World of Speakers E.81: Dan Gingiss | Creating memorable customer experience


Average: 5 (1 vote)

World of Speakers E.81: Dan Gingiss

Ryan Foland speaks with Dan Gingiss, customer experience speaker, coach, and social media expert. Over the years Dan has helped multiple businesses create experiences that have benefited their customers. 

In this episode of our series, Ryan and Dan talk about the best ways to deliver customer service, and how it's a good idea to put yourself in your customers’ shoes when making integral business decisions. 

One of the key messages in this interview is that businesses should use customer feedback and the insights they gain from customer interactions on social media to create a memorable experience for their customers. 

Tune in for an interview full of ideas and advice on how to gain lifelong loyal customers for your business. 

Listen to the interview on iTunes or Soundcloud.

Subscribe to World of Speakers on iTunes or Soundcloud.


Dan Gingiss: Hey everyone, this is Dan Gingiss.

Grab your apron, grab the pizza dough and grab some sauce because we're going to be making pizzas together and creating remarkable experiences.

Ryan Foland: Ahoy everybody, we are back. I do have my water bottle, for the record, and I also have a guest. 

His name is Dan Gingiss. It is two hard Gs on the last name, Gingiss. 

This guy, he is known as The Experience Maker and he helps people become experience makers. 

We are going to have an experience today. 

Dan, welcome to the show.

Dan Gingiss: Hey, what's going on, Ryan? Happy to be here. 

We've been talking about doing this for a while, so super excited to talk with you. 

Ryan Foland: Okay, so can you share a story, a standalone story from your past that in its entirety represents who you are?

Dan Gingiss: Wow, that's a great question. 

Yes, I will share a story from high school, actually. 

My favorite job in high school, growing up, was delivering pizzas for Domino's.

I used to say that they paid me to sit in my car and listen to the Cubs’ games and occasionally get out and give someone a pizza. 

I made a lot of money doing it, and it was great. 

But I did have the experience of delivering a Domino's pizza to maybe the most famous person, famous living person, in Chicago, and that was the one and only Michael Jordan. 

Michael actually does order from Domino's, and his pizza of choice is pepperoni and sausage. 

I got to, actually that day, I talked to him on the phone, he called to order his own pizza.

I took the order, I made the pizza, and I delivered the pizza. 

He answered the door, and it was really interesting because the first thing I noticed was he was looking over my head, I guess he's a lot taller than I am, but he was looking behind me really. What I was guessing was just sort of to make sure that there were no onlookers or fans or whatever. 

I had been told by the other drivers that you could ask him for an autograph if you wanted and he would oblige, but then he wouldn't give you a tip. 

And if you didn't ask for an autograph he was obviously a very good tipper. 

My immediate reaction was like, 

“The guy is ordering a pizza, this is the worst time to ask somebody for an autograph.” 

I just felt so slimy doing it, and so I just treated him like any other customer. I got a fantastic tip. It was like an $11 pizza and I think he gave me $20 or something like that. 

But the reason why I think it's kind of reflective of who I am today is that a lot of what I talk about, in terms of customer experience, and a subset, which is customer service, is really trying to put yourself in the shoes of the customer. 

So many companies don't do that, they don't think about like, 

"What's it like to be a customer of our brand?" 

I tried to put myself in his very large shoes just for a moment and kind of consider that like, 

"Look, you know what, if I'm ordering a pizza I just want that to be a normal experience. It's like the one time I don't want somebody to ask me for an autograph." 

And so I felt good doing that. Plus as a high schooler, I was excited about the big tip and the fact that I could tell everyone that I delivered a pizza to Michael Jordan.

Ryan Foland: Interesting. 

That is a unique story and there's just that moment where the world stops and you have to make that core decision to either be selfish or be altruistic, sort of be empathetic. But if you think about customer experience, you have two sides that are both selfish, right? 

The customer selfishly wants the best service possible and the person on the other end of the business selfishly wants the most amount of business, the most amount of tip, the most amount of all these things from their experience.

You're maybe a kid in the car listening to the Cubs, but you try to maximize your utility. 

So it's interesting to see those two battle royales. I'm just thinking of like a basketball player dribbling a downer or ducking over something — I'm not the biggest basketball fan. 

Dan Gingiss: You're really mixing metaphors here. 

Ryan Foland: A slap shot, is that it?

Dan Gingiss: Not a home run either, Ryan.

Ryan Foland: Now, the real question is what kind of pizza is your pizza? If you had to choose.

Dan Gingiss: Oh well, of course, I'm from Chicago so I'm a big Chicago Deep Dish fan and I particularly like Gino's East which has kind of a cornmeal crust. 

And they make something that is hard to find anywhere else in the country, the sausage instead of being like crumbled or the little sausage balls that you're used to seeing, it's actually a patty that covers the entire surface of the pizza. 

And so literally every bite you get—

Ryan Foland: Are you serious? Like the big open face hamburger?

