625: Building a Strong C-Suite Community | Jeffrey Hayzlett

Podcast Cover Image: Building a Strong C-Suite Community Featuring Jeffrey Hayzlett
Podcast Cover Image: Building a Strong C-Suite Community Featuring Jeffrey Hayzlett

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Tune in to our latest episode and welcome Jeffrey Hayzlett, a global business celebrity, best-selling author, and the Chairman and Founder of C-Suite Network. As a primetime television host, he is well-known for hosting shows such as C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett and Executive Perspectives on C-Suite TV. He also hosts a business podcast called All Business with Jeffrey Hayzlett on C-Suite Radio.

With extensive experience, Jeffrey led one of the largest corporate turnarounds as the Chief Marketing Officer of Eastman Kodak. During his tenure, he successfully reinvented the brand and embraced new media, establishing himself as a business trend-setter and an early adopter of digital marketing and social media.

Jeffrey’s mission is to help businesses transform themselves, which is reflected in his best-selling book, The Mirror Test. In addition to his role at C-Suite Network, he serves on numerous corporate boards and is renowned as a public speaker and author of multiple business books. He is actively driving the growth of C-Suite Network and its entities, including C-Suite Radio, the fastest-growing network for business podcasts.

Conquer Local is presented by Vendasta. We have proudly served 5.5+ million local businesses through 60,000+ channel partners. Learn more about Vendasta and we can help your organization or learn more about Vendasta’s Affiliate Program and how our listeners (like yourself) are making up to $10,000 off referrals.

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Building a Strong C-Suite Community


Jeff Tomlin: Welcome to the Conquer Local Podcast! Our show features successful sales leaders, marketers, thought leaders and entrepreneurs who will inspire you with their success stories. Each episode is packed with practical strategies, as our guests share their secrets to achieving their dreams. Listen in and learn the highlights of their remarkable accomplishments and get tips to revamp, rework, and reimagine your business. Whether you’re a small business owner, marketer, or aspiring entrepreneur, the Conquer Local Podcast is your ultimate guide to dominating your local market. Tune in now and take your business to the next level! 

I’m Jeff Tomlin and on this episode, we have a special treat. We’re pleased to welcome Jeffrey Hayzlett. I’m excited about this conversation because I’ve known Jeffrey for a while. I’ve seen him speak, read his books and follow his shows. He’s a wealth of knowledge, he’s a super interesting guy and a really entertaining dude.  

Jeffrey Hayzlett is a global business celebrity, primetime television host, bestselling author, and Chairman and Founder of the C-Suite Network. He is recognized for leading one of the largest corporate turnarounds as the Chief Marketing Officer of Eastman Kodak, where he helped reinvent the brand and embrace new media. Hayzlett’s mission is to help businesses transform and adapt to change, as emphasized in his bestselling book, The Mirror Test.

With an extensive background in business, he serves on multiple corporate boards and is a sought-after public speaker. He has authored four successful business books, including Think Big, Act Bigger, Running the Gauntlet, The Mirror Test, and his most recent book, the Hero Factor.

Currently, Jeff is focused on the growth of C-Suite Network, which includes C-Suite Radio, the fastest-growing network for business podcasts. Through his various roles and endeavours, he is constantly seeking new opportunities and innovative solutions to overcome obstacles and drive success.

Get ready Conquerors for Jeffrey Hayzlett coming up next on this week’s episode of the Conquer Local Podcast.

Jeff Tomlin: Jeffrey Hayzlett, it is an absolute pleasure to have you on the Conquer Local Podcast, and just, by the way, let me go through this. Radio host, TV show host, podcast host, author, celebrity CMO, entrepreneur, author, speaker. You’re kind of a big deal. And dare I say-

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Well, I don’t know about, bigger than necessary, some people might think.

Jeff Tomlin: I was just gonna say, maybe a little bigger than necessary.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: That’s always been my life. The first time I met my wife’s great-grandmother, she looked up at me and she looked at my wife, who’s small and petite, 5’1″, 105 pounds, Grandma Agnes is like 4’9″ and 80 pounds, and I’m 6’3″, 200 and something, looked up at me, turned back to Tammy and said, “Isn’t he bigger than necessary?” And that’s been my life ever since then.

