In this week’s Relationship Marketing Weekly, Kody Bateman had the pleasure of interviewing Speaker, Trainer, Sales Manager, Movie Producer, and World Class Magician, Jeff Ezell. Jeff explains how he incorporates relationship marketing in all aspects of his professional and personal life. Jeff has an amazing story and he’ll share how he educates others on the value of relationship marketing, showing appreciation, creating strong relationships, and how to live every day to the fullest…
Kody Bateman: Hey everybody. This is Kody Bateman here and welcome to our Relationship Marketing Show. December 20th, we are five days away from the big day. Christmas Day will be on Monday, Christmas Eve on Sunday. Merry Christmas to everybody. Happy Hanukkah! Happy holidays to everybody who’s out there. We appreciate everybody, especially during this time of year.
It’s a busy time here at SendOutCards. That’s the business that I am the founder of and we’ve been doing this Relationship Marketing Show for about eight months now and we’ve had some incredible shows where business owners talk about how they implement relationship marketing tactics into their business and how they build a business with it.
So there’s a lot of value for this show. There’s a lot of activity this time of year obviously. It’s the holiday season. A lot of greeting cards are sent out during the holidays and so it’s a great time of year to really reflect on how we can reach out to our customer base, to our prospects, to our friends, and how we can improve our relationships. That’s what this show is all about.
I’m really excited today about our guest. I would like to call this guy “Mr. Entrepreneur”. I mean this is the Entrepreneur Show. Jeff Ezell based out of Orange Country, California. Welcome to our show, Jeff. How are you doing?
Jeff Ezell: What’s going on? Kody B in the house!
Kody: Yes. How are you doing, brother? I can tell you, this is going to be fun. I wish we had more time because you are the poster child of what an entrepreneur is. We teach a lot that people – not only should you diversify your portfolio for investment. We also believe in diversifying what you do. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Being an entrepreneur means that you can do multiple things. You my friend do multiple things and you’re successful with all of them. Can you just share with our audience a little bit who you are and what are the entrepreneurial pursuits you have right now?
Jeff: Well, basically if you break it down to old school, I am the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. I’m all of the above, right? But I do really well with each and every one of those things just to keep everything going. So if I do lose one, I can’t cut any meat someday, I would still make some candles. I’m good. I can’t make any candles, I can still bake that bread. You know what I mean?
I’m a magician. I’m an entertainer. I’m a speaker. I’m a filmmaker. I’m a distributor for films. I’m a network marketer and I have time in my spare time to run a busy car dealership. How? I don’t even know. How do you find the time?
Kody: So your primary business is the car dealership and then you have several side businesses you d very successfully by the way and so we’re really excited to learn from you today. Not only how you succeed in each. But how do you juggle all? And you’re very, very good at doing that.
So you mentioned that you’re in the automotive business. You sell cars. Maserati, is that right?
Jeff: Yeah, the Maserati for almost two years over there. So yeah.
Kody: Wow. So that’s great. So while you sell Maseratis, you’re also in the film business. You’ve produced films. In fact, I’ve actually been part of distributing one of your films, Saved by Grace, which was a great flick that you put together a few years ago.
So I guess the first question that everybody would be asking, Jeff, seriously, how do you do it? How do you do the automotive – which by the way, we’re going to share some stories, very successful in the automotive business, but produce movies and do the speaking and magician and all that stuff. How do you do it all?
Jeff: The crazy part – OK. So in the car gig, right? I’m the sales manager at the dealership. So I’m there quite a bit already and I think my wife says that she doesn’t get how I get all these things fit in. But she will just be talking to me. Oh, my husband is doing something else now. Like what else? OK, whatever else.
But running the car dealership, which takes enormous hours. It really does unless you’re in Michigan. When I was there, they were closed on Sundays and opened a couple of hours on Saturdays. But out here in California, they’re pretty much day on, stay on. That’s just how it is, right? That’s the car business.
You’re putting your time there. I tried to keep relationships built with the team there and just work with people and customers, all the good stuff like that. But then here’s what people don’t get. I’m not in the dealership all the time and those times that I’m not there – almost the moment I walk out of the dealership, I’m just on the phone talking about movie stuff or I’m on the phone talking about a magic gig or a speaking gig. I really, really utilize my time off from there to keep things going here.
