The secret to becoming more effective. EP #162 - Den Lennie


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Today, Den raps about two things video business owners/freelancers can never hear too much about, namely, productivity and marketing. How good is this episode? Well, if Den packaged this audio and sold it for $1,000 dollars, it would still be a bargain! That's how good this episode is. But don't take my word for it (I'm just a copywriter), hear for yourself.  

But first...

Here's a sneak peek at what you'll hear:

  • The laughably simple (but powerful) "Can vs Should" productivity lesson. - 1:00
  • The one labor-intensive activity most video business owners stubbornly refuse to outsource. But those who do, NEVER go back to doing this activity. Hear the full scoop at 1:30
  • Quite possibly the best "productivity" maxim ever invented. Hear this beauty at 2:20
  • Need more clients? Fair enough. But whatever you do, don't go off chasing new clients without doing this first....  - 2:30
  • How to tap into the potential goldmine of business that's sitting right under your nose. (Best part: getting new business this way won't cost you one red cent! - 2:50)
  • Den's frighteningly effective email marketing strategy for landing new clients and igniting a riot of new cashBonus: Den gives you his exact email copy (script) right down to what to say in the subject line to ensure it gets opened. - Den could charge a pretty penny for this type of information, but for some reason, Den seems to spill the beans whenever he gets in front of a mic. If you're smart, you'll take full advantage of Den's almost over-the-top generosity. The crash course starts at 3:00)
  • A 2-second mindset "tweak" that can take you from being a lousy marketer to an outstanding one. All great marketers possess this mindset. Hear this at 5:20
  • How to do follow-up like a pro. - 6:30
  • A sneaky (and very effective) way to drum up referral work almost out of thin air! (Just follow the advice given at 7:30 and watch what happens.)
  • What NEVER to say to a past client when doing a follow-up. Sadly, this exactly what most business owners blurt out when speaking to a past client. (Saying this will have them wondering two things: (1) why did I agree to this conversation? and (2) How can I quickly end this conversation? - 9:25)
  • An "all but forgotten" marketing strategy that works even better than what it did in its heyday. (If you're looking for new business for your video business, you'd be crazy not to do this...  - 10:45)
  • The “A4” marketing secret most business owners are clueless about. - 12:35
  • How to use coffee beans to land new business. - 13:25
  • How to use an ordinary calendar to bring in new business. - 14:00
  • A hardly ever talked about way to shake the ol’ money tree. If you're not currently doing what Den mentions at 14:20, then you're leaving so much money on the table it's not even funny.
  • ridiculously effective marketing formula that's also caveman simple to implement, yet for some strange reason, people shy away from doing this. Go figure. - 17:30
  • Why using all the best marketing strategies in the world won't amount to a hill of beans if you don't have this one thing... - 18:00


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Episode Transcription

Den Lennie (3s):
Good day, guys! Den Lennie here, your host of the how to scale the video business podcast. Here with episode number 162. Today we are going to talk to you about how to become more effective. So if you are someone who struggles to achieve an effective outcomes on your work, perhaps you are busy all the time, but you're not getting the results you want. This will really, really help you want to be looking at what does that look like to be more effective? And how can you use some tools to, to become more effective?

Den Lennie (46s):
A lot of people can be at a very busy doing stuff. I think as creative as we are often very good at being busy, but busy doesn't necessarily mean affective. We can be busy. Do you know a lot of things that aren't necessarily helping us to achieve the outcomes we want. And of course you have to be very clear on what those that comes our way. So today we want to talk about a topic we've talked about before, which is the theory of highest and best use. And oftentimes what can happen is you can be very, very busy, especially when productions are happening. It doesn't necessarily mean we were being most effective. You know, if you are still shooting and editing everything that is not being effective, just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Den Lennie (1m 30s):
So you need to be really clear that any work you are doing as a kind of order of the company is either a revenue generating or something that can be at source to somebody else to allow you time to be more effective for on the parts of the business, which are revenue generating. Now a classic one is at people that do do all the editing themselves. It's a very labor intensive, and it's actually one of the easiest things to outsource because there's just dozens and dozens of editors kicking around, looking for work and onshore offshore, you name it. So, you know, there's probably a lot of stuff you were doing, which I would regard to be low level tasks. And you know, and so you want to make better decisions about how you manage those tasks.

