

My now business partner, Garrio Harrison, decided, "Oh, what if we recorded this? No joke, what if we just recorded this?" That was the launch of Coffee & Closers. From that, we built a media company out of that. It's been four years running of the show. We've won a bunch of awards and had national guests, and it's been great, but the product itself and what we promote on the show is the sales system that I was teaching these people years and years ago. Bedore Business Group kind of went into the closet and came out Closers Media. ClosersMedia acquired Bedore Business Group. We brought in a partner and a great team. It was basically the podcast and content division of Closers. Then the sales training and sales system, consulting and so on, of Bedore Business Group is what Closers Media is now today.

[00:07:25] Hugh: Wow. Well, you know you've made it when you can acquire another one of your own companies, right? [laughs]

[00:07:31] Mickeli: Funny thing. I'm actually in the process of that right now with another thing, but yes. Well, when you learn how to do it, you got to learn how to do it. That was something I wanted to learn, we did it okay. We had a couple before but they didn't go so well, this one was pretty clean. The legal was expensive, but we learned how to do it and now that's what we do. [laughs]

[00:07:49] Hugh: Nice. Well, excellent, man. A good thing for everyone else to remember is, entrepreneurs while they are good and they have their ideas, it's difficult to do everything in a business because there's so much to a business. Having said that, I noticed a lot of your background before you started launching these businesses came from tech. Is there a specific reason you chose tech to sell for, or is it a skill of yours or was it not so intentional?

[00:08:18] Mickeli: No, I am the most non-techie guy ever. In fact, you had to walk me through how to download this recording software before this, which I think helped because I think people, they realize really quickly, "This guy doesn't know what the hell-- he genuinely believes this software can help me because he does not understand the complexities of it."

Now, the reason I chose technology is because it paid the most. That's the only reason. I was an entertainment agent right out of college in Manhattan. I racked up a ton of debt because I was hanging out with some of them, I don't know if there are any A-list celebrities. Some of them became more important down the road, but musicians and directors, and comedians. I was 20 something years old, coming from North Dakota. North Dakota and Manhattan, if you're familiar, that's quite a jump in a lot of different ways. I never understood-- I'd never had a credit card, so I got out there, I had to get one for the job and I just racked up a pile of credit card debt. Finally, I'm like, "Aye, I got to get out of here."

Then I went to Denver and got a gig with Verizon. Basically, I took the job because it was like I was looking at a couple opportunities. I asked some guys around and they're like, "If you're going to sell anything, sell technology. That's where the pay is." I was like, "Perfect." It could have been dirt cows. I could've been selling cows. I didn't care at the time. I was like, "I just got to get rid of this debt," because I didn't have any debt. I never had a credit card. My parents didn't have debt. We weren't debt-ridden. Now I was. I know this is quite not the sexy answer you're looking for.

[00:09:56] Hugh: It's good though, man. It's how life works.

[00:09:58] Mickeli: It paid the bills and then once you get good at something, then it becomes fun. I don't know if I was naturally the best salesperson ever, but I know this, I studied. I still study, I still practice, I still rehearse, I still script, I still do all those things. I've been doing this for my whole life. I always tell people when they go, "I don't know if we want to hire you to implement the sales system. I think our sellers got it." I'm like, "Are they all hitting quota?" "No." "How many are?" "Two." I'm like, "Oh, what do you know, that's like literally every company ever. The difference between the ones that have great sellers in the chasm of good to great is they have a system or they don't. We got a system that's worked for many, many years." It got me here, I guess. I always look at my corporate career and go "Well, it got me here. Thank you for that." [laughs]

[00:10:48] Hugh: Exactly. You need to not have debt to start a company, so that's good.

[00:10:54] Mickeli: Yes, if your P&L shows-- good luck getting a loan with 20,000 or what-- Back then, 20,000 was a lot for me, but I know a lot of people who have, unfortunately, a lot more debt than that. For me, at that time, in my twenties, that was a lot of money.