Jeff Tomlin: I love that story and I always think about that, makes me laugh. You know, while we were working with you some time ago and you took us out for dinner. I think it was the name of the restaurant was Ben & Jack’s.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Oh, sure, yeah, Ben & Jack’s is the staple in New York City. Some of the guys used to work over at Peter Luger’s, left there, and started their own, as Wolfgangs and a whole host of New York steakhouses, but one of the best steakhouses in all of New York City.

Jeff Tomlin: Well, I remember you ordered the appetizers and I got a big slab of bacon and I said, you know, “This is a man after my own heart.” I got a little tear in my eye.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: That’s some good bacon, that’s not your female bacon. Not to knock any Canadian bacon, but this is American thick-cut bacon and it comes and it’s almost a meal, just the bacon itself.

Jeffrey Hayzlett’s Remarkable Career and Personal Brand Development

Jeff Tomlin: It’s almost a meal. I never had anything like it in my life and a big slab of bacon as an appetizer, it was pretty impressive. Jeff, I had first met you and I would’ve put this back, maybe it was 2011-ish or so, and you were speaking at a conference at the time and you’d come out with “The Mirror Test,” your first book.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Yep.

Jeff Tomlin: And you were speaking at a conference. It was one of the first times I’d heard you speak and then fast forward over all these years, you’ve built an amazing personal brand. You know what, a lot of us, when we start a company, we don’t have a lot of things figured out off the bat. We do a lot of pivots and you can see the pivots and you look back over time. When I look back on it, it seems like you had a plan and so, you know, what was the plan back there? Because you built an amazing personal brand and then, you know, an amazing Business Network through that, what was the plan back then?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: You know, back when I was the Chief Marketing Officer of a Fortune 100 company, I realized the power of media and the role that it was gonna play as we moved forward ’cause content’s the king. Content is the way to do it. You gotta have content. Even if you’re a dry cleaner in St. Louis or Saskatoon, you’ve gotta become known as the doctor of spots so that people can find you, and so building content, and I said to the team, “Let’s go out and build this celebrity version, global business celebrity.” And someone said, “What is that?” And I said, “Whatever the heck we say it is. And then let’s build a community around it.” ‘Cause if you have content, then build community, that’s what it does. Content drives your community and then community drives your commerce and we’ll figure out the extensions of that and we knew that media was gonna be a big part of it and we knew that there needed to be a trusted network, hence the name C-Suite Network, and we wanted to be focused in on business because that’s where the money is and so we went with that. That doesn’t mean that it’s always going to be that way. Doesn’t mean the way that you start your plan doesn’t have failures because everybody always says, as you well know as an entrepreneur yourself, “Fail fast.” Well, I think that’s bullshit. You need to succeed fast because you’re gonna make lots of failures as you go. We tried lots of different things, put a lot of money into it, and finally found the formulas and then we keep tweaking those formulas every single day ’cause what worked yesterday doesn’t work tomorrow and we know that through COVID, days became weeks, weeks became months, and months became years and so the speed of which you’ve got to adapt, you either change or you die and that’s really truly what’s facing most businesses today.

“Brand is Nothing More Than a Promise Delivered”

Jeff Tomlin: Yeah, you know, one of the things that stuck with me, by the way, all the way from back then, and it was from the first time that I heard you speak, was some of the things that you talked about with brand. And I’ve heard a couple of quotes in my life and I didn’t consider myself a brand marketer necessarily. I started with demand generation and so that wasn’t the muscle that I was necessarily flexing. Had to learn it over the years and it was a challenge with Vendasta because when we started out, we were a white-label sort of company and building a brand around that was challenging, but, you know, one of our chairmen had said to me at one point in time that, “A brand is nothing more than a shortcut for decision-making for people in how to interact with you.” And the other quote that has stuck with me was something that you said in the first talk, you said that “Brand is nothing more than a promise delivered.”

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Absolutely.

