DiscoverCognified Marketing and Selling PodcastEpisode 09 Cognified Marketing and Selling Podcast with Jeff Peres – Everseat
Episode 09 Cognified Marketing and Selling Podcast with Jeff Peres – Everseat

Episode 09 Cognified Marketing and Selling Podcast with Jeff Peres – Everseat

Update: 2018-05-25
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Jeff Peres- Everseat is the guest on episode 9 of the Cognified Marketing and Selling Podcast. In today’s interview, we talk about going from being a Wall Street Investment Banker to scratching and entrepreneurial itch and loving every minute of it. Jeff’s a smart entrepreneur with good instincts and what he’s doing to help medical practice’s harvest lost revenue is exciting.


The transcript of the interview is below:


Joel Gaslin: My guest today is Jeff Peres. Jeff is the founder and CEO of

Everseat. I’ve known Jeff for I guess about seven years now. We first

met when he was helping us at Sightpath Medical when he was the CEO of

Eyemaginations and was helping us with a refractive surgery coordinator

program. With that, Jeff, I’m grateful to have you on the program. Tell

us a little bit about your background.


Jeff Peres: Hey Joel. Thank you for having me today and great to be in

touch. I really appreciate it.


My background is not unlike maybe other entrepreneurs. I went to

graduate school, studied finance and accounting, went into a traditional

Wall Street-type job after that. This was in the late ’90s.


A lot of people when I was graduating from business school were doing

one of two things. It was a very, very clear track. You were either

going into investment banking or management consulting. There were some

exceptions and some big companies that would come around, like

Hewlett-Packard or maybe Proctor & Gamble. But it was very rare to see

someone go to a tech startup or an Internet company.


That changed quickly thereafter, but in my era, we went to investment

banking or consulting. I did that for a while, Joel — maybe seven years

or so. While I worked very hard and had some fun and met some great

people, I found myself admiring the people on the other side of the

table — the operators, the people for whom we were providing our

services.


I formed some good bonds. I tried to learn from what they were doing and

what they were focused on and I found that to be a tremendous source of

motivation and I would say self-searching. My background, just to end

that chapter of the story, right around or a couple years into the

The 2000s, maybe 2003 or so, I decided to depart from the finance industry

and get into small companies and entrepreneurship.


That’s been about 15 years. No looking back, no regrets. So much fun and

stimulation along the way.


Joel: How did you pick where you went? Because certainly you were

exposed to many different industries and verticals. How did you decide

where you went?


Jeff: For me, and I can’t speak for others, but I bet this is probably

part of the story for others, this is always these other influencers. At

the time, I was newly married and starting a family. There’s some

guardrails or parameters that are in my case relevant.


If I had the ability to do it over and if I were in a different place,

or without other commitments, I might have picked up and tried more of

an entrepreneurial town or city. It could be San Francisco. It could

have been Boulder, Colorado or Austin, Texas. I look at those places and

I’ve visited them for work and in some places for fun. I could see my

younger self really enjoying and getting enmeshed in the culture there.


Joel: Yeah, I could see that. Yeah.


Jeff: [laughs] It’s great. I would encourage my younger colleagues and

friends to try that, or my kids, for that matter. For me, there were a

couple other factors — just family, proximity to grandparents, cost of

living, what was doable without being completely disruptive. Returned

from New York City, which was a great place to live, and I really

enjoyed being there for that time.


I wouldn’t want to go back to live there, but I certainly love visiting.

Departed New York. This was a little after 9/11, too, Joel, so you have

some other elements, and just really looked at proximity to

grandparents, which is how I landed back in Baltimore, the town I grew

up, just north of the city.


That governed a lot of it, and then it just became a game of networking

and learning what’s out there. It’s a little bit of a smaller pond, as

you know. The options are different and it forces you to really be

thoughtful in what you’re looking into, but that’s some of the processes

for me.


Joel: You connected and became the CEO of Eyemaginations, which was a

patient education company, primarily ophthalmology. When you go in

there, how do you get started there? What do you start looking at when

you get there first?


Jeff: It was like drinking from a fire hose. The company was started by

a great family of really hard-charging, smart guys. Really, I think we

looked initially just at the revenue opportunities, and they really were

flowing in like a fire hose. I’d like to hope I helped in some way and I

added some structure, but in the end, they had started by selling what

at the time were CDs or DVDs at trade shows.


This was really in the ’90s. Doing a lot of trade shows. Have a huge

screen and do demos and get people excited about it, and offer a show

special — some sort of attractive offer or special pricing related to

that trade show. It drives a lot of orders.


The other business channel was these unique one-off animations that were

being made for vendors that needed them. It might be a mechanism of

action for a new drug, or it might be a device or some sort of consumer

product, even like a contact lens.


Diving in — yeah, it was really about trying to harness the revenue,

maybe put some discipline into the contracts, maybe document some

things. We built some infrastructure around the process, ultimately explored

a few CRMs along the way and landed on SalesForce. The team that came

after me took that to a more intense level and really optimized it in

ways that I probably couldn’t have.


