Learn how to double your income by embracing your uniqueness and by streamlining your business with Simon Severino. Simon is the CEO of Strategy Sprints, which helps business owners run their companies more efficiently. Dr. Diane Hamilton brings Simon in to talk all about how to simplify your business for the better. Plus, learn how curiosity fuels innovation and creativity with your host, Dr. Diane Hamilton. The world is always turning, you have to adapt before it’s too late. Find out why some companies refuse to innovate and why the innovators find success.
I’m so glad you joined us because we have Simon Severino. He helps business owners, primarily consultancies, to discover how to run their businesses more efficiently. He created this Strategy Sprints Method and I’m excited to know about it.
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Simplify Your Business With Simon Severino And Learn How Curiosity Fuels Innovation With Dr. Diane Hamilton
I am with Simon Severino, who is the CEO and Founder of Strategy Sprints. He helps business owners and SaaS and services discover how to be able to run their company more efficiently, which results in sales that soar. It’s so nice to have you, Simon.
It’s so cool to be here, Diane.
This is going to be fun to chat with you. I was looking at your website. I went to StrategySprints.com and I’m looking at some of the stuff you do. You’ve got a lot of amazing companies with whom you worked and with people like Google. I was looking at some of the lists. It was pretty amazing. I’m curious. I want to get a backstory on you. I know you’re the CEO and coach to elite consultants. How did you get to that point?
I’ve been doing the same things for many years, which is helping business owners run their business in a way that is healthy, impactful, and resilient. A lot has happened in those years that it doesn’t feel like I’m always doing the same thing. Every week is different. The world changes around us. The needs of people change. We have to adapt. Technologies changed. I’ve been coaching for years only for executive teams but every week is new and it’s exciting.
Coaching executive teams, I do a lot of the same thing. Every company is so different. With the pandemic and everything else going on. There’s nothing that seems to stay the same. You said you’ve been doing this a long time. What’s your backstory before doing this?
I have studied Philosophy and Psychology, and then I was in private practice as a psychotherapist in Vienna.
I had Albert Bandura on. That was such an honor to have him on. It’s fun to look at the psychology of business. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on emotional intelligence and its impact on performance. That helped you quite a bit, right?Your mess is your message. Click To Tweet
In hindsight, I have learned the most important skill, which is listening. In coaching, 80% of the impact is how good you can listen, how well you can understand the other person, what do they need, and then how much push do they need. It’s about the exact amount of push at the right moment with the right intention and words. If you get that right as a business coach, you will help them transform their business.
That’s interesting because I am known for my research in curiosity. For curiosity to be effective, you have to listen to the answer to the questions you ask. I’ve had a lot of people. I’ve interviewed Ken Fisher, the billionaire behind Fisher Investments, who said that Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, had been very impactful to his life in learning about what his preferences were being an introvert. A lot of introverts are great at asking questions and listening. I’m an extrovert and that was something I had to work on quite a bit. When you’re talking about push, what does it look like to push? Is it when somebody is like me that you have them learn a little bit more about when to shut up, ask questions, and listen? Does it go across the board for all issues?
Let me share an example. We had a sprint client because our method is the Strategy Sprints Method. One client that is sprinting, they’re an IT consulting company. They help people with cloud and data. They come in and like every consulting company, they have miserable profitability. I don’t know why but most consulting companies have profitability around 15% to 20%, which is awful but it seems to be average. They come in and say, “We want better effective sets effectiveness, more bottom line, and more top line.” Week one, “Let’s make a list of all the offerings that you have and for each one, let’s see the profitability.” They start and they have 23 services that they offer. The Sprint coach has, in our method, has the intention to help them find the one winning offer. We have people focus on one offer at one price for one category of people that solves one problem at one high price for one year. We improve every single part. As you can imagine, after one year, you have something beautiful that works.
That ties in with your TEDx Talk. Tell us a little bit about what you spoke about in that.
It ties well together because the TEDx Talk is about you are unique right now as you are with all your mess. Your mess is your message. Don’t let anybody vanilla you. Don’t become like others. There is this one thing. The one thing that makes you special is you feel it in a moment of awkwardness. You are in a group of people. You are the strange link because of this thing and you feel like you don’t belong. You are even ashamed of that thing. You will find an angle later but this thing is your superpower. This is your number one strategic asset. This is you. Nobody has that thing.
The TEDx Talk is about embracing your strangeness. Don’t let anybody vanilla you, don’t become like everybody else because that’s not you. Stay in your lane and this will become your superpower. Pushing in every case means something different. In this case, it means recognizing that they want to be everybody’s darling, 23 offerings and helping them find the one, and you have to push them. You say, “For the next 90 days, we improve the only one. We focus only on the winning one and we ignore the 22 others.”
