How Your Expertise Could Be Costing You Business

David M. Somerfleck is a Digital Marketing Specialist with over 20 years’ experience working with Fortune 500 companies and small business owners alike to help them accelerate growth and learn how to reinvest profits. Some of David’s past clients include Microsoft, AOL/Time-Warner, Johnson & Wales University, WordPress, Caribou Coffee, Fox Reality, and many others.
Episode Summary
  • Why you should only work with clients who want to grow.
  • Setting SMART goals will get you further than simply working hard.
  • Decide what you are willing to exchange to achieve your goals, and why you should do the same thing with potential clients.
  • How talking about the tools of your trade can cost your business.
  • Why it’s important to master the art of digital marketing to build your brand.
Guest Information

Episode Transcript

Chris Ippolito 01:05 

Hi, David. 


David Somerfleck 01:06 

Hi. How’s it going, Chris? 


Chris Ippolito 01:08 

I’m doing great. Thanks for being a guest on the “Get Coached Podcast.” It’s great to have you here and I want to just jump right in and have you share with the audience who you are, what’s your story, and let’s get to know you a little bit better. 


David Somerfleck 01:23 

Sure. Well, first of all, thank you for inviting me onto your podcast, I think it’s important for people to be cordial today especially with so much going on in the world. My name is David Somerfleck, I am a digital marketing specialist and basically a business growth expert with about 20-plus years’ experience working for multiple marketing agencies and advertising agencies. I was also a certified small business mentor for SCORE, which is a division of the United States Small Business Administration. And during that time I also had training as a political campaign consultant, which we called messaging. I have that experience. I was also a college professor, I taught journalism and English in addition to that. 


And I would say, based on my experience working for multiple marketing agencies and those 10 years or so working with SCORE with small business owners, as well, and then freelancing on my own, I was also a mediator, and I’ve also written a book. Based on that experience, I think I slowly began to feel over the years that I have something to offer the business owner who is really focused on growth. And that’s an important distinction to make because not all business owners or entrepreneurs necessarily want to grow, or they may want to grow but are not able. Or they may have other issues, there could be family members holding them back. It’s an important distinction to make, “Do you want to grow? Are you able to grow? Do you need it?” 


Chris Ippolito 03:11 

Yeah. Because with growth will come new challenges, new commitments, new responsibilities. 


David Somerfleck 03:18 

Oh, absolutely. 


Chris Ippolito 03:19 

It may not necessarily be more time. Because if you’re building a business properly, I think a lot of people would say you shouldn’t have to invest more time than you’re already. But your roles and your responsibilities might change, and do you actually want that, right? 


David Somerfleck 03:33 

I can give you a very, very brief example of this. 


Chris Ippolito 03:36 



David Somerfleck 03:37 

When I used to network very heavily, I used to go to a lot of networking events and speak at all kinds of events and seminars. And, anyway, I was talking to a woman who had a secondhand clothing store and she would also work with local artists, and we were talking about marketing. And I had a little bit too much caffeine that day and I said, “You could do X, Y, and Z, and that would probably rank you number one in Google,” I mean given what I knew about her business. And 100% true, she looked at me and said, “Oh, I don’t want to be number one in Google, I’d have more people calling me, I’d have more e-mails coming in, and more people coming into the store. That would be double the workload for me, I don’t have the money to hire any extra help. I don’t want to do that.” 


Chris Ippolito 04:34 

Right. That’s so interesting. 


David Somerfleck 04:37 

And at the time my wife was with me and I looked at my wife and she just gave me that look like, “Look, let’s go.” 


Chris Ippolito 04:44 

Yeah. I think it’s super interesting because you would think as a business owner there’s a certain mindset that you would have. I think I would just make the assumption, like I assume you want to grow your business and keep growing it and turn it into something more. But “no”? I find that so strange. 


David Somerfleck 05:06 

There’s a profound disconnect. And when I say these things, I don’t mean it in a harsh way. As you can see behind me, I try to be like the big guy there. I don’t always succeed, but I try. And the one thing I always try to remember is, look, when you talk to other people, you may want to help them, you may be like Ahab’s cabin boy, to use a literary metaphor, and you may be thinking, “Man, there’s so much I could do, oh my god. I could take this mechanic and automate all these processes and save them so much money and overhead,” and all this other stuff. They have to be in a place where they can conceive it, they want it, they need it enough that they’re willing to invest. 


That’s the big thing. Because the number one issue you hear is money, “How much is a website? How much is SEO?” I’ve heard that. “How much is e-commerce? How much is consulting?” On and on and on. And I always say, depending on my mood, I could say, “Well, look, how much is a piece of string? How much is a car? It depends. How long do you want it to drive for?” I used to have a friend who bought a used motorcycle and he paid $50 and it lasted just long enough for the seller to get out of town, which was about two days. 


