AMY PORTERFIELD: Hey, there. Amy Porterfield here. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. In this episode, I'm going to give you the tools to become a more customer-centric business, where you serve your customer at the highest level, more so than anybody else in your industry, and, in turn, you cultivate a thriving, profitable business.
My guest today is Casey Graham, the founder of Gravy, which is a company that helps entrepreneurs and business owners solve the problem of failed payments and credit card declines in their businesses. Now, I've had the pleasure of working with Casey for almost two years now, and he is an incredibly smart and strategic business owner, and he knows how to create profitable businesses—he knows how to start them from scratch, build them from the ground up—and he's a master at growing a thriving team that wow their customers on a daily basis.
Now, in this episode, Casey’s going to drill down on the five non-negotiables of setting up a stellar system of customer care in your business. You're going to walk away today with some simple strategies that you can incorporate into your business immediately, that will literally change how your customers see you, and, most importantly, how they feel about you on a daily basis.
Before we jump into this incredibly important topic today, I wanted to tell you a little bit about Gravy, which is Casey Graham's business. If you have a subscription model business, like a membership site, or offer payment plans, like I do for my online courses, you've got to listen up. One of my biggest frustrations was lost money due to failed-payment plans. In fact, it used to keep me up at night. I would think, “I worked so hard to attract new customers and launch my programs, and then what happens if a bunch of people don't finish their payment plans? I'm screwed.” That's why almost two years ago I decided to work with Gravy, and I am so glad I did. These days I never worry about failed payments. I mean, never. Gravy sets up a system where they contact my customers within hours of their failed payments, and they capture updated billing information and save the customer that my team and I worked so hard to acquire.
Now, one other fear I had was, “Am I really going to let somebody come inside of my company and communicate with my paying students?” especially because the topic of failed payments is a sensitive one. It's not always about an expired credit card; many times, the student is having a hardship, and they're not able to pay in the moment. And that's where Gravy does some of their best work. They actually act as an extension of my team, and when they reach out to people, they communicate like they are Team Porterfield, and that has been amazing to see. So, on average our failed-payment recovery rate increased from 33 percent, when we were trying to do it internally on our own, to almost over 80 percent. That's a lot of saved payments, hundreds of thousands of dollars to be exact.
So, right now, if your revenue is currently at $250,000 or more a year and you know you're losing money due to failed payments each month, I encourage you to check out Gravy. The cool thing is that Gravy is waiving its setup fee for my listeners. So go to amyporterfield.com/gravy for all the details. And if you don't yet have a business that's making $250,000 or more, listen up to this episode, this interview with Casey Graham, because we're going to give you a lot of tips and tricks to help you recover those payments, or help you set up a business that you don't have to worry about money coming in all the time because you have amazing relationships with the customers you've already acquired.
All right. Are you ready for this? I won’t make you wait any longer. Let’s bring on Casey.
Casey, welcome to the show. I’m so glad that you’re here today.
CASEY GRAHAM: Amy, thanks for having me. This is—I’m fired up to be with the queen of the Internet.
AMY: Oh, shut up.
CASEY: You know I call you that.
AMY: You crack me up. I love that we're talking about how to serve our customers well today, because I have to say, as a customer of yours, you truly practice what you preach. So I'm in awe of you and your team and what you all have been doing. And I didn't even say this in the intro, but I got the chance to hang out with you at my house. You and your team came over, and we were strategizing and brainstorming about working together, and I got to see how your brain works. And I thought, “Oh, he's perfect for the show.” So thanks again for being here.
CASEY: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.
AMY: Yeah, for sure. Okay, so, I told everyone in the intro all about Gravy and the amazing service that you provide to your customers, so let's jump right into our chat today, shall we?
CASEY: Let’s do it.
AMY: Okay. You work with a lot of businesses at Gravy, and you've coached hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years. So what are you seeing as one of the biggest hurdles in online businesses?
CASEY: Amy, I think the number-one thing with online business—and I can only say this because, as you know, I've started, grown, and sold a couple of these businesses, so this is from experience—is that the problem is living on the hamster wheel of feeling like you've always got to have more sales.
AMY: Oh, yeah.
CASEY: Like everybody, it's sales. If you look at the online-course world, the courses that sell the most are the courses that teach people how to sell more, you know, like you guys do, and how to get leads and all that. And I'm for all that. I love all that. That stuff is fantastic. But what I faced after being in online business and what I see entrepreneurs face in being able to serve different companies from small to large is that there's this constant, “We've got to have new customers. We've got to have new customers. We've got to have more customers.”
But what I found through starting my own online businesses and working, now we get to see the guts and the insides of these. So we're literally working with hundreds of businesses, where we get to see what's happening in online businesses, and actually, what it looks like is that new customers are good, but here's the kicker: existing customers are better. And it's not talked about a lot in online business, and most of the stuff is about front end and, like, build a funnel to get people to pay you the first time. While I am pro that and I think you should focus on that, I think there should be an equal attention, whether you have one customer and you're just starting out or whether you have thousands of customers, the people who have paid you already, there's so much value there, and you can create a massive business from that.
