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Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Deal-Driven Growth

Deal-Making Like a Producer

From Broadway to broadcasting, Dean McFlicker’s unique trajectory gives him a one-of-a-kind perspective, as he combines his creative prowess with business acumen. Dean has produced for NBC, HBO, CNN, E! NewsDaily, Good Morning America and more. As you might imagine, he’s been involved with a lot of phenomenal shows! Dean helped launch countless hits as Senior Vice President of Promotional Programming at NBC as well.  Those include This Is Us, The Voice, America’s Got Talent, The Biggest Loser, Friday Night Lights, and all of NBC’s live musicals. What a resume! (And this is just a glimpse of the work he has done.) If you want to learn about deal-making like a producer, listen in now.

I always love talking with folks who are coming from creative backgrounds. They often offer a new perspective on deal-making. (Also, shout out to former guest Li Hayes for connecting Dean and I!)

The Curved Path to Success

Dean notes that, like most people, he’s been on a curving path to success. 

As his ambitions and opportunities have ebbed and flowed, he’s gotten to experience many elements of the performing and entertaining world. It all started, however, with Dean being what he described as a “ham”. He was one of those kids who just always loved to put on a good show!

Early on Dean would create a script, produce it, and sell tickets. He’d also round up all the neighbor kids to be performers. Apparently he’s always been a director and producer at heart! In addition, he did his own performing. From his backyard start he moved on to Hollywood, singing, dancing, and acting. (He was an original cast member in the Disney musical Newsies. Apparently it’s actually more popular now than it was when he did it!)

Although his early days were in front of the camera, he was eventually happy to make the move to being behind them. It was a slow transition, moving from choreography to directing and working his way up. Part of his success came from being open to many opportunities. Dean often said “yes” to joining new projects and trying new things, including being an assistant writer, director, and producer for various shows.

Early Deal-Making

Dean considers his early backyard theater productions to be his first deal-making experiences. From wrangling neighbor kids and getting them to do what he wanted them to do, including getting them to take on parts and show up for rehearsals, to getting supplies for sets and costumes, Dean was practicing his deal-making savvy early on.

So much of what Dean was doing in his backyard required him to bring together key people and form relationships. In fact, it required many of the same skills that would eventually make him an excellent creative director. 

Now, Dean notes that what he does is really the art of bringing together all of the different disciplines to make one cohesive entertainment package. That’s just like business, where you bring together many disciplines (budgeting, marketing, sales, HR) to move your business forward. For that reason, Dean thinks a good producer is a lot like a CEO, as both are responsible for bringing together all of the different elements of an organization.

The Art of the Creative Deal

Dean notes that deals are definitely an art, and they can come together in many different ways. For example, last year he produced the world’s first Minion’s Holiday Special. This brought together multiple large entities (Universal Pictures, Illumination Studios, and NBC Television). As you can imagine, with that many players involved, deal-making is automatically involved.

Now, Dean also has his own production company, McFlicker Media, where he also produces for businesses. After all, great story telling isn’t limited to entertainment. At the end of the day, it’s also the heart of marketing. When producing for businesses, marketing related deals might include bringing in the perfect celebrity endorsement, or involving the star salesman for a particular division and making them part of what’s happening.

As an example of another sort of marketing deal, Dean shared that when you’re watching a movie, you’ll often see many different “vanity cards” denoting various film and production companies. In exchange for what they’re offering behind the scenes of a film, they’ve made deals that guarantee they’re getting seen and acknowledged as well. All of those sorts of industry norms are based on deal-making, including alliances and endorsements.

Not Just Features and Benefits

Part of marketing and experiencing organic growth revolves around telling the story. It’s not enough to just list features and benefits and expect to make a sale, or to close on a deal. 

Dean says that he sees the act of storytelling in a business capacity as being another form of producing. In business, as in life, you get to produce the story that you want to see unfold. Much like in the movies, this can be done really well, to great success….or really poorly, for a complete flop.