And, I mean, the thing is, and I say this in my book The Road to Digital Marketing Profits and this is why I wrote it. Not because I was a genius or something, but just I kept seeing this coming up over and over again. You want to get here, but you’re here. You want to get from point A to point B, “I want more customers, I want more clients,” whatever that means to you. It could be more people coming into a salon, it could be more people coming to a mechanic, it could be more patients at a doctor’s office. Whatever it is, more customers at a restaurant placing orders. Whatever that is, that’s what you want. And you’re over here not getting it. 


What I try to do is say, “Look, what are you willing to do to get from here to here?” “Job” usually doesn’t equate, if that makes sense. What I try to do is, first, they’re fixated on tools, “How much is SEO? How much is a website?” And what I try to do is say, “Look, let’s talk about your goals first and why these have meaning to you,” then I can knock down and whittle out what the specific objectives are. 


Because for all I know, let’s take you as an example because you’re sitting here, it could be that you want more coaching clients. And you could say that in general, “I want more coaching clients.” Well, that doesn’t help me as a marketer. What kind of coaching clients? What kind of coaching do you provide? What’s your niche? What are your local demographics? Who else is doing that where you live in your city and state so I can understand the competition, right? What is your unique selling proposition that makes you different from the other 10 million other coaches out there? Right? And then we can focus in on, “Okay, well, what’s this worth to you? What is one new client per month worth to you?” 


If we look at a lawyer, right? A new client for a lawyer could be anywhere from a few grand, it could be much, much more, depending on what their legal issue is. One new client per month for a patent attorney could be worth $30 grand, it could be worth a lot more. One new client per month for a divorce attorney could be $100,000 if they work with a certain high-end type of clientele. Right? Whereas if you have an idea for a business and you haven’t tested it out, what’s your budget going to be? Very negligible because you don’t know if it’s going to work, you’re living hand to mouth. As much as I love start-ups, sometimes I may not want to work with a start-up. Because they haven’t tested their concept necessarily, they may not have a budget that I could do any work for. I mean if their budget is $500, what can I do with that? PPC, which is paid advertising, Facebook, LinkedIn advertising, can be very expensive. And to get traction it’s usually a couple grand per month. The average small business owner isn’t going to spend that. 


Chris Ippolito 09:52 

Right. Because I like to ask questions that are relevant to me, and then hopefully relevant to the audience, being in that start-up position, what would be some of the advice that you would provide to that type of person? Obviously working with them one on one is different because, like you said, there’s a certain requirement that you need. And as you evolve in business, that ends up happening, you start picking and choosing who you want to work with. But obviously the knowledge that you have still applies to the start-up. Let’s put it this way, what’s the primary focus for a start-up? Let’s say they’ve proven their business concept, though I don’t know if I have quite yet, but we’ve proven the business concept, we know there’s a demand for it, but we don’t have the budget to start the paid advertisement. What would be other approaches or the number one focus for them? 


David Somerfleck 10:51 

Yeah, there’s always a demand for what you do, always a demand. The question is, “Do you demand it?” Everybody in marketing knows Gary Vaynerchuk, Gary Vee. 


Chris Ippolito 11:06 



David Somerfleck 11:07 

Okay. There are some points that he makes I agree with and some I don’t. But his main point, if you watch his videos, he always basically, in my opinion, he always says the same thing, “Work really hard, work really hard, bust your gut, work really hard.” That doesn’t do it for everyone and everything. It’s not about setting goals or working hard all the time, it’s about setting smart goals. 


If you use the analogy of wrestling, when I was in high school I was athletic. You probably wouldn’t know it by looking at it. But it’s like someone who is a technical wrestler could always easily overcome a really big, muscular guy because they would take you apart like a surgeon. They knew exactly what to do, what part to go for and everything. You could never beat them unless you had more skills and more training. 


It’s about setting methodical goals, and that’s what I do when I work with clients, number one. And I’m sure you focus in on that, too. You could have a client tell you, “My goal is to make a million dollars in two weeks,” or whatever. And that’s always the same, everybody wants that. It never works out like that. If you read the biographies of all the people on “Shark Tank,” you see the common denominator is none of them got there overnight. It took them decades. Robert Herjavec worked for free for years at a computer start-up. Who can do that? I don’t know what his situation was. I don’t know what his situation was, but that’s what he said, he worked for free. 


Chris Ippolito 12:52 

Yeah. I think in his story, because he came from quite a poor family, if I remember. 


David Somerfleck 12:58 



Chris Ippolito 12:59 

He probably was just so used to living at this much lower standard than everybody else was so that he just got accustomed to it. Being able to work for free, or whatever it was, he just was able to deal with it. Whereas for, I think, the most average North American, we would struggle big time working for free. Because we’d go like, “I need the money now because I have this certain standard of living I want to live.” The value of knowledge long term, obviously look at him, right? 