Now, I say that you either are creating an ATM machine or an asset in online businesses. And a lot of people are creating the ATM machine to just get the sale, but they're not getting the long-term value out of their customers. And so that's something I'm super, super passionate about, and there's stats to back it up.
Amy, I don't know if you know this, but it cost five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. I mean, that's a big number. And so what I see people do is like, “I've got to get this agency to get me new customers. I've got to get new customers on the front end.” And I'm like, “Well, what are you doing with your existing customers? What's your strategy there?” And they're like, “Well, they're in the course.” You know?
CASEY: “Hopefully, it's working.” And again, don't hear me wrong—please go get new customers. But there’s got to be equal focus if you’re going to create value.
Another stat I thought that was amazing is this: if you increase customer lifetime value by five percent, which means if you just increase keeping customers paying you five percent more, profits can increase by 25 to 95 percent, depending upon your business. And so there is value there, and there's focus that can be there.
And so as I was thinking about this, I was thinking about two pieces of your audience. And, Amy, you know as well as I do, there's people listening that’re just getting started, right? They’re like the one—they’re 1.0. They may have one customer, they might have 10 customers, and they're just getting started. And I was like, “So what did I do when I had 10 customers? What do we do?” You know? And I don't know what you did, maybe it’d be interesting to hear, but I would say, “Don't despise the small beginnings of having just a few customers. It is a blessing to be small. And we all start small because what you can do is you can get real individualized feedback from every single person. You can listen to them. You can text them. You can call them. And while I know you want to make millions of dollars, and I hope you do, the way you get there is by listening early on and seeing it as a blessing to be small, to have a blessing to have one customer, because you can learn from them. And then as you learn from them, you're going to learn which way to pivot in the future because you have two businesses: the one you're in now and the one you're going to be in later. And the one you're going to be in later is informed by the small amount of customers you have now.” So that’s the 1.0.
You know, for people that have big businesses or existing businesses, or you’re doing $100,000 or more in revenue, let’s just say, what I would say, and even for you guys—and, Amy, you do this so well—a speaker and he's actually my pastor, he says this statement I think is very good. You can't talk to every single one of your customers and learn from them, but he says this: do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.
AMY: Ah, so good.
CASEY: Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone. So pull some people out of the crowd. I know you just did it with our friend Lauren Messiah, and she became a story of you guys. Y’all listened to people. You can't listen to everybody, but you listened to people, and from then you go, “Oh, there's where the gold is, and that's what's important.”
AMY: So true. Okay, a few things that you said that I want to reiterate. I often tell my students, especially those that are just starting out or even have been at it for a while, that the way your business looks today will look dramatically different in just a few years from now as you keep going. And I tell them this to say every decision you make doesn't need to be the biggest decision of your life, and you need to experiment and try new things. But I love what you said that the business you have in a year or two from now, what you learn from the small business and talking to just a few people will shape that business.
AMY: And that is so incredibly important. So, I love that.
CASEY: Can I give a practical example?
CASEY: Okay. So this is super practical. So, I had a business called The Rocket Company, and it was in the church space, so we actually taught pastors everything they need to know about running a church that they didn't learn in seminary, which is basically everything. So I built this program called Giving Rocket, and we had coaching, and we had training videos, and we had modules, we had all of this stuff. Like, literally, it took—you know how much time it takes to build a course and all the content and all the coaching and the video and all this stuff.
As I started serving, we had 33 people join in 2010. I remember it like it was yesterday. And a couple months in, people started falling off, but there was a certain amount of people that were staying. So I called literally every single one of them, or I direct messaged them on Twitter at the time when that was big. And I said, “Why are you staying?” And I thought they were going to talk about my beautiful coaching. That it was so good. Amy, the only reason that they were staying was the most insignificant part of the program.
CASEY: It was called a giving talk, and what a giving talk was is that pastors stand up on Sunday, and they ask their congregation for money from the stage, and they pass around a bucket or a basket or whatever and say, “This is how we get tithes and offerings.” Well, they don't know what to say every week to make it fresh and new, so we created what's called giving-talk scripts that were simply done for you, two paragraphs, here's a way to keep it fresh every single week.
The only reason they were staying and paying was for the simplest thing that we were creating. All of the coaching sounded great, but the thing they were using, the thing that they wanted, and the thing that they constantly asked us about was that. So that's a great example of how we did that. And so we simplified what we're doing, we reduced the cost, and we reduced the time we put into the program, and we gave them more usable, practical, tangible things.
AMY: Mm. So good. And just asking them, like, what a concept, right? And asking them in a really easy way, like, at the time you used Twitter. Just sending a DM to get a quick conversation going. Brilliant idea, right there.