Just added some process and some documentation and tried to sell as much

as we could to grow the revenue.


Joel: What was the sales team like? How was that structured? How did you

do that?


Jeff: Initially, it was ad hoc and a lot of trade show follow-up. I

think what we did was we brought in some people. We really experimented

and honestly made some mistakes along the way.


Joel: Yeah, sure. We all do.


Jeff: We initially put some people in different territories. We had some

folks in California and New York and Boston and Texas and so forth. If

you think of the traditional proforma model, it’s a lot different and it

enables people to be in offices all the time, knocking on doors, and

dropping off literature.


That’s a more expensive model. In hindsight, we learned it wasn’t the

right mix. When you’re selling a platform product this sort of pre-dates

SaaS, the software-as-a-service, but it morphed quickly into that, again

thanks to a lot of great people that serve or were part of that team.


The morphing, Joel, was one of more of an in-house model driven by

inbound leads, driven by some channel partners and marketing through

still, some trade shows, but not nearly as many and some smart marketing

in the form of articles and blogs and webinars and some good channel

partners.


It was a transition from dedicated external marketing-heavy trade shows.

I think there were some years that we went to three or four a month. The

next retina trade show [laughs] and then the refractive trade show. It

was heavy travel and expensive. I think all that’s changed. Again, the

team there, I think, has taken it to another level and probably refined

that even more.


Joel: You may not remember this, and I owe you a debt of gratitude,

because when you and I were working together… If you remember, I came

out and we brought along a couple of doctors and we were working on some

things that we were doing to think about adding new services…


You spent some time showing me your sales model and how you did your

things. I liked the model because I think at Sightpath, we had a

similar challenge in that we don’t apply to everybody in the market, so to

take people and put them out on the street and say, “Hey, go, now here’s

your bag and here’s some stuff and go at it.”


It’s just we had to find a different way to do it. I looked at what you

were doing and then even…


It’s funny you mentioned Sales Force, because as we were going through a

search for a better CRM and the CRM companies and SaaS companies, as you

said, we were going through the sales processes with them, it wasn’t

until the very end that someone actually showed up at our offices.


We did a lot of it over the phone. We did it a lot of webinar things. We

did a lot of work to say, “OK, let’s just go.” The people just came when

they knew it was OK. We were about to close.


We use a lot of that in our business now. Frankly, it’s just driven a

lot of costs out of it for us. I think it’s certainly as efficient and

more efficient.


Jeff: Yeah. Hey, if I may, so I’ll spend one more second on that point

because I fully agree with you. I think as a business person and an

entrepreneur, we often have a fear that there’s some correlation between

the price of the solution we’re selling and the need to be able to shake

hands and be face-to-face.


I know I did. I’m guilty of it. If you were selling some less expensive

widgets it’s easy to do over the phone. Or if you’re selling something

that’s just easily downloadable, of course you’d do it over the phone.


That makes total sense. But the more either customizable or expensive it

is you think, “Oh, well. I have to go there and present. I’ve got to put

on my suit and tie and shake hands.”


I think there’s a place for that, for sure. I’m agreeing with what

you’re saying both in SaaS models in general and sales forces I’ve

watched.


Certainly in the way we go to market today in my company, Everseat,

you’re really able to do almost 99 percent of it remotely and via web

and phone. For some of our institutional clients we’ll go on site. Those

are really just the exception.


Joel: I agree with you, Jeff. It’s funny because when we began to

transition our sales model to what I call centralized model, it’s not an

inside sales model. Our people can travel out into the field whenever

they need to.


Frankly, the manufacturers they were sort of snickering at us behind our

backs. I knew it because people were telling me, and that’s fine. I can

live with that.


But we had a different problem to solve than they did, or a different

opportunity to pursue. What we’re doing works for us, and I think

doctors in general. I think the surgical industry in general is becoming

less maybe accepting of reps that just come and stand around in the OR

all day.


They aren’t really delivering value on a routine basis. They’re just

there to come and say, “Hey,” to check in as they say. I think people

want value. We, setting with all the tools we have available from a

marketing standpoint and from a data standpoint, and an adding value

standpoint, are what they’re looking for.


Well, enough about that. I want to hear about Everseat. Tell me about

Everseat and what made you start it. Just tell us about that, please.


Jeff: Yeah sure, Joel. I think I was always a tinkerer and sort of a

curious person, a frustrated entrepreneur. I wanted to start something

to really be a creator. I still have that passion in me intensely today.


Everseat was born out of a lot of brainstorming with an old friend and

now a business partner, a doctor here in Maryland named Dr. Kaplan,

Brian Kaplan. He’s ENT, not really in the eye case space.


I got to know him a lot, years ago, both professionally and personally.

I think we had this vision of maybe finding a way to solve a problem.

Lots of problems out there both in healthcare and otherwise.


We brainstormed about probably a couple of dozen different ones. Some of

them were just silly and easily dismissed. Others were maybe a little

bit more tangible and real.


We were thinking a lot about the problem of supply and demand and a lack

of immediate flow of information. If an ophthalmologist in Kansas City

has a LASIK consult open in their counter tomorrow at 9:00 AM who knows

about that? How do you get that word out?