Dan Gingiss: Kind of like that, yes, on top of your pizza, it's amazing. 

Ryan Foland: Wow. 

So tell me about how you grew up. 

What was it like being Dan Gingiss? 

Were you a baseball player? 

Were you a basketball player? 

What was your life, your early life about?

Dan Gingiss: Well I loved baseball from a very young age. 

In Chicago, basically when you're born, the doctors slap you on the behind to make sure you're breathing, and then you have to declare at that moment whether you're a Cubs or White Sox fan. 

And then you have to live with that declaration your whole life. 

So I was a long-suffering Cubs fan for my whole life until 2016 when they finally won it all. 

But it's really been part of my identity for my life, and most of the time when I'm not on stage I'm wearing some sort of Cubs paraphernalia. 

But growing up, I mean, I always try to find, I was in a number of different leadership positions, I was always trying to kind of explore new things and figure out what was my thing. 

Even in college I was a communications in psychology double major, and I picked those majors basically just because I liked the subject matter. I didn't really know what I was going to do with them. I was pretty sure I was going to become a psychologist. 

And ironically enough, it turns out that psychology communication is pretty much what marketers do every day. 

It turned into marketing was a really good path for me. but I didn't know it at the time. 

And so today I still like to learn new things and meet new people and try to expand my mind on stuff. 

Our experience is really a collection of everything that we've done and the people we've been with and all that in our lives, and so I still kind of think that way today.

Ryan Foland: Do you think that being a declared fan that early, and that being such a big part of the culture where you grew up, and probably in your family, that that is sort of the roots of your customer experience obsession?

Dan Gingiss: Well I will say that being a Cubs fan for many, many years was just not like being any other fan.

I mean you were literally rooting for the losingest team in major league sports, that held the record for the longest time between championships, we all know — 108 years. 

But I do think that there's something to that in terms of different aspects of people's personalities, right. 

You've got to be awfully loyal to that, right. 

Either that or you're dumb. I didn't think I was dumb. 

So you have to have — there's a certain level of loyalty that you meet another Cubs fan and you know that loyal is one of the things that they are. 

Patience, for example, is another one. 

And a good, decent sense of humor.

And so I do think that it kind of colored who I am. 

And it's funny because there's a lot been written about Cubs fans, now, after they've won, that has been lost. 

And much like what happened in Boston when the Red Sox won, there were people for 3 generations, families for 3 generations that never saw a championship, and people went out to graveyards to celebrate with their long-deceased loved ones after the Cubs won because it was something that they shared as a family for decades.

Ryan Foland: Wow, you just gave me the goosebumps. Like I just got the full, not even arm, but full-scale goosebumps, like that deep.

Dan Gingiss: It's true, yeah, that's how deep it runs. 

I think that it's great too. It's why I've always said that I always appreciate somebody who's a die-hard fan of really any team, even the teams I despise, because it takes a lot to be a die-hard fan. You’ve got the ups and the downs, and it becomes a part of your life and a part of who you are. 

And I respect that of people. 

Ryan Foland: And as a business, really, you are trying to gain that level of loyalty to where, through the ups and downs, your customers are going to stay fans. Businesses don't always win the championship, since sometimes there are years at a time, maybe even decades, where things could go a little bit better from that experience standpoint.

Dan Gingiss: That's absolutely right. 

And you said earlier on — I want to come back to it because you are talking about the dichotomy of the customer being selfish, in your words, about wanting a great experience — and the company may be being selfish about wanting to make a profit. 

I do think that these things go hand in hand, and I think that today's customer is not selfish in wanting a great experience, it's just that customer expectations have risen. 

I actually attribute that to the birth of social media and giving customers a public voice for the first time. 

I like to say that social is the first and only marketing channel where people can talk back to you, and that's why I got so fascinated about it, it was because it was the first time we had a direct line to talk with customers. 

It was the first time that customers had a voice, and what they said with that voice is, we demand a better experience. 

The flip side of that is there's been tons of research that has been done that has found that the companies with the best customer experience are also the most profitable and are performing the best. 

There's a great longitudinal study that was done by Watermark Consulting over 11 years that looked at the stock prices of the public companies on Forrester’s customer experience list, and they looked at the leaders in the Customer Experience Index and the laggards, and what they found was that the leaders crushed the market over 11 years, and the laggards fell way behind. 

When you look at the leaders versus the laggards it's like 3X the return. 

So when people ask if there is a ROI to customer experience, the answer is absolutely yes, because when you create loyal fans, what I like to say is you plug the leaky bucket — and you drew a great cartoon for me of me in my leaky bucket. 

And you stop people from running out the back door, and that actually reduces the emphasis on having to bring so many people in the front door, right? 

We're all so focused on selling, selling, selling, and yet we've got this whole exodus out the back door that so many companies are forgetting about.

