20 episodes

The Pixie Podcast brings you deep-dive conversations with interesting and passionate people about what it means to humanise communication.

The Pixie Podcast Brutal Pixie, presented by Leticia Mooney

    • Marketing

The Pixie Podcast brings you deep-dive conversations with interesting and passionate people about what it means to humanise communication.

    Customer Love, with Vance Morris Customer Love, with Vance Morris

    Customer Love, with Vance Morris Customer Love, with Vance Morris

    Vance Morris is the king of client experience. He coaches executives in Disnifying their businesses; is the author of multiple books; is a keynote speaker… and still runs his own services business as well.







    To chat about all of this, as well as the nuances of running information services businesses, which is what many of the Pixie’s customers try to do, Leticia brought on Vance for a chat.







    Here is the audio, and the transcript is below. Remember to subscribe and rate it if you enjoy it!











    Podcast transcript







    Ch







    Leticia:







    Hello Pixie fans and friends. Today, I have a very special interview for you. It is with Vance Morris, who is someone way up there on my pedestal of people to watch, and follow, and learn from. Vance Morris is one of the world’s leading authorities on customer service, or what he would probably prefer to call it, client service and experience. He’s a renowned expert on direct response marketing, and business building, and marketing strategy. He worked for Disney for a long time, 10 years as a senior manager, where he started in the opening team of the yacht and beach club resorts, and progressed through the management ranks as a nightclub manager at Pleasure Island, service trainer of both the Empress Lilly, and on the revitalization team of the Contemporary Resort in the mid ’90s.







    Vance is now a Disneyfication trainer, is what I would like to call it. And his book about how to Disnify your business is called Systematic Magic: 7 Magic Keys to Disnify Your Business. And it’s all about service culture and how to improve the customer love, client love in your business.







    He is a business leader and entrepreneur himself. He has owned a bricks and mortar business, still owns it, still runs it in carpet cleaning. And it’s in that business that he tests his own marketing and direct response strategies before teaching them to other people. And one of the results of that is that his business has started sucking up it’s competitors who couldn’t compete with his marketing. It’s actually quite amazing.







    I have been following Vance for a long time, and we recorded this interview a few months ago. And so is my intense pleasure to bring this to you. The interview goes for about an hour, and we talk about everything, from service cultures, to remuneration, how kids are raised, what employment is like for them now. The differences between regular bricks and mortar businesses, or regular service businesses and information products businesses, and how you can start thinking differently perhaps about your own marketing, your own publishing, and what kind of place that has for your clientele, and some of the attitudes that it takes to create it. It was a really fun chat. So enjoy it, and I’ll catch you on the flip side.







    Vance, welcome to the show.







    Vance:







    Well, I appreciate it. Thanks so much for having me.







    Leticia:







    Now, there are many, many, many things we could talk about, and that you have been interviewed about ad nauseam, from your career, to working for Disney, to entrepreneurship, to direct response marketing. And each one is really an episode in itself, but no doubt, we will touch on each one of them. What I would really like to focus on today is the nexus kind of between all of them at that place where customer love, and content, and publishing kind of overlap.







    Vance:







    Certainly. And they do overlap.







    Leticia:







    They really do, don’t they? First,

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Publishing success means breaking your programming

    Publishing success means breaking your programming

    Everything you think you know about publishing has been programmed. In order to be really successful at what you do, you have to find a way to break your programming.







    Your initial exposures to media — TV, radio, books, movies, media online — built your understanding of what “publishing” means.







    Which means that to find success, you have to find a way of breaking your programming.







    In an interview with Joe Rogan (which, as all Rogan interviews do, went for three hours), psychologist Dr Jordan Peterson explained it like this:







    ‘There’s a technological revolution, and it’s a deep one. It’s video, and audio. Immediately accessible to everyone all over the world. What that’s done has turn the spoken word into a tool that has the same reach as the printed word.’







    He points out that this is a Gutenberg Revolution but in video and audio — and that it might be deeper, because it isn’t obvious how many people can read. ‘But lots of people can listen,’ he says.







    He goes on to talk about how previous bandwidth limitations meant that you could get 30 seconds if you were good, or six minutes if you were stellar. This resulted in oversimplified entertainment.







    Now? We have long-form discussion and everyone is smarter than we thought!







