Everyone longs for and needs genuine human connection, but the pandemic put that to the test. With most interactions only done in the virtual stage, personal impact between people is slowly winding down. International lean business consultant Crista Grasso aims to change this by teaching how to use physical products and remain aligned with your core values to properly engage with a target audience. She sits down with Juliet Clark to share how releasing a workbook and being clear on her goals allowed her to connect with her market deeper. Crista also discusses her work in the Lean Out Method, which helps entrepreneurs get rid of unnecessary expenses and focus more on the real priorities.
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Achieving Genuine Human Connection Through Values And Physical Products With Crista Grasso
Before we get started, I want to remind you guys, go over and take our Promote Profit Publish Quiz. You can find it at www.PromoteProfitPublishQuiz.com. Find out if you’re ready to promote. We all need an audience. A lot of you guys are not prepared so et prepared. Take the quiz and find out what you need to do. Our guest is Crista Grasso. She is an international lean business consultant and the Creator of the Lean Out Method and the 90-day Lean Out Planner. She has been helping businesses achieve accelerated results and increased profitability for decades through a combination of strategic planning and lean business practices. Known as the Business Optimizer, Crista has the ability to quickly cut through the noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to grow and scale your business. She specializes in helping businesses identify the most important things that they should focus on right now that will drive maximum value for their customers and maximum profit for their business.
I’m so excited to be here. Thanks for having me on.
You are welcome. I’m excited to have you too. Crista does something unique out in the world besides all of that I told you about. She helps entrepreneurs who put together workshops, courses, and all that thing put together planners and their workbooks. Tell us a little bit about why it’s so important to have a workbook now.
It’s interesting. I’m not sure if it’s because of COVID that I saw this being important beforehand. In 2020, especially, the demand for sales of physical, tangible products went through the roof. It’s because people were forced into a digital world in a lot of ways where people were used to more of that connection. Do they want that deeper connection with somebody and with their brand? What better way to do it than with a tangible product?
Something that somebody has on their desk with your branding that they’re using every single day to help them get the result or achieve whatever that transformation is that they’re looking for themselves. I’ve seen such an increased demand for these over time and already they were doing and performing well as I’m sure you could see. There are so many different planners, workbooks, journals, and things like it out on the market, but I saw the spike go up quite a bit in 2020. I don’t know if you’ve seen the same with books.In almost anything that you do, you can benefit some physical product. Click To Tweet
I mentioned right before you started, we had to get a project management software put together because we not only had the quizzes but people had books that were coming out. They sat during our lockdowns and they wrote books. You’re right about not only the workbooks but that people want something in their hands. One of our authors, Peggy Matheson released a trauma-coloring book. It’s things like that where people want to build relationships and they want to touch something.
I can send you digital things all day long saying, “Here’s how to plan for your business. Here’s how to do strategic planning. Here’s how to build your 90-day plan.” You may or may not follow it. You may or may not remember me but you have something like this planner on your desk that you’re using, you’re going to take action and get results. You’re going to remember the brand, person, as well as what they’re teaching you. It’s so powerful in such a great way to help expand upon whatever digital presence or online type of businesspeople have.
We’re spending all day on Zoom right now. Taking a Zoom class, you can’t sit there and listen to somebody. I’m sure they’re engaging but drone on and on in a lecture. You need some time in between to work in a workbook, do some exercises, and get that engagement that we didn’t always have in those in-person workshops because we had someone in the front of the room that was engaging. Is that what the corporate people that are looking for workshops are looking for as well?
Yes. I’ve been involved in the selection of a lot of different people that come into corporations to teach workshops. I will say hands down, one of the things that help somebody get in over somebody else is if they have an actual workbook to hand out to attendees. For some reason, it increases the perceived value of the person who is making the decision on which company to hire, which speaker to bring in, or which class to bring in if you think about the act of somebody taking the time to go through the exercises and then to have that workbook with them. A year from now, they’ve taken that class, they can go back, and they can reference it. The people who are making those decisions on who to hire and who to bring in get the value of that and they tend to prioritize people who have a physical workbook over people who do not.
Even if you’re an online entrepreneur having an event, it’s important too. One of the first events I ever went to how to workbook, they sent out in the mail that was thick. It was a three-day event and we went through. We did exercises in the book and went to breakout rooms. There’s so much room for that even if you’re doing or putting out these online events as well.
Almost anything that you do, you can benefit from some physical product. If you think about what most people do when you do a webinar, what do you do? You do a worksheet that you send to somebody to print off and fill in. You always want someone taking that step of, A, paying attention and, B, taking action. Obviously, having that to refer back to. If you’re doing a bigger course, you’re speaking from the stage, or you’re a paid speaker, anything where you do something where you want people to take action and get results, that physical, actual workbook, planner, journal, or whatever you decide to call it is so powerful.
I have something that Aaron Young gives out for the Inner Circle mastermind. I’ve had them sitting over in the corner but I didn’t want to do anything with it. I started it as my 2021 journal. If he had done that in a printout form where you downloaded, it never would have happened. It’s beautiful, nice, and branded. I think of Aaron every time I look at it and that’s the thing you need. Even if you have to ship that book someplace when somebody signs up, it’s definitely something that you should consider.
