About the Episode :
Today we meet Wayne Mullins, CEO and Founder Ugly Mug Marketing. Listen to learn how his business in marketing began and how he was inspired by some of the best marketing companies to offer services that customers want and need.
About the Guest :
Wayne is a husband, father of 4, founder, CEO, entrepreneur and author. He’s a generous soul, a risk taker and an out-of-the-box, against the grain thinker & leader. Over the past 20 years, Wayne Mullins has scaled multiple companies and helped hundreds of entrepreneurs do the same with their companies. Wayne influences more than 250,000 entrepreneurs annually through his blog, books and training programs. Wayne has personally worked with clients in over 100 industries – from every corner of the globe. In addition to being passionate about marketing, Wayne is also passionate about encouraging others through his stories of overcoming challenges and obstacles. He shares about his lowest season in life and how he got through it. He also speaks on creating healthy, high performance, self-accountable company cultures and cultivating excellent leadership. He loves to speak on these topics and share his lessons learned along the way.
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Today we’ve got an amazing show coming up and before we dive in, I’m going to ask you to share this with at least three people today, you’re listening, and I’m asking for your help. That’s how we impact more people because we don’t promote, we don’t advertise. The only way we touch more hearts is if you share this out with as many people as possible and today they’re gonna want to listen because this dude is the founder and CEO of Ugly Mug marketing. After walking his way away from his corporate job and he’s the author of three books one is coming out very shortly here called Full Circle marketing, and he’s an active blogger with a following of over 250,000 He’s got testimonials from Chris Voss from Cameron Herald I mean it’s just incredible. Wayne Mullins, welcome to the show, man.
Thank you so much, Rick. I’m looking forward to our chat today.
Yeah, me too. I love the balloons that are behind you, I know we’re talking, those are real. They’re so awesome if you’re listening to this, just go on to YouTube real quick and see those things, you know, and then come back to Apple podcasts whatever you’re on. But dude, ugly mug marketing. 2009 is when you started that, right
2009, it’s been almost 13 years of roller coaster I guess entrepreneurial rollercoaster as Darren Hardy would call it.
That roller coaster has a lot of ups and downs and lefts and rights, it’s just, it’s almost like if you’ve ever written Space Mountain at Disney World or Disneyland. Yeah, sometimes it’s like that you feel like the entrepreneurial roller coaster is in pitch black, because you can, there’s some turns you’re just never gonna see coming.
That would perfectly describe my journey for sure I don’t know about others but that describes mine.
Yeah, that was probably unexpected with your whole corporate job walkout too right. Tell me about that man.
Yeah absolutely so you know the backstory before the corporate job was, for whatever reason, my junior year of college, my parents gave me some CDs, yes on CD age from this gentleman of the name.
Me too, it’s all good.
Zig Ziglar on those CDs sold me on the profession of selling, so at that point in my education I decided I wanted to go into selling. So I graduated, got a job in sales in transition to a corporate advertising sales job. I spent right at three years in that role, went from being terrible to actually really good at selling, selling outdoor advertising is what I did and Rick I don’t know if you can relate to this, but I started noticing the amount of revenue that I was generating for the company and then I looked at my paycheck and there was this huge gap between those two numbers, my paycheck was way down here, the amount of revenue I was bringing in every month for the company was this huge number that kept growing and growing and growing. Yeah and this dangerous thought pops in my head. “What if I left this job, and actually sold something for myself? What, what could I do, what would be possible if I did that?” That was the beginning of the end of my corporate life, you know, I sat down and made a list of all the skills that I have available to me that I could possibly scale, sell in that list consisted of lawn and landscape. That was it.
That’s all you thought you could sell
Yeah, in terms of for myself products or services that I owned or could control. That was it, I knew I could sell. I knew I could do lawn care, landscaping, and so I decided, much to the dismay of a lot of my family members, my parents, included in that list, to walk away from this really great corporate job, you know, Monday through Friday eight to five, and start from scratch, building a lawn and landscape company.
So when you look at this list was this something that you were trying to figure out that you could also fulfill the service or product to was that a criteria of yours?