David Somerfleck 13:36 

Right. Everybody has bills to pay, and God help you if you get sick. I mean I had to have hernia surgery recently and I remember looking at the bill. And if I hadn’t had the benefits that I had, which are not cheap, by the way, I think the bill would have been something like $5 grand. And I had a septoplasty recently so I could breathe a little bit better. The bill for that, without the benefits, would have been $25 grand. Now I read somewhere a statistic that said the average American is one paycheck away from being homeless. 


Chris Ippolito 14:15 

Yeah. I’m sure Canada is pretty much the same. I used to work in the financial industry, I got to see firsthand most people’s bank accounts. 


David Somerfleck 14:27 

You know it’s true. 


Chris Ippolito 14:28 

It didn’t paint a very pretty picture, right? 


David Somerfleck 14:31 

Yeah. It’s very, very real. And what I always do is say, “Look, let’s look at your situation first.” Let’s realistically get to know your situation. What is it that you want to do and why? What are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to build a mobile barbershop? Whatever it is that you’re trying to do, a restaurant, whatever. Let’s look at your business, let’s look at your debt, let’s look at what you’ve got to invest, what you don’t have to invest, what are your assets monetarily and not monetarily. Because if you have family members who will help you, that’s a big asset. But I can’t tell somebody, they want this right away, “How much is it going to cost me to get a website?” I mean, really, go get a free template and see what it does for you. It will give you a big old doughnut. Because without the marketing plan behind it, without the organization, without thinking things through, you’re just throwing rice at the wall and hoping that some of it’s going to stick. And that’s no way to run a business or try to support a family in precarious times. 


That’s what I do first of all, is say, “Look, let’s really work out what in the hell are you trying to do, and why?” If somebody is not willing to talk about those things, I just tell them, “Look, God bless you, have a nice day. Nothing personal, I just don’t have time to play tiddlywinks.” I just don’t. I’ve got other things to do, I could be working on another book, I could be chasing after my wife or whatever, go watching The Great Courses or something. Or I could be studying digital marketing. I mean I don’t have time for people who have unrealistic expectations. The question is, “How do you have realistic expectations?” Realize that nothing that’s worth anything is immediate. Passive income, it’s not real. Not until you’re established, then you have the books and the courses and everything else. It doesn’t work. Affiliate market, fine, once you have a brand and a business and everything already set up. 


There’s a quote by Henry David Thoreau, who wrote Walden. And he has this wonderful quote that says, “Build your castles in the air, for that is where they should be. Now lay your foundation beneath it.” That’s my first thing to say to new business owners, small business owners, coaches, consultants who want to increase revenue. Get a grip on, first, what it is that you think you want, why do you want it, what are you willing to sacrifice to get there. And if you think it’s going to be free or $10 or whatever, you’re going to go to Fiverr or whatever the thing is and get a free template, it doesn’t work that way. You can go ahead and do it and test out theories, but whatever you create on the Internet lasts forever. It’s better to think it through than it is to have a couple of jacked up websites associated with your name. It just is. 


That’s what I do. And then I say, “Decide what you’re willing to exchange in return for this goal realistically.” If you want to be in great shape, you’ve got to get up and work out an hour or two every day. That’s what I always say. And then determine your budget when you’re ready to commit. And then are you able to accommodate new customers if and when they come? I put things in that order. And I’m not going to push my book, but I do think it’s good, I do think it’s a good, decent book. And I think you could get that help online, other places, but it’s about organizing a very deliberate, structured, thought-out business plan before you start throwing things up in the air and seeing if it will fall down. 


Chris Ippolito 18:40 

Yeah. I appreciate that thought because, having gone through what I’ve gone through in the last couple months as far as trying to launch a business, it’s like as much as I thought it through, or thought I did anyways, basically if I’d written myself out a checklist of all the advice that I’ve heard or read before and I went through that checklist before I launched the business, I would have probably learned a lot of the lessons that I’ve currently learned, such as really making sure that you talk to your desired client or market and finding out from them what they want. Because if I had done that, I would have skipped one of the steps that I started with. 


David Somerfleck 19:30 

It’s transactional. It’s transactional. Just like we’re talking here, you’ve got to do that with your client before you agree to work with them, or you will have hell to pay. There’s a website called Clients from Hell, you could google it if people want to hear horror stories. I could tell you horror stories that our beards would grow down to the floor by the time I was done. And they almost always came as a result of not screening the clients appropriately. It’s not their fault. Because I’m agreeing to work with people I don’t know. 