And one more thing before I’ll move into my next question and get going on this idea, the forgotten funnel, which I’m excited to talk about, but I want to say that a lot of my students—this literally just happened to me yesterday—one of my students said, “Amy, I love this concept of live launching,” because that's typically what I teach my students to start out with, and in Digital Course Academy™️, it's all about live launching first and then moving to evergreen. So she says, “What happens is, I live launch, and then in between my live launches I get antsy because I'm not making as much money, so I want to create something new and make more money. And then now I have five, six, seven products, and I'm overwhelmed, and I'm overwhelming my audience.” And this talk today I think is going to help my students realize of another way to look at it instead of feeling like they need to keep creating and stuffing things down their students’ throat about buy this, buy this, buy this, you're saying you have a customer already, let's focus on them.
CASEY: Totally. And, yeah, we’re going to get into that, and that’s part of the forgotten funnel.
AMY: Okay, good. Okay, so let’s do it. So, you talk about the forgotten funnel of business. What the heck is it?
CASEY: It's simply the system to pay attention to paying people. That's what it is. It's a system. Pay attention to paying people. If you don't remember anything else from this episode, I don't care if you have one paying customer or if you have a million paying customers, pay attention to paying people, because they're paying people. They've actually given you money. And the whole idea of this is most of us—we get enamored with the front end, and we get enamored with what we're going to do.
And so the example is, like, when we started out, Gravy, for instance, our current company, was I wanted to spend the majority of my time getting it right for the people that were already paying us before we went out and got more people into the program. And what I found was as we were doing Gravy and as we were starting this program of helping businesses recover money for lost payments and things like that is that there was so much value in listening to what you have to say. Amy, you were our first customer.
AMY: So crazy. So crazy.
CASEY: And putting the human element of listening and putting people back into business, because in this whole thing of online business, we get so lost in the idea that it’s online, what we found is the way to win an online business is actually to be more human and to create more human interaction, more touch and be connected with your customer base as much as humanly possible.
And I feel like so many times, the funnel is—when people think of funnels, they think of these automated things that put people through that get people to pay more, which is great. But where the big value is on the back end—so I'm going to give you the five Ps so everybody can remember, and this is step by step—we're going to go through every one of these—of how you can build this into your business, whether you're just starting or whether you have a multi-million-dollar online business. Here's the system. I'm going to go through it step by step. Is that cool?
AMY: Yeah, let’s do it.
CASEY: All right. The forgotten funnel system is this: Number one is perspective, is that you've got it—and this is a weird word for a system, but your perspective on how you view people and how you view customers is going to drive the long-term value of your business. Amy, I'm not just saying this. I've said this to you privately, I'll say it publicly, because you actually give a crap, like a lot, about your customers, and you know you do—
AMY: I do.
CASEY: —and you're so protective of your brand, and you're so protective of how people feel, and you're so protective of them being treated like a real human being and a real person—and I know when you first started, you did this individually, and as you’ve grown, now your team does it and different things like that—but your perspective, when we tell other people that are coming in to be customers of Gravy, we say, “Hey”—you’re the gold standard—we say, “You can treat people like Amy Porterfield, which is highly relational, or you can treat people transactionally, right? And your perspective on what a customer is matters.” So that's number one. We're going to dig into that in a minute.
Number two is people. How is your team or you set up to serve your customers? So early in business, it's going to be just you. So I’m going to give you some practical examples of how to be set up for when you—the worst disaster you can do is get your first customers and them not be served well. They’re just not going to tell anybody and they're not going to come back. You know?
And then, number three is process. How are you getting feedback from your customers, and how are you building value after the sale? Because what I see most people do is they do all—all I hear about is that on the front end of the funnel is build value, build value, build value. But after they buy, we expect the course or the product to satisfy that value need, but oftentimes it doesn't. And so how do you have a process in place that instills value for your customers that's above and beyond your course?
Number four is your product. You know, what’s your product-value ladder? Like, where are you taking people? If you're just saying, “I want to just take people into this one thing,” you're going to have a shallow business. So, I’m going to talk about, how do you build a value ladder that's deep, that allows you, even if you don't do it now and even if you're just starting out, where you already know what your next step’s going to be to create more money on the back end of your business.
And the fifth thing is profit, is where are you losing customers? There's churn in your business. When people quit listening to you and they go listen to somebody else, why do they do that, and how do you keep them staying and paying for a long time? And so that's the five Ps of the forgotten funnel.
AMY: Okay. And like we do on this show often, we break it down. So, start me at the top. We’ve got perspective. I know you talked about this a little bit, but break it down.
CASEY: All right. Amy, let’s get super practical, okay?
AMY: Okay. I like it.
CASEY: So, here’s the deal. This is perspective. I always say this. The way you view it is the way you do it. The way you view it is the way you do it. I wake up at 4:20 a.m., and I go to the gym at 5:00. And when I walk into the gym, there's a couple of types of people. There's people that, “Ugh, it’s cold, and I don't want to—” You know, there's, like, the drag in. And then I have some other people who come in, like my friend Josh, and he's like, “Let's go! Let's get a personal record! Let's rock and roll!”
AMY: That’s all you, too. That’s how you walk in, I know it.
