17 Sep Digital Transformation
This Business Round Table by Exit Your Way® topic this week was Digital Transformation. This week we talked with Exit Your Ways very own Jeffry Graham. Jeff is an internet sales professional. He sold his first website back in 2005. He also developed and sold a software company to Microsoft. He has done a great deal of PPC advertising in the retail and B2B space helping clients sell products and services. Jeff specializes in helping companies get their digital presence setup and operating like needed to be competitive in today’s markets.
Jeff begins by talking about business owners and what they need to do to enhance their digital online presence. He says owners need to step back and ask themselves the question of “How would I start my business today?” Because of how the business world looks today with COVID-19 being so prevalent to our lives, companies need to change the way they do business. It starts with a solid online presence. Jeff says that it will take time and patience for a company to develop and implement a solid digital presence in the business atmosphere today but it will pay off in the end.
The guys then start talking about how eCommerce companies need to figure out a way to give a customer/client an almost physical buying experience online as they would if they were in person meeting with the company. They need to do this through imagery and text that will evoke an emotional response from the viewer. Because of COVID-19 companies need to focus more on the digital side of their business.
Jeff than talks about how if companies want to sell more products online, they need to have more than one platform where they are selling so they build confidence. Consumers are more savvy when it comes to researching a product before they buy it, so companies need cross pollinate and use different platforms when selling their products online so consumers will trust more. Jeff also brings up the point of internet explorer being replaced with the new Microsoft edge, how that will drive more people to use Bing, and how other software apps like Firefox will lose users. He the mentioned that new laptops being made will automatically use the new Microsoft edge. Companies perspective should change whether or not they focus more on using Microsoft Bing search engine advertising to sell their products.
Throughout the video Jeff explains how the digital side of business and product sales is so important for a company to master, since almost everything we do is over the internet. Companies need to be careful of fraud and schemers. Companies need to understand that online business is not going to be based off of emotions, its going to strictly be off of data. Understanding the importance of eCommerce and a digital appearance will lead a company to success in today’s business world.
Thanks to Jeff for sharing his time and knowledge about digital transformation.
Jeffry Graham is a Principal Consultant for Denver Consulting Firm. The Denver Consulting Firm is focused on strategy, growth, technology, execution and superior business enhancement. He is also one of the original Co-Founders of Exit Your Way.
Prior to this Jeff was the Founder and President How I sell, which was a sales consulting and training company that helped companies grow and retain more customers. In 2016, Jeff partners with Exit Your Way and started helping clients accelerate sales towards the sale of businesses.
Jeff started and sold his first tech based company in 2011. Then went on to start a consulting firm at the age of 30 helping companies scale sales at unrelenting paces. He also was a professional in Motocross/Super cross & Freestyle Motocross. Appearing in national motocross events and the X-Games freestyle events.
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The Exit Your Way Business Round Table Live Stream
Damon Pistulka 00:01
All right, everyone. Welcome again to another edition of the eggs your way round table with Damon Andrew and today with us. We got Jeff Graham. How you doing? Jeffrey? Jeff?
Jeffry Graham 00:15
No complaints other than COVID
Damon Pistulka 00:17
Yeah, that’s kind of a you know, thorn in the side for a lot of people today is you know what we’re talking about today hopefully can help some people out.
Jeffry Graham 00:27
Yeah, yeah, it’ll be a hot topic. Yeah, this is what’s happening.
Damon Pistulka 00:31
So why don’t you explain a little bit about your background Jeff, I think that’d be kind of cool. Kind of what brought you here to how you got to be in the digital transformation guy that you are.
Jeffry Graham 00:42
Um, you know, I think I always had kind of a fascination with internet when I was young and when I you know, when I was early on in my career, I like to, you know, build websites. Back when there was like front page Dreamweaver HTML, old school, and And flip them online used to monetize them and sell them on on auction sites sold my first website in 2005 so I aged me now 15 years ago and then that kind of evolved in some software I worked in a lot of businesses that were did integrated services and things so it kind of evolved into the into a software piece ended up creating selling software company in 2011. And then my sales career had just continued to grow and obviously selling online and then transitioning and knowing that selling you know, selling in person I should say and through multiple channels directly that moved into the internet world internet sales e commerce became you know, actually invented and all these types of transactions. You know, fun fact Dino with the first thing ever purchased online was no, it was a David Bowie record. Really first thing that’s crazy
Damon Pistulka 02:00
David Bowie record
Jeffry Graham 02:02
high random Ah, yeah, yeah. 1997 I think something like that. So it’s, it’s kind of a fun fact. But yeah, it was it was a record a CD or something at that time, but then it kind of evolved into just, you know, strongly commerce, you know, everything started shifting online. Amazon wasn’t, you know, a big business back then. And, you know, we’re on different platforms, which we’ll talk about a little bit, I’m sure and yeah, loved into starting my own consulting firm. And then working with you guys obviously a lot and in growing companies and preparing them to exit having a lot of success with that, you know, through multiple e commerce channels, digital transformations, you know, we’ve made companies values kind of unbelievably fast and ethically So yeah, that’s kind of what brought me in where it is now. And you know, so I work with obviously with with you guys in You know, work with a lot of companies on? Look, we need it, you know, your models got to change and the companies that started ahead of others are not hurting right now. Comparatively, so
Damon Pistulka 03:14
Jeffry Graham 03:15
folks on the right track here,
Damon Pistulka 03:16
you know, our e commerce clients this year is up 100% so I don’t think it’s hurting too bad.
Jeffry Graham 03:21
No, absolutely. Yeah. The ones that the ones that started implementing things a few years ago, they’re they’re doing great.
Andrew Cross 03:27
Jeffry Graham 03:30
right. I know. It’s like evolution, you know, we just hyper we just hype. You know, I just sped it up. We use same bolted edge kit, you know, the transformation here. This is a Dan, you run with 10 years in e commerce growth in one year, 10 years of previous e commerce growth in one year. That just shows you how fast
Andrew Cross 03:51
is that? COVID. You think, Jeff?