A natural fit that matches the product and audience while tapping into something true and relatable is the most powerful way to experience organic success. When you do this right, you’re able to build meaningful relationships. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I strongly believe in relationships as being an integral part of deal-making!

We are Conscious Creators

Although there are things that happen outside of our control, I very much believe that we are conscious creators in our own lives. We have an exceptional amount of power to consciously create in our own lives.

About 10 years ago I was at a business event and one of the sessions I went to was about living your ideal life now. It was encouragement to stop working so hard now and putting off all these things we are going to enjoy till “later”. Instead, we can find a way to create and live our ideal life now. That was a huge mentality shift for me, and it’s altered my life over the last decade.

Dean’s TED talk, How to Get What you Want: The Producer’s Perspective is very similar! In it, he shares that you can consciously take charge of opportunities and make decisions that allow you to create your best life and business now. One way that Dean does this is by using the narrative perspective, as well as other key film and television points that can be helpful in any situation.

(Listen in for two of his top tips now; you’ll find them around minute 20!)

Integrity is Key

One important note on using narrative and story is that they must be real and authentic. Anyone can create a story….but if that story is used to fool or deceive someone into making a decision or entering into a deal, they won’t want to work with you again.

As he’s moved into working with more corporate clients, Dean has found that assisting them in creating truthful, compelling stories has been a key part of his work with them. In order to have customers return again and again, they need to know that you’re being honest.

If it comes to light that the story you told was really just a story, and that it doesn’t align with the sort of culture or values that you had been presenting, you’re going to have problems! Whether that means losing customers or seeing a deal slip through your fingers, you’ll definitely experience fallout.

Dean has such an amazing background, and his episode is so interesting!

Listen in to the full show to learn more about his work in advertising, and the tips he has for using deals to decrease overhead and uplevel opportunities.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

Categories
Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Emotional Intelligence & Deal-Making

Dr. Patricia (Pat) Baxter is a corporate veteran and femtrepreneur, as well as an award-winning, certified emotional intelligence (EI) coach. She’s also a professional NSA speaker and recognized workshop/retreat leader. Dr. Pat equips women leaders to lead boldly and intelligently. This is done using the undeniable power of emotions. She works with women leaders at all levels who want to use emotional intelligence to build stronger, SMARTER work environments and connections that more fully engage their teams, partners and clients.

With 25+ years of corporate/entrepreneurial knowledge and know-how, a doctorate in business leadership, and multiple published books, Dr. Pat is a deal-making force to be reckoned with!

Early Career Aspirations

Early on, Pat knew she wanted to be rich. Beyond that, she wasn’t quite sure what direction her career would take her!

She did remember an uncle who lived with her family when she was young who. He frequently told her she was too emotional and cautioned her to calm down. At the time, she found it frustrating. Having learned so much more about emotional intelligence now, however, she looks back and laughs. She realized that, in some ways, he was right. Calming down truly does make a difference!

As she has continued to learn more about the brain, emotional intelligence, and human responses, Pat has continued to grow her ability to help others use the power of emotion to lead well.

The earliest deal-related exchange that Pat remembered was related to helpfulness. She realized that, by engaging in chores and doing things that were being asked of her, she could alleviate stress from others. In doing so, she positioned herself to take advantage of the implicit trade-offs present in taking care of business. Even as a kid, she could see the benefits of being viewed favorably by others and building relationships before it came time to make an “ask” at the proverbial deal-making table.

Emotional Intelligence and Deal-Making

When making deals, Pat notes that emotional intelligence practice and awareness is very useful. She’s realized that she’s able to quickly tap into the other person or business’s interests, and to understand what they may be seeking.

Another useful skill? Picking up on the language being used and incorporating that into how you’re communicating. However, she notes that the key to this working is to ensure that you understand the full meaning of that language!

