Bill Cates, Radical Relevance – InnovaBuzz 302

Bill Cates

Bill Cates, Radical Relevance

In this episode, I’m really excited to have as my guest, Referral Coach Bill Cates, who is also author of Radical Relevance and Get Referrals Now. Bill works with organizations and individuals who want to acquire more customers through word of mouth, referrals, and personal introductions. All of his systems and programs have one overall goal in mind – to increase revenue without increasing marketing expenses.

In our discussion, Bill and I talked about:

  • Having Empathy with clients, through conversations with them and listening to them
  • Solving the right problems with the right service for the right people
  • Sending the right message through the right medium at the right time to those people

Lindsay Dicks in episode 256 introduced us to Bill.

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

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Empathy is not just about thinking of someone who's going through a tough time. Empathy is understanding and having an appreciation for. @Bill_Cates on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

Show Notes from this episode with Bill Cates, author of Radical Relevance

Key points and takeaways from this episode include:

  • Radical relevance means fine-tuning and honing your message to make sure that you have the right message for the right person at the right time, through the right medium, in the right way.
  • Make sure that you are clear and that you are going after the right target market – your right fit client. The narrower you get, the more relevant your messaging will be.
  • Empathy is not just about thinking of someone who’s going through a tough time. Empathy is understanding and having an appreciation for.
  • The more targeted your market is, the more you get to know the world better, and the more that your messaging can be empathetic.
  • Show your appreciation to your clients and understand them. Bring them into your story. They will appreciate you for knowing them. 
  • The broader your message, the weaker your messaging becomes. It’s better to have more than one bullseye in the target and segmenting that to make sure that you are delivering the right message to the right person. 
  • A website is like a canvass where you paint your messaging. If you are serving more than one target market, make sure that they can self-identify very quickly on your website. You can have more than one target but make sure that these people are only seeing messages that are related to them and their world. Pull them into the story then talk a little bit about why you can be a resource for them.
  • Communicate with your prospects and clients in a way that lets them know that they are the heroes of their story. You are not the hero. You are their guide. Make it about them first.
  • There’s a difference between prospecting and marketing. When you find the right market and create a reputation for yourself in that market by being a little bit different, you start to draw people to you and you don’t have to chase them. They’ll start to chase you.
  • You may not get most of those opportunities but if you pick a good market, you won’t even notice that. You’ll be so successful in where you are because you are narrowing your focus. Your messaging becomes more effective and powerful. People will see themselves on it and you’ll attract these people.
  • A niche has to be big enough. It can’t be too small. It also has to have the financial capacity to take advantage of what you bring to the table, and help you in what you are trying to accomplish in your business. You have to figure out where these people congregate, and you need to be able to reach them in certain ways. You have to enjoy working them.
  • Give your clients a seat at the table. You have to have a relentless passion. Focus on them. Focus on their needs and what’s going on with them.
  • Don’t develop a product or service without talking to your clients or customers. That’s how you develop empathy. It’s getting to know the market so well. Get to know the market better than anyone of your client does. Really get to know these people. Do your research. Talk to them and go deep.
  • At the core of every decision that every human being makes is emotion.
  • A big part of empathy is the psychographics. Empathy is more of a feeling. You develop empathy by understanding the psychographics of your market. 
  • The more that you know your prospect, the more likely that you are going to convey the message that will appeal to them. Relevance is all about context. The more context you have about someone you are reaching out to, the more effective your message is going to be. 
  • Do your research before reaching out to a prospective client. There are two types of research, cold research which is internet research, and warm research that comes from people who know the people you are reaching out to.
  • The fastest way to become relevant in someone’s life is an introduction from someone they do know and trust. 
  • Talk about what makes you different. There’s a bigger sense of what makes you different in how you decide to target the market.
  • The differentiation gap – “anyone can …. but only we can ….”. 
  • Make sure that you are going after the right problems. Make sure that your business is oriented towards solving the right problems that will not just capture the attention of prospects but also their willingness to put resources towards solving that problem.
  • An aspirational problem is a problem that clients’ think they can take care of someday. They may not devote the resources, time, and energy to solving that. A critical problem is what garners a client’s interest, attention, and dollars. When trying to move people forward in the decision process, focus as much as you can on those critical problems. 
  • Clarity beats cleverness. Don’t let your creativity or cleverness get in the way of clarity. If you’re going to have a clever title, you better have a straightforward subtitle that locks it down and makes it clear to someone.
  • Our brain likes to take advantage of an opportunity and learn new things but only when it feels safe. When communicating your value proposition, start with an understanding of the challenges and problems of your prospects, because that is what the brain is looking for first. Once you are able to demonstrate that and your prospects feel safe, they will start to listen to how you can help them achieve the things they aspire to. 
  • Marketing and sales only become sleazy or unethical when you make promises you can’t fulfill.
  • Marketing and sales have to come from a place of service to others, and it starts with the incredible belief of the value that you bring.
  • Sales is helping people make an educated decision that is in their best interest. 
  • When you take on clients that are not right for you, you end up creating a lose-lose situation. The last thing you want to feel in serving clients is resentment.
  • Right fit clients are people you are meant to serve and people who are meant to be served by you. They appreciate your value for the reasons you want to be appreciated. They are your business soulmate. 
  • Develop a business that brings joy. It’s not always attainable but if it’s a goal, you’ll get closer to it. 
Right fit clients are people you are meant to serve and people who are meant to be served by you. They appreciate your value for the reasons you want to be appreciated. They are your business soulmate. @Bill_Cates on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

The Buzz – Our Innovation Round

Here are Bill’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Listen to the interview to get the full scoop.

  1. #1 thing to be more innovative – Reach outside of yourself. Get to know your client and your market. Talk to your clients and listen to their world. 
  2. Best thing for new ideas – Be external rather than internal. Surround yourself with people who know your business and people who don’t know your business. You can’t see the picture when you’re in the frame. Sometimes, it takes a person outside of the picture to point out what really should be obvious for us but isn’t. 
  3. Favourite tool for innovation – Researching. 
  4. Keep project/client on track – Make sure you know what their values are and keep referring back to that in order to stay true to what you are trying to accomplish. 
  5. Differentiate – You can have more than one differentiation. Give your clients a seat at the table. Talk to them and ask them what makes you different. 

To Be a Leader

What you put your attention on, grows stronger in your life. Fatigue makes cowards of us all. 

Reach Out

You can reach out and thank Bill through his website.

Suggested Guest

Bill suggested I interview Donald Miller of StoryBrand. So Donald, keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz podcast, courtesy of  Bill Cates.


Are you Radically Relevant? Take the quiz to find out. 


Cool things about Bill

  • He’s been consulting, speaking, and writing for 25 years.
  • He’s built and sold 2 publishing companies.
  • He has helped over 200,000 small business owners and salespeople build thriving referral-based businesses.
What you put your attention on, grows stronger in your life. Fatigue makes cowards of us all.  @Bill_Cates on #InnovaBuzz podcast Share on X

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Jürgen Strauss

Dr. Jürgen Strauss is The World's Best Human-Centred Podcasting Coach and the only Podcast Innovator with the signature bright yellow headphones, who masterfully crafts human connection for high-impact achievers in a vibrant community. You can find Jürgen on LinkedIn, The InnovaBuzz Podcast, The Flywheel Nation Community as well as on Innovabiz' InstagramTwitter, Facebook pages and his personal Photography website.  

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