We got Reuben Swartz here. He's the founder of mimiran.com. It's the fun CRM program for independent consultants who love serving clients but hate selling. And he's also the host and chief nerd. We love nerds and propeller heads and techno geeks on the Sales for Nerds podcast. Now, Reuben went from a background in computer science and software engineering to sales and marketing for big shot companies Fortune 500, Fortune 100. And while he was helping them, he was struggling with his own sales and marketing for his own firm. So his mission became to help other independent consultants make a much bigger dent in the universe and get more clients by using their talents to teach instead of market, and connect instead of network and help instead of sell.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 694
How To Automate Your Business – https://screwthecommute.com/automatefree/
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See Tom's Stuff – https://linktr.ee/antionandassociates[03:33] Tom's introduction to Reuben Swartz [10:08] Software as a Service all in the cloud [12:42] Don't serve cold pizza! [13:40] Barley, the VP of HR [15:09] Sales for Nerds podcast [18:07] What if you had to double your prices [21:52] Sponsor message [23:31] A typical day for Reuben
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Episode 694 – Reuben Swartz
[00:00:08] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:24] Everybody's time here with episode 694 Screw the Commute Podcast. I'm here with Reuben Swartz, and this guy is a fun guy in business. And I love that because that's the way we roll around here. And I'm just wondering why he's slumming it to come on my show, though, because, I mean, this guy's summa cum laude from Princeton. Oh, I mean, I think he made a mistake with getting on this show. But anyway, hopefully he'll stick in there with us. So but he's got a really cool CRM. He'll tell you what that means in a in a minute. That's a lot of fun and easy to use. So that's one thing, the big one of the big selling points of it. So we'll bring him on in a minute. Hope you didn't miss Episode 693. That's was my recap of two months on TikTok and my handle there is tiktok.com/@digitalmultimillionaire and I did some numbers here just before we got started. I have one video going viral. And at 230 this afternoon, it's right now it's just 405. It was 421,500 views. And as of this moment, it's 423,500 views. So 2000 and like, I don't know, an hour and a half and it went up 60,000 views since yesterday. So I'm dominating on the keywords, residual income and recurring income. So if you are on tech talk or if you're thinking about doing it, I wouldn't worry too much about the Chinese kidnapping you and putting you into slavery. You know, don't worry about it. If you've got little kids, you know, you've got to sacrifice. So I don't think they're going to want me.
[00:02:14] I eat too much, but I'm going to take advantage of TikTok the best I can before they, I don't know, put me into child slavery. So here we go. Next thing is, make sure you download a copy of our automation book. This we actually estimated it saved me about 8 million keystrokes. Just one of the tips in the book, and it's how I'm lightning fast, taking care of customers and prospects. And people can't believe it, you know, and I could have quit doing this 23 years ago, but I just love this. But still, there's automation tools you can use to make your workload a lot less. So grab your copy at screwthecommute.com/automatefree. And we want to thank the people helping us out on Patreon that's funding our program to give scholarships to persons with disability. So it's screwthecommute.com/patreon and it starts as little as $3 a month and it's something you can really be proud of these people we have to into people in the program are blind and one is a kind of a disabled school teacher and they are making great progress in our pilot program. And once we prove the concept, I'm going to roll it out really big to corporations and foundations so I can help thousands of persons with disabilities.
[00:03:33] All right, That's good deal. Let's get to the main event. We got Reuben Swartz here. He's the founder of mimiran.com. It's the fun CRM program for independent consultants who love serving clients but hate selling. And he's also the host and chief nerd. We love nerds and propeller heads and techno geeks on the Sales for Nerds podcast. Now, Reuben went from a background in computer science and software engineering to sales and marketing for big shot companies Fortune 500, Fortune 100. And while he was helping them, he was struggling with his own sales and marketing for his own firm. So his mission became to help other independent consultants make a much bigger dent in the universe and get more clients by using their talents to teach instead of market, and connect instead of network and help instead of sell. So, Reuben, are you ready to screw? The commute?
[00:04:45] Absolutely, Tom. Thanks for having me on.
