Are you looking for marketing that will help you save time, money, and energy? Then look no further as Penny Zenker interviews the creator of The World’s Best Buyer Persona ® System, Stormie Andrews. In this episode, Stormie takes us deep into his book that spun a system that helps to identify how your customers’ think so you can reach out and relate to them better and offer the best help you can offer through your business. Stormie details how we can get clear on defining our best persona, providing the questions we need to answer to know who best we can serve. More often, some of the best businesses create products and services that are more beneficial to customers. So join Stormie in this talk as he shows you how to create your best buyer persona.
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The World’s Best Buyer Persona System: Save Time, Money, And Energy In Business With Stormie Andrews
I’m excited every week to bring to you a new guest that will help you challenge the way you do things, step back and work smarter. I’m excited for all you entrepreneurs out there who are running your business and looking for the best way to gain new customers. I have Stormie Andrews with me and I’m excited to have him because he has The World’s Best Buyer Persona system. He will share that with us to help us save time, money, and energy by targeting the right people, which makes all the difference. Stormie, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me here, Penny. I am super excited to be here with you and your audience.
Tell us a short snippet about yourself, and what should the audience know about you?
A few things. I am the creator of The World’s Best Buyer Persona System, and the system has been well-regarded within the marketing industry. It has been an Amazon new release as a bestseller. The Audible version of the book came out on October 30th, 2021, and it’s an Amazon new release as a bestseller, too. The book’s content is instrumental and incredible for the marketing community that for 2021 and 2022, the intercom is named one of the top 50 tech visionaries in the world. It was quite an honor that I’m excited to receive.
I have written on the topics of Buyer Personas for Forbes Magazine and other well-known publications. I believe that, and I have proof behind it because I also own a digital marketing agency YokelLocal that when the Buyer Persona is placed at the hub of your marketing wheel, it’s the hub of what you do. Regarding your marketing, you will save time, money, energy and get to ROI much faster than you would just doing things the way you have always done it.
I’m excited to hear more about that. Before we do, why is this important to you? What’s the backstory?
I like to think that I have been building buyer personas longer than anyone else on the planet. As a child, my father worked for the government, and we moved a lot. It wasn’t until my 11th and 12th-grade year that I experienced what it was like to attend the same school two years in a row. I didn’t know what it was like.
We moved a lot all over the country. When we moved, some of the communities we moved into valued education and toughness, so there was a wide range of socioeconomic conditions as we moved into these communities with a wide variety of nationalities and backgrounds and so forth. I needed to blend in with these communities.
As a child, I’m thinking, “It’s for survival.” I’m a social creature. I want to get to know people. When I could blend into the community quicker, it was a much more enjoyable stay in the community. What worked in one community wasn’t necessarily effective in another community. Now, I didn’t know why I was doing what I was doing.
It was instinctual, and once I’ve got older and started learning about the why in human behavior, I’m like, “This explains a lot.” It led me into a successful career in sales training because one of the things you need to do in sales is getting into rapport quickly with people, which is the skillset that I learned.
When it came to Buyer Personas, I had a belief growing up that having the ability to custom tailor your communication for the benefit of the other person puts you in a much better situation to get into rapport. When the world went digital, I wondered, “How can we do this in the world of digital?” The World’s Best Buyer Persona System does that. It helps your digital assets, whether it’s your website or social media postings. Whatever it may be, it helps you have a greater understanding of who your ideal prospects are, so you can attract more of them with your messaging, as we used to do when we used to meet face-to-face. Remember when we used to do that?
Yes, I missed that. There are different ways, as you said, in one community or on one platform, specific strategies and techniques are best, and on a different platform than you might be looking at other things. If we look at the thread, there’s a clear thread on how we learn a lesson and keep building on top of that. It creates its own thing, which is cool. I love to hear how people come to what it is that they are doing.If you don’t have the clarity, you get distracted by all of the squirrels and shiny objects. When you don’t have clarity, you have these false definitions of success. Click To Tweet
Let me ask you a question, Penny. Are the vast majority of your audience listening to this on a show or watching the video? Do you know?