    He says:







    ‘The same thing’s happened in the entertainment industry, because TV made us think that we could handle a 20-minute sitcom. Or maybe we could handle an hour-and-a-half, made-for-TV movie. But then Netflix came along. And HBO as well. With the bandwidth restrictions gone, and all of a sudden it turned out that no, no, we can handle a 40-hour, complex narratives where the characters shift, where the complexity starts to reach the same complexity as great literature. And there’s a massive market for it. And so, it turns out that we’re smarter than our technology.’







    Therefore I want you to consider why you think that your business publishing has to be in a particular format.







    It’s your programming! You see?







    Technical writers bang on about how people don’t want to read lots of information. But is that because people don’t read or because they want the key points quickly?







    LinkedIn gurus bang on about how short video is awesome. But is that because people want to watch you talking at them for 2 minutes about something, or because you’ve been able to pull a huge issue into a simplified 2 minutes?







    Podcasting is fantastic, and everyone interviews everyone else, but that does that mean you have to do interviews? Can’t you do a fascinating, two-hour lecture once a week?







    Consider what the format makes you think. 







    Effective publishing isn’t about following trends. If you’re going to be successful in business publishing, it’s one part knowing your audience (because that gives you topics), and one part breaking your own programming.







    To be wildly successful means you have to have the courage to be different.







    In business, that’s not a simple matter.







    That’s why I created an email list to help support you while you take the risks that you know you need to take.







    You can get onto that list by going to:







    https://bit.ly/daily-tips-email



    Everything you think you know about publishing has been programmed. In order to be really successful at what you do, you have to find a way to break your programming.







    Your initial exposures to media — TV, radio, books, movies,

    • 7 min
    Question of the Week: How to get people to interview?

    Question of the Week: How to get people to interview?

    Getting people to interview doesn’t mean that the tough work is in finding them. It’s in getting them to say ‘yes’.







    One question I have been asked recently is how do you get people to interview?







    Before I answer this, let me tell you some of the people I’ve interviewed in my time.







    I’ve interviewed Rob Halford, the almighty vocalist of classic band Judas Priest; the founder of Wacken festival, which is the world’s largest heavy metal festival; major producers and engineers like Fredrik Nordstrom; and super famous (in Europe) women like Angela Gossow. I’ve interviewed people who are totally unknown, and people that you’ve probably read, like Mike Michalowicz (who wrote books like Profit First and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur).







    Of these, some were arranged for me (Halford); some I pitched and won myself (Wacken and Nordstrom); some I am fans or friends of (Michalowicz); some because it was just my job.







    I know how to unearth people to interview, how to get people to do the work to connect me (while thinking it’s their idea), and how to make interviews a raging success.







    There are typically two reasons why you will want to interview people:







    1. For content you’re producing (podcasts, webinars, features).







    2. Case studies.







    The good news is that there is no shortage of people to interview. Everybody has a story of some kind, and if you’re a skillful interviewer, you’ll be able to find it.







    So, getting people is not the challenge.







    The bad news is that the challenge is getting people to say yes to an interview.







    When it comes to getting interviewees to say yes, the question that you need to answer is, WIIFM (what’s in it for me?). If you can’t answer that question, do some some brainstorming. Think of all of the possible reasons it would be good for them.







    If you’re looking for a case study subject, there are loads of reasons why it’s good for them:







    * Publicity somewhere else* Links back to their own website (if it’s digital)* New copy for them to use to say how awesome they are (or brag about their coverage)* Opportunity to really tell their own story and think about aspects of their businesses they don’t often consider* Opportunity to share their opinions and advice in a safe space, without judgement.







    If you’re looking for a subject for a podcast interview, the critical things — besides the WIIFM — is being specific. Tell them everything, such as:







    * What it’s for* Where it will appear* How long the interview will take* How it’ll be handled* What date it’ll go live* How many subscribers you’ve got* etc.







    There are many, many more points of specificity, but you’re a smart cookie. You’ll work it out once you get started.







    Telling people as much as you can is just courtesy. When you do this, it indicates respect: Respect for their time, effort, and knowledge.







    Your Emotional Intelligence Radar is your Persuasion Weapon. If you’re able to predict emotional responses ahead of time, you can prevent anything that will throw a negative outcome.







    It sounds absurdly simple.







    Because it is.







    To get content and publishing tips just like this one, but every day and direct to your inbox, sign up at:







    https://bit.ly/daily-tips-email



    Getting people to interview doesn’t mean that the tough work is in finding them. It’s in getting them to say ‘yes’.