Then when I get home finally in the evening is when I’m – I have a nice recliner at my house, electric. It just goes up like that. My legs go up. My back goes – I’m like, “Yeah, that was my day. That was awesome, right?”
But you’re just doing this exact same thing over and over again each day. It’s time management to the extreme. I mean to the massive extreme. There are days where even I don’t know how I fit all those things that I do. But I have the things that I have set up and I do work those things out and I have like – like the other night, I did two gigs that were private party gigs. I did two gigs that were speaking gigs. I did some other gigs that were either corporate-related or film-business-related or I had an investor meeting last night.
So these were all on off-hours. You just have to just work those things out. You have to.
Kody: Yeah. One of the things I noticed that you’re so good at Jeff is you talk about time management. But one of the things I noticed about you is you’re really good at people management and you’re able to duplicate your time by having a system where you manage your relationships. I mean you mentioned how you’re running the car dealership. But then you would run outside and you get on the phone and you talk to somebody about a movie.
Well, that somebody you’re talking to about a movie is somebody that you have developed a relationship with. So your people management skills, what I’ve noticed, have really duplicated your – it gives you more time. You’re leveraging your time by having lots of people that do stuff for you because you have relationships with you.
So tell us. How do you create those business relationships that are so sound and so solid, that people are willing to help you and work with you and help you with your gigs?
Jeff: I think the easiest way to explain it in this industry is to help people understand just the difference between a cold market and a warm market. A lot of people that I meet, they have no idea who I am. But just a simple “Hello. How are you?” and a smile takes that cold person instantly to a warm person one way or another. You could start a conversation right from there.
That’s literally how I will start the whole thing up. Hey, how are you doing? I will greet them differently than somebody else. Like you walk into maybe like a business or something and people will go like, “Hi. Welcome to ABC Motors and we have this for you.” I’m not that guy, right?
So what I do is I will go, “Hey brother. What are you looking for? You have a car in mind today? What’s on your mind? Why are you here today? What’s going on?” whatever. I just greet them differently. I talk to them different. They like the laidback-ness of that. That’s a new hash tag. Laidback-ness.
Kody: Laidback-ness. I like that. I like that. Yeah. You’re definitely really good at that. You’re also very good at following up with people. You have a system where you follow up with people. So you stay top of mind with others.
I want to go to a story of yours which I think is incredible. There are two things that you do. One is you sell Maseratis and you’re in the film business. You have an amazing story about how because you create relationships with people, you were able to sell a Maserati and come up with $200,000 in additional fund you needed for a movie with the same person. So can you kind of tell us that story? What happened there?
Jeff: So this guy comes in the dealership and one of my team members was working with them to help them pick out the cars he wants, things like that, and we were really – it’s one of those like super busy days. So our finance department was totally backed up. The sales guy went through the whole process with the customer already. They picked out the car. I’ve penciled out the deal. He agreed on the numbers. But the finance department was so backed up that day that I decided, “OK. I’m just going to go fast, keep [0:09:12] [Indiscernible].”
I happen to get this one guy. It wasn’t like – I said, “I’m going to take this dude.” I had no idea. I just grabbed the file, took them, brought them and took care of them. But during the process of me working with them in the office to type all the paperwork – I’m a Chatty Cathy. There’s no denying that. I will sit there and I will just talk to the guy and just start making conversation and one part of the conversation went – he asked me, “So what else do you do?” He said, “There’s no way you just do this.” I go, “Yeah. Pretty much I do this a lot.” I go, “But on top of that, I am a magician. I make movies. I’m a network marketer.” He goes, “Movies. What kind of movies do you make?” and I said, “Basically family-friendly, faith-based movies.”
Basically I think – he said something to the effect of at that point, his friends and him were talking in the past about doing some movie investment. But had no idea what to do or where to go with it.
I said, “Very cool. You would like to learn more about it.” I said, “OK, cool.” I said, “When you leave, I will take a nice picture of you. I will put it on the card. I will put it in a package. I will mail it to you and I will send you a DVD of our last movie.”