I would say the majority are through audio or one of those types of platforms.
A lot of times, when people look at me, the other thing. For those of you on audio, you may not realize this unless you go look me up on the book and is like, “What does this guy look like?” I can pass for a lot of different races and nationalities. People often are like, “What are you?” I reality, my mom is Black, and my biological dad is German but growing up, I didn’t know that about my biological dad.
I always thought I was a light-skinned Black guy. That’s how I identified because that’s all I knew. I didn’t find out about my biological dad until a few years ago. It’s one of those scenarios as we moved into different communities. Sometimes, I had to blend into, as I said, a wide variety of communities and other cultures, communities, and backgrounds, whether it was a very powerful and extremely impactful skillset to learn that led me on my path.
It might have been painful at times but it paid off. Some of our best lessons are. Great to hear about your background. I was thinking as you were talking, we talked about how it saves people time, money, and energy in terms of finding the right people and defining that. Before we define it, what do you think is people’s biggest mistakes around their sales process or in defining their persona?
I can say this is the biggest mistake because, with my agency, we have been in business for many years, so I have dealt with thousands of organizations. I regularly speak around the country. The biggest mistake that organizations make is a tactical approach to their sales and marketing.
What’ tactical? It’s because there are a lot of people reading. I have worked with many people, and I’m sure you have worked with many people. They think that they are strategic but they are tactical. Let’s define that. What does a tactical and strategic approach look like so they know the difference?
In a strategic approach, you have to have three elements. You have to have a documented journey, your strategy, and that needs to be written. What is the documented journey for this element of your marketing? The other thing you have to identify from that documented journey is the tools and tactics you will use to achieve what you have documented in the journey. You also have to have KPIs.
You have to measure or at least define what success is, and you need to have all three of those elements. If you don’t, if you are missing one of them, it’s truly a tactical marketing approach. Think about what you are doing in all elements of your marketing. One of the ways that I identify marketing, I break marketing down into eight elements.
There’s Awareness. Are people aware of your brand? There’s Engagement. Are they engaging with your brand? There’s Lead Generation, Conversion and Optimization. From there, there’s something I call Wow, which is an often-overlooked part of marketing, which means that once someone gives you their credit card and becomes a customer, what are you doing to wow them?
There’s a Customer Ladder. How are you elevating your customers to become raving fans? There are Reviews and Testimonials, and there are Referrals. Each one of those elements as it pertains to marketing should have its own documented journey and strategy. Each one will have its set of tools and tactics that you will apply and its set of KPIs, Key Performance Indicators. Their own definition of success.
What we are saying is strategic to step back and look at that big picture in all of those areas and how they are going to help you to achieve your goal because what I hear you say is each one has the tools and tactics that you are going to get involved in but you need to see, step back, and have the big picture. See how they are going to be measured at the highest level and also drill that down to a lower level and document that so that you can track, communicate it, write, and have some clarity around the feedback that you are getting from the results that you are getting. Is that correct?
Penny, you said the magic word because here’s the one word that sums up everything. It’s clarity. That’s where clarity comes from. If you don’t have the clarity, you get distracted by all of the squirrels and shiny objects. When you don’t have clarity, you have these false definitions of success. It feels like you are busy doing a lot of busywork, which may make you feel like something is happening but in reality, when you look back on what happened over the years, over the last quarter, nothing moved.
Is it moving the needle? I think it’s important because it’s easy to get caught up. I had somebody and she was like, “Instagram is blowing up. You should be on Instagram. You’ve got to be on Instagram. This person is making so much money and this person is doing that and this is how you do it.” They were going on and on. I was like, “That’s great but my target market isn’t there.” That’s not a good approach or strategy for me for my end results. It is easy to get caught up in somebody telling you this channel, this or that.
That’s an individual tactic and has to be part of that bigger picture if it makes sense. Let’s dive deeper. I interrupted you when you were saying the strategy and the tactics. You said the biggest mistake that people make is that they are focused on the tactics. Give us an example that you have seen of people going down the wrong path.