Yeah it was really just anything that, that I could own or control, right, so after I was taking myself skills my abilities and making a lot of money for the company I work for, which, again, nothing wrong with that that’s the way a lot of business works right, you know, there’s trade offs in any relationship, what doe
What did that company do? You didn’t mention the name but what they do, what they do, what their product or service is.
Yeah it was outdoor advertising so billboards.
That’s what you’re saying, okay yeah, gotcha. Cool. So digital media well I guess back then and CD time periods, there was no digital real media that existed at that point.
No, the digital billboards that you see you know around and that are common in most cities now didn’t exist then, other than maybe, you know, Times Square in New York, they didn’t just, it was all the old school billboards,
I remember watching people put those things up to this as an aside, you know, but watching how they would string those things around and then ones that were unsold for a while, they would have there was so much work for them to pull it down and put the phone number back up there, you know, call for advertising or whatever it was, interesting man. How was that? Can we dive into that and then continue because you were obviously pretty good at selling those right?
So I started out terrible Rick, I started out I was awful. I thought I could sell. I quickly learned that I couldn’t sell as well as I thought I could, but over the course of that three year period. If nothing else, I was a student of selling. I mean I was devouring books I was listening to, again, dating myself CDs on selling the
Where did you mess up at the beginning was sales, what was your, what was your pitch was like please do this because I need to make money. Yeah, it’s a joke man, it’s okay to laugh.
No,I think the big mess up for me really was that I was approaching it as selling the things in other words, selling the billboard, versus the end result that that billboard could produce a boom. So, yeah, that was the biggest mistake I was making.
Yeah, what you were focusing on, they’ll get sales people I’ve seen we’ll get we’ll dive into that spiral of like feature, right, and they’ll, they’ll start listing over like hey these are all the things that this thing has to offer. It’s like well what do you frickin do you know what’s it gonna do for me in the end.
Yeah, now that that’s it you know in that space you’re talking about, you know, the drive by count the number of eyeballs that are going to see the sign every day and you get in that whole cycle, and you lose sight of the end result that they’re after. Why did they want to billboard to begin with? What’s the reason behind that, you know, is it more revenue, more people booking a place to stay, you know, more people pulling in driving through whatever it may be, yeah.
That’s interesting, I appreciate that perspective, man. How did that transition then into what you were doing after that and the landscape company. You did do the landscape company, right?
Yeah, I started it from scratch. So, you know, I knew that I was walking away from my job, the corporate job I went into. They asked me if I would stay a bit longer than I anticipated, and so the timing of it I knew it was springtime so I really need to be outselling the other business selling my services for the future business I was starting, please. Yeah, I would spend the evenings and weekends going door to door, calling on business owners calling on, you know, homeowners asking for their business and I remember the first business owner that responded favorably. He said “Yes you can have my account, but the grounds have to be maintained tomorrow morning. If they’re not done tomorrow morning. I’m calling someone else to take care of it.” The problem was I still had my corporate job, I still had to be at work at eight o’clock the next morning. So I pull up the next morning at 5am, it’s still dark outside, headlights on the vehicle shining over the line, I’m out there cutting the grass in the dark with headlights from the vehicle, just to get it done just to get the account, and that account stayed with us the entire time that I had that business
Wow. Do you think that was a test or did he really need it done the next day?
It could have been a test but he needed it done it looked, it looked terrible, so look to
Get past the threshold of pain being like I needed done tomorrow. Did you have somebody not show up or something like that, that was left to go so long.
Yeah I think so I think the previous lawn company he was with, the gentleman, or whoever was doing it had not shown up, and he had already reached out to somebody else who was, you know, slated to come in so he gave me the shot, and I’m thankful he did.