Jeff Tomlin: You had some amazing stories from your days at Kodak and understanding how to build a brand and challenges and pitfalls that you can have when you veer away from that and I’m wondering if maybe you can talk a little bit about that.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Yeah, I mean, this is a great example. No matter where I’m at, when I’m doing television, a lot of times I’m in a remote area sometimes where I gotta kick connect in with satellite or by fibre and I’ve got an earpiece in waiting to go on live on Fox or live on Bloomberg where I used to host my show and I get to talk to somebody thousands of miles away, usually, another guest that’s gonna be on and everybody always asks the same question around the brand, around Kodak, what happened? Why did they go bankrupt? And you know, I said they didn’t go bankrupt back in 19, they didn’t go bankrupt back a few years ago, they went bankrupt back in 1975 ’cause they had somebody who was sitting in a room who invented the new digital camera and they turned it down. I mean, you gotta think about this. As a brand, as a promise delivered, they had the only product that people would actually run back into a burning building to save. I mean, that’s true. And today, if your house was on fire, what would you wanna save? It’s all those photographs, those memories, those Kodak moments. Well, they forgot what they were about. And so, you know, they were always, they used to say, “Hey, we’re in the business of film.” They were never in the business of film. They were in the business of emotional technology. They would make, manage and move images and information and so they lost connection with that and so they drove that film brand all the way in and skipped and missed all the other opportunities that you can, they didn’t adapt, they didn’t change, and when you don’t adapt and change, you die, and that’s exactly what happened. So you have to keep connecting what is the core piece of the elements, the DNA of that brand. As your chairman said so eloquently, “It’s that connection, it shortens the connection.” Because if people identify with you, they get with you, they get your content, they get who you are, then they wanna be part of that community and of course, they wanna do business with you. And so that’s important for everybody. So everybody, today, as I said earlier to you, if you’re a dry cleaner, you have to build content, you have to build a brand so that people know what it is that you really do and it can’t just be the name, it can’t just be the logo. It’s gotta be the essence, the feeling of who you are and the essence of who you are.

The C-Suite Network: Brand promise, Founding Story, and Expansion

Jeff Tomlin: You know, the words that you had stuck with us and it’s been really helpful and you know, us, as we’ve sort of been trying to navigate what is our brand promise and what, you know, what is the real essence of our brand and so it’s been helpful and you have built a number of brands now and huge personal brand. You built the C-Suite Network. Maybe you can tell a little bit about the story of the founding of the C-Suite Network and what were you setting out to do.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: It’s funny. Well, I had this show called “The C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett” on Bloomberg, a primetime television show, the number one show both in viewers and gross dollars and everything else. I loved it because I owned it as well. So not only was I the host and a commentator and anchor on a major network, I owned my own show, which was great, which now has gone onto a media platform that we’ve created. And the night before we were to launch, we were gonna launch this thing called the CEO Network and then I turned to my team and said, “Why are we saying the CEO Network? Why don’t we say C-Suite? Why don’t we go after every officer in the C-Suite, not just the CEO?” ‘Cause we were thinking about competing with Vistage and some of the other groups are out there and so that night we went online and lo and behold, the URL was still open, C-Suite Network, we can do it. So we called the ad agency, changed the logo, and we launched it with the thought of creating a trusted network for C-Suite executives. So, being a C-Suite executive of a multi-billion dollar company, running a budget of $17 billion just on marketing and advertising, it’s a pretty lonely place. And no matter, if you take all the zeroes away, whether you’re on Main Street or Wall Street, being a C-Suite executive of any office that you have to occupy is a pretty lonely place and so you needed a trusted place for people to come together and that’s how we got started. And so now we use that to be able to help people accelerate and hyper-scale their businesses by providing a platform for them to be able to do it, to come, to share, to learn and share with one another and so we have, you know, we used to have all of these meetings pre-COVID, face-to-face, over 100 some meetings, and now we have over three, 400 meetings a year online and face-to-face for people to come together and we’ve created extensions. We’ve created products to sell, like C-Suite Loans, C-Suite Legal. We’re about to launch C-Suite Virtual Services so that you can outsource most of your things, C-Suite Bookkeeping. I’m even gonna come up with C-Suite Cologne, the smell of success, right? So we’re gonna do that-

Jeff Tomlin: I love it.

