In today’s episode of P is for Profit, we chat with Dov Gordon— The Alchemist Entrepreneur. Dov is also a marketing expert who says that people don’t buy what’s best for them, they buy what’s best marketed to them. Dov helps consultants, coaches, and entrepreneurs develop a consistent flow of their ideal clients.
You may be wondering why Dov calls himself The Alchemist Entrepreneur, and the answer is quite simple— Alchemy refers to turning lead into gold, and, mythical or not, the idea is that you must work on the underlying structure of the metal in order to turn something common into something priceless… which is exactly what Dov does for his clients.
We’ll chat with Dov about how to develop a steady, consistent, and predictable flow of ideal clients, as well as…
- Why information is not enough to get clients
- The two paths to thrive in business, and which one will bring you success
- How to talk about what you do
- And more
Mentioned in this episode:
Adam Lean: In this episode, we’re going to talk about how to develop a steady, consistent and predictable flow of ideal clients. We’re going to talk to a marketing expert who says people don’t buy what’s best for them, they buy what’s best marketed to them. This is P is for Profit.
Adam Lean: Welcome to P is for Profit. My name is Adam Lean, and I’m joined today by one of our CFOs Osbert Duran. We along with the rest of the team at The CFO Project are passionate about helping business owners improve the profitability of their business. My guest today is Dov Gordon. He’s a marketing expert and calls himself The Alchemist Entrepreneur. Interesting. Dov, welcome to the show.
Dov Gordon: Thanks for having me, Adam.
Adam: Yeah, we’re excited to jump in and talk about this. And also find out why you call yourself The Alchemist Entrepreneur. But before we dive in, tell us about yourself and your background and why you started doing this.
How Dov Became The Alchemist Entrepreneur
Dov: Early 20s, needed something to do and I’d come across the idea of business coaching. Never had a job, never had a business, but for some reason, I decided that was something I could do. I’m skipping some steps but and now, of course, it’s an easy thing to make fun of, but, and there are a lot of people who deserve that kind of ridicule, you know, like oh, he’s never done anything, so he’s coaching.
But there are also some people are just really good coaches. I’m actually just, I was just reading, started reading the biography of John Wooden right? A great coach, UCLA. As far as I know, did you ever play professionally? I don’t think so. I think he started coaching. I think. I could be wrong about that, just started so and I’m not much of a sports fan, but
Adam: Of course, I’m not either, so I couldn’t really tell you.
Dov: I was hoping you’d rescue me there.
Osbert Duran: I’m not either so we have three in the room who are not.
Dov: All right, well, you know, it doesn’t matter. He started coaching in his early 20s. I’m pretty sure that, and he was quite good. So anyway, so sometimes, you know, you’re just good at something. The problem is that, you know, as a mentor later shared with me says, Dov, you’ve got talent, but what you need is skills and systems. And that was a big eye-opener for me. It wasn’t enough to be talented, it wasn’t enough to care.
I needed these things called skills and systems. And I didn’t quite know what skills actually meant in that sense. Because, you know, if you’re good at building things, you know, with your hands, you know, a hammer or whatever, that’s a skill. So I over time, I learned a lot. You know, I just kind of jumped in the deep end. I got my first clients by going to a Dale Carnegie course where it’s a 14-week course.
You’re with your classmates for four hours once a week and it was, for us, it was a Thursday night, and I left with four, we had about 40 something people in the class. I think 14 percent of the class ended up as my first clients. So that’s how I got started just looking for people, like I didn’t know where to meet people. I didn’t know what I was doing, honestly. But I just knew that I had certain abilities to be able to help people see their situation more clearly and figure out their way forward.
And of course, you know, I very quickly did set out to learn skills and systems and, you know, that’s something that you never end up doing. But because I was just, I did just dive in, the first seven years or so we’re going uphill, like pushing a boulder uphill. It was rough. But having said that, I managed to get through to CEOs of companies doing between 10 and 150 $200 million in sales, organize the CEO peer advisory group.