It gives a higher perceived value, honestly. When clients come on to work with me, whether they join one of my programs or work with me privately, I send them a welcome pack and included in that, I include the planner. I can’t tell you how crazy they go over that. They love it. They’re like, “I don’t get this from anybody else. I’ve worked with other coaches or I’ve been a part of other programs. I don’t get an actual planner with it.” I do think it helps differentiate quite a bit and helps with that decision for them to want to work with you.
I agree with that. One of our people who put together great workshop ships out his book. He has a free shipping book funnel but in addition to that, there are other swag and again, physical products. People are walking around with a T-shirt that says, “Are you F-able?” It’s funny. They remember him. People comment on the shirt. It’s always a great thing to do. Tell us a little bit more about your Lean Out business because I feel like people are transitioning from physical locations to online and they’re not quite sure how to organize their expenses and life in general.
If you’re in one of those transitions, you will get through it. What typically ends up happening in business, if you think about it, is when we first start a business, we tend to say yes to everything. We’re trying all the things and seeing what sticks. The problem is, over time, you end up with a lot of noise and a lot of unnecessary stuff in your business. There are things that you’re doing that aren’t adding value. There are things that you’re investing in that aren’t giving you a return. There are things that you’re spending your time on that you should not be spending your time on. It overall becomes too much.If you are in a transition state, do not bring any waste with you and set yourself up very lean from the beginning. Click To Tweet
In my Lean Out business, I help people lean out. I help them get clear on, “What are the things that matter. What are the things that are adding the most value to your customers? What are the things that are impacting your bottom line and adding true profitability, not revenue to your business and what can you eliminate?” You want to eliminate everything else. Anytime you think about lean, it’s about eliminating waste and most businesses have a lot of waste. If you are in a transition state, it is a great opportunity to not bring any of that waste with you and to set yourself up very lean from the beginning.
A good time to learn how to look at those analytics if you haven’t been in the past. I’m working with a client, she has no idea what our stats is doing and it didn’t start. This started out as a quiz project and somehow, we’re going through organizing because there are so many different pieces to her marketing and none of them work together. It’s things like that. Were you looking at the analytics? What are you getting a return on investment from and what are you not?
If you want like a shortcut to success if you will, figure out what’s working and do more of that. It’s not that hard but most people don’t take the time to do it because they have so much going on and they’re so busy that it’s hard to step away, dig into those analytics, and truly evaluate what are the things that are working that we should double down on. What are the things that it’s time to let go of?
Letting go can be hard with it. One of the lessons I learned early on was people would bring me their funnels and they’d say, “My marketing guy was horrible. Let’s get rid of this.” If you sat down and you went through the analytics, sometimes it was little tweaks in copywriting or a picture. They didn’t understand. They thought their guy had done a bad job but it needed tweaking. If they had understood their analytics, they might’ve figured that out. You have to be hands-on with all this when you’re leaning out, don’t you?
You have to. You’ve got to dig in. You’ve got to know what’s in your business. What is going on? What’s your team doing to your point? There’s a concept in Lean called the Gemba Walk. It’s where you go out, walk the floor, and see what people are doing instead of sitting in your office. It’s so important that even if we have remote teams and digital teams that you’re looking at, “What do your people do. How do they do? What is your customer doing? How are they using your products and services or what you do?” The better understanding you can get, the more opportunities for efficiencies and optimization that you will find.
One of the things we’re dealing with is people are all over the place with this instead of staying in their lane and staying in their zone of genius. When you have people staying in their zone of genius, it’s very cost-effective because people are doing what they’re good at and not trying to do things they’re not good at, and it’s costing you money. It’s a great point. What other things are you seeing inside of this transition that is coming up for entrepreneurs that they need to lean out?
Honestly, one of the things that can be surprising for people in an exercise I do with everybody is it’s so important that you get clear on your vision. I think a vision in three different pieces. I think of it as not your vision for your business, you also want to factor in your own life and lifestyle because you’re a key part of that business and you want to make sure your business model aligns with the lifestyle that you want to have. The piece I don’t see a lot of people factoring in is their customer. When you’re thinking about a vision, you need to be thinking about your customer as well. Thinking about, “What are they going to need and want from me in the future.” That can be especially powerful in this transition state because in some cases, you may have realized yourself, “There’s a lot of things I did in my business that I wasn’t super excited about it. It didn’t align with what I see for myself, for my lifestyle, or even for the business that I always wanted.”
That’s a good opportunity to lean out but the other thing a lot of people are realizing when I go through this exercise with them is sometimes their customers’ needs have changed as well. They need to be thinking about that and thinking about which pieces of their current business align with what their customer wants next from them. There are some things that you’re doing that worked yesterday that you might need to start re-imagining or leaning out to create space for those things that are next level that your customer wants you to take them to.If you want a shortcut to success, figure out what's working and do more of that. Click To Tweet
I’m going to pick us something here and please, feel free to jump in. One day, Melanie, Sharon, and I are working on a project together and we were on a Zoom call with someone doing a demo. The first thing I said to that gentleman was, “Get rid of your AI. It sucks.” I don’t know how many times during COVID I have seen people turn to AI instead of personal contact. People need relationships and real people right now. I hope all of you out there that have AI, it’s sucks. It takes you in loops. It’s not like talking to a real person. That’s one of those things you’re talking about. Consider what your customers are going through. They’re locked in their houses all day. The last thing they want is to talk to a computer who’s given them run around. There you go, my pet peeve.