Whether you have a billboard at the side of the road or a TV commercial,

it doesn’t mean people are going to know that the 9:00 AM was open.

Other medical specialties, sometimes the problem is even more tangible.


Dermatology is a great example because very often there is a long wait

time to get in. It could be three weeks. It could be three months for

busy doctors. If you call to get a new consult today, we’re here talking

in May, I know there are some providers you could call and they would

say, “Great. First appoint is September 15th.”


That is frustrating but there are so many appointment changes or

schedule irregularities. We used some of that wording in our initial

marketing literature, scheduling irregularities.


Think of musical chairs. Things change on a dime. We thought, “There’s

got to be a technology that can harness those, or help let appropriate

people know what is becoming newly open without spamming or blasting it

to your whole rolodex or contact log.”


If a practice had 10,000 patients we didn’t want to blast it out to all

10,000 that Dr. Wilson has an opening tomorrow. We want to define a

smarter solution for that. That was our initial premise. That was the

initial problem, Joel, that we were trying to solve.


It went from there. It was a lot of iteration, a lot of learning, a lot

of feedback and mistakes, and learning again. A sort of a circular

process around that.


Joel: How does it work today? What is the final product as it stands

today, or service as it stands today?


Jeff: It’s interesting. We got to market two different ways today.

[laughs] Like anything, it may be different six months from now. The two

ways we go to market today are we sell a SaaS model, a subscription

service. We’re principally going after medium and large size healthcare

providers.


For us, that’s a description of how many people work in the practice in

a patient-facing capacity. It’s not that we eliminated or we got rid of

small practices. Think of solo providers like a dentist, a chiropractor,

or even certain ophthalmologists.


It’s that it was hard for us for economically to make it work on the

small end. We’ve aimed for these groups that have 8 or 10 providers or

more. We’ve got a few that go upwards into 800, more like a hospital

system and alike.


Today, that’s the first model. It’s a SaaS solution. We are…


Joel: Is it reasonable that scheduling complexity increases in a

multiplicative fashion on the number of providers? Is that a reasonable

thing that happens?


Jeff: Yeah, it is.


Joel: Cool.


Jeff: It is. It can stay simple if the institution wants to keep it

simple. It’s more likely that it gets way more complex. There are highly

specialized surgeons that only want to do one type of thing. They’re

super trained in what they do, and excellent at it.


There are generalists. There are a lot of key mid levels and

non-physician professionals that provide a tremendous amount of

healthcare and leverage in the system, like PAs and nurse practitioners.


There’s a whole continuum of professionals that this could work for.

Certainly, the larger ones are the more complex.


Joel: Got it.


Jeff: The medium ones have proven to be probably the sweet spot for us.

I’d say that’s somewhere between, like I said, 8 or 10 up to maybe 50.

We do a lot of…


[crosstalk]

Joel: Why do you think that is?


Jeff: I know why it is. It’s a couple of reasons. One, [clears throat]
it’s a big enough group that they’re a professional organization. They

have some staff. Usually, they have an administrator, a COO, or a

marketing department.


Joel: Got it.


Jeff: That’s number one. They’re not so big that they are a hospital or

a health system, which is mired often in committees or a more rigorous

decision making and budgeting.


That middle tier is big enough to be profitable and attractive. They

need our service. Whether they get it from a different vendor or not is

obviously a scenario.


They need something in the category of what Everseat does. They

generally can move more rapidly, make quick decisions.


[crosstalk]

Joel: More nimble.


Jeff: Yeah, exactly, definitely more nimble. Good call.


Joel: Great. Anything else you want to say about Everseat?


Jeff: Yeah, we go to market two ways. The second way we’ve gone to

market is something we really discovered, I’d say, within the last 12

months, which is in a white label manner. This is really something

that’s quite fun, and looks like it’s going to be a big part of our

business.


We are able to be the scheduling engine for other platforms that might

be in the clinic today. They might have their own reps selling their own

solution. They don’t have scheduling.


A great example of that, Joel, would be some of the telehealth

companies. Think of, you know maybe Skype types or things like Doctors

on Demand, or TeleDoc.


These are examples. They’re not clients of Everseat, but just examples

of remote consults. It’s a big, big business and I think really

continuing to grow rapidly.


Some of them need a scheduling widget built in. If I’m talking to Dr.

Joel and you’re my doctor, and you decide that you need me to come in or

you need a follow-up, or you need me to go to the lab to give some

blood, you could say, “Hey, tap on the screen below. I’ve had a

five-minute telehealth consult with you, but you need to come in and

have that looked at. Tap on the screen below and you can schedule a

visit.”


That scheduling widget is Everseat in many cases.


Joel: That’s cool.


Jeff: It’s really cool. It’s a great business. It’s private-labeled.

It’s more deployed in an API format. They’re using our technology, but

in their wrapper or their UI. Again, I think that looks like a very big

growth avenue for us.


Joel: I think we talked about this when we had a chance to visit in DC a

couple weeks ago, or a month ago, rather. Have you looked at putting

something like that into the SalesForce ecosystem?