Pat encourages deep listening, which includes watching expressions and body language in addition to listening to words. It also requires that you manage yourself! You should know how your own tone sounds, and be aware of what you’re communicating with your own body language. After all, communication is a two-way street.

True deal-makers need to do the hard inner work of knowing why we react the way we do, why we think the way we do, and how our own tendencies may impact our deal-making success. This sort of self-knowledge can also prevent us from sabotaging our own deals.

Mission Critical Skills

  1. Self-Awareness

Headed to the deal-making table? It’s essential that you have enough awareness to know what you actually want. You also need to know how you come off.

2. Self-Management

You have triggers that may derail you, spiral you into limiting beliefs, or cause you to shut down or lash out. We all do. It’s your responsibility to know what yours are and learn to manage them in order to best equip yourself for deal-making success, no matter what comes up.

3. Empathy

Empathy opens the door to understanding both others and ourselves. It is what allows us to express ourselves with vulnerability and to make connections that make powerful deals possible.

Why Deals Die

After years of making deals, I’ve found firsthand that personal client triggers can be a major reason deals die. The sensation of immediate dislike, distaste, or frustration that can rise up within us when we encounter certain triggers are powerful deal-making hurdles, even if there is nothing explicitly wrong with the deal’s terms or logistics. 

Deals die when we cannot overcome these triggers.

Even if you’re technically “in the right” or your frustration is legitimate, you can choose to manage yourself and your emotions if you’d like to close on the deal you’re making.

The reality is, our behavior is guided by all sorts of deep, unseen emotional triggers and responses. Often, these triggers come from the most unexpected things, which means that our own lack of awareness can cause us to cycle into unintended responses without even realizing it’s happening. 

In fact, Pat shares that our emotional triggers actually set off a chemical reaction in the brain. This can trigger fight or flight responses, which can take over our more rational responses. Once we learn to realize that this is happening, and that we’re feeling out of control, we can learn to create more space for ourselves and to respond in a way that will enable us to pursue the outcomes we’re desiring, even if we encounter an unexpected trigger.

Listen in to learn more about Pat’s tips for handling triggers!

Raising Your Awareness

Pat recommends that being aware of your body can help you begin to more easily recognize your own triggers. From sweaty palms to a lurching stomach, tingling ears to a foot that won’t stop tapping, you absolutely get physical clues about what’s going on emotionally. Learning to be more aware of what’s happening in your body when you’re getting triggered can help you  begin to prepare for the self-management aspect of being triggered.

Obviously we can see that being over-reactive can blow a deal. However, how emotional triggers can also cause us to go through with deals that we shouldn’t have gone through with.

Pat notes that our bodies give us signals about bad situations as well. Learning to watch our bodies, to get in tune with what they’re telling us, and to respond with compassion and intelligence can help us avoid going off the rails in either direction.

People who find themselves in an “endless loop” of failing or not getting what they want often have something, somewhere “disconnected”. At some point, it’s time to hold up the mirror and start to examine what internal work can be done to help you break through and begin to reach the next level. This is especially important for deal-making!

To learn more about the specific tools I use to get myself back into the right place, and to learn about Pat’s suggestions, listen to the full episode here.

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker. He is deeply passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Conversations About Difference Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

HR Insider Knowledge


Ashley Paré
is a Leadership Coach, Negotiation Advocate, TEDx Speaker, and HR Change Maker. She holds a vast reserve of HR Insider Knowledge that she’s gathered over her career. She’s also the CEO & Founder of Own Your Worth, an organization dedicated to breaking glass ceilings. Her signature leadership program, The Activator®, takes clients on a journey within to uncover the hidden blocks that are holding them back from stepping into their power. This is so they can take action to negotiate the career, business, and life of their dreams!

You may have seen her on Good Morning America, TEDx, New York Times, CNN, and more!

Early HR Ambitions?

When she was younger, Ashley wanted to be an author, psychologist, and live in London. (Looking back, she feels like her HR work was a little like being a psychologist!)