CASEY: But the point is, how you approach anything, how you view anything, is how you do it, and your perspective and your mindset matters. And so what does this have to do with your business? Well, customers. How do you view the word customer? How do you view it? I did an informal text survey to 20 online- and a couple of offline-business friends, and I just said, “If you had to define the word customer in one word, what would it be?”
AMY: Ooh. What were some of the answers you got?
CASEY: Eighteen responses were transactional in language. It was paying, money, transaction, those kind of things, right?
AMY: Interesting. Okay.
CASEY: Two people responded, and one said, lifeline; and one said, the blood of the business.
AMY: Okay. I’m loving these people.
CASEY: Those two people—this is no joke—they have a net worth that is 10 times bigger than the other 18 people that I asked.
AMY: So interesting.
CASEY: Here’s the deal. This is the point. I went and looked up where the word customer came from, and literally, in Shakespeare, the word customer was used as prostitute.
CASEY: It was. It was used as that. And then there was other early use of the word of to have dealings with, to make a transaction. And so when you think about that, the literal meaning of the word is transactional in nature, and so what's happened in business is, especially in online business, is that when we look at people, we look at them as dollars instead of human beings, and we look at them as people that we can get a sell from instead of somebody that we can serve. And that's what's prevalent. And so the difference in creating a business of value is understanding that these people are human beings, not human payings.
And the people who have the biggest businesses—when you think of Disney—they create an experience for the human being. They don’t create—it's not—if you think about it, their content funnel is a freaking cartoon that gets people interested to take them to the park to have an experience with people that they love. That's what they do. Starbucks, they call your name out on a cup.
I know these are big examples, but if you want to be in online business that have some moxie and has some longevity, like you've done, Amy, is that you know people's name; you treat people like human beings, not just human payings; and you love them in a deep way.
So what's your perspective? What's your brand going to be? How are you going to decide how you're going to treat people, and what that's going to look like in your business?
And so if you're a 1.0 business—is what I call it, you're just getting started—you get to create this culture right now. If you have 10 people, you should know all 10 people's name, and you should call all 10. When I first started The Rocket Company, if somebody opted out of the email list when we had 80 people on the email list, I would email them and ask them why they opted out of the email list, because I wanted to know. I wanted to understand, I wanted to know, you're a person, what's your perspective? And again, you don't have to listen to the haters and all that stuff, but to get connected, you know? And if you're an existing business, hey, you may need to change your culture. You've got to transition to say that I care about these customers.
And here's the bottom line. Every single online business I talk to says, “We care about our customers.” There's not one person I've ever met that says, “We do not care about our customers.” But when you look at the amount of time, effort, energy, and budget that’s attributed to their customers, it doesn't match up with their words. So your perspective on who a customer is will be the driving force of whether you have a business of value or you're a flash in the pan.
AMY: Ah, so good. So good. Okay.
CASEY: Let me ask you this, though.
CASEY: That’s, like, the mindset, right? That’s the ethereal side. When you hear that, is there any practical applications that you would say, “Hey, this is how I could break that down,” or “Here’s an example”?
AMY: Well, right away, when I think of that, like, the lifeline of our business, I go right to my community. And we've been focusing a lot on community this year, making it better, how can we approach it? For me, when I think of community, Casey, I think of, we have multiple Facebook groups, and how we serve them in those Facebook groups directly reflects if they stay a customer of ours. And so, let's say a customer's kind of a pain one day—we all know customers can be—and so if I hear someone on my team saying, “Ugh, these people are crazy. They're sucking me dry with all their questions,” or whatever, I'm instantly thinking, “You’re talking about the lifeblood of our business. We need to change that perspective instantly.” It doesn't happen a lot, but I hear it, and I'm guilty of it, too, like, when someone's bringing me down. So I have to really watch myself because without our customers, we do not have a business. And most days I love the heck out of them. But when I see my team being brought down with an issue, I've got to be the leader to step in and say, “We need to remember we are here to serve them. That is our job.”
CASEY: That's right. I tell my team all the time, “I don't pay your paycheck, our customers do.”
AMY: Yes! That’s a great point. I’ve never said it that way, but it’s true. It’s true.
CASEY: Listen, this doesn't mean that you've got to listen to every hater and naysayer. The best filter for this is Ritz Carlton. They say, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.”
AMY: I like that.
CASEY: So, if somebody’s being crazy and treats me with disrespect and all that, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about, we usually either focus on the haters or the lovers. And I'm going, no. There's about 90—that's five percent are lovers, five percent are haters, and there's 90 percent of everybody else that’s in the middle. That's who I'm talking about.
AMY: Oh, that is really good, too, because we tend to shine a light on those people that are vocal and really happy and excited. What about all the people in the middle that might not be as talkative, let's say in our communities, but they still need to be treated with excellent service and given shout outs and really recognized. So, I’m for it.
CASEY: Yeah. We’re going to talk about that later.
AMY: Oh, good. Okay.
CASEY: We’re going to do that.
AMY: All right. So let's keep moving on, then. So here's the deal. The first P—perspective, the second P is people, and you're actually talking about the team that serves your customers. So give me more of that one.
