Tune in to Ralph Hess on 'The Personal Approach to Business', Startup Hustle Podcast.
What is the importance of having a well-balanced business and personal life? How does a personal approach in business help you succeed? What is more personal than asking AI?
Join Matt DeCoursey and Ralph Hess, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Navigator Business Solutions, for an interesting conversation about the personal approach to business. They share valuable lessons learned from approaching selling with a personal touch and empathy. Matt and Ralph also discuss how customer engagement, retention, and so much more are affected by having a unique, personal approach to business.
Matt DeCoursey 00:01
And we’re back! Back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey is here to have another conversation I’m hoping helps your business grow. Hey, let’s be all about business, business, business, business. So many people are like that. They kind of avoid, or don’t really think about, or embrace the personal approach to business, which is exactly what we’re going to talk about on today’s episode of Startup Hustle, which is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult. And Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and has the platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. If you’re not aware, that’s my company. We love talking to Startup Hustle listeners. So make sure to reach out, and you’ll find a link to FullScale.io in the show notes. With me today, I’ve got Ralph Hess; Ralph is the executive vice president of sales and marketing at Navigator Business Solutions. Straight out of Pleasant Grove, Utah, Ralph, welcome to Startup Hustle.
Ralph Hess 01:03
Hey, Matt. Good morning. Thanks so much for having me on. I’m really looking forward to this.
Matt DeCoursey 01:07
Yeah, well, let’s go ahead and get our conversation started with a little bit about your backstory.
Ralph Hess 01:12
Sure, absolutely. So although I occupied a big title here at Navigator, right, the executive vice president role. I’ve always taken a very personal approach to sales, marketing, and consulting around software. Face that software can be pretty dry, right. So throughout the course of my career, I’ve always tried to maintain good relations, establish and maintain good relationships, where you really position yourself as a trusted adviser. And it frankly makes a business a lot more interesting to work through.
Matt DeCoursey 01:45
You talk about the personal approach to business. I mean, what are a couple of things that when you think of that, you know, the personal approach? What I mean, where do we start there?
Ralph Hess 01:56
Yeah, when we’re talking to customers, my team, myself, and the way that I like to go to the market is really understanding that we’re never going to sell a customer software, right. We’re going to help them purchase the software. And, in that, then you need to put yourself in their shoes to personally understand their role in the organization. And really, what the influences are that are going to affect their decision-making process. So if you kind of put yourself there, where hey, you’re gonna have to spend the money right to evaluate what you were, what you’re going to buy. I think it puts you in a better stead, right. You’re starting to develop those relationships, and I have friends that I’ve sold software to 40, not 40 years ago, 30 years ago, that I still stay in touch with. So the personal touch, I think, is where you gain the best relationships. The best deals are done with personal relationships. And it’s just a very satisfying way to do business.
Matt DeCoursey 02:56
Yeah, we take that approach at Full Scale. I mean, we do a lot to kind of, I’m always preaching the solutions-based approach. But, you know, obviously, knowing the people that you’re doing business with now, I think that one of the things when it comes to the personal approach is what I like to think about is what can I do to help you generate some peace of mind? And that’s a personal thing. You know, businesses don’t have peace of mind; they kind of do. But a bit, you know, the business, technically, is a business; it doesn’t have a mind; it has a mind that runs the business. And I find that if you can figure out what really makes someone’s life easier, what helps people find the solutions? Or, you know, I mean, a question I asked, a lot of people that I talked to, you talked about, just like that personal approach is, you know, what’s the biggest problem you’re trying to solve? And sometimes I leave it open-ended, sometimes I say, at the business, or I just say in life, you know, right, um, that kind of I always ask the question, what’s your greatest pain points?
Ralph Hess 03:57
Right, and that I don’t really ever say in the business, just what’s your biggest pain? If you’re talking to a CFO, a CTO, if you’re talking to somebody in accounting, right? What are your pain points, if you get that, you’re gonna get both the personal side of the pain point, right, you get the business side, but you’re also getting what impact that’s having on the person. And so if you solve for one, you can solve for the other one as well.
Matt DeCoursey 04:26
Yeah, and, you know, that’s an exercise in trust building that helps and, you know, I have a history as a sales trainer and man, I, you know, that was like a long time ago, and that I carried so many of those lessons in the business and learned a lot from them. And I mean, here are the basics when it comes to the personal side of the business: people want to do business with people that they like. So there’s that part, and I think you want to do business with people that you feel aren’t selfish. Serving, you know, and I mean, that’s a big thing that, you know, kind of, we’ll probably run into some Full Scale examples today because it’s just kind of my working model that I’ve, that I’ve got, but you know what, you know, with that you talk about, like, you know, the whole, like, if I trust you, if I feel like you’re gonna give me advice, that’s good for me, then I’m gonna continue to take your advice, but you can ruin that. And a split second?