[00:11:06] Hugh 1: For sure. Transitioning from the tech background into that whole entrepreneurial game, before we dive into more of the sales and marketing expertise that you have, what was the first major learning curve issues you dealt with in that very first startup? What? Like thousands, right? [chuckles]

[00:11:30] Mickeli: No. Well, to be fair, and I want to do this politically. How do I do this in a nice way? It wasn't a good partnership. What I learned was, before you pick a partner, if you have to pick a partner, if you have to pick a partner, hear me, make sure that you're on the same page. You know what I mean? We had a guy, we were not on the same page. Again, it wasn't anyone's fault. I think what I learned there was, we just weren't on the same page. One of the guys and I, we were there to sell it, we were there to get it to a certain revenue point and sell it. To be fair, we were in Men's Journal, we went best of Gear Guide, we were in National Geographic for best of Gear Guide or whatever their version of that is.

We hit, it was like 300-- I'm being conservative, I think it was like 300%. It was some ridiculous number on one of the crowdsourcing pages. In all intents and purposes, we were doing really well; get a lot of press, we were kicking butt. Then we were positioned to be acquired by a major brand. I don't know if I can say it or not, I don't remember how long it has been. Anyway, a major label, we'll say. Then at the final hour, one of us had a change of heart, we'll just leave it at that. One of us had a change of heart, and then the deal didn't go through.

That still burns me. It could have been a decent exit, but that would have been my first hit at-bat. Hit a home run, your first at-bat, that is going to either turn you into an asshole or it's going to wreck you the next time. It's like pulling the lever at a casino and winning on the first deal. You just become an addict after that because you're like, "Oh, this is easy, I can do this." I found that wasn't the case. I wasn't a great entrepreneur for a period of time. It is what it is. It's all meant to be. That's probably what I would learn in the first one is, if you're going to do a partnership, make sure everyone's on the same page. Simple as that.

[00:13:35] Hugh: Yes, it's quite important.

[00:13:36] Mickeli: Make sure the ops agreement is tight and have good legal representation.

[00:13:45] Hugh: Oh, yes, that's something that I feel like most people overlook. They have all this idea, they have all the business side of things, and then they forget that the law is there. It's like, "Oh, yes, the most important thing." Good stuff. Speaking on more what you're doing now, I know you have a show, Coffee & Closers, as well as a few other shows, one of them being Cocktails & Closers. In the latter of the show you talk about how marketing organizations work against each other when they should really be doing the opposite. For all the startups and entrepreneurs out there, can you elaborate on this and tell us, what would be the benefit of working together with an opposing corporation or competitor?

[00:14:25] Mickeli: Yes. There's two things that people need to realize is that there is the marketing motion, and there's the sales motion, and they are two different disciplines. Marketing, their job is to build awareness. I am aware, I'm educated. I'm ready to learn more about said product. Then the salesperson is the guide for the rest of the buying process. They keep promises, they set the agenda, they set the tone. They hold both sides accountable. They answer questions. They guide the process. They're not the same.

They also are on the frontline of the nos. Marketing doesn't hear the nos, they just don't get likes, clicks. Sales, on a daily basis, is hearing the nos. What is the market saying no to? What is the market saying yes to? What part of our description of their pain and challenge are we correct on and what are we incorrect on? Our solution, does it pair with that? How doesn't it pair with that? So on and so forth. They're two different disciplines, so I always say, "Let us mash the two together."

If we're in a company with employees, they should be intertwined. If you are a founder, and you have a little team, and you have a marketing person, that marketing person should be on your sales calls. If you're a founder, by the way, and you're not selling your own product, you're trying to hire that out, shame on you, because it's going to take you twice as long and twice the budget to get to where you got to go.

You just got to buck up and sell your product for a while, because it's going to pay for that next hire versus taking a loan on it or venture money. It's also going to teach you or tell you what your product needs to d, where you need to tweak your messaging, where you need to tweak your offering, what you need to tell marketing. Those two disciplines should be in sync. In my opinion, they should be sitting together. They should be doing efforts together. Now, should marketing people be making cold calls? Absolutely not. Should salespeople be making brochures? No. Obviously, brochures, landing page or whatever you want to call it, I'm just high level.

Those things, no, but should they be working together and collaborating, sales providing the copy and the content? The information, I should say, and then marketing interpreting that and then doing what they do really well is build awareness around those pains, challenges, and solutions. I'm really heavy on that. When we come in, we always include the marketing people, not all of them, but maybe the marketing lead on our weekly team meetings, because it's important. They got to know what's up. It makes their job easier.

[00:17:15] Hugh: Yes, in addition to the sales lead, I'm assuming as well, yes.