[00:04:47] Oh, yeah, it's good. Good deal. We like people to like to have fun. In fact, there was something I saw about your talking about your your software, and it said that traditional CRMs are like the space shuttle with memories, and it's like riding a bike. So that's a good analogy there. So tell us tell everybody that it might be have some beginners on here what a CRM is and how you developed this thing, why you developed it.
[00:05:18] Well, that's a lot of great questions. So first of all, Serum stands for customer relationship management, but usually it refers to sales and marketing management. In other words, managing our pipeline, our prospects and our leads. And it was popularized by companies like Salesforce who, when they started, had a really simple CRM that became super complicated. And as I was consulting with my giant clients, trying to figure out what to do for my own sales and marketing because I knew I could help them, but I kind of sucked at my own. I was like, Well, I just have to copy what they're doing. The strategy, the tactics, the tools, etc. How hard can it be? Right? I'm a hard worker. I'm a learner. I'm willing to do it. It's important. And the more I did that, the worse things got. And it took me a long time to realize that. While things might be the same at a 50,000 foot level, when you're a Fortune 50 company or you're a five person company or a one person company, you know you've got leads, you've got revenue, you've got some deals that close, some that don't, etc.. Overall, it's a very different mindset. If you've got a 5000 person sales team and half those people aren't going to be there in two years, you have to run things very differently than when you're the person doing sales and marketing and hopefully all of you is going to be there in two years. Got it. And right, like that whole always be closing comes from just the mathematics of running those big sales teams versus when it's you not only doing the sales and marketing, but you actually have to go do the delivery.
[00:06:47] Well. Now you in some ways you might not be a professional salesperson, but you really want to make sure that you're committing clients to projects that you're actually going to make them successful on. Because if it's not successful, that comes back to you as well, right? Like you have to go do the work. You're the one who's going to get paid and make the income from it being successful. And what I found was these tools, the traditional serums, are really designed for the VP sales to keep track of the sales team. They're not designed to help you create and nurture relationships, which as an introvert who does not like selling, that's actually what I needed. I just need somebody to keep me organized so that I could have a human to human relationship with people. And if I did that in a structured way with the right people, then enough people are going to raise their hand and say, Hey, Reuben, how can you help? How can I hire you to help me? That's what I wanted. I didn't set out to build a CRM. I thought that would be absurd. I started building tools that would plug into CRMs, thinking, Gosh, if I could only just make it do some of these things that I need to do, then my life will be better, right? I want to be able to automate the proposal process.
[00:07:48] I want my website to get me leads. And when I had customers give me feedback like, Hey Reuben, I really love what you've done. It's simple, it's easy, it helps me, but I hate my CRM. Can you just make memories, do the CRM stuff too? And I would say, No, that's crazy. The world doesn't need another CRM. And if it did, I'll be the last person who should build it. And eventually I was like, You know, as I'm trying all these different serums, like thinking, surely the one that I need is out there and I just couldn't find it was like, Why do I keep arguing with my customers? Why don't I listen to them? They're telling me something very important that's not really going to make their lives better. It's going to make my life better. Why don't I do what they asked me to do and make memory and do the CRM piece as well? So that I can actually go and just have conversations with the right people. That's kind of how I think of it is if you have good conversations with the right people, then good things happen and 90% of sales is about that and 90% of the problems come from not having the right people to have conversations with or not having some kind of reasonable organization around those conversations. So you're kind of end up desperate and in sales mode and then you feel icky and blah, blah, blah, blah. So I just wanted something that would let me keep track of all the awesome people in my life and kind of remind me, Hey, it's time to have a conversation with Tom, Reuben.
[00:09:06] Pick up the phone and call him. Don't just send him an email newsletter. Actually have a conversation because as a techie introvert, I denied for years that the building block of human relationships is conversations. And you can't just replace that with technology. You can use technology to facilitate those conversations, but not as a substitute. So that's the real long winded version about how I got here. And then the nice thing for me and my customers, because I'm also a user, not just something I build and sell, it's like my day went from, Oh my gosh, I hate sales and marketing, but got to I got to plow through it. It's a necessary evil to go do the work that I want to do to sell the marketing is part of the same mission. It's part of the same kind of fun experience I have helping people. And I don't have to have a different energy when I do sales and marketing stuff. Versus when I'm actually doing work for clients. It's all part of the same thing. It's all integrated. It's all kind of me just being helpful and that lets me show up as who I am and I don't have to pretend to be someone else. And lo and behold, it's actually a lot more effective when you when you can do it that way.