Jeffry Graham 03:55
Yeah, I think that that I think that was just a catalyst right? just added in extra spice of like, Alright, well, we have to now because our customers are walking in the door anymore. We don’t have traffic anymore, you know, what are we going to do? So we have our strategies, we have to change, you know, the way in which we, we do things and, and then that is where we’re at today, which is a pretty wild west. Kind of reminds me of the Wild west.com era a little bit in, in the, you know, aftermath of Oh, wait, there was a lot of internet game going then. So,
Andrew Cross 04:30
here we are. Yeah. And we, you know, we were seeing that a lot too from the business owners. We you know, we were kind of ahead of that and we were in e commerce pretty, but now they’re all you know, to help us help us get going on that. And well, what is we wanted to get you on here you’re very talented e commerce guy and you’ve been doing this for years and I know there’s a ton of people out there who are selling direct to customer and how do I how do I how do I do that? How do I get there? They know for one I think they sound like they didn’t know it wasn’t there. But now, yeah, it’s kind of forced the hand that you’ve got up and get in. You got to get in on this.
Jeffry Graham 05:09
Yeah, folks are gonna scramble in the scrambling, you know, it’s like, oh, well, I knew I should have been in this. Oh, dang it, I have to scrambling and when you scramble, a lot of things happen. You make lots of mistakes. Yeah. And unfortunately, you’re not successful. So hopefully, well, hopefully, Barbara, how not to get scrambled and hopefully make the good decisions that you need to get your business from here to here at least through digital.
Andrew Cross 05:35
Yeah, I mean, I think scrambling is just part of the mo you know, it’s been that way for for e commerce and, you know, it’s, it’s kind of routine for you, you and your work. There’s
Jeffry Graham 05:45
a lot of you know, we’ll talk about it, I’m sure but there’s a lot of misinformation out there. And there’s a lot of people that are going to take advantage of the week in this situation, you know, so you’re weak you’re looking for a website and there’s a lot of folks are gonna scam hard and Not do what they tell you things that they can do that they can’t they don’t decide those things, you know, and make it make impossible dreams. sound like you’re gonna achieve those things. So I mean, I think some of that that’s a good part of this as
Damon Pistulka 06:14
well, that’s a good thing for us to start with. So the somebody sitting here today, I mean, I don’t know, I’m starting probably at the back end first. But if it’s, you know, that’s something that really, you know, we talked about with a lot of people over time is that, you know, when people are desperate, they’re going to reach out to, you know, virtually who’s ever in front of them that says they can help. So what if, if I’m sitting here today going crap, I gotta do something. I mean, what should they really be looking for? You know, the top few things like someone’s going to help them with website or marketing or those kind of things. What are just some of the things they should be leery of?
Jeffry Graham 06:57
So I think an owner and you You know, someone that’s going to go through this, they need to step back from the knee jerk reaction to jump into things. And you just step back and I think they need to look at their business is how would I start my business today? So pretend your business didn’t exist, how it was ran before and rethink about how I’m going to start my business today. Okay, there’s there’s a lot of common missteps misconceptions around, hey, if I just build a website and you know, hire this SEO company, we’re gonna, we’re gonna do fine. And I’m gonna spend on that that’s all baloney. And I can guarantee it doesn’t work like that. And we’ll talk more about I’m sure that I’m going to do that. But back all the way out and understand, like, Look, you have to reinvent your business here. This isn’t going to be the same company. And you’re going to have to think about how you would start the business over today, in this atmosphere in and what’s powerful and what’s effective in this market versus Hey, I’ve been running a retail store. I’ve been running this kind of business with a little bit of econ No, that’s not, that’s not a viable model anymore. So now your model has to shift to my business is 90% ecommerce 10% this but I don’t have any experience. I’ve never built websites, I’ve never done digital marketing. I’ve never done ads, I don’t know, Facebook, I don’t know any of the platforms, the mediums to any of this stuff. And that’s all the stuff that people get lost in and end up falling for tricks and scams and, and bad things happen from there. So, so those are like the first that’s the first big thing. Stop, think. And then look at like trusted sources and things that that folks that have done it and no one in the digital world that’s legit, will say it happens quickly.
Damon Pistulka 08:43
It can happen now glad you said that. Because I’ll just
Jeffry Graham 08:46
happen quick. You’re not going to just flip a light switch on and have thousands of orders in your queue does not work like that. But the reality is if you if you’re methodical on you, you build your processes, right like we’ll talk about you You will be successful online. It’s just a matter of it takes a little bit of time have a little patience. It’s not like the Facebook ads. You see, they’re like, I took my store from nothing to here and two days. Like No, you didn’t. Yeah. Nice.
Andrew Cross 09:16
Yeah, nice clickbait, but it’s me thinking about, you know, I remember that, that the paperclip, when we were, you know, working with a client who was throwing a ton of resources at pay per click, maybe you could talk a little bit about, you know, more isn’t always better, you know, those kind of things and the mistakes they were making. And, yeah, talk a little bit about how you, that was just one example I remember specifically I was it was mind boggling. How much waste there was there?
Jeffry Graham 09:43
Absolutely a lot of waste. And I think a lot of people need to decide where they need to focus their technology efforts. So where do you focus first, right, so is it website? Is it social media? Is it direct to consumer is it you know, all these things Kind of pieces of the puzzle have to be addressed before you start advertising, right? You can’t, you know, if your product let’s say, as an example you sell like a like a, like a tangible item like a cell phone or like math face masks. Yeah. Facebook ads might work well for something like that, right? Um, Google ads, but this isn’t going to be working on LinkedIn ads. That’s just not where your, where your meat and potatoes gonna be. And a lot of companies just need your into ad platforms that they just don’t know anything about. They don’t have any of the detail on how to run an ad. Demographics, any of the terminology clicks, impressions, click through rates, conversions, you know, yeah, Mara rose our return on adspend. Yeah, I always say just just don’t fuck while jumping into digital advertising from From a PPC standpoint, and we can dive into how to be successful on PPC a bit, but core to anything, make it about the user.