Ralph Hess 05:26
Well, absolutely. We always believed that you can do 10 Good things; if you do one bad thing, it wipes the other 10 away. Right? It’s that kind of taste that’s left in somebody’s mouth, that they’ve, that they’ve been let down or betrayed in some way.
Matt DeCoursey 05:42
Right now, we’re kind of talking and referencing, like, the business-to-business side of things, too. But there is a personal approach to business inside your own business that, as a leader, a CEO, or a founder, I think it’s important to embrace too, you know, Ralph, I’m not sure if you know this, but we’ve got about 300 employees in the Philippines. And, you know, over the last five years, we’ve, you know, I have gone over there a lot. And obviously, that dynamic has changed because they don’t all come to the same office every day anymore. But you know, at the times when they did, I would, you know, even though it would equate to 16 to 18-hour days, while I was there, I would go and talk to every single person that was there. And I remember I’d always get feedback from the leaders on my way out and say, you know, what, what are the employees and I want to hear and, you know, I would get feedback, like, they’re all just amazed that you came around and talked to them. And the first time I ever heard that, my response was where the hell have they been working?
Ralph Hess 06:46
Yeah, so much. Yeah, I think that if you ask anybody that has been involved with me or worked for me in the past, I would be considered very high touch, very, putting people’s personal lives, you know, on the front burner. It’s not all about business, business business, because I’ve always had the philosophy that if people are happy at home or happy in their life, they’re going to be ultra productive in the workplace.
Matt DeCoursey 07:09
Yeah, and then now, at the same time, you got to draw a line. Yeah, yeah, there’s some of that, though, cuz you know, that you mentioned the personal life thing. And the thing is, if you have to have kind of a well-rounded balance of all of that, at the same time, a lot of people’s personal lives destroy their, their purse, their professional, our business life for, you know, that comes in a whole lot. There’s a lot to unpack there. I mean, there’s, yeah, yeah, it’s always about the balance and everything you do because you need to get your job done, too.
Ralph Hess 07:36
We’re not paying people to compensate people for success in their personal life; we’re compensating them for success in their business life, and taking care of one oftentimes helps take care of the other, but one can overshadow the other.
Matt DeCoursey 07:55
Yeah, and, you know, you mentioned that, that kind of back to that personal approach, that leads to a bit of a customized experience, both for an employee or as a client, and a prospect. And, you know, we work with, you know, 60 different technology companies, and I’ll tell you, what our clients are, are all very much like snowflakes in the regard that they are very different. They have different sets of resources, leadership, team members, approaches, products, and stuff like that. And, I mean, it’s really that customized experience that will lead to a better, you know, business-to-client relationship. And then internally, you know, one of the things so Latin in 2022 is supposedly the year of the great resignation. But that wasn’t the case at Full Scale. And we had a 93% employee retention rate. And we attribute a lot of that towards that. When we say customize the experience, I don’t know if it’s truly customized, but we spend a lot we put a lot of emphasis on lining our so we help people do staff augmentation essentially, is the short or short way to say that, but if you like people if you get people doing things that they’re passionate about, and of those are the services that you’re providing, either for a client or they’re doing it internally, you’re gonna get this exponentially greater output. Because overall, if we like what we’re doing and add that in, there is some customization in that regard. Because we structure a roll around what you’re great at, if there is a role to be had for that, you know, but if you can get that lined up and you know, whether that’s your own employees or the services you’re providing for clients, then I mean, we have a minimal churn rate with clients and the same thing. So there’s a lot to be said there. So that customization, and you know, like that as a personal approach in many ways, like, you know, a lot of employers, you’re a checkbox X.
Ralph Hess 10:04
And you know, it’s like, checked or unchecked, and you’re a project manager, or you’re a, you know, application architect, you’re this, you’re that right. But you’re right; finding things that are interesting to people that fulfill them is, really, you call it a customizing experience. But again, it’s that high personal touch; I’ll give you the example that Navigator Business Solutions has a really strong presence in startup life science organizations. And so you would think that a startup life science organization that has a bunch of equity or capital injected into it, every good, everybody would be kind of on the same path, right. And there is some commonality to what they need to be doing with technology. But what’s really fantastic is allowing our employees to have exposure to vaccine development companies, gene therapy companies, and contract drug designing companies. And so what we found is we, like you, have very little churn in our staff and very little churn in our customers because everybody really has a common sense of mission and interest in helping that industry move forward. So it’s been great. The last two or three years, we’ve really coalesced around that industry, and it’s been just a great success for our customers and our employees.