Den Lennie (2m 16s):
Now the highest and best use concepts is really about identifying which of your clients in which you have, your activities that are taking part in are actually generating you the highest return in terms of leverage of your time. No, a lot of times he would ask me on how to get more clients, but it's actually much, much easier to sell more to existing clients than it is to find new ones, you know, new clients who you don't know, who don't know you, who don't yet trust you. So the question of God for you, and it was the last time you contacted your old clients are lapse clients. You know, clients that perhaps didn't become customers, but we prospects. You caught it for us, but the didn't convert or perhaps even someone right you use to work with.

Den Lennie (3m 4s):
And I've done it for a while. Now, I recommend doing this by phone, but if you really must do an e-mail, then I would say, you said something like this. Now the subject line should C I've got something for you dot, dot, dot, okay. You keep that nice intrigue there and the opener to get an open. And so you can say something like, Hey, dear Bob. And I was just going through my notes and then realize that it hadn't spoken to you in awhile. Since we last did that project back in February or January last year, how has the video going? What are you the response been like? I'd love to catch up and learn more about it.

Den Lennie (3m 47s):
We had just been working on some cool things and our business, and we are now focusing on a new business area and as the result of refining our offering and what that means for our clients like you. And so what I'm keen to do is have a chat to you to get some input from you. I'd love to catch up with you for a coffee sometime, and if you're not in the lockdown so that we can find out more about how things are going for you. Let me know when is a good time and I will set up a date and location of your choice. Thanks very much and your name. And it was a nice casual email. And just to kind of break the ice again, after perhaps a period of not to be talking to them. And that, that happens in business. Now it's a nice casual email, but I would follow up with a phone call as well to just say, Hey image a couple days ago, if you wanted to touch base and, and, and, and actually create a, create a sheet and Google docs and, and, and, and actually start tracking this or track the month that you're in the client that you are following up with.

Den Lennie (4m 44s):
And we knew what the last spent or the project was. And then when you follow it up and it was an email or a phone call, and what was the outcome, and then follow up again. And then we actually have this on the sheet as part of our business matrix in the, in the video business accelerator. But you can create your own sheet if, if you want to do that, the key is to track because most people don't follow up with clients. And if they do the follow up ones by email, that that tends to be all looked at the end of that. They were really happy with the work. They know where I am. They'll call me if they need me, but that's actually a really lazy way to get your business going. Because people to get, when you're at a site, you are out of mind.

Den Lennie (5m 27s):
And in some cases it can take a five to 10 contact with someone to get them over the line. So, you know, you want to be careful not to be kind of missing out and opportunities. And so we want to track who you are speaking to when you are speaking to them, what the response is. So let's, let's take an example. We can do this. This is kind of a completely wrong, for example, but let's say you've got a fictitious client, ABC boating. And the last time that ABC boating spent money, they spent $4,000 on a promo, a project, and it was a, it was a six day projects. And then it was in a January and then, you know, follow it up faster than the 3rd of March by the phone call. This is a check in, and at the time we were the client, client's being busy and can meet your call, but you don't stop their, you then follow up again with an email the same day saying, Hey, sorry, we couldn't catch it on the phone.

Den Lennie (6m 17s):
And it was just touching base and follow the template. I just mentioned before. And depending on that, the feedback you get, maybe it was like, they sent an email back saying, yeah, thanks. Great to hear from you yet. Right. You just, you know, and in the email, or you can say, look, if I get a hold of the next time, I'll drop you a line in another couple of weeks. And then you follow up again into a few weeks time. This time it was a foreign call to say, Hey, and I know we've been trying to catch each other. We'd love to catch up and see how things are going. So just really simple examples of trying to get someone into a meeting, be at a coffee or a zoom meeting is just a really simple example of a following up in a systemized way to your existing clients, because you know, that that is going to be something that most people aren't willing to do.

