411 : Greg Purdy – The value of your audience is the key thing to remember when building a long term business

Greg Purdy

What a great opportunity to get inside what it takes to be a successful marketer long term. I add long term because there  will be a new superstar today, tomorrow and the day after who likely will be gone by the end of the week. Look longer, look past the fast buck. Dare I say add value? No Greg does that in the and every conversation I have with him. He really cares and it shows in his new tool: AsinZen.com – 30 DAY FREE TRIAL. Try it and see if it helps you once, just once. Then evaluate the cost and rethink your business with better data.

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Here is transcript- It is automated so it is not perfect but it does seem to get better over time.

Greg:                                     00:00                     You can go online and, and log into a website and type a few words and they’ve, they have the potential to reach thousands or hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. Now, the reality, they probably won’t reach that many, but they’ll reach well enough, but the odds are the chances of selling that item go way off. It’s exponential. And, um, I, I, I

Cool voice guy:                  00:24                     welcome to the e-commerce momentum podcast where we focus on the people, the products, and the process of eCommerce selling today. Here’s your host, Steven Peterson.

Stephen:                             00:38                     Hey, it’s me. It’s Q4 got to bring up my Amazon seller tribe. Um, this is probably, you know, one of the last chances you’re going to get to join this year. So I’ll run this for a couple of weeks. But, um, the, the good news is you could still get in, right? They are allowing people in, but at some point they’re gonna cut it off. So I suggest you join today. Try it with 14 days for free. Okay? So you don’t like it, you don’t get value drop. Um, however, don’t only measure on the value of what you’re buying, measure on the value of the impact it has on your business. And what I love about this group, the Amazon seller tribe is the amazing way they invest into your business. They will help you with all the questions. Go out and check out a amazing freedom.com forward slash momentum dash arbitrage.

Stephen:                             01:21                     Look at the testimonials. Those are real people. Reach out to them, right? You can kind of figure out who they are and go out and figure out, uh, NSM. Is it real? Are they really helpful? Will they help my business? And you will be blown away again. You get 14 days free if you join through mind link only and they do pay me. So I don’t want you to, I don’t mislead anybody. Um, but I believe in him. I’m in the groups, you’ll see me and you’ll get to talk with me too. So amazing. freedom.com, forward slash momentum, hyphen arbitrage. I know it’s a lot momentum, hyphen arbitrage and you’re going to get 14 day free trial on the daily fine list. Make a purchase, get your money back and then say, huh, I can do this again. Wash, rinse, repeat, wash, rinse, repeat. Amazing.

Stephen:                             02:07                     freedom.com, forward slash momentum arbitrage. They are going to close it. Q4 is here. It’s going to happen. Get ready. Welcome back to the e-commerce momentum podcast. This is episode 411. Greg Purdy, I can’t believe it’s been so long since I talked to Greg. And it’s funny, we talk to each other a lot. Um, outside of this and an issue came up somewhere and I’m like, huh, Greg’s the expert and I’ve seen so much of this. And so I really, what I love in this episode is we, we talk about how to create a business. Um, maybe it’s selling on Amazon, maybe it’s selling on your own website. Maybe it’s making soap. I get to that story and it’s pretty interesting. Um, but Greg’s been doing this for a long, long time and he will tell you he’s nothing special. He was a truck driver, had to his phrase, he didn’t get a big fancy college education.

Stephen:                             02:57                     He got a life education and yet he’s been able to apply it into an existing business and it’s been consistent for the last five years that I’ve known him. And that’s what I always look for as longevity. Um, and uh, we do have a special offer in there, which is pretty cool. And uh, I’d love to hear that it helps you. So send me a note, let’s get into the podcast and we’ll come back to the eCommerce women in podcasts. We’re excited about having a return guest. I can not believe it’s been three years since we talked. I went back and looked. I’m like, no way has it been that long cause we talk personally, uh, on and off all the time and it just blows my mind. So welcome back Greg Purdy.

Greg:                                     03:33                     Hey Steven. It’s good to be back three years, dude. It doesn’t seem like it. It’s crazy. I’m sitting in the same place I was three years.

Stephen:                             03:42                     You know, it’s funny, I’m not because I’m in a much bigger warehouse. Um, however you were episode number two and that was the other one. That was almost five years ago. And I think about where you went from that, you know, that episode two to three years ago and your business evolved. Um, now three years later and talking with you, your business has evolved again. Right.

Greg:                                     04:07                     And it will continue to, but yes, it’s uh, it’s always something new that, that fits my personality very well.

Stephen:                             04:16                     That that part of it’s real, right? That that’s hard to find things that fit your person out because you see other people and I’m sure you’re a guy just like me who says, Ooh, I could do well, but you wouldn’t love it. How is it a maturity thing since you hit 50, you and I are about the same age. Is it a maturity thing for you not to go after the shiny object?

Greg:                                     04:36                     No, no, no. I still do. I still do. Um, so I’ve not matured that much. That’s for sure. I recognize is, I think it’s a maturity thing that I recognize that’s my problem, but it’s not matured me enough that I’ve been able to resist it at this point.

Stephen:                             04:54                     Well, do you have some resistance at least? I mean, are you able to filter some out and say, no, no, that’s an easy, no,

Greg:                                     05:00                     not enough from experience though, right. It’s from being burned in the past and you, and you actually have a memory of it, um, or you just know that th the likelihood of it ending well is probably not there. So, um, but yeah, I mean that’s why prior to Amazon, I was attracted trailer driver and I saw something different all day, every day. And that suited my personality and this business, you know, working online, you know, of course it has its downfalls because I can click around and the next thing you know, I’m, I’m, I’m researching things on Google that are not part of my business, but, um, you know, it at least I know that if I get bored sitting at the desk, I can get up and walk into the warehouse or I can go out and do something else. So it’s pull you right back.