We can use the example that you shared. Someone says you need to be on Instagram. Let’s go do some Instagram. You are like, “I don’t know how to do Instagram, so I’m going to hire someone to do it. I’m going to hire an agency.” You go hire the agency and say, “Do some Instagram for me.” They were like, “Great. How much money do you want to spend?” “I want to spend $3,000 a month on Instagram.” “Give me your $3,000.”
Agency is busy. They are posting, doing what they are supposed to be doing on Instagram. They receive very little direction from you because it’s your hope that they can do everything they need to do because they are Instagram experts but there hasn’t been a transfer of knowledge. They don’t know enough about you, your brand, your messaging, and who your ideal customer is.
Oftentimes, there has been no clearly defined definition of success of what it looks like. As the business owner, you don’t even know what success should be, so oftentimes, the success is a camouflage by showing these meaningless numbers like, “You have had this many people that saw your brand.” These vanity metrics, I like to call them.
That’s like, “Who?” You make you feel good and think it’s working but here’s what it comes down to. Did it generate revenue? If it didn’t generate revenue unless the KPIs specifically didn’t call for that, it probably didn’t work and the business owner ends up down that path. Sometimes they stay down that path because they don’t know what else to do.
They keep seeing the metrics thinking something is working and it’s not because it didn’t step back to get the clarity, to figure out what the document journey should be, what tools and tactics should be, and should not be used. As a matter of fact, what should not be used is often more important than what should be used in identifying what that definition of success is.
That’s not a new concept. Sun Tzu from The Art of War. This is 5,000 BC or 100 BC, a long time ago, a famous Chinese General says, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, and tactics without strategy are the noise before defeat.” This is something that has been tried and true for thousands of years.
It baffles me how it’s easy for people to get caught up in that mistake. I’m glad that we clarify that so that people who are reading can step back and say, “No matter where you are in your business, I know that you have probably done this, too. I have worked with people who have been in business many years but they still are following this spray and pray type of approach that is not working.” Wherever you are in your business, step back and evaluate those three areas. Let’s take a look at how we get clear on defining our best persona. Break it down for us. What’s the first thing that we need to do in that process?
The first thing you need to do is identify whom you want to do business with. Oftentimes, there has been very little energy and effort placed on that. Here’s what I’m talking about when I say, who is your ideal customer, the most desirable customer in terms of the goods and services that you sell, their mannerisms or characteristics? It’s going through a process of understanding their pain points, issues, concerns or triggering events. How did they get here? How did they get to the point of needing your goods and services? Why didn’t they get to this six months ago? Why not six months from now? Why now? Have you thought about that?
Let’s take an example if we might. Let’s take somebody who’s a consultant. They are going to say that everybody is there. They cross different industries in their consulting practice. As that consultant, how do I define who that person is? Since sometimes it’s the CEO, the CTO or different roles in the organization that might be hiring me. How does that person create that clarity?We are doing business with humans, and humans are emotional creatures. Click To Tweet
If we think about it and for that consultant, they may have multiple personas. As a matter of fact, most organizations will have multiple personas but the motivation behind the HR person and the CEO that’s going to hire you versus the motivation of the VP of Sales, the needs to be met for all three of those individuals are completely different, and understanding that is absolutely key.
If you are going to create messaging that’s designed to attract those individuals, you have only thought about the HR manager in regards to how your consulting is going to help the HR manager, and the CEO of the organization, the sales, and marketing manager happen to come across your messaging is not going to resonate.
Where a lot of people go wrong is they start creating the messaging without any thought to any of the three and they want to have this generalized messaging or approach because they or you truly believe that your goods and services are right for everyone on the planet. The problem is that it ends up resonating with no one.
If you had those three elements, I would say let the people choose the path of your company. Imagine this. If someone came across your website or your messaging, maybe you ask them. At the very beginning, if you were a CEO, in sales, in marketing or in HR, take this path. Now, you can create messaging that’s designed to address their pain points. This way, their needs are being met. You have spent the time looking at their belief system. If they take action and everything goes perfectly, what is their belief in regards to the desired outcome?