Dude, that’s so important. I’m sure you’ve learned this too because here in the story and this is why I’m extracting so much info out of you around this is because you’re hitting on a principle in sales. That’s a lovely T word, it’s timing. This is why sales requires so much consistency, because you have to keep hitting them you walked in there at the exact right time that they had a need or at least they realized that they had a need because sometimes in sales, they don’t even realize what the needs are right, and you have to try to sell them what they want in order to get to actually what they need, find their pain points all the other stuff, but timing is so key when it comes to sales because it might not be like you, walking into that first account being like, “Yeah, I need to done tomorrow morning because I’m in a bind right now,” it could have been you know what I look at this next season or next year or something like that and that could be the right time and because you signed a contract, things were going okay already and it’s just not the right timing, which means your consistency and your follow up has to come into play, but timing I’ve noticed in my sales career is one of the most important concepts that’s there, which is why you can’t just depend on just a couple of leads you need to fill a funnel.
Yeah, spot on and you know Rick I carried that lesson even though I didn’t necessarily identify that lesson at the time, I carried that over into the actual, when I was growing the lawn and landscape company and one of the things that we did for marketing in that company is, every week we would go to a local donut store the dozens of boxes of donuts, and we had these labels printed that would cover the entire top of the box so it was our business name, our logo, and our phone number and then what we would do is we would go around to businesses, and we would leave those donuts for employees.
For example, let me give you an example of a restaurant so we would go into the back door of the kitchen of the restaurant. So this would be in the morning when they’re still prepping the food they’re cutting the vegetables they’re doing all the things they do to prep for lunch, and we would go in to the staff, we wouldn’t ask to speak to the manager we wouldn’t ask to speak to the owner, we would just bring in some doughnuts say “Hey we’re here from the company, you know the lawn care company, we want to bring you these doughnuts. We hope you’re having a great day.” Well, two weeks later, we would show back up the exact same thing, “Brought y’all some more donuts, we’re in the area and want to drop these off.”
Here’s the amazing thing that happened, Rick. We created Salesforce within all of these different businesses where we bought donuts so when the general manager came in, you know, three or four months down the road and walked in the back door of the kitchen and said, “The lawn looks terrible, have y’all seen the lawn guy?” they would respond and say, “No, we haven’t but there’s this other company that comes by every two weeks with doughnuts, you should call them.”
That’s awesome and by the way they’re good donuts, too.
Dude, the Sugar Rush is huge. That’s cool how you sold everybody but the decision maker first, is what it sounds like.
Yeah, we did but it exactly ties in to what you were saying we were top of mind, so we weren’t there pushing necessarily our product we weren’t pushing, you know, when can we give you an estimate, we were there, our label was on the top of the doughnuts, every single time because we showed up consistently every couple of weeks, when that question came up or when the general manager walked in and complained about the way the flowerbeds looked or the lawn looked, we were top of mind, the entire team, whether it was a restaurant, whether it was a business, our name got brought up in those conversations and so we couldn’t necessarily show up magically at the right time, right, like I did with that first lawn that I got, but when the question showed up, there was a complaint about that particular service. Our name showed up, because we consistently ingrain that into the team that was there.
That’s awesome, man. How did this transpire when you started ugly mug? How long after this I guess how long did you have the landscaping company going.
Sure, I had the lawn and landscape company for three years. And it was during the course of that three year period, you know, it started from scratch, grew the company to, we were one of the three largest in our region. We’re in a small area so it’s not like we’re in a major metropolitan area, but we were the three largest in this area. And it was during the course of growing that company that a lot of our clients have the lawn and landscape company started coming to me and saying, “What are you doing to grow?” What are you doing to scale, how are you marketing your company? Can you help us?” It was out of those conversations that eventually Ugly Mug marketing would be born.
That’s awesome, man. What’s up with the name, I mean, I understand what it is but tell all of our listeners how you came up with Ugly Mug.
Sure, so the name is actually inspired from a quote by a gentleman of the name David Ogilvy, so David Ogilvy came over to us back in I believe in the early 60s, and he set out to build the world’s largest ad agency that was his goal, and within 15 years he had accomplished that Ogilvy and Mather still to this day is in the top 10 in the world in terms of agency size, but David had a quote in his offices that was this, I would rather you show me an ad that’s ugly and get results than one that’s beautiful that doesn’t. Yep and so our name is really just a play off of that, it’s a center value of ours that we don’t want to ever get, you know distracted or distracted by doing things that are just glossy and glamorous, for the sake of glossy and glamorous we’d rather something ugly but effective than beautiful and not.