Jeff: Yeah, we have. We have. I think we will. We have a couple of

clients that are using SalesForce now in the healthcare environment.

They’re using it as their CRM/EHR that’s on the fringe of being an EHR,

but more of a CRM. I think that’s a definite. We’re not there yet. We

haven’t done it. We’ve been more focused on the core healthcare group,

the Athenas and Epics of the world.


However, I think there’s a big, big opportunity. In fact we just spoke

to an accountant about that earlier this week. We think we should be in

there. A lot of other groups are launching these ecosystems or

marketplaces. It’s something we’re excited about. I think it’s a great

way to gain exposure, so we’re very enthusiastic about it.


Joel: I’m happy for you, because I think you’re at the front end of

what’s going to be a significant trend certainly in ophthalmology, and I

think in other specialties, too, is that the physicians have been so

focused for the past 10 years, roughly, on looking backwards onto my EHR

system, my practice management system — things that are happening, in

the restaurant vernacular, back of the house.


Whereas I think they’re going to need to start looking at front of the

house and how are we handling and building demand? Not in the sense that

they don’t have enough to do. Ophthalmology, let’s face it– we all know

the “10,000 people a day turn 65,” yadda, yadda, yadda. We hear that.


But what’s also true is with that onslaught coming in, they have to

begin to codify that data of what’s coming in and how they interact with

people and make the patient experience better. I think they’re going to

need a company like SalesForce coupled with an Everseat, and

SalesForce’s recent purchase of Mulesoft, which becomes that hub for all

the different software platforms to talk to one another. I think you’re

just really in an exciting place for some things that are happening in

our industry.


Jeff: Thanks, Joel. We agree too. I think in healthcare, like certain

other categories, people will naturally be a little risk-averse, or a

little bit of a later adopter, or just let these changes settle a little

bit before they jump in and adopt. We’ve seen that. We’ve seen longer

sales cycles. It’s hard when you’re in it. It’s not fun.


Joel: How do you compress it? What steps do you take to try and compress

the sales cycle?


Jeff: Well, if I had that answer… [laughs]

Joel: [laughs] Dang, I was hoping you could tell me.


Jeff: If I had that answer, I think I’d feel [laughs] really good about

it.


Here’s what I would tell you. It’s a combination of a few things. First

of all, I don’t think it’s a price thing. I don’t think saying, “Hey,

great. We’re going to take off 10 percent,” or “We’re going to drop it

by 50 percent” — I categorically do not think it’s a pricing thing.


I think it is around showing value, showing other use cases or case

studies of people that sat just where they did a year earlier and were

on the fence or were uncomfortable.


I think it’s about listening really, really well and understanding pain

points, so rather than just selling features, trying to really

understand pain points. That probably is the best way that we think we

can compress it. If we realize there’s a problem, and the organization

is saying, “We struggle with this,” if our solution can genuinely be

helpful or add value, you have an interested customer. It’s hard.


The other thing that’s important is persistence, having grit and not

giving up when they tell you for 20 times in a row, “We’re not ready

yet.” The 21st time, the very likely they are ready.


It’s sounds very, very mundane and basic. Having some persistence and

putting a system in place, like Salesforce and other tools, to manage

your pipeline is critical. It’s really proven to work for us.


I have some delightful examples of people that we’ve talked to for two

years. Finally, they call us, and they’re like, “OK, we’re ready. Send a

contract.” It’s a really nice feeling when that happens.


Joel: Yeah, you’re right. We have that a lot, too. I can relate to that

it is. It’s satisfying when the rep comes and says, “Hey, it’s one we’ve

been talking about in my pipeline for two years. They just signed.”

That’s fun. You’re right.


Jeff: That’s a good thing. You may also have this, too, because of the

industry you’re in. I have a couple of people that have called us and

said, “You know what? We went with a different solution last year for

whatever reason. One of our VPs knew them really well.”


Or, “They gave us some other incentives. We tried it. We deployed it. We

rolled it out. We’re so sorry to say that we made the wrong decision.

Can we still talk to you now?” That’s pretty cool, too.


Joel: It is. What we have that happens there, Jeff, is we use, what I

would call, transparent and customized pricing. Every single one of our

proposals is truly unique. We get all the supplies that the physicians

use.


I’m talking about a cataract business, right now, to the blade they use,

the different kind of drapes they want. It’s everything customized. Then

when we submit a proposal based on that, some of our competitors,

they’ll submit a bare-bones proposal, and then the people will go with

that because it’s lower price.


It’s not really an apples-to-apples comparison. We try really hard to

convey that message. Then, after the one year is up, they come back and

say, “Well, we’re going to go with you guys because the pricing that

they showed us really wasn’t what it was. They couldn’t deliver on the

same services as you.”


You’re right. That’s fun. We like when that happens, too.


Jeff: Yeah, that’s true. That’s very true.


Joel: You said there were two primary go-to-market strategies you have.

One is the white label. What’s the standard run-of-the-mill Everseat,

“Hey, we’re going to market,” straight up? What’s that one?


