Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Jeff Tippett - Founder of Targeted Persuasion - Episode 1009

Howard: Hello everybody, this is Howard Fox from the SuccessInSight podcast. For my collaboration partner, Randy Ford, we are so happy to have you join us today for another podcast episode. And I am very excited to introduce you today to speaker, author, and entrepreneur, Jeff Tippett. Jeff, welcome to the Success Insight podcast.

Jeff: Howard, great to see you, thanks for inviting me to share with you today, I look forward to having a robust conversation.

Howard: I love it, and I have to say I love that energy, so you're going to be actually increasing my energy quotient as well. But I'm going to get through it, I know you are. Jeff, I really got excited when I was reading your bio and your background, I was thinking "Man, this guy does some interesting work." So for our audience, if you could just share a little bit about who Jeff Tippet is, and the work that you're doing.

Jeff: Absolutely. First of all, I'm a dad. I have three wonderful kids that I love and adore, so I'll start with that one. I own a public affairs and communications firm, so for us what that looks like is we work with the elected officials, the lobbyists, the media, and the general public to move policy prescriptions forward for our clients. And I spent about 10 to 15 percent of my time with that company, but then I spent the rest of my time speaking, doing the work surrounding speaking, and being on stage, and traveling the globe.

Howard: Excellent. We probably should have had my partner, Randy Ford, on because he's a former communications director for a congressman in Tennessee and he was the chief of staff, and you guys I think would have hit it off pretty well there from the political side of the house. So, from the politics aside to the being on stage, do you have a passion of ... Obviously being dad, that's got to be the number one passion; I'm glad you stated that was number one. As far as your profession is concerned, do you have a preference one versus the other? What really kind of gets your blood pumping?

Jeff: Well, I work very much in the same vein, whether I'm on client work doing strategy, or on the stage, and with me and my work is around this space. And my master's degree's in English, and I come from a communications background, I've been in PR marketing and advertising pretty much my entire life. And one of the things that I began to see in the field is, oftentimes, what we think our job is, is just to get information out to people. So that could be information to voters, it could be around a product or service of whatever; getting information out there.

Jeff: But I began to look at that and say, "That's really not enough." That's step one, sure we have to get information out there; that's the first part of this, but it's not just getting information out there. How do we persuade the people that we're communicating to, to take the steps that we want them to take? Which began this journey that, for me, a big part of like my 'Aha moment' came through adopting a baby from the country of Haiti during the time when it collapsed. But doing more than just communicating, more than just getting information out there; how do we get people to respond in the way that we would like for them to respond?

Howard: When we listen to media today, whether it's radio, internet, television, I hear people just talking and talking and talking; it doesn't seem like there's listening, and I actually question how much persuasion is actually going on. How do you change that dynamic so that people are listening and the persuasion is taking hold? What are your thoughts around that?

Jeff: Yeah, great question. For me, a big part of persuasion is what you just articulated; it's starting by listening. And oftentimes when people say, "Hey Jeff, what do you do for a living?" I'll say something like "I speak professionally." And they'll say, Oh, what do you speak about?" And I'll say "I speak on persuasive communication." And they'll come back and say "Oh, you teach people how to manipulate for a living?" And I just kind of laugh at it. It was a great conversation to discuss manipulation and persuasion, and they're both about moving people forward; there's about moving the ball, moving the needle, making things happen. But you cannot have persuasion without listening, it begins through listening to the other person.

Howard: What are the struggles that a client faces that you're working with. I mean, I imagine from your background on the political side and also speaking to other organizations, groups, associations from the stage and in their office, what are their biggest struggles that they have moving to communicating authentically, persuading authentically, and not coming across as manipulative?

Jeff: So let's just define these, take a look at this, we'll dissect them and then maybe we can move into and answer your question there. So the manipulation and persuasion, they're both about moving people, yes; however, they differ so much. In that manipulation is about moving, or controlling, or to influence a person but to do it cleverly, to do it unfairly. So what happens in manipulation is we're seeking to move people to a different place, but we're seeking to do that out of our own self-interest and our own benefit.

