EP114: Ed Kless – What Is Your Perceived Value?

You can't do value lead pricing without having a conversation about perceived value.

Our guest, Ed Kless, has taught this to many and he still sees the problem out there.He is the Sage Senior Director of Partner Development and Strategy who is also the host of the Sage Advice Podcast and co-host of the hit show, The Soul of Enterprise with Value Pricing expert, Ron Baker.

Ed believes quite a few professionals have challenges around crafting a great value discussion.

It shouldn't have to be that way.

He will share his insight.

During this interview, you'll also discover...

  • How can intellectual capital help in growing your wealth

  • What are the spiritual components to gain profit

  • The hidden possibilities in accumulating wealth

To find out more about Ed Kless, visit here.

For his LinkedIn page, click here.

For his show, The Sage Advice podcast, listen here.

For The Soul of Enterprise, click this link.

To get his book, The Soul of Enterprise: Dialogues on Business in the Knowledge Economy, go here.


Michael Palmer: 01:13 Welcome back to The Successful Bookkeeper podcast. I'm your host, Michael Palmer, and today's show is going to be a great one. Our guest is the senior director of partner development and strategy at sage. He is also the host of sage advice podcast and cohost of the hip podcast, the soul of enterprise with value pricing Ron Baker. Ed Kless, Welcome to the show.

Ed Kless: 01:39 Hi, I'm so glad to be here. Thanks to for having Michael. Appreciate it.

MP: 01:43 It is, it's such an honor to have you, uh, you, you are well known in the community and really because you drive so much value and that's going to be part of our conversation today. But before we get into all of that, tell us a little bit about yourself leading up to today.

EK: 02:00 Wow, that can be a while, but I'll try to keep the reader's digest extremely condensed version in play here. I, yeah, I I, yeah, I know. I, I my, I graduated from college with a degree in liberal studies, which means I did, I couldn't pick a major. That's what it meant. So instead I had three minors, which were information systems, business administration, and of course theater arts, you know, musical theater specifically. Yeah, that's a, that's a mix at sound. Collectic mix it is. And asked me which of those three I use more on a regular basis. The last one probably. Of course. That's clearly it. Yeah. Right. So beautiful. And then I, I went to work for an accounting firm on long island where I am originally from having only taken two accounting classes, working in what was called back in the, dare I say it, late eighties management advisory services group and which basically means I had a computer that that's what it meant.

EK: 02:55 Like I had a like and, and my office, I didn't really have an office. I and I didn't have a cubicle. I had a, I was, I was the computer room and it was a very bizarre thing cause like people wouldn't even come into the room cause they thought if they came into the room that had a keyboard, they were going to be considered a secretary. And that's pretty much the way they thought just gathered around outside the theater. That's right. Did you remember the TV show? Wk RP and Cincinnati? Absolutely. There was, there was the les Nessman. Right. And he had the tape on the floor and he made people knock. Yeah, right. It was sort of like the inverse of that. Like people would not cross the threshold where I sat. They were afraid they were, even though there was no door, they were afraid to come in.

EK: 03:39 It was really bizarre. But then, um, worked for, started my own company doing software implementations, did that for 10 years, sold my interest in that company, did some consulting work for Microsoft and sage. And it was in my time at sage that I got reacquainted with a fellow by the name of Taylor McDonald who is now back at sage because he was with sage intact and then we acquired them last year. So one of those things that, you know, the more things change, the more they stay the same. So it's great to have him back on the team. And I've been at sage 15 years and my, my role and I finally stumbled on the words to at about three months ago. I really should change my title to this. I am a Mehta consultant. Whoa. A Meta consultant. Yes. I'm a consultant to consultants. Did you coined that phrase? I've never heard that. I just, yes. Yeah. No, I did. I think that's kind of like I said, a good way to think about it. Yeah. Medic consultant. It makes a lot of sense and it doesn't get the same time. It's not on fusing and right. It's confusing enough. So people go, what's that? And then now we can have a conversation. Right. Cause that's Kinda cool. It is really cool. I like it's a catch phrase. And if they can understand you, will you just say it's Meta? It's Metta. It's Metta. Yeah.