What’s their belief system if it doesn’t work too well and it all goes bad or they don’t take action? What other potential noise might they be seeing in the marketplace? What are their peers telling them? Some of their peers are going to say, “You don’t need to get into a consultant. They are a waste of time.” Others are going to say, “Yes, you need a consultant. As a matter of fact, let me connect you with mine.” Now, you are competing with that consultant. What are they doing about it? Are they even going to sites like Google, Instagram or LinkedIn to look for a solution to this particular problem? How are you building trust in this digital space?
That’s what The World’s Best Buyer Persona does. It guides you through answering these questions so you can create a story or a narrative that gets into the emotions because I don’t care what business you are in. You are doing business with humans. Maybe in a few years, when Elon Musk gets us to Mars, we will be doing business with Martians but we are doing business with humans, and humans are emotional creatures.
There’s enough data to support that notion. If you want to connect with them on an emotional level when they don’t have the ability to meet with you belly-to-belly, which is also very difficult to scale, what can you do to improve your messaging that puts you in a position to increase the likelihood of you connecting with them on an emotional level? That’s what The World’s Best Buyer Persona System is designed to do. It’s to get you to see the world through their lens instead of your own. As you start to see the world through the lens of your ideal customer, you can create messaging and resources that are designed to be more beneficial to them than you.
Coming back to the point of taking back time. For you, if you are a salesperson or running the company that you are quicker to the right people, who are going to be qualified and want to take that journey with you. You are going to tighten that sales cycle, which is so powerful because you are hitting the right people and not wasting your time with people who aren’t the right people. Am I getting it?
You are right on the mark. That’s what this is designed to do. It speeds up the sales cycle. If you think what slows down the sales cycle, oftentimes, is trust. They’ve got to get to the point where they trust you. You’ve got to get a chance to know you, like you, and make sure that you have a solution that benefits them.
If you have thought about that and not thought about it but you have applied some documented journey where The World’s Best Buyer Persona can be the foundation of that particular component, you can have the resources, the information, the data that’s required for that cold or warm prospect to know, like and trust you much faster than what’s typical. In fact, getting a rapport with you so they can make the decision faster and it works.
If you have put that time into thinking about it, that means they feel like you know me. You know what my problem is and that does build trust like that in the context because you are speaking the same language. If I’m going to comment. I’m going to speak German to a French person. They are going to be like, “This person doesn’t know me. They are not speaking to me.” That’s an important distinction to understand that time.
We mentioned about stepping back and thinking through, this is one of those things they tell you the statistics are. If you spend ten minutes the first part of your day planning, you are going to save two hours of wasted time. I wonder, is there any statistic that tells us or a certain amount of time spent upfront defining the persona? Is there any data behind that?
The only data that I have are case studies. Fortunately, I have a marketing agency, so this has been the core of our agency. It helped us grow and do an amazing shift during the COVID pandemic. We are located in Las Vegas. A lot of our clients were in Las Vegas and they had to shut down. We had to pivot the industries that we were targeting very quickly because many of our clients had to close their doors temporarily.
It was a very difficult exercise to go through. It was scary when we go back a couple of years ago but our agency has thrived. We did the exercise with many of our clients and they have thrived during this process because the world shifted and they were able to shift almost at the same time, where their competitors were still doing what they were doing.
There’s a book by Scott Galloway, Post Corona. In his book, he mentioned that the world basically moved 10 years ahead over this 2-year chronic crisis. If the world shifted by 10 years in a 2-year span, would it be safe to say that your prospects shifted their mindsets, desires and motivations? What we discovered was being able to implement and change their buyer persona on a moment’s notice, allowing the messaging to shift where their buyers have been or where they were at now versus where they used to be.
That’s a good point. How often should we be reviewing this buyer’s persona, do you feel?
The best personas are turned into this story narrative. They are part of everything that an organization does. Imagine this for a second. Let’s say, a typical organization has someone who’s doing their SEO and someone who’s doing their paid ads. They have a sales team. They’ve got a customer service team. This singular document can be a unifying component that brings all of these departments together. If they bring in some other outside entity, they can say, “This is who our ideal customer is,” and everyone can work synergistically.