Stephen:                             05:52                     I mean, is that because I think about that a lot, you know? Um, so if we do some RA or something like that, it gets me laser focused. When I start to drift, I find myself, Ooh, if I can just do this, boom, it kind of brings me back. It does. And it reignites the excitement

Greg:                                     06:09                     to either cause it, especially if you get out and you and you, like you say RA, you go ahead and buy something. It was like, wow, that was great. You know, and then, and you write, you know, you get excited again and then you go listed and you know, yeah, it’s a, it definitely tends to, uh, to, to refocus if you, um, if you start to drift a little bit, you know, just step away and, and go do that. One thing that, uh, that, that brings it back around for you.

Stephen:                             06:40                     We, uh, as, as you and I, we’ve talked about, we’ve had it RA back into our business. Um, my son, my, my younger son who graduated from college and his friend who graduated from college, both work for us full time now and they are so enthusiastic. It’s funny, I look at them as kids and yet not that long ago, you and I were those kids in this business and we had that same enthusiasm member hat.

Greg:                                     07:04                     Oh, I do. And I, I’m envious of the, the kids will call them today because they’ve got the internet, which we didn’t have. Right. So I mean I was buying and selling as early as 18, um, is when I started running ads in newspapers and magazines. I was buying cars and stripping them out Mustangs specifically. And um, you know, back then, you know, the old 65 to 73 Mustangs were everywhere and I was buying them up and I had a lot of them sitting around and I would run ads in the Baltimore sun newspaper seven days a week and all the issues in the mornings on the, at the evening sun, they had the Sunday sun. Um, and I had knew I had ads in every one of them in the classified section that I was buying and selling and trading Mustang park. And I was running ads in Hemmings motor news, which was going across the world.

Greg:                                     07:51                     And I was running into that Mark Tang monthly magazine and, and since some of the Ford magazines and whatnot, and you know, that was how you reached your audience or you go to Carlisle where you live and you’d set up at the car show, which I did that year after year after year. That was how you reached the audience and who now, you know, the, the kids will call them, can go online and, and log into a website and type a few words and they’ve had the potential to reach thousands or hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. Now, the reality, they probably won’t reach that many, but they’ll reach out enough that the odds are the chances of selling that item go way up. It’s exponential. And, um, I, I, I envy that. Obviously I don’t wait a bit,

Stephen:                             08:39                     right. A little bit. Not the, not getting up early and coming to Carlisle and that and sleeping in campers or crappy hotels. That was fun of like living those Berkus life. And that was fun. Yeah, there is a, there’s still huge shows. One just finished, uh, two weeks last weekend. Maybe, maybe last weekend, this last one for the year. And it’s still, it’s huge now. It’s definitely smaller than what they’ve been, but it’s interesting and I’ll give you a good story. So my brother-in-law, uh, who has, uh, I guess it’s a Chevy that he’s got an old Chevy and he’s, he’s like, I can’t wait to come to the car. He came for a couple of days and we went to the show and I, to be honest with you, I’ve not really experienced it at that level. We went to the auction and we were not bidding, but we had a VIP thing and we did the whole thing.

Stephen:                             09:21                     And to see his enthusiasm and he’s like, look, I can go online and buy these parts, but I’m looking, I want to touch him. And it was weird to see and I thought to myself, huh, there is still a market for it for him. He’s completely gone the opposite way. There’s certain things he doesn’t care about, he’ll buy online, but there are certain things he wants to see that it’s authentic, he wants to feel and touch it. And it was interest. I watched that and I thought, huh, the air there, if you have the right product and you know your audience, there’s still a way to do business, uh, without e-commerce in that world.

Greg:                                     09:56                     And you know, they have the same problems in the, in the, we’ll call it the real world that, that we experience on Amazon or any commerce, you know, it on Amazon is there’s always a chance that they’re going to accuse you of selling a counterfeit. Well, you know, in the, in the, we’ll say the auto parts world just to select that, you know, there are aftermarket manufacturers. So if you’re selling a, you know, a part for a classic car, it could be new old stock in O S they call it. It could be the original part in the original box, you know, from Ford. Let’s say that the, you know, if you’re buying a, um, you know, a switch, it could be a new old stock switch, brand new in the Ford box or it could be an OEM original equipment manufacturer. What’s made by the same exact company will put into a different box, you know, maybe to be sold at the auto parts store.

Greg:                                     10:52                     So same exact time you pull them out and look at them. They’re identical. But one says Ford, one does not. Or it could be something that’s made today in China that kind of looks like it still works about the same, maybe even works better. Who knows? Because of the modern technology, it fits in your car and it will do the job, but it’s not. Ford is not, OEM is just a re an aftermarket replacement. And if that OEM were to wind up in that Ford box, it would now be a counterfeit even though it’s made to do the same thing. So you’ve got that issue in that in that car parts world as well. You go to the car show or to the auto parts store or buy from somebody online. You got to watch what you’re getting and, and you know, so I can understand wanting to go there and actually say it, especially when you’re dealing with some of these high dollar parts on some of these classic cars. You don’t want to take that chance. Maybe you’ve been burned before, maybe you’ve tried to buy it online before and there’s like this little difference and you’re looking for that part that has that little difference, you know, to, to make it exactly what it is that you’re looking for. So, um,

Stephen:                             11:59                     yeah. Well it’s interesting. So let me think about it. Let’s talk about this for a second. I’m going to stay on the auto parts world because I think that’s a good example now. Like, like the, uh, I can’t think of a name of a parts company, online parts company, but there’s a whole bunch of them, right? I mean there’s, there’s thousands of them, but a lot of aggregators, again, you know, the drop ship from other companies and that kind of thing. And then there’s some parts warehouses and stuff like that. But are there, well, I know there are specific niche websites that, you know, let’s say your Mustang, right, mustangs.com or whatever it would be. I’m sure there’s something like that where they’ve, where they’ve been able to create and stand away from like an Amazon and as a standalone site. And if so, which I assume there is, how do they stay so connected? Is this going back to the day where you had to stay relevant in any industry, you became the expert. So therefore that’s why you were running those ads and you are an expert. You are able to, I would be able to call and talk to Greg and Greg would be like, Oh yeah, it’ll fit on the 68 but it won’t fit on the 69 blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Is that, is that kind of how it’s working today? It’s how it started now. Oh, interesting.