Content Drives Community

Jeffrey Hayzlett: As well, right? Yeah, and so, and now we have C-Suite Radio, which is a podcast network, C-Suite TV, a television network. We have C-Suite Book Club. So we have over 119 properties as we expand, but we had the vision of creating a community, that content would drive community. You keep hearing me say this. I’m like Henry Kissinger showing up for a press conference in the ’70s saying, “What questions do you have for my answers?” And with me, as you well know, you put the quarter in, you’re gonna go for the full ride, so, you know, it’s all about driving that and we’ve seen the value of how you create content and then how you do that and you guys have done a great job. I’ve watched you from the time in which I met you in Saskatoon at one time when I was on a board for another company.

Jeff Tomlin: There you go.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Came down the street, met with you guys, and I think you had about that time, maybe nine employees altogether, as I recall.

Jeff Tomlin: Weren’t many.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: It wasn’t a heavy, heavy, yeah, weren’t too many. You guys were all in one room and then we occupied a little conference room and now to look and see what you guys have done and what you’re doing for local businesses is absolutely amazing. And also the changes that you’ve made, because what you do, you did back then, you don’t do the same way, although the core elements are still there, hence, delivery of the brand. I just think it’s wonderful to watch businesses who change and adapt and make those things happen and watch you guys pivot a couple of times, right?

Jeff Tomlin: Yeah.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Good basketball players pivot.

Jeff Tomlin: They do.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: They’re the best. You know, Larry Bird, they pivot, Magic Johnson. See, if you ask me about executives, I can tell you. Sports people, I don’t know, I don’t know any of ’em, but if you ask me who the CEO or CMO or whatever, I can tell you those.

Adaptation, Trusted Networks & Expanding Horizons in Business Growth

Jeff Tomlin:– You make a good point, if there’s one thing that we’ve learned is as you go through different iterations of your company in different sizes, you have to learn how to change the way that you do things so it seems like you’re always constantly adapting, but having networks is amazing to have sounding boards, people that have been there and done what you’re trying to do and already been places of where you’re trying to go because if you can’t be, you don’t have time to reinvent the wheel, do ya?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: That’s exactly right and you’ve gotta know that, because in today’s digital world, I can look at a website, I can look at other things, they look like a billion bucks, but you have to peel behind the digital curtain and really know who those are and so that’s why a trusted network is so critical so that you can say, “Hey, do you know this person? Can you tell me about their services? Can you do this and do that?” Now, you can do some of that with some, you know, digital checks and balances out there, but when you’re in a C-Suite and you’re a billion dollars or $10 million or whatever, and you’re about to write a sizable check, and by the way, they’re all sizeable, it’s just the numbers of zeros, and that’s what you do, you learn as you go that you go from one pond to a bigger pond, to a bigger pond, to an ocean, to a bigger ocean and so forth. So it’s important for you to be able to do that and have those opportunities and know that you can count on other people to make that happen. And by the way, we learn as we go, we adapt. I was doing an interview yesterday and they said, “How did you know that?” I said, “Well, I knew it right away when I was younger that I could do this. Then I learned that I was good in South Dakota, I was good in Sioux Falls, then I was really good in Minnehaha County, then I was really good in the state, then I can take this to Iowa. And then I moved across the nation, then I figured out, you know what, I can do this across the world.” And the more that I figured out that, I mean, that’s how you would change, that’s how you adapt.

Relevancy, Reach, Reciprocity and Respect

Jeff Tomlin: And we’ll always be constantly learning, no matter how big we get. I’m still learning, still making mistakes and telling stories. By the way, one of the things I wanted to ask you about, all great organizations like the C-Suite are value-driven organizations and you talk about the four Rs and maybe talk a little bit about how you use that to build community.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Well, you know, for us it’s about relevancy, reach, and reciprocity, and so in a network, that’s the way it is, that we know each other, that we can talk the same language, that we can do business together and obviously about how we can reach our reach. You help me, I help you and that’s the reciprocity. And we found that one of the more important things to add, and we added this over COVID, was respect, because as you know, on the political side of the world today, whether you’re in Canada or the US or in other places in the world, the respect has gone out the window and we have to bring it back to a more civil time and in a way in which it says, “Hey, I’m okay if you believe this or believe this or you don’t wanna open on Sundays or you wanna sell liquor or you wanna do these things, but we need to have respect for each other.” And that’s a big part of it. So, you know, we’re not there to change your opinions, we’re just there to help everybody understand each other a little bit better and we have some programs that do that, whether it’s a scotch Sunday evening, you get together and drink scotch, or celebrates on Friday where you can come together on Friday just like you did pre-COVID and you would go to a bar maybe or pub and have one with your friends because you had a great week and they slapped you on the back or gave you a high five, or maybe you need a hug because it’s been a real rough week and I need somebody’s shoulder to cry on because we have those too, or someone to talk to, those trusted networks, because, again, it’s important for you to have that and why? Because, well today, as you know, there’s 19-year-olds out there being life coaches, at 19. At 19, you’re not a life coach, you’re a teen coach. Let me be very clear, okay? So you need to know that you can have people that you can trust and so that’s why relevancy reach, you know, reciprocity, to learn that everything that we do for each other, you do for me, I do for you, we gain, so you show up with a giving mentality, and then that’s how we gain respect with each other as well.