It really is a matter of getting to know that person first and saying, “What are your goals? Why do you think these are your goals? Why? What are you trying to accomplish?” To the client, a lot of times they can think the questions are silly. But what I could always say is, “Think of me as the doctor of marketing.” I’m trying to cure your problems, but I can’t diagnose the problem until we can talk. If you go to a doctor, they say, “Well, what’s going on? Do you have a pain? Where is the pain? Have you tried heat? Have you tried cold? Have you tried any medications? Who have you seen already? How long has this been going on for? Who else is involved? What’s at stake? What happens if we do this or that?” You can’t solve a problem if you can’t know what caused it. And that’s a key, key point. 


And the reason for this is because I worked within marketing agencies for at least 20 years, if I don’t count publishers, if I don’t count teaching and working with the college administration and everything. When I freelanced in between, there was one case in particular. I was a freelancer and I talked to one woman who said, “Well, I want to be an artist, and I have paintings.” She had showed me some of her paintings. Beautiful paintings, beautiful paintings. She wanted to sell her artwork. “Great, I could create a website for you where you can sell your artwork online, like Etsy.” And I’m not going to talk about the tools. Because if I talk about the tools, it’s like the dentist telling me what kind of enamel he’s going to use. It doesn’t make any sense. I’m not mechanical, the mechanic can tell me what the problem is but I don’t know what he means. 


Chris Ippolito 22:09 

Have you actually had that happen? I’ve had that happen. They’re like, “Oh, we did this and this and that, and we used this.” And I was like, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” 


David Somerfleck 22:21 

Yeah. In fact, when I went to go get a hernia surgery, right? I was terrified because I’d never had it done before. Right? I’m going to meet the surgeon, he was actually a very nice guy and he was number one in Google, he was the only surgeon I found who was number one in Google. And guess what? That’s how I found him. Okay? He had rave reviews, very active online. Anyway, I go to see him and he starts telling me about why I don’t have to worry about the mesh, and he uses the best mesh, and all this, “You don’t have to worry,” and all of that. 


And all of a sudden I told him, I said, “I’ve got to tell you the truth, Doc, I’m feeling lightheaded.” And my eyes start rolling up into my head like poached eggs. And my wife looks at me and she’s like, “You should really go wash your face, go get some air for a couple minutes, and come back. You’re thinking about the surgery.” And I told him, I said, “Sorry, Doc. I love you, I think you’re the greatest person in the world. Right? Because you’re going to cut me open and everything. I love you. I’m going to go rinse my face off and go walk around outside for a couple minutes, I’ll be right back. Because you’re talking to me about a medical procedure and the mesh and the tendons and all this. Don’t tell me. Don’t tell me. Just tell me what to do and this or that, all right?” That’s my point, I never talk tools with clients, it doesn’t do any good, they get intimidated. If after a time we work together, maybe then. 


Anyway, this particular client who she was an artist. And, “Oh, man, I could do that, that’s great. What’s a realistic budget range for you?” She told me, I said, “All right, I could work with that. I could work with that.” And we talked a couple of times to find out, “Well, what’s the artwork that you want to sell? What perspectives do you want to be available?,” and so on to work out the scope of the project, right? 


Then she starts losing her temper and everything, I said, “Ma’am, what’s wrong?” She said, “Well, I really didn’t tell you, but I’m bipolar and I don’t really think I need this medication that the doctors have told me I need to take and I haven’t been taking it for a week or two and I’m really upset with your questions, I don’t understand why you have to work on a schedule.” And I said, “Well, ma’am, it’s a great question. I work on a schedule because I have other clients in my pipeline, so to speak. I also have other responsibilities as an adult and a man, and other things I need to do, I’m sure you can understand that. I like to work with agendas in an organized, deliberate manner. All my projects must be done within a certain timeline and so on so I can get on to other things.” And she was livid. I said, “Ma’am, God bless you. I think you’re a wonderful, sacred human being, but I just don’t think we’re going to be a good fit for each other. I wish you all the best. God bless you.” 


And this is 100% true. We hung up the phone, I started receiving several hundred e-mails cursing me every expletive you could think of. I forwarded them to the local authorities, I reported her to SCORE, who I had met her through there or something, I forget what the deal was. But I forwarded all the correspondence and everything. And it just said, “This is God’s way of saying, ‘Screen who the eff you talk to.'” The why, and why. 


I’ve been to so many networking groups where I would go shake somebody’s hand and, “Well, what do you do?” “Well, I’m a digital marketing expert and a business growth expert, nice to meet you.” “Well, I don’t need growth, nice to meet you, bye.” Or, “I already have a website, I don’t need anything, bye.” That’s it. 


Chris Ippolito 26:12 

That was their first response to you? 


David Somerfleck 26:14 

I’ve had that happen hundreds of times. 


Chris Ippolito 26:18 

Oh, jeez. 