Jeff: That’s selling a SaaS solution. The straight-up is what we do all

day, every day. It’s selling a subscription license. It’s generally a

one-year license. We have a couple of accounts that are two years and

three years, but it’s generally one year.


You’re basically plugging into their practice management system and

helping them with scheduling, managing a digital waitlist, dealing with

some appointment reminders, and a comprehensive suite. It’s truly a

plug-in.


It’s done in the cloud. It’s not on-premises. You don’t have to go on

site. It’s a subscription. We are EHR agnostic. We’ll plug into all of

them. Some are easier than others.


We’ll plug into any EHR and practice management solution, and sell your

practice a subscription, Joel, to the Everseat platform. That’s the

core, plain vanilla, go-to-market approach that we have.


Joel: Tell me about the onboarding process. What’s that like?


Jeff: Great. Onboarding process generally involves two things. One is

staff training, and the other is integration with your practice

management solution.


It’s all done remotely. We’re not coming on site. Again there’s some

footnotes to that, if you’re a larger institution. Even there, it’s

really able to done remotely.


The integration is done today through APIs. These are bidirectional

integration. We’re looking to do read and write back. We can read the

calendar for tomorrow.


Then, if Ms. Wilson books an appointment, we could drop it back into the

calendar. We could check her insurance. We can verify whether she’s a

new or existing patient, and so forth.


That is all done through a series of API integrations that we’ve spent

four years working on. That’s probably the most heavy lifting on the IT

side that we’ve done.


We can integrate with pretty much any system that’s out there. There are

some rare exceptions, but I would say easily 85, 90 percent of them.


The onboarding for the staff is really done, Joel, in a series of

webinars and calls, usually three or four. One is to set up templates.

Another is some training. We do a lot of testing or fictitious patients,

pretend appointments that are not real, to make sure that everyone is

trained and ready.


Joel: Sure.


Jeff: Those calls are not exceptionally long. Maybe each one is 30

minutes. We try not to be disruptive of the staff. Usually we succeed

when we find an internal champion or point person within a practice.

Doesn’t matter whether it’s ophthalmology or derm or women’s health or

cardiology. If you lock in a point person who’s your advocate and who’s

the chaperone, it goes really nicely and we get the screening done, the

kickoff, and we’ve seen some great results and have a lot of great

advocates and champions.


Joel: First year, typically, Jeff, what are people seeing that gives you

a lot of satisfaction to say “Yeah, I’m so happy we did this”? What kind

of results are people seeing?


Jeff: We look at a bunch of different types of data. We look at

appointments that are available. That’s going to depend on your overall

capacity utilization. How busy are you? How many open slots do you have?

How new are you at your profession? If you’re a second-year doctor

versus being in your 25th year, you have different levels of depth and

availability.


We look at how many of those appointments have you made available

through an Everseat channel, be it on a website, a mobile app, a text

message, an email? There’s all sorts of ways to get appointments out

there. Then of those that you make available, how many do you fill? It’s

math, it’s a percentage.


Joel: Sure.


Jeff: Then how many of those happen per month relative to what you’re

paying us? We’ll work with you to assign a dollar value to an

appointment. This is just a clinic visit, so this is not surgery. This

is not Lasik or cataracts. It’s a clinic visit, usually. You and I

talked about this two years ago.


It’s impossible to book a cataract surgery on my online platform,

because there’s too many measurements and analyses that have to occur.

But it’s great to book an initial consult or a follow-up visit or a

Botox injection, or things that can occur.


The way we measure it, Joel, is both in terms of how many are being

booked, and then how many are you booking relative to what you’re

spending with us? Most people understand the concept of ROI really,

really well. If they’re spending $1,000 and they’re making $1,001,

that’s not the best ROI — technically a positive endeavor.


But if they’re spending 1,000 and they’re making 15,000, then people…


Joel: That’s pretty good.


Jeff: Yeah, then they’ll think that’s great. We measure it for ’em, we

share it with them, we talk about it. If we’re not seeing good results

we’ll work with them to tweak and modify things. But when you see it

installed properly, it really hums. I’ll give you some examples just

that we were looking at recently, without even naming the practices.


There’s a multi-specialty group. This means all sorts of different types

of providers up in Albany, New York. They put the system in really

recently. They put it in in March, and we are now in sort of the second

week of May. They saw 145 appointments come through last month, and of

that, 35 within the last week. That’s a nice number for us, just given

that they just put it in. That’s…


Joel: That’s 180 slots that wouldn’t have been filled?


Jeff: Well, we’re not saying they wouldn’t have been filled, because

some could have been filled by calling in. We want to be realistic to

know that they could have been filled other ways. What we do take credit

for is driving online booking, availability, and ultimately cutting back

a little bit on the demands of the call center or the front desk.


Even if not all of them wouldn’t have been filled another way, a

percentage of them didn’t have to call. That’s a huge savings or upside.


Joel: It’s a nice experience for the patient too.