[00:17:19] Mickeli: Oh, yes. Yes, yes, sorry. We'd have the marketing team. Generally, what we do is we implement our system and then we train our coach on it. We have a playbook of plays, part of our sales system, but not everyone sucks at everything. A lot of teams suck at one thing or two things. We just focus on making them suck less at that, we call it strengthening that muscle. Then generally, that opens the bottleneck up.

In some cases, if they're new, they're a brand new startup, then they do need a system because sales isn't-- Look at the best athletes in the world; the Tom Brady's, the Michael Jordan's, these guys-- I specifically did not bring up Lebron James there, by the way, if anyone's listening. I know Michael Jordan doesn't play basketball anymore. Anyway, the GOATs, if you will. They had a playbook. They had a coach. Hell, they had many coaches. They had their free-throw coach, they had their throwing-arm coach, I don't know. People think that salespeople just come in and wing it. That is ridiculous. That is a recipe for-- You want a system for failure, that's it.

[00:18:23] Hugh: In regards to how a founder should go about utilizing their time to sales via marketing, or both, how would you recommend, in the early stages, they do that?

[00:18:36] Mickeli: Understand that your buyer, in today's market, is a lot of times coming to the table with 75% already there. They've done the research, they've read information, maybe they've downloaded a free trial, I don't know, whatever. They're coming to the table fairly educated. It'd be insulting to start at the beginning with them. What I would say is, in the beginning, as much as people don't want to, you should be doing outbound as a seller. Outbound meaning you're reaching out, not inbound, which is they're beginning the buying funnel through the landing pages or through the website or whatever.

Doing outbound, trying to make friends with the right buyers, with the right people. By making friends, I mean that. I don't mean pitching them. I mean, "Hey, I love this. I heard you on this podcast and totally loved that podcast. You were fantastic. I thought we'd connect here and, by the way, there's this webinar or this event or this whatever, I want to invite you to it. I thought it'd be a fun place to meet and or just, I guess, just get to know you a little bit better."

Parallel though, marketing is helping you figure out who that right buyer might be, providing that information that you might want to send eventually, so on and so forth. Again, working in tandem. The seller's job is to build a relationship, then be the guide once those new friends decide, "Maybe I'm ready to be a customer." But keeping a very organic yet systematized way of staying on top of people, not in a mass marketing way, but in an individualized way, but doing it in buckets. Specific people in different states, industries, location, whatever. Those kinds of things. It is systematized. It can be automated, but not in a mass gross way where I know that you've automated this. You've no idea what's going on in Montana. You have no idea what's going on here, clearly. Then that will kill the deal.

That's the sellers-- What they should be focusing on. Then also from a marketing inbound standpoint, putting together the best educational process that you possibly can. It's not hard in those geographies, in those industries. Do a Google search, what's going on in the UK today? What's going on in this town, in Canterbury? What's going on in this town? What's going on here? Knowing what's up. Then, of course, what's going on in their industry, and what keeps a CIO up at night. Those are basic things we could do right now. If we had time, we could do that right now. We can find out what keeps a CIO up at night in the UK in the pharmaceutical or med device business industry. Easy. You see what I'm saying? Those two things in tandem, again, I think that's what makes a successful a revenue growth.

[00:21:33] Hugh: On that same line of being able to just Google people and all of that, it feels like we've gone from a large amount of business being conducted online to all business being conducted online. Has that changed your approach to closing sales or making business deals? How important do you think meeting face-to-face is still in this day?

[00:21:57] Mickeli: Funny thing. That's a great question and I didn't see that. You're really good at this, by the way.

[00:22:01] Hugh: Ah, cheers, man.

[00:22:02] Mickeli: It's funny that you said it because something I'm involved right now as a business broker was, we were hired on by this team to have us train their team. Now we're in talks where this might be an acquisition. We'll see. Through COVID, we developed a virtual selling system because we had to. We eat our own cooking. We had to redo everything. We did live events man. The last event we did that was live, we sold out a theater. We did a live Cocktail & Closers, and it sold out a theater. Imagine that.

[00:22:36] Hugh: What? That's crazy.

[00:22:38] Mickeli: It's a dream come true. Then three weeks later, oink. Three weeks later and 18 months after that, there was no-- So we had to figure it out like, "Oh my God. Our whole business model is now, zoink, it's gone." We had to figure out how to sell virtually, and then we thought, "I wonder if other people need to sell virtually?" Which obviously everyone did, and so we picked that up.