Damon Pistulka 11:09
And exactly, exactly how all of this comes back together to the same thing. And that’s really knowing your customers knowing your customer demographics. Well, you know, it was a couple weeks ago, we did the customer persona thing and the roundtable on Thursday. And it’s no different if I’m, if I’m running a law firm, an e commerce thing that’s selling outdoor products or a medical device company or a aerospace company, you got to know who your buyer is in any of these platforms, whether you’re going digital in person or not. And it’s it’s interesting how that basic fundamental carries even more weight when you’re when you’re working and trying to do things digitally.
Jeffry Graham 11:53
Yeah, I mean, I mean, if you go back to Amazon, you know, being the juggernaut here, and, you know, I’m not gonna toot Amazon’s horn, but Yeah, they’ve done it right right so but their whole court thing if you go back to basics from the beginning was everything’s gonna circle around the customer we don’t care anything about anything else customers always right customers always happy and that was their ideology from the bit from the beginning and it has been forever and albeit that’s hard for vendors selling on Amazon which I’m sure some people watching are gonna be like, I sell on Amazon, I hate it. There’s frustration there from a vendor standpoint or from a seller standpoint, but from a customer standpoint, it is as easy as pie, right prime ship done, you know, three clicks I’m out. Yeah, it really really evolved that process and now made it a I would say a standard. So an avid digital business with 40 clicks like you can’t have a digital business you need to make it streamlined. And you need to have your really understand your customers journey is different than when they walked in your retail store. I know you from Apple. On my see your website, I’m here. How am I captivating him? How am I interesting, you know, interesting you into a purchase, I have to have to gather relationship out of thin air through images and text. Sometimes we’re lucky.
Damon Pistulka 13:15
That’s, you know, when we only had to work before on e commerce things, that’s one of the things I can remember us spending a lot of time on is really going. How do you how do you give someone the same almost physical experience with text and images on a webpage? Buy something because that’s really all you’ve got.
Andrew Cross 13:38
That’s a chip. It’s hard work. Well, I think that people it’s hard when I started in that experience to was that, you know, and back to the PP thing is that they the guys who are doing the helping them with that word, that’s what they do. And they were doing, you know, they were doing pay per click, and they wanted to spend money on it, but they didn’t understand the Customer so the specialists that I’ll walk around if you don’t really understand the quote, I just saw what you did and came in but you know that it’s more of a well rounded business, you know, understanding of how the business works and the customer and your tools are alright you know, it’s not easy you don’t have everything to work with. You can’t talk to them you know, you’ve got to be very creative, but you can’t do that with those tools unless you really really know who you’re selling to and what they really need.
Jeffry Graham 14:26
Yeah. And you have to walk them through it and you know, walk them through it in a digital manner and we can get in the weeds on on everything like that which we want. Sure, but let’s think about it this way. I walk into a store, I buy something, they take it off the shelf, it’s on inventory, and then they have a couple items in the back in stock. Okay. Then when I buy that off the shelf I leave the store they replenish the inventory on the shelf and then they place a small order for three rehabilitate their, their inventory in the back and their warehouse space right? What happens online is The opposite of that. So online, you get 27 orders of that item that’s on the shelf. And then you have to go into the back and you don’t have any of those. And the problem is, is you don’t know what’s going to sell and how fast and a lot of times, then you’re going to have supply chain problems, deliverability problems, reputational reputation is going to go on the toilet, you’re going to have all these streamlined issues that are gonna literally choke you out your first few months. In addition, you have to make sure your business can support the digital direction, you’re going to go foundationally you can’t build a high rise off popsicle sticks. And that’s what a lot of these folks are doing. They’re putting up a website throwing up a store, getting lucky with their customer base getting a bunch of orders and they’re not fulfilling quickly. And people are vicious online. So yeah, suck you can’t you know this and that and and that reputation. To improve online is not an easy process and it takes a long time. And there’s a lot of work that goes into fixing a damaged reputation, right takes 20 years to build a good one, five minutes to ruin the entire thing.
Damon Pistulka 16:11
So what online think about that and as we’ve talked about this a bunch and people that are thinking about digital transformation really need to contemplate this. If I have a retail store, or I have a a business that I’m doing person to person business there’s only so many people that would would talk to or see what an unhappy customer has to say. But when that comes online, everybody for ever sees everybody for ever sees that. So, it doesn’t matter if that customer is unreasonable. It doesn’t matter if that customer was, you know, some whack job, Dude, that was you know, just whatever you that’s there forever. So you’re you’re The importance of customer satisfaction is amplified a ton when you’re doing online learning, really?
Jeffry Graham 17:08
Yeah. And you know, a lot of times people don’t realize this is the number one emotion for why someone buys from a merchant online. And it’s trust. It’s like, you have to build trust. Now, it would be true in sales in general, right? Like we sold, you got to trust that I’ve your best interest in mind in order for you to do business with me. But online trust is way, way up here. And if you don’t have this, you’re not getting sales on your website. You’re not getting sales through channel. Your brand doesn’t have trust. It’s not happening. You know, people look at trust. That’s why Amazon leverages reviews. That’s why they average this store their store averages, not just product averages, and deliverability and trust is all around the KPI. Right It’s around successful delivery, complaints chargebacks. You know, it’s all weighted ranks and KPIs around trust, but it still comes back to the same old fashioned thing. You have to build trust within your business now digitally, right? Because you may have been a very successful business brick and mortar manufacturer distributor, in physical. But now in digital is a different party. It’s a different ballgame. You have to completely abandon that, that methodology and now you’re going into a digital methodology and it’s a lot different. It’s just not going to be it’s not going to be successful trust is is single handedly The most important thing when people are checking. That’s why people buy on Amazon because they know they’re gonna knock it you know, quote unquote screwed over. Well, yeah, we send it back. And it’s fast. It sounds really
Andrew Cross 18:49
wrong. So it seems we’re fragile in e commerce.