Jeff: It’s a nice experience for the patient, and also after hours. If

you’re trying to book something after your kids are asleep and it’s now

9:00 at night, or it’s Sunday and you don’t feel well — you return from

church and you have a discomfort that you’re not used to, it’d be great

to be able to get some peace of mind to know that you have an

appointment the next day.


That alone is very valuable. Here’s a cardiology practice that posted 31

appointments on their website this week. Of the 31, they booked 28 of

them.


Joel: Wow.


Jeff: I can’t ask for better data. That’s amazing and good.


Joel: That’s wonderful.


Jeff: Let’s look at an eye doctor, because I know that’s an area where

you spent a lot of your career.


Joel: [laughs] All of it.


Jeff: This is a great guy. I know you know him well. He’s in Ohio. He’s

posted eight appointments this week and booked eight.


Joel: Wow.


Jeff: So he’s batting 1000. In the last month, he’s posted 69

appointments and booked 65. Again, that’s amazing data. We’re delighted

to see that. We look at both. We look at that over what their monthly

spend is with us, and these are really astonishing returns for them.


What they’re spending on this service, this is part of their budget,

have to take that seriously. If it’s not making them money or at least

helping them drive efficiencies, they’re going to have second thoughts

about it. Those are just some real numbers, from May of 2018, which are

really really positive.


Joel: That’s good. It’ll be fun when you go back and listen to this

three years from now, after you’ve done all sorts of fun things. You

say, “Wow, look, that’s where we were then.” It’s kind of fun that we

have a little record here for you.


Jeff: For sure.


Joel: What books are you reading these days? What skills are you working

to learn and acquire?


Jeff: I love questions like that. Let’s see. Well, I’ll answer them in

reverse. Skills I’m looking to acquire, I’m looking to always continue

to be a better dad.


Joel: [laughs]

Jeff: I think you’re never finished there. My boys are in high school

and middle school, respectively, so super important to me and something

I think about every day of the week. I’m trying to figure out whether

I’m a morning or afternoon exerciser.


Joel: [laughs]

Jeff: I haven’t done well at that. [laughs] I can tell you I’m not an

evening exerciser. I work with a great guy who’s able to have dinner

with his family that I imagine digests his food and do whatever. He can

work out like nine o’clock at night.


Joel: I couldn’t do that.


Jeff: It’s amazing. I couldn’t do that. So trying to refine that. I’m

trying to read more. I think I’ve really gotten good at that. I sort of,

like you, Joel, I set some goals. I really tried to hold myself

accountable and that’s been good, almost to a point of obsession.


Joel: Yeah, what did you say, you’re doing one book a week or something

like that?


Jeff: I try to do one book a week all year long. I’ve been able to do

it. I think I’m going to mess up May and not hit it.


Joel: [laughs]

Jeff: [laughs] But I’m going to give myself some slack. Yeah, trying to

do one book a week. Honestly, I sort of go a slightly wide range. I love

business books and I always keep them as part of the mix, but I’ll read

a lot of history and fiction, because I really just want to just stretch

my learnings.


I read a book earlier this year. It’s more of a mainstream one,

“American Kingpin”. Super interesting, about online drug trade and

massive FBI search to track down the participants and bring them to

justice. Just a more exciting story, sort of intense story. I read Phil

Knight’s “Shoe Dog”. It sounded amazingly touching and motivating. Lots

of elements in there I could connect with.


I listened to Angela Duckworth’s book “Grit”. I thought it was great.

Sort of persistence and stick-to-it-ness. Another book that I read that

I liked a lot was Amy Wilkinson’s “Creator’s Code”. She talks a lot

about the OODA loop, I’m not sure I’m pronouncing it correctly, but I

probably am. It’s something that has some reference to war planes and

battle and other things.


Joel: That’s that general.


Jeff: That’s right.


Joel: He never really wrote a really definitive guide to that theory,

right? He just used it and wrote a very simple framework and a paper on

it. That’s all that it’s really been, right?


Jeff: A hundred percent right. It’s sort of gotten this cult following.

It’s one of those Air Force generals.


Joel: It’s like observe, orient, decide, and act, or something like

that, right?


Jeff: That’s it. That’s right. That’s exactly it. I think that it really

works particularly in startups. It takes great discipline to stick to

it. I don’t think we do it perfectly here for sure. If you do those

steps, it will help you make some decisions and maybe cut what’s not

working. I know we have. We’ve introduced a lot of things here that we

since had to reorient and act.


It’s helpful. It’s satisfying. Those are some of the things I’m reading.


Joel: That’s cool.


Jeff: I dig into a lot of history stuff, too, that’s just sort of goofy

about unknown presidents that I never would have bothered to read about,

like James Polk or some other thing. I have no idea why that captures my

imagination, but occasionally I’ll just read one of those. In case I

ever end up on “Jeopardy!” I’ll be able to answer those questions.


Joel: [laughs] That’s good. I like to do the same thing. I’m a jogger. I

won’t say a runner, because that would be overstating the speed at which

I do the whole deal. I’m a jogger, maybe even borderline plodder.