David Somerfleck 26:19 

And then I would go and look at their website on my phone and of course it doesn’t work on your phone, or it’s a horrible website or whatever and it’s not showing up or whatever. And I’m like, “Man, I really could help them, but they’re not interested.” Now when I meet people, I don’t tell them “digital marketing” because they think, “Well, I don’t need a website, I have a free Wix website.” Now what I say is, “I’m a business growth expert and I help people grow their business. If that’s something of interest to you, let’s talk.” The tools that I use, to them it’s irrelevant. 


Chris Ippolito 26:54 

Right. Oh, okay, I get what you’re saying. You’re saying if you say “digital marketing,” they instantly start thinking tools. 


David Somerfleck 27:02 



Chris Ippolito 27:03 

Got it, got it. 


David Somerfleck 27:04 

I’ve had that happen a million times. I’ve had people talk to me, “Well, I read that SEO, you don’t need it.” “Well, sir, what is SEO? Do you know what that means? Do you want to outrank competitors? Of course you do. That’s SEO. How could you tell me you don’t need that?” They read an article or they heard something, “Well, why would you ever pay somebody for a website when I could go to Wix or Weebly?” “Sir, that’s a free do-it-yourself template, it’s covered with ads for your competitors. You’re not going to rank number one in Google. If I tell you the reasons, they won’t make any sense.” 


Is it okay to tell you one more story? 


Chris Ippolito 27:40 

Yeah, go ahead. 


David Somerfleck 27:41 

Okay, I’ll tell you one more quick story that illustrates this specific point. Okay? My wife recently had cancer. I was very stressed out, as you could imagine. Right? I mean it’s like, “Oh my god.” And I was really, really stressed out beyond whatever I could articulate. And, anyway, I had scheduled a consultation with a lawyer. I like lawyers, personally, because I have a tremendous amount of respect for what they do and the knowledge that they attain. 


Anyway, I’m in the car and I’m going to do this consultation on the phone with this lawyer. I’m waiting for my wife to come back from chemo. Right? I’m sitting in the car and I’m really stressed out. I shouldn’t have done it, because I didn’t have a lot of sleep the night before, I’m really stressed out and anxious, I want to know what’s going to happen when she comes back. You know? There’s a reason I’m waiting in the car and not in the waiting room. Right? 


I call the lawyer up and, “Hi, how are you, ma’am, and what could I do to help you?” I didn’t have my agenda, I was really stressed out of my mind, I let her dictate. What is she going to do? She’s not an expert in digital marketing, right? She’s not an expert in marketing. She just starts telling me about her Wix website, she’s not getting any phone calls at all. She’s a brilliant lawyer, an incredible experience. She starts telling me how she’s getting ready to go take a job at Starbucks and everything. And she just asks me nothing but technical how-to questions for about an hour. And I answer every question as honestly as I can. 


At the end of the hour she says, “I am completely overwhelmed, I have no idea what you said, it doesn’t make any sense to me at all. I’m just going to go get a freaking job at Starbucks, I can’t deal with this, I’m not going to spend money on something I don’t understand.” And I said, “Well, I’m sorry you feel that way, God bless you, have a good life.” And I hung up the phone. Because whatever I would say at that point was moot. 


I could have helped her go to number one in Google for her city and state, but I lost that connection. Instead of saying, “Tell me what you’re trying to accomplish and why. What does this mean to you, what’s the value? Who else is involved? Are you willing to invest in order to attain what you want? Can you do it? Can you emotionally let go of what you’ve already done in order to do something new? What could we work out in order to get you from point A to point B that you’re willing and able to do that? What do you need to feel so you can accomplish this goal with me? We can do it together.” Because I could tell her, “What you’re paying per month on PPC that’s not getting you anywhere, I’d be happy to work with you. I’d be delighted to work with you.” Because one new client to her, you and I could go buy a car. 


Chris Ippolito 30:48 

Yeah. That typically is the case for them, isn’t it? It reminds me when I was working at the last company I was with. This is where I was starting to learn a little bit more, we’ll say, the tools of the trade for marketing versus the overall concept and all that. And I was starting to look into their ad spend, what they were doing, and asking the question of, “Well, what budget do we have set aside? And how are we doing it?,” and this and this and this. And I’m like, “Oh, okay.” 


I didn’t know any better at the beginning, but then I went and bought a couple of SEO books and advertising books and just marketing books in general. I started reading, started listening to podcasts. And now with a fresh, new set of lenses I’m looking at the strategy the company was doing and I’m going, “Wow, we are flushing a lot of money down the drain.” Because there wasn’t a lot of leads coming in and they were very unqualified. And I was the sales guy for a brand-new region, that’s why I was taking such a big interest in it. 


David Somerfleck 31:54 

It’s a huge amount of stress, too. 