Jeff: Now let's contrast that with persuasion. Persuasion means this, it means to call someone to do something but to do it through reasoning or sound argument. And the word argument here isn't what we do around our tables at Thanksgiving and Christmas when we talk about politics and religion, the argument is the purest sense of the form of this word, where we are listening to the gaps, the need, the perspective of the other person. And then over time, as through sustained effort, especially after having provided sound reasoning, the other person comes to the same place.

Jeff: And I look for two magical words when I'm working with a client, or if I'm working with a speaker's bureau, or a meeting planner looking to hire me, I look for two magical words to know if I'm manipulated or if I'm persuaded. And, Howard, those two words are, 'That's right'. So here's what I mean by that, when I'm working with a potential client, and I've listened to them, I understand where the gaps are, where the problem is, what they need to have solved, and I bring solutions to the table, and they look back at me and they say, "Jeff, that's right, your company can fix this problem, your company can solve this." I know they want it just as much as I do.

Jeff: They don't want it as "I'm going to get a check on this." they want it for themselves. And the problem that I'm solving for them ... Now, I'll take it a step further, I actually believe persuasion is leadership, persuasion is seeing a better future, a better outcome, another way life could be for someone else, or for a company, or for business, and being able to help them understand that for themselves, and bringing them along in that journey is really about leadership to me.

Howard: Oh, I would definitely agree with that. I mean the leader has to have vision, and they have to be able to communicate, articulate that vision and ensure that the people that you're trying to lead, that there's ... I would advocate there's probably some type of consensus that has to be involved there. I mean, you can as another client of mine has said, "You can fuss and cuss and discuss, but at the end of the day, there needs to be a decision going forward, and a good leader is going to ensure that that effort happens." And so having a good conversation, getting to that 'That's right', is such a very important part of the leader's role that they're playing.

Howard: The work that you're doing in the various industries, I imagine they're different in terms of some have different challenges to kind of move to that position of persuading, of coming to a decision. Or does it run the gambit of different kinds of challenges or is there a challenge you see pretty regularly?

Jeff: I think-

Howard: When you're working with a client?

Jeff: I think the number one thing that I see regularly, Howard, is self-promotion and about making this about us. Businesses are excited about themselves; I understand that. Consultants are excited about themselves; I understand that I get all of that. But at the end of the day, this is never about us, ever; it's always about the other person. And to your point that you said earlier, exactly like building consensus and it has changed a lot in the workplace, and I think millennials have demanded even more change out of us. Where they really want to understand their role, their involvement, their personal, what they're taking personally out of this.

Jeff: So 100 percent agree, but I think that it's the biggest ... If there's one single thing that keeps coming up is people talking about themselves and making this about them and not putting. But if we can make that mindset shift, and move ... When I'm sitting on the stage, Howard, I'm not thinking about the check that I'm going to get, I'm not thinking about putting it in my bank account. What I'm thinking at that moment is "Can I see the light bulbs go off? Can I bring just a little bit of a change into a person's life? And if we change our mindset and make it about them, and not us, we all find success.

Howard: A friend of mine was just at Tony Robbins' "Unleash the Power Within". Have you ever been to a Tony Robbins event?

Jeff: I had not seen, I've some stuff online, but I've never been.

Howard: So you've never walked across a line of hot coals, have you?

Jeff: No (laughing).

Howard: So I think when you're on the stage and you're looking for the change in those people's lives, I mean I can see you're getting them to the point that they have the confidence to literally go walk down that line of coals, or across the path of broken glass. I'm curious, in the many clients that you work with, is there are success story where going in after you did your initial discovery session, and you figured out what it is they wanted to do, maybe you said to yourself, "This is going to be a tough one, but we're going to get it done." But is there a success that you can kind of speak to where this organization did a 180?

Jeff: So one of the most fun campaigns that I had an opportunity to work on was for the National Restaurant Association out of Washington DC, and it was through the state restaurant association. And a little background, in North Carolina prior to our work in this particular space, you could not buy an alcoholic beverage on Sunday mornings before noon. Alcohol sales is "Old Blue Laws", the thinking was you should be in church, this is about Jesus, you should not be thinking about alcohol at all until after 12:00.