So, you know, there was, there were a lot of successes along the way. But, you know, had some good clients and good projects and good groups and so on. But eventually, I got to the point where I started to figure out what is it that I didn’t know at the beginning and why was It that I was able to, let’s say, finally get through these people, when other people couldn’t. But then there was a struggle to close the sale, to going to lead that sales conversation and, you know, sell at the fees that I wanted.
And over time, I really got to learn a lot of those things and got to the point where I realized that my time, really, what I really want to do was to share with other people who are good at what they do. They’ve got an expertise, a skill consultant, other experts, professional service firm owners, but they’re not natural marketers or salespeople. You know, I came to see what I didn’t know wasn’t clear to me at the time, which is that there are two paths to thrive in business based on your expertise. You can take the path of the charismatic guru, or you can take the path of mastery. And we all see the path of the charismatic guru.
That’s what’s visible online. That’s what we all see. That’s what we’re all treated to. You know, you type in how do I get clients and then you suddenly find yourself on email lists and webinars and different events. And a lot of that is, you know, that celebrity personality. And many people find that they’re going down that path, but it doesn’t feel right. And therefore they take one step forward and one step backwards. You need to realize that there is another path.
And that’s the path of mastery. That’s like, you can be really good at what you do. And if you just learn some of the foundational elements about how do you go about finding ideal clients, talking about what you do in a way that gets their attention and interest and then leading them through a sales conversation and a proposal when relevant, and then closing a deal and then repeating that. It’s more about simplicity rather than big personality pretending to be somebody that you’re not really comfortable being.
Osbert: And I think I want to follow up on that actually because you talk a lot about what you say, knowing is just not enough to get a client. And so, I know you even correlate that with, you know, sometimes why it is so difficult to get a client, right? So I guess maybe elaborate more like, you know, on the knowing is just not enough piece. I’m curious to know what your thoughts are.
Penetrating the Wall
Dov: I think you’re talking about like, information is not enough, right? It’s not enough. You know, a lot of times we’ll go out and like, you know, end up on a webinar, we’re looking for that magical piece of information. And we, you know, we go through a course, we go through a training, we work with the, you know, whatever a program or whatever might be. Why? Because we think, well, I don’t know how to get clients, I thought this would be easier. A lot of people quit their corporate job and then they want to start, you know, so they figure Well, I’m really good at this in the corporate world.
Let me go out and do it on my own without all the nonsense and the politics and the artificial limitations that prevent me from doing my best. I want to do it my way. And then they go on to discover that actually, there are a lot of skills that are needed to successfully be a consultant, an independent consultant that you don’t have to worry about working in the corporate world. So they think well, I guess like, how do I do this? I must not know enough.
And they get a book, of course, and so on, and they make some progress and they hit a wall. The problem is, when you hit the wall, you fall into the clutches of what I think of as the three doubts. You know, the first is they wonder, well, am I doing the right thing? It didn’t work. Maybe I’m not doing the right thing. It looks so easy when I see those celebrity guru types up there. They just make it look really easy. And then, you know, am I doing it right? Maybe I’m doing the right thing, maybe not. Am I doing it right?
And why isn’t it working for me? And then we think well, I guess I just, I must not know enough. And we go off looking for more information. Another course another something or other. And my attitude is at some point, you know enough. That’s, you know enough and if you know a fraction of what there is to know then you probably already know enough. If you’ve been on, if you’ve read a few books, if you read a, the key is that we’re not living what we already know.
We’re not implementing it. Why not? Because we hit that wall and we suddenly find ourselves doubting. Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing it right? Why isn’t it working for me? Will it ever work for me? What we need is someone to look at what we’re doing. When you hit the wall, you got to have a mentor or coach or somebody who’s gonna look at what you’re doing and say, Well, are you doing the right thing? This part is right, that part is not. Drop this, fix that good. Go ahead. Now you’re doing the right thing. Keep moving.