Chris Ippolito 31:55 

Yeah. And I was like, “Wait, either we should change the strategy and let me apply what I’m learning to help with the strategy so that we can get leads coming in so that I can sell to somebody, or we should not be spending the money on ads and invest the money on other things that are going to attract people.” I was like, “Content,” content marketing strategy. “If we’re not going to be optimizing our ad spend and our ads, then we should invest it elsewhere that’s going to generate a rate of return.” 


David Somerfleck 32:31 

Yeah, hello. 


Chris Ippolito 32:32 

I got shot down on all of it and I was just like, “All right, I’ll just let them keep doing what they’re doing and I’ll control what I can control.” But yeah, that didn’t end up lasting very long because I was just so frustrated, “Listen, you’re expecting me to sell, and I’m going out there and doing as much activities as I can. But if I don’t have that other flow of leads coming from paid or inbound”… 


David Somerfleck 32:59 

You’re chasing your tail. 


Chris Ippolito 33:00 

…”it’s making my job really difficult when your expectations are here.” Right? It made it challenging, we parted ways. It’s unfortunate, but I learned a lot, right? And now that’s a big part of the lessons that I’m trying to build upon. That’s why talking to guys like you who have been doing this for a while, especially on the digital side, I feel like I can take a lot of value out of that. 


David Somerfleck 33:26 

I started working in website development when the Internet first began. I mean I’d love to sit here and tell you, “Oh, yeah, I’m 25,” or something, I’m not. I was working on a degree in English. And to help me relax, because I couldn’t read to relax, one of the things that I loved was ruined for me by college courses. I couldn’t read anything without diagramming sentences and thinking about the dramatic arc and why is the author doing this, I would have done that differently. I couldn’t read for pleasure anymore, I started looking at HTML. Which is a type of very basic website programming, for those who may not know. And I just started studying Web design to help me relax. 


And my wife, we were dating back then, used to come and get me at the university computer lab and she would say, “It’s 10:00 p.m., you really need to come home by now.” And I would look at the clock and be like, “Oh, sorry, you’re right.” But the more I’ve learned about digital marketing specifics and all the advances in digital marketing, with chat bots and heat maps and so on, and SEO and Google Analytics, the more I realized none of that could help anyone if you couldn’t lock down the Socratic method when you talk to a client. 


And that’s as relevant and as real and as baseline for coaches as it is for a small business owner or a consultant or a therapist trying to get more leads. If you and the supposed expert who you’re going to for help can’t have some kind of Socratic questioning and conversation back and forth that’s focused and deliberate trying to discern an objective and get some grip on that, you’re not going to get anywhere. You’re just throwing rice at the wall, like I said. You’re chasing your tail, whatever. It’s doing acts. It’s doing an act, but there’s no rhyme or reason for it. It would be like me being on your podcast, “How are you today, Dave?” “Oh, I’m doing great, Chris, I don’t really have anything to talk about. I don’t really have any business or anything. Or I have an idea for a business, but I haven’t done it yet, Chris.” Look, just get to stepping. 


You’ve got to have that foundation, that’s really, really, really vital. And being semiretired now and now all this stuff with the coronavirus, it’s absolutely horrifying. And I just decided, “Look, this is as good a time as any to just hunker down and focus in on getting back to basics. Everything that I would tell someone else, now I’m going to apply it to myself and get back to basics.” And that’s for any business owner. You can work online, you can have people working for you online. I saw in the news today NASA and the U.S. government now were experimenting and running tests on teleworking because they anticipate changes, to say the least. 


Chris Ippolito 36:42 

That’s interesting. 


David Somerfleck 36:43 

It’s coming. 


Chris Ippolito 36:45 

I didn’t even think of it that way. I mean there’s a lot of fear around it right now, but, yeah, the implications to work. Like if all of a sudden our city stopped and was all in shutdown, could the economy still move forward? 


David Somerfleck 37:05 

It could. 


Chris Ippolito 37:05 

And the answer would be it could, but it would be a big transition for people to start working from home. And being businesses, a lot of businesses would be like, “We have no idea how to do this.” 


David Somerfleck 37:18 

Right. And it’s something that they could have been doing 10 years ago. They could have been doing it 10 years ago. When I was a teacher and a college professor, I remember they would have these orientations that you’d have to go to. Have to go to these boring orientations, right? That are like only an hour long or something and you know what they’re going to talk about, you know what they’re going to do. And I remember saying, “Why don’t you just do a video of the orientation, get people to watch the video, right? And then sign off on it.” You can do an Adobe form there they signed off on it, “Yes, I saw the video.” They said they’re nowhere prepared to do that. 


I saw something today where more and more schools are shutting down because of the virus, the schools are shutting down. And who was it? It was somebody with the CDC or the WHO saying, “You can do tele-education and telework.” Realistically, almost no school districts in America are prepared to do courses through the Internet. No way. Could you imagine a teacher teaching their class from their home office? Most can’t even check e-mail without downloading viruses. And it’s no slight to teachers. Sorry, teachers, I love you, but you know what I’m talking about. The technology for most teachers are woefully inadequate. 