Jeff Tomlin: And by the way, it never ceases to amaze me the ability of scotch to bring people together.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Hey, scotch is a great, bacon and scotch. But by the way, I’m pretty sure at Ben & Jack’s, we had some scotch too.

Jeff Tomlin: I’m pretty sure.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: ‘Cause I always used to host scotch events there. I used to hold a lot of scotch events and scotch tasting for Glenfiddich so I did a lot of those.

Jeff Tomlin: I think we’re onto something there, bacon and scotch. Hey, tell me something.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Our nutritionist says we’re onto something, that’s for sure.

Hybrid Events, Adapting to Digital Platforms & Evolving Event Strategies

Jeff Tomlin: You know, and so by the way, you guys, so as we’ve gone through this pandemic, you’re doing live events now and you’re also doing online events more and more, so talk a little bit about how you’re using both to build the C-Suite now today and maybe how it’s changed.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Some people, yeah, it has changed, without question. We’re starting to see the live events really come back a great deal, although people love the convenience of the digital side, I mean, come on. A podcast three years ago wouldn’t be done this way. For most of them, they were done in the studio. That’s how I did them in New York. My guests came in, whether it was Daymond John, Gene Simmons, you know, whoever it might be, Piers Morgan, I can go all right down the list. We did those face-to-face. Well, now you find out that with Zoom and Teams and all these different tools, the convenience of this is that we can do it and we did it and it didn’t take away from the experience. You just have to be better communicators, you have to be better. Of course, I think the most used phrase in America today isn’t hello, it’s, “Hey, you’re mute. Your mic’s on mute. Your mic’s on mute.” I think that’s-

Jeff Tomlin: 100%.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: The biggest one that we hear. We don’t even hear hello, you know? But you can do it and we’re starting, you have to find the mix. In fact, we’re doing some big events in Dallas. We have a very big community in Dallas of C-Suite executives and they like to get face-to-face, but if you’ve ever driven in Dallas traffic, you know it’s an hour and a half from somebody up north to get to downtown, so they’re not gonna wanna spend an hour and a half to get down there and an hour and a half back so they want something virtual, so then we do a virtual meeting in the morning, or even some of the programs we might do, we might have a speaker at an event with three, 400 people, but yet we’ll broadcast that and live stream it to anyone else that’ll come, and now before that, you would’ve said, “No, no, we have to have them there. We have to get them into the funnel. We have to be able to know who they are so we can sell to them or visit with them and so forth.” Well, there’s great tools for that now and my thing is just get out there as much as you possibly can, like somebody’s gonna see you. There’s a pony in there somewhere so do as much of that as you possibly, but it’s changed, without question. That stage has changed.

“Content is the King, Activation is the Queen, and Context is the Kingdom”