Jeffry Graham 18:53
Yeah, there’s no risk for consumer if you have a trustworthy brand. So then when there’s no risk for me to buy from them, that makes me More likely to buy from them because I can buy from lots of folks without risk. So if you’re building your own band brand or transitioning, you can have risk be even in an even the back corner of of a user’s mind that I use or that’s what we call people on websites. So
Damon Pistulka 19:18
that’s for sure. Well, I just want to do a quick shout out we got some we got some people on that and commenting stuff. We got Nick Dorsey’s on we got Kelly Robinson’s on and shadow, Paula Goodman.
Andrew Cross 19:33
Damon Pistulka 19:35
all is great. I you know, and the thing about Paul is if you’ve ever read her writing, it’s like crazy. All the time, man. crazy good. She is such a poet. I think she’s ninja poetry. This is what she said. I can’t even read some stuff. She writes it so well. But you have to read it. But it’s great. It’s great.
Jeffry Graham 20:01
I need some of that stuff. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 20:03
Yeah, I especially so I’m not there. But yeah, it’s a pleasure to say hello to them real quick. Thanks for getting on. Again, we’re talking with Jeffrey Graham here. Andrew Krause, Damon Pistulka talking with Jeffrey Graham about digital transformation. We’ve been running through this and you know, we’ve spent a couple a couple hours in the seat of the the old e commerce and digital world. So Oh, there it is. It is there it is word Jedi. Porter’s
Jeffry Graham 20:42
does that. Enter that in the dictionary and make it an actual I don’t know if that’s a word. Is that a word?
Damon Pistulka 20:46
I don’t know. But as I’m taking it, because that’s cool. Hey, and then we got someone you know, Jeff from your old stomping grounds. We got Mitch Oh, Mitch, Nick is on dude. That’s good, man. That’s good.
Jeffry Graham 21:05
That guy knows WordPress, like the back of his hand.
Damon Pistulka 21:08
Andrew Cross 21:09
Damon Pistulka 21:09
Yeah. Good stuff. What’s nice to see? See, we got some people tuning in, you know, all one of our listeners usually are negative No, really I’m just kidding. But we get some we have some good conversations going. But now, you know, we put a few few hours in the e commerce and you know, just general digital digital space helping people do this and what are some of the some of the, you know, the keys to really, if you’re going to start today and you’re going, Oh, man, I need to start over. But where do you Where do you start?
Jeffry Graham 21:49
Okay, yeah, that’s, it’s really tough, right? Because a lot of people are gonna have a different opinion on you know, start here, start there, whatever. You know, I think that you have to start with identifying the need, you know, so So you’re What is the need for the business right now? Okay, we need to sell x item online. So you start with that need, you know, then then you’re going to have to deal with workflow. So once you have a need identified, you have to know how you’re going to process that need. How are you going to get that need from A to Z? I mean, when purchase happens, are you going to package? Are you going to label? Are you going away? Are you going to ship? Are you gonna communicate? How are you going to do tracking? How are you going to do follow up? All of those things, all that digital workflow is stuff that people just don’t think about when they go and build an online store or try to sell it. You know, you got to optimize your workflow. That so it says least straining on the business, right? It’s hard enough to run a business itself. But when you go and add a digital component to this thing, it can really, you know, Mike Tyson punch your business as it’s as a whole. Yeah, it’ll take real You know, time and resources from other departments, and they’re not getting the regular job done. So really understanding workflow, um, I think identifying the needs of the customer, you know, what’s the expectation? Three days ship time today, ship time one day ship ship time or is it lead time? Um, and then and then once you know those two things, then you can plug technology into fill those gaps, right? So like you have a no, this is my workflow. Now I need to know that I have a cart. You know, our website. The website works well with cart and when we talk digitally, a cart is different than a website. A cart is what manages your orders. A website is what visually presents those things. So once you have your cart, identified, then you’re going to have your order processing identified, communication identified those systems is where you’re going to plug the specific technology piece into each of those Those, each of those things that you need. There’s no one full solution.
Damon Pistulka 24:04
Yeah. And then and then you add
Jeffry Graham 24:06
exists, there’s no. Now even if you had a Shopify site, you still have to add this app that app that app that up that app. If you’re on WordPress, you got to add this plugin, that plugin. This plugin. That plugin is a new person in a digital transformation world. Very scary. Yeah. I don’t think people realize how scary it is because you just don’t know if you’re making the right decision. You don’t know if it’s the right thing. And people like us have been fortunate enough to screw up so much that we got really good and not screwing up. Yeah, we made enough mistakes to go You know what, that’s not gonna work because I’ve done that and it didn’t work. And so it allows us to not make those mistakes, but a normal off the street first time, second, even third time user or person going through this process is going to have to identify that whole process. Then plug technology and as according again yeah don’t just like think that there’s some full solution it is a puzzle and there’s lots of pieces and if you if you mess one up a to say we chain or weak link breaks the chain right so yeah well why does it work and I think a lot of people overstepped they don’t think about it like that because well, yeah, and
Damon Pistulka 25:22
one that I got slapped with this last year with with some work is that you know, fraud protection is really really really really important. Really important. Don’t just think because you’re you’re requiring all the fields on your credit card to be right and match that what they say for you to get to be protected. Se commerce fraud because the good scammers will have all the information to pass it off and you’re still screwed and forget to pay
Andrew Cross 25:58
for the brunt of it.