That’s so important. I teach a lot of marketing courses. We talk about the shotgun approach. You have to get very specific on your customer. Who is your customer? What do they want? What are their issues? What are you trying to solve? I worked with a lot of consultants as well because I created an assessment to determine the things that hold people back from being curious. When I talk to them, a lot of them want to give every assessment. They want to do all things and then they don’t feel like they’re as relevant because they’re doing too many things. That’s why I do so much work with them. That is hard because everybody is trying to be all things to all people and you can’t be. I’d love the idea of being narrow in your direction. Is that part of your Strategy Sprints? Tell me a little bit about your Strategy Sprints Method.
It’s coaching one-to-one for 90 days. The method goes at the beginning to make time, simplify their business, improve the operation, then improve sales. That’s it. We don’t do any marketing in these 90 days. The goal is to double their revenue. We start with making time. Most people work too much in the business and not enough on the business. They don’t have time to work on the form, fit, and function of their sales system and operations, how they onboard clients, and how they make the first ten days of the clients a wonderful experience. They say, “I don’t have time for this.” We say, “Week one, we get you out of the weeds.” We help them analyze how they spend their time, cut delegates, systemize, and automate many of the activities so that they have time. On average, they win between 6 and 14 hours per week, per person. They have this time to work with us on their business.
Week two, we started working on their business, something between 6 and 14 hours we have, and we use them. The first thing is competitive analysis. What else can your clients do? Where are you in relation to other offerings? What about your pricing? Can we improve the pricing? Can we simplify your business as we discussed earlier? One offer, one price for one problem, and solve that well. After 3 to 4 weeks, we have simplified their business. They enjoy it more and team spirit is better. We go and improve every single part of operations and sales. In the sales part, we sometimes have to teach stuff.
Some people don’t have a good sales script. Some people don’t have a good CRM system that is tied to the website and how they relate to people. Some people don’t have a good customer journey. In sales, we go deep. We get all their sales recordings and we give them one-to-one feedback on that until their sales are repeatable and reliable. Now we are around week ten. We have two more weeks until we have them solidify. After the twelve weeks is over, they have doubled their revenue and they have a good team spirit.
Are you doing this virtually?
I’m thinking about different groups, Thinkers50 Radar, and different things like that. I meet a lot of consultants in my realm. There’s a lot of them out there. There are a lot of speakers out there and nobody can travel so much. What are you finding is their biggest frustration? Are they having ways of getting around that?
Everybody is trying to shift. What was a stage is now a podcast. What was TV is now YouTube. What was radio is now a podcast. Everybody is trying to get from there to hear with different results. In my observation, the best results are by people who burned the boats behind them because you have some people waiting, “I can fly again. Let me get on stages again.” You have other people who say, “I’m doing a daily podcast. I embrace it fully.” The ones who embrace it fully are the people I see having better results.
I’ve seen a lot more Clubhouse and different platforms being used. Everybody is looking for a way to get to the next thing and it’s hard. You mentioned having a good CRM system. I was curious, do you make recommendations? What CRM do you like?
Every part of the sprint coaching is tool agnostic. It works on every tool. You can use HubSpot, Close, Salesforce, or whatever you want. It needs to have two components. One is that you can create email templates. The other one is that you have a visual pipeline like a Kanban board where you can manually drag people from this phase to the next phase. What we teach people to do is to map out their phases. Let’s say, you have eight transition phases of a relationship. They’re aware of you. They’re slightly interested and highly interested. 60% to 80% ready to buy. They want a second buy.
They are super fans and they are referral partners. These are your basic stages. You want this to have it visually in front of you at all times. Everybody has access in your team to this one. Whenever they have a conversation, they update it. For every stage, there is at least 1 or 2 email templates that you can click, so you know this person is in stage three. They are highly engaged. We want to move them to the next stage, which is 60% ready to buy. This is what I click, number three. That’s what it needs to do for you and most can do it.
You also mentioned that you help them make the first ten days a wonderful experience. Why ten days? What do you do to make that so wonderful?
There is a bit of research behind that but experience tells us when you make a big decision. We work with B2B high ticket sales. That means you have a big decision on the client-side. It’s a high-ticket item. In our case, they spent $25,000 upfront to get their first coaching call. That’s a big ask. When you’re this big ask and they decide to go all-in, that is emotional, it’s risky, and you have to reward a risky decision because otherwise, after such a decision, people don’t feel well. You have to onboard them in an appropriate way. The first ten days are crucial because it’s about designing an experience that has some surprising parts, unexpected like they get something delivered that is personal, surprising, and it’s delighting. What can you do? It enforces, “If I go into a risk with this person, they see it, they appreciate it, and they are rewarded.” This is a loo that you want to create at the very beginning because you will do this look bigger over the long term and you need it later to retain them.