One conversion is all the freakin matters right when it comes in. That’s what we’re all hoping for, anyway, you can have the most beautiful ad design in the world but if it doesn’t convert what’s the point.
Yeah, spot on.
So, how quickly did you grow your agency?
So, the agency itself didn’t grow as quickly as I’d hoped or expected. So we’re 13 years and I would say that the first four years were painfully slow. The next two years were moderate, and then, you know the last six or so years the growth has been very consistent, the last four years, fairly rapid growth over the last four years, you know, just in full transparency Rick I would say that, you know, coming out of selling another company at a young age, and again it wasn’t like this was some major Silicon Valley startup, you know, that sells for millions or hundreds of millions of dollars, it was a lawn and landscape company with having successfully grown and sold that company at a young age.
In the growth of that company all stemming from really the marketing that we were doing, you know, I came in with a big ego, I came into ugly mug marketing thinking I’ve got this thing figured out. People are gonna form, you know, the conversations I was already having. People are gonna want what I can provide, they’re gonna want my advice, they’re gonna want my input, and, you know, some painful lessons came out of that. Number one, that sometimes we need to learn to sell people what they want, and give them what they need, instead of trying to beat them over the head and convince them of what we believe they need, and ignoring what they truly want. So for me, that was honestly probably a two year period of me trying to convince people, “No you really don’t want that. You really do need this.” So I was finding a lot of battles unnecessarily. During those early years,
It’s like force feed I’m certain marketing, right, because I’ve noticed this too in my sales experience that it’s very difficult and this is why it’s important when it comes to complex High Ticket Sales to uncover pain because then that’s what you find out, that’s when you find out what they really wants it doesn’t really matter what you came in the door offering,actually I should say it never really matters what you thought you were going to go in the door and offer when you find out what they’re looking for what they want, and sometimes there’s even, this is called a loss leader right in marketing, you present something that actually might lose you money because it’s what the customer the prospect feels that they want and you’ll sell it to them, because it’ll fulfill what what they feel in that moment, but then through that sale you can educate them and say yeah cool we took care of you here, but then there’s these other things too that I noticed that are gaps or other things that kind of popped up during the process. So that’s important because the market might not be ready for certain things at certain periods of times too.
Yeah, no, and for me, I was trying to push people, you know if you think of the proverbial conference zone right so it’s a box or two circle doubt that we all operate within, I was trying to push people so far out of their comfort zone, that it was an immediate no, right? It was too far beyond what they had done in the past; it was too different from what they had done in the past, and so one of the things I’ve learned over the years is, you know, step one is we have to identify where someone else’s comfort zone is especially when we’re servicing products or selling products or services that are maybe new or maybe different from what an industry or marketplace is used to. Step one is we’ve got identify what that comfort zone is, and then figure out how do we position our offering right within that threshold, like you were just saying so then we can slowly work them outside of that into hopefully that new reality, something better something different, something that they never, you know, quote unquote imagined possible
Yeah, let’s talk about that a little bit because when you’re selling somebody what they want too, you have to create and I’m sure you know this phrase right, an irresistible offer, right? How do you come up with what that irresistible offer is because sometimes it eludes some individuals you know it’s like I don’t know, I know what I sell and here’s my check marks here’s my features here’s my, and then they just get lost in their own stuff. It’s how you create that irresistible offer?
There’s actually a book out, Rick, with that same title. I think it’s the Irresistible Offer, if I’m not mistaken. It’s been years since I’ve read it but it’s a great book, and I’m probably gonna get this wrong, but he has a simple formula in that book for creating an irresistible offer. Part one is massive value. So in other words, no one’s gonna buy anything, if they think that the dollars they parting with are worth more than the benefits they’re gonna receive from your product or service so the more you can skew that equation, in favor of the value the benefits that their dollars they’re parting with they’re gonna bring the better so number one massive value. Number two is risk reversal. How do we reverse any possible downsides from them pulling out their wallet, handing us money for whatever the product or service may be, how do we reverse that risk, how do we minimize the potential downside for them in that equation.