Greg:                                     13:05                     Was, went back when I was 18 and starting to go to Carlisle. There was a bunch of 18 year olds there that were, that were doing the same thing. You know, bunch of guys my age, um, that were stripping out cars and um, some of them went on to be very big in the industry. We’ll just say, you know, I did it for awhile. It was always a hobby for me. I drove a tractor trailers starting at 21. Later on, I got married, had kids and kinda got out of it, still mess around with a little cars. I still had some, and I still sell parts, but I’m not doing the car shows and that type of thing. But the couple of the guys I think might’ve been a year older than me. We would hang out, right? We would, we would, you know, get done at the end of the day, we close up our tents or whatever.

Greg:                                     13:45                     We go get pizza or whatever. We go somewhere and hang out. These guys, couple of friends started what is now probably the biggest online Mustang website out there. I won’t name them, but most people, it’s two initials and the initials. One initial was the guy’s first name and the other initial was the other guy’s first name and they started a Mustang business. And it became about the biggest, they’ve since sold it. It still has the same name but, and that was what they did. They just, they, they moved towards the new parts. I stayed with the old views parts and um, they started a website and it just became like the biggest thing and years later they sold it and I guess went on did something else or whatever. And yes, that’s why they’re able to compete with Amazon because that website is full of parts specific to a specific car.

Greg:                                     14:35                     And you know, so if you have, or if they’ve added other cars over the years, they’re probably into modern cars as well now. But they’re known for the fact that if you have a whatever, 68 Mustang, you can go to that website and basically build a car from the pages of that website because they have every part available. And, um, and then there are other ones out there, but I think of them specifically because they probably wound up being the biggest Mustang website on the internet. And you go, you go to Amazon, the chance of you finding every part for a Mustang, it might be there. Matter of fact, they probably is there, but on their website it’s all right there together. It’s a lot easier to find it.

Stephen:                             15:17                     Is that possible to do, again, I mean, as you sit back in, do you think about other industries just named the truck? Let’s go back. Let’s go to trucking. Is it possible to become dominant or at least and dominant? You don’t have to be the biggest, you have to be relevant and you want to, you know, it, could you make a living doing that today in the trucking world for example?

Greg:                                     15:36                     I think so. I think you can do it in any industry because like I said, with Amazon, the parts might be there, but, but the website has billions of listings. Yeah. Billions of pages are, I don’t, buildings might be, I, I’m probably pretty close. Yeah. But I’m pretty great again. Yeah, yeah. So I don’t know what the actual number is, but you know, if you’re going to go into selling parts for specific trot burgers or selling things to trucking companies or whatever it is, all of those items would be together in one location, making it a lot easier to shop. So I think that, yeah, I think it’s doable for any industry. If you’re going to build a website, if you’re really niching down and bringing in a bunch of related things to a website to sell, I think sure you could take a big chunk of that business away from Amazon.

Stephen:                             16:28                     Um, there’s a couple of people I follow and I have no idea because this is what, in a way, in some of our pre-call, we were talking about getting going down the rabbit hole on like YouTube or one or Google. And for some reason I’m seeing these homestead, uh, people in my feet. I have no cloud walls. Well, it blows my mind and I think it was because, you know, we like to simplify our lives as we always call it and our world trying to pare down as our kids have left. And now we’re just at, you know, the two of us now we want to, we want less responsibility. I always say. And so for some reason the short version is there are two people I follow. One makes candles, right? So she’s a homesteader who makes candles, who pet a cool story about how they became, you know, homesteaders, how they a great, you know, a lot of content they pump out and then she’s like, okay, I’m going to ramp back up my candle business now.

Stephen:                             17:14                     At this point they got 2030 40 50,000 viewers subscribers to their channel. And so she puts up her candles. She, she made, I think I remembered the I, cause I have to do the man, you know me, I’m a math guy and so it’s 320 pounds of candles that she made and they sell candles about a quarter pound. No, it wasn’t Candace. It was soap. Excuse me. Sorry, I messed that up. It was soap. That was it. So, you know, 20 pounds of soap and there were four ounce bars of soap, so she got four. Anyway, when I went to her website and I looked at how much it sold for, it was almost $4,000 at 320 pounds of soap and a towel. Huh? She sold it out in a day. Correct. Because she had this story. People connected with her. She created an audience, her and her husband, I mean, they’re real people, you know, they’re really genuine, but they created an audience that created a following. People began to know, like, and trust them and boom, she put out a product sold out in a debt. How crazy is that? And you know, what would it have taken for you to sell that much in Mustang parts running ads in the newspaper back in those days, right. Or, or at the car show. Right. I mean, think about that.

Greg:                                     18:22                     Well in the [inaudible] and the differences, everybody wants a different part for a different car in a different year, different body style, whatever, you know with the soap, I’m sure. Yeah. I’m guessing goat’s milk or whatever it is, but there’s probably, you know, a handful of fragrances, but it’s all the same process to make it, you know, you pour it in, you add the smell yet the color or whatever, but everything else in the process is the same. So what’s she selling is the same and everybody that’s looking at is looking for the same thing, just maybe a different fragrance or whatever. But um, yeah, with the car stuff is a little different. Cause this guy’s looking for a hood for 65 and this guy is looking for a fender for a 73 and this guy’s looking for an engine four 69 and you know, it’s tough to reach everybody for different things even though they are closely related.