Ryan Foland: Okay, so let's make the direct correlation between the speaker who is the leader or the speaker who is the laggard, and those who are coming in through  the auditorium door or the Conference Center door. 

Do you see a pretty parallel relationship between the customer experience from business to their customer in respect of the speaker to their audience?

Dan Gingiss: Absolutely, and one of the things that I try to do personally, because I'm up there on stage teaching people how to create remarkable experiences for their customers, I try intentionally to create a remarkable experience for the audience. 

I want them to subtly see that I'm practising what I'm preaching. 

I don't say that I'm doing it, and I know you have been kind enough to be in the audience a couple of times while I've been speaking.

Ryan Foland: Multiple times, yeah. 

Dan Gingiss: There's a part of my keynote where I'll break into song, and that is because it's just unexpected, and it's meant to be memorable and create an experience for people so that when they go to a conference and they've heard 10 speakers, I'm the guy that they remember breaking into song.

I think that that concept, it can work for lots and lots and lots of companies that are really not spending enough time finding that nugget to create an experience that is remarkable.

Ryan Foland: Awesome, you sing, I rap, and we both get the audience to be like, "What?"

Dan Gingiss: Exactly, exactly, you're a fantastic ginger rapper. 

The other part of it though is there's a third leg to the stool, and it is the conference organizer, right, or the event organizer. 

And the thing that I try to do there to stand out. Now all of your listeners are going to steal this but it's okay. There are a lot of speakers, especially, frankly, speakers that have been around for a while and they're in really high demand, that will fly in, do a speech, and leave as quickly as possible. 

They're like on the ground for two hours so they can leave and go to another speech. 

And I always make it a point to commit to at least the entire day, and sometimes the entire conference, depending on how long it is and what my schedule is. 

And then while I'm there I always make sure that I'm live-tweeting, that I'm networking. If they want to do a book signing I'm happy to do that.

I will shoot videos, basically do PR for the conference, whatever it is that they want. I want them to feel that by hiring me for a speech they kind of get all of me, and I'm all in for the whole day. 

And again, I'm trying to do that to differentiate, and it's not that all speakers are like the ones that come in and leave immediately, but there's enough of them, and these event planners have seen them, that I found they really appreciate when you say, 

"While I am there how can I help you? How can I make this event a success for you?" 

I think that is sometimes surprising to them, and I've gotten great reactions.

Ryan Foland: Okay, so here's what I want to do.

I want to transition into what is on this pizza? 

And I want to talk about the specifics, like the tactics when it comes to speaking, what you're doing on stage. 

I want you to save some of the special sauces for the pizza, for the building your business concept. 

Dan Gingiss: Sure.

Ryan Foland: But if we were going to deliver a pizza that represents all of the toppings to make an awesome speech, talking through that, what kind of crust are we baking it to, what are we using for the dough?

What are we doing in that process? 

Let's break it down, let's talk pizza speaking, speaker-pizza?

Dan Gingiss: Sure, and I mean I would say that, again, the first thing that I try to do is put myself in the shoes of the customer, which in this particular case is the audience. 

And I think about, "Well, what do I like when I see somebody on stage, and what don't I like?" 

And I've tried to adjust my performance to kind of be what I'd like to see, frankly. 

And so here's something that I'm pretty sure nobody likes. Nobody likes long slides with tons of numbers or tons of words that you have to squint at to read. 

So most of my slides have no words at all, they just have a picture. 

And that's great for a couple of reasons. It's great for the audience because you can be sitting in the back row and see exactly what's on the slide, not have to squint, and not have to comprehend it. 

But it's also great for me as a speaker because I just need that picture, that's my mnemonic device. I look at the picture and I'm like, 

"Oh I'm going to tell the story about Chewy now," or, 

"Oh I'm going to tell a story about Amazon now," or whatever it is that I'm talking about. 

I don't have to be scripted, which is something else that audiences don't like, you can tell when a speaker is scripted. 

You can tell when the speaker has given the same speech 100 times, they know exactly where all the joke lines are, etc. 

It doesn't feel genuine because you're hearing it for the first time. 

I intentionally build my slides to be really consumable for the audience but also it sets me up so that every speech is different. 

And I would say related to that, and I'm a foodie and I love trying different things, so I rarely order the same kind of pizza. 

I like to try different toppings. 

And just the same, whereas most of my speech are examples, short little case studies, I will always switch out the examples that I share so that no two presentations are the same. 

I do that for a few reasons. 

One is, again, as a consumer I've seen speakers get on stage more than once and give the exact same speech. 

As a consumer it's exciting the first time, but the second time it's like a rerun, right? 

So I try to make sure that I'm always sharing different examples. 

But the other thing, again, for me that it does is, I watch very closely with the audience to see what their reaction is to my new examples, and I continuously massage the presentation and bring in the examples that I know get the best audience response. 

I've also been known to specifically ask people about that, and we can talk about that in the next segment, but that feedback is really important to me. 