Those are two important things: the reverse or the reversal of risk could be something like a guarantee, right? I see this in the coaching business all the time right if you’re not absolutely satisfied by coming to this event. We’re going to refund you everything plus 10% and that’s cool that’s awesome but then there’s a lot of others that are like hey we’re non refundable How do you do that. When it comes to that and then I started to think of Tommy Boy, I don’t know if you’ve seen them but if you’re from the CD era you should have seen Tommy Boy, right?
I actually haven’t, but I’m familiar with the title.
Like “I could poop in a box, you know, and slap a label on it saying guarantee that I got a guaranteed piece of shit right there, would you buy it?” Oh man, let’s reference that in the show notes please because I think that needs to be part of every educational system is watching that movie, it’s great, but you watch the sales in there and it’s because the whole movie is really about sales, you know, and how he takes over his dad’s business and how he goes through this process exactly what you’re talking about and he learns how to sell and when he starts to actually dig deep into his heart and just present people what they want and do exactly what you’re saying right here, reversing the risk in a good way and then just telling them, “Hey, here’s the value I’m going to bring you.” Just massive value that’s when he starts to see people buy it was a pretty accurate movie from a sales perspective, man. It was awesome. So if you have seen it, please tell me.
I’ll check it out.
Cool man. So, from what I hear you’re big into company culture too right?
I am. I’m a reluctant slow learner in that category. Like, you’re like pulling out all my slow learning portions of my career.
That’s good because this is real life. Right. Yeah, this is how things are and the only way you learn things is by actually doing them and it’s for a lot of times it doesn’t take. I was at a Tony Robbins thing recently and he said progress equals happiness, you know, it wasn’t necessarily that the end goal when you actually got there you can celebrate it sure but if you look at it as saying, I’m still moving, no matter what speed it is I’m still moving that can equate to happiness for you too, so who cares about being a slow learner, man. Yeah, we take our lumps as entrepreneurs, it’s a good thing.
Yeah, I agree with you. So, you know the backstory behind that one Rick is. I was part of a mastermind group, a few years back, and I’ve always attempted to surround myself with others who are smarter who, you know better doing things differently than I’m doing them, and I’ve been a part of this group and we met once a month for lunch, so it was a luncheon type of meeting, and every month they would present one core topic, and then everyone kind of go around the room and share, you know, their thoughts how they’re dealing with it, etc, and I had a friend of mine who owned a business he had grown it to the point where it was a crucial decision for him it was either sell the company, he had somebody offer him some money for his company, or he could continue to scale that company, which would involve bringing on a lot of new staff a lot of employees coming into the equation and so I thought it’d be great to bring him to this event, get him around some other entrepreneurs who are to, you know, a different level and hopefully they would rub off on him and encourage him to continue down the path to grow it, so that it could sell for, you know, multiples of what it was currently worth. So we showed up for lunch, he’s the guest, and lo and behold the conversation that way the topic that day was around your team and your employees
The first question is, share, you know your name, your business and how many team members you have into everyone’s going around, it gets to the entrepreneur who by far has the biggest company. And it’s his turn to introduce you to his name, his companies, and he says, in terms of the number of people I have on my team, working every day, it’s usually about half of them, you know everyone erupts in laughter and you know it’s just a joke. Well, for the next, you know, hour and a half that we’re there, everyone goes around the room and they share horror story after horror story about their team members about their employees and about how, you know, they feel like they’re constantly having to babysit and it’s just this thing of all the worst case scenario is of people talking about their teams.
That’s what took place that day into two things that unfolded from that number one, my friend decided to sell his business. He’s like, if these guys at this next level are still dealing with these headaches these issues. I don’t want any of that you know. I’d rather take the money part and go find something else to do. Number two, it really caused me to start thinking, “Okay, I know there’s companies out there where they don’t have the same issues right where they don’t feel like it’s constantly day after day issue after issue in terms of their team.” So I became a serious student of figuring this thing out called company culture. You know, for the longest time right up until probably we were eight years in business. I believe that company culture was this like, you know, kind of touchy feely thing over here, Like, you know, we’ve got other important things to do besides give credence to, you know, spending time sitting in a circle, talking about how we feel, or you know whatever these things were. So for me, it’s been, honestly, it’s been a four and a half year journey now with solid intention around figuring out this thing called culture.