But while we were sitting there, I also showed them a couple of trails for our previous movie. So he got to watch the trailers as well. He really liked the quality. He liked the styles and he liked the pattern of the whole thing.
So I sent him the movie in the mail. I sent him a pack of brownies and I sent him a card. Thank you. I appreciate your time. Then about a week later, he calls me and he goes, “Hey, we would like to talk some more.” OK. So I get him, me and the director who’s the owner of the company. I’m just the VP, but we’re like partners in the company and we all start talking together. We were probably like that in a month, probably like seven or eight conference calls in a 30-day period.
Within that time, he was able to get all those questions answered about how it would work and how the funds would be distributed and wherever used and how he earns his money back is the big deal and basically, he had them click a button and the money was in the account like the next day. I remember going to a meeting in San Diego with Darla and some of the other girls that night. I announced at that meeting. I said, “Last night, I just got my associate producer credit because I got the money in the bank today.”
Jeff: So it was pretty exciting. Two hundred grand, two hundred thousand dollars.
Kody: So you sold the Maserati car and come up with $200,000 in funding. But I think the point of this whole story is – in fact, I just want to ask you a question. I mean we – people have small talk conversation all the time. I mean you probably see salespeople in your car dealership all the time who are able to pick up small talk conversation. What do people do? How do you do it?
You know, and you find some commonalities and you carry on [0:12:00] [Indiscernible]. We do that. You do it. I do it. We do that kind of stuff all the time. But there was a fundamental difference here because you did some extra things that make an extra connection. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had small talk conversation and then you never see the people again.
Kody: You did something extra. On top of all of that, he had an interest in what you were doing. But how significant was sending the card and the brownies and the DVD that showed the movie? In your mind, how significant was that part of this interaction?
Jeff: That was in my opinion the most enormous thing that contributed to us reconnecting after he left the place because can leave a place. They will never talk to you again. They don’t need to. But sending that just kept the buyer going and he loved it. He just loved it. He called me and he said it was amazing. These guys ended up coming out on the set. We went to Arkansas, Bentonville, and filmed this last movie we did, the one that he helped fund. The three guys, they flew out to Arkansas with us last summer and we gave them chairs, hats, the whole nine yards and I made more cards and brownies here too and send them to the entire cast and send them to all the guys who gave us the money and – the next time we had dinner, they were all like hugging me and kissing me. I’m like, “These are guys I never knew.”
Kody: OK. So Jeff, so I’ve got a question for you. So like when we listen to you tell this story, I don’t care who’s listening right now. Every single one of you listening right now is saying, “It’s common sense.” Jeff, you said it’s common sense. I develop rapport with somebody. It’s common sense to follow up with a card and a gift and it adds that extra connection. It’s such common sense. It makes so much sense. It makes all the difference in the world.
Everybody right now listening is saying that. But the question for you is, “Why don’t more people do it?” I don’t get it. Why do not more people send the dang card? What is it?
Jeff: It’s not that they don’t have common sense. They just don’t have either the knowledge or the tool or the understanding of it. That’s just the reality of it. If they don’t understand it or know of it or get it or believe that spending just a couple of dollars on a card and brownies and a stamp is going to really excel your business somehow, I can’t make them give it. I can just keep showing them how it works for me. Hey, look. This is working, man. This is insane. I love it. I can’t make it work for you. You have to send the card. You have to send some appreciation and thank your people. Thank your customers.
Jeff: If you’re not thanking them enough, you’re not going to get enough in return. If you want to build anything long term, any long term – I don’t care what business you’re in – you need to appreciate and then once you do that, you’re going to get it back every single time. I promise you.
Kody: This is good stuff, Jeff. I love your energy. Super good stuff. I would like to close this show today with a question. I wasn’t planning on doing this, but just feel prompted to do so.
When I do the teachings and the trainings that I do, the seminars, I often talk about a word called promptings and what – a prompting is a thought that comes into your mind. It’s an intuitive thought that comes into your mind that you should reach out to somebody. You should thank somebody or you should tell somebody you care about them, whatever. We as human beings get promptings all the time to do that, to reach out to people, and I’ve always said if you will act on those promptings, if you act on your promptings and you reach out to those people, those promptings will guide you to where you’re supposed to go in your life.