Jeffry Graham 26:00
I’m truly sad because actually have it on here. Avoid the traps is one of my notes that I had for for we got on our call here is a lot of folks will just you know chargebacks yeah charge right you know, channel, you know when you’re selling any Amazon You’re so multi channel fraud is rampant. Yeah. And they’re always gonna side with the consumer. So understand that you’re going to lose, yeah, you’re gonna lose, I don’t, you are guaranteed. So if you can avoid those mistakes before you lose by by having good, you know QA quality assurance checks and balances good good software to alert for suspicious quote unquote activity things you know and it could be for $12 it could be for but it could be for 20 $400 and you can Yeah, you know They’re really good order from from someone in in Wisconsin or Michigan or, you know, Utah doesn’t matter. It just, it can happen anywhere and he’s got an earful. I think that there’s a lot of good tools out there. That that will solve those problems for folks. But yeah, it’s really more every day than before.
Damon Pistulka 27:20
Yeah. Oh, yeah. Well, you mate, you brought up one thing that I think a lot of people don’t realize is that just because you’re selling on a third party platform like Amazon doesn’t mean you’re not responsible for fraud.
Jeffry Graham 27:35
Oh, no, you are.
Andrew Cross 27:36
Damon Pistulka 27:37
Jeffry Graham 27:37
Yeah, you’re still on the hook. You know, they they absolve themselves from any of that. You know, they have deep, they have big lawyers. Right, right. real deep text. So those contracts you read are pretty buttoned up pretty, pretty tight. Yeah. You know, and you know, it’s on everything. You just got to be careful. You really can think you’re doing well online and you find out that you’re 25 grand at the end of the day. Charge backs, you know, or 100 or 200. You know, so that’s big.
Damon Pistulka 28:05
When we start back and we’re looking at you, you mentioned a while ago, you when we talk about platforms, first of all, we’ll get back to that. But that’s that’s the word that I want to make sure we explain a little bit people think they can, okay, I’ve got a product, am I flip a website up? I’m going to start to sell it. And you’ve talked about the process. So if someone places an order and go through it, but but let’s talk a bit about the website itself. I mean, used to be that you could put a picture up of an item and and people would see it and maybe they would buy it like that. But the expectations of how stuff was presented online and the information they can get is they you really have to have a lot more than you ever did before. So what are some of the things that you see when you’re looking at OSS, the websites and other places that people trying to sell things that they’re just not doing right.
Jeffry Graham 29:05
Have one image? Yep. That’s a that’s a golden bad rule. Um, yeah, you know, at the end of the day, trust, it comes back to trust. So from a listing level website level, it’s trust. And what we have now more than I think we have before we need, you need a lot more cross platform pollination, meaning that you need to have your products on multiple platforms, so you don’t seem sketchy. So you don’t seem like a one hit wonder or some type of you know, just so you don’t seem sketchy, you know. So, a lot of times if you have your product selling on Amazon, that’s good. You have your product selling on Etsy on eBay on Walmart or other channels other than your own proprietary website that shows good faith, even Google Shopping and some of these things will show that you are a legitimate seller online. Not just you You know, if people are researching a product, a lot of times, they’ll look at your product, and then they’ll go on Amazon, it’ll search for it, or on Amazon, and then they’ll go back here, or they’ll Google Search the product. You know, consumers are being more savvy than they were. And that’s generationally. That’s because the Gen X, and Millennials are becoming majority of the buyers. And yeah, and we were raised around technology. So we were raised around how to source and look for things like this quickly, and how to be sat buyers. So it’s, it’s a little more complicated to make sure that you position in a way in which someone that’s internet savvy is going to trust that you’re legit and that in so cross pollination across platforms is very helpful. And then, and then never bull you know, Golden Rule too. If you have your own website, you’re selling products on your website. Don’t just copy your listing and put it on channel. Don’t just copy a listing and put it on Amazon. Hmm. Because your your search terminology or your product listing types, the style that what people are looking for, isn’t going to be there. And a lot of times people don’t think about what a website is, and what a what a product listing is. Everything has to come down into search and how you are finding it said item. So the way you write your titles, the way you write your descriptions, the way you put your text is going to be different on every platform, because I have different types of demographics on each platform. But in addition to that, you have a different search method. Yeah, I’m on Google and I’m searching iron chair. I’m going to get listings of a bunch of websites of iron that that sell iron chairs. Yep. And I’m going to click on the website, I’m going to get products. Then I’m have to sift through the products I don’t like it I bounce bounce rate, leave, go back iron chair. If I’m on Amazon, and I search iron chair, all I’m getting is iron chairs. I’m not getting websites of people who sell iron chairs, I’m getting listings of iron chairs. So now I’m looking at the styles, the way they look, the things that are interesting to me, you removed an entire layer, when if someone searching on Amazon versus searching on Google, same be indicative on any other platform. A lot of times people will write their text for their website, which would is good for a Google search or a product search in a search engine. But from an Amazon perspective where they’re already on the platform or on the marketplace, it’s a completely different thing. benefits and features are much more important things that are that are going to highlight the chair are much more important that you might vary that down a little deeper in your listing for your own website. You know, so things like that. subtleties are huge. I mean, can turn like one sale a day to 50 just by making subtleties because your search becomes easier, which brings us back to like SEO, sem search engine marketing and why writing that content so important? And why there’s a lot of also, like we talked about early in the conversation, a lot of schemers and scammers and liars out there in that space as well. So you gotta be careful.