This business broker thing, the thing that they're attracted to is that, it can be-- They didn't think it could be done virtually, and I'm proving that it can because I'm not leaving Montana. That's one of the reasons we moved out here is to semi-retire and gypsy it up, and work when we feel like it. We are, and so I don't want to change that for anything. There's no amount of money that will ever pay that off. We can't buy that.

Back to your question. The biggest thing-- So, no. I don't think there has to be a face-to-face interaction, and I'll tell you why. In business brokering, you are either open, having your business acquired, or you are not. You are either in need for a new website. Well, that I guess can be great because you can convince someone by education or not. If I say, "Well, you don't have any of these-- " I'm going to bastardize this, but, I should’ve probably stuck with something I know, but all these pictures and stuff that I didn't--

Somebody just called me the other day and goes, "Hey, your website sucks. There's no SEO tagging, there's no this, there's no that, there's no that." I told them, "Why?" Then I hung up and I was like-- Not abruptly. We ended the conversation and I was like, "Man, I didn't know any of that." I called my team up. I'm like, "We might want to talk to this cat because did you know this?" I don't need to meet them. I don't need to meet them. They're just educating me on a problem I did not know that I had, but did a great job of doing so, I started thinking about it. I called my team and like, "Hey, we might want to fix this." Why would I have to meet with that person?

Same with this. I just had a call right before this with a gal down in Vegas. She's like, "I'm not really thinking about my business, but we'll see." I'm like, "Well, listen. Right now the capital gains tax is certain. We don't know what the future will hold. If you're at an age bracket where retirement's a couple years down the road, and I can get a 2X maybe, because it's A service business, so maybe 2X multiplier, would that be of interest?" "Yes, you know what." Then we had a conversation about it. Why would she need to meet me?

She's open to it. I know how to do my job. She hangs out and does her job until I find qualified buyers and she picks one, or she doesn't. She doesn't have to meet me for that interaction, I don't believe. There is nothing more personable than that. I guess the reason I'm bringing that up instead of using fictitious other examples is because your business is basically your baby of you've been doing it a while. If you can do that virtually, I think you can sell anything virtually.

[00:25:35] Hugh: Do you think that even though-- Obviously, you say these people are you calling you up before you do anything, would you say you have to comfortably at least have a Zoom call with someone before just-- Right? You have to at least see their face, or are you not even saying that?

[00:25:48] Mickeli: You should. I have yet to have to do that.

[00:25:50] Hugh: Yes. I hope so.

[00:25:51] Mickeli: I have yet to have a Zoom. Well, partly it's because the industries that I'm targeting, they're landscaping, they're in their trucks. I would prefer it because I'm on camera all day long, so I'm comfortable here. I'd like to see their face, but it hasn't happened yet. I'm trying to, I just can get anyone to do it. They're like, "No, I'm good with the phone." I'm like, "Okay, I guess."

[00:26:17] Hugh: That works for me.

[00:26:17] Mickeli: Never see you, I guess. I think that would be part of the process, and I'm trying to update that process, by the way. I just started doing this a few months ago. I started to do this so I can learn the process and finding efficiencies, so that I could help this agency, and who I'm now working with. Anyway, yes and no. Here's the thing.

If you're comfortable selling over email, and you're comfortable selling over Zoom, or in-person, over the phone, you should do that. It's like bloggers. I think I've written three blogs in my whole life, but I'll hop on camera and vlog, if you will, all day long because it's easy. I'm lazy. I don't want to have to think and write. I can just run my mouth and edit it out later, and that to me is more comfortable. I think people should sell the way it makes them most-- Sales is hard already. You don't want to go and do something that makes you uncomfortable on top of something that's very uncomfortable.

[00:27:20] Hugh: So true. Well, speaking about the site, your site that we had mentioned earlier, I had seen on there a quote and it said, "We believe when dreamers are able to create, without the worry of financial hardship, the world is a better place." I pulled that quote from your site. I absolutely love that quote, and I think it applies to more than just business. Can you elaborate on why, one, obviously that's an issue and it takes away from other business operations, but also why that quote was important to you and your site?