Den Lennie (7m 3s):
And in fact, you know, if something's takes eight to 12 contact with someone, even if they're an existing client to get them on the form, but when you do finally get them on the phone, most people have given up after the first contact. So you can simply say, look, there, there will be like, Oh my God, I know you've been trying to get ahold of me. Thanks so much. They'll feel like it, you really care. But when you contact lapse clients that are well, there are a couple of things. It can happen. You know, first of all, you catch up for a chit chat and they say, Hey, actually, look, we've got a project coming up in July or August. I'm at some point in the future. So, you know, you'll get some visibility of what might happen in the future. And then the second thing that happens is the chances are, they know other people are in this space that you are working in.

Den Lennie (7m 45s):
You could say, Hey, we are trying to expand our network. And, you know, I think they had a good experience with this last time. Would you have anyone in your network? You might be benefit from our services who you might be able to put us in touch with, and we'd really appreciate an introduction if you would be up for that. And we want to work with cool people like you. And we tend to find the introductions and referrals tend to be the best business. And it worked right away because if you had a good experience with us, they will get the benefit of that. It makes you look good. You know, you don't have to offer the money. You don't have to offer them gifts. If they had a great experience with you, then it's great business practice just to recommend good people to give people.

Den Lennie (8m 27s):
That's a really cool way of testing your relationship and also getting connected with existing clients and getting going through a phase of your other business. And you know, that that's really key. So it certainly, you know, when you are following up with a client as well, you know, absolutely ask questions, it's a huge, you don't need to push too hard. Just, just ask questions about how everything's going, how you can support them, what challenges they're facing in their business, what are the aspects of the business or causing them? Interesting challenge. What kind of things do they think about doing a lot in the new projects? Or is there anything that you'd want some help with, could have just done that kind of consulting creative basics and just to have some ideas around and, but, but never check in this is really important advice.

Den Lennie (9m 15s):
It's never just check in and say, Hey, I'm just wondering if you go to work for us, you know, because, because I've had that kind of thing happen that you got to be cool. You got to check in and say something like, Hey, just wanted to touch base. Have you been working in some really interesting stuff? I love to share it with you and also love to find out what you guys have been up to and see if there's anything that we can help you with or support you with. And, and oftentimes the biggest hurdle I see filmmakers facing is just the lack of confidence to just call clients or existing clients and see, how are you doing? You know, my clients, Caleb, from Hebron films, he did this right at the beginning of them first lockdown back in March last year. And he was like really anxious about it, but I gave him a script and I give him an approach and he called up clients and those clients have no coming back again and again and again, because he called them at a time when people are kind of hiding, people were sort of thinking, Oh, we want to know what to do.

Den Lennie (10m 8s):
It will just sit here and wait for this all blows over. And of course the other than blow it over, it really didn't know what if it didn't blow over quickly. And, and so reaching out to clients and asking them, how are they doing, you know, to just be human. And, and so, you know, w w would love for you to do is make a list of all of the clients that you haven't spoken to her in the last three or six months, and rather than wait for them to call you, I'd like you to get in touch with them. And if you do that and you get a good result, can you just tell me, email me Dan, at Den Lennie dot com, let me know how you get on, and here's some other ideas of how you can do this in quite a cool way. And you could write a letter, simply write an actual letter. You can take up about hand, write the persons name and hand, write the address on the envelope at a real stamp on it and sign it passively.