[00:10:08] Now, is this a software that you download or is this a software as a service where you log in?
[00:10:15] This is software as a service, it's online, you log in and you can access it on your computer or on your tablet, on your phone, whatever, wherever you may be.
[00:10:22] So does it. Yeah. So in that case, then it's synchronized wherever you happen to log in from.
[00:10:28] Right? It's all in the cloud. So you just access it via whatever device you want to access it from.
[00:10:33] Yeah. Now, this thing even won an award from your firm from Texas, right?
[00:10:40] Yeah. Tell me about that.
[00:10:42] Yeah. The Austin Chamber of Commerce. I think, named it like most innovative sales and marketing product for small businesses or something like that.
[00:10:52] Yeah. Amazing. Yeah. Yeah. Very critical because I know I, you know, I've been this Internet guy forever, but I hate this software stuff. I mean, it's always too hard to operate. And so you, you made it a point to make it easy to operate, right?
[00:11:11] Well, I think that's part of the challenge, because I come from the enterprise software world where I would have to go build something and sell something to the VP or the CXO of some giant corporation who is going to sign a multi million dollar check. And I had to convince that person to do that. And at the same time, there might be hundreds or thousands of people using the tool that I would never talk to who might end up hating the tool and not end up using it. And you'd see that cycle again and again in enterprise software, and you see it also with independent consultants chasing a shiny object like, Oh, this CRM or this tool or whatever that's going to fix my issues. And if it if it's not fun and easy to use, then it doesn't get used and it doesn't actually deliver the benefit. So one of the nice things about this is I finally got to have something that not only was I building and selling, but I was using myself. So if there's something irritating about it, I'm going to be the first one who knows? And I'm going to want to make it smoother and easier and so on.
[00:12:05] So you still doing the tech stuff or is you supervising that?
[00:12:09] No, I still do the tech stuff.
[00:12:11] Wow. Yeah. So you're hands in hands on everything.
[00:12:16] And I love it. It kind of lets me do both sides of my brain. And I like that if there's a problem or something, that that should be done better. There's. You know, people are always saying, hey, Reuben, what about this? What about that? And sometimes what they're asking for, it doesn't make sense or it just would make the software too unwieldy. And a lot of times it's like, Oh, that's a really good idea. We should totally do that. And getting to go and just make that happen, I, I get a real kick out of that.
[00:12:42] Mm hmm. Now, I was reading an article you had in Medium, and I caught my eye because I have what I call my pizza shop theory. But yours is a little different. Your your big strategy says don't serve cold pizza. That was your thing in the in the article. You remember that?
[00:13:00] You know, you're going to have to refresh.
[00:13:02] Your It says it went on to say. A lot of consultants have deep domain expertise. They can make an amazing pizza. But if it's cold, by the time it gets to you and if the waiters room are rude or seems disinterested, all that skill in making the pizza goes to waste.
[00:13:20] Got it. Yeah.
[00:13:22] Yeah. So again, the the fanciest software on earth, if it gets to the people and it's it's cold and the fact that there's nobody teaching them how to use it and it's just give me the money and throw the software at you then that's, that's not going to fly. Now, I understand that you have a really you searched far and wide for your vp of h.r.
[00:13:48] Yes. Well, and actually, i shouldn't say that i fought against having a vp of hr for years.
[00:13:55] Oh, okay.
[00:13:56] And then covid hit, and my wife really intensified the search, and she is curled up on her little doggy mat right at my feet right now. Barley and barley. That's right. She's an Aussie doodle, and I adore her, which is a very good thing, because all the people, other members of the family who claim they were going to really take care of this dog, you know how it goes. Like they they they just let's just say they don't do that. So it's really my dog. And, you know, it's it's it's been really fun. And what I found first, it was kind of embarrassing, like, oh, my gosh, the dogs barking. I'm on a zoom call or whatever. And as you mentioned at the beginning of this, like, hey, every once in a while the dogs go crazy. And depending on how it goes, we'll either make a joke about it or we'll just edit it out. And so many people I've now joined the dog world and I used to make fun of these people and now I have become what I what I made fun of.