Government employees, who was it? Rudy Giuliani, who was in charge of cybersecurity, took his phone to the Apple Store and they said to him, “Sir, why are you here in the Apple Store? You’re the highest level of government, you shouldn’t be bringing your phone to the Apple Store to be unlocked. You should be going to the NSA or the FBI or somebody, we’re just a $10-dollar-an-hour employee at the Apple Store and we’re taking your phone and looking at it?” That’s the highest level of government. 


Every business in America should be teleworking, working from home, enabling that. Whatever the job is. If it’s security, you could look at the cameras remotely and do that from home. I called the benefits provider today to ask a question and she said, “Yeah, we’re working from home.” I need to have a prescription filled, I called the doctor a couple days ago and said, “Could you please fill this prescription for at least six months for me so I can hunker down?” This is the truth, they said, “No, we won’t do it because we don’t believe in this coronavirus, we think it’s just like the flu.” This is 100% true, “We think it’s like the flu, this is what we read on the news online. If you want your prescription refilled, you have to come in.” It’s unnecessary. 


Chris Ippolito 40:18 

The way I would look at that is you’re entitled to make comparisons and whatever. Like if you believe that, you believe that, that’s awesome. And I’m not saying I believe in either one, but what they did there was basically impose their beliefs on you and say, “No, we’re not going to do that because we think what you are asking of us is dumb because you’re not agreeing with the way we believe.” And that opens up a whole different can of worms that we’ll save maybe. 


David Somerfleck 40:47 

Right. I’ll tie it up real quickly. I’ll tie it up very, very quickly. I live in the state of Florida, the Governor of Florida said there’s a public health emergency. 


Chris Ippolito 40:57 

Yeah. That part, the decision around coronavirus, is fine. It’s more like it’s a common thing. If you don’t believe in the same thing as the other person, you’re going to impose your beliefs on them. Again, in this case there’s other things going on as far as the legalities, and obviously politicians enforcing decisions and whatever. But it’s the same idea of like, “I believe in this, I believe that eating meat,” let’s just use this one, “I believe eating meat is part of a healthy diet.” There’s other people that wouldn’t believe that and they’ll impose their beliefs on me. That’s what I was getting to. And I think that is a big problem in our society, is that we need to be very mindful that everybody is entitled to believe whatever they believe because they believe in that based on the information they’ve gathered over their life. 


David Somerfleck 42:01 

Yeah. And if we look at that perspective, and I agree with you 100%, if we look at that perspective and say, “Well, how is it relevant?” First of all, coaches have to always remember that when they talk to their clients, to not try to enforce their perspective and always remember that who you’re talking to is like a ball of clay when it’s wet and warm and you can mold it. They’re coming to you full of fear, unsure about making a decision and what they should do, just as me going to the doctor. Me calling the doctor and saying, “Look, I see the news. It’s concerning, I don’t want to die. I’d rather not go out if I don’t need to.” 


And yeah, did that doctor’s receptionist or whatever enforce their view on me? Absolutely. What does that do to me as a client? Well, I have to go in to get my prescription now. When I go get it tomorrow, I said, “Well, let’s just get it over with before the thing spreads, let’s go in there and get it.” As soon as I go get it, I’m gone. That doctor is going to get a one-star review, I’m not going back. Because obviously I didn’t care for that response. 


But as a coach, yeah, you want to build rapport. And for me, what I do, with it being very technical, it’s even more important to not think in terms of tools or “how to,” and that’s very, very difficult. Because the first thing I’m thinking is, “Okay, they’re telling me that they’ve done this and they’ve done that and they’re working with this and their budget is that. Here are the tools that I could use to get from point A to point B, then maybe I could work with that. And how would I solve their problem if it’s technical?,” and so on. And if you’re really, really good in financial matters, you could be thinking the same thing. 


Chris Ippolito 44:12 

Yeah. I was just reflecting on some of my conversations I had in my pretty extended career in the world of finance and wealth management, and just remembering some of the conversations of breaking down the actual financial plan and strategy and investment strategy and, “This is why we’re investing in this,” and blah, blah, blah. And just seeing people’s eyes glaze over and go, “Yeah, I can’t do this, this is too much.” And especially early on in my career I was like, “What? What do you mean? This is a fantastic financial plan. I know it is because that’s my education, that’s my background.” But because I overwhelm them, like you were saying, with the tools and the how-tos, they just went, “Wow, this sounds like a lot of work and scary, I don’t want to do it, I don’t want to lose money.” 