MP: 04:55 Beautiful. So, so that's, I mean eclectic education, somewhat eclectic careers as well. You were in business for yourself and entrepreneur. You've worked in corporate. Uh, and I really do see the creative roots. Your podcast is a lot about creativity and, and the, the s really what the, what you consider the soul of the enterprise is creativity. Yeah. It's creativity in what we say on the show. The way we kind of phrase it, and I'm not quite sure that this is right. So what made me take me another 10 years to find the right words for this. But Ron and I both like to say that business has a spiritual, although not necessarily religious. And that's where, you know, we draw a distinction. It can be if for some people, but doesn't have to be a business, has a spiritual component. In other words, an ethical moral one that goes just beyond the, the, the, the, the nuts and bolts of business, right?

EK: 05:50 We believe that, that, that profits are an indicator of the altruism of the organization and which is completely diametrically opposed from the way a lot of people think about profit. A lot of be people think about profit as, uh, you know, is evil in somehow some way, right? But as Peter Drucker said, and I love this phrase, profits are the price we pay for tomorrow. In other words, profit is an indicator that we are doing something that's valuable. Uh, one of the guests that we've had recently on, on the podcast, uh, the soul, the soul of enterprise is a guy by the name of George Gilder. And if you haven't read any of his stuff, I strongly encourage it. But his latest book is called life after Google. But one of the things that he talks about over and over again is this notion that the economy is better thought of not as a incentive system, although it is, right.

EK: 06:49 So we certainly have an incentive to to to do these things. This is what Adam Smith talked about, so it's, but it's better thought of as an information system and what he means by that is that it, if we let the free energy free enterprise happen, if we let free trade, if we let businesses transact and we let people trade with one another, then the, what we will get is information and the, the piece of information that we get is this thing called profit. In other words, it's more I am paying for something that I would, if I had to do it myself, would take, take me longer or be much harder for me to do and I'm willing to pay someone a price to do that and I'm totally okay with the fact that it costs them significantly less to do it and that that means that we have officially allocated the resources, right.

EK: 07:47 The, that, that means the person who's doing the work is doing the, that they're doing the right thing with their life. Right? And businesses that don't make a profit, businesses that are not moving forward, they are, they are not efficiently allocating the resources and should probably think about ending and not be in business anymore. It means there isn't a value for what they have out there because their costs outweigh what they can get from a price perspective. Right. And it's a very different way of thinking about things, especially because what does that, what that means is, is it's a definition of your altruism. It's a definition of your altruism means other directedness others centered. Right? And the only way that we can, we can get a profit is if we understand the needs, wants, desires, hopes, dreams, even of the people that we serve in that business.

EK: 08:39 And that, that's the spiritual side of things. And that's the spiritual component. And that's the component I love about business. It really is the, the conversation that can happen to actually derive that information is exciting. Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and it's, and it's what makes, maybe you can say it makes life worth living, but it's also what makes wealth. It also what has allowed us to, to emerge from the caves, right? Uh, another economist, Thomas Soul, who we've had on the show as well. He said, look, the, the neanderthals had all of the stuff that we see around us, right? Not much. [inaudible] not mentioned in terms of total the weight of, of media. Right? You know, meteors have landed since the, the time of the neanderthal. So the physical atoms that you see all around you when you look, have been here. The only thing that we've done is we've applied human knowledge to them. And that's what's created all of this stuff. And the reason why we have applied this knowledge is because we, we inherently want to let lead lead a better life. Right? And we want to leave that, that better life for our children.

MP: 09:51 So true. So interesting. What an interesting concept that you'd be thinking about how we've impacted the Adam's, uh, through engaging and transacting with each other and, and evolve things. But really we're still dealing with the same building blocks.