[00:14:50] I get.
[00:14:50] It. My life is better for it.
[00:14:52] Oh, for sure. I have two German shepherds in there looking at me and I got a rescue husky or a husky? Husky that's blind.
[00:15:00] So that's.
[00:15:02] Awesome. Yeah, we're. I've been. I've saved thousands of dogs over the years. Let's see. I also saw that you had you continue to have a company, and I want to know what's the difference? Sales for nerds. It says LinkedIn says you had that for six years to the present. So what's the difference between that and Merriman?
[00:15:26] So Sells for Nerds is the podcast that is sort of like the purely educational side of what I do. And we'll have you come on sales for nerds because I want to hear a lot about you have a lot of interesting things to say about digital marketing and nerd. Yeah, yeah. But that's basically the idea. And what happened was I was on this sort of small business summit retreat and we were sitting around having some drinks and talking and somebody said something like, Hey, you know, if we were a bunch of millennials would figure out how to put this on YouTube and make a ton of money, just us talking shop and having a good time. And at that time, I realized I was getting a lot of similar questions from people. And I thought, Oh, I should write a book so I don't have to, like, answer all these questions individually because I tend to repeat a lot. And I thought, Gosh, a book's a lot of work. What I should do instead is combine these ideas and just show up with a bottle of wine and interview people for a podcast and sort of go help people learn not just from me, but from other folks who are hopefully a lot wiser than I am.
[00:16:22] And I didn't really think anything of it, but you'll probably get a kick out of how I. So I said, Hey, I'm going to do this. Six months later, I hadn't invited a single guest because I was over perfecting everything and I got so embarrassed that I'd hit the six month mark and I hadn't invited anybody that I emailed. Jason Cohen, who is a serial entrepreneur here in Austin. He started WP Engine Great WordPress hosting, by the way, and I was like, Hey, I have this idea of podcast. I show up with a bottle of wine and blah, blah, blah, blah, and I just want you to know I really love your blog and I love some of the talks you've given, and I'm an AWP customer and this and the other thing. He writes back like 3 minutes later, Hey, you had me at wine. Here's a link to my calendar. And I'm like, Oh, you know, And if you go back and listen to those first up, we split that episode into two because we.
[00:17:08] Were drunk By the end of the first.
[00:17:10] You know, we just kept going till we ran out of wine. We would have kept going. But I only had brought one bottle and the audio is not great and this and the other thing. But it was such a good time and I've heard such positive feedback that I just keep doing it. So we'll have you come on and you'll get to experience the other side of it.
[00:17:27] So you get to drink all the wine because I'm actually allergic. I can't if one drop of anything and I light up like a Christmas tree.
[00:17:36] And well, there we go. More for me.
[00:17:38] More for you. And yeah, the tagline was What happens when you mix technical people, sales, marketing and wine?
[00:17:45] That's right.
[00:17:47] There is there is a girl on YouTube that she has a cooking show and she's drinking wine the whole time. And by the end of each episode, she's totally sloshed and she's getting millions of views.
[00:17:58] Oh, maybe I need to step it up a little bit because I try not to get that way. But I did. I have had a couple of guests who who clearly are enjoying themselves heartily by the time we get done with the episodes.
[00:18:08] Now, I read another article that you that you wrote. Hopefully you remember it. You must have written a lot of articles. It says, What if you had to double your prices and it talked about a super villain forcing you into it are going to kill you, right? Yeah. Tell us about that.