Stephen:                             19:10                     But I, I think it’s the audience, right? It’s, it’s creating that audience. There’s another company I follow. It’s called Hercules candle candy, Hercules candy. They make chocolates in East Syracuse, New York. Now you would think they’d be out of business, right? Small candy shop in a small town dying town. I’m sure it’s a dying town. Manufacturing is closing blahblahblahblahblah 60% of their sales. So come from their YouTube channel. So they’ll make something, it’ll sell out almost immediately. And it’s because they’ve created an audience they’ve created. Now you’re good at, you know, you’ve got seller essentials, you’ve created an audience and you’ve made a living off of that. How, how, how hardest. I think that’s the thing that, you know, cause people hear this and even I look at it and I’m like, Oh my God, look what they do. All they do is make soap and you could sell it, but you don’t see the thousands and thousands of hours behind the scenes creating that audience. Can you talk about that?

Greg:                                     20:02                     And that’s the value of what they’re doing. Is it the value in their businesses, not their soap, it’s their audience. Because if, if people trust you and people follow you and people look to you for advice or for whatever, then it’s almost, doesn’t really matter. And I don’t mean you throw junk out at him. I truly don’t mean this, but so what I mean is if people truly are following you and trusting you and then you tell them this is what you should do within a certain percentage of those people are going to do that because it’s going to strike that nerve with them. This will strike a chord with that much to say, and you know it’s there. It’s going to be, it’s going to hit them at the right time at the place where they are and they’re going to be like, yes, this is exactly what I need.

Greg:                                     20:47                     And based on that trust, they’re going to go ahead and do that. So the, the value of your businesses always in your list. It’s, it’s in your audience, it’s in your, your email list or whatever. You know, you build a business and you have to, if you’re selling things and you have to resell and read and, and buy more and sell and you never dealing with the same people, you don’t have an audience, you’re basically fulfilling the needs of Amazon’s audience. If you’re selling on Amazon that it’s not your customers, Amazon’s customer, they’re coming to Amazon cause they trust Amazon and you’re basically just a supplier to Amazon can meet the needs of their customer. Um, but if you have your own business outside of that and you’re providing value,

Stephen:                             21:31                     whether it be through what you talk about it because that you’ve done a good job at that. So I think this is a good point where you can offer some value to other people cause you’ve done this and you’ve done it very successfully for years. Can you talk about what the steps are? Because I think there’s something here.

Greg:                                     21:47                     So yeah, but first of all, obviously you have to be, um, I would say you have to be an expert in your, in your, in your craft, in your, in your industry, in your field. I think it’s hard to fake it. Um, you know, obviously if you’re

Stephen:                             22:02                     going into business, a lot of times people will say, well, fake it till you make it. Well, I think people can see through that nowadays, especially in the, in the age of technology where we are. And plus the fact that people are bombarded with fakes all the time when they go on the internet, they get the fake emails and they see the fake websites and whatnot. So first of all, I think you really need to be genuine. You have to have an understanding of your, of your product and of your industry. So you start off with, uh, a knowledge base. And can I ask you a question there? I’m going to keep chopping up. I hate to do that, but it’s like, I’m going to go back to this homesteading lady. Is her knowledge, the candles and that she wants all natural candles or is her knowledge, her expertise in the homesteading thing and raising a family and therefore when she finds something, if she focuses in on that and that clearly what they’re doing. Um, and then when she finds something to address issues that they’re having because they want all natural,

Greg:                                     22:58                     her audience is not necessarily soak users or audiences, homesteaders for people that aren’t interested in that. But the, the need that they have is they, they need natural soap or whatever it is, or essential oils or whatever it is. She’s just, she discovered that this audience is also into something else. Obviously, you know, the audience is the fact that the homesteads and they follow her for that reason. I’ve followed this, this one, I’m outdoors with the Morgans and, and basically it’s a family lives, a husband and wife. I think they have two children live in Pennsylvania. And basically every episode is him cutting down a tree with a chainsaw and then running it through his new log mill or whatever. And you know, it’s just to me, I love watching it and I’m a basically cuts some wood and shows, you know, the value he gets out of cutting down a dead tree or something.

Greg:                                     23:49                     And, um, so people follow that. Well, who was his audience? I mean is his audience people that uh, it could be his audience. It could be people that buy and sell firewood. It could be people that want to learn how to run, uh, their own mills so they can make their own wood and build their own houses and whatnot. It could just be people that bought a piece of property and want to learn how to keep up the property by keeping it looking nice by cutting down the dead trees. I don’t know. I’ve never really tried to figure out who his audience is. Who are you? Why are you watching it? I, it’s just, it’s fascinating to watch people cut fire. What I guess, I don’t know,

Stephen:                             24:22                     the point is, is that, you know, you’re their audience, you’re one of the representative their audience. And so could they market a product to you? I mean, and maybe that’s where I’m asking.

Greg:                                     24:31                     I think they could, I’m not sure. I guess the, the, the product that I would buy and I’m sure he promotes it, would be if I was in the market for a chainsaw. Okay. Um, I would probably go to his website and see what he’s using, which I actually know what he uses. But if I was in the market for a chainsaw, I really believe that that’s who I would trust to tell me which one I need to be buying because I watched that guy uses all the time. And it’s not just that he’s taken out two or three chainsaws and comparing them and saying, well, I like this one better because they cut faster. He’s using in every episode. So I know that whatever one he’s using is the one that I probably should go out and get.

Stephen:                             25:10                     So, so th th that’s to me the secret sauce right there. What you just said. So the fact that you’re attracted to this guy, not because you’re, you know, uh, because you want to buy a chainsaw. The fact that you’re fascinated with what he’s doing, I call it the maker space. I’m into the maker space where people make things and then they sell it. And I’m always like, Oh my God, they’re so talented, but it blows my mind to see it. And so they become an expert. You earn there or they earn your trust and then therefore when you are on the market for a chainsaw, you’re gonna use that guy’s advice. Is that, is that a good way to say it?