I can tell when an audience is with me on a story and wants to hear the end of the story and I can tell when I'm telling a story and people are less interested. 

I can tell you, usually, that's the last time I tell that story.

Ryan Foland: Okay, so let me catch up here. 

From what I'm understanding, the Dan Gingiss' special pizza is a special custom order for conferences that you speak at. The dough is made up of slides that have pictures that are ground up into a fine powder.

Dan Gingiss: Yummy. 

Ryan Foland: Now this dough makes it so that it's easily identifiable, so it's a dough that everybody cannot die from by death by PowerPoint. 

Then because you talked about not having a scripted speech, I'm thinking you're using organic sauce. So the pizza sauce on top of the dough of slides is going to be organic.

Dan Gingiss: It's not mass-produced either, yeah.

Ryan Foland: Not mass-produced, it's organic, it's fresh, it is farm to stage.

Dan Gingiss: I love it.

Ryan Foland: All right. 

And then, here we go, you talked about the variety. 

Now, when you were at Domino's, did anybody get crazy and order a half and half, totally separate? 

I'm assuming yes, right?

Dan Gingiss: Of course.

Ryan Foland: Did anybody get really crazy and/or difference on different quadrants, the different 4 quadrants?

Dan Gingiss: I don't remember that, and it's obviously a little challenging to do. 

But I will tell you the craziest pizza — and this guy, unfortunately, did this a lot — is, there was a guy that ordered a small triple anchovy.

The problem with this pizza is none of the drivers wanted to take it because it stunk up the car like you literally had to drive with the windows down in the middle of winter or your car was going to smell like fish for the next 2 weeks. 

Ryan Foland: It's like the fish version of your big meat patty, right?

Dan Gingiss: Exactly. 

But my point in all that is that, look, it takes all kinds, and everybody likes something different. 

I do think if we're staying with this very long-drawn-out metaphor, I would say that I try to provide a wide variety of toppings so that I don't expect that everybody enjoys every example I give.

I probably give 12 to 15 examples in a typical keynote, but the idea is there's something in it for everybody and if everybody walks out of the speech with one or two toppings that they really enjoyed and want to have again, then I think I've done my job. 

Ryan Foland: A slice of pizza for everyone, potentially, with different toppings. 

You know when you look at a pizza and you have your choice and you're like, 

"I'm going to get this one right here because I see it's got a little tomato, oh it looks like it's got a fourth of the olive that I want, a little bit more cheese on this."

So you're delivering up these little slices of pizza based on having a variety of toppings.

But also you said something which is interesting because you're in real-time feedbacking on what they're selecting and how they're eating it, so it makes me think just like the delivery to Michael Jordan, you'd be like, 

"All right Mike, do you mind if I come in and watch you eat the pizza? I just want to make sure you're having a good time with it," right? 

And you watch Mike and he eats a piece, and maybe his face scrunches a little bit, and you are like, 

"Oh hold on, I'll be right back." 

You go to the car, you get an extra slice or something, you are like, "How about this one?" 

So it's almost like you're there watching them eat in this real-time feedback on stage.

Dan Gingiss: Thank you, Ryan, for making me sound really creepy. 

Ryan Foland: But you know, I mean it's like, it's a pizza party, you're there, you're more than just a delivery man, you're delivering the experience. 

The experience delivery maker pizza guru.

Dan Gingiss: I love it, I should trademark that immediately.

Ryan Foland: Yeah I can see a logo and everything. 

So you have this pizza that's served, you have variety, it's organic, you're using images and pictures on your slides. 

One of the things I'm interested in helping to share with people is pulling out of you how you prepare.

We now know the ingredients, but how do you cook this pizza? We know that you show up and you're there to serve, but do you have any weird rituals before you speak that work for you that somebody else might be like, "I want to try that?"

Dan Gingiss: Well interestingly enough I'm going to tell you a little side story that I think will answer this question. 

So when I worked for Discover, and I was there for almost 10 years, I had one opportunity to speak in front of the entire company. 

And this was about 3000 people in a room and about 10,000 people on the phone. 

So this is a big deal. 

Yeah, it is a big deal. 

I had 5 minutes on the agenda. 

It's like a 90-minute, all-employee meeting and I got 5 minutes. 

I'm sitting next to this guy in the front row who is 3 levels my senior, and he has 5 minutes. 

And I'm just sitting chilling out in the seat, kind of waiting my turn, and he is sweating bullets. 

I mean, he literally has a note card, I'm not making this up, he has a note card and he is taking notes on top of his notes. He's like making notes on his notes, right. 

And he's fidgeting, and I turned to him and I knew who he was and he knew who I was, but I turned to him and I said, 

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are our company's foremost expert on this topic, right?" 

And he said, "Yes." 

And I said, "Ok, just go up there and talk about what you know.”