Den Lennie (10m 56s):
And you can just write a letter saying, Hey, I just wanted to check him. I thought I had sent you a letter because no one really does it anymore. And it was just thinking of the other day we hadn't spoke to in a while, and we haven't worked together for a while. So I thought, try and get your attention to the good old fashioned snail mail letter, and maybe, or maybe send a biscuit or a piece of chocolate or something funny in the mail, you know, sent it in a padded envelope, sending something chunky, you know, and if you know that you like chocolate biscuits, buy them a packet of chocolate biscuits and just say, Hey, I thought that said, you pack a chocolate biscuits. I love, I love to take you for a coffee sometime, you know, be imaginative. We are afterall creatives. We walk in as a creative industry. So to be creative in how you contact people, and you'd be surprised at the impact that that can have on your clients.

Den Lennie (11m 41s):
You know, we live in a very digital world. So anything you do that's non-digital will have a really dramatic impact because nobody else is doing it. You know, until last year I was still setting up a print newsletter, 12 page print newsletter. No, I kind of designed it and sent it digitally. There was nothing like getting an, a for an envelope through the door. And For for a long time, four and a half years, I sent that print newsletter out. And my printer even said to me, you know, Den, if we fold in the newsletter over it into an 85 on envelope, we could probably have the cost of shipping. But the fact is how many items have mailed you get to the post, which are a four and a size, but not many, not many at all.

Den Lennie (12m 27s):
So when you get an a, for a piece of mail, its like its unusual, it has impacted. And so when you open it up, you are much more likely to read it because it's something physical that you can touch. And you know, you can have a heavy quality paper that you could put in a folder or you can have it on your shelf. You've done that as a reference library and not many people do that. So I did that for a reason. It was to keep the attention of my customers. I was front and center because each month this a For envelope with the arrive on, on the, the, on the map. And the only reason I stopped doing it was because we took the business in a different direction.

Den Lennie (13m 9s):
We did it almost five years, have the print newsletter. And we kind of felt, we got to a point where we wanted to take things at a different direction to now we focused just on the Video business accelerator. That is our main business. Cause you have heard me mention a number of times the importance of solidifying your offer and just doing one thing. And so we have to take some kind of, you know, eat our own or on cheesecake and, and you know, you want to be keeping the attention of your customers and you want to be front and center. So you can just call them like get on the phone, touch base with them, ask them how they're doing. That is how I won 80% of my work when I was in production by just staying in, touch people, getting on the phone and saying, Hey, I haven't called you for awhile.

Den Lennie (13m 51s):
Did you find it? And getting together for lunch for a coffee. And during that conversation, you can find out what's going on. You can ask questions, you learn more about the pipeline of what's in that world. You'll be able to stop pre-planning your year. If you know a festival is happening in October than, you know, you don't have to worry about it for what for October. But you know, you got a gap in August and September and you know, January is going to be quiet. So you always want to be on the lookout to find that out as much as you can from clients about what's going on, it really will have a dramatic impact in how much work you get. And you're starting to see a big shift in your profits. If you just reach out and say hi to people, it is, is the most under utilized aspect of business.

Den Lennie (14m 35s):
And you know, business's all relationships I was able to create incredible relationships with Sony, with Vitalic, with the Zeiss over a number of years. I didn't just meet these people in and sort of say, Hey, you know you, no, I can make this bigger film for you. But you know, as I guess I was introduced to Michael Sheila in the sales director of the Zeiss, I'm going to be at 2012 at a trade show. Someone introduced me and said, you should meet this guy. We met and we became friendly. And then we started chatting and then I was just heading off, I think at that time to the unit of the great camera Shuto in Chicago with Nick Jones and the guys who was a kudo and Kessler and we are connected and I got chatting and over a period of months started walking out.

Den Lennie (15m 22s):
If there might be some that we could do together. And, and that relationship evolved into me becoming an ambassador for them for three years. I think it was. And then I just stopped doing shoot, I start shooting. So I sort of build out of that program because it wasn't actually in the space anymore. But you know, we ended up doing a fairly sizable corporate for them to help promote their Sydney zooms. And, and you know, Sonya is another one who we are after years of just helping people close. You know, that we forget the I'm a member of when Dan and I joined Sony. He, he didn't really know much about tech he'd come from a different industry. And one of the very first meetings I was introduced to them and we'd just spend some time talking about Gere and where things fit in to the ecosystem and then ended up becoming the manager For, you know, for marketing in Europe and had budgets of millions of dollars to spend on the end.