Matt DeCoursey 11:19
Yeah, and, you know, alright, so there’s a lot of talks has been over the years and months of, of, you know, how do you build a community, and that, once again, is going to apply to people within your company, and, and as well as your customers, and that personalizing that approach and customizing that approach leads to happier people that are more passionate about talking about what you’re doing. There is this strength and branding that comes when you have a strong client or user community and the same thing with employees, and you know, our biggest recruitment tool is our own employee base. And because they’re happy, they foster that sense of community, they do a lot of things together, it makes them feel good about talking about the brand, like right now, one of the things that we’re going through as we went through this roller coaster of, hey, we all come to work. Okay, now we don’t go to work. Now we’re gonna go to work a little bit. And you know, one of the things that you talked about getting that personal, that personal approach to business now, I doubt you run into this where you live in Utah, and I don’t run into this in my hometown of Kansas City, because it doesn’t take me two hours to get to work. Right. Yeah. And in a lot of places in the Philippines, it was. And you know, so that was how you talked about that personalized approach; we’ve done a lot of things internally to get to know and understand the situation that our employees are in. And one of the things that we did before the pandemic, as we were just trying to be aware of this, was how long does it take people to get to work?
Ralph Hess 13:01
Loves the extent of their workday, right. That’s because they don’t see their time at the office as being their workday, knowing the time they spend commuting tact on top of that, yeah, which makes it a 12-hour day.
Matt DeCoursey 13:10
Like two hours, one direction is insane.
Ralph Hess 13:15
You know, think about that, right? It’s the least satisfying part of their day. So they’re starting their day not satisfied, and they’re ending their day not satisfied.
Matt DeCoursey 13:23
So you got to find one or two things there, you got to find a way to either lessen that, that commute or make it shorter do something or to be able to stack something on top of that, that like you know, alright, so we don’t have subways and rail cars in Kansas City, we’re not that fancy for you, if you’re up in New York, and you know, a lot of people ride the subway from the city to Connecticut. And you see people, you know, there are people on those cars working away, you laugh, and you can find some ways to do that, not as possible. And a lot of the places that we ran into in the Philippines, so when the pandemic hit, you know, we had our biggest requests prior to that was can we get some more work from home, our business model wasn’t really set up. Like yeah, and for that, when the pandemic came out, I said that I was nervous about our productivity was a bit of an understatement, but it shot up. You talk about giving someone four hours of their day back, and he talked about this customized experience, you know, someone that has this massive commute to and from, first off, that’s probably not going to lead to longevity and career. You know, like, if I can find a job that I don’t need four hours of commuting for, I’ll probably go with that.
Ralph Hess 14:45
And then the one I need to take a little bit less because that’s just easier on my life. Right?
Matt DeCoursey 14:49
But with that personalized approach, you also have the empathetic approach that helps you put yourself in other people’s shoes. So you know, here’s the reality: I’m a super realist. I’ve written three books, Ralph, and two of them have the word realist in the title. I’m kind of like, Hey, you have your reality. But so here’s the situation. So you’re a nine to five employee, you come in, you barely get there if you even get there on time, because a two-hour commute, man, there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of our commute. There are a lot of things that could go weird in there. And then, if you also have now, you get a little deeper, oh, wow, you’re not driving in your own vehicle, you’re taking a bus or other form of public transportation. You are out the door at five, oh, on the dot? Because you got to catch that ride. Exactly. Yeah. So you start to get into understanding how this goes. As I said, that approach helped us understand a lot of things that helped us improve our productivity. When it came to the service, we clearly resulted in a much higher and happier employee because, you know, here in the US, and 2020 was a bloodbath when it came to people quitting, you know, yeah. A third of employed people change jobs. Yeah. That’s a wild man.
Ralph Hess 16:15
That basically makes us a transient, professional community in the US because everyone’s got one or two people who just said that that’s enough. I’m done. Right? There’s a rush to fill in all that experience that’s left that’s, you know, exciting.
Matt DeCoursey 16:26
Yeah, cuz they’re back to that personal approach. The personal reality is, okay, look, I don’t care who you are. You’re not doing your best job on the way out the door, and you’re not doing your best job on your first day at the door.
Ralph Hess 16:41
Yeah, exactly. That’s what will give you a month’s notice. I generally say I’ll pay you for a month.