Andrew Cross 33:26
Yeah, you you mentioned, you know, but this, this is a great you got a system and a process in place to but this, this needs constant maintenance. I mean, because of the leasing shipping and changing all the time, anything. Maybe go a little bit into that too. I mean, what I saw before was you’re always on it. Always, you know, looking not just maintenance but also looking for the opportunities, what’s working, what’s not working, and then right. You know,
Jeffry Graham 33:52
that’s huge, huge evolution. It’s not the same tomorrow as it was yesterday. Big evolution is micro I just eliminated Internet Explorer. Yeah, they went to Microsoft Edge and they revamped edge. Why is this effective and important? To me when I looked at the new edge that they launched a couple days ago, I like it, that means that you’re gonna, they’re gonna steal Chrome users, or they’re gonna, or they’re going to steal Firefox users. And by what I mean by that, from a Microsoft standpoint, is they don’t automatically load Chrome, or Firefox on Windows systems. So that means that every new computer sold if Microsoft Edge is appealing enough, and it isn’t, as as poorly performing as Internet Explorer has been, yeah, guess what that means that your search amount of search traffic is going to go up on it on my on Bing, bing, Microsoft stuff. People aren’t paying attention, even though 20 whatever. percent goes through Bing already. And that’s just because it’s on the stock system. And people aren’t putting chrome they’re not putting Firefox well. So, knowing that, right like, cuz we’re talking about the fact that you got to stay up on this stuff is gonna make a different decision now for how much effort I’m going to put into Microsoft bank, and how much effort I’m going to put into Microsoft Edge. Yeah. Or my Bing local listing? Yeah, that changes things. We don’t know how much yet, right? It’s still new. It could be junk, it could fall apart. But those are the things where you have to be thinking things, you know, in a digital world, it’s data driven decision making. You’re not making decisions off of emotions. In digital. Yeah, because you’re gonna be it’s not good day. Yeah, to make decisions on data. So understanding data, understanding what your ROI is, your burden, productivity, the resources, your employees, you know, these are all going to be things but you have to be on it all the time. Because guess what platforms that were popular three years ago, aren’t popular today.
Andrew Cross 36:01
So I think that many people, like friggin many people not hear what you hear what you’re saying, you know, and and, you know, as a business owner myself, you know, they’re gonna be I can’t do that I can’t do that so that you know they’re out there going to be looking for experts. I know they get burned a lot. But so then how did you find the people who who could do what you’re talking about? What What, what’s the look for? Okay,
Jeffry Graham 36:25
I’ll tell you what not to look for. And probably easier. Yeah, someone tells you they’ll get you on the first page of Google run the other direction.
Damon Pistulka 36:37
Jeffry Graham 36:38
Not even not even digital experts like Neil Patel, not even like the guys who really know this stuff and who are really good at this and have been in the game long time. I’ve been around a long time. They would never say that. They would say we would develop a strategy to try to get you there. But guess who makes the decision on who gets on the first page of google google So unless you know there, you know, there are ways to have an opportunity on Google. But Google will tell you straight up, you’re not getting first page. Here’s how we waited. We use a weighted ranking system. Here’s how we we rank we like trust bounce rate, things that like, because Google is really wanting to put the best site in front of people that that is going to solve their search needs. Yeah, all it comes down to and your site might solve those needs yesterday, but not tomorrow. And so that’s why changing tactics, videos important these days, as you guys are well aware. That’s big. Because video, Google feels builds trust. You can hear me, you and Damon, me Andrew and Dan, we’re talking right now, you can get a vibe for us. You can, you know, you can see our you know, our body language. So that’s more trustworthy than just a picture in some text, right? And so those things are weighted heavily They, you know, they really do weigh the length of side spin off, you know. So if that site’s been up 10 years, it’s going to carry a better way to rank to tell you that it’s going to happen quickly, is also inaccurate. Now, the other big component of this is understand, are you looking at a regional effort or a national or international effort? And those three things are going to be really important to Yeah, yeah. A lot of people will write content for their product or for their business on a on a national, but they know regional player. So you need to bring your content into a regional atmosphere to be successful on Google and Bing, regionally, because that’s really what’s gonna manage your business. Who cares if you rank for that’s
Damon Pistulka 38:47
a huge, that’s a huge
Jeffry Graham 38:49
valuation, if you rank nationally cool, but if you can’t do deals in in 13 of the states, that’s not helpful. Right now. It is. your logo is huge. And I think people just need to focus more on who they’re going for in is it in their backyard? Or is it across across the country or across the water?
Andrew Cross 39:14
Because no one you’re your customer and speaking to them when knowing where they are, you got to know where they are to find them. So that’s the thing, right? But talk a little bit more about video. Is that a new thing? Is this really just something that’s evolving now? Or it seems it seems to me I’ve been hearing more and more about an emphasis of video, you could say that part of e commerce and part of that tube? I do?
Jeffry Graham 39:35
I do. Yeah, because a lot of people are doing videos of product videos, and those be put in and embedded in your listings now, both on marketplaces and other places. So you can actually put like a product up and have your seven in 10 images, however many you want. And then you can add highlights and you can have a video of the product which shows it in use and touching it and you know, tangibility to it right. Those things are gonna be big
Andrew Cross 40:00
Jeffry Graham 40:02
that those are gonna be so videos yes absolutely and and who’s the biggest proponent video I mean it’s got to be Gary Vee like that guy is yeah machine yeah isn’t care what he’s wearing what he’s doing he’s just putting out authentic content in his eyes authentic and I agree like the video it It changes the interaction between both product and person so videos very strong but a lot of people think and have a misconception they need some fancy setup. Yeah, look you guys there’s there’s 40 million followers on Instagram and they do videos this thing called Yeah, you don’t need all that fancy stuff. You don’t need video production you don’t need fades in and fades out this is a 97 no do boardroom presentation.
Andrew Cross 40:51
Well, there’s Gary Vee and exit your waves coming in hot minute.
Jeffry Graham 40:55
Yeah. A lot of these things right that I think that people they worry too much. About yeah and like we’re doing like we didn’t we don’t have plan we like we know we’re time jam like yeah hey hopefully I can hope I’m valuable if not that’s okay there’s a you know hopefully it’s somewhere else but we’re just going to give you the best that we can think of at the time
Damon Pistulka 41:18
think of any product or any any real service so I mean he talking about video and you go okay let’s talk about this talk about bicycles go out and show somebody a cool mountain bike they taken it you know going out there with your phone and, and and get the old way of watching them ride it and around the bike or whatever the heck you’re doing. It doesn’t really matter what type of product or or service you’re doing or working with somebody that that really, you can show it so much better with a 45 second video. Well, let’s
Jeffry Graham 41:50
go back videos have been everything commercials. Yeah, are are the reason that video exists. We’re just making micro content marshals that are affordable because we can’t afford a million dollar commercial. Yeah. of time at the Superbowl.