EK: 10:06 Yup. Yup. All of that. They were all here. It's just the application of human knowledge to it. And this gets back to Gilda, but Gildor says that that wealth is knowledge, wealth equals knowledge, right? And therefore what's growth? Well, if wealth is knowledge, then growth is learning.

MP: 10:25 So beautiful. And that's a big part of what a you and I both do is help pass on those learnings through avenues like podcasting.

EK: 10:33 Yes, yes, absolutely. Podcasts and all kinds of fun, fun presentations that we did. I do all throughout North America.

MP: 10:40 Yes, absolutely. Yeah.

MP: 10:49 I have couple of questions actually and it's one of those points where I'm like, I could ask like 10 right now everybody, I'll just do one and then we'll get to the other one, which is a much bigger question. Is it mad at, what are you mad consulting on right now? In your, in your life?

EK: 11:07 Yeah. I'm well Metuchen when I say medic consulting guys could mean meaning consultant to consultants is the sharing of, you know, the ideas of what people I believe should be thinking about. Many of the businesses that I consult with, and again, keep in mind that these are people who either resell or sell products of sages or are recommenders of our products. So through their IRS age, accountants network, right? And many of these folks have been in business quite some time. And as a result, I think any, any business that's been around for a while tends to suffer from a lack of innovation and creativity. Because when we first started business, we're really fired up about it. We perhaps have a new way of doing things, a new way of thinking stuff. But then 10 years hence we start to think, oh, okay, well, you know, we're just about to improve our process, which is, which is fine.

EK: 12:00 There's nothing wrong with improving internal process, but if you're improving internal process, you're not looking outside, right? That's right. You're not, you're not looking out at what your customers are thinking. So what I'm been preaching about really for the last six months is a session I've been doing on innovation but innovation beyond technology because I think we also get stuck on this notion that innovation must be an app or it must be something that comes from apple or Google or Microsoft or, or some kind of technology. There are actually innovations that have nothing to do with technology and for, and first let me give you my definition of innovation, which I've stolen shamelessly from a guy named Matt Ridley, who wrote a great book called the rational optimist and it in this book he says that innovation can be defined as, and this is not to sound crass, but as ideas that have sex, right?

EK: 12:58 It's innovation is when ideas have sex. So it's when two disparate ideas get together and they produce offspring. And the the, the, the, the example that I share in the presentation is this really cool thing that I wish I had when, when my kids were younger. It's a, it's a, it's a stroller and a skateboard that are combined together and the older kid rides along on the skateboard, which is attached to the stroller. Right now you look at this go, this is just like sheer genius, right? But what I love about it is, it's a great example of what I just talked about. So if a skateboard and a stroller fell in love and, and they loved each other very much, they would produce this offspring, which would be this stroller, skateboard combination. Right. And it's a fantastic device that I think I would have a better relationship with my son who's the oldest, cause I would, you know, wouldn't have told him a 170,000 times. Stop pulling on the stroller. Stop. Stop.

MP: 13:57 Well, I have a, I have a three and a half-year-old and a 13-week old baby girl. So I'm, I'm right in the skateboard, a stroller years. And it's hilarious. Even with the skateboard, they stay on the stroller.

EK: 14:12 Yeah, I know, I know. Right? All right. So this is a really, but I just think that notion of this, this catalatic the combination of ideas and that are oftentimes disparate, right? That are oftentimes like what who would think stroller, skateboard combination. And that's the really cool stuff. So that then that's what I've been thinking about. If you want to talk about examples we can but then

EK: 14:33 stay here. I mean your, your, your, you, you mentioned you're doing a talk on innovation and, and this is what you've been spending the last six months talking about it. And I think it's very relevant for our audience to be thinking about this because not only are you might be the person is the bright, like right at the forefront of the innovation. You might be a part of the, the ecosystem that's driving and leading to the ability to innovate. And so I think what a lot of our listeners being people who are, have very close connection with small business owners have the ability to remove non-essential worries, fears, chaos constraints inside the financial wellbeing of business so that business owners can make more love with ideas. And as you say or sex with ideas to make the world a better place.