[00:18:26] Well, it's an exercise that I like to do from back in my consulting days because I think a lot of us underpriced our services and a lot of that comes from not targeting. Those services particularly well. So if you say, Hey, I do websites for people or whatever. A bunch of people are going to complain, whatever the price of your website is that, gosh, that's really expensive. While my uncle, you know, my nephew, can do it for five bucks or I can get someone on fiber to do it for 20 bucks or whatever. Why are you charging me 5000 or whatever? It doesn't really matter what the number is. But the point is, there's going to be some sort of distribution of the perceived differential value that your prospects find in what you offer. And if you're not targeting it, well, a lot of them are going to complain that it's too expensive and you're going to start to believe them instead of saying, I need to really focus on the folks who think that, gosh, this is kind of a bargain. And so a lot of times when people think about pricing, they think, oh, gosh, you know, how do I raise prices by 5%, 10%, something like that, 20%. If I really want to be ambitious and I like to do this exercise, if you've got a double or maybe even triple or ten, your prices and we're going to introduce the supervillain holding you hostage until you do it, because otherwise people don't take it seriously. And of course, this is kind of a ludicrous example anyway. But the idea is if you really had to do this, what would be different about your business? And you start realizing, Well, I've got to get in front of the right people, the people who really value what I do, and there might be some other things that that I do that would really enhance the perceived value that clients receive without me necessarily doing a whole lot more.
[00:20:00] That kind of goes back to the cold pizza analogy, right? Like you can be the greatest pizza maker in the world, but if it's cold, by the time it gets to the customer, they don't perceive it as being super valuable. So maybe it's a matter of you've got to insulate the pizza on the way to the customer's home or something like that. There's often equivalent things that you can do in the consulting world that lead somebody to perceive that you're really worth paying a lot of money. For example, I've had people who who simply make sure that they send out a weekly status report to the stakeholders. Right. So they don't do anything different. They just tell people what the heck is going on and suddenly they go from projects that can seem a little screwy and off the rails and people are complaining about invoices and blah, blah, blah. Oh, you guys are awesome. We want to hire you again. And of course, that's not necessarily going to be true in every situation. But that notion of, oh, you're letting the stakeholder, the the the purchaser know what's happening, that's something that they might perceive as really valuable. What do you know? Suddenly, instead of charging 5000, you're charging 10,000 or 25,000 for what is more or less the same thing.
[00:21:08] That's yeah, it's a beautiful analogy to it too. And but you're forcing people to think about it. That's the whole thing is they, they're scared to death to go 5% that they'll lose a customer and, and that's just not the case. Yes. You have to show the value. And the thing about telling people what's going on that goes back 100 and some years for 120 some years when copyrighting was invented, they the story is is the guy there was there selling beer. And so one guy I think of his name was Claude Hopkins told people how beer was made and everybody made it the same way. But he's the one that told them.
[00:21:49] And that saved the company. So you got to take a brief sponsored break. When we come back, we're going to ask Reuben what's a typical day look like for him and then how we check this. Do you call it software or what do you call it?
[00:22:04] Yeah, it's software.
[00:22:05] It's just.
[00:22:06] Cloud based.
[00:22:06] Software. Cloud based software. Yeah. So, folks, about 26 years ago now or so, I kind of turned the Internet marketing guru world on its head in that people at my level were charging 50 or 100 grand up front for small businesses. And this isn't a Fortune 500 kind of thing. And so that's a lot of money and a lot of risk for a lot of small businesses. And I knew a lot of these people they'd be hiding out in Mexico. If you gave him 50 grand up front, you'd never see him again. So I said, You know, it's too risky. I'm going to I'm going to make them mad and and help out small business people. So I flipped the whole thing upside down. I said, I'm going to charge an entry fee and then I'm going to I don't get my 50,000 unless you net 200,000. Well, people really like this and 1800 students later, it's still going strong. It's the longest running, most successful, most unique Internet and digital marketing mentor program ever. And I triple dog dare anybody to put theirs up against mine. And they're too embarrassed to do it because I'm a crazy fanatic who could have quit 20 years ago doing this. So I really a big small business advocate, so very comprehensive, very unique. You have an immersion weekend at this retreat center in Virginia Beach. We have a TV studio. We shoot your marketing videos for you. It's all inclusive. So check it out at greatInternetmarketingtraining.com.
[00:23:32] All right. Let's get back to the main event. We got Reuben Swartz here and he has invented a super CRM system that's easily a mere mortal can actually use it. So what's a typical day look like for you now?