That’s an awesome man. What was one of the biggest learnings that you’ve had? Obviously it’s not a, it’s not people, you know, in a circle, playing a guitar, I mean I have guitars here and I play them here, but it’s what we do for culture it’s my thing right. You know what was one of the biggest learnings that you’ve had around culture?
I would say two things come to mind. Number one was really understanding the root word for culture comes from the same Latin word as cultivate in so when we think about cultivating that, that’s typically a farming or gardening right we cultivate the soil in so when we cultivate the soil it’s a constant thing is not a one time thing and then we’re done. You know you don’t plant your garden, and then leave it alone for the entire season or the entire, you know, whatever season, those crops are growing in it takes constant effort to weed to prune to cut back to cultivate to fertilize to make sure the soil is healthy, so the plants grow the way they should.
So, that would be number one, the notion that is not a one and done thing that is gonna take continual effort, and that it’s gonna always be a work in progress and then the second one was this I heard a definition. I think it came from Chip Conely, I believe how you say his last name and he said, culture is revealed. When the boss is away. Culture is revealed when the boss is away so that really drove me down a different path. He drove me down the path to say okay, I understand the way people were formed, the way we behave, the way we act when I’m here or when another department manager is with the people on their team but, how do people perform, how do people act, how do we treat each other when quote unquote the boss is away. And so we’ve spent a lot of time and intention around building systems and processes to build out what I would call self accountable, culture, and really for us, that has been the focal point that has been the work that we put into our culture.
That’s awesome. Brother, you’ve got a new book coming up called Full Circle Marketing, and you’ve had two books before then, what is full circle marketing.
Yeah, the concept simply this, you know, salespeople, which I’ve been for my whole life I still say I’m in sales, I believe in selling every single day, and marketers, we both salespeople marketers we both have a terrible habit of bringing people to the point of conversion, getting them to pull out their wallet and hand us money, and then we run on to go find the next person to bring through that process again. Full Circle marketing says, “You know what, when we get them to the point of conversion when they’ve pulled out the wallet when they’ve handed us the money that is merely the beginning of marketing.” Yeah, and when we are intentional after the sale. We can take ordinary customers, and we can convert them into what I would call what we would call evangelists. Evangelists for our brand evangelists for our products for our services for us as salespeople as individuals, and so that’s really what full circle marketing is about, it breaks down marketing into this circle that clearly shows you exactly what campaigns need to be run at each and every step of the process.
That’s awesome man and you’re also talking about that dividing line between front end and back end, when it comes to, you know, even the sales process and the front end is what you’re talking about saying hey that’s where most people stop the transactions there and then it’s done, but the back end what you’re talking about is nurturing that customer, after the fact and then bringing them into other areas, or products or services divisions of your company that you may be able to offer them that you almost just forget about only because they went through a different door on the front end, you know, but then that’s really serving them what is salesman if it’s not serving people?
Now that’s spot on, I think, you know, part of, you know, so I was trained as a salesperson and so part of that is, you know, we view it as our job just to get them to the sale we get them to, you know sign the contract pull up the wall or hand us the money but we all know so if you survey a roomful of business owners or a roomful of salespeople and you say, “Where do your best new customers come from?” The answer every single time is either referral or word of mouth, every single time, and yet, we give little credence, we give little time, little attention, little effort to intentionally turning our customers into evangelists who will go out and tell others about us, our product or services.
I love it, man. That’s awesome brother so I think I need to subscribe to your blog. I’m going to be 250,001 and ugly mug marketing but that’s where we find you right uglymarketing.com This is Wayne Mullins or you can even look them up on LinkedIn and fire yourself that’s awesome.
Yep, I’m there as well. I’m not super active on LinkedIn, but you can find me there for sure.
That’s awesome, dude, Are you on Instagram?
I’m on Instagram, ugly mug marketing it’s just an ugly mug marketing sweet personally at fire yourself.
Awesome, I love it, man. Thanks for being on today, Wayne, good conversation brother.
Thank you so much, Rick, I’ve enjoyed it.