[00:27:50] Mickeli: Because that quote was inspired by the people that I was co-working with back in the day, that had corporate jobs and saw a problem that they could uniquely solve. They knew how to solve it, how to fix it, how to potentially change the world and come home happy to their family everyday. Kids, spouses, "Yes, daddy's home." Happy daddy hugs them versus stressed out 10-hour a day daddy who's bleeding the family savings account everyday because he's not bringing in enough money to support his vision, who ends up losing his ass, and then having to go back to that same crappy corporate job he had before. That daddy coming home is a mad, grumpy daddy.

You know what? That's the guy that cuts you off in traffic, and flips you off, and talks shit about you: oops, I'm sorry, I don’t know if I can sware on this, on Facebook, or whatever, whatever's the site. Then you see that in droves in our social media landscape. Miserable people just taking their misery out on other people. Now, the flip to that. At the beginning of this tale is a happy person, not a dad or mom. I'm not trying to be sexist here, but whatever. Let's just pick a dad. A dad that comes home or, let's say, a mom that comes home, and is fulfilled, stress-free, free of financial worry, and doing her God-given calling.

Now imagine the world full of those people. Imagine the world full of those people. Why would you even have a Twitter account? Do you know what I mean? You'd be out skipping, and jumping, and playing catch. I figure that's-- And I saw it. That's the problem is I saw it. I saw it with my own eyes, people draining their savings account, working 10-- Lights are flicking off, they're flipping them back on. Janitors are leaving, and they're still working. They're not making any money. I can't imagine what they go home and say to their kids, or their wives, or husbands, or whatever. You know what I mean? I just thought, "Well, if I can change this in my small, tiny corner of the world, then I can, so I should. You know what I mean? And we have, in some cases.

[00:30:08] Hugh: That's really good, man. That's really good and I absolutely love that. That's something that I hope most entrepreneurs aspire to do. It's definitely something that I want to do as my career progresses, but sticking with that whole visionary, almost ethical side of things, I feel like in this new age, in this new maybe generation, if you call it, people think of evil sales and maybe how not wanting to push and be the salesman or saleswoman. It gets a bad rap.

While, obviously, no sale means no money and it's wildly essential to the success of a business, shifting those sales into advertising your brand, do you see the way that advertising operates today changing in the future with companies electing to give back or advertising their brand through what they do helping communities around the world? On that same line of thought, do you think that that's a good strategy, for example, marketing instead of spending millions on the Superbowl commercial, using that millions to be spent helping the community and then that be your form of advertisement? Do you see any future in that?

[00:31:16] Mickeli: Well, yes/ They don't care what you do until they know that you care.

[00:31:22] Hugh: Customers that is or companies?

[00:31:24] Mickeli: Human beings. You and I are at the grocery store and I'm just minding my own business. You just walk up and you start annihilating me on kale and the value and the nutrients in kale, and I'm in the frozen pizza aisle. I'm like, "What is happening right now? I don't care. I'm sure it's healthy but I'm not a goat. I'm not going to eat that. I'm going to eat a frozen pizza, which is clearly full of cholesterol and terrible for me but that's what I want and I don't-- get away from me." You know what I mean?

[00:31:59] Hugh: 100%.

[00:32:00] Mickeli: Nobody cares what you do until they know that you care about them. How are you going to serve me? If I said, "Friend, we've never met. However, as a steward of this community, there is 45 grams of fat in that pizza and I'm not trying to shame you, I love pizza myself, but I just got done having a visit to my doctor. I had high blood pressure and as I'm eating this goat crap, kale, whatever, but I have some recipes I'd love to share with you. Maybe I'll share them with you and maybe you'll find kale to be not as bad as whatever but I just came from the doctor and this-- " This is a horrible example because I'm just trying to stick the landing with the grocery store example.

Just those two different approaches, it's like I care, so yes, people that are involved in their community, that's been our success, is showing that you care. The reason why I left big company ABC, this is me just roleplaying, is because I saw a disparity in low-income housing. I came from a technology company but I lived in this neighborhood and I saw this disparity. What we want to do is, the problem we're trying to solve is we want to bridge the gap.

The way we're going to bridge the gap is by offering little down or no down bridge mortgage, I'm sneaking in stuff, bridge mortgages to target those kind of folks. We're doing educational meetups every other week to bring those people in because we really think it's important to bridge the gap of this asset class because homes appreciate that equity can be leveraged and can get people out of impoverished situations. That's why we do what we do. You hear that and you're like, "Hell, yes. I could get behind that." I can get behind. I want to know more about that versus, "We're a mortgage company that lends people money at a high-interest rate."