CASEY: Yeah. So once you have your perspective set—and I don't care what it is. It can be either, hey, we're transactional, or we're highly relational and transformational. Just pick. Then, you have to align your team or your staff around this. Now, I know when a 1.0 person hears this, and they're just getting a business going and they're just starting out, they're like, “Well, I don't have a team.” Well, it doesn't matter. You still have to fulfill this role in your business. So your team is you.
So here's what I would say. Customers deserve equal attention, just not all of your attention as the entrepreneur. So what I mean by that is you should be focused on the front end of your business, and you should equally be focused on the back end of your business. Both need attention. But you can't hire out the front-end growth engine of your online business. That's very rare that you can find where somebody is, like, they can just hire out the front end on all my business. That's where you as the entrepreneur should focus. But you should—the very first hire that I ever made in every business is to have somebody, and it started with Renee—and, Amy, you know Renee—
AMY: And love Renee.
CASEY: —but she started in my first business literally working for an hour a day from home, by the hour. The point of that was, if you're an entrepreneur, you need to have somebody that can deliver on what you promise, because your webinar that you worked on for 40 or 50 hours that is going to convert is wonderful. But your inbox, if it gets full and you don't respond to somebody within 24 hours, they're going to be pissed. And so all the value created is deflated.
So hire somebody. You can get a qualified 1099 contractor and pay them 15 to 18 dollars an hour to focus on doing two things—I call, and I love this—is the 70-cent strategy. Here's what it is: 70 cents is what it takes to send a handwritten thank-you note to customers. If you're just starting out, hire somebody and let them send a handwritten thank-you note to anybody that buys from you. That will stick out bigger than anything that you can do. That's a proactive strategy. A reactive strategy is respond to all customer questions and requests by 5 p.m. in every day.
And so if you're just starting out an online business and you just do those two things, you're going to be well ahead of most businesses out there that just get you to pay, and once you pay, they don't really respond. They don't even know where to email, and then they get mad about it. And you say, “Casey, how do you know that?” Well, Gravy hears these emails from a lot of businesses that they don't do the best job at this, and they're like, “I can’t even get in touch. I don't even know who to contact. I don't even know what to do.” And those people are pissed, and they never come back.
AMY: It's so true. It's so true.
CASEY: But it doesn't have to be you. That's the thing. And I hear so many people with limiting beliefs that say, “Well, I don't have enough money to have a team yet.” Well, you can start, and here's where you find them. There's somebody who’s a stay-at-home parent that lives around you, and they just want to do something while their kid’s at school, and their kids went back to school, and they just want to help you out. They don't even really care about the money; they just want something to do. And I promise you that person lives around you in your community. If you put it on Facebook, you can find that person.
AMY: Ah. So true. I am totally there with you. So, team is a big part of this whole forgotten funnel. You have to have a team or you have to at least show up in different ways for your customers.
CASEY: Well, you do if you want to have more than a little flash in the pan. You do this thing, and then, what people go is like, “Well, it didn't work.” Well, what I say is you didn’t work it. And if you get 10 customers, those 10 people know 10 people, and you should care just as much about them or somebody on your team care just as much about them as you do about the next people that you're trying to sell.
AMY: Yes. I love that. I often say when people say, “I only have 100 customers,” I often say, “Okay, invite all 100 customers to your house, and you tell me if that feels like a really small group of people.” Like, it never is. So you've got to treat everybody as a human being. And I think it's important. There's so many people listening that just have a few customers so far, so I'm so glad we're doing this episode. But even me—
CASEY: Can I say one last thing about this?
CASEY: Oh, good. Well, I would just say, in a world of technology and bots and ones and zeros and this kind of thing, you can win online by just doing human things for humans.
AMY: Okay, I’m with you 100 percent.
CASEY: So, start small. And if you have 10 people, get their cell phone numbers, text every one of them, know their name, be in their life, know everything about them. And that's how you start, and that's how you win at the beginning.
AMY: Okay. So, I did a podcast, and it just came out, and I talked about the three ways I personalized my Digital Course Academy™️ launch in January—
CASEY: Oh, wow.
AMY: —and it’s exactly what you're saying, where we did personal voice DMs on Instagram, and I got into live chat and into Help Scout and all of that. Like, we literally personalized our messages. And it goes a long way. So you and I are so on the same page.
CASEY: Pat Flynn and his team do a phenomenal job of personalizing people that come in as well.
AMY: I love that.
CASEY: Stu McLaren does a great job of it. I can think of—and they go, “Oh, these are all the people's names I know in all my businesses,” and it's like, no, duh, because they treated every one like they were the most important. Everybody believes that they're their best friend and they're the most important because that's the way they treat people.
AMY: And the fact that you just said “No, duh” took me back to seventh grade. I love it. I’m going to start using that again. So good.
Okay, so, we’ve got perspective, and we have people, which is your team. Next is process. Break it down for me.