Hit the wall. Take a chip out of it. Hit the wall. Take a chip out of it. And then at some point, it stops, you know, like you hit some the rock is harder or there’s some bit of metal or something in there and it stops working. And you got to be able to turn to your mentor again. Hey, am I doing it right? This is good. That’s not. Make that adjustment and hit the wall. Keep hitting. Take a chip out of it. Eventually you do and you start to again, you know, get stuck or is it going to work for me? Keep doing it.
Sometimes you need someone to remove that doubt. You’re doing the right thing. You’re doing it right. Just keep hitting that wall and eventually because you have that clarity, not just knowing what to do, not just information but deeper understanding. So you hit the wall, the wall crumbles one day. That last hit, suddenly it crumbles. And, wow, as you’re stepping through, suddenly you understand. All those things that you knew intellectually, you finally understand because you went from beginning through the process through the middle to the end.
And suddenly, you get it. That’s the learning. We all need to learn. To get to that next level, whatever that is, we all need to learn things. And the interesting thing is that it’s not just information, right? What you most need to learn is not something that anybody else could teach you. Nobody can come along and teach you what you most need to learn to get to that next level for you, whatever that is.
What we can do is guide you. We could lead you through a series of architected experiences. Hit the wall, make this change, tweak that. We can guide you through a series of architected experiences so that you learn what you need to learn to get there. And then when you’re on the other side of the wall, suddenly, you’re brushing yourself off and smiling and celebrating and you look up and you notice that wow, there’s another wall and it’s taller, it’s thicker. And,
Osbert: You know, yeah, it makes me really happy to hear you, how passionate you are because this, you know, on my own personal and like business ventures, you know, just resonating what you’re saying is how many times I’ve gotten to the point where I’m like, Well, you know, why can’t I get any further? Then I just kind of say, okay, maybe it’s not a good idea and then let’s move on to the next. And you can never, I could never kind of get past that. But that’s very good. I’m glad to hear that from you.
Dov: And it’s interesting, that’s a case by case situation, right? Sometimes it’s not a good idea. And sometimes you just got to get out of your own head so you can see more clearly where the idea is or where the next opportunity is.
Adam: So you, you know, talk about needing a guide to help business owners or business owners need a guide in order to hit that wall and to know, you know, if they should continue to hit that wall and if they should move to a different spot. But I want to talk about, you know, you said that business owners looking for a guide almost have two different paths they can go down. They look for that charismatic guru that has the flashy courses or books or whatnot, or versus somebody with mastery. How is somebody to tell the difference between the two paths?
Dov: Well, a lot of people are, I have a client now who is a woman, very good consultant, very good at what she does. She’s had some major big clients. But the trouble is, it’s not consistent. And she doesn’t feel like she has a process. She deals with leaders at large companies. If she’s got a client, she knows what to do.
She has a process for working with them, helping them go from A to B, helping them get that result they’re looking for. You know, she was telling me about, she was working with the Vice President of engineering I think it was. No, not a vice president, like a manager who the company felt had potential but he had some rough edges and she worked with him and now he’s a vice president.
You know, and doing really well. So there’s that, she has a lot to offer but doesn’t feel like she has that consistency. But she spent a lot of time and money over the last couple of years working with people who promised that, hey, do what I’m showing you and you’ll get great results. But so for example, one thing she did was she wrote a book. A lot of people say write a book and that’s how you will get known. And use it as a calling card, whatever it might be.
And there’s some truth to that. But that’s, you know, let me give you a very quick tangent, and I’ll come back to that question, alright? Here’s the thing. A book is a tactic. Podcasting is a tactic. Facebook ads is a tactic. An evergreen webinar a tactic. You know, content marketing is a tactic, public speaking is a tactic. These are all tactics and a tactic is like a balloon. If I have two balloons, one is red one’s blue, and I leave to go and the red one soars to the sky in the blue one falls to the floor. Are you going to say that red balloons soar and blue balloons fall?