Jeff: [laughs]

Joel: I like to listen to books while I’m doing that, and I hit the

weights for a little bit afterwards. Lately I’ve been sort of obsessed

with books about learning how to write better because I like to write,

and I want to get better at that craft, so I’ve been learning and

studying that.


Then also I like to pick up and download from Audible that’s the classic

novels that maybe you read in high school English class or college class

but really don’t remember much. Right now, I’m listening to Hemmingway’s

“For Who the Bell Tolls.” It’s interesting to go back and listen to

those and hear the stories. I think you and I are in the same boat

there.


Jeff: That’s way cool. I love that last anecdote. I agree with you

completely, and I am also a big believer in mixing that diet up just

like you’ve done with some of your Audible choices. I completely agree

with you. I don’t know why, and I don’t even care why, I think it makes

one a more well-rounded person. I’m fully in agreement with what you

just said, Joel.


Joel: Good, good. If you could be reincarnated…Let me try that again.

If you, Jeff, could be reincarnated as one business person, whom would

it be and what’s one thing you’d do differently than they did?


Jeff: You know what, I am not positive I’ll come with a good answer to

this one.


[laughter]

Joel: There’s no bad answer.


Jeff: It’s an awesome question. I’m not going to do the best job of

answering this, but I’ll give you two or three and i’ll tell you why

quickly, then you can edit out whatever you think is excessive or

useless.I don’t look at Warren Buffett as a businessperson, although of

course he is. I think he’s just sort of a wise person, a great

decision-maker and investor.


I just value that in him — his ability to make smart investment

decisions and stick to it, and so not jump on the Internet train when

everyone else did, or not jump on the bitcoin thing when everyone else

did. I definitively value that and I think having the willingness and

the ability to not follow the herd is an amazing trait.


What would I do differently if I were him? I’d stay away from insurance,

because I think it’s horrendously boring.


Joel: And wildly profitable. [laughs]

Jeff: Right, but he’s Warren Buffett, so I would have been wrong. I

would have been wrong. I will say one or two other quick ones. I’ve read

a few books of — Joel as I know you have. I love the stories about

investors. Howard Schultz from Starbucks, and there’s probably 500

others, like Elon Musk, or like Peter Thiel and others.


People who have had a vision and had something, a concept and a product

and got turned down the first 150 times that they spoke to investors —

I so value the stick-to-it-ness and the willingness to stick to your

vision and not get disheartened or give up. Maybe they did get

disheartened and frustrated, but not give up, because I find that to be

exceptionally motivating and inspirational.


If you have a vision and you have something you’re passionate about and

you just know it’s right, and maybe your timing’s wrong or the market’s

wrong, but so if I came back as them, probably I would not have had that

kind of patience and I would have missed the opportunities.


There’s hundreds of others. I’m just reaching for two or three names

that were…


Joel: No. Those are good.


Jeff: Those are some examples. Honestly, if I had done things

differently, again, I probably would have fared way less well than those

people did.


Joel: You never know. Just in your mind, what does it mean to you, Jeff,

to sell or market smarter? How do you think about that?


Jeff: On that, I think a lot about, “less is more.” I think a lot about

really doing a lot of thinking and research in advance, so that you form

a point of view, you understand the market, you try as best you can to

understand your clients’ needs before you meet with them. For me,

selling and marketing smarter is about having greater precision in how

you communicate and what you say, and also what you don’t say.


Earlier on and even probably now a little bit, but certainly earlier on,

we would go in and just do these massive feature demos. 45 minutes of

this button and this widget and this setup and this tool and that tool.

It was sort of a disaster. We would still sell something. This is both

at my current company and other companies. It was just featuring them to

death before you knew maybe what their pain points were.


For me, selling and marketing smarter includes listening more. I think

it includes being a thoughtful contributor to conversations without

being an aggressive seller. I see that with just more inbound marketing,

stuff you and I have talked about. I know you have some real expertise

there.


Whether you’re contributing an article or a survey or a podcast or a

LinkedIn posting, I’d rather be a part of the conversation where you’re

establishing yourselves as a participant, as someone with a respected

point of view, and you’re not always “Me, me, me and my product.”


I think if one can do that, they’re likely to garner some respect and

therefore trust. Then the conversation around the need and that sort of

product fit is met with less resistance. People put their guard down and

they see you as perhaps a trusted industry colleague and less as a sales

exec. That for me is selling and marketing smarter.


Joel: I like it. That’s how we’re thinking. We think very similarly.

That’s why I like to talk to people about and promulgate the idea of

having your own platform. This term platform is bandied about

ophthalmology a lot these days, with platform practices and platform

this.


But I think we as a sales and marketing person, you should have your own

platform. Part of that platform is, what are the planks within my

platform that make up what I think about, and how I think about things

that someone could say, “Yeah, I want to align with that guy because I

like how he thinks”?


Whereas if you don’t put any of that information out there, and put it

in some meaningful fashion where people can see it, how will they ever

do it or how will they ever see it? All they’ll see is what someone else

says about you or what your company says about you.