Going back to your question, how often should they change it? As often as it needs to because it is an instrumental part of your business day-to-day. If you are measuring it and you have the tools in place at some point, you may realize it’s less effective than what it used to be. If it’s becoming less effective instead of more effective, let’s go back into the persona. Let’s go back into their customers and see if there has been a shift in our market.
I remember when I was in this market research company and I had been asked to come in, and take a look under the hood in the sales organization, and what the strategy was for that particular division, I was asked when was the last time that we asked our customers what was important to them. This is a market research company. This is what they do for a living for other people.
The answer was crickets. “We know what our customers want,” they said and they didn’t because when we went out and asked, that gave us a competitive advantage in the marketplace because we invited them to come in for a workshop. It also was prospects, people who weren’t our customers yet, so we can also get to know what their needs are. It was amazing.
The shift of what came up was we don’t want the depth of the data. What’s become more important is the speed of the data. We weren’t aware of that and our competitors weren’t aware of it. We were glad that we’ve got ahold of it first. I think that it needs to happen more often than people think. It should be a part of every year’s process because we go through the motions of, “Customer loyalty. Let’s send out a questionnaire,” and things like that but we don’t dig deeper so that we can see where the market is going. COVID made that happen but we shouldn’t need that catalyst. We should create our own catalyst on a regular basis. What’s your thought process around that?
Right on the money. The short version to the answer because I know I gave you a long-winded answer. It’s a year, its a minimum. The reason that I’m afraid of that answer is that the world has been speeding up. It has this exponential growth. Now, maybe it’s a year but three years from now, you may have to do it every six months or every quarter. What I’m afraid of is that sometimes I will give someone a hard, fast answer and they think that’s gospel, and that’s what they follow.
That’s not the case. It’s something that you need to change or make adjustments as often as it needs to be. If we think about sports, I can use football as the analogy. If the coach of a football team is running a certain play and they keep shutting them down, it’s the coach’s job to jump into the playbook to change the play calling.
We are getting to a relationship with our results. That’s why if you are not tracking it and you don’t set those KPIs, you don’t know that it’s not working that you are missing the target. I’m trying to think of some deeper questions to ask but what’s a question that you very often get asked that I haven’t asked yet?Oftentimes, what slows down the sales cycle is trust. Click To Tweet
I can tell you the question and people ask it in a wide variety of ways. When organizations approach me, however they say it, what they are asking is, “Stormie, how can I outsell my competition or how can I outgrow what I have done in the past?” If you are an entrepreneur and you go back to the core, what are you asking? You are asking, “How can I outsell or sell more than I have ever sold before? How can I outgrow more than I have ever grown before?”
I use those opportunities to let organizations know that I believe you have two choices. You can go outspend but I don’t think that’s the best route because unless you have unlimited money, you can outspan or outsmart. It’s impossible to outsmart unless you step back, take a breath, look at what’s happening, figure out what your strategy is going to be, and apply a structured plan and strategy.
You do spend a lot more time upfront but it pays dividends in the end. The two questions that people are asking in a wide variety of ways of asking are, “How can I sell and how can I outgrow?” I take them back to the concept of being able to outsmart. If they are in agreement with that, they were like, “I get you. That makes a lot of sense,” let’s continue the conversation. On the other hand, when they push back, “I don’t believe in that. That’s not what I’m going to do.” I don’t have the time, energy, and effort to convince them as to why they are wrong. I let them do what they have always been doing.
What’s the timeframe to step back into creating a proper persona? What timeframe could somebody expect?
If someone were to grab the book and say, “I’m going to use this book and build out the persona,” they can do that in a day. Half a day, they can read the book, fill out the worksheets and have their first version of their persona. Now that they have the persona, the question is, “What do I do with it?” I mentioned the eight areas of marketing that I look at. I like to have people rate themselves in those eight areas. Give themselves a grade, A, B, C, D or F. There’s a success wheel that I have. It’s a tool that I have. I can make that available to your audience.