[00:33:58] Hugh: Yes, 100%.

[00:33:59] Mickeli: There's a lot of you. You just fall into the, yes, spam bucket. You're like, "Great. Well, there's a million of that." That other story, I'm like, "That is really neat and I didn't know that about this neighborhood. I didn't know the percentages and I didn't know the impact of that house and the future of my children." I didn't know this and that and the other thing. That right there, if everyone in business approaches their business that way, like, "Here's why I do what I do," and that's the only eye that you have, you want to write a narrative where it's second person. It's you. It's your. You know what I mean? It's all about you. That's the way to do it. People talk about themselves and their history and about me. Who cares? What about me?

[00:34:47] Hugh: Exactly. Then do you think that that is a potential for companies to start gearing towards that in the future, that whole we give back mindset to get people more aware of their brand?

[00:35:00] Mickeli: Big companies are already doing it and they've been doing it for a while. I'm a foreigner myself so I can rip on this grouping of people. You know what I'm doing? You know what I'm doing? My show. My show. Awards. Awards. I did it at the beginning of this. You asked me about myself so I guess I had to tell you.

j[00:35:19] Hugh: Yes, and you're good.

[00:35:20] Mickeli: Even there, what's that all about? About me, about our history, this and that. I don't care. I don't care. If you sound like someone who can help me out, you've got third-party verification that you've had success helping someone like me out in the past, you're within industry standard as far as price point comes and I find that you follow up and that you keep your promises, I'm going to do business with you as long as you put me first and you educate me on why.

It isn't about your history or about you and your success. It's, "Hey, I have noticed that people like you that run media companies." I’ll just make the website thing up again. Rarely do they put this focus on their website but did you know a website that can produce this, that, and the other thing if it's tagged the right way? They can actually do the upfront sales for you, who can educate, can bring the buyer to you 75% ready? All you have to do is the thing that you're naturally good at. Did you know those things? No, I didn't. Did you know how Google ranks these things? I didn't.

Did you know that it could cost someone anywhere from here to there in regards to annual revenue? Do you feel like your revenue could go up? Yes, I think it could. Are you open to the possibility of me educating you on a few things we could do to produce, I believe, X amount of new revenue and new clients over the next six-month period? Would you be open to that? Yes, I would. I feel good about that. Some guy coming up and insulting my website and telling me that I should change it, it's like, "Cool. Thanks for the statement."

[00:36:52] Hugh: Thanks, a-hole. I'll go find someone else to do what you told me to do, right?

[00:36:58] Mickeli: Yes, or I wouldn't even do that because I care so little. Because I care so little. It's like, "Thanks for that. I'm going to hang up or click delete or whatever and I'm going to move on."

[00:37:11] Hugh: Sticking with the ethical side of things really quickly and the development of social media and internet in general, being able to find what you want to make a decision, what we were talking about earlier, has marketing evolved in the last 20 years and who are the essential pieces in that team from the development of just being able for the random customer to find everything they need to know about you?

[00:37:37] Mickeli: I would say an epic copywriter, copy is really important now. StoryBrand, sorry, with Donald Miller, is a great resource. That would answer this question better than I will but your question right before this ties into that. You know what I mean? There's a formula that's been developed. In my opinion, Donald Miller does it the best but there's probably others that brings up the why. Our purpose. Our reasoning. What we're here to tackle. What we're here to solve. Who we have helped well. Who we had success, and so on and so forth.

When it comes to marketing, having somebody that can extract that and communicate that in a very clear way is important but then also, somebody who understands the methodologies in which people prefer to be contacted, targeted. You know what I mean? Someone who understands that. Then a bridge person, in my opinion, that can straddle both lines of sales and marketing. That could be on the sales-side leadership that has that skill set. I've seen that more often than not. I've seen that more often than this but there could be that person in marketing that dips toe on the sales front.

The reason why I haven't seen that one as much is because sometimes if you haven't carried a bag or if you haven't been in the field, in the sales field, and I don't mean literally in a field with corn and stuff, I mean, sales field could be the arena. It could be virtual. It could be on-site. Anyway, someone who hasn't been in that position, because if you've sold, you know you've got your butt kicked. You've heard, "No."