The thing is, why do people do all of that? Is it to save money so they can charge less money? Most of your customers, especially if you work with more of a higher tier customer, they will pay for your time, human connection, and personal touch. They will invest in it because it’s what they want or at least have a tear with that available for the people who do want to invest in that. I agree with you fully. People want the human connection. They don’t want the AI.
I had a run-in with Verizon and their AI. I got ahold of a rep and I said, “Your AI sucks.” She’s like, “You’re talking to the choir here,” because she had to call in for something. She was a customer support service person and she had to call into Verizon. She said, “I went in the next day and I told my management, this is awful,” because she got caught in that big loop that I got caught in. That’s one of those shifts. They’re craving that personal touch and relationship building. A lot of these big companies get on social media and they talk about their relationship skills but they don’t have any.
It’s sad but true.
What else do you see? I’m done bitching.
One of the biggest things that I see with people where there’s a huge quick win as far as leaning out goes is, we talked about vision. Let’s say you’re clear on where you’re going. You know what you see for that future. Do you have goals set for the next 90 days that are in support of that? A lot of people do. It’s not uncommon that a lot of people set their vision, set their goals, and that’s a wonderful thing. What I see often though, is the activities that people do on a day-to-day basis are not in support of those visions and goals.
If you think about the question that vision helps you answer is, “Are you working on the right things? Are the things that you’re doing directionally correct with where you want to be taking your business?” When you think about a goal like a 90-day goal or something that’s more in your term, it helps you understand, are you working on the right things now? Aside from the things that you have to do in your business to keep your lights on, the commitments that you have to be working with your existing clients, and delivering what you’ve promised, anything else that you’re working on better be those things that are aligned to those goals if you want to achieve them. What ends up happening is people get stuck in a lot of busywork. They’ve got a to-do list that’s like 10 miles long and they’re not doing the things that are going to get them the results that they want in their business.
That’s a quick sanity check for you as if you’ve got a vision and goals, take a good look at your to-do list, look at where you invest your time, where your team invest their time, and make sure that those things align with the vision and goals that you have. Where you don’t have alignment the question is, “Do you need to be doing it at all or do you need to be doing it right now?” Again, sometimes, it’s simple things. You don’t need to be investing time and energy or money in right now and you can look at them in the future. Some things, it’ll be obvious need to go entirely and you’ll have to figure out how to work them out of your business.
Where we work in that space of lead generation and lead qualification, I’m sometimes surprised how little time people are spending on income-producing activities, which is you’re a business. You better be engaging in that. I used to see it a lot in the real estate world and in the real estate world the top 2% are the only people that are making money. Those are the people that are prospecting, networking, and doing. That’s part of that process too, where you have to take a look at, “What are my goals? Are you asking every morning? One of the things I do in my journal is this is what I need to do. Who do I need to know?”Anything you're working on better be those things aligned to your goals if you want to achieve them. Click To Tweet
Asking the universe, “What is it I need to achieve this goal?” Asking for those things to come your way, reveal themselves. That’s why you have a planner so you don’t go woo-woo. Asking those questions because you and I talked about it when I asked for that Project Management Software and then Merrill sat down behind me or next to me at this thing and said, “I got this thing.” It’s like, “Where’d that come from?” Doing all that. Where can we find more of you and where can they find out you have a podcast coming up? She decided to do this right before we jumped on the call. When’s it going to be out? Do you have a name yet or did they find you and find out about it?
I do. It’s going to be the Lean Out Your Business Podcast because I have the Lean Out Method so it seems like it fits together. I’m releasing it in Q1. You can find out more and have a listen at LeanOutMethod.com/podcast.
She’s with the Hazzard’s so you can find it on iTunes, YouTube, Apple TV, and all of those places.
They seem amazing. I’m excited to work with them.
They are truly amazing. I tried to do my own show back in 2014, 2015 and it was a lot of work. It took me 6 or 7 hours to edit and put it all together. Now I record and they take it from there. Where can we find you other than the podcast if they want to email you or find out more about those journals?
Go to LeanOutMethod.com. You can find absolutely everything there, including the planner, how to contact me, and everything else I have going on.
Thank you for being on.
Thanks for having me.
About Crista Grasso
Crista Grasso is an international lean business consultant and the creator of the Lean Out Method and the 90 Day Lean Out Planner. She has been helping businesses achieve accelerated results and increased profitability for two decades through a combination of strategic planning and lean business practices. Known as the “Business Optimizer”, Crista has the ability to quickly cut through the noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact to grow and scale a business. She specializes in helping businesses identify the most important things they should focus on right now that will drive maximum value for their customers and maximum profits for their business.
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