    • 16 min
    Sometimes great publishing means befriending the Troll

    Sometimes great publishing means befriending the Troll

    There’s a Norwegian fairytale that I’m sure you’ve heard. It involves three persuasive goats, a hideous troll, and a bridge. Depending on your business, the subject matter experts in your organisation might be your hideous troll.







    By nature, they’re much the same.







    They’re guarding the gateways to knowledge, and beyond them is a promised land of lush pastures that will fatten you up.







    When their knowledge is challenged, or they are suddenly not in control of the message, they can get very pedantic. They’ll stop your progress, come back to you with all kinds of corrections and excuses. They’ll throw your publishing into the creek, in other words, leaving you to find an alternative.







    If you manage to find your way around this person, and start having a good time in the beautiful lush grass, you’ll soon find yourself toe-to-toe with a pyssed off troll — er — expert.







    Subject matter experts become grumpy and ugly not because they are trying to make your life difficult. Most of the time it’s because they feel threatened. 







    Suddenly, they’re not being asked to create everything. Someone else is doing it. 







    By putting yourself into their shoes, you will be able to make an ally out of this most fearsome adversary. Should you be able to achieve this, you will have a friend for life.







    A checklist for getting a troll subject-matter expert on your side (and keeping them there)







    * Remember they’re the expert. You need their help; they’re not obliged to help you. If they speak, listen.* Spend time listening to their stories and understanding their perspectives. It’ll show you the best approach by giving you an insight into who this person is and why they know so much.* Be specific about what you want them to tell you. If you haven’t prepared ahead of time, you’ll either waste their time with vague requests, or they’ll waste yours with endless stories. (Pro-tip: It’s wasted time because even though the stories are gold, you won’t be prepared for them, so they’ll sail past you.)* Treat them with respect and grace.* Thank them before and afterwards for being generous with their time.* Summarise back to them what they’re telling you, so they know that you have understood what they’re saying. Simply nodding, smiling, or making ‘uh huh’ noises won’t cut it.* Only take up as much time as you promised to take. If you need more time, book it for a second session.* Learn to detect and deflect fear. If you are consolidating website authors (for example) and taking control over a website section away from them, understand that they’ll be defensive. They may have built that entire corner themselves and be extremely proud of it. Your job is to de-fizzle them, reassure them that their work wasn’t wasted, and then get them to work with you instead of against  you. Detecting (and deflecting) fear is your number one skill here.* Know enough about the subject to have an intelligent conversation. If you’re talking to someone about pipeline design, for example, at least have a handle on basic concepts and terminology, like support spans and thermal expansion. And if you don’t know it, prepare ahead of time!* Remember; When you’re under pressure, you’ll fall as far as your preparation. You won’t rise to the occasion. 







    Working with subject matter experts is a lot like negotiation, and a lot like persuasion. If you don’t know how to do either of these things, that’s a clue for what to start studying.







    This kind of thing is really important when you start thinking about how you represent your business.







    Take, for example, the case study. Yes, you want to include the person who worked with you most of the tim...

    • 9 min
    A Tale of Wanting but Not Needing

    A Tale of Wanting but Not Needing

    In this parable, you learn what happens when you start wanting visibility and fame, instead of sticking with what you need.







    Tripping along the sun-dappled laneway, heading into Pixie territory, was a lovely-looking young woman with long, rippling, dark hair. She was excited about everything.







    So she ought to be excited! The laneway was filled with stalls, and she had a little bit of money in her pocket.







    The young woman drank in everything greedily. She’d been barely five paces past the entrance to the seductive fair before she realised how many of these things she wanted.







    Each stall became more enticing than the last.







    Unable to hold herself back any longer, she rushed over to a stand filled with little shining lights. As she approached the stall, the lights seemed to gravitate towards her, to shine and sparkle, lighting up her shining eyes and reflecting off her teeth as she laughed. She was wanting one so badly; and the charming, beautiful woman behind the staff was full of compliments about how these lights were so good for her, and she’d never find anything like them again.







    The young woman delightedly handed over half of her money, and as she walked on, the lights surrounded her, bringing her to the attention of everyone whom she went past.







    Before long, she was yearning for more of the beautiful things that seemed to whisper to her from the sides of the bustling lane way.







    She saw, ahead of her, a large sign above a stall. It had no words, but it had a painting of what looked like Aristotle holding forth to a rapt crowd.







    The young woman pushed people out of her way in her eagerness to get to the stall. It was filled with boxes. They looked like unassuming little boxes, and each one had the word soap stamped on them.