I can say that. You say well, the red balloon must have been filled with helium and the other one was full of hot air, right? It’s the same thing with tactics. A book could soar or it could sink. Facebook ads, LinkedIn, content marketing, all of these could really work well, or it could fall and flop. And the problem is that we need to learn to distinguish between when it soars, why does it soar? When it flops, why does it flop? That’s the depth of understanding that we usually don’t get.
Because people say do this, you say, Okay, what should I do? And they say, do this. Okay, and what’s next? And how do I do it? I’ll do it like that and then we do it. These are people who spent years mastering their craft, who attained a deep understanding of why they do what they do, the thinking behind it, to the point that they’ve brought that, and many of my clients are really world-class at what they do. But when it comes to marketing and selling their expertise, for some reason, they figure Well, I don’t know this stuff.
It’s not my natural strength. Just I’ll do what it says. The problem is, and this answers your question, they’ve always had this nagging feeling that something is missing. There’s something missing in what you’re telling me to do. I’ll do it because you told me but it doesn’t feel right. It feels like you asked me to do something that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t feel like it fits my values or whatever it might be. In the case of my client, so she sent out 150 books, got I think, three conversations and no clients.
She did a radio interview, some which is remarkable. She had 82 requests for her book, no clients from it, right? We talked about it. I looked at it, I said, you know, the problem with everything you’ve done was that you’re following the tactics but you don’t have helium. There’s marketing helium. Marketing helium is being able to talk about what you do in a way that instantly gets the attention and interest of your ideal client. If you’re not, you know, it’s not a book that makes the magic. It’s a simple, compelling head-turning message.
And I, you know, just yesterday, she was on a call with me and she finally got that message and she was saying, like, Wow, I’ve done this, you know, I’ve done a number of things over the last few years with a number of different people. And nobody really helped me, like worked with me to get a message. Usually a template, fill this in and so on. A message is such a fundamental part of your marketing and selling because the job of the message is to get your ideal client to say, wow, that’s interesting. They’ve got to pay attention and think, wow, that’s interesting. No one is talking about it like that.
You can have a book but if you sound like everybody else, if you’re not, you know, if it lacks the marketing helium, it’s not going to work for you even if it worked for other people. Even if it worked for the celebrity type who’s speaking with such certainty while driving their luxury car, sitting on their, the beach by their third house, whatever it might be. That’s not, you know, that’s just part of it. And that’s not the right method for most people. A lot of people who are good at what they do, they need to learn to understand when it comes to marketing and selling my business, when it works, why does it work? When it fails, why does it fail?
Adam: No, that makes sense. I mean, you’re, a lot of people are chasing tactics instead of having a, you know, a strategy revolved around, you know, a head-turning message or the thing that separates them from everybody else. Well, let me ask you this. So, to piggyback on that, you say that clients are drawn to competence and that begins with your very first sentence. It’s how you talk about what you do. Can you explain what you mean by that?
Find a Simple, Compelling Message
Dov: First of all, you did good homework. You’re quoting stuff I’ve said or written different places, both of you, to find out where your process was, that’s pretty impressive. Clients are drawn to confidence. Yeah. So, you know, when, and it also relates to the messaging part, okay? So, you know, people want to know, if you’re going to be a messenger, and this is why a lot of people who don’t feel like they’re able to articulate what they do in a way that they feel good about. If you’re going to be the bearer of a message, you want to feel good about it.
And if you feel like and they say what do you do? And then you say, Well, I help teams, I help build engaged teams. Yeah, okay, great. I’m a leadership consultant. I do leadership development. I help conscious awareness. I don’t know, whatever. You don’t feel good about it. You know why you don’t feel good about it? Because it doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it means something to you, but you’re going to discover at some point that it doesn’t mean much to your ideal clients.