MP: 15:30 That's right. That's right.

EK: 15:32 Yeah. So so let me give you an example that I think is that I found extremely helpful even with with with what I do and this one is one that was shared with me by a guy by the name of Rory Sutherland who's also been a guest on the soul of enterprise but he a long, long time ago. We need, in fact we, we joke, we need to have him back on Rory is that is the vice chair of Ogilvy and may there in the UK and the national health service came to Ogilvy asking for an ad campaign because there's a very, very real problem number of years ago in fact is still exists and I'm sure if I, once I mentioned it, you and many of your are the listeners will know this as well. But the problem is that when we as people get prescribed antibiotics, we tend to take like the first four pills and then we feel better and then we leave the last three in case we don't get into it in case we, we, we, um, we start feeling bad again, Right?

EK: 16:34 That's exactly right. We don't, we don't complete the course of antibiotic. And this is a very big problem because what happens is, yes, it, most of the time it ends up knocking out the, the antibodies in our, our body. But if we only take the antibiotic for four days and then we pass on those germs to another person, well the germs that remain, that we're passing along are the strongest ones. That's right. States are, they have survived four days of antibiotic in your body. So, so therefore we're passing along a stronger strain to the next person. Whereas if we completed the course of antibiotic, they would have stayed week and went and knocked them all out. Right?

MP: 17:18 Yep. We're, we're, we're helping with the stroke survival of the fittest in the wrong places.

EK: 17:23 Yes. The most adaptable. Exactly. So what we're, what so that, so that's a bad thing. So it's really bad that we don't complete our antibiotics. So what, what they wanted the, the national health service wanted one at Ogilvy to do is a big, you know, ad campaign like we have in the states here around water usually, you know, keep New York wet, save water, like a, and they'll all of these different things that uh, uh, what do they call it? Public Service campaigns, right? And Roy said, nope, we don't need to do that. They're like, what do you mean? He said, no, here's what we need to do. We need to change how we packaged the antibiotic. And what we'll do is we'll package it so that there are six white pills and one blue pill. And we'll say to the people, the prescription is, take the six white pills and then the one blue pill. Brilliant. And what happened when they did this is the number of people that completing the course of antibiotic antibiotic went up dramatically.

MP: 18:16 I mean, it's a, yeah, like a, it's such a simple concept, but brilliant.

EK: 18:21 Right? And we don't need a billion pound ad campaign. Okay, let's do this. Which, which probably wouldn't have worked as well as what this did. Now, here's the really interesting thing. What Roy is talking about is a process known as chunking, right? Which is that when we as people are, are given a task to do, if it's presented to us in two steps, we, we tend to complete it more often than if we're just told to do one thing. Right? So this has a very real impact on business. I don't know about you, Michael, but I oftentimes ask other people to do things. I delegate stuff.

MP: 19:03 Absolutely.

EK: 19:05 And what I've begun doing is when I delegate stuff, I asked, I break it sometimes into an artificial two step process, do this, then this.

MP: 19:15 Wow. And what is your, what is, what's been your experience of, of, of the, of the, the experience of, of the people that you're delegating to it?

EK: 19:22 It significantly increases the probability that they complete the task. Wow. That ask them to now it's not to per pardon the double entendre. It's not a panacea, right? Yeah. It doesn't work all the time, but it significantly increases the probability that they do it. Now for, for bookkeepers, w here's, here's where, I bet, I bet they, they oftentimes sometimes asked their, their customers to do stuff, not just gold. Yeah. Right. So not just delegation inside your organization, but delegation to back to the customer, break stuff up into two steps, you know, put co cut, copy and paste or enter the data into this column and then copy and paste it and save it and send it to me.