The first deal that stands out to her was her first post-college job. At the time, she didn’t know the “rules” of applying for jobs. She did know she needed to be able to make enough to afford housing and student loans, and when she got offered $15 an hour she countered with $16. (They met her in the middle with $15.50!)

That early success enhanced her confidence and showed her that it was possible to ask for more! However, that was a lesson she’d have to continue to learn how to activate as her career continued to grow. Ashley has seen that many women have a similar need to learn how to speak up and negotiate for what they desire. 

[Note: Ashley specifically works with women, and we focus on women’s issues in this interview. I do want to be clear that we both recognize that “women” are not one monolithic group, and that each person is unique and faces unique challenges. In addition, not all humans identify on a binary spectrum. No matter who you are, I think you can find some gems in this episode!}

Avoiding Your Own Core Truth

Many times young girls have no problem asking for a bigger slice of cake, so to speak. As they get older, however, they often stop.

Some of that may be connected to socialization, which often encourages women to be people pleasers, or to play the “good girl” role. Ashley believes that it goes even deeper, however. Somewhere on the journey, many women begin to lose their sense of self. We abandon our truths to ensure that we are liked and to avoid potential negative consequences.

Because speaking up for ourselves can lead to negative responses….we have a tendency to stop. Our sense of worthiness and self becomes dependent upon external validation, which is never fulfilling in the long run. If we don’t build our own sense of self through self-awareness, of course our inner confidence takes a hit!

This can lead women to retreat into their “shell”. It doesn’t have to, however! By digging deeper, women can tap into their core truth and own their value and their voice. 

In my own work, I see how being disconnected from your own core truth and value significantly impacts your ability to be a deal maker.

HR Insider Knowledge

As a former HR leader and business partner, Ashley had access to salary data, leaders, policies, and the best training. Yet, she still struggled to grow her career. She realized she had stopped self-advocating out of fear of what others would think of her, and focused so much on proving herself until she finally burned out. 

She realized that having the tools to navigate a corporate career is important, but what matters most is having the confidence to speak up and use them. Now she’s dedicated her career to sharing her HR insider knowledge to help clients define and articulate their value and effectively ask for what they want. 

Ashley notes that, in her experience, a vast number of companies prefer to be seen and experienced and flexible and open, especially to incoming candidates! When they offer you a position and potential salary, it’s often expected that you may counter with areas that matter to you. In fact, it might even be encouraged! Negotiating should never be seen as problematic.

The worst thing that can happen is they’ll turn you down; that’s okay! Even if you don’t get everything you asked for, it’s likely you’ll learn more about what your options are and where there may be flexibility within the company. That’s a good thing! 

Confidence in Negotiating

Ashley notes that she offers a variety of packages and rates for clientele. As an early business owner, she was apt to negotiate with clients over those rates. Now, however, she rarely does. She is well established, she owns the proven value she has consistently created over the years, and she sets her rates annually.

When she first started as a speaker, her contracts with larger companies and organizations were more likely to involve negotiating. Now, however, she’s found that she has not only raised her rates, but she’s also started getting more “yes’s”. Her ownership of who she is and what she does, and her confidence in communication, has decreased the amount of negotiating involved in getting the rates she desired.

We both see this phenomenon happening for many of the people we work with and around in our careers. Those who own their value and communicate it with confidence are able to command better rates, broker better deals, and have more success at the deal-making table.

Listen in here for the full interview!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal-Ready Assessment today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Pitching Deals As Your Authentic Self

Have you ever met the full-figured diva who has taken the business world by storm and won BIG? Well now you have! Precious L. Williams, also affectionately known as the #KillerPitchMaster, can help you #slayallcompetition. She does so with her “killer” elevator pitches, media pitches, and investor pitches. I’m really excited to share our conversation, especially as it pertains to pitching deals as your authentic self.

Who is Precious Williams?

