53: You should never apologize for the hustle

You should never be apologizing for the efforts you make to get noticed. You should never apologize for “the hustle.”

I’m coming to you again from Tallinn, Estonia. This time in a hotel room overlooking old town, riding the high from an invigorating weekend at the Digital Elite Camp.

By the time you listen to this episode, I will be back in Minneapolis, getting ready for my MnSearch Summit presentation this Friday. After that I feel like slipping into a long dark period of rest and relaxation on the lakes and rivers in Minnesota.

But before I leave Estonia, I wanted to offer a quick recap of the fun times I had during the event meeting new friends, existing students, and gaining so much value over my week in Estonia.

Since this podcast episode evolves around providing value by wrapping it in great stories that’s exactly how I will deliver this podcast written intro – in the form of a movie script.

But don’t forget this is just a theatrical trailer for the real thing – I saved the best for the podcast!

The prologue


American marketer JEFF ALYTICS (36) is walking with what looks like a drink in his hand. A young couple coming his way notices that he talks to himself and crosses the street. When we close up on JEFF we see that he’s actually holding an iPhone, taking voice ‘notes’ for his upcoming podcast.


We’re just south of the land of the midnight sun.  Three days from the longest day of the year. Sun sets an hour before midnight, but it never actually goes down. There was a red hue at the horizon up until a moment ago when the sun started to rise again. For the record it’s 2:30 am. Don’t know if it’s the beer or the latitude but my head is spinning with ideas. So I’m just gonna record them randomly here and then I’ll turn them into a podcast tomorrow. I hope Uros makes something meaningful out of this.

1) The importance of storytelling


JEFF is standing by the table and gives an improvised presentation to his wife the LUDDITE who is sitting across the room acting as the audience. He is just wrapping up his speech as we enter the scene.


..So I hope you liked my attribution presentation. Any questions?

LUDDITE (frowning)

I think the whole thing sucks.




Don’t take it personally. When you started I have no idea what attribution was. To be honest, I still don’t.

JEFF (shaking his head)

You know what? I’m actually not even mad, because you’re RIGHT. When I look at it from your perspective, it makes perfect sense. I was only addressing myself in the presentation, not someone who is just learning.


Here’s what you should do: forget about the crowd and the conference and give me an attribution example from our own, real life experience. Even better, think of the most interesting example from our two year, out-of-the-suitcase life which can be used to explain attribution. That way you’ll conquer their attention right at the beginning. Weave in a story right at start. Everyone can relate to stories!

JEFF (jaw dropped)

Who are you and what did you do with my wife?

Editors note: When asked whether she wanted to be called LUDDITE or NEOPHYTE, Jeff’s wife said “I think that LUDDITE is funnier.”

2) Know your audience


Young JEFF is sitting at his desk while a mid-aged female TEACHER, is lecturing him via Skype. She wears reading glasses and dictates a text from a huge book. Jeff takes notes, word for word.


Every presentation is an opportunity to sell. My Speak-To-Sell program strongly advises you to hand out a piece of paper to each person in the audience and kindly ask them to write down three things they liked about the presentation along with their name and the email. After you’re done speaking you collect the papers from the crowd, manually type the data into your CRM and analyze to see who is a prospect.

Cut to JEFF who is diligently writing down. The frame is blurred at the edges. TEACHER’s voice fades out and we hear JEFF’s voice over, slightly echoed, suggesting that we hear his thoughts.


What?!? Does this woman know we’re in 2014? Can she even imagine how would it look like if I was to hand out sheets of paper, tell the crowd to write something down and collect them again? We’re not in grade school! Hello!?! I have a better idea instead: I’m gonna do all this via dedicated landing page and a download. And then I’m gonna write a blog post about my experience with creating the landing page with Optimizepress.

3) It can’t be all story


JEFF wearing a chef’s hat and apron is preparing a burger.

JEFF (speaking to camera directly)

When you go into a restaurant and order a burger, you don’t expect to get a hamburger patty only, right? The bun is almost equally important, even though you won’t hear anyone order a “burger in a bun”.

Now you should treat your facts as a burger and the story as a bun. They go perfectly hand in hand, each one alone is not as tempting. So the customers came in for the burger BUT they expect a bun, and you’re are expected to serve them one! The same goes for your audience – while they’re coming to learn facts, wrapping it up with a story makes the whole experience much easier to swallow. Bon apetite!

4) This is when things start getting real


At the Arrivals gate there are people scattered, waiting. Each time the sliding doors open heads turn in hope to see who is coming. At one point sliding doors open and out comes JEFF pushing a cart. Suddenly dozens of people from all over the world jump him to take selfies, shake his hand, hug him and tap him on the back.

A former STUDENT comes up to JEFF.


Hey Jeff, you are my guru.

Now even though STUDENT is apparently very young we suggest his role should be awarded to Rade Sherbegia because he plays every character with Slavic accent in Hollywood for the past freaking twenty years.

Ok, I am officially past the point where telling stories is beneficial.

What the heck is this entire dialog about?

You’ll have to listen to the podcast. It will make a lot more sense then. In the meantime, here are a few more resources from the presentation.

Would you like to know who are my gurus in this beautiful world of online marketing? These two stories, about overcoming fear of public speaking and cheating your way to a better presentation should give you a hint.

For the rest, kick back and listen to the podcast!

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About the Author

Jeff Sauer is an independent Digital Marketing Consultant, Speaker and Teacher based out of a suitcase somewhere in the world. Formerly of Minneapolis, MN and San Francisco, CA.