MP: 20:10 Yeah, I love that. And I think the thinking around, take the white pills then give the, when you've gotten to the blue pill, you're done. I mean, it's communication and it's changing perception. And so when, when working with business owners, think about what, what are you communicating? It's like, yeah, this one thing. But if you can break that into two steps to that, the first step, then you know, that leads into the next, I mean it, it, it, it's simple but yet powerful.

EK: 20:42 Yup. Yup. And it just experiment with it, right. Experiment with how, how it works for you and your organizations and, and, and see what were, what, what things work better. I, I would venture to say that once you find the right combination, you can start to expand it out to all of your customers in the likelihood that they get back to you on in a more timely fashion is will go up significantly.

MP: 21:07 Yeah.

EK: 21:08 Staff and staff included as well.

MP: 21:17 It's a fascinating and I just absolutely love that story about the antibiotics. And, uh, and so you're, you're doing this talk, have been doing it for the last six months, but you also spend a lot of time talking about value led pricing. Yes. Now this is a big, big topic that I think every, it's on the tip of everyone's tongue these days and maybe for the last four centuries, uh, seems everybody's talking about this, thinking about it, having challenges with it. How can you help our listener?

EK: 21:54 Well, look, I certainly go back and listen to your podcast that you did with Ron Baker because he's, he's the, he's the, the, the, the grandfather, the godfather of all of this. But let me just, I'll put my, my, my spin on it as well. And when, what I see over and over again in, in my self talking about this topic for getting on close to 15 years is it's one of these weird things. It sort of goes without saying that you can't do value led pricing without having a conversation about perceived value. Yeah. Right. And to me as, as bizarre as it sounds, that's the thing that's most missing is professionals. Not just bookkeepers, but professionals, inability to have an and craft a great value conversation. I love it. And what, and what I'll, what I'll hear is, well, the, my, my cost, my customers, my prospects don't want to have that conversation.

EK: 22:51 And um, and I'm like, sorry, sorry. That's a, that's an excuse, right? That's an excuse. They just want to know what my, my rate is right now that I'm sorry. That's an issue. That's an excuse there. There, there is, there are some means of getting around this. Now, one thing that we have to get comfortable with is that, and I'm going to share with you a technique to at least start the process. I don't think we have the time in one podcast to talk through all of this, but I'll share a technique that will at least help kick off that conversation. And what step one is to recognize that if you use this, and you still have somebody who's just saying, just tell me your age. Just tell me, right? Just tell me your rate. You now have a customer selection issue. Do you want this person as a customer or do you want to define your customers hate only those that are willing to have a value conversation, right?

EK: 23:44 And while that's limiting, it's also freeing. Agreed, right? Because it means, no, we're not, we're not going to waste our time with people who just, who just want know 25 bucks an hour or 50 bucks an hour. We're not, we're not even, we're not even going to engage. All right, but here's, so here's the technique and it's, and this, this came to me from, uh, another great book that I read a number of years ago called let's get real or let's get play. Let's not play. Let's get real. Or let's not play by Mohan Khalsa, k, h a. L s a is the author Mohan since retired. I have had the opportunity to meet him a number of years ago. Great Guy. But so here he, he, he, the technique is called moving off to solution. The big challenges is that oftentimes professionals want to talk about the solution because it makes them sound really smart.

EK: 24:34 The problem is, is that solutions in and of themselves have no value. They only derive their value from the problems that they solve. So in order to have the value conversation, we have to have a conversation about the problems, not about our wonderful, great solutions. But our tendency is to want to talk about the solutions. Cause that's where we feel comfortable. So it goes something like this. My books are a mess. I need some help with them. What's your hourly rate? Right? That. Is that a, is that a, is that a fair way that a lot of conversations start? I would say so. There's definitely listeners going. Yeah, I've heard that one before. I've heard that one before. Twice yesterday. Okay. So the key is to listen intently to what they're asking. Right? And what they're telling you and then to assuage them in some way.