As a child, Precious wanted to be a talk show host. Even then she knew that her future was going to include using her voice and commanding the attention of an audience. She could not have been more right!

Today, Precious is a world class master communicator. She works with successful entrepreneurs and speakers around the world. Her main role is to help them take their professional pitching and speaking skills to the next level. Williams has over 25 years of experience in creating unique speaking and public speaking techniques. In addition, she is known for her innovative training programs and services to her clients. This includes sales teams at Fortune 100 companies, including Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, eBay, and more.

Prior to her rise, she shares that her first real deal was getting her job back. She had been fired from a grocery store, and she went back and laid out the reasons she should be rehired. (Once she got it back, she realized she didn’t want it anymore and resigned!)

Pitching Deals For Sport

As a 13-time national business elevator pitch champion, Williams has been on top television shows and publications. She’s widely known for her pitching, branding, and professional speaking skills. Here in the US she has been featured on Season 8 of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” Forbes Magazine, CNN, ABC, MSNBC, Wall Street Journal, and the movie “LEAP,”. She’s also been featured in other outlets around the world. Precious is also the author of a #1 bestselling business book and has been featured on top podcasts and stages globally.

The philosophy of her “killer” pitch is evident in the strategic and personalized creative communications and presentations solutions Williams puts forth. She is a quintessential serial entrepreneur, international professional speaker, and corporate trainer. As such, Williams is equipped to bring life, authenticity, strategy, and boldness to all your oral and written communication needs. Her ability to pitch herself, and to help others pitch themselves, has been a key element of her success!

The Shark Tank Experience

By the time Precious made it to Shark Tank, she had already coached multiple clients on their own presentations. She felt like the best kept secret. Getting her own chance to pitch a business she cared deeply about was an exhilarating experience.

She listened to her music, then said GAME ON. Walking down that hall, seeing the doors open, and facing the Sharks was like nothing else. Precious shares that she felt spellbound during her experience. At the end Mark Cuban said “You are a master at your craft.” Every question they asked, she had an answer for. During our interview, she shared multiple times that she felt she had been born for that moment.

Regardless of all the prior feedback Precious had received about how her gender, race, and background were going to prevent her from success, she rose to the occasion. Not only that, but she blew it out of the water. Most impressively, she wasn’t even there for a deal! She was there to prove that it could be done. If you’ve seen her episode, you know she achieved her goal.

Benefits of Pitching (Thinking Beyond the Deal)

Precious shares that her first ever pitch was getting onto the Your Business with JJ Ramberg show. At the time, she didn’t even consciously know she was pitching. Her second ever pitch was on the elevator segment of the show. It resulted in a $500,000 win! She had been told it could never happen for her, but it did.

Too many people think about the money first and foremost when they pitch. Precious shares that you need to think beyond that. Consider who else is in the room. Possible partners, mentors, collaborators, or future investors are all around you. You’re constantly making connections and contacts. Pay attention to who else is in the room!

Because of these secondary opportunities, you can think of pitching itself as a gift. Regardless of the immediate outcome, just the chance itself to pitch as the ability to create traction and transformation in your business.

As a business person, you never know who you’ll be sitting next to on a plane, in a restaurant, or anywhere else. You should be able to share what your business is, what pain points it addresses, and how people can get involved in a succinct and compelling way. Too many people can’t do that! Your elevator pitch shouldn’t be dry and boring. You should be sharing about your business with passion and intensity.

What is going to let your listeners know that YOU are the right person for them to work with and invest in? Share that!

Change Your Language and Change the Game

When Precious pitched her lingerie company, she didn’t get up and say “Here’s lingerie for plus sized women.” Why? No one cares. That’s not interesting or compelling. Instead, she changed the language to make it compelling. You have the power to consider each and every word you use to present your product or company. Choose powerful options!