Matt DeCoursey 16:45
I do that. Yeah. I don’t. Well, I don’t like The Walking Dead.
Ralph Hess 16:52
Yeah, exactly. And it also can become toxic in the organization as well. Right. So you got to, you got to really understand what’s going on in your organization to be able to navigate those waters properly.
Matt DeCoursey 17:04
That’s tough to do, man. And I think a lot of people aren’t really wired to do that. There are some people that are just a bit aloof when it comes to understanding things. Yeah.
Ralph Hess 17:15
So it’s back to hate. It’s back to reality, right? What is the reality?
Matt DeCoursey 17:20
Well, I’ll tell you, what about reality. If you’re trying to find expert software developers, that doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit FullScale.io, where you can build a software team quickly and affordably use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available developers testers and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit FullScale.io. To learn more, there’s a link for that in the show notes. There’s also a link to navigate business solutions, which is NBS hyphen, u s.com. Don’t even bother typing that in. Just scroll down to the show notes. And give it a click; it’ll help you get a better grasp on what Ralph does. It has a business, and I’m looking at your site right now, Ralph. What’s the problem you solve?
Ralph Hess 18:03
The problem that we solve for people is really bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together from an ERP perspective. So for those listeners who may not know what ERP is, it’s enterprise resource planning; consider it the software that you use to run your business. And so most companies will have two or three different sets of software applications that they’re running, maybe one for sales and CRM, the other for financial reporting, which is commonly known as Excel, and then they’ll have a financial system as well. So what we do is put the pieces of those different applications together on one platform provided through SAP or on the cloud. So it’s basically cloud-based business management solutions that we make. Let’s call it consumable by your small and midsize organizations.
Matt DeCoursey 18:53
I just want to say thanks for defining ERP, I usually make people stop and define acronyms, and you didn’t make me have to do that.
Ralph Hess 19:02
So that’s an industry full of acronyms. Matt, as you did. We did a long, long time ago; we did an acronyms episode that was just defining a lot of it. And yeah, yeah, that’s where I learned what an ATM stands for.
Matt DeCoursey 19:06
Like, I thought it was anytime money. That’s my magic Teller Machine, Yeah. There’s a whole list of them. So yeah. All right. So you talked about the personal approach to business, and, you know, what’s more, personal than asking AI? We did. So chat. Chat. GPT has been such an extension of our personal work; maybe there were a couple of things. It gave, Hey, I’ll tell you what, it came up with some really good answers on that list. Which I can’t, I can’t deny taking that personal approach to business. This can equate to better customer loyalty. So you talked about providing individualized attention and building strong connections with your customers; that personal approach can increase customer loyalty. You know, the thing that’s important about that is it’s so much cheaper to keep the clients and customers you have, and it has to go find new ones.
Ralph Hess 20:21
So, yeah, then that’s always been the rule, right? It’s 10%, or 10 times more expensive, to find a new customer than to keep an existing one. So it’s really important. And again, it all comes back to that personal approach, having that customer believe that you have their best interests in mind as you’re conducting your business.
Matt DeCoursey 20:41
So I’m curious because I mentioned chat GP to some of you; I was going to ask, how do you know when your business approach isn’t personal? Personalized.
Ralph Hess 20:55
So what does it come back to? Well, the first podcasts that have a lot of prognostication on Chappie T, where it’s going, and how fast he’s getting there.
Matt DeCoursey 21:06
Oh, they gave me plenty of data. And like I said, it’s, it’s a count, you know, I’m always looking for when I use TPT that I’m looking for. It’s got great points here. So lack of customer engagement. I mean, that’ll tell you, yeah, people don’t, people don’t engage and interact, and comment and share. Well, they will share when you do a shitty job. I know that much.
Ralph Hess 21:33
Given that is a given that goes, one bad thing will wipe out 10 Good, right?
Matt DeCoursey 21:38
It’s if not more than 10. Yeah, because I find it’s about one and about 100. If not, more will actually stop and say something good. You’ll you’re much more likely to have people say terrible things about you in a hurry.
Ralph Hess 21:56
When I’m looking for a restaurant and I look at Yelp reviews, I always keep in mind that people are loudest when they’re complaining.
Matt DeCoursey 22:05
That’s surely when they’re congratulating and arguing with the next point, low conversion rates.