EK: 25:24 So the first step is to say, hey, thanks. Thanks for asking. Thanks for calling. Thanks for your email. We, we handle stuff like this all of the time. So you're giving them some little feedback that they've asked, asked a question that is appropriate to inappropriate person who may have at some point an answer. Okay. But one of the things that I said was, is my books were a mess. So what we're going to lead off as, thanks for calling, thanks for emailing. We do the stuff like this all the time. And every time someone comes to us and says they have a mess, they've got a different version of mess. Right? Messes differ from PR firm, from company to company, from person to person.

MP: 25: 50 Is that true? By the way.

EK: 25:52 Absolutely right. It is.

MP: 25:54 Okay.

EK: 25:55 And then here's the third part, it's called the close.

EK: 26:12 It's not a close of the sale. So it's a closed probe question. So would it be okay if we talk, if I asked you a couple of questions about your particular mess. I love it. Yeah. Right. What are 99 out of a hundred people going to say? They're going to say yes. Yeah, sure. Let's talk about my mess. Right. Cause they like to talk about themselves. So now we can ask some questions about the mess. Right? And we could s yeah, I've, I've got, I've got, you know, 18 you know the tax people are coming for me. I've got 18 months worth of stuff that I haven't categorized. And you know, I've, I've got four different credit cards that, that haven't been reconciled in three years. Can the, the, the consultant begin to now or the bookkeeper begin now to understand a little bit more about the, the, the, the size of the problem.

MP: 27:02 Yeah. And then, you know, tell me a little bit bit about your company. This will lead to keep the focus on them.

EK: 27:09 Well, you know, we're a $10 million organization does like this. Okay. So there are $10 million organization, not a $1 million organization who is less price-sensitive, a $10 million organization or a $1 million organization in general. Probably the 10 million. Yeah. All right. So now we're starting to begin to understand the potential value of the work that this customer needs to do. And then if you, and if you might even say, have you had a bookkeeper before? Well, we have, well, you know, I had, I had somebody on staff but they left six months ago. Really? Um, but what do you, what'd you pay that person? Oh yeah, we, they were like a $50,000 a year person. Okay. Alright. So in other words, if I come in, I'm going to be saving you at least $50,000, right? And if I put a price on something that's less than that, it's likely they will select me.

MP: 27:56 I love how you're laying this out. In fact, I want to put it into point form. For our listeners because it really is, you can hear from this conversation. I mean, it's not easy for sure. Right now we're, we're giving, we're giving kind of like the, uh, here, you know, he's stand up at bat, you know?

EK: 28:18 Yeah, the ball comes, I mean, and simple, right? Ball's going to come at you hit it and it's just knocking out of the park. Uh, but you gotta swing at it a whole bunch of times before you can even hit the ball even two feet in front of you. And that's, I really feel for a conversation like this. This is what's lovely about this is that it's, it's right there. You can take this, write it all down, practice it, and get into the conversations. Now I think there's some talk a little bit about like there's some, because PR, a person walking in, if they don't have the right mindset, that's going to create a barrier to, to, to push through the, the, that first question of a, you're just a bookkeeper, right?

EK: 28:55 It does take a bit of courage maybe in the beginning to get to confidence where you can then confidently ask these questions. But what I love about it is that it won't take very much to get through because these questions are simple and they're all about the owner. The owner is actually the one that's in pain and, and often has deep problems that needs to be solved. So once you open up that, that it's going to be, it's almost like getting on a boat and just floating down the river with them. And the report just gets better and better and better as they're sharing about where they're at. Trust is growing as they share their problems. Trust grows.

MP: 29:31 Absolutely.

EK: 29:32 One of, one of the points that call so makes in the book, and this is probably one of the most profound things that I've ever heard in business, is how you is indicative of how you will solve.

EK: 29:46 How you, how you go about the process of understanding the situation that the customer is in is a great indication of what you're gonna bring to the table when you go about solving it. Yeah. D This conversation that we're talking about is in and of itself. In essence, it is a differentiator, right? Because you are, this is not the typical conversation they are going to have with the two or three or four or five other people that they call

EK: 30:19 or likely any other vendors that they may come across in their business. Because this really is, if there was one thing that someone could master in, in being a person that needs to sell their services or their product, if it was one thing, if you just did this one thing and got these questions and got good at actually getting to pain and getting to the real problem that someone's going through them and getting their world, I bet it would change your business, your life impacted, like in terms of leverage. Incredibly.