Jeff Tomlin: And by the way, you were talking about podcasts there. We’ve unlocked a lot of unique opportunities by doing our own podcast. You’ve got over 400 episodes on yours. If you’re talking to, whether it’s a Fortune 500 or whether you’re talking to a startup, why should a company have a podcast these days? You’ve had a lot of success.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Yeah, actually I think I have over 600 episodes on my show, but over 450 total shows with over 50,000 episodes on the platform. Listen, again, I said this before, it’s content, content, content. Content is the king, activation is the queen, and context is the kingdom, so that’s the name of the game. That’s what you have to be able to do and you have to be able to tell your story. You can’t just count on Google ads to deliver for you because someone can outbid you. In fact, there are other speakers out there that buy my name because they wanna get in front of me for a keynote when somebody might be looking for me. So you have to build that content, which is organic. A podcast is a great way to be able to do that, either as a video and/or audio. We know that the average business person listens to five episodes, five episodes a week. Or, excuse me, five different shows a week, six different episodes and maybe up to eight sometimes, depending on the seasonality of it and they’re doing it while they’re travelling to work, while they’re on the train. We find that most of them are doing it while they’re working out. Why? We can track what devices they’re listening to, how often they listen, and what’s the perfect amount of time. We know that the average business podcast is between 21 and 24 minutes on average. I can tell you what the consumer ones are. I mean, it is just a great medium and we’re only in the infancy of this thing. There are gonna be millions and millions and millions and more podcasts. The key is once you do it, stick with it. Like most things in marketing, like most things in business, like most diets, right, is once you decide to do it, stick with it, ’cause most people abandon their podcast before 10 episodes.

Jeff Tomlin: I hear what you’re saying about the importance of someone getting out there and telling their story and actually, I mean, you wrap up “The Mirror Test” here talking about, “Hey, get out there and sell. No one’s gonna go and do it for ya.”

Jeffrey Hayzlett: That’s right.

Jeff Tomlin: Sometimes people lose their physical stage and so you talk a little bit about advice and what to do when you lose your physical stage, and so a podcast is one of them. Maybe you can talk.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Yeah, get over it. First of all, I said, “Get over yourself.” Get over yourself. I mean, can you tell a personality type without having to look at it? Yes, you can see how people write, how they talk, the way they talk, how they interact, what they do, what’s on their wall, what’s in their office. There’s lots of different signs and you don’t have to just do it from a stage. You don’t have to just sell from a stage. You don’t have to just be a speaker from a stage. If I can’t convey my message or my stories and the learnings from my stories as a speaker with you seeing me here, as opposed to just being on stage, I must not be very good, so do better, practice. Find different ways to be able to do it. It requires some of those things. I mean, the fact that I can see a room of 1,800 people and scroll through or put a lot of different screens up and watch the audiences I’m speaking to, some of them are eating their lunch or whatever. Does some of that bother you? But you gotta push through those kinda things, right? And I was doing virtual keynotes well before COVID, because I found out I could do a speech here and speak in Australia, I don’t have to fly to Australia and still get paid a lot of money, right? So I found out different ways to do it, but, you know, even back then, like 10 years ago, I’d set up a camera to watch the audience so I could see that on another screen and say, “Hey, you, lady in the red, pay attention to this.” You could do some different things and have some fun, but you should be able to convey your message and you guys do this, you know this in different ways through the service that you have, but you know, in this visual representation, I should be able to connect directly with you in a way that’s compelling so that you get what I’m talking about, and if I’m not, I better get good at it because this ain’t going away.

Embrace Confidence, Overcome Self-Doubt and Unleash Your Potential

Jeff Tomlin: You know, I like what you said about, “Hey, get over it and get out there.” Well, you know, one of the things that held me back from doing more videos and more video content, couldn’t stand to hear my voice on a recording and everybody sounds different. There’s always some reason holding back. Well, hey, how about that? Get over it, get out there, do it.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Right. Look, if they can consider this eye candy, you know, on television, then anybody can do this, right?

Jeff Tomlin: Oh, that’s eye candy.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Unfortunately, it’s a super chunky size. That’s what I always tell everybody, but you know, yeah, you have to get through. I was with a group of celebrities for a major, major talent agency and we’re talking about A-list celebrities. These are people you see in motion pictures and stages and so forth and they asked me to come and talk to them about personal branding and about how to make yourself more valuable. What do you have to do? And one of the biggest stars in the world said, “Mr. Hayzlett,” he goes, “What do you do when you hear those little voices in your head?” You were just referring to that, right? I don’t wanna hear my own voice, right?