Ralph Hess 22:12
Matt DeCoursey 22:13
So some of this you talk about, and I’ve been harping on this, and I publish some either Instagram or Facebook reels about this. But you know, when it, you know, you’re talking about, like, low conversion rates and the whole, like, the personalization of things. There’s this whole world of, like, an automated bot, like, communication that comes out, dear first name. Yeah. Or first name, last name. In fact, I often get messages in emails where the bot isn’t working correctly. And it literally says, Dear first name, dear company. Yeah. And, you know, that stuff just strikes me immediately. If you want to reach out to me and you want to try to do business with me, I’m going to notice that.
Ralph Hess 23:11
I mean, because here’s the thing, I’ve written those templates myself, I know, I know, CRM systems, right? The sequences and sequence will fire off on a certain cadence. And yeah, if you’re, if you don’t construct those properly, you’re gonna end up with a very impersonal and embarrassing experience.
Matt DeCoursey 23:22
Right. And that’s, you know, I’m definitely trying to avoid that when it comes to the personalized approach though, if you really want to get a hold of someone, like turn the bot down, you know, like, take five minutes and learn something about me as you have. Alright, so I’m also the founder of Gigabook and actually had a guy who wanted to create a Gigabook account set up and customize a booking widget, and then send me his booking link on Giga Book and asked me to pick a time to chat with them. And that was a first off, clever. Second off, very personalized, and three got the appointment. Now, I wasn’t really buying what he was selling, but I wasn’t going to turn that off, either.
Ralph Hess 24:08
You know, like I was like, So where exactly like, right, if I find somebody that has a really good angle, or has taken the time to do the research, and maybe even look up some of our customers and reference our customers in there, in their pitch, or it makes a big difference.
Matt DeCoursey 24:24
Yeah. And personal is dear Matt. DeCoursey, I have noticed that your company is doing really big things. Yeah, I like doing big things, too. Let’s do big things together. Maybe we could, you know, and then yeah, that’s not the right way to do it. But you know, proper outreach should be like, you know, Hey, Matt. I’ve been listening to Startup Hustle podcasts, and congratulations on the success that you guys have had at Full Scale as well. Now we’re talking right, you know, or pick something, you know, like, I’m not in Kansas City, but I like the chiefs, you know, something like that. And now that’s gonna feel a lot more personal because I just deleted, man, nonpersonalized stuff. And I’m just deleting, delete, delete, delete. Tear that up.
Ralph Hess 25:12
Yeah, exactly, exactly; I did the exact same thing you want to reward people for taking the time, right to make it personal. And that’s what I emphasize with my team Don’t you dare do outreach without having researched a company on Zoom to your LinkedIn research; even take a look out to Facebook or Instagram to see if you can find those people and find something out about them as you try to engage 100%.
Matt DeCoursey 25:36
Okay, so we’re still on the five things that GPT told us that would make us not personalized, low customer satisfaction. I mean, that’s, that’s sure. Oh, if you’re not providing a customized or personalized approach to your solutions, then people aren’t like, one size does not fit all unless you only make one size, like unless you are Ford, that’s making pickup trucks that are any color you want, as long as it’s black. Right. You know, that was the case, you know, many moons ago.
Ralph Hess 26:15
But yeah, I mean, as you take a look at that and what we do specifically, the sale is incomplete until they go live, right? Because what we’re really selling is, is a whole experience; you’re selling a customer experience that’s facilitated through software. But the reality is we’re helping customers run their businesses better. And if we don’t understand their business and configure the solution to meet their requirements, you’re gonna end up with that low customer satisfaction that you’re referring to, which immediately turns into the next point, which is lack of repeat business.
Matt DeCoursey 26:44
Ralph Hess 26:50
You’ve listened; we’re in a subscription-based business, right Software as a Service. So the recurring revenue is what we invest in acquiring our customers and keeping them happy and significant because that revenue stream just needs to continue on.
Matt DeCoursey 27:06
Alright, and are you ready for number five? I’m ready for number five; math is limited to customer data. So if you get limited customer data can be a sign that you’re not collecting enough information through your personalized approach because people aren’t engaging. They’re not interested, though. In fact, they usually just give my info to robots because robots mindlessly use it to annoy me afterward. And yeah, it’s not a personalized approach.
Ralph Hess 27:35
Now, as you take a look at our sales process, it really starts at the beginning with that engagement, that personal engagement, where we’re asking them to engage with us and really clear some hurdle, shall we say, in the process? So are you willing to attend a webinar? Are you willing to fill out this form? We’ll do it together, let’s do it together so that we can understand more about your business as we’re collecting the information. If there’s hesitation there, we’ll do what I call closing by walking away and say, Okay, well, obviously, we’re not a good fit because we want to have a good fit. This is a long-term relationship. And if you’re not willing to invest in our relationship on the front end, it’s not likely to get any better as we progress through it.