”Because, first of all the audience doesn't know what you don't know and they're not going to know what you skip. Just go up there and talk, and just tell us what you know." 

And he did, and he did a great job, and then I went up there and I think I did a great job too if I do say so myself. 

But the point in telling you this story is, I do think that all speakers are different, they prepare differently, and I do think there are 2 types of people: There are people that get really nervous before they have to speak or talk to an executive or go on stage, and there are people that don't. 

And I just happen to be sort of blessed with that gene where I don't even get butterflies, if anything, I get pumped up. 

But the other thing is that I find, I always remember that guy with taking the notes on the notes because what I have found, and this just works for Dan, I'm not saying, I'm not advising this for everybody, but to me the more times I rehearse a speech the worse it gets. 

Because the more times I rehearse the more I'm telling my brain, "Oh don't forget to tell this joke," or, "Don't forget this punchline," and then I'm up there on stage trying to remember 100 things. 

And not only is it not as authentic, but I'm more nervous because I'm like, "Oh if I forget the punchline it's all going to be ruined." 

And I have to give myself the advice I gave to this guy, which is, no one's going to know if you forget the punchline because they never knew it was in the script to begin with. 

And so as long as I've built the deck, I will look at it one time before I go onstage, usually the night before, and then I trust myself and I trust that I've put together a good presentation. 

And again, I look at the pictures that come up on the conference monitor and I'm like, "Oh it's time to tell the story about Chewy." 

And I've told a story about Chewy 15, 18, 25 times but I always tell it a little bit differently, and it's okay if I don't use the same words or if I forget a little part of the story, because to everyone in the audience it's the first time they're hearing the story.

So I don't know if that helps, but I definitely think that for some people you've got to practice, practice, practice to get good, and for others, again, for me, practicing too much makes me worse.

Ryan Foland: Okay, so I have a title for the next book it's called "The Presentation Pizzeria" and it's delivering some sort of experience. 

You just were talking, I'm like, "This is the presentation pizza."

Dan Gingiss: It's great.

Ryan Foland: And you think about like you cook the pizza and then you eat the pizza. 

Don't dissect the pizza, this isn't a leftover pizza, this is get them while they’re hot. I love this, this is great. 

Dan Gingiss: By the way, I think we should do your audience a favor here, just in terms, in the name of the customer experience. 

And I think we should pause for a minute, Ryan. Just let people hit the pause button because I know they're all as hungry as I am right now. 

So if you need to go and heat up the pizza, we'll be here when you get back. So we'll just wait for a minute, go ahead and hit pause. 

Ryan Foland: Okay, ready, and yeah, oh gosh, pizza sounds good. 

My dad likes anchovies, but I still don't like anchovies.

Dan Gingiss: Mine does too, but yeah, that's not for me. 

Ryan Foland: All right, well ladies and gentlemen, welcome back and we are here with Dan Gingiss. I hope you had an awesome pizza, and hopefully it was Domino's. Shout out to Domino's. Maybe that will get us an extra, maybe we should have a tweet challenge. 

What is some sort of a tweet challenge is that a pizza presentation challenge or a pizza challenge or something?

Dan Gingiss: I would like people to tweet at you and me with their best pizza experience. 

I'd love to know what brands gave you a great experience and why.

Ryan Foland: Okay, do that and then we will definitely reply. 

There's a good chance we're going to follow back, and then now we will be connected with fellow pizza-eers around the nation, or the world.

Dan Gingiss: I love it.

Ryan Foland: All right, because we are The World of Speakers here. 

And just as a little side note, SpeakerHub is the magical company that helps to make this happen, and it's an amazing place to have a speaker profile.

I love it, but I'm also sponsored by them so I've been made to love them and I do appreciate them. 

Have you played with the SpeakerHub platform at all?

Dan Gingiss: I have, yes. I'm on it frequently, and I find it really easy to use, and I like that there are lots of events published there so that you could kind of—

Ryan Foland: The call for speakers is cool. 

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, that helps a lot.

Ryan Foland: It's like pizzas for the order. 

Okay, so we're transitioning into the building your speaking business part of this, right. 

Now let's talk about how you're going to build a pizza company. This is how you're going to hire people to put them in place, and how you're going to grow this Domino's empire of speaking. 

Maybe you're the Domino’s of speaking, who knows. 

But what are some of the business elements behind the cooking?

Dan Gingiss: Well, one thing I should preface this with, Ryan, is to say that I've only been a professional speaker since 2019. 

I've been speaking for 5 or 6 years but I worked in corporate America for a long time and was generally speaking on behalf of the brands that I was working for. 

So I had a lot of stage experience, but this is actually the first year that I've been working on building my own business. 

And so I come at it now from the perspective of having marketed lots of different brands and understanding how business works, but really as a first-time entrepreneur, I would say. 

And so I try to take what I preach to audiences and to my consulting clients and try to do the same thing. 