You need a simple compelling message that enables you to show up and say with confidence, this is what I do, right? And it doesn’t have to be clever. And most of the time, we’re not looking for clever. We’re looking for simple and clear. And, you know, what, you asked me what do I do. I help, you know, consultants get clients consistently. Ideal clients, right? And largely through leveraged relationships. So at various points, I’ll use some or all of that, depending on where I am, what it’s for, and so on.
So that’s a big part of confidence, being able to articulate what you do now I’ll just, let me give a tip on that because we talked about it so much. And I want the foundation, what we talked about marketing helium is getting crystal clear about what is it that you infuse your tactics with, right? How do you get your ideal client to conclude, Wow, that is interesting. And it doesn’t matter what tactic you’re using. If it’s a title of a book, if it’s a speech you’re giving somewhere, if it’s a cold email you’re sending or cold voicemail, or all of these could work and all of them could fail.
What matters is this, are you going to get them to stay? Did the very first question that pops into their mind when they come across whatever delivery vehicle, whatever tactic you’re using its delivery vehicle for your message. The question is always the same. Should I pay attention? Is it interesting? Should I pay attention, is it interesting? And there are only ever two things that they’re interested in. Number one they’re interested in, if you’re talking about a problem I have and don’t want you’ll get me interested.
If you talk about a result that I want and don’t have, they’ll get me interested. If you talk about anything else you’re not gonna get me interested. So, you know, an example of that I use, just because I’ve gotten so many of these I can’t possibly remember them all, but here’s one I like to use is that, you know, I had a client who was a leadership development consultant. She had been leader of a marketing department, 50 people marketing, 50 person marketing department at a billion-dollar construction company, left to do her own thing.
Like I said, a lot of my clients are corporate refugees looking for something better and finding that it’s, and now they have the worst boss with the worst benefits and it could take years to replace and exceed that corporate salary that they felt they’d be able to, unfortunately. So, but people should know that you got to, you know, don’t suffer alone. So and, you know, you asked her, What does she do? And she’ll say, Well, I’m a leadership consultant. And I said, Make a list of the problems you can help solve, the results you can get them. Make a list, and she made a list and I looked over that list, and I want them to be specific.
And I looked at something on the list and said that. You can build a business on that. And I don’t remember how she said it but how I helped her rework it was, so she got to where she says, Well, I help companies solve the problems they have from that employee who’s too valuable to fire. Now, imagine my client, a leadership consultant and another leadership consultant and they’re both at some event, and they’re introduced to Joe CEO who’s, you know, running a billion-dollar company.
There’s always a need for some leadership consulting there. And, you know, Joe turns to the other consultant and says, what do you do? And he says, I’m a leadership consultant. And Joe CEO thinks, Yeah, we cycle through people like you. Some are okay. Yeah. And then turns to my client asks her, Well, what do you do? And she says, Well, I help companies solve the problems they have from that employee who’s too valuable to fire.
You could feel the difference. You can feel the difference, right? So it’s specific, and I’m speaking aloud what’s going through their mind. And of course, there’s, you know, most are afraid of, you know, being too specific and leaving out opportunities. But it doesn’t work that way. Usually what happens is that they realize, Wow, you get it. You just said that in a way I’ve never heard anybody talk about it like that before. I’ve never heard anybody say it so simply, so clearly. You really must know your stuff because you really understand me.
Osbert: And I think, you know, yeah, like I’ve seen one of your YouTube videos on, like, doing your homework and doing the X amount of things before you submit a proposal. And this is the example you just gave of how different two proposals sounded. And it wasn’t like a direct proposal, but you can see the difference and how it can be received from the potential prospect. And just, I actually want to talk about one of the things segue a little bit because I think this is a very cool thing and a program that you kind of develop, is the force be reckoned with you. By the way, I think that’s very clever. Just the
Dov: You, a force to be reckoned with. Yeah, yeah. You, a force to be reckoned with. Yeah, that’s a Yeah, go on.