Damon Pistulka 42:05
Jeffry Graham 42:06
So you’re just trying to, you know, bring some reality. And I think that that’s going to bring us back to our kind of beat it with a debt like a dead horse trust, it’s gonna bring it back to trust. And as you digitally transforming business, if you’ve been in business for 40 years, physically, and you never had an internet store, then guess what? You have no trust on the internet. Yep. And so you have to be able to portray that tenure online. And that can be done. But it doesn’t automatically value credibility on the internet or through through e commerce or digital or whatever. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 42:48
Yeah, you’re just went in a different place. It’s like, it’s like opening a new location in a new region. Ecommerce is no different. And I was telling somebody this the other day, it’s just like, if you’re going to put e commerce in your business you don’t have it now. It’s like adding a whole new division of sales people or whatever you want it just different challenges, different things you got to look for, and, and different metrics you need to track because when you get an e commerce and you look at the business behind it, honestly, it’s like another set of salespeople that you’re managing. It’s just different challenges and different ways that you need. I mean, and yeah,
Jeffry Graham 43:25
you got you got website management, you have product management, supply chain, technology, advertising, content, video, I mean, it’s more than his fingers and toes on the things that have to happen to be successful. Online, in in selling products online. And, you know, the one thing that remains true is just after selling hundreds of millions of dollars of product on the internet is is is it’s not easy and don’t fool yourself that digital transformation is going to be quick. It’s going to be painless, you’re going to have one solution. That’s just like, wow, that. I mean, as much successes we’ve had transforming companies. It’s a slog, and it’s a lot of hard work. And I don’t want anyone to come through. You know, these conversations is like, Oh, well, that doesn’t sound so hard. No, it’s gonna go very hard. And it’s it is extremely lucrative. Yeah, no, absolutely. I mean, can’t write you can’t ecommerce multiple, right. I mean, it’s the next book, the SAS businesses and super, super low overhead high margin companies like, no, it’s a huge opportunity. And I think another thing that people need to be aware of, and what we know is that you’re going to hit ceilings, your first hundred grand. You once you hit that 100 k in sales a month, let’s just say or 900 a month, but just in a year, to go to a million or go to half a million, it’s gonna look a little different to go to a million still a little different, to go to 5 million. Everything’s gonna look a little different. Got to know your nothing over and over and over again. You know, yeah, realize that either
Andrew Cross 45:06
there was something that was really interesting as far as on the, the m&a side or you know, of the business. e commerce companies what we learned was there are you know, we had a mid range company doing about 30 40 million in sales and it was a rare rare thing everybody was either enormous billion dollar companies in e commerce all the players or they were at less than a million dollars in sales, mostly mom and pop shops. There’s nothing really in between. So that that’s a fascinating look at how the industry’s laying out right now to so but I think it can change
Jeffry Graham 45:41
it’s still a trough. The second ago for folks is haul up big companies gobble them up, you know, the Amazons come down just by him. Yeah. Have you know the companies here and then you just got this big, empty desert like the Sahara. And then you have your big billion dollar multi billion dollar players like Amazon and Walmart and such And the reason that that trough exists is because once you hit a certain point, you know, you’re fighting on price internet, everything’s out there. So you can’t be like, you know, prices on this, like, so you can’t work it like that everything and then speed. So as you grow volume as you know speed, so now you have to invest in massive amounts and infrastructure, massive amounts of warehouse distribution, hence, Amazon’s lack of profitability for 15 years, right? Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 46:35
Well, that’s one of the things that people don’t understand when they’re when they’re running a traditional business like a retail business, right? So I got sock on the shelf and I can I sell like that. That’s pretty simple deal. If I’m OEM manufacturer, and I want to, I want to start, and I’m selling to distributors or large orders at a time, and I’m going to do ecommerce. It’s a different ballgame because you can’t ship two weeks Today, you have to ship like 48 hours. That’s the expectation and knowing those expectations requires a lot of work if you’re an OEM producer to go, Okay, how are we going to meet those customer expectations? Because Amazon has set these expectations with their prime and all that kind of stuff that set the standard is, yeah, you might be able to ship get a product to somebody in three, four, maybe five days if you’re lucky. But if they can find that same product that I can get it tomorrow, it’s gonna be a hard sell. Mm hmm. And
Jeffry Graham 47:40
you know, retail was indicatively successful because it’s instant gratification. You get to go in the store, get by you get a bag, wash your car, I got this new shoes, wear them tomorrow, right? Internet The reason Amazon I think has become a you know in why same day shipping and two day delivery. Like become standardized, is because humans still crave instant gratification. When you buy something online, you don’t get to touch it right away. And so you get excited about it coming. But if it’s going to be too long, it’s not going to be as as interesting. Like, really, you know, it’s not going to be what someone wants to wait for. I gotta order this and wait.
Andrew Cross 48:23
Yeah, if you go to a store,
Jeffry Graham 48:25
I’ll pay a little bit more money, but I get it right now. Yeah. Why retail in its entirety isn’t just gone completely. You know,
Andrew Cross 48:34
if you go to the cart, six weeks, you’re you know, it’s done. The
Jeffry Graham 48:38
Yeah. was gone. And they sell you know, now you can ship all kinds of things. And so it’s, you know, that too, is evolving. And, yeah, you’re right instant gratification and same day. I mean, if you can get out products, same day, you’re going to be in put that in front. It’s huge, but then you have to think about the strain on the business to get it out. Same thing. Yeah, yeah. I mean, you know, workflows and packaging and shipping. Oh, yeah. Stop messing, you know, you’re gonna mess up. Yeah, you got to make really good. Make make sure that your infrastructure is right. Again, I know it’s hard, it’s expensive, but there are ways to do this without without blowing out your budget and doing it methodically and in a phased approach. Yeah, he’s successful. But a lot of folks just right resources hard to find. It’s not like it’s not just our school pumping out. Good, full A to Z calm people, right. I mean, his resources are hard to come by. And a lot of them have just focused into digital marketing. And that’s just one more component to the picture as well. So
Damon Pistulka 49:49
yeah, good stuff, man. Um, you know, we’re getting we’re getting down the road here ways and if we if we had one other, you know, What parting thoughts do you think we should leave with people that are really considering? You know, where should I go with my digital transformation or my e commerce strategy? I mean, we’re, we’re happy that some of these people are just gone. What do I do?