So for example, I really try to put out a lot of free and valuable content, and I think that anybody that follows me knows that I write a lot for Forbes. I host my own podcast, I'm always putting content out there. 

And the idea is to create value, and I think a lot of speakers do that. Some don't, some don't have to, but I've always felt like the idea is you create lots of value for people, and then ultimately they start to see you as somebody that they can depend on or that they may need for something. 

And so, much like I try to create value for that event planner by giving them the whole day instead of just the 45-minute keynote, I also with the larger audiences really try to create a lot of really good content. 

I've expanded upon them recently which I think has been kind of an interesting journey to kind of see how this lands, and you saw me do this, we were both at Inbound earlier this year, great conference, and Ryan crushed it on stage as usual as well. 

And it was a lot of fun. 

And I happened to, I just wanted to experiment with something. 

And so I ended up handing out these cards that asked people for feedback on my presentation and in somewhat of a different way then the conferences or the events tend to ask for feedback. It wasn't a survey, I literally just asked people to tell me what they thought in their own words. 

And what I'm trying to do here is two things, I'm trying to establish a relationship with people one-on-one, but as I was mentioning, also I'm trying to get feedback on the examples that I share and what resonates with people. 

And so when I see literally half the people giving me feedback, mentioning Chewie, I know that's an awesome example and I should keep using it. 

When I notice a couple of examples in a presentation that not one person pointed out, I got to go back and look at that and maybe think that that's one that is replaceable. 

But what I did in order to get people to give me feedback on this card was I offered to send them the slides for my presentation, which is a very common request and sometimes events do it and sometimes they don't, and so I wanted to make sure people knew that they could get it. 

And I also invited them to an exclusive follow up webinar. 

And the webinar was meant to kind of dig deeper into the model that I presented on stage. Because 45 minutes goes by fast, especially if you're listening to an engaging speaker and you get sort of the surface level but you don't really get the deeper stuff. 

So I wanted to be able to offer people something a little bit deeper. 

And again, there was no charge for the webinar, and this was meant to kind of continue the relationship. 

However, at the end of the webinar, I did it for the very first time with this audience: present them with something that I'm selling. 

And again, I'm a marketer not a salesperson, and I believe that sales and marketing are kind of distant cousins. They're related but they're very different, but I presented to people and said, 

"Hey, I am establishing this new virtual course in a mastermind that's called ‘The Experience Maker’ and the idea is to become certified as an experience maker at your company so that you can take what you've learned from me and actually implement it."

And the reason why I built it as a virtual course and a mastermind is that I got feedback from people that said, 

"Look, I love your ideas, I love the examples, I'm inspired by them, I'm just not entirely sure how to go do this at my company and how to implement it, where do I start." 

And so I created a course to help people through that where I can hold their hands as they go through it, having been in their shoes as a marketing person at three Fortune 300 companies, at a couple of B2Bs. 

So I have this experience that I can bring in and say, 

"Look, I know what you're going through right now. I know that you're worried about what Legal is going to say or what your boss is going to say, etc. " 

And I think that's one of the best ways that I can help people. 

But the point is it's the first time in the experience that I am saying to them, "Okay, look, I've given you all of this great information, and now is the time where, if you really want to come aboard with me, that we've got to establish some sort of business relationship, because I’ve got to feed my kids, they like to eat dinner every night."

Ryan Foland: So my question for you is twofold: One, it sounds like it was a success, and so if you can give me a certain breakdown of percentages, because I'm not worried about the numbers but just from a conceptual standpoint, because I think a lot of speakers have this text, this number, have the survey, but maybe they're afraid to try it or they haven't done it. 

So from a percentage standpoint, what's the percentage of people that filled out the survey, what's the percentage of people that sort of got to the next step, and then what's the percentage of those who are now enrolled in this program? 

Just to kind of understand what that looks like.

Dan Gingiss: Yeah, it's a great question, and I think any marketer would know that you cannot expect 100 percent or even close to it, so I was pleased with how it's gone so far. 

I would say that I got it somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 or 25 percent of people to fill out the card, which because it was a big audience, was almost 250 people that sent me feedback, which was amazing. 

And I made sure to send an email back to every one of them individually, not a form email, but actually Dan responding, thanking them for their feedback, giving them a comment on their feedback, etc. 

Of those 250 people, about half of them signed up for the webinar. 

And again, this is a free webinar that I'm giving to people, really as a thank you for giving me the feedback, and I thought half was pretty good. 

I kind of wonder where's the other half, in terms of hey they took the time to give me feedback. The vast majority of the feedback was super-flattering and positive so they must have liked me, but they're not interested in a follow-up webinar?

And it could just be that some people don't like webinars. I mean that's fine, it's like not everybody listens to podcasts, and that's why we try to share our podcasts in different channels, or we shoot some accompanying video, or we go to social, because not everyone listens to podcasts. 