There’s so much help that’s needed. I was looking at your site and I noticed that you said, “We’ve changed it since then,” but you had 274 templates. That’s a lot of templates. What kind of things are you offering?
We love templates so much. When you’re a consultant for many years, you have a lot of stuff on your computer. I did strategy for BMW, and Deutsche Bahn, etc. I have all of these templates on my computer. When the next client comes in and says, “I need the market entry strategy for that field.” I go, “I did this in 2017. Let me check.” That’s a template for him. It goes into the Sprint University. In the Sprint University, we have now 274 templates. Some of them are about operations, marketing, and sales because these are the three main areas we coach in.Most people work too much in the business and not enough on the business. Click To Tweet
In operations, for example, you have templates about how to onboard a new employee, how to manage performance, how to onboard a new client, and how to design the first ten days of experience with the client. Things that everybody needs in their operational manual. In the sales templates are how you set up your CRM. How a workflow between salespeople? Who does work? How do you generate leads? How do you convert leads? How do you upsell cross-sell leads? Up to this web copy, how do you design a series of emails that creates curiosity that has vulnerability? It animates people to click, engage, and to start a conversation with you. All these things are templates because I needed to build them for myself and my clients needed them. We build them together. Now, we have a nice toolbox.
That’s quite certain and I know people often want to reinvent the wheel and that way to help them keep from doing that. I’m curious what are they reinventing most often? What part do they need the most help with?
One big problem is they’re doing too much. As you mentioned, Clubhouse. They are jumping on Clubhouse, starting some Clubs, and wasting hours. They feel very productive because every time you spend one hour on Clubhouse, after it, you have 25 more engaged people on Instagram. They want to get to know you. They want to read your materials. They may send you some videos and you feel very productive. Most of the time, if you double-check with your main strategy, does it nurture the main building blocks of what you want to move forward with? Probably not.
I’ve dealt with a lot of consultants and a lot of consultants seem to be selling to each other, not intentionally. If you go to an event and they’re all consultants, they’re all telling you what they do but there are no buyers. Do you see a lot of that?
The next thing is that everybody who is unemployed is a consultant or a coach. If I was in a corporate job and I got laid off, the first thing that I can do to mask my unemployment is to say that I’m an advisor. Nobody can check that. Everybody thinks I’m a coach or consultant. There are many people who do not operate in that field. There are many people who would like to operate in that field because it’s a highly creative, meaningful, and impactful field to be in. It’s wonderful to be in there. Many want to be there and trying their best but not there yet. There are also a lot of people who are impactful and are helping a lot of people. The internet is there for everybody.
I would imagine there’s a lot who are reading maybe don’t have revenue yet. You’re saying you do only one thing. You double your revenue in 90 days. What do you tell them if they get double-zero? Would they be ready for you yet or not yet?
We take people when they are already market fit and so on. With zero revenue, you don’t even have a product fit. With product fit, the first thing you need to do is help people find the problem and solve it. They will ask you for more. Now, you start having product fit. When they ask you so much for more that it makes $35,000 per month, three months in a row, now you have a market fit. When you have a market fit, we can sprint. Before that, there is only one thing to do. This is solving a problem for somebody and continue to do that until other people ask you, “I also want this.” There’s this movie called When Harry Met Sally. They say, “Whatever they have, I want this.”
You have to get people excited about what you do. A lot of consultants that I meet like to help companies but they don’t like the sales part. They don’t want to sell themselves. They don’t want to go out and get the business. What do you tell them?
I also had to learn this. It took me forever to learn this. I resonate with that. When people have such a wrong picture about it, for good reason, everybody hates sales. The word alone is awful. Nobody wants to be sold anything but we have a responsibility if we are doing impactful and meaningful work to inform other people about it. That is my definition of marketing. You do good and you talk about it. That’s your responsibility. What are sales? Sales is, after this, people get curious, as you would say. They have more. You go into a conversation. In these conversations, you go deeper in understanding what they need. If you can help, you will offer that. If they take it, you have solved it.
How do you get them to get their first customer? That’s the hardest part for the people I’ve run into. They do the things that you were saying. They are on Clubhouse. They get people following them. They even have an unusual product they’ve created but they don’t get in the door to do any consultancies.
Many times, the first one, you do it for free, for friends, or for people around you who are in need. From there, you iterate. You always innovate on the job as a consultant. If you get a problem, you solve it. You think, “Who else needs this solved?” That’s how you move forward to the next.
A lot of them feel uncomfortable like they don’t have enough time. I noticed you’ve said you free up 10 to 14 hours of their time per week. What things are you getting rid of that they don’t need to be doing that you’re freeing up?
One is Clubhouse.