Jeff Tomlin: Yeah.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: And I said, “What voices?” And they said, “Oh, come on, you know those voices?” I said, “Yes, I stopped listening to those a long time ago.” So we have to learn, especially in this medium, and especially with most of our marketing and the things that we do, we all know the bad things that we do, the things that we don’t do as good, the little blemishes here or there. If we were looking at ourselves in the mirror, that’s why I said “The Mirror Test.” But we also know about our businesses too, that we don’t do everything perfectly. We think this and we start thinking that we’re not as good. Now, start walking with some swagger. Be a little less Canadian, my friend, and be a little bit more brash American or over-the-top cowboy in so that we walk with some swagger. Be proud of what you do and how you do it, the way you are, the way you look, who you are. Unless you’re going on a diet, gonna have plastic surgery or whatever, you’re not gonna change it, so go with it and use that to your advantage. Many times, like, for instance, as you well know, I’m 6’3″, 240 some pounds, cowboy boots, jeans, standing on the stage and loud, right? I’m everything they think most Americans are, but usually, when I go to France, Italy, or some other foreign country, I said, “If you expect a loud American, expect it times 10.” Get over it because that’s what I’m gonna be. My advice was as I did to a coach today. He was worried that his own offering wasn’t worthy enough to be at the C-Suite. And I said to him, with all due respect, I said, “John, get over yourself. Get over yourself and quit listening to the voices and stand up with some pride because what you’ve got is C-Suite worthy so step into it.” And that’s what we have to learn to do, is we have to learn to step into our greatness, learn to step into what it could be. We know it’s not always going to be there, but we try to, you know, let’s go, let’s be a little irrational and shoot for the moon as much as we possibly can.

Recession Mindset: Seize Opportunities, Ask, and Focus on Key Clients

Jeff Tomlin: I love that, Jeff. I couldn’t think of some better advice for a young entrepreneur than that, or any executive that’s trying to do their thing. Take us through some other takeaways that you might, so you work with some of the biggest C-Suite executives in the world and you have this massive network and there’s some challenging times coming up. We’re talking about a recession. You were talking about that in your podcast a couple of episodes ago. So for people right now that are navigating uncertain waters or given the time that we’re in, what are some of the takeaways that you have for people?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Well, right now I just wrote a little ebook and you’re welcome to go to the C-Suite Network site, C-SuiteNetwork.com and it’ll pop up real quick and you get a free ebook. It’s all about the recession that’s coming and what to do and also, the subtitle is “Never Waste a Good Crisis.” So first of all, it’s about getting your mindset, right? We have to get the mindset that everything’s not doom and gloom. Look during the last recessions that we’ve had over the history of our two countries, or let’s just say North America, because we gotta consider US and Canada kind of like, okay, Canada’s like America’s hat, you know, it’s like, boom, it’s there, it’s a big hat, it’s a big toque, it’s a big toque, right?

Jeff Tomlin: It’s a toque.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: So when you think about it, though, some of the greatest companies, the last recession, just look at the last recession, Airbnb! Airbnb, who would’ve thought that you could create a business where somebody would come and stay at your house, sit naked on your couch and pay you money for it? And look at the valuation of that company. Look at Uber was created during that time. Groupon and so many other companies were born during the worst recessions. Microsoft 1975, born during a recession. Hewlett-Packard born during a recession. Hilton Hotels born during a recession. I mean, I can go on and on and some mega-unicorn companies were born during recessions. And I didn’t see those guys going, “I’m gonna cry. I’m gonna go eat some bonbons on the couch and I’m gonna go.” No, it’s about mindset, first of all, that hey, look. Think about COVID. COVID hit on March the 13th, 2020. I was in Orlando, they shut down Disney World and you know when they shut down Disney World, this shit just got real, okay? And so I said, “Man, listen, I’m not a doctor, I’m not a nurse, I can’t even sew a mask, but what can I be? Well, I can be a business first responder. I can help people not just survive what’s gonna hit and it’s gonna be rough. I can help them thrive during that.” And so it’s just a mindset, first of all, that says even during the darkest times, and it won’t be that bad, this recession, it’s cyclical. This stuff happens all the time. It’s not like something we cause, it’s just something that happens. There are market corrections all the time, but when that comes, what are your opportunities? There’s great things. Right now, I’ll tell you that 54% of the people that you do business with will do more business with you if you just ask ’em, but you don’t ask. So, start asking. Take care of your biggest customer. That’s another piece I’d tell you right now. 80/20, 80% of your business comes from 20% of your client base. It’s that way for everybody so go find that and then go find more of those kinds of whales for your business. That’s just a few things, but you can go read the ebook, it’s free. I got over 40 contributors in there. And of course, I did put together a podcast and TV show. In fact, it’s on United Airlines this month and I interview five of the biggest economists in the world and they talk about this upcoming recession and a couple of people from the Fed and even a futurist so we have some great people giving some great advice.