Greg:                                     25:47                     Yeah. And then obviously if he put a link at the bottom of his video to that chainsaw, I probably would just click his Lincoln buy it from him. Of course, I know as a marketer that he’s going to get a commission on that and I’m totally fine with that. But you know, so I would go there. Now obviously when he said his page up, it wasn’t because he thought a bunch of marketers were going to come there and, and we use, because people are going to follow him and they’re going to click those links and they’re going to buy things and he will make a living off of it. If he can get a big enough following of people that, that trust him. Eventually he’s going to make a living off of that YouTube channel. And uh, he’s going to sell at space on the channel and he’s going to get clicks on his links underneath the videos. And get a commission on the sale, those products. But I’d be all for going there and clicking that link because he’s built my trust. Right. And I know he’s an expert in his field. And so

Stephen:                             26:38                     I guess, uh, you know, back to helping people, to me that if they can figure out, cause you always say, Hey no, you know, you’re an expert at something Craig. Right. That’s what you should be talking about. It’s not because if you’re not passionate about it, um, it might, you know, if it’s a job that you hate, you know, and you’re driving a forklift, I don’t know about talking about forklifts might be the right thing now. Maybe working in a warehouse or a Hunter or whatever other things that you’re interested in, then I think you can, you can sustain something cause that, is that fair?

Greg:                                     27:09                     Sure. And if you’re, if you’re in a place where you’re not growing and not becoming an expert, not loving your job, you know, then you’ve got to take those steps to change that. I mean I didn’t, I didn’t become a tractor trailer driver because it was my lifelong goal to do that. It was something that I needed to do to earn income. Um, cause I was at a place in my life where I didn’t have an education, I didn’t have a job. And you know, at 21 it was either, okay, I’m getting all these flyers from all the different branches of military. I gotta do something. And you know, so I said, you know what? I could, I could be driving a tractor trailer pretty quickly, come 21 now I’ll go do that until something better comes along. I wound up doing it for 18 years.

Greg:                                     27:57                     But during that time, and actually just three years later, I started doing marketing. I mean, I was already doing my selling my car parts and I’d been doing that for years. But three years after that is when I really started trying to study marketing, understand marketing. So driving to work or driving in the truck, I could have, you know, cassette tapes playing the back. Then there was, CDs weren’t as popular, but I’d have cassette ATX buddy, let’s state ourselves. Come on. No, no, eight tracks. I listened to on my car on the way to work when I was younger though, but I’d listened to tapes, you know, tell them about, you know, how to sell or how to talk to people or how to, whatever I would, I would get my education behind the wheel of my vehicle and one day was able to step away from that vehicle altogether and go do what I educated myself to do full time. I was able to take it from being part time to being full time at that point. So I think,

Stephen:                             28:50                     yeah, I mean, it, it’s a perfect description because now, I mean, let’s fast forward, right? Then you get into Amazon, you’re selling on Amazon, and you start running into challenges. You start running into the challenges that every single person listening to us that runs into, you know, um, should I buy this inventory? You know, what’s, what’s the criteria? Well always the rank could or there, you know, if you’re selling on Amazon, you’re, if you’re doing our AOA, whatever, um, even wholesale, um, is, you know, are there a lot of other sellers, you know, if there are other sellers, how many do they have cause repricing, you know, I mean how many times have you repriced against somebody and they have one item and then you’re like, Jesus, why did I even waste my time? You know, they’re going to sell it and then boom, but all those different things you’ve ran into those problems. And so you, I mean, you must have bought all the tools to help address those. Correct?

Greg:                                     29:38                     I, I did. And you know, you don’t take them. I think we all did open up my Amazon page and look at the a browser extensions that load up in the top tab. And yeah, I have, and I’ve had every single one of them. You tried them and some of them were great and some of them weren’t. Or some of them lost their luster because you know, they didn’t keep up the links and Amazon changed their API or whatever it was. Um, you know, without trying to sound like a commercial, you got into this business, uh, not looking for problems. And when you found a solution to start addressing them, what did it do for your business? Well, I mean it, it, I believe time is money. So if, if you can address an issue that’s costing you time, even in small chunks, if you’re doing the same process again and again and again throughout the day or throughout the hours that you’re doing it, if you can save that time and you are making more money for the time that you are spending.

Greg:                                     30:39                     So I started looking for tools that would save me time because I believe that my time has value. You know, it’s funny, you look at these posts, let’s say on Facebook and somebody say, what’s your, what’s your hourly worth? What’s your hourly rate? What’s your time worth? And of course the, all the, all the business owners out there will say $100 an hour or $200 an hour, $500 an hour. And yet they’ll use a tool that takes them a minute when there’s another tool over there that would take them 15 seconds, but the other tool cost them, you know, $100 a year and they’ll, I’m not paying $100 a year. Well, you just said your time was worth $500 an hour. This tool’s going to save you two hours a week. You would think it’d be worth $1,000 a week to you, but you won’t pay $100 a year for it to really, your time’s not worth what you say it is.

Greg:                                     31:33                     In my mind, that’s what I look at, those things. And, but so I started figuring out, you know, my time has value. I need tools that will save me time, especially when, you know, I find myself wasting time in other ways too. So it’s like we’ve got to make it up when you have this a, yeah, but the rabbit hole of YouTube in the rabbit hole of a, um, Google and it just takes you places and you’re like, wait, where was high for the last hour? I don’t even know. All right, well let’s talk about it because I think, you know, the issues that I run into, you know, cause we sell shoes and clothing, right? We know that I’ve said that many times and you know, did I get the black shoes? Should I get the white shoe? Should I get, you know, and wait, you know, the rank is good, but how many should I buy?

Greg:                                     32:14                     You know, how many sellers are there? Talk about, you know, where the app start or the extension started and now what it’s grown into. So I had a, I’ll tell you what gave me the idea, several things. Number one. Um, I have a team of virtual systems that in Asia that work for me at night and I’ve had as many as a dozen or more. Right now I think I’m running six or seven. Um, and are doing online arbitrage sourcing for me and I use tolls. And I also have taught them to manually sources as well. So they’re, they’re working for me at night. I’ve got, uh, a list of subscribers to an O a deals service where we basically provide a spreadsheet. These VA’s find the deals, my U S team plus my head VA, we vet these deals. We produce a spreadsheet that then is sold to our subscription to prescriber list.