I have to admit. I have always been in Clubhouse when somebody asked me to speak for their group but I haven’t spent much time there. I can see it takes up a lot of time.
The next one is podcasting. I’m a podcaster. I love podcasting but I asked everybody to stop, who is below $35,000 per month, repeatedly because that’s not the maturity level of a company to start brand-building activities. First, you build a great product, then you build a sales pipeline. When you have market fit, you start doing marketing and branding to amplify what is currently working very well. First, you have to get to working very well.
It’s interesting how many people have so many shows. Who is listening to so many of them? It’s like consultants selling to consultants.
I am listening to them. I love them.
I love them but don’t you think a lot of people aren’t listening to some of them? I’ve had 1,400 people on my show. I’ve done this for a long time. It took me a while to build up my following but imagine how many people are starting right now.
It looks enticing. It’s a good thing to have a podcast. It is wonderful brand-building networking.
It’s like a book. It’s nice. It shows that you’ve got a backstory, you know how to do something, and you’ve got proof, right?
Yes. I’m also writing a book but it took me a lot of time. I’m writing my first book after many years of practice about my practice because I have learned enough that I can write 60,000 words about it.
I know it takes a lot to write. Many people want to write books. They think the book is going to make them money. Usually, it’s not the book that makes you money. The book is your new business card to show what you are an expert in. I’ve written five books. Every book helps you get out a certain message for whatever reason. Do you get a lot of consultants who think that the books are going to make them rich?
I had somebody on my podcast who told me how many millions one book gets but this is a very exceptional story. The books don’t do any money for the author.
It’s tough. I had Tom Peters on. Think how many books that guy sold with In Search of Excellence alone. It was huge. It’s like your calling card in a way and it helps your platform. I imagine you deal with the platform to some extent. How much social media exposure do you talk about?Help people find the problem, solve it, and then they will ask you for more. Click To Tweet
I am a social animal. We are everywhere all the time. I’m even on TikTok. In terms of the book, I wrote it because I want to share the method that has helped many people with even more people. I want to recruit coaches because I need many more business coaches that do the method. The book is a good way to amplify many countries. A thing that works already in a couple of countries. For that, it’s a good thing. It will also create some list building because on 1 or 2 pages, I will say, “You can go to our website and download the companion material.” Some people will do that. My expectations for the book are to get the method out there to recruit coaches and to do some list building. Also, I will be asked to be on more podcasts. I don’t do the stages anymore because I don’t like to fly anymore but everything virtual speaking will also be amplified by the book.
You spoke at Google in the past, didn’t you?
Google is a joint venture partner of us. We do webinars in that area. They help companies grow. The growth engine they use is the Strategy Sprints Method to help small businesses grow. I have been on their YouTube channel and their stages of helping life. There are many videos of Strategy Sprints in Google where we do live sales funnel coaching. These have become videos that people can watch on Google.
You’ve done a lot of different things from all of your talks, your podcasts, and you’ll have a book. Is there anything that you want my audience to know that I didn’t ask you? I’ll make sure everybody knows as much about Strategy Sprints as possible.
We hang out in a Facebook group. It’s a private group but if you say you come from Diane, I will let you in. The Facebook group is called Entrepreneurship in Sprints. We are having fun because we are talking about what doesn’t work in sales, what does work, and what do you do. Everybody is like, “Let’s talk about real stuff. What is happening?” They’re having fun. The second thing is our tools, not all of the 274, but many tools are open source. We want people to use them. You can go and grab them. They are at StrategySprints.com/tools.
That’s helpful. I’m sure a lot of people are going to look up all of your great content. This was so much fun Simon, thank you so much for being on the show.
Thank you, Diane. Thank you, everybody. I hope this was helpful.
It definitely was.
I’d like to thank Simon for being my guest. We get so many great guests on the show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamilton.com/blog to read and listen. If you don’t want to listen to it on the podcast or radio stations, it’s nice to read it once in a while. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
- Simon Severino
- Ken Fisher – Past episode
- Albert Bandura – Past episode
- TEDx Talk – Be a Category of One by Simon Severino
- Tom Peters – Past episode
- In Search of Excellence
- TikTok – Strategy Sprints
- Entrepreneurship in Sprints – Facebook group
About Simon Severino
Simon Severino helps business owners in SAAS and services discover how to be able to run their company more efficiently which results in sales that soar. He created the Strategy Sprints® Method that doubles revenue in 90 days by getting owners out of the weeds.
Simon is the CEO and founder of Strategy Sprints which is a global team of certified Strategy Sprints® Coaches which has offers a customized strategy to help clients gain market share and work in weekly sprints which results in fast execution. He is also a Forbes Business Council Member, a contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine, and a member of Duke Corporate Education.
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