[00:23:46] Well, first of all, I just want to say something about what you did with the Internet marketing world, because there's another side of that, that two X or ten X exercise, which is what would you have to do to cut your prices in half or by ten? And deliver value in a more scalable way. And so you went that way. So congratulations. That's another great way to do it.
[00:24:06] Opposite Yeah, that's, that's my nature. Go the other.
[00:24:09] Way. Yeah. And it's like you don't necessarily have to be where you think you are right where you are right now, which may or may not have been the grand design. You can move up and down that price curve to the place that suits you the best or even the places. So for me, my day usually starts with, well, is walking going for a walk with my VP of HR because no one else is going to do it, which is actually kind of usually a pleasant part of my day. And then I take my kids to school and then I get settled in. I make sure there's no emergency customer issues that I need to resolve. And then I usually just have conversations with people. That's a big part of what my serum is all about is just about connecting with folks. And so I'm talking to prospects, I'm talking to new users, I'm talking to old users, I'm talking to partners, and then I'm also doing some kind of content creation, whether it's in the software itself or writing articles or doing podcast episodes or something like that. And then at some point the kids have to get picked up from school. The dog needs another walk, and we kind of go into family time in the evening and then depending on how the evening goes and how my energy goes, there might be some more work involved later. I try to schedule my work that doesn't require talking to other people to be in the evening. And what I found is I went from being a night owl when I was younger to like, I'm now turning into my parents and I want to be in bed by 10 p.m. at the latest. So my window is shrinking, but I'm trying to make the most of it.
[00:25:37] That big super freeze that hit Texas. Did that affect you?
[00:25:41] Oh, yeah. We lost power for about 36 hours. Oh, boy. So some people didn't lose it at all. Some people had it out for a week or something like that. But it was really interesting. And I remember it distinctly because I had a partner who was running a promotion for me that he sent out this giant email blast right before I lost power. Oh. And so I had hundreds of leads that I couldn't I didn't know anything about, couldn't talk to, etc. It was like, not great timing. But yeah, it all it all worked out okay in the end. And we have a gas fireplace, which we used more than we've ever used before.
[00:26:19] So the software stayed up because it was run at some with some super backup somewhere.
[00:26:25] Exactly. I don't actually run right. Run the server infrastructure anymore, thank goodness.
[00:26:30] Yeah. Oh, yeah, that's that's crazy. And even even the best of the best. I don't know if you're aware of it, but Rackspace, which is based down around you somewhere, hundreds of thousands of customers went out when they got ransomware. Oh, it's still it's still a nightmare. Hundreds of thousands of email things are going south, so I'm including me, so. Oh, no. Yeah, but that's a $3 billion company. Yeah. And they still can get hit, so the little guy can get hit too. So. So. So how do they get involved with your to check out your, your software?
[00:27:07] Well, I guess the first thing I'd say is, is this going to be right for you? Possibly. So this is designed for those independent coaches and consultants who are serving clients. They don't think they like sales and marketing, at least not the traditional kind of icky way. And they just want to have good conversations with people, get more referrals, that kind of thing. It's not for even a small sales team. If you've got a sales team, if you're a VP of sales, you're going to want a more traditional tool that helps you keep tabs on those people. So with that caveat, if you think that sounds interesting, go check it out at Amazon.com. Mimiran.com
[00:27:46] Yeah, Shownotes folks. And also, what will they see when they get there?
[00:27:50] Well, you're going to see a little overview about how awesome the tool is and how it's different and blah, blah, blah, blah, and how you can start a free trial and get a demo and all that good stuff. And you can also.
[00:27:58] Get it up. You can see Bali.
[00:28:00] That's right. You can find Bali, the VP of h.R. And you can also get things like proposal templates, lead magnet ideas, questions to ask during the sales cycle, other free resources like that. That may be helpful regardless of what you end up using for a crime.
[00:28:16] Beautiful. Beautiful. Yeah, Great. Great deal. Well, thanks so much for coming on, man.
[00:28:21] My pleasure, Tom. Thanks for having me.
[00:28:23] Yeah, it's a great, great tool. I'm all about automation and organization, but it has to be simple. It has to be something that mere mortals can use. That's. That's what I love about.
[00:28:35] All right, everybody, we will catch you on the next episode. See you later.