Matt DeCoursey 28:16
Yeah, and you know, you talking about that, that info, you know, when our customers go to FullScale.io, there’s a button that says hire developers, and we have also when you’re talking about data, figuring out what you really need and ask the rest later, you know, so you can it takes some people to do it in like 30 seconds there’s just a series of questions, and as I have built out that form and customize that first off, always stripping things away, which feels felt foreign to people in the business struggle why aren’t we asking this because I don’t need that until I know until we do, we even know that we can help these people with what they need to knock down those barriers to engagement right?
Ralph Hess 28:59
Focus on getting good engagement then you can find out the facts that you need to understand at a later time.
Matt DeCoursey 29:08
Yeah, and so some of that’s just like, you know, some of that’s also like you mentioned the well I there when it comes to sales there are two four letter words that that I love, and most people that know me when they hear me disgust four letter words are expecting something that sounds much like the deck of a sailor ship. But those two four-letter words are sold, and next, you know, because next is if you know, I still I’ve seen salespeople do this development. People and founders and entrepreneurs in general just waste a heck of a lot of time. When it comes to the whole like, Okay, this isn’t someone we even want as a client. Why are we spending more time, and that’s when you got to say next, and you move on down the line? I do think that when it comes to the personal approach to business as well, like that. You mentioned it’s got to be a good fit. And I go through that with our salespeople sometimes. Because, you know, the reality is most salespeople just want to make sales, especially when their commission Yeah, exactly. And if they’re not the one that has to deal with the person that they signed up with later, oh, my attention to those things. Because I mean, you can end up with a roster of really bad clients.
Ralph Hess 30:27
And that’s what we’ve really focused on the last five years; since I’ve been in this position, we’ve really focused on fit. And we have walked away from customers and just say, we’ll just walk away, right, but we try to find somebody else who can help them. Because you never know when that’s going to come back around, right? Do the right thing for people. And oftentimes, it will come back to you with a reference or a referral, or just hey, you know what, these guys were high integrity and didn’t just go for the sale?
Matt DeCoursey 30:54
Yeah, I think on some of the I don’t, we don’t necessarily push them somewhere else. Because if they’re a client that we didn’t want, then I’m usually not going to drop them on my peers.
Ralph Hess 31:11
Yeah, in our case, it’s more about industry. Right. So there’s probably somebody else who does a better job with what we did.
Matt DeCoursey 31:18
Yeah, we did that.
Ralph Hess 31:21
In your case, it would be I just don’t have people who do that kind of development. So let me point you in the right direction.
Matt DeCoursey 31:27
At Full Scale, it’s longer; it’s usually about they’re not really, they’re not necessarily ready for what we do. Because even though you know, Full Scale owns the Startup Hustle podcast, it doesn’t mean that we’re always about day-one startups. And that has that’s the thing, because a lot of times those folks that are strapped for resources don’t necessarily, so they don’t have the understanding systems or processes built in. And since we trend towards a very senior level of employee, they don’t really want to come in to try to, to the magma phases. Want to see; they want to see a little more, a little more hardening of the rock and the foundation there. So do you have any interesting stories or experiences around either creating something that does a great job or a terrible job when it comes to personalization?
Ralph Hess 32:29
Oh, yeah, there are lots of stories, right? So I think probably one of our bigger success stories is with a company called Try RX Pharmaceuticals. So it’s a company that just let me rewind this a little bit in the life sciences industry, which is a very big industry, right? There are a lot of micro verticals inside of that. SAP owns about 85% of that industry, in terms of, you know, the medicine companies that are running the large-scale SAP solution. And so we had an opportunity probably three years ago, going on for now, where a customer came to us and said, Listen, we absolutely need to have an SAP solution, but it can’t cost us a million dollars. And we need to have it up and running in 12 weeks. And so we really rolled up our sleeves and went down to Huntsville, Alabama spent the time with the customer to really understand why, why do you have to have an SAP solution? Why do you have to be up in 12 weeks? Well, you know, in doing that, we understood some of the personal pressures that the VP of operations was under, that was being brought onto them by the investors. And also, we were able to really get personally involved with the solution and help them roll out just the bits and pieces that they needed in that 12 weeks. So they could chalk up a win, right? So we’re helping the business when we’re helping that person win. And from there, we’ve gone on to five facilities and three different countries, with two more countries to come. So that kind of personal approach and the care that we took at the initial stages of the sale and of the implementation really served us well. In terms of horror stories, those are the easy ones to come up with, right? Because everybody has one. And it usually comes along the lines of You starting the project with one senior leader or sponsor, and you have a great relationship with them. And then, senior leadership changes in the middle of that project. And then you can’t quite connect that, say, create that same connection with that new, that new leader who wants to put their own thumbprint on the project. So we’ve had several of those where the projects were just grueling until we got it over the finish line. And guess what? They weren’t super happy because that new senior executive didn’t get exactly what they wanted. So that’s, those are a couple of contrasting experiences.