They will guide you to the people you’re supposed to meet and to the things that you’re supposed to do. When I hear you tell your stories, that’s what it takes me back to is that acting on promptings, it appears, is guiding you not only to what you should do, but who you should meet. Can you comment on that in closing and what acting on promptings has meant to you personally and to your business over the last two years?
Jeff: I can say that with magic, movies, cars, whatever you want to call them. Anyone with businesses. I can just call it the business, a business, because it can all be really wrapped up in the same thing because in the end, you’re going for a result on a thing that you’re doing, whatever it is.
I was doing a show at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. Here’s a good story for you. I was doing a show at the Magic Castle in Hollywood and the way you get booked there is you will do – when you do get booked, you do a week’s span, seven days, and you will do about 21 to 24 shows in a week roughly. It just depends on how the crowds are going through. But there are short burst shows like 20 minutes and just roll the people through each night.
Then if they like you, if the booker or the place likes you, he will bring you back once a year, which is great, and that’s awesome. If you’re back there once a year, you’re doing fine. If they really like you, they will bring you back twice a year and if you’re just some – I don’t even know what they want to call it. They will invite you back even more.
This year alone, I was invited back four times to perform at the Magic Castle and I don’t think that it had anything to do with me being better because I know there are guys better at performing magic than I am. I’m great. But I know there are better ones.
I sent the booker cards and I sent the booker the brownies. When I sent them to the booker, the cards, the brownies, he literally called me the very next day and he said, “This Jeff?” Hey, yeah. This is Jeff.
He goes, “Dude, you are doing something right in the world.” He goes, “I don’t even need to comment on it. You know what I’m talking about. Can you come back next month?”
Kody: That’s cool.
Jeff: He said to not only come back next month, he wanted me to do the lecture at the Magic Castle, to teach all the other guys how to market themselves, and how I market myself and how I’m successful at making more shows than the other guys there and how I can make more on each show than any of the guys there without doing any extra real work. Sending a card, sending a brownie, sent. Propped that out, boom. You know what I mean?
Kody: Wow. What a great story. Well, my friends, Jeff Ezell out of Orange County California. Thank you so much for being on the show with us today. Your stories are incredible. I wish we had an hour and a half to just have you because I know you got a lot more stories like that. Any final words of wisdom for our audience before we close?
Jeff: Yeah. You know, you always hear the story about eating the elephant, right? How do you eat the elephant, right? You eat it one bite at a time. I have never been a fan of the whole analogy. The same thing with the gravestone. You have a birth year and you have a death year. You have the little mark in the middle on your gravestone. That’s your dash and what you do in that dash is what makes the difference in your whole life.
I don’t really want to focus on an elephant and I don’t want to focus on the gravestone. Those don’t really motivate me too much. Talk to me about a plate of spaghetti. I will eat that all day long. I don’t want to eat an elephant. I will eat a noodle. I will eat several noodles. I will eat them up and I will tell you how to eat that plate of spaghetti like nobody’s business. I don’t know what an elephant would taste like. I couldn’t even begin to tell you. I will tell you how much with a freaking plate of spaghetti and some garlic bread real fast, right?
Regarding the dash, everybody has that dash on their gravestone. But you have the exact same dash during your day. You wake up at a certain time and you go to bed at a certain time. When you wake up and you go to bed, 8:00 AM, 11:00 PM, whatever it is, you have that little space right between there. That’s your dash. You have to take that dash each and every day and make some of that dash each day. Not the whole lifetime because that’s a big old plate of spaghetti. You need to get that dash each day. Maximize that dash each day, whatever you can do that day, and that will build the next day, the next day, the next day.
If you keep doing that, then that’s what’s going to make you the best. Build your dash daily, not just your life.
Kody: Well, you certainly practice what you preach, my friend. It’s really cool to watch an entrepreneur with your kind of energy doing the things that you’re doing. Thank you so much for being on the show with us.