Connect with Jeffrey Hayzlett at JeffHayzlett.com for further conversation.

Jeff Tomlin: You know, I love you talking about mindset, really, here, and you know, I can relate to it. I started working at our previous company called Point 2, right at the beginning of the dot-com crash. We started Vendasta in 2008 and it was originally to connect homeowners with home service providers. That was at the beginning of the housing crash, but you know, there-

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Oh wow.

Jeff Tomlin: Failure wasn’t an option and so I like you talking about mindset here. You can find a lot of information about Jeffrey Hayzlett on his website, JeffHayzlett.com, and it’ll help you navigate to all of his different properties. Jeff, if people wanna continue the conversation, they wanna reach out to you anyway, how do people connect with you?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Hey, go to Hazlett.com, I’m on Twitter, five, 600,000 people there, LinkedIn. You find me, I’ll respond, and by the way, it’s me. A lot of people don’t think that I pay attention to that, but the reason I got such a big community is I pay attention to that and if it weren’t for the folks that were friends and family and fans, followers, I wouldn’t have what I have today so I’m so grateful that people will reach out and I’m more than happy to try to help them connect. Come to C-Suite Network anytime, you just come, It’s open to anyone who’s a VP or higher, an owner, a partner, or anyone with a C in their title. Anyone that’s VP or higher, we’d love to have you. That’s our criteria. We do check that because we are a trusted network, but you can come and participate in any of the programs. Come once as our guest, come twice, maybe. The third time we’re gonna ask you to bring a hot dish. You gotta join.

Jeff Tomlin: There ya go.

Jeffrey Hayzlett: But up until then, we want you to come and be a part of it.

Jeff Tomlin: Hey, Jeff, it’s a special privilege to be able to call you a friend and it was a very special privilege to get you to take some time out of your very busy schedule to join us here in the Conquer Local Podcast. I wish you an amazing week, an amazing summer, and I hope you’ll come back at some point and we can do this again and talk about-

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Anytime, anytime you invite me, I’m a friend of Vendasta, I’m a friend of all that you guys are doing. I love to see the work that you’ve done. I love to see the progression from that small group of eight to well over 800 today and your success. You’re a Canadian dream come true and an entrepreneur’s dream come true. Even though you’re in Canada, in your world, you guys just doing it, you’re crushing it across the borders everywhere, so keep it up.

Jeff Tomlin: Hey, I appreciate it, till the next time.


Jeff Tomlin: Wow, well there you have it. It’s always a pleasure speaking to my good friend, Jeffrey Hayzlett. He is a force of nature. I loved all that conversation. One major takeaway is the power of content and building a community. Jeff emphasizes the importance of content in building a brand and the community. And he believes that content drives the community, which in turn drives commerce. By creating valuable content and fostering a community around it, businesses can establish a strong brand presence and connect with their audience on a deeper level. I like his saying, “Content is king, activation is queen and context is the kingdom.” 

Another takeaway is having an adaptation and mindset for success. He stresses the need for adaptation and a growth mindset in the business world. He highlights the importance of being flexible and quick to adapt to changing trends and technologies. Jeff also encourages individuals to overcome self-doubt and negative voices by embracing confidence and taking pride in their accomplishments. We all have self-doubts time-to-time and in his words, “get over it.” And by maintaining a positive mindset and seizing opportunities, even during challenging times, businesses and individuals can thrive and discover new possibilities.

If you’ve enjoyed Jeffrey’s episode discussing Building a Strong C-Suite Community keep the conversation going and revisit some of our older episodes from the archives: Check out Episode 616: The Evolution of B2B Content Marketing with Edward Purmalis Or Episode 523: Lead Generation through Podcasting with Collin Mitchell or even episode 518: Digital Accessibility with Ty D’Amore 

Until the next time, I’m Jeff Tomlin. Get out there and be awesome! 

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