You have to be loyal to your company and all that good stuff. I’m not

suggesting that. I think we as commercial professionals, we need to have

our own platforms out there so people can look at them and say, “What

does Jeff Peres think and what does Joel Gaslin think? How does he make

decisions?” I think we’re thinking along the same lines there.


Jeff: Yeah, I think we are, Joel. You know what I’ll add, and I

mentioned this to you once before, I think. I think that it’s

exceptionally hard and takes a great amount of commitment and discipline

to stay consistent, to stay true to that mission. I think those that do

will undoubtedly benefit more, will gather that greater community

respect, and have that platform, have that brand.


I think it’s exciting. I think what you’re doing is extremely exciting.

I just footnote that it doesn’t happen on auto-pilot and it doesn’t

happen by accident. It is a true discipline, just like going for that

run or anything else that you make a habit.


That’s another book I read, that Charles Duhigg book on habit. I’m just

flagging that I have tremendous for that because it’s not easy to be

consistent.


Joel: You’re right, and this is kind of an old one. One of the first

management or motivational books I read was the old Ken Blanchard

“One-Minute Manager.” I think it was in that one. It was Ken Blanchard

who made the quote and I think it was in that book.


But he talked about the difference between an interested runner and a

committed runner is the interested runner gets up in the morning. He

looks out the window and it’s raining, and he says, “Aw, it’s raining,

so I’m not going to run today, because it’s raining.” The committed

runner gets up in the morning, looks out the window, and says, “Oh, it’s

raining. Yet it’s time for my run, so I better put my rain gear on and

go for my run.” [laughs]

I think about that often — that it’s easy to get waylaid and make

excuses for not doing it.


I don’t come at this from a position of judgment that “Hey, it’s easy,”

because I fall down on it all the time. Just look at the history of my

regular cadence of putting these episodes and links together. I have

room for improvement too, so that’s where I am on that.


Jeff: It’s motivating. It’s always fun to aspire and to have goals. We

all have room for improvement. But what you’re doing is a) I think

working and b) just again noting that it’s not easy. It takes tremendous

discipline. When those rainy days are out there, yeah, I can tell you —

I don’t feel like going for a run. I am certain of it, so I get it

completely.


Joel: What haven’t I asked you about that I should have and perhaps

you’d like to talk about before we close up?


Jeff: Let’s see. This has really been fun and comprehensive. I’ll say

one or two other things and if there is a place for them in your end

product that’s great and if not that’s OK too. I think one thing that

I’ve realized in doing this initiative with Everseed and branching out

and trying to bring a solution to market from scratch — I would tell

people, ask for more help. Ask for help from even the sources that you

don’t think are as relevant. People generally want to help you and

people generally will root for you.


I’ve seen that, and again, these aren’t even doctors or nurses or

orthodontists or optometrists. These are random people that work in call

centers that’ll give me feedback about how the call center works. Or

they’re patients that have had to deal with chronic conditions, and so

they’re in and out of the doctor’s offices hundreds of times a year.


It’s been remarkable just to ask people for feedback and help, not so

much as a paid project but just to give some guidance or give some point

of view. Sometimes maybe you’re either reticent or afraid or

uncomfortable to ask for help. But asking for help has proven to be

really wonderful and has helped me make some great friends.


Joel: That’s a great tip.


Jeff: Yeah, and the inverse is also true, which is pay it forward. I

have had plenty of people that I’ve tried to do favors for with no

expectation in return.


Some of it’s just networking. Some people needed to use a piece of my

product for a big presentation. We didn’t bother charging them. They

needed a favor, they were in a jam, and we could help them and make them

look good. I believe in karma. Pay it forward is the other thing that I

would add to the conversation.


Joel: That’s great. Anything else?


Jeff: I don’t think so. I’m hoping that the springtime has arrived in

Minnesota.


Joel: It has, finally. [laughs]

Jeff: This was super-fun.


Joel: It was fun. I’m grateful that you took the time. I know we had a

little scheduling headaches on my end, so I’m grateful for your

flexibility and the time you spent talking. It’s been a lot of fun.


Jeff: Oh, gosh. No, it’s nice to catch up. I’m really, like I said,

impressed with what you’re doing. I’d like to be helpful in any way that

I can. I want to stay in touch and keep you up to date on some of the

other projects that I’m working on, and hopefully see you soon.

Depending on where your travels take you and what other opportunities we

have, I really enjoy catching up.


Joel: Yeah, it’s always fun, Jeff. Thanks for the time.


Jeff: Yeah, thanks for today. I’m sure I’ll talk to you over the next

few days or weeks, and debrief, Joel, but I really enjoyed it. Thanks

for the great conversation.


Joel: Thanks Jeff. Have a good night.


Jeff: Take care.


Joel: Bye-bye.


Jeff: Bye.


The post Episode 09 Cognified Marketing and Selling Podcast with Jeff Peres – Everseat appeared first on Joel Gaslin's Blog.

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Episode 09 Cognified Marketing and Selling Podcast with Jeff Peres – Everseat

Episode 09 Cognified Marketing and Selling Podcast with Jeff Peres – Everseat

Cognified Marketing and Selling Podcast