They can complete their own success wheel and marketing wheel. When they are done, they can identify their deficiencies, strengths or weaknesses. Now, it helps provide clarity in regards to what they should and should not be focused on. They can look at what bridge they should be looking to complete because oftentimes when I go into an organization, they have an inventory of projects that they started and haven’t finished as it pertains to their marketing.
Maybe they have something that’s 90% complete. Going through this exercise may help you identify, complete, and get a win before we move on to the next project. It’s getting that clarity, breaking marketing down into bite-sized pieces across those eight areas, determining which areas are going to have the greatest impact on your business now and you use The World’s Best Buyer Persona as the hub that drives that wheel.
You said you might be able to provide a link for the users to download that wheel for them to get a feeling for that?
As a matter of fact, I can share it. You can go to, OutsmartTools.com. You are going to see a multitude of links on that page. The first link gives you a link to go pick up my book on Audible. The second link to go pick it up on Amazon but the third link says Free: Marketing Wheel Exercise. If you were to click that link, you are not going to get any sales pressure. It’s only a free tool.
I’m not going to reach out to you, and try and sell you anything. None of that stuff is happening but if you use that link, there’s going to be a series of videos that are going to walk you through and ask you a series of questions. In regards to helping you identify your strengths and weakness across the eight areas, you will complete the exercise.
When you are done, we are going to send you two emails. The first email is going to give you results but the second email is a Google Spreadsheet where we create a visual representation of your marketing wheel. It takes about five minutes for the API to build out that marketing wheel. What happens is you have this breathing, living document, and let’s say, in a particular area, you have given yourself a score of a D. Let’s not worry about getting into A. How do we turn that D to a C? What would that document strategy look like? What would KPIs look like and what tools and tactics?
Let’s get it to a C. That would be a win, then we can worry about turning that C to a B and so on. You can do that across all eight areas but you are going to have clarity and be spending your time, energy, and effort on what you should be doing and not your time, energy, and effort on what you shouldn’t be doing.
Thank you. Go out there to OutsmartTools.com and pick that up. Is there any other location that they should check you out, Stormie, so they can see more about what you are doing and how you do it?
Outsmart Tools is a great place. I have linked to a wide variety of my platforms. You can Google me, Stormie Andrews. That’s an easy way to see all the different stuff. I seem to pop up over there. My agency is YokelLocal. That’s a HubSpot, where a HubSpot agency partner is located in Nevada. The one project that I am proud of is the Audible that released on October 30th, 2021.
What I have done is a little bit differently on the Audible. I pretty much doubled the amount of content that’s in the book. There are a lot more content. I’m being interviewed after I read the chapter. I’m the one doing the narration and we have surprises in between each and every chapter that goes deeper in-depth into what you read.
Showing off your marketing expertise, surprises. We all love surprises, what a great idea. Guys, you are learning these little things. Be paying attention. Thank you so much for being here. Is there anything else that you wanted to share before we shut down?
No, that’s it. Go to Outsmart Tools. Take advantage of the Marketing Wheel Exercise. You will find a tremendous value and do yourself a favor. Pick up the Audible. It will blow your mind.
Thank you so much.
Thank you all for being here, whether you are an entrepreneur and running your own business or not, maybe you are working in a marketing organization, in the marketing team, or in sales, there are a lot of ways that you can use this whole concept of the marketing persona no matter what area of the business you are working in, you can use it.
Also, if you think about it, as you are talking to your family and your kids, we are selling all the time. There are ways that you can take what you are learning, and apply it in other areas as well. Go out and check out his information. Share it with your friends and let us know what you’ve got out of it. My name is Penny Zenker and I’m here to help you work smarter. This is Take Back Time. We will see you in the next episode.
- The World’s Best Buyer Persona
- The World’s Best Buyer Persona System – Audible
- The Art of War
- Post Corona
- Free: Marketing Wheel Exercise
About Stormie Andrews
Stormie Andrews is the creator of The World’s Best Buyer Persona® System and the co-founder of Yokel Local, an award-winning digital marketing agency located in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the first Hubspot Platinum Agency Partner in the state.