MP: 30:53 Yeah.

EK: 30:54 And I'm gonna, I'm gonna make one cause I'm, I'm, I'm very persnickety about words you probably can tell that already. Love it and, and I'm going to make one don't, well, I tend to avoid the words problem. I tend to avoid the pain points, right? The, these are, these are all vestiges of, you know, in the states. I think it was in Canada too. But the, the, the rainbow vacuum salesperson, which, you know, they knocked on your door through dirt on your rug and said, here, watch how I can clean it.

MP: 31:27 Absolutely agree.

EK: 31:29 Right? So the words that calls us suggests, and I really do like these is evidence impact, end results. So what is the evidence that you have that this is something, this is something that needs to be worked on. What's the evidence and when you asked that, when you ask that to somebody there that cause that, and by the way, what, what is that? That's the value, right? That's one of the elements of value, right? Cause they have the, there's gotta be evidence that there's a problem, right? Gotta be evidence. What is that evidence? And then what is the impact if we assume, assume we solve the problem as soon as assume the solution. What's the, what's going to be the upside impact? Or what are the results that you're going to, you're trying to achieve and all those three different things. Or just three different ways of approaching this notion of having a conversation about the value to the customer, the perceived value, their perception of the value that oftentimes they don't even know. Right. And this is what I hear over and over again. It doesn't rather bookkeepers, accountants, lawyers, ou McCook, they don't even know what the value of the problem is. I know, I know they don't. Right. And that's why you're the professional, it's your job to help them uncover that that's what you do.

MP: 32:53 Yes. Yes. absolutely.

EK: 32:55 And that, that, and that this conversation will lead to that. But again, that died almost as another, that's another part of the, the formula. We may have to have you come back to talk about that. Right. It's like once we've, I understand the true and real situation and I like the, the, the book, I think I have that book. I have not read it, but I think it was recommended to me not that long ago. And I think I bought it. So I gotta look on the shelf. But, um, getting real with the customer is the foundation that then can lead to, oh, now we know that what's going on, we can start to talk about and, and, and build a case for why you're the right person to solve those issues and, and bring them to a different, a different outcome. Uh, one of the questions that I, that I've used as a coach for a very long time is just simply what's working, what's not working.

EK: 33:45 Those two questions are simple questions that open up a lot of avenues for, for deeper, deeper questions. Cause it's not like you ask one question, as you could see at, at, at, you've given us like layers of the onion to start opening things up and moving down. It's not like, and you, you nailed it. And, and, uh, it's like if someone were to say, tell me what your pains are. I mean, they're gonna run for the hills, right? It's being the type of person and that that's our listener right now. These, they are these people that would naturally ask these questions if they were like instructed or, or given the clue to do it years ago. They're in an industry where they deeply want to solve people's problems that they're having in challenges and take them to a better place. They're caring people. And so if you just put these questions on top of the care, the true care that you have about your customers is going to go much better. Can Be very interesting.

MP: 34:45 Yeah.

EK: 34:46 Just oh one, one final point on that end. You hit on something that is important and I get that people want to help others, but, and this is another thing that calls the points out in the book. You can't help people that don't really have a problem. Right? That's right. Or can't help identify the problem. And the way that, that, that, uh, the, this is talked about in medicine, there's a, there's a phrase that doctors use and that is prescription before diagnosis is malpractice. Ah, gorgeous. It's a great one. It's great, man. Sadly far too many professionals other than doctors, quite frankly, because it's a, the, it's part of who they are, right? Other than doctors don't have this diagnostic approach. They have a solution-based approach. Mostly out of [inaudible]. I want to talk about my solutions because I think they're great. Yeah. Right. And that's, that's, I get it. That's noble. You, you perhaps do have solutions, but unless we can identify and understand the value of the problem, your solution has no value. Right?