Matt DeCoursey 34:57
I’ll give you an example of just Alright, so Once again, hometown here in Kansas City. I have a large client base here in Kansas City, and part of the personalized approach that we went through. So when we launched the company, Full Scale was about five years old. And you know, here in Kansas City, we have an arena that was called the Sprint Center. It is now the T Mobile Center.
Ralph Hess 35:23
And so we got to see MCI wasn’t the MCI center before that? Oh, no, no.
Matt DeCoursey 35:27
No, it was called Kemper Arena before that, and it was a different building. Yeah. So we leased a suite there for the events and customized it to have Full Scale on it. And then what we did was we went out into the entrepreneur community and found a couple of 100 Different founders and entrepreneurs. And actually, rather than being like, how can we sell you something we asked them? What kind of events do you like? What kind of music do you like? What kind of genres? What kind of performers, what kind of teams do you like? Do you like that? And we cataloged a heck of a lot of stuff. And I created an event that I and I’m positive about. I invented the name on this because I was the first person to ever have a hashtag with this. There you go. We meet and greet each other. So what we did is I had this part. So before I was officially an entrepreneur, I worked in the music industry for a while. And then I was a ticket broker after that; that was part of it. But I learned to truly experience the art; I learned to value and appreciate the power of a good experience. So by understanding what people were into, what they liked, and what genres they liked, and then we created a suite that was small; you could fit 16 people into it. Usually, my wife and I would come down, or me and another employee. And so you make it really personal if you know someone that is like a huge Luke Bryan country music fan, right now you invite them. And then here’s the reality because I understand entrepreneurs as being one, I know that we are sometimes a little disconnected from the things in our personal life that we should pay more attention to, and that can build and harbor resentment in the people that don’t work at the business. So what makes that feel a lot better is when you could take your wife, your partner, maybe you’re an employee, someone like that to something cool, right? This is a great experience, and it’s very personalized. Now with that, when they got there. We didn’t try to sell them something that was intentionally non-solicited now. Sure. Do we have conversations about that? Absolutely. But it wasn’t like, hey, come in, fill out this form. Where is this name tag? Yeah, absolutely none of that. It was like, hey, come in. And now you’re in such entrepreneurs, investors, and influencers that was our requirement for the end buyer. We always give someone a plus one so that they bring someone else. Who do you want me to bring you to bring whoever you want me? Yeah, right, come down, and they meet other like-minded people that were there in the community, and Oh, my God, so we did that for four years. I went to 200 events. And four years, dude, and that’s a lot now. We’re doing it a different way. We have Kansas City Royals tickets this year. We kind of came out of that sweet lease, and I am much lighter on my hearing ability. Yeah. After all those.
Ralph Hess 38:37
Yeah, it is real, dude, even yesterday, so I was out there.
Matt DeCoursey 38:39
I went to the Royals game. I actually went with my family yesterday, but I saw someone that was, you know, I saw someone in the section where we know that’s very active in the startup community. I went and sat down with him. And he was there with his wife. And he’s like, Hey, man, do you remember Matt? He took us to the Elton John show, and like 2019, Boom, boom, it’s what we call it. Right? Yeah.
Ralph Hess 39:08
Well, you built up what we refer to as relationship capital with all those people, right? And capital that you can use to benefit your business. Benefit yourself, personally, as well. It’s great. I do the same thing I have. You’re not going to want to hear this. I’m actually located in Massachusetts; I work for the company out of, so you can imagine the football tickets that I’ve had for 25 years.
Matt DeCoursey 39:34
So if you don’t want to start talking about the Patriots, we have too many that are still mad. You know, I have had that love-hate with Tom Brady because He’s so dreamy, but at the same time, he’s made my Super Bowl dreams and nightmares.
Ralph Hess 39:51
Yes. Well, he made my Super Bowl dreams into Super Bowl dreams like that.