Greg:                                     33:08                     So I’ve got a team in the Philippines and I’ve had them in other parts of actually in Africa as well. And then, um, I’ve got the subscribers who are international and us based. And so I’m dealing with two groups of people that need to use tools. And plus me being in the middle and vetting this list and me being a person that’s buying online to resell, I’m constantly looking at websites. So I’ve got this slew of tolls and I’m providing tools to my team and I’m recommending tools to my subscribers and I’m using tools myself. And a lot of times when you’re using, you know, a let’s just, uh, I’ll just say a revenue calculator over here and a, a, a, a restrictions checker over here and another tool over here, they don’t always play well together because when people create polls, they create tools to occupy a certain spot on the page.

Greg:                                     34:02                     So if you’re going to use a browser extension or an Amazon page and you subscribe to three or four browser extensions, when you open up the Amazon page, they load, well, they, the person that built that tool built it to load up in a certain spot and someone else built their tool, but their tools built open up in the exact same spot and they’re both competing. Or this person’s tool does a, and this person tool does B, but they both do C and when you try to open them both up, they both are trying to do that same function and they don’t play well together and it winds up making weird things happen on your page. Either makes a toll fail, it won’t do its job or it’ll make the page not load properly or whatever. And I recognize this and I’ve dealt with this all the time.

Greg:                                     34:45                     And so my thought was to build a tool that just basically did everything that I needed it to do in one tool. And it basically replaced several tools that I was using. So that was my initial thought on coming up with something, basically for my team, myself. And then I could recommend to others if it was actually good. But my, my initial thought was, I want to use it, I want my team to use it. So I started working with some developers. Uh, it’s been over a year now. We actually just started our second year. Um, and, and we, we called the tip the tool where we called the business eighth and Zen. And so I wanted the a and the Z ASEN Zen cause I figured Amazon is a Z and I figured a to Z covers everything. And so it kind of plays around on, on, uh, the letters.

Greg:                                     35:38                     And so I knew I needed an a word and a Z word. I figured the eight work to be ASEN. And so I figured what could be a good Z word. It’s not a lot of words begin with Z. And it was like ACE in zebra ASEN zombie. I actually bought ACE in zombie.com cause I thought about going that direction and, but I wound up with ACE Zen. I figured, you know, is Zen, we could play on the fact of oneness. And so we, we, we chose the term at one with Amazon and we came out with our first [inaudible]. Our first product was called has ability to had the hazy and has, and it was basically a hazmat detector. Um, we actually, that’s the first product we released. But prior to releasing that, we had already built what we call a Z insight. And it’s basically a, um, an analytics tool that when you open up an Amazon page, it provides you with a revenue calculator that does some very advanced calculations.

Greg:                                     36:40                     So if you just enter what you’re gonna pay for the product of this product that you’ve just opened up on Amazon is a product that you are considering selling and you can get the product for $10. You enter $10 and it will perform the calculations based on what the current buy box prices are. You could actually change that. If you want to check out a different selling price, it will show you, um, the historical data of what it averaged in the buy box for 30 days, for 90 days. What the lowest FBA price has been for 30 or 90 days with the lowest FBM price has been for 30 and 90 days. It’ll show you the inventory levels of all the other sellers. It’ll pull up the, all the variations of the product and show you the rank and the price and all the data on those as well. It’ll perform a hazmat check and tell you if the product is hazmat, um, whether your hazmat approved for FBA or not. And it’ll tell you if you can sell it. There’s a restrictions checker. Uh, it’ll tell you if the product’s restricted in any way. And if so, what the restriction is. There’s a link right in the product. You could click and request approval from Amazon to sell. It’s got the historical sales data. It checks to see if the brand is likely file IP claims or trademark violations that were, I’m sorry. No for

Stephen:                             37:58                     you, you’ve described as funny, everybody listening is going like wait, it does that and does that at us that you describe, you know probably 10 12 different things. It is, you know who I think of is I think of Andy Stanley has a thing a called guardrails. That’s what it seems to me, what you’re describing as you put these guard rails around your Amazon account and your buying criteria and then you actually put the real guardrails around it for us where we could actually say, this fits my criteria because your criteria isn’t just rank where it isn’t just price. Right. It isn’t just ROI because you might not be able to sell it. Although all the things you’re describing, you’re protecting

Greg:                                     38:36                     me and I think guard rails is a good description for it. Does that make sense? It goes and actually it does all those things you mentioned as well by showing the rank and ROI and the profit and things like that. It actually has some other tools built into it as well. Um, but yes, [inaudible] the main thing is, and again, going back to the fact that I put out a list every day, a subscription, you know, Amazon back in 2016 or so really started cracking down and restricting a lot of things besides the back. Before that it was basically categories that were restricted, but then they kind of started opening up some of these categories, but they restricted the brands themselves or the ACEs within the brands, right? Sometimes the brand itself isn’t restrictive, but you can’t sell this ASEN because it’s, you know, it’s the new stock and let’s say, you know, a, um, Nike North thing or whatever, or Nike, whatever.

Greg:                                     39:27                     Yeah. You might not be able to sell this year’s lineup, but you can sell last years with no problem if you’re approved to sell that, you know, that, that line or whatever. But, um, so at that point then it got to be real confusing because people would say, I can sell Nike. They go by and then they go to list it and they can’t sell that that line. So, you know, we figured, again, we were building this for online arbitrage mostly, but if you’re looking at the Amazon page for the first time, it will tell you can you sell that product or not. And that’s the main thing. And the other thing was the fact that I was in the early beta testing for the hazmat sellers, they were able to send stuff into FBA. I’ve had that privilege for years, but now in the last year they started rolling that out to more and more people that were, now you can actually request to do it.