MP: 35:54 Yeah. Agreed.

EK: 35:56 And it, and it's really, there's no, there's nothing to actually have a conversation about. It's, it's, and, and I think the more I know, I know from my experience because very much the value conversation really, it can be overlaid. You think you're having a coaching conversation, um, at the same time is, you know, that you can get to sense. It's like, you'll know, I think the more you do this, you will know when you've hit upon something that is real, that is like, okay, now there's something there that I can, I can see that if we remove that would create a better situation. It's like the without that and so why bother even engaging any further? There's no problem to solve. Why even it's like you said, if you can't get to a problem, you're in front of the wrong customer.

MP: 36:46 That's right. That's right.

EK: 36:48 This is why oftentimes some of the most valuable things that we do is the diagnosis of the problem and a decision whether or not to solve it. Because I would say that's a true statement, right? That sometimes helping someone who's a, even a prospect or even a current customer or a prospect who comes to you with a problem, say you know what? You think you have a problem. It's not, it's not that big. It'd be far too expensive to go through the exercise of fixing this thing that you see as a problem, which is probably just a minor annoyance. Then don't, don't do it because it's cause it's going to cost you far too much. That's more valuable than providing a solution. Right?

MP: 37:25 That's right.

EK: 37:26 And I mean it just has the implications of that are, are far reaching, right? I mean if, if people don't, if there's no value have been established or, or a discrepancy amongst what some, like perhaps the person delivering the services higher as a higher value of what they do, then the person you're delivering it to, it's just going to end in disappointment and frustration too. Right? It's like it's somewhere down the track. Sometimes it's like you don't even get what I do because I haven't fully evaluated and understood your true desire to, of where you want to move to and your true, uh, situation. So it's, there's always going to be that, uh, discrepancy and at never will end happily until you get to that. So starting with this great foundation that you've laid out is going to pave the roads, I think for bringing on people that totally get what you do.

MP: 38:19 Totally get how it's valuable to them. And, and I love the, some of the quotes that you gave earlier on in the conversation around economy, right? And, and people valuing the things that lead to innovation. And I mean this whole conversation has been a bit of a, an exploration. I really want to have you back at to give us more of this. You're, you've been so generous and giving something that I consider to be absolute gold. I can, I can say that if our listener would take what you've said about having that conversation and map that out for themselves, that will lead to a really great outcome with, with potential clients of their businesses. So thank you so much for that. And before I let you go, I really want to give a pathway for our listeners to get more from you. Where can they reach out to you? What's the best way to do that?

EK: 39:14 Okay, well I'm, I'm just going to give this the soul of enterprise website as the place to go. That's the, the, the radio show slash podcast that I do with, with Ron Baker, that and it all 200 and I think 1211 episodes are available on our archive page if, if you like that and are interested. We just started about three months ago, a Patrion site, which allows people to subscribe and that is paid at $7 a month to do that. But all all that is is that we do, it's the show commercial-free because it's a radio show. So we, there are commercials if you're going to listen to commercial-free, but then we also do bonus episodes that are either after-show summaries as well as sometimes just stuff on different topics. So if you're so interested, take a look at the um, Thesoulofenterprise.com/patron for the Patriot site.

MP: 40:03 Beautiful. Well, I've, I've been listening to your podcast and you have some interesting dialogue, excellent guests, so I highly recommend our listener. Go check that out and add, it's been such a pleasure having you. I'd love to have you back at some point. Thank you so much.

EK: 40:20 It would be my honor and pleasure.

MP: 40:22 Beautiful. Thank you. And that wraps up another episode of The Successful Bookkeeper podcast. To learn more about today's wonderful guests and to get access to all sorts of valuable free business-building resources you can go to. Thesuccessfulbookkeeper.com until next time.

MP: 40:37 Goodbye.