CASEY: Yeah, so, I'm going to keep this like super simple. Here's the statement around customers: assume that you know nothing. Start with the assumption that you don't know what they're thinking. Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, Great by Choice, other great business books, he calls this productive paranoia, which I love the term, that you should be paranoid that you are thinking that your course and that your idea is the right idea. If you ever think it's the right idea, you should constantly at the same time be going, yes, it’s the right idea, but I'm probably missing something. There's probably something I'm not seeing, and I need to know more.
And so when it comes to process, you've got to have a process in place to add value over and above your course. I see so many people launch a course, they launch their site, their membership site or whatever, and they expect the product to do the job. The product is, like, that is people are buying the product, that is the expectation. They're like, okay, yeah. But the way they stay and pay month after month year after year and the way they go deeper in your business are these three things—I'm only going to talk about one of them, but these are the three things—consistent content, which, Amy, you do fantastic at. So here's why I like your content. I feel like a third of it is personal, I feel like a third of it is professional advice, and I feel like a third of it is promotional. Again, I'm not saying that's what it is, but it feels that way to me. It feels that there's a connection and there's a mix up of the content. It's not all buy this, buy this, buy this, buy this, buy this, you know? And so showing your dog, Scout, which he crushed me.
AMY: Yes. Okay, you guys, I have a picture where we are literally taking a picture, and you know the live feature on an iPhone? Well, we take the picture, and Scout jumps up on Casey, right in the family jewels. Let's just say it. So you guys would die, and we have it on live video by accident. So it's good.
CASEY: Yeah, we'll keep that one to us. So, the three processes is consistent content; number two is community connection, which there’s plenty of content. And, Amy, you do that well, and people do that well, and how to create community. But the third one is the one I’m going to give as a practical tip for—I don’t care if you’re just starting out or you have a large business—the third process you need to have in place is conduct surveys. Conduct surveys. And here's the number-one question asked, and this comes from the book Net Promoter Score, which is, how likely are you to recommend this course or membership site or whatever to a friend or a colleague? How likely are you to recommend this course or whatever, fill in the blank, to a friend or a colleague? And give a one to 10 scale and send that out right after they buy at purchase, at 30 days, and at 90 days. And what we've seen happen at Gravy is by knowing what the pulse of the majority of the people is, gives us reality on what's actually happening as it relates to value in the business.
Let me we break that down. So when we started Gravy, just as an example, I thought just returning more—what we do at Gravy is we return more money back to the business that they were losing from failed payments or cancellations or those kind of things. And I just thought here's an ROI report. Gosh, I'm sure you're blown away and happy that you're getting this. And we started getting some scores back that said five and six and, you know, seven. And I'm like, “What in the world? We're saving this company hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and I've got a five back on the report. Why?” And when we start getting this information back, we get on the phone, and what we learned from being on the phone with this person is while the person that bought is super happy that they're getting the money back, they don't know how we got the money back, and if they don't know how they got the money back, it creates a gap in trust, and so they don't know if that's right or not. So they just wanted to see how many emails did we send? How many things we did? So what we learned from that, by listening, by getting a five and going, oh, crap, is that we need to show our work. We need to have transparency on this is exactly how we are recovering, who we’re recovering, and things like that. That's just an example from my business. But for your business, would be don't just listen to the five percent that love everything you do, and don't listen to the five percent that hate everything you do. In that 90 percent, that's where you can get—when somebody gives you a six, get on the phone with them and ask them the question, why? What did we miss? What could we add? And from that, you'll be able to know, here's what people heard when they bought, and then you'll be able to meet the expectation with the process that wasn’t met with your existing product idea. Does that make sense, Amy?
AMY: It does. It does. So—
CASEY: This is simple. This is like grass roots. This is like pick up the phone, send a text. This is not some crazy system that has 57 steps of automation. This is just putting in a place to know that this is, you know, get those numbers back and then talk to people.
AMY: It’s so true. And you’re even giving us ideas like you text 20 of your best friends that have businesses, and you ask them the question about, what does customer mean to you? And I know you weren't even thinking of it this way, but when you ask a question, when you survey people, when you want to do something off the cuff like that, and you make it easy for them to respond—and I've said this from the get go—you ask for one word, and you texted them. I mean, that's super easy. So we've got to think about how they can respond quickly as well.
CASEY: So, here’s what happens, though, and this is creating value on the backside of your business, and here's what you do. When you get surveys back, and let's just say it's your nines and tens, email that person and say, “Hey, will you shoot a quick video? We're going to put it up on the website.” So when you get a five back, you get on the phone and you see what's going on. We have turned, by just listening to what people have to say about our service and being able to get on the phone and talk with them—and again, you don't do this with everybody; you just do it with a few if you have a bigger business—you can turn some average fans or some mediocre fans into raving fans because you treated them like a human and you did one word, which is just listen. You just listened to them, and just by listening, it shows empathy and connection, and from that, some of those people have become some of our greatest fans.
AMY: Ah, so true. I can only imagine. Okay, so, we’ve got perspective, people, process, now, the next one is product, and that feels very self-explanatory, but what exactly do you mean by that, and why is this one considered a non-negotiable?