So I knew from experience doing webinars in business that you generally expect about half the people that register to actually come to the webinar live, and I almost nailed that perfectly, it was about half of those people that came live. 

It is available on-demand afterward so it'll be interesting to see over time whether that number creeps up. 

And honestly, I don't have the last answer for you because this webinar, Ryan, literally happened like less than 48 hours ago, for the first time. 

So I am eagerly waiting to see how many people are then interested in the course, and obviously I'll keep taking 50 percent. If we keep cutting it in half every time, I'll still take that because 30 people signing up for the course, or somewhere around there would be amazing. 

But we'll see at the end of that. 

And I think what I learned from it is, it’s really about the long tail of the relationship. It's a lot of involvement that I've now had with these people. As you know, Inbound was now at this point several months ago, I've stayed in touch with these people, I've continued to send them useful content, we're connected on social, etc., and it's a long haul, and I think that's the part that I'm learning. 

And also what I want to understand is how many people out there see a speaker and are inspired enough not just to go back to work and do something differently, which frankly is a reward in and of itself, but inspired to want to do more business with them. 

And again, when I was in corporate America, on at least two occasions I brought a speaker in, a keynote speaker that I saw on stage and I thought was so amazing, and I know because I've been there, it's really hard to go back to work and be like,

"Oh I've got to tell you about this amazing speaker," because no one cares. 

They're just jealous that they didn't get to go to a conference and you're coming back saying, 

"Oh I saw this great guy Ryan Foland and he's so funny, and he rapped, and he did all this great stuff, so we’ve got to ditch the act," and people are like, "What are you talking about?" 

And so one of the things that I did, I did it twice, was, I brought the speaker to the business and paid them. They made a nice fee out of it but I was like, 

"Don't take my word for it, just listen to this guy. You're going to be as inspired as I am," and it worked. 

And so I'm kind of anxious to see whether guys like you and I can recreate that and have people say, 

"Look it's not just that I watched Ryan and he was amazing on stage, it's that we need to bring him to our office so that everybody can see him." 

Because if I'm telling somebody about "Ditching the Act", Ryan, it's not as good as when you're telling them about it, by definition. 

Even though I might be effusive in my praise of you, it's just not going to be as good as hearing it from you. 

And I don't rap either so I can't do that. 

Ryan Foland: Well, you sing, your showtime tune that you do. 

So what's interesting is that I am always inspired by other speakers trying to do different things. 

And we had an opportunity to go to lunch. We were there with Jeff Butler as well as Mary Drummond, and then I was there and we were talking about what we do, we are actually having this conversation over lunch and inspired by your concept of your well prepared printed cards that I decided to throw into my presentation just a short link for people to go to get the slides. 

And then I had a survey that I’d just made on Google Docs, I had a certain percentage that essentially wanted more information. And as a result of that I didn't have a webinar, but I have a book that I essentially send to people who answer the question that they'd be willing to have me speak at their company or make an intro, and that has led to a conversation yesterday with somebody at LinkedIn to basically do a book talk about "Ditch The Act" at LinkedIn San Francisco with all of their 5 offices on it. 

So it can and does work, but I was close to not doing that if I didn't have that lunch and didn't really think that through. 

So I would encourage people that Dan is better than perfect when you're trying to come up with this "what do I do from the stage". 

And the one thing I want to say that I really appreciate about the way you did it, and I don't think I did as well, is that you made it so natural, like you weren't selling from the stage. 

If I remember correctly you were like, "Look, I like to practice what I preach, and essentially I want to know how this experience was for you?" 

And it didn't feel like it was a sale, and that, I think, was really cool. 

I don't know how that would integrate with me because it's different for each speaker and your topic leans to customer service, but that was a really nice way you tied it in to, like,

 "You do it if you want to or not, but I want to know."

Dan Gingiss: Well, and thank you, and yeah, it does tie into what I'm talking about, but also I'm never going to sell from the stage, because again, as an audience member, I hate when people do that. 

But I wasn't selling, even when I was asking for the feedback, because number one, I genuinely wanted to hear the feedback, and number two, what I'm offering people for giving me the feedback is free, right? 

Now obviously, down the funnel at some point I'm trying to sell them on something, which in this case is a course, but I would never do that from the stage. 

And what I want to do is continue to show them value and provide free value for them so that they kind of stay with me. 

I mean one of the things that I've learned is you can't — I hear a lot of speakers saying that the best way to get more speeches, the best way to grow your business is to be on stage — I would say that that is only partially true. You cannot go with the strategy of, "If I build it, they will come," right? 

"If I just go on stage they'll all love me and follow me and continue to eventually buy from me."  I just don't think that works.

Because again, put yourself in the shoes of the audience member, we go to these conferences, we hear 10, 12, 15 speakers while we're there, some of them bore us to tears, some of them really excite us and inspire us. We go back to work, we're all ready to put all this stuff into action, and it's like, 

"Oh crap, nobody did my work for me when I was gone, and I have 700 emails." 