Den Lennie (16m 12s):
And, and I did a lot of work with them because I helped him out right at the beginning. And I think when, you know, your intent cancer is a lot more then technique Here if you just genuinely wanted to help people, then it will be, people will feel it. And some of those people will become customers in some of them weren't there are people listening to this podcast. You will never spend a cent with me and they're getting huge value from listening to this show. And I'm completely fine with it. You know, if you are getting value from this and you are implementing it and you're getting results, fantastic. I knew enough people will wants some help and that will keep my business, you know, in the shape I wanted to be in it. But I really want to encourage you to, to just actively go out and contact people and actually, you know, get, get really clear and form relationships, you know, think about my very first relationship.

Den Lennie (17m 7s):
I formed that most important relationship. It was a great mentor of mine called Jim Gilbreath. Who's is still a friend 30 years' on and Jim and his snacks. He can carry the same man. There were two guys on a crew in Edinburgh. He took me under your wing when I was 16. And I was very lucky and I knew I wanted to do so. My, my purpose in life has to become a camera man. And I got to meet these guys at our early in my career And and they help me out and we are still friends today. And if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be where I am today. It's as simple as that. And so, you know, I think getting very clear on relationships and being genuine, being someone who wants to actually help people. And this is where your purpose and your business becomes so clear.

Den Lennie (17m 49s):
You know, you've got to be doing something that you would actually do for free, that, that it just fills your cup. And I think for filmmakers, we are, and kind of people that they do love what we do. We kind of would do it for free. It's just the, you know, obviously that's not how life works. And so getting clear on the importance of relationships, like if you can follow amazing relationships and deliver a huge value to your audience on a regular basis, you will find yourself with more work than, you know, what to do with you will never, you will never be hungry, but I, but I can't emphasize enough how important it is for that intense to be right.

Den Lennie (18m 33s):
If you, if there's even a sniff of you looking around for work, it will, it will fall flat on its face. You have to go into these situations with a genuine feeling of, Hey, is there anything I can do to help you to support you? And are there any projects that you want a bit of insight or someone to bounce ideas off, we're here to help. That can be a very, very powerful method of generating business. 'cause if you go, if you deliver a value, the business will come. I promise you that this is exactly how it works. If you, if you are very clear on who you help, what you do, how you do it and, and you genuinely want to help people in the business will come.

Den Lennie (19m 18s):
I can't see it any simpler than that. And you know, I've been very fortunate. I filmed all over the world of what were some incredible people in my freelance, creative. It was all relationships, but it's the same and business. Nowadays. I form relationships with prospects through the Podcast a lot of people who will sit and listen to the podcast for months and sometimes years on end. And then one day just say, you know what? I fell. It was time too, to reach out and have a conversation about it. You know, taking the next step in my business and get, as far as I can go, I really want to kind of have a chat and that, and that is why that is what happens. And we would run ads, of course, and some people just come to us called and they're like, Oh, this is exactly what I need.

Den Lennie (19m 58s):
But the fact is the intent is to help people. And that is what we are all about here. So a guy's, that's just me and this week, I we'll talk to you again very soon. Thank you. You've been listening to the how to scale a video business podcast with your host, Den Lennie. If you are a video business owner, that's hit a ceiling and we benefit from mentorship support and coaching and check out how you can work with me over at Don't forget to subscribe and rate the shore over on iTunes. And we'd really appreciate you taking a few minutes to leave review, and don't forget to share it. If you feel you've gotten value from this episode and you think it would be useful for other filmmakers, you know, and please do me a massive favor and share it on social media and in groups that you might be in.

Den Lennie (20m 41s):
So, thanks for listening. See you in the next episode.



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