Greg:                                     40:10                     And so when, when you would look, I’ll say you’re not hazmat approving, you would look at a product, you know, if most of the tools that were out there, they may show you yes it’s hazmat. And they would say you can’t sell it. Well they would show me, yes it’s hazmat. No, you can sell it. I’d be like, yes I can cause I have approval to sell it. So all these restrictions checkers out there, we’re wrong. So I was, you know, again, my desire to create was also not just to bring them in because I wanted to stop the conflict between the extensions. There was some bad stuff out there too and I was trying to replace that and I will obviously I’m not going to name anything because there’s some great tools out there and I don’t want to leave the impression that I’m the only good tool.

Greg:                                     40:51                     There are some great tools on the market and maybe you don’t need this tool, but I built this first and foremost for myself and my team. Secondly, I built it because I knew there’s a lot of people out there like me that you know, one reliability and whatnot. So we released it and just this week, right? Well, no, this week is Monday. Now, just this past week on Thursday, we rolled out 2.0 now it doesn’t mean this is the only, the second change that we’ve made because we started off with 1.01 we got up to 1.8199999999999998 so we made 81 changes in the tool over the first year. 81 changes where we had to make a new release. And, but this is 2.0 and besides the fact that we added some major new, uh, functionality and features to the tool, we increased the speed. It’s on testosterone now. It is crazy. This tool is so fast when you open up the page, how fast it loads now. So we’ve made some great changes to it. And uh, uh, and you said this wasn’t gonna be a commercial. So again, [inaudible]

Stephen:                             42:01                     I just again, I think people have to understand is that, you know, you make the first decision. Can I sell it or can I not? Okay. Even before you look at whether it’s profitable, okay, so that’s decision one. Okay? Now let’s see if it’s profitable or not. Okay. Is two, is it the return? I’m looking for decision three and we start making decisions. You’re 20 decisions deep before you get done with that one product. And what if you forgot one? Oh, crack. I forgot. Yeah, I’m an old dude. I forget stuff. So then you forgot one of these things. A check. And how many times have you brought stuff back to your warehouse or brought things into your warehouse and they’re still there because you were going to do it. And then like you said, it was hazmat. That’s a good one. That’s an easy one where it wasn’t hazmat and now all of a sudden it is and it you didn’t know it. And so again, all those little decisions take time and you put humans in there, you’re going to possibly make a mistake. Um, and so to have a control about how much is this thing,

Greg:                                     42:53                     Oh, it’s a one 49 95 a year. You might,

Stephen:                             42:58                     it’s 150 bucks for the whole year. And um, does, do I get updates?

Greg:                                     43:05                     Oh yeah. Did I get 1.01 1.0 to 1.8? We didn’t, we didn’t charge any extra money to give 150 bucks. Okay.

Stephen:                             43:14                     For 150 bucks, uh, you’re talking about putting all these guard rails in place to help you make better buying decisions.

Greg:                                     43:20                     Well just think if the only work 150 days a year, most people work 200 days a year or two 50 or whatever. Um, you know, depends on how many weekends you take off and how many holidays you take. Probably work 200, 250 days a year or the average nine to five or would, and you know, if you worked 150 days a year, this would cost you a dollar a day to use. And if it keeps you from making one mistake, mistake and then, you know, that’s what we say, we help you make better buying decisions. Yeah, that’s one of our little tag lines and we actually have another fail safe. Um, we’ve actually made an integration with inventory lab and I know a lot of people use inventory lab now. This was not something that we got together with inventory lab to do. We just made it to where if you use our product and you use inventory lab, when you go to inventory lab, it will load up.

Greg:                                     44:09                     So that that last minute as you are, you know, you’ve looked at it, you said, I’m going to buy this product. You’ve ordered it, you had it shipped to you and now you’ve gotten in, you’re ready to send it into Amazon. You scan it in and Amazon’s made some sort of a change where you could sell it before and now you can, and I, they just restricted a brand this week that I’ve sold a lot of over the years and so as soon as they restricted it, I requested permission and they say, congratulations, you have approval. The very next day they took it away from me. So it does happen that when you scan it into inventory lab, if you’re using our product, it will tell you whether you, you can send it in or not. Now inventory lab will also tell you that, but inventory lab doesn’t tell you that until you’re actually clicking the send the stuff to Amazon. Then it’s like, whoops, you can’t send that product in. We tell you as soon as you scan it, after you patted boxes, after you sealed everything, then you’ve got to open up which box to do your bag, which is great. We’re going to tell you right away. So that’s just something else that we’ve added to the product. Is that that final check, if you’re using that inventory lab, which I use, that’s why we did it was I needed again from my [inaudible],

Stephen:                             45:15                     you’re solving your problem, you’re solving your problems. And that’s the advice. I mean, I think for anybody who’s looking to develop anything, solve your own problems, guess what? There are that stand Miller’s advice. When two or three people tell me about a problem. He said, Steve, I know there’s a business there because that means other people who aren’t speaking up have them same issues. Okay? So it’s 150 bucks. Um, and Greg was generous enough to give us a 30 day trial. So if you’re interested in this, if this connects with you, try it for 30 days, you don’t like it, cancel. All. Right? No. But there’s no, you’re not going to go back after him and say, Hey, you owe me the money. Right. I just wanna make sure that’s clear. Correct. Oh, that’s not the way it works. Okay. So it’s ACE in Zen, a, S, I, N,Z , E n.com, forward slash momentum.

Stephen:                             45:58                     And on that landing page, you’ll be able to click there and you don’t have to put a special code, but you’ll get a 30 day trial. Try it. If you don’t like it, cancel. All right? But if, if it helps you make a decision and you know how many anybody who can relate to this opening boxes back up to figure out what’s in which box, right? Or I gotta pull that product from there and, or you know, whatever it is, save that time. Do that once or twice and you’ll say, geez, that’s the best 150 bucks I’ve ever spent. Or like you say, hazmat, it wasn’t hazmat. And now all of a sudden they want an MSDS on it because they didn’t have one on file and you’re re, you know, blah, blah, blah. And it saves you from doing all that grief and then having stranded inventory and then paying to get it back.