Jeffry Graham 50:14
Yeah, so I won’t shameless plug. No, I mean, please, please. The what what I think honestly, like, it doesn’t matter where you’re at in the process. Like, I know, Damon, I know Andrew and myself. If you’re a teeny company, you’re just trying to figure out what platform to sell on, whether it’s Shopify or WooCommerce. Reach out, like we don’t we’re not, we’re not too big to not respond and say, Hey, here’s who you should talk to. Here’s someone who’s trustworthy, we can at least be a middleman to get you the right resources because we don’t work with people that aren’t proven and aren’t, aren’t legit, and haven’t actually done this stuff. Right. So. So I would say that people should look to people like us and and not necessarily that That that they would hire us for this work as it depends on the situation and we don’t we can’t do that right we can’t do it personally. But the reality is is we will facilitate or I’ll do everything I can to facilitate someone be successful I don’t want you guys online not to be successful. I don’t want anyone out there to struggle I hate to see it. Yeah, it hurts my heart. But the reality of it is is there’s a lot of scammy sketchy all gay front page first page Google All right, your SEO, I’ll do all these, you know, all this stuff for you and it’s, you’re going to spend a lot of money and you’re going to be very disappointed. So really do the work. You don’t know about that’s it. I mean, the person people watching this to us they don’t know these people. You know, a lot of people don’t know me from Adam. I’ve done a lot of work and grown a lot of companies. But I don’t I’m not a self promoter. I don’t go out like you got you know, we’re not like
Andrew Cross 52:00
But just to just to let you know, people be aware to I mean, we, we met Jeff because, you know, when we’re getting into an exit with the company, we tried to accelerate sales because that that’s core to what we’re trying to help the client, you know, build a company to sell and, and the e commerce and just, you know, expertise in that has proven results. And it’s it’s that’s exactly. You know, if you’re looking for there, that’s that’s a great place to start when you do you’re not too small.
Jeffry Graham 52:29
Yeah. Like, it’s not it’s not just one, you know, we know that like it’s taken teams and it’s taken creative creativity, doing hard work, doing things internally, if the company can do them, do them. Don’t, if you can pull it off, if you can learn it, learn it. It’s better to teach a man to fish than feed a man of fish, right? I think it’s a bit of a hybrid, right? We teach you how to do it, but we need to teach you how to do it. Because otherwise you’re just gonna be Struggling from here to forever.
Damon Pistulka 53:02
So yeah, it is really important, I think and that’s, that’s, you’re not gonna This is not the kind of thing that you can just let somebody else do. I mean, you have to know enough to be dangerous. You have to know you have to have the metrics in place to understand you know where you’re going because, you know, with e commerce, what he just really do. Just saw there is
Andrew Cross 53:26
a skill going up on Fiverr this is,
Damon Pistulka 53:33
you know, I’m saying, We are on for hours about this as soon as Yeah. It’s like you said at the beginning of this, Jeff, you got to you got to screw up a lot. Yeah. And did you hear that I didn’t curse. I think this is the first time
Jeffry Graham 53:52
Damon Pistulka 53:54
town, maybe a couple But no, I don’t think I think you’ve been really good, but you know, we screwed up enough. That it’s a it is it is something that you will inevitably mess up, you will just have to minimize the damage because it is hard. It is hard You are everything from what you’re talking about with the way an ad looks to the wrong text and an ad the wrong thing. And you just got it, you got to have someone, I believe in your company that can learn it enough to be able to make sure that the people that the specialist if you bring him in or hire them or contract on whatever it is that they know that something’s going on, that things are moving in the right direction or not. And that main thing, you got to know,
Jeffry Graham 54:42
it’s like a lawyer, you know, you have to have be a lawyer and a law firm. Yeah, right. And I don’t mean that in that sense, but like a lawyer knows what kind of work would need to be done for all their associated attorneys, and the standard because they’re educated on that part. I don’t think you need to get to that level but you Have a really good wherewithal an understanding of the whole process. And then you can dictate and control. So you avoid those mistakes. And that takes some time. But, hey, all these people started a business. My hat’s off to you if I went on, but that’s, uh, you guys are awesome. You know, I mean, you went big now you’re just changing the way your business looks.
Andrew Cross 55:23
Jeffry Graham 55:24
And you just want to do it intelligently. Just like when you started your business. Yep. But you did it by doing it. You did it by working hard. You did it by executing. You didn’t do it by thinking about it too much. We know I mean, entrepreneurs and business owners are awesome, yet and they got guts. And yeah, we have direction, right. So that’s for sure.
Damon Pistulka 55:47
Good, good. Well, Jeff, I’m great. talking to you today about digital transformation. We’ll make sure to put Jeff’s contact information in the in the comments and You’re on LinkedIn, Jeffrey Graham, check him out there at Denver consulting firm University of e commerce. University of e commerce. Excuse me. And, and there but thanks for stopping by and talking a little bit about digital transformation
Jeffry Graham 56:17
guys. Yeah, we could talk about kinds of crazy things, you know, ways to go but I appreciate it.
Damon Pistulka 56:24
And again, another time to do that. So Andrew, take this away, dude, what else we got?
Andrew Cross 56:30
Hey, that’s it and wrapped it up nicely, Damon. So listen, we’ll see you next time. You bet.
Damon Pistulka 56:36
Thanks a lot, guys. All right.