CASEY: Well, you either need to go deep with your market or go wide with your market, whether you’re just starting out or you have a large or growing business. Deep is where value’s at for the long term. And I'll explain what deep is in a second.
Wide is how you can get cash from the market. By offering multiple things and a lot of different things, it produces cash, but you're not going to create a huge, long-term value and stay in the game and stay in that market for a long period of time. And so example of this is at The Rocket Company, which is a company that we've talked about a couple times that we started, is that we decided to go wide with the market, and we offered a bunch of different things for a bunch of different people, all inside the market, because it was a small market. And we couldn't go deep with it, because there just wasn't a lot of value in there and people that had the cash to pay for anything that was going to increase in value. It was limited funds from limited churches, right? So we sold them a bunch of smaller things.
But if you decide to go deep in your market, here's what depth looks like. The first level is you teach somebody to do something. You teach them how to go do something. That's what you do, Amy, right?
CASEY: You teach—like, what’s some of the practical things that you teach?
AMY: List building, course creation, webinars.
CASEY: Yeah. So, that’s what you do, and you’ve decided to do that. Now, to go deeper in that market is that you come alongside them and you do something with them. So the first thing is you teach them how to go do something. They do it. The second thing is it's like, okay, you've taught me how to go do this, but a lot of people want you to do it with them. That's where higher-ticket stuff comes in. Your coaching, your workshop.
AMY: Like a mastermind.
CASEY: A mastermind. You’re doing it with them. You're helping them. You're not doing it for them, you're doing it with them. And the deepest level of product and the one that creates the most value over the longest period of time is the one that when you do it for them. That's the deepest level.
Now, I'm not saying that everybody listening to this should do that. But there's very few hundred-million-dollar information online businesses. And there's a reason why, is because it's mostly wide. It's mostly, we're going to sell a lot of different things to our audience instead of going deep. And the most valuable thing that you can do for somebody is do something for them.
And so another practical example. Before we sold The Rocket Company, the way we did this is we decided, hey, we've got all these different things, but the number-one thing that people keep asking us about is a giving technology in our church. You telling me that we need to make it easy for people to tithe in our church, and you need to make it to where they can get out their phone in the service, and they can give a recurring payment. Right? So, I was telling them they need to do this, but they were going, there isn't anything that does this. Everything's complicated, everything's this.
So I started going, huh, I’ve got an ATM machine business here that produces lots of net profit. It’s a big cash cow. That’s great. But I constantly have to go get new customers. I have this problem in the business. I was not thinking long-term value. And so what created the value was being able to sell the company and create life-changing exit from selling the business was listening and going, we're going to go deep with the customer, and we're going to use our content to listen to what they want, what they need, what's going to put more money back in their pocket, but we're going to build it for them.
And if you look at some of the biggest businesses out there right now, at some of the softwares that even you use or different people use, it came from somebody using their product as a listening tool, their info product as a listening tool, to find out what can I do with you, and as I'm listening with you, then, how can I do something for you? And when you do something for them, whether it's software or a service, that's when you can build a massive mega business.
AMY: Ah, so good.
CASEY: So, I know that’s a little more advanced, but I think there’s people out there that are like, how does somebody end up creating these softwares? Well, they create softwares by listening to people that are using information products. It’s a great way to get paid to know what your next business idea’s going to be.
AMY: Okay, so, can we talk about something you're creating in Gravy? This is totally not planned, but I kind of am obsessed because of the name of it. Do you know what I’m talking about?
CASEY: Well, you tell me.
CASEY: Oh, yeah. Biscuits.
AMY: Okay, so, can we talk about that, or is this secret?
CASEY: No, it’s not secret.
AMY: Okay, so—
AMY: So, what’s Biscuits?
CASEY: Well, we started out—and the point of Gravy was to create a—we want to be a personalized followup touch for customers, like your customers, that we have somebody actually reach out to them. That is a big deal.
AMY: That's a big deal.
CASEY: And here's the bigger deal. Most entrepreneurs are not focused on that. They are focused on getting more customers. And so where I found this was a huge deal was at The Rocket Company. I started going like, “Hey, we're growing month over month, and the money’s not matching up.” We sold, in my head, because you know how this is, Amy, when you sell 100 subscriptions and you’re the entrepreneur, you know it’s 100 subscriptions, and you think it’s going to be 100 things that are billed. It's like, well, why is it not that? You know, supposed to be x amount hours; it's not that. And so we started digging in and started realizing that we were losing like seven, eight, nine thousand dollars a month was going out the back door. And the reason it was wasn't because customers were necessarily mad or pissed or didn't want the products, just their credit card declined. And so with transactions failing, that's called involuntary churn. That's the official term for it.
AMY: Okay, I didn't even know this.