Jeff: Now after 12:00, it was free for all, you can go buy, go do whatever you want to do, but not until 12:00. And that situation where I started getting a little traction and they came to me and said "Hey Jeff, what can we do with this campaign?" And it was a huge lift in that North Carolina has a lot of old religious bias. Not acknowledging there are people that go to church on Saturday nights or some people might go to an early morning search service, but there was this bias that was there. And we had a very narrow window to make the change that we needed to make.

Jeff: We called the campaign, "Free The Mimosa", and what happened with that ... So you chuckled, that's exactly what we wanted. We wanted a message that stuck with people, that was sticky, so they would get it. We didn't have time to do polling, I could not test messaging, nothing; I had a campaign up and running in four days. And we took a state that, for all of these years, had decried any type of alcohol on Sunday mornings, and we built a campaign around the user. The reason we call it Free The Mimosa, you couldn't have a Mimosa, we wanted to set it free, we wanted to give people the ability to get what it is that they wanted. All of our emails, all of our Facebook ads, everything that we did point to the users, and what it was that they wanted, the pain that they felt.

Jeff: Nobody likes being told "No." But being told "No." In a line at the grocery store or being told "No." At a restaurant is no fun. And it gave them a path, we made this all about them, and them getting what it was that they wanted. And, surprisingly to our client, we were victorious, we made it through all of all committees, we made it through the House, through the Senate, and to the Governor's desk to get that signed. But, again, it had to be about ... It wasn't about my client, it wasn't about what they wanted, it was about the users and these constituents and these voters and what they wanted.

Howard: Excellent story. And I imagine, maybe perhaps we'll get you on again to hear some more of those stories. And in the time we have left, I do want to acknowledge you are a two-time best selling author, and I know you've just recently released your second book. Can you share a little bit with our audience what those books are, and especially, the newest book?

Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. I'm so excited with the newest book because people are finding value, and they could pick the book up, it's a quick read, it's an easy read. And what I do in the book is this, Howard, I tell the story of the adoption, and I walk through everything that it takes to go from "Hello." To a new person to getting them to say "Yes."

Jeff: So I walk through messaging, I'll walk through the connection that you have to make with your audience, and then I walk through how you position, and then how you convince them to take the steps that you want them to take. We did land ... we're still a bestseller actually, 30 days into it, but we were in over 10 different categories. But again, the value here to the audience is helping people to understand how you go from "Hello." To have them to say "Yes." And giving a systematic approach to that. Now it's not cookie-cutter, we realize we're working with human beings, we have to test, we have to try things just to see what works. But it gives you all the theory behind moving them through to the position of "Yes."

Howard: Excellent, and the book is called Unleashing Your Superpower-

Jeff: Why Persuasive Communication Is The Only Force You Will Ever Need, it's available on Amazon.

Howard: Excellent. And I want to thank you for helping to seed my bookalism, my book and... I'm addicted to books, some of them. And then your second book, which was published a couple of years ago was Pixels Are Your New Ink, are the new ink.

Jeff: New ink.

Howard: So just-

Jeff: So the book around helping people to understand how to use the digital economy to be able to get their brand out there, to build their expertise, to attract new clients.

Howard: So excellent, two great books and hopefully our audience, I'm sure, will want to go out there and help keep them in the bestseller status. Now, before we bid adieu, I am interested in a couple things. Are there any stories or other insights that you'd like to share, from your perspective, as an entrepreneur, a speaker, an author, a professional in the art of persuasion that something that you feel they really need to know?

Jeff: Yeah, I often get this, especially as an entrepreneur of having started a couple of companies, I often get asked a similar question as this, I go, "What's your biggest takeaway?" Now that you're into this for a period of time, looking back what do you say? I'll tell you, I launched out, I was so afraid of moving out. I launched my company, Targeted Persuasion, on an even number year, in an election year to do political work in October before November election; that makes zero sense whatsoever as to why I would have done it that way. It worked out, but the first week of putting my shingle out, I signed a half dozen clients, and the first quarter of my company's existence, I signed my first international client, which is this little company out of California called Airbnb, and do that political work-

Howard: Wow.