For Curvy Girls Lingerie, she pitched the company as being “The ultimate shopping experience for full figured divas and plus sized fashionistas!” People wanted to know more about these women, this market, the product. It didn’t feel boring, it felt exciting. It also helped her tap into a market of over 30 million women who are size 14 or larger who want to wear beautiful undergarments.

In addition to your language, you need to think about your mindset. Do YOU believe in this product? Can you prove that you are behind your product 100%? Can you show up and bring your pitch with passion and intensity time and time again? If not, why would anyone else be interested? You owe it to yourself and your dream to pitch with passion every time.

Pitching With Passion

Precious believes that part of her purpose here on earth is to use the power of language to pitch your brilliance and passion. For anyone who has been told that they can’t because of some perceived stereotype or barrier, she is here to say that you can.

There is a brilliance inside of you that deserves to be seen. Precious loves to come alongside these people and kick through doors together. How? It’s all done with the power of the pitch!

Wan to learn more about the power of pitching? Interested in an example of how to break-through implicit bias within the deal making industry? Listen in to the full episode here!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

Categories
Authentic Business Relationships Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Deal-Driven Growth

Stand Out, Get Noticed, and Make Better Deals

Jesse Cole is the owner of Savannah Bananas, founder of Fans First Entertainment, author of Find Your Yellow Tux, and a keynote speaker. He’s a huge believer in helping businesses stand out, as he uses the power of being different as a way to gain leverage and make deals!

Using Experience to Stand Out (and Sell Out Stadiums)

In lower level baseball, it’s not unusual to see empty seats in the stands…unless you’re at a home game for the Savannah Bananas. As a college summer team, they have reason to NOT sell out. However, Jesse is known for having a team that sells out constantly. They do deals, create promotions, and find ways to stand out, get seen, and sell tickets all the time!

In fact, they’ve sold out every single game for the last two seasons, and have thousands of fans on their waiting list.

He shares that they built a brand that has transcended past Savannah, having received global attention. People are tuning into their games, and eagerly watching what they do. Jesse sees it as a crazy brand story connected to building something with a very clear purpose. His vision was to change the game of baseball, and to do it by putting fans first and entertaining always.

Goal: To give fans the most fun they have ever had at a baseball game.

This includes a professional high fiver, a role that Jesse held auditions for (hear more about that on the full episode)! It also points to how necessary it is to invest in experience. It’s not “just” a baseball game; it’s a full blown experience, from beginning to end.

A GM with $268 in the Bank

Jesse’s first General Manager position in baseball had a salary of $27,000, and placed him as the GM of the worst team in the league. He got the offer with no experience, because no one else wanted the position. Since he was an unpaid intern at the time, what did he have to lose? So, he went for it.

His first week in, he realized there were three full time employees…and $268 in the team’s bank account. For the first three months on the job, he wasn’t able to pay himself.

But he saw potential, and he made a deal:

If he could hit a ridiculously high revenue and fan goal, he wanted a $2,500 bonus. He got a joking “yes”, and proceeded to double revenue and triple the fan base. How? Well, he shares that they started being dramatically different. They focused on the fun, and the entertainment aspects of the game. They had dancing players, and grandma beauty pageants.

The next year, the owner came to his office to say that He’d never seen anything like it. Jesse attributed it to being empowered to making changes and doing whatever he thought needed to be done. He believed in the power of standing out and getting noticed, and he leveraged that power to transform his team.

The Power of Ownership

Jesse believes that being empowered to make decisions, make deals, and even name his own salary is what equipped him to be successful. Today, he feels that giving people ownership is the most powerful way to increase success.

Big questions he asks himself in terms of creating sustainable growth:

How do I empower others to make their own deals?

How do I give opportunity to all my employees?

One way he practices empowerment is by profit sharing with his employees. It’s a way of giving everyone ownership within the organization, which uplevels their personal investment and agency.

He also believes in his dreams and goals, and he demonstrates what it is to be ALL IN.