One of the biggest skills in sales is hearing no as market intel, as market research, not as an insult, because they don't care enough to insult you. They just don't understand what you're saying. They don't understand how it applies to them because you haven't communicated in a way that makes any sense to them. That's your fault, not theirs. They don't care enough about you to insult you. They're not saying no to you. They're just saying no to just lack of information to make a sound decision on whether this is something they want to explore or not.

Marketing, to be able to back up sales in that fashion is important which is why I've seen the seller, sales leader belnd more into the marketing that way than the other way, but it can be done either way. Those three people, the person that can extract the story and create copy, the person that can put together a systematic order of how we educate the market, why we educate, what are themes in which we are going to do awareness campaigns, then that third person would be the person that can bridge the gap between sales and marketing, I think that's the roles. That latter, the last one, that's fairly new, where that's important.

One of the reasons why it's fairly new is because marketing is so heavy nowadays, messaging is so heavy, but also because we're doing hybrid selling nowadays. I could be wrong, I but don't know a lot of industries, maybe real estate and a few others, that you have to do it 100% on-site. Even that, they're doing virtual drone tours and stuff. Having that straddler I think is going to be important moving forward because a lot of us are all over the country working together and collaborating on revenue growth.

[00:41:05] Hugh: So true. That even ties back into what you were saying before about how not only do you need that person to bridge the gap but then it's so big and so much and so massive that you have no idea what's going on in Canterbury in England. Amazing insight. Dude, I appreciate this. I'm actually really excited for this next question considering that the listeners might not know, but there's been a week in between this last sentence that you just said and now.

Thankfully, my computer crashed, but not really. However, I usually ask this question and people don't really know it's coming, and they tie it into what we've been talking about the whole time, but because we've had this week break, I'm excited to see where you're going to go with this, and you've had a bit of a heads up for it. Could you give us one piece of advice that you've learned throughout all your life with the most wisdom? What would that piece of advice be?

[00:41:59] Mickeli: The heads up was about this morning from my little holiday.

[00:42:04] Hugh: Okay, maybe when you finally read it. [chuckles]

[00:42:05] Mickeli: As we go on holiday, I tend to unlink. I know that's hard to do for some people.

[00:42:10] Hugh: Oh, dude, I didn't know you were on holiday.

[00:42:11] Mickeli: We just got back yesterday. It was Thanksgiving here so we celebrate that.

[00:42:17] Hugh: Oh, yes. It's been terrible. I'm so sad that I just missed it. My family just calling me and stuff.

[00:42:23] Mickeli: It's just empty calories and bad football games, so you didn't miss much.

[00:42:28] Hugh: Yes, that's true.

[00:42:30] Mickeli: Here's what would be my advice, and I don't know how profound this is going to be, but I would say try it, do it, just make a move. What I mean by that is everything, like the person you want to ask out. Should I start a business? Should I buy my first property? Should I pull a HELOC out of this property? Should I refi and take that cash and start a dream business I've always wanted? Should I buy that camera and start a photography business? Should I start painting? Just do that.

This is my third life now, so the semi-retirement, travel deal, podca-- All that stuff, that's new to me. Prior to this, it was entrepreneurship. Scared the hell out of me. Prior to that, it was corporate America and buying real estate, which scared the hell out of me. All of these things-- When you do something once I've found, you learned from it and you do it better the next time, but you don't regret doing it. No one goes to the gym and says, "Ugh, I totally regret that workout," or, "Man, I wish I wouldn't have started that thing."

I've lost a lot of money starting businesses I shouldn't have. I tried to launch a software company, which we've just talked about how untechnical I am, which is why it didn't work out, literally just the software because I didn't know what I was doing. There's a lot of risk in it, but here's the thing, have you ever been to a funeral for anybody that ever said, "You know what, this guy was really the safest person I knew. They didn't try anything," and that's it, because that would be the end of the story. No, people pick and choose the thing that is the one thing that stood out to them about that person, and it's always something interesting. It's always something unique.

They've never written a movie or a book on the lead character being boring and doing nothing and watching TV and playing it safe, staying in ETFs, not learning anything about crypto. There's no story about that person. For those listening, that is the advice that I would give you. I'm sure you're like, "I've heard that before," but I'm being serious. I'm middle-aged and maybe you're not. You're thinking, "Well, I've got a good 20 years." No, that 20 years flies by.