Jeff: And public affairs work for them. But the point here is I was so afraid every single day on this journey. And the thing that I would encourage entrepreneurs, people that are launching out is to enjoy, enjoy what it is. It is going to be okay, it's going to be okay. And relax in that and enjoy even the uncertainty. I'm not exactly what tomorrow will bring. Look at that with awe and wonderment and amazement, instead of fear. And that's one thing that I have learned in this journey is to enjoy every single day. I don't know the outcome, and I feel like an entrepreneur, I wake up every single day unemployed. So, enjoy that journey and amazement at what could happen the next day.

Howard: That's excellent. And I think the best part about being an entrepreneur is we get to wake up, but we make a choice of what we want this day to be like. And I also love the fact, what you just shared about the fear, because I think fear can be good. Because if we don't have fear, then we don't really understand that we have to change, we have to adapt, we have to lean into the fear to make things happen, and that's so very important.

Howard: A couple of closing items before we leave, is I want to make sure our audience knows where to go and find you, how do they get to learn more about Jeff Tippett and the work that you're doing?

Jeff: Easiest way is through my website at jefftippett.com. And it's J-E-F-F-T-I-P-P-E-T-T. And I have Google Ads out with all kinds of misspellings of my name. So if you get anywhere close, don't worry about it, one of my ads will probably pop up and you can find me that way.

Howard: That's excellent. Another feature of our podcasts at the end, is we have a little ditty called Insight2Go. So, if there's a final insight that you would like to leave with our guests, it could be a book, an article, maybe a quote. What would you like to share as your Insight2Go today?

Jeff: So, skipping through all the details of the adoption, and let me just pick up at the very end when I make it through. We land, and I'm back in the airport there in Miami, and I'm holding this one-year-old, almost one-year-old little girl. Thinking my adoption was over, and I looked down at her and I started wondering what her life is going to be like. Will she be a doctor and heal people? Will she be a humanitarian and relieve suffering? Will she be a teacher and impact hundreds of students that could then impact thousands of lives?

Jeff: And while, Howard, of course, I couldn't answer any of those questions, what I did know at that moment was the work that I had done leading up to this adoption was just like tossing a pebble into a lake or to a pond, and now ripples are going to come from that. And her life ... She's going to touch so many people in her life that I would never even know. And the same thing for you, Howard, with your coaching, that as you coach, you help people grow their businesses.

Jeff: That means that they're going to be able to afford to tutor for their kids or hire an employee, and we're talking about changing lives beyond just the transactions, and I loved the transactions today, I love putting checks in the bank account; it's wonderful. But at the same time, I want my work to matter for something more than just this moment. I want to touch lives that then will touch other lives and then, together, we can make this place better.

Howard: That is a fantastic way to end this episode, and I wholeheartedly agree. I mean, we're in unique businesses, and we have the ability to make a difference. So there you have it folks, Jeff Tippett speaker, author, entrepreneur. Go out and check on the Amazon for his new book Unleashing Your Superpower: Why Persuasive Communication Is The Only Force You Will Ever Need. Visit his website at jefftippett.com. And, of course, always remember wherever you are, whatever you're doing, go out there and have a phenomenal day. For my business partner, Andy Ford, this is Howard Fox with Success Insight podcast. Take care.


Jeff Tippett is known to many as Mr. Persuasion. He is a subject matter expert on persuasive communications and is the Founder of Targeted Persuasion. Jeff speaks to international audiences through keynotes and seminars, in which he helps attendees increase their effectiveness, gives them powerful tools to reach their goals, and empowers attendees to positively impact and grow their organizations or businesses.  His second book, titled: Unleashing Your Superpower: Why Persuasive Communication Is The Only Force You Will Ever Need, is an Amazon #1 international bestseller. To learn more about Jeff and his work, he invites you to visit him at https://jefftippett.com.

The SuccessInSight Podcast is a production of Fox Coaching, Inc. and First Story Strategies.

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