In fact, when the Savannah Bananas were getting started, they ran out of money early on. Jesse and his wife made the choice to fund the team by selling their own house; they believed so firmly in their ability to succeed that they literally put in everything they had.

They also brokered deals on many fronts. From their stadium lease, to an expensive expansion deal, they looked for ways to build their audience, engage with their community, and create a foundation for success.

One important aspect of these deals was to consider their community impact. Short term dollars could not override long term community concerns and needs. Using the concept of Fans First, Entertainment Always, Jesse ensured that every deal made had a positive impact on their fans. It’s a core part of what they do, and he stands by it 100%.

The promise you make to your people and your fans with your brand is vital.

Jesse understands that fans don’t want ads – so their stadium doesn’t have them. They gave up hundreds of thousands of dollars and potential income in order to stand behind their mission – Fans First. Their tickets are all inclusive, because fans aren’t served by being nickel and dimed every time they come to a game.

It’s a philosophy of caring for customers that goes far beyond lip service, and it impacts every deal that Jesse makes with his entertainment company and ball team.

Lessons on Pivoting

Jesse shares that when they tried to do what everyone else was doing, they got the results everyone else got. Now, he believes in doing the exact opposite.

At their start, the team didn’t have many resources. There was no massive budget for marketing. So instead of having a marketing plan and throwing dollars into ad spend, they looked for ways to garner attention.

To this day, Jesse encourages people to stop creating “marketing” plans, and start creating “attention” plans. Think about what a reporter would find compelling. Think about your fans most desire. Create experiences. Experiment to see what works, what draws your audience, and what gets people attention.

To tie in baseball metaphor: the player with the most hits in MLB history is also the player who had the most at bats.

If you’re a business that is constantly “planning” and never actually swings…you don’t have enough at bats to achieve extraordinary success.

Identify your core vision, then find ways to take action. Have a brainstorming session with your team, but then go out and DO something about. How many experiments can you do this week? This month? This year?

How can you release the need for everything to be perfected and polished, and instead choose to fail forward fast?

Jesse brings so much energy to this interview, and he dives deep on culture and growth as well! Listen to the full episode to learn more!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!

Categories
Authentic Deal-Making Authentic Leadership Authentic Negotiating Deal-Driven Growth

Create the Synergy for Optimal Deals

I am so excited to have Marc Gordon’s interview going live this week. He’s a Customer Experience Expert out of Toronto, Canada, and is an internationally recognized thought leader in the field of customer experience. In our interview, we had a chance to discuss what it takes for two companies to create synergy. This is essential for there to be a positive outcome for buyouts or partnership opportunities. We also dig into the importance of integrating the culture of a business post-merger and post-deal. After all, you can have the greatest deal structure, legal agreements, and finances, but if the rest of it doesn’t come together? You’re in trouble.

Marc has been regularly featured on TV and radio. He’s even been referred to as Canada’s Marketing Superstar by the Oprah Winfrey Network. As an award winning keynote speaker, Marc has spoken for some of the world’s most respected companies, including Bausch and Lomb and Hilton Hotels.

Corporate Staging to Enhance Deal-Making

One thing Marc has done a lot of work with lately is what he calls “corporate staging”. A lot of companies have a great product or service, and they reach a point where they are looking for either partners or buyers. But even if their books are good, they can’t get into a conversation. Their online presence is sabotaging them. Potential buyers and partners go straight to Google, and when there are huge issues with a company’s online presence, they can’t even make it to the table to discuss deals.

Whether the issue is their branding, their website, or their social media; they have massive barriers. These problems are based on the way they’ve curated their online presence. And who can blame other organizations from saying, “If this is such a great company or opportunity, why do they look this bad?”

No matter how good the numbers might be, it’s hard to overcome perception issues. Marc’s had the opportunity to work with companies on corporate staging in order to turn their image around. Often, this is done quickly. 72 hour turnaround times are a regular request. Why so fast? Well, it seems that many businesses realize in the final days before a proposal goes out that they are going to be under a whole new level of scrutiny. Of course prospective partners and buyers are going to be heading to their website and social accounts! And in order create synergy for a great deal, details have to be considered.