David Somerfleck 45:06 

“Never mind. Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Just like the lawyer said to me. After that happened, that experience was just so depressing for me because I could see how I could have really helped her, I mean I could have really turned things around very quickly. And I just said, “From now on I’m not going to ever talk about how to do anything, we’ve got to have at least one or two conversations first to establish trust and rapport and get to the heart of the matter.” You don’t have to love me and sing my praises, but I need to be able to understand why are you trying to do this, who is involved, what’s at stake here, what is a realistic budget range. And they can’t tell you what a realistic budget range is because they don’t know yet. First we have to build the framework for that. Let’s talk about how businesses generate more leads in today’s modern society and how budgets work, then you can tell me what is a realistic budget for you now that you know. 


And it’s very similar to the whole doctor-patient thing. The doctor doesn’t have to be brilliant, but you want to be able to talk to the doctor and feel like they care, at least somewhat, because it’s so scary. They would look at a financial expert probably in a very similar way because it’s their money. It’s their money. If I sat down and I told you all my financial situations and everything, all my concerns, you would say, “Well, first of all, I need time to digest this and research it, and then get back to you.” And I would expect no less. You can’t jump the gun, it’s crucial for any coach or consultant out there to screen first and foremost and build rapport before you can make any improvement in anybody’s situation. 


It’s a long-winded answer, I’m sorry. 


Chris Ippolito 47:14 

No, it’s good. I’m trying to digest it and process it right now, but not sit here and ponder. 


David Somerfleck 47:22 

That’s the Canadian, that’s the Canadian right there, “Prōses it.” 


Chris Ippolito 47:26 



David Somerfleck 47:27 

“Prōses it.” I went to Toronto on our honeymoon and I loved it. 


Chris Ippolito 47:31 

Because you would say “präses,” right? 


David Somerfleck 47:33 

Yeah, we say “präses.” 


Chris Ippolito 47:34 

“Präses,” “prōses.” Yeah, “əbout,” “əbo͞ot.” 


David Somerfleck 47:38 

Yeah. But I’m sorry, I’ll let you go ahead. 


Chris Ippolito 47:43 

I was going to say it’s been a pleasure and a really fun conversation, I think there’s been some great advice and just good conversation in general. To wrap things up, David, I was wondering what would be the one thing that you would suggest the audience do as a next step coming out of what we just talked about? 


David Somerfleck 48:05 

I would say clarify your expectations first and foremost. Decide what your goals are. And then decide, “How am I going to get from point A to point B?” If your goal is to be a successful, profitable coach, define what that means to you as clearly as humanly possible. Visualize your ideal client, visualize and talk about what they would pay you in order to break even or start to generate profits. Decide what it means to you in terms of value and what you’re willing to trade in return to attain, or obtain, this scenario. And then whoever you work with, if you really want results, you work with a professional who has experience. Just if I go to a coach, what is the coach going to tell me? They’re going to say, “You want to talk to someone who’s an experienced professional who knows WTF they’re doing.” 


If you’re a coach and you’re trying to get more leads or get more traction, you want to talk to someone who’s experienced and knows what they’re doing. It doesn’t have to be me. Believe me, I’m fine. But you want to work with someone who knows what they’re doing and has relevant experience, has references, has testimonials, they’ve got work experience, and they’re not afraid to show it to you and so on in case studies and so on and so forth. All coaches should have that, they should expect it from others, as well. 


And determine your goals, your objectives, what they are worth to you, who and what you want, who and what you want to work with, work all that out. And like the quote from Thoreau, build your castles in the air, that’s fine, but have a foundation beneath them and think that through. That’s what I would say. And I’m more than happy to answer questions. If somebody has an honest, sincere question about what we’re discussing and they e-mail me, I’m happy to get back to them. If they spam me, I’m going to block them. If they send me free mess that I don’t want, I will block you and whatever. But if they have, “Hey, David, I have an honest to god question about what you talked about with Chris,” I’m happy to get back to them. 


Chris Ippolito 50:29 

Cool. And what would be the best place for them to reach out to you? Probably your website would have links to everything? 


David Somerfleck 50:38 

Yeah, you can e-mail me at dms.blue. It’s a real domain name, I know a lot of people do a double take when I say that. It’s just my initials and my favorite color. But dms.blue, you can e-mail me at dms@dms.blue. Okay? You can even call me at (424) DAVID01, I don’t care. It’s a Google Voice number, I’ll get the transcription in my e-mail. If you think I’m going to pick up, you’re wrong. Leave a message. But I’m always happy to help. If I can plug my book, The Road to Digital Marketing Profits is available on Amazon. And I’m so happy, it’s getting rave reviews. If that can be of benefit, as well. There’s free help and paid help. It’s out there for you. 


Chris Ippolito 51:27 

I’ll make all of that’s in the show notes, but it’s been a pleasure and I really appreciated the conversation. Thanks, David. 


David Somerfleck 51:35 

Thank you so much, I had a great time. 


Chris Ippolito 51:37 

Take care. 


David Somerfleck 51:38