Osbert: Yeah, yeah. No, I actually wanted to know, like, you know, who is that for? And just kind of like, give us a brief, you know, overview of that program or training that you have.
Substance and Implementation
Dov: That’s a, I’d say it’s a very focused, that’s actually what the client I was just talking about before is currently going through with me. And it’s, in a sense, it’s going back to the basics that most people skip without realizing it, you know? It’s going back to the basics. It’s like you think, you know, you think you know who you’re selling to? Great. Could you articulate what you do in a way that’s got that simple, compelling message? No, that’s one reason I’m stuck. Okay. It’s going back, it’s getting that deep insight. Clarifying it. Force is a combination in physics. Don’t test me on the physics, right?
But it’s a combination of mass and acceleration, right? So there’s a substance and then there’s the implementation. And that’s how I see it. So if you want to be a force to be reckoned with in terms of marketing, you got to be able to do two things. You got to be able to talk about what you do in a way that gets their attention and interest, and that’s what we do in the first two weeks. Had a set or several different levels. And then you’ve got to have a simple, the simplest plan for finding and starting conversations with ideal clients. And there’s no magic for most people, I mean, this is not magic.
This is ideal for consultants, people who are looking to sell their expertise, your coaches for professional service firm owners. For anybody who’s really looking to, so anybody who feels like, Look, I want to have a simple, consistent process, just like for getting clients, just like I have for delivering what I do. And they don’t feel like much of the hype that we come across is really working with them. The things they’ve tried, you know, Facebook, LinkedIn content creation and all that, it’s like they have that feeling that something is missing. They can, you know, definitely reach out and find out if that’s a fit.
Osbert: Yeah, very interesting.
Adam: Yeah, it is. And it makes so much sense. I mean, you have to have a simple compelling message. So that being said, Where can people find you to learn more about what you do or even work with you or take some of your programs or courses?
Dov: We put up, actually, something that’s really unique is really helping people become what I think of as an under the radar leader in their industry, right? Because a lot, you know, this is one of the ways that a lot of people who, you know, they’re, they get stuck on all the tactics but if you ask them well where do most of your clients come from? They say referrals or people that I met when I was giving a talk or a speech or introductions.
And the problem with that is that referrals are hard to like, you know, you don’t feel like you have, they’re not consistent. You’re depending on other people. And relationships of all kinds take time. So this is a way for, to really accelerate that, make it more leveraged and predictable. And we talked about that in a short training, a free training video at profitablerelationships.com/adam. We put up Adam in your honor. So anybody wants to go and have a look at it, profitablerelationships.com/adam. And that’s about how to get all the clients you want by becoming an under the radar leader in your industry.
Adam: Wow. Well, profitablerelationships.com/adam and we’ll put that in the show notes. Dov, thank you so much for being here. Any last minute wisdom for the audience?
Dov: Well, I’m impressed with, you know, I do a lot of podcast interviews, you guys did your homework and like, that’s always a reminder is that it’s worth doing your homework. And I’d say that if anyone’s looking for your type of service, CFO support and so on, it’s good for them to know that you guys do your homework. Those are the people I would want to work with.
Adam: Well, thanks. And I have taken two pages of notes from our conversation here and I underline have to have a simple and compelling message. That makes so much sense. And we help businesses be more profitable and that’s what we try to do. So that’s what we’re good at. But I’m definitely gonna sign up for your course, profitablerelationships.com/adam. We’ll put that in the show notes.
Dov. again, thank you so much for being here. And again, if you would like to see if he can help you with your business and creating your simple, compelling message and having a guide to help get more leads, more clients, please reach out and I’ll put that link in the show notes. Thank you so much for listening. And remember the goal of your business should be to make more profit than last year and turn that profit into cash that you get to keep. Thanks for listening.