    Frowning in confusion, the woman picked up one of the boxes. Instantly it transformed into a sparkling pink album, filled with photographs of her in influential positions, in the media, talking to people of all creeds and kinds. 







    The lights bobbing around her brought her to the attention of the stall-holder, a white-haired old man who spoke to her in dulcet tones about how perfectly suited she was for this product, how it would change her life, how she would finally be at the centre of attention and in a way that undisputably gave her the power she’d always craved, ever since she was a child. 







    She realised that she didn’t have enough money for it, but she desperately wanted it. She told the old man. After speaking with her, she handed over not just her wallet, but also her golden watch, her necklace, and one of her rings.







    The woman was entranced. The lights bobbing around her made the album sparkle. It put stars in her eyes.







    Then she came to the stall that was staffed by some beautiful, gossamer, winged creatures. They were selling little parcels, wrapped up perfectly with beautiful pieces of ribbon. Entrancing music was playing somewhere in the back, and two of these entrancing creatures were dancing merrily.







    As the young woman approached, one of the creatures nudged one of the others. They saw a young woman with a little silver ball tied to her hair, carrying a roughly hewn box with the word soap stamped on the side. 







    Looking around at the parcels, the young woman asked to see what was inside one.







    The silky being at the front explained that these parcels would make her meaningful to her audience.







    You could see the excitement ripple over her skin. She wanted one.

    • 8 min
    Tristran expected a stone and got a lady instead

    Tristran expected a stone and got a lady instead

    In Neil Gaiman’s amazing illustrated fairystory Stardust, Tristran promises a girl that he’d bring her back a star, in exchange for whatever she’ll give him. It’s the perfect parable for what happens when reality hits.







    (He was trying to get in her pants. Ladies, you know this story well already. Fellas, I’m sure you know it too.)







    So when a star fell out of the sky, and Tristran said he’d bring it back, the object of his affections happily said, 







    ‘You go get your star, boy. Then when you come back you can have whatever you want.’







    Phew, she thinks. That got me out of that. And the silly boy is off thinking he can bring a star back to me.







    But Tristran was part Fae, and so when he went over the Wall to find the star, he got wound up in loads of adventures. He discovered not only that the Star was a woman, but that other people wanted her, too.







    And, of course, because it’s a fairytale, Tristran and the Star fall in love and eventualy live happily ever after. And the poor lady at the beginning gets to be happy with whatever fella she wanted (who wasn’t Tristran).







    The moral of Tristan’s story?







    Dreams aren’t often what you expect.







    And sometimes when you go looking for the solution to your problem, you’ll find it in places you also didn’t expect to find it.







    Just like Tristran didn’t expect that his star would be a surly, gorgeous woman with a broken leg.







    Publishing is a lot like that. 







    Lots of the time, you start out with hopes, and dreams, and visions. Your blog will publish about this or that, and you’ll grow it like this. Or, your LinkedIn profile will be filled with incredible candid videos and people will love them, and turn you into an influencer. Or that your book will be a best-seller.







    Reality, when it hits, is often a shock. It might be that it wasn’t what you expected. Or that it was way more effort than you thought it might be. It might even be that you just didn’t think far enough ahead of yourself to make a sensible decision.







    That’s why I’m gifting you content valuation formulae with your case study when you quote the code word Stardust.







    Once you’ve got the formulae, you’ll know exactly how to assess your publishing: You’ll know where it fits, how much it’s earning (or costing) you, and whether or not it’s valuable for your business.







    Which means, if you already have loads of content, you’ll know straight away which pieces of it are critical path for your earnings.







    Nobody else can tell you that. 







    If you want these formulae, the only way to get them is to buy yourself a case study. Or, you know, be prepared to negotiate. 😉 







    Details etc:







    https://brutalpixie.com/case-study



    In Neil Gaiman’s amazing illustrated fairystory Stardust, Tristran promises a girl that he’d bring her back a star, in exchange for whatever she’ll give him. It’s the perfect parable for what happens when reality hits.







    (He was trying to get in her pants. Ladies, you know this story well already. Fellas, I’m sure you know it too.)







    So when a star fell out of the sky, and Tristran said he’d bring it back, the object of his affections happily said, 







    ‘You go get your star, boy. Then when you come back you can have whatever you want.’







    Phew, she thinks. That got me out of that. And the silly boy is off thinking he can bring ...

    • 4 min

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