CASEY: In your online business, you have involuntary churn. That means they still want your thing and they're signed up for your thing, their payment just doesn't work. So our question was, at The Rocket Company, it’s like well, what are we going to do about that? So we tried to put in automation. Well, automation only recovered, and dunning software only recovers about 15 to 18 percent, and it cleans up the easy stuff, like just update your credit card, people do it. Well, then there were still 80-something percent of people that were left out there that we just canceled their subscription, and that's what most people do. And they call it the cost of doing business. We're just worried about new people. They don't want them anyway, and you villainize them, and all this kind of stuff. And so I said, no, no, no, no. We're going to get after this.
So we built an entire team around people that would personally reach out to these people and then bring their payment back online. And what we found, we took it up to over 80 percent, and that's what we've done with your business, Amy, is that we're at about 80 percent recovery rate of these involuntary churns. And it's a huge amount of work. But what we didn't realize and what online businesses don't realize is if you lose somebody—let’s say you're doing a 12-month payment plan of $99 a month, and you lose them in month six. You don't just lose that $99; you lose the subsequent $99, but you're losing the next $99 of the next customer in the next month. It is a compounding issue. It is a huge loss.
And so if you want to take a step today, if you have customers that are paying you on a subscription, payments are going to fail. You better have somebody on your team—what we talked about, people—that follow up and have a manual process to be able to get in touch with these people to get them back in line because they don't just show back up.
AMY: Ah, so true, which is why I use Gravy and why it's such a big deal for our business, because I can't even imagine not having a system in place—well, I can. We used to not have really this system in place—but what advice would you give to somebody, Casey, that is not a good fit for Gravy just yet? They're not making $250,000 in their business yet, which, if you are, I believe you have to get on the phone with Gravy. I think you need to talk to them and see if your business would be a good fit for what they offer. But let's say you're not making that yet. Can you give a few tips?
CASEY: Yeah. Two things. Number one, create stay bonuses. So we do this for our clients, but if you want to do this for yourself, a stay bonus is usually it has to do with price or product. So create some offer that you send out. You can do it via automation. Just set up—if the credit card fails in whatever system you're using, that it sends out an offer to come back that says, hey, if you come back, we'll give you a discount. Right? And then that will incentivize—you'll get more people by making an offer to get them to come back. That's only if you don't have somebody they can follow up with every single one, right?
Number two would be a stay bonus of product or access. So give them something free if they come back. And so incentivize them with, hey, when you update your your credit card, you're going to get this module or this worksheet or this thing that we have. Or if you come back, you can get a 15-minute success call, and I'm going to help you with whatever, depending how big or small your business is. And so those are some tips that you can use to get people to come back.
AMY: Could save you thousands of dollars, guys.
CASEY: Oh, it will.
AMY: So think about that. Yeah. Such a good tip. We even talked about it within my business of what that might look like. So, I love those tips, for sure.
Okay, so, Casey, this has been so good. And you know I love a good list, you know I love step by step, and you know I love breaking it down, and so do my listeners. So with that, you have given us exactly what we wanted here. And I just want to break it down one more time, these five non-negotiables of the forgotten funnel. I love that they’re all Ps; makes it very simple. Person, people, process, product, and profit. So, thank you so very, very much. You guys want to remember what each of those means, of course we’re going to put them in the show notes, amyporterfield.com/256. And Casey, thank you so very, very much for being here. You guys are a part of my team. We love working with you, and I love how your brain works in terms of strategy, building the team, building businesses, so thank you so much for coming on the show today.
CASEY: Thanks so much for having me, Amy.
AMY: All right. Take care.
So there you have it. I hope you loved this conversation with Casey as much as I have. And if your business is generating $250,000 or more and you have a membership site, or you do payment plans, you’ve got to check out Gravy. Go to amyporterfield.com/gravy for all the details.
Now, if your business is not yet generating that kind of revenue, you, my friend, will get there. As long as you don't give up, as long as you keep showing up, as long as you do the work, you will get there. And I guess I just wanted to remind you of that before we close up here today that it is very doable for you to grow your business and reach the kind of revenue that you have been striving for. That is very doable. And when you add a customer-centric focus to your business, when you look at your customers as the lifeblood of your business, and you know that you are showing up to serve them, whether you have one, two, ten, a hundred, or a thousand, start small and really learn about your customers from the get go. And as we mentioned in the very beginning, that will shape how you do business in the future. The kind of business that you are building starts with you understanding the few customers that you have today.
All right, guys. Thanks again for tuning in. And before I tell you about next week, have you subscribed to the podcast yet, because I don't want you to miss a thing. I want to make sure that when you check your podcast playlist that you see the latest and greatest new episode from the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. So make sure you subscribe. And when I do a bonus episode that I do not put on social or do not email about, you will get that bonus episode because you are a podcast subscriber.
Also, next week we're going to talk about something that you may be doing in your business unintentionally but it's killing your customer conversions. And that is offering too much. We're going to talk about your offers. We're going to talk about streamlining those offers because more is not more, and you're actually hurting your sales by offering too much. Yep. We're going to talk about it next week, so make sure to tune in. I will see you soon. Same time, same place. Have a great week. Bye for now.