And we go right back into our work, and generally we never leverage what we learned at the conference. 

And that's the funny thing about it, is we invest all this money to send people to conferences, and so often it just all goes into the ether. 

And so I wanted to make sure that I could continue the relationship with people because I know that it's hard to go back to work and try to implement stuff that you heard from a speaker.

Ryan Foland: And I'm going to bring this full circle, watch how this happens. 

Dan Gingiss: Oh we're talking about pizza, I can tell. 

Ryan Foland: We are. 

We're going back to pizza because if you have a pizza at the conference and you have like 10, 15 different slices of pizzas from different speakers who are delivering their pizza to you as an audience, when you come back, the question is, what person are you going to call to deliver another pizza? 

And I think this is really it, like if you have a bad experience with the pizza delivery person with whether it's hot or not, it's so easy to not like things about the pizza, and so you don't order that pizza again. 

But there's something about the pizza that you make, and it is made with ground slides that only have pictures, it is made with organic pasta sauce, it is made with a quadrant of varieties, as well as the pizza boy not only has a red pepper but has extra anchovies just in case you need them. 

And you create a limited time offer. There's always these different specials that are going on. It is the same tried and true pizza, but it's always a little bit different, and you are there to join them with a pizza party, and if it's awkward and weird for you to sit there while they are eating then you just send them a survey, you figure it out and you continue to figure out how to deliver an experience because you are the pizza maker of experiences. 

Dan Gingiss: That was very, very lovely right there. 

Ryan Foland: Alright, well hey, this has been fun, and honestly I am going to go have pizza today, no matter what I do. I'm going to get pizza, and I will choose a piece of the pizza to your favorite baseball team.

Dan Gingiss: Better than that, Ryan, I want to see a selfie on Twitter of you eating your pizza.

Ryan Foland: Done. I will do that.

Dan Gingiss: Challenge accepted.

Ryan Foland: Challenge accepted. 

And don't forget, everybody who's listening about the pizza challenge, we want you to tweet us both up, I'm @RyanFoland and you're, I believe it's @DGingiss?

Dan Gingiss: DGingiss, yeah. 

Ryan Foland: Okay. 

It's funny when you start to build twitter relationships with people you actually get to know their handles and it's D-G-I-N-G-I-S-S, correct?

Dan Gingiss: That is correct.

Ryan Foland: All right, so @DGingiss, @RyanFoland, tweet us up with your best pizza experience, and then if you don't have that, then you can still participate in the pizza presentation tweet challenge by sharing the best pizza delivered by someone on stage. 

Ladies and gentlemen this has been another fun episode. 

Hopefully you are filled with food for thought and I know that if you get out there and just make pizzas and deliver them and think about what your audience wants, you will find more success as a speaker. 

It's not just about being on stage, it's about getting in the kitchen, cooking it for people, and having it ready to order. 

Oh, are we allowed to have this much fun?

Dan Gingiss: Absolutely. We can keep doing this for hours.

Ryan Foland: All right, well we will shut the show down and we'll continue to talk after this, but I really appreciate your friendship, your mentorship, everything that you've done as far as just having to pay for mentality and helping to answer some questions that I've had along the way. 

And it's because of people like you, the pizza makers, that we all get to eat at the table. 

So thanks again, Dan. 

Where do people go to find out more about this experience-maker program, or just to connect with you? Where do you want to point them?

Dan Gingiss: Well first of all, right back at you Ryan, because I've learned a lot from you, and it is always fun to engage with you. 

But I would love to see people on my website at, it's the easiest way to get me. 

As you mentioned, I'm very active on Twitter, not quite as active as you are because almost no one is as active as you are, but I try to keep up. 

And for more information on the new course, go to see, and I would love to talk to you more about it.

Ryan Foland: Rock ’n’ Roll. Speaking of experience, if you like the show, if you love it, leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to it. 

This is Ryan, that's Dan, we are going to go eat pizza. 

Adios everybody. 

Thanks, Dan.

A bit about World of Speakers

World of Speakers is a bi-weekly podcast that helps people find their own voice and teaches them how to use their voice to develop a speaking business. 

Connect with Dan Gingiss:

Did you enjoy the show? We’d love to know! Leave us a review on iTunes by following this link.

Listen to more interviews with expert speakers.


Average: 5 (1 vote)


See also:

  • World of Speakers E.109:  Tiffani Bova | The Experience Mindset
    World of Speakers podcasts

    World of Speakers E.109: Tiffani Bova | The Experience Mindset

  • World of Speakers E.108:  Chris Barton
    World of Speakers podcasts

    World of Speakers E.108: Chris Barton | The Disruptive Thinking and Speaking

  • World of Speakers E.107: Max Ringelheim | When Going Viral
    World of Speakers podcasts

    World of Speakers E.107: Max Ringelheim | When Going Viral