Drive Deals With Marketing

When people think of deals, they don’t automatically see how something like customer experience or marketing might play into success. However, deals can absolutely be impacted!

The truth is, quite a few companies that are turning a profit look unprofessional. When they reach the stage where they may be looking for venture capital, a buyout, or a business partner, they just aren’t prepared.

Often this happens when a company has been super focused on creating a stellar product or service. They simply let marketing and branding fall by the wayside. Essentially, they realize too late that they’re walking into a formal affair wearing jeans and a t-shirt. That’s a problem, especially when they should be wearing a tuxedo!

When they call me, says Marc, they’re saying, “We need you to make us look like the company that we believe we should be.” And the truth is, they ARE that company. It’s just that no one else can tell. This creates huge issues when it comes to sitting down at the negotiating table.

Marketing Reveals Who Your Company Truly Is

By focusing on marketing, they have the ability to look established. They can come to the table and look as strong as they actually are. They want to look like they are leaders in their niche and market, and they can do that by stepping up their marketing and brand presence.

Hoping to gain a partner, start a joint venture, enter into a strategic alliance or sell your company? Marc recommends that you work with a branding and marketing expert sooner than later. Certainly make sure you have a strong online presence before you start putting out offers or bringing people to the table.

And speaking of the table… When you go to make a deal, you have to consider the perspectives of everyone involved. Yes, that includes the CEO. But it also includes the people in charge of sales, marketing, and branding. And everyone is looking for reasons it might not be a good idea, reasons it might not work. If you have a poor online presence, you can expect there to be conversations about that. At the very minimum, someone will have the due diligence to say, “We’re going to have to sink time and money into laying a groundwork that doesn’t exist yet.” I’ve personally seen that be an issue during negotiations. It can literally result in a less lucrative deal for the company.

Create Synergy and Position Yourself for a Strong Deal

Another great way to think about your marketing and online presence is as a key to your corporate culture. A website or social account is a great way to actively show what kind of culture you’ve built, and how dynamic your business is. That also means it’s a great place to create the synergy for a strong deal.

However you desire to position yourself or be perceived, a solid online presence can help make that a reality. When done right, you can artfully reveal exactly who your company is. You can profile how you relate to your target audience, and why you’re positioned to be an industry authority. Those are all excellent things to have established long before you sit down to make a deal!

Again, you have to remember that the first thing an interested party often does is Google your company. And no matter how much of a positive impression you or your product may have made, it’s really hard to overcome what Google turns up. Of course, we’re not talking about inflating your company. We certainly aren’t misrepresenting who you are. Ideally, your online presence is a robust extension of your culture, values, product, or means of service. It’s vibrant, it’s clear, and it’s directly connected to who you are.

It’s Worth the Investment

That’s why it makes a difference to work with a true branding or marketing professional. It’s a field where you get what you pay for. It’s worth investing here in order to put your best foot forward in a digital age. Essentially, you have to have your ducks in a row. To start with, you have to have the product, the service, the quality support, and a great team. Marc uses the analogy of icing a cake.

When you buy a cake, you don’t look at the cake inside. You look at the frosting. It’s your first impression; the thing that makes you go, “I want that one.” Now, if you take a bite and the cake’s stale, everything goes downhill from there. Marketing and branding can’t compensate for a mediocre business. But when you have the business foundations down, they can be a really fun way to top things off. You can use them to create synergy and set yourself apart as a top candidate to anyone in the market looking to make an acquisitions, merger, or other profitable deals in your industry.

Marc and I also had a great conversation about customer service. We discuss how creating great customer experiences can build the foundation for strong deals. To hear more about that, listen in over on the podcast!

Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.

If you want to find out how deal-ready you are, take the Deal- Ready Assessment today!