Sometimes my back hurts a little bit, and I feel a little out of shape, but I still feel like I'm 20 years old mentally and mostly physically. It flies by, and all of a sudden, you've missed that whole mark of getting into whatever investment it could've been or whatever business growth it could've been. Then you become the could've been, would've been guy, and then you become the person that blames all those other people for taking gambles when you didn't and you regret it. That is a fact, and that hurts.

I have a lot of friends my age that have never taken a gamble, and now they're looking back going, "Okay, I'm at the halfway point." [chuckles] By halfway, hopefully, you're turning by the time you're 60, so it's really not halfway point. Then you go, "Well, I guess I'll just shine on for another 20 years," but then you're 60, and they're too old to have fun and take gambles and you can't afford to. That's going to be a Debbie Downer year.

I just look at the people that don't take risks as the biggest risk-takers of all. There's nothing more risky than not trying something new or trying something that scares you. Whatever it is, it never turns out bad. If it turns out bad, it's a learning lesson, and there's nothing wrong with that.

[00:46:02] Hugh: Exactly. That's exactly what I was going to say, is at the end of the day you learn from it and you grow from it, and that's what wisdom is. You know what I mean?

[00:46:08] Mickeli: That is what wisdom is.

[00:46:10] Hugh: That is what wisdom-- That's why nobody who is young has wisdom because they haven't failed and tried and done. Intelligence, yes, most definitely, but wisdom, wisdom is learned through being around and doing.

[00:46:23] Mickeli: The only thing I regret in my whole life is not doing a couple of things. One of them was I should have traveled abroad when I was in college. I've paid to travel abroad out the nose since but it could've been paid for. The reason I didn't is because I didn't study at all. I just partied and had a good time. I couldn't because my grades were too bad. Anyway, that's not a regret. I don't regret that though, so that's like a wash.

[00:46:50] Hugh: Exactly.

[00:46:50] Mickeli: I should've bought more houses in 2009. These are still things that I did do, I just didn't do it post tense being like, "Man, I wish I would've done that more." I don't regret anything I've done. I've done some stupid stuff, real stupid stuff, and it's cost me a lot. It's cost me some friends, it's cost me some time, but I don't regret it, not one thing that I've done. I do regret things I haven't done, not doing them.

[00:47:20] Hugh: Amazing advice. Amazing advice, so try and you'll find wisdom, people. That's what I got out of that., [chuckles] among a many other things. Mickeli, thank you so much for coming back on and wrapping this up with us. Where can people find you or Closers Media or get in contact with you?

[00:47:37] Mickeli: I'm pretty active on LinkedIn, so it's Mickeli Bedore on LinkedIn. You can look up mickelibedore.com, that'll give a spread on what I'm about. Then closersmedia.com is our website. We're all over the socials. Then once a month, we gather and do our own podcast called Coffee & Closers. It tends to be a good time. Those are the places I hang out throughout the month.

[00:48:02] Hugh: You have Cocktail & Closers too, right? Or is that not as-- Do you guys do that once a month as well or?

[00:48:07] Mickeli: We do our Money Minutes, so we do that weekly. We do our Coffee & Closers once a month. Then our Cocktails & Closers, we usually do quarterly for special events that we're going to end up-- It's usually around an event. The last time we had one, we had a band show up, and we had cocktails, especially the cocktails, and then we did a live show, but it was a little loose and super fun.

[00:48:31] Hugh: [chuckles] Well that's exciting. Cool, man. Well, thank you so much again. I really appreciate it. I'll put all that in the show notes for anyone who is interested. Yes, man, cheers.

[00:48:40] Mickeli: Cheers. Thanks for having me in the show.

[00:48:41] Hugh: Easy.

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That wraps up another episode of Thoughts of a Random Citizen. If you guys have a question for the podcast, head over to talkunited.com. It's in the show notes, and you can record a question. Feel free to email us if you don't want to record a question. On there you'll also find information about financial advice, travel tips and destinations, broad market analysis, and there's a whole heap of stuff on there for you guys. If you liked the show, please review, like, subscribe, share with a friend. It goes a long way.

As always, these are thoughts of a random citizen for citizens. There are experts that do come on the show, and I always do my best to research before each show. However, do your own research. This isn't advice, this is generalizations. There is your free disclaimer. Enjoy your week, and I'll talk to you next week on Thoughts of a Random Citizen. Cheers.

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