Stephen:                             46:37                     Very, very expensive. So pretty cool. Um, again, you solved a problem, you, to be fair, let’s go back to the beginning of it. You created an audience, right? All these years you’ve been putting out tons of content on seller essential.com even, uh, how many conferences you even had your own conference, you all the different things have, matter of fact, I was just with somebody two weeks ago who said, Steve, I met you at Greg Purdy’s conference in Baltimore five years ago. I saw you speak and it’s funny. And I sat next to her with dinner, but, but back to this, you’ve done all that work and it’s not been easy to build that up and you earn that trust and then you put out a product and magically it sells. I think this is a pretty good plan for you, Greg. I think this, that marketing, that time in the truck, that learning those cassettes, you listened to had a fair G. well,

Greg:                                     47:27                     hi, I agree. I think it’s been good education. Uh, I love advertising and I love marketing. I love to see when it’s done well. I don’t always do it well. I follow some people that do it really well. Um, but I just, I just love that. I love trying to understand how to reach people at their point of need and provide that, that guidance, that assistance, that it’s free on it, but it’s not just, you’re not just pitching, you’re giving them real tangible product. That’s the, I’ve never, I’ve never done car sales. I sold a ton of cars cause I bought cars, you know, to reset it one at a time. Right. But you know, I’ve never gone into a dealership and said, Hey, let me sell cars. But I have studied people that sell cars. I buy stuff to learn how to sell cars because I can use that information somewhere else.

Greg:                                     48:16                     I’ve bought real estate programs, we’ll learn how to sell real estate cause I can use that information somewhere else. You know, it’s like I just love to learn how processes work and you know, it doesn’t matter what the industry is. You can extrapolate and use that somewhere else. Right? So it’s like, uh, I, I studied this one, Joe Gerardi, Joe Gerardo, Joe Gerard. I can’t remember what it is now, but it’s like the greatest car salesman of all time. And when people would come in to him, if you go to a car dealer today and you say, they say, can I help you? The, I was interested in a car. Okay. You know, rip out your, uh, your tax returns. Let me see how much money you make. You know, let’s, let’s get you preapproved. They’re all they care about is, can they get their money out of you.

Greg:                                     49:00                     When you go into this guy, Joe, you know, the first thing you would say, what’s your favorite color? You know, tell me about your family. He was trying to meet their needs. Solve the problem. It’s like, you want a blue car, then don’t go show the guy a red car. Well, that times it’s dealers. Now you go into this, I want the brand new blue Mustang. Well, we don’t have that, but here, check out this red one. Or they don’t care about you. They care about making that they want to sell. That one that’s been sitting on the floor that the manager’s pushing to get rid of as fast as they can. Absolutely. It’s all about them. So well, so it’s ACE in Zen, a, S I N Z E n.com. Forward slash momentum 30 day trial. Let Greg solve some of your problems. Try it.

Greg:                                     49:44                     Let them, let’s see if, if you get a real problem solved, send Greg a note to say that it solved my problem. I think that would be very helpful cause that makes 2.012 2.02 or 2.03, two point whatever the version is. As you continue to tweak it easier and it doesn’t get old because you realize that you actually are making a difference. Um, and, and I promise you we have a reputation for having the best support in the industry. We have, uh, I’ve seen you reply to people, people who sent you personal messages and I seen your reply, Oh that’s not even the, the, I know, but you actually like reply. Well I do, but we actually have support dot [inaudible] dot com where we have people, I hate, I had stayed say 24 hour support because it’s not always going to be 24 hour, but for the most part, if you go

Stephen:                             50:28                     to support dot [inaudible] dot com and open a ticket, there’s somebody right there to chat with you. That’s actually someone that works in the backend of this tool so they know what it is, not just not just, Oh, let me write down your message and I’ll get somebody to reply to, you know, somebody or team. I actually have a support team that built the tool for me. So barrier people actually can get into the back end and look if there’s an issue and actually open it up and see what the problem is. We definitely have the best support in the industry. All right, I’m going to have all the links there and then I’m gonna also put Greg’s Facebook link and ask them a question. I mean, you know, you don’t have to buy through our link. Um, and yes, of course I benefit if you do, but if you don’t, I’m okay with it.

Stephen:                             51:05                     I’d rather you again find the satisfaction talking with him and make sure it’s going to solve your problem, but get the 30 day trial if you can. I mean some pretty awesome Craig. Uh, I can’t believe it’s been three years. It’s not going to be three years between our next conversation. I’m blown away. I love again how all this has led you here. You are absolutely led to this point and you’re supposed to be right where you are. Very, very cool. Thank you so much. I appreciate your friendship Steven. And we do talk more than every third year personally, you know, and we run into each other, whatnot. So I love you. I appreciate your friendship and wish you the best peace in your life. Take care. What a great guy. And then he’s a real guy even though, so if you go to a conference, you get a chance to spend some time with them.

Stephen:                             51:47                     Please do. Because I’m, your life will be better off for it. I know mine has. I mean, we’ve been friends now almost five years and um, he’s quite honestly one of the reasons I started this podcast. Uh, the name of the podcast came from his momentum conference and, um, um, somebody recognized I might be a decent interview or a decent speaker and I would have never done it with, uh, actually for him and Andy, um, slam it. So anyway, I’m just a great guy. Um, I, I seriously would reach out to him if you have questions you need help, he’ll help you in any way you can and check out that tool if the tool is valuable to you, try it. So it’s ACE in Zen, a, S, I N, Z E n.com. Forward slash. Momentum. Try the 30 days, cancel it 29. If it’s not adding value, you’ve got to make one purchase and boom, you say, did I make 150 bucks? I did worth it. E-commerce, momentum.com, e-commerce, momentum.com. Take care.

Cool voice guy:                  52:41                     Thanks for listening to the e-commerce momentum podcast. All the links mentioned today can be found at [inaudible] commerce, momentum.com. Under this episode number, please remember to subscribe and like us on iTunes.

 

Stephen-Peterson

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