Matt DeCoursey 39:55
Yeah, that was fun. For me right now. So now I can’t go too far down that because I think we’ve ruined quite a few people’s Super Bowl dreams along the way. But yeah, and you know, the bad thing is, before Tom Brady was ruining my chief Super Bowl dreams, I actually lived in Indianapolis, and I saw that happen a few times there. So I felt when I moved back to my hometown, I was like, God is this sob just, he’s following me. Like, if you’re listening, come on the show. Let’s talk it out. Yeah, there you go. He does a lot of entrepreneurial stuff. So he does. Interesting cat, for sure. Yeah, we don’t ever let a third guest on. But I’ll let Giselle, and I’ll break that rule. I suppose.
Ralph Hess 40:38
I’d be. I’d watch it. Yeah.
Matt DeCoursey 40:43
I like it. Well, watch the podcast that we rarely publish video clips out of. But that would be the first time, right? That would do. That’s how I know when people don’t actually talk about personal things. So I’ve written three books. I’ve had this podcast; there are hundreds of videos of me online and out there and interviews and stuff like that. People come up, and they’re like, dude, I’m gonna let I’m gonna watch your podcast. And I just want to be like, Do you know what a podcast is? Although I gotta say there are, it’s almost like more people are publishing their videos and their podcasts now than the audio. I’ve done
Ralph Hess 41:18
a few. And the majority of them now do probably, you know, push them out there. But I’ll tell you what, when I’m on my walk or running around my bike, I’m not watching the podcast video.
Matt DeCoursey 41:28
Yep. Yep. You mentioned that. And, you know, I don’t want to get too far off track here. But that was one of the reasons we went with the podcasts over five years ago. And you know, we’ve got up to 1100 episodes at the time of this recording, right next to that 5 million downloaded in 194 countries, but you don’t have to give something up to listen. And that’s where the video stuff is. Because, like if you can, most people are listening to podcasts while they’re commuting while they’re working out. Or they’re doing chores. Those are like the big three. Yeah, so yeah, and if you have to make someone watch a video, but yeah, we have begun to pull small clips and highlight reels and are trying to get it, get it working on essentially making the cliff notes version. So stay tuned for that. Now. If you need to hire software engineers, testers, or leaders, Full Scale can help. We have the people, the plot, and the platform to help you build and manage team experts. Just go to FullScale.io. There’s a link for that in the show notes. There’s also a link to Ralph’s company down there. And that’s NBS hyphen us.com. That’s Navigator Business Solutions. When you use the Full Scale platform, it’ll help you define your technical needs and see what available testers, developers, and leaders are ready to join your team FullScale.io To learn more than only it takes less than two minutes. If it takes you longer than two minutes to fill out the form that matches you up with people. You’re doing something wrong; just being honest. So alright, here we are at the end of an episode. I often like to wrap up the episode when I normally do the founder’s freestyle. I’m talking to a founder. But with that, we can just do a general wrap-up. What are some of the highlights you got from today’s conversation?
Ralph Hess 43:15
I think there’s just a lot to be learned from all the experiences you can achieve by doing personal selling; right, you can keep your employees satisfied, and you can keep your customers happy. And frankly, as a leader, it’s much more fulfilling. I mean, that’s really what I take away from our conversation today.
Matt DeCoursey 43:33
Yeah, I think much like personalizing things for business, you have to look at your business itself. Now there are things that are okay, so getting a suite at a local concert venue might not be the right thing for a company that sells a $12 product. That is true like you’re selling stuff at the kiosk at the mall. That’s not the right customer personalization strategy. As for us, we’re a little smaller batch, as I mentioned earlier, you know, working with about 60 Different tech companies. I have the bandwidth to get to know these people. And I want to remember the things from today’s conversation. I want to remind everyone it wasn’t all just about. Don’t just focus on the relationship between your business and your prospects or future clients. It’s also about the people that are in your own business. Because if they’re happy, productive, and they’re aligned with the things that they’re passionate about doing, you’re gonna get higher, you get a much better downstream, everything, everything, and that’s going to equate to better-personalized solutions. It’s going to have better Happy, happy, happier people. And then the company wins with that, and that is that full circle. I talk a lot at Full Scale about the triple win. Okay, we need a win for our client. We need a win for our employees because our employees show up and work with them every day, and that turns into a win for the company. You get that win-win-win, and you’re in pretty good shape.
Ralph Hess 45:02
Matt DeCoursey 45:04
Well, we’re all in agreement, then. So we’re going to end this episode of Startup Hustle. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me today, Ralph.
Ralph Hess 45:11
Oh, man, it was a great conversation. I really appreciate it. Best